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Election '08

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Prayers For The People Of Virginia Tech

While this page is normally dedicated to politics and government, the staff and volunteers of Reform America felt that it was important to use this space to offer our condolences to the students, faculty and staff of Virginia Tech and to their families for the tragic loss of life that occurred on that campus Monday. Words fail to express the deep sadness we all feel in light of the unspeakable acts committed against people who had done nothing more than show up for class on a Monday morning.

We hope that the people directly and indirectly impacted by this horrible event will be able to find some comfort in the knowledge that the thoughts and prayers of the American people go out to them. There is no way to adequately express the feelings of sadness and despair that this tragic event has brought to the people of Virginia Tech and their families. While our hearts go out to them there is no way any of us who has not lost a family member or friend in such a tragic way can possibly know the feelings in their hearts. We can only express our own sadness and sympathy for those who have lost so much.

It is our sincere hope that when the events leading up to this tragedy are examined, ways to avoid similar incidents in the future will be found. Regardless of the reasons for the decision of the perpetrator of this crime to take these lives, there can be no excuse for the senseless killing of innocents. There is no cause or reasoning that justifies the murder of one person or the murders of a hundred people. Murder is murder and murder is wrong. While there is little we can do to offer comfort to the families of the victims right now, there are things we can do to prevent these tragedies in the future. We must not be hesitant to act and we must not let these deaths be for naught.

While this and other tragedies of similar nature demand that we re-examine our laws regarding access to firearms, now is not the time for such examinations. Now is the time for consoling those who have lost loved ones and friends. It is a time for healing and mourning those who have been so prematurely removed from this earth. Our thoughts and prayers need to be with the families and friends of the slain victims. As we as a nation seek emotional healing we should continue to keep the families of the victims in our prayers. When the time is right we can discuss the issues related to how this happened and how to prevent it from happening again. For now, we must simply offer our deepest sympathy and heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the victims.
Staff of Reform America | Give your feedback on this article.

Dreadlocks

Dreadlocks, funky clothes, and big sunglasses may cause many to immediately dismiss kat swift [sic] as a viable candidate for the presidency of the United States, but a second look will reveal a knowledgeable, independent and articulate candidate. Like e. e. cummings and bell hooks, kat chooses to be different, a common theme in her run for the oval office. Deemed the “mystery candidate” by the Shagmar Report, Ms. swift is running a low profile campaign. As the first officially announced Green Party candidate for President, kat swift understands the monumental task before her, but, as you will see, kat is no stranger to challenge. Ms. swift’s personal history, politics, and Green Party affiliation make her a valid and respectable candidate in the pool of those running for the office of the President of the United States.

Born Katherine Lynette Swift in Shreveport, LA, kat moved many times before she turned eight years old, settling in San Antonio, TX, for a few years before moving on to places like Canada, Massachusetts, and Seattle, WA. She was a Girl Scout in San Antonio in the same area in which she now lives. These moves gave kat a view of the world from many perspectives and made her a person that is quick to view people for who and what they are. In addition to moving around quite often, kat’s family struggled with alcoholism. Ms. swift attended Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA, as a Pre-Medicine and Computer Science double major expanding her ideals of helping others and seeking a way to make change in people’s lives. At this point, she also became aware that the medical profession was not necessarily focused on helping people live better, but treating symptoms and pushing medications. Her political awakening occurred when she was twenty-six years old while living in Toronto, Canada. Several of her friends had asked her to attend some political events for them because they were unable to attend. In those events, she was able to ask questions on behalf of her friends. Within a year, the subject matter of her questions developed into legislation and made law. She then realized that she could make a difference through politics. She has been an activist striving for fairness in government for many years. As an active member of the organization Clean Money San Antonio, she is working to change the way that campaigns are orchestrated at the local level. Ms. swift has also worked in low paying jobs throughout her life and has never earned more than $28,000 in a year, recently being laid off from a job as a newspaper credit manager, she has decided to move into the political race for president. These life struggles gave her the drive and determination to enter the political process first as an activist and now as a political candidate. At the tender age of thirty-three, kat hopes to become both the first woman and the youngest president in history.

Politically, kat swift cannot be compartmentalized into an existing political structure or doctrine. kat’s approach is to find the core issue of each political argument and address it instead of only focusing on the symptoms or outcomes of the problem. When asked of her opinion of a woman’s right to abortion, she spoke of respect for human life. Ms. swift believes that in order to be consistent we should respect all life in issues including abortion, capital punishment, the environment, and waging war. In striving for consistency, she wants to have people respect life and educate them in ways that preserves life. In the abortion debate, her goal would be to educate women to avoid pregnancy if they do not desire to get pregnant. In this way, the need for the entire debate would subside. She has a similar approach to illegal immigration, believing that if the issues of commercial farming and lack of jobs in Mexico were adequately addressed, then the citizens of Mexico would stay in their country, easing the burden on the U. S. system.

Furthermore, she would like to overhaul the U. S. voting system. She strongly believes that the system is broken. To overhaul the voting system, she would add a ballot position for each race called “none of the above.” If “none of the above” wins the election, then all candidates that were on the ticket would be barred from running and a group of new candidates would run. The “none of the above” vote would be a protest vote by the people and should drive more interest in the elections. She believes that we are constantly presented with poor choices for elected officials and voters are forced to choose the candidate that they dislike the least. In addition, her goal, as well as that of the National Green Party, is to make sure every vote is counted and that every electronic voting machine is owned by the local voting district and has a verifiable paper receipt. The paper receipts would be used in the case of a recount.

Having lived her life in relative poverty, kat would like to establish a living wage for working people. In her plan, the federal government would create a formula in which the average cost of housing for an area would be the key value. The output of the formula would be a living wage (e.g. a minimum wage) for that area ensuring that a person could support their family adequately. In addition, she would set a new standard for the salaries and pensions of politicians by eliminating the current pension system for the President and Congress and reduce the salaries significantly. When asked of her plans for the first 100 days in office, kat was quick to say that there would be a great party. This would not be a self-serving party, but one that would mark the beginning of a new era in politics in America. She feels that if she were elected to the presidency Americans would have moved away from politics of money and influence and adopted an active role in a government of democracy. She believes that her election would mark a return of a government run by the people with politicians who are accountable to those that elected them and not those with the most money, power or influence. In addition, Ms. swift would have the U. S. join the World Court and try the current administration for war crimes. She would immediately end the war in Middle East and would dispatch peacekeepers to those war torn areas. After a lengthy period talking with the various federal agencies, she would work to ensure that agencies doing a good job were empowered to do their job better. Those agencies that were struggling would be reorganized into useful agencies with the needed resources to succeed.

In her affiliation with the Green Party, kat has held several positions at various levels within the party. She is the extremely active in the Bexar County Green Party, the co-chair of the Texas Green Party and the Public Relations person for the Women’s Caucus of the National Green Party. For the Green Party primary, kat feels that she has developed a good reputation and is well known among the Green Party membership. She feels that being involved at these party levels has helped in her run for the Green Party nomination. According to Holly Hart, the Secretary of the Green Party of the U. S., kat “has both a creative flair and a thoughtful, compassionate personality. Age notwithstanding, she is thoughtful and articulate in expressing her political point of view, better than many more experienced politicians.” The Green Party faces many hurdles to grow into a strong national party. According to Greg Gerritt, the Green Party’s consultant to Green Party presidential candidates, the goal of the Green Party over the next ten years is to have fifty-one state Green Parties, have Green Party candidates on every state ticket and every level. The presidential race is most important to the Green Party since it affords an opportunity to reach the most people since most people pay the most attention to the presidential election, providing an avenue of recruitment to the party. A lack of money, media coverage, and access to the ballot are the major barriers to the Green Party as well as other third parties. In addition, the general populace has a misunderstanding that the Green Party’s sole focus is the environment, a one plank party platform. Many Democrats erroneously believe that the Green Party was the reason they lost the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections.

The Green Party has ten key values that it would like to permeate through American society. The first value is grassroots democracy where the individual is able to make a difference in government and be involved in the political process. The second value is social justice and equal opportunity. Ecological wisdom is the third key value seeking to increase understanding that mankind is a part of the greater nature. Non-violence is the fourth key value of the Green Party. This non-violence is not naďve in nature since other countries may have violent intentions. The fifth key value is decentralization of wealth and power that the Green Party believes is the cause of social and economic injustice, environmental destruction, and militarization. Sixth, the Green Party seeks to have community-based economics and economic justice. This value has at its core the protection of the ecology and a living wage for workers. The seventh value is feminism and gender equity, which seeks to reverse the male dominated system of economics and politics. Respect for diversity is the eighth value focusing on respectful relationships across all diversity lines. The ninth key value is personal and global responsibility where people would be aware of their opportunities to improve their own well being while still remaining aware of their impact on others and the environment. Finally, the tenth key value is future focus and sustainability of natural resources.

In general, kat swift agrees with the platform and key values of the Green Party. She feels that the Green Party’s stance on feminism needs clarity. Since the word feminism elicits various reactions from individuals, she wants to focus thought on the principle of egalitarianism, the moral doctrine that all people have equal fundamental value or moral status. In her mind, if egalitarianism were adopted across the country and the world, many problems would immediately be solved.

While kat swift chooses to wear dreadlocks, dress eccentrically, and not capitalize her name, she is a respected candidate for President of the United States. She asks that she not be judged by her appearance, but by the content of her message. Lack of money, staff, and name recognition will challenge kat in her campaign for the presidency, but her ambition, personal drive, and determination may propel her to new prominence for herself and her party. Her message is based on her personal history, her political ideology, and her affiliation with the Green Party of the United States. As her campaign button says “go kat go!”
Reader Submission - Lance Decker - Student: University of Texas at Tyler | Give your feedback on this article.


Independent View From the Campaign Trail

Where I Stand

Frank McEnulty stands behind his beliefs and challenges all other candidates for the Presidency to state where they stand so that the voting public can clearly see what the other candidates believe in.

I believe we pay enough in taxes and need to better manage our money and simplify the tax system.

I believe people should take responsibility for their own actions and their own lives.

I believe that that we need comprehensive immigration reform based on strict enforcement of the immigration laws currently in place.

I believe the United States should not try to be the world’s savior, but has the moral obligation to "help" where and when it can do so at the request of the local people.

I believe in God, family and country and that they belong together.

I believe that the President of the United States should put America - not his or her political party - first. The President is an American before a Republican or Democrat.

I believe that our military should never be used for political purposes, political gain or to advance an agenda.

I believe that all people are created equal and that all people should be able to be equal in all things.

I believe in a strong separation between the branches of the Federal Government and in strong state’s rights.

I believe that judges should be judges and leave the passing and changing of laws to the politicians we have elected to do those jobs.

I believe that people are truly entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but that no one is entitled to much beyond that unless they work to earn it themselves.

I believe that political correctness is a real threat to open and honest dialogue.

I believe “Anything is Possible in America ” and if we all work together for the common good it will continue to be that way.

As I continue down my campaign path I will expand further on the above and other beliefs. It’s hard to actually believe based on the reporting in the news media, but the election is still over 18 months away and a lot can happen in that period of time. I am encouraged every day by the people I hear from that tell me I am on the right track and I strongly believe that if everyone continues to help me get the word out we can and will make a difference in the next election.

A lot of the political talking-heads claim that the final Presidential candidates may be people that aren’t even on the national consciousness just yet. With continued effort and your help, there’s a good chance they will be talking about my campaign in the next year on the major news outlets.
Frank McEnulty - Independent Candidate For President | Give your feedback on this article. | Visit the Campaign Website

Politics, Family and Accountability

My second cousin, Jim Gibbons, is the Governor of Nevada. Our family is proud of him and all that he has achieved in his time in Congress and now as Governor. Unfortunately, he has found himself of late embroiled in a series of scandals. There have been allegations of impropriety in his dealings with certain defense contractors during his time in Washington. There have been other questions raised about his dealings and those of his wife around fundraising and personal spending and none of the allegations paint a pretty picture of Jim. Since none of the family members, to my knowledge, personally witnessed any improper actions on Jim’s part we cannot speak to the veracity of the allegations. Many politicians face allegations of varying types over the courses of their careers. The family understands that it is often a part of the life of a public official and we support Jim and his efforts to serve the people of Nevada. We also know that sometimes the allegations against politicians are unfounded and have no merit. There are as well times when the allegations have merit requiring corrective and even legal action to be taken against the politician in question.

First let me say that I believe strongly in the American principle that we are all innocent until proven guilty. Allegations are not proof and people should be given the benefit of the doubt until someone proves that they have committed a crime. My family believes in Jim and hopes that he is innocent of the things that people have alleged that he has done. Also, there are always at least two sides to every story so before we rush to convict him we need to hear all the facts and put them into the proper context. Some in the media have been quick to compare Jim to Randy “Duke” Cunningham who was convicted of taking bribes and is now in prison. That is neither fair nor ethical of the media to do before all of the facts are known. Unless they are privy to evidence of his guilt that they have not disclosed, comparing him to a convicted felon is not warranted.

There are things that Governor Gibbons and his wife have done positively as a result of their positions that are being mostly ignored in the light of the scandals. In the first 100 days of the Gibbons administration, despite the scandals, the governor and his wife have been working side by side to take on such issues as methamphetamine abuse and childhood autism in Nevada. There is without question a greater good served by addressing those issues. My own son is autistic and it is heartening to see people in positions of power working to find a cure for a disorder that can cripple families emotionally and bankrupt them financially. I am also a recovering addict so I can attest to the dangers of drug abuse.

In this era of pundits and spin dominating the media it is important to actively seek balance when following stories in the news. Balance has been somewhat absent in some of the coverage regarding the Gibbons family and their political lives. I feel that it’s important to make sure that we look at all the facts before we rush to judgment in this situation.

That being said let me also say that our family believes strongly in accountability. While I don’t personally know Jim well in part because he is part of my mother’s generation of the family, I do know that our family has always taught their children to be honest. All of the people from my generation of our family were taught from the time that we were children that if we made a mistake we needed to own up to it. We were also taught to make amends for the mistake in whatever way was appropriate. The lessons were often quite harsh and our parents never let infractions go unpunished merely because it was inconvenient or embarrassing. When I was a young boy, I took something from the store that I didn’t pay for and when my parents found out, they took me back to the store and made me apologize and pay for what I had taken. I also was not allowed to keep the thing I took even after paying for it because I had stolen it. It was a painful lesson for me and surely embarrassing for my parents but it was effective. It still remains with me to this day showing that it was not forgotten. I have no doubt that Jim was taught similar lessons growing up in our family and has not likely forgotten them either. If Jim did forget those lessons and is found to have broken the rules, we in his family know that he must be held accountable, as should be the case with everyone who breaks the rules. When you commit a crime you must be prepared for the consequences.

We all hope that when the totality of the facts comes to light, Jim will be exonerated. At the same time, if he is found to have committed a crime we know he must be held responsible for his actions. We will keep Jim in our thoughts and prayers while he and his family go through what must be a very trying period in their lives. We wish the best for Jim and look forward to a brighter time for him and his family.
Troy Wilson-Ripsom - Staff Writer | Give your feedback on this article.

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