Tag Archives: Elections

The Drag of Congressional Hearings

boehner-obamacareThe prospects of paralyzing hearings and pontificating for no reason, other than Republican hatred toward Obama.

The public gets what it wants every two years. Will there be prolonged hearings, will the Republican Congress pursue a witch hunt, or will it fear blow-back in 2014 elections?

From the New York Times (Jonathan Weisman):

G.O.P., Energized, Weighs How Far to Take Inquiries

WASHINGTON — The investigations ensnaring the White House have unified the Republican Party, energized a political base shattered by election losses and given common purpose to lawmakers divided over a legislative agenda.

The most pressing question for Congressional Republicans is no longer how to finesse changes to immigration law or gun control, but how far they can push their cases against President Obama without inciting a backlash of the sort that has left them staggering in the past.

Stay tuned.
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Filed under Elections, Obama, Politics, Republicans

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.

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Filed under 1, Egypt, Elections, Journalism, Libya, 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.

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Filed under 1, Elections, Obama, Politics, Politics

American Democracy: Will you be able to vote?

If you enjoyed the presidential election of 2000, you’ll have a great time with what’s coming in 2012. Governors and state legislatures around the nation — color them red states — are taking mighty efforts to further gerrymander the people’s right to vote.

"No man is good enough to govern another man without that other's consent."

Led by Florida and Texas, Republican-dominated state legislatures are seeking to demand picture IDs and positive proof of citizenship before people can vote. The decision will certainly curtail the voting ability of the poor and undereducated. All will be forced to pass a litmus test before they can vote.

This amounts to little more than a poll tax, papered over with blather about non-existent dangers of fraud– a further attempt to stop voting by the underclasses. It is nothing new in Florida, which decided the 2000 election, and where unseen hands wrongly expunged thousands from the electoral rolls as possible convicted felons. Leaving hanging chads aside, reports in the Sunshine State showed the tendency to find more faulty voting machines and systematic intimidation at minority polling places than elsewhere.

The Brennan Center for Justice
reports that 21 million American citizens do not have picture IDs, although there is no constitutional reason why that should stop them from voting.

“Spreading fear of a nonexistent flood of voter fraud,” writes The New York Times, Republican legislators “are demanding that citizens be required to show a government-issued identification before they are allowed to vote. Republicans have been pushing these changes for years, but now more than two-thirds of the states have adopted or are considering such laws. The Advancement Project, an advocacy group of civil rights lawyers, correctly describes the push as ‘the largest legislative effort to scale back voting rights in a century.’ “

Are you paying attention? In the United States –where a coalition of working class African-Americans and Hispanics tipped the scales to elect Barack Obama in 2008 — state legislatures are about to restrict voting rights. Who do you think this organized Republican campaign is intended to benefit?

First came a landmark, highly partisan and criticized 5-4 Supreme Court decision in 2010 that allows unregulated corporate financing of elections, the work of a conservative bloc that also decided the outcome of the 2000 election. With this latest decision, the wealthiest can spend as much money as they want to sway the minds of the collective electorate. We will see a personality-driven, lie-besmirched campaign for the presidency and Congress in which untold billions — six or seven billion it is estimated — will be spent in the battle for victory.

If you’re not fired up about the problem, try some quotations over history about democracy: one of my favorites is from John Adams [to get even more passionate about our democracy, watch or watch again the HBO TV miniseries about John Adams. Next go see the current film, The Conspirator, a well-wrought film about the rule of law.]

Here’s what Adams said:
“Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”

Get fired up and prove that John Adams was wrong. Fight laws that will restrict voting rights.

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