“Now I’m running against a woman who, my God, that’s all she talks about. Our true heroes, it’s the last thing in the world they talk about.”
— Representative Joe Walsh, R-IL
A recent video emerged in which Representative Joe Walsh of Illinois’ Eighth Congressional District criticized his “Democratic opponent Tammy Duckworth for talking too much about her military service.” Ms. Duckworth “lost both legs and part of the use of her right arm” when an RPG hit the Blackhawk helicopter she was flying in Iraq. Not only did she lose two limbs in her country’s service, but also she “declined a military medical retirement and continues to drill as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Illinois Army National Guard.”
While I may agree with Congressman Walsh on some policy issues, he has far different values than I do. His criticism of his opponent for reminding voters of her tremendous sacrifices for this nation is simply beyond the pale. It is also no surprise that Representative Walsh never served in the military. If I were a Republican living in Illinois’ Eighth District, I wouldn’t vote for any Congressional candidate on election day.
I hope Walsh loses his election and crawls back into whatever hole from which he originally oozed. The Republican Party needs to do better at purging unpatriotic troglodytes like Walsh from its ranks.
I just saw this – even started a post but I have to go out. He’s a piece of work, isn’t he? Isn’t he the one shouting at constitutents in a mini town hall last year?
Creep. (how ya doin’ Sean?)
I’m doing well, Moe. I’ve just been focusing more on fiction lately. Politics have simply become too depressing for me at the moment.
Know the feeling Sean. Good to hear from you again from across the ‘pond’.
He was the person who yelled at a constituent of another political persuasion. His tone and condescending attitude did more to hurt TEA Party/Republican candidates than help. This is exactly the type of candidate that brings congress its well deserved low public opinion rating. Whatever happened to rational, critical thought and respectful, fact based debate in the public arena or in the assemblies of the respective houses of congress
I hate telling people to vote for someone they don’t prefer just because of something like this. I also hate telling people to not vote at all for the same reason. But people like this offer us no choice.
The real problem is that no person ought to say something like this, and certainly no one who is entrusted with public trust. Somewhere up the line, the process failed and a sociopath got into office. What bothers me most is the number of politicians who would say exactly the same thing if they were equally poorly trained. This guy was just stupid enough to let it slip.
If a Democrat said something like this (and of course plenty have over the years), I’d be hard-pressed on whether to vote for them or not. I think I’d probably still vote based on policies I preferred, but I’d also write a letter to the editor, and I’d call the campaign office to tell them I was unhappy and wouldn’t be donating a penny, and that I’d be actively promoting any primary challenger the next time around.
People like Walsh would simply drive me not to vote. I’m so angry about this that I’m trying to keep what I say to a minimum. I am, after all, the Rational Republican. 😉
This is why I’m a registered independent. Some Republicans are as bad as most Democrats. You’d think this guy would have learned from his last gaff. Hope you’re doing well. Bee
Bad news, Bee, it’s not a gaffe at all: http://thinkprogress.org/election/2012/07/03/511016/joe-walsh-attacks-duckworth-again/
Sean, organize a vet group to nail this guy, please.
No need. I think he just dug his own grave. And it is Illinois after all.
Just saw the video of Walsh – his audience was silnt. There was no applause. I think they were stunned. He’s toast.
I hope so. Though I’m England based I love America, always have, though I’ve never had the chance to visit. I feel close to you guys and to Sean’s point of views.
Here in the UK there are politicos who not only disregard what our Armed Forces men and women are doing but are trying to make them do it without the proper pay, backup or equipment. So far no politico has said the same despicable thing as Walsh, but give them time.
This guy isn’t worth spit.
Slime pops up now and then to make such claims against those who have served. It was done to Max Cleland in the 2002 elections by the scumbag Saxby Chambliss………As it has been done to Chuck Hagel, John McCain, John Murtha and many others. Like them or not……to take that step against someone who has served this country ….and then to not just to question their service, but to question their patriotism I find abhorrent.
I remember as a boy in 1970 when my grandfather who served in WW1 with the 3rd infantry division, and my father who served in the USAF during the Korean War …..we had all been watching protestors on TV during a demonstration. Some of the speakers at the podium were ex Vietnam vets who were in wheel chairs and without limbs. They were pissed off and throwing their citations and pins on the ground in revolt. ……My father bellowed an angry comment about them all being communists etc etc etc and they they should leave the USA……..To which my grandfather glared at him and told him to keep his mouth shut …..that they had the right to say anything they wanted to as they had paid the price. …..My father looked shocked and did what was asked of him………….quite a moment for a boy of 10 to witness….as I will never forget it.
Jeff – that’s a wonderful story.
Sorry but you’re wrong about Walsh. He’s been one of the most courageous in standing up to Filth Obama and his agenda. He sends the left into absolute apoplexy…..and anyone who can do that is on the right track in my book! We have far too many milquetoast people afraid to confront these leftist vermin. Too many of us want to play by the Marquis de Queensbury rules while the left plays street rules.
I don’t care how courageous someone is if they turn out to be a child molester. While what Walsh did isn’t quite as bad as that, it is still crass and completely tone deaf. He should be attacking Duckworth on the issues, not on her veteran’s status. When he does so, he makes enemies of both friend and foe. As far as I’m concerned, Joe Walsh is a bane to anyone who ever wore the uniform.
And I’ll add this: Dukworth IS a slimy leftist. Has followed Filth 100% down the line and refuses to debate Walsh. Is she supposed to get a pass because she’s an injured vet? You can respect her service but still regard her askance, yes?
Leftists are vile. Period. Until we recogize this and play by THEIR rules, we’ll keep getting Romney-stile RINOS and we’ll keep losing.
I think you’re losing already Ed. Stay angry . . .
If you AREN’T angry at what the left has done to our country and our party….you aren’t paying attention.
We’re not of the same parties Ed. I’m a proud Democrat.
First of all Ed…….Duckworth did in fact debate Walsh on the 11th of May, so I don’t know why you make the claim “she refuses to debate Walsh” unless of course your chrome mind control skull cap is stuck on talking points spewed out 3 months ago from the Newsmax ministry of truth? ……… and just what has the left “done” to your party? …..if anything the extreme rightwing of batshit crazy wackjobs has done more harm to the Republican party, than any group of soft lefties ever could. Thank god Republican John Hunstman declined to attend the GOP convention this Summer as he stated on Friday:
“I will not be attending this year’s convention, nor any Republican convention in the future,” Huntsman said, “until the party focuses on a bigger, bolder, more confident future for the United States — a future based on problem solving, inclusiveness, and a willingness to address the trust deficit, which is every bit as corrosive as our fiscal and economic deficits…“I encourage a return to the party we have been in the past,” he said, “from Lincoln right on through to Reagan, that was always willing to put our country before politics.”
Now there is a Mormon I could vote for !
She doesn’t get a pass for her stance on the issues, but Walsh isn’t attacking her positions, he’s attacking her service. Until he’s become a paraplegic himself, he has no business whatsoever criticizing her over her ability to tout her service as a political selling point. She sure as hell earned the right to tout it. I may not agree with her political positions, but I do believe she’s sacrificed more for her country than Walsh the Weasel ever will.
Wearing a uniform by itself doesn’t make one a patriot. Even being injured in service doesn’t make one a patriot. Those things COUPLED WITH an understanding of the freedoms the uniforms are supposed to protect make one a patriot. All the “heroism” in the world means nothing if your vision of the ideals you are defending is warped. Duckworth’s are warped. Has it occured to you that soldiers of the USSR and Nazi Germany also suffered terrible injuries? Does it matter?
Is wearing the right uniform but believing the wrong things a sign of patriotism? Are we – as Jerry Seinfeld famously aaid of team sports – “rooting for laundry?”
I don’t see the left giving Allen West – who IS a true patriot in all respects – a pass in any respect. Even John McStain – execreble RINO that he is – didn’t get a pass from the left, did he?
This is the problem with the right. Too many of us are quick to throw our own to the wolves when the Rachel Maddows of the world attache them. Maddow can burn in hell along with her lefty buddies like Tammy Duckorth. Give me the Wests and the Walshes every day of the week. They both understand that it isn’t the uniform alone that matters – but the freedoms the uniform protects.
Ed says: “Those things COUPLED WITH an understanding of the freedoms the uniforms are supposed to protect make one a patriot”……….. who’s understanding ? ……….yours? From what I have read so far in your posts, I am seeing someone who would have no problem stifling the first amendment rights of others because you deem them as “warped” ……….Jeepers…. they don’t feel the way you do? ……..so let them “burn in Hell” …….as you put it. Are you not able to see that you sound more like a fascist and not a citizen of our Constitutional Republic where all ideas and beliefs are allowed to be expressed through our elected representatives? Here is something Thomas Jefferson said which I am hoping you might chew on for a while…….”Every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle.” ……….does that make any sense …….or will you go back to your TV with your un American fascist rage?
You sound unhinged. Whose 1st Amendment rights am I trying to “stifle” and how have I proposed it? Duckworthless has every right to express her vile leftist bilge and I have every right to call her vermin when she does. The First Amendment wins all around!
So YOU can go back to MSNBC and I’ll go back to reading Bastiat, Rothbard and Von Mises, thank you.
It sure as hell does, because it signifies that they are willing to sacrifice their lives in defense of the Republic. And yes, even German and Russian soldiers who defended their homelands during WW2 were patriots for their countries in their own way. Not all of them committed atrocities. Few of them made any of the decisions that lead to the war. They were called to serve, and serve they did.
Life is not as black and white as you see it. The woman gave both her legs to the Republic. What have you given? I would never vote for Duckworth, but I respect her service and sacrifice. To besmirch that is dishonorable, and I will not abide by any politician who does so.
Is this what the right is becoming? A group of ideologues who will discount the sacrifice of a veteran just because she holds left-leaning political views? Is the right losing its moral high ground so much that it begrudges a veteran telling voters about her sacrifices?
When I see people apologize for this behavior, I yearn for Heinlein’s conception of the citizen soldier – if you don’t serve, you don’t vote. I’m confident that our system would expunge most of the detritus in American politics if we adopted this change to our system.
Sounds like an idea that might come from a science fiction writer. So Timothy McVeigh and Tammy Duckworthless get to vote but Marco Rubio Jim DeMint don’t.
Your post encapsulates everything that is wrong with the “principles-be-damned’ wing of the GOP. Logic means nothing. Consistency means nothing. You save your venom for the few on the right who are willing to take the fight to the enemy – and yes the left IS the enemy whatever uniform it may have once worn or whatever form it comes in. It is the enemy of freedom and the enemy of the constitution. Which SHOULD make it the enemy of anyone who considers himself a “conservative” or a “patriot.”
But no. Your type sits in silence while the Maxine Watters, Alan Graysons and Tammy Duckworthlesses of the world heap invective upon the Tea Party. The left can never go “too far” its language, right? Only the occasional conservative who dares not cower when some leftist throws an epithet his way. “Racist!” “Homophobe!” “Misogynist!” That’s all it takes for your kind of “Republican” to put your tails between your legs, throw the offending conservative to the lefty wolves and beg forgiveness. It’s sickening.
Churchill is said to have defined an “appeaser” as one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last. Guess what. All your feeding won’t keep the Duckworths and Maddows from coming for YOU once their more formidable foes are out of the way.
What are you talking about? Your points don’t even make any sense?
If the left did the same thing to a veteran, I’d be all over them. In fact, I’ve railed relentlessly against Democratic candidates like Joe Kennedy III simply for feeling qualified to run against a veteran. I am very consistent. Moreover, I’ve blogged frequently about the left’s hypocrisy regarding affirmative action.
The difference between my brand of conservatism and other forms of conservatism is that I apply the same standards to my political opponents that I apply to my own Party. And I try to enforce those standards.
In your brand of conservatism, why bother with the political process at all? Why not grab rifles and head to the hills?
Is this what the right is becoming? A group of ideologues who will discount the sacrifice of a veteran just because she holds left-leaning political views? Is the right losing its moral high ground so much that it begrudges a veteran telling voters about her sacrifices?
This is why we write our blog. The right HAS become this. If the military, as a whole, become liberal, the GOP would call for military cuts and would wonder why we let armed, trained killers vote. Meanwhile, the left puts more federal spending and redirects higher tax revenue into red states that fight us legislatively. I know you aren’t going to get a blue voting card any time soon, but hopefully things like this will push more republicans into independent territory.
One thought experiment: How long would it take GOPers to be on the news calling for resignations, censure, condemnations, etc., if this had been a dem saying this about a GOP vet?
I feel the same way about the left. I agree that the right has become increasingly ideological, but so has the left. Oppose the President and you’re racist. Assassinate Americans overseas – that’s just fine if you’re Obama, but if it’s Bush, he’s a war criminal.
My fear is that the extreme right is starting to marginalize a necessary conservative counterweight to liberal ideology. When and if that goes away, all that is left is the way of the gun.
However, I do agree that if someone did this to a GOP candidate, the right would go nuts, especially me.
This nonsense comes down to the issue of respect, or the lack thereof. Extremists on both sides of the fence like Ed have stepped beyond what used to the normal playing field and have created this hyper partisan arena in which reason and compromise be damned. Facts don’t matter in thunderdome …….only winning at all cost. A good example of this disrespectful rage like Ed’s is when Republican Rep Joe Wilson screamed out that the president was a “liar”…..during the state of the union address…………an unprecedented and immensely disrespectful act towards the office of the presidency. I don’t care who is president, to take that step as Wilson did ……just brings more animosity towards politics in general, and helps to deepen the apathetic attitude most voters have towards government. When I examined Wilson’s reason for calling Obama a liar, I was not surprised to see he was 100 % wrong in saying illegal aliens were going to get care under the ACA. Section 1312 (f)(3) of the law clearly states that aliens shall not be treated as qualified individuals, and may not be covered under any health plan in the individual market that is offered through an ACA exchange……….I can’t believe that Wilson as a Rep in congress, with a staff of a dozen or more did not know about this provision by September of 2009. The Senate Finance committee had over 30 “Public” meetings on Healthcare reform and the ACA bill ( all were all televised on C-span which you can still watch at their website) throughout July of 2009. It was well known that the question of care for illegals was answered. But the facts didn’t matter at the time….Wilson thought it better to pander to his uninformed base with his fury, and lack of class. Git er done Joe !
Calling people who have differing political views vermin and filth especially a soldier who sacrificed so much as Duckworth ….does a diservice the to operation of our democracy. Without respect for one another…… how are we to operate in a functional way as a nation?
And don’t forget that Joe Wilson is a Tea Party darling. Want to be a congressman? Just sign Norquist’s “Ruin America” pledge and say the president is a monkey from Kenya, you’ll start seeing the dough roll in.
Yes, Joe wilson’s outburst was disrespectful of the office of the President, but truth is a complete defense to slander and libel, and he was as we know now correct. The President in fact lied.
This is one of the more inane things I’ve read in a while. No one is accusing Wilson of libel or slander. No one says truth is a defense to disrespect of the office of the president. Also, Joe Wilson called him a liar about illegal immigration, you’re going to say that the lies were about raising taxes, so the two are unrelated.
But go ahead and say something nasty about the President if it makes you feel like a winner, Bee. No one is going to make you justify your statements on the internet.
Bee and Nick,
I think Nick meant to say Joe Walsh, not Joe Wilson, in his initial post.
Also, let’s try to tone down any heated exchanges amongst the regulars. You all are much smarter than that. I’m chalking the last one up to a simple misunderstanding about the person in question – being Joe Walsh and not Joe Wilson.
Sean, read the comment thread. Jeff brought up Wilson for comparison’s sake. Bee defended Joe Wilson. I addressed her incorrect statements.
If someone wants to call the President a liar, that’s fine, I’m happy to debate it. But Joe Wilson’s charge is completely wrong and I can’t believe anyone would defend it at this point.
My apologies. I didn’t reread the whole thread.
I’m done. 🙂
Too bad the primary is over. I think he would have gotten weeded out.
I certainly agree.
Long time no see, hope you’re doing well. I’m not very bloggy these days.
I’m writing because I have a question that I believe you can shed some light on. And let me say in advance, I’m really not trying to start an argument, I actually want to know what you think.
It occurs to me that both the left and the right have wicked echo chambers in this country. I notice it when righties tell me that my opinion isn’t actually what lefties believe; the citations are always to someone no liberal/progressive actually listens to, i.e., Geraldo Rivera.
They almost always provide some bizarre idea that doesn’t reflect any conversation on our side of the aisle. For example, on redstate they’re talking about how the left is furious about Ryan’s selection and that Obama is dreading this debate; au contraire, the Snoopy dancing still hasn’t died down. This is *exactly* the debate Obama wanted to have, custom ordered. In actuality on our side, lots of us really dislike Obama and have for a long time, because his policies are often to the right of Bush II. So this selection has instantly galvanized the left and brought all dissenters into the fold, in the blink of an eye.
I also see it on the left, in that we tend to think everybody on the right is more or less a unified front, except for the Ron Paul people. That’s obviously not correct. So there’s very little awareness by lefties that lots of righties don’t approve of Walsh, for example (and I agree wholeheartedly with your piece, BTW, the guy is an embarrassment and you should shut him down). We get giddy when we see conservative heavyweights talk turkey on Palin’s stupidity, for example, because within the lefty echo chamber righties never challenge each other, only us. That’s obviously an inaccurate echo effect.
So my question for you is if you can help me understand the dynamics between the different factions on the right. This is my take on it, and please correct me if I’m wrong.
Neocons — want government to be just large enough to support military industrial complex, socially moderate, limit domestic spending but not necessarily eliminate, privatize as much as possible. Supported by oil/coal companies and defense contractors. Main drivers of War on Drugs/War on Terror. I would put you in this category, is this correct?
Tea Party — want minimal government, socially conservative, less hawk-ish, but still generally support MIC (in terms of fossil fuels/War on Terror), want to cut domestic spending to the bone if not eliminate entirely. Fundamentalist Christian, “values voters.”
Libertarians — want less government than Tea Party, i.e., virtually no government including MIC. This puts them at loggerheads with Neocons regarding military, but are aligned in terms of slashing regulation and domestic spending and pro-privatization. Align with Tea Party on cutting social programs, but conflict regarding gay rights, abortion, drug laws, War on Drugs/MIC.
Is this correct? If not, how would you characterize the various groups within the American right? Most importantly, when righties say “conservative” it clearly means something different than when lefties do; when we say it we mean all of the above. What does it mean on the right?
Long time, no see!
Thank you for raising this question. It’s both a fascinating and complex one. A lot of my classmates at Harvard (who tended to have more left-leaning ideas) had also wondered about the same things, so I did a group product in an organizing class taught by Marshall Ganz (who, by the way, I got along with very well though our politics are very different) that sought to explain these differences. While this framework is by no means the “right” one, it helps frame different strains of conservatism.
We bucketed conservatism into four categories:
3. Traditional Conservatism
I think you are broadly right concerning libertarians. Libertarians tend to support a little government as possible in all areas of life from welfare to gay rights. They generally believe that people are in a better position to make decisions than the government is. If someone wants to smoke pot, they can. However, if they rob someone to get money for it, they are responsible for the consequences. More extreme libertarians would argue for virtually no government. I doubt most of them fit in this category. Most tend toward limited government. I would put many of my personal views in this category vs. domestic policy. On foreign policy, I am more in line with the realist school (which is neither left nor right). In fact, I would argue that Obama’s foreign policy fits this mold as well (which is why I rarely criticize it).
Neocons are basically conservative Wilsonians. They believe that it is permissible to use war to “spread” Democracy. They support some social regulation to preserve a “democratic culture.” While they do not support an overly intrusive government, they are not as much concerned with the growth of federal government as other conservative. Think of them as Democrats with a messianic tendency to spread democracy through warfare. I am definitely not a neocon.
Traditional Conservatives tend to be more conservative about social issues than the others. They tend to be anti gay marriage, pro-life, pro-prayer in schools, etc. They also tend toward isolationism in foreign affairs. For an archetype, see Pat Buchanan.
The Tea Party movement is a little more complex. It started primarily as a movement based on libertarian principles (i.e., limited government) as it began as a Rick Santelli rant on CNBC.
Over time, traditional conservatives took over the movement (or at least the press defined it that way).
These definitions are my own, and I’m sure there may be other interpretations, but I think they provide a pretty good framework of what constitutes the right.
Thanks, that’s helpful. It still leaves me with more questions than answers, though. As you say, it’s complicated.
I’ve seen the Santelli rant before. It’s pretty famous on our side.
So you would characterize yourself as more of a libertarian, though not a Ron Paul supporter? I know you won’t agree to slashing the defense budget, nor can I imagine you supporting IVAW or Occupy Marines, which are both overrun with Ron Paul supporters. They definitely identify as libertarian, i.e., Adam Kokesh (who I respect and agree with on many points, with key differences). I think if our policy in this country could come down to me and Adam Kokesh having a civilized debate and meeting each other in the middle, that would be great.
I agree with you about Obama’s foreign policy; many on the left feel that in this regard he’s actually well to the right of GW Bush. This is why it’s a little baffling to those of us that actually are socialists when tea partiers scream SOCIALIST! at the president who has basically told us to GFY. How any president with an extrajudicial kill list can be accused of being too far to the left is beyond me.
So with your definitions in mind, how would you characterize the Koch brothers? Are they not pillars of the neocons? In my estimation Bush/Cheney, Rove et al. are at the core of the neocon movement, are they not? Is R-Money not the neocon candidate?
Similarly, Paul Ryan seems to be a bit of a switch hitter. His budget is what I would call tea party, in that it originally cut all federal spending to a level that would decimate the DOD if implemented (which it never, ever will be for this reason). However, when the rubber met the road he voted for TARP and sucked up as much pork barrel money as he could get his hands on. So he talks a good game, but he wouldn’t live under his own guidelines.
I’m confused by the whole thing. Under your breakdown, the tea party is sort of a blend between moderate libertarians and traditional conservatives, right? But tea partiers love Paul Ryan, don’t they? On redstate, they like Ryan just fine, though he’s not conservative enough for them. That was a jaw dropper for me — I had a hard time imagining who would be conservative enough for them. Ryan makes his staffers read Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand hated religious people and crapped all over what you define as traditional conservatives. What the hell? I know Ryan is now trying to backpedal on that, unfortunately it’s a well documented fact.
Someone at Daily Kos did a scorecard on the entire house, ranking them on their voting record, so they all sort of ended up next to people who were ideologically similar. For example, on my side, Grijalva, Shakowski and Kucinich ended up in a little cluster. On the other side, Ryan ended up right next to Michelle Bachmann. I think he was actually to the right of Bachmann. So that’s mind wobbling to me. From our side Ryan is an extremist, from their side he’s too moderate. Who do they really want? (I can tell you who I want, Bernie Sanders.)
This is where the whole thing starts swirling around for me. The traditional (social) conservatives sort of gravitated to the tea party. I get that part. But the tea party is heavily financed by Americans for Prosperity, which is funded almost entirely by the Koch brothers, who are squillionaires thanks to defense/fossil fuel. I would have to put them in with the neocons based on their close alliance with Karl Rove/Crossroads GPS.
So is it that traditional conservatives are now in the tea party? I think the Buchanan people are mostly tea partiers, aren’t they? I had a co-worker who threw hissy fits when I insisted he turn off Bill O’Reilly when I had to be in the room. He’s definitely pro-military, pro-oil, pro-war on terror and war on drugs, and he feels the tea party is to the right of him. I don’t think he cares about gays or abortion.
It seems to me like the right is breaking up into factions. How would you characterize the redstate people?
Wow. There are a lot of questions here. I will do my best to address them, though I may not have a chance to answer all of them.
On domestic issues, I would characterize myself as a libertarian. For instance, I don’t think the government should have anything to do with marriage (gay or straight). Instead, it should simply award civil union licenses. On national security issues, I am a realist. The United States must pursue a foreign policy that furthers its interests. If Iran blocks the Strait of Hormuz causing oil prices to skyrocket, the US should intervene. However, the US ought not get involved in a messy Syrian civil war because it would not further American interests.
In regards to the Tea Party, I would argue that the movement is an amorphous amalgamation of interests that are tied together based on their desire for a more limited government.
Regarding the Koch brothers, I really don’t have an opinion. To me, the Koch brothers are a bugbear of the left that the left loves to demonize in the same way the right loves to demonize George Soros. Both serve as respective villains to either side.
On Ryan, I completely understand why the right has a love hate relationship with him. He voted for both TARP and Medicare Prescription D. Voting for TARP was the right call. Medicare Prescription D was the wrong call. That said, Ryan has provided a plan that tackles the tough issues on government spending. Whether you agree with his budget proposals or not, he is a serious and thoughtful candidate – light years better than the intellectually lightweight Palin.
Also, I wanted to say about this:
“While they do not support an overly intrusive government, they are not as much concerned with the growth of federal government as other conservative. Think of them as Democrats with a messianic tendency to spread democracy through warfare. I am definitely not a neocon.”
It’s not that liberals want government to get as huge as possible. Most liberals and progressives would both be fine with smaller government, especially if a huge chunk was taken out of the defense budget and fossil fuel subsidies, some of that money put towards social programs, and the rest put toward lowering the middle-class tax burden. We also want the tax rate on the wealthy to go back up — most of us would be over the moon with the effective tax rates of the Reagan administration. Nobody on our side says we need to see how big we can get the government to be.
That’s a fair point. I should have said something to the effect that Democrats have more confidence in government’s ability to solve problems than Republicans do.
Right. I think the echo chamber effect on both sides seriously damages the conversation between normal citizens. People get used to thinking in stereotypes and a lot gets lost in the shuffle. I think we’re all — left and right — being manipulated bigtime and this is partly how.
Sorry, it seems like maybe I’ve overwhelmed you with questions, but I do have a few more.
Where do you and the regular readers of this blog stand on Ayn Rand?
Do you support Romney? Ryan? Both?
Thanks Sean, I appreciate your input on this. I realize the questions I’m asking are all complex, and there are a lot of them. I’m open to other people answering them, too.
This makes a lot of sense, and is very helpful.
Basically on the left we look at the Tea Party and it makes no sense whatsoever, i.e., pensioners stepping off a Prosperity for America bus arguing that “government” healthcare is socialism, carrying signs that say “hands off my Medicare.” It’s not necessarily coherent, because it’s a variety of different factions within the right. That makes sense.
Well, actually I wasn’t asking for a yay or nay on them, but where you would put them in the categories you described. Your description of neocons was, IMO, how they *sell* their agenda; the fact that vast amounts of money change hands as a result — and where it goes — cannot be coincidental, can it?
That said, I have to disagree that the Kochs are a bogeyman. There are numerous key differences between them and Soros.
For example, I went to a town hall on fracking, coming soon to my neighborhood (I’m diligently researching what I will need to do to move to Europe, and finding the money to do it ASAP). Attendance was standing room only. I waited in line for two hours to get in, and was not afforded a chance to speak because there were too many of us. It was basically “torches and pitchforks,” maybe 15:1 against fracking.
And yet fracking it is, because the Koch acolyte who lives in our state has purchased the state house. Is there any direct link to Soros cherrypicking local politicians, targeting those who aren’t liberal enough? AFP carefully selected 22 legislators in my state that it wanted gone, and 18 of them got gone. Can you name a state where Soros has hand-selected the state house?
At the road in front of the town hall, about a dozen retirees in matching “Shale yes!” T-shirts had been brought in on Prosperity for America (Koch) buses. I asked them where they lived, they live about three hours from where the meeting was held. Their protest was very well funded. They were outnumbered about 80:1. The media drooled all over them. They all got back on the bus and went to Golden Corral before the information session started. Literally not one of them stayed to hear from the people who had actual knowledge of the issue. News coverage in the “Liberal [ROFLMAO]” media made it look evenly split, with some for and some against. Have you ever been able to find any link at all between Soros and Occupy Wall Street? Did he provide buses, campaign materials, T-shirts, free meals, organizational infrastructure, anything? And most importantly, would he personally benefit financially from their successes, as the Kochs definitely do from AFP?
Thanks. I’m open to any and all evidence you have.
Speaking of the Kochs and Occupy Wall Street, here’s a leaked memo:
Click to access CLGF-msnbc.pdf
And yes, I realize MSNBC is called the “liberal media” because of Rachel Maddow et al. having shows. It should be noted that on our side, we’re all very clear that it’s owned by defense contractor/bankster GE. Ariana “used to be conservative but now I make a lot more money being liberal” Huffington’s site is also reporting it. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mobileweb/2011/11/18/lobbying-firm-occupy-wall-street_n_1102310.html
Anyway, the Koch brothers are being warned that if the tea party does the math, they’ll get on board with OWS, and they’ll be in deep kimchee. We should all be so lucky.
Xavier – I think Sean knows that from the beginning of OWS, I’ve beleived that – even though the two groups disagree deeply on what the problems are and what the solutions should be – the TP and OWS anger and activism arise from a common sentiment and distrust of elected officials. Both know that something is very wrong in government and both know that our leaders are actually followers.
Hey Moe (and i don’t mean that in the Curly/Larry way) 🙂
I think that’s right, and polling bears that out as well. I guess the part that I hadn’t understood until lately is how deeply fractured “the right” is, internally. I also don’t exactly understand why certain individuals align with certain groups, i.e., tea party, libertarian, etc., because they break it down very differently than I do.
For example, does this
imply that there’s a good sized faction on the right that does trust the government and feels comfortable with its leadership? It seems to me that there’s only a small island on the left that feels that way.
Thanks, and nice to see you.
Xavier – I think the Republican party is in its death throes. Ideology and money aside, it’s demographic reality that’s killing them. Despite their efforts to push their women and youth and minorities in front of the cameras, their voters are predominantly white and older.
As for the ‘trusting govt’ part, I think it depends on who is in power. It used to be that it was Republicans who liked governmet the way it was (except for the New Deal of course) and the left who were radical and angry. That’s switched entirely. I see most of the overt anger and activism on the right – spurred by the Christian right and the oligarchy. THe left is not really out in the streets yet (again, except for OWS).
Anyway, we’ve become more tribal than political, so maybe it’s all too late anyway . . . sigh!
I think that’s a fair statement.
My apologies for not responding to every comment. For some strange reason traffic has been crazy today (with more comments than normal) and work has been busy as well. I hope you’ll continue the debate even if I’m not as responsive as usual.
Also, to add to Bee’s point, can someone on the left please articulate why people are up in arms about requiring a simple ID for voters is such an issue. A photo ID is required for nearly everything else adults do (try getting a mortgage or using a credit card at Best Buy without one), why not require it for voting? It makes the process more robust.
The last time I voted, I was appalled by how easy it would have been to vote on someone else’s behalf. I literally could have walked in with my wife’s ballot and voted for her. The integrity of the system seems pretty shaky to me, and if enough people have doubts about the integrity of the process, there is potential for post election instability.
I’ll be happy to answer your question, and I hope you’ll find time to get back to any of mine. Especially about the Kochs and Soros. I’m saying a Koch acolyte has hand selected the state house of the state I live in, which is not that difficult to prove. Can you name a state where Soros has the same influence the Kochs et al. have in my state? They picked 22 members of our state house they wanted to pick off, and they got their candidate into 18 of those seats. Do you have any evidence of Soros doing the same? If so, where?
A few things. 1. that’s a lot of woulda coulda shoulda. Do you have any evidence of this having happened anywhere at all in the last 10 years? I mean, with potentially half a million voters in Philadelphia being disenfranchised by this latest round of dirty tricks/voter suppression in PA, are you saying that Republicans wouldn’t be able to catch people doing stuff like that?
Last time I voted there were no less than half a dozen Republicans (standing well beyond the “no electioneering past this point” sign, speaking of cheating at elections) handing out propaganda and “sample conservative ballots.” Literally handing people the form telling them exactly how to vote on their way into the booth. You’d think they’d be well-staffed enough to catch you voting as a woman.
So that whole thing is a complete red herring, way to keep the conversation focused on things that could, theoretically, possibly be a problem, if they happened. But you can’t show that it ever has or is even likely to. At least the state where the dirty tricks are in progress has affirmed that it can’t. I’m open to evidence, if you have any.
Meanwhile, the voter suppression dirty tricks are in full force and effect. The video linked below shows that the whole thing is a ruse to avoid accountability in the first place. This isn’t about integrity, it’s about getting your guy into the office, rights of the citizens be damned. If the Democrats ever get half as good at cheating on elections as the Republicans, no Republican will ever take office again, because in real life Republicans and conservatives are in the minority in this country. If you really believed that you had a majority, every one of you would be howling for mandatory voting.
I found this for you:
Caution: The DFH in this video uses foul language.
Sean – as a bona fide lefty, let me say I think the left has done a DREADFUL job of articulating the voter ID postiion. Here’s mine:
I have no problem iwth the idea of voter ID, none at all. Most people I’ve talked to feel the same way.. But I have a huge problem with how it’s beiing rushed through and made difficult. Both of these things speak to intent. And the intent here IS suppression.
If a program to get a voter ID system in place were proposed and implemented over a longer period of time, and made almost automatic or at least simple, I’d consider it an honest postion to take.
But this way? Nope. It’s purely partisan.
Some of these anecdotes are terrible, but surely you can agree that three months should be plenty of time to require people to get registered with photo IDs. The problem is that government is implementing this policy. In the private sector, 3 months is a lifetime. In government, it is the blink of an eye, and I think that is fundamentally what the problem is here. Government is simply too bloated and inefficient to get this simple task done in any reasonable amount of time. The anecdotes you are seeing, I think, are more of a reflection of just how incompetent government employees have become. You are expecting a lot from the “DMV lady.” It should be no shock that she fails to deliver.
For instance, I was once turned back from getting a license because I signed something in black ink instead of blue ink. In the military, people would routinely reject documents signed in blue (for some age old reason that people have long-since forgotten), so I tended to sign everything in black out of habit. Of course, because it was in black, the DMV lady thought I was giving her a photo copy instead of a signed document, which greatly delayed my getting my license. The problem is that this stupidity is rife throughout state and local governments, that implementation of this seemingly simple process is running into a lot of hurdles, most of them caused by sheer ignorance on the part of government employees.
I think both sides are committing what psychologists call the fundamental attribution error – that is blaming the other side’s intentions for an outcome that is really the result of other non-malignant causes. The left believes the right is actively trying to suppress young and minority voters while the right believes that the left is trying to enable illegal immigrants and dead people to vote for a Democratic ticket.
The reality is that government employees are too incompetent to implement this reasonable policy in a timely fashion (rebutting the Democratic explanation for voter fraud implementation), while those who tend not to have IDs (minorities) are running up against the normal static and wasteful bureaucracy any American faces at the DMV (blunting the right’s argument that the left is trying to enable voter fraud, rather than just protecting its constituency’s right to vote). Both sides are wrong.
Sean – in no way is three months sufficient time to put in place a state-wide universal program with requirements that indeed are difficult for many people. And again, there IS NO RUSH to get it done before this particular eleection because circumstances are no different than they were four or eight or twelve years ago. (by the way, the ‘New Black Panthers’ are a joke. They’re about as important and effective as that Westboro Baptist Church crowed with their “God Hates Fags’ signs at military funerals.)
A few years back – post 9/11 – I had my wallet stolen and had to get a new license. It was a horror mainly because of my birth cerrtificate. I had a zerox, not the original. I had an expired passport and a briefcase full of idenifying documents ‘just in case’. I was denied. I had to contact NYC to get an original birth certificate – from 1942. They couldn’t supply that, only a doc attesting that I was indeed born there. So they sent it to me. I then had to go back to the DMV a second time – and I was still working, so time off a second time – and until a supervisor stepped in, I was being denied for the second time. So I got my new license. But I left almost feeling like a criminal.
Also – 104 comments and counting! Nice heathy thread Sean,, well done.
That’s because you’re from Kenya.
Damn, you found me out! 😆
Honestly I think this election is going to be a referendum on “the right.” Do most Americans align philosophically with redstaters? It would seem that even they know that’s not true. For example, the Republican snipe hunt over voting fraud, even when what they’re looking for has been proven not to exist in any significant way. Meanwhile, every effort to restrict, limit, and curtain voting comes from the same group. If voting were mandatory in this country for everyone over 18, what would the outcome be?
Xavier, I respectfully disagree. The Republicans are not snipe hunting. There are legions of dead people and illegal aliens on the voter roles who are largely voting Democratic. The only people enabling these people being able to vote are the liberals. What ever happened to integrity in the election system? Voter Fraud is rampant and it is not coming from the Republicans. Acorn is alive and well under different names–wolves in sheeps clothing.
Hi Bee – let me also respectfully disagree but with you. ACORN is not alive and well. It shut down in 2010, despite having been cleared by multiple state and city Atty’ Generals. As for the ‘legions of dead and illegals’ – the dead voters (in Chicago usually) is an old meme from 50 years ago. It’s history, not reality. And as for actual fraud today, it is NOT a problem. The Brennan Center at the New York University Law School did an extensive study from ’05-’08. The whole thing is here: http://www.brennancenter.org/content/resource/policy_brief_on_the_truth_about_voter_fraud/
* Fraud by individual voters is both irrational and extremely rare.
* Many vivid anecdotes of purported voter fraud have been proven false or do not demonstrate fraud.
* Voter fraud is often conflated with other forms of election misconduct.
* Raising the unsubstantiated specter of mass voter fraud suits a particular policy agenda.
* Claims of voter fraud should be carefully tested before they become the basis for action.
Multiple other studies, from govt and private orgs came to the same conclusion.
ACORN IS alive, but operating as a bunch of separate entities using different names. If you look at who is running these orgabizations, they mostly worked for ACORN. They’ve split up and are harder to expose, so they are operating under the radar.
Also the sutdy you cite was conducted before 2009. This Obama administration’s assault on the voting system necessarily began after that study was done.
Two questions Bee. 1) can you identiffy any of these ‘bunch of seperate entities”? and 2) can you tell me what is Obama’s assault on the voting system?
I’m also interested to see any proof of voter fraud going on anywhere in the US within the last ten years.
I had a whole volley of much less polite language to point out what Moe went ahead and did in civil fashion, so I’ll just second what she said.
That said, this is a myth that is so easily debunked by a simple google search that it begs the question why you didn’t check it before repeating it.
Just went to your place Nick, something I do whenever someone says somethng remotely nice about ME!!! I wasn’t able to leave a comment (on the About page).
Well, you don’t have to go to my blog, but I think you’re awesome. Tracey too.
And obviously everything I said to Moe goes to you, too. We like to bring in people who actually want to discuss facts, instead of talking points. We have our share of absolute nutjobs, too, but we use them for target practice nowadays.
Thanks, Moe, I’d love to get you commenting over there, too. I blog with two other guys who are typically more prolific and well-researched than I am, and we’re starting to get a good commenter base that makes it all worth it. I just got to write a really fun long form piece on a particularly bad fox news article. I’ll be keeping your blog in my Google reader now, so I’m sure we’ll all cross paths plenty.
I’ll go read it nick, but meanwhile, why couldn’t’ I leave my comment over there? Was it because I clicked the ‘Discus’ option so I would be notified of more comments? I must havve done something wrong – kept hitting that NEXT button and nothing happened.
I’ll try again on the Fox article and see . . .
Thanks for your answer. If I may, I have a question for you. Would you support mandatory voting? Every voter in the country being legally required to vote, as they are in Australia? And if we had such a law, which party would benefit?
No, I would NOT be in favor of mandatory voting. I am in favor of our current system but would require everyone to show vakid ID at the polls. And every person submitting a voter registration card should have to prove that they are US citizens. Non-citizens do not have the right to vote, but there are many who are registered to vote and do so, largely through motor voter registration where no proof of citizenship is required, only a driver’s license. States could even use e-Verify to check on the status of voters submitting applications. That would gradually cleanup the voter resgistries and we would have fair elections. And just because Pennsylvania says they’ve not found any inelligible voters, doesn’t mean it doesn’t occur there or elsewhere in the country.
Now I understand, Xavier. Unless you were being funny (didn’t seem that way to me), you want Bernie Sanders. I need to know nothing more than that. Bye, Bye.
Wow, Xavier got rid of Bee? I owe you a beer, X!
C’mon, Nick. Be nice. 😉
I give bee all due respect.
I was not being funny. I very much support Sen. Sanders and wish he were our candidate instead of Obama.
Respectfully, I hope that you will reconsider the discussion. I’m not here to campaign for anyone or start an argument. I’m here to try and understand the people on the right. I’m not trying to garner support for Sanders, I’m much more interested in understanding your thought process.
If I may ask, do you agree with Sean’s analysis of the different parts of the “right” in this country? If your vision of how it breaks down is different, would you explain how you see it? If you (or others here) don’t mind, can I ask you about the following:
Do you support Romney?
Do you support Ryan?
What do you think of Ayn Rand?
How would you describe yourself — traditional conservative (if so, please define), tea party, libertarian, neocon, other?
I appreciate any insight you could provide.
Xavier – I think Bee has left the building. She didnt like something someone said about something.
Right. It seems like the logic is, if we completely ignore them, they don’t exist anymore, so we don’t have to deal with them, and besides they either don’t exist or are illegal aliens or on welfare, or for some other reason they don’t count.
Here’s an excellent article, you’ll probably enjoy it. As the author says, the train is leaving the station. Conservatives can choose to either get on board, or stand on the platform shouting and throwing the finger. What has passed for “conservatism” in this country hasn’t been actually conservative in quite a long time. Remember when William F. Buckley destroyed Ayn Rand?
Oh I love that article Xavier! Thanks for the link. I think the GOP is missing the train in another way too – (sorry if I already said this here – old brains break you know) – they are about to become relics of another time because demographics is against them. They can’t attract young voters, minority voters and they’re losing women. They’re basically an old white party. And the electorate isn’t that anymore.
Right, I agree with that demographic issue. Worse yet (for them) is the ideological rift seems to be widening. It occurs to me that rational conservatives aren’t going to be sold on the idea that Ryan — and everything he stands for — isn’t just part and parcel of Ayn Rand’s philosophies. There’s too much evidence to the contrary. Unless they do just as Bee did, and refuse to talk about it or examine facts, the Republicans are sunk.
I do think this is their swan song, even if they do steal the election.
Let me clarify my comment. Bernie sanders is a far-left-wing self-avowed socialist. If he were president, we’d already be living in a socialist country. In the first two years of the current term, he would have rammed through the Democratically controlled House and Senate a lot more than Obamacare. Socialism flies in the face of everything the founders of this country held dear, and which most in America have held dear until the last 20 years. We are gradually being nudged into accepting more and more erosion of our freedom, which in my opinion gave rise to the Tea Party Movement, not the religious right, or the Libertarians, though some of each’s tenets are embraced by the Tea Party. I think the Tea Party is more like the traditional conservatives as defined above than anything else.
Obama has done a lot to push this country into the socialist model, but he has be largely ineffetive legislatively. He got Congress to take the lead on Obamacare. His stimulus packages/bailouts had only a momentary blip, but the unemployment numbers skyrocketed, just like the price of fossil fuels, all in service to a largely failed green jobs initiatives. He has racked up more national debt than all the other presidents before him COMBINED!
Most of what he has done has been by executive fiat,which is totally unconstitutional. He has basically rendered Congress ineffectual and irrelevant. If he can’t get what he wants legislatively, he does it by executive order. Congress won’t stand up to him because the liberals control the Senate, and no meaningful legislation gets to the floor of the Senate, thanks to Harry Reid. It is outragious that The Senate hasn’t passed a budget in almost 4 years. That is unprecendented. No budget, no spending controls.
Margaret Thatcher told the truth: “The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.” So you can have Barry Sanders and his socialist gobbledy-gook, and send him back to Vermont where he belongs.
Thanks for your response. Your definition of socialism and mine are different, but that’s really not what I came here to ask. If I may:
As a side note, this is also a major theme of Occupy Wall Street, in fact indirectly, it’s the central theme.
So would you identify yourself as a tea partier then? Would you put the religious right or “values voters” into the tea party or do you think they’re more spread out?
I have the same questions:
What group do you identify with?
Do you support Romney?
Do you support Paul Ryan?
Do you like Ayn Rand?
Are you a Christian?
In the interest of full disclosure, I am a socialist, supporter of Occupy Wall Street, am holding my nose and voting for Obama. I’m white, raised Christian, firefighter/paramedic, homeowner, taxpayer. I could claim Social Security disability at 100% but I don’t, because I’m able to get by without it, though I struggle. The only time I’ve ever received government assistance was for about two years when I really couldn’t function at all. Then I did receive Social Security disability and food stamps. Other than that I’ve been working full time since I was 17.
Thanks, I really appreciate you taking the time.
I used to be a life-long Republican, but switched to Independent (“Decline to State”) 2 years ago. I relate to the Tea Party, but I am not part of the religious right. I guess I am a “values voter.” I think the bulk of the Tea Party-ers are values voters who feel that the government is taking away our Constitutional rights more and more as time goes on. It ramped up when Obama took office and continues unabated. The next one to go will be our constitutional right to bear arms, if Obama/Clinton force a UN Small Arms Treaty on us. It’s a never-ending march to socialistic Nanny State. I can’t live with that.
I am a non-practicing Christian, and I will vote for Romney/Ryan. I like Ayn Rand but I disagree with her politics.
As for OWS, I think they are fighting for the wrong thing. If we become a socialist nation, everyone except the abject poor will be worse off. The 99% would not have what they have today if it weren’t for the 1% who pay over half the taxes in this country, create 80% of the permanent jobs (not the Government, which creates mostly temporary jobs, like census takers. The Government is very good at creating government jobs, most of which do not put anything into the economy, except indirectly by spending their outragious salaries/pension money. Government jobs to not create wealth for the country.
The OWS people do not understand any of the above. They think that the government should take money away from the producing part of the economy–the 1%– and GIVE it (redistribute it) to the 99% who don’t do much except complain, behave badly (get drunk, fornicate inthe streets, incite brawls, etc.), That is a recipe for economic disaster and everyone will suffer. Our economy will tank, unemployment will rise astronomically and the country will be destroyed. Obama and his cronies will be left running the show with most of the money that is left, we will anarchy in the streets. It is not a pretty picture.
If you have to hold your nose to vote for Obama, DON’T DO IT!! And don’t not vote, because that is tantamount to a vote for Ogama. Our country is at stake and though I am not wild about Romney, I don’t believe any of what I see coming down the pike will happen.
Thanks for taking the time to comment. I have some more questions, if you don’t mind.
So do you feel that the Republican party does not represent your views? Are you saying you’re a Tea Partier, though not religious?
Thanks, that’s very helpful. So the Tea Party contains both the religious people and other conservatives who agree with most of their positions if not for the same reasons. Or that is to say, other people who are pro-gun, anti-gay, anti-abortion, pro-death penalty, pro-small government? I guess the distinction would be that the religious right are more concerned with just the homosexuality/abortion aspects as opposed to the 2nd amendment issues? That does help me understand.
When you say you like Ayn Rand but disagree with her politics, can you elaborate on that? What part of her thinking do you agree with and what part do you disagree with?
I agree with her that science and philosophy, and individual responsibility are absolutely essential to a functioning, healthy society. Beyond that I disagree with her take on almost everything.
Here’s more examples of why I won’t vote for Rmoney.
I have more money in my change jar than GE, Boeing, Exxon and Bank of America paid in taxes in 2011 COMBINED.
(Reference material here http://www.ips-dc.org/campaigns/uncle-sams-pocket/) Full article here: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/08/16/1120815/-CEO-pay-higher-than-federal-income-taxes-at-26-corporations)
Billion here, billion there, before you know it you’re talking real money!
Here’s a link to State Rep Mike Turzai (R-PA) discussing PA’s new voter ID laws in front of a Republican audience in June 2012:
“Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the State of Pennsylvania? Done.”
A Google search for proven cases of voter fraud in Pennsylvania brought me the following, a stipulation between the ACLU and the State of PA. Let me be clear, this was signed by the State, acknowledged:
Click to access ApplewhiteStipulation.pdf
Also, I wanted to say:
It sounds like we’re in the same boat. Here’s what I know:
The upkeep for one year on Mrs. Romney’s horse (which cost about 1/2 million to buy) was written off her taxes (paid for by you and me, in other words) to the tune of $77K. That means not only did I pay about twice as high a percentage of my income in taxes, I paid out of my paramedic salary to finance someone to care for her horse. Even when I was on disability I paid more than 13% in taxes.
$77k is more than double my salary. So they sucked two paramedics out of our middle class taxes to pay for a horse that they can easily afford to care for out of their own pockets. They stuck us the bill instead, and amazingly, the other things they’ve done are apparently even worse. I say this because they absolutely refuse to disclose, because it would give us “more ammunition.” Mitt’s father often declined to take tax breaks that he could have claimed, because he thought tax avoidance was a quality unbecoming a presidential candidate. He also disclosed everything. Mitt, on the other hand, has always been very aggressive at avoiding taxation.
I don’t like Obama, but there’s no way in hell I’d vote for Rmoney, except as a sort of act of civil disobedience.
Lo and behold, a case of voter fraud has been found!
The Boston Globe reports this morning on a suspected case of voter fraud in East Longmeadow, MA, a suburb of Springfield in Hampden County on the Connecticut border. While the facts of the case are still under investigation, and no charges have yet been filed, the alleged acts at this point appear to have been sufficient to have changed the outcome in an upcoming primary election for state representative in the district. Obviously, in the context of voter id laws being passed around the country, ostensibly to guard against voter fraud, and the recent reports of extremely low numbers of confirmed cases of in-person voter fraud since 2000, the events in East Longmeadow represent a significant development. Do they bear out Republican fears of widespread Democratic voter fraud?
Ummm, no, they don’t:
The district attorney in Hampden County is investigating whether a Republican candidate for state representative orchestrated an illegal scheme to cast absentee ballots on behalf of hundreds of voters in hope of winning a primary election.
First, because the fraudster here was a Republican candidate for state representative. Second because the fraud scheme involved absentee ballots, which voter id requirements would never be able to prevent.
The scheme involved using privileged access to the town of East Longmeadow’s voter registration rolls to change the party identification of about 450 mostly elderly Democrats to Republican or independent so that they could vote in the upcoming September 6 primary, request absentee ballots in the names of those voters, and then fraudulently submit those ballots to benefit the Republican fraudster. According to the attorney for the fraudster’s opponent, the absentee ballot requests were “concentrated on certain streets and in certain neighborhoods… [and] many of the voters were age 60 or older.” According to the attorney, many of those affected by the fraud were
hard-core Democrats, including members of the Town Democratic Committee and a retired judge.
Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin, who has been conducting his own independent investigation into the alleged fraud, stated:
It’s very serious… It’s like stealing a person’s identity to steal money from them, but it’s worse. You’re trying to steal an election.
This scheme was caught before the votes were actually cast, but it came close. And, of course, it originated in the party best known for voter suppression.
Here is an alternative example of how easy it is to commit voter fraud in the US and why it is so hard to prove:
Also note that the Pew Research Center has noted in a recent study that 1.8 million dead people are registered to vote. In a national election, these numbers can literally tip the balance between victory and defeat. Surely in a country that won’t let people rent a DVD without photo ID, the government should be able to require that people show their ID before they vote.
To the extent that people are not complying with free ID laws, they should be punished whether they are Democrats or Republicans.
Moreover, people should be prosecuted if they violate polling laws like the Republicans you mentioned and the New Black Panther Party Democrats in this video (who Eric Holder conveniently refused to prosecute):
Wow. I have to say whoever shot that video is a James O’Keefe wannabe. Notice that nobody else feels intimidated by them, including the girl talking on the phone or the old man hobbling up behind them.
In terms of all the dead people registered to vote, doesn’t it seem logical that when poeple die, their names aren’t automatically purged from the voting records? In other words, you’re grasping at straws. It would be relatively easy to compare the records to who actually showed up to vote. When I show up to vote, they do ask for my voter’s registration card. They look for my name on a list. After it’s all said and done, they can compare that list to the list of dead people, or see if any of them showed up more than once. Then you scratch those off. When/if you find them. Which they never do.
Whereas the actual, proven mega voter fraud by Republicans is astronomical, including the whole Bush/Gore kerfuffle. Or Mitt Romney’s own voter fraud, falsely registering whatever address is expedient for his shifting agenda. Irony seems to whiz right past Republicans.
Meanwhile, it seems to people on the left like the people on the right constantly manufacture nonsense to rail about, and absolutely refuse to address problems we can prove. Complain about Holder all you want, he isn’t doing squat to stop the Republican shenanigans either.
Xavier, if someone were dressed in a KKK hood and carried a billy club outside of a polling place, would that be OK too (or legal)? The test is not whether people feel intimidated by them (which I’m sure some people would have felt that way), but whether it is legal to carry a weapon within inches of a polling station. It is as simple as that.
I don’t understand why he has a stick in his hand. Then again, I’m being told that when I report for jury duty, I can’t bring any “weapons” including my crochet hook. If you have any report of any white person anywhere who was chased away from a polling place by black people, let us know. In this video, they weren’t stopping anyone from going in or saying anything to them. Just standing there to keep black people from being harassed. No need to ask the question why black people might feel that’s necessary. That’s a non-issue when a white Republican wants to trip about something.
Here’s what I see over and over again, and why the conversation shuts down:
By framing, I mean sending the lefties off to chase their tails; they have cold, hard, provable facts, like the study Moe referenced below that showed it’s a non-issue. BUT! In order to avoid the very real and very provable problem of the effect the Koch brothers have on society, we’ll make stuff up and talk about that instead.
You can kill the flowers, but you won’t stop the spring.
“I don’t understand why he has a stick in his hand. Then again, I’m being told that when I report for jury duty, I can’t bring any “weapons” including my crochet hook. If you have any report of any white person anywhere who was chased away from a polling place by black people, let us know. In this video, they weren’t stopping anyone from going in or saying anything to them. Just standing there to keep black people from being harassed. No need to ask the question why black people might feel that’s necessary. That’s a non-issue when a white Republican wants to trip about something.”
So, just to be clear, your argument is that it is OK for someone to carry a weapon within 100 feet of a polling station as long as they don’t “chase away” voters and even if they yell racial epithets at prospective voters. Please tell me I’m wrong here.
Starts with, before he’s anywhere near them, “Dude, you got my back?” In other words, I’m here to stir the shit.
Yep, you’re wrong. I don’t think he should have a stick. I also think we should look at why they feel that’s necessary, which of course no Republican wants to address until every one of their bullshit agenda items has been addressed.
“Do you have any problems here, or what’s going on?”
“(inaudible, calm voice)”
“I’m just making sure.”
“(Inaudible calm voice)”
“I’m a media guy,” blah blah I’m a pollwatcher yadda yadda.
“All right. I’m just wondering why you’re taking pictures.”
“I’m a concerned citizen.”
“So am I. That’s why I’m here.”
Didn’t hear any of the racial epithets you mentioned. They never raised their voices. Rather than asking why the black men are so concerned that they feel they need to stand guard at a polling place and address that problem, the Republican turns the entire focus to his own on needs, his fears, his entitled bullshit.
That’s all the tail chasing I’ll be able to do for now.
“Starts with, before he’s anywhere near them, “Dude, you got my back?” In other words, I’m here to stir the shit.”
Or alternatively, the guy we are approaching is carrying a weapon. If he decides to use it, please protect me.
“Didn’t hear any of the racial epithets you mentioned. They never raised their voices. Rather than asking why the black men are so concerned that they feel they need to stand guard at a polling place and address that problem, the Republican turns the entire focus to his own on needs, his fears, his entitled bullshit.”
My apologies. The racial epithets were uttered by the same guy, just not in this video. Bartle Bull, a former civil rights lawyer and publisher of the left-wing Village Voice, described this incident as “the most blatant form of voter intimidation I’ve ever seen“. He further reported that the individual yelled “You are about to be ruled by the black man, cracker!”
My apologies for leaving out the full context of the incident.
Here’s why the voter ID scam is nothing but a scam run by Republicans to prevent citizens from voting Democrat. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/08/17/1121432/-I-was-denied-free-voter-ID-today-Pennsylvania
The Pittsburgh DMV is not giving free voter ID, contrary to federal law. Specifically, the DMV supervisor who refused to give it to me is named Dana Nash. This happened today (8/17/2012) at 10AM at the DMV located at 708 Smithfield Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. My original intention was just to change my driver’s license to a PA license, and I brought all the many required ID and residency forms plus cash and a credit card. I followed the instructions on the DMV website, but it turns out they forgot to mention only checks or money orders were acceptable. That’s not a big deal, the main thing is I wanted to make sure to have ID to vote with for the November election. So then I tried to get at least free state ID while I was at the DMV, because I want to vote. I was told I cannot get free state ID, because my driver’s license is still valid in another state. They won’t change the driver’s license for free, and they won’t give me a state ID for free, even though I have all the ID and I am renting an apartment here and have all the proof (rental agreement, Verizon bill to the address, and all the forms of ID they require). He told me that people who want free voter IDs have to come back to that DMV office on August 27th, when they will start giving out a state ID that will be valid ONLY for voting purposes (and they are not accepting applications until that date). Their DMV website says nothing about separate voting IDs only starting to be given out on August 27th. I already had to take my whole morning off of work (bike+bus to the DMV, wait to be served, wait for them to decide what to do with my request for free voter ID, then bike+bus to work), and now according to him I should go back on August 27th… except that he also said I wasn’t eligible because I have a valid driver’s license. According to the DMV website, I shouldn’t have to wait until August 27th and have to return and waste more time – I should have been able to get my free state ID for voting TODAY. While I was waiting there, I spoke with a man there was helping his father, who wanted a free voter ID but was told he had to pay $13 for it (and he did). Someone needs to fix this, because clearly the law about not having to pay to vote is NOT being followed.
I just want to say, I really didn’t come here to get into debating all of this. I came here to find out what’s going on with the right in this country to see if there’s something everybody’s missing, a way we could all work together to solve problems.
I’ll tell you honestly, I kind of hope R-Money wins. As you noted (and many of us know) Obama is (in real life) a center-right capitalist (as was Clinton). So our choices for the last 20 years have been between center right and insane right. Obama isn’t a socialist, never has been, and never will be, and all of us socialists are crystal clear on it — as I suspect you (Sean) are too. Especially not if he wins handily as he expects to do. The Republicans have definitely overplayed their hands, long and hard. The choice between Republican and Republican Lite isn’t going to continue indefinitely.
If this country takes one more ideological/policy step to the right, we will plunge off the edge into the abyss. I think it may be the only way to fix what ails us, have a collapse of our society as we know it. Have everybody learn to grow their own food, harvest rainwater, and cooperate and barter with each other instead of slaving away to banks. The adjustment period would be rough, but eventually it would be better. We would finally get some honesty among humans. The love of money is the root of all evil, yanno? What if the games don’t work on us anymore?
Atlas Shrugged, huh. How long would the R-Moneys survive if they had to rely on the goodwill cooperation of people who know how to do plumbing and grow vegetables?
Xavier says : “The Republicans have definitely overplayed their hands, long and hard. The choice between Republican and Republican Lite isn’t going to continue indefinitely.
If this country takes one more ideological/policy step to the right, we will plunge off the edge into the abyss.”
I have been saying for months now…….. if the hard right takes control and they cut all the social welfare programs they get so fluffed up about with all their fake fiscal bravado………who does it hurt the most ??? ………Why their ignorant misinformed base who actually use a majority of those benefits …..thats who. ……..and yes they are using those benefits far more in those …”red state” ……”wave the flag”….”god and country”……”we hate socialism”…parts of the USA.
Here is the best interactive map I have ever seen which shows the distribution of all the various social programs that the federal government provides…………..you can click on each state…..each county nationwide to see who has their hand out the most for each individual program……………..and you know what Sean, if you overlay it with the current polled national electoral map, it shows that those regions who hate Obama and are leaning tea party ……or for Romney and Ryan….. are some of the largest recipients of federal largesse. The people of regions who say they hate socialism the most but have their hands out more than anyone are in rock solid Republican areas. They have been conned quite well to vote against their own interests through the demagogic echo chamber. Their prejudicial fears and ignorance will be their demise….and eventually the Republican base will shrink because of it.
Interactive map showing social welfare distribution per county and state:
Back in 2004 I had a good friend who was a teacher at the Mississippi school for the deaf. He was a driven man with a PHD who wanted to make a difference. He loved his work and also volunteered his time with the local inhabitants that lived all around the campus. He spent hundreds of hours trying to solve issues and help people with acquiring more education etc. He would send me pages of e-mail expressing his frustration at how the local citizens who were losing federal and state benefits from ongoing legislation put forth by their own Republican lawmakers. He recalled one evening at a meeting with 50 people where he told them that their own representatives had reduced their educational and social welfare benefits so much that they now had to make do with less than they had in previous decades. He suggested that perhaps they might try to vote for a representative that would try to maintain or increase their funding…………………to which they all were aghast with surprise and insult that they would vote for anyone who was not as “Godly” as GWB or some of their other local Republican charlatans.
Yeah ……..50 overweight people on various types of assistance with dozens of individual issues many on free federal scooters…………………..railing about that communist socialist John Kerry and re-electing their “Godly” president who was waist deep in a fake war……….who loves to hold hands, bow, and kiss that Arab….prince Abdullah like he was his long lost uncle………..Yeah that made sense. I am sure the Republican party will help you.
The Republicans have one shot at the drastic cuts in federal social welfare………one, maybe two shots, but when reality hits across red state land…….they will finally realize who is responsible, and all the Fox news and Fat assed Limbaughs in the world won’t be able to keep the con game going.
Wait till I start my rant about Paul Ryan ….the biggest fraud of the Republican party
Hey Jeff – I get giddy when someone calls Limbaugh fat outloud! Good on you. Everyone is way too polite about him. This philosophical icon of the right is a morbidly obese, four times married, college dropout, son of privledge with a little history of an illegal drug problem, in which case, by the way, the ACLU filed a brief on his behalf, Of course, that hasn’t stopped him railing against that organization. He’s a totally negative and destructive force, adored by tens of millions of Americans. And in the media it’s largely considered bad form to call him out.
I noted with the Andrea Saul thing that Rushbo was about to launch into her, then a little voice seemed to click in the back of his head and he pulled his punch. It looked like he didn’t want to be seen “beating up a girl.” Again.
I’ve already started growing my own food in anticipation of an Obama victory. If he does win, I aim to purchase about 5-years of canned goods and something with which to defend it against the roving mobs once hyperinflation begins.
Obama’s policies aren’t working. There is literally ~$1.5 trillion of capital overseas that the President could bring back to this country with the simple stroke of a pen. Better yet, he could mandate that corporations could return it tax free if every dollar they repatriated was used to build a manufacturing plant or to create American jobs. It would be the biggest cost free stimulus in history and an easy win for the Obama administration.
I am absolutely perplexed why he hasn’t done it. It is a no brainer.
And with that roving mobs nonsense, all pretense of rationality goes out the window…
You want him to give corporations a pass on tax evasion if they promise to invest in American jobs, but why would they? They can invest it right now in cheaper labor and manufacture elsewhere, and they aren’t facing any penalties as it is. What stroke of a pen are you referring to?
It’s not tax evasion. Those companies produced products in another country for which they paid taxes. In all cases, these taxes were lower than US taxes. They are under no obligation to return this capital to the United States, but many of them want to. They want to invest in my capital stock in this country. However, the US tax code requires them to pay the difference between US and foreign taxes if they repatriate this capital. Corporations aren’t stupid, so they find ways to invest this capital abroad instead of domestically.
I agree that a primary reason these corporations invested their capital elsewhere is that labor in cheaper and secondary reason is higher taxation and regulation in the United States. Sometimes it can be cheaper to sell a company’s products closer to its end markets if the government can make it compelling to do so by reducing costs elsewhere. For instance the primary reason Solyndra created a manufacturing plant in California (arguably one of the most expensive places on the planet to manufacture something) is because California provided the company with tax incentives to do so. Twitter stayed in San Francisco for the same reason. Incentives do work, even in the worst places to do business in this country.
All the president needs to do is approve a tax repatriation policy with strings attached. That’s it. That’s all. Unfortunately he is caught up in this stupid self-defeating mantra of the evil corporation and fair share mumbo jumbo that he isn’t implementing pragmatic policy solutions nor will he if given a second term. The stimulus was the only thing he did that made any sense. Since then, his economic policies have been a complete failure. Hell, we are still at 8.3% unemployment and ~2% GDP growth after running up ~$5 trillion in debt. No one can argue that this is a reasonable return on investment. Why would anyone want to vote for another four years of this? I think it is completely irrational. Numbers don’t lie.
While I admit that roving mobs are a low possibility, hyperinflation is not. If the economy ever grows again, prices will start to rise at a much faster rate given depreciation of the US dollar. If it happens steadily, it will be OK. However, if our creditors suddenly pull the plug and stop buying, the US dollar will collapse. Imagine going to the store everyday and seeing the prices on items rising in real-time (Unfortunately, we currently possess the technology that would enable this today). The instant your paycheck hits you bank account, your purchasing power declines exponentially). To make the most of your money, you’d buy food the instant you get paid. Unfortunately, everyone has the same idea you do so there are massive bread lines at the end of every month with the ensuing stock outs. People will be agree and hungry. Many of them will be desperate. The best thing to do is to stock up on food well in advance. It is only sensible.
Things like this happened in Weimar Germany, a country with a well-educated population. Zimbabwe is another example of a country suffering the bouts of hyperinflation. Another $5 trillion in debt raises the likelihood of such a scenario in the intermediate term. After all, why do commodities prices always spiked in recent years when their is any hint of an economic recovery? Well, a major reason is that they are denominated in US dollars.
Or better yet, he could impose a tiny transaction tax on Wall Street that would fund the hell out of Pell grants and other social services, and the *only* ones who would feel the sting would be the banksters. Interesting, no Republican has come out in favor of that, go figure. I’m not in favor of the whole “repatriation” theme. In other words, if economic rapists like Romney move their giant piles of money overseas, wait a few years, and come back, they can just throw a few crumbs and still largely evade their societal responsibilities. No thanks.
I’m not. I know exactly why. It’s what we’ve been saying for decades, as Jeff noted. We have two corporate-serving parties to choose from. I am not a corporation. Neither are corporations people, my friend.
I also wanted to say about this:
I think it’s odd that you believe the center right candidate will push our policy into extreme territory faster than the extreme right candidate. Check out the Glen Ford video I posted. I agree with him, Obama is the best stealth Republican ever.
I’ve gotten very big on permaculture lately, or establishing the means of my own sustainable lifestyle, for the same reasons you mentioned. I’m going to my foster parents’ house so he can teach me how to solder, so I can make solar panels and LED lighting arrays. When the heat dies down, I’m putting in two hugelkultur beds that will more than meet my food needs. I have already converted to a composting toilet, and am working on a rain harvesting system. I have my work cut out for me. If by some stroke of luck the whole thing crashes before the Koch brothers ram fracking up my ass, I’ll be able to keep living here as stated above. If not, I’m working on a way of immigrating to that socialist hellscape, Germany.
If our entire system collapsed tomorrow, my neighbors and I have lots of arable farm land. One neighbor already produces so much food from his hobby that he routinely gives everyone giant bags of tomatoes and okra. Within less than a quarter mile of me live a number of farmers, a plumber, a guy with a scrap metal shop, a carpenter, a mechanic, a school teacher, I’m a paramedic and firefighter, another firefighter. We also have two elderly women with cancer that we’ll be able to provide for just fine.
To be clear though, I am more worried about the effects of a coronal mass ejection from the sun than Obama’s policies. If a solar flare hits the earth with an EM field 180 degrees out of phase with the Earth’s EM field, everything with an electric generator will fail. The scary thing is that it happened in the 1700s – the so-called Carrington incident, but folks weren’t as dependent on solid state devices as they are today. Add to it the fact that because of Just-in Time manufacturing techniques, the average American city only has several days of food on hand. Experts predict that in the worst case of a CME, 90% of North America’s population would be dead within a month due to factors stemming from social chaos, to fires, to planes falling out of the sky, to dehydration, to starvation.
Ooooooohh yeah Sean……………government BAD !. they can’t do a damn thing right….. by that measure I guess the military is just a bad then ……right?……I mean my god…….you take 43 million per month to PAY OFF SUNNI INSURGENTS…..not to harm our soldiers…….after they had killed and maimed thousands of our soldiers……already(from 2004 through 2008)…….aka the “surge”………….just shows you how lousy some parts of our government can really be.
Here is a nice take on your narrative of lousy government…………..chew on it
This morning I was alerted by my alarm clock powered by electricity generated by the public power monopoly regulated by the US department of energy. I then took a shower in the clean water provided by the municipal water utility. After that, I turned on the TV to one of the FCC regulated channels to see what the national weather service of the national oceanographic and atmospheric administration determined the weather was going to be like using satellites designed, built, and launched by the national aeronautics and space administration ( you know, the agency that put us on the moon and robots on mars?). I watched this while eating my breakfast of US department of agriculture inspected food, and taking the drugs which have been determined as safe by the food and drug administration. At the appropriate time, as regulated by the US congress, and kept accurate by the national institute of standards and technology and the US naval observatory, I get into my NHTSA(national highway traffic safety administration) approved automobile and set out to work on the roads built by the local, state, and federal departments of transportation, possibly stopping to purchase additional fuel of a quality level determined by the environmental protection agency, using legal tender issued by the federal reserve bank. On the road using my GPS (which was developed by the department of defense and maintained by the US government ) I find the easiest route to US post office to deposit any mail I have to be sent, and then I drop my kids off at my local public school. After that I head to my local airport to meet my wife on her FAA inspected jet that lands safely due to the thousands of government trained air traffic controllers who manage 87 ,000 thousand flights daily in the air ( plus 64 million take offs and landings per year) I then drop my wife off at the Amtrack station so she can scoot at 160 MPH down to her office in Wilmington on her FRA ( federal railroad administration) approved and inspected Acela rail car. After spending another day not being maimed or killed at my work thanks to the workplace regulations imposed by the department of labor and the occupational safety and health administration I then enjoy another two meals which again do not kill me because of the USDA. I then drive my NHTSA car back home on the DOT roads, to my house which has not burned down in my absence because of the state and local building codes, and fire marshall’s inspection, and which has not been plundered of all it’s valuables thanks to my local public police department. I then log on to the internet which was developed by the defense advanced research projects administration so I can then check my E-mail, and read the latest and continuing mantra by Fox news, and National Review who are being paid to tell me that the GOVERNMENT CAN’T DO ANYTHING RIGHT…….. EVER.
I wonder who is paying them ?
“Ooooooohh yeah Sean……………government BAD !. they can’t do a damn thing right….. by that measure I guess the military is just a bad then ……right?……I mean my god…….you take 43 million per month to PAY OFF SUNNI INSURGENTS…..not to harm our soldiers…….after they had killed and maimed thousands of our soldiers……already(from 2004 through 2008)…….aka the “surge”………….just shows you how lousy some parts of our government can really be.”
Actually, the reason our military has been so effective is that it does what government does best – destroys things.
“GOVERNMENT CAN’T DO ANYTHING RIGHT…….. EVER.”
Jeff, I didn’t say this. You are hyperbolizing my argument. I merely argued that all these anecdotes of difficulty in getting a photo ID are not part of a diabolical Republican plot to suppress votes, but are due to simple bureaucratic incompetence. It’s not a partisan argument. It is Occam’s razor – the simplest explanation is probably the right one. I’m not surprised by incompetence from low-level government bureaucrats because they cannot be fired. Anyone who’s been to a DMV can attest to that.
Have to disagree on both counts. Actually it’s denial combined with false equivalency, and like I said, no more tail chasing for me today. It occurs to me that to be a conservative is to be born without the irony gene, like colorblindness but involving the ability to draw parallels.
Basically the fundamental difference between the left and right is very clear in this discussion. When we think about the collapse of society, your first thought is stockpiling food (for yourself and your family) and how you’ll defend it from the “roving mobs.” I’m sure that involved lots of guns, too. However, it’s quite the dead-end road, because it’s built on the same ideological house of cards that is the American right: Every man is an island.
My first thought was what resources my neighbors and I have that we can pool together, and how we can cooperatively build long-term solutions by working together and sharing. That’s not to say nothing could ever get ugly. But by and large, if we didn’t have the military industrial complex eating us all like cancer, we’d do fine. I believe no man is an island.
Most of my neighbors are conservative, but they’re moderate, sane conservatives for the most part, and this is the way we already live. People here help each other out and mind their own business. Oddly enough, that’s socialism, for those who can identify irony.
Chalk it up to different life experiences, I guess. In my experience when someone comes over to see how we can “pool resources” I always end up paying something and getting nothing. People are nothing but highly intelligent animals. When they are thirsty and hungry, the will do some pretty awful things.
The Spaniards have an old saying: “Civilization and anarchy are seven meals apart.” Wise words to live by.
I’m not calling you a liar, but I find that hard to believe. One theme I find pervasive on the right is the tendency to overestimate one’s own contribution while simultaneously underestimating the contributions of others. The right wing of this country is not at all shy about taking (at least) their share up front.
I gave you a very concrete example of how my neighbors and I could and do pool our resources. It’s not only common sense, it’s common practice out here in BFE. If we were to start getting serious about food production we would each produce much more than we needed. We could go back to bartering, and a lot of people who don’t have the ability to grow food could trade us things we needed.
The idea that everybody’s a cutthroat, well, you know the old saying: “We see things not as they are, but as we are.”
A lot of us are on meal 5 or 6 right now.
I mentioned two things which I would think would stun anyone who gave a shit about anyone else’s rights; a direct correlation to billionaires depriving me of my life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, and the FACT that I have more money in my change jar than the combined tax payments of a number of major multinational corporations. I know, they paid “taxes” in Malaysia or whatever. In theory, at least. But they still got to dance in America without paying the fiddler.
If your guys steal the election, it could come down to meal 7 very quickly. There’s no way in hell they’ll win fair and square, and we all know it.