The Watering Hole, Monday, November 12th, 2012: Wallowing in Filth

Thinking that I would just check the Patch local newspapers online to see the local reaction, if any, to the Obama re-election, I somehow ended up wallowing in the filth on the Washington Times.

Not that there wasn’t any filth in the local online ‘news’ – there were plenty of stupid, ignorant, and racially intolerant comments following the above article.

The second piece that I found in the Patch talked about the author’s experiences at the polls in Rockland County, NY (across the Hudson River), where, he alleged, poll workers were wrongfully denying certain non-white and younger voters’ rights to vote, and/or giving voters incorrect information. A woman commenter responded by listing several instances of alleged hanky-panky by Democratic pollworkers, among other things. Then the commenter threw in a link to The Washington Times, and I gave in and clicked on it. Naturally, I wish that I hadn’t. Reading many of the comments following that article made me want to shower, at the very least. However, I did at least run across a possibly useful site which includes a map of which States have, or are considering, photo ID voter laws.

Here’s a few more articles from the Washington Times that ought to raise one’s blood pressure:
- “The Rising Number of States Seeing One Party Rule”; and,
- “Companies Plan Massive Layoffs as ObamaCare Becomes Reality;

And if all this wasn’t enough, here’s some more crap from Newsmax.com: Fearmongering about “Currency Wars”; plus, just take a look at some of the “articles” listed on the home page at Newsmax.com: “FBI Suppressed Petraeus Scandal to Protect President“, and “Norquist to Newsmax: Don’t Surrender Bush Tax Cuts.”

This is our daily open thread–Had enough? I know I did!

The Watering Hole, Monday, October 8th, 2012: To Vote or Not to Vote

Last week a friend at work brought in a recent copy of the Norwalk (Connecticut) Community College’s campus newpaper, TheVoice, so that I could read one of the opinion pieces. This particular piece, written by James Marchese and originally published on September 17th, was entitled “Why I think voting is a waste of time.”

While I agree with some of the reasons that Mr. Marchese puts forth, he demonstrates a lack of knowledge which undercuts his premise:

“Our politicians have no accountability for what they say. To get elected they are willing to bend the truth about what they will do in office. Most often, it is promises to “change” whatever is ailing our society at the time. Though how often does a fundamental change take place? There is often talk of it, but when push comes to shove, things often stay the way they are; politicians normally take that as the safest route.”

The lack of accountability for what politicians say stems from three main problems:
1), when a politician speaks, it is usually either in front of a friendly audience of supporters who don’t care whether the politician is factually correct; or it is in front of journalists who may or may not question the politician’s “facts”, and the journalists who do dare to question a politician who is obviously lying receive short shrift or are simply told that they are just plain wrong.
2) The quality of what passes for journalism in this country, particularly on the televised “news” shows, is sorely lacking any interest in researching the background or the veracity of a politician’s claims. The internets are not just a “series of tubes”, they are a trove of information which can be accessed in a matter of seconds. In addition, many “journalists” are more than willing to trade fact-finding for access to an influential politician, particularly when that politician is a Presidential candidate.
3) Once a politician does get into office, even with the best intentions in the world, he or she is immediately faced with the Borg-like mentality of ‘be assimilated or die’ (the ‘die’ part meaning that none of the politician’s ideas will ever see the light of day), otherwise known as “go along to get along.”

“I see lots of back-and-forth over trivial subjects, but the aspects of our country that need to be scrutinized the most are entirely left alone. For this I mostly blame lobbyists, who are people employed to persuade politicians on certain decisions. How they persuade them exactly, I am not sure. Still I believe someone voted into office by the people should stand with the people they represent, not the people schmoozing them.”

I agree wholeheartedly with the writer’s first and last sentences in this paragraph, but the rest of it betrays his naivete about what has been going on in Washington, DC, for decades. How do lobbyists persuade politicians to do what the lobbyists want? MONEY, MONEY, MONEY. If the writer has not grasped this concept, it is certainly an indication that he has never, ever been paying attention.

“I believe if politicians really cared about the people they would make more decisions based on what is best for them, and not on what their party’s standing is. In some cases our elected officials reject new bills and policies just because a rival created it. Our government should not operate out of spite, they should be setting an example and learning to cooperate to really decide what is best for the country.”

This, too, I agree with. However, again, while Mr. Marchese seems to be aware of at least the idea of obstructionism in today’s Congress, he apparently has no idea of which party is doing the obstructing. If he did even the most minimal research, he would find that the Tea Party Republicans have been doing their utmost to prevent ANY legislation which might compromise their own etched-in-stone ideas about minimal government, or which might allow the Democratic President anything that resembles a victory, even at the cost of hurting American Citizens.

“I have been called un-American, an idealist, and even a communist on occasion. [Try being a Liberal, the name-calling is even worse.] The fact of the matter is, that I refuse to participate in something that I value as having no merit. I personally refuse to give people power over me when there is no way to guarantee they will act in the best interest of the people. Politics is often too dirty a game for my taste.”

So, Mr. Marchese believes that exercising his Constitutionally-given right to vote has no merit. And while he “refuse[s] to give people power over [him]“, his very refusal to do so actually gives politicians and government the ultimate power over him, i.e, ignoring him completely. Yes, politics is a dirty business, but it is NOT a game. It can be, literally, the difference between life and death for some, and the difference between keeping your rights or losing them. With so many people being purged from voter rolls, along with other voter-suppression tactics going on in so many Republican-governed states, the right to vote should not be tossed aside so readily. In my opinion, Mr. Marchese’s decision to not sully his hands by participating in the electoral process implies not only a lack of concern for the future of this country, but also an innate selfishness that belies his supposed concern for “the best interest of the people.”

This is our daily open thread — got anything to say?

The Watering Hole: Wednesday, September 26, 2012: Romney’s Reboots Revealed!

Tweeter took time off from following Invisible Obama to sit down with Invisible Mitt for a candid, bird on Etch-a-Sketch interview.

T: I understand you’re rebooting your campaign.

IM: Yes. It’s what I do best.

T: A month ago, going into the Republican Convention, you were looking to reboot your campaign then, too, weren’t you?

IM: Well, as a matter of fact, I was. You see, at that point in time I had come in second to so many of my worthy opponents that I had to reinvent myself as the front runner.

T: To capture the ‘anybody but Romney’ vote?

IM: Right. You see, I thought that by taking every position on every issue, everyone would like me. Now, I wouldn’t say I was wrong, but the voters kept voting for everyone but me. I was kind of like that old Avis Rent-a-car commercial — I’m number two, but I try harder. Well, I don’t exactly try harder, but I do have more money, so when my opponents would ride the wave and get knocked off, I was still there, waiting for the tide to turn in my favor.

T: And when it did, you became Mr. Etch-a-Sketch?

IM: Right. What better way to illustrate to my base than use a simple child’s toy to show folks how easy it is to start with a clean slate, to erase everything I said going into the convention and start over.

T: But you didn’t get the bounce you expected out of your convention.

IM: No. But I don’t fault Invisible Dirty Harry for that. I blame the liberal media for focusing more on Invisible Obama than on me.

T: Well, you have to admit, bringing Invisible Obama on the stage at the Republican Convention did give him quite a boost in the polls.

IM: I don’t have to admit anything. And just because my tax forms state the United States is a foreign country, it doesn’t mean I’m from the planet Kolob.

T: O…kay… So, after the convention you re-booted your campaign, again. How did that go?

IM: Forty-seven percent of the people didn’t like it. So I’m re-booting again.

T: Again?

IM: Sure! Why not? If at first you don’t succeed, just shake the Etch-a-Sketch and start all over. I’m sure that sooner or later, I’ll find a message that resonates with the voters.

Walker, The Zoo’s underground reporter

“Walker here,” the Mole interrupted, “I just got back from my latest assignment, to find the dirt on Romney’s latest re-boot. My sources tell me he’s going to put a lot of boots on the ground. There’s a huge voter supression effort going on across the country. I managed to get this photo of one of their election-day training camps, at great peril to myself, I might add:

Romney’s Re-Boot

THIS IS OUR OPEN THREAD. ENJOY YOUR FREEDOMS WHILE YOU CAN!

This is what the death of democracy looks like.

MaddowBlog

During the 13 months beginning July 1 the year before elections in 2004 and 2008, registered Democrats increased by an average of 209,425 voters.

From 2011 to this year, that number was 11,365.

Over that same time, the number of registered Republicans increased by 128,039, topping the average of 103,555 during the past two presidential cycles.

All Americans should be sickened by this graph, no matter what your political leanings.  If you’re not sickened, then you have forgotten what it means to be an American, and should be ashamed of yourself.

Republicans try to suppress the minority vote

From the Rachel Maddow Show:

Again from the Rachel Maddow Show:

This second video is powerful and should have every single American screaming in outrage.

This last video from last night’s show isn’t up on YouTube yet, so you will have to watch it here. It is the interview with 94 year old Dorothy Cooper of Georgia, who later moved to Tennessee, and who has voted in almost every election since the 1930′s. The only election she missed was once in the 1960′s, and she is now being prevented from voting. Why? She doesn’t have a photo ID because she has never driven a car. She has a lifetime of documents, but not good enough. Don’t miss this interview.

Here’s the link to the story of Dorothy Cooper.

Attempted Sabotage Foiled in Deerfield Beach, Florida!

This is sad that this kind of tactic is still going on.  TMZ is reporting that Deerfield Beach, Fla. which is one hour south of Palm Beach had 400 people waiting to vote at 6:15 a.m. this morning.  All were waiting for the polls to open at 7:00 a.m and this is what they found.

There is one voting machine to accommodate all of them.

The area almost entirely African American. Many of the people never have voted before. One woman was 101 years old. She was wheeled into the polling place and on her way out she said that before she died, she wanted to vote for a black man.

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US elections – is the fox guarding the henhouse

From the RealNewsNetwork, watch this 3-part interview with Professor Spencer Overton of The George Washington University Law School as he talks about our US elections, and the attempts underway to block voters.

Part 1 - Spencer Overton: Claims about fraud will block thousands of innocent voters

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Watchdog Group Sues Colorado Secretary Of State For Illegal Voter Purge

Advancement Project was founded on the principle that structural racism can be eliminated and a racially just democracy may be attained through multi-racial collective action by organized communities.  They are a national voter protection agency, their lawsuit was filed in federal court Friday. It alleges that Coffman violated federal election law in two ways.  Advancement Project is challenging the illegal purges and cancellation practices of  Colorado Secretary of State, Mike Coffman that have removed between 16,000 and 30,000 voters from Colorado’s rolls.

“These purge programs violate a federal law that is intended to protect eligible voters from being swept off the rolls,” said Penda Hair, co-director, Advancement Project. “The state admits engaging in these practices and purging thousands of voters’ registration records without notice. We felt that filing this action was the only way we could ensure that thousands of Colorado residents would not show up at the polls on Election Day only to find they could not participate in this historic national election.”

Advancement Project is challenging two types of purging practices by the state as violations of the National Voting Rights Act (NVRA).

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Bush Orders DOJ to Probe Ohio Voter Registrations

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First, this is a way for George W. Bush to try to suppress the vote in Ohio.  Secondly, in this state, all voters are required to present valid identification in order to vote.  House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, is leading the charge, by sending the letter to Bush to probe the matter.

President George W. Bush late Friday asked Attorney General Michael Mukasey to investigate whether hundreds of thousands of newly registered voters in the battleground state of Ohio would have to verify the information on their voter registration forms or be given provisional ballots, an issue the U.S. Supreme Court weighed in on last week.

The unprecedented intervention by the White House less than two weeks before the presidential election may result in at least 200,000 voters in Ohio not being able to vote on Election Day if they are forced to provide additional identification when they head to the polls.

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Voter Suppression In Colorado By Republican Clerk

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Republican county clerk Robert Balink lied to Colorado College students, telling them that if they’re from outside the state they could not register to vote if their parents claimed them as dependents on their tax returns. It seems that Balink’s shenanigans are being used by election officials in Virginia and South Carolina as well. More from McClatchy Newspapers:

At a news conference in Colorado Springs, Democrats also criticized Robert Balink, the El Paso County clerk and recorder, who was a delegate to the Republican National Convention, for taking other steps they said would dampen voting by college students, who are expected to heavily favor Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

“When election officials spread false information about who is eligible to vote and remove, not add, polling places, we need to be concerned that eligible voters will be denied their right to vote,” said Pat Waak, chairwoman of the Colorado Democratic Party.

Balink issued a statement saying his office had misinterpreted state law and “mistakenly published information that was incorrect.”

This is just another tactic by Republicans to discourage college voters, many of whom have put great effort into the Obama campaign. The manager issued a statement on the matter:

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Block the Vote

Rolling Stone

Will the GOP’s campaign to deter new voters and discard Democratic ballots determine the next president?

By Robert Kennedy Jr. and Greg Palast

[..] Suppressing the vote has long been a cornerstone of the GOP’s electoral strategy. Shortly before the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, Paul Weyrich — a principal architect of today’s Republican Party — scolded evangelicals who believed in democracy. “Many of our Christians have what I call the ‘goo goo’ syndrome — good government,” said Weyrich, who co-founded Moral Majority with Jerry Falwell. “They want everybody to vote. I don’t want everybody to vote. . . . As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”

Today, Weyrich’s vision has become a national reality. Since 2003, according to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, at least 2.7 million new voters have had their applications to register rejected. In addition, at least 1.6 million votes were never counted in the 2004 election — and the commission’s own data suggests that the real number could be twice as high. To purge registration rolls and discard ballots, partisan election officials used a wide range of pretexts, from “unreadability” to changes in a voter’s signature. And this year, thanks to new provisions of the Help America Vote Act, the number of discounted votes could surge even higher. [..]

RFK Jr.and Greg Palast have done a great service to the country here with their new voter guide Steal Back Your Vote. They have been investigating election fraud and voter suppression for years. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. wrote an article after the 2004 election that was published in Rolling Stone called Was the 2004 Election Stolen? that detailed how more than 350,000 voters in Ohio were prevented from casting ballots or having their votes counted – enough to have put John Kerry in the White House.

In Block the Vote, Kennedy and Palast are more proactive, breaking down the tactics being used to block the votes BEFORE the election arrives, so that people can find their way through the election day mine field and have their votes count and be counted.

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Maddow: Robert Kennedy, Jr. – GOP Voter Suppression


Talk me down: Could voter suppression cost Barack Obama the election? Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who wrote an article on the subject in Rolling Stone magazine, and is the author of “Steal Back Your Vote,” tries to talk Rachel down.