Neo-Confederates and Voter Suppression

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Russian soldiers in Crimea

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When the Democrats elected Barak Obama as President of the United States, Governor Rick Perry talked about Texas seceding from the Union. Perry is America’s Putin – who has not come into his own! Above is a photo of Rick with Denne Sweeney who ousted my kin, Anthony Hodges, as President of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, that was once a historic society that located lost graves of Veterans, and took care of them.

When President Obama announced his plan for passing a Healthcare Law, an alleged group of grass-root protestors appear in military uniforms. They would later march on Washington carrying guns. These rebels claimed they were a new Patriotic Militia ordained to restore the Constitution that Obama had destroyed by turning America into a Socialist Nation. Not one of these Patriots has objected to the billions of dollars the European Union is about to give Ukranians, who get free medical, as do many nation-members of the EU.

These alleged Patriots were not going to stand still for results of a fair election. Their leaders met in secret and took an oath to be Obstructionists and make sure our first black President fail in all his endeavors. These Loyal Patriots titled our President a “domestic enemy”. The next time I see one of these traitors wearing the uniform my real family of Patriots, fought in, I am going to demand they remove their clownish pretension.

This Disguised Army wears no valid insignias of the Armed Forces of the United States. They claimed Obama was an illegal holder of office because he was not a Citizen. Some members of this militia threatened violence and disrupted town hall meetings. This was no grassroots movement. The wealthy Koch brothers, who are oil tycoons like some Russians, paid for this insurrection because – THEY ARE SORE LOSERS JUST LIKE THE NEO-CONFEDERTES! The Tea Party is a private militia of the Koch brothers whose father was a oil tycoon in Russia. The West has just put economic sanctions on Russia’s oil tycoons. Why not the Koch brothers – our real domestic enemies?

The Koch Tea Party gleefully took away billions of dollars of food stamps from the American People. This is part of the Economic Sanctions and Warfare inflicted upon the Blue States, by the Red States, as revenge for the Reconstruction after the South lost the Civil War they started. There plan is to get rid of all Federal offices, so when a Democrat is elected, there is nothing for him or her, to do. Powerful Capitalists will rule America – with the help of their hired militia men!

The Radical Republican went down South with armed Union Soldiers and held elections. For the first time, black slaves were voting. Today, the Red State Tea Party Traitors of the Army of Koch, are passing VOTER RESTRICTION LAWS aimed at diminishing the black, the student, and the elderly vote, because these folks chose to vote for Democrats!

Putin has imitated the Tea Party Traitors after the Ukranian people rebelled against a Fat Capitalist Pig who stole 80 billion from the people in order to build a fine palace for himself – with private zoo! Putin sent his troops in – with no legitimate military insignias on them. Putin lied, and said these armed men were part of a grassroots movement, they there to protect Russian Family Values from those who meant to do them harm!

I am going to be petitioning my Representatives in order to put an end to Voter Suppression. How about you? I refuse to be intimidated by a bunch of armed thugs in fake military uniforms bent on taking away the power of a Democratic Vote!

Jon Presco

http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/20/world/europe/ukraine-crisis/

Russia must respect “basic principles” of sovereignty and territorial integrity, he said, adding that the United States should also provide financial support for Ukraine’s government and people.

“We want the Ukrainian people to determine their own destiny and have good relations with the United States, Russia, Europe — anyone they choose,” he said, calling for continued diplomatic efforts.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/russia/140317/putin-next-move-crimea-ukraine-gregory-feifer-russians

Healthcare in Ukraine is supposedly free and available to all citizens and registered long-term residents. Private healthcare is also available in the country. All employed citizens contribute to the healthcare system. The Government of Ukraine oversees the health service and all citizens are entitled by law to equal access to healthcare.
The European Commission has proposed another 1 billion euro for Kiev, which will come as a part of the 11 billion euro package agreed earlier in March. Conditions for the new installment will be agreed in the coming weeks with the IMF.

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/01/republicans-won-food-stamps-farm-bill

On Wednesday morning, Republicans won a years-long battle over whether to slash or spare food stamps when the House passed the farm bill, a $500 billion piece of legislation that funds nutrition and agriculture programs for the next five years.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radical_Republican

Rick Perry made national headlines in 2009 when, during a speech to a Tea Party group, he floated the possibility that Texas could secede from the union. But the governor’s substantive ties to the neo-Confederate movement may be deeper than previously known.

A 1998 voting guide published by a leading neo-Confederate group and obtained by Salon not only endorses Perry for lieutenant governor but also describes him as “a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.” Perry’s office did not respond to a request for comment about the governor’s possible membership in the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

This is the document, published by the League of the South on its website DixieNet.org; it was unearthed by Edward Sebesta, a Texas-based independent researcher and co-editor of “Neo-Confederacy: A Critical Introduction.”

Voting rights are under attack in this country as state legislatures nationwide pass voter suppression laws under the pretext of preventing voter fraud and safeguarding election integrity. These voter suppression laws take many forms, and collectively lead to significant burdens for eligible voters trying to exercise their most fundamental constitutional right.

During the 2011 legislative sessions, states across the country passed measures to make it harder for Americans – particularly African-Americans, the elderly, students and people with disabilities – to exercise their fundamental right to cast a ballot. Over thirty states considered laws that would require voters to present government-issued photo ID in order to vote. Studies suggest that up to 11 percent of American citizens lack such ID, and would be required to navigate the administrative burdens to obtain it or forego the right to vote entirely.

Let People Vote

Three additional states passed laws to require documentary proof of citizenship in order to register to vote, though as many as 7 percent of American citizens do not have such proof. Seven states shortened early voting time frames, even though over 30 percent of all votes cast in the 2008 general election were cast before Election Day. Two state legislatures voted to repeal Election Day registration laws, though Election Day registration increases voter turnout by 10-12 percent. Finally, two states passed legislation making it much more difficult for third-party organizations to register voters – so difficult, in fact, that some voter registration organizations are leaving the states altogether.

Despite this frenzy of state legislation to counteract so-called voter fraud and to protect the integrity of our elections, proponents of such voter suppression legislation have failed to show that voter fraud is a problem anywhere in the country. Aside from the occasional unproven anecdote or baseless allegation, supporters of these laws simply cannot show that there is any need for them. Indeed, despite the Department of Justice’s 2002 “Ballot Access and Voting Integrity Initiative” promising to vigorously prosecute allegations of voter fraud, the federal government obtained only 26 convictions or guilty pleas for fraud between 2002 and 2005. And other studies of voter fraud consistently find that it is exceedingly rare – a 2007 Demos study concluded that “voter fraud appears to be very rare” and a 2007 study by the Brennan Center found that “by any measure, voter fraud is extraordinarily rare.” The Voting Rights Project will continue to fight these laws that disenfranchise millions of eligible voters without any legitimate justification.

The organization that publishes DixieNet describes its mission in openly secessionist terms: “The League of the South is a Southern Nationalist organization whose ultimate goal is a free and independent Southern republic.” Its core beliefs include the abolition of the income tax and central banking, a Southern republic that “revives the use of State Militias in place of maintaining large, standing armies,” and a society that “perpetuates the chivalric ideal of manhood.” The group rejects “the American Empire that now occupies the South.”

Perry, who in 1998 was Texas’ commissioner of agriculture running in a fiercely contested lieutenant governor’s race, was praised by the League of the South as a “solid, conservative candidate” who would provide a “tremendous boost” to efforts in the Legislature to proclaim April as Confederate History and Heritage Month. (A few months after the election, in April 1999, the Texas state Senate did just that, though it’s not clear if Perry played any role.) On Election Day ’98, Perry narrowly beat out Democrat John Sharp to become the state’s first Republican lieutenant governor since Reconstruction — an outcome that positioned Perry to rise to the state’s top job two years later, when George W. Bush left the governorship to become president.

What about the Sons of Confederate Veterans? Founded in 1896, it offers genealogical services, sells Confederate memorabilia and literature, and has lobbied to make Confederate flag license plates available around the country, and to keep the Stars and Bars flying at government buildings.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the group experienced years of internal conflict between moderate and radical factions, essentially between those who wanted to focus on maintaining historical sites and supporting research and those who were committed to glorifying the Confederacy — in some cases, out-and-out white supremacists.

The latter faction seems to be in the ascendancy these days.

Visitors to the Sons of Confederate Veterans website are confronted by a video of a man in a gray uniform who proclaims, “One hundred and fifty years ago the men of the South left our homes and families to protect them from an illegal invasion and to fight for the rights our states held under the Constitution.” He continues: “Too many in your time want to tell lies about us and the reasons we went to war. We fought for you. It is now your turn to stand up to the South.”

Slavery is not mentioned.

The group also says the “citizen-soldiers who fought for the Confederacy personified the best qualities of America.”

Ray Wainner, Texas division adjutant at the Sons of Confederate Veterans, told me that Perry’s name did not appear in the group’s membership records — but that they only go back to 2001. The national office of the Sons of Confederate Veterans did not immediately respond to a request for comment. And Perry’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Whether or not Perry was ever a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, we know for certain that he has a little-examined history of associating with neo-Confederates and expressing sympathy for their cause.

In 2000, for instance, Bush was locked in a heated South Carolina presidential primary contest with John McCain in which the question of the Confederate flag and its presence atop the state’s capitol played a prominent role. (Bush basically punted, saying it was a state issue.) At the same time, back in Texas, the NAACP demanded that two plaques bearing Confederate symbols be removed from the state Supreme Court building. The plaques were ultimately removed (sparking a decade of litigation pushed by the Sons of Confederate Veterans), but not before Lt. Gov. Perry weighed in on the side of the neo-Confederates.

According to the Washington Times (via Nexis), in March 2000 Perry fired off a letter to Denne Sweeney, Texas commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans: “Although this is an emotional issue,” he wrote, “I want you to know that I oppose efforts to remove Confederate monuments, plaques, and memorials from public property. I also believe that communities should decide whether statues or other memorials are appropriate for their community.”

(Sweeney, for his part, later ascended to the position of commander in chief of the national Sons of Confederate Veterans, where, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported, he presided over “a purge of some 300 members, accused of disloyalty for criticizing racism in the SCV.”)

After Bush was elected president and Perry became governor, he maintained his warm relations with Confederate-affiliated groups. Perry was featured in the United Daughters of the Confederacy magazine for a July 2001 visit to the 25th anniversary celebration of a library that had been given an archival collection of Confederate materials. (Click the image for larger size.)

(The United Daughters of the Confederacy is the group whose patent was opposed in 1993 by Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, which in turn earned her the opposition of the League of the South in that 1998 voter guide above.)

Fast-forward to 2007, when, after being reelected for the second time in a landslide, Perry invited right-wing rocker Ted Nugent to play at his inauguration ball. Nugent showed up in a Confederate-flag shirt (and toting a machine gun, picture here), prompting a minor outcry from black groups. But Perry’s spokesman went on the record saying that Perry would have invited Nugent even if the governor had known in advance that Nugent was going to wear the flag shirt; and Nugent himself said Perry called him in the days after the event and, speaking about the controversy, encouraged Nugent to “give ‘em hell.”

In 2008, Perry was featured in the pages of the Confederate Veteran, the magazine of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. He is pictured presenting a state flag that had flown over the capitol to Billy Ford, a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans camp in Corsicana, Texas. That group’s mission statement says it exists “to preserve the memory of the Confederate soldier, and to help to spread the truth of the cause for which he fought.” (Click the image for full size.)

So how does the Perry of 2011 — the likely presidential hopeful who will have to appeal to plenty of Northerners — view the Civil War and these neo-Confederate groups? We may find out soon. The Sons of Confederate Veterans is pushing for a Confederate-flag license plate in Texas, but when the state motor vehicle board voted on the matter back in April, it was a 4-4 tie, with one absence. Since then, one member died and the board is waiting for Perry to appoint a replacement. Stay tuned…

UPDATE 7/14/11: Perry spokeswoman Catherine Frazier issues this denial: “[T]he governor never joined that group nor has he ever paid any dues to it.”

I’ve asked her if he has a position on the pending license plate issue, and if I hear back I will update this post.

UPDATE 8/8/11: Sweeney disputes the SPLC’s characterization of his tenure at the national Sons of Confederate Veterans. He emails:

The part about the purge is absolutely false — there were no such purges, even on a small scale. At one point, some members proposed that we purge those few dissidents who were trying to overthrow the elected leadership of the SCV in court, but I and other members of my administration quickly put a stop to such actions, which were against the SCV bylaws. Also, there were no criticisms of racism — this is a myth started by the dissidents when they lost in court; they then tried to destroy the SCV at the state level by alleging that the SCV was being overtaken by racists. I personally investigated this matter and no one was ever able to supply me with any names of allege.

Congress had to consider how to restore to full status and representation within the Union those southern states that had declared their independence from the United States and had withdrawn their representation. Suffrage for former Confederates was one of two main concerns. A decision needed to be made whether to allow just some or all former Confederates to vote (and to hold office). The moderates wanted virtually all of them to vote, but the Radicals resisted. They repeatedly tried to impose the ironclad oath, which would effectively have allowed no former Confederates to vote. Radical Republican leader Thaddeus Stevens proposed, unsuccessfully, that all former Confederates lose the right to vote for five years. The compromise that was reached disenfranchised many Confederate civil and military leaders. No one knows how many temporarily lost the vote, but one estimate was that it was as high as 10,000 to 15,000 out of a total white population of roughly eight million.[32]

Second, and closely related, was the issue of whether the roughly four million freedmen should be allowed to vote. The issue was how to receive the four million former slaves as citizens. If they were to be fully counted as citizens, some sort of representation for apportionment of seats in Congress had to be determined. Before the war, the population of slaves had been counted as three-fifths of a corresponding number of free whites. By having four million freedmen counted as full citizens, the South would gain additional seats in Congress. If blacks were denied the vote and the right to hold office, then only whites would represent them. Many conservatives, including most white southerners, northern Democrats, and some northern Republicans, opposed black voting. Some northern states that had referenda on the subject limited the ability of their own small populations of blacks to vote.

Lincoln had supported a middle position to allow some black men to vote, especially army veterans. Johnson also believed that such service should be rewarded with citizenship. Lincoln proposed giving the vote to “the very intelligent, and especially those who have fought gallantly in our ranks.”[33] In 1864, Governor Johnson said, “The better class of them will go to work and sustain themselves, and that class ought to be allowed to vote, on the ground that a loyal negro is more worthy than a disloyal white man.”[34] As President in 1865, Johnson wrote to the man he appointed as governor of Mississippi, recommending, “If you could extend the elective franchise to all persons of color who can read the Constitution in English and write their names, and to all persons of color who own real estate valued at least two hundred and fifty dollars, and pay taxes thereon, you would completely disarm the adversary [Radicals in Congress], and set an example the other states will follow.”[35]

Freedmen voting in New Orleans, 1867
Charles Sumner and Thaddeus Stevens, leaders of the Radical Republicans, were initially hesitant to enfranchise the largely illiterate former slave population. Sumner preferred at first impartial requirements that would have imposed literacy restrictions on blacks and whites. He believed that he would not succeed in passing legislation to disfranchise illiterate whites who already had the vote.[36]

In the South, many poor whites were illiterate as there was almost no public education before the war. In 1880, for example, the white illiteracy rate was about 25% in Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, South Carolina, and Georgia; and as high as 33% in North Carolina. This compares with the 9% national rate, and a black rate of illiteracy that was over 70% in the South.[37] By 1900, however, with emphasis within the black community on education, the majority of blacks had achieved literacy.[38]

Sumner soon concluded that “there was no substantial protection for the freedman except in the franchise.” This was necessary, he stated, “(1) For his own protection; (2) For the protection of the white Unionist; and (3) For the peace of the country. We put the musket in his hands because it was necessary; for the same reason we must give him the franchise.” The support for voting rights was a compromise between moderate and Radical Republicans.[39]

The Republicans believed that the best way for men to get political experience was to be able to vote and to participate in the political system. They passed laws allowing all male freedmen to vote. In 1867, black men voted for the first time. Over the course of Reconstruction, more than 1,500 African Americans held public office in the South; some of them were men who had escaped to the North and gained educations, and returned to the South. They did not hold office in numbers representative of their proportion in the population, but often elected whites to represent them.[40] The question of women’s suffrage was also debated but was rejected.[41]

From 1890 to 1908, southern states passed new constitutions and laws that disfranchised most blacks and tens of thousands of poor whites with new voter registration and electoral rules. When establishing new requirements such as subjectively administered literacy tests, in some states, they used “grandfather clauses” to enable illiterate whites to vote.[42]

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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