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Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012

Issue of the Week: Show Us the Voter Fraud, Alberta

Plus: Hero of the Week

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Sen. Alberta Darling
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Here we go again.

Unhappy Republicans are blaming their defeat at the polls on widespread voter fraud.

The problem, of course, is that “widespread voter fraud” is a myth cooked up by unhappy Republicans.

Last week, state Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), a co-chair of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s campaign, told Mike Gousha that Barack Obama beat Romney in Wisconsin by more than 200,000 votes because the state doesn’t have a voter ID law in place.

“Absolutely,” Darling said.

So where are the 200,000 fraudulent votes, Senator?

Darling’s conclusion seems to be ignoring a few pertinent facts.

First, multiple investigations led by Republican and Democratic officials from the local, state and federal governments have turned up no widespread voter fraud in Wisconsin or other states. Second, one of the judges who struck down the Darling-backed voter ID law found that the few cases of fraud that have been prosecuted would not have been prevented if the voter ID law had been in place. Third, two judges have declared the voter ID law to be unconstitutional for a variety of reasons—chiefly because the bill is so stringent that an estimated 300,000 eligible voters lack the forms of ID that would be needed to vote. Most of those voters are poor, ethnic or racial minorities, students and the elderly—folks who tend to vote for Democrats.

So Sen. Darling’s conclusion is shockingly unrealistic.

If she has any evidence of 200,000 illegally cast votes, we’d love to see it.

Then again, we can’t really fault Darling. She was merely speaking the truth about the Republicans’ intent behind their voter ID law. State Republicans passed the voter ID law to suppress the vote for Democrats so that Wisconsin could be delivered to Romney and other GOP candidates. They failed, thankfully. But, unfortunately, they are still pushing the voter ID myth so that they don’t have to take responsibility for supporting an unpopular candidate and political agenda that Obama defeated handily.

Heroes of the Week: Guitars for Vets Volunteers

Co-founded in 2007 by Patrick Nettesheim and Dan Van Buskirk, Guitars for Vets (G4V) has grown from a small Milwaukee initiative to a nonprofit with 30 chapters in 15 states. This organization gives 10 free private guitar lessons to veterans and, upon completion, also gives them a free guitar with a gig bag that includes a guitar stand and strap, picks, strings, a tuner and more. After completing the private lessons, the participating vets can continue learning through group sessions. G4V strives to help men and women who have served our country develop a sense of community with other veterans also suffering from emotional and/or physical ailments, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), paralysis or loss of limbs. These vets are heroes to be recognized in tandem with G4V’s volunteers.

“Music is a powerful way to transmit emotions so all people can feel the same way together,” says Nettesheim. “In the beginning, most veterans talk very little and share few expressions, but by the end, they are sharing laughs and smiles. That, to me, is the biggest indicator of success.”

G4V is always looking for more volunteers to help with their numerous chapters.  Donations to cover guitar package costs are also very much needed. Those interested in volunteering or donating, please visit their website at guitars4vets.org, email info@guitarsforvets.org, or call 1-855-G4V-HERO. Monetary and guitar donations can be mailed to P.O. Box 617, Milwaukee, WI 53201. 


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