Wednesday, October 03, 2012

NAACP : Felons Should Be Permitted To Vote & Netanyahu Making Up Stuff To Manufacture Consent For War On Iran

...Whatever one thinks of Iran, the signal the US has sent to the world is unmistakable: any rational government should acquire nuclear weapons. The Iranians undoubtedly watched the US treatment of two dictators who gave up their quest for nuclear weapons – Iraq's Saddam Hussein and Libya's Muammar Gaddafi – and drew the only reasoned lesson: the only way a country can protect itself from US attack, other than full-scale obeisance, is to acquire nuclear weapons. That is precisely why the US and Israel are so eager to ensure they do not.

Quote from Glenn Greenwald article : The true reason US fears Iranian nukes: they can deter US attacks by glenn greenwald via Information Clearing House ,Oct. 2,2012

And the NAACP has started an initiative to allow convicted felons who have served their time in prison to be permitted to vote in elections. The main reason for shutting out felons was rooted in the prevalence of racism because most of the felons are and were black Americans and these African Americans if permitted to vote originally would have voted Republican but now African Americans would vote for the Democrats and therefore in this election for Barack Obama which might help Obama to defeat Mitt Romney.

Whatever the excuses or rationale for not allowing felons to vote the outcome has been  the denying of millions of American citizens their rights because they spent time in jail.

My own take on this has been that President Obama in his first few months in office should have championed this cause should have made speeches and took some action to redress these violations of the rights of American citizens to vote. The fact that these laws are rooted in racism makes it that more egregious since these laws were not based upon some legitimate concern but rather political expediency to favor one of the major parties whether Democrats or Republicans.

NAACP screen shot
“Voting is a right,” said President Jealous. “In this state, the governor has decided to turn back the clock.” Florida, Virginia, Iowa, and Kentucky are the only states that continue to disenfranchise persons convicted of felonies even after they have completed all of the terms of their sentence. 
There are 1.5 million disenfranchised citizens in Florida alone. President Jealous’ aim for the campaign is to bring to the forefront the plights of these targeted individuals. “It’s easy to do dirt in the dark,” he said. “It’s harder to do dirt in the light.”

Today’s launch comes on the heels of a NAACP-led visit to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland. As part of the visit, the delegation held a panel discussion on felony disenfranchisement and the attack on voting rights in states across the nation.
For more information, visit

also see: NAACP Hosts United Nations panel On Felony Disenfranchisement and Attacks On Voters Rights

For the second time this year, a NAACP delegation traveled to Geneva Switzerland to host a United Nations Panel on the disenfranchisement of United States Citizens.

The NAACP urged the United Nations’ Special Rappateour on Racism to investigate racially discriminatory election laws.

Lorraine Miller, Chair of the Advocacy and Policy Committee of the NAACP’s National Board of Directors: “Today, nearly 5.3 million U.S. citizens have been stripped of their voting rights on a temporary or permanent basis, including more than 4.4 million citizens who are no longer incarcerated. More than 2 million are African American, yet African Americans make up less than 13% of the U.S. population. We commend US Attorney General Holder for his work to prevent the implementation of recent challenges to voting rights. However, we remain deeply concerned with the continued practice and discriminatory impact of felony disenfranchisement.”

Kemba Smith Pradia, Author & Advocate for the rights of formerly incarcerated people: “Despite receiving Executive Clemency from U.S. President Bill Clinton, one of the collateral consequences of having been incarcerated is losing my right to vote. Nationally, I represent more than 5 million citizens that are disenfranchised from being a part of the political process simply because of past felony convictions. Even if I did understand the state of Virginia’s hesitancy to automatically restore a person with a felony convictions right to vote, how could the state totally ignore that these felony disenfranchisement laws had racial intent and emerged after the 15th Amendment? In 1901, Virginia state delegate Carter Glass stated, ‘This plan…will eliminate the darkey as a political factor in this State in less than 5 years, so that in no single county…will there be the least concern felt for the complete supremacy of the white race in the affairs of government.”

also see: Disenfranchised Felons editorial at The new york Times, July 15, 2012

The number of Americans who cannot vote because they have been convicted of a felony continues to grow. The Sentencing Project reported Thursday that in 2010 5.5 million voting-age citizens were disenfranchised because of their criminal records, up by 9 percent from 2004.

About a quarter are in prison, but the rest have completed their sentences or are on probation or parole. The only reason not to let them vote is to stigmatize them or to continue punishing them. Only Maine and Vermont impose no voting restrictions on felons or ex-felons. The other states impose various restrictions, with 11 states (six in the South) banning ex-felons from voting even after they have completed prison and probation or parole.

These limits are seriously counterproductive. Former offenders who are allowed to vote are less likely to return to prison and more likely to become reintegrated into their communities. Public opinion and efforts by some states to restore voting rights to ex-felons in some circumstances reflect that view. But because the justice system locks up so many people every year, many more people lose their voting rights than benefit from the state efforts.

The disproportionate number of blacks among the disenfranchised remains a huge racial justice problem. Almost 7.7 percent of blacks of voting age are disenfranchised because of their criminal records, compared with less than 2 percent for non-blacks. This stripping of black voting rights is linked to their disproportionate number in the criminal system — blacks make up 38.2 percent of the prison population, though they account for only 12.6 percent of the general population.

Courts and scholars have long concluded that race explains why minorities are overrepresented in prisons better than any other factor. Until the criminal system is made fairer, the number of people disenfranchised will grow, with blacks unfairly excluded from voting at a much higher rate.

Even social conservative Rick Santorum sees the injustice in denying voting rights to felons after they have served their time.

Santorum hammers Romney over felon voting rights by lucy Madison,CBS News, January 16,2012

Manufacturing Consent For Attacking Iran

The true reason US fears Iranian nukes: they can deter US attacks by Glenn Greenwald via Information Clearing House ,Oct. 2,2012

GOP Senator Lindsey Graham echoes a long line of US policymakers: Iran must not be allowed to deter US aggression - In the Washington Post today, Richard Cohen expresses surprise that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is "starting to make some sense" and "wax rationally". Cohen specifically cites this statement from the Iranian president last week: "Let's even imagine that we have an atomic weapon, a nuclear weapon. What would we do with it? What intelligent person would fight 5,000 American bombs with one bomb?" Cohen's surprise notwithstanding, numerous Iranian leaders, including Ahmadinejad, have long made the same point. And it's a point so obvious it should not even need to be made.

No rational person takes seriously the claim that Iran, even if it did obtain a nuclear weapon, would commit instant and guaranteed national suicide by using it to attack a nation that has a huge nuclear stockpile, which happens to include both the US and Israel. One can locate nothing in the actions of Iran's regime that even suggests irrationality on that level, let alone suicidal impulses.

That Iran will use its nuclear weapons against the US and Israel is rather obviously the centerpiece of the fear-mongering campaign against Tehran, to build popular support for threats to launch an aggressive attack in order to prevent them from acquiring that weapon. So what, then, is the real reason that so many people in both the US and Israeli governments are so desperate to stop Iranian proliferation? Every now and then, they reveal the real reason: Iranian nuclear weapons would prevent the US from attacking Iran at will, and that is what is intolerable. The latest person to unwittingly reveal the real reason for viewing an Iranian nuclear capacity as unacceptable was GOP Senator Lindsey Graham, one of the US's most reliable and bloodthirsty warmongers.

On Monday, Graham spoke in North Augusta, South Carolina, and was asked about the way in which sanctions were harming ordinary Iranians. Ayman Hossam Fadel was present and recorded the exchange. Answering that question, Graham praised President Obama for threatening Iran with war over nuclear weapons, decreed that "the Iranian people should be willing to suffer now for a better future," and then – invoking the trite neocon script that is hauled out whenever new wars are being justified – analogized Iranian nukes to Hitler in the 1930s.

But in the middle of his answer, he explained the real reason Iranian nuclear weapons should be feared: "They have two goals: one, regime survival. The best way for the regime surviving, in their mind, is having a nuclear weapon, because when you have a nuclear weapon, nobody attacks you."

As comedian Amer Zahr comments on the bizarre speech by Netanyahu before the United Nations in Netanyahu pulled out what looks like a young child's cartoon with a crudely and inaccurate drawing of an atomic bomb. Netanyahu once again erroneously argues Iran is in the process of deloping nuclear weapons and if not stopped Iran presents a grave threat to Israel and to the USA and Europe. This is wickedly funny

What Netanyahu Got Wrong About Us 'Medieval' Arabs By Amer Zahr "Information Clearing House", Oct. 2, 2012
The Arabs are backward and Muslims want to destroy the world. And then there was that diagram. Comedian Amer Zahr breaks down Netanyahu’s UN speech. This week, Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a speech in front of the General Assembly of the United Nations. As a Palestinian, I tuned in. It’s my duty. Plus, I say the guy’s name at least 3-4 times a day (I won’t tell you how), so the least I could do was to listen to his speech.
He started innocently enough, referring to how Israel is the ancestral homeland of the Jewish people, their deep history, and their innovation. No problem. He called Jerusalem Israel’s “eternal capital.” Whatever. He said the Jewish people will “never be uprooted again.” Fine. “We restored our independence,” he said. Well, Israel wanting to “restore” its independence from 3,000 years ago is kind of like Barack Obama saying he’d like to “restore” the “hope” from four years ago. Some things happened along the way that complicated the matter a little. 
...Then Bibi said, “I brought a diagram.” Now this is new. Israelis are not known for diagrams. They usually hate maps and annoying things like borders. This was totally new for me. I started to get interested. Now I always thought Netanyahu was a little imbalanced, but I didn’t think he was completely insane until he held up a drawing of circle with a squiggly black line coming out of it and said, “This is a bomb, this is a fuse.” I felt like I was watching an episode of “The Road Runner.” 
But I have to call Bibi out on this lie as well. I’m an Arab, and I can tell you with some authority, that is not what a bomb looks like. Now, Bibi knows exactly what a bomb looks like. And he knows what a nuclear bomb looks like too. It is estimated that Israel could have up to 400 nuclear bombs in its arsenal.
But the “only democracy in the Middle East” has a policy of “opacity” when it comes to its nuclear program. In other words, no one gets to know anything about Israel’s nuclear program, but everyone has to know everything about Iran’s. Israel has refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. And in case anyone was wondering, every state in the “modern” world has signed it. In fact, almost every “medieval” Islamic nation has signed it too.
I have an important piece of paper I’d like to show the prime minster of Israel. And there’s something I need to tell him about it: “This is a treaty, this is where you sign it.”

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