I’m excited to announce that the Protest Party website is finally online at TheProtestParty.com! The graphics are embarrassingly generic, and I don’t have a bank account set up for donations, but it does have a blog and a nice enough look. Frankly, I think it looks better than most corporate websites (thanks to Squarespace), except the main graphic is probably way too silly. Click over and check it out. The post you are reading is the first announcement of the new website, but I will also be posting an announcement on that site’s blog very soon. (Of course, anybody reading it will have already found the site, so it seems a bit silly to post an announcement there now that I think of it.) Continue reading →
A recent conversation with Bob Fitrakis has convinced me to give up my plan to get the Protest Party on the ballot in 2014, and instead aim for 2016. In the meantime, I still need to seek supporters (the Meetup Group now has a third member) and develop some infrastructure such as a website and by-laws. The Ohio ballot-access laws are currently in flux, and there is a chance (according to Fitrakis) that they will become much more lenient for 2016. More likely, the Protest Party will need to collect over 28,000 petition signatures from unaffiliated voters starting in Fall 2015. That’s a lot of signatures, so obviously I will need gear up in the interim and try to hit the ground running in around 18 months. I will also use the time to consider other strategies for undermining our corrupt political process.
5. Attended the Ohio Green Party Convention to meet Fitrakis.
In short, things are getting more complicated, but I expected as much. I always assumed the most likely outcome of this project would be that I would fail to get a party on the ballot, but that I would at least learn much more about the ways in which minor parties are suppressed. Read on for more details about my efforts in the past six weeks.
The Radio Dispatch podcast (which calls its listeners “scoochers”) stated that they wanted to focus more on climate change this year. I wrote them a too-long email explaining why trying to educate ourselves more on climate change is a bit of a waste of time, and why I think the ultimate solution is to agitate for better Skeptical critical thinking education. Here’s the letter:
It was suggested that I consider a name for my new political party that sounds more positive than “Protest Party.” I actually think stressing the negative is probably fine, because the party is designed to be for those who are disaffected, anyway. Also, I never came up with any other decent names. (My wife did, though.) Here are a few more possibilities I’ve considered and rejected, plus Brigid’s idea. Continue reading →
I was recently asked to give an elevator pitch for the Protest Party. While I don’t often feel compelled to harangue my fellow elevator passengers, I do think this could be useful for explaining the idea in social settings and for when I need to go canvassing for signatures to get the party on the ballot. (If I understand the rules correctly (doubtful), I will need almost 56K signatures by early July 2014 to gain ballot access in Ohio.)
I think I have a decent, one-size-fits-all “Elevator Pitch,” but since the party is designed to appeal to a rather wide range of people, I’ve also come up with pitches based on the political ideology of my elevator-mates. In the case of canvassing, an initial question about the person’s political leanings could help choose which pitch to use. Let me know what you think. Continue reading →
How much of an impact will the journalistic alliance between billionaire Pierre Omidyar and superstar journalists Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill have? Their stated objectives of transparency and accountability are similar to that of the Protest Party. I will be rooting for them, but I’m not as optimistic as some. The power of journalism to change the world is limited by its ability to make people pay attention. With the internet, nobody has to bother reading things they don’t agree with, and most people therefore don’t. Of course, we don’t yet know exactly what the Omidyar project will look like, but unless it can solve that problem, I don’t see it making much difference. Continue reading →
Outrage over the NSA’s “CollectEverything” spying strategy and other abuses leaked by Edward Snowden has sparked a debate about the appropriate role of the NSA. Critics point out that the agency has exceeded its mandate; that excessive spying is authoritarian and stifles dissent and creativity; that it runs afoul of the Fourth Amendment; and that our spying on other countries is not only unnecessarily invasive but also harmful to our diplomatic relations. Apologists counter with invocations of 9/11 terrorism and security. Continue reading →
Having just moved to Shaker Heights this year, I don’t claim to be the most informed voter, but I did do some research. The most interesting race in Shaker is for City Council, with five candidates (two incumbents) vying for three Council spots. The video above shows a 45 minute-long discussion with the candidates. I like all of them. Mark Zetzer is the clear outlier as the only economically conservative candidate, arguing for decreased taxes and aggressive privatization of services including trash collection. I will not be voting for him, as I think his philosophy of governance is narrow minded and would have very harmful effects, but that argument is outside the scope of a Voting Guide like this one. Continue reading → (258)
America seems to have the brainpower to find solutions to all of its political problems except one. Unfortunately, this one problem prevents any of the other solutions from coming to fruition. Until the Gordian Knot of corruption in American politics is untangled, efforts to find solutions to any other issues are purely academic. This is not a new realization. As I wrote in my first post in this blog, “With little hope of influencing policy, discussing politics among skeptics can be seen as merely a diversion or a hobby.” The goal of the Protest Party is to change this dynamic by empowering “We the People” to influence policy. If we are to find some way out of the issues facing us, finding some way to amplify the people’s power in our government is a necessary complement to my main focus on this blog, which is to engender a more Skeptical electorate. If the idea seems a bit bizarre, audacious, or far-fetched, well, yes. If the solution were easy, someone would have done it already.