Election officials in 27 states, most of them Republicans, have launched a program that threatens a massive purge of voters from the rolls. Millions, especially black, Hispanic and Asian-American voters, are at risk. Already, tens of thousands have been removed in at least one battleground state, and the numbers are expected to climb, according to a six-month-long, nationwide investigation by Al Jazeera America.
At the heart of this voter-roll scrub is the Interstate Crosscheck program, which has generated a master list of nearly 7 million names. Officials say that these names represent legions of fraudsters who are not only registered but have actually voted in two or more states in the same election — a felony punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison.
Until now, state elections officials have refused to turn over their Crosscheck lists, some on grounds that these voters are subject to criminal investigation. Now, for the first time, three states — Georgia, Virginia and Washington — have released their lists to Al Jazeera America, providing a total of just over 2 million names.
The Crosscheck list of suspected double voters has been compiled by matching names from roughly 110 million voter records from participating states. Interstate Crosscheck is the pet project of Kansas’ controversial Republican secretary of state, Kris Kobach, known for his crusade against voter fraud.
The three states’ lists are heavily weighted with names such as Jackson, Garcia, Patel and Kim — ones common among minorities, who vote overwhelmingly Democratic. Indeed, fully 1 in 7 African-Americans in those 27 states, plus the state of Washington (which enrolled in Crosscheck but has decided not to utilize the results), are listed as under suspicion of having voted twice. This also applies to 1 in 8 Asian-Americans and 1 in 8 Hispanic voters. White voters too — 1 in 11 — are at risk of having their names scrubbed from the voter rolls, though not as vulnerable as minorities.
If even a fraction of those names are blocked from voting or purged from voter rolls, it could alter the outcome of next week’s electoral battle for control of the U.S. Senate — and perhaps prove decisive in the 2016 presidential vote count.
“It’s Jim Crow all over again,” says the Rev. Joseph Lowery, who cofounded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with Martin Luther King, Jr. Lowery, now 93, says he recognizes in the list of threatened voters a sophisticated new form of an old and tired tactic. “I think [the Republicans] would use anything they can find. Their desperation is rising.”
Though Kobach declined to be interviewed, Roger Bonds, the chairman of the Republican Party in Georgia’s Fulton County, responds, “This is how we have successfully prevented voter fraud.”
Based on the Crosscheck lists, officials have begun the process of removing names from the rolls — beginning with 41,637 in Virginia alone. Yet the criteria used for matching these double voters are disturbingly inadequate.
There are 6,951,484 names on the target list of the 28 states in the Crosscheck group; each of them represents a suspected double voter whose registration has now become subject to challenge and removal. According to a 2013 presentation by Kobach to the National Association of State Election Directors, the program is a highly sophisticated voter-fraud-detection system. The sample matches he showed his audience included the following criteria: first, last and middle name or initial; date of birth; suffixes; and Social Security number, or at least its last four digits.
In practice, all it takes to become a suspect is sharing a first and last name with a voter in another state. Typical “matches” identifying those who may have voted in both Georgia and Virginia include:
- Kevin Antonio Hayes of Durham, North Carolina, is a match for a man who voted in Alexandria, Virginia, as Kevin Thomas Hayes.
- John Paul Williams of Alexandria is supposedly the same man as John R. Williams of Atlanta, Georgia.
- Robert Dewey Cox of Marietta, Georgia is matched with Robert Glen Cox of Springfield, Virginia.
Just the whole idea that this man wants to eliminate what is essentially a primary part of “World History”…religion, boggles the mind…
An angry father has been banned from a Maryland high school’s campus after he made vague but ominous threats against the school because his daughter’s history homework mentioned the Islamic faith.
BayNet.com reported that La Plata High School in Charles County, Maryland has issued a No Trespass order after parent Kevin Wood — a former U.S. Marine — called the school and threatened to disrupt classes if his daughter’s world history class continued to study the religion and its impact on human history.
Wood reportedly telephoned Vice Principal Shannon Morris last Thursday enraged over a homework assignment which dealt with the formation of Middle Eastern empires centuries ago. History teacher Katie O’Malley Simpson said that the history curriculum has never been considered controversial in the past.
“The assignment has been given for years,” O’Malley-Simpson said.
La Plata High School Principal Evelyn Arnold issued a No Trespass order against Wood after hearing about the contentious call, in which Wood promised to come to the school and disrupt classes if Islam was mentioned any further.
O’Malley-Simpson called the decision to ban Wood from campus “unusual,” saying, “We don’t file no trespassing charges lightly. We would only do that when we feel someone has threatened the safety of staff and students.”
According to Maryland Gazette.net, O’Malley-Simpson said, “We have a lot of students, and safety comes first. We don’t allow disruptions at the schools, especially if we’re forewarned of them.”
Charles County School District Superintendent Kimberly Hill met with Wood and his wife to discuss their concerns on Monday. The couple reportedly asked the school to excuse their daughter from world history class for the duration of the segment studying Islam.
After the meeting, Wood told reporters that his daughter, a junior at La Plata High, should not be forced to study a faith that she “does not believe in.”
Morris told the Woods that an alternate curriculum could be created for their daughter, and that any assignments she refused to complete would be given a failing grade.
“I told her straight up ‘you could take that Muslim-loving piece of paper and shove it up your white [expletive],” Wood said on Monday. “If [students] can’t practice Christianity in school, they should not be allowed to practice Islam in school.”
Wood told Superintendent Morris that the school is violating his daughter’s “constitutional rights” and threatened to “bring down a shit-storm on them like they’ve never seen.”
Melissa Wood, however, assured reporters that her husband wasn’t really threatening the school and that officials are twisting his words and overreacting.
“Nowhere did he ever threaten,” she insisted. “And this is where it’s gotten totally blown out of proportion.”
O’Malley-Simpson said that some classes may offer an alternate assignment for students whose parents complain over subject matter, but not world history.
“It’s part of the curriculum,” she said, “and it’s part of the standards you’re supposed to learn.”
“This is a world history class,” she explained. “We are not teaching religion. Part of those world history studies involves the economics of a region and part of that is the religion which relates to the economy of that part of the world. In the Middle East, Islam is the only religion and it contributes greatly to the economics of the region.”
“Religion is a big part of world history,” she said.
Charles County Board of Education member Jennifer Abell posted a statement on Facebook explaining that some people are spreading “misinformation” about the No Trespass order.
“The particular unit in question at La Plata High School is on the formation of Middle Eastern empires in which students learned the basic concepts of the Islamic faith and how it, along with politics, culture, economics and geography, contributed to the development of the Middle East,” Abell wrote.
She went on, “There is also misinformation about why the school issued a No Trespass Order on a parent. This parent threatened to cause problems that would potentially disrupt La Plata High School this morning. To ensure the safety of students and staff at the school, the school administration placed a No Trespass Order on this parent.”
Washington (CNN) — A 21-day quarantine for all military personnel serving in Ebola stricken areas of west Africa is expected to be approved by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel Wednesday.
The quarantine was pushed for by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Pentagon officials acknowledge. Initially the measure will apply to all personnel leaving the West Africa area. But “after a few weeks we will reassess,” and see if the quarantine is still needed a military official tells CNN.
The policy creates a separate set of rules for military members than what the White House has pushed for civilian health care workers. President Obama has argued that civilian volunteer health workers returning from aid trips to Africa should not be quarantined and the White House has urged states not to impose their own quarantine policies. Science, Obama has said, does not support the need for a quarantine.
Asked to explain the discrepancy between civilians and the military, he said Tuesday service members have been sent to the Ebola region by him and health workers are going as volunteers.
“It’s part of their mission that’s been assigned to them by their commanders and ultimately by me, the commander-in-chief,” the president told reporters on the White House’s South Lawn on Tuesday.”So we don’t expect to have similar rules for our military as we do for civilians,” Obama said. “They are already, by definition, if they’re in the military under more circumscribed conditions.”
The chiefs did not have new scientific or medical data about Ebola when they pressed for Hagel to approve the quarantine the military official said. “This is simply about the chiefs looking at the best way to take care of the force, the families and the communities to which they are returning.” This effort “is an admittedly conservative approach,” the official said.
In their discussions the chiefs—who each head one of the military services branches—noted that many of the US troops are young and inexperienced in any medical issues. There was concern they might not adhere to an informal protocol of taking their temperature twice a day on their own. And the official said, families and communities in the US and Europe where the troops are located had also expressed concern. The US already has 1,000 troops on the ground, and that force could grow to a total of 4,000. “That’s the biggest group of Americans there,” the official said, noting that also was a factor in the chiefs thinking.
“The chiefs believe it is better to start more restrictive and then re-assess as we get further into the Ebola operation,” the official said. For now, troops will be held in quarantine at bases designated by each of the military services. There will be provisions for compassionate leave—allowing troops to leave quarantine if they have a family emergency such as an illness or death. The quarantine will also not apply to those just briefly travelling to Liberia, or aircrews flying in an out, although everyone is told to monitor their temperatures.
Army Chief of Staff Ray Odierno ordered an Army wide quarantine for soldiers coming back from West Africa, beginning with Major General Darryl Williams and his team. Defense officials had said the quarantine for Williams was ordered because he and his group had traveled extensively around Liberia, although they had no direct contact with Ebola patients.
Though he hasn’t mentioned it much on the campaign trail over the past year, McConnell specifically touted his effort to push President George W. Bush’s plans to reform Social Security in 2005, which would have set up private accounts for retirees.“After Bush was re-elected in 2004 he wanted us to try to fix Social Security,” said McConnell. “I spent a year trying to get any Democrat in the Senate – even those most reasonable Democrat of all, Joe Lieberman – to help us.”
Obama rejects automatic Ebola quarantines of health workers, rocket bound for space station explodes at launch, and more
1. Obama argues against automatic Ebola quarantines
President Obama implicitly criticized automatic quarantines of health workers returning from treating Ebola patients in West Africa, saying that “we don’t want to discourage our health care workers from going to the front lines.” Obama did not directly address the controversial quarantine policies imposed by the governors of New York and New Jersey, but he said, “We know that the best way to protect Americans ultimately is going to stop this outbreak at the source.” Liberia’s president called the quarantines a troubling “overreaction.” [The Washington Post]
2. Iraqi Kurds join fight to save Syrian town from ISIS
About 150 Kurdish peshmerga fighters from Iraq arrived in southeastern Turkey on Wednesday on their way to join the fight against ISIS militants trying to take over the Syrian border town of Kobani. The reinforcements were the first to be permitted to travel through Turkey under a new policy allowing foreign forces to cross its territory to join the fight against ISIS in Syria. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said only Iraqi peshmerga fighters and Syrian opposition fighters can save Kobani. [The New York Times, Reuters]
3. Security increased at federal buildings after Canada attacks
The U.S. is increasing security at some federal buildings in Washington, D.C., and other big cities in response to terrorist threats and recent attacks in Canada, including a shooting in the Parliament building in Ottawa, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Tuesday. Johnson called the decision a “precautionary” move, and did not specify which facilities would get greater protection. “Given world events, prudence dictates a heightened vigilance,” Johnson said. [NBC News]
4. South Korean spies say Kim Jong Un had ankle surgery
South Korea’s spy agency has concluded that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s mysterious six-week absence from public view was due to ankle surgery, Yonhap news agency reported Tuesday. Kim’s failure to appear at public events set off weeks of speculation. Some observers suggested he had dire health problems; others said he might have been brushed aside in a coup. South Korea’s National Intelligence Service told lawmakers that Kim had a cyst removed. He reappeared on Oct. 14, using a cane. [Voice of America]
5. Tsarnaev friend convicted of lying to Boston Marathon bombing investigators
A friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was convicted on Tuesday of lying to FBI agents. Investigators had asked the man, Robel Phillipos, 21, whether he had been in Tsarnaev’s dorm room at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth when two other friends removed a computer and a backpack containing fireworks. Phillipos’ lawyers said he didn’t mean to lie, but had smoked so much marijuana on the day in question that he could not answer the agents’ questions accurately. [The New York Times]
6. Sarah Palin says she wants to run for office again
Sarah Palin told Fox Business Network on Tuesday that she hopes to make another run for public office some day. The former GOP vice presidential candidate resigned as governor of Alaska in 2009, but remains popular with conservatives. Palin said her critics only inspire her. “The more they’re pouring on the more I’m going to bug the crap out of them by being out there with a voice,” she said, adding that Republican leaders “need more guts” to pursue the party’s agenda. [The Associated Press]
7. Hackers attack White House computers
Unclassified parts of the White House computer network have been attacked by hackers in recent weeks, the Obama administration said Tuesday. The cyberattacks did no damage to the system, but efforts to foil the hackers resulted in temporary disruptions of internet service for users. Government cybersecurity experts suspect that the Russian government is behind the hacking. NATO, the Ukrainian government, and U.S. defense contractors also have been targeted in recent months. [The Washington Post]
8. Phil Collins donates Alamo collection to Texas museum
British rock star Phil Collins brought his collection of Alamo memorabilia — the largest in the world — to the site of a San Antonio museum that will house the donated artifacts. Collins’ collection includes Davy Crockett’s musket ball pouch and a rare Jim Bowie knife. Many of the artifacts had not been near the famous mission since it fell to the Mexican army 178 years ago. “I’m really happy that it’s going here,” Collins said. “It’s where it should be.” [The Dallas Morning News]
9. Unmanned rocket explodes on launch
An unmanned rocket carrying cargo intended for the International Space Station exploded on launch Tuesday night in eastern Virginia. The Antares rocket and Cygnus cargo spacecraft, built by Orbital Sciences Corp. under a contract with NASA, lifted off the launch pad with 5,000 pounds of supplies and experiments, then exploded in a giant fireball. Nobody was reported killed or injured. Mission control could not immediately say what went wrong. [CNN]
10. Royals rout Giants in Game 6 of the World Series
The Kansas City Royals trounced the San Francisco Giants 10-0 in Game 6 of the World Series on Tuesday night, forcing a winner-take-all Game 7 Wednesday night in Kansas City. The result of Tuesday’s game was never in doubt after the Royals scored seven runs in the second inning. The Royals have a key advantage as they try to deny the Giants their third Major League Baseball championship in five years — the home team has won the Series the last nine times it went to a decisive seventh game. [The Associated Press]
I truly hope Senator Warren runs in 2016…
Elizabeth Warren usually opens with a joke. It is not that funny. Funny is not the point.
“Can y’all hear me in the back row?” she said here on Saturday morning, looking out from the lectern at a rally for Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.). “You can always tell a schoolteacher. I will be keeping an eye on those of you in the back row. You may be called on at some point during this. Iknow why you’re in the back row.”
At this rally, the joke didn’t even make a lot of sense. It is a gag written for big rooms — for the college lecture halls that Warren has been filling as a guest speaker for Democratic candidates this year. But on this day in New Hampshire, the crowd was small. The “back row” was only about 20 feet away. They could definitely hear her.
Warren used the joke anyway. The point is not the joke — the point is the word “schoolteacher.”
Every bit of Warren’s 17-minute stump speech is designed to do a job, and the job of this section is — in speechwriter lingo — to “establish bio.” It reminds people that once (actually, about 43 years ago), Warren worked with children at an elementary school. With that word, she locates herself inside the middle-class audience she intends to persuade.
Warren — a second-year senator from Massachusetts who is not up for reelection — might be one of the few Democrats in the nation who are enjoying 2014. She has been invited to rallies for candidates in six states, even in conservative places such as Kentucky, where on Tuesday night she campaigned with Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes.
One secret of Warren’s success has been her mastery of an old political art: the stump speech. Other Senate Democrats, after years on the defensive, have been trained to give mumbly attack speeches focusing mainly on what their opponents get wrong. Warren, by contrast, uses old rhetorical tricks to sweep her audience into a celebration of what she says Democrats get right.
Warren’s speech might not win any elections this year, but it certainly seems more fun for people in the back row.
“So, this is a rally? Let’s rally for a minute. Let’s remind ourselves what we get out there and fight for,” she told the small crowd in New Hampshire. And she started in with a kind of credo, reciting the things they all believed together. “We believe we need more restraints on Wall Street.”
“Woo!” said the crowd.
“Yeah!” said the senator from Massachusetts. “Woo!”
Warren, 65, grew up in small-town Oklahoma, and became a Harvard law professor studying bankruptcy and why so many Americans fall into it. That work drove her to become an activist, trying to protect people from predatory practices at big banks. That activism eventually made her famous, as a tough-talking founder of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
I won’t hold my breath waiting for that to happen…
A U.S. federal judge on Tuesday ordered a controversial Arizona sheriff to undergo the same training as his deputies to prevent racial profiling and unlawful detention in the wake of the lawman’s recent comments.
U.S. District Court Judge Murray Snow criticized sheriff Joe Arpaio during a hearing in Phoenix for telling a reporter he would have no problem conducting an immigration sweep like one performed in the town of Guadalupe in 2008, which was later declared unconstitutional.
The judge ruled in May 2013 that Arpaio, who bills himself as “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” violated the rights of Latino drivers with his crackdown on illegal immigration and ordered him to stop using race as a factor in law enforcement decisions.
Snow said Arpaio’s recent comments undermined his office’s efforts to comply with the ruling.
The ruling stems from a 2007 class-action lawsuit by Hispanic drivers, who argued they were unlawfully singled out for traffic stops on the basis of ethnicity.
The case tested whether police could target unauthorized illegal immigrants without racially profiling U.S. citizens and legal residents of Hispanic origin.
Arpaio’s operation in Guadalupe were a major part of the case.
Arpaio did not attend Tuesday’s hearing, but has consistently denied allegations of racial profiling and is appealing the judge’s ruling.
His attorney, Tim Casey, argued that Arpaio’s recent statements were protected by the First Amendment and questioned whether they would impact the office’s improvement efforts.
“Good faith exists in the deed, not the spoken word,” he told the court.
Plaintiff’s attorney and director of the American Civil Liberties Union Immigrants’ Rights Project, Cecillia Wang, said Arpaio should be held in contempt if his behavior continues.
“He needs to know that there will be consequences for his actions,” Wang said after the hearing.
The judge also criticized the office’s handling of an investigation into allegations that a deputy who committed suicide was shaking down illegal immigrants and that others may have been involved.
Ramon “Charley” Armendariz, who testified at the racial profiling trial, was found with numerous videotapes of traffic stops and personal information of drivers with Hispanic surnames at his home. Included were license plates, credit cards and identification cards.
A monitor appointed by the court to watch Arpaio’s operations said on Tuesday the investigation by sheriff’s officials was sorely lacking.
No words…just DISGUST. Many people say racism doesn’t exist or it’s a thing of the past.
This report is dated 10-28-2014.
An offensive Halloween display outside of a Fort Campbell home has been removed.
The display appeared to show an African-American family hanging from a tree outside of an on-post residence on Litwin Street.
The child in the display had a knife in its back.
Officials said the resident willingly removed the decorations after being informed of concerns raised by the community.