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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Working Minds Essay #101: Anti-Obama Hoaxsters

Essay #100 on the topic of voter suppression was printed as a Letter To The Editor in the local Valencia County News-Bulletin newspaper on August 29th, which generated a telephone call from a local octogenarian Republican who took exception to my statement that "If the Republican Party had anything of value to offer the American voter they would not have to lie and cheat and steal to win elections."

Among the many false right-wing memes that that person offered was the long-debunked notion that President Obama inititated some conspiracy to keep records of his student loans secret. That story includes ludicrous details like Obama used a false name, that he applied *as* a foreigner, and so on.

So after the phone conversation ended, I checked that one story out – Republicans never check with reality, very blind faith is sufficient – at, with quite satisfying results. {link here}

The Obama college records hoax began on April Fools Day – that's correct! – in 2009 with a fake Associated Press news item email.

1) The fake A.P. email failed twice on the surface: first, it did not conform to A.P. practice, and second, it was written by a person without training in journalism.

2) Organizations mentioned in the email did not and do not exist.

3) Fellow students at Occidental College remember 'Barry' Obama very well, and kindly; no record or memory has been located of the spurious pseudonym Barry Soetero.

4) The source of the supposed tuition funding has never had a program for foreign students: American citizenship is required.

So here is the problem for Valencia County residents and other readers: These and other lies of local and national Republicans have not been discredited, at least, they are very comfortable in repeating such lies.

These Republican lies float around Valencia County and Albuquerque and New Mexico and America like hantavirus.

* *          * *          * *          * *
But here is what is now true: All who have read this essay can be certain of two things.

A) Anyone who has parroted one or more of these Republican neo-con lies in the past or does so in future is now known by you to be someone who lies without their conscience being bothered one whit. Republicans do not fact-check, Republicans will not issue corrections for their falsehoods, Republicans will blame you for questioning their blind obedience to the fascist oligarchs and to the Koch Brothers-funded propaganda machine.

B) You can truly never again trust anyone who has repeated the 'Obama college records conspiracy' hoax. Never again, whether it be your employer or a neighbor or relative or some overpaid bilge-mouth pundit on the Fox Noise Channel. When they repeat this lie, you know that everything that they say is now suspect. And the same is true of the 'Obama was born in Africa' hoax and the 'Obama never went to Columbia' hoax.

* *          * *          * *          * *
If the Republican Party had anything of value to offer the American voter they would not have to lie and cheat and steal to win elections.
Copyright 2012 by G.E. Nordell, all rights reserved

Sunday, August 26, 2012

August 2012 News Factoids

Just 196 super-wealthy persons have provided more than 80 percent of the Super P.A.C. money spent in the presidential election (thru June 2012).

Doubt the drought (and global warming)? As-of mid-August of 2012, one-half of U.S. counties have been declared federal disaster areas due to drought.

There is a marvelous video excerpt of Barack Obama's speech in Pueblo, Colorado on 8 August 2012
{watch video [2:29] free on YouTube}

A giant mass of pumice (lightweight volcanic rock) is floating on the ocean surface of the Pacific Ocean between New Zealand and the island nation of Tonga. Some of the chunks are as high as two feet above the water, and the mass extends for 250 nautical miles by 30 nautical miles (26,000 square miles). The likely source is eruption activity at the ocean-floor volcano Monowai.

Middle-class income and wealth fell in the last 10 years. Median middle-class income dropped 5% in the 2000s, while net worth plummeted 28% – from $129,582 to $93,150 – as housing prices shriveled. The middle class has steadily shrunk over the years, falling from 61% in 1971 to 51% of the population in 2011. ~~ per The Los Angeles Times, based on a Pew survey report
The nice folks at advised me of a broken link on the old WMail ezine pages, so thanx guys.

That correction found a few similar links that may be useful to all readers:
U.S. Federal Trade Commission tips for reducing & reporting spam emails
U.S. Federal Trade Commission website against Identity Theft
U.S. Federal Communication Commission 'Do Not Call' info page
U.S. government 'Do Not Call List' official website

Copyright 2012 by G.E. Nordell, all rights reserved

Friday, August 10, 2012

Working Minds Essay #100: Voter Suppression 2012

The vote of each and every citizen of New Mexico and across America is so important that the fascist Republican Party is spending millions of taxpayer dollars to take away the rights of enough voters in this critical Election 2012 to ensure that the Republicans can steal the elections in states and districts that they will not otherwise win.

The 2000 presidential election was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in their egregious Bush v. Gore decision of December 2000. Skipping all those 'hanging chads', George W. Bush was allotted 537 more votes than Al Gore, Jr., giving Bush 271 electoral votes and Gore 266 – quite a squeaker. Had the Supreme Court not delivered their unconstitutional decision, Gore would have won Florida by a tiny several hundred votes and the electoral count would have jumped the other way: 293 for Gore and 244 for Bush.

That Florida election was already skewed by the 12,000 voters wrongly categorized as convicted felons and prevented from voting.

Here in New Mexico, our Secretary of State Dianna J. Duran has recently mailed out 178,000 postcards to potential expired voters. Her office made a really big mistake though in targeting Democratic voter Diane Wood, who happens to be a local officer in Common Cause, and a few other outspoken victims. Luckily for New Mexico voters, the New Mexico Legislature (Thank you, Michael Sanchez!) made the process harder to corrupt – our state procedure is notification by postcard, status change if postcard is returned by the U.S.P.S., and then removal does not occur unless the citizen does not vote in any election in the next two years.

Ohio has been suppressing early voting by having polling locations in highly-Democratic urban precincts open only from 8am to 5pm Monday thru Friday, thus preventing working citizens from voting.

In Florida, the corruption goes much deeper. The Florida Legislature cancelled the right to vote for 100,000 convicted felons this year. Republican Gov. Rick Scott ordered Secretary of State Ken Browning to compile a list of 'non-citizen voters' to be purged; Browning resigned, stating that the database was not reliable in that area. Browning's successor compiled a list of 182,000 potential non-citizens registered to vote, along with a list of 50,000 supposed dead registered voters.

A lawsuit against the Secretary of State from plaintiffs that included the non-partisan League of Women Voters asked for a temporary injunction; that filing in a Florida district court was denied; they were told to just file a lawsuit for a permanent decision. Another district court judge then issued the permanent injunction against the state's plan to remove voters who did not reply within 48 hours under threat of a $1,000 fine. The Department of Justice also issued a letter to the State of Florida declaring them in violation of federal law and demanding a halt to the biased voter purge.

Further evidence of the fascist corruption of American politics soon followed. The Republican-owned national media reported that Florida WON twice in court and skipped the federal block of further action. So naturally, Republican governors used the false news reports to justify similar voter suppression action – at taxpayer expense – in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Iowa, and Colorado.

On the good news side, the governors of New Hampshire and Michigan vetoed similar voter suppression laws passed by their legislatures. (These laws were modelled after unconstitutional text written by Koch Brothers-funded lobbyist A.L.E.C., who are adept at purchasing state and federal politicians, including several in New Mexico.)

What can you do?
1) Read your mail closely.
2) Vote early.
3) Work locally to bring out local voters (any party) – call it anti-suppression.
4) Raise hell via the media if you are wrongly targeted.

If the fascist Republican Party had anything of value to offer the American voter they would not have to lie and cheat and steal to win elections.

Copyright 2012 by G.E. Nordell, all rights reserved

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

August 2012 Quotations

"America’s founding Ideal was the principle of individual rights. Nothing more — and nothing less.”
~~ philosopher Ayn Rand [1905-82]

"Dog food again?”
~~ Snoopy, of the Peanuts comic strip

"The wisdom of the ages and the experience of the ages are perpetuated by quotations.”
~~ Benjamin Disraeli [1804-81]

"Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.”
~~ biologist Richard Dawkins

"Lack of money is the root of all evil.”
~~ George Bernard Shaw [1856-1950]

"To steal from a thief is not theft. It is merely irony.”
~~ Johnston McCulley [1883-1958]

"The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism – ownership of govern-ment by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.”
~~ Franklin Delano Roosevelt [1882-1945]

"When your children are teenagers, it's important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you.”
~~ Nora Ephron [1941-2012]

"The real problem of humanity is the following: We have paleolithic emotions, medieval institutions, and god-like technology.”
~~ biologist Edward. O. Wilson

"If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning.”
~~ novelist Catherine Aird

"The depressing thing about tennis is that no matter how good I get, I'll never be as good as a wall.”
~~ comedian Mitch Hedberg [1968-2005]

"The dream which is not fed with dream disappears.”
~~ poet Antonio Porchia [1885-1968]

"Talent does you no good unless it's recognized by someone else.”
~~ employment baron Robert Half [1919?-2001]

"The butterfly counts not months but moments and has time enough.”
~~ Rabindranath Tagore [1861-1941]

"Just as the world's powers have siezed and exploited the physical territories and natural resources of the Earth, so too they have colonized the cultural commons – the space of ideas that everyone shares.”
~~ Antonio Lopez

"In order to succeed in the U.S., you must speak English; having a second language, such as Spanish or Chinese, is a major advantage over those who do not. But it does not work the other way around, even in foreign countries.”
~~ G.E. Nordell

"The Higgs boson [particle] has two functions: One is to give mass to the Universe. The other is to prevent the standard model from going bananas.”
~~ physicist Fabiola Gianotti

"Civilization begins with distillation.”
~~ William Faulkner [1897-1962]

"We all choke. Winners know how to handle choking better than losers.”
~~ John McEnroe

"Wit is a sword; it is meant to make people feel the point as well as see it.”
~~ G.K. Chesterton [1874-1936]

"Never second-guess inspiration.”
~~ Flannery O'Connor [1925-64]

"One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.”
~~ writer-aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry [1900-1944]

"Television enables you to be entertained in your home by people [that] you wouldn't have [there].”
~~ David Frost

"If no one ever took risks, Michelangelo would have painted the Sistine Floor.”
~~ Neil Simon

"A good writer is not per se a good book critic, no more than a good drunk is automatically a good bartender.”
~~ journalist Jim Bishop [1907-87], in the New York Journal, 1957

"...If we do not restore the Institution of Property we cannot escape restoring the Institution of Slavery; there is no third course.”
~~ Hilaire Belloc [1870-1953]

"If [the Republicans] will stop telling lies about the Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them.”
~~ Adlai E. Stevenson II [1900-65], during the 1952 campaign

"A government big enough to give you everything [that] you want is a government big enough to take from you, everything [that] you have.”
~~ Gerald Ford [1913-2006]

"The price of doing the same old thing is far higher than the price of change.”
~~ Bill Clinton

"Our memories are card indexes consulted and then returned in disorder by authorities whom we do not control.”
~~ author Cyril Connolly [1903-74]

"Show business is not so much 'dog eat dog' as 'dog doesn't return other dogs' phone calls'.”
~~ Woody Allen

"For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.”
~~ Richard P. Feynman [1918-88]

"A mistake is simply another way of doing things.”
~~ newpaper publisher Katharine Graham [1917-2001]

"The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.”
~~ Hannah Arendt [1906-75]

"Existence is a tough proposition, and a man has to possess fortitude to endure it.”
~~ Johnston McCulley [1883-1958]

"A failure is a man who has bludered but is not able to cash in on the experience.”
~~ Elbert Hubbard [1856-1915]

"There are two motives for reading a book: one, that you can enjoy it; the other, that you can boast about it.”
~~ Bertrand Russell [1872-1970]

"The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places.”
~~ Ernest Hemingway [1899-1961], in "Farewell To Arms", 1929

"We have something to fight for in this [election]: the future of the American middle class.”
~~ Shelley Berkley, running in 2012 for U.S. Senate from Nevada

"There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”
~~ Edith Wharton [1862-1937]

"The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”
~~ Alice Walker

"The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience.”
~~ author Harper Lee

"Kindness is more important than wisdom, and the recognition of this is the beginning of wisdom.”
~~ Theodore Isaac Rubin

"Whenever morality is based on theology, whenever right is made dependent on divine authority, the most immoral, unjust, infamous things can be justified and established.”
~~ philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach [1804-72]

"The life [that] you have led doesn't need to be the only one [that] you have.”
~~ Anna Quindlen

"An empty head is not really empty; it is stuffed with rubbish. Hence the difficulty of forcing anyhting into an empty head.”
~~ longshoreman-philosopher Eric Hoffer [1902-83]

"It's easy to make a buck. It's a lot harder to make a difference.”
~~ Tom Brokaw

"Knowledge may have its purposes, but guessing is always more fun than knowing.”
~~ W.H. Auden [1907-73]

"An intellectual is someone whose mind watches itself.”
~~ Albert Camus [1913-60]

"The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile, but that it is indifferent.”
~~ cinema master Stanley Kubrick [1928-99]

{each set of posted quotations are then posted at the Working Minds website, alphabetical by author}