Tag Archives: United States

Voting is a Right NOT a Privilege ~~ The Struggle continues


votingTime to pass the Voting Rights Act, change redistricting rules and make it easier for ALL Americans to VOTE

Dear America

Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” -George Santayana (16 December 1863 in Madrid, Spain – 26 September 1952 in Rome, Italy) was a philosopher, essayist, poet and novelist.

 On March 7, 1965, hundreds of brave unarmed nonviolent women and men dared to March for African Americans right to vote.

The fact is that less than 1% of eligible Blacks could vote or register to vote.

A group of people organized a Peaceful Protest: The March would start in Selma then move on to the state capitol in Montgomery. However, as these peaceful protesters crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge to Montgomery the police, some riding on horses had, looking back, a predetermined  tactical intervention plan against protesters, mostly African Americans and as police proceeded to try and control the protesters  they quickly engaged in “excessive use of force.”  It became clear as protesters continued to march on that the excessive force was now an active use of police brutally; like the grotesque beating of a young black leader of nonviolent protesting #RepJohnLewis  who had his skull cracked open among other injuries; some of these officers actually surrounded and knocked out young protesters using their night sticks,  sprayed water cannons while others used tear gas. These kids had no weapons; they did NOT fight back, but showed courage and strength in the face of absolute brutal violence by an adversarial organization we are expected to respect or trust who are supposed to serve and protect citizens but that clearly was NOT the case.  We must never forget that some of our fellow  Americans died for our right to vote! In what was now an adverse harmful environment, students and those who believed voting was a right, quickly retreated while journalists and photographers became witnesses to the violence and suffering .

The brutal reaction by the police was not only caught on tape it forced then President Johnson,  once against civil rights programs as a Senator to call on Congress for equal voting rights for all on March 15.

SelmaMarch

The Voting Act of 1965 was signed into law on August 6; is a landmark piece of national legislation in the United States that outlawed discriminatory voting practices that had been responsible for the widespread disenfranchisement of African Americans in the U.S.

A day that started out peacefully quickly descended into an awful johnlewisbeatwithknightstickugly March of death for the right to vote called ,”Bloody Sunday”.

Now, some 50 years later, a new “Jim Crow” era has emerged with a major step backward in the fight for civil and voting rights. There are conservative states targeting not only African Americans but Senior citizens, first time voters, early voting, Students, low income, immigrants and the undocumented though Republicans call them (illegals) Dreamers;some born or brought to the US as youngsters all victims of circumstance now voting age. In addition, Governors from Republican controlled States are allowing election officials to purge voters, people without birth certificates were given limited or completely denied access to the voting booth failing to meet new voter ID regulations in time and were treated like possible (illegals). This  is the 21st Century; we should be on a progressive path toward equality for all not one that will re-engage folks in the act of racism or exclusion leading to suppressing participation in the election process. In 2017, Republicans tried to pass and or enforce new, even stricter voter ID legislation or influence their districts with strange redistricting rules and regulations.  While some judges … have struck down some of these bills that ultimately suppress the vote, it is clear the effort to shut people of colour out of the election process sadly continues.

We need to push back  on all attempts to suppress the right to Vote.

With so much at stake, it is time to stop sitting on the sidelines. If we are going to succeed, Conservative lawmakers NEED to hear our Voices.

We cannot turn back the clock on Voting Rights or the next generation.

Thank You for Taking Action

     Takeaction2

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Packing & Cracking ~gerrymander~ a repost and reminder


Elbridge Gerry (1744–1814), American statesman
Elbridge Gerry (1744–1814), American statesman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The information below is a history and time line regarding the Census and Gerrymandering or Packing & Cracking rules

In December 1975, the Congress passed Public Law (P.L.) 94-171. This law requires the Census Bureau to make special preparations to provide redistricting data to the 50 states no later than April 1 of the year following a census (so April 1, 2011, for the 2010 Census). P.L. 94-171 specifies that within 1 year of Census Day, the Census Bureau must send each state the small-area data the state will need to redraw districts for the state legislature.

P.L. 94-171 sets up a voluntary program between the Census Bureau and those states that wish to receive population tabulations for voting districts and other state-specified geographic areas.

Under this program, those responsible for the legislative apportionment or redistricting of each state may devise a plan identifying the voting districts for which they want the specific tabulations and submit it to the Census Bureau.

Beginning in 2005, the Redistricting Data Office of the Census Bureau met with state officials in 46 states. These meetings explained the timeline and programs available for the 2010 Census, providing states the time to prepare and allocate resources in advance of the census. The states also provided the Census Bureau with valuable feedback on census program planning.

The 2010 Census Redistricting Data Program is a five-phase program. During Phase 1 (2005–2006), the Census Bureau collected state legislative district boundaries and associated updates to tabulate legislative districts. This phase also included an aggressive 2010 Census communications plan, with visits to state capitals, to make sure the states were informed and prepared for the upcoming census.

Phase 2 (2008–2010) consisted of the Voting District/Block Boundary Suggestion Project (VTD/BBSP) in which states received TIGER/Line® shapefiles and the MAF/TIGER Partnership Software (MTPS) to electronically collect voting district boundaries, feature updates, suggested block boundaries, and corrected state legislative district boundaries. Both Phase 1 and Phase 2 are voluntary programs that include a step where the state verifies the submitted data.

Phase 3 constitutes the delivery of the data for the 2010 Census. The Census Bureau will deliver the geographic and data products to the majority and minority leadership in the state legislatures, the governors, and any designated P.L. 94-171 liaisons. Once bipartisan receipt of the data is confirmed, the data will be made available online to the public within 24 hours through the American FactFinder. For this census, the P.L. 94-171 data will include population counts for small areas within each state, as well as housing occupied/vacancy counts.

After the Census Bureau provides the data, the states will begin their redistricting. States are responsible for delineating their own congressional and legislative boundaries and their legislatures. Legislatures, secretaries of state, governors, and/or redistricting commissions carry out the process.  

Go to www.census.gov for the complete article …

For your information, wiki states, “Gerrymandering is effective because of the wasted vote effect.

The Etymology

First printed in March 1812, the political cartoon above was drawn in reaction to the state senate electoral districts drawn by the Massachusetts legislature to favour the Democratic-Republican Party candidates of Governor Elbridge Gerry over the Federalists.

The caricature satirizes the bizarre shape of a district in Essex County, Massachusetts as a dragon-like “monster.”

Federalist newspapers editors and others at the time likened the district shape to a salamander, and the word gerrymander was a blend of that word and Governor Gerry‘s last name.

Resources: www.Census.gov
 and Wiki
 

5 Things You May Not Know About Lincoln, Slavery and Emancipation – Sarah Pruitt


slavery29.8MillionSeptember 22 marks the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, in which he declared that as of January 1, 1863, all slaves in states in rebellion against the Union “shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.”
To commemorate the occasion, we invite you to consider some surprising facts about Lincoln’s views on slavery, and the complex process that led him to issue the document he later called “the central act of my administration, and the greatest event of the 19th century.
Depiction by Francis Bicknell Carpenter of Abraham Lincoln’s first reading of the Emancipation Proclamation, in July 1862. It hangs in the U.S. Capitol.

1. Lincoln wasn’t an abolitionist.  Lincoln did believe that slavery was morally wrong, but there was one big problem: It was sanctioned by the highest law in the land, the Constitution. The nation’s founding fathers, who also struggled with how to address slavery, did not explicitly write the word “slavery” in the Constitution, but they did include key clauses protecting the institution, including a fugitive slave clause and the three-fifths clause, which allowed Southern states to count slaves for the purposes of representation in the federal government. In a three-hour speech in Peoria, Illinois, in the fall of 1854, Lincoln presented more clearly than ever his moral, legal and economic opposition to slavery—and then admitted he didn’t know exactly what should be done about it within the current political system.

Abolitionists, by contrast, knew exactly what should be done about it: Slavery should be immediately abolished, and freed slaves should be incorporated as equal members of society. They didn’t care about working within the existing political system, or under the Constitution, which they saw as unjustly protecting slavery and slave owners. Leading abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison called the Constitution “a covenant with death and an agreement with Hell,” and went so far as to burn a copy at a Massachusetts rally in 1854. Though Lincoln saw himself as working alongside the abolitionists on behalf of a common anti-slavery cause, he did not count himself among them. Only with emancipation, and with his support of the eventual 13th Amendment, would Lincoln finally win over the most committed abolitionists.

2. Lincoln didn’t believe blacks should have the same rights as whites. Though Lincoln argued that the founding fathers’ phrase “All men are created equal” applied to blacks and whites alike, this did not mean he thought they should have the same social and political rights. His views became clear during an 1858 series of debates with his opponent in the Illinois race for U.S. Senate, Stephen Douglas, who had accused him of supporting “negro equality.” In their fourth debate, at Charleston, Illinois, on September 18, 1858, Lincoln made his position clear. “I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races,” he began, going on to say that he opposed blacks having the right to vote, to serve on juries, to hold office and to intermarry with whites. What he did believe was that, like all men, blacks had the right to improve their condition in society and to enjoy the fruits of their labor. In this way they were equal to white men, and for this reason slavery was inherently unjust.

Like his views on emancipation, Lincoln’s position on social and political equality for African-Americans would evolve over the course of his presidency. In the last speech of his life, delivered on April 11, 1865, he argued for limited black suffrage, saying that any black man who had served the Union during the Civil War should have the right to vote.

3. Lincoln thought colonization could resolve the issue of slavery.  For much of his career, Lincoln believed that colonization—or the idea that a majority of the African-American population should leave the United States and settle in Africa or Central America—was the best way to confront the problem of slavery. His two great political heroes, Henry Clay and Thomas Jefferson, had both favored colonization; both were slave owners who took issue with aspects of slavery but saw no way that blacks and whites could live together peaceably. Lincoln first publicly advocated for colonization in 1852, and in 1854 said that his first instinct would be “to free all the slaves, and send them to Liberia” (the African state founded by the American Colonization Society in 1821).

Nearly a decade later, even as he edited the draft of the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation in August of 1862, Lincoln hosted a delegation of freed slaves at the White House in the hopes of getting their support on a plan for colonization in Central America. Given the “differences” between the two races and the hostile attitudes of whites towards blacks, Lincoln argued, it would be “better for us both, therefore, to be separated.” Lincoln’s support of colonization provoked great anger among black leaders and abolitionists, who argued that African-Americans were as much natives of the country as whites, and thus deserved the same rights. After he issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln never again publicly mentioned colonization, and a mention of it in an earlier draft was deleted by the time the final proclamation was issued in January 1863.

4. Emancipation was a military policy.  As much as he hated the institution of slavery, Lincoln didn’t see the Civil War as a struggle to free the nation’s 4 million slaves from bondage. Emancipation, when it came, would have to be gradual, and the important thing to do was to prevent the Southern rebellion from severing the Union permanently in two. But as the Civil War entered its second summer in 1862, thousands of slaves had fled Southern plantations to Union lines, and the federal government didn’t have a clear policy on how to deal with them. Emancipation, Lincoln saw, would further undermine the Confederacy while providing the Union with a new source of manpower to crush the rebellion.

In July 1862 the president presented his draft of the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation to his cabinet. Secretary of State William Seward urged him to wait until things were going better for the Union on the field of battle, or emancipation might look like the last gasp of a nation on the brink of defeat. Lincoln agreed and returned to edit the draft over the summer. On September 17 the bloody Battle of Antietam gave Lincoln the opportunity he needed. He issued the preliminary proclamation to his cabinet on September 22, and it was published the following day. As a cheering crowd gathered at the White House, Lincoln addressed them from a balcony: “I can only trust in God I have made no mistake … It is now for the country and the world to pass judgment on it.”

5. The Emancipation Proclamation didn’t actually free all of the slaves. Since Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation as a military measure, it didn’t apply to border slave states like Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri, all of which had remained loyal to the Union. Lincoln also exempted selected areas of the Confederacy that had already come under Union control in hopes of gaining the loyalty of whites in those states. In practice, then, the Emancipation Proclamation didn’t immediately free a single slave, as the only places it applied were places where the federal government had no control—the Southern states currently fighting against the Union.

Despite its limitations, Lincoln’s proclamation marked a crucial turning point in the evolution of Lincoln’s views of slavery, as well as a turning point in the Civil War itself. By war’s end, some 200,000 black men would serve in the Union Army and Navy, striking a mortal blow against the institution of slavery and paving the way for its eventual abolition by the 13th Amendment.

Black History Month

We the People V Politics Party and Profit ~


mayorsagainstguns

In memory of all victims and or survivors at the hands of guns… Ask your member of Congress – What will it take?

Another day another School shooting!  Our hearts are broken and we all still keep offering prayers for all the students, teachers and thank staff for saving lives …and YES we should but as we all know thoughts and prayers are no longer enough! we need action on laws that are quite simple to implement and while the right keeps saying so …  no one’s gun is likely to be taken away unless of course it should be… due to a failed background check,domestic violence, mental illness, documentation stating so

Now, after the umpteenth tragic incident I find out that the rant below and the infographic above done in 2013 is now out dated, which is beyond sad beyond my understanding considering the number of deaths, injuries and life changing experiences from folks who are, were and continue to purchase guns. The new reports taken in June of 2015 were that about 52% of Americans want gun reform.  Now, in this year of 2018 at least 83% support criminal background checks. Sadly, we have Republicans who still take in a whole lot of money from the NRA and don’t seem to care or listen to “WeThePeople”  and that motto; One person One vote either no longer exists or is considered a joke to those leaning far right and while no one is trying to take guns away from anyone, maybe those who have mental health issues or violent tendencies should be not be allowed to obtain a weapon of any kind that can harm kill them or any one else. The GOP has used fear mongering for what seems like decades which obviously allows the killings and or massacres to continue … Honestly, are these the kind of people we want in Congress – what happened to Public Servants

Reports are that at least 90% of our population agrees that it is about time we have some #gunsafety laws.

Additionally, most of us lefties are sticking together ,even some members of the NRA are for background checks, but we need a few Republican members of Congress to put people ahead of the NRA, the mighty $$ as well as their NRA ratings and until folks do, I am reserving judgment on how republicans keep saying they need to change seriously. We all know the NRA is in it to win it for gun manufacturers while lefties are not just in this for victims and survivors but for common sense laws … the NRA is not too big to fail and the assault weapons ban could have stopped some massacres.

There are approximately 310 Million people in America about 5 Million of those are pro-gun folks… so, why can’t we do the reforms needed?

We all know illegal guns on the streets kill someone everyday though we must thank Wayne lapierre for going on camera and showing Americans just why …

I am against handguns … period. The incidents my family and friends have experienced have molded my attitude over the years, lest a narrow escape or two of my own. The thought of a teacher having or being forced to keep a handgun in the classroom just does not make sense. I am without a doubt completely against military style weapons because I do not think we civilians need to have them at all and I definitely understand how folks interpret the 2nd Amendment while disagreeing on attaching it to states’ rights. The fact is that the Gifford’s attack and all attacks afterward should have made us all sit up ,move into genuine outrage and take immediate action. We need to use the sadness with a determination to at least ban assault weapons, retrofit K-12 School buildings and act rationally about creating registries, better permit process, close the gun show loophole and in my opinion every state should be required to impose a state of the art background check.  While not an expert on the NRA, ALEC or gun safety, I do have a strong opinion and need to share information, newsletters and interesting articles that are meant to start a dialogue. I will admit cringing anytime members of Congress use states’ rights as their solution to what are clearly American issues and scream for Federal intervention.  We need Mayors, Governors and voters to stand up and speak out more in this era of trump

Most of us believe that Gun Safety laws impact all Americans, clearly what we have now not only needs to be reformed, but should  reflect  our 21st Century living, formed around the notion of common sense solutions like universal background checks.

Republicans … say one thing in front of cameras and continue to vote another on the floor of Congress


demsVrepub

yep, just another rant …

The 113th Congress is long gone,but it should be noted they were “in session”  or “at work” fewer days than constituents … the people they seem to keep saying depend on the government “tit” for “entitlements” then proceed to vote against them and their lives … some Republicans call “them” their constituents lazy, though some of those constituents continue to vote against their best interests? I still cannot understand this.  The nonsense continued with the 114th and 115th Congress and now here we are with the 116th Congress.  We the people, are being governed by a guy with no political experience; seemingly no sense of real loyalty to what most of us call #AmericanValues, doesn’t seem to be a true republican or a person who leans left, he has said a lot, done little though the executive orders he once hated when President Obama was in office are coming at #WeThePeople hard and a whole lot of policies will be doing some damage in the near future … btw, can somebody tell this to trump voters. The trifecta he holds, aka our 3 branches of government, is capable of and has decided slashing, burning, cutting our lives to shreds,stalled CHIP and holding DACA/Dreamers politically hostage, once calling them #incrediblekids now saying on every platform possible that they are no illegal criminals murderers, they hold secret meetings making deals lest we understand or accept that all of this talk is not only cheap … The truth is being manipulated and what most of us know as the truth has officially become known as  “alternative facts”  … sigh

It should make Americans all wonder if $175K for members of Congress is just too much for public servants that work less than 120 days as members of congress,led by Republicans. Thing is they seem to think the rest of us need 2 maybe 3 jobs, deserve less social services among some other stupid things like less immigrant families though reports are that the trump administration has requested foreign workers for maralago numerous times a year ..smdh

Yes, breathe in slowly and slowly release your breath … be still, then repeat the process when needed as insanity in the News, and Politics begins to try and make viewers accept the trump era in “alternative facts” land put on loop mode.  The idea that Americans should just trust someone in the highest office or a member of Congress on face value is a joke but when you catch their work that looks like “performance art” seeming not only like they believe what they are saying but assume that no one is paying attention to their behavior on the floor of Congress because they certainly act like we all have amnesia every time they get a chance to be on cable TV.

So, again … Congress, led by republicans continue to say one thing while in front of the camera are planning take downs in secret rooms tossing their title of Public Servant down the nearest sewer which makes you wonder how we will ever pass VRA, immigration reform and other bills For Americans when a good faith effort is kept off the floor of Congress because of political competition and poison pill amendments added.  There was a time when we would tell the Republican Party they need to be more inclusive because trust, respect and future votes are not seasonal or easily earned nor should they be. Now, the current republican party has many leaving stating this party is no longer worthy … due to white nationalism or something even worse.

The fact is, in this era of trump we have seen a whole lot of  divisive behavior which makes a left leaning voter wonder, can Republicans continue on this path, continue to  get away with so much and not pay for it in 2018 or the 2020 elections?  Okay, stop and take a deep breath as we watch this current government try to take our country to the extreme right and as  you listen to Republicans, they act; remember (act) like they plan to be in bipartisan mode but they have shown themselves to be less than trustworthy less than bipartisan and their votes … Please check any and all republican members voting records! This is proof of how they actually feel about constituents that cannot be denied or overlooked.

Republicans have been waiting for a trifecta that allows them to vote and pass bills without hearings or much debate. So, It is important that folks call your member of Congress because the next generation is counting on us because climate change is real,Women deserve reproductive rights, the voting rights act should be permanent, immigration reform and a real jobs act is the American path toward Stability not Austerity though Republicans seem to keep pushing or that 2007 financial collapse just didn’t impact them enough

I want America to wake up, push back, and demand all members of Congress do the People’s business

#Midterm2018Matters

Republicans see themselves as stewards of the purse strings in the House of Representatives, but it does not give them the right to toss #WeThePeople under the bus, who as taxpayers give them not only a salary but government healthcare?

Midterm2018 will decide what kind of life we all want our next generation to navigate through … please take the time to understand what and who is causing America to decline at this time  … The House holds the American #PurseStrings which is why Americans have been held hostage

Nativegrl77