Wednesday 3/21 – Russia Watch – Omnibus spending bill and the Mueller Investigation.

McCain1Link here.

Action #1 – #ProtectOurVote #PaperBallots

(from Loyal Opposition) Yesterday, we posted a call to action AGAINST many of the toxic riders the GOP has attached to  the Omnibus Spending Bill.

Today, we’re asking you to ask your legislators to attach something good. Like protecting our own elections against Russian interference.

House Democrats issued a comprehensive review of state voter system vulnerabilities and want $400 million in the Omnibus Appropriations bill which could be voted on as early as next week to help states convert to paper ballots and harden their systems against cyber-attacks.

The evidence behind their request is irrefutable. Russia hacked into state voter systems in the 2016 election, successfully penetrating several of the systems in the 21 states they attempted to hack.

The heads of U.S. intelligence agencies unanimously testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee that Russia is determined to interfere with our mid-term elections and could cause havoc by tampering with state voter systems.

Our state election systems desperately need to be upgraded: one in four U.S. voters vote on a system with no paper trail, and many others vote on systems that give the voter a receipt, but leave no paper trail that would allow the state to audit the accuracy of the vote count.

Most states have been attempting to harden their systems against cyber-attacks, but many lack the funds and expertise to get it done before the 2018 elections.

Action: Call your House Representative and urge him or her to provide money in the Omnibus Appropriations bill to help states convert to paper ballots that provide an audit trail and harden cyber security defenses. Continue reading “Wednesday 3/21 – Russia Watch – Omnibus spending bill and the Mueller Investigation.”

Wed. 2/21 – Elections and the battle for our hearts and minds.

Some people do this for the money.

A group of teenagers in Macedonia built a large network of sites spreading false information shortly before the 2016 election because making outrageous statements drove a lot of traffic to them, which translate to a lot of ad revenue.

Others do it for power.

(Washington Post) “…there’s direct political value in spreading misinformation. Setting aside the value that Trump himself sees in misrepresenting reality, there has been a deliberate effort to spread inaccurate information about political candidates and issues — Hillary Clinton, Brexit, etc. — to both shape public opinion and to make it harder to discern real from fake. If you see one article claiming that millions of people were caught voting illegally and another reporting (correctly) that there is no evidence at all of widespread voter fraud, the issue may seem as though it’s still being litigated.”

Most of us realize that still photos can be manipulated with tools like Photoshop. However, technology now allows motivated users to alter videos as well.

Ultimately, it’s our thoughts, opinions and core beliefs that are being Photoshopped and reshaped.

A person’s facial expressions can be altered in a video.
This can change anyone into a real-life marionette, seemingly saying words that are supplied by the video creator.

Continue reading “Wed. 2/21 – Elections and the battle for our hearts and minds.”

Wednesday 2/14 – Protect Elections and the ADA.

“We saw a targeting of 21 states and an exceptionally small number of them were actually successfully penetrated.” – nbc news

Wait a minute…what?

#1 – Support the DETER Act: Defend Our Elections from Foreign Interference

With the 2018 midterm elections only 9 months away, it is urgent that stronger security measures are put in place to protect the integrity of our elections from foreign interference. The DETER Act (Defending Elections from Threats by Establishing Redlines Act) (S. 2313/ HR 4884) will require monitoring, reporting, and imposing of severe penalties and sanctions on foreign governments that engage in actions interfering in our elections.

Action: Call your rep. (HR 4884) and both senators (S. 2313). How-to-call information at bottom.

Minimal Script: I’m calling from [zip code] to ask that Rep./Sen. [___]  co-sponsor the bipartisan DETER Act (HR 4884,S. 2313).

More info: 

  • Bi-partisans senators move to deter future election interference (theHill)
  • Russians penetrated US voter systems, says top US officials (nbc news)

#2 – Going old-school – remove the paperless voting machines 

Continue reading “Wednesday 2/14 – Protect Elections and the ADA.”

The Miller Saturday Review – 1/6/17 Edition

(Collection of news from the week for fellow wonks and concerned citizens by Barb Miller of Indivisible Ventura)

Legislation on our minds this week…

    • S. 2016 –  No Unconstitutional Strike Against North Korea Act of 2017  Deeming that there is insufficient protection against global catastrophe, Senator Ed Markey advocated for his bill, which points out that the Constitution forbids presidents from launching wars that have not been declared by Congress, and which includes a ban on using any funds to violate the law by nuking North Korea.  The hearing’s witnesses, and Senators from both major parties, made clear that they did not trust the president to obey laws. In fact, in launching a war, nuclear or otherwise, Trump would violate not only the Constitution but also the Kellogg-Briand Pact and the United Nations Charter. The latter also bans threatening war, which Trump does on a regular basis.  Introduced 10/26/2017
    • S. 2047 – Preventing Preemptive War in  North Korea Act of 2017. No funds may be used for kinetic military operations in North Korea absent an imminent threat to the United States without express congressional authorization.
    • S 2148 – Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2017 A bill to authorize dedicated domestic terrorism offices within the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to analyze and monitor domestic terrorist activity and require the Federal Government to take steps to prevent domestic terrorism. 11/16/2017  referred to the Committee on the Judiciary
    • H.R. 3771 —     Special Counsel Integrity Act. Bipartisan legislation which protects the Russia collusion investigation by taking away Donald Trumps ability to fire special counsel Robert Mueller.

Civil Liberties Continue reading “The Miller Saturday Review – 1/6/17 Edition”

Sanity-Saving Good News -“Thanksgiving” Edition

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello everyone! We’ve made it the  first Thanksgiving in the age of Trump. Thanks to all of you who’ve been working hard to protect our citizens, our immigrants, our students, our environment, and our civil rights from those who stand to gain by harming us.

Welcome to those who’ve just started on this seemingly endless battlefield. You will meet some of the most amazing people and friends amongst your new comrades-in-arms.

For today, we’re gathering as much good news and useful things together to make your day better, even if that uncle that makes everyone crazy comes…

If fact…ESPECIALLY if that uncle comes. If he want to talk about taxes, send him here. If he wants to denigrate fellow Americans for their religion, their race, or their relationship preferences, the Women’s March has put together a conversational toolkit called “Daring Discussions“. “The stakes are too high to remain silent in the face of bigotry and injustice.” It’s up to us to be willing to confront current injustices, as well as acknowledging historical ones, like the violence inflicted on indigenous peoples and recognize that Thanksgiving is a day of mourning for many of our indigenous citizens.

So, let’s start by putting aside childish things…Like the fairy tale of Thanksgiving itself.

In related news, the Morongo Band of Mission Indians have distributed 10,000 turkeys as part of their 32 year long Thanksgiving Outreach Program.

The kids are alright!

Continue reading “Sanity-Saving Good News -“Thanksgiving” Edition”

Take a moment… Now find your pens and crayons and let’s get to work…

(From our Sunday Sanity-Saving Good news column.)

IndivisibleVentura.org is organizing weekly postcard-writing huddles. Watch for place and time in our “Events” listing.

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Want to help Doug Jones to beat Roy Moore in Alabama? Can you write short notes on postcards to encourage Alabama citizens to get out and vote on Dec. 12th?

Friendly, handwritten election reminders from volunteer to targeted voters is giving Democrats a winning edge in close, key races coast to coast.

Become a member of the postcard brigade!

How do you do it?
1) email Tony at join@tonythedemocrat.org, and you’ll get instructions & addresses .
2) Get some postcards and stamps. Link below to stamp source.
3) Tony has some phrases from the campaign that need to be on the card. If you write small, there’s other talking points you can add.
4) Once you’re vetted, you can request as many addresses as you want from “Abby the address bot” It’s a great texting tool.
5) Call Mandy at 781-424-2088 if you have any questions.

https://twitter.com/hashtag/PostcardsToVoters?src=hash

Postcard stamps at a discount:  https://www.etsy.com/listing/522977669/postcards-to-voters-34-cent-vintage

Postcard Gallery:  from simple to crazy-amazing.  Don’t worry if you can’t draw a straight line. All are effective! Continue reading “Take a moment… Now find your pens and crayons and let’s get to work…”

Venturans – Join in! Help determine new districts to bring representation to all.

CAUSE (Central Coast Alliance for a Sustainable Economy) has successfully spearheaded an effort to switch Ventura from a city-wide election model to a district-base one. District elections guarantee a voice for underrepresented neighborhoods like the Westside, leading to more diverse leadership at City Hall. While one in three Ventura residents is a person of color, Ventura has never had a non-white city councilmember, an issue that’s put us in violation of the California Voting Rights Act.

However, there are other benefits of using districts. By reducing the size of a voting area, the cost of running for office is greatly reduced, making it possible for more people to consider running for local office. It currently costs an average of $18,000 to win a seat on Ventura City Council, as candidates must pay to run expensive citywide advertisements. Districts bring elections down to the neighborhood level, promoting grassroots democracy. District elections also keep our representatives more accountable to listening to their neighbors instead of wealthy interests.

So, now the mapping of the districts begins and this is where you come in. We can help place the lines of the seven new districts.

Here’s the city’s link: https://www.cityofventura.ca.gov/districtelections

There are paper maps you can download, interactive maps and an on-line district-drawing tool. Also, attend the public hearings (hearing dates

Continue reading “Venturans – Join in! Help determine new districts to bring representation to all.”