Connecting the Dots, Part 2

Connecting the Dots, Part 2

United States of ALEC from BillMoyers.com on Vimeo.

On October 11, 2012, I wrote the following post: Do you know ALEC? If not, you should. And you should be afraid.

The video above was part of the above post. I just watched it again. Somehow, there has to be a way to get the word out that ALEC isn’t just a lobbying organization masquerading as a non-profit educational organization but is actively writing legislation that states are voting on now to take away individuals’ rights. Including the Stand Your Ground law, Right to Work law and more.

Wisconsin, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Virginia…they’re in every state (including Maryland, where I live).

Fortunately, Maryland still carries Democratic Majority, and we are still able to pass legislation that protects our rights, much to the NRA-backed gun lobby’s consternation, but if we don’t spend the time and learn more about ALEC’s activities today, we’re dooming our country to a corporate-driven demise not seen since World War II, or possibly ever.

(Yes, I don’t like the source, but the sources he quotes are legit, and frankly, he’s not the only one who’s noticed the parallels between then and now. If you have a real problem with the site, go to Harvard and view the docs there instead: http://nuremberg.law.harvard.edu/)

Back in the late ’90s, Hillary Clinton referred to a “vast right-wing conspiracy” targeting Bill Clinton for takedown, first with Whitewater and then Monica Lewinsky. The GOP-backed House, led by Newt Gingrich, almost achieved impeachment, which failed in part because the 1998 election cycle brought in enough senators (not exactly bipartisan, but enough who crossed the lines to make acquittal possible).

Most people blew off  the possibility that there was an actual right-wing conspiracy as improbable at best, unprovable at worst. Who knew the conspiracy would be driven by corporate America, interested most in retaining the bottom line.

Enter the makers of the documentary above.

Suddenly, 40 years of American political history starts to make sense.

The New Yorker, in August 2010, published Jane Mayer’s investigative biographic article, COVERT OPERATIONS: The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama. In the article, she outlines the role the brothers have played in shaping conservative politics.

Forbes Magazine, on March 21, 2011, published The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy 2011: Less Vast- More Powerful as a clearer picture of the men behind the curtain, but even this article failed to get to the true depth and breadth of the organization.

On September 12, 2012, in the heat of last year’s election cycle, the Center for Media and Democracy published this article, which helps map out the relationships between the top three conservative think tanks:  Paul Weyrich’s Troika Reunited: ALEC Partners with Republican Study Committee at Heritage Foundation.

The Trayvon Martin case, as sad as it was, has served to expose ALEC’s role in state government politics. Every time I hear the phrase “States’ Rights” I go back to one thing: We have set ourselves up via the Constitution for a corporate takeover the likes of which has never been seen.

All the signs are there. Social programs designed to protect the poor? Gone. Equal pay for equal work? Laughable. Health care? Social Security? Even privacy? Every last one of these is suspect.

So today, we come to this (from Salon.com, today): The Republican Party is officially broken: Washington’s problem isn’t partisanship or a fatally flawed system. It’s that one party is massively dysfunctional

Only, I would argue that they aren’t broken at all. They are operating exactly, specifically as planned. And unless we can find some way to stop their progress, before 2014, there will be no way to fix what’s wrong with this country because Corporate America will have won.

Public school will eventually cease to exist, becoming private (commercial). Tens of thousands of people will die because they can’t afford the cost of healthcare. We will decrease the unnecessary surplus population and that will suit the Suits just fine. The Tea Party will do all the driving if we don’t figure out a way to stop them. Because the Tea Party is leaving “Brownshirt” stains everywhere.

Heck, if this keeps up, I may have to buy a gun.

Remember: You heard it here. Spread the word.

dis·in·gen·u·ous

dis·in·gen·u·ous

Your word lesson for the day:

dis·in·gen·u·ous

Adjective: Not candid or sincere, typically by pretending that one knows less about something than one really does.

Synonyms: insincere – false – devious – hollow-hearted

Okay, so I’m going to put this out there and get hammered for it, but I said almost a year ago that the GOP can’t complain about something THEY voted for in the first place. 

Forbes (2/7/2012): Congress Welcomes The Drones

My question is: Would this complainiing even be happening under a Romney/Ryan administration?

I’m sorry but signs point to No. The ACLU was unhappy with the first authorization back in 2012, so it’s no surprise they’re taking this up now. What’s surprising is how “suddenly” vehemently opposed everyone is about domestic drones. Shouldn’t they have thought about that last February? Really?C’mon, folks. Really.

And while we’re at it, this tidbit hit a couple of days ago too. Cue “I told you so” commentary:

Politics USA: The Koch Brothers Take Credit for Imposing Economic Hardship on Millions of Americans

Daily KOS: Americans for Prosperity Cheer on Sequester, claims Ownership

Just in case it wasn’t clear by reading the above, David Koch IS Americans for Prosperity (Wikipedia).

Why do we have Sequestration? Look above.

And remember, because in 2014 we have our first opportunity at payback…If we still have a country and people are still allowed to vote by then.

Today’s the day.

Today’s the day.

There is no irony for me today, no sense of amusement that our recognized Inauguration Day falls today on the same Monday when we honor the life and recognize the too-early death of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Yesterday, in our congregation, we sang this anthem and spent a time considering not just its historical significance but also how far we still have to go before we can truly say that all men and women are free in this country.

Too often in the last few weeks have I heard that we are all entitled to keep our guns, that the KKK would not have been controlled without them. And yet, I have come to realize the truth, so simply stated and yet so lost in the mists of time, that without them slavery would have ended before the Declaration of Independence was signed by rich white men who made decisions on behalf of other rich white men.

Given our past year’s worth of revelations, I am sad to say that so little has changed.

I can boil our country’s problems down to keywords. I don’t have to talk about them. I only have to say their names and you will know what I am talking about. That is the awesome and terrible power of the Internet and of the media. From Hurricane Sandy to Sandy Hook, from Aurora to Afghanistan, Algeria, Syria and Israel. From Pakistan to Palestine, there is great injustice in the world, but no less great than right here in the good old U. S. of A.

Selma, Montgomery, Memphis, Jackson, Birmingham and Atlanta stand as just a few reminders of our country’s dark past – one I don’t share except by the color of my skin, because my family did not arrive in Brooklyn, NY until the turn of the last century. Although I don’t share that past, I am no less appalled. Rather, I am learning to make changes so that we can truly fulfill our potential as leaders in democracy and freedom for all.

Today, we have a new form of slavery – just as despicable and yet so little recognized that we prefer to think of THEM and justify all sorts of horrible things because of our obviously European roots. The “war on drugs,” rights to gun ownership, arguments against affirmative action, public school access – these all have a common thread of race that ties them together and keeps our classes apart.

Public schools have become prisons designed to indoctrinate instead of inspiring our children to do better. We want our children to toe the line, to become polite, subservient cogs in the machinery of our corporate system. We eject those who fail to fit, forcing most into what amounts to a lifetime of slavery. We should be appalled at the statistics, not just of the prison populations but of the total number of people we lose every year to violence in general.

In Australia, after a mass shooting in 1996 led to sweeping gun ownership reforms, the University of Sidney launched a web site which I discovered yesterday in response to a conversation on Facebook about gun ownership. The conversation started with an image on the Being Liberal Facebook Page, but it didn’t end there, because a friend posted a link to gun homicides in the US, thinking (I assume) that was the end of the discussion. The fact is, his numbers were deceptive because they ignore all the OTHER deaths by gun in this country and elsewhere. It’s a sad testament to the power of the National Rifle Association that we have to go outside our country to find accurate statistics for gun violence.

From their own web site: “GunPolicy.org is hosted by the Sydney School of Public Health, [at] the University of Sydney. The School provides internationally recognised leadership in public health by advancing and disseminating knowledge — in this case, supporting global efforts to prevent gun injury.”

The Unitarian Universalists have launched a new campaign: Thirty Days of Love. The movement calls for us to think about mass incarceration not just to take criminals off our streets, but as an opportunity to see WHO is being swept into prison and the effect imprisonment has on our country.

On August 28, 1963, a little over two months before I was born, Rev. King gave his “I have a dream” speech, not quite 15 miles from where I live now. It saddens me to know that we still have so far to go to achieve Rev. King’s dream.

President Barack Obama took the oath of office yesterday, so that he can carry on the work he began four years ago. There is still a great deal to do, so long as there are still people who think of him as “uppity” and unfit for office simply because of the color of his skin. I don’t often pray, and seldom to god, but I will pray that the people in this country and elsewhere learn to understand and savor our differences and to choose responsibility over prejudice.

We have a long way to go.

Out of touch…

Out of touch…

A listing by "Class" of the Republican Senators who voted against the UN Treaty.
A listing by “Class” of the Republican Senators who voted against the UN Treaty.

Earlier this week, the GOP went out of its way to remind us just how out of touch they are with the rest of the world by denying ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. They did it in spite of support from more moderate members of the party, including Senator John McCain, while retired Senator Bob Dole (ill and confined to a wheelchair), looked on.

While there might still be some small shred of hope that we can save our country from the ongoing ravages of the Tea-obsessed class of 2010, it’s clear from the illustration above just how far we have to go before we see anything like real progress. The vote on December 4 needed a mere eight additional votes for ratification, but no matter how you slice it, with only three of those leaving office in January, there’s very little chance we’ll see much in the way of change for at least the next two years.

I think we’ll see a bit more positive movement, but unless I’m very much mistaken and the Supreme Court comes through on tossing out some of the more offensive legislation like DOMA, we’re pretty much stuck until 2014.

Best buckle down and enjoy the ride. It’s shaping up to be a long two years.

How the Senate Failed U.S. Businesses (and Bob Dole)

One month to go…

One month to go…

The end of November is often too busy to step back and look at where we are. Between prep for Thanksgiving (which came disturbingly early this year) and all the Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday-Tuesday… and so forth, it’s hard to imagine anyone actually accomplishing anything before the Advent calendars start opening on the 1st.

In my life, today is a chance to step back and remember. Two years ago, I lost a true best friend to long-term health problems that might have been diagnosed differently if the ACA were already in place and functioning, and if medical insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industries cared more about the people they serve than they do about their own pockets.

It’s a time for me to reflect on changes in the last year, but most importantly, to review a week or so’s worth of news that could escape attention in all the craziness that leads up to the “Holiday Season” in general.

I’ve been paying attention, mostly on Facebook, so here are some of the highlights (if you can call them that) of November’s last gasp.

A Minimum Tax for the Wealthy by Warren E. Buffett

New York Times: SUPPOSE that an investor you admire and trust comes to you with an investment idea. “This is a good one,” he says enthusiastically. “I’m in it, and I think you should be, too.”

Would your reply possibly be this? “Well, it all depends on what my tax rate will be on the gain you’re saying we’re going to make. If the taxes are too high, I would rather leave the money in my savings account, earning a quarter of 1 percent.” Only in Grover Norquist’s imagination does such a response exist.

Former Florida GOP leaders say voter suppression was reason they pushed new election law

Palm Beach Post: Former GOP chair, governor – both on outs with party – say voter fraud wasn’t a concern, but reducing Democratic votes was.

Judge orders tobacco companies to admit deception

Reuters: Major tobacco companies that spent decades denying they lied to the U.S. public about the dangers of cigarettes must spend their own money on a public advertising campaign saying they did lie, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday.

Senators Make Bid To End Indefinite Detention In NDAA

Huffington Post: A bipartisan group of senators made a bid Wednesday to end the indefinite military detention of Americans in the United States.

Declaring that a provision of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 put the country on a path to repeat the shame of World War II’s internment camps, they argued the offending language should be stricken in this year’s defense bill.

Michigan Public School System being destroyed. RIGHT NOW.(UPDATE x11)

Daily KOS: If you or anyone you know and care about live in Michigan, or if you care whatsoever about the public school system in this country–or, for that matter, education of our children in general–I urge you, in the strongest possible terms, to read up on Michigan State House Bills 6004 & 5923, and State Senate Bills 1358 & 620.

Robertson tells Christians: Radiocarbon dating proves no dinosaurs on Noah’s Ark

Raw Story: Televangelist Pat Robertson says that radiocarbon dating proves that the Earth is older than 6,000 years — and he’s telling Christians not to “cover it up.”

On Tuesday’s 700 Club, a viewer wrote Robertson that her “biggest fear is to not have my children and husband next to me in God’s Kingdom” because they question why the Bible could not explain the existence of dinosaurs.

And finally (because I can’t resist one last dig):

Romney’s final share of the vote? You guessed it: 47 percent.

Washington Post: Call it irony or call it coincidence: Mitt Romney’s share of the popular vote in the 2012 presidential race is very likely to be 47 percent.


Mitt Romney addresses the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) annual convention in Houston on July 11, 2012. (NICHOLAS KAMM – AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

Romney’s campaign, of course, was doomed in large part by comments made on a hidden camera in which he suggested that 47 percent of the country was so reliant on government services that those people would never vote for him.

A perfect illustration of an imperfect society…

A perfect illustration of an imperfect society…

From Rachel Maddow: Arizona’s “broken-on-purpose election” video [replacement; original’s gone]

These are crazy times.

Insane.

Makes you wonder how we got where we are today, except that the evidence is everywhere. You just have to know where to look.

At the same time hundreds of thousands of voters are at risk for disenfranchisement thanks to Arizona’s Maricopa County and others, and the state of Texas, where talk of secession is out in the open again, we’ve moved back 50 years to a time when there were still “whites only” water fountains.

Want an interesting insight into what Arizona’s like these days? Have a look at the articles posted here.

Arizona elections still not over as suspicion builds

Arizona Republic might be a liberal paper in a strictly conservative state (or not), but it seems to me that our country is suffering from a mad swing between conservative, moderate and liberal that looks more like the Sword of Damocles than a pendulum. At any moment, with enough provocation, we could find ourselves in the second Civil War.

Perhaps that’s too alarmist, but with petitions all around Maryland requesting secession over the fair-and-square re-election of President Obama, and the recent declaration by the standing Majority Leader that nothing will change, we are working rapidly toward a boil-over.

The really odd thing here is how few people represent the secession movement, but how our view revolves around these movements statewide. For a clearer picture of how this year’s election went, see the image here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/idvsolutions/8182119174/in/photostream/lightbox/

We’re not just a country of red and blue states. The mix is far more purple, when there’s anything to show at all. The image separates blue and red by counts of one dot for ever 100 voters (either blue or red).  There’s an awful lot of “white” space in this map, though. The Electoral College, for all its faults, does fairly well with restricting the representative vote to the number of voters in each state. Popularity contest aside, it’s a sad thing when what was good for Bush isn’t good for Obama.

I’ve heard from more than one Tea Party voter that Obama’s majority does not represent a mandate. Even Obama himself says this. But others aren’t so sure. John Nichols of The Nation lays out the comparisons between Obama and Bush, and of their predecessors where a majority was clear. No matter how nasty the taste might be, there is no question who won the election, and talk now of secession smacks much more of sour grapes than of any meaningful discussion regarding infringement of rights.

Jim Wright, of Stonekettle Station (a blog EVERYONE should read immediately), gets it right again. Folks had better simmer down before they start something they’re going to regret.

Or else.

Something’s happening here…

Something’s happening here…

The last two days I’ve gotten up with the goal of writing a purposeful review of the last few weeks from my point of view as a liberal with Attention Deficit Disorder. I got distracted by Facebook and printing out my novel in progress and simply forgot to get around to it. Today I would be identified as gifted as well, though back when I went to school I was just “smart and lazy.”

But I digress. It happens a lot.

You may have noticed by now, if you’re following along at all, that I have a laser-thin focus on certain aspects of this year’s election process. This is a sometimes positive, sometimes hellish aspect of ADD. It allows me to work on a task with a frightening single-mindedness that excludes everything, often including tact.

This morning, as I left services that were devoted to counting blessings and honoring our veterans, this song popped up on the radio.

Subtitled “Stop, Hey What’s That Sound” by the record company exec who signed on Buffalo Springfield, For What It’s Worth is often associated with the Vietnam war, even though its writer, Stephen Stills, was actually inspired by the Sunset Strip Riots of 1966. The song captured my attention as an excellent jump-off point for this post.

I’ve been paying increasing attention to the political rhetoric that has brought us to where we are today, with a second term president and a congress that looks very much as it did two years ago. Such close attention, in fact, that I’ve flooded my friends’ FB feeds with warnings of the coming apocalypse if Romney should become President. Thankfully, we avoided the mess, but it’s a short-lived happy dance because now the real work begins. And some really don’t want to believe it’s over, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary. Me? I had a four-hour nap the day after the election because holding my breath that long meant taking a very long recovery nap afterward. I’ve tried being more relaxed about the results, but with conversations between my friends, it’s clear I wasn’t the only one stressed out.

There are, to be sure, key differences in balance and in the winners of this year’s election cycle, but I’ve been surprised at the ongoing and frightening comments that haven’t gone away post-election.

In the last week, two Facebook friends have taken me off their list, mainly for pointing out the inconvenient truth. It’s as if Karl Rove’s disbelief in the election results has spread like a virus. It’s still gloves off with those who think President Obama should not be in office, that no matter what we say about those who’ve obstructed progress, it’s still somehow all his fault. Small business employees are facing retribution in the form of layoffs now that it’s clear the Affordable Care Act will go through. Somehow, the abysmal record Bain Capital has for moving American jobs to China are irrelevant.

Really? Why? Because employers might suddenly have to pay their fair share? Because we’re dealing with a looming Fiscal Cliff that was of the Republicans’ own making?

The GOP’s deal with the Devil, Sequestration, was supposed to be a threat to scare voters into choosing Romney, but it failed. The GOP’s rhetoric should in theory have coaxed those voters into Romney’s corner. Instead, the GOP threw insults at the 47%, as Romney so handily identified the Brown voters, questioning their intelligence, value and dignity.

This campaign season has overflowed with vinegar, not honey. We’ve suffered through some 20,000 campaign commercials.

Twenty. Thousand.

Saturation. All thanks to big money and Citizens United.

How could they expect it would go otherwise? The GOP continues to run on the assumption that the “minority” vote isn’t real enough to beat down the “white” vote, but they’ve just been handed a warning that they’re wrong. No amount of rounding up Hispanics in Arizona will keep the voting the way they want it to go.  Five days after the election and they’re still counting votes, to the tune of over 500,000 early and provisional ballots. Voters are rightly concerned about disenfranchisement.

This isn’t about Black and White anymore. It’s about Rich White and everyone else. If you need a label, call the rest Brown. And by Brown I mean all shades, from pale on down to rich, deep chocolate. President Obama might not have carried a landslide victory in the popular vote, but then he didn’t have to, thanks to the Electoral College. His supporters are all shades and ethnicities, from many religious and a-religious backgrounds, of all ages and all financial backgrounds. And genders.

Two years from now, we’re going to see all this nastiness again, only this time we’ll be on the other side of Sequestration. I suggest strongly that you pay attention to what happens between now and New Year’s Eve, because that’s the direction Congress will take in the coming year.

And in the meantime, I think it’s time the rich men in charge put on their big boy pants and learn to play nice with the rest of us. If we can do without, so can they.

Returning to reality…

Returning to reality…

When Jon Stewart called Rove out in this episode of the Daily Show (here: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart) he was pointing out a problem with Rove’s math.

All day, when I haven’t been plowing through deadline-driven work or cleaning up a huge backlog of filing, I’ve listened to news stories on NPR and reading articles about the aftermath of Election Day 2012. The news items all fall into roughly two categories of analysis:

1. We knew it was going to turn out this way and how sad it is they didn’t; or: Why it worked out this way and what we/they did wrong.

2. What now? How are we going to fix the mess we’re in, now that the game has changed?

One thing is crystal clear: The GOP miscalculated their margin of viability and they’ve gotten the wake-up call they deserve. Denial is a hard place to be, which is why I’ve thought all day about how to write this post without sounding like a gloating witch. Honestly, in the hard, cold light of day, we’ll get over this.

Rachel Maddow explains the 2012 election and its result in 3 minutes, 13 seconds of glorious truth.

The transcript here, because eventually the YouTube video will vanish again into the Memory Hole of the Internet:

Ohio really did go to President Obama last night and he really did win.

And he really was born in Hawaii. And he really is legitimately President of the United States. Again.

And the Bureau of Labor Statistics did not make up a fake unemployment rate last month.
And the Congressional Research Service really can find no evidence that cutting taxes on rich people grows the economy.
And the polls were not skewed to oversampled Democrats.
And Nate Silver was not making up fake projections about the election to make conservatives feel bad. Nate Silver was doing math.

And climate change is real.
And rape really does cause pregnancy sometimes.
And evolution is a thing.
And Benghazi was an attack on us. It was not a scandal by us.
And nobody is taking away anyone’s guns.
And taxes have not gone up. And the deficit is dropping, actually.
And Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction.
And the moon landing was real.
And FEMA is not building concentration camps.
And UN election observers are not taking over Texas.
And moderate reforms of the regulations on the insurance industry and the financial services industry in this country are not the same thing as communism.

Listen.

Last night was a good night for liberals and for Democrats for very obvious reasons, but it was also
possibly a good night for this country as a whole. Because in this country we have a two-party system in government and the idea is supposed to be that the two sides both come up with ways to
confront and fix the real problems facing our country. They both propose possible solutions to our real problems and we debate between those possible solutions. And by the process of debate we pick the best idea. That competition between good ideas from both sides about real problems in the real country should result in our country having better choices, better options than if only one side is really working on the hard stuff.

And if the Republican Party and the conservative movement and the conservative media is stuck in a vacuum sealed door locked spin cycle of telling each other what makes them feel good, and denying the factual lived truth of the world then we are all deprived as a nation of the constructive debate between competing, feasible ideas about real problems.

Last night the Republicans got shellacked and they had no idea it was coming

And we saw them in real time–in real, humiliating time–not believe it even as it was happening to them. And unless they are going to secede, they’re going to have to pop the factual bubble they have been so happy living inside if they do not want to get shellacked again.

And that will be a painful process for them I’m sure but it will be good for the whole country, left, right, and center.

You guys we’re counting on you. Wake up! There’s real problems in the world. There
are real, knowable facts in the world. Let’s accept those and talk about how we might approach our problems differently. Let’s move on from there.

If the Republican Party and the conservative movement and conservative media are forced to do that by the humiliation they were dealt last night, we will all be better off as a nation.

And in that spirit, congratulations everybody. Big night.

Since January, in ever-increasing ways, I’ve become thoroughly sick of the radical Right’s rhetoric. I honestly thought, after growing up during the 1968 riots and surviving ten presidents, many race-based assassinations  (I was 16 days old when Kennedy was assassinated so I count his administration, too), that we were past all this thinly veiled racist, misogynistic,  homophobic crap, but there is simply no question about what the GOP in general and the Tea Party in particular expected in this year’s Presidential race.

NPR’s probably got the best lock on the main deciding factors: The “brown” vote, together with a diverse coalition of citizens whose liberal politics and religious beliefs, gave President Obama the edge he needed to win, not just by popular vote but by an Electoral College landslide.

Facebook has images popping up on multiple feeds that compare the “red” states of 2012 to maps showing slavery states in 1860. These remarkable divisions are clear and extremely disappointing. Why aren’t we beyond this by now?

The summary works like this: If you choose to accuse every brown person (African-American, Hispanic, Asian or other) of being part of the 47% who suffer from greed and laziness, failing to tow the imaginary line of strict morality, expecting them to give up rights to healthcare, family planning and legal immigration, you get what you deserve.

Reducing a woman’s access to family planning and abortion, particularly in regard to rape, is going to get you booted out of office. Basing your agenda on abridging basic civil rights, regardless of your opinion over the appropriateness of private behavior isn’t just wrong, it’s reprehensible. And it will cost you a seat in the Senate or the House.

The GOP has barely retained their majority in the House, but they have lost ground in the Senate. Continued shenanigans with filibusters and the looming economic Fiscal Cliff will ultimately cost the Tea Party’s constituents, and there is absolutely nothing standing in the way if President Obama wants to clasp his hands casually behind his back while Sequestration kicks in, meaning GOP leaders will either find a way to compromise or find themselves on the other side of the Capitol’s chamber doors in two years (or less).

It’s game over for the obstructionists of 2010. They no longer have the mandate they once did for doing as they please. While most of the GOP’s supporters remain white, male, and over 50, that number has shrunk sufficiently to tip the balance in favor of those whom the social safety nets protect. Four years down the road, their majority will shrink even further, leaving more progressives in place, in areas with higher populations.

Of all the reactions I read in the last two days, Jim Wright (Stonekettle Station) says it best with this post: Hemlock With A Small Side Of Schadenfreude. I warned my Facebook friends this morning to swallow whatever they had in their mouths before reading this article because Wright is dead on with his analysis, not just of the utter disappointment in Romney’s huge loss, but in the way the world will be now that the election is over.

I’ve posted the articles I found most useful or interesting below.

“We knew it was going to turn out this way and how sad it is they didn’t; or: Why it worked out this way and what we/they did wrong:”

John Scalzi (Whatever): Post-Election Notes For the GOP (Not That They’ve Asked For Them)

Slate: The Five Stages of Fox News Grief

Slate: A Vast Left-Wing Competency How Democrats became the party of effective campaigning—and why the GOP isn’t catching up anytime soon.

NBC News: Karl Rove’s election nightmare: Super PAC’s spending was nearly for naught

“What now? How are we going to fix the mess we’re in, now that the game has changed?”

The New York Times: Back to Work, Obama Is Greeted by Looming Crisis

Politico: The new Senate: More compromise, less filibuster?

In the end, we’re in for an interesting couple of months, while Congress figures out how to pull back from Sequestration, if it happens at all. No matter what, there’s a lot of healing that’s going to have to happen first.

In the final analysis…

In the final analysis…

Today is a day for quiet celebration and for concern.

Yesterday was my 49th birthday. Today is the 40th anniversary of Richard M. Nixon’s landslide victory against George McGovern; 40 years of watching and waiting through the rhetoric, the endless punditry, the concession speeches and victory cheers. It’s been 30 years since my first voting year.

In the end, despite heaps of cynicism and skepticism, my electoral college guesses proved right. I recorded my bets when states hit about 60% of precincts reporting in clear majorities, 75% or higher in closer races. I spent most of last night, into the wee hours of the morning, watching Huffington Post’s Election Results. This morning I checked back in and saw no overnight surprise upsets.

Interestingly, only a few of those listed in the Washington Post’s Pundit accountability summary got the numbers close to right. Three assumed Florida would go to Governor Romney, two to President Obama (the more likely outcome in the light of day), with the votes for third-party candidates appearing to affect Governor Romney (Gary Johnson) somewhat more than President Obama (Jill Stein), though neither one did enough damage to change the final numbers:

With Florida:

Josh Putnam, Davidson College: Obama 332, Romney 206. ”Everything above is based on a graduated weighted average of polls in each state conducted in 2012,” Putnam wrote in explaining his methodology. “The weighting is based on how old a poll is. The older the poll is the more it is discounted. The most recent poll is given full weight.”

Markos Moulitsas: Obama 332, Romney 206. “Currently, national polling assumes a big dropoff from registered voters to likely voters. I don’t believe that’ll be the case, and we’re certainly not seeing it in the early vote—Democratic turnout is up. And the RV models have been more accurate historically.”

Without Florida:

Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight: Obama 303, Romney 235. ”The model estimates that Mr. Romney would need to win the national popular vote by about one percentage point to avert a tossup, or a loss, in the Electoral College,” Silver writes.

Sam Wang, Princeton Election Consortium: Obama 303, Romney 235. “In terms of EV or the Meta-margin, [Obama has] made up just about half the ground he ceded to Romney after Debate #1.”*

Jamelle Bouie, The American Prospect: Obama 303, Romney 235. “[I]f Obama wins on Tuesday, the political science on debates will have won out; they can shift the short-term situation, but they don’t fundamentally change the direction of an election.”

*NOTE: Since I first published this post, the Washington Post has revised Silver’s estimate to include Florida’s numbers, putting him up with the 332/206 numbers.

Here in Maryland, as in Maine, Minnesota, and Washington (as well as Iowa, where a judge’s status was in question because of his support for Marriage Equality), we have affirmed that Marriage Equality is right. In Maryland in particular, we have upheld the right for same-sex couples to marry by a majority of 52%.

Maryland also affirmed the Dream Act, and will now be able to hold our politicians involved in corrupt or criminal activity accountable, suspending them without pay. While I’m not thrilled to see gambling expansion in my state, the barn door’s already open, and there’s no turning back now, I guess. In Colorado, for the first time, a state (Colorado) has made recreational marijuana use legal, which will likely push the question to the Supreme Court. With luck, the Court will also address jailing for marijuana use and start to cut our prison population as well.

In general, I’m happy to have a quiet house today, and the sense that things will be calmer, at least for a while. Friends will find a way to mend relationships torn by political grief and misunderstanding.

Though the fiscal cliff still looms large, congress will hold its lame duck session shortly and (with luck) will see a way to steer clear of the threat to our programs. If not, I hope President Obama and the confirmed Democratically controlled Senate will find a way to smooth out the mess the Tea Party-controlled House has made of our politics in the last four years.

Meanwhile, I’m turning my attention to unfinished projects over what remains of November. I have a novel that needs  serious revision, assorted tasks for work that are near completion, and the rest of 2012 to survive, assuming the world doesn’t end on December 21st. There are bills to pay, tax forms to file, chores that always need doing.

Life goes on, even as we fit the new changes into our lives and hope for the best.

There’s just a few more hours…

There’s just a few more hours…

Here in Maryland early voting has ended. My birthday is just a few hours away.

Election day begins on Tuesday, November 6, with the opening of polls as early as 7am, but hundreds of thousands of people have already made their choices in states allowing early voting, or by mail through absentee ballot. This election is still too close to call, despite all the evidence that shows how big money is manipulating our election system.

Based on some reports, we’ve never seen the number of ads, the privately (and hidden) funding, that we’ve seen in this year’s election, the bulk of funding by  the Koch Brothers, Karl Rove and other “dark” sources who prefer to put their money where their mouths are.

Meanwhile, of our top two presidential candidates, only one has employed questionable tax shelters to hide his money, kept his financing intentionally vague, because there are things he doesn’t want us to know about how he got his money and where it goes. This man, with the power of the Office of President behind him, has the potential for avoiding any sort of criminal investigation simply by virtue of being President.

“Why should we worry about the Romneys’ money?” I hear this all the time from ultraconservative friends who think Governor Romney’s activities are just fine.  Trouble is, if he isn’t straight with us about his views, how can we be sure of the things he will do once he is in office. Bloomberg just reported on the most likely reason the Romneys won’t release their tax forms: It’s called a Charitable remainder unitrust (CRUT).

For reasons that I suspect have to do more with a GOP-majority House, we haven’t seen a call for investigations on the CRUT, Bain Capital’s Delphi and Sensata transactions, or other questionable activities that would be all over the news if the same could be said for President Obama or for any other Democratic candidate.

What is a CRUT? Wikipedia has a technical answer. The shelter has been around since 1969, but congress changed the loophole in 1997, just after the Romneys took advantage of the shelter. You’d think the Mormon Church would be concerned that the Romneys might not be tithing to their fullest extent, but that’s where misguided faith in leadership can lead.

See, Governor Romney has said he’s not running as a Mormon candidate. I believe he knows too well the damage he will do to his campaign by being associated with his faith. Don’t believe me, listen to his words as he tries to defend his political views on a woman’s right to choose in Massachusetts.

The original video is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFkaCji-UDA&feature=related. You can watch as Romney goes from smooth candidate to angry defender of the faith. He walks out of the interview because he knows he can’t say these things on air. The campaign is so tired of walking back his misstatements, he’s now using a teleprompter.

And in all this, there’s the question of who’s voting for him. While President Obama’s supporters are all over the map, there’s a more narrow majority who favor Governor Romney. On Friday, November 2, Slate Magazine ran a sensational and inflammatory piece by Tom Scocca: Why Do White People Think Mitt Romney Should Be President? Parsing the narrow, tribal appeal of the Republican nominee. His likening this campaign to George Wallace’s disastrous run has led to response articles by NewsBusters, but has generated almost no other buzz since posting. Scocca isn’t the only one to notice the disparity, though, despite the Romney campaign’s  strong desire to cast this as applying to 100% of Americans. CBS News ran a piece on October 26, defining Romney supporters as mainly white working class men. That this might insult his other supporters seems irrelevant.

Other aspects, including Hurricane Sandy’s “October Surprise, the real impact of Obamacare and a slow but steady improvement to our economy aren’t putting a dent in the GOP juggernaut. But it all comes down to this, because Romney has run out of options: Elect me or else.

“You know that if the President is re-elected, he will still be unable to work with the people in Congress,” Romney said. “He has ignored them, attacked them, blamed them. The debt ceiling will come up again, and shutdown and default will be threatened, chilling the economy.”

I am guessing that most of my readers don’t make more than $200k per year. Many of them are sharing my underemployment boat, scraping by, not partying on private yachts or taking extensive European vacations. We’re not wealthy but we are generally intelligent and we know (most of the time) when we’ve been fed a lie.

Here’s hoping that the end of this political nightmare will bring not just four more years of potential recovery but a real end to obstruction.

Theme: Elation by Kaira.