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In Baltimore Ex-Felons Rock the Vote

Not sure there are enough ex-felons in the City of Baltimore to change the traditional political fault lines, but it at least is a beginning in restoring the rights to a group of folks who may be able to build the foundations of a new life after incarceration.

Tearing another piece of that New Jim Crow down so beloved by Republicans as a means to suppress voters of color.

In Baltimore, ex-felons cherish newfound right to vote

On the November night in 2008 when the nation elected its first black president, wild celebrations broke out in west Baltimore. But when Perry Hopkins jumped up from the steps of the Chinese takeout where he was sitting and tried to join the party, he was quickly put in his place.

“Somebody looked at me and said: You got a record, you can’t vote. You ain’t got nothing to do with this, you can’t claim this,” Hopkins recalled. “And it hurt.”

A wiry, intense 54-year-old, Hopkins has been barred from voting thanks to an extensive criminal history that he attributes to a past addiction problem. “I’ve done five years three times, and four years once, so I’ve got roughly 20 years on the installment plan,” he said. “I’m not proud of it, but it’s the truth.”

Of being disenfranchised, Hopkins said: “I felt like my hands were tied behind my back and I was being beaten.”

Now that feeling is gone. On Thursday, Hopkins cast his first votes ever in Maryland’s presidential and mayoral primaries. (He won’t say for whom he voted.) And as an organizer for Communities United, a local community group, he rounded up scores of his neighbors — many of them also former felons — and drove them in a van to the polls, too. “Hey, come vote!” Hopkins was shouting to anyone who would listen Thursday as he stood at a busy intersection, loading up another van with people.

In February, prodded by a grassroots campaign by Communities United and other voting rights and civil rights groups, Maryland restored voting rights to people with felony convictions as soon as they’re released from prison — re-enfranchising an estimated 40,000 predominantly African-American Marylanders. Previously, they’d had to wait until they had completed probation or parole. Democratic lawmakers overrode a veto by Maryland’s Republican governor to push the measure into law. Communities United says it’s registered about 1300 new voters since the law passed.

The move was perhaps the biggest victory yet for a nationwide movement to scrap or weaken felon disenfranchisement laws, which shut nearly 6 million Americans, disproportionately non-white, out of the political process.

Reginald Smith, who was in prison for 14 years after voting at an early voting site for the first time “in a long time.”

On Friday, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffeannounced an executive order that re-enfranchises more than 200,000 felons, a move that could boost Democrats in the crucial swing state this November. Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin last week signed a law that softens that state’s felon voting ban. And a ruling by the Iowa Supreme Court, expected imminently, could dramatically reduce the number of crimes that lead to disenfranchisement there.

In Maryland, opponents of the change argued that it makes sense to require former felons to complete their full sentence — meaning probation or parole — before getting their rights back. But several of the newly re-enfranchised who Hopkins ferried to the polls Thursday said emphatically that the right to vote was itself a powerful spur toward reintegrating back into society.

“Not being able to vote was hindering me from actually being considered as a full citizen, and it was hindering my whole rehabilitation process,” said Reginald Smith, moments after voting for the first time in decades. “Because I was still being punished for something that I already served time for.”

“Being able to vote, it just makes me feel that much more positive about myself,” said Robert Mackin, 54, shortly before he cast the first ballot of his life. (Who did Mackin plan to vote for? “I sure know it ain’t gonna be no Trump.”)…Read the Rest Here…

 

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Interview With Angela Davis On Current Election

Angela Davis, one of those historical figures from the Civil Rights era who is still around and making news.

Why Activist Angela Davis Isn’t Endorsing Any Candidate For President

“We need a new party,” Davis declared.

Revolutionary activist Angela Davis is not impressed with the current roster of candidates running for president.

Davis — whose work has always taken a critical look at issues of race, gender, prisons and politics — spoke with Democracy Now! in an interview posted Monday and explained why she is not endorsing a candidate.

“I don’t endorse,” Davis told Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman. “I believe in independent politics. I still think that we need a new party, a party that is grounded in labor, a party that can speak to all of the issues around racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, what is happening in the world. We don’t yet have that party.” Watch a full video clip below:

Davis condemned the “fascist appeal” of Donald Trump as well as his failure to outright denounce the endorsement of David Duke, the white supremacist and former leader of the Ku Klux Klan.

“The Ku Klux Klan, of course, evokes the racist, terrorist, violent history of—associated with the era following slavery up to the present,” Davis said. “The extent to which Donald Trump was beating around the bush, seemingly in an effort not to alienate those who might support the Klan today, is an indication that he is helping.”

For decades, Davis has been regarded as a radical activist, freedom fighter and feminist icon who has consistently spoken out against many of America’s ills. Davis has always been passionate about ending oppression in all its forms and fighting for the abolition of prisons. It is a position fueled by her own experience spending 16 months incarcerated after being placed on FBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted List on false charges 50 years ago.

Davis’ profound activism has helped to distinguish her as leading black revolutionary figure. Many present-day Black Lives Matter activists are inspired by her accomplishments and she said she shares a strong appreciation for their work, too.

“I think it’s really wonderful that Black Lives Matter activists are participating in this electoral period in this way, forcing candidates to speak on issues about which they might not speak,” Davis said.

Davis said she admires the ways in which activists today have demanded attention in the current election cycle, particularly as it involves calling out candidate Hillary Clinton on past comments she made referring to at-risk youth as “superpredators” and demanding she acknowledge the repercussions of her support for the 1994 Crime Bill, which sent a disproportionate number of black men and women to jail.

“It seems to me that if she’s interested in the votes of not only African Americans and people of color, but of all people who are progressive and attempting to speak out against the racism of over incarceration, she would simply say, ‘I was wrong then,’ that ‘superpredator’ is a racially coded term,’” Davis said. “It’s so interesting that she tends to rely on a kind of universalism that prevents her from acknowledging the extent to which racism is so much a force and an influence in this country.”

While Davis said Clinton is reluctant to address racism, she said she also believes her opponent Bernie Sanders suffers from certain limitations, too. When it comes to Sanders, Davis said she believes he engages in “a kind of economic reductionism” that prevents him from fully understanding and relaying information that will “enlighten us about the persistence of racism, racist violence, state violence,” Davis said.

“It seems that he does not have the vocabulary that allows him to acknowledge the role and the influence that racism has played historically,” she added. “He thinks that economic justice will automatically lead us to racial justice.”…Read the Rest Here

On the last I think Davis is wrong. First – there is no way to eliminate racism. Second, economic justice goes a long way in fixing the most pernicious results of modern racism, and destroys the infrastructure which supports it. Which is kind of interesting because this was why back in the 60’s she advocated communism. The fundamental root of communism being an economic system.

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2016 in Giant Negros

 

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Cook County Attorney Who Fixed Laquan McDonald Case Thrown Out By Voters

Even the voters in Cook County figured out she was dirty…

Crooked AG for Cook County…Gone!

BOOM! Attorney who bungled Laquan McDonald case loses re-election bid

After criticism for alleged mishandling the shooting death of Laquan McDonald Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez went down in her election Tuesday night. McDonald was the 17-year-old Chicago boy who was shot 16 times as he walked away from officers with a 3-inch knife. The video footage of his death was withheld while Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel ran for reelection. Alvarez too was seen responsible after waiting 13 months before filing charges against Officer Jason Van Dyke who shot McDonald.

Alvarez was also blamed for declining to file charges against officers who fatally shot a total of 68 people in the last seven years.

Alvarez’s opponent Kim Foxx had nearly 58 percent of the vote to Alvarez’s 29 percent before Alvarez conceded the race at 9 p.m. CDT.

“We are obviously very disappointed,” campaign manager Mike Carson said according to DNAInfo. “This was a hard-fought campaign.”

Opponents to Alvarez started a Twitter the hashtag #ByeAnita demanding she resign from the post. The movement was led by young black activists who used the direct action in the Black Lives Matter movement for the election. The group didn’t endorse an opponent, and they were just in opposition to Alvarez, spending a mere $1,000.

“I have been criticized that I wasn’t a very good politician and that’s probably right,” Alvarez said, “and that’s probably why I stand before you tonight.”

“Not a good politician”? How about a lousy human being.

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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How Obama’s Supreme Court Pick May Turn the Election

One of the most frustrating things about the Obama Presidency is the unwillingness or inability to deal from a position of strength against the far right. Issue comes up…Obama caves. Issue comes up…Obama caves.Issue comes up…Obama caves. Often before the issue is even joined in any substantive debate.

As such I view with great trepidation the potential selection of Nevada Republican Governor Brian Sandoval. I would find it very hard to vote for someone who put yet another Republican on the Court to potentially re-establish the 5-4 majority.Further, any decision to do so impacts the candidacy of Hillary Clinton more than Bernie Sanders worse than that of Bernie Sanders in that she has tied her campaign in close alignment with Obama’s Administration. Another Republican on the court means the support and continuation of the mass incarceration policies set forth by Bill Clinton which have devastated black low income neighborhoods, and no structural realignment of the court in any significant issue relative to the well being of Minority citizens.

I’m sorry, but I can’t see any possibility in voting for – and I’ll appropriate a Republican term here…A DINO.

Obama weighs Republican for Supreme Court

President Barack Obama is considering appointing a moderate Republican to the Supreme Court, a source close to the process said on Wednesday, but leaders in the Republican-led Senate held firm to their threat to block anyone he nominates.

The source said Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, a Republican and former federal judge, was among the possible candidates.

As governor, Sandoval has taken a traditional Republican stance in support of gun rights, but his more moderate views on social issues, such as abortion rights, could make him an attractive choice for the Democratic president.

A 52-year-old Mexican-American, Sandoval was appointed a judge by Republican George W. Bush, Obama’s predecessor, before being elected governor in 2010. He abandoned his state’s legal defense of a same-sex marriage ban before the Supreme Court declared such bans unconstitutional last year.

The Feb. 13 death of long-serving conservative Justice Antonin Scalia created a vacancy on the nine-seat court and ignited a political fight. Republicans are maneuvering to foil Obama’s ability to choose a replacement who could tilt the court to the left for the first time in decades. Scalia’s death left the court with four liberals and four conservatives.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced on Tuesday the Senate will not hold hearings or vote on any Supreme Court nominee until the next president takes office in January 2017, following the Nov. 8 presidential election. Republicans hope to win back the White House then.

The Senate must confirm any high court nominee, but McConnell remained unswayed even with word that Obama was considering the Republican Sandoval for the job.

“This nomination will be determined by whoever wins the presidency in the fall,” McConnell said.

Senator Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Judiciary Committee that would hold any confirmation hearings, concurred, saying, “It’s the principle, not the person.”

The White House said it was hoping for a meeting with Grassley and his committee’s top Democrat, Patrick Leahy. A McConnell aide said McConnell was trying to schedule a meeting with Obama to reiterate his opposition to any nominee…

Some liberal groups expressed alarm that Sandoval would be considered. Charles Chamberlain of the group Democracy for America called it “downright absurd” that Obama would risk his legacy by appointing “another anti-labor Republican” to an already pro-big business Supreme Court.

Sandoval opposed Obama’s healthcare law, but opted to expand his state’s Medicaid health insurance program for the poor under the measure, breaking from a number of Republican governors who refused to do so.

He expressed support for bipartisan immigration legislation that passed the Senate in 2013 before dying in the House of Representatives amid Republican opposition.

In 2013, Sandoval vetoed legislation to require background checks on all Nevada gun sales. Last year, he signed a law backed by the National Rifle Association that expanded the defenses for justifiable homicide and repealed a local ordinance that required handgun registration…Read The Rest Here

Demo Yellow Donkey

Yellow back Donkey Award!

 

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DeRay for Mayor!

I think the bright young leaders of the BLM Movement are about to get a lesson in politics, and intractable problems… Einstein once said – “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” I sincerely hope that if DeRay wins, the experience of there being no short term or easy solutions doesn’t end his desire to change…

 

DeRay Mckesson files to run in Baltimore mayoral race

In a surprise move, civil rights activist DeRay Mckesson jumped into the already crowded contest for Baltimore mayor Wednesday night, shaking up the Democratic field minutes before the deadline to file.

“Baltimore is a city of promise and possibility,” the Black Lives Matter member told The Baltimore Sun. “We can’t rely on traditional pathways to politics and the traditional politicians who walk those paths if we want transformational change.”

He said he planned to release a platform within a week. He said it would include a call for internal school system audits to be made public.

Mckesson was the 13th and final candidate to jump into the primary race. In deep-blue Baltimore, the Democratic primary has long determined the winner of the general election.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has declined to run for re-election. Leading candidates include former Mayor Sheila Dixon, state Sen. Catherine E. Pugh, City Councilmen Carl Stokes and Nick J. Mosby, lawyer Elizabeth Embry and businessman David L. Warnock.

Mckesson, 30, a Baltimore native and former public school administrator here and in Minnesota, is part of a team called Campaign Zero, which seeks to end police killings in America. The group wants to end “broken windows” policing, increase community oversight of police and limit use of force, among other goals.

Mckesson has gained widespread attention in the protest movement that began in Ferguson, Mo., and came to Baltimore last year to demonstrate against police brutality after the death of Freddie Gray. He has nearly 300,000 followers on Twitter.

He has met with top White House officials and presidential candidates in recent months to discuss civil rights. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called him a “social media emperor.”

In recent months, Mckesson has been living in North Baltimore.

Dixon, the front-runner in the Democratic primary, said Wednesday she had not heard of Mckesson. She noted there are less than three months to go until the election, and said she wouldn’t be distracted.

“We all want the best for Baltimore,” she said. “There are 84 days left. I’m staying focused.”

Recent polls showed Dixon leading the Democratic primary, followed by Pugh and Stokes.

Mosby, who has been doing well among younger voters, welcomed Mckesson to the race. “I welcome anyone to the race and look forward to the discussion about building a better Baltimore,” he said. “I have seen the best and the worst of Baltimore and so far I am the only candidate for mayor to offer a comprehensive plan to tackle Baltimore’s toughest challenges.”

The crowded Democratic field means a candidate could win the April 26 primary with a small fraction of the vote.

Sean Yoes, the host of the “First Edition” radio show at Morgan State University’s WEAA station, said Mckesson’s candidacy would “represent a departure from business as usual.”

But he added that Mckesson is likely not well-known among the older African-American women who have long decided Baltimore’s elections….More here

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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Farrakhan Unloads on the Trumpazoid!

Terrorists in the Middle East are using Trumps racism to recruit new bombers and terrorists in the Middle East and America.

Minister Louis Farrakhan is just reflecting what more than a few people think

Farrakhan: A President Trump Would Take America Into ‘The Abyss Of Hell’

“When you get leadership that is not rooted in justice, then they begin to make the people just like themselves,” he went on. “Be careful, America. You’re headed into the abyss of hell, and if you make a mistake in choosing your leaders, maybe you’ll go there faster.”Besides comparing Trump to biblical villains and claiming he’ll take the country to Satan’s realm, Farrakhan also asserted that the mogul’s father was a criminal who was allowed to pass wealth onto his son because they were both white.

“White folk are allowed to be criminals and pass on money to their children to be clean,” he stated.

 

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2016 in Domestic terrorism, The Clown Bus

 

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Judge Joe Brown Released on Contempt Citation

Judge Joe Brown who was charged with “Contempt of Court” in Memphis – was released after 4 hours on “Personal Recognizance” despite a sentence of 5 days…

Here, Brown discusses aspects of the case, and why the tribunal actually has no authority.

A take on things from Advise News, an independent YouTube Channel

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2015 in Giant Negros

 

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