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Wednesday, April 07, 2021

On Tuesday, Republican politicians and conservative outlets alike claimed that Colorado's and Georgia's voting laws are actually quite similar. Fox News went further, suggesting that Colorado's laws may actually be more restrictive. Even the smallest amount of research exposes these claims as clearly false. [W]hen it comes to election laws, Colorado and Georgia aren't even in the same ballpark. read more


Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos endorsed President Joe Biden's focus on building up the country's infrastructure Tuesday and said the company even supports a corporate tax rate hike to help pay for it. Bezos was careful not to endorse a specific plan. Rather, he said "we support the Biden Administration's focus on making bold investments in American infrastructure." read more


The Jefferson Davis Memorial Chair in Selma, Alabama was stolen from the Live Oaks Cemetery in March. [A] group, which calls itself "White Lies Matter," is demanding that the [United Daughters of the Confederacy] display a banner featuring a quote by former Black Liberation Army activist Assata Shakur in front of the organization's headquarters in Richmond, Virginia for 24 hours in exchange for the monument. read more


Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Georgia has an ugly history of taking voting rights from Black voters. [T]his is not the first time Georgia has disenfranchised Black voters following a Black person's electoral success. In addition to political violence, Georgia used the legal system to push Black people out of the electorate. read more


Sunday, April 04, 2021

Local governments are failing at the basic task of accurately assessing property values, and there is a clear and striking pattern: More expensive properties are undervalued, while less expensive properties are overvalued. The result is that wealthy homeowners get a big tax break, while less affluent homeowners are paying a higher price for the same public services. read more


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Here's a rundown on some of the broad differences between the two states' voting laws:

Mail-in Ballots - Colorado has universal mail-in voting, which means every registered voter gets a ballot in the mail two to three weeks before each election. Once completed, the ballot can be mailed back or dropped off at one of 368 drop boxes, which are accessible and surveilled 24 hours a day.

In Georgia, absentee ballots are only supplied to voters who apply for one, and under the new law, it's illegal for election officials to send absentee ballot applications to voters unless they explicitly request them. Georgians who do obtain an absentee ballot will have a more difficult time dropping it off: The new law limits drop boxes to one per 100,000 active registered voters per county, and they're only accessible during business hours. (In 2020, the core Atlanta metropolitan area had 94 drop boxes. The new law cuts that to a maximum of 23 boxes, a New York Times analysis found.)

Voter ID - Both states require voters to prove they are who they say they are. But Colorado makes it much easier to do so.

In Colorado, those who are among the 6% of voters who go to the polls in person can use one of 16 different forms of identification, ranging from driver's licenses and passports to current utility bills and valid Medicare cards. People voting by mail for the first time must also provide ID; that requirement is dropped with subsequent mail-in ballots, which are verified via signature.

Georgia voters, meanwhile, must show a photo ID when voting in person. Those who cast an absentee ballot must now also provide identification where a signature sufficed in the past, though it doesn't necessarily have to be a photo ID.

Early Voting - Colorado offers 15 in-person early voting days compared to Georgia's 17. But since 94% of Coloradans vote by mail, this is a moot point.

A breakdown of the numbers by The Colorado Sun shows that 198,645 Coloradans voted in-person across 15 days, compared to more than 2.7 million Georgians across a slightly longer timeframe.

Long lines to access polling locations of the sort seen across Georgia are almost unheard of in Colorado.

Someone better let Dumtake know the truth. It won't matter though. He'll ignore it just like every other partisan lying lemming does. You can't have propaganda without lies.

Rachel Maddow did a retrospective piece on this topic tonight. It was only 15 years ago when President Bush and most of the Congressional GOP - but for Southern reps - all supported the renewal of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Bush touted it himself when he spoke at the NAACP national convention that year - an unprecedented appearance. The VRA outlawed the very things today's GOP is trying to rush into law - specifically in states with histories of discriminatory/repressive voting laws and practices through the pre-clearance provisions - all over America until the Robert's Court gutting of the act in 2013.

And in 2006 major US corporations wholeheartedly supported the renewal of the VRA including the CEO of Walmart who issued a public statement in support of its millions of black employees, articulating how every American should have unfettered access to cast their legal ballots, and that the historical impediments placed upon minorities have no place in current-day America. Many other corporate giants stood in lockstep agreement putting out similar statements which caused zero public pushback whatsoever.

So for those ignorant of recent American history, US corporations are doing exactly the same thing they did in 2006 - supporting the rights of black voters to have their voices heard without restrictive policies put in place by states in specific opposition to those rights.

The only thing that's changed is the GOP and the SCOTUS who've allowed what was universally lauded as a remedy to centuries of disenfranchisement to be recodified today on the basis of the lie that our elections are not secure and subject to widespread fraud that they claim can alter elective results - something which has never been proven in any US court or legislative body who've investigated the allegations.

This seems pretty dumb. But, I wonder how common this is.

I'm looking at my CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card right now. When you register for your first shot, they have you write your own name and birthdate on a card with no number or record whatsoever attached to it. They then place a sticker on the card indicating which vaccine you'll receive, it's lot and expiration, along with the location of your vaccination. They write the date and time of your next appointment for the 2nd shot and when registering for it, they place another sticker with the vital information for that shot on the card. Each sticker has a place for the date but I had to write that in myself.

It is more than obvious that the federal government was not interested in creating a comprehensive database with exact information on every person vaccinated, and most of the fed's concern now is the inevitable reality that vaccine cards/information will be used by non-governmental entities as a means of separating people into groups towards whatever benefit or detriment such identification entails.

COVID is a communicable disease - full stop. Responsible people and companies are well within their common sense rights and responsibility to protect themselves, their employees, and their customers from unnecessary exposure to a known pathogen if there is an easy means to keep from doing so. As more and more information continues to come forth underscoring the efficacy of the vaccines and believed immunity for those vaccinated, it is logical people who've been vaccinated will not want to be in close contact with those who haven't as more and more variants evolve due to those refusing to mitigate or vaccinate.

Proof of COVID vaccination will inevitably become a ticket for freer access for those having it regardless of what idiotic GOP governors try to do with executive orders. As a society, we're mandated specific vaccinations before children enter school and when travelers are headed to places and regions where specific diseases are common and vaccination protects from potential infection. This is no different. No one has the right to infect other people and place their lives and health at risk when simple preventative measures and actions will keep such spread from happening.

After the American Civil War, even before the 15th Amendment was adopted, newly freed Black men in the south registered to vote and voted. In Georgia, 33 Black members of the General Assembly were the first to be elected to that state's legislature in 1868. These men are often referred to as the "Original 33." But they were forced out of the legislature even though the legislature was controlled by radical Republicans, their party. The effort to expel was led by Democrats, but a sufficient number of Republicans joined in the vote. Also outcome-determinative was the fact that the Speaker of the House R.L. McWhorter ruled that the Black legislators could not vote on their own expulsion. One of the African Americans expelled was Senator Henry McNeal Turner, who gave a fiery and defiant speech that asked "Am I a man? If I am such, I claim the rights of a man."

Shortly thereafter, in September 1868, one of the expelled Black lawmakers Philip Joiner led a political march from Albany to Camilla, Georgia. When the group walked into the town square of Camilla, white residents opened fire. During the massacre in Camilla, at least 14 were killed and a Republican candidate for Congress was injured. This event may have scared many Black people away from voting that fall.

Between 1868 and 1907, 58 Black men served in the Georgia legislature. What happened in 1908? That was the year that Georgia followed a pattern of many southern states and amended their state constitution in a way that would disenfranchise Black voters - including literacy tests and grandfather clauses. Without Black voters, Black members of the legislature also disappeared until the Voting Rights Act restored the franchise to Black voters.

If this history is new to you, there could be a reason. According to Professor Edmund Drago, when official biographies of members of the Georgia legislature were first written, the author Alexander St. Clair-Abrams purposefully excluded the Black members claiming it would have been absurd "to have written [about] the lives of men who were but yesterday our slaves[.]"

As the author of this article notes, "Unfortunately, history doesn't just repeat, it rhymes." Maybe this time citizens of good conscious will not only listen but they will work diligently toward a just and equitable end to this untenable situation in a way that it is never ever considered again by any party supposedly wedded to constitutional democracy.

Americans expect to pay property taxes at the same rates as their neighbors. But across most of the United States, flat-rate property taxation is a sham. Nationwide, from 2007 to 2016, homes in the bottom 10 percent of property values in a given county were taxed, on average, at an effective rate that was twice as high as the rate for homes in the top 10 percent of property values.

The maladministration of property taxation means the wrong people are picking up the tab for public services.

Inequitable assessment is also an important reason the burden of state and local taxation is regressive, meaning that most state and local governments collect a larger share of the income of lower-income households than of upper-income households. By failing to properly assess property, government is worsening the large and growing inequalities in the distribution of wealth and income.

The burden falls disproportionately on minorities. Because of the accumulated effects of past racism, minorities tend to live in homes that command lower prices - yet are assessed at inflated values.

The inequities that researchers have put on public display are galling not just because they have come at the expense of those who can least afford it, but because it's clear that it would be relatively easy for local governments to address these problems.

Equitable assessment is possible. Anything less is unacceptable.

As with so many issues related to economic and wealth inequality, the ongoing vestiges of systemic racism have an oversized influence in what continues to happen today. These inequalities are much more divisions by class and geography than they are partisan political issues, but nonetheless I'm sure some will try to see it in that light. The most important statement to me is the one that I italicized above -
Inequitable assessment is also an important reason the burden of state and local taxation is regressive, meaning that most state and local governments collect a larger share of the income of lower-income households than of upper-income households.
The burden of taxation must not be looked at through the metric of simply how much in total one pays in taxes compared to another, it has to be analyzed by how much one pays in taxes compared to how much one makes or has as matters of wealth and income.

The property tax findings show an unmistakable - and correctable - imbalance in the favor of those with more wealth and income and to the detriment of those with less. Many local budget funding issues could find solutions if these imbalances were corrected.

Every single day Americans of all stripes are reminded that the current elected Republican politicians are only concerned with issues and ideas directly tied to their own political fortunes. On the other hand, Democrats are laser-focused on issues that affect everyone's lives and taking affirmative steps to make them better to the extent the federal government can.

At every step, Biden and the Democrats say to Republicans "The majority of Americans agree that we have problems that need immediate attention. Help us fix these problems for the benefit of both our constituencies," and then the Republicans say "NO(!) (Y)our solutions are radical leftist and we'll have nothing to do with them," leaving voters with only two alternatives: Doing something to alleviate our problems and repair our infrastructure or do exactly what Trump and the GOP did about them over the last 4 years while things only got worse which is NOTHING - even though the Republicans kept promising to do something yet never did.

Americans are tired of receiving less than they deserve while Republicans bend over backwards to make sure corporations and the wealthy make out like kings. Right now the GOP is more obsessed with placating Trump and letting him believe that he's their kingmaker next year and their salvation in 2024. Most Americans want to avoid covid and be protected from infection, see normalcy return, and get back to work hopefully under better conditions and pay than they had before the pandemic struck and uphended everything.

Joe Biden is simply the perfect messenger for what should have transcended politics all along - the federal government undertaking public works that support every sector of our economy and positively touches every citizen of this nation.

The thing is my list is kind of the type of thinking that will allow republican news outlets to push that narrative. Pretty much anything that isn't fixing potholes will be disregarded as not related to infrastructure and the lie will be repeated over and over until it becomes fact in the minds of (R)'s

That is one of the reasons I posted this thread : As Political Attitudes Shift, Have GOPers Even Noticed?

I don't think people are putting all the puzzle pieces together right now which is showing an historically different picture than we've seen in 40+ years. The realities of the pandemic has changed the average American's life in fundamental ways that the national GOP refuses to acknowledge. In my opinion - as it regards this particular dynamic - the presence of Trump is still paying dividends in facilitating the deliverance of changes that most Americans realize are needed.

The Republicans have cried wolf for so many decades, the boogeyman cries of "radical leftist" and "socialist" just don't jibe with the 50 year reality of Joe Biden's politics. No matter how hard Republicans try, Joe is never going to resemble Fidel Castro or Karl Marx to even GOP loyalists outside of the 25-30% of diehard Trumpists. This is why Joe's policies poll at 70% - with more than 50% of Republicans liking them too. We've lived through the last almost year and a half and Americans watched Trump initially get dragged into helping average Americans, but not without first giving billions to Trump's corporate friends including many connected to his Cabinet or White House. There hasn't been a peep about such confluences with the latest stimulus and lord knows if one dime could have been linked to helping friends of Joe, the calls for impeachment would already be deafening. Joe is getting shots into arms and finally there's light on the horizon as the vaccinated are being given more opportunity to safely resume more normal lives.

Because of the pandemic, our physical school buildings are being reimagined and the need for safer ventilation systems has become manifest. We also need to make existing structures more energy efficient, and the need for national broadband - for both commerce and educational purposes - is readily understood from our lack of such exposed during the pandemic. Most Republicans understand that such priorities aren't partisan, they're part of a national rebuilding - or as Joe says Build Back Better. As long as the Republicans try to rerun the very same script they used during the Obama years (NO!) the more popular Joe and the Democrats will become as the benefits of BBB touches most taxpayers regardless of where they live.

Everytime Republicans go to play there usual cards they're drawing focus upon themselves as being the real radicals - they deny the myriad festering problems that are keeping this nation from regaining its global role as the preeminent superpower and economy.

#21

Houston, I think we've found the problem ...

*South Dakota's Republican Gov. Kristi [Gnome] told Fox News pipes and housing don't count as infrastructure.

*Her comments sum up the GOP's messaging that infrastructure only means roads and bridges.

*Biden's plan argues for a broad rethink of what constitutes infrastructure, and the GOP doesn't want that.

www.businessinsider.com

The anti-intellectualism of today's elected Republicans is utterly breathtaking. There is absolutely no rationale whatsoever for Democrats to spend precious time and energy trying to reason with those so divorced from reality that they refuse to see 'infrastructure' beyond simply roads and bridges.

Infrastructure can be defined basically as everything built and largely paid for by public funding that impacts and facilitates the life quality, safety, and commerce of all citizens and businesses. This definition should not be in dispute or up for debate. It's common freaking sense.

Just as the Biden administration is pushing to raise taxes on corporations, a new study finds that at least 55 of America's largest paid no taxes last year on billions of dollars in profits. Twenty-six of the companies listed, including FedEx, Duke Energy and Nike, were able to avoid paying any federal income tax for the last three years even though they reported a combined income of $77 billion. Many also received millions of dollars in tax rebates.

www.nytimes.com

No wonder KY Republicans hurriedly passed legislation mandating that any temporary U.S. Senate vacancy must be filled with a placeholder from the same party as the departing member. Mitch is playing a losing hand and it's only getting worse as each day passes. The very Trump Tax Cuts which Mitch couldn't wait to pass have let some of the largest and most profitable corporations avoid ANY federal taxes whatsoever, and this is the hill he wants to die on - compared to putting millions back to work replacing worn out infrastructure and building needed changes for the 21st Century?

The latest Morning Consult/Politico poll finds that "voters broadly support this expanded notion of infrastructure, with measures like increasing housing options for low-income families garnering the support of 70 percent of registered voters, including 87 percent of Democrats and 53 percent of Republicans."
So the Democrats are trying to pass a once-in-a-century reinvestment plan which enjoys the support of 70% of Americans - including a MAJORITY of Republicans - while the elected leader of the Senate GOP has already promised complete opposition to what is unquestionably desired.

Somebody wanna tell me again how going against clear public sentiment (allowing Biden and the Democrats to take all the credit for the improving economy and upcoming jobs boom related to the infrastructure construction/production) is going to be a political winner in 2022?

#2

As I write this I'm about 30 minutes from 2 weeks past my second Pfizer vaccine shot. While all the emergent data is indeed heartening, I too plan to continue to wear a mask while in public, and in fact have purchased Sippy MASKS if/when I eventually venture back into an indoor drinking/dining establishment sometime in the near future.

Here's to hoping that enough Americans will get vaccinated over the next couple months so herd immunity can be reached despite all the vaccine hesitancy we see - a lot of it from educated individuals who should know better.

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