Category Archives: Uncategorized

Censorship – Revisited Already

Just a quick post here reference a recent commentary on censorship, how it’s already manifesting itself this Administration. Not even in the seat yet and the talking heads are beginning the process. Kellyanne Conway  issued the first warning (and it turns out to have been before my post) with the target being Senator Harry Reid.

“He should be very careful about characterizing somebody in a legal sense. He thinks — he thinks he’s just being some kind of political pundit there, but I would say be very careful about the way you characterize it.”

Senator Reid swung right back calling her comments a “threat of legal action”.  Just as I talked about the concern here Senator Reid’s Chief of Staff Adam Jentleson went on to to call out Trumps desire to silence his critics

“It took only five days for President-elect Trump to try to silence his critics with the threat of legal action. This should shock and concern all Americans,”
“Trump has always used threats and intimidation to silence his critics. Now he wants to silence a discussion of the acts of hate and threat of violence being committed in his name across the country,”

To many, CNN included, Conway’s comments sound like a threat of legal action. I believe so too. So does it appear to Senator Reid. Good to get this out in the open right off. Nice to see a little fight from the retiring Senate Minority Leader. We all should have his back since if this slips….even just a little…our right to be informed, and our right to share our conclusions with each other, our legislators, and our President will be a risk. We lose that, and we have lost our democracy. We all need to be on watch.

 

Demanding Support

    Over the last couple weeks I’ve been involved in and witnessed numerous discussions both in person and on social media about how we all need to support our President elect. In many ways I share and support that sentiment. But there is a lot more to it than sentiment so here are some thoughts and examples as to why that is pretty unlikely, even impossible for many who did not vote for Mr Trump. 

    Let’s begin by stepping back in time. Back to when Mr Obama was elected to the office of the President of these United states. Until then, I had pretty much voted Republican. Not always as I have long placed issues and positions ahead of any party. But eight years ago things changed. The leaders of “my” party refused to accept Mr Obama as the peoples choice in spite of him receiving both popular vote and Electoral College majorities. It appeared to me they worked to block every effort put forth by the Administration even when those efforts were clearly for the good of the U.S. as we attempted to climb out of a major recession. Then came Mr McConnell on public television and said “Our No. 1 priority is to make this president a one-term president”.  At this point I became a registered Independent. There is no way I could associate with such a strong party over country position. I still cannot.

    We also saw for nearly all eight years of the Obama Presidency a movement to question his legitimacy called the “Birther Movement”. One of the leaders of this movement was none other than Mr Trump. He continued his questioning the birth place of President Obama right into the 2016 campaign for President. So now the left and the center are being asked to afford Mr Trump the very same respect and support he refused to provide to his predecessor. I and many others understand and support the sentiment but that will continue to be a difficult leap.

    More important than my opinion however is how folks who were already associated with the left felt, and how they feel now as they are asked to support Mr Trump. Many of these calls and critiques use  terms like “cupcake” or “snowflake” assumed to be used in a critical and/or derogatory way. Here for example is a collage of a few pictures posted on the web and other media throughout Mr Obama’s Presidency:

obama

   None of these appear indicative of right wing support for what again was the majority and Electoral College choice. Now let’s look at how one strongly left leaning writer feels about being implored to support Mr Trump. This piece speaks strongly to the very real emotions at stake in this discussion

support-trump?

    While I don’t support every statement by the author, there is enough I know to be true and enough very real emotions shared by the left community to warrant paying attention. Anyone who denigrates real people who feel this way by calling them “cupcake”, “snowflake” or demands they fall in line behind this President elect just doesn’t understand the issues and emotions. Making demands for support of which their party and their newest choice for the Presidency failed to supply just a few years ago will not be productive.

    A short time ago my wife and I were in Spain and ran into an expat who disavowed President Obama stating He’s not the President, he’s an A-rab implant, somebody needs to shoot him”. I posted this comment and threat to my Face Book page to gauge the response as most of my friends are pretty right leaning. Sadly just three people among hundreds (literally) expressed any dismay. I respect those folks a lot, and have significantly less for those who failed to show concern. Even less yet for those who failed to speak then but now ask everyone to fall in line behind Mr Trump now. Actually none. The standard is either the standard or it’s not. It’s not subjective based on which party.

    There is no doubt for me where this deep division began. While there have always been differences, we citizens have seen work across the isle by Presidents and Congress of differing parties many times. When the people speak in a true majority or the good of the country is at stake it’s imperative to compromise. It is how our government is supposed to work. The obstructionism during the Obama Administration, public critiques of the President, continued questioning of his legitimacy (up until just a few months ago by the President elect himself) and unsupported critiques of nearly every policy will be tough to overcome. Some will never forgive. As an Independent I will have a tough time. I can’t imagine how difficult, likely impossible it will be for most.

    In the end it’s a case of how high a horse right wingers want to climb up on. Most should be very careful. Those who failed to act in defense of Mr Obama during his tenure but now attempt to demand respect and support for Mr Trump will get nowhere. Those who belittle the emotions of the left after men like Mr McConnell and Mr Trump demonized “their” President will get nowhere. Perhaps there is someone, somewhere in my old party, a true leader who will come forward and state that what they did for the past eight years is wrong and proffer an apology. Perhaps there is someone who will at least acknowledge how and why the left feels as the author above describes. Or perhaps they will simply continue to gloat in victory, address the left as “snowflakes” and demand support. I know how I will react to any of those. As a retired combat veteran I will always support my country, but I will not fall in line like another sheep behind Mr Trump after the actions I witnessed by both him and his party.

Republicans failing to at least acknowledge their own divisive actions will continue deepen the divide.

More Censorship

    I wrote most of this post a few days ago. Since then we have seen even more from Mr Trump indicating he only wants good coverage. He is willing to blame the media for anything not matching his version of reality….even protests against his Presidency. Rather than go to the media with a press release or news conference, he’s taken to Tweeting just like during the campaign. The latest direct attempt to squash the First Amendment:

Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!”

4:55 AM – 29 Nov 2016

Never mind that was settled back in 1989 Supreme Court decision, Texas v. Johnson, said burning the flag is a protest protected by the First Amendment. 

    But outside these obvious events there is much more. Mostly subtle but effective in marginalizing the media, blackballing reporters who may not describe things the way Mr Trump perceives himself, and bombarding the public with false statements like this Tweet about winning the popular vote:

In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally”

1:30 PM – 27 Nov 2016

    Unsupported fiction but consistent with what we’ve seen thus far, and an important trend to make the public disbelieve the media and believe him, him alone. Throughout Trumps’ campaign and continuing today he has been calling/labeling them crooked media. It’s been sadly effective in making his followers ignore the facts and evidence put directly in front of them by responsible investigative reporters. Consider the work done by David Fahrenthold proving the Trump Foundation was involved in self dealing and violating federal law. Trump denied it, and his followers ignored the evidence citing the “crooked media” out to get their candidate. With the election over the foundation has filed their taxes indicating they had indeed engaged in self dealing. So with the votes now in Trump has openly admitted self dealing, a clear violation of federal law. Yes 29.8% of the electorate voted for a known crook.

    Also seen in this Presidential campaign is the alternative news with their reputation for using bits and pieces of information turning it toward a dramatic headline. The story rarely supports the headline or narrative, and more rare references supporting the headline or story. Prominent examples: Breitbart, Drudge Report, Allen West, all versions of strongly bent far right and often racist position.

On top of all that we now have completely fake news stories propagating on social media filling the void for (alleged) information now that trust in reporters has been undermined. These stories are written with no factual basis whatsoever. Completely made up with names and towns and events that don’t exist, never happened, but they are passed on to the tune of millions of hits. Stunning propaganda machine bending the minds and hearts of those too too lazy or unwilling to look it up. Perhaps don’t want any facts to come into conflict with their preconceived beliefs. On a personal note, I have experienced a discussion with an old classmate. She is self described as very religious but continued to pass on without apology fake story after fake story….even after being approached by friends with facts disproving her position. As one of my friend asked: at what point in religion has it become OK to knowingly and willfully lie? Clearly it is about the hearts and minds.

    So strong is the concern Christiane Amanpour, one of the top foreign correspondents stated that her “blood ran cold” when Donald Trump tweeted out that those who were protesting in the streets after his election win had been “incited by the media.” She has expressed concern for journalists and journalism in the US just as in many countries around the world today. I recommend reading her comments on CBS NEWS World 

    As I mentioned last blog we need to be on watch to not allow our rights to be encroached or lost completely. We lose that, and we have lost our democracy.

Censorship, We should all be Scared

    Last week we saw a small dust-up over the appearance of our Vice President Elect Mr Pence at Hamilton. First he was booed by the audience, then the cast addressed him with a message.

We hope you will hear us out. …We, sir, we, are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights,” Brandon Victor Dixon, the actor who played Aaron Burr, read to audience cheers. “We truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf all of us.”

    This message was neither threatening nor offensive. It did not nor did anyone or anything else impact the show, detract from the performance, or impede the audience experience in any way. This ladies and gentlemen is what we Americans call Freedom of Speech. It is dear to our democratic government and protected by our Constitution and the Bill of Rights. But immediately afterward we saw a Tweet from our President elect:

The Theater must always be a safe and special place. The cast of Hamilton was very rude last night to a very good man, Mike Pence. Apologize!

Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 19, 2016

    So Trump demands an apology. For what? Exercising their First Amendment Right of Free Speech. Imagine if the theater had erupted in cheers instead of Boos. We wouldn’t be having this conversation at all. The effect here is that the President elect (not technically elect until the Electoral College votes) is demanding only positive media and social information. Freedom of speech is protected by our first amendment yet right now we’re seeing it squeezed and deliberately marginalized, more on that later.

    For now just think about the impact of a President attempting to squash one of your rights. The right of an investigative reporter to research and report . Our right to be informed, and our right to share our conclusions with each other, our legislators, and our President. We lose that, and we have lost our democracy. We all need to be on watch.

    So where have I been? I just completed a term on the Board of Directors for a non-profit organization. I became concerned about both my time and the potential for conflict of interest. If anyone actually missed this blog, sorry. But today is new and there is much to talk about. I will do my best to keep the keyboard rolling and to solicit works and inputs from others. Meanwhile as for media censorship, even if it IS the President elect, sorry bud, as the NRA faction likes to make point on a similar constitutional right, you’ll have to pry my free speech from my cold dead lips.

We Just Don’t Understand

…how great the divide really is between the “Haves” and the “Have Nots”. Let’s not even look at the top few percent. Let’s look at someone we all know, teachers.

I saw these figures a while ago, intended to post. Life overtook writing and now Paul Krugman has done it for me….and better.

It’s all very well to talk vaguely about the dignity of work; but the idea that all workers can regard themselves as equal in dignity despite huge disparities in income is just foolish. When you’re in a world where 40 money managers make as much as 300,000 high school teachers, it’s just silly to imagine that there will be any sense, on either side, of equal dignity in work.”

Quite the perspective, good to keep in mind while we listen to the talk leading up to the 2014 elections. Maybe we can sort out who’s for adding to the burden of the poor, yet maintaining capital gains at 15%, subsidies to fossil fuel giants, and tax loopholes large enough to drive whole corporations through.

 

 

 

Fed Tutorial

Perhaps some interest here on how the Fed actually creates money. Nothing earthshattering, simply helps describe how and why it is doing what it is doing. http://wallstreetonparade.com/2013/11/the-official-video-from-the-federal-reserve-on-how-it-creates-electronic-money/

What’s my Line–Real Mr. Fieler please stand up

I just read the USA today piece “Janet Yellen right for rocky times”.  Convinced it is important to look at more than one perspective I followed by reading the counterpoint. Sometimes we need that before making decisions, me included. But you really, really have to read this counterpoint to believe…or specifically to disbelieve.

The counterpoint author, Sean Fieler, takes an interesting position. er positions. He begins by stating Yellen will pretty much stay the current course, then moves on to critiquing current Fed policy, specifically Quantitative Easing (QE).

“While the Fed’s easy-money policies have not produced many jobs, they have produced a persistent, low rate of inflation that is choking the American middle class.”

Got that everybody? He says QE has caused a low rate of inflation. But then goes on to tell us readers:

Yellen’s extremism offers the Republicans the perfect opportunity to embrace sound money and send a clear signal to voters that they are listening to their concerns about rising prices and falling living standards.

If easy money delivers what it always has throughout history — growing inflation, growing inequality and growing government — a Republican embrace of sound money will offer America a way back to prosperity and the GOP a way back to a governing majority.

Yes you are reading it right  “rising prices“…“easy money“… “delivers growing inflation”. OK Mr. Fieler, which one is it? does QE cause low inflation or high inflation?

A look back here tells us there hasn’t been inflation since QE began. Not five years ago, not three, and not today. With congress failing to stimulate the economy the Fed has done what it can to get dollars into circulation. Meanwhile the pundits continue to howl about inflation. But this…this claims to see both…while pointing to bad of both.

The real Mr. Fieler, as the old TV show goes, works for the American Principles Project another of those radical religious right wing think tanks that will oppose anything not their (or their “god’s”) idea. That clearly explains how both low inflation, and high inflation are caused by the same policy. And no matter which one occurs really…it has to be wrong since a “liberal” is at the helm. Quite nice of him to discredit himself in just a few paragraphs of the same article though.

Money–the Big Picture

While we all know how money works (or doesn’t) for us personally. Here is how it works in the Macro Economy and will have you questioning claims by politicians and US news media. Not short, but simple and easy to understand….guest post by Ken Simpson:

OK, in summary I think we have established that modern money in the U.S. is:

1.       Credit

2.       This credit is denominated in the currency issued by the Federal Government in the accounting unit the Federal Government uses called the “dollar”.

3.       The currency/money issued by the Federal Government therefor represents the government’s credit.

4.       This credit, in units of dollars, printed on notes (or in electronic digits) is not backed by and thereby given its value by a commodity, like gold or silver, nor is it backed by and given value by another country’s currency. We call this a “fiat” or “sovereign” currency because the government is in no way restrained from creating or spending its currency when the currency’s value floats on international markets. The government may create restraints on its own spending or taxing in its own currency but these are self-created political restraints, and as all things political, they can be changed or eliminated or created at any time the government chooses.

5.       The Federal Government purchases goods and services from the private sector in the currency it issues. But, why would people, households and businesses in the private sector accept notes of credit in dollars for services and goods that they provide to the government if the government’s currency is not pegged to the value of a commodity like silver or gold? The answer is: The private sector exchanges good and services for dollar credits because they need the government’s credits to extinguish their tax obligation to the government. [Cynthia and I have a standing joke about this. J.M. Keynes wrote that “the government establishes the thing necessary to pay taxes”. We joke; what if the government wanted rats asses in payment of taxes? The answer is that people would be out collecting them and exchanging them for goods and services because the governments tax imposition had given rats asses value.]

6.       The combination of government spending and taxing is called “fiscal policy”. When the government taxes more money out of the private sector than it spends into the private sector, we call this a Federal Surplus. A Federal Surplus is a flow of net dollars out of the private sector. When the government spends more money into the private sector than it taxes out, we call this (the “dreaded”) Federal Deficit. However, the Federal Deficit is the mechanism by which fiat currency enters the private sector. It is a net flow of dollars from the government to people, households and businesses in the private sector. Every dollar that is in the private sector (that is not being created by bank credit when a loan is made and thereby eventually extinguished when a bank loan is paid off or default on) is there because the government spent it into the private sector and did not tax it back out. The accumulated fiat currency in the system is there because the Federal Government has run deficits year after year for the most part. Most importantly, the system needs dollars to create an effective number of transactions to create a growing economy with full employment and thereby the maximum creation of real wealth right now and for future generations.

Now, let’s consider the macro economy and money. Money, that is not saved, is spent. Someone’s spending equals someone’s else’s income. Spending equals income. Money spent is called effective demand. There is almost unlimited demand for goods and services, but only demand backed by money (i.e. spent money) creates effective demand. Increasing effective demand reduces inventories. Businesses, under most conditions, react to dwindling inventories by purchasing more goods and materials, hiring and investing in new equipment, etc. In doing so, they may take out loans and this credit creation allows banks to create money that is called endogenous (inside) money as in inside the private sector economy. This money in turn creates more effective demand and so on and the whole thing will cascade into a growing economy if there is enough money being spent and borrowed. Money that goes into savings (and debt payment) does not create demand. [Economists make the screwy assumption in their models that debt payment is part of savings but it doesn’t act that way.] However, if there is enough spending, private and government spending combined, effective demand can get to appoint where there is more demand for goods and services than the economy can produce or expand to produce. The capacity of the economy to produce may be reached and yet, there is more money chasing goods and services than there are goods and services. At this point prices begin to rise as the value of money goes down and we get inflation or what we would properly call demand side inflation. At this point the easy and proper thing to do, if inflation is higher than we wanted it to be, would be to use fiscal policy and raise taxes to destroy money and thereby reduce demand and cool off the economy. Taking these steps would not be a surprise to us because we would have been warned to look for inflation, after we reached full employment.

In addition to demand side inflation, we also have what is called supply side inflation. Supply side inflation is sort of the flip side of demand side inflation. The difference is that the economy can be perking along or stagnating or contracting and a supply side shock can cause inflation. Supply side shocks are usual small and effect a single commodity that for some reason becomes suddenly scares and thereby it does not have a huge macro effect. There is usually supply side inflation but for only one or a few commodities.  A good example of a serious supply side shock was the OPEC oil embargo in the 1970’s. This supply side shock raised the price of a critical commodity that was needed for transportation and the manufacture of many other critical commodities. This shock rocked the entire economy and raised prices on almost everything. At the time, the unions were strong and they had contracts that automatically raised workers’ wages as inflation rose. None of the economists at the time knew what to do and Paul Volcker, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, raised interest rates to try and check inflation by making money more expensive to borrow and the result was the  economy had inflation and high interest created stagnation at the same time. No one group in the private sector wanted to take the hit of income loss and the Congress and the Executive Branch did nothing. It was time for rationing and price controls to cushion the shock and spread the pain and help the needy but nothing was done. The Keynesian’s, who were the leading economists at the time, did not have answer for what was happening and the “free market” laissez faire neoliberals took over.

We also have what is known as hyper-inflation. A lot of alarmist politicians and economist say, we are about to have hyper-inflation any minute and they make this call endlessly to scare people for their own personal political gain. Hyper-inflation took place around 1930 in Germany and lately in Zimbabwe. Both were the result of extreme supply side shocks. After World War I the victors tried to make Germany pay the victor’s war debts. The German economy was in ruins and its government was also suffering under extreme war debt. The victors demanded to be paid in gold or their own currencies. To make a long complicated story shot. Germany couldn’t pay up so France occupied Germany’s industrial heartland along the Rhine. The German worker’s went out on strike to prevent the French from seizing the products of their labor. The strike turned into a general strike and the German government kept paying the German workers and people while the strike continued. Financial markets punished the Germans by short selling the Mark in combination with the of the mother of all supply side shocks. Enter hyper-inflation and wheelbarrows full of money. Zimbabwe was the same story on a small scale. Land seizures completely disrupted a rural economy and nothing was produced, while the government paid its political supporters.

There is also a special kind of hyper-inflation that can effect countries with fiat currencies. As we have mentioned, the government’s tax imposition is required to create a demand for fiat currencies and thereby give the currency value. The U.S. Confederacy during the Civil War faced a tax revolt on the home front. The war required the Confederacy to spend like a drunken sailor, but imposing a tax imposition was beyond the capability of the government and hyper-inflation took over.

I will close with fantastic, shape shifting phantom of the “U.S. debt”. For the sake of discussion, I will ignore the more than four trillion dollars’ worth of Treasury Notes that represent the Federal interagency debt like the Social Security Trust Fund of two and one half trillion dollar. How a currency issuing government can owe money to itself is beyond comprehension, but our idiot politicians think this shit is mashed potatoes. We shall ignore the ignorant.

Let’s begin with a question: “How can a currency issuing government go into debt?” Well it cannot go into debt for real, but it can pretend. First, we have a relic, there are a lot of them in Washington, of the Gold Standard Era. When the U.S. was trying to keep the U.S. dollar equal to a certain amount of gold after WWII in order to help international trade go smoothly with everyone in the “Free World” pegging their own currency’s value to a certain amount of a dollar, Congress passed a law that said for every deficit dollar spent the Treasury had to “borrow” a dollar from someone by selling a Treasury Note, in the hope that this would keep the value of the dollar stable in relation to gold. This helped but it didn’t work. There wasn’t enough gold in the World to represent all the dollars that were needed to make the Post War Boom a boom and finance a couple of wars at the same time. Something had to give and Nixon made it happen. Nixon took the U.S. off the Gold Standard and the dollar became the unit of account for our newly sovereign, once again, fiat currency. However oopsie, no one noticed. We ended up with a gold standard ideology and continuing gold standard operations by the Treasury and the Federal Reserve. Since then, we have had a fiat currency but no one in Washington knows what to do with it. No one seem to realize that when the Treasury borrows a dollar from the private sector, it was simply borrowing a dollar back that it had already spent into the private sector. It was a wash. There is now no operational reason for the Treasury to borrow dollars or sell Treasury notes. None. (There is also no operational link between taxing and spending.) However, the private sector loves Treasuries. It can’t get enough of them. Banks love them, investors love them, savers love them and who wouldn’t. They take their dollar denominated notes and turn them into dollar denominated notes that pay interest. Not only that, they are backed by the “full faith and credit” of the U.S. government. The U.S. government is the currency issuer and it can always pay the interest and/or balance on its Treasury notes, unless the Congress goes completely insane and orders the Treasury not to. Furthermore, Treasury notes are in fact part of the money supply and at the same time they are the private sector’s savings. There is absolutely nothing wrong or scary or immoral or evil about the private sector’s savings. Repeat after me please: “In a modern monetary economy the state’s debt is fictitious”. I know it is hard to say or believe but facts are stubborn things. The U.S. government, Treasury and Federal Reserve, can turn dollar notes into dollar Treasury Notes and back again ad infinitum. There can be no operational thing like a “debt limit”. There may be one in the minds of traitorous Congress critters, who would sabotage their own laws and programs that they voted for, but that is nothing more than inane, political shenanigans that the Obama likes to pretend are lawfully binding for his own shenanigans.

There are no operational limits on government spending or “debt”. However, there are real limits on resources, labor and established capacity. Everything else is smoke and mirrors politics of an ongoing swindle of the American people. ~

NC Voter Suppression–Intentional

Phyllis Schlafly, a prominent leader of the religious right movement for decades, tells us the NC voter suppression is deliberate. Clearly what we just pointed out earlier this week right here has been verified by one of the ruling party strategists.

“The reduction in the number of days allowed for early voting is particularly important because early voting plays a major role in Obama’s ground game. The Democrats carried most states that allow many days of early voting, and Obama’s national field director admitted, shortly before last year’s election, that “early voting is giving us a solid lead in the battleground states that will decide this election.”

So what we have is a right wing activist telling us in very clear terms the North Carolina law was thought through and intentional in it’s intent to suppress votes from those likely to vote democratic. There are several legal challenges pending…I sure hope this gets put in the mix. Making a mistake is one thing, claiming ignorance is another, intentionally drafting legislation to suppress votes, then telling the world how and why. Well that has to impact the legal rulings.

NC’s Voter Discrimination Law

Called “Voter ID” but beyond line one, it’s a version of discrimination plain and simple. That’s why it here–it’s title and stated purpose are lies. Pushed through as a deterrent against widespread and undetected voter fraud even long-time Republican Colin Powell has come out against it hammering Governor Pat McCrory for signing it:

“What has come out of the legislature is that fraud is widespread and undetected,” he said. “How is fraud widespread if it’s undetected? How can it be undetected if it’s widespread?”

I’m not against requiring a photo ID to vote. But there are many ways to accomplish requiring ID’s without being discriminatory be it age, sex, ethnicity, or as in this case mostly political leanings. Remember, NC had record numbers of young voters turn out for the 2008 and 1012 elections. How the lines are drawn in the NC law:

Voters must have a photo ID to vote. OK, but a Student ID is NOT allowed–A concealed weapons permit IS allowed. Consider the age and voting demographics for a moment: Students—statistically younger, liberal, educated, ethnically diverse. Concealed Carry Permit–statistically more conservative, more white. (I’ll just stop there) I ask who better to eliminate if your current legislature and governor are mostly wealthy, white, conservatives?

So if we take this train a bit farther—a student ID can be used to buy liquor, it can be used to buy a gun, and it can also be used as an ID in the course of obtaining a concealed weapons permit. Just not for voting. I mean who’d want those young adults actively studying economics, history, art, and business to have a say in the state and national elections anyway? Clearly NOT the cronies in power today. By the way this especially riles me as one of my degrees happens to be from a respected NC institution. (Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, North Carolina Wesleyan College)

For a student, what’s the alternative? Any person lacking an ID from the narrow acceptable list can obtain a “free” N.C.-issued card. Sounds great until finding what one has to do to get that ID.

Getting a “free” state-issued ID first requires a trip to a Department of Motor Vehicle’s office, taking with you no fewer than four other forms of identification. One of those IDs must be your original Social Security card or a tax form with your name and Social Security number. How many college students, much less the rest of us, can easily put their hands on that?

North Carolina’s new voter ID law would make thousands of young people, many of whom are first-time voters, have a harder time voting and ultimately may entice them to decide, “Why bother?”

And in this case there is so very much more buried deep in the document making it both harder to vote AND harder to determine just who is funding election campaigns: “In addition to requiring photo ID at the polls, the new law reduces early voting time, eliminates same-day registration, ends pre-registration for minors and stops the state’s annual voter registration drive. The law also scales back public disclosure required for 501(c)(4)s, also known as “dark money” groups.”   [2]

But back to the ID. So many questions but few answers. If there is indeed fraud–a position challenged by Colin Powell, numerous research efforts, and me–then an ID makes sense. I can even accept requiring a photo ID. But even Florida, my current home of record doesn’t get this right. For example:

I have a FL voter ID as required to vote. Gotta have it or I’ll be turned away at the polls. To get it I had to register and prove I was from both the state and the district where I intend to vote. But sorry, not so fast, that won’t do. Why? Because even with all the hoops needed to prove I was who I was and am indeed from where I am from, there isn’t a picture of me on the stinking voter ID. Nope, and yes FL requires a photo ID as well as the state issued voter ID. Well I have one of those too. As a middle class guy who drives, is retired from the military, has Merchant Mariner Credentials, TWIC card etc….I have in fact many. But imagine I was a young man from Miami working my own way through college, riding the bus, living at home to make ends meet. I most likely would not, and voting could become more complicated and frankly more expensive. I would have a student ID which IS allowed in FL. In North Carolina–that option becomes illegal in 2016–adding time and expense. We used to call that a poll tax–illegal. Let’s hope this new voting law in NC gets tossed by the courts well before 2016.