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January 8, 2015

John Boehner re-elected as US House Speaker despite conservative challenge

John Boehner re-elected as US House Speaker despite conservative challenge

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Official portrait of Rep. John Boehner.
Image: US House of Representatives.

Representative John Boehner was re-elected as Speaker of the US House of Representatives on Tuesday despite a right-wing rebellion of 25 members. Boehner’s appointment as Speaker passed with 216 of the 408 votes. Republican Senator Mitch McConnell was also sworn in on Tuesday as the Senate majority leader, marking the first time in eight years when Republicans have controlled both the House and Senate.

The challengers to Boehner came primarily from the libertarian and hard right wing of the party, sometimes associated with the Tea Party movement. One — Brian Babin — simply voted ‘present’ while the remaining twenty four voted for a variety of other candidates. Twelve voted for Representative Daniel Webster, three voted for Representative Louis Gohmert, two voted for Representative Ted Yoho, and two for Representative Jim Jordan. There were also votes for Representatives Jeff Duncan, Kevin McCarthy and Trey Gowdy, as well as votes for Senators Rand Paul and Jeff Sessions.

Two of those voting against Boehner, Daniel Webster and Richard B. Nugent, were not reappointed to the House Rules Committee. Speaking to reporters, Boehner said the House Republicans were “going to have a family conversation, which we had this morning, about bringing our team together”.

Reacting to his removal from the Rules Committee, Richard Nugent stated: “I’m not on Rules, I will tell you that […] But it’s not really clear that I couldn’t get back on it. I carried a lot of water on the Rules Committee, took a lot of tough votes.” Webster said he was less interested in being on the Committee: “Do you see people running to get on it?”

Following the election of Boehner and McConnell, the White House announced President Barack Obama would veto planned legislation by Republicans to start the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters: “If this bill passes this Congress, the president wouldn’t sign it”.



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January 22, 2012

U.S. presidential candidate Newt Gingrich wins South Carolina primary

U.S. presidential candidate Newt Gingrich wins South Carolina primary

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich of Georgia won the Republican Party South Carolina presidential primary yesterday with 243,153 votes (40.4%). Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who won the New Hampshire primary last week, came in second with 167,279 (27.8%). The result reflects a shift in polling just days before the election, following two Grand Old Party (GOP) debates and a highly publicized interview with Gingrich’s ex-wife.

In his victory speech, Gingrich criticized President Barack Obama and the “media elites”, and alluded to the well-funded Romney when arguing, “We don’t have the kind of money that at least one of the candidates does. But we do have ideas and we do have people and we’ve proved here in South Carolina that people power with the right ideas beats big money.”

Romney, who had been criticized by Gingrich for his business practices as CEO of Bain Capital, commented after the results were announced, “Those who pick up the weapons of the left today will find them turned against us tomorrow…if Republican leaders want to join this president in demonizing success…then they’re not going to be fit to be our nominee.”

Gingrich with his wife Callista in January 2012.
Image: Gage Skidmore.

Just a week ago, Gingrich trailed Romney by ten points in South Carolina; however, Gingrich was thought to have been successful in the two debates before the primary. During the first on Monday, he received a standing ovation for his comments on race and employment, and on Thursday, received another standing ovation after criticizing moderator John King for discussing his previous marriage. Exit polls by CBS News indicated that 65 percent of voters believed the debates were an important factor in considering a candidate, with 13 percent saying it was the most important factor.

Moreover, those polls suggest Gingrich won broad support from the Tea Party and evangelicals, who questioned Romney’s sincerity on social issues. They apparently decided to overlook an interview that aired just before the primary, in which Gingrich’s ex-wife claimed Gingrich asked for an “open marriage“.

According to Furman University political science professor Brent Nelsen, Gingrich “tapped the emotion of the right-wing electorate, and that washes away all of the questions.”

Former Senator Rick Santorum, who, after a recent recount was found to have actually won the January 3 Iowa Caucus, finished in third place with 102,055 votes (17%). Congressman Ron Paul came in fourth with 77,993 (13%). Texas governor Rick Perry, who earlier withdrew from the race and endorsed Gingrich, finished sixth behind the withdrawn Herman Cain.

Historically, the winner of the South Carolina primary has gone on to win the Republican Party nomination; however, this is the first time three different candidates won the first three contests.

The result gives Gingrich 23 delegates, placing him first overall, ahead of Romney who has 19. Santorum is third with thirteen and Paul is fourth with three. The campaigns now shift to Florida for that state’s January 31 primary. Romney currently leads in the latest polling.

According to Republican strategist Adam Temple, “Gingrich will carry momentum into Florida, but his campaign doesn’t appear to be as durable for the long haul.”

Results

Candidate Votes Percentage Results by County
Newt Gingrich 243,153 40.4%
Image: Gage Skidmore.

██ Newt Gingrich

██ Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney 167,279 27.8%
Rick Santorum 102,055 17.0%
Ron Paul 77,993 13.0%
Herman Cain* 6,324 1.1%
Rick Perry* 2,494 0.4%
Jon Huntsman, Jr.* 1,161 0.2%
Michele Bachmann* 494 0.1%
Gary Johnson* 213 0.0%

* – Withdrew before the vote


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January 1, 2012

On the campaign trail, December 2011

On the campaign trail, December 2011 – Wikinews, the free news source

On the campaign trail, December 2011

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Sunday, January 1, 2012

The following is the second in a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2012 presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after a brief mention of some of the month’s biggest stories.

In this month’s edition on the campaign trail: the campaign manager for a candidate already seeking two presidential nominations discusses the likelihood his candidate will run for the Reform Party’s nomination; a lesser known candidates forum reveals an alternative fuel possibility and concludes in a dramatic fashion; and the newly nominated candidate for the Boston Tea Party talks with Wikinews.

Summary

Ron Paul speaks at an Iowa campaign event, December 28.
Image: Gage Skidmore.

In December 2011, businessman Herman Cain ended his campaign for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination amid allegations of sexual harassment and an extramarital affair. Hoping to appeal to social conservatives, Texas governor Rick Perry released a commercial in Iowa entitled “Strong”, in which he states, “there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school.” While the video received 24,407 likes by the end of the month, it received 725,698 dislikes.

Frontrunner Newt Gingrich had trouble of his own after he suggested during an interview with The Jewish Channel that Palestinians were an “invented people”. He refused to retract the comments at the final GOP debate before the January 3 Iowa Caucus. Gingrich’s lead in the polls disappeared as Mitt Romney won big endorsements from South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, former Senator Bob Dole, and former president George H.W. Bush.

Meanwhile, Congressman Ron Paul rose in the polls as well, trailing Romney by two points in the final NBC/Marist poll of the year with Rick Santorum surging and Rick Perry close behind. However, Paul encountered his own troubles as the media reported on articles published in his newsletters from the 1980s and 1990s that included incendiary comments about blacks, gays, and Israel. Paul says he did not write the articles and has publicly disavowed them in the past. Additionally, Paul won the backing of Iowa State Senator Kent Sorenson, who previously served as the state chairman for Michele Bachmann, who continued to sag in the polls since winning the Ames Straw Poll in August.

Former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, another candidate who had been low in the Republican polls, announced a switch to the Libertarian Party to run for that party’s presidential nomination. Analysts have suggested that if Johnson wins the Libertarian nomination, he could possibly take votes away from the Republican nominee and help President Barack Obama win re-election.

Possible Reform Party candidate?

Roemer speaks to the Reform Party of New Jersey on December 10.
Image: Greenguy89.

Presidential candidate Buddy Roemer addressed members of the Reform Party of New Jersey on December 10 at a joint Reform Party-Tea Party event. The meeting raised speculation that Roemer, who is currently running for the presidential nominations of both the Republican Party and Americans Elect, would also seek the nomination of the Reform Party of the United States of America.

Dennis Mikolay, a member of the New Jersey party’s leadership, wrote on his blog that “there are efforts within the Reform Party to draft him [Roemer] as their candidate”. However, Roemer, who served as Governor of Louisiana as a Republican, does not seem interested in the nomination. According to campaign manager Carlos Sierra, the Reform Party has “reached out to us…but the Governor does not intend to seek their nomination. He is focused primarily on the GOP nomination. We think once his message gets a stage and an audience, that it will resonate with the Republican Party and Independents. The problem is he keeps getting shut out of the debates.”

Industrialist Ross Perot founded the Reform Party in 1995. He won the party’s presidential nomination the next year and received over eight percent of the popular vote, the highest percentage for a third party candidate since. After this, the party was plagued by infighting, and decreased in prominence. In 2008, Ted Weill was nominated for president, but appeared only on the ballot in Mississippi and received 481 votes.

For 2012, three candidates have announced their intentions to seek the party’s nomination: former college football coach Robby Wells, Earth Intelligence Network CEO Robert David Steele, and small business owner Andre Barnett.

Lesser-known candidates forum

On December 19, the New Hampshire Institute of Politics hosted a forum at St. Anselm College to present lesser-known candidates for the Republican and Democratic Party presidential nominations. Wikinews covered the Democratic Party forum that showcased candidates challenging President Barack Obama for that party’s presidential nomination, including anti-abortion activist Randall Terry and performance artist Vermin Supreme.

Vermin Supreme glitter bombs Randall Terry during the Democratic Party presidential candidates forum as John Wolfe looks on.
Image: Marc Nozell.

A high point of the forum occurred after Vermin Supreme delivered his final statement. He exclaimed, “Jesus told me to make Randall Terry gay” and proceeded to glitter bomb Terry while shouting, “he’s turning gay.” Terry had earlier affirmed his opposition to same-sex marriage, comparing it to slavery and abortion. Supreme later told Wikinews that Terry “took his glittering like a man, a gay man. I don’t know if the fairy dust turned him gay right away, but he took his medicine, and he seemed to enjoy it on some level.” Though Terry could not be reached for comment, he wrote on his blog that the glitter bombing “appeared to have no impact on me becoming homosexual.” Supreme claims he was threatened by a Terry supporter after the forum and is now “seeking Secret Service protection.” He has no plans to glitter bomb anyone else.

Supreme says that he had previously met Terry at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, and “was given the distinct impression that he (Terry) wanted to perform fellatio on me.” He says that prior to the forum, he offered “to have ‘homosexual gay sex’ in the lavatory stall”, but Terry declined. During the forum, Supreme said that he planned to write-in Terry, but said afterwards that his support “depends how gay he [Terry] gets.”

Dr. Bob Greene, a physicist who also participated in the forum, commented that the glitter bombing “was inappropriate for the circumstances.” During the forum, Greene differentiated himself from his opponents by discussing the use of thorium as an alternative fuel, saying “we have enough thorium for all of our energy needs for well over a thousand years.” He elaborated further after the forum, explaining that thorium could be used by bombarding it with neutrons, after which it fissions. “The fuel”, he explained, “is a molten salt, really Thorium Fluoride with a couple of stable-izers.” Greene says that it is safer and produces less waste than conventional methods, but “the military favored the uranium cycle because you could get lots of plutonium out of it, which they wanted for bombs. Thorium – not so.”

Others that participated in the Democratic forum include writer Ed Cowan, lawyer John Haywood, activist Edward O’Donnell Jr., and lawyer John Wolfe.


Boston Tea Party presidential nomination

On December 23, the Boston Tea Party (BTP) nominated Howard Community College trustee Tiffany Briscoe of Maryland as its second presidential nominee. The BTP was formed in 2006 and “supports reducing the size, scope and power of government at all levels and on all issues, and opposes increasing the size, scope and power of government at any level, for any purpose.” In 2008, the party nominated boxing manager Charles Jay, who appeared on three state ballots and won a total of 2,422 votes.

Briscoe’s platform calls for the legalization of drugs, a repeal of the USA PATRIOT Act, and an end to subsidies and foreign aid. Former radio host Kimberly Johnson was selected as her running mate.

Briscoe took some time to speak with Wikinews about her campaign and the BTP.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngHow do you plan to gain ballot access for the BTP?

Briscoe: The BTP is a fairly new political party. Yet, it has great potential. Its message of individual freedom and free markets resonates with a great majority of the American people that do not seem to be content with the current Establishment. We need to campaign massively, which we are already doing, to collect enough petition signatures and get on as many ballots as possible. I will myself contribute financially to help get the party on the ballot in such states as Colorado and Louisiana. At the end of the day, we will probably be able to appear on 14 to 15 states throughout the country, and stay as a write-in candidate in virtually all the others.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngIdeologically, how are you different from Ron Paul or Gary Johnson?

Briscoe: Ron Paul and Gary Johnson are two great men that have helped the cause of liberty by working from the inside of the government. But they do not reflect the true nature of libertarianism. Paul has become a typical politician, taking pork barrel to his district to get reelected, wants to restrict immigration, and wants to plague the economy with an entire new series of tax credits and corporate loopholes for energy and health care reform. Gary Johnson, while he did veto more laws than any other governor in the 1990s, also encounters the same problem: he wants to keep Guantanamo Bay open with the so-called “enemy combatant” inside, he opposes the end of the Federal Reserve that is creating so much troubles with our economy, and even wants to establish a FairTax that would increase consumer prices in a way that will slow economic development. So while I do consider myself as an ideological ally of these two men, I don’t believe they’re doing the best they can when it comes to promoting the philosophy of freedom.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngWhat do you hope to accomplish with this campaign, and what would constitute a success?

Briscoe: Of course, I am not running just to get my name or the party’s name out there, even though the latter is also a goal. I am running to show that there are actually some people outside of Washington that still care about the future of our country, to show that all these independent-minded folks are not alone in their daily fight against the federal government. But with 60% of the people wishing to see a third party play a more important role and with an even greater portion saying they would consider voting for a third party in 2012, we might have more chances to reach success than we may think. Of course, the ultimate success would be paving the way to the White House but at this point, I believe only taking away votes from the true “spoilers” that the Establishment represents in a way that would change the ultimate course of the election would already make us proud.



Related articles

  • “U.S. presidential candidate Gary Johnson leaves GOP to vie for the LP nom” — Wikinews, December 29, 2011
  • “South Carolina governor Nikki Haley endorses Mitt Romney for U.S. president” — Wikinews, December 17, 2011
  • “Republican hopeful Gingrich fuels controversy over Palestinian ‘invented people’ remarks” — Wikinews, December 11, 2011
  • Campaign manager: 100 percent chance Buddy Roemer will run for Americans Elect presidential nomination” — Wikinews, December 1, 2011
  • “U.S. Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann narrowly edges Ron Paul in Ames Straw Poll‎” — Wikinews, August 15, 2011

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December 23, 2011

U.S. Congress reaches deal on payroll tax cut extension

U.S. Congress reaches deal on payroll tax cut extension

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Friday, December 23, 2011

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Speaker of the U.S. House John Boehner announced yesterday that he would agree to a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut. In an effort to end the impasse between the House and Senate, Boehner told Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid that he would schedule a House vote on the Senate version of the bill that would extend the tax cut, which was due to expire at the end of the year.

Speaker John Boehner (pictured) announced yesterday that he would agree to a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut.
Image: U.S. Congress.

Speaker Boehner announced the agreement in a brief statement: “Senator Reid and I have reached an agreement that will ensure taxes do not increase for working families on January 1”. Boehner informed other congressmen of the deal in a conference call yesterday evening.

The House may pass the bill via unanimous consent today, which would not require the presence of all members. Boehner and Reid also agreed to a bipartisan negotiation committee to sort out differences and extend the tax cut for an entire year, a goal recently sought by Republicans in the House.

The extension of the payroll tax cut, which would prevent approximately 160 million Americans from seeing a tax increase in 2012, had already been passed by the Senate last weekend. Earlier yesterday, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell joined several other Republican Senators in encouraging the House to pass the extension.

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said that once the House acts, he “will be happy to restart the negotiating process to forge a yearlong extension.” At a news conference, Speaker Boehner issued a statement: “We have fought the good fight. Why not do the right thing for the American people even though it’s not exactly what we want.” President Obama also responded to the development in a statement: “This is good news, just in time for the holidays. This is the right thing to do to strengthen our families, grow our economy, and create new jobs. This is real money that will make a real difference in people’s lives.”

The tax cut extension impasse began when the House effectively rejected the Senate-approved version of the bill on Tuesday after being faced with opposition from House Republicans, specifically those associated with the Tea Party movement, who advocated for spending cuts and the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline.



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  • “U.S. House rejects Senate version of payroll tax cut” — Wikinews, December 21, 2011

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December 21, 2011

U.S. House rejects Senate version of payroll tax cut

U.S. House rejects Senate version of payroll tax cut

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

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Yesterday, the United States House of Representatives voted to effectively reject the Senate version of a bill, passed with bipartisan support, to extend a payroll tax cut two months past its year-end expiration date. The House voted instead to create a conference committee to settle differences between members of both bodies.

The House rejected the Senate version of a bill that would extend a payroll tax cut for two months yesterday.
Image: Kevin McCoy.

Although the tax cut extension itself has support among Republicans and Democrats, lawmakers disagree on how Congress should go about compensating for the cost of extending the cut and the policy changes it would entail.

During an appearance yesterday, President Obama condemned opposition to the Senate-passed version of the bill, accusing Republicans in the House of trying to negotiate on matters unrelated to the bill. Republicans, in response, say there is still time to negotiate the bill, insisting that lawmakers ought to concentrate on a year-long plan rather than a two-month extension. Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, however, says he will not agree to negotiate the tax cut extension until the Senate-approved bill is passed by the House.

If the tax cut is not extended and instead expires on December 31, approximately 160 million Americans will be affected by the tax increase; President Obama insists the only way to prevent the tax hike beginning January 1 is for the House to pass the Senate bill. In response, House Speaker and Republican John Boehner wants Obama to “call on the Senate to return” to negotiate. The Senate, shortly after passing the bill, adjourned for the Holiday break.

Also included in the bill is a provision that would require President Obama to make a decision regarding the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, a pipeline that would transport oil from Canada to Texas.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi blamed the congressional year-end impasse on “Tea Party Republicans.” In a letter to President Obama, Speaker Boehner requested he galvanize the Senate to negotiate on the bill’s provisions, writing “The differences between the two different bills can be quickly reconciled to provide the American people the certainty of a full-year bill. There are still 11 days before the end of the year, and with so many Americans struggling, there is no reason they should be wasted. You have said many times that Congress must do its work before taking vacation”.


 
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January 29, 2011

Wikinews interviews Jim Hedges, U.S. Prohibition Party presidential candidate

Wikinews interviews Jim Hedges, U.S. Prohibition Party presidential candidate

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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Public domain image of Jim Hedges from the Partisan Prohibition Historical Society website

U.S. Prohibition Party presidential candidate Jim Hedges of Thompson Township, Pennsylvania took some time to answer a few questions about the Prohibition Party and his 2012 presidential campaign.

The Prohibition Party is the third oldest existing political party in the United States, having been established in 1869. It reached its height of popularity during the late 19th century. The party heavily supported the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which banned the sale of alcohol, and resulted in the US period known as Prohibition (1919–33). It was repealed in 1933. The party has declined since this period, but has continued to nominate candidates for the presidential election.

In 2003, the party split into two factions. Preacher Gene Amondson and perennial candidate Earl Dodge were nominated for the presidency by their respective factions. After Dodge’s death in 2007, the party reunified and named Amondson as its sole presidential nominee for 2008. During the election, Amondson was interviewed by Wikinews. He died in 2009, leaving an opening in the party for 2012.

Jim Hedges is a longtime Prohibition activist, who holds the distinction of the first individual of the 21st century (and the first since 1959) to be elected to a political office under the Prohibition Party banner. In 2001, he was elected as the Thompson Township tax assessor, and was re-elected to the post in 2005. He served until his term expired in 2010. Hedges declared his intent to run for the Prohibition Party presidential nomination on February 18, 2010. This marks his first run for the presidency.

Interview

Wikinews waves Left.pngWilliam SaturnWikinews waves Right.png When and why did you decide to join the Prohibition Party?

Wikinews waves Left.pngJim HedgesWikinews waves Right.pngI have identified with the Prohibition Party since being in high school, in the 1950s. Being “a member” is trickier to specify, as I’ve sometimes registered to vote in other parties for temporary pragmatic reasons (or have not been registered, at all). I could not be active in the Party until after I retired from the military, in 1980.

Why? Well, I liked, and still like, the Prohibition platform better than I do the platform of any other political group. Partly, this is because of the anti-alcohol plank, but more generally because it seems more principled and more reasonable.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSWikinews waves Right.png You are the first (and only) member of the Prohibition Party to be elected to any office in the 21st century. How were you able to accomplish such a feat?

Wikinews waves Left.pngJHWikinews waves Right.pngI ran for an insignificant local office which no one else wanted. Minor party people are always complaining that they can’t get elected – they can, if they start at the beginning instead of aiming at impossible goals.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSWikinews waves Right.png According to the New York Times, you were heavily involved in the 2004 split of the party that centered around five-time presidential nominee Earl Dodge. What exactly caused the split, and has the party since healed?

Wikinews waves Left.pngJHWikinews waves Right.pngTo answer the last part first: It has largely healed. A few months after Dodge died, his hand-picked vice-chairman also died. The man who was third in line refused to carry on. That man, and the Dodge relatives, then dropped out completely; the other folks mostly are now working with the regular organization.

The split was caused by dissatisfaction with Dodge’s management. Dodge was a somewhat paranoid person who trusted no one to help him. For example, he made one of his daughters “treasurer” of the Prohibition National Committee, but he did not allow her access to the bank account. He was the only “signer” listed on the check card. Another example: He used money from a bequest to purchase a small office condominium, then without telling even his vice-chairman, he mortgaged the condo, cashed it out, and after a time lost it (because the mortgage was not being paid); the vice-chairman discovered all this only after Dodge died. Dodge could sell the office condo undetected, because he held it in the name of a shell corporation controlled by himself and the said daughter.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSWikinews waves Right.png The late Gene Amondson, the 2004 & 2008 presidential nominee of the Prohibition Party was the national face of the party for a number of years. How well did you know Mr. Amondson, and what is the current state of the party with his absence?

Wikinews waves Left.pngJHWikinews waves Right.pngI met Amondson at a couple of conventions; otherwise, I knew him only from correspondence and from telephone calls.

Amondson was a congenial person, warm and approachable. He was recommended to us by one of our supporters. He had an act, a re-creation of Rev. Billy Sunday’s sermon on booze, which he performed at conservative churches and other sympathetic venues. We hoped that his name recognition and the audience appeal of his act would enhance the Party’s appeal.

As it turned out, he had a handicap, analogous to dyslexia, which prevented him from stringing words together into fluent sentences. His act was great. His public speaking and his writing were, um, unremarkable.

We miss his ability to attract attention to us.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSWikinews waves Right.png Mr. Amondson stated that “Prohibition was America’s greatest 13 years” and that he would “rather have 100 Al Capones in every city than alcohol sold in every grocery store“. Do you agree with these comments, and additionally, do you second his projection that “Prohibition will come again for the fourth time“?

Wikinews waves Left.pngJHWikinews waves Right.pngI expect that national prohibition will come again “someday,” because nothing we’ve tried since then has worked as well in reducing per-capita consumption of alcoholic beverages and the related social problems.

The rest of that is campaign hyperbole.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSWikinews waves Right.png Why did you choose to run for president and what are your qualifications?

Wikinews waves Left.pngJHWikinews waves Right.pngIt’s partly a “finger-in-the-dike” tactic, because I see no one else in the organization who has the free time and the personal background needed to mount a plausible campaign. Partly, also, it’s the realization that, at age 72, if I’m ever going to do it, I’d better get on with doing it now.

Many times in the past, the Prohibition Party has recruited presidential candidates from outside its own ranks. The same may happen again this year. If not, I see myself as being the most broadly educated and widely experienced person within the core group of the Party.

I have a BA in musical performance (Iowa, 1960) and served 20 years in one of our nation’s most elite military units, The United States Marine Band.

I have a family-farm background, plus 20 years of life in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. I understand both rural and urban communities.

I have an MA in Geography (Maryland, 1972), have published research in refereed journals both here and abroad, and for 11 years edited a journal.

I have done volunteer work with and served as an officer of community organizations ranging from The Salvation Army to friends of the library to recycling programs to historical and literary clubs.

I have done newspaper reporting, primarily on local government.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSWikinews waves Right.png Who are some of your opponents for the nomination and why do you believe you are a better choice for the party?

Wikinews waves Left.pngJHWikinews waves Right.pngTo my knowledge, no one else has yet expressed an interest in the Prohibition Party nomination.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSWikinews waves Right.png When and where will the party hold their convention, and how will a nominee be decided upon?

Wikinews waves Left.pngJHWikinews waves Right.pngCullman, Alabama, in June. See the National Committee’s website for details.

A vote of the credentialed delegates will determine who is the candidate.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSWikinews waves Right.png Do you agree with the decision to allow prominent Libertarian Stephen P. Gordon to speak at the convention, despite his support for the sale of alcohol?

Wikinews waves Left.pngJHWikinews waves Right.pngYes. First of all, the Prohibition Party and the Libertarian Party share some common interests, such as small government, balanced budgets, and personal freedoms. Secondly, we should all take time to listen to those who disagree with us, in order to sharpen our debating skills. Thirdly, we shouldn’t be complacent, because… we might actually be wrong!

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSWikinews waves Right.png According to the Ballot Access News, the Prohibition Party has qualified for the ballot in only Florida. What will you do to gain ballot access in other states?

Wikinews waves Left.pngJHWikinews waves Right.pngMost likely, we will be able to meet the ballot requirements in only 2 or 3 states in addition to Florida (which has among the most lenient ballot access regulations today). Colorado is a likely one, as are Mississippi and Louisiana.

For small parties, the states where they run has very little to do with where they have the most support and very much to do with which states have the easiest regulations.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSWikinews waves Right.png What issues or policy stances form the basis of your campaign?

Wikinews waves Left.pngJHWikinews waves Right.pngInasmuch as beverage alcohol is our signature issue, I anticipate spending most of my time talking about the alcohol connection with various social problems: public safety, public health, taxes, homelessness, spouse abuse, child welfare, military preparedness, industrial efficiency, product quality, and so forth.

The platform most likely will address a lot of other things, but, let’s face it: The Prohibition Party today is an exercise in living history. We’re like the weekend warriors who put on costumes and re-enact the Civil War. The South is not going to rise again. Neither is national prohibition going to come back (not, at least, in our lifetimes). But in both cases, we think there are important historical lessons which ought not be forgotten. And so, we soldier on against all odds.

Unless we stay on the message (of alcohol), our living history lesson will be lost.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSWikinews waves Right.png Have you received any notable endorsements thus far?

Wikinews waves Left.pngJHWikinews waves Right.pngNo. Neither have I sought any.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSWikinews waves Right.png According to Weekend America, Vice-Presidential nominee Leroy Pletten was incapacitated following a stroke during the 2008 campaign. Have you chosen a running mate, and if not, will health be a factor in the decision?

Wikinews waves Left.pngJHWikinews waves Right.pngThe Public Radio announcement appears to be a case of mistaken identity. I have checked with Pletten, and no such thing happened.

I’ve been asking around. I know who I’d like to have, but it’s still under discussion.

Health should enter into it. We don’t need another Reagan!

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSWikinews waves Right.png How often do you campaign, and how might that change should you win the nomination?

Wikinews waves Left.pngJHWikinews waves Right.pngVery little campaigning, at this point. I sent out a series of monthly postcards last year, presenting myself to the people on the Party mailing list. There is also a (very rudimentary) campaign website – www.hedges4-12.com I’m in touch with the people who will make the decision, at the Convention this coming June.

If I should receive the nomination, the website will have to be improved, and there will have to be press releases and some personal visits to states where we get on the ballot. I’ll have to obtain advice on making more effective use of the internet.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSWikinews waves Right.png Describe a typical day for Jim Hedges. How do you spend your time?

Wikinews waves Left.pngJHWikinews waves Right.pngBefore going to sleep each evening, I map out the following day in my mind. Then, in the morning, I roll out (not too early), tend to personal care and a hearty breakfast, go to the other house (when my wife and I were married, 20 years ago, we each had a paid-for house, and it was convenient to keep both of them) and tend to the pets. The rest of the morning is spent dealing with paper mail and other clerical work. In warm weather, afternoons are devoted to yard work and to gardening; in cold weather, I do household maintenance chores, work in the shop, work on the wood pile. After supper, if there is not a rehearsal or a concert to go to, I practice half an hour on my tuba, then look at the internet or read.

Every day is different, but that’s the basic schedule.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSWikinews waves Right.png What is your main source for political news?

Wikinews waves Left.pngJHWikinews waves Right.pngThree weekly newsmagazines: The Economist, The Nation, and Science.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSWikinews waves Right.png What is your biggest political concern at the moment?

Wikinews waves Left.pngJHWikinews waves Right.pngIn the next 10 years, eliminating governmental deficits, primarily in the United States and in Europe. In the next 100 years, dealing with the social and economic consequences of the rise in sea level due to climatic warming.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSWikinews waves Right.png How would you assess the presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama?

Wikinews waves Left.pngJHWikinews waves Right.pngBush the Younger was unquestionably the most damaging president since FDR, perhaps the most damaging of all time: His “Patriot Act” and other security measures trashed the Constitution, our Constitution. His deficits have never been equaled. His foreign military adventures are the longest wars ever fought by our country.

Obama was dealt a miserable hand, but even so, I’m becoming disappointed. We still have Bush‘s deficit spending. We still have Bush’s wars. We still have Bush’s failure to secure the border with Mexico. We still have Bush’s exporting American jobs overseas. What is there to like?

Obama did end Bush’s “global gag rule,” which attempted to prevent family planning agencies all over the world from even discussing abortion. And he did make a stab at improving medical care.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSWikinews waves Right.png What are your thoughts on Sarah Palin and the Tea Party Movement?

Wikinews waves Left.pngJHWikinews waves Right.pngPalin was given a job for four years by the voters of Alaska. When she got bored with it, she handed the office key to her lieutenant governor and walked away. That’s not responsible behavior.

The Tea Party folks are on the right track in trying to get the federal budget deficit under control. I fear, though, that they lack the patience and flexibility to do the job gracefully. And, they’re too easily distracted by unrelated issues.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSWikinews waves Right.png What is your take on the the health care bill?

Wikinews waves Left.pngJHWikinews waves Right.pngObamacare is a step in the right direction, but it leaves intact the private insurance industry, which is a major source of waste. We need a public health service, like the one in England.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSWikinews waves Right.png What are some of your foreign policy views?

Wikinews waves Left.pngJHWikinews waves Right.pngAmerica first! Our unqualified support for Israel is doing us a great deal of damage elsewhere in the world. We need to stop all aid, both civilian and military, to Israel until Israel abides by the Oslo Accords.

We need to stop being the world’s bully and, instead, lead by example: ratify Kyoto, ratify CEDAW, rein in the international corporations.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSWikinews waves Right.png What historical or contemporary figures do you identify with?

Wikinews waves Left.pngJHWikinews waves Right.pngYou know, I think it would be appropriate to name Jimmy Carter. I didn’t always agree with what he did, but I could sympathize with why he did it. To the extent that any president can be, he was an honest, well-meaning person.

Look at the things he has done since leaving the White House, then look at the things other presidents have done after their terms ended. Carter has continued to serve the American people, and the world, while the others have hie’d themselves to their clubs and estates, to their lecture circuits and their corporate boards.

Yes, I would like to be a person such as Jimmy Carter.


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September 15, 2010

Tea Party-endorsed Christine O\’Donnell wins Delaware Senate primary election

Tea Party-endorsed Christine O’Donnell wins Delaware Senate primary election

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Christine O’Donnell in August 2010.
Image: Delawareguy.

Christine O’Donnell has defeated Mike Castle in a Republican primary election for U.S. Senator from Delaware, CNN and the Associated Press have announced. With 325 of 325 precincts counted, O’Donnell, who has received the endorsement of the Tea Party movement, led Representative Castle by 30561 votes to 27021, 53.1% to 46.9%.

The Republican O’Donnell will likely face Democrat Christopher A. Coons in a special election on November 2. The Senate seat from Delaware was vacated when Joe Biden became Vice-President of the United States in January 2009, and interim appointee Ted Kaufman declined to run for the seat. Analysts such as Taegan Goddard and Bill Kristol question whether O’Donnell can defeat Coons in November. Before the nominations for the race opened, Mike Castle had been favored to win the seat, which would be a Republican gain in the now Democratic-controlled Senate.

Former Alaska governor and Republican Vice-Presidential nominee Sarah Palin endorsed O’Donnell late in the race. The Tea Party movement presents itself as a constructionist conservative movement seeking to reclaim the Republican Party from established politicians.



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August 28, 2010

Glenn Beck to hold controversial \’Restoring Honor\’ rally at Lincoln Memorial

Glenn Beck to hold controversial ‘Restoring Honor’ rally at Lincoln Memorial

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Critics condemn event for being held on anniversary of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech
Saturday, August 28, 2010

Glenn Beck in February 2010
Image: Gage Skidmore.

Conservative American political commentator and Fox News radio and television host Glenn Beck plans a “Restoring Honor” rally for August 28 at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. Critics condemn choosing the 47th anniversary and same location of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech to hold the rally. Events related to King’s speech will still be held in Washington, DC.

Beck and the rally’s organizers say the “Restoring Honor” event is meant to recognize those “who embody our nation’s founding principles of integrity, truth and honor.” Criticized for holding the event on the anniversary of King’s speech, Beck claims it was a scheduling coincidence and that he is trying to bring back the spirit of the civil rights movement. Civil rights activist and minister Al Sharpton said, “When you start saying you’re going to reclaim the civil rights movement that’s not even coded, that’s a blatant attempt to hijack a movement that changed America.”

Reverend Sharpton said in a press conference on Friday that Beck’s rally goes against the intent of Martin Luther King, Jr., who advocated unity in national government. He questioned whether Beck understood the message of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, saying Beck’s supporters “have the right to rally, … what they don’t have the right to do is distort what Dr. King’s dream was about.” Sharpton described Saturday’s event as “anti-government,” saying, “You can’t have a march telling government to leave us alone and say you’re reclaiming a march where they came to appeal to government to protect us. They’re having an anti-government march on a day that King came to appeal to government. You can’t have it both ways.”

Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1963, giving his “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial

Members of the U.S. Tea Party movement say Beck’s event will be bigger than last year’s Taxpayer March on Washington, held on September 12, 2009. The “9/12” march was the first major national Tea Party demonstration, but exact attendance numbers are unknown. Jamie Radtke, who founded the Federation of Virginia Tea Party Patriots, said that Saturday’s event may be twice as big as last year’s, based on the number of buses that have been chartered. Organizers of the event hope to see up to 100,000 people, while Sharpton says he expects a lower turnout for his annual event to honor King’s speech.

Although Beck says the “Restoring Honor” rally is not about politics, it raises questions how it may affect Republicans during November’s mid-term elections. The event, which will be held from 10 a.m. EDT (1400 UTC) to 1:00 p.m. EDT (1600 UTC), is to feature speakers such as former Alaska governor Sarah Palin on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, the same place where King gave his famed speech 47 years ago to the day. Beck, who called the date and location a result of “divine providence,” said, “Whites don’t own Abraham Lincoln. Blacks don’t own Martin Luther King. Those are American icons, American ideas, and we should just talk about character, and that’s really what this event is about. It’s about honoring character.”

Video and sound equipment will be set up along the Lincoln Memorial’s reflecting pool and will stretch all the way to the Washington Monument for the rally. Beck, who has been promoting the event via radio and television, says that “Restoring Honor” is not meant to give a boost to candidates in this November’s elections. No signs will be allowed at the rally, and no elected official presently in office will speak. In addition, a spokesperson for Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele claimed that he had no prior knowledge of Beck’s rally when asked about it.

Sharpton is participating in a separate rally at an area high school to celebrate the anniversary of King’s speech. He said his event will “stay way away from” Beck’s event, and that “people will judge for themselves whether [“Restoring Honor”] has anything to do with civil rights.” It starts at 11 a.m. EDT (1500 UTC) at Dunbar High School and includes a march to the site of a planned King memorial, which is located on the other side of the National Mall from the Lincoln Memorial. Sharpton has been promoting the event on his radio show, and a spokesperson said that the event had been planned in April, not as a counter-rally to “Restoring Honor.”

In the past, Beck has accused US President Barack Obama of reverse racism, and Republicans may be afraid to speak up, due to the possibility of party-damaging clashes over race during the event. Democrats, however, are still labeling the event as Republican-endorsed. “Republicans for well over the past year have firmly embraced the tea party and some of these right-wing fringe groups that Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin have rallied around, and these are becoming serious campaign liabilities in the general election,” a spokesperson for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said in interview with The Washington Post. “The fact that they’re trying to plead ignorance is just completely absurd.”

Conservatives, on the other hand, are saying that “Restoring Honor” is a symbol of their unity. Although it is still unclear what effect the rally will have on November elections, some voters could be drawn to support Republicans as a result, despite the controversy over the event’s date.

Alveda King, a niece of King’s, will appear at Beck’s rally. She said, “The theme of the 8/28 rally is not political. We’re putting honor over politics. I will not be talking about any political position or any political party. I’ll simply be calling all Americans to pray, to have faith, to honor God and all humanity. I am very interested in agreeing that this is not a political event and so those expecting to be offended will not receive that kind of approach from me.”

The weekend will be a beehive of activity for activists. In addition to Beck’s and Sharpton’s rallies, conservative group FreedomWorks held a convention in Washington, DC on Friday, and Democrats plan to knock on over 200,000 doors throughout the US on Saturday and Sunday.

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April 17, 2009

Anti-tax tea parties held across the USA

Anti-tax tea parties held across the USA

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Friday, April 17, 2009

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Anti-tax anti-spending rallies called Tea Parties took place across the United States Wednesday. The rallies were held in various locations from Boston, Massachusetts to San Francisco, California.

Wednesday was chosen by organizers as it is the federal income tax filing deadline, as well as the deadline for many states. The rallies were named after the Boston Tea Party, a 1773 pre-American Revolution event protesting taxation without representation.

Organizers indicated that Tea Parties took place at more than 850 locations, with a combined total of 750,000 to over 1 million attendees. The Americans for Tax Reform has tallied 242 locations with around 299,071 attendees.

In Washington, D.C., several thousand protesters demonstrated outside the White House about taxes and excess spending by the national government. The Secret Service stopped the rally after a suspicious package was tossed over the White House fence. With the area cleared, a bomb squad robot inspected the package that turned out to be a box of tea bags. The area was reopened.



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