Here Comes the Pain

If you ain’t one of Us, you must be one of Them and we don’t like Them.

I was in the lunchroom trying to eat my soup before it got cold.   A pretty young woman who is a political junkie as much as I am smiled an even prettier smile and asked me oh-so-sweetly, “Jeff, do you think there’s any chance the Democrats can win in Ohio in November?”

I could have gone into the gory details at excruciating length, but I kept it short.  “Not a hope in hell.”   Her smile flipped over into a frown.   I didn’t want to dash her hopes, but I couldn’t lie either.

The  suffering is nearly over for the Democrats.  They knew going into 2014 with the sour mood of the voters and the uncanny ability of the Republicans to successfully make all the Democrats fault, they are  standing on the eve of a major wipe-out in November.   The pain is coming and blood will flow with the President and his party on the receiving end of most of it.

Though I’m on the Do Not Call registry, I get hit up by the Democrats for campaign cash because I’ve given in the past.  I get a call tonight for some kid trying to support Democratic candidates for governor and he starts reading from his script.

“Good evening sir, there’s good news for Democrats.  Our candidates for governor are up or close in several states.  Charlie Crist is leading Rick Scott in Florida.   Mary So-and-So is tied with Scott Walker in Wisconsin.   Democrats are on the move, but we need your generous support.”

“That’s GOVERNOR Douche to you!”

I interrupted the kid’s feel-good, happy talk before he could get to the part where I’m supposed to drag out my credit card and send him $50 bucks.  “Well, that’s great for you guys in Florida and Wisconsin, but I live in Ohio and here in Ohio the zombie running for governor is losing to John Kasich by 20 points.   If Kasich died between now and November, they could run Kasich’s dog against Ed FitzGerald and still win by double-digits.”  You could melt steel with the acidic disdain dripping from my lips.

Dead silence.  Sadly for this poor kid nobody prepped him in dealing with an irritated contributor.  He tried to regroup and continue the sales pitch of fairy dust and unicorns pooping rainbows, but I wasn’t trying to hear any of that noise and shut him down quick.”

“Look, I know you’re just trying to do you job and raise some money for the Democrats, but you’re not going to get me to believe things are all sweetness and light,” I said.   “The Democrats aren’t even trying in my state and when FitzGerald goes down in flames next month he’s going to take the whole ticket of other candidates down with him.  They are going to go down hard and lose big.”

It didn’t have to be this way.

Two years ago when President Obama was running for reelection,  I couldn’t go more than a day or so without somebody from the campaign calling, emailing or knocking on the door making sure they got out the vote and more importantly got the base fired up to vote.   Now here we stand less than a month away from an election that will decide the balance of power in Congress as well as statehouses across the nation and the blase indifference of the Democrats is frankly stunning to behold.  Nobody’s knocked on my door.  I barely see any yard signs.  Only the Republicans seem to have bought any commercial time to tell me how wonderful life is since Kasich became governor.   What’s the response from the other side?   Damned if I know.   They aren’t even making enough of an effort to even be considered embarrassing.

It’s as though the Dems have resigned themselves to getting worked by the Repubs.  Yeah, we’re gonna get bitch-slapped.   Going over the cliff.   Driving down a dark country road at midnight with no headlights.  Playing Russian Roulette with five bullets in the chamber.  No sense trying to fight fate.

There’s no shame in losing.  The shame is in not even trying to win.  If the Democrats have a plan to avoid being humbled and humiliated  it will take a far better political prognosticator than I to figure out what it is.

I don’t see any effort.  I don’t feel any sense of urgency.   I don’t have any feeling the Democrats are going to pull off a last minute save and deny the Republicans almost complete control.

The Republicans moved me out of the White House into a warehouse.

And they have plans for you and you and me too.   Lots of plans, and all of you who didn’t care today will care a lot tomorrow and tomorrow and the tomorrow after that.    If you’re a woman they have plans for your reproductive organs.  If you’re in a labor union they got plans to bust unions.   If you’re unemployed don’t look for any extensions of benefits.   If you’re a college student you’ve got no relief coming from those student loans.   If you’re Black there’s more prisons and less affirmative action coming your way.   If you’re gay they’re coming to shut down that marriage equality stuff.   There are lots of folks who are going to get what’s coming to them and the GOP is going to give it to them good and hard.

Sometimes shit has to get really bad before it can get any better and trust me when I say this:  when there’s nothing between the plans of the Koch Brothers and ALEC and all those other incredibly wealthy, incredibly greedy and incredibly vindictive bastards whom have been patiently waiting and plotting and planning for this moment, oh, what you got coming!

Just you wait…

LeBron Proves You CAN Go Home Again.

I’m back. Get it?

It’s a good thing for both LeBron James personally and for the city of Cleveland specifically that after a bitter four-year estrangement, he’s coming back to the Cavaliers to try to finish what he started. It’s an even better thing for those of whom live in Ohio where this whole “is he or isn’t he” scenario has played out in real-time.

The way James handled The Return beat the hell out of the public relations fiasco that was The Decision. Everything about The Decision was overstated, overblown and a barely concealed flipping the middle finger to Northeast Ohio where James toiled seven years carrying a Cavaliers team mostly devoid of talent. Bitter feelings and bad karma abounded on both sides though Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert carried it too far with a poison pen letter soaked in Haterade that could be found on the team’s website as recently as a week ago.

“I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER ‘KING’ WINS ONE

You can take it to the bank.

Not one of Gilbert’s non-James teams finished above .500. The bank stayed closed.

That letter has since been scrubbed from the Cavaliers website, but the Internet never forgets no matter how much Gilbert wishes it would.

LeBron’s words to Sports Illustrated (and quite noticeably not ESPN) were far more gracious in showing the grace, class and maturity he had developed in four years that were missing in Gilbert’s published temper tantrum.    If you haven’t read it you definitely should.   It’s pretty damned impressive reading.

I’m not having a press conference or a party. After this, it’s time to get to work.

When I left Cleveland, I was on a mission. I was seeking championships, and we won two. But Miami already knew that feeling. Our city hasn’t had that feeling in a long, long, long time. My goal is still to win as many titles as possible, no question. But what’s most important for me is bringing one trophy back to Northeast Ohio.

I always believed that I’d return to Cleveland and finish my career there. I just didn’t know when. After the season, free agency wasn’t even a thought. But I have two boys and my wife, Savannah, is pregnant with a girl. I started thinking about what it would be like to raise my family in my hometown. I looked at other teams, but I wasn’t going to leave Miami for anywhere except Cleveland. The more time passed, the more it felt right. This is what makes me happy.

To make the move I needed the support of my wife and my mom, who can be very tough. The letter from Dan Gilbert, the booing of the Cleveland fans, the jerseys being burned — seeing all that was hard for them. My emotions were more mixed. It was easy to say, “OK, I don’t want to deal with these people ever again.” But then you think about the other side. What if I were a kid who looked up to an athlete, and that athlete made me want to do better in my own life, and then he left? How would I react? I’ve met with Dan, face-to-face, man-to-man. We’ve talked it out. Everybody makes mistakes. I’ve made mistakes as well. Who am I to hold a grudge?

Michael Wilbon, who is from Chicago, said it well when he noted James has “Midwestern values” and he honestly LIKES living in Northern Ohio. James could live anywhere  on the planet. What’s so terrible about going back home?

When LeBron left four years ago and more importantly, HOW he left was awkward, clumsy and a hot mess of hype, bad juju and ugliness. He went out like a punk. I called him “LeGone” and meant every word of the contemptuous vitriol I spat his way.

But a funny thing happened over the last four years. My harsh feelings toward James disappeared. How he played on the court with the Heat and how he lived his life off the court with his family won me over. We never hear about James getting in trouble, being busted for drugs, shooting up strip clubs at 2:00 am, banging women coast to coast and dropping’ Little LeBrons all over the U.S.A. From all appearances, James is a solid, stable Family Guy who stays out of the headlines with all the usual non-sports related shenanigans.

Will the second time around be just dust in the wind for James?

As regards Dan Gilbert goes he was a total a-hole the way he handled LeBron taking his talents to South Beach. He spewed contempt for his lone superstar. But for all his bluster, Gilbert had to know how screwed he really was once James left town. He said they would win a championship before James did but it didn’t quite turn out that way.

Check the Cavs record since the ’09-10 season.

09-10: 61-21 (James’ last year in Cleveland)
10-11: 19-63
11-12: 21-45 (lockout shortened season)
12-13: 33-49

If you were Dan Gilbert wouldn’t you pretty much kiss LeBron’s ass to get him back?

Dwayne Wade weighed in with his own thoughts on his former teammate’s return to the Buckeye State:

As a friend and a teammate, I am sad to see my brother LeBron leave to begin a new journey. In 2010, we decided to come together all for one goal — to win championships and we succeeded. We were friends when we first joined the league and created an unbreakable bond the past four years. Our collaboration will always be very special to me both personally and professionally. We shared something unique and he will always be part of my family. LeBron made the right decision for him and his family because home is where your heart is. I know this was not an easy decision to make and I support him in returning to his roots. As an organization, a community, and as individuals, we achieved the goals we set when we first signed on together. We are champions.

Washington Wizards v/s Miami Heat December 18,...

King James and D-Wade say goodbye to all that.

Classy, but then the Miami Heat is a class organization as other well wishes to Lebron from team owner Micky Arison and general manager Pat Riley have echoed Wade’s sentiments. When James returns to Miami in the future he knows he will hear the boos of the disappointed fans, but they will likely be drowned out by the applause of the grateful ones remembering the four consecutive championship appearances and two wins King James led the Heat to.

If Wade is ready to move on, why should I hate on LeBron for coming home to take care of unfinished business? Sure he may never win a championship with the Cavaliers, but it won’t be because he didn’t come back to try.

There are plenty of unlikable owners who own great teams. I am not going to boo the Cavs because their boss is a jerkwad. Plenty of us have worked for bosses who were bastards, but we did the job and cashed the check anyway. Why should we hold James to a higher standard then we do ourselves?

Let’s be honest here. James did what he thought was best for him and his family.  I know there are “fans” who honestly believe LeBron should have put their needs ahead of his own.   They need to set the alarm clock and wake the hell up.

Welcome Home King James.   Now can I get back to focusing on NFL football camps opening Friday?

Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s the “Return of the King.” You got a problem with that?

 

Jon and John’s War Against The Black Vote

“Good job making it harder to vote, Jon.” “Thanks, John.”

I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban — read African-American — voter turnout machine.”

~ Doug Preisse, Republican Party chairman of Franklin County

Here’s the thing about the sacred right to vote.   It’s only a right as long as you have it.   They don’t have to take it away from all at once.   Killing it off by a slow death of a thousand cuts will get the job done just as effectively.

The hard-right conservatism of the Republican Party does not appeal to Black voters.  This is simply a fact.   Here in Ohio, a perennial battleground state, the Republicans recognize this and have resolved to address it by doing all they can to suppress the Black vote as Think Progress reported:

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has followed through on promises to restrict voting opportunities in his state. The change, announced Tuesday, eliminates extended early voting hours on weekdays, the final two days before Election Day as well as Sunday voting, a day typically important to African-American voters because churches use it to turn out votes.

The early voting period is vital to the elderly, low-income voters, and anyone else with limited means to get to the polls, not to mention that it cuts down on election-day long lines and chaos. MSNBC notes that in 2008, black voters made up 56 percent “of all weekend voters in Cuyahoga County, Ohio’s largest, even though they made up just 28% of the county’s population.”

Optional in Ohio.

Husted’s announcement comes on the heels of other Ohio initiatives to suppress turnout. Ohio just passed two bills that eliminates an entire week of early voting and end the practice of mailing absentee ballots.

Naturally Husted would never say he’s going to make it harder to vote.  The Big Lie told by the GOP is they are streamlining the process and making it fairer. 

“In 2014, absentee voters will have the option of voting in person for four weeks, or they can vote without ever leaving home by completing the absentee ballot request form we will be sending all voters,” Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted said. “Our goal is to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat and to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity in the voting process no matter which method they choose.”

“Easy to vote and hard to cheat?”   That’s a different line than Husted’s rap last year when his office and the state’s 88 country boards conducted investigations looking for fraud in the 2012 presidential elections and came back with 135 cases they recommended for prosecution.

Wow.  That many?  Go get those crooks, Jon-Boy!   Uh-uh.  Not so fast.  Every whiff of smoke doesn’t mean there must be a forest fire.

Voter fraud does exist, but it is not an epidemic,” Husted said. “To put this into context, … that’s 135 referrals out of more than 5.6 million votes cast.”

Oh.

Well, that’s disappointing, but 135 cases is good enough for the G.O.P.   Let’s go ahead and  shorten the early voting period by six full days and get rid of same-day voter registration.  While we’re at it let’s cut the number of voting machines in the state and increase wait time for voters at the polls.  Especially those old Black ones.   Watching them shiver in the November cold to cast their ballots will be fun!

This is how Husted, Gov. John Kasich and Ohio Republicans observe Black History Month.  By trying like hell to make the votes of Blacks history.

Once upon a time Blacks had to march in the streets and even die for the right to vote.   Just because marches aren’t popular and nobody’s dying doesn’t mean Blacks can relax and stop fighting to keep and protect their hard-won rights.

The Republicans are engaged in one of the historically most efficient political tactics: suppress the vote and by making it harder for people whom aren’t going to vote for you to for vote for the other guy, you win.  Voter suppression works for Republicans and that is today’s Black History Moment.  If we sit idly by it will be tomorrow’s Black future.

What the enemies of our progress take away we can take back.  IF we are willing to fight for it.    Hoping someone else will come along and get our rights back won’t do it.  When it comes to voter suppression Husted and Kasich are only getting started.

The secret of the GOP’s success.

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Death of A Scumbag

Wherever you live, whatever your circumstances, no matter if you woke up with a stiff neck and a sore back from sleeping in your car because you had nowhere else you could go, count your blessings no matter how small and meager they might be it.

If the world doesn’t seem a measurably better place by Castro being dead, trust in the fact it it is slightly less bad than when he was alive.   I know I will sleep better knowing my Ohio tax dollars are not being spent to keep this prick alive.

Castro’s words at his sentencing hearing  were those of an evil, twisted psychopath who when given a chance to speak before he was sentenced to life in prison, plus a thousand years for aggravated murder and for holding three young women captive for 11 years, he blamed his victims.   Castro denied her raped and beat Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus.   He was full of excuses, rationalizations and justifications for everything he did.

“Most of the sex that went on in that house, probably all of it, was consensual,” Castro said. “These allegations about being forceful on them — that is totally wrong. Because there was times where they’d even ask me for sex –many times. And I learned that these girls were not virgins. From their testimony to me, they had multiple partners before me, all three of them.” 

“I am not a violent person. I simply kept them there without being able to leave.” 

“I never had a record until I met my children’s mother. My son was on there the other day saying how abusive I was but I was never abusive until I met her. And he failed to say that at the end before she passed away that them two weren’t even talking.” 

Michelle Knight

Michelle Knight lost 11 years of her life to Castro’s depravity.

 

“What he’s saying, that I was a wife beater – that is, that is wrong. This happened because I couldn’t get her to quiet down. I would continuous tell her the children are right there, would you please? She would respond, I don’t care if the children are there and she would just keep going…the situation would escalate until the point where she would put her hands on me and that’s how I reacted, by putting my hands on her.” 

“I just wanted to clear the record that I am not a monster. I did not prey on them … I just acted on my sexual instincts because of my sexual addiction. And god as my witness, I never beat these women like they’re trying to say I did. I never tortured them.” 

“I see Gina (DeJesus) through the media and she looks normal. She acts normal. A person that’s been tortured does not act normal. They’d act withdrawn and everything. On the contrary, she’s happy. Victims aren’t happy.” 

They should be happier today.   Yes, they were cheated by Castro killing himself.  We all were.   But Castro was never going to suffer the way he made those women suffer.   No matter how long he was locked away, he was still getting off easy.

Please spare me any recriminations about how uncool it is to take pleasure in a man’s death. Ariel Castro wasn’t much of a man. He was a kidnapper, a rapist, a scumbag. He should have been strangled at birth with the umbilical cord.

Most of all Castro was a thief.  He stole the peace of mind of three women and their families for over a decade.   Ask yourself what would be worse?   To know your daughter was dead or to not know at all what had happened to her before she vanished into thin air.   Death would be horrible, but never knowing would be a lingering torture without an end.

He was evil and when he faced his victims, the three young women he held captive and raped and tortured for TEN YEARS, he made no apology, expressed no regret, and showed no remorse.   The only person he felt any pity for was himself.

Wonder why he offed himself?  Maybe Castro had the horrifying realization he wasn’t in control of his own destiny.  He couldn’t come and go as he pleased.  His every movement was being watched.  He would never be free again.  He was trapped!  He was a helpless prisoner at the mercy of others.

How absolutely perfect.

He can burn in hell forever. If the devil will have his worthless ass.   We are alive and relatively well.   That puts us ahead of Ariel Castro who is dead and roasting his nuts in hell.  The filthy coward.

Bye-bye, A.C. Burn, baby, burn.

The devil’s got a new demon in hell.

Rob Portman’s Coming Out is A Profile In No Courage

“Look, Rob, you can bring your Black friend, but leave your gay son at home. Got it?”

Big political news.  Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) became the most prominent member of the GOP caucus to come out.  In favor of same-sex marriage, that is.  Portman, who was on Mitt Romney’s short list of possible vice-presidential running mates attributed his change of heart to his son coming out as a gay man.

I have come to believe that if two people are prepared to make a lifetime commitment to love and care for each other in good times and in bad, the government shouldn’t deny them the opportunity to get married.

That isn’t how I’ve always felt. As a congressman, and more recently as a senator, I opposed marriage for same-sex couples. Then something happened that led me to think through my position in a much deeper way.

Two years ago, my son Will, then a college freshman, told my wife, Jane, and me that he is gay. He said he’d known for some time, and that his sexual orientation wasn’t something he chose; it was simply a part of who he is. Jane and I were proud of him for his honesty and courage. We were surprised to learn he is gay but knew he was still the same person he’d always been. The only difference was that now we had a more complete picture of the son we love.

So let’s review: it’s okay to previously be on record as opposing gay rights and same-sex marriage just so long as your positions “evolve” once you learn your son or daughter is one of those people you’ve actively discriminated against.

It has to become personal. Oh, and you have to be a Republican too.

I was blind but now I see. Go forth and sin no more. Hallelujah!

Portman remained a religious-based, anti-equality, bigot throughout his entire career prior to his sonny-boy coming out only to be “transformed” and “evolve” when his previously held beliefs suddenly became personal for him.

Until it did he was fine with discriminating against someone else’s child.

  •     Let the military decide on don’t-ask-don’t-tell
  •     Supports Amendment to prevent same sex marriage
  •     Supports banning homosexuals in the military
  •     YES on banning gay adoptions in DC.
  •     YES on Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage

“Same-sex marriage? Sure I have sex the same way in my marriage.”

As recently as 2011, Portman was a typical Republican homophobe actively opposing same-sex marriage and not apologizing for it.  I’m not nearly as impressed by my home state Senator’s partial-reversal as some folks are. It’s nice. It’s late, but it’s still nice. I’m sure those gays and lesbians Portman happily discriminated against will be glad he’s getting off their backs.

Hooray, and so what if Rob Portman goes forth and sins no more? Just because you got religion doesn’t mean you’re not a sinner anymore.

Everyone was wondering why Romney chose Paul Ryan over Portman as his vice-president when it was obvious Portman could have helped Romney in the critical state of Ohio (you know, that place that when it was declared for Obama and ended Election Night sent Karl Rove into such a frenzy he tried to eat his own foot).

Now we know why. Ryan didn’t have a gay son.

Esquire’s Charles P. Pierce shares my skepticism about Portman’s epiphany.

If Will hadn’t come out, or if he’d been as straight as Nebraska highway, Portman wouldn’t have cared about the sons and daughters and brothers and sisters of all the other Dads who love them and want them to have the same opportunities? It’s not just the implied notion that discrimination is OK unless it inconveniences Sunday dinner with the Portmans. It’s also the relentless banality through which even “decent” Republicans struggle to come to simple humanity. Does any group of people have dark nights of the soul that are so endlessly boring and transparently insincere?

It’s like listening to Kierkegaard sell flatware. I’m glad there’s another vote for marriage equality here. I’m also glad I didn’t have to listen to the full explanation behind it.

Me too and frankly I don’t get why I should give Portman credit for doing what he’s supposed to do.

It’s wonderful and terrific that Rob has decided to stop discriminating against a group of people. But am I supposed to bake him some cookies too?

Your Vote Won’t Count If You Can’t Vote

If you’re able to vote this November you won’t be making Republicans very happy.

In 2011, The Brennan Center for Justice released a report that depending on your political perspective either angered you because it exposed how the Republican push for stringent new voter I.D. laws would lead to suppression of the Black vote or scared the hell out of you if you were planning to vote Democratic in 2012.   I downloaded and read the report and I was left with this conclusion:

Even if you want to vote in November, you may not be able to.   And it might make all the difference in determining who the next president is.

State governments across the country enacted an array of new laws that could make it significantly harder for as many as 5 million eligible Americans to vote. Some states require voters to show government-issued photo identification, often of a type that as many as one in ten voters do not have. Other states have cut back on early voting, a hugely popular innovation used by millions of Americans. Still others made it much more difficult for citizens to register to vote, a prerequisite for voting.

These new restrictions fall most heavily on young, minority, elderly, and low-income voters, as well as on voters with disabilities. This wave of changes may sharply tilt the political terrain for the 2012 election and beyond.

Republicans have railed against the Brennan Center’s report on voter disenfranchisement. They have sneered that the report was underwritten by George Soros, their favorite wealthy boogeyman on the Left. What they can’t do is debunk the findings that widespread, systematic voter fraud is a myth, right between Bigfoot and Narnia.

Disenfranchising Black voters is a plan of the Republican Party to little-by-little and bit-by-bit, stand the concept of voting as a right on its head and turn it into a burden of proof for minorities in a way not seen since the bad old days of poll taxes and literacy tests.

Proponents of reforming the voting process seem blind to the fact that all of these seemingly neutral reforms hit poor and minority voters out of all proportion. (The Brennan Center for Justice estimates that while about 12 percent of Americans don’t have a government-issued photo ID, the figure for African-Americans is closer to 25 percent, and in some Southern states perhaps higher.) The reason minorities are so much harder hit by these seemingly benign laws has its roots in the tragic legacy of race in this country. They still work because that old black man, born into Jim Crow in 1940, may have had no birth certificate because he was not born in a hospital because of poverty or discrimination. Names may have been misspelled on African-American birth certificates because illiterate midwives sometimes gave erroneous names.

It’s true that the most egregious methods of minority vote suppression from the 19th century—the poll tax, the literacy test, the white primary—have disappeared. And we know (and can take some solace in the knowledge) that the worst of these indignities have not been recycled in the 21st century, in part because of the protections of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. But a look at the history of voting rights in this country shows that the current state efforts to suppress minority voting—from erecting barriers to registration and early voting to voter ID laws—look an awful lot like methods pioneered by the white supremacists from another era that achieved the similar results.

Jimmy Crow is flying high again, thanks to the GOP.

The battle between the GOP and the Obama campaign is being waged in key places such as my home state:

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign on Tuesday filed a federal lawsuit against Ohio’s top elections official in a dispute over the battleground state’s law that restricts early, in-person voting during the three days before Election Day.

 The lawsuit filed in Columbus comes after a series of election law changes cleared the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature and were signed by Republican Gov. John Kasich.

Obama’s campaign and Democrats argue that the law unfairly ends early, in-person voting for most Ohioans on the Friday evening before the Tuesday election, while allowing military and overseas voters to cast a ballot in person until Monday.

 The state doesn’t track its early voters by party, so the stats don’t show exactly how much Obama might have benefited from early voting in Ohio. But both parties are sure he did.

 An extended voting period is perceived as benefiting Democrats because it increases voting opportunities for those harder to reach for an Election Day turnout — Hispanics, blacks, new citizens and poor people.

Is it a coincidence that most of these new voter i.d. laws are in states with concentrations of Black and Latino voters and those states went for Obama in 2008? Like hell it is!

“It’s tragic that in the 21st century, 2012, we have voter suppression going on,” Sen. Nina Turner (D-OH) said. “Jim Crow has been resurrected, making repeat performances in the south and has packed his bags and moved north, in Ohio, in particular.”

Before state legislatures start enacting laws to cut the chances of someone trying to commit voter fraud, shouldn’t they prove how wide-spread the problem actually is?

The Republicans are building bridges where there’s no rivers. They are committing a fraud against Black, Latino, the elderly and the young because they aren’t voting “the right way.”    It’s a throwback to Jim Crow disenfranchisement and it’s voter suppression and it’s led by and masterminded by Republicans trying to deny American citizens their right to vote.

Voter fraud IS a fraud. It is a mirage.

What's behind the GOP's interest in voter fraud? This guy.

What’s behind the GOP’s interest in voter fraud? This guy.

Voter fraud—the foundational premise for controversial new voter-ID laws—is far more rare in the U.S. than ID proponents would have us believe. The Department of Justice doesn’t even compile figures of how many people have been convicted of fraud in the last decade, and says prosecutions have focused on tampering by election officials and local politicians, not on voters themselves. A New York Times investigation found that between 2002 and 2005 only 96 people were indicted for federal election-related crimes, and 70 of them were convicted. Of those, 41 were campaign employees and government officials, and just five were voters who cast multiple ballots.

The Republican Party has declared war on the Black vote and they aren’t being subtle in their attempt to suppress and disenfranchise Blacks. I find this contemptible. Requiring people to go out and buy I.D. to vote is nothing but a modern-day poll tax.   Nobody has claimed there is no voter fraud. Only that there is no measurable impact of it swinging an election and the burden of proof is on those who support restrictive voter I.D. laws to show that it has. They haven’t. They can’t.

It’s important to establish in the debate of voter suppression vs. voter fraud there is not an equal preponderance of evidence. The research and the facts are firmly on the side of systematic voter suppression.   There is far more ammunition for that side of the argument.

We are less than 90 days away from the election and there will be thousands of eligible voters in 2008 who will find they are ineligible in 2012 due to the unnecessarily partisan actions of Republicans officials.

They say they want a clean election. They never said anything about it being a fair election.

Republicans don’t want to win on the merits of their candidates. They want to rig the game to give them an unfair advantage. They have the power to do so and they’re doing it. If they have to screw over millions of Americans in the process, they’d better bend over and crack a smile, because they are going to get screwed and they’re get it good and hard.

President Clinton sees the scheme, but President Obama is the target.

The Impotence of Being Mitt

Romney would like to focus on Obama, but he has to shake Santorum before he can.

Stupor Tuesday came and went. It was a beautiful spring-like day in early March and unseasonably warm like this whole winter have been. I thought, “What better way to enjoy the day than to go to the polls, declare myself a Republican and screw up Mitt Romney’s life more than it already is by voting for Rick “Foamy” Santorum.

If I could have I would have. Actually, I could have, but then I wouldn’t have been able to vote for any of the Democratic candidates running for state and local offices. I decided to keep my monkey wrench in my pocket and leave it to the real Republicans to decide between Dumb and Dumber.

Mittens beat out Foamy to win Stupor Tuesday’s biggest prize,  but it wasn’t by much and crossover voters didn’t tip the results Foamy’s way.   In Ohio, you have to declare your party affiliation before you cast your ballot, so only the Dems who fibbed and played Republican-For-A-Day were able to make Mitt’s night miserable.

I’m not surprised Mittens won. He outspent Foamy 4-to-1 in Ohio, but only could squeak out a 1 point “victory.” Not much to brag about when you consider your opponent lost his Senate seat in 2006 by 18 points. Of course, in the grand scheme of things they don’t ask how much you won by just that you won, but Mittens still ain’t feeling the conservative base love.

As far as this supposed fired-up Republican base chomping at the bit to turn out President Obama it wasn’t in evidence here. My daughter worked the polls as part of her “Youth at the Booth” volunteer program and was at her station from 5:30 am to 8:30 pm to help voters.

Less than 200 bothered to show up.  Where’s all that Republican rage to beat Obama I keep hearing about?

What does Mittens’ incredible, overwhelming, devastating “win” in O-H-I-O mean? Some victories are less than meets the eye and this one qualifies.

Before the Michigan primary last week, Romney said he wasn’t willing to light his hair on fire to win the election. But in looking at Tuesday’s exit polls, he must at least be ready to pull his hair out. Fifty-four percent of voters said the economy was the most important issue in determining their vote, and they voted for Romney by 41 percent to Santorum’s 33 percent. Forty-two percent of voters in Ohio said they wanted a candidate who could beat Barack Obama. That was the top quality they sought in a candidate. Romney won in that group 52 percent to 27 percent. Voters also said they preferred a candidate with business experience over government experience by 64 percent to 27 percent.

All of that would suggest a big Romney win, right? Nope. Voters want something else, too. In Ohio, the other half of the electorate cared about who was the true conservative, and Santorum crushed Romney 51 percent to 13 percent on that score. The 21 percent who cared about moral character likewise went for Santorum by 40 points over Romney, 60 percent to 19 percent. Ohio voters also felt like Santorum shares their concerns more than Romney, a big problem for Romney in a key bellwether state. The state has picked the president since 1964. The Republican candidate will have to beat Obama on that important economic question. That Romney can’t convince members of his own party—particularly blue-collar voters he’ll need in the general election—is not a good sign.

Mittens: "Oh Rick, you're so firm and strong and tough. Gimme a hug." Foamy: "Better back off me, Rich Boy. I don't play that."


Santorum is going to start feeling the pressure from Republicans who say he should hang it up to keep from damaging Romney too much. The math is inevitable, so all he’ll do is weaken Romney in his ultimate contest against Obama. Romney is already suffering from the bruising primary battle. In the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, Romney’s unfavorable rating has grown to 39 percent. His favorable rating is only 28 percent. The longer the battle drags on, the less time Romney will have to raise money and repair the damage done by the primaries.

The Romney campaign never wanted to be seen arguing that Romney was inevitable. Now they’re doing just that. It’s a version of the argument that the Obama campaign made in 2008 when it tried to get Hillary Clinton to turn around her campaign bus. The key difference is that Barack Obama was filling stadiums of rabid supporters at the time. Mitt Romney is not burdened with this problem.

Meanwhile…what about the ever so loveable Dr. No (a.k.a. The Artist Formerly Known As Ron Paul). How did he fare on Stupor Tuesday?

Same as Paul always does. He lost. Repeatedly and everywhere.

Paul was hoping Alaska might give him his first win in the primaries. Alaskans gave him 24 percent of their votes. Good enough for third place behind Mittens and Foamy.

At least Paul’s Alaska showing and the 40 percent he raked off in Virgina where he and Mittens were the only two boobs on the ballot, he can turn to the Newster at the next debate and sneer, “in yo’ face, sucka!” As if they both aren’t as ugly as their personalities. Bragging rights ain’t much, but that’s about all Paul’s got left. He did have some nice lawn signs though. I look for those sort of things and I didn’t spot a single one for Mittens, Foamy or the Newster. Not a one.

Never confuse enthusiasm and volume with actual numbers and genuine commitment. The Paulinistas make a big noise, but they aren’t a big deal.

What exactly was settled by Stupor Tuesday? A few things we already knew. Mittens has the money, the organization, no firm beliefs and he can’t close the sale with the conservative base with the “only one who can beat Barack Obama” pitch.. Foamy has firm beliefs but they’re all crazy ones.   Gingrich’s Angry Fat White Man has played out but he still says he’s the one who can go toe-to-toe and beat Obama in a debate, but the presidency isn’t the price award to Best Debater.

Poor old Ron is a bad joke worn thin to everyone except the fanatical few (and getting fewer every day). Paul was only running for president because he wasn’t running for another term in the House, and really, it’s not as if he has anything better to do with his time.

Is it time for my nap yet?

The Biggest Loser

If “pride goeth before a fall” what goes after a butt-whipping?

The kind of butt-whipping Ohio voters handed Governor John Kasich and his right-wing Republican supporters when they sent Senate Bill 5, the collective bargaining eliminating, union busting bill down in flames was an epic beat down.  Dropped like they got hit by a Joe Frazier left hook, Ohio Republicans took a staggering loss going into the 2012 elections.

Unions under siege by Kasich, launched a $24 million counter-offensive to make the case the governor was waging war against working class men and women including police, firefighters and school teachers and by a margin of 61 to 39 percent they sent Kasich’s signature issue crashing and burning in a humiliating defeat.

The message for the overreaching governor was use his bully pulpit to put Ohioans back to work, not simply be a bully.

Kasich said he got the message.

“It’s clear the people have spoken,” the humiliated governor said from the Ohio Statehouse. “I heard their voices. I understand their decision. And frankly, I respect what the people have to say in an effort like this. And as a result of that, it requires me to take a deep breath and to spend some time to reflect on what happened here.”

Make no mistake about it, despite Senate Bill 5 being the brainchild of a Republican legislator, Kasich raised the monstrosity as he took the unusual step of visiting Statehouse hearings to fight for it.   This was a bill Kasich wanted passed in the worst way and it was rejected by the people of Ohio in the most forceful way.

More people voted against Kasich’s bill in 2011 than voted for Kasich in 2010.   That’s good news for President Obama who threw the support of his group, Organizing For America, behind the repeal of SB5.  The result was a good sign for the president and labor groups going into 2012, but they should only take a day or so to congratulate themselves because as the governor learned to his sorrow, political fortunes can turn on a dime.

Ohio, as it has been said to the point of nausea, is one of the most important states in every election and often serves as the leading indicator for future elections and every liberal from Maine to California is giving the state a lot of love and props for taking on Kasich, Karl Rove, the Koch Brothers, the Tea Party and the rest of the vast Right-Wing Conspiracy and shoving it where the sun don’t shine.

Speaking for all of Ohio, I would like to say, “Thanks, but hold your thanks.”

In fact, don’t thank us. We owed all y’all one after we put Bush over the top in 2004. We’re still trying to make up for that one.

This is just a good start.  Next year we can pay our debt in full if Ohio sends Obama back to Washington.

Glad to be of help.