Rosario Dawson and Voter Protection Experts Answer Your Questions in Twitter Townhall

This Thursday, October 25th, is participating in a Twitter town hall sponsored by the Advancement Project. With Election Day swiftly approaching, experts from Advancement Project, Voto Latino, ColorOfChange and will be there to answer any questions you may have about voting and election day.’s very own voting rights expert Brentin Mock will be part of the Twitter Townhall also.

Join the conversation using #yVote and help build the movement for empowered and collective voting!

When: October 25th, 2012 3:30 EDT

Where: Twitter - #yVote

How do I Join?

  1. RSVP for the event at

  2. On Oct. 25th follow us on Twitter at @Colorlines and share your voice using #yVote.

  3. @Colorlines, @ColorOfChange, America Ferrera and Rosario Dawson along with voting protection experts, and many other voting rights orgs will be sharing your tweets and answering all of your questions. Follow the conversation at

See YOU at the Twitter Town Hall!

U.S. Sues Bank Of America for Over $1 Billion in Mortgage Fraud Case

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are suing Bank of America for more than $1 billion for mortgage fraud against Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced Wednesday that the U.S. has filed a civil mortgage fraud lawsuit against Bank of America and its predecessors Countrywide Financial Corporation and Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. Specifically, the Complaint alleges that from at least 2007 through 2009, Countrywide, and later Bank of America after acquiring Countrywide in 2008, implemented a new loan origination process called the “Hustle,” which was intentionally designed to process loans at high speed and without quality checkpoints, and which generated thousands of fraudulent and otherwise defective residential mortgage loans sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that later defaulted, causing over $1 billion dollars in losses and countless foreclosures.

“For the sixth time in less than 18 months, this Office has been compelled to sue a major U.S. bank for reckless mortgage practices in the lead-up to the financial crisis. The fraudulent conduct alleged in today’s complaint was spectacularly brazen in scope, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement. “As alleged, through a program aptly named ‘the Hustle,’ Countrywide and Bank of America made disastrously bad loans and stuck taxpayers with the bill. As described, Countrywide and Bank of America systematically removed every check in favor of its own balance - they cast aside underwriters, eliminated quality controls, incentivized unqualified personnel to cut corners, and concealed the resulting defects. These toxic products were then sold to the government sponsored enterprises as good loans. This lawsuit should send another clear message that reckless lending practices will not be tolerated.”

Off the Record, Obama tells Reporter: If I Win, It’ll Be Because GOP ‘Alienated’ Latinos

Off the Record, Obama tells Reporter: If I Win, It'll Be Because GOP 'Alienated' Latinos

In an interview with the Des Moines Register, which was originally conducted off the record but made public Wednesday, President Obama said if he’s reelected it’ll be because the GOP has ignored Latinos.

Des Moines Register editors accepted the interview with the President on the condition that it would be off the record, but once the interview was done the editors published a story urging the Obama campaign to release transcripts of the interview. On Wednesday the Obama campaign obliged.

Below is an except from Obama’s interview with the

The second thing I’m confident we’ll get done next year is immigration reform. And since this is off the record, I will just be very blunt. Should I win a second term, a big reason I will win a second term is because the Republican nominee and the Republican Party have so alienated the fastest-growing demographic group in the country, the Latino community. And this is a relatively new phenomenon. George Bush and Karl Rove were smart enough to understand the changing nature of America. And so I am fairly confident that they’re going to have a deep interest in getting that done. And I want to get it done because it’s the right thing to do and I’ve cared about this ever since I ran back in 2008.

“There’s a difference between Latinos voting for you because the other party has so alienated them and Latinos voting for you because they enthusiastically support your policies and agenda and President Obama may be banking too much on the former and not paying enough attention to the latter,” said reporter Julianne Hing.

The Obama administration set a new record for deportations in 2011, removing nearly 400,000 undocumented immigrants. The vast majority have no criminal record whatsoever.

DOJ Sues Mississippi for Its Egregious School-to-Prison Pipeline

Mississippi is breaking the law by violating the due process rights of kids who are getting funneled through its juvenile justice system, the Department of Justice has said. It filed a lawsuit today against the state itself, as well as the city of Meridian, Lauderdale County and judges of the Lauderdale County Youth Court for doing exactly that.

“The department is bringing this lawsuit to ensure that all children are treated fairly and receive the fullest protection of the law,” Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division said in a statement. “It is in all of our best interests to ensure that children are not incarcerated for alleged minor infractions, and that police and courts meet their obligations to uphold children’s constitutional rights.”

Among Meridian’s violations, according to the DOJ, are: - Children are handcuffed and arrested in school and incarcerated for days at a time without a probable cause hearing, regardless of the severity - or lack thereof - of the alleged offense or probation violation. - Children who are incarcerated prior to adjudication in the Lauderdale County system regularly wait more than 48 hours for a probable cause hearing, in violation of federal constitutional requirements. - Children make admissions to formal charges without being advised of their Miranda rights and without making an informed waiver of those rights. - Lauderdale County does not consistently afford children meaningful representation by an attorney during the juvenile justice process, including in preparation for and during detention, adjudication and disposition hearings.

Jay Smooth Deconstructs Romney’s Famous ‘47%’ Flub

Jay Smooth Deconstructs Romney's Famous '47%' Flub

The “Actually…” web series has added another celebrity fact checker to their list! In this new video, DJ Jay Smooth hits Romney on his 47% comment.

Smooth’s video published on on Wednesday is a collaboration between American Bridge 21st Century and the Jewish Council for Education and Research (JCER.) The founders of say they plan to work with other comedians to make sure lies don’t go unchecked in politics.

Top Row, 3rd From Left: Most Adorable Obama-With-Kids-Photo Ever

President Obama takes a lot of pictures with kids. A lot of pictures.

But a picture tweeted by @barackobama yesterday might be the most adorable photo of the president with kids, ever. The president is seen hanging out with a group of children sitting on bleachers but a young boy sitting at the top “photobombed” the picture and stole the show.

Not a lot of details so far of where this picture was taken, it was only tweeted with a simple “picture of the day” caption.

>>UPDATE 10/24/12 12:00PM EST: A friend and mother of two daughters emailed me to express her concerns about this photo. “Sure, it’s an ‘innocent’ kiss but I hope someone talked to that boy about respect for other people’s bodies,” she wrote in her email. And it’s true, sometimes pictures don’t tell the whole story.<<

Still, there’s something to say about Obama’s connection with children. In Nickelodeon’s 2012 “Kids Pick the President” poll 65% of the votes went to President Obama. There’s something there, just take a look at the last picture below—even Mitt Romney’s grandson has big smiles for the President.

Take a look at some amazing moments of President Obama with kids below.


East Haven Police Reach Agreement With Feds On Racial Discrimination

East Haven Police Reach Agreement With Feds On Racial Discrimination

More than three years after the Department of Justice began an investigation of practices of systemic discrimination and brutality against Latinos by East Haven, Conn. cops, town officials announced today they’ve reached a proposed settlement agreement with the feds.

For years in East Haven, Conn., a predominantly white suburb of New Haven, Latino residents were confronted by a barrage of police harassment and profiling. The town made national headlines in December of last year when the DOJ released a report charging the East Haven Police Department with systemically harassing Latinos.

In January, a separate criminal investigation by the FBI led to the arrest of four local cops for violent abuse of Latinos. Earlier this month, one of the charged officers pleaded guilty to uses of excessive force. The three other charged officers pleaded not guilty.

Shortly after the arrests, the town’s mayor, Joseph Maturo proposed that to remedy the damage by his police department he’d “eat tacos” for dinner. Predictably, the comments did nothing to halt growing outrage and within a week, Maturo announced that his police chief, Leonard Gallo, would resign.

According to Latino residents who I spoke with earlier this year, East Haven police were more restrained in months since the DOJ report was released, but many still feel precarious. Residents told methey hoped federal attention would bring lasting change.

In a press release, the DOJ wrote:

The Justice Department today announced that the town of East Haven, Conn., memorialized its intention to enter into a settlement agreement to resolve the department’s civil investigation of allegations that the East Haven Police Department (EHPD) engaged in a pattern or practice of unlawful discrimination against Latinos on account of their race, color or national origin. The proposed agreement also resolves allegations that EHPD engaged in a pattern or practice of use of excessive force, unconstitutional searches and seizures and retaliation against persons who witnessed police misconduct or criticized EHPD’s practices.

As I reported in February, the practices of racial profiling and harassment were initially thrust into public view when a Yale University Law School clinic filed a civil rights action on behalf of a local pastor, the owners of a Latino owned convenience store and seven other Latino residents of the town who claimed they’d been abused by local police. The complaint listed two fifths of East Haven’s active duty cops as defendants.

The proposed agreement between the DOJ and New Haven, which must still be approved by town officials, requires the police to train officers in bias-free practices. The agreement also requires cops to contact foreign consulates when non-citizens are arrested and to develop policies, oversight, and training on police use of force. It also calls on police to develop stronger partnerships with town residents.

Responsibility for the East Haven racial harassment scandal was not contained to the local police force. As I reported in February, at the same time East Haven’s police were profiling and harassing Latino residents, federal immigration authorities continued to respond to calls from the town and at least several Latino residents of East Haven were deported.

After profiling, falsely arresting and often brutalizing Latinos in town, the cops routinely called ICE to report those without papers, locals charge. “When they come into this bar,” explains Marin, “the first thing they check is immigration status. And then they’ll probably call immigration.”

Even as the Department of Justice was investigating the police for alleged civil and criminal violations, another federal agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, was acting in cahoots with the East Haven cops’ assault on immigrants.

ICE has consistently claimed that its enforcement practices do not rely on racial profiling to find immigrants and that it only deports serious criminals. The unfolding drama in East Haven does significant damage to that claim.

Jesse Jackson Jr. Back at Mayo Clinic, Return to Congress Unclear

Jesse Jackson Jr. Back at Mayo Clinic, Return to Congress Unclear

Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. has returned to a Minnesota Mayo Clinic hospital for “an evaluation.”

The AP reported Tuesday that the clinic confirmed Jackson was back at the facility for a follow-up evaluation “to ensure he is on the path to properly manage his health.”

Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., the congressman’s father, told the AP the evaluation may lead to a longer stay.

An anonymous source earlier this year claimed Jackson “has severe clinical depression, a drinking problem or a problem with alcohol.” More recent however claim Jackson is battling bipolar disorder.

Jackson Jr., is facing re-election in November but a close friend who visited him Monday says he may not return to Congress.

llinois congressman Danny Davis told Reuters Jackson was frail and emotional during the meeting on Monday.

Davis said there is a “strong possibility” Jackson, a Democrat who is expected to easily win re-election on November 6, will eventually return to Congress.

“But if you had to bet on it, you’d probably want to stay out of it,” Davis told Reuters. “You just can’t tell. We don’t know as much about mental health and mental illness as we need to know.”

Jackson has not appeared in public since the beginning of the summer.

Winnsboro Police Believe Woman’s Burns Were Self-Inflicted

Winnsboro Police Believe Woman's Burns Were Self-Inflicted

Update 10/23/12 5:37PM EST: Authorities now believe Moffitt’s wounds were self-inflicted. Story has been updated.

Sharmeka Moffitt, a 20-year-old black woman, is in critical condition with burns on more than half her body, after she claims she was set on fire Sunday by three men who wrote the initials “KKK” and a racial slur on her car in northeastern Louisiana.

According to the Franklin Parish Sheriff’s Office, law enforcement officers responded to a call around 8 p.m. near the walking trail at Civitan Park to find Moffitt attacked and burned, the Franklin Sun reports.

The Franklin Parish Sheriff’s Office along with Winnsboro police and Louisiana State Police are investigating the attack, but law enforcement officers acknowledged Monday they do not have any suspects in the case. They’re also not calling the incident a crime at this time.

Update 10/23/12 5:37PM EST: According to the Franklin Sun, Winnsboro Police Chief Lester Thomas, evidenced gathered at the scene of the incident shows 20-year-old Sharmeka Moffitt’s initial claims that she was attacked and set on fire turned out to be false claims made up by Moffitt.

Crunk Feminist Collective is reporting authorities have not called the attack a hate crime because “Sharmeka could not definitively identify the race of her attackers.”

Crunk Feminist Collective with more details and context:

The fact that the race of her attackers is being used as a gauge for this hate crime demonstrates the limitations of how we think about race and racism in this country. This Black woman was targeted and subjected to severe and life-threatening bodily injury for sport. Her perpetrators then thought they should punctuate their crime by scrawling hateful racially incendiary messages on her car. What isn’t hateful about that?

And what is with all the shock and bewilderment? Winnsboro, Louisiana is just about 60 miles from Jena, Louisiana, the site of the 2007 Jena 6 incident. I grew up in Ruston, Louisiana, about 75 miles from Winnsboro. As late as the late 1990s, the KKK marched in downtown Ruston, and my classmates bragged during class trips about having relatives who were high ranking officials in the terrorist organization. Racially incendiary acts are commonplace in this part of the world. (Every damn part of the U.S. world) Like critical race theorists tell us, racism is not an aberration. It is part of the everyday, commonplace fabric of our lives. Before folks start decrying this act as an individual aberration of 3 sick individuals, perhaps we would do well to remember that their acts are symptomatic of the continued persistence of racism in this country.

Otis Chisley, the president of the local branch of the NAACP, told the AP that regardless of the investigation’s outcome racism and KKK activity remain a fact of life in the state.

“It’s prevalent throughout Louisiana,” he told the AP. “It’s hidden but it exists.

Vivica A. Fox Schools Stacey Dash on How to Make Presidential Endorsements With Class

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In an interview published by theGrio yesterday, actress Vivica A. Fox talked about her new TV projects and also weighed in on a recent surprising presidential endorsement: Stacey Dash’s endorsement of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

“I don’t know why she [Stacey Dash] had to do a photo shoot in a Baywatch red swimsuit with the boobs and the whole flag behind her,” Fox said. “And she doesn’t have a job or something to promote right now. I just didn’t get it. She’s entitled to her own opinion but it was just surprising that first of all she was a Republican, and that she did it the way that she did. Most politicians when you support them, you try to support them with class, you don’t need to do a swimsuit shoot.”

Is it just me, or did she deliver those words with a touch of shade?

Ohio Students Warn Against Being a Racist Fool This Halloween

Controversy surrounding racially offensive Halloween costumes and theme parties have become a routine part of the holiday on college campuses. But a group of college students in Ohio has taken it upon themselves to school their schoolmates on racist Halloween costumes.

Ohio University’s student group “Students Teaching About Racism in Society” (STARS) new “Were a culture, not a costume” Halloween campaign has a simple message: “You wear the costume for one night. I wear the stigma for life.”

The ads are distributed throughout the Ohio University campus before Halloween and serve as a public service announcement for students in an effort to keep them from imitating another culture or worse, dress up in blackface.

STARS took on this poster campaign in response to the offensive Halloween costumes we see every year on campus and nationwide,” Laura Hyde, a spokesperson for STARS told “STARS strives to promote awareness, dialogue and understanding about racism as well as all other forms of oppression and how they manifest themselves in our society today. We believe these posters are one way in which to promote these types of dialogues.”

We hope that these posters are able to give voice to the many who find these posters offensive as well as encourage others to think twice about the nature of the costumes they choose to wear.

Former STARS president Sarah Williams explained to last year that the idea for the campaign came after she snapped a picture of a fellow student in blackface at a 2010 Halloween party.  This is STARS’ second annual ‘We’re a culture, not a costume’ campaign.


Why Obama Brought Class Size Into Last Night’s Foreign Policy Debate

Why Obama Brought Class Size Into Last Night's Foreign Policy Debate

On Monday night viewers got an full evening of American posturing on militarism and war in the third and final presidential debate on foreign policy. It was within that context that both GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and President Obama steered the debate to their best domestic policy ideas for regaining the United States’ position as a global leader in, well, just about everything. It’ll start with education reform, Obama and Romney both said.

“Over the long term, in order for us to compete with China, we’ve also got to make sure, though, that we’re taking — taking care of business here at home,” Obama said on Monday. “If we don’t have the best education system in the world, if we don’t continue to put money into research and technology that will allow us to create great businesses here in the United States, that’s how we lose the competition.”

Obama’s couched his education reform agenda in a global competitiveness frame for years, and he repeated his talking points again last night. And indeed, it became the essence of both Obama and Romney’s education remarks for the night. That is, that the mandate for United States classrooms is to out-educate American students to beat back the specter of China. For Romney’s part, improving the U.S. education system made it to point three of Romney’s famed five-point plan, which he reiterated again last night.

Romney touted Massachusetts’ top school rankings and took credit for those gains while Obama spoke about his commitment to hiring more teachers and his administration’s Race to the Top, a competitive grants program to compel states to adopt Obama’s school reform strategies in exchange for cash.

But the most heated exchange on education came via class sizes, a topic that the Obama campaign has seized on as a way of distancing the president from Romney, who this spring said that “Just getting smaller classrooms didn’t seem to be the key,” arguing, ABC reported, that the issue was something “that’s promoted by the teachers unions to hire more teachers.”

Debate Avoided Immigration Due to Narrow Foreign Policy Focus

Debate Avoided Immigration Due to Narrow Foreign Policy Focus

I watched the debates from a lively Brooklyn bar where a crowd of locals listened intently as Obama and Romney listed countries that they might bomb or already have. They threw jabs at China and Romney said he loves teachers and hates food stamps for good measure, but for the most part, the candidates had a myopic conversation about foreign policy that predictably drew artificial lines around what is foreign and what is domestic.

It should have come as no surprise that war making and security threats made up the bulk of last nights debates. As Ezra Klein wrote yesterday, arguing that the domestic/foreign policy divide fails to recognize that our national problems can’t be solved in isolation:

Washington’s definitions of “domestic policy” and “foreign policy” haven’t kept up with the real world. When you hear the term “domestic policy” in the Beltway, it means economic policy, health-care reform, financial regulation, energy. “Foreign policy” means, broadly speaking, our policy towards the countries we are already at war with, or are considered likely to eventually go to war with. But the actual policies don’t break down so neatly.

Think, for example, of immigration. Nary a word was given on the subject. Properly understood, immigration is a foreign policy issues as much as it is a domestic or social one. Global migration is tied directly to US-supported, global free-trade policies that propel millions to leave Mexico and Central America for the United States. But this went unmentioned, aside from one sentence from Romney, promising to “increase” trade with Latin America.

Nor was there mention of the raging drug war south of the border that’s left tens of thousands dead and continues to drive migration.

Immigration is not a sufficiently important foreign policy issues because the U.S. has declared no wars in Latin America. But because our domestic policy discussions stop at our borders, substantive discussion of migration beyond who we will and will not deport was similarly excluded from earlier debates.

These are not just rhetorical omissions. The failure to recognize that our most fraught domestic issues are tied to global politics and economics, helps make those issues intractable.

The foreign and domestic policy debate structure may be about as antiquated as those bayonets Romney got zinged with last night.

Orlando Cruz, Gay Boxer, Wins First Fight Since Coming Out

Orlando Cruz, Gay Boxer, Wins First Fight Since Coming Out

Earlier this month featherweight Puerto Rican boxer Orlando Cruz made history by identifying himself as a “proud gay man.” With those words, Cruz became the first openly gay man in pro boxing.

This past Sunday Cruz was greeted with cheers as he walked in to the Kissimmee Civic Center outside of Orlando.

Cruz, 31, went on to win his fight against the Mexican boxer Jorge Pazos.

“I was very happy that they respect me. That’s what I want — them to see me as a boxer, as an athlete and as a man in every sense of the word,” Cruz told the AP after his fight.

The AP describes the scene as Cruz walked out on to the Kissimmee Civic Center boxing ring:

But as soon as he walked out to a cheering crowd displaying flags of his native Puerto Rico, boxing’s first openly gay fighter could finally breathe and do what he came to do, slugging his way to a victory by unanimous decision over Jorge Pazos. published quotes Cruz made explaining why it was important for him to come out on October 4, 2012:

The No. 4-ranked featherweight by the WBO, said, “I’ve been fighting for more than 24 years and as I continue my ascendant career, I want to be true to myself…I want to try to be the best role model I can be for kids who might look into boxing as a sport and a professional career. I have and will always be a proud Puerto Rican. I have always been and always will be a proud gay man.”

Cruz told the AP he has even bigger dreams after Sunday’s fight.

“This fight’s going to open my door for a world title fight,” Cruz said. “That’s my dream, my mom’s dream, my community’s dream and my team’s.”

Cruz’s mother was by his side throughout the evening on Sunday.

Trayvon Martin’s Parents Launch Fund to Fight Stand Your Ground Laws

Trayvon Martin's Parents Launch Fund to Fight Stand Your Ground Laws

The parents of slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin have launched a new fund and political committee to challenge “Stand Your Ground” laws across the country.

Funds donated to the Change For Trayvon CCE will be distributed to candidates , elected officials and efforts which support the mission of the Change For Trayvon (i.e. revising Stand Your Ground laws across the nation to ensure there is judicial or prosecutorial oversight).

Russell Means Voiced the Most Powerful Scene of Disney’s ‘Pocahontas’

Russell Means Voiced the Most Powerful Scene of Disney's 'Pocahontas'

For many of those born in the 1980s and 1990s the first time they heard Russell C. Means’ voice was in Disney’s 1995 animated film “Pocahontas.” Russell, who was Oglala Sioux, was the voice of Powhatan, Pocahontas’ father.

But little did young viewers know that in 1969, Means was part of a group of American Indians that occupied Alcatraz Island to call attention to the nation’s history of injustices against its indigenous peoples. Later that year, Means was one of the leaders that organized the takeover of Mount Rushmore.

Means, the first national director of the American Indian Movement (AIM) rose to national attention in 1970 by directing a band of Indian protesters who seized the Mayflower II ship replica at Plymouth, Mass., on “Thanksgiving Day.”

There is obviously plenty to debate about how accurately the Disney film portrays American Indian history but take a look at one of the opening scenes above that establishes Pocahontas as a strong woman and Disney’s first Princess of color.

“My daughter speaks with the wisdom beyond her years. We have all come here with anger in our hearts, but she comes with courage and understanding,” Russell’s character says about Pocahontas.

“From this day forward, if there is to be more killing it will not start with me.”

Russell C. Means died on Monday at the age of 72. Read his obituary to learn more about his history, including criticism he received for taking on roles in Hollywood.

Russell Means, Oglala Sioux Activist and Actor, Dies at 72

Russell Means, Oglala Sioux Activist and Actor, Dies at 72

Russell C. Means, the Oglala Sioux who used sometimes controversial protests to call attention to the nation’s history of injustices against its indigenous peoples, died on Monday at his ranch in Porcupine, S.D., on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. He was 72.

In 1969, Means was part of a group of American Indians that occupied Alcatraz Island for a period of 19 months. Later that year, Russell Means was one of the leaders that organized the takeover of Mount Rushmore.

Means, the first national director of the American Indian Movement (AIM) rose to national attention in 1970 by directing a band of Indian protesters who seized the Mayflower II ship replica at Plymouth, Mass., on “Thanksgiving Day.”

In 1972, he participated in the takeover of the Bureau of Indian Affairs office in Washington, D.C. Later that year came one of the AIM’s most well-known actions, the occupation of the town of Wounded Knee, South Dakota on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

In the 1990s Means appeared in films such as “The Last of the Mohicans,” “Natural Born Killers” and was the voice of Powhatan in Disney’s “Pocahontas.” .

Initially diagnosed with esophageal cancer during the summer of 2011, Means opted to forgo Western medicine methods of chemotherapy and radiation to treat his cancer, Native Sun News reported earlier this month. Means fought his cancer using methods more attuned to his Lakota spirituality, including prayer.

Indian Country Today Media Network published a statement made by Means’ son Scott Means:

“My dad now walks among our ancestors. He began his journey to the spirit world at 4:44 a.m. with the morning star, at his home and ranch in Porcupine[, South Dakota]. There will be four opportunities for the people to honor his life; to be announced at a later date. Thank you for your prayers and continued support. We love you. As our dad and husband would say, ‘May the Great Mystery continue to guide and protect the paths of you and your loved ones.’”

According to the AP obitituary, Means credited his organization the American Indian Movement with bringing Native Americans a sense of pride.

Anonymous Funder Pulls ‘Voter Fraud’ Billboards Rather Than Reveal Itself

Anonymous Funder Pulls 'Voter Fraud' Billboards Rather Than Reveal Itself

The anonymous funder of more than 140 threatening billboards in black and Latino neighborhoods across Ohio and Wisconsin has chosen to take down the ads rather than identify itself, according to Reuters. The billboards played on the myth of “voter fraud,” invoking law and order images like a judge’s gavel over the words “Voter Fraud Is a Felony!” and listing jail time as punishment.

Civil rights groups charged the billboards were meant to frighten lawful and confused voters away from the polls. Color of Change launched a petition demanding Clear Channel remove the ads, as the company has done previously with campaigns it deemed too controversial.

According to Reuters, Clear Channel belatedly invoked its policy against anonymous political advertising. When offered the choice between identifying itself and removing the ads, the “private family foundation” behind them chose to take them down, Clear Channel said.

Romney Family Invests in ‘Faulty’ Voting Machines That Will be Used in Ohio

Mitt Romney, his wife, son and brother are major investors in an investment firm that holds a majority share and three out of five board members in the company that owns the “notoriously faulty” electronic voting machines that will count the ballots in swing state Ohio November 7.

In other words, Mitt along with brother G. Scott Romney and Ann and Tagg Romney,  have a straight-line financial interest in the company Hart Intercivic that will provide voting machines in the state that insiders predict will be this election’s key to the Electoral College final outcome.

No Republican candidate has ever won the White House without winning Ohio.

Free Press report has more details:

Through a closely held equity fund called Solamere, Mitt Romney and his wife, son and brother are major investors in an investment firm called H.I.G. Capital. H.I.G. in turn holds a majority share and three out of five board members in Hart Intercivic, a company that owns the notoriously faulty electronic voting machines that will count the ballots in swing state Ohio November 7. Hart machines will also be used elsewhere in the United States.

i-voted-stickers.pngOn their website, Hart Intercivic touts itself as a national provider of election voting systems, management products and services, “total solutions for state-, county- and city-level elections.” The company sells everything from the voting machines, voting booths and even the “I voted” stickers that voters get after they hand in their ballots. (Image to the right was taken from Hart’s catalog.)  

The Hart Intercivic machines were part of a test conducted in 2007 by the Ohio Secretary of State that found some of the voting systems had failed the test.

As reported in the New York Times, “At polling stations, teams working on the study were able to pick locks to access memory cards and use hand-held devices to plug false vote counts into machines. At boards of election, they were able to introduce malignant software into servers.”

Free Press goes on to offer some historical context of the faulty machines:

In 2004, in the dead of election night, an electronic swing of more than 300,000 votes switched Ohio from the John Kerry column to George W. Bush, giving him a second term. A virtual statistical impossibility, the 6-plus% shift occurred between 12:20 and 2am election night as votes were being tallied by a GOP-controlled information technology firm on servers in a basement in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In defiance of a federal injunction, 56 of Ohio’s 88 counties destroyed all election records, making a recount impossible. Ohio’s governor and secretary of state in 2004 were both Republicans, as are the governors and secretaries of state in nine key swing states this year.

To make matters even more interesting, Forbes is reporting today that two members of the Hart Intercivic board of directors have made direct contributions to the Romney campaign. Forbes reports:

To everyone’s amazement, we learn that two members of the Hart Intercivic board of directors, Neil Tuch and Jeff Bohl, have made direct contributions to the Romney campaign. This, despite the fact that they represent 40 percent of the full board of directors of a company whose independent, disinterested and studiously non-partisan status in any election taking place on their voting machines would seemingly be a ‘no brainer’.

To Mr. Bohl’s credit, after giving a total of $4,000 to “Romney For President”, it must have occurred to him that it might not look so good for a board member of a company whose voting machines are to be a part of the presidential election to be playing favorites—so he gave $250 to Barack Obama to sort of balance the scales.

This latest controversy just adds to the list of questionable tactics GOP groups have made in Ohio to ensure their party’s success come November.

Last week the Supreme Court refused a Republican request to get involved in a dispute about early voting in Ohio. The state’s Republican Secretary of State tried to end early voting before Election Day, which many black churches took advantage of in their “souls to the polls” campaigns that bussed voters to the polls after Sunday service.

President Obama currently holds a five-point lead over Romney in Ohio, according to a new Quinnipiac University/CBS News poll.

According to the 2010 United States Census, Ohio is made up of 81.1% “Non-Hispanic Whites,” 12.2% blacks and 3.1% Latinos.’s voting rights reporters Brentin Mock and Aura Bogoda have covered election news in Ohio more closely. Visit to see a list of the most recent coverage from Ohio.

Marco Rubio Breaks With Romney on China: ‘Not Good Policy’ and Will ‘Hurt’ Americans

Marco Rubio Breaks With Romney on China: 'Not Good Policy' and Will 'Hurt' Americans

One day before the final presidential debate, Senator Marco Rubio, R-Fla., an ardent Mitt Romney supporter, said he disagrees with the GOP presidential candidate’s promise to label China a currency manipulator on his first day in office.

On CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday, Rubio said he feared this could lead to a trade war.

Rubio’s comments from ‘Face the Nation’ on Sunday are below:

RUBIO: I agree with Mitt Romney that China is a currency manipulator. I believe that a trade war is not the best way to approach it and I think that you label them a currency manipulator that’s what it may result. It will hurt American businesses. But I understand his frustration. We may have to do what governor Romney is saying. We may have to label them a currency manipulator but the ideal way to deal with it because we both have a lot to lose here. China has a lot to lose here too in a trade war. It wouldn’t be good for either one of our economies. So hopefully we can avoid that. It may come to that. But I hope we can avoid that. A Center for American Progress Action Fund report published in March 2012 came to a similar conclusion [PDF]: Romney says he will label China a currency manipulator on Day 1 of his administration. But he does not say what he will do on Day 2. Declaring China a manipulator is a symbolically hostile gesture, coming as it would before he will have ever met or spoken to any Chinese leader. And yet what this designation requires is entering into talks with Beijing, made all the more difficult by the declaration itself. […]

Not only is the approach needlessly antagonistic, it is also ineffective. The last thing China’s leaders will do is invite criticism from their own nationalist base by bowing to a hostile, unilateral American demand — even though a more appropriately valued currency will benefit the Chinese economy over the long run.

In July 2012, Rubio also made national headlines when he criticized Romney for supporting arming Syrian rebels.

Rubio also had tough comments for President Obama on Sunday.

“The president has no plans for the next four years,” Rubio said on “Face the Nation” Sunday. “Tomorrow is his last chance to tell us what he’s going to do in the next four years.”

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