Candidates should appear on the ballot if:

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Revolt of the printing masses!

There is seldom anything in tech that sends me ballistic but this is one.

How can you have a free press when business wants to monopolize your ink. This is Microsoftism gone totally berserk. You can take your ink cartridges and shove them up tight and clear outta sight!

I didn't read the invisible shrink wrap license that didn't come with the cartridge. It must have been encrypted on the inside of the cartridge.

If you think this idea is gonna fly, I've got some pale yellow ink for you! Use it for cologne.

Anybody for a startup printer company - one universal cartridge will work in all models. And don't even think about laser cartridges either.

It appears you'll have to reassemble the link by hand. Strange limitation for this kind of site.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Three to throw off the train in 2008

The three of nine Justice up for retention/rejection in 2008 are:
Justice Robert E. Lavender, Justice Tom Colbert, and Justice Joseph M. Watt.

Since the refusal to hear the case on ballot access was a unanimous decision, all three should be reject in 2008. The next three up for rejection in 2010 are: Justice Steven W. Taylor, Justice James R. Winchester and Justice Rudolph Hargrave; followed in 2012 by Justices Opala, Kauger and Edmondson, if they are still on the bench.

Developments pending...

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

No Free Rides!

Oklahoma law requires that presidential candidates of “new parties” obtain the valid signatures of registered voters equal to five percent of the of the total vote cast for President or Governor in the previous general election. Based on the 2006 General election that means about 46,000 valid signatures for the 2008 general election. But course, not all signatures will be valid for various reasons. Therefore, additional signatures must always be gathered to provide a cushion against disqualified signatures. The rule of thumb is to obtain at least fifteen percent more than the minimum. In this case that means at least 52,000 signatures and 54,000 is better to virtually guarantee 46,000 valid signatures of currently registered voters.

So let’s assume any party needs 54,000 signatures. How many registered voters are there in Oklahoma? ... The densest concentration of voters are in the major metropolitan areas: Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Lawton. These three cities are where it is most efficient - lowest in costs - to obtain signatures. How many registered voters are in Oklahoma, Tulsa, and Comanche counties? ... This means that 80 to 90 percent of petitioners efforts must be focused in those three counties. This would appear to be advantageous for petitioners. But what about the people in the rest of the state?

Do voters in the metropolitan areas differ in the political attitudes from those in more rural areas? How do these differences affect the costs of obtaining signatures? If it is significantly more costly for petitioners to obtain signatures in rural areas than in metropolitan areas, or vice versa, then the effects of the ballot access law disadvantage one area over the other.

Let us be clear what the effect of ballot access restriction using petitioning for signatures accomplishes. It is what economists call an “in-kind” tax. A tax in-kind cannot be paid by simply writing a check. An in-kind tax typically involves performing some kind of labor or rendering up some commodity to the state. Petitioning for signatures to obtain permission for candidates to appear on the ballot is a tax (in-kind) to obtain a license to run for office. It is a tax in addition to any ordinary filing fees (taxes) which candidates must pay.

But it gets worse. Entrenchment is the term used to identify the use of state power to “dig in” or fortify certain groups in the government from peaceful, democratic challenge by other groups. The entrenched parties - Democratic and Republican - exempt themselves from the tax burden which they place on new competitors. They are exempt from petitioning. They get to simply pay filling fees with a guaranteed refund for almost every one of their candidates. Consequently they have legislated themselves a free ride on the ballot - a privilege status - an entrenchment.

However, even if one agrees that new parties deserve to be penalized for attempting to challenge the entrenched parties - because the petition only gets your candidate on the ballot - it doesn’t get any candidate any votes. The ballot petitioning tax violates one of the so-called canons of “fair” taxation. The idea embedded in the U.S. Constitution was that taxes should levied equally on all people. The idea was “No taxation without representation” and taxation proportionate to representation. The ballot petitioning tax is worse than taxation without representation, it is taxation on the opportunity to seek representation.

Nor is the tax on the opportunity to seek representation levied equally on all parties or all citizens. As indicated above, because it is an in-kind tax which cannot be paid with money (even though it necessitates money being spent to perform), the burden of the tax on opportunity does not fall equally on all citizens. Those citizens and voters living in less densely populated areas are taxed more for the opportunity to seek representation because the in-kind costs are higher for them than for persons in metropolitan areas, if for no other reason, the costs of travel to get where people can sign petitions are higher. It is obvious that gasoline cost more to day than it did in 1974 when this law took effect and even more than it did as recently as 2006. The political advantage for the Democratic and Republican politicians in office is that it makes rural legislators even more immune from competition than their metropolitan colleagues. That means rural voters have less opportunity than even metropolitan voters to throw a rascal out in either of the entrenched parties. Candidates who would run against an incumbent of their own party must run the gauntlet of the primary. Because of the way district boundaries are drawn by the legislators, many districts are “safe” for an incumbent indefinitely. That was one of the reasons why term-limits were enacted. But term-limits were only a partial remedy for the underlying inequity non-competitive ballots. Far, far too many incumbents have no opposition in either a primary or general election. Yet at the same time many public opinion polls indicate that citizens do not believe they are getting their money’s worth from the legislators. Sounds like a classic symptom of monopoly - an arbitrary supply of poor quality goods. That’s bad tax policy even if you approve of the penalty on new parties - unless you’re an incumbent politician in an entrenched party.

Suppose one is not concerned with ballot access restrictions as a tax on opportunity. It is interesting to note that many people adamantly support the idea of freedom of religion because they would not want to see their church suppressed by other sects. The policy adopted by the authors of the Constitution was open access - Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of a religion, nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Perhaps the respect for this idea helps to explain why no one has to circulate a petition asking for permission to worship as they choose. The same First Amendment that proclaims freedom of religion also proclaims freedom of speech and association and the right to petition for a redress of grievances. A redress of grievances is most effectively done today through a political party putting candidates on the ballot for election to public office. It is difficult to see why open access for religious diversity has worked so well, but open access for political diversity cannot be allowed. Unless, one concludes that what we really have is an establishment of political doctrine settled in two sects. Of course, if an established state church could tax and suppress it’s competitors like our politicians’ do, then we could advance our society to resemble the 1400s in Europe - wars and inquisitions. Let’s keep that from happening in our politics.

If one agrees that present ballot access restrictions are undesirable and against the spirit, if not the letter, of the Constitution, then are any ballot access restrictions justifiable?

One of the principal arguments of the entrenches is that voters - you - will be confused if there are “too many” candidates on the ballot. Of course, few, if any, of you are confused by the variety of churches in your neighborhood. But it is a real stretch to imagine that the United States would ever have as many political parties as there are religious sects. But even if there were, where’s the harm to you?

Another of the entrenches arguments is that the “two-party system” is uniquely a stroke of genius which makes our government more stable than foreign multi-party countries. This is an assertion of fact that can be verified within certain limits. The first limit is that we compare our apple against someone else’s apple. What other nation has a Constitution identical or nearly identical to ours, but has a multi-party system? That apple seems hard to find, so they substitute parliamentary oranges. OK. We may as well forget about any other hypothetical limits since the entrenches cannot clear the first hurdle of logic. But we won’t.

The U.S. Constitution does not predispose the government to entrenched “two-party” rule. In fact, persons from other parties have been elected to the U.S. House and Senate, as well as state legislatures, rather often - in the past. In the past two parties did indeed dominate the government, but they were not entrenched by the electoral system and they came and went. The present Democratic/Republican entrenchment has occurred only in the last eighty years or so. How and when it came about has been fairly well understood by historians and political scientists for some time. Why it came about is a matter of some controversy still- there are contending interpretations. I will burden you only with this author’s interpretation.

In my opinion, the tools of the present “two-party” entrenchment are, first, the arbitrary abuse of the principle of the secret ballot which was introduced at the end of the 19th century to remedy genuine election corruption. The government monopolized the production of ballots. In the century before individuals, candidates and parties printed and distributed the ballots for voters to use. This practice worked against privacy in voting and allowed vote-buying and intimidation of voters. It could have been remedied by simply requiring uniformity in the ballots produced by candidates and parties. Why was there a complete government takeover?

Printing and distributing ballots was a cost that had been voluntarily born by private individuals, they invented the mass production of ballots in the first place. The costs were acceptable because few people believed the costs should not be a burden on those taxpayers - who may not vote for any of the candidates in a given election or any election. In other words, printing ballots was a normal cost of campaigning born by candidates. It was a proportionate, voluntary “tax”. Ballots were produced by parties for their candidates - where and as needed. The government takeover of the ballot industry had significant advantages for the largest political parties - subsidy and control of access. They were able to shift the costs of ballot production and marketing on to the general population. But more important was their claim that economy in costs required that mere “expressive” voting for candidates deemed unlikely to win was now a costly and unjust “subsidy” to such candidates - candidates which are “frivolous” and the voters no longer had any need to consider. So the ballot produced by the government must be short on candidates and frugal for the taxpayers. This was described as a policy of impartiality. Cute, eh? The need for ballot uniformity was used as a pretext to enforce control of access to the ballot itself. Entrenchment? Yes.

For some time, other parties continued to stagger on. In time some simply died a natural death, as their single-issue fervor was absorbed by the fattening “major” parties. The more doctrinaire parties continued on until swamped by anti-immigrant and pro-imperialist propaganda by the “major” parties. Some parties simply gave up or were suffocated in their cribs. Potential candidates, no matter what their own convictions, realized that there were only one game with two teams to play on. So controversy was largely moved from the general election campaign to the party primary elections or further hidden inside party councils. After a century of this arrangement candidates today campaign mainly on personality and personal scandal and attacking and defending the presidential candidates of the “major” parties. Some candidates have as their platform simply that they are for or against the President. Cute, eh? Another symptom of entrenchment. No candidate independence or originality and damn paltry representation. Political entrenchment has an irresistible momentum toward dictatorship. This momentum was not totally unforeseen by the Founders of the Republic. The Jeffersonians advised “rotation in office” to prevent entrenchment. It took nearly a century to overcome their advice and rig the entrenchment of two particular parties into one nearly impregnable coalition.

Today, we have an almost perfect black hole of entrenchment. All power flows to the center. As wise as we would like to believe they were the Founders and authors of the Constitution did not and could not anticipate the consequences of the flaws they placed in their document. And I say “their” document deliberately. The alleged Constitution of today is the one which the two entrenched party elites want. They “interpret” it to mean whatever is expedient for them. It has now reached the point of mindlessness. Consider the decision of the Oklahoma Supreme Court in 2007 to refuse to hear a case for more open ballot access brought by the Libertarian Party from 2004. Note that opening the ballot to wider access for other parties would gain no particular advantage for the Libertarians over any other “minor” party. The sole effect of more open ballot access would be to restore to voters the power they once possessed to control the government. The voters could accept or reject any candidates of any parties. Instead of “splitting their ticket” just one way or the other between the entrenched parties, voter could “split their ticket” six ways to Sunday if the wished. In fact, in earlier times when ballot access was far more open, it was unusual for more than five parties’ candidates to appear on the ballot and then only for a few select offices. The ballots were never “a mile long” as the entrenches charge would happen.

It all comes down to this: The entrenched parties lie to stay in power - they even lie to themselves. Someone will always believe what they say and vote for them. But your right to say “NO!” is not a privilege which they may allow or not as they please. If you want to say “yes” that’s your business, but if you have ever just once wished you had another choice on the ballot in an election, then you should understand why you didn’t see it. Not voting is a valid protest against our rigged system of elections, but it is a weak form of protest. A stronger form of protest is to support open ballot access for all candidates, so you can sort them out for yourself on election day. That’s not an exclusively Libertarian position, the Green Party, the Constitution Party, and other parties now unknown support that position. We must or we will be politically exterminated - figuratively speaking - for now.

What can you do to open up the system? First, sign any petition to put a party on the ballot and sign any petition that asks for open ballot access. Second, penalize the entrenches by any peaceful means you can. Don’t give them any campaign donations, don’t vote for them. Ridicule them, shun them and make them the butt of your jokes. Third, stop rubber stamping judges for retention on the ballot. Vote against retention for all Justices of the Oklahoma Supreme Court. That is what your ballot is for, use it. That message will be heard. Tell people to vote against the Justices and explain how the Oklahoma Supreme Court is bulldozing anyone who is trying to challenge the entrenches. This is a fundamental issue not a narrow case with equal merits on both sides. The Court has failed to uphold the “free and equal” provision for elections in the Oklahoma Constitution and sought cover themselves behind the U.S. Supreme Court’s maximum limit for restrictions. The Oklahoma State Supreme Court is the core bastion of the two-party entrenchment in Oklahoma. They serve political ends and they must suffer political consequences.

All other states are far less restrictive than Oklahoma and the Oklahoma’s Supreme Court has the discretion to measure the law against the state’s own “free and equal” provision. You, the voter’s have the discretion to remove them from office for that lack of due diligence and prejudicial partiality to entrenched partisan interests. No “free ride” for judges; no entrenched parties.

Here's the list:

District 1 - Robert E. Lavender, Claremore
District 2 - Steven W. Taylor, McAlester
District 3 - Marian P. Opala, Oklahoma City
District 4 - Yvonne Kauger, Colony
District 5 - James R. Winchester, Chickasha
District 6 - Tom Colbert, Tulsa
District 7 - James E. Edmondson, Muskogee
District 8 - Rudolph Hargrave, Wewoka
District 9 - Joseph M. Watt, Altus

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Ideas Needed for the Here and Now

"Those who stress the importance of ideas in society and politics tend to concentrate solely on the long run, on future generations. All that is true and important and must never be forgotten. But ideas are not only for the ages; they are vitally important in the here-and-now."

"In times of revolutionary ferment in particular, social and political change tends to be sudden and swift."
- Murray N. Rothbard

When elites begin to abandon a regime that can no longer reliably protect their interests, a substitute must be sought, even if it was previously ignored, neglected, ridiculed, patronized, rejected and suppressed. The most obvious and readily available substitutes like dictatorship are known to be dangerous to elite interests as well as everyone else's. In societies with tradition of popular consent and some measure of democratic accountability, the tendency will be to find a substitute which most closely resembles and seems most compatible with those traditions.

In the United States, the libertarian tradition most closely fits that requirement as a substitute and replacement for an abandoned regime. The Libertarian Party has been in existence for a generation. That should make it a contender as a prime elemental partner in a new political system. The LP could be expected to a likely vehicle for elites support. But the elites would likely demand certain modifications from the traditional libertarian ideology. The LP may have sufficient depth in its own elites to withstand such pressures.

In part, this is because the LP and other insurgent parties have been suppressed and denied opportunities to chose and elect officeholders to anchor the LP tradition as a 'legitimized minority' with the credibility to claim popular authority. The elites have allowed this to happen, when they have not encouraged it and the result leaves them trapped without a credible vehicle to exit from a political collapse. The consequence may well be that they will realize too late that they repeated the mistakes which led to the aftermath of the French Revolution.

It does one little good to sit smugly today and say, "Well, they've got it coming!" Societies cannot function without complex divisions of labor culturally and economically. It is not good enough to take a vindictive Marxian position. Elites must be rehabilitated and taught to appreciate the limitations of their role in a free society. The most recent example of elite sociopathy has been the neocons. In cases of blatantly criminal behavior some must be deprived of their freedom, perhaps, for life. Historically, once the lust for blood is in the streets, it is too late for talk of rehabilitation.

I would hope that soon the Libertarian Party will announce its non-negotiable opposition to the death penalty. And that we prepare to stand against all blood-lusting mobs indulging in suicidal vindictive orgies. We cannot let allow the blowback from the Bush Administration's insanity to turn Americans into terrorists against one another. The Libertarians deserve access to the ballot because we are the cultural and economic elites best hope for freedom as well as our own. How much credibility we can build as elected leaders amidst a torrent of corruption and sociopathy remains for us to prove, if we have the opportunity that is ours by right - not permission.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Leading Oklahoma Newspaper Takes Favorable Notice

A lead editorial in the June 4, 2007 edition of the The Daily Oklahoman, Oklahoma's largest newspaper, noted that Richard Winger, Ballot Access News Editor, has done for ballot law what the Wall Street Journal has done for tort reform. Commenting on the rebuff by the Oklahoma Supreme Court of a 2004 lawsuit by the Libertarian Party, the Oklahoman said,"The Libertarians lawsuit is anything but frivolous. Having the most restrictive ballot access laws in the nation is no badge of honor,...."

Libertarians, the Greens and the Constitution Party have all formed a coalition to gain redress from the Oklahoma Legislature without success. The incumbent parties coalition is as just as unified against competition as the challenging coalition is unified for it. One way or another the voters will have make the final adjudication since, the Legislature and the Courts have both failed.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Dysfunctional Ballots, Dysfunctional Congress, Dysfunctional Government.

Entry for June 03, 2007

Can the ballot box be restored to full functionality?

While it is intellectually legitimate to question the use of ballots to resolve questions of public choice, that is not my concern here. I begin for the sake of this discussion by accepting the premise that balloting is authorized, embodies and is presupposed by the U.S. Constitution. In contrast. the Declaration of Independence was never put a vote of the general public. It is a revolutionary document.

The Articles of Confederation were not put a vote of the general public, but adopted by the revolutionary legislative elites. The Constitution was bitterly contested and was voted upon by a large number of adult males after the Revolution was won and a mini-state apparatus had been installed..

The idea of a Constitution is now an embedded tradition in our social-political culture. Voting is just as embedded. What is not embedded or even widely understood among voters is what balloting is supposed to accomplish under our Constitution. I surmise that most people who regard themselves are legally eligible to vote believe that balloting is primarily making a choice between which of two parties' candidates to trust. Each voter brings a more or less coherent configuration of policy preferences to the ballot and makes a "hiring decision" on which applicant best advances their value preferences. Once the results of all the voters "hiring decisions" are announced, the voter believes they are honor bound to accept the result until the next round of "hiring decisions" rolls around.

Some voters may be aware more less acutely that the "hiring decision" place before them on the ballot has already been screened by existing employees - the parties already "hired". So the union of incumbent politicians pre-select candidates for the campaign interviews before any hiring decision can be made by the voters.

The incumbents union uses a variety of barriers to entry to pre-configure the ballot in their favor. Most voters have an idea what a gerrymander is. They may not know all the subtleties of how it gets engineered by the incumbents union. Most voters today know that access to the interview process of campaigning as a candidate with access to the ballot is more or less some kind of licensing process which restricts the voters' choices. Fewer voters have any inkling of how the number of hiring slots is manipulated by the incumbents union to keep employee turnover to a minimum. These are only a few of the ways balloting has become more of a ritual than a hiring decision. A large number of voters now know the process is rigged and that rigging has led to gross employee negligence and malfeasance and criminality. In large measure, the entrenched parties - the incumbents union - is directly responsible and are beginning to be held responsible by voters who are formally abandoning the union to declare themselves Independents. The barriers to exiting the incumbents union are low for voters. The barriers to entry into any other affiliation of non-incumbents are very high for the reasons just cited. But more people are willing to exit.

This means that pressures for entry can also build. The Union knows what's up. They have a strategy for putting such pressure into a cul-de-sac. It is a Trojan horse candidacy for President. The union simply sets up a sham alternative and drives the "exiteers "into a blind alley. It was done with Ross Perot and it is being prepared for this election with Unity '08. It's not important which wing of the Union prevails in any given election because their power in the Congress and the Judiciary guarantees that they cannot lose effective control of the government. The whole point of the Trojan horse campaign is to assure that the Union has all bases covered. Even if the Trojan candidate wins, they remain in control because they are insiders too. Surrogate Presidents are nothing new in American politics.

For this tried and proven strategy to work for the Union it must be coupled with election regulations that cripple any legitimate anti-incumbent candidates. These safeguards have been carefully legislated and adjudicated and remain in place no matter what kind of revolt occurs at the ballot box.

What is especially intriguing about this upcoming cycle is that the voters may be getting just a little ahead in knowing how to evade the snares that have been laid for them. It just gets curiouser and curiouser.

What happens if the voters start to look down the ballot from the Presidential charade at the candidates who do not have Trojan horses to shield them? Hmmmm. More about that later.

Fortunately, jurists do read election results and follow campaigns. Why wouldn't they? Their fortunes are tied to the Union also. When a fresh breeze begins to blow, their's is a judicial tendency to hunker down and see where the fallout lands. Here in Oklahoma the recent unanimous decision by the State Supreme Court to refuse to examine the Libertarian Party's ballot access case from 2004 may also indicate Union heat not to rock the boat with a gale on the horizon. It was an easy decision to reach for the Court because the plausibility of ballot access barriers is difficult to justify with any respectable legal jargon. Oklahoma's is the least justifiable in the entire nation. Well, that's the kind of dirty work that the Union occasionally requires of its members.

Events in this election cycle may given some justification to other members of the Union to exit from their oppressive working conditions. After 2008, the Courts, for example, may suddenly recover a sense of independence and wisdom in the original meaning of the words in the First Amendment. Free speech and freedom of private political association may well become legally relevant again. It all depends on the unintended consequences of the Union's efforts to cover their flanks.

After this impending fiasco, we may be able to move toward restoring the ballot box to full functionality.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

The Deeper Agenda II

We have identified five widely supported schools, factions or doctrinaires who attempt to inculcate judicial rules for deciding disputes involving the political relations between (1) individuals acting the capacities of voters, (2) individuals acting in concert as political party organizations and candidates, (3) individuals acting as elites with some means of influence beyond that of a voter, e.g. campaign financiers, media managers, (4) individuals acting as non-governmental organization spokespersons (NGO lobbyists), (5) individuals acting as the ballot casting electorate, and (6) individuals acting as the government at all levels.

With at least five dimensions for explanation and at least six categories of actors it would appear that understanding might be an undertaking of major complexity. However, there are obvious common factors which offer some possibilities for simplification. Everything has to do with individuals. All the political functions are performed by individuals claiming some authority to act politically in one or more specialized roles.

(0) At the minimal level is the unspecialized potential voter. This person has some claim to a right to vote which others recognize as legitimate. The unspecialized potential voter may or may not exercise the right which they reserve the right to claim at any election. This pool of the unspecialized potential voters is a reservoir of latent influence or power. They are non-rational actors. Not much can be said about the political influence of this group in the calculations of all others. We omit them from our formal list of political actors.

(1) The next level of specialized individuals are those who fully intend to vote and engage in some level of information searching activity to reach a voting decision. They may or may not vote, but if they do or do not, they can be characterized as rational actors regardless of whether an observer agrees with that person's reasoning process. This group has a bullseye on their foreheads. They are the principal target of all other specialized individuals.

(2) The next level of specialized individuals are those who are called activists. Typically they are habitual voters. These individuals often integrate information into a form which they can articulate in an attempt to influence others at this same level, a higher level or a previous 'lower' level. If they have a potential reach of influence which is wide enough, we may consider them as a member of an elite - they have influence beyond there own vote. This 'elite' may range from a person who can reach the minds of their extended family, co-workers, others in some social organization or they may be professional media pundits with a national following. Often candidates emerge or are recruited from this group.

(3) The next specialized level of individuals are amateur, semi-professionals or professionals who work primarily though a political party or quasi-party organization. They are vendors of skills required by candidates seeking election. They may also be campaign financiers or managers of media organizations. These individuals often function as brokers for access to commercial conduits for political 'speech'. They are recognizably an elite. Because of their limited numbers the votes of this group have a marginal effect on elections.

(4) A closely related specialized level to the previous one are individuals acting as spokesperson for 'non-partisan' non-governmental organizations. These individuals support and oppose 'policies' rather than candidates, e.g., churches, citizen lobbies, etc. These political actors are also an 'elite'. Their power is based on their apparent persuasive influence, not on their voting numbers.

(5) Oddly as it may seem, the next higher specialized set of individuals are those persons who actually voted in an election. They are not persons who may or may not vote. They are persons who actually did vote. They are the electorate. All the lower levels must measure their success or failure by the decisions of this group. The relationship between this group and all the others is the lynch pin of any analysis of a constitutional democratic republic.

(6a) The last level of specialized individuals is obvious. Individuals in government all act in a political capacity. They are their positions either because they were elected or admitted to government by those who were elected. This category includes professional and career government employees. They owe their status and livelihood to elected officials. Candidates for the most important elective offices frequently are selected from this caste.

(6b) A special subcategory in this class are judicial officers who are exempt from most other limitations on government employment. One might say this group is the cream of the elites. They are powerful to the extend that all lower levels of political specialists appeal to them to resolve policy disputes and their decisions are accepted. As individuals their power is reputational only. They rely on the political power of all the subordinate elements to execute their will. To defy a Supreme Court decision is equivalent to declaring oneself in insurrection against the entire state apparatus and possibly accused of heresy against humanity.

This briefly describes the functional categories of individuals in the American political system. Each of the five (or other) explanatory or justifying analyses of American politics must deal with at least these six major categories of individuals. I will focus much of my discussion on category 6b.

I hope to continue in the not to distant future...

Friday, June 1, 2007

The Deeper Agenda

Entry for June 02, 2007

The idea of elections has triumphed universally in Western culture and dominates in all major cultures except Islam. But there is not universal agreement on what purposes elections should serve, or which purpose is the most important one.

In the United States the question of access to the ballot demonstrates considerable differences of opinion on the purposes of elections. Almost all other conflicts related to elections, I contend, are implicitly related to ballot access.

According to legal scholars, who I find quite enlightening, it is remarkable to note that legal disputes related directly to elections and political parties have increased sharply in the last fifty years. Why this is so I am not prepared to say yet. What has become clear, as legal scholars have pointed out, is that in large measure judges have been unable to agree on a coherent theory for defining the relationships between political candidates, political parties, the state, and the individual, as citizen and voter. Judicial confusion has itself spawned more litigation - even if jurists often refuse to hear a case it may be because they have nothing to offer beyond the status quo. Or, giving no opinion is less embarrassing than giving a poor opinion.

Why does this matter to those of us trying to circulate petitions in Oklahoma in 2007? Well, I'll put it in my own street vernacular. If you want to escape from prison, you better understand how the guards think.

I largely agree with the legal scholars who have identified five distinguishable "schools" or "factions" that are competing in legal circles for dominance in this area.

The first, and probably the most traditional, faction is the "federalist", nationalist, or corporative managerial. The second, and probably just as old, faction is the "anti-federalist", individualist, or libertarian. The third faction we can call the progressives. The fourth, more recent faction can be called the pluralists. The fifth
faction springs from only the later part of the 20th century just when the courts began to take on these cases; we can call this group the political marketeers. The last faction is me - the last to the soirée.

So we have five eminent factions of buckaroos and one old mustang. If you don't want to get ridden into the ground you better try to understand what those buckaroos are up to.

Before I wrap up this posting I'll try to give you a further indication of where I'm headed. Litigation is the only way to keep the more or less libertarian argument before the courts and possibly win judges over before they die or leave the bench. We have been attempting to break new ground in the legal tradition in this country. It don't come easy. Even the greatest of advocates cannot get keep an innocent person from being convicted. There is no DNA test to exonerate the defendants in these cases. That is why the ultimate court is street court - the ballot box. And that is why so many ingenious people want to keep the judiciary spinning until their doctrine prevails and ours doesn't.

Nevertheless, we must continue to make our presence felt on the street and in the courts. If even one player shows up for the game you have not forfeited. As for me, I'll hang up my cleats when they pry them off my cold cicada encrusted feet in about 17 years or so.

To be continued, of course... how long is really up to the readers isn't it? Oats, anyone?

Hypothetical poll - It's a secret ballot. Only you will know.
Should any candidate appear on the ballot regardless of party?

* Yes, I can make up my own mind.
* No, I prefer to have others veto my vote.
* None of the Above - I can't vote, won't vote.
* Only if I, the respondent, am the candidate.
* Elections? Whatever...Don't bother me.
* I'm from KOKH Fox 25 News. How dare you!