Columbus Dispatch – John McCain – POW

Another funky endorsement of John McCain by the Columbus Dispatch. It seems the reasons used were McCain’s years in the Senate, his “maverickness”, keeping the Democrats from having unchecked power, and he was a POW.

Then there was this funny bit:

At a time when the nation faces serious problems, including international economic turmoil, immigration, health care, war in Afghanistan, nation-building in Iraq and foreign-policy challenges from the Middle East, Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and Venezuela, the president should have an extensive resume and long experience in grappling with tough decisions. Few new presidents have faced an assignment as tough as the one facing the winner of the November election.

The editorial board of the Dispatch seem to forget that until one is President you can’t have that kind of experience before hand. No President has. It is a special job. In the decisions McCain has made recently – how he has run his campaign for one example and choosing Sarah Palin for another – don’t show a good a light on his supposed ability to make tough decisions.

A good President needs to be able to have some vision of the future and McCain has shown he doesn’t have that.

Then there was this bit:

Among the top problems facing the United States is its dire fiscal situation. The nation has a $10 trillion debt and other unfunded obligations to entitlement programs that total $53 trillion. The federal deficit this year is nearly $458 billion and some project the 2009 deficit could hit $700 billion. Despite these staggering numbers, lawmakers and the president just approved a $700 billion Wall Street bailout that they don’t have the money to pay for. In short, the United States is dangerously overextended at a time when a worldwide recession threatens.

For years, The Dispatch has called on the president and Congress to deal with this massive, mounting debt which threatens the prosperity and quality of life of generations to come. But year after year, the nation’s leaders have kicked the problem down the road.

Seriously confronting this problem will require a president able to call on Americans to make sacrifices for the sake of their grandchildren.

The president will have to ask them to accept cuts in popular programs, tax increases and lowered expectations of what government can afford to do.

Because of the personal sacrifices that McCain has made for the nation, he has unmatched moral authority to call on Americans to take their medicine. If elected, that is precisely what he should do.

For president: John McCain

The thing is McCain hasn’t made that call. He is still promising the moon from the stump. At least Obama has acknowledged some of his plans will have to be changed because of the problems with the bailout.

Joe vs Sam on tax cuts

Sorry, this part would have been in the previous post had I seen it earlier — dlb

John Seery, a Professor of Politics at Pomona College, wrote an article for the Huffington Post that was published yesterday.

In it he talks about Sam the Gas Station Guy, who he met at his gym the other day. Sam is a small business owner. He owns more than 100 gas stations and 25 restaurant franchises in southern California and has over 800 employees.

While talking about the current political scene Sam, a life long Republican said he would be voting for Barack Obama.

“My gas station businesses are hurting. I make the same profit margin–5 to 8 cents per gallon–no matter whether the price of gas is $1.99 per gallon or $4.99. The big oil companies are the ones raking in the profits when prices go up, not me. I can make money on gas only through volume sales–and if people are hurting, I make less on gas. Or I start to lose money, like now. Where I make money, though, is when they come inside and buy discretionary items–food, drinks, lottery tickets. Right now, people aren’t buying. I know 20 of my gas station colleagues are about to declare bankruptcy. It’s bad.”

“So I’m fed up with the Republicans. Tax cuts for the rich, the war–all that stuff. The middle class needs help. I’m finally convinced. I’m going for Obama. First time in my life, I tell you.”

I asked him about paying higher taxes.

“I don’t care about that. If I’m making money, I don’t care. I’ll pay my taxes. But I’m not going to make any money if the middle-class guy doesn’t have money in his pocket to buy my gas or my food. I don’t need the big tax cut right now. That’s not going to bring the customers into my gas stations.

Joe the Plumber Meets Sam the Gas Station Guy

So there you go.

That is a better said reason why I don’t like McCain’s and the GOP’s view on taxes. Small businesses aren’t going to make money if the middle-class guy doesn’t have money in his pocket. 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.

Cutting taxes for the middle class are jumper cables for a broken economy and we need jumper cables right now.

Joe the Plumber concerns the world

Something most people may not know, but we aren’t the only people following the 2008 Presidential election. The world cares who we choose for the office because the US and its policies can affect others in the world. The world is VERY interested in this year’s election and Joe the Plumber is a prime example.

Joe was mentioned about 21 times during the last debate on Wednesday. First used by John McCain as an example of how Barack Obama’s tax plan would hurt small businesses (it really won’t), the world media flew into action to find and interview Joe.

Joe Wurzelbacher of Shrewsbury Street in Springfield Township, outside Toledo, Ohio, had stopped Obama during his pre-debate walkabout on Sunday. Obama had been walking in the neighborhood, knocking on doors, and talking to the average folks. Joe and Obama’s mini-debate hit YouTube and that brought him to the attention of McCain and the rest of the world.

While watching the debate at home with his father, he was interrupted several times by calls from the national media including CNN, Fox News, and Good Morning America. In addition, CNBC, ABC News, the Wall Street Journal, the Houston Chronicle, and the BBC called The Blade in their quest to reach Joe the Plumber.

‘Joe the Plumber’ is focus of presidential debate’s first few minutes

Basically Joe was concerned that in buying the business he worked for, Obama’s tax plan would “[tax him] more and more for fulfilling the American dream”.

That is the classic conservative mantra – “Why should I be penalize for working hard?”

I just never could understand the logic of “trickle down” economics where the rich get the tax cuts and then they would spend that money building jobs and increasing growth of the economy. The hope was that it would trickle down to the “unwashed”.

A better idea is to pass that cut to the actual people at the end of the down spout. Then the money passes into the economy immediately. It’s the difference between taking an aspirin versus injecting the medication directly into the vein. Sure the tablet may bring relief but the injection will work sooner.

But back to Joe:

Here is Joe making it on the BBC website and the site for the German national TV network ZDF.

Under further review it turns out that Joe wasn’t exactly what he claimed to be:

“Joe the Plumber” isn’t a plumber — at least not a licensed one, or a registered one.

A check of state and local licensing agencies in Ohio and Michigan shows no plumbing licenses under Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher’s name, or even misspellings of his name.

Questions were raised Thursday morning whether Mr. Wurzelbacher is a registered voter.

Linda Howe, executive director of the Lucas County Board of Elections, said a Samuel Joseph Worzelbacher, whose address and age match Joe the Plumber’s, registered in Lucas County on Sept. 10, 1992. He voted in his first primary on March 4 of this year, registering as a Republican.

Ms. Howe said that the name may be misspelled in the database.

In January, 2007, the Ohio Department of Taxation placed a lien against him because $1,183 in personal property taxes had not been paid, but there has been no action in the case since it was filed.

So Joe isn’t a licenced plumber, may not be registered to vote, and doesn’t pay his taxes.

What a symbol for John McCain! Whooooo hooooo! Go GOP!

GOP’s vote fraud scam gets juicer

Yesterday were two big developments in the Republican attempts to suppress the 2008 vote. A federal court ordered the Ohio Secretary of State to turn over potentially bad registrations to the county boards of election and a Republican think tank is suing ACORN for racketeering.

A federal appeals court on Tuesday ordered Ohio’s top elections official to set up a system by Friday to verify the eligibility of new voters and make the information available to the state’s 88 county election boards.

Last week, a three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit had sided with Brunner, but after hearing an appeal the full panel sided with the GOP and U.S. District Judge George C. Smith in Columbus. Smith had ordered Brunner to develop a way to verify voter registration information and make it available to local election boards.

Brunner argued that it would take two to three days to create the necessary computer programs, and said nothing in the federal Help America Vote Act required her to do what the district court ordered.

Tuesday’s order directs Brunner to verify new registrations by comparing that information with data from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles or the Social Security Administration.

Ohio Republican Chairman Bob Bennett accused Brunner of pursuing a partisan agenda and said “her delay in providing this matching system leaves little time for election officials to act on questionable registrations.”

Federal court: Ohio must check voter registrations

The key here is the Ohio GOP talking about “questionable” registrations.

You can see their plan of attack coming a mile away. They get hold of the list of questionable registrations and challenge each one. It doesn’t matter how many are actually messed up since they are just doing a mass dump and seeing what comes up. The challenged voter then has to appear in person for a hearing and prove their info on the form is correct. If they can’t or don’t show up then they can’t vote.

The suspect voter can also be forced to cast a “Provisional ballot” which is then counted or not depending if the voter’s eligibility is confirmed. That is done in the same way as a challenge before the election. The person in question would have to show at a hearing in person or the vote isn’t counted. If it is even counted.

In 2004, provisional ballots were used to prevent hundred of thousands of votes from counting.

Unlike the real thing, these ballots are counted only by the whimsy and rules of a state’s top elections official; and in Ohio, that gives a virtually ballot veto to Bush-Cheney campaign co-chair, Blackwell.

Mr. Blackwell has a few rules to make sure a large proportion of provisional ballots won’t be counted. For the first time in memory, the Secretary of State has banned counting ballots cast in the “wrong” precinct, though all neighborhoods share the same President.

Over 155,000 Ohio voters were shunted to these second-class ballots. The election-shifting bulge in provisional ballots (more than 3% of the electorate) was the direct result of the national Republican strategy that targeted African-American precincts for mass challenges on election day.

Kerry Won Ohio: Just Count The Ballots at The Back of The Bus

The only good news on this part is since the SOS is a Democrat, provisional ballots are more likely to be counted. Still it is a legally easy and cheap way to cage voters.

The other “news” concerned a Republican think tank suing ACORN as if it were an organized crime group:

COLUMBUS — A conservative think tank in Columbus has sued the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, known as ACORN, over voter registration.

The Buckeye Institute alleges that ACORN engages in a pattern of corrupt activity that amounts to organized crime.

The lawsuit filed today in Warren County Common Pleas Court uses a civil provision in the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly referred to as RICO.

The suit seeks the dissolution of ACORN, which has been accused of registering potential voters multiple times in Ohio and other states.

A message seeking comment from a spokesman for ACORN was not immediately returned.

The RICO statute most commonly is used to prosecute alleged members of organized crime.

Buckeye Institute sues ACORN under racketeering law

The Buckeye Institute includes the former Secretary of State Ken Blackwell – ironic isn’t it. The suit is another attempt to call into question “false” voter registrations, The GOP falsely equates false registrations with illegal voting. The suit also ignores the fact that ACORN is required to turn in all forms it receives even ones they know are false.

I don’t know too many crime groups who would knowingly incriminate itself by following the law. I mean if they are in fact trying to “deprive voters of the right to participate in an honest and effective elections process….. fraudulent voter registrations submitted by ACORN dilute the votes of legally registered voters” why would they provide the evidence of their “crime” to authorities.

It seems to me that federal law is forcing ACORN to commit the “crime” that the Buckeye Institute is accusing them of doing.

How is ACORN responsible for that?

Again false voter registrations don’t equal illegal votes and except in isolated cases, no illegal votes have occurred from a false registration.

The cry of voting fraud is a fraud

The past week or so the Republican National Committee and other state Republican parties have been complaining about possible voting fraud by the group Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). They have also tried to link Democrats and Obama to ACORN as if to say they are perpetrating voting fraud.

The GOP believe that since ACORN pays people to collect registrations and some of these have been faked, that actual votes are or will be cast illegally. They seem to forget that states check each and every new registration against state and federal records.

As Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo writes:

The Republican party is grasping on to the ACORN story as a way to delegitimize what now looks like the probable outcome of the November election. It is also a way to stoke the paranoia of their base, lay the groundwork for legal challenges of close outcomes in various states and promote new legal restrictions on legitimate voting by lower income voters and minorities. The big picture is that these claims of ‘voter fraud’ are themselves a fraud, a tool to aid in suppressing Democratic voter turnout.

This is fraud against ACORN. They end up paying people for registering more people then they actually signed up. If you register me three times to vote, the registrar will see two new registrations of an already registered person and the ones won’t count. If I successfully register Mickey Mouse to vote, on election day, Mickey Mouse will still be a cartoon character who cannot go to the local voting station and vote. Logically speaking there’s very little way a few phony names on the voting rolls could be used to commit actual vote fraud. And much more importantly, numerous studies and investigations have shown no evidence of anything more than a handful of isolated cases of actual instances of vote fraud.

Again, there have been numerous investigations of this. Often by people with at least a mild political interest in finding wrongdoing. But they never find it. It always ends up being right-wing hype and lies. Remember, most of those now-famous fired US Attorneys from 2007 were Republican appointees who were canned after they got tasked with investigating allegations of widespread vote fraud, did everything they could to find it, but came up with nothing. That was the wrong answer so Karl Rove and his crew at the Justice Department fired them.

The Gist of the ACORN Story

There is a significant effort in Ohio, by the GOP, to suppress the vote. They filed a lawsuit against the Secretary of State claiming that registrations weren’t being checked. The suit came 2 days after the state got a nasty letter from the Social Security Administration complaining that Ohio was making too many checks of social security numbers. The SOS was ordered to provide a list of new registrations to county boards of elections – which already have access to them through the State Board of Elections computer system. The Secretary of State plans to appeal the ruling.

Ohio Republican Deputy Chairman Kevin DeWine said the ruling spoke volumes about Brunner, a Democrat.

“Her refusal to comply with federal law raises serious concerns about her ability to objectively oversee this election. It’s especially troubling in light of her connection to ACORN and that group’s stunning confession this week of fraudulent registration activity happening right here in Ohio,” DeWine said.

An ACORN representative is on a Brunner advisory committee, while Republicans say Obama has “strong ties” to ACORN, serving in the past as an attorney and “leadership trainer” for the group.

Within three hours of the ruling, DeWine sent out a GOP fundraising appeal, saying, “Please contribute today and help us fight the legal effort by Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner and her Democrat allies to let voter fraud go unchecked.”

Brunner loses lawsuit to GOP

The reason the GOP wanted the lists released was so they can use them for frivolous challenges to suppress votes that would affect Democratic votes. The GOP also had people writing down licence plate numbers during early voting at Columbus’ Vets Memorial.

They want to create distrust of the vote.

Again, registration isn’t the same as casting a ballot. Back in 2004 there was ONE case in Franklin county of someone voting more than once and it was an elderly couple who forgot they mailed in an absentee ballot and then voted on election day. They were caught and their extra vote was discarded and they had to have a visit with a judge.

In 99% of the cases ACORN catches bad registrations but by law they are forced to turn in all forms they get. When they do they flag the suspious ones for authorities and they help in any legal actions against their workers.

Franklin County had problems with ACORN in 2004 after authorities discovered dozens of voter registration forms with fake names or false information. A part-time worker for the group was indicted on charges he forged a registration form.

So far this year, officials said they have had 11 challenges to new voter registrations, and about half had been submitted by ACORN. Elections Director Michael Stinziano and Deputy Director Matthew Damschroder said it’s impossible to know how many bad registration cards might get through.

But Damschroder, a Republican, said ACORN has been “markedly better” in the county since 2004, and there’s no evidence of anyone casting a ballot using a fraudulent registration.

I am more worried about GOP voting suppression efforts than I am about false registrations.