Archive for the ‘Election’ Category
Kevin Drum reports how Republicans are attacking Democrats who support Republican positions—at the link, note the election flyer castigating a Democratic candidate for “his vote for the terrifying Ryan budget.” Paul Ryan is a Republican and his budget is what the GOP supports.
This party simply operates in bad faith. But bad faith, criminal acts, blocking voters—whatever it takes to win. Next they’ll be spraying Democratic-leaning precincts with nerve gas.
UPDATE: Another tactic from the party of bad faith.
From this article in the New Yorker:
“We can go through the list over and over, but at the end of every line is this: Republicans believe this country should work for those who are rich, those who are powerful, those who can hire armies of lobbyists and lawyers,” she said in Englewood, Colorado. “I will tell you we can whimper about it, we can whine about it, or we can fight back. I’m here with Mark Udall so we can fight back.”
“Republicans, man, they ought to be wearing a T-shirt,” she said in Des Moines, Iowa. “The T-shirt should say: ‘I got mine. The rest of you are on your own.’ … We can hang back, we can whine about what the Republicans have done … or we can fight back. Me, I’m fighting back!”
Even on “The View,” Warren came across as a political pugilist who loves nothing more than climbing into the ring with the Republicans. “Under President Obama’s leadership, we fight to raise the minimum wage, we fight to reduce the interest rate on student loans, we fight for equal pay for equal work,” she told “CBS This Morning.” “It’s really about whose side do you stand on? And, for me, that’s the whole heart of it.”
Take a close look at the Koch brothers and remember they are trying very hard to gain control of the country
I’ve blogged before about the article quoted below—it came out a month ago—but today I read it in the light of the all-out effort the Koch Brothers have been making for years in the political sphere.
They are spending millions upon millions—perhaps even a billion or more—but the prize is incredibly valuable: What if you had effective control of the US government? Man, wouldn’t that be the biggest of all payoffs.
There is no doubt that they are spending heavily on many fronts, including writing legislation for states to pass—and some do pass that legislation. They are spending lavishly on elections and on barring people from voting through things like Voter ID laws.
But the most revealing thing is their reaction to the Time Dickinson article in Rolling Stone, a carefully researched, well-written, in-depth look at their activities. They did not like that , not one bit. And their reaction says a lot. Tim Dickinson reports:
Koch Industries has written a lengthy response to our feature story on the company in the latest issue of Rolling Stone. In tweets the company apparently paid to promote, Koch bills this write-up as a “point-by-point response to Rolling Stone writer Tim Dickinson’s dishonest and misleading story.” The salient feature of Koch’s response is that the company does not argue the core facts of our 9,000-word expose. Instead, Koch targets the messenger. Koch’s top target here is not even Rolling Stone, but me, Tim Dickinson.
I find it, frankly, amusing that a company that has been convicted of six felonies and numerous misdemeanors; paid out tens of millions of dollars in fines; traded with Iran, and been so reckless in its business practices that two innocent teenagers ended up dead, attempts to impugn my integrity, and on the basis of my association with Mother Jones — where I worked as an editor in the late 1990s and early 2000s, on a team that was twice nominated and once awarded a National Magazine Award for General Excellence.Koch, in particular, takes umbrage with my reporting practices.
For the record: In the weeks prior to publication, beginning September 4th, Rolling Stone attempted to engage Koch Industries in a robust discussion of the issues raised in our reporting. Rolling Stone requested to interview CEO Charles Koch about his company’s philosophy of Market Based Management; Ilia Bouchouev, who heads Koch’s derivatives trading operations, about the company’s trading practices; and top Koch lawyer Mark Holden about the company’s significant legal and regulatory history.
The requests to speak to Charles Koch and Bouchouev were simply ignored. Ultimately, only Holden responded on the record, only via e-mail and only after Holden baselessly insinuated that I had been given an “opposition research” document dump from the liberal activist David Brock. (This is false.) From my perspective as a reporter, Koch Industries is the most hostile and paranoid organization I’ve ever engaged with — and I’ve reported on Fox News. In a breach of ethics, Koch has also chosen to publish email correspondence characterizing the content of a telephone conversation that was, by Koch’s own insistence, strictly off the record.
In an attempt to negotiate an on-the-record interview, Rolling Stone had sent Holden a series of discussion topics. Holden and the Koch communications team treated these general topics, instead, as though they were specific questions and provided the voluminous responses they have reproduced, inventively, as a Q&A on their website.
These responses were not “ignored,” as Koch suggests. In part, they contain useful background information, and they informed my reporting of the story. But in the main, the Koch responses attempt to re-litigate closed cases — incidents where judges, juries, and, in one case, a Senate Select Committee, have already had a final say. They only muddy waters that have been clarified by a considered legal process.
Where Koch attempted to provide additional context, it was frequently hairsplitting and obfuscatory. For example, . . .
Some GOP officials have openly admitted that the purpose of Voter ID laws is to keep Democratic-leaning groups (the poor, the elderly, African-Americans, Latinos) from voting. Pure and simple—well, not so pure and simple as the way Georgia is handling it, simply not processing the voter registrations from areas they don’t want to be voting. That’s really pure and simple, and it also exposes what is afoot.
The Guardian has an excellent article written by Ed Pilkingon of Austin TX:
Eric Kennie is a Texan. He is as Texan as the yucca plants growing outside his house. So Texan that he has never, in his 45 years, travelled outside the state. In fact, he has never even left his native city of Austin. “No sir, not one day. I was born and raised here, only place I know is Austin.”
You might think that more than qualifies Kennie as a citizen of the Lone Star state, entitling him to its most basic rights such as the ability to vote. Not so, according to the state of Texas and its Republican political leadership. On 4 November, when America goes to the polls in the midterm elections, for the first time in his adult life Eric Kennie will not be allowed to participate.
Ever since he turned 18 he has made a point of voting in general elections, having been brought up by his African American parents to think that it is important, part of what he calls “doing the right thing”. He remembers the excitement of voting for Barack Obama in 2008 to help elect the country’s first black president, his grandmother crying tears of joy on election night. “My grandfather and uncle, they used to tell me all the time there will be a black president. I never believed it, never in a million years.”
He voted again for Obama in 2012, and turned out for the 2010 midterm elections in between. But this year is different. Kennie is one of an estimated 600,000 Texans who, though registered to vote, will be unable to do so because they cannot meet photo-identification requirements set out in the state’s new voter-ID law, SB14 .
The law, which has been deemed by the courts to be the strictest of its kind in the US, forces any would-be voter to produce photographic proof of identity at polling stations. It was justified by Governor Rick Perry and the Republican chiefs in the state legislature as a means of combatting electoral fraud in a state where in the past 10 years some 20m votes have been cast, yet only two cases of voter impersonation have been prosecuted to conviction.
Earlier this month a federal district judge, Nelva Gonzales Ramos, struck down the law, slamming it as a cynical ploy on the part of Republicans to fend off the growing strength of the minority electorate in Texas by “suppressing the overwhelmingly Democratic votes of African Americans and Latinos”. She linked SB14 to a long history of racial discrimination in state elections spanning back generations, and declared the new law to be an unconstitutional poll tax.
But last week, in the early hours of 18 October, when most Texans were sleeping, the US supreme court snuck out a one-line judgment that allowed the voter ID restrictions to be applied this election cycle. Without any explanation, a majority of the justices effectively threw Eric Kennie and many thousands of others like him – particularly black, Hispanic and low-income Texans – into a state of democratic limbo.“This is the first time the courts have allowed a law that actually keeps people from voting to go into effect, even though a judge found it was passed for the purpose of making it harder for minorities to vote,” said Wendy Weiser, head of the democracy programme at the Brennan Centre for Justice.
Before SB14 came into effect, Kennie was able to vote by simply showing a voter registration card posted to his home address. Under the vastly more stringent demands of the new law, he must take with him to the polling station one of six forms of identification bearing his photograph. The problem is, he doesn’t have any of the six and there’s no way he’s going to be able to acquire one any time soon. . . .
It’s depressing how much SCOTUS has become politicized. It started with the gift of the presidency to George W. Bush—well, it started earlier, but that made it crystal clear. And then we had Citizens United (allowing corporations to spend as much money as they want in elections). Then they gutted the Voting Rights Act. Then they uphold this Voter ID law.
It is quite apparent what is happening: the GOP is making a determined, all-out effort to stop free elections, in which all citizens can vote. The GOP is in effect trying to change our system of government, and the first step is to prevent free elections. All three of the SCOTUS decisions listed are to curtail free elections.
This country is locked in a struggle of which most citizens seem unaware.
It looks like the Georgia courts are also determined that the 40,000 black voters not get to vote. The lawsuit is “premature”? Does the court think that we should wait until election day? after the election?
Alice Ollstein reports at ThinkProgress:
ATLANTA, GEORGIA—On Tuesday, Judge Christopher Brasher of the Fulton County Superior Court denied a petition from civil rights advocates to force Georgia’s Secretary of State to process an estimated 40,000 voter registrations that have gone missing from the public database.
Though early voting is well underway in the state, Judge Brasher called the lawsuit “premature,” and said it was based on “merely set out suspicions and fears that the [state officials] will fail to carry out their mandatory duties.”
Angela Aldridge, an organizer with the group 9 to 5 Atlanta Working Women who has been working to register voters for several months, told ThinkProgress she was “furious” when she learned of the outcome: “That impedes people’s rights,” she said. “People need information before they go out to vote and they don’t even know if they’re registered or not. They were discouraged, upset, kind of frazzled, not really knowing what was going on. What can you even say to people who want to vote but possibly can’t? They might get disengaged and say, ‘Why vote? It doesn’t matter.’ It’s really disheartening.”
The New Georgia Project, who spearheaded the voter registration drive and brought the lawsuit against the state, vowed Tuesday to “continue to pursue all legal avenues available.” But with the election mere days away, there may be little remedy for the tens of thousands of people who submitted all necessary documents, but have still not received a registration card. Four of those impacted voters were present at the court hearing, but were denied the opportunity to testify.
Dr. Francys Johnson, President of the Georgia NAACP, who represented the 40 thousand voters in the court, called the ruling “outrageous.”
“All in all – a republican appointed judge has backed the republican Secretary of State to deny the right to vote to a largely African American and Latino population,” Johnson wrote in a press release. . .
The racism and determination to keep African-Americans from voting in several states in the South has become quite overt, just as the Voter ID laws are quite overtly aimed at keeping people from the polls: in-person voter fraud has nothing whatsoever to do with it.
Later in the article:
“When we started registering people this spring, people were saying, ‘You know, I registered six months ago, but I haven’t gotten anything yet!’ We thought that was strange,” she said. So we sat down with our list of registrations and checked, and about 20 to 20 percent were not showing up. We truly don’t know where things stand with them.”
Burrofsky said the people she registered in Dunwoody, Georgia, a more affluent and conservative community, did show up in the system, while those in more diverse and low-income communities in DeKalb County mysteriously disappeared.
“It just hadn’t occurred to me that this would be a tactic that the Secretary of State could use. I was very naive, I guess. I feel absolutely sick that this election is being stolen,” she said.
With the races for the state’s governor’s mansion and Senate seat too close to call, the missing voters could not only sway the political control of the state, but the political control of Congress’ upper chamber. Aldridge, who has spent several months registering voters in Fulton and Cobb County, told ThinkProgress that it is imperative to increase participation in marginalized communities so that elected officials better represent the constituents.
Sara Azfal writes in ProPublica:
When it comes to politics, the actions of social welfare nonprofits are usually hard to track. And unlike political action committees, these “dark money” groups can channel money to influence elections without naming their donors.
But as ProPublica’s Theo Meyer explains in this week’s podcast, an accidentally released court filing revealed how a mining company known as the Cline Group used dark money groups to help pass a law that would speed up Wisconsin’s mining permit process.
Meyer describes the release as a “fluke” — a federal court in Chicago mistakenly posted the legal document online for a few hours — that provided a rare look behind the scenes: In 2011 and 2012, the mining company had secretly given $700,000 to a conservative nonprofit that worked to pass the bill.
“For once we actually know something about how the money was spent and where it came from,” says ProPublica Editor-in-Chief Stephen Engelberg.
Meyer agrees. “This is really just one of a handful of instances in which donors to groups like this have become public,” Meyer explains. “And unless you have subpoena power and can get bank records from these groups, it’s really impossible to see who is funding the effort.” . . .
Here’s the podcast. And here are some related stories:
Alice Ollstein writes at ThinkProgress:
ATLANTA, GEORGIA—A court could decide any day now whether tens of thousands of Georgia voters can cast a ballot this November, a choice that could sway the outcome of the state’s neck-and-neck races for Governor and Senator.
Earlier this year, organizers fanned out across nearly every one of Georgia’s 159 counties and registered nearly 90 thousand people who have never voted in their lives, most of them people of color, many of them under 25 years old. But when the groups checked back in late August, comparing their registration database to the state’s public one, they noticed about 50,000 of the registrations had vanished, nearly all of them belonging to people of color in the Democratic-leaning regions around Atlanta, Savannah and Columbus.
Georgia’s state minority leader Stacy Abrams (D), whose group The New Georgia Project led the massive registration drive in March and April, told ThinkProgress what happened next was “deeply disturbing.”
“We asked the Secretary of State to meet with us. We wanted to understand if we were doing something wrong, or if there was another database we didn’t have access to. But he refused to meet with us,” she said.
Joined by the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the Georgia NAACP, the organizers asked twice more for a meeting about the missing registrations. When early voting began across the state and they still had not heard from the Secretary of State, the New Georgia Project took them to court. In arguments on Friday, Francys Johnson, president of the Georgia NAACP, asked Fulton County Superior Court Judge Christopher Brasher to compel the state to process every valid registration.
“In 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, we were only able to know there were problems when it was too late, when people started showing up to the polls and they were not on the voter rolls, and folks were already disenfranchised,” Johnson explained to ThinkProgress over the phone. “We must catch that disenfranchisement before it takes place.”
Lawyers for Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp and three counties who are also the target of the suit countered that . . .
Doesn’t it strike you that this is particularly blatant? And doesn’t SCOTUS look very much as though it was in on the deal: gutting the Voting Rights Act not only weakened it, it sent a clear message to those who believe it is okay to win elections by keeping people from voting—and apparently there are many such people in the GOP, looking at all the Voter ID nonsense.