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From Deadline.com:

Documentary Banned By St. Louis Theater Heads To VOD Amid Racial Tension

 

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Talk about timing. Spanish Lake, the racially-charged documentary banned from St. Louis’ Wehrenberg theaters in the aftermath of the shooting of Mike Brown in Ferguson — known by the locals now as Ferghanistan — is now heading to VOD. The film couldn’t have come at a worse or better time (depending on your perspective). It chronicles the white flight out of Spanish Lake, a city only a few miles from the center of where the rioting and protests are taking place. The filmmaker’s father still lives in Ferguson which is on the verge of receiving more news about the white police officer involved in the shooting and whether or not he will be acquitted. Walmart today started to remove ammunition from its shelves in the hotbed area in light of that fact and after yet another police officer involved shooting.

 

SPANISH LAKE – Race, Class and White Flight in Missouri Documentary

 

Published on Sep 5, 2014

SPANISH LAKE, the new documentary on white flight, economics, race and class in Missouri is shared by documentary filmmakers Philip Andrew Morton and Matt Smith. In the wake of the Ferguson police shooting and protests, this documentary is particularly relevant to America and the ongoing discussion in the media and society, and the insights we get about the film with the trailer and film clips contribute to an illuminating edition of the world’s only talk show on documentary films, BYOD.

 

 

SPANISH LAKE is a bold and uncompromising documentary focused on economic oppression in the suburb of Spanish Lake, Missouri. Operating without a local government, the lack of community leadership has disastrous effects, including a mass exodus of the white population in the late 1990’s. The themes of the film parallel America’s growing political divide, underlying racism, and rise of anti-government sentiment. Most notably, the recent shooting of 18-year-old, unarmed Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson – only 8 miles away from Spanish Lake… In fact, the unrest in Ferguson caused the film to be banned by Wehrenberg Theaters in North St. Louis County, citing fear of the daily protests. AMC, in turn, also banned the film.

 

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Related: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: St. Louis Police Officer Under Investigation Following Call To Protester’s Employer.

 

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The White House Blog

 

Here’s What You Need to Know About Our Response to Ebola Right Now

 

President Barack Obama delivers a statement to the press after a meeting with cabinet agencies coordinating the government's Ebola response, in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Oct.15, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama delivers a statement to the press after a meeting with cabinet agencies coordinating the government’s Ebola response, in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Oct.15, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

 

Chart of the Week: The Deficit Falls to Its Lowest Level Since 2007

 

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What You Missed: The First Lady Answers Your Questions on Let’s Move! and the White House Garden

 

 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Garden to Table: The Fall White House Kitchen Garden Harvest

 

October is National Farm to School Month, and in celebration of the incredible farm to school programs across the country, the First Lady invited students from schools in California, Arizona, and Ohio to participate in the fall harvest of the White House Kitchen Garden. Each of their schools incorporate fresh, local food into their meals and teach students about healthy eating through hands-on experience in their own school gardens as well as nutrition education in the classroom.

 

In addition, three chefs paired with three of this year’s Kids’ State Dinner winners as part of the Kids and Chefs Cook for Success collaboration also joined the fall harvest. Through the collaboration, all 54 winners of this year’s Kids’ State Dinner have been paired up with chefs in their communities to host free and healthy cooking demonstrations, reaching kids and families across the country.

 

All of the participants joined the First Lady in harvesting a variety of vegetables from the White House Kitchen Garden. Following their time in the garden, each chef worked with a Kids’ State Dinner winner and a team of students to prepare a delicious and nutritious fall-inspired meal with the produce harvested.

 

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Find all of the recipes on the Let’s Move! blog and try them out at home!

 

In Case You Missed It: Vine Q&A with the First Lady

As part of the fall harvest, the First Lady participated in her first-ever Vine and Twitter Q&A to answer questions about Let’s Move!. During the chat, Mrs. Obama talked about tips for eating healthy and being active, the White House bees, her favorite fall vegetable, and a turnip that you don’t want to miss!

 

Check out the full Q&A and follow Let’s Move! and the First Lady on Twitter for the latest updates and more opportunities to engage with Mrs. Obama and Let’s Move!.

 

Let’s Move! Active Schools Reaches 10,000 Schools

Last year, the First Lady launched Let’s Move! Active Schools to reintegrate physical activity before, during, and after the school day to ensure 60 minutes of physical activity each day is the new norm for schools. Last week, Let’s Move! Active Schools announced the milestone of reaching over 10,000 schools across 50 states and impacting more than 5 million students!

 

Join the movement today and become a school champion! Sign your school up at www.letsmoveschools.org.

 

Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties Goes Nationwide

Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties helps local elected officials develop long-term, sustainable and holistic strategies to promote improved nutrition and increased physical activity in their communities. Last week, Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties announcedthat more than 450 cities, towns and counties are now participating in the initiative, including all fifty states, which impacts almost 70 million Americans.

 

With national participation in Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties, sustainable strategies are being implemented in every state, and as Let’s Move! expands to more cities, towns and counties across the country, we ensure healthy communities and healthy futures for all of America.

 

Blog Highlights

This week is National School Lunch Week, and to celebrate, we’re highlighting school champions and districts working hard, coming up with innovative solutions to provide healthy meals that students enjoy. Check out the Let’s Move! blog for more great success stories from schools across the country.

 

Variety and Consistency are the Pillars to CentroNía’s “Eat Healthy, Live Healthy” Program
CentroNía is dedicated to providing healthy options to their students by cooking meals and preparing snacks that incorporate whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, more vegetarian proteins and local produce. They have been creative in coming up with a variety of new meals the students enjoy and consistent in offering healthy options. Thanks to their hard work, they have seen the positive impact of the students consuming healthier meals.

 

Farm-to-School and School Nutrition Programs: Dedicated to Serving Healthy Fresh Food
In Delaware, schools participate in farm to school programs to provide fresh, local produce to students in school meals. They also hold taste tests to introduce students to new vegetables and get their input on the taste and preparation. Through their work with local farms, students get access to nutritious foods, and the purchasing of local food supports the local economy as well.

 

For the full recap of recent activities and to get involved, visit the Let’s Move! blog, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.

 

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What You Need to Know: Our Push To Get Long-Term Unemployed Americans Back to Work

 

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The Department of Defense Must Plan for the National Security Implications of Climate Change

 

President Obama Joins International Military Leaders to Discuss Coalition Efforts Against ISIL

 

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It's Raining Videos™

It’s Raining Videos™

The President Meets on the U.S. Response to Ebola

 

 

 

WATCH: Iowa Police Force Pregnant Woman In Labor To Ground At GunPoint

 

Published on Oct 16, 2014

CAUGHT ON TAPE: Pregnant Iowa woman in labor forced to ground at gunpoint by cops for speeding on way to hospital.
(NYDailyNews) Rachel Kohnen and her husband, Ben Kohnen, were rushing to the hospital in time to have their fourth child on Tuesday morning. Cops used tire spikes to stop the car and ordered the couple to the ground after they refused to pull over.

A pregnant woman was held at gunpoint on her way to the hospital after she and her husband refused to pull over their speeding car Tuesday in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

 

Rachel and Ben Kohnen sped to the hospital at about 4 a.m. Tuesday morning as Rachel Kohnen was in labor. They drove at 85 mph in a 55 mph zone, police said.

 

The Kohnens did not stop the car after an officer pursued them, Manson Police Chief Tom Ritts told the Daily News. The officer called for backup, and police laid tire spikes on the road to stop them.

 

Ben Kohnen told NBC13 the spikes blew out all four tires and forced them to come to a halt. The couple was ordered to the ground and held at gunpoint until officers realized what all the rush was about.

 

Rachel Kohnen gave birth to the couple’s fourth child, a nearly-10-pound baby named Hazel, about an hour after police escorted her to the hospital.
Rachel Kohnen said they could not stop the car because the baby was on its way quickly.

 

“I think I was screaming, ‘Oh, dear God, we can’t have the baby in the car,” the mother told NBC13.

 

The couple tried to call 911 to alert them, but the dispatcher could not understand them, Ritts said.

 

“She was in so much pain,” he said. “They couldn’t make heads or tails out of what she was saying.”
The police chief said the officer did not know why the car would not stop and followed typical protocol for a high speed chase.

 

“Normally when you get somebody clocked like that and they fail to pull over, the first thought in my mind is we’ve got somebody drunk or on drugs,” Ritts said.

 

No charges have been filed against the couple at this time, Ritts said.

 

Iowa cop police pregnant woman in labor gun draw ground surveillance caught on tape video footage Iowa cop police pregnant woman in labor gun draw ground surveillance caught on tape video footage Iowa cop police pregnant woman in labor gun draw ground surveillance caught on tape video footage Iowa cop police pregnant woman in labor gun draw ground surveillance caught on tape video footage

 

 

Remember the long gone days when if you were speeding to get your pregnant wife/girlfriend to the ER for delivery, the cops would escort you with sirens & lights blazing/flashing? Today you get your tires blown. My thought is, if you blow the tires of a car speeding to the ER, with a pregnant wife/girlfriend for delivery, you put everyone in that car at risk/danger to roll over and crash. In this case, mother to be, father to be AND unborn baby. Good use of common sense & logic Iowa cops.

 

 

The Black Panthers Party Founded in October 1966

 

Published on Oct 16, 2014

Eddie Conway, Baltimore Black Panther describes the political and social conditions that gave rise to the militancy and politics of the Black Panthers Party.

 

 

 

Umar Lee St. Charles County Announcement

 

 

 

Activist confronts Cop trying to intimidate her

 

Published on Oct 15, 2014

A Saint Louis community officer calls the employer of a local activist @stacksizshort in an attempt to intimidate and cause her to lose her job.

 

 

 

CDC Director: No Symptoms Before Nurse’s Flight

 

Published on Oct 16, 2014

CDC Director Tom Frieden was grilled by lawmakers on Capitol Hill Thursday on wide-ranging topics related to the agency’s management of Ebola, including giving a Dallas nurse permission to fly to Cleveland. (Oct. 16)

 

 

I’m not even going to call this idiot a lying muthafucka, even though he is a lying muthafucka. If this nurse called the CDC and said she had a fever, why would the CDC give her an all clear to travel without examining her? Think about it, she boarded a plane, with a fever, and other passengers. Dumbfuckery.

 

 

Supreme Court Lets Abortion Clinics Reopen, Easing Crisis of Access in Texas

 

 

 

‘Why Not A Military Coup?’ asks Right Wing Government Official

 

Published on Oct 16, 2014

Jefferson County Recorder of Deeds Debbie Dunnegan finds nothing wrong with her Facebook posts that have been brought to nationwide attention asking the military why they don’t just overthrow President Obama in a coup.

 

 

 

Gay USA 10/15/14

 

 

 

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The Last 24™


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Federal Judge Richard Posner poses in his Chambers in ChicagoBz7HyE_IYAEaMzJ

JUDGE RICHARD POSNER, Reagan-Appointed Federal Judge, Writes Dissent Against Wisconsin Voter ID.

 

From Talking Points Memo:

9 Scathing Quotes From Judge Posner’s Dissent Against WI Voter ID

 

By 

 

Posner dissented against the decision by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals not to hold a full court re-hearing of a three-judge panel’s ruling authorizing implementation of the Badger State‘s voter ID law. Posner clearly regrets his previous position on voter ID, writing in a new book that he now pleads “guilty” to writing a majority opinion “now widely regarded as a means of voter suppression rather than of fraud prevention.” (The Supreme Court temporarily put enforcement of the law on hold for the midterm elections.)

 

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Here are the most scathing quotes from Posner’s opinion.

 

—”Some of the ‘evidence’ of voter-impersonation fraud is downright goofy, if not paranoid, such as the nonexistent buses that according to the ‘True the Vote‘ movement transport foreigners and reservation Indians to polling places.”

 

—”Even Fox News, whose passion for conservative causes has never been questioned, acknowledges that ‘Voter ID Laws Target Rarely Occurring Voter Fraud.'” [Link included in the original.]

 

—”As there is no evidence that voter-impersonation fraud is a problem, how can the fact that a legislature says it’s a problem turn it into one? If the Wisconsin legislature says witches are a problem, shall Wisconsin courts be permitted to conduct witch trials?”

 

—”There is no evidence that Wisconsin’s voter rolls are inflated — as were Indiana’s — and there is compelling evidence that voter-impersonation fraud is essentially nonexistent in Wisconsin.”

 

—”The panel opinion states that requiring a photo ID might at least prevent persons who ‘are too young or are not citizens’ from voting. Not so. State-issued IDs are available to noncitizens … — all that’s required is proof of ‘legal presence in the United States[.]‘

 

—”This implies that the net effect of such requirements is to impede voting by people easily discouraged from voting, most of whom probably lean Democratic.”

 

—”The panel opinion does not discuss the cost of obtaining a photo ID. It assumes the cost is negligible. That’s an easy assumption for federal judges to make, since we are given photo IDs by court security free of charge. And we have upper-middle-class salaries. Not everyone is so fortunate.”

 

—”There is only one motivation for imposing burdens on voting that are ostensibly designed to discourage voter-impersonation fraud, if there is no actual danger of such fraud, and that is to discourage voting by persons likely to vote against the party responsible for imposing the burdens.”

 

—”The authors’ overall assessment is that ‘voter ID laws don’t disenfranchise minorities or reduce minority voting, and in many instances enhance it’ [emphasis added]. In other words, the authors believe that the net effect of these laws is to increase minority voting. Yet if that is true, the opposition to these laws by liberal groups is senseless. If photo ID laws increase minority voting, liberals should rejoice in the laws and conservatives deplore them. Yet it is conservatives who support them and liberals who oppose them. Unless conservatives and liberals are masochists, promoting laws that hurt them, these laws must suppress minority voting and the question then becomes whether there are offsetting social benefits—the evidence is that there are not.”

 

Read the complete Dissent written by Judge Richard Posner,

 

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From The Brad Blog:

 

Reagan-Appointed Federal Judge Who Approved First Photo ID Law in 2008 Writes Devastating Dissent AGAINST Photo ID Voting Restrictions

 

Judge Richard Posner: ‘If the WI legislature says witches are a problem, shall WI courts be permitted to conduct witch trials?’

 

By BRAD FRIEDMAN

 

This article now cross-published by Salon

 

JudgeRichardPosner_SeesError

If you read just one top-to-bottom dismantling of every supposed premise in support of disenfranchising Photo ID voting restrictions laws in your lifetime, let it be this one [PDF]!

 

It is a dissent, released on Friday, written by Judge Richard Posner, the Reagan-appointed 7th Circuit Court of Appeals judge who was the one who approved the first such Photo ID law in the country (Indiana’s) back in 2008, in the landmark Crawford v. Marion County case which went all the way to the Supreme Court, where Posner’s ruling was affirmed.

 

If there was ever evidence that a jurist could change their mind upon review of additional subsequent evidence, this is it. If there was ever a concise and airtight case made against Photo ID laws and the threat they pose to our most basic right to vote, this is it. If there was ever a treatise revealing such laws for the blatantly partisan shell games that they are, this is it.

 

His dissent includes a devastating response to virtually every false and/or disingenuous rightwing argument/talking point ever put forth in support of Photo ID voting restrictions, describing them as “a mere fig leaf for efforts to disenfranchise voters likely to vote for the political party that does not control the state government.”

 

Posner is, by far, the most widely cited legal scholar of the 20th century, according toThe Journal of Legal Studies. His opinions are closely read by the Supreme Court, where the battle over the legality and Constitutionality of Photo ID voting laws will almost certainly wind up at some point in the not too distant future. That’s just one of the reasons why this opinion is so important.

 

This opinion, written on behalf of five judges on the 7th Circuit, thoroughly disabuses such notions such as: these laws are meant to deal with a phantom voter fraud concern (“Out of 146 million registered voters, this is a ratio of one case of voter fraud for every 14.6 million eligible voters”); that evidence shows them to be little more than baldly partisan attempts to keep Democratic voters from voting (“conservative states try to make it difficult for people who are outside the mainstream…to vote”); that rightwing partisan outfits like True the Vote, which support such laws, present “evidence” of impersonation fraud that is “downright goofy, if not paranoid”; and the notion that even though there is virtually zero fraud that could even possibly be deterred by Photo ID restrictions, the fact that the publicthinks there is, is a lousy reason to disenfranchise voters since there is no evidence that such laws actually increase public confidence in elections and, as new studies now reveal, such laws have indeed served to suppress turnout in states where they have been enacted.

 

There is far too much in it to appropriately encapsulate here for now. Ya just really need to take some time to read it in full. But it was written, largely, in response to the Appellate Court ruling last week by rightwing Judge Frank Easterbrook which contained one embarrassing falsehood and error after another, including the canards about Photo ID being required to board airplanes, open bank accounts, buy beer and guns, etc. We took apart just that one paragraph of Easterbrook’s ruling last week here, but Posner takes apart his colleague’s entire, error-riddled mess of a ruling in this response.

 

Amongst my favorite passages (and there are so many), this one [emphasis added]…

The panel is not troubled by the absence of evidence. It deems the supposed beneficial effect of photo ID requirements on public confidence in the electoral system “‘a legislative fact’-a proposition about the state of the world,” and asserts that “on matters of legislative fact, courts accept the findings of legislatures and judges of the lower courts must accept findings by the Supreme Court.” In so saying, the panel conjures up a fact-free cocoon in which to lodge the federal judiciary. As there is no evidence that voter impersonation fraud is a problem, how can the fact that a legislature says it’s a problem turn it into one? If the Wisconsin legislature says witches are a problem, shall Wisconsin courts be permitted to conduct witch trials? If the Supreme Court once thought that requiring photo identification increases public confidence in elections, and experience and academic study since shows that the Court was mistaken, do we do a favor to the Court-do we increase public confidence in elections-by making the mistake a premise of our decision? Pressed to its logical extreme the panel’s interpretation of and deference to legislative facts would require upholding a photo ID voter law even if it were uncontested that the law eliminated no fraud but did depress turnout significantly.

And this one…

There is only one motivation for imposing burdens on voting that are ostensibly designed to discourage voter-impersonation fraud, if there is no actual danger of such fraud, and that is to discourage voting by persons likely to vote against the party responsible for imposing the burdens.

And remember, once again, this is written by Richard Posner, the conservative Republican icon of a federal appellate court judge — the judge who wrote the opinion on behalf of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals approving of the first such Photo ID law in the country in 2008, the very case that rightwingers from Texas to Wisconsin now cite over and over (almost always incorrectly) in support of similar such laws — now, clearly admitting that he got the entire thing wrong.

 

One last point (for now): Our legal analyst Ernie Canning, who (along with me) will undoubtedly have much more to say on this dissent in upcoming days, suggests we award The BRAD BLOG’s almost-never-anymore-bestowed Intellectually Honest Conservative Award to Judge Posner. And so it shall be.

 

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Thank you BRAD FRIEDMAN & The Brad Blog

 

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From Associated Press:

 

Voter ID Laws Target Rarely Occurring Voter Fraud

 

Several states adopted new laws last year requiring that people show a photo ID when they come to vote even though the kind of election fraud that the laws are intended to stamp out is rare.

 

Even supporters of the new laws are hard pressed to come up with large numbers of cases in which someone tried to vote under a false identify.

 

“I’ve compared this to the snake oil salesman. You got a cold? I got snake oil. Your foot aches? I got snake oil,” said election law expert Justin Levitt, who wrote “The Truth About Voter Fraud” for The Brennan Center for Justice. “It doesn’t seem to matter what the problem is, (voter) ID is being sold as the solution to a whole bunch of things it can’t possibly solve.”

 

Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin have passed laws this year that allow voters without the required photo ID to cast provisional ballots, but the voters must return to a specific location with that ID within a certain time limit for their ballots to count.

 

Indiana and Georgia already had such laws. Other states have photo ID laws too, but provide different way to verify a voter’s identity without a photo ID. Texas and South Carolina are awaiting approval for their laws from the Justice Department because of those are among that states with a history of voting rights suppression and discrimination.

 

Indiana’s law, passed in 2005, was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2008. Levitt combed through 250 cases of alleged election law fraud cited in legal briefs filed in that challenge. He found only nine instances involving a person allegedly voting in someone else’s name, possibly fraudulently or possibly because of an error when the person signed in at the voting booth.

 

“They identified a lot of fraud, but very, very, very, very, very, very little of it could be prevented by identification at the polls,” Levitt said.

 

The remainder involved vote buying, ballot-box stuffing, problems with absentee ballots, or ex-convicts voting even though laws bar them from doing so. Over the same seven-year time period covered by the cases Levitt reviewed, 400 million votes were cast in general elections.

 

“If there was evidence of this, we’d know about it,” said Elisabeth MacNamara, president of the League of Women Voters. Her organization, which has affiliates in every state, knows voter registrars, attends election meetings, observes and works at polls and is intimately aware of how the election system works.

 

Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington think tank, said one reason there is scant evidence of voter fraud is no one checks ID at the polls. He cited a mid-1980s grand jury report that described how, over a 14-year period, “crews” were recruited in Brooklyn, N.Y., to vote multiple times in multiple elections at various polling places, using the names of real voters, dead voters, voters who had moved away and fictitious voters.

 

“Nobody’s saying its large scale,” but such fraud could make a difference in close races, said von Spakovsky, who led the Justice Department’s civil rights division under President George W. Bush.

 

“It is something that happens in an instant and then it’s gone,” Republican Rep. Todd Rokita, who spent eight years as Indiana’s secretary of state, testified during a recent Senate hearing. “Witnesses dissipate. These are volunteer poll workers. It’s not a domestic violence case. It’s not something that leaves visible scars or bruises. It’s the kind of case that is very hard to prosecute. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.”

 

The laws and other voting restrictions have riled civil rights leaders and voter protection groups. Some groups say the new state laws are the equivalent of poll taxes and literacy tests that effectively kept minorities out of voting booths.

 

They argue that blacks, Hispanics, senior citizens, people with disabilities and the poor are more likely to lack the required photo ID. But they also contend others could be disenfranchised: voters who fail to bring ID with them; students whose school IDs are deemed unacceptable; people whose drivers’ licenses have expired; women whose driver’s licenses do not reflect their married names or new addresses.

 

“We basically see these voter ID restriction laws as a solution without a problem,” said Judith Browne Dianis, co-director of The Advancement Project, a civil rights group.

 

Texas Attorney General Gregg Abbott, a Republican, launched an investigation in 2005 to uncover what he called an “epidemic” of voter fraud. But reviews of Abbott’s investigation two years later yielded no cases of voter impersonation fraud. A Dallas Morning News review in 2008 found the 26 cases prosecuted were all against Democrats, most involved blacks and Hispanics, and typically involved people who helped elderly voters with mail-in ballots, but failed to follow state law by signing their names and addresses on the envelopes.

 

Abbot’s investigation was paid for with a $1.4 million Justice Department crime-fighting grant.

 

After a five-year hunt for voter fraud, the Bush administration’s Justice Department came up with little widespread fraud, finding mostly cases of people mistakenly filling out voter registration forms or voting when they didn’t know they were ineligible, The New York Times reported in 2007. But none of the cases involved a person voting as someone else.

 

Lorraine Minnite, author of “The Myth of Voter Fraud,” spent years researching voter fraud after finding that pushes for election reform often raised concerns that the proposed changes could lead to more voter fraud.

 

Her research turned up one case of voter impersonation from 2000 to 2005: A New Hampshire teenager who cast a ballot as his father, who shared the same name. Minnite said she concluded “the whole problem is way overblown” largely for political reasons.

 

Asked by The Associated Press for examples of unprosecuted cases, Rokita’s office pointed to suspicious or poorly filled out voter registration cards submitted in 2008 by the now-defunct community activist group ACORN. Rokita’s spokesman Timothy Edson said the Indiana photo ID law prevented people from fraudulently voting under those registration cards.

 

But Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin, who led the hearing where Rokita testified and opposes the photo requirement, insisted such fraud should be prosecuted if it is happening frequently enough to warrant the new laws.

 

“There ought to be a clear example to the people of this country we just won’t stand for this wherever it might occur,” Durbin said.

 

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J.C. Penney Gets Its First Black CEO In 112-Year History

 

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Marvin Ellison was executive vice president of stores at Home Depot and spent years at Target prior to that. There are currently just six black CEOs leading Fortune 500 companies.

 

From Associated Press:

J.C. Penney’s newly tapped CEO has a big challenge ahead of him: The troubled chain is showing signs of improvement after racking up billions in losses, but still hasn’t figured out how to get shoppers back into its department stores.

 

Penney said Monday that Marvin Ellison, a 30-year retail veteran and executive vice president of stores at Home Depot, will become its CEO next August. Ellison will be the first black CEO in the company’s 112-year history.

 

Ellison succeeds Mike Ullman, a former Penney CEO who came out of retirement last year to take the helm again. His mission was to stabilize the business following the ouster of Ron Johnson, a former Apple executive who tried unsuccessfully to reinvent the beleaguered chain by getting rid of sales and some basic merchandise. That led to billions in losses of profit and sales.

 

The company’s profit losses — which have amounted to a total of $3.16 billion in 11 of the last 12 quarters — have slowed significantly under Ullman’s leadership. But the company is still in the red, and analysts say Ellison’s challenge will be to fix the fundamental problems that caused Penney to lose customers in the first place.

 

They say the retailer doesn’t have merchandise that sets it apart from rivals like Macy’s and H&M. Its stores are drab and unexciting. And its web site doesn’t offer the selection and services that shoppers like.

 

“While bringing in a credible new CEO has some benefits, J.C. Penney’s customers are leaving the store,” said Michael Binetti, an analyst at UBS in a note to clients Monday.

 

THE TRANSITION

Penney is looking to Ellison, 49, to help right the ship. Ellison spent 12 years with Home Depot and before that, 15 years at Target. He has expertise in store operations and logistics, but lacks experience in fashion.

 

Ellison, who also will join Penney’s board, will become president in November, before taking the CEO title next year. At that time, Mike Ullman will become executive chairman of the board, serving for a year.

 

It’s rare for a management transition to last that long, but Walter Loeb, a New York-based retail consultant, said the time is needed. “I think (Ellison) is an excellent leader … but he needs time to learn the fashion business,” he said.

 

Ullman said in a statement that he looks forward to working closely with Ellison and the rest of the team in the coming months to ensure a “smooth transition and a successful future for J.C. Penney.”

 

Penney said Ullman and Ellison weren’t available for interviews on Monday.

 

WHAT WENT WRONG

Ullman was CEO for seven years before Johnson was brought in to modernize the stores. But customers didn’t like Johnson’s changes, and Johnson left after 17 months. Ullman, who was brought back in April 2013, began restoring sales and basic merchandise that the company ditched under Johnson’s tenure.

 

Under Ullman, Penney has recorded three straight quarters of increases in sales at established stores. Still, those increases haven’t outweighed last year’s drastic declines.

 

In the latest fiscal year that ended Feb. 1, Penney recorded a loss of $1.39 billion, while revenue dropped 8.7 percent to $11.86 billion. And last week, Penney warned that its sales at stores open at least a year last month were weaker than expected. It also cut its outlook for sales at established stores for the current quarter.

 

FIXING THE PROBLEM

The CEO announcement comes after Penney last week unveiled a strategy that it said would boost sales by $2.55 billion over next three years. It entails improving the productivity of its stores’ home department, expanding e-commerce and sprucing up areas like jewelry, shoes and handbags.

 

Penney sees the opportunity for an additional $1 billion in sales from continued market-share growth. That would bring the chain’s annual revenue to $14.5 billion by fiscal 2017. Still, that’s well below the $17.3 billion it generated before sales went into a freefall under Johnson.

 

The company also has focused on cutting costs. Earlier this year, it cut 2,000 jobs and shuttered 33 stores. But the company didn’t announce any more store closures last week as analysts had expected.

 

On news of the CEO appointment, J.C. Penney’s shares closed up 3 cents, or less than a percent, to $7.09, on Monday. That’s after having risen more than 3 percent earlier in the day.

 

J.C. Penney shares have lost more than 80 percent of their value since early 2012 when investor enthusiasm was high over Johnson’s turnaround strategy.

 

This undated photo provided by Home Depot Inc. shows Marvin Ellison, the company's executive vice president of stores. J.C. Penney on Monday, Oct. 13, 2014 said that Ellison will become its president in November and CEO next August. (AP Photo/Home Depot Inc.)

This undated photo provided by Home Depot Inc. shows Marvin Ellison, the company’s executive vice president of stores. J.C. Penney on Monday, Oct. 13, 2014 said that Ellison will become its president in November and CEO next August. (AP Photo/Home Depot Inc.)

 

Thank you Associated Press.

 

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The Twitter Storm™

The Twitter Storm™

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Racism does not exist...so says the UnSupreme Court.

Racism does not exist…so says the UnSupreme Court.

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Rolling Stone: In Defense of Obama.


itisme

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The Nobel Prize-winning economist, once one of the president’s most notable critics, on why Obama is a historic success

By | October 8, 2014 For Rolling Stone Magazine

 

When it comes to Barack Obama, I’ve always been out of sync. Back in 2008, when many liberals were wildly enthusiastic about his candidacy and his press was strongly favorable, I was skeptical. I worried that he was naive, that his talk about transcending the political divide was a dangerous illusion given the unyielding extremism of the modern American right. Furthermore, it seemed clear to me that, far from being the transformational figure his supporters imagined, he was rather conventional-minded: Even before taking office, he showed signs of paying far too much attention to what some of us would later take to calling Very Serious People, people who regarded cutting budget deficits and a willingness to slash Social Security as the very essence of political virtue.

 

And I wasn’t wrong. Obama was indeed naive: He faced scorched-earth Republican opposition from Day One, and it took him years to start dealing with that opposition realistically. Furthermore, he came perilously close to doing terrible things to the U.S. safety net in pursuit of a budget Grand Bargain; we were saved from significant cuts to Social Security and a rise in the Medicare age only by Republican greed, the GOP’s unwillingness to make even token concessions.

 

But now the shoe is on the other foot: Obama faces trash talk left, right and center – literally – and doesn’t deserve it. Despite bitter opposition, despite having come close to self-inflicted disaster, Obama has emerged as one of the most consequential and, yes, successful presidents in American history. His health reform is imperfect but still a huge step forward – and it’s working better than anyone expected. Financial reform fell far short of what should have happened, but it’s much more effective than you’d think. Economic management has been half-crippled by Republican obstruction, but has nonetheless been much better than in other advanced countries. And environmental policy is starting to look like it could be a major legacy.

I’ll go through those achievements shortly. First, however, let’s take a moment to talk about the current wave of Obama-bashing. All Obama-bashing can be divided into three types. One, a constant of his time in office, is the onslaught from the right, which has never stopped portraying him as an Islamic atheist Marxist Kenyan. Nothing has changed on that front, and nothing will.

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There’s a different story on the left, where you now find a significant number of critics decrying Obama as, to quote Cornel West, someone who ”posed as a progressive and turned out to be counterfeit.” They’re outraged that Wall Street hasn’t been punished, that income inequality remains so high, that ”neoliberal” economic policies are still in place. All of this seems to rest on the belief that if only Obama had put his eloquence behind a radical economic agenda, he could somehow have gotten that agenda past all the political barriers that have con- strained even his much more modest efforts. It’s hard to take such claims seriously.

Finally, there’s the constant belittling of Obama from mainstream pundits and talking heads. Turn on cable news (although I wouldn’t advise it) and you’ll hear endless talk about a rudderless, stalled administration, maybe even about a failed presidency. Such talk is often buttressed by polls showing that Obama does, indeed, have an approval rating that is very low by historical standards.

But this bashing is misguided even in its own terms – and in any case, it’s focused on the wrong thing.

Yes, Obama has a low approval rating compared with earlier presidents. But there are a number of reasons to believe that presidential approval doesn’t mean the same thing that it used to: There is much more party-sorting (in which Republicans never, ever have a good word for a Democratic president, and vice versa), the public is negative on politicians in general, and so on. Obviously the midterm election hasn’t happened yet, but in a year when Republicans have a huge structural advantage – Democrats are defending a disproportionate number of Senate seats in deep-red states – most analyses suggest that control of the Senate is in doubt, with Democrats doing considerably better than they were supposed to. This isn’t what you’d expect to see if a failing president were dragging his party down.

More important, however, polls – or even elections – are not the measure of a president. High office shouldn’t be about putting points on the electoral scoreboard, it should be about changing the country for the better. Has Obama done that? Do his achievements look likely to endure? The answer to both questions is yes.

 

HEALTH CARE

When Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, an excited Joe Biden whispered audibly, ”This is a big fucking deal!” He was right.

 

The enactment and implementation of the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, has been a perils-of-Pauline experience. When an upset in the special election to replace Ted Kennedy cost Democrats their 60-vote Senate majority, health reform had to be rescued with fancy legislative footwork. Then it survived a Supreme Court challenge only thanks to a surprise display of conscience by John Roberts, who nonetheless opened a loophole that has allowed Republican-controlled states to deny coverage to millions of Americans. Then technical difficulties with the HealthCare.gov website seemed to threaten disaster. But here we are, most of the way through the first full year of reform’s implementation, and it’s working better than even the optimists expected.

We won’t have the full data on 2014 until next year’s census report, but multiple independent surveys show a sharp drop in the number of Americans without health insurance, probably around 10 million, a number certain to grow greatly over the next two years as more people realize that the program is available and penalties for failure to sign up increase.

It’s true that the Affordable Care Act will still leave millions of people in America uninsured. For one thing, it was never intended to cover undocumented immigrants, who are counted in standard measures of the uninsured. Furthermore, millions of low-income Americans will slip into the loophole Roberts created: They were supposed to be covered by a federally funded expansion of Medicaid, but some states are blocking that expansion out of sheer spite. Finally, unlike Social Security and Medicare, for which almost everyone is automatically eligible, Obamacare requires beneficiaries to prove their eligibility for Medicaid or choose and then pay for a subsidized private plan. Inevitably, some people will fall through the cracks.

Still, Obamacare means a huge improvement in the quality of life for tens of millions of Americans – not just better care, but greater financial security. And even those who were already insured have gained both security and freedom, because they now have a guarantee of coverage if they lose or change jobs.

What about the costs? Here, too, the news is better than anyone expected. In 2014, premiums on the insurance policies offered through the Obamacare exchanges were well below those originally projected by the Congressional Budget Office, and the available data indicates a mix of modest increases and actual reductions for 2015 – which is very good in a sector where premiums normally increase five percent or more each year. More broadly, overall health spending has slowed substantially, with the cost-control features of the ACA probably deserving some of the credit.

In other words, health reform is looking like a major policy success story. It’s a program that is coming in ahead of schedule – and below budget – costing less, and doing more to reduce overall health costs than even its supporters predicted.

Of course, this success story makes nonsense of right-wing predictions of catastrophe. Beyond that, the good news on health costs refutes conservative orthodoxy. It’s a fixed idea on the right, sometimes echoed by ”centrist” commentators, that the only way to limit health costs is to dismantle guarantees of adequate care – for example, that the only way to control Medicare costs is to replace Medicare as we know it, a program that covers major medical expenditures, with vouchers that may or may not be enough to buy adequate insurance. But what we’re actually seeing is what looks like significant cost control via a laundry list of small changes to how we pay for care, with the basic guarantee of adequate coverage not only intact but widened to include Americans of all ages.

It’s worth pointing out that some criticisms of Obamacare from the left are also looking foolish. Obamacare is a system partly run through private insurance companies (although expansion of Medicaid is also a very important piece). And some on the left were outraged, arguing that the program would do more to raise profits in the medical-industrial complex than it would to protect American families.

You can still argue that single-payer would have covered more people at lower cost – in fact, I would. But that option wasn’t on the table; only a system that appeased insurers and reassured the public that not too much would change was politically feasible. And it’s working reasonably well: Competition among insurers who can no longer deny insurance to those who need it most is turning out to be pretty effective. This isn’t the health care system you would have designed from scratch, or if you could ignore special-interest politics, but it’s doing the job.

And this big improvement in American society is almost surely here to stay. The conservative health care nightmare – the one that led Republicans to go all-out against Bill Clinton’s health plans in 1993 and Obamacare more recently – is that once health care for everyone, or almost everyone, has been put in place, it will be very hard to undo, because too many voters would have a stake in the system. That’s exactly what is happening. Republicans are still going through the motions of attacking Obamacare, but the passion is gone. They’re even offering mealymouthed assurances that people won’t lose their new benefits. By the time Obama leaves office, there will be tens of millions of Americans who have benefited directly from health reform – and that will make it almost impossible to reverse. Health reform has made America a different, better place.

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FINANCIAL REFORM

Let’s be clear: The financial crisis should have been followed by a drastic crackdown on Wall Street abuses, and it wasn’t. No important figures have gone to jail; bad banks and other financial institutions, from Citigroup to Goldman, were bailed out with few strings attached; and there has been nothing like the wholesale restructuring and reining in of finance that took place in the 1930s. Obama bears a considerable part of the blame for this disappointing response. It was his Treasury secretary and his attorney general who chose to treat finance with kid gloves.

It’s easy, however, to take this disappointment too far. You often hear Dodd- Frank, the financial-reform bill that Obama signed into law in 2010, dismissed as toothless and meaningless. It isn’t. It may not prevent the next financial crisis, but there’s a good chance that it will at least make future crises less severe and easier to deal with.

Dodd-Frank is a complicated piece of legislation, but let me single out three really important sections.

First, the law gives a special council the ability to designate ”systemically important financial institutions” (SIFIs) – that is, institutions that could create a crisis if they were to fail – and place such institutions under extra scrutiny and regulation of things like the amount of capital they are required to maintain to cover possible losses. This provision has been derided as ineffectual or worse – during the 2012 presidential campaign, Mitt Romney claimed that by announcing that some firms were SIFIs, the government was effectively guaranteeing that they would be bailed out, which he called ”the biggest kiss that’s been given to New York banks I’ve ever seen.”

But it’s easy to prove that this is nonsense: Just look at how institutions behave when they’re designated as SIFIs. Are they pleased, because they’re now guaranteed? Not a chance. Instead, they’re furious over the extra regulation, and in some cases fight bitterly to avoid being placed on the list. Right now, for example, MetLife is making an all-out effort to be kept off the SIFI list; this effort demonstrates that we’re talking about real regulation here, and that financial interests don’t like it.

Another key provision in Dodd-Frank is ”orderly liquidation authority,” which gives the government the legal right to seize complex financial institutions in a crisis. This is a bigger deal than you might think. We have a well-established procedure for seizing ordinary banks that get in trouble and putting them into receivership; in fact, it happens all the time. But what do you do when something like Citigroup is on the edge, and its failure might have devastating consequences? Back in 2009, Joseph Stiglitz and yours truly, among others, wanted to temporarily nationalize one or two major financial players, for the same reasons the FDIC takes over failing banks, to keep the institutions running but avoid bailing out stockholders and management. We got a chance to make that case directly to the president. But we lost the argument, and one key reason was Treasury’s claim that it lacked the necessary legal authority. I still think it could have found a way, but in any case that won’t be an issue next time.

A third piece of Dodd-Frank is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. That’s Elizabeth Warren’s brainchild, an agency dedicated to protecting Americans against the predatory lending that has pushed so many into financial distress, and played an important role in the crisis. Warren’s idea was that such a stand-alone agency would more effectively protect the public than agencies that were supposed to protect consumers, but saw their main job as propping up banks. And by all accounts the new agency is in fact doing much more to crack down on predatory practices than anything we used to see.

There’s much more in the financial reform, including a number of pieces we don’t have enough information to evaluate yet. But there’s enough evidence even now to say that there’s a reason Wall Street – which used to give an approximately equal share of money to both parties but now overwhelmingly supports Republicans – tried so hard to kill financial reform, and is still trying to emasculate Dodd-Frank. This may not be the full overhaul of finance we should have had, and it’s not as major as health reform. But it’s a lot better than nothing.

THE ECONOMY

Barack Obama might not have been elected president without the 2008 financial crisis; he certainly wouldn’t have had the House majority and the brief filibuster-proof Senate majority that made health reform possible. So it’s very disappointing that six years into his presidency, the U.S. economy is still a long way from being fully recovered.

Before we ask why, however, we should note that things could have been worse. In fact, in other times and places they have been worse. Make no mistake about it – the devastation wrought by the financial crisis was terrible, with real income falling 5.5 percent. But that’s actually not as bad as the ”typical” experience after financial crises: Even in advanced countries, the median post-crisis decline in per- capita real GDP is seven percent. Recovery has been slow: It took almost six years for the United States to regain pre-crisis average income. But that was actually a bit faster than the historical average.

Or compare our performance with that of the European Union. Unemployment in America rose to a horrifying 10 percent in 2009, but it has come down sharply in the past few years. It’s true that some of the apparent improvement probably reflects discouraged workers dropping out, but there has been substantial real progress. Meanwhile, Europe has had barely any job recovery at all, and unemployment is still in double digits. Compared with our counterparts across the Atlantic, we haven’t done too badly.

Did Obama’s policies contribute to this less-awful performance? Yes, without question. You’d never know it listening to the talking heads, but there’s overwhelming consensus among economists that the Obama stimulus plan helped mitigate the worst of the slump. For example, when a panel of economic experts was asked whether the U.S. unemployment rate was lower at the end of 2010 than it would have been without the stimulus, 82 percent said yes, only two percent said no.

Still, couldn’t the U.S. economy have done a lot better? Of course. The original stimulus should have been both bigger and longer. And after Republicans won the House in 2010, U.S. policy took a sharp turn in the wrong direction. Not only did the stimulus fade out, but sequestration led to further steep cuts in federal spending, exactly the wrong thing to do in a still-depressed economy.

We can argue about how much Obama could have altered this literally depressing turn of events. He could have pushed for a larger, more extended stimulus, perhaps with provisions for extra aid that would have kicked in if unemployment stayed high. (This isn’t 20-20 hindsight, because a number of economists, myself included, pleaded for more aggressive measures from the beginning.) He arguably let Republicans blackmail him over the debt ceiling in 2011, leading to the sequester. But this is all kind of iffy.

The bottom line on Obama’s economic policy should be that what he did helped the economy, and that while enormous economic and human damage has taken place on his watch, the United States coped with the financial crisis better than most countries facing comparable crises have managed. He should have done more and better, but the narrative that portrays his policies as a simple failure is all wrong.

While America remains an incredibly unequal society, and we haven’t seen anything like the New Deal’s efforts to narrow income gaps, Obama has done more to limit inequality than he gets credit for. The rich are paying higher taxes, thanks to the partial expiration of the Bush tax cuts and the special taxes on high incomes that help pay for Obamacare; the Congressional Budget Office estimates the average tax rate of the top one percent at 33.6 percent in 2013, up from 28.1 percent in 2008. Meanwhile, the financial aid in Obamacare – expanded Medicaid, subsidies to help lower-income households pay insurance premiums – goes disproportionately to less-well-off Americans. When conservatives accuse Obama of redistributing income, they’re not completely wrong – and liberals should give him credit.

THE ENVIRONMENT

In 2009, it looked, briefly, as if we might be about to get real on the issue of climate change. A fairly comprehensive bill establishing a cap-and-trade system to limit greenhouse-gas emissions actually passed the House, and visions of global action danced like sugarplums in environmentalists’ heads. But the legislation stalled in the Senate, and Republican victory in the 2010 midterms put an end to that fantasy. Ever since, the only way forward has been through executive action based on existing legislation, which is a poor substitute for the new laws we need.

But as with financial reform, acknowledging the inadequacy of what has been done doesn’t mean that nothing has been achieved. Saying that Obama has been the best environmental president in a long time is actually faint praise, since George W. Bush was terrible and Bill Clinton didn’t get much done. Still, it’s true, and there’s reason to hope for a lot more over the next two years.

 

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First of all, there has been much more progress on the use of renewable energy than most people realize. The share of U.S. energy provided by wind and solar has grown dramatically since Obama took office. True, it’s still only a small fraction of the total, and some of the growth in renewables reflects technological progress, especially in solar panels, that would have happened whoever was in office. But federal policies, including loan guarantees and tax credits, have played an important role.

Nor is it just about renewables; Obama has also taken big steps on energy conservation, especially via fuel-efficiency standards, that have flown, somewhat mysteriously, under the radar. And it’s not just cars. In 2011, the administration announced the first-ever fuel-efficiency standards for medium and heavy vehicles, and in February it announced that these standards would get even tougher for models sold after 2018. As a way to curb green house-gas emissions, these actions, taken together, are comparable in importance to proposed action on power plants.

Which brings us to the latest initiative. Because there’s no chance of getting climate-change legislation through Congress for the foreseeable future, Obama has turned to the EPA’s existing power to regulate pollution – power that the Supreme Court has affirmed extends to emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. And this past summer, the EPA announced proposed rules that would require a large reduction over time in such emissions from power plants. You might say that such plants are only a piece of the problem, but they’re a large piece – CO2 from coal-burning power plants is in fact a big part of the problem, so if the EPA goes through with anything like the proposed rule, it will be a major step. Again, not nearly enough, and we’ll have to do a lot more soon, or face civilization-threatening disaster. But what Obama has done is far from trivial.

NATIONAL SECURITY

So far, i’ve been talking about Obama’s positive achievements, which have been much bigger than his critics understand. I do, however, need to address one area that has left some early Obama supporters bitterly disappointed: his record on national security policy. Let’s face it – many of his original enthusiasts favored him so strongly over Hillary Clinton because she supported the Iraq War and he didn’t. They hoped he would hold the people who took us to war on false pretenses accountable, that he would transform American foreign policy, and that he would drastically curb the reach of the national security state.

 

None of that happened. Obama’s team, as far as we can tell, never even considered going after the deceptions that took us to Baghdad, perhaps because they believed that this would play very badly at a time of financial crisis. On overall foreign policy, Obama has been essentially a normal post-Vietnam president, reluctant to commit U.S. ground troops and eager to extract them from ongoing commitments, but quite willing to bomb people considered threatening to U.S. interests. And he has defended the prerogatives of the NSA and the surveillance state in general.

Could and should he have been different? The truth is that I have no special expertise here; as an ordinary concerned citizen, I worry about the precedent of allowing what amount to war crimes to go not just unpunished but uninvestigated, even while appreciating that a modern version of the 1970s Church committee hearings on CIA abuses might well have been a political disaster, and undermined the policy achievements I’ve tried to highlight. What I would say is that even if Obama is just an ordinary president on national security issues, that’s a huge improvement over what came before and what we would have had if John McCain or Mitt Romney had won. It’s hard to get excited about a policy of not going to war gratuitously, but it’s a big deal compared with the alternative.

SOCIAL CHANGE

In 2004, social issues, along with national security, were cudgels the right used to bludgeon liberals – I like to say that Bush won re-election by posing as America’s defender against gay married terrorists. Ten years later, and the scene is transformed: Democrats have turned these social issues – especially women’s rights – against Republicans; gay marriage has been widely legalized with approval or at least indifference from the wider public. We have, in a remarkably short stretch of time, become a notably more tolerant, open-minded nation.

Barack Obama has been more a follower than a leader on these issues. But at least he has been willing to follow the country’s new open-mindedness. We shouldn’t take this for granted. Before the Obama presidency, Democrats were in a kind of reflexive cringe on social issues, acting as if the religious right had far more power than it really does and ignoring the growing constituency on the other side. It’s easy to imagine that if someone else had been president these past six years, Democrats would still be cringing as if it were 2004. Thankfully, they aren’t. And the end of the cringe also, I’d argue, helped empower them to seek real change on substantive issues from health reform to the environment. Which brings me back to domestic issues.

As you can see, there’s a theme running through each of the areas of domestic policy I’ve covered. In each case, Obama delivered less than his supporters wanted, less than the country arguably deserved, but more than his current detractors acknowledge. The extent of his partial success ranges from the pretty good to the not-so-bad to the ugly. Health reform looks pretty good, especially in historical perspective – remember, even Social Security, in its original FDR version, only covered around half the workforce. Financial reform is, I’d argue, not so bad – it’s not the second coming of Glass-Steagall, but there’s a lot more protection against runaway finance than anyone except angry Wall Streeters seems to realize. Economic policy wasn’t enough to avoid a very ugly period of high unemployment, but Obama did at least mitigate the worst.

And as far as climate policy goes, there’s reason for hope, but we’ll have to see.

Am I damning with faint praise? Not at all. This is what a successful presidency looks like. No president gets to do everything his supporters expected him to. FDR left behind a reformed nation, but one in which the wealthy retained a lot of power and privilege. On the other side, for all his anti-government rhetoric, Reagan left the core institutions of the New Deal and the Great Society in place. I don’t care about the fact that Obama hasn’t lived up to the golden dreams of 2008, and I care even less about his approval rating. I do care that he has, when all is said and done, achieved a lot. That is, as Joe Biden didn’t quite say, a big deal.

 

Thank you  &  Rolling Stone Magazine

 
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The MilitantNegro™ SoapBox: A Turning Point For Justice This Weekend….Or Not.


Mr MilitantNegro™

Mr MilitantNegro™

Vonderrit Myers Jr., pictured with his mother and alone, was shot dead by an off-duty police officer on Wednesday night. Police said he fled when approached by the officer and a fight ensued

Vonderrit Myers Jr., pictured with his mother and alone, was shot dead by an off-duty police officer on Wednesday night. Police said he fled when approached by the officer and a fight ensued

On Wednesday, police in Missouri killed another young black man. Just two months since a police officer in Ferguson shot and killed Mike Brown, an off-duty St. Louis police officer fired between 16 and 18 shots at a teenager, Vonderrit Myers, Jr., killing him. Although police claim Myers shot at them, witnesses and relatives insist he was unarmed.

 

Mike Brown’s killer is still free, and it’s clear that discriminatory policing is still happening across the country. It’s time for justice. This weekend, activists are converging on Ferguson to build momentum for a nationwide movement against police violence. In solidarity, progressive groups from across the country are coming together to demand the federal government step in to help bring lasting, fundamental change to policing in America.

 

The federal government has the power to make sweeping changes that can expose and stop discriminatory policing. They don’t need to wait on Congress to act. Now is the time to urge President Obama and the Department of Justice to begin investigating and reforming unfair policing in America. By issuing executive orders and making changes to existing federal programs, the Obama Administration can ensure Ferguson is a turning point for justice.

 

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Below are some of the important reforms that the White House, Department of Justice, and other federal agencies can start immediately — reforms that would finally address the discriminatory policing crisis:

 

  • A fully-resourced and rigorous investigation by the Department of Justice into discriminatory policing, excessive force, and death or injury by police in every state in the country.
  • A public national-level database of police shootings, excessive force, misconduct complaints, traffic and pedestrian stops, and arrests, broken down by race and other demographic data.
  • An end to federal grants and programs that incentivize the militarized and inhumane policing practices of the War on Drugs.
  • An executive order that creates a strong and enforceable prohibition on police brutality and discriminatory policing based on race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, age, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, immigration status, disability, and housing status.

 

These reforms will not just help address a long history of discriminatory policing in America. They will also help build better relationships between police and community members in neighborhoods across America. Those positive relationships are essential to protecting public safety and reducing crime — and in providing lasting justice for everyone in America.

 

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St Louis Police “Story” Version:

 

Incident: Officer-Involved Shooting
Location: 4100 block of Shaw
Date/Time: 10/8/14 @ 19:28
Victim: 32-year old white male (St. Louis Police Officer with 6 years of service)
Suspect: Vonderrit D. Myers, Jr., 18-year old black male of the 4200 block of Castleman

 

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The officer was working secondary for a private security company patrolling the Shaw neighborhood. As the officer drove past three males, one of the males began to run, but then stopped. The officer then did a u-turn, and observed the males run from the area. The officer followed the males’ path, through several streets, at one point exiting his vehicle, when he followed one of the males through a gangway. The officer observed the male running and holding his waistband, causing the officer to believe the suspect had a gun. The suspect then began to approach the officer in an aggressive manner.

 

The officer gave the suspect verbal commands, instructing him to surrender. The suspect continued to move toward the officer. The suspect and the officer then got into a physical altercation, with hands on each other. During the altercation, the suspect’s hooded sweatshirt came off of him. The suspect then ran from the officer, up a hill in the 4100 block of Shaw. At this time, the officer saw the suspect was armed with what he believed to be a gun. The officer wanted to be certain what the suspect had was a gun, and did not immediately fire at the suspect.

 

The suspect then turned toward the officer, pointed the gun at the officer and fired at least three rounds. Three projectiles were recovered going toward the officer, down the hill, with ballistic evidence, a bullet in a vehicle, located behind the officer. As the suspect fired at the officer, fearing for his safety, the officer returned fire. As the officer moved toward the suspect, the suspect continued to pull the trigger. Upon recovery of the gun, investigation revealed the gun had malfunctioned and had jammed after firing at least three rounds. As the suspect continued to point the gun toward the officer and pull the trigger, the officer continued to fire shots at the suspect, fatally wounding him.

 

The suspect was pronounced deceased on the scene. The suspect’s 9mm handgun was recovered at the scene. The gun was reported stolen on 9/26/14. Per department policy, the officer has been placed on administrative leave. To clarify, secondary employment allows officers to work security in uniform and carry their department-issued weapons. The officer, while not on duty for the Police Department, still has the same responsibilities and power to affect arrest and the officer operates in the capacity as a St. Louis Police Officer.

 

St. Louis Police Officers work secondary for securities companies, business establishments, sporting events, etc. The Force Investigative Unit responded and is investigating. The investigation is ongoing.

 

Updated at 3:45: This afternoon Mayor Francis Slay announced that Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce will team with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to determine what — if any — charges to file against the officer. That decision will come after the Force Investigative Unit delivers its case to the Circuit Attorney’s Office. And, like the situation in St. Louis County where a grand jury is determining whether to charge Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for shooting Michael Brown, prosecutors plan to release all information regarding the case should charges not be issued. “I believe it will add an extra layer of independence to a policy that is already open and transparent,” said Slay in an online statement.

 

Myers, pictured, was just buying a sandwich before he was chased and shot dead, his family said.

Myers, pictured, was just buying a sandwich before he was chased and shot dead, his family said.

 

Family Of Slain 18 Year Old Vonderrit Myers, Jr, Version:

 

His family said he was still in high school and disputed police claims that he was armed.

‘He was unarmed,’ said his cousin, Teyonna Myers, to the Post-Dispatch. ‘He had a sandwich in his hand, and they thought it was a gun. It’s like Michael Brown all over again.’

The boy’s uncle, Jackie Williams, also says he is not buying the story being told by police.

‘My nephew was coming out of a store from purchasing a sandwich. Security was supposedly searching for someone else. They Tased him,’ Williams said.

‘I don’t know how this happened, but they went off and shot him 16 times. That’s outright murder.’

Officers are claiming they recovered a gun at the scene and that the officer did not have a Taser.

Another man, Lavell Boyd, who lives in the neighborhood, claimed to hear as many as 15 shots fired.

‘When I pulled up I saw the cop standing over him [Myers] then he pointed the gun at everyone else telling everyone to get back while he was searching for another clip,’ Boyd said.

News of the death quickly spread across social media and sparked more protests in the street – just the latest outcry after the death of Michael Brown.

David Carson, a photographer for the Post-Dispatch, reports that protesters filled the streets near where the shooting happened and have been chanting ‘Black lives matter.’

Protests after police officer kills teen in St. Louis

 

 

 

No Signs Of Gun On St Louis Teen Minutes Before He’S Shot By Cop

 

Published on Oct 10, 2014

No Signs Of Gun On St Louis Teen Minutes Before He’S Shot By Cop

 

Newly-released CCTV footage shows Vonderrit Myers Jr buying a sandwich just moments before he was shot dead by an off-duty cop in Shaw, Missouri. There appears to be no sign of a gun although police claim he opened…

 
Store video shows St Louis teen buying a sandwich with friends just minutes before he was killed by off-duty police officer – and there is NO visible sign he had a gun

 

Surveillance video of Vonderrit Myers that has just been released shows the teenager purchasing a sandwich just moments before he was shot and killed by an off-duty police officer.
Myers, 18, is seen with friends at Shaw Market in Shaw, Missouri, walking around, talking and then heading back outside.
In the video, which is time-stamped a little after 7:00 pm, there is never any sign of a visible gun on Myers, who is wearing a fitted shirt and has his pants slung down low, leaving few places, if any, to conceal a weapon.
This comes as major protests and riots are beginning to break out in the area, with police even using pepper spray to control the crowds and protesters burning American flags.

Police claim that it was Myers who first opened fire on an unidentified 32-year-old officer that caused the officer to shoot and led to his fatal shooting, just a few feet away from the market.
He was struck by seven or eight bullets, St. Louis city Medical Examiner Dr. Michael Graham said Thursday night.

 
‘All but one gunshot wound were to the lower extremities,’ Graham said according to CNN.
‘The one fatal wound was to the head.’

The officer, who is a six-year veteran of the force, was in a car working a secondary job for a private security company and paroling the area when he saw three males in the street and thought they were acting suspiciously, St Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said in a press conference.
As he approached them, one of them started to run away, so the officer did a U-turn and then all three ran, Dotson said, the St Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

‘One of them ran in a way that the officer believed that he was armed with a gun – holding his waist band, not running at full stride,’ Dotson said, referring to Myers.
The officer, who was wearing a Metropolitan Police Department uniform, jumped out of his car and chased them on foot before getting into a scuffle with Myers, who reached for his gun, Dotson said.
Myers shot at least three times at the officer, who then returned fire – and when the teenager tried to fire again, his gun jammed, Dotson said.

The officer, a white male, then fired 17 times at the teenager. He died from his injuries.
Police recovered a 9mm Ruger at the scene, he said.
The officer was working for Hi-Tech Security, which employs several St. Louis police officers in secondary jobs. He was patrolling the neighborhood on behalf of the company rather than the Metropolitan Police Department but was wearing his police officer’s uniform.

 
He has been placed on administrative leave and an investigation is underway. He was not hurt.
Dotson said that the 18-year-old was ‘no stranger to law enforcement’, the St Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

 
He was wearing an ankle bracelet at the time as a condition of bail in a gun case, according to his lawyer and police, the Post-Dispatch reported.
The newspaper reported that Myers was due in court in November for unlawful use of a weapon and resisting arrest after he allegedly ditched a gun after jumping from a car that had been involved in a high-speed chase.

Police caught him nearby and recovered the loaded .380-caliber pistol he had allegedly dropped.
He was jailed for a few days before being released on $1,000 cash bond and fitted with an electronic monitoring device.
He was allowed to leave his home for work, school, court appearances, meetings with attorneys and meetings with the private monitoring firm, the Post-Dispatch reported.
His family said he was still in high school and disputed police claims that he was armed.

‘He was unarmed,’ said his cousin, Teyonna Myers, to the Post-Dispatch. ‘He had a sandwich in his hand, and they thought it was a gun. It’s like Michael Brown all over again.’
The boy’s uncle, Jackie Williams, also says he is not buying the story being told by police.

 
‘My nephew was coming out of a store from purchasing a sandwich. Security was supposedly searching for someone else. They Tased him,’ Williams said.

 
‘I don’t know how this happened, but they went off and shot him 16 times. That’s outright murder.’

 

 

 

Shaw Shooting St. Louis (VIDEO) Off-Duty Cop Kills Suspect: Vonderrick myers Shot 16 TIMES!

 

 

 

Join us in calling on President Obama, the Department of Justice, and other federal agencies to take immediate action to strengthen police accountability and end discriminatory policing.

 

Join Democracy for America and a progressive coalition to tell the White House and the Department of Justice: take definitive steps to set a higher standard for American police!

 

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Nitorioussoapbox

 

Has anyone besides me noticed that since July the 17th, when Eric Garner was murdered in NYC law enforcement, there has been “one after another” of young Black men murdered by law enforcement? Has anyone besides me noticed the Department of Justice and The Obama administration, including Barack Hussein Obama himself, have been as silent as church mice pissing on cotton?

 

Where exactly is that hope and change we were told was on the way? How many Black Americans have to give their lives before the DOJ/Barack Obama steps in to overhaul the entire United States Of AmeriKKKa’s law enforcement agencies? How long before re-education is acknowledged as a solution to blatant racism by law enforcement?

 

HOW LONG?

 

 

 

 

Join Democracy for America and a progressive coalition to tell the White House and the Department of Justice: take definitive steps to set a higher standard for American police!

 

 

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The MilitantNegro SoapBox™: Why Are EX – Felons Denied The Right To Vote?


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Felony disenfranchisement

 

Ever wonder what the conselfishservative, Reich Wing, Gods Own Party, fools would say about felony disenfranchisement, which is a fancy way of saying ex-felons who can’t vote, if the prisons of AmeriKKKa were full of skin head, white supremacist, KKK members, instead of People Of Color….when it came to restoring ex-felons voting rights? I say this because AmeriKKKan prisons are chock full of People Of Color and they vote Democratic, when they bother to vote at all…..or if they could vote at all.

 

The TeaTardedRepubliCANT Pseudo-Freudian, Psycho-Sexual, Pro-caucasian, Pro-Racist, Anti-LGBTQA1, Anti-Feminist, Reich Wing GOPretender Conselfishservative, NRA-Gun Loving, Nut Bag, bottom feeding, racist, ass backwards, white supremacists, Koch Brothers & A.L.E.C. controlled morons, greedy, wealthy, caucasian, special interest groups, asshole Party Members realize most of the felons in AmeriKKKan prisons don’t or won’t vote for the TeaTardedRepubliCANT party. Keeping the nearly 5.8 MILLION locked up felons off the public voting rolls helps The GOPukes. If these 5.8 MILLION felons were RepubliCANT voters, there would be no such thing as…..

Felony disenfranchisement

 

Felon-Voting-Rand-Paul

 

Felony disenfranchisement is excluding people otherwise eligible to vote from voting (known as disfranchisement) due to conviction of a criminal offence. Jurisdictions vary in whether they make such disfranchisement permanent, or restore suffrage after a person has served a sentence, or completed parole or probation. Affected individuals suffer “collateral consequences” including loss of access to jobs, housing, and other facilities.

 

Opponents have argued that this disfranchisement restricts and conflicts with principles of universal suffrage. This can affect civic and communal participation in general.

 

History

In Western countries, felony disfranchisement can be traced back to ancient Greek and Roman traditions: disfranchisement was commonly imposed as part of the punishment on those convicted of “infamous” crimes as part of their “civil death“, whereby these persons would lose all rights and claim to property. Most medieval common law jurisdictions developed punishments that provided for some form of exclusion from the community for felons, ranging from execution on sight to exclusion from community processes.

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Contemporary practice by country

 

United States

The United States is among the strictest nations in the world when it comes to denying the vote to those who have felony convictions on their record.

 

In the US, the constitution implicitly permits the states to adopt rules about disenfranchisement “for participation in rebellion, or other crime”, by the fourteenth amendment, section 2. It is up to the states to decide which crimes could be ground for disenfranchisement, and they are not formally bound to restrict this to felonies; however, in most cases, they do.

 

In 2008 over 5.3 million people in the United States were denied the right to vote because of felony disenfranchisement. Approximately thirteen percent of the United States’ population is African American, yet African Americans make up thirty-eight percent of the American prison population. Slightly more than fifteen percent of the United States population is Hispanic, while twenty percent of the prison population is Hispanic. People who are felons are disproportionately people of color. In the United States, felony disenfranchisement laws disproportionately affect communities of color as “they are disproportionately arrested, convicted, and subsequently denied the right to vote”. Research has shown that as much as 10 percent of the population in some minority communities in the USA is unable to vote, as a result of felon disenfranchisement.

 

In the national elections 2012, all the various state felony disenfranchisement laws added together blocked an estimated record number of 5.85 million Americans from voting, up from 1.2 million in 1976. This comprised 2.5% of the potential voters in general; and included 8% of the potential African American voters. The state with the highest amount of disenfranchised people were Florida, with 1.5 million disenfranchised, including more than a fifth of potential African American voters.

 

Felony disenfranchisement was a topic of debate during the 2012 Republican presidential primary. Rick Santorum argued for the restoration of voting rights for ex-offenders. Santorum’s position was attacked and distorted by Mitt Romney, who alleged that Santorum supported voting rights for offenders while incarcerated rather than Santorum’s stated position of restoring voting rights only after the completion of sentence, probation and parole. President Barack Obama supports voting rights for ex-offenders.

 

In the years 1997 to 2008, there was a trend to lift the disenfranchisement restrictions, or simplify the procedures for applying for the restoration of civil rights for people who had fulfilled their punishments for felonies; and as a consequence, in 2008, more than a half million people had the right to vote, but would have been disenfranchised under the older rules.[10] As of 2010, only Kentucky and Virginia continued to impose a lifelong denial of the right to vote to all citizens with a felony record, absent some extraordinary intervention by the Governor or state legislature. However, in Kentucky, a felon’s rights can be restored after the completion of a restoration process to regain civil rights. Since then, more severe disenfranchise rules have came into effect in several states.

 

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In 2007 Florida moved to restore voting rights to convicted felons. In March 2011, however, Republican Governor Rick Scott reversed the 2007 reforms, making Florida the state with the most punitive law in terms of disenfranchising citizens with past felony convictions. In July 2005, Democratic Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack issued an executive order restoring the right to vote for all persons who have completed supervision. On October 31, 2005, Iowa’s Supreme Court upheld mass re-enfranchisement of convicted felons. However, on his inauguration day, January 14, 2011, Republican Iowa Governor Terry Branstad reversed Vilsack’s executive order. Nine other states disenfranchise felons for various lengths of time following their conviction. Except for Maine and Vermont, every state prohibits felons from voting while in prison.

 

Constitutionality

Unlike most laws that burden the right of citizens to vote based on some form of social status, felony disenfranchisement laws have been held to be constitutional. InRichardson v. Ramirez (1974), the United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of felon disenfranchisement statutes, finding that the practice did not deny equal protection to disenfranchised voters. The Court looked to Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which proclaims that States which deny the vote to male citizens, except on the basis of “participation of rebellion, or other crime”, will suffer a reduction in representation. Based on this language, the Court found that this amounted to an “affirmative sanction” of the practice of felon disenfranchisement, and the 14th Amendment could not prohibit in one section that which is expressly authorized in another.

 

But, critics of the practice argue that Section 2 of the 14th Amendment allows, but does not represent an endorsement of, felony disenfranchisement statutes as constitutional in light of the equal protection clause and is limited only to the issue of reduced representation. The Court ruled in Hunter v. Underwood 471 U.S. 222, 232 (1985) that a state’s crime disenfranchisement provision will violate Equal Protection if it can be demonstrated that the provision, as enacted, had “both [an] impermissible racial motivation and racially discriminatory impact.” (The law in question also disenfranchised people convicted of vagrancy, adultery, and any misdemeanor “involving moral turpitude”; the test case were two people being disenfranchised for presenting invalid checks, which the state authorities had found to be morally turpit behavior.) A felony disenfranchisement law, which on its face is indiscriminate in nature, cannot be invalidated by the Supreme Court unless its enforcement is proven to racially discriminate and to have been enacted with racially discriminatory animus.

 

southern_states_2418981

 

Classifications

Restoration of voting rights for people who are ex-offenders varies across the United States. Primary classification of voting rights include:

Unrestricted

Maine and Vermont are the only states with unrestricted voting rights for people who are felons. Both states allow the person to vote during incarceration, via absentee ballot and after terms of conviction end.

 

Ends after release

In thirteen states and the District of Columbia, disenfranchisement ends after incarceration is complete.

Ends after parole

In four states, disenfranchisement ends after incarceration and parole (if any) is complete.

Ends after probation

Twenty states require not only that incarceration/parole if any are complete but also that
any probation sentence (which is often an alternative to incarceration) is complete.

 

voting-guide-to-election-day

 

Circumstantial

Eight states have laws that vary with the detail of the crime. These laws restore voting rights to some offenders on the completion of incarceration, parole, and probation. Other offenders must make an individual petition that could be denied.

 

  • Alabama – A person convicted of a felony loses the ability to vote if the felony involves moral turpitude. The state Attorney General and courts have decided this for individual crimes. If a convicted person loses the ability to vote, he can petition to have it restored by a pardon or by a certificate of eligibility. A certificate of eligibility cannot be issued to a person convicted of a number of crimes having to do with sexual assault or abuse, including sodomy.

 

  • Arizona. Rights are restored to first-time felony offenders. Others must petition.

 

  • Delaware – Depending on the crime, a convicted felon either regains the right to vote after completion of their sentence or cannot regain the right to vote except through a pardon.

 

  • Mississippi – A convicted person loses suffrage for numerous crimes identified in the state constitution, Section 241 (see note). The list is given below. Suffrage can be restored to an individual by a two-thirds vote of both houses of the legislature. The crimes that disqualify a person from voting are given in Section 241 of the state constitution as:

 

  • Nevada- First time and non-violent offenders all others may, “petition a court of competent jurisdiction for an order granting the restoration of his or her civil rights”

 

  • Tennessee – A person who is convicted of certain felonies may not regain voting rights except through pardon. These include: murder, rape, treason, and voting fraud. For a person convicted of a lesser felony, disenfranchisement ends after terms of incarceration, completion of parole, and completion of probation. In addition, the person must pay “Any court order restitution paid; current in the payment of any child support obligations; and/or Any court ordered court costs paid”. The ex-offender must either obtain a court order restoring their right to vote or complete the certificate of restoration of voting rights.

 

  • Virginia– As of May 29, 2013, it is a policy of the governor that a person convicted of a non-violent felony regains voting rights after the end of incarceration, parole, and probation. Offenders with “violent/more serious” felonies must appeal to the governor five years after the end of completing the sentence. Before appealing, they must satisfy several conditions:
    • “Free from any sentence served or supervised probation and parole for a minimum of two years for a non-violent offense or five years for a violent felony or drug distribution, drug manufacturing offense, any crimes against a minor, or an election law offense.”
    • “Has paid all court costs, fines, penalties and restitution and have no felony or misdemeanor charges pending; not have had a DWI in the five years immediately preceding the application.”
    • Not have any misdemeanor convictions and/or pending criminal charges 2 years preceding the application for non-violent felonies or five years for a violent felony or drug distribution, drug manufacturing offense, any crimes against a minor, or an election law offense.

 

  • Wyoming – A person convicted of a felony can, after serving the full sentence including any probation and parole, apply to the state governor to have suffrage restored. Since July 1, 2003, first-time, non-violent offenders have to wait five years before applying to the state parole board for restoration of suffrage. The parole board has the discretion to decide whether to reinstate rights on an individual basis.

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Individual petitions require

Three states require individual petition for all offenses;

  • Florida – Voting rights are restored by the Florida Board of Executive Clemency. Less serious crimes do not require a hearing with the clemency board. In those cases, disenfranchisement ends after it has been five years after completion of terms of incarceration, completion of parole and completion of probation. An application must be submitted to the court. For those with serious crimes, after seven years, the Florida Executive Clemency Board will decide whether or not to restore voting rights after receiving an application from the ex-offender.[67][68]
  • Kentucky – Only the governor can reinstate Civil Rights. The ex-offender must complete “Application for Restoration of Civil Rights”. Then it is at the governor’s discretion to restore voting rights.

Felony conviction thresholds affected by inflation

Various property crimes can have absolute dollar amount thresholds. For example, in Massachusetts under penalties specified in MGL Chap. 266: Sec. 127,a prosecution for malicious destruction of property can result in a felony conviction if the dollar amount of damage exceeds $250.

 

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Holder Urges 11 States To Restore Voting Rights Of Former Felons

 

Published on Feb 18, 2014

Holder Urges 11 States To Restore Voting Rights Of Former Felons

 

Attorney General Eric Holder called on a group of states Tuesday to restore voting rights to ex-felons, part of a push to fix what he sees as flaws in the criminal justice system that have a disparate impact on racial minorities.

 

“It is time to fundamentally rethink laws that permanently disenfranchise people who are no longer under federal or state supervision,” Holder said, targeting 11 states that he said continue to restrict voting rights for former inmates, even after they’ve finished their prison terms.

 

“Across this country today, an estimated 5.8 million Americans — 5.8 million of our fellow citizens — are prohibited from voting because of current or previous felony convictions,” Holder told a symposium on criminal justice at Georgetown University.

 

 

 

Holder pushes for restoring voting rights for individuals with prior felony convictions

 

Published on Feb 18, 2014

February 15, 2014: Co-Director of Advancement Project, Judith Browne Dianis talks to T.J. Holmes about restoring voting rights for individuals with prior felony convictions who have completed their sentences.

 

 

 

From POLITICO:

Holder: Restore felons’ voting rights

 

By JOSH GERSTEIN

 

People convicted of felonies should not forever lose their right to vote, according to Attorney General Eric Holder.

 

In remarks prepared for delivery at a criminal justice conference Tuesday, Holder takes aim at state laws which strip voting rights from those convicted of serious crimes.

 

“It is time to fundamentally rethink laws that permanently disenfranchise people who are no longer under federal or state supervision,” Holder is to tell the Leadership Council on Civil and Human Rights Criminal Justice Forum at Georgetown law school. “These restrictions are not only unnecessary and unjust, they are also counterproductive.  By perpetuating the stigma and isolation imposed on formerly incarcerated individuals, these laws increase the likelihood they will commit future crimes.”

 

Holder also plans to note that felon-disenfranchisement laws ban almost one in 13 African Americans from voting and, in states like Florida, Kentucky and Virginia, as many as one in five black adults have been stripped of voting rights. The attorney general argues that these measures are relics of a bygone era.

 

“However well-intentioned current advocates of felony disenfranchisement may be – the reality is that these measures are, at best, profoundly outdated,” Holder is to say. “At worst, these laws, with their disparate impact on minority communities, echo policies enacted during a deeply troubled period in America’s past – a time of post-Civil War discrimination.  And they have their roots in centuries-old conceptions of justice that were too often based on exclusion, animus, and fear.”

 

Holder has been stepping up his public advocacy on various issues in recent months, including reform to the criminal justice system. He’s pressing to rein in the use of mandatory minimum sentences, particularly for drug crime, and is encouraging some federal inmates to apply for presidential commutations. Such actions would surely have caused a stir during the tough-on-crime 1990s, Holder’s recent moves have encountered little public or political resistance. In fact, some Republicans are supporting shorter sentences for some offenders—in part due to huge prison costs federal and state governments are incurring.

 

Holder’s speech Tuesday is also expected to include an unusual shout-out for a former Republican official now getting up up-close-and-personal experience with the criminal justice system thanks to prosecutors working for Holder: former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.

 

“Just last year, former Governor McDonnell adopted a policy that began to automatically restore the voting rights of former prisoners with non-violent felony convictions,” the attorney general’s prepared remarks say. “I applaud those who have already shown leadership in raising awareness and helping to address this issue.”

 

McDonnell and his wife Maureen were indicted in federal court in Richmond last month on fraud and corruption charges stemming from their relationship with a wealthy Virginia businessman. The McDonnells pled not guilty to their charges and are free pending trial.

 

Thank you POLITICO & JOSH GERSTEIN.

 

restorertv

 

Restoring Voting Rights

 

Nearly 6 million American citizens are unable vote because of a past criminal conviction. As many as 4.4 million of these citizens live, work, and raise families in our communities. But because of a conviction in their past they are still denied this fundamental democratic right. These laws, deeply rooted in our troubled racial history, have a disproportionate impact on minorities. Across the country, 13 percent of African-American men have lost their right to vote, which is seven times the national average.

 

For a map of current state felon disenfranchisement policies, click here.

 

Through litigation, legislative and administrative advocacy, and public education, the Brennan Center works nationwide to restore voting rights to people with past criminal convictions. See our state-by-state guide on felony disenfranchisement laws and our work in Congress on the Democracy Restoration Act.

 

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Recent Research From:

 

 

In advance of this crucial midterm election, this report details new voting restrictions put in place over the past few years, laws in place for the first time in 2014, and major lawsuits that could affect this year’s elections. See all our 2014 voting resources.

 

 

Voices across the political spectrum are calling to repeal laws that stop Americans with a criminal conviction in their past from voting. States should take this opportunity to implement reform.

 

 

 

The Democracy Restoration Act is a crucial step forward in ensuring that we stay true to our promise to make this a nation that provides equality for all.

 

 

Recent Litigation

 

The Ninth Circuit held that Washington’s criminal disenfranchisement law violates the Voting Rights Act. The decision is the first in the country to find that, due to racial discrimination in the state’s criminal justice system, the felony disenfranchisement law results in the denial of the right to vote on account of race.

 

 

Simmons vs. Galvin was a challenge to the Massachusetts law which disenfranchises people with felony convictions from voting while they are incarcerated.In a 2-1 decision, the First Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that ruling and held that no claims can be brought against Massachusetts law under the Voting Rights Act.

 

Thank you Brennan Center For Justice.

 

Voting Rights Returning for Felons?

 

Published on Feb 20, 2014

Sen. Rand Paul and Attorney General Eric Holder are interested in restoring voting rights for felons and former prison inmates. The disenfranchisement of convicted felons, who number 5.85 million Americans, has been criticized as racist and unfairly targeting minorities, and we discuss how the prospective reform has created such strange bedfellows as Holder and Paul in this Buzzsaw news clip with Tyrel Ventura and Tabetha Wallace.

 

 

 

Is It Time To Give Felons Back Their Voting Rights?

 

Published on Feb 23, 2014

“Sen. Rand Paul brought his national crusade against the war on drugs back to his home state, giving testimony before the Kentucky state senate in favor of an amendment to restore voting rights to felons after they get out of prison.”

 

 

 

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Nitorioussoapbox

 

Why would an American who has served felony time for any crime, unless it’s directly related to voting, voter fraud, be denied the right to vote upon completing ALL court appointed duties related to his/her case? In other words if and when you walk out the gates of any prison and complete all parole duties, your Constitutional right to vote should and MUST be fully restored.

 

Unless you’re a RepubliCANT, or a TeaTardedRepubliCANT Pseudo-Freudian, Psycho-Sexual, Pro-caucasian, Pro-Racist, Anti-LGBTQA1, Anti-Feminist, Reich Wing GOPretender Conselfishservative, NRA-Gun Loving, Nut Bag, bottom feeding, racist, ass backwards, white supremacists, Koch Brothers & A.L.E.C. controlled morons, greedy, wealthy, caucasian, special interest groups, asshole Party Member…..and you realize that the majority of the 5.8 MILLION released ex-felons hate your party, and plan to vote for the other guy….THEN Felony Disenfranchisement makes perfect sense.

 

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