Thursday, November 22, 2012


Mr. Robertson, you have a very curious attitude about the majority of Americans who elected President Obama.

Obviously you are blissfully unaware of the RIGHTWING MILLIONAIRES funded attempts to restrict voting in 37 states across this great nation. You may also have noticed the KOCH brother (heirs to their John Birch Society dad ) Citizen United decision that unleashed "secret" corporate funding that also tried to swamp the election in RIGHT-WING Money.

I am puzzled about your mentioning race, since we on the (PROGRESSIVE - SIDE) of the American Political Scene have been assured that RACISM is not a part of the RIGHT WING CONSERVATIVE AGENDA. Maybe you are the sole exception.

You might try to get used to the idea, that Native Americans, Hispanics, African Americans Eastern Europeans and even Women, have the right to vote. Its been that way for several years now, check you desk, you probably have the memo.

I was surprised though by your comment "We're in for four more years of incompetence and bad governance"

I remember a republican president, one obviously forgotten at the Tampa extravaganza who joked about his lie that was the foundation of the WAR on IRAQ. [Which cost well over 5 thousand American lives and UNCOUNTED Iraqi lives.] Do you remember his joking video appearance when he made light of looking for the WMDs. It was so cute when he ducked his head under his desk, and said, WMDs not here. And when you combine that with IGNORING the THREAT of OSAMA and allowing the ATTACKS on New York, and the Pentagon? ((so much worse than Benghazi - don't you think?))

Now that and crashing the ECONOMY - that's some mighty big INCOMPETENCE SKILLS to Compete Against eh?

Another of your interesting comments - "It appears that a coalition of various left-wingers, unionists, welfare moochers, racist minorities and man-less women, mostly concentrated in the urban cesspools of America, has pulled President Barack Obama over the finish line."

When you say, urban cesspools your referring to the great cities of America? When you decry UNIONISTS - you must be one of the Americans who rejected the UNIONS PROGRESSIVE AGENDA when during the last Century. they fought so that every American might have a WEEKEND, A PAID VACATION, and a forty hour work week. Obviously you never enjoyed any of those hard won union perks.

"Truly Bastille day for America." - I have to gently chide you on this one though, Bastille Day here in America will come when the victimless crime of MARIJUANA usage, no longer clogs the FOR PROFIT PRISON INDUSTRY. That will be Bastille Day, when the crook, who steals 1 million dollars faces the same JUSTICE as the petty thief who steals $20. That my friend, would be Bastille Day. When corporate polluters who steal health and life from the poor who lives near their TOXIC DUMPS are treated as the criminals they are, That Mr. Robertson, would be BASTILLE DAY in America.

"There is little hope of intelligent problem-solving leadership from the White House."
Do you mean to suggest that the gaggle of republicans who sought the Republican ticket none of whom understood the Scientific Concepts of either Evolution or Climate Change could provide more intelligent answers, maybe they could PRAY the BUSH WAR DEBT away, or dip it in HOLY WATER and maybe it might Shrink.

You summation really requires a rebuttal -
"The corrupt left-wing media are predicting the demise of the Republican Party and suggesting that to survive the party will have to offer a platform attractive to black/brown transgendereds who need contraceptives and free marijuana and want a path to citizenship with full welfare benefits."

By corrupt left wing media you obviously refer to the WALL STREET JOURNAL, MONEY MAGAZINE, CNN, ABC/DISNEY - or do you refer to the one cable channel that doesn't solely read from the REICH-WING HYMNAL? MSNBC - If you give them credit, believe me their AD Revenues will certainly increase.

Obviously the republican candidates who again and again, believe they can define RAPE and decide for WOMEN when they can have access even to information about their own bodies had nothing to do with the elections loss. The suggestion that all the Hispanics should be either rounded up, or will magically SELF-DEPORT - We left wingers still like that one. I suspect the NATIVE AMERICANS might hope that all those pesky EUROPEANS might SELF-DEPORT TOO... Except they are too sensible.

When you go on, and on about races, and transgenders, you only show how utterly uneducated you are. Humanity has for weeks now, come in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes and even sexual types. Check your Bible, Read your Socrates and Aristotle or even the Code of Hammurabi. But you probably shouldn't read Plutarch on the lives of the Ancient Greeks and Romans, you might be shocked.

But please continue to speak out after all, we enjoy keeping track of the gradual evolution of your moral understanding.

You mention the fine young men like Congressman Ryan and Senator Rubio in your party's future (PS RUBIO IS HISPANIC not Italian American) we know the laughs will keep on coming.

"At least the "moochers" know what they want!" This time I suppose your complement seems to suggest, that your part of the American spectrum of Opinion, is not quite certain they're somehow unclear, do they want a serial Monogamist, like Newtie or an 11th Century Biblical Scholar like the HUCK or a Unreconstructed KNOW-NOTHING like that Texas Governor, who had a three point plan that he could remember at least two-points of.

Yet you (republicans) have so much to offer America - a return to JIM CROW a "BACK TO BAREFOOT & PREGNANT" agenda for WOMEN and an ALL WAR Foreign Policy - So much - So Much - But lets see, Billionaires, versus Union Carpenters - Who can slosh more democracy into the American Future.

As a Progressive - I can tell you - We'll be here! And if our Socialist Healthcare plans become a fact of life. You might be here too!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

PNN - Tally the Troops - NOW CHAD FREE

                      PNN -  Election Round Up

          Tallying The Troops  - NOW ALL CHAD-FREE

RWS - the News - 7pm - 7:10pm

Denis Campbell  - 7:11 - 7:30pm - Expat-Looks Back

Roundtable         - 7:31 - 8:10pm
Luis Cuevas
Emine Dilek
Gwen Holden Barry
Hans Meyer

Trish Shelton      - 8:11 - 8:21pm GM Foods Update

       - 8:22 - 8:30pm
Luis Cuevas
Emine Dilek
Gwen Holden Barry
Hans Meyer

1. Bradley Manning Offers to Plead Guilty to Partial Charges, Including Leaking to WikiLeaks

Nov 2012 Accused WikiLeaks leaker Bradley Manning offered on Wednesday to plead guilty to parts of the charges he is facing, in exchange for the government pursuing lesser charges. Manning did not plead guilty but indicated in a plea notice submitted by his attorney, David Coombs, that he is willing to accept responsibility for some of the lesser included charges, but not the charges as they stand in whole. The move is known as "pleading by exceptions and substitutions" and is a strategy for negotiating the charges against him, which his attorney has tried repeatedly to do, unsuccessfully, via other means during pre-trial hearings.

2. U.S. WikiLeaks Criminal Probe 'Ongoing,' Judge Reveals
07 Nov 2012 A 2-year-old federal grand jury probe into the secret-spilling website WikiLeaks is still "ongoing," a federal judge in Virginia revealed Wednesday in a brief ruling. It's the first official confirmation since WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was granted asylum by the Ecuadorean government in August that the grand jury investigation is continuing. U.S. District Judge Liam O'Grady of Alexandria, Virginia, noted the investigation in a legal flap surrounding three WikiLeaks associates who lost their bid to protect their Twitter records from U.S. investigators. The three had asked the court to unseal documents in their case.

3. Tepco terrorists too big to fail:

Tepco seeks more govt bailouts as Fukushima costs soar --Tepco indicates costs could rise to *120 bln 07 Nov 2012 Fukushima nuclear plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co said on Wednesday it would have to seek more government funds to tackle the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster, as cleanup costs soar four months after the utility was nationalised. A senior minister said the government saw no alternative to providing continued support for the utility, known as Tepco. Tepco officials suggested the costs of compensation and decontamination could double to 10 trillion yen (*124.55 billion), making greater government support vital.

4. Environmental Activists on the Re-Election
 From Grist by Lisa Hymas
Beyond Obama: Here are green ballot measures that won and lost
From, founder Bill McKibben’s response was to organize a Global Movement to Solve the Climate Crisis. Here’s what he wrote about Hurricane Sandy in The Guardian:
Hurricane Sandy has drowned the New York I love
I’m an environmentalist: New York is as beautiful and diverse and glorious as an old-growth forest. It’s as grand, in its unplanned tumble, as anything ever devised by man or nature. And now, I fear its roots are being severed.
From Hon. Elizabeth May, Canada’s only Green Party Member of Parliament:

No Time For a Victory Lap, Mr. President. Your Planet is Calling.
In the wake of the devastation of Hurricane Sandy and the summer of parched earth and lost crops, the president must listen to his science advisor, Dr. John Holdren, and the head of climate science at NASA, Dr. James Hansen, and actually lead on climate. The world needs the U.S. to join the European Union in moving aggressively to a low-carbon economy. Barak Obama got a second chance. Let’s hope that the rest of us did too.

From the Center for Biodiversity:
Mr. President: 5 Ways to Salvage Your Environmental Legacy (and Our Future)
1. Address climate change and ocean acidification. There’s no crisis bigger than the one that’s rapidly transforming the world’s climate and oceans. We need to fix this, and fast. 2012 is on track to become the warmest year on record; some 40,000 temperature records have been shattered in the United States this year, while Arctic sea ice has melted to a record low.
The urgency of this crisis is manifested in the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, record droughts, massive wildfires, disappearing coral reefs, floods and a terrible, continuous stream of bleak headlines. Left unchecked, climate change threatens millions of people around the globe and countless species already on the brink of extinction. It’s time to stop waiting for someone else, including Congress, to lead. The best way to start: Fully harness existing laws like the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act to reduce carbon pollution.
Environmental Defense Fund Statement of president Fred Krupp on the results of the election
“Congratulations to President Obama on his re-election to a second term, and to all of those who will be serving in the 113th Congress. We look forward to working with them to solve our country’s most pressing environmental problems, including global climate change. As the President declared last night, ‘We want our children to live in an America … that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.’
“Exit polls confirm that for millions of American voters, Hurricane Sandy and climate change were decisive factors in this election. As the historic storm just reminded us, we have no time to waste; we must get serious about climate solutions in order to protect our loved ones and communities from terrible impacts — extreme weather disasters, droughts, heat waves, and other dangerous consequences of global warming. Especially in the wake of Sandy, which demonstrated that doing nothing about climate change is much costlier than taking action, this issue clearly should be a top priority for our leaders in government.”- Fred Krupp, President, EDF

From Greenpeace, by Kumi Naidoo

On the future of America’s children or whether Obama will have a different approach this time around
I felt relieved when I heard Obama’s victory speech this morning, and I particularly resonated with him when he spoke about the future of America’s children.
“We want our children to live in an America that isn’t burnt by debt, that isn’t weakened by inequality, that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet,” said Obama during his speech. Crowds burst into applause, while probably millions of other citizens of the world heard his vision.
My relief came with the realisation that Barack Obama shares our vision. When President Obama was elected four years ago, his challenge was to stop the US from going into financial freefall. His challenge is even greater now – he needs to play a more assertive roleinternationally on the issue of climate change and stop us all from climate freefall.

5. CCR - on the re-election
    •    Close Guantanamo, and end torture through indefinite detention. Repatriate or resettle the men the government does not intend to prosecute, and provide fair trials for the rest
    •    End the use of solitary confinement in prisons across the country
    •    End unlawful “targeted killings” and the expansion of the Orwellian “disposition matrix.” Acknowledge, investigate and provide reparations for unlawful civilian killings
    •    End the war in Afghanistan and pull all private military contractors out of Iraq and Afghanistan
    •    Abandon the endless global war paradigm as the basis for abusive national security policies and end the use of war force outside of war zones
    •    Investigate and prosecute former high-level U.S. officials who bear responsibility for torture and war crimes committed in Afghanistan, Iraq and the “black sites”
    •    Provide medical treatment and compensation to people subjected to torture in U.S.-run detention facilities, including in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as Guantánamo, and provide war reparations to communities in Iraq and Afghanistan for harms done to the people and the environment
    •    End the persecution of whistleblowers and journalists like Julian Assange, Wikileaks and Bradley Manning for protected First Amendment activity
    •    Increase transparency, sunshine and freedom of information in federal law enforcement and prisons and end overclassification of unlawful or embarrassing government conduct
    •    Stop the criminalization of dissent: end the stifling of activist expression under the anti-free-speech National Defense Authorization Act and the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act and end overbroad prosecutions for terrorism under material support laws
    •    Stop the criminalization and profiling of communities based on race and religion: end the devastating Secure Communities program that destroys families and spreads fear in immigrant neighborhoods
    •    End warrantless surveillance and stop the indiscriminate targeting and surveillance of Muslim, Middle Eastern, and South Asian communities under the guise of national security
    •    Support human rights internationally: stop funding and training police and militaries abroad implicated in human rights abuses in places like Honduras
    •    Center women’s equality in all policy and legislative initiatives concerning their bodily autonomy and right to health

6. Argentina 'freezes Chevron assets' over Ecuador damage
A judge has ordered $19bn (£11.9bn) of assets held by oil company Chevron to be frozen in Argentina over an environmental damages claim in Ecuador, lawyers in the case say.

The Ecuadorean plaintiffs accuse Chevron of polluting land in the Amazon region for almost three decades.
Last year, an Ecuadorean court ordered Chevron to pay $19bn in damages.
Since Chevron has few assets in Ecuador, the plaintiffs are trying to get the ruling enforced abroad.

7. Nobel Prize for Malala
Thousands of people have called for a Nobel peace prize for Malala Yousafzai, the 15-year-old who was shot by the Taliban while campaigning for girls' education in Pakistan.

8. Election Numbers

There was a real turnout oddity in this election, when compared with 2008
turnout #s in 2008 prexy = 130 milion
turnout in 2012 = 120 million
In California, 13 million voted in 2008
9 million in 2012
there were 4 million fewer voters to the polls, really? Yes.
Obama vote in 20008 was 69 million vs.
61.5 million in 2012
goopers vote
2008 = 60 million for McC
2012 -= 58.5 million for Rmoney
where did they all go?
OB turnout machine is being touted for turning out 8 million fewer voters?

9. Michael Moore -
"This country has truly changed, and I believe there will be no going back. Hate lost yesterday. That is amazing in and of itself. And all the women who were elected last night!  A total rebuke of Neanderthal attitudes.  Now the real work begins. Millions of us – the majority – must come together to insist that President Obama and the Democrats stand up and fight for the things we sent them there to do. Mr. President, do not listen to the pundits who today call for you to "compromise." No. You already tried that. It didn't work. You can compromise later if you need to, but please, no more beginning by compromising. And if the Republican House doesn't want to play ball, do a massive end run around them with one executive order after another – just like they have done and will do if given the chance again. And please Mr. President, make the banks and Wall Street pay. You're the boss, not them. Lead the fight to get money out of politics – the spending on this election is shameful and dangerous. Don't wait til 2014 to bring the troops home – bring 'em home now. Stop the drone strikes on civilians. End the senseless war on drugs."

10. ON Elizabeth Warren's entrance to the Senate
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said that “no other candidate in 2012 represents a greater threat to free enterprise than Professor Warren.”

But Ms. Warren raised a stunning $39 million, the most of any Senate candidate this year, proving that it was possible to run against the big banks without Wall Street money and still win.

11. President Obama
- from Juan Cole
President Obama's reelection should mean more to progressives than simply dodging the bullet of a Romney presidency indebted to the Tea Party. Democratic politics has to be more than relief, while playing Russian Roulette, that this time we got the empty chamber. Progressives are a significant wing of the Democratic Party, and if we continue to be ignored, the party will ultimately falter.

Progressives will have to push Obama to the left if we are to get what we want. This situation is nothing new– FDR's New Deal would not have amounted to much if workers hadn't engaged in widespread wildcat strikes and if people had not resorted to civil disobedience.

As for positive accomplishments, here are a few we should pressure him and Congress on:

1.     We need the tax break for wind energy to be continued. Uncertainty here is deadly to the industry. And it is facing competition from cheap fracked natural gas (which is itself an environmental disaster every which way from Sunday). Wind energy could easily provide a quarter of all the electricity the US produces annually, and it is a way of slowing the rapidly rising average temperature of earth's surface. Obama should deploy Republicans from high-wind states such as Iowa and Colorado to help make his case. It is to Obama's credit that green energy doubled in the US from 3% to 6% during his first term. But 6% is almost nothing, with Portugal, Germany, Scotland and others being far more ambitious. Scotland wants to be 100% green by 2020. Obama should emulate John F. Kennedy, Jr., and give a major address committing the the nation to try to go green in 8 years, just as Kennedy pledged to put us on the moon.

2.    The Citizens United and other such rulings of the Supreme Court that allow dark money to dominate our elections needs to be undone by legislation. Corporations are not people, and Superpacs shouldn't be buying our elections. Obama should start the work on a constitutional amendment that would permit actual campaign finance reform so that our elections look more like those of Western Europe and less like those of Pakistan.

3.    Banking regulation still needs to be strengthened. There is nothing really in place that would prevent a repeat of the 2008 meltdown. Moreover, relief for homeowners under threat of losing their mortgages unfairly or arbitrarily needs to be pushed for again.

4.    Obama needs to show leadership in pushing back against Koch Brother attempts to destroy public sector unions. Moreover, he needs to create a legal framework for the protection of the right to unionize in the private sector, a right that has been gutted by corporations such as Walmart. It was the unions that gave Mr. Obama Ohio, and if they are undermined during the next four years, they won't be there to deliver the state again.

5.    He needs to have the Department of Justice look into the Koch Brother-backed legislation in two dozen states restricting the franchise by requiring a paid-for state i.d., which is a kind of poll tax. In many states, this legislation violates the 1965 Voting Rights act. We can't let a couple of sour billionaires undo the achievements of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., achievements for which he gave his life.

6.    That use of the Department of Justice would perhaps make its workers and its head, Eric Holder, too busy to go around kicking down the doors of medical marijuana clinics and confiscating their computers, records and cash, in states where the state has legalized marijuana. Obama was elected the first time by the youth, and had promised to cease Federal harassment of pot clinics, but reneged and proved much worse than Bush on this issue. Holder should stop denying the clear medical uses and benefits of pot. In Colorado and Washington states, the same people who voted for him have legalized recreational marijuana. Moreover, the RAND Corp. concludes that legalization would defund the Mexican cartels. If the the Democratic Party continues on this Draconian path, it should not be surprised when it begins losing elections because a substantial younger constituency deserts it for the Green Party.

7.    Obama put off further consideration of the PATRIOT Act until 2014. Several of its remaining provisions have been tagged by Senators Wyden and Udall as unconstitutional and pernicious because of the way law enforcement is interpreting them "secretly." These unconstitutional provisions must be repealed altogether. Moreover, Obama needs to come clean about the extent of Federal violations of fourth amendment rights, warrantless surveillance of citizens, and the data mining of our emails and possibly their storage by the National Security Agency. As a victim of illegal White House/ CIA surveillance myself, I am furious that Obama has continued Bush-era abuses, and moreover that the Democratic Party has not so much as bothered to launch an investigation of my case.

8.    The Bush tax cuts for the wealthy have to be allowed to lapse.

9.    Obama must give up the fiction that a Department of Justice review of assassination targets is the same thing as a court trial that ends in an execution. The separation of powers is there in the constitution because King George III used to use the executive to declare people "outlaws" and have them killed on a whim, too. Maybe Obama and the national security state think they have invented something new. They haven't. Targeted assassination by executive fiat has been around for a long time, and the Founding Fathers wanted it prohibited.

10.    Obamacare has to be tweaked in the direction of a single payer system

12. Anti-Torture Psychologists Respond to Attack from APA Division Chief
By: Jeff Kaye Wednesday November 7, 2012 1:47 pm    

The battle within the American Psychological Association (APA) to bring that organization into line with other human rights groups and attorney organizations in opposing the use of psychological personnel in national security interrogations accelerated last month when a prominent APA official came out strongly against a petition to annul APA’s ethics policy on national security and interrogations.

In June 2005, the APA published their report on Psychological Ethics and National Security (the PENS report). APA, stung by criticism that psychologists had been involved in torture at Guantanamo and elsewhere, nevertheless stacked the panel hastily assembled that Spring with over fifty percent military and/or military connected members.

These were not just any military individuals, but included the former Chief of Psychology at Guantanamo, a SERE psychologist who supported use of SERE techniques in interrogations, and a Special Forces top psychologist who, according to an investigation by the Senate Armed Services Committee, had actually trained interrogators in use of SERE torture techniques in interrogations.

Reposted below is a letter from the Coalition for Ethical Psychology (CEP), responding to an October 26  letter from the President of the American Psychological Association’s Division 42, Psychologists in Independent Practice, who had written a reply to CEP’s request for support for their call for annulment of the APA’s PENS report.

The original petition to annul the PENS report was posted at CEP’s website in October 2011. The petition called PENS “the defining document endorsing psychologists’ engagement in detainee interrogations.”

The petition continued: “Despite evidence that psychologists were involved in abusive interrogations, the PENS Task Force concluded that psychologists play a critical role in keeping interrogations ‘safe, legal, ethical and effective.’ With this stance, the APA, the largest association of psychologists worldwide, became the sole major professional healthcare organization to support practices contrary to the international human rights standards that ought to be the benchmark against which professional codes of ethics are judged.”

The political heat around the anti-PENS petition increased noticeably when CEP came out publicly against a so-called “member-initiated task force” to “reconcile policies related to psychologists’ involvement in national security settings.” This task force, actually established with APA Board and staff support, was opposed to the annulment petition, and likely was formed to blunt the impact of CEP’s call for annulment, which was gaining much support. One of the prominent members of this new “task force” is William Strickland, the president and CEO of the long-time military contractor-research group, Human Resource Research Organization (HumRRO),

13. Excerpts of a play about Bradley Manning

hypothetical question: if you had free reign over classified networks for long periods of time… say, 8-9 months… and you saw incredible things, awful things… things that belonged in the public domain, and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington DC… what would you do?
or Guantanamo, Bagram, Bucca, Taji, VBC for that matter…
things that would have an impact on 6.7 billion people
say… a database of half a million events during the iraq war… from 2004 to 2009… with reports, date time groups, lat-lon locations, casualty figures… ? or 260,000 state department cables from embassies and consulates all over the world, explaining how the first world exploits the third, in detail, from an internal perspective?
Hilary Clinton, and several thousand diplomats around the world are going to have a heart attack when they wake up one morning, and finds an entire repository of classified foreign policy is available, in searchable format to the public…
uhm… crazy, almost criminal political backdealings… the non-PR-versions of world events and crises… uhm… all kinds of stuff like everything from the buildup to the Iraq War during Powell, to what the actual content of “aid packages” is: for instance, PR that the US is sending aid to pakistan includes funding for water/food/clothing… that much is true, it includes that, but the other 85% of it is for F-16 fighters and munitions to aid in the Afghanistan effort, so the US can call in Pakistanis to do aerial bombing instead of americans potentially killing civilians and creating a PR crisis
theres so much… it affects everybody on earth… everywhere there’s a US post… there’s a diplomatic scandal that will be revealed… Iceland, the Vatican, Spain, Brazil, Madascar, if its a country, and its recognized by the US as a country, its got dirt on it
it’s open diplomacy… world-wide anarchy in CSV format… its Climategate with a global scope, and breathtaking depth… its beautiful, and horrifying…
and… its important that it gets out… i feel, for some bizarre reason
it might actually change something
i dont believe in good guys versus bad guys anymore… only a plethora of states acting in self interest… with varying ethics and moral standards of course, but self-interest nonetheless
i mean, we’re better in some respects… we’re much more subtle… use a lot more words and legal techniques to legitimize everything
its better than disappearing in the middle of the night
but just because something is more subtle, doesn’t make it right
i guess im too idealistic
i think the thing that got me the most… that made me rethink the world more than anything was watching 15 detainees taken by the Iraqi Federal Police… for printing “anti-Iraqi literature”… the iraqi federal police wouldn’t cooperate with US forces, so i was instructed to investigate the matter, find out who the “bad guys” were, and how significant this was for the FPs… it turned out, they had printed a scholarly critique against PM Maliki… i had an interpreter read it for me… and when i found out that it was a benign political critique titled “Where did the money go?” and following the corruption trail within the PM’s cabinet… i immediately took that information and *ran* to the officer to explain what was going on… he didn’t want to hear any of it… he told me to shut up and explain how we could assist the FPs in finding *MORE* detainees…
everything started slipping after that… i saw things differently

14. Gov. Scott defends Florida elections process


Gov. Rick Scott on Friday defended the state’s handling of the election, while his elections chief said the state bears some responsibility for long voting lines and late vote counts.
As his top elections official conceded that the state bears responsibility for long lines and late vote counts that have made Florida a target of national ridicule, Gov. Rick Scott on Friday defended the state’s handling of the election.
“We could have done better. We will do better,” Secretary of State Ken Detzner said on CNN during pointed questioning from anchor Ashleigh Banfield.
But in an exclusive interview with the Herald/Times, Scott made no apologies for the problems that led to an incomplete final vote count Friday, three days after the election.
“What I’m trying to do is improve the way government works,” Scott said. “I believe in efficiency. I believe every vote has to count. I want to have a good process that people feel good about.”
The governor said he would solicit suggestions from legislators and county election supervisors on how to improve Florida’s elections machinery. But he said the long ballot with 11 statewide amendments and a surge of early and absentee voters were part of the reason for long lines.
“All these ballot initiatives have an effect on how long it takes somebody to vote,” Scott said.
On CNN, Detzner twice demurred when offered a chance to say he was sorry for inconveniencing so many voters. He said the length of the ballot and record turnout of 8.4 million contributed to bottlenecks that forced people in Miami-Dade to wait several hours to vote. He did concede that the state should have allowed counties to add more early voting sites.
“The solution is that in current Florida law, there’s a limit on the number of locations that supervisors can use in early voting. We need to take a very serious look at that and open up the number of locations,” Detzner said.
From author Carl Hiaasen on CBS (“a freak show”) to The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart (bleeped-out expletives for Florida), writers and comedians have had a field day lampooning the state’s latest electoral embarrassment. The scrutiny would have been immeasurably worse if Ohio had not sealed President Barack Obama’s re-election.
But it’s no joke, and the most ferocious criticism is aimed squarely at Scott, the former hospital-chain CEO who repeatedly urges people to hold him accountable for his performance.
“Look, It was a close race. We want to make sure every vote gets counted. Every vote’s important, so I think the secretary did the right thing,” Scott said. “Here’s what people should feel good about: We have a diligent and thorough process, and every vote’s getting counted.”
Thousands of Floridians have flooded Scott’s email in-box with criticism, some promising not to vote for him when he seeks re-election in 2014.
“The fact that Florida is an embarrassment yet again falls within your purview,” Danielle McWilliams, a teacher in Stuart, told Scott in an email. “This is yet another reason why you should be out of office.”
Paul Adams of Sarasota ridiculed Scott’s choice of Detzner, a former lobbyist for the beer industry, as the state’s chief elections officer.
“Your people can’t get it together,” Adams wrote Thursday. “Who won the election?”
Florida elections officials Friday were still counting absentee ballots in Palm Beach County, and though Obama held a 60,000-vote edge statewide, news organizations had yet to declare Obama the winner of Florida’s 29 electoral votes.
What Detzner did not say on TV was that for years, Republican legislators in Tallahassee have ignored pleas by county election supervisors to let them expand early voting to sites beyond their own offices, city halls and libraries, so crowds at each site would be smaller.
For the past three years, Sen. Nan Rich, D-Weston, filed bills to add flexibility to the choices of early voting sites. The 2012 version, SB 516, was shelved and never heard by a committee chaired by Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami, whose county had by far the longest lines and who voted with other Republicans to reduce early voting days.
“The Legislature wouldn’t hear that bill,” Rich said. “The governor and Republican-dominated Legislature caused this to happen, by reducing early voting days and by putting all of those constitutional amendments on the ballot.”
Rich and other Democrats say the limited sites and long ballot were a sinister plot by Republicans to make it harder for Democrats to vote.
Elections are run by counties in Florida, but are governed by state law.
In 2011, Scott signed into law changes that cut early voting days from 14 to eight. As the early voting lines grew longer last month, he refused requests to issue an executive order adding more days. The day after the election, he said: “Let’s look and see what we can improve.”
In turning down a request last week by Monroe County elections chief Harry Sawyer to add additional days of early voting, Detzner said the state had no authority to do so except during a state of emergency that could risk lives or property.
CNN’s Banfield, who said she spent 14 hours at Miami-area voting sites Tuesday, peppered Detzner with tough questions and demanded he explain why the state didn’t expand the locations.
“We were following the law,” Detzner said. “It appears as though now we need to redress the issue regarding the locations. The governor has asked me to look at that issue.”
Banfield told viewers it was time for Scott to “face the music” and explain what went wrong.
As she closed her program, Friday, she spoke directly to Scott, noting that he has declined two offers to appear on the air.
“We’d really like you to join us,” she said, “and answer for your state.”
Tampa Bay Times researcher Natalie Watson contributed to this report.

Read more here:

15.  Who is responsible for Florida's second infamous elections debacle since 2000?

There will be plenty of blame to go around, especially when Miami-Dade County finally finishes counting provisional ballots and gets to the bottom of who declined to shore up voting operations, and when. But blame will also likely fall on conservative state legislators, who fought for two years to reduce the number of early voting days and limit registration after heavy 2008 turnout in the state for Democrats.
"Obama won the most where the lines were the longest," former state Sen. Dan Gelber (D-Miami Beach) told the Tampa Bay Times, speaking of the 2012 turnout.
Gelber called the law reducing early voting "hubris and overreaching by the Republicans, who may learn a lesson that 'Maybe we shouldn't abuse our prisoners that much because sometimes they'll get back at you.'"
Citing admittedly non-existent fraud, the GOP gang reduced the number of early voting days from 14 to 8, eliminating the Sunday before Election Day disproportionately preferred, in large numbers, by blacks, Hispanics, young people and first-time voters.
As a result, many voters were squished onto a final Saturday of early voting, with lines so long the last voters in Miami cast their ballots at 1 a.m. Some voters were forced to leave lines to care for children or keep appointments, sending even more South Floridians back to the lines on Tuesday.

16. Karl Rove and his investors were the biggest losers on Election Day.

FROM - TZ-  Yet, of the $204 million in so-called independent expenditures reported by American Crossroads, Crossroads GPS and a related super PAC called Crossroads Generation, $190 million went toward television or radio ads backing Romney and GOP congressional candidates. Only $11 million went toward Web advertising, according to a POLITICO analysis of Federal Election Commission data.

Of the 31 races in which the groups aired ads, the Republican won only nine. And, since the groups spent $137 million on the presidential race, less than 5.7 percent of their total spending went toward helping winning candidates, according to a POLITICO analysis.

The Republican strategist created the model for outside money groups that raised and spent more than $1 billion on the Nov. 6 elections - many of which saw almost no return for their money.
Rove, through his two political outfits, American Crossroads and Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, backed unsuccessful Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney with $127 million on more than 82,000 television spots, according to Kantar Media's CMAG, an ad tracker based in New York.
Down the ballot, 10 of the 12 Senate candidates and four of the nine House candidates the Rove groups supported also lost their races.
The results have angered some Republicans who blame Rove for "sidelining conservatives" and diverting money from them.
"Right now there is stunned disbelief that Republicans fared so poorly after all the money they invested," said Brent Bozell, president of For America, an Alexandria, Va.-based nonprofit that advocates for Christian values in politics. "If I had 1/100th of Karl Rove's money, I would have been more productive than he was."
Donald Trump posted a message on Twitter saying: "Congrats to @KarlRove on blowing $400 million this cycle. Every race @CrossroadsGPS ran ads in, the Republicans lost. What a waste of money."
Jonathan Collegio, a Crossroads spokesman, declined to comment. Attempts to reach Rove were unsuccessful.
Rove argued Thursday that Romney lost in part because President Barack Obama outspent him on TV when outside groups are taken out of the equation.
"This shows that money does matter in politics," Rove said on Fox News, where he is a paid commentator. In hindsight, Romney should have used his resources to defend himself because that isn't the strong suit of groups like Crossroads, Rove said.
Obama aired more than twice as many ads on local broadcast and nation cable as Romney during the general election, according to CMAG. However, when outside groups such as the ones Rove steers are added in, each side had about the same number of ads on TV.
The Election Day results showed Rove's strategy of bringing in huge donations from a few wealthy benefactors and spending that money almost completely on television advertising failed. The Center for Responsive Politics estimates the two Crossroads groups spent about $176 million, making them the top non- candidate and non-party spender of the election. Rove has bragged of raising more than $300 million for his groups.
American Crossroads, a super-political action committee, discloses its contributors and spending to the Federal Election Commission. Its affiliate, Crossroads GPS, is organized as a nonprofit social-welfare group that conceals its donors and reports only a fraction of its political activities.
"If the rule in politics is you win or lose by the election results, Karl Rove is a big-time loser in the 2012 presidential and congressional races," said Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, which advocates for limits to campaign spending.
Still, "Karl Rove certainly knows how to make a lot of money for political consultants and TV stations," he said.
Democrats also piled on. "If Crossroads were a business, and Rove was the CEO, he'd be fired for getting a poor return on his investment," New York Sen. Charles Schumer, the chamber's third-ranking Democrat, told reporters Thursday at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast.
The return on investment for American Crossroads donors was 1 percent, according to an analysis by the Sunlight Foundation, a Washington-based group that advocates for open government. The group calculated the number based on how much of the money was spent supporting winners.
For donors to sister-organization Crossroads GPS, the success rate was 13 percent, the group said. That's a lower return than for donations to the National Republican Congressional Committee and to the two major Democratic congressional super-PACs, according to Sunlight.
Houston homebuilder Bob Perry gave $7.5 million to Rove's American Crossroads and another $8 million to Restore Our Future, a super-PAC that supported Romney. He also gave $1 million to Independence Virginia, a super-PAC that backed former Republican governor George Allen in a U.S. Senate race. Allen, with 47 percent support, lost to another former governor, Democrat Tim Kaine, who won 52 percent of the vote. Even after the losses, Perry spokesman Anthony Holm said the super-donor has no regrets.
"Bob Perry will always support efficient government and pro-liberty and opportunity agendas, always," Holm said in a telephone interview. "He was proud to do it this election cycle and is likely to continue into the next cycle."
The Crossroads groups spent $10.2 million in an effort to oust Ohio Democrat Sherrod Brown from the Senate, and overall outside groups spent much more. Brown beat his opponent, State Treasurer Josh Mandel, 50.3 percent to 45.1 percent, with an independent candidate winning 4.6 percent of votes cast.
"His brand of politics is pretty discredited," Brown said of Rove on a conference call. "He thought spending $40 million against me and against the president would bring us down."
Rove was particularly upset about Romney's Ohio loss. A former adviser to George W. Bush, he was acting as a commentator on Fox News when the network called the state for Obama. Rove, on air, said he didn't believe it. He continued to argue with the newscasters while shuffling through papers and calling Ohio's secretary of state and Romney's campaign manager for more information.
"This is premature. We've got a quarter of the vote" outstanding, he said. Fox didn't withdraw its Ohio call for Obama and neither did other networks, predictions that ultimately proved true when the final votes were counted.
Rove's groups spent $11.4 million in their bid to defeat Kaine in Virginia. They spent $7.76 million trying to unseat Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, according to CMAG. Nelson, a Democrat, held his seat as well. The CMAG estimates are for ads on broadcast TV and national cable from April 10, 2012 through the day before the election.
The Crossroads groups bet successfully - although less than $200,000 - on Republican Deb Fischer to win an open seat in Nebraska.
On the House side, Rove scored wins in five of nine races. Among those winners was David Valadao of California's 21st District, where Crossroads GPS spent $437,390, and Republican Tom Latham who beat Democrat Leonard Boswell in Iowa with the help of $432,640 from Crossroads, according to CMAG.
Still, in Nevada's 4th District, where Crossroads was most active, Democrat Steven Horsford beat Republican Danny Tarkanian by almost eight percentage points.
Serving as a Democratic counterweight to Rove was Bill Burton, a former Obama aide who left the White House to form Priorities USA Action. That super-PAC raised and spent about $67 million, a fraction of the budgets for the pro-Romney groups that carried a 100 percent return with Obama's re-election victory.
"There will be a lot of questions raised about just how much bang for their buck Republicans got out of super-PACs," Burton said. "Billionaires on the Republican side are probably wondering what difference their contributions made in this election."
He said he spoke with many of his own large donors Thursday and described them as "ebullient."
Majority PAC, which aided Democratic Senate candidates, spent about $37 million, and 70 percent of that money was used in successful elections. House Majority PAC backed Democratic congressional candidates with $31 million; 44 percent went into winning races, the Sunlight study found.
Other groups emulated the Rove approach, bringing at least $306 million of untraceable donations into the 2012 races, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Americans for Prosperity, founded 10 years ago by industrial billionaires David and Charles Koch, didn't have much of a better night than the Rove groups.
The nonprofit group raised and spent $140 million this year, President Tim Phillips said in an interview.
It bought about $34 million in TV ads attacking Obama and urging people to vote him out. Its $14 million purchase of TV ads in Senate races also turned up few victories.
"We leveled the playing field, but we weren't quite able to get it done," he said.
The largest chunk of the money, $1.2 million, went into the Wisconsin Senate race, according to CMAG.
"Have you seen Tammy Baldwin's voting record?" a woman asks with disgust in a spot than ran about 800 times last month. Baldwin, the Democrat, won last night
The group also spent $622,400 on ads attacking Nelson in Florida, $513,000 on McCaskill in Missouri, $486,000 on Kaine in Virginia, $466,000 on Joe Donnelly in Indiana and Jon Tester in Montana. Those Democrats all won.
AFP made $754,000 in ad buys in Nebraska and Nevada and saw its preferred Republican candidates win in those races.
Phillips said the group is in politics for the long haul, and compared Republicans with Democrats in 2004, when they lost the White House, yet went on to win Congress in 2006 and the presidency in 2008.
Phillips has said he is modeling the group after voter- turnout efforts billionaire investor George Soros made in 2004. Soros put up $24 million - at the time a record - in a failed effort to defeat Bush.
"George was certainly disappointed at Bush's victory in 2004, but he did not feel that he had made a mistake," said Michael Vachon, his spokesman. "He felt he acted out of his conviction that Bush was leading the country in a dangerous direction."
Soros, however, pulled back on his political activities after the loss. It remains to be see whether rich Republicans will come back for another round after these results.
Sheldon Adelson, whose family's $53.4 million investment in federal candidates and outside groups made him 2012's top donor, didn't give money to American Crossroads. Yet he, too, saw his preferred elected officials swept away. Adelson, the 25th richest person in the world according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, is head of Las Vegas Sands Corp., the world's largest casino company.
While leaving Romney's post-election party in Boston last night, Adelson was asked by a Norwegian television reporter how his political donations were spent.
"By paying bills," he said.


Who is responsible for Florida's second infamous elections debacle since 2000?
There will be plenty of blame to go around, especially when Miami-Dade County finally finishes counting provisional ballots and gets to the bottom of who declined to shore up voting operations, and when. But blame will also likely fall on conservative state legislators, who fought for two years to reduce the number of early voting days and limit registration after heavy 2008 turnout in the state for Democrats.
"Obama won the most where the lines were the longest," former state Sen. Dan Gelber (D-Miami Beach) told the Tampa Bay Times, speaking of the 2012 turnout.
Gelber called the law reducing early voting "hubris and overreaching by the Republicans, who may learn a lesson that 'Maybe we shouldn't abuse our prisoners that much because sometimes they'll get back at you.'"
Citing admittedly non-existent fraud, the GOP gang reduced the number of early voting days from 14 to 8, eliminating the Sunday before Election Day disproportionately preferred, in large numbers, by blacks, Hispanics, young people and first-time voters.
As a result, many voters were squished onto a final Saturday of early voting, with lines so long the last voters in Miami cast their ballots at 1 a.m. Some voters were forced to leave lines to care for children or keep appointments, sending even more South Floridians back to the lines on Tuesday.