Wed, 12 November 2014
Since ancient times, applying a law retroactively, punishing people for what had been legal before, was considered unfair. So was increasing punishments for crimes that had been committed in the past.
In fact, delegates put protections directly into the Constitution. One said Congress couldn't pass laws like that. The other said individual states couldn't pass laws or punishments retroactively.
But that's what the Governor of Iowa is doing by executive order. And a young woman was prosecuted for trying to vote.
Tue, 11 November 2014
Fox News and the terrorist fist jab was unintentionally funny. The local Minneapolis television station and the secret gang signal became hilarious. The ethic itself is not always so humorous.
Take any accusation, rumor, or suspicion, and present it to a predominantly conservative audience as legitimate speculation. A large proportion of the public is led into a cocoon of comforting delusion.
Is Barack Obama really from Kenya?
Does Obamacare include death panels to decide when the elderly should die?
Is President Obama trying bring Ebola to the United States?
We report, you decide.
Wed, 5 November 2014
In 1993, Prime Minister John Major used his unpopularity in Britain to force opponents to ratify the European Union.
In 1980, Jimmy Carter used his unpopularity in America to force Iran into releasing hostages and paying reparations.
President Obama may have a chance to use his losses in the Senate to force Iran to accept a nuclear agreement Iran does not like and Republicans hate.
Mon, 3 November 2014
I have discovered, through introspection and my relationships with others, that most people have a low tolerance for injustice. When we encounter the unfairness of life, in little ways and great, humankind faces a great divide.
The hatred of injustice causes much of humanity to deny that it exists. Rationalization often involves more than simple inaction. Victims of injustice are sometimes victimized again in calloused attitudes. So we cheer for the giant who beats the little guy into submission.
But much of humanity recognizes the injustice that stares back at us. We know it exists. We know it is wrong. We know that subjecting the little guy to the mercies of the selfish and powerful is evil in motion.
That is why I am a Democrat.
That is why I will be voting today.
That is why I will be asking friends to vote.
Wed, 29 October 2014
In 1965, when the Voting Rights Act was first passed, the reasoning was very simple. Racial discrimination in voting should not be allowed.
The provision of the Voting Rights Act to which conservatives objected the most named specific states, and specific parts of other states, those with the most vicious history of voting suppression, for special supervision. Conservatives thought that was unfair.
The burden of proof before 1965 was on anyone who wanted equal rights. Local politicians lost records and insisted that coincidence accounted for those disparities that remained. Local judges were often hostile to minority rights. Foot dragging meant that years could pass before burdens of proof could be met.
Courts even ruled, in 1903, that southern registrars could not be forced to process valid voter registrations.
In 2013, the Supreme court ruled that states, not people, were inherently equal. History of voting suppression should not matter. And in 2014, a district court said it could not force the state of Georgia to process valid voter registrations.
Conservatives are beginning to talk about voting as a privilege, not as a right.
In 1965 we sprang ahead toward equal rights. Now we fall back to states rights.
Conservative Savings Time.
Mon, 27 October 2014
Republicans held a public meeting in California this week where they gathered absentee ballots to deliver to election offices.
A Republican held a private confrontation in Arizona with an Hispanic volunteer who was delivering a group of absentee ballots.
Guess which event has sparked conservatives around the country to a white hot fury.
The two events illustrate the expanded new conservative definition of voter fraud.
Wed, 22 October 2014
The Ebola panic in the United States has dramatically outgrown the Ebola virus itself. Were it not for the death of a man initially turned away from Presbyterian Health Hospital in Dallas, the panic would be a massive exercise in comedy. The hysteria would have been hysterical.
Still, there are legitimate concerns.
We need to re-examine our current system of private care. For-profit medical facilities can be expected, like any free enterprise institution, to be primarily motivated by profit. To weigh life and death risk against this year's bottom line may not be the best method for the next possible pandemic.
Now may not be the time. It is the campaign season, and Republicans do like to campaign on fear.
But there are signs the public is tiring of panic. The Texas Chainsaw Medi-scare may be approaching the closing credits.
Mon, 20 October 2014
I'm okay with negative ads. If they don't distort the facts, if they don't outright lie, if they are pertinent, if they don't grossly violate ethical boundaries, I'm okay with them.
I am a distinct minority. Voters are sick of negative ads. Poll after poll has demonstrated this to the point where it has become conventional wisdom.
Still, negative ads work. Most of the time. Not always.
They especially don't work when they are so over-the-top voters end up laughing at the sinister accusations.
Wed, 15 October 2014
Most general elections are zero-sum affairs. Winning does not depend on a candidate being liked. Winning depends on a candidate being liked more than the opponent. Sometimes that just means being disliked less.
Negative campaigns produce two negatives. Voters dislike the candidate running negative ads. Voters come pretty close to hating the opponent who is the target of negative ads. All things being equal, the candidate voters dislike wins over the candidate voters hate. A lot of voters hold their noses and vote for the nasty guy who ran the ad they didn't like to see.
That can be true of any campaign with two credible candidates. None of the above is not a real option. One of the candidate will win.
In South Dakota, a third choice might just kick over the chessboard.
Tue, 14 October 2014
As buildings smoldered and the dead were counted, policy makers knew who was behind it. The idea that a comic book villain in a cave on the other side of the world could have directed such destruction was hopelessly naive. Osama bin Laden could wait. They had to go after the one who sponsored him, who had to have sponsored him.
Saddam Hussein had to pay.
What they possessed in confidence, they lacked in evidence. They knew what they knew, but they couldn't prove it. America had to attack Iraq's dictatorship, but America had to be convinced. The convincing was done with manufactured evidence. They lied because they would not be able to convince us of what they knew was the truth.
It never crossed their minds that they were wrong.
Now a candidate for the United States Senate has revealed evidence that the deception was not a deception at all.
Joni Ernst (R-IA) has revealed new intelligence, unknown to ordinary citizens.
You have got to hear it.