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Here’s where I try to explain the Voting Rights Act like we’re in 3rd grade Social Studies.

Allow me, as a super-regular person, to explain what happened for other super-regular people to digest.

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Now that the furor has died and warm feelings have passed because SCOTUS struck down DOMA, let’s rewind and talk about the VRA.  In light of the progress made on behalf of gays and lesbians, SCOTUS’ earlier ruling on the VRA is even more heinous and I’m going to try to explain it to you in five parts.

What did SCOTUS even rule on?
What’s the big deal with needing an ID to vote?
Does it matter where people vote?
What’s gerrymandering?
Does this even matter anymore?

I’m not an expert and all of this will be in simplest terms because the law isn’t my wheelhouse.  If this were Basketball Wives, I could really dig into the issue.  So allow me, as a super-regular person, to explain what happened for other super-regular people to digest.

In my opinion, part of the reason less people paid attention to the VRA was the fact that nobody really knows what it is.  Gay marriage is easily understood by a lot of people so the joy over DOMA’s demise far outpaced the outrage over the VRA.  That’s why I feel this information is necessary so we can all break it down together.

What did SCOTUS even rule on?

The Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965.  Between Reconstruction immediately following the Civil War and the VRA of 1965, blacks in most of the country were unable to vote due to a series of roadblocks specifically set up to target them.  Poor whites in many locales also felt the consequences of those barriers, but the focus was to keep blacks from voting.  If blacks couldn’t vote, they couldn’t elect people to take up their cause and would by default remain on the lower rungs of society.

SCOTUS ruled on the part of the VRA related to states that have to apply for pre-clearance before enacting voter legislation.  Southern states with a history of racial prejudice are allowed to make changes to their voting regulations but only if they receive the OK from the Department of Justice.  If Justice says, “No, Mississippi, you’re only making these changes so less black people can vote,” then Mississippi doesn’t get to enact those changes.

SCOTUS invalidated the list of states that have to apply for pre-clearance.  Technically, the rule is still on the books, that some states need to be pre-approved, but now there is no standard by which to choose those states.  As a result, it is now open season in the Deep South and southern states can make any changes they want without approval from Justice.

What’s the big deal with needing an ID to vote?

Many people around my age don’t really see an issue with needing an ID to vote because we’ve always assumed that it was necessary for everyone.  Older people hadn’t needed one previously.  Under today’s laws, first-time voters in most states who register by mail must present a photo ID, a copy of a current bill, or a bank statement.  In a few states, they recommend bringing some form of photo ID but it’s not expressly necessary in most locations.  Prior to 2006, no state required a voter to produce government-issued ID to vote.  You registered, got your voting card, and that’s what you used.  A lot of older people who’ve never had an ID and never needed one to vote are now forced to get one.  There are countless stories of older people in their 80s and 90s who’ve been voting for longer than our parents (or grandparents) have been alive who would now be required to obtain a photo ID for the first time in their lives.

11% of voting-age US citizens don’t have a government issued ID.  They wouldn’t be able to vote.  Of those 21 million citizens, the majority are young people, Hispanic, poor, and/or have not gone to college.  That’s a big swath of Democratic voters that Republicans are attempting to disenfranchise.

Also, IDs are not without cost in many locations.  Requiring someone to pay $25 to secure a photo ID just to vote is akin to the poll taxes which kept many poor blacks from voting prior to 1965 because they couldn’t afford to.  $25 doesn’t sound like a lot to most of the people reading this right now, but if you are dependent upon the government for your livelihood (and most likely a voting Democrat) and you budget your finances down to the cent, $25 will many times deter you from attempting to vote at all.  Additionally, factor in the process and cost to secure the necessary documents to get a photo ID (for example, an elderly woman born in rural South Carolina who now has to petition the state for her birth certificate) and you have a situation where people are paying time and money just to vote.

Republicans found a “solution” to a problem that never existed.  They claim voter ID laws will cut down on voting fraud when the overwhelming cause of voting fraud comes from absentee ballots and officials who try to change the voting results.  There have been less than 100 convictions for voter ID fraud over the past 5 years.

Does it matter where people vote?

The last presidential election showed a staggering number of people waiting in line for hours and hours to cast their vote.  Most of those people in line were minorities at their neighborhood voting location.

For an example of voting location changes struck down because of the VRA, we can look at Houston.  In one suburb, there were 84 voting places and they wanted to reduce the number to just 12, most of which were in white neighborhoods.  The location in the neighborhood with the highest percentage of white people was slated to serve 6,500 voters.  The location in the neighborhood with the highest percentage of minorities was slated to serve 67,000 voters.  Clearly the second location would have prohibitively long lines, causing many voters to stay at home or go to work because they couldn’t afford to wait all day to vote.  SCOTUS didn’t approve that scheme and that legislation died.

What’s gerrymandering?

Gerrymandering is the process by which voting district lines are re-drawn to capture certain demographics.  I’m going to try to explain it in the simplest terms.

This below is Square City and it’s standing in for any number of metropolitan areas throughout the US.  I’ve divided the city into four districts.  Red is where Republicans live and Blue is where Democrats live.  I did it this way to capitalize on the prevailing thought that most inner-cities have minority residents while all of the white residents have moved to the suburbs.

gerrymandering

In the first Square City example, you see the district is drawn simply and evenly with 4 identical sections.  Sections 1 and 3 will probably elect a Democrat while Sections 2 and 4 will probably elect a Republican.  Let’s say that statewide, Republicans control congress and they want to ensure that they keep a Republican majority.  Square City is an easy way to add more Republican representatives during the next election through gerrymandering.  They propose to redraw the voting districts this way.

gerrymandering2

Now, the inner city is all one section and the other three are Republican suburbs.  My example is super-simple.  In practice, Republicans have carved out some truly outlandish shapes in order to essentially rig future elections. Check out North Carolina’s 12th Congressional District that makes absolutely no sense at all.

nc district 12

After Obama won in 2008, the country’s Republicans fired up their constituents and won countless elections in 2010.  Gerrymandering became the hot topic and every piece of voter ID legislation was introduced by a Republican majority legislature aside from the state of Rhode Island.

Does this even matter anymore?

SCOTUS’ decision apparently rested on the fact that,  to quote Justice Roberts, “Our country has changed.“  They feel that the 60 years that have passed since the VRA more than makes up for the 100 years that passed between Reconstruction – when blacks were voted into office for the first time before the Klan and their intimidation tactics put a stop to that – and the 1960s.

Nice thought.  Racism is over.  Warm Fuzzies all around.

But.

The very same day SCOTUS came down with their decision, Texas said they would enact their voter ID laws (which reduce the acceptable forms of ID from 8 photo & non-photo categories to just 4 photo categories) and would re-start legislation to redraw many of their voting districts.  Texas’ previous attempts to do just that were denied by the justice department for being unfair to minorities.  Newly-minted national hero Senator Wendy Davis owes her seat to the fact that Texas was unable to redraw her district into a shape more favorable to Republicans.

Mississippi is now moving forward with their voter ID laws.  The same goes for Alabama.  Both states were denied by the Justice department under the very same parts of the VRA they just struck down because the country has apparently changed.  North Carolina didn’t even bother to petition the Justice department to approve their voting legislation because they knew it would be denied.  With the new ruling, they’re going full steam ahead with a plan to enact new voter ID rules, reduce early voting (which disproportionately affects African Americans working for hourly wages), and eliminate Sunday voting (which led directly to Obama’s election, as massive numbers of black churches organized their congregations to vote after church).  This would have been deemed racist under the VRA, but now they can do it.  Since the year 2000, 74 different pieces of proposed voting legislation were denied by SCOTUS under the VRA…but Justice Roberts says the country has changed since 1965.

In a nutshell, the Supreme Court just turned the clock back to the 1960s and the South is beginning to do all they can to place as many restrictions on voting that are legally possible, restrictions that are primarily put in place to keep minorities from voting.  Congress can take up the matter and draft new legislation, but considering they can never agree on anything, the outlook isn’t that bright.

I advise you to call your 90 year old great grandmother on social security and tell her to start collecting her coins to buy an ID so she can vote in the next election.  That is, unless the South can think of some other creative ways to keep Democrats away from the polls.  Let’s hope dogs and fire hoses don’t come back in style.

 

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Sarah Palin’s death panels are finally here.

And they have nothing to do with Obamacare.

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Flattening the curve is the strategy we were told to implement to keep from overwhelming the healthcare system. I’m not sure when that messaging got lost, but the death rate in Italy was so high because they didn’t have the ability to treat all of the infections, not because the virus itself was so much more deadly. When covidiots respond to articles about the uptick in infections with statements about how low the death rate is, they are correct. The death rate is lower in these hotspots than we expected, because we have the ability to treat the sick.

What happens when there is no more space to treat them? The bodies start to pile up, and that’s the next uptick we’ll see, because hospitals have run out of beds and doctors have to make on the spot decisions about who receives care and who doesn’t.

You have ten people who will die if you don’t save them. How do you pick which three? Doctors are not equipped to do that and no one should have to pick and choose who dies because the government failed to protect the public. The government decided it was more important to put people back to work and the government has decided these are the talking points they’re going to arm their supporters and coronvirus deniers with:

  1. The number of infections is up because we’re doing more testing.
    The percentage of infections is up because more people are getting sick. If one in ten tests came back positive and now one in four come back positive, that has nothing to do with the number of tests you’re doing and everything to do with the rate of infection, which is sky rocketing.
  2. The death rate is low because it’s mostly young people getting sick.
    Don’t young people know old people who will then get sick? And what happens when those young people need medical care and there’s no space for them?
  3. Most people recover.
    Just because I’m going to recover from something doesn’t mean I want to get it in the first place. I can recover from a broken leg, but it really really hurts, so I avoid breaking my leg. Some people are sick for weeks. Some have lasting neurological deficits. Some people still can’t breathe well. And a lot of those people recover because there was space in the hospital.

Since we are running out of space, despite what any covidiot tells you, we have to decide who gets treatment and who doesn’t.

Enter, the death panels. Along with a further dumbing down of political discourse, Sarah Palin left us with the phrase “death panels” which she coined herself in a Facebook post back in 2009 where she railed against Obamacare.

The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society

(cont. Facebook)

The Right took it and ran with it. The Affordable Care Act was especially heinous because sick people would have to parade themselves in front of paper pushers who would decide whether they live or die. They would have to beg bureaucrats for the right to receive healthcare. Every time the Republicans try to repeal Obamacare, these death panels are mentioned again, panels that have never come to fruition.

Until now. If Sarah Palin defines a death panel as a group of people deciding how productive someone will be to society, then Arizona’s coronavirus scorecards are death panels. They grade people based on their general health and life expectancy. The sicker you are, the older you are, the higher your score, and the lower your priority on the care list.

az1

az2

Flattening the curve would’ve prevented this. Arizona is a Republican state with a Republican governor and they have rolled out the dreaded death panels in response to a situation they created themselves. In the 11 years since Sarah Palin gave the GOP their main talking point against Obamacare, we haven’t seen a death panel of any sort. In the 4 months since COVID-19 hit our shores, we have a formal death panel in Arizona and instant death panel calculations going on in ICUs across the country as doctors grapple with the reality that they cannot treat every patient who needs life-saving measures.

But at least people can go to Applebee’s.

 

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A rapist will be elected. Now what?

You, me, all of us — we will elect Donald Trump or Joe Biden in November and they’ve both assaulted women, so let’s talk about that.

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I’m not here to discuss the validity of Tara Reade’s accusation against Joe Biden. Everything I’m about to say is based on the premise that you believe Biden assaulted Reade in 1993 and that you believe Trump assaulted his first ex-wife. Even if you didn’t believe either, it’s evident from our own eyes that they are both creepy old men who have issues with physical boundaries, personal space, and consent to being touched, but that’s a separate conversation.

I’m also not here to discuss any anti-Biden conspiracy theories about mainstream media covering up for Biden, or Times Up ignoring Reade out of an allegiance to Biden. By the same token, I’m not here to discuss any pro-Biden conspiracy theories about Reade being mentally unstable, a Russian agent, or a Bernie supporter looking to take down Biden. None of that is relevant to where I’m coming from which is…

You, me, all of us — we will elect Donald Trump or Joe Biden in November and they’ve both assaulted women, so let’s talk about that.

If you’re a Trump supporter (you shouldn’t even be here but), you’re going to elect a rapist. If you’re a Biden supporter, you’re going to elect a rapist. If you are abstaining because you refuse to vote for a rapist, you are going to elect Donald Trump — a rapist. A third party vote or lack of a vote isn’t a “vote for Trump,” but it’s a vote that didn’t go to the only person who can kick Trump out of the White House. We can go back and forth all day about your individual morality and how you feel about physically casting a vote for a rapist, but we’re not going to get anywhere.

I just want to understand what you want to happen.

I already know what you don’t want. You don’t want Biden to be President, and that is your reason for refusing to give him your vote. That part I am clear on, but actions have consequences, and nothing happens in a vacuum. First, let’s come to an agreement about what the consequences are.

Some Abstainers (that’s what we’re calling you now) say Trump will win no matter what. The voting machines won’t work, the polling stations will be closed and no one can vote, the votes will be lost, the votes will be miscounted, the GOP won’t accept the results if the votes don’t go Trump’s way, etc. Valid concerns. Not completely unfounded. But by no means a certainty. All of those things will probably happen, but that doesn’t mean Trump wins. All of those things can happen with an outcome where Biden does take office if there are enough votes and enough support to overwhelm the shenanigans of the other side.

If you are 100% certain that the GOP will steal this election from Biden, but you were not 100% certain the GOP would steal it from Bernie, you’re lying to yourself in this emotional moment because your disappointment over Bernie dropping out is forcing you to justify not voting at all. If your vote is not helping the rest of us to overwhelm the dirty tricks planned by Trump and his party, then you are contributing to his win.

So, back to my question: What do you want to happen? I’m not asking about what you’re resigning yourself to see happen, which seems to be a Trump victory. I’m asking what do you actually want. Who do you want in the White House between Trump and Biden? Saying neither is a cop out, because you are answering from a place of “Bernie should be President,” not from a reality where that’s not possible.

If your answer is Trump, be honest about why. If you really think Trump is a better President than Biden would be, you need to be able to answer for that opinion when someone asks. Tell them you think Trump is smarter, that he’s a better diplomat, that he champions better policies, that the team he has around him is more qualified and more equipped than the team Biden will build. If that’s how you feel, own that.

If your answer is Trump because you think the country will be more likely to accept a progressive savior if we spiral further into chaos and corruption, own that. You need to be able to tell poor people, marginalized people, and immigrants that you want their lives to get worse so that the country may potentially do an extreme course correction into a fundamental shift in the way the American government works. Tell gay people you want their marriages dissolved. Tell women you want them to be forced to have babies. Tell Muslims you want them to be fired or kicked out of their housing. Be honest about wanting to see those things happen in order to give a better opportunity for a revolution to really take hold.

Those are the only two options. Either you think Trump is a better option or you think he’s such an awful option the American public will be begging for a radical savior in 2024. If both of those options are terrible, then your vote has to go to Joe Biden.

Electing Trump is electing a lot of things. You’re electing two more Supreme Court judges. You’re electing A LOT of federal judges who will continue to reshape the legislative system across the country for a generation. You’re electing four more years where the GOP can further erode the democratic processes that already make it hard to elect liberals. You’re electing stress. Will he botch another response to a natural disaster? Will he trade more allies for dictators? Will World War III start because of a tweet?

Electing Joe Biden is electing a new education secretary, a new health secretary, a new PRESS secretary that we can trust. You’re electing a Supreme Court that won’t repeal Roe v Wade and federal judges who don’t think corporations are people. You’re electing normalcy for the millions of people who are just exhausted and you’re electing a cabinet that can support, guide, advise, and carry the burden of running the country for a man who is the wrong person for the job.

I’m so frustrated that I live in a country where people voted for Joe Biden. Placing blame at “the Democratic Party” or “the Party Elites” sounds good, but it’s inaccurate. More people voted for Joe Biden. There was no conspiracy. No superdelegates. No rigging. No backdoor deals. It’s April, and Bernie Sanders dropped out of a race he was losing due to having less voters show up for him because he wanted y’all to have as much time as possible to get used to the idea that Joe Biden has to become President over Donald Trump.

“The same party who said Donald Trump is a rapist wants me to vote for Joe Biden who is also a rapist.”

Yes. There’s no easy way to dance around that. Yes. And it makes me sick. A diverse field of highly qualified candidates has come down to a handsy old man with dementia who has been failing at running for President for 30 years. I am SICK of this ridiculous country and its endless variety of ill-informed voters making all of us suffer.

“We’re no better than them if we replace one rapist with another!”

I don’t need to be better than them. There are no points and no scorecard and no prizes. I don’t need bragging rights. The moral weight of voting for a rapist who will improve lives for millions of people is lighter than the moral weight of voting for a rapist who will make life more difficult for millions of people.

“What about rape victims? What are you telling them?”

I, a rape survivor, see a rapist in the White House. He’s been there since November 2016. I hate that this country elected him. I hate that Democratic voters across the country have chosen another rapist to succeed him. I would love to be able to clear the incredibly low bar of “did he rape anybody?” before we install a new leader but we didn’t. I can get stabbed in the shoulder or I can get stabbed in the eye. The guy offering a hug has left the room, so which knife hurts less.

Look. It’s April. We have to vote in November. There are a lot of weeks between now and then where emotions can subside and cooler heads can prevail. Hopefully some of you Abstainers will see the error of your ways and pick the lesser of two evils, but between now and then, we don’t really need to do this over and over. It won’t change the options presented to us and it won’t make the situation more palatable. If we work together we can find the next candidate and make sure THIS is the worst election we EVER have to experience, but four years is a long time. Be prepared to support the vision of however you’ve decided the next four years should look.

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Mayor Pete’s Millennial Resume

Mayor Pete is essentially running for President the way a Millennial would apply for an office job: here are my real qualifications but how can I re-word and slightly exaggerate them on my resume to impress Human Resources?

America doesn’t have an HR department tho.

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How do you get a job in today’s climate? The first step is the resume. Not only do you tailor it to the job you want, but you might exaggerate a little here and there. Receptionist becomes Executive Assistant. Head Cashier becomes Assistant Manager. And knowing a smattering of words in a few languages becomes speaks eight languages.

In a country where a huge portion of the population is firmly against learning even the most basic phrases in Spanish because [MAGA accent] “we speak English in ‘Murrkka,” you wouldn’t think a boring white guy bragging about his linguistic talents would be an advantage to securing any political position, but it’s just the kind of thing that would impress someone without being threatening. He’s not a dreaded SPANISH-speaker trying to woo the Mexicans by offering them our excellent healthcare system and wondrous selection of minimum wage jobs. He’s MULTI-lingual, which means he’s super smart and he’s seen the world. He speaks NORWEGIAN, after all, so he’s gotta be pretty daggum intelligent, right?

Let’s be clear: I could not possibly care less about Norway or how many languages a potential candidate for President of the United States can speak. I don’t care if Pete can speak Norwegian. I care that he says out of the eight languages he allegedly speaks (not just knows a little bit of here and there, but speaks) Norwegian is one of his best. If this is his self-described best of anything I don’t need to see more. He’s mediocre, a liar, or both. Either his very best is unimpressive and rudimentary, and/or he lied about this being his best. Whatever your interpretation, it disqualifies him from being the nominee.

Mayor Pete is just a lump of nothing. Speaking eight languages is a weird kind of brag you use to impress Midwestern white people with your personal brand of intelligence they can neither relate to nor check up on. There’s no Norwegian population in South Bend to check him on that. There’s nobody there who speaks eight languages. It’s something he exaggerated early on in Indiana and he can’t walk back the lie now that he’s on the national stage, forced to impress a whole country.

It fits in with his pattern of behavior. Knowing some phrases in multiple languages became “speaks eight languages.” Having dinner at some Black restaurants in South Carolina became “partnered with local businesses.”

Pete Buttigieg is working hard to convince black voters that they should support him. To do this, he’s promoting his “Frederick Douglass Plan,” which he describes as “a comprehensive investment in the empowerment of Black America.” That’s from an op-ed that Buttigieg wrote last week for The State, a local newspaper based in Columbia, South Carolina, in which he writes: “That begins with entrepreneurship, and our campaign has proudly partnered with local businesses like Diane’s Kitchen in Chester, Atlantis Restaurant in Moncks Corner and the Fair Deal Grocery on Charleston’s Eastside.”

There’s one major problem with the strategy though: apparently those businesses are unaware that they’ve partnered with Buttigieg.

[Diane Cole of Diane’s Kitchen] ultimately told the campaign, “It sounds like you’re saying that I am your business partner. I’m only going to accept that you all stopped in while you were campaigning in South Carolina and I welcomed you all.”

The story was the same with Atlantis Restaurant. The Buttigieg campaign held an event at the restaurant in January, but owner Wendell Varner didn’t learn that the campaign claimed they were in a partnership until ABC News contacted him. Varner said, “It’s a little disheartening to say that—that they would say that we have a partnership with them when we don’t.” The Buttigieg campaign responded to that statement by insisting that Atlantis Restaurant said it was “proud to partner with Mayor Pete in January.” Varner then replied to ABC News again to stress that he was in no way partnered with Buttigieg, saying his relationship with the campaign went no further than “they paid us to have an event at our restaurant.”

(cont. GQ)

Mayor Pete is essentially running for President the way a Millennial would apply for an office job: here are my real qualifications but how can I re-word and slightly exaggerate them on my resume to impress Human Resources?

The problem for Pete is, America’s HR department is us, and we can spot the bullshit in real time thanks to the Internet.

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