Augustine Carter, an 85-year-old voter in Richmond, Virginia, tells her story of the trouble she went through to vote in 2012. Born in 1928, she never had a birth certificate and she never got a driver's license because she decided years ago that driving wasn't for her. Her baptism certificate was sufficient for all identification purposes until the 2012 election. She had to go through a Kafka-esque bureaucracy including being told by someone at the Motor Vehicle Administration that she couldn't prove that she was not a terrorist. [MORE]
“As remarkable as these trends are, they are unlikely to amount to more than an small sideshow on the margins of the mainstream if the only way we can conceive of confronting corporate power and bringing about a new economy is through our buying decisions… What we really need to do is change the underlying policies that shape our economy. We can’t do that through the sum of our individual behavior in the marketplace. We can only do it by exercising our collective power as citizens.”
Petitions for secession from the United States of America have been submitted to the WhiteHouse.gov site from 22 States including my grand state of Kentucky. As a historian, I am having a case of deja vu. I keep thinking I have seen this before. Oh yeah, the Civil War. I almost forgot.
To those that are so quick to call for secession, I have a question for you. Concerning our soldiers fighting overseas, who are they fighting and dying for? A red state? A Blue? Let's say they are from Kentucky but their mother's family is from New York. This brings up too many difficult questions to answer. I find it not very realistic when there are bombastic, ignorant calls to break over two hundreds years of history and tradition, all for some deluded illusion of a world without government in their lives.
Imagine what would happen if small local municipalities decided they did not want the State Government intruding on their lives with a tax collector, and decided to secede from the State. Unquestionably, the states would have to tax more because there would be no central government backup.
Imagine if a catastrophe occurs that is beyond the scope of that state government to cope from the damage. Calls for help could go unheeded. Maybe alliances with other states could be drawn up for these contingencies or better yet, another confederacy. My how history has come full circle.
I wanted to get a sampling of some the thoughts from those advocating secession so I went to my local television station website and found the national story about the secession petitions, and they asked the question of where the people stood on the issue.
I found a wealth of material. There were many that were advocating for secession but I would like to highlight, first and foremost, the fact that there were plenty of people that had common sense and most importantly, factual comments. I loved it. There are other dissidents in these Republican lands where I reside.
For privacy, I am going to paraphrase the most ludicrous ideas expressed to the community and I noticed that they fell into the following categories: Race, Religion, Ignorance and Ideology.
Regarding race, with the comments that began right away by declaring they are sick of people telling them they are racist just because they think the President is a Kenyan born Muslim that wants to take away their guns, methinks they doth protest too much.
As for religion, many of the comments mentioned that President Obama was 'Godless' or better yet, the 'Antichrist'. This did not surprise me because I had already heard this many times from people that I know.
I am from the Bible Belt where it is a very important part of many people's lives and I see no problem with this at all, but this seems to be taking things too far. Historically, there was definitely a separation of church and state in the days of the founding of our country, and this has been forgotten, either conveniently or truthfully.
Let's use the motto 'In God We Trust'. There has been a lot of confusion saying that our country was founded by using this motto, but it became the national motto in 1956 and was printed on paper money in 1957 at the height of the Cold War. The communists of the Soviet Union promoted Atheism and the United States wanted to highlight our differences by showing that our culture was a Christian nation that believed in capitalism. This was the time of McCarthyism after all.
Originally, money was printed with the motto 'E Pluribus Unum' which means, "One from many." Some translate the phrase as, "Out of many, one." This referred to the forming of a single federal state from all of the colonies that later became the states, and John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson created the first design for the Great Seal of the United States that contained this motto. This design was rejected by the Congress in 1776, but the motto was used in the design that was accepted in 1782 and printed on some of the federal coins in 1795.
Ignorance was the theme of many others. These included references to terribly high taxes that do not exist or the liberal lies about global warming, even when all evidence to its existence is wailing from the storm sirens over their heads screaming, "it's real!"
Many had a far right ideology and they are angry because there are so many of the liberal takers that voted for President Obama. They are also angry that there are people that live off of welfare and food stamps while not having any intention to looking for a job, and the money to pay for all of this is coming out of taxes taken straight from their paychecks. Also, I can't leave out the fact that President Obama is flaunting his disregard of the Constitution of the United States with his socialist program 'Obamacare'.
In conclusion to my musing on secession, I find it very interesting that when one leaves comments, sometimes there is nothing hindering their compulsion to spew hate and derision. There is no little voice is in their head saying, "be nice", or maybe there is. I don't know.
I believe the same may be the case when people so easily advocate secession. They have no understanding of the ramifications of what they calling for. But then again, maybe they do.
After reading about the Virginia election fraud arrest, a story broken by Ben Tribbett, we traveled to Harrisonburg, VA to find the man who witnessed voter registration forms being discarded in a dumpster. This interview was recorded on Election Day, 2012.
If not for the actions taken by small business owner Rob Johnson, including an inspiring act of civic courage in which he tracked down the perpetrator himself, 8 people would have not been able to vote in the historic 2012 election. Also, Mr. Johnson may have exposed a much wider election fraud conspiracy that goes all the way to the top of the Republican power matrix, including super-PAC guru Karl Rove.
The Rockingham County Sheriff's Department arrested Colin Small, a Republican Party operative, based on Mr. Johnson's eye witness account, and his decision to go above and beyond the call, and find out where Mr. Small worked.
Eric Byler, who filmed the interview with Annabel Park for Story of America, said, "Rob Johnson rescued the voter registration forms of 8 fellow citizens, and possibly protected the rights of thousands more. He deserves a medal."
Congressman Elijah Cummings tells a very moving story of what he saw at a polling station recently in his district in Baltimore. It captures beautifully what this election is about. A woman close to 90 years of age barely able to walk voting probably for the last time in her life. She wants to pass on the baton to the next generation. This woman would not have been able to vote with the kind of voter ID laws passed in some states this year.
A must for anyone who's thinking about not voting this year. This is part of my new documentary series, Story of America: A Nation Divided.
Ferguson was sentenced to death for a 1977 mass murder in Miami Dade, which he committed shortly after the state released him from a mental hospital against the warnings of several state-appointed psychiatrists.
This week was a big one. The first presidential debate came and went, and it was full of sound bites but missing the information voters need, as Mattea Kramer explained this week on TomDispatch.
In case you missed it, here's what else happened this week.
In this YouTube video, Chris Hellman explains what those automatic spending cuts would do to federal programs from education to food safety.
Where Those Federal Dollars Go Would you or your neighbor notice a difference if big spending cuts took effect? We've got the details on how federal dollars affect your community.
You Ask, We Answer How was the stimulus spent, and did it work? We explained it on the blog.
32 Days In 32 days the president, the entire House of Representatives, and one-third of the Senate are up for grabs. Do you have the facts you need to cast an informed vote? Visit Voter Guide 2012 to see fact sheets and a side-by-side comparison of President Obama and Governor Romney on 12 key issues. And pick up a copy of A People's Guide to the Federal Budget. Choice magazine "highly recommended" it, calling the book "an excellent foundation" for understanding our nation's finances.
Stay tuned. NPP cracks open the federal budget for the rest of us.
In another example of failed Republican logic, one Oklahoma congressman thinks he might have solved the problem of poverty. Draft legislation, HB1908, authored by House Speaker T.W. Shannon, will set aside funding from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program for statewide public service announcements. The message?
Marriage is the best tool to fight poverty. Get married, stayed marriage and you won’t be poor.
Instead of concentrating on the economics of the problem of poverty, the focus has been more on reducing out-of-wedlock births and increasing the rates and stability of marriages. That direction undoubtedly pleased the highly-active, highly-vocal Christian Right which plays an important role in local politics in the state. For example, in the past, members of one group took the last Speaker of the House to task on such issues as not supporting a ban on Islamic law, not opting out of Affordable Health Care, for not restricting immigration and and any support for anti-gun laws.
In this two part series, the questions are: Where does this idea come from? What's the truth behind single mother and poverty? And why is this such a bad idea?
Videographers and journalists always have some kind of hook for stories but they also need to have some scrap of integrity. All three of O'Keefe's "bombshell" videos (NPR, ACORN and Jim Moran's son) consist of the targets basically trying to be nice and humor him and then combined with his very selective editing. He got a little pay back this time.
While Obama signs 23 executive orders on gun control, the organization takes a bizarre shot at his family
Rhett Rebold's insight:
The NRA's response on this one pushed past the pale. One wonders if it boils down to guns and ammo sales, given the board members from Colt, etc. As a responsible gun owner myself, none of the President's moderate and common sense measures were startling or hurt my head and they may in fact lower the body count just a little.
Denial has poisoned the GOP and threatens the rest of the country too.
by Frank Rich, NY Magazine
Mitt Romney is already slithering into the mists of history, or at least La Jolla, gone and soon to be forgotten. A weightless figure unloved and distrusted by even his own supporters, he was always destined, win or lose, to be a transitory front man for a radical-right GOP intent on barreling full-speed down the Randian path laid out by its true 2012 standard-bearer, Paul Ryan. But as was said of another unsuccessful salesman who worked the New England territory, attention must be paid to Mitt as the door slams behind him in the aftermath of Barack Obama’s brilliant victory. Though Romney has no political heirs in his own party or elsewhere, he does leave behind a cultural legacy of sorts. He raised Truthiness to a level of chutzpah beyond Stephen Colbert’s fertile imagination, and on the grandest scale. That a presidential hopeful so cavalierly mendacious could get so close to the White House, winning some 48 percent of the popular vote, is no small accomplishment. The American weakness that Romney both apotheosized and exploited in achieving this feat—our post-fact syndrome where anyone on the public stage can make up anything and usually get away with it—won’t disappear with him. A slicker liar could have won, and still might.
All politicians lie, and some of them, as Bob Kerrey famously said of Bill Clinton in 1996, are “unusually good” at it. Every campaign (certainly including Obama’s) puts up ads that stretch or obliterate the truth. But Romney’s record was exceptional by any standard. The blogger Steve Benen, who meticulously curated and documented Mitt’s false statements during 2012, clocked a total of 917 as Election Day arrived. Those lies, which reached a crescendo with the last-ditch ads accusing a bailed-out Chrysler of planning to ship American jobs to China, are not to be confused with the Romney flip-flops. The Etch-A-Sketches were a phenomenon of their own; if the left and right agreed about anything this year, it was that trying to pin down where Mitt “really” stood on any subject was a fool’s errand. [MORE]
A new Florida law that contributed to long voter lines and caused some to abandon voting altogether was intentionally designed by Florida GOP staff and consultants to inhibit Democratic voters, former GOP officials and current GOP consultants have...
The bipartisan duo filed a friend-of-the-court brief Friday in a Montana Supreme Court case that upheld the state’s ban on independent expenditures by corporations. That case, American Tradition Partnership vs. Bullock, is now pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, which issued a stay of the decision in February.
In the 31-page brief, McCain (R-Ariz.) and Whitehouse (D-R.I.) defends Montana’s ban and calls on the Supreme Court to review Citizens United’s finding that vast independent expenditures don’t have a corrupting influence in campaigns.
“Evidence from the 2010 and 2012 electoral cycles has demonstrated that so-called independent expenditures create a strong potential for corruption and the perception thereof,” their brief reads. “The news confirms, daily, that existing campaign finance rules purporting to provide for ‘independence’ and ‘disclosure’ in fact provide neither.”
McCain and Whitehouse said in a joint statement that they were “deeply concerned” about the rise of unlimited and undisclosed spending in elections. [MORE]
Moyers & Company presents "United States of ALEC," a report on the most influential corporate-funded political force most of America has never heard of -- ALEC. This piece, really a full feature, was carefully researched for months and put together by Bill Moyers. Kind of gets at the impact of crony capitalism when it is very organized. "Stand your Ground," suppression of the climate change debate, privatizing public functions, tax breaks and subsidies for companies and lobbying without regulation as a nonprofit - thanks ALEC. Working mostly at the state level, they have written up to 1/3 of the bills in some states; I don't think citizens have consciously given the corporate world this much political power. If they did I stand corrected.