Today in My History2000: When Life was Simple
2001: Sleeping Sickness
2002: Making the Commitment
2003: Revenge, Passion, Lust, Greed and Love
2004: Welcome to My Desk
2005: Working for Peanuts
2006: It Sneaks Up on You
2007: Progress Milestones
2008: Flag Waving
2009: Wasn't It Yesterday When We Were Young?
2010: June is Bustin' Out All Over
2011: Taking Ny Jet Lag on the Road
Books Read in 2012
"The Memoirs of a Beautiful Boy"
Most Recent on My Santa Barbara, April 2012
HAIKU OF THE DAY
Fraud and corruption
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NOT MY DEMOCRACY
1 June 2012
I decided it was time to get rid of the grey and choose something more cheerful for background this month, including the fun smiley in the camera lens above..
But then I watched Rachel Maddow last night and ended up so depressed, I should have changed the background to solid black. I am so incredibly depressed about what is happening to our country and feeling that nothing will ever improve in my lifetime.
So let's just take the stories Rachel covered last night, in order, as I remember them, with internet help!
Rachel's show began with the hand-off from Ed Schulz, who had ended his program with a story about the attempts to repeal Michigan's Emergency Manager Law. This law allows a governor-chosen appointee to:
Despite an overwhelming number of signers of a petition to put a repeal of this measure on the ballot, it is not going to be on the ballot because the font size of the petition is too small. It is such an incredible tempest in a teapot. Read about it here.
Rachel opened her show with the story of the Secretary of State of Indiana indicted on six felonies, including voter fraud. (This is the guy who is in charge of making sure all the voter rules are followed, you understand!) The governor did not immediately replace him because he was hoping the judge would reduce his felonies to misdemeanors so he could continue to serve in his role of guardian against voter fraud. The Seretary of State is now serving a one year sentence on house arrest. The governor did finally fire him.
Michigan's long-term Republican congressman is not elegible for re-election because of possible fraud there too. Only 244 of the 1,830 signatures submitted to get Thaddeus McCotter on the ballot were actually valid. The secretary of state there is now investigating this as a case of criminal fraud (no indication that McCotter himself may be responsible, but someone is!). The republicans are left with the choice of spending millions of dollars to see if they might possibly get McCotter to be a write-in candidate, or back the only other republican who filed for the race, and educator and veteran who raises reindeer at Christmas time.
According to the non-partisan Brennan Center for Justice, at least 180 bills have been introduced since 2011 aimed at restricting voter rights in 41 states. The bills passed account for about 70% of the electoral votes needed to win the presidency. Fourteen states have passed new restrictive voting laws that will have an impact on the upcoming election: Texas, Florida, South Carolina, Kansas, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee have passed new laws requiring people to show new documentation that voters never had to show before in order to vote now. Documentation that hundreds of thousands of state residents do not have.
There are new restrictions on early and absentee voting in Ohio, West Virginia, Tennessee, Florida and Georgia There are new restrictions on voter registration in Texas, Florida, Ohio, Illinois and Maine.
In Florida, Governor Rick Scott has started a push to purge thousands off Florida's voter registration rolls in time for the election. The stated goal of this purge is supposedly the prevention of voter fraud. In recent weeks the state government has sent a list to county election supervisors of more than 2,600 registered voters who the state says are not U.S. citizens and therefore ineligible to vote. Election supervisors have pointed out that the list has tons of inaccuracies, like Maureen Russo, U.S. Citizen, born in Akron, Ohio, and Bill, a 91 year old decorated WW II vet, born in Brooklyn. There is a guy not identified, but shown posing with his local (Republican) election supervisor and the guy's American passport. Even with the understanding that these lists are terribly inaccurate, the governor has vowed to "ramp up the purge."
The Miami Herald found that the list disproportionately targets Latino, Democratic, or independent-minded voters. Judith Brown-Dianis, Civil Rights attorney and co-director of the Advancement Project, an organization that works with communities seeking to build a fair and just multi-racial democracy using law, public policy, and strategic communications points out that not only is the purge list flawed. She also claims that the action by the governor is illegal because federal law says that purges cannot be done so close to an election and she has called on the Department of Justice to stop them.
Moving over to the Romney campaign, there is the rebirth of the birther movement, with Donald Trump now part of Romney's inner circle and talking about it all over again. Did you know Romney's father was born in Mexico? Yet nobody is yelling that Romney was secretly born in Mexico and that his birth certificate was somehow forged. Isn't it nice to have double standards?
Did you know that Romney thinks it would be a good idea to change the Constitution to demand that anyone who is a candidate for the office of President must have worked three years in the business sector? Think of how many of our former presidents would not have qualified to run for the office
Then there is the case of Iowa Congressman Bruce Braley, who was very nearly defeated in a race that he should have won handily by an anonymous (but extremely well funded) attack, accusing him of being a terrorist sympathizer. Watch this video. The attack was funded from a post office box in Arizona, with no indication of who owned it or where the money came from.
That is what is happening to our government today. Now anybody, anywhere can spend any amount of money to attack candidates without any recourse. They are accountable to nobody. It is said that republicans are prepared to spend more than $1 Billion to defeat Obama. By any means possible. (Think of what that money could do for homeless families and children without health care)
And see, the problem is that with a gullible citizenry (and I fear that we have been so dumbed down by our electronic gizmos and gadgets that we have become, some of us, very gullible), you can say anything about a candidate and there are those who will believe it. I'm not even laying this at the feet of the candidates, Republican or Democratic. If you have some kook that you want to get into office and you have scads of money at your disposal and you can run a big glossy expensive ad campaign, you can essentially buy the office for your candidate.
Oh yeah...and it was just announced that a federal appeals court has ruled the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional. The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston issued the ruling in a unanimous, 3-0 decision. Of particular interest is the fact that two of the appeals court judges are Republican appointees -- and the decision was written by Judge Mike Boudin, a traditional conservative appointed by George H.W. Bush, who was the deputy assistant Attorney General in the Reagan administration. The decision was clear: the law treats same-sex couples as second-class citizens and that's a violation of fundamental rights. But even though this has been the case when the act has gone to court in case after case, Boehner and Cantor have pledged to take the issue all the way to the Supreme Court, spending millions of my tax dollars and your tax dollars to defend discrimination.
Is this the Democracy that you are proud to belong to?
Maybe I'll go back to a grey background after all.
OF THE DAY
My kid, and his kid