Tracker Pixel for Entry

​Democracy for sale

by Ed Raymond | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Gadfly | October 29th, 2014

Democracy For Sale: Going Once … Going Twice … Sold To The Billionaires!

Since the Republican Supreme Court decided to dump parts of the Voters Rights laws passed almost 50 years ago, most states controlled by Republican legislatures and governors, including North Dakota, have attempted to pass hundreds of restrictive voting laws, particularly the requirement to have a photo voter ID. Some have been successful. After all, a great deal of fraud has been committed in voting precincts! Between 2000 and 2014 more than a billion votes have been cast in national elections. The staggering total of 31 cases of impersonation at the polls has occurred in that period. Texas, a state that has passed some of the most restrictive voting laws in the country, has had two convictions in the last ten years for in-person voter impersonation while 20 million votes have been cast.

To be blunt, rich white Republicans have decided in 2014 to use race, wealth, and voter suppression laws to decrease the votes of poor whites, blacks, browns, reds, and yellows in order to capture the Senate from the Democrats. When Barack Obama was elected in 2008 some talking heads said that the battle for civil rights was over. Those of us who have lived with segregation, “Separate but Equal,” Jim Crow, and white flight knew better. The defeated Old Confederacy came out of the woodwork and slave quarters of old mansions and plantations of the South and formed a New Confederacy, absolutely shocked that the president was half black.

So the Tea Party was formed not in Boston, but in Jackson, Mississippi; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Birmingham, Alabama; Tallahassee, Florida; and dozens of other old Confederate cities. Then the anti-government movement spread to other states on and above the Mason-Dixon line such as Idaho, Montana, Michigan, Missouri, Indiana, establishing the fact that racism is not dead in the US.

What Was The Chief Goal Of The Republican Party In 2008?

On the day after the 2008 election Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell said the top goal of the Republican Party would be chasing the black Obama out of the white White House. And the right wing pounced. The placards at Tea Party rallies portrayed Obama as an African witch doctor from Kenya. The perpetual presidential candidate Donald Trump sent his investigators to Hawaii to examine Obama’s birth certificate.

Rock music star and 2nd Amendment gunner Ted Nugent, a mouthy campaigner for many Republican big boys such as the Bushes, made this famous quote: “”I have obviously failed to galvanize and prod, if not shame, enough Americans to be ever vigilant not to let a Chicago communist-raised, communist-educated, communist-nurtured subhuman mongrel like the Acorn community organizer gangster Barack Hussein Obama to weasel his way to the top office of authority in the United States.” It’s just a side note that the Nazis called Jews “untermensch” (subhuman) and “mischling” (mongrel).

Southern Republican candidates made racist comments about Obama at many campaign events. North Carolina State Senator Larry Pitman was asked at a town hall meeting whether Obama was a traitor. His response: “I just don’t think it’s right to call Barack Obama a traitor to his country … I have not come across any evidence yet that he has done one thing to harm Kenya.” Another North Carolinian, voting official Don Yelton, said voter ID laws were necessary and sound because: “It hurts a bunch of lazy blacks that want the government to give them everything.” Claiming he was not a racist, he added: “Niggers say “nigger” all the time, so what’s really racist is not letting white people say “nigger.”

Southern Tea Party evangelicals still call Obama the Antichrist, and that he must be opposed at every turn (with his lesser demons Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi!). The cry “Take Back America!” emphasizes that Obama the Antichrist and his fellow Democratic demons have changed America from a white, Christian, male country to one betraying established, traditional ideals. Obama is still an “Islamic, atheist, Marxist Kenyan” to many people six years after his first election.

How Many Poor Whites, Blacks, Latinos, And Asians Will Be Kept From The Polls?

Over 30 states have laws requiring some kind of proof of identity to vote. Some have very strict laws requiring up-to-date photos, others have strict non-photo ID laws. The state of Texas, which has just received the OK from the Republican Supreme Court of the US voting laws for the 2014 vote while they are under appeal, already knows that potentially 678,000 to 844,000 voters, previously eligible to vote, will be disenfranchised by the new laws. That’s up to six percent of the eligible voters in the state. (About all the entire eligible voters in North and South Dakota!) This estimate comes from the Texas secretary of state and a federal judge who banned the law as unconstitutional. The Government Accountability Office recently determined that strict photo voter IDs in 2012 lowered voter participation by 2 to 3 percent in both Kansas and Tennessee.

Changes made in voting laws other than Voter ID laws will further suppress the vote in many states. Tighter restrictions in the following areas could further hurt poor and middle-class voters: early voting, absentee ballots, precinct changes, voter registration, same-day registration, and voting rights of felons. As an example, if you have committed a felony you cannot vote for life in these states: Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wyoming. Most are red states, others slightly purple. In 13 other states you get your voting rights back upon release from prison. In others you can vote after probation or parole. In Maine and Vermont you can still vote sitting in a cell! About six million Americans cannot vote because of felonies committed. Over half are black and Latino. In some states it takes over ten years after release to get your voting rights back. In Florida, Kentucky, and Virginia more than one in five blacks cannot vote because of a conviction. Remember when George Bush won Florida by 537 votes in 2004? Over 800,000 Floridians could not vote because of previous criminal convictions. One could ask: “When is your debt to society finally paid?”

From Poll Taxes To Voter ID Copies Or Originals–Or Further Surprises

A few stories about older voters trying to vote in voter suppression states will point out some problems. Joy Dunn is 79 and first voted in Little Rock, Arkansas 60 years ago. She had to pay a $2 poll tax. Back in ‘54 that was about a day’s wages for many. Over the years she has acquired a number of different IDs, including a driver’s license. This year, because of a foot injury, she was unable to drive, so she decided to vote by absentee ballot. But she sent in the ballot without a copy of a valid ID, which was a new requirement in the state. Her ballot was returned so she got her neighbor to drive her to a library to copy the ID. The new laws had no budget for informing voters of the new rules. Joy said she had a number of friends who would have great difficulty with the new laws because of the expense of providing birth certificates. Some have never had a birth certificate and some certificates have been lost in fires at record centers.

Rosanell Eaton is a 93-year-old resident of Louisburg, N.C., a state that has passed some of the most restrictive voting laws in the nation. The laws are currently being challenged in federal court. According to The Guardian, she told her daughter: ”You know, all this is coming back around before I could get in the ground. I was hoping I would be dead before I’d have to go see all this again.” (She is one who is challenging the new laws.)

Rosanell lived through Jim Crow days in segregated schools, drinking water from fountains labeled “colored.” Her father owned a little plot of land. She sometimes woke up seeing charred KKK crosses in the yard. Louisburg election officials used tricks to keep blacks from voting. Voters would be asked to name the number of beans in a barrel -- or they had to name accurately all of the elected officials in the county. Rosanell in 1939 was asked to recite the preamble to the Constitution – and did without error. She was allowed to vote. She was arrested at age 92 for protesting the new laws. She still could have a great deal of trouble voting. She has a number of different IDs, but her birth certificate has the name of Rosa Nell Johnson, her driver’s license is under the name of Rosa Johnson Eaton, her voter registration card names Rosanell Eaton.

Ruthelle Frank of Wisconsin has voted in every presidential election since she was 21. She is now 87, has lived in the same house for 85 of her years and has served on her village council for 18 years. She has never had a legal birth certificate because her parents didn’t have one. She has been registered to vote since she was 21. When she was told she needed a new ID she went to the DMV with a number of IDs but no birth certificate. The DMV worker asked her sarcastically: “How do I know you’re not an illegal alien?” She may have to spend up to $200 to try to get a legal birth certificate. She doesn’t have an extra $200.The story is worth reading in the 24 September, 2014 issue of The Guardian. Now we are in Jim Crow II with old geezers like me. In Kansas a 97-year-old woman was denied voting because she did not have a photo ID when she rode a nursing home shuttle to the polls.

What Hath The Republican Supreme Court Of The United States Wrought?

Through the Citizens United and McCutcheon campaign reform decisions the highest court in the land has determined that free speech is very expensive. Only billionaires can buy it. Expensive words are bought by the gross and by the second on TV, radio, and print. Millionaires and billionaires have created a perpetual political auction and speech market in every township, village, county, city, and state in the nation.

Some of them think they should be allotted a vote for each dollar of cash and assets they control. Tom Perkins, billionaire venture capitalist in California, told the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco that he should get one vote for each dollar of taxes he pays. According to Perkins, if people don’t pay any taxes they shouldn’t get a single vote. In 1980 the top one percent of the One Percent contributed 15 percent of the money spent on elections. In 2012 that had increased to 40 percent of the billions spent on elections.

Maybe Perkins is not aware that most research on the subject suggests that high inequality, which we have in this country, destroys representative democracy and creates a higher probability of murderous revolution like the French Revolution of 1789. One Percent heads rolled into the baskets placed under the crash of the French guillotine. Perhaps sharpened pitchforks will appear at Florida polls this year. As the main author of the decision in the McCutcheon case, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote: “The legal scope is far more narrow limited in quid pro quo deals directly between donor and a politician. The government may not seek to limit the appearance of mere influence or access.” In other words, if you don’t see the politician stuffing money in his pockets and signing a promissory note to vote for a certain bill, you can’t do anything about it. What a bunch of judicial crap!

In 2012 black voters in many Florida cities had to wait up to six hours in lines to vote. How many people can go six hours without peeing? Election officials in Miami-Dade County precincts have been warning that restrooms at polling places will not be open during the 2014 elections. They made this bizarre, unbelievable announcement: “In order to ensure that individuals with disabilities are not treated unfairly, the use of restrooms by the voters is not allowed on election day.(!)” I have suggested before that voters should bring blankets to form shields for peeing and defecating on lawns and highways near the voting precincts as a form of citizen protest on the closed-restroom rules.

Does expensive “free speech” go to the highest bidder? Does Congress go to the highest bidder? Who should be able to buy the most votes? Bill Gates at $81 billion? Warren Buffett at about $57 billion? Larry Ellison at $50 billion? Is that what ”free” speech is all about?



Tracker Pixel for Entry TAK Tracker Pixel for Entry HPRONLINE Tracker Pixel for Entry HPR Sales Tracker Pixel for Entry HarborHealthClinic

Recently in:

By the time this article is published, all the major new outlets in the area will have reported on the May 30th protest in Fargo demanding change and justice after the needless killing of George Floyd, as well as its aftermath. …

by Sonja ThompsonDebra Ruh is the CEO and Founder of Ruh Global IMPACT, a consulting firm that strives to help clients amplify their impact and become disability inclusion leaders. She also serves as the Chair of the United…

Best Bets

Ladies Ag Night

by HPR Staff

Thursday, March 19, 4:30- 8 pm1609 19th Ave N, FargoCass County Soil Conservation District is hosting their annual Ladies’ Ag Night supper event. This event has a goal of bringing together multiple generations of women involved…

by Sofia Makarova and Massimo Sassi The global pandemic is an incredibly challenging time for many. Nearlyone in every three Americans’ jobs have been affected, whether a temporary layoff, a permanent job loss, or a reduction in…

Predatory Capitalism Breeds Predatory Medical CareSurvival in the animal world depends upon who eats who. Wolf packs in Yellowstone chase down the oldest weakest elk and kill with a chokehold. African lion prides select the oldest…

To say that this year’s Bartenders Battle was the best display of talent in the six years since its creation would be an understatement and a disservice to not only the bartenders who made it into the competition, but also the…

It goes without saying that Valentine’s Day is the most profitable of all the holidays and the one with the most tortured history, literally. It is confusing how an ancient Roman festival that involved sacrificing animals and…

Fargo obviously loves their classical music. Audiences have still turned out during the 2019-2020 season of the Sanford Masterworks Series performed by the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra despite an unrelenting winter. That…

Writer Rita Kalnejais adapts the script of her own 2012 play “Babyteeth,” and Shannon Murphy, delivering her feature directorial debut, guides a fantastic ensemble of performers to success in what could have been an…

This weekend, the 10th Annual Unglued Craft Fest will be held at the Plains Art Museum, featuring over 70 local and regional artists selling handmade items. Though most are Fargo-Moorhead residents, artists from Minneapolis, Sioux…


Fargo Film Festival 2020

by HPR Contributor

by Dominic EricksonThis March, the Fargo Film Festival will celebrate its 20th year of entertaining die-hard cinephiles and casual moviegoers alike. The festival begins on March 17 and concludes March 21. The event is once again…

by Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comAdam Quesnell's last show at The Cellar beneath the Front Street Taproom in Fargo was in early September of 2018. He was embarking on a seminal move from Minneapolis to LA. As always, his comedy was…

by Jill Finkelsonjsfinkelson99@gmail.comFar North Spirits, located up in Hallock, MN, is the northernmost distillery in the lower 48. They may be young in the distillery world but the farm and the spirit reach far into the past.…


Discover Yoga Differently

by HPR Contributor

by Laurie J Part of modern yoga is participating in the world around us. We live in a time of upheaval in society and nature, and of great suffering in humans of all ages. Most of us perceive this suffering…

by Devin Joubertdevinlillianjoubert@gmail.comIt’s that beautiful time of the year that’s filled with seasonal decorations, sparkly lights, warm family gatherings, and delicious feasts. I love everything about this time of the…

"…evil appears as good in the minds of those whom god leads to destruction." - Sophocles, Antigone“It is a mistake…as events since September 11 (2001) have shown—to suppose that a government can promote and participate in a…