am rejoining the Minneapolis discussion list after an absence of about
a year and a half. A reason is that I have recently filed to become
a candidate for Congressin the 5th District with the Independence Party
of Minnesota. Hopefully, issues related to the Congressional race in
Minneapolis and surrounding suburbs will be considered local
rather than national or statewide. That used to be true but, judging
from the nature of recent postings, Im not sure what is the current
understanding of this forums scope.
Ellison, the incumbent member of Congress, enjoys both strong DFL and
community backing. So why am I running? Why run under the banner of
the Independence Party? Both good questions. Rep. Ellison began his
political career as a fierce opponent of private-sector landlords and,
like many DFLers, was especially antagonistic toward a group, Minneapolis
Property Rights Action Committee, to which I belonged. I therefore supported
the opponent in his first race for state representative, Duane Reed.
As a member of the Independence Party, I supported his IP opponent in
the race for Congress two years ago, Tammy Lee.
said that, I would also say that I have no bone to pick with Ellisons
record in Congress during his first term in office. His stance on the
Iraq war and on the impending war with Iran accords with my views. U.S.
militarism is a terrible thing and Ellison knows it. On C-Span recently,
I watched Ellison question some of the administrations pro-torture
lawyers and felt he took a suitably harsh tone. So if Rep. Ellison gets
reelected, it will be with some degree of merit.
so, the nation is facing multiple problems that amount to a crisis of
almost unparalleled scope. Its fair to say that the Republican
Bush administration has been one of the worst in U.S. history. But the
Democratic Congress is no shining example. What vision have they other
than to cling to stereotyped ideas and service their special-interest
constituencies? Public opinion polls show that both the President and
the Congress are held in low esteem. Many people, including me, are
waiting for something new to come along that will shake Washington out
of its comfortable bipartisan rut and begin representing the peoples
interest. Jesse could have done it but he decided to go another way.
country is going broke. It has chronic budget deficits and a trade deficit
running around $700 billion a year. Does anyone in Congress have an
idea what todo? Instead of getting our economic house back in order,
were throwing our weight around militarily, invading other peoples
countries or threatening to bomb them. We need to abandon ideas of empire
and tend to business. We cant afford this costly war on
terror any more. We cant afford the war on drugs or any
kind of war because were running out of money, resources, and
good will. Bush spent our wad. Turn some of these security problems
over to the United Nations and hope for the best. The issue now is the
economy. Its jobs. We need to talk about that sort of thing.
trade deficit especially needs attention. We as a nation cant
continue to run up debts indefinitely. How can we bring the deficit
down? Currency adjustments havent done it. High graduation rates
from college havent done it. I have another answer: tariffs. We
need to protect our high-priced labor by imposing tariffs, at least
temporarily, on goods imported from low-wage countries. That, in turn,
means that we need to scrap free trade regimes established by quasi-treaties,
unratified by the Senate.
free trade does not necessarily mean trade wars between nations. I think
the worlds nations can agree on an alternative system that respects
needs. A system of employer-specific tariffs would allow
government to gain some
measure of control over the multinationals with an eye to improving
wages and living
standards around the world.
oil is another component of the trade deficit. Clearly our nation needs
to push alternative sources of energy, especially with respect to automobiles.
A consensus seems to be emerging that wind power is a promising source
and that automobiles powered by electricity offer a way to wean ourselves
But instead of supporting that option, the Congress failed to renew
the 2% tax credit
for wind energy (while renewing subsidies for gas and oil production).
type of lobbyist seems to have gotten to members of Congress from both
Our best hope of leadership to solve the energy problem is a former
oil man, T. Boone Pickens, not Congress or the President.
I want to run for Congress to raise some of these long-term problems
propose solutions. My entire program is contained in an article, Manifesto
our Future Possibilities on a campaign website, http://www.newindependenceparty.org.
you cast your ballot for Congress in November, you will have three choices:
the DFL candidate, probably Keith Ellison; the Republican candidate
Barb Davis White,
and me. Regardless of the outcome of this election, the important thing
we recognize and discuss the real problems that will be facing us and
begin to craft
an intelligent response before the pain sets in.
***** *** ***** *** ***** *** *****
July 17, 2008
Good luck. There will be no Green on the Ballot.
The person who was endorsed was unnable to get enough
help to gather the needed
signatures for Ballot Access.Likewise, I was also unable to get enough
help to get on the ballot for US Senate.
I guess the progressive community are quite happy
with Keith Ellison and Al Franken.
C'est la Vie. We get the government we deserve.
Note: Michael Cavlan was the Green
Party candidate for U.S. Senate in 2006.
***** *** ***** *** ***** *** *****
July 18, 2008
Thanks, Michael Cavlan, for your comments. The Greens
are rather unique among parties
in leading with a focused vision of the future. Our democracy would
if ballot access for all political parties were eased and instant runoff
were adopted so that supporters of the Democratic and Republican parties
use the spoiler argument to squelch candidacies from other
parties. They offer
the voters stones for bread and then complain that we are stealing their
In the early 90s, I had the privilege of submitting
articles on international trade
to a national Green Party publication, Synthesis/Regeneration. One,
titled A Labor
and Environmentally Oriented Trading System appeared in the spring
1993 issue of
that publication; the other, A Search for Trade Standards to Protect
the Environment, appeared in the winter of 1996. Today, the concepts
in those articles are the heart of the program that I am proposing as
Locally I was involved with a group of landlords
called Minneapolis Property Rights
Action Committee which played a part in the Greens amazing victories
in two Minneapolis City Council races in 2001: Natalie Johnson Lees
victory in the 5th ward and Dean Zimmermanns victory in the 6th
ward. To date, these two elections represent a high water mark in my
experience of citizen activism going up against an entrenched structure
of political power in what is basically a one-party town.
The Independence Party has a rather different focus.
It began in Ross Perots presidential
campaign in 1992 and the subsequent organization of the Reform Party.
In my views,
the Perot campaign consisted of three issues: (1) opposition to perpetual
budget deficits, (2) opposition to NAFTA with its giant sucking
sound of jobs
going south, and (3) sympathy for the forgotten victims and veterans
of the Vietnam
war. As the Reform Party changed into the Independence Party, it dropped
to free trade. I would say it lost its focus. Instead, it has adopted
consisting of 70 plus planks which individually are commendable but
amount to a blur. I want to narrow the focus so that, in this campaign
voters have a clear idea of what I stand for as an Independence Party
If the Republican Party were what it was 50 or 60
years ago, I might belong to that
party: a bunch of old fogeys who believed in balanced budgets,
free markets and
business promotion, and isolationism (which I would call
minding your own business internationally) while also producing
reformers like Theodore Roosevelt and visionaries like Harold Stassen,
one of the persons most responsible for the creation of the United Nations.
I would gladly accept a president such as Dwight Eisenhower who
liked to play golf when he might have been shuffling through papers
in the Oval
office or Calvin Coolidge who in the summer of 1928 took an entire month
go fishing in northern Wisconsin - provided that the country was prosperous
Instead, the years of the Bush-Cheney administration
have been pure hell. Whether
its the disastrous Iraq war, the neglect of our veterans, the
the resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan, the $900 billion budget
the $700 billion trade deficit, the costly prescription-drug benefit,
the no child
left behind program, the torture policies and violations of civil
lucrative no-bid contracts in Iraq, etc. etc., it seems that everything
touched has turned to ashes. You know something is seriously wrong with
this Republican presidency when Julie Nixon Eisenhower contributes thousands
of dollars to Barack Obamas campaign.
I continue to support free markets and economies
regulated primarily by the law
of supply and demand. At the same time, government needs to regulate
by impartial laws. As economic growth butts up against finite natural
government needs to intervene in the free market by giving tax incentives
to support renewable energy while imposing an additional tax burden
of petroleum and other nonrenewable resources. If the government can
get its act
together, this would be the time to push wind and solar energy and invest
technologies and people-moving systems of public transportation in congested
As a party which supposedly believes in the free-market
economy, the current Republican
administration was run by three individuals who got rich through their
with government rather than through honest free-market competition:
who sold his interest in the Texas Rangers at a huge profit after getting
legislature to build that baseball team a new stadium; Dick Cheney,
Halliburton, who led the charge on the wasteful privatization of U.S.
in Iraq; and Donald Rumsfeld, who became CEO of the Searle drug company
of his ability to convince the FDA to approve its medications. This
capitalism. As a pro-capitalist party, the Republicans need to come
to grips with
who they have actually become.
If the Democrats were an effective loyal opposition,
they would be aggressively
challenging all this in Congress instead of complaining that Ralph Nader
else was on the ballot stealing their issues. When I listen to the nominating
of the Green Party or the Libertarians, I hear earnest proposals for
being discussed and not just vague references to health care,
or education, as if that covers it. So, standing on the
back of past Independence
Party candidates such as Tim Penny and Peter Hutchinson who exceeded
the 5% vote
requirement, Im proud to be someone out there in the political
for Congress at a time when our country desperately needs to change