Why there are no good excuses to not vote in America

People are literally dying to exercise a right we take for granted:

An Afghan provincial government official says two people died and 22 were injured when insurgents fired several rockets and mortars at a variety of targets in the Baghlani Markazi district in an attempt to terrorize voters casting their ballots in parliamentary elections. Zabihullah Shuja, of Baghlan province, said the attack Saturday did not deter voters who continued to make their way to polling stations to cast their ballot.

In a separate attack, also in Baghlan, a bomb detonated in the capital of Pul-e-Kumri injuring one person, said Shuja. He added that Taliban insurgents also engaged in a firefight with security personnel at check posts on the main roadways.

It's been eight years since the last Parliamentary election in Afghanistan, and these voters have no way of knowing when (or if) the next election will be held. Not even polling places in Kabul are safe, but these folks are still turning out to determine who their leaders will be. In some of the provinces, that means walking for a half-day or more across brutal terrain, totally exposed to sniper fire or worse. But still they come. I'm sure if asked, NC's gun fetishists would say they need to travel "in force," 2-3 trucks of well-armed heroes to protect them. But then they would be drone bait, wouldn't they? You probably get the message, but we're not done yet:

Saturday News: Carrion birds of a feather

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TRUMP TO HEADLINE CHARLOTTE RALLY FOR MARK HARRIS: President Donald Trump will campaign in Charlotte next week for Republican 9th Congressional District candidate Mark Harris, a senior state GOP official said Friday. Trump will be in the Queen City next Friday for a 7 p.m. rally at Bojangles' Coliseum. Harris, who knocked off Congressman Robert Pittenger in the Republican primary in May, faces Democrat Dan McCready and Libertarian Jeff Scott in the upcoming election. Democrats view the seat as a potential flip for them as they seek to erode some of the GOP dominance in the U.S. House. A recent poll commissioned by the conservative Civitas Institute showed McCready with a 4-point lead, but the results were within the margin of error, meaning it remains a toss-up.
https://www.wral.com/trump-to-campaign-in-charlotte-for-nc-congressional-candidate/17927263/

News deserts are expanding while democracy hangs in the balance

Making informed decisions begins with accurate information:

More than one in five papers has closed over the past decade and a half, leaving thousands of our communities at risk of becoming news deserts. Half of the 3,143 counties in the country now have only one newspaper, usually a small weekly, attempting to cover its various communities. Almost 200 counties in the country have no newspaper at all. The people with the least access to local news are often the most vulnerable – the poorest, least educated and most isolated.

Before we talk about Corporate media issues, we need to look at the term "incorporated." When communities grow to the point they decide to be self-regulated, to provide services not readily available from county governments, they incorporate into a distinct municipal entity. That requires they begin exercising authority over citizens within those boundaries, and now we come to the part where democracy is in jeopardy. Because authority without responsibility and accountability is tyranny, by any other name. The Fourth Estate is a critical element in a democracy, because it provides a neutral assessment (it's supposed to, anyway) of the performance of elected representatives. And like many issues that plague our society, the poor and under-educated are the most at-risk of losing that critical information:

Friday News: Unfair and partial

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NC REPUBLICAN ELECTION OFFICIAL RESIGNS AFTER LOONY FACEBOOK RANT: Cornelia Cree, a Republican member of the Haywood County Board of Elections, submitted her resignation late Tuesday at the urging of GOP party leaders. A vote to remove her from office was on the Wednesday agenda for the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement, but the item was removed shortly before the meeting. In Cree's Facebook post, dated Sept. 18 but deleted Wednesday, she asserted that Democrats are seeking "the legalization of pedophilia" to protect the Catholic Church and that "Democrats push open borders because the largest group of illegals are Catholic which statistically vote Democrat." In addition to being offensive to several groups of people, the post is also illegal under state law, which governs elections officials' public conduct.
https://www.wral.com/western-nc-elections-official-out-after-salacious-facebook-post/17924843/

Democratic candidates are winning the social media campaign

Hopefully that will play out in the ballot box as well:

A New York Times analysis of data from the Facebook and Instagram accounts of hundreds of candidates in next month’s midterm elections reveals that Democrats — and especially Democrats running for House seats — enjoy a sizable national lead in engagement on the two influential platforms.

Measuring total interactions on social media is an imperfect way to gauge a candidate’s electoral chances, in part because it does not distinguish between types of engagement. A negative comment left on a Republican candidate’s page by an angry Democrat would still count as an interaction, for example. In addition, it does not account for the fact that some candidates have more followers than others. But social media engagement can be a crude measure of popularity, and a bellwether of shifts in public opinion that often turn up in polls days or weeks later.

I've been keeping an eye on this for several months now and, strangely enough, some of our state-level candidates have been drawing more "likes" than those running for Congress. It's not odd to see over a hundred accumulate within a few hours of a posting. While this appears to be fantastic news for US House races, the Senate situation doesn't appear to be so promising:

Thursday News: The stink of desperation

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HOPING XENOPHOBIA WILL GIVE HIM A BOOST, HOLDING ATTACKS COLEMAN OVER "SANCTUARY CITIES": State leaders outlawed sanctuary cities in North Carolina in 2015, but that hasn’t kept the issue off the airwaves in North Carolina’s 2nd Congressional District. Incumbent Republican George Holding is trying to fend off a challenge from Democrat Linda Coleman in the district, which spans several counties around Raleigh. Holding recently released video and radio ads claiming Coleman supports sanctuary cities, with an example of how he maintains they hurt the community. Holding’s ad tells the story of Udiel Aguilar-Castellanos, though it does not mention his name. The video ad says “an illegal immigrant sexually assaulted a child in Carrboro. ICE wanted to deport him, but Orange County released him — like a sanctuary city. Linda Coleman supports sanctuary cities. George Holding opposes sanctuary cities that protect criminals.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article220150245.html

The NC GOP's continual war on early voting

Fewer voting locations = more difficulty casting a vote:

North Carolina voters are once again dealing with changes to how the state runs its elections. At a time when early voting is becoming increasingly popular nationwide, a new law passed by the Republican-controlled legislature will result in nearly 20 percent fewer places to cast votes before Election Day.

Democrats say the changes could disproportionately affect African-American voters but some local Republican officials also complain about the changes, arguing they impose too much top-down control on election administration and amount to an unfunded mandate from the state.

Make no mistake, their intent with this law was to place more burdens on county-level elections officials, forcing them to make hard choices. And true to form, the architects of this crisis had their talking points lined up so they could avoid taking responsibility for their deceitful tactics:

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