Countdown to change

Here is something nifty:

Ohio GOP still trying to disrupt elections

The Ohio GOP continues to fight Secretary of State Brunner to force her to produce a list of registrations that failed to match data on state and federal databases the state is required to check as part of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). It now has had House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) send a letter to President Bush to ask the Department of Justice to intervene in the case.

The Republicans contend that the state must give the list of registration mismatches to local election boards so that challenges can be made on election day. Jennifer Brunner, the Ohio Secretary of State, contends that HAVA gives no guidance on what to do about mismatches. She also contends that even if the data isn’t a 100% match, it can’t be used to keep someone from voting.

The type of mismatches included missing middle names, someone failed to put in a change of address so the address doesn’t match, their name is misspelled or the different databases hold different information. None of issues would prevent that person from voting – that is even with the data mismatch the voter was eligible to vote.

State Republicans believe these mismatches should be used to keep that person from voting – that the person isn’t eligible to vote. They filed a lawsuit to force Brunner to turn over the mismatches to the local boards. Through appeals, the case was sent to the US Supreme Court. The court didn’t rule on the merits of the case (who was correct) only that private groups couldn’t sue for enforcement of HAVA. So now the GOP wants the Department of Justice involved.

They claim Brunner is attempting to hide voter fraud but the real point is to force those voters to fill out provisional ballots.

In 2006, nationwide, only 60% of provisional ballots were counted. In Ohio, where the poll numbers show a close race for President, keeping 20% of questionable voters from having their votes counted would affect the outcome of the overall vote in the state. In fact the GOP only need to suppress 5 to 6 percent. After they get those voters to cast provisional ballots then they can fight how they are counted.

Late last week Secretary Brunner issued a directive on how to handle and count provisional ballots for this election so hopefully the GOP efforts, if successfully, won’t keep large numbers of people from having their vote counted. Currently there are 200,000 registrations that have mismatched data out of 600,000 new registrations.

The other point of their efforts is to cast a bad light on the election if their candidate loses. They can claim the election was “stolen”.

Another side issue is the efforts of some extremists – either Republicans or sympathetic to Republicans – have now taken to trying to hack the state election website and to mail in or call in death threats to Secretary Brunner. In fact one man has been arrested so far for making threats.

But this is a classic operation from the right – intimidations, threats, and loud protests – used to get their way. It all reminds me of efforts in fascist 3rd world countries where voters are threatened of killed for exercising their duty. The Republicans can’t just let the normal civil court actions take place they have to cause trouble.

Real sad.

Side Note

Election Law Blog has more information on this issue and others around the country.

McCain and Palin hope Findlay people are stupid

Sarah Palin gave a stump speech at the University of Findlay in Findlay Ohio on Wednesday. It was her standard stump speech tweaked to give the Findlay faithful a shout out. Unfortunately, many of the items she pointed out weren’t truthful but the crowd responded as if it were true. It’ss ironic because back in June much of Findlay were up in arms when a Washington Post reporter did a story about some people who believed the various false rumors about Barack Obama. I guess McCain and Palin think Findlay people are stupid.

“He got our opponent to state his intentions in plain language. Senator Obama says now he wants to spread the wealth. What that means is government takes your money and doles it out however a policitian sees fit,” Mrs. Palin said to big cheers.

“Barack Obama calls it spreading the wealth. Joe Biden calls it patriotic. From right here in Ohio, Joe the Plumber said to him it sounded like socialism,” Mrs. Palin said.

She claimed that Mr. Obama wasn’t happy about the encounter.

“It seems their staged photo op got ruined by a real person’s question,” she said.

Palin hands it to ‘Joe the Plumber’ during Findlay appearance

Both John McCain and Palin have been hammering on this “share the wealth” mantra even calling Obama a Socialist.

What is failed to be reported is that in the exchange with “Joe the Plumber”, Obama didn’t say he would take Joe’s money and give it away or redistribute it. Here is the transcript from the video of the exchange in Holland, Ohio:

Obama: And I do believe that for folks like me who are, you know, have worked hard but, frankly, also been lucky, I don’t mind paying just a little bit more than the waitress who I just met over there, who’s … things are slow and she can barely make the rent. Because my attitude is that if the economy’s good for folks from the bottom up, it’s gonna be good for everybody. If you’ve got a plumbing business, you’re gonna be better off if you’ve got a whole bunch of customers who can afford to hire you. And right now, everybody’s so pinched that business is bad for everybody. And I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody. But, listen, I respect what you do and I respect your question. And even if I don’t get your vote, I’m still gonna be working hard on your behalf ’cause I want to make sure … small businesses are what creates jobs in this country and I want to encourage it. All right.

Joe The Plumber: A Transcript

Here is the actual video of the encounter. The part I quoted above begins about the 4 minute mark of the 5 and half minute video.

Now if one understands English, the context is quite clear. Obama believes, as many people do that when everybody has money to spend then everyone benefits and that the foundation of economics in the US is the small business. This is the opposite view of people who favor the trickle down idea – giving tax breaks to the rich in the hopes their spending will trickle down to the rest of us. Obama’s view is the bottom up idea. Cutting taxes for those below the $250,000 income level would free up money for a large portion of people.

Cutting taxes for the rich and those who invest doesn’t put money in people’s pocket quick enough to help small businesses – if at all. It isn’t socialism just a different idea on how to fix the economy.

Of course Palin and McCain knows all this. Back in 2000, John McCain said much the same thing that Obama said to “Joe”:

Just another example of how indispensable Jon Stewart and the Daily Show are, catching things the media don’t. McCain and Palin (indeed, the entire GOP establishment) have been bashing Obama as a “socialist” the past few days for having the audacity to propose raising the top tax rate from 36% to 39% while giving working folks (95% of the rest of us) some relief. The only problem: Stewart dug up footage of McCain making the exact same argument a scant eight years ago.

Stewart: “Now you can argue that this country has dabbled in socialism ever since the income tax was introduced, and that calling Obama’s plan ‘socialist’ is a cynical ploy that even McCain realizes is a bankrupt tactic. Or, should I say, realized.”

Audience member: “Why is it that someone like my father who goes to school for 13 years gets penalized in a huge tax bracket because he’s a doctor.”

McCain: “I think it’s to some degree because we feel obviously that wealthy people can afford more.”

Audience member: “Are we getting closer and closer to, like, socialism?”

McCain: “Here’s what I really believe: That when you reach a certain level of comfort, there’s nothing wrong with paying somewhat more.”

Stewart: “That, of course, is the late socialist leader John Mccain. I believe he passed away during the Republican primaries. He will be missed.”

Daily Show Flashback: McCain is a “socialist”, too!

McCain and Palin are counting on Findlay citizens to be stupid and based on the cheers during Palin’s speech, it seems they might be right – or they are hypnotized by her flashy wardrobe.

Tilted election coverage on WBNS in Columbus

WBNS is owned by the same company that owns the Columbus Dispatch, which endorsed John McCain for President on Sunday.

Here is a video from their late news about the day in the election. John McCain was in Westerville, a suburb of Columbus.

A big bag of candy to people who can tell what is wrong with the report:

In case you can’t or don’t want to see the video here are the things that are wrong in the news report:

1. Gave McCain a couple of minutes to express his talking points. They were not based on any truth – like saying Obama’s tax plan is a give away like his plan isn’t or that Obama’s “share the wealth” comment was meant to give away people’s money – it wasn’t. The news report didn’t challenge any of the talking points.

2. McCain said it was a dead heat even though Obama has a slight lead in Ohio it isn’t a dead heat in the rest of the country.

3. The video showing the women marching to Vets Memorial to vote failed to show the size of the crowd while there were many crowd shots of the McCain rally.

4. The part on Obama in NC failed to let him speak. *To me this is the HUGE diss to Obama* so much for equal time.

5. Later in the newscast (not on the video I have) the anchor told about Powell’s endorsement but didn’t once allow Powell to explain why – the piece only had Powell explaining why he still supported going to war in Iraq – which happens to be McCain’s position.

This isn’t the first time WBNS has been “in the tank” for McCain. During the primary season when McCain was heckled about the war at a rally, the talking heads never once mentioned what the protests were about. I sent an e-mail to the news director and he said I was right they should have mentioned why he was heckled.

They have not provided the same amount of coverage for Obama and most of the news stories I’ve seen, Obama never is allowed to speak – the talking heads paraphrase what he says.

Looks like he needs another e-mail about his stations coverage of the campaign. 

The news director’s is John Cardenas

Et tu, Colin Powell?

Well it seems that Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama for President. Conservatives will say he is doing because he is black as if that stereotype is the ONLY reason that could be true. Powell gave some good reasons in his appearance on Meet the Press and to the press after the show.

I have always liked and respected Powell. Even though he is a Republican he is moderate. During his military career he never believed the military should be the first resort but it should be diplomacy.

Unlike many people of my political view of the Iraq war, I still believe that Powell was used by Bush, Cheney, and the other neo-cons to put lipstick on the pig for war. He based his presentation to the UN to make the case for war on faulty intelligence which the President knew was false but he let Powell sell the rotten fish anyway.

In September 2005, Powell was asked about the speech during an interview with Barbara Walters and responded that it was a “blot” on his record. He went on to say, “It will always be a part of my record. It was painful. It’s painful now.”

Colin Powell on Iraq, Race, and Hurricane Relief

It might be time to put the dogs in the truck – this one might be over…