06-23-2018  6:25 pm      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

AG Rosenblum Seeks Info from Oregonians

Oregon Attorney General seeks information on children separated from families at border ...

Community Forum: How Does Law Enforcement Interact With Vulnerable Populations?

Forum will focus on public safety and examine mental health and addiction issues ...

King County Council Recognizes Juneteenth

The Metropolitan King County Council recognizes a true 'freedom day' in the United States ...

Unite Oregon Hosts ‘Mourn Pray Love, and Take Action’ June 20

Community is invited to gather at Terry Schrunk Plaza at 6 p.m. on World Refugee Day ...

MRG Foundation Announces Spring 2018 Grantees

Recipients include Oregon DACA Coalition, Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe, Komemma Cultural Protection Association ...

Lawsuits allege racial profiling in Portland-area businesses

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Several African Americans are suing big-box stores and restaurants in Oregon, claiming employees at those places wrongly accused them of stealing because they were "shopping while black."A Portland law firm has filed five lawsuits alleging racial profiling at businesses in...

Wildfire near Maupin more than doubles in size

MAUPIN, Ore. (AP) — A wildfire burning brush and grass near Maupin in north-central Oregon has more than doubled in size to 36 square miles (93 square kilometers).Fire officials say Saturday's efforts will include the use of helicopters to protect Maupin.The wind-driven wildfire is mostly...

Alaska city honors Guardsmen killed in crash after '64 quake

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A month after the second most powerful earthquake ever was recorded, the Alaska port community of Valdez remained in ruins.A hulking Alaska National Guard cargo plane's mission April 25, 1964, was to deliver Gov. William Egan to oversee efforts to rebuild the town on...

The Latest: Alaska city unveils memorial to fallen Guardsmen

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Latest on an Alaska city honoring Guardsmen killed in crash after 1964 earthquake (all times local):1:40 p.m.Four men who died on a humanitarian mission to help rebuild an Alaska town following the second most powerful earthquake ever recorded have been honored...

OPINION

How Washington’s 'School Achievement Index' Became School Spending Index

New assessment categorizes schools not by quality of education, but level of funding officials believe they should receive ...

Black Mamas Are Dying. We Can Stop It.

Congresswoman Robin Kelly plans to improve access to culturally-competent care with the MOMMA Act ...

Hey, Elected Officials: No More Chicken Dinners...We Need Policy

Jeffrey Boney says many elected officials who visit the Black community only during the election season get a pass for doing nothing ...

Juneteenth: Freedom's Promise Still Denied

Juneteenth is a celebration of the de facto end of slavery, but the proliferation of incarceration keeps liberation unfulfilled ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Lawsuits allege racial profiling in Portland-area businesses

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Several African Americans are suing big-box stores and restaurants in Oregon, claiming employees at those places wrongly accused them of stealing because they were "shopping while black."A Portland law firm has filed five lawsuits alleging racial profiling at businesses in...

Racist tropes in Ramadan TV satires anger black Arabs

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — In an attempt to capitalize on what's become a ratings bonanza for Arabic satellite channels during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, two comedies struck the wrong chord with audiences when their lead actors appeared in blackface.Criticism was swift on...

Chaos on the border inflames GOP's split with Latinos

When more than 1,000 Latino officials __ a crop of up-and-coming representatives from a fast-growing demographic __ gathered in Phoenix last week, no one from the Trump administration was there to greet them.It marked the first time a presidential administration skipped the annual conference of the...

ENTERTAINMENT

Give up after scandals? Television history shows otherwise

NEW YORK (AP) — Say this about TV creators in 2018 — they don't give up easily.Three current shows — "Roseanne," ''Transparent" and "House of Cards" — have been crippled by scandal, but each plans to continue without their disgraced stars."The bottom line is...

Ornate NYC theater, used for years as a gym, to be restored

NEW YORK (AP) — For years, Long Island University's basketball team played in a French Baroque movie palace in downtown Brooklyn.The gilded wall fountains, plastered statuettes and towering, one-of-a-kind Wurlitzer organ pipes of the historic Paramount Theater were preserved by the...

Vinnie Paul, co-founder, drummer of Pantera, dies at 54

Vinnie Paul, co-founder and drummer of metal band Pantera, has died at 54.Pantera's official Facebook page posted a statement early Saturday announcing his death. The label of Hellyeah, his most recent group, confirmed the death but neither statement mentioned Paul's cause of death.His real name...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

AP PHOTOS: Germany salvages campaign on Day 10 of World Cup

MOSCOW (AP) — Germany midfielder Toni Kroos scored a dramatic late winner to come from behind and beat...

1 dead after attack at huge rally for Ethiopia's new PM

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — A thwarted attempt to hurl a grenade at Ethiopia's reformist new prime...

Sanders says she was told to leave Virginia restaurant

WASHINGTON (AP) — White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was booted from a Virginia restaurant...

Stars flock to the Dior debut of Kim Jones at Paris menswear

PARIS (AP) — In a week marked by big debuts, it was designer Kim Jones' turn at Dior Men on Saturday.The...

US moves 100 coffins to inter-Korean border for war remains

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The U.S. military said it moved 100 wooden coffins to the inter-Korean border to...

1 dead after attack at huge rally for Ethiopia's new PM

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — A thwarted attempt to hurl a grenade at Ethiopia's reformist new prime...

Lee Daniels
Lee A. Daniels NNPA Columnist

The U.S. Supreme Court earlier this month let stand the state of Texas’ latest attempt to use the old tactics of the Jim Crow era and rig state and national elections in favor of the Republican Party by denying Black and Hispanic voters access to the ballot.

The refusal of the court’s conservative majority to support the ruling of a federal district court judge in Texas that the state legislature’s new photo ID law was “imposed with an unconstitutional discriminatory purpose” and is “an unconstitutional poll tax” was, in fact, to be expected, given its striking down last year the key provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that had protected black and Hispanic voting rights from the predatory actions of conservative state officials.

However, the court’s majority’s latest blow to democracy nonetheless drew a scathing rebuttal from the court’s three female Justices. That dissent, along with the original ruling of Federal District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos, should be required reading for anyone wishing to understand the empty legalisms of the Republican Party’s photo ID law hustle.

As many have said, these laws, which had been percolating for years in GOP-dominated state legislatures but were fast-tracked once President Obama was elected to office, are “a solution in search of a problem.” Their proponents claim their purpose is to prevent voter fraud at the polls. But in all the legislative discussion of these acts, which eleven states now have on the books, Republicans (and their allies out in the conservative echo chamber of talk shows and think tanks) have never produced any significant evidence that even negligible voter fraud is attempted at polling places.

That’s the legislative and judicial history of the Texas law as well. During the federal trial, Texas state officials testified under oath that from 2002 to 2011—a period when a total of 20 million votes were cast in the state—just two cases of voter impersonation fraud at polls were prosecuted to conviction. One scholar whose specialty is examining voter fraud in modern-day American elections testified that she had found fewer than 10 instances of voter fraud at polling places in the entire country between 2000 and 2010.

So, then, why did the GOP-controlled Texas state legislature feel compelled to enact the strictest photo ID law in the country?

For that, one can ignore the state’s blatant, relentless efforts of the past half-century to continue its historical Jim-Crow voting policies. One can just look the state’s demographic facts of life of the last decade. As Judge Ramos stated, the census found that from 2000 to 2010 Hispanic Americans accounted for 65 percent of the state’s 4 million new residents, African Americans accounted for another 13.7 percent, and other people of color made up still another 11 percent. As an expert on demography and voting patterns put it, “Republicans in Texas are inevitably facing a declining voter base and can gain partisan advantage by suppressing the overwhelmingly Democratic votes of African Americans and Latinos.”

That explains the GOP’s support of photo ID laws all across the country as well—especially given the decision of the Party leadership’s after their 2012 loss to reject the Republican National Committee’s proposals for an “outreach” to voters of color and other key blocs of the Democratic coalition and just concentrate on increasing their votes from whites. Of course, the only way to do that is to double down on the old GOP strategy of stoking whites’ animosity toward people of color.

This is the path the GOP has been following with increasing extremism for the past half century—to continue what constitutes a “tragic betrayal of the highest mandates of our democratic traditions and is democracy turned upside down.”

Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke those words in his “Give Us The Ballot” speech at the Lincoln Memorial in 1957—eight years before the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965 enabled black Americans in the South to exercise the right to vote that was theirs by birth. Would King have foreseen that today a major political party would still be trying to deny blacks and other Americans that right?  Like so many of King’s speeches, words he spoke then still challenge Americans:

“So long as I do not firmly and irrevocably possess the right to vote,” he said, “I do not possess myself. I cannot make up my mind—it is made up for me. I cannot live as a democratic citizen, observing the laws I helped to enact—I can only submit to the edict of others.”

 

Lee A. Daniels is a longtime journalist based in New York City. His latest book is Last Chance: The Political Threat to Black America

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