Can dog whistle politics keep the GOP in power, or is America too smart to stay enthralled?

March 2, 2014

Especially if, by some grotesque misunderstanding, you don’t think you’re in the 47% Mitt Romney wrote off as undeserving of a vote and a life, you ought to listen to Ian Haney López describe what’s going on in GOP and conservative politics.

From Bill Moyers.

Transcript here.

Cover of Ian Haney Lopez's Dog Whistle Politics, How coded racial appeals reinvented racism and wrecked the middle class; Oxford Books

Cover of Ian Haney Lopez’s Dog Whistle Politics, How coded racial appeals reinvented racism and wrecked the middle class; Oxford Books

Moyers’s website describes this interview:

Ian Haney López on the Dog Whistle Politics of Race

February 28, 2014

What do Cadillac-driving “welfare queens,” a “food stamp president” and the “lazy, dependent and entitled” 47 percent tell us about post-racial America? They’re all examples of a type of coded racism that this week’s guest, Ian Haney López, writes about in his new book, Dog Whistle Politics.

Haney López is an expert in how racism has evolved in America since the civil rights era. Over the past 50 years, politicians have mastered the use of dog whistles – code words that turn Americans against each other while turning the country over to plutocrats. This political tactic, says Haney López, is “the dark magic” by which middle-class voters have been seduced to vote against their own economic interests.

“It comes out of a desire to win votes. And in that sense… It’s racism as a strategy. It’s cold, it’s calculating, it’s considered,” Haney López tells Bill, “it’s the decision to achieve one’s own ends, here winning votes, by stirring racial animosity.”

Ian Haney López, a professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley, is a senior fellow at the policy analysis and advocacy group, Demos.

Producer: Candace White. Segment Producer: Robert Booth. Editor: Sikay Tang.

Does revealing the existence of dog whistles help kill the cheap trick?  My fear is that those who hear the whistle clearly understand that they are responding to a racist call, and that is why they respond.  Exposing the racism, or exposing the subtle use of racism, only makes the politicians who use the whistle more appealing to those voter segments, and those policies more appealing to those voters (though they would not admit it).

If you think dog whistles don’t exist, consider the hot controversies surrounding education spending, vouchers to kill public schools, immigration reform needed to boost our economy, or health care reform.  Consider also the birther movement.

After hearing Mr. Haney López’s interview, what do you think?

More: 


“Penetration however slight”: Remembering a good and noble hoax – the U.S.S. Pueblo, 46 years later

January 22, 2014

January 23 is the anniversary of the North Koreans‘ capture of the spy boat, U.S.S. Pueblo, in 1968 — a beginning of a momentous year for bad events.  The saga of the Pueblo and its crew, including especially Cmdr. Lloyd Bucher, is of special interest to me because it features a series of some of the grandest, best and most humorously American hoaxes ever perpetrated by imprisoned people against their captors and wardens.  This is one of the great Kilroy stories of American history.  It should not be forgotten.  Especially with the role North Korea plays in contemporary angst, the Pueblo episode should not be forgotten. This is an encore post, with new links added.

1968 brought one chunk of bad news after another to Americans. The year seemed to be one long, increasingly bad disaster. In several ways it was the mark of the times between the feel-good, post-war Eisenhower administration and the feel-good-despite-the-Cold-War Reagan administration. 1968 was depressing.

Lloyd M. Bucher

USN Cmdr. Lloyd M. Bucher (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What was so bad? Vietnam manifested itself as a quagmire. Just when Washington politicians predicted an end in sight, Vietcong militia launched a nationwide attack in South Vietnam on the Vietnamese New Year holiday, Tet, at the end of January. Civil rights gains stalled, and civil rights leaders came out in opposition to the Vietnam war. President Johnson fared poorly in the New Hampshire primary election, and eventually dropped out of the race for the presidency (claiming he needed to devote time to making peace in Vietnam). Labor troubles roiled throughout the U.S., including a nasty strike by garbage collectors in Memphis. It didn’t help to settle the strike that the sanitation workers were almost 100% African American, the leadership of Memphis was almost 100% white, and race relations in the city were not so good as they might have been – the strike attracted the efforts of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and Martin Luther King, Jr. – who was assassinated there in early April. In response, riots broke out in 150 American cities.

More below the fold, including the key confession to “penetration.” Read the rest of this entry »


Wendy Davis’s first ad: A positive vision for Texas (but too long for most TV)

October 8, 2013

In stark contrast to Greg Abbott‘s “Texas is for white people with guns” advertisement (addressed here yesterday), Wendy Davis‘s get-to-know-me ad paints a vision of a better Texas to be had, even if in a too-long four-and-a-half minutes:

The ad was released yesterday at Davis’s campaign website, “Are you with Wendy?”

I imagine the GOP will jump on the ad, complaining that it doesn’t show enough guns (are there any?).  But it does several things the next Texas governor needs to do:

  1. It paints a picture of a Texas government that works to help people succeed in Texas.
  2. Davis’s ad shows Texas’s diversity, and suggests both that the diversity is a virtue for Texas’s future, and that Texas government shouldn’t be barring the door (or voting booth) to any Texan (especially white Texas women, many of whom may get a shock when they try to vote this November).
  3. Davis urges policies to help Texas cattlemen, who have been hammered hard under GOP rule (50% of Texas beef ranches closed in the past two years).
  4. Davis urges policies to help Texas farmers (cotton is still big in about a hundred counties).
  5. Aerospace and aviation get specific attention — you saw the American Airlines jet? Davis was City Councilwoman in Fort Worth, American’s hometown and headquarters. Already Davis turned around Greg Abbott on that issue when she called for a Texas government that supported American Airlines and its few tens of thousands of jobs in Texas.  Abbott announced last week that he has dropped his suit to prevent American’s merger with USAir, a suit that threatened Texas jobs directly.
  6. The ad ties Davis’s success in business, and life, to public institutions that help all Texans, institutions Davis used to climb the success ladder.
  7. Pro-business. Business in Davis’s ad is aerospace, ranching, farming, oil, and main street retail, among others.  Abbott’s ad shows only one ramshackle BBQ shack.
  8. It demonstrates an area where Greg Abbott should have been active in fighting crime, processing rape backlogged rape kits from Texas assaults — but where it too Davis in the legislature to get action to solve the crimes.
  9. Oh, yeah:  Education is in there.  It’s solidly in there.
  10. Overall, it’s a positive, “once more into the breach” sort of story.  At the end of Abbott’s ad, one can say he seems a physically capable guy; at the end of Davis’s ad, one may want to get up and go start a business, or run for office.

Davis’s ad does a lot of things a pitch for Texas’s next governor needs to do, on issues that we hope the next governor is way ahead of the rest of us on — but which are wholly missing from Abbott’s first non-negative ad effort.

What do you think?

More:

Davis at a rally following her most recent history-making filibuster.  KUT photo by Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon

Davis at a rally following her most recent history-making filibuster. KUT photo by Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon


Greg Abbott’s campaign stumbles — except for white people with guns

October 7, 2013

For three days after Fort Worth State Sen. Wendy Davis announced her candidacy for the Democratic Party’s nomination for governor, the Republican front-runner, Greg Abbott, seemed off-balance, first going to negative campaigning about Davis.

Some Texans wondered whether Abbott had a good idea about what the role of governor is, which could form a basis for his candidacy.  Why does Abbott want to be governor, and what would he do?

Today Abbott released an almost-90-second advertisement.  The ad reveals Abbott doesn’t have a vision for Texas in the future, and the ad suggests Abbott will rely heavily on trying to scare white Texans to outvote everybody else.

Here are my observations about Abbott’s ad as it came to me on Facebook, and the ad, below.

Greg Abbott first went negative when State Sen. Wendy Davis announced her campaign for governor last week.

He’s having difficulty finding a reason to run for governor, demonstrated by his video, below.

The video is impressive:

  1. Not a single Hispanic shown out of several dozen people. In fact, there appears to be only one, lonely woman of color in the entire thing. Texas is for white people, Abbott appears to be saying.
  2. Those white people in Texas need guns. It’s not like Texas has any shortage of guns, nor has the Obama administration done anything to restrict gun ownership or use, nor is it even an issue in Texas — but watch the video, you understand that the Texas white people shown in it, need guns. (Why? you may ask?)
  3. Abbott is all for low-wage, service industry jobs. When he talks about jobs in Texas, the ad shows a rickety, ramshackle BBQ joint. You may like BBQ more than Greg Abbott, but if you’re an aerospace worker, or you work for American Airlines, you would do well to question why Abbott worked so hard to kill American Airlines before Sen. Davis made it a campaign issue. (Abbott belatedly dropped his suit challenging the American/USAir merger, last week. Less than a week in the campaign and Wendy Davis is already improving Texas government . . .)
    Faced with a pro-business Democrat with a proven record of making things work for business and Texas, Abbott is adrift. These appear to be issues he hasn’t pondered much, other than to reduce regulations on businesses that injure people.
  4. Not a word about education. Where will all those gun-wielding white people send their kids to school?
  5. When he mentions water policy, something that comes far behind guns, BBQ, and the Tea Party in Greg Abbott’s Texas, he shows footage of Interstate 35 in Austin. One of Texas’s greatest problems (on the ballot in November with a Constitutional Amendment), but to Abbot it’s an afterthought. Maybe he thinks he can shotgun a few clouds to resolve the issues?
  6. Not a word about farming, nor ranching. Texas’s lack of a water policy, and inadequate work to mitigate global warming, pushed about 50% of Texas’s cattle and beef operations out of business on the GOP watch, just in the last four years. In Greg Abbott’s Texas, land is for shooting quail for rich folk, all you hamburger eaters can take a hike.
  7. Not a word about oil or gas, nor fracking, nor the abuse of eminent domain to ram a pipeline through Texas ranches and farms, killing the ranches and farms.
    You’d think after two decades in state office, Mr. Abbott would have a better idea about Texas and Texas problems, and would run a campaign on how to improve things for Texans, not just out of state pipeline companies.
  8. Abbott is running against Barack Obama, and he hates California. No good reason, but those are probably the only applause lines in his bereft-of-Texas stump speech.

You’d think some of those Million-Dollar-A-Year consultants would have worried a bit about Texas in setting up these ads. They must think their only chance is to scare their supporters out to the polls. They may be right.

Abbott’s campaign said:

Preserve Texas as the land of liberty. Watch my video below, and donate here: http://bit.ly/18UKBnr

What do you think, America?  See any reason for anyone other than a paranoid white guy to vote for Abbott?

Conflict of interest note:  Abbott is a Duncanville boy, a favorite of most residents of Duncanville we know. 

More: 

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott appears bef...

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott appears before a controversial tablet displaying the Ten Commandments on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol (behind the capitol building) in Austin, Texas, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The Wendy Davis story — stay tuned

October 3, 2013

Two years ago this ad helped push Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis to victory in a district stacked against her.  I think it’s one of the more powerful political advertisements done in the last decade at least, considering the target audience.

Today Sen. Davis will announce she’s running for Governor of Texas.  Regardless the outcome of the race, it’s still a remarkable life story.

Polls show Davis only 8 points behind Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott, who usually enjoys an 80%-20% advantage in elections.  Davis is good enough to essentially wipe out the name identification, party identification and money advantage Abbott has, before she announces.

It could be a very exciting political year in Texas.  Stay tuned.

More:

Details: The entire conversation between Texas Senator Wendy Davis and James Henson, Director of the Texas Politics Project at UT Austin. Senator Davis discussed a range of topics including education, budget priorities in the 82nd Legislature, her filibuster in the final hours of the 82nd lege, and the future of the Democratic Party in Texas.

Recorded Dec 1, 2011 at The University of Texas at Austin.

Master of the Capitol:  Picture from Vogue Magazine; caption: Wendy Davis in a Carolina Herrera dress and Reed Krakoff pumps. Photographed by Eric Boman, Vogue, September 2013

Master of the Capitol, “I do hate losing”: Picture from Vogue Magazine; caption: Wendy Davis in a Carolina Herrera dress and Reed Krakoff pumps. Quote from the article: “I’m a very competitive person,” she says as the sun sets behind her and she packs up for the movie. “You won’t change things unless you are prepared to fight, even if you don’t win.” She pauses. “But I do hate losing.” Photographed by Eric Boman, Vogue, September 2013


VOTE! dammit!

September 5, 2013

I’m stealing this from Eli Rabett wholesale.

Confess:  Did you know before this moment that big elections loom in Germany (September 22) and Australia (September 7)?

Eli’s post:

In an ueber weird commercial the German Metalworkers Union puts up on YouTube what may be the single greatest get out the vote ad ever.

A rough transcript of the text to juice up the Aussies out there who also have an election coming up, even though they have to vote.

0:05   Germany chills out
0:13   All the important stuff in 2013 has been decided
0:30   Really, already decided?
0:48   On September 22 the cards will be mixed again
0:51   (Merkel)  This government has been the most successful in Germany since the reunification . .
0:57    (Steinbrueck SDP)  This government thinks that they can slide through . .
1:00    (FDP = libertarians) Only one thing can beat the, the FDP itself
1:04    National election 2013
1:07    Problems there are aplenty
1:12    No joy from a lousy job?
1:16    Too few nursery places?  R. Tol appears
1:23    Rather retire earlier?
1:29    Better education?
1:36    Equality?
1:38    It’s not so easy, first you have one house, and then another
1:40    You can never have enough
14:2    Right now we have an asocial market economy, not a social one
1:46    You have a voice, use it
1:56    September 22 is the election
2:01   It’s close
2:07   It’s difficult
2:11   It’s gonna be dirty
2:17   Unexpected coalitions will emerge
2:25   It’s time to beat on the table
2:32   Push!
2:39   Onwards to the election!
2:46   Vote!!
2:51   So, let’s discuss this a bit further

Maybe you’ll watch the G20 meetings with a little different perspective?

Who was the genius behind that compilation (file under “highest and best use of weird internet videos this year”)?  Can we hire her or him for the Texas elections next year?

It’s from the German Metalworkers Union, IG Metall.  Justification enough to revitalize America’s labor movement.  Rich Trumka, are you paying attention?

More:

A good get-out-the-vote (GOTV) poster, according to some design critics.  GRA 217/Intro to Design

A good get-out-the-vote (GOTV) poster, according to some design critics. GRA 217/Intro to Design

 


“Penetration however slight”: Remembering a good and noble hoax – the U.S.S. Pueblo

January 23, 2013

January 23 is the anniversary of the North Koreans‘ capture of the spy boat, U.S.S. Pueblo, in 1968 — a beginning of a momentous year for bad events.  The saga of the Pueblo and its crew, including especially Cmdr. Lloyd Bucher, is of special interest to me because it features a series of some of the grandest, best and most humorously American hoaxes ever perpetrated by imprisoned people against their captors and wardens.  This is one of the great Kilroy stories of American history.  It should not be forgotten.  Especially with the role North Korea plays in contemporary angst, the Pueblo episode should not be forgotten. This is an encore post, with new links added.

1968 brought one chunk of bad news after another to Americans. The year seemed to be one long, increasingly bad disaster. In several ways it was the mark of the times between the feel-good, post-war Eisenhower administration and the feel-good-despite-the-Cold-War Reagan administration. 1968 was depressing.

Lloyd M. Bucher

USN Cmdr. Lloyd M. Bucher (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What was so bad? Vietnam manifested itself as a quagmire. Just when Washington politicians predicted an end in sight, Vietcong militia launched a nationwide attack in South Vietnam on the Vietnamese New Year holiday, Tet, at the end of January. Civil rights gains stalled, and civil rights leaders came out in opposition to the Vietnam war. President Johnson fared poorly in the New Hampshire primary election, and eventually dropped out of the race for the presidency (claiming he needed to devote time to making peace in Vietnam). Labor troubles roiled throughout the U.S., including a nasty strike by garbage collectors in Memphis. It didn’t help to settle the strike that the sanitation workers were almost 100% African American, the leadership of Memphis was almost 100% white, and race relations in the city were not so good as they might have been – the strike attracted the efforts of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and Martin Luther King, Jr. – who was assassinated there in early April. In response, riots broke out in 150 American cities.

More below the fold, including the key confession to “penetration.” Read the rest of this entry »


Election day art: Norman Rockwell

November 6, 2012

Can’t let election day go by without at least noting this great, undersung painting by Normal Rockwell, “Election Day (1944)”:

Norman Rockwell, Election Day, 1944, watercolor and gouache, 14 x 33 1/2 in., Museum purchase, Save-the-Art fund, 2007.037.1.

Norman Rockwell, Election Day, 1944, watercolor and gouache, 14 x 33 1/2 in., Museum purchase, Save-the-Art fund, 2007.037.1.

Remember when people used to dress up to go to the polls?

In 1944 President Franklin Roosevelt ran for an unprecedented fourth term.  Most Americans did not know it, but he was deathly ill at the time.  He dropped Vice President Henry Wallace from his ticket — some argue it was a mutual disaffection at that time — and selected the relatively unknown young Missouri U.S. Sen. Harry S Truman for the vice president’s slot.

In November 1944, D-Day was known to be a successful invasion, and most Americans hoped for a relatively speedy end to World War II in both Europe and the Pacific.  Within the next ten months, the nation would endure the last, futile, desperate and deadly gasp of the Third Reich in the Battle of the Bulge, the liberation of Berlin in April 1945, and end of the war in the European Theatre on May 8; the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the Philippines Campaign, and the bloody, crippling battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa in the Pacific Theatre, and then the first use of atomic weapons in war, at Hiroshima and Nagasaki (and we hope, the last use).

Voters in Cedar Rapids could not have known that.  They did not know that, regardless their vote for FDR or his Republican challenger, New York Gov. Thomas Dewey, Harry S Truman would be president within six months, nor that the entire world would change in August 1945.

This painting captures a time of spectacular moment, great naivity, and it pictures the way history got made.

For a 2007 exhibition, the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art offered this history:

Norman Rockwell: Fact & Fiction

September 12, 2009 – January 3, 2010

In 2007, the citizens of Cedar Rapids rallied together to purchase a series of watercolors destined for the auction block in New York. These five watercolors, by acclaimed 20th century American artist Norman Rockwell, depicted scenes associated with an election day and were created specifically for the November 4, 1944 issue of the Saturday Evening Post. To complete the Post commission, Rockwell traveled to a quintessential Midwestern town, Cedar Rapids, to study local citizens as models for his series of images.

In the 65 years since his visit, numerous anecdotes and stories have arisen about the artist’s time in Cedar Rapids and the creation of this work. This exhibition uses these five, newly conserved and restored watercolors and a related oil painting from the Norman Rockwell Museum, along with numerous photographs taken by local photographer Wes Panek for Rockwell, to investigate the many facts and fictions associated with Rockwell’s visit and this set of watercolors.

Norman Rockwell: Fact & Fiction has been made possible in part by Rockwell Collins, Candace Wong, and local “Friends of Norman Rockwell.” General exhibition and educational support has been provided by The Momentum Fund of the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation.

Friends of Norman Rockwell: Wilma E. Shadle, Howard and Mary Ann Kucera, Jean Imoehl, Ben and Katie Blackstock, Marilyn Sippy, Chuck and Mary Ann Peters, Phyllis Barber, Ann Pickford, Anthony and Jo Satariano, Barbara A. Bloomhall, Virginia C. Rystrom, Jeff and Glenda Dixon, Robert F. & Janis L. Kazimour Charitable Lead Annuity Trust, Fred and Mary Horn, Mrs. Edna Lingo, John and Diana Robeson, Jewel M. Plumb, Carolyn Pigott Rosberg, Mr. and Mrs. Robert J. Buchacek, Dan and Anne Pelc, Mary Brunkhorst, and John and Diana Robeson.

I am amused and intrigued that this scene also closely resembles the scene when I voted in Cheverly, Maryland, in 1984 — down to the dog in the picture.  Oh, and most of the women didn’t wear dresses, none wore hats, and I was the only guy in the room with a tie.

Roosevelt won the 1944 election in an electoral college landslide, 432 to 99, but Dewey won Iowa, and we might assume Dewey won Cedar Rapids, too.

More:


Election Day 2012: Fly the flag, vote

November 6, 2012

Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, Missouri George Caleb Bingham (American, 1811–1879). The County Election, 1852. Oil on canvas. 38 x 52 in. (96.5 x 132.1 cm). Gift of Bank of America.

The County Election, 1852. Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, Missouri George Caleb Bingham (American, 1811–1879).  Oil on canvas. 38 x 52 in. (96.5 x 132.1 cm). Gift of Bank of America.

Every polling place should be flying the U.S. flag today.  You may fly yours, too.  In any case, if you have not voted already, go vote today as if our future depends upon it, as if our nation expects every voter to do her or his duty.

Today the nation and world listen to the most humble of citizens.  Speak up, at the ballot box.

Did you notice?  In Bingham’s picture, there are no U.S. flags.  You may fly yours anyway.

The whole world is watching.

More:


Go vote! says the Jack-o-lantern

November 5, 2012

Go Vote jack-o-lantern gif

Found on Tumblr

Stuff found on Tumblr.  Nice sentifment from a winking jack-o-lantern.

Trick: Animated #govote jack-o-lantern to keep away the ghosts of low voter turnout.

Treat: Tell your friends to visit rockthevote.com to find their polling station!

animated gif by Bruce Willen

At the GoVoteNov6 Tumblr site:

Click here to find your polling station and if you’re eligible for early voting.

For more #govote images and to submit your own go to:govote.org 

 

 


Desperate Republicans? Recycling four-year-old PhotoShop hoaxes . . .

July 31, 2012

 

This is an encore post, from August of 2008.  We need to recall, an issue early in the Democratic primaries was ‘who would you want on the Hotline at 2:00 a.m.’  Sometime before the end of the primaries, a jokester mashed up a photo of candidate Barack Obama, changed the line on the phone handpiece, and added a clock at 3:00 a.m. on the wall. 

Republicans picked up on the photo, and thinking it a real photo, shipped it around during the general campaign.  It was a hoax then, and it still is.  I found it today on Facebook, and found people defending the hoax photo as real.  Oy, it will be that kind of election as Republicans get more desperate and more crude.  The encore post:

Dennis at Thinking in a Marrow Bone — not an Obama supporter, mind you — posted a conversation he had with a guy who posted a hoaxed photo of Barack Obama, purporting to show him holding a landline telephone upside down.

This is the hoax photo

The real photograph. Notice there is no clock on the wall, and the phone works properly. By the way, the suit fits, too — Obama’s a very tall man, and that’s what a well-fitting suit looks like on a tall man sitting in a low chair.

 

Dennis called him on the hoax. After a few rounds of weak defense, and then moral waffling of significant proportion, the hoaxer deleted the comments from his blog. Dennis preserved the conversation at TMB.

Moral of the story: Don’t believe much of what you hear or see, without corroboration. If a claim casts aspersions on someone, and comes on the internet, check it out before granting credence. Thanks to Dennis, an honest guy, for exposing the hoax and preserving the record of it.

Hoaxers are malicious and will do almost anything to damage Obama, even if it requires bringing down the U.S. and burning the flag. No wonder George Washington wanted out of this sort of politics.

Question: What’s the deal with the clock in the doctored photo? [Oh - it says "3:00 o'clock"]

Honor roll: Bloggers and others who exposed the hoax:

Dishonor roll, the Little List, bloggers who tried to perpetrate and perpetuate the hoax, or who got suckered themselves:

Special Consideration:

 


Small business and Obama

July 24, 2012

Makes sense to me, so I’ll pass it along.

I get e-mail from the Obama campaign, from Stephanie Cutter:

Romney claims the President told entrepreneurs they didn’t build their own businesses — an attack the Washington Post called “ridiculous.” If you’ve seen the President’s actual remarks, you know that all the President said was that, together, Americans built the free enterprise system we all benefit from.

President Obama has consistently fought for small businesses and entrepreneurs — he knows the American middle class was built by hardworking people turning ideas into successful businesses. But if the Romney campaign wants a debate about who’ll step up to support small business, we’re ready.

Take a look at this video I recorded to respond to Romney’s distortion, and help make sure people know the truth about President Obama and small businesses:

It’s the Truth Team’s job to push back against smears like this.

President Obama’s record shows his commitment to helping small business owners. His tax plan will extend tax cuts for 97 percent of American small business owners — building on the 18 tax cuts he’s already signed that are helping small businesses grow and create jobs. Romney opposes the President’s plan, and supports a plan that would favor large corporations and give tax breaks to companies that ship American jobs overseas. Check out this blog post comparing the President’s record to Romney’s, then share it with others.

This isn’t the first time the Romney campaign has twisted the President’s words. It won’t be the last. But every time they do this, we need to call them out — and this time is no different.

Here’s the relevant excerpt from President Obama’s speech in Roanoke, Virginia, on July 13:

You may see President Obama’s entire speech on C-SPAN, here.


Texas: No voter identification required for May 29 primary

May 13, 2012

Early voting for the twice-delayed* Texas primary elections opens this week.  The election is set for May 29.

Happy to see the Texas Democratic Party sending out notices that voters won’t be turned away from the polls.  It’s a clear effort to deflate the voting discouragement campaign of State Attorney General Greg Abbott, Gov. Rick Perry, and the Republicans of the Texas Lege.

Letter from the Texas Democrats:

TDP Banner

Dear Ed,

On Monday, the polls will open for early voting for the May 29th Democratic Primary Election. We’ll be selecting the Democratic nominees who will lead the charge towards taking back our state in 2012.

Here’s how you can make your voice heard:

Confirm that you’re registered to vote.  You can verify your registration on the Secretary of State’s website.

Find your early voting location by contacting your county elections office.  Early voting for the Primary Election runs from Monday, May 14th through Friday, May 25th.

Request to have a ballot mailed to you.  Your application for a mail ballot must be received no later than Tuesday, May 22nd.

Use the same documents that you’ve used in the past to vote. No photo ID is required! The photo voter id legislation is not in effect for this election. All you need is:

  • Your voter registration card;
  • A driver’s license or personal identification card issued to you by Texas or another state (even if the license or card has expired);
  • A form of identification that contains your photograph and establishes your identity;
  • A birth certificate or other document confirming birth that is admissible in a court of law and establishes your identity;
  • Your United States citizenship papers;
  • Your United States passport;
  • Official mail addressed to you by a governmental entity; or
  • A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows your name and address.

Want to know who’s on the ballot? A list of the Democratic candidates is available on our website.

Want to know more about voting in Texas? Visit VoteTexas.gov.

Want to help elect Democrats in your county? Have questions about local races? Contact your Democratic County Chair.

Sincerely,

Boyd L. Richie

Boyd L. Richie
Chairman
Texas Democratic Party

I’d be interested to see that the Republican Party in Texas is doing something similar. They keep booting me off their lists. Anybody got a similar letter from them, especially one showing how the Texas Voter Identification law does not apply to this primary election?

_____________

*  The elections were delayed by federal court orders.  Texas is a place that historically discriminated against minority voters, and so under the 1965 Voting Rights Act, reapportionments by the legislature must be approved by the Justice Department or a federal court as complying with the nondiscrimination laws.  AG Abbott tried to do an end run around Justice, suing for approval as a first step.  As part of its War on Democracy, the Texas Lege wrote a spectacularly Gerrymandered reapportionment plan, depriving Texas Hispanics from new representation despite the dramatic increase in their populations.  Consequently the federal courts balked at quick approval.  Instead, they asked for more information.  In the delay, the Washington courts ordered the federal court in San Antonio to draw up a more fair plan, giving at least three new seats to districts where Hispanics hold broad sway.

Litigation against the Texas Jim Crow Voter Identification law is separate.


Campaign 2012: Texas State Board of Education, those who do not know history . . .

March 15, 2012

Texas Freedom Network SBOE play on Santayana

I get e-mail from people who work for good schools, the Texas Freedom Network:

Texas Freedom Network

TFN Launches SBOE 2012 Campaign

Ideologues on the State Board of Education are doing everything they can to keep our children in the dark (ages). They:

  • censor American history, including what students learn about separation of church and state
  • reject established science and dumb-down instruction on evolution
  • ignore the recommendations of teachers and scholars who know what Texas kids need to learn to be successful today

Ignorance is not a Texas value. Texas needs a new SBOE.

So what can you do?

Every 10 years all 15 seats on the SBOE are up for election at once. This is that year.

Throughout this election year, our campaign will help you:

  • Get informed about SBOE elections
  • Get involved in your community
  • VOTE for candidates that restore sanity to the SBOE

Take the first step: sign the pledge and join the SBOE 2012 campaign at tfn.org/educate.

Regards,
The Texas Freedom Network
tfn.org

P.S. Take another step toward fulfilling part of your pledge by clicking here to send this message to a friend.

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Good idea.

For years, when people asked me about my opinions “in the really important races” I’d first ask them which school district they lived in, usually pointing out that I don’t know their district.  Local school board races are probably the most important most people will vote in (or fail to vote) in their lifetimes.  Since coming to Texas and fighting the Texas State Board of Education, I wonder sometimes if the state board races aren’t even more important than your local school board.  Santayana’s Ghost agrees with the sentiments on the TFN logo above.

If you don’t already use the site, you ought to at least check out the TFN Insider, TFN’s blog which covers the Texas  SBOE better than most media in Texas.


Birthers: Lacking the sense God gave chickens

January 30, 2012

Birthers are still claiming the Earth is flat, still looking for a missing link, still claiming Judge Crater didn’t go missing, and still embarrassing America?

Yep.

Barack Obama's Long Form Birth Certificate

Barack Obama’s Long Form Birth Certificate – image from Snopes.com (available many places)

Orly Taitz was in court in Georgia, losing another case because she lacks even a whiff of a scintilla of an iota of evidence to back any of her claims that President Barack Obama was not born in Honolulu, Hawaii, as his now-released long-form birth certificate, short-form birth certificate, contemporary newspapers, eyewitnesses and all other evidence indicate.  They have no evidence, and they have clowns for lawyers:

In court filings, Obama’s legal team has called the “birther” allegations baseless and the criticisms of his birth records “patently unfounded.” The filings also noted 68 similar challenges filed have been dismissed and, during a 2009 challenge, a federal judge in Columbus fined Taitz $20,000 for “frivolous” litigation.

But I stumbled onto a wildly misnamed blog, The Constitution Club*, where the issue is given credence and way too many electrons.

(Are lobotomies legal, again?  Can people perform self-lobotomies?  Just wondering.)

I added some references to sites in the real world, so that anyone not totally insane might find an anchor in reality and follow the threads back to the light.

The post’s author, Daniella Nicole, tried to make a defense of the birthers insane, destructive antics.

I responded, but you never can tell when the birthers will plug their ears, cover their eyes and start singing “Born in the U.S.A.” at the top of their lungs to avoid information that would require them to appear sober.  My comment went straight to “moderation.”  Probably too many links, or too many high-quality links (thank you, Cornell University Law Library’s Legal Information Institute).   For the record, here’s my last reply to Daniella Nicole:

[Daniella Nicole wrote:]

I daresay any of the GOP contenders, or to use your reference, SNL’s the Church Lady, Frankie and Willie or one of the Coneheads, would all be better than the clown (or Homey D. Clown from In Living Color, if you will) currently in office.

Excuse me. I had mistaken you for an American, a patriot, and someone who bears no ill will to the American people.

Unless Obama has lied about who his father is and the birth certificate is a fraud (which would raise other legal issues), Obama is NOT a natural born citizen. Period.

“Born on American soil” means “natural born American citizen.” Obama was born on American soil. End of your argument.

BUT, had he been born on foreign soil, with one American citizen parent, he would still be a natural born citizens — as is John McCain, born in Panama (and not on a military base, but in the local Panama hospital).

Remind me never to refer any of my clients or friends to you for immigration advice.

The Supreme Court actually set the precedent of defining natural born as born of two American citizen parents in the 1875 case Minor v. Happersett. Note it was not a dicta, which is an authoritative statement by a court that is not legally binding, but an actual precedent, which is a rule of law established for the first time by a court and is referred to by other courts afterwards.

The holding in Minor was that women are not voting citizens. The case dealt with Mrs. Minor’s attempt to register to vote. Obama is not a woman, and the issue you’re talking about has nothing to do with registering to vote. So, if the case says what you claim, it MUST be in obiter dicta. [Obiter dicta means those parts of the decision in which the court explains how and why it ruled as it did, but NOT the key ruling itself.]  No offense, but you really could use some legal training. At least get a Black’s Law dictionary, will you?

Here, read excerpts from the opinion:

The question is presented in this case, whether, since the adoption of the fourteenth amendment, a woman, who is a citizen of the United States and of the State of Missouri, is a voter in that State, notwithstanding the provision of the constitution and laws of the State, which confine the right of suffrage to men alone. We might, perhaps, decide the case upon other grounds, but this question is fairly made. From the opinion we find that it was the only one decided in the court below, and it is the only one which has been argued here. The case was undoubtedly brought to this court for the sole purpose of having that question decided by us, and in view of the evident propriety there is of having it settled, so far as it can be by such a decision, we have concluded to waive all other considerations and proceed at once to its determination.

So it would be error to claim the case got to the issue of who is a “natural born citizen” at all. It did not.

And, had you read the case, you’d know that. In fact, the case says the opposite of what you claim. It says:

Additions might always be made to the citizenship of the United States in two ways: first, by birth, and second, by naturalization. This is apparent from the Constitution itself, for it provides [n6] that “no person except a natural-born citizen, or a citizen of the United States at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President,” [n7] and that Congress shall have power “to establish a uniform rule of naturalization.” Thus new citizens may be born or they may be created by naturalization.

The Constitution does not, in words, say who shall be natural-born citizens. Resort must be had elsewhere to ascertain that. At common-law, with the nomenclature of which the framers of the Constitution were familiar, it was never doubted that all children born in a country of parents who were its citizens became themselves, upon their birth, citizens also. These were natives, or natural-born citizens, as distinguished from aliens or foreigners. Some authorities go further and include as citizens children born within the jurisdiction without reference to the citizenship of their [p168] parents. As to this class there have been doubts, but never as to the first. For the purposes of this case it is not necessary to solve these doubts. It is sufficient for everything we have now to consider that all children born of citizen parents within the jurisdiction are themselves citizens. The words “all children” are certainly as comprehensive, when used in this connection, as “all persons,” and if females are included in the last they must be in the first. That they are included in the last is not denied. In fact the whole argument of the plaintiffs proceeds upon that idea.

Under the power to adopt a uniform system of naturalization Congress, as early as 1790, provided “that any alien, being a free white person,” might be admitted as a citizen of the United States, and that the children of such persons so naturalized, dwelling within the United States, being under twenty-one years of age at the time of such naturalization, should also be considered citizens of the United States, and that the children of citizens of the United States that might be born beyond the sea, or out of the limits of the United States, should be considered as natural-born citizens. [n8] These provisions thus enacted have, in substance, been retained in all the naturalization laws adopted since. In 1855, however, the last provision was somewhat extended, and all persons theretofore born or thereafter to be born out of the limits of the jurisdiction of the United States, whose fathers were, or should be at the time of their birth, citizens of the United States, were declared to be citizens also. [n9]

If you’re going to opine on citizenship, you would do well to read a summary of actual citizenship law, and don’t take the odd rantings of anti-Obama people on the internet.

Dani said:

Interestingly, many refer to Vattel’s definition of natural born (which is essentially the same thing and may have influenced the founders in their work on the Constitution), but it is not Vattel that sets legal precedent. The Supreme Court can and did set the precedent in the matter in 1875.

Minor v. Happersett, 88 U.S. 162 (1875) most assuredly did not rule that a child must have two U.S. citizen parents to be a citizen, nor to be a “natural born” citizen. Read the case’s key sections above.

The precedent that is important here is the presidency of Chester Alan Arthur, a man who, like Obama, had a father born in a foreign country, and who was not a citizen of the U.S. at the time of Arthur’s birth. While opponents tried to make an issue of this in the campaign of 1880, it was a non-starter. You know the rest — Arthur was elected vice president under James Garfield, and ascended to the presidency upon Garfield’s death after being shot (no, Orly Taitz was not the shooter). So, had Hapersett had anything to do with presidential eligibility, it would have applied to Arthur. Since Arthur served out his term as president, it’s pretty clear that the actual precedent supports Obama’s eligibility 100%.

Somebody told you a tall tale about the case — it’s about whether a woman may vote, not about what is a natural born citizen. Seriously, how could anyone confuse those issues?

Congress in 2008 (including Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama) also defined natural born as having been born to two American citizen parents when a challenge to John McCain’s eligibility was issued.So, even by the standard and definition of Congress, including Obama himself, he is not legally qualified or eligible.

1. That was a non-binding resolution, stating the opinion of the U.S. Senate.
2. The resolution, S. Res. 511 in the 110th Congress, ( does NOT say “two American citizen parents,” but instead refers to children born to “Americans.” Obama’s mother was an American.
3. Obama was born on American soil, and so the resolution, covering kids born outside the U.S., is inapplicable, and off the mark.

Obama was not born to two American citizen parents, by his own admission and via the birth certificate which he has provided to America. Ergo, he is not a natural born American citizen and does not meet the Constitutional requirement for the office of President of the United States of America. As such, not only is he not legally qualified to be in the office he currently holds, but he is not legally eligible to be on any ballot in the U.S. for the upcoming election. Period.

Except, none of the laws you cite says what you’d need it to say. Obama is natural born because he was born in the U.S. He is also natural born having been a child of a U.S. citizen. He is fully legally qualified — at least, to people who know the law, and who appreciate that it’s necessary to follow the laws.

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. Your wishes do not change the law. Your misstatements of the cases and the laws do not change the laws. Your wish to find something bad against Obama, a good man and a good president, does not give you a leg to stand on, nor a horse to ride.

And how, pray tell, is using legal means to resolve serious legal matters “polluting the courts”? That is what they are there for.

Junk lawsuits. Nuisance suits. Orly Taitz has already been fined for making these nuisance claims. The evidence needed to challenge Obama’s eligibility simply does not exist, except in the fevered and overactive imaginations of those crazies. The stuff in Georgia this last week is a supreme embarrassment to America — but thank God, the courts got it right.

But by all means, continue to stamp your foot and blather on about this. Your work on this insane and hopeless issue keeps you off the streets, and out of real politics. You can’t do damage to a school board race while you’re lost in the ozone on citizenship and Obama.

_____________

* Maybe by “Constitution Club” they mean “a club with which to beat the Constitution,” and not a group of people joining together in a noble cause, you think?

Earlier at Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub


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