Allen, Barrow Debate Reveals Limitations of Two-Party System

On September 27 in Evans, the Democratic Party and Republic Party nominees for the November 2014 General Election to the position of Representative to the United States Congress of Georgia’s 12th District, John Barrow and Rick Allen, respectively, answered questions posed by moderator Steve Crawford of the Columbia County News Times. They discussed defense spending, government surveillance, resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and other issues. Continue reading

Recordings of GA12 Debate Between Rick Allen and John Barrow

Updated Sep 30: A video recording of the debate is available on YouTube, courtesy of Alan Wood of Georgia Macon Watch.

Updated Sep 29: I submitted a column to the Urban Pro Weekly, and the sources I used are at the bottom:

Yesterday, Georgia’s 12th District Republic Nominee Rick Allen and Democratic Nominee John Barrow debated.

This is a low res vid you can download directly.

An audio file, with the first 5 minutes or so missing, is available for direct download.

Sources used in the Urban Pro Weekly column.

Audio Recording of GA-12 Representative John Barrow Q&A Session with Constituents

Georgia District 12 Representative John Barrow met with constituents at the Columbia County Library on February 23, 2013. This is an unofficial recording of the Q&A.

I hope to make some comments on this later. While I disagree with John Barrow’s comments on guns, immigration and health care, I thank him for meeting with the constituents and explaining some things about how the government works and details of the administration of policies. At the end of the recording, it is I thanking him for this.

John Barrow’s Immigration Policy Uses Xenophobia as Excuse to Do Nothing

John Barrow is Georgia District 12’s representative to the United States House of Representatives. As one of his constituents, I met with him today. I pressed for two issues: decriminalization of narcotics and immigration reform. Continue reading

When Democrat John Barrow Wins, the People Lose

I’ve already voted for John Barrow because he is less evil than Lee Anderson, his Republican opponent for the seat in the U.S. House of Representatives for Georgia District 12. I explained my position on voting in a previous blog entry, Should I Bother to Vote?.

If Anderson wins, it’s a catastrophe. If Barrow wins, we must recognize that his victory is still a disaster for the people of District 12. Part of the reason is that Barrow’s own rhetoric to win his campaign means that his opponent in the next election cycle will become even more reactionary, and Barrow will have to vote in the next two years to match the reactionary district he’s helping to shape.

What broke the camel’s back for me was a Barrow ad I saw last night on TV entitled Good News.

Note the common reactionary themes: Arts and science are a waste of money. The budget deficit is caused by “waste”, not explicit political choices such as tax cuts for the wealthy or military spending to maintain our empire or refusing to lower health care costs through adoption of a single-payer system. If Governor Palin or Representative Bachman or Senator Santorum or any of the pantheon of Republican buffoons whom liberals love to lampoon produced this ad, it’d be the stuff of late-night comedy shows.

A particularly hypocritical line in this ad is that Georgia taxpayers should not pay for New York City’s ballet. The largest city in the 12th District of Georgia, my home town Augusta, is firmly attached to the federal and state governments’ teats. Our economy depends on Fort Gordon, the Savannah River Site, Plant Vogtle and Georgia Health Sciences University. Needless to say, I believe New York taxpayers are sending to Georgia many times the amount of money Georgia taxpayers send to New York.

But this is just one of many examples of Barrow’s adoption of reactionary positions. He loves guns, and the NRA loves him. He hates immigrants. He loves carbon-based fuel. And more and more.

So while the district may elect a Democrat, it’s representative will vote like a reactionary and the rhetoric of the election adds to the district’s reactionary drift.

Finally, why does he affect a folksy accent in his ads? It’s damn condescending.

Should I Bother to Vote? Columbia County, Georgia, USA

hey, i have a friend in columbia county who doesn’t see the point in voting since he doesn’t pay too much attention to local politics. who can stand to? it’s gross! anyway, do you have sort of a preferred candidates list that i can forward to him? he’s sort of like you in that he voted for Obama and feels disappointed by war activity and surveillance and war on drugs and no universal health care.

Yes, yes, yes.

Let’s start off with the mechanics of voting. If transportation or health or schedule or laziness is a problem, use an absentee ballot. I sent off for my absentee ballot yesterday, and I also requested them for my parents.

Now let’s talk about whether voting does any good. I’d say I’m in line with Professor Noam Chomsky says on this.

First step is to download a sample ballot and see what’s actually on it. I definitely see a value in voting against the incumbents for the Public Service Commissioner positions.

Assuming that Georgia is not in doubt for the Presidential election, I’ll write in Jill Stein/Cheri Honkala. If Georgia is close and Georgia’s electoral votes matter, I’d vote for Obama/Biden.

I do plan on voting for Barrow (holding nose). I’m really tired of Barrow’s advertisements.

When I don’t know anything about a position or the candidates, I vote for the Democrat, i.e. Evita Paschall for D.A.

For voters who support the Libertarian Party, there are several Libertarian candidates.

If I am proactive, I will learn about the position of Columbia County Soil & Water Conservation District Supervisor and the 3 candidates running for the three positions. Obviously, this means that, mathematically, your vote cannot make a difference in who gets elected. But, let’s say you discover that two candidates are qualified and one is not. You can vote for the two and not vote for the third and/or write-in “Not John Doe” or “Bugs Bunny” or the name of the person you think is qualified. Then you can find out the next time the office is up for election and try to do something about it.

Finally, there are two statewide proposed constitutional amendments and one county referendum. If you don’t know anything about the issue, vote no, since it could have only gotten on the ballot if our current politicians approved it. I’m voting against allowing the state to override local school boards in charter school approval. For the issues I don’t know anything about, I use social media and e-mail knowledgeable friends to find out.

I also vote to honor those people who suffered so that I could vote.

Now all this is assuming that a person can overcome couch inertia. The other litmus test for those who don’t vote out of principle is the extent of their activities. Do you attend demonstrations for causes you support? Do you donate money or time to help advocacy organizations? If you’re not doing that, then don’t tell me you’re not voting out of some principle.

Listen to the Chomsky interview. It really covers this topic well.

P.S. I’ve voting NO on Amendment 2.

P.P.S. If you still don’t know how to vote, vote opposite of every Augusta Chronicle Editorial Page endorsement.

P.P.P.S. If you don’t vote in every election, people who seek to suppress voting may succeed in suppressing your right to vote. Support measures which may provide voters with better choices.