The Earth Day Indiana Festival highlights over 125 environmental nonprofits, companies and groups. The festival includes a music stage, workshops and food vendors. Don't miss the Butterfly Parade led by Him Poyser at 3 p.m.! The event's mission is to highlight sustainablity, environmental protection and resource conservation.
Monday, April 18, 2016
A lot of people miss the point of the primaries. They are not, for lack of a better term, public elections. They are the parties election. Each party is holding there own internal election to select the 'parties' nominee. They get to establish their own rules and process.
They create the allusion of it being a public election by allowing any registered voter to participate (in most states), and by holding the primaries on government facilities. But at whose expense? You don’t think the parties foot the bill for the primaries do you?
The public is allowed to participate, but it is perfectly legitimate to 'stack' the process to keep it in the parties hands, this also creates the opportunity for non-party members to affect their selection process, ie. crossover voting in primaries to screw with the other parties selection process. To counteract crossover voting they maintain some control with the 'super-delegates' process, which keeps crossover voting from screwing with their party process.
By creating the allusion of fairness and openness they are perpetuating the power of their two-parties to discourage third parties. If any of the current candidates were to run (now or later) independent of the two parties they would be at a disadvantage because of the time missed and the taint of moving away from a party they previously claimed to support. That doesn’t rule out the possibility of winning, but when did that last happen? Because Bernie has always claimed to be independent he might survive such a move. On the Republican side, Trump could make such a move, but he would be hurt because it would lend criticism to a common believe that he was being duplicitous in his party affiliation (but then his negative traits have failed to hurt him so far), all the other candidates would have a lot of explaining to do if they made such a move.
We have a 2 party system that dominates the process and part of that dominance is their control over down ballot politics... ie., the party establishment. How is it that 'party' primaries are funded by tax payers.
This is how the 2 parties exclude any real chance of a third party or independent candidate from running a viable national campaign. The pledged delegates is another way they guarantee an independent like Bernie can't win, or a renegade populist like Trump when running within one of the two parties.
Trump is no more a Conservative, let alone a Republican than Bernie is a party Democrat.
To become viable they have to run under a party banner... if they make enough progress and have a big enough ego then they could mount an independent 3rd ticket run, but they wouldn't stand a chance if they ran that way from the beginning. (Remember Ross Perot). Whats the first response you will hear if Bernie or trump mention an independent run at this point? It will be that they are handing the election to the other party? So run with us against them, or don't run at all. That's the way the two parties want it so lets not complain when they reluctantly play the game according to the two parties rules.
This is the system created by party politics, not the constitution, to guarantee their shared dominance.
The fairest way would be for the parties to limit primary voting to party members and declared party affiliations only. This would remove most voters from the primaries, but a lot of voters don't bother to vote in the primaries anyway. A lot of independents don't vote in primaries either... that's why they are independents... no party alliance. I say a lot because most people claiming to be independents are really just democrats and republicans trying to appear neutral, for various reasons; trolling. denial, and indecisiveness, but nobody wants to admit to any of those positions.
Myself, I don't vote in primaries... I try to be issues oriented and stay open-minded until the general election. The entire primary process does little more than to create a money raising machine that runs for 8 months, allowing non-contenders to raise funds to bankroll at a later date. If you wanted to effectively elect a party representative you would hold your debates, have one or two days of primaries across the nation and then begin the general campaign. But that wouldn't allow for media drama, big-buck fund-raising, or political maneuvering by otherwise insignificant lower tier candidates. It will never happen because it would create an opportunity for, and encourage, more spontaneous third-party candidates (the best weapon against a monopolistic 2-party system.)
Do you realize we spend more time selecting nominees than we do electing the office-holder? Over a year of debates and primaries versus 3-5 months of general election campaigning.
Thursday, April 14, 2016
Below are screen-shots from a Facebook conversation in response to this meme/graphic concerning the importance of voting and attempts to obstruct voting. The meme does not specifically target Voter ID laws but that is the emphasis of the discussion that developed.
You can leave comments here, but if you are on Facebook I suggest you leave your comments there. I will update this post with screen-shots of your comments. I will blackout identifying information on those screen-shots unless you specifically request that I don’t.
All screen-shots are linked to the original Facebook conversation and their are links to relevant information below.
- “There is no credible evidence that in-person impersonation voter fraud -- the only type of fraud that photo IDs could prevent – is even a minor problem. “
- “Proponents of voter ID laws have failed to demonstrate that individual, in -person voter fraud is even a minor problem anywhere in the country. “
- “Multiple studies have found that almost all cases of in-person impersonation voter “fraud” are the result of a voter making an honest mistake, and that even these mistakes are extremely infrequent. “
- “It is important, instead, to focus on both expanding the franchise and ending practices which actually threaten the integrity of the elections, such as improper purges of voters, voter harassment, and distribution of false information about when and where to vote. None of these issues, however, are addressed or can be resolved with a photo ID requirement. “
“VOTING IS A FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT, NOT A PRIVILEGE
Nothing is more fundamental to our democracy than the right to vote.
The right to vote is protected by more constitutional amendments - the 1st, 14th, 15th, 19th, 24th and 26th - than any other right we enjoy as Americans.
There are additional federal and state statutes which guarantee and protect voting rights, as well as declarations by the Supreme Court that the right to vote is fundamental because it is protective of all our other rights.”
"Voter ID laws have the potential to deny the right to vote to thousands of registered voters who do not have, and, in many instances, cannot obtain the limited identification states accept for voting. Many of these Americans cannot afford to pay for the required documents needed to secure a government-issued photo ID. As such, these laws impede access to the polls and are at odds with the fundamental right to vote. "
In closing, I repeatedly pointed out that Voter ID fraud, of the type that these Voter ID laws are supposed to stop are not a problem that rises to the level of influencing elections. I asked Steve to provide information that this was a real problem and he failed to do so. It is a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist, and this gives rise to the question, “What is their real purpose?”
Here is information on how much of a problem Voter ID fraud of this nature really is (this comes from propublica):
“There have been only a small number of fraud cases resulting in a conviction. A New York Times analysis from 2007 identified 120 cases filed by the Justice Department over five years. These cases, many of which stemmed from mistakenly filled registration forms or misunderstanding over voter eligibility, resulted in 86 convictions.
There are “very few documented cases,” said UC-Irvine professor and election law specialist Rick Hasen. “When you do see election fraud, it invariably involves election officials taking steps to change election results or it involves absentee ballots which voter ID laws can’t prevent,” he said.
An analysis by News21, a national investigative reporting project, identified 10 voter impersonation cases out of 2,068 alleged election fraud cases since 2000 — or one out of every 15 million prospective voters.”
What is the real purpose of these laws? here is one explanation of many examples(from the Boston Globe):
“…OK, but let’s for a second pretend that Alabama’s GOP-led state legislature had its heart in the right place and was truly committed to the free and legal right of all its citizens to vote — and that it in no way was trying to limit voting rights. How then does one explain the fact that Alabama is now closing 31 driver’s license offices that are predominately located in African-American communities?
Wait, did I say predominately?
Sorry, I meant to say: almost exclusively. You see, according to John Archibald, a columnist for the Alabama Media Group and Al.com, “Every single county in which blacks make up more than 75 percent of registered voters will see their [driver’s] license office closed. Every one.”
So, to put this in more layman’s terms: The state of Alabama has, by law, made it more difficult for voters in its state to vote. According to the Alabama secretary of state, about 500,000 state residents in 2014 didn’t have a photo ID (that’s 20 percent of those registered to vote). The law disproportionately affects poor people who would find it the most difficult to get a photo ID (Alabama helpfully raised the fee more than 50 percent for getting a driver’s license) and, in particular African-Americans, who voted in fewer numbers in 2014 in places where voter ID laws went into effect. In Alabama in 2014, the state had the lowest turnout in an election since 1986. Now Alabama is closing offices where state residents can get a license with a photo ID and doing it almost exclusively in places where black people live…”
So the solution to a problem, that is estimated at less than 1 in 15million prospective voters, is to make it harder for 20% (in Alabama) of voters to vote. Followed by making it harder to obtain the needed ID by closing offices that issue the IDs, in counties that are at least 75% African-Americans. Is it really hard to see the purpose of these laws. No, and its no harder to see that this true purpose is the work and effort of the Republican’t party.
Monday, April 11, 2016
Friday, April 1, 2016
An 1857 ticket to "Washing the Lions" at the Tower of London in London. No such event ever took place.
The custom of setting aside a day for the playing of harmless pranks upon one's neighbor is recognized everywhere. Some precursors of April Fools' Day include the Roman festival of Hilaria, the Holi festival of India, and the Medieval Feast of Fools.
In Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (1392), the "Nun's Priest's Tale" is set Syn March bigan thritty dayes and two. Modern scholars believe that there is a copying error in the extant manuscripts and that Chaucer actually wrote, Syn March was gon. Thus the passage originally meant 32 days after March, i.e. 2 May, the anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia, which took place in 1381. Readers apparently misunderstood this line to mean "32 March", i.e. 1 April. In Chaucer's tale, the vain cock Chauntecleer is tricked by a fox.
In 1508, French poet Eloy d'Amerval referred to a poisson d’avril (April fool, literally "April fish"), a possible reference to the holiday. In 1539, Flemish poet Eduard de Dene wrote of a nobleman who sent his servants on foolish errands on 1 April. In 1686, John Aubrey referred to the holiday as "Fooles holy day", the first British reference. On 1 April 1698, several people were tricked into going to the Tower of London to "see the Lions washed".
In the Middle Ages, New Year's Day was celebrated on 25 March in most European towns. In some areas of France, New Year's was a week-long holiday ending on 1 April. Some writers suggest that April Fools' originated because those who celebrated on 1 January made fun of those who celebrated on other dates. The use of 1 January as New Year's Day was common in France by the mid-16th century, and this date was adopted officially in 1564 by the Edict of Roussillon.
Man Flies By Own Lung Power (April Fool's Day - 1934) Among the papers that printed this photo as an authentic piece of news were the New York Daily News (which, at that time, had the largest circulation in the U.S.), the New York American, the Daily Mirror, and the Chicago Herald & Examiner, See other April Fools Day Hoaxes