Author Topic: Stacey Abrams wins Democratic nomination in Georgia gov's race  (Read 53992 times)

Offline Battle

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Re: Stacey Abrams wins Democratic nomination in Georgia gov's race
« Reply #210 on: July 20, 2021, 06:17:47 am »
Tuesday, 20th July   Twenty One
Democrat unveils bill to allow only House members to serve as Speaker
by Cristina Marcos

A new bill introduced on Monday by Representative Brendan Boyle, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, would allow only an elected House member to serve as Speaker after individual-1 called the suggestion that he seek the gavel "so interesting."

The Constitution does not directly state that the House Speaker must be a member of the chamber, but to date, the role has never been filled by an outsider.

Boyle argued that the statute should be made clear, even if electing someone outside of Congress to serve as Speaker remains a long shot.

His bill, titled the Mandating That Being an Elected Member Be an Essential Requirement for Speakership Act, would explicitly limit eligibility to current House lawmakers.

"The Speaker of the U.S. House is second in the United States presidential line of succession. That individual-1's name would even be tossed around as a potential speaker in the people's house, should serve as an alarm bell that our current requirements need to be amended in the name of protecting our nation and our democracy," Boyle said in a statement.

While all Speakers in U.S. history have been incumbent members of the House, any lawmaker can nominate whomever they wish during the roll call at the start of each session of Congress to elect the chamber's top-ranking leader.

In recent years, some lawmakers who didn't want to vote for their party's leader have opted to nominate outsiders.

Offline Battle

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Re: Stacey Abrams wins Democratic nomination in Georgia gov's race
« Reply #211 on: July 21, 2021, 05:43:45 am »
Wednesday, 21st July Twenty One
Marjorie Taylor Greene Must Pay Mask Fine
by Tommy Christopher

Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene and two other House republicans have had their appeals denied, and must now pay $500 fines for violating Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s Covid mask mandate.

The House Committee on Ethics has ruled on appeals by Greene and Representatives Thomas Massie and Ralph Norman, releasing identical statements upholding the fines:

On May 20th, 2021, the Committee received a notification from the Office of the Sergeant at Arms that Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene has been fined pursuant to House Resolution 38 and House Rule II, clause 3(g).

Representative Greene filed an appeal with the Committee on June 18, 2021, after the Committee adopted its written rules.

Pursuant to House Resolution 38 and clause 3(g)(3)(C) of House Rule II, upon receipt of an appeal after the Committee adopts its written rules, the Committee has 30 days to consider the appeal, and the fine will be upheld unless the appeal is agreed to by a majority of the Committee.

A majority of the Committee did not agree to the appeal.

Pursuant to House Resolution 38 and clause 3(g)(3)(C) of House Rule II, the Committee hereby publishes the required notification and Representative Greene’s written appeal.

The committee also published Greene’s lengthy appeal letter, in which she argued, among other things, that the fine “violates the Twenty-Seventh Amendment to the United States Constitution, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

The fines were levied after a gaggle of republicans staged a “courageous” mask protest in May, complete with photo op, that saw most receive only a warning.

In her appeal, Greene also noted that Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s mask mandate ran counter to CDC guidance at the time, permitting the removal of masks by fully-vaccinated people in most circumstances.

But many House republicans were not confirmed to be in that category.

In a CNN survey of members of Congress, 100 percent of Democrats in the House and Senate said they had been vaccinated.

But just 44.8 percent of republican House members and 92 percent of GOP senators said they’d gotten the jab.

Pelosi herself took to the floor after the violations to remind members that “the House is following the guidance of the attending physician, who has stated that the present mask requirements and other guidelines remain unchanged in the Hall of the House until all members and the floor staff are fully vaccinated. That is the advisory of the attending physician.”

« Last Edit: July 21, 2021, 06:23:31 am by Battle »

Offline Battle

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Re: Stacey Abrams wins Democratic nomination in Georgia gov's race
« Reply #212 on: July 22, 2021, 07:32:57 pm »
Thursday, 22nd July  Twenty One
Judge orders US Capitol insurrectionist to unlock laptop seized by FBI
by Hannah Rabinowitz and Marshall Cohen

A federal judge forced a US Capitol rioter to unlock his laptop Wednesday after prosecutors argued that it likely contained footage of the January 6th insurrection from his helmet-worn camera.

The judge granted the Justice Department's request to place Capitol riot defendant Guy Reffitt in front of his laptop so they could use facial recognition to unlock the device.

The maneuver happened after the hearing ended and Reffitt's lawyer confirmed to CNN that the laptop was unlocked.

Investigators seized the laptop and other devices earlier this year pursuant to a search warrant.

Reffitt has been in jail since his arrest in January.

His case received national attention after his son spoke publicly about how Reffitt had threatened to kill family members if they turned him into the FBI.

The case became an example of how individual-1's lies tore some families apart -- Reffitt's son and daughter testified against him in court or before the grand jury.

He pleaded not guilty to five federal crimes, including bringing a handgun to the Capitol grounds during the insurrection and obstructing justice by allegedly threatening his family.

The felony gun charge was added last month, and undercuts false claims from individual-1 and prominent republican lawmakers that the rioters weren't armed and that they had "no guns whatsoever."

The case raised intriguing constitutional questions about the right against self-incrimination, but Judge Dabney Friedrich agreed with prosecutors that the unlocking was within the law.

In previous court filings, Reffitt's attorneys said that the search warrant for the laptop had expired, and that Reffitt didn't remember if there was a password.

"As the court here noted, requiring a defendant to expose his face to unlock a computer can be lawful, and is not far removed from other procedures that are now routinely approved by courts, with proper justification: standing in a lineup, submitting a handwriting or voice exemplar, or submitting a blood or DNA sample," CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig said in an email.

When judges consider requests like these, Honig said, they try to strike a balance "between respecting a defendant's privacy and other rights on the one hand, and enabling prosecutors to obtain potentially crucial evidence with minimal intrusion on the defendant's rights, on the other."

By the time that Reffitt entered the courtroom, two FBI agents had set up his Microsoft Surface Pro laptop and two bags worth of technical equipment.

Prosecutors have previously said in court filings that they believed the laptop contained more than 6 gigabytes of videos that Reffitt filmed on a helmet-worn camera while he moved from the Ellipse to the US Capitol grounds.

If the videos are on the laptop, prosecutors said, they could contain valuable evidence, like footage of the handgun that he brought to the Capitol, or any comments he made about his intentions that day.

Reffitt -- who was wearing an orange prison jumpsuit, white Velcro sneakers and a medical face mask -- seemed uninterested during most of the proceedings.

He often rubbed his eyes, and at one point even leaned so far back in his chair that he had to catch himself from falling.

Offline Battle

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Re: Stacey Abrams wins Democratic nomination in Georgia gov's race
« Reply #213 on: July 27, 2021, 05:37:30 am »
Tuesday, 27th July  Twenty One
We have questions about January 6th

The new House committee can answer them
by Washington Post Editorial Board

LIVE TODAY 9:30  AM  Eastern Standard Time

The House select committee investigating the January 6th Capitol insurrection begins work Tuesday, hearing from police officers who confronted the deadly chaos.

Reminding Americans that the January 6th riot was a horrific attack on democracy — in contrast to the narrative some republicans have told of a “loving crowd” filled with people behaving like average Washington tourists — is an essential part of the committee’s work.

But, also in contrast to republican claims, there is much for the select committee to uncover.

Top of the list is precisely what individual-1 did before, during and after the attack.

How did he prepare his speech preceding the insurrection, in which he told the crowd to fight?

What did he anticipate his audience’s reaction would be?

When did he know the individual-1 mob was threatening the Capitol?

Why did he offer only mild statements long after the danger was clear?

Did individual-1 affiliated rally organizers coordinate with extremist groups?

Answering such questions calls for subpoenaing former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows; individual-1’s daughter Ivanka and her husband, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner; and other White House aides with useful information.

Also relevant is what members of Congress reported to individual-1 and other members of his administration as the riot unfolded.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a republican from California, who spoke with the president and Mr. Kushner on January 6th, must testify, along with any other lawmakers who interacted with individual-1 in the run-up to, during and after that day.

The list includes Senator tommy tuberville, a republican from Alabama, Representative mo brooks, a republican from Alabama and possibly Representative jim jordan, a republican from Ohio.
For that matter, the committee must examine whether any lawmakers themselves maintained connections with or even abetted the rioters.

Investigators should hear from extremist-group leaders at the center of the violence.

How did they prepare?

What was their goal?

The committee should hear also from Justice Department and Capitol Police officials who failed to anticipate the riot.

Why did intelligence officials across the government seem unaware of warnings that were all over social media?

To what extent did law enforcement discount or ignore warning signs about right-wing extremists because federal and local officers did not want to cross individual-1 and other republicans?

Why did the National Guard take so long to arrive?

Finally, the investigation should lead to recommendations to forestall a repeat of such political violence, with a particular focus on how the government monitors domestic extremism.

As they conduct their work, the lawmakers on the largely Democratic panel must suppress the urge to make it the partisan exercise that republicans claim it will be — behaving instead like the fact-finders the nation needs.


Charlie J Sierra
Tump and his nazis are denying it happened even though it was recorded for the world to see. Not real smart

Offline Battle

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Re: Stacey Abrams wins Democratic nomination in Georgia gov's race
« Reply #214 on: July 27, 2021, 08:00:25 am »
Tuesday, 27th July  Twenty One
The 9 Lawmakers Investigating The January 6th Capitol Attack
by Barbara Sprunt

The House select committee investigating the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6th is holding its first hearing Tuesday.

Police officers from the U.S. Capitol Police and Washington, D.C.'s Metropolitan Police Department will testify before a panel of nine lawmakers: seven Democrats and two republicans all appointed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Pelosi previously rejected two of the five republican members originally selected for the panel by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy — Representative Jim Banks of Indiana and Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio — citing "statements and actions" made by the pair that she felt would "impact the integrity of the committee."

Both Banks and Jordan had publicly expressed concerns over the panel itself.

"The unprecedented nature of January 6th demands this unprecedented decision," Pelosi said.

Here's a closer look at the panel's nine members:


Bennie Thompson, committee chairman

State: Mississippi, 2nd District

Elected in 1993, Thompson is a Democratic fixture in a predominantly red state.

He is the sole Democrat in Mississippi's congressional delegation.

Thompson, 73, serves as the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee.

He previously crafted legislation with Representative John Katko, a republican from New York, that would have established an independent commission to investigate the events of January 6th.

The measure passed the House but was blocked by republicans in the Senate.

"We have to get to the bottom of finding out all the things that went wrong on January 6th," he said during a July 1st news conference announcing some of the panel's members.

"It will come in due time. I can't give [the investigation] a timeline. We'll let the facts help determine how long we will meet."

Zoe Lofgren

State: California, 19th District

Lofgren was elected to Congress in 1994.

She served as an impeachment manager during individual-1's first impeachment trial, in 2020.

She is the chair of the House Administration Committee, which has held a series of hearings examining, among other things, the management of the Capitol Police.

During the July 1st news conference, Lofgren acknowledged "deficiencies in management" of the force but emphasized "that's not what spurred the attack."

"What caused a mob of Americans to think that they were somehow supporting the Constitution when they tried to disrupt the constitutional process of counting the Electoral College votes?" she asked.

"Who paid for it? How is it organized? We need to find that out to keep the country safe."

Adam Schiff

State: California, 28th District

Schiff was elected in 2000 and chairs the powerful House Intelligence Committee.

He was the lead impeachment manager for individual-1's first impeachment trial, frequently sparring with republicans defending individual-1, including the current No. 3 House republican, Representative Elise Stefanik.

Schiff spoke about the role of intelligence gathering during the July news conference.

"Why didn't we see this coming? What kind of advance warning did we have, should we have had? What are the appropriate mechanisms that law enforcement can use to identify when there's a threat to the nation's capital, and how that information can be shared?" he asked.

"It's my hope that through our efforts we can get those answers and put additional pressure as needed on the agencies to be forthcoming with that information so that we can prepare for the future."

Jamie Raskin

State: Maryland, 8th District

Raskin has served in Congress since 2017.

A constitutional scholar who taught law at American University, Raskin took center stage as the lead House impeachment manager during individual-1's second impeachment trial, early this year.

He delivered emotional remarks at the time, recounting the experience he and his family members, who were visiting him at the Capitol, underwent the day of the insurrection.

Raskin told reporters that although he believes the trial determined "who incited the violence on January 6th" — referring to individual-1 — Congress still needs to "figure out who organized the violence."

"How did they organize it, and why did they organize it? What were the purposes of the different critical actors who were present on that day?" Raskin said.

Pete Aguilar

State: California, 31st District

Aguilar is a member of the House Democratic leadership, serving as vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus.

Prior to his election to Congress in 2014, Aguilar served as the mayor of Redlands, California.

Aguilar told the media on July 1 that the focus of the investigation is to uncover the truth.

"One-hundred forty Capitol Police officers were injured, some of them permanently, [on January 6th]," he said.

"Five people lost their lives. Staffers were barricaded here in the Capitol. Members were affected. Everyone touched by January 6th deserves to find the truth of what transpired, what led up to it and how we can protect our democracy moving forward."

Stephanie Murphy

State: Florida, 7th District

Murphy is considered a rising star in the Democratic Party and in Florida politics.

Prior to her election to Congress in 2016, she served as a national security specialist for the secretary of defense.

There was speculation she might try to unseat Senator Marco Rubio, a republican from Florida, but ultimately she announced she would not run for Senate.

During the July 1st news conference, she reflected on her family's personal experience with political violence in communist Vietnam.

"I fled a country where political violence was how political transitions were made," Murphy said.

"And so it broke my heart to be in this building on January 6th and see the kind of political violence that occurred in the country I fled and in countries that I worked on when I was at the Department of Defense happening here in our country."

She serves as co-chair of the Blue Dog Coalition, the group of centrist Democrats in the House, the first woman of color to hold that post.

Elaine Luria

State: Virginia, 2nd District

Luria flipped Virginia's 2nd District blue in 2018.

She previously served two decades in the Navy, including working on ships as a nuclear-trained surface warfare officer, retiring at the rank of commander.

"The first time that I took the oath to protect and defend our Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic, I was 17 years old entering the Naval Academy," she told the media on July 1st.

"I never thought that fast-forwarding to today, I would be standing here serving in this capacity, looking into why we had a violent mob attack our Capitol, the process of a smooth transition of government."


State: Wyoming, at-large district

Cheney was ousted by her party in May as the No. 3 republican in the House after her repeated criticism of individual-1 for his role in inciting the January 6th attack, along with his continued false claims that the November presidential election was stolen from him.

She voted for individual-1's impeachment and lay the blame of the attack squarely at individual-1's feet, saying in a statement:

"There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution."

Cheney said she is "honored" to serve on the committee.

"What happened on January 6th can never happen again," she said in a statement on July 1st.

"Those who are responsible for the attack need to be held accountable and this select committee will fulfill that responsibility in a professional, expeditious, and non-partisan manner."

Adam Kinzinger

State: Illinois, 16th District

Elected in 2010, Kinzinger is a former member of the U.S. Air Force. He was appointed to the committee by Pelosi, who said in a statement that he "brings great patriotism to the Committee's mission: to find the facts and protect our Democracy."

Kinzinger is an outspoken critic of individual-1 and voted, along with Cheney and eight other republicans, to impeach individual-1 following the January 6th attack on the Capitol.

The Illinois republican said that although he didn't expect to be called to be part of the committee, "when duty calls, I will always answer."

"This moment requires a serious, clear-eyed, non-partisan approach," he said in a statement Sunday.

"We are duty-bound to conduct a full investigation on the worst attack on the Capitol since 1814 and to make sure it can never happen again."

« Last Edit: July 27, 2021, 08:04:59 am by Battle »

Offline Battle

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Re: Stacey Abrams wins Democratic nomination in Georgia gov's race
« Reply #215 on: July 27, 2021, 09:10:02 am »
Tuesday, 27th  July  Two Thousand and Twenty One

The term 'domestic terrorism' means activities that—

A. involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;

B. appear to be intended—

(i)  to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;

(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or

(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping;

Offline Battle

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Re: Stacey Abrams wins Democratic nomination in Georgia gov's race
« Reply #216 on: August 14, 2021, 08:47:26 am »
Saturday, 14th  August  Two Thousand & Twenty One
Dear Kyrsten Sinema: Who the Fvck Is 'We'?
by Michael Harriot

The still Mississippi courtroom was suspended in a silence that can only be accompanied by prayer when Mose Wright rose from his chair.

He stood slowly, as if his 64-year-old back were being unbent by something up in heavens and pointed his unshaking Black hand.

“There he is,” he said, pointing at the white man whose hate-filled eyes glowered back at back across the courtroom.

But Mose did not lower his arm. He slid his arm slightly to the right and aimed his cotton-picking, murder-identifying hand toward the lie-spewing woman whose words had killed his great-nephew.

Unlike her husband, she did not look at Mose.

Maybe there was something in her lap.

Perhaps it was shame.

“And there she is,” Mose continued before calmly retaking his seat on the witness stand.

During the closing arguments, a defense lawyer told the all-white jury that he was “sure every last Anglo-Saxon one of you has the courage to free these men.”

Before Mose took the stand on that late September 1955 afternoon, no Black man had ever testified to the guilt of a white man in the entire history of the state of Mississippi.

Mose Wright, an eyewitness to the murder and abduction of his 14-year-old great-nephew, had not only pointed out the murderers in court, but he had publicly identified the woman who was responsible.

When the jury acquitted J.W. Milam and Roy Bryant after deliberating for 67 minutes, a reporter asked Carolyn Bryant how she felt after being publicly accused of causing the murder of Emmett Till.

This time, she felt no need to lower her head.

She looked the reporter in his eyes and replied.

“I feel fine.”

“Everyday Arizonans are focused on questions that matter most in their daily lives,” wrote Senator Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat from Arizona in an op-ed for Monday’s Washington Post explaining why “we have more to lose than gain by ending the filibuster.”

“Is my job secure?” Sinema continued.

“Can I expand my business? Can we afford college? What about health care? When can I retire? Is my community safe? Meanwhile, much of Washington’s focus is on a Senate rule requiring 60 votes to advance most legislation.” this the lady who did the white Electric Slide (I think it’s called the “Achy Breaky Heart”) after voting against the minimum wage, or is this the SNL cast member?

Is this the one who voted against a commission to look into the January 6th insurrection or Anna from Frozen?

Didn’t she vote to confirm Bill Barr as attorney general or did she curve Peter Parker?

I get my white women mixed up.

Kyrsten Sinema, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kirsten Dunst, Kristen Bell, Kristen Wiig...You know, they all look alike.

Kyrsten Sinema is a white woman.

No, she is the perfect white woman.

As the first openly bisexual senator, she represents marginalized communities but waffled on whether she would vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Half of her votes supported individual-1 policies, a rate higher than any current Senate Democrat.

She has recounted her ever-changing story of how she lived in an abandoned gas station with no electricity or water even though court documents show her father paid a light bill and a water bill.

According to the Washington Post, Sinema’s relatives say she fabricated the story because it “tugs at people’s heartstrings and that was what she was going for, but, you know, it’s not the truth.”

But Kyrsten Sinema is a white woman.

I assume Sinema’s op-ed was aimed at white women.

Or, perhaps her Avril Lavigne-ish angst-filled open letter was addressed to white people in general because–excuse me while I switch to italics to express my fvckyouness–how the fvck would Kyrsten Lea Sinema know what the f*ck Black people have to lose?

“It’s no secret that I oppose eliminating the Senate’s 60-vote threshold,” wrote Sinema, before explaining that bipartisanship is “the best way to achieve durable, lasting results.”

Apparently, Sinema has no qualms with the filibuster being used to stymie police reform, halt civil rights legislation and embolden white supremacy in general, nor should anyone expect her to care.

When the esteemed gentlewoman from Karenzona says her “support for retaining the 60-vote threshold is not based on the importance of any particular policy” but “what is best for our democracy,” she conveniently forgets that the filibuster is the only thing standing between Black people and her democracy.

Her democracy.

Their democracy.

Democracy is not ours because Senator “Fvckyall” is grasping for some invisible specter of bipartisanship that the other side of the aisle has given no indication they are willing to accept or acknowledge.
Still, Sinema believes this arcane tool of white supremacy must be preserved because, as she writes:

Would it be good for our country if we did, only to see that legislation rescinded a few years from now and replaced by a nationwide voter-ID law or restrictions on voting by mail in federal elections, over the objections of the minority?

This question is less about the immediate results from any of these Democratic or Republican goals — it is the likelihood of repeated radical reversals in federal policy, cementing uncertainty, deepening divisions and further eroding Americans’ confidence in our government.

Senator Sinema is essentially asking:

“Would it be good for our country to use democracy to save our democracy if they came back a few years later and tried to steal it again?”

Is that supposed to be a serious question?

This woman’s job is to make laws.

Laws are what prevent people from doing whatever they want.

If her biggest fear is that laws can be repealed, why doesn’t she just vote against every bill?

Why would she eat if she’s just going to be hungry again?

Why take medicine if you might get sick again?

Why breathe if you’re going to die anyway?

Perhaps the only way to counter this asinine argument that could only emerge from a mind that has no clue about the history of whiteness is to ask another complexly worded question:


When has this country ever stopped attacking Black people’s voting rights?

When has this country ever not tried to erase progress with “repeated radical reversals in federal policy?”

When has the filibuster not been used to carry out those attacks?

When have Black people not felt “uncertainty?”

When was this glorious era that was devoid of division?

And when the f*ck did any marginalized group ever have an abundance of confidence in our government.

Oh wait, I almost forgot...

Their government.

The only way Simena’s party can possibly maintain their Senate majority is if Black people have access to the polls.

The only way Black people will have access to the polls is to strengthen voting rights.

The only way–and this is the important part–the only way to strengthen voting rights is to alter or abolish the filibuster.

It is the legislative barrier standing between Black people and democracy.

This is the biggest hole in Sinema’s incoherent logic.

She assumes, despite the mountain of evidence to the contrary, that republicans will play fair.

Her entire bad faith argument is based on the fact that republicans won’t use the filibuster if they regain control of the Senate.

The only way a sentient human being would say such a thing is if they were lying or didn’t care.

But how could Sinema not care?

It’s not like she votes with the opposition, supports their political policies or proudly expresses public displays of pleasure when she votes to further impoverish her–

Oh, right.

Sinema’s argument is that the filibuster should exist because it has always existed...

Like racism.

Like injustice.

Like Kyrsten Sinema.

She might not be a killer, but she is one of “them.”

They are the preservers of white supremacy.

They are the ones who would bind our children’s hands with barbed wire and toss them in the river.

Those who blindly support the system are also at fault.

Those who ignore our eyewitness testimony are just as responsible for the persistence of injustice.

These are the kinds of people who would look us in the eye and proudly proclaim their willingness to uphold the murderous Anglo-Saxon status quo.

...And there she is.

I’m sure she feels fine.


Brick HardMeat

In principle I am not a big fan of getting rid of the filibuster.

I’m also not a big fan of guns. But after individual-1 won in 2016, I got a CPL and purchased a hand gun. It went against my understanding of the rules, of statistics, of the notion that the more guns in my life, the greater likelihood of a gun-related incident.

But we’ve entered a scenario where the “rules” no longer matter. We are in self-preservation mode. I’m not a fan of killing someone with an ax but if they’re literally trying to kill me or my family then sh*t yea I’m picking up that ax and swinging.

The republicans are no longer interested in the seesawing of power, or their decades long losing of the culture war, or even the idea that they can lose even one election. They want to install permanent minority-rule, and they’ve demonstrated through their COMPLETE AND UNDENIABLE sh*tTING OF THE BED during the pandemic that they cannot govern if our lives literally depended on it.

It is a no brainer. End the filibuster. Do it temporarily if you have to, put a sunset on it and do it exclusively to ram through a voting rights bill. The future of the nation depends on it. Sooner or later one of the countless GQP attempts to subvert the democratic process and seize power will work, and when that happens, we will need to pry the reigns of power from their cold, dead hands.

Makes Me Wonder Why I Even Bring The Thunder

Perhaps the problem isn’t so much the filibuster (less so the Mr. Smith Goes conception of it) as the twin problems of the GQP’s descent and the simple fact that the Senate as constituted is incompatible with America’s increasingly federalized governance. That’s not to say that we oughtn’t be rid of it, just that we might want view it as a step rather than a destination.

Brick HardMeat

I agree; I think we’re kind of saying the same thing.

The current rules are predicated on the assumption that our political parties act in good faith, have the best interests of the populace at heart, actually want to govern, etc. These assumptions — what our founding fathers very likely took to be common sense — no longer fit the current iteration of the GQP. It’s like trying to apply the rules of chess in a match against an orangutan who wants to tear your arms off and eat your face.

I think it’s also likely our founding fathers - lacking the hindsight of some 250 years of history, sociology, public policy, critical race theory, statistical modeling, etc — didn’t foresee a scenario where the weighted handicapping of power in the Senate not only gave sparsely populated states an advantage to “protect” themselves from the “tyranny” of more populated states and states with large urban centers, but would actually allow those rural states to have dominion over more populated states and enshrine minority rule.

C.M. Allen

Hey, hey! Orangutans are quite peaceful, and while quite strong, are more likely to hide or flee when presented with anything that might be threatening. Don’t you be comparing them to individual-1 — which is somewhat more appropriate, because Chimps are also quite strong, can be short- or ill-tempered, and can be extremely and bloody violent at the drop of a hat. But even that isn’t fair. Chimps are also very smart and socially aware.

Also, GOPeons are like rabid animal — openly hostile and violent beyond reason. The only thing they’re capable of thinking about is inflicting themselves on others. And there’s really only one recourse for a rabid animal.

Brick HardMeat

I briefly reconsidered my orangutan dig because I knew it was factually inaccurate, but I’m a big fan of The Murders in the Rue Morgue ;)


“Is my job secure?” Sinema continued.

She asked, without a hint of irony.

Never seen a “belle of the ball” tank quite this hard. It’s like watching a debutante come through the double doors, wave, walk over to the punchbowl, and take a giant dump in it while the orchestra plays Vivaldi.


In what way, exactly, is she tanking, though?

She’s still on committees, she’s safe from being primaried until 2024, her obstinence makes her a popular interviewee, not exactly seeing any negative consequences to her actions here...


Eh, the left doesn’t suffer this sh*t as eagerly as the GOP does.

She’s safe, for the moment, but I see her flaming out or trying a switch back to “independent” before long.

Foxstar loves Bashcraft

The only reason the GOP has taken action in the recent past is because

1-individual-1 has the GOP’s balls around his neck. He took them on winning his bid and the GOP is too chickensh*t to take them back. Thus, anyone not for him is against him and as Reagan is dead and dust and bones, they haven’t had someone who appeals to the stupid and racist people this well in ages.

2-Even with individual-1 still running things, there’s still a level of ‘pure unfiltered crazy’ that is too crazy for the GOP and thus far the one person to whom it applies can’t be allowed to continue without them doing the bare min to claim they reigned her in.

Dems are still quite willing to hold people, even the DINO’s to account if they f*ck up past a certain point. Cuomo has endured to the level he has but his dreams of climbing higher are pretty much dead as f*ck, which might be why he fought so hard, he’s got nothing left.

Waffle Saadiq

She is popular on East Coast DC sh*t. Her approval is tanking hard in AZ. Especially as she is being directly compared to Mark Kelly who people from AZ actually like.

It doesn’t even have to be some far left person who takes her out in the primary. She is failing on basic Democrat sh*t.


The republicans held a Supreme Court seat open for a year claiming it can’t be done in an election year, then turned around and filled a seat during an election year.

She thinks these same people will honor and follow her actions on anything??? republicans are done with democracy!

The only reason McConnell had not already ditched the filibuster, is because it was not in his way. The republicans are not interested in governing, so they pushed no meaningful legislation while in power.


All of this, plus McConnell is smart enough to Jedi mind trick Schumer into doing his dirty work for him (not like that’s difficult or anything but still) just like he did by blocking all of Obama’s judicial nominees to get Schumer to invoke the nuclear option, which McConnell then gleefully did after individual-1’s election to get Boof and Aunt Lydia on the Supreme Court.

Makes Me Wonder Why I Even Bring The Thunder[/size]

The republicans held a Supreme Court seat open for a year claiming it can’t be done in an election year, then turned around and filled a seat during an election year.[!!!]

I don’t think this can be emphasized enough (but I’m certainly willing to try to find out).


When Mitch McConnell stood up and basically said we will object to anything Biden brings to the Senate. Bipartisanship was off the table. When he let his own members negotiate bipartisan legislation and then told them to go f*ck themselves it isn’t going anywhere, he proved there is no such thing. Mitch has been pulling this f*cking Lucy with a football sh*t for a over a decade. And before anyone brings up Juneteenth, that was nothing more than republicans giving black folk their day off hoping it will distract them from the fact that they are being systematically denied their right to vote. Oh and white people get the day off too.


Careful, if you critique the political context of the Juneteenth bill, you're liable to haunted by centrists proclaiming you never appreciate the good things.

Hemmorhagic Dance Fever

The problem with extending an olive branch in the name of bipartisanship is that the GOP will just beat you with it.

Makes Me Wonder Why I Even Bring The Thunder

Unfortunately for the Dems, conventional wisdom says they have to take the beatings to get enough votes in the districts and states that allow them to have enough seats in both chambers to do anything.

C.M. Allen

What is the point of having ‘enough votes’ when the votes you *DO* get won’t be in favor of your agenda? See: Sinema and Manchin.

But I suspect we’re both saying the same thing -- democrats are following an old playbook that republicans burned, pissed on the ashes, and laughed about it.

Makes Me Wonder Why I Even Bring The Thunder

Yes, a bunch of that, but personally, I would have no problem with a governing federal Dem supermajority where various flavors of Dem negotiate and occasionally vote against the rest of the party. It works in several states and seems to be the most likely of the positive responses to the GQP.

C.M. Allen

I agree. But in this instance, they don’t have that. They don’t even have a *simple* majority, not when you actually look at the voting track records of the members. Which is why all these cries to ‘ignore the GOP and stop trying bipartisanship’ are pointless — they don’t have the votes to bypass the GOP blockade. And that’s unlikely to get any better when the next round of primaries begin. The GOP is infamous for obstructing the government while convincing the public that the Democrats are to blame for the government being broken and inactive.

Which, if you’ll pardon the particulars of the comparison, is a bit like believing the thieves who stole your sh*t over the officers who caught them -- despite watching the thieves walk away with your things. But people do it anyway. Because people are stupid and tribal.

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Re: Stacey Abrams wins Democratic nomination in Georgia gov's race
« Reply #217 on: September 17, 2021, 06:27:33 am »
Friday (thank god, it's...) Friday, 17th  September   ~Two Thousand & Twenty One
Boston Getting Mayor of Color as Wu & Essaibi George Advance

(BOSTON, Massachusetts) — For the first time in 200 years, Boston voters have narrowed the field of mayoral candidates to two women of color who will face off against each other in November.

City Councilors Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi George topped the five-person race in Tuesday’s preliminary runoff.

They bested acting Mayor Kim Janey, City Councilor Andrea Campbell and John Barros, the city’s former economic development chief.

All five were candidates of color — a major shift away from two centuries of Boston politics dominated by white men.

Wu’s parents immigrated to the U.S. from Taiwan.

Essaibi George describes herself as a first generation Arab Polish-American.

Whoever wins on November 2nd will make history in a city that has never elected a woman or Asian American mayor.

For the past 200 years, the office has been held exclusively by white men.

Wu and Essaibi George's advancement to the general election ushers in a new era for the city which has wrestled with racial and ethnic strife.

Essaibi George said she was confident she could pose a significant challenge to Wu in November.

“I am so grateful to you showing up not just tonight but showing up for the last eight months,” she told supporters.

Wu spoke to reporters outside Boston City Hall on Wednesday.

“This is the moment in Boston that our campaign and our coalition has been calling for for a long time," she said.

“We got in this race over a year ago — actually exactly a year ago today — to ensure that Boston would step up to meet this moment."

Essaibi George in her victory speech said the mayor of Boston can’t unilaterally restore rent control — a jab at Wu, who wants to revive a version of rent control, or rent stabilization, which was banned statewide by a 1994 ballot question.

Wu pushed back, saying she's addressed tough challenges during her years as a city councilor.

“We took on issues that people said were pie in the sky, would be impossible to accomplish but by building coalitions, working across all levels of government and continuing to bring community members to the table, we knocked those down, one by one,” she said.

Earlier this year, Janey became the first Black Bostonian and first woman to occupy the city’s top office in an acting capacity after former Mayor Marty Walsh stepped down to become President Joe Biden’s labor secretary.

“I want to congratulate Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi George on their victories this evening," Janey said in a statement.

“This was a spirited and historic race, and I wish them both luck in the final election.”

There had been an effort among some leaders in the Black community to rally around a single candidate to ensure that at least one Black mayoral hopeful could claim one of the two top slots.

All of the candidates were Democrats.

Mayoral races in Boston do not include party primaries.

Wu was elected to the Boston City Council in 2013 at age 28, becoming the first Asian-American woman to serve on the council.

In 2016, she was elected city council president by her colleagues in a unanimous vote, becoming the first woman of color to serve as president.

Essaibi George won a series of key endorsements during the race including from unions representing firefighters, nurses and emergency medical technicians.

She also won the backing of former Boston Police Commissioner William Gross.

Essaibi George grew up in the city’s Dorchester neighborhood and taught in the Boston Public Schools.

She was elected to the city council in 2015.

Her father immigrated to the United States from Tunisia in 1972.

Her mother was born in a displaced persons’ camp in Germany of Polish parents.

The November contest could also be a test of whether voters in a city long dominated by parochial neighborhood and ethnic politics are ready to tap someone like Wu, who grew up in Chicago.

Wu moved to Boston to attend Harvard University and Harvard Law School and studied under U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, then a law professor.

She's the only candidate not born in Boston.

Boston has changed radically since the 1970s and 1980s, when it was overwhelmingly white and was riven by racial tensions.

Today, while still struggling to overcome its racist legacy, it's a majority minority city:

The latest U.S. Census statistics show residents who identify as white make up 44.6% of the population compared to Black residents (19.1%), Latino residents (18.7%) and residents of Asian descent (11.2%).

Among the challenges facing modern Boston are those brought on by gentrification, which has forced out many long-term residents, including those in historically Black neighborhoods.

Added to that are a host of other challenges that will face the new mayor, from transportation woes, racial injustice and policing to schools and the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

« Last Edit: September 17, 2021, 08:15:11 am by Battle »

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Re: Stacey Abrams wins Democratic nomination in Georgia gov's race
« Reply #218 on: September 19, 2021, 07:10:36 am »
Sunday, 19th September  ~Two Thousand & Twenty One
¡No Más Para Gonzales!
by Julia Sclafani

Ohio Representative Anthony Gonzalez, a republican, announced his retirement earlier this week.

Gonzalez was one of the 10 U.S. House republicans to vote to convict individual-1 during his impeachment trial in early 2021.

« Last Edit: September 19, 2021, 11:21:45 am by Battle »

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Re: Stacey Abrams wins Democratic nomination in Georgia gov's race
« Reply #219 on: November 28, 2021, 04:01:50 pm »
Sunday, 28th  November Two Thousand and Twenty One
Carrie Meek, pioneering Black former congresswoman passes away
by Associated Press

(FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida) — Carrie Meek, the grandchild of an enslaved African and a sharecropper's daughter who became one of the first Black Floridians elected to Congress since Reconstruction passes away on Sunday.

She was 95.

Meek died at her home in Miami after a long illness, family spokesperson Adam Sharon said in a statement.

The family did not specify a cause of death.

Meek started her congressional career at an age when many people begin retirement.

She was 66 when she easily won the 1992 Democratic congressional primary in her Miami-Dade County district.

No Republican opposed her in the general election.

Alcee Hastings and Corrine Brown joined Meek in January 1993 as the first Black Floridians to serve in Congress since 1876 as the state's districts had been redrawn by the federal courts in accordance with the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

On her first day in Congress, Meek reflected that while her grandmother, enslaved on a Georgia farm, could never have dreamed of such an accomplishment, her parents told her that anything was possible.

"They always said the day would come when we would be recognized for our character," she told The Associated Press in an interview that day.

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Re: Stacey Abrams wins Democratic nomination in Georgia gov's race
« Reply #220 on: December 14, 2021, 07:46:39 am »
Tuesday, 13th  December  ~Two Thousand & Twenty One
by Vann R. Newkirk II

When I met with crystal mason recently at her home in Rendon, Texas, we sat on a wide couch that served as the center of her domain, with plenty of space for children, grandchildren, nephews, and nieces.

Their photographs filled the house. Mason’s mother called to her from another room, needing advice; later, her eight-month-old grandson, Carter, joined us on the couch after waking up from an afternoon nap.

For hours that day, Mason spoke candidly about the illegal-voting case that has consumed her life for half a decade.

With us was one of her lawyers, Alison Grinter Allen.

If there is an individual in America who epitomizes one central aspect of our political moment, it might well be Crystal Mason.

The story of Mason, a Black woman, illuminates the extraordinary efforts the republican party has made to demonstrate that fraud is being committed by minority voters on a massive scale.

That false notion is now an article of faith among tens of millions of Americans.

It has become an excuse to enact laws that make voting harder for everyone, but especially for voters of color, voters who are poor, voters who are old, and voters who were not born in the United States.

Mason watches the news diligently and can recount the details of prosecutions that have resulted thus far from the attack on the Capitol on January 6th—an attack that was stoked by conspiracy theories about fraudulent voters.

She can’t help but wonder about punishments meted out for the insurrection as compared with the one she has already received for, she says, unwittingly violating a Texas voting law.

“These people,”

Mason said of the participants in the January 6th assault, “came to do and commit dangerous crimes.”

 When she and I spoke, only two of them had been sentenced to jail or prison, and neither for more than eight months.

Mason was sentenced to five years.

She is currently out on bond while she appeals her conviction.

The idea that systemic fraud has subverted the democratic process demands a search for evidence of such fraud.

The point of this effort is not merely to support spurious claims that individual-1 won the 2020 election or to stockpile spurious arguments in advance of 2024.

It is to lay a foundation for the resurgence of a specific form of Jim Crow–style disenfranchisement.

Jim Crow relied on outright bans at the ballot box and threats of violence to ensure white political power.

But eliminating the Black vote during that era was accomplished in subtler ways as well: by undermining community cohesion, by sapping time and energy, by sheer frustration.

The modern effort relies on similar tactics.

The so-called Big Lie is built on small lies, about the actions and intentions of individuals—the kinds of lies that can destroy lives and families.

Crystal mason’s role in this story began during the 2016 presidential election.

She was 41 and readjusting to life at home after serving most of a five-year sentence in federal prison for tax fraud.

Mason had run a tax-preparation business with her then-husband and had been charged with inflating their clients’ refunds.

Mason pleaded guilty and paid the penalty; after four years, a supervised-release program allowed her to return to her home.

She has publicly “owned up,” as she has said, to her mistakes.

Mason has three adult children, and cares for other members of the family.

She had been putting her life back together, working at a Santander bank in nearby Dallas and taking classes to become an aesthetician.

Around this same time, individual-1 was making his ascent: calling Mexican immigrants “rapists,” brandishing casual racism and xenophobia, and asking Black voters what the hell they had to lose by voting for him.

Texas was not expected to be a swing state, but in this menacing atmosphere, Mason’s mother told Crystal it was her duty to vote.

On Election Day, Mason drove to her polling place, the Tabernacle Baptist Church.

She was coming from work, and almost didn’t make it.

“It was raining,”

Mason told me, remembering the night.

“It was right at 7 o’clock, when it was about to be closing up. I went with my name and my ID—who I was—to where I was supposed to go.”

But a volunteer there, a 16-year-old neighbor of hers named Jarrod Streibich, couldn’t find her name on the rolls, which happens sometimes.

Streibich suggested that she use a provisional ballot.

“They offered it to me,”

Mason recalled, “and I said, ‘What’s that?’ And they said, ‘Well, if we’re at the right location, it’ll count. If you’re not, it won’t.’ ”

There was nothing particularly noteworthy about the interaction.

Like tens of thousands of Texas voters, and millions of Americans across the country, Mason cast a provisional ballot, and went home.

Mason’s provisional ballot was destined to be rejected, however.

Texas law requires all terms of any felony sentence to be completed before a person once again becomes eligible to vote, and Mason had not fully completed her sentence for the tax-fraud conviction.

Mason says she didn’t know that ineligibility extended to the period of supervised release; she made a simple mistake.

Many provisional ballots are rejected because of ineligibility, often for reasons potential voters are unaware of.

Mason was sent a letter after the election stating that her provisional ballot had been disallowed.

By any reasonable measure, Mason’s experience at the polls amounted to a meaningless misunderstanding that had no effect on anything.

individual-1 carried Tarrant County, which includes Rendon, and all of Texas by a healthy margin on his way to winning the White House in 2016.

republicans in Texas retained control of most of the political system in the state.

individual-1 was inaugurated in January.

Mason continued her court-mandated check-ins with her supervision officer.

Without realizing it, however, Mason had become the subject of an investigation.

After the polls closed, Streibich, the neighbor who had suggested that she use a provisional ballot in the first place, told an election judge on the scene—who was also a neighbor of Mason’s—something he had just remembered: that he thought Mason might still be on supervised release for a federal offense.

The judge, Karl Dietrich, a local republican Party official, informed the Tarrant County district attorney, Sharen Wilson.

On February 16th, 2017, Crystal Mason was arrested for illegal voting.

Fear of voter fraud, or at least the pretense of fear, has been a centerpiece of conservative objections to the expansion of voting rights going back, in the modern era, to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Taking steps to curb alleged illegal voting tends to boost republican electoral fortunes by disenfranchising people of color.

In 2008, the increase in Black turnout that helped put Barack Obama in office—and raised hopes among Democrats for a “demographic revolution” that would aid their cause for years to come—gave voter suppression new urgency.

Then, in 2013, the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder granted states more power to keep people from the polls.

The decision effectively eliminated the system of preemptive federal oversight that had been in place since the passage of the Voting Rights Act.

In the absence of new legislation at the national level, state laws restricting the right or ability to vote could now be blocked only if courts found them to be discriminatory after their passage.

In other words, governments could be elected under legal regimes that might ultimately prove to be unconstitutional; once in office, they would be free to further restrict voting.

Meanwhile, the Court made clear in other cases that it was inclined to take states at their word if they said restrictive voting laws were simply intended to combat fraud and had no racist intent—even if the predictable consequence of those laws was to create greater burdens for voters of color.

Taking states at their word provided a lot of cover.

The result was a surge of democracy-limiting measures in republican-led states: restrictive voter-ID laws, tighter guidelines for registration, and wholesale purges of voters from the electoral rolls, conducted in such a way that people of color have been disproportionately affected.

According to the nonprofit Brennan Center for Justice, 33 restrictive laws were passed in 19 states in the first nine months of 2021.

The laws, which will make casting a ballot more difficult in 2022, reveal how central voter suppression has become as a mobilizing issue for the gop.

It must be underscored: There is no evidence that illegal voting of any kind occurs at a level capable of influencing elections.

Nor is there evidence that the scattered violations that do take place have been increasing in frequency or severity.

Common kinds of election violations include local candidates fudging signatures to get on the ballot, partisans politicking too close to polling places, and people accidentally voting at the polls after forgetting that they had already mailed in a ballot—a glitch easily corrected by administrative procedures that already exist.

Most of the new laws, however, are aimed at violations that are exceedingly rare: impersonation of one person by another, or noncitizens attempting to vote.

Such violations are already illegal, yet their specter is raised to make the case for, among other measures, voter-ID laws.

Voting-rights advocates and federal courts have agreed that such laws tend to target and disenfranchise people of color, older folks, and students—groups less likely to have identification documents of the kind that many of the new laws require.

In 2012, before Shelby County allowed Texas to implement a strict new voter-ID law without federal oversight, Greg Abbott, then the Texas attorney general, railed against a decision by the Department of Justice to block the law from going into effect.

“I know for a fact that voter fraud is real, that it must be stopped,” he said.

When he made that statement, the official rate of alleged election violations reported to his office over the previous decade—allegations, not convictions—was seven for every 1 million votes cast in the state.

Data from Abbott’s own office showed that, over the same period, in all Texas elections at every level, 26 people had been convicted of some form of election violation.

Only two of those cases involved someone impersonating another voter, which is what the voter-ID law was ostensibly supposed to address.

Rather than attempting to prove the impossible—that illegal voting was truly a problem—Abbott and other gop officials across the country chose to make public examples of the very few cases of alleged voter fraud they could find.

Abbott was elected governor in 2014.

His successor as attorney general, Ken Paxton, eagerly took up the cause.

One of Paxton’s allies was District Attorney Sharen Wilson.

In 2015, she began investigating Rosa Maria Ortega, a 35-year-old mother of four who lived in the Dallas suburbs.

Ortega had been born in Mexico and came to the U.S. as a baby.

She held permanent-resident status.

As a noncitizen, she was not eligible to vote, but she had registered (as a republican) and had cast ballots in several elections in Dallas County, including for Paxton as attorney general, before she moved to Tarrant County.

Her new voter-registration application was rejected because she had correctly indicated her citizenship status.

Ortega then sent in another application, this time identifying herself as a citizen.

She had done the same thing in Dallas County, and voted without issue; she has said that when Tarrant County accepted her registration, she assumed she was allowed to vote again.

Ortega was indicted and declined a plea deal, which, her lawyers warned, would likely result in deportation.

In court, the defense cited Ortega’s professed misunderstanding of election law as it applied to permanent residents, and her lack of a motive for purposefully breaking the law.

The prosecution presented her actions as part of a disturbing statewide pattern.

As Wilson said after Ortega’s indictment, “People insist this kind of thing doesn’t happen, but it’s happening right here at home.”

Wilson’s office has denied in the past that its work has been politically motivated or employed as a “scare tactic.”

In a statement, a spokesperson for the district attorney wrote that Wilson “didn’t go out looking for the voter fraud cases against Crystal Mason and Rosa Maria Ortega.”

The spokesperson also noted that Ortega had been offered probation, but had turned it down.

In February 2017, she was convicted of illegal voting and sentenced to eight years in prison.

When the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reviewed hundreds of voting-related cases in Texas from 2005 to 2018, it found that Ortega’s sentence was the longest one handed down.

A prosecutor praised the jury, saying it had secured the “floodgates” that kept illegal voting under control.

Ortega’s case fit a familiar narrative: that immigrant voters are subverting democracy.

She served nine months in prison before being paroled, then spent nearly two months in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

She is currently on parole and living in Dallas, according to Wilson’s office.

One week after ortega’s conviction, Crystal Mason was arrested, and found her life newly upended.

Mason’s family had often been in conflict with other residents in their predominantly white community—for a variety of reasons, including, Mason and her lawyers believe, outright racism.

When her children were younger, she told me, a neighbor had once brandished a shotgun as her son passed by; her then-husband reported the incident, and she said that local authorities added a bus stop closer to her home so that her children could keep away from the neighbor’s house.

Now she faced charges brought by the local district attorney.

There was no way to keep a low profile.

She lost her job.

The district attorney offered a deal:

10 years’ probation.

But the deal required an admission of guilt, which Mason could not accept.

It also would have put her back in prison:

The mere fact of a conviction would mean that she had violated the terms of her supervised release.

The only way for Mason to remain free was to prove her innocence.

She chose a trial before a judge.

As prosecutors presented it, Mason was a felon who had ignored notifications sent by election officials to her home, warning that she was no longer a registered voter.

Despite those warnings, she had nevertheless signed an affidavit when accepting her provisional ballot, affirming that she was indeed a registered voter.

Her crime was not accidental, prosecutors argued, but a purposeful subversion of democracy.

Mason’s legal team countered that the notices about illegal voting had been sent to her home while she was in prison, and therefore she had never received them.

They argued, too, that, unlike people returning from state prisons on parole or probation, who typically receive official instruction about voting eligibility, as a federal inmate, she had been given no such instruction when starting her supervised release.

(The person who oversaw the officer responsible for Mason’s supervision confirmed this in court testimony:

“That’s just not something we do.”) As Mason recalled when I spoke with her, the affidavit was just another thing to sign, and she hadn’t really read it closely. She was focused on providing the personal information that the same sheet of paper was requesting. She said to me, “Do you have a mortgage? Have you read all your mortgage papers and all the closing [documents]?”
What bothers her most is that there was no serious attempt to establish any sort of criminal motive.

“They said I tried to circumvent the system,” Mason said.

“And for what? For a sticker?”

Alison Grinter Allen, her attorney, echoed the point:

“Why would you risk two to 20 years in the penitentiary in order to shout your opinion into the wind, basically?”

The arguments on Mason’s behalf proved unavailing.

She was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison.

The prosecution had argued for “a stern prison sentence” in order to “send a message.”

Mason subsequently appealed to a three-judge panel, which upheld her conviction.

Her case is now under review by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

The ACLU of Texas has been assisting with Mason’s defense, and its data suggest a racial double standard in cases like hers.

A 2021 study by the group found that nearly three-quarters of prosecutions by the state’s Election Integrity Unit appear to have been brought against people of color.

Almost half of the total cases appear to have been brought against Black and Latina women, two of the core groups of Democratic voters in the state.

Of course, facts and circumstances differ from case to case, and rules and procedures differ from one legal setting to another.

But it is worth recalling the treatment accorded to some white officials who have had encounters with election law.

In 2018, Russ Casey, a republican judge in Tarrant County, pleaded guilty to falsifying signatures in order to get his name on the ballot.

Casey held a position of public trust, his actions were egregious, and he admitted that the accusations were true.

In a plea deal, he received five years’ probation, with no prison time.

In 2016, Sharen Wilson herself was accused of an election-related violation: using the personal information of her subordinates in the D.A.’s office to invite them to a fundraiser and solicit donations from them for her reelection campaign.

Her case was dismissed by the district attorney in a nearby county for “insufficient evidence of criminal intent.”

Wilson has acknowledged that including her employees on the invitation list for the fundraiser was a mistake.

In Mason’s case, the ACLU of Texas argues that the illegal-voting charge is inappropriate on its face because Mason did not, strictly speaking, ever vote.

Her provisional ballot was not counted.


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Re: Stacey Abrams wins Democratic nomination in Georgia gov's race
« Reply #221 on: December 14, 2021, 07:50:22 am »

According to Tommy Buser-Clancy, an ACLU staff attorney, Mason’s prosecution could theoretically open the door to felony charges against any potential voter whose provisional ballot is rejected:

“If you start to criminalize people who make mistakes, [who think] they’re eligible and then find out they’re not, then that guts the provisional-balloting system—turns it into a trap.”

The D.A.’s office has publicly dismissed the possibility that Mason’s prosecution poses any danger of precedent to people who make simple mistakes or act unknowingly; the decision by the three-judge panel in the Mason case articulated a different view.

It declared that, under Texas law, prosecutors did not need to establish that Mason knew she was ineligible.

Because of her conviction, Mason’s supervised release was revoked, and in September 2018 she was returned to prison.

One of Mason’s lawyers launched a crowd funding effort to help provide for her immediate and extended family; health insurance was a particular concern.

(She has been able to raise $81,000.)

“It was devastating,” Mason told me.

“I was like, ‘Are you serious? I’m a mother.’ ”

She recalled her original experience of emerging from prison into the supervised-release program.

“I was embarrassed. I was. Because when I got out of prison, I wanted my kids to know that, yeah, I hit that bump in the road. But you can get your life back on track. And that’s what I did.”

She was working.

She was going to school.

And then she was back in prison.

Mason was released in May 2019 and was able to return home in June.

As we spoke, the practiced cheerfulness in her voice drained away.

“This isn’t supposed to be happening to me. This is not right.”

Only days after his inauguration in 2017, individual-1 declared that millions of fraudulent votes had been cast, implying that many had been cast by noncitizens or by citizens of color mobilized by Democrats to vote more than once.

His evidence for widespread fraud was nonexistent, and his anecdotal accounts, and those of others, collapsed under scrutiny.

Gregg Phillips, a Texas businessman and self-proclaimed voter-fraud sleuth, tweeted that he and the Tea Party–associated group True the Vote had identified 3 million noncitizen voters.

The source of this information was an unnamed private database, and individual-1 declared that he would order a full investigation.

I spoke with Phillips at the time, and in that conversation he provided no supporting evidence and backed away from any specific number of illegal voters.

He told me, “The work that we’re doing could create a foundation for looking at elections moving forward.”

I interpreted his statement to be a kind of face-saving fallback.

Now I understand it to have been prophetic.

Crystal Mason’s lawyers believe that individual-1’s claim of mass voter fraud created an environment in which actions against Mason could be especially punitive.

Clark Birdsall, a lawyer for Rosa Maria Ortega, made the same argument, describing individual-1’s comments about millions of fraudulent voters as “the 800-pound gorilla sitting in the jury box.”

individual-1 established a Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, an ostensibly bipartisan body designed to uncover “those laws, rules, policies, activities, strategies, and practices that undermine the American people’s confidence in the integrity of voting processes used in Federal elections.”

It fell apart in 2018 after it tried to push states to turn over massive amounts of voter data—including Social Security numbers, party affiliations, and voting histories.

Even many republican politicians believed that the voter data might be used for nefarious purposes.

Resistance to handing over the data helped kill the commission.

It had found no evidence of any widespread election violations.

But in republican-led states, investigations proliferated.

Kris Kobach, then the Kansas secretary of state and a vice chair of the presidential commission, had provided a blueprint.

Even before individual-1’s election, he had claimed that there were thousands of fraudulent or dead voters on the rolls in Kansas.

He would later claim to have identified more than 100 noncitizen voters in his state.

In 2015, leveraging the hysteria he had begun to create, Kobach persuaded the state legislature to give him the power to directly prosecute election-violations cases.

(In every other state, only an attorney general or a local district attorney has such authority.)

Yet over a period of four years, Kobach brought forward just 15 illegal-voting cases, most of which involved people who had accidentally voted in two places.

He secured a single conviction involving a noncitizen voter.

In Texas, besides Ortega’s case, there has been only one other successful prosecution by the state attorney general for voting as a noncitizen since 2005.

Five people have been successfully prosecuted for impersonating other voters.

Fourteen people—including Crystal Mason—have been successfully prosecuted for voting as felons with unresolved sentences.

Only 11 people have been sent to prison by the state for voting violations of any kind.

In 2020, Paxton’s office almost doubled the working hours spent on election-violations cases and resolved only 16 of them.

All stemmed from voters giving false addresses.

(Paxton’s office did not respond to multiple queries related to this article.)

Since 2005, nearly 90 million votes have been cast in Texas.

Even if the true number of fraudulent voters is double what the state has prosecuted, the prevalence of election violations—the majority of which involve bad addresses—is about three ten-thousandths of a percent.

As for voter impersonation, it is more common for a person to be struck by lightning twice than it is for voter impersonation to happen in Texas.

Those involved in investigating allegations of voter fraud argue that the detection of a small number of violations just means we aren’t as good at detecting the larger number that must be out there somewhere—thus the need for new laws.

But laws that make the process of registering and casting a ballot even more convoluted also increase the likelihood that people will make mistakes—the kinds of mistakes that can land them in jail.

It’s a vicious cycle—which is exactly the point.

First gin up fear about fraud, then use that fear to aggressively prosecute voting infractions, then use those prosecutions to create stricter laws, then use the stricter laws to induce more examples of fraud, then use those examples to gin up even more fear.

The potential impact on turnout is bad enough.

But the cumulative effect of restrictive laws corrodes the democratic process itself.

In Texas, the narrative fueled in part by Mason’s conviction has given republicans the momentum to pass laws that restrict voting by mail, permit forms of interference by partisan poll watchers at election sites, and create new classes of felonies for engaging in common forms of voter assistance, such as explaining written instructions to people who don’t speak English.

(This last measure is currently facing a lawsuit brought by the Department of Justice.)

Crystal Mason is not the same person she was in 2017, when she was indicted.

At the time, she was fearful; her impulse was to lie low.

She eventually came to realize that her unwanted notoriety could be leveraged, not only for her own cause but for the cause of voting rights nationwide.

When I spoke with her at her home, she had just gotten back from a voting-rights rally in Washington, D.C.

She wore a shirt that read crystal mason: the fight against voter suppression.

If she serves her five-year sentence, her infant grandson, who was sitting on her lap, will be reading and at school by the time she gets out.

She is thinking about how to prepare family members for what may lie ahead.

Her adult children have been deputized to run the house in her absence.

Demagogues and insurrections are not the only—or even the primary—threats to our democracy.

The slow, relentless erosion of individual civic agency is at least as dangerous, and perhaps more so.

Most of the people accused of “voter fraud” have made mistakes with no provable malicious intent as they navigate voting systems that grow ever more byzantine and frustrating.

Their lives may be derailed by reputational damage, by time and money spent in court, by prohibitive fines, and by jail or prison.

The people who bear this burden may be the cornerstones of their social worlds.

Their fates stand as warnings to others in already fragile communities.

In a country where the influence of Black and Latino voters is purposefully diluted by gerrymandering, and where poorer, overworked folks must contend with long lines and short hours at sparse polling locations, the fear of being caught up in a punitive administrative labyrinth adds another variable to the calculus of deciding whether to vote at all.

That is why there is something in this moment reminiscent of the insidious bureaucratic character of Jim Crow.

As all-encompassing as we know it to have been, Jim Crow was not imposed by a single stroke.

It was built community by community, year by year, ruined life by ruined life, law by law, and lie by lie.


Offline Battle

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Re: Stacey Abrams wins Democratic nomination in Georgia gov's race
« Reply #222 on: December 18, 2021, 10:14:08 am »
Saturday, 18th  December  ~Two Thousand & Twenty One
USPS reaches settlement with NAACP over 2020 mail delays

The United States Postal Service (USPS) on Friday announced that it reached a settlement with the NAACP over mail delays in 2020.

The NAACP filed the lawsuit last year, alleging that the Postal Service made changes that resulted "in unreliable service and widespread delays."

The suit was originally filed against Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and USPS over changes that he made when he was appointed to the post by individual-1.

At the time, DeJoy restructured some of the operations of the postal service stating that it would improve efficiency.

However, the NAACP alleged that it was electorally motivated in the lead up to the 2020 presidential election during which many people used mail-in ballots amid the spread of the COVID-19.

In the settlement of the suit, the postal service has agreed to frequently report election mail issues, provide information about election mail performance and take extraordinary measures to deliver ballots in upcoming elections, among other things.

"Consistent with the Postal Service's steadfast commitment to fulfilling our vital role in the nation's electoral process, we agreed to continue to prioritize monitoring and timely delivery of Election Mail for future elections," Thomas Marshall, the USPS general counsel said, according to NBC News.

"This will include outreach and coordination with election officials and election stakeholders, including the NAACP."

The service also agreed to post guidance regarding mail-in election ballots by February 1st for primary elections and by October 1st for general elections through 2028, according to the settlement.

In a statement released on Friday, Derrick Johnson, the head of the NAACP, referred to the settlement as an "unprecedented victory for civil rights."

"When we fight, we win. Ballot box or mailbox, a vote is a vote, and each vote is sacred. No one, including the USPS, should ever stand in the way of our constitutional rights. With the NAACP's ability to now monitor the performance of the USPS during national elections, we will ensure that the right to vote is protected for of all citizens, including those often suppressed," he said.

The Department of Justice's Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta also agreed with the outcome of the settlement.

"The right to vote and ability to access the ballot is the cornerstone of our democracy," Gupta wrote in a statement.

"The department is pleased we could facilitate a resolution that reflects the commitment of all of the parties to appropriately handling and prioritizing election mail."

Offline Battle

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Re: Stacey Abrams wins Democratic nomination in Georgia gov's race
« Reply #223 on: December 25, 2021, 03:04:14 pm »
Saturday, 25th December  ~Two Thousand & Twenty One

By the way, Michelle Wu did eventually become elected mayor of Boston, Massachusetts, after all.

« Last Edit: December 28, 2021, 04:41:43 am by Battle »

Offline Battle

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Re: Stacey Abrams wins Democratic nomination in Georgia gov's race
« Reply #224 on: December 30, 2021, 11:48:55 am »
Thursday, 30th December  ~Two Thousand & Twenty One
New York Governor Declares Racism 'public health emergency'
by ABC News

New York Governor Kathy Hochul has declared racism a "public health crisis," signing an entire package of legislation December 23rd aimed at addressing discrimination and racial injustice in the state.

"For far too long, communities of color in New York have been held back by systemic racism and inequitable treatment," Hochul said in a statement last week.

"I am proud to sign legislation that addresses this crisis head-on, addressing racism, expanding equity, and improving access for all."

The new slate of laws address the need for comprehensive data collection on victims of violence and specifically Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders communities that have been ravaged by hate crimes throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The legislation has been spearheaded by state assembly members Karines Reyes and Yuh-Line Niou, Senators Kevin S. Parker and Brad Hoylman, and more.

Legislation S.70-A/A.2230 is intended to enact the "hate crimes analysis and review act," which will create guidelines for the collection and reporting of demographic data concerning hate crime victims and their alleged perpetrators.

"Our state is meant to be a beacon of diversity, equity, and inclusion, but without the tools to protect our marginalized communities these words carry little truth behind them," Reyes said in a press release.

"The Hate Crimes Analysis and Review Act ensures that we collect accurate demographic data of perpetrators and victims to better protect the communities being targeted. Without data, the plight of many will remain invisible."

Legislation S.6639-A/A.6896-A will require that the state collect specific demographic information to keep a "more accurate and relevant public record" of Asian-American populations in New York.

Senator Julia Salazar says data collection is important toward acknowledging the needs of certain communities and allowing proper resources to be allocated to them.

"As New York continues to face the devastation caused by the COVID-19 public health crisis, it is essential that the needs of all of our communities be understood and met," Salazar said in the press release.

"For the diverse Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities in New York this cannot be accomplished without detailed data that recognizes and respects the experiences of the numerous groups that make up the AAPI communities."

The legislation also requires the New York State Office of Technology Services to implement language translation technology across all state agencies to ensure that websites and services are translatable into the most common non-English languages spoken by New Yorkers.

"Asian-American communities are among the most impoverished in New York," Niou said.

"They also faced some of the toughest headwinds even before the pandemic began while also being unable to navigate critical government services due to a lack of language accessibility."

The long list of new efforts will also cover inclusivity in health care, expanding the list of conditions that newborns are screened for to include conditions found in newborns from the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia.