Wednesday, October 29, 2014

MA Election Choices. Fret Not on 11/4.

Yes indeed we'll have two-page, double-sided ballots next week. Be aware most of that is the four ballot questions...and that this is a simpler set of choices than the recent Dem primary.

I happily play scout and point the trail. I read the literature, go to the stump speeches, watch the debates, and drill down into the campaign sites so others don't have to. People do ask and I do say.

Do all of us elections officials and your fellow voters a big favor. Show up knowing which ovals you'll smear. You can do the essential research in two minutes through the secretary of the commonwealth's site. Go here to view or print your precinct's ballot.

Count 'em 4 Questions

This includes the four ballot questions, with all of their explanatory text. Please come with your choices. We have to account for every page of every ballot all day long. If you don't vote on the front and back of the second page, the scanner will reject it and an official will have to trot over to manually override that.

I have strong thoughts on these four. If you don't or are undecided on any, feel free to use my brain. The short of it No on 1 and Yes on 2, 3, and 4. My reasoning is in my Left Ahead podcast, which you can access here.

Mostly Obvious Choices

Sometimes I mix it up, but this cycle, the picks are Dems, as in:

  • US Sen. Re-elect Ed Markey over a weak GOP Brian Herr (no real vision or any other virtues)
  • Gov./Lt. Gov. Martha Coakley/Steve Kerrigan over Charlie Baker/Karyn Polito. Reject the baseless, even puerile, fantasy that putting a Republican in the titular head office somehow balances anything. The nominally heavily Dem legislature is not very liberal putting a GOP Gov. in is silly. Baker has toxic history from his roles running HHS and the Big Dig finance, and in his inhumane approach to fixing Harvard Pilgrim. Don't trust him.
  • AG. No contest between the brilliant and experiened Maura Healeyk and the ho-hum John Miller.
  • Secretary of State. Bill Galvin is stagnant and is a Luddite whose technology foot-dragging makes it hard to access "his" data (it should be ours). Alas, neither D'Archangelo nor Factor has made a convincing argument to unseat him. Too bad. Last time, Jim Henderson did, but as an indy, he didn't have the recognition. Begrudgingly, Galvin yet again.
  • Treasurer. Deb Goldberg is the one, over GOP Mike Heffernan and Indy Ian Jackson. She has the experience and smarts.
  • Auditor. Re-elect Suzanne Bump over GOP Patricia Saint Aubin and Indy MK Merelice. In a fit on inexplicable asininity, The Globe endorsed Saint Aubin. who is an anti-gay, anti-marriage-equality bigot. Moreoer, she got a basic accounting degree 34 years ago and briefly practiced as an auditor; too little, too long ago to qualify her for anything. She is abrasive. Bump has found terrific waste in the system and saved us tons of money. Let her keep at it.
  • Congress. Incumbents are OK and in the one meaningful race for an open slot, the Sixth US House District, go with Seth Moulton over Richard Tisei. I generally like Bay Windows picks, but they are wrong picking the latter. Sure, he's openly gay and wants to push ENDA, but he's a Republican first and not in a good way. He promises to be John Boehner's puppy. Tisei has been a MA state senator and there's nothing he knows that Moulton can't outdo in a few days of study and conversation. Moulton has better politics and planks.

More of my reasoning on most of these choices are in another Left Ahead show here.

So, if for some reason you don't totally agree with all my choices, still vote next Tuesday. For all of our sake, come prepared with your picks.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Huck Has Hissy...Yawn

Après moi,...

In the case of Mike Huckabee, the threat is le déluge. But far more realistically, it would be just sans moi.

It was big yucks from Huck last Tuesday on winger radio, American Family Radio's Today's Issues. He was on with a couple of other loonies, including Rick Santorum. Huckabee's false prophesy starts around 22:18.

The short of it is that he said that if Republicans accept same-sex marriage, the GOP will lose all elections going forward. Setting aside that the opposite has been the case and getting more so, bigotry and discrimination don't cut it.

Moreover, the Huck says obey him, GOP, or see a wholesale desertion.
I am utterly exasperated with Republicans and the so-called leadership of the Republicans, who have abdicated on this issue, If the Republicans want to lose guys like me and a whole bunch of still God-fearing and Bible-believing people just go ahead and abdicate on this issue. And while you are at it, go ahead and say abortion doesn't matter either because at that point you lose me.
I'll become an independent and I'll start finding people that have guts to stand," he said. "I am tired of this.
He's going to take his Bible and go away, but not go home. He seems to figure he'll call out, "Over here, y'all true Christians," and millions will do it.

Alas, his record of leading and harvesting voters suggests, very strongly, otherwise.

Vanity and ego, behold yourself in Mike Huckabee.

Monday, October 06, 2014

SCOTUS turns back on marriage bans

SCOTUS shocks must be good for me, at least keeping me alert and flexible. They did it again today, refusing without comment the requests by five states to review federal courts overturning their gay-marriage bans.

WaPo has its usual thorough coverage of this here. Also, The NYTimes has deeper history here.

Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin are in this batch. In Virginia, for example, that commonwealth will begin issuing licenses this afternoon and will recognize the same-sex marriages from other states where they are legal already.

It is almost certain that this will quickly expand to six more states — Colorado,  Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia — where federal appeals courts have ruled such bans unconstitutional. That would bring to 30 the number of states with marriage equality.

States that has piled on both constitutional amendments and laws banning marriage equality are the legal equivalent of oldsters whose Depend diapers fail them, with lots of soiled clothing involved.

How now what they manage to hurt, harm, hamper and hinder homosexuals? We can be sure the plug nasties will keep at it. They've done that with abortion and contraception rights, voting laws and more. When they hate a group, they plug away.

Meanwhile, this morning's SCOTUS announcement hints strongly that the high court will duck nationwide case this term to settle this. Despite the crazy conservative decisions of late, it seems the justices can't deny that marriage is a fundamental right, hence worthy of legal protection.

A clear case or set of cases would almost certainly come down favoring marriage equality. The justices are particularly loath to mandate where individual states have traditionally set their rules. Of course, they did just that in Loving v. Virginia, but that was 57 years ago.

I say it's time to do it again.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Lively Deadly at Mic

Many other nations have their own public loonies. As in the U.S., those have voice as politicians or actors or business owners. Our most local, current version certainly includes Scott Lively.

He is one of five who will appear on the MA ballot for governor on Nov. 4th. I'd write "God help us," but that is largely a figure of speech. Lively seems to think he has that market cornered,

Pix note: Above are two screen caps (fair use claimed) from WGBY's recent broadcast of a gubernatorial debate with the five candidates. The wide-eyed one at left was his finest, funniest moment when he answered a question about medical marijuana by shouting that he "inhaled...A LOT!" While ID'ing himself as a pastor, he admits to 16 years of alcohol and other drug abuse. The image on the right is of his more usual, studied expression.

Lively is plain about his ideas. They are on his campaign site, as well as his personal one. The latter includes PDF files of chapters of his widely debunked co-authored The Pink Swastika. The book postulates that the Holocaust in particular and Nazism more generally were direct products of a group of German homosexuals.

A hallmark of ingrained, intense bigotry is that its being like a tarp that can cover everything. You can take Lively's words to verify that. If you did not catch the debate, check the video on the link above in the Pix note. Scroll to the bottom of the article to play it.

In the spirit of religiosity, I confess. I have not contacted Lively to ask him to do a Left Ahead show. The Dems and independents have all been on (see archives). The Republican won't even return my calls or emails, likely terrified of "Left" in the show title. For Lively, I'm not at all confident I could be civil enough to let him express himself. I could end up doing a show in the style of Bill O'Reilly or Chis Matthews for him.

Square One, Square One

Lively is a good entertainer, as befits a self-described pastor. For example, near the end of the debate, he had the best shtick of the hour, riffing on what he said was his 16 years of drug abuse. Unfortunately, he plays the dour scold nearly always.

You can read his positions on his campaign site. They are extreme and very much out of sync with MA voters' views. While his team managed to get 10,000-plus registered voters to sign his ballot petitions, they'd be hard pressed to find 10,000 people here that really agree with his positions, which include:

  • Abortion is the intentional killing of a living human being and should be criminalized...Since abortion is a form of homicide, it should bear similar punishment, depending on the severity of the particular crime.
  • (W)e should abolish public-employee unions and return to the earlier model in which public service was a civic duty and privilege shared by the citizens.
  • Since they (LGBT people) cannot prove that homosexuality, bisexuality and transgender is innate and unchangeable, we must assume for the sake of the children that these behavior-based lifestyles are acquired, and can be overcome. 
  • Rather than rewarding those who gained (or gamed) their entry to the United States by cheating (I'm speaking now of the adults who have been here for a long time), it is time to ask the illegal immigrants to take all that they have learned about living in an orderly democratic society back to their homelands so they can recreate there what they have enjoyed here.
  • We should dismantle the destructive feminist system of emasculating boys with pharmaceuticals and gender-blending social engineering tactics in public schools and the popular culture, and restore key elements of what feminists derisively call the “patriarchal society,” but which in reality is just respect for authentic male leadership.

Those are just samples from his positions. In the full context, those and such planks as the death penalty are more extreme.

During the debate, nearly every comment returned to what he termed his Biblical world view. That, of course, meant his particular take on carefully chosen verses to support his starting positions.

For example, he disdained LGBT rights and any mention of homosexuality during classes. Nothing else illustrated this so clearly as his off-the-road detour from the question about MA infrastructure. Consider:
I think there's a corrupt system we have right now and frankly I thank when we're talking corruption, we really need to be looking at the moral infrastructure of Massachusetts as well. We're killing unborn babies every single day in this state. We are promoting sexual perversion to the children in the public schools. Those kinds of things are corrupting us from the inside much worse than what's happening with our road system and our bridges.
He had started out touching on a bit of the infrastructure problem, suggesting that state contractors pay for bonds to cover cost overruns on bids. Yet he did not really address the infrastructure question the other four did. He brought in all manner of unrelated subjects, thoroughly muddying the waters and likely confusing listeners. He again also brought in his personal bugbear, homosexuals.

To his credit, Baker answered the next question and ended by taking Lively to task for his anti-gay allusion. Baker noted that his gay and married brother informed his views and feelings here, that he found the remarks somewhat offensive. Lively tossed out afterward, "I believe in the Bible, Charlie. I'm sorry that you don't."

Other oddments

I suggest listening to the debate, even if you just fast forward to Lively's answers. You'll hear that what was an idyllic agrarian MA has deviated from our Judeo-Christian to a Marxist perspective. Lively would aim to severely limit state government. "I would reverse that process. I would go back to localism," he said.

He would not increase funding for education, and in fact opposes universal pre-K. He believes that public schools, even before first grade are turning children over to government. He'd set up a voucher system that would include paying home-schooling parents.

He called climate change and global warming concerns "a scam." "The nonsense called global warming is a scheme of transnational elitists to institute a global taxation system," he said. He figures climate change can largely be blamed on the sun.

Those are glimpses of Lively's shadow world. Do listen to the whole debate and ponder his sites if you need more.

Back in the U.S.A.

Despite frequent victimization claims of repression by wingers and religious extremists, the U.S. is damned (that word again) loose in free speech. We let citizens and visitors make all manner of wild, unsupported, unsupportable claims. We don't have hate-speech laws like many European nations and Canada.

As states began enabling marriage equality, anti-gay sorts often claimed that it would mean preachers would be pulled from their pulpits and sent to prison for homophobic rhetoric. It hasn't, can't and won't happen here, but that does not stop the canard.

Instead haters like Lively can and do get on ballots. They almost always lose, but they can run, speak, and attract the votes and donations of like-minded loons. I think this is where we're supposed to agree it's a great country.