Friday, December 30, 2011

Gingrich Claims Republican Voter Fraud

If you listen to any conservative politician, activist, or media personality out there, you would be led to believe that any and all voter fraud starts and ends with Democrats and their liberal allies, so you would understand why it would come as a surprise when Newt Gingrich blamed one of his own campaign workers for fraud as the sole reason for keeping him of the Virginia GOP primary ballot.

Sarah Huisenga wrote the following for CBS News:
A worker collecting signatures to get Republican GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich on the Virginia primary ballot turned in fraudulent signatures, Gingrich told a woman at a campaign stop in Iowa on Wednesday.

Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond confirmed the story, which was initially reported on CNN, and said: "We are evaluating our options."

Of the 11,100 signatures the campaign turned in, 1,500 of them turned in by the worker were false, Gingrich said. He said that the campaign needed 10,000 to be placed on the ballot.
If you do the math, almost 14 percent of Gingrich's signatures were fraudulent, thanks to a Republican campaigner. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Big Government Wants "Bare Minimum" For VA Primary, Not Wisconsin Recall

In a stroke of hypocrisy conservatives have attacked the electoral process as being corrupt by attacking the collection of recall signatures against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.  The Government Accountability Board, which runs the recall process in Wisconsin, had previously stated that it would not eliminate duplicate or questionable signatures on recall petitions.  Walker railed against the decision as a move to dilute the rights of voters.

“We’re going to protect the integrity of the citizen. It should be for people who have every right to sign it, but for those who don’t want to sign it, their voice should count as much as anybody else’s,” the Republican governor said.

What makes this situation interesting is because the electoral process in another state has recently gained attention.  Virginia's ballot access laws have made some headlines in the past week because GOP presidential contenders such as Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Jon Huntsman, and Newt Gingrich had failed to verify the needed 10,000 signatures to make it on the primary ballot.  This, had caused Big Government (among others) to post a little piece crying about the unfairness of it all.
There are currently many news stories and blog discussions about the Virginia presidential primary ballot access law. Some large blogs, such as Red State, have over 300 comments about the story. Some defend the current Virginia ballot access laws on the grounds that in past presidential elections, a fairly large number of Republican presidential primary candidates managed to qualify.

But what has not been reported is that in the only other presidential primaries in which Virginia required 10,000 signatures (2000, 2004, and 2008) the signatures were not checked. Any candidate who submitted at least 10,000 raw signatures was put on the ballot. In 2000, five Republicans qualified: George Bush, John McCain, Alan Keyes, Gary Bauer, and Steve Forbes. In 2004 there was no Republican primary in Virginia. In 2008, seven Republicans qualified: John McCain, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, and Alan Keyes.

The only reason the Virginia Republican Party checked the signatures for validity for the current primary is that in October 2011, an independent candidate for the legislature, Michael Osborne, sued the Virginia Republican Party because it did not check petitions for its own members, when they submitted primary petitions. Osborne had no trouble getting the needed 125 valid signatures for his own independent candidacy, but he charged that his Republican opponent’s primary petition had never been checked, and that if it had been, that opponent would not have qualified. The lawsuit, Osborne v Boyles, cl 11-520-00, was filed in Bristol County Circuit Court. It was filed too late to be heard before the election, but is still pending. The effect of the lawsuit was to persuade the Republican Party to start checking petitions. If the Republican Party had not changed that policy, Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry would be on the 2012 ballot.
Interestingly enough, Big Government decided to leave out the last paragraph of the work they cited which states that the Democratic Party also opposed such strict ballot access laws but in a move to help candidates get on the ballot, the party would help collect signatures for all recognized candidates - something the GOP did not do.  Big Government's post appears to make the case that it is unfair that the GOP needs to check their own signatures while doing a simple search on their website, Big Government has hypocritically attacked Wisconsin's Government Accountability Board for doing just that.

Charles C. Johnson cried about the Virginia ballot dilemma yesterday on Big Government:
For now, Gingrich is left to grumble about the “system” of authenticating signatures in the Virginia primary. He may have a point. Candidates are required not only to collect over 10,000 signatures to get on the ballot but have to have at least 400 from each of the state’s eleven congressional districts. Both Perry and Gingrich cleared the first hurdle by at least a thousand signatures, but it appears they may have stumbled on clearing the second. We don’t know this for certain — the Va. GOP hasn’t explained why Gingrich and Perry failed to qualify– but this seems likely.

Gathering enough signatures from enough of the different districts proved too tricky. In at least one district that’s a tall order. Virginia’s 3rd and 8th congressional district, for example, are among the most Democratic in the country, with a PVI score of D+20 and D+16, respectively. Woody Allen may be right when he said 90% of success is just showing up, but it is hard to show up when there is effectively no Republican party in some congressional districts...

It’s the prerogative of any state party to set up the rules that govern its primary but it sure seems short-sighted to disqualify two candidates that fulfilled the 10,000 signatures requirement, especially given how much Virginia GOP could benefit from a renewed focus and all that earned media attention on the Old Dominion.The usually reliable red state broke for Obama in 2008, by six points over John McCain. Indeed Obama became the first Democrat to win Virginia voted for Obama in 2008, making it the first time since 1964 that the state broke for a Democrat, but these gains were reversed when Attorney General Bob McDonnell crushed Democratic senator Creigh Deeds in the gubernatorial race by seventeen points.
So Johnson believes it is the "prerogative of any state party to set up the rules" but when those rules are too hard to meet, Johnson believes they should be ignored because the exclusion of those candidates who simply could not collect the required amount of signatures from each of the state's congressional districts may benefit the Virginia GOP.

In regards to the Wisconsin recall effort, Big Government's Brett Healy had some things to say about the decision of the Government Accountability Board.

 "So, it turns out Wisconsin’s election watchdogs are choosing to do the bare minimum when it comes to making it easier to detect duplicate and fraudulent signatures on the recall petitions," he wrote.

It appears that Healy's Big Government buddy Johnson would want that "bare minimum" for the Virginia Republican primary.

Can you smell the Big Government hypocrisy?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Big Government Claims Comcast-NBC Merger A Progressive Shakedown, Huffington Post A "Comcastrophe"

I thought this was very interesting - Mike Wendy at Big Government wrote a recent post complaining about the relatively recent merger of media giants Comcast and NBC.
As I wrote about previously on these pages, the Comcast Merger Order “voluntarily” commits the new company to foster local journalism via the “Voice of San Diego Model,” a socially progressive news organization. ProPublica, The Chicago Reporter, and KPCC make good on this promise. They are archetypical liberal media outlets, which are supported in large measure by the usual suspects among America’s top progressive foundations (like Soros, Ford, MacArthur, Knight, Pew, etc.).
Wendy's beef with the Voice of San Diego stems from the support of non-profit Open Society Foundations, which was established by George Soros in 1984 "to help countries make the transition from communism."

That's right.

What they are about:
The Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens. To achieve this mission, the Foundations seek to shape public policies that assure greater fairness in political, legal, and economic systems and safeguard fundamental rights. On a local level, the Open Society Foundations implement a range of initiatives to advance justice, education, public health, and independent media. At the same time, we build alliances across borders and continents on issues such as corruption and freedom of information. The Foundations place a high priority on protecting and improving the lives of people in marginalized communities.
Sounds horrible, right?

The reason I find this interesting is because Wendy claims the merger was permitted so that it may be used a giant progressive propaganda machine.
Now to be fair, NBC is no paragon of conservative thought. And, Comcast’s Brian Roberts is reported to be one of Obama’s biggest contributors to his Victory fund. Further, neither party came to this deal as a naïf – they knew what they would face from the government. Especially this one. But, would this buildout have occurred without the “voluntary” agreement? No. That aspect of the Merger Order would not have been unnecessary if they were.

Quite frankly, the government ploy here is not much more sophisticated than a backroom hold-up by a local mobster.
This is interesting because popular news site (and somewhat progressive-leaning) The Huffington Post also attacked the merger.

Josh Silver wrote the following for the online publication back in January:
Yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission blessed the merger of Comcast, the nation's largest cable and residential Internet provider, with NBC-Universal. The Justice Department immediately followed suit, removing the last obstacle to the unprecedented consolidation of media and Internet power in the hands of one company. (FCC press release here)

You should be afraid and mad as hell.

The new Comcast will control an obscene number of media outlets, including the NBC broadcast network, numerous cable channels, two dozen local NBC and Telemundo stations, movie studios, online video portals, and the physical network that distributes that media content to millions of Americans through Internet and cable connections.
So conservatives like Wendy are upset because they think the merger means an assault on America because of government requirements placed on the deal and progressives dislike the merger because it consolidates various media outlets into the hands of one corporation.

So the real question here is "Why are conservatives blaming progressives for this merger?"

The answer is rather simple.  With the merger comes the potential to dilute the power of conservative media outlets like Fox News.  The fears of Wendy and Silver stem from the same place but Wendy's fear is more about selfishness.  Consider the two arguments: the merger will allow unprecedented growth of progressive philosophies and the merger grants unprecedented control of information to a single corporation.

Which argument sounds more important?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Rick Santorum Able To Get Insurance For Bella Because Of "Obamacare"

"I had insurance under my employer. And when I decided to run for president, I left my job, I lost my insurance, I had to go out and buy insurance," Santorum recently said in regards to his terminally ill daughter, Bella, who suffers from Trisomy 18, a genetic disorder resulting in an extra chromosome and can cause severe growth retardation, malformed facial features, heart defects and other abnormalities.

While it is unfortunate that Rick Santorum has a seriously sick child, his comments regarding his daughter do not seem to resonate with his political positions surrounding healthcare reform. Earlier this year Santorum made the comment that under the health care reform more disabled people would be denied care but this statement is absolutely false - because of health care reform people like Santorum's daughter are able to get treatment, and possibly more importantly, they are able to get insurance despite having a preexisting condition.

This is where Santorum's "Bella" message falls apart. He talks about having to go out an buy insurance for his seriously ill child but anyone who was out of work or who did not have insurance prior to a major condition could tell you - purchasing insurance with a preexisting condition, no matter how severe, was a tremendous hassle before the Affordable Care Act was passed.  Considering Santorum was fired from Fox News earlier this year, it is safe to say that this was the employer he talked about, meaning it was because of "Obamacare" that little Bella was able to get insurance. You see, the Affordable Care Act actually banned the practice of denying coverage to children with preexisting conditions (it will expand that protection to everyone by 2014), so had it not been for this law Santorum would have had to pay out-of-pocket for his daughter's care - a luxury many Americans cannot afford.

If you like hypocrisy, you may want to check out this other Santorum doozy - while Santorum is opposed to abortion of any kind calling any exceptions "phony" excuses, he had no problem when his own wife had an abortion at 20 weeks (four and a half months).

"When I was leading the charge on partial birth abortion, several members came forward and said, 'Why don’t we just ban all abortions?' Tom Daschle was one of them, if you remember," said Santorum. "And Susan Collins, and others. They wanted a health exception, which of course is a phony exception which would make the ban ineffective."

Santorum's wife utilized such a "phony" health exception when her life was in danger had she carried full term, but Santorum doesn't practice what he preaches. He just wants to impose his views on everybody else.

For Wisconsin Republicans, Democracy Equals Harassment

From an Associated Press article last month:
Wisconsin Republicans are ripping Democrats' plans for recall signature drives near malls on Black Friday.

Democrats and their allies launched a drive to recall Republican Gov. Scott Walker earlier this month. They're angry over a number of Walker policies, including a law that stripped public workers of their union rights.

Recall organizers say signature gatherers planned to set up near malls, shopping centers and park-and-rides around the state Friday.

Republicans say the effort amounts to harassing shoppers. The party says businesses should call police if signature gatherers don't leave their property upon request and shoppers should report problems to the GOP's "Recall Integrity Center" website.
Never realized participating in democracy was considered harassment - especially on Black Friday.  And I guess  fighting over a $2 dollar waffle maker at Wal-Mart is more important then signing a recall petition in the parking lot.