October 24, 2012

Carter Center - Help!

This is the letter I sent to the Carter Center on October 8, 2012.  It's pretty sad that any American citizen should have to write a letter like this.  So far, no response from the Carter Center. 
However, I have lately learned that there will be international observers at some of our polling places, and that there have been observers of our elections since 2002.  That has some Americans very unhappy.  But it makes me very happy.

Dear Carter Center staff:

Please oversee the US general election on November 6. As I see it, there are at least four troubling situations in US elections. I'm sure you are already aware of these but, just in case you are not, here they are:
First, almost half of our states have instituted new voting laws. These are stated attempts to stop voter fraud, but instead they seem to be aimed at disenfranchising Democratic-leaning voters. The Republican leader in the Pennsylvania House, Mike Turzai, said as much when he told a group of Republicans that the voter ID law would allow Mitt Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.
The law has been challenged in Pennsylvania courts, adding even more confusion. The latest court decision was delivered on October 2, little more than a month before the upcoming elections. The judge imposed a temporary injunction against requiring IDs. The decision allows poll workers to ask for IDs, but then allow voters to vote if they don't have the required ID. It also allows the state to continue running its ads claiming that IDs are required. Some county election offices were slow to correct their counties' web sites and telephone recordings. The ads and incorrect wording are confusing to voters. How many voters will believe that the new law is in effect and will just stay away from the polls on November 6 because they haven't been able to get the required ID?

Second is the number of states who have purged voter rolls this year. Non-governmental organizations have alleged irregularities and even state governments have purged voter rolls via various mechanisms. Somehow it seems that the purged voters are those who could be considered to be Democratic-leaning.

Third is that organizations such as True The Vote plan to have members in place at polling places. Their purpose is to challenge voters whom they suspect are not entitled to vote. Could some who dislike or fear confrontation, when they hear that these challengers are present, turn around and leave without voting?

Fourth is electronic voting machines. University research and the organization Black Box Voting have shown how easily these machines can be hacked. Additionally, there is no paper trail. If an election is contested, there is simply no way to recount the votes. For decades, television networks have conducted exit polls to help them determine a projected winner in a state. These projections have been accurate until the 2000 election. I won't go into the irregularities in that election. However, in 2004, after electronic voting machines had been implemented, the projections for the winning candidate for the presidency were "wrong" in Ohio, a hotly-contested "swing state." There were allegations of irregularities in Ohio counties after the polls had closed. But, of course, there was no way to recount.

I beg you to observe and validate our elections. If this is not possible politically, is there another organization that could do such a thing?


Pamela L. Nolan

October 20, 2012

False equivalency

I see pundits bewailing the divisiveness in our country and how both parties are at fault and need to work “across the aisle.” I also recently saw an old friend post a commentary about the harsh political rhetoric that is common. This friend blamed “both sides.” This amounts to a false equivalency.

I would posit that the source of the divisiveness is the Republican party and the Republican party alone.

On facebook I see truly hateful comments from Romney supporters about President Obama,  They still spew the baloney that he is not an American, that he is a Muslim (and this in a country that claims to value religious freedom) or that he is a socialist/communist/fascist. Never mind that they don’t seem to know what those words mean.

But, more importantly, ever since Newt Gingrich was speaker of the House, the Republicans have done everything possible to keep Democratic presidents from succeeding.

First they went after Bill Clinton. They spent millions of taxpayer dollars to try to find something, anything about Whitewater to pin on him. And they spent more millions of dollars trying to impeach him. They dogged him for most of his presidency, prompting Hillary Clinton to call it a "vast right-wing conspiracy." She was right. It’s a wonder the man was able to accomplish anything, let alone the improved economy he left to the Republicans to demolish.

And now we have a Republican-controlled Congress.  Let me say that again, the entire Congress is controlled by Republicans.  

Yes, both houses are Republican-controlled because Republicans have a majority in the House and because in the Senate they block everything the President tries to accomplish. Filibusters skyrocketed when Obama took office. 
Republican leaders even had a meeting the very night Obama was inaugurated, vowing to thwart everything Obama tried to do.  And they have followed through on their agreement. 

President Obama has attempted to work with the Republicans.  In fact, he has gone so far to work with them that he has alienated some Democratic supporters.  A prime example of this is when the debt limit needed to be increased.  The Republicans refused to raise the limit, to the point that the USA’s credit rating was downgraded before an agreement was reached.  And Obama finally agreed to extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy just so he could extend unemployment payments for American workers. 

These Republicans don’t care about the citizens they are supposed to represent.  They only care about power.  They cry big crocodile tears about struggling Americans, but they absolutely refuse to help them because they have signed a pledge to Grover Norquist that they won’t raise taxes.  They poured billions and billions of dollars into Bush’s ill-conceived wars, but only under this Democratic president do they cry more of their crocodile tears about the national debt.  But the truth is that they are willing to leave the American economy in recession if it means President Obama doesn’t get a second term. 

So do not fall prey to the false equivalency that both sides are at fault for the divisiveness.  They are not.

October 19, 2012

Well, here goes...

This is a test of my new blog.  Now, I don't have a clue if anybody will want to read what I have to say.  But if I don't write about my opinions, explain things I think need to be explained, and try to set some things straight, my head will explode.