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Mark Dobbins: “Dear Becky”

Singer and Songwriter Beyonce

Dear Becky:

I’ll wait while you put down your yoga mat.

You voted for Trump. After these past few weeks, I really have to ask, “What the hell were you thinking?” Seriously, Trump? The shouting guy on the TV?

I know, you were so concerned about those email servers. Do you even know what an email server looks like? And Benghazi! Find Benghazi on a map unassisted and I’ll eat a bug.

You overlooked the fact that he broke two marriage vows but somehow think he’ll keep his oath of office.

You overlooked his addiction to tweeting – and tweeting – and tweeting.

You overlooked a lot that would have set your hair on fire had President Obama done the same.

And because of you, every thinking person in this country is freaking out. But not you.

Because you are safe behind your yoga mat of white privilege.

You didn’t join the millions of people who crammed our streets to protest. Because you were busy. Because Emma had a lesson. Because Noah had a game. Because you had to get the oil changed on your SUV. Because you were busy being white. Because it doesn’t affect you – and it never has.

By now you’re sputtering, “But I have black friends,” “I’m not racist,” and my personal favorite, “I’m not privileged.”

Yes, you are. You’re privileged, and probably racist too. Most white people are and don’t even know it – or do, and don’t care.

Here’s a simple way I use to test white privilege. Can you go an entire day without interacting with a person of color if you tried? I’m betting the answer is yes. That’s the bubble of white privilege that you think will protect you. But it won’t. Not by a long shot.

So you want to keep those “nasty hombres” out of our country by building a wall? When the price of your food skyrockets because white folks won’t pick crops, you’ll care then. Because it affects you.

So you think by insulting foreign leaders our nation looks stronger? You equate shouting with strength – because you have always had the microphone and always think you will. How many times have you shouted “I want to see your manager,” when you didn’t get what you wanted, then, at that moment?Now Trump is the manager and there’s no one else to call.

So you think defunding Planned Parenthood will make abortions go away? When Emma comes home someday with bad news, you’ll always have a way to fix that problem. A poor woman’s abortion is Emma’s D&C. Most people won’t have those choices. But you will. That’s why it’s called “pro-choice.” Because we want the choices you have always had – and always will.

By now you’re probably angry and about to write something nasty in the comments section. I hope you do. I want you to be angry. As I promised in my first column, I’ll probably make you mad from time to time. This is one of those times.

But stop for a moment and think.

Could I be just a little bit right?

And could you be just a little bit white – and privileged?

Regards,

Mark

PS: We’ll talk more about this in the upcoming months. I’m just laying the groundwork for that conversation. I hope you’ll stick around.

(Featured Image: Katrina In Yoga Pose, by Earl McGee on Flikr CC)

Quakers to Trump: Sanctuary, Not Walls

AFSC speaks out on executive orders, urges congressional action

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, President Donald Trump announced sweeping executive actions that would expand the border wall, cut federal funding to sanctuary cities and increase the number of people Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will target for deportation. The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) – a Quaker organization that has worked for immigrant and refugee rights for almost 100 years – denounced these policies as dangerous and divisive.

“For more than two decades, border wall infrastructure has contributed to the deaths of thousands of migrants fleeing poverty and violence who are forced to cross through deadly terrain,” said Pedro Rios, director of AFSC’s U.S./Mexico Border Program. “This human rights disaster will only be exacerbated with more miles of border walls and excessive, unaccountable enforcement.” While Trump’s executive action paves the way for wall construction, additional congressional action will be needed to fully fund the project. AFSC is calling on Congress to do everything in their power to stop wall construction and to protect the human rights of migrants and those in border communities. 

Trump also signed an executive order limiting federal funding to “sanctuary cities.” More than 350 jurisdictions across the country have enacted policies prohibiting local officials from taking actions like asking people about their immigration status, holding people so ICE can detain them, or sharing information with ICE. 

“Limiting collusion between ICE and local law enforcement has been an essential first step to keeping our communities and families safe from unjust deportation policies,” said AFSC’s policy impact coordinator Kathryn Johnson. “We’re calling on congress to respect the Fourth Amendment and oppose legislation that punishes ‘sanctuary cities.’” 

The executive orders also dramatically expand the number of Customs and Border Patrol agents, call for aggressive immigration enforcement within the country, and for mandatory detention at the border – including of children and families. 

“These policies are immoral, astronomically expensive, racially discriminatory, and threaten to tear apart families and communities” said Johnson. “That’s why AFSC and our partners across this country and around the world are standing together to demand congress oppose these priorities.”

AFSC’s programs outside the U.S. are also voicing concerns. “Through our work in Central America and Mexico we know that many people fleeing to the U.S. are doing so because of violence and extreme poverty,” said Douglas Juarez, AFSC’s Regional Migration Program Coordinator. “Closing the U.S.’s doors to these children, women and men puts their lives at risks as they are returned to the danger they fled. These problems must not be addressed through security and militarization, but through following international law and respecting everyone’s right to migrate.” 

But AFSC and other organizations are not just waiting for congress to take action. They have launched a campaign, called #SanctuaryEverywhere, to help everyday people protect each other from these attacks. According to Lori Khamala, who directs AFSC’s immigrant rights program in North Carolina, they hope to equip thousands of people with training and tools to create sanctuary wherever they are. 

Says Khamala, “whether we are welcoming refugees or working to stop deportations; protecting religious groups who have been targeted and attacked; working to ensure that Black Lives Matter by interrupting anti-Black violence; or protecting the rights of LGBTQI people, we are all in this together.” 

The Media Are Not The Only Ones Who Believe Trump Should Release His Taxes And Divest From His Company

By now, you have probably already heard about the train wreck that was President-Elect Trump’s first press conference as the President-Elect and his first press conference since July of last year as a nominee.

During the press conference a few key issues were supposed to be resolved mainly dealing with the President-Elect’s business and his potential conflicts of interest.

Trump has continued to say that the President cannot have conflicts of interest and that he will do whatever is necessary to resolve any potential conflicts that stem from his business. Part of the problem is that we do not even know what those conflicts are because we have not seen his tax returns to see what investments he holds or has direct dealings with that could be impacted by decisions made by the federal government.

Trump announced that his sons would be taking over the family business while he is President but will not be divesting from the company in any way.

“President-elect Trump’s planned arrangement with the Trump Organization falls far short of what’s necessary to avoid conflicts of interest and Emoluments Clause violations that will dog his administration and severely undermine the public’s faith in government,” said Common Cause Vice President for Policy & Litigation Paul S. Ryan. “Common Cause has called on President-elect Trump to divest from the Trump Organization and put his wealth into a blind trust managed independently from him. Instead, he’s decided to retain full ownership of the Trump Organization and have two of his sons run it—no divestment and no independence.”

“These are the same two sons who recently had their name attached to an inauguration fundraiser that promised access to their father for those willing to pay $1 million dollars. The event was cancelled but the precedent was troubling,” Ryan continued.

Common Cause describes themselves as “a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. We work to create open, honest, and accountable government that serves the public interest; promote equal rights, opportunity and representation for all; and empower all people to make their voices heard in the political process.”

“It is clear from President-Elect Trump’s statement and answers today that he will not fully separate himself from his business transactions and potential conflicts of interest. He also has no intention of disclosing his financial interests, as past presidents have done. His response to these legitimate questions was simply ‘trust me.’ Our democracy and the American people deserve better,” said NH Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter.

Shea-Porter has cosponsored legislation to hold President-Elect Trump accountable and to investigate the Russian interference in the U.S. elections to remedy this dangerous situation. H.R. 371, the Presidential Conflicts of Interest Act, and H.R. 356, which would establish a bipartisan commission on the Russian interference in our elections, will protect our democracy and ensure that the President-Elect cannot enrich himself and his family while conducting the official business of the United States. Congresswoman Shea-Porter has also cosponsored H.J.Res. 26, which would deny Congressional consent for President-Elect Trump to accept any present, Emolument, Office, or Title of any kind from a foreign leader or government.

“The legislation I have cosponsored would apply the ethical standards, norms, and precedents that have been developed over decades to our incoming administration, which refuses to follow them. I urge Speaker Ryan to put these measures to a vote and pass them with the urgency these critical issues demand,” continued Shea-Porter.

“The American public must now demand complete transparency of the Trump Organization and President-elect Trump’s finances. Such transparency is America’s only hope for protecting itself against conflicts of interest and Emoluments Clause violations—and holding President-elect Trump accountable for his promises to avoid conflicts and violations of the constitution,” Ryan added.

During the campaign Trump confirmed he would release his taxes after the election however now that he is the President-Elect he is stating that it is only the media who wants to see his tax returns.   This is simply not true.

Paul S. Ryan stated that Common Cause’s 700,000 members are also demanding to see his tax returns.

“The President-elect must take additional steps immediately to safeguard the integrity of the office of the President. To begin with, Trump must release his taxes and quit hiding the facts and the potential conflicts from the American people. At today’s press conference, when asked to release his tax returns, the President-elect rejected the request and claimed that the ‘only one that cares about my tax returns are the reporters.’ Common Cause’s more than 700,000 members and supporters care about the President-elect’s tax returns and additional financial disclosure. We demand it.”

What exactly is he hiding by not releasing his taxes? Is he hiding the fact that he has failed to pay anything in taxes for the last few years due to loopholes in our tax laws? Is he hiding the fact that he and his company have been doing business with foreign governments that are currently under sanction from the US Government? Is he hiding the fact that he will gain massive amounts of wealth from simple policy changes he can make as President?

We do not know because he is hiding it all from us.

It is time to come clean and do what he promised to do: release his taxes, fully divest from his company and put all of his assets in a blind trust.

Leo W Gerard — Coming Soon: American Made Battle Of The Heavyweights

Screenshot from CNN Video

Screenshot from CNN Video

Virtually every time President-elect Donald Trump performs in cities across America on his thank you tour, he mentions, to grand applause, his preference for Made in America.

He describes his plan to create jobs with a federal infrastructure spending project – that is improvements to the likes of crumbling roads, bridges, waterlines and airports – and then says, “We will have two simple rules when it comes to this massive rebuilding effort. Buy American and hire American.”

That American-job-creating, buy-American thing is supported by 71 percent of the American public. But it is a smack in the face to GOP Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who just made it clear in the Water Resources Development Act that he’s fine with creating slave-wage iron-and-steel-making jobs in China with U.S. tax dollars so long as a few fat-cat iron-and-steel importers make a profit on the deal.

So, clearly, there’s a battle brewing between the President-elect and the Speaker of the House. This is the President-elect who has repeatedly promised the working class men and women who elected him that he’d support Buy American provisions in federal law to create jobs for them. And it’s a GOP Speaker who wants to ship taxpayer-financed work overseas and let the working class wait a couple more decades to just possibly feel a tiny pinch of trickle down from the largess of filthy rich iron and steel importers. This, also, is a clash between a New York real estate titan who won the presidency and a Wisconsin lawmaker who lost the vice presidency.

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By advocating night after night for American Made, President-elect Trump essentially warned Ryan not to strip the Buy-American provisions out of the Water Resources Development Act. But Ryan did it anyway early in December when he got the act from the Senate.

The act contained strong, permanent Buy America language when the Senate sent it over. These provisions are significant because they use tax dollars to create 33 percent more U.S. factory jobs, something that is, again, important to voters, 68 percent of whom told The Mellman Group  & North Star Opinion Research in November in a national survey conducted for the Alliance for American Manufacturing that they were worried that the country had lost too many manufacturing jobs.

In addition, and President-elect Trump knows this from the response he gets at his rallies, Buy American policies are very popular. Seventy-four percent of voters say large infrastructure projects financed by taxpayer money should be constructed with American-made materials and American workers. And those who voted for President-elect Trump agree more strongly – 79 percent of them say American-made should be given preference over the lowest bidder.

This is a very big deal to iron and steel producers and workers in the United States. Far too many mills are closed or partially shuttered because of unfairly traded imports, and more than 16,000 steelworkers across this country have been laid off over the past year.

China is the main culprit, but there are others. China produces so much steel now that it has managed to inundate the world with more steel than anyone needs. It is dumping steel on the world market at such low prices that no one can compete. As a result, producers from places as far flung as Mexico, the U.S., Canada, India, the U.K. and Spain are shutting down and throwing workers out of their jobs.

China props up that excess steelmaking capacity with methods that are illegal under the terms of the agreements it entered into to gain access to the World Trade Organization and Permanent Normalized Trade Relations with the United States. If steel is sold domestically, a country can provide steel firms with subsidies like exemptions from utility payments and taxes, interest-free loans and free land.

But those free market-warping subsidies violate international trade agreements when the steel is exported. That’s what China is doing. And it’s killing American steel companies and American jobs.

When Ryan eliminated the permanent Buy American provision in the Water Bill, essentially saying it’s fine to import illegally subsidized Chinese iron and steel for taxpayer-financed water projects, he was also saying it is fine to bankrupt American steel companies and destroy American jobs.

If the United States is reduced to buying steel from China to build its military tanks and armor, that’s okay with Ryan, as long as he maintains a great relationship with the lobbyists for the foreign steelmakers. They pushed him hard to drop the Buy American provision through Squire Patton Boggs, a Washington, D.C. lobby and law firm employing Ryan’s predecessor Speaker John Boehner and numerous former top GOP aides.

He got hit with a Tweetstorm after he chose Chinese jobs over American jobs, though. Buy American supporters and members of the Congressional Steel Caucus began pointing out on Twitter just how good #BuyAmerica is for American jobs and the economy and cited @realDonaldTrump, the President-elect’s Twitter handle on every Tweet, which means his account was alerted.

This, for example, came from Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown:

.@RealDonaldTrump: Tell @SpeakerRyan to put #BuyAmerica back in Water bill. American tax dollars for American jobs.”

And Steelworkers wrote protests on Ryan’s Facebook page and hundreds called Ryan and his anti-American-made Congressional crew.

Ryan responded. Sort of. He restored one-year Buy American language to the bill. Nothing like the permanent provisions achieved in other federal laws, but it does keep the jobs for 12 months and the issue alive until President-elect Trump can take on Ryan mano-a-mano on Buy American after the inauguration.

Ryan has made clear his anti-American preference, so this will be a royal rumble. But the Speaker should beware. The last time the President-elect stepped into the ring with a heavyweight, it was with the ring’s owner, World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Vince McMahon. And the former professional wrestler McMahon left bald and defeated.

Busted: Trump International Hotel Gets Smacked Down By NLRB For Union-Busting

Last night, news broke that the National Labor Relations Board ruled that Donald Trump, and Trump International Hotel, has been violating law by refusing to accept the results of the Culinary Union Local 226 (UNITE HERE) certification election and then refusing to negotiate with the union.

The NLRB decision ordered the immediate “cease and desist” from “interfering with, restraining, or coercing employees” in an attempt to break the union.

The NLRB also mandated that Trump International recognize the union and open bargaining immediately.

“The National Labor Relations Board has consistently told Donald Trump and his company that the union election wasn’t rigged and that he must sit down and negotiate with the Culinary Union,” said Geoconda Arguello-Kline, Secretary-Treasurer for the Culinary Union. “Mr. Trump is breaking federal law and Trump Hotel Las Vegas is operating illegally. Mr. Trump should accept the federal government’s order to negotiate and treat his workers with respect.”

“The decision by the NLRB marks a major victory for the more than 500 workers at the Trump Hotel Las Vegas, whose right to organize and collectively bargain has been trampled by Donald Trump,” said Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO. “The decision underlines what we already know: Donald Trump lacks respect for the hardworking men and women who have made his hotel successful. For months he has violated federal laws by refusing to recognize and negotiate with Culinary Workers Union Local 226, which represents the hotel workers.”

“Donald Trump is a hypocrite, whose true feelings towards working people are clear. The workers at Trump Hotel Las Vegas deserve a say in determining their wages, benefits and working conditions. Donald Trump must come to the table and negotiate with them. The labor movement will continue to stand by these hotel workers, and all working men and women, as we fight back against attacks on our rights,” Trumka added.

Donald Trump likes to brag about his skills as a negotiator—but yesterday, he had to be ordered by the National Labor Relations Board to stop breaking the law, respect his workers’ fundamental rights to organize and bargain collectively, and come to the table,” said Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee for President. “It’s appalling, but it’s not surprising. This is a man who personally signed a contract with a union-busting firm to try to stop UNITE HERE and the Culinary Workers’ Union from organizing in the first place, and engaged in a months-long intimidation campaign to bully his workers against voting to form a union.”

I was proud to visit workers on the picket line at the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas, and even prouder when they overcame Donald Trump’s intimidation campaign and were officially certified as a union earlier this year. I believe that when unions are strong, families are strong—and when families are strong, America is strong. And I will always stand with workers in protecting their rights to organize, bargain collectively, be safe on the job and retire with dignity, and if I am elected President, workers will always have a seat at the table and a champion in the White House,” added Clinton. 

Throughout this entire election, workers and unions, have been speaking out against Donald Trump and his anti-worker policies. (You can see a few examples from our coverage of the Democratic National Convention.)  Working people spoke out against Trump’s support of so-called Right to Work laws, refusing to pay workers and contractors, and his refusal to negotiate with the unions inside his own companies.

Donald Trump claims to have the support on “many, many union members” and even went on to say, “I have tremendous support within unions…every poll shows it.” When in fact, polling data shows that only 36% of union members support Trump.

In September, the NH Labor News posted an article highlighting Trump’s financial support of the union-busting Governor Scott Walker.  “Because of the leaked documents, we now know that Donald Trump was one of the donors who helped Scott Walker stay in office,” wrote Liz Iacobucci.

This most recent decision by the NLRB confirms that Donald Trump does not care about workers. He does not care about workers rights to organize and collectively bargain.  He does not even care about what the law requires.

Donald Trump is only out for himself. He is the epitome of corporate greed and highlights exactly what is wrong with our country right now.

Hopefully the rest of America will see Trump for the lying fraud that he truly is and will vote for Hillary Clinton on Tuesday. Then I will look forward to Wednesday when Trump will disappear and be relegated to the history books.


Personal Note:

We applaud the Culinary Union on this tremendous victory over Donald Trump and the Trump International Hotel.  The Culinary Union and UNITE HERE symbolize exactly why we must stand together to fight back against corporate greed and how unions fight for every worker.  We, as union members, should rejoice in this decision and be ready to join our fellow union members on the streets when greedy executives like Donald Trump attack working people.  

Comey Has Kentucky Dems Doubly Determined To Vote For Clinton

By BERRY CRAIG

AFT Local 1360

Some in the media think—and the Donald Trump campaign hopes–that the latest email controversy might depress Hillary Clinton’s vote next Tuesday.

Piling on, reactionary radio commentator Hugh Hewitt bloviated on MSNBC that Democratic enthusiasm for Clinton is “hemorrhaging” and that even “hard core Democrats are shaking their heads.”

Supposedly, the poor Clintonites are so shattered, dispirited and ashamed that they’ll stay home next Tuesday.

Baloney. FBI Director James Comey’s “October surprise” is more likely to boost Democratic turnout.

Waving a red flag in front of a bull? Too trite.

Comey’s revelation is like sporting orange at a Big Apple St. Patrick’s Day parade, singing “Rocky Top” at Rupp Arena, or trash talking Springsteen in Jersey. (For non-Kentuckians, Rupp Arena is the University of Kentucky Wildcats basketball team’s home court.)   

Fellow Democrats I know are anything but bummed. They’re ballistic and plan to prove it in seven days. I’m with them all the way to the voting booth.

Bernie Sanders was my first choice for president, but I’m Ready for Hillary. I was already in a climb-every-mountain, ford-every-stream mode about voting for her.

Comey has made me willing to crawl through broken glass, too.

I don’t know what motivated Comey, a Republican. If he aimed to boost Trump, I’d bet the farm he blew it.

A lot of Democrats believe he deliberately put his thumb on the scales. They say their suspicions are confirmed with news that Comey failed to mention a reported preliminary FBI probe into Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, and his foreign business dealings, notably with Russia. Supposedly, Comey feared bringing it up might influence the election.

Comey also allegedly refused to add the FBI’s name to U.S. intelligence agency reports that Russia was involved with the WikiLeaks email hacking. He allegedly said—you guessed it—it was too close to the election.

Ya think?  

Comey’s apparent double standard has my Kentucky Democratic buddies doubly determined to put Clinton in the White House. (Me, too.) I emailed some of them—-a lawyer, union members, college students, teachers, health care professionals and others. They replied:   

“I vote my conviction. I vote working families. HRC and the rest of the Democratic candidates.”

“I’ve already voted for Clinton, and I’m proud of my vote. Comey’s behavior is so bizarre that it becomes suspicious for breaking every FBI and DOJ rule with this premature announcement before the facts are gathered.” (This came from a lawyer.)

“I’m excited that the most qualified person ever is our nominee for president! She’s been vilified for years and has come through with her head held high. She’s fought for the weak and underprivileged and is an example to all young women—when you’re in the right, keep fighting, even when it seems the world is against you!!”

“Really, Kellyanne Conway, you think I am too discouraged to vote?  I have voted in every election since I was 18 and voted for Jimmy Carter by absentee from my dorm room in Lexington.  You think anything which includes the words ‘Anthony Weiner’ is going to tempt me into letting a racist a**hole represent me on the world stage?  Kellyanne, you underestimate my resolve.” 

“I can tell you how I feel. I will vote for HRC no matter what.”

“This is an easy call. HRC all the way. I will always take pretty standard cronyism over looming fascism. Every time.”

“We have no choice!  For the future of our democracy, we must defeat Donald Trump and elect HRC.”

Leo W Gerard: Goon-Busters Prepare For Trump’s Poll Trolls

Republicans have conjured for Americans a monster more frightening than any Hollywood has ever produced for Halloween. It pales “The Shining.”

It is a two-headed beast Donald Trump calls voter fraud and rigged elections.  Like Hollywood creatures, though, this goblin is completely imaginary. It’s fake like the sasquatch and chupacabra. There’s no scientific evidence of its existence.

The GOP antidote for its imaginary monster is horribly real, however. It is voter suppression and intimidation. That is a tangible two-headed beast of appalling proportions. Fearing they could not win fair and square, Republicans took steps to prevent young, old, black and Hispanic people – people likely to vote Democratic – from reaching the polls. This GOP Frankenstein threatens democracy itself.

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Image by Ryan Merkley on Flickr

Two statistics are important to know when trying to detect which election monsters are real and which are not. Loyola Law School professor Justin Levitt, an expert on civil rights, has tracked allegations of in-person voter fraud for years. In-person fraud is the kind Republicans are talking about, someone pretending to be someone else, or a dead person, to vote.

Levitt, who is on leave from the law school to serve as deputy assistant attorney general in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, tracked down and validated 31 instances of that happening since 2000.

It’s probably 32 cases now, since police in Iowa charged a 55-year-old Des Moines woman Thursday with felony voter fraud. The Republican admitted casting two early votes for Donald Trump.

That is 32 cases out of more than 1 billion ballots cast. That’s fraud, but it’s not a real problem.

Republicans across the country insisted on “solving” this non-problem by forcing all voters to obtain very specific types of identification. In Texas, for example, the GOP said an open-carry gun permit would be fine, but a student ID card from a state university would not. That would help keep those pesky young people, who tended to vote Democrat, away from the polls.

In many states, civil liberties groups like the ACLU sued to overturn the voter ID laws, forcing the GOP to search for voter fraud cases to justify their legislation. In Pennsylvania, the state had to stipulate in court that none existed, and the law was overturned. Not surprisingly, the GOP failed to dig up cases in Wisconsin or Indiana either. Thirty-one in 1 billion is kind of few and far between.

The second statistic is this: if Pennsylvania’s voter ID law had taken effect, it could have prevented more than 1 million citizens from voting. That’s the number of registered voters in just one state who did not have the required ID. Again, that’s a state where Republicans could show not one single case of voter fraud.

While the ACLU and other civil liberties groups continue to try to overturn unnecessary voter ID laws, the Democratic National Committee asked a federal judge last week to prevent Republicans from intimidating voters, particularly at minority polling places, as Donald Trump has encouraged his supporters to do.

The Democrats requested an injunction, saying Trump’s threats violate a 1982 consent decree that Republicans entered into after they stationed pseudo-guards at minority polling places in New Jersey to intimidate voters. Some of the guards were off duty police officers, were armed and wore arm bands marked “Ballot Security Task Force.”

Trump has repeatedly contended the election is “rigged” against him and asked his supporters to wear red shirts and stand as sentinels at the polls to prevent dead people from voting. Speaking in Altoona, Pa., in August, he said he wanted uniformed officers like the GOP had in 1982: “We have to call up law enforcement. And we have to have the sheriffs and the police chiefs and everybody watching.”

He added, “We have a lot of law enforcement people working that day. . .We’re hiring a lot of people. We’re putting a lot of law enforcement — we’re going to watch Pennsylvania, go down to certain areas and watch and study, and make sure other people don’t come in and vote five times.”

“Trump said to watch your precincts. I’m going to go, for sure,” said Steve Webb, a 61-year-old carpenter from Fairfield, Ohio. “I’ll look for. . .well, it’s called racial profiling. Mexicans, Syrians. People who can’t speak American,” he said. “I’m going to go right up behind them, I’ll do everything legally. I want to see if they are accountable. I’m not going to do anything illegal. I’m going to make them a little bit nervous.”

Despite Webb’s assertion that he’s not going to do anything illegal, deliberately attempting to make racially profiled voters “a little bit nervous” while they are attempting to exercise their most basic right as citizens violates federal law as well as the terms of the consent decree.

In addition, the lawsuit notes that the Pennsylvania GOP has attempted to reverse a state election law requiring poll watchers to be registered voters in the county where they are monitoring balloting. That law makes it impossible for Trump’s rural white supporters to guard the polls in inner city Philadelphia and Pittsburgh to ensure that the undead from George Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead,” filmed near Pittsburgh, don’t vote repeatedly there.

There’s no reason to reverse this state law, the lawsuit says, except to license Trump supporters to intimidate and harass minority inner-city voters.

Republicans tried to wriggle out from under the constraints of the consent decree in 2009. But Federal Judge Dickinson R. Debevoise thwarted them. He wrote then: “It does not appear that the RNC’s incentive to suppress minority votes has changed since 1982. It appears that the RNC has been largely unsuccessful in its efforts to attract minority voters. Until it is able to do so, it will have an incentive to engage in the type of voter suppression that it allegedly committed in the actions that led to the enactment and modification of the consent decree.”

Judge Debevoise dismissed GOP arguments that voter fraud is a problem. By contrast, he said that suppression of minority voters is a serious issue.

That was seven years ago. But it was a point the DNC repeated in its arguments last week. It acknowledged that Trump keeps harping about a rigged election and dead people voting. And it provided lengthy proof that these are fears without basis in fact. They are boogeymen.

“On the other side of the ledger,” the DNC wrote, are the “constitutional rights of all Americans to cast their ballots without fear of intimidation or harassment . . .This is therefore a case of a real, impending harm balanced against an imaginary one.”

The DNC asked the court to extend the consent decree another eight years and to issue an injunction forbidding intimidation at the polls. Election Day is just a week away, however. Even if the court rules for the DNC, it’s not clear that every Trump supporter with a red shirt, a gun and ill-intent will hear about the decision before Nov. 8.

So civil liberties groups are preparing for the worst. If a red-shirted goon shows up at your polling place, call the ACLU at 866-OUR-VOTE or the Department of Justice Voting Rights Hotline at 800-253-3931. They have goon-buster teams nationwide. Don’t let anything frighten you from voting on Nov. 8.

Trump’s Business Tactics Are The Focus Of This New Ad (VIDEO)

Atlantic City Business Owner and Formers Trump Organization Contractor Warns of Trump’s Cut-and-Run Business Tactics in New Web Ad

Main Street Alliance Releases Their Second in a Series of Web Ads Taking on Donald Trump’s Business Practices 

Washington, D.C. –  Today Main Street Alliance (MSA) released its second political web ad of the cycle, featuring Mike Price of Price Communications in Pleasantville, NJ, an Atlantic City suburb and produced by Dan Preston of Telequest Inc. in Princeton, New Jersey, both members of the Main Street Alliance. 

A poll conducted in September found nearly 60 percent of small business owners siding with Donald Trump. With less than two weeks until Election Day, Price joins fellow small  business owner Kelly Conklin, owner of Foley-Waite LLC, a custom cabinet making company, in making the case against a Trump presidency. 

Price, who provided services to Trump-owned properties in the 90’s, warns of Trump’s way of doing business and points to the devastation to the local economy caused by Mr. Trump’s cut-and-run business tactics and disinvestment in the city. 

“The devastation left by Trump, and his cut-and-run business ways are still hurting us here in this area, says Price. “If the way he ran his business in this area is any indication, I would be very concerned about how he would run the country.”

Check out Mike’s video appeal to voters in battleground states HERE

Small Business Owner Destroys Trump On Taxes And Business Practices

Small Business Owner to Undecided Voters: Donald Trump is a Recession Waiting to Happen

Washington, D.C.-  Today Main Street Alliance (MSA) released its first political web ad, featuring MSA Executive Committee member and small business owner Kelly Conklin. Polling suggests Donald Trump’s path to the presidency must include winning New Hampshire. That is why it is so important to Kelly and Main Street Alliance that voters in the Granite State hear the voice of real small business owners before casting their ballots. 

Check out Kelly’s video appeal to New Hampshire’s undecided voters. View the full 75-second version HERE and the shortened 30-second version HERE.

A poll conducted in September found nearly 60 percent of small business owners siding with Donald Trump. With less than two weeks until Election Day, Conklin, owner of Foley-Waite LLC, a woodworking company in Kenilworth, New Jersey, makes his case against a Trump presidency.

“Donald Trump is a recession waiting to happen,” Kelly says. “And on November 8th you have a choice, whether we are going to go ahead on a steady course or whether we are going to plunge the country into one of its darkest eras ever. The master of disaster or a proven entity who can do the job.”

Amanda Ballantyne, National Director of MSA, said Trump’s behavior and business practices inspired the group to speak up.

“Donald Trump’s rhetoric throughout the election has been toxic and dangerous. His almost glib explanations for his tax avoidance and bad business practices, and shirking small business owners he works with shows a misunderstanding of what it takes to make our economy thrive,” said Ballantyne. “For that reason, we can no longer sit on the sidelines. We worked with our members to produce this video expressing the concerns of real small business owners who have earned their success by doing business the right way.”

Full 75 sec video below.

Strong Women Leaders Campaign For Maggie Hassan In Durham

Cecile Richards, Ilyse Hogue, Randi Weingarten, Maggie Hassan at UNH Today: Ayotte and Trump Would Be Disaster for Women 

img_8865Durham, New Hampshire – Outlining what is at stake for New Hampshire women and young people in this election, Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Ilyse Hogue, President of NARAL, and Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers, joined New Hampshire U.S Senate candidate Governor Maggie Hassan at a Planned Parenthood Action Fund-NARAL membership rally on the University of New Hampshire campus.

The four women highlighted the contrast between Kelly Ayotte’s repeated attacks against women’s health, including her six votes to defund Planned Parenthood and year long support of Donald Trump – who has bragged about groping women and called women “pigs” and “dogs” – and Maggie’s commitment to protecting a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions, as well as Maggie’s commitment to making college more affordable and supporting K-12 education. 

Statement from Governor Maggie Hassan

“It is an honor to join today with true fighters for women’s health and economic opportunity, and I am grateful for the support of Planned Parenthood Action Fund. Here in New Hampshire, I have been proud to stand up for a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions and control her own destiny, including restoring funding for Planned Parenthood at the state-level. But Granite State women and their families deserve better than politicians in Washington like Senator Kelly Ayotte, who has voted six times to defund Planned Parenthood and has consistently blocked women’s access to health care. In the Senate, I will always fight to protect a woman’s right to make her own health decisions and to safely and affordably access health care, and I will stand up to those who want to pull us backward.”

Statement from Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund

“New Hampshire’s Senate election is ground zero for women’s health. Kelly Ayotte has shamelessly tried to rewrite her record – hoping New Hampshire voters forget her 6 votes to defund Planned Parenthood and promises to take away no-copay birth control. Ayotte’s year-long support of Donald Trump makes it clear she is willing stand with bullies who insult and demean women rather than standing with New Hampshire women and families. Planned Parenthood Action Fund is proud to stand with women leaders like Maggie Hassan and Hillary Clinton, who support the thousands of New Hampshire women who visit Planned Parenthood health centers, push for debt-free college, and work to make life better for women and families.”

Statement from Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America

“NARAL members and pro-choice voters across New Hampshire are proud to stand with Maggie Hassan in her campaign for Senate. As governor, Maggie has defended each woman’s right to control her own destiny and to access basic reproductive healthcare, including abortion. Maggie is the type of leader who works with both sides to get things done for women and our families, and she will be the leader that New Hampshire deserves in the Senate.”

Statement from Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers

“I was thrilled to join Cecile Richards, Ilyse Hogue and Gov. Maggie Hassan today to get out the vote for Hillary Clinton and Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire. U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte’s tenure has been marked by obstruction rather than problem-solving, and time and time again, she has shown she stands with the Koch brothers, Wall Street and big pharma instead of putting the needs of working families first. As Governor, Maggie Hassan has walked the walk for the people of the Granite State: She lowered tuition costs at community colleges and froze tuition hikes, she expanded healthcare coverage to more than 50,000 people, and she has been a champion for public education so our kids have the chance to succeed. Gov. Hassan’s values are working families’ values—she will always fight to ensure the people’s interests become the public interest.”

Polls show that 73 percent of Granite Staters support access to safe and legal abortion , 66 percent support Planned Parenthood, and a majority of Independent voters are less likely to vote for her because of her votes to defund Planned Parenthood). Ayotte has consistently tried to rewrite her record after consistently finding herself out of step with New Hampshire voters. Ayotte was ridiculed in the media for handing out condoms at one of her events, a stunt at odds with her six votes to defund Planned Parenthood and stated commitment to overturn the Affordable Care Act, which gave 55 million women nationwide access to no-copay birth control.

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