November 23, 2014

It’s Long Past Time to Restore Voters’ Privacy

Their voting habits are their business, not everyone else’s.

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This column went up at PJ Media and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Friday.

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In this year’s Kentucky’s U.S. Senate race, Democratic challenger Alison Grimes repeatedly refused to tell the public whether she voted to reelect President Barack Obama in 2012. Her unwillingness to admit to something so obvious was an incredibly impolitic move, and it certainly contributed to the size of her loss to incumbent Mitch McConnell.

However, and perhaps to the surprise of many readers, what became her go-to objection to reporters’ and debate moderators’ questions — “I respect the sanctity of the ballot box” — resonated with more than a few people with whom I’ve spoken during the past month.

There’s a reason for that. Many voters have figured out that their voting habits have become the subject of unwarranted scrutiny and electoral gamesmanship — and they don’t like it one bit. Nor should they.

Less than a week before Election Day, the New York Post reported that the state’s Democratic Committee had sent letters to “1 million registered Democrats who had failed to vote in previous midterm elections.” The missive reminded them that “whether or not you vote is public record,” and told them that the committee would be reviewing voting records “to determine whether you joined your neighbors who voted in 2014.” Recipients also received a “report card” of their voting record in the past four elections.

Although the intimidating and threatening tone of the letter generated an unusual amount of outrage, the practice of “voter shaming” itself has become fairly common.

Oddly enough, about a week before Election Day, a friend gave me an invalidly addressed postcard from the Ohio Democratic Party in Columbus which had been misdirected to his Cincinnati mailbox. It told “Christina,” the addressee (the last name was provided but has been withheld), how many times she had voted in the past five general elections “according to public records,” compared her show-up rate to “others in your neighborhood,” told her that “it’s time to do your part,” and provided her polling location. The postcard’s other side listed the Buckeye State’s almost completely hapless Democratic slate.

I vote in nearly every election, which may explain why I have never received a piece of mail or a phone call claiming to benchmark my voting behavior against others. But if I did, my reaction would be profoundly negative, to the point where I might consider not voting or withholding my vote from the candidates or causes involved. That’s apparently not how inconsistent voters react. The Post item noted above cited a 2008 study showing that “voter participation increased substantially after lazy voters received letters telling them their spotty voting history was a public record that would be scrutinized.”

It’s far too easy for voter shaming to go to the next level. In Wisconsin’s bitter 2012 gubernatorial recall election, “a group allied to the recall effort” apparently revealed information about the voting habits of residents’ neighbors. Some Democrats in heavily leftist districts even thought it would be a good idea to publicly identify neighbors who were registered Republicans. In 2014, some Wisconsin Democrats accused a group of unknown origin of targeting those who had signed the 2012 recall petition who might “also have any outstanding warrants or tax defaults” when they showed up to vote.

Voter shaming is also being employed during our now drawn-out elections. In an interview I recently had on a talk radio program in Colorado, a state which has recently gone completely to voting by mail, I learned that Republicans have credited much of this year’s electoral success to the daily monitoring of the status of targeted individuals’ ballots. Those whose ballots hadn’t yet arrived at the county boards of elections apparently received nearly daily reminder phone calls.

I have also confirmed with a local county board of elections spokesperson here in Ohio that during early voting and absentee ballot counting in the Buckeye State, records about who has voted are posted daily, giving candidates the opportunity to nag supporters who haven’t yet voted until they cast their ballots.

This is out of control. At an absolute minimum, no individual or aggregated information about early or absentee votes should be released or made available until after the polls close on Election Day. If it takes legislation to make that happen, so be it.

Candidates for public office struggling to get their message out to voters and to get their supporters to the polls aren’t going to like this, but I have a real problem with the whole idea of citizens’ voting records being available to anyone and everyone, which is apparently how it is in most if not all states.

Even having basic registration data out there seems problematic to me. I know several upstanding people who will not register to vote because they don’t want anyone besides close friends and family to know where they live. I find it more than a little ironic that many of the very people who decry low voter turnout don’t seem to care how being a registered voter can put a target on your back. It’s actually quite clear that many so-called “good government” types actually like it that way.

Though some clearly disagree, I think it’s fair to contend that Alison Grimes, as a candidate, owed Kentuckians an answer as to whether she voted for Obama two years ago. It’s not at all fair to say that the whole world has a right to know the registration status of each and every citizen, along with when they have and haven’t voted.

In a system which supposedly pays homage to the secret ballot and the sanctity of the ballot box, what private citizens have and haven’t done in elections should remain a secret.

November 21, 2014

National Media Has Ignored Terry Bean’s Serious Problems For Over 5 Months

A June 4 story at Willamette Week summarized the already serious problems pioneering longtime Oregon-based homosexual activist and ardent Barack Obama supporter Terry Bean was already facing before the Democratic Party “Kingmaker” was arrested Wednesday and “charged with two felony counts of having sex with a minor last year.”

Even before his arrest, the accusations made by Bean’s former homosexual lover were serious. Even now, the local press in Oregon seems reluctant to acknowledge the potential implications of Bean’s arrest. The national press remains AWOL.

(more…)

Latest PJ Media Column (‘It’s Long Past Time to Restore Voters’ Privacy’) Is Up

Filed under: Activism,Privacy/ID Theft,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:14 am

It’s here.

It will go up here at BizzyBlog on Sunday morning (link won’t work until then) after the blackout expires.

November 14, 2014

That Kasich ‘Magic’: Ohio Turnout Was Really Down by Over 11 Points (i.e., Over 21 Percent)

It turns out that Nate Silver’s turnout map was way wrong about Ohio. I don’t have time to audit his state-by-state claims, but someone should.

Silver’s map says Ohio turnout was down by 8.7 percent.

Uh, more than double that, as seen in a press release this morning from Tom Zawistowski of Ohio Citizens PAC (bolds are mine; some minor editing was done and paragraph breaks added by me):

Media Spin of Kasich Win in Ohio Distorts the Facts

PRESS RELEASE 

Akron, OH – Tom Zawistowski, President of the Ohio Citizens PAC, today rejected the spin the media is putting on the re-election of Ohio Governor John Kasich, prompted by Kasich and his staff, as a distortion of the facts.

Kasich won re-election by a 31% margin and won in 86 of Ohio’s 88 counties. He and his team are trying to use the results, such as their winning “69% of Independent Voters, 60% of Women Voters, and 57% of Young Voters”, to suggest that Kasich could be a viable republican candidate for President in 2016.

Commenting on the Governors “race,” Zawistowski said “Here are the facts that the media is leaving out of their post election reports of what actually happened in Ohio. As the chart below shows, nearly a million more Ohioans stayed home this year compared with 2010 – 3,956,045 vs 3,010,760 – because the voters are not stupid and they knew they had no real choice for governor.

This year Kasich ran virtually unopposed, due to his nefarious actions, and had … $20 million compared with $4.6 million for FitzGerald, yet he only attracted a measly 33,000 more votes than he got in 2010. Which shows that his popularity is not what he claims.

Furthermore, 88,000 Ohioans voted and left the Governor’s choice blank, more than his margin of victory in 2010. In his two elections for governor, Kasich has yet to attract even 25% of the votes in the state – having had only 23.5% of voters vote for him in 2010 and only 24.81% in 2014. Hardly a mandate.

Kasich did not get people to vote for him, he only got people to not vote at all and stay home. It they would not vote for him his year, they would not come out to vote for him for president in 2016, they would come out to vote against him.”

Zawistowski concluded, “We just had an election for Governor in which not one issue was discussed. Not one debate was held about the actual state of the Ohio economy and our future direction. Despite Kasich’s dubious claims of economic growthOhio is 44th in the nation in job growth, we are still 200,000 jobs down from where we were when the bottom fell out. We haven’t even recovered let alone grown jobs and Kasich is just blowing smoke about how everyone is doing great.

Does anyone believe that Kasich could win Ohio in a presidential race when Barack Obama got over 1,000,000 more votes in 2012 than Kasich did in 2014 running without any credible Democratic campaign or money against him? Particularly after alienating the conservative base with his liberal first term record as indicated in the chart below?

Like we said before this election, not only would conservatives not vote for John Kasich for president, we would not work for him as a presidential candidate and he can’t win if we don’t.  He would not have won re-election this year if he had not bribed the democrats and kept other candidates off the ballot. What he did to win re-election this year will not work in a presidential election.”

Actually, the turnout decline is higher than the 21.5 percent seen in a straight calculation from the first table above (38.66% vs. 49.22% is a 10.56-point, 21.5% decline), whose registration and turnout numbers, after getting burned by Silver, I traced back to the Ohio Secretary of State’s site.

That’s because, in the meantime, Secretary of State Jon Husted did a purge which took 245,000 dead people off the voter rolls.

Redo the math for 2010 considering the purge, and you end up with turnout of 50.77 percent. That would mean that the decline from 2010 in 2014 was really almost 12 points (11.91, to be exact), or 23.5 percent.

Nothing creates apathy and depresses turnout like a poorly performing governor who for all practical purposes is unopposed.

Zawistowski is right. How any of the above credibly translates into presidential viability for John Kasich is a mystery.

What’s not a mystery is why the national press is presenting Kasich favorably as a potential 2016 candidate. It’s because, if he were to somehow win the Republican nomination, he’d lose the general election.

November 11, 2014

Latest PJ Media Column (‘Republican Wave Drowns Pollsters’) Is Up

It’s here.

It will go up here at BizzyBlog late Wednesday evening (link won’t work until then) after the blackout expires.

November 7, 2014

Memory Lane: John Boehner, October 2010; Is He Back?

Filed under: Activism,MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:01 am

Four years ago (sound bite; full speech transcript), the soon-to-be House Speaker used language which would drive shrieking harpy Nancy Cordes of CBS News, who badgered Boehner on Thursday about his alleged “Hell no caucus,” to distraction:

Transcript:

Ladies and gentlemen, your government hasn’t been listening.

Your government is disrespecting you, your family, your job, your children.

Your government is out of control.

Do you have to accept it? Do you have to take it?

HELL NO YOU DON’T!

You see, Nancy Cordes, we (the “you” Mr. Boehner was addressing) are sick and tired of a government which hasn’t been listening for almost six years now, has been disrespecting everything we hold dear, and remains out of control.

HELL NO WE DON’T accept that, and we’re not going to take it.

Here’s the full video of Boehner’s speech at a rally on October 8, 2010, presented in the expectation that he would become Speaker after that November’s elections:

Thanks to Matt at Weapons of Mass Discussion for digging into his archives and posting the full vid.

After revisiting this video tonight, Matt commented: “I miss that guy.”

After seeing how he conducted himself at his news conference on Thursday, maybe, just maybe, now that he has what he thought he would shortly have on that day four years ago — namely, control by his party of both chambers of Congress — he’s back.

We sure need him.

November 4, 2014

Yes, ‘It Matters’ (Video)

Filed under: Activism,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:38 am

UPDATE: Thanks to the following sites which have allowed me to post the video or have done so themselves: PJ Media (below), FreeRepublic, Legal Insurrection … (perhaps more to come) … Protein WisdomPowerline

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“There may not be a chance like this again.”

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Note: This post went up at PJ Tatler on Monday afternoon.

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Back in August, I suspected that we would be where we are today. That expectation led me to shake off the musical cobwebs and do something I haven’t done since I’ve been old enough to vote, and to do something else I had never done before: write a song and produce a music video, respectively.

Here, with the help of a tremendous singer and a first-rate recording engineer, is the result: “It Matters“:

I encourage readers (and now, viewers) to show “It Matters” to people who don’t think their vote matters, and persuade them to get out and vote. Because it does.

Anyone could have predicted a midterm elections pushback against an incumbent president. Just as easy to predict was that an establishment press completely invested in the status quo would, as soon as a possibly strong version of that result became imminent, begin claiming that these are “Seinfeld elections” — that is, they’re supposedly about nothing.

But what I was really worried about has almost come to pass — and it’s appalling.

After six-plus years of in-your-face governance against their will — dating at least back to the TARP fiasco — the electorate should be three times as upset as they were back in 2010. Instead, what I see are polls indicating that turnout may actually be lower among those who oppose the establishment’s agenda than it was four years ago.

I wrote the song and produced the video in hopes of influencing that.

As Stephen Hayes writes at the Weekly Standard, this batch of midterms is really “About Everything”:

… it is being fought over exactly the kinds of things that ought to determine our elections.

It’s about the size and scope of government. It’s about the rule of law. It’s about the security of the citizenry. It’s about competence. It’s about integrity. It’s about honor.

Make no mistake. This election also needs to be about shaking up the political establishment — and that includes the need to rattle even the winners. Too many of them have become too comfortable coexisting with an unnaccountable, out-of-control, all-encroaching government which can’t even perform its most basic functions, but still finds the resources to spy on and harass its citizens.

The best argument against this ending up as a “Seinfeld election” — not that there aren’t others, as noted — would be anti-establishment voter turnout which far surpasses all expectations.

Hayes is right. PJM’s Roger Kimball is right. These midterm elections matter like no other midterms have. As the song says, “There may not be a chance like this again.”

October 30, 2014

Rasmussen, With 75%-Plus ‘Wrong Track’ Results Among Everyday People: It Really Matters

Filed under: Activism,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:11 am

Rasmussen’s latest “right direction/wrong track” poll is consistent with previous weeks — consistent in saying that roughly three-quarters of those not in the Political Class believe that the country is on the wrong track:

Only roughly one-quarter of voters of all ages think the country is headed in the right direction.

Seventy-one percent (71%) of whites and 55% of other minority voters say the country is on the wrong track. Blacks disagree by a 43% to 38% margin.

The basis for the relatively high black dissatisfaction (considering their 93% support for President Obama’s reelection in 2012) could be an indicator that the left is losing its iron grip on the black vote. If so, that has to be considered a good thing. Everyone’s interests are better served when no one’s vote is taken for granted.

The money quote from Rasmussen:

Seventy-three percent (73%) of the Political Class believe the country is headed in the right direction, but 76% of Mainstream voters disagree.

What in the world is the Political Class — which, to remind everyone, consists of people in both major parties — smoking?

Dissatisfaction is not enough without voting to express it, which is why “It Matters“:

October 29, 2014

Senator Mike Lee of Utah: It Matters

Filed under: Activism,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:04 pm

Lee tells Americans: “Vote this year as if your life depends on it, because it does.”

Stated more succinctly, Lee is saying to vote because “It Matters“:

And yes, it does.

October 28, 2014

Latest PJ Media Column (‘Is the Left Losing Its Iron Grip on the Black Vote?’) Is Up

Filed under: Activism,Economy,Immigration,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:58 pm

It’s here.

It will go up here at BizzyBlog on Thursday afternoon (link won’t work until then) after the blackout expires.

The timing couldn’t be better.

Wow: ‘Chicago Activists Unchained, Destroy Black Leadership’

Filed under: Activism,Economy,Scams,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:21 pm

Just watch … never thought I’d see this in my lifetime … and it is sooooooo long overdue:

Chicago Activists Unchained, Destroy Black Leadership

Money Quote: “Most of the people are homeless, livin’ in the street. And it’s because of you Mr. President.”

More on the “Brother’s Keeper” program referenced in the video is here.

It looks like someone has figured out that “It Matters.”

Is An Historic Turnaround Opportunity Being Missed?

Filed under: Activism,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:56 am

Grabbed this in the process of doing my CNN post last night:

CNNenthusiasm102614

I realize you can show up and vote while not being enthusiastic, but really? After almost six years of mistreatment, GOP voters are only 2/3 as enthusiastic about doing something about it? And on the Democrat side, with all the disappointment they have with Obama and their representatives, they’re 25% less enthusiastic?

If this is an indicator of turnout compared to 2010, an historic opportunity is being missed — and the people who I would think would be less likely to show up would be those who are the most dissatisfied.

That’s not good. Turnout needs to be off the charts so that the clowns who interpret the results have no choice but to conclude that it was all about voter dissatisfaction — across the ideological board.

The alternative? As the song says, “The people in charge hope that you don’t care” — and they’ll get their way, secure in the knowledge that the populace is so beaten down that it won’t rebel against anything.

So that’s why “It Matters” that you and others you know get informed, get involved, and vote:

October 27, 2014

Why ‘It Matters’: Almost 70% of Americans Are ‘Angry’; 74% Are ‘Dissatisfied’

Filed under: Activism,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:16 pm

Regardless of age, ethnicity, or party affiliation, the vast majority of Americans are:

Despite that, and though “early predictions of dismally low turnout might be too pessimistic,” they’re still not impressive by any stretch.

If you’re dissatisfied or angry and you don’t vote, you’re letting everyone else unduly influence how angry or dissatisfied you’ll be 2, 4, and more years from now. That’s why “It Matters” that you get informed, get involved, and vote:

October 26, 2014

Why ‘It Matters’: Threats to the Bill of Rights

Filed under: 2nd Amendment,Activism,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:16 pm

I’ve had a bit (emphasis: only a bit) of pushback against the “It Matters” video’s characterization of where we are with the Bill of Rights in this country, particularly this slide:

ItMattersBillOfRightsSlide.png

The argument that I am overreacting took a big hit on Friday:

Dems on FEC move to regulate Internet campaigns, blogs, Drudge

In a surprise move late Friday, a key Democrat on the Federal Election Commission called for burdensome new rules on Internet-based campaigning, prompting the Republican chairman to warn that Democrats want to regulate online political sites and even news media like the Drudge Report.

Democratic FEC Vice Chair Ann M. Ravel announced plans to begin the process to win regulations on Internet-based campaigns and videos, currently free from most of the FEC’s rules. “A reexamination of the commission’s approach to the internet and other emerging technologies is long over due,” she said.

The power play followed a deadlocked 3-3 vote on whether an Ohio anti-President Obama Internet campaign featuring two videos violated FEC rules when it did not report its finances or offer a disclosure on the ads. The ads were placed for free on YouTube and were not paid advertising.

The Bill of Rights says that “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”

What about “shall make no law” (or, obviously impose any regulations pursuant to laws) do these clowns not understand?

Yes, this particular item is a partisan matter and an example of fascism coming from the left. But those of us who have seen the conduct of the Republican establishments at the state level know damned well that thuggish behavior is not the exclusive province of the left — and if they could figure out how to shut out their opposition without getting a lot of notice, they’d do it in a heartbeat.

Want more? Look at the Second Amendment. Connecticut, clearly violating the Second Amendment, has made tens of thousands of people — perhaps hundreds of thousands — who have refused to register their guns into felons.

Then there’s the Fourth Amendment and the NSA’s illegal searches of private financial and phone records.

I could go on, but readers certainly should have gotten my point by now. The video’s slide predicts what we’ll be seeing on a de facto basis in a not-to-distant future if the statists’ momentum isn’t halted — and reversed.

That’s why “It Matters“:

UPDATE: The words sung over the slide in question are “We may not have another chance like this again” — and we may not.

October 22, 2014

O’Keefe Finds Eagerness to Commit Voter Fraud Among Colorado Leftists

Filed under: Activism,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:47 pm

Also posted at DC Gazette.

James O’Keefe, the man who brought down ACORN, has done it again, this time exposing Colorado leftists’ shocking wilingness to cheat.

Here are several quotes from the Project Veritas video about their attitude towards the illegal act of taking someone else’s mail-in ballot and using it to vote:

  • “I mean, that’s not even like lying or stealing. If someone throws out a ballot, like, if you want to fill it out you should do it. … It doesn’t have anyone’s name on it yet.”
  • “It’s putting the votes to good use.”
  • (Reacting to the idea of Oregon voters who have already voted by mail in that state but have just moved to Colorado voting again) “That’s awesome.”

A Greenpeace representative even identified a place in Aurora where one would have high chance of success in retrieving unused ballots from the trash.

Colorado’s Secretary of State, who is a Republican, notes that “historically, when you look at it, one of the most popular avenues for voter fraud is mail ballots,” and that “it’s absolutely possible” for someone to retrieve the ballot of a person who has thrown out their ballot and use it to vote.”

Besides Colorado, where all mail-in balloting begins this year, Washington and Oregon opted for such a system some time ago. Since doing so, Washington has moved from being a swing state two decades ago to predictably Democratic. In 2004, a Republican candidate for Governor “somehow” lost a close election he was on track to win before recount shenanigans commenced. That loss was also possibly traceable to voter-registration fraud — a crime much easier to commit when the perpetrator doesn’t have to show up and be seen at a polling location.

O’Keefe argues that what he has uncovered “should make voters across the country question the very integrity of our elections.” And it should, especially in the three states just identified, as well as those which have chosen to adopt no-excuse-needed absentee voting.