Daily Archive: 10/26/2012

Oct 26 2012

Is a Vote for a Third Party a Vote for Change?

A debate with four 3rd party candidates was held in Chicago October 23. The participants include former Salt Lake City mayor Rocky Anderson, former Virginia congressman Virgil Goode, former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, and Green Party nominee Jill Stein, who ran against Romney in Massachusetts in 2002. It was first of two debates that feature candidates for president who were shut out by the Commission on Presidential Debates. A second debate will be held on October 30.

That debate was not carried by any of the major television or cable networks. It was carried live on C-Span, Al Jazeera English and live streamed on the internet. A post debate discussion was held by Al Jazeera English with Michael Moschella, @MikeMoschella, founder of New Leaders Council newleaderscouncil.org; Jason Brennan, Professor at Georgetown University, author of “The Ethics of Voting,” jasonfbrennan.com; and Kevin Gosztola, @kgosztola, Blogger, Firedoglake.com.

Polls show the US presidential election is a close contest. Yet a number of voters argue Obama and Romney are so similar that there’s no point in casting a ballot. Others say they will back a third party with no real chance of winning. By refusing to endorse Obama or Romney, could these citizens decide the next president and what would that mean? [..]

The Al Jazeera article has some interesting perspective on the impact of third party candidates on the electoral college with reliable links and comments from their readers. We will ask the same question Al Jazeera did:

What do you think? Are Americans who are voting for third-party candidates wasting their vote or changing the system? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Join us on October 30 at 9 PM EDT for the Live Stream of the Second Third Party Debate sponsored by Free and Equal Elections Foundation

Oct 26 2012

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Paul Krugman: Pointing Toward Prosperity?

Mitt Romney has been barnstorming the country, telling voters that he has a five-point plan to restore prosperity. And some voters, alas, seem to believe what he’s saying. So President Obama has now responded with his own plan, a little blue booklet containing 27 policy proposals. How do these two plans stack up?

Well, as I’ve said before, Mr. Romney’s “plan” is a sham. It’s a list of things he claims will happen, with no description of the policies he would follow to make those things happen. “We will cut the deficit and put America on track to a balanced budget,” he declares, but he refuses to specify which tax loopholes he would close to offset his $5 trillion in tax cuts.

Actually, if describing what you want to see happen without providing any specific policies to get us there constitutes a “plan,” I can easily come up with a one-point plan that trumps Mr. Romney any day. Here it is: Every American will have a good job with good wages. Also, a blissfully happy marriage. And a pony.

Richard (RJ) Eskow: Europe’s Agony Could Become Our Future Under Mitt Romney

At last Monday’s debate Mitt Romney said the United States is “heading toward Greece.” That remark was filled with bitter ironies, not the least of which is the fact that the world’s current economic miseries were triggered by financial speculators like Romney himself. And while Romney says his harsh economic policies are designed to reduce the national debt, we now have proof they’ll have the opposite effect.

European austerity, like its American counterpart, isn’t just morally wrong: It’s also self-defeating.

Nations like Greece aren’t just wracked with sky-high unemployment, endangered by full-scale depression, and experiencing the first throes of social disintegration. They’re also struggling with soaring debt. That why even the International Monetary Fund, hardly a bastion of leftist dissidence, has turned against Romney-style austerity.

The United States isn’t immune from contagion if Romney and Ryan enact a full-blown austerity program. The riot-torn streets and malarial villages of Greece could become our nation’s future.

Mike Logren: How Democracies Die

Picture a country at the height of its international power and prestige. It has military forces stationed around the globe. It is an intellectual leader. Its citizens are pleased to insist that the national idea, their country’s way of life, is a beacon of enlightenment and human rights for the rest of the world. Indeed, they are wont to harp on the notion that the country embodies the very concept of Western Civilization.

But beneath the façade of greatness there is creeping rot. The rich (who are accustomed to getting their way in all things) corrupt the system and buy the people’s representatives in this venerable democracy. The country lurches towards political polarization and, predictably, the machinery of orderly governance becomes gridlocked. The politicians of the right, who take every opportunity to bellow for increased spending on the military, refuse to raise the revenues to pay for it. Why?

Ari Berman: Obama on Voter Suppression: ‘It’s a Problem’

Civil rights activists, voting rights groups and Democratic leaders across the country-most notably Bill Clinton-have denounced the spate of new voting restrictions passed by Republicans since the 2010 election.

But this important topic didn’t come up in any of the presidential debates, and President Obama has been reluctant to weigh in on the controversy (although Michelle Obama gave a stirring speech at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation gala in September about the right to vote).

So it was refreshing to hear Jay Leno, of all people, ask Obama about “voter suppression” on The Tonight Show last night. Leno spotlighted an ad campaign in Pennsylvania (which he wrongly labeled as Colorado), where the state asks voters to “show it”-photo ID, that is-even though the fine print notes that “voters will be asked, but not required, to show an acceptable photo ID on Election Day.” (The Pennsylvania ACLU has asked the judge who blocked the law to halt the misleading ads).

David Sirota: In Defense of the Undecided Voter

I am a left-leaner who previously voted for Barack Obama with clear eyes. Having looked at his record, I knew he was no progressive, much less a Marxist, as his conservative detractors claim. He has always been a thumb-to-the-wind politician who shrouds corporate-backed policies in the veneer of altruistic liberalism. But I voted for him because in 2008 he presented the best opportunity for change.

Sadly, that opportunity was missed. Obama betrayed many of his campaign promises, not merely by turning over his economic policymaking to corporate-connected insiders, but, as the Washington Post this week documents, by additionally championing more-extreme versions of the Bush-era civil liberties and national security policies that he once criticized from his platform as a venerated “constitutional lawyer.”

Now, four years later, Obama and Democratic Party-affiliated media outlets are demanding that voters ignore this record, or at least believe that a President Mitt Romney will automatically make things worse.

E. J. Dionne: How the Right Wing Lost in 2012

The right wing has lost the election of 2012. The evidence for this is overwhelming, yet it is the year’s best-kept secret. Mitt Romney would not be throwing virtually all of his past positions overboard if he thought the nation were ready to endorse the full-throated conservatism he embraced to win the Republican nomination.

If conservatism were winning, does anyone doubt that Romney would be running as a conservative? Yet unlike Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater, Romney is offering an echo, not a choice. His strategy at the end is to try to sneak into the White House on a chorus of me-too’s.

The right is going along because its partisans know Romney has no other option. This, too, is an acknowledgement of defeat, a recognition that the grand ideological experiment heralded by the rise of the tea party has gained no traction. It also means that conservatives don’t believe that Romney really believes the moderate mush he’s putting forward now. Not to put too fine a point on it, but if the conservatives are forgiving Romney because they think he is lying, what should the rest of us think?

Oct 26 2012

On This Day In History October 26

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

October 26 is the 299th day of the year (300th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 66 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1881, the Earp brothers face off against the Clanton-McLaury gang in a legendary shootout at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona.

On the morning of October 25, Ike Clanton and Tom McLaury came into Tombstone for supplies. Over the next 24 hours, the two men had several violent run-ins with the Earps and their friend Doc Holliday. Around 1:30 p.m. on October 26, Ike’s brother Billy rode into town to join them, along with Frank McLaury and Billy Claiborne. The first person they met in the local saloon was Holliday, who was delighted to inform them that their brothers had both been pistol-whipped by the Earps. Frank and Billy immediately left the saloon, vowing revenge.

Around 3 p.m., the Earps and Holliday spotted the five members of the Clanton-McLaury gang in a vacant lot behind the OK Corral, at the end of Fremont Street. The famous gunfight that ensued lasted all of 30 seconds, and around 30 shots were fired. Though it’s still debated who fired the first shot, most reports say that the shootout began when Virgil Earp pulled out his revolver and shot Billy Clanton point-blank in the chest, while Doc Holliday fired a shotgun blast at Tom McLaury’s chest. Though Wyatt Earp wounded Frank McLaury with a shot in the stomach, Frank managed to get off a few shots before collapsing, as did Billy Clanton. When the dust cleared, Billy Clanton and the McLaury brothers were dead, and Virgil and Morgan Earp and Doc Holliday were wounded. Ike Clanton and Claiborne had run for the hills.

Aftermath

The funerals for Clanton and the McLaurys (who were relatively wealthy men) were the largest ever seen in Tombstone, drawing over 2,000 people. The fear of the Cowboys caused many Tombstone residents and businesses to reconsider their calls for the mass killing of Cowboys. Although rowdy, the Cowboys brought substantial business into Tombstone.

The fear of Cowboy retribution and the potential loss of investors because of the negative publicity in large cities such as San Francisco started to turn the opinion somewhat against the Earps and Holliday. Stories that Ike Clanton and Tom McLaury were unarmed, and that Billy Clanton and Tom McLaury even threw up their hands before the shooting, now began to make the rounds. Soon, another Clanton brother (Phineas “Fin” Clanton) had arrived in town, and some began to claim that the Earps and Holliday had committed murder, instead of enforcing the law.

The Spicer hearing

After the gunfight, Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday (the two men not formally employed as law officers, and the two least wounded) were charged with murder. After extensive testimony at the preliminary hearing to decide if there was enough evidence to bind the men over for trial, the presiding Justice of the Peace Wells Spicer ruled that there was not enough evidence to indict the men. Two weeks later, a grand jury followed Spicer’s finding, and also refused to indict. Spicer, in his ruling, criticized City Marshal Virgil Earp for using Wyatt and Doc as backup temporary deputies, but not for using Morgan, who had already been wearing a City Marshal badge for nine days. However, it was noted that if Wyatt and Holliday had not backed up Marshal Earp, then he would have faced even more overwhelming odds than he had, and could not possibly have survived.

The participants in later history

A few weeks following the grand jury refusal to indict, Virgil Earp was shot by hidden assailants from an unused building at night – a wound causing him complete loss of the use of his left arm. Three months later Morgan Earp was murdered by a shot in the back in Tombstone by men shooting from a dark alley.

After these incidents, Wyatt, accompanied by Doc Holliday and several other friends, undertook what has later been called the Earp vendetta ride in which they tracked down and killed the men whom they believed had been responsible for these acts. After the vendetta ride, Wyatt and Doc left the Arizona Territory in April, 1882 and parted company, although they remained in contact.

Billy Claiborne was killed in a gunfight in Tombstone in late 1882, by gunman Franklin Leslie.

Ike Clanton was caught cattle rustling in 1887, and shot dead by lawmen while resisting arrest.

Later in 1887, just over six years from the time of the O.K. fight, Doc Holliday died of tuberculosis in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, aged 36.

Virgil Earp served as the “Town Marshal,” hired by the Southern Pacific RR, in Colton, California. He lived without the use of his arm, although continued as a lawman in California, and died of pneumonia at age 62 in 1905, still on the job as a peace officer.

Johnny Behan failed even to be re-nominated by his own party for the sheriff race in 1882, and never again worked as a lawman, spending the rest of his life at various government jobs, dying in Tucson of natural causes at age 67 in 1912.

Wyatt Earp, the last survivor of the fight, traveled across the western frontier for decades in the company of Josephine Marcus, working mostly as a gambler, and eventually died in Los Angeles of infection, in 1929, at the age of 80.

A legacy of questions

The issue of fault at the O.K. Corral shooting has been hotly debated over the years. To this day, Pro-Earp followers view the gunfight as a struggle between “Law-and-order” against out-of-control Cowboys; Pro-Clanton/McLaury followers view it as a political vendetta and abuse of authority.

A recent attempt to reinvestigate part of the matter aired on an episode of Discovery Channel’s Unsolved History using modern technology to re-enact the shotgun shooting which was part of the incident. However, the re-enactment did not use 19th century period technology (a late 19th century shotgun messenger type short shotgun, brass cases, black powder). The episode concluded that Doc Holliday may have triggered the fight by cocking both barrels of his shotgun, but was likely not the first shooter.

In April 2010, original transcripts of witness statements were rediscovered in Bisbee, Arizona, and are currently being preserved and digitized. Photocopies of these documents have been available to researchers since 1960, and new scans of them will be made available for public viewing online.

Oct 26 2012

2012 World Series- Tigers at Giants, Game 2

Split away, win at home.  The Tigers can still avoid a return trip to AT&T if they win tonight and sweep Comerica, but that prospect is less likely than even the 8 – 3 score would indicate.  They looked bad last night and had their Ace blown away by arguably the 2nd worst pitcher in the Giants’ rotation.

Today they send their second best, Fister (10 – 10, 3.45 ERA), against Bumgarner (16 – 11, 3.37 ERA) who is clearly the biggest under performer in the post season other than ARod and the rest of the hapless Yankee bats.  Sabathia went in for bone spur surgery today by the way.

We’ve been bombing cities every day and every night all over the U.S., only people never know it.

I’m not sure why people find solace or redemption in Baseball, it’s just a game.  Like most sport the only entertaining quality is novelty in the detail and the only benefit to humanity the distraction it provides from the bigger indignities.  Is toughing it out to prove a B-47 can fly to Japan and back worth your 5 minutes as a Doctor ‘Moonlight’ Graham?

Don’t tell me about your little problems! I’m only interested in results!