Racial Gerrymandering

It’s a given that the 2016 elections were “stolen”, but not in the way most American’s assume: Russia may or may not have had a direct, negative impact on Clinton’s election chances, but people like Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach certainly did.

Kobach has been involved, both locally and nationally, with repressive voter registration laws. While Kobach loses most of the inevitable lawsuits filed against his illegal practices 1, that does not keep him from hindering minorities in their attempts to vote.

Kobach has as well consulted in gerrymandering schemes outside of Kansas. These bald attempts at dulling the effect of the minority vote are also nearly unanimously ruled against by the courts. However, that’s after the fact: Had SCOTUS ruled on Wisconsin’s obvious racial gerrymandering before the 2016 election, there’s a distinct possibility the results would have been different.

Same with the once great state of Virginia, where SCOTUS recently remanded the Virginia redistricting case back to a lower court with instructions to apply a more rigorous standard regarding racial bias.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday gave Virginia Democrats a fresh chance to challenge parts of the legislative map for the state’s House of Delegates[…]

“The upshot of all of this is that not much has changed with these cases,” Richard L. Hasen, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine, wrote in a blog post. “The fight will be over the details and application to particular cases.”

Marc E. Elias, a lawyer for the challengers in the case, disagreed, calling the decision a “major victory” that will help Democrats[…]

In 2015, a divided three-judge panel of Federal District Court in Richmond, Va., upheld 11 of the challenged districts because, it said, race had not been the primary factor in drawing them. Since the districts could be justified under traditional redistricting criteria like compactness, contiguity, incumbency protection and political considerations, the court said, race could not have been the predominant reason for drawing them.

That was the wrong approach, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority. “The racial predominance inquiry concerns the actual considerations that provided the essential basis for the lines drawn,” he wrote, “not post hoc justifications the legislature in theory could have used but in reality did not.” […]

In assessing those challenges, Justice Kennedy wrote, the trial court identified “no fewer than 11 race neutral redistricting factors.” He called that kind of analysis too malleable.

“By deploying those factors in various combinations and permutations, a state could construct a plethora of potential maps that look consistent with traditional, race-neutral principles,” Justice Kennedy wrote. “But if race for its own sake is the overriding reason for choosing one map over others, race still may predominate.”

Justice Kennedy did not say the challengers would win under his less rigid standard. “The district court,” he wrote, “is best positioned to determine in the first instance the extent to which, under the proper standard, race directed the shape of these 11 districts.”

The Supreme Court affirmed one part of the trial court’s ruling, concerning a single district, which the trial court had upheld even after finding that race played the dominant role in drawing it. The trial court said the district was justified by an attempt to comply with the Voting Rights Act, which forbade the reduction of minority voters’ ability to elect candidates of their choice.

Traditionally gerrymandering redistricting has been the nasty, saliva-dripping hairball no one wanted to touch exactly because SCOTUS has heretofore refused to step in and describe legal boundaries. Today it’s still a hairball, but it appears that Bethune-Hill v. Virginia State Board of Elections, No. 15-680, will eventually make racial gerrymandering a moot point.

Racial Gerrymandering

Show 1 footnote

  1. Barring “sanctuary cities”, for example, is as nonsensical as declaring a “war on terror”: Neither thing exits in the strict legal sense, ergo no laws prosecuting either notion can be passed.

Starting a War

When they tell you it wasn’t bigotry and hate that changed the face of America…

Lenny Bolton, who rents a house between Mount Olive and Goldsboro, insists it was the state of the economy, not prejudice, that troubled him. Even so, bigotry appears to linger not far below the surface.

“I mean, there ain’t no jobs around here because the aliens are working for next to nothing,” he said. “Does that sound American to you? We’re giving our prosperity to them.”

When asked if he’d be willing to pick cucumbers or tobacco, Bolton got defensive. “Just because I don’t want that kind of work doesn’t mean some Mexican should get it. A part of me says we should let them stick it out on them fields, but it ain’t right.”

So who, then, should companies like Mount Olive Pickle and Butterball hire to take on jobs men like Bolton want no part of?

“Give ’em to the blacks who sit at home on the porch all day,” he said. “Make ’em earn that government check. Know what I’m sayin’?”

The issues with illegal aliens in this country goes waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back:

[The Pilgrims] were also experienced exiles. Their twelve years in Holland had given them a head start in the difficult process of acculturation. Going native—at least to a certain degree—was a necessary, if problematic, part of adapting to life in a strange and foreign land. If their European grains refused to grow in this new environment, their very survival might depend on having planted a significant amount of American corn. They decided they had no choice but to take the corn. The place where they found the buried seed is still called Corn Hill.

The decision to steal the corn was not without considerable risks. They were, after all, taking something of obvious value from a people who had done their best, so far, to avoid them. The Pilgrims might have opted to wait until they had the chance to speak with the Indians before they took the com, but the last thing they possessed was time. They assured themselves that they would compensate the corn’s owners as soon as they had the opportunity.

But of course that didn’t happen. The recompense, we mean.

Instead the Pilgrims started a war.

We’re jes’ sayin’…

Starting a War

Long Hot Summer

Two generations have passed since this much blood has run in the streets; 1967, to be exact.

If 1966 was mostly about peace, love dope and hippie beads, the September “Negro” riot in Atlanta foreshadowed the long hot summer of 1967; that riot started because a young black man, Stokely Carmichael, organized a demonstration over an Atlanta cop shooting a black, unarmed car thief.

In October Bobby Seale & Huey P. Newton formed the Black Panthers of Oakland; they also formed a “police alert patrol”, following police to make sure they obeyed the law. The country was on edge, poised for anything, it seemed.

But we got through the winter and early Spring well enough, even with the advent of MLK’s half-million strong anti-war march on the UN.

But after another unarmed black man had been gunned down by Boston police, in June of ’67 a race riot broke out in Boston’s Roxbury area. 1 A sit-in by the Mothers for Adequate Welfare (MAW) at the Grove Hall Office in Roxbury touched it off. Police officers used billy-clubs to beat the women and it went downhill from there. By the time the summer was over, nearly 160 race riots had lit up the country.

President Johnson was alarmed enough by the violence that he formed the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (even while Detroit was still in flames), which ultimately issued what became known as the Kerner Report, a tome of a book that actually became a best-seller. 2 The commission found that the riots resulted from “black frustration at lack of economic opportunity.” It also said: “Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal.”

The report was released in March of 1968. Johnson rejected the commission’s recommendations out of hand and simply ignored the report, which renewed the same tensions . A month later, April 1968, MLK was assassinated and once again rioting broke out in more than 100 cities. 3

Those of us who reached our majority by ’67 (or very nearly so) have no problem finding parallels between that long hot summer and the current one. With the possible exception that police of today appear to enjoy an unprecedented blanket immunity while shooting and killing blacks.

So, no – Dallas was not a surprise. Neither is Baton Rouge. And neither will be the next act of violence; read the Kerner Report and ask yourself what’s all that different between 1967 and 2016.

Long Hot Summer

Show 3 footnotes

  1. Think east of Troost.
  2. I was mailed a copy while still involved with teh Southeast Asia War Games – we took 2nd Place!
  3. 1969? Don’t ask; think bombs. Lots of bombs.


I promise you that throughout the day many a talking head will utter one of the following:

“No one saw this coming.”
“There is no justification for this attack.”
“We’ve got to get the guns out of the hands of these bad actors.”

Which is just top cover: Dallas isn’t even the beginning, it’s just as yet the most glaring response to America’s continued violent enforcement of apartheid. The proof of the pudding is the following tweet by an ex-Congressman:

Après Dallas, the black community will do some brief naval gazing and conclude (the collective) they did nothing wrong, much as innumerable police departments in America have done: After all, if the police are going to shoot you for being black, they might as well shoot you for having slain several of them, n’est-ce pas?

Finally, in what any 10 year-old could tell you is not an ironic turn of events, but merely the easily foreseen (one might say inevitable) outcome of the fucking NRA’s incessant promulgation of gun ownership violence (in support of Americans’ innate right to protect itself against the tyranny of government, Amen), America’s slave class appears to be well armed in their inevitable uprising.

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