Saturday, October 30, 2010

Independents' Midterm Campaign

Dear President Obama,

First of all thank you for volunteering to do something I would never want to do.

I do need to tell you how much I have stuck my neck out for you as an independent leader in an independent state heavily influenced by a conservative establishment.

I served a year in Iraq as a First Lieutenant in the Army in 2004. I was incensed by the ineptitude of Secretary Rumsfeld and the zeal in former President Bush's heart that led him to justify and even defend deplorable human rights abuses of detainees in U.S. custody. I can go into detail some other time about how the treatment of these prisoners is the De facto policy of what the U.S. will tolerate without objection in the treatment of U.S. service members

In the fall of 2008 I purchased a large piece of canvas upon which I spray painted the words "HONOR VETERANS, VOTE OBAMA". I helped a Democratic voter win our election for mayor. Her Republican opponent attends my church and has repudiated me and my family directly and indirectly. I have worked on campaigns for Democratic candidates and non-partisan issues such as independent redistricting. In all this I have never changed my voter registration from anything but unaffiliated, yet I have organized for some local Democrat candidates more ardently even than your own party. You owe me at least one.

I will temper my criticism; I know how lonely leadership can be. Realize however that your best advisers will always give it to you straight.

Leaders make mistakes. Just like in a marriage, conciliation can be powerful even essential. What our country needs is not a liberal agenda, not a conservative agenda or a centrist or even a libertarian agenda. What our country needs is leadership. Washington is a place dominated by oscillating factions of 'bullies on the playground' as it were. Your faction, newly in control of the 'playground' has acted very exclusively and you have gone along with the crowd. Sir, you are in a historic position to make it right or make it worse.

My recommendations:
1. Tell your party to stop it. Enough with the partisanship already. A stiff arm approach tears at the fabric of our Constitution--a system by which disagreements and policy can be settled civilly with consensus. We are like Velcro--we cannot pull too hard in opposing directions without coming apart.
2. Be a leader. Make a bold statement. Change your party registration to none. Right now you are effectively the President and leader of a third of this nation; the DNC third. You have got to assert yourself as the servant leader of ALL. We will continue to languish as a people divided if you cannot find the courage to do this, and it will be lonely for a time.

Come back. Be a uniter. We miss you. God bless you in your efforts to be the servant-leader of ALL Americans; the kind of leader we need--the kind of leader we had before when consensus was in vogue.


Randy N. Miller
Syracuse, Utah

Friday, October 29, 2010

I told you so

Randy Miller April 28, 2010 via
The independent paradigm that is taking shape today is both epic and historic. We are confronted with the task of completely changing the way we do politics and conduct elections. We are charged with returning to a government by and for the people. It is a remarkable form of government. It is not a suitable governing framework for a lazy and apathetic citizenry. It requires involvment. It requires discourse. It requires reconciliation and apology at times. It requires that we now begin doing what the two parties have taken upon themselves to do for us. It requires that those factions who are disappointed by the various outcomes of the voice of the people remain committed to our union of states and not let insurmountable differences fester with the feverish plague of secessionist thinking.

Kirk Jowers, October 23, 2010 via""Democracy is not for the lazy, but instead requires engaged citizenship," Jowers concludes. "Almost all of the ills in society today occur in vacuums created by apathy. Thus, our elected officials will always more readily respond to motivated voters, but when constituents do not turn out and vote, the special interests will always fill that vacuum.""

Book Review, Mad as Hell by Doug Schoen and Scott Rasmussen

Mad as Hell
How the Tea Party Movement is Fundamentally Remaking our Two-Party System

I was not impressed by this book initially. I started with an open mind thinking maybe the Tea Party movement is more mainstream, less ideological or effective than I thought according to the claims in the introduction of Mad as Hell. The first half of the book left me the impression they were trying to affirm the relevance of the Tea Party as means of selling books as if to say ‘See, you are mainstream. Our book says so. Now buy our book.’

It is worth noting that the editing prior to publishing was not done. The book is rife with spelling and grammatical errors as many reviews for Mad as Hell on will point out in detail. I can't help but wonder if this publication was just a get-rich-quick for-profit venture.

Granted the challenge to Rasmussen and Schoen is the rapidly changing dynamic of what the Tea Party movement is and who it is led by. Even since I started this review things have taken a turn with the Rand Paul campaign violence episode. Some old questions are now up in the air again: Who or what is the Tea Party? Who are the leaders? Is the Tea Party a bunch of racist hillbillies or a legitimate political force? Is the Tea Party grassroots or Astroturf? Pinning an accurate label on the Tea Party is probably not impossible. Just about anything one might say could stick with some truth and relevance. But being a groundswell movement, any labels subscribed to the Tea Party can only be transitory at best. Time will still have to tell what the movement will definitively stand for and more importantly accomplish long term.

From page 5 of the introduction of Mad as Hell: “It is not only America’s most vibrant political force “at the moment” to quote The Economist, but a movement that has unprecedented broad-based support, and the power to influence the 2010 and 2012 elections and, indeed, the future of American politics in ways that have been fundamentally misunderstood and not appreciated.”

From their own statistics later in the book on the demographics of Tea Party sympathizers: 80% are White, just 2% African-American. 68% are Protestant. Are we to conclude that White and Protestant is the new mainstream?
According to the University of Washington study on the subject ( 45% of White Americans support the Tea Party movement. White support is evenly divided in enthusiasm: 23% strongly support, 22% somewhat support. White population (18 years old and older) from the 2000 Census is 205,158,752. Translation, nearly 1 in 3 Americans is a Tea Party supporter. One third is hardly a majority but still a substantial showing. Mad as Hell opens by asserting that the Tea Party movement can be classified as mainstream. I was skeptical of that assertion, but given these numbers it is safe to say that the Tea Party in general terms is in fact a mainstream movement.


The effectiveness of the Tea Party can clearly be measured in the short term, but what about long term? The Obama administration has advanced a number of ideological agendas and the Tea Party is a largely dare I say ‘knee jerk’ ideological reaction. Neither persuasion addresses the issue of the necessity of systematic power to the people political reforms. Each side of this short term ideological skirmish is looking at the outcome of this skirmish as an ominous indicator of the future of this country. Although those concerns probably have some merit, where are the strategic thinkers looking beyond this relatively brief skirmish? And why or how did we wind up on opposite sides seemingly on grappling for control of our republic?

More insight into the Tea Party direction and affiliation with the GOP from Mad as Hell: “”the plurality of GOP voters (43%) say their party has been too moderate over the past eight years, and 55% think it should become more like Alaska Governor Sarah Palin in the future.” These numbers reflect a party driven by a populist core increasingly uninterested in compromise.” (p.171) More like Sarah Palin? Uninterested in compromise? Let me know how that works out for ‘ya. I guess I draw a lot of my skepticism from the fact that factions uninterested in compromise usually have a limited lifecycle in this country or go to great lengths to maintain their control unconstitutionally and unethically (Jim Crow for example).

The Palin Factor

Perhaps my skepticism is related to the Palin factor. I just assumed that both conservatives and liberals know that more appeal is better than less when it comes to winning elections. Like, love or hate Palin, or somewhere in between, I thought it was pretty obvious that Sarah Palin only appealed to party loyalists and evidently white protestant GOP loyalists at that. Truth is, Sarah ‘Fox News’ Palin does not have wide appeal. And the Tea Party movement seems OK with these types of ideological purist arrangements. So, I guess I am skeptical why they think the inequality 33%<51% isn’t an impediment from the start. The best consensus builder (Obama) won in the 2008 Presidential election. He hasn’t done much for that consensus in the meantime, but the basic logic has not changed. I don’t know. Perhaps they are banking on continuing to manipulate the Electoral College and to gerrymander districts (something Karl Rove has unabashedly sworn to do) —another testament to how radically we need to reform the political process away from party manipulation and control. GOP 'tea party' gains in 2010 are from a different kind of establishment power assertion and manipulation of the system, not from a wider appeal and building coalitions of groups who disagree on some points. It appears to me to be a line in the sand when success depends on a successful sales pitch.

So, I started the book skeptical that the Tea Party movement could be considered truly ‘mainstream’. I’m much less skeptical now, but the definition of the Tea Party changes so much from day to day, that it will just be interesting to see what shakes out.

The Conclusion chapter of Mad as Hell was the best. The book would have held me better had I read the conclusion first. Still, if any chapter received any solid editing, I would think it would be the conclusion and the editing is noticeably absent. Perhaps coverage of such a mercurial subject as the Tea Party requires that you publish quickly to get out in front before the subject reinvents itself. I’ll give the authors that one, but I do wonder if there is a niche of sorts for a new style of relevant content much lengthier than a blog, not suited for published video content, but not worth publishing as a hard cover or even e-book as the content may not be relevant in six weeks.

About the author: Randy Miller is an independent in Utah, founder of the Utah League of independent Voters and an independent candidate for County Surveyor in Davis County Utah.

Friday, October 22, 2010

A little indulgence--my own candidate biography

I am Randy Miller, a licensed Professional Land Surveyor in Utah and also a Certified Federal Surveyor. I am running for Davis County Surveyor as an unaffiliated candidate because I feel the race for County Surveyor should be a non-partisan race. The office of Davis County Surveyor needs to be filled by a candidate who is keeping up with modern technical trends in the surveying and geospatial fields.

A vision for how to improve the office of County Surveyor may not be glamorous or make for great reading, but I do have one. My aim is to be of valuable assistance to the private sector of surveyors and the property owners they represent. To achieve an elevated level of service, I have a number of projects I would like to tackle:
1) Make survey records and data accessible online
2) Protect public assets by setting up blue stakes notifications for jeopardized survey markers
3) Publish modernized geodetic control for critical survey markers

The work and value of surveyors is often not seen until it is needed so I frequently get the question “What does a County Surveyor do?” A county surveyor maintains records, data and survey markers that are used by surveyors in private practice to mark the location of boundaries for private land owners.

The next question you may be asking yourself is how is Randy Miller a better or more qualified candidate for the position of County Surveyor. The minimum requirements to hold this office are that one must be a resident of Davis County and hold a Utah Professional Land Surveyor’s license. Check and check. Additionally, I have studied diligently on my own time to become licensed in Wyoming which is a much more difficult and thorough examination process than the Utah requirements. I also spent the evenings and weekends for 4 months to complete the course work and 8 hour examination required to become a Certified Federal Surveyor (CFedS). The CFedS program (see is a rigorous program of understanding thoroughly how to apply and perpetuate the Public Land Survey System. The CFedS program includes substantial training on how to gather evidence and special considerations for standard parallels, military reservations and meander corners; conditions that all exist in Davis County.

What does all this mean? It means Davis County needs a County Surveyor that really leans into it. It means we need a County Surveyor who strives to uphold the highest levels of competence and who is committed to publishing information in the easiest formats available and referenced to the most current and accurate GPS positions. I have prepared myself to meet these demands and feel I am the most qualified to serve as the next Davis County Surveyor.

It is important to me to run as an unaffiliated independent candidate. I have declared my independence from the two parties as a matter of conscience and principle. Public service is as simple as understanding the wishes of the people and acting upon their needs and desires. For more information about my candidacy and the growing independent movement of unaffiliated voters, please contact me by email: Please take time to also visit our collective website

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Dave Glissmeyer commentary on Friedman

Dave Glissmeyer has this to say about Friedman's New York Times article:

"Politics in the U.S. can be pretty discouraging these days, so when a positive development occurs it merits our attention. Accordingly, I take a certain amount of pride in noting that many of the fundamental themes I’ve been hammering home for the past year are now being confirmed by some of the country’s top syndicated writers.

Of great interest, I encourage you to take a minute and read Thomas Friedman’s opinion piece in the New York Times about our decadent two party system and the potential emergence of independent candidates and an independent party."

full text

Dave Glissmeyer's commentary on Friedman

Dave Glissmeyer has this to say about Friedman's New York Times article:

"Politics in the U.S. can be pretty discouraging these days, so when a positive development occurs it merits our attention. Accordingly, I take a certain amount of pride in noting that many of the fundamental themes I’ve been hammering home for the past year are now being confirmed by some of the country’s top syndicated writers.

Of great interest, I encourage you to take a minute and read Thomas Friedman’s opinion piece in the New York Times about our decadent two party system and the potential emergence of independent candidates and an independent party."

full text