Category Archives: Elections

Republicans and Voter Fraud: “We have met the enemy and they are us”

The Republican Party in Florida now faces a voter fraud scandal in the key error/hanging chad/fraud-prone state of Florida.

The Florida Republican Party has fired a consulting firm — run by a controversial Republican strategist — after the firm submitted more than 100 questionable voter registrations in Palm Beach County. That county was precisely where in 2000 controversial ballots and hanging chads led to George W. Bush’s election by the Supreme Court, not by popular or electoral vote.

An Associated Press story reported today:

The Republican Party of Florida used Virginia-based Strategic Allied Consulting to help register and turnout voters in Florida, one of a shrinking handful of states President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney are contesting.
The Florida state party had paid the firm more than $1.3 million so far, and the Republican National Committee used the group for almost $3 million of work in Nevada, North Carolina, Colorado and Virginia.
“We have zero tolerance for any threat to the integrity of elections. When we were informed of an alleged incident we immediately cut all ties to the company,” RNC Communications Director Sean Spicer said.
The state party similarly sought to distance itself from the firm and its main operative, Nathan Sproul.

Sproul, a well-known right-wing activist from Arizona, has worked with the Republican Party in other key states and has faced controversy before.

Ironically, the GOP has marshaled a series of efforts — almost always in swing states — across the country to demand voter id’s, with the claim that fraud is rampant. That is not true. The nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law. The center’s analysis has reported that “Fraud by individual voters is both irrational and extremely rare.”

Interesting case — now Republicans can argue that cases of voter fraud are increasing — the 100 questioned registrations are more than the number of challenged voter fraud cases across the United States in the last 10 years. A fitting aphorism: “We have met the enemy and they are us.”

Leave a comment

Filed under 1, Bush, Elections, Politics

Krauthammer: The Shrink of Romney-land

A friend of mine asked after the attacks in Libya and Egypt – and Mitt Romney’s mindless and mistimed and lying reaction – “is there any decorum left?”
In this strange divided land, there certainly isn’t.

The dividing lines among Democrats and Republicans are stark – have a look at the closed loop of talking heads. Consider Doctor Charles Krauthammer, the Fox television analyst and pundit and columnist (who happens to be a physician and psychiatrist), and witness the depths of self-delusion.

Rallying troops more ignorant than he himself, the doctor tells us today – predictably – that the attack on the U.S. embassy this week was the result of Obama policies. Doctor Krauthammer parrots Romney’s nonsense about “apologizing for America.”

“The substance of what Romney said at the time was absolutely right…The problem is he needs to make a larger argument. There is a collapse of Obama’s policy. It began with the Cairo speech, it began with the apologies to Iran. It began with regret for the Iraq war, it began with the so-called outreach and it completely collapsed. It has gotten nowhere on Iran. These are the fruits of appeasement and apology.”

The good doctor is not alone – the Romney spin masters have sent out Senator Rob Portman of Ohio; the former senator of Minnesota, Norm Coleman, Laura Ingraham and their ilk to spit bile, to lie and confuse.

Romney lied about events in the Middle East this week – by creating talking points untethered to reality. Is there decorum? Is there shame? No.
How can such bull permeate the airwaves?

American journalism bears some of the blame for the state of affairs. The rules of the game say that we must be balanced; newspapers and magazines report that “both sides” are exploiting events for their own political advantage. All would be well, but journalism doesn’t know how to place a flashing light under the visage of a liar. Newspapers publish lies and then place the fact-checking elsewhere in separate columns, even separate pages. There must be a better way.

The Republicans have been lying and deceiving and blocking legislation – hell-bent on taking power, waging war based on fraud and then taking power again — for at least a decade. With a more reliable front-man than Romney, some day too soon, a Reaganesque know-nothing smooth talker one day will win. Probably not this time, unless the Supreme Court-authorized multibillion dollar campaign spending spree works.

One always had the idea that a doctor, a psychiatrist, would be a healing force. That is why Doctor Krauthammer comes across as such strange apparition. The obvious thing to say is “doctor, heal thyself.” And then heal thy brethren.

5 Comments

Filed under 1, Egypt, Elections, Journalism, Libya, Middle East, Obama, Politics

#Romney and #Ryan: “Don’t Know Much About History.”#RNC

Note to Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. A little Sam Cooke song for your iPods, across the generations.

Don’t know much about history
Don’t know much biology
Don’t know much about a science book
Don’t know much about the French I took

    Foreign policy notes after the Republican convention.

Romney sounds like he wants to attack Iran.This plays to Sheldon Adelson and the millions of dollars he is willing to dedicate to defeating Obama; and to Bush-era neo-cons in the wings. Will Romney and the image-makers be able to generate enough fear in America to push for a war with Iran? I don’t think there is a stomach for going back to the Bush-Cheney policy of pre-emptive war.

Romney and his running mate used the tired old phrase that President Obama had “thrown Israel under the bus.” There’s nothing to sustain that. Obama has been as supportive of Israel as every other president since 1948. Israel under Benjamin Netanyahu—propped up by the way by Sheldon Adelson –has not been in a mood to work with the Obama administration toward compromise and negotiations with the Palestinians.

Only those with no memory and no sense of context can listen to Condoleezza Rice seriously about foreign policy. Exactly 10 years ago, she appeared on American television and fear-mongered:

“We know that there have been shipments going…into Iraq, for instance, of aluminum tubes that really are only suited…for nuclear weapons…We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”

If she didn’t know that this was a manufactured lie, she didn’t know her job. Rice has no apology and now is declared “presidential” by some. She shilled for a fake policy on Iraq as secretary of state. See my book with Knut Royce – The Italian Letter – which disproves the claim she still makes today, that the Bush administration acted on the best intelligence available at the time. That is a lie.

What this business about saber-rattling with Russia and using Vladimir Putin as a convenient foil? Are the Republican foreign policy advisers buried in a safe room since 1990? It was reckless.

That brings us back to Sam Cooke. I suspect that Romney does know the lessons he learned. He does know “the French he took.” He just doesn’t want to let on in the party he dances with. That is sad.

1 Comment

Filed under 1, Bush, Condi Rice, Elections, Middle East, Obama, Politics

The Republican (and Fox News) Fraud Behind Voter Fraud

Here are some questions I’d like to ask (or some news person should ask) Mitt Romney, assuming he’s ever available to talk to the
“liberal establishment” mainstream media.

–Do you think voter fraud is a problem in the United States?
–How many cases of voter fraud have been committed in the last ten years?
–Is is a coincidence that swing states with Republican-dominated legislatures are leading the drive for voter ID cards?
–Are you telling the truth?

Fact is that there is no voter fraud problem in the United States.
What there is instead is a cynical Republican scam to suppress voting, abetted of course by Fox News, which has a Voter Fraud Unit reporting about the non-existent problem.

A report by the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law says the problem does not exist:

* Fraud by individual voters is both irrational and extremely rare.
* Many vivid anecdotes of purported voter fraud have been proven false or do not demonstrate fraud.
* Voter fraud is often conflated with other forms of election misconduct.
* Raising the unsubstantiated specter of mass voter fraud suits a particular policy agenda.
* Claims of voter fraud should be carefully tested before they become the basis for action.

Here’s a link to the full report: http://www.brennancenter.org/content/resource/policy_brief_on_the_truth_about_voter_fraud/

Jon Stewart had a perfect take on the story, closing with a great line: “Next up, leashes for unicorns.”

It isn’t a joke of course. Florida, among the voter ID states, showed what it could do in suppressing the vote in 2000. The Republican-controlled state wrongly purged people from the rolls, claiming they were ineligible as felons, hindered access in some cases to election booths in likely Democratic-voting minority areas — and of course fought off a recount, with an assist from the U.S. Supreme Court. A member of the dissenting vote on the Supreme Court likened the 2000 election to a coup.

They are at it again, it is systematic and no accident. It’s an outrage.

1 Comment

Filed under 1, Elections, Obama, Politics, Politics

John Sununu Attacks Obama’s American Roots

This garbage from the Republicans plays to fringe stupidity. Read on, just in case you thought that Donald Trump and the birthers had been repudiated by the party.

From the Los Angeles Times:

In some of the toughest comments yet delivered on behalf of Mitt Romney’s campaign, former New Hampshire Gov. John H. Sununu assailed President Obama’s roots in the “political-slash-felon environment” of Chicago and suggested that Obama needed to “learn how to be an American.”

Leave a comment

Filed under 1, Elections, Obama, Politics, Politics

Health care decision: Key quotes from the ruling – Tim Grieve – POLITICO.com

Health care decision: Key quotes from the ruling – Tim Grieve – POLITICO.com.

Interesting sidelight, the NBC/MSNBC correspondent at the Supreme Court, Peter Williams, described this as a mixed victory at best and downplayed it, even as everyone else was declaring it a major victory for Obama. Williams, a former government official himself under Republican administrations, is also a former staff aide to former Vice President Richard B. Cheney. Wonder what he was thinking.

Leave a comment

Filed under Bush, Elections, Journalism, Obama, Politics

Obama Spanks GoP Chickenhawks on War With Iran: Jeff Stein at Spytalk

from Jeff Stein:

It’s ironic isn’t it, that President Obama, who’s never gotten closer to a military uniform than a handshake, is so much more cautious about sending men and women into harm’s way than his predecessor, a onetime Air Force pilot?

The conventional wisdom, after all, is that civilians who’ve never seen a bullet fired in anger are far more cavalier about sounding the trumpets to war than a soldier who’s been there. read more: spytalk

2 Comments

Filed under 1, Bush, Elections, Intelligence, Middle East, Obama, Politics, Politics

Justices Scalia, Thomas Honored at Fundraiser Sponsored by Health Care Reform Opponents | Truthout

by: Mike Ludwig, Truthout | Report
A few hours after the Supreme Court justices met last Thursday, November 10, to consider hearing challenges to the national health care overhaul, Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas were the honored speakers at a fundraiser for a conservative legal group that was sponsored in part by health care reform opponents involved in the litigation.

Justices Scalia, Thomas Honored at Fundraiser Sponsored by Health Care Reform Opponents | Truthout.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1, Elections, Obama, Politics

Health Care and US

First comes the news—The U.S. Supreme Court will decide–four months before 2012 presidential elections-whether President Obama’s health care reform measures are constitutional in whole or in part.

Next comes the frank question: Will the Supreme Court make a decision based on the merits, or will this politically divided legal entity go with the flow of its Republican-influenced majority?

The New York Times had some interesting points to make on the subject after reporting the fact. The health care bill has brought sweeping changes to the United States already that will be difficult to roll back.

The Times reports:

“No matter what the Supreme Court decides about the constitutionality of the federal law adopted last year, health care in America has changed in ways that will not be easily undone. Provisions already put in place, like tougher oversight of health insurers, the expansion of coverage to one million young adults and more protections for workers with pre-existing conditions are already well cemented and popular.
And a combination of the law and economic pressures has forced major institutions to wrestle with the relentless rise in health care costs.”

The first question at hand for the Supreme Court is to consider the fact that the bill forces people to buy health insurance. It does so in many ways as a compromise replacement for what should be in place—universal health care. But in the twisted, vested-interest, insurance-industry controlled, Republican Congress, we’re stuck with the bill we’ve got. And the same uninformed Americans who “think” that President Obama is an alien and that man never landed on the moon also buy the notion that universal health care is akin to godless communism.

That would be fine if we were talking about a loony fringe – but we’re talking about a crowd that comprises most of the Republican Party.

Another question: if one part of the bill is struck down, should the entire bill be declared unconstitutional?

Back then to the Supreme Court. What faith do we have in a humanistic outcome? Who knows. This is not quite the Rehnquist Court of November 2000 that engineered the closest thing to a coup that the United States has ever seen—throwing the presidential election to George W. Bush.

But this is a court with four stalwart Republican votes, John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito, and four liberal Democrats: Elena Kagan, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer. The odd man out as always is the middle-range Anthony Kennedy, who will likely decide whether health care stands and how the result plays out in the presidential election.

In a beautiful world, the choice should be on the merits. The New York Times in an editorial maps out the reality of the choices.

“This can be a highly politicized court, and, for the public good and its own credibility, it must resist that impulse. If the court follows its own precedents, as it should, this case should not be a close call: The reform law and a provision requiring most people to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty are clearly constitutional.”

Problem is that the similarly configured Renquist court did lose credibility. How will it rule this time?

Good luck to us all.

2 Comments

Filed under 1, Elections, Obama, Politics

Roger Ailes: The Formidable Wizard Behind the Curtain at Fox News

A profile of Roger Ailes from The Guardian:

“Roger Ailes and the rise of Fox News
Even Rupert Murdoch is afraid of Roger Ailes, the paranoid boss of Fox News. But ‘the Chairman’ is using his power to make Americans more rightwing, more ignorant and ever more terrified.”
click here for more….

“According to recent polls, Fox News viewers are the most misinformed of all news consumers. They are 12 percentage points more likely to believe the stimulus package caused job losses, 17 points more likely to believe Muslims want to establish Sharia law in America, 30 points more likely to say that scientists dispute global warming, and 31 points more likely to doubt President Obama’s citizenship. At the height of the healthcare debate, more than two-thirds of Fox News viewers were convinced Obamacare would lead to a “government takeover”, provide healthcare to illegal immigrants, pay for abortions and let the government decide when to pull the plug on grandma. In fact, a study by the University of Maryland revealed that ignorance of Fox viewers actually increases the longer they watch the network. That’s because Ailes isn’t interested in providing people with information, or even a balanced range of perspectives. Like his political mentor, Richard Nixon, Ailes traffics in the emotions of victimisation.”

Leave a comment

Filed under 1, Elections, Journalism, Obama, Politics, State of the Union