Posts Tagged ‘2012 Election’

If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.  —Emma Goldman

Well, Republicans and their lackey libertarians are well on their way to doing just that for minorities and the poor and right under our noses (or at least under the noses of those who aren’t paying attention when they outright tell us they are doing it). According to a new study by a sociologist from U of Mass:

States that passed more restrictive legislation in 2011 were those in which:

  • Republicans controlled the governorship and both chambers of the legislative body.
  • Forecasters viewed them as potential swing states in the 2012 election.
  • Minority turnout was higher in the 2008 presidential election and those which have larger proportions of African-American residents.
  • There were a larger number of allegations of voter fraud in the 2004 election–although this fact had a much smaller substantive impact relative to partisan and racial factors.

Well duh!  The left has known about it for years but it’s nice to see that our observations are backed up by actual numbers.

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Some quick thoughts on news items I heard today yesterday….(so sue me, I’m slow to post lately)

  1. You know how waiters approach you and say, “Hi, My name is Kelly and I’m going to be your server today. How is your day going?” Well, I hate it. Call me a curmudgeon (really, it’s okay, I can accept that label) but I don’t give a damn what their name is because I’ll never remember it anyway. And I don’t want to make chitchat with them. I don’t do small talk very well so I don’t bother with it. I only want a waiter to be quick, attentive, efficient and quiet. Well there’s a new application of current technology out there that let’s you order via your phone and text your waiter when you want him/her to come over to your table. A waiter was quoted as saying something like, they “might as well replace us with robots”. Okay!  Sounds good to me.  I’m all for it if it means I don’t have to know your name or talk about the weather with you.
  2. The city of Detroit has been officially allowed to go bankrupt, including the ability to cut pensions in spite of a state constitutional provision that forbids it. Unfortunately, no word as to what creditors will be given precedence–the banks or the thousands of city workers whose pensions have not been funded. Correct me if I am wrong but I thought a bankruptcy judge could specify ‘who gets paid first’? It’s shameful to think that banks making millions, if not billions, in profit would get money before city workers who spent years if not decades toiling away thinking that they would some day be able to retire and now cannot. If the judge does not put them first, those people will have to rely on others and/or work until the day they die. That just sucks.
  3. As I’ve written about many times before, Arizonans hate to pay taxes but they still have the nerve to be upset when public services go unprovided. Sometimes it bites us in the ass like it did when Sheriff Joe failed to investigate over 400 felony cases for the City of El Mirage some involving murder, rape and molestation of children. Now we have another scandal. Six thousand CPS (Child Protective Services) cases have been neglected–as in not touched at all. The Governor having been informed of this created a task force to review all of those cases to see “if the kids are safe”.   Ironically the acronym for the task force is CARE–hah!  Maybe she should have cared BEFORE?!?!  CPS is not at fault. They are extremely underpaid, understaffed and under-appreciated. If some of those kids have been harmed, and the odds are good that they have, I want to know. And I want it rubbed in the face of every Arizonan who refuse to pay their taxes.  Liberty in a Capitalist society is only for those that “Have”.  The “Have Nots” are just SOL.  Their liberty is the freedom to suffer without assistance and without hope.  I wonder if those abused and neglected kids can smell the liberty right now–that is, if they’re still among the living.
  4. The price of milk in the U.S. may double and worse yet, become extremely scarce. And milk won’t be the only commodity that this will happen to…ANY product made with milk and many other basic staples that come from farming. Why? Because the U.S. Congress, held hostage by crazy, foaming at the mouth Republicans who want to take yet more money away from the food stamp program, sucks balls. They’ve failed to pass a Farm Bill–a very basic thing BTW. We need to get some rational adults into office who actually want to make government work for the American people.
  5. And speaking of crazy people, there’s this guy. He is openly advocating treason on Fox Television. Maybe he’s just crazy like a fox because you know he’s making bank off this stunt.  I like to call it Entrepreneurial Hatemongering TM As Bob Cesca says:

    Indeed, this sort of harrowing armed revolt and assassination fetishization generates a not insignificant revenue stream. It’s become its own subsidiary of the conservative entertainment complex, as David Frum called it. Located just adjacent to the anti-Obama conspiracy theory section of the store, the violent-overthrow cosplay shelves are loaded with highly potent crazyswag. For a price. Read the crazy, but subscribe first. And don’t forget to bulk-purchase the hastily-assembled ghost-written book.

  6. Finally, FL is in the news yet again. They continue to set the standard for how to rig elections by limiting who gets to vote. Once again, changing the rules at the last moment, Governor “Gollum” Scott is ordering the county election officials to close down hundreds of drop-off sites used for absentee ballots. According to a Pinellas County official 42% of the county’s absentee ballots were left at drop-off sites in 2012. That’s significant. Absentee ballots help primarily those who cannot, for a number of reasons, physically make it to the polls in the increasingly tiny window of time being allowed–which means the poor, elderly, women, minorities and you know who they tend to vote for. There is some hope though…some county election officials are openly defying the governor (as they did when he tried to illegally trim thousands of Floridians off of the voting rolls in the last election).

I think that’s more than enough misanthropy for today. Cheers!

I think the cartoon speaks for itself (click to embiggen)

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PS:  Title of post is a quote from Blaise Pascal

Did you know?

1. Total federal spending has gone down for two years in a row–for the first time since the Korean War

2. The deficit is shrinking MUCH faster than anyone expected and it’s happening so fast that some economists think it may be happening too quickly and could hurt the economy.  According to the Plutocrat Party, the President is only increasing the deficit–that’s what they’re screeching as their reason for creating a false emergency and holding us all hostage.

3. Some idiots in the Republican Party already think we’re bankrupt. Baby Jeebus on cracker, can someone please force them to take Econ101 again!!!!  If the US were truly bankrupt, things would be a hell of a lot worse than they are now….as in the Apocalypse has occurred.

This kind of ignorance will be the death of the greatest political experiment in the history of the world.

For more fun facts and a MUCH better explanation that I can provide, check out this article by Bob Cesca over at The Daily Banter.

Also, just for giggles…a troll commenter on Bob’s site decided to tell us that

i am an american watching you right and left wing nut jobs destroying the country….You will have to pay a price for your treachery one day………Fk all you morons…[sic]

He/she later followed that up with saying he and another commenter were

both fucked

My response sums it all nicely, if I may say so myself.  To wit,

No, we’re all fucked because House Republicans refuse to be grown ups and pay the damn bills that they themselves created and they’re doing so only for the purpose of overturning a law that they don’t like and can’t undo through the proper, legitimate legislative process. Their behavior is bordering (if it hasn’t already crossed the line) on treason and your support of them brands you as a traitor too. So, honestly, fuck you sideways.

I don’t always agree with President Obama.  He set a horrible precedent back in July 2011 by allowing Congressional Republicans to use the debt ceiling increase as a bargaining chip.  Now they think it’s okay to use it any time they want and it’s not.

In all honesty, my livelihood depends on federal funds and if the U.S. economy takes a nose dive, it is highly likely that I will lose my job.  I have nothing in reserve (not from want of trying, believe me) so I’d be homeless with a 3 year old and a 10 year old within a month or two.  That scares the holy crap out of me.  That’s primarily why I’m so fired up about this whole crisis.

However, there is a larger issue at stake other than my own day-to-day needs–that is our country’s democracy.  Taking in the view from 30,000 feet is important for us all.  That view indicates that it’s incredibly destructive for the Legislative Branch to subvert the entire Democratic process by refusing to pay the country’s bills.  Even China, our biggest creditor, is getting nervous (ht Bob Cesca).   Sadly, knowing the Tea Party and their base, this will only encourage them all the more.

Many in the Republican Party (and some Blue Dog Democrats who are from conservative districts) don’t seem to understand this larger issue.  Or maybe they just don’t care.  Either way, it’s a problem and a precedent the President HAS to nip in the bud by refusing to negotiate.  Fareed Zakaria explains it very well by saying, “In a democracy, the process is more important than the outcome.”  Watch this video segment from his program.  He does an excellent job of explaining it in simple terms so that even your conservative grandparents can understand.  Share it with them and then call your Congressional Representatives….demand that they do their jobs and raise the debt ceiling without all the extra crap thrown in.

I love it when the President is forceful and direct.  Here’s part of his statement today about the threatened government shutdown:

But one faction of one party in one house of Congress in one branch of government doesn’t get to shut down the entire government just to refight the results of an election. Keeping the people’s government open is not a concession to meet. Keeping vital services running and hundreds of thousands of Americans on the job is not something you give to the other side. It’s our basic responsibility.

[snip]

You don’t get to extract a ransom for doing your job, for doing what you’re supposed to be doing anyway, or just because there’s a law there that you don’t like.

Here’s the full transcript

Once again Arizona, land of few taxes and no services, has spent a ton of money and time defending yet another unconstitutional law. The notoriously right leaning Supreme Court struck down Arizona’s Prop 200 Voter ID law by a vote of 7-2.  Their reasoning was, to put it simply, that the Arizona law interfered with Federal Law.

Essentially, a 1993 Federal Law established a uniform procedure for voter registration for all 50 states that said anyone who swore an oath that they were a U.S. citizen under penalty of perjury and signed that oath could be registered to vote.  The Arizona law entitled, “Arizona Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act,” required anyone without a driver’s license to provide proof of citizenship via a birth certificate or passport.  I’ve discussed this many times before.  Just because you have a driver’s license doesn’t mean you’re a citizen and many citizens don’t drive and therefore don’t even have a driver’s license. Furthermore, getting a copy of a birth certificate is not as easy as it sounds for many people, it costs money, and it takes quite a bit of time. All of this is true for passports.  Study after study after study have shown that this kind of voter ID law ends up causing less voter turn out among the following kinds of citizens:  the elderly, urban non-driving residents, and the lower socioeconomic classes (in which minorities tend to be disproportionately  represented and they tend to vote Democratic).

For many years after 1993, that signed oath was deemed sufficient until the 2000 Presidential election.  You remember the “hanging chad” debacle and how the Supreme Court handed the Presidency to George W. Bush on a platter after a suspicious vote recount in the State of Florida.  The irony is that conservatives won that round but came out of the process thinking that if they can rig the process, then the liberals will try to do it too.  Except the liberals didn’t.  The 1993 law remained in place and not a whole lot changed EXCEPT for many states willingly adopting early, mail-in ballots which everyone agreed helped increase voter turn out and saved people time and money.

Still, there were calls for investigations by conservatives who insisted it was happening.  The story that Mickey Mouse registered to vote will live in infamy regardless of how false it is.  So investigations were completed during the Bush tenure and they found so few incidents of voter fraud that it was something like less than one one hundredths of a percentage.   And of the fraud found, all of the perpetrators had been caught and prosecuted trying to vote in more than one polling location AND their vote didn’t count.  In a country of 350 million people that low of a violation right is a testament to how sacred we hold the right to vote.  It’s damn important and we treat it so.

Still conservatives pushed the idea that fraud was happening because it scares their base and that motivates them to get out and vote.   That kind of fear mongering always seems to work on a certain percentage of any population and it worked here.  Combined with a lot of dog whistles during the 2008 Presidential campaign, fear of voting fraud reached a fever pitch.  So when President Obama won that election, it was all the proof they needed.  Why they couldn’t fathom that millions of white people like me would vote for a brown person like him, is beyond my understanding.

In any case, the result was a rash of new state laws to control the voting process and voter ID laws like Arizona’s Prop 200.  There have been other laws attempting to limit the hours of voting locations, to limit or entirely eliminate early voting opportunities (Think it was Ohio that tried to say that only military families had the right to vote via early ballot), and to purge voter lists based on how foreign someone’s name sounds (FL, I’m looking at you).  When they couldn’t get a law passed or couldn’t get it passed fast enough to affect an election, particularly the 2012 Presidential election, they tried a more hands-on method of imposing themselves at polling stations and attempting to be the guardians of the ballot box.  Thankfully this kind of behavior simply motivated liberals all the more and alienated quite a few moderates.

In any case, the Supreme Court finally made a good decision based on sound principle.   Federal law is the supreme law of the land and the states cannot pass a law that is stricter than the Federal law.  So what’s next?  How will they try to destroy the voting process?  Because make no mistake about it, they’re trying to steal elections.  They’ve succeeded in gerrymandering congressional districts and we won’t be able to reverse that for another decade or more.    The last thing I heard was an attempt to split up electoral votes based on those same biased congressional districts in states like Pennsylvania and Virginia.   Gird your loins folks, we got work to do.

Other Sources:

https://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/2012/07/24/this-is-how-democracy-dies/