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“In The Face Of Federal Law”: Republicans Decided To Commit Voter Fraud To Prove That It Existed

A confusing but heartening decision in Pennsylvania today, where the judge basically ruled that people can vote with or without picture ID.

This is at least the fourth state where conservatives and Republicans trying to pursue voter suppression legislation have lost. We have Wisconsin, Ohio, Florida, and now the good old Keystone State. Here for example is the Florida news from late August. And here’s a little summary. A few voter ID laws did get pre-clearance from the Justice Department, in Virginia and New Hampshire, but these are “non-strict” voter ID requirements, meaning that voters without ID can still vote by signing an affadavit vouching for their own identity.

Multiple choice quiz. What is happening here?

A. Vast conspiracy among left-wing judges, joined by the media, to let the freeloaders of America vote without paying taxes.

B. Plot by Acorn, Hugo Chavez, Bill Ayres, and Frantz Fanon, and if you think it matters that Fanon has been dead for 51 years, you don’t understand how these things work.

C. This Little Thing We Have Called Federal Law

In other words, friends, federal law very clearly, and for what I should think are rather obvious historical reasons, comes down on the default side of letting people vote. The law, and the judges seated to uphold it, will generally frown on attempts to impinge upon the franchise in the ways Republicans wish to do.

It’s also just amazing, isn’t it, that the only voter fraud scandal of this election (alleged, at this point) is a Republican one. Unable to find any cases of actual voter fraud on the Democratic side, the Republicans have apparently decided to go out and commit some to prove with finality that the problem exists!

It’s nice to see that open cheating still doesn’t work.

 

Michael Tomasky, The Daily Beast, October 2, 2012

October 3, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Oath Keepers” Alive In Arizona: Pushes Unconstitutional Bill Restricting Federal Law Enforcement

Arizona’s county sherriff’s are not exactly known for setting the standard for effective law enforcement and loyalty to the Constitution — indeed, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is currently under federal investigation for widespread mistreatment of Latinos and other violations of the law. Nevertheless, an Arizona senate committee just approved a unconstitutional billwhich would require federal law enforcement officers to provide advance notice to Arpaio and his fellow sheriffs before taking action in their counties:

A Senate panel voted Thursday to fire a warning shot of sorts over the heads of federal law enforcement agencies: Don’t come around here unless you get local OK.

The legislation, crafted by Rep. David Gowan, R-Sierra Vista, would require employees of those agencies to first notify the sheriff of the county “before taking any official law enforcement action in a county in this state.”

The only exception would be if the notification would impede the federal officer’s duties. But even then, HB 2434 has a requirement to notify the sheriff “as soon as practicable after taking the action.”

The Constitution simply does not allow states to order federal officials to do anything. Under our Constitution, federal law is “the supreme law of the land,” so when Congress enacts an otherwise valid federal law and empowers federal officers to enforce it, the states have no power whatsoever to limit that enforcement or place conditions on it.

Disturbingly, the bill may also be connected to a radical anti-government group known as the “Oath Keepers.” The Oath Keepers is a right-wing group that pushes local law enforcement to pledge to defy federal “orders” the Oath Keepers believe are unconstitutional. Their website is riddled with paranoid rhetoric about government officials “disarm[ing] the American people,” “confiscat[ing] the property of the American people, including food and other essential supplies,” and “blockad[ing] American cities, thus turning them into giant concentration camps.” In early 2008, the Oath Keepers’ founder warned that a “dominatrix-in-chief” named “Hitlery Clinton” would impose a police state on America and shoot all resisters. After Democratic primary voters chose President Obama over Clinton, the Oath Keepers simply rewrote their paranoid fantasy to include a taller, African-American lead. Rep. Gowan, the lead sponsor of this bill, is listed as a member of the Tucson Oath Keepers on their Meetup page.

So, while merely notifying local law enforcement of federal actions may seem like a minor imposition, the bill makes sense in the context of a broader Oath Keeper agenda, because it gives local sherriffs advance notice of which federal actions they wish to defy.

 

By: Ian Millhiser, Think Progress, March 16, 2012

March 17, 2012 Posted by | Arizona, Constitution | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Mr. Obama’s Health Care Challenge-The Ball Is In Your Court GOP

President Obama had a splendid idea this week. He challenged governors who oppose his health care reforms, most of whom are Republicans, to come up with a better alternative. He has agreed to move up the date at which states can offer their own solutions and thus opt out of requirements that they oppose, like the mandate that everyone buy health insurance and that most employers provide it.

Let as many states as possible test innovative approaches to determine which works best.

The president told the nation’s governors on Monday that he supported a bipartisan bill — sponsored by Senators Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, Scott Brown, Republican of Massachusetts, and Mary Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana — that would allow states to fashion solutions right from the start of full-scale reform in 2014, rather than waiting until 2017, as the law requires.

The catch is that a state’s plan must cover as many people as the federal law does, provide insurance that is as comprehensive and affordable, and not increase the deficit. That won’t be easy for the governors to accomplish, and House Republicans seem unlikely to pass the bill to let them try. They would much rather repeal the reform law — or have it declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court — than join Mr. Obama in improving it.

The decision to set the date at 2017 was based on a desire to get the reform elements up and coverage greatly expanded before allowing states to start changing the law. There also were concerns that the early start would be more costly. That’s because the states would be given money for alternatives equal to the cost of insuring their citizens under health care reform. Without three years of experience to get firm figures, those block grants would probably be set too high.

Neither rationale still seems compelling. It would be wasteful to require states to set up exchanges and other elements of the reform only to abandon them for an alternative system three years later. The pending bill would wisely allow states to submit proposals in the near future and, if approved, put them into effect in 2014.

Alternative approaches might include replacing the mandate to buy insurance with a system to automatically enroll people in health plans, reformulating tax credits for small businesses and low-income individuals to encourage near-universal coverage, adopting such liberal approaches as a single-payer plan or a public option, and even moving all or part of the enrollees in Medicaid into new health insurance exchanges. These would all have to be done without driving up the federal deficit or reducing benefits, affordability and coverage.

Reaction among Republican governors has been mixed. The vast majority are focused on their immediate need to reduce Medicaid spending to help close their budget gaps, not on fashioning alternatives for 2014. For the near-term budget problems, the administration is already advising states on ways to reduce Medicaid costs and the president asked the governors to form a bipartisan group to work on further cost-reduction.

The president’s new olive branch is not apt to change the legal arguments over whether the mandate in the reform law is constitutional. But it can’t hurt to bring forcefully to everyone’s attention that there are alternatives to the mandate if states want to pursue them. Republicans ought to rise to the challenge.

By: The New York Times-Editorial, Published March 1, 2011

March 2, 2011 Posted by | Affordable Care Act, Health Reform | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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