Friday, February 22, 2013

Right-wingers all over agree: We don't need no stinkin' democracy!


by Ken

In a "Letter from Jerusalem" in the January 21 issue, which appeared just before the January 22 Israeii election, New Yorker editor David Remnick wrote an interesting piece ("The Party Faithful") that I didn't get around to reading until after that election, with its surprisingly un-extreme result. Remnick, in his piece, seemed quite prepared for what most everyone was expecting: the next step in Israel's seemingly unstoppable free fall into the clutches of its demonic Far Right.

The extremist crazies, for their part, seemed pretty confident that Total Victory was within their grasp. (At which point all they would have had to do was fight it out amongst themselves. These people are so deeply unlikable, not to mention crazy, that they all seem to hate one another, meaning that a lot of deeply diseased egos would have to be put in check to sustain any sort of Coalition of the Crazies.) So confident were they that some of them were unexpectedly forthcoming about their goals. Or maybe these people are so far gone that this measure of frankness comes naturally to them.
Meanwhile, Israeli politics continues its seemingly endless trek to the right. Every day, the Web carries the voice of another leader of the settler movement who insists that the settlers are the vanguard now, that the old verities are to be challenged, if not eliminated. Early last year, Benny Katzover, a leader in the settlement of Elon Moreh, told a Chabad paper, Beit Mashiach, "I would say that today Israeli democracy has one central mission, and that is to disappear. Israeli democracy has finished its historical role, and it must be dismantled and bow before Judaism."
This seems to be a common thread among the modern-day Far Right, which in Israel as in a number of other "Western democracies" has increasingly taken over the old Right. One of those other Western democracies I have in mind, of course, is our own. Howie has been keeping us posted on the stunning shenanigans of our own Far Right's breathtaking war on democracy -- election-stealing, voter suppression, the usual works.

Today there is one small but notable piece of good news, which came to me via Virginia's stalwart Not Larry Sabato political blog. In case the name Hans von Spakovsky isn't immediately familiar, it's because he mostly does his evil work in quiet. He is one of the Right's most passionate architect's of election-stealing, who actually served -- via recess appointment by "Chimpy the Prez" Bush -- as a commissioner of the Federal Election Commission. Here's a January 2011 post of Howie's in which Hans von S was featured, and here is Wikipedia's desperate attempt to be fair and balanced about the wildly imbalanced Hans von S, who has devoted his professional life to throwing our electoral system totally out of balance (links and footnotes onsite):
Hans Anatol von Spakovsky (born March 11, 1959) is an American attorney and a former member of the Federal Election Commission (FEC). He was nominated to the FEC by President George W. Bush on December 15, 2005 and was appointed by recess appointment on January 4, 2006.[1]

However, von Spakovsky's nomination was opposed by Senate Democrats, who argued that his oversight of voter laws was unacceptably partisan and that he had consistently acted to disenfranchise poor and minority voters.[2][3] Opposition to the nomination was bolstered by objections from career Justice Department staff, who accused von Spakovsky of politicizing his nominally non-partisan office to an unprecedented degree.[4]

While von Spakovsky and the Bush Administration denied the accusations of partisanship, the nomination was withdrawn on May 15, 2008.[5] Von Spakovsky subsequently joined the staff of the Heritage Foundation, a politically conservative think tank.

Here's the news (again, links onsite):

Fairfax County's Nightmare Is Over!!!

Great news breaking in Fairfax County this morning. Electoral Boards are split 2-1 in Virginia, one Republican, one Democrat and one member of the Governor's party. When Bob McDonnell was elected, the Fairfax GOP placed noted voter-fraud conspiracy theorist Hans Von Spakovsky on the electoral board in the largest county in Virginia.

The result was massive lines at polling places with minority (Democratic) voters, while most GOP leaning precincts were able to go in and quickly vote with little wait time.

It was time to reappoint this month. The parties get to nominate three candidates, but judges usually take the first choice of the party. In Fairfax -- judges have never bypassed the top choice of a party in the last 50 years (which is as far back as I could find people that remembered). Also the judges making the decision were all selected for the bench by Republicans in the General Assembly. 

So what did these GOP judges decide to do?  In an unprecedented move in Fairfax County -- judges for the first time in modern history have rejected the top choice of a political party for one of these positions. Instead, GOP lawyer Brian Schoeneman was appointed to the Board. 

The GOP is already having a meltdown over this decision from the judges they appointed. Get out the popcorn, this is going to be fun to watch.

These judges deserve a lot of credit for standing up for voters and not the political party that put them on the bench.

UPDATE: In case it wasn't clear above -- Hans Von Spakovsky was the GOP's top choice who was rejected.

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