Reader’s Forum–Dave Franklin and Call Tonight

This is our last Reader’s Forum before we go live tonight at 7 pm EST in conversation with David Daley, the author of RATF**KED: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America’s Democracy.  All the call in details are below.

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My introduction to independent politics began in 1992 with Dr. Lenora Fulani’s independent Presidential campaign. I worked on the campaign and was asked to run for Congress here in California.  I ran on the “Peace and Freedom” party ticket. This party was basically an old style left party that didn’t do much. They were pretty upset with me for running.  The only thing they liked about me was the fact I was a union members and shop steward. Otherwise, I was persona non grata. Before this, I was a democrat who realized that the party didn’t really respond to  working people’s issues.

Dr. Fulani’s campaign raised the lack of fairness in our elections. Throughout the years I have continued to support independent politics and Independent Voting’s various initiatives.  Here is CA, I have been active with Independent Voice, an association of independent voters focused on moving control of our elections from the political parties to the voters.  We were part of the coalitions that worked to pass nonpartisan elections in 2010 and nonpartisan redistricting reform. There twin reforms have been critical in giving all of CA’s 4.7 million independent voters the opportunity to vote in the primaries, creating more competitive elections and a far more functional state legislature.   It is not sufficient to have fair redistricting unless we have fair elections where all voters can participate.

I found the story of RATF**KED very insightful, but perhaps with too many statistics.

The current use of computer software to create new districts is interesting. The Republican Party’s plan to use redistricting to take over is amazing in that it worked and was successful.Redistricting as a strategy has been around for a long time. Both parties used it to their advantage.It’s only with the invention of new software that has created an easier path for the strategy. It only makes stealing elections and stealing democracy a click or two away. If you can’t win an election outright, then redistrict your way to a win. Corruption still looks like corruption, in both parties.

Our current strategy at Independent Voting looks promising. Organizing independents who are ignored by both parties and the media and working for truly nonpartisan reforms that focus on empowering all voters.

Speaking of strategy, I highly recommend reading the new book, Refinery Town: Big Oil,  Big Money, and the Remaking of an American City, by Steve Early. This is the story of my town where I have lived for almost 40 years. The Green Party came to Richmond California in the early 2000’s. They organized the old fashioned way. Door-to door. Person-by person. The city of 100,000 is one the poorest in the bay area. Also the most diverse. Chevron, on the biggest oil companies has run the town for almost 100 years. The local politicians,mostly democrat’s have been paid off by Chevron for almost the same amount of time.

After 2-3 years of serious grass-roots organizing the Green Party ran a slate for mayor and city council that was elected. The new mayor, Gayle McLaughlin cleaned house and brought new and progressive leadership to our city. It was a deeply entrenched, deeply corrupted city. Bought and paid for by Chevron. Gayle brought in a new police chief from Fargo North Dakota , who also cleaned house. With the city near bankruptcy, she hired an new city manager. Now, 10 years later, Richmond has a experienced a turn-around. Poverty is still here, as is crime. But, now there are serious programs addressing these issues. Chevron is now ponying up it’s fair share to maintain these programs and the city of Richmond. For years they were able to find tax loopholes in the local taxes and exploit them

I am looking forward to our conversation with David Daley tonight.

Dave Franklin lives in CA and is a long time independent activist.

 

*Reminder*

Conference Call with David Daley

Author of RATF**KED

TONIGHT

Sunday, June 4th at 7 pm EST

Call: 641-715-3605
Pass code: 767775#

 

Ratfucked book image

Reader’s Forum–Julie Leak

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After Bernie was out and I expressed support for Jill Stein one of my FB friends responded, “you’re a neophyte, she can’t win.”  We had different definitions of winning.  With regard to gerrymandering I had a basic understanding of the dictionary definition:  the practice of manipulating boundaries to gain a political advantage for a particular party or group.

When I heard we were reading RATF**KED it reminded me of a personal experience.  I was working on the health care issue with a group of activists, Private Health Insurance Must Go.  I had never visited a congressperson (remember, a real neophyte).  By the way, I vote by absentee in North Carolina.  Never expected to be in New York long term and thought my vote counted more down there.  On one occasion while in Raleigh I decided to visit my congressperson, Brad Miller, Democrat, to discuss single payer. He was not available so I spoke with a staff person.  A few years later I returned to visit again and to my surprise was told “he had been gerrymandered out.”  As noted, I understood the basic definition, but it really struck home just what the concept not only meant but how it played out in our political lives.  I don’t know the exact timing but he served from 2003 to 2012 in the 13th congressional district.  Mr. Daley confirms in Chapter 3:  “One by one, white, moderate Southern Democrats were pushed aside and replaced by much more conservative Republicans.  National names including Brad Miller. . .by 2014 all of them either decided not to run again or went down to defeat.”  The racial gerrymandering in North Carolina was described by the court as “almost surgical precision” in the way it discriminated against certain voters.  Needless to say, Ratf**ked has laid this out so even a neophyte can get it!  If it took three decades to implement as noted in the last paragraph; so, for sure I will not be here to see it reversed.  Meanwhile I will learn what I can and do whatever possible in the interim.  I appreciate the book, the opportunity to learn and to have this discussion.

Juliette Leak lives in Manhattan and describes herself  as “an Independent finding her voice”.  She is active with the New York City Independence Clubs.

 

Ratfucked book image

*Reminder*

Conference Call with David Daley

Author of RATF**KED

Sunday, June 4th at 7 pm EST

Call: 641-715-3605
Pass code: 767775#

Readers’ Forum

Two other Politics for the People readers share their thoughts today—

Josephine Coskie is a leader of the Queens Independence Club 

“When I heard that our next Politics for the People book selection would be I am Abraham and that it was historic fiction, I was so pleased! This is my favorite genre with A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens being my all time favorite book.

Josephine Coskie, NIcholas S. Johnson Independent Spirit Award 2013

Josephine Coskie

“I am Abraham” is an incredible achievement by author Jerome Charyn. It reads like a novel, appears to be Lincoln’s autobiography, and gives an historical account of the ways of life and events during the mid 1800s. The early chapters are a lot of fun and place the reader back in the days of the “Wild, Wild West”, introducing interesting characters and providing quite graphic descriptions of life at that time and place in history.

Never having read anything about Abraham Lincoln except what is generally known about him with limited facts taught years ago in school, this book was a revelation to me! It felt almost disrespectful at first to get a glimpse into his innermost thoughts, feelings, and desires. We have the opportunity to see Lincoln as a man in addition to being our president during the Civil War.

This month’s Politics for the People conference call with Mr. Charyn will be fascinating and I am so looking forward to it.

 

Natesha Oliver is the founder of Missouri Independents Stand Together (MIST)

Brightest Blessings To All:

Natesha Oliver

This was my first time reading Historical fiction and I have got to say I was touched, tickled, and, being African American, moved by the freeing of slaves yet kind of dismayed at why Lincoln did it… Although He seem to be torn about slavery, He could have went the other way and not freed us if that had won the war. But with that being said, Jerome Charyn’s first person depiction of Abraham Lincoln’s life was AMAZING… I Am Abraham was a very hard book to put down and when I had to put it down to “rest” my eyes or go to bed, I couldn’t wait to get back to it… I almost started re-reading it, and as long as the book was, it was like not that long at all, it had over 400 pages yet when it ended I was like,  NOOOOO…

Oh my everything, I do believe Mrs. President would have been the end of His presidential career in this day and age and by her antics one would think that would have been her intention… I was actually yelling while reading, had to put the book down and come back to it after I kind of calmed down… Lincoln’s life, disappointments and successes were inspiring, yet it is bothersome that when one’s political opponents cannot win they resort to assassination… I wonder what could have become of this country had He not been killed, His push and shaping of a united Union seems to be lost with time… People political desire for separation to control and conquer is still scary and still holding, I hope as we all seek a fairer democratic process that those Presidents who’s will were to unite us all beyond race and money find solid ground…  Thank You Politics 4 The People for the book club and thanks Jerome Charyn for the book itself.

 

P4P Conference Call

With Jerome Charyn

 Sunday, February 15th at 7 pm EST

Reader’s Forum

Ashley Bruno

Ashley Bruno

I am Abraham

As I am half way through this unprecedented novel, I am convinced I am reading out of “Old Abe’s” private journal. Slightly insulted when I remember that I am not, my attitude changes into gratitude. Where does this author get the nerve to be so imaginative? The pages melt away as this tantalizing tale resurrects the Ghosts from my school age history text-books, in quite a light. Peering into the personal lives and minds of “war heroes”, from the perspective of a President that I was always suspiciously fond of, brings about the compassionate and humanistic personification of Lincoln that reflects the major historical shift that happened during his “reign”.  Now as I read further into the civil war, fueled by a country divided by slavery and economic interests, I am torn between my own Anti-War opinions, basic humanism for civil rights, and this very engaging portrayal of the time period. I look forward to Jerome’s take on the sacrificial document. This book leaves me almost speechless to say, we have ALL come a long way. Lets keep going; “emancipate yourselves”.

Ashley Bruno

Canvasser, IndependentVoting.org

P4P Conference Call

With Jerome Charyn

 Sunday, February 15th at 7 pm EST

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