This election is being threatened by unverifiable voting machines, voter ID laws that disenfranchise millions of eligible voters, restrictive election laws for third party candidates and voters who wish to vote early, as well as many other forms of voter suppression that we are likely to witness on November 6 and the weeks leading up to the election.
On January 21, 2010, with its ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are persons, entitled by the U.S. Constitution to buy elections and run our government. Human beings are people; corporations are legal fictions. The Supreme Court is misguided in principle, and wrong on the law. In a democracy, the people rule.
We Move to Amend
We, the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling inCitizens United, and move to amend our Constitution to:
Firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.
Guarantee the right to vote and to participate, and to have our votes and participation count.
Protect local communities, their economies, and democracies against illegitimate "preemption" actions by global, national, and state governments.
While it may it be a wonderful life for the big banks on Wall Street, here on Main Street too many of us are struggling this holiday season. The financial sector has collapsed the economy - gifting us with layoffs, debt and foreclosures. We need aggressive banking reform now to rein in the Mr. Potters and help out the George Baileys of the world! Bills will be up for votes in the House next week.
Amnesty International today said it was deeply worried about the safety of victims of and witnesses to a shooting at a military blockade that took place in Tegucigalpa last night. The organization called on the Human Rights Prosecutor to urgently investigate the incident.
According to eye witnesses interviewed by Amnesty International, last night, four men were on their way back home when they saw a military blockade moved from its normal position, close to the Estado Mayor (military compound). They were not given any indication to stop or request to slow down so they drove past.
Immediately after, shots were fired by the military at the car. The men drove on and as they went into a new road, one bullet hit the driver, 32-year-old Angel Salgado, in the head. He lost control of the vehicle which then crashed into a taxi and injured several bystanders, including 45-year-old woman, who was also hit by a stray bullet. She is now in a serious condition in hospital.
At the time of writing, Angel Salgado was in hospital in a critical condition.
Eye witnesses said military personnel began cleaning the scene immediately after the crash occurred.
“We are extremely concerned about this case given Honduras’ track record of widespread impunity for human rights violations committed by police and military,” said Javier Zuñiga, Head of Amnesty International’s delegation in Honduras.
Amnesty International delegates in Honduras visited the hospital where both injured were being treated and heard the relatives of Angel Salgado had found it difficult to gain entry to see him.
The organization’s delegates also saw two men in military outfits passing by and going directly into the theatre where Angel Salgado was recuperating. The men said they wanted to check on his condition.
Until the authorities take serious action to investigate and bring to justice those responsible for human rights violations, this will be another shocking example of how the lives of Hondurans can be devastated in a moment by the police and military, who act knowing that noone will ever hold them to account,” said Javier Zuñiga.
While countries in Europe are moving rapidly to break up their biggest financial institutions to recoup taxpayer money and restore competition, the U.S. Congress has failed to take up any measure to break up "too big to fail" institutions that pose a threat to the global economy. A growing list of experts from the left and the right want to see the big banks restructured including former Fed Chairs Paul Volcker and Alan Greenspan. Even John S. Reed, who as CEO of Citibank for 14 years oversaw the merger between Citi and Travelers Group, thinks these giant institutions should be broken up to separate consumer banking from risky trading. The good news? Last week, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced a bill directing the U.S. Department of the Treasury toBREAK UP THE BANKS!
Ten years ago, citizen activists shut down the World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial in Seattle to protest the devastating impact of the WTO's corporate globalization agenda on our jobs, wages and the environment. Now, big corporations are back at it, again pushing an expansion of the WTO's power.
Recently, there has been an explosion in threats and acts of domestic terrorism. The majority of these can be traced to groups and individuals who do not accept the results of our recent election or the laws enacted or proposed by those who have been elected. They seek to undermine the democratic process through threats, intimidation, and even outright murder. They can't accept the legitimacy of the President, or a woman's legal right to make choices about her own medical care, or an immigrant's right to be treated humanely under the law, so they carry out acts that are antithetical to American democracy, American values, and both civil and human rights.
The fringe element that makes up those who commit these acts of terror is frequently exploited by a continuous wave of rightwing media advocating violence, either directly or indirectly, and by commentators amplifying the talking points of extremist religious leaders and extremist political leaders. This fringe is incited on our public airwaves, and urged to take matters into their own hands, with the underlying belief that the Bible and/or U.S. Constitution justify using ‘whatever means’ are necessary to oppose what they believe to be immoral laws.
We are taking a stand against this dangerous trend towards the incitement of lawlessness and violence. We strongly believe in the First Amendment right of free expression and discourse, even when that expression is abhorrent and not in line with our own beliefs. However, the First Amendment does not protect debate where one side includes the threat or act of violence.
We have written a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder outlining our concerns and requesting that he act quickly to address this wave of domestic terrorism. A copy of the letter is
Specifically, we are taking the following steps to address this dangerous trend toward extremism.
Urge the Department of Justice to:
study this trend toward the encouragement of violent lawlessness and initiate action to counter it,
investigate and prosecute those who are committing and inciting others to commit acts of violence,
review whether any media groups are violating antitrust laws by monopolizing media or media markets, or failing in their obligation to meet the "public interest" of their FCC broadcast licenses.
support an update and study by the FCC and NTIA of the 1993 report, "The Role of Telecommunications in Hate Crimes."
Conduct an investigation into the rise of extremism and violence and the role of the media in this phenomenon
Urge Congress to hold hearings on the responsibility of the licensed broadcast media to conduct itself in the public interest
Support legislation to require diversity in media ownership, encourage broader minority ownership of FCC licensed media outlets, and that otherwise reverses the dangerous trend of media monopolies allowed following the passage of Bill Clinton's Telecommunications Act of 1996.
We are calling on the CEOs and Boards of media organizations to denounce and remove hosts, commentators and others who use the media to incite violence and spread lies that lead others to violence.
We are calling on advertisers to cancel all ads on any media that uses the airwaves to spread a message of hate, intolerance, racism, lies and violence.
We are calling on religious leaders to denounce all forms of intimidation and violence, and to cooperate with the Department of Justice by reporting information about those who intend to commit violence.
We are working with leaders in the religious community who have taken a stand against violence, such as Frank Schaeffer, who was one of the architects of the Religious Right. Mr. Schaeffer, who will be promoting this campaign, has written a letter to Eric Holder offering his cooperation and insight into this trend toward violence and offering suggestions on how to address it.
PUBLIC HEARING: Committee on Corrections and the Courts on AB 353 (WI Democracy Restoration Act) - Madison. 417 North (GAR Hall), State Capitol, Thursday, August 27, 10am.
The Restore the Vote Wisconsin Now Coalition is a group of activists, citizens, organizations, faith leaders, legislators and other cool people who are working to restore the right to vote to over 42,000 ex-offenders immediately upon release from incarceration in Wisconsin.
Current law in Wisconsin restricts the right to vote to individuals until after their sentence. This means US citizens can be living, raising families, going to school, working, and paying taxes in our communities and not have the right to vote.
On June 28th, the democratically elected president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, was overthrown in a military coup.
General Romeo Velasquez, leader of the coup, is the latest in a long list of dictators, assassins, torturers, terrorists, and coup plotters trained by the U.S. Army School of the Americas, also known as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation.
The U.S. Army School of the Americas (SOA) in Fort Benning, Georgia, trains soldiers from Latin America to use kidnapping, torture, and assassination as weapons of political terror against their own people. For decades, SOA graduates across Latin America have used these techniques, as well as rape, against hundreds of thousands of victims.
At least 11 SOA graduates have gone on to careers as military dictators. As long as the SOA remains open, the United States cannot claim to be a friend of Latin American democracy.
We need your help to change the future of trade policy.
Last year, with your support, over 80 members of the U.S. House and Senate cosponsored landmark legislation setting forth a progressive vision for future trade agreements. The Trade Reform, Accountability, Development and Employment (TRADE) Act frames a bold new debate, marking out policy space needed for a more balanced way to expand trade.
We now need you to urge your congressional members to cosponsor the 2009 TRADE act.
We expect this snowballing reform initiative to be reintroduced soon. Can you please email, call or fax your members of congress today, and ask them to sign on as cosponsors? (A sample message is located below.)
First introduced by Sen. Sherrod Brown and Rep. Mike Michaud, “The TRADE Act” enjoyed support from hundreds of faith, farm, labor and environmental groups last year. By February of 2009, over 350 organizations sent a joint letter to congress backing the 2009 TRADE Act, saying it "offers a helpful roadmap for new policies that could rebuild a consensus in favor of expanded trade.”
We’ve been disappointed to see big banks receive billions in bailout funds, only to turn around and lobby for little to no oversight or accountability for how our taxpayer dollars were to be spent. Busy lobbying, the banks neglected the critical issue at hand: helping homeowners who face foreclosure. We cannot allow campaign cash and lobbying to win favors from Congress. We can't let pay to play politics continue in Washington, D.C. – not with so much at stake.
That's why we're pushing for change through citizen-funded Fair Elections.
The Fair Elections Now Act, sponsored by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Reps. John Larsen (D-CT) and Walter Jones (R-NC), presents an exciting new approach to financing campaigns. This bipartisan bill creates an alternative to big special interest money in politics by allowing congressional candidates to run a viable campaign on public funds and unlimited small contributions from ordinary citizens.
Passing the Fair Elections Now Act will free Congress from spending time chasing contributions from lobbyists and corporate special interest groups, and will return to focus to solving the critical issues confronting our Nation's problems: the economy, health care, and energy.
The CEO of Sony just launched an attack on the Web, saying that he sees "nothing good having come from the Internet. Period."
But Michael Lynton is just the latest in a line of old media bosses who see the open Internet as a threat — something they need to control in order to keep prices high, access limited and users in check.
Those of us who rely upon the Internet every day now have a chance to tell Michael otherwise:
At this very minute, the Federal Communications Commission is crafting America's first national broadband plan. Whether the plan will give more control over our Internet to the likes of Sony Pictures, Comcast, AT&T, Time Warner Cable and Verizon depends on what we do right now.
These companies' well-heeled lobbyists are flooding the FCC's public docket with comments in support of policies that let them:
Tilt the Web’s level playing field to favor the Web sites of corporate partners;
Deploy content-sniffing devices that would randomly open and sift through our private Web communications;
Impose usage penalties on people who use the Web for more than simple e-mail and Web surfing;
Block innovative Web services that compete against their phone, cable and entertainment products; and
Disconnect users for any reason or without justification.
Acting FCC chairman Michael Copps has called the creation of the broadband plan "the most formative — indeed, transformative — proceeding ever in the Commission’s history." He added: "The Commission must act to ensure that the genius of the open Internet is not lost."
Copps is right. Michael Lynton is wrong. We need to tell the FCC that a more open open and accessible Internet is a good thing that will revitalize our economy, engage millions more people in our democracy and give new meaning to freedom of speech. And we reject the nonsense that open Internet backers are all conspiring to promote piracy.
Vote Up This Proposal on Obama's Open Government Website
Here's a direct link to a proposal I've just posted on the president's new website. Please go there, read the proposal, and if you like it vote for it. And post your ideas to improve it. [The proposal is also copied below.]
Candidate Obama asked for our opinions through a website. Our top demand was that he keep his promise to vote against immunity for telecoms that spied illegally. He ignored us, promised to do better as president, and hasn't.
President-Elect Obama asked for our opinions through his transition website. Our top question was whether he would appoint a special prosecutor for Bush, Cheney, and gang. He refused to answer the question until asked by the corporate media, and then talked about "looking forward".
Now President Obama is asking for our opinions on a website. This is a good thing but should be gone into with some caveats. First, Obama has always ignored us before, and ignoring people who obediently type on your website as supporters of whatever you do first and citizens with their own opinions second is easier than ignoring just about anything else. Here are other actions you can take following the 30 seconds needed for this one: http://prosecutebushcheney.org
Second, we have representatives and senators whom we are supposed to lobby and whom we are much more likely to lobby successfully, and they are supposed to run the country, not the executive. Third, majority opinion and the clear mandates of our nation's laws ought to carry more weight than the opinions of a self-selected group of presidential advisors (I mean other than Congress which has devolved into more or less just that).
But what if a flood of American citizens were to give the president the kind of advice that is most useful rather than the kind that is most enjoyable to hear? What if we were to ask President Obama to (allow the attorney general to) prosecute his predecessors and (encourage Congress to) remove the unconstitutional powers they claimed from the presidency? Might someone hear our voices, repeat our questions on camera, begin thinking about our point of view, or ask about our issues before confirming a new Supreme Court Justice?
End the Imperial Presidency
Leave the White House less imperial than you found it. Appoint an independent prosecutor to prosecute Bush, Cheney, and their top officials in order to deter in the future the crimes of aggressive war, misleading congress, defrauding congress, misspending funds, war crimes, murder, warrantless spying, torture, domestic propaganda, violations of the Hatch Act and the Voting Rights Act, obstruction of justice, misprision of felony, retaliating against whistleblowers, etc. Restore to Congress the power to legislate, the power to begin and end wars, the power to raise and spend money, the power to approve or reject treaties and appointments, and the power to oversee the functioning of the federal government including through the power of impeachment and the power of inherent contempt. That means no more signing statements rewriting laws, and instead support for legislation that would criminalize such behavior. And it means similar action on each of the other offenses.
We, the people, must:
Demand that Congress ban the use of funds for any activities created in violation of the law by presidential signing statements.
Amend the Constitution to clearly ban the use of presidential pardons to pardon crimes authorized by the president.
Amend the War Powers Act and the Constition to include the requirement that Congressional authorizations of war include time limits of no more than 12 months, after which Congress must vote again to extend the war or end it, to disallow the unconstitutional initiation of wars without Congressional approval, and to make the law enforceable.
Make war profiteering by any war maker a major felony. This would apply to any employee of the federal government or anyone who had within the past decade been an employee of the federal government.
Legislate a requirement that, in any war, the military aged children and grandchildren of the president, the vice president, all cabinet officials, and all Congress members serve on the front lines in the most dangerous combat positions -- no exceptions, no exemptions.
Prohibit the use of mercenaries or any armed contractors, as well as the use of any military force on American soil except when directly engaged in defensive war against a foreign nation.
Repeal the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, the Military Commissions Act of 2006, the 2008 FISA Amendments Act, the Protect America Act, the original Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and the PATRIOT Act.
Ban secret budgets, secret laws, and secret agencies.
Change the Senate rules to eliminate the filibuster.
Create a task force to research whether the Senate has ever served any useful purpose not better served by the House.
End all rendition, as distinct from extradition.
Amend the Constitution to make the ban on ex-post-facto laws include any laws that would retroactively grant immunity for crimes.
Amend the Constitution to bar the vice president from exercising executive power.
Amend the Constitution to clarify the congressional power of inherent contempt.
Amend the Constitution to include the right to vote and to have one's vote counted publicly at the polling place.
Give Washington, D.C., full voting representation in Congress.
Amend the Constitution to ban private financing of campaigns, create public financing, and provide free air time to candidates.
Sign and ratify the Rome treaty to join the International Criminal Court.
OPTIONAL PART 2 OF THIS PROPOSAL - Drafted and withheld at first, posted May 29th in response to useful comments from ttahiti and many others posted below.
Release more evidence, and support organizations suing in court for the release of evidence.
Ask Congress to update and reissue the subpoenas that were refused during the 110th Congress, and to enforce them through inherent contempt.
Support media reform and independent media outlets. Break up the monopolies. Invest in public media, including an E-Span election network to provide free substantive election coverage.
Advance a long-term vision in which the corrupting influences of money, media, and party are restrained, and our rights are restored, enforced, and expanded, including the right to vote and to have our votes counted publicly and locally, equal rights for all, environmental rights, the right to education and healthcare, worker rights, the right to basic welfare, freedom of press, freedom from war lies, and the right to know your rights.
Push for approval, ratification, and enforcement of international human rights treaties. Build toward Constitutional amendments or a convention with a plan to establish the right to know the laws and to have them applied equally, a ban on signing statements, whistle blowers protected, inherent contempt established, corporations stripped of human rights, monopolies restricted, clean campaign money and free media created, the power of parties reduced, nonpartisan (not bipartisan) redistricting, limiting election seasons, no more electoral college, a bigger House with no Senate, the right to be represented, no appointing of senators, limiting terms for judges, requiring a balanced budget, limiting bills to single topics and requiring clarity, allowing legislation by public initiative, allowing recall elections, creating citizen assemblies, and developing a fourth (people's) branch of government.
In recent weeks, corporate groups and executives have waged war to prevent workers from enjoying what CEOs take for granted: a contract. But the next battle is bound to show them for who they are: greedy people who will do anything to hold onto their power.
Anti-worker groups are now attacking the "first contract arbitration" portion of the Employee Free Choice Act. It seeks to stop employers from using endless foot-dragging against workers who have voted for a union, but have yet to secure a contract.
Their new line of attack is entirely hypocritical. Corporations use arbitration all the time, because for years, they've said it's a fast, inexpensive way to settle disputes.
Tell your members of Congress they need to choose their constituents over the corrosive power of greed.
Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin has introduced the Executive Branch Accountability Act of 2009 (H.Res. 417), calling on President Obama to reverse the damaging and illegal actions taken by the Bush/Cheney Administration and to collaborate with Congress to proactively prevent any further abuses of executive branch power.
“Over the past several years, serious questions have been raised about the conduct of high ranking Bush/Cheney Administration officials in relation to some of the most basic elements of our democracy: respect for the rule of law, the principle of checks and balances, and the fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Bill of Rights,” said Baldwin. “We must restore Americans’ faith that in a democracy, we follow the rule of law and that nobody – even the President and Vice President of the United States – is above the law,” Baldwin said.
“President Obama has already begun the work of reaffirming American values of justice and freedom. I commend him for his orders to close the detention facility at Guantanamo and prohibit illegal and immoral interrogation techniques. President Obama’s efforts to renew America must also include restoring executive branch accountability. We had an administration that spied on Americans, outed a covert intelligence agent, suspended habeas corpus, held people without charges and without access to counsel, and used torture and rendition. This measure lists steps President Obama can take to proactively prevent any further abuses of executive branch power and restore the public’s faith in our government,” Baldwin said.
The Executive Branch Accountability Act of 2009 calls on President Obama to:
Affirm our nation’s commitment to uphold the Constitution;
Fully investigate Bush/Cheney administration officials’ alleged crimes and hold them accountable for any illegal acts;
Hold accountable Bush/Cheney Administration officials who showed or show contempt for the legal duty to comply with Congressional subpoenas; disclosed the identity of any covert intelligence agent; pursued politically-motivated prosecutions;
Ensure that any Bush/Cheney administration official guilty of a war crime is prosecuted under the War Crimes Act and the Anti-Torture Act;
Affirm that it is the sole legal right of Congress to declare war;
Criminalize lying to Congress and the American public about the reasons for going to war;
Restore the writ of habeas corpus as an essential principle of our democracy;
Ensure that torture and rendition are uniformly prohibited under United States law;
Responsibly close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp;
Ensure that Americans can bring claims against their government;
Immediately take affirmative steps to protect all Bush/Cheney Administration documents;
Publicly review potential abuses of the presidential pardon process; and
Further reform the use of presidential signing statements.
Congresswoman Baldwin explains why she feels this bill is necessary:
12 million unemployed. Foreclosures up 81%. Wall Street has taken over. We must break up the banks and never again let them get so big that they distort our politics and take down the economy.
Our plan: Real structural change of Wall Street
Decentralize: Any bank that's "too big to fail" means that it's too big for a free market to function. The financial corporations that caused this mess must be broken up and sold back to the private market with strong, new regulatory and antitrust rules in place -- new banks, managed by new people. An independent regulatory body must protect consumers from predatory practices.
As Wall St. corporations grew bigger and bigger until they were “too big to fail,” they also became so politically powerful that they led to distorted and unfair policies that served companies, not citizens.
Its not enough to try to patch up the current system. We demand serious reform that fixes the root problems in our political and economic system: excessive influence of banks, dangerous compensation systems, and massive consolidation. And we demand that the reform happen in an open and transparent manner.
As of March 6, 2009, over 150 organizations, and thousands of individuals, have signed on to the following statement:
"We urge Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a non-partisan independent Special Counsel to immediately commence a prosecutorial investigation into the most serious alleged crimes of former President George W. Bush, former Vice President Richard B. Cheney, the attorneys formerly employed by the Department of Justice whose memos sought to justify torture, and other former top officials of the Bush Administration.
Our laws, and treaties that under Article VI of our Constitution are the supreme law of the land, require the prosecution of crimes that strong evidence suggests these individuals have committed. Both the former president and the former vice president have confessed to authorizing a torture procedure that is illegal under our law and treaty obligations. The former president has confessed to violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
We see no need for these prosecutions to be extraordinarily lengthy or costly, and no need to wait for the recommendations of a panel or “truth” commission when substantial evidence of the crimes is already in the public domain. We believe the most effective investigation can be conducted by a prosecutor, and we believe such an investigation should begin immediately."
A U.S. Senate seat hangs in the balance. Voting rights are at stake. As Minnesotans trudge forward through a difficult recount, the attention of the rest of the national newsmedia has moved on to the bailouts, bribery, and other bad news. Unless you live in Minnesota, chances are you've found it difficult to follow the latest news regarding this ongoing election dispute.
Fortunately, No More Stolen Elections! has been monitoring Minnesota for you, and we can offer you a way to make a positive difference in the recount there. If you haven't checked out the NoMoreStolenElections.org website recently, you'll have missed Joseph Lindstrom's updates on the situation.
On November 25th, Lindstrom reported that:
The mood of the recount and the comportment of each campaign--having started as generally collegial and respectful of the democratic process--has rapidly escalated into a posturing war. Dueling press conferences are happening at least once per day, as each side claims to be gaining. More specifically, both sides are challenging an increasing number of ballots, perhaps frivolously so as to appear to be in the lead at the end of the recount. Senator Coleman, in particular, is hoping to be leading after the Election Day count, AND the recount so that any actions taken by the Canvassing Board would be easily discredited should Franken turn out to be the winner.
The public comments from the two sides have grown increasingly acrimonious and occasionally ridiculous. In particular, conservatives are employing a strategy of making Al Franken's interest in seeing the recount completed as a petty power-grab by a Hollywood elitist who should not be trusted. The suggestion is that Franken will push forward with legal challenges, and will not stop until he is the unquestioned leader, and that a more patriotic individual would simply concede. These accusations are being made despite the fact that Senator Coleman himself has admitted that he was wrong to ask Franken to step aside.
Just the other day, on the 8th, Lindstrom told us:
Following the recount process that's going on in Minnesota can be a confusing endeavor, but it can now be said that the administrative recount is done with the exception of some lost ballots in Minneapolis. While searching for the missing ballots, the same precinct did find a plastic bag containing 12 uncounted absentee ballots which will be added to the total number of ballots to be considered by the state canvassing board. One gets the impression that Minneapolis could have had a tighter operation on election day. Perhaps the best way to understand what's going on is to become familiar with some key numbers.
The recount moves today, December 12, to the Minnesota State Canvassing Board, where, all other things being equal, it would normally end. What --should-- happen next is a complete review by the Canvassing Board of the 6,655 ballots challenged by the two campaigns in the county recounts, along with the reconsideration of up to 12,000 absentee ballots rejected by county officials, resulting in a clear victor.
What is --likely-- to happen next is a court battle, followed and accompanied by a struggle over whether the U.S. Senate should determine the victor of the Minnesota Senate race, or whether that decision should be left to a special election of Minnesota voters.
Please take action to urge the media to report the unadjusted exit polls for the 2008 election.
The Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International corporations will again conduct all exit polling for the 2008 federal elections.
Voters should be provided with the unadjusted exit polls. If adjustments are made to the final polls they should be explained publicly. Major media outlets are urged to archive all of the interim exit poll results to allow independent analysis later. Election integrity advocates must push for greater transparency since large-sample exit polls can and should be used be used to audit vote totals.
When the U.S. government audits the vote in a foreign country, the tool of choice is always a large-sample exit poll, which will identify problems in the vote totals. Yet, in the United States, even with the documented problems we have had in voting , our own government does not use the best tool available.
News and political divisions of the major networks must plan to archive all of the preliminary exit poll results since the overall survey will quickly be adjusted by the vendor to match the published vote totals, and will thus no longer be useful as an audit of the integrity of the vote totals.
This may be the most important message you'll read today. Make plans to attend, or if need be, to organize a Voter Assembly in your community on the evening of Wednesday, November 5, the day after the election. Your participation in a Voter Assembly is very important.
Here is the plan. Regardless of the declared presidential victor, this Wednesday, we will gather in Voter Assemblies, and we will act:
A. If there is reason to believe that the election is likely to be stolen, as was the case in Florida 2000, we will act to prevent this from happening – pressing to prevent the theft and, if that is impossible, demanding a new, honest election.
B. If it is unclear whether voting rights violation rise to the level of election theft, as was the case in Ohio 2004, we will mobilize everywhere to demand a full and complete count of the vote.
C. If it appears that the election result was defined by the rigging of the process, we will rally nationwide to press for progress in enacting democratic reforms.
By Election Day, millions of people's right to vote will have been violated. In the words of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." This is especially true with voting: Voting rights violations anywhere threaten voting rights everywhere. So please, don't wait for a repeat of Florida 2000, or Ohio 2004, or worse, and don't think that your community is too distant from the problem to be involved. Get organized, and plan to assemble on November 5. Thank you.
A coalition of U.S. pro-democracy organizations today petitioned the members of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations for international election observers for the upcoming U.S. presidential election.
Representatives of No More Stolen Elections!, True Vote, Liberty Tree, Global Exchange, and the Economic Human Rights Project filed the petition seeking international observers with embassies in Washington, DC on Thursday, October 30, 2008, and the New York City offices of the UN on Friday, October 31, 2008. The embassies we visited included those of UN ECOSOC member nations New Zealand, Brazil, Uruguay, Bolivia, France, United Kingdom, and Sweden.
We want to make sure that if the election results are contested, steps have been taken so that the U.N. is able to participate in ensuring the integrity of the U.S. election.
With every passing day there are more reports of machines flipping the vote: Of voters going in to the polling place, selecting the candidates of their choice, and of the voting machines then wrongly recording their votes for other candidates.
So far, all the reports of vote flipping have been of votes changing from Obama to other candidates, or from Democrats to Republicans. Click here to take action.
This is reminiscent of the experience in Sarasota, FL in 2006. When the voting was completed and they counted the vote, authorities discovered that the vote flipping was just the tip of the iceberg. The Sarasota machines were iVotronics -- the same machines now being used in West Virginia -- had 18,000 blank ballots. This was enough to change the outcome of the election. Election officials were unable to reconstruct the race. For more on this see "Vote Flipping with the iVotronic the Florida 2006 Experience" at http://truevote.us/nucleus/index.php?itemid=363 which includes a comment by an election integrity advocate in Sarasota as well as links to reports, including from the U.S. GAO, on the 18,000 lost votes.
Tomorrow, on the 16th of October a coalition of Colorado community organizations will demonstrate outside Secretary of State Mike Coffman's office calling upon him to acknowledge the mistakes of his office in poorly training numerous voter registration officials. The failure of Coffman to make sure that voter registration officials were properly informed of the types of identification deemed acceptable for registration leaves over 6,500 voters in jeopardy of not being able to participate in the upcoming election.
After years of fighting against expansion of the failed NAFTA/ WTO model, we're thrilled to announce a new trade bill we can all be for.
The Trade Reform, Accountability, Development and Employment (TRADE) Act, cosponsored by fair trade champions Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Maine), was introduced on June 4, 2008 with over 50 House and Senate original cosponsors! This landmark legislation sets forth in concrete, detailed terms a progressive vision for good trade agreements in the future and criteria to renegotiate existing failed pacts like NAFTA and the WTO.
Fifteen years of the NAFTA/WTO model has led to massive job loss, downward pressure on wages and the loss of nearly 300,000 family farms. It's given broad, expansive new rights to foreign corporations to challenge our environmental and public health standards and flooded the U.S. with unsafe imported food and products. And it has devastated developing nations, where millions of family farmers have been forced off their land, and where poverty, despair and desperation-driven mass migrations have grown.
The TRADE Act lays out in detail a new path forward for U.S. trade policy to achieve societal goals such as good jobs, safe food and promotion of basic human rights, healthy communities and environmental protection.
Many say the 2008 election is being stolen right now. If two stolen elections are two too many, are you prepared to accept a third?
IF you haven't already, please read the important call to action from Rev. Jesse Jackson, Barbara Ehrenreich, Bill Fletcher, Daniel Ellsberg, David Cobb, Frances Moore Lappé, Frances Piven, Holly Near, Jerome Scott, Jim Hightower, John Cavanagh, John Nichols, Manning Marable, Marcus Raskin, Maude Hurd, Medea Benjamin, Mimi Kennedy, Norman Solomon, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Robert McChesney, Starhawk, Tom Hayden, Van Jones, and many more.
It is happening again. Having failed once, twice, to engineer the violent overthrow of the democratically elected government of Venezuela, the CIA is at it again. This time, however, the American public has forewarning:
Noted journalist Eva Golinger has exposed the CIA's 'Operation Pliers' efforts to destabilize Venezuela in advance of this Sunday's national referendum on constitutional reform. Read Golinger's report here.
The Center for Economic Policy Reform's Mark Weisbrot warns of likely attempts to distort exit polls on that referendum vote. Read Weisbrot's analysis here.
And Venezuela en Vivo is scheduling regular broadcasts in English and Spanish from Venezuela. Click here to listen to Radio Venezuela en Vivo.
Be cautious of what you read in U.S. newspapers of current events in Venezuela. In the coming days you can expect to see the continued ramping-up of rhetoric and dramatic fictions against what is sure to be a strong "Yes" vote for Venezuelan constitutional reform.
For months a movement has been developing that consciously and intentionally links the related issues of the war in Iraq/oil wars and the heating up of the earth that is disrupting the world's climate. On Monday morning, October 22, in Washington, D.C. on Capitol Hill and elsewhere around the country, that movement will become visible as large numbers of people engage in nonviolent direct action to disrupt business as usual. We will be calling for an end to this criminal war and strong action to slow, stop and reverse global warming (www.nowarnowarming.org).
Take Action on Election Violations as Congress Meets to Certify the Vote!
More than a month has passed since voters cast votes for the President and Vice-President of the United States -- but every day, more and more stories surface that call into question the election's integrity.
Machines broke down, counted backwards, eliminated votes, and registered votes for the wrong candidate. progressive and African-American neighborhoods experienced by far the longest lines on election day, the most vote spoilage, the most elimination of provisional ballots, and the most victimization by precinct manipulation.
Four hundred thousand callers phoned voter protection hotlines, with complaints ranging from absentee ballots lost in the mail, to outright voter intimidation and disenfranchisement. And partisan election officials with conflicts of interest undermined voting rights in states from Ohio to Florida to New Mexico. Even progressive Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee have questioned the elections' legitimacy, in a series of rigorous, painstakingly detailed letters documenting the unprecedented extent and scope of vote suppression, available at http://www.house.gov/judiciary_democrats/
How can we have confidence in American democracy when so many questions about this election remain unanswered? In addition to the longstanding issues subtly undermining democracy -- corporate domination of the two major parties, plurality elections, and corporate media bias - the recent election betrayed democratic principles overtly.
Despite the efforts of a few valiant members of Congress, most of our Senators and Representatives have ignored our pleas for serious investigation into the "irregularities" that surrounded the 2004 election. But one more opportunity remains for these government officials to stand for democracy.
Welcome Congress Back with a Demand to Defend and Expand Democracy!
Last Thursday, January 6, history was made when Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Oh.) and Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Ca.) objected to the acceptance of the electoral college votes from Ohio because of the widespread disenfranchisement, suppression and fraud that pervaded the 2004 election. Organizing, protesting, lobbying and massive caller turnout led to their action, with support from over 30 Representatives and more than 12 Senators. And a public spotlight was shone on this critical issue.
None of this would have happened if not for the actions of literally hundreds of thousands of people who flooded Capitol Hill with emails, calls, faxes and visits.
George Bush and Dick Cheney have lied the nation into a war of aggression, are spying in open violation of the law, and have sanctioned the use of torture. These are high crimes and misdemeanors that demand accountability through the Constitutional mechanism of impeachment. Since Congress doesn't seem to get it, we're calling on all Americans who stand for truth, freedom, and justice to join us on April 28 and spell it out for them: IMPEACH!
The FCC is ignoring the public interest to give handouts to massive corporations. This time, Chairman Kevin Martin has thrown the FCC's ethics out the window to speed the mega-merger of BellSouth and AT&T before the incoming Congress can provide oversight.
Martin is forcing one commissioner, Robert McDowell, to overlook a conflict of interest and rubber stamp the AT&T merger without safeguards for Net Neutrality -- the longstanding principle that prevents Internet providers from discriminating between Web sites. This move could undermine basic freedoms for all Internet users.
Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation
To the people of Mexico:
To the people of the world:
Brothers and Sisters:
The attack that our brothers, the people of Oaxaca suffered and suffer cannot be ignored by those who fight for freedom, justice and democracy in all corners of the planet.
This is why, the EZLN calls on all honest people, in Mexico and the world, to initiate, starting now, continual actions of solidarity and support to the Oaxacan people, with the following demands:
For the living reappearance of the disappeared, for the freedom of the detained, for the exit of Ulises Ruiz and the federal forces from Oaxaca, for the punishment of those guilty of torture, rape and murder.
We call to those in this international campaign to tell, in all forms and in all places possible, what has occurred and what is occurring in Oaxaca, everyone in their way, time and place.
We call for these actions to come together in a worldwide mobilization for Oaxaca on December 22, 2006.
The people of Oaxaca are not alone. We have to say so and demonstrate it, to them and to everyone.
For the Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee - General Command of
the Zapatista Army of National Liberation
Insurgent Subcommander Marcos
Mexico, December of 2006
The Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca [APPO] greets with joy the initiative that the EZLN has taken calling to a great world-wide mobilization in solidarity with our people. A great attack against the democratic forces of the mother country is planned today by the extreme right in the political class, and a symptom of that attack is the state of emergency that exists in Oaxaca, the capital of the resistance.
We salute the EZLN and the Other Campaign, so that together we may fortify the unity of all those who refuse to submit [inconformes], the destitute... those without land, with no roof, so that as a single being we can overcome our common enemy. We believe, companer@s, this is our greatest task.
Brothers and sisters of the EZLN, in Oaxaca the state government in complicity with the federal government (a complicity sealed with blood) have [carried out] untied a ferocious persecution against our people without distinction. Today our APPO does not have a place to meet, there is no street in Oaxaca where we can pronounce ourselves without later having out companer@s end up in jail. Oaxaca lives a militarized state... The APPO today is in the dark at night, knowing that little time is left so that the luminous day arrives.
Liberty Tree agrees with the Center for Constitutional Rights that "Congress must go beyond censure and consider impeachment. Recent calls for a censure resolution show that some Senators finally realize that President Bush is out of control. But a censure resolution will not:
The ability of cities to exercise local control over cable television providers is under attack. Legislation that has been introduced in Congress, as well as at the state level, that would take away cities' ability to enter into contracts - known as franchises - with cable companies and other television services providers. Among other things, the legislation would prohibit communities from negotiating with cable companies for continued fiscal support for public access television. The end result of the legislation would likely be either the elimination of community TV, or the raising of regressive property tax to pay for it.
The Sensenbrenner anti-immigrant law winding through Congress makes it a felony to be an immigrant without papers - ie on the same level as rapists and murderers - and allows for the indefinite detention of non-citizens. The legislation makes it a crime if YOU or any family member, teachers, doctors, social workers, nurses, employer, co-workers, or any individual or organization does not turn in immigrants without papers. And the legislation criminalizes day-labor centers, churches, health clinics and all others who serve, help or work with undocumented immigrants. (Note: On this last point, the legislation is akin to the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, the federal law that fed the flames that became the Civil War).
Join United for Peace and Justice in a massive march on Washington, D.C., on Sat., January 27, to call on Congress to take immediate action to end the war.
On Election Day the voters delivered a dramatic, unmistakable mandate for peace. Now it's time for action.
On January 27, 2007, we will converge from all around the country in Washington, D.C. to send a strong, clear message to Congress and the Bush Administration: The people of this country want the war and occupation in Iraq to end and we want the troops brought home now!
Congress has the power to end this war through legislation. We call on people from every congressional district in the country to gather in Washington, DC -- to express support for those members of Congress who are prepared to take immediate action against the war; to pressure those who are hesitant to act; and to speak out against those who remain tied to a failed policy.
The peace and justice movement helped make ending the war in Iraq the primary issue in this last election. The actions we take do make a difference, and now there is a new opportunity for us to move our work forward. On Election Day people took individual action by voting. On January 27 we will take collective action, as we march in Washington, DC, to make sure Congress understands the urgency of this moment.
Also in November, a U.S. federal court granted a preliminary injunction in favor of Lt. Ehren Watada, preventing a second court-martial from proceeding! Charges had been re-filed against Lt. Watada, the first commissioned officer to refuse deployment to Iraq, in Feb. 2007, following a mistrial called during his first court-martial despite the defense's objections. The Army was proceeding with a second court-martial, even though Lt. Watada's appeal based on double jeopardy was still pending.
Conscientious objector Agustín Aguayo has decided to appeal the two felonies on his record to the U.S. Supreme Court. He returned home on May 18, 2007, after serving 7 months of an 8-month sentence for desertion and missing a movement of his unit.
Benton Harbor, Michigan, burst onto the national news in June of 2003 when hundreds of unemployed African American young people rose up in anger after a 28 year old resident, Terrance Shurn, died as a result of police action. This was only the latest of a plague of incidents of racial violence and police brutality over many years. In 2004-2005 Rev. Pinkney and his organization, BANCO, exercised their democratic rights by working in a successful recall campaign against a person who did not represent the community's interests, a corrupt city commissioner backed by the Whirlpool Corporation, the largest employer in the area. Then, in an attempt to circumvent the will of the people, the vote was overturned by a local judge. In a further outrage, Rev. Pinkney was arrested on vote fraud charges. He faces a possible sentence of 20 years.
United for Peace & Justice & Iraq Veterans Against the War
March 19, 2008: the 5th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the beginning of the 6th year of war and occupation, the 6th year of senseless death and massive destruction.
2008 is a critical year in the efforts to bring an end to the war and occupation in Iraq. This is the year the anti-war movement must up the ante, pull out all of the stops and build so much pressure that the war will finally be brought to an end.
United for Peace and Justice is calling for and supporting a set of activities on and around the 5th anniversary that will manifest the intensifying opposition to the war and help strengthen our movement. We invite you to work with us to ensure the success of these actions.
March 13-16, Winter Soldier: UFPJ is committed to providing major support to Iraq Veterans Against the War and its Winter Soldier hearings in Washington, DC, on Marc h 13-16. We will help local groups plan events that directly link to and amplify the Winter Soldier hearings, where those who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as Iraqis and Afghans, will tell the nation the real story of this war.
March 19, Mass Nonviolent Direct Action in Washington, DC: UFPJ has initiated the planning and organizing for what we hope will be the largest day of nonviolent direct action and civil disobedience yet against the war in Iraq. We encourage people to be in Washington, DC, on March 19th to be part of the civil disobedience, or to assist in support work. We are working to have all 50 states represented in this massive action.
March 19, Local Actions Throughout the Country: We encourage those who are not able to make it to Washington on March 19 to organize local actions. These actions may vary in location or character, but they will all be tied to the protest in Washington and all sending a message to the policy makers: It is time to end this war and occupation!
Help us make the 5th anniversary the last anniversary of this war!
Join our efforts to build the strongest actions in March -- actions that will not only mark the anniversary but will also help propel our movement into the critically important work that must be done throughout the year.
George Bush, whose every word about Iraq has been an evil lie, called these battles a "very positive moment" and announced U.S. military "support." But in reality our planes, helicopters, and armored vehicles led the attack.
How much longer will we let Bush lie while our soldiers die?
And how much longer will we let Congress borrow and spend $12 billion per month for a never-ending occupation when we're having an economic meltdown here at home?
American Association of University Professors, UMKC Chapter
The Missouri House passed HB 213, the "Emily Brooker Intellectual Diversity Act," on April 12.
The bill (now S 848) is now before the State Senate.
Most notable is the bill's explicit protection of "the viewpoint that the Bible is inerrant" (infallibility as interpreted by ultra-conservatives). The Act would legally empower fundamentalist students claiming infallibility to file grievances against non-fundamentalist instructors and have them disciplined for "lack of respect" or "viewpoint discrimination." That is, they can be disciplined for rejecting the infallibility of
ultra-conservative tenets (creationism replaces evolution in the life sciences, gay rights are excluded from law and social work curricula, programs in Black Studies, Women's Studies, and Labor Studies are eliminated, etc.).
" Telephone and cable companies want to dominate Internet connections to the home. If they get state legislatures to help them block competition, like they just did in Pennsylvania, these companies would no longer have an important incentive to build their networks to connect the underserved.
Help support community wireless networks by taking action in your state. Find your state below and take action now!
If you live in:
AL, AK, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MO, MN, MS, MT, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NV, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, RI, SC, SD, TN, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV or WY . . .
Your state is in jeopardy of creating roadblocks to community wireless networks."
The debate over the Iraq War changed last week in a simple, but profound way. A bill introduced on Tuesday in the Vermont State Legislature declares that the 2002 federal authorization to call up the State National Guard has expired, and would set in motion steps to recall members of the Vermont Guard. Rep. Michael Fisher, lead sponsor of the Vermont bill says that:
It is clear that the mission that Congress authorized no longer exists. The President has no current or permanent legal authority to keep Guard members in Iraq. The Governor as Commander-in-Chief of the Vermont National Guard should take necessary steps to bring them home.
In addition to the Vermont legislation, sponsored by Rep. Michael Fisher and Senate President Pro-Tempore Peter Shumlin, legislators in Minnesota, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island plan to sponsor similar National Guard legislation in the current legislative session.Legislators in six other states, notably Maryland, Maine, and Wisconsin are working on the issue and considering following suit.
In recent years, twelve state legislatures and over 300 communities have passed resolutions protesting the Iraq War and calling withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. This new legislation is something very different. This legislation actually ends the deployment of the Guard from Iraq.
News media from public radio, to CBS News, to Pacifica and AlterNet have already picked up the story. This new campaign to inject some democracy into our system of national defense is building.
Please take a moment to read more. We've provided you with a copy of the Vermont legislation itself, an FAQ, media reports, and several articles by Liberty Tree's Ben Manski and IPS' Karen Dolan. Just go to our resources page at: http://www.LibertyTreeFDR.org/guard.php
Once you are done reading, it's time for action. Please see below for what you should do.
It is important for elected officials to know that a large number of Americans are no longer willing to vote for candidates who support wars of aggression and who fail to take active leadership to end the occupation of Iraq. Across the political spectrum, independents, Democrats, Greens, Republicans, and Libertarians, are increasingly saying, 'Bring the Troops Home Now!'
The Voters Peace Pledge is an effort to count, organize and make visible this emerging anti-war voting block and to speak with a united voice of conviction which candidates and incumbent politicians CANNOT AFFORD TO IGNORE. Imagine headlines saying 2 million have pledged to vote for peace candidates in 2006! A March, 2006 poll showed that tens of millions of Americans agree with the Peace Pledge. Voters For Peace is committed to get the word out to legislators, the media and the general public that peace voters will not be taken for granted in future elections. Voters For Peace urges you to take a clear stand and let politicians know they cannot take your vote for granted but instead have to earn your vote. Please sign the following pledge.
"I will not vote for or support any candidate for Congress or President who does not make a speedy end to the war in Iraq, and preventing any future war of aggression a public position in his or her campaign."
The movement to bring home the National Guard is growing. State representatives and senators in Minnesota, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island have joined Vermonters in drafting and introducing legislation to keep their state Guard units where they belong. With the latest news out of Iraq and Washington D.C. -- that the troop escalation has failed to end the violence and that the Bush administration will attempt to issue additional call up orders for Guard units this summer and fall -- the time is ripe for state action to keep the Guard in the United States.
This campaign began earliest in Vermont, and it is in Vermont that the effort has made the most progress. The Vermont Senate held hearings on the legislation last month. The Vermont public is debating the issue. Media outlets from the Topeka Capital Journal to CBS national news to the Houston Chronicle have covered the debate. For the first time, Americans are becoming aware of the illegality of National Guard deployments to Iraq. The Vermont debate is educating all of us; we are learning that:
The President may only call the Guard into National Service after Congress has granted him/her that authority; otherwise, the Guard remain under the command of state officials.
The 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force in Iraq (2002 AUMF) was the act of Congress under which National Guard call ups for deployment to Iraq have occurred until now.
The 2002 AUMF set a clear mission for the invasion of Iraq, and that mission is over. Saddam Hussein and Iraq are no long a threat to the United States or the region (if they ever were), and the UN Security Council resolutions on which the 2002 AUMF was based are no longer relevant.
Some state elected officials are willing to stand up and defend the constitutional guarantee of a federal government of limited and enumerated powers, a military designed for national defense and not empire, and a government of laws and not of men!
All of this is already coming to light with a simple legislative push that doesn't even challenge the unconstitutionality of the war itself, or challenge the deployment of the Guard for purposes other than those spelled out in the Constitution. All this legislation says is, "Federal government, we're not even telling you that your laws are unconstitutional, we're just insisting that you to obey your own laws." Is that such a radical thing to ask? Let's find out.
The purpose of the Cancelled Check Campaign is to divert votes and dollars from pro-war candidates. We want to send a message to candidates and incumbents that peace voters will not be taken for granted. At the same time, we want those dollars that could have gone to a pro-war candidate to instead go to a person or organization that is working for peace.
Organizers of March 4 actions to defend public education
An all-day conference on April 24 at Santee Education Complex: 1921 South Maple Avenue, Los Angeles, bringing together schools, student organizations, labor unions, committees, coalitions, and parent and community organizations across the state with a call for involvement from all education sectors – Pre-K-12, Community College, CSU, UC, and Adult Education. The conference is intended to follow on the massive March 4 actions in California and natiowide to defend public education.
The organizers write:
The future of public education in this state - particularly for the working class and communities of color, who are being hit especially hard by the cuts - depends on our ability to unify and push forward the struggle in defense of public education.
The purpose of this Statewide Mobilizing Conference is therefore both simple and extremely urgent: to democratically discuss and decide on a unifying political platform and plan of action capable of bringing together schools, student organizations, labor unions, committees, coalitions, and parent and community organizations across the state to deepen and push forward this powerful and broad movement that shook the state and the country on March 4th.
We ask activists, organizations, and mobilized schools across the state to put their full organizational capacity into helping us collectively to build and promote this conference. We ask for maximum participation from all education sectors – Pre-K-12, Community College, CSU, UC, and Adult Education - and regions, and from all organizations of workers, teachers, and students, and we extend the invitation to all mobilized schools and organizations across the country. Get your union, student government or parent-teacher organization to endorse, attend, and participate in the conference.
The decision to call for this conference was made at the Statewide Mobilizing Conference of October 24th, 2009, where over 800 people from all of the sectors of public education decided together to call for the March 4th Strike and Day of Action in defense of public education.
As people throughout the country struggle under the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, public education from pre-K to higher and adult education is threatened by budget cuts, layoffs, privatization, tuition and fee increases, and other attacks. Budget cuts degrade the quality of public education by decreasing student services and increasing class size, while tuition hikes and layoffs force the cost of the recession onto students and teachers and off of the financial institutions that caused the recession in the first place. Non-unionized charter schools threaten to divide, weaken and privatize the public school system and damage teachers’ unions, which are needed now more than ever. More and more students are going deep into debt to finance their education, while high unemployment forces many students and youth to join the military to receive a higher education. And all of the attacks described above have hit working people and people of color the hardest.
In California, students, teachers, workers, parents, and faculty have taken action against these attacks. They took to the streets in a one-day strike on September 24th, organized strikes and actions across the state during the University of California Board of Regents meeting from November 18th to 20th, and have called for a state-wide day of action on March 4th. These actions have created a broad mass movement in California, drawing in students from all over the state to create a powerful struggle. As the effects of the economic crisis continue to spread into the education system nationally, it’s time to join our voices with students and workers in California and draw inspiration from their example.
We support each group or coalition organizing in the manner and for the duration of their choosing. In solidarity with those in California, we the below-signed individuals and organizations call on students, teachers, workers, parents, faculty, and staff across the country to join together on March 4th to Take A Stand For Education!
Rapid advances in the development of cyberweapons and malicious software mean that electronic-voting machines used in the 2012 election could be hacked, potentially tipping the presidential election or a number of other races.
Since the machines are not connected to the Internet, any hack would not be a matter of someone sneaking through cyberspace to change ballots. Rather, the concern is that an individual hacker, a partisan group, or even a nation state could infect voting machines by gaining physical access to them or by targeting the companies that service them.
Wisconsin residents may know that the photo ID provision of the 2011 election reform law has been struck down, but flying under the radar are other parts of the law that remain in force.
Thousands of new voters and others who vote only in presidential elections may be surprised to find out that the pre-Election Day voting period has been shortened, that they are required to sign a poll book and they must live in a ward 28 days to vote there.
But the lesser-known change that could have the greatest effect voters is a ban on "corroboration" — the practice of allowing new or recently relocated voters to establish residency in a ward and register to vote by having someone vouch for them if they lack an acceptable document that shows their address.
Democracy Now and Rep. John Lewis discuss the movemement to pass the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and his experiences as a leader in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Lewis reflects on the restrictive voting laws that target people of color. "It is so important for people to understand, to know that people suffered, struggled," Lewis says. "Some people bled, and some died, for the right to participate. The vote is the most powerful nonviolent tool that we have in a democratic society. It’s precious. It’s almost sacred. We have to use it. If not, we will lose it."
Despite the heat and threat of thunderstorms, about 500 African-Americans are gathered in Rowlett Park for an end-of-summer day of barbecuing, dancing and playing cards. It’s the fifth annual Old School Picnic, a community park jam that brings together two black neighborhoods that were torn apart when the College Hill and Ponce de Leon public housing projects were razed in 2000. Earlier that morning, President Barack Obama held a massive campaign rally in nearby St. Petersburg, trying to turn out every last vote in this key swing state. The week before, Republicans had made their big bid for Florida at their national convention.
Democracy Now discusses how voter suppression in the 2012 elections will prevent millions of eligible voters from being able to cast a ballot or have their ballot counted. Greg Palast is the author of the recently released New York Times bestseller, "Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps."
Ten states now have unprecedented restrictive voter ID laws. Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin all require citizens to produce specific types of government-issued photo identification before they can cast a vote that will count. Legal precedent requires these states to provide free photo ID to eligible voters who do not have one. Unfortunately, these free IDs are not equally accessible to all voters. This report is the first comprehensive assessment of the difficulties that eligible voters face in obtaining free photo ID.
If We the People are sovereign, we must control the government. Corporations are created and chartered by the government which, acting on behalf of We the People, gives corporations privileges, not rights. Neither the government, without the consent of the governed, nor corporations have the right to rule over the people. Since corporations have gained the legal status of persons, corporations have accumulated rights and become rulers — in other words, they can tell the government what to do.
This report reviews how prepared each state is to ensure that every eligible voter can vote, and that every
vote is counted as cast. Because we cannot predict where machines will fail during the upcoming national
election, every state should be as prepared as possible for system failures.
The Verified Voting Foundation, the Rutgers Law School Newark Constitutional Litigation Clinic and
Common Cause surveyed states’ voting equipment and ranked the states according to their preparedness.
The rankings are based on how states laws and practices compare to a set of best practices already being
used in some places.
In a forthcoming law review article, Richard Briffault of Columbia Law School argues that the rise of super PACs and unfettered contributions and spending this election cycle are “effectively ending the post-Watergate era of campaign finance laws.”
To help understand what is shaping up as a watershed election cycle, I asked Briffault to explain the path that took the country from stringent post-Watergate contribution limits through Citizens United to today’s multi-billion-dollar free-for-all.
On Wednesday, October 10, eight lawyers from five different law firms in northern Virginia assembled in a DLA Piper conference room here for voter protection training from the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. It was the first of fifteen training sessions before election day in this crucial battleground state.
The Election Protection coalition plans to recruit 10,000 volunteers to assist at the polls during early voting and on election day in twenty states, particularly in high-turnout minority voting areas and historically disenfranchised communities. It will staff thirty-two call centers in English and Spanish through its 866-Our-Vote hotline. This conference room will be one of them.
In the past two years, states across the country passed a wave of laws that could make it harder to vote. The Brennan Center chronicled these laws in our report, Voting Law Changes in 2012(originally published on October 3, 2011)
UPDATED 10/16/2012: Voting Laws in effect for the 2012 election
Fourteen states have passed restrictive voting laws and executive actions that have the potential to impact the 2012 election, representing 185 electoral votes, or 68 percent of the total needed to win the presidency.
A breakdown of laws and executive actions in effect in 2012:
Democracy Now interviews author George Farah and Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald about how the Commission on Presidential Debates restricts the ability of the presidential debates to be fair and open. The broadcast ends with an interview with two of the leaders in the Chilean student movement, which recieved an award for organizing Chile's largest protests for free higher education. (skip past headlines to get to interviews):
The much-delayed work of setting federal standards for electronic voting machines is speeding up, and there is reason for concern. Voting machine companies and their supporters have been given a large say in the process, while advocates for voters, including those who insist on the use of voter-verified paper receipts, have been pushed to the margins. Election officials and machine makers may be betting that after the presidential election, ordinary Americans have lost interest in the mechanics of the ballot. But Americans do care, and it is unlikely that they will be satisfied by a process in which special interests dominate, or by a result that does not ensure vote totals that can be trusted.
On August 28, 2006, the Brennan Center released a report and policy proposals regarding the performance of various voting systems and their ability to allow voters to cast valid ballots that reflect their intended choices without undue delay or burdens. This system quality is known as usability. Following several high-profile controversies in the last few elections including most notoriously, the 2000 controversy over the butterfly ballot in Palm Beach voting system usability is a subject of utmost concern to voters and election officials.
When news broke that California's electronic voting machines were vulnerable to cyber-attack, it was a team of computer scientists from the University of California, Santa Barbara, who hacked one of the systems, eventually leading California Secretary of State Debra Bowen to bar use of the machine in state elections.
"We tried to violate their security any way we could," Giovanni Vigna said of the machines, manufactured by Sequoia and until recently in use in Ventura County. "We successfully compromised the system."
The way the two major parties control the presidential debates is a perfect microcosm of how political debates are restricted in general. Though typically shrouded in secrecy, several facts about this process have recently come to light and they are quite instructive.
Jane Platten gestured, bleary-eyed, into the secure room filled with voting machines. It was 3 a.m. on Nov. 7, and she had been working for 22 hours straight. “I guess we’ve seen how technology can affect an election,” she said. The electronic voting machines in Cleveland were causing trouble again.
Germany's highest court has ruled that the use of electronic voting in the last general election was unconstitutional.
September's upcoming elections looks set to see a return to the more traditional pencil and paper countrywide.