Posts Tagged With: politics


The Citizens United ruling has given control of our elections to giant corporations and the super-rich.

Super PACs and other outside groups are spending spectacular sums. Karl Rove’s Crossroads over $300 million. The Koch Brothers gave $400 million. And the U.S. Chamber of Commerce $100 million. The Chamber has determined to put friendly judges in place with their money over the last 10 years.
Led by casino magnate and billionaire-25-times-over Sheldon Adelson, the top 100 individual contributors account for almost three-quarters of all the money raised by Super PACs. An even smaller group  of super rich tycoons is powering the outside groups that do not disclose their donors.

Wall Street and the financial sector is pouring far more money into the 2012 elections than any other industry; the industry has spent almost twice as much on the presidential race as any other. This, to rescind the rather mild Dodd-Franklin regulations on their industry. They want to change the rules to give them a permanent advantage forever over the middle class worker and investor.
The candidate with the most money doesn’t always win, but the spending negatively affects election outcomes. In 2010,  outside groups backed the winning candidate in 60 of the 75 congressional races in which power changed hands. But the impact is even worse.  The hidden money speakers define the tone of the campaigns, often establish the terms of debate, and affect the entire national race in other ways. It forces grass-roots, small local candidates to spend more money. They have to court the ultra wealthy and spend less time with regular people. Then, they end up accountable to donors before their constituents.  We KNOW this is true.

And, no matter who wins, the big money spenders obtain massively enhanced power to take helpful and popular measures off the table and put candidates friendly to them in office. Chevron has spent $1.2 million on a local political committee to back three city council candidates in Richmond, California, where the company operates a large oil refinery plagued by safety violations. That is the kind of “democracy” we get from rogue money.

If we care about our country, we simply can’t let this go on. Dark Money flowing into the elections is unhealthy and unbalanced. I don’t believe Republicans want to see a money war for our countries ideas and ideals anymore than Democrats. Most Republicans are not super rich. But, right now, Republican wealth is crippling all of us. Obama may not be the best president we have ever had, but he certainly has a more balanced approach to leading us than Romney. Don’t let the money influence your vote. Help save this country from a disgracefully contentious political atmosphere. Help our congress by electing people with vision and solid plans. Don’t fall for attack ads fueled by who knows who?

We need to do some big things.  We need public financing of our public elections. And we need a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and restore democracy to the people. And, it won’t happen with Romney as president. He has made that very clear.





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I had a brain scan yesterday.  A result of the May 27th accident has left me with continual headaches and some balance problems.  So, while slogging along with medical problems It seems I have nothing better to concentrate on than the election. And, glad to know my brain is still there.  So wrap your brain around this: A Romney/Ryan presidency might look something like this:

Mitt Romney’s running mate, called the Cayman Islands “the place where you hide your money,” arguing that the United States needs to slash tax rates below those of other countries in order to make this country “the haven for capital formation.” But in a previously unnoticed exchange in an interview with American Business Magazine in August 2011, Ryan went even further on the same topic, saying “let’s make this country a tax shelter for other countries instead of having other countries be a tax shelter for America.”

A very corporate vision for America. Kind of leaves a huge percentage of us out in the cold.

And from the Weis investment newsletter, one writer, Mike Larsen, practically chortles over the wonderful investment opportunities to be made out of  his (and his cohorts)  predicted next depression.

An historic, world-changing event
is about to permanently alter your life!

This monumental event will plunge vast numbers of families into the nightmare of poverty, homelessness and hunger. In the worst case scenario, you will see soaring crime, the confiscation of property, the suspension of civil rights, and even martial law enforcement by the U.S. military …

But while the vast majority of Americans will suffer, a select handful will use this crisis to build substantial wealth. If you act on the easy-to-follow recommendations I’ll give you in this presentation, you could be one of them.

Oh, boy. I can’t wait to get rich on the backs of the suffering middle class. A world in turmoil is just another investment opportunity for the 1%.

And, the California Proposition 30 is looking like it won’t make it. It should, though. I had a hard time understanding it until I heard the League of Women’s voters presentation on the complexity of it. Safety officers? Mixed with education? Billions here and billions there. But, do we want to stay at the bottom of the education ladder?  The taxes are  on those making 250,000 as singles, or 500,000 dollars a couple and will last seven years.  We will have a slightly increased sales tax for four years. And, we’ll begin paying down our bond debt which will help with California’s enormous deficit. I couldn’t find the video I watched on the subject. The written explanation isn’t as thorough, but, you can check it out online at:

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Someone I know and like, dislikes my writing vitriolic, bitter stuff  during this divisive political climate. I guess stating facts like The Salt Lake City Tribune endorsed Obama, and Republican Senator Larry Pressler endorsed Obama, and Republican Colin Small got arrested and fired from his position as a Registrar of Voters supervisor because he tossed Democratic registration ballots in the garbage, and, the New York Republican Board of Elections changed polling places without telling people where their new polling place was located during the primaries, are considered vitriol by my friend.

There is more, much more of that type of activity and lies and dishonesty like I’ve never seen before. So, if I question and report dishonesty, I’m vitriolic and bitter?

It kind of reminds me of the “kill the messenger mentality. If you don’t like the message, kill (or blame) the messenger.

I think my friend loves his country,  and his ideology doesn’t square with what his party is doing.

I love my country too, but silence in the face of oppression and dishonesty has never been an option for me. I actually believe that a healthy democracy is better when two sides can discuss their opposing views and come to understand where they each may find some common ground, and work out solutions from there.

If honesty is lacking, then debate and exchange of ideas is quite impossible.

So, let’s see:

Last week, the Republican-run Ottawa County Board of Elections sent a mailer to 2,300 voters in three northwestern Ohio precincts informing them that Election Day was November 8. It is, of course, November 6.

Further, voters were told in the mailer their voting location had been moved to a building on the east side of Danbury High School. Unfortunately, the actual voting location is on the west side of the high school

The above abuse of power is a fact, and I can tell you I think it is shameful and ugly no matter who perpetrated such obfuscation on Ohio voters. I don’t think reporting shameful and ugly facts is vitriolic. I haven’t asked, but I think my Republican friends would agree with me.  This is America. I believe the very words This Is America stand for something special.

And, I believe Obama is more concerned with social justice than Romney. His views are more in line with my own. And, I don’t see how that is vitriolic.

Let us look at some facts:

Romney,  who brags about his job creation efforts as Governor of Massachusetts, was unremarkable,  according to the Washington Post. You can read these facts for yourself at:

And, Obama’s accomplishments in the year 2009 alone, are quite remarkable. This is not even half the list. But, they are facts:

In the first months of his presidency, he initiated the The American Recovery and Reinvestment act.

He bailed out the auto industry.

He stopped the war in Iraq, and is now brought Iran to its knees.

He prohibited members of congress from profiting from insider trading.

He reduced Social Security payroll taxes.

Reduced wait time for business patent approvals.

Defense of Marriage act.

Equal pay for women.

Reduced nuclear war heads and missiles with Russia until 2017.

Exempted small family farms from Federal regulation to sell products on their land.

For our safety, large factory farms are required to register every handler of their food products.

He Improved food safety programs.

Gay and Lesbians can serve openly in the military.

He granted 40 billion in tax credits for college students and low income families with children.

Extended unemployment benefits, twice.

Provided for on the job training for vets and reimbursed the energy sector jobs for that training.

Gave 68 Billion in Pell grants.

Saved an estimated 143 Billion in health care costs in health care reforms.

Strengthened hate crime laws.

He voluntarily disclosed the White House Visitors log, something past presidents refused to do.

He provided 80 million to investigate and prosecute fraud in financial institutions.

There is much, much more to add to this list for 2009. I must make mention though of a recent goal nearly accomplished.

October 23, 2012

“The Energy Department forecasts that U.S. production of crude and other liquid hydrocarbons, which includes biofuels, will average 11.4 million barrels per day next year. That would be a record for the U.S. and just below Saudi Arabia’s output of 11.6 million barrels. Citibank forecasts  U.S. production could reach 13 million to 15 million barrels per day by 2020, helping to make North America “the new Middle East.”

This report comes from USA Today, Oct. 23rd issue.

I rest my case.

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Larry Greenemeier, writes for Scientific American. He sites a study about voting by mail that may make you reconsider that practice.

The biggest challenge to voting accuracy in the U.S. isn’t hanging chads or hacked voting machines—it’s the mail. A new report by the Voting Technology Project (VTP)—a joint venture between the California Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—finds that even though absentee ballots account for about only a quarter of all ballots cast during an election, the number of uncounted absentee and election-day ballots may be roughly the same.

The researchers estimate that up to 3.9 million absentee ballots were requested but not received by voters in the 2008 presidential election. Another 2.9 million ballots sent to voters requesting them were not returned for counting. And 800,000 returned absentee ballots were rejected for one reason or another. In all, 21 percent of requested absentee ballots were never counted in 2008—35.5 million requests for absentee ballots led to 27.9 million mail-in ballots being counted.

The researchers acknowledge that they can only speculate as to what happens to these uncounted absentee ballots. In some cases, they note, absentee ballots can be intercepted before they even get into the mail stream. Other concerns are that people can buy or sell these ballots. There aren’t any strict chain-of-custody procedures for ensuring that the person who receives an absentee ballot in the mail is the same person who returns it, the researchers say.

Absentee and early voting has long been available to military personnel and voters unable to cast ballots in their home districts, but this convenience has more recently been extended to encourage people to vote and to ease the sometimes chaotic conditions found at polling stations on election day. Currently 36 states (plus the District of Columbia) now offer no-excuse absentee ballots, early voting or some combination of the two. Oregon and Washington have done away with traditional polling places entirely. All voting there is conducted by mail.

The report’s authors argue that the country needs to reverse the trend towards increased absentee and early voting. States should discourage absentee balloting among voters who do not require this service, they say. Likewise, election officials should quash the idea of Internet voting until the technology can be secured and audited. The researchers also call for additional research into new methods to get usable ballots to military and overseas civilian voters securely, accurately and quickly, and to make sure those ballots are returned in time to be counted.

The practice makes me wonder. Before going on the road with Jim, I worked our polls every year. There are so many inconsistencies in the way voting is regulated from state to state that it gave me pause. The rules can change from year to year. Such as: a person who Decline To State, is given a ballot with no party candidates on it. That person can request any ballot, Rebublican, Democrat, Green Party etc. but you are not allowed to tell them that or ask them what ballot they want to vote. Some come in shocked that their ballots didn’t contain the names of the Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates on their primary ballot.  (But, mums the word.)  I thought that was a stupid rule.

At our polls, you can watch the county employees counting the vote. But, not the absentee ballots that are counted later. I think our county deserves a good conduct medal for how they conduct the voting, but there is plenty of room for abuse if a rigidly partisan person is the Supervisor of Voting.

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During the debates last night, we had two emergency broadcasts about unusual and dangerous weather conditions in Nevada County, Placer County and El Dorado County. Tornadoes are something we don’t have in these parts. But, that was before we created a change in the climate, a subject that has not come up in any of the debates, and should have.

I thought Obama proved his leadership as a strong world leader during the debate that Romney could not counter. When he got buffaloed, he would divert to the economy hammering on a plan that does not work. I have  a hard time putting together the Mitt Romney who tells us who he is and the Mitt Romney of record.  But, I’m not the only one who feels that way I discovered.

I was on-line and read that the Salt Lake City Tribune had endorsed Obama. I didn’t believe it, so I checked and it is true. I was stunned.

Tribune endorsement:
Too Many Mitts- Obama has earned another term
First Published Oct 19 2012 12:13 pm • Last Updated Oct 22 2012 10:31 am
The Tribune article is copyrighted and can’t be reproduced here, but I can recapture some points of the editorial:

People admire him there in a largely Mormon, Republican, business friendly state and for his handling of the Olympics.

But, his bid for the White House has made abundantly clear that he courted the tea party in order to win the nomination, and now he has become a shape-shifter, embracing the party’s radical right wing all the while  claiming to be a moderate champion of the 47%.

(Direct Quote.) Romney has raised the most frequently asked question of the campaign: “Who is this guy, really, and what in the world does he truly believe?”

The editorial acknowledges that politicians routinely tailor their words to suit an audience.  But, (direct quote.) Romney, though, is shameless, lavishing vastly diverse audiences with words, any words, they would trade their votes to hear.

The editorial sites  Romney’s  failure to  share specifics of his radical plan to simultaneously reduce the debt, get rid of Obamacare (or, as he now says, only part of it), make a voucher program of Medicare, slash taxes and spending, and on and on, is utterly meaningless because it doesn’t add up, just as Obama keeps saying it doesn’t add up. If he is such a hot shot business man, why can’t he prepare a plan that we can all see and depend upon?

The editorial goes on to emphasize the many accomplishments of Obama. If you care to read the editorial, you will find it at this address:

The Salt Lake Tribune editorial board had hoped that Romney would exhibit the same talents for organization, pragmatic problem solving and inspired leadership that he displayed in years past. They failed to see that Mitt Romney.

(Direct quote”) …our endorsement must go to the incumbent, a competent leader who, against tough odds, has guided the country through catastrophe and set a course that, while rocky, is pointing toward a brighter day. The president has earned a second term. Romney, in whatever guise, does not deserve a first.

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You know, a minute ago, we, you and I, just spent 2.2 million dollars. And, I didn’t want to do it. But that is the cost of military spending, 2.2 million dollars a minute.

Our military Department of Defense, War, Veterans Affairs, and Nuclear Weapons programs cost 60% of the budget.

Health and Human Services  6%

Education  6%

State 5%

Department of Homeland Security 4%

Housing and Urban Development 3%

Agriculture 2%

Justice 1.5%

NASA 1.5%

Energy 1.5%

Labor 1%

Treasury 1%

Interior 1%

Environmental Protection Agency 1%

Transportation 1%

Other Miscellaneous Programs 4.5%

These figures are based on the federal discretionary budget sent to congress for 2013.

Kind of puts things in perspective.  Reducing the military budget is the best legacy we can leave our kids.

A quote from President Eisenhower:

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron

I’m remembering that Romney wants to increase military spending over the amount requested by the Department of Defense.  I find that incredibly upsetting.

Check out the One Minute For Peace Organization if you agree.


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