How Much Voter Fraud Is There In Kansas? This Much: 0.00001156069

On a local radio show in Wisconsin, a retiring Republican state senator, Dale Schultz, told the truth about his party and its desire to keep voter turnout as low as possible. He said that the so-called “reforms” that Republicans are fixated on and are ramming through legislatures, including his own, are “all predicated on some belief there is a massive fraud or irregularities,” but that is something that his fellow Republicans “have failed miserably at demonstrating.” Then Schultz really dug down to the heart of the matter:

It’s just sad when a political party has so lost faith in its ideas that it’s pouring all of its energy into election mechanics. We should be pitching as political parties our ideas for improving things in the future rather than mucking around in the mechanics and making it more confrontational at the voting sites and trying to suppress the vote.

The only idea the Republican Party has any faith in at all happens to be how to suppress the vote more efficiently. And one is tempted to admire the tenacity with which Republicans pursue that one anti-democratic, anti-American idea, even if one is disgusted by it.

And speaking of disgusting, Kansas’ secretary of state, Kris Kobach, one of the most disgusting politicians in the country, won a major, but hopefully temporary, victory  for voter suppression, as the AP reported yesterday:

Federal officials must help Kansas and Arizona enforce laws requiring new voters to document their U.S. citizenship, a federal judge ruled Wednesday, in a decision that could encourage other Republican-led states to consider similar policies.

Kobach said,

This is a really big victory, not just for Kansas and Arizona but for all 50 states. Kansas has paved the way for all states to enact proof-of-citizenship requirements.

Mind you there is exactly no evidence that hordes of non-citizens are voting in Kansas or anywhere else. Okay, that isn’t quite right. Kobach himself admits that he has found “20 or so” of those mysterious non-citizens on Kansas voter registration rolls. I’ll leave you to do the math as to what percentage of 1.73 million registered voters that number 20 represents. On second thought, no I won’t. Here’s the percentage:

0.00001156069

That tiny number, which roughly corresponds to the amount of patriotism found in all of the GOP kill-the-vote measures around the country, is what Kris Kobach wants you and me to think is motivating him. But even without looking at that tiny number we know better. Even without Wisconsin Republican Dale Schultz, we know the truth. Republicans are fresh out of policy ideas that appeal to a majority of Americans. Fresh out. The only thing they have left, as part of a desperate effort to stave off the coming demographic tide nationwide, is to make it harder for folks, many of them potential Democrats, to vote.

And needless to say, the extra proof-of-citizenship requirement, that unnecessary hindrance to voting that Kobach is so proud of, will make it tough for some poor and elderly voters to comply with. It’s not easy for some people to come up with the money to produce, if they even exist, the documents that will assure Kobach that they are white Republicans, or excuse me, American citizens. And some of those people, perhaps many of them, won’t even bother to try. It’s hard enough to get citizens who have all their papers in order to exercise their right to vote, let alone get people to register who don’t have the paperwork handy to prove they’re Americans.

All of this is just one example of why this polling chart on political party ID looks like it does:

party id

Down, down, down, goes that red line. And as far as I’m concerned, it can go all the way down to hell, where the Republican Party, as we know it today, certainly belongs.

Why The Republican Party Is What It Is

“A reactionary is a person who holds political viewpoints that favor a return to a previous state (the status quo ante) in a society.”

Wikipedia

I often use the term “reactionaries” to describe those folks on the right who have a problem living in the 21st century, a problem coming to grips with present reality. I sometimes differentiate between reactionaries and conservatives because conservatism doesn’t necessarily involve reactionary politics, though it often does, especially as we watch conservative behavior today. Most of the conservatives we see dominating the Republican Party these days are—without the slightest doubt—reactionaries.

As most of you know, I was born and raised in Kansas. I lived there until I was about 30 years old. I worked there. I played there. I became a conservative there. I was baptized into an evangelical faith there. The political Kansas I knew was mostly a right-of-center place, with pockets of leftish resistance here and there, and for the most part its politics was not radical or reactionary. Today, though, like a lot of red states Kansas has been radicalized and has turned into one of the most reactionary places in the country.

Nothing could better demonstrate the change from a mild, if not moldy, conservatism into a radical and fiery reactionaryism than what emerged in Kansas recently. Last week, as nearly everyone knows by now, the Kansas House passed a bill that, according to Time,

would permit businesses and government employees to deny service to same-sex couples on the basis of their religious principles. 

That Jim Crowish bill, which has been condemned far and wide by progressives, passed 72-49 and is now being considered by the state senate, which is expected to either water it down significantly or kill it. Apparently there are some Kansas Republicans left who haven’t been completely radicalized by religious zealots in the state. But the fact that such a reactionary piece of legislation passed one side of the legislature in 2014—2014 for God’s sake—says a lot about not only about the Republican Party, but it speaks to why it is that our national government is so profoundly, if not dangerously, divided.

At the heart of this ascendance of a rabid reactionary politics in Kansas and elsewhere—there is an anti-gay bill in Idaho that is even worse than the one in Kansas—is the anxiety that (mostly but not entirely white) evangelical and fundamentalist Christians feel deep in their bones over the loss of cultural dominance they and their Iron Age theology once enjoyed. Most of the theological angst started with the Supreme Court ruling in 1962 (Engel v. Vitale) that government-composed prayers could not be used in public schools, then just after that blow came atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair’s victorious lawsuit in 1963 (consolidated with Abington School District v. Schempp) in which the Supreme Court put the kibosh on the Lord’s Prayer and Bible reading in government schools.

If I heard it once, I heard it a gazillion times from the conservative church folk I knew back home: “They kicked God out of the schools! Why do you think things are so bad!”

So, it started with those two court rulings, but other rulings followed that were specifically related to Bible-based anxiety over a rapidly changing culture. There was Griswold v. Connecticut (which found that because of the Constitution’s now strangely controversial “right to privacy” states could not prohibit the use of contraceptives by married people; later this freedom was extended to all couples via Eisenstadt. V. Baird; and now we are fighting over the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage mandate). Skipping over the landmark 1973 Roe V. Wade case (which isn’t necessarily—even though it has mostly become—a case involving evangelical theology), we come to Lawrence v. Texas, a 2003 case that effectively struck down all sodomy laws in the country and paved the way for the eventual legitimation of same-sex marriage, which is now driving right-wing Christians into convulsions not seen since the Gadarene Demoniac.

Along with—perhaps partly because of—these culturally significant court cases, public opinion has evolved in the direction of progress and against the forces of Bible-inspired conservatism. Holy Book-believing Christians have essentially lost the fight over whether the Bible or a secular Constitution will be the ultimate law of the land. This has led to a backlash, a serious and divisive backlash, among folks who take the Bible seriously and who genuinely—I repeat: genuinely— believe that America is going straight to hell because it has turned its back on God and his Word.

More important, though, than all the talk of cultural anxiety and ancient theology is what these Bible-believing folks have been up to lately. In order to turn their biblical notions and reactionary tendencies into public policies like the one proposed last week in Kansas, they have increasingly and fanatically turned to grassroots politics.

These religious reactionaries have educated themselves and essentially taken over the Republican Party’s organizational structure. One such reactionary lives right here in Southwest Missouri. I used to go to the same evangelical church he did and used to believe a lot of the same things he believes. His name is John Putnam. He’s from Carthage and he is the Chairman of the Jasper County Republican Party.

Mr. Putnam has essentially written his own bible on how to take over and transform the Republican Party from the ground up. He notes that there are some “183,000 precincts in the 50 states” and he outlines how the system works:

putnam's patriotsThe voters of each precinct, according to their state’s laws, can elect or appoint one man and one woman to represent the people of that precinct in their political party’s organizational structure (sometimes called the party “machine”).  The precinct chairs/executives become members of their county committee and elect their county committee’s Chair and Vice-Chair who, in turn, help elect their Party’s State Committee; plus, they largely influence which candidates will run (and most likely be elected) in their party’s primary election and who, subsequently, will carry their party’s banner in the November General Elections. 

All of this represents the nuts and bolts of party organization. It is how a political party can be commandeered by a zealous minority and how such zealotry can come to represent the face of the party. It it why the Republican Party is so schizophrenic. It is why its national leaders are so afraid to actually lead. It is why Washington is suffering from legislative paralysis. You think I am exaggerating? Putnam goes on to point out that,

Nationwide, half of these positions sit empty and most voters no longer even know they exist.  If Constitutional conservatives will fulfill the precinct leader’s role and elect Constitutional conservative chairs and vice-chairs to their county committees, we can cleanse our representative form of government in very short order.  This is assuming the men and women who fill the precinct position have the wisdom of  Cleon Skousen gleaned from The Five Thousand Year Leap and the virtue of George Washington (see Glenn Beck’s Being George Washington).

If that stuff about cleansing doesn’t scare you, then you don’t know who Cleon Skousen and Glenn Beck are. Perhaps now you can see why the Republican Party looks the way it does. This kind of tactical action is going on, has been going on, all over the country. Mr. Putnam provides local zealots everywhere, those who have a biblical ax to grind, with essential knowledge of how to go about that grinding. Become “party officials” at the local level, he says. Why? Because:

…party officials have a strong influence on who wins the Primary because of their influence in recruiting and endorsing candidates. They also influence whether the Party stays philosophically true to its platform. There is no reason why YOU cannot become a Precinct Patriot and be one who influences these decisions. 

If you ever wondered why a disturbed and disturbing man named Todd Akin became the Missouri GOP’s U.S. Senate candidate in 2012, now you know why. Even after Akin was disgraced, even after his horrific views on women and rape were revealed, even after the Republican establishment abandoned him, John Putnam came to his defense and supported him. And even with that robust defense of a man clearly out of touch with reality, perhaps because of that robust defense, John Putnam remains in charge—in charge!—of the Jasper County Republican Party.

That tells you all you need to know about what is wrong with the GOP. At the ground level, where it often matters most, the reactionaries are running the asylum.

What’s The Matter With Kansas? Nothing That An Election Can’t Fix

Way back in February of this year there were signs. Public Policy Polling began a piece on a survey conducted in Kansas, my old home state, this way:

Sam Brownback is one of the most unpopular Governors in the country. Only 37% of Kansas voters approve of him to 52% who disapprove. He meets with near universal disapproval from independents (22/66) and Democrats (14/81), but what really drives his numbers down is that even among Republicans just 55% approve of him to 30% who disapprove. 

Now, for those of us who have been witnessing the race to the bottom in Kansas—engineered by Tea Party fanatics in the state—that poll in February was good news. But the news is even better now because Democrats have a gubernatorial candidate who is turning heads in the Sunflower State. A poll conducted by SurveyUSA found:

Sam Brownback, who has served in Kansas as a Congressman, U.S. Senator, and now Governor, is in danger of being unseated after one term…Today, the Democratic ticket of Paul Davis and Jill Docking edges the Republican ticket of Brownback and Jeff Colyer, 43% to 39%.

Can Paul Davis actually win? Should Democrats even dare to dream that big? Well, the SurveyUSA pollsters also found that Brownback’s approval rating is a meager 34%. If it remains that low, maybe the dream can come true.

Another poll (“Kansas Speaks 2013″) conducted by Fort Hayes State University found that only 33.9% of people who voted in 2012 are “very” or “moderately” satisfied with Governor Brownback’s performance, while a whopping 45.5% are either “very” or “moderately” dissatisfied.

And satisfaction with the Tea Party-controlled Kansas legislature is worse. Of those who voted in 2012, only 27.3% are “very” or “moderately” satisfied with their lawmakers, while 44.4% are “very” or “moderately” dissatisfied.

Until the 2012 election, there were moderate Republicans in the Kansas Senate who would occasionally work with Democrats to keep the Tea Party zealots, who dominate the House, from burning the government down. However, the Koch brother-funded zealots knocked off enough moderates—and that is a relative term; they were pretty damned conservative—in 2012 to take control of the entire state government, with Brownback as the Chief Zealot.

Perhaps the major reason there has been a turnaround in public opinion is due to education funding in the state. Here is a recent headline from The Topeka Capital-Journal:

kansas education cuts

Public school funding has become a major issue in Kansas. A district court in the state ruled in January that the way the Tea Party extremists, led by Brownback, went about cutting income taxes and shortchanging public schools last year was unconstitutional, a decision that has been appealed to the Kansas Supreme Court.

And Paul Davis, the House Minority Leader who is currently leading Governor Brownback in the polls, has made the Tea Party’s stingy education funding a big part of his gubernatorial campaign. As the Topeka paper point out, Davis,

has said the district court appropriately acknowledged the governor’s “tax cuts for the wealthy and big corporations directly conflict with our constitutional obligation to fund public schools.”

Davis’ message may be resonating. Here is a graph from the “Kansas Speaks” survey:

education funding in kansas

As you can see, even 50% of “strong Republicans” favor increasing education funding for K-12. That’s a big bleeping deal. (And almost 40% of “strong Republicans” favor increasing funding for higher education.)

I know—I know—it is way too early to get excited about all this. I know we can’t be the least bit confident that a majority of Kansans will next year decide to reject Tea Party governance. But, dammit, at least we have some hope.

For those of us here in Missouri, we have our own zealots to worry about. Earlier this month, Rex Singquefield, who is Missouri’s version of a gazillionaire Koch brother, wrote a glowing article on the alleged success of Kansas’ cut-taxes-on-the-wealthy-and-they-will-come experiment. The Forbes piece (“How Kansas Governor Brownback Schooled Missouri On Tax Cuts, And Showed The Region How To Grow”) has Singquefield saying:

Just one year later, a close look at the data backs up the economic projections of Brownback’s visionary leadership. Lower income tax rates have in fact stimulated the economy by reducing the price both of work and conducting business in the state, not to mention that lower rates have predictably proven effective when it comes to luring out-of-state businesses to Kansas’ friendlier business environment.

Singquefield’s “close look” at the data is so close that no one with normal vision can see it, unless, of course, they want to see it even if it ain’t there. I think that’s called hallucinating, or something akin to it. Whatever it’s called, Steve Rose, writing for the Kansas City Star, isn’t buying it:

Sinquefield claims the Kansas economy has been stimulated since the tax cuts.

Wrong. The Kansas economy is tracking most of the rest of the nation. There has been no discernible jolt upward.

Sinquefield also says that lower tax rates have “predictably proven effective when it comes to luring out-of-state businesses to Kansas’ friendlier business climate.”

What we do know is corporations have moved from Missouri to Johnson County and vice versa because of generous tax incentives that have nothing to do with Brownback’s income tax cuts.

One year later, what we also know is from July through September, revenue to the state coffers has declined by $135 million, or a 9 percent drop from last year. The Legislature’s research staff projects that there will be a net reduction this fiscal year of a half billion dollars and a billion dollars by 2018.

Rose admits that it is “way too early” to know if the tax-cutting “experiment” in Kansas will eventually do what the zealots claim, but he says:

What we do know so far about the experiment, besides sharply declining tax revenue, is that Kansas is short-changing schoolchildren because legislators decided to cut taxes rather than to restore reduced funding to public schools, and that choice may be coming home to roost.

As I said, at this point we can only hope he’s right.

Gene Garman For Kansas State Senate

Gene Garman, a friend of this blog, is running for a seat in the Kansas state senate (District 13). God knows there aren’t enough Democrats in Topeka, and God knows that there are only a few places in Kansas where a Democrat has a chance, and Southeast Kansas is one of them.

If you are a Democrat, or a Tea Party-tired Republican, living in Cherokee or Crawford counties, or in southern Bourbon county (Fort Scott, my old home town), then get out and do something about the right-wing extremism in your state.

The Fort Scott Tribune interviewed Gene and reported:

He said his experience and formal education have impressed on him the responsibility to do unto others as he would have done unto him. “The need to fully fund public education and social services for the poor and needy among us is the right and the American thing to do.

Southeast Kansas and Crawford County are among the most economically depressed counties in the state,” Garman said.

He said the legislature is hampered by a “poverty of imagination, coupled with ideological rigidity,” that keeps Kansas “limping along economically at both the state and local levels of government. Improve the lives of local residents in each community and the entire state benefits,” Garman said.

His bona fides:

He said voters should choose him because he was born and grew up on a farm with an outhouse downstream from a hand-dug water well. “(I) was listening to Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys before I learned to read and write in a one-room schoolhouse with kerosene lanterns on the wall, remember Pear Harbor, and am a U.S. Marine Corps Korean Veteran, with a Baylor University education, and, for what its worth, one year of education at Washburn University School of Law, my fifth year on the G.I. Bill.

“I also hold a Master of Divinity degree, from a theological seminary. I am retired from the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters, which has a local office in Frontenac, and the National Association of Letter Carriers, Pittsburg. No campaign contributions accepted,” Garman said.

He had me at “Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys.” Who could vote against a guy with such exquisite taste?

I wish I could pull the lever for him, but I’m stuck here in Petticoat Joplin with only a Republican state senator to vote for.

Go, Gene!

___________________________

Gene sent this message today, commenting on my post about the Republicans in Missouri, many of whom are committing to the disgraced Todd Akin:

 
Submitted on 2012/11/05 at 8:24 am

And, do I not have the same type of opposition in Kansas State Senate District 13? Yes, I do. So, it should be just as significant for those who read this to make sure everyone on your email lists, in the Kansas counties of Cherokee and Crawford, as well as the cities of Fort Scott and Chetopa, know for whom to vote: Gene Garman, Democrat.

The reference is to Gene’s opponent, Jacob LaTurner, a right-wing conservative who defeated a more moderate Republican in the GOP primary this year (sound familiar?).

Again, get out and vote all you locals. Or don’t complain to me about not having a voice in Topeka.

Statewide Madness In Kansas

In a blog post more than a month ago, I waved goodbye to my old home state, Kansas, after GOP primary voters decided to,

officially become the property of Koch-sponsored fanaticism.

Voters did that by tossing out relatively—and I do mean relatively—moderate Republicans in favor of right-wing zealots.

Those zealots now dominate the state completely.

Well, since I wrote that piece what has happened? Let me see:

♦ Kansas Republican Congressman Kevin Yoder took his love truncheon for a short dip in the Sea of Galilee.

♦ The all-Republican Kansas Objections Board finally bowed to reality and admitted, sort of, that Barack Obama belongs on the Kansas ballot in November. The board had previously dithered on the issue, with members saying they needed more information from Hawaii and indicating they were pissed that Obama did not take their delusional deliberations seriously enough to send a representative to their ridiculous meeting.

♦ Orly Taitz, that crazy-mad woman who commands much Tea Party respect over her insistence that Mr. Obama is a Kenyan by birth, has managed to convince a silly Kansas judge to give her yet another hearing on whether the decision by the all-Republican Kansas Objections Board should be overturned.

♦If that ain’t enough Kansas craziness for ya, in today’s Joplin Globe we had a story on the draconian Kansas voter ID law that began:

There were 251 votes statewide in Kansas in the Aug. 6 primary that weren’t counted because the voters didn’t present the proper photo identification under the new voter ID law.

The father of that voter ID law, and a man well known to right-wing extremists everywhere, is Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who called the new law an “outstanding success“—no, even better, he added that it was an “extraordinary success.” At least I think extraordinary is better than outstanding.

In any case, he really liked it, despite the fact that it disenfranchised 251 Kansans who went to the trouble of going to the polls.

Kobach, of course, doesn’t see it as disenfranchisement, but merely that folks who were challenged simply didn’t bother to come back with the proper papers:

Most of them had a photo ID and decided it wasn’t worth the effort. They weren’t disenfranchised.

Hmm. That’s amazing, if you really think about it. And you should really think about it.

But the most amazing comment Kobach made is found in this excerpt from Roger McKinney’s story in the Globe:

An American Civil Liberties Union analysis of a report produced by Kobach’s office related to alleged voter fraud incidents between 1997 and 2010, finding no cases of voter impersonation fraud, which the voter ID law is designed to prevent.

Kobach disputes that, saying there was one report during that 13-year period.

If this weren’t so serious, Kobach’s response would be side-splittingly funny. He disputed the ACLU’s contention of zero cases in 13 years by citing, uh, ONE! Uno! Or, well, in his case, maybe: Eins!

That is the goings-on in my birth state, a place I once called home, a place that has its priorities straight, by God. I know that because on Friday night, two teeny-weeny southeast Kansas high school football teams, Frontenac (302 kids) and St. Mary’s Colgan (231 kids in grades 7-12), played each other.

The game was broadcast statewide—state-bleeping-wide—on cable TV.

Goodbye, Kansas, And Missouri May Be Right Behind Ya

The state of my birth and Missouri’s now radical neighbor to the west has officially become the property of Koch-sponsored fanaticism.*

And Missouri, with Rep. Todd Akin becoming the state’s GOP offering to unseat moderate Democrat Claire McCaskill, may soon join Kansas—which when I lived there actually could elect a Democratic governor!— as a place where teapartiers try to out-tea party each other in their efforts to destroy 21st-century government.

On Tuesday, Kansans settled the war in the Republican Party between moderates (yep, these days that’s what we call GOP conservatives who won’t quite put a full set of teabags on their hats) and the Brownbacks (as in Governor Sam), those hard-core Koch-heads who want to dismantle large parts of the government and ask some folks to live like 19th-century settlers.

Most prominent among the moderates defeated in the GOP primary was Senate President Steve Morris, who waged something of a resistance movement, in alliance with Democrats, to stop some of the draconian legislation—wild-eyed anti-abortion and anti-union and anti-education bills, for instance—that the extremists were otherwise very close to passing.

That’s not to say Morris was a left-winger. He and other “moderates” went along with tax cuts (read about that sordid tale here) that will end up crippling the state and enrich Koch-heads at the expense of working folks and kids, as well as a voter ID law that would have made it difficult for my late mother, a former poll worker, to vote.

But enough about Kansas. It’s too late to save that state. Missouri? There’s still time, and defeating Todd Akin would be a good place to start our comeback. Remember in April when President Obama said, as reported by HuffPo:

“I’m always interested in how folks talk about this issue,” he said. “You’ve got one member of Congress who compared student loans — I’m not kidding here — to a stage three cancer of socialism.”

Obama tried to repeat the phrase but broke up laughing.

“I don’t know where to start? What do you mean? What are you talking about? Come on!” he implored, eliciting loud applause. “Just when you think you’ve heard it all in Washington, somebody comes up with a new way to go off the deep end.”

Yep, that’s right. He was talking about—no laughing at—Todd Akin, a U.S. Congressman who once suggested Obama should be impeached and who said this about the President:

He is a complete menace to our civilization.

Obama is not just a menace, you see, but a complete menace.

In any case, as Claire McCaskill said before Akin was officially anointed  as the state’s freakiest conservative (he’s always held that title in my book):

Missourians are going to have a really clear choice: Somebody who’s moderate and believes in compromise, or somebody who believes we need to turn out the lights on the federal government and go home.

Among the larger lights Akin wants to turn out are Medicare (voucherize it) and Social Security (privatize it). Go to truthaboutakin.com and read the details. Can’t wait to see those first McCaskill ads explaining to voters how Akin wants to flip the switch on those wildly popular government programs.

Finally, Democrats in Missouri should ignore the polls, especially this late faulty one that showed Akin with a slight lead in a match-up with McCaskill, but which also showed John Brunner beating Akin by 16 points!

Which leads me to say that Todd Akin did Democrats a favor by beating Brunner. Missourians were bombarded by Brunner ads—$8 million worth in our mailboxes, on our radios and constantly on our TVs—and he would have been a stronger general election candidate than Akin. But Akin will have plenty of money spent on his behalf, mostly to darken McCaskill’s complexion, if you know what I mean.

So, my progressive friends, let’s all cough up a little dough and send it Claire’s way. While she hasn’t been a force for liberalism in the U.S. Senate, the alternative is unthinkable.

______________________________

* I suppose it is only fair that the Koch’s get first dibs on buying the state, since Koch Industries—the nation’s second largest privately held company— is headquartered in Wichita.

Kansas: Where Seldom Is Heard An Encouraging Word

As a former Kansas boy, I like to keep tabs on the reactionaries back home:

From the Kansas City Star:

TOPEKA | Republicans on Thursday pushed a bill through the Kansas House requiring potential voters to prove their U.S. citizenship ahead of this year’s election, although GOP senators are divided on whether the state will be ready to enforce the rule.

The House approved the bill 81-43, with all of the votes for it coming from Republicans. It would impose the proof-of-citizenship requirement for people registering to vote for the first time in Kansas starting June 15, more than six months ahead of schedule and in time for the normal surge before a presidential election…

Legislators approved a proof-of-citizenship rule last year but — at the Senate’s insistence — it’s not scheduled to take effect until Jan. 1, 2013.

Now, judging from this bill, and the big hurry these Republican legislators are in, one would think that Kansas, in the middle of the country, is plagued with lots of non-citizens voting. Well, of course, there is no such plague.

Kris Kobach, the Kansas Secretary of State* who was the primary drafter of Arizona’s infamous anti-immigration bill, SB 1070, identified a whopping “32 non-citizens on the voter rolls” in 2011.  That’s out of a total of 1.7 million registered voters, the Star notes.

That’s 32 out of 1,700,000.

So, let’s do the math:

32 divided by 1.7 million = .0018823% 

You can see why Republicans are in such a hurry to stop this electoral travesty.

The truth is that Kansas Republicans, like Republicans all over the country, are trying to suppress the votes of minorities, the elderly, and the poor, many of whom lack the ability to comply with these nonsensical and unnecessary laws.

There is no evidence that voter fraud is a problem—anywhere in America. Yet Republicans, who apparently have little confidence in their message, are going to a lot of trouble to fight this non-existent problem.

It is shameful, but not surprising.

_____________________________

* Kobach also works for the legal arm of a group called Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), whose founder, John Tanton, has said,

I’ve come to the point of view that for European-American society and culture to persist requires a European-American majority, and a clear one at that.

White power!

Tea Party Governance In Kansas Means Regulating Abortion Clinics Out Of Business

Whenever you hear Republicans waxing nasty about all the government regulation that hinders businesses and therefore hurts the economy, most of the time you can be confident they are lying through their gold teeth.

Such is the case in neighboring Kansas, where the legislature, completely controlled by Republicans, and the governor, a right-wing Christian Republican fanatic, have conspired to close down the state’s three—three!—remaining abortion clinics by using, what else,  so-called safety regulations, thirty-six pages of which are designed only to put the abortion clinics out of business.

As The Kansas City Star editorialized:

The latest political attack on abortion providers in Kansas is misguided, arrogant and dishonest, and opens up a state struggling to pay for schools to a long list of clearly indefensible lawsuits.

This attack came in the form of what is known as a TRAP law, a “targeted regulation of abortion providers.”

Under the guise of ensuring the safety of patients, Gov. Sam Brownback and the Legislature this year created a new regulation category for abortion providers, and gave the Kansas Department of Health and Environment broad authority to write the rules.

Officials gave the details to abortion providers in mid-June, noting that clinics had until July 1 to be in compliance or lose their license to operate.

The intent was to close down clinics and end the legal practice of abortion in Kansas.

The proof, as the Star offered, is that of the 241 ambulatory surgical clinics, “only the state’s three abortion clinics are subject to these regulations.”  And, “Many regulations have nothing to do with patient safety, and many are impossible to meet within two weeks.”

The editorial makes it clear that those who proposed these regulations aren’t really hiding their motivation: they want to make Kansas “the first abortion-free state.”

Religious zealots and anti-choice fanatics hitched a ride on the Tea Party train as it pulled out of Big Government Station just after President Obama assumed office in 2009, and after the train reached its November 2010 election stop, the zealots and fanatics got off and went to work attacking abortion rights.

The Star:

The attack on legal abortion is a cheap legislative trick to get around the law of the land. Legitimate safety regulations would be phased in, giving clinics time to get up to code. But these regulations were never meant to be legitimate.

Of course not.  And neither were the claims of many in the Tea Party movement who held signs at rallies around the country protesting the size and reach of government and making the outrageous claim that Obama and the Democrats were after our liberties.

What legitimacy there was in the Tea Party movement was soon undermined by Republican political operatives who moved in to take partisan political advantage of the Obama-induced angst on the Right by pretending to run “grassroots” operations.

And worse than that, Christian moralists and quasi-theocrats used the small-government, love-the-Constitution movement to gain power in order to enact their extremist anti-choice agenda, an agenda which includes using state governments to effectively eliminate in America the constitutional right to abortion.

Big government? You betcha.

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