Turnout is the key to victory in next Tuesday’s special election

 

Ballot Box

Ballot Box Vote December 12

News Analysis By: John Zippert, Co-Publisher and Editor

Most Alabama political pundits agree that voter turnout will be the key to victory in next Tuesday’s special election between Doug Jones and Roy Moore for the U. S. Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions when he became U. S. Attorney General.
Because Alabama is a deep red state, in the Heart of Dixie, very few political observes gave Doug Jones, a progressive Democratic candidate much of a chance. The polls have been all over the place but most show a tied race or a close race within the margin of error.
Most of the commentary dwells on the lopsided white Republican vote in Alabama but does not take into account Moore’s extremist religious stands which contest the ‘rule of law’ and had him removed twice from the state’s Supreme Court for unethical and unconstitutional behavior.
All of this was before the recent revelations that Moore sexually abused young women in the Gadsden area, some as young as 14, when he was a 30 year old assistant district attorney. Moore, following the example of Donald Trump, has denied all of the accusations by the women despite their believability and corroborating evidence.
The pundits also overlook and discount the efforts of Black organizations to mobilize the Black vote for Doug Jones in the rural Black Belt counties and inner city urban areas of Birmingham, Huntsville, Tuscaloosa, Montgomery and Mobile.
Since Labor Day, Black voter organizations in Alabama have been mobilizing under the banner of the ‘Vote or Die Campaign’ to awaken, register and organize Black voters to turnout in support of Doug Jones on December 12th. Alabama New South Alliance, the SOS Coalition for Democracy and Justice, NAACP chapters, Alabama Democratic Conference and others have been working at the grassroots to enlighten and empower Black voters to take part in the special election.
In the first primary on August 15, Doug Jones won the Democratic primary by 109,000 out of 165,000 total votes. In the second primary between Luther Strange and Roy Moore, Moore received 262,204 votes to 218,000 for Strange.

The turnout in both of these races was below 20%.
Next Tuesday’s election will be held in the midst of the Christmas holiday shopping season. Many people in Alabama just don’t realize there is an election going on and this will contribute to a low turnout.
Statewide in Alabama there are 3.2 million registered voters with 2.1 million active white voters and 760,000 Black voters. There are 1.5 million Republican voters, 1 million Democrats and the rest Independents.
If Roy Moore receives a third of the Republican vote – 500,000, that roughly corresponds to the Evangelic Christian vote which is dedicated to voting for him, then Doug Jones must put together a turnout of over half of the Black vote say 400,000 and enough white Democratic and Republican votes to win over Moore. Putting this type of coalition together is within his grasp but it depends on a strong Black voter turnout together with white voters who feel and know that Moore is and will be a continuing embarrassment to the state.
President Donald Trump, Steve Bannon and other far right conservatives have jumped into this election on Moore’s side but they are late arrivals. Jones has outraised by Moore by $10 million to $2 million in election funds. Jones has been dominating the TV airwaves until recently.
Trump seeks to nationalize the election by portraying Doug Jones as a ‘liberal Democrat’ who win not vote for Trump’s tax cuts, immigration wall, military budget and other issues. Trump’s leaning in late may help solidify the opposition to Moore and support for Doug Jones as the more progressive reasonable candidate, who shares Alabama’s progressive views on these ‘kitchen table issues’.
When you get and read this paper, there will only be a few day left before the Special Election on Tuesday, December 12th, go and vote and show that turnout is the key and will be the difference in this election.

Newswire: Demonstrations held to spotlight and stop African Slave Trade in Libya

By Frederick H. Lowe
endslaveryprotestsign

Protests in Europe against slavery in Libya

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – Demonstrations recently have been held in major European cities to protest African men, women and children being sold into slavery in Libya, a practice that began after the United States and other countries overthrew Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, leaving the country ungovernable.
Nearly 4,000 individuals protested in Stockholm. Large demonstrations also have been held in London, Brussels and in Paris by men and women who are reacting to news reports of refugees and migrants passing through Libya being sold at auction into slavery.
Television camera crews photographed black men sold into slavery for $400 and black women being sold as sex slaves. The migrants are traveling through Libya to reach Europe to find work and a better life.
London’s demonstration was organized by Slavery Remembrance. Supporters said if they refuse to acknowledge what is happening in Libya, they are destined make the same mistakes when it comes to racism and slavery. The United Kingdom was the world’s largest slave trader during the transatlantic slave trade. Some migrants, mostly Nigerians, Ghanaians and Gambians, are forced to work for the slave traders.
Slavery Remembrance members picketed the Libyan Embassy in London on November 26. The organization also posted #End Slavery in Libya.
The demonstrators carried signs that read “We are not slaves” and “I can’t believe I’m protesting for this shit in 2017.”
Celebrities from Nigeria and the United States have demanded that Libya stop its slave trade. Chris Brown, Common and T.I. have denounced Libya’s slave trade.
“Heartbreaking, barbaric and unacceptable. We must fight to end this! Speak up, spread awareness. The inhumanity must end,” said television host Steve Harvey.
Slave trading began in 2011 after the United States, France and England overthrew Gaddafi.
Since the overthrow of Gaddafi, Libya has been ungovernable; the country’s climate has been characterized by sporadic violent clashes by various factions. Soon after Gaddafi was murdered, militias began executing Africans living in Libya.
Hillary Clinton, President Barack Obama’s Secretary of State, reportedly knew that the executions were taking place but she did not do anything about the killings.
“Probably failing to plan for the day after what I think was the right thing to do intervention in Libya,” Obama told Fox News. After Gaddafi was killed, Libya fell into chaos with militias taking over and rival parliaments and governments forming.
Obama said Libya has been a mess since the fall of Gaddafi.
Singer LL Cool J said the West used its military to remove Gaddafi and that the West has a moral obligation to get Libya back on a healthy footing.
Libya is not getting all the blame for the current situation. African leaders are being urged to fix their countries to stem the flow of illegal immigration.

Newswire : New Zimbabwe President pays tribute to ousted leader

President Mugabe greets Vice President Mnangagwa as he arrives for Zimbabwe's Heroes Day commemorations in Harare
President E. D. Mnangagwe of Zimbabwe

Nov. 27, 2017 (GIN) –Unlike the violent upsets in Gambia, Ethiopia and Burkina Faso, the military-led “soft coup” that heralded the exit of President Robert Mugabe was remarkably quiet, dignified and respectful.

“He is actually looking forward to his new life — farming and staying at the rural home. He has taken it well,” the son of Mugabe’s late sister, Sabina, said.

The positive momentum was seen and felt at a packed National Sports Stadium on Nov. 24, where thousands of jubilant Zimbabweans came to hear newly-elected President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwe deliver his acceptance speech. Draped in the national coat of arms, he began with high praise for the leader he had just replaced.

“Let me pay special tribute to the only surviving father of our Nation, Comrade Robert Gabriel Mugabe,” he said. “He led us in our struggle for National Independence and assumed responsibilities of leadership at the formative and very challenging time in the birth of our Nation.

“To me personally, he remains a father, mentor, comrade-in-arms and my leader. We thus say thank you to him and trust that our history will grant him his proper place and accord him his deserved stature as one of the founders and leaders of our nation.”

The honors continued on Monday with the announcement that Feb. 21 would become Robert Gabriel Mugabe National Youth Day, a public holiday. Also, Mugabe will receive a $10 million lump sum payment, full immunity, and his current $100,000 a year salary for life. Grace Mugabe will receive half that amount, also for life.

The first couple will be able to remain in their sprawling mansion known as the Blue Roof, in Harare. The state will pay for their medical care, domestic staff, security and foreign travel.

Mr. Mnangagwe’s close ties to the long-enduring ZANU-PF party, however, have raised doubts that he will carry out his promise to hold elections in one year. Mnangagwa has already spurned calls for a coalition government with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
“It is time to open a new page,” insisted trade union secretary-general Japhet Moyo, and condemned what he fears will be the retention of “career ministers” by Mnangagwa, some of whom he labeled “thieves and thugs”.

Lawyer Alex T. Magaisa added: “While Zimbabweans understandably embraced military intervention because it led to the ouster of Mugabe and prevented his wife Grace from succeeding him, they must also embrace the fact that it comes with further, less palatable consequences. The episode demonstrates once again that the military has become the kingmaker in Zimbabwean politics.”

Newswire : Della Reese, music icon and ‘Touched By An Angel’ star, dead at 86

By Taryn Finley, Huffington Post
Della Reese

                                                        Della Reese

Della Reese, a music legend known for her beloved character on “Touched by an Angel,” has died at the age of 86.
Reese’s costar Roma Downey sent People Magazine a statement confirming that Reese had died in her California home on Sunday.
“On behalf of her husband, Franklin Lett, and all her friends and family, I share with you the news that our beloved Della Reese has passed away peacefully at her California home last evening surrounded by love. She was an incredible wife, mother, grandmother, friend, and pastor, as well as an award-winning actress and singer. Through her life and work she touched and inspired the lives of millions of people,” Downey said in the statement.
“She was a mother to me and I had the privilege of working with her side by side for so many years on “Touched By an Angel,” she continued. “I know heaven has a brand new angel this day. Della Reese will be forever in our hearts. Rest In Peace, sweet angel. We love you.”
Born Delloreese Patricia Early, the star is survived by her husband and four children.
The vocalist, born in Detroit, began performing at just 13 with Mahalia Jackson’s gospel group. Reese later formed her own group, the Meditation Singers, but eventually branched out into a solo jazz career. Reese is best known for her 1957 top 20 hit “And That Reminds Me,” as well as “Not One Minute More,” “And Now” and “Don’t You Know?”
She began her onscreen career in the 1960s when she had guest spots on “The Love Boat,” “Sanford and Son” and “The Young and the Restless.” In 1968, she became the first black woman to co-host “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.” She also hosted a short-lived variety series, “Della.” Her most well-known role, however, was as the heaven-sent angel Tess on “Touched By an Angel.” The show ran from 1994 to 2003.
Reese experienced a series of health issues throughout her career. In 1979, she had a brain aneurysm during a taping of “The Tonight Show” and went on to have two brain surgeries. In 2002, she collapsed on the set of “Touched by an Angel” and later announced that she had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

Newswire : Zimbabwe leader, facing deadline, refuses ouster by his generals

Robert Mugabe
Robert Mugabe, embattled President of Zimbabwe

Nov. 20, 2017 (GIN) – President Robert Mugabe, rejecting demands from former friendly generals and war veterans to step down, now faces impeachment from members of his party.

In a televised address late Sunday, the 93-year-old president crushed expectations he would resign after a military takeover, pitching the country into a second week of political crisis.

Lawmakers from his ruling ZANU-PF party said that they would take the first steps on Tuesday necessary to push Mugabe from office as the veteran leader had ignored their ultimatum to announce his departure by Monday morning.

“We have got a clear position, we are going to impeach — the man has to go,” government MP MacKenzie Ncube told the French news wire AFP after a key meeting of ruling party lawmakers. Once a simple majority of parliamentarians votes for impeachment, an investigative committee is formed by lawmakers, who report back to both houses of parliament. Each house must then vote by a two-thirds majority for him to be stripped of office.

In a 20 minute speech on Sunday, Mugabe, surrounded by military men, downplayed what was called a “soft coup.” He said the operation by his generals did not represent a threat to the country’s constitutional order nor was it a challenge to his authority as head of state.

Referencing the mounting discontent from inside his party and from the security forces, he admitted: “I as the President of Zimbabwe and their commander in chief do acknowledge the issues they have drawn my attention to… These were raised in the spirit of honesty and out of deep and patriotic concern.”

He suggested that a conversation within the party could return the country to normalcy “so all our people could go about their business unhindered, in perfect peace and security, assured that law and order obtain and prevail as before.”

But in the streets, the anticipation of long-awaited change exploded in joyous street rallies and marches – clearly the population had turned a corner on the Mugabe era. The country was not likely to “return to normalcy,” as the President claimed.

Mrs. Mugabe, whose rise to power and possibly the presidency alarmed war veterans and generals, stayed out of the limelight.

The unexpected developments that began last Tuesday produced voluminous articles and interviews by Zimbabweans and western observers. Many expressed concerned that the stage-management by military officers was not the return to democracy that many had hoped.

“Some citizens, rightfully desperate for change, say this is the best step toward some kind of reform, but it’s not,” wrote Glen Mpani, a Zimbabwean political analyst writing for the New York Times. “There is evidence this intervention is driven by the self-interest of military generals rather than national interest, which makes prospects for economic and democratic reforms bleak.”

“Handing power to the military will leave Zimbabweans at the mercy of a very unpredictable group that has rarely worked on behalf of the people,” he continued. “And military leadership will most certainly leave the people with an unpredictable future.

“Coups are a regressive path to achieving democratic ends,” he concluded. “Once the army has settled in, its interests — not ours — will be the priority. Any prospects for reforming the country lie in returning power to citizens — and for the army to respect civilian authority.”

Newswire : NAACP set to change tax status to engage politically

By Lauren Victoria Burke (NNPA Newswire Contributor)

Derrick Johnson
 Derrick Johnson, NAACP President

After being eclipsed in recent years by Color of Change, Black Lives Matter and other younger, more tech savvy and politically-pointed groups, the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization will change its tax status.
The group’s leaders said that the new tax status would allow them to be more aggressive politically. During a call with reporters, NAACP officials announced that the civil rights group will transition from a 501(c)(3) to 501(c)(4) designation. The change will allow the organization to be more partisan and politically focused. However, the tax designation does not allow political work to be the “primary activity” of the organization.
Even though the NAACP is 108 years old, the organization is struggling to modernize and stay relevant in a rapidly-evolving, social media-driven landscape that requires speed and strategic communications skill. In October, the NAACP named Derrick Johnson as its president; Johnson was elected by the NAACP’s board to serve for three years.
In a statement announcing Johnson as the new president, Leon Russell, the board chairman of the NAACP said, “As both a longtime member of the NAACP, and a veteran activist in his own right—having worked on the ground to advocate for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, along with championing countless other issues—Derrick also intimately understands the strengths of the Association, our challenges and the many obstacles facing Black Americans of all generations, today. I look forward to continuing to work with him in this new role.”
Russell continued: “In his time serving as our interim president and CEO, Derrick has proven himself as the strong, decisive leader we need to guide us through both our internal transition, as well as a crucial moment in our nation’s history. With new threats to communities of color emerging daily and attacks on our democracy, the NAACP must be more steadfast than ever before.”
New NAACP President Derrick Johnson is a native of Detroit, Michigan who lives in Jackson, Mississippi. He is a long-time member of the NAACP, who was elected Vice Chair earlier this year and served as the interim president after Cornell Brooks was forced out. Johnson attended Tougaloo College before earning a juris doctor degree from South Texas College of Law in Houston.

Vote Or Die Campaign moving across state : ANSC Convention discusses youth involvement in voting and creating excitement in the build-up to Dec. 12 election

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Youth involvement panel at ANSC Convention includes William Scott, Moderator and panelists (l to R) Jasmine Walker, Jamia Jackson, Terri Wiggins and Azali Fortier

The Alabama New South Coalition met for its Fall Convention at the Montgomery Windcreek Casino on Saturday, November 2, 2017. The convention was well attended with over 200 delegates from twenty active chapters around the state.
The ANSC Convention was dedicated to creating interest and excitement in the December 12, Special Election for the U. S. Senate seat, vacated by Jeff Sessions. Democrat Doug Jones is running against Republican Roy Moore in a contest with state and national implications that is five weeks away.

The ANSC Convention featured a panel on youth involvement in politics and voting, a play about counteracting voter apathy, a report from county chapters on activities in the ‘Vote Or Die Campaign’ and luncheon speeches from two 2018 gubernatorial hopefuls – Sue Bell Cobb and Walt Maddox- and introduction of other candidates for next year.
The youth panel spoke about ways to motivate voters 18 to 40 to more actively participate in elections by utilizing social media like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to reach out to millennials on issues of concern to them. William Scott, panel moderator said he was working as the webmaster for the Vote Or Die Campaign Facebook account and for members and chapters to mail in reports and photos of activities that they want posted to this Facebook account.
Several ANSC chapters gave short reports on their work in the ‘Vote Or Die Campaign’ across the state.
• Sam Walker from Dallas County reported that they meet once a week on Thursdays and hold rallies holding ‘Vote Or Die’ signs as human billboards at the bridge in Selma and other sites around the city. We ask motorists to honk their horns in support of the campaign.
• Billy Billingsley of Gadsden is using voter lists from several organizations to do phone banking and door to door canvassing.
• Rebecca Marion of Tallapoosa County said her group was busy putting out Vote Or Die signs and canvassing for absentee voters.
• John Harris of Lee County said his chapter was meeting with ministers to help get out the vote. The chapter is also going into the jail, visiting barbershops, and going door-to-door for registration and absentee ballots.
• Esther Brown said her Project Hope death row prisoners were contacting family and friends to urge them to register and vote in this upcoming Special Election.
• Herman Mixon and Beulah Toney of Madison County reported on efforts to register people at community centers and A & M University. They are using social media to reach and motivate high school and college youth.
• Matilda Hamilton of Tallapoosa County had registered 153 new voters through the school system and was participating in rallies together with Lee County.
• Gus Townes reported that Montgomery County was working on voter registration; also focusing on ex-felons and working with churches to reach and register 1,000 new voters before the November 27, 2017 closing date before the Special Election.
• Rev. Hugh Morris from Talladega County said ANSC, ADC, NAACP, fraternities and sororities were working together to canvas, register and turn out voters. Michael Scales, ANSC Talladega County Chapter President said they were working with Talladega College, pastors and others on the campaign.
• Everett Wess of Jefferson County said the ANSC Chapter was partnering with other groups, had participated in the tailgating leading up to the Magic City Classic football game and other community gatherings to register voters and spread the ‘Vote Or Die Campaign’.
• Carol P. Zippert reported for Greene County that 50 high school students were registered and assisted with proper photo ID’s. A large community meeting was held to explore community issues like the future of the hospital and healthcare, recreational programs for youth and voting. U. S. Senate Candidate Doug Jones listened to the discussion and made remarks at the end. Greene County is now concentrating on absentee ballots and walk-in early voters for the next four weeks.
• A Macon County representative spoke on involving Tuskegee University Students in doing voter registration and canvassing leading up to the special election.
• Senator Hank Sanders reported that he has cut radio and TV ads promoting the importance of voting that are available to be sent to stations around the state. He said he participated in human billboards in Selma to promote the “Vote Or Die Campaign’.
Faya Rose Toure and a group from Selma and other counties did a role-play skit about voter apathy and reasons people give for not voting and how to counteract those concerns. The play was well received by ANSC members.
At the closing luncheon, ANSC members heard from two Democratic candidates who are planning to run in the June 2018 primary. Sue Bell Cobb, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court said she proposes an Alabama lottery to generate funds for childcare, K-12 public education and closing the gap between Pell Grants and the cost of college tuition.
Walt Maddox, Mayor of Tuscaloosa said he was running for Governor, “to build a brighter future for Alabama and make Alabama a better state for everyone.” He highlighted his record of rebuilding Tuscaloosa after the April 2011 tornadoes and making it the ninth fastest growing city in America.
Rev. Will Boyd of Florence announced that he was planning to run for Lieutenant Governor in 2018. Audri Scott Williams indicated that she was running for U. S. House of Representatives for District 2 against incumbent Martha Roby. Everett Wess stated he was running for Jefferson County Probate Judge – Place 1.