mykeystrokes.com

"Do or Do not. There is no try."

“Republican America”: Voter Suppression Is The New GOP Strategy

Better bring some identification — and not just any identification, official though it may be — if you plan to vote in Republican-controlled states. However, if you contribute tens of millions of dollars to sway an election on Republicans’ behalf, the party will fight to keep your identity a secret.

Consider, for instance, what happened to some attempting to participate in this month’s elections in Texas. The New York Times reported that “Judge Sandra Watts was stopped while trying to vote because the name on her photo ID, the same one she had used for voter registration and identification of 52 years, did not exactly match her name in the official voter rolls.” Both Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis and Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott — the front-runners in next year’s gubernatorial contest — encountered the same obstacle. As did Jim Wright, the 90-year-old former speaker of the U.S. House. Wright, who represented his Fort Worth district in Congress for 34 years, told the local paper that he had voted in every election since 1944 and that he had realized shortly before Election Day that his identification — a driver’s license that expired in 2010 and a university faculty ID — would not suffice under the state’s 2011 voter ID law. Indeed, officials required Wright to produce a certified copy of his birth certificate to procure a personal identification card that would allow him to vote.

Fortunately, no issues of cosmic importance appeared on this year’s Texas ballots. Next year, however, congressional seats and control of the statehouse will be up for grabs, and voter turnout probably will be much higher. The purpose of these and other vote-deterring measures, adopted in Texas and a slew of other GOP-controlled states, is to make sure turnout is not too much higher by reducing voter participation, particularly among the young (student IDs often don’t suffice), the poor (no driver’s license? Sorry.) and racial minorities. That is, groups that tend to vote Democratic.

Voter suppression has become the linchpin of Republican strategy. After Mitt Romney’s defeat in 2012, the GOP was briefly abuzz with talk of expanding the party’s appeal to young and Latino voters. Instead, the party doubled down on its opposition to immigration reform and its support for cultural conservatism — positions tantamount to electoral suicide unless the youth and minority vote can be suppressed.

Republicans have justified this crackdown as a way to keep non- citizens from infiltrating the electorate, not that there’s evidence such a thing is happening. But if a non-citizen wants to contribute millions of dollars to one of those “social welfare organizations” that spends gobs of money on an election campaign, Republicans fight to shield his or her identity. Recently released tax documents showed that one such organizationCrossroads GPS, the group headed by Karl Rove that spent $189 million in last year’s elections opposing President Obama and Senate Democrats — received 53 contributions of $1 million or more. The three largest were for $22.5 million, $18 million and $10 million.

Who did they come from? Because Crossroads GPS is classified as a 501(c)4 “social welfare” group, which is not legally required to list its donors, we’ll never know. Could such contributions come from a non-citizen? With donors’ identities shielded by law, there is no way of knowing.

Some states require donors to such campaign groups in state and local elections to be identified. But other states don’t, which allows for the kind of interstate shell games that wealthy right-wing donors played during the 2012 election. In one instance, an anonymous $11 million contribution to a California campaign opposing a ballot measure that raised taxes on the rich and supporting a measure to curtail unions’ political activities was tracked by state election officials to a 501(c)4 organization in Arizona that had gotten its funding from another such group in Virginia. The investigation revealed that a California GOP consultant had raised money for the ballot measure campaigns by promising his donors the anonymity that this shell game provided.

A pre-election tally by the Sunlight Foundation of “dark money” contributions to federal races as of Nov. 1, 2012, showed nearly $175 million going to GOP candidates and roughly $35 million to Democrats. A bill backed by Senate Democrats that would have required such groups to report the identity of donors who give more than $10,000 for electoral campaigns was killed last year by GOP opposition to a cloture motion, even though it was backed by a majority of senators.

So: If you want to vote in the Republicans’ America, remember to bring your birth certificate. But if you want to buy an election and stay under wraps, your secret is safe with them.

 

By: Harold Meyerson, Opinion Writer, The Washington Post, November 21, 2013

November 22, 2013 Posted by | Republicans, Voter ID | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Adultery For Me, But Not For Thee: A Master List Of Gingrich’s Hypocrisies

Newt Gingrich is no stranger to hypocrisies. It’s just that his own self-righteousness often gets in the way of admitting to them: “There’s no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate,” the family-values candidate once famously said about his multiple extra-marital affairs. So in the service of airing out other yawning gaps between Newt’s words and deeds that may have emerged when the candidate was too busy loving America, TNR has compiled the following index:

On Christian moralizing: Gingrich’s litany of infidelities has been widely reported, as has his habit of leaving wives for mistresses. Of the affair that he carried on with a volunteer during his first campaign in 1974, one of his aides said, “We’d have won in 1974 if we could have kept him out of the office, screwing her on the desk.” But that hasn’t stopped him from claiming positions of moral loftiness, decrying the impending downfall of our society, and penning books arguing, “There is no attack on American culture more deadly and more historically dishonest than the secular effort to drive God out of America’s public life.” His second wife, in a 2010 interview with Esquire, claimed, “He believes that what he says in public and how he lives don’t have to be connected. … If you believe that, then yeah, you can run for president.”

On shady book deals: In the late 1980s, Gingrich launched a vicious attack on Democratic Speaker Jim Wright, arguing that bulk sales of his book had been crafted to avoid laws limiting outside income for members of Congress. By the mid-90s, however, Gingrich found himself in a strikingly similar position, as it came to light that he had received a $4.5 million advance from HarperCollins in a two-book deal. Then, in the spirit of one doing one better, it later came out that one of Gingrich’s charities had bought the books en masse.

On Obamacare and death panels: In July 2009, Newt Gingrich was director of a health care think tank and a staunch advocate of so-called “death panels,” writing, “If [end-of-life-counseling] was used to care for the approximately 4.5 million Medicare beneficiaries who die every year, Medicare could save more than $33 billion a year.” But a year later, as he weighed his presidential aspirations, Gingrich took a different tack on Obama’s plan to reimburse doctors for such consultations: “You’re asking us to trust turning power over to the government, when there clearly are people in America who believe in establishing euthanasia.”

On the housing crisis: In the Bloomberg-Washington Post debate, Newt called, with a straight face, for the jailing of Chris Dodd and Barney Frank: “In Barney Frank’s case,” he advised, “go back and look at the lobbyists he was close to at—at Freddie Mac. … Everybody in the media who wants to go after the business community ought to start by going after the politicians who have been at the heart of the sickness which is weakening this country.” All that rage at lobbyists for the housing agencies … from a man whom Freddie Mac paid between $1.6 and $1.8 million for his “advice as a historian.” Which definitely isn’t lobbying, and would never qualify as the sort of relationship that he just suggested was worthy of being jailed for.

On drug policy: As a good child of the ’60s, Newt smoked pot, and as a young congressman in 1981, he authored a bill to legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes. But Gingrich’s more recent stated methods for dealing with drug offenders might have placed his younger self in a tight spot. Just last week, he argued that when it comes to dealing with illegal drugs, “Places like Singapore have been the most successful at doing that,” ostensibly endorsing the idea that anyone caught with 18 ounces of cannabis face mandatory death by hanging.

On corruption: Newt led Republicans to power in 1994 in part by blasting Democrats as being hopelessly corrupt. But soon after, Gingrich engaged in his own congressional corruption, getting slammed by the House Ethics Committee on a multitude of charges: of laundering donations through charities, of using a charity called “Learning for Earning” to pay the salary of a staffer writing a Newt Gingrich biography, and of lying to the ethics committee. Gingrich eventually had to pay a $300,000 fine for his transgressions.

On the Clinton impeachment: While leading impeachment proceedings against President Bill Clinton for lying about an extra-marital affair, Newt was … having an extra-marital affair. When he was later asked whether he considered himself to be inhabiting a “glass house” during the proceedings, he reluctantly agreed, but defended himself by saying, “I think you have to look at whether or not people have to be perfect in order to be leaders. I don’t think I’m perfect. I admitted I had problems. I admitted that I sought forgiveness.”

 

By: Thomas Stackpole, Darius Tahir and Jarad Vary, The New Republic, December 5, 2011

December 10, 2011 Posted by | Election 2012, GOP Presidential Candidates | , , , , , | 2 Comments

   

%d bloggers like this: