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Of course they do...
By Brad Friedman on 8/20/2014 7:05am PT  

From Juliet Lapidos at NYTimes...

On Sunday the Rev. Al Sharpton, the civil rights activist and television host, mentioned that voter turnout in the Ferguson, Mo., area was a mere 12 percent in the last election, and pledged to help boost that number with a registration drive. Twelve percent, he said, was "an insult to your children." He wasn't the first to think of channeling the anger over Mike Brown's death in this particular direction. Twitter users on Saturday noted voter registration tables in front of the makeshift memorial where the unarmed teenager was shot by a police officer.

Encouraging more participation in the democratic process in a community that feels alienated from political power - hence the demonstrations - seems like an obviously good idea; and one that's particularly compelling because it's so simple. Voting is an alternative to protesting in the streets.

And yet, the executive director of the Missouri Republican Party, Matt Wills, denounced the plan.

Mr. Wills told the right-wing website Breitbart: "If that's not fanning the political flames, I don't know what is. I think it's not only disgusting but completely inappropriate."

On another right-wing site, Red State, Dan McLaughlin also argued that there was something indecent about the registration drive. Ferguson presents an opportunity for "Right and Left" to find "common ground," he wrote. But "the minute you turn your energies into just another effort to register Democratic voters and fire up the Democratic base in advance of an election," he argued, "the harder you make it to keep the common ground from vanishing in the fog."

Who said anything about "register[ing] Democratic voters"?

"Voter registration for #Ferguson residents is at the QT & the crime scene. SIGN UP. Get on the juries, choose your leaders," tweeted attorney and activist @ReignOfApril. "Voter Registration is a brilliant way to honor #MichaelBrown's memory. It's a positive reaction to horrible situation," wrote @Koursey in reply.

While the city of Ferguson is two-thirds African-American, the vast majority of their police force and almost all local elected officials are not.

"Though whites make up just 29% of the city's residents," reports MSNBC's Zachary Roth, "five of Ferguson's six city council members are white, as is Mayor James Knowles. And six of the local school board's seven members are white."

"We warned people about these kinds of things," John Gaskin of the Missouri NAACP told Roth. "Who hires the police officers? The police chief. Who hires the police chief? The mayor. Who hires the mayor? Who elects the council folks?"

As the Times' Lapidos goes on to note, "Mr. Sharpton did not say that the residents of Ferguson should vote for Democrats; he said they should vote, full stop." She adds: "Isn't it telling that both Mr. Wills and Mr. McLaughlin make no distinction between voter registration and Democratic registration?"

For the record, Ferguson's local elections are nonpartisan.

* * *

(Separately, kudos to the Times' Lapidos for describing those two websites for what they are, "right-wing", rather than usual "conservative". It must not have been easy to get that past the Times' editors, even though it's completely accurate. Or maybe the paper has changed their previously unhelpful style rules under their new Executive Editor Dean Baquet, along with this one. Either way, truth in reporting there is accurate, a great change of pace and far more helpful to the electorate.)

ReddIt this story!



By Ernest A. Canning on 3/5/2012 4:16pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"When you let university administrators or other employers rather than women and their doctors dictate whose medical needs are legitimate and whose are not, a woman’s health takes a back seat to a bureaucracy focused on policing her body." - Georgetown Univ. Law Student, Sandra Fluke

One unfortunate aspect of the firestorm surrounding Rush Limbaugh's profoundly uninformed, deceptive and misogynistic vitriol and calls for accountability for the Rightwing radio blowhard, is that it has completely overshadowed the substance of Fluke's testimony on the importance of access to prescription contraceptives to women's health.

The Limbaugh firestorm has also overshadowed the fact that the American Taliban (aka the elected Tea Party House Republicans) prevented Fluke from testifying at a House Oversight Committee hearing, framed by the Republican majority as a hearing on "religious freedom", because, as the Washington Post described, "she was not a member of the clergy."

Indeed, while much is made of the fact that the first panel at the 2/16/12 House Oversight Committee examining an issue vital to women's health was all-male, few have taken note that it was also all-clergy. In opening the hearing, Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) announced: "Today, the committee will hear testimony from leaders of different faiths."

Not only did the right-wing GOP House leaders fail to so much as recognize Fluke's right to be heard, but, according to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (see video embedded in above-linked Washington Post article), they also refused to permit House Democrats to use the House Recording Studio as part of an effort to try and prevent the public from seeing and hearing Fluke's testimony at all. Instead, Pelosi and the Democrats of the Democratic Steering Committee were forced to hold a separate, unofficial "forum", in order to hear Fluke's testimony.

The video of Fluke's opening statement, the testimony that Republicans sought to prevent from being heard at all, is now posted below.

But it is the larger, arguably more disturbing constitutional ramifications of the actions of House Republicans that we'd like to take a moment to highlight on, as they have been almost entirely overlooked in this unnecessary brouhaha...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 12/9/2011 12:06pm PT  

I don't have time today to thoroughly debunk all the reprehensible, anti-democratic, anti-American horseshit hurled by this FL State Rep. Dennis Baxley --- the original sponsor of Florida's new voter suppression laws, limiting early voting hours and imposing new big government regulations and huge fines against voter registration workers --- as seen in the following interview on Al Sharpton's Politics Nation show on MSNBC this week.

Fortunately, most readers of The BRAD BLOG will be able to smell the bullshit of the smirking, democracy-hating Baxley a mile away even without my point-by-point rebuttal. So I'll just run the video here for now without much comment, as it needs to be seen to be believed.

Near the front of the interview, Baxley admits that there's been no voter fraud problem in FL, and by the end he's charging (without a stitch of evidence, naturally) that the non-partisan League of Women Voters, who have been registering voters in the Sunshine State for some 72 years --- but who have now canceled their registration program for 2012 thanks to the onerous new GOP restrictions and fines on registration workers --- is actually a partisan Democratic organization! Who knew?

My loathing towards those who knowingly undermine American democracy is difficult to contain. So consider my restraint today an undeserved favor to you this afternoon, Mr. Baxley.


Oh, and for good measure, here's some info on some Florida school teachers recently arrested and/or charged for registering students to vote in apparent violation of Baxley's new anti-voting laws!

One thing I'm happy to see this year at least: MSNBC has been covering the GOP War on Voting --- at least the front-end war, the part in which Republicans are trying to keep millions of legal voters from being able to cast their legal vote at all --- very well this cycle, on many of their shows. Hopefully they'll soon begin covering concerns about the accuracy and transparency of the vote count itself, at least the vote counts of those who find themselves able to cast a vote in 2012, in any case.

* * *

If you'd like more details on the above...Earlier on the same show, Deirdre Macnab, President of the non-partisan LWV Florida, explained to Sharpton why they've been forced to stop their registration program in Florida after 72 years. As they note on their web page where the interview is posted...

Under new laws, third parties who want to help register voters could face $5,000 fines, a third degree felony and up to 5 years in prison if they violate any of the broad provisions noted in the legal paperwork.

That much shorter interview follows below...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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