Fraud is a broad term that refers to a variety of offenses involving dishonesty or “fraudulent acts”. In essence, fraud is the intentional deception of a person or entity by another made for monetary or personal gain. Fraud offenses always include some sort of false statement, misrepresentation, or deceitful conduct.
In law, fraud is deliberate deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain, or to deprive a victim of a legal right. Fraud itself can be a civil wrong (i.e., a fraud victim may sue the fraud perpetrator to avoid the fraud and/or recover monetary compensation), a criminal wrong (i.e., a fraud perpetrator may be prosecuted and imprisoned by governmental authorities) or it may cause no loss of money, property or legal right but still be an element of another civil or criminal wrong. The purpose of fraud may be monetary gain or other benefits, such as obtaining a driver’s license or qualifying for a mortgage by way of false statements.
(BALTIMORE – May 21, 2016) – Over the past year, I have attempted to enlighten readers to the power of political machines. They control the flow of money. They control jobs. They control lives. Typically, machine politicians are very loyal to the entity and they are very loyal to the people who run it because machines also control elections.
It is evident, for instance, that State Senator Catherine Elizabeth Pugh – who inherited her job from the former state Senator Ralph Hughes – is close to Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller.
Miller, who has been in office since 1971, once called Baltimore a “ghetto” and a few other nasty names. That is why he can never be governor: Baltimore, regardless of population size, is an integral part of the State of Maryland. Hence, the last thing anyone seeking higher office in Maryland can do is insult her.
So, instead, he is the kingmaker. Miller can help build most anyone’s career in the state. This would include assisting Linda Lamone, the State Administrator for the State Board of Elections, back in 2004 when her job was threatened. The state elections board sought to remove her for “incompetence, misconduct or other good cause.”
If you recall, Republican Robert Ehrlich was the governor then and that is when Miller exerted his authority to, in essence, reclaim control of the “independent” … state elections board.
This means that although candidates run for office and do all of the things associated with campaigning that are necessary in order to win a seat on the City Council or in Annapolis, unless they truly understand who is making the critical decisions, then we are no more than mere pawns on the chess board.
I am a Democrat, and proud of it. However, when we peel back the layers to investigate the powers that be and how they get down, we find that the Maryland Democratic Party is dominated by white males, lacks diversity and is as gangsta as gangsta can be. The same political party of our beloved President, Barack Obama, next door in Washington, D.C. – is barely inclusive of all people, specifically black people in Maryland.
Although the President is black and is a Democrat, that has yet to equate with parity for blacks in Maryland. The real struggle in Urban America is building on the Obama momentum – or at least trying to do so. And we have attempted, but it doesn’t change the reality. Those of us in the cities see and live the reality every day and know that it is going to take comprehensive, targeted efforts to truly transform Black America because at present, the masses are falling to pieces.
How much can Pres. Obama do? I don’t know. What I do know is that I have to do my part here in Baltimore to combat the ills we face on a daily basis.
African Americans comprise 30% of the state of Maryland. Even more, blacks in Maryland are predominately Democrat. You know, one would think that the Democratic Party would be very gracious to black people in Maryland by now, especially given blacks’ political power. After all, slavery ended a long time ago. Even more, this is 2016 – 8 years after this nation elected its first black President. However, black people still have to fight and struggle for every single dime and every single ounce of black progress regularly. Black businesses, despite all of the money they contribute to politicians – white and black, still have to fight for access to business opportunities via the legislature in Annapolis and at City Hall.
That is why people like Robert Lee Clay, Raymond V. Haysbert, Sr. and Arnold Jolivet are so sorely missed and will forever remain as black gladiators in the history books of Maryland. These men had no problem holding Annapolis accountable to black people.
Understand, our return on our investment in the Maryland Democratic Party has been dismal at best, even in the Obama era. They keep giving us crumbs when we need the actual manufacturing plant.
We vote for people and a party that continually ignores black people, continually gives black people the short end of the stick at best and has perpetually helped create a permanent under-class in places like Baltimore.
Why? Because Mike Miller thinks Baltimore is a “ghetto”. The dude with more political clout than anybody in the state hates Baltimore. So, why in the world would he miraculously do anything that would help empower black people in Baltimore now? It simply doesn’t fit his agenda. It never did and it never will.
We see the President on television proclaiming the blessings and ideals of freedom, democracy and liberty, but here in the streets where the rubber meets the road, it is painfully obvious to blacks in Maryland that while Obama broke this country’s glass ceiling to rise to the highest office in the land, Commander in Chief – the masses of black people are in dire straits. The ocean of vacant houses in Baltimore alone are devastatingly depressive enough to make a grown man cry. Our 47,000 vacants, in my opinion, constitute acts of domestic and environmental terrorism. But, nobody hears our cry.
Yes, I know the Republicans are the devil. Maybe that’s why Gov. Hogan committed $600 million to help transform communities like Freddie Gray’s Sandtown. And maybe that’s why former Gov. Ehrlich put $100 million into Coppin State such that it now looks like a bona fide institution of higher learning. (Thanks, C4!)
But what about the Democrats who keep forsaking black people? Sure, there are those black figureheads who land nice careers in the Democratic Party, but the truth of the matter is that North and Patterson Park has not changed in my 50 years of living. We have all of these blacks in power yet my community has succumbed to powerlessness and very much dresses the part.
While North and Charles, on one hand, that is frequented by white folks, has enjoyed a complete turnaround in but a few short years, North and Patterson Park – which is deep in the black community – has not been re-developed in my lifetime.
I submit that there is something fundamentally wrong here.
The black part of North Avenue has been subject to benign neglect for decades, but yet the new white section gets a complete overhaul in a mere fraction of the time. It’s as if black people are invisible in Baltimore. It’s like we do not exist. And our officials are too entrenched to be able to say a word about it. If they cannot speak up for blatant black issues, what is the point in having them in office? If they cannot bring home the bacon, then they are not serving black people effectively enough.
Despite all of the prominent black people who are in office, the blessings of liberty seem to be allergic to the black community. And I say it is race-related and has nothing at all to do with the “demonic” Republicans.
I just think it goes to show that Democrats have been wicked to black folks, too.
Yes, our black elected officials want us to vote Democrat, but it begs the overarching question: Where is the return on this expensive political investment in the Maryland Democratic Party by black people in Baltimore, Northwest Baltimore County and Prince George’s County? And how come the black community is continually falling to pieces while other communities get millions upon millions in investment dollars?
It seems to me that the only things black people are good for to the Maryland Democratic Party is their vote and a seat at the nearest casino. Oh, black people are also wonderful for the massive prison industrial complex that quite often pulls from 21217, 21216, 21215, 21223 and 21205 zip codes.
And so, while we have been entertained with the “dog and pony show” where Armstead Jones and Linda Lamone have told us two completely different stories – somehow we are suppose to believe that everything that occurred over the course of this election has been above board and that there was no ill-intent in the massive voting irregularities in the recent Baltimore Primary Election – even though this was predicted to be the most critical election in the history of Baltimore.
Although there are absolutely no answers for certain issues, like the whereabouts of 8 missing thumb drives the day after the election, I am supposed to believe that the same people who think my city is a “ghetto” and have treated us like a bastard stepchild are now supposed to miraculously come clean and be holy after decades of bullying like they’ve spent the night at the feet of Jesus.
Frederick Douglass would remind us that “power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has and it never will.”
He said that the limits of tyrants are determined by those most disaffected.
At first, Armstead Jones sat up there on television and said he had a solid reputation in his tenure at the Baltimore City Board of Elections and that these primary election results were solid, as if we had no reason to question his agency’s performance in the operation of the Baltimore 2016 Primary Elections (which included 7 days of Early Voting).
Further, the media initially reported no major glitches, as if everything was was fine and that there was no need for concern.
Jones gave us the impression that everything was lovey-dovey. He made us believe that nothing went wrong. He was even quoted in the paper. Further, he was insulted that our ad hoc group, Voters Organized for the Integrity of City Elections (VOICE), had the audacity to ask questions about how the Primary was handled in Baltimore.
As a matter of fact, Jones appeared perturbed that anyone would even question his integrity.
All I know is that had VOICE not raised the questions we did, this primary election would have been swept under the rug and nobody would have been the wiser. And so, let me say how glad I am that we went ahead with the Town Hall Meeting on Voter Suppression at Sharon Baptist Church. We learned a lot that evening. It showed that the people are very much aware of how poorly this election was managed.
And it prompted us to ask even tougher questions. And when we did not get answers, we asked more questions. In a city that is home to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and is also home to the second oldest local branch in the nation, the premiere Civil Rights organization has been virtually mute.
At first, critics said we were “sour grapes.” We may have even seemed like we were out there on a limb.
And then, as the answers started to pour in, the truth would shine so brightly that the truth could no longer be ignored. The news went national. Our suspicions proved correct. De-certification (nobody even knew what it was prior to this election) would occur. And ultimately, Linda Lamone stated that on some of these issues, there were absolutely, unequivocally no answers at all. The numbers were simply not making sense.
“There will be precincts that cannot be explained,” she stated. “We don’t know what happened. The numbers simply don’t match.”
If the State Board of Maryland is going to operate truly as an “independent” body, then Miller’s control of that board clearly impedes the process. And given that Miller is a strong Pugh supporter, it is also clear that Miller is okay with the election results as is. Hence, there is clear motive not to question the election results from the Baltimore Primary Election.
The thing is, though, the people of Baltimore have clearly demonstrated its resounding support for Sheila Dixon. In a record voting year, the people spoke loudly and the establishment knew it. And although Pugh rushed to accept the title, the fairest thing to do in this situation – if justice is truly the law of the land and given this cornucopia of previously unknown facts – is to adhere to Hassan Giordano’s request to do this election over.
Otherwise, no national media outlet needs to ponder any longer about how and why the Freddie Gray riots happened. The answer is painfully clear. Politicians don’t give a damn about the people’s wishes, whether the President of the United States is black or not. Truth is, Maryland has never been about Democrats and Republicans – but about blacks versus whites, and there are those who will do anything to keep this state backwards in its thinking.
The last Southern state going north, Maryland has yet to rectify a wicked history of oppression to black people, including the more recent mass incarceration scheme by Democrat Martin O’Malley. His legacy is that he incarcerated one in six Baltimoreans, most of whom were black. The list of egregious acts people suffered under his watch included getting arrested for sitting on their own damn steps.
I am reminded that Maryland was so racist that two of the world’s strongest champions for freedom emerged here: Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass. They were fighting for black people back in the day, and it is because of their successful efforts and others like them that blacks made any progress at all. Yet still, this insidious brand of institutional racism designed to nullify black life overall still runs rampant today.
Take the whole ex-offender piece, for example. Prior to this election, Democrats were boisterously touting how they got ex-felons their right to vote restored. Yet, a letter went out to ex-offenders stating that they could not vote. On one hand, you are telling me I can vote. On the other hand, I get a letter stating that I cannot vote.
Make your damn mind up. Either you are suppressing the right to suffrage (to vote) or you are supporting it. You simply “cannot serve two masters.” I personally thought the spirit of the Maryland Constitution suggests that we all have equal access. However, all we see is a perpetuation of the days of American slavery where blacks worked all their lives without making a dime. (Interestingly, it is that same free labor that catapulted this nation into a global leader.)
Today, blacks are still being exploited.
It is a well-noted fact that blacks fill-up the prisons in America, including here in Maryland. Overall, black males comprise 44% of the prisons when black people in America only comprise some 13% of the population. Secondly, black women are the fastest growing prison demographic. This mass incarceration, systematically designed and implored, continually wreaks havoc on the black community in particular and has virtually decimated three generations. We’ve gone from having a few hundred thousand inmates in the 80s to 2.3 million inmates nationally today. Did you know that America incarcerates 25% of the world’s inmates while only being 5% of the world’s population?
Here in Baltimore, that means that we are essentially a feeder for Maryland prisons. Further, in a 2-to-1 Democratic dominated state and a 9-to1 Democratic city, that means that Democrats are responsible not only for the structural neglect of communities like North and Patterson Park, but also for the adjudication of countless black lives. Although it is less costly to educate a person through college than it costs to imprison them, this beautifully adorned nation chooses to invest in incarceration over education.
For the love of Christ, it is killing my people!
So, I have very little faith in Maryland Democrats. They pushed for the Maryland State Lottery back in 1973 and promised money for education. Since then, the Maryland Stadium Authority (who collects the state’s proceeds from the Lottery) has raked in $13 billion. They have built two new stadiums, but ironically we have schools without AC or heat. Something just ain’t right with that scenario. It seems horrifically irresponsible to me.
Black Democrats – including a lot of black preachers – stood up for slots and table gambling. They stood up for gay rights. However, they never stand up for their own darn people.
Meanwhile, Democratic voters are fed a lot of bad news about Gov. Larry Hogan as if he is responsible for this Democratic foolishness. Further, we hear no mention of O’Malley’s $200 million spent on an Obamacare website that does not even exist. Our black leaders would rally to go against Hogan and call the man a racist on the day before his sister died, but have yet to question how O’Malley overcharged us for everything from bogus red light camera tickets to an extravagant tax on our cell phone bills.
When will we learn?
No, I am no advocating for a mass exodus of blacks to the Republican Party – although I do actually think it would be incredibly effective. What I am asking for is accountability.
When Stephanie Rawlings-Blake took over after Sheila Dixon left office, she vowed to be more transparent than Sheila. From my perch, she has been anything but transparent nor beneficial for black people. Instead, she criticized Sheila Dixon every chance she could, the very same person who politely helped Rawlings-Blake win her first citywide election. Sheila gave her money and technical assistance.
It didn’t take long, though, for Rawlings-Blake’s true colors to emerge as she turned on Sheila in a most rabid way. Rawlings-Blake was not humble and it is this arrogance, I argue, that led to the first riots in this city in 47 years – a mistake for which she has yet to take responsibility. Instead, she called rioters “thugs” and blamed everybody except herself. She even went so far as to call Gov. Larry Hogan “a rookie.”
I see things differently. I think she is the thug for putting $10 million on a failed Grand Prix race for Baltimore, but at the same time could not find $600,000 to keep the recreation centers open. That was very violent when you consider the number of young lives that could have been embraced but ended up shot to death in the streets of Baltimore. I think you are also thuggish when you close the swimming pools in Gilmor Homes during a record August heatwave. Now, that’s gangsta! It is also a part of the modus operandi of the establishment. That’s how they operate.
And I think “Snowmageddon” was pretty dang thuggish, too, although Mayor Blake was brand new at the time. It demonstrated an overall disregard for the black sections of town and will forever stick out in my mind. In “Snowmaggedon”, the black community was treated worst than a runaway slave.
No, I do not have a lot of faith in the Maryland Democrats. Watching how the Maryland Democratic Party went after Sheila Dixon in this election was probably the most sickening part of it all. The Party even called on black political relics who haven’t said a word in years to come out for Pugh. The establishment teamed-up against Sheila and yet Dixon still outperformed Pugh on Election Day in a phenomenal way.
And truth is, the establishment did in fact boost Pugh’s support.
As a matter of fact, if Pugh would have just stayed in her lane, she would have at least made a solid run – better than her previous failed attempts at citywide office. But, she didn’t play it safe because she knew she would lose head-to-head with Sheila. She knew she could not beat Sheila because too many people love Sheila and support her. Too many people saw that it is because Sheila is a strong voice for black people that the establishment came after her in the first place. Truth is, many people believe Martin O’Malley’s fingerprints are all over Sheila’s troubles back then. After all, Sheila chose her own Police Commissioner, her own policing style that significantly contrasted O’Malley’s “Zero Tolerance” tactics, and Sheila supported the first black President, Barack Obama – while O’Malley was then a deep Clinton supporter.
I gotta say that it was the “chicken-box-gate” scandal featuring the lure of $12/hour jobs that took the Maryland Democrats across the line from neglectful to obnoxiously offensive in this election. This is where the true Pugh appeared.
And nobody said a word, not even Rep. Elijah Cummings – not the NAACP – not the preachers – not all of those groups who have depended heavily on the black community’s support at some point in their history.
It’s bad enough that the news of Pugh’s camp taking busloads of people to the polls in exchange for a chicken box and the promise of a $12/hour job was buried in the mainstream media during Early Voting. What’s worst is how the culminating riot early on Election Day morning outside Pugh’s Walbrook Junction office was also minimized in the media.
This is where the local media failed the people of Baltimore.
Put differently, if Sheila or Gov. Hogan had done something like pretending to offer somebody a job when all he wanted was that person’s vote, it would have gone viral immediately. This is why I believe the mainstream media is also guilty of voter suppression. I think they failed to give people pertinent information so that people could choose for themselves based on solid information.
And let us not forget the highly disregarded rules for television stations to report their political commercials immediately. The big dawgs, like WBAL TV 11, followed a 24-hour turnaround in reporting. However, some cable television stations did not report their political commercials for weeks. This really taints a person’s thinking. Alex Sanchez and the Clean Slate PAC went after Sheila Dixon in a most vicious fashion. Sanchez is a former employee of both Gov. Martin O’Malley and Mayor Rawlings-Blake.
I think the Sun’s David Zurawik did an excellent job capturing this rarely discussed topic of media and campaigns. His findings are illuminating and something of which we all should be aware. In short, I question if media is getting so much money from political commercials that they forget their job of telling the truth.
Had news of Pugh’s job scandal for votes come out when it first happened during Early Voting, Sheila Dixon would have won by 10 points easily as Bmorenews.com predicted. People would have recognized the ill-gotten games of the desperate Pugh campaign and would have wholeheartedly put their support behind Sheila Dixon.
Let me also add the content of a Tweet this week by Jayne Miller of WBAL TV 11. She noted that typically, the winner of the Early Voting also wins on Election Day. Pugh interestingly got 3,000 votes out of nowhere during Early Voting, but yet got slammed by Dixon on Election Day. And so, am I not to question if the true winner has emerged in this election?
So, let me get this right: The State Board of Elections wants us to believe that there were no ill-gotten games when in fact, there were a lot of games played – all for the benefit of the establishment candidate from outside of Philadelphia, Catherine Elizabeth Pugh? This makes the keen political observer question why is it Pugh won Early Voting but lost on Election Day, something that never happens. Could there be fraud? Is the media, the Fourth Estate, guilty of playing favorites and suppressing pertinent information?
Well, all I know is that there are no answers for certain issues and that we, the people, are supposed to shut up and swallow this pill like nothing wrong happened. Further, there is this notion of helplessness that just doesn’t sit well with me either.
You can’t make this stuff up, but you do have to understand the game and how it has been effectively played on black people in Baltimore and Prince George’s County for decades. One also has to look at the role of media in that process.
I say that it is time for these political charades to end. The blacks out front have failed us. The people have spoken. Sheila Dixon is our choice. Now, let’s do this over so we can have a correct assessment of the vote. Everything possible went wrong. Hence, the fair and decent thing to do is to conduct a brand new election.
There are massive voting irregularities, and the ramifications disaffect not just Dixon, but also other candidates who are running, like Judge Wanda Heard. She has been a champion in the courts for the black community. Yet, she is in jeopardy of being bumped. Don’t we deserve to have black officials who actually serve black people like we deserve?
It is time for black people to think for ourselves and hold the entire State of Maryland accountable for its deeds and actions – or in-actions.
Yesterday, C.D. Witherspoon, a member of VOICE, reported: “Ok, so the review at the warehouse was completed [Thursday] afternoon.”
He continued, “Today, the Deputy Administrator of the State Board of Elections was putting all the data files into an excel spreadsheet, to be forwarded out to the media and the candidates on Monday. Next Steps: The results will be sent back to the City Board of Elections, at which time Armstead Jones and his team will have to add the provisional ballots uncovered by the State Board’s review. Once the City BOE has added the newly discovered provisional totals to the amount numbers they already have, they’ll move to re-certify, and send it back to the state for their certification. NOTE: Apparently they’ve located even more irregularities than the media has reported as of today (Friday).”
It should be mentioned that the de-certification by the State Board of Elections was unprecedented. Witherspoon highlighted VOICE’s issues, as follows:
*Location of 457 additional (on top of the original 80) provisional ballots not counted
*800 provisional ballots counted that can’t be verified as eligible Baltimore City voters
*Some entire precincts numbers cannot be verified by the State
*Polling places ran out of provisional ballots on Election Day
*Provisional ballots were improperly scanned
*Statewide, there were 200 problems with provisional ballots, but locally there were 1300
*34 ex-felons received letters indicating that they could not vote
*Voter registration forms have not been updated to reflect the change in the Law granting ex-offenders their right to vote
*Poor training: Election judges trained one day and were put to work the very next day
*8 flash drives went missing even though the manual has a sign-off page for police officers to sign that they’ve received them
*Poll workers allowed to serve as Election Judges although they had no training whatsoever
* Polling places opened late, a judge had to order 4 of them to stay open later, although the number of late polls reported is over a dozen
The adulterating of the political process, including our right to suffrage, is simply unacceptable and the only viable solution is a new election. I 100% agree with Hassan Giordano: Do this election over or be removed from office. There is no way we can continue to turn a blind eye, as almost happened in the tragic death of Freddie Gray.
It is high time that the Democratic establishment people in Annapolis finally diversify their operations and include blacks – real blacks who will advocate for black people and unapologetically so – at the top. More importantly, the state of Maryland must address the struggling black community that is consistently attacked and marginalized – and sometimes by the hands of other blacks of whom are often loyal to the same Democratic establishment. Lord knows, we don’t want another riot. At the same time, we don’t want the continued neglect and abuse of the black community by fellow Democrats to continue another day.
Do this election over! Otherwise, the people will have zero faith in a political system that has historically left the black community disenfranchised and subject to the ills of the land, including a world-record level of mass incarceration and under-education. Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, in a glaring example of how under-performing our educational system has become, spiraled from a national leader to being ranked 49th in the state for 2016. Does this not give us cause for alarm? Or, is this a race to the bottom?
The people of Baltimore are being deceived and it is not cute. This entire Baltimore City Primary Election is nothing short of fraudulent, at best. Even more, I agree with veteran educator and politico Linda Eberhart: It’s time to bring in the Feds.
PS – While political pundits have often criticized the citizenry for poor voter turnout in the past, this was a record breaking turnout at 44%. For me, this silences those who say that black people do not vote. Black people do, in fact, vote. However, when you have an election fraught with voter suppression and voting irregularities, including poorly trained election judges, there is no wonder why so many people – black, white and otherwise – have very little faith in the process. I think a lot of it has to do with the political shenanigans of our popular Democratic leaders who act like they know what is best for the people, including black people. I am distinctly reminded that insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result.
Also, since the Election Day Riots at Pugh headquarters, common sense would suggest she go back to Walbrook Junction and try and appease the struggling blacks whom she promised a job. It has almost been a month, and to date, Pugh has not gone back to those people who were put on a bus during Early Voting and taken to the polls. More than anything, it shows just how far people will go to secure their dreams, even if it means stepping on hundreds of poor black people.
Lastly, if this election was drowned in suspicion and tainted with massive voting irregularities, it begs the question of how many other election results in the past are suspect, too. What won’t the establishment do to maintain power?