Archive for category Voting Rights
Thank goodness Obama got elected and was able to get two honest jurors on the supreme court. Everybody is stunned to see decision after decision coming down on the side of ordinary Americans for a change. Scalia is just beside himself and even mentioned “hippies” in his dissenting court opinion about gay marriage. Bizarre.
First came the ruling against segregation in housing. Then “Obamacare” was saved in a decisive vote. I can only remember one other such vote in over a decade, since we started to see all these 5 to 4 politically motivated votes coming out of the court. Then the stunning “marriage equality” decision.
Today we hear about a ruling which actually allows citizens to be included in redistricting discussions. This is really big! I hope something can be done in time for the next presidential vote, but I doubt it.
This should be a clarion call for people to get out and overwhelm the voting system by – you know – voting, so we can prevent a Republican president from stacking the court with partisan hacks again. If McCain and Romney had taken over the white house, none of these rulings would have been possible.
I don’t know what it is about fried chicken restaurant chains and Salt Lake City, but we somehow played host to the birth of two popular ones last century. Obviously, Kentucky Fried Chicken is still around, but the other one, which was also opening outlets around the country is gone. I’ll get to that later.
I’m old enough to remember what the original KFC, which is still located at 3900 south State Street, looked like. It featured a very large painting of a butt naked child with the caption, “Come As You Are!” Probably something you wouldn’t see today.
The picture above is obviously not a chicken restaurant. It’s the facade of the old Villa Theatre, which was later changed into a rug outlet, at great expense, to keep the structure similar to what it was. The theater was actually pretty famous for it’s day and as late as 2001, was named on a list of ten great classic Theaters in the United States by USA today.
When I was six years old the Villa theater was showing “South Pacific”, and I remember very well how the songs from that movie were being played and sung all over town. The Creators of the play that the movie was based on ran into trouble because of a song in the play called “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught”, but demanded the famous anti-racism song be included in the production.
Rodgers and Hammerstein risked the entire South Pacific venture in light of legislative challenges to its decency or supposed Communist agenda.
James Michener, upon whose stories South Pacific was based, recalled, “The authors replied stubbornly that this number represented why they had wanted to do this play, and that even if it meant the failure of the production, it was going to stay in.
Also from Wikipedia:
In 1958, the [Villa Theatre] became famous for showing a 10-month-long run of South Pacific, drawing Patrons from as far as Idaho and Nevada.
If I recall correctly, another great anti-racism movie, (West Side Story), played in Salt Lake for almost 2 Years. I always like to accentuate the good in my community because I’ve lived here all my life. After the Villa put up their huge Cinerama screen, which, at first, required three different synchronized projectors to play a film, I saw some great ones, including my favorite: “2001 A Space Odyssey”. I was buzzing with excitement after that one.
The Villa theatre was a place of wonder, but just down the street was the other national fried chicken chain that had it’s birth in Salt Lake.
My family had a get together and we were going through some very old pictures, when I saw something unbelievable.
If you want to look at something really ugly, CLICK HERE for page two.
If you’ve been following the news lately, you will know that Count My Vote is attempting to be a citizens initiative to change Utah’s caucus system to a primary system. At a minimum, it’s gotten Utahns talking about how we select our candidates for public office which is good. I’m not convinced Count My Vote’s solution solves the problem they claim to want to solve. Will switching from the current caucus system improve voter engagement and turnout? That depends on whether it addresses the reasons people don’t vote.
An interesting commentary from Rachel Maddow about the divergent impact on civil rights of the Court’s Prop 8/DOMA and Voting Rights Act decisions.
She makes an interesting point – that the battles over civil rights – both marriage equality and voting access – are going to take place primarily in red states.
Today as you all know, a segment in the Voting Rights Act was ruled unconstitutional. More specifically, it was a segment where laws passed by southern states had to be approved by the federal government. That is no more and guess what? Not two hours later, Texas passed a bill that reduces the number of polling places in heavily black and latino areas.
With this it’s good to know who our enemies are. Of course there are going to be naysayers of my claim. To which I say, you are not fooling anyone. This is a bill that prevented elected officials from changing the voting laws so that they can chose who can vote. An elected official who goes through the democratic system and has a goal to get elected gets to chose who can and who cannot vote. If that is Democracy to you, then you are either a liar or you are a sore loser from the last election. This was in the bill for a very good reason. these states that had to go through the process were states with a long history of racism. Before the act, you had laws that made it very difficult for blacks to vote. They had things such as poll tax, forcing you to pay for a vote and literacy tests that not even an English Graduate could pass. This happened because elected officials do not like democracy and in a long history of racism and bigotry, they had an enemy who could vote them out of the office. What did they do? changed the laws so they could stay in power. Now already it hasn’t even been a day and there are laws being passed to do just the same thing.
Politicians love Democracy the same way businesses love competition.
But in this case, past tragedy. Tragedy not usually experienced as widely as as it could be, or was in the past.
That’s not saying it couldn’t happen again to anybody, but you know what they say:
Humor is the best medicine:
Melissa Harris-Perry wrote an insightful letter to Antonin Scalia in response to his comment that voting is a racial entitlement. Seriously, read the whole thing, but a couple highlights:
Commenting on Congress’s nearly unanimous re-authorization of the Voting Rights Act in 2006, you said, “I don’t think that’s attributable to the fact that it is so much clearer now that we need this. I think it is attributable, very likely attributable, to a phenomenon that is called perpetuation of racial entitlement.”
You went on to say, “I am fairly confident it will be re-enacted in perpetuity…unless a court can say it does not comport with the Constitution…It’s a concern that this is not the kind of a question you can leave to Congress.”
Racial entitlement? Not a question you can leave to Congress? Even for you, Justice Scalia, this is a particularly willful misreading of the Constitution you claim to adore.[snip]
Contrary to what you are suggesting, the Voting Rights Act was no gift given by the government to black people. Its primary purpose was to enforce a right that was already enshrined in the Constitution but had been repeatedly flouted by Southern governments.
Why does the Supreme Court keep injecting themselves into our voting system, enabling the plutocrats to get their way? Here comes another 5 to 4 vote. You can count on it. When justice Scalia stunned the court this week by saying the voting rights act is a “perpetuation of racial entitlement”, what was he talking about?
Sounds like Scalia’s living in another era. This is every bit as much about white peoples right to vote as any other race. I’ve been struggling to know my vote is being counted ever since Scalia and his gang of five stole the presidential race in 2000. After all, Scalia said that Americans didn’t necessarily have the RIGHT to vote for their president. He didn’t say anything about congresspeople, but we know that in the 2012 election, Democrats in the house got far more votes then Republicans. Gerrymandering stole the day for the losers there, but let’s face it, republican election fraud has so many avenues in the 21st century, you wouldn’t know where to turn without GPS.
If any of these clueless old white guys who watch Fox “news” think they’re going to benefit from preventing people who make less then a billion dollars a year from voting, they are going to feel pretty silly standing there with their pants down when the realization of what has happened finally hits them. Bush v Gore, Citizens United, and now this! Haven’t we been hearing for years that Judges shouldn’t be legislating from the bench? The Voting Rights Act has been reauthorized numerous times and the last time was in 2005, when the Senate voted 98 to 0 to retain it.
This reminds me of the kind of hubris exposed by Ron Suskind in this 2004 statement, which most now believe was made by Karl Rove, (someone who is widely believed to be rigging our elections):
The aide said that guys like me were ”in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who ”believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ”That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. ”We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”
Robert Parry gives an insight into how we got here in his recent article concerning the coming supreme court ruling on the voting rights act:
Over the past half century, wealthy right-wingers have invested millions and millions of dollars in “think tanks” and other research institutions – the likes of Heritage Foundation, Cato Institute and Federalist Society – that have worked diligently to cherry-pick the nation’s early history to transform America’s Founding narrative into its opposite, with Washington and Madison made into states’ rights lovers and federal government haters.
The hubris has become so visible that during Obama’s last election, a Republican governor was bragging about suppressing votes for the president, and Fox “news” had to cut to a commercial when Karl Rove tried to halt the announcement of Obama’s victory.
This isn’t just enraging, it’s downright dangerous!
NOTE: OK, I doctored the photo of Scalia, but we all know that’s what he meant.
Or is something else happening?
Bob Alexander is a great writer and activist, among other things. He is someone to follow. He used to live in the US, but decided to get the hell out about a year ago and move to Canada.
Here is his perspective on the polling results in Canada as compared to the results in America concerning the debates:
I watched the presidential and vice presidential debates on CBC up here in Beautiful British Columbia. During the debates viewers could vote on who was winning. The first debate’s results were: 76% Obama, and 18% Romney. The next morning I went online to read the American Polls. WTF!!?? Romney was declared the winner.
Then came the VP debate between Biden and Ryan. Again I watched it on CBC and the Canadian viewers voted 88% Biden and 10% Ryan. The next day American polls gave a slight edge to Biden. The CNN/ORC poll showed Ryan at 48% to Biden’s 44%. NBC Politics had Biden at 38% to Ryan’s 34% and CNBC reported a tie with Ryan and Biden both at 47%. WTF squared.
Pretty weird, huh?
I don’t trust our polling organizations or media organizations any farther then I can spit. They have refused to release the exit polling results since the machines were rolled out. Things just don’t add up.
Also from the editorial:
A multi-billion dollar PR firm takes control of the media and creates a phony narrative. Then corporate-owned proprietary voting machines count the ballots, and they tell us who “won.” They’ve got both sides of the transaction again. What could possibly go wrong?