Big Lie candidates running in November 

Red, white, and blue logo, with ballot box and words "Elections Under Attack"

In Minnesota, Republican Kim Crockett is running for Secretary of State on a Big Lie platform. She calls the 2020 election “lawless,” “illegitimate” and “rigged.” She wants to severely restrict absentee and mail voting, saying that postal workers cannot be trusted to deliver ballots. 

Her lies about elections put her squarely in the ranks of Republicans running on the Big Lie platform this year—and she’s running for the statewide office that has the most to do with election integrity.

Originally published in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder. “This is the first of MSR’s “Elections Under Attack” series that looks at four threats to our elections growing out of the Big Lie that the former president won the 2020 election. Articles in the series look at each of these threats to democratic elections in the United States, with an emphasis on Minnesota. Next week: Part II: Sabotaging the election process. In coming weeks: Part III: Threats to election officials; Part IV: Attacking voting rights.

Across the country, right-wing proponents of the Big Lie have launched attacks against voting rights, election processes, and election officials. Besides these ongoing attacks, dozens of Big Lie candidates are running for key state offices that will give them control of election machinery. 

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

More Funding for the IRS Will Help the Middle Class

Fotolia image

The Inflation Reduction Act gives the IRS $80 billion in new funding to upgrade and, among other things, to hire 87,000 new agents. The country desperately needs that investment to compensate for massive budget cuts to the IRS over the past decade, to update antiquated technology, and to enable the agency to go after über-wealthy billionaires and transnational corporations who have successfully evaded or outright refused to pay taxes for years.

Republicans in Congress falsely say that the new IRS agents will be armed and will go after low and middle-income taxpayers. These completely false claims have sparked a wave of rightwing threats of violence. A Republican candidate for the Florida legislature called for Floridians to “shoot FBI, IRS, ATF and all other feds on sight! Let freedom ring!

The scare stories are totally false. In actual fact, the new funding follows a decade of defunding. The IRS enforcement budget was cut by more than 25 percent from 2012 to 2020, and the agency lost almost 6,000 agents.[1] With less money and fewer agents, the IRS conducted fewer audits overall, and collected far less money, only $11 billion in 2019, compared to $28 billion in 2010. 

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Mar-a-Lago: Eight Questions and Answers

Scales of justice with question mark.
Scales of justice with question mark. Image by Esquivalience, used under Creative Commons license.

Question #1: Did the FBI “raid” Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence?

Answer: No. The FBI executed a search warrant. A search warrant is issued by a judge. In order to get a search warrant, the prosecutor must demonstrate probable cause to believe two things: that a crime has been committed and that evidence of the crime will be found on the premises to be searched. 

Trump said there was no difference between Watergate and the FBI actions. That is arrant nonsense. Watergate was a burglary committed by criminals who clandestinely broke into offices in the dead of night. At Mar-a-Lago, the FBI executed a search warrant openly and in the full light of day, pursuant to a legal court order. 

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Dear Mr. President: Don’t go to Saudi Arabia

I sent this email to the White House tonight:

Dear Mr. President:
Please do NOT go to Saudi Arabia. A presidential appearance there gives aId and comfort to Mohammed Bin Salman, who is implicated in the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. You have called Saudi Arabia a pariah state. It is. It should be.
Please–stand up for human rights and do not visit Saudi Arabia.
Respectfully,
Mary Turck

Jamal Khashoggi was a Saudi journalist living and working in the United States. He was a columnist for the Washington Post. On October 2, 2018, Khashoggi was ambushed, suffocated, and dismembered in the Saudi embassy in Turkey. His assassination by a 15-person Saudi hit squad was well-documented, his gruesome final moments on audio tape, and the connection to Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman is well-established.

Nor is that the only reason to steer clear of a visit to Saudi Arabia. Fifteen of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers were Saudis, and 9/11 families continue to call for accountability on the part of Saudi Arabia. Some families are suing Saudi Arabia for damages. Terry Strada, widow of Tom Strada, wrote to President Biden on behalf of the 9/11 Families United organization:

“Please stand where no other President since 9/11 has stood, with the September 11 community in our pursuit for justice, and prioritize a full and complete discussion of the Saudis’ continued denial of their complicity in the attacks.

“We strongly suspect that you recognize the wisdom and justice in this request, and that you understand and support our efforts, but we need to see the actions, not just the words …”

I invite you to copy my letter and send, or write in your own words. This is the link to contact the President: https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Racism and Anti-Semitism: Ignoring Evil Does Not Make It Go Away

Swastikas on columns in Union Station in Washington DC
Holocaust Remembrance Day was yesterday, January 27. Today, Bo Erickson of CBS News reports that there are swastikas drawn on almost every column in Union Station in Washington, DC. 

In Tennessee, a school board banned the teaching of the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel, Maus. That novel teaches about the Holocaust. It is based on the experience of the author’s parents. They survived Auschwitz concentration camp. His mother later killed herself. 

The McMinn County Board of Education thinks the novel is disturbing and too adult for high school students. 

The Holocaust is an obscenity. Learning about the Holocaust SHOULD be disturbing. 

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Banning History is Racist: Stand Up, Fight Back!

In Florida, a school district canceled a civil rights history seminar for teachers. Not only do the rancid rightwing racists want to keep students from learning about slavery, civil rights, and racism—they don’t want teachers to learn history either. 

“J. Michael Butler, a history professor at Flagler College in St. Augustine, was scheduled to give a presentation Saturday to Osceola County School District teachers called ‘The Long Civil Rights Movement,’ which postulates that the civil rights movement preceded and post-dated Martin Luther King Jr. by decades.”

From civil rights history to graphic novels, just about any teaching or even reading about Black history and experience can be targeted. Jerry Craft wrote two graphic novels based on his own growing-up experience as an African-American kid in a mostly-white school. New Kid won the 2020 Newbery Medal, the Coretta Scott King Author Award, and the Kirkus Prize—and got banned in Texas. 

The Florida legislature is considering legislation to block any teaching about race that would cause discomfort to anyone. They mean, of course, discomfort to any white people. When it comes to racism, Black people do not need a history class to feel discomfort.  

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Protected: Honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Enter your password to view comments.

Filed under Uncategorized

End the Filibuster NOW

Closeup of mural of Congressman John R. Lewis (1940-2020) (Photo by Thomas Cizauskas, published under Creative Commons license) — Artist: Sean Schwab Atlanta (Sweet Auburn), Georgia, USA. Painted 2012.
Closeup of mural of Congressman John R. Lewis (1940-2020) (Photo by Thomas Cizauskas, published under Creative Commons license) — Artist: Sean Schwab Atlanta (Sweet Auburn), Georgia, USA. Painted 2012.

The Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act, passed by House of Representatives on January 13, is held hostage today by the Senate filibuster threat—a disgraceful tactic that has repeatedly blocked voting rights, civil rights, and anti-lynching legislation for more than a century. 

One hundred years ago, in 1922, a filibuster killed the Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill. In 1934, the Costigan-Wagner anti-lynching bill failed, as “southern senators threatened to filibuster and the Democratic leadership refused to take up the bill for full debate.”[1] The bill was brought up again in 1935 and again blocked by a filibuster. In the next Congress, 58 anti-lynching bills were introduced, and one was passed by the House. Again, it was killed by a six-week filibuster of southern Democrats and Republicans. Notably, Republicans said they supported the bill but refused to vote for cloture. President Roosevelt backed away from the bill, saying, “If I come out for the anti-lynching bill now, they will block every bill I ask Congress to pass to keep America from collapsing. I just can’t take that chance.”[2] The final effort to pass an anti-lynching bill in 1939 also failed, with Senators giving in to the mere threat of a filibuster. In 2019, the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act was blocked by a threat of a filibuster by a single Senator, Rand Paul. The bill was re-introduced in December 2021.[3] That’s right: all the way to the present day, the filibuster has blocked federal anti-lynching legislation. 

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Act Now to Protect Voting Rights and Preserve the Nation

Bloody Sunday at Edmund Pettis Bridge. This is the artwork of American artist, Ted Ellis. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.
This is the artwork of American artist, Ted Ellis. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

“Kathy spotted the long line of voters as she pulled into the Christian City Welcome Center about 3:30 p.m., ready to cast her ballot in the June 9 primary election.

“Hundreds of people were waiting in the heat and rain outside the lush, tree-lined complex in Union City, an Atlanta suburb with 22,400 residents, nearly 88% of them Black. She briefly considered not casting a ballot at all, but decided to stay.

“By the time she got inside more than five hours later, the polls had officially closed and the electronic scanners were shut down. Poll workers told her she’d have to cast a provisional ballot, but they promised that her vote would be counted. …

“By the time the last voter finally got inside the welcome center to cast a ballot, it was the next day, June 10.”[1]

Kathy’s story, reported by NPR in June 2020, shows the future of voting in the United States, unless Congress acts now. Closure of polling places in Black neighborhoods and removal of voting machines to create long lines are just two of the tactics targeting Black voters, Indigenous voters, poor voters, and Democratic voters. Those tactics disenfranchise voters. In June 2020, “the average wait time after 7 p.m. across Georgia was 51 minutes in polling places that were 90% or more nonwhite, but only six minutes in polling places that were 90% white.” 

We as a nation desperately need the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act, which was passed by the House of Representatives on January 13, and is held hostage today by the Senate filibuster threat. 

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Change Is Possible

This image is part of an amazing series created by Ricardo Levins Morales. Check out the whole series at his studio https://www.rlmartstudio.com

In the face of this week’s disaster news, Popular Information has a message I needed to hear: change is possible. In their real-life example social media activism drove real world action.

Popular Information is a small but feisty organization with deep research and reporting on a limited number of topics, and a well-worth-it $6/month subscription fee. I first encountered them as an invaluable source on corporate financial support for voter suppression and for politicians who collaborated in the attacks on the 2020 election,  but their reports cover a much broader range of issues. 

The change is possible story focuses on their exposé of working conditions at the Olive Garden, and the near-immediate change in sick leave policies following that exposé.  

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized