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nclement weather. The clear targeting of African American voters in Georgia and elsewhere recalls some of the ugliest racial episodes of Americas past, and is fueling claims of open R

Author : chuii123
Publish Date : 2021-03-26 09:15:44
nclement weather. The clear targeting of African American voters in Georgia and elsewhere recalls some of the ugliest racial episodes of Americas past, and is fueling claims of open R

Former President Donald Trump's campaign of lies about a stolen election just delivered a huge victory with a new Georgia law that could suppress the votes of many of the citizens who helped eject him from the White House.

Republican state lawmakers rushed through a broad law Thursday making it harder to vote that disproportionately targets Democratic and Black voters in a battleground vital to the 2020 election and future presidential and congressional contests.
The move confirms the Peach State as the epicenter of the fight for American democracy that raged through Trump's presidency and during the insurrection he incited against the US Capitol -- and now threatens to taint future elections as Republicans in multiple states pursue new laws to limit voting.
"What I'm worried about is how un-American this whole initiative is. It's sick. It's sick," President Joe Biden said at the first news conference of his presidency that afternoon.
The Georgia law raises the question of whether election safeguards that prevented Trump's energetic efforts to rig the 2020 White House race after the fact in the state will stand firm in future elections amid false claims of electoral fraud by a president.
MORE ON VOTING RIGHTS
Analysis: Why Republican voter restrictions are a race against time
Major conservative groups unify behind state GOP efforts to restrict voting
'Cologne on Jim Crow': Georgia GOP drives toward new restrictions
At least 45 states have seen bills aimed at voter suppression. Here's why
It was drawn up after Democrats captured Georgia in the presidential election for the first time since 1992 amid massive turnout nationally as voting methods, including mail-in ballots, were expanded to make it easier for Americans to fulfill their fundamental democratic rights in a pandemic. Georgia Republicans also lost two US Senate seats that handed Democrats control of the 50-50 chamber on the basis of huge Black turnout in runoff elections in January.
After leaving office, Trump demanded that Republican state legislatures pass laws to ban mail-in voting and to prevent courts from weighing in on electoral disputes. Using his massive popularity in the GOP, the former President has made the acceptance of his false conspiracy theories about voter fraud in 2020 a litmus test for Republican candidates seeking his support in upcoming primary elections.
The Georgia bill is only one example of GOP efforts in multiple states -- including many crucial electoral battlegrounds -- to hold back a diverse demographic tide in cities that favor Democrats, which critics see as an attempt to cement minority rule in the United States.
Iowa has already passed a measure to limit absentee balloting and voting hours. Texas is taking steps to cut voting hours and absentee balloting in big Democratic cities like Houston. New voting laws are being pushed by Republicans in another swing state Trump lost, Arizona.
Georgia law ignites new debate over sweeping federal voting rights bill
GOP leaders justify the voter suppression measures by arguing that they are needed to crack down on fraud and to restore the public's faith that US elections are fair. But multiple courts and Trump's own Justice Department found there was no widespread electoral fraud in 2020. And voter mistrust was largely fueled by Trump's blatantly false claims that he had been cheated out of office in a corrupt election, which were incessantly broadcast by conservative media outlets.
Georgia's action threw a political grenade into the debate over a Washington campaign by many Democrats to abolish Senate supermajority rules that Republicans could use to block their sweeping election bill, known as the For the People Act. The measure would establish national standards and reverse restrictions like those that are now the law of Georgia. Republicans brand the Democratic bill as an unconstitutional power grab.
The drama in the Georgia Legislature unfolded as Biden condemned restrictive state legislation as a remnant of the Jim Crow era that institutionalized racism and hinted that he could ultimately back abolishing the Senate filibuster to get the Democrats' House-passed bill through the chamber.
But Biden declined to reveal his strategy for getting the voting rights bill into law.
The new law in Georgia requires more stringent voter verification requirements for absentee ballots, allows state officials to take over election boards and limits ballot drop boxes that make it easier for people to vote. The law allows any Georgian to make unlimited challenges to voter registrations, and, incredibly, makes it a misdemeanor crime for anyone to offer food and water to voters stuck in long lines to cast ballots.
Black voters hampered by the restrictions of voting in urban areas have often found themselves lining up for hours to vote in inclement weather. The clear targeting of African American voters in Georgia and elsewhere recalls some of the ugliest racial episodes of America's past, and is fueling claims of open Republican racism.
Governor criticized by Trump signs new law
The Georgia law was quickly signed by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, who incurred the wrath of Trump last year for refusing to play along with his attempt to override Biden's victory by 12,000 votes in the state, which was confirmed by several audits.
Kemp claimed that the law "makes it easier to vote and harder to cheat."
In a statement to CNN, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican who defied Trump's pleas in a telephone call to find votes to overturn Biden's victory, said he would still stand up for voter freedoms but did not criticize the law.
"In implementing this law, I will ensure that no eligible Georgia voter is hindered in exercising their right to vote, and I will continue to further secure our elections so that every Georgian can have confidence in the results of our elections," Raffensperger said. Earlier this week, Trump announced that he was backing Rep. Jody Hice in his effort to beat Raffensperger in a primary contest.
Kemp's swift signature on the law was another sign of the fierce pressure that Republican politicians who hope to have a political future face from Trump and his acolytes in their states. Kemp is up for reelection in 2022 and could face Democrat Stacey Abrams, a former state lawmaker and prominent voting rights advocate who played a crucial role in Biden's victory in Georgia.
"As the FBI continue to round up seditionists who spilled blood to defend a lie about our elections, Republican state leaders willfully undermine democracy by giving themselves authority to overturn results they do not like," Abrams said in a statement. "Now, more than ever, Americans must demand federal action to protect voting rights as we continue to fight against these blatantly unconstitutional efforts that are nothing less than Jim Crow 2.0."
The Georgia law, which critics fear could allow state officials to deny counties the right to certify their own election results, and other measures suppressing the vote are likely to face rigorous challenges in court. Indeed, by Thursday evening, a suit challenging the Georgia law had already been filed by three voting rights groups.
Damon Hewitt, acting president and executive director of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a nonpartisan organization, said the measure directly targeted voters of color who took part in record numbers in the 2020 election.
"This should be marked as Exhibit A in making the case that discriminatory voter suppression is alive and well, and makes clear why we need federal voting rights legislation to stop these laws in their tracks," Hewitt said. "We stand ready to take action and protect the fundamental right to vote through the courts."
The For the People Act awaiting action in the Senate would create automatic voter registration nationwide and restore portions of the Voting Rights Act that were gutted by the Supreme Court. It would also strengthen mail-in voting and permit early voting across the country, while taking steps to cut wait times at the polls.

he work, which saw Sophia "interpret" a depiction of her own face, was offered as a non-fungible token, or NFT, an encrypted digital signature that has revolutionized the art market in recent months.
Titled "Sophia Instantiation," the image was created in collaboration with Andrea Bonaceto, an artist and partner at blockchain investment firm Eterna Capital. Bonaceto began the process by producing a brightly colored portrait of Sophia, which was processed by the robot's neural networks. Sophia then painted an interpretation of the image.
How NFTs are fueling a digital art boom
Sophia, who was developed by the Hong Kong-based firm Hanson Robotics, has garnered worldwide fame for her conversational ability, realistic movements and complex facial expressions. Since her activation in 2016, she has appeared on talk shows and spoken at conferences, and was even granted Saudi Arabian citizenship, making her the first robot to have a nationality.
The act of painting was "based completely on decisions she made without any human assistance," according to Nifty Gateway, the NFT marketplace that facilitated the sale.
Meet Sophia: The robot who smiles and frowns just like us
Underpinned by blockchain technology, NFTs have taken the art world by storm by offering a way to verify and authenticate the ownership of images and videos. The tokens are responsible for the explosion in the value of digital art, which, unlike physical paintings or sculptures, can be easily replicated and redistributed.
Earlier this month, a work by the digital artist Beeple became the first NFT to be sold at a major auction house. A collage of his digital drawings, titled "Everydays: The First 5000 Days," sold for over $69 million to become the third most expensive work by a living artist ever to go under the hammer.
Buyer behind $69m record-breaking art sale revealed
Nifty Gateway has already offered a number of high-profile "drops," including a selection of artworks by the musician Grimes that generated $6.3 million in under 20 minutes. The platform said its collaboration with Sophia marked the "first of many" NFT collections by the humanoid robot, who will present her first solo art show at the IV Gallery in Los Angeles later this year.
Million-dollar 'drop'
While "Sophia Instantiation" was offered as an NFT -- which verifies ownership of a 12-second video clip showing Bonaceto's portrait morphing into Sophia's interpretation -- the robot's original physical painting was also included in the single auction lot.
But the image was just part of a wider selection of Sophia's artworks put up for sale. Among the other digital images made available were portraits of figures involved in her development, including Hanson Robotics founder David Hanson and the AI researcher Ben Goertzel.
Moon Ribas: The cyborg dancer who can detect earthquakes
Though the self-portrait was sold as a single edition, other creations were sold in editions of 30, for $2,500 or $3,000 each. In total, the sale generated over $1 million, confirmed a Nifty Gateway spokesperson.
Following the self-portrait's sale, the buyer, a digital artist going by the name 888, tweeted "I have goosebumps."
"Me too, we really had a connection," replied Sophia's official Twitter account. "Your work was very inspiring on so many levels, so I want to hold on to its meaning a little longer. Will share soon."
Speaking to CNN in 2018, Hanson described Sophia as "a tool for science in studying human to human interaction."
"It was very important that she represent this intersection of humanity and technology, with the intuitive idea that technology can enhance humanity, help us actualize to higher states of being," he said. "At the same time, (techno



Category : world

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