Update: Now with video at an actual polling location! My suspicions are confirmed. Thomas Johnson Middle School is located in Lanham, Prince George’s County — a majority-black county in Maryland.

“Yes, I met Mr. Steele.” Apparently he’s a nice guy. Fancy that.

It’s not everyday you can kill 2 moral birds with one inaccurate “sample ballot” full of lies. In MD, Bob Ehrlich running for Governor and Michael Steele running for Senate are Republicans. Yet 7 buses full of homeless people from PA and DE arrived in MD with flyers proclaiming them Democrats. Gee, it must be rough having to own up to being a Bush-supporting, self-hating Republican thug these days. Much easier to just start anew and pretend to be in the party people actually prefer these days. The Democratic Party. Now who thinks that these folks were sent to mostly black and latino neighborhoods that lean Democratic? (Thanks: AmericaBlog)

Erik Markle, one of the people handing out literature for Ehrlich, who is seeking reelection, and Steele, the current lieutenant governor who is campaigning to replace retiring Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D), said he was recruited at a homeless shelter in Philadelphia.

After a two-hour bus ride to Maryland, Markle said the workers were greeted early this morning by first lady Kendel Ehrlich, who thanked them as they were outfitted in T-shirts and hats with the logo for Ehrlich’s reelection campaign. Nearly all of those recruited, Markle said, are poor and black. Workers traveled to Maryland in at least seven large buses.

Ehrlich’s campaign denies it but…

The Ehrlich and Steele campaigns yesterday acknowledged sending out an election-eve flier, sporting pictures of Prince George’s County Executive Jack B. Johnson, his predecessor Wayne K. Curry and former NAACP president Kweisi Mfume. The mailer, declaring itself an “official voter guide” and criticized by Democrats, suggested the three Democrats backed Ehrlich and Steele. Curry has endorsed Steele; none has endorsed Ehrlich. (Source: WashingtonPost)

Pathetic, isn’t it? That’s how they’ve won all these elections. Not on the issues. Through brazen cheating and out-and-out lies. I am hoping for some serious hoisting upon petards tonight. Who’s with me?

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MoveOn.org says it will back up a big truck of benjamins to anyone who can provide material evidence on voter suppression that leads to a felony conviction. Surely this can’t be that hard for black folks to produce. It’s just so flagrant in minority communities. Here’s the email: votingfraud@moveon.org. Now go get that money. And um, also protect civil liberties too. (Nod: Dkos)

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MSNBC has the story:

In Indiana’s Marion County, about 175 of 914 precincts turned to paper because poll workers didn’t know how to run the machines, said Marion County Clerk Doris Ann Sadler. She said it could take most of the day to fix all of the machine-related issues.

Election officials in Delaware County, Ind., planned to seek a court order to extend voting after an apparent computer error prevented voters from casting ballots in 75 precincts there. Delaware County Clerk Karen Wenger said the cards that activate the machines were programmed incorrectly.

“We are working with precincts one-by-one over the telephone to get the problem fixed,” Wenger said.

Another good place for election problem on-the-ground anecdotes from around the nation is TalkingPointsMemo. Check it out.

If you’ve been reading this blog: you ain’t surprised.

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Report them here.

Member of Congress Jean Schmidt (R-OH) attempts somewhat unsuccessfully to vote. Presumably for herself. Guess Karl Rove would call that collateral damage. Watch below.

Also, Republicans in TN think that Chattanooga black folks are incredibly stupid. But who looks stupid now?(Nod: ProtectOurVotes.org)

There are reports out of Nashville that African Americans are getting phone calls telling them if they voted for Harold Ford Jr. in the August primary, they don’t need to vote for him again now.

According to media reports from Nashville, volunteers driving senior citizens to the polls for early voting have had their voters tell them they’d received these calls.

Can you believe that?

Do Republicans think African Americans are stupid? In 2004, Nashville’s African Americans were called and told to vote on Wednesday, not Tuesday. The racist GOP thinks black voters are too stupid to know the difference beteween a primary and an election. They think the African American community doesn’t know how to vote.

It won’t work. The GOP has spent the past five decades pulling these same dirty stunts, always targeting the black community. Tennessee’s African American voters have learned over 50 years of these sleazy suppression tactics not to trust phone calls telling them when and how to vote.

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Maybe I am just bitter about the 2000, 2002 and 2004 elections. But I am a little bearish on the predicted Democratic sweep. The poll numbers are strong but they are also very close in many races. Close enough for voter suppression and intimidation tactics to have an effect. Like they have in the last 3 elections. Progressives have done an outstanding job on GOTV. Yet how much progress has been made to push back on the Rove system of dirty poll booth tricks. From Greg Palast for the Guardian U.K.:

Two million legitimate voters will be turned away because of wrongly rejected or purged registrations.

Add another one million voters challenged and turned away for “improper ID.”

Then add yet another million for Democratic votes “spoiled” by busted black boxes and by bad ballots.

And let’s not forget to include the one million “provisional” ballots which will never get counted. Based on the experience of 2004, we know that, overwhelmingly, minority voters are the ones shunted to these baloney ballots.

And there’s one more group of votes that won’t be counted: absentee ballots challenged and discarded. Elections Assistance Agency data tell us a half million of these absentee votes will go down the drain.

Palast tells us the mid-term election has already been stolen. Stolen from whom? That’s right — the black and the brown mostly. How does this work. Here’s an example:

California’s Republican Secretary of State Bruce McPherson figured out how to block 40% of registrants, mostly Hispanics. In a rare counter-move, Los Angeles, with a Hispanic mayor, contacted these citizens, “verified” them and got almost every single one back on the rolls. But throughout the rest of the West, new Hispanics remain victims of the “Jose Crow” treatment.

There will also be GOP goon squads unleashed to help “protect the vote”:

A legion of pimple-faced Republicans with Blackberries loaded with lists of new voters is assigned to challenge citizens in heavily Black and Hispanic (i.e. Democratic) precincts to demand photo ID that perfectly matches registration data.

Nice, huh? It makes me nostalgic for the Ballot Security Task Force in NJ. In 1981, the RNC enlisted off-duty armed cops to patrol mostly black and latino polling stations in Newark and Trenton to challenge voters. It worked. The Republican candidate for governor Thomas Kean won by less than 1800 votes. Rove’s “brilliance” lies in reviving tactics like these. A lost art, if you will, from 20-30 years ago.

James Hoffa at HuffPo

Concerning this year’s mid-term elections, it seems that little has changed. An Electionline.org report warns of potentially severe trouble in at least 10 states. Inaccurate voting machines, poorly trained poll workers, flawed voter registration rolls and new and more stringent identification requirements could be issues again. When will our nation get serious about fixing our elections?

The Teamsters led by Hoffa have joined something called the MyVote1 Consortium. That’s nice. Whatever. Look the Republicans would have one (1) central phone number, one (1) central website and one (1) central organization for fighting back against voter suppression, if the shoe were on the other foot. And you know what — after losing several elections — they would all be household names. My mama would be able to sing me the jingle because it would be catchy and she would have seen or heard it everywhere before the election.

I hope that there is a revolution tomorrow. I really do. But apparently one more round of GOP voter tricks may be needed for progressives to crack their own denial of race-based Jim-Crow style vote stealing. Encouraging people to vote is important no doubt. Protecting their right to vote — that’s just American.

We’ve installed the Voter Story form on the sidebar of the site. Folks, if you see or hear about stuff at the polls that looks like it is going down all wrong, please report it here. The info goes into 1 big database that other organizations trying to protect voter rights will be able to monitor on the minute.

Also, please follow the Protect Our Votes blog today and link to it: http://www.protectourvotes.org/ (Nod: MyDD)

It’s also a good place to submit stories, get story ideas (if you are one of those dirty long haired hippie bloggers) and also pick up resources. Lots of phone numbers to call or recommend such as 1-866-OUR-VOTE to report voting troubles.

BTW, Kudos to folks who are reporting the racist robo-call story in the blogs and in the press.

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I am so sick of all of this GOTV crap. Yeah, you heard me. I think that it’s all (or mostly) crap. Getting Out The Vote sounds great. It sounds very strategic and patriotic and grassroots-y and so forth. It sounds very nice.

But let me tell you people something. George Bush won in 2000 and in 2004 only partly because of a successful GOTV base strategy. The secret to their success lay in systematic voter suppression. That’s Karl Rove’s real strategy. That’s why Republicans think he’s a genius. He’s a cheat, a crook, a bigot and a thief. And he’s figured out how to get away with it scot-free with no fingerprints from his dirty little surprises.

Look, people, it doesn’t matter how many doors you knock on, how many homes you call, how many flyers you hand out, how many robo-calls you send out or ahem stop. If voters get to the polls and then are prevented from actually voting — how effective is that GOTV strategy? Had everyone who wanted to vote in Florida been able to vote in Florida (or have their vote counted), things would be very different.

I am sorry, but it seems the Democrats have learned nothing from 2000 and 2004. There is a lot of denial out there. I watched American Blackout this weekend. You’re busy handing out flyers and Getting Out The Vote to watch the whole movie, so why not just watch the first 5 or 6 minutes of this clip talking about the mechanics of exactly what happened in Ohio in 2004.

Or shucks you’re too busy right — how about I just lay a few numbers on you?

Precinct 25B of Franklin County OH (the largest city there: Columbus)
1523 registered voters
3 voting machines

Precinct 25G
1563 registered voters
5 voting machines

Houston, we have a problem.

In urban precinct after precinct, voter registration was up from 2000 to 2004 by numbers of 25 or more percent. In urban precinct after precinct, 1-2 machines were removed as a result. It’s a simple matter of throughput, folks. If there are only a few machines and voters are concentrated at the polls before and after work, how many people will get to vote? Even if you stand in a 2,3 or 4 hour line (and I mean, IF), what is the chance that the your polling place will stay open long enough for you to cast your vote.

What happened is that machines were moved from the Democratic-leaning urban polling centers to affluent Bush-leaning suburban location. No lines there! What a coincidence!

In a close race, and many of the races that could make the difference especially for the Senate are in dead heats — this type of systematic voter suppression can make the difference between a win or a lose. Oh and BTW, the cost of bringing 1500 voting machines to Franklin County OH is $7.5 million dollars. That sounds like a lot of money, don’t it? Yet, we are spending $177 million dollars a day to bring democratic elections to Iraq. Just so we have this all in the proper perspective.

I am thrilled by the 50 state strategy. I am ecstatic that Dems might actually be able to win back the House or the Senate. On paper. What happens tomorrow though? What will happen on election day? What measures has the DNC, the DSCC, the DCCC, the DLC or whoever’s job this is on the ground in local counties to ensure that all Americans who wish to vote and show up at a polling place are able to vote?

Will our cheers turn to tears tomorrow as they have in the last few elections because people are not facing up to the at-the-poll-booth realities? Why are bloggers and/or the media not hounding down polling preparations to uncover where voter suppression is likely to happen next and stop it before it becomes reality? AGAIN…

That’s what I want to know.

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Saddam Hussein was no good guy. Still, I find it an unpleasant outcome to hear he is sentenced to hang. This is not likely to improve our image in Europe where the death penalty is seen as barbaric. Nor is it likely to stem the tide of bloodshed in Iraq’s emerging civil war.

It’s also an unusual sentence. Usually guys like him are sentenced to life in prison, i.e. Slobodan Milosevic and Augusto Pinochet. That way, they have the rest of their lives to contemplate their crimes against humanity.

The Bush administration hopes that U.S. voters will see this as a “milestone” in the war. But Hussein didn’t attack the U.S. on 9/11. Osama bin Laden — still at large — did. This is no milestone. Just a red herring. The old bait-and-switch. Meanwhile, Iraqis are left to compare their lives under Saddam Hussein to their lives now under an American occupation unfavorably.

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So Ward Connerly’s bid to end affirmative action in Michigan has taken a dark turn as he warmly embraces both the Ku Klux Klan and the (MI Chapter) Council of Conservative Citizens.

Uncle Tom Connerly says:

If the Ku Klux Klan thinks that equality is right, God bless them. Thank them for finally reaching the point where logic and reason are being applied, instead of hate.

EXCUSE ME ??? Doesn’t the KKK, a now-defanged terrorist organization, define hatred? What kind of crack is Connerly smoking anyway?!

I really hope the powers that be are paying this “brother” a WHOLE lot of money. How much do you think it costs to sell your soul to those who would as soon see you hang as “strange fruit” from a southern tree. This is exactly why African-Americans don’t trust black Republicans. Contemplative black folks tend, for some strange reason, to question who’s really backing them. From a recent AP-AOL poll of African-Americans likely to vote:

…while the Republican Party has strongly pushed the candidacies of black Republicans in the coming elections, the survey offers little hope that black GOP candidates hold special appeal for minority voters. More than eight in 10 black likely voters say the race of the candidate makes no difference to them. (Source: MSNBC)

At least with Ward “Con” Connerly, we know exactly how low he’s willing to go for support for the MCRI. Check out the MCRI homepage. The hypocrisy behind the photo montage at the top is sickening. The KKK, CCC and Handkerchief Head want to see everything in those photos be changed back to separate but equal, asap. After that, to cleanse your mind, head on over to One United Michigan, some folks fighting Ward Connerly and the MCRI.

(Read more at Think Progress)

Cross-posted on MyDD.com

Remember this?

George W. Bush: There’s an old saying in Tennessee. I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee, that says: “Fool me once…”
George W. Bush: [pause]
George W. Bush: “… shame on…”.
George W. Bush: [pause]
George W. Bush: “Shame on you…”
George W. Bush: [pause]
George W. Bush: “If fooled, you can’t get fooled again.”

Clip from American Blackout

This week, the big story involving race and politics in America is happening right now. Only you can’t fully see it yet. It’s a story from the past and soon to manifest in the near future. See, Karl Rove is confident that things don’t look so dark for Republicans despite the ominous polls on the horizon. That’s because he’s fooled Americans once at the polls in 2000 in Florida. He fooled us again in 2004 in Ohio. Now he’s planning to fool us once more.

How do I know?

Because I’ve been keeping an eye on efforts to do something. To Do More Than Vote.

There are some folks laying in plans to create voter confusion, suppression, intimidation. There are also some people working hard to prevent another round of disenfranchisement aimed at low-income people, seniors and particularly, minority voters. Things like:

Harsh and Burdensome Voter ID Requirements
Barriers to voter registration
Provisional Ballots
Long lines and inequality in resource distribution at the polls
Disenfranchisement of citizens with past felony convictions
Emerging suppression strategies
Cause for optimism—fighting voter suppression and winning

There’s something you can do about it. Here are a few ideas…after the jump.

1. Get Educated. See American Blackout which tells the story of the re-emergence of Jim Crow-style voter supression. Or check out PFAW’s report entitled: The New Face of Jim Crow: Voter Suppression in America. There’s a theme here.

2. Video the Vote. Document voter monkey business and maybe consider putting it on YouTube. Make sure you read the guidelines first though.

3. Volunteer with Election Protection 365. Your help is especially needed in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida.

4. Be a Poll Watcher on Election Day. If you see something goofy going down, call the Election Protection Hotline at 1-866-OUR VOTE to report it right away.

5. Call for Change. Help motivate people to vote. Disenfranchisement is discouraging, disillusioning. That’s the point. That’s what they want. To keep people from voting. Encourage others to prevent their right to vote from being taken away. After all, they can’t steal all of our votes. And plus it’s too close not to call.

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UPDATE: Good news!!! Pam Spaulding of Pam’s House Blend is invited to the CNN E-lection Nite Blog Party and so is La Shawn Barber, both as you know, strong black women — not necessarily on the same side of the issues, either. That should be interesting.

PlayaHata and African-American Political Pundit, two of my favorite bloggers, are pushing on CNN and progressive bloggers to ask whether African-American and/or other minority bloggers will be invited to participate officially in CNN’s E-lection blog party.

No disrespect, y’all and much love. But I want to know: um, when is the last time Tavis Smiley asked a black blogger to come on his PBS show? When is the last time Tom Joyner referenced a black blog on his radio show that reaches 8 million brothers and sisters across the nation? Maybe it’s happened — many times. I don’t know. Smiley is an up-and-coming black leader and um, BTW Daily Show and Colbert Report — the author of two of the hottest books on the New York Times bestseller list right now — here and here. Smiley is out-selling James Baker’s book! He even has a pseudo-blog on his site — Smiley’s heard of the concept.

The fact of the matter is that the bigger progressive blogs have been around longer than most minority-run blogs. We don’t have as large an audience — yet. We haven’t raised millions of dollars for candidates — yet. As a group, we have not had many of our stories cross over to the MSM — YET.

That will all change in a year or two, I expect. Respect is not demanded. It is earned. Our perspective is important, no doubt. More important to progressive positive politics than ever. They know that — and we know that even better. We can show our strength by staying focused on the real enemy. You and I both know that the Republicans are likely gearing up for a whole new set of voter fraud, suppression and creativity.

I am thinking we need to get on the case and get the word out. Where are the places where voter mess is most likely to happen? What organizations are planning to do something about it? If we can come together in one voice to demand that voter suppression/intimidation targeting minorities be documented and whenever possible stopped in its tracks, we can make an impact.

This is how white folks can help us. This is how black and brown folks can help ourselves. Check our VoterStory.com for one way to get started — there’s also Video the Vote which Color of Change is pushing on their website. There are bad people out there wanting to do bad things. Let’s stay focused and keep our eyes on the prize. So to speak. Peace out.

The editors over at WaPo must have been reading Jack and Jill Politics, because today they’ve run an analysis of “Flavor of Love.” It’s a pretty comprehensive in raising the relevant issues.

What they don’t come out and say, but what is at the heart of the article is this: is America mature enough to handle black people truly acting the fool as entertainers? Chappelle said no and walked away. Flav’s still in the game.

A notable quote:

“It’s like watching the Hottentot Venus on display,” says author Debra Dickerson, who penned an essay for Essence criticizing the show. “It’s without redeeming value. . . . It’s just about exploitation. It’s like having slaves fight for your amusement.”

Where do you stand? Write it up in the comments. Let’s get this party started!

I really don’t want to do that. Yet I want to offer a perspective that people don’t seem to be talking about. Ok, so the right-wing lunatics have jumped all over John Kerry for his remark that denigrates Bush’s handling of the war but sounds like a critique of the troops. In a typical fashion, they’ve twisted his words to make this a bigger deal than it is.

Howard Dean’s response has been the most appropriate. Call it what it was — a “blooper”, a mistake and re-focus on the Iraq quagmire and who’s really responsible. Jane Hamsher give Dems a PR 101 lesson: Pivot and attack a la

John Kerry’s inability to tell a joke probably should disqualify him from further appearances on Comedy Central, but I’m glad you brought up the topic of Iraq. What a f*cking Republican quagmire that is…

Call me crazy, but I think Democrats were right to distance themselves from Kerry’s comment a little even as most chose the wrong way to do it. When you watch the video of Kerry delivering the “joke” you can see right away on the faces behind him that it fell flat among the audience.

The fact is that Americans are not in the mood for jokes about Iraq. Especially when it appears we have lost so much control over the situation that the Bush administration takes orders from the government they installed, not the other way around. When we’re leaving soldiers behind. When it appears that our invasion has killed somewhere in the neighborhood of 600,000 Iraqi people at the cost of billions of dollars that might have gone to healthcare, education and security here at home. When almost as many Americans have died in Iraq as died on Sept 11, 2001 through the disastrous choices of Bush and Cheney. Almost as many — and counting.

Iraq just isn’t funny anymore. To anyone. Period. And hasn’t been for awhile now. That’s one reason why Kerry lost in 2004 — his failure to read the emotional pulse of American people. The key is to deflect away from Kerry’s insensitive blunder and focus on what people are truly upset about. And that’s the war in Iraq — how we got there and how we’re going to get out. People don’t like what Republicans are saying about either of those issues. Democrats who can echo the nation’s grave concerns about both of these questions will win on Nov 7.

This hullabaloo has the potential to mis-fire seriously against Republicans. Smart Dems will make sure it does.

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And you know what folks — if George “Mailbox” Allen doesn’t like black people, chances are, unless you’re white AND you dislike “niggers” as much as he does, he probably doesn’t have much respect for you either. That goes double for all of you “macacas” out there.

Like George W. Bush, Allen is all smiles in front of minorities while stabbing them in the back at every availability with a big wink and smirk to all the good ol’ boys. There’s more info at GeorgeAllenDontLikeBlackPeople.com

A delightful yet truthful romp through George’s past:

Big ups to James Rucker of Color of Change for providing the link.

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H. Lewis Smith left a great comment yesterday:

“The bottom line here, and as usual, it seems as though the African American can’t get any respect. Could it be because Blacks show no respect for themselves, therefore gets none. For further explanations please go to: http://www.burythatsucka.com

I don’t know much about Bury That Sucka yet and am intrigued to learn more. In the meantime, African-Americans online have to cope with a couple of new “community” sites being offered to them. One is CrackSpace. I think it is trying to use crack the drug in a “hip” and “urban” way like people used to use “dope” to mean cool. I’m going to have to agree with Whitney here that “crack is wack.” Furthermore, this venture is brought to us by the same man who brought us Soul Plane, a movie that like Flavor of Love the TV show threatens to roll back black perceptions in the public eye by at least a decade or two. (Props: Racialious)

How about just BlackSpace? Or HipHopSpace? Why re-inforce the notion that all hip hop listeners do drugs? It simply isn’t true and besides — more non-black folk listen to hip hop these days than actual black folk.

Then there’s NiggaSpace. (Peace: Gawker, FishbowlNYC)This is not a commercial, blaxploitation attempt. Instead, I think this is straight-up hatred by some punk in Orange County who is likely a white supremacist. I need to do some more digging, but it should be manifestly clear to any black person that black people weren’t actually involved in the creation of the site judging from the language and tone. There’s some pretty ugly stuff in there embedded in fake profiles. I’m having trouble bringing the unstable site up, but one of the profiles involved a married white man who loved his wife but felt he could never be a true “nigga” until he’d had a taste of the big round ass that only sweet black poontang can provide. Or something like that. UGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!

But Smith’s comments are correct — how is it ok for these sites to exist with little public outcry, especially from black folks themselves. Sure, this is a country that values free speech. But exactly at what point do responsible advertisers and parents and teens say “enough”? Does it have anything to do with blacks’ self-image? Is that why we cannot push back against such hateful and offensive attempts to take our money and degrade our human value effectively?

And how does this reflect itself in our political power? Is that how we got saddled with Harold Ford Jr. a Democrat in Name Only who specializes in self-hatred, betrayal and genuflecting whenever possible to corporatists and wingnut extremists??? He’s a better choice than Bob “Miscegnation” Corker, but just by the scruff of his neck. I’ll say it again — when it comes to NiggaSpace and CrackSpace, Flavor of Love and maybe even Ford Jr — Where is the NAACP when you actually need it?

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Cheryl Contee aka "Jill Tubman", Baratunde Thurston aka "Jack Turner", rikyrah, Leutisha Stills aka "The Christian Progressive Liberal", B-Serious, Casey Gane-McCalla, Jonathan Pitts-Wiley aka "Marcus Toussaint," Fredric Mitchell

Special Contributors: James Rucker, Rinku Sen, Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, Adam Luna, Kamala Harris

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