Archive for category 2012 Elections

Caucus or Primary? Count My Vote, Utah Elections and Political Parties

If you’ve been following the news lately, you will know that  Count My Vote is attempting to be a citizens initiative to change Utah’s caucus system to a primary system.   At a minimum, it’s gotten Utahns talking about how we select our candidates for public office which is good.  I’m not convinced Count My Vote’s solution solves the problem they claim to want to solve.  Will switching from the current caucus system improve voter engagement and turnout?  That depends on whether it addresses the reasons people don’t vote.

Do we know why Utah has low voter turnout in primary and general elections?  Why don’t eligible voters actually get out and vote? Read the rest of this entry »

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America Needs a White Republican President

Remember Joe The Plumber? He posted this article today. The article was taken down as this post was being written.

Joe The Plumber Website Screen Shot

I’ve posted the entire article with permission below.

America Needs a White Republican President

Admit it. You want a white Republican president again.

Now before you start feeling like you’re a racist, understand you are not.
Wanting a white Republican president doesn’t make you racist, it just makes you American.Kevin Jackson racist

In the pre-black president era, criticizing the president was simply the American thing to do. An exercise of one’s First Amendment right. Criticism had nothing to do with color, because there had never been a black president, or at least one whom people recognized as black.

So to criticize the president meant that you didn’t like his policies.

The election of a recognized black president was not supposed to change anything. In fact, it was supposed to (1) ease any perceived racial tensions, and (2) allow the government to focus on legislating without race. So America would be more free than ever to discuss the issues.

Not the case. And that is why having a white Republican president is best for the country.

Consider that nobody is ever accused of being racist for disagreeing with white presidents. Mexicans disagreed with most white Republican presidents over America’s immigration policy. Many deranged Mexicans believe we should open the country up to them, some saying that much of America belongs to Mexico anyway. They are not called racists.

Liberal blacks have disagreed with most Republican presidents since Eisenhower, yet these blacks are not considered racists. In fact, when blacks had sanity and disagreed with the policies of racist white Democrat presidents, nobody accused black people of being racists.

Fighting for one’s civil rights was not racist then, nor is it racist now. Blacks (and Republicans) were on the side of righteousness, when they disagreed with the racist policies of Andrew Johnson, and adopted by every Democrat president since.

Never has a black person been called racist, because they didn’t like one of the white presidents’ policies. Blacks were just exercising their First Amendment rights to speak freely. Blacks have disagreed with policy positions of about every Republican president in the modern era, including those who have helped them.

Take Reagan for example. Reagan ushered in a veritable Renaissance for blacks, as Fox News showcased.

And the Reagan record?

African-American columnist Joseph Perkins has studied the effects of Reaganomics on black America. He found that, after the Reagan tax cuts gained traction, African-American unemployment fell from 19.5 percent in 1983 to 11.4 percent in 1989. Black-owned businesses saw income rise from $12.4 billion in 1982 to $18.1 billion in 1987—an annual average growth rate of 7.9 percent. The black middle class expanded by one-third during the Reagan years, from 3.6 million to 4.8 million.

Real Politics reports Obama’s statistics as follows:

Median family income for black Americans has declined a whopping 10.9 percent during the Obama administration…This decline does not include losses suffered during the financial crisis and the recession that followed, but it instead measures declines since June 2009, when the recession officially ended.

That’s not the only bad news for African-Americans. The poverty rate for blacks is now 25.8 percent. The black labor force participation rate, which rose throughout the 1980s and 1990s, has declined for the past decade and quite sharply under Obama to 61.4 percent. The black unemployment rate, according to Pew Research, stands at 13.4 percent. Among black, male, high school dropouts, PBS’ Paul Salmon reports, the unemployment rate is a staggering 95 percent

That report was from 2011, and it’s gotten worse since then. Facts don’t lie. Yet blacks want to put Obama on Mt. Rushmore and hang Reagan in effigy.

The only way you can argue with those stats is if you are a racist. Truth be told, most Liberal blacks are racists.

Nobody wants to discuss it, because racism by black Liberals has been sanctioned by the Left, even encouraged. Black racists get a pass, as black race-baiters are unchallenged on the most idiotic ideas and statements.

MSNBC’s Touré said that using the word “angry” to describe Obama is racist. Juan Williams of Fox News said that mentioning the Constitution is racist, and the list goes on.

But it gets worse. These Lefty racists do a far bigger disservice to blacks and America in general, as they rationalize Obama’s (and the Left’s) inability to create opportunity. When their policies wreak havoc, they pose insane arguments. They say that Republicans are trying to starve people by reducing the welfare rolls that Liberals have happily increased by 16M Americans.

Race-baiting, poverty-pimp Al Sharpton argued recently to keep 3M known deadbeats on welfare.

Black racists don’t complain when black people are marginalized and insulted with policies that dumb down black America, like the lessening of academic standards. They are fine telling black youths that those youths are less smart than all other ethnic groups. Certainly no future ramifications from that policy, said nobody ever.

These same racists allow for black children to be cheated in education and ultimately, opportunity, as their enablers—guilty white Liberal racists—turn a blind eye.

I long for the days of a white president, because under white presidents, at least black people had pride. Liberals have stolen pride from blacks, and they have no intention of giving it back.

At least if we had a white president, black people might have a shot of regaining a modicum of respect.

© 2013 Kevin Jackson – The Black Sphere, LLC – All Rights Reserved link

 

Read more at http://joeforamerica.com/2013/10/america-needs-white-republican-president/

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The Shutdown is a Constitutional Crisis

So says Jonathan Chait.

In a merciful twist of fate, Juan Linz did not quite live to see his prophecy of the demise of American democracy borne out. Linz, the Spanish political scientist who died last week, argued that the presidential system, with its separate elections for legislature and chief executive, was inherently unstable. In a famous 1990 essay, Linz observed, “All such systems are based on dual democratic legitimacy: No democratic principle exists to resolve disputes between the executive and the legislature about which of the two actually represents the will of the people.” Presidential systems veered ultimately toward collapse everywhere they were tried, as legislators and executives vied for supremacy. There was only one notable exception: the United States of America.

Linz attributed our puzzling, anomalous stability to “the uniquely diffuse character of American political parties.” The Republicans had loads of moderates, and conservative whites in the South still clung to the Democratic Party. At the time he wrote that, the two parties were already sorting themselves into more ideologically pure versions, leaving us where we stand today: with one racially and economically polyglot party of center-left technocracy and one ethnically homogenous reactionary party. The latter is currently attempting to impose its program by threat upon the former. The events in Washington have given us a peek into the Linzian nightmare.

Both House Republicans and the President lay claim to democratic legitimacy and there is no system to resolve the dispute.  So we’re left with a slugfest.

Sanford Levinson’s book, Our Undemocratic Constitution, lays out some of the inherent problems with the US system.  He argued:

Significant distortions and outright failures of American politics are produced because of-and not merely in spite of-the structure of the government imposed by the Constitution, whatever the contribution of other factors like the mode of campaign financing. [snip]

However divided we are as a country these days, what paradoxically may unite far more than a majority of Americans are deep feelings of inefficacy with regard to being able to participate in what are ostensibly institutions promoting self-governance, as well as feelings of dismay at the actual legislation that is passed (or not passed).

The point is incredibly simple - our system of government as designed includes too many veto points to function if a minority is able to block one of those veto points.  What we’re seeing, right now, is the result of that system in action.  The shutdown, in which a minority of the House Republicans are able to take the entire nation hostage, is a result of a governing system which diffuses both power and authority.In a parliamentary system, the head of government is chosen by the majority party (or governing coalition) from the legislative branch.  The head of government is empowered to enact a specific policy platform and is able to do so because he/she is the same party as that which dominates the legislative branch.  The US system, with two, equally powerful houses of Congress, and a separately elected President, includes multiple points at which a minority party can frustrate the will of the majority.

Our current governing crisis is a covert Constitutional crisis.  House Republicans essentially argue that the polling shows the ACA is unpopular and therefore they are on the side of the people.  That’s simply the convenient, current argument.  The deeper battle is informed by a Republican party controlled by movement conservatism which denies the legitimacy of any Democratic president.  It’s not just that conservatives deny Barack Obama’s legitimacy, the denied Bill Clinton’s as well.  As a result, what we’re seeing play out in DC right now is a slow motion attempt to strip a Democratic president, any Democratic president, of presidential power by a Republican congress which refuses to acknowledge the validity of the outcomes of the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections.  It’s not about any specific policy.  Any and every policy supported by a Democratic president is considered inherently invalid and illegitimate.

At Americablog, Becca Morn argued:

It should come as no surprise to regular readers of AMERICAblog that many Republicans have never accepted the legitimacy of the Obama presidency. They’ve been cooking polls to make themselves and their policies seem more popular than they are. When the overwhelming majority of legitimate mainstream polls say their GOP candidates are going to get trounced, they deny the polls are accurate. When they lose elections, they cry fraud, and if there’s any way to tie up the election results in court, they’ll do so.

The Democrats, whatever their many and manifest flaws, don’t do this. Crooked Democratic ballot box shenanigans pretty much ended with Chicago Mayor Richard Daley. Democrats don’t need to cheat. Republican candidates and policies are unpopular enough, all the Dems really need to do is turn out enough legitimate voters.

Which is, of course, why the Republicans are pulling out all the stops to prevent Democrat-voting demographics from being able to cast a ballot. Their claims it’s because there’s rampant fraud are absolutely bogus.

Everyone is familiar with the ridiculous “birther” conspiracy theories about Barack Obama. Anybody who isn’t as loony as Orly Taitz or ego-maniacal as Donald Trump knows those allegations are total rubbish. Unfounded. Ridiculous. Would not last ten seconds in a legitimate court of law. Nevertheless, the persistence of this meme is an important insight into the psyche of the political opposition.

Birtherism, along with other lies — such as referring to Obama as a Nazi/Communist/Socialist and/or secret Muslim — plus the constant lies about Obamacare “death panels” and the like are how the GOP leaders and their wingnut media lackeys keep the rubes both afraid and entertained. While Louie Gohmert and Michelle Bachman and Sarah Whatshername might actually believe the nonsense crossing their pouty, poxy lips, some ‘serious’ Republicans will dance around with birther language, but they don’t buy the snake oil they’re peddling.

The constitutional crisis is grounded in the refusal of conservatives to accept the outcomes of elections with which they disagree.  The result is that conservatives are attacking the constitutional system they claim to venerate.

And so the crisis grinds on with enough Republican believing the nonsense to keep the government shutdown and to cause yet another crisis at the next opportunity.  It’s not about any actual policy or bill or program.  Movement conservatives have defined American-ness in such a limited way that there is no way for them to accept a black Democratic president as legitimate.  And in the face of a system which seems to refuse to accept their arguments about his illegitimacy, they believe they have only the most extreme tactics available to them.

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Obama Derangement: Let’s Make The Pie Higher

Liz Cheney

Media Matters gives us the short version: Liz Cheney: Get Over 2012 And Start Embracing Romneyism. Of course, it was President George W. Bush who originally said “We ought to make the pie higher.”

Cheney’s Wall Street Journal op-ed on Thursday un-apologetically recycles just about everything that voters rejected in 2012, and claims, without evidence, that “President Obama is the most radical man ever to occupy the Oval Office.”

This is from someone who was part of the Worst Administration Ever, that brought about truly radical right-wing policies from massive tax cuts for the rich to the torture of detainees and an outright war of aggression in Iraq. The Bush administration came close to wiping out the American middle class when the collapse of the financial sector caused U.S. households to lose about $16.4 trillion of net worth.

Jonathan Chait: Liz Cheney Is Even More Bonkers Than We Suspected

Even after four years of bug-eyed right-wing paranoia, Cheney’s op-ed stands out for its utter dearth of the slightest whiff of perspective or factual grounding.

This stuff is getting old. We had legitimate criticisms of the Bush administration’s actual radicalism, and Republicans dismissed it all as “Bush derangement syndrome.” Now prominent Republicans won’t stop ranting about their imaginary “radical” President Obama despite the fact he’s been center-right all along, even to the point of implementing Republican policies. At last year’s GOP convention Clint Eastwood presented a prime-time portrayal of the right-wing, yelling at an empty chair.

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‘A Bad Bargain’

When you see the word “grand” in front of the word “bargain,” look out. They are trying to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. This is why President Obama is treating right-wingers to lunch and dinner, while ignoring progressives.

After first making nearly all the Bush-Obama Tax Cuts For The Rich permanent, key members of Congress and the White House now say there is a deficit problem that can only be solved by austerity budgets. Well, the last election wasn’t about dismantling our earned benefits programs and the social safety net that Americans have relied on since the New Deal. President Obama is proposing a BAD bargain.

Sign Senator Bernie Sanders’ petition today.

Send a Message to President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Reid and House Speaker Boehner: No Budget Deal on Backs of the Elderly, the Children, the Sick and the Poor.

At a time when the middle class is disappearing, poverty is increasing and the gap between the rich and everyone else is growing wider, we demand that the federal budget not be balanced on the backs of the most vulnerable people in our country.

A federal budget that reduces the deficit by cutting cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security and disabled veterans, raising the Medicare eligibility age and lowering tax rates for the most profitable corporations in this country is not a grand bargain. It is a bad bargain.

We oppose the chained-CPI, a new way to measure inflation and consumer prices designed to cut benefits for Social Security recipients, disabled veterans and their survivors.

We demand a budget that puts millions of Americans back to work in decent paying jobs.

We demand a budget that makes sure that the wealthiest Americans and most profitable corporations pay their fair share.

UPDATE: Rep. Ryan, announcing his budget plan today:

“This to us is something that we’re not going to give up on, because we’re not going to give up on destroying the health care system for the American people.”

Definition of a Bushism: when a right-winger accidentally tells us what he really wants to do.

UPDATE: Obama’s Poll Numbers Drop As He Tries To Push Cuts To Social Security And Medicare

UPDATE: Obama To GOP: I’m Serious About Cutting The Social Safety Net

UPDATE:
DC’s Worst-Kept Budget Secret: Lots Of Democrats Support Entitlement Cuts

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An Open Letter to all People Who Hate the President

Reprinted in full from Progressive Press

Barack Obama Smile

“It’s fine to be a conservative who disagrees with Obama politically. He is a fallible human being. Like any politician, he deserves criticism now and then. Progressives criticize him all the time because his policies are more conservative than many thought he would be.

If you would say “Obama is wrong on this issue and here’s why”, I could respect that. But it’s something else to be a hard-core Glenn Beck parroting, Bush-was-God, Obama-is-Satan, damn-the-facts, anyone-who-disagrees-with-me-is-a-communist, conservative.

Sometimes it’s hard to comprehend the level of hatred you have for President Obama. This hatred is not about dissent and it began long before he even took office and doesn’t seem to stem from anything he’s done as president. Read the rest of this entry »

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Can Republicans Take ‘Yes’ For An Answer? NO

Party of NO

Once again, President Obama is pressing for a “Grand Bargain” that basically gives the right-wing Republican Party everything they have been asking for. The President wants to implement cuts to Social Security and Medicare, coupled with across-the-board discretionary spending reductions (aka austerity budgeting), and tax reform. You may recall that Willard (“Mitt”) Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, talked constantly about a plan to eliminate tax deductions during the 2012 election campaign.

So, basically, Obama is telling the right-wing “Here’s something you want, and something else you want, and I’m not going to ask for anything that progressives want.” And the GOP answer so far is a big fat NO. They would rather take the blame for a partial government shutdown. Does this make sense?

Jonathan Chait tries to explain:

President Obama is offering up something — hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts to Social Security and Medicare — that Republicans say they want and which (because of their unpopularity) they have proven unable to obtain even when they have had full control of government. They are instead undertaking a public showdown against a figure who is vastly more popular and trusted, who possesses a better platform to communicate his message, and whose message itself — spread the pain among rich and middle class alike, don’t cut retirement programs more deeply than needed in order to protect tax loopholes for the rich — commands overwhelmingly higher public support.

I think the Republican Party’s behavior can be at least partly explained, though not necessarily rationalized. The main thing that’s going on is that, in the face of cross-pressures, the party’s anti-tax wing has once again asserted its supremacy.

…Part of the confusion is that Republicans have been saying for months that they really just want to stop tax rates from raising. They’re happy — nay, eager — to make the rich pay more taxes by reducing their tax deductions. Certain conservative economists believe this as well. Since Obama is offering to increase revenue in exactly this way, his plan might seem inoffensive to Republicans.

…The answer to this piece of the mystery is clear enough: Republicans in Congress never actually wanted to raise revenue by tax reform. The temporary support for tax reform was just a hand-wavy way of deflecting Obama’s popular campaign plan to expire the Bush tax cuts for the rich. Conservative economists in academia may care about the distinction between marginal tax rates and effective tax rates. But Republicans in Congress just want rich people to pay less, period.

Robert Reich offers a better strategy for President Obama: Clear up all the confusion by taking on the Republicans’ big lies directly.

The first big lie is austerity economics — the claim that the budget deficit is the nation’s biggest economic problem now, responsible for the anemic recovery.

Wrong. The problem is too few jobs, lousy wages, and slow growth. Cutting the budget deficit anytime soon makes the problem worse because it reduces overall demand. As a result, the economy will slow or fall into recession — which enlarges the deficit in proportion. You want proof? Look at what austerity economics has done to Europe.

The second big lie is trickle-down economics — the claim that we get more jobs and growth if corporations and the rich have more money because they’re the job creators, and job growth would be hurt if their taxes were hiked.

Wrong. The real job creators are the broad middle class and everyone who aspires to join it. Their purchases keep economy going.

The Obama administration doesn’t have to play this crazy game of offering right-wing Republicans everything they say they want, knowing that they will refuse to take it. What they ought to be doing is explaining to the public that the right-wing is wrong, that they are lying.

UPDATE:

Josh Marshall:

Republicans have run on big across-the-board spending cuts for literally decades.

…But here we are. For the first time I think in our history we are about to go over the precipice of genuine across-the-board spending cuts. And Republicans are completely freaking out. There’s no other way to describe it.

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World’s Fastest Liars/Losers

Glenn Beck vs John Fund collaborate before the Obama win in 2012.

Who won the contest? There were – state of the art – roving cameras covering the event.

Who were those other guys at the keyboards?

Whose skull was that in the Oval Office – looking – scene?

Why, OH WHY, does George Soros keep letting Donald Duck vote?

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Obama 2.0: ‘I’ll Never See This Again’

Inauguration
Sunrise this morning at the U.S. Capitol (UPI photo)

I’m enjoying the all-day MSNBC coverage of President Obama’s second inauguration, unlike Mitt Romney who says he won’t be watching today.

So far, it has been a refreshing does of patriotism, from the emotional Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir rendition of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” to the President’s call for equality for “our gay brothers and sisters.” And he promised, “We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.”

I think the President’s intentions are good, even though I often disagree with his decisions. I think he wants to do his best for the voters who entrusted him with the office for another four years. From today’s reporting:

Departing the West Front of the U.S. Capitol after delivering his second inaugural address on Monday, President Obama wanted to take one last glance of the hundreds of thousands of Americans gathered to celebrate his second term. After all, it would be his last.

“I want to take a look one more time,” Obama said, lingering for a few short moments to savor the view as the crowd shuffled past him. “I’ll never see this again.”

I don’t think he was referring to Justice Scalia’s Renaissance-style hat.

UPDATE:
Obama Pushes Back On ‘The 47 Percent’: Entitlements ‘Do Not Make Us A Nation Of Takers’

UPDATE:
Obama condemns ‘perpetual war’ during inaugural address

UPDATE:
12 Ways Obama Smacked Down the Tea Party and the Right in Inauguration Speech

UPDATE:
Media Identify Mainstream Positions As Part Of Obama’s “Liberal Agenda”

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A Million Popular Votes For Obama In Dispute

Well, at least on two popular blogs.

Politico reports the popular vote was:

Obama – 62,611,250
Romney – 59,134,475

The Huffington Post reports:

Obama – 65,036,657
Romney – 60,535,589

Neither blog gives the amount of popular votes Obama won by so I had to drag out my calculator which tells me:

Politico reports that Obama won by 3,476,775 votes.
Huffpost reports that Obama won by 4,501,068 votes.
The difference being 1,024,293.

Politico’s blog page says it was “Last Updated 11/29/12 3:59 PM ET” and I couldn’t find a declaration of when Huffington Post’s blog page was last updated. It seems very unlikely that a million plus votes were tabulated for Obama in the last nine days. Did Huffpo goof and forget to update the page?

Can’t we just know how much Obama won by?

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Poll: 49% of GOP Voters Think That ACORN Stole The 2012 Election

Scrat

Public Policy Polling: Republicans not handling election results well

PPP’s first post election national poll finds that Republicans are taking the results pretty hard…and also declining in numbers.

49% of GOP voters nationally say they think that ACORN stole the election for President Obama. We found that 52% of Republicans thought that ACORN stole the 2008 election for Obama, so this is a modest decline, but perhaps smaller than might have been expected given that ACORN doesn’t exist anymore.

Some GOP voters are so unhappy with the outcome that they no longer care to be a part of the United States. 25% of Republicans say they would like their state to secede from the union compared to 56% who want to stay and 19% who aren’t sure.

One reason that such a high percentage of Republicans are holding what could be seen as extreme views is that their numbers are declining. Our final poll before the election, which hit the final outcome almost on the head, found 39% of voters identifying themselves as Democrats and 37% as Republicans. Since the election we’ve seen a 5 point increase in Democratic identification to 44%, and a 5 point decrease in Republican identification to 32%.

The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy two years ago, in 2010.

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Senator Hatch Lies, Calls Obama Proposal ‘A Classic Bait-And-Switch’

Republicans are feigning shock that Obama is proposing to implement the very same policies that Americans voted for in November. In the Weekly Republican Address, U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, demagogues the so-called “fiscal cliff” and falsely claims that the Obama administration proposal to raise taxes on the rich (slightly, by allowing the Bush tax cuts on the top bracket to expire) is “a classic bait and switch.”

President Obama ran for re-election explicitly on the proposal he is advocating now. Much of President Obama’s current proposal appeared in his 20-page plan, released back in October. Polls indicate 60 percent of Americans support Obama’s tax plan.

Senator Hatch says the answer is to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, lower tax rates for the rich, and achieve “comprehensive tax reform,” whatever that is. Where is the Republican plan? We’re still waiting.

Oh, and by the way there is no such thing as a “death tax.” This term is the creation of Republican pollster Frank Luntz. It’s actually called the estate tax, and only applies to inherited wealth of more than $5 million (which is taxed at a 35 percent rate). Estates pass automatically without taxes to a spouse.

UPDATES:
Paul Krugman predicts the next two years will be “one long Republican tantrum.” “Republicans are signaling that they don’t intend to make any specific proposals, they’re just going to yell and stamp their feet until Obama soothes them somehow.”

Steve Benen explains why the GOP has no proposal: “Under the rules Boehner and McConnell drew up last year, Republicans are supposed to tell the president, “Make us happy,” and Obama is supposed to keep offering conservative ideas in the hopes of guessing what they’ll find satisfactory.”

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