Monday, December 26, 2005


Spiraling Demise

(December 8, 2004)

While we're on the topic of declining civil rights in America, I'd like to recommend two resources for further research: Democracy Now (online, radio, and TV) and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

I woke up this morning to a DN radio program about "apartheid ballot counting" in the US, which gave the numbers of ballots thrown away in predominantly black precincts in Ohio last month. Well over the hundred plus thousand Bush won by there. During breakfast, I heard a brief announcement that Bush is replacing Mary Frances Berry, head of the U.S.Commission on Civil Rights.

Firing up my computer, I then waltzed over to the USCCR website and scanned the headlines, where I found "U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Assails Bush Administration Record on Civil Rights." The accompanying letter from Berry to Bush observed that, "the spiraling demise of hope for social justice and healing has deepened over the past four years, largely due to a departure from and marginilization of long established civil rights priorities, practices and laws."

Noting the Bush Administration's failures in voting rights, equal educational opportunity, affirmative action, environmental justice, and racial profiling, the report went on to detail how minorities were systematically disenfranchised in the 2000 (and 2004) Presidential elections. Briefings held by the USCCR in April, July, and September of this year examined "widely reported problems with provisional and absentee balloting, implementation of voter identification requirements, voter intimidation and suppression, and poll worker preparedness."

At the September briefing, the Commission asked the Department of Justice to respond to its request that DOJ investigate alleged federal law violations by the state of Florida. The Commission also noted recent allegations of elderly black voters intimidated by police officers in Florida, black student voters in Texas threatened by a local district attorney, American Indian voters intimidated by police in South Dakota, and racial implications of voter identification and provisional balloting reported in Chicago. Participation in the briefings by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, the National Congress of American Indians, and the American Civil Liberties Union, underscores the Commission's findings that, "the problems in Florida and elsewhere were serious and not isolated...were foreseeable and could have been prevented [and] resulted in an extraordinarily high level of disenfranchisement."

What truly alarms me about all this, is that in 2000, the conspiracy to commit federal election law violations was covert. In 2004, secretaries of state, governors, and GOP officials overtly declared their plans to subvert democratic elections and still got away with it.

--comment made by Jay Taber at Orcinus


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