Saturday, October 06, 2012

$75 Billion U.S. Surplus For September!! Democrats, As Usual, Better at Deficit Reduction

Hoomai29 at DKos gives us the rundown on a very good surplus from September.     

Sat Oct 06, 2012 

The climb out of Bush's almost impossibly deep hole is getting easier--not easy, but easier. Beyond the wonderful news that the 2012 deficit was $207 Billion less than projected as admirably covered in Vyan's diary, the US government was in the BLACK for September for just the second time since the economic crash of 2008.

We weren't just a little in the black either, we were $75 Billion dollars in the black!

According to the Congressional Budget Office the September $75 billion surplus was a good part of the reason that 2012 full-year fiscal deficit was $1.09 trillion, compared with a previous projection of a $1.327 trillion deficit for fiscal 2012 made by the CBO in February 2012.
The September surplus was just the second month in the black for the U.S. government since September 2008, when the country was in the throes of a financial crisis. The September data was buoyed by strong quarterly corporate income tax payments and $7 billion from the sale of shares in bailed-out insurer American International Group.The
Reuters story also said the U.S. Deficit was "about 7 percent of U.S. economic output, down from 8.7 percent in 2011, 9 percent in 2010 and 10.1 percent in 2009." So, while we're not there yet, we are getting there-- steadily, intently and now a little faster than we anticipated.

But one of the often overlooked realities to the deficit reduction challenge is just how TERRIBLE the Republicans are at actually stopping deficit spending.

Zero for twenty? Yes. Zero for twenty! More after the fold.


Republicans' $12 Trillion Dollar Debt

CBO 2012 Revenue and Expenditures Chart

Thank you for the Rec!

Since this diary's going to be around for a while, it's worth expanding it to look at Bill Clinton's DNC comments about Republicans and the deficit. (BTW, Bloomberg's fact checker found no significant errors with his speech.)

Here's what President Clinton said about the deficit he inherited from Bush Sr. and the surplus he passed on to President Bush the Junior.

"Don’t you ever forget when you hear them talking about this that Republican economic policies quadrupled the national debt before I took office, in the 12 years before I took office — (applause) — and doubled the debt in the eight years after I left, because it defied arithmetic."

But the lack of honesty about U.S. debt and their ongoing deficits is even more astonishing than President Clinton's remarks:


Republicans are zero for twenty since fiscal year 1978. (Democrats are 5 for 15 in balancing budgets during the same time. Carter balanced three budgets. Clinton balanced two, and was barely off in two more.)

In fact no Republican has balanced a budget since Dwight Eisenhower's last budget in 1961.

So when Romney starts talking about how he's going to balance the budget, here's our talking point.

Since 1978, Republicans and supply economics are zero for twenty in balancing budgets. There's no magic. It just doesn't, ever, work.


Family Budgets, Bain Capital and Jesus in SC

  do you want to know just how bad the Republican Party and their corporate backers are fucking up the poor and the middle-class in America?  Then look no further than the state of South Carolina as an example of Republican/corporate corruption and the dismantling of Democracy.

   From wjhamilton29464, a Family Court lawyer in South Carolina, who posted the day after the debate:

Yesterday evening the President of the United States attempted to walk a blurred line between perception and reality which the Republicans have been smudging since Richard Nixon took office in 1968, Reagan nearly obliterated and W. Bush finally utterly ignored.  That line is the reality that the policies of our government and the practices of our private sector define the quality of life that ordinary Americans can achieve.  The “American Dream” of wasteful, indulgent consumerism is always uphill towards a bigger house, a more expensive car and more junk to stuff in our closets.  It is always uphill and favors the hard working and diligent.  However, the steepness of that hill is set in the halls of Congress and the boardrooms of Wall Street.

This election is about weather what happens in the halls of Congress and our nation’s capital will merge with the relentless machinery of the banks and corporations to grind the American Middle Class, over the next generation or two, down to the misery that is the life of slave laborers in China.  It is an 70 year, three generation project we are already one generation into.  I can document the progress of that struggle, line by line, in my work as a Family law attorney in South Carolina.

The attack on the middle class cannot be found in the tax code, union busting or the banking regulations which blew an economy up on debt and sucked the wealth of the middle class to the Cayman Island.  It is a death of a thousand cuts enabled by the willingness of ordinary Americans to be distracted, medicated and shamed into submission by the weary club of dishonest jingoism wrapped in our tattered flag.  It is a battle working Americans such as the ones I have represented in Family Court for a generation now lose ten dollars at a time.

Read on to find out how your struggle is reflected in the struggles of the families I encounter in my legal practice, ensnared in delusions they can escape and an economy the Government refuses to control on their behalf.

In every legal action filed in the South Carolina Family Court, both parties, husbands, wives, grandparents and other relatives, are required to file a detailed family budget called a Financial Declaration.  Many people in our poorly educated state are utterly incapable of doing this so it falls on me to assist them, line by line, in what may be the only detailed examination of their Financial Status anyone will ever work out for them.  After that we fight over who pays the debts, child support and gets the remaining property.  Up until five years ago, we used to fight over the equity in the house, the savings and the pension plans but that grows increasingly rare every day.

I represent both the prosperous and the poor; Republicans and Democrats; men, women and children in a state where Democrats have been driven from political power, unions wield little influence and a rising flood of out of state money dominates our politics. 

South Carolina is not stuck in the past.  It and a handful of other relatively poor states where politics can be waged cheaply are being shaped into models for a future dominated by the power of concentrated wealth from out of state. 

In South Carolina low costs of political campaigns, racial division, a heritage of slavery and plantation labor and militarism allow the Koch Brothers and smaller players like Howard Rich to secure control of seats in our legislature for tens of thousands of dollars.  They use operatives placed in our Governor’s office to run state government on a day to day basis, gradually transitioning these “volunteers” of the payroll of some right wing political group into paid State positions.  They picked and paid for our Governor. The details being emailed to her "assistants" from ALEC and the Heritige Foundation are of no interest to the Governor.  Our Governor is flying around the country wearing short suits and SPANX in other people's jets.  Endless numbers of eager conservatives are in the pipeline to replace and supplement them.  She's happy to serve them, "having a ball."  She is Sarah Palin 2.0 beta testing the model for your state's first Republican robot Governor.

Dedicated lifelong conservatives from South Carolina with the state’s own interests in mind are sidelined, retired early or threatened into submission. Last week the Governor helped set up a new Super PAC to attack her Republican opponents with 750 thousand dollars from five out of state donors.  The hapless Democratic Party, champions of Alvin Greene and proud sponsors of over 125 candidates stricken from the 2012 ballot by botched filing procedures struggle in irrelevance.  The national Obama campaign has given up the state for dead, mining it for contributions and volunteers to deploy to North Carolina.  Democratic campaign offices here have no Tshirts, no yard signs, no buttons and no bumper stickers.  There is no printed literature with colorful pictures of the president.  Campaigns are about phone banking and road trips North, every moment of which pounds in the grinding realization that we are irrelevant.  It is destroying the remaining liberal and progressive base here.

Our state has been lost to the right wing Republican plan for America’s future and nearly everyone is attempting to avoid admitting it.

In the line items Financial Declarations I help prepare, file and read in Family Court, I can document the grinding down of the Middle class in my state, a process men like Mitt Romney have been happy to drive.

Lagging wages are the first cause.  I have seen rent rise from from 300 dollars a month to 900 for a modest two room apartment.  Wages have only doubled.  No one carries the cause of the working class to the companies who hire or the government agencies responsible for economic development.  We persist in promising cheap labor to the world.  We have seen our once massive textile industry offshore.

Jjobs are recruited at a huge, often hidden cause.  After the Union at the local Boeing contractor’s facility was decertified, the state legislature held a special session to approve unknown subsidies for a much larger plant here paying a fraction of what Boeing employees earned near Seattle.  Grants, subsidies and tax breaks for this plant were hidden around government like Easter Eggs: road construction, job training, special tax districts, low interest government guaranteed loans and land sold at below market value.  The impacts on the middle class show up as lower wages, less money for the school district, higher costs for government services elsewhere, deferred infrastructure maintenance.  Of course all of this was driven by the terror that someone would underbid South Carolina in the race to the bottom.

Every August parents pay hundreds of dollars in school fees and deliver a box of supplies to school purchased at their own expense.  The total cost of this climbs every year.  Field trips now cost money as does every sport or extra curricular activity.  Fundraising dominates PTA concerns, now paying for library books, school nurses, language teachers and art teachers.  Wealthy public schools were able to accumulate endowments when the economy was fat.  Now the fundraising auctions which used to generate fifty thousand dollars or more, struggle to raise ten from a thin economy.  Ultimately this money largely comes out of the pockets of parents.

As pressure to cut taxes has been gratified by Republicans fess have increased throughout Government.  The filing fee for an ordinary uncontested divorce case has risen from 25 to 150 dollars and a new 25 dollar fee is due for every motion filed, even uncontested ones.  Originally this money was earmarked to put recently retired judges on the bench to cut backlogs, but they’ve largely disappeared while the fees have stayed.  Traffic tickets, building permits and rental fees to use once free public meeting facilities and parks have multiplied.  Bus fare on our transit system has risen from 50 cents to $1.75.  Fines for ordinary petty offenses have risen to over a thousand dollars.  If you are found not guilty in many cases you’ll pay over 250 dollars to get your criminal arrest record cleared.

Fees for recreation department programs and admission to county parks have risen.  Everywhere Republicans are trying to “run government like a business” while cutting taxes for the wealthy.  In our area that focused on a popular program to slash real estate taxes on expensive beach front and resort property while raising sales taxes on clothing and food.  More recently another round of property tax adjustments have cut what is paid on rental and commercial property meaning now nearly no one who is wealthy enough to own property is actually paying taxes on what their property is actually worth, even if they bought it last week.  When sales taxes fall, public transit is cut, schools are closed and grass in road medians grows five feet tall because no Government agency wants to pay a contractor to cut it.

The homeowner's insurance provided by large, politically influential corporations grows ever more expensive and provides less value.  Property insurance in our hurricane exposed area now exposes homeowners to massive deductibles and co payments.  In 1989 when Hurricane Hugo smashed the coast here, my home had a deductible of one thousand dollars and no major, relevant exclusions.  Today that deductible is over thirty thousand dollars.  Thousands of often elderly homeowner have given up covering their homes, gambling the expensive coverage now available won’t be needed.  Insurance companies contribute generously to political campaigns at every level directly and through interest groups.  Republican administrated state agencies have little interest in what happens to consumers.

Heath Insurance is likewise more expensive and less voluble.  In a market and political arena dominated by Blue Cross deductibles have risen from 200 dollars a year to over a 1000 on most people's plans.  Copayments and exclusions have appeared and grown.  Of course if something serious happens, the carrier will search for some alleged preexisting condition so they can escape paying for anything.

All of these items and more show up on the Financial Declarations of the broken families I represent.  Increasingly in our traditional culture, an angry wife is lashing out at the husband and father who seems unwilling to provide the quality of life her father provided her family in 1975.  She works, paying for a vehicle, taxes and often daycare but it adds little to the family’s disposable income.  He takes odd jobs on the weekend, but it doesn’t cover the growing gap.  They’re exhausted with little time and energy for their children beyond the struggle to finish homework, school projects, fundraise and attend soccer games.  Almost none of these people have time or energy remaining for culture, political involvement or civic life.  They deeply resent those of us who do, resenting us as liberal snobs. 

For about twenty years debt and rising real estate values here in coastal South Carolina, driven by the continuous influx of wealthy retirees from the North allowed working families to hide this struggle under a rising pile of debt secured by appreciating real estate.  Families ran up lines of credit and credit cards, refinancing every few years into a new and larger mortgage.  When they could, they moved into a new and larger house so the debt monster could continue to grow.  This economy was finally supported by a desperate last few years of loans to people who could never pay them back to renovate tar paper shacks and buy the working poor minivans based on applications signed by people who didn’t understand them.  Half the people I knew were in real estate, banking or construction.  Now corporate middle management has been downsized, the big pensions are gone and the river of northern wealth headed south has dried up.

Now both the retired from elsewhere and the working locals with kids are both underwater.  There is no more money to borrow.  Dad’s weekend odd construction jobs have evaporated.  The local banks and construction companies aren’t grandstanding at the school fundraiser with a five hundred dollar check.  The fees for building permits down at Town Government have dried up.  Traffic tickets aren’t being paid.  The uninsured swamp local free clinics.  Goodwill in our once prosperous Republican town sells over 3000 items every day.

For many people, the work day has quietly expanded to nine hours or more.  Unpaid work on Saturday is now common.  They’re on salary now thanks to changes made by the Bush administration.  Staffs have been slashed and paid vacation, for those who have it, is a struggle to actually take.

I’m lucky.  I was a student of economics and history educated by pessimistic liberals in our redneck state who could see where this was going a long time ago.  My home and car are paid off.  I’ve saved.  I went  to Paris before the crash.  I resisted the pressure to leverage everything I owned to buy a house to flip seven years ago from the friendly real estate agent prepared to hook me up with a million dollar loan.  He said real estate never went down.  I replied 1931.  He's a Republican on the verge of bankruptcy who hates President Obama and attends a mega church to recruit business prospects.  We don’t talk any more. 

I provide legal services of absolute necessity which must be paid for even in the most desperate circumstances.  I treat my struggling clients well and they remember.  I now represent some of their children, whose custody I litigated twenty years ago.  I respect them.  I understand that a large part of their problem is not of their making.  I talk to them about it, but most can't accept the reality.  Their kids are different.  They hope for little.  They believe in nothing but Jesus.

More attention to the priorities of Jesus on their part won’t solve their problems despite what the teachers at the mega churches they attend say when they’re being instructed to vote Republicans so the angel of prosperity will return to America next Sunday.  A bit of attention to the priorities of Jesus, Paul Krugman or John Maynard Keynes by the men and women who rule their corporations and governments certainly would.

Last night our President listened, too patiently to Mitt Romney’s fabric of lies, woven out of the strands of delusion which have knitted in the dark halls of the right for a generation.  The President has been warned that he can’t raise the banner of class warfare.  Obama must confine this election to the safe margins of tax policy and budgets.  The President is not supposed to threaten the concentrating money at the top. He's not supposed to say that the reason you can't take your kids to the Doctor is because men exactly like Mitt Romney have rigged every economic and social transaction necessary to your survival against you because they believe you are resources to be exploited.  They have rejected the counsel of Jesus and are in league with the Devil to rob you of your rights as an American and the God given joy you are entitled to in your life.

We must remind President Obama and Mitt Romney that the miserable math of these Financial Declarations reveals a citizenry being degraded by exploitation planned in the corporate boardrooms of Wall Street, Wal-Mart and Bejing.  It is a grinding campaign of economic annialation only the Government has the power to stop.   This election is about what side our Government will be on, a choice between the priorities of women who drop their children off at daycare to work for nine hours for eight hours pay vs. women who drop in to see how their dressage horses are doing.

To pretend it is something else wont scare people, but it concedes more of the battle than is safe when the stakes are this high.

Originally posted to wjhamilton29464 on Thu Oct 04, 2012


Friday, October 05, 2012

Friday Funnies: Romney And….Big Bird?

Conan O'Brien:  "It's being reported that Mitt Romney's goal for tonight's debate is to make Barack Obama look like Jimmy Carter. Meanwhile, Barack Obama's goal is to make Mitt Romney look like Mitt Romney."

"Today was not only the first presidential debate, it was also President Obama's 20th wedding anniversary. I think the president got a little confused. At one point, he told Michelle that she was out of touch with the middle class and Romney that he looks as beautiful as the day they first met."

Jay Leno: "The presidential debates were earlier tonight, and I think most of the nation's all thinking the same thing – just one more day until Thursday Night Football."

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Mitt Romney, The Debate, and Medicare

  First off, Mitt was in school-yard bully mode during the debate with his constant interruption of President Obama and his near temper-tantrum attitude. With his constant rapid eye blinking, he looked as if he’d done an eight-ball of cocaine before hitting the stage, and he acted the same way.

   I take it that the Mormon religion does not follow “ thou shalt not bare false witness…” because Mitt did plenty of it last night. So what’s new, right?

  On Medicare

Obama: The essence of the plan is he would turn Medicare into a voucher program…

Moderator: And you don’t support that.

Obama: I don’t. And let me explain why.

Romney: [Interrupting] Again, that’s for future people…

Obama: I understand.

Romney: … not for current retirees.

Obama: So, [looks directly at T.V. audience] if you’re 54 or 55 you might want to listen, because this will affect you.

While Obama wants people to listen up, Romney actually said during the Medicare debate that people approaching retirement (whose benefits won’t change) could “stop listening” — as if being old means you’re so self-centered that you don’t care about your children’s and grandchildren’s futures, and beyond.     

But, if you were looking for substance, Romney’s not your candidate. He said things that sounded nice, such as, with him, you’ll be “free to pursue your dreams,” or he’ll “get incomes up” and cut the deficit while cutting taxes for “middle income” Americans (who, according to Romney, earn up to $250,000 per year).

However, Romney has no explanation or plan for how he will achieve any of these rosy outcomes, outside of the ubiquitous “tax cuts” for “job creators,” a myth already proven false.


Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Mitt Romney Care About The 47%, Not !

  From Jed Lewison  we get the rundown on why  Romney is not a good choice as our president for the 47%.

Mitt Romney takes his 89th position* on taxes in his latest ad, including the laughably false claim that he's the one who will ask millionaires to pay more in taxes.

The ad makes three claims: that President Obama has already raised taxes on the middle class, that Mitt Romney's plan would reduce taxes for the middle class, and that Romney's plan would crack down on millionaire tax dodgers by closing loopholes.

Let's take the claims one by one.

Claim #1: "Who will raise taxes on the middle class? Barack Obama and the liberals already have."

This claim is not true. The problem with this claim is that it focuses entirely on new taxes in Obamacare (for example, an increase in the tax on cigarettes) but ignores the fact that President Obama has cut taxes by even more. Moreover, President Obama has not increased income taxes on anybody. In aggregate, there's been a reduction in taxes not just for the middle class but for every single taxpayer, including the wealthy.

Last week, Romney himself acknowledged that Obama hadn't raised taxes. "I admit this, he has one thing he did not do in his first four years — he’s said he’s going to do in the next four years — which is to raise taxes," he said. In fact, Romney opposed many of these tax cuts, including the payroll tax holiday and the tax cuts in the stimulus bill.

Claim #2: "Mitt Romney and commonsense conservatives will cut taxes on the middle class."

The problem here is that Romney is ignoring the fact that he's promised to reduce tax deductions to pay for lower rates so that overall taxes would not go down. Last week, he told supporters not to expect to see a significantly lower tax bill under his plan. "By the way, don't be expecting a huge cut in taxes because I'm also going to lower deductions and exemptions," he said. In fact, if Romney maintains his pledge for revenue neutrality, taxes would actually need to go up on the middle class to pay for the enormous tax cuts he promises to the wealthy. The only way to avoid a tax hike would be to explode the deficit.

Claim #3: "They [Mitt Romney and commonsense conservatives] will close loopholes for millionaires."

The problem with this claim is essentially the inverse of the problem with the second claim: It's true that Romney's plan calls for reducing unspecified tax breaks enjoyed by millionaires, but it's also true that his tax plan calls for reducing their tax rate by 20 percent. The value of that 20 percent tax break dwarfs the cost of giving up deductions, so it's a trade upper income taxpayers would happily make. Sure, there would be fewer loopholes, but thanks to lower rates, the wealthy would still pay less in taxes. That's the central problem with Romney's tax plan—it means that unless he abandons his tax cuts for the wealthy, he needs to choose between exploding the deficit or raising taxes on the middle class, neither of which are politically acceptable options.

Despite the ad's distortions, it's easy to understand why Mitt Romney is running it: If he can convince voters that he actually wants to ask the wealthy to pay more and for the middle class to pay less, he could ease the sting of that 47 percent video. But the only way he can make that case is by misrepresenting the facts. As long as he insists on tax cuts for the wealthy, tax cuts for the middle class, and no reduction in revenue, Mitt Romney's tax plan is mathematically impossible. Perhaps his best bet would be to dump his tax plan altogether, but don't expect that anytime soon from Mr. No Apologies.

*Okay, I don't actually know for a fact that this is his 89th position. He's had so darn many of them, it's hard to keep track.

Originally posted to The Jed Report on Tue Oct 02, 2012

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Voter Fraud In Florida: Republicans Have Suddenly Lost Their Voice…

   …and I would suspect it is because Governor Rick Scott and other Republican Party leadership in the state were well aware of the voter registration fraud in the first place.

   From Meteor Blades

Florida Republicans all the way to the governor's office have made a big deal about stopping voter fraud at the polls despite studies showing the actual numbers of such fraud are less than minuscule. But with the revelation that a company with ties to Mitt Romney, Strategic Allied Consulting, was submitting hundreds of suspect voter registration forms, they don't seem to know how to proceed. Or simply don't want to. The deadline for voter registration is one week away.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the alleged fraud. The Republican Party of Florida, which had hired SAC at the urging of the Republican National Committee, has fired the firm.

SAC has submitted nearly 47,000 voter registration forms. But neither governor's office nor the secretary of state's office has offered any guidance to county election supervisors on how to deal with forms they have received that might be bogus. Both are Republicans who have been in the forefront of an effort to remove Floridians from the voter rolls and attempt other efforts that would suppress the vote of citizens of demographics that typically cast their ballots heavily for Democratic candidates.

Michael Van Sickler at the Tampa Bay Times reports:

Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher said she is getting no direction from state officials as to how to proceed in checking the other forms filed by Strategic Allied Consulting, which was fired last week.

In the past 45 days, Palm Beach County has logged 15,000 new voters. Since Aug. 1, more than 60,000 registration forms were filed, many for changes of address or updating signatures. Bucher said she doesn't know how many of those forms, now stored in a warehouse, were filled out by Strategic Allied Consulting.

"We're not sure if we need to go back and check," Bucher said Monday. "Obviously, it causes us great concern." Bucher was hoping to find out Monday if the state was going to instruct the counties with questionable forms to adopt a uniform method to review all forms filed by the firm.

Bucher is a Democrat. Her office has flagged more than 100 questionable registration forms from SAC. Nine other counties have discovered smaller numbers of apparently fraudulent forms. In Dade County, three questionable forms came from another major registerer of voters, the National Council of La Raza, the nation's largest Latino civil rights advocate. But the magnitude is nothing like that with SAC.

SAC is owned by Nathan Sproul, a paid consultant to Mitt Romney. His firms have been previously accused of altering information on Democratic voter registration forms in several states. He ran voter registration efforts for the Bush-Cheney campaign in 2004, for McCain-Palin in 2008 and Romney since late last year. Before firing SAC last week, the Republican Party of Florida had paid the firm $1.3 million for July and August, according to the Palm Beach Post. The Republican National Committee has also severed ties with SAC. It has paid $3.1 million to the firm through state organizations in Florida, Nevada, Colorado, North Carolina and Virginia, according to the Los Angeles Times.

On Monday, the Post published a letter to the governor from Ted Deutch, a Democratic representative from Florida's 19th congressional district:

Governor Scott, we are on the cusp of a Presidential election. Disturbing reports suggest that professionally coordinated voter fraud occurred in Florida that is potentially massive in scale. Your silence and inaction are shocking and hypocritical considering you have spent the last year in an expensive and highly controversial effort to purge legitimate citizens from our rolls in a supposed search to find “voter fraud.” Your efforts to purge 182,000 individuals from our voting rolls continued until we discovered that the list was nakedly partisan and so error-ridden that it contained the names of tens of thousands of legitimate voters, including small business owners and a decorated World War II hero. Now, when an actual voter fraud scheme has apparently been discovered in our state, there is neither room nor time for the partisan allegiances that typically guide your Administration’s actions.

Governor Scott, you now have an opportunity to prove that you care about voter fraud even if involves the Florida Republican Party, the Republican National Committee, and Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.

Faced with a clear and obvious attempt to muck with voter registration in ways that could, if widespread enough, upend the results of the election, it would hardly be out of place to think that Republicans who have been so ostentatiously attentive to this issue would be eager to get to the bottom of it. But, suddenly, cat's got their tongue.


Ari Berman has a good summary of GOP voter suppression in Florida.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Tue Oct 02, 2012

Monday, October 01, 2012

Republican Voter Registration Fraud

  First off, a little side-note for you.

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr (D-IL) plans on introducing a national voter registration law in the new Congress which is basically intended to get around most of the voter suppression laws passed by the Republicans in many states such as Florida. More...

  The RNC has canceled all of its swing-state voter registration drives after the fallout from the calamity down in Florida.

For the better part of two years now, Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Republican Party have been scouring the state like a sheriff and his posse, hot on the trail of election bandits.

Turns out, our Republican gunslingers didn’t have far to look. The wily varmints corrupting Florida’s electoral process have been working right under their noses.


After the story broke last week, roiling through the newspapers, political blogs and cable television, the Florida Republican Party fired the outfit. So did the state Republican Party organizations in North Carolina, Colorado and Virginia. And finally the Republican National Committee, which had paid the firm $2.9 million to work its magic in swing states, announced that it was severing its relationship with Strategic Allied Consulting. The Florida party bosses also filed a formal election fraud complaint against its own vendor.

State Republicans find fraud close to home

Page two of the article also has some juicy snark worth reading if you enjoy a good laugh when it is points out that after months of trying to weed out noncitizens from the Florida voter rolls, the state has found "198 suspect voters out of 11,446,540 registered statewide." Actually the total, according to the Florida Division of Elections website is 11,583,367. That number includes 4,173,177 Republicans and 4,627,929 Democrats, which means there are currently 454,752 more Democrats than Republicans registered in Florida. So if Rick Scott's desire to decrease that Democratic advantage, he failed miserably while wasting tax payer dollars on the project. Rick Scott has also made it a priority to increase Republican registrations in the state.   Hungrycoyote

  So just how bad is the voter suppression in Florida? Well, Ari Berman at The Nation has done a little research on the subject and has traced the Republican suppression efforts as far back as 2000.

  You aren’t surprised, are you?

In a deeply sardonic twist, Republicans committed the only voter registration fraud that has occurred since the law was overturned. “It’s kind of ironic that the dead people they accused Acorn of registering are now being done by the RPOF [Republican Party of Florida],” Paul Lux, the Republican supervisor of elections in Okaloosa County, told NBC News.

And, unlike with ACORN, Strategic Allied Consulting didn’t alert authorities to the voter registration fraud—that was done by local election officials. Prosecutors are now investigating the group for criminal misconduct. (The case hasn’t put an end to GOP hypocrisy about voter fraud, however. Last week the attorney general of Texas invoked ACORN to justify similar restrictions on voter registration drives in his state, even though no charges were ever filed against the group.) Maybe in 2013 the Florida legislature should pass legislation specially preventing Republicans from running voter registration drives.

Here’s why this scandal matters: the Florida GOP committed voter registration fraud while undermining the right to vote for everyone else—particularly minority voters, who have been historically disenfranchised in the state and are key supporters of Barack Obama and Florida Democrats. The common thread between these different voter suppression efforts has been to make it more difficult for minority voters to cast a ballot.

A Recent History of GOP Voter Suppression in Florida


Mondays Pundit’s Take On Mitt Romney

  Just a few of the commentary’s of some well known political commentators from some of the bigger newspapers.

Keli Goff  on Romney’s possible reach out to the racist groups:

Now the Romney campaign finds itself at a crossroads. With just over a month to go before the election, the question becomes: Will he be willing to do what McCain wasn't, in order to win at any cost? Will he give in to the temptation and begin lacing his ads and language with messages to appeal to those who miss the days of the Southern strategy -- and the days of a white Republican president?

We've already seen him begin flirting with the racially inflammatory line by making a joke about his birth certificate that many saw as a reference to the manufactured controversy surrounding the president's birth. Romney's language in the debates will confirm whether or not he is willing to cross that line in the quest for victory.

Michael Kinsley on Romney’s campaign incompetence:

If, as seems possible, Mitt Romney is not elected U.S. president on Nov. 6, he will not be the first presidential candidate to run on the issue of competence and then lose because he ran an incompetent campaign. He will not even be the first governor of Massachusetts to do so.

In 1988, Michael Dukakis, who was ahead in the polls just after the Democratic convention, declared in his acceptance speech: "This election isn't about ideology. It's about competence." Then he proceeded to blow his large lead and lose to George H.W. Bush, who turned out to be a tougher old bird than anyone suspected.

It would be hard to think of two politicians more different than Dukakis and Romney. [...]

Even if Romney wins the election, because of some unpredicted development between now and Nov. 6, the judgment on his campaign is fixed: It has been terrible. Despite his success in business, he's a lousy politician. And if he loses the election, that will be a comment not just on his campaign strategy but also on his whole way of thinking.

  Last but not least, Carl Hiaasen look at those 2 corrupt Koch brothers and their attempt to purchase the Florida courts:

The new stealth campaign against three Florida Supreme Court justices is being backed by those meddling right-wing billionaires from Wichita, Charles and David Koch.

They couldn’t care less about Florida, but they love to throw their money around.

Last week they uncorked the first of a series of commercials from their political action committee, Americans for Prosperity. The targets are Justices R. Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince.

They were three of the five-vote majority that in 2010 knocked down a half-baked amendment slapped together by state lawmakers seeking to nullify the federal Affordable Health Care Act.

The Florida Supreme Court upheld lower court decisions in finding that the proposed amendment contained “misleading and ambiguous language,” the hallmark of practically everything produced by this Legislature. Stoned chimpanzees have a keener grasp of constitutional law.



Sunday, September 30, 2012

Republican Voter Registration Fraud

  From the BradBlog comes the latest on the Republican voter registration fraud that has swept through 11 Florida counties thus far, and 6 additional states. This is some serious shit people.

Another matter we've been looking at, is the claim that this scandal is contained to only five battleground states --- Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Nevada and Colorado --- where Strategic Allied Consulting is known to have been operating before being fired. There is evidence, however, that they and/or other Sproul companies, may still be operating in other states, such as California and Oregon, and that the specific type of rather offensive registration work they were doing --- lying to potential registrants and only offering Romney supporters the opportunity to register to vote --- is not necessarily their own strategy, but that of the entire Republican National Committee and the Romney campaign.

And then there's the matter of the hypocrisy of how Republicans and their media outlets, such as Fox "News" and the rest of the Rightwing media are now trying to pretend that this entire matter isn't happening at all. Yes, the very same outlets who all went wall-to-wall in 2008, and beyond, in claiming (inaccurately) that ACORN was doing what this GOP group appears to actually have done, are now going out of their way to ignore the scandal entirely.


"What first appeared to be an isolated problem in one Florida county has now spread statewide," AP's Gary Fineout reported on Saturday. Of course, it only appeared to them and the RNC "to be an isolated problem."

In any event, AP is now reporting that the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF), --- whose largest expenditure this election cycle, $1.3 million, was on Strategic Allied Consulting --- filed an election fraud complaint against the company on Friday. It's now in the hands of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

   Florida has an Republican controlled Legislature, a governor who should be in a federal penitentiary, and mostly Republican election supervisors. Does 2000 ring a bell with you?


Debunking Conservative Crap

  The list of Conservative bullshit is a very long list which grows bigger and bigger with each passing day, as you well know.

   The following is a partial list which debunks some of those Conservative lies.

There’s a little “test” that the right emails to itself regularly to make themselves feel better about voting for people that openly despise them. They call it the “Fence Test” as in, “Which side of the fence are you on?” and, my oh my, is it full of right wing fantasies. Let’s break it down, shall we?

If a Republican doesn’t like guns, he doesn’t buy one. Instead, he buys 50 to “protect” himself from the Communist Nazi hordes that are about to take over America.

If a Democrat doesn’t like guns, he wants all guns outlawed. No, we want assault rifles and extended clips to be outlawed because they exist for the sole purpose of killing large numbers of people in as short an amount of time as possible. Strangely, Republicans seem to apply this very same standard to abortion: They don’t like it so NOBODY should have one. What’s that? You’re protecting innocent life? So are we, dumb-ass!

If a Republican doesn’t like a talk show host, he switches channels. And then they go online to whine about how persecuted they are because those other “bad” channels keeping saying everything they “know” is a lie.
Democrats demand that those they don’t like be shut down. ie – (FNC) FOX NEWS CHANNEL Yes, because Fox is not news, it’s propaganda and it’s deliberately hurting the country. There’s a reason study after study after study shows Fox viewers to be the most uninformed people in the country. For god’s sake! One study even showed that people who watch NO news are better informed!

If a Republican is a non-believer, he doesn’t go to church. An openly atheist Republican? That’s like a unicorn sighting. Republicans MUST pander to the religious right or they’ll be run out of town.
A Democrat non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced. No, we want Republicans to stop promoting Christianity over all other beliefs and lack thereof. For instance, a Republican would rather swallow rat poison than allow a Muslim to have the same religious “rights” they claim for themselves. After all, WE’RE not the ones that keep trying to ban Mosques, are we?

   Read them all here.

Strategic Allied Consulting Busted For Voter Registration Fraud…..Again.

   After getting nailed in Florida last week for attempting to register only Republican voters while originally telling possible registrants that they were doing surveys, we now have a teenaged girl on video in another state pulling similar stunts.

  The Republican Party can’t even hire people smart enough to get votes without getting nailed.

   That’s what all of those Republican cuts to education will do to you.

By Elisabeth Parker  September 29, 2012

On September 28th, a shopper at a Safeway in Colorado Springs, Colorado used her cell phone to videotape a teenage girl cheerfully admitting to voter registration fraud in favor of (surprise!) GOP not-particularly-presidential candidate Mitt Romney. The teenager claimed that she was registering voters for the El Paso County Clerk’s office, and finally let slip, “Well, I’m actually trying to register people for a particular party. Because, we’re out here in support of Romney, actually.” The Safeway shopper rightfully felt suspicious, and posted the video to You Tube.

For a transcript of the video, read below:

[Safeway Shopper with cell phone video recorder turned on approaches Teenage Girl ostensibly gathering voter registrations]

Teenage Girl: Would you vote for Romney or Obama?
Safeway Shopper: I thought you were registering voters a minute ago.
Teenage Girl: [puzzled] Um … I am.
Safeway Shopper: [suspiciously] All voters?
Teenage Girl: [perkily] Well, I’m actually trying to register people for a particular party. Because, we’re out here in support of Romney, actually.
Safeway Shopper: And who’s paying you for this?
Teenage Girl: [cagily] Oh, um, the … let’s see … we’re working for the County Clerk’s office.
Safeway Shopper: [vehemently] OK, you cannot come here and register one party, lady. Are you working for the County Clerk’s office? I’ve got it all on tape.
Teenage Girl: [holds out hand to hide her face]
Safeway Shopper: [raises voice] You’re working for the County Clerk’s Office?
Teenage Girl: I believe so, yes.
Safeway Shopper: [increasingly outraged] And you’re only registering Republicans?
Teenage Girl: [brightly] Nope.
Safeway Shopper: You said you were only registering Romney people.
Teenage Girl: [smugly] Well, we’re trying to…to be honest.
Safeway Shopper: [almost shouting] And you’re working for the COUNTY’s OFFICE? What’s your name?
Teenage Girl: [with a baffled smile and eyes goggling in disbelief] Ma’am, my name is ___________.
Safeway Shopper: That’s all I need, honey bunch.

Redditor Internet Detectives are on the case trying to ID the young lady

Further investigation by Denver, Colorado-based KTVU/Fox31 TV Political Reporter Eli Stokols revealed that the teenager was actually employed by the Strategic Allied Consulting group, which had been hired by the Colorado Republican Party to increase GOP voter turn-out. The firm was subsequently fired following distribution of the video (see September 28th’s “Colo. girl registering ‘only Romney’ voters tied to firm dumped by RNC over fraud“).

If the firm’s name sounds familiar, that’s because Strategic Allied Consulting was also recently dropped by the Republican National Committee and the Florida Republican Party amidst news headlines and allegations of voter fraud in 10 Florida state counties. According to Phillip Elliot’s September 28th article in the Florida Times Union, 108 questionable new voter registrations were red-flagged in Palm Beach County, FL alone. As followers of the 2000 presidential election may recall, disputed ballots from Palm Beach County played a crucial role in the Supreme Court’s decision to appoint George W. Bush … um … rule in favor of a George W. Bush victory. (Fun fact: The Bush v. Gore SCOTUS decision was clarified by the justices to be non-precedent-setting. Normally a SCOTUS decision sets a precedent for lower courts to cite and / or examine when they are dealing with future similar legal disputes. Bush v. Gore has been designated as a stand-alone unique decision.)

The Virginia-based firm is run by Nathan Sproul, who also owns the Lincoln Strategy Group … which, coincidentally, has also been involved in widely-reported voter fraud scandals. According to the Los Angeles Times, the RNC requested that Sproul create the newly-minted Strategic Allied Consulting company to avoid the negative publicity associated with Sproul’s older firm. To date, the Florida Republican Party has paid Sproul $1.3 million, and the Colorado Republican Party has shoveled out more than $500,000. Before cutting ties, the RNC had also retained Strategic Allied Consulting to handle voter registration drives in Virginia, North Carolina, and Nevada, in addition to get-out-the-vote drives in Wisconsin and Ohio.