Tag Archives: racism

Inevitable Nexus When Fear Runs the Numbers

Civil Rights

The variable progress we’ve made toward a color-blind society requires the astute observer and citizen to grapple with the causes of the breakdowns that focus attention on a grievous collection of problems, and, at the same time, may tend to crowd-out and push the sundry daily problems out of view.

The shocking events in Ferguson Missouri crowd out the following daily problems:

1. everyday racism
2. racial profiling
3. law enforcement presuming guilt
4. traffic stops for being black
5. killing innocent people, killing innocent people-of-color
6. police regarding themselves as enforcers of laws but not subject to laws
7. officer safety divorced from objective risk management
8. heavy-weaponization of police departments
9. the dangerous synergy, and daily transactions, between the military-industrial complex and the law enforcement complex
10. not applying social and psychological-scientific understanding to the consequences of militarizing police departments

Consider whether or not the police in a given year kill more innocent people than the number of police killed in the line of duty.

Psychologically, in a critical, larger, sense, our police are us.

Ferguson

This ghastly power is mostly explained as fear of the neighbouring nation, which is supposed to be possessed by a malevolent fiend. Since nobody is capable of recognizing just where and how much he himself is possessed and unconscious, he simply projects his own condition upon his neighbour, and thus it becomes a sacred duty to have the biggest guns and the most poisonous gas. The worst of it is that he is quite right. All one’s neighbours are in the grip of some uncontrollable fear, just like oneself. In lunatic asylums it is a well-known fact that patients are far more dangerous when suffering from fear than when moved by rage or hatred. (C.G. Jung pg 231 Civilization In Transition)

Some criminologists argue that there is a deep antagonism between cops and black and brown men that leads both to perceive the other as a constant threat, feeding a complicated intergroup conflict. For police, it may be fueled by a sense that they represent the last line of defense for the rest of us.

But the death accounts of unarmed black men often demonstrate something more basic at work in brutality cases: The victim was somehow perceived as less than fully human. (Less than human: Do some police take a step beyond simple prejudice? By David Dante Troutt, Reuters)

Police are not soldiers. Are democracy at its most local level is threatened if we allow our police departments to morph into combat teams.

Officer safety is a magical fear in a specific sense: advocates of risk management that approve re-arming police departments with technology that is designed to kill militarized enemies, and protect from the same, can only bridge the desire for safety with the need for the technology by entering irrational suppositions and fantasies about threat into the equation. It is a fact over the last decade that heavily armed SWAT teams have entered the wrong houses, have burst through the doors of innocent citizens, and for the sake of officer safety, killed innocent people.

Detroit SWAT officer murdered seven-year old Aiyana Stanley-Jones in 2010.

Our religions and political ideologies are methods of salvation and propitiation which can be compared with primitive ideas of magic, and where such “collective representations” are lacking their place is immediately taken by all sorts of private idiocies and idiosyncrasies, manias, phobias, and daemonisms whose primitivity leaves nothing to be desired, not to speak of the psychic epidemics of our time before which the witch-hunts of the sixteenth century pale by comparison. (C.G. Jung pg 155 Symbols In Transformation)

Comment: The nexus of racism and fear is obviously very deadly. Equipping law enforcement with inappropriate surplus military equipment is insanity. As Dr. Jung stated, “If you put enough bombs all in one place, they will go off by themselves.”

How America’s Police Became an Army: The 1033 Program By Taylor Wofford, Newsweek

|1033 procurements are not matters of public record. And the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), which coordinates distribution of military surplus, refuses to reveal the names of agencies requesting “tactical” items, like assault rifles and MRAPs — for security reasons, a spokesperson for DLA told Newsweek via email.

Police in Watertown, Connecticut, (population 22,514) recently acquired a mine-resistant, ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicle (sticker price: $733,000), designed to protect soldiers from roadside bombs, for $2,800. There has never been a landmine reported in Watertown, Connecticut.|

Comment: the police work for the citizenry except in police states.

Not Just Ferguson: 11 Eye-Opening Facts About America’s Militarized Police Forces by Alex Kane

| In June, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) brought more attention to police militarization when it issued a comprehensive, nearly 100-page report titled, War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing (pdf). Based on public records requests to more than 260 law enforcement agencies in 26 states, the ACLU concluded that this police militarization “unfairly impacts people of color and undermines individual liberties, and it has been allowed to happen in the absence of any meaningful public discussion.” |

Comment: plus,  follow the money.

| “Bring it. You fucking animals, bring it,” one police officer was caught on video telling protesters. In Ferguson and beyond, it seems that some police officers have shed the blue uniform and have put on the uniform and gear of the military, bringing the attitude along with it. Read more-businessinsider |

In Ferguson, the blurred line between law enforcement and combat By Adam Serwer, MSNBC

| These heavily armed men are part of a more recent tradition: the militarization of American police. They are, like domestic surveillance, weapons built to fight a faraway war turned homeward. Hands-up is how black people survive nonviolent protest in the era of what author Radley Balko calls the “warrior cop.”

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, the Department of Defense has transferred $4.3 billion in military equipment to local and state police through the 1033 program, first enacted in 1996 at the height of the so-called War on Drugs. The Department of Justice, according to the ACLU, “plays an important role in the militarization of the police” through its grant programs. It’s not that individual police officers are bad people – it’s that shifts in the American culture of policing encourages officers to ”think of the people they serve as enemies.”

Since 2001, the Department of Homeland Security has encouraged further militarization of police through federal funds for “terrorism prevention.” The armored vehicles, assault weapons, and body armor borne by the police in Ferguson are the fruit of turning police into soldiers. |

don't shoot

 

Police are not soldiers.

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The Rise of the Dixiecans

John Roberts - Robert B. Taney

Chief Justice John Roberts closes a gate and supposes it is no longer necessary and the immediate response on the part of several states is to furiously rush to demonstrate that the gate was actually needed.

Now, the GOP will triple their efforts to suppress the votes of non-white and younger voters. Actually, there’s a fairly large element in the GOP wanting to re-fight the Civil War–given the currency and rhetoric of nullification, States’ rights, and the many strategists and tacticians working tirelessly everyday to solve the problem of ‘too many minorities finding their way to the voting places.’

Republican efforts to stem the non-white tide of electoral participation make for them a new badge for their sour brand, Dixiecans. Chief Justice Roberts’s legacy will from now on darkly turn about his volunteering to be an accessory to the new wave of racism.

“The sad irony of today’s decision lies in its utter failure to grasp why the VRA has proven effective. The Court appears to believe that the VRA’s success in eliminating the specific devices extant in 1965 means that preclear­ance is no longer needed. … With that belief, and the argument derived from it, history repeats itself.” Ruth Baden Ginsburg nails it.

The Dixiecans move to proudly and shamelessly ratify their heartfelt southern heritage. They will next crusade against the backlash. Soon enough we will learn just how racist is the ‘Philosophy of the Tea Party,’ as the Tea Party masses rush to embrace ‘white supremacy.’

On its face, this looks like a big victory for Republicans. Is it really? I suspect it will turn out to be a poisoned chalice. Many of the GOP’s current problems stem from the fact that it is overly beholden to its white, Southern base at a time when the country is rapidly becoming more racially diverse. In order to expand its base of power beyond the House of Representatives, the GOP needs to expand its appeal to minority voters. As the ongoing battle over immigration reform demonstrates, that process is going poorly and looks like it will be very difficult.

The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down a central provision of the Voting Rights Act will make it easier for Republicans to hold and expand their power in those mainly Southern states. That will, in turn, make it easier for them to hold the House. It will also intensify the Southern captivity of the GOP, thereby making it harder for Republicans to broaden their appeal and win back the White House. Joshua Green, Business Week,
The Supreme Court’s Voting Rights Decision Is a Poison Chalice for the GOP

Alternate view from the arch GOP racist John Fund, writing in white supremacist rag The National Review, “The Supreme Court’s decision today to overturn a small part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act is actually a victory for civil rights.”

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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.

<iframe width=”640″ height=”360″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/Di8EXEUgLJY?rel=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

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.

GOP-voter-fraud

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