Criticism of Democracy – Freedom Toons http://freedomtoons.org/ Tue, 15 Nov 2022 03:28:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://freedomtoons.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/default.png Criticism of Democracy – Freedom Toons http://freedomtoons.org/ 32 32 Housing, budget surplus and judiciary among ‘hot topics’ in Montana Legislature – Daily Montanan https://freedomtoons.org/housing-budget-surplus-and-judiciary-among-hot-topics-in-montana-legislature-daily-montanan/ Tue, 15 Nov 2022 03:28:17 +0000 https://freedomtoons.org/housing-budget-surplus-and-judiciary-among-hot-topics-in-montana-legislature-daily-montanan/ Lodging. Mental Health. The “partisan justice system”. Property taxes. “These are going to be the hot topics you hear about over and over again,” said Rep. Llew Jones, a Conrad Republican. Fees for health care and providers. Moreover, the budget surplus. “Our caucus is really going to be focused on how we build an economy […]]]>

Lodging. Mental Health. The “partisan justice system”. Property taxes.

“These are going to be the hot topics you hear about over and over again,” said Rep. Llew Jones, a Conrad Republican.

Fees for health care and providers. Moreover, the budget surplus.

“Our caucus is really going to be focused on how we build an economy that works for families, businesses and our communities,” said Rep. Kim Abbott, a Helena Democrat who served as House Minority Leader.

Last week, after Election Day, the University of Montana’s Mansfield Center hosted the two legislative leaders for a video chat titled “Can Civility Prevail in the Montana Legislature?” Jon Bennion, director of government relations for The Washington Companies and advisory board member of the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center, moderated the forum with 655 registered viewers.

Rep. Llew Jones, R-Conrad. (Provided by the Montana Legislative Assembly)

One topic the legislature will address is the medical system, Jones said. It’s struggling, and he said he expects provider pricing to be a big topic, and for good reason.

“A lot of times big hospitals cry wolf pretty loudly, and it’s not true,” he said.

This time, however, the books show that institutions are seeing up to a 24% increase in the cost of acquiring nurses alone. Jones said he anticipates Warm Springs, the public mental health hospital, will also be on the agenda.

Abbott agreed, and she said it’s a complex issue: “Fortunately, both sides of the aisle have, I think, a lot of expertise and a lot of goodwill to work together on these issues.”

She pointed to childcare and housing as issues that directly affect the workforce. The cost of buying and renting homes in some Montana communities has skyrocketed, and Abbott said it needed to be easier to build more homes for workers.

“We need to look at the regulations that make it difficult to build,” Abbott said. “We have to subsidize in some way. It’s going to take a menu of options to fix the problem.

Rep. Kim Abbott, D-Helena. (Provided by the Montana Legislative Assembly)

The budget surplus is a subject that has already been discussed. Last week, Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte released a proposal for the estimated $1.5 billion surplus, and Abbott said the surplus will be a topic this session as lawmakers consider the state’s budget. State.

During the 2021 session, lawmakers passed laws to reshape the justice system, and at the forum last week, Jones said “there are significant feelings of a partisan justice system.” As such, he expects the subject to come to the fore again.

Legislative sessions can be fast-paced and intense, but both lawmakers said work on Capitol Hill generally remains more civil and productive than the dysfunctionality people see from Washington, D.C. However, Abbott said increased political polarization has a little more touched Helena these last years, and she hears about good agreement when she knocks on the doors.

“I hear a lot of people say they just want the bickering to stop and people to work together,” Abbott said.

She tells them that the good news is usually that lawmakers work together. At the same time, she said legislative constituencies are politically biased and if one candidate wins 75% of the vote, that person has no incentive to talk to the other party.

“I believe that more competitive districts are better for solutions and better for governance,” Abbott said.

The legislature can also be emotional, but part of the divide isn’t between parties, Jones said. It can be between rural and urban, and Jones, who represents a 70 percent Republican rural district, said he might disagree with a Republican from an urban area.

At times, he said the legislature appeared to be made up of four parties, with moderate Republicans and Democrats, and then extreme factions at both ends. He said “too much weight on the wingtip” can send things spiraling out of control, but he said that despite the criticism he might receive from all quarters, he hopes most people just want solve the problems of the Montanans.

“I hope there’s still a critical mass of people who think that way,” Jones said.

Although the minority does not have the votes to push the legislation forward, Jones said it can influence the outcome in how its members present arguments. He also said that the majority should not behave like bullies.

In legislative sessions, the minority holds the majority accountable, Abbott said. She said sometimes debates can spiral out of control and decorum has been broken in the past, especially on particularly emotional topics, such as legislation that undermines tribal sovereignty or a community’s humanity.

“These are times when I think it’s very difficult to be civil, and I wonder what the civility rule is there,” Abbott said.

She also noted that retired Rep. Frank Garner, a Republican from Kalispell, spoke with her after particularly difficult hearings in the past, such as those on bills involving transgender children, and she appreciated his support and care for their caucus in these times.

Even though Democrats are in the minority, she said each of the elected House members represents 10,000 people and they all travel to Helena to serve their communities.

Republicans have a supermajority following this election, and although the final tally is still up in the air at the Mansfield forum on Wednesday night, Bennion asked about the possibility. He said Republicans “salivated at the possibility” and Democrats “scared.”

However, Jones and Abbott agreed that a supermajority does not mean that every idea gets every Republican’s vote. Additionally, Jones said it’s important to remember that legislative referendums aren’t necessarily successful with voters, with LR-131 as a recent example.

“You better take a look over there and see what has support,” Jones said.

Last week, Montana residents rejected LR-131, which would have dictated how caregivers treat newborns with no chance of survival. Abbott said she thought the measure was meant to be divisive, but the outcome, which left the treatment of infants in the hands of providers and families, shows Montanans still support one of the values ​​of the Constitution. from Montana.

“Our right to privacy is very important to us,” Abbott said.

She said a lot of people have ideas about changing Montananese rights and freedoms, but that doesn’t mean they’ll get enough support, even with a supermajority.

Bennion said Jones and Abbott demonstrated some of the best qualities of Sen. Mike Mansfield of Montana, the longest-serving U.S. Senate Majority Leader. Part of the Mansfield Center’s mission is to foster civil discourse in politics and democracy.

He noted that Jones’ tenure dates back to 2005 and he has worked in both houses, and Abbott has served since 2017 and most recently served as House Minority Leader. As such, he sought their input for the crop of around 30 freshman lawmakers.

Jones said the incoming group of freshmen is as talented a group as he saw from his side of the aisle, and includes people who are successful in their personal lives. He said they haven’t had a chance to see all the perspectives of the legislature, but they are looking to bring good change to their communities.

“Keep focusing on solving the problems,” Jones said he would advise them.

Both he and Abbott encouraged people to tell the truth and listen to others. Abbott said she would also suggest new lawmakers prepare for emotionally charged hearings because sometimes they can catch people off guard.

She advised lawmakers to start with an agreement and build from there — and Montanans agree on a lot of things, she said. However, she said it’s good when people with fundamental differences engage with each other.

“As things got more and more polarized, we all had to practice that a little more,” Abbott said.

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Conservatism Inc. breaks with Trump. Still. https://freedomtoons.org/conservatism-inc-breaks-with-trump-still/ Thu, 10 Nov 2022 19:10:46 +0000 https://freedomtoons.org/conservatism-inc-breaks-with-trump-still/ After a disappointing election night, conservative elites have decided to try to break with Donald Trump. which is great. Except they’ve been here before. After Helsinki, after Charlottesville and after January 6. None of these other breakups lasted. There is no reason to believe that this time will be any different. At least four pieces […]]]>

After a disappointing election night, conservative elites have decided to try to break with Donald Trump. which is great. Except they’ve been here before. After Helsinki, after Charlottesville and after January 6. None of these other breakups lasted. There is no reason to believe that this time will be any different.

At least four pieces on National examThe homepage of explicitly pinned the Republicans’ underperformance on the former guy. They even published an op-ed on the subject, writing that “rarely has an election had simpler and more obvious lessons” than this year’s main takeaway that the GOP must move on from Trump.

Conservatism Inc. even had an answer for how the party should continue: Saint Ron DeSantis.

Nathanael Blake published an article in the Federalist arguing that Republicans must choose between Trump and winning the election. Blake wrote that Trump’s impact on the midterm elections makes it clear that Republicans need to “look the other way.” He suggested Florida. Hugo Gurdon, editor of the Washington Examinerhoped Republican losses would have the “silver lining” of “turning[ing] decisively distance them from “Trump”. Ben Shapiro designed a tweet thread analyzing mid-runs that included blame for Trump and praise for DeSantis.

And of course many “anonymous Republican sources” took the opportunity to compose their favorite reporters and commentators (again) to air out their frustrations at how Trump screwed them (again).

It’s good to hope that this time it will take. But we’ve all seen this movie before. Many, many, many times before.

Jhis phenomenon is as old as Trump’s political career. Remember National examof the show “Against Trump” in 2016? To his credit, National exam never fully endorsed Trump. He simply embraced anti-anti-Trumpism: no matter how bad Trump was, the Democrats were worse.

The Federalist has gone from a powerful warning about the dangers of Trump and Trumpism to becoming the “home base” of the anti-anti-Trump movement, as Damon Linker once called them. At first they just defended Trump, attacked his Republican critics, and advanced the ideas and instincts of Trumpism. Eventually, they ended up outright declaring themselves “Trump supporters.”

Ben Shapiro also flip-flopped. After writing in 2016, “I will never vote for Donald Trump. Never,” Shapiro voted for him in 2020. Shapiro claimed he was wrong about Trump’s policy (he hadn’t been) and that while he did not have got Trump’s character wrong, it didn’t matter because “whatever damage he was going to do, it’s already been done”. Oh, and the Democrats are worse. Still.

After Trump’s main opponents in 2016, most of whom had been highly critical of him, were voted out by voters, they all lined up equally. Some have become loyal doggies of the Senate (Rubio, Cruz, Graham). Others have obtained positions in the Trump administration (Carson, Perry). Chris Christie’s crucial endorsement earned him a vital campaign role as Door Dasher and stage prop for Mr Trump. Later, Christie was assigned to lead Trump’s transition team, and although he was fired from that gig and his work was tossed in the trash, he was able to turn it into a book that sold nearly 2,300 copies in its first week.


In 2017, when Trump said there were “very good people on both sides” of the murderous Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Republicans with varying degrees of allegiance to Trump directly and indirectly pushed him back.

To National exam the editorial board criticized Trump’s comments and called on him to condemn white supremacy. But they were broad-minded enough to publish dissenting opinions, with articles by Andrew McCarthy and Deroy Murdock, respectively, arguing that Trump was right. And that Charlottesville was the from the left fault too.


OWhen Trump met with Vladimir Putin and then publicly sided with Putin on the U.S. intelligence community, congressional Republicans felt they had enough cover to criticize Trump, or at least his statements. Most of those who were the most outspoken in their criticism have since retired. In true turtle fashion, Mitch McConnell refuted Trump’s comments, but then kept his wagon hitched to the Trump train.

National examRich Lowry called Trump’s comments “appalling.” Ben Shapiro, Andrew McCarthy and Michael Brendan Dougherty joined Lowry in writing National exam pieces that condemned Trump’s conduct in Helsinki. But Helsinki quickly faded into the background. Neither he nor Charlottesville was enough to keep NR to give platform to multiple mainstream intellectual conservative justifications for Trump’s 2020 re-election.

The Washington ExaminerEditors slammed Trump for “giving in” to Biden before telling everyone to calm down about Helsinki a month later. Apparently the Examiner calmed down fairly quickly; just weeks after the summit, they published a column claiming that “no president has been tougher on Russia than Trump.”


JThe Jan. 6 uprising drew even more Republican criticism of Trump. Enough that it looked like maybe – just maybe – the fever had died down, and the Republicans would walk away from Trump for real this time.

LOL.

From high-profile figures like Mitch McConnell to moderate “rising star” freshmen like Nancy Mace and Mike Gallagher, Republican after Republican has criticized Trump for bearing at least partial responsibility for Jan. 6. Yet, within days, nearly all folded and voted against his second impeachment.

Of the ten House Republicans who actually held Trump accountable by voting for impeachment, eight will not return to Congress next January. Excoriated by their Republican compatriots, they were forced to give up or beaten in the primaries.

Apparently, Chris Christie would have joined them. When George Stephanopoulos asked Christie if he would vote for impeachment, he replied, “If I think it’s an impenetrable offense, that’s exactly what I would do, George, but I’m not in [Congress]. . . . I think if inciting insurrection is not [impeachable] so I don’t really know what it is. But impeachment and disqualification are not the same thing for Christie: he said last November that he would support Trump again in 2024.

And Conservatism Inc.? The day after January 6, the Federalist posted a track that almost sounded like a Never Trump screed:

The Republican Party of the future cannot tacitly, quietly, or in the least encourage grievances or stoke anger. He must not aid, encourage, or give credence to wild conspiracy theories from the likes of QAnon, Sidney Powell, and Lin Wood. . . .

What we saw on January 6, 2021 is not a surprising outcome when people are wrongly told their votes don’t make sense because elections are “rigged” and democracy in America is a sham. What we saw on January 6, 2021 is also not a surprising outcome when people are wrongly told that an all-powerful and infamous “deep state” controls every lever of power in America and that a equally obscure cabal of “globalists” controls the world. . . .

Yet if the Republican Party is to have any hope of salvaging its image and winning another election, it must look beyond the fortunes of one person, especially if that man is the destabilizing force known as Donald Trump. Let personality cults belong to other parties and other nations, and let the American presidency return to the level of responsible power the Founders envisioned for the executive branch.

The next day the Federalist published excerpts from a speech by South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, which they titled “The Republican Party Has Failed America, and Here’s How It Needs to Change Now.”

But for Conservatism Inc., Democrats are always worse than Republicans – so it wasn’t long before the Federalist back to standard. A week after the Capitol attack, he published an article titled “Democrats Use Recent Capitol Riot to Consolidate Power.” Things only got worse from there. In December 2021, a Federalist the article claimed that “Nancy Pelosi owns January 6”. This year, Mollie Hemingway wrote that “J6 Hysteria is the media and other Democrats’ way of avoiding accountability for their rigging of the 2020 election” and called the House Jan. 6 committee a “trial -show” which is “lying about electoral ‘fraud’. Another article compared the January 6 Committee to the Chinese Communist Party.

For his part, the Washington Examiner eventually published an op-ed stating that Jan. 6 had proven Trump “unfit for office.” They issued this institutional statement not when it might have made political sense – say at the time of the second impeachment – but on June 29, 2022.


OWhy does Conservatism Inc. always come back to Trump? Because that’s where their audience is. “Post-Trump” Republicans have not fared well in primary contests against Trump supporters — just ask David McCormick, Bill McSwain, Karrin Taylor Robson and Matt Dolan. Why? Because Republican voters didn’t want it.

Conservatism Inc. didn’t want Trump in 2016. It tried to convince Republican voters to support Jeb!, then Rubio, then Cruz. Conservatism Inc. tried to tell Republican voters that Trump was ineligible, that he would hurt the party, that he would cost Republican elections. And Republican voters didn’t care. They chose Trump. And after that, Conservatism Inc. had to either jump on board or make some serious life decisions.

So Conservatism Inc. can talk big about the fact that the GOP finally filed for divorce from Trump to marry their mistress (DeSantis). But for better or worse, Republican voters can make that call. And as long as Republican voters still want Trump, conservative elites will comply. They always have.

Because at the end of the day, for Conservatism Inc., the only non-negotiable tenet of conservatism is that, as bad as a Republican may be, Democrats are still worse.

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In campaign home stretch, GOP politics collide in Florida https://freedomtoons.org/in-campaign-home-stretch-gop-politics-collide-in-florida/ Sun, 06 Nov 2022 23:28:14 +0000 https://freedomtoons.org/in-campaign-home-stretch-gop-politics-collide-in-florida/ Former President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in support of Republican Senator Marco Rubio’s campaign at the Miami-Dade County Fair and Exposition on Sunday, Nov. 6, 2022 in Miami. Rebecca Blackwell PA Tallahassee Florida became the epicenter of national Republican politics on Sunday in the final round of campaign rallies before Election Day, […]]]>

Former President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in support of Republican Senator Marco Rubio's campaign at the Miami-Dade County Fair and Exposition on Sunday, Nov. 6, 2022 in Miami.

Former President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in support of Republican Senator Marco Rubio’s campaign at the Miami-Dade County Fair and Exposition on Sunday, Nov. 6, 2022 in Miami.

PA

Florida became the epicenter of national Republican politics on Sunday in the final round of campaign rallies before Election Day, and even with the conclusion of the midterm elections still 48 hours away, some Republicans felt as if the 2024 GOP presidential primary had begun.

In West Miami-Dade County, former President Donald Trump hosted a raucous event with the who’s who of Florida GOP politics and thousands of supporters to rally support for Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, while Gov. Ron DeSantis crisscrossed the state’s headlining events that were noticeably far from the former president.

The distance between the two GOP heavyweights and Trump’s “Ron DeSanctimonious” DeSantis nickname at a rally in Pennsylvania over the weekend has fueled speculation that the two could be on a collision course in 2024.

READ MORE: ‘Souls to the Polls’ is a lively march of dedicated voters passionate about democracy

The two Republicans drew large crowds on their Sunday events, each of which featured spoils that have become emblematic of the Trump era in politics. At the DeSantis rally, for example, several people wore “DeSantis Airlines” shirts in reference to his taxpayer-funded migrant flights from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.

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Democratic Florida gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist, left, greets his arrival with his fiancee Chelsea Grimes, right, as he campaigns at an early polling location, Sunday, Nov. 6, 2022, in Miami. Lynne Sladky PA

Trump didn’t mock DeSantis at home on Sunday. Instead, at the Miami rally, he urged the crowd to vote for Republicans, including DeSantis.

“You’re going to re-elect the wonderful, great friend of mine, Marco Rubio to the United States Senate and you’re going to re-elect Ron DeSantis as Governor,” he said.

The clash between the two Republicans escalated as Florida Democrats tried to mount their final offensive before Election Day.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist hosted several events in South Florida with his running mate Karla Hernandez-Mats to energize voters. He visited an early voting site in Miami as “Souls to the Polls” events kicked off in multiple locations. These events in each election cycle feature black churches across the state sending masses of Democratic-leaning worshipers to vote.

One such event brought together a crowd marching from the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center at 61st Street to the Joseph Caleb Center at 54th Street, where an early voting site is located. The event also had a Junkanoo band in vibrant, bedazzled attire, an instrumental performance of “Don’t Stop ’til You Get Enough” and colorful slushies. Even the sudden downpour of rain couldn’t drown out the celebration.

The numbers are in favor of the Republicans

Still, Democrat turnout has been sluggish in early voting, a worrying sign as the party tends to build electoral advantage early ahead of a surge of Republican voters who typically turn out in larger numbers on Election Day.

As of Sunday morning, Republicans had a 331,185-vote advantage statewide in mail and early voting, increasing the urgency among Democrats fearful they could continue to lose power in the nation’s third-most populous state.

In Miami-Dade, the most populous county in the state, a similar scenario is unfolding. As of 5:40 p.m. Sunday, the last day of early voting, Republicans had a lead of nearly 6,000 votes over Democrats in early voting and mail-in votes. But Democrats were able to chip away at the 7,000-vote advantage Republicans started with at 8:15 a.m. Sunday.

MIA_SoulstothePollsAS55
Valda McKinney, president of the Miami-Dade Chapter of the A. Philip Randolph Institute, dances with the band Junkanoo during a Souls to the Polls event outside the Joseph Caleb Center Sunday, Nov. 6, 2022, in Liberty City. Alie Skowronski askowronski@miamiherald.com

Miami Republicans were optimistic about voting trends. At the Trump rally, State Rep. Daniel Perez told the crowd, “Miami-Dade The county will turn red.

DeSantis held rallies in Hillsborough, Lee and Sarasota counties on Sunday. His message focused on his handling of the recovery from Hurricane Ian and the pandemic, railing against the provision of COVID-19 vaccines to young children, criticizing President Joe Biden’s policies and his fight against “the ideology awake”.

“Nov. 8 is really the first time that every American can go to the polls and just tell Joe Biden what you think about his politics. You can send him a strong message about that,” DeSantis said during a campaign event at the Sun City Center “And I think he needs to hear that.”

DeSantis urged supporters to vote Republicans up and down the ballot.

“We have the opportunity to add to the United States House of Representatives from Florida. We currently have 16 Republicans, we could have after Election Day at least 20 Republicans going to Washington,” he said. “It’s possible and probably maybe.”

He added that Republicans in the Legislature could gain supermajority status in both houses after the election and make gains in local school board races.

“Are you ready to storm the polls on Tuesday?” He asked. “Are you ready to keep Florida free?” »

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Senator Marco Rubio speaks as former President Donald Trump listens to a campaign rally at the Miami-Dade County Fair and Exposition Sunday, Nov. 6, 2022 in Miami. Rebecca Blackwell PA

Different medium-term approaches

Even before Sunday arrived, Trump and DeSantis had taken different approaches to the 2022 midterm election cycle — and what support to offer other Republican candidates.

Trump has been bursting across the country in recent weeks, backing GOP contenders in states including Iowa and Pennsylvania. But his support has been mixed with harsh criticism for Republicans he deems disloyal.

In the Colorado Senate race, for example, Trump criticized GOP nominee Joe O’Dea as a “Republican in name only” and urged his supporters not to vote for him. O’Dea had said he would campaign against Trump if the former president ran again in 2024.

And just days before coining his nickname for DeSantis, Trump slammed U.S. Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, calling on the Kentucky lawmaker to be impeached if he backs a Congressional plan to scrap the country’s debt limit.

“It’s crazy what’s going on with this debt ceiling. Mitch McConnell continues to allow this to happen. I mean, they should impeach Mitch McConnell if he allows it,” Trump said on a conservative radio show last week. “Frankly, something has to be – they have something on him. The way he endorses this thing is amazing.

Trump’s timing questioned

Trump’s criticism so close to Election Day has drawn backlash from conservatives.

Stafford Jones, a Gainesville-based Republican political consultant who rarely posts on Twitter, wrote, “Donald Trump belittles and insults our Governor of Florida two days before the 2022 midterm elections, in which our Governor is on the ballot. of voting. . . unforgivable.”

Trump’s direct affront to DeSantis stands in stark contrast to the governor’s less adversarial actions

In the days following Trump’s criticism of O’Dea, DeSantis lent his voice to a robocall supporting the Colorado Republican, putting him in direct conflict with the former president.

And after campaigning for GOP candidates in half a dozen states, a series of appearances he made time for even as he led his own re-election effort, DeSantis also helped cut a advertisement supporting Utah Senator Mike Lee, who faces a more difficult situation. -race than expected this year.

According to David McIntosh, president of the Club for Growth, the ad, led by the fiscally conservative political group Club for Growth, came after officials contacted DeSantis aides asking for help.

McIntosh, speaking on a call with reporters last week, said the governor’s announcement was aimed at the conservative base, where he said DeSantis was particularly popular.

“Ron has become a national party leader,” McIntosh said.

Back in Florida, Joe Gruters, the chairman of the Florida Republican Party, said it was not the party’s role to choose candidates when he spoke at the Trump rally in Miami. The party sent pro-DeSantis mailings to out-of-state voters throughout the election cycle, including in Wisconsin, South Carolina and Texas.

But before Gruters left the stage on Sunday, he asked the crowd to start a chant.

“Run, Trump, run!” he said.

The crowd accepted.

Miami Herald writers Bianca Padro Ocasio, Mary Ellen Klas, Gethel Aguila and Tess Riski contributed to this report.

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Is ‘democracy on the ballot’ in Wisconsin? Here’s how voting rules could change under GOP scrutiny https://freedomtoons.org/is-democracy-on-the-ballot-in-wisconsin-heres-how-voting-rules-could-change-under-gop-scrutiny/ Fri, 04 Nov 2022 10:00:00 +0000 https://freedomtoons.org/is-democracy-on-the-ballot-in-wisconsin-heres-how-voting-rules-could-change-under-gop-scrutiny/ Less than two weeks before Election Day, former President Barack Obama was in Milwaukee to present the Wisconsin Democrats’ closing arguments in the midterm elections. Addressing a packed high school gymnasium, he had Democrats screaming as he spoke about the economy, abortion rights and helping people pay their bills. Then he turned to an issue […]]]>

Less than two weeks before Election Day, former President Barack Obama was in Milwaukee to present the Wisconsin Democrats’ closing arguments in the midterm elections. Addressing a packed high school gymnasium, he had Democrats screaming as he spoke about the economy, abortion rights and helping people pay their bills.

Then he turned to an issue that is not at the top of every voter’s mind.

“If you need another reason to vote,” Obama said, “consider the fact that democracy is on the ballot.”

Obama spoke at length about democracy – how life has changed since the Jan. 6 uprising and how dangerous the loss of self-government is. For Democrats, the warnings are a way to engage voters who may stay home in a midterm election.

But at the root of this rhetoric is the stark reality that if Republicans win the gubernatorial race or gain an unvetoed majority in the Legislature, they will indeed change the way elections are run in Wisconsin, a state as politically divided as they come. And while they usually describe it as “election integrity,” it also motivates their base.

“There could be big changes to election law in Wisconsin between 2022 and 2024,” said Barry Burden, a professor of political science and director of the Elections Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “There’s a range of things that have been offered in a not very concrete way.”

Michels said he would eliminate the Wisconsin Elections Commission, but not what would replace it

If Michels defeats Democratic Governor Tony Evers and wins the governorship, he has promised to eliminate the Wisconsin Elections Commission. How Michels and the legislature would replace him remains unclear.

“There really is no limit to what the Legislative Assembly could do in terms of creating a new structure,” Burden said.

Wisconsin’s last Republican Governor, Scott Walker, created the WEC when he and GOP lawmakers dissolved the state’s Government Accountability Board, which they said had become too partisan in favor of Democrats.

The WEC is led by six commissioners, three of whom are appointed by Republicans and three who are chosen by Democrats. The 3-3 split leads to many tie votes within the Commission.

This deadlock was intentional. Walker and the Republicans said giving Democrats and Republicans an equal number of seats at the table would ensure both parties had an equal voice on contentious issues. When an issue was perceived to favor one side over the other, this 3-3 split nullified it.

But during the COVID-19 pandemic, the WEC conducted bipartisan votes on a handful of big issues that were later criticized by Republicans.

For example, at the start of the pandemic, commissioners voted not to allow special voting deputies in nursing homes to help residents vote by mail for fear they would spread the coronavirus. Commissioners also voted unanimously to send mail-in ballot applications to about 2.7 million registered voters, another move that was later criticized by Republicans.

Despite these criticisms, GOP lawmakers have so far backed the WEC. In January, Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu, R-Oostburg, said he thought the way the agency was structured could still work.

“I would need to see a better way to do it before I give up on this,” LeMahieu said.

During a campaign stop in Middleton on Thursday, Michels gave a hint about what the new agency would look like if he were governor.

“I’m going to call it the ‘Wisconsin Election Integrity Group,'” Michels told reporters. “He will have representation from all eight congressional districts.”

But Michels didn’t say who would pick those members, and Burden said nothing would stop Republicans from giving themselves more power to hold an election.

“It would be allowed because they write the law,” Burden said.

Burden said GOP lawmakers could also decide to get rid of the WEC board altogether and appoint someone to oversee the election. They could also choose to give some power over the elections to Wisconsin’s secretary of state if a Republican wins the position this year.

Commissioner Ann Jacobs, one of three Democratic appointees who sit on the WEC, said she was concerned the Legislature would give itself the power to hold federal elections, an idea suggested last year by Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson. She said the idea was considered “fringe” until recently.

“My greatest concern is to take away the right of the people to elect their representatives and place it solely in the hands of the Legislative Assembly,” Jacobs said. “I think that would be a devastating blow to democracy in Wisconsin.”

The United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case that argues that state legislators have the power to hold federal elections without any checks and balances from governors or state courts.

Rick Esenberg, president and general counsel of the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, said there are many ways Wisconsin can structure its elections, including its selection of presidential voters.

“There’s no requirement that can even be made by popular vote. But I think that’s what people want,” Esenberg said.

Controversial Republican report on 2020 election calls for reducing mail-in voting

Last year, under pressure from former Republican President Donald Trump, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, hired former Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman to lead an investigation into the United States election. 2020.

Gableman’s final report drew attention when it called on lawmakers to consider decertifying the election, a move favored by Trump that election law experts say is impossible.

But in Gableman’s recommendations was another big recommendation that received far less attention, where Gableman called on lawmakers to “minimize pre-voting.”

“If public oversight of absentee voting is too burdensome,” Gableman wrote, “a better option is to prioritize traditional in-person voting.”

Wisconsin has what’s called no-excuse mail-in voting. If people want to vote by mail, they can, as long as they obey the laws on demand and return of ballots. They don’t need to have a specific reason for not voting at the polls.

He was hugely popular in Wisconsin, especially in the 2020 presidential election, when nearly 2 million residents voted absentee amid a spike in coronavirus infections.

Gableman has since been fired by Vos after Gableman endorsed Vos’ main opponent and recorded a robocall on his behalf.

But Gableman remains influential in Republican politics. When Trump traveled to the state in August to campaign for Michels, he repeatedly shouted at Gableman, who was also in the crowd.

“I want to thank you, Michael, for being here, but I want to thank you much more importantly for the job you’ve done,” Trump said. “It’s an incredible report that you have published.”

Trump is expected to run for president again in 2024. Gableman was also in the crowd when another potential GOP presidential candidate, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, visited Wisconsin.

Jacobs said it would be a mistake for Republicans to reduce absentee voting in Wisconsin.

“I think the exact opposite of how the whole of the United States is going is the exact opposite of what voters want,” Jacobs said.

Esenberg said he doesn’t think that will happen.

“Voter convenience is likely going to win out with these elected officials,” Esenberg said.

Spokespersons for Vos and LeMahieu did not respond to emails asking if they would support Gableman’s recommendation. Michels spoke of limiting specific types of mail-in voting, including by people who claim to be “confined indefinitely” under Wisconsin law.

Republicans have already passed bills to change election laws. Michels pledged to sign them.

There’s no need to guess what the Republicans would do on certain election issues, because they’ve already shown people.

GOP lawmakers passed nearly 20 bills last session that would have made a variety of changes to the way elections are run, in some cases making absentee voting more difficult and making the legislature more powerful. Evers vetoed the plans and Michels said he would sign them.

They included bills that allegedly:

Wisconsin isn’t the only state where GOP lawmakers have pushed to restrict private voter subsidies, a top priority for Republicans, including Trump. In Wisconsin, hundreds of communities have received funds through the grants, though several million dollars have gone to the state’s largest cities.

The most vocal critics of the GOP funding say it was aimed at increasing Democratic voter turnout, but Burden said clerks used it to offset the cost of staging an election during the pandemic. For example, it was used to raise the salaries of election workers, buy protective gear, and pay for high-speed vote tabulators in the city of Milwaukee.

“If private funding is not available and the state doesn’t provide public funding to make up for it, I think the clerks running the elections would definitely feel it,” Burden said. “And that would also trickle down to voters.”

If Evers wins another term and Republicans don’t reach a two-thirds majority, they’ll have to override a governor’s veto, these bills probably aren’t going anywhere, and Wisconsin could maintain the status quo on relates to elections.

Whatever happens, he will be under scrutiny in a state where four of the last six presidential elections have been decided by less than a percentage point.

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The 1890 midterm election offers hope to both parties in 2022 https://freedomtoons.org/the-1890-midterm-election-offers-hope-to-both-parties-in-2022/ Tue, 01 Nov 2022 11:33:11 +0000 https://freedomtoons.org/the-1890-midterm-election-offers-hope-to-both-parties-in-2022/ Comment this story Comment When Congress faces voters on Nov. 8, it won’t be the first midterm election when a party with tight control touts policy achievements while battling a headwind of steep price hikes. A Golden Age election with this dynamic offers hope for Democrats and Republicans alike in 2022. At the start of […]]]>

Comment

When Congress faces voters on Nov. 8, it won’t be the first midterm election when a party with tight control touts policy achievements while battling a headwind of steep price hikes. A Golden Age election with this dynamic offers hope for Democrats and Republicans alike in 2022.

At the start of the 1890 elections, Republicans held a slim majority in both houses of Congress. Then they entered the story midway through – the wrong way. After an electoral meltdown, Republicans found themselves with just 86 of 332 seats. No House majority has ever come back with a smaller percentage of seats in the next Congress.

The story of how this happened illustrates the political drama of the rise and fall of the Gilded Age.

In 1888, the Republicans gained unified control of the government without winning a majority of votes for the presidency or Congress. Republican presidential candidate Benjamin Harrison capitalized on narrow victories in Indiana and New York to win the Electoral College despite losing the popular vote, while Republicans retained a Senate majority by winning half the Senate seats (then appointed by state legislatures) and held a 168-161 majority in the House despite receiving fewer overall votes for the House nationally.

Despite their narrow margins, Republicans had an ambitious agenda. They could not pass it without procedural changes in the House, where the filibuster long permitted by the rules would make it nearly impossible to pass legislation with such a small majority.

And President Thomas Brackett Reed wasn’t about to let the minority thwart his agenda. He revolutionized House procedure by refusing to recognize stalling tactics and insisting on governance by majority rule. Although the term did not occur to Reed’s contemporaries, Reed’s exercise of what in the 21st century has become known as the “nuclear option” allowed House Republicans to create the institutional foundation of the Majority Chamber which remains in place in 2022.

These rule changes and the unity of Reed members resulted in historic productivity. Republicans enacted the McKinley Tariff increase, the first regulation of monopolies with the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, the granting of statehood to the Republican-leaning territories of Wyoming and Idaho, and a milestone in the welfare state in the Dependent Pension Act which extended pensions to soldiers and their families when war service did not directly cause disability or death.

While Republicans saw it as fulfilling their promises to voters, Democrats denounced Reed as a bully who flouted minority rights by changing the rules along the way. They believed that the electorate would bring its reward.

The midterm campaign of 1890 was short and intense. It started in earnest after Congress adjourned on October 1. Since President Harrison only hit the stump for a week of nonpolitical speeches, usually at military rallies, the Republican campaign was led by Reed, who had already won his own re-election in elections in early September in Maine. . While touring the country, Reed argued that Republicans had ushered in a new era of “party accountability” because House procedure now allowed a majority to govern instead of being crippled by filibuster. He documented how the party’s legislative output was a fulfillment of its 1888 platform.

For their part, Democrats focused their criticism on the Republican tariff increase, which Harrison had signed into law on October 1, 1890. Democrats argued that the law was a gift to wealthy industrialists — a law that would cost consumers more when they were going to do their shopping.

When the votes were counted, the election turned out to be a disaster for House Republicans. The median change in the share of the vote received by the 103 House Republicans who faced voters in 1888 and 1890 was a 4% drop, for example from 60 to 56%. Fifty of the 103 lost, including future President Joseph Cannon and future President William McKinley.

In the aftermath, Democrats made sweeping claims about what the outcome said about democracy. They claimed voters rejected Reed’s rebalancing between majority rule and minority rights. There is little evidence, however, that voters were unhappy that the new set of rules allowed Congress to act. Instead, voters were likely unhappy with what Congress did with his new ability to act.

Specifically, voters blamed Republicans for price increases that had been imposed in anticipation of the higher cost of future imports. The Baltimore Sun foreshadowed this Democratic advantage in its Oct. 10 report that stores are “filled with people grumbling and grumbling” as they “begin to feel the effects of the new tariff law in materially increasing prices. all along the line”. In his own way, Reed came to the same conclusion. Asked about the loss, Reed said, “The women did it.” Since the only women who voted were in the Republican state of Wyoming, her remark needed clarification. Writing in the North American Review of January 1895, Reed explained the result of the 1890 election: “Every woman who went into a store and tried to buy went home to complain, and a wild commotion filled the mind of the public. What is amazing is that we did not get any votes.

History then suggests that inflation will give Republicans a major electoral advantage in 2022. Democrats, however, have an interest in defending relatively few fringe constituencies. While 68% of the 168 House Republicans who turned the House in February 1890 had been elected with less than 55% of the vote, only 18% of the House Democratic caucus won with less than 55% of the vote in 2020. This stark difference between the eras likely means the record of electoral futility held by House Republicans in 1890 won’t be broken anytime soon, but their plight reminds Democrats in 2022 of the peril of price increases for the party at the power.

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Pennsylvania GOP moves to impeach Philly DA Larry Krasner https://freedomtoons.org/pennsylvania-gop-moves-to-impeach-philly-da-larry-krasner/ Wed, 26 Oct 2022 21:50:31 +0000 https://freedomtoons.org/pennsylvania-gop-moves-to-impeach-philly-da-larry-krasner/ Pennsylvania state Republicans are set to impeach Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner over his soft-on-crime policy, which they say has fueled the city’s record levels of violent crime. Republican Representatives, led by Rep. Martina White, filed articles of impeachment against the progressive prosecutor on Wednesday, the the wall street journal reported. A bipartisan majority in […]]]>

Pennsylvania state Republicans are set to impeach Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner over his soft-on-crime policy, which they say has fueled the city’s record levels of violent crime.

Republican Representatives, led by Rep. Martina White, filed articles of impeachment against the progressive prosecutor on Wednesday, the the wall street journal reported. A bipartisan majority in the State House tasked the House Select Committee on Restoring Law and Order with investigating the causes and solutions to Philadelphia’s historic spike in crime. State Representative Torren Ecker (R.), a member of the committee, argued that impeaching Krasner was a necessary step.

“Since this process began, we’ve heard devastating stories of victims of crime, businesses closing because they don’t feel safe, and victims who have been revictimized by a prosecutor’s office. who don’t want to help them when they’d rather help the criminals,” Ecker said. “It is misconduct in the office, for which [Krasner] should be removed.”

Philadelphia recorded a record 562 homicides last year, and police have reported 438 in 2022 so far, leading many to criticize Krasner’s handling of criminals. Just last week, a murderer whom Krasner released from a life sentence last year returned to custody for his connection to a second murder, the Free Washington Beacon reported. In April 2021, Krasner downplayed the city’s historic crime rise at a posh fundraiser just hours after eight people were shot outside a Philadelphia train station.

“The City of Philadelphia can no longer afford to wait for us to act on what we already know to be true: that Krasner is responsible for the increase in crime in our city due to his failure to carry out his duty to prosecute the guilty and to protect the innocent,” White, whose district includes part of Philadelphia, said at a press conference Wednesday morning.

The GOP-controlled House will need a simple majority to impeach Krasner. The bill would move to the state Senate, which is also controlled by Republicans, for a possible trial. It would take a two-thirds vote to remove Krasner from office.

Krasner called the investigation a “political stunt.” On Twitter, he called the move “devastating to democracy” and said “it shows how far the Republican Party is moving towards fascism.”

“We must do something to free the people of Philadelphia from the crisis of crime and violence that has destroyed lives and property and made Philadelphians prisoners of fear,” said the majority leader of the Pennsylvania House, Kerry Benninghoff (R.).

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Faith and Values: Misinformation and dog whistles? Always – vote for democracy https://freedomtoons.org/faith-and-values-misinformation-and-dog-whistles-always-vote-for-democracy/ Mon, 24 Oct 2022 07:20:54 +0000 https://freedomtoons.org/faith-and-values-misinformation-and-dog-whistles-always-vote-for-democracy/ In 1876, English scientist Francis Galton invented the dog whistle. It produced sounds in the ultrasonic range, heard by dogs and cats, but not by humans. The “dog whistle” has also become a common political term for a certain coded language that signals a message to some people but not always to others. Every political […]]]>

In 1876, English scientist Francis Galton invented the dog whistle. It produced sounds in the ultrasonic range, heard by dogs and cats, but not by humans.

The “dog whistle” has also become a common political term for a certain coded language that signals a message to some people but not always to others. Every political season, including today, is filled with dog whistles.

Each political group has its own collection of dog whistles (including religious dog whistles). Normally they want to elevate the crowd and bring down “another” person or group.

Rarely is a dog whistle intended to benefit society as a whole. It is meant to divide people, to deprive people of their rights.

But when the code for a dog whistle is too subtle, what I now call a “dog siren” comes into play. In recent weeks, I’ve become aware of Minden, Nevada, and its history as “city at sunset”. (I grew up in a “sunset town,” Kellogg, Idaho, so my curiosity was aroused when I read about Minden.)

An early 20th century city ordinance prohibited Native Americans from remaining in Minden after sunset. Eventually, the town siren blew a daily reminder of the order. Even today, the siren still sounds, although many locals are convinced that the siren no longer has that historic impact.

Not all Native American residents of Minden would agree. The mermaid reminds them again that they are not really welcomed in their own community by others. When a dog whistle is too subtle, sound the “dog siren!”

As I watch the overwhelming number of political/religious issues at play during this 2022 election season, I hear dog whistles and I hear dog sirens. To my ears, they are all disgusting and disturbing. They tell me that our American democracy is in trouble.

One of the constant tactics used by whistles and sirens is misinformation. This tactic is not used exclusively by one political party or another, by one religious group or another; but honestly, I see more of it being used by hardline Republican candidates and their supporters, who so often flaunt their Christian credentials.

In my view, misinformation is a deliberate misrepresentation of facts and truth. It increases the fragility of democracy.

So what can we do with the dog whistles, dog sirens and misinformation that surrounds us in the two weeks leading up to Election Day? First, realize that these whistles and sirens are not meant to distort your hearing. They are meant to warp your hearts.

Then do your homework with a fearless sense of urgency. Don’t let dog whistles, dog sirens, or misinformation keep you from reasonably considering the issues and candidates you care about. Decide if the political and religious messages you see are valid – or toxic – for you.

So, vote as an informed voter!

You might also consider this basic principle I’ve shared before from Richard Rohr’s Center for Action and Contemplation: The best criticism of evil is to practice the best.

Our American democracy is clearly at a crossroads. We could too easily take the path of political authoritarianism.

We must find ways to “practice best” that our historic democratic values ​​remind us that we can and should practice.

If you are able to vote before or on November 8, please do so! Your vote counts, even if your vote puts you in the minority. Your vote lets the majority know that you are alive and determined.

If you can’t vote for some reason, encourage family members and friends to vote. Whoever votes speaks. You are not silent about what is important to you.

Don’t be silent! VOTE!

The Reverend Paul Graves, Sandpoint resident and retired United Methodist minister, can be reached at Elderadvocates@nctv.com.

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What to know about the Bolsonaro-Lula showdown in Brazil https://freedomtoons.org/what-to-know-about-the-bolsonaro-lula-showdown-in-brazil/ Thu, 20 Oct 2022 06:08:19 +0000 https://freedomtoons.org/what-to-know-about-the-bolsonaro-lula-showdown-in-brazil/ Comment this story Comment The second round of Brazil’s presidential election on October 30 will pit two larger-than-life figures representing opposite ends of the political spectrum against each other: incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who led the country from 2003 to 2010. Lula outshot Bolsonaro in the first round of […]]]>

Comment

The second round of Brazil’s presidential election on October 30 will pit two larger-than-life figures representing opposite ends of the political spectrum against each other: incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who led the country from 2003 to 2010. Lula outshot Bolsonaro in the first round of voting, 48% to 43%, but short of the outright victory some had predicted. The outcome of the second round will have profound implications for Latin America’s largest and most populous nation.

1. Why is this election so compelling?

Lula, a leftist and former labor leader, is revered by those who credit him with implementing social policies that lifted millions out of poverty during his two terms, and reviled by others who view him as a symbol of corruption. He was convicted of money laundering and corruption in 2017 and sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison, barring him from running in the elections that brought Bolsonaro to power four years ago and tarnished his image with million Brazilians. A 76-year-old cancer survivor, he was freed in 2019 after a change in appeals laws, and the nation’s top court overturned his conviction on procedural grounds in 2021, paving the way for him to make a political comeback. Bolsonaro, 67, is a former army captain who was stabbed during the election campaign in 2018 and has been hospitalized several times following the attack. His supporters see him as a guardian of traditional family values ​​and an anti-corruption crusader, important campaign topics in a generally conservative nation. Opponents of the president have called him a far-right authoritarian and accuse him of promoting sexism, racism and homophobia.

2. How did Bolsonaro exceed expectations?

Bolsonaro came out stronger than leading pollsters had expected in the first round on October 2. In some cases, their polls underestimated his support by almost 10 percentage points. Part of his late push appears to stem from supporters dropping less competitive candidates — there were 10 others in the running at one point — and turning to Bolsonaro. Its performance may also have been boosted by its candidates in local elections and congress, which exceeded expectations in the country’s largest states, such as Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais. The improving economy and renewed government social spending also helped the incumbent.

The next administration will have to respond to growing public outrage over the soaring cost of living and rising poverty and hunger in the wake of the pandemic, even as it tries to convince investors that it is determined to pursue sound budgetary policies. Bolsonaro has promised that, if re-elected, he would privatize state oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA and the national postal service, cut corporate taxes in a bid to spur investment, pass gun-friendly laws and make harder for women to have abortions. Lula said he would change rules that limit government spending, reform the tax system so the rich pay more and the poor pay less, ensure Brazil becomes self-sufficient in oil and fuel, and protect the Amazon rainforest. The vote is also a key test for Brazilian institutions, as Bolsonaro appears to be laying the groundwork to challenge a result he dislikes by questioning the integrity of the election.

4. How is Bolsonaro questioning the integrity of the election?

He said only God could remove him from office and has for most of his four years in government sought to undermine institutions that impose checks and balances on his powers. He has repeatedly questioned the reliability of the country’s electronic voting system, even claiming without evidence that the 2018 election was rigged against him because he failed to win in the first round. It fueled fears he could mimic then-President Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 US election result. At the end of July, Brazilian bank and business executives, lawyers, economists and other professionals signed a letter defending the country’s electoral system and warning that attacks on it posed an “tremendous danger” to the democracy. The letter did not mention Bolsonaro by name. The president has denied he would consider staging a coup if he loses the election and recently pledged to accept the election result in a bid to win over moderate voters. After exceeding expectations in the first round of voting, Bolsonaro toned down his criticism of the electronic system.

5. What do the polls show now?

Polls still suggest Lula is the favorite, but Bolsonaro is gaining ground and closing the gap. The left-wing challenger saw his advantage over the incumbent shrink to 5.6 percentage points in a Quaest poll released on Wednesday, from nearly 8 points two weeks ago. An Ipespe poll released the day before showed the candidates were statistically tied, although the two polls moved within the margin of error.

6. What is the appeal of Lula?

It evokes memories of a golden period for Brazil, when government policies funded by a commodity boom succeeded in eradicating hunger, reducing poverty and strengthening the ranks of the middle class – good times that he pledged to revive. He also enjoys the support of those who accuse Bolsonaro of botching the handling of the pandemic and undermining democratic institutions and civil rights.

7. What has Bolsonaro done to improve his position?

He has spent heavily to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 and, more recently, to temper the rising cost of living for vulnerable Brazilians. Its popularity hit an all-time high during the pandemic as the government distributed 600 reals ($111) in cash to the poor. With double-digit inflation at the start of this year, Bolsonaro spearheaded legislation to temporarily increase subsidies for around 18 million families and led efforts to cut taxes on fuel. It also distributes temporary cash assistance to truck and taxi drivers to protect them against rising fuel prices.

8. How is the Brazilian economy doing?

The state of the economy is, by far, the main concern of Brazilian voters, and it has shown signs of improvement in recent months. Growth beat expectations in the second quarter and the unemployment rate fell in August for the sixth consecutive month, reaching 8.9%, the lowest level since 2015. Economists see Brazil ending the year with an expansion of 2.7% of gross domestic product and a slowdown in inflation to 5.6%, which is a much better prospect than at the start of 2022.

–With help from Martha Beck.

More stories like this are available at bloomberg.com

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“Not transparent”, Justice Minister Rijiju on judicial appointments https://freedomtoons.org/not-transparent-justice-minister-rijiju-on-judicial-appointments/ Tue, 18 Oct 2022 06:49:00 +0000 https://freedomtoons.org/not-transparent-justice-minister-rijiju-on-judicial-appointments/ Stressing the need for reforms in judicial appointments, Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju said the procedure of the Collegium system was very opaque and there was “internal politics” in the judiciary. Speaking at ‘Sabarmati Samvad’, an event organized by the weekly Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) ‘Panchjanya’ here on Monday, the Union Minister said, “The Constitution […]]]>

Stressing the need for reforms in judicial appointments, Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju said the procedure of the Collegium system was very opaque and there was “internal politics” in the judiciary.

Speaking at ‘Sabarmati Samvad’, an event organized by the weekly Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) ‘Panchjanya’ here on Monday, the Union Minister said, “The Constitution is the most sacred document. We have three pillars, namely the legislative, the executive and the judiciary… I think that the executive and the legislative are linked in their duties and that the judiciary enhances them. But the problem is that when the justice system goes astray, there is no system to improve it.

Rijiju said India has a vibrant democracy and sometimes appeasement policies can also be seen. He said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government has never undermined or challenged the judiciary.

On judicial activism, the minister said, “When we created the National Judicial Appointments Commission, it was challenged and the Supreme Court struck it down. If there is no system to regulate the judicial system, the term judicial activism is used. Many judges have submissions but these do not include part of their order. They express their thoughts through observations. There are also objections against these observations in society. It would be good for the judges to make their observations known through their orders.

Rijiju said he has observed that on several occasions judges overstep the bounds of their duties and tend to perform executive functions without knowing the realities on the ground.

“When justice exceeds its limits… Judges are not aware of the practical difficulties or the financial conditions. It will be good if people stay focused on their respective duties. Otherwise, people could also say that we are doing executive activism, ”said the Minister of Justice.

Referring to former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s tenure, Rijiju said the CJI was established after overtaking three senior judges. He said the Modi government does not engage in such actions.

“We didn’t do that kind of stuff. Now if we take action to regulate the judiciary, these people claim that we want to control or influence the judiciary or create an obstruction in the appointment of judges,” he said.

Rijiju called for a self-regulatory mechanism within the judiciary to regulate the conduct of judges.

Asked if the judiciary is beyond the bounds of positive criticism, Rijiju said: “Whether it’s a parliamentarian or a judge, they have a privilege. There is a code of ethics in Parliament. But in the case of the judiciary, such a mechanism does not exist. There should be a self-regulatory mechanism within the judiciary for the conduct of judges.

He said that in the age of social media and live streaming of court proceedings, it is normal for people to judge judges.

“I cannot order justice. I just want to warn the judiciary that it is part of democracy, people are watching them so their behavior should be accordingly,” Rijiju said.

“Until 1993, judges were appointed by the government in consultation with the Chief Justice of India. At that time, we had very eminent judges. After 1993, the Supreme Court defined “consultation” as an agreement. In no other area has consultation been defined as agreement except in judicial appointments,” he added.

Notably, the Supreme Court Collegium is presided over by the Chief Justice of India and consists of the four senior justices of the court. Although the government can raise objections or seek clarifications regarding the Collegium’s recommendations, the government is required to approve the names if the five-member body reiterates them.

He said that in accordance with the spirit of the Constitution, the appointment of judges is the job of the government

Rijiju said, “The Supreme Court expanded the college system in 1998. Nowhere in the world do judges appoint judges. The primary duty of judges is to dispense justice.

The minister said he observed that half the time, judges are busy deciding on appointments, which affects their main task of “delivering justice”.

“Now I have observed that more than half the time judges spend time appointing judges instead of dispensing justice. The internal politics of the judiciary is not seen from the outside. There are intense deliberations. Sometimes even groupism also occurs. The procedure is very opaque and not transparent. If the judges play the executive role, then it will be reconsidered,” Rijiju said.

Prior to 1993, he said no little finger had been lifted or there had been criticism of the judges since they were not associated with the appointments.

Rijiju said the Chief Justice of India (CJI) had written to him about the ‘attacks’ on the judiciary on social media, saying they should be checked and strict measures should be taken by the government.

“CJI wrote to me against the attack on the justice system on social media. He was seeking to control this. I did not give my answer deliberately. If we give an answer, we must move forward”, said the Minister of Justice.

He further stated that the Indian judicial system is the colonial system and there is the influence of 200 years of British rule on it.

“I will consult with CJI to find out if we continue to follow the British dress code or use clothing according to our environmental conditions and culture,” he said.

Rijiju further stated that there is the dominance of a group of lawyers in the Supreme Court who threaten even the judges.

“In the Supreme Court, there are 50 to 60 lawyers who threaten even the judges,” he said.

In 2014, the National Democratic Alliance government passed the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act to change the system for appointing judges.

The NJAC was a proposed body, which would have been responsible for the appointment and transfer of judges to the upper judiciary. The NJAC Act and the Constitutional Amendment Act came into force on April 13, 2015. But on October 16, 2015, the highest court struck down the NJAC Act. The verdict restored the primacy of the collegiate system of judges appointing judges.

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Our Voice: Journalists and Democracy – by Jan Wondra https://freedomtoons.org/our-voice-journalists-and-democracy-by-jan-wondra/ Sun, 16 Oct 2022 02:55:29 +0000 https://freedomtoons.org/our-voice-journalists-and-democracy-by-jan-wondra/ “Our Voice” is the editorial section of Voice of the Valley of the Ark. In the news media, we sometimes consider our jobs to be “damned if we do, damned if we don’t”. If we cover something, or question something, there are always those who complain that we covered it too much or not enough, […]]]>

“Our Voice” is the editorial section of Voice of the Valley of the Ark.

In the news media, we sometimes consider our jobs to be “damned if we do, damned if we don’t”.

If we cover something, or question something, there are always those who complain that we covered it too much or not enough, or that it wasn’t news, or that it wasn’t true. , or that it might be true, but it’s not fair to talk about it. If we don’t cover something, because we didn’t know or had no one to send, then we are accused of leaning left, right, or maybe sideways.

This week, Democratic attorney Steven Woodrow, a 42-year-old Democrat and lawyer who represents Denver in the Colorado House of Representatives, tweeted: “CO is home to Lauren Boebert, John Eastman, Jena Ellis, Joe Oltmann and others threats to democracy. largely because our media are too scared to do their job.

“Truth.” George Orwell. visual by Red Bubble

Many of us in the news media have covered the antics and ignorance, bigotry and hatred, private armies and violence embraced by these power-seeking figures, and others on the national stage.

We reported the lies and incitement to violence of “election denier” former President Donald Trump, Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, and Colorado State Rep. Ron Hanks , to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Arizona nominee for Governor Kari Lake and US Senator from Wisconsin Ron Johnson.

We raised questions about the motivations and goals of the candidates, the threats against our local clerk and recorder, the sudden appearance of local private armies, the lying of the constitutional sheriff’s movement and positions that would seem to go against of the Constitution of the United States.

We’ve been threatened, doxed, tracked and generally terrorized, and that’s not while covering up the wildfires of the past few years.

“It’s not that reporters are scared,” Denver Post reporter Conrad Swanson reportedly told Woodrow. “We run skeletal teams because our organizations have been plundered by hedge funds, we’ve been fired and fired, we’re struggling to recover from trauma, and those left behind are exhausted and worn out.”

“It’s helpful and refreshingly honest,” Woodrow said in response.

It’s a soft response to the 60-hour weeks and six-day schedule that journalists have followed for years. Journalists need to be convinced of what we do and why we do it because we are among the lowest paid members of a community workforce. We do more — with less, all the time.

It’s not just about staff cuts and budget cuts, or the inability to find good journalists who will work for what we can pay. Colorado news crews covered wildfires and drought — then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Then came the lie denying the election and January 6 and literally everything we do is seen by a segment of the public as filtered through politics.

“Journalists would rightly be sensitive to such a comment from a politician at any time,” wrote Cory Hutchins, who writes a weekly newsletter for journalists, who spoke to some of our fellow reporters:

“Do you have any idea how many journalists we’ve lost to burnout?” Rylee Dunn Colorado Community Media responded to Woodrow’s Twitter post. “Low wages? extreme trauma? as disrespectfully as possible; you are as bad as the “threats to democracy” you denounce.

Quentin Young, who directs Colorado newspaper and has made coverage of threats to democracy one of the main goals of his non-profit news site, said: “It’s one thing to urge more coverage, but to smear journalists by telling them they’re afraid to cover a guy who calls for mass executions of political enemies is pretty unseemly, and I doubt any of the named personalities would agree that the local press gave them a pass.

Carina Julig from Colorado Sentinel wondered what triggered Woodrow in the first place. “Fair criticism from the press is always necessary,” she told him, “but if you just assume that why there isn’t the level of coverage from these people that you would like to see, it’s is because we are cowards – it hurts. ”

In 2019, the Colorado Media Project, with which Ark Valley Voice (AVV) is associated, published a report titled “Local News is a Public Good”. The article includes five recommendations for lawmakers to help support local journalism in Colorado. Colorado legislators and local government officials and employees would do well to read it.

Newsflash: Like freedom, news is not free. Someone is paying for this in blood, sweat and commitment to truth and democracy. The fact is that we have trained readers to expect free information and at AVV we see this as even democratic access to information. At this critical juncture, it can honestly feel like it’s the free press protecting democracy while a segment of business and the public look the other way.

Second news flash – telling the truth is not left/liberal. It’s just the truth.

To AVV we take our promise that “truth has a voice” seriously. We research it, we verify it, we quote it, we cover it and we support our investigative work. When we are wrong, we correct. We also highlight others, such as our fellow journalist Hutchins.

The poison in the water barrel: Trump lost the election, not by a little, but by a lot. He knew he had lost. He didn’t want us to know. January 6 was his attempt to stay in power in any way possible. Everything else flows around this massive lie; add more ingredients to a power stew.

In 2021, National Public Radio ran a story titled “When This Hedge Fund Buys Local Newspapers, Democracy Suffers. Alden Global Capital bought major news outlets such as Chicago Grandstand, The Baltimore Sun and New York Daily News. The fund empties newsrooms across the country.

Research has shown that when local news disappears or is significantly dumped, communities tend to see lower voter turnout, increased polarization, a general erosion of civic engagement, and an environment in which misinformation and theories of conspiracy can spread more easily.

The 2019 merger of the country’s two largest newspaper chains, Gannett and GateHouse, came together with a stack of hedge funds. They own Colorado on foot Collins and the Chief Pueblo. Stay tuned.

According The Wall Street Journal, since 2010, hedge funds have favored Republicans. But according to Open Secrets, hedge fund contributions for 2021-22 are more moderate and more evenly distributed; nothing to do with the $240 million they invested in the 2016 campaign (which begs the question; what about 2024?). In recent corporate tax cuts, hedge fund tax rates have fallen from 39.6% to 37%. But hedge fund executives want the same tax rate applied to big business in the Republican’s 2018 tax cut bill: 21%.

Think about this for a minute: given that news organizations are notoriously poor, WHY then do hedge funds set out to own and control primary and secondary newsrooms across the country? The first thing they do is strip physical assets. But it’s not an attractive target, really. Then there are the human resources – the investigative journalists.

This is where Swanson’s heartbreaking response is prophetic – after physical assets have been stripped and newsroom staff have been gutted – the next step could be transparency and truth. The disappearance of real democracy may not be far behind, followed by the control of information to the public. Now you understand why local newsrooms are so important.

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