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Unsanitized: Early Turnout Gives No Indication of the Likely Result

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 29/10/2020 - 9:07am in

This already blows away the 47 million who voted early in 2016, with a week and a day to go. And that tells you approximately nothing about the outcome of the presidential election or any other race on the ballot. Continue reading

The post Unsanitized: Early Turnout Gives No Indication of the Likely Result appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

Millions of Americans Voting Early in What Could be Record Election Turnout

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 17/10/2020 - 5:22am in

Election day is still weeks away, but a staggering 17.1 million voters have already cast their ballots either by mail or in person, according to data collected by Michael McDonald, a professor at the University of Florida who closely tracks voter turnout. Continue reading

The post Millions of Americans Voting Early in What Could be Record Election Turnout appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

More Than 10-hour Wait and Long Lines as Early Voting Starts in Georgia

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 15/10/2020 - 7:41am in

Voters began lining up outside polling stations in the predawn hours, some using their cellphone flashlights to help other voters fill out pre-registration forms. Continue reading

The post More Than 10-hour Wait and Long Lines as Early Voting Starts in Georgia appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

Cancel Culture: The Scourge of the Voter Purge

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 03/10/2020 - 10:10am in

Hundreds of thousands of voters have been struck from the voter rolls and they have no idea. There's no question that this attack on the voter rolls is affecting voters of color and young people. Asian Americans, African Americans, Hispanic voters are being removed by the hundreds of thousands from the voter rolls of America. And this could absolutely change the outcome of ... READ MORE

ACLU, GA Releases Palast Fund ‘Georgia Voter Purge Errors’ ReportState Likely Removed Nearly 200,000 Citizens from the Voter Rolls

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 02/09/2020 - 10:07pm in

ATLANTA – Today, the ACLU of Georgia released a report by the Palast Investigative Fund titled Georgia Voter Roll Purge Errors that concluded the State had likely removed in 2019 the voter registrations of nearly 200,000 Georgia citizens on the grounds... READ MORE

LaTosha Brown: They’re constantly skimming votesPalast in conversation with the co-founder of Black Voters Matter

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 29/08/2020 - 12:59am in

“We're seeing the same old problems that our community has seen in the past, which we know are all forms of voter suppression,” laments Black Voters Matter co-founder LaTosha Brown. “We've got to hold people accountable… And there's some people that have got to, not only be held accountable in the sense of being put out of office, but there are some people that should face some charges... READ MORE

Petition Started to Sack Keir Starmer as Leader of the Labour Party

There’s been outrage after Keir Starmer sacked Rebecca Long Bailey from her position on the shadow cabinet yesterday. Her crime was simply tweeting about an interview with the actress Maxine Peake in the Independent. Peake and RLB had condemned the training of US police by the IDF, who had taught them to keep suspects and protesters down by putting their knees on their necks. It was this hold that had killed George Floyd. RLB had begun her tweet by stating that systematic racism was a global issue, mentioning that the American cops were taught the hold from seminars with the Israeli security forces.

This outraged the Zionist fanatics and the Tories, like the Tory peer and Murdoch hack Daniel Finkelstein, John Rentoul, the keeper of the Blair flame in the Labour Party, and the noxious Dave Rich, who immediately declared that RLB was peddling an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory and demanded Starmer sack her. But it isn’t a ‘conspiracy theory’. It’s solid fact, as established and verified by Amnesty International. Mike in his piece about this disgraceful scandal has supported RLB’s statement through passages from Amnesty reporting that law enforcement officials from a series of American states – Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California, Arizona, Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Georgia, Washington State, and the police of Washington DC, have travelled to Israel for training. He has also reproduced a passage from the Jerusalem Post reporting that a city in North Carolina has actually banned training and other forms of exchange between their police and the IDF because of the IDF’s brutal repression and maltreatment of the Palestinians. He also points out that what RLB said was not anti-Semitic. She did not say Jews had taught the police the use of the technique. She had said the IDF. The two are not synonymous, no matter what Marie van der Zyl of the Board of Deputies wishes to claim.

Starmer, honouring his obligation to the Board after he signed their ridiculous and highly manipulative 10 pledges, has asked RLB to resign. This was angrily attacked by the peeps on Twitter, including Simon Maginn, Kerry-Ann Mendoza, Ash Sarkar, and Tom London. Even Owen Jones, who has supported the anti-Semitism smears, called it an absurd overreaction.

But as Mike himself has pointed out, Starmer has not sacked Rachel Reeves, the odious right-winger in the party who laid a wreath at the statue of Nancy Astor. Astor was the first British woman MP, but she was also a vicious anti-Communist and anti-Semite, who thought that Adolf Hitler was the right man for Germany and tackling both of these issues.

Mike has also reproduced RLB’s own series of Tweets explaining and clarifying her comments. She states that she put up an previous clarification of her comments, which had been agreed by Starmer, but was told to take it and her retweet down. This means that Starmer is using her Tweet as a pretext to get rid of her. It’s all part of his campaign to purge the Labour Party of the left, and anti-Semitism is just the pretext, not a real cause.

Long-Bailey’s sacking tells us all we need to know about Keir ‘double-standard’ Starmer and his racist Labour Party

In fact under Starmer Labour has allowed racism to go unpunished. But it’s the racism of his supporters against Blacks and BAME MPs, supporters and activists.

Zelo Street in its article also quotes the Middle East Eye, which states

“The Israeli police force has tried to distance itself from any perceived imilarities, issuing statements denouncing what happened and stating that its officers are not trained to use knee-to-neck techniques. But photographs taken as recently as March have shown Israeli forces using the same restraint on unarmed protesters just yards from the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City”.

The Street concludes

‘The training of US law enforcement officers by the Israeli military is not an “anti-Semitic conspiracy theory”. It’s not “5G level stuff”. No-one “blames Jews”. But this does enable pundits to look away from holding a catastrophically inept Government to account.

And it allows the Tories to get away with rather more blatant anti-Semitism. The kind that none of those bleating at Maxine Peake seem to notice. I’ll just leave that one there.’

See: https://zelo-street.blogspot.com/2020/06/maxine-peake-and-no-anti-semitism.html

Tony Greenstein, the long-time critic of Israel and Zionism, was so incensed by Starmer’s actions that he has put up an article that also proves very clearly that the training of American cops by the IDF is most definitely not a ‘conspiracy theory’ but solid fact. he has this quote from Neta Golan of the International Solidarity Movement.

“When I saw the picture of killer cop Derek Chauvin murdering George Floyd by leaning in on his neck with his knee I remembered noticing when many Israeli soldiers began using this technique when we were protesting in the West Bank sometime in 2006.”

He has also stated that Starmer’s support for Black Lives Matter is hypocritical, as the Israel lobby despises BLM because it also criticises and condemns the Israeli state’s maltreatment of the Palestinians. He provided more than ample evidence of this in an article he put up yesterday.

See https://azvsas.blogspot.com/2020/06/for-6-years-black-lives-matter-were.html

He also notes that this isn’t about attacking anti-Semitism. It is about defending the Israeli apartheid state and the bi-partisan imperialist foreign policy in the Middle East that Labour shares with the Tories. He states that a racist and imperialist cannot be leader of a socialist party, and has therefore set up a petition calling for Starmer to go. A link to it is in his article on RLB’s sacking at:

https://azvsas.blogspot.com/2020/06/its-time-for-starmer-to-go-israels-use.html

I think this link should also take you there if you put it in the search box.

http://chng.it/CJg7z8QNGY

I’ve signed it, as I agree absolutely with what Tony, Mike and Zelo Street have all said. This isn’t about anti-Semitism. It’s simply using the anti-Semitism smears to justify the unjustifiable – apartheid in Israel, and the smearing and purge of entirely decent, anti-racist people from the Labour Party in favour of racist red Tories.

If you feel the same, please consider signing Tony’s petition. Though I’m afraid that it may provide Starmer with more names of people he can purge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Christian Right, the Bostock decision, and the struggle to define religious freedom

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 26/06/2020 - 1:57am in

Tags 

Feature, georgia

When Trump appointee Neil Gorsuch was confirmed to the Supreme Court, the Christian Right celebrated. Now they’re wondering if they’ve been betrayed.

On June 15 the Supreme Court of the United States handed down a landmark decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, ruling that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination “on the basis of sex,” extends to sexuality, gender identity, and gender expression. Justice Neil Gorsuch, a young Trump appointee with a solid conservative background, wrote the 6-3 decision—leaving many right-wing Christians feeling betrayed and outraged.

“Bostock is as bad as you think,” reads the headline of one take published on June 19 in conservative evangelical magazine Christianity Today. The New York Times reported that Franklin Graham, president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, called June 15 “a sad day” and worried that the decision would “make it harder to defend our religious freedom, as far as being able to hire people of like mind.”

Readers will remember that Gorsuch filled the vacancy left by arch-conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, who died toward the end of Obama’s second term. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the unprecedented move of refusing to hold senate confirmation hearings for Judge Merrick Garland, the candidate named by President Obama. McConnell insisted instead on leaving the seat vacant until after the 2016 presidential election. The dubious Gorsuch appointment, in other words, was seen as a major victory for conservative Christians and Republicans.

What are we to make of Gorsuch’s seeming “defection,” and what are the implications of the SCOTUS decision for the 2020 election?

The U.S. Christian Right’s primary strategy to gain and maintain theocratic control over other Americans is to weaponize the concept of religious freedom. Andrew Seidel, a constitutional attorney who is Director of Strategic Response at the Freedom from Religion Foundation, explained that “the end goal is to make conservative Christians and Christian nationalists a special, favored class.”

In other words, the Christian Right wants the “right” to discriminate against anyone whose lifestyle or professed views conflict with white evangelical Christian thought. According to this view, a pastry chef can refuse a commission to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple because gay marriage conflicts with his religious beliefs; or an employer can refuse to cover contraception in their health coverage. Similarly, a pharmacist can refuse to sell a woman the morning after pill because his religious belief holds that life begins at conception.

In a sort of bait and switch, evangelical Protestants, traditionalist Catholics, and Mormons have, with significant success, attempted to replace a pluralistic understanding of religious liberty that is essentially in keeping with the vision of America’s founders, with a revisionist, Christian nationalist definition of religious freedom as the “right” of conservative Christians to dominate in the public square. This push has come along with the ascendance of a hypermasculine, patriarchal strain of evangelicalism that culminated in white evangelicals’ embrace of, and enduring loyalty to, President Donald Trump.

The point is neatly illustrated in another recent article from Christianity Today, in which evangelical political scientist Daniel Bennett argues in the wake of Bostock that all is not in fact lost for religious liberty, while positing a fundamental “conflict between LGBT rights and religious freedom rights.” Bennett’s conservative Christian framing shows that he (like most of his coreligionists) thinks of religious freedom as a zero-sum game. In the context of pluralistic democracy, however, religious freedom should be understood as a fundamental area in which to ensure equal accommodation in the public square. Bennett, of course, ignores the existence of LGBTQ Christians and straight Christian allies. To approach religious freedom democratically means to see it as intertwined with, and complementary to, LGBTQ rights, rather than pitting the two against each other.

There is legal precedent for a pluralistic conception of religious liberty. Frederick Clarkson, a vocal advocate for the liberal reclamation of religious freedom, points to the 2014 case General Synod of the United Church of Christ v. Cooper in arguing the point. In that case, a federal judge ruled in favor of progressive Christian clergy who had been barred by North Carolina state law from solemnizing same-sex marriages—despite their religious conviction that they should do so.

There are other legal precedents that could be used by right-wing Christians to support their definition of religious freedom. The 2012 Supreme Court case Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Employment Opportunity Division exempts religious institutions from anti-discrimination laws if the employee affected can be considered a religious minister. However, the case left much ambiguity around the definition of “minister,” and thus the “ministerial exception” is likely to be the site of future litigation.

Meanwhile, the Christian Right has managed to expand religious exemptions in other recent cases: in the 2014 case Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., for example, the Supreme Court ruled that a closely held corporation could be exempt from the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage requirement if adhering to that requirement would constitute a violation of the owners’ sincerely held religious beliefs.

These precedents in favor of religious exemptions did not stop arch-reactionary Rod Dreher, an adult convert to the Orthodox Church in America and senior editor at The American Conservative, from tweeting his alarm about the supposed threat posed by Bostock to churches’ tax exempt status. “Thanks to two GOP appointees—Roberts and Gorsuch,” Dreher tweeted, “churches and schools that discriminate against LGBTs stand at risk of losing tax-exempt status, per the Bob Jones ruling. Hard to overstate the magnitude of this loss for religious conservatives.”

But GOP operative Ralph Reed, an evangelical political organizer and lobbyist with a long history of fighting for socially conservative causes, sought to downplay the significance of LGBTQ rights victories to the Christian Right. Per the Washington Post, he said: “Religious freedom and abortion just rise far higher in the hierarchy of concerns of faith-based voters.” He even went so far as to state, “Ultimately seeing a reckoning on Roe vs. Wade looms so much larger in the psyche of the right that I don’t know that this is a de-motivator.”

We need not take either man’s claims at face value, as both are heavily interested parties and old hands at spin. But the overturning of Roe, which would do immense harm to women’s rights and public health, is well within the realm of possibility. Given the importance white evangelicals place on ending legal access to abortion, Democrats should assume high white evangelical turnout to vote for Trump in 2020. Nor can we be sure that Bostock means LGBTQ protections will be safe from further court challenges by right-wing Christians.

Imani Gandy, Senior Legal Analyst at Rewire.News, dismissed Dreher’s alarmist handwringing, saying she did not believe conservatives had “anything to worry about when it comes to losing tax exempt status.” She added, “Roberts expressly left open the question of whether or not the First Amendment or RFRA would permit discrimination against LGBT people if that discrimination is couched as a religious belief.”

Seidel agreed with Gandy, adding that we can expect to see further attempts to undermine the separation of church and state via legal battles over religious exemptions.

“That fight is coming to the court very soon, and I doubt we’ll be able to rely on Gorsuch and Roberts to do the right thing. In fact, I think that inevitable future question is part of the reason Gorsuch wrote such a clear opinion. No doubt that the text of the Civil Rights Act demanded this decision, but misguided and weaponized notions of religious freedom will allow the conservatives to walk back some of these gains later.”

Andrew L. Whitehead, coauthor with Samuel L. Perry of Taking America Back for God: Christian Nationalism in the United States, suggested that there is some truth to Ralph Reed’s claim that LGBTQ rights are not as urgent a concern for the Christian Right as they used to be. Public opinion has shifted on the issue, he said, pointing out that even “those Americans who most strongly embrace Christian nationalism have liberalized significantly. In 2007, 7 percent [of them] supported same sex marriage. In 2017, 25 percent did.”

Seidel was not so sanguine. As authoritarian Christians have framed it, “religious freedom” entails the “right” to discriminate against members of the LGBTQ community in as many areas as possible. “If they are able to convince this Supreme Court that the First Amendment guarantees a right for a religious believer to act on their belief, regardless of the law, they will have won,” said Seidel. He added: “It’s no wonder Reed cares more about that fight than the others. If they can redefine religious freedom—weaponize religious freedom—they will have a right that guarantees them substantial wins in every other fight.”

If America is to achieve a functional democratic future, the public must embrace a liberal vision of pluralism and reject the idea that religious freedom, properly understood, could ever be in conflict with the promise of equal rights for all.

 

The post The Christian Right, the Bostock decision, and the struggle to define religious freedom appeared first on The Conversationalist.

Georgia Voters Are Waiting Hours to Cast Ballots, in a Bad Omen for November

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 12/06/2020 - 2:33am in

Thousands of Georgians had their registrations put on hold and weren’t sure if they’d be able to vote. Some voters were wrongly flagged as non-citizens; others had their ballots rejected because poll workers told them they had the wrong ID. Hundreds of polling places were shuttered before the election, and other precincts had four-hour lines. Absentee ballots were rejected because of signature mismatches or other minor errors. Continue reading

The post Georgia Voters Are Waiting Hours to Cast Ballots, in a Bad Omen for November appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

The Long History of LinesWhy long lines are a key trick in the GOP's election fraud book

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 11/06/2020 - 8:23pm in

When the only way you can win is by depriving people of their vote, long lines are a feature, not a bug of GOP election strategy. It’s no coincidence that the worst lines tend to be in young, poor and minority neighborhoods — in others words places where people tend to... READ MORE

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