Ray Bellamy said he wanted to make a political contribution to Alex Sink a Google search landed him at “http://contribute.sinkforcongress2014.com.”
“It looked legitimate and had a smiling face of Sink and all the trappings of a legitimate site,” Bellamy, a doctor from Tallahassee who follows Florida politics, wrote in an email to the Buzz. (Here’s Sink’s actual site, which uses a similar color scheme.)
What Bellamy overlooked was that the site is designed to raise money against Sink. “I failed to notice the smaller print: Under “Alex Sink Congress” was the sentence ‘Make a contribution today to help defeat Alex Sink and candidates like her,’ ” he said.
After the contribution is made, the site redirects to the NRCC. “Gotcha, sucker!”
I can understand this if it were the work of one campaign, but it’s an actual NRCC strategy. Maybe this is just all for show, and the NRCC is trying to signal that they’ll stop at nothing to win. Even at that, it’s mind-numbingly stupid. Democrats who accidentally contribute to the site are going to contest their charges, and the credit card processor will have to issue refunds (since the site is deceptive). Then, the card processor will either cut off access to the NRCC or they’ll raise their fees, since, duh, customer service for pissed off and ripped off donors costs card processors money.
this is who they are. plain and simple.
Isn’t that campaign fund fraud? Isn’t that illegal?
Yes, and when they run out of ooze to sink deeper into, they just make more ooze.
It’s what they do.
Apparently the NRCC is doing this in at least half a dozen districts. It seems to be contrary to FEC rules, but the FEC doesn’t exactly move quickly, so they may get away with it long enough for this cycle.
If the Dems are smart they’ll make a campaign ad about this, bring this to light.
And people should be alerting Dems.
@karen: Why, yes. Yes, it is.
Time to call your credit card company and dispute the charge, Mr. Bellamy.
In the meantime: please anyone donating to Non-Republicans caught by this – use your rights as consumers and immediately report these sites to your bank(s) as inappropriate charges, based on misleading statements and language on the sites. Donations using plastic are retrievable, especially in circumstances like this. And maybe the banks will get tired of all the chargebacks and apply some pressure of their own before the legal actions even begin. Be smart, people.
@karen: Therein lies the problem.
I expect the executive branch to notice stuff like this and investigate pdq. Yes. I expect the executive branch to be activists. We will see.
Additionally, might do well to remember Christie’s entirely not a pal’s odd habit of, what was it? buying domain names associated with Democrats.
List (plus) here.
And therein lies your problem. The executive branch is not an activist branch. You might want to bring this to the attention of actual activists.
@scav: Yes, he targeted Democrats but also journalists and others.
Fraud is fraud.
Does the NRCC even have a compliance department?
I sure hope that the federal campaign laws do not pre-empt state and federal criminal laws regarding financial fraud. Sure would be lovely to see the directors of the NRCC spend some time in prison: Talk about criminalizing politics!
@Keith G: Certain people are going to miss your little joke (that simply enforcing the law is “activism” enough in this case).
@Cervantes: We’ve also no evidence he was using them to actively defraud — might just be squatting or something else obnoxious. All the same, it’s something to keep in mind as we (speaking vaguely) look for a pattern of behavior of shenanigans chez R.
@Keith G: The executive branch tried being proactive. You might remember the initials NSA and the storm that has caused. Most branches, though, are reactive, and must be told about problems.
@scav: Christie’s pal isn’t the only one who does that. Most of those who do it, do so for profit, but I doubt it would take too terribly much digging to find a Dem who does the same.
They are doing the same thing to Nick Rahall (D WV) in the WV 3rd Congressional District. The url there is rahallforcongress.com. This is as slimy as it gets.
No h/t to Mustang Bobby, he posted this a while back! Here’s his blogpost from this morning.
It seems to be more explicitly labelled now when I go to the main URL and the contribute page. Any screen shots of how it looked earlier?
@scav: Yes, I agree completely.
Paul in KY
@rikyrah: So true.
@Comrade Mary: See here.
Paul in KY
@karen: Agree. Think I could make a commercial that would have them closing that site down pronto.
@OzarkHillbilly: So? That also is evidence. Not necessarily of when it tips over into illegality, but gives us an overview of the terrain and how close and how hard they, meaning the whole lot of them have been dancing on the borderlands. I’ve no absolute loyalty to all that struts with a letter D attached.
@boatboy_srq: In addition, immediately report it to the FEC and whatever entity oversees election you in your state.
@AxelFoley: Au contraire, mon frère.
Eventually, JFK, and certainly LBJ were leading an activist executive branch in pushing for a more complete expansion of civil rights. In fact, JFK initially (and rightfully) caught flack from some civil rights leaders for not being activist enough.
Really, RNC? What’s next, Nigerian prince/boner pill spam?
In most states, obtaining money under false pretenses is a felony. Obtaining money by false pretenses through the Internet is also wire fraud. I’d call the FBI and the U.S. Attorney. And the FTC and their ISP while I was at it. .
Tie this “frat boy” craziness to “time for some traffic problems for Fort Lee” governing style.
If you vote for Republicans, this is what you get.
Sounds like a decent project for Anonymous, maybe.
I know it’s hard word being out in front on certain issues, but other presidents have done so. That is what separates leaders from great leaders.
@Comrade Mary: It’s the same image in the article Cervantes linked to. I suspect that was the plan- make it reasonably visible so they could just walk the line of fraud. Because yeah, I saw it right away, but if I’d been in a hurry to contribute, I might not have noticed.
Below it all, in fainter lettering, it says all contributions are going to the RNCC. I’m curious, whether a web address alone can be labelled deceptive. Can it? Does anyone know?
@Belafon: Enforcing the law as written, being proactive in the executive branch, and doing what the NSA did that got it in trouble — these are distinct things. Moreover, one of them is very not like the others.
From mistermix’s Tampa Bay Times blog link:
I don’t know if her non-answer gets Katie Prill promoted or ditched. Up is down at the NRCC.
Interesting that the Republican candidate is nowhere in sight. In any case, I don’t see any innocent explanation– how is a big, flattering photo of a Democrat supposed to motivate Republican donations?
ETA: I guess if the Republicans added little red horns and a tail to the photo, that would make it clearer.
Yes, “phishing” has been prosecuted, in the US and abroad.
Paul in KY
@Bobby Thomson: Don’t give them any ideas!
Stay classy, Republicans.
There might also be a longer set of precedents of falsely copying brand imagery to mine too. Don’t they do that a lot in motor part packaging? Totally made up example, DuPont and DuPunt. that sort of thing. Wonder if that will only work for officially registered brands.
Davis X. Machina
Good-bye E pluribus unum. It’s collectivist rubbish, and in a dead language to boot.
Hello, “Just Win, Baby”.
Maybe they can put Al Davis on the dime instead of that commie FDR.
@Nicole: OK, anyone who falls for this is actually being done a favour by the NRCC’s mocking message on submission.
The site kind of shares the same colour scheme, but the photo is blurry, the font is an ugly, blocky mess, and for god’s sake, the text is pretty explicit.
Yes, people should get their money refunded if they donate in error, but you have to be pretty fucking clueless to do so.
@Keith G: What proactive action from the Executive Branch do you want in this case? It seems to me that the only actions possible are reactive.
@scav: So why do you single him out in your original post like he is a slimeball for doing it without pointing out that there is nothing new in it? The fact that politics is full of slimeballs on both sides?
Haysuse Chrispos, all I was saying is exactly what you said in your reply to me. Glad to hear you can see the obvious.
Davis X. Machina
@Omnes Omnibus: Drone strikes.
@Davis X. Machina: Nice!
But those are reactive, too.
Unless you mean random ones, sort of like what we do in Yemen.
@OzarkHillbilly: Because he was the one I could get a list about and was in the news, no other reason to single him out.
I just looked at the jollyforcongress.com, and it’s not a donation site; it’s a page with negative articles about Jolly. And “jollyforcongress.com” redirects to a floridadems.org URL.
@Comrade Mary: Compare the Jolly for Congress site mentioned as a “both sides do it” thing. One is obviously and at first glance negative. The other is not. The NRCC site is obviously aimed at less than careful readers, but there are lots of those in the world. If a person were harried and busy and wanted to contribute to Sink, that person could easily fall for the scam.
@Comrade Mary: Yeah, I thought it was fairly obvious, too, but then why use that web address, unless they are counting on taking advantage of people? Yeesh. Regardless of legality, it says some pretty negative things about the RNCC’s willingness to take money from anyone.
@Cervantes: The problem is that political issues, such as campaigns, are not going to follow under the “monitor everything to keep bad stuff from happening.” Can you imagine if the FEC under any president started snooping around before they were notified of something wrong? This is why I tied this to the NSA. Sure, they could be going after political groups, but it would easily cross into the government trying to stifle political speech.
Seems like the NRCC would also be guilty of theft by receiving if any of these funds end up in their hands.
@Cervantes: It seems to me that phishing involves a lot more than just a web address. To begin with, it’s active, not passive. Second, it gives no intentional indication whatsoever of its actual intent (unintentional indications can include misspelled works, messed-up syntax, etc.). Deceptive web addresses can be very irritating, obviously, but if the site itself makes it clear what the solicitation is for, nothing is actually stolen but a few minutes of time, in trying to find the proper site.
@Comrade Mary: @Nicole: You both (I presume) went to the site with knowledge of its true nature and were thus primed to look for the tells. Would you have seen them if you went there without that knowledge?
Another Holocene Human
Old saying: these people are who we thought they were.
@Comrade Mary: The doctor who gave the donation saw her name and the donation field, and made a donation. If I’m going to the site to make a donation, that’s all I’m there for. If you don’t visit campaign sites regularly, then you don’t know what a good one looks like.
Another Holocene Human
@Jim Parish: Can this kind of thing be tweeted at the White House or Justice Dept’s twitter feed? How about at Pelosi or at DCCC?
DSCC send me more junk mail with Obama’s signature on it. I don’t think Obama writes letters with bold and underline. I don’t think the MLA would approve that kind of formatting. No paragraph began with “Let me be clear,” either. I tossed it in the recycle bin.
Do something useful, fucksticks, instead of leaching off of little old ladies and giving money to corporate whores.
I am surprised this doesn’t run up against legal problems with the right of publicity. It’s one thing to do commentary on public figures and use their images thusly, but this is making an effort to deceptively collect funds using someone’s image. Doesn’t seem like it would be all that different than a fake product endorsement.
I blame Obama. If only he used the bully pulpit more and had more beers with suburban liberals.
Another Holocene Human
N-E-Way, one more reason to always donate money through ActBlue! But use a throwaway email account, for Mitt’s sake! Tammy Baldwin still sends me emails even though I attempted to unsubscribe twice. I’ve only been to Wisconsin twice in my entire life, Uuuftaa, my aftaaa!!
Another Holocene Human
@xenos: would be funny to troll RNC PR BS on the twitters about this
I don’t have a twitter account
too much impetus to troll
I’ve been so good overcoming my past so far … trying to stay on the wagon
Winning is the only thing to the political right. If they cheat to win that is ok, and when they win they have a mandate to do whatever they want as much as they want while gloating and spiking the football.
If they lose, the other side must take the feelings of the vanquished into consideration and not gloat and must compromise and besides the other side didn’t win by enough to push their agenda and also they probably cheated to win so the agenda should be center right anyhow.
Also, this incident is Exhibit A for why today’s GOP hates consumer protection laws.
Another Holocene Human
@Cassidy: I haven’t had my coffee RDA yet, but POTUS can come over to my place and have a beer with me any time. What do I have to do to get a beer summit around here, eh? Arrest Debra Wasserman-Schultz? Does it count if I am not, in any way, a representative of law enforcement?
I’m not jelly (I am jelly) we could have like an OBot OfA reunion drinking liberally thingy, lots of professors around here so you’d feel right at home. Just have Valerie Plame call me, uh, I mean my people. Sliiiiiight chance IWW or SDS might try to crash the party so bring Noam Chomsky along as a human shield.
Another Holocene Human
@GregB: They sound like the sort of spoiled brats whose parents vowed to sue the league when their kid couldn’t be star player on the sportsball team anymore.
@Don: Fraud and campaign finance violations are the only avenues to pursue here. Sink is running for Congress; her public image is up for grabs under the First Amendment.
@Davis X. Machina:
Can’t let this go by unremarked. Al may have had his flaws but he was a decent guy who deserves some respect. As owner, he was readier earlier than anyone else was to hire African-Americans, women, and Latinos into his leadership team. He did this early and he did it consistently. You may not know it because he never bragged about it:
Compare that to FDR’s treatment of, say, Americans of Japanese descent.
So no, we don’t have to put Al on the dime, but we could do a lot worse.
More about him here.
@Jim Parish: “but the FEC doesn’t exactly move quickly, so they may get away with it long enough for this cycle. ”
@Omnes Omnibus: Notice “proactive” is not my word choice.
To me being “out in front” implies noticing that there might be a problem that results in citizens being hurt, and to go ahead and gather information. If there is jurisdictional authority, then go ahead with a more robust investigation. Additionally, focus the attention of the public and other levels of government on a issue that is problematic.
If we (hoi polloi) can be made aware that something is fishy, I assume that the JD might be a few steps ahead of us if they choose to be. In his first term, it seemed to me that Obama’s executive branch was less than praiseworthy in it’s handling of voting “shenanigans”. Since the start of the second term, their public posture is much better. I cannot wait to see what their next steps will be.
I think the “mocking message” was the invention of mistermix, not what the NRCC actually replies to donors. I wouldn’t put it past the Repubs, though, and I’m not willing to hit the contribution button to find out for sure.
Another Holocene Human
@raven: The date on that article says 2/4, which is today’s date, and it’s just a reblogging of the ThinkProgress article, while the OP linked to TampaBay Times.
Is this some sort of weird blogosphere FRIST!! netiquette thing I will never understand?
GHayduke (formerly lojasmo)
I would leave it to Holder. Occupy the RNC is busy getting high.
Monday, Feb 3, 2014 12:44 PM CST
Angry right’s secret revulsion: Why they really dodge minimum wage questions
Obama’s decision to increase the minimum wage for a small number of federal contractors has drawn out the crazies VIDEO
It’s no great secret that Republicans oppose increasing the minimum wage. They don’t pretend it’s something they want to do under any circumstances. They don’t even really bother disguising their opposition. They cloak their view in dated and oversimplified economic arguments about labor demand and economic growth when the real impediment is ideological, and so it’s a somewhat better kept secret that many Republicans oppose the minimum wage altogether.
Opposing the minimum wage isn’t a politically seemly thing to do, though, and thus the great political consequence of President Obama’s decision, announced during his State of the Union address, to institute a $10.10 minimum wage for future federal contracts, will be to draw the extent of this opposition out into the open.
If there’s one thing conservatives agree upon with respect to Obama’s executive order, it’s that it won’t impact very many people. They’re actually probably correct about that. Yet despite the policy’s marginal impact, some conservatives abruptly turned discovering the means of denying a higher wage to a tiny number of workers into a top priority.
In the days since Obama’s State of the Union address, they’ve attacked the order itself, encouraged Congress to block it, and scoured federal law for a reason that the courts should throw it out.
Irrespective of legal questions, the smart political play for Republicans is to let Obama have this one. Assume the order’s validity, note that it’s a fairly marginal change, and then move on. Don’t turn it into an ideological lightning rod.
House Speaker John Boehner understands this, which is why his reaction to the minimum wage order was fairly subdued.
@Ash Can: Sure, there’s a continuum between (1) just squatting silently on a URL without attempting to use it, and (3) all-out fraud. Nicole wanted to know if (2) “a web address alone can be labelled deceptive.” Phrased thus, this (2) can be located anywhere between (1) and (3) above. One would have to look at the specifics of a case to decide what to do about it.
In what way?
Smaller, but still freaking gigantic, and directly under the headline.
I’m not (just) blaming the victim. The NRCC is a bunch of lowlifes and this is a high-school level of sneak. But if you can’t even read the huge second line of copy…
@Omnes Omnibus: Don’t be silly. What he’s done is never good enough. What he could have done would never be enough. The goal posts will always change.
@Another Holocene Human: I’m down with POTUS beer drinking as well, but he’d have to bring Onion Biden.
@GregB: Heh. Thanx, I needed that laugh
@Cervantes: Thanx. I did not know.
Sure, and the FEC is not the only relevant agency, but anyway:
I’m trying to picture the NRCC doing that last thing, or anything decent, sua sponte. It’s not happening for me.
@shortstop: When I saw this story, it took me two read throughs of the page in order to find out what wrong with it. “defeat” is buried in a sentence that really does look like it’s trying to help elect her. If your not actively looking to see if the site is deceptive, the layout is misleading.
@shortstop: It’s designed to fleece marks who are less than careful and very busy. People see SINK for CONGRESS and a donate button. They donate, feeling like they have to done something useful, and then load the kids into the minivan to haul them to soccer practice.
The people who read this blog are politically obsessive and reasonably bright (for the most part), but I would guess that a significant number would have fallen for the trick.
The Jolly page is borderline sneaky. But as the page looks now, you have to be actively ignoring the text on the page to fall for the Rahall one.
@Omnes Omnibus: Oh, not the stereotypical low-info soccer moms…please. In any case, this is a physician who presumably has to read at least two lines for comprehension every day — including lots of information meant to mislead. (Big Pharma alone provides a bumper crop of it.) At least, his patients better hope he does better at that than he did at this.
Look, you guys, I get that they’re trying and succeeding to snag “busy” people. But we’re all busy people, and I’m not an expert or a subject obsessive on a lot of things I can immediately identify as bullshit. There’s no excuse for what the NRCC is doing, but people not paying attention makes it possible for them to do it. I do hope that enough people disputing the charges will put a stop to it. Frankly, most of them would probably never notice if the NRCC skipped the in-your-face step of redirecting to their site after a donation.
@Cervantes: Practically speaking, from my experience in election administration at a state level, the vast majority of violations are uncovered by reports from citizens or through the audit process. I am aware of a few sua sponte reports; they were usually of a violation of a technical rule and were submitted with evidence of the corrective action taken (e.g., a legislator received a gift from a group for having spoken at its annual dinner. The gift is over the value that makes it reportable. The legislator doesn’t report it in the year that she received it because she was not aware of the value. Subsequently, she finds out and reports the gift – perhaps noting that the gift was returned.)
Jonathan Capehart: O’Reilly outFoxed by Obama
The pre-Super Bowl interview with President Obama conducted by Bill O’Reilly was not only notable for the Fox News anchor’s constant interruptions, but also for his harping on old news. The travails of HealthCare.gov, the murderous attacks in Benghazi and the actions taken by the IRS against conservative groups chewed up 9 minutes and 45 seconds of the 10-minute sitdown.
We all know that those topics are nothing but chum for O’Reilly’s anti-Obama audience. But the president successfully avoided the rhetorical traps set by the ambassador from “fair and balanced.” And he respectfully stood up to the disrespect demanded by said audience by giving as good as he got.
…. It’s always difficult to tell whether the tail is wagging the dog over there at Fox, but I would argue that the IRS conspiracy theories and others are in large part due to O’Reilly and Fox. Neither the station nor its anchor has shown Obama or his office the respect both deserve. And that 10-minute interview was a perfect illustration of it.
Hell, skip the CC company and your bank, tell Google that it’s a phishing site. They’ll put an end to this shit right now.
Another Holocene Human
@rikyrah: Your links this morning were scary? Is scary the right word?
It’s so easy to frighten spooked lefties but you’d think reliable liberal voters would be already aware that Obama has done nothing recently to push Keystone XL forward. Instead, he’s letting them flail around and dangle. They’re probably waiting for a nice crook back in the Oval Office so they can get back to business as usual.
Honestly, I’m more afraid of the GOP pulling another Summer of Hate like in 2010 to get their voters as well as swing voters to the polls on their behalf. We need to be all Medicaid all the time in the non-expansion states but you can’t trust the media not to run with another authoritarian mind control ‘slow news summer’ story to whip up xenophobic sentiment. Ugh.
@Omnes Omnibus: The impression I had for a period of time, say 2006-2010, is that there were a fairly continuous stream of reports about an essentially recurring grab bag of actions designed to interrupt the voting process for selected groups of citizens. After 2008, I expected to hear about a significant uptick in dealing with those types of misbehaviors. As the years passed, I recall being underwhelmed. And unlike the theory advanced by that wonderful mensch of the blog, Cassidy, my expectations were not all that high.
Now, I am very happy to celebrate the stated goal that this is a priority and more will be done.
@shortstop: My sister-in-law would absolutely fall for this. She doesn’t have a minivan, but otherwise…
Again, as I noted above, we all went to the site forewarned of its nature. Can you be sure that you would not have been taken in if you had gone there on your own? I would hope I wouldn’t have been, but I cannot swear to it, nor, I suspect, could anyone else.
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Mother Earth News
@Omnes Omnibus: I was actually expecting something subtle and was surprised that it was that blatant about being an anti-Sink site. I think the RNCC was really counting on people being a hurry.
And yeah, if I didn’t know I think the “Help Defeat” (capitalizing theirs) would have been a bit tip-off. But, sure I imagine many people would get suckered. The problem is whether that’s illegal on the part of the RNCC or just them taking advantage of the fact that people often don’t pay attention.
I don’t know what that post on orange satan that you got this story from told you muckymux but there is most definitely a fee per chargeback.
Usually around $15 and probably goes up for bigger transactions. So I would almost encourage people to go donate the minimum and then tell your bank it’s a scam and you want your money back. Even if it’s just a dollar donation I’m pretty sure the will still get charged the $15 fee.
Another Holocene Human
@Omnes Omnibus: Bingo.
Lots of research on this phenom, but people always want to believe that they wouldn’t fall for it.
Never mind the FEC, this is a matter for the FTC and possibly the USPS (Wire fraud).
People should also have their computers scanned for malware.
Intent to defraud isn’t a necessary element of the offense of wire fraud under 18 USC Section 1343. Intent to obtain money by false pretenses is sufficient. Maybe there’s enough of the right kind of fine print on the site to defeat a prosecution. Maybe not. I’m in favor of letting a jury decide.
@Keith G: Many of those actions were state level voter ID laws. Due to the federal system and the nature of the VRA, the federal government was not really in a position to interfere. In addition, Crawford was decided in January 2008. Indiana-type voter ID laws were constitutional unless they could be should to actually have disenfranchised voters. The cases currently going through the courts are based on actual disenfranchisement. These case are being supported by the administration. Litigation is not a fast process.
@raven: Thanks, raven!
I get this, but the usual mode of operation is to say that the Democrats did it so it’s OK. Are there any instances of this being done by Democrats, at all?
@Cervantes: I hate the Raiders, but I always respected Al Davis.
The Obama Administration have been great on voting rights. They’ve sued and sued and sued. I don’t know how anyone could say they haven’t been aggressive. I was not impressed with the voting rights commission report they released because I think the suggestions are not at all new, everyone knows this stuff already, but that’s voting administration, not rights (although the two are of course connected). It also got on my nerves because lawyer-pundits tend to fawn all over the work of prestigious lawyers, but that’s a personal observation. There was nothing wrong with the commission suggestions, but it was just ordinary solid voting administration work. It was treated like it was genius or somehow ground-breaking, and I think that’s a reflection of how prestigious the lawyers are, not the product. There’s too much ass-kissing in law, IMO, too much deference and self-congratulation.
I’m not thrilled with how the Democrats (not just Obama) are handling the midterm “message”. I think they should have stuck with “inequality” rather than “opportunity” because “fairness” is a powerful theme for liberals and Democrats. It’s our best argument. No one knows what “opportunity gap” means. I read this crap and I don’t know what it means.
I’m also baffled why they’re not coordinating better with state races. Midwestern governors like Kasich and Snyder are running on “comebacks” at the same time as they are trashing the Obama Administration. If Michigan and Ohio are “comebacks” then the Obama Administration and federal Democrats deserve some credit for that. I don’t know why we’d let GOP governors claim “comeback” with no rebuttal on how this is wildly inconsistent with the national GOP message of “Obama and the Democrats have destroyed our country”. Except in OH, MI, PA. WI and FL? Every single time Rick Snyder claims “comeback” every national Democrat should be calling him on that.
@Omnes Omnibus: Here’s what I’m 100 percent sure of: If I’d fallen for this, I’d be humiliated and cursing my own failure to read obviously presented information. I wouldn’t be indignant about “smaller print” or assert that this sloppily designed site “looked legitimate.” I think it’s great that this highly educated orthopedic surgeon (who, given his age of 73, may not have a longtime familiarity with the ‘tubes and their rampant scams) decided to warn others, but he’d look less silly — and possibly better protect the health of his practice — if he’d included a little good-natured self-deprecation in his remarks.
People like you are the reason lawyers are having trouble getting jobs these days. Fucking litigate, damn it!
@Omnes Omnibus: Agreed.
And there were other actions such, as differing infrasture for different neighborhoods, that suggests groups of voters are being treated differently from each other. That can be a federal issue. Besides, I am not saying that the only measure of success needs to be people charged (or bodies deported in a different area of concern). Modern government address troublesome behaviors in all sorts of ways.
@Omnes Omnibus: Careful!
Often wrong but never in doubt. Attagirl.
And, I would say that The State Race Problem for liberals and Democrats is structural, and has to do with what I see as almost blinders based on ideology. We’re the people who believe in a federal government. We’re simply not geared to caring about state races. We should be! But we’re not.
I would also say that looking to Obama for everything will only make that tactical problem worse. We lean that way anyway. If we want to get better at state races we should stop pointing at the President to run it. We can’t both say we want people running for “dog catcher” and focus exclusively on the federal executive, politically. Conservatives have an ideological tactical advantage, an ideological bent towards states. We need to develop our own approach, one that aligns with a strong federal role.
It can indeed, and, as Kay noted above, Holder’s Justice Department has been pursuing these things very aggressively. I am getting the sense that you are bothered by the lack of noise being made about the issues rather than the lack of effort.
@Omnes Omnibus: Yeah, there’s no percentage in listening to me admit my own mistakes. Sorry! Can I offer you this attractive Badgers mug in consolation? I’ll finish the coffee and wash it first.
@Kay: Have they found a way to address the behavior of allocating substantially different election resources to minority neighborhoods? There did not seem to be the type of change in outcome from 2008 to 2012 as I might have expected. Or did they address the issue pre 2012, but decision makers at the local levels found new ways to suppress access to a reasonable voting process?
Any of the other lawyers want to explain to me why this isn’t false advertising? The purpose of these ads were to raise money. If, for example, you thought you were giving to the American Cancer Society and you got redirected to the Altria Foundation, the ACA would sue the Foundation into oblivion.
The only difference is that you’ve created false sponsorship w/r/t a particular congress critter. This is classic bait and switch. The First Amendment protects “death panels” but I can’t see how it reaches this far.
@hrumpole: Because it is political not commercial. I suspect, however, that it is a violation of campaign finance laws for the reasons you set out.
That is mostly a state issue. I don’t know about other states, but in Ohio county election boards are charged with what is a prediction on resources they need and (the usual) fight for adequate resources. The idea that Democrats in Ohio are helpless when faced with an asshole Sec of State on something like voting machines is an excuse. It isn’t true. They work on this every month, month after month. If they’re short on voting machines in a college town that means that the Democrats on that board (an equal number, by statute) are not doing their job.
Again, if I could just veer off into theory for a moment here, we can’t say both things. We can’t say we want a really robust local Democratic presence at the state and county level AND keep looking to the DOJ every time there’s a problem. These two things are connected. Constantly looking to the feds creates weakness at the state level for Democrats. We have to think about this differently. We can do this, but we’re going to have to grapple with how we think about the federal government and state leaders in a way that is more authentic to us, not just as “opposition” to conservatives on states’ rights, or at least gets us where we might be going :)
I can say “the DOJ should secure my right to a voting machine” but I also have to say “why don’t the Democrats on this county bd of elections realize they live in a college town, and when might that be sinking in?”
@Omnes Omnibus: Reporting to the FEC is productive, but in the long-term. We need shorter-term impact (and for the NRCC, a shorter interval before they feel the pain). The GOTea is far more likely to listen to Big Banking complain about all the chargebacks (and consequent losses) from Dems disputing the charges than they are the FEC – especially if the latter doesn’t take action this year (and given that Big Banking will feel the pain in a matter of days or weeks).
Not to mention contributors taking immediate action to ensure their funds go where they want them to go instead of where the NRCC tricks them into going. There’s nothing like blowing campaign finance forecasts to make both parties react: the GOTea to the slashed receipts, and everywhere else to the sudden bounty from the (correctly) reprocessed donations.
The noise made by “certain types of folks” having to decide whether to vote or work their full shift because of unreasonable wait-time in line is very loud to me.
I did not see a lot of change in outcome 2008-2012. Granted, I have been impatient about achieving/maintaining reasonable access to voting before I knew that there was a Barak Obama.
When I was a kid in Monclova township, Ohio, one of the township trustees and local GOP leader, stopped by with a petition to be signed voicing opposition to an effort in Ohio to create an easier voter registration process. As a support to the argument, the man, now long dead, mentioned the need to keep certain other folks from having too easy of a time getting a voter card. His meaning was clear even to a young’un like me.
Mom declined to sign and as the man was walking back to the driveway, she said in a low voice, “Ass hole”. Mom was a FDR Democrat and in the leadership of a local union.
In Wisconsin, it is done at the municipal level.
@Keith G: I stood in freezing drizzle for two hours outside the recreation center in Columbus’s Schiller Park to vote for Kerry in 2004. I understand what you are saying. The point that Kay and are making is that, because of the way elections are structured and administered in the US, there are limits to what any administration can do. If you care about access to the polls, state and local elections really matter. Aim your fire in the right direction.
Thinking like an insurgent works sometimes. See also what MLK and company did in the ’60s. There are many models out there.
Sorry, I’m swamped today and can’t reply to everyone individually:
– I may have been more likely to not notice the sketchy nature of the site if I hadn’t been primed (I’m ADHD after all), but when it comes to pulling out my credit card, I tend to take a really good, close look at a site. Anyone taking a HALFWAY good, close look should have seen something that made them wonder.
– For example, I may have misread the mocking message as a straight report rather than a paraphrase / joke, but as I don’t have to take out my credit card to read this site, I read fast before I ran back to work.
– Hey, how about those Seahawks, eh?
@Keith G: Yes we know, tell us again how Obama has let you down today.
But it really is a contradiction, and, again, I think it’s inherent in the ideology. We can’t approach this like conservatives do. We need our own accommodation to local-state-federal interaction, in campaigns and everything else, and it has to be coherent and hang together.
If we’re going to say “We need a 50 state strategy and the President must lead it!” I have some basic questions about that formulation, like, if it makes any sense at all. I think that needs fleshing out :)
@Kay: Essential rights are essential rights. When equal access to education for the poor and ethnic minorities is left to the tender mercies of local governments, shit happens. I get what you are saying about having the highest of expectations for local governance, but when that is the fall back, you get chemical plants in W Virginia that don’t get inspected for decades.
I have never expected an one administration to make all the bad stuff go away. To me this is the fundamental issue and test of our society. Citizens who are blocked (either de jur or de facto) from voting are no longer able to advocate for their needs and for their future. They are forced to become a dependant class. If we can’t get that right, then we don’t deserve to have anything else go our way. We have failed.
If you really think that they are going to tumble to this very often, Mistermix, you are vastly, woefully mistaken.
I am a citizen in a city and county that do a pretty good job (and I have worked as a precinct judge), but I am still very much subject to the outcomes of the voting process in Cleveland, Philly, St. Louis, et. al.
Where do you suggest I aim?
@Cassidy: While it is still early, today has been a pretty good day. Though, I imagine he really should have spent more time playing with Bo and Sunny.
Does that count?
But they’ve been aggressive in enforcement of federal law in voting rights. Yours would be a valid complaint if they weren’t using that tool, but they do. This is a problem for liberals, and again, it’s part of our ideological approach, and I share yours, so I’m not attacking you. I’m saying that perhaps the focus on the federal side, on litigation, specifically as to voting rights, is part of what is keeping you from your other goal, which is strong local and state. We got federal litigation. THAT we know how to do. Some of the biggest successes in voting rights in the past three years haven’t been based on federal law at all. In Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, it was state law.
They’re just tools. You pick one up that might work.
If your entire focus is the fed side, the other side, the state and local, gets weak. That’s all I’m saying. Federal litigation is the last avenue, not the first line of defense.
@Keith G: I suggest that you expect the Feds to do their part, but understand that their part has certain limitations. That you hold the feet of state and local officials to the fire on these issues. If your area is good, I bet some other parts of Texas are not. Why not help out there?
Holder’s DoJ has been doing a good job on voting since they came in. A lot of it is under the the radar. They are beating the City of Milwaukee like a red-headed stepchild over its problems. Milwaukee has a solid D mayor and city council who care about the voting rights. It has resource problems. Not just getting machines, but being able to allocate them correctly and finding ADA accessible buildings within some wards. Things like that. The DoJ has jumped on the City and entered into a consent decree with it to improve the situation. They are offering both sticks and carrots and giving material support. The fixes are happening, but some are necessarily happening slowly.
Anyway, of course I know the limits to the ideas I am rambling on about, but I have always had a “We chose to go to the Moon” mentality. We need to aim high and swing for the fences occasionally. While I know it might be a long and fitful process, there are some areas where we need to change our process from local to national. As with healthcare, it will probably take a long effort. If we do not start and keep focus, our progress will never substantially improve.
@Keith G: OMG, Monclova Township is where a farmer sicked his (very large) dog on me when I was canvassing for Obama in 2012. Fortunately I have always lived with and around dogs and didn’t panic. Even more fortunately, I had treats in my jacket pocket left over from walking my own dog.
It’s still my favorite story about working the Toledo area.
@Keith G: LBJ and FDR had overwhelming Democratic majorities in Congress and Senate, the folks who, you know, write and pass laws, put forward Constitutional amendments, set budgets and and the like. They’re called the Legislature, one of the three parts of the US government. President Obama can be as activist as he likes but when the House is writing one anti-abortion law or kill-the-ACA bill after another instead of doing anything deemed “progressive” then his options are limited to what he can legally do as President, the Executive who runs the country. He can specify, for example, a minimum wage rate for Federal employees as that’s within his remit as the CEO. Setting a higher national minimum wage for people the Federal government doesn’t employ is the Legislature’s job. Not going to happen, is it?
I actually think Democrats are in as much a period of transition as Republicans are. A far as “messaging” Democrats did this thing where they relied on some really passionate allies to make the broader case, labor, civil rights leaders (and I would include gay rights activists in that). In a way they could be technocratic “policy people” and “all head and no heart” precisely because they had all these great messages around them.
I think that’s changing. I know it’s changing with labor. They’re having some success with “alt” labor and worker orgs that are not traditional unions and they’re not going to provide that “heart” for Democrats to play off of. I think the whole thing is interesting, and could be great or really hard and fractious. I do know it;s not just “Republicans in disarray”. The craziness of Republicans is currently obscuring the changes in Democrats.
@Kay: I couldn’t agree with you more.
An important observation. My worry is that it could be rewritten as, “The craziness of Republicans is currently stunting important changes in Democrats.”
@shortstop: The flat corn fields of Monclova are now covered with tract housing (and some high-end enclaves) A stream and woodland area that used to be my retreat/refuge as a small boy now has the Dillard’s wing of a shopping mall on it. Oy. Then again, I live in downtown Houston, so I have no grounds to moan.
@Keith G: But there are still some farms if you head out far enough. It was really time-intensive canvassing because we had to drive between houses. But it was Ohio, and every vote counted, so we did it and balanced it out with some shifts in Toledo.
I’ll never forget one Monclova family that had a pickup on blocks in the yard — so Central Casting! — and four broken refrigerators on the sagging porch. The husband came to the screen door with a baby on each hip (twins) and another two toddlers hanging onto his legs. He looked depressed and defeated as he very politely told me he was voting for Romney. It made me sad for a long time.
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Eeek! While it might have been anywhere, back in my time that image would seem consistent with the further west reaches of the township. Our small farm was a mile southwest of Monclova proper on good ‘ol dark clay soil.
Further west, the soil turns sandy – smaller, ‘scratch” farms and more trees and yards, such as you described.
Basically, I would sum it up as “Democrats can’t outsource their entire argument to allies”. They can’t rely on other people to provide the “heart” while they’re the “head”. It worked for Bill Clinton, where he could push back against passionate allies and thus seem to be saying something new, but it won’t work forever.
They have to do some heavy lifting themselves. It’s nice that they have the Fight for 15 labor people to jump off of on the minimum wage, for example, but those people aren’t going to consider themselves “Democrats” unless some closer connection is made, an emotional connection.
I think it could get really interesting the next coupla years! It’s a transitional period :)
@Keith G: Yes, exactly — we were further west.
Sad indeed. How do Democrats rewrite politics in America so that this doesn’t happen as much? (Serious question, not rhetorical.)
@Bill Arnold: I don’t know that one party rewrites politics so much as America rewrites views on race, religion, gender roles and tribal identity. And I don’t have a pat answer for how to do that within our lifetimes.
Comrade Colette Collaboratrice
@Another Holocene Human:
Ho, you really might want to check the a.m. drinking (even if Republicans look better through beer goggles).