Campaign Propaganda: Scott Brown Screens Fox Documentary For Voters

Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown loved an anti-Obamacare documentary from his former employer so much that he's now screening it for New Hampshire voters. Brown's campaign website states that he is hosting "a special screening" of the Fox News documentary Live Free or Die: Obamacare in New Hampshire on August 22 in Dover, New Hampshire. Brown's campaign describes the special as "the documentary that" incumbent Democratic Sen. Jeanne "Shaheen doesn't want you to see." Brown also promoted the event on his Facebook page and Twitter account. Fox News has engaged in an all-out effort to elect its former network contributor to the Senate from the Granite State. That has included airing the August 8 Live Free or Die special anchored by Bret Baier. The documentary was tailor-made for Brown's campaign, touting the upcoming election while raising concerns about the Affordable Care Act. The New Hampshire Democratic Party criticized the "faux documentary" as "a blatant attempt to prop up their former employee's campaign, full of half-truths and misleading rhetoric." Even one of Brown's Republican primary opponents, former Sen. Bob Smith, has criticized Fox's pro-Scott Brown coverage as "shoddy" and "not fair and balanced." In 2013 and 2014, Brown used his Fox News employment as a launching pad for his long-discussed run for Senate from New Hampshire, with the network's apparent approval. He's said that working for Fox News "really charged me up to" run for office again. Brown has dismissed criticism that Fox News is helping his campaign. When asked on August 12 on WGIR about a reported fundraising email Shaheen sent criticizing Fox's documentary, Brown replied, "to think somehow that Fox is doing something for me because I was a, you know, part-time contributor, it's laughable ... she wants to talk about and run a fundraising ad off of a commercial or a show of some sort that basically is right on everything. How about she comes and does an ad and talks about why she voted for this."  Fox paid Brown $108,000 as a "part-time contributor" in 2013. The Brown campaign did not return a request for comment as of posting.

Posted by on 22 August 2014 | 11:07 am

The Shady Filmmaker On Rand Paul's Press Tour

Controversial filmmaker and Republican operative David Bossie accompanied Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) when the senator took several reporters to watch him perform surgery in Central America. Bossie's past work, which includes deliberately doctoring evidence to smear the Clintons, has been denounced by fellow Republicans, including Newt Gingrich and former President George H. W. Bush. According to The Washington Post, Paul visited Guatemala this week to spend some time practicing medicine again (Paul is an ophthalmologist), but the presence on the trip of Citizen's United President David Bossie "cast aside any doubt that the trip was merely an opportunity for the senator to reconnect with his medical roots": Bossie is the [president] of Citizens United, the group whose lawsuit led the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that corporations and labor unions can spend unlimited funds on direct advocacy for or against political candidates. A documentary filmmaker who has shadowed Paul before, he traveled here with his daughter and a film crew equipped with lights, cameras and an unmanned aerial drone for overhead shots. Bossie said little about his plans, other than that his footage would appear in a film either about Paul or an issue of importance to him. Paul's association with Bossie links him to the operative's shady past. In 1998, Bossie was fired from his job as chief investigator for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform -- which was investigating alleged Clinton White House finance abuses -- because he released selectively edited transcripts that gave the false impression that then-first lady Hillary Clinton had been implicated in wrongdoing. The full comments revealed that Clinton had done nothing wrong. The Washington Post reported in a May 1998 article that then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) told the chairman of the committee upon Bossie's removal, "I'm embarrassed for you, I'm embarrassed for myself, and I'm embarrassed for the [House Republican] conference at the circus that went on at your committee." Bossie's shady tactics go back even further. In 1992, during the Clinton-Bush presidential race, he was repudiated by George H.W. Bush, who filed an FEC complaint against Bossie's group after it produced a TV ad inviting voters to call a hot line to hear almost certainly doctored tape-recorded conversations. George W. Bush, on his father's behalf, "even sent out a letter to 85,000 Republican contributors encouraging them not to contribute to" Bossie's campaign effort. Bossie was also reportedly behind the notorious "melon-shooting, staged re-enactment of the death of White House Deputy Counsel Vincent W. Foster Jr.," in which then-GOP congressman Dan Burton was widely ridiculed for shooting a melon in his backyard ostensibly to prove that Foster had been murdered, despite reports showing Foster had committed suicide. This is not the first time Bossie has promoted Paul. In a March 2013 Hill article, Bossie was quoted as praising Paul's filibuster over drone policy, saying "These are the types of events that make you a player, so that in three years you've laid the groundwork and [it's] not just assumed you're going to be a fringe Libertarian and Tea Party-only candidate." Later in the piece, Bossie suggested that Paul could be "taken seriously by establishment Republicans": Bossie said GOP voters who crave a leader who stands on principle -- and who often questioned Romney's conservative bonafides -- are more likely to view Paul as one of their own. "Post the 2012 general election debacle, with a nominee who was not a conservative and who lost a race that was winnable ... the Republican institutional voters, as well as the conservative movement within the Republican Party, are desperately looking for principled leadership," said Bossie. "That is something that has been lacking, and that's where his filibuster will make him stand out." Bossie noted Paul has already taken "methodical" steps to differentiate himself from his father, "in order to be taken seriously by establishment Republicans." Paul recently worked with Citizens United on a campaign to "Abolish the IRS" and narrated a video for the organization promoting the effort. Paul also attended an event in 2014 in New Hampshire called the Freedom Summit, which was co-sponsored by Bossie's Citizens United. The event was described by Politico as a "cattle call of potential Republican 2016 hopefuls," and the "unofficial start to '16 GOP primary" by the Washington Times. Image via Gage Skidmore

Posted by on 22 August 2014 | 10:24 am

Laura Ingraham: Advocating Immigration Reform Means "The End Of The Road" For Paul Ryan

From the August 22 edition of Courtside Entertainment Group's The Laura Ingraham Show:Previously: Blast From The Past: Fox Hosts 2012 Presidential Nominees To Attack Obama Laura Ingraham Campaigned Against Eric Cantor To Push Her Perfect Anti-Immigrant Candidate To Victory CPAC "Debate" Exposes How Far Right Conservative Media Are On Immigration

Posted by on 22 August 2014 | 10:15 am

MSNBC's Al Sharpton Calls Out Right-Wing Media's "Summer Tradition" Of Attacking Obama's Vacations

From the August 22 edition of MSNBC's PoliticsNation:Previously: On MSNBC's The Ed Show, Eric Boehlert Denounces Right-Wing Media's "Contemptuous, Shallow" Obsession With Obama's Vacations Media Criticize Obama's Florida Trip, Ignore Bush Vacation During 2008 Invasion Of Georgia Bush Speechwriter Thiessen's Hypocrisy On Presidential Vacations

Posted by on 22 August 2014 | 7:16 am

Fox's Tantaros: Eric Holder Runs The Justice Department "Like The Black Panthers Would"

From the August 22 edition of Fox News' The Five:Previously: Fox News Falsely Portrays Federal Investigation In Ferguson As Unusual Fox's Bolling Doubts Eric Holder Can "Be Fair And Balanced" On "A Race Case" Like Michael Brown Shooting Fox Turns To New Black Panthers Fabulist To Argue "Eric Holder Cannot Be Trusted" To Investigate Michael Brown Shooting

Posted by on 22 August 2014 | 5:03 am

Dinesh D'Souza Compares Ferguson Protesters To Islamic State

Conservative author Dinesh D'Souza compared unrest during the Ferguson protests to the beheadings carried out by the terrorist group that calls itself the Islamic State. Speaking on the August 21 edition Newsmax's The Steve Malzberg Show, D'Souza opined on the heated protests that have taken place in Ferguson, Missouri following the fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by a police officer. D'Souza likened the actions in Ferguson to the Islamic State terrorists who beheaded innocents. From BuzzFeed (emphasis added): MALZBERG: I just want to concentrate on Holder for one more second and his going down there and his saying what he said, do you believe that that prejudices a grand jury -- could prejudice a jury? And could it result in the prevention of a fair trial for the officer? D'SOUZA: I think this is a really -- this is a serious issue, because here you have guys like, you have Obama, you have Holder, and you have Al Sharpton. Now, can a cop acting under the exigencies of his job expect justice if those three guys were deciding the outcome? I mean, it seems really clear that they are fostering an atmosphere in Ferguson that basically goes, "Let's declare that this guy is probably guilty and let's see what we can do to put him up against the wall." The idea that he would get impartial justice is becoming highly questionable, so this has become a real problem. Now, historically, blacks have faced this problem and it looks like what we're seeing is a kind of complete flip, so that we're going from one set of injustices to another. And that's, you know, what the common thread between ISIS and what's going on in Ferguson is you have these people who basically believe that to correct a perceived injustice, it's perfectly OK to inflict all kinds of new injustices. Behead guys who have nothing to do with it. Go and loot shops from business owners who are not part of the original problem whatsoever. And all of this is then licensed by the left and licensed to some degree by the media.

Posted by on 22 August 2014 | 4:43 am

12-Year Report On NYC's Unconstitutional Stop-And-Frisk Policy Debunks Right-Wing Media Claims

A new report from the New York Civil Liberties Union that offers a "complete factual record of stop-and-frisk activity" in New York City between 2002 and 2013 has found that this unconstitutionally performed policing tactic was largely ineffective at reducing violent crime, a clear rebuttal to right-wing media's frequent justifications for the practice. Right-wing media have long supported stop-and-frisk policies that allow police officers to stop, question, and pat down "suspicious" pedestrians. Although stop-and-frisk when correctly practiced is generally legal, the racially discriminatory version employed by the New York Police Department was determined to be unconstitutional by a federal judge in 2013. The judge in that case determined that "at least 200,000 stops were made without reasonable suspicion," which "resulted in the disproportionate and discriminatory stopping of blacks and Hispanics in violation of the Equal Protection Clause." Nevertheless, right-wing media complained loudly about the decision, accusing the judge of "substitut[ing] her own view of the world, her own utopian view of how the world should be for the way the real life is, for the people who are trying to get by, not get killed, not get robbed, not get raped on the streets of New York." Fox News has been particularly vocal in their support for stop-and-frisk, with Bill O'Reilly continually insisting that stops reduce crime because "the police take the guns and they pat down people" and that without it, "more black Americans and more Hispanic Americans are going to die." O'Reilly has also stated that stop-and-frisk "is racial profiling, but it's really criminal profiling." Most recently, frequent Fox guest Bo Dietl, a former New York police officer, argued that scaling back stop-and-frisk was "ridiculous," because, he claimed, it made the streets less safe for law enforcement. Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy agreed, and suggested that the police were "demoralized" after Mayor Bill de Blasio announced reforms to address unconstitutional policing tactics. Other Fox hosts have erroneously claimed that stop-and-frisk is responsible for New York City's declining murder rate. But the NYCLU's comprehensive report, which analyzes 12 years of stop-and-frisk data from NYPD records, debunks right-wing media's claims that this controversial law enforcement tool was essential for public safety. From the report: The NYPD often sought to justify the large number of stops on the grounds that the stop-and-frisk program was critically important to recovering guns and thus reducing shootings and murders. The NYPD's data contradict this argument. Between 2003 and 2011, annual stops increased dramatically, but gun recoveries, which were always a tiny percentage of stops, moved up and down and any increases were quite small. During that same time, the number of shooting victims remained largely flat and murders moved up and down. By contrast, in 2012 and 2013, recorded stops dropped dramatically. At the same time shootings and murders dropped dramatically. As The Washington Post explained, "to the extent that supporters have argued that stop-and-frisk makes cities safer, the above chart is a fair rebuttal."

Posted by on 22 August 2014 | 3:23 am

National Review 's Lowry: Some Pro-Immigration Reform Republicans Should Be "Shot" And "Hanged"

From the August 21 Heritage Foundation "Border Crisis and the New Politics of Immigration" event: RICH LOWRY (National Review editor, Fox News contributor): The next time I hear a Republican strategist or Republican politician say that there are jobs that Americans won't do, that person should be shot, he should be hanged, he should be wrapped in a carpet and thrown in the Potomac River. That's what they did to Rasputin, I think it was a different river. But let me tell you, it worked. Previously: National Review's Lowry Piles On The Immigration Lies On Meet The Press Right-Wing Media Call For House GOP Obstruction To Kill Immigration Reform

Posted by on 22 August 2014 | 12:33 am

Fox's Payne Falsely Claims That Obama "Apologized For Attacking ISIS"

From the August 22 edition of Fox News' Outnumbered:Previously:  Conservative media smear Obama for purported overseas "apology tour" The "Apology Tour" Lie Fox News Built Fox Won't Let Go Of Ridiculous Myth That Obama "Apologized" For America

Posted by on 22 August 2014 | 12:04 am

Blast From The Past: Fox Hosts 2012 Presidential Nominees To Attack Obama

Fox News' The Kelly File hosted 2012 Republican presidential nominees Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan to attack President Obama's foreign policy and rewrite the history of U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq. President Obama on August 7 authorized limited airstrikes against the Islamic State extremist group in Iraq to prevent "genocide" and protect Americans in the region. The Islamic State released a video of its murder of American journalist James Foley on Tuesday, citing the U.S. airstrikes and demanding an end to them. The airstrikes prompted a right-wing media backlash blaming President Obama for the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq, which they accused of increasing the danger posed by the Islamic State. On August 21, Fox host Megyn Kelly accused President Obama of a reversal on "whether he did or did not order the withdrawal of all of our troops," and of making the decision not to leave a residual force in Iraq. After making this assertion, she asked 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney whether Obama "is misleading the American people." Romney claimed President Obama had made "extraordinary errors with regards to the Middle East," and cited the lack of "the Status of Forces Agreement that would allow us to have troops in Iraq" as a fundamental cause contributing to the growth of the Islamic State and the danger it represents. Contrary to this attempt to rewrite history, President Obama did not refuse to negotiate a SOFA with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to leave behind American forces. His attempts to negotiate the SOFA were thwarted by the Iraqi government, whose parliament was unwilling to approve the agreement -- approval that was made necessary by a precedent set in 2008 by President Bush. Time reported in 2011 that the U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq was "an overwhelmingly popular demand among Iraqis, and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki appears to have been unwilling to take the political risk of extending" the existing SOFA. The AP also noted that the Iraqi government stopped the SOFA negotiations when it became unwilling to grant American troops legal immunity -- protections "common in nearly every country where U.S. forces operate," and similar to those guaranteed in Bush's 2008 SOFA. Colin H. Kahn, the senior Pentagon official responsible for Iraq policy during the first three years of the Obama administration, explained: Iraq's prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, told U.S. negotiators that he was willing to sign an executive memorandum of understanding that included these legal protections. But for any agreement to be binding under the Iraqi constitution, it had to be approved by the Iraqi parliament. This was the judgment of every senior administration lawyer and Maliki's own legal adviser, and no senior U.S. military commander made the case that we should leave forces behind without these protections. [...] Unfortunately, Iraqi domestic politics made it impossible to reach a deal. Iraqi public opinion surveys consistently showed that the U.S. military presence was deeply unpopular (only in Iraqi Kurdistan did a majority of people want American G.I.s to stay). Maliki was willing to consider going to parliament to approve a follow-on agreement, but he was not willing to stick his neck out.  [...] So when Iraq's major political bloc leaders met in early October 2011 in an all-night session, they agreed on the need for continued U.S. "trainers" but said they were unwilling to seek immunities for these troops through the parliament. The die was thus cast. Obama and Maliki spoke on Oct. 21 and agreed that U.S. forces would depart as scheduled by the end of the year.

Posted by on 21 August 2014 | 10:38 am

Dallas Morning News ' Wayne Slater Tells National Media "Perry Has Bigger Problems Than ... Conventional Wisdom Suggests"

From the August 21 edition of MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show:Previously: Texas Journalists Urge National Press To Take Perry Case More Seriously

Posted by on 21 August 2014 | 9:56 am

Civil Rights Leader Debunks Conservative Media Obsession With "Black-On-Black" Crime In Ferguson Coverage

From the August 21 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:Previously: Conservative Media Race-Baiting: Ferguson Edition Right-Wing Media Push "Black-On-Black" Crime Canard To Deflect From Ferguson Police Shooting Watch Marc Lamont Hill Blast Racial Canards Used To Distract From Brown Shooting

Posted by on 21 August 2014 | 8:25 am

On MSNBC's The Ed Show, Eric Boehlert Denounces Right-Wing Media's "Contemptuous, Shallow" Obsession With Obama's Vacations

From the August 21 edition of MSNBC's The Ed Show:Previously:  Bush Speechwriter Thiessen's Hypocrisy On Presidential Vacations Chris Wallace's Double Standard On Presidential Vacations During A Russian Crisis Media Criticize Obama's Florida Trip, Ignore Bush Vacation During 2008 Invasion Of Georgia

Posted by on 21 August 2014 | 5:29 am

Fox Calls Record Bank Of America Financial Settlement "A Shakedown" By Government

From the August 21 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:Previously: "Medieval Justice": Right Wing Media Attack DOJ Over Historic JPMorgan Settlement Fox's Gasparino: J.P Morgan Chase Fine Is "McCarthyism" From The Obama Administration Rove Baselessly Attacks Obama Over Proposed Settlement In Bank Foreclosure Probe Only Off By A Million, WSJ's Kissel Says Zero Homeowners Were Wrongfully Foreclosed

Posted by on 21 August 2014 | 4:47 am

Right-Wing Media Continue To Decry Ferguson Residents Registering To Vote

Right-wing media are parroting local Republican officials and criticizing voter registration drives in Ferguson, Missouri, the site of intense protests after the death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. Voting rights advocates argue that registering the electorate is crucial for the community to hold their government accountable, but right-wing media condemn these efforts as "liberal activism."Right-Wing Media Dismayed That Ferguson Residents Are Encouraged To Participate In The Political Process Breitbart: "Liberal Activists" Are Promoting Voter Registration Drives That Local GOP Calls "Disgusting." On August 18, Breitbart quoted the Missouri Republican National Committee executive director who attacked the registration effort as "completely inappropriate" and characterized voting rights advocates' calls for Ferguson residents to "get on the juries, choose your leaders" as "liberal activism": Republicans are criticizing efforts by liberal organizers to set up voter registration booths at the site where Missouri teenager Michael Brown was shot and killed by a local police officer. Reports of the voter registration tables have been reported via liberal activists on social media. "In front of the makeshift memorial where Mike Brown was killed, they've set up a voter registration table," tweeted Jessica Lee, a Human rights attorney at the Center For Constitutional Rights wrote on Twitter. [...] In an interview with Breitbart News, Missouri RNC executive director Matt Wills expressed outrage about the reports. "If that's not fanning the political flames, I don't know what is," Wills said, "I think it's not only disgusting but completely inappropriate." [Breitbart.com, 8/18/14] Fox News: Voter Registration Booths In Ferguson Show That "Protestors Aren't Out There For Free Speech." On the August 21 edition of Fox & Friends, host Anna Kooiman complained that Ferguson residents protesting the fatal shooting "aren't out there for freedom of speech. They're out there to push their side." Co-host Clayton Morris responded, "Setting up a voter registration booth? Yeah, you think?": [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 8/21/14] Rush Limbaugh: Registering Voters In The Wake Of Michael Brown's Death "Encompasses Everything That The Democratic Party Is." On his August 19 radio show, Limbaugh also criticized the Ferguson voter registration drive, and condemned Democrats for "try[ing] to ramp up black turnout" by exploiting Brown's death: The Democrats are using Ferguson, Missouri, to try to ramp up black turnout for the midterms. They're trying to paint a picture that this is what America has always been, and that's the myth that I spoke of yesterday. The myth is that this happens all the time. The myth is that young, innocent blacks are gunned down by white police departments every day in this country.  Of course, that isn't true. It's far from true. It's nowhere near true! The Democrat Party, with their willing accomplices in the Drive-By Media, are doing their best to take this singular event and make it appear to be part of a normal, common series of occurrences that happen in this country. They have always, always intended to play the race card in one way, shape, manner, or form for turnout in the November midterm election. Here comes this event, and it is made to order. [...] [The Department of Justice] wanted 'em really mad out there, they wanted 'em to really think there was some conspiracy. They wanted them really thinking -- the protestors. They wanted 'em really thinking they weren't being told everything. And then when they were told everything, then the conspiracy doubled and tripled 'cause they thought they were being lied to.  In case you have any doubts about any of this, there are now photos of a Democrat voter registration tent that has been set up in Ferguson. The death of Michael Brown is being used to register Democrats in Ferguson, Missouri, practically right next to the memorial for the kid. So this thing, it encompasses everything that the Democrat Party is. Everything. A voter-registration booth next to his memorial! On top of that, we've got the Justice Brothers. That would be the Reverend Jackson and Al Sharpton. They are now conducting voter registration drives in churches and fast food joints in Ferguson. [The Rush Limbaugh Show, 8/19/14] Daily Caller: Voter Registration Booths Are A "Coordinated Left-Wing Push." The Daily Caller linked the voter registration drives to George Soros, and called these efforts a "coordinated left-wing push" promoted by "liberal activists": Jesse Jackson and other liberal activists are rolling out voter registration efforts as part of a coordinated left-wing push to sign up voters during the wave of violent protests engulfing Ferguson, Missouri in the aftermath of the Michael Brown shooting. Racial activist and former Democratic presidential candidate Jesse Jackson met with St. Louis clergy Monday to plan a formal Ferguson voter registration drive. "Five thousand new voters will transform the city from top to bottom" Jackson explained during a stop at a Ferguson McDonald's, where he discussed voter registration with local denizens. Liberal activists -- including from the George Soros-funded Center for Constitutional Rights -- have promoted voter registration booths at multiple locations in Ferguson, including at the roadside memorial marking the spot where Brown was shot. [DailyCaller.com, 8/19/14] Voting Rights Advocates Are Encouraging Registration Because Ferguson Turnout Is Low, Alienating Residents Of Color Ferguson Residents: "We're Tired Of Being Bullied ... The Only Way We're Going To Change It Is To Vote." As Bloomberg News reported, the death of Michael Brown has mobilized residents and voting rights advocates to become more involved in an effort to bring about substantive change in the community: The motto of the effort by the St. Louis County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People: "Mike Brown can't vote, but I can." The Aug. 9 killing of 18-year-old Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson led to protests and civil unrest while becoming a symbol of racial inequality and heavy-handed police tactics. The city of 21,000 is almost 70 percent black, yet only one councilman and three of 53 police officers are black. In Ferguson, as in other U.S. communities where civic participation is low, the events surrounding Brown's shooting show that change starts with people understanding why they must be involved, said John Gaskin III of the St. Louis County NAACP. "This has been a real wake-up call to many, because many didn't even know who the mayor was," Gaskin, a NAACP national board member, said in a telephone interview. "But I bet you they know who he is now." [...] While less than 1 percent of the city's population was black in 1970, that number increased to 25 percent in 1990 and more the doubled to 67 percent in 2010, Census data show. Lakresha Moore, a 34-year-old mother and student who lives in Ferguson, said she hopes the killing of Brown will provoke the city's black population to vote and run for public office. "We're tired of being bullied," Moore said in an interview in Ferguson. "This whole system is ridiculous, and the only way we're going to change it is to vote." The system can change, said Wanda Fairley, one of four blacks on the six-member board of aldermen in the St. Louis County suburb of Vinita Park, a community of 1,900 that's about 65 percent black. Fairley, 60, won her first try at elective office in 2009, defeating a white incumbent, she said. The town's first black mayor won office in 2010. "You've got to vote," Fairley said. "You've got to go to the meetings. You've got to be heard." [Bloomberg News, 8/20/14] New York Times: Turnout Was Just 12 Percent In The Last Mayoral Election. According to the New York Times, the low turnout has resulted in an imbalance in the power structure in Ferguson -- although the city is majority African-American, most elected officials and police officers are white: These days, Ferguson is like many of the suburbs around St. Louis, inner-ring towns that accommodated white flight decades ago but that are now largely black. And yet they retain a white power structure. Although about two-thirds of Ferguson residents are black, its mayor and five of its six City Council members are white. Only three of the town's 53 police officers are black. Turnout for local elections in Ferguson has been poor. The mayor, James W. Knowles III, noted his disappointment with the turnout -- about 12 percent -- in the most recent mayoral election during a City Council meeting in April. Patricia Bynes, a black woman who is the Democratic committeewoman for the Ferguson area, said the lack of black involvement in local government was partly the result of the black population's being more transient in small municipalities and less attached to them. There is also some frustration among blacks who say town government is not attuned to their concerns. Aliyah Woods, 45, once petitioned Ferguson officials for a sign that would warn drivers that a deaf family lived on that block. But the sign never came. "You get tired," she said. "You keep asking, you keep asking. Nothing gets done." [...] This year, community members voiced anger after the all-white, seven-member school board for the Ferguson-Florissant district pushed aside its black superintendent for unrevealed reasons. That spurred several blacks to run for three board positions up for election, but only one won a seat. [The New York Times, 8/16/14] Voter Rights Advocates Are Encouraging Ferguson Residents To Vote, Not Vote Democratic NYT's Taking Note: The Voting Rights Address Right-Wing Media Attacked "Did Not Say That The Residents Of Ferguson Should Vote For Democrats." Juliet Lapidos, editor of The New York Times' editorial blog, noted that the Rev. Al Sharpton comments on low voter turnout that right-wing media attacked were not partisan, but instead urged citizens to "vote, full stop": In case you're wondering, Mr. Sharpton did not say that the residents of Ferguson should vote for Democrats; he said they should vote, full stop. He didn't even mention the ideological composition of the area's governing bodies; though he did mention their racial composition (lopsidedly white in a majority black community). And of course the residents of Ferguson, once registered, will have the ability to vote for anyone they please -- not just Democrats. Isn't it telling that both Mr. Wills and Mr. McLaughlin make no distinction between voter registration and Democratic registration? Mr. Sharpton, a Democrat, may well assume the same, and that's telling, too. Both sides here seem to think that enlarging the franchise is good for Democrats and that, conversely, keeping it small is good for Republicans -- a dynamic that also exists at the national level. Republicans try to make voting more difficult to vote, by passing voter ID laws, and Democrats resist these changes, confident that high turnout is better for liberals. [The New York Times, 8/19/14] New Republic: "Residents Can't Change" Systemic Underrepresentation In Ferguson Government Unless There "Is A High Level Of Participation In The Democratic Process." Brian Beutler of the New Republic explained that an effort to discredit voter registration drives in Ferguson "reveal[s] a preference for the existing power imbalance" in the city: In reality, the city of Ferguson is overwhelmingly black, while its police and politicians are overwhelmingly white. The friction between the black community and the white leadership predates Michael Brown's shooting. But even if it didn't, it's hard to look back at what's happened over the past week and a half and conclude that the majority of the city has been well served by its elected officials and public servants. Residents can't change that dynamic without at least making the latter fear for their jobs, though, and a predicate to that is a high level of participation in the democratic process. Until now, black residents of Ferguson weren't deeply engaged in that process. Thus: voter registration. So the argument against voter registration in Ferguson fails the most immediate, relevant, local test. But notice that in the previous three paragraphs I didn't write any of the following words: Democrats, Republicans, liberals, conservatives, Barack, Obama, Hillary, Clinton, McCaskill, Blunt, Nixon, Obamacare, taxes, welfare. It's very hard to draw a line connecting voter registration in Ferguson to unrelated statewide and national campaigns and policy debates. Ferguson is a small city in a conservative state. The idea that the Missouri GOP has a great deal to lose if Ferguson residents become more engaged is a big stretch. Which is to say that even cynical, deracialized arguments against the registration drive don't withstand scrutiny. It only poses a risk to the Missouri GOP, and perhaps the national party, if it snowballs. Preventing that is the only way to make sense of the conservative pearl clutching without reference to race. But whether you believe the registration drive is a direct response to events in Ferguson or rank liberal opportunism, the idea that registering black voters there is illegitimate or "disgusting," particularly under these circumstances, does reveal a preference for the existing power imbalance -- either on the merits, or because it's a price worth imposing on others to stifle minority participation in the political process. And on that abstract level it's an idea that shares a lot in common with actions that have intensified civil unrest in Ferguson for nearly a week. [The New Republic, 8/20/14]

Posted by on 21 August 2014 | 4:06 am