Category: Discrimination (Page 1 of 11)

Virginia: a rights battleground

A Republican-dominated general assembly is churning out laws that target the state’s new minorities

Virginia: a rights battleground

VIRGINIA prides itself on being a birthplace of enduring democratic traditions. It was here that America made its first foray into representative government: in 1619, the House of Burgesses was created to govern the Virginia colony in partnership with a governor appointed by the British crown.

A Republican-dominated General Assembly is churning out legislation targeting the new minorities: Asian and Hispanic immigrants and LGBT Virginians, all of whom have a growing presence in the vote-rich metropolitan areas that favour Democrats. Such legislation—and the pointed debate it engenders—sharply contrasts with the image of Virginia as a forward-thinking, Upper South state that began to emerge in 1989 with the victory of L. Douglas Wilder as the nation’s first African American governor.

And though Virginia is a suburban-dominated state in which the majority of residents are non-natives with increasingly moderate views that favour Democrats, hyper-partisan gerrymandering has allowed Republicans, for most of the past 15 years, to maintain a firm grip on the legislature.

[intense_blockquote color=”primary” border_color=”primary” border_radius=”0px”]
The next governor, in 2021, will accept or reject new legislative boundaries based on the previous year’s census. Population growth and accelerating diversity favour the Democrats, but those trends can be blunted with gerrymandering. A map that favours the Republicans is almost certain to be put in place if there is a Republican governor to sign it.[/intense_blockquote]

That allows Republicans to focus on ideas that matter most to their narrowing, conservative and largely rural base. They do not appear to mind that this projects, to an audience beyond Virginia, a discomfiting picture of America’s 12th-largest state.

Republicans are also pushing a requirement that residents registering to vote must produce a birth certificate. Likely to be vetoed by Terry McAuliffe, the departing Democratic governor, the bill would be the latest obstacle to voting pressed by Republicans in what Democrats say is a continuing effort to suppress turnout of their most reliable voters: seniors, students, minorities, and foreign-born newcomers.

The debate over these issues is a preliminary proxy battle over higher stakes. In November, Virginia will choose a new governor. The election is likely to be viewed as early referendum on the Trump presidency. Republicans no longer control Virginia’s statewide offices, such as governor and United States senator. And they are desperate to win back the governorship, if only to perpetuate Republican legislative power into the 2030s.

Read the rest http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2017/02/fruits-gerrymandering

Federal judge in Virginia issues strong rebuke of Trump travel ban

A federal judge in Alexandria has issued a preliminary injunction against President Trump’s travel ban, dealing another blow to the White House attempt to bar residents of seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States.

The executive order, Judge Leonie M. Brinkema concluded, probably violates the First Amendment’s protections for freedom of religion.

[intense_alert]
“The ‘Muslim Ban’ was a centerpiece of the president’s campaign for months, and the press release calling for it was still available on his website as of the day this Memorandum Opinion is being entered,” Brinkema wrote.
[/intense_alert]
 
Brinkema’s order applies only to Virginia residents and students, or employees of Virginia schools. A nationwide freeze has been in place for several days, having been issued in Washington state and upheld by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

Posted by Madison County Democratic Committee on Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Coretta Scott King’s Lost Letter to the US Senate

The lost letter from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s widow opposing Jeff Sessions for a federal judgeship in 1986 has been found, and it’s a doozy..

“The irony of Mr. Sessions’ nomination is that, if confirmed, he will be given life tenure for doing with a federal prosecution what the local sheriffs accomplished twenty years ago with clubs and cattle prods. Twenty years ago ago, when we marched from Selma to Montgomery, the fear of voting was real, as the broken bones and bloody heads in Selma and Marion bore witness. As my husband wrote at the time, it was not just a sick imagination that conjured up the vision of a public official, sworn to uphold the law, who forced an inhuman march upon hundreds of Negro children; who ordered the Rev. James Bevel to be chained to his sickbed; who clubbed a Negro woman registrant, and who callously inflicted repeated brutalities and indignities upon nonviolent Negroes peacefully petitioning for their constitutional right to vote”

 
Read the original here

Download scott-king-1986-letter-and-testimony-signed.pdf

Despotism. It can’t happen here, right?

“An elective despotism is not the government we fought for” Thomas Jefferson

The two chief characteristics of despotism — restricted respect and concentrated power — are defined and illustrated in this short 1946 film from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Two of the conditions which have historically promoted the growth of despotism are explained and exemplified. These are a slanted economic distribution and a strict control of the agencies of communication.

Donald Trump’s strategy for minority Americans? Don’t let them vote.

The Republican nominee’s rhetoric, inciting white rural and suburban voters who fear the voting clout of black urban Democrats, is a recipe for voter intimidation and even violence on Election Day. It also lays the groundwork for his followers to believe, if he loses,that his defeat was a historic swindle.

This Republican project is racially intentional, as a recent federal court ruling in North Carolina said explicitly. It dovetails with other, similarly racist tactics in other states, such as the disenfranchisement of felons long after they have completed their sentences — a rule that has left 1 in 5 black adults ineligible to vote in Virginia.

Starting in August, and accelerating this month, Mr. Trump has stood before rallies attended overwhelmingly by his white backers and urged them to go to “certain areas” on Election Day. “Go and vote and then go check out areas because a lot of bad things happen,” he said in Pennsylvania, where lax state laws allow poll watchers to challenge voters as they arrive at precincts. “You know what I’m talking about,” he added. On Monday, he told his followers that they must watch “other communities.” “I hear these horror shows, and we have to make sure that this election is not stolen from us and is not taken away from us,” he said. “And everybody knows what I’m talking about.”

Yes, everyone knows what Mr. Trump is “talking about.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trumps-strategy-for-minority-americans-dont-let-them-vote/2016/10/11/c3c509ac-8fe9-11e6-a6a3-d50061aa9fae_story.html?utm_term=.fcbec5ecfa1f

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