Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Statement issued today (Oct. 22) by Ohio Governor Ted Strickland

Did you know about this?

“I am deeply troubled by the news that Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner and her family have been subjected to repeated serious threats. This sort of behavior simply has no place in a healthy democracy. I know we can all agree that, regardless of which party we belong to or which candidates we support, threatening our public officials or their family members with physical harm has no place in Ohio or America. I admire the steady resolve of Secretary Brunner and her partners at the local bipartisan boards of elections as they continue to prepare for this historic election, and I wish them well as they work to ensure that our elections are administered fairly.”

--Ohio Governor Ted Strickland.

None of this has received anything approaching proper coverage in the local media. In fact, last night, the local 11o'clock news (at least, on the channel we watch) waited until 11:15 to casually announce that the Ohio Supreme Court had dropped the latest suit against Brunner (which would have required challenging all newly-registered voters from early 2008 on!).

Then again, at least they covered it.

Meanwhile, the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch has endorsed McCain, whom they feel is up to dealing with the great challenges that lie ahead. Why? Because he was a POW, why else? Did you even need to ask?

The country is in a big mess, they acknowledge. Yeah, and it's in that mess because of George W. Bush.

And who did the Dispatch endorse in 2000 and 2004? Right! George W. Bush.

The 'Patch also warns against a situation in which the Democrats control the House and Senate and have a man in the White House. A situation that was just fine with them when Republicans enjoyed it.

Speaking of shilling for the GOP, the 'Patch has been keeping up with a local story involving thirteen people who came to Ohio to get out the vote (something Repubs disapprove of, especially when the election's this close), even while it gives precious little coverage to the GOP vote-suppress-athon. Their right-wing--I mean, nonpartisan--political cartoonist of little talent, Jeff Stahler, recently drew a panel which depicted a dog wearing "I Voted" sticker. In the background is a newspaper headline reading "Voting Fraud Alleged." See the offensive cartoon here, if only to prove to yourself I'm not making this up: Voting--a big joke, to some.

Yeah, Dispatch. The war on Ohio's voters is hilarious, isn't it?

Ohio's not the ultra-conservative place it's fabled to be, but it is dull and uninvolved. With a streak of nastiness. Maybe it's this dull, nasty disposition that makes us such an easy mark for GOP evil. I tend to think so.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Our precious American right to vote vs. database field mismatches. Guess which issue takes precedence?

The voter-suppression-athon in progress is one that's happening across the country, of course, though Ohio (as usual) is getting most of the attention. Which is great, so long as people are paying attention and getting very, very concerned.

And they are. I think. Maybe. (Public? Hello? Wakey-wakey time.)

Wow. Talk about a deep sleep. Anyway, no sooner had the marvelous Jennifer Brunner, our wonderful Secretary of State, won the U.S. Supreme Court case, the Repubs--oh, I'm sorry, a private (and, no doubt, highly and legitimately concerned) citizen--filed a lawsuit with the Ohio Supreme Court. This article supplies many details:

The despicable, thuggish, un-American notion underlying such actions? Nothing less than a presumption to defraud on the part of the American voting public. It's that simple, and that blatant. In other words, any American who registers, or has ever registered, to vote is presumed to be part of a conspiracy to cast multiple, fraudulent votes. And for the Dems, of course. We're desperate, you know, to get that Arab, socialist, tax-raising terrorist lover into office so he can destroy America, or whatever it is he's planning to do to OUR country--so insist Palin-McCain and the GOP.

Is such a bigoted and idiotic notion buried in laughter whenever it's aired? Well, no, because it's coming from the right. If the right insisted that 17-foot jelly doughnut creatures from Pluto were breaking into the homes of true, red-blooded Americans and taking their guns, the right to breathe would be suspended until an act was passed to send soldiers into space to fight the menace.

The Halt America's Vote Act (HAVA) provides the perfect cover for this Jim-Crow-esque behavior, since it all comes down to data-field mismatches. (As if.) Think about it--our right to vote apparently stands on such shaky, uncertain ground that a data-field mismatch can leave it in doubt. Our most precious and important right is optional. Subject to suspension or denial. And all because the Republicans insist, without a shred of evidence, that a mass conspiracy is afoot.

No, ACORN is not evidence of a mass conspiracy. The burden of proof for a huge, nationwide plot to defraud at the polls is not remotely met by the fact that ACORN has collected fake registrations. No matter how obsessively the right treats the ACORN situation like the End of Life As We True-Blooded Americans (sorry about the rest of us) Know It.

The moral of this sorry story should be very clear--when the public stops caring about its most precious right, that precious right can, and will, be taken away.

It's that simple. The Republicans get away with this stuff because, as a group, we LET them.

Oh, for the day (if it ever existed) when the American people imagined they had rights. And stood up for them.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Ohio GOP is on the case

Shocking news from the "battleground" state of Ohio (where I reside)--people are registering to vote! Can you believe it?

What's more, some of them are taking the next step and voting!

Luckily, the Ohio GOP is on the case, playing games via the voter-suppression measure called the Help America Vote Act, which requires that new registrants have their info matched against state and federal records. The latter, if things don't line up state-wise.

Ain't that great. Voting is such a precious, fundamental right, no? So precious that it comes down to a database match. If this keeps up, other precious American rights--home ownership, for instance--may come down to a data field in doubt. "Sorry, but we've got to take your home, car, and the children. Data base mismatch."

And, so, the Ohio Republican Party has gone to a federal court to complain that people are voting. And, because they're Republicans, they're being (pick one) A) told to get a life, B) laughed at, C) razzed by the citizens of this great state, or D) getting their way, as usual.

D? How did you guess!!

Leethinks that his party (the Democratic Party) should take a break from bashing religion and making fun of Sarah Palin's "folksy" asides to look into this latest assault on voters. That's a big sacrifice, yes, but class- and faith-bashing are always going to be there--our right to vote may not. And, remember--the Hinder--er, Help America Vote Act is nationwide. It's not just Ohio and Florida and a few other reluctant-to-speak-up spots. It's everywhere.

Meanwhile, our Secretary of State, Jennifer Brunner (a Dem) states, "I don't know when it became vogue to put fear into the voting process, except if you don't want people to vote." My memory tells me it's been years. Eight, at least.

Anyway, the Columbus Dispatch reports that "The Ohio Republican Part asked a federal court on Sunday to force Brunner to identify mismatches since Jan. 1 and try to resolve any discrepancies before the Nov. 4 election." Yes, sir--our fine Republicans, using our tax dollars wisely and frugally, as ever. Here in Ohio, there's no money for most things, but apparently we've got the time and dough to investigate database-field discrepancies with less than a month to go before the big day. Far out.

In its court filing, the on-the-case GOP said: "This is no mere technicality; it is the cornerstone of American democracy that every qualified voter should vote, but that persons who are not qualified voters should not vote." Wise users of public dough AND super-patriots. Wow. I'm impressed.

Yeah, the problem of people lying and cheating to get into the voting booth is about as massive as the issue of cat-shelter break-ins. Maybe the GOP can look into that when it's finished "helping" America vote. They can issue a statement about the problem of emptied-out cat shelters and long lines of Americans waiting in the cold and rain, and in vain, for a used feline.

Anyway, the bombs are dropping--must take cover. I hate living in a battleground state. It's hell on property rates, even when the market isn't tanking.