August 22nd, 2012

It's Not About Voter Fraud. Let's Just Dispense with That, Okay?

From the Columbus Dispatch:

“I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban — read African-American — voter-turnout machine,” said Doug Preisse, chairman of the county Republican Party and elections board member who voted against weekend hours, in an email to The Dispatch. “Let’s be fair and reasonable.”


Central to the widespread political myth of false equivalency is an almost willful cluelessness about the natures of both conservatism and liberalism. Conservatism is typically perceived as the default position, liberalism as a challenge, or, as many right-wingers see it, an affront.

Many on the right will therefore depict liberal access to the political process as an amiable luxury rather than an essential. This attitude is most evident in hard times. We saw it in the wake of 9/11, and we're seeing it now in our current economic crisis. The right wing -- now indistinguishable from the Republican party -- is intent on selling the notion that liberals are not just wrong in their eyes, but somehow illegitimate, even borderline criminal. Vote for a liberal, or even just a perceived liberal, and you are abusing your access to the vote and calling into question your competence as a voter.

Hence the language used by Preisse in the above quote. African Americans are not truly "voters," in his mind, but cogs in the "voter-turnout machine." Cutting back on early voting is therefore not disenfranchising voters -- it's preventing a mindless, malevolent "machine" from influencing the political process.

That belief is what's truly behind the Republican drive to institute voter IDs, and any extended discussion with voter ID apologists will swiftly make that evident. There will be a token effort to tie the issue to voter fraud, but point out the fact that such laws are much more likely to disenfranchise legitimate voters than stop fraudulent ones, and the right wing arguments will shift over to the notion that if some voters are unable to jump through the extra hoops set up for them, like applying and paying for the ID, or using an absentee ballot, or standing in line for nine hours and missing work, they are not competent enough to vote anyway.

In short, it's not about fear of fraud. It's about putting up barriers. And it looks more and more like the Republican Party in Ohio wants a repeat of what happened there in 2004.

Crossposted from Thoughtcrimes
Groovy Kol

Forget BRICS, now meet MIST

During the peak of the investment boom in the beginning of the last decade, Jim O'Neill, the chief of the investment department at Goldman Sachs made a kind of a quip when he invented the acronym BRIC. You know, the four emerging markets: Brazil, Russia, India, China. Later an S was added for South Africa, so it became BRICS. That term came up in 2001. But now that same Jim O'Neill is promoting another quartet of countries whose economies have the potential to beat the BRICS in terms of economic growth. Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea and Turkey. So... meet MIST!

There's a noticeable, steady shift on a global scale of the growth rates. What? Not another shift?, you'd say. But yeah. Perhaps another artificially inflated balloon for the purposes of profit? Maybe, maybe. I'd leave the experts have their say on this. But here are the facts. The investors have infused a total of 67 billion $ in company shares in BRICS countries for the last decade. But last year, those same investors began sniffing the profit and chose to withdraw 15 billion from those economies because of the slowing growth. Where did the bulk of that capital go? You guessed right!

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