Committed to Parkview

Things I love about America, right now. Click Obama, get Romney - is this to be the iconic image of Election 2012?

Your singers.

(Some of them are dead.)

So You’re Staying Up To Watch The US Election.

Of course, we may not know the results til next October. Or not for years. (Jill Stein will not win, but if Obama loses, is as likely to be blamed for Romney’s “victory” as Ralph Nader was blamed for George W. Bush’s “win”.)

It might be President Obama’s biggest broken promise: closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay.

But it might be former President Obama’s biggest regret: not cleaning up US elections in 2009.

Greg Palast: The trick is this: Take 1.45 million ballots “spoiled” (cast and not counted for technical reasons, mostly errors in machine readers). The chance your vote will spoil if you’re black is seven times the likelihood your ballot will be ruined by a machine if you’re white. Whose vote is that? Who gave black people the crap voting machines? The same ones that gave them the crap schools. And Rove knows how to keep it that way.

Mark Karlin: Yet, watchdogs such as Mark Crispin Miller, Brad Friedman and many others do contend that the electronic voting machines do allow for the theft of elections through electronic manipulation of election outcomes.

Greg Palast: That’s why I’m including Friedman’s analysis on my associated web site, BallotBandits.org. I, though, don’t want folks to forget the easiest way to steal votes by computer: unplug the computer. That’s right. One of the key ways black votes are gone is the miraculous way that computers have glitches in Hispanic precincts, which suffer a loss of votes five times the loss in white precincts. So the votes aren’t changed, they simply disappear. Oops! A “glitch” – no nasty software tricks to explain. Details? You’ll have to read the book.

XKCD: Voting Machines

Willie Nelson sings “Sweet Music Man” to Kenny Rogers: Kenny Rogers/Dolly Parton/Willie Nelson Live Medley

Kenny Rogers singing “Sweet Music Man” live on stage:

Americans determined that no damn neutral observer is going to make sure they get free and fair elections, no sirree:

22 People Who Are Ready To Beat Up United Nations Election Observers

A routine visit from international election observers nearly sparked an international incident in Texas. The observers are actually from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, but who’s counting?

Sample tweet:

So many people getting so much wrong into 140 characters or less.

Porter Wagoner sings “Committed to Parkview” and makes you believe he was there:

The white Christian Right are bloody determined to elect Mitt Romney, because there’s something about Barack Obama they just don’t like:

A Catholic bishop in a swing state released a pastoral letter this week warning his flock that “to vote for someone in favour of [the Democratic party’s] positions … could put your own soul in jeopardy.”

In the archdiocese of Cardinal Timothy Dolan, a Catholic parish is distributing an endorsement of Mitt Romney.

Meanwhile, former GOP presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee released a web video full of roaring fires, suggesting that Christians who vote for President Obama will go to hell.

Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, running on the Romney ticket, also told a group of evangelical Christians that re-electing President Obama would put the country on “a dangerous path” that erodes “Judeo-Christian, western-civilization values.”

And Mitt Romney’s campaign team has suggested that an Obama vote would “threaten religious freedom”, citing health care packages that include contraception.

Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson sing “Committed to Parkview” in the Highwaymen:

George Monbiot: “Obama and Romney remain silent on climate change, the biggest issue of all

Here’s a remarkable thing. Neither Mitt Romney nor Barack Obama – with the exception of one throwaway line each – have mentioned climate change in the wake of hurricane Sandy.

They are struck dumb. During a Romney rally in Virginia on Thursday, a protester held up a banner and shouted “What about climate? That’s what caused this monster storm”. The candidate stood grinning and nodding as the crowd drowned out the heckler by chanting “USA! USA!”. Romney paused, then resumed his speech as if nothing had happened. The poster the man held up? It said “End climate silence”.

While other Democrats expound the urgent need to act, the man they support will not take up the call. Barack Obama, responding to his endorsement by the mayor of New York, mentioned climate change last week as “a threat to our children’s future”. Otherwise, I have been able to find nothing; nor have the many people I have asked on Twitter. Something has gone horribly wrong.

Johnny Cash sings “Five Feet High and Rising”:

Hurricane Sandy hits New York

Upstairs, all the lights in NYU hospital went off. What followed was a truly heroic evacuation of more than 200 patients. Nurses manually worked the air-lines for premature babies as they carried them down from the NICU. Doctors carried patients down dark stairwells before fire crews and NYPD arrived to help.

Amir Paydar MD, a resident radiologist, was there. “I made three trips, carrying patients down seventeen flights of stairs, before the fire department arrived and took over,” he tells me, stood outside the hospital in the cold light of the following day. “it was dark – it was… like war in there.”

The hospital administration called in backup after the electrics went, and people came in droves to help – including medical students and research fellows, all helping to move people in almost-pitch darkness and transfer them to hospitals all across Manhattan.

When the power went out in downtown New York, the only restaurants that could open were those that had wood-fired brick ovensperfect for pizza.

“I never felt like part of America; I’m Italian,” says Adriani, who moved to the city in 2010. “But this is the first time I felt like a New Yorker, because opening the restaurant like this with candles, you don’t do it for money, because you lose money. I saw these policemen on every corner, making a terrible shift in the cold. We’re going to bring pizza to every policeman on the corner. The policeman are there to help people. You help each other…. It gave me the spirit of being a New Yorker.”

Sesame Street: Johnny Cash And Biff Sing Five Feet High:

Dr Andrew Steer:

Nowhere in the world is the issue of climate change as polarizing as it is here in the United States.

Here’s what we know: an overwhelming majority of scientists tell us that the Earth’s climate is heating largely due to rising greenhouse gas emissions, which, in turn, is driving more extreme weather and climate events. The underlying changes — warmer oceans, more intense precipitation events, and rising sea levels — are significant contributors to storms like Sandy. Around the world, we’re seeing heavier rainfall and record-breaking high temperatures, and many areas are experiencing more severe droughts and more wildfires. These patterns are precisely what climate scientists have said we should expect in a warming world. Further, these extreme weather and climate events are taking a serious toll as they disrupt people’s lives and our economy.

Mitt Romney on Climate Change

Marlon Brando in the Guys and Dolls film sings “Luck be a Lady”

Sergey Brin asks hopelessly:

…no matter what the outcome, our government will still be a giant bonfire of partisanship. It is ironic since whenever I have met with our elected officials they are invariably thoughtful, well-meaning people. And yet collectively 90% of their effort seems to be focused on how to stick it to the other party.

So my plea to the victors — whoever they might be: please withdraw from your respective parties and govern as independents in name and in spirit. It is probably the biggest contribution you can make to the country.

Frank Sinatra sings “Luck be a Lady” in 1966 in Sinatra at the Sands with Count Basie’s Orchestra:

New Statesman leader on Hallowe’en:

Yet any temptation to suggest that the world can afford a defeat for Mr Obama is dispelled by the prospect of a Romney presidency. A victory for the Republican candidate, who, as Mehdi Hasan writes on page 38, has surrounded himself with Bush-era neoconservatives, would greatly increase the chances of war with Iran, embolden the most reactionary elements in Israel and further accelerate climate change.

On the domestic level, Mr Romney’s pledge to reduce government spending by a fifth would likely plunge the US into a double-dip recession, while his plans to cut taxes for the rich and slash spending on Medicaid, food stamps, housing subsidies and job training would result in a marked redistribution of wealth from the poorest to the richest. Mr Obama’s health-care reform act – his single greatest domestic achievement – would be repealed and Roe v Wade, the Supreme Court judgment that established the legal right to abortion, would be overturned. Let no one claim that there is nothing to choose between the candidates.

How many UK newspapers have endorsed Romney? None

Barbra Streisand sings “Luck be a Lady” in her 1993 album Back to Broadway:

Though in the Financial Times, Gideon Rachman, author of Zero Sum Future, writes:

If I could vote, I would – like almost everybody else in Europe – cast my ballot for Barack Obama. He was dealt a very difficult hand and he has played it reasonably well. I approve of his effort to provide universal healthcare coverage – even though the reform itself is a mess. Making the tax system more redistributive seems reasonable, given the rise in inequality. I prefer his approach to the outside world and to social issues, such as abortion. And, since I was never inspired by his “hope and change” stuff in 2008 (on the contrary), I am not disillusioned it has not worked out.

Where I depart from the liberal consensus is that I think that Mr Romney would be a perfectly decent president.

Working out what kind of a president the Republican would be is, admittedly, not very easy. He has turned so many somersaults during the course of the election that nobody can be certain which incarnation would report for work in the Oval Office. Would it be moderate Mitt or “severely conservative” Romney?

Editorial Board at the Washington Post:

How, other than an assumption that voters are too dim to remember what Mr. Romney has said across the years and months, to account for his breathtaking ideological shifts? He was a friend of immigrants, then a scourge of immigrants, then again a friend. He was a Kissingerian foreign policy realist, then a McCain-like hawk, then a purveyor of peace. He pioneered Obamacare, he detested Obamacare, then he found elements in it to cherish. Assault weapons were bad, then good. Abortion was okay, then bad. Climate change was an urgent problem; then, not so much. Hurricane cleanup was a job for the states, until it was once again a job for the feds.

The Highwaymen: Deportee – Plane Wreck At Los Gatos Canyon

Mitt Romney is a rich-from-birth Ivy League product who not only has never done a hard day of work in his life – he never even saw a bad neighborhood in America until 1996, when he was 49 years old, when he went into some seedy sections of New York in search of a colleague’s missing daughter (“It was a shocker,” Mitt said. “The number of lost souls was astounding”).

He has a $250 million fortune, but he appears to pay well under half the maximum tax rate, thanks to those absurd semantic distinctions that even Ronald Reagan dismissed as meaningless and counterproductive. He has used offshore tax havens for himself and his wife, and his company, Bain Capital, has both eliminated jobs in the name of efficiency (often using these cuts to pay for payments to his own company) and moved American jobs overseas.

The point is, Mitt Romney’s natural constituency should be about 1% of the population. If you restrict that pool to “likely voters,” he might naturally appeal to 2%. Maybe 3%.

Joan Baez: Deportee – Plane Wreck At Los Gatos Canyon

Forget What You’ve Heard. Abortion Does Not Hurt the Democrats:

So where does this belief that abortion rights hurts the Democrats come from? Well, the theory, best encapsulated by Thomas Frank’s popular book What’s the Matter with Kansas?, is that by embracing abortion rights, feminism, and gay rights, the Democrats lost the white working-class vote. This theory assumes that these voters are so concerned with reversing the progress made by women and gay people that they are willing to vote against their own economic interests. The proof seems to be in the pudding, which is the Democrats’ consistent inability to get white working-class voters behind them.

There are two problems with this theory, the first being the one that Smith laid out at FiveThirtyEight, which is that even if it were true, the fact of the matter is that prioritizing reproductive rights brought in a lot of voters for the Democrats, too. It also brought in money, as has been demonstrated in this election cycle by the heavy giving from wealthy female donors who want to see reproductive rights protected.

The other problem with that theory is that it fundamentally misunderstands the root cause of the white working-class hostility to the Democrats. While it is true that a group of Republican loyalists are driven to the polls by an obsession with abortion, many white working-class voters who are stalwart Republicans could give a whiff about abortion but get completely bent out of shape over myths about lazy people—usually imagined as people of color—getting something for nothing while they have to work for a living.

Janis Ian sings “Between The Lines”

L’Hote on Drones and Election 2012:

In the Senate race between Joe Donnelly and Richard Mourdock, you’ve got a really interesting test cast for the lesser evil/anti-vote crowd. As I mentioned once, abortion is the issue most often invoked as a reason to support Obama at all costs. Here, you’ve got yet another Republican cretin saying horrid things about abortion, in this case claiming that women getting pregnant from rape are part of God’s plan. The problem is that his opponent, Donnelly, is also anti-abortion. Last year he received a 20% from NARAL as a Congressman; every year before that, he got a 0%. He’s consistently received high marks from the National Right to Life Committee.

So: as a pro-choice zealot who favors unrestricted access to abortion for all women, what do I do? I think most people will tell you that I need to vote for Donnelly, an anti-abortion guy, and do so specifically to support abortion rights. And I probably will. But if it’s the case that the lesser evil position requires me to vote for a pro-life candidate because I am pro-choice, it might be time for us all to take a breath and think this through. I really would like it if the legions of lesser evilists would look a little more deeply into their political ideas and maybe reassess a few things. The lesser evil mentality is quite strange in that it acknowledges itself as a deeply imperfect and unfortunate stance and yet is expressed with absolute and unwavering conviction. I hear the lesser evil argument all the time. I very, very rarely hear it expressed in a qualified or restrained way. Instead it is usually expressed as though no one of any intelligence or character at all could ever oppose it.

If the people who advocate supporting candidates who don’t really represent your views are serious when they acknowledge that it’s an imperfect way to operate, I wish they would demonstrate their commitment to changing that imperfection. I’ve heard it a thousand times– it’s an imperfect world! the system is violent! we’re constrained by reality!– and okay, fine. Then please show your support for the good-enough politicians in an bad system, but also work hard to improve that system. That acknowledgment shouldn’t be a hand wave. The system is so flawed in large part because principled people are so willing to compromise about those flaws. If you believe you’re supporting the better of two bad choices, fine, but then work to make the choices better in the future.

Dolly Parton: Deportee – Plane Wreck At Los Gatos Canyon

On the Republican Party’s campaigning threat to deport all seven million “illegal immigrants” and replace with a “guest worker” program:

In agriculture, growers have long relied on immigrant labor. Currently, most farmworkers are undocumented immigrants. Many growers already import significant portions of their work force each year by requesting (through the U.S. Department of Labor) agricultural guest workers who enter the country with H-2A visas. The program is rife with abuse and offers a glimpse into the problems inherent with the any guest worker program.

Guest workers equal good business in the minds of some employers, since their visas tie the workers to a single employer, in effect, depriving them of flexibility to negotiate higher wages or better working conditions. It creates a system that gives the growers access to their idea of the ideal employee: skilled, vulnerable and inexpensive. It also leads growers to prefer guest workers over U.S. workers, which keeps wages low for everyone. The end result is an increase in profits for farmers and a decrease in job standards for the workers.

Despite these advantages, major agribusiness interests have launched an aggressive lobbying campaign to win the ability to recruit still bigger armies of agricultural guest workers at the expense of U.S. workers and to relax the wage and other modest protections guest workers currently have. Since guest workers cannot vote, growers enjoy a great political and legislative advantage.

Johnny Cash sings “Here Comes That Rainbow Again”

Mitt Romney on the 47%:

“[They] will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47% who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to healthcare, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what … These are people who pay no income tax …

“[M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

[Mitt Romney] stood by his comments about the 47% of Americans who do not pay income tax. He said they support President Barack Obama and would never vote for him. He said his statement was “about the campaign”.

“I’m talking about a perspective of individuals who are not likely to support me,” he said. “Those that are dependent on government and those that think government’s job is to redistribute, I’m not going to get them,” Mr Romney said.

If Mitt Romney wins, what will the world get?

Ten reasons why Barack Obama does not deserve your vote

Kris Kristofferson sings “Here Comes That Rainbow Again”

In expectation [29th September] that President Barack Obama will win reelection, I propose keeping the following phrase handy: Obama Wouldn’t Have Done That (OWHDT).

OWHDT is an ironic tag for the countless awful, conservative things Obama will do that—had they been done by Romney—would have been used to shame lefties who didn’t vote for The One.

Though there is this: if not for being the first black President in a deeply racist country, Barack Obama would probably by now be as popular as Ronald Reagan… while Mitt Romney is trying to win by megaprayers harking back to the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, Barack Obama met Nichelle Nichols in the Oval Office. Uhura for President!

Mitt Romney and the Battle of Lepanto PS: I also like Nichelle Nichols. Nichelle Nichols & Barack Obama

And finally, for everyone who’s stayed up all night to find out who gets to be President and for everyone who knows that Barack Obama is only the least-worst choice

Calling all dreamers and optimistic fools
Don’t let go of your dream make it now make it all come true
If you believe in a brighter day
I know we can find our way

To this island, in a starry ocean
Poetry in motion, this island earth
Spinnin’ like a dancer, gravity is the answer
Rendezvous in the blue, this island earth

Update, 9th November

I also love Rachel Maddow. (via)

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 oversample 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.

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