Tag Archives: voters

Number 3 Hero of the Year 2012: The American Voter

29 Dec
Number 3 Hero of 2012

Number 3 Hero of 2012

This year’s election was a critical choice between two starkly different philosophies of government. Hundreds of millions of dollars were spent  (which will be a whole blog article in itself) and Americans were inundated with thousands of hours of advertising and opinions. In the end, despite poor expectations, corporate investment, hardship, and obstacles, the people stood up and said that they want a government that works for everyone, not just the chosen few.

Most pundits believed that the grass-roots coalition of voters built by the Obama campaign in 2008 was a fluke. Minorities, the poor, and the young are less likely to vote in general, so their turnout was supposed to go way down. What the naysayers didn’t realize is that the mobilization and empowerment weren’t just a one-time effort but an ongoing strategy. While all turnout in 2012 was down a bit from 2008 and the full data aren’t available, it’s clear that Latinos, African Americans, and young voters showed up at the polls, stood up for their rights, and helped Democrats and fairness take the day.  Never underestimate progressive social movements and grass-roots activists.

SuperPACs and corporate donations were also supposed to help Republicans this year. Hundreds of millions were filtered into shadowy groups who supported Mitt Romney and a host of Teahadists. Fortunately, all that Citizens United energy did little to change the election results. Obscene amounts of money were wasted, but voters made up their own minds and tuned out the ghastly shrieking from the right.

Many states launched voter suppression efforts, usually sponsored by Republican legislatures that expressly wanted to ensure a Romney win. Voter ID laws, voter registration purges, and changes to early and absentee voting were the typical strategies. Despite this, voters stood up and demanded their rights, paying attention to the changes and demanding their votes. The courts were also very helpful, striking down the vast majority of the odious new laws as unconstitutional.

American voters supported marriage equality for the first time in FOUR states. They handed President Obama a clear mandate for his second term. They kept Democrats in charge of the Senate and sent more women to that body than ever before. They shrank the Republican advantage in the house while electing the most diverse Congressional delegation ever. Despite the screaming and spending, voters showed up — even in the states ravaged by hurricane Sandy — and used their most powerful right. What a wonderful thing to see.

Honorable mention today goes to Oregon’s own junior Senator, Jeff Merkley. Since taking office in 2009, Merkley has been a champion of progressive values and functional government. He stood up for filibuster reform before he was even sworn in and is pushing hard for it now (with the help of Sen. Tom Udall (D, NM). His efforts won him recognition in The Nation‘s 2012 progressive honor roll as “Most Valuable Senator.” Congratulations and thank you, Sen. Merkley!

Oh, Mitt! You Wacky Racist, Misogynist, Elitist…

19 Sep
Courtesy of About.com

Looks like November will bring the tears of this clown.

Poor old, dear old, sad old Mitt. After a dismal party convention, the selection of a venal mini-Me as a running mate, a vicious and fact-free attack on the President’s response to a crisis, and a bumbling and alienating visit to our nation’s closest allies, it seemed like his campaign had sunk as far as it could. Surprise! Mitt had some more awful up his sleeves. Big thanks to my friends James Queale and Jennifer Carey and a host of other readers who are paying attention for helping me wade through the muck to compose this post.

Mother Jones magazine just released a full-length video of a speech that Romney gave at a private fundraiser. Cutting loose in a more off-the-cuff style while surrounded by wealthy Republicans — a safe audience for Mitt — the candidate accidentally gave the best GOP standup performance since Clint Eastwood lost an argument to a chair.

The Internet has mostly been abuzz over Romney’s simultaneous insult and dismissal of the mythical 47%:

There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…[M]y job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.

Two big problems, there, Mitt. (Okay, more, but let’s focus on two.) First, most of the supposed non-taxpayers DO pay into Social Security and Medicare — I guess that would end if you were President, so let’s give you a pass there — or are retirees who paid their fair share for DECADES. The “non-payer” myth is a dogwhistle to your cronies and more than ironic for a candidate who won’t bother to tell us what HE has paid. Second, your assertion that you “don’t need” that 47% because they’ll never support you is more than a little ironic. The top states for “non-payer” rates as defined by Romney include bright-red MS, AL, GA, ID, TX, AK, SC… The states with the lowest “freeloader”  rate include bright blue MA, CT, MD, WA… Irony much, Mitt?

Sadly, that damning assertion is really only the tip of the crapberg floating in Mitt’s sea of bile. Managing to go racist, birther, and uber-patriot all in one blow, he bemoans his performance with the Latino population, saying of his father, “Had he been born of Mexican parents, I’d have a better shot of winning this.” You’d have a better shot of winning if you weren’t a self-important ass with complete disdain for most of America, Mitt. He doubles down on this language later with the even more charm-free statement, “If the Hispanic voting bloc becomes as committed to the Democrats as the African American voting bloc has in the past, than we’re in trouble as a party, and I think, as a nation.”

Here are a few other choice moments for those of you who don’t have the stomach for the whole performance:

  • On foreign labor, Bain-style capitalism, and China policy: “When I was back in my private equity days, we went to China to buy a factory there. It employed about 20,000 people. And they were almost all young women between the ages of about 18 and 22 or 23. […] and around this factory was a fence, a huge fence with barbed wire and guard towers. And, and, we said gosh! I can’t believe that you, you know, keep these girls in! They said, no, no, no. This is to keep other people from coming in.”
  • Regarding his expert on ladyparts and women’s issues, his wife Ann: “”We’re using Ann sparingly right now because we don’t want people to get sick of her.” (NOTE TO MITT: You might try that strategy with yourself…)
  • On his ability to deal with Mideast politics, he asserts that the Palestinians have “no interest whatsoever in establishing peace, and that the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish,” and then asserts that his strategy as President would be to “kick the ball down the field.”
  • On President Obama’s success with the international community: “The president’s foreign policy, in my opinion, is formed in part by a perception he has that his magnetism, and his charm, and his persuasiveness is so compelling that he can sit down with people like Putin and Chavez and Ahmadinejad and that they’ll find that we’re such wonderful people that they’ll go on with us, and they’ll stop doing bad things.” (Clearly being charming and persuasive is pretty alien to Mitt.)

The content is shocking enough on its own. What is particularly disturbing is the context. All the rest of lies, gaffes, stumbles, slights, slurs, and idiocies we’ve heard from Romney have been public, planned events. This event was a $50,000 per plate fundraiser of like-minded folks. Romney is revealing a clear, candid (for him) portrait of how he really thinks — and what he thinks of America.  Wow!  This is a portrait of a true Racist!

Hero of the Week Award: June 15, County Election Supervisors in Florida

15 Jun

Hero of the Week

How nice to be able to celebrate 67 elected officials in one award this week! Election supervisors in every county in Florida have stood by their principles and refused to participate in the illegal voter purge that Republican Gov. Rick Scott is intent on carrying out.

In an effort to make Florida 2012 a repeat of Florida 2000, Scott and Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner are trying to block voting rights for thousands of Floridians. The program is being conducted under the guise of removing non-citizens and other ineligible people from the voting rolls. Curiously, however, the people targeted trend heavily Hispanic and Democrat. Voters are told that they will not be able to vote unless they appeal and appear in person within 30 days. This is a heavy burden for poor or elderly voters who are also heavily targeted.

A few election supervisors noted early on that the list of voters to purge was deeply flawed. (In Miami-Dade, for example, the false hits on the list outnumber the non-citizens 50-to-1!) They asked the Secretary of State to halt the program until it could be refined and were told NO. The purge is also a violation of the National Voter Registration Act under at least two sections. Purges cannot be conducted during a 90-day quiet period before a Federal election and with the Florida primary in August, that window is closed. Florida also has to comply with Federal review guidelines for any purges because of racist history in its voting practices.

Fortunately for Florida’s voters, County Election Supervisors have the final say on who is registered to vote — and with all 67 telling the Secretary of State to take his list and shove it, the purge is effectively halted. Says Ion Sancho of Leon County, one of the most vocal opponents of the purge,

We’re just not going to do this. I’ve talked to many of the other supervisors and they agree. The list is bad. And this is illegal.

Great to see these men and women doing the jobs they were elected to do and protecting the innocent. Bonus points to the U.S. Department of Justice, which is taking Florida to court over this blatant abuse of power.

Thank you to TSM reader and LGBT ally Voice of the Trailer for this week’s Honorable Mention which goes to The Department of Defense.  The Pentagon announced Thursday that it will be commemorating lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pride later this month.
“The Defense Department is planning an LGBT Pride Month event for later this month,” Pentagon spokeswoman Eileen Laniez said in a statement issued Thursday.
Press Secretary George Little said senior Defense Department officials will take part in the event, but had no other details. It was just a year ago, a member of the military faced punishment or discharge if he or she admitted being homosexual, but last September the administration scrapped the policy known as “don’t ask don’t tell.”

Progress!  Thank you Department of Defense.

Bigot of the Week Award: June 8, Dr. Drew

8 Jun

Bigot of the Week

I need to thank my good friend Jay, a social rights advocate and LGBT ally, for inspiring me to write this article. This week’s bigot is a complicated celebrity doctor. Drew Pinsky, known to millions as Dr. Drew for his many regular media appearances and his shows about battling addiction, is a bit of a conundrum. He spoke out strongly against Prop 8 and allowing people to vote on civil rights. However he also served as an apologist for Tracy Morgan’s homophobic rant, accepting the lame apology while minimizing (although not accepting) the hate speech. He’s also had crazed homophobe Adam Carolla as a guest on his show for no apparent reason.

While he offers good advice about addiction, he is not particularly sex-positive, railing against anal sex and helping build the myth that it is medically harmful. He has also stated that gay men are either tops or bottoms and can’t change.

This week he went off the rails with “ex-lesbian” guest Janet Boynes. A proponent of ex-gay “reparative” therapy based on religion, Boynes is closely associated with the clinic of Marcus Bachmann. She also works with the Anoka-Hennepin school district which has had numerous LGBT suicides resulting from bullying. It’s curious why he had her on the show at all, given that she preaches change in a way that goes against all medical advice. Even worse, he was scheduled to include Jallen Rix, a survivor of ex-gay therapy and sexologist as a balance guest on the show. Instead, Rix was demoted to faceless call-in; Pinsky cut him off and gave Boynes the opportunity to play the religious oppression card as the last word.

REALLY? This is the kind of person that a doctor wants on his show? This is exactly like mainstream media giving hate group mouthpiece Tony Perkins airtime to spew his bile in the name of “balance.” What’s particularly confusing is that Dr. Drew himself made a case AGAINST ex-gay therapy in an interview with Anderson Cooper a year ago. While he was far too apologetic about the “legitimate treatments” that are used for false ends, he sounded opposed to this harmful practice. So now a practitioner of this damaging myth is worthy of airtime? What’s up, Doc?

Dishonorable mention this week goes to the majority voters in Wisconsin who refused to recall their loathsome governor, Scott Walker. His success seems to have hinged on two things. First, of course, is money. Thanks to the Fecal Five and Citizens United, Walker had ten times the war chest that his opponent had. Second, however, was the sense of many voters that a recall isn’t justifiable. If that’s the case, why is it allowed by state law? Badly done, Wisconsin, the state that gave us Sen. McCarthy and Rep. Paul Ryan…

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