The NRA Can Only Be Stopped at the Ballot Box

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Have the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School changed the game? In the wake of the Parkland massacre that killed 17 children and educators, there’s no question the students have changed the national conversation. Survivors of this mass shooting have called “B.S.” on empty Republican pieties – rejecting “thoughts and prayers” and demanding that lawmakers take action to protect children’s lives from guns, instead of protecting their political futures from the wrath of the National Rifle Association.


But Republican lawmakers have so far acted as if nothing has changed. As Parkland survivors looked on in tears, the Florida House this week voted against even debating legislation to curb assault rifles – and then had the audacity to vote to declare porn a threat to public health. President Trump, meanwhile, has decided to champion NRA honcho Wayne LaPierre’s reckless proposal to arm teachers at school.

More from Rolling Stone

Posted by Libergirl



Court fines and fees: Another barrier to North Carolina’s ballot box

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How much money do you have to pay before you cast your ballot on Election Day?

Image result for court fees


For most North Carolinians, the answer might seem obvious: none. As the cornerstone of our democracy, voting is supposed to be fair, accessible – and free. But for an increasing number of North Carolinians, the right to vote can cost anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars.

How is that possible? The answer is because North Carolina denies the right to vote to people who have felony convictions but cannot afford to pay their court costs, even if they have satisfied all other probation requirements.

Thanks to an ever-growing system of mandatory fines and fees, those caught up in the criminal justice system can be forced to pay anywhere from $40 to hundreds of dollars a month for the cost of their court administration, jail fees, probation, electronic monitoring, drug testing, even community service – and more. If they are unable to pay, they face a penalty fee for nonpayment, increasing their fees and lengthening their probation period.

These costs have increased substantially over time. In 1999, the base cost a person would pay for a superior court date was $106. Today the base cost is $198 with the potential to grow to more than $10,000 in serious cases as additional penalties snowball. Even if they have served all the terms of their sentence, even if they have had no probation violations, low-income people often remain on probation simply because they are low-income. And in far too many North Carolina courts, judges will not conduct hearings on a person’s inability to pay, as is required by law.

More from NC Policy Watch

Posted by Libergirl

Stop Night Protests in Ferguson and Start Recalling City Leaders

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Image: The Atlantic

A very timely article about what needs to be the next step in Ferguson, RECALL the city leaders, the mayor… EVERYBODY that you can recall, RECALL them ALL.

I like how Chuck D put it in the rap song, Welcome to the Terrordome…

Watcha do gitcha head ready
Instead of getting physically sweaty
When I get mad
I put it down on a pad
Give ya something that cha never had

Posted by Libergirl



Ohio Republican Stands By Jab At Black Turnout “Machine”

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A top Ohio Republican Sunday stood by his comment that the state’s voting procedures shouldn’t be “contort[ed] to accommodate the urban — read African-American — voter-turnout machine.”
In an interview with BuzzFeed, Franklin County GOP Chairman Doug Preisse, a close ally of Governor John Kasich, said his comment — which provoked Democratic outrage — was simply straight talk.
Democrats “are trying to say that I had somehow consciously constrained hours for that purpose,” Preisse said. “No, I am saying the opposite, that I am asking the question, and I am indeed questioning how far this process of democratic, small ‘d’, democratic voting process should be contorted to favor a political operation. I don’t think we should go overboard in doing that.”
Preisse’s comment to today’s Columbus Dispatch were taken as a smoking gun by Democrats and progressives, who said — as one liberal Ohio blogger wrote — that Preisse had acknowledged an effort to “suppress black voters.”
Preisse scoffed at the criticism, telling BuzzFeed of a disputed voting plan put forth by Republican Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, “I believe it should be easy to vote, and I believe that under this plan it is.
“I believe that Republicans and Democrats of good will can have a difference of opinion, an honest difference of opinion here, but I also believe that there is no question that the forces of Obama and the other side of the aisle would love to just throw the barn doors open and have 24-hour voting and just go too far in the other direction,” Preisse said. “It seems to me we can have a reasonable discussion about this.”
Of Democrats’ early voting efforts, he said, “How far should the taxpayers be asked to go to accommodate that political operation? That’s where we’re having a difference of opinion.”
Preisse’s comments were unusual because they pointed directly to a rarely-mentioned reality in high-minded discussions about voting rights and voter fraud: raw political advantage. The Ohioan’s blunt remarks point to the calculus behind rule-making in intensely partisan states like Ohio: Getting your voters — but not the other sides’ voters — out to vote.
Saying that the actions he and other Republicans have taken in the state to limit weekend early voting from what it had been in the 2008 election are “clearly” not an effort to “retard voting rights and privileges,” Preisse said, “We have many options and many ways” that Ohioans can vote, “and early voting is one of them.”
Asked specifically about his quote regarding the “urban — read African-American — voter-turnout machine,” Preisse said, “I said I believe that there’s a line of how far that taxpayers should have to go to match a specific political operation, and that’s what I mean.”
The Ohio Democratic Party chairman, Chris Redfern, signaled that the party will make Preisse’s comments a rallying cry this fall.
“Doug Preisse is carrying his friend John Kasich’s water. Doug Preisse cannot walk back his racially charged comments directed at African-American Ohioans because it is what he believes,” he told BuzzFeed.
Regarding a directive from Husted issued this past week to set uniform hours for early in-person voting across the state, hours that did not include any weekend hours, Preisse said, “I was glad to see the Secretary of State make uniform the hours; I was not comfortable with hours that were not uniform across the state.” Noting that there are some evening hours included, he added, “I feel like that was a move in the right direction. How much farther should we go? Well, I’m comfortable with where we are.”
Redfern countered, “Kasich and Preisse know we have an extraordinary ground operation this year and the GOP wil do anything, including ignoring state law to undermine the will of voters. If early voting in Ohio is permitted to occur according to state law, more voters will turn out — something Preisse does not want to see.”
Preisse said that the Democrats’ turnout efforts would be successful under Husted’s plan for the elections in Ohio, independent of the weekend early voting issue, saying, “They’re going to have a successful voter turnout … that’s what they do, that’s what they’re supposed to do, and they’re good at it.”
He added: “It has been noted, too, that there are some places where they don’t have early voting at all. Compared to those places, it’s much easier to vote [in Ohio].”
Democrats, nonetheless, are not settling on Husted’s rules, with a hearing set for Monday morning for the removal of two county elections board officials in Montgomery County who voted to allow for weekend early voting in spite of Husted’s order.

By Chris Geidner/BuzzFeed Staff

Posted by The NON-Conformist

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