• Categories

  • Housekeeping

  • Advertisements

#Imwithher – I’m Voting Clinton, Despite Living in Red, Red, State

If you’re a rare long time reader you might be surprised that I intend to vote for Hillary Clinton for President of the United States. Sure, I lean left, but in April I wrote that since Alaska was a likely blowout for the Republican nominee, I had all but decided to vote third-party (Green or Libertarian). I did lecture people in swing states to vote for Clinton, mostly due to the importance of upcoming Supreme Court retirements.

In May, I again called on swing state progressives to vote for Clinton if she was the nominee because of these very real differences between her and any likely Republican victor:

GLBT Rights  – Ted Cruz can be relied on to try and roll back gains by the GLBT community – start up a Constitutional Amendment defining marriage as between man and woman and use his status as Commander in Chief to toss gays and lesbians out of the military. I don’t know whether Rubio or Bush would initiate such things, but either would certainly bow to the will of a Republican Congress in these areas. Clinton would not. She would accept that things have changed.

Climate Change – Clinton accepts the scientific consensus on human caused climate change. Republicans are still arguing on whether climate change is real at all.

Women’s Issues – Clinton would be better on women’s issues. Republicans, including most of the current crop of candidates have been fighting equal pay/equal work laws.

Net Neutrality – Clinton supports net neutrality. Republicans don’t.

Supreme Court nominees – I sincerely believe Clinton would nominate balanced nominees. I think any of the Republicans would appoint a series of Scalias.

Funny how Donald J. Trump wasn’t even on my radar as the likely Republican nominee.

Now it’s late July, the conventions are over and Donald J Trump, a man lacking the government experience that Sarah Palin brought to 2008 Republican ticket is now the nominee. Also a man who wants to build a Berlin Wall like fortress on our southern border,  that one’s ethnic background AUTOMATICALLY disqualifies them from sitting on cases where Trump is a litigant, who believes the Chinese acted responsibly by carrying out the Tiananmen Square massacre, who considers himself his own best adviser and who wants to impose religious tests for residency is the Republican nominee. A man who claims to be the voice of the disenfranchised worker poor but who stiffs his contractors and fleeced people through Trump University is the Republican nominee. And don’t get me started on how personally insulting he is to women and anyone who disagrees with him.

It also frightens me that for the most part, Donald Trump’s program is Donald Trump. We’re to believe that he will make us safe and prosperous simply because he is such a great businessman – details will come later. But we can’t see the tax returns that would prove his wealth and income. Just believe in Donald Trump and a new golden age will come to pass.

No. I am not following the strongman on horseback. Like Hillary Clinton, I believe that America is Stronger Together. That we all have a role in making America better.

I’ve also realized that just because the Electoral College gives me cover to vote third-party in Alaska, I should be doing the same thing that I’m asking others do – vote for Hillary Clinton. I’ve also come to realize that domestic policy wise, Clinton has a lot to recommend her to progressives. Also, during their time in the Senate together, Clinton and Sanders (my initial candidate) voted together 93% of the time. And it looks like I’m closer to Clinton on immigration than Sanders is.

Yes, I’m not going to agree with her on war making and her traditional stance on trade, but it’s not like Trump is going to be better on war and he picked a TPP supporter as his running mate. Everything else I like Clinton on. So mine will be a vote for her as much as it is against Trump.

In the next 100 days, I’ll be making cases for Clinton and against Trump. I am going to try to observe the following rules in doing so. Call me out if I break them in a fit of zealotry:

  1. I am not going to make fun of Trump’s physical features. I find all the talk about his hair, skin and hands distracting from his frightening vision of America under the rule of someone who has Putin and Saddam as leadership/”law and order” role models.
  2. I will not attack Trump’s supporters for their intelligence level nor make blanket assumptions about their motives. This is mostly a practical move – few people are ever persuaded by name calling. Also, while I do believe that white racists are mostly supporting Trump, I don’t think you can jump from there and say ALL Trump supporters are racists. Some are supporting Trump because neither party has been able to fix their broken communities. See these two articles for a larger view of what drives Trump voters:
    1. Millions of ordinary Americans support Donald Trump. Here’s why, by Thomas Frank, The Guardian, 3/7/2016
    2. Not even my wife knows’: secret Donald Trump voters speak out, Emails compiled by Amber Jamieson, The Guardian, 3/3/2016
  3. I will always spell Trump “Trump.” I think the plays on his name don’t do anything for people who aren’t already against him. Another thing to distract from is thin-skinned mocking character.

Because Presidential Elections bring out a lot of passion, I encourage you to read my comment policy before commenting. Additionally, if you post something about EITHER candidate that has been disproven elsewhere, it will be deleted without comment and you’ll be put on the “always moderate” list. So consider checking your claims against one of the following fact checking sites before commenting here:

Think that one or more of these sites are “in the tank” for Clinton/Trump? Find yourself another blog to comment on. I’m 50 and I’ve lost some of my former patience for eternal back and forth over discredited rumors.

Advertisements

Breaking and Analysis: Partially Divided 4th Circuit Strikes NC Strict Voting Law, Finds Discriminatory Intent | Election Law Blog

. “Thus, we do not ask whether the State has an interest in preventing voter fraud — it does — or whether a photo ID requirement constitutes one way to serve that interest — it may — but whether the legislature would have enacted SL 2013-381’s photo ID requirement if it had no disproportionate impact on African American voters. The record evidence establishes that it would not have.” In any case, the Court makes the point I have made in The Voting Wars and many others have made. If you want to stop fraud, you don’t use ID, which targets virtually non-existent voter impersonation fraud. You go after absentee balloting, where fraud actually does occur. But that’s not what this law did. The law also excluded the types of ids likely held by African-Americans for no discernible anti-fraud purpose.

via Breaking and Analysis: Partially Divided 4th Circuit Strikes NC Strict Voting Law, Finds Discriminatory Intent | Election Law Blog

A victory for voting rights in my view. I’ve actually been wondering why we haven’t seen more measures about absentee voting, since there are no id controls beyond a ballot being sent from a given address. Although I haven’t heard much about absentee voter fraud either.

Are you registered to vote in November? Find out now and register if you aren’t.

 

Vote – It’s Important

I’ve heard some people tell me that voting doesn’t make a difference. It does, at least to the Republican Party. They think voting is important enough that they called for extra hoops for people to jump through, at least that’s how I interpret this phrasing from page 7 of their 2016 Platform:

We are concerned, however, that some voting procedures may be open to abuse. For this reason, we support legislation to require proof of citizenship when registering to vote and secure photo ID when voting. We strongly oppose litigation against states exercising their sovereign authority to enact such laws.

If voting was meaningless, why would Republicans want to make it harder to vote (know where YOUR birth certificate or passport are? Those of all your family members?) AND make it harder for voters to challenge such restrictions.

Make a difference in the next election. Vote. All the way down the ballot.

 


If the PDF file doesn’t come up, you should be able to find the platform at https://www.gop.com/the-2016-republican-party-platform/

Throw Them All Out? Stop Dreaming, Start Acting

“Throw them all out!” seems to be theme of this year, whether you’re speaking of the Alaska Legislature of Congress.  People of all political persuasions are upset with the pace and actions of our legislative bodies. And so in frustration cry out for a clean sweep.

There’s no way that we as a State or a Nation can do this. Legislators and members of the US House are elected by district. US Senators are elected by States. So there is no instrument at hand that “we” can throw “them” all out. It sounds good, but in the end, all we have voting influence over is OUR legislators, our US Representative and our US Senator.

I think we would be better served at placing our anger and frustration with legislative bodies aside and really have a laser focus on the people we can actually vote for and against. Two actions within our power are monitoring our representatives as best we can and ensuring there is always an alternative.

Monitoring your representatives

The most important reason for paying attention to your state and federal representatives is that you might find you actually support what they do. Or you can become more articulate about exactly what you’re opposing.

The first step in monitoring your elected representatives is to find out who they are. Here are some places to get you started:

To use me as an example, here are my elected representatives, compiled from the Alaska Legislature and the federal links above:

State Representative (House District 33) – Sam Kito III (D)

State Senator (Senate District Q) – Dennis Egan (D)

I knew who my state representatives were before writing this post. If you live in Alaska, you’ll need to go to the bottom of the Legislature’s home page and search the box labeled “Who Represents Me?”

US Representative – Don Young (R) (Alaska has so few people, we only have one US Rep for the whole state.)

US Senators – Dan Sullivan (R) and Lisa Murkowski (R)

Now that you know who they are, visit their pages. Check out their press releases. In Congress and in most states, you can get a list of bills they sponsored. Are you on social media? Many elected reps have Twitter and Facebook accounts. Follow them. With your US Representatives and Senators, you can use Congress.gov to sign up for alerts of their activities.

Do you like what you see? Keep them and tell them. Don’t like? Tell them. In private and in social media. Be respectful – few people listen when they’re insulted. If they don’t listen (and some won’t), explore alternatives. If you can’t picture yourself voting for the other party, find who’s challenging your rep or senator in the primaries. If there’s no one, consider running even though you’d be a long shot. Uncontested means automatic victory.

One last thought is to treat candidates as individuals rather than as party avatars. Maybe that Republican is a bit more liberal than you thought – or you agree on an important issue. Maybe that Democrat is actually an NRA member. Look beyond the label to the person and see if you can support that person. You can always vote against them in the next election.

Ensuring there is always an alternative

Were you aware that many Alaska House and Senate seats go uncontested? Some US House and Senate seats go uncontested as well. What I mean by this is that the incumbent faces no one in their party primary. Then they win the general election by default because the other party did not run a candidate.

While having an alternative in either the primary or general election is no guarantee that your member will be turned out of office, not having anyone run is a guarantee their incumbency will continue. If you can’t find someone else to run, consider running yourself.

The requirements to file as a candidate vary by state. You should find your local election office and go from there. If you are looking for a party home, check out this list of parties from politics1 or google your favorite party name. If you have the inclination and time, consider joining your local party organization.

 

References

Ballotpedia, Alaska Senate – https://ballotpedia.org/Alaska_State_Senate_elections,_2016

Ballotpedia, Alaska House – https://ballotpedia.org/Alaska_House_of_Representatives_elections,_2016

 

Secret Service Bans Guns at GOP Convention, Ending Debate | Alaska Dispatch News

http://www.adn.com/article/20160329/secret-service-bans-guns-gop-convention-ending-debate

No guns at convention. A loss for self consistency but a likely win for safety for reasons explained in my last blog post.

Bonus for Republican candidates: can now officially blame Obama administration for keeping guns out of delegates hands.

Petition · Quicken Loans Arena: Allow Open Carry of Firearms at the Quicken Loans Arena during the RNC Convention in July. · Change.org

Donald Trump said “I will get rid of gun-free zones on schools—you have—and on military bases on my first day. It gets signed my first day…you know what a gun-free zone is to a sicko? That’s bait.” (Jan. 8. 2016)

Ted Cruz has accurately pointed out “shooting after shooting after shooting happens in so called gun-free zones.” He continued, “look, if you’re a lunatic ain’t nothing better then having a bunch of targets you know that are going to be unarmed.” (Dec. 4, 2015)

And Ohio Governor John Kasich has been a leader in this movement to eliminate deadly “gun-free zones” starting with his brave decision to fight the Democrats and end “gun-free zones” at National Guard facilities in Ohio. (Dec. 18, 2015)

via Petition · Quicken Loans Arena: Allow Open Carry of Firearms at the Quicken Loans Arena during the RNC Convention in July. · Change.org

I believe people should live up to their professed values. So if the GOP truly believes that gun free zones endanger people AND they are holding their convention in an open carry state, they ought to accept guns at their own convention and not hide behind the Arena’s policy. They’d waive the rule if the GOP and Ohio’s governor asked.

I would sign the petition myself except for this ridiculous paragraph:

This doesn’t even begin to factor in the possibility of an ISIS terrorist attack on the arena during the convention. Without the right to protect themselves, those at the Quicken Loans Arena will be sitting ducks, utterly helpless against evil-doers, criminals or others who wish to threaten the American way of life.

There will probably be an immense amount of security outside the arena. Protestors will likely be herded into “free speech zones” far from the venue. IF there is a lone wolf out there, he or she won’t get near the venue to threaten people inside. No ISIS cells organized from outside the United States have been identified. I’m not signing on to a petition whose organizers honestly fear imminent large scale ISIS shootouts.

I submit that if a lone wolf is out there, allowing guns in the area will increase the likelihood of an attack and multiply the damage. All it would take is one individual with fake credentials getting into the arena and taking their best shot at a speaker. People immediate start drawing and firing their guns where they think the shooter is. Chances are good that several people around the actual shooter will have drawn their guns. People won’t know who the real shooter is and someone will panic and gun down a delegate with a gun. That person in turn will be targeted as “the real shooter.” The number of shots will continue to escalate until order is restored. Possibly with additional casualities as the police unknowingly kill more “real shooters” because orders to drop weapons were either unheard or disregarded as terrorist tricks.

I believe this to be true because a convention floor is a very, very crowded place.

Another scenario would be panic following an accidental discharge – no terror attack needed.

Despite these dangers, I believe the Republican National Convention ought to allow guns on the floor. They need to live with the consequences of policies they have forced other people to live by.

I will close with the actions desired by the petition and leave it to you if you want to sign or share with Republican friends:

THEREFORE, WE ARE CALLING TODAY FOR THE FOLLOWING FIVE POINTS OF ACTION:

1. From the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland: A suspension of their policy preventing the open carry of firearms on the premises of the arena from July 18-21, 2016 to coincide with the Republican National Convention.

2. From the National Rifle Association: An immediate condemnation of the egregious affront to the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution constituted by the “gun-free zone” loophole to the state law.

3. From Ohio Governor John Kasich: A concerted effort to use his executive authority to override the “gun-free zone” loophole being exploited by the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.

4. From Reince Priebus and the Republican National Committee: An explanation of how a venue so unfriendly to Second Amendment rights was chosen for the Republican Convention. Further, we demand a contingency plan to relocate the convention to another location should the Quicken Loans Arena refuse to honor the constitutional rights of the RNC guests to open carry firearms during the convention.

5. From all Republican candidates for President: You have been brave in raising awareness about the immense dangers posed by “gun-free zones.” In order to ensure the safety of your supporters, delegates and all attendees at the convention in July, you must call upon the RNC to rectify this affront to our Second Amendment freedoms and insist upon a suspension of the Quicken Loans Arena’s unconstitutional “gun-free zone” loophole. Every American is endowed with a God-given Constitutional right to carry a gun wherever and whenever they please.

 

 

Supreme Court: Open Letter to Senator Sullivan

I write to express my continued dismay at your continued rejection of considering ANY Supreme Court appointment of President Obama’s.

I have read your statement at https://www.facebook.com/1499142123704271/posts/1702865476665267 but remain unconvinced that you and your party are acting in the interest of the nation by refusing to act on the President’s nomination. You state:

The decision to withhold advancement of Mr. Garland’s nomination isn’t about the individual, it’s about the principle. Alaskans, like all Americans, are in the midst of an important national election. The next Supreme Court justice could fundamentally change the direction of the Court for years to come. Alaskans deserve to have a voice in that direction through their vote, and we will ensure that they have one.

Even if the Constitution provided a role for the general electorate in Supreme Court appointments, we Alaskans have already had three votes on the direction of the Supreme Court – As a State, we voted for Romney in 2012, but didn’t get him. In 2010 we re-elected Senator Lisa Murkowski and in 2014 we elected you to the Senate. Under the Constitution, those are all the votes Americans need for Supreme Court nominations to proceed to confirmation or failure.

While the Constitution does not provide for a popular vote on the Supreme Court, it does provide for Senate votes. If you believe that Judge Garland is wrong for the court, or that a President’s power to appoint should end in year three of their term, vote NO on Judge Garland.

I believe that your attitude not only harms the country but your own party and donor class in at least three ways:

1) Republican control of the Senate is threatened. Whether or not the majority of Alaskans support your position, voters in states with vulnerable Republican Senators favor acting on the President’s nominee. They say that your refusal to have a vote on the President’s nominee will make them less likely to vote for their Senator. Is blocking the Presidents nominee worth going to minority status?
2) If your effort to limit a President’s appointment power to the first three years of their term succeeds, you can count on the Democrats throwing your words in your face if something similar happens in the last year of a Republican President’s term. They will enforce your own views either by having a majority or through filibuster. Unless you remove the filibuster — which I heartily recommend should you retain control of the Senate in 2017.
3) Whether Trump or Clinton gets elected President, you are unlikely to get a nominee as acceptable to you as President Obama’s choice of Merrick Garland. You may dream of confirming Judge Garland in a lame duck session, but if Clinton wins, some Democrats will almost certainly filibuster him, using your own words of “Let the next President make her own nomination” against you.
As I stated in my last letter to you on this subject, when I say “take action” I do not say “confirm” even though I do support Judge Garland’s appointment. I mean that you should urge your leadership and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold hearings followed by an up or down vote. If you don’t believe that Judge Garland should not be on the Supreme Court, vote him down and wait for the next nominee. That is a legitimate exercise of the Senate’s power of advise and consent. It’s an exercise contemplated and expected by the Founders. I can’t believe that they intended the Senate to take no action at all — though if you have documentation to the contrary please send it to me and I will read through it.

Please do your constitutional duty. Hold hearings on Judge Garland. Give him an up or down vote.

%d bloggers like this: