In open letter, Mayor Baraka calls on President Trump to fix nation’s failing water infrastructure rather than pursuing a manufactured border crisis #p2
Camila Thorndike offers a list of some ways the GOP tax scam intends to destroy the environment. She found these items less than a day after the 500+ page tax bill was released to Capitol Hill politicians for the first time last night, just an hour before the GOP began pushing for the bill to be voted on. So more horrible measures will probably be found over time.
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What you do when devastation hits you and there is no help in the horizon. We will make it. pic.twitter.com/Powj7UDeFe
— Carmen Yulín Cruz (@CarmenYulinCruz) October 8, 2017
Here’s the body of the Mayor’s message:
Puerto Ricans have suffered greatly in the past month. Two hurricanes devastated our homes and our electrical infrastructure leaving us without the essentials to survive: drinkable water, food and medicine. But perhaps more frustrating has been the devastating actions, time after time, by a President whose tweets, comments and actions seem to be taken out of a book on “how to add insult to injury” rather than a book on “how to help during a humanitarian crisis”. He is simply incapable of understanding the contributions, the sacrifices and the commitment to democratic values that Puerto Ricans have shown over decades. His actions are unbecoming of a leader of the free world.
Mr President, you seem to want to disregard the moral imperative that your administration has been unable to fulfill. Your replacement of the FEMA Coordinator in Puerto Rico is an admission that things are not going the way they should. Your tweets and comments just show desperation and underscore the inadequacy of your government’s response to this humanitarian crisis. It is not that you do not get it, it is that you are incapable of empathy and frankly simply cannot get the job done.
Ever since this ordeal began, San Juan has had over 300 sustained volunteers from the United States. Good, hard working people from New York, Florida, California, Texas and many others who embody the fundamental values of compassion, ingenuity and hard work that you are certainly unable to express. These men and women, most of them union workers, have literally taken care of our bodies and souls. They did not come for a photo op or to throw paper towels and insults at us. They came to help, something you seem to be unable to grasp. These volunteers have seen the horror that you continue to want to dismiss. They embody the true spirit of the American values that you dismiss with every inappropriate and derogatory action and comment.
Tweet away your hate to mask your administration’s mishandling of this humanitarian crisis. While you are amusing yourself throwing paper towels at us, your compatriots and the world are sending love and help our way. Condemn us to a slow death of non drinkable water, lack of food, lack of medicine while you keep others eager to help from reaching us since they face the impediment of the Jones Act.
I ask every American that has love, and not hate in their hearts, to stand with Puerto Rico and let this President know we WILL NOT BE LEFT TO DIE. I ask the United Nations, UNICEF and the world to stand with the people of Puerto Rico and stop the genocide that will result from the lack of appropriate action of a President that just does not get it because he has been incapable of looking in our eyes and seeing the pride that burns fiercely in our hearts and souls.
No one needs an invitation to help, to feed the hungry, to cure the sick, to give a helping hand to those in need. Simply put: HELP US. WITHOUT ROBUST and CONSISTENT HELP, WE WILL DIE.
Mr. President fulfill your moral imperative towards the people of Puerto Rico.
Carmen Yulin Cruz
Mayor of San Juan
Senator Nia H. Gill (D-Essex, Passaic) today called on the New Jersey Secretary of State to reject a request by President Trump’s election commission to turn over state voter data. The commission was established to investigate unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud.
The commission, chaired by Vice President Mike Pence and Vice Chaired by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, sent letters to 50 states and the District of Columbia last week asking for information, including names, addresses, birth dates and party affiliations of registered voters in each state. It also sought felony convictions, military statuses, the last four digits of Social Security numbers and voting records dating back to 2006, according to published reports. To date, 44 states have already refused to comply, according to a story published today on CNN.com:
President Trump has made claims for months that millions of people voted illegally in the last election, without a shred of evidence. Now he is using those unfounded claims to justify the collection of personal information and voter data from all 50 states.
This request is alarming. Under no circumstance should the state of New Jersey turn over our residents’ information to this commission. I am calling on the Secretary of State to protect our state’s voter information, and refuse to comply with this illegitimate request.
No one believes this Trump-created panel is interested in protecting the right to vote. The commission was created with the goal of legitimizing Trump’s widely discredited claims of voter fraud and is headed by Kris Kobach, the politically-driven Kansas Secretary of State.
New Jersey should not contribute to the president’s effort to undermine the integrity of the election system. The Secretary of State must inform the people of New Jersey if she intends to share the personal information of the residents of the state with this illegitimate panel – silence in not an option.
If you’re still wondering whether Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) is worth putting time into, here’s another testimony to mull over. On Bill Maher’s RealTime, guest Bradley Whitford talks about the high quality training CCL offers to teach Americans how to talk about climate change with Republicans. Because climate change needs to be a lobbying priority and conversations about it must take place on both sides of the aisle.
When: Wed., June 7th, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. (doors open at 6 p.m.)
Where: Johnson Public Library, 274 Main St, Hackensack NJ
Here’s what you can expect at the event: Free Press members, residents, journalists, and community leaders will be gathering to share ideas on how local media can better serve the public. You’ll get a chance to meet others like you, take action to address New Jersey’s local news crisis, and brainstorm about the steps we can take together to improve coverage in your community.
Bill Moyers points out, “the Census is key to the work (of) researchers and journalists,” so hobbling the Census’ data collection process will hobble the ability of independent analysts to examine the realities of American life and to tell accurate and authoritative stories about it. Furthermore, funding to serve Americans is allocated according to the composition of neighborhoods and households – and these characteristics are established through the Census.
And by the way, did you know that the U.S. Census is required in our Constitution?
Marquette University archivist William Fliss tells how census data shows the transformation of the United States from a new republic to the nation it is today.
Slate shares a short synopsis of the Census’ importance in terms of services for Americans:
The decennial census is critical to ensuring that Americans are fairly represented in Washington, since it’s used as the basis for congressional redistricting. A mishandled census could undercount poor and minority populations, putting some states and many cities at a demographic disadvantage…
The best description of the Census’ importance comes, naturally, from the Census Bureau website (at least until Trump removes it):
The U.S. Census counts every resident in the United States. It is mandated by Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution and takes place every 10 years. The data collected by the decennial census determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives and is also used to distribute billions in federal funds to local communities.
The 2010 Census represented the most massive participation movement ever witnessed in our country. Approximately 74 percent of the households returned their census forms by mail; the remaining households were counted by census workers walking neighborhoods throughout the United States. National and state population totals from the 2010 Census were released on December 21, 2010. Redistricting data, which include additional state, county and local counts, will be released starting in February 2011.
“The actual enumeration shall be made within three years after the first meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent term of 10 years, in such manner as they shall by Law direct.”
~ Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution of the United States
Gerrymandering is what has allowed elections to be skewed toward Republican control
That bit about Census data driving the way election districts are drawn and how many Congressional Representative each state gets: is actually the reason why Republicans have recently acquired increasing control over Congress even during Democratic presidencies.
Bill Moyers’ David Daley opened up discussion about the power of gerrymandering in August 2016.
For all of the misleading nonsense about “rigged elections” coming from the Trump camp this summer, we haven’t talked enough about the way our electoral map really was rigged by Republicans after the 2010 census. These tilted (gerrymandered) maps make it possible for the Republicans to govern with a supermajority in Ohio, North Carolina and Wisconsin – despite getting less votes overall.
The WaPo elaborates:
How do conservative Republicans maintain so much power in the House, even though Americans reelected a liberal president and polls show that the GOP suffers from high disapproval ratings?
Salon editor David Daley’s punchy, though overstated, new book lays the blame for Republican power in the House on partisan gerrymandering, the byzantine process through which state legislatures draw district lines to favor incumbents from one party. Challenging the claim that increased partisan polarization is a result of voters naturally sorting themselves into red and blue states, Daley argues that a group of operatives in the Republican Party did the sorting for them. The GOP poured money into an unprecedented effort to control governorships and state legislative bodies in 2010 and to then redraw congressional districts so that the party could turn the House into a firewall against the Democrats.
While the term “gerrymander” has been around since the early years of the republic, computer technology and big money have allowed governors and legislatures to perfect the process in ways that have never before been imagined, according to Daley. The same technology that allows Amazon to figure out who buys what in any home on a given block now allows party officials to do the same with elections.
Although his argument might not be as sexy as talking about how money corrupts politics or how the 24-hour news media leaves us all screaming, the success of Republican legislatures and governors at redrawing congressional districts is the reason, he says, House Republican incumbents have increased their power and don’t have to worry about any “wave” election that would shift control to the other party.
So now: Why did the Census Bureau’s director quit?
Sabotage is probably the reason Census Bureau Director John Thompson resigned today on 11 May 2017. He probably looked at the writing on the wall and understood that the Trump administration has little intention of allowing a fair, impartial and complete Census of the American people to be held this cycle. Slate share some of the ways the sabotage is being carried out:
Washington Post gives a neat synopsis of what The People stand to lose if Trump appointed Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai gets his wish and finds a way to reverse the Obama era protections establishing net neutrality, which WaPo defines as, “the regulations that forbid Internet providers from blocking or slowing Internet traffic.”
The rules, approved by the FCC during the Obama administration, classified Internet providers as “common carriers” — a move that allowed the agency to regulate those companies more strictly than before. In addition to banning the blocking or slowing of Internet traffic, the regulations also gave the FCC the ability to investigate business practices among Internet providers that it deemed potentially anticompetitive.
Supporters of the regulations argue that they are a vital consumer protection that prevents Internet providers from abusing their strategic position between Internet users and the rest of the Web. Without strong regulations, they say, Internet providers will be free to raise costs for consumers — such as charging customers extra to keep their personal data private, or to be able to view certain websites or use certain apps. Meanwhile, advocates say, ISPs could be allowed to charge website owners extra fees to reach consumers’ screens, and determine what apps and services may flourish online.
Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg received the National Newspaper Association Open Government Award for her legislative advocacy to promote government transparency and accountability. The award was presented to the senator Thursday by NNA President Matt Paxton during the 2017 Community Newspaper Leadership Summit at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
“Whether at the state or national level, an attack on the media is an attack on our democracy. Particularly during these uncertain times, we have to stand in support of a free and independent press. I am committed to continuing the fight for government transparency and accountability and am honored to receive this award from the National Newspaper Association,” said Senator Weinberg (D-Bergen). “I am also dedicated to continuing the work that I’ve done over the last several years to reform the state’s open government laws to make government more accessible to the public. A strong press and transparent government are the best safeguards for truth in our state and our country.”
Senator Weinberg led the fight against legislation that would have eliminated the requirement that public notices are published in newspapers, and was successful in blocking the bill from advancing late last year. The senator has also championed reforms to New Jersey’s open government laws, the Open Public Records Act and the Open Public Meetings Act, that would update and modernize the state’s decades-old laws.
Established in 1885, the National Newspaper Association (NNA) is a not-for-profit trade association representing the owners, publishers and editors of America’s community newspapers. NNA’s mission is to protect, promote and enhance America’s community newspapers. Today, NNA’s 2,200 members make it the largest national newspaper association.
In addition to Senator Weinberg, those speaking at the event included Martin “Marty” Baron, executive editor of the Washington Post, who previously served as editor of The Boston Globe which, under his leadership, won a Pulitzer Prize for its investigation into clergy sex abuse and was the basis for the movie Spotlight.
Over at the Palmer Report, Bill Palmer tells us the way National Park employees found to stand up to Trump, who is blocking federal employees from commenting on climate change to the extent that he has issued a gag order to prevent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from mentioning it and has deleted tweets made by the National Park Service (NPS) and even suspended the Twitter account of one park account that tweeted about climate change. An anonymous group of individuals has created an unofficial Twitter account for park and climate change news that Trump can’t touch.
The anonymous Park Service account is @AltNatParkSer, which bills itself as The Unofficial “Resistance” team of U.S. National Park Service. Not taxpayer subsidised!
Here are the details of what happened:
In his first days in office, Donald Trump has made a point of censoring and restricting what the National Park Service can and cannot say on its various official Twitter accounts. After the NPS tweeted photos of Trump’s small inauguration crowd, he temporarily suspended its Twitter privileges. And when the Badlands tweeted about climate change today, those tweets were then deleted. But now some unnamed individuals within the National Park Service have created an unofficial Twitter account that Trump can’t touch.
Trump doesn’t have the ability to shut down a Twitter account, or to suspend it from being usable; only Twitter the company would be able to do that. Instead he’s been sabotaging the National Park Service Twitter accounts by presumably threatening to fire people if they dare to tweet things he doesn’t like, or if they tweet during times when he’s put them in the penalty box. But he can only do that if he knows who’s tweeting.
You are not equal. Even if you feel like you are. You still make less than a man for doing the same work. You make less as a CEO, as an athlete, as an actress, as a doctor. You make less in government, in the tech industry, in healthcare.
You still don’t have full rights over your own body. Men are still debating over your uterus. Over your prenatal care. Over your choices.
You still have to pay taxes for your basic sanitary needs…
You are not equal. Your daughters are not equal. You are still systemically oppressed.
Estonia allows parents to take up to three years of leave, fully paid for the first 435 days. United States has no policy requiring maternity leave.
Singapore’s women feel safe walking alone at night. American women do not.
New Zealand’s women have the smallest gender gap in wages, at 5.6%. United States’ pay gap is 20%.
Iceland has the highest number of women CEOs, at 44%. United States is at 4.0%.
The United States ranks at 45 for women’s equality. Behind Rwanda, Cuba, Philippines, Jamaica.
Support and read good, honest news and reporters
Charles M. Blow hard hitting New York Times writer who tells it like it needs to be told
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
Real Time with Bill Maher
Bill Moyers and Company
Nicholas Kristof New York Times columnist and Half the Sky founder
Comedian W. Kamau Bell
All of the fine writers at Bill Moyers & Company
Watch The Messy Truth series with Van Jones
The Young Turks
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
Follow Robert Reich, former US Labor Secretary turned political commentator
All In With Chris Hayes
Wired: Fake Think Tanks Fuel Fake News—And the President’s Tweets
Mashable: Trump’s new White House website contains plenty of ‘alternative facts’
A Closer Look – Late Night With Seth Myers
The Late Show with Steven Colbert
Trump requires Press Secretary Sean Spicer to lie to the American people
To all of you young people all riled up because #orangeman became president:
Better vote next time around.
Meanwhile, join the FreePress 100 Days of Disruption and learn what protecting democracy means. Remember, democracy is not a spectator process. By definition, it can only be a participatory one.
All factual information from the Obama presidency is not lost! The President Obama White House website, including its Spanish language pages and its data catalog all remain publicly accessible at the ObamaWhiteHouse.gov website. Even the Obama White House social media feeds have been archived there.
Creation of this resource is another huge reason to thank President Obama: as of 23 January 2017, the incoming administration has already removed both climate change data and all Spanish language information. Pres. Obama’s team tells why he created the archive and what you’ll find there:
In January 2017, the White House website was archived as a way to preserve the online presence of the administration of President Barack Obama. Additionally, the websites for Mrs. Obama’s Let’s Move! Initiative, the We The People Petitions, and the White House Data Catalog (open.whitehouse.gov) were also preserved. These websites are historical material, “frozen in time.” They are no longer updated and links to external websites and some internal pages will not work.
These archived websites are an excellent resource for photographs, speeches, press releases, digital data, and other public domain records of the Obama Presidency from 2009–2017.
The official files making up the websites are archived in NARA’s Electronic Records Archives (ERA), however the website interface and functionality is preserved for easy use by the public through this portal.
09 January 2017
TRENTON – Two pieces of legislation sponsored by Senator M. Teresa Ruiz and Senator Fred H. Madden focusing on helping the homeless in New Jersey received was signed into law today.
“It must be a top priority of government to protect the health, safety and welfare of our residents,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “Providing basic government documents to those without a permanent residence free of charge is the right thing to do, since these documents are vital to accessing any number of services and to obtaining housing and employment.”
“This is a small way we can help those who have fallen on hard times and it’s the right thing to do,” said Senator Madden (D-Gloucester/Camden). “Those who are homeless may not have the ability to pay for an identification card or a copy of a birth certificate, which could potentially prevent them from getting the critical services they need.”
The first bill signed into law, S-2350, allows a homeless person to obtain, duplicate, or renew a non-driver identification card without paying fees to the Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC). In order for the fee to be waived, the law requires a homeless person to submit proof of temporary residence through a social worker or the coordinator of an emergency shelter for the homeless where the person is temporarily residing.
Currently, residents who are 14 years of age and older may apply to the MVC for a non-driver identification card, for a fee of $24. The card is issued solely for the purpose of providing identification and is not a license to drive.
The second law, S-2351 will permit homeless people to obtain free certified copies of their birth certificates by submitting a request for the certificate to the State Registrar of Vital Statistics through a social worker or through the coordinator of the emergency shelter for the homeless where the person is temporarily residing.
The law would also amend current law to waive any fee associated with attaining a certified copy of a birth certificate.
Both pieces of legislation cleared the Senate and the Assembly unanimously.
S-2350 takes effect in August and S-2351 takes effect immediately.