World Press Freedom Day

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On this World Press Freedom Day, I’d like to share with you three links:

UNESCO’s World Press Freedom Day Commemoration and Activities

The Committee to Protect Journalists Website

ACLU: Freedom of the Press

I’d also encourage you to familarize yourself with the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, which holds the freedom of the press as one of the most important tenets of our democratic beliefs.

Election Connection: Voting Rights

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I thought on November 3rd that this series would be retired.

And then Republicans in Congress went off the rails. They took every conspiracy theory, every half-baked piece of nonsense, and tried to overturn the legal election.

How do people who coined themselves the Tea Party after the original throw-British-tea-in-the-river protesters and become the seditionists and treasonous anti-democratic rioters?

After that, their supporters marched to the Capitol and breached security, injuring over 140 police officers, killing one, directly causing the suicide of two other officers. Four other rioters died in the process. The FBI is still investigating, arresting, and jailing those seditionists.

Meanwhile in Georgia, state Republicans are attempting to pass laws to suppress voters going forward in the future.

We will need to remain engaged in order to keep the fragile democracy we have. We need a larger majority in both Houses if we want to continue to help the American people.

What follows is a starting place for following people who know what they’re doing and what they’re talking about. Please add your own suggestions in the comments.

Marc E. Elias

Democracy Docket

Department of Justice

Dept. of Justice Twitter

Ari Berman

Stacey Abrams

Fair Fight

Vote Save America

Dan Pfeiffer

Dan Pfeiffer’s The Message Box

Election Connection: Impeachment, Take Two

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By the time you read this, the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump will have begun. You can read about how the trial will proceed in this resolution, however beware that clicking the link will begin an automatic download of the pdf from the Senate website.

From attorney Marc Elias’, Democracy Docket: Second Impeachment, Explained

Here’s What You Need to Know About the Senate Impeachment Trial from NPR

If you’re not able to watch the trial live or choose not to, Elie Honig’s daily (approximately ten minute) podcast, Third Degree, is the way to go. His Twitter is here.

Jennifer Taub is also live-tweeting the trial.

Other reliable summaries should be found at Rachel Maddow’s nightly show at 9pm on MSNBC or on her Twitter.

Prior to watching the bulk of the trial, these podcast episodes are worth a listen:

House Managers for Impeachment (Follow on Twitter)
Rep. Jamie Raskin, Lead Manager
Rep. Diana DeGette
Rep. David Cicilline
Rep. Joaquin Castro
Rep. Eric Swalwell
Rep. Ted Lieu
Rep. Stacey Plaskett
Rep. Madeleine Dean
Rep. Joe Neguse

Also follow: Dan Goldman, former House Impeachment Lawyer

Election Connection: Welcome to the Biden Administration

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The Election Connection series will be a bit more sporadic, posted on a need-to-know basis now that we have an Administration that cares about its citizens in all the important and even in the most mundane ways. I still feel waves of PTSD at moments and then I see Press Secretary Jen Psaki swatting stupid questions, not arguing with White House correspondents, and offering experts to give briefings and answer questions, and I remember that it’s all going to be okay. It’s like the last four years were a dream, and I’m Pamela Ewing.

Unfortunately, the last four years weren’t a dream, and as nightmarish as it was to live through, it wasn’t a nightmare either. It was very real.

We need to take that same energy from the last years, the same energy brought to the Georgia Senate race, the same energy brought by the summer protests, and we need to focus it unrelentingly on the next two years, and then the two after that, and then the two after. We can never get complacent again.

Complacent = Complicit

We came very close to losing our republic. As it was, we witnessed a coup attempt, an insurrection that struck at the heart of our democracy. Five people died, including a Capitol police officer, but hundreds of others were injured. Two members of law enforcement have committed suicide. And still, there are Republicans who refuse to comply with law enforcement requirements to go through a magnetometer before entering the House floor. I mean, let’s be realistic and honest here, they’re also refusing to wear masks despite common sense and Executive Order, putting their colleagues and staff at risk (four members of Congress plus one spouse became covid infected because of Republican negligence on January 6th, and that was without their obvious complicity in the attack on the Capitol).

So, it’s time for a Civics lesson, and I will go extra slow as if I were speaking to the newly elected Senator from Alabama (this one) who doesn’t know the three branches of government (see below*) or a Supreme Court justice (this one) who doesn’t know the five rights guaranteed in the First Amendment (see below*).

Some things are etched in stone – the Constitution including the Bill of Rights is one of those things. The Constitution may be amended, and there are procedures in place to do that. In fact, we have amended the Constitution twenty-seven times, most recently in 1992.

Some things are not – Number of Supreme Court justices, the use of the filibuster. Supreme Court justices were based on the number of circuit courts, which have increased to thirteen. This is why many experts feel that the Supreme Court should be expanded to cover each circuit court with its own justice (as established in 1869 with what is known as the Circuit Judges Act).

The filibuster is not part of the Constitution, which makes it easier to change than amending the Constitution would be.

A couple of points:

Unity does not mean to continue to allow ourselves be abused or gaslit.

Unity does not mean giving in to bullies.

Unity does not mean power sharing when Democrats have a clear mandate.

Below the cut are Twitter follows of the Biden Administration, the House Managers of the Impeachment Trial, a selection of podcasts, and other accounts that I follow regularly and find are very informative and honest. Add your own in the comments and I can include them in the next Election Connection.

*Branches of Government
| | |
Legislative Executive Judicial

*5 Rights Enumerated in the First Amendment:
1. Freedom of Speech
2. Freedom of Religion
3. Freedom of the Press
4. Freedom to Assemble
5. Freedom to Protest the Government

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Election Connection: Georgia Runoff – Registration Deadline is Tomorrow

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IMPORTANT DATES:

Last Day to Register is TOMORROW. Go here for information and to register

First Day of Early Voting: December 14

Runoff Election Voting: January 5, 2021

Helpful Links:

New Georgia Project

Fair Fight

Black Voters Matter

Jon Ossoff

Reverend Raphael Warnock

Vote Save America – Adopt Georgia

Vote Save America – Donate

Choose between these two Vote Save America Funds:

Get Mitch or Die Trying – money is divided between Ossoff, Warnock, and Fair Fight

Every Last Vote – money is divided between on the ground orgs in Georgia who work year round.

The Other Side of Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving today is fraught with its past and the reckoning that is still to come in many ways.

For those of us who grew up in non-Christian households, Thanksgiving was and is the great equalizer. We can all celebrate it without the religious baggage and without not fitting in. We gather as a family, we express our gratitude and our love, and it’s the one day of the year that nearly everyone has the day off, at least until a couple of years ago when retailers began to open on Thanksgiving Day.

There are of course exceptions, but it is a day for everyone.

Of course, that is also not the entire story. From the Native American prospective, settlers coming to the new world caused trauma beyond belief. We are only beginning to open up and discuss and educate ourselves to be inclusive, but also to move forward as a country.

While I believe the original Thanksgiving story despite knowing its clear embelllishments, I think it’s important to distinguish between the Columbus and future expeditions’ theft of land and genocide and that early settlers and Native Indians, as they were known at the time, did work together, and to celebrate the help that the Native Peoples gave to the Pilgrims should be recognized. The Pilgrims, and other Native-friendly settlers wouldn’t have survived the new world without the help of the indigenous people already living here.

Here are two ways to begin educating ourselves:

Native American Tribal Map

Thirty Everyday Phrases that Perpetuate the Oppression of Indigenous Peoples

Friday Food on Tuesday. November.

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I’m sure it’s expected that November’s Friday Food would be related to Thanksgiving. It’s related not to the day of Thanksgiving, but the feelings of giving thanks themselves.

After four years of tension, stress, and for many PTSD, we have elected Joe Biden the 46th President of the United States. His Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris is the first woman, first Black woman, first Indian-American woman to hold that office.

They were put over the top by the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and while this post is specifically about Philly, I would be remiss in not mentioning the role Black Women played in Joe Biden’s victory. We owe them a great debt of gratitutde.

In honor of Philadelphia’s role in pushing Biden and Harris over the 270 Electoral votes needed to win, my family went to a local place for cheesesteaks.

No better way to celebrate until Inauguration Day!

Cheesesteaks. (c)2020

Election Connection: One Week. Seven Days. We’ve Got Work To Do.

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I’ve already voted. I made my plan and followed through. I voted on Saturday. In a typical year, that would mean I’m done for the next twelve months. But this is not a typical year.

Even though I’ve cast my vote for Joe Biden, my work (and yours) is not finished until the end of Election Day.

At that point, others may take up the baton, but hopefully the landslide and mandate will express crystal clearly the will of the American people.

As I was working on what this post was going to be eight days before Election Day, and even as I was writing my notes late last night, things happened that need to be brought to light for prospective voters.

The first is the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett on the Supreme Court. This was an illegitimate process to confirm a justice whose beliefs are so far opposite of the American people that that alone should disqualify her. Her lack of litigation experience is a second disqualification. Confirming her eight days before the end of an election after sixty million people have already voted is a despicable act by the Senate GOP and especially the evil*, hypocritical Majority Leader McConnell.

Clicking this photo will take you directly to Vote Save America’s Voting Plan. Twitter. (c)2020

The second big item was a Supreme Court ruling that while ballots in Wisconsin can be postmarked by Election Day, they cannot be counted after Election Day. What this means in the real world is that if you mail your ballot in, it may not be counted. Again, McConnell (evil hypocrite) and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy have consistently kept Congress from including voter security monies for the post office and have sabotaged key sorting equipment nationwide. Because of this partisan hackery, please, either vote early  or on Election Day in person or hand deliver your absentee ballot to an official ballot box, to your board of elections, or at the polls on Election Day.

To be sure your vote is counted, have a plan. The following are resources to help you from now through Election Day.

Remember – speak to your family and friends about voting. Be prepared to answer any questions. Direct them to the Biden website to read up on his policy proposals and priorities.

Make sure they’re voting.

Offer to drive people to the polls.

Volunteer – it’s not too late to help (see the links below).

*see his debate with Amy McGrath in Kentucky laughing about not bringing covid relief to the floor for a vote.

Clicking this photo will take you to volunteer opportunities at the Vote Save America website.


Other links:

Vote Save America – Donate to relieve this country of Mitch McConnell’s “leadership”

Vote Save America – Have a Plan to Vote

Vote Save America – Volunteer

I Will Vote

When We All Vote

Follow Marc Elias on Twitter.

What do you do if there is voter intimidation at your poll? Call 1-866-687-8683 (1-866-OUR VOTE)

What do you do if armed “militias” are at your polling place? Georgetown Law has information for all fifty states.

Clicking the photo will take you to We The Action where, if you’re a lawyer, you can sign up to volunteer to protect our vote.

GISH Recap

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GISH is The Greatest Scavenger Hunt started and organized (if you could use that word to describe it) by Supernatural actor, Misha Collins. It is in its tenth year, and this will be my eighth participating. This year was a little different due to the pandemic, and Collins, his GISHGnomes, and the players really stepped up to provide food and water to those in need while also giving us a well-deserved respite from home isolation.

There were three GISH hunts held this year (and one more still coming up for Halloween); two mini hunts, one in April and one in May and our regular week long hunt in August. The mini hunts were unusual in that they were about twenty-four hours long and they were meant to be done while on home quarantine.

They were a break from the daily pandemic news, and let us take a breath and do more than fret and worry about what was happening. They included a kids’ menu with items especially for our stuck at home kids to do, either with us or on their own.

The big hunt in August was similar to past hunts but most items were meant to be done at home or on social media. No in-person gatherings according to local laws. There were also several tributes to John Lewis who had recently died, inspirational items, and items that were civic minded like protesting, prison reform, and voting including our rights and registration drives.

The registration monies went to No Kid Hungry, which you can still donate to individually.

I can only give you my August totals. I was not great about keeping track of the mini-hunts for points. I contributed to a total of fifteen items, seven of which were individual, the other eight being team items for a total of 214 individual points and 480 team points totalling 694 points.

I have to be honest, but I enjoyed these hunts more than I’ve enjoyed some of the previous years. I like the civic mindedness, the social justice aspects, the caring for neighbors, random acts of kindness and compassion.

I would encourage people who are curious to join the Halloween H(a)unt. Each registration donates money to UNICEF providing clean water for a person in need for six months. Registration ends on October 23rd, and the H(a)unt will go live Oct. 30 – Nov. 1.

The captions on the following photos will explain the items. For the spring mini-hunt, I have them listed as April/May although they may have been done for either:

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