Gerrymandering helped the GOP win big – so they seek to expand their advantage by sabotaging 2020 Census

The Census in the Constitution

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? read more

That disgusting hand sign #45 likes to make – is the sign for White Power

#45's White Power Hand Sign
#45’s White Power Hand Sign Source: independent.co.uk

What is our degenerate non-leader doing in this picture? Right, you guessed it – something disgusting. His hand sign consists of forming the letter W with three fingers and P with the circle of his thumb and index finger and the line that is formed by the base of his thumb.

This is a symbol for White Power. And the president of the United States makes it openly. God help us.

NJ Sen. Loretta Weinberg hailed as champion of a free press and gov’t transparency

Press freedom via freepress.net
Press Freedom source: freepress.net
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.” read more

A list of excellent real news sources and tips for finding and protecting the truth

plato - the price of apathy

List of expository and investigative news sources – plus tips for finding truths and protecting them

So, please. Tell me again how your vote doesn’t matter.

voting makes a difference
Source: Association of Veterinary Students UK & Ireland

To all of you young people all riled up because #orangeman became president:

Better vote next time around.

100 Days of Disruption
Source: FreePress

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.

Obama’s entire White House website, including data and Español/Spanish now live at the Obama Library site

White House website
Source: Wikipedia

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. read more

Trevor Noah talks about his book on growing up in apartheid South Africa and inviting Tomi Lahren to The Daily Show

Trevor Noah on The Breakfast Club
Source: The Breakfast Club via YouTube

Trevor Noah speaks on The Breakfast Club about his autobiographical book on growing up knowing his birth – as a biracial child – was a crime in apartheid South Africa … a place where his mother had to dress as his nanny in order to be able to walk down the street with him.

Noah shares his questions and opinions on Donald Trump and speaks about his decision to invite Tomi Lahren to be his guest on The Daily Show. One reason for doing it was to have the chance to be heard by her audience, who otherwise would never learn anything about him.

Noah is a confirmed supporter of women, and women’s rights. He took fans who spoke crudely about Tomi after her show appearance. Noah told them, you can’t do that: you can’t pretend to be a defender of people rights when you turn around and make misogynistic statements about a woman.

The Breakfast Club interview is almost 50 minutes long, but well worth a listen, or a watch.

Opposition to draconian policies & politics can succeed

einstein-on-evil
Via Pinterest

This heartening Op-Ed by Tina Rosenberg on the power of protests via the New York Times demonstrates that standing up against bad policies and politics can produce success … especially when the cause is just and the movement is organized.

And keep in mind … we must protect the open internet now more than ever before, so we can communicate freely. One of Trump’s first targets is dismantling the FCC, which has offered internet users a meaningful level of First Amendment and corporate abuse protections.

An excerpt:

Pull out the pillars. Gene Sharp, an American academic who is the guru of strategic nonviolence, argues that every leader, no matter his power, relies on obedience. Without the consent of the governed, power disappears. The goal of a civic movement should be to withdraw consent. Pull out the pillars, and the whole structure falls.

Trump Day 1: hate-based attacks, pussy-grabbing, threats – documented on reporter Shaun King’s Twitter feed

Shaun King
Source: Shaun King video clip screenshot

NY Daily News reporter Shaun King is doing something very courageous and important: documenting attacks and reports of hate incidents made by Trump supporters.

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This is in Philadelphia.

Sieg Heil, Trump, and swastikas on windows of a local store. pic.twitter.com/Bq1nFW1ipk read more

Vote YES on NJ Ballot Q#2 to protect gas tax funds from being raided like clean energy and health funds were

vote-to-repair-roads
Source: Engineer’s Labor-Employer Cooperative via nj.com

New Jersey Assemblyman Dr. Tim Eustace wants New Jersey voters to know that voting YES on Ballot Question #2 will enable extremely important protections of taxpayer dollars. Election Day this year falls on Tuesday, November 8.

Here are short and long versions of the reasons it’s important to vote YES to Q2. You already know how important it is that you go vote in the first place – right?

The short version of why YES on Q2

On the gas tax issue, Assm. Eustace comments:

The New Jersey gas tax increase of 23¢ is law – and it’s a mistake to think it will go away if people vote NO on Ballot Question #2 at the polls next Tuesday. Gov. Christie’s second-in-command discussed the ballot question in a 101.5 Radio interview, revealing that either she does not understand this law, or maybe Ms. Guadagno is hoping to draw out Republican voters who believe that the gas tax will go away if they vote no. But, this is not true.

It’s essential that gas tax money be used only for transportation and that this money not become accessible to the governor for use in the general budget. Gov. Christie used over $1.2 billion from the State’s Clean Energy Fund to plug general budget holes. In order to ensure that gas tax money can only be used for transportation expenditures, vote YES to Ballot Question #2 on Election Day.”

Dr. Eustace is the NJ Assembly Environment Committee Chair.

An NJ.com editorial echoes the assemblyman’s message:

…experts attest that if all that if annual gas tax revenue were dedicated exclusively to transportation projects, we could have filled a few more potholes by now … if (taxpayers) are tired of seeing large sums ($35 million last year, higher in previous years) scraped from the gas tax for purposes other than transportation, they can do something about it on Election Day.

Now that the gas tax increase is something we’ve all got to live with, we support Ballot Question 2, a constitutional amendment that dedicates every penny of that revenue to the Transportation Trust Fund.

That means the government can no longer raid the TTF to plug other budget holes – a lockbox provision that 30 other states already have.

Road to Repair offers a short but complete statement on why a YES vote to Q2 is so important:

roadtorepair.com screenshot
Source: roadtorepair.com

The long version of why YES on Q2

On Facebook, Aaron Hyndman addressed this issue with a thorough analysis of the New Jersey gas tax ballot issue, “TO ANYONE STILL ON THE FENCE ABOUT NJ BALLOT QUESTION #2.” Hyndman is Communications Coordinator at the NJ Bike & Walk Coalition and the following is his statement:
I finally have a spare moment to contribute some thoughts regarding Ballot Question 2, so here are some things that I hope everyone will take into consideration:

First of all, there is a great deal of misinformation being spread by the Lt. Gov. and other interests that are opposed to the ballot question for reasons that are more self-serving and not purely altruistic. Too much is being said ABOUT the ballot question instead of discussing what is ACTUALLY in the ballot question, which reads as follows:

Do you approve amending the Constitution to dedicate all revenue from the State motor fuels tax and petroleum products gross receipts tax to the Transportation Trust Fund? read more

Government investigates vote suppression back to 2004 and presidential commission proposes protections

Presidential Commission on Elections Report 2014Cuyahoga County Board of Elections’ Deputy Director Pat McDonald offered testimony to the Presidential Commission on Elections on ways that voter registration and voting procedures could be revamped to make voting both easier and more secure. The commission’s findings on “The American Voting Experience” were presented to President Obama in 2014.

Part of a package presented to Congress on 14 December 2004 is the sworn affidavit of Sherole Eaton, a Deputy Director of the Hocking County, Ohio, Board of Elections. She describes the experience of voter machine tampering by Michael, a consulting company employee, who in 2004 entered the Board of Elections office claiming that the computers on which voting results had been stored, needed to be fixed – and proceeded to dismantle both primary and backup computers. The incident happened shortly before a planned recount was due to take place.

Obama registering voters in 1992
AP photo supplied by Obama Presidential Campaign via The Obama Diary

A detail-rich article on systemic vote suppression with numerous supportive references is Eric Zuesse’s How the 2004 Presidential ‘Election’ Was Stolen by George W. Bush published on 25 October 2016. Well worth a read.

On live TV Pres. Obama offers the perfect comeback to Trump’s nasty tweet

Obama: at least I will go down as president
Source: Jimmy Kimmel Live via The Guardian and YouTube

The President responds to Trump’s tweet, “Obama will go down as perhaps the worst president in the history of the United States,” with the comment, “Well, @realDonaldTrump, at least I will go down as a … president … (mic drop)!”

That’s just one of the mean tweets the president read out and responded to on the Jimmy Kimmel show a couple of days ago. Our president does not disappoint.

Mean Tweets President Obama Edition 2015
Source: Jimmy Kimmel show

Here are some of the mean tweets Pres. Obama dealt with on the Jimmy Kimmel show last year.

Obama coaches Trump in debate strategy
Source: Jimmy Fallon via YouTube

In case you’re not entertained enough yet, watch as Jimmy Fallon aka Donald Trump takes a phone call from Obama, who offers tips on how to do well in the next presidential debate.

Thanks Ari Lopez Wei for the awesome share!

2016 Voter Resources: register, get help with voting problems, check out candidates

unidos-app logoiTunes App: #Unidosapp – The Next Generation of American Voters
One-stop app for the Next Generation of American voters to connect with the issues that matter to you in the 2016 presidential election. Find out how to register, vote, and get help with all of your presidential election questions. Get it on iTunes

cada voto cuenta logoCada Voto Cuenta Volunteer sign-up
LatinoJustice’s Nonpartisan Cada Voto Cuenta Election Monitoring Voter Protection Initiative is recruiting bilingual Spanish-speaking legal volunteers in five states.

voting assistance flyerOn Election Day, 4000 CommonCause Election Protection community and lawyer volunteers will be ready to provide on the spot assistance on Election Day to voters everywhere in the US.

Voting hotlines
866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) – English language hotline
888-VE-Y-VOTA (888-839-8682) – Spanish language hotline
888-API-VOTE (888-274-8683) – Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Bengali, Hindi, Urdu, Tagalog
1-844-418-1682 – Arabic language hotline

Call hotline numbers to learn where to go and what you need to do in order to vote. Also, report on problems like long lines, faulty voting machines and any other obstructions you encounter while attempting to vote.

Please help spread the word about the hotlines by:

  • Printing out this poster and distributing them in your community – on community bulletin boards, at your place of worship, schools or ask businesses if they will put them in their window.
  • Share this resource on social media!
  • Questions If you have questions about being an Election Protection volunteer check out our FAQ or email Keshia Morris.
  • read more

    Truthout editor and @BernieSanders agree: Trump is a disaster, and a child

    Trump stares at Hillary in 2nd debate
    Trump stares at Hillary in 2nd debate Source: Twitter via wnd.com

    Honestly, I don’t know on voting day (November 8) whether I’m going to go into the polling booth to pull the lever for Hillary, or to write-in Bernie Sanders. When I tried to vote for Cory Booker, my fingers wouldn’t cooperate to let me do that – our bodies have their own type of knowing.

    While Trump pretty much disgusts me in every way possible, the establishment politics that Hillary practices, pretty much disgust me too. There’s a definite difference in degree of disgust, though.

    Because Hillary’s the candidate of the Democratic Party to which I belong, I feel obliged to try and convince myself to vote for her, so I follow discussions about the election and about the former First Lady’s positive assets as a presidential prospect. I must admit that politics aside, the idea of a woman as United States president holds a certain and distinct appeal for me.

    Bernie Sanders published a statement on Medium about why he has endorsed Hillary, which I read with interest. He makes compelling points about why Hillary and more specifically, why not Trump. It’s a good, brief read.

    Senior Truthout editor William Rivers Pitt wrote a brilliant piece on the failures of the debate and of each candidate, to boot. Gems contained therein are:

    Translation [of Trump’s statement about the constitution]: I don’t know what “strict constitutionalist” or “living document” means. Please let me go home to my building filled with Chinese steel so I can stare at my portraits of myself. If Trump ever actually mastered two facts and rubbed them together, he’d accidentally discover fire and blow himself up…

    Snot-encrusted pre-school playrooms don’t see the kind of tantrum [Trump later] pitched, and from there the devolution was on. For the remainder of the night, Trump’s responses on foreign policy, his sexual assaults, abortion, guns, economics and everything else sounded like they could have come from a Magic 8-Ball. “Answer unclear, ask again later.”

    …Iran “won” the moment we invaded Iraq in 2003 on a raft of lies [Hillary] voted for, tore down the Sunni government and scattered the Ba’athist Army into the wind…

    I have dealt with nine national elections on a professional level, many more on a personal level, and nothing I have seen or even heard of compares to this sick and sorry display. read more

    Has Sweeney convinced NJ legislators to turn their backs on giving a living wage to NJ workers any time soon?

    Fight for $15 in NJ
    Source: NJ Working Families

    Why will New Jersey have a ballot referendum next year (aka constitutional amendment) that will allow state voters to decide whether to approve SCR1500 and increase the state’s minimum wage – but only by 62¢ in 2018 to $9 per hour and $1.00 a year after that to finally reach $15 an hour eight years from now, in 2024?

    I got a slightly confusing reply from State Senator Bob Gordon to my email regarding this issue and have been checking into what his reply could mean. Here are the facts I’ve learned:

    New Jersey Democrats were able to pass Bill A-15 on 23 June 2016 to raise the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour in January 2017 and continue raising it in yearly $1.25 increments until it hit $15 an hour in 2021. But Christie vetoed that bill.

    State legislators could then have put this same proposal on the ballot as a referendum, letting voters decide how quickly low wage workers could be lifted out of extreme poverty. They went the ballot referendum route, but opted for a much less robust hourly pay raise proposal: and that’s how SCR1500 came into being.

    Perhaps the watered down bill is the brainchild of State Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester), whose (now derailed?) plans for a gubernatorial bid next year undoubtedly included courting the vote of the small business community. This community has essentially been convinced to vote against their own interests by Big Money supporters of low worker wages who have promoted a fear campaign to discourage their support for the $15/hour minimum wage.

    Although small businesses are one group that stands to majorly benefit from the increased buying power that residents will be able to spend if they earn more, Big Money folk are making them believe that an alternate – and false – reality exists. That’s because the profits of Big Money-backed businesses like Walmart and the Fast Food industry will be seriously curtailed if they need to pay employees fair wages instead of setting them up to receive welfare and foodstamps to supplement starvation pay.

    When worker wages are low enough to force families onto social welfare programs, taxpayers at all levels of the spectrum end up subsidizing workers’ food, shelter and medical care. Forbes reports on Walmart employees vast use of the welfare system and Bloomberg points out:

    According to one study, American fast food workers receive more than $7 billion dollars in public assistance. As it turns out, McDonald’s has a “McResource” line that helps employees and their families enroll in various state and local assistance programs. It exploded into the public when a recording of the McResource line advocated that full-time employees sign up for food stamps and welfare.

    Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest private sector employer, is also the biggest consumer of taxpayer supported aid. According to Florida Congressman Alan Grayson, in many states, Wal-Mart employees are the largest group of Medicaid recipients. read more