Archive for voting rights

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Taxpayers Bilked Out of Billions As Republicans Unconstitutionally Fund Religious Schools

University of Alabama Sororities Win Right to Ban Blacks

House Republicans Prove Hatred of America with 'No More Parks' Bill

Bill Maher Tells Democrats To Stand Their Ground and Stop Apologizing For Obamacare

Mayor Misogyny: Chris Christie Shames Former Aide to Save His Own Hide

Republican Led Southern States Dragging America Down By Leeching Off Of Your Tax Dollars

Is New York's Chinatown Under Threat?

Nevada Republican Wants to End Senate Elections Because Harry Reid Won

Fundamentalists Are Pretty Sure Jesus Would Not Bake a Wedding Cake for a Gay Couple

Ford Just Destroyed Cadillac's Ad Praising Rich Guys Who Work All The Time

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Letting Ex-Felons Vote -- A Racial Thing

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voting booth

What is the purpose of sending those convicted of crimes to jail? Is it punishment? Yes. Is it rehabilitation? Yes. So it's two mints in one as the Certs commercial goes.

And are most felons guilty of violent crimes? Actually, no. Most are incarcerated for non-violent (yet still serious) felonious crimes like embezzlement, tax fraud, mail fraud, auto theft, racketeering, drug possession charges, burglary, counterfeiting, possession of restricted pornographic material, spying, and various drug-related offenses.

Wikipedia:

7.9% of sentenced prisoners in federal prisons on September 30, 2009 were in for violent crimes.

Nearly three quarters of new admissions to state prison were convicted of nonviolent crimes. Perhaps the single greatest force behind the growth of the prison population has been the national "war on drugs." The number of incarcerated drug offenders has increased twelvefold since 1980. In 2000, 22 percent of those in federal and state prisons were convicted on drug charges.

Then why, if so many of these felonies are non-violent, is it that when you become an ex-felon, all of your rights aren't returned to you? According the the ALCU, ten states severely restrict voting from ex-felons (seven require long waiting periods, applying for reinstatement and review; three others - Iowa, Florida and Kentucky - ban it lifetime for these ex-felon offenders -- most of whom are non-violent). I can understand restrictions on getting a gun, but on your vote?

So far in the 40 states that allow for ex-felons to vote there haven't been any issues at the polls. So why not make voter reinstatement upon completion of incarceration national?

We non-felons take voting for granted. But it's majorly important. Look at the crazy people that are getting elected these days. Their choices and legislation affect all of us. Yet if you're an ex-felon, chances are you are obstructed from casting a vote.

With the racial make-up of our prisons today, that appears to be a punishment that affects minorities disproportionately. And the Justice Department, led by AG Eric Holder, wants to fix that. And surprisingly he's meeting resistance on both sides of the political spectrum. Many Republicans are against it because they see the reality that minorities are the overwhelming majority of  the prison population. Minorities, for good reason, tend to vote Democratic. If you unleash hundreds of thousands of potential voters after they do their time, GOP'ers will have a tougher go of it holding their political offices. So the Republican reasoning is understandable: keep minorities away from the vote. It's wrong, but you can see their reasoning: self-preservation.

But for those Democrats on the fence, this is purely a heinous act of villainy. Why should non-violent convicted felons be subjected to lifetime sentences after they're released? It flies in the face of just punishment -- that fitting the crime. C'mon Democrats, you know better. You stand for social justice. Now promote it. Make "inclusion" more than just a catch word.

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A video anthology of #GOPcruelty and obstruction

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GOP obstruction 4 charts

The above charts are from the Rachel Maddow segment below. They illustrate the GOP obstruction of major pieces of legislation that are wildly popular among all parties. And here are a few examples of GOP cruelty:

  • Education cuts
  • Government shutdown
  • Food stamps cuts
  • Women's health services cuts
  • Sequestration, austerity
  • Forty-plus attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act
  • Anti-immigration, anti-DREAMers
  • Voter suppression
  • Anti-gay rights

Please take the time to watch the three videos below all the way through.

Please realize what we're up against.

Please make others aware of the infantile, self-serving, appallingly inexplicable behavior, policies, and politics of the Republican party. They may not be able to win national elections, but they've managed to redistrict in enough states to win locally, in state legislatures, and congressional races, resulting in bad laws and very conservative courts that make decisions that support those bad laws.

If this upsets you as much as it does me, then you know what to do: Vote. And in 2014, get out the vote and help people get to the polls. Until then, educate everyone you can, assist as many people as possible with registration, and above all, never EVER keep your mouths shut. Be clear. Be loud. Be heard.

This is becoming all out political war, and we-- and democracy as we know/knew it-- can't afford to lose:

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Chris Hayes did a segment on what Republicans are giddily calling "Obama's Katrina" and he called them out on several things, including their shameful gloating:

I find myself pissed off at just about everyone... But most of all, I'm quite simply appalled as I watch a Republican party and conservative movement not even pretend to hide their glee and schadenfreude over problems with the law they have done everything in their power to to sabotage, destroy, and discredit...

What the hell is wrong with you?

The only path left is to [go] forward. No retreat, no surrender, no. Going. Back. The only way out is through.

In one clip, Jon Stewart summed it up perfectly:

The crazy part is, it's conservatives and Republicans that are in the biggest rush to make the comparisons: "Remember that terrible thing that Bush did, that we fought for eight years to convince you wasn't bad, but actually good? Well now we use those very incidents as the low water mark for your guy!"

Rachel Maddow takes it from there:

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The other day I posted, John "I See No Need for ENDA" Boehner welcomes anti- #LGBT group to Capitol Hill.

Rachel covered that in more detail and expanded the discussion into an overview of how infuriatingly destructive and obstructive the GOP is:

... [ENDA] never will become law, as long as John Boehner will not allow it to be voted on in the House, and he says that that is his decision. If that bill did come up for a vote in the House, it would most certainly pass. It is a really popular thing. ...

It's favored by a huge proportion of Democrats and a huge proportion of Independents and also by a really big proportion of Republicans. 60% of Republican voters support this. A big, bright, clear majority of Republican voters wants our country to have a law like this. But Republicans in Congress won't let it happen.

And it turns out that that exact dynamic holds on a bunch of things right now in Washington.

John Boehner again this week insists he would also not allow a vote on immigration reform. And just like the nondiscrimination bill, immigration reform is super, super, super popular...

The only people who do not want it are John Boehner and presumably some other House Republicans. But they're against everybody else in the country. They're completely against public opinion on this issue, including the public opinion of Republicans.

They're also completely against public opinion on the issue of the minimum wage....

On background checks for guns, right? Background checks for guns are supported by 81% of Americans, broadly speaking. Background checks had huge support among Democrats, among Independents, and look, among Republicans. Expanded background checks for gun purchases are supported by gun owners. Expanded background checks are supported by NRA members. But these guys in Congress, the Republicans in congress, say no....

Remember the Buffett Rule that said billionaires shouldn't pay lower tax rates than their secretaries? Democrats support that, Independents support that, Republicans support that. It's just the Republicans in Congress who say no, even though their own voters like the idea.... Republicans in Congress will not allow an issue like that to even be voted on, even though their own voters want it...

This is what is called a pattern. In representative democracy, if you are in an elected office and if you pursue policies that are very unpopular, and you block policies that are very popular, something is supposed to happen to you.

It's like the elephant in the elephant's room. Republican policy ideas, both in terms of what they like, but especially what they don't like, Republican policy ideas are very, very, very, very strongly at odds with the views of the American people, with even most Republican voters.

They believe they have one winning issue on health reform, where their opposition to the president's health reform law is closer to public opinion on that issue, which is still in flux. They think it's closer on that issue than it is every other major policy issue in the country right now where they stand against the rule of the public and even the rule of their own voters.

Why don't they pay a higher cost for that? And why haven't Democrats figured out a way to make them pay a higher cost for that?

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Rachel also did a segment on Wisconsin Republicans, which again illustrates the nasty, condescending, discriminatory, dangerous attitudes, plans, and heavy-handedness of the party now that they control that state:

This is so strange, I don't even know how to explain it...

... In the legislature, at least, since the Republicans and Governor Scott Walker took over in Wisconsin, it seems more and more like Wisconsin is losing its mind...

Whatever used to be the normal expectations for normal, middle of the road Midwestern governance, those days really are gone. In Wisconsin anyway, those days seem gone.

Shake off any apathy or feeling frozen into inaction due to frustration that you may have and start using your voice. This kind of conduct by the right is no longer an option, and it's up to us to make some very necessary, very urgent changes.

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Fed Up: Special Comment by my 76-year-old friend

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fed up

My impassioned “72-year-old”  friend (who is now 76, but who’s counting?), who goes by the Twitter name @42bkdodgr, would like to share his feelings of frustration about the state of politics and our dysfunctional Congress. I am more than happy to oblige, especially because I feel the same way.

This rant reminds me of one I did awhile ago: We have no choice. It might be time to revive that one.

Now on to "Fed Up." But first, a personal note from 42bkdodgr:

Many of you may wonder why I chose to use the “72 year old friend” as the introduction to my Special Comments. I selected the moniker so readers could see that from my age and life experiences I give a different perspective to the issues of today.

Now for his Special Comment:

FED UP

Like most Americans, I'm FED UP with the dysfunctional government we have.

I'm FED UP that there is a segment within the Republican caucus that refuses to compromise.

I'm FED UP that Republicans have more loyalty to a pledge they signed with Grover Norquist, to never raise taxes, forgetting the oath they took when sworn into office.

I'm FED UP that Republicans in Congress would rather spend government funds on phony investigations than pass a jobs and infrastructure bill, that would create jobs for millions of people, which would move our economy forward.

I'm FED UP with all the hate and racism that exists in our country.

I'm FED UP that the leaders of the Republican Tea Party don't denounce the use of racist remarks, hateful signs and pictures, displays of the Confederate Flag at rallies they attend in Washington D.C. and in their home states.

I'm FED UP with the disrespect shown President Obama and the office he holds. This has been going on since Joe Wilson yelled "You lie!" during a speech President Obama was giving to a joint session of Congress.

I'm FED UP that, after five years, there are still Americans who don't consider President Obama an American citizen or a Christian.

I'm FED UP with a party that lost a national election in 2012, that tries to use a government shut down and threat of default on national debt to force their ideology on Americans-- which the people had rejected-- and in the process, cost the country $24 billion.

I'm FED UP that a political party felt shutting down the government was a good thing, and brags about it and is threatening to try it again in 2014.

I'm FED UP that there are members in Congress who got elected with the sole intent of destroying the government.

I'm FED UP that the Republican Party is trying to defund and kill the Affordable Care Act, knowing full well it can't be done, in the process wasting more government funds.

I'm FED UP with members of Congress willing to cut funds that help those Americans in need while continuing to provide subsidies to farmers and oil companies, plus they refuse to close tax loop holes that benefit the rich.

I'm FED UP that states have or will enact laws to suppress the voting rights of Americans, when voter fraud doesn't exist in the country.

I'm FED UP that states have passed laws that don't allow women to control their own bodies.

I'm FED UP that the Evangelical Christians wanting to impose their religious ideology on all Americans and want to bring down the wall separating church and state.

I will continue to be FED UP, until these issues are addressed, or we will remain an extremely divided country pulling in different directions.

It's sad thing to say, but we are becoming a government, that unless one party controls Congress and the presidency, the chances of any important legislation getting done is almost nil.

That why it is extremely important for Democrats to vote in 2014 if we want to retain control of the Senate and possibly gain control of the House. Americans better begin to wake up and learn; the foundation of our democracy is being threatened by the radical right and it must be addressed.

Many thanks again for another thorough, relevant piece, @42bkdodgr. You often say what many of us are thinking and feeling, and we thank you for your unique perspective.

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You Might Be A Political Extremist If...

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you  might be a redneck

I always got a lot of laughs while watching Jeff Foxworthy with his routine, "You Might Be A Redneck." You've all heard some of his "You might be a redneck:"

  • If you mow your lawn and discover a car.
  • If your dad walks you to school because you're both in the same grade.
  • If someone asks to see your ID and you show them your beltbuckle.
  • If someone comes to your door every day thinking you might be having a yard sale.
  • If you ever made change in the 'offering' plate.
  • If you go to a family reunion to meet women.

You get the idea, I'm sure.

Well, Veracity Stew has printed out a "You might be..." of it's own. Only this one is the "You might be an extremist" test. Here's a sampling:

Until nothing remains

YOU  MIGHT BE A POLITICAL EXTREMIST IF:

  • If you think an Assault Weapons Ban “gives jackbooted Government thugs more power to take away our constitutional rights, break in our doors, seize our guns, destroy our property and even injure and kill us”…
  • If you try to control what other people do with their stinky parts…
  • If you display any Confederate flag in any way….
  • If you think there is a spy drone in the sky watching you in your backyard….
  • If you think the federal government feels constrained in any way by the fact that Skeeter in Southswamp, Georgia, owns an AR-15
  • If you think paying taxes is the same thing as slavery….
  • If you still think there is any doubt that the globe is heating up or that human activity is a driver….
  • If you resent it when government or business communicates with people in a language other than English….
  • If you think that the president is a socialist, fascist, communist or any twisted combination thereof….
  • If you question the president’s birthplace and citizenship….
  • If you think Obama is intending to create a “new” military, as strong as the U.S. military, answerable only to him….
  • If you think you, as en employer, have the “right” to impose your morals on your employees….
  • If you think the government is secretly plotting to take away all guns….
  • If you support giving full legal and constitutional rights to fertilized eggs….
  • If you think that people standing in a group and singing songs is a reason to tackle, handcuff, arrest, jail, and fine the singers….
  • If you think it’s a good day when children living in poverty cannot get government nutritional assistance….
  • If only 23% of Americans believe your party is “in touch with the concerns of most people in the United States today,” and 70% believe that it is “out of touch”….
  • If you’re calling for assassination, secession or insurrection….
  • If you have to gerrymander voting districts and disenfranchise millions of voters to win elections….
  • If you think it’s OK for an armed, full-grown man to pursue and kill an unarmed boy….
  • If you’re willing to shut down the government over women’s access to contraception….

Do you see yourself in any of the above? If you wish to find more, check out the full list here: The Extremest ID Test For All Political Factions

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A Modest Proposal: Voters Must Pass a Sanity Test Before Casting a Ballot

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Gone Crazy

Your Daily Dose of BuzzFlash at Truthout, via my pal Mark Karlin:

Okay, we are being sardonic, but wouldn't the fate of the United States be vastly improved if voters had to pass a sanity test to vote?

That would pretty much keep most of the Tea Party and current House GOP obstructionists from casting ballots, given their paranoid delusional and possibly psychotic state of mind.

After all, the Right Wing has been trying to keep minorities, the young, the poor and the non-white elderly from voting through completely unnecessary voter restriction laws, given that there is virtually no statistically significant voter fraud by individuals at the polls.  [...]

Now, even the federal judge -- Richard Posner of the Chicago federal court -- who set in motion the eventual Supreme Court approval for restricting voter rights through arbitrary state-passed "burdens of proof" admits that he was wrong in approving such tactics.

Please read the entire post here.

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Finally: Dep't. of Justice suing North Carolina over voting restrictions

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voter suppression cartoon Bennett smaller

MSNBC is now reporting that Attorney General Holder has announced the lawsuit against North Carolina. This is about Voter I.D. laws (scroll), voter registration, early voting, and casting ballots in the wrong place (using a provisional ballot) and then not having the vote you cast counted.

Holder also explained that North Carolina intended to prevent voters from casting ballots, aka voter suppression (scroll).

Here are a couple of email alerts explaining:

Politico:

The suit, set to be filed in Greensboro, N.C., will ask that the state be barred from enforcing the new voter ID law, the source said. However, the case will also go further, demanding that the entire state of North Carolina be placed under a requirement to have all changes to voting laws, procedures and polling places “precleared” by either the Justice Department or a federal court, the source added.

Huffington Post:

The lawsuit, which will be filed on Monday and announced at a press conference featuring Attorney General Eric Holder, challenges four provisions of the voting law, known as House Bill 589 and signed by North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) last month. Voter advocates have criticized the law as one of the most restrictive voting measures passed since the civil rights era.

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