Sunday, November 16, 2014

Vote Suppression Tactics ~ by Diane Straub

This is a MUST READ>>"Statistician Nate Silver wrote that there was a nearly universal error in polls leading up to this election. Silver found that, on average, pre-election polls showed Democrats winning four percentage points more of the vote than recorded in the official final tallies in Senate races, and 3.4 percent in the gubernatorial ones.
But journalist Brad Friedman, who tracks vote suppression techniques state by state, has another explanation. Friedman told Al Jazeera that what Silver calls an error in polling may in fact be a reflection of the votes lost to partisan manipulation of the voting system. Friedman accounts for many of the so-called pre-election polling “errors” by examining the Democratic votes lost to Crosscheck and several other vote suppression tactics such as Photo ID restrictions, missing voter registrations and a shortage of paper ballots." (AlJazeera America)

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Friday, August 22, 2014


Although they deny it, the actions of the GOPpers reveals their spite for women. In the first six months of this year Republican state houses introduced 468 bills to regulate women's bodies. How many for men? Zero, nada, none. Period. Says a lot, doesn't it?! And health insurance pays for "boys'" blue erector sets, but not for women's contraception, some of which is needed to address serious health issues. THE GOP's preoccupation with women is nothing more than their intention to hold women down, making sure they pay for Eve's original "sin." As Sen. Nina Turner (D-Ohio) passionately declared at a pro-choice rally last year (at which point 700 similar bills had been introduced), "This isn't about one bill or about one state. It is about the unrelenting obsession with regulating a woman's womb. ... If [representatives] want to make intimately personal decisions about women's lives and their anatomy, I strongly urge them to go to medical school. But until then, stay out of a woman's womb!" Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Diana DeGette (D-CO), issued the following statement: “While the American people need Congress to focus on passing a continuing budget resolution funding all services and resources for the American people, House Republicans are more intent on focusing their efforts—and now our precious time—on limiting a woman’s access to contraception. This egregious attack on women’s health could result in potentially taking away heath services for millions of women and families. House Republicans’ pursuit of an extreme crusade against women’s health is bringing the federal government to the brink of a shutdown.” So please remember this come November. Have every person you know, especially the women, vote for Democratic. 

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014


What, at first blush, seems a mere political brawl turns out to be a legit case against Texas governor Rick Perry for "abuse of power" on two felony counts. Perry and his supporters would like this to be all about politics, but the facts don't bear that out. Note: the judge AND special prosecutor responsible for the indictment of Perry are both Republicans, NOT Democrats. The facts reveal Perry as the one who's in trouble for playing dirty, illegal politics. Here's the skinny. During Perry's reign as Texas governor, several state legislators, R and D, have been arrested on DWI charges. Yet none of them has been asked to resign or had a veto threat against their proposed legislation. Until now. The ONLY legislator/District Attorney asked to resign for a DWI was a Democrat, Rosemary Lehmberg. She happened also to be the ONLY person investigating Gov. Perry for crimes in office. (For the record, Lehmberg served her time for drunk driving, a serious crime.) But why did Perry never ask any previous legislator or DA to step down, except for Lehmberg? Because she heads the Public Integrity Unit investigating Gov. Perry for wrong doing. And he extorted her to resign or he'd veto all funding for her office and the committee she heads investigating him!! This is why the grand jury found Perry guilty on two felony charges regarding abuse of power. Regardless of what happens from here, the felony charges are on his record and his chances in 2016 as a presidential hopeful for the Republican Party have been all but eliminated.

Here's the link:

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014


 Even a cursory search for information regarding the Ferguson Police Department reveals startling evidence of a department with many examples of racism and violence toward its minority citizens. And the man who should be shutting all of this down and bringing those responsible to trial is Prosecutor Robert McCulloch of St. Louis County, MO whose jurisdiction includes the community of Ferguson. Anyone who's independent in their thinking would immediately see that McCulloch needs to recuse himself from the case pertaining to the shooting death of Michael Brown by policer officer Darren Wilson. McCulloch's bias in highly demonstrable. Accordingly, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will be in Ferguson to investigate whether Michael Brown's civil rights have been violated. The local good ol' boys police fraternity has had time to manipulate the evidence, so Holder will have to be on his toes, which we know he will. To date Prosecutor McCulloch has been conspicuous in his absence. He's taking a low profile strategy because of his known record of protecting local police instead of ensuring justice. His father was shot and killed by a black man, and many of McCulloch's family have or are presently serving in the police force or support services. So, he's known for never prosecuting cops. The citizens of Ferguson do not trust him. It would be a major mistake to let McCulloch lead the grand jury relative to this investigation. Holder's visit should address this lack of impartiality and objectivity on part of the prosecutor's office, which could have pressured the police to release the preliminary autopsy report which still hasn't seen the light of day. But he failed to do so. McCulloch failed to honor a recommendation from the U.S. Dept. of Justice which urged McCulloch not to release the Swisher Sweets cigarillo theft video because of repercussions, which indeed there were in the streets later that night. In conclusion, with the deplorable record of the Ferguson Police Department toward minorities and the highly questionable bias of the Prosecutor's Office, a Special Prosecutor needs to be appointed. And U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder needs to leave no stone unturned, lest the local yokels bury this travesty of justice under such a thick veneer of lies and deceit that the facts can never again be ascertained. 

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Saturday, August 16, 2014


The delay of public officials from the Ferguson Police Department was to elevate the alleged theft by Michael Brown to the level of alleged murder on the part of veteran police officer Darren Wilson. The crimes are not co-equal by any sense of the word. And trying to say the shooting was justified by the alleged theft, is to throw logic and justice out the window. Even though Brown had surrendered with his hands in the air, he was gunned down and left to die, with nobody checking on him according to an eyewitness. While stealing a couple of boxes of Swisher Sweets and shoving a store clerk is serious, it pales in comparison to killing an unarmed teenager trying to surrender. There is no excuse for this unnecessary death. We're still waiting for the official report on the shooting. The police department continues to drag its feet after the killing. The public demands answers. But the police stutter and stamper. Fiddling while Ferguson burns.

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Friday, August 15, 2014


Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ronald Johnson worked magic last night by respecting the residents of protest-torn Ferguson, still reeling from the murder of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. Progressively, the situation was getting worse as the white-dominated police force in a predominantly African-American community, continued to bulk up with war surplus militarized vehicles and weaponized CopBots. Instead, Capt. Johnson took a "people" approach, using the Golden Rule. He showed respect, and he listened to the people. He didn't bulldoze them, or erect a wall of CopBots between the leaders and the people. Instead, he clearly demonstrated he was both a citizen and a leader who was willing to walk with them and talk with them. And that he did. "We have to make sure we don't burn down our own house," he emphasized, in reasoning with the people. This morning he added, "This is not a black and white issue because we all have sons and daughters. And we do need to communicate better because you saw what communication did yesterday." This is an old wound. It's time to stop saying it is an old wound and close it for good." For once it's good for all of us to see a common sense, "people" approach to conflict resolution. Eye-to-eye trust building over zero tolerance. When respect is removed by propping up police in War Ready outfits, tensions escalate, leading to physical confrontations. What Capt. Johnson did was to show he trusted the citizens by removing the War Trappings and by walking in the street with the people. In a nation in which the Pew Research polls show 70% of blacks think police treat them worse than whites, Johnson's "cool under fire", was just what the doctor ordered. The patient is still sick, but its health is improving. This sterling example of courageous leadership by Capt. Johnson has illuminated the path for other communities confronted with similar circumstance. When situations are volatile, the last thing one needs is fearful overreaction by authorities, leading to violence. As Johnson concluded, "If our community falls back asleep then the wounds never heal." Thank you Capt. Johnson for setting your community on a path to healing and prospering for people of all color. 

(Tracy provided a link to the article that his photo meme and writing corresponds to:

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Saturday, August 9, 2014

THE OPEN STATES API by Laurel Davila

Tomorrow I'll be on Brass Knuckle Progressives Radio briefing you on this great application that you can download to help you become aware of the latest bills in your state that are affecting you.

You are also going to want to hear Congressional Candidate, Michael Cole, from Texas speak with Scott Henderson, the host of @BKPRadio; and get a great laugh with our funny James Finch (the Quantum Mechanic).

It all starts at 9:00 AM CENTRAL time, tomorrow morning, Sunday the 10th of August. Just click on the attached link anytime thereafter as the host immediately archives the show.

Here is some information about the Open States API:

"Whether your Capitol is just across town, over the river or 500 miles down the highway, the Open States app allows you to:

Identify your state representatives, find their contact information and explore district geography with Google Maps.
See voting records, bill sponsorships, committee assignments and campaign finance information for all elected representatives.
Follow any state bill on its way to becoming a law, from introduction through committee hearings, floor votes, passage and signing by the governor.
Read the latest policy news affecting your state from, an online publication of the Pew Center on the States.
Schedules and maps of the state house, in the few states that publicize this information
Sunlight Labs developed the app with support from the Minnesota Historical Society, and it runs on Sunlight Labs’ Open States API. Supported in part by the work of volunteers, the Open States Project collects and scrapes legislative data from state legislatures across the country and makes it available online in a unified, reliable, developer-friendly format. Learn more online at the Sunlight Labs blog, start contributing to the project here or follow @openstates on twitter for the latest news. Next steps include working on an Android version, building out bill text search, creating a public website for the data and continuing to adapt to changes in each legislature."

"Like the app, the Open States API is open source. NPR’s StateImpact project is already using the API to add legislative information to their online reporting, including in Ohio and Idaho. Recently, The Chicago Tribune used it to analyze the Illinois Pension Code as part of an in-depth investigation. Sunlight previously developed other mobile apps for monitoring lawmakers: Congress for Android and Windows phones and Real Time Congress for iPhone, as well as Sunlight Health which helps people make more informed decisions about medical care."