Jon Stewart took the GOP and their propaganda arm, Fox "News" to task for their recent effort to rebrand the Republican party after their losses in the last election. After showing clips of some pundits complaining that their "messaging was bad" Stewart wondered if this might solve their problems:
STEWART: If only people knew what the Republicans were about. What the Republicans need is some kind of twenty four hour a day, seven day a week perpetual messaging refinement and distribution resource. Preferably one cloaked in the trappings of journalistic authority, but without any of its ethical constraints.
What would we call such a place? Elephant News is too obvious. Insane Clown Posse is already taken. Ferret! Ferret News! I'll work on it.
Yeah, it's just too bad they haven't had a chance to adequately get their message out to the voters. After noting that the Republicans don't want to actually change any of their policies, but just make them sound more palatable to the public instead, Stewart told his viewers that there's just one person left that they could turn to in order to save them, which is their wordsmith Frank Luntz -- or there's that other option, which is rigging elections if they can't win over the voters.
Stewart's got their number alright. Lie, obfuscate, "rebrand," pretend you give a damn about representing your constituents when you don't, propagandize and when that doesn't work -- cheat.
Once again, Florida and its problems at the polls are at the center of an election.
Early voting is supposed to make it easier for people to carry out their constitutional right. Tuesdays are notoriously inconvenient to take off work, so many states have given voters the option of turning out on weekends or other weekdays in the run-up to Election Day.
But in Florida this year, it has been a nightmare for voters, who have faced record wait times, long lines in the sun and a Republican governor, Rick Scott, who has refused to budge and extend early voting hours.
People are getting out to vote -- but many of them are having to wait in line for three or four hours to do so. One contributor to DailyKos claimed it took 9 hours to vote. In Miami-Dade on Saturday, people who had gotten in line by 7:00 p.m. were allowed to vote; the last person wasn't checked in until 1 a.m., meaning it took some individuals six hours to cast a ballot.
"We're looking at an election meltdown that is eerily similar to 2000, minus the hanging chads," said Dan Smith, a political science professor at the University of Florida.
I don't usually put up campaign ads, but this one is particularly effective not only as a reminder, but as a motivator.
Republicans are doing everything they possibly can to discourage voting. From making registration more difficult to "accidentally" printing the wrong election date on ballots mailed to Latinos to limiting early voting hours on the weekend before the election, they have decided that if they can't win it straight up, they'll put as many barriers in our way as possible.
537 votes. That's all that stood between Bush and Gore. It came down to 537 votes. That's too close. Way too close.
The past is the past. But the only way to overcome all of the roadblocks is to step up and cast a vote in overwhelming numbers. Even if you think they're jacking with voting machines or there's something hinky with Tagg Romney's ownership percentage in Hart Intercivic, it can only be overcome by voting in huge numbers. They can't jack everything no matter how hard they try, but it means getting out and voting.
So far, that's happening. The early voting is overwhelmingly going in favor of Democrats, particularly in swing states. OFA director Jeremy Bird sent out a memo earlier today with some early numbers:
Non-Midterm Voters: Across nine battleground states, Democrats have a 19.7 point advantage in ballots cast among non-midterm voters. More than half (51.5 percent) of non-midterm voters who have voted already are Democrats, while fewer than a third (just 31.8 percent) are Republicans.
For example, in North Carolina, 51.5 percent of those who have already voted are Democrats, compared with just 25.1 percent who are Republicans. That’s a major advantage. And among these non-midterm voters who have voted in North Carolina so far, 87 percent of them are youth (under 35), African-American, Latino or new registrants (registered after the 2008 election).
All Voters: Among all voters, Democrats have a 10.7 point advantage over Republicans. Just under half (49.6 percent) of voters who have cast ballots are Democrats, while just 38.9 percent are Republicans. In the only two states--Colorado and Florida--where Republicans lead right now in total ballots cast, Democrats are cutting into traditional Republican leads there; we’re doing better today than at this point in 2008. And once in-person early voting is included (it just started in Colorado on Monday and starts in Florida this weekend), Democrats will take the lead.
The numbers are there. My worst nightmare is having Hans Von Spakovsky out there challenging voters in the swing states to try and hand an election that shouldn't even be close over to Mitt Romney.
Everyone in our household voted by absentee ballot last week. We're going to be spending Election Day and the time leading up to it getting out the vote, phone banking and doing whatever else is necessary to make sure there are no Republican challenges to this election that land in the Supreme Court.
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted announced Tuesday that he will appeal a court ruling which restored access to early voting during the three days before the election.
An appeals court ruled Friday that Ohio must treat all voters the same as it treats military members or people who live overseas. Husted called the ruling “an unprecedented intrusion by the federal courts into how states run elections” in a press release on Tuesday.
“This ruling not only doesn’t make legal sense, it doesn’t make practical sense,” Husted said. “The court is saying that all voters must be treated the same way under Ohio law, but also grants Ohio’s 88 elections boards the authority to establish 88 different sets of rules. That means that one county may close down voting for the final weekend while a neighboring county may remain open. How any court could consider this a remedy to an equal protection problem is stunning.”
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week that “while there is a compelling reason to provide more opportunities for military voters to cast their ballots, there is no corresponding satisfactory reason to prevent non-military voters from casting their ballots as well.”
President Barack Obama’s campaign and state Democrats had challenged Ohio’s effort to shorten the early voting period for those who weren’t in the military or based overseas. Early voting was available in the three day period period in 2008, and minority voters were more likely to vote during that period.
Bill Maher was back after a hiatus this Friday night and took on the issue of voter ID laws and voter suppression during his New Rules segment.
MAHER: And finally Republicans must finally quit pretending that their new voter ID laws have anything to do with fraudulent voting and instead start passing laws where if poor black people want to vote, they must first jump through an actual hoop.
And this week a judge in Pennsylvania upheld that state's new law requiring picture ID if you want to exercise your right to cast a ballot in November, affirming the efforts of Republican legislatures in many states, who have decided that there's one big problem with our democratic process – too much voting.
I know it sounds counter-intuitive. Election time used to mean get out the vote. Now it means, you're here to vote, get out. Now I know it doesn't seem like showing picture ID should be such a big deal, but it turns out one in ten Americans who used to be able to vote, could not this time under these new laws.
See, Republicans love America and cherish its ideals, so they ask themselves, what is it we have that many Democratic leaning inner city voters don't have? I know. We have photo ID, our drivers licenses and many of them don't because they're too poor to own a car.
It reminds me of the drug war where conservatives said, let's find something minorities do a lot, like smoke weed and make it illegal and one of the punishments is you lose your vote.
I could have done without the stupid Asian driving joke that followed, but he went on to make some great points about Republicans pretending to fix a problem what doesn't exist.
Maher wrapped up his segment by suggesting that if Republicans want to make it harder for minorities to vote, then the left "should make it harder for teabaggers to vote, by bringing back the literacy test."
I'm fairly sure anyone who is part of the Republican re-branding effort that calls themselves a "tea partier" will not be thrilled with Maher's remarks tonight to say the least. I'm pretty sure if asked, Maher might respond with something along the line of what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, in the words of one Rmoney, or in other words, get over it. Maher has never been too terribly concerned about "political correctness" or who he insults and tonight was no exception.
I was glad to see him bring attention to the voter suppression tactics going on across the country, which are no laughing matter.
After the Senate rejected another proposal by Republicans to make it harder for employees to form a union in their workplace, Sen. John Thune made a visit to Fox's Neil Cavuto this Tuesday to complain about those "big union bosses" getting their payback from Democrats, because heaven forbid we're not going to allow companies lots of time to intimidate, harass and potentially fire their employees who would like to unionize.
Congressional Republicans today failed in their latest attempt to roll back workers’ rights. The U.S. Senate defeated (45-54) a measure (S.J. Res. 36) to kill a new National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rule that makes modest changes in the procedures for workers who want to vote on whether to form a union. It also would have banned the NLRB from ever issuing any similar fair election rule. [...]
Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project (NELP), said of the Republican proposal:
It is disappointing that in the face of growing income inequality and stagnant wages for all but the highest earners, lawmakers would fail to stand by workers who seek only to exercise their legal rights in an atmosphere free of intimidation and retaliation.
The rule is due to take effect April 30 and it will help alleviate the delays, inefficiencies, abuse of process and unnecessary litigation that plague the current system. Under current rules, workers can be forced to wait months or even years before they are allowed to vote on joining a union and then begin bargaining for a fair contract. The new NLRB rule eliminates many of those roadblocks by reducing current delays and eliminating frivolous litigation.
Contrary to the vitriolic attacks by Republican lawmakers, the new rule does not encourage or discourage unionization and it applies to elections to form a union and elections to decertify a union.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said the Republican attack on the NLRB ”is just the latest in this relentless series of nationally coordinated assaults on workers and collective bargaining rights.” [...]
In November, House Republicans approved a bill that gives employers new tools to combat and delay elections by workers who try to form unions. It was a direct response to the new NLRB election rule. The Senate didn’t take up the measure.
Congressional Republicans have made nearly 50 separate assaults on the NLRB since last year by holding hearings, issuing subpoenas and proposing bills to gut the agency’s funding and eliminate its ability to hold employers accountable for violating workers’ rights, according to American Rights at Work (ARAW). Click here for a detailed look.
Mo Brooks, my congressional representative, got special attention from Chris Matthews last night. He's not the first Alabama politician to use eliminationist rhetoric regarding the undocumented, or the worst. But this is not the representation we need in Alabama's 5th congressional district:
Brooks had a little to say about immigration at the town hall I attended a couple of weeks ago. What struck me at the time was the tone of doom he had, which was in tune with the general tone of the affair. (Click here to watch the whole thing; I dare you). Illegal aliens are out for your job and your life -- be afraid, very afraid! Because no one ever gets murdered or killed in a car wreck with an American citizen.
Tourists leaving for Egypt are warned that if they are in a car accident, they should leave the scene as soon as possible so they don't get blamed for the accident -- on the supposition that if they had not been visiting Egypt, the accident would not have happened. That is exactly the logic Mo Brooks is using. He uses anecdotal, not empirical, evidence to paint undocumented immigrants as especially violent and prone to dangerous behavior. It's an old meme, one used on people of color in times past. It's ugly. It's also completely false. Someone should put a bullet in the brainpan of this zombie idea.
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