New Book: Follow the Founders, Abolish Political Parties

Dick Russell and Jesse VenturaAs the 2012 elections approach, a new book argues that the best way to reform a corrupt political system is by abolishing all United States political parties -- thereby implementing the beliefs of the nation's Founders.

Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura and co-author Dick Russell trace historic statements by such Founders as George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison to discern why they feared the corrupting influence of parties for the new nation.

Fast forward to today's system: The authors document vast dysfunction and corruption, and trace the roots to political parties seeking self-sustenance through big money contributions, instead of a better civic life. The authors argue: "No More Gangs in Government."

Dick Russell

Russell, left, a longtime investigative reporter and environmentalist, and Ventura, the former Navy Seal and pro-wrestler elected for one-term as Minnesota's governor, propose this solution: abolish political parties by law, and return candidacies to the small-scale campaigns that built the country.

To discuss their idea and the underlying problems, join Russell, me and my longtime radio co-host Scott Draughon July 5 at noon (EDT) for this week's edition of our Washington Update show. Click here to listen to the interview, now available by archive after being aired live.

We opened the show with commentaries on the Supreme Court's health care insurance ruling June 28, including new reports that Chief Justice John Roberts changed his vote late in the process to rule the mandate legal in a 5-4 decision.

Their new book, DemoCRIPS and ReBLOODlicans, compares the two major parties to the Los Angeles gangs Crips and Bloods. The publisher's description says the book, available here, "uncovers the truth about how corporations have bought the American electoral and legislative process through the power of lobbyists, campaign contributions, and political action committees." Further:

Using historical details, such as the development of the two-party system and the advent of third-party candidates throughout U.S. history, DemoCRIPS and ReBLOODlicans exposes how the two major parties have allowed corporations, businesses, and politically-motivated wealthy individuals to manipulate elections, bribe elected officials, and silence the average American voter.

Exposing the ineptitude and gang-like mentalities of both parties, Ventura advocates the replacement of the two-party system with a no-party system based on the ideals of our Founding Fathers. As election time rolls around, this is most certainly the book that should be looked at for reforming our electoral system.

Russell's eight books have ranged from natural history to the assassination of President Kennedy. Among them are the New York Times best-seller American Conspiracies: Lies, Lies, and More Dirty Lies That The Government Tells Us, co-authored with Ventura. Russell’s magazine writing and personal energies have primarily focused on the environment. Even before BP’s Gulf oil spill in 2010, he warned about “the crisis impacting the world's fisheries and oceans.” His books include the 2008 best-seller, Don't Start the Revolution Without Me, also co-authored with Ventura. In 2008, Russell published On the Trail of the JFK Assassins, his second book examining the conspiracy behind the death of President Kennedy. Russell was a consultant on the web-based documentary film, "The Warning," and was featured in a National Geographic documentary on whales.Click for full bio and contact details. Russell is a prolific publisher in many of the nation's top magazines and has been a guest on many national TV and radio programs. Russell divides his time between Boston and Los Angeles.

Scott Draughon

Jesse Ventura is a former governor of Minnesota, elected on the Reform Party ticket in 1998 and serving from 1999 to 2003. He is the author and co-author with Russell of several best-selling books, including Don't Start the Revolution Without Me! and I Ain't Got Time to Bleed. Also, he is the host of the TruTV series, Conspiracy Theory. He lives in Dellwood, Minnesota, and Baja, Mexico.

Today's show is part of our weekly public affairs that just began its seventh year. The show is available nationwide on the MTL (My Technology Lawyer) radio network founded by Scott Draughon, right, a pioneer in business radio. Mac users need “Parallels.”

Visit the archives for previous interviews with top authors, political leaders and other news-makers.


 

Gov. Buddy RoemerRelated News Coverage

Justice Integrity Project, Former Louisiana Gov. Roemer Reveals Next Reform Steps, Andrew Kreig, June 13, 2012.  2012 Presidential candidate Buddy Roemer will speak June 14 on my Washington Update radio show about his next steps fighting for political reform following his just-ended, 17-month campaign. The two-term former Louisiana governor waged an energetic campaign in the GOP primary and then for a third-party Americans Elect nomination on a platform of radical reform of corruption blighting civic affairs.

Catching Our Attention on other Justice, Media & Integrity Issues

Patrick FitzgeraldDick CheneyHuffington Post, Patrick Fitzgerald's Legacy: Letting Rove And Cheney Go, Dan Froomkin, July 3, 2012. U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s prosecution of former CIA officer John Kiriakou for talking to journalists about the Bush/Cheney torture program has at least one thing in common with his conviction of I. Lewis (“Scooter”) Libby in 2007. In both cases, Fitzgerald, left, went for the little fish. But the big fish got away. (See related story on the Kiriakou case.)  In the Plame case, Fitzgerald prosecuted Libby, then-vice president Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, for perjury and obstruction of justice related to the leak of Valerie Plame Wilson’s identity as a covert CIA operative. But he stopped short of charging Cheney or top presidential adviser Karl Rove -- both of whom had been targets of his investigation. Fitzgerald was appointed as a special prosecutor in late 2003 to investigate the July 2003 leak of Plame’s identity, which came during a White House effort to discredit her husband, former U.S. Ambassador Joe Wilson. Wilson was trying to expose how the administration had twisted intelligence to make its case for the war in Iraq, launched a few months earlier, and the White House was desperate to prevent that narrative from establishing itself before the 2004 elections.  The evidence that came out at trial clearly established that Cheney was the first person to tell Libby about Plame’s identity and that Cheney wrote talking points that likely prompted Libby and others to raise Plame’s role with reporters.

Harvey SilverglateMark WolfBoston Phoenix, DiMasi Agonistes and the federal ‘justice’ system, Harvey Silverglate, July 3, 2012. DEATH SENTENCE? DiMasi was denied medical care for months after discovering lumps in his neck. By the time he was treated, the cancer had reached stage IV.  Question: what do the federal government's "war on terror" and its "war on political corruption" have in common? Answer: torture. America was outraged when it learned of abuses committed by enlisted personnel at Abu Ghraib. As details of waterboarding and other enhanced forms of interrogation emerged, a vigorous national debate ensued. But when the news broke recently that Salvatore DiMasi, a former Speaker of the Massachusetts House convicted of political corruption and now serving time at a federal prison, was subjected to treatment so Borgia-like, so inhumane as to constitute a form of torture, the community mostly yawned. There is compelling evidence that DiMasi was subjected to torture-lite in his assignment to a faraway prison in Lexington, Kentucky, there to serve his eight-year sentence, rather than at the nearby federal prison hospital at Fort Devens in Ayer. At the time of DiMasi's September 9, 2011, sentencing, US District Court Chief Judge Mark Wolf, right, recommended to the Federal Bureau of Prisons (FBP) that DiMasi serve his sentence in Ayer. Wolf expressed concern about DiMasi's then-diagnosed heart condition and the prospect of forcing his cancer-stricken wife to travel long distances for visits. Yet the distant Kentucky assignment was callously selected by the FBP, a subdivision of the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Media Nation, Exposing the “‘pink slime’ journalism” of Journatic, Dan Kennedy, July 5, 2012. If you care about local news, then you must listen to a report on “This American Life,” broadcast last weekend, that exposes a scandal whose importance can’t be overstated. The story is about a company called Journatic, which produces local content for newspapers using grossly underpaid, out-of-town reporters — including cheap Filipino workers who write articles under fake bylines. And how great is it that “This American Life,” damaged earlier this year when it was victimized by fake journalism, has now exposed fake journalism elsewhere? Here is the Chicago Tribune — a major Journatic client — lecturing “TAL” on journalism ethics earlier this year. After you listen, be sure to read the detailed back story, written by Anna Tarkov for Poynter.org.

Chicago Tribune, Tribune investigating ethics policy violation by content provider Journatic; Company that provides content for TribLocal used false bylines, Robert Channick, July 1, 2012.  A national radio report this weekend revealing that hyperlocal content provider Journatic used false bylines in several stories that ran in TribLocal online has prompted an investigation by the Chicago Tribune. Journatic, brought in to run part of the Tribune's community news operation, has acknowledged its mistake and said it would discontinue the practice. "This American Life," which is produced by Chicago public radio station WBEZ-FM, included a 23-minute segment focusing on Journatic's use of low-paid Filipino freelancers to cull and format information for stories, some of which were published under aliases.  In interviews this weekend with the Tribune, Journatic co-founder and CEO Brian Timpone said altered bylines were commonly used for its Blockshopper.com real estate stories, a separate enterprise from its newspaper content service.

Salon, Two-tiered justice, Glenn Greenwald, July 5, 2012. The paperback version of my last book, With Liberty and Justice for Some, was released yesterday. The themes and arguments in it continue to be central to much of what I write. In fact, so many of the new stories on which I’ve focused since the book’s publication are pure expressions of the two-tiered justice system which the book examines. Here are several interviews and appearances I’ve done in the past several days concerning the book [including] a10 minute interview I did last night with Alyona Minkovski, who is really a superb interviewer, on the American Surveillance State.

FireDogLake, Can We Have Darrell Issa Investigate the Supreme Court Leaks? Scarecrow, July 5, 2012.  Where is Darrell Issa when the country needs him?  This is getting out of hand. In its zeal to uncover why Chief Justice Roberts betrayed the cause of liberty and made Sam, Tony and that other guy cry, every one in the right wing punditry is getting aides from the Court’s right wing to spill the beans on each other. Since CBS’ Jan Crawford first reported leaks from this team, we are now up to at least five leaks, some in conflict, and none of whom appears to care about loyalty to the court or professional ethics.  So where is Darrell Issa when the country needs him? After all, when these people screw up Constitutional law this badly, and make an unworkable hash of the law they didn’t understand but desperately wanted to take down, we need to know why.