Tag Archives: voter disenfranchisement

Katherine, Kenneth and Ken: Three Ks make KKK

Gov. Jan Brewer, left, pauses to answer a question, as she is joined by Secretary of State Ken Bennett, right, and Attorney General Tom Horne after signing the canvass on the recall election results on the defeat of state Sen. Russell Pearce during a brief ceremony in Bennett's office at the Arizona Capitol, Monday, Nov. 21, 2011, in Phoenix. It was the first recall election of an Arizona legislator, setting the stage for successful challenger  Jerry Lewis to take office. Lewis defeated Pearce in the Nov. 8 recall election in a Mesa legislative district.

Associated Press photo

Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett is a Mormon and a co-chair of fellow Mormon multi-millionaire Mittens Romney’s presidential campaign in Arizona. The Repugnican Tea Party traitor Bennett (photographed above in November with Repugnican Tea Party Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who initially appointed him to his post) says that there is a possibility that he will remove Barack Obama from Arizona’s November ballot because of lingering “questions” over Obama’s U.S. citizenship. Do the “tea party” traitors really want a rematch of the Civil War?

In late 2000, it was good enough for the Repugnican Tea Party traitors to block a recount of Florida’s presidential votes and to have the right-wing “justices” on the U.S. Supreme Court crown George W. Bush as president, even though Al Gore had won not only the popular vote, but the state of Florida as well.

(In order for Gee Dubya to “win” the pivotal state of Florida, it was awfully helpful for him to have his brother Jeb as Florida’s governor and also to have the state’s secretary of state, Katherine Harris, in his pocket as well. Harris served not only as her state’s chief elections official, but she served as co-chair of her state’s committee to elect Gee Dubya as well. No conflict of interest there!)

In 2004, Repugnican Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, among other things, made damn sure that Repugnican-heavy precincts had plenty of voting booths but that Democratic-heavy precincts had too few, making Democratic voters (or would-be Democratic voters, anyway) wait in line for hours.

Just like his mentor Katherine Harris, Kenneth Blackwell also was co-chair of his state’s committee to “re”-elect Gee Dubya, even though he was the state’s chief elections officer. Unshockingly, with the help of Blackwell, Gee Dubya “won” the pivotal state of Ohio in 2004, giving us four more years of his unelected rule.

Now comes the Repugnican Tea Party secretary of state of Arizona, Ken Bennett, who initially was not elected, but who initially was appointed to his post by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer after former Arizona Secretary of State Brewer ascended to the governorship when Democratic former Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano stupidly left the state to become Barack Obama’s secretary of “homeland security” and to leave Borg queen Jan Brewer in charge. (Arizona’s constitution provides that the state’s secretary of state becomes governor in the event of a vacancy in the governorship. Arizona has no lieutenant governor.) 

Reuters reports that Ken Bennett, a Mormon, “is Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s campaign co-chairman in Arizona.”

No shock there, right? This is a pattern that we’ve seen.

But Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennnett is talking about the possibility of his removing incumbent president Barack Obama from Arizona’s November ballot altogether.

Why bother to stop the vote (re-)counting?

Why bother to suppress the Democratic or Democratic-leaning voters, such as by falsely labeling them as felons (as Katherine Harris did) or by making them wait in line for hours to be able to vote (as Kenneth Blackwell did) or by making them show state-issued ID cards in order to be able to vote (as the legislatures of the red states are doing or are trying to do)?

Just remove the Democratic candidate from the ballot altogether!

Clearly, Ken Bennett is a fucking political genius.

Bennett says that he has received some e-mails from constituents, you see. Constituents who are “concerned” that Muslim socialist Barack Hussein Obama is not a U.S. citizen.

Not e-mails from anti-democratic, white-supremacist fascists. No. E-mails — and we all know that all e-mails, by definition, are credible and respectable — from concerned citizens. Concerned. Citizens.

So let’s see. Let’s run the logic of this:

Billary Clinton wanted to be president of the United States of America very badly. Repugnican Tea Party fossil John McCainosaurus also in 2008 wanted to be the next prez. Maybe not as badly as Billary did, but: Do you really fucking think for one nanosecond that if there had been any actual problems with Obama’s qualifications to be U.S. president, neither Billary nor the McCain-Palin camp, with millions of dollars at their disposal, would have discovered this fact through their opposition research? And prevented Obama from continuing in his quest for the Oval Office?

The birther dipshits have failed in the court system, too. Notes Wikipedia:

Although Obama was confirmed as president-elect by Congress on January 8, 2009, and sworn in as president on January 20, 2009, litigation continued into his presidency. Numerous individuals and groups have filed state or federal lawsuits seeking to have Obama disqualified from standing or being confirmed for the presidency, or to compel him to release additional documentation relating to his citizenship.

By mid-December 2008, at least 17 lawsuits had been filed challenging Obama’s eligibility in states including North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Hawaii, Connecticut, New Jersey, Texas and Washington. No such suit had resulted in the grant of any relief to the plaintiffs by any court. All of the cases have been rejected in lower courts. Three post-election suits were dismissed by the Supreme Court of the United States. [Emphasis mine.]

The U.S. Supreme Court coronated George W. Bush as president but won’t touch the birther bullshit.

This fact also speaks volumes.

But here comes Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett — who, as well as helping out Mitt Romney in Arizona even though Bennett is the state’s chief elections official, according to the Los Angeles Times also has his eye on Arizona’s governorship in 2014 — saying, according to the Times, that he hasn’t ruled out the possibility of removing Obama from Arizona’s ballot if the state of Hawaii does not meet his demands regarding Obama’s birth certificate. Reports the Times:

Asked if he would keep Obama’s name off the state’s 2012 ballot if Hawaii fails to fulfill his request, Bennett said: “That’s possible. Or the other option would be I would ask all the other candidates, including the president, maybe to submit a certified copy of their birth certificate. But I don’t want to do that.”

So, to recap: Neither Billary nor McCainosaurus disputed Obama’s American citizenship during the 2008 campaign. The right-wing, president-selecting U.S. Supreme Court has refused to touch the matter of Obama’s citizenship. And Arizona’s Ken Bennett remains the only chief elections official of any of the 50 states to try to make Obama’s citizenship an “issue” at this time. And he certainly is the only state’s chief elections official who has raised the specter of removing the incumbent president from the November ballot altogether.

In light of all of this, three things need to happen:

  • The state of Arizona, the South Africa of the Southwest, needs to be (continued to be) boycotted for its backasswards, white supremacist/racist bullshit, such as its blatantly unconstitutional “breathing while brown” legislation, its blatantly white supremacist infamous Sheriff Joe Arpaio*, and for its secretary of state, who, along with Katherine Harris and with Kenneth Blackwell, we now can induct into the Chief State Elections Officials’ Hall of Shame.
  • Federal legislation needs to be passed that prohibits any state’s chief elections official from participating in any political candidate’s campaign, even just on paper. This is a no-fucking-brainer. You cannot have a fair election when the top elections official has a horse in the race. Subordinate state elections officials also should be prohibited from being active in any political campaign that their elections office oversees. Otherwise, it’s a blatant and anti-democratic conflict of interest. 
  • The actual democracy- and freedom-loving residents of Arizona need to recall Ken Bennett. In November they successfully recalled the architect of the state’s “breathing while brown” legislation (a.k.a. SB1070, which the state’s legislature passed in April 2010), former Arizona state Senate President Russell Pearce (who is yet another fucking Mormon). They can recall Bennett, too.

And, of course, should Bennett actually remove Barack Obama from Arizona’s ballot – which is, I think, unlikely, and the threat of which I believe most likely is just his political ploy to get the white-supremacist/racist vote – the federal government would need to intervene forcefully in such a blatantly anti-democratic violation of a state’s citizens’ voting rights.

And we real Americans would need to consider the need to pay Arizona a visit with our torches and pitchforks, because this bullshit will not stand, and this bullshit is the stuff of which civil wars are made.

P.S. Fun Ken Bennett trivia! Wikipedia notes that in 2006 Bennett’s son, Clifton, pled guilty to sexual battery, specifically, to having rectally violated at least one fellow minor:

A 2006 plea bargain involving [Bennett’s] son, Clifton, became controversial after several parents of victims accused [Bennett] of exerting undue influence to affect the case. In what a county attorney described as a summer camp “hazing ritual” gone wrong, Clifton [Bennett] and another man inserted a broomstick into the rectums of at least 18 boys in over 40 separate incidents.

Ultimately Clifton [Bennett], only 17 years old and a minor, pled guilty to one count of aggravated assault. Clifton was sentenced to 30 days in jail and three years’ probation. [Democratic] Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard said he “had questions about the handling of the case,” but that his office had no authority to intervene. Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk defended the plea bargain and accused the news media of misrepresenting the issue.

A nut usually doesn’t fall far from the tree, does it?

And why is such sadism apparently so prevalent within the Mormon cult, such as how the 18-year-old Mittens Romney led a band of thugs to commit assault and battery on a young gay man? Romney called his forcible cutting of the young gay man’s hair a “prank,” but that isn’t a “prank” — that is assault and battery, a crime — and today, it would be classified as a hate crime.

Mormons are evil.

*Reuters notes that “In March, Maricopa County Sheriff [Joe] Arpaio declared Obama’s birth certificate a forgery following an [“investigation”] by a volunteer posse, acting at the request of conservative [“tea party”] activists in the Phoenix valley.” Of course, such a federal matter is not within any county sheriff’s jurisdiction, but white supremacists like Joe Arpaio, who is in deep shit with the feds for his office’s blatantly racist mistreatment of Latinos in Arizona, come to believe that they are omnipotent.

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Repugnican Indiana secretary of state found guilty of felonious voter fraud

FILE - This June 8, 2011, file photo shows Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White in Indianapolis.  White faces voter fraud charges Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012, in a case that could decide if he remains as the state's top election official. Prosecutors claim White fraudulently used his ex-wife's address on his voter registration form in the May 2010 primary when he actually had a condo elsewhere with his fiancee. They also allege that he collected his Fishers Town Council salary after moving out of that district. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)

Associated Press photo

Repugnican Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White (pictured above in June 2011) today was found guilty of felonious voter fraud. Gee, could it be that the true face of voter fraud in the United States of America is not brown-skinned and brown-eyed?

For all of the right-wing, democracy-hating traitors’ viral lies about rampant voter fraud being committed on the left — in order to make it more difficult for likely Democratic voters to vote by passing voter-suppression legislation because of this supposed rampant voter fraud on the left — the worst enemies of a fair and untainted democratic process always have been on the right.

Think Repugnican Katherine Harris, the former secretary of state of Florida, who made damn sure that George W. Bush “won” that pivotal state in 2000, even though he lost it, and how she not only was the state’s top elections official, but c0-chaired the state’s committee to elect Gee Dubya at the same time.

Think ditto for Repugnican Ken Blackwell, the former secretary of state of Ohio, who made damn sure that George W. Bush “won” “re”-election in that pivotal state in 2004 — even though Blackwell also as the state’s top elections official also was a co-chair of the state’s committee to “re”-elect Gee Dubya.

Now, think Repugnican Charlie White — the secretary of state of the state of Indiana who has been found guilty of, of all things, felonious voter fraud. (Harris and Blackwell also are, in my book, felons, but many if not most such felons never see the inside of a prison cell because they never are convicted because their status as elitists protects them from being subjected to the criminal justice system, which is only for those of us who don’t have money and power.)

Reports The Associated Press today (emphases are mine):

Indianapolis — Indiana’s top elections official could lose his job and his freedom after jurors convicted him of multiple voter-fraud-related charges [today], leaving in flux the fate of one of the state’s most powerful positions.

Republican Secretary of State Charlie White has held on to his office for more than a year despite being accused of lying about his address on voter registration forms.

A Hamilton County jury found White guilty of six of seven felony charges, including false registration, voting in another precinct, submitting a false ballot, theft and two counts of perjury. He was acquitted on one fraud charge.

White expressed no outward emotion as the verdict was read, and later said outside the courtroom: “I’m disappointed for my family and the people who supported me.”

It wasn’t immediately clear what would happen to White’s elected office. He has resisted calls to resign from Democrats and Republicans, including Gov. Mitch Daniels, but state law bars anyone convicted of a felony from remaining in office.

White’s attorney, Carl Brizzi, said he will ask the judge to reduce the charges to misdemeanors because his client has no criminal background and has a long record of public service. [Bullshit — a felony is a felony, and to let White off the hook with a misdemeanor or misdemeanors is to say that voter fraud committed by a state’s top elections official is no big deal.]

Daniels announced [today] he had appointed White’s chief deputy, Jerry Bonnet, as interim secretary of state.

“I have chosen not to make a permanent appointment today out of respect for the judge’s authority to lessen the verdict to a misdemeanor and reinstate the elected office holder,” Daniels said in a statement. “If the felony convictions are not altered, I anticipate making a permanent appointment quickly.” …

The jury verdict came after a weeklong trial in which White, who had vigorously protested the charges in hearings before a state elections panel, presented no defense.

Prosecutors said he used his ex-wife’s address instead of a condo he had with his fiancée because he didn’t want to give up his $1,000-per-month Fishers Town Council salary after moving out of that district. He faced seven felony charges, including voter fraud, perjury and theft.

White, 42, has said the charges ignored a complicated personal life in which he was trying to raise his 10-year-old son, plan his second marriage and campaign for the statewide office he won that November. He said he stayed at his ex-wife’s house when he wasn’t on the road campaigning and did not live in the condo until after he remarried. …

No sentencing date was set. …

Republican special prosecutor John Dowd expressed satisfaction about the verdict.

“We believe it was about someone who violated the law and cheated the system — and gamed the system,” Dowd said. “And, obviously, the jury thought the same way.” …

During his closing arguments, assistant special prosecutor Dan Sigler Jr. argued that White knew that he was committing voter fraud but did it anyway for political power.

“If we aren’t going to enforce election law against the secretary of state of Indiana, who are we going to enforce it against?” Sigler said.

Indeed.

Where was the right-wing criminal James O’Keefe’s hidden camera, I wonder, when the right-wing, white male Repugnican Indiana secretary of state was committing voter fraud?

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Winds of change are blowing leftward

Dare I be hopeful?

The right wing’s second wind seems to have run out of steam already, and the winds of — dare I say? — change are blowing leftward. Let me count the ways:

The Repugnican-Tea-Party controlled Arizona state Senate just shot down some more anti-immigrant legislation, dealing Grand Dragon — er, state Senate President Russell Pearce a blow to his pink baby-boomer face.

This additional mean-spirited, white supremacist, racist, xenophobic legislation among other things would have challenged U.S. citizenship by birth (which is provided for by the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution) and would have required public schools to out the children of illegal immigrants and hospitals to out patients who are illegal immigrants.

Boycotts work, apparently. Arizona state senators, in shooting down the further racist, xenophobic legislation, noted the detrimental effect upon Arizona’s economy by last year’s passage of Pearce’s woefully misguided S.B. 1040.   

Repugnican Tea Party Gov. Scott “Dead Man” Walker is popular within the Repugnican Tea Party — but among the Wisconsin electorate, upon whom his political fate in the state actually rests, um, not so much.

Oh, and today a Wisconsin judge issued a temporary restraining order against Walker’s union-busting legislation from taking effect.

Reports The New York Times today:

A judge issued a temporary restraining order [today] that prevents Wisconsin’s new law cutting collective bargaining rights for public workers from taking effect, at least for now.

The decision, issued by Judge Maryann Sumi of the Dane County Circuit Court, temporarily bars Wisconsin’s secretary of state from publishing the controversial law, one of the procedural requirements for it to come into effect in the state.

Publication had been expected late next week, but Judge Sumi’s ruling delays that until at least March 29, when she plans to hold a full hearing on a lawsuit that questions the validity of the collective bargaining law based on the speedy manner in which it was carried out earlier this month….

Um, yeah, anything done as quickly and dirtily as the Repugnican Tea Party traitors in Wisconsin’s state Senate rammed through their union-busting legislation — and anything done against such a backdrop of public outcry — is probably illegal as well as unethical and immoral.

And the Times notes that the judge “was first appointed to the court in 1998 by Tommy Thompson, a Republican former governor, then elected in 1999 and 2005.” (Emphasis mine.)

Politico reports today that for the first time in the poll’s history, a Washington Post/ABC News poll shows that a majority of Americans — 53 percent — support same-sex marriage. The poll backs up a recent Democratic poll that put the national level of support at 51 percent, Politico notes.

Right now, same-sex marriage is legal in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and the District of Columbia. It’s coming to your state soon.

The pundits more and more  are calling President Barack Obama’s re-election in November 2012 more or less a foregone conclusion.

While Obama is a weak president, a Bill Clinton carbon copy, and while I resist the lesser-of-two-evils “argument,” quite admittedly what the Repugnicans are offering up is much worse than is another four years of Obama: such jewels as union-busting (and anti-environmentalism) in the name of job recovery; attempting to destroy national treasures like Planned Parenthood and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in the name of reducing the federal budget deficit (while the sacred cows of the bloated military-industrial complex and the too-low tax rates for the rich and the super-rich — the real causes of the federal budget deficit — go unaddressed); and blaming “illegals” and other minorities — and labor-union members — for the nation’s economic collapse when it is the still-unprosecuted Wall Street crooks who drove the economy into the fucking ditch.

Less than a full three months in power after the mid-term elections, Repugnican Tea Party traitors in the U.S. House of Representatives and in some of the states (like Wisconsin), drunk on power, already shot their political wads in their stunningly politically tone-deaf political overreach. Promising to aid the economy, they instead have focused on trying to achieve their right-wing wet dreams, such as union-busting, outlawing (or at least severely restricting) abortion, continuing to make political piñatas out of “illegals,” keeping same-sex marriage illegal in most states, and yes, attacking National Public Radio.

But in a rapidly diversifying United States of America, the electorate is resisting continued rule by stupid white men. That’s the good news.

The bad news?

Well, what do you do if the voters are rejecting your agenda? If you are of the Repugnican Tea Party ilk, you do your best to fix the elections.

Reports Yahoo! News recently:

If some GOP lawmakers get their way, it could be a whole lot tougher for people across the country to cast a ballot in the upcoming 2012 presidential election.

Boosted by major electoral gains in state legislatures nationwide in the 2010 campaign, Republican lawmakers in 32 states are pushing measures that would require citizens to show a state identification or proof of citizenship to vote.  Meanwhile, in New Hampshire, GOP lawmakers are proposing new limits on college students who vote in the state, potentially eliminating a key base of electoral support for Democrats in the state ahead of the upcoming presidential election.

As the Washington Post’s Peter Wallsten writes, the measures have set off a partisan battle over voting rights across the country, with Democrats accusing Republicans of trying to suppress voters, including young people and minorities, who would cast their ballots for President Obama and other Democratic candidates next year.

In New Hampshire, Republicans are pushing to end rules that allow same-day voter registration in the state, which has often provided key swing votes for candidates from all parties in the state. State GOP lawmakers are also proposing new limits on students, including a bill that would allow them to vote in college towns only if they or their parents had established permanent residency in the state.

Some GOP lawmakers in New Hampshire have billed the measures as an attempt to crack down on voter fraud in the state — but recent remarks from the newly elected GOP state House speaker have suggested otherwise.

In a recent speech to a tea party group in the state, House Speaker William O’Brien described college voters as “foolish.” “Voting as a liberal. That’s what kids do,” he said, in remarks that were videotaped by a state Democratic Party staffer and posted on YouTube. Students, he said, lack “life experience” and “just vote their feelings.”

GOP lawmakers in the state have distanced themselves from O’Brien’s remarks.

“It’s a war on voting,” Thomas Bates, vice president of Rock the Vote, a youth voter-registration group, told the Post. “We’d like to be advocating for a 21st-century voting system, but here we are fighting against efforts to turn it back to the 19th century.”

Meanwhile, Republicans have also revived measures that have been debated on and off over the last several election cycles that would require voters to provide state-issued IDs at the polls.

In Wisconsin, GOP lawmakers are moving forward with legislation that would block students from using school-issued identification to verify their identity at the polls. Meanwhile, in North Carolina, Republicans are preparing to introduce a similar measure requiring state IDs — a plan that the North Carolina Board of Elections has said could be problematic for African-American voters, a key base of support for Obama in 2008.

Why is it that everything that the Repugnican Tea Party traitors claim is their motivation actually has or would have an opposite effect? Busting unions makes employment much worse, not better, and their claims to care about “preventing election fraud” — which is yet another “crisis” fabricated by the right — actually are all about depriving a huge group of Americans the right to vote, or at least about erecting more hurdles between them and the voting booth.

The good news is that if the Repugnican Tea Party were strong, it wouldn’t have to try to disenfranchise voters, as it has been doing since at least the blatantly stolen presidential election of 2000.

The bad news is that this shit so often works, at least in the short term.

We truly patriotic Americans have to be vigilant.

The right is weak, and the winds of change are blowing in our favor, but the right is not dead yet.

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