July 31, 2012
Mitt Romney’s overseas trip has been fodder for the press and media as quite a source of humor and more example of fumbling and mumbling we have seen from the candidate since the primary season kicked off. Something that has been noted is that his trip was in reality a visit with potential donors for funding his silk stocking presidential campaign. The question I ask is when did this become ok for politicians in the US to seek campaign funding overseas?
The bundlers who put together funds for campaigns such as Romneys will expect to have favorable access to their candidate should he win. What happens when the bundlers are foreign and in direct competition with the interests of Americans? Can we trust Mitt to keep the interests of Americans in mind when his fund raising may come directly from foreign competition? If Mitt accepts money from mainland Chinese interests, can we trust him to represent American’s best interests if they are in direct competition with those of China? I believe his presidency is up for auction to the highest bidder.
International fundraising is done under the rubric of collecting donations from expatriate Americans. Expatriate Americans who happen to host $10k per plate dinners for their foreign friends to meet candidate Romney, for example. If the host is American, no problem if he puts the 1-2 mil collected from his foreign guests under his name, right?
Under current law, anyone with citizenship or a green card may donate to a campaign, but let us be clear: that is a very low hurdle for huge bundles of money to jump on it’s way from one nation to the candidate in the pursuit of undeserved favor and alliance. It is tantamount to bribery by a foreign entity. Funny how times change. A hundred years ago, that was considered a high crime. Make no mistake, the US has excelled at this practice with buying its own puppet dictators over the years, but now the game could be played on the American people, where we elect a puppet president obedient to a dark multinational financier.
I’m not an authority on the history of campaign funding, but I do remember a time in my life when international funds for campaigning were strictly forbidden. Later the rules changed so that there were strict limits placed on funding so that no one donor could become the sole recipient of the benefits of their elected candidate’s authority. Also, sources for campaign funds had to be disclosed so that voters could see who the candidate would likely favor in office. My sense of things is that the funding from international sources has grown over the years and instead of trying to stem the tide or at least disclose the extent to which the monies flow in from over seas, we have just opened the floodgates and declared all money from overseas to be just fine. (No thanks to the SCOTUS decision on Citizens United)
It may well be that allowing unlimited funding from foreign sources essentially puts our country up for auction to the highest bidder for the next four years. I think Americans deserve a president who does not bend over for his British and Israeli banking benefactors. When it comes to the American people or his rich friends, which side do you think Mitt will take?
The lack of controls over campaign funding continues to be the single most powerful factor contributing to the disconnect of the federal govt with the will of the American People. The escalation of international funding of campaigns only widens the gulf between the will of the American people and the choices made by their leaders.
- There’s No Hiding It: Citizens United Wasn’t About Speech, It was About the Takeover of Democracy (garyalanfinkelstein.newsvine.com)
- ‘Dark Money,’ Secret Donors Behind Half Of Independent Election Spending (huffingtonpost.com)
- Candidates look overseas for campaign cash (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- EXCLUSIVE: Romney Bundler A Registered Foreign Agent For Hong Kong (thinkprogress.org)
- Mitt bundler was ‘go-between’ in Plame outing (politico.com)
- Companies Bigger than Countries: Transparency needed for all (one.org)
July 6, 2012
We have seen shenanigans in voting laws across the country under the guise of creating barriers to voter fraud. The numbers on cases of voter fraud vs the instances of humans struck by lightning make it obvious that voter fraud is teeny tiny problem. Also, we have seen how the changes in voter laws in an election year are being drummed up in the Red GOP states only. It makes me wonder, why do only the Repubs seem to believe that vote fraud is a problem. You only hear about this plague, this tumor on our body politic in the GOP camp.
Why is it only the GOP states that think we have a vote fraud problem? The reason I ask is that the measures these states are taking far and away do more damage to a free and fair vote than they protect the system from fraud. Could it be that the voter fraud is actually a lie perpetrated in order to disenfranchise thousands of legitimate voters from the rolls in key states that could swing the election?
How is it fair if hundreds or thousands are removed from voter rolls to protect us from the 10 or 20 people that vote fraudulently in a state?
Through the early 2000s, there have been allegations of vote mishandling through the hacking of computerized ballot and counting systems in place now. We have some evidence but no real formal investigation to show that rigging the vote count by election officials is an actual problem. It is well documented that some poor and minority dominated areas in red states, have suffered reduced access to voting, not just registration, but such things as numbers of voting machines and hours of operation rigged and not given due diligence. My sense of it is that the GOP loves to play around the edges of every election and jimmy the system in as many ways to Sunday as they can invent without getting caught.
The fact that they must go to what are unfair and extreme measures to swing the vote count in their favor shows that they have very little to go on in terms of public policy and benefit to the average citizen. I believe that some of their measures are so clumsy that they will be read by the public for what they truly are. In a way, the fact that so much money is spent still gives me hope that the vote count is still at least conducted partially fairly.
I wish there was a mechanism in congress to remove electoral votes from states whom continue to exhibit improper voter registration and counting. Dishonest conduct in elections is tantamount to treason and should be rigorously penalized but not at the expense of the honest average citizen voter.
- Is Voter Fraud A Problem? (andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com)
- Behind the Myth of Voter Fraud (washingtonmonthly.com)
- UFO Sightings Are More Common Than Voter Fraud (motherjones.com)
- Pennsylvania Voter-ID Law Could Disenfranchise Up To 750,000 (Talking Points Memo)
June 19, 2012
President Obama did what he could to show people the way this last week on how to deal with the massive immigration dysfunction that our US system has become. In years past, it has been far easier than present day to enter the US and immigrate. All the way through the late 70s, immigrating to the US was a process that had a finite beginning and end. Today it is a maze of bureaucracy hampered by pre 911 prejudices and post 911 paranoia.
Homeland Security is a department in the executive branch and thus under the authority of the President. The policy change is fairly simple. Children of illegal or undocumented residents could gain at least a 2 year stay on their deportation if they :
• Came to the United States under the age of sixteen;
• Have continuously resided in the United States for a least five years preceding the date of this memorandum and are present in the U.S. on the date of this memorandum;
• Are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
• Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety;
• Are not above the age of 30.
This announcement has been widely criticized as a political move by the President, but ask the GOP and Mitt Romney for their vision of how to handle illegal immigration. They do not have a plan on how to deal with the millions of illegal and undocumented residents. They do not have a plan on how to change anything from the current status quo which is onerous, cruel and unusual punishment to people for simply wanting a better life but not necessarily committing other crimes.
The children of families caught up in the ICE and Homeland Security bureaucracy are truly innocent in the situation and blameless for the choices of their parents. This is a bad situation where the government truly needs to reorganize and restructure.
The overall policy is misguided and unrealistic as well. If we wish to stem the tide with illegal immigration we need to address the rules of employment and the enforcement of hiring and documentation. As long as illegal immigrants can get a job in the US, they will continue to come. So far, it appears that Mitt Romney and the GOP want to close their eyes and continue to pretend the current state of our immigration policy is just fine.
The day that President Obama announced the change to deportation policy which is only to be a two year trial, the President was heckled during his opening statement by Neil Munro, an online reporter-blogger for the Daily Caller, a GOP newsite. As the cameras were trained on the heckler to capture the exchange between President Obama and Mr Munro, you can see the frustration and even seething hatred as Mr Munro appeared to be trying contain himself and allow the President to speak. Mr Munro, if nothing else is just the latest symbol of the unthinking raging hateful angry opposition which believes that the office and functions of the President is not worthy of high respect, no matter who is in that place. Mr Munro is just another zombie of the right blinded in their rage.
- theGrio editiorial: Disrespect is the story, not Neil Munro (thegrio.com)
- Obama Offers Immunity to 800K Young Immigrants (newser.com)
- Immigration reform: five Reasons Obama ordered the DREAM (thegrio.com)
- Obama move is momentous for some illegal immigrants (kansascity.com)
June 6, 2012
Personal Note to the President of the United States, Monday, 6/4/2012
Dear President Obama,
I got the tweet from you the other day. Something or other about the election in Wisconsin. Honestly, my first reaction was, really? Your first comment on Tom Barrett in a tweet? I know Wisconsin only has 10 electoral votes, but democrats across the country have been watching and wondering where the love is for the grass roots of the party. Wisconsin put a lot on the line and there is barely any acknowledgement from the leader of the party.
When Bill Clinton came to Wisconsin, I was thinking, wow, President Obama must be busy. But for once, I have to say that Scott Walker was right when he wondered why you would come so close to Wisconsin and yet remain so far away. The hardworking folks in Wisconsin who have put lives and reputation on the line to protect their rights deserve more than 140 characters.
I don’t know who is going to win the Wisconsin recall. I just know how good it felt to have some old figures in the party come and advocate for the people. I just wish you could see how it would only give you the high ground in the debate if you would just take the political upper hand in this situation. The people of Wisconsin are correct to rise up and demand accountability from their elected officials. In an era where a few anonymous wealthy contributors can tip the playing field 25 to 1, you have a responsibility to get in and play hard for the team .
I don’t know the entire situation you face of course. It just seems though that by visiting the neighboring states at such a crucial time, you appear to be ‘nibbling at the edges’ and avoiding going for the goal. If you are going to face criticism, however, it is better to face it for doing the right thing.
Addendum, Tuesday 6/5/2012
The depressing results have come in and I’ve listened to the concessions and acceptances and the pundits analyses. I don’t blame you for not playing in the campaign. I do think GWB would have come into the fray had the shoe been on the other foot. Ah, but then comes back up the shoe metaphoric thing. It’s easy to see a coldness in the regard of the President toward the Unions of Wisconsin. I hope we don’t see a replay of the 2010 election where a dejected progressive electorate fails to turn out. I just think you missed an opportunity to fight the good fight and even if it was a loser, be on the correct side and help shine a spotlight on the truth.
Then again, maybe you have already decided that you cannot fight the mass of cash and media arrayed against you.
Still hoping for some change, fellow citizen, Joe Blunt
May 13, 2012
This week was remarkable for the United States. President Obama made the case for allowing marriage rights to same sex couples. I think by doing so he expanded the boundaries of freedom and established the notion of an equal playing field for same sex orientation. Even so, this announcement does nothing but allow the nation to see where Barack Obama believes the line should draw on this issue.
It was the beginning of a step that follows a long line of steps to bring more equality to humanity and allow equal sets of rules to be applied for an oppressed group in our nation. Not only does it signal a greater move, but it also signals to the world that under Obama, the US is still a land of opportunity for everyone regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation. Of course, discrimination still exists throughout the world in these areas, yet the US can still provide a guiding light for all.
I’m heterosexual, but I can still appreciate President Obama’s position staked out this week. First off, it is a bold declaration on his part. It is politically risky. Not only does this fire up the right wing, it pokes a stick in the eye of all the backwards goobers out there who compensate for their closeted gayness with mindless homophobia. Some people do not understand or derive any pleasure from Obama’s revelation. The reigning wisdom is that the people who are adamantly opposed to same sex marriage will vote against the president in November anyway. Also, this move illustrates that President Obama’s base is ripe and receptive for this kind of an activation. Signals like this during the campaign will continue to activate his base. Beyond the political calculus, by taking up the struggle of LGBT people, other forms of discrimination become more outdated and barbaric. The fight in this area only makes the injustices of racial and gender discrimination more undeniable under the law.
Personally, I’m inspired by the pronouncement because it is morally correct in the context of freedom and equal rights. Also it is a risky move and that also gives me some new respect for the President that he could take an outspoken stand on what is right. Pretty exceptional stuff, all in all. It’s nice to get inspired over what has always been an American value during my lifetime, equal rights. Much better than complaining how the GOP continues to monkey wrench economic recovery and the will of the people. I hope this fires you up to get out and make everyone you know cast a vote in all of the years elections.
- Supporting Barack Obama’s Strong Stand for Marriage Equality (hawaiireporter.com)
- Celebrating Equal Rights (candid-cam.net)
- As President Obama visits Seattle, Executive Constantine salutes Obama for courageous stand on marriage equality (ballardnewstribune.com)
- President Obama’s on Marriage Equality (thefirstwire.wordpress.com)
March 30, 2012
I should not have been shocked when I learned that George Zimmermans father is a retired judge. There is a long history of bubbas backhand overlooking the excesses of their progeny. It is easy for a racist mindset to rationalize the killing of an unarmed kid and then stand behind a law supposed to protect people in their home.
Some people say that George Zimmerman is lucky to have a retired judge for his father. Talk about some kitchen table legal advice. I wonder how involved Robert Zimmerman has been with the lack of an investigation. So far, it looks like this law is being used to stand down expensive investigations when the injustices may be better swept under the blind rug of hypocrisy. The plan was for this story to go away. Maybe there is hope for our news media if it can shine a light on what looks like a pile of rats chewing on goobers.
My kids are not African American but as MLK said ‘Injustice anywhere, is a threat to Justice everywhere.’ It sounds like the wild west has gone south and east. Our children deserve better.
- Witness: Zimmerman Straddled Trayvon (newser.com)
- Stand Your Ground poster by Tes One (lostateminor.com)
- Trayvon Martin Case: ‘Solid Grounds to Arrest’ Zimmerman, Legal Expert Says (inquisitr.com)
March 6, 2012
I was just graduating from college in the Midwest in 1991 when I remember becoming aware of Rush Limbaugh. A good friend of mine listened to him regularly and had become quite partisan to the right back in the days when politics were almost like cryptography, the era for me when anything to do with politics was ‘wonky’. I checked in with El Rushbo then and sampled his offerings and it did not take long before I was thoroughly disgusted by the content that was alternately misogynistic, racially degrading, menacing, self aggrandizing pomposity and never ending foul tasting ?humor? Further, the ‘news’ and opinion was full of easily debunked mendacity. Never truly challenged, Rush’s conservative brand of ‘entertainment’ apparently was embraced by a mostly white male audience. Being a new graduate, I was moving around through out the Midwest as I started my own career and was able to sample various radio markets while looking for work. Exploring the radio dial across the midwest was a pasttime and I was amazed by the reach Rush had established already and the lack of any true counterpoint to all of his outrageous claims.
Being curious about this new exciting conservatism and whether there was a fair debate available on his broadcast, I personally spent time calling in to his show to present points in contention with his arguments of the day. It took only two attempts before I realized there would be no fair debate with liberals on his show. Anyone who made it to the airwaves was cut off as soon as was convenient and then thoroughly excoriated and marginalized. Most liberals will never get past the call screener filtering callers so Rush doesn’t have to face the ‘unwashed unruly’ masses with inconvenient and embarassing questions.
Rush established a platform and echo chamber in which only right conservative ideas were allowed and no rigorous debate with consensus beyond that of the right wing could form. He is an architect of the polarized political environment we now find ourselves in where neither side can have a fair discussion with the other. He allowed and encouraged conservatives to believe they do not have to concede anything in a debate with the left and that they do not even need to engage in a debate at all with counterpoint from the middle and poverty stricken classes.
In turn, conservatives came to worship at the platform he created and maybe even mistook it for a town square of sorts. Rush became so elevated in their eyes, that there is nothing the the Rushbo can do that could be wrong or indefensible. Megadittoes became the code word for everything you say is true and we surrender our critical thoughts over to you Rush.
I say Rush deserves to be able to speak his mind freely, as loudly and as noisily as he wishes — on a street corner. He should be able to go out on the internet and blog all he wants and podcast all he wants even. I do not think he deserves however, the benefit of the American public’s am or fm radio air waves. There is nothing in the bill of rights about the freedom to speak on the radio. We have something in the US called the FCC that settled that years ago.
- George Will Finally Admits GOP Leaders are Afraid of Limbaugh (crooksandliars.com)
- Apology Not Accepted (swampland.time.com)
- Rush Limbaugh said what? (ynative77.wordpress.com)