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Member since: Mon Apr 5, 2004, 03:58 PM
Number of posts: 124,501

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Texas won't release private voter info to Trump administration

I am pleased but surprised by this https://www.dallasnews.com/news/elections/2017/06/30/texas-will-releasevoters-private-info-trump-election-commission

"The Secretary of State's office will provide the Election Integrity Commission with public information and will protect the private information of Texas citizens while working to maintain the security and integrity of our state's elections system," Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos said in an emailed statement. "As always, my office will continue to exercise the utmost care whenever sensitive voter information is required to be released by state or federal law."

Information such as name, address and political party are public information in Texas, as is voting method (absentee, provisional, early) and registration effective date. Social Security numbers are not public, according to Pablos' office, and therefore will not be released.

President Donald Trump formed the election commission after claiming million of people voted illegally in last year's election; the claim, as well as his insistence that he lost the popular vote due to this alleged voter fraud, have been repeatedly debunked.

Why we should be very afraid of Trumps vote suppression commission

Kobach is a nasty person who does not believe that non-whites should be allowed to vote. Putting Kobach on Trump's voter suppression commission means that we need to worry. https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2017/06/30/why-we-should-be-very-afraid-of-trumps-vote-suppression-commission/?utm_term=.dd78ecb60286

Most presidential commissions don’t accomplish very much — they meet a few times, do some research and produce a report, which then gets filed away and few people ever read, the list of recommendations seldom acted on. But President Trump’s Presidential Commission on Election Integrity is different.

Its goal is nothing less than the supercharging of recent Republican efforts to disenfranchise Democratic voters and permanently tip the scales of elections in the GOP’s favor. Its true name should be the Commission on Vote Suppression, and it’s getting right to work.

This commission is led by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who is the country’s premier advocate of vote suppression (Vice President Pence is the nominal chair, but as vice chair, Kobach is obviously running things). We’ll get more into Kobach’s agenda in a moment, but first, the latest news. This week the commission sent a letter to all 50 state governments demanding that they send the commission their full voter files, including names, addresses, birth dates, party affiliation, voting history and Social Security numbers for every voter in America.....

So what is Kobach’s commission going to do with the data it gets? We don’t know for sure, but it appears that it has two broad goals. The first is essentially a PR effort aimed at public opinion and state legislatures: Foster the impression that fraud is widespread, which then makes it easier for Republican-run states to impose draconian laws making it as hard as possible for people to register and vote. The second apparent goal is more direct: Create lists of allegedly questionable voters that they’ll give to states in order to convince them to purge those people from the rolls, by showing that they might be registered in more than one place.....

These people are not trying to determine whether there are problems with our voting system and find the best solutions to those problems. They have come together to promote the myth of voter fraud and enable vote suppression in order to advantage the Republican Party. No one should be fooled into thinking this enterprise is anything other than that.

What will happen to Ari Melber's weekend show?

I love that show. Ari is a good lawyer and I love it when legal issues are discussed

Following Trump voter fraud allegations, claim that 5.7 million noncitizens voted is wrong

There is a bogus study being cited by the idiots who believe in trump's lies http://www.politifact.com/florida/statements/2017/jun/22/ainsley-earhardt/following-trump-voter-fraud-allegations-claim-57-m/

The researchers at CCES (including Schaffner; Stephen Ansolabehere, a Harvard political scientist; and Samantha Luks, a statistician at YouGov) have criticized the methodology used by Old Dominion.

They said it didn’t fully consider the possibility that people responded to the survey inaccurately.

"You are ignoring the measurement error in a very small group which is going to inflate those numbers," Schaffner said, "then you assume this is a random sample of all noncitizens in the country, which it probably isn’t."

More than 100 political scientists from universities and colleges wrote an open letter in January disputing the Old Dominion paper as evidence for Trump’s claim that millions of noncitizens voted.

"In a survey as large as the CCES, even a small rate of response error (where people incorrectly mark the wrong item on a survey) can lead to incorrect conclusions," they wrote. "The scholarly political science community has generally rejected the findings in the Richman et al. study and we believe it should not be cited or used in any debate over fraudulent voting."

Jesse Richman, one of the Old Dominion researchers and a political science professor, told PolitiFact he still stands by his research and responded to the criticisms by CCES researchers in a working paper in February.

Public Overwhelmingly Disapproves of House Health Care Bill

This is some amazing polling http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/first-read/nbc-news-wsj-poll-public-overwhelmingly-disapproves-house-health-care-n775491

By a 3-to-1 margin, the American public holds a negative view of the American Health Care Act, legislation that House Republicans passed last month and that President Donald Trump supports.

Just 16 percent of adults believe that House health care bill is a good idea, versus 48 percent who say it’s a bad idea.

In May’s NBC/WSJ poll, it was 23 percent good idea, 48 percent bad idea.

Without identification, poor people stay in the shadowsand Republicans want it that way

Lack of identification hurt poor people and keep them from being able to vote https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/6/19/1673183/-Without-identification-poor-people-stay-in-the-shadows-and-Republicans-want-it-that-way

Imagine trying to navigate life in the United States without having some kind of identification. Without an ID, it’s near impossible to obtain lawful employment, register your children for school, and apply for housing, health care, or other forms of government assistance. It may seem hard to believe that people who are born in this country wouldn’t have access to a driver’s license or some other state-issued identification to establish their identity. But for many people who are homeless or low-income, it is an unfortunate reality.

As of 2006, according to New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice, up to 11 percent of U.S. adults had no government-provided photo ID. Since then, federal requirements for IDs have grown tougher, contributing to a loop that can help keep people trapped in poverty. For poor Americans, IDs are a lifeline — a key to unlocking services and opportunities, from housing to jobs to education. And in states with strict voter ID laws, the lack of an ID can hinder voting. “This is a huge issue for people who are homeless and poor in general,” says Maria Foscarinis, executive director of the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty. “Without an ID, basically you don’t exist.”
There are a number of reasons why some folks don’t have photo identification. It can be time-intensive and costly to fight with government agencies to locate copies of birth certificates, social security cards, and duplicate IDs. People may not have access to reliable transportation which would get them to these sites in the first place. Once they get there, they often don’t have the necessary documentation to prove they are who they say.

Could Trump issue himself a pardon?

I doubt that Trump can legally pardon himself. The fact that we are having to ask the question is so very very sad https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2017/05/24/could-trump-issue-himself-a-pardon/?utm_term=.5aac3e6356f6

“We can all only speculate what would happen if the president tried to do it,” said Brian Kalt, professor of law at Michigan State University and author of the book “Constitutional Cliffhangers.” “We’re all just predicting what the court would do if it happened, but no one can be sure.”

The constitutional language governing pardons reads, “The President … shall have Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.” That vagueness is part of the reason the boundaries of the authority would need to be interpreted by the courts in unusual cases, like the one at hand.

That said, Kalt’s got an opinion about what the Supreme Court would do if Trump (or any president) tried to give himself a pardon: They’d throw it out.

Kalt’s reasons are similarly rooted in interpretations of the language of the Constitution and the intent of its authors.

For example, a pardon is “inherently something that you get from someone else,” he argued. That’s not explicit in the constitutional language, but, then, other boundaries we understand for pardons aren’t either, such as our understanding that there need not be a criminal charge before a pardon. (The most famous example of this kind of pardon was offered by President Gerald Ford to his predecessor, Richard Nixon.)

P.S. Ruckman, professor of political science at Northern Illinois University and author of the blog Pardon Power agreed with this idea in an email. “Supreme Court jurisprudence has always assumed a dichotomy — the granter and the recipient,” he said — the implication being that one person can’t play both roles.

What’s more, “presidents are supposed to be limited,” Kalt said. “The president has all of this power, but he has a limited term. If he was able to pardon himself, that would project his power well past his term.”

Supreme Court unanimously reaffirms: There is no hate speech exception to the First Amendment

I look forward to reading this opinion https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2017/06/19/supreme-court-unanimously-reaffirms-there-is-no-hate-speech-exception-to-the-first-amendment/?utm_term=.fe5bb6bda230

From today’s opinion by Justice Samuel Alito (for four justices) in Matal v. Tam, the “Slants” case:

[The idea that the government may restrict] speech expressing ideas that offend … strikes at the heart of the First Amendment. Speech that demeans on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, or any other similar ground is hateful; but the proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express “the thought that we hate.”

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote separately, also for four justices, but on this point the opinions agreed:

A law found to discriminate based on viewpoint is an “egregious form of content discrimination,” which is “presumptively unconstitutional.” … A law that can be directed against speech found offensive to some portion of the public can be turned against minority and dissenting views to the detriment of all. The First Amendment does not entrust that power to the government’s benevolence. Instead, our reliance must be on the substantial safeguards of free and open discussion in a democratic society.

And the justices made clear that speech that some view as racially offensive is protected not just against outright prohibition but also against lesser restrictions. In Matal, the government refused to register “The Slants” as a band’s trademark, on the ground that the name might be seen as demeaning to Asian Americans. The government wasn’t trying to forbid the band from using the mark; it was just denying it certain protections that trademarks get against unauthorized use by third parties. But even in this sort of program, the court held, viewpoint discrimination — including against allegedly racially offensive viewpoints — is unconstitutional. And this no-viewpoint-discrimination principle has long bee
n seen as applying to exclusion of speakers from universities, denial of tax exemptions to nonprofits, and much more.

Supreme Court to hear potentially landmark case on partisan gerrymandering

Source: Washington Post

The Supreme Court declared Monday that it will consider whether gerrymandered election maps favoring one political party over another violate the Constitution, a potentially fundamental change in the way American elections are conducted.

The justices regularly are called to invalidate state electoral maps that have been illegally drawn to reduce the influence of racial minorities by depressing the impact of their votes.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-to-hear-potentially-landmark-case-on-partisan-gerrymandering/2017/06/19/d525237e-5435-11e7-b38e-35fd8e0c288f_story.html?pushid=5947d3dbf07ec1380000000a&tid=notifi_push_breaking-news&utm_term=.568b0ffda435

Special counsel is investigating Jared Kushners business dealings

The latest from the Washington Post https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/special-counsel-is-investigating-jared-kushners-business-dealings/2017/06/15/5d9a32c6-51f2-11e7-91eb-9611861a988f_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_kushner-710pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.f4ee965eb90d

Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller is investigating the finances and business dealings of Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, as part of the probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, according to officials familiar with the matter.

FBI agents and federal prosecutors have also been examining the financial dealings of other Trump associates, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn, former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Carter Page, who was listed as a foreign policy adviser for the campaign.

The Washington Post had earlier reported that investigators were scrutinizing separate meetings that Kushner held with Russians in December — first with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak and then with Sergey Gorkov, the head of a state-owned Russian development bank. At the time of that report it was not clear that the FBI was investigating Kushner’s business dealings.

The officials who described the financial focus of the investigation spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
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