Monthly Archives: November 2012

New Experiments, Visual and Audio

Birds of a Feather

2012 S. Calhoun Birds of a Feather (ARK) 1’x1′ proof for giclee

[audio:] wunderbare Momente
from forthcoming (in January) Kamelmauz EP, Rainbringer
(This piece was created on an iPad using Gestrument a generative sampler, and, Loopy, a sample player.)

See latest post, and videos, at noguts noglory studios blog.Kamelmauz Finds Little Bits of Slow Time

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A Knotty Issue of Development

men and women iconized into bias

If you were asked, ‘How do you reduce prejudice, prejudicial behavior, bias?’ how would you respond?

Just the other day I was asked this same question by a good friend who has been charged with teaching college sophomores something useful about how to, as she put it, think, feel and behave, in a diverse social environment.

It strikes me as a difficult and complex problem, and, also, one that is itself prone to being addressed in unreasonable and biased folk-psychological estimations of how, in effect, prejudice and bias can be said to operate.

Is the mitigation of prejudice against the opposite gender simply a matter of unlearning a pattern of response, or simply a matter of replacing this same pattern with a new behavior? My friend and I discussed empathy in terms of being the kind of ‘simulation’ that could serve this simple ‘replacement’ formula.


We moved onto consider bias being partly a consequence of inaccurate evaluation; with this possibly being a crucial aspect of a biased learned response. This seems, to me, closer to the developmental knot of bias, in that inaccuracies of evaluation often are straight-forward threads of such a knot.

This also allows for experiential approaches to revealing the evaluative aspects of how people experience different, other persons.

The following formula summarizes our intuition.

presence + ignorance + humility
= (more accurate evaluation)
increased potential to reduce biases in evaluation



presence: intentional focusing of external (object) awareness, while also being reflective and introspectively sensitive to emergent internal content (Note-Presence constitutes an active, vigilant behavior with respect to sub-conscious and automatic, or otherwise habitual, upwellings of inaccurate evaluation.)

ignorance: knowing ahead of time what you don’t know (Note-Ignorance contextualized by: knowing how one might both choicelessly and choicefully fill in the blanks with: prior knowledge; stereotypical knowledge; ad hoc knowledge; sub-conscious intuitions: prejudicial knowledge

humility: willing submission to being attentive without prior knowledge (Note-Submission is equivalent to also being willing and able to entertain an experiment through which one closely observes the nature of their own participation in their own experience of instantiating inaccurate evaluation.)



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Filed under adult learning, experiential learning, folk psychology

Teaching Cartoon: Now You See It


…now you don’t.

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A Batesonian sign


Also, for me, understanding this is the prime first order insight. What system is my being/doing mostly being-doing in? Consequence: the traffic is me; the traffic ‘over there’ is an extension of me, etc.

The bike won’t free you!

The advice aimed to promote biking is a second order directive, yet, until the differentiation of constituents of traffic is made explicit, these given constituents are identical with respect to how each is related to traffic.

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My Naive Art: Grid Study, Observer No. 7 (ARK)

Grid Study

Early version.

Grid Study

2012 S.Calhoun; proofed now for 2′ square and giclée. I like this one very much. Grid Study

2012 S.Calhoun; not having much time to mess around with my naive art, nevertheless I have been hoarding “ARK,” Appropriated Random Kitsch, themed by the concept of observers. This is Observer No. 7.

Self Portrait with Noise

2012; Self-portrait with noise.

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All Time Best Fortune Cookie

Fortune Cookie

Received this at Hunan On Coventry as the capper to dinner on Saturday.

This is, without a doubt, the best fortune-in-a-cookie I’ve ever been gifted with, but, I do not remember any of the competition. I suppose it would be better to say that this is the most memorable!

As an example of (what I term) fortuitous information, these pithy three words are fit to the subject, (ummm, me,) in an obvious way: being among the least despairing of persons, this points in the direction of sublimated reasons to be despairing, buried despair. Maybe even criminal is subtly antimonial, or inverted, in which case it obtains a kind of zen quality; despair when despairing, don’t do so when not despairing.

On its surface this Saturday night delivery is at least ironic!



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CIA Goes Social

Twitter Blue Birds

I much prefer the international party / creep show by design that is Google Plus (G+) over both The Facebook and The Twitter. Alas, hardly anyone I know shares this view as of the end of 2012.

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Filed under humor, technology, web 2.0+

Now Returning to Our Irregularly Scheduled Programming


Kizzy. Looking over the wash of posts oriented to the recently past political season, and the interjections of Freeplay Softball reports and a few postings of my art, I see right away the points of emphasis will soon be shifting. I don’t plan much out, still, I’ve been collecting teaching cartoons, and interesting captures from the web tubes, and, other stuff, while I neglect packing up for the big move into the new house–except I’m remaining behind in important respects until the current house is sold!



People who know me well might find it amusing to learn my preoccupations aren’t throwing me all about as they usually do. Ironically, the research project into Strategic Serendipity is on hold just as the whole field blows up on the breath of several best-selling, albeit non-technical, treatments of the subject.

Occupy Me.

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Lady’s Time, and the New Majority

I missed this during the election. I’ve been enjoying the post election de-brief and schadenfreude. Actually, I doubt I will ever see the mention of schadenfreude pile up as it has in this post-election season.

Loser Willard

TinyMitt! Did he really flip flop again and go back to affirm his stupid sociological analysis-you know, the one that did the heavy lifting in his implosion?

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Freeplay Oddities


A lot of weird stuff happens in the Freeplay Pick-up Softball League/Universe. It’s the nature of this game; meaning our ongoing experimental game (every Sunday at 10am, Forest Hills Park, Cleveland Heights, Field #8.)

One of the oddest things transpired yesterday when our one and only super duper star Mark Jr. shifted to the pitcher’s mound to pitch the last inning. In breezy conditions he acquitted himself adequately enough. We, the batting team, laid into him but he brought his laser-like focus to the task at hand.

Dave B at the bat

Dave B. at the bat.

Francis action shot

Action shot as Francis drives the spud into the hole, if you can pick it out skipping among the leaves.

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The Perfect Candidate

BaptistryThe baptistry in the new Mormon Temple in Nauvoo, Ill., features 12 oxen representing the 12 tribes of Israel.

Many losing candidates became elder statesmen of their parties. What lessons will Romney have to teach his party? The art of crawling uselessly? How to contemn 47 percent of Americans less privileged and beautiful than his family? How to repudiate the past while damaging the future? It is said that he will write a book. Really? Does he want to relive a five-year-long experience of degradation? What can be worse than to sell your soul and find it not valuable enough to get anything for it? His friends can only hope he is too morally obtuse to realize that crushing truth. Losing elections is one thing. But the greater loss, the real loss, is the loss of honor. What Romney Lost – Garry Wills – NYRB – 11/9:2012

For the archetypal moment, Willard was the perfect candidate, fit to the cultural contradictions stretched between “government hands off my Medicare,” and the opacity of out-of-sight riches, and, of course, the etch-a-sketch scrim for the shape-shifty fulfillment of Romney’s feudal ambitions intermixed with the White Horsey Prophecy.

The latter I offer with a wink, while pointing in the direction of that most scientology-like of the post-modern Christian Heresies.

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Election Result


Ouch Election demographics

Election map 1

Election Map 2

Obama Blue Vote Skew

We Did It

Obama for America’s model squished Bain’s model–so to speak. As it turned out, the technology of the Romney GOTA scored a fail well-matched to Romney’s own badly executed campaign.

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The fact-checkers handed Romney his butt.

But then came Colorado for the president and Florida also was looking tougher than anyone had imagined.

“We just felt, ‘where’s our path?'” said a senior adviser. “There wasn’t one.”

Romney then said what they knew: it was over.

His personal assistant, Garrett Jackson, called his counterpart on Mr. Obama’s staff, Marvin Nicholson. “Is your boss available?” Jackson asked.

Romney was stoic as he talked to the president, an aide said, but his wife Ann cried. Running mate Paul Ryan seemed genuinely shocked, the adviser said. Ryan’s wife Janna also was shaken and cried softly.

“There’s nothing worse than when you think you’re going to win, and you don’t,” said another adviser. “It was like a sucker punch.”

Their emotion was visible on their faces when they walked on stage after Romney finished his remarks, which Romney had hastily composed, knowing he had to say something.

Both wives looked stricken, and Ryan himself seemed grim. They all were thrust on that stage without understanding what had just happened.

“He was shellshocked,” one adviser said of Romney.

Romney and his campaign had gone into the evening confident they had a good path to victory, for emotional and intellectual reasons. The huge and enthusiastic crowds in swing state after swing state in recent weeks – not only for Romney but also for Paul Ryan – bolstered what they believed intellectually: that Obama would not get the kind of turnout he had in 2008.

They thought intensity and enthusiasm were on their side this time – poll after poll showed Republicans were more motivated to vote than Democrats – and that would translate into votes for Romney. Romney Shellshocked By Loss

And to think: Romney prides himself on being data-driven, and Ryan is a self-described ‘numbers guy.’

Going into election day my hunch was that Romney would get plastered by votes from: minorities, women, under-30s, and, that the GOP war-on-women may incur blowback among GOP women too. Maybe GOP women would stay home at historic levels of refusal! Against this I figured on strong turn out of old white guys where it didn’t really matter. The tracking polls in Ohio suggested a small turnout bump would make all the difference, and, this is what happened.

I also felt that in Ohio, where I live, Romney’s outrageous TV ad about Obama and Jeep, once thoroughly debunked, started to serve a new purpose, reminding viewers that Romney didn’t care about the facts. And, much worse, by not pulling the ad, it sent the message Romney believed voters in Ohio to be fools and suckers. It seems that Romney didn’t have any social psychologists on his team!

In the end which Romney lost, the arch right winger of the primaries or the pseudo-Reaganesque moderate of the general election? We will likely never know. Say what you will about the ongoing ideological battle in America, this election demonstrated what I call the problem of the GOP empty suit.

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Yup, We Did

Barack Obama and Family

In a moment, time to roll up our sleeves.

My brother Crede came up to Cleveland, his family’s hometown, and helped spearhead the effort to video the vote. Things went smoothly!

Hat’s off to the local crew, especially Jane, Dell, Catherine, of Obama for America. I had the honor and pleasure of canvassing last weekend with Jim Lardie, a veteran organizer and salt-of-the-earth elder. Thanks!

I am especially grateful for Charles S. Pierce, the main political blogger for Esquire Magazine online. He’s a great, deeply witty, and earnest writer and patriot. He was my main source for keeping sane and balanced and amused. His summing and view going forward is, like all of his reporting, essential: The Greatness of Barack Obama Is Our Great Project.

I’ll have more to say later. I do note it was a “turnout” election that swept in, in very close races, several very fine new Senators. Plus more!

The gasping of old guys who yearn for the 1880/1980’s is audible, but I do not see radical post-Conservatism and Randian post-capitalism sustaining its grip–as the waves of demographic transformation alter the USA’s political geography.

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Forward Again


I’m a lifelong Democrat, being the product of a liberal family, with a college vice president for a mother and an attorney for a father. At the same time, I’m a student of history and, going farther, of meta-history and of sociology and of political philosophy. I’ve read and thought my way through the Greeks and the moderns and still cannot wrap my head around the ways greed and selfishness and individualism is said to be virtuous.

Obviously, biologically, individualism is absolutely a non-starter. You can’t get anywhere from it alone.

At 58, I’m a fallibilist and skeptic and, I would label myself a Fabian Digger too. But I’m not ideological about any of this because I’m a (William) Jamesian, a relativist, and so I am antagonistic toward ideological reductions for the precise reason that reality itself is not ideological. My finding: in actuality, where reality is most coherent, it is the ‘least’ ideologically.

I could never vote Republican because, for me, their attachment is to ideology above reality, and so, not surprisingly, I find Republican policies to be in various ways and with certainty:

1. Anti-business
2. Anti-family
3. Anti-women
4. Anti-children
5. Anti-education
6. Anti-minorities
7. Anti-science
8. Anti-egalitarian
9. Anti-Conservative

BONUS: GOP is not in favor of every legal voter voting

The data is on my side of course. I can make a slam dunk case for each of these features of the GOP. Yet, in the main, in the most basic material terms, the GOP is economically nowadays the party of socializing risk and privatizing profits. The GOP is post-Capitalist, or, alternately, has come to endorse a final degenerative and plutocratic stage of finance capitalism in which the paper and speculative and derivative economy overwhelms property-based capitalism.

As the data clearly shows, a dollar earned as wage or salary, as profit on a product sold, is much more safe when there is a Democrat in the Oval office.

Everybody gets to make up their own mind about what party and policies and ideologies are best for America. After four years of watching the GOP wage a war against President Obama, and, grievous wars against the working class, women, children, minorities, veterans, and, business, I remain amazed that Romney can gain more than a few thousand votes. Okay, not so amazing; we’re still grappling with the aftermath of the civil war.

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Slices of Stupid

Newleftmedia once again demonstrates that if you shoot enough video interviews at Romney (or Tea Party) events the most select slices of STUPID are gloriously deranged.

My favorite spot of dumb in the video is the guy, once again, passionately wishing for the U.S. not to be, anymore, the laughingstock of the world.

It is possible to empathize if you can simulate the guy’s sense that the world is laughing about something ‘the world’ surely doesn’t find anywhere near as funny as that which actually is laughable.

World support for Obama

What’s funny are America’s proudly stupid people, their hypocritical religiosity, their ignorance, their pride in their ignorance, and. . .one could go on and on. As a marker of cognitive ability what does it mean to think Obama is a Muslim, atheist, communist?

Sure go vote for the manic plutocrat, mendacious Reagan wannabee, and, strangely enough, perfect symbol of greed and one percent Toryism, Willard Romney.

The sad answer is there is no way to know what Mr. Romney really believes. His unguarded expression of contempt for 47 percent of the population seems as sincere as anything else we’ve heard, but that’s only conjecture. At times he has advocated a muscular, John McCain-style foreign policy, but in the final presidential debate he positioned himself as a dove. Before he passionately supported a fetus’s right to life, he supported a woman’s right to abortion. His swings have been dramatic on gay rights, gun rights, health care, climate change and immigration. His ugly embrace of “self-deportation” during the Republican primary campaign, and his demolition of a primary opponent, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, for having left open a door of opportunity for illegal-immigrant children, bespeaks a willingness to say just about anything to win. Every politician changes his mind sometimes; you’d worry if not. But rarely has a politician gotten so far with only one evident immutable belief: his conviction in his own fitness for higher office. (excerpted from WAPO’s endorsement of Barack Obama)

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Video the Vote!

Video The Vote

Stop Racists from screwing voters out of their vote in Cuyahoga County is the mission. My brother Crede is in town to video the vote for ‘Video the Vote.’

Here’s the first clip from yesterday.

On election day it is anticipated the racist polling places observers trained by the racist True the Vote, funded by dark money and the racist Koch brothers, will make an intense effort to stomp out as much of the African-American vote in Cleveland as they can within the boundaries of the law, or, possibly not within those boundaries.  Well, this is the rumor; we do not know yet about such efforts here.

Then again, remember the GOP has been furiously working at state levels to make voting harder. “Voting should be hard not easy” is one of the principles the modern GOP has on offer as a refinement of Goldwater/Nixon’s infamous ‘southern strategy.’

In the ten-year stretch between the years 2000 and 2010:

~ There were 649 million votes cast in general elections

~ There were 47,000 UFO sightings

~ 441 Americans were killed by lightning

And there were 13 credible cases of in-person voter impersonation

Racist catherine Engelbrecht

Catherine Engelbrecht, the racist leader of True the Vote, understands 13 divided by 649 million, is a scary number. Her response is to concentrate her organization’s voter suppression efforts in minority voting locations, for example, in Cuyahoga County where there has been ZERO credible cases of in-person voter impersonation. However, so far, there is no evidence of True the Vote efforts.

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Voter Vigilantes Pose Other Burdens

For those voters who do go to the polls, they may face further intimidation from poll watchers trained by the Tea Party-affiliated True the Vote, which claims their activities are designed to make voters at polling stations feel like they are “driving with the police following you.” True the Vote is adamant that voter fraud exists (despite little evidence) and trains volunteers to patrol for voter fraud in low-income neighborhoods of color, which has prompted accusations of voter intimidation. For months the group has been scouring voter registration databases to compile a list of voters to challenge at the polls.

The group also intervened in Wisconsin’s 2012 gubernatorial recall election, where they unsuccessfully tried to discredit the recall petition drive by creating a sloppy alternate database and making inaccurate assertions about the “integrity” of the petition-gathering effort. During the recall election itself, the group trained a handful of poll watchers in their “voter integrity” techniques — and perhaps not surprisingly, the League of Women Voters fielded hundreds of complaints of voter intimidation or interferencemany from college students interrogated about their residency by True the Vote poll observers. After the recall election, Wisconsin’s elections board released a statement expressing concern about the “disturbing reports and complaints about unacceptable, illegal behavior by [poll] observers.” True the Vote took it personally.

Even if True the Vote is overstating its influence and fails to meet its one million poll watcher goal for November, just a few aggressive poll watchers can scare off other voters and lead to long lines. Perhapsbecause of the risk that overzealous poll watchers could make it harder to vote on election day, the Obama campaign is encouraging supporters to vote early — which is why the Ohio decision protecting early voting the weekend before the election could be crucial for Democrats.

In previous reports, IREHR has documented the existence of Tea Party national leaders opposed to voting rights for people without property, and Tea Party leaders who advocate the repeal of the Fourteenth Amendment, and equal rights before the law promised by it. IREHR has pointed out some of the most prominent white nationalists in the Tea Party ranks, and those Tea Partiers who simply act like racists and bigots. In this report, the Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights details voter suppression efforts in North Carolina.

Pre-eminent among the Tea Party “poll watchers” is King Street Patriots and KSP True the Vote. King Street Patriots began as a chapter of Tea Party Patriots in Houston, Texas. Both are led by Catherine Engelbrecht, who has made herself and True the Vote ubiquitous in Tea Party circles.

Although Engelbrecht claims that the two organizations are separate and distinct, IRS Form 990s for the year 2010 show that both organizations share the same small three-person board of directors, and both operated out of the same post office box number.[6] King Street Patriots filed as a non-profit membership corporation, 501c4 on December 30, 2009. Six months later, in June 2010, KSP-True the Vote filed as a non-profit educational charity.[7] Both types of organizations need not reveal their donors.

In 2010, Texans for Public Justice filed a complaint with the Texas ethics commission that read, in part, “KSP/True the Vote violated the state’s prohibition on corporate contributions to political parties and candidates.”[8] And the complaint cited multiple instances where Engelbrecht’s organizations worked directly with Republican Party candidates, and recruited “poll watchers” for them out of Tea Party ranks. KSP responded in typical Tea Party form, claiming they were being bullied by a “George Soros funded organization.”[9]

On Aug 26, 2011, Engelbrecht changed KSP-True the Vote’s corporate name to “True the Vote Inc.”[10]

A second case, filed as a lawsuit by the Texas Democratic Party, claimed essentially the same thing. And a Travis County district judge ruled in March 2012 that King Street Patriots was not a non-profit organization but a political action committee that must operate by PAC rules and reveal its donors.[11] Engelbrecht said she would appeal the judge’s decision, and the Liberty Institute is King Street Patriots’ legal representation. The appeal is still pending.

Despite its legal troubles, Engelbrecht’s organizations have grown and prospered. In Ohio, True the Vote joined Judicial Watch in filing suit against election officials. In Arizona, Engelbrecht gave one of the biggest speeches at a Tea Party Patriots convention. In Colorado she did something similar at a Heritage Foundation sponsored event. And she has done the same at dozens of other venues.

In 2011, True the Vote seized the national limelight inside the Tea Party movement with its first national summit, held in the hometown of Houston. The conference attracted delegates from 27 states and laid the foundation for state-level election year efforts.At this conference, True the Vote (TTV) staff rolled out their plan to block the vote. The slickly-packaged campaign pinpoints vulnerable spots in the voting process, and instructs activists in tactics on how to overload elections officials, slow the vote, and block participation.

In an orientation video, TTV founder Catherine Engelbrecht innocently explained the organization’s focus as “work at the polls,” “researching the registry,” and helping “fix what needs fixing.”[12]

Researching the registry means that True the Vote has purchased voter rolls from states and counties, then circulated the lists to their gaggle of unsupervised volunteers, who are urged to challenge the registrations of voters that think may be improperly registered. The True the Vote “work at the polls” entails training volunteers to be “poll watchers” – people to go to the polls on election day and aggressively challenge the registration, the identity, or the eligibility of prospective voters.

To “fix what needs fixing” True the Vote has also pushed legislative efforts to further restrict access to voting, including stringent new voter identification laws.

In practice, the TTV strategy has deterred people from registering to vote, created an atmosphere that frightens voters from showing up at the polls, overloaded election officials with baseless challenges, and slowed the vote by gumming up the process.

Out of the 2011 True the Vote Summit, the strategy to create state level groups helped spawn groups in Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, Ohio, Virginia, and North Carolina. Englebrect encouraged the groups to adopt independent sounding names to disguise their relationship and free themselves from the True the Vote “baggage.”[13]

At the 2012 True the Vote Summit, regional coordinator Vickie Pullen told the crowd that her organization had already added the voter rolls of nineteen states to its database: Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin. She added that California, Oregon, Washington state, and Colorado would soon follow. At that point in May 2012, she also noted that the group had already done over 120 training sessions for various groups.

At the same event, Catherine Engelbrecht, explained some of her point of view: it is all about “us,” the white redeemers of the election process, she said: “I believe we can see a restoration, not only of our elections and our process, but I think it will be the beginning of a wave of restoration. Because once we assign priority to the polls, once we elect representatives who have come to us by the way of legal, lawful elections, then those representatives go on to carry that credo of truth. And very soon you see a process that is no longer unrecognizable. It’s one that truly reflects us, because it is of us. Because we started the ball rolling to begin with. Because we said it was important enough to show up.” [14]

As a result of True the Vote’s activities, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D. MD), the ranking Democrat of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, has launched an investigation of Catherine Engelbrecht and her organization. Rep. Cummings’ October 4, 2012 letter to Engelbrecht cited True the Vote’s record of “challenging the registration of thousands of legitimate voters based on insufficient, inaccurate, and faulty evidence.”[15] He requested copies of its correspondence, copies of its training materials used for volunteers and affiliates, copies of its computer programs, all contracts and memoranda of understanding, and much more.

A number of news reports about Rep. Cummings’ letter claimed the voter suppression group was under investigation for a possible “criminal conspiracy.” It should be noted that if there is, in fact, an investigation of criminal conspiracy, Ms. Engelbrecht and others are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. Engelbrecht agreed to meet with Rep. Cummings, but refused to hand over any of the materials, in a letter full of the usual Tea Party protestations.

True the Vote and Voter Integrity Project in North Carolina

In North Carolina, True the Vote has inspired two different statewide groups engaging in voter suppression activities: North Carolina True the Vote and the Voter Integrity Project.
The Voter Integrity Project was started by Jay DeLancy, a retired Air Force officer from North Carolina. DeLancy was one of those new voter suppression activists who attended the 2011 True the Vote Summit in Houston.[16] On his blog, DeLancy explained his views: “Motivated by groups like the King Street Patriots (of Houston, TX) and their ‘True The Vote’ campaign, I want to make sure North Carolina’s elected leaders understand that people are waking up to the danger our nation faces when good people do nothing and bad people steal elections by stuffing the ballot box or by abusing the ‘motor voter’ laws to register fictitious voters,” he wrote.[17]

To Delaney, voter suppression efforts are essential: “I’ve reached the conclusion that some really bad people have used voter fraud to disenfranchise the rational voters (also called ‘the producers’) in our nation,” he wrote.[18]

At first, DeLancy directly copied the Texas version of TTV directly, and created True the Vote North Carolina. But he broke from the national group, in part because True the Vote raised concerns about the Voter Integrity Project’s nativist leanings. “They’re not wanting to be branded some kind of anti-immigrant activist group,” DeLancy told the New York Times.[19]

DeLancy started a Voter Integrity Project NC (VIP) and several months later, on May 30, 2012 Deirdre Morrison incorporated it and is the registered agent. Morrison, an accountant from Youngsville and a Tea Party activist, is a member of both the Patriot Action Network and Tea Party Nation national factions, and locally Triangle Conservatives Unite.[20] Despite claims of Voter Integrity Project non-partisanship, Morrison is also an elected GOP precinct captain in west Youngsville.[21] Although the Voter Integrity Project is registered as a for-profit corporation, it actually solicits donations.

The split between the Voter Integrity Project and True the Vote is a distinction without much of a difference. For example, Voter Integrity Project NC Research Director John Pizzo was still also listed as a True the Vote research team leader as of September 30.

Outside of DeLancy, Morrison, Pizzo and a mailbox at a UPS Store in a Raleigh strip mail, the Voter Integrity Project doesn’t have much organizational infrastructure. Nevertheless, it has had an outsized role in working against voting rights.

In June 2012, the Voter Integrity Project challenged—unsuccessfully—the registrations of more than 500 Wake County voters, most of whom were voters of color, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. In response, DeLancy called the Brennan Center “Race-baiting Leftist(s).”[22]

On August 31, the Voter Integrity Project presented to the elections board a list of 30,000 individuals listed as current North Carolina voters. VIP claimed these persons were actually deceased, but still registered to vote. The organization argued that that these names could be used to fraudulently vote in the dead voter’s place. Of the 30,000 names it presented, only 4,946 names actually approximated those on the actual voter rolls in a manner close enough to warrant further investigation. It should be noted that as of this writing, North Carolina elections officials have not found a single instance of anyone on the group’s challenge list who voted fraudulently. These challenges, however, have overwhelmed the staff and resources of the Board of Elections.

North Carolina True the Vote

True the Vote’s new North Carolina state director is Donna Yowell. For the last three years, Yowell, of Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina, has been a Tea Party stalwart out to defeat the president. She joined the Tea Party almost right away in 2009, becoming a member of groups like the Haywood County, NC 9-12 Project and Triangle Conservatives Unite.[23] She also became a member of four different national Tea Party factions: FreedomWorks, the Patriot Action Network, Tea Party Nation, and Tea Party Patriots.[24]

After the 2010 midterm elections, she formed the Tea Party spin-off group, Feet to the Fire. Through this group she bashed on teachers unions in Wisconsin, supported nativist legislation, promoted the anti-environmental conspiracy theory around “Agenda 21,” and tried to “to insure a conservative platform for NCGOP.” The Heritage Foundation’s political arm, Heritage Action, awarded her group with “Activist of the Month” status in 2011.[25]

For Yowell, the fight is personal and it’s partisan. “It is time to wake up. Get out and work for your conservative views. Voting is NOT enough. BE a block captain in your precinct.- NOVEMBER IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER. WE HAVE TO TAKE BACK CONGRESS or SOCIALISM WILL BE IN FULL FORCE.” [caps in original][26]

Yowell, who holds an official position in the Wake County Republican Party as House District 37 Vice Chair, has made it clear it’s all about getting rid of President Obama. “Why are we allowing this person [President Obama] to destroy this wonderful country with his selfishness and his lies? His type of change is killing our country. He needs to be stopped and only our votes can stop him. Do not forget about his tactics when it’s election time. Vote Obama out of the Presidency in 2012. ‘2012: THE END OF AN ERROR,'” she wrote.[27]

Already active in far-right circles and familiar with voter suppression efforts, Yowell stepped in to become the True the Vote state director after DeLancy spun off and created the Voter Integrity Project NC.

It may not be that million person army that Engelbrecht once envisioned, but Yowell and True the Vote have built up a small battalion of volunteers in North Carolina. As of September 30, True the Vote had 286 volunteers in sixty different North Carolina counties.[28] The largest concentrations of voter suppression volunteers are in Wake (71), Guilford (22), Mecklenburg (19), Forsyth (17), Durham (15), and Henderson (11) counties.

In North Carolina, knowledge of and opposition to those who would narrow voting rights is of great importance; in part because of the history of voter suppression and oppression in North Carolina. Recent events in North Carolina also provide a context for this current contest, and throw the battle lines on this issue into sharp relief.

In 2006, the North Carolina NAACP led the creation of a broad coalition aimed at seeking necessary reforms from the state government. Known as “Historic Thousands on Jones Street,” or HKonJ, the coalition has grown to include 125 different NAACP units in the state plus 140 other social justice organizations. Its first annual mobilization in February 2009 attracted approximately 3,500 marchers, and its demonstration in 2012 drew over 15,000 individuals. Most significantly for this report, HKonJ has changed the shape of North Carolina’s political and social life.

Among HKonJ’s many achievements, it won a dollar an hour increase in the state’s minimum wage that the Governor signed in 2007. In 2010 it won passage of the Racial Justice Act, which gave death row inmates an avenue to challenge their sentence if race was a significant factor in the sentencing. Although there were a couple of legislative attempts to repeal and revise this statute, the Governor vetoed them. HKonJ also successfully pushed the legislature to pass a same-day registration for early voting measure in 2007.

As a result, in the 2008 election, North Carolina recorded the highest percentage increase of voter turnout of any state in the country, with a 9.4% increase.[31]

In response, the Republican-controlled North Carolina legislature made several attempts to restrict the vote. In 2009, HB 430 “Voter Identification” was introduced, but never gained traction.[32] Following GOP gains in 2010, a strict new bill requiring photo identification to vote was introduced in March 2011 as HB 351, the deceptively named “Restore Confidence in Government” Act.

The nonpartisan voter advocacy group Democracy North Carolina noted that the bill could affect more than 450,000 North Carolina residents. State officials also added that more than 550,000 residents have no identification at all, and many don’t have the money or time to get to a Department of Motor Vehicles branch and obtain one.[33]

Nevertheless, the bill was ratified by the legislature on June 16, 2011. Gov. Bev Perdue, with the support of HKonJ, vetoed the bill on June 23, 2011. “This bill, as written, will unnecessarily and unfairly disenfranchise many eligible and legitimate voters,” Perdue wrote in her veto announcement.[34] In her statement, she also noted, “There was a time in North Carolina history when the right to vote was enjoyed only by some citizens rather than by all. That time is past, and we should not revisit it.”

On July 26, 2011, the House attempted to override the Governor veto, but failed to reach the three-fifths majority necessary. In a party line vote, 68 Republicans voted to override the veto, while 51 Democrats voted against the measure.[35] Yet again, in 2012, the bill rose from the dead and it was re-introduced in May, and a move was made to get a modified version passed.

Then in June, at the height of final attempt to craft a bill that might override Gov. Perdue’s veto, North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis took time to conference with several of the leading voices in support of the voter ID law.[36]

Among those in attendance:

William Gheen of the nativist group ALIPAC. Gheen has suggested that “illegal and violent” “extra political activities” might be the only way to save “white America” from “Dictator Barack Obama.”[37]

David DeGerolamo of the Tea Party group NC Freedom. In a 2010 interview DeGerolamo told another Tea Party leader, “I want the 14th Amendment repealed.”[38]

Donna Yowell of Feet to the Fire (who would go on to be the state coordinator for the True the Vote voter suppression efforts).

Ron Woodward of the anti-immigrant group, NC Listen.

James and Maurine Johnson of the grassroots nativist outfit NC FIRE.

Despite this push by Tea Party and nativist groups, enough votes to override a veto threat couldn’t be wrangled before the end of the session. HKonJ played a significant role in these events, providing the political energy to protect voting rights.

Nevertheless, these issues remain hotly contested. North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis told the state’s delegation to the Republican National Convention in Tampa that if things go well for Republicans this fall, a voter ID bill likely will become law next year.[39] The Republican candidate for governor, Pat McCrory has also added that if elected, he would sign a similar bill.[40]

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Racist Anti-Democracy in Ohio

Racist John Husted's campaign to suppress the African American vote

Ohio Racists For Romney

Originally posted August 17, 2012.

Update November 4, 2012: Last-Minute Ohio Directive Could Trash Legal Votes And Swing The Election – Judd Legum on Nov 3, 2012 at 4:10 pm

The racist Ohio Secretary of State Husted at the eleventh hour issues rules for provisional ballots that will potentially rob Ohio citizens of their votes. As has become the habit of Romney operatives, Romney’s campaign spokesmen, and, apologists and explainers and gobshitters associated with te GOP’s efforts to, especially, suppress African-American votes, the goal of Husted could be re-stated:

Husted issues rules for provisional ballots that will potentially deprive Ohio citizens of their newly illegal votes.

Ohio Secretary of State accused of installing suspicious software on voting machines

The GOP is despicable, not generally, but specifically in their tenacious effort to make voting very hard for voters who support their opponents. Over the past few months I have heard the quasi “meta-physical” rationales: that one fraudulent vote is worse than 10 suppressed legitimate votes; that voting should be harder as a test of commitment; that politics is a grown-up and nasty game. Etc..

The last rationale, and its brethren, obviously speak to the implicit nihilism hidden not to far under the surface of a modern GOP not at all separate from the southern strategy of Goldwater and Nixon, not substantially distant from the John Birch Society, not bothered much by the extravagant and stark contradiction of mashing of Jesus and John Gault.

On election day, GOP operative polling place observers have been lightly trained, and next will be let loose Tuesday in African-American polling places throughout Cuyahoga County to accomplish one single goal: slow down voting so that voters are forced to wait with the objective being that the voters eventually abandon the long lines and so decline to vote.

Reprehensible. Not surprisingly in the least, neither Romney or Ryan have issued a single word against these efforts. Meanwhile, here in Cleveland, it turns out the Einhorn family in Milwaukee was responsible for billboard warnings placed in African-American neighborhoods in own city, Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati. Once outed, the Einhorn spokesperson offered a rationale that was spectacular in its dishonesty: the billboards were put up as “a public service.” If you can’t figure out why this is completely dishonest, I feel very sorry for you.

(Nancy Einhorn is on the Board of The Milwaukee Ballet. My guess is not for very much longer unless it turns out being a racist is an importnat qualification.)

Racist Einhorn Family

Racist voter suppression and Mitt Romney

Koch Brothers, racists to the bone


Billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch have been dominant financiers for conservative front groups and nonprofits for nearly three decades. Their money has flowed to organizations dedicated to lobbying for corporate and upper income tax cuts, as well as to groups responsible for mobilizing Tea Party rallies against President Obama. But the Koch family’s association with fringe right-wing groups began a generation earlier with Fred Koch, the patriarch of the clan.

Fred not only founded the company now known as Koch Industries, he also was afounding member of the John Birch Society. As a founding board member, Fred helped engineer a hysterical wave of attacks on labor, intellectuals, public education, liberal clergy members, and other pillars of society he viewed as a threat. Birchers decriedeveryone from former President Eisenhower to water utility administrators as pawns in a global communist conspiracy. In the last two years, as the Koch name has becomesynonymous with right-wing plutocracy in the United States, the Koch family has played down its relation to the Birchers.

However, the New American, the official mouthpiece of the John Birch Society, published a piece this morning celebrating Fred and the Koch family’s pivotal role in developing the group:

Koch warned that American institutions were honeycombed with communist subversives, from labor unions and tax-free foundations to universities and churches. Art and newsprint, radio and television — all these media had been transmuted into vehicles of communist propaganda. […] Fred Koch was no fly-by-night pamphleteer. He spent a generous portion of his later years using his wealth and influence to fight the communism he abhorred. He was an early member of the The John Birch Society’s National Council, an advisory group to JBS founder Robert Welch. Koch supported a variety of freedom-related causes, all the while continuing to build the company today known as Koch Industries.

The Bircher ode to Koch glosses over Fred’s record of bigotry. In a booklet he authored, Fred railed against civil rights leaders, and claimed the movement against racial segregation was a communist plot to use African Americans to destabilize the country. The Koch-funded Birchers held numerous rallies during the ’60s claiming integration would lead to a “mongrelization” of the races. (Thinkprogress)

(August 17, 2012)

The most remarkable aspect, to me, of the GOP’s ongoing efforts to subvert democracy by targeting the African-American vote are the wide variety of rationalizations employed by advocates of voter suppression. Each and every such rationalization ends up rooted to an unpatriotic hope: that a legitimate voter’s vote of a specific kind not ever be registered.

The Pennsylvania legislator Mike Turzai expressed this hope in certain terms and a thousand headlines were the result June 25th.

Yet, just this week on NPR he was asked about voter ID and he said something to the effect of:

“It’s not worth one illegitimate vote to drop efforts to protect the vote.”

The useless NPR questioner did not press the question begged by his ridiculous, self-righteous answer. Obviously, the GOP’s concern is about losing elections, and not about the integrity of the vote.

Texas Voter Fraud

This connects up with racism in a straight-forward way. Husted and Priesse understand the African-American vote is to be suppressed because of their overwhelming propensity to vote for their own race.

Obviously, elderly white GOP voters get caught up in this pernicious effort to undermine our political system, so it is clearly the case that a calculation about reward versus risk underlies the increasingly widespread efforts to make it harder for legitimate voters to cast their ballots.

GOP Voter Suppression

Meanwhile, the cause of vote suppression has engendered systematic arguments on behalf of election integrity. This presentation from Virginia Voters Alliance is typical. Note its Tea Party inflections at the same time you note that none of its inculpatory ‘facts’ are actually documented. This group’s presentation boldly proclaims George Soros is pulling the strings!

All the tidy rationales are usually easily discombobulated, with a little scratching, to reveal suppression proponent’s true racist intent. The easiest way to get at this is to ask proponents about what would happen if every last eligible voter were to vote. (Unlikely voters favor Obama by 2-1.) In this regard, the rough and tumble rationale “Politics is a mean business and the ends justify the means.” is at least honest.

Perhaps the most famous recent example of racially-based vote suppression in the United States took place during the presidential election of 2000. The State of Florida ordered implementation of a purge list to remove voters from the rolls. The purge disenfranchised thousands of eligible voters – primarily African Americans. These citizens were prevented from casting ballots through their largely erroneous – and humiliating – classification as convicted felons. Racially-Based Suppression of the African-American Vote: The Role It May Play in the Upcoming Presidential Election By Sherry Colb, Oct. 29, 2004

NAACP and Florida Voters Reach Agreement with ChoicePoint® in Voting Rights Lawsuit
ChoicePoint to Make Donation to NAACP and Reprocess Voter Exception List

WASHINGTON, D.C. / ALPHARETTA, Ga. – July 2, 2002 – Civil rights plaintiffs have reached an agreement with ChoicePoint (NYSE: CPS) over work performed by Database Technologies (DBT) for the State of Florida in the 2000 elections. The NAACP and Florida voters filed a federal lawsuit – NAACP v. Harris – challenging the conduct of state and local officials in the 2000 Florida elections, including DBT, because of the company’s work as a contractor hired by the state.
As part of the settlement, ChoicePoint will donate $75,000 to the NAACP, which will be used to fund past and future efforts to further the electoral opportunities of Florida’s minority voters. Under the agreement, the company also will re-process the 1999 and 2000 “exceptions lists” of Florida voters who may have been ineligible to vote because of possible felony criminal convictions or because of possibly being registered to vote in more than one county. The reprocessing will be conducted pursuant to terms proposed by the plaintiffs and subject to court approval.

DBT was under contract with the State of Florida from late 1998 through 2000 to create a list of registered voters who may have been deceased, registered in more than one county, or convicted felons under the Florida voting fraud statute. ChoicePoint acquired DBT in May, 2000, after the initial 2000 voter exception list was delivered to Florida officials for verification.

Comprehensive, academic, legal, social scientific, clearinghouse on election integrity: Brennan Center for Justice.

Michael Tomasky: How the GOP Plans to Block the Black Vote.

It’s a sick and sickening situation, and it delegitimizes everything else about the Republican Party. I can understand how someone believes in limited government or low taxes. I can understand how someone could oppose affirmative action. I cannot understand how any individual can be anything other than abjectly ashamed to be associated with a political party so thuggish as to try to rig elections like this and then at its conventions have the gall to invoke Abraham Lincoln and hire lots of black people to sing and dance and smile, to make up for their absence among the attendees. A black mark indeed.


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The Lying Game

Romneybot Lies Again

“I never in my lifetime thought I would see a creepier politician than Richard Nixon, but in the last few days, it became clear that Willard Mitt Romney is really, really creepy.” Stephen Stills

Late Super PAC Ad Buy Urges African Americans In Ohio To Vote Republican Because Lincoln Freed The Slaves

(Video ad. Asserting that Martin Luther King Jr. was a Republican is a very old piece of bullshit.)

The stock election season kiss offs of the other guy’s mendacities are, one, everybody does it, and, two, the other guy is no worse. This time around, Obama’s b aloney is up against epic crap peddling by Romney, obviously himself committed to saying what he feels he has to say to cajole a few votes out of undecideds.

In light of these battle-tested kiss offs, is there still a possibility of blowback? For example, it’s very bold of Willard and his handlers to automatically assume their line of crap about the recent history of the auto industry in Ohio can be made to float down and rest easily in the ears of an Ohio public that, at the ‘mean,’ probably knows much more about the recent history of the auto industry in Ohio than the candidate.

The most impressive aspect of Romney’s campaign strategy of customized, data-driven, lying will be that it proved to be successful, if his victory comes to pass. The second most impressive aspect of this strategy is what it says about Romney’s character and how this character melds with Romney’s sense of the electorate’s intelligence. The third most impressive aspect is what this outpouring of lies may assert about Mormonism.

Of course, we already understand in the game of returning the GOP to executive power that the ends always justify the means.

“I happen to believe that the choice you make [on Nov. 6] will have enormous consequence for a senior who’s perhaps needing the care of a specialist, if he or she makes a call to the doctor and if Obamacare is installed and the president’s re-elected, why when making that call, you’re mostly likely going to have the receptionist come back and say, ‘Sorry, we’re not taking in more Medicare patients.'” Willard Mitten Romney

Not even an iota of truth to this bit of fear-mongering.

Mitt Romney, a liar

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ARK: History of Virginity

History of Virginity

2009/2012 S.Calhoun

Appropriated Random Kitsch

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