Monday, May 24, 2021

Last Call For Black Lives Still Matter, Con't

The Black Lives Matter activist Sasha Johnson is in a critical condition after sustaining a gunshot wound to her head in an incident in south London, her affiliated group, Taking the Initiative party, has announced on social media.

In a statement on the group’s Facebook page, the party said the incident happened in the early hours of Sunday and followed “numerous death threats”.

A Met police statement said there was nothing to suggest that it had been a targeted attack.

Taking the Initiative’s statement said: “It is with great sadness that we inform you that our own Sasha Johnson has sustained a gunshot wound to her head. She is currently hospitalised and in critical condition. The incident happened in the early hours of this morning, following numerous death threats.

“Sasha has always been actively fighting for black people and the injustices that surround the black community, as well as being both a member of BLM and a member of Taking the Initiative Party’s Executive Leadership Committee. Sasha is also a mother of 3 and a strong, powerful voice for our people and our community.”

Johnson is a prominent member of TTIP, which has been described as “Britain’s first Black-led political party”. She rose to prominence after last year’s BLM protests spread around the country, helping to organise marches and addressing crowds.
London Metro police are investigating this as a random shooting (in London, mind you), while TTIP members say Johnson had received a number of death threats for her activism. 

Black Lives Still Matter.

The Big Lie, Con't

Jeremy Stahl over at Slate is finally asking the right question: what happens when the clown show AZ GOP "audit" magically declares Trump the winner in Maricopa County and in the state of Arizona?
Here’s how Arizona recounts are supposed to normally work: Two counters, under the eye of a supervisor, tally ballots in batches of 10 at a time. Their results must agree, and any discrepancies in each batch must be resolved by a bipartisan board before they are added to the count. Here’s what Smith had been watching inside the audit: batches of 50 ballots, swinging around on a Lazy Susan, as three people speed-read votes in the presidential race and the U.S. Senate race, which were won by Democrats Joe Biden and Mark Kelly.

“Everybody’s got about three and a half seconds to watch two races,” Smith said. For many tables, it appeared to be less time than that. If he were on the floor trying to count ballots himself, Smith said, he believed he would be making mistakes under those conditions. “That table is rolling,” Smith says pointing at a particularly fast-counting group. “Me standing there for five hours, I would not say that it would be ideal.”

To the uninitiated observer, this might seem alarming. But Smith assured me it was nothing to worry about—because, he said, “they’re not recounting the election.”

What were the people busily counting election ballots doing, then? Over the course of three days in Phoenix, talking to participants and critics and watching the event unfold, I couldn’t get a coherent answer. The Arizona audit is a new kind of political ritual, whose purpose exists beyond reason or consensus or fact. More than six months after Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election was certified by Republican officials in Maricopa, Arizona’s largest and one of the largest in the country, this audit is what the Arizona Senate has decided is necessary to resolve continued accusations by the former president and his supporters that the 2020 election was stolen.

Acceptance of error—of alternative facts, as it were—is built into the process: If two counters have the same total, but the third counter disagrees by one or two votes, then the two matching counts become the official tally, overruling the discrepancy. According to observers of the audit, this happens often.

Around the audit site, the political fault lines are multiplying—not merely between Trump supporters and Biden supporters, but between the local Republican officials, who are responsible for election results being verifiable and making sense, and the state Republicans, who are chasing a myth. The irregularities in the numbers are the least of it.

“They destroyed the election,” former County Recorder Adrian Fontes said of the Senate auditors. “And I think that they did it on purpose.”

The statement might sound like partisan hyperbole from a former elected official with an ax to grind. But in the past week, similarly damning calls were issued by every major Republican elected official in Maricopa County. In a meeting on Tuesday, Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jack Sellers said plainly, “It’s time to be done with this craziness,” as he and the county’s other top elected officials, who had previously tried to work with the Republican state senators, signed a letter calling for an end of the audit. On Thursday, the Democratic secretary of state said that Maricopa County could no longer safely use the voting equipment that had been handed over to the audit.

The Republican-controlled county board went along with the audit plan initially because the Senate, Fontes said, “had given these guys guarantees it wasn’t going to be a shit show.” Instead, the state Senate ended up handing nearly 2.1 million Maricopa County ballots to a previously unknown company called “Cyber Ninjas,” whose CEO has claimed the election may have been manipulated by a firm with ties to the former Venezuelan leader Hugo Ch├ívez (who is dead).

“We’ve changed course,” Stephen Richer, the current county recorder who unseated Fontes in the last election, told me of the local Republican response.

That course correction appears to have come too late. Up close in Arizona, it’s clear that the Cyber Ninjas are doing exactly what their CEO, Doug Logan, has accused election officials of doing: miscounting the 2020 election. If and when that new and inaccurate result is made public as part of an official audit report, local leaders believe the consequences will be grave.

“I think a small mushroom cloud will go up over Maricopa County if the Cyber Ninjas report that Donald Trump really was the winner of the election,” Richer says


So what does happen if this farce declares Trump the winner? It's something democrats had better be prepared for, and that means immediate Justice Department intervention. It's good that AZ Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs has made it clear last week that the chain of custody of the ballots were completely compromised, but this gets very, very ugly from here if it happens the way I think it will.

It will absolutely threaten the stability of the US government. And should Senator Mark Kelly's election be overturned as well...

The word crisis doesn't begin to settle it.

History says things get violent from here.

It's About Suppression, Con't

Texas Republicans are making voting "more fair" by redistributing polling places "evenly", but only in large urban counties. The result of course is that high-population urban precincts -- all represented by Democrats -- would lose dozens of polling places and suburban precincts represented by Republicans would get more polling places.
The number of Election Day polling places in largely Democratic parts of major Texas counties would fall dramatically under a Republican proposal to change how Texas polling sites are distributed, a Texas Tribune analysis shows. Voting options would be curtailed most in areas with higher shares of voters of color.

Relocating polling sites is part of the GOP’s priority voting bill — Senate Bill 7 — as it was passed in the Texas Senate. It would create a new formula for setting polling places in the handful of mostly Democratic counties with a population of 1 million or more. Although the provision was removed from the bill when passed in the House, it remains on the table as a conference committee of lawmakers begins hammering out a final version of the bill behind closed doors.

Under that provision, counties would be required to distribute polling places based on the share of registered voters in each state House district within the county. The formula would apply only to the state’s five largest counties — Harris, Dallas, Tarrant, Bexar and Travis — and possibly Collin County once new census figures are released later this year.

A comparison of the Election Day polling locations that were used for the 2020 general election and what would happen under the Senate proposal shows a starkly different distribution of polling sites in Harris and Tarrant counties that would heavily favor voters living in Republican areas.

In Harris County — home to Houston, the state's biggest city — the formula would mean fewer polling places in 13 of the 24 districts contained in the county, all currently represented by Democrats. Every district held by a Republican would either see a gain in polling places or see no change.

In most cases, the districts that would lose polling places are represented by people of color and have a far higher share of potential voters of color than the districts that would gain voting sites. Represented by Republican Mike Schofield, House District 132, a more suburban district on the outer edge of the county, would see the biggest gain with 18 additional polling places. White citizens of voting age make up a plurality — 45.9% — in that district, according to U.S. Census estimates.

House District 141 — represented by Democrat Senfronia Thompson, the longest serving Black person in the Legislature — would lose the most polling places with 11 fewer sites. About 59% of citizens of voting age in that district are Black. Roughly 86% of citizens of voting age are either Black or Hispanic.

In Tarrant County, which includes Fort Worth, four of the 11 districts in the county would lose voting sites — two represented by Republicans and two by Democrats. But the two Democratic districts would see more significant declines.


Making it harder to vote, but only for large, urban districts with lost of Black voters who tend to vote for Democrats. Every time this is the plan, and this is what the plan is designed to do. North Carolina Republicans weren't able to get away with it because they documented that this was the plan. Texas I figure is going to be smarter than that, and even if they aren't no judge will stop them (and the federal courts now cannot, thanks to the Roberts Court). 

Which of course, is the entire point.


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