Monday, August 27, 2012

To Independent Voters—Trying to Make Sense of Campaign 2012


An independent voter asked how one should attempt to make sense out of the current election hype. I offered this appraisal.

I'm a democrat, but I think I understand your position. It's tough to know anymore given the overblown extremist rhetoric—on both sides. However, I suggest you consider who is driving the “Republican” party now-a-days. Long ago, we used to be able to depend on the Republicans for sanity, calm reason, and financially conservative points of view that balanced the oft’ over-exuberant Democrats—but those sane men and women aren’t in control any longer. For the most part, the current party leadership (which I call Talibublicans because of their extremist views on religion and gun violence that rivals the Taliban), is funded by wealthy individuals and corporations who have a lot to lose if the Democrats get control of the House and Senate—and the Presidency. In one case, (and there are many others) It’s no secret that the Koch brothers have invested hundreds of millions of dollars into the campaigns—both local, state and national. The Citizens United Supreme Court ruling made all of that possible thanks to republican appointees on the court. The brothers Koch are also the primary funder of the radical Tea Party movement who has a thin understanding of the separation of church and state and the NRA. Despite the lack of any but a miniscule number of in-person voter fraud cases, the Talibublicans are also behind a host of outrageous bills to stop the poor, minorities, elderly and disadvantaged from voting. These state laws and local city regulations are clearly against existing, clear and enforced federal laws. Their purpose is dissuade at least a small percentage of the voters in key swing states. And it’s working.

Another problem the country is facing is the infiltration of the media. Years ago, the far right-wing Australian Rupert Murdoch purchased Fox (News Corp) and the Wall Street Journal (as well as many local TV stations all over the country). He staffed Fox’s CEO with the former political head of the Republican Party propaganda arm, Roger Ailes. This means virtually every story from man-bites dog to attempted assassinations is spun to make the Republicans look good or the President appear to be an interloper from Kenya. I’m not saying that the other media outlets are unbiased. They’re also running scared and worried about big advertisers pulling their funding—like the drug companies who pay for the evening “news”. So getting accurate, unbiased information for independent voters is as hard as it was in the days of Taft. I read and watch the BBC, NPR and the Seattle Times. All of which seem fairly unbiased and provide a refreshing off-continent point of view.

Basically, the Republicans want to take us back to the Bush years or to the 50’s whichever is closer. This was the time when the country was pushed into debt by two endless wars and unfunded mandates that fed the bottom-lines of their friends at Halliburton and the pharmaceutical companies. In response to their “socialism” comments, consider that most western countries provide healthcare and their presidents don’t keep pictures of Marks or Lenin (or Stalin) above the fireplace. Yes, Democrats feel it’s just fine to ask the wealthy to pay their fare share and pay for the infrastructure they depend on to maintain that wealth. We also think it’s rotten to send jobs overseas and pass laws to make it more profitable. We think it’s treasonous (if not criminal) to pass laws that help the wealthy move their money off-shore to avoid paying the lowest taxes they’ve paid in many decades. Democrats (or at least I) feel it’s criminal that people can’t afford health insurance while the healthcare providers are showing record profits. The right can spin that as socialism or communism or anyism all they want, it’s simply not right.

When it comes time to go to the polls, I suggest you vote your conscience. If you care about those that need our protection, about women’s issues or others who are the subject of bigotry and hate; if you care about the viability of our form of government and keeping the mega-wealthy from polluting our legislatures with millions in contributions to create and promote customized laws that keep them wealthy, then you’ll know how to vote.

History will look back on these times and wonder what we were thinking. They’ll wonder why education was handed over to the evangelists. They’ll wonder why proud Americans would let their country be taken over by oligarchs and international corporations.

And a side note. No, not all Republicans have embraced the radical ideas of the Tea Party, the misogynist views of Mr. Akins or the silliness of Sarah. Not even all of the Republican leadership has done so. But their candidate for Vice President has. Mr. Ryan the golden boy of the Talibublicans. Sadly, enough of the Republican leaders and their loyal followers have turned to the dark side. The saddest point of all is that they have a good chance of winning this election.

Bill Vaughn


  1. I am a Democrat but I started my career as a journalist when journalists reported the news and did not include their opinion.... unless they were a columnist or it was for the editorial pages.

    Having lived overseas, most of our main stream media does a very poor job of covering international news and they do an even worse jobs of covering issues that the media's corporate owners do not want covered.

    Listed below are some of the sources that I read and rely on.

    McClatchy News -- This is the only newspaper chain that produces a weekly newsletter just on environmental issues. Their coverage also meets the journalistic standards that I was taught... just the facts....

    der Spiegel -- This is an important source for both European news, as well as, international news from the European point of view.

    Al Jazzeria -- Periodically, I will read this online and I find it amazing that they too adhere to strict journalistic standards. Some of their reported have even been killed in the middle east because they didn't toe the more radical party line.

    Huffington Post -- Broad cross section of reporting.

    New York Times --

    Boston Globe

    LA Times

    PBS, Bill Moyers Jornal, Frontline, Need To Know and their are other excellent PBS programs.

    Linda Moore

    1. Thanks Linda. I've also been pointed to RT (a Russian) news source that seems to be pretty balanced and includes more off-continent points of view. It's interesting to read these stories which are taken from outside the fish bowl where their eyes are not subject to the excrement in the water in which we all swim. ;)