It was 50 years ago today

Today is the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. This landmark legislation helped to level the playing for African Americans in the South somewhat until the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated a vital portion of the law, the majority claiming that the South is changed.

The South has, to the contrary, not changed enough to stop trying to disenfranchise African-Americans, most notably with ID requirements that have a similar effect to the nefarious poll taxes of the Jim Crow era. These laws are justified by a fraud problem that is nonexistent. This situation is a travesty.

The time has come restore the franchise once and for all to those, particularly minorities, who law been blocked from voting by the law and its application. This restoration starts with three measures:

  1. Restore the Voting Rights Act – This has been proved in congress and blocked by Republican’s who need to be turned out of office.
  2. Automatic Registration – People become registered voters when they become citizens or turn 18. Oregon has just made such a procedure the law of the land. This eliminates duplication, saving both the government and voters money and time. This makes easier for all citizens to vote and for the government to prevent fraud.
  3. Franchising ex-cons – it is high time that we stop disenfranchising felons who have been released. Whether they are paroled or finished their sentences, if they have done their time, they have done their time, and it makes no sense to keep punishing them. This would have a huge impact since so many African-Americans spend time in prison.

These are just the beginning. We also need to have a holiday for voting so people do not have to rush out to vote during lunch hour or on the way home or on the way to work. Voting should be fair for everyone, not just those who are wealthy enough to overcome the obstacles. 

  

   

Online Voter a Registration in Ohio and Elsewhere

http://ohiodems.ngpvanhost.com/switch-it The need to remove barriers to voting has become urgent in the era of  “Citizens United.” The above link is to a petition asking the Ohio Secretary of State to allow online voter registration. This is but s first step and should be the policy in every state in the country.

Others steps are to universally allow voting by mail (as in Oregon) and eliminate the ID requirement for voting unless state pays for it. Having people pay for their own ID functions as a poll tax. No one should have to pay to vote.

Finally, earning a living should not be a barrier to voting. Many people find it difficult to find time to vote on a working day. It is past time for Election Day to be made a holiday on the national, state, county and city holiday as needed. Every citizen should have time to vote.

These steps would begin the process of making this country a true participatory democracy.

 

I VOTED

 

 I just voted (2:30 p.m.)in the Gainesville City Commission runoff in At Large Seat 1 at precinct 32,  which is down the street from where I live. I voted for Harvey Budd and was the 94th voter. That is not too bad for a runoff, but it is still rather slow, so we must pick it up. The sun is out people! No rain is within a few hundred miles on the radar, so get out and vote! If turnout is too low, Jay Curtis might sneak onto the commission. The last thing we need is a third commissioner beholden to developers. 

We also have a runoff in District 1 over on the East side. Re-electing Yvonne Hinson-Rawls is also important.

To sum, people, GET OUT AND VOTE!

VOTE FOR HARVEY BUDD AND YVONNE HINSON-RAWLS IN THE RUNOFFS

Early voting started on Monday in the runoffs for two Gainesville City Commission seats. Election Day is April 14.

For the At-Large seat I endorse Harvey Budd. He and Adrian Hayes-Santos, who finished third, split progressive endorsements. Budd,s endorsements now run the liberal gamut and include Hayes-Santos’s.

His opponent, Jay Curtis, has been endorsed by the Gainesville Builders Association and gets much of his money from businesses and developers. Right-wingers Tony Domenech and Nathan Collier have contributed to his campaign.

The choice is crystal clear: Harvey Budd is the progressive option for this seat.

In the District 1 race, Yvonne-Hinson-Rawls is the progressive choice despite a disappointing vote on the widening of eigth avenue.

2015 State of the Union Speech

The president has just been introduced to a standing ovation. He just touted the low unemployment and lowered dependence on foreign oil.

he touting the drawdown of troops in Afghanistan, but many will remain. “The state of the Union is strong.” No surprise there.Hhe said he will send a bill to congress filled with “practical ideas,” and then campaign across the country for them.

Now he is telling the story of a young woman who used a federal loan to go to community college.

He just claimed that this country is #1 in natural gas and wind power. He is still bragging. They are all clapping, but I saw a grumpy look on a Republican’s face. They need to grow up.

He is threatening veto for bills that “earned” it. Cheers!

He is once again talking abou Rebecca, the woman who went to community college.

He just defined middle class econmics as where everyone gets a fair chance. Good.

He just stressed the importance of affordable child care and that it should not be”treated as a side issue.” He has a plan that involves tax cuts, but  also advocates paid leave and asked for a bill. Wow!

Give “hardest working people in America a raise.” Advocates strengthening unions, helping workers improve their skills.

He just introduced his plan for free community college, and got a standing ovation from some. He asks that businesses provide more apprenticeships and more “educational benefits.” He also asks CEOs to her veterans, and to create jobs ” here in America.”

He is now talking about 21st Century Infrastructure.

Precision Medicine Initiative. He also says he will try to create an open internet. He talked about the new space program and TV showed Scott Kelly, who got a standing ovation.

He is now talking about the tax code.

he is no getting a standing ovation for vowing to hunt down terrorists. Predictable.

He is talking about the Islamic State, and unfortunately called ISIS. He wants authorization to use force against them. Ugh!

Now he touts his Cuba deal. “Congress should do the work of ending the embargo.” Interesting.

Ah! Now comes  a threat to veto any new Iran sanctions bill. Right on!

He says that our scientists, doctors and workers are rolling back Ebola. I hope so.

Great! He just pointed out that 2014 was the warmest year ever, chides deniers for dodging the facts. They say they “are not scientists” and neither is he but he believes in NASA and NOAA. So do I. The cheers!

He advocates the closure of Gitmo, to “finish the job.” Fantastic!

He talked about how gay right has gone from a wedge issue to a popular stand. The great John Lewis was shown by TV cameras participating in the standing ovation. Very moving.

He is talking about “a better politics.” Let’s see what he will propose:

– women’s access to health care

– immigration

“Surely we agree that the right to vote is sacred, and taks about Selma and Fergson.

Advocates reform of the criminal justice system. Very cautious, but that is life.

His only agenda is to “do what is best for America.” Tells Republcand he will seek it their ideas. Groan!

 

He finished with platitudes. It was fun to see the Republicans frowning; they are still the grumpy old party! This speech was speckled with bold initiatives but was also filled with platitudes and too cautious. Let us hope he will live up to his veto threats. We need a president who will fight the Republican majority in Congress.

 

 

Teaching People to Hate Their Own Govt. Is at the Core of the Project to Destroy the Middle Class | Alternet

Teaching People to Hate Their Own Govt. Is at the Core of the Project to Destroy the Middle Class | Alternet.

This article from Alternet is very apt as the Republicans, now in control of the Senate, have begun their attack.  Cutting Social Security benefits, repealing “Obamacare”, wreakenig of regulations forbidding scientists from advising the EPA on their own work. This is a continuation of right-wing jihad against government.  A coalition of right-wing Christian fundamentalists and worshippers of the supposed “invisible hand” of  the market joined forces back then to eliminate everything that doesnot operate either for profit or for “God.”  Progressives must stop bickering and band together to fight this menace.

FEC Taking a Comments on Disclosure Laws

http://act.commoncause.org/site/MessageViewer?dlv_id=7387&em_id=3487.5

The Federal Election Commission is seeking comments on how to improve regulations governing disclosure of campaign contributions until January 15 (next Thursday). This is our chance to push for them to require full disclosure, which the public has a right to. With the DISCLOSE Act stalled in the Congress, FEC action is imperative and urgent. Please use the above link to find the  link to the appropriate FEC page.

In related news, according to Common Cause an anti-corruption ballot referendum passed in Tallahassee, Florida. According to represent.us, the margin was approximately 2 to 1. Finally, according to the Huffington Post, the anti-corruption act includes:

  • lower limits on campaign contributions
  • a citizen-funding system
  • an independent authority to investigate campaigns.

This is a major victory, and by all accounts it was won with a left-right coalition that actually included members of the Tea Party. Hopefully it is the first of many triumphs. Democracy, fairness, and decency demand it.