new day rising

superbushI spent Monday watching the 2003 documentary Control Room, then read a mess of online farewells to George Bush. This one comes closest to what’s inside my own heart: May the Road Rise to Meet You in the Face, You Treasonous Son of a Bitch.

Contrary to the arguments made by your defenders, I didn’t root for you to fail. I never did. I greeted your installment by the Supreme Court with exhaustion and resignation, and your first few months in office with general skepticism, but I never thought, “Boy, I hope he just falls on his face and kills a lot of people and wrecks our economy and blows holes in the sand for five years.” I thought, “Maybe it’ll be okay. Maybe it won’t be so bad.”

And when 9/11 happened I said to myself and those around me, Democrats all, “Well, let’s see what he does now.” My life has not been devoid of stories about unlikely heroes arising from feckless halfwit princelings, so I was prepared for that to happen. Hopeful, even. Who doesn’t want everything to be okay? Who doesn’t recognize that you being a terrible failure would hurt us far more than it would hurt you?

I wish you had done the job. I wish you had found and tried and executed Osama bin Laden, and rebuilt Afghanistan the way we should have decades ago. I wish you had given us real security, not this dance of removing our shoes and putting lotion in a baggie. I wish you had told us to conserve and sacrifice, not spend and eat. I wish you had listened to those in the armed forces and those in Congress and those on the street when they said, don’t invade Iraq. I wish you had listened to Iraqis, afterwards, when they said, help us stop the looting and violence.

I wish you had listened to the Gulf Coast’s people when they called out for help. I wish you had listened to the sick and their doctors when they asked you to grant research to cure their disesases. I wish you had listened to women when we said, we value our autonomy.

I wish you had listened to us all when we said we are more than this, we are better than this, ask us and there’s nothing we won’t give you. I wish you had had faith in us equal to that which we placed in you. And I wish you had been worthy of what we wanted from you, and from ourselves.

I wish you had done and been all of this, but you didn’t and you weren’t, and so what we’re left with are the memories of the dead, the horrors of the living, with boarded-up houses and empty streets, a place so broken we barely recognize it anymore. It’s hard to imagine punishment fitting for that. It’s hard, having wished all this for you, to wish anything more, but I do:

May you live a life of quiet contemplation of every single one of your failures. May you live a life hemmed in by those you hurt, in a cell physical or otherwise, papered with the faces of your dead. May you be  sheltered from the rain of rotten tomatoes and sour heads of cabbage by a small, broken umbrella. May you be gnawed upon by the hunger you fostered in the poor, chilled by the cold from which you refused to shield the homeless, beset by the illnesses you refused to help cure, subjected to the indignities you inflicted upon others.

May your life be long, and healthy, and full of everything you gave to America and the world. May you come to know exactly who you are. May you come to recognize the face in the mirror each morning.

May it give to you a fraction of the nightmares you deserve.

No love at all,


More at the link and worth twice the time to read it once.

Eight years of international decline and what’s been lost may never be recovered. 

On my bookshelf, a small sample of elucidating prose that need never have been written:

The Dark Side

The Forever War

The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot

The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

In the Shadow of No Towers

Conservatives Without Conscience

The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil

The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule

The Great Derangement: A Terrifying True Story of War, Politics and Religion

Bush on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President


Two Images that sum up this administration:



And while he was doing this:


Our elected president flew a team of doctors into New Orleans and took complete control of the mission —  exhausted, pissed, and declining media coverage for fear it would be “politicized.”


I won’t belabor what’s shaping up as the worst legacy ever, a slimeball trail future administrations will be cleaning up for life, no, enough buzz-killing. In the space of one day the tears this country flows will be of far sweeter quality, and for once I cannot wait for the speechifying to begin. Meanwhile read this smackdown of the uncomprehending winger outcry concerning our inaugural poet, Countdown to PORN and go forward laughing, citizen.

A problem from Hell

Good to know. How can I help? I don’t have anything different to add to the online cacophony other than my endorsement, but yesterday’s statement by Eve Ensler on Huffpo perfectly describes what’s clanging around my own feminist head and heart. Actual blogging may be on hold these days but there comes a time to cut & paste:

I am having Sarah Palin nightmares. I dreamt last night that she was a member of a club where they rode snowmobiles and wore the claws of drowned and starved polar bears around their necks. I have a particular thing for Polar Bears. Maybe it’s their snowy whiteness or their bigness or the fact that they live in the arctic or that I have never seen one in person or touched one. Maybe it is the fact that they live so comfortably on ice. Whatever it is, I need the polar bears.

I don’t like raging at women. I am a Feminist and have spent my life trying to build community, help empower women and stop violence against them. It is hard to write about Sarah Palin. This is why the Sarah Palin choice was all the more insidious and cynical. The people who made this choice count on the goodness and solidarity of Feminists.

But everything Sarah Palin believes in and practices is antithetical to Feminism which for me is part of one story — connected to saving the earth, ending racism, empowering women, giving young girls options, opening our minds, deepening tolerance, and ending violence and war.

I believe that the McCain/Palin ticket is one of the most dangerous choices of my lifetime, and should this country chose those candidates the fall-out may be so great, the destruction so vast in so many areas that America may never recover. But what is equally disturbing is the impact that duo would have on the rest of the world. Unfortunately, this is not a joke. In my lifetime I have seen the clownish, the inept, the bizarre be elected to the presidency with regularity.

Sarah Palin does not believe in evolution. I take this as a metaphor. In her world and the world of Fundamentalists nothing changes or gets better or evolves. She does not believe in global warming. The melting of the arctic, the storms that are destroying our cities, the pollution and rise of cancers, are all part of God’s plan. She is fighting to take the polar bears off the endangered species list. The earth, in Palin’s view, is here to be taken and plundered. The wolves and the bears are here to be shot and plundered. The oil is here to be taken and plundered. Iraq is here to be taken and plundered. As she said herself of the Iraqi war, “It was a task from God.”

Sarah Palin does not believe in abortion. She does not believe women who are raped and incested and ripped open against their will should have a right to determine whether they have their rapist’s baby or not.

She obviously does not believe in sex education or birth control. I imagine her daughter was practicing abstinence and we know how many babies that makes.

Sarah Palin does not much believe in thinking. From what I gather she has tried to ban books from the library, has a tendency to dispense with people who think independently. She cannot tolerate an environment of ambiguity and difference. This is a woman who could and might very well be the next president of the United States. She would govern one of the most diverse populations on the earth.

Sarah believes in guns. She has her own custom Austrian hunting rifle. She has been known to kill 40 caribou at a clip. She has shot hundreds of wolves from the air.

Sarah believes in God. That is of course her right, her private right. But when God and Guns come together in the public sector, when war is declared in God’s name, when the rights of women are denied in his name, that is the end of separation of church and state and the undoing of everything America has ever tried to be.

I write to my sisters. I write because I believe we hold this election in our hands. This vote is a vote that will determine the future not just of the U.S., but of the planet. It will determine whether we create policies to save the earth or make it forever uninhabitable for humans. It will determine whether we move towards dialogue and diplomacy in the world or whether we escalate violence through invasion, undermining and attack. It will determine whether we go for oil, strip mining, coal burning or invest our money in alternatives that will free us from dependency and destruction. It will determine if money gets spent on education and healthcare or whether we build more and more methods of killing. It will determine whether America is a free open tolerant society or a closed place of fear, fundamentalism and aggression.

If the Polar Bears don’t move you to go and do everything in your power to get Obama elected then consider the chant that filled the hall after Palin spoke at the RNC, “Drill Drill Drill.” I think of teeth when I think of drills. I think of rape. I think of destruction. I think of domination. I think of military exercises that force mindless repetition, emptying the brain of analysis, doubt, ambiguity or dissent. I think of pain.

Do we want a future of drilling? More holes in the ozone, in the floor of the sea, more holes in our thinking, in the trust between nations and peoples, more holes in the fabric of this precious thing we call life?

Obama to McCain: CBT is shit-fer-brains

Welp, I’m back from my break. Feast your eyes to the right of this blog, after 3 months over-thinking how to set it up we now have a world of VODPOD, and I think it’s going to help. I’m just building the library now but once it holds a hundred or so clips will find a way to order the narrative so we can get lost for a day or two in there.

So what’s new? I took off a few weeks because I’ve been animated by a real serious project that I didn’t want to jinx by blogging about and since this project is uppermost in my mind found I couldn’t blog about anything until I feel secure it’s going to work out. I feel secure it’s going to work out and will explain everything tomorrow but as a tease will just share that due to this new and mysterious activity I am barred from employment at the United States Department of Justice. Of course since I live on Social Security and won’t be seeking fulltime employment any time soon, it’s only a symbolic gesture, but I am very flattered, Mr. Inspector General and will do my utmost to earn the distinction on your federal no-hire shit list. La!

I have to run now, iron my hat and polish my shoes so I can look victorious tomorrow during my special secret activity mission serving Amerikkka, but this Obama video making the news sure tickled me and I wanted to highlight the psychological two cents of his snarkiliciously broad and populist message. La la!

His top economic advisor

said the other day that

Americans should stop complaining; they’ve become a nation of whiners.

That all these


problems everybody’s talkin about is just a



And if you would just change your mind

everything’d be okay!

Somebody’s been laid off

Their plant’s closed or gone to

Mexico or China?

Change your mind!

It’s all good!

…True quote!!!

Where did our love go?

Heard from our first NAMI defender today in a comment too fuckwadity to dissect though it’s befitting of due ridicule in what I hope to be the first in a protracted and honorable sword-crossing with our authoritarian rightwing mental health overlords. Participatory dialogue between consumers and families is so very long overdue it was with bated breath I opened the email only to discover that I’m fat lazy ugly self-absorbed and write a shitty blog, do nothing to improve the world while the good people of NAMI, who are VOLUNTEERS, freely volunteer their time and energy to advocate for the mentally ill. O yes compared to them my own perfidy knows no bounds, even poor, helpless diabetic Angelbait is not laid low with chronic disease in the prime of her nine lives, but is an attention-seeking feline who is clearly neurotic and her butt stinks and she likes to smell her own butt. The fact that I would blog about a sick cat is further proof I have no idea how the Internets work.

All this to say my first comment by a NAMI defender was everything I hoped it would be — senseless, textbook character assassination, unsurprising unless you consider it remarkable that an organization founded on the denial of interpersonal abuse should be defended by an ally who spews an onslaught of personalized abuse, which I don’t find remarkable at all, and is in fact central to the case we are making against the pharma-funded family advocate wrecking crew.

Let me be clear — NAMI is comprised of standard emotional abusers, who take their page from the standard how-to-abuse manual, whether targeting kids, women, animals, immigrants or bloggers, up to and including the part where they project their own twisted hatred onto their prey, deny their own antisocial tendencies which are deployed for nothing but the rush of sheer pleasure that results from humiliating their would-be victims, a pleasure they also don’t understand, and know only that the target clearly asked for it by being fat, old, proud, self-referential, caring for shitty sick cats, and as any rapist will tell you, running around with her tits hanging out.

No, my first family troll did not surprise or disappoint in the least, I will simply note the momentous occasion by highlighting a classic NAMI intervention in their ongoing mission to “eradicate the stigma of mental illness and improve the quality of life of those affected by brain diseases.” First, a digression if I may; many critics of NAMI focus on their “brain disease” mantra as a scientifically unsupportable mis-attribution and it is that. But evil wears many hats, and I submit that all of NAMI’s rhetoric is carefully groomed and thoroughly vetted before it’s introduced, and by the time we hear it the users have been schooled to speak solely within that frame in order to seize the discourse and ignore alternative conceptual frames as if they don’t exist. This is what they do. NAMI is a lobby group engaged in all the tactics of political hardball. As such the term brain disease serves a dual purpose, as the final word on psychiatric phenomena, which most educated and enlightened people are affronted by, and so we concentrate on arguing with the sophistry and hubris demonstrated up-front. But wait, there’s more! The implicit purpose of promulgating the concept of brain disease is in securing the complete dehumanization of the victim, required by abusers in order for them to justify interpersonal violence. That too is part of the inflicter’s handbook, as criminologists discovered in their early studies of serial killers, nobody wants to feel like a monster. So you divest your target of their basic humanity.

Brain disorder is NAMI’s ruling trope, giving them license to inflict, which is why they repeat it incessantly in every publication, and why it needs to be attacked on grounds that it totally dehumanizes. How can you abuse a brain disease? Neat, isn’t it. So is their vulnerability. We’ll come back to this, meanwhile what say we get on with it and strap all our chairs to the floor.

SOURCE: Sheldon Richman, Editor, Ideas on Liberty, quoted by Szasz, T. Mental illness: From shame to pride:

The NAMI rhetoric conceals that the organization is composed of, and controlled by, principally the relatives of so-called mentally ill persons and that its main purpose is to justify depriving such persons of liberty in the name of mental health. So convinced is NAMI of the nobility of its cause, that its web site offers this scenario:

Sometime, during the course of your loved one’s illness, you may need the police. By preparing now, before you need help, you can make the day you need help go much more smoothly. … It is often difficult to get 911 to respond to your calls if you need someone to come & take your MI relation to a hospital emergency room (ER). They may not believe that you really need help. And if they do send the police, the police are often reluctant to take someone for involuntary commitment. That is because cops are concerned about liability. … When calling 911, the best way to get quick action is to say, “Violent EDP,” or “Suicidal EDP.” EDP stands for Emotionally Disturbed Person. This shows the operator that you know what you’re talking about. Describe the danger very specifically. “He’s a danger to himself “is not as good as “This morning my son said he was going to jump off the roof.” … Also, give past history of violence. This is especially important if the person is not acting up. … When the police come, they need compelling evidence that the person is a danger to self or others before they can involuntarily take him or her to the ER for evaluation. … Realize that you & the cops are at cross purposes. You want them to take someone to the hospital. They don’t want to do it. Say, “Officer, I understand your reluctance. Let me spell out for you the problems & the danger. …While NAMI is not suggesting you do this, the fact is that some families have learned to “turn over the furniture” before calling the police. Many police require individuals with neurobiological disorders to be imminently dangerous before treating the person against their will. If the police see furniture disturbed they will usually conclude that the person is imminently dangerous.

Deliberately giving false information to the police is a felony. Except, it seems, when the falsehood serves the avowed aim of providing mental health treatment for a “loved one.”

WaPo good, Huffpo bad

It’s enough to make your head spin, these two posts I read one after the other with my morning swear words. Liberal bastion Thorn in my side Huffington is screaming for forced drugging and involuntary commitment (Britney, et alia) —

It’s outrageous that she was released from the hospital …all the experts say she needed to have been held for a minimum of 30 days!

while the wingnutty Washington Post says flat out that the medical model has got to go.

Here’s the problem: The WaPo piece says nothing about forced commitment and the HuffPo piece says nothing about the medical model; but I can say with assurance that these 2 posts are general critiques of the other, that in mental illness discourse we shake out on partisan lines and this has got to get more explicit or it’s just circular wankery and talking past each other.

There is a disconnect underlying most of what passes for learned opinion regarding mental illness in the blogosphere. The disconnect is on writers who don’t know what they’re talking about because they haven’t done their homework. Pundits should be conversant with the various models of mental illness and the body of scholarship that underpins each, at the very least they should recognize when they are promoting the medical model, and what that means, because when you don’t understand something you can make it mean anything. Is that too much to ask? So of course when a knowledgeable commenter like the following comes along and offers a recognizable critique he is shot down for being a pedant, complicator, and delusional ex-patient with an ax to grind:

No other medical condition is the basis for incarceration. Those of us with mental illness are denied rights that everyone else enjoys. Thanks to people like you who have no concern for our rights and have no understanding of our illness, we are singled out, stigmatized, imprisoned, ridiculed and ostracized.

…Were it not for you and those who are likeminded singling us out in the ways just described, we might be more accepting of ‘help.’

That comment in the Huff post is an implicit smackdown of the medical model. The same model explicitly identified and shitcanned over at the Washington Post today:

Larry Davidson, a Yale researcher on recovery from severe mental illness, has examined the data and found that this model is flawed, at least in the field of mental health. “In the medical model, you take a person with a mental illness, you provide treatment in the hopes of reducing symptoms, and then they’re supposed to approximate some notion of normality,” he told me. “Our research shows the opposite. You take a person with a mental illness, you then reduce the discrimination and stigma against them, increase their social roles and participation, which provides them a reason to get better in the first place, and then you provide treatment and support. The issue is not so much making them normal but helping them get their lives back.”

These are fighting words. They sound so benign that it’s easy to overlook that fact, that when we hear someone talk about social support, engagement, participation and community roles they are not speaking in a vacuum, and they are not talking about a subordinate adjunct to the medical approach, but invoking an alternative, social model of distress and recovery, which has all but been silenced by the dominant paradigm whose signifiers are doctor, hospital, medication, stabilization, biology, genetic, heredity, bloodlines, as in tainted, etc. These are the dogwhistles that point to a belief system known as the medical or biological model of mental illness. So it’s about language, and learning the words that the bad people use.

Is this necessary? Why not just say, gosh, with so many conflicting and complex models to choose from, why not have the consumer do the homework and direct their own personal care and treatment, whether medical or alternative or an eclectic mix of both, or decline all of it and que sera. But to make this assertion is itself a partisan stand, because any alternative to the medical model will, by definition deviate from the medical model, and that’s the mortal sin. It’s not the particular treatment choice under fire, but choice, period. And so every alternative falls under the single rubric of “filthy hippy healthcare” coined by medical model monster E. Fuller Torrey, who wants you to believe irresponsible advocates would force bipolars off their evil meds, when what we actually demand is that bipolars be empowered to make fully-informed decisions ourselves, without penalty, and with the understanding and expectation that we will make mistakes and change our minds just like everybody does, with the same right to learn the hard way, while do-gooders suck it up and wrench their garments in dread, too bad, so sad.

I’m pretty sure the WaPo author would agree with me; his piece indicates we share the same politics, the HuffPo author not so much, because oddly enough we don’t. Once again it looks like I dared to take the true blue liberal stand on a mental health matter at a liberal blog. Or thought I had. I don’t even know anymore.

As long as I’m free to complain and orient myself like this I’m happy that people are talking more openly about mental illness in the blogosphere. I can’t say why anyone would deny their own bias, but I know one way to shut down the opposition is to pretend there is no opposition, and some people do operate in total bad faith like that, but maybe others just don’t understand enough about the terrain they’re on, and deserve to be given benefit of the doubt while they navigate the learning curve, yes, with feet held firmly to the fire, on notice that teh willful stoopid will not be tolerated without one minute of surcease, seriously, it’s embarrassing. An opening salvo? Yes, I’d be delighted:
Mental illness is a political issue.
Will political liberals kindly step up and take THE goddamn LIBERAL POSITION?

Shoot the messenger, problem solved

Seems as more Americans routinely google the side effect profile of prescriptions they end up at commercial websites offering drug alternatives and class action lawsuits. You might think this is a good thing, but an editorial in Clownhall worries that it’s wrecking patient confidence in their drugs oh noes! The real problem is not the injury to people who are forced by court order to ingest drugs that make them sicker, but the problem of transparency that might lead to a rational and informed refusal on the part of the person so ordered:

In 2003, I wrote about state Medicaid programs cutting access to the newer forms of schizophrenia drugs, such as Eli Lily’s Zyprexa and Janssen’s Risperdal, after trial lawyers filed lawsuits alleging that these valuable drugs may increase a patient’s risk of developing diabetes. Never mind that the often crippling, even dangerous, effects of schizophrenia are well-established, and the link to diabetes was merely a theory.

In 2004, during a controversy in Mississippi over whether local TV stations should run trial lawyer ads recruiting plaintiffs for Zyprexa and Risperdal lawsuits, mental health professionals told the Biloxi Sun-Herald that patients had had to be recommitted after not taking their medications.

“People see these ads and they think that [Zyprexa and Risperdal are] bad for them, so they quit taking them,” Teri Breister, executive director of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill in Mississippi, told the Sun-Herald. The paper reported that Breister “said she has heard of at least five people who have been recommitted after stopping the medications. Mental health professionals in Jackson, Hattiesburg and on the Coast have all expressed concerns about the ads, she said.”

The paper reported that Michael Maxey, director of the Crisis Stabilization Unit in Gulfport, said he has had two patients be recommitted to mental institutions after not taking their medications, and that Maxey knew of at least nine patients who quit taking their medications after seeing the trial lawyer advertisement.

In 2007, an Eli Lily-funded survey of 402 psychiatrists who treat patients with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia found that, in the words of an Associated Press report, “More than half of the participating psychiatrists said they believed their patients who stopped medication or reduced the dosage did so after seeing lawyers’ advertisements about anti-psychotic drugs.”

…As Edmund F. Haislmaier has written for the National Center for Public Policy Research, “Class action lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies over prescription drug side effects… distort the public understanding of drug safety. In fact, no drug is ever completely “safe.” Even aspirin is harmful if taken in the wrong dose or by the wrong person.

Very true. We are compelled to point out Jeffrey Dahmer had a soft side, too.
H/T: Sadly, No!

Welp, it’s that time again

I just worked 17 hours, am revving up, seeing double, voter suppression is back on the agenda, fireworks under the oink dome all day. I’m going to spend the weekend researching the researchers, but will post a music video in the meantime to bless your eyes.

Anyone who’s a political junkie would have loved this display; heroism, giggles and the hair-raising wingnut gall smacked down by truth machine Rafael Anchia time and again, 10 hours, a shot from both sides, and it’s only the beginning. Did you know that a near-death Senator Gallegos laid here for a week last year to keep this from passing? On the senate floor! Good night sleep tight, y’all come back now, but first, a chunka my 5,000 word summary of the best free entertainment in Texas:

House Committee on Elections:

Justin Levitt of the Brennan Center for Justice at the NYU School of Law said eligible American voters are hurt by voter ID and proof of citizenship laws, and that he doesn’t want Texas legislators to be “sold a lot of snake oil” by proponents of voter ID. He told the Committee to look hard at the problem — make sure it is real, tailor the solution to make certain it corrects the problem, and make certain it does not make the problem worse.

Chair Berman asked what the witness thought about Texas implementing voter ID.

“It’s an awful idea, Mr. Chair, research shows that the poor, elderly, and minorities are overwhelmingly shut out, not because they are not citizens, but because they simply don’t have the papers.” Levitt said Americans do not need ID to get on a plane, rent a car or video, they are asked for it yes, but commercial enterprise understands that not all Americans have photo ID. He said that airports deal with citizens who lack identification by subjecting them to extra procedures and more intrusive security measures. Representative Anchia asked where the witness would put the right to rent a video and board a plane in the hierarchy of rights, are they constitutional rights? No, said Levitt, voting comes before all others and is so important we need to make sure people have no barriers to exercising that right. The Chair noted that the State was prepared to give the poor free photo ID last session, Levitt replied that a person has to possess ID in order to obtain a photo ID, that his organization has facts on the number and sorts of people who can’t get ID, and repeated that the size of the voter fraud problem is extremely small, “there are far more UFO sightings every year than reports of the sorts of fraud that photo ID can fix.” He conceded the point that voter ID may increase the confidence in the system of those who have it, but claimed it would not increase the confidence of those eligible American citizens who have been shut out of the system.

Dr. R.P Moore, Elections and Voting Researcher with the Research Triangle Institute in North Carolina stated that it is difficult to get a handle on the facts since social scientists are dealing with a conflicting body of literature, most of it ideologically-loaded by advocate groups, and most of it frankly not rigorous, but trends are beginning to emerge. He said there is growing evidence that there is a population of Americans that don’t have a photo ID. We do know they are disproportionately poor, women, minorities, and likely to vote Democratic, he said. In Texas 150,000 registered voters lack photo ID, not including eligible voters without identification who would be impacted by photo ID requirements. Representative Burnam announced it would cost the State $25 per birth certificate for 150,000 citizens to solve a problem that does not exist.

Dr. David Muehlhausen, Policy Analyst at the Heritage Foundation said the rational conservative position is that this is something the states should decide. He claimed that studies linking lower voter turnout to voter ID laws are flawed, that there is no evidence of voter suppression in states that have voter ID; in fact, he said, turnout has increased by 2%, which shows voter ID enhances public confidence in the electoral process.

Representative Burnam asked what the Heritage position would be in terms of funding voter ID, would they advocate the cost fall on the state or the individual? Muehlhausen replied that it would in his opinion not be a bad thing for the state to pay the costs. Representative Anchia asked if the Heritage Foundation would oppose biographical data and fingerprints on the card, the witness replied that it is a contentious issue within the Heritage organization, but the official position is that Heritage supports voter ID.

Anchia asked the witness why a conservative organization would throw its resources into the voter ID issue. Muehlhausen said voter ID has no impact on turnout, and the Heritage Foundation thinks lawmakers need to know that. Anchia said just because white turnout goes up 2% doesn’t mean that minority voters aren’t disenfranchised by 40%. Muehlhausen testified that he controlled for race and ethnicity factors and according to his data set the implementation of voter ID shows no effect on minorities in one state in 2 election cycles. He agreed with Anchia that more research is needed, and that it will continue to accumulate.

Dr. Gerald Hebert, Campaign Legal Center, Washington, DC …launched a full-throated diatribe naming the GOP as the elephant in the room, suggesting voter ID will shake out on partisan lines. He said that fraud does exist, but every nationwide reputable study shows the incidents are overblown, citing less than a hundred prosecutions per election cycle. The witness gave a profile of 13 Texans prosecuted in 1996. He said attorney general Greg Abbott prosecuted 10 people for mailing the ballots of housebound senior citizens, all of which were African Americans and all voted Democratic. He alleged thuggery and harassment by the Attorney General’s investigative agents, and the misuse of tax monies to subvert the minority vote. Voter intimidation tactics, vote caging and suppression exists in Texas, said Hebert, and is being perpetrated by Greg Abbott , and that office is where the legislative fix begins. The Chair asked for clarification — was the witness accusing the Attorney General of enabling voter fraud in Highland Park? The witness affirmed the inquiry, and Chair said he will forward the witness testimony to the AG office and solicit Abbott’s response.

Tina Benkiser, Chair of the Republican Party of Texas, said there are few prosecutions of voter fraud, because it is very difficult to detect. She described voter ID as a tool of fairness, integrity, common sense and voter confidence, and she recommended that voter fraud be prosecuted as a felony offense. Representative Anchia cross-examined this witness at length, arguing that the measures she advocates would increase rather than decrease opportunity for fraud. He denied the Conservative Coalition claim that 3700 illegals were dropped during 2004-2007, and said his own study which came in today via the open records act shows the number closer to 23 illegal residents. Chair Berman accused Anchia of making inflammatory statements and harassing the witness. Representative Farias said he would like to ask a question and the Chair refused to recognize him, stating he was not a member of this Committee and when recognized earlier in the day had argued with the Chair. Representative Burnam read from Republican Party email alerts he claimed deliberately misled the public about voter fraud in Texas, the Chair instructed Benkiser not to respond to the allegation, saying she was not on trial. Burnam pressed on, the Chair banged the gavel, and Benkiser said she would meet with the representative privately to respond to his accusation. Representative Burnam concluded that Benkiser is personally responsible for inflaming the public for nefarious purposes and deliberately undermining the public’s confidence in the electoral process. With voice shaking, the witness responded that she is in this battle to make certain the citizenry is informed so that no representative under the dome can feed the public its opinions.

In closing, Chair graciously apologized for earlier displays of temper, and said he set the schedule for this day because he knew it would bring out animosities that need to be aired if both sides are to reach a compromise. He invited Rafael Anchia to head a subcommittee to find solutions for mail-in ballot fraud, which the Representative accepted with relish. Given no further testimony, the meeting adjourned at some godawful hour.

Try To Praise The Mutilated World

Try to praise the mutilated world.
Remember June’s long days,
and wild strawberries, drops of wine, the dew.
The nettles that methodically overgrow
the abandoned homesteads of exiles.
You must praise the mutilated world.
You watched the stylish yachts and ships;
one of them had a long trip ahead of it,
while salty oblivion awaited others.
You’ve seen the refugees heading nowhere,
you’ve heard the executioners sing joyfully.
You should praise the mutilated world.
Remember the moments when we were together
in a white room and the curtain fluttered.
Return in thought to the concert where music flared.
You gathered acorns in the park in autumn
and leaves eddied over the earth’s scars.
Praise the mutilated world
and the grey feather a thrush lost,
and the gentle light that strays and vanishes
and returns.

Adam Zagajewski
Translated by Renata Gorczynski