Reading at the Crossroads

Reading at the Crossroads is an archive for columns and letters which appeared in the Terre Haute Tribune Star. I also blog here when my patience is exhausted by what I feel is irritating, irrational and/or ironic in life. --gary daily

My Photo
Location: Terre Haute, Indiana, United States

The material I post on this blog represents my views and mine alone. The material you post on this blog represents your views and yours alone.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Stealing Votes Republican Style

With the McBush campaign going up in flames, buckets of this rancid, meaningless bilge is the only response they have left.

43 people in Lake County, Indiana, were charged and convicted of Voter Fraud—all Democrats. ACORN—a group with strong ties to Barack Obama, has registered thousands of illegal aliens as voters—Mickey Mouse has been registered more than 2,800 times, along with a 7-year-old girl in Connecticut, by ACORN workers.

Scary, right. Well that's what it has come to now that McBush is on the edge of losing the 2008 election--scare tactics.

The Republican strategy in regard to the boogey-man of voter fraud is as transparent as Sarah Palin returning her millionaire wardrobe to the fancy stores where the RNC regularly shops. One strategy, let’s call it The Issues , has failed miserably for McBush. So now it’s on to phase 2 of gutter politics. Ayers didn’t seem to have legs. Calling Obama a “socialist” who wants to “spread the wealth” didn’t catch on. (Partially thanks to the Palin/RNC luxury shopping spree with the wives of the rich and infamous and greedy.)

So that leaves Acorn and the exaggerated claims of vote fraud being wildly waved at the electorate. In pure Bush/Rove fashion (We all remember WMDs, right?), we have unsubstantiated fear mongering about how Acorn is stealing the election. This is the old Bush pre-emptive strike method, election style. The cynical design is to circulate and sow fear and trembling into the hearts and minds of all who support honest and fair elections. Mainly, keep down the voter turnout which, of course, translates into keeping the Democratic and swing voters from voting.

Here's a report you won't hear or see from the MSM on the very nervous, very desperate right. Perhaps some concerned voter would care to challenge the facts in this story.

Alexander Keyssar, a voting expert at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and the author of “The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States,” suggested another possible strategic reason for Mr. McCain’s comments: an effort to “reinforce an image of the Democrats, or at least some Democrats, as the party that, A, will steal elections, and B, will steal elections by somehow mobilizing this threatening nameless mass of people who are ‘other,’ ” a reference to the mostly minority and low-income people registered in drives like Acorn’s.

Acorn said that of its faulty registrations, 20 percent to 25 percent were probably the result of duplications, 5 percent were incomplete and 1 percent to 1.5 percent were fraudulent.

Voting rights advocates say that there is no correlation between fraudulent registrations and fraudulent voting and that past elections have shown little evidence of actual voter fraud. While it does occur, they say, it is hardly rampant.

After the 2004 election in Ohio, for example, the Brennan Center found a voter fraud rate of .00004 of a percent, saying, “Americans are struck and killed by lightning about as often.”

So that’s the last ditch, in the ditch, McBush BS strategy to clog the polls and disenfranchise voters through intimidation, innuendo and, most of all, the creation of long-lines at the polls on election day. When ten voters decide they can’t wait in line 2, 3 or 4 hours while legal, registered voters, are hassled and forced to cast provisional ballots, six of those ten are Democrats.

It worked in Ohio in 2004. So McBush is trying it again. It’s all he has going for him.

Solution: Vote early. Be patient if you're in a line--it's worth it. Don't let these scare tactics scare you.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Erratic Maverick Wanders the Range

October 20, 2008
Terre Tribune Star

Readers' Forum: Oct. 21, 2008

Do we want reason, or an erratic ‘maverick’?

mav·er·ick n. 1. An unbranded range animal, especially a calf that has become separated from its mother, traditionally considered the property of the first person who brands it.American Heritage Dictionary

It’s easy to figure out whose brand self-styled “maverick” John McCain carries. He’s supported Bush administration legislation to the tune of 90 percent with his Senate votes. The brand on this maverick is clear and deep. It reads “McBush.”

Does a career as a wandering, lowing calf shuffling about the stalls of power on the D.C. range for a long 26 years qualify McBush as a dissenting independent? All his lost looping about is just so much erratic behavior. The McBush record, recent and past, bears this out.

Is McBush against the lobbyist outlaws riding the Beltway frontier? Not really. He voted for lobbying reform, but he has a small herd of formerly high paid lobbyists on his campaign staff. Among them are John Green and Wayne Berman. They both lobbied for Fannie Mae, the unregulated and failed mortgage giant.

At age 72, with more than one of his houses down the street from Arizona retirement homes, it’s not independent to support a “patients’ bill of rights” legislation. But just don’t ask the maverick-erratic McBush if he thinks health care in this country of the aging, the infirm and the uninsured is a right. He squirms and kicks like a heifer in heat when he hears this.

In desperation, McBush’s campaign tries to lasso ’60s radical, Bill Ayers, and tie him around Barak Obama’s neck. Obama was 8 years old when Ayers went off the range of political normality. McBush embraced current radicals of the cloth, Jerry Falwell and Pastor John Hagee, during the recent primary season. He needed their stamp of approval. Falwell blamed 9/11 on gays and John Hagee called the Roman Catholic Church “the great whore.” What part of their brand is still on this maverick?

On the human and economic disaster that is the Iraq war, McBush has ranged widely. First he jumped on the brainless Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld chuck wagon to start a needless war. Then McBush, maverick-style, ran off in all directions at once on how this impossibly costly war was being fought. Now he’s happy to set up camp for “50 to 100 years” in Iraq’s bloody desert pasture. But don’t ask him whether or not this endless war should have been started in the first place. That question is beyond the barbwire fence of his campaign “victory” sloganeering. Not up for “straight talk” discussion.

How did McBush go about making his first significant decision as the potential president of the United States? McBush chose his vice presidential running mate in the blink of an eye and the nod of his head. If McBush is elected, Sarah Palin is a heartbeat away from the most powerful office in the world. Too much locoweed in this maverick’s diet? Or was this a calculated and cynical political move by McBush that ignored the nation’s well-being?

Obama and McBush both wave the banner of “change.” Shouldn’t change be based on carefully reasoned decision-making in the White House? Or should we trust to the leadership of a self-styled erratic maverick stumbling along the trail?

Vote on Nov. 4, 2008.

No Reason to Be Confident and Many Reasons Not to Be

The following timely warning comes from MoveOn. It deserves your attention.

If you're an Obama supporter, watching the polls or reading the news can feel pretty good right now. And we should feel good—progressives have worked hard to get this far!

But we can't listen to the pundits who say it's over. Can you share these "Top 5 reasons Obama supporters shouldn't rest easy" with your blog readers—and encourage them to volunteer for Obama between now and Election Day?


1. The polls may be wrong. This is an unprecedented election. No one knows how racism may affect what voters tell pollsters—or what they do in the voting booth. And the polls are narrowing anyway. In the last few days, John McCain has gained ground in most national polls, as his campaign has gone even more negative.

2. Dirty tricks. Republicans are already illegally purging voters from the rolls in some states. They're whipping up hysteria over ACORN to justify more challenges to new voters. Misleading flyers about the voting process have started appearing in black neighborhoods. And of course, many counties still use unsecure voting machines.

3. October surprise. In politics, 15 days is a long time. The next McCain smear could dominate the news for a week. There could be a crisis with Iran, or Bin Laden could release another tape, or worse.

4. Those who forget history... In 2000, Al Gore won the popular vote after trailing by seven points in the final days of the race. In 1980, Reagan was eight points down in the polls in late October and came back to win. Races can shift—fast!

5. Landslide. Even with Barack Obama in the White House, passing universal health care and a new clean-energy policy is going to be hard. Insurance, drug and oil companies will fight us every step of the way. We need the kind of landslide that will give Barack a huge mandate.

We're just two weeks away from turning the page on the Bush era—but we can't afford to take our eye off the prize. We've got to keep pushing until the very end.