Rigging the vote

English: Karl Rove Assistant to the President,...

English: Karl Rove Assistant to the President, Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Stalin said, “The people who cast the votes don’t decide an election, the people who count the votes do.”

If the GOP are willing to steal an election before votes are cast by restricting who can vote, they certainly are willing to steal an election after the votes are cast. In the last election, the companies supplying the voting machines were run by “friends of Mitt.” In Ohio, Karl Rove was certainly expecting that Mitt would carry the state. When it didn’t happen, he had his famous 20-minute meltdown on FOX. Rumour has it that Rove‘s plans were foiled by hackers supportive of President Obama. In any case, for our form of government to continue, we must ensure a fair and accurate count of the votes.

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English: Depiction of the House vote on H.R. 3...

English: Depiction of the House vote on H.R. 3590 (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) on March 21, 2010, by congressional district. Democratic yea Democratic nay Republican nay No representative seated (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

John Boehner is refusing to attempt to defund Obamacare. Some on the Right are now saying that Obamacare should be re-named Boehnercare. Instead of trading barbs, both John Boehner and Mitt Romney, the author of Romneycare on which Obamacare is modelled, should be proclaiming what good the Affordable Care act is going to do for millions of Americans and for our nation. Instead both men are too craven, fearing the noise machine of the far right. Rather they would support a one page healthcare bill acceptable to Mike Lee and others that with the usual header and footer would fit easily on one page. The proposed GOP healthcare bill would be worded like this: “Don’t get sick. If you do, die quickly.”

Me, my, mine

Official portrait of United States Senator (R-OH).

Official portrait of United States Senator (R-OH). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have you ever noticed how limited the empathy of some people is? Rob Portman, US Senator from Ohio, was opposed to gay marriage until his son came out of the closet. Now that Portman has reversed his position on gay marriage, he claims that he cannot also support increased gun safety. I suppose one change of heart is his limit, today, this month, this Senate term, or this lifetime. Michael Milliken, the junk bond king, was fined heavily for his activities, but still retained millions of dollars. When he successfully fought off prostate cancer, he established a foundation to look for prostate cancer cures. That action was admirable, but what about other diseases that deserve funding?

My point is that many of us only care about conditions that affect us or our close family members. Case in point is the Senate action to solve the sequester cut effects on air traffic, while at the same time ignoring the sequester effects on the poor and the military. Selective empathy is the bane of our society.

Mark Helprin

Municipal Building, New York City

Municipal Building, New York City (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Sunlight and in Shadow is Mark Helprin‘s latest novel, set in the mid 1940s both during WW2 and shortly thereafter in New York City. It is a love story between a man and a woman and between the author and the city. Here is a short quotation that reminded me of the current Republican stance on the Chuck Hagel nomination to be secretary of defense.

“Like almost everyone from Ohio, he wanted to run for Congress , and thought that having been a common soldier would more honestly qualify him. ‘The mind of a general and the heart of an infantryman,’ he once told Harry, ‘are what is required to make the decisions politicians make in regard to both war and peace.’ Clearly, he was getting ready to run, and not only was he right, Harry thought, but were he to survive he would go far if after the war courage and probity would still count.”

Harry is the leading character in the novel and the above quotation is from the portion of the book devoted to his experiences during WW2 in Europe.


The red "GOP" logo used by the party...

The red “GOP” logo used by the party for its website (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Democracy and a successful two-party system require that both parties can be trusted with power, to put the interests of country ahead of the interests of party. The Republican Party has demonstrated recently that it can no longer be trusted. Its refusal to implement portions of the Affordable Care Act, its hostility to union workers in Wisconsin, Ohio and now in Michigan, and its continuing efforts to deny the right to vote and future plans to gerrymander the Electoral College, all these efforts demonstrate Republican untrustworthiness. The GOP must reform itself and do so quickly. Otherwise, it must be replaced by another party that puts the country ahead of partisan power.