Republican Party

Oregon Election Worker Fired for Altering Ballots to Republican Straight Ticket

An election worker in Oregon is facing a criminal investigation for allegedly altering multiple ballots to benefit Republican candidates.

In a press release on Monday, Clackamas County spokesperson Tim Heider said that 55-year-old Deanna Swenson had been “relieved of duty immediately after the alleged ballot tampering was discovered.”

Swenson, who was registered as a Republican, was accused of filling in a Republican straight ticket on ballots where voters did not specify a choice.

Contacted by Willamette Week, Swenson tearfully insisted that it was “only the two” ballots that had been altered.

The Oregon Department of Justice began an investigation last week after an elections official reportedly observed ballots being altered.

“At this point, it is unclear how many ballots the employee at issue had access to, or what will be done with those ballots,” the sheriff’s office said on Monday.

At a Monday emergency meeting, officials in Clackamas County announced that the altered ballots would not be counted. Since ballots were anonymous, disenfranchised voters would not be given a chance to re-cast their votes.

So, the supporters of Voter Fraud legislation are caught with their hands in the cookie jar once again.  How many ballots will be disqualified?  At least two voters have been disenfranchised by this illegal act.

To read the entire report and watch the embedded video please click here

The video can also be seen by clicking here

Republicans Want ALEC Gone?

I read all about this in becauseican, where 2old2care posted about this.  Nobody can dig like 2old2care, who is one of my favorite bloggers.

What 2old2care found is a gem.  But instead of posting the becauseican blog here directly, as we often do, this time I’m going to take a screen shot of what 2 old2care is writing about.
3.  Run, not walk from people like the Koch Brothers, The American Legislative Exchange council, Donald Trump., etc

Please click here to read the blog by clicking here

UAW, SEIU PFAW and Other Org’s File Charges Against Romney for Violating Federal Ethics in Government law

From Nation of Change, by Greg Palast

United Auto Worker’s President, Bob King announced today that his Union and a consortium of other organizations that include the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), People for the American Way, SEIU, Public Campaign and the Social Equity Group has initiated and brought formal charges against Mitt Romney for “hiding” between $15.3 million and $115.0 million in Ann Romney’s so-called “blind” trust.

The formal charge filed with the US Office of Government Ethics focuses attention upon an aspect of the Romney “family” that has been previously overlooked – the financial manipulations by Mitt and Ann Romney serving to hide their huge wealth.  It also demonstrates that the relationship between Mitt Romney and one of his main contributors, Paul Singer is more than just that of a candidate and supporter.  This scheme began three years ago and partnered Ann Romney with hedge fund manager Singer, who would later become Presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s key donor.

This disgusting tale exemplifies precisely why what Romney and his Bain Company does has been defined as “vulture capitalism”.  When the economy collapsed in 2009 the Romney’s and Singer saw an opportunity to capitalize off of the dire straits the U.S. automakers found themselves facing.  Under their partnership Singer and Romney secretly bought controlling interest in Delphi Auto (the former GM auto parts division) through Singer’s Hedge Fund, Elliot Management.

With the government stepping up to bail out GM and Chrysler, Ann Romney and Singer “stepped up” to reap a windfall of money out of the TARP funds by extorting $12.9 Billion in taxpayer funding from GM and the government.  By threatening to cut off the supply of key steering columns to GM unless they received funds from the bailout, this extortion was successful.  The “profits earned” by the Romneys from this extortion scheme were then hidden in a trust after allegedly being laundered through an offshore corporation and a limited partnership agreement…

The union chief says, “The American people have a right to know about Gov. Romney’s potential conflicts of interest, such as the profits his family made from the auto rescue,” “It’s time for Gov. Romney to disclose or divest.”

“In 2009, Ann Romney partnered with her husband’s key donor, billionaire Paul Singer, who secretly bought a controlling interest in Delphi Auto, the former GM auto parts division.  Singer’s hedge fund, Elliott Management, threatened to cut off GM’s supply of steering columns unless GM and the government’s TARP auto bail-out fund provided Delphi with huge payments.  While the US treasury complained this was “extortion,” the hedge funds received, ultimately, $12.9 billion in taxpayer subsidies.

“While Romney was opposing the rescue of one of the nation’s most important manufacturing sectors, he was building his fortunes with his Delphi investor group, making his fortunes off the misfortunes of others,” King added.”The Romneys’ gigantic windfall was hidden inside an offshore corporation inside a Limited Partnership inside a trust which both concealed the gain and reduces taxes on it.”

This is but one of possibly many such manipulations and transactions involving the Romneys and other corporate owners during the period 2008 to today that were used to increase personal wealth at the expense of taxpayer bailouts used to save our nation’s economy.  One can almost hear the loud sucking vacuum as more and more tax dollars are being swept upward to the top 1% of the wealthiest families and owners of multi-national corporations…we can also imagine the mocking laughter emanating from behind closed boardroom doors of America’s Hedge Fund companies as they count and exchange the status of money from tax dollars to “earned” investor profits.  This truly is a form of vulturous activity which is being used to further break the backs of America’s working middle class.

Read the full Nation of Change Palast article here

How big business wants to shrink the electorate

From San Diego City Beat By Zach Hagadone

“Astonishing.” “Remarkable.” “Sinister.” Those are words that come up again and again when confronting the wave of voter-identification laws that has recently swept through more than 30 Republican-dominated state legislatures. The measures sound innocuous enough: When a voter shows up on Election Day, he or she must present valid photo ID in order to cast a ballot…

According to figures from the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, as many as 11 percent of adult U.S. citizens do not have any form of government-issued photo identification, accounting for more than 21 million people. Among that group, 18 percent of citizens 65 years of age or older don’t have government-issued photo ID (more than 6 million seniors), and, based on 2000 U.S. Census figures, more than 5.5 million African-American adults lack photo ID—a full 25 percent of eligible black voters. Meanwhile, U.S. citizens, regardless of ethnicity, age or gender, who make less than $35,000 “are more than twice as likely to lack current government-issued photo identification as those earning more than $35,000 a year,” the Brennan Center reported, meaning at least 15 percent of voting-age Americans in the lowincome bracket lack valid ID.”
To read the full City Beat article, click here….

Corporate Control of Candidates & Elections – Topics, Contributions, Candidates and ALEC

It’s called “Corporatocracy” and as I’ve written for more than two years now, it is alive, well and on the rise.  Corporate involvement in government controls, regulations and programs has become dominant over the past two decades – and in the past four years it has increased exponentially following the election of America’s first African-American President.

Over the aforementioned twenty plus years, corporations have diversified their interest(s) from strictly business and manufacturing to an agenda of creating and urging the passage of pro-corporate friendly legislation beneficial to their bottom line(s) – regardless of the impact upon consumers, patients or voters.

Today more than three hundred and fifty multi-national companies are “officially” members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) where they take part in crafting/drafting legislation that limits consumer rights, suppresses voter rights, increases gun sales, privatizing; education (K-12 & college), prisons, prison services and public utilities.   Others are hidden members of ALEC including the businesses, companies and corporations who are members of the Chamber of Commerce, the National Foundation of Independent Business (NFIB – which claims a membership base of 350,000) and PhRMA (listing 53 member pharma companies) that has membership and key positions within ALEC.  This organization serves as the legislative voice of corporate interests, the “go to” charity used by companies such as Coca~Cola, Koch Industries, Microsoft, AT&T, PhRMA and Eli Lilly to lobby for and secure legislation reducing regulations on operations, lower taxation and less oversight and consumer protections.

Numerous other initiatives are pursued by these corporate players but this article isn’t about their anti-consumer activities or the legislation they have managed to pass (though for purposes of demonstration tort reform is explained below).  Rather it is about the pursuit of controlling our Legislative, judicial and executive branches of government (state and federal).   They are no longer content with paying huge sums of money to get the legislation passed…they want to cut out the middlemen.

Historically we have elected politicians who we believed would adequately and properly represent the rights and interests of our state citizens and the US population collectively.  Since the general election in 2008 all that has changed.  Corporations and businesses are no longer content with “owning” lawmakers with campaign contributions, bribes and expensive organizations such as ALEC.  Today they want to replace actual political candidates with current or former corporate executives and owners – who will advance a free-market, pro-corporate agenda. More →

Michigan’s House of Horrors – A Guide to Bad Bills and Lousy Laws

Under the leadership of Republican Speaker Jase Bolger members of the Michigan House have been busy as bees destroying democratic rule, dismantling the public sector, treating women as reproductive chattel, busting unions, polluting the air and water, fostering racial tension, gutting public education, selling public assets, trampling individual rights, and wrecking havoc with the state’s fragile economy and infrastructure.

Following is a list of some of the most reprehensible, repugnant and downright laughable bills and resolutions. Luckily, the majority remain stalled in committee, but several real doosies snuck through to become law, and just like with any virulent plague, it only takes a few…but hey Michigan, it’s just a touch of Ebola, right? Walk it off!

THE ROLL CALL OF RIDICULOUSNESS IN THE 96th MICHIGAN LEGISLATURE:

Let’s start with Jase Bolger (R-63) himself. The Speaker introduced four rather innocuous resolutions and no bills or amendments because he preferred to do all his dirty work behind closed doors, with his crowning achievement being manipulating the 76th District race by helping recruit a sham candidate to run against Republican-come-lately (really lately) Roy Schmidt. A complaint was filed and the court found enough evidence of wrong-doing to appoint a one-person grand jury. Great work setting the tone for the House Jase!

While we’re talking scandal, let’s look at the legislative rap sheet of Bolger’s partner in crime, Rep. Roy Schmidt (D, er…R-76).  As a special gift for his fellow recall-facing conspirator, Schmidt introduced a bill that would repeal the constitutional right of the people to recall elected officials for “political reasons”. When the effort to recall Bolger fizzled , the bill strangely stalled in committee.

Moving on to the man responsible for the worst piece of legislation to come out of this House, let’s visit the record of Rep. Al Pscholka (R-79). His crowning achievement being the abrogation of the right to home rule for 50% of all communities of color in Michigan. It’s called the Emergency Manager Law — a legislative atrocity that’s not only racist, but is flat-out unconstitutional and in violation of both the Civil Rights and the Voters Rights Acts. Puppy-kicker Pscholka also introduced the law that restricted grad students from unionizing.

(Oh, we’re just getting started….)

Rep. Bill Rogers (R-42) and Rep. Nancy Jenkins (R-57) both introduced bills to aid and abet Emergency Managers. Just as the Detroit Public School’s Emergency Manager was putting 70 schools on the market, Rogers introduced a bill that would make those public assets a sweet deal for private land speculators, offering them a five-year exemption from property taxes –just what the battered tax-base of that community needed —freeloading speculators. Jenkins, not to be outdone, wanted to exempt government bodies from the Open Meetings Act so they could discuss the potential sale of public assets behind closed doors. Both bills remain in committee.

(In no special order, the list goes on…)

Rep. Bob Genetski (R-80) sponsored several committee-lodged gems. The first was to ban people from photographing their completed voter ballots. Hah! Tell that to Michael Moore! Another jewel in Genetski’s legislative tiara is a bill to ban hospital workers from being required to get flu shots. This lawmaker seems to know plenty about bugs ‘cuz he also introduced a bill to establish a state bug.

And there’s Rep. Bruce Rendon (R-103) who’s doing his level best to incite a pussy riot right here in Michigan. Vagina expert Rendon sponsored an over-arching abortion rights bill that takes care of all his omnibus concerns about those lady parts hidden behind panties. Thanks Bruce! But not to worry moms and unwilling would-be-moms, the good representative cares about Michigan’s kids too — he also introduced a bill to have fire arm classes taught in Michigan’s elementary schools. His pussy bill passed the House and his kids with guns bill is still shooting it out in committee.

Rep. Lisa Posthumus Lyons (R-86) is a serious fiscal hawk — she’s taken the Norquist pledge to a whole new level — the unborn. Yup, Lisa promoted a bill to authorize tax deductions for fetuses. (I’m totally carrying octuplets this coming tax season if this bill makes law). Lyons, however, did get one of her legislative initiatives into compiled law. She sponsored the bill that eliminated the requirement for retail item pricing — which has worked out so well for consumers…because the thing they crave most is lack of information.  

Rep. Greg McMaster (R-105) introduced a bill against sustainable development — are we to assume he prefers the unsustainable kind?

Rep. Joel Johnson (R-97) is a man of varied and complex interests — trucks and vaginas. He introduced a bill to waive the limit on the number of hours truckers can be on Michigan roads, and he is the bright guy who gave us the vaginal probe bill. Thanks Joel for caring about the ladies. Your’e a modern day renaissance man. Too bad your bills got stuck in committee — maybe you should probe into that….

Rep. Ken Goike (R-33) prefers his constituents to pee in to a cup — he wanted to prevent individuals from receiving unemployment benefits if they refuse to take a drug test for a job application. Rep. Jeff Farrington (R-30) felt that welfare recipients should similarly share their bodily fluids.  The first bill remains in committee and the latter passed the House but is not yet law. (Does anyone see a pattern here? Are Republicans pottyheads?)

Rep. Tom McMillan (R-45) has introduced plenty of Tea Party boiler plate items: a resolution for a right to life amendment, a bill to exempt family members from computer hacking laws, and one to ban government agencies from competing with private enterprise, and of course, a bill to ban Obamacare. He’s not all bad though — the man has a sense of humor — he introduced a bill requiring drug testing for CEOs of companies receiving corporate welfare. Tee hee hee.

It’s not all fun and games in the House, they are a spiritual lot, our lawmakers. When they’re not thinking about pee-pee and vaginas, they’re all about God and country! Rep. Kevin Cotter (R-99) introduced the law that requires our kids to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, and Rep. Edward McBroom (R-108) tried but failed to get “In God We Trust” on our license plates. (Now how will the guy tailgating you know who you trust?) 

I’ll end with Rep. Kenneth Kurtz (R-58). He offered a bill to make English Michigan’s official language ….

…. Lamentable, esto no paso.

Amy Kerr Hardin from Democracy Tree blog

Virginia won’t investigate Republican Operative arrested for dumping voter registrations

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – The State Board Of Elections says it will not ask Virginia’s Attorney General to investigate the case of a Republican Party contract worker, accused of throwing voter registration forms in the trash.

State Senator Donald McEachin, who is chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus, asked the attorney general to investigate following the arrest of Colin Small.

Small was a contractor hired by the Republican Party of Virginia to conduct voter registration drives.

He was charged after investigators say as many as nine applications he collected were found in a trash bin behind a Harrisonburg store.

WTVR’s complete story, with embedded video can be seen by clicking here

and thanks to VLTP Facebook member David Noyes for finding this update.

Audio Reveals Romney Behind Employer Layoff Threats if Obama Wins

In audio of a conference call, Mitt Romney can be heard instructing employers on how to tell their employees who to vote for, and the consequences to their job if Obama wins.

Click here to listen to the full audio if you want to hear Romney answer questions from small business owners in this recorded presidential candidate town hall series sponsored by the conservative group NFIB.

The concluding remarks encourage business owners to talk with their employees about voting.  Please click here to go right to these remarks.

According to the Working blog at In These Times, Romney said, “I hope you make it very clear to your employees what you believe is in the best interest of your enterprise and therefore their job and their future in the upcoming elections. And whether you agree with me or you agree with President Obama, or whatever your political view, I hope, I hope you pass those along to your employees.”

Thanks to Citizens United, these kinds of scare tactics are legal, and they should sound familiar. Employers have been using these same kinds of threats to keep unions out of the workplace for decades.

It isn’t a coincidence that in recent weeks there has been a rash of Romney supporting billionaires warning of layoffs if Obama wins.

To read more of this excellent investigative report and get the details on how 3 specific corporations have told their employees how they should vote, please click here

 

Ohio Bleeding

Paula Garfield is a 30-year veteran teacher of special education for Columbus city schools.  She was recently elected as an Ohio Education Association Delegate, and received the Columbus Education Association’s Outstanding Member of the Year award.  She was highly involved with We Are Ohio, and is a guest speaker for Ohio Women’s Democratic Caucus, War on Women, and others.  This is Paula’s blog, and it is a beautifully eloquent posting.  Paula is a member of our Facebook group–Resist The Privatization of America, where she posted this article. 

Thank you Paula.

With 24 days until the Presidential election, I spent a total of 26 hours of my weekend travelling across the State in Ohio, speaking at 3 events regarding Educators for President Obama: Women, laborers, middle class, elderly, minorities, college students,  teachers, firefighters, police, unions, pensions, postal service: we all have the same attackers. Their tactics consist of the war on women, replacing public schools with private for profit schools,replacing free public schools with the Kasich (K-suck) voucher system  attacking and dismantling of free public appropriate education, destroying planned parenthood, holding jobs for ransom.

The same Republicans try to make sure that measures don’t get by the House of Representatives and thus cannot get to the Senate .Since the Republican Party controls the House, it serves the Corporations  and not “We the People,” who elected them to represent us.

I talked about Right to Work -for less-, Voter ID Laws and other means of voter suppression across the USA in Republican governed states as I canvassed on Sunday. I knocked on doors for all Congress Reps in my voting area, delivered signs, got the appropriate forms to those  who have relocated to Columbus, Ohio.  I answered questions from a Canadian, who works here in the area, who was in disbelief about what is happening to America in comparison to Canada’s rights, freedoms.

I am just now sitting down, after finding all my lawn signs for my makeshift Democratic ballot, destroyed…some burned, some shredded.I am cleaning up what the wind scattered across my complex. I am just off the phone trying to hook up voters with signs in the district/area with field leader contacts across the state, and staring at 122 emails, all of which I must answer from people wanting to know what they can do to help because some have awakened, and have realized the impact on them, their children, their futures, their homes, their lives.

There is a great deal more covered in Paula’s article, Ohio Bleeding.  I highly recommend clicking here to read all of it.

GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal Widens: Arrest in VA–Video

“A man originally reported to have been working for the Republican Party of Virginia was arrested by the Rockingham County, VA Sheriff’s office on Thursday and charged with attempting to destroy voter registration forms by tossing them into a dumpster behind a shopping center in Harrisonburg, VA.

Prosecutors charged him with four counts of destruction of voter registration applications, eight counts of failing to disclose voter registration applications and one count of obstruction of justice,” and more charges could be forthcoming, according to officials…

“Some of those questionable applications included address changes for existing voters, such that FL election officials  worry voters could find themselves disenfranchised come Election Day. In Florida, as in many states, provisional ballots cast at precincts other than where voters are officially registered will not be counted. So changing the addresses on voter registrations without voters’ knowledge is a serious crime with potentially very serious consequences.
…”It was PinPoint Staffing, in fact, which reportedly hired the man Strategic blamed for the fraudulent registration forms turned in originally in Palm Beach. But while PinPoint continues to seek workers for GOP-related efforts around the country, and as Sproul’s (Strategic Allied Consulting) operations continue in “as many as 30 states”, it is the Republican National Committee’s response to the entire affair, including to the arrest today, that may be the most troubling…Sproul’s firms, including what appeared to be a “clone” operation of Strategic Allied Consulting, calling itself Issue Advocacy Partners, were still found working for Republicans and Rightwing ballot initiatives in at least 10 states. Friday, the Los Angeles Times reported that, in fact, Sproul was still “hiring workers for a voter canvassing operation this fall in as many as 30 states.”

…”Strategic was said to have been hired by state Republican Parties, at the request of the RNC, for voter registration drives in five states (Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Nevada and Colorado) and for “Get Out the Vote” campaigns in Ohio and Wisconsin. When both RNC and state GOP officials claimed to have fired them, it seems they didn’t really mean it.

In the LA Times report late Thursday Sean Spicer, the RNC’s Communications Director, confirms that it may have only been Sproul who the party claimed to be “boldly” cutting ties with. The operations Sproul created for the Party beginning in August, the ones that led to fraudulent voter registrations in Florida and destroyed applications reported in Colorado and Nevada as well, are still in place.

“After Sproul was dumped,” the LA Times reports, “the registration operation that he assembled continued working under the supervision of party officials, Spicer said. He said the workers will continue to do get-out-the-vote work until the election.”
The firing of Sproul and Strategic Allied Consulting was a deception.

Strategic Allied Consulting “was registered as a corporation last June out of the same law office run by top-level Republican National Committee election attorneys where both Karl Rove’s American Crossroads Super-PAC and the Koch Brothers’ Americans for Prosperity are also based.”

“In one YouTube video that went viral last month (click here to view), a young Colorado registration worker — who, it turned out, had been working for Sproul’s Strategic Allied Consulting on behalf of the state GOP — is seen doing exactly that.
Al Sharpton weighed in on this in his Block the Vote series of reports on MSNBC.  Please click here to watch this video.
Please click
here to read the entire story–there is a lot more to this– as reported by Brad Friedman, who gets a shout out from VLTP for providing the finest coverage of this expanding story.