civil rights

McCrory Appoints Art Pope To Head Budget

Here is something of critical importance to North Carolina immediately.

First, excerpts from the article/broadcast at WFAE, the NPR station in Charlotte, NC.  Then, my personal commentary. ‘At a press conference ,,,Governor-elect Pat McCrory appointed …conservative activist Art Pope to be his deputy budget director–the governor’s top aide on budget issues. Pope … is a director of the Americans for Prosperity Super PAC, and he contributes millions to conservative causes and candidates through the John W. Pope Foundation, which he also runs… …”Bob Phillips, the North Carolina director of Common Cause, a non-partisan campaign watchdog organization…”Are folks going to be able to do their job serving their constituents and properly scrutinizing the budget?”… Phillips says he is not opposed to Pope’s new role…” ‘

Now for my comments on this development. More →

Dr. Martin Luther King on Ensuring Voting Fairness – VIDEO

Broadcast 12.12.12 on the Rachel Maddow Show.  She showed this Meet The Press footage of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on 4/1/60 calling for national uniform voting standards to ensure election fairness.

Please click here to view this remarkable piece of history–that you are seeing being attacked today, some 62 years later

 

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/ns/msnbc_tv-rachel_maddow_show#50182721

ALEC Wins and Defeats in 2012 State Races

“The Center for Media and Democracy reports several ballot measures backed by the extremist American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) went down to defeat yesterday.

Most notable was in Michigan, where voters overturned the state’s emergency manager law. Known as “financial martial law,” it allowed Gov. Rick Snyder (R) to declare a “financial emergency” in a city or school district and appoint a manager with broad powers, including the ability to fire local elected officials, break contracts, seize and sell assets, eliminate services and even eliminate whole cities or school districts without any public input.

In Minnesota, voters defeated an ALEC-designed voter suppression/ID initiative and voters in Alabama, Florida, Missouri, Montana and Wyoming defeated ALEC-inspired measures to block parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA or “Obamacare” as the GOP has named it).

Marriage equality ballot measures won approval in Maine, Maryland and Washington State, while a ban on gay marriage was defeated in Minnesota.

Proposal 2 in Michigan, which would have made permanent collective bargaining rights in the state Constitution, failed.

In state legislative races, Democrats took back control of the Colorado House, the New Hampshire House, the New York Senate, the Maine House and Senate, the Minnesota House and Senate and the Oregon House.’

Read the full article and all the ALEC wins and defeats here

New boss, same as the old boss – ALEC News from UTAH

From the Salt Lake Tribune…

“State Sen. Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, was selected by his fellow Republicans Thursday to be the new president of the Utah Senate. He replaces outgoing Sen. Michael Waddoups, who did not seek re-election to the Legislature this year. Other than the name, though, it seems that there will be little change in the presiding officer’s chair. Like Waddoups, Niederhauser hails from the rapidly growing ‘burbs of Salt Lake County, is in the real estate game, and is a friend of the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, the right-wing national alliance of state lawmakers that aspires to put its anti-regulation, anti-environment, anti-tax philosophy into the statute books of as many states as possible. Niederhauser also defends the indefensible practice of closed caucus deliberations held by Republicans in both chambers. He says the policy “creates some transparency.”

ALEC depends upon the continuous recycling of Republican members in the Utah chambers to advance their pro-conservative, free-market “individual liberty” agenda.  Of course, like most other things ALEC, they have completely re-defined “liberty, free-markets” and “less government” so all have a meaning different than the public’s.

Read of the other SLC news related to politics in the article here

Oregon Election Worker Fired for Altering Ballots to Republican Straight Ticket

An election worker in Oregon is facing a criminal investigation for allegedly altering multiple ballots to benefit Republican candidates.

In a press release on Monday, Clackamas County spokesperson Tim Heider said that 55-year-old Deanna Swenson had been “relieved of duty immediately after the alleged ballot tampering was discovered.”

Swenson, who was registered as a Republican, was accused of filling in a Republican straight ticket on ballots where voters did not specify a choice.

Contacted by Willamette Week, Swenson tearfully insisted that it was “only the two” ballots that had been altered.

The Oregon Department of Justice began an investigation last week after an elections official reportedly observed ballots being altered.

“At this point, it is unclear how many ballots the employee at issue had access to, or what will be done with those ballots,” the sheriff’s office said on Monday.

At a Monday emergency meeting, officials in Clackamas County announced that the altered ballots would not be counted. Since ballots were anonymous, disenfranchised voters would not be given a chance to re-cast their votes.

So, the supporters of Voter Fraud legislation are caught with their hands in the cookie jar once again.  How many ballots will be disqualified?  At least two voters have been disenfranchised by this illegal act.

To read the entire report and watch the embedded video please click here

The video can also be seen by clicking here

Texas AG threatens to arrest monitors observing US election

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe has monitored several previous elections in the US. Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

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State Attorney General calls international group’s plan to watch for fairness at the polls ‘legally irrelevant in the United States’

The Texas attorney general, Greg Abbott, has threatened to arrest international election monitors invited by liberal groups to observe the conduct of next month’s presidential vote in states accused of attempting to disenfranchise minorities.

Abbott has written to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe warning that its monitors have no right to monitor the vote even though they have observed previous US elections.

“The OSCE’s representatives are not authorized by Texas law to enter a polling place. It may be a criminal offence for OSCE’s representatives to maintain a presence within 100 feet of a polling place’s entrance,” he said. “Failure to comply with these requirements could subject the OSCE’s representatives to criminal prosecution for violating state law.”

The OSCE is sending 44 observers to voting stations across the US at the request of various groups, including the NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union, because of “an unprecedented and sophisticated level of coordination to restrict voting rights in our nation”. These include attempts by several states, including Texas, to introduce voter identification laws and other measures blocked by federal courts which have ruled they were motivated by racial discrimination.

Well, we’re finally regarded as a nation that cannot conduct honest democratic elections, as reported in this article from the Guardian U.K., and as essentially verified by conservatives’ reaction to this action by the OSCE.  Isn’t that something to be proud of.  Brought to you by the same Party that increased our deficit by getting our nation’s credit rating lowered.  There is a lot more to read in this article, so please click here to read it all.

GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal Widens: Arrest in VA–Video

“A man originally reported to have been working for the Republican Party of Virginia was arrested by the Rockingham County, VA Sheriff’s office on Thursday and charged with attempting to destroy voter registration forms by tossing them into a dumpster behind a shopping center in Harrisonburg, VA.

Prosecutors charged him with four counts of destruction of voter registration applications, eight counts of failing to disclose voter registration applications and one count of obstruction of justice,” and more charges could be forthcoming, according to officials…

“Some of those questionable applications included address changes for existing voters, such that FL election officials  worry voters could find themselves disenfranchised come Election Day. In Florida, as in many states, provisional ballots cast at precincts other than where voters are officially registered will not be counted. So changing the addresses on voter registrations without voters’ knowledge is a serious crime with potentially very serious consequences.
…”It was PinPoint Staffing, in fact, which reportedly hired the man Strategic blamed for the fraudulent registration forms turned in originally in Palm Beach. But while PinPoint continues to seek workers for GOP-related efforts around the country, and as Sproul’s (Strategic Allied Consulting) operations continue in “as many as 30 states”, it is the Republican National Committee’s response to the entire affair, including to the arrest today, that may be the most troubling…Sproul’s firms, including what appeared to be a “clone” operation of Strategic Allied Consulting, calling itself Issue Advocacy Partners, were still found working for Republicans and Rightwing ballot initiatives in at least 10 states. Friday, the Los Angeles Times reported that, in fact, Sproul was still “hiring workers for a voter canvassing operation this fall in as many as 30 states.”

…”Strategic was said to have been hired by state Republican Parties, at the request of the RNC, for voter registration drives in five states (Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Nevada and Colorado) and for “Get Out the Vote” campaigns in Ohio and Wisconsin. When both RNC and state GOP officials claimed to have fired them, it seems they didn’t really mean it.

In the LA Times report late Thursday Sean Spicer, the RNC’s Communications Director, confirms that it may have only been Sproul who the party claimed to be “boldly” cutting ties with. The operations Sproul created for the Party beginning in August, the ones that led to fraudulent voter registrations in Florida and destroyed applications reported in Colorado and Nevada as well, are still in place.

“After Sproul was dumped,” the LA Times reports, “the registration operation that he assembled continued working under the supervision of party officials, Spicer said. He said the workers will continue to do get-out-the-vote work until the election.”
The firing of Sproul and Strategic Allied Consulting was a deception.

Strategic Allied Consulting “was registered as a corporation last June out of the same law office run by top-level Republican National Committee election attorneys where both Karl Rove’s American Crossroads Super-PAC and the Koch Brothers’ Americans for Prosperity are also based.”

“In one YouTube video that went viral last month (click here to view), a young Colorado registration worker — who, it turned out, had been working for Sproul’s Strategic Allied Consulting on behalf of the state GOP — is seen doing exactly that.
Al Sharpton weighed in on this in his Block the Vote series of reports on MSNBC.  Please click here to watch this video.
Please click
here to read the entire story–there is a lot more to this– as reported by Brad Friedman, who gets a shout out from VLTP for providing the finest coverage of this expanding story.

ANALYSIS: Georgia leaders depend on the same well for ideas

From the Rome News Tribune, by Walter C. Jones

Georgia citizens are discovering that many of the laws passed in Georgia relating to prison, criminal justice and privatizing prisons and public education are taken directly from ALEC’s play book.

“ALEC is the well conservative leaders in Georgia dip their bucket into when they’re looking for ideas.

“When Sonny Perdue was governor, he took an ALEC concept called the 65 Percent Solution and pushed it through the General Assembly. It requires schools spend at least 65 percent of their budgets in the classroom and no more than 35 percent on administration.

“Dozens of school boards have won waivers from the law because expenses like school buses, libraries and lunchrooms are counted as administration. Many education advocates are calling for repeal of the law, arguing that experience has shown that adhering to it has done nothing to improve student performance.”

Read the entire article here

Pennsylvania Voter ID Law Ruling: Judge Halts Enforcement Of Law For Election

From HuffPost by 

“In a much-anticipated ruling, Commonwealth Court Judge Robert E. Simpson Jr. ordered that voters without government-issued photo ID should be allowed to cast regular ballots…

“At the same time, the judge specifically ruled to allow the state to continue its education and advertising campaign, which currently tells voters that IDs are required.

“Walczak said that if the state doesn’t change that message, “we may be back in court.”

“You can’t be telling people you need ID if you’re not actually requiring ID,” he said. “That advertising has to be modified to reflect reality.”

Read the full article here

Fight for early voting continues in Ohio – VIDEO

In Ohio, the Obama campaign had to go to court to try to force Ohio Republicans to comply with a judge’s ruling that restores early voting in the state.  Ohio isn’t the only
state where Republicans are making it more difficult to vote.

Please click here to watch this video of history in the making.
Politics Nation with Al Sharpton
September 5, 2012

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45755884/#