Archive for October, 2008

Voter suppression has already begun

This morning’s headlines on Democracy Now! included reports of people having problems at the polls during the early voting process that has already begun in many states. Two weeks out from Election Day and we’re already hearing this – what does this bode for November 4? The DN! reports include claims from voters in West Virginia that the touchscreen machines they used changed their votes from Obama to McCain, allegations from Democratic Governor Ted Strickland of Ohio that the Republican Party is trying to scare newly registered voters by challenging the status of almost 200,000 new registrations, and this most chilling report from North Carolina (a contested state that has been swinging towards Obama):

McCain Supporters Harass Obama Voters in North Carolina

In North Carolina, over 200,000 residents have already cast ballots in early voting. In Fayetteville, a group of John McCain supporters heckled and harassed a group of mostly black supporters of Barack Obama as they voted on Sunday. The Washington Times reported the McCain backers shouted and mocked the voters as they walked into the voting place. The website Facing South reports the McCain supporters likely broke the Voting Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits anyone from intimidating or threatening a person for voting or attempting to vote. On that same day in Fayetteville, North Carolina, thirty people reported having their tires slashed after attending an Obama rally.

UPDATE: Christina Bellantoni provides video of the hecklers and the heckled in NC on the Huffington Post.

And although it’s not an example of direct voter suppression per se, DN!’s next headline is inextricably linked to Republican efforts to cast aspersion on the newfound empowerment of newly registered, formerly disproportionately disenfranchised voters, many of whom have been registered by ACORN and similar organizations:

Obama Campaign Volunteer Assaulted in Wisconsin

In Caledonia, Wisconsin, a fifty-eight-year-old Obama campaign volunteer was assaulted on Saturday while canvasing. Nancy Takehara was attacked by a disgruntled homeowner who accused her of being connected to the community organizing group ACORN. Takehara said, “He grabbed me by the back of the neck. I thought he was going to rip my hair out of my head. He was pounding on my head and screaming.” Takehara said she was not seriously injured.

Between reports like that and the vile, racially-charged garbage that’s been coming out of the McCain camp and his supporters of late, it really does feel like we’ve been forcefully transported back to a darker time in American history. Or, more accurately, the venom and bile that’s been mostly simmering under the surface all along is boiling up thanks to McCain, Palin, and their surrogates stoking the flames.

It’s getting scarier and scarier out there. And we’ll all have to be that much more vigilant and vociferous in our defense of everyone’s right to cast their vote and have it properly counted – no matter who they are or who they’re voting for, and no matter the color of their skin or their chosen candidate’s.

Cross-posted at Feminste

ACTION ALERT: Supreme Court rejects Troy Davis’ appeal; urgent action needed to save Troy’s life

UPDATE: Check below for info on the Oct 23 rally in NYC.

After granting Troy Anthony Davis a stay of execution on September 23 in order to decide whether or not to consider his case, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected his appeal last Tuesday. Georgia has scheduled Davis’ execution for 7pm on October 27, 2008 – next Monday, one week from today.

(Click here to skip to ways to take action over the coming week to save Davis’ life.)

I’ve been meaning to blog about this news since hearing it last Tuesday, but I think I’ve been avoiding writing about it until today. Troy Davis’ case has really gotten to me; over the past week it’s been difficult to think, talk, or try to write about his situation with beginning to cry. I know it’s important to stay hopeful and keep fighting, but it’s been difficult to muster much hope. This case has only decreased my already minimal faith in getting any true justice out of the American system. It defies logic that so many judicial bodies, right up through the U.S. Supreme Court, have failed to step in and assert that even just a shadow of a doubt should be enough to prevent an ultimate and immutable sentence of death from being carried out. In this case, with seven out of nine non-police witnesses recanting their testimony, far more than a shadow of doubt has been cast – and yet all of these authorities that have had the opportunity to intercede seem content to let this man die.

In trying to understand what twisted logic or legal technicality the U.S. Supreme Court followed in denying review of Davis’ case, I turned to SCOTUS Blog for further details and analysis. Unfortunately, they reported that “in denying review on Tuesday, the Supreme Court gave no explanation, as is its custom with such denials.” SCOTUS Blog also supplied this rather disturbing information:

In appealing to the Supreme Court, Davis’ lawyers urged the Court to issue a definitive ruling — something it had only assumed previously — that the Eighth Amendment creates a right of an innocent person not to be executed.

In this country that claims such civility and advanced morality, it hasn’t even been officially established that one has the right to not be executed if they are innocent. It boggles the mind.

But despite the daunting odds against Troy Davis, despite how utterly Davis and his supporters have been let down by just about every institution that purports to deliver justice in this nation, we can’t just let ourselves be sickened to the point that we give up hope and thereby give up the fight. Troy Davis is only one person, only one life out of the many lives on the brink on death row, but his life is essential, his life is precious, and his life demands a continued struggle. The disgust and disbelief and frustration that we feel at what’s happened in Davis’ case so far must be channeled intensely over the next week so that we might save his life and pave the way to saving many more lives in the future.


Remember: this isn’t only about saving Troy Davis’ life; this is also about making sure that no one else ever finds themselves in the situation that he’s in. If you have time to take action in any or all of these ways this week, please do.

Cross-posted at Feministe

Liveblogging tonight’s debate!

I’ll be liveblogging the final presidential debate tonight with a great bunch of folks including fellow Feministe blogger Holly, Maegan la Mala of Mamita Mala and Vivir Latino, Nezua of The Unapologetic Mexican, Jose Vilson, Kai of Zuky, and possibly (hopefully!) Sylvia of Problem Chylde. Should be a good conversation to accompany your debate watching tonight so swing by, check it out, and join the discussion! The debate starts at 9pm EST but we’ll probably drop in a little earlier to get ready for the action.

Continue reading ‘Liveblogging tonight’s debate!’

Ill Doctrine Exclusive: McCain’s Latest Attack Ad

Jay Smooth has posted an exclusive leak of McCain’s latest attack ad over at Ill Doctrine. Check it out:

Too funny, except in that sad “rings of truth” way…