Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Last Call For Virginia Is For Haters, Con't

Supposedly "moderate" Virginia GOP Gov. Glenn Youngkin has just eliminated the right to vote for hundreds of thousands of Virginians, announcing that his office will no longer automatically restore the right to vote for felons who serve out their sentences. 
Governor Glenn Youngkin just gave himself a lot more power to pick and choose Virginia voters. The Republican governor’s administration told state lawmakers in a letter last week that he was rescinding his predecessors’ policy of automatically restoring the voting rights of people with felony convictions.

Going forward, Virginians will no longer regain their rights when released from prison—the most recent policy announced by Virginia officials in 2021—nor at any later point, unless Youngkin deems them to be worthy on an individual basis.

His decision, which a future governor could alter, sidelines many residents who expected they would get to vote in Virginia elections.

“I’ve never voted in my life. I was looking forward to voting this year,” Sincere Allah, who was released from prison the week Youngkin was inaugurated in 2022 and who has since waited to learn if his rights will be restored, told Bolts, in reference to the state’s upcoming legislative and prosecutorial elections. “I can pay taxes, I can be held to the same standard as everyone else when it comes to laws and rules and regulations, but I have no say-so or representation.”

Youngkin’s announcement also puts Virginia in a category all its own: It is the only state where someone who is convicted today over any felony is presumed to be barred from voting for life, with no remedy other than receiving a discretionary act of clemency from the governor.

Virginia’s constitution permanently disenfranchises people with a felony conviction. Only Iowa and Kentucky have such a harsh rule on the books—other states with a lifetime ban, like Mississippi, do not apply it to all felonies—but their sitting governors have each issued executive orders that automatically restore at least some people’s voting rights upon completion of their sentences.

For much of the last decade, Virginia governors adopted a similar approach, enabling hundreds of thousands of people to regain the franchise. Anyone whose rights have already been restored will retain the ability to vote. But for others, Youngkin has now rolled back those reforms.

“We are back to 1902-era policy,” Democratic state Senator Scott Surovell tweeted last week after Youngkin’s administration notified him of the change, in reference to the 1902 convention that designed Virginia’s disenfranchisement system with the explicit goal of disenfranchising Black residents: “discrimination within the letter of the law,” as one delegate termed it. That legacy lived on; as recently as 2016, 22 percent of Black Virginians were barred from voting.

“This language in our constitution is from extraordinarily dark origins,” Surovell told Bolts in a follow-up. “I thought we’d settled this debate over the past twelve years of reform, but apparently… anything’s on the table.”
When I say the chief goal of the Republican Party is the eliminate the entire Civil Rights Era and take us back to a Jim Crow time where the citizenship rights of anyone who isn't a white, straight Christian male are completely optional, this is precisely what I mean. It's not a dramatic construct, it's the actual truth.
If you can't win in the marketplace of ideas, reduce the number of people allowed in the marketplace.
It's the Republican way!

Welcome To Gunmerica, A Play In Three Acts

Curtain RAISES. Gunmerica.

Act one:


Act Two:



Act Three:


Exeunt ALL.


Orange Meltdown, Con't

The grand jury investigating Donald Trump's hush money payments to Stormy Daniels met again on Monday and heard new testimony from former National Inquirer publisher David Pecker.
The Manhattan grand jury weighing evidence about Donald J. Trump’s role in a hush-money payment to a porn star heard testimony on Monday from a crucial witness, but there was no sign an indictment had been filed, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The witness, David Pecker, the former publisher of The National Enquirer, also testified in January. Since the grand jury was impaneled early this year by the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, it has heard from at least nine witnesses — including Mr. Pecker, who has now appeared twice — and is expected to vote on an indictment soon.

It is unclear whether the grand jury took any action on Monday, but one of the people with knowledge of the matter said it had not voted on an indictment. Grand juries operate in secret, leaving the timing of indictments something of a mystery.

Mr. Pecker was a key player in the hush-money episode. He and the tabloid’s top editor helped broker the deal between the porn star, Stormy Daniels, and Michael D. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s fixer at the time.

Ever since Mr. Trump predicted his arrest a little more than a week ago, all eyes have turned to the grand jury.

And while the grand jurors could vote to indict the former president as soon as this week — in what would be the culmination of a nearly five-year investigation — the exact timing is subject to the quirks of the grand jury process in Manhattan, which include scheduling conflicts and other potential interruptions.

This particular grand jury meets on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, though it typically has not heard evidence related to the Trump investigation on Thursdays. The panel does not have to meet on each of those days, but only convenes when Mr. Bragg’s office summons the jurors.

The timing of an indictment might also depend on the jurors’ availability. Sixteen of the 23 grand jurors must be present to conduct any business (and a majority must vote to indict for the case to go forward). For the prosecutors to seek a vote to indict, the jurors in attendance that day must previously have heard all key witness testimony.

The prospect of an indictment has raised a number of questions about the contours of the potential case facing Mr. Trump, who would become the first former American president to be indicted.

Mr. Bragg's prosecutors are focused on the $130,000 payment to Ms. Daniels, who agreed to keep quiet about her story of an affair with Mr. Trump in exchange for the payoff. Mr. Cohen made the payment during the final days of the 2016 presidential campaign.

In recent weeks, Mr. Bragg’s office signaled to Mr. Trump’s lawyers that the former president could face criminal charges by offering him the chance to testify before the grand jury, people with knowledge of the matter have said. Such offers almost always indicate an indictment is near; it would be unusual for prosecutors to notify a potential defendant without ultimately seeking charges against him.

In New York, potential defendants have the right to answer questions in front of the grand jury before they are indicted, but they rarely testify, and Mr. Trump declined the offer.

Prosecutors have now questioned almost every major player in the hush-money episode, again suggesting that the district attorney’s presentation is nearing an end.
All of this started when Trump lied about being indicted last week, and the entire Village bought into it. It put Trump in the spotlight and sucked all the oxygen out of the 2024 GOP presidential primary as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed dozens of fascist bills into state law.
With DeSantis supposedly announcing his entry into the primary in the next week or two, Trump is actually hoping that Bragg's indictments come the day of DeSantis's announcement, because nobody will be talking about Ron once the hammer falls on Don. 

All calculated, you see. Trump is a brute and a monster but he's good at playing the media, and playing his primary contenders, and he's done both beautifully this month.
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