Tag Archives: Voting Rights

Greg Palast: From White Sheets to Spreadsheets

From White Sheets to Spreadsheets
By Greg Palast, for TruthDig

I hate to spoil a happy ending.

The movie “Selma,” like this week’s commemorations of Martin Luther King Jr.’s march from Selma, Ala., 50 years ago, celebrates America’s giant leap from apartheid.

Half a century ago Alabama state troopers and a mob of racist thugs beat African-Americans and others as they marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, demanding no more than the right to vote. By the time King led 25,000 demonstrators singing “We Shall Overcome” into Montgomery, the state capital, on March 24, the president of the United States had introduced the Voting Rights Act. Free at last—to vote. Roll credits.

Yet, just a few months ago, Martin Luther King asked me, “How long until African-American citizens of Alabama—and Mississippi and Georgia—get the unimpeded right to vote?”

Obviously I was not speaking with King Jr.—a bullet stole him from us in 1968. The question was posed by his son, Martin Luther King III. I spent an afternoon at his home in Atlanta, where we pored over the latest evidence that Americans of color were blocked at the doors to the polls in the 2014 midterm elections—by the hundreds of thousands.

As King’s 6-year-old daughter serenaded us with her toy drum set, we dived into a massive, secretive database used by elections officials—almost all of them Republicans—in 28 states. The scheme, called “Interstate Crosscheck,” threatens to disqualify the ballots of over a million voters, overwhelmingly citizens of color.

It took six months for my investigations team, in coordination with Al-Jazeera America, to get its hands on the names of those tagged for the voting rights slaughter.

According to the GOP officials, these citizens had voted twice in the same election, in two different states—a federal crime. As punishment, their mail-in ballots would be junked and their registrations annulled. But no reporters had seen (or, for that matter, asked for) the lists. State officials, the modern-day equivalents of Bull Connor, refused our requests on grounds that these Americans were all suspects in a criminal investigation and therefore the files were confidential.

Nevertheless, we managed to get hunks of the lists—2.1 million names of a total 3.5 million “suspected double voters.”

Who are these criminal voters? A typical example: Kevin Antonio Hayes of Durham, N.C., allegedly voted a second time in Virginia as Kevin Thomas Hayes. The Durham Hayes, however, swears to me that he has never used the alias Thomas or set foot in Virginia. Another: James Elmer Barnes Jr. of Georgia allegedly voted a second time as James Cross Barnes III of Arlington, VA.

The lists go on like that: huge numbers accused solely on the basis of sharing a first and last name with a voter in another state.

It is clear what attracts Republican Katherine Harris wannabes to this absurd method of identifying fraudulent voters. The prevalence of name-sharing among black Americans is a legacy of slavery. The “Crosscheck” name-match game is also a darn good way of knocking off Hispanic voters. (According to the national census, at least 91.5 percent of Americans named Aguirre are Hispanic and, according to Gallup, two out of three vote Democratic).

I was suspicious—if Kevin Hayes really voted twice, authorities should have arrested him. They should have arrested 589,393 “criminal double voters” in North Carolina alone. But they busted none. Nevertheless, the officials got what they wanted: For example, enough voters of color were blocked, purged and disqualified to help knock a Democrat out of the U.S. Senate this past November.

This situation deeply concerns Martin Luther King III, founder of the Realizing the Dream Foundation. Fifty years after Bloody Sunday and the Voting Rights Act, he said, “The irony is that when you look at Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, where you have significant African-American populations—Mississippi close to 50 percent—those states still have leadership that is totally Republican.”

The black vote should have turned those states solid Democratic blue. What happened?

Meet the New Jim Crow. Fifty years ago, African-Americans were kept from the polls by the threat of beatings and lynchings. Today, Jim Crow has traded in his white sheets for spreadsheets. He’s Dr. James Crow, systems analyst. His method is lynching by laptop.

At the end of the film “Selma” we are told that the brutal, racist county sheriff was tossed out of office by newly enfranchised black voters. True. But today, Dr. James Crow has a magic machine that can reverse the Voting Rights Act.

Here’s one example uncovered by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.: On the night of Nov. 5, 2002, it appeared that Democrat Gov. Don Siegelman, the favorite of the African-American voters, had won re-election. But at 11 p.m., the white, Republican elections officials of Baldwin County declared they needed to recount the ballots. The county courthouse doors were locked. No press (or black Democrats) were allowed inside. By dawn, the white officials announced they had corrected a “glitch” in the count. Upon recounting, the tally for Siegelman dropped miraculously by 6,334 votes, handing the race to his opponent.

Could we see the ballots? Of course not; they were simply tallies on computer files. The files had been “corrected”—and Siegelman, the choice of the black voter, was gone.
(Siegelman was warned not to complain. He did—and before long he was imprisoned on corruption charges that Kennedy dismisses as “laughable, ginned up by a cast of crooked GOP attorneys.”)

Purging phantasmagorical “double voters” and finding thousands of votes in magical computer systems are but two of the methods at Dr. James Crow’s disposal. Working with Kennedy, I’ve counted nine sophisticated, racially dubious methods for blocking the black vote, costing—by a conservative estimate—5.9 million Americans their voting rights.

Despite the glorious story of the Selma march, the truth is that the USA and Old Dixie in particular are marching backward over the bridge. Disenfranchisement—a fancy word for ballot-box apartheid—is worsening, especially since June 2013 when the U.S. Supreme Court nullified key provisions of the Voting Rights Act.

It would be wrong and demeaning to the memories of those who gave their lives to this cause—including the fathers of King and Kennedy—to say that we’ve won no voting rights victories. This weekend we can congratulate ourselves on America’s great strides against racism at the ballot box. But let’s remember that Dr. King had to lead a dangerous march from Selma for voting rights that were supposedly guaranteed a century earlier by the 15th Amendment to the Constitution—rights won after 600,000 Americans fought to their deaths between Bull Run and Gettysburg.

The struggle for civil and human rights did not begin 50 years ago, and it will not end in another 50. It is a centuries-long story of advance and retreat.

And that’s the lesson. The movie’s over, but not The Movement. It is left to us to march over the bridge again. And again. And again.

Please Fund Our Kickstarter To Send Mike Huckabee To North Korea, Where He Can Be Free

Please Fund Our Kickstarter To Send Mike Huckabee To North Korea, Where He Can Be Free.

PROPERTY RIGHTS UBER ALLES  11:23 am April 14, 2014

Please Fund Our Kickstarter To Send Mike Huckabee To North Korea, Where He Can Be Free

by snipy

Huckabee: ‘More Freedom Sometimes in North Korea Than in United…
Huckabee: ‘More Freedom Sometimes in North Korea Than in United States’

Do you dig Mike Huckabee? Who doesn’t, really? If you do, you’ll definitely be into his speech at the Conservative Value Freedom Summit God Bless America Property Rights Jamboree thing over the weekend, sponsored, of course, by Citizens United and Americans For Prosperity. Huckabee, like every other conservative there, was stroking himself off to the thought that there might be an insurrection uprising shootout fun time over Cliven Bundy’s refusal to pay fees to graze his cattle on public land, because everyone knows that God meant for Americans to use every last bit of land for their personal gain whether they own it or not, because freedom. But Huckabee took his haranguing one step farther, and managed to do a conservative greatest hit concert and hit every imaginary grievance those people have. Oh, and he also decided he’d rather live in North Korea because of all their freedoms.

 

Oh my god, check out that crowd of old white people. They keep hopping up to give Mike a standing O for his stirring words, but then they sit right down again, only to pop up a few seconds later. A bunch of them probably had to take their heart pills after that.

Now you might think “oh hey, I kind of wouldn’t feel free in a place where people are starving to death and get shot by the Dear Leader for disagreeing, or for being his ex-girlfriend, you know how it is, chicks man, but that is because you are not Mike Huckabee, and you have not suffered the slings and arrows of Fast and Furious, which is a thing conservatives are still mad about, we guess? Also too BENGHAZI!1!, which we did not think could relate at all to cattle grazing, but in the fevered mind of Mike Huckabee it does because we have no idea why.

Mike Huckabee is also very mad about Brandeis students protesting the proposed commencement speaker, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, because they realized she is maybe kind of a bit too firebrand-y about hating Islam. And oh, Mike is positively overcome with sadmad about Brendan Eich having to leave Mozilla because of the gay marriage hating. We are not really sure how examples of two private institutions making decisions about speech in their own private institutions equal government tyranny, but again, we are not Mike Huckabee. Perhaps he thinks that Bamz amassed some ATF and FBI agents at the doors of Brandeis and Mozilla and made them do it?

So Fast and Furious plus Benghazi multiplied by Brandeis and Mozilla equals less freedom than North Korea, especially because Mike Huckabee has to show ID at the airport.

“My gosh, I’m beginning to think that there’s more freedom in North Korea sometimes than there is in the United States,” he continued. “When I go to the airport, I have to get in the surrender position while people put hands all over me. And I have to provide photo ID in a couple of different forms, and prove that I really am not going to terrorize the airplane.”

Huckabee added: “But if I want to go vote, I don’t need a thing. All I got to do is show up and I can give them anybody’s name, and that’s okay.”

Sound argument! Except for the fact that there is no constitutional right to fly on a plane, but the whole voting thing is kinda enshrined in the Constitution, but otherwise those things are exactly the same indeed.

Given that we don’t yet have the technology to send Mike Huckabee on a rocket into the sun, we’ll have to settle for crowdfunding a plane to take him to the Worker’s Paradise that is North Korea. Help us out, won’t you?

[Raw Story]

Read more at http://wonkette.com/546424/please-fund-our-kickstarter-to-send-mike-huckabee-to-north-korea-where-he-can-be-free#211rEY374UiLbBJH.99

PROPERTY RIGHTS UBER ALLES  11:23 am April 14, 2014

Please Fund Our Kickstarter To Send Mike Huckabee To North Korea, Where He Can Be Free

by snipy

Huckabee: ‘More Freedom Sometimes in North Korea Than in United…
Huckabee: ‘More Freedom Sometimes in North Korea Than in United States’

Do you dig Mike Huckabee? Who doesn’t, really? If you do, you’ll definitely be into his speech at the Conservative Value Freedom Summit God Bless America Property Rights Jamboree thing over the weekend, sponsored, of course, by Citizens United and Americans For Prosperity. Huckabee, like every other conservative there, was stroking himself off to the thought that there might be an insurrection uprising shootout fun time over Cliven Bundy’s refusal to pay fees to graze his cattle on public land, because everyone knows that God meant for Americans to use every last bit of land for their personal gain whether they own it or not, because freedom. But Huckabee took his haranguing one step farther, and managed to do a conservative greatest hit concert and hit every imaginary grievance those people have. Oh, and he also decided he’d rather live in North Korea because of all their freedoms.

 

Oh my god, check out that crowd of old white people. They keep hopping up to give Mike a standing O for his stirring words, but then they sit right down again, only to pop up a few seconds later. A bunch of them probably had to take their heart pills after that.

Now you might think “oh hey, I kind of wouldn’t feel free in a place where people are starving to death and get shot by the Dear Leader for disagreeing, or for being his ex-girlfriend, you know how it is, chicks man, but that is because you are not Mike Huckabee, and you have not suffered the slings and arrows of Fast and Furious, which is a thing conservatives are still mad about, we guess? Also too BENGHAZI!1!, which we did not think could relate at all to cattle grazing, but in the fevered mind of Mike Huckabee it does because we have no idea why.

Mike Huckabee is also very mad about Brandeis students protesting the proposed commencement speaker, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, because they realized she is maybe kind of a bit too firebrand-y about hating Islam. And oh, Mike is positively overcome with sadmad about Brendan Eich having to leave Mozilla because of the gay marriage hating. We are not really sure how examples of two private institutions making decisions about speech in their own private institutions equal government tyranny, but again, we are not Mike Huckabee. Perhaps he thinks that Bamz amassed some ATF and FBI agents at the doors of Brandeis and Mozilla and made them do it?

So Fast and Furious plus Benghazi multiplied by Brandeis and Mozilla equals less freedom than North Korea, especially because Mike Huckabee has to show ID at the airport.

“My gosh, I’m beginning to think that there’s more freedom in North Korea sometimes than there is in the United States,” he continued. “When I go to the airport, I have to get in the surrender position while people put hands all over me. And I have to provide photo ID in a couple of different forms, and prove that I really am not going to terrorize the airplane.”

Huckabee added: “But if I want to go vote, I don’t need a thing. All I got to do is show up and I can give them anybody’s name, and that’s okay.”

Sound argument! Except for the fact that there is no constitutional right to fly on a plane, but the whole voting thing is kinda enshrined in the Constitution, but otherwise those things are exactly the same indeed.

Given that we don’t yet have the technology to send Mike Huckabee on a rocket into the sun, we’ll have to settle for crowdfunding a plane to take him to the Worker’s Paradise that is North Korea. Help us out, won’t you?

[Raw Story]

Read more at http://wonkette.com/546424/please-fund-our-kickstarter-to-send-mike-huckabee-to-north-korea-where-he-can-be-free#211rEY374UiLbBJH.99

PROPERTY RIGHTS UBER ALLES  11:23 am April 14, 2014

Please Fund Our Kickstarter To Send Mike Huckabee To North Korea, Where He Can Be Free

by snipy

Huckabee: ‘More Freedom Sometimes in North Korea Than in United…
Huckabee: ‘More Freedom Sometimes in North Korea Than in United States’

Do you dig Mike Huckabee? Who doesn’t, really? If you do, you’ll definitely be into his speech at the Conservative Value Freedom Summit God Bless America Property Rights Jamboree thing over the weekend, sponsored, of course, by Citizens United and Americans For Prosperity. Huckabee, like every other conservative there, was stroking himself off to the thought that there might be an insurrection uprising shootout fun time over Cliven Bundy’s refusal to pay fees to graze his cattle on public land, because everyone knows that God meant for Americans to use every last bit of land for their personal gain whether they own it or not, because freedom. But Huckabee took his haranguing one step farther, and managed to do a conservative greatest hit concert and hit every imaginary grievance those people have. Oh, and he also decided he’d rather live in North Korea because of all their freedoms.

 

Oh my god, check out that crowd of old white people. They keep hopping up to give Mike a standing O for his stirring words, but then they sit right down again, only to pop up a few seconds later. A bunch of them probably had to take their heart pills after that.

Now you might think “oh hey, I kind of wouldn’t feel free in a place where people are starving to death and get shot by the Dear Leader for disagreeing, or for being his ex-girlfriend, you know how it is, chicks man, but that is because you are not Mike Huckabee, and you have not suffered the slings and arrows of Fast and Furious, which is a thing conservatives are still mad about, we guess? Also too BENGHAZI!1!, which we did not think could relate at all to cattle grazing, but in the fevered mind of Mike Huckabee it does because we have no idea why.

Mike Huckabee is also very mad about Brandeis students protesting the proposed commencement speaker, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, because they realized she is maybe kind of a bit too firebrand-y about hating Islam. And oh, Mike is positively overcome with sadmad about Brendan Eich having to leave Mozilla because of the gay marriage hating. We are not really sure how examples of two private institutions making decisions about speech in their own private institutions equal government tyranny, but again, we are not Mike Huckabee. Perhaps he thinks that Bamz amassed some ATF and FBI agents at the doors of Brandeis and Mozilla and made them do it?

So Fast and Furious plus Benghazi multiplied by Brandeis and Mozilla equals less freedom than North Korea, especially because Mike Huckabee has to show ID at the airport.

“My gosh, I’m beginning to think that there’s more freedom in North Korea sometimes than there is in the United States,” he continued. “When I go to the airport, I have to get in the surrender position while people put hands all over me. And I have to provide photo ID in a couple of different forms, and prove that I really am not going to terrorize the airplane.”

Huckabee added: “But if I want to go vote, I don’t need a thing. All I got to do is show up and I can give them anybody’s name, and that’s okay.”

Sound argument! Except for the fact that there is no constitutional right to fly on a plane, but the whole voting thing is kinda enshrined in the Constitution, but otherwise those things are exactly the same indeed.

Given that we don’t yet have the technology to send Mike Huckabee on a rocket into the sun, we’ll have to settle for crowdfunding a plane to take him to the Worker’s Paradise that is North Korea. Help us out, won’t you?

[Raw Story]

Read more at http://wonkette.com/546424/please-fund-our-kickstarter-to-send-mike-huckabee-to-north-korea-where-he-can-be-free#211rEY374UiLbBJH.99