Friday, October 31, 2014

Voting Works--This Is How I Know

It was Emma Goldman who said "If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal."

Hm. It wasn't legal for women to vote at one time, and women marched and starved and were punished for wanting representation. It wasn't legal for slaves to vote, even if they were a significant population at one time. Laws were passed to prevent, or at least narrow, the option to vote for certain populations--and this practice of outlawing certain votes still exists.

Don't look now, but I do believe voting does something, because even now, people are trying to make it harder for people to vote. They want to restrict access to voter ID's even while making a valid ID essential to being able to participate. They want to drop people off the rolls for some statistical reason that seems an awful lot like "We don't like your kind."

Greg Palast has done a great amount of work documenting the way that votes are being trashed--and his recent story is a tragedy of our democracy. Could you be dropped out of voter eligibility because you have a common name like "Robert Brown" and live in a district mostly African-American--well, maybe your vote gets discounted for that very reason. In Georgia, 50K voter registrations have gone astray--that's craziness.

Voting--you bet your ass--does matter. So I would say--vote like your country and its future depended on it. I know this past month I've got maybe 70 or so deletable "begs" in my email inbox every day for money by this PAC or that--let me do the one thing I can--

Just fucking vote, people. Vote for someone good, or against someone bad, but at any rate, let your real opinion be heard. Because not voting actually sends no message at all.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Senator Graham is a Little Too Close To the Truth to Be Funny

Sen. Lindsey Graham has gotten a bit of attention because of a sort of stand-up bit he did at an all-male club (the Hibernians) where he said something a little awkward:

File this under "Why Lindsey Graham Probably Isn't Going to Run for President in 2016." Not that there needed to be more evidence, but comments he made to an all-male club about how it would fare under a Graham administration are a pretty good reminder why Graham isn't really the guy for the GOP in 2016. 
"If I get to be president, white men who are in male-only clubs are going to do great in my presidency," Graham said.
Yeah. See it is kind of funny because it's true, as the saying goes, but it's also not funny because it's true. You know, to the people who are not white and would not be eligible for any male-only club. It's funny/not funny, because he's the guy who kind of bluntly admitted that there are only so many "angry white guys"--and their numbers can't keep the party afloat.

But the thing of it is, I have no doubt any GOP presidency would be really good to white guys in all-male clubs.

This has a lot to do with why I vote solidly Democratic in the first damn place. Not because I have issues with the white males, oh no--some of my best friends, husbands and near-kinfolk are white and male. I just have this weird thing about the GOP not recognizing other people exist or acknowledging their issues and causes. Or actively denigrating them. So, I'm  not finding that a laugh-line--and his party shouldn't either.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Hey, Did you Hear the One about Condoleeza Rice Supporting Joni Ernst?

This funny thing is that this is a thing that happened.

Joni Ernst thinks her gun is for when the government decides to rob her of her freedoms. Because government, which she is all about being part of, is going to for some reason take her rights and make her shoot it. "Die, government, die," she'll say.

She's swallowed the Agenda 21 Kool-Aid, as if eminent domain wouldn't be used to make folks shift if a pipeline or something else lucrative and private sector was wanted under the right sort of government. (This page on foreign policy, though--she isn't the worst. It's pretty reasoned. But oh--those other things. And if Condi likes Ernst's FP, now I wonder...)

I dunno. Ernst comes off like another Akin in some ways. But Rice is probably not in the running for anything herself, and so if she thinks Enrst is a great candidate, she has no reason to worry if we're all silently (and not-so-silently) judging her now.

Anyone know whether Brent Scowcroft has something to say about her?

The Governor's Race In Maine Got Interesting Today

The odd press conference that Independent candidate for governor, Eliot Cutler, made today, actually makes a lot of sense to me. It's a pretty rare thing when a third-party or Independent candidate is actually competitive in a contest like this, and in many cases, the endeavor almost seems like a kind of activism or awareness campaign to focus on different issues.

Eliot Cutler's candidacy was real, and his polling numbers, if not really competitive, were deeply respectable. So the decision to remain on the ballot (it being just a week before Election Day), yet telling voters to consider their consciences, seems a very real way of admitting that while he isn't likely to win, he doesn't want folks to throw their vote away on him as a protest when he isn't liable to win. 

I think it represents a good understanding of the importance of elections and the value of votes. One thing that makes me a little steamed is when people say things like "I won't vote, it just encourages the assholes"--as if assholes will be able to read the tea leaves of the vanished voters' fit of pique. Eliot Cutler is a pretty decent candidate--notably in his favor, to me, is an acceptance of climate science and a record of having worked with environmental policy. He's a reality-based thinker and policy-maker. I think that's good. We need people like him in government.

But you know what? I think current Tea Party Governor Paul LePage is just awful, and arrogant, and getting people like him out of government is absolutely crucial for getting anything done. Mike Michaud seems like a solid candidate who cares about things like health care, education, and jobs. He's a flexible and reasonable politician--not an ideologue.  I think he could be a breath of fresh air that sweeps out something not-quite-right, and that's how I understood Cutler's move today.

Rick Santorum Misses Every Point About WMD's in Iraq

My former senator, Rick Santorum, followed up a bit on the NYT story recently published regarding the aftermath of US troops exposed to aged chemical weapons in Iraq with a column in The Daily Beast that seems genuinely mystified about why the Bush II Administration didn't tout the existence of these weapons to the rafters.

This mystification is quite odd. The information itself was part of the earlier ISG report. There were news stories; it's not like it was "hushed up"--it just wasn't advertised. When my Rumproast colleague Bette Noir posted regarding the "WMD truthers" following in the wake of the NYT story, most of us jaded commenters were like. "And this is new?"

We don't even really need to point a finger at conveniently Machiavellian figure Karl Rove to figure out why the existence of very old chemical munitions in Iraq isn't actually supportive of claims that included yellowcake uranium, nuclear centrifuge tubes or whatever the hell other "smoking gun/mushroom cloud" rhetoric was being used circa 2002-2003. Because the Defense Department told then-Senator Santorum as much when they responded that these were not the munitions that the case for the Iraq invasion was built on back in 2006 when he hyped these claims at the tail-end of his dramatic losing campaign.

In the long-running war against Iran during the 1980's, Iraq originally used mainly Soviet weapons but eventually acquired some rather good sources of US-make materiel. This build-up was winked at. And then along came GHWB and his need to not be a wimp. From 1991 to 2001--are we really saying Hussein should have known where every bit of munitions were anymore? We set a real high bar--but don't forget--the US pulled weapons inspectors just before invading, interrupting the process that might have found them anyway. But still and all--this is no Jedi mind trick--these are not the WMD's we were looking for.

Now, that Santorum (I can't be arsed that Pete Hoekstra is also on the byline because who else gives a rip?) wants to hype intel that is irrelevant now anyway and was dead-in-the-water for him in 2006 to, I'm thinking, build up foreign policy cred for 2016 as if he were right all along is, so, so like him. But that is the point. It's him. He still thinks this is the info you run with. He's wrong, but sincere. Sincerely wrong. And cannot be told otherwise. And that last bit? That's the disqualifier.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Drunkle Boehner Tells a Shtory

I sort of thought this was a parody, but no:

"Does anybody think that Vladimir Putin would have gone into Crimea had George W. Bush been president of the United States? No!" Boehner asked, and answered, before a group of Republican volunteers here.
"Even Putin is smart enough to know that Bush would have punched him in the nose in about 10 seconds!" Boehner said to an applauding crowd.
Does everyone remember when Putin went into Georgia and did not get punched in the nose? Right.

But he sure said it out loud where uncritical people could hear. Yeah, clapping people--he knew you'd like that one. Uncle John is full of stories. Pull his can hear where his lawsuit against the president went.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Minimum Wage: The Huey Lewis Rebuttal

I've started blog posts a handful of times this week regarding things Republicans are saying about the minimum wage versus things that are, well, so. I keep jettisoning those posts because it's intricate, and repeats things I've said in my "Know Your Class War" posts anyway.  So when FL Gov. Rick Scott indicates that wages are set by the private sector (which as a businessman, he knows nothing about, hmm?), or WI Gov. Scott Walker indicates he doesn't know what the minimum wage is for (and how low should it be set, dear--room and board? There's a name for that set-up) they get my hollow, jaded laughter. Sure, NJ Gov. Christie is tired of hearing about the minimum wage; he knows what the Republican governors whose races he's supporting have said on the record about it--and it's kind of not-so-good.

But even in campaigns for other state positions, GOP candidates have said some interesting things--like minimum wage jobs aren't "real jobs".  If you get out of your comfy bed, put on some dress-code duds--especially if it's a uniform, and punch a time clock to do something you're scheduled to do, that sounds like a real job to me. The idea that the realness of a job is based on what it pays and not on the employee being a real person with expenses and basic needs, is a big part of the problem. Sure, maybe parents might prefer their kids get better jobs than minimum wage ones, but if minimum wage jobs are what they can get, maybe they'd like it to be enough to actually live on--to say nothing of what minimum wage earners' kids might feel about their household security.

Sure, people take jobs that offer lower wages than they can live on--half a loaf is better than none, right? They are basically taking what they are given because they are working for a living.