Monday, November 06, 2006

If you think the robocalls here in Michigan are bad...

Check this out. From Talking Points Memo-

What we're seeing is an apparent coordinated effort from the NRCC -- the House GOP committee -- to place calls that appear to be from the local Democratic candidate and then automatically call the same number back as many as seven or eight times each time the caller hang-ups. If the caller listens to the whole message it goes on to bash the Democratic candidate. But if the caller hangs up prematurely, the computer calls right back. Hang-ups are the achilles heal of robo-calls. So this seems to be an attempt to cover for that weakness by making those who hang up think the Democratic candidate is basically harassing them with phone calls. The GOP wins either way.

It hasn't gotten this bad in Michigan, yet, but apparently the frequency of anti-Granholm calls has been pretty high. MichLib has been documenting these calls; all I can say is that I am so grateful my number is unlisted. I haven't received a one.

Here is a little reminder of who is blocking reform in Michigan. What is really surprising is the reason why.

Legislation that would require robo-calls to carry disclaimers identifying their source cleared the state House of Representatives in September with an overwhelming 105-1 vote. The bill now sits in the Senate Government Operations Committee, chaired by Senate Majority Leader Kenneth Sikkema, Republican-Wyoming.

Sikkema spokesman Ari Adler said there's no plan to address robo-calls before year's end.

"Right now (Sikkema) is less interested in new laws being put on the books when we have a hard time enforcing the ones we already have because people are ignoring them," Adler said.

Yeah. Why bother. We can't enforce all those laws or anything. Might as well just lift the speed limits, too.

What do you want to bet Ken's home phone number is unlisted?

If this isn't fixed by '08, do yourself a favor and get your number unlisted. It's worth the $5 a month for peace and quiet.

The Saginaw news had a great editorial on this yesterday-

Money will continue to seep into politics, despite our best efforts to limit its corrosive influence. Still, efforts to limit trickery are necessary and do make a difference. Full, immediate disclosure and access to all political donations are a baseline requirement. We needs laws requiring identifiers on "robo" calls and other new modes of communications. The public needs to know who's bankrolling the nastiness -- before the election, not after.

In the end, it is our votes that hold the power. If attack ads didn't get Sen. Fatkat re-elected, or put Moneybags McFibb in office, they wouldn't use them.

Don't let the negative ads get you down.

More important, don't let them stop you from voting.

And when you vote, remember which party is doing the majority of the nasty calls and mailers, and which party is blocking reform.

And vote accordingly.