Monthly Archives: February 2013

Mario Piperni on Texas Gun Laws

Crazy and Armed in Texas

FEBRUARY 27, 2013 BY 

Jesus, Guns and Republicans  -   http://mariopiperni.com/

It takes a special kind of stupid.

A Republican state representative in Texas is calling to cut the number of hours of training required to obtain a concealed-carry permit by more than half, but shooting instructors say that the proposal would create a public safety hazard.

State Rep. Dan Flynn (R) recently introduced House Bill 47, which would reduce class hours from 10 hours to four, and remove the requirement for instruction on handgun “proficiency.”

The lawmaker told WFAA on Tuesday that the proposal would eliminate some of the hassle for the record number of Texans now trying to acquire permission to conceal a weapon.

Why? I doubt that even the NRA would advocate for a reduction of the number of hours of training required to obtain a gun permit. But who the hell knows. Crazy doesn’t play by any rules of logic known to man.

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Washington Post on Women’s Pay Gap

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Mario Piperni on the Sequester

The GOP’s Sequester

FEBRUARY 26, 2013 BY 

Boehner / McConnell / Republican / Conservatism  :   http://mariopiperni.com/

Thanks to Eric Cantor, everyone can now put the Sequester Blame Game to rest. In a remarkable moment of candor, the Republican House Majority Leader opened up on exactly what led to the latest fiscal crisis. First a recap:

John Boehner’s story on who is to blame via an op-ed he wrote in the WSJ last week.

“During the summer of 2011, as Washington worked toward a plan to reduce the deficit to allow for an increase in the federal debt limit, President Obama and I very nearly came to a historic agreement. Unfortunately our deal fell apart at the last minute when the president demanded an extra $400 billion in new tax revenue—50% more than we had shaken hands on just days before.”

“It was a disappointing decision by the president, but with just days until a breach of the debt limit, a solution was still required—and fast. I immediately got together with Senate leaders Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell to forge a bipartisan congressional plan. It would be called the Budget Control Act.”

 Dem’s story via Steve Benen:

The Democratic version of events happens to be the accurate one: Republicans had threatened to crash the economy on purpose unless their debt-ceiling demands were met, and in the hopes of resolving the crisis, President Obama offered Republicans an overly-generous, $4 trillion “Grand Bargain,” which included entitlement cuts and new revenue. Boehner was inclined to accept it, but his caucus balked, forcing the Speaker to walk away from the table.

So who got the story right? Dems, of course…and Republicans need not take the word of anyone other than Eric Cantor (via The New Yorker) that John Boehner is lying through his teeth.

In June of 2011, the President and the Speaker began working toward a Grand Bargain of major tax increases and spending cuts to address the government’s long-term budget deficits. Until late June, Boehner had managed to keep these talks secret from Cantor. On July 21st, Boehner paused in his discussions with Obama to talk to Cantor and outline the proposed deal. As Obama waited by the phone for a response from the Speaker, Cantor struck. Cantor told me that it was a “fair assessment” that he talked Boehner out of accepting Obama’s deal. He said he told Boehner that it would be better, instead, to take the issues of taxes and spending to the voters and “have it out” with the Democrats in the election. Why give Obama an enormous political victory, and potentially help him win reelection, when they might be able to negotiate a more favorable deal with a new Republican President? Boehner told Obama there was no deal. Instead of a Grand Bargain, Cantor and the House Republicans made a grand bet.

And the sequester was born…

The failure of the Grand Bargain led to a byzantine deal: if the two parties could not agree on a new deficit plan, then a combination of tax increases and spending cuts—cuts known, in budget jargon, as a “sequester”—would automatically kick in on New Year’s Day. (The sequester was postponed until March 1st.)

How soon before wingers start referring to Cantor as a lying liar?

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Humor: The Borowitz Report

Boehner Defends Decision to Remain on Ass

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WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Minutes after telling the United States Senate to “get off their ass” to avoid the deep spending cuts that will take effect this Friday, House Speaker John Boehner called an impromptu press conference to announce his intention of remaining on his ass “for the foreseeable future.”

“The United States Senate is showing contempt for the American people by refusing to get off their ass,” a defiant Mr. Boehner told reporters. “And the only fitting way for me to protest their reckless behavior is by remaining on my ass for as long as humanly possible.”

“Take a good look, ladies and gentlemen of the press,” he said, before leaving the lectern in a huff. “This is the last you’ll see of old John Boehner off his ass.”

Mr. Boehner’s words drew a strong rebuke from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who said that Mr. Boehner’s suggestion that the Senate get off their ass while he remained on his “seems like the height of hypocrisy, ass-wise.”

True to his word, Mr. Boehner then held an additional press conference, this time sitting in a chair from which he showed no signs of budging.

Photograph by Win McNamee/Getty.

Mario Piperni Does Rand Paul

Rand Paul’s Goldfish Story

February 26, 2013 By

Paul_Rand-toilet

Conservatives prove Asimov right every time they delve into their twisted understanding of science. The latest example is Rand Paul’s rant on Fox where he tried to make the case that the military and government are wasting $5.2 million for what he called “goldfish studies.”

“In the military they have $5.2 million they spent on goldfish — studying goldfish to see how democratic they were and if we could learn about democracy from goldfish,” Paul said on Fox. “I would give the president the authority to go ahead and cut all $5 million in goldfish studies.”

If Paul is right and the military is spending millions to “learn about democracy from goldfish,” then he has every right to bitch to his heart’s content. In fact everyone should be complaining of such a waste of public funds.

But Paul is not right. His take on the $5.2 million goldfish study comes from a faulty report issued by Republican Sen. Tom Coburn last November. The report dealt with how the Pentagon could save billions by cutting out specific non-defense programs. One of the suggested cuts by Coburn was the “fish” study.

“Fish could show the nation how to overcome political polarization and promote democracy, according to Pentagon-funded research,” Coburn’s team wrote. “The Pentagon claims the research provides ‘a better understanding of how individuals with low stake impact achieve a democratic consensus’ and this ‘effort supports Military Information Support Operations (MISO) mission area.’” In learning as much, though, the Defense Department blew through a $5.2 million grant from DARPA.

The tiniest bit of research by Paul and Coburn would have shown them that the project has nothing to do with how goldfish handle democracy. In fact it has nothing to do with goldfish. The four year project uses a different species of fish and studies robots and how they can help in dealing with deep oil spills and radioactive leaks. As Princeton science professor Iain Couzin explains:

“Our work aims to understand the principles of collective control in animal groups and what this can inform us about collective robotics. It has nothing at all to do with human politics.”

[The research has] “direct applications to human security and collective control of robots.”

Has Coburn issued a correction to his November report? No.

Has Paul issued a statement on Fox correcting his statement? No.

Will either man do so? No.

Why not? Because no one on the right ever admits to “mistakes” they make in presenting “facts.” They just don’t because everyone knows that true conservatism is never having to say “I’m wrong.”

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Naked Capitalism on the Sequester

Why Obama Refuses to Kill the Sequester

Posted: 25 Feb 2013 12:05 AM PST
The game of chicken both the Republicans and Democrats are playing with the sequester and the budget/deficit talks is striking. One of the truly bizarre elements is that neither side is signaling the faintest interest in dealmaking of any kind. As I indicated the week before last, the lack of any sense of urgency was obvious: Congress had a holiday last week, and there were no real negotiations or even an exchange of proposals, virtually guaranteeing the sequester would take place as scheduled.

And you could feel the indifference even before then: no rush to get to work right after either the inaugural partying or the State of the Union. By contrast, recall last November how we went with nary a beat from the election results to deficit scaremongering and frenzied “what a deal should look like” chatter? The big reason for the hard push was that the outgoing Congress was assumed to be more amenable to a Grand Bargain, or what Bill Black has correctly called a Great Betrayal, than the incoming one. But will that make any difference in the end?

A piece in the Wall Street Journal on Saturday gave a good overview of the state of play. The game plan is now that the sequester will be allowed to kick in and will stay in place until one side cries “Uncle,” when the impact on the economy is hurting one side badly enough in the polls to force it to relent. From the Journal:

The president and congressional Democrats are looking beyond Friday, when the across-the-board cuts, known as sequestration, are due to take effect. Their strategy is to persuade the public that the cuts would harm defense, education and other programs, make air travel difficult and cost jobs, among other effects. They hope public pressure would force Republicans to reverse course and agree to new tax revenue….

But a protracted fight over the spending cuts also could take a toll on Republicans. Polling shows Mr. Obama has a far higher approval rating than Congress and that people generally favor his position in the dispute. In the battle for public opinion, the White House will argue that Republicans are the reason people may face longer lines at airport and job furloughs. If that impression takes hold, that could cause trouble for Republicans in the 2014 midterm elections.

Republicans believe they can stay united by accusing Mr. Obama of campaigning rather than negotiating and reminding people that they have backed legislation to replace the cuts to defense programs with nondefense cuts. They say they won’t bend to Mr. Obama’s demand for new tax revenue and that the public supports their goal of reducing the deficit.

Both sides seem remarkably confident in their contradictory views, which suggests that there is more here than meets the eye. Notice how Bowles and Simpson have been hauled out of mothballs, and how the bipartisan plutocratic Fix the Debt messaging has ratcheted up? As the Democrats and Republicans play Punch and Judy with each other, the real effort will be to come up with a backroom deal on cutting Social Security and Medicare enticing enough to get the Republicans to persuade their recalcitrant members to accept some token tax increases to secure a much bigger prize.

But unless both sides get lucky and the sequester produces serious bad photo images (airport lines? parents stuck due to the cessation of federally funded daycare? noise about tax refunds arriving later than usual? slashing of support for low income groups, like rental assistance programs and Head Start? ) it likely be at least a month before there is any economic effect (which means at least another three weeks beyond that before a deal is agreed upon).

Even then, the blowback may not support the political classes’ desire for a middle-class fleecing deal. For instance, in the extract above, the Republican strategists seem to believe the public thinks reducing military spending is bad. In fact, polls show the public overwhelmingly favors curbing military spending over cutting Social Security and Medicare. And ironically if the armed forces cut the use of contractors (which is where reductions are expected to fall most heavily) those might also fall on overseas activities, which would blunt the domestic economic impact. And what if, mirabile dictu, the public starts realizing that government provides programs they like (this was one of the ironies Matt Taibbi tore into with Tea Partiers, that they were against government yet firmly dependent on it, with many members on Medicare)? If that idea began to dawn on more of the public, it could have meaningful long-term ramifications.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not hopeful. Plus both parties have a ready excuse to shift tactics and messaging. A lot of government funding is reapproved annually, and the deadline is March 27. That gives both sides the opportunity to ease the pain on specific groups and programs that they think are being pinched too hard. But the two camps are acting as if they can get an outcome they want, when they are putting a new experiment in play. In other words, I’d expect what they don’t seem to be anticipating, which is the unexpected.

Below, Bill Black provides an important piece of the puzzle, namely, why Obama is so keen on the sequester.

By Bill Black, the author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One and an associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Jointly posted with Benzinga

We are in the midst of the blame game about the “Sequester.” I wrote last year about the fact that President Obama had twice blocked Republican efforts to remove the Sequester. President Obama went so far as to issue a veto threat to block the second effort. I found contemporaneous reportage on the President’s efforts to preserve the Sequester – and the articles were not critical of those efforts. I found no contemporaneous rebuttal by the administration of these reports.

In fairness, the Republicans did “start it” by threatening to cause the U.S. to default on its debts in 2011. Their actions were grotesquely irresponsible and anti-American. It is also true that the Republicans often supported the Sequester.

The point I was making was not who should be blamed for the insanity of the Sequester. The answer was always both political parties. I raised the President’s efforts to save the Sequester because they revealed his real preferences. Those of us who teach economics explain to our students that what people say about their preferences is not as reliable as how they act. Their actions reveal their true preferences. President Obama has always known that the Sequester is terrible public policy. He has blasted it as a “manufactured crisis.”

The administration has stated publicly the three reasons this is so. First, the Sequester represents self-destructive austerity. Indeed, it would be the fourth act of self-destructive austerity. The August 2011 budget deal already sharply limited spending and the January 2013 “fiscal cliff” deal raised taxes on the wealthiest Americans and restored the full payroll tax. The cumulative effect of these three forms of austerity has already strangled the (modest) recovery – adding the Sequester, particularly given the Eurozone’s austerity-induced recession, could tip us into a gratuitous recession.

Second, the Sequester is a particularly stupid way to inflict austerity on a Nation. It is a bad combination of across the board cuts – but with many exemptions that lead to the cuts concentrating heavily in many vital programs that are already badly underfunded.

Third, conservatives purport to believe in what Paul Krugman derisively calls the “confidence fairy.” They assert that uncertainty explains our inadequate demand. The absurd, self-destructive austerity deals induced or threatened by the Sequester have caused recurrent crises and maximized uncertainty. They also show that the U.S. is not ready for prime time.

When he acted to save the Sequester, Obama proved that he preferred the Sequester to the alternative. When the alternative threatened by the Republicans was causing a default on the U.S. debt (by refusing to increase the debt limit), one could understand Obama’s preference (though even there I would have called the Republican bluff). The Republicans, however, had extended the debt limit in both of the cases that President Obama acted to save the Sequester in 2011.

Similarly, President Obama has revealed his real preferences in the current blame game by not calling for a clean bill eliminating the Sequester. It is striking that as far as I know (1) neither Obama nor any administration official has called for the elimination of the Sequester and (2) we have a fairly silly blame game about how the Sequester was created without discussing the implications of Obama’s continuing failure to call for the elimination of the Sequester despite his knowledge that it is highly self-destructive.

The only logical inference that can be drawn is that Obama remains committed to inflicting the “Grand Bargain” (really, the Grand Betrayal) on the Nation in his quest for a “legacy” and continues to believe that the Sequester provides him the essential leverage he feels he needs to coerce Senate progressives to adopt austerity, make deep cuts in vital social programs, and to begin to unravel the safety net. Obama’s newest budget offer includes cuts to the safety net and provides that 2/3 of the austerity inflicted would consist of spending cuts instead of tax increases. When that package is one’s starting position the end result of any deal will be far worse.

In any event, there is a clear answer to how to help our Nation. Both Parties should agree tomorrow to do a clean deal eliminating the Sequester without any conditions. By doing so, Obama would demonstrate that he had no desire to inflict the Grand Betrayal.

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Robert Reich on the Need to Fight

Showdown Fatigue

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich’s Blog

22 February 13

e’re one week away from a massive cut in federal spending – cuts that will hurt millions of lower-income Americans who’ll lose nutrition assistance, housing, and money for their schools, among other things; that will furlough or lay off millions of government employees, reduce inspections of the nation’s meat and poultry and pharmaceuticals and workplaces, eliminate the jobs of hundreds of thousands of people working for government contractors, and, according to Leon Panetta and other military leaders, seriously compromise the nation’s defenses.

Bad enough. If the spending cuts go through next week our fragile economy will slow further, causing more unemployment and misery. When consumers don’t have the money to buy enough to keep the economy moving, and government pulls back this much, businesses can’t justify keeping people on.

Yet the silence is deafening.

Republicans won’t deal. Obama has already cut $1.5 trillion out of the budget but Republicans insist on far more. They want the White House to propose major cuts in Social Security and Medicare.

Meanwhile, the Bush tax cuts have been extended permanently to everyone earning up to $400,000. Only the richest 2 percent have to pay at the rate they did under Bill Clinton, which was far lower than rich paid before 1981. That will generate $600 billion – less than half of the cuts Obama has accepted.

No one in their right mind would call this a balanced approach to deficit reduction. Yet Republican’s won’t even consider raising taxes on the most fortunate members of our society. They won’t limit deductions and loopholes that have driven down the super-rich’s tax rates to single digits (remember Romney’s “carried interest” loophole for private-equity mavens?).

So where’s the outcry? Why aren’t more people up in arms? Why aren’t big businesses (including major military contractors) and Wall Street screaming into the ears of the GOP? Where’s the outrage from Main Street?

I suspect most Americans are suffering showdown fatigue. After all, we got through the debt-ceiling showdown of August 2011 and the fiscal-cliff showdown on January 1, and the world didn’t end. So most people figure Washington will find a way out of this one, too.

Others have bought the Republican-Fox News lies that the deficit is our biggest economic problem, and government spending is to blame. So a massive, abrupt, and indiscriminate cut in spending seems okay.

It’s not okay. It will hurt the most vulnerable members of our society, and much of the middle class.

Yet it would be even worse if Obama and the Democrats were to give in to Republicans, and not demand more from those who have never been wealthier. Inequality is widening again. All the economic gains since the Great Recession have gone to the top. The richest 400 have more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans put together.

Why not limit the mortgage interest deduction to $25,000 a year, so the rest of us don’t have to subsidize mansion mortgages? Why not a wealth tax on assets in excess of $5 million to pay for early-childhood education? Why not a small tax on financial transactions (as Europe is now instituting) to finance better schools? Why not close the loophole that private-equity and hedge-fund moguls live off of, to finance child nutrition and social services for the poor?

It’s no time for showdown fatigue. It’s time to fight.


Robert B. Reich, Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, was Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration. Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the last century. He has written thirteen books, including the best sellers “Aftershock” and “The Work of Nations.” His latest is an e-book, “Beyond Outrage.” He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine and chairman of Common Cause.

Greg Palast on Jim Crow Nationwide

Too Fat to Vote

Greg Palast’s Column

By Greg Palast

Greg Palast is a New York Times bestselling author and fearless investigative journalist whose reports appear on BBC Television Newsnight and in The Guardian. Palast eats the rich and spits them out. Catch his reports and films at www.GregPalast.com, where you can also securely send him your documents marked, “confidential”.

You know why black folk in the south don’t vote? According to the New York Times and the experts at the Pew Charitable Trust, they’re just too damn fat!

Normally I wouldn’t care what the Times is passing off as fact, except for that, on February the 27th, the US Supreme Court will hear arguments about whether to gut the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The Voting Rights Act was the law that Martin Luther King Jr had a dream about a half-century ago: that all citizens will be able to exercise their right to vote. But, like all pleasant dreams, morning means waking up to the ugly reality sleeping next to you.

The pug-uglies in this case are the four Supreme Court justices hostile to the Act. If one more joins them, you can kiss Martin’s dream goodbye.

The dream-busters are led by Chief Justice John Roberts. In 2009, he wrote, “The historic accomplishments of the Voting Rights Act are undeniable.” But – and Roberts’ “but” is huge – the Act is out of date and “fails to account for current political conditions”.

According to Roberts, “Jim Crow laws” – the apartheid rules used in the Deep South to keep African-Americans from the polls – have long passed away.

It’s true, black folks now fare better in Dixie. Why, just last week, Mississippi ratified the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery 147 years after Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation (I kid you not).

So, Roberts is ready to dump the key enforcement provision of the Voting Rights Act – the “pre-clearance” requirement.

Sixteen states must “clear” any changes in voting procedures with the US Department of Justice. That’s to make sure there’s no racial funny business – that new rules aren’t clever tactics meant to remove black, brown, Native American, Catholic, Mormon or other minority voters.

In the current case before the Court, some rebel states are hollering that they were unfairly singled out for this special scrutiny.

However, it was arithmetic in the law, not the Civil War, that put Mississippi on the list. Before the Act, only seven percent of its black citizens were registered to vote, below the law’s 50 percent line.

In November, at least a few Americans got quite upset to see television coverage from Florida of long lines of black folk waiting four or five hours to vote for the President. So is Jim Crow really dead and gone in Dixie?

That’s the weighty question addressed by the prestigious Pew Charitable Trust.

Why pick on Dixie? After all, despite what we saw with our own eyes, Pew shows that there’s only a 23 minute wait to vote in Florida – less time than it takes to cast a vote in Indiana. Overall, Florida ranks near the best in Pew’s “Elections Performance Index”. Let’s give a medal to Florida’s former Secretary of State, Katherine Harris!


Heather K Gerken.

Pew was advised by Yale law professor Heather K Gerken, who explained the study for the New York Times.

“Poor Southern states perform well, and they perform badly. Rich New England states perform well and badly – mostly badly,” she said. In other words, Justice Roberts is right: “The evil that [Voting Rights Act Section 5] is meant to address may no longer be concentrated in the jurisdictions singled out for preclearance.”

In other words, why pick on Florida and the 15 others?

But wait. Something’s missing: colour. Sure, the average Floridian waited 23 minutes to vote, but what about black voters?

In November, I joined African-American voters on “Souls to the Polls” day. Their wait for a ballot: four hours. Then I went up the road to an all-white polling station. Wait: zero minutes. There were unused rows of balloting machines, more poll workers than voters and a pot of coffee brewing for the pale suburban-Americans casting ballots.

Oddly, despite a hot, hot Presidential contest with an African-American candidate, by mid-May 2012, the Census Bureau reported that the number of African-Americans registered declined by over one million. Hispanic names on voter rolls fell, too, despite massive registration drives. A big decline in voters of colour was reported in the South’s huge swing state, Florida.

So, overall voter turnout fell short. But the reason, according to the Pew expert featured in the Times, is that, “States in the Deep South with high obesity problems seem to be having a problem getting people to the polling place.”

Apparently, citizens of colour south of the Mason-Dixon line are just too fat to vote.

Maybe there’s another explanation for black and Hispanic names disappearing from the polls. Willie Steen, a Gulf War veteran, was removed from the voter rolls in 2000 because the Republican Secretary of State of Florida listed him as a felon. I met Steen. He’d never got so much as a parking ticket. He was, like tens of thousands of others, guilty of “VWB”; Voting While Black.

Secretary of State Katherine Harris sent Steen a note of apology for the “error”, but only after the election of George W Bush. Then, in 2004, Steen, who is quite slender, was purged again.


A voting line in Florida, November 2012.

Steen’s name matched that of an Ohio felon named “O’Steen” on a database created by Republican hacks. The name-match game cost 58,000 innocent voters their registrations in just one year.

This was just one method of nine used to hold Florida’s black voting rate to 58 percent compared to 65 percent for whites.

Jim Crow isn’t dead, he’s just changed his white sheets for spreadsheets.

And in 2012, a new Republican Secretary of State again set out to bleach the rolls.

Using lists of illegal aliens, the GOP hack-marked 182,000 (!) voters whose names matched the deportees.

But wait: it’s a jail-time crime for a non-citizen to register or vote, so that’s one heck of a crime wave.

So how many illegal foreign voters were arrested in Florida? One: a Canadian gun aficionado.

Yet, nearly one in ten Hispanic voters would have been barred from the polling booth. But, at the last moment, federal voting rights law stopped the Republican’s latest José Crow manoeuver.

But wait – if the Voting Rights Act required Florida to get federal approval for voter roll purges, how could Steen and other black men have been stripped of their rights?

Answer: Florida lied. The state used a loophole in the Voting Rights Act, claiming the purge was not a change in rules, just a clerical clean-up of the voting lists.

What’s the solution to the new trickery? Not, as Justice Roberts suggests, to eliminate Section 5, but to expand it.

Indeed, the reach of the Voting Rights Act was massively expanded by presidents Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan. Reagan!

As a result of their changes, states designated officially racist include the Confederate states of… California, Arizona, New York, New Mexico, South Dakota and Alaska. Alaska? You betcha!

And for good reason. Take California – under a Republican Secretary of State, Bruce McPherson, 42 percent of voter registration forms were rejected, an overwhelmingly amount of those Hispanic, Arab-American and Asian. Jim Crow, it seems, became a surfer dude.

In 2004, in McKinley County, New Mexico, only one in ten voters cast a ballot for President – at least, that’s what the machines said. In fact, the voting machines simply disappeared the vote – almost all cast by Navajo Natives. Unfortunately McKinley was, by that time, “bailed out” of the Voting Rights Act, which any state can do by proving it no longer discriminates. (Apparently there’s not much you have to prove.)

And those lines I filmed of black voters standing for hours and white voters waltzing in for a ballot without a wait? That was in Ohio, with arguably the most racially bent voting system in America. (When the black voters finally made it to the voting station, I discovered they’d been given “absentee” ballots, subject to challenge, rather than the regular ballots given to the white voters.)

The horror show in Ohio does not absolve the racist voting systems of Florida, it merely calls for another expansion of the pre-clearance list to reflect a new reality. Jim Crow voting games are more widespread and far more sophisticated today than in 2000 when I first uncovered the Florida black-out.

That’s because Jim Crow is now Dr James Crow, database analyst, a hired gun who knows it’s easier to win elections by blocking voters rather than winning their votes. Identifying and challenging “suspect” voters is far more effective in chasing away blacks than burning crosses.

In 2012, cyber-guru Karl Rove created a massive voter profiling system called Data Trust. Rove stated then that, for example, “Even a small drop in the share of black voters would wipe out [Obama’s] winning margin in North Carolina. If [black voters’] share of turnout drops just one point in North Carolina, Mr Obama’s winning margin there is wiped out two and a half times over.”

A little purge goes a long way. Add in a requirement of voter IDs with photos (which Indiana used to bar about 72,000 black voters this year), and voting games, not voters, will pick our government.

The solution is not for the Supreme Court to let Jim Crow ride again through the Southland, but another expansion of pre-clearance scrutiny to Ohio and those states that need a little Reconstruction.

Follow Greg on Twitter: @Greg_Palast