Email This Post Email This Post

Mugsy’s Annual Predictions for 2014: No more predictions for Syria (kinda)

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, December 30, 2013

I never put any stock in “13″ being an “unlucky number”, but after the year I just had, one can’t help but wonder.

My predictions for 2013 were a bit rushed. I cranked them out at the last minute as I spent my days preoccupied trying to save the life of my beloved cat “Lefty”. One year later, my days are now preoccupied trying to save the life of my mother. And in both instances, gross medical negligence is to blame. The frustration I feel is profound as I watch helplessly as another loved-one fights for life following the harm done to them by incompetent doctors, with no legal recourse because of the state I live in (Texas). So please bear that in mind if my predictions for 2014 seem a bit bleak.

We begin by looking back at how well the “Professionals” did at making predictions for 2013. I may not get 100% of my predictions right… or even 75%…, but compared to some of the so-called “experts”, I should be sitting on a mountain top somewhere, an oracle allowing but a brave few to ask “Just one question”.

First off, can I just say that if you publish your “Predictions” AFTER December 31st, you’re not “predicting”, you’re reporting the news.

With that said, here is what some famous “psychics” predicted we’d see in 2013:

Sylvia Browne

Maybe it’s a bit unfair, but I love picking on self-proclaimed “psychics” because their accuracy is always dismal. But they make so many predictions, that when one or two pan out, the media responds as if that person has “second sight” and deserving of being taken very seriously.

Famed “psychic” Sylvia Browne passed away in November. It almost seems crewel to “fact check” Miss Browne posthumously, but when you’re as big a name in the “predicting” biz as she was, maybe keeping her on the list is a sign of respect for her particular brand of hucksterism. In 2012, Ms. Browne predicted President Obama would NOT be reelected; in a 2006 appearance on “The Montel Williams Show”, she told the mother of one of the three girls that had been held captive by that nut in Ohio for over a decade only to escape earlier this year, that her daughter was dead and would be waiting for her on the other side (the mother died the next year), and on that same show, Browne told a widow whose husbands’ body “was never found” that he was “in water”, presumably lost at sea. It turns out the woman was the widow of a 9/11 fireman.

As I noted, Ms. Browne passed away in November. Apparently, she never saw it coming because she booked no less than 14 public appearances from December of 2013 to April of 2014. If you want to read her final list of predictions for 2013, you must purchase an ANNUAL membership to her “inner circle” for a minimum buy in of $49.95 or an EIGHTEEN MONTH membership for $79.95 (which, if you do the math, is slightly more expensive than just buying 1-year memberships.) Seeing as how Ms. Browne is no longer with us, anyone who purchases a 12 or 18 month membership at this point to find out what she has to say next deserves to have their money taken from them. They’re still taking Reservations if you wish to meet her.

Psychic-to-the-Stars: “Nikki”

It’s funny how many people bestow upon themselves the title “Psychic to the Stars”. I suppose if two “stars” just happen to meet the same psychic backstage at a taping of “A Sucker’s Born Every Minute”, they can call themselves a “Psychic to the Stars”. But type the phrase into Google, and top of the list is “Nikki”… whom apparently shall remain last-nameless. Among Nikki’s predictions for 2013:

“Nikki’s” list of predictions for 2013 reads like a script for the next Hollywood blockbuster disaster movie. Of the 115 World Events she predicts, EIGHTY (by my count) fall into the “death & destruction” category.

Of course, when you make well over 100 predictions, random chance almost ensures a few hits (“even a blind squirrel finds a nut now & then”):

  1. More cyber attacks. – There were four notable instances of computer crime this year: Britain’s NatWest Bank was the victim of a distributed denial of service (“DDoS”) attack that inconvenienced thousands of customers for a few days, the Bank of China was hacked by (reportedly) some frustrated “BitCoin” users, North Korea is believed to be behind a cyber attack on South Korean TV stations and two banks, and, of course, more significantly, the recent hack of some 40 million “Target” store customer’s credit cards here in the U.S.. Personally, I suspect that if asked for more detail, Ms. Nikki was expecting an attack more along the lines of a “terrorist” nature, not kids hacking credit cards.
  2. A major automobile company will go bankrupt. – You know what, I’m feeling generous and will give “Detroit Declares Bankruptcy” to Ms. Nikki. The auto-companies themselves might have declared “record PROFITS” this past year (their best since 2007), but the city synonymous with the auto-industry did in fact (thanks to a Republican appointed viceroy who dismantled the local government, disenfranchised nearly a million people and is now liquidating the city’s treasures) “declare bankruptcy”. Probably not what she was predicting, but there you are.
  3. Great floods in the US and in Europe – Yes, massive floods did indeed hit Colorado and Central Europe this year.

3-for-115 (she actually made many more predictions than that if you count “celebrity” predictions), for an accuracy rate of 2.6%… and that was after being a bit generous. It’s up to you to decide whether “Ms. Nikki” is psychic or just guessing.

The Psychic Twins

A sister duo dubbed “The Psychic Twins” are laying claim to a number of accurate predictions in 2013, including the “Lone Wolf” shootings in DC’s “Navy Yard” a knife attack by a mentally disturbed student at a Houston Community College (that I just happened to attend some 20 years ago) that ran around stabbing other students with a craft-knife, and an armed gunmen at North Carolina’s A&T University that was subdued before a single shot was fired.

They also predicted strict new gun laws passed in Connecticut just days after the Sandy Hook massacre. They MUST be psychic!

“The Psychic Twins” appear to only make their predictions on video, and I have neither the time nor the inclination to spend hours verifying their accuracy, though I have little doubt it would be another case of “throw everything at the wall and see what sticks”. This short second-hand list of their predictions for 2013 as documented by a fan is predictably (pun intended) hit & miss. Hits with further “Lone Wolf” attacks following Sandy Hook, misses on Economics (but also predicted “cyber attacks”) and vaguely all-too-general predictions of weather/natural disasters.

Last year I singled out another “celebrity psychic, Blair Robertson” for his poor performance in predicting what 2012 held in store for everyone. Mr. Robertson did a little better this year, (arguably) over his one correct prediction for 2012, correctly predicting this year that “a boxer would die in the ring” but falling short everywhere else. Robertson improved his score this year by a half-point for “predicting” Rhianna and Chris Brown would “tie the knot”. The couple played the Media like a fiddle, with photos of “a ring” and even rumors of a “secret wedding”, but no, the most famous dysfunctional couple in Hip-Hop did not in fact get married in 2013 (correct me if I’m wrong.)

Political Prognosticators

It’s a bit more difficult this year to find Republicans opining about 2013 after they all had just finished predicting a Mitt Romney landslide, “easily” winning the election as Americans were “fed up” with President Obama, “Obamacare”, “taxes” and “Benghazi”. That bubble they built up had some might thick glass.

So naturally, when Republicans carried out their threats of being even more obstructionist in 2013, the Right crowed… crowed I tell ya… how “Mitt Romney was right!” when he “predicted” a government Shutdown in 2013. It’s a bit like predicting your “homies” are going to “trash this place” if they don’t get their way, and then being lauded for your insight when they carry out your threats.

Mitt Romney also “predicted” (according to them) Detroit going bankrupt when he in fact only argued for it as being preferable to a bailout. As noted above, the only reason Detroit declared bankruptcy is because a Viceroy appointed by the state’s Republican governor made it so.

In 2010, Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn predicted that because of “Obamacare”: “There will be no insurance industry left in three years”. I have little doubt that Senator Coburn wishes millions of people had lost their insurance and the industry imploded, but darned the luck, they still exists and are expected to reap record profits next year.

Bloomberg Right-Wing News Columnist and “AEI Fellow” Ramesh Ponnuru made a number of negative predictions about President Obama and his policies. He actually didn’t do too bad until you consider how many Republican “predictions” were actually self-fulfilling prophecies. Ponnuru “predicted” the Healthcare Exchanges “would not open for business on October 1st” when Secretary Sebelius “admits the federal government won’t be ready by then.” The government was ready, the private contractors that built the glitchy website were not. They did indeed open on October 1st, but weren’t ready and had to be closed soon after for about a week. As a result, Ponnuru predicted support for Obamacare would continue to decline. If you do a Google News search for “poll support for Obamacare”, you’ll see lots of links to sites all claiming this to be true… ALL of them… each and every one… a Right Wing blog or media outlet (from the NRO to Glenn Beck). Interesting, because all the major networks are reporting how the number of people signing up for insurance through the Exchange “surged to over 1.1 Million” in December in a trend that is expected to continue.

Ponnuru also predicted the courts would continue to rebuke the Obama Administration on the rights of Catholic owned businesses to deny their employees contraception if they view it morally objectionable. The most notable of these cases, the “Hobby Lobby” case, is still waiting in the Supreme Court (see my own prediction on that below.) He also predicted The Supreme Court would find a way to weasel out of ruling on Same Sex Marriage. They didn’t, with repercussions that have led to legalization into deep Red Utah.

He predicted “a new monetary regime” between the U.S. and the U.K. that insulates both nations from the problems of Europe. No idea what he means by “a new monetary regime” even after reading his piece on the subject. Whatever it is, it never happened and Europe’s economy is starting to show signs of recovery.

More wishful thinking? “Paul Ryan,” feeling he can’t work within the GOP, “will resign” in order to “focus on running for president”? No date cited and hardly makes sense as a 2013 prediction, but maybe Ponnuru is looking to late 2014?

How I Did.

Now is the time I look back at my own predictions last year to see how I did. All year long, I thought about the predictions I made for 2013, and as I do every year, I am certain I did “incredibly poorly” that year only to look back at years end and find I didn’t do quite as bad as I thought.

  1. Correct: My first prediction regarding the “fiscal cliff”, and whether the GOP was irrational enough to go over it, had to be split into three scenarios: a) the GOP agrees to President Obama’s demand that taxes go up on people making over $250K per year, but only because they intend to hold the Debt Ceiling hostage again, b) a deal is reached only after Democrats concede to raise the starting point at which taxes go up to $500K, or c) the Bush Tax Cuts expire because no deal can be reached allowing Democrats to pass the “Obama tax cut”. It all depended upon how the GOP reacted. Knowing Scenario “c)” would be the worst possible outcome for them, the GOP agreed to a hybrid of “scenario A” and “scenario B” (pre-planning to hold the Debt Ceiling hostage while agreeing to a deal where the tax increase begins at $450K instead of $250K.)
  2. A Push: #2 was conditional on the GOP being suicidal enough to go over the cliff and refuse to raise the Debt Ceiling, forcing President Obama to invoke the 14th Amendment. They didn’t, so he didn’t have to. No way to know if he would have (though he said he wouldn’t.) I’m certain when faced with certain global economic catastrophe, he would have. And I think the GOP knew it too, the consequences of which would have been to render them irrelevant the next time a Debt Ceiling fight rolled around. So they had no choice but to cave.
  3. Wrong: Harry Reid would make good on his threat to “reform the filibuster” at the start of the session. While a “Psychic to the Stars” might take credit for the eventual decision of Reid to “go nuclear” last November, I’m no hypocrite. I was hamstrung when I made my prediction late on December 31st by the fact it might be proved false in less than 24 hours. Considering the record-setting obstructionist year we had just had, and Reid’s own admission that he was “wrong” for not reforming the filibuster the way Democrats pleaded with him to do at the start of the 2011 session. it was almost unimaginable that he would make the same mistake twice. And while he dragged his feet and messaged Senate rules to extend his time to make a decision till the end of the month, Reid did eventually cave to Republican threats, agreeing only to minor, essentially irrelevant changes… something he quickly came to regret as the GOP shutdown the government months later. The reform he finally agreed to last November likewise was only a narrow rules change affecting only the President’s judicial & Cabinet appointments.
  4. Correct: Despite promises of “Election Reform” following the mass disenfranchisement of Poor & Middle Class voters seen during Early Voting and on Election Day 2012, not a damn thing was done about it. On to 2014!
  5. Correct: The Unemployment rate, which I predicted would be “very close to 6.9% by the end of the year (give or take 3/10ths of a point).” After November, the BLS reported the Unemployment Rate had fallen to 7.0%, a 5-year low and more than a full point below where it was the year before.
  6. Wrong: Sadly, concern over spending did not spark public pressure to exit Afghanistan by years end.
  7. Wrong (and happy about it): While they did remain fairly stable, my prediction that gas prices would still be close to $3.50/gal a year later turned out to be too high, with the national average presently at just under $3.30/gal. I can’t in good faith count that as “correct”. Maybe a difference of ten cents a gallon, but not twenty. And I didn’t foresee things like “nuclear talks with Iran” to bring down oil prices to a three year low.
  8. Correct: – No U.S. or Israeli strike on Iran. Funny to think how long this nonsense has been going on. And the fact no provocative moves have been made by Iran in all that time only goes to show how reality rarely lives up to the most wild militarist fantasies of Neoconservatives. Much to their chagrin, not only did Iran not do anything threatening, they even reluctantly have opened discussions of disarmament. Astounding.
  9. Wrong: Ah, Syria! It’s depressing to think that Civil War is now in it’s THIRD year. I was stung after my first prediction of the fall of Assad in 2011. A bit more cautious last year, I predicted Assad to fall into irrelevancy as the rest of the world just stopped recognizing him as the legitimate leader of Syria. They didn’t; he didn’t; so for 2014 , I won’t.
  10. Wrong (another “and happy about it”): I predicted the DOW would be around 14,500 points by years end, predicting an impressive rise of more than 1500 points in just one year. Instead, we saw an astonishing rise of nearly 3,500 points in just one year to a new record of just under 16,500 points. If President Obama is a  “Socialist”, he’s a piss-poor one.
  11. Correct: As America’s economy recovers, so does Europe’s and the rest of the worlds.
  12. Correct (sadly): My exact words were: “Immigration reform? Don’t bet your Aunt Fanny on it.” Republicans said they wanted it. President Obama said he wanted it. So it was inevitable that nothing would get done.
  13. Wrong (sadly): Just days after Sandy Hook and the massacre of twenty 6/7-yearolds and six teachers, I couldn’t imagine even Republicans turning this into a partisan fight, caving to their gun-nut base and doing absolutely nothing to keep weapons of war out of the hands of children, the mentally unstable and known criminals. Lesson learned: Never under-estimate the depths of GOP cowardice or the ignorance of their base.

Final score: 6 out of 12 (#2 was inconclusive) for 50-percent. Not too shabby for a list I was certain all year long would be one big goose egg. Take that you “Psychics to the Stars” with your “2.6%” accuracy rating!

So now my Predictions for 2014:

  1. Failing to extend Unemployment benefits at the end of 2013 will mean great hardship that extends beyond Party Lines. Just as Republicans mistakenly believed that voters would side with them for “taking a principled stand” on the Government Shutdown even after it started to affect them personally, they undoubtedly believe the same is true here. As far as the GOP is concerned, only poor Minimum Wage slackers are home waiting for their Unemployment Checks to roll in while they sit on their lazy duffs. But their refusal to continue the extension of those benefits past the end of 2013 will come back to bite them in the butt, not realizing just how many “Poor & Middle-Class” workers make up their Redneck base. As a result, expect the GOP to agree to a “compromise extension” of Unemployment benefits. There will be an insistence that it be “paid for”, but then there will be a huge fight on just what to cut. There will be an extension, just not the “90+ week” maximum some are seeing now. Probably something closer to “52 weeks”, double the standard length, with some “creative accounting” paying for it.
  2.  

  3. Where will the DOW be by the end of 2014? I sure as heck didn’t foresee the meteoric rise of 3,500 points in 2013. Another rise like that would have us knocking on the amazing “20,000 point” mark, and that’s going to make a lot of investors nervous about “over exuberant” investors buying stocks just to set a record. I expect the DOW to close just over the “19,200″ mark come years end… which is an incredible thought. Bill Clinton took the DOW from around 3700 points to over 11,700 points seven years later… an increase of OVER 300 percent. The DOW bottomed out barely a month after President Obama took office at just over 6600 points. A close of “19,200″ would be another rise of nearly 300% in just SIX years. George Bush cut the taxes of the Rich & Powerful, but cut their portfolio’s in half as the economy crashed. With numbers like that, it’s easy to see why Wall Street hates Democrats, and loves Republicans (yes, that’s snark.)
  4.  

  5. Marriage Equality – No surprise that more states will officially declare Same-Sex Marriage as legal, but with it suddenly legal in nearly half the states in the Union and no solid legal argument for why any group of people should be discriminated against, expect a positive ruling from the Supreme Court… probably 5/4 but possibly even 6/3… telling states where SSM is outlawed that they must recognize marriages performed in another state. As people flood to neighboring states to get married, laws banning SSM will become moot and fall like dominoes.
  6.  

  7. The Mid-term elections – AKA: “The Battle for the Senate”. Not surprisingly, with the House and the Senate so narrowly split, both sides will be pulling out all the stops seeking control of Congress. The big question? What will be the mood of the public come Election Time? Will problems with the health care law sour voters on the Obama Administration? Will unemployment continue to fall making them optimistic? And what role will record low approval ratings for Congress have on turnout? In the end, it’s pretty much a wash. The people that hate “Obamacare” will continue to whine about “Obamacare”. The people that like the law will continue to do so. I ran into a lot of Conservatives this past year that believe “Obamacare” is an insurance program that you must (MUST) buy into, and they can implode the entire system if they simply refuse to sign up. Little do most of them realize, “Obamacare” does not even apply to them because they already get insurance through their employer. They couldn’t “sign up” even if they wanted to. So the entire system doesn’t implode, and for most people, nothing changes for them. It will be hard to be “outraged” over health care reform come November. Good economic news will continue, so there will be little economic motive to head to the polls. And despite near single digit approval ratings for Congress, don’t expect control of either House to change hands, though, thanks to Gerrymandering, I think Democrats have a better chance of picking up seats in the Senate than the House.
  8.  

  9. Which of course takes us to the start of the 2016 campaign (hard to believe it’s already a topic.) Though she will try to wait until January 2015, Hillary WILL announce her intention to run for President, as will Chris Christie, whom even this far off, already look to be the front-runners. But anything can happen between now & then.
  10.  

  11. Paul Ryan & Patty Murray coming to a two-year budget deal here at the end of 2013 insures no “Fiscal Cliff, Debt Ceiling, Shutdown” economic brinksmanship before the election. No GOP manufactured crisis means we can expect a reasonably smooth, growing economy in 2014. Expect GDP growth in the 4.0+ range next year.
  12.  

  13. What will become of NSA Leaker Edward Snowden? I expect a move to South America sometime next year. The last shoe has yet to drop in that story because Snowden took FAR more material than he could possibly have read when he absconded from the NSA with all that Top Secret information. But time is not on his side as much of the information he took grows out of date. As he continues to pour through the files he stole, I expect few additional revelations, perhaps saving his biggest bombshell in time for the election.
  14.  

  15. Will Congress raise the Minimum Wage? If this weren’t an election year, I’d say yes, but since it is, the state of the economy will play a large part in whether it gets raised or not. A number of states won’t wait and raise it on their own, but nationally, if the economy continues to improve, forget it. With no Budget Battles for the GOP to hold hostage, they must dig their heels in somewhere, and The Minimum Wage is it.
  16.  

  17. The Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia is going to be a mess. Technical and scheduling issues as civil unrest disrupts the games. As I type this, we’ve already seen acts of terrorism very close to Sochi, and Putin won’t have a clue how to handle Gay Rights protests in a country where just holding a sign can land you in jail. International condemnation of Russia’s anti-gay laws will overshadow many events.
  18.  

  19. And while we’re on the subject of Sochi, in a separate prediction, I believe the reason President Obama chose former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to lead a delegation of openly gay athletes is because she herself intends to come out as gay upon her arrival in Sochi, almost daring the Russian government to arrest her.
  20.  

  21. So what will the Unemployment Rate look like by the end of 2014? If current trends continue, I don’t think an unemployment rate of 6.1% (give or take 3/10th of a point) is out of the realm of possibility. If it weren’t an election year, I’d might go lower than that, but it’s in the GOP’s interest to encourage a worsening economy going into the Mid-term elections. With no budget battles to destabilize the economy in an election year, it’ll be difficult. I’m interested in seeing how they pull it off.
  22.  

  23. What about Iran? I think a nuclear disarmament deal WILL be struck that allows Iran to continue to develop nuclear energy using Uranium bred outside the country (probably Russia.) IAEA inspectors will be allowed into the country to check for nuclear weapons development. In exchange, the U.S. will once again allow Iranian oil to be traded on the U.S. Market, causing a decline in the price of oil (maybe $80/barrel give or take $5?), lowering gas prices in the U.S., serving as a substantial boost to the American economy. 2014 will be a very good year for the U.S. economy.
  24.  

  25. Ted Cruz announces his intention to run for President. Outside of the (dwindling) Tea Party, support for his candidacy will not exceed that of Michele Bachmann in 2012, and his campaign will fizzle out early in 2015.
  26.  

  27. Hobby Lobby’s “my religious beliefs supersede yours because I’m your boss” Supreme Court case will return a verdict in favor of the Christian-owned craft store. Any other sane Supreme Court would realize that if a “Christian” owned company can decide what health care you can get, so could an Amish, Muslim or even Satanic boss dictate your health care choices. But an “Amish, Muslim or Satanic” corporation didn’t file this case. A “Christian” one did. And therefore, this Conservative Court will tie the Constitution into knots to accommodate them. Republicans will tout it as “a victory for Americans over the scourge of Obamacare.”
  28.  

  29. Following up on last year, no “Election Reform” bill will be taken up in an election year. Republican governors will step up their efforts to disenfranchise tens of thousands of Democratically leaning voter blocks… most of whom will be minorities.
  30.  

  31. As an homage to my “psychic” friends out there, a really big hurricane will hit someplace somewhere.
  32.  

  33. And another “Lone-wolf” gun nut will go on a shooting spree, killing over a dozen people. And what will come of it in terms of gun control? Nothing.
  34.  

  35. And finally, Syria. In 2011, I predicted Assad would be overthrown just like all the other “Arab Spring” nations did to their leaders. But Assad was willing to be far more brutal and had the army on his side. In 2012, I predicted him to become irrelevant as the rest of the world simply stopped recognizing his authority, but that didn’t happen either. So now, in year three, all I’m willing to wager is that the Syrian conflict will still be raging a year from now. That’s a prediction I’d be happy to get wrong.

Eighteen predictions. I can live with that. How do you think I did? Post your own predictions for 2014 in the Comments.
 


 


Writers Wanted

Got something to say? Mugsy’s Rap Sheet is always looking for article submissions to focus on the stories we may miss each week. To volunteer your own Op/Ed for inclusion here, send us an email with an example of your writing skills & choice of topic, and maybe we’ll put you online!


RSS Please REGISTER to be notified by e-mail every time this Blog is updated! Firefox/IE users can use RSS for a browser link that lists the latest posts! RSS


 

Share
Filed in Economy, Election, General, Guns & Violence, Healthcare, Jobs, Middle East, Partisanship, Politics, Predictions, Religion, Seems Obvious to Me, Taxes, voting, War December 30th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 2 comments | Add/View

Email This Post Email This Post

Why Don’t We Question Close Races AFTER We Win to See Why They Were So Close?

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, November 11, 2013

I don’t know why, but before every election in recent memory, we hear lots of reports of Republican attempts to disenfranchise tens of thousands (millions?) of legitimate legal voters all in the name of “protecting elections from (non-existent) voter fraud”. So they pass laws, new restrictions, and implement despicable practices like “voter caging” to stop LEGAL voters… uncoincidentally typically the young, poor, minorities, or any combination thereof, that just happen to vote Democrat… from voting. These attempts to stop tens of thousands of registered voters from exercising their Constitutional rights rarely make the news and gets a lot of Democrats very upset prior to the election. But then AFTER the election, once the Democrat wins ANYWAY (often by a razor-thin margin), no one ever seems to go back and wonder WHY the election was “so close” in the first place. We seem happy just to have won, so why poke the bear? Last week we saw this in action in Virginia, where polling showed the Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe leading the scandal-ridden, homophobic, Rightwing social-extremist Republican candidate Ken Cuccinelli by as much as 15 points in one poll (and an average of nearly 7 points, and growing, the day before the election) only to win by just 2.5% once all the votes were in. And no one seems to be asking, “How did that happen?”

The loser in this particular race, Cuccinelli, actually seemed to concede what an awful candidate he was in his own concession speech, arguing that the final result was so close “because of (a public rejection of) Obamacare”. Translation: “I was a terrible candidate and the race wouldn’t have even been close had it not been for people voting in protest of ObamaCare!” Which is an awful argument on two fronts. Besides admitting that if it weren’t for “ObamaCare”, you probably would have lost even worse, but the fact is the “PRO-ObamaCare” candidate WON, meaning that more people apparently like the program than don’t.

So why was the Virginia race WAY closer than any of the polls predicted? Maybe the fact that three weeks before the election, the GOP-controlled board of elections purged 38 THOUSAND registered voters from the elections rolls, most of whom by no coincidence fell into the Democratic demographic of young, poor & minorities. McAuliffe’s margin of victory was just 55,000 votes in a state with nearly 2 million votes cast.

The danger here of allowing Republicans to believe that the election was actually closer than it actually was while disregarding the tens of thousands they likely disenfranchised, is that it allows them to believe falsehoods like “ObamaCare is wildly unpopular”, “the Shutdown is the only reason Cuccinelli lost” or “if they had just spent more money on the Cuccinelli campaign, he would have won”, and therefore allow them to continue to their obstructionist ways and continue to push far-right legislation in the false belief that that’s what the people actually want. They then push the idea that the public is “evenly divided” and that there’s more support out there for the GOP Platform than there actually is, and the public… not knowing any better… believes it.

In 2008, Obama’s margin of victory over John McCain was SEVEN percent with 66.8 Million votes. Four years later, the margin of victory was cut to just 3.9 percent with Obama receiving nearly one million fewer votes than he did four years earlier despite an overall increase of 1.6 million more voters. Romney received 2.6 million more votes in 2012 than McCain did in 2008. Translation: You must believe either ONE MILLION Obama voters switched to Romney and despite population growth not a single new voter voted for Obama, OR that millions of Democratic votes were not counted because they were prevented from voting (ie: long lines, fewer voting days/hours, voter ID, being forced to vote absentee and then not have those ballots counted, etc.) I report, you decide.

The damage done by not questioning these “mysterious” razor-thin victories after all the polls predicted a comfortable lead prior to Election Day is immense. Democrats scratch their head, wonder what they did wrong, and decide that what the people want is for them to incorporate more Republican ideas into their policies. Meanwhile, Republican spin-meisters get to go around claiming that the election was “so close” because voters are “evenly divided” and don’t necessarily support the policies of the Democratic Party. And, having gotten away with it once, by the next election they push the envelop just a little bit farther. And then farther. And then farther, until election results like Bush/Gore in 2000 become common-place.
 



Writers Wanted
 
Got something to say? Mugsy’s Rap Sheet is always looking for article submissions to focus on the stories we may miss each week. To volunteer your own Op/Ed for inclusion here, send us an email with an example of your writing skills & choice of topic, and maybe we’ll put you online!

RSS Please REGISTER to be notified by e-mail every time this Blog is updated! Firefox/IE users can use RSS for a browser link that lists the latest posts! RSS


 

Share
Filed in Election, Politics, Unconstitutional, voting November 11th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 2 comments | Add/View

Email This Post Email This Post

Today’s GOP Putting King’s Dream Back to Sleep

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, August 26, 2013

Fifty years ago this Wednesday, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his rousing “I Have a Dream” speech (text) to a crowd of 250,000 (give or take 50K) mostly (but not exclusively) black supporters. King spoke of “Negros” not being seen as equals “in the eyes of the law”. He spoke of economic injustice that restricts “basic mobility [...] from a smaller ghetto to a larger one”, and that Negros “cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote”. If you’re a Republican, you’d probably point to the fact that this country elected a black man… not once but twice… to the Presidency (no thanks to them), and we therefore may now pass some of the most discriminatory voting regulations since The Voting Rights Act became law in 1965. (It’s an awful lot like when Republican politicians attend ribbon-cutting ceremonies for Stimulus projects they tried to kill, touting how great they will be for the community.) How many Conservatives argued “If only Trayvon Martin had had a gun?” Fox “news” Sunday yesterday continued their clueless positing of just why “President Obama and Al Sharpton” were not “speaking out” in response to the “Thrill Kill” murder of an Australian tourist by three f-ed up teenagers… one of whom was white, the same way they spoke out following the murder of Trayvon Martin (uh, maybe because no one is out there DEFENDING the teenage murderers, and the fact the victim wasn’t targeted for his race, Jackasses?) But it’s not just that Republicans seem clueless on matters of race today, but that ever since the election of our first black president, they suddenly feel they have Carte Blanc to be openly & unashamedly racist. “It’s okay” to say openly racists things now because “the election of a black president proves we’re not racists.” So suddenly, we can roll back voting rights, question the birthplace of the president to label him an “other”, even openly disrespect him during his first address before a joint session of Congress (Rep. Joe Wilson’s “You lie!” outburst in 2009) all because America is “no longer a racist country.” Got that?

Last week, the New York Times printed the results of their “racial equality” poll where they asked people across the racial spectrum what they thought of race-relations today. They also included a number of statistical facts as a basis for comparison. Fewer than “one in three” black Americans felt we have made “a lot” of progress towards racial equality since King gave his historic speech in 1963. Forty-five years later (since 1967), the average three-member black family earns just 59 percent of what the average three-member white family earns (ibid)… not because they are paid less for doing the same job (though I’m sure there’s some of that going on as well), but mostly due to the average black worker working at lower paying jobs than most whites. 50 years ago, a black man was 5 times as likely to go to prison than a white man. Today, that ratio is SIX-to-one (ibid). Why? Because we now have a justice system that’s tilted heavily in favor of the rich, and (as noted above), if you’re poor in this country, you’re nearly twice as likely to be black.

The Conservatives on the Supreme Court gutted the 1965 Voting Rights Act, citing the apparent lack of need for it in the age of Obama. And within hours, we already had Southern states clamoring to pass an avalanche of voter suppression laws that would have been illegal literally minutes before.

It seems to me (and probably you as well) that only recently (since the 2008 presidential campaign) that closet-racists that used to keep their true feelings hidden suddenly feel that they can now say & do openly racist things and not fear any backlash because so many of their neighbors are saying it too. But don’t you DARE call them “racists”! They’ll point to the black Tea Party member giving a speech before a sea of white faces. They’ll point to all the black NRA members (the ones that don’t look “Gangsta”) they are “friends” with (yet whose home they’ve never visited nor shared a beer with.)

How white do you have to be to wonder aloud if a “fist bump” might be “a Terrorist fist jab?” because the first people you’ve ever seen do it happened to be black? I’m a 40-something white guy and even *I* had seen (and performed) a “fist bump” before. That remark was just downright embarrassing.

What I don’t understand is: why do they still act like there’s something WRONG with being called a racist? Accusing a racist of being a “racist” is still an open invitation to a punch in the mouth. Why? They certainly don’t have to worry about offending their friends, and a growing number of them are saying & doing things in public without a scintilla of shame or even self-awareness that we didn’t hear with such regularity even a decade ago. Rush Limbaugh sings “Barack, the magic negro” on his radio show and his fans leaped to his defense, arguing that the song wasn’t racist (if racists could recognize racism, they wouldn’t be racists). Donald Trump, who made a second career of questioning President Obama’s legitimacy because he believed Obama’s “birth certificate” was faked to cover up the “fact” he was born in another country and was therefore ineligible to be president, has been uncharacteristically quiet following the announcement that Ted “Jose McCarthy” Cruz, whom appears to be eying a run at the presidency in 2016, was ADMITTEDLY born in Canada. Cruz’s response? His mother was born in America so therefore he’s an American citizen too (unlike President Obama, whose mother was born in the distant nation of Kansas.) And when Birther opponents of Obama are asked about the inconsistency of supporting Cruz, hilarity ensues their rationalization is that “Canada isn’t foreign”.

“Who us? Racists? Just because we prefer Paula Dean over Martin Luther King (73% to 59%)? What kind of N-word lovin’ question is that to ask?”
 

BTW: If you used to enjoy following my real-time highlights during the “Sunday Morning Roundup” over on Crooks & Liars before they attacked me and stripped me of my editorial privileges because I didn’t “volunteer enough” during my mothers’ illness to be so presumptive as to ask for some common courtesy, I’ve resumed my duties on my Facebook page every Sunday morning. Be sure to drop on by and “friend” me.

 



Writers Wanted
 
Got something to say? Mugsy’s Rap Sheet is always looking for article submissions to focus on the stories we may miss each week. To volunteer your own Op/Ed for inclusion here, send us an email with an example of your writing skills & choice of topic, and maybe we’ll put you online!

RSS Please REGISTER to be notified by e-mail every time this Blog is updated! Firefox/IE users can use RSS for a browser link that lists the latest posts! RSS


 

Share
Filed in General, Partisanship, Politics, Racism, voting August 26th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

Email This Post Email This Post

Can You still Call It a “Response” If You Wrote It in Advance?

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013

We've heard this bull before.I‘ll try to be brief. I just finished listening to President Obama’s first State of the Union speech of his second term. Great as always, he seemed to hit on every topic, from ending America’s longest war (sounding at times like he was about to call for its conclusion by the end of this year, only to again disappointingly cite “the end of 2014″ as the target date), tackling Climate Change as a smart business move, to reigning in gun violence, and even spending several minutes on “voting reform”… an issue close to my heart that I wholly expected to fall by the wayside once the election was over. But the President brought it up in his victory speech last November and now again in the SotU, so I’m feeling hopeful that we could (at the very least) see a “voting reform” bill come before Congress sometime this year. Also of note, the President talked about the high cost of education and calling for funding for “universal preschool” to give all children a headstart. He talked about a balanced approach to reducing our deficit through both spending cuts and asking the wealthiest to pay a little bit more in taxes. Then came “The Republican Response” presented this year by Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who clearly was reading a pre-written “response” that criticized President Obama over and over again for things he never said (“he keeps blaming the previous administration” and “we can’t reduce our deficit by increased taxes alone”), knocking over strawman after strawman. At other times, saying he “disagreed” with the President only to make the exact same argument President Obama had just made ten minutes earlier (Rubio calling for increased education funding for young children.) One quickly got the feeling Senator Rubio didn’t even bother to listen to the President’s speech. I mean, how do you pre-write a speech, and then after having just heard the President call for the same things as you, not tailor your own speech as appropriate, then go on to criticize the President for not suggesting the very thing he just advocated for? Either you are being deliberately deceitful (hoping your listeners didn’t bother listening to the President’s speech either), or you didn’t even bother to listen to the speech you are about to criticize (or, third-choice, you’re a whopping moron.)

Each year, the GOP’s “response” has been given by someone that was considered at the time to be an “up & comer”, only to flame out in the months to come. Remember 2010′s “Governor Ultrasound” Bob McDonnell? 2011 was Paul Ryan’s big year, and 2012 was Indiana Governor (and former Bush economic adviser) Mitch Daniels. Does anyone forsee any of them being major players in tomorrows’ GOP? We can only hope for the same for Mr. Rubio.
 



Writers Wanted
 
Got something to say? Mugsy’s Rap Sheet is always looking for article submissions to focus on the stories we may miss each week. To volunteer your own Op/Ed for inclusion here, send us an email with an example of your writing skills & choice of topic, and maybe we’ll put you online!

RSS Please REGISTER to be notified by e-mail every time this Blog is updated! Firefox/IE users can use RSS for a browser link that lists the latest posts! RSS


 

Share
Filed in Economy, Partisanship, Politics, voting February 13th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

Email This Post Email This Post

Just Because We Won Doesn’t Mean Millions Weren’t Disenfranchised. My “Voter Security Act.”

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, November 12, 2012

5 steps of voter suppressionDemocrats won big Tuesday. Not only did President Obama rake in 126 more Electoral Votes than Mitt Romney, but nearly 3-Million more of the “Popular Vote”. Many Republicans, in licking their wounds following Tuesday’s shellacking, point to one stat to make them feel better: “President Obama dropped 6 Million in the popular vote from 2008 to 2012″, thereby “proving sinking approval levels.” No, there are a number of more likely explanations for Obama’s decreased draw of the popular vote, and chief among them is all the borderline-criminal attempts at voter suppression we saw across the country in just the past two years. I’m quick to remind people that “just because we won the election doesn’t mean millions of voters weren’t disenfranchised.” We just won big enough that it didn’t matter.

First off, the numbers: In 2008, just over 129-million people voted (69.4M + 59.9M). In 2012, only 120-million people voted (61.9M + 58.6M). That’s a reduction of just under 9-million fewer voters overall. But Democrats weren’t the only ones to see their numbers drop. A decline of 7.5-million Democratic votes means a decline of 1.3-million GOP votes as well. Considering that voter suppression laws targeted the Democrats’ demographics most (poor, the infirm, minorities and the young), it’s no surprise that in the end fewer of them voted.

And even after state after state was ordered to halt their voter obstruction efforts… “Voter ID”, “reduction in Early Voting days”, and “extra long ballots” designed to slow down voting to create long lines designed to turn voters away (most notably hourly workers, the disabled and the elderly)… they still continued to post billboards, run TV & Print ads and “accidentally” failed to update their websites to tell people about the fact that those laws would not be in effect on Election Day. It’s no coincidence that Florida, which passed “Voter ID” and cut Early Voting days from 14 to just 8 was the last to finish voting with it’s results not being certified until four days after the election… and this is AFTER Florida’s results would have NO impact on the outcome of the election. Just imagine if it had! I GUARANTEE we STILL would not know the result today. This is completely unacceptable!
 

Billboards in poor black neighborhoods designed to scare off legal voters
Threatening billboards in poor black neighborhoods
 

Long lines in Miami
Long lines in Miami 2012
 

Long lines in Virginia
Long lines in Virginia 2012
 

Long lines in Ohio
Long lines in Ohio 2012
 

Long lines in Colorado
Long lines in Colorado 2012
 

Long lines in Detroit, Michigan
Long lines in Detroit 2012
 

Long lines in Wisconsin
Long lines in Wisconsin 2012

 (Note there were long lines in some safely Blue states as well: New York, Maryland, New Jersey, etc. But chalk that up mostly due to Hurricane Sandy.)

I personally believe that had it not of been for all the attempts at blatant voter suppression across the country, President Obama might have won an additional 2-3 million votes, bringing him closer to his 2008 Popular Vote totals. I like to tell people: “If the GOP’s ideas are so great, why do they feel the need to restrict voting? You only do that when you know your ideas are unpopular and can’t win any other way.”

The worst thing that we could do now is become complacent and think Voter Obstruction is not as big an issue as once thought. Not only could voter suppression tactics potentially swing an election in the future, but think about all the Republicans out there right now challenging the notion of whether or not President Obama actually won “a mandate” to pursue HIS policies over those of the GOP? (I’ll save the discussion over “how many votes equal a mandate” for another day.) Hey, “he only won by 3-million votes! That’s just 0.6% of the total vote!” Still think losing votes even when you win isn’t a big deal?

I think now is the perfect time to push for election reform. No longer facing reelection himself, with the next big election two full years away, there is no better time to push for it. Even President Obama in his victory speech Tuesday night pointed to the long lines on Election Day, saying, “Oh, by the way. We have to fix that!”, to which the crowd cheered.

So I propose “The Electronic Voting Security Act”. Due to our sheer size, electronic voting is here to stay. There’s just no way we can get rid of electronic voting and switch to pen & paper the way they do in Australia. But there is NO excuse for having Millions of people voting into “Black Boxes”… built by private corporations using “proprietary” software protected from scrutiny as “trade secrets”… that provide no confirmation whatsoever that your vote was tallied correctly. So here is my list of proposed features in “The Electronic Voting Security Act”:

  1. Every voting machine must produce a hard copy print out of your voting selections, which you may then review and drop into a sealed ballot box that can be called upon should a recount become necessary. This provides both the immediacy of the electronic result with the security of paper ballots. It would also make “electronic vote tampering” far less likely if people know the result can simply be verified in a hand recount. Should those results differ, there would be no question of election tampering and immediately trigger a criminal investigation. We would NEVER deposit our money into an ATM that doesn’t give us a receipt. Why on Earth should we entrust something even more valuable… our vote… to some “sealed black box”?
  2. “Open Source” election software ONLY – Private contractors may still bid to compete on who actually makes the machines, but the software that runs on those machines will be standardized “Open Source” code written by a non-partisan elections board (most likely the Treasury Dept) and released into the public-domain. This means ANYONE can then scrutinize the code for flaws, backdoors, or other vote-manipulation code, and bring forth a challenge if they believe it somehow favors one candidate/Party over another. No more proprietary “secret software” or suspicious last-minute patches or conflicts of interest casting doubt into the minds of voters as to whether or not their vote will be recorded correctly. “Touch screen voting machines” have long been the scourge of election-monitors everywhere, and Election Day video of a voting machine registering a vote for “Romney” when “Obama” was selected (but not “Obama” when the candidate below him was selected) didn’t help matters, and if I had my druthers, I’d ban them entirely. But I feel that once “printouts” are added to voting machines and voters can confirm their vote was recorded correctly, we should see a lot fewer of these calibration “accidents”.
  3. No more long lines. – A number should be calculated and agreed upon balancing the “number of machines per number of registered voters in each district.” I’m not entirely sure what that number should be… perhaps one machine and one Early Voting day for every 1,000 voters? Someone needs to come up with a standardized figure and require every county in every state to comply. If lines persist, more machines should be provided to the precinct free-of-charge until long lines are no longer a problem.
  4. Likewise, no one should have to travel more than 10-miles to get to a polling station. Voters should be allowed to ride public transportation for free to their polling place on election day the same way many are allowed to ride for free when called for Jury Duty in cities across the country. This would also be of great benefit to the elderly, many of whom no longer drive.
  5. And on that note, Make Election Day a national holiday. – preferably a paid holiday because poor voters can least afford to lose a day of work, but I know Republicans would totally balk at that idea. The simple fact of the matter is that making time to vote on a workday can be exceedingly difficult. If you vote early in the morning before work, there’s the chance you may be late to work that morning. If you vote in the evenings, you must make sure to get there before the polls close. Early voting helps, but then the burden of the cost of additional voting days falls upon the state. People should not be worried about squeezing “voting” into their schedule.
  6. Auto-registration upon receiving a Social Security #. – With all the ridiculous hype over the nonexistent threat of “non-citizens voting”, if would be much simpler if every person were automatically registered to vote upon receiving their Social Security number (which only citizens get). And to any Trolls or nitpickers that wish to point out how many people receive a SS# at birth and not eligible to vote for another 18 years… uh… we know their age when we give them the number, and will know if someone tries to use that number before they are eligible.
  7. Implementation of “Instant Runoff Voting” (IRV). – If you aren’t familiar with “IRV”, here’s a great video primer:
     

    Basically, when you vote in a race with more than two candidates, you pick your preferred candidate first followed by your second choice (and so on) simultaneously should that candidate fail to make it into the Top 2. (Note: the video makes one mistake at the 2:00 mark. In a race with three candidates, you would only get two choices, not three.) With the advent of electronic voting, such a system is now easier than ever. And the benefits? No more Spoilers. No more elections being won by candidates with less than 50% of the vote. No more “two Party only” system. No more voting for “the lesser of two evils”. No more concern over “throwing your vote away”. With IRV, you can vote for Third Party candidates without fear of “helping the Party you hate win”. You could have voted for Nader in 2000 even if you lived in a swing state without worry over whether you cost Al Gore the election. And Rick Perry couldn’t have won reelection as governor of Texas in 2006 with just 39% of the vote because the GOP helped fund two “Independent” candidates to split the anti-Perry vote three ways. Sound nice? It’s no dream. It’s “Instant Runoff Voting”. And we need it. Now.

If Republicans continue to insist on ridiculous “Voter photo ID” requirements that amount to an illegal “poll tax” (if not simply a means of making it more difficult for the less-mobile to vote), I propose biometrics… thumb print, retinal scanners, etc… at every polling place. No need to “obtain” an ID; You ARE the ID! Simply record every voter’s biometrics at the next election and then compare that print to the one on record in successive elections. Republicans may balk at the cost of adding such scanners, but they had no problem passing off the cost of obtaining a useless “Voter ID” onto the voters. If they REALLY believe “voter identification” is a serious problem worthy of the expense, let them put their money where their mouth is.

As you might imagine, Floridians are getting pretty freakin’ tired (as is the rest of the country) of being a laughing stock every four years, repeatedly taking days to produce an accurate (?) count of that states’ votes. And this year, after taking nearly four days to finally figure out who won the state, Florida residents are understandably demanding an overhaul of that states’ voting procedures. The entire event was one big partisan mess, as Governor Rick Scott first pushed through (unconstitutional) Voter ID laws, followed by cutting Early Voting from 14 days to just eight. And we saw Republican governors across the nation attempted to duplicate this “creative chaos” in their own states for partisan advantage. NO ONE should be able to play partisan political games with something so integral to our democracy as “voting”.
 



Writers Wanted
 
Got something to say? Mugsy’s Rap Sheet is always looking for article submissions to focus on the stories we may miss each week. To volunteer your own Op/Ed for inclusion here, send us an email with an example of your writing skills & choice of topic, and maybe we’ll put you online!

RSS Please REGISTER to be notified by e-mail every time this Blog is updated! Firefox/IE users can use RSS for a browser link that lists the latest posts! RSS


 

Share
Filed in Crime, Election, Politics, voting November 12th, 2012 by Admin Mugsy | • 2 comments | Add/View

Email This Post Email This Post

Victory Matrix: Your Handy Swing State Guide to 270

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Tuesday, November 6, 2012

NBC's Last Swing State Map before Election DayUsing NBC Political Director Chuck Todd’s latest map of “safe” states (left) for each candidate showing only seven swing states remaining… Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, Colorado, New Hampshire, Iowa, and Virginia… I stayed up late last night compiling this simple “Victory Matrix”, a brief table showing the swing states each candidate needs to reach the minimum 270 Electoral Votes necessary to win.

Assuming a starting point of 243 bankable EV’s for Obama and 206 EV’s for Romney, here are the fewest swing states each candidate needs to reach the 270 vote threshold:
 

Victory Matrix

 

As you can see, if President Obama wins Florida, it’s game over for Romney. The President can lose every other swing state and still break 270 with just Florida. So the Sunshine State is a “must win” for Romney.

Obama also has many more paths to victory. If he loses Florida, he still has EIGHT more paths to victory. In fact, he can lose both Florida AND Ohio and still has FOUR paths to victory. There is no absolute “must win” state for President Obama.

Governor Romney on the other hand has a much steeper hill to climb, with far fewer paths to victory with (as noted) Florida being a “must win” for him or it is all over. Mitt has just five paths to victory (sans an upset in a “safely blue” state not listed here), all of which require winning at least four swing states, with “Iowa” and NH being the states he least needs to still win. So if President Obama is the first to win four, likewise the race should technically be over.

Three of Romney’s five paths require winning Ohio, while four require winning Virgina. So if he loses one, he MUST win the other to stay alive. Based on the latest polls, Romney has a much better chance of winning Virgina than Ohio (though he trails in both), so while everyone else will be watching Ohio, I will be watching Virgina. Romney has but one path to victory if he loses Virgina, so if Obama wins that, I predict the race to be over rather early.

You can use this table like a scorecard. Let’s just hope the race isn’t close enough to steal, with no surprises, and we’re all in bed by a decent hour.
 

Share
Filed in Election, Politics, voting November 6th, 2012 by Admin Mugsy | • 2 comments | Add/View

Email This Post Email This Post

Closing Arguments: Some thoughts on Romney

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, November 5, 2012

The GOP's idea of NegotiatingOver the past 18 months (since the first Republican debate in May of last year… yes, it has been that long), two things have always been clear: one, Mitt Romney would be the GOP nominee and two, Republicans hate him. This will be the first “post Citizens United” presidential race. And because of that, not only was this the first presidential campaign to cost over a Billion dollars, but BOTH candidates will have spent more than a Billion dollars EACH to win this race. Republicans had to spend like Ronald Reagan after finding Joe Stalin under his bed just to keep this race close, working overtime to convince Republicans to vote for a polished turd like Mitt Romney. Oh sure, they all now claim that they actually LIKE the former pro-choice, health-insurance mandating, French-speaking equivocator from “Taxachusetts”, and insist they are actually voting FOR him rather than just “against Obama”, but their sudden love for Romney rings about as hollow as the guy in Orwell’s “1984″, pitifully joyous over how great it is that they are having pudding for the eighteenth day in a row (sorry, I could find no clip). Romney is Double-plus-good. Over these last few weeks, I’ve made a few observations about the Romney campaign that I think deserve one last review before what is sure to be a VERY long election night.

Hurricane Sandy (IMHO) did almost as much damage to the Romney campaign as it did to the East Coast (no, I’m am NOT belittling the lives lost). While President Obama was (without even trying) showcasing the need & value of an effective government that comes to the rescue of its people in a crisis when no one else can, Governor Romney was a living example of just how inept and inadequate Corporate America is in an emergency. I wrote about this on “Crooks & Liars” at the time. If this race is a battle of ideologies… “Corporate America” vs “Big Government”… and you’re already on the record as advocating the privatization of FEMA, what better opportunity to PROVE your solutions are better than to put them in action during a natural disaster that (conveniently) strikes just days before the election? Think of it as a contest: “Which ideology can provide more relief, faster and more efficiently for less money?” Obama & FEMA vs Romney & Corporate America? The Governor could have responded to the disaster by trying to organize major corporations into donating: money, food & water, resources and heavy machinery, going out to devastated areas, rescue a few thousand people and provided electricity to a few million homes. Is that too much to ask? And all it would of cost them is a paltry $20-Billion dollars or so (assuming the race between Romney & FEMA were neck & neck) C’mon! Let’s see who’s REALLY better in an emergency!

But of course, Romney didn’t do that (assuming he even thought of it, which I can assure you he didn’t) because some problems are so big that only something the size of the Federal Government is big enough to take it on. Do you think that if such an option (a corporate rescue following a natural disaster) were even REMOTELY possible, Romney’s first instinct wouldn’t of been to hold a “donation drive”? That’s how my mother responds to a disaster, not an entire government. Hell, the Romney Campaign didn’t even consider DISTRIBUTING those donations themselves. They were going to dump the entire load off on the Red Cross. One can’t help but think that under a Romney Administration, Republicans might try to do something stupid like “privatize FEMA” when all is calm, only to suddenly realize how much we actually need FEMA come the first disaster? Republicans never consider the consequences of their policies. That’s how you end up in Iraq & Afghanistan with no exit strategy.

This past week, desperate to diffuse the bi-partisan praise of President Obama and his handling of Hurricane Sandy, most notably from Romney’s own keynote speaker Chris Christie, Romney himself has started telling crowds of how HE will do a better job of “working across the aisle”… unlike President Obama who couldn’t convince Republicans to work with him on ANYTHING. Yes, President Obama kept seeking Republican support for his programs, and they instead fought him tooth & nail. What a loser. If you want a guy that knows how to work with the opposing party, you need a president that vetoed 844 bills as governor passed by an “85% ‘Democrat’ Congress” in just four years (MA’s legislature is only in session 150 days a year, so that’s more than one veto a day), who has vowed on “Day One” to undo every piece of legislation they passed under the previous administration and push through every Tea Party wet dream for the next four years. And by all means, keep using the noun “Democrat” as an adjective/pejorative. Democrats just love that.

Republicans are still trying to convince you there’s “an enthusiasm gap” among voters. Yep, but it ain’t on our side.

Last Friday saw the release of the latest Jobs numbers from the Department of Labor. The very good report was a decidedly mixed message, showing 171,000 new jobs were added in October, but coupled with last month’s drop in the Unemployment Rate to 7.8%, about 100,000 of the long-term unemployed rejoined the job-hunt, pushing the UE Rate UP by 1/10th of a point. The President touted the number of jobs created, while the Romney campaign was once again able to claim “unemployment is higher now than when Obama took office”… a debatable claim since UE was indeed 7.8% in JANUARY… Bush’s last month in office with Obama taking over on the 20th. But UE was already 8.3% by February and continued to rise like a bat out of Hell to 10.0% by October. That’s how bad things were when President Obama took over, and unemployment has not been as high since. Pointing to how “low” the unemployment rate was the day Bush left office and then blaming Obama for everything afterwards is like pointing out what “great condition” a house is the moment it catches fire and then blaming the firemen for how it looks 4 hours later.

Another thought crossed my mind in recent weeks: Ever notice how Republicans always stop at “FDR” when saying “Obama is the worst” on something? “No president has won re-election with unemployment this high since FDR.” “The highest spending as a percentage of GDP since FDR.” Ever notice that? Why always since FDR? What happened when FDR was president? Oh yeah, the economy collapsed and the nation found itself fighting two wars simultaneously. NOTHING like President Obama had to face. Maybe President Obama’s Debt & Unemployment haven’t been seen since FDR because we haven’t seen this level of crisis since FDR? Republicans pointing out that we haven’t seen such numbers since FDR is an implicit admission that things have not been THIS BAD since FDR.

Nearly two months after the Embassy attack in Benghazi, Libya, Fox “news” is still hyping a supposed “Intelligence failure” that led to American deaths on “September 11th”, accusing the president of demonstrating a lack of concern for those who had been killed, and even sitting and doing nothing while the attack was being carried out. The irony is palpable. But as we learned last week, the CIA responded to the attack within 25 minutes, while at the same time, Governor Romney was racing to the cameras to accuse the Obama Administration (and unwittingly, the embassy itself) of “sympathizing with the attackers” WHILE the attack was still underway.

Romney also took some heat last week for falsely claiming Chrysler might be shutting down “ALL” of its American factories and moving to China. Clearly desperate to make President Obama look worse for Detroit than his own suggestion of letting them go bankrupt, Romney seized on a report by a Conservative blogger that misinterpreted a Bloomberg News report of Chrysler opening additional factories in China to make cars for sale in China as suggesting the company was “shutting down factories in the U.S. and moving the jobs to China.” So not only did the blogger get the story wrong, but Romney embellished on it even further, falsely claiming Chrysler might be moving ALL production to China. When caught in the lie, rather than admit his mistake, Romney doubled-down, running carefully worded radio and TV ads saying Chrysler was going to “build cars in China”… which is true, but not at the cost of American jobs and not because business is bad for Chrysler. So unless you have a problem with selling cars to the Chinese, what is the point of the commercials?

(And, I might add, that total inability to admit you’re wrong… that’s how “shame on me” becomes “can’t get fooled again.”)

It deserves pointing out that just last June the Romney campaign defended “Offshoring” when Romney was criticized for “outsourcing” jobs to China while at Bain Capital. Romney adviser Andrea Saul quipped back that there is a difference between “outsourcing” and “offshoring… work done overseas to support U.S. exports“. So unless Mitt had a sudden epiphany that doing business overseas is a “bad” thing, he is once again flip-flopping on something he took a stand on not five months ago, for crass political gain.

With less than 48 hours to go as of this writing, Obama leads Romney in EVERY Ohio poll (sans… of course, Rasmussen that shows them merely tied)… a must-win state for Romney (actually there are one or two skin-of-his-teeth paths to victory for Romney w/o winning Ohio, but they both require winning five of eight swing states… not a single one in which he currently leads. Romney has NEVER led in Ohio. If Ohio goes Red Tuesday night, there will be a LOT of people (myself included) suspecting something hinky on election night.

There are FAR more paths to victory for Obama. While Romney has to virtually run the table and pick up almost every swing state just to reach 270, President Obama can lose Nevada, Colorado, Wisconsin, Ohio, Virgina, Vermont AND North Carolina (seven of eight swing states), and STILL reach 272 Electoral Votes by simply winning Florida (along with all other states he currently leads in):
 

272 with JUST Florida

 

Likewise, he can swap Florida for Ohio and Virgina and still reach 274 EV’s:
 

274 without Florida

 

While everyone will be watching Ohio Tuesday night, I’ll be watching Virginia, which is a much closer race than Ohio and has a longer history of going red. If Romney loses Ohio… which looks very likely right now, he can’t win without Virgina. If he loses Virgina, he can’t with without Ohio.

So that’s Mitt. A former Republican governor with daddy issues (his father’s “brainwashed” remark that tanked his nomination “affected Mitt deeply” according the the PBS documentary: “The Choice 2012″) that can’t admit mistakes, believes tax cuts are the solution to every problem, is saber-rattling the threat of war in the Middle-East, and is now running as “a uniter, not a divider.” What could possibly go wrong?

And what in the heck is this? Keep calm?
 

Keep calm?
(click for full image)

Think maybe they’re a little worried over there at Romney headquarters?
 



Writers Wanted
RSS Please REGISTER to be notified by e-mail every time this Blog is updated! Firefox/IE7+ users can use RSS for a browser link that lists the latest posts! RSS


 

Share
Filed in Economy, Election, General, Jobs, Money, Politics, Predictions, Rants, Taxes, voting November 5th, 2012 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

Email This Post Email This Post

“Voter ID” Supporters: Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The In August of 1965, President Johnson signed “The Voting Rights Act” into law. It was considered a continuation of his landmark “Civil Rights Act” signed the year before because it was obvious that simply “declaring” that minorities as “equal” to whites was meaningless so long as they could be discriminated against at the ballot box. Among the things made “illegal” by the Act were “poll taxes”, which were intended specifically to discourage poor… disproportionately black… people from voting. And now, 47 years later, Republicans claiming a need to “protect the integrity of the voting process”, have placed a series of obstacles and ID Requirements in the way that for all intents & purposes amount to an illegal “poll tax”… just what the 1965 law sought to end.

I actually read a Tweet from one angry Conservative months ago that exclaimed:

“If someone is too lazy to get to the DMV [for a free photo-ID], they don’t deserve to vote!”

I felt it necessary to point out that it is MUCH easier to “get to the DMV” IF YOU ALREADY HAVE A DRIVERS LICENSE and a car. If you’re working for Minimum Wage, take public transportation to get to work, and can’t afford to take a day off to get to your “local” DMV and wait in line all day for a “free” Voter-ID just to do what you’ve already done for years without incident, suddenly it’s not quite so effortless (of course, with a 140-character Twitter limit, my actual response was closer to: “Dumbass!”)

One Pennsylvania blogger conducted a little experiment to see just how much it would cost the 18% of Philadelphia’s registered black voters that currently do not posses an “acceptable” Photo-ID to obtain one:

(And may I point out, you don’t need “a birth certificate” or prove citizenship to purchase a drivers license that allows you to vote, yet you need one to get a “free” Voter ID. You don’t even have to be a citizen to get a “drivers license”, so why do you need to prove “citizenship” for an equivalent government-issued photo ID?)

Minimum cost to obtain an ID if you are unemployed, have all necessary documentation and take public transportation: $4.00.
Cost if you need to obtain paperwork (in PA), take time off from work, and take public transportation: $49.12.
Cost for an unemployed/homeless person to vote: Priceless… literally. No bills? No W2? No ID. Number of homeless vets in this country: Approximately 75,000.

Of course, that upper-end cost could be MUCH higher if it takes you more than two hours away from work, make more than minimum wage, and/or need to take a cab because there is no bus stop near your home or the DMV (and double all that if you’re told you’re missing documentation and must make a second trip another day). But for some people, “time off from work” is not an option. I’ve worked temporary jobs where if you missed a day, you needent bother coming in tomorrow.

The solution to this nonsense is really quite simple: If the “Secure the Vote” crowd REALLY believes we need “Voter ID” and REALLY believe it’s not a burden to expect voters to jump through dozens of hoops just to get a “free” ID, then how about we pass a law promising “110% reimbursement” for any costs incurred obtaining a Voter ID? Cab/bus fare, time off from work, documentation, etc. They don’t want to pay people to go door-to-door distributing ID’s or send ID’s through the mail to people who apply by phone or online… which would be the ONLY ways to provide voters with an ID in a way that isn’t a burden (and not every person has a door to knock on, a mailbox to fill, or a phone to call from.) If they balk, it can ONLY be because they don’t want to reimburse anyone… an implicit acknowledgement that obtaining an ID isn’t “free” and may cost many people a lot of money… which makes it an illegal poll tax.

And just for fun…

Batman 1966: The Penguin sings his campaign song

…continuing from the earlier video found at this post: “Am I Supposed to be Impressed Both Ryan and Romney Paid Less Than 20% in Taxes?”

(As you may have noticed, M.R.S. is stepping up it’s reporting as we near election day, so be sure to check back often… or better yet, Register for instant email notification of updates! – Mugsy)
 



Writers Wanted
 
Got something to say? Mugsy’s Rap Sheet is always looking for article submissions to focus on the stories we may miss each week. To volunteer your own Op/Ed for inclusion here, send us an email with an example of your writing skills & choice of topic, and maybe we’ll put you online!

RSS Please REGISTER to be notified by e-mail every time this Blog is updated! Firefox/IE users can use RSS for a browser link that lists the latest posts! RSS


 

Share
Filed in Crime, Election, Politics, Racism, Right-wing Facism, Taxes, voting September 26th, 2012 by Admin Mugsy | • 3 comments | Add/View

Email This Post Email This Post

10 Things You WON’T Hear Mentioned at the Republican Convention This Week

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, August 27, 2012

Ask Mitt Anything* (*except...)As you know, the GOP will be holding its Presidential Convention & Cross Burning Clambake all this week in Tampa Bay. Well, not ALL week, because for the second convention in a row, the first day of the RNC Convention will be canceled due to a hurricane lashing the pavilion. In 2008, religious morons “prayed for rain” to disrupt the DNC Convention in Denver. Instead, they saw temps in the low 80′s, and the clouds parting on the night of Obama’s big acceptance speech. God is clearly a Democrat. Meanwhile, the GOP brazenly chose to host their convention at the site of Bush’s SECOND greatest failure (or, if you prefer, “Greatest failure of his SECOND term”), New Orleans during the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina (August 29, 2005). In response, God sent “Hurricane Gustav”, forcing the GOP to cancel Day-1 of their convention. Clearly, the GOP didn’t get the hint, because God decided in His infinite wisdom to disrupt the 2012 Convention as well with YET ANOTHER hurricane (“Isaac”) on the seventh anniversary of Katrina, once again headed for New Orleans. The Lord Almighty announced he’s “going to keep lobbing hurricanes at GOP Presidential Conventions until [they] admit Global Warming is real.” It’s true, I swear! God told me so himself (or maybe it was just Marcus Bachmann?)

And that’s Item #1 of things you WON’T hear being discussed at the Republican National Committee Convention this week: “Global Warming”. No, if history is any teacher, rather than ponder what effect turning our planet into a giant Easy-Bake Oven has on hurricanes, Asshats-in-cowboy-hats will be chanting, “Drill Baby, drill!” (or “Build the damn pipeline!”) despite the fact that oil production is higher now under President Obama than it EVER was under President Bush. (I have also pointed out that the KXL pipeline would result in HIGHER gas prices because giving up Refinery capacity to refine KXL oil for export means less gas for us, creating an artificial shortage that pushes prices UP.) But don’t confuse a Republican with “facts”. While Oil Billionaires in Tampa will be toasting the fact that hurricane in the Gulf means shutting down dozens of Refineries and Drilling Platforms across the Gulf Coast, pushing gas prices… and by extension… profits much higher (and the economy much lower), it will never occur to a single monsoon-soaked conventioneer that maybe what we should be looking for are ways to get OFF oil as a way to reduce prices, not suck the planet dry like the last Grape Nehi on Planet Diablo.

Number #2 on the list: While Governor Romney and several Convention Speakers will vow to “Repeal ObamaCare”, you will NOT hear ANYONE explain WHAT exactly they plan to replace ObamaCare with. On yesterday’s “Fox news Sunday”, host Chris Wallace interviewing Romney, asked him about “the consequences of repealing ObamaCare”. Romney ACTUALLY said that he would replace “ObamaCare” with “things”. You think I’m kidding?

Romney: (“the things I will replace ObamaCare with will also help hold down the cost of health care”)

Number #3: “Personhood”, or more specifically: “The Personhood Amendment. Oh, you’ll hear tons of lofty talk about the GOP being “The Party of Life” from a bunch of rabid pro-war, pro-gun, pro-death penalty zealots, and how the vile Liberal Left wants every woman to rely on Planned Parenthood for their health care so they can be talked into getting an abortion (especially if they’re black), but in the toxic fog of Rep. Todd Akin, any mention of the ultimate goal of that “pro-life” agenda will be harder to hear than a mouse-fart in church. If the camera catches glimpse of a single “Ban The Pill” or “Pass the Personhood Amendment” sign, you can bet that person will be yanked faster than a 6-inch nose hair.

No one during the entire event will connect the dots between “Personhood” and how it could ban most forms of hormonal contraception. In fact, you might even hear some Speaker claim that “No one is talking about banning contraception!” What a ridiculous thought!

Which of course leads to Number #4: Todd Akin. Last Monday, people were aghast by the Right-Wing nuttery of Republican Congressman Todd Akin for saying that victims of “legitimate rape” (RW code for suggesting there are a number of women who falsely claim rape simply to obtain an abortion) “secrete a substance” that prevents them from becoming pregnant (ergo, if you got pregnant, you must have wanted it.) But lets keep in mind that this is a Party where one of it’s leading presidential candidates… Ron Paulsaid almost the exact same thing last February, and no one on the Right said “Boo”.

As ThinkProgress pointed out, Paul Ryan teamed up with Akin on a slew of “personhood”, “anti-abortion” and “anti-contraception” acts of legislation as recently as THIS YEAR, so naturally the GOP makes him their Vice-Presidential nominee. If anyone brings up Akin or Ryan’s connection to him, it will be reporters, not anyone from the dais.

Number #5 on the list of thing you’ll never hear mentioned at this convention: The rash of recent “gun violence”. From the “Batman” shooting in Colorado, the near-fatal shooting of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, the attack on an Indian Seik Temple, or even the “suicide-by-cop” incident in front of The Empire State Building just last week. The GOP might as well change its name to The NRA for all the difference it would make. I’m sorry, but for a group of peacock-strutting macho Rednecks that loves guns & war, they sure talk tough, but I’ve never met a bigger bunch of frightened p@ssies in all my life. They live in constant terror of “Muslims”, “Illegal Immigrants”, “Black people”, “Black helicopters”… heck, the government in general. I couldn’t fathom living in their world. What a dark scary place they live in. It must be horrible living in such constant fear like that. So, if the word “gun” is mentioned at all during this Convention, it will be in the context of “Fast & Furious”… the botched “gun walking” program that never actually allowed a single gun to “walk”.

(UPDATE: On the morning of opening day of the Convention, a student at Perry Hall High School in Maryland was shot & wounded by another student opening fire in the school cafeteria.)

Number #6 on the list of things you’ll never hear at this convention: Mitt Romney’s tax returns or his tax shelters. While I wouldn’t be surprised if some minor league GOP “rising star” or disgruntled “Bachmann-type” in a waaaay off-primetime speaking slot ridicules the idea that anyone needs to see more than the one-years’ worth of tax returns that Mitt has already released, the very subject of Romney’s taxes will be verboten.

Number #7: The words “filibuster” or “obstruction”. It is imperative to the governor’s election chances that everyone forget that the last election wasn’t 2008, it was 2010. On yesterdays’ “ThisWeek” on ABC, Right-Wing putz George Will pointed to how little things have improved over the past year, and how that’s evidence “President Obama’s policies have failed”. Just once, I’d like someone to ask him if he thinks the GOP controlled Congress (yes, that includes the Dem-led Senate that has been held hostage via the filibuster) deserves ANY of the blame for the lack of improvement over the past two years? I mean, they DID come in promising “Jobs, jobs, jobs”, no? Or was I just imagining that? I’d almost bet cash/money that someone will (falsely) claim, “President Obama had a filibuster proof majority” his first two years (in truth, it was a grand total of only 24 working days) to support the idea he accomplished nothing (except pass the most sweeping health care reform law in 50 years.)

Number #8 on our list is “Voter ID” and the millions that are likely to be disenfranchised in order to “safeguard our elections” from a crime that’s rarer than death by lightning strike. The GOP is very excited about the passage of “Voter ID” laws that will require millions of legal Registered voters to unnecessarily jump through all sorts of ridiculous hoops just to exercise their Constitutional Right (“The Constitution”… you remember that Right-Wingers? It’s that thing you wrap yourselves in when it suits your purposes, and you push to “Amend” when it doesn’t?) They’ll ACTUALLY tell you, “It’s about making sure that only Citizens actually vote in our elections”, yet they accept a “Drivers License” (among other things) that doesn’t actually require proof of citizenship to get. In fact, NON-citizens can get a Drivers License, and do so all the time. Tell me again how “Voter ID” has anything to do with “making sure only citizens vote”? No, it’s just about making it more difficult for minorities and The Poor… groups that typically vote Democratic… to vote. I actually had one Right-Winger say to me, “Hey, if you can’t do something as simple as get an ID from the DMV, you shouldn’t be voting anyway!” Yes, it’s SO EASY for people WITHOUT A DRIVERS LICENSE OR A CAR to get to the DMV. It’s SO EASY for someone on Minimum Wage to take time off from work and wait in line all day at the DMV to get an ID they never needed before just to do something they’ve been doing for decades without incident. That taxi cab you might have to take to get to the DMV, or that time off you must take from work, that costs money and is tantamount to an illegal Poll Tax. If by some disaster Romney should “win” this November, you can BET “Voter ID” played a BIG part in making it happen.

Number #9: “The Dream Act”. Republicans are already on the outs with Millions of Hispanic voters for their “shoot first” at anyone that comes near their “1,100 mile long electrified fence” position on Border Security. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, who signed Arizona’s “Papers Please” law that gave local police the ability to stop anyone they deemed “suspicious” on any trumped-up charge they could think-up to give them legal justification to harass brown people, didn’t win them any friends in the Hispanic community. After alienating just about every sane black person in the country with their “Birther” nonsense, the GOP can’t afford to alienate any more minorities. But they’ve already labled President Obama’s “Dream Act”something that was once a GOP idea… “Amnesty”. In an interview on “Meet the Press” yesterday, Jeb Bush (who will be speaking at the convention while his brother will not) criticized his own party for being so anti-immigration, stressing the need for legal immigration. Jeb also acknowledged that President Obama “inherited a very difficult situation”, and will be using his speech to promote the need for “education” to a bunch of Home-Schoolers that want to abolish the Department of Education. So you can relax folks, there’s now ZERO chance we’ll ever see another Bush in the White House.

And last but not least…

Number #10 on the list of Things no one will hear mentioned at the RNC Convention? Osama bin Laden or Kadaffy.

(Note: Be sure to visit our new pages: “GOP Nonsense” and “Must See Videos” linked on the toolbar above.) And for more humor, observations and breaking news throughout the week, be sure to subscribe to our Twitter Feed.)
 



Writers Wanted
 
Got something to say? Mugsy’s Rap Sheet is always looking for article submissions to focus on the stories we may miss each week. To volunteer your own Op/Ed for inclusion here, send us an email with an example of your writing skills & choice of topic, and maybe we’ll put you online!

RSS Please REGISTER to be notified by e-mail every time this Blog is updated! Firefox/IE users can use RSS for a browser link that lists the latest posts! RSS


 

Share
Filed in Economy, Election, Energy Independence, Environment, General, Global Warming, Guns & Violence, Healthcare, Middle East, Politics, Predictions, Religion, Right-wing Facism, Right-Wing Insanity, Taxes, voting, War August 27th, 2012 by Admin Mugsy | • 6 comments | Add/View

Email This Post Email This Post

Pennsylvania: Ground Zero in Voter ID Nightmare. The numbers are chilling. (Updated)

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, July 30, 2012

ID: Inhibit DemocratsIn the 2000 election, the “must-win” swing state was Florida. In 2004, it was Ohio. In 2008, that do-or-die must-win swing state was Pennsylvania. On election night 2008, even though the night was only half over, I already knew it was over the moment it was announced Barack Obama had won Pennsylvania’s 21 electoral votes, because by that point, there was no longer any clear path to victory for McCain (Obama was so far ahead, he could have lost Florida and still won the election). And because of that, since then, the GOP has been pushing the most Draconian “Voter I.D.” legislation in the country in Pennsylvania. Republicans have been able to do so since taking control of the Pennsylvania State Legislature in 2010, coupled with their existing control of the governorship by the incredibly offensive Gov. John Corbett and his appointment of Republican “Secretary of State” (they call it a “Commonwealth”) Carol Aichele.

If you aren’t aware of what’s going on in Pennsylvania right now regarding their “Voter ID” efforts, you’re easily forgiven since the story is not being carried on your evening news, and has thus far enjoyed a total media blackout on the Sunday politi-talk shows.

In every state, it is the duty of the “Secretary of State” to manage the elections process. SoS’s are not elected, they’re appointed by the Governor, and just as in 2000 with Florida’s “Katherine Harris” (who slobbered over Governor Bush like a dog in heat), and Ohio’s “Ken Blackwell” in 2004 (honorary co-chair of the Ohio Committee to re-elect George Bush), this year, Pennsylvania’s SoS is a hard Right Republican named Carol Aichele. This is what Aichele had to say to protesters last week protesting the number of people that would be disenfranchised by the new “Voter ID” program called “PennDoT”, which requires registered voters without a valid government issued photo ID to travel to their local DMV to get one:

Pennsylvania Secretary of State Carol Aichele had a message for the hundreds of people gathered at the State Capitol yesterday to rally against voter ID laws: “Go home” and find ways to make their fellow citizens comply with the state’s controversial law.

Approximately half of the counties in Pennsylvania either do not have PennDoT photo and licensing centers or such centers are open only one or two days each week.

Estimated number of people without a “valid” form of government-issued photo ID in Pennsylvania: “1.3 Million” (or 14.4% of the population [ibid: Aichele to protesters]). Estimated number of those 1.3-Million that are currently Registered Voters? Over 758,000. EVEN the PA-SoS’s office estimated “only 1%” of ALL Registered Voters in PA do not have a valid government issued photo ID. That’s 88 THOUSAND registered voters. I remind you that 2004 was decided by 118,000 votes (2%) in Ohio, and a mere 363 votes in Florida in 2000.

Yes, “Go home” and start giving rides to 758,000 registered voters (or 88-thousand if you prefer Aichele’s own estimate). You’ve got a bus handy, right? And just who are these people without a valid ID? Seniors that no longer travel on their own, college students that don’t drive, poor people that take public transportation, even recently married/divorced women in the midst of changing their last name. And even if you HAVE one of the generally accepted forms of ID, they STILL may not accept it.

Last month, Pennsylvania GOP House Leader Mike Turzai made headlines when he openly admitted what we all knew: the reason they want the new Pennsylvania Voter ID law so badly is because it’s “gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.”

Turzai: “Voter ID will deliver PA to Romney.

I don’t think you can get any more blatant than that.

The Pennsylvania Secretary of State’s office has a “helpful” page on their website all about the new “PennDoT” voter ID program:
 

PennDoT's Espanol link doesn't work
(Click to enlarge)

Just one problem: That “Espanol” link at the top for information about PA’s new “Voter ID” law… HASN’T WORKED IN MONTHS (ever?), and as of this writing, still does absolutely nothing when you click it. Hmmm.

Of course, Aichele’s office assures you (in the English version at least) that “no Registered voter will be denied the right to vote on election day if they don’t have an acceptable ID with them. Those people will be given “a provisional ballot” (the kind that only get counted if the race is close or contested).

The English language pdf on obtaining a DoS issued “Voter ID Card” states that they won’t be available until “the last week of August”. Not sure when Early Voting begins in PA, but a mere 8 weeks for 3/4 of a Million Registered voters to make arrangement to get to their nearest DMV (on a day it’s open) just so they can obtain a state-issued photo ID to guard against nonexistent “voter fraud”, seems a tad unreasonable. Some stats:

Number of persons convicted of voter fraud in Pennsylvania since the year 2004: 4

Number of persons convicted of attempting to vote pretending to be someone he or she was not since 2004: ZERO.

Approximate number of Pennsylvania voters who do not have a valid PA driver’s license yet are otherwise eligible to vote: 700,000.

This is a solution in search of a problem where none is to be found. Keep in mind that the people LEAST likely to be able to take time off from work to spend all morning at the DMV just to get a free Voter ID (though there are reports of some people being charged for their ID) just so they can do what they’ve already been doing for decades without incident, are going to be The Poor, mostly black or Hispanic, who overwhelmingly vote Democratic. In order to qualify for a free “PennDoT” Voter ID, you must provide proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate. And even that is no guarantee. The state just decertified the birth certificates of 120,000 Puerto Ricans living in Pennsylvania. I’m not kidding. This is not an accident. The only “Voter fraud” going on here is the attempted wholesale disenfranchisement of more than 5 million poor & minority voters across the country.

Recently, the PA governors’ office released “a list” that “wildly overstates” the number of “ineligible” voters on the voting roles. The Philli Enquirer newspaper found a number of problems with that Pennsylvania list:

Former Philadelphia Mayor W. Wilson Goode is on the list as not having PennDot ID. He has had a Pennsylvania driver’s license for 50 years.

Goode’s son City Councilman W. Wilson Goode Jr. is also on the list. So are four of his Council colleagues – Dennis O’Brien, Brian O’Neill, Maria Quiñones Sánchez, and Marian Tasco. All have licenses.

In addition to the stated problem with people who use different first names on different documents, it appears the state’s computers had problems distinguishing names containing spaces, like Mary Ellen, or Van Dyke; names with hyphens, like Olivia Newton-John; and names that computers sometimes spell with spaces, like Mc Dougall.

In Philadelphia alone, more than 10,000 people whose names begin with “Mc” were listed as not having PennDot ID. They included state Supreme Court Justice Seamus P. McCaffery, a driver whose name is spelled Mc Caffery on the city’s voter rolls.

Names with apostrophes, like O’Brien and O’Neill, were especially troublesome because PennDot’s computer system doesn’t use apostrophes, according to David Burgess, a Department of State deputy secretary in charge of computer operations.

The Inquirer tested the state’s list by making random calls to registered voters in Philadelphia who were at least 80 years old. The demographic was chosen to gauge the impact of the law on would-be voters who might have the most difficulty getting to PennDot license centers to obtain photo ID.

A team of Inquirer reporters placed calls to 325 of those older voters listed as lacking PennDot ID. Out of 101 people interviewed, 76 said they already had PennDot identification, despite being on the state’s list. That’s 75 percent.

This is appalling. Unlike in Florida and Texas where their “Voter ID” bills could legally be challenged/blocked by the Federal Government, they have no such power over PA. Why? Because Southern states like Texas & Florida with a history of racial voter discrimination are subject to the 1964 Voting Rights Act. Pennsylvania is not, making it a ripe target for the GOP.

Since the Federal government does not have jurisdiction, it has fallen to The ACLU to challenge the new law in court on behalf of Viviette Applewhite, a 93-year-old great-great grandmother who marched with Martin Luther King Jr.. Ms.Applewhite, a housekeeper that never had a drivers license, recently had her purse stolen with her Social Security card in it. Adopted and twice married, proving Ms. Applewhite’s identity sufficiently to obtain a Voter ID card would be complicated and expensive… and totally unnecessary since the state has conceded in her case that there “have been no investigations or prosecutions of in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania” (ibid ACLU). Nor will they “offer any evidence that in-person voter fraud has in fact occurred in Pennsylvania and elsewhere” or even argue that “in-person voter fraud is likely to occur in November.”

For a Party so big on “The Constitution”, citizen rights, and fearing an obtrusive “Big Government” that “can’t do anything right”, they sure seem awfully quick to trust the government here… at least when that government is run by Republicans and the payoff is theft of the White House.
 


Postscript: If you missed the “Opening Ceremonies” of the 2012 London Olympics Friday night, you missed an eleven-minute tribute to the NHS (“National Health Service”)… the British Socialized health care system… as one of their proudest accomplishments:

Brit tribute to NHS

So the next time some wingnut tries to tell you how much the British hate their Marxists/Socialists/Commie government-run health care system, you now have photographic proof that they’re full of $#it.

(ADDENDUM: ThinkProgress reports, “Why Pennsylvania’s Voter ID Law Will Create Chaos On Election Day”. As they point out, the state is dumping the burden of providing all these ID’s in just two months time on the state’s DMV ["PennDoT"] at the same time they’ve slashed the number of Public employees to the lowest percentage in the nation.)

(ADDENDUM 2: The August 2nd Rachel Maddow Show provided a thorough examination of looming election chaos in Ohio this year, as the GOP’s “solution” to the long lines in 2004/2008 was to CUT the number of Early Voting days by three and exact severe “Voter ID” restrictions of their own:)

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

(UPDATE 8/16/2012 – Judge Upholds Pennsylvania Voter ID Law; Opponents To Appeal. – Judge says he considered partisan motivations and deemed it irrelevant.)
 



Writers Wanted
 
Got something to say? Mugsy’s Rap Sheet is always looking for article submissions to focus on the stories we may miss each week. To volunteer your own Op/Ed for inclusion here, send us an email with an example of your writing skills & choice of topic, and maybe we’ll put you online!

RSS Please REGISTER to be notified by e-mail every time this Blog is updated! Firefox/IE users can use RSS for a browser link that lists the latest posts! RSS


 

Share
Filed in Crime, Election, Healthcare, myth busting, Politics, Right-wing Facism, voting July 30th, 2012 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View