Two of the most powerful words in the English language are I am. The words that come after those two words are how you define yourself to yourself.

      Everyone however knows that how one defines themselves doesn't always come when your born. Hell your brand new and dependent on the grown ups around you to help you identify yourself and even others.

      A while back I wrote about my father and how I learned to forgive him in spite of himself.

      Today I want to tell you about my mother. My mom is 83 years old and currently lives in a long term care facility.

      She was born and raised in Richmond VA to a traveling salesman for a father and an English teacher for a mother. She is also an only child. Her parents had a hand in everything she did. To hear her talk she was a prisoner and her parents where the guards.

      She married my father as a means of escape. She figured if she got married she would be free at last. I guess that lasted for the first seven years of my parents marriage. Then the pressure to deliver a grandchild got to be too much I suppose and my parents obligied and had my brother. He was and in some respects still the apple of my mothers eye.

      I am the result of my own parents ignorance. You see in the day that the doctor cleared my mother after giving birth she conceived me. And 11 months and five days later I was born.

      To my mom and anyone who would listen to her I was a mistake and or an accident. Sure my parents to the outside world seemed like normal people and we did normal people things. My brother was a cub scout. I was a girl scout. I took dancing lessons and my brother built forts with his friends. One would never know the horrors that went on behind closed doors.

      We did however have a nosy neighbor every neighborhood has them. She would call social services on more than one occasion. However my parents where so good at lying to the authorities nothing was ever done.

      I even had a teacher from second grade who referred me to the principals office. That referral led my mother to an appointment at MHC which is Mental Health Center for short. The purpose of the appointment was to have me evaluated because I was a slow learner.

      I remember that appointment like it was yesterday. I never had a chance to talk. I sat in a corner and twirled the hair on my baby doll while the therapist talked to my mom the whole time. Nothing came out of that appointment except a decision to hold me back in the second grade.

      At some point my parents divorced and that at least stopped my Dad from hurting me more but I still had to contend with my mom the great enabler is my nickname for her.

      I still had to endure the endless insults from her and my brother both. So I went looking for love and found it in all the wrong places. By the time I was in 5th grade I had learned to smoke both cigarettes and marijuana and even had my first sip of beer. I also learned to hitch hike all over Hillsborough County. My older friends even introduced me to sex for pleasure and even for hire. I had missed 83 days of school before the school called my mom. She told the school to call my Dad.

      My Dad came and knocked on every door in the neighborhood until he found me. He beat me so bad I could not sit down. And then he took me to school where the principal paddled my rear end. I never ever missed another day of school ever. That day was somewhat of a turning point for me. School and learning became my new addiction. When I wasn't in school I was at the library reading anything and everything I could get my hands on.

      However the smoking and the drinking reared their ugly heads once again in high school. I wanted to fit in.

      In my early 20s I sought help for my addictions because I knew if I didn't surely I would die an early death.

      Soberity and cleanliness became my new goal. I did not want to be that accident or that mistake ever again.

      I am no longer that accident or mistake. What I am though is the following:

      I am fearless

      I am wonderfully made.

      I am resourceful.

      I am a mom.

      I am an advocate.

      I am an art lover.

      A Foodie

      A Friend

      A Lover

      A Warrior.

      A Trailblazer

      I am intelligent.

      But above all I am HUMAN and an American and I believe this country is already great and can only rise again as long as we rise together. Won't you join me in the conversation about a new direction and a new start for us all?

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          NOTE: This is a very lengthy article that few are likely to wade through. So, to spare everyone braving the tall weeds, the salient point:

          For four years in the 1980's, Donald Trump adopted the predatory tactics of a corporate raider against his Atlantic City competitors, particularly Bally's and Holiday Inn.

          But he wasn't trying to acquire these companies but rather to force them to spend large amounts of money to defend themselves against the possibility of a hostile takeover.

          He would quietly buy up their stock, use the media to drive up the price, use his significant stock position to frighten the shareholders, force them into expensive countermeasures, then sell their stock at a huge profit.

          It is the very definition of the "vulture capitalist", a tactic that may have cost thousands their jobs.

          It was the Gordon Gekko "greed is good" era on Wall Street and still begs the question "How many yachts can you water-ski behind?"

          Ray Cunneff


          The Gordon Gekko era:

          Donald Trump's lucrative and controversial time as an activist investor

          Tue August 23, 2016

          New York (CNN)At the height of the US economic boom in the 1980's, there was one clear star of Wall Street: the corporate raider, high-flying takeover artists registering big headlines and even bigger paydays. Naturally, real estate magnate Donald Trump wanted in on the game.

          For Trump, his brief period as an activist investor of sorts was a lucrative turn in his career -- at one point netting him more than $200 million for just a handful of targets -- but also a controversial one. His profits were real, but so was the appearance of strategy that brought allegations of stock manipulation from rivals, regulators and lawmakers.

          READ: The Atlantic City summer that nearly ruined Donald Trump

          It's a four year-period Trump, now the Republican presidential nominee, never mentions on the campaign trail. Yet his venture into the high-risk, high-reward world of the "Barbarians at the Gate" offers a window into the deal-making strategy that forms the basis for Trump's presidential campaign -- and remains the stated approach the New York billionaire plans to deploy with vigor from the Oval Office should he win.

          "I have made billions of dollars in business making deals -- now I'm going to make our country rich again," Trump pledged during his speech accepting the nomination at the Republican National Convention last month.

          A CNN examination of the period included the review of hundreds of pages of testimony, depositions, financial and legal documents as well as interviews with more than a dozen former state and federal regulators, lawyers, executives from targeted companies and former Trump organization employees. It reveals a game plan for the novice, would-be corporate raider that bears striking resemblance to the playbook deployed by Trump the novice politician. It lays clear his penchant for operating without the advice -- or even acknowledgment -- of top advisers, placing a heavy emphasis on using the media to further his efforts and deploying bare-knuckled tactics punctuated by efforts to mislead, bully and even punish opponents.
          The central issue for many was whether Trump was engaged in the tactic known as "greenmailing." It was an entirely legal strategy repeatedly deployed by activist investors throughout the 1980s -- a practice that, for lack of a better description, amounts to a corporate ransom payment. It works like this: An investor quietly buys up a significant amount of a targeted company's stock and threatens a takeover attempt. The company, in an effort to make the investor just go away, makes a deal to buy that stock back at a premium. The investor nets the difference.

          It's a practice that has all but disappeared in the decades since, snuffed out by a series of state laws and a federal excise tax designed explicitly to rid companies of the threat many deemed as stock manipulation.

          But it was, at the time, legal -- something Trump himself made clear when he testified in April 1987 before the New Jersey Casino Control Commission.

          "The practice is a totally legal practice, however, it's something, the name, greenmailer, is not a very pretty word," Trump said, according to a transcript of the hearing that CNN obtained. "It's a practice that on Wall Street is very open and common and done quite a bit."

          It was an offhanded, unsolicited defense of a practice Trump, and his legal team, repeatedly and vigorously claimed he didn't engage in.
          Explaining how he made $30 million in four months off stock of the parent company of then-Holiday Inn, Trump said simply that it's business.
          "Well if you consider making a profit on the stock, you know, a goal, I guess I achieved it," Trump told the casino commissioners. "I would have rather found a cure for cancer, but I didn't, so I have no choice, so I made some money on the stock."

          READ: Clinton Foundation becomes campaign issue

          Trump, on the campaign trail, has no apologies for the tactics used throughout his business career. As he told The Washington Post, "I wasn't representing the country. I wasn't representing the banks. ... I was representing Donald Trump. So for myself, they were all good deals."
          Asked to make someone available to discuss Trump's strategy and thinking during this period, Hope Hicks, a spokeswoman for Trump, declined in an email, saying: "We will pass. Thanks for reaching out."

          First target: Holiday Inn

          For Trump, his play in the market came as other business opportunities were beginning to slow down. Like other activist investors of the 1980s, the target was undervalued companies. Trump's endgame wasn't always clear, according to Dan Lee, who as a casino analyst with Drexel Burnham Lambert at the time was in regular contact with Trump about the potential targets and became one of his most trusted, though unofficial, advisers.
          Takeovers were an option, but so was the possibility that the stock would simply rise enough for Trump to sell and make money, Lee, now the CEO of Full House Resorts Inc., said in an interview with CNN. One thing, according to Lee, Trump held that others in the business didn't: a willingness to try.
          "He was willing to think out of the box, and he was willing to think differently than others," Lee said. "He was constantly pushing -- 'Why can't we do that? Why can't we do this?' He was pretty incorrigible in that way."

          It turned out to be a competitor -- one Lee agreed at the time was undervalued -- that became Trump's first target: Holiday Corp.

          Trump had a contentious relationship with Holiday Corp. before he ever started buying stock in the company. The Trump Organization and Holiday skirmished repeatedly over their joint ownership of a casino in Atlantic City. They traded lawsuits, one of which included Trump's description of himself as "an entrepreneur who has achieved national and international prominence, reputation, and recognition as the result of the outstanding success he has achieved in conceiving, developing, and promoting various enterprises."

          Eventually, Trump would buy out Harrah's ownership in the property in March 1986, seemingly putting an end to the drama.
          Five months later Trump went after the casino operator's parent company.
          Trump quietly began buying Holiday Corp. stock that August, and shortly after, instructed investment bank Bear Stearns to do the same -- just not under his name. It was a deliberate effort to dodge federal reporting requirements that would have tipped the company off to his intentions, according to a complaint the Federal Trade Commission later filed.
          "He wanted to accumulate as much as possible before he had to notify the target," said Jeffrey Zuckerman, the former director of the FTC's Bureau of Competition, who oversaw the suit. "That's what this was all about." By the time Trump was done, he would hold 4.9% of the company's shares -- and send the company's management scrambling to block what appeared to be a takeover attempt.

          That reaction wasn't off-base. Trump had amassed the reputation and cachet crucial to pulling off the kinds of hostile takeovers then dominating the headlines with names like Carl Icahn, T. Boone Pickens and Nelson Peltz. He was a newly minted billionaire with his own plane, helicopter, Fifth Avenue skyscraper and an oceanside compound in Palm Beach. He was the largest developer in Atlantic City and had the type of relationship with Wall Street banks that all but guaranteed he could get financing to take down any target.

          There were also clear strategic reasons why Trump would want to acquire the company. Trump had long been looking for a way into the Nevada gaming market, and Holiday, with two casinos in the state, offered the opportunity to make that happen.
          As Trump finalized his stake in the company, articles started to appear with "well-placed sources" in Trump's orbit attacking the company's management and threatening a takeover. A former Trump Organization official who worked with Trump during the period told CNN "it was almost always Trump who was the unnamed source or sources" in these stories.

          The effort had its intended effect. Holiday Corp.'s board would, by that November, propose a $2.8 billion plan to restructure the company's debt -- one that gave shareholders a $65 per share dividend. The intent was clear: Block Trump's takeover effort. The company's stock price jumped. Trump sold his stock. He made more than $30 million in four months, having never presented a tender offer to the company.

          'A gaming license is not a hunting license'

          It was one of two deals Trump pursued that directly affected the gaming industry and, as such, drew scrutiny from gaming regulators. Takeover efforts -- or feints in that direction -- were center stage at Trump's April 1987 casino license renewal hearing in New Jersey.
          "A gaming license is not a hunting license," Walter N. Read, the Republican-appointed chairman of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, told Trump's lawyers at a 1987 hearing, according to a transcript CNN obtained. The state's gaming rules, Read pointedly continued, do "not encompass the use of a casino license as a weapon to weaken or undercut the financial integrity of its competitors."

          Yet that, according to Read, was exactly what Trump had done over the course of the previous year.

          Trump's emergence on the scene in Atlantic City had been generally welcomed by state gambling regulators. A fair-haired New York developer, Trump had a laudable attention to detail, a focus on building the best -- and most competitive -- casinos, and perhaps most notably, no sign of ties to the organized crime families that caused endless headaches for state officials, according to Carl Zeitz, a commissioner at the time.
          Trump repeatedly told regulators his goals in accumulating the stock of his competitor and former partner were not only benign, but also not at all informed by his past relationship or deep knowledge of the company. "I purchased it as an investment in a company that I thought was undervalued at the time," Trump said of his sizable stake.
          Asked if he thought he was the reason the company moved quickly to restructure, he pleaded ignorance. "I mean, it's possible it did, to be perfectly honest, it's very possible, but I don't know."
          Asked if he thought the restructuring was good for the company, Trump said simply: "I don't think it was." He was right. Holiday Corp. was wounded. By 1988, the company's management was forced to engineer the sale of its Holiday Inn franchise and the company's parts were sold off for significant value for shareholders. Thousands of employees at the company's Memphis, Tennessee, headquarters eventually would be laid off in the process.
          Trump, for his part, took to pointing out that by definition, his actions with Holiday Corp. weren't greenmailing. He sold his stock on the open market, not back to the company at a premium. But that was more luck than strategy. As Trump made clear in his testimony, the stock jumped so much it was the only logical move.
          Despite his claims to the contrary, he'd explicitly broached the idea of selling his stock back to the company for a premium, the company's CEO, Michael Rose, told the commission.

          'When I do research on things, they never work out well'

          Trump didn't let his Holiday Corp. payday sit for long. Within days he'd picked out another target, one that just so happened to be another competitor in the casino business: Bally.
          Again, he instructed Bear Stearns to do the same on his behalf, but under its name. He would use his Holiday proceeds to purchase $14.8 million in Bally stock, Trump acknowledged in his casino commission testimony. The total fell deliberately just short of the $15 million line that would trigger a need for federal notification. The whole strategy, according to Zuckerman, the former FTC official, was simple: "You're trying to keep it quiet."
          But while Trump's ability to establish a major position in these companies quietly was clearly strategic, his rationale for doing so appeared less so -- at least according to him. In fact, when it came to Bally, he got the idea of going after the company from a single conversation with a single analyst -- Dan Lee, his trusted confidante from Drexel Burnham, Trump told a Bally lawyer in a deposition reviewed by CNN.

          In that deposition, taken during a suit filed by Bally after Trump amassed 9.9% of the company's stock, Trump said he hadn't even looked at the company's proxy statements before he shelled out millions. He finally held a meeting with advisers from Bear Stearns after he'd purchased his stake in the company. "I wanted to start to learn a little bit about the company," Trump said of that first meeting. "I figured it was not a bad time to start."

          Over the course of the depositions and testimony CNN reviewed from the period, it was a regular theme from Trump -- one with familiar echoes to his presidential campaign. While Trump had close advisers, "Trump will do what Trump wants to do. And often he'll do it without telling them at all," one former Trump Organization executive, who was with the businessman during this period, said in an interview.
          The executive, who requested anonymity so as not to harm his existing relationship with Trump, recounted how most activist investors had teams of lawyers, analysts and advisers poring over the details of a potential target. Trump, on the other hand, wasn't even aware Bally had had health clubs -- a significant line of the company's business -- when he first started buying the company's stock.

          Trump, in his testimony in front of the casino commission, put it like this: "I just felt instinctively -- when I do research on things, they never work out well."

          Bally's management, not unlike Holiday Corp.'s, didn't take kindly to the news Trump had become one of the company's biggest shareholders and even less so to the idea that Trump, according to his testimony, was interested in "a friendly transaction" with the company. They sued. Trump countersued.
          Eventually, the company made an offer on another casino -- the Golden Nugget -- as a poison pill of sorts. Trump, it turns out, pegged the eventual result of that deal accurately, noting "the debt load will obviously have a significant negative impact on the company," according to an affidavit he filed as part of his legal back-and-forth with the company.
          "It suddenly created a situation in Bally Corp in which Bally, to protect itself from Donald Trump the corporate raider, had to go out and buy a second place," Zeitz, the New Jersey casino commissioner at the time, told CNN.
          By February 1987, a deal was reached: The company would purchase 2.6 million shares for $24 per share. The shares were trading at $19.75 that day. Trump would also receive an additional $6.2 million for his troubles.

          "He was certainly greenmailing," said Zeitz, now a Democrat supporting Hillary Clinton. "There's no doubt that was going on. That's why Bally went out and made a really stupid deal."

          Asked during his casino license hearing if he had greenmailed the company, Trump said no.
          "If I really wanted to, to use your term, greenmail, I could have probably done this a lot sooner and a lot easier and not have to go through all of the expensive litigation and the expense of, you know, the fight," Trump told the casino commissioners. "I'm not a person that, despite what people think, particularly loves litigation."
          Asked if he considered himself a greenmailer, Trump demurred: "I would rather say I sold my stock back to the company as opposed to greenmail, if I could do that. I'm not sure. I hate to refer to myself as a greenmailer."
          Behind the scenes though, Trump was blunt about what he'd accomplished, according to John O'Donnell, a former Trump Organization executive.
          "Donald had bought a sizable chunk of Bally stock, then induced the company to buy it back at a premium to avoid a takeover -- 'greenmail,' as the practice is known," O'Donnell wrote in his 1991 book "Trumped! The Inside Story of the Real Donald Trump -- His Cunning Rise and Spectacular Fall."
          Trump's lawyer at the time, Nicholas Ribis, made their position clear: "The record is clear in Mr. Trump did not buy stock with the intent of seeking a premium but, rather, to make a sound investment."
          In 1990, Trump agreed to pay out $2.25 million to Bally shareholders who sued the billionaire and the company for allegedly artificially inflating the stock's price during their negotiations over Trump selling the stock back to the company.

          American Airlines --- one target too many?

          Over the course of three years, with Holiday Corp. and Bally and followed by companies including Allegis Corp. and Federated Department Stores, Trump netted more than $200 million.
          But complaints about his tactics continued -- so much so that Nevada state legislators pushed legislation explicitly designed to block Trump from targeting casinos in their state. And in 1988, Trump agreed to pay a $750,000 federal fine the same day the FTC filed a complaint alleging he dodged federal stock notification requirements due his agreement with Bear Stearns -- though Trump admitted no wrongdoing.
          Zuckerman, now the chair of the antitrust practice at Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP, said the fault for that civil suit lies more with the investment bank, which pitched several of its clients the idea, than Trump himself -- a fact not lost on Trump, who at the time said he planned to force Bear Stearns to pay him back for the fine.

          By 1989, Trump launched his biggest -- and most brazen -- effort of his career, notifying American Airlines executives via fax that he'd acquired a significant amount of the company's shares and was preparing a $7 billion takeover bid.

          "Donald was playing a favorite game, a carbon copy of his raids on the gaming industry three years before," O'Donnell, the former Trump executive, said in his book. "The plan, as I saw it, was to spotlight the airline's value, force its board of directors to restructure, thus inflating the price of the stock, or make them run up the white flag and submit to a greenmailing. Either way, he was hoping to stuff millions of dollars into his pocket."
          Market analysts questioned whether Trump could actually muster the financing for the deal. Airline insiders couldn't figure out how Trump could ever pull it off. The airline's hard-edged CEO, Bob Crandall, made it clear he wouldn't negotiate or pay ransom. It turns out, he wouldn't have to.
          That very weekend, the financing of a separate, unrelated takeover effort of another airline by another investor fell through. A market crash followed, with airline stocks leading the way. Trump's nascent effort never recovered, and he dropped it altogether within nine days. Analyst estimates at the time pegged his paper losses at more than $100 million.

          It was an unfriendly capstone to Trump's corporate raider period -- one punctuated by impressive success for a market first-timer but also plagued by controversy.

          As he told the New Jersey casino board: "I think my only goal was, as an investor, it's a game that we all have to play, I guess is, to try and come out with more than what you put in. In that sense, yes, I achieved that goal."
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          Pundit Post

              Time Magazine Journalist Joel Stein has written a lengthy research based essay on the growing toxicity of the environment on the Internet. It is MUST READING for dedicated bloggers.

              Read it at: http://time.com/4457110/internet-trolls/

              Early in his essay Stein writes:

              The Internet’s personality has changed. Once it was a geek with lofty ideals about the free flow of information. Now, if you need help improving your upload speeds the web is eager to help with technical details, but if you tell it you’re struggling with depression it will try to goad you into killing yourself. Psychologists call this the online disinhibition effect, in which factors like anonymity, invisibility, a lack of authority and not communicating in real time strip away the mores society spent millennia building. And it’s seeping from our smartphones into every aspect of our lives.

              It is The Trolls who are at the core of all this. Trolls do what they do for "lulz" or laughs. What trolls do for the lulz ranges from clever pranks to harassment to violent threats. They "dox"–publishing personal data, such as Social Security numbers and bank account. They "swat" in an emergency to a victim’s house so the SWAT team busts in. They sow discord by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, off topic messages on forums like this one with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussions.

              When victims do not experience lulz when this happens, trolls tell them they have no sense of humor or turn to derogatory labels and name calling.

              Bottom Line: Trolls are turning social media and comment boards into a giant locker room in a teen movie, with towel-snapping racial epithets and misogyny.

              Trolling is largely responsible for the demise of comment boards on many sites. The moderation required is so great that many sites have just given up. Look at this article in "Wired" http://www.wired.com/2015/10/brief-history-of-the-... The author points out:

              For years, comment boxes have been a staple of the online experience. You’ll find them everywhere, from The New York Times to Fox News to The Economist. But as online audiences have grown, the pain of moderating conversations on the web has grown, too. And in many cases, the most vibrant conversations about a particular article or topic are happening on sites like Facebook and Twitter. So many media companies are giving up on comments, at least for now. So far this year (October 2015), Bloomberg, The Verge, The Daily Beast and now Motherboard have all dropped their comments feature.

              I came to Yabberz because Huffington Post decided that its comments would be largely (and eventually overwhelmingly) hosted on Facebook dropping its well-developed "Conversations" module. Why? I was involved in HP development as a user adviser/consultant and HP was moving forward with its plans to improve is on-line community. But the Flame Wars, sparked by Trolling from the left and from the right, wore out the moderators, frustrated serious discussants, created a hostile environment around many topics and failed to effectively counteract the trolls.

              I spent six months looking for a new home where I could blog as part of a large community of informed individuals interested in sharing ideas, discussing, debating, and, yes, arguing. I had a very hard time finding such a home. I spent significant time at four sites. One them was Yabberz.

              While Yabberz was a work in progress when I dropped in here it showed promise. Its founders, Mike and Melissa Horton, were dedicated to a vision which I could support and which is now captured in this statement on the About Yabberz Page at https://www.yabberz.com/about

              Yabberz is an open and diverse social-media platform. If you are interested in curating, sharing, and discussing news, hobbies and personal stories, then Yabberz is a good place for you. Yabberz empowers members through spirited, yet respectful, discussions to think, engage, and ultimately act upon important issues that affect us all.

              What are the Principal Tools

              in the Yabberz News Gnome's Toolbox?

              A) A Clear Mission and Set of Expectations about Attitude and Behavior on the Site: The Community Standards...."Yabberz is dedicated to putting Commenters and their Comments FIRST. We want to be a model for excellence in civil public discourse. We promote a receptive, transparent and respectful atmosphere for comments and users. We believe it is possible to disagree with someone else without being disagreeable. Our guidelines for commenters reflect these values.

              We are dedicated to maintaining a respectful community that actively engages in lively discussions about news stories from the professional media, blog articles written for Yabberz and other community based websites, comments made to these stories and articles here at Yabberz and replies to those comments."

              B) A Structure that Supports the Mission and Standards. We find this at "How to Yabberz" at https://www.yabberz.com/help

              • Harnessing the Community to Uphold the Standards. The Flagging System encourages members to police the site alerting the Moderators to behavior and members that are outside of or in conflict with the Mission. The Community shares in the responsibility for pointing out Trolling.
              • User Generated Content and Member Driven Visibility. The Discussions Started are member written, or shared from other sources, or a combination of both. The content of the threads is "our content". Uprating, sharing, and sponsoring elevates the visibility of the Discussion Starter. It is easy to figure out who is supporting a post which makes it hard for trolls to hide.
              • Account Suspension and Deletion. The Moderators have moved swiftly to rout Trolls and to lay traps to catch their return to the site under a new identity.
              • Following, Being Followed, and Friending. All three work to create one's own Yabberz internal network; your own conversation space.
              • Blocking. There are those who Troll (or who others think are Trolling) whose behavior does not rise to the level of account suspension or deletion and they are disruptive/disturbing to many. Less bothersome, there are also members who simply are not contributing positively to other members Yabberz experience because the differences in interests/issues are so great that they undermine meaningful discussion. Blocking removes the blocker and the blocked from each others view. The cannot be seen or see the other. Flame Wars require fuel. Blocking robs the fire of its fuel.

              By following, being followed and friending a peer group is created and by blocking those who are not welcome are kept out. I think this is a very elegant strategy. The Hortons continue to fine tune this and develop more tools.

              According to the Stein article the least "trolly" sites are Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. It is a pretty lightweight group. I have already sent a note to Time asking that they take a look at Yabberz where real, in-depth discussion about things that really matter are welcome.

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              Pundit Post

                  So a judge in Texas has (temporarily) blocked the administration's forced reinterpretation of Title IX to include transgenderism.

                  Judge O'Connor's ruling included this important observation:

                  "It cannot be disputed,” O’Connor wrote, that the meaning of the term “sex” in Title IX “meant the biological and anatomical differences between male and female students as determined by their birth.”...The preliminary injunction granted in the Texas case has broader implications than the one issued by the Supreme Court, also prohibiting the Obama administration from 'initiating, continuing, or concluding any investigation' based on its interpretation that Title IX applies to gender identity, an issue the Supreme Court did not address."

                  Title IX is the federal statute that bans discrimination on the basis of sex in any educational institution that receives government funding.

                  But some campuses are way out ahead of even the federal bureaucrats.

                  West Virginia University is telling students that failing to use a student's chosen pronoun is a Title IX violation.

                  (Somehow I doubt that this is what Richard Nixon had in mind when he signed Title IX into law in 1972. But that matters not to the federal bureaucrats who turned Title IX into a wrecking ball to tear down the existing society so as to achieve Gender Utopia.)

                  A close friend of mine who is a professor just attended a Title IX session with some lawyers to explain what Title IX requires under the administration's interpretation.

                  She asked:"What if a student claims to be a girl one week and a boy the next, then a girl, then a boy, etc.?"

                  This was not a theoretical question and she was not baiting the presenter.

                  There are two such cases right now at her institution.

                  The answer was that the faculty and students had to switch pronouns according to "zir" preference.

                  But it goes way beyond transgenderism.

                  Both pregnancy and failure to conceive are protected "disabilities" under Title IX.

                  Scenarios were given of a a female student who has trouble conceiving, and who is undergoing fertility treatments. Her husband is in another city, so she has to be absent from class at regular intervals. This is protected, regardless of how many classes she has to miss.

                  A female student who is pregnant can file a "pregnancy plan" with the Title IX coordinator.

                  She may share this with her professor if she wishes, but is not obliged to, and the professor has no right to ask. This apparently means the professor just has to accept the periodic absence from class (and failure to hand in work) from members of certain protected classes with no questions asked.

                  Finally, here is another case that I assure Yabberz members is real.

                  One of my friend's colleagues teaches an online anatomy course as a pre-med requirement. The online course uses three-dimensional graphics that rotate on screen, after which physical models are mailed to students for them to handle.

                  A blind student wants to take this course and demands accommodations.

                  Privately (but only privately; she is afraid for her job if she says so publicly) the professor says there are none. "It's unfortunate, but there are some things a blind person just cannot do."

                  Does anyone know how to think and reason anymore???

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                  Pundit Post

                      And with Donald Trump's imminent flip flop on immigration policy, the delusional run of this supremely unqualified, narcissistic buffoon will soon collapse into a heap of recriminations and regrets by anyone and everyone who "believed" in him.

                      The Trump campaign has been summarily canceling speaking engagements that were to occur over the next few days. It seems that Trump's advisors now want him to "walk back," his impossible and inhumane declarations about "deporting millions of undocumented immigrants," and forgetting about "building that wall that Mexico was going to pay for."

                      And yet these were the rallying cries for so many of his followers. Trump was going to "make America great again," by ethnic cleansing it of Hispanics and any other "undesirables" that he identified.

                      So what happens after he contradicts himself (again) on immigration, and proposes essentially what the Obama administration has been doing all along?

                      I think I hear a fat lady singing, and she is singing a swan song for the ostensible end of the Trump campaign. Which will be a welcome relief to our allies in Europe, Japan and around the world, as well as to the majority of Americans, who see him as unfit, unstable and downright scary as a candidate for the WH.

                      I suppose the Trump campaign will rumble on until November, and they will make speeches and endless vilifications of HRC, but they will be going through the motions.

                      Trump arose as a result of the Republican Party's lies, which were pitched daily by their media surrogates at Fox "News," Hate-Talk radio and other right wing propaganda sites.

                      The lies were a collection of racial, ethnic, and religious bigotries, compounded with economic positions that are the zombies of Republican lore, about how "tax cuts for the rich" will raise the economy, and how "deregulation" of banks and Wall St. will enable the "free market" to work it's magic.

                      And over the two past decades, this zeitgest of hate and delusion has come to define the Republican Party and their ardent followers.

                      Along came Donald Trump, who picked up this banner, and rode it all the way to being the Republican nomination. And if the GOP thinks that Trump's failure as a candidate, and their losses in the next election are a result of his dysfunctional personality, they will be making another big mistake.

                      Because the fat lady isn't just singing for the Trump campaign, she's singing a swan song for the GOP too, unless it can change and become a responsible political party in the future.

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                          I suspect no one will be surprised to learn that I have a bone to pick with the press regarding the latest revelations about Hillary Clinton telling the FBI that Colin Powell told her that he used personal email to conduct official state department business.

                          The press is promoting that Clinton threw Powell under the bus by telling this to the FBI. So has the press inquired about how the subject of Powell's use of a personal server came up? Did Clinton volunteer this information, that by the time the FBI interviewed her, the whole world already knew, or did the FBI ask her about how it happened that Powell told her about his use of a personal server? If it was the latter, wasn't Clinton obligated to answer truthfully, and that truth would be that Powell indeed told her about it? Why is NO ONE asking how the subject was broached?

                          Furthermore, while we are discussing the subject of Powell's use of a personal server, why is it that Congress and the FBI don't seem to be as interested in his use of a personal server as their are with Hillary's use of one? Ok, Powell said he did not use his personal email for classified information. Didn't Hillary say that as well? Hasn't some of Powell's emails been retroactively classified as well? Joe Scarborough and others say that it was a big difference between what Powell did and what Clinton did. REALLY???

                          They both used personal email. Is it really a big difference that Powell used AOL's server while Clinton used one owned by a former president? REALLY??? That's it? That is why Powell gets a pass?

                          And another thing. Am I the only person in the world who thinks the main problem is that Hillary Clinton COULD use a person server in the first place? Even after Hillary Clinton left office, were other cabinet officials able to do the same thing? Secretary Carter apparently did. Btw, Secretary Carter is STILL the sitting Secretary of Defense after having been discovered to have used a personal email server to conduct official defense department business. That's ok? Nothing???? Anyone??? HELLO!!!!


                          Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton told federal investigators that Colin Powell, a former secretary of State, advised her to use a personal email account, the New York Times reports.

                          The newspaper said the information, from a three-and-a-half-hour interview with Clinton in July, is included in notes the Federal Bureau of Investigation gave to Congress on Tuesday.

                          The NYT also cites a book by political journalist Joe Conason that says during a conversation at a dinner party hosted by another former secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, in Washington in 2009, Powell advised Clinton to use her “own email” except for classified communications.

                          The newspaper says it received an advance copy of the book, called Man of the World: The Further Endeavors of Bill Clinton.

                          “Toward the end of the evening, over dessert, Albright asked all of the former secretaries to offer one salient bit of counsel to the nation’s next top diplomat,” Conason writes in the book, according to the NYT.

                          “Powell told her to use her own email, as he had done, except for classified communications, which he had sent and received via a State Department computer.”

                          “Saying that his use of personal email had been transformative for the department,” Mr. Powell “thus confirmed a decision she had made months earlier — to keep her personal account and use it for most messages,” the extract continued.

                          The NYT’s report could not be independently verified by USA TODAY and Clinton's representatives could not immediately be reached. FBI Director James Comey recommended in July that that no criminal charges be brought against Clinton.

                          Powell's office said in a statement carried by Reuters late Thursday that he could not remember the dinner conversation, but "did write former Secretary Clinton an email memo describing his use of his personal AOL email account for unclassified messages and how it vastly improved communications within the State Department.”

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                          Pundit Post

                              The Real Deal, Aug 23

                              The Donald jacks up campaign’s rent at Trump Tower now that donors are paying

                              Hike from $35K in March to $170K in July follows spike in donations

                              August 23, 2016 09:31AM

                              Now that it’s not on his own dime, Donald Trump has raised the rent on his own campaign office.

                              The rent at Trump Tower for his campaign roughly quintupled to $169,758 in July, from $35,458 in March. The difference between the two months, according to the Huffington Post, is that Trump started raking in outside donations. Up until late June, Trump’s campaign was primarily self-funded. In July, Trump reported bringing in $82 million, falling only slightly behind Hillary Clinton’s $90 million.

                              Not only is Trump paying more for his office, he also has fewer staff members working at the space. In March, he paid 197 employees and consultants, while in July that number was down to 172. It’s unclear if he’s taken a larger portion of Trump Tower than his campaign had in March, though it seems unlikely given the staff reduction.

                              “If I was a donor, I’d want answers,” a Republican National Committee member told the Huffington Post. “If they don’t have any more staff, and they’re paying five times more? That’s the kind of stuff I’d read and try to make an (attack) ad out of it.”

                              City officials recently fined the Trump Organization $10,000 after the campaign used the lobby of the tower too many times for press conferences. Bloomberg recently estimated the tower to be worth $600 million. In 2012, Trump took out a $100 million mortgage on the office building.

                              Meanwhile, Clinton has been renting two floors that together span 80,000 square feet at Forest City Ratner’s 1 Pierrepont Plaza in Brooklyn Heights for $212,000 per month. [Huffington Post]Kathryn Brenzel

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                                  Fellow forum members, the title of this post may cause a reaction in some, to respond immediately with a resounding yes. Because in reading comments regarding the recent decision that have struck down several states recently enacted voter id laws, there are forum members, who are parroting the right wing echo chamber comments on such laws; we need them, how else can we ensure the integrity of the vote? These laws will prevent fraud and prevent having a rigged election.
                                  There are some who are putting forth the semblance of a balanced argument to justify these laws with the argument of we need identification for some things. Such as cashing a check, boarding an airplane, to purchase liquor and cigarettes. These and others are the arguments so often spouted by those who claim they want to protect the franchise of voting. They want to ensure the integrity of the vote, where no vote gets stolen through fraudulent means. To which this writer says poppycock.

                                  Let’s start with what we know about the right to vote here in the United States. Our current recorded history repleted with a history of contested voting. Several amendments were passed guaranteeing the right to vote. Which are,

                                  • The 15th Amendment which states in Section 1: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the Unites States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”
                                  • The 19th Amendment which states: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridge by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”
                                  • The 26th Amendment which states: “The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the Unties States or by any State on account of age. “
                                  • For those who are 14th Amendment wonk’s, there is mention of not abridging the right of those who attain the age 21 their right to vote which is interesting because it lays out the penalty for prohibiting males who were of age from voting.

                                  So with what appears as constitutional rights to voting a reasonable person would be correct in wondering what all the fuss is about regarding the need for voter id.

                                  Especially as hard as one might try there is nothing in the constitution that requires anyone to present some form of id at their polling place. However, on the pathway to voting a funny thing happen, it seems despite the constitutional rights around voting; some folks felt that a particular class of individuals should not be allowed to exercise the right of their franchise.

                                  Let’s take a moment to review some facts about the efforts of preventing blacks their right to exercise their franchise, the vote.

                                  Prelude To The Voting Rights Act:

                                  Many on this forum are familiar with the history of the civil rights movement that started in the fifties with the groundbreaking 9 – 0 Supreme Court school desegregation decision. Why, mention this, simple, it laid the groundwork for the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1957. The Civil Rights Act of 1957 was passed to ensure that all Americans could exercise their right to vote. Considering the following from the 57 Voting Rights legislation:

                                  “No person whether action under color of law or otherwise, shall intimidate, threaten, coerce or attempt to intimidate threaten or coerce any person for purpose of interfering with the right of such person to vote or to vote as he may choose, or causing such other person to vote for on not to vote for any candidate for the office of President, Vice President, presidential elector, member of the Senate or member of the House of Representatives, Delegates or Commissioners from the territories or possessions at any general, special or primary election held solely or in part for the purpose of selecting or electing any such candidates.”

                                  Take a moment to ponder and absorbed those words. Think about their meaning. Image what these words would mean to a man or woman who were denied their lawful right to vote, for no other reason than the color of their skin. Also, take a moment and consider what it might have felt like having to take a test and pay a tax to exercise that constitutional right.

                                  Also consider that during this time, the country was on a pathway toward prosperity, and yet, perpetuating a system of disenfranchisement, because of racial prejudice. Hold that thought that image, and imagine what it might feel like, and consider events that followed. President Eisenhower passed the Civil Rights Act of 1957.

                                  A weak voting rights bill full of loopholes. It was a start, but, those determined to prevent Negros from voting would destroy the polling places by destroying them and fleeing the county or state. After the 1957 voting act, came the Civil Rights Act of 1960, which, dealt with the many loopholes in the 1957 civil rights act. However, three years later which in some sense the Civil Rights Act of 1960 was supposed to prevent:


                                  Notice the part regarding ‘attempts to damage or destroy real or personal property by the fire or explosives,' with that in mind consider these four names: Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley, and Addie Mae Collins.

                                  Three years later these young girls died at the Brigham 16th Street Baptist Church. The church was the main focal point where people met to discuss and plan strategy on how they would exercise their civil rights among them the right to register to vote.

                                  Four young innocent girls died in the bombing of their church. An act of domestic terrorism, because their parents wanted what all parents do for their children, to be part of the American dream, which included exercising their right to vote.

                                  However, there were those who thought and felt differently; they thought that only white men and women had that right. How dare Negros, plan, march, strategize, organize and demand that their right (which they had under the law) to vote.

                                  Who are these uppity Negros, don’t they know their place. Why aren’t they satisfied with school integration, now they want to vote, be like us? Who do they think they are?

                                  The natural progression of this conversation is leading up to two other major events, the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the Voting Act of 1965.

                                  The Tie That Binds Two Bills Together

                                  Through all the turmoil and struggle, beatings, threats, and yes killings. Those determine to fight for their rights as citizens and exercise their right, to register, to vote for the candidate of their choice, realized the fruits of their painstaking efforts. Passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that codified Negro’s right to vote, and provided injunctive relief through the courts as laid out in Voting Rights Act of 1965.

                                  Two major pieces of legislation that on one hand provided victory to those who fought so long for what was a set of rights they supposedly had. Now, once again, legislation was passed that would again guarantee them their right to the ballot box.

                                  However, at the same time, it further enraged and incensed those who harbor a deep blackness in their hearts and feel this precious right, the right to vote should be the sole providence, ownership of white men only. For these grouches, believers in their self-importance and some warped ideology, they alone are the chosen of God to govern.

                                  They believe, any male or female whose melanin count is that of a brown paper lunch bag, are not only incapable of voting correctly, but, by some twisted understanding should be kept away from casting a vote, exercising their right, a right they feel should have never been theirs in the first place. But, the old ways no longer work, these folks have the courts on their side or do they?

                                  So, they start thinking, is there a way to bring them back in a different manner? Perhaps under the false rubric of protecting the integrity of the election. After all everyone has an id of some sort, so why would these interlopers be at all upset with the use of a common form of identification?

                                  Hyperbole? No. Exaggeration? No. These individuals believe Voter id laws are good for everyone. After all, they say these voter id laws will protect the scared franchise by ensuring that those who vote are whom they say they are. Once again poppycock.

                                  Let’s consider some a) some data, and b) what the Appeals Court 4th Circuit had to say about North Carolina’s voter id bill that it recently enjoined.

                                  The Truth About Voter Fraud There Is None:

                                  “In response to claims that intentional racial discrimination animated its action, the State offered only meager justifications. Although the new provisions target African Americans with almost surgical precision, they constitute inapt remedies for the problems assertedly justifying them and, in fact, impose cures for problems that did not exist.”

                                  Let the above quote from the 4th Circuit of Appeals sink in. What Circuit Court Judge Diana Gribbon Motz, along with her fellow judges, found was not a bill that was solving a problem of so-called voter id, but a bill that was attempting to cure a problem that didn’t exist.

                                  When it comes to actual cases of voter id they virtually are nonexistent. According to the Brennan Center For Social Justice, such cases are rare and more likely to be clerical mistakes as pointed out in the following as mentioned in a Brennan Center For Justice Report entitled: The Truth About Voter Fraud. Note the findings on page 13.

                                  Exaggerated or unfounded allegations of fraud through double voting include the following:

                                  In Missouri in 2000 and 2002, hundreds of voters were alleged to have voted twice, either within the state or once in Kansas and once in Missouri. The same analysis acknowledged that the “computer files contain many errors that show people voting who did not actually vote.”71 Of 18 Kansas City cases that reporters followed up, 13 were affirmatively shown to result from clerical errors.72 We are aware of public sources substantiating only four cases (amounting to six votes within the state), yielding an overall documented fraud rate of 0.0003%.73

                                  • In New Hampshire in 2004, citizens were alleged to have voted twice. In fact, on further investigation, many of the voters who were allegedly listed multiple times on the rolls actually represented different people with identical names; others were listed with multiple registrations but voted only once. We are not aware of any public materials substantiating the claims of double voting.74

                                  • In New Jersey in 2004, 4,397 voters were alleged to have voted twice within the state, and 6,572 voters were alleged to have voted once in New Jersey and once elsewhere.75 Many of these alleged double votes were actually flawed matches of names and/or birthdates on voter rolls.76 Only eight cases were actually documented through signatures on poll books; at least five signatures appear to match.77 Even if all eight proved to reveal fraud, however, that would amount to an overall double voting rate of 0.0002%.78

                                  • In New York in 2002 and 2004, between 400 and 1,000 voters were alleged to have voted once in New York and once in Florida. These allegations were also prompted by a flawed attempt to match names and birthdates.79 We are aware of public sources substantiating only two cases, yielding an overall documented fraud rate of 0.000009%.80

                                  • In Wisconsin in 2004, dozens of voters were alleged to have voted twice. After further investigation, the vast majority were affirmatively cleared, with some attributed to clerical errors and confusion caused by flawed attempts to match names and birthdates. There were 14 alleged reports of voters casting ballots both absentee and in person; at least 12 were caught, and the absentee ballot was not counted. There were no substantiated reports of any intentional double voting of which we are aware.81

                                  Those who support voter id laws more than likely will question this data and remark as biased for no other reason than it comes from the Brennan Center For Justice. Well, let’s consider in a bit more detail what the 4th Circuit Court had to say regarding the NC Voter ID law as taken from their recent decision.

                                  According to the recent decision the court point out how the new law targeted these four areas used by NC African American voters specifically:

                                  1. Alternative photo ids use by African Americans in favor of photo ids more commonly by whites specifically; “the kinds of Ids that white North Carolinians were more likely to possess.”[page 15]
                                  2. Early Voting which allowed those who have difficulty in getting out to their polling places to vote. As their decision stated; “African Americans disproportionately used early voting in both 2008 and 2012. In particular, African Americans used the first seven days of early voting. After receipt of this data, the General Assembly amended the bill to eliminate the first week of early voting, shortening the total early voting period from seventeen to ten days.”[page 16]
                                  3. Same-day registration another under the new voter id law was eliminated once the legislators reviewed the data that showed this to, was disproportionately used by African Americans. Note the following: “It is indisputable that African-American voters disproportionately used same-day registration when it was available.”
                                  4. Provisional ballots which are disproportionately used by African-Americans. Note the following: The district court found that not only did SL 2013-381 eliminate or restrict these voting mechanisms used disproportionately by African Americans, and require IDs that African Americans disproportionately lacked but also that African Americans were more likely to experience socioeconomic factors that may hinder their political participation. This is so, the district court explained, because in North Carolina, African Americans are “disproportionately likely to move, be poor, less educated, have less access to transportation, and experience poor health” [page 18-19]

                                  In each of these situations, the district court found that North Carolina African Americans are likely to use each of these methods, which were legal until the state passed their voter id law. Keep in mind; the district court requested the data that clearly showed them how North Carolina African Americans were being disenfranchised of the vote with the passage of this legislation but still ruled for voter id law. Which explains what the appellate said; “Such a finding is clearly erroneous if review of the entire record leaves the appellate court with the definite and firm conviction that the [d]istrict [c]court’t key findings are mistaken.”[page 23]

                                  The underlying premise for the push of voter id laws rests with the belief that it protects the integrity of the election. It will weed out those nefarious individuals who would sneakily take advantage of weakness at the polling locations. In particular one major problem, erroneous voter registration information. One would think that logically this desire to protect the integrity of the election would be devoid of any suggestion that implementing voter id would not be neutral in its application.

                                  In other words, no one would be a disadvantage in the application of said requirement. It would be even handed across the board, with no trace of favoritism toward a political party. However, in the case of the North Carolina voter id law as with others, this was not the case. Note what the 4th Circuit Court said:

                                  “Thus, in what comes as close to a smoking gun as we are likely to see in modern times, the State’s very justification for a challenged statute hinges explicitly on race -- specifically its concern that African Americans, who had overwhelmingly voted for Democrats, had too much access to the franchise.”[page 39]

                                  We have reached a point for reflection. Giving thought to what has transpired before the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1995 some fifty-one years ago. It is important to consider the lengths that individuals undertook in preventing a certain class of people from exercising the franchise of the vote which was their right. A right that many paid the ultimate price to secure.

                                  Using underhanded, and maniacal means and methods of intimidation, discouragement, and outright denial to cast a ballot for their candidate of choice. Despite all these attempts to prevent African-Americans from voting, with the use of poll taxes, literacy tests, being told to wait and ignored while watching others vote.

                                  Through intimidation by men dressed in hoods, or just standing in the doorway refusing them entry to the ballot box.

                                  They persevered, never wavered, and kept on pushing until they finally achieve their goal, their objective. Unfettered access to the polls, to exercise their right to vote. Having endured the unconstitutional denial of their right to vote, for years and with the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, is there any wonder that African-Americans in North Carolina have challenged this latest attack?

                                  Can any reasonable thinking person not look askew at North Carolina’s latest attempt through the Voter Id law, as being nothing more than a subterfuge and a continuation of past measures in preventing African-Americans from exercising their right to vote. Using the weak excuse of protecting the integrity of the ballot as justification for the passing of such a restrictive piece of legislation. It seems the 4th Circuit Court finds the reason of preventing an activity that is rare (voter fraud) questionable as well.

                                  Let’s consider what they have to say in Part II Elections Have Consequences.

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                                      "that the photo ID requirement would “disenfranchise some of [Democrats’] special voting blocks [sic],” and that “that within itself is the reason for the photo voter ID, period, end of discussion."

                                      Before we continue, a moment to review our previous discussion that focused on The Prelude To The Voting Rights Act. We discussed the right to vote as outlined in the 14th, 15th, 19th and 20th amendments, each one with clear references to the right to vote and interestingly enough, not one mention of the need for any form of identification to exercise said right.

                                      We also covered how individuals died because of various forces did not want to see African-Americans exercise that right.

                                      Less we forget, here are the names of four young innocent girls who perished in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley, and Addie Mae Collins. Less we forget, James Earl Chaney of Mississippi, Andrew Goodman and Michael “Mickey” Schwerner both of New York City, murdered.

                                      Why? Because they were helping African-Americans to register to vote. For just a moment, think about that, murdered because of wanting to help African-Americans in Mississippi to register so they could vote. A right that many of us take for granted.

                                      Which brings us to The Tie That Binds Two Bills Together, regarding both the Civil Rights Act of 1964 along with The Voting Rights Act of 1965. One bill wich dealt with wholesale discrimination and the second which focused on ensuring African-Americans right to, register and vote without any such interference they were put under before the passage of this bill. It outlawed the use of literacy test, poll taxes, and any other process that would ‘deny or abridge’ their right to vote.

                                      Considering the circuitous path of the right to vote for African-Americans, along with the obvious outright discriminatory practices dealt out by those who felt a certain class of American citizen should not be allowed to vote. It makes one wonder, why are the back at it again?

                                      What could be the possible motivation to revived the stepchild of disenfranchisement known as voter id? Only to have the courts see through this call it out and strike it down. We have to wonder why the court would arrive at such a conclusion, well the following provides us with valuable insight:

                                      We recognize that elections have consequences, but winning an election does not empower anyone in any party to engage in purposeful racial discrimination. When a legislature dominated by one party has dismantled barriers to African American access to the franchise, even if done to gain votes, “politics as usual” does not allow a legislature dominated by the other party to re-erect those barriers.

                                      The record evidence is clear that this is exactly what was done here. For example, the State argued before the district court that the General Assembly enacted changes to early voting laws to avoid “political gamesmanship” with respect to the hours and locations of early voting centers. J.A. 22348. As “evidence of justifications” for the changes to early voting, the State offered purported inconsistencies in voting hours across counties, including the fact that only some counties had decided to offer Sunday voting. Id. The State then elaborated on its justification, explaining that “[c]ounties with Sunday voting in 2014 were disproportionately” black” and “disproportionately Democratic.” J.A. 22348-49. In response, SL 2013-381 did away with one of the two days of Sunday voting.” [page 38]

                                      Yes, elections have consequences and when those who believe they should control and have all the power when an election does not return the results they desire, they proceed to take actions to make sure such events do not happen again. Such was the case in North Carolina and other states upon witnesses the inordinate turn out of African Americans in both the 2008 & 2012 elections that elected our first African American President and then reelected him.

                                      Those who desired control, by limiting African-Americans their right to vote through the implementation of literacy tests, poll taxes and outright intimidation were successful for a while. However, the dogged determination of those who knew as citizens that the 13th,14th 15th, and 26th amendments gave them the right to vote.

                                      Continued to move forward in a united front and did not stop with the passage of The Civil Rights Act of 1964 but continued their effort which resulted in the adoption of The Voting Rights Act of 1995. One would believe that with everything that went into achieving this, efforts to prevent African-Americans from voting would diminish and disappear altogether.

                                      However, as previously stated the election of President Obama, brought a resurgence of attempts to suppress African-American participation, under the fakery of the need for Voter ID to prevent voter fraud.

                                      The Real Fraud, Is The Claim of Voter Fraud:

                                      Carl Bialik a writer for the Wall Street Journal. Stated the following in an August 2012 article entitled: Voter Fraud: Hard To Identify,

                                      Meanwhile, researchers studying voter fraud – a term used to refer to cases in which one voter impersonates another at the pl to cast a fraudulent vote – say they have so far found little direct evidence that the practice is common enough to affect the results of elections, even close ones.”

                                      It is interesting the push by states for a process that yields so little but for some costs so much. In a report done by the Brennan Center for Justice entitled; The Truth About Voter Fraud made this observation:

                                      In Missouri in 2000 and 2002, hundreds of voters were alleged to have voted twice, either within the state or once in Kansas and once in Missouri. The same analysis acknowledged that the “computer files contain many errors that show people voting who did not actually vote.”71 Of 18 Kansas City cases that reporters followed up, 13 were affirmatively shown to result from clerical errors.72 We are aware of public sources substantiating only four cases (amounting to six votes within the state), yielding an overall documented fraud rate of 0.0003%.”73

                                      Other examples from the report reveal similar results. What looked to be fraudulent or multiple voting by individuals and thought to be voter fraud, was the result of poor record keeping, people with the same but different birth dates, or just out and out mistakes made at registration time that were not corrected.

                                      In other words, data errors, not attempts to vote fraudulently, just plain data errors. For those who would point to allegations of voter fraud in Wisconsin, Missouri, and New Jersey, see the appendix on selected case studies of the report; it can be found starting on page 23 of the report.

                                      For the moment. Let us return the decision of the 4th Circuit Court and consider this footnoted comment on page 47.

                                      “Some of the statements by those supporting the legislation included a Republican precinct chairman who testified before the House Rules Committee that the photo ID requirement would “disenfranchise some of [Democrats’] special voting blocks [sic],” and that “that within itself is the reason for the photo voter ID, period, end of discussion.”

                                      Remember the saying; elections have consequences? Consider the following taken from a report done by the Pew Research Center entitled, Dissecting to 2008 Electorate: Most Diverse in U.S. History

                                      According to the exit polls in last year’s presidential election, the candidate preference of non-white voters was distinctly different from that of white voters. Nearly all (95%) black voters cast their ballot for Democrat Barack Obama. Among Latino voters, 67% voted for Obama while 31% voted for Republican John McCain. Among Asian voters, 62% supported Obama, and 35% voted for McCain. In contrast, white voters supported McCain (55%) over Obama (43%)

                                      For a visual look at what the data, which provides some insight that may have led to the comment made by the Republican Precinct Chairman on disenfranchising Democrat voters:

                                      Consider the following data from Pew Research analysis of the 2012 election which said the following:

                                      Obama’s support from nonwhites was a critical factor in battleground states, especially Ohio and Florida. In Ohio, blacks were 15% of the electorate, up from 11% in 2008. In Florida, Hispanics were 17% of the electorate, a slight increase from 14% in 2008. While minority compositional gains were not huge, they offset a strong tilt against Obama among white voters. Nationally, Romney won the white vote, 59% to 39%

                                      Once again we see the support of what the 4th Circuit Court referred to as the minority party. Those individuals that voted democratically in the last two general elections. Here is what the court found:

                                      In sum, the array of electoral “reforms” the General Assembly pursued in SL 2013-381 were not tailored to achieve its purported justifications, a number of which were in all events insubstantial. In many ways, the challenged provisions in SL 2013-381 constitute solutions in search of a problem. The only clear factor linking these various “reforms” is their impact on African American voters. The record thus makes obvious that the “problem” the majority in the General Assembly sought to remedy was emerging support for the minority party. Identifying and restricting the ways African Americans vote was an easy and effective way to do so. We therefore must conclude that race constituted a but-for cause of SL 2013-381, in violation of the Constitutional and statutory prohibitions on intentional discrimination.

                                      “Solutions in search of a problem.” The 4th Circuit Court described the North Carolina’s General Assembly voter id law. It is very clear when they said that the “problem” they were trying to remedy wasn’t preventing fraudulent voting, it was to prevent African-Americans from voting as they, in essence, saw them as the “problem.”

                                      Why? Well as the Pew Research tells us, in both the 08 and 12 elections African-Americans voted in record numbers for the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama.

                                      It is not coincidental that the push for voter id took a markedly upward push right after Obama won his first election, and became the focus of a number Republican-led State Houses when many of them gained super majorities in their respective chambers.

                                      Along with the push to help make him a “one-term president.” The result of the last presidential election did not turn out as Republicans had hoped. The election of Mitt Romney, with Obama becoming as Mitch McConnell had hoped, “a one-term president.”

                                      What it did do, was a renewed pushed for more restrictive voter id laws. To do what? To prevent something that rarely happens, voter fraud by the impersonation of another individual. As the Brennan Center For Justice pointed out in their report; The Truth About Voter Fraud on page 3;

                                      Allegations of widespread voter fraud, however, often prove greatly exaggerated. It is easy to grab headlines with a lurid claim (“Tens of thousands may be voting illegally!”); the follow-up — when any exists — is not usually deemed newsworthy. On closer examination, many of the claims of voter fraud amount to a great deal of smoke without much fire. The allegations simply do not pan out.”

                                      As we have pointed out the outcry around voter fraud is often nothing more than an attempt to grab headlines in the promotion of an issue that is not a problem. The belief there is widespread attempts to fix elections with massive attempts of impersonation are the wild concoctions of conspiracy peddlers, right-wing talk show hosts who care more about increasing their bank accounts than they do about the sanctity of the vote as they claim.

                                      For all their talk about stolen elections or significant cases of fraudulent voting have yet to be proven. As previously stated what these folks point to for their proof of wholesale voter fraud are in most instances cases of inadequate record keeping.

                                      Those who will look to James O’Keefe and his videos where he attempts to prove voter id is necessary. He has managed to get conservative publications to pick up his story, but, what one needs to know is he has been known to edit his tapes heavily making what he presents suspect at best and very questionable.

                                      Is Race A Legitimate Case For Voter ID?

                                      The writer would answer this question with a resounding NO. However, let’s take a moment and consider something the 4th Circuit Court said about what the State Assembly did regarding previous forms of ID before they enacted their form of strict voter id. The court talked about forms of state identification that African-Americans would otherwise have. Consider the following:

                                      Thus, forms of state-issued IDs the General Assembly deemed insufficient to prove a voter’s identity on Election Day are sufficient if shown during a separate process to a separate state official. In this way, SL 2013-381 elevates form over function, creating hoops through which certain citizens must jump with little discernable gain in deterrence of voter fraud.12

                                      So there is a kind of ID that is acceptable. It is the type of ID that is sufficient to show state officials for the conducting of all other business that requires such an ID. If this form of ID is useful to conduct regular state business, then is should be sufficient to allow African-Americans to vote. After all, according to the court two of the id’s rejected for voting purposes, were deemed acceptable to obtain the free voter card that could be used to vote.

                                      “Review of the record further undermines the contention that the exclusions are tied to concerns of voter fraud. This is so because voters who lack qualifying ID under SL 2013-381 may apply for a free voter card using two of the very same forms of ID excluded by the law. Thus, forms of state-issued IDs the General Assembly deemed insufficient to prove a voter’s identity on Election Day are sufficient if shown during a separate process to a separate state official.”

                                      As the court found these other types of identification would be ones that African-Americans would disproportionately use, which begs the question, if they were good for other state business why not for voting?

                                      So is there a legitimate case for voter id? Yes, for the first-time voter who have not registered. It makes sense to provide a legitimate form of identification for registration. Clearly, a need exists to make the process voting better, but voter id laws such as the ones that have been struck down in North Carolina are not the answer.

                                      It is clear that North Carolina Voter Id law was set up to disenfranchise African-Americans and suppress the vote. The court was right in their decision to enjoin this law and not allow the state of North Carolina enjoin the law and make them realize that, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridge … on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”

                                      When discussing this subject with a friend, he said the following: “questions will always remain over voting until there are solid procedures put in place that guarantees every single eligible voter has their say. The difficulty will be those who will argue on Constitutional grounds.”

                                      A very keen insight which emphasizes this writers view there is no legitimate case for voter id laws.

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                                          Yikes! I actually hope this isn't true. But then again, she married for money. So, who knows. This ought to ignite another one of Trump's outbursts soon if this is picked up by other media sources.


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