Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Abbott run amok

These two items regarding the Texas Attorney General once again encapsulate his power to shock and awe:

-- Capitol Annex has details on Abbott's ceding the state's authority to the Talibaptists who have taken over the state Board of Education. This is a sop to his fundamentalist base. Since the decision Texas makes about its school texts has national ramifications, it would behoove those of you reading who don't live in Deep-In-The-Hearta to guard against this kind of initiative where you live. Update: South Texas Chisme points out that the Chronic has an entirely different view. Update II: And Vince consequently raises the question: "Did the SBoE gain or lose ground?"

-- The Lone Star Project catches the OAG peeping on little old ladies in the bathroom. Really. The only way to do this justice is to excerpt:

Earlier this summer, the Lone Star Project reported that Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is using $1.5 million in federal grant funds to prosecute Texas citizens who help senior citizens apply for ballot applications and cast their vote by mail. Most of the Texans being prosecuted by Abbott are senior citizens, African American or Hispanic, and ALL are Democrats.

More recently, the San Antonio Express-News wrote about Abbott's controversial activity. Abbott has turned up the heat by sending investigating agents to the homes of elderly citizens to interrogate them in person. There is now evidence that Abbott’s agents have moved beyond aggressive questioning and are employing more intimidating tactics.

According to the sworn statement (pdf file) of Ms. Gloria Meeks, a 69 year-old Fort Worth community activist, two of Abbott’s voter fraud agents came on to her property and looked into her bathroom window while she was unclothed and leaving the shower. Incredibly, the agents justified their privacy violation by explaining, that they thought they were peeping in the “kitchen window.”

Greg Abbott can't do anything about our fraudulent voting machines, but he can have his agents looking in your bathroom window. Doesn't sound like something Jesus would do, does it?

Update: The Chronic has more (via Muse):

Yet, of the 13 individuals indicted on charges of voter fraud by Abbott, 10 are accused of simply possessing another's absentee ballot for delivery to election officials or to a mailbox, Democrats say. Such activities had been legal until the 2003 law turned them into crimes.

Both Democratic and Republican political activists have traditionally assisted elderly or home-bound voters who need help in voting, said attorney J. Gerald Hebert, executive director of the Washington-based Campaign Legal Center, who plans to file the lawsuit on behalf of Democrats.

"Now, merely possessing the mail-in ballot of another person is a misdemeanor. If you do it for several voters, it becomes a felony. It is my view that this is unconstitutional," said Hebert, who headed the U.S. Justice Department's voting section of the civil rights division until 1994.

And lasty, this:

Abbott's PowerPoint primer on voter fraud, "Investigating Election Code Violations," illustrates the discriminatory nature of his enforcement, Hebert argues, because it cues law enforcement to link voter fraud with black voters.

One slide alerts authorities to look for evidence of fraud on documents, especially specialty stamps. It depicts a sickle cell anemia stamp of a black woman holding a black baby, a stamp often used by blacks.

Another slide shows five black people in line for early voting, noting "all laws apply," while no white or Caucasian people are shown voting in the 71-slide presentation.

Abbot spokesman Tom Kelley said the stamp depicted was among evidence gathered in one investigation, but there was "absolutely no reason whatsoever" that the presentation only portrays blacks voting.

Bullshit, Tom. Who's ready for a real Attorney General?

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