Drinking the ACORN Kool-Aid: Who Said You Could Vote the GOP Out??

28 10 2008

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and co-author summarize their hard-hitting, eye-opening investigation here; you can download their Rolling Stone article plus a comic book voter guide free (or make a donation) at StealBackYourVote.org:

The Republicans have created an obstacle course of barriers designed to suppress the vote, purge tens of thousands of Democratic voters from voting rolls, create mayhem and delay at voting venues on Election Day, and stop millions of votes from being counted this election cycle.

Jailed GOP activist Jack Abramoff and his fellow convict, Congressman Bob Ney, wrote the most sinister provisions of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) which Congress passed in 2002 creating a series of diabolically cunning new voting impediments. HAVA, for example, allows state voting officials to purge tens of thousands of voters from the polls using algorithms and voter ID requirements that disproportionately disenfranchise black, Hispanic and minority voters, and other Democratic demographics including senior citizens and young people.

In 2004, highly organized GOP tacticians helped disenfranchise no less than 2.7 million American voters. Almost a million of them were African Americans. The U.S. Election Assistance Commission has found black voters were nine times more likely to have their votes discarded than white voters and that over one-third of the million provisional ballots cast in 2004 — ballots handed disproportionately to African Americans — were never counted but simply thrown into dumpsters.

In a technique known as “caging” RNC operatives send millions of first class letters to black voters across the country marked ‘do not forward.’ Republican operatives armed with lists then invade black precincts on Election Day to challenge those voters whose letters were returned to the RNC because the voter was not home to sign when the mail arrived. That tactic deliberately targets black voters, resurrecting Old Dixie’s Jim Crow procedures designed to rid the lists of black voters and create long lines in black precincts.

In this election, new HAVA mandates permit voting officials to precisely match registration form information with the voter’s driver’s license and Social Security application. While it may sound reasonable, in practice, any change, even a dropped hyphen, is cause for eliminating the voter from the rolls. Since 2004, Colorado’s Republican Secretaries of State have purged one out of every five voters from the rolls. The current Secretary of State, Mike Coffman, a Republican also running for office, recently purged an additional 37,000 voters and discarded 6,400 new voter registrations — overwhelmingly Democratic — based upon an obscure technical mistake that Coffman’s office encouraged voters to make in the first place.

The GOP “anti-fraud” campaign resulted in one in nine New Mexico Democratic voters finding their names had disappeared from voter roles during this year’s caucus.

Despite a recent Supreme Court decision upholding Ohio’s refusal to disenfranchise 200,000 legitimate voters based on this absurd demand to “match” voter names to databases, White House operatives are still fighting to purge these names from the rolls. President George Bush last week personally asked his Attorney General Mike Mukasey to renew Republican efforts to disenfranchise these voters.

Contrary to Mr. McCain’s assertions, the real threat to democracy is from the GOP itself. ACORN has served as a good distraction from Republican efforts to steal the vote from hundreds of thousands of legitimate voters, a genuine threat that has received almost no media attention.

They’re stealing your vote, but you can steal it back. Here are some steps you should take to protect your vote. First, avoid the November 4th minefield. Voters, wherever possible, should vote early and in person. Where feasible, avoid mailing in your ballot, many are rejected for flimsy reasons, and first time voters in many states must include a photocopy of ID. However, if you have a mail-in ballot, don’t throw it away. Follow directions, use the correct postage (that’s an error that cost a hundred thousand votes last time) and, if possible, walk it in to your elections office.

At the polling station, should you find yourself one of the 2.7 million purged, or your ID rejected, then do your best to resist a “provisional” ballot–one third of which are not counted. Return with proper ID, or call 1-800-OUR VOTE for legal assistance. And never just walk away discouraged. That’s just what they want you to do.

And once America gets that taken care of, I say we should steal back home education too.

I’m not convinced that parents advocating for “education” freedom really have an “education” advocacy. Strip away all the religious code and delegitimizing secular government including taxes, and it’s hard to find anything I (as education policy professional) recognize as being about actual education.

Joe Biden Monday morning gave a speech that referenced this whole historical issue of dividing us on purpose, scaring us into feeling someone wants to hurt our individual freedom, while persistently distracting us from what really matters to our own lives and families and communities.

He said that “they” — forces of the status quo who want to keep real power from real people — attacked Jefferson as not being a real Christian, Abraham Lincoln for wanting to take away individual rights, FDR claiming he would destroy the American system of life, and JFK as a dangerous choice in difficult times.

And then he asked: “Sound familiar?”

Why do so many people keep falling for it, from the founding of the nation right up to this morning? The answers lie in cognitive psychology, not political debate about taxes and parties. See how confirmation bias for example, blocks actual understanding and leaves one so sure — and WRONG — with no path forward.

Not a good public impression for home education parents asserting their own competence, imo.

The most stressful moment of my life was my doctoral dissertation defense. For two hours, a committee of people who already hold PhDs in the subject do their level best to make you screw up, to reveal gaping holes in your knowledge of the field. . . always with an eye to protecting their field from poseurs.

. . .[T]he whole purpose of the grueling, humiliating dissertation defense is to find these people out and show them the door.

Political campaigns at their best serve the same purpose, ferreting out candidates who are clueless. . .

For example, Dr. Daryl Cobranchi and Dr. JJ Ross are homeschooling parents who also know the challenge of successfully defended dissertations. (The 2008 Democratic ticket has three juris doctor degrees plus one education doctorate between candidates and spouses.)

If defending our freedom is the real goal, home education parents could use much more public credibility, not even less than we have left:

She kids us not! Fruit flies! What kind of stupid science is that?

The, uh…scientific kind. The smart and useful kind. . . fruit flies are the single most studied organism on the planet. . .It’s not okay for a potential policymaker to state an intention to foist breathtaking ignorance of the most basic science on the rest of us. Again.

There is irony as well. . .the fruit fly research she derides has recently provided breakthroughs in understanding autism. . . she achieves the opposite of her intended result.

This fits into a larger pattern — a world and worldview in which this kind of inside-out thinking is a way of life.

In the religiously conservative world Palin inhabits, you can be opposed to teen pregnancy, then advocate abstinence-only sex ed, which increases rates of teen pregnancy.

You can oppose antisocial behaviors in children, then advocate corporal punishment, which has been shown to increase antisocial behaviors in children.

You can decry immorality in children, then advocate a commandment-based authoritarian moral education, which reseach has shown to “actually interfere with moral development” (Nucci, et al.) more than any other approach.

Now imagine instead a person who wants all the same things — meaningful and useful science, a reduction in teen pregnancy, and kids who are well-behaved and moral — but goes beyond what “seems” right to find out what we’ve actually learned, through careful research, about genetics, teen pregnancy, and moral development.

Then vote for that person.

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18 responses

29 10 2008
JJ

It’s not that Republicans are genetically dangerous, of course. 😉
We the people of good will for one another CAN come together across party lines for real change, for real good, as One Country.

Miami Herald

Gov. Charlie Crist proved his mettle as the People’s Governor when he moved Tuesday to expand hours at jammed early-voting sites across Florida — even at the risk that Democrats could benefit more than candidates in his own Republican Party.

”This is not a political decision,” Crist said after signing the emergency order extending daily voting to 12 hours, from eight, until this weekend. “This is a people decision. . . . I’m elected as the governor of Florida, and I took an oath to carry out the Constitution for all the people of the state.”

Statesman trumps politician.

This is why Crist’s popularity remains strong among voters, including Democrats and independents. It’s the Charlie I’ve known and liked for years — populist, though always driven by the bottom line.

Earlier this month, the conservative Cato Institute, a Washington think tank, gave Crist an A for his tax-slashing ways. (Of course, there’s not a governor in the country who hasn’t had to deal with dwindling revenues in the tanking economy, but Crist got noticed.)

. . .Charlie’s no pit bull and he doesn’t wear lipstick, though his Greek heritage gives him a fabulous year-round tan. Ah, well. Wasn’t good enough for McCain, who picked Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

It would have been a whole other race if Charlie were on the ticket, but that’s McCain’s loss. Crist gets what’s at stake in this election. It’s about having every eligible vote count. After the mess of 2000, every Floridian regardless of party should have learned that.

Democracy is only as strong as our elected officials who ensure laws are followed and act quickly to ameliorate harm when emergencies arise. . .

29 10 2008
Crimson Wife

Funny, both my DH and I have had to cast provisional ballots because of screw-ups by the county elections office and we’re white and upper-middle-class. It’s not some sinister conspiracy that’s behind the overwhelming majority of these types of incidents but rather the sheer incompetence of the bureaucrats. I spent quite a bit of time during the five years I was an Army wife dealing with the idiotic mistakes made by civil servants who had little incentive to do a decent job since they had lifetime tenure and got paid simply based on years of service rather than performance.

29 10 2008
JJ

The facts from Kennedy’s investigation say the overwhelming majority of voter suppression is caused by the sinister (cynical at least) conspiracy. Not bureaucratic error.

29 10 2008
Crimson Wife

Can RFK Jr. back up his claims with any OBJECTIVE documentation? The kind, say, that would hold up under judicial scrutiny? If so, he needs to be presenting them to the appropriate authorities. If not, then they’re nothing but propaganda…

30 10 2008
JJ

He needs to be ready to win a court case (I expect he is, actually) or it’s all propaganda, but you know OBJECTIVELY with no investigation or evidence, just by your own family’s personal experience with bureaucrats?
Really CW, you usually make a more plausible argument than that! 😀

21 06 2011
JJ

So here in 2011, the worm has turned and so has Florida government, into something sinister in easily seen and documented ways. Governor Fraud himself has been elected and overt evidence that the GOP intends to suppress the vote in every possible state, using every means fair and unfair, is stacking up — perhaps even enough to give CW pause — including that which tags as NOWHERE documented, the claim that evermore voter restrictions are needed to deal with rampant national voter fraud supposedly documented in a cited (just never produced) 1984 grand jury report:

Election Expert Can’t Find Report On 1984 Voter Impersonation Case Cited By von Spakovsky:

A prominent law professor who writes about election law wants to know where former Bush administration official Hans von Spakovsky got a copy of a 1984 grand jury report that he used in an article about the threat of voter impersonation fraud.

In a 2008 report for the Heritage Foundation titled “Stolen Identities, Stolen Votes: A Case Study In Voter Impersonation” and in a companion Fox News op-ed, von Spakovsky used the grand jury document to cite cases “well within living memory” that took place between 1968 and 1982. . .

“It’s trying to put it in the context of what’s actually out there in terms of the actual evidence to see this and voter ID laws,” Hasen said. “I’m trying to get a little deeper and tell the story of the people behind this and get what their motivations might be.”

He hopes to get the book out ahead of the 2012 election “to get people thinking about when there are claims against ACORN and ACORN no longer exists, what’s this all about?”

In the car this morning I heard a snatch of the Diane Rehm Show in which one guest was citing this same report as ample evidence of voter fraud. The voice also described some big 1984 case in NY state. I had to go inside a shop before the other guest responded and I just got home — off to find more . . .

4 09 2011
JJ

Much worse now since it was a problem back then, in Florida and just about everywhere. Here in September 2011, Rolling Stone updates the conspiracy and fingers its chief funders:

The GOP War on Voting
In a campaign supported by the Koch brothers, Republicans are working to prevent millions of Democrats from voting next year

. . .Republicans have long tried to drive Democratic voters away from the polls. “I don’t want everybody to vote,” the influential conservative activist Paul Weyrich told a gathering of evangelical leaders in 1980. “As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”

But since the 2010 election, thanks to a conservative advocacy group founded by Weyrich, the GOP’s effort to disrupt voting rights has been more widespread and effective than ever. In a systematic campaign orchestrated by the American Legislative Exchange Council – and funded in part by David and Charles Koch, the billionaire brothers who bankrolled the Tea Party – 38 states introduced legislation this year designed to impede voters at every step of the electoral process.

All told, a dozen states have approved new obstacles to voting.

5 09 2011
bpbproadrunner

Ick! Weyrich–

Brings back ugly memories that name does.

2008, GOP chapters all over the country tried to introduce laws that prevented newly foreclosed upon Citizens to loose their rights to Vote.

So None of this surprises me at all.

5 09 2011
JJ

Beep, you live among low-information folks, I take it? Yet you know so much that could help if we could figure out some ways to start getting it out there, to reach some of them through a crack or two. Do you have thoughts about how that might be approached successfully?

5 09 2011
JJ

I am NOT an low-information voter. Yet this is becoming my new mantra, too, something I have to remind myself every day and even more than once a day since the debt ceiling debacle:

And never just walk away discouraged. That’s just what they want you to do.

5 09 2011
JJ

For much of the American mainstream, there’s very likely an assumption that voters can choose between a center-left party and a center-right party, because this assumption was generally accurate for several generations. It’s past time for the mainstream to realize this is simply no longer true. Those who have any doubts should apparently talk to Mike Lofgren.

Washington Monthly column highlighting voter suppression and other strategies detailed in “Reflections of GOP Operative Who Left the Cult” at TruthOut dot com.

6 09 2011
bpbproadrunner

I love Truthout. That’s a good site. Yes, I live with people who are low-information. I have tried to be a source of information, but so many will look me straight in the eye, and say something to the effect of: “I don’t worry about that sort of thing, nothing I can do about it, it just makes me unhappy, so I ignore politics…yadda yadda yadda.”

*sigh*

I live in a red state to boot. So If I post this sort of thing for the locals, they just say I am a conspiracy theorist or some such, a “latte drinking librul” and then it sort of goes down hill from there.

Every once in a great while, I come into contact with someone who has a brain AND a desire to use it. Maybe they don’t agree with my politics, but at least they can recognize when laws are broken or ethics are being violated, and I have a tiny moment of Zen, and then it’s over.

Leaving the Cult are exactly the right words. –But where I live, Dems adhere to their own stereotypes. For thinking people–“Faith in Stereotypes” is a bad thing because it suggests a brain that is not being used at full capacity. I think they get into the habit because they are outnumbered and it’s just easier that way. They are in knee Jerk Mode.

6 09 2011
JJ

I’m not either one btw, not in Party Mode. I used to call it post-partisan but lately I’ve worried that perhaps I am pre-partisan instead, one of the last to be dragged into division and opposition and to abandon mutual enlightened self-interest.

Well, not the very last. The President will still be behind me to turn out the lights.

6 09 2011
bpbproadrunner

In Oklahoma you have to register with a party or you cannot vote in the primaries.

I don’t think that’s right, but if you want to vote in the primaries you have to pick one.

6 09 2011
JJ

Yes. No different here. I don’t get to vote in primaries because I refuse to participate in the partitioning (that’s where the word party comes from, not from whooping it up!) of the people by privately run power structures that are in fact not constitutional creatures.

The larger concern is that two-sided partitioning as a governing structure, benefits from polarizing views and blocking the collective wisdom. We do NOT benefit; in fact we lose, over and over and over. In other words its nature is counterproductive to what it claims to do for us as “we the people.” I feel about our party system of politics very much the way I feel about our adversarial justice system. It’s better than actual war but it’s perversely fake, like “balance” in a news story by setting up two equal sides when really, there’s only one dangerous kook and then reality. Forcing that fake kind of balance is so much less than we need for the enlightened 21st century, all of us knowing ahead of time that it’s more likely to yield some lowest common denominator as the result, rather than the truth or the most qualified candidate or even the people’s choice — and yet we shrug our shoulders and say, but that’s the way it is and it can’t change and what are you gonna do? We have to go beat those other guys, wait’ll next year! Like it was football.

6 09 2011
JJ

Of course in so many states it won’t matter anyway. In Florida the voting districts and primary schedule and early vote days and open registration and ballot counting, etc etc all have become so party-war manipulated (even before Citizens United which just means it’s all directly for sale and I can’t afford the buy-in) that we hardly pretend elected officials are “legitimate” representatives of the people anymore.

6 09 2011
bpbproadrunner

I have never been challenged at the ballot box. But I figure I wouldn’t be. Being a homeschooler I can go when most other people are at work, and [this is a sad statement about our country], I am pretty sure no one would challenge me simply because I am White. 😦 Not the way I would have it, but that seems to be the direction things are going in these days. Backwards to Jim Crow days.

12 09 2011
JJ

Rolling Stone: Congress Investigates GOP War on Voting

Congress is, belatedly, starting to pay attention, and yesterday afternoon Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, held a hearing on “New State Voting Laws: Barriers to the Ballot?”

“I am deeply concerned by this coordinated, well-funded effort to pass laws that could have the impact of suppressing votes in some states,” said Durbin . . .

Under questioning from Durbin, von Spakovsky did admit that the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative advocacy group funded in part by the Koch brothers, was a major player behind the new photo ID laws. “Senator, they have a lot of model bills they recommend to their legislators,” von Spakovsky said.

“I’ll take that as a yes,” Durbin responded.

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