Did you hear about the brave Tea Party Republicans who ganged up on a girl at a Rand Paul rally? She was there to make a political point in opposition to their Tea Party politics.
Five of them surrounded her, these big brave men.
They threw her down on the street, and one of them stomped her on the head, giving her a concussion.
She was lucky. "Curb-stomping" is a way of killing by crushing a person's skull against concrete.
The expected weak "apology" was delivered -- deploring violence on both sides -- but the message was clear.
Normal free speech rights can be dangerous for Democrats. But if you are a Republican disrupting a Town Hall meeting held by a Democrat, then shouting/screaming is expected behavior -- with donations somehow becoming available for office-holders who insult the president.
More such cowardly violence may be on the way. Remember Florida, in the 2000 elections, when the votes were being recounted in public view? Busloads of allegedly grassroots citizens (wearing surprisingly expensive suits) showed up to shout and scream at the vote counters (typically senior citizens) a few feet away.
Elections can be turned by voter intimidation; sometimes in a close race, just a few votes are all it takes.
In the guise of preventing voter fraud (almost totally non-existent), black voters have been repeatedly challenged at the polls -- to the point where some just gave up and walked away -- which was of course the idea.
This year, Hispanics may be the target population. One transparent scheme was a mass mailing to Nevada Hispanics urging them not to vote at all -- which of course would mean anti-immigrant Sharron Angle power, electing her instead a Democrat friend, Harry Reid.
Intimidation, bullying, threats of voter suppression -- and above all, money.
Remember those fork-lift pallets of shrink-wrapped hundred dollar bills that were "lost" during the Bush/Iraq War? Hundreds of millions of dollars vanished.
But uncountable amounts of money are being put to a far more sinister purpose. Unregulated millions are pouring across borders, buying poisonously negative ads.
DID CONGRESSMAN ___________ HAVE SEX WITH A TERRORIST? Well, no, but by the time he/she proves it did not happen, the election is over. The worst that can happen is some minor fines, but the damage is done.
The Republican-controlled U.S. Supreme Court did terrific damage to democracy in the infamous Citizens United vs. Federal Elections Commission case, which took all the brakes off campaign spending by the rich. They can spend as much as they want to -- under misleading names like GodBlessAmerica.org. (fictitious name, I hope).
Shadow groups are spending millions to ensure the election of any candidate, however limited -- as long as they can be counted on to extend the Bush tax cuts and maybe even ask for more.
Some of the candidates, if questioned, would reveal themselves as Looney Tunes in their approach to government -- so, they don't talk. They just sit back and let the poisonous ads do their dirty work.
How much money? Bush political guru Karl Rove's group alone will be spending more than $50 million in the last week of the season -- that is just ONE GROUP -- that single group has already equaled the entire political budgets of the unions put together. ($49 million).
How does it work? In a California district, there is a strong stem cell research supporter named Dr. Ami Bera. His opponent is conservative Republican Dan Lundgren. Karl Rove's shadow group just sent $600,000 to pay for attack ads against Dr. Bera. (Lungren, BTW, is frantically denying his previously-stated support for privatizing Social Security.) This systematic targeting of Democrats is being done across the country.
What can happen? Rove's dream of a permanent Republican majority can come true -- a dream for him and the richest 1% of the country, and a nightmare for everybody else. It is conceivable that Republicans could buy their way into control of the House, the Senate, (in addition to the Supreme Court, which they already dominate) -- and, in 2012, the White House -- after which they will have achieved the first genuine dictatorship in the history of the country.
Checks and balances would be gone -- and with that level of power, permanent structural changes could be made -- like eliminating new taxes for the rich and corporations forever.
Do I exaggerate? Look at California, where it is against the law to raise taxes without a 2/3 majority, which is why our budgets never pass on time,good programs benefiting the poor are eliminated, and the rich are smiling in the Golden State.
Time to say no.
Time to protect our House.
Time to stand by our friends -- as they have stood up for us.
I don't know what your issues are. Mine are stem cell research and disability rights.
But probably your friends are my friends. If you were not progressive, you would not have read this far.
The people I recommend below are strong supporters of stem cell research and disability rights; they are up against candidates who can be counted on to do the wrong thing .
Note: I do not knowingly campaign against any strong supporter of embryonic stem cell research, whether Republican or Democrat.
In some races, both candidates are in favor of full stem cell research. In those cases, I have taken no position.
Supportive Republicans? Our effort has benefited from the hard work of outstanding GOP men and women -- like Mike Castle, Republican of Delaware, or Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. But unfortunately, Mr. Castle was too moderate for the Karl Rove-dominated party of today and was voted out in the Republican primary, as was Ms. Murkowski, who is running as a write-in candidate for the same reason.
Unfortunately, too many Republicans will vote against medical research, merely to gain the backing of the Religious Right.
They deserve the opposition of anyone who has a chronic disease or disability, or who loves someone who does.
And our friends are willing to put up with a lot. Imagine if you were Tarryl Clark -- up against Fox News-backed Michelle Bachmann, the mini-me copy of Sarah Palin.
If the Republicans win, it will be harder and harder to even know what is going on. Immediately, a Republican power structure would eliminate National Public Radio, one of the few remaining news sources that gives both sides of an issue. (Remember, one gift from former President Ronald Reagan was the elimination of the Fairness Doctrine, which said that both sides of a story must be heard -- that is gone, which is why Fox News only gives the Republican view of everything. If the Fairness Doctrine was re-instated, they would have to give ((shudder)) both sides of the issue.
So what do we do?
Fight for the next couple days, and then take all your voter-able friends to the polls. Especially offer to take any disabled friend to the polls.
Whatever you do, don't give up, as long as we have one more minute to influence the vote.
Here are some friends to consider supporting.
IMPORTANT: Every one of the races below has been rated a TOSS-UP by the non-partisan Congressional Quarterly. WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
Find your state, pick a Representative, send them some bucks -- or volunteer some time. (BTW, none of these people have any connection to this column or my opinions.)
California: Jerry McNerney
California: Dr. Ami Bera
Colorado: Betsy Marky
Florida: Alan Grayson
Florida: Joe Garcia
Florida: Suzanne Kosmas
Illinois: Dan Seals
Illinois: Debbie Halvorson
Illinois: Bill Foster
Indiana: Trent VanHaaften
Indiana: Baron Hill
Maryland: Frank Kratovil
Michigan: Gary McDowell
Michigan: Mark Schauer
Minnesota: Tarryl Clark
Massachusetts: Travis Childers
North Dakota: Earl Pomeroy.
New Hampshire: Carol Shea-Porter
New Mexico: Harry Teague
Nevada: Dina Titus
New York: John Hall
New York: Mike Arcuri
Ohio: Steven Driehaus
Ohio: Mary Jo Kilroy
Ohio: John Boccieri
Pennsylvania: Kathy Dahlkemper
Pennsylvania: Bryan Lentz
Pennsylvania: Paul Kanjorski
South Carolina: John Spratt
South Dakota: Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin
Texas: Chet Edwards
Virginia: Glenn Nye
Virginia: Tom Perriello
Washington: Denny Heck
West Virginia: Mike Olivero
Wisconsin: Julie Lassa
Folks, America has 100 million Americans suffering chronic (incurable) disease or disability. Embryonic stem cell research has unlimited potential to save lives, ease suffering, and lower the national debt by reducing staggering medical costs. To the best of my knowledge and belief, everybody in the above list is in favor of this powerful medical advance -- and is opposed by an enemy of the same research.
I won't say, "do something", because I know you already have been involved. You are probably tired, maybe even a little discouraged.
That's okay. Tiredness goes away.
And do it now, so we won't have to regret it for the rest of our lives.