be polite in general

This is what media bias in Britain looks like. This is The Sun’s front page from tuesday, the day after the bombing in Manchester. They literally blame Jeremy Corbyn for the bombing. This kind of political propaganda that uses tragedy for political gain is fucking despicable. No matter your political persuasion you have to appreciate that this sort of exploitation of tragedy is not in the democratic spirit of this country. The Sun (and their ilk) are a blight on all that is good about journalism. 

There is now, rightly, a petition calling for boycotting of the Sun in Manchester

10

The organizers of the Women’s March just called for a general strike

  • The activists behind the Women’s March on Washington, a worldwide event that stands as the largest protest in U.S. history, announced Monday morning on Twitter that they will call for a general strike.
  • “The will of the people will stand,” the organizers announced, though the date and demands for the strike are not yet determined. 
  • The call for a general strike comes on the heels of similar calls for a nationwide strike from various organizers. Read more
4

Activists call for a nationwide general strike on February 17

  • In a column for the Guardian on Monday, American writer Francine Prose called for a “nonviolent national general strike” to demonstrate “how many of us there are, how strong and committed we are, how much we can accomplish.”
  • She wrote: “Let’s designate a day on which no one (that is, anyone who can do so without being fired) goes to work, a day when no one shops or spends money, a day on which we truly make our economic and political power felt.”
  • Calls to do just that have been circulating online recently, with activists setting Feb. 17 — the Friday before President’s Day — as the day for a #nationalstrike against the presidency of Donald Trump. Read more
Sally Yates is a Patriot

I have a series of medical tests late this afternoon, so I won’t have a chance to post a recap of Sally Yates’ testimony. Her hearing is about to start now.

Three things:

1) NBC News broke the news this morning that three Obama officials have confirmed that, shortly after the election, President Obama warned Trump not to hire General Flynn, whom he had fired in 2014. And, of course, Trump had to fire Flynn three weeks after he hired him to be National Security Adviser because Flynn colluded with Russia–and Turkey–and lied to VP Pence about it.

2) Strongly urge you to read up on Sally Yates’ career if you haven’t already. She has a long, distinguished legal career prosecuting members of both parties. She’s highly esteemed by peers of all stripes. And Trump fired her in January from her job as Acting U.S. Attorney General because she refused to enforce his first travel ban Executive Order. Let’s note the 3rd Circuit separately ruled that Yates’ legal assessment was the correct one.

3) Yates is about to testify under oath now. In a stupid and venal attempt to deflect attention, this morning on Twitter, Trump both attacked Yates AND falsely blamed President Obama for hiring Flynn.

Let’s pay close attention. Yates has tremendous integrity and pertinent information. Today we learn what Yates knew about Flynn and Russia, what she relayed to Trump, and why she opted to get fired rather than enforce a travel ban she knew to be Unconstitutional.

Sally Yates is a patriot.

The words were those of Coretta Scott King, widow of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

But they resulted in a rarely invoked Senate rule being used to formally silence Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

On the Senate floor Tuesday, Warren began reading from a letter Scott King wrote in 1986 objecting to President Reagan’s ultimately unsuccessful nomination of then-U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions to a federal district court seat.

Now-Sen. Sessions, R-Ala., is President Trump’s nominee for U.S. attorney general. Warren was speaking in the debate leading up to Sessions’ likely confirmation by the Senate Wednesday.

Republicans Vote To Silence Sen. Elizabeth Warren In Confirmation Debate

Photo: Pete Marovic/Bloomberg via Getty Images

9

Jeff Sessions talked with the Russian ambassador twice — and then told Congress he didn’t

  • Senior Department of Justice officials allege Attorney General Jeff Sessions was in contact with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the 2016 presidential campaign. (Washington Post)
  • He then Sessions later told Congress no such contact occurred, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday.
  • 1 of the 2 discussions in question was a closed-door September meeting with Kislyak in the then-senator’s office. Read more (3/1/17 10:42 PM)
  • Sessions repeatedly said he was not aware of any discussions between him or other Trump campaign members at congressional hearings, which is on video.

Pelosi, Warren and more Democrats call for Sessions to resign

  • House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called on Sessions to resign.
  • “There must be an independent, bipartisan, outside commission to investigate the Trump political, personal and financial connections to the Russians,” she said. Read more (3/1/17 11:38 PM)
  • Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said Sessions’ statements during his confirmation were “demonstrably false” and that he "should resign immediately,” (Washington Post)
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren pulled no punches calling for his resignation and an independent investigation.  Read more (3/2/17 5:43 AM)

Jeff Sessions confirmed as attorney general

  • Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) will be the next U.S. attorney general, after the Senate voted Wednesday, 52-47, to confirm him.
  • Every Democratic senator voted against Session except for former West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin.
  • Sessions was one of Trump’s most controversial nominees.
  • Even among his GOP colleagues, Sessions was out of the mainstream, holding ultra-conservative views on immigration. 
  • He was also the first senator to endorse Trump, backing his bid early on during the presidential primary. Read more
Dear the voting population of the UK

This general election is so important, not just for the next 5 years of power but for the next 50. It is not just a case of who we let take us out of the EU, but making sure that our rights (both human and working) are protected, as well as safeguarding the NHS, education system and environmental policies. 

And even though Brexit is at the forefront of our immediate minds and future we have to think past it and see the bigger picture. We have to decide what we want our country to look like in a generation to come - do we want it to be isolated and broken through the continuation of Conservative selfishness or do we want a country that cares for its young people and makes steps towards a better and more equal future? 

If you, like me, don’t want a Britain torn apart for good I beg you, please make sure you register to vote and go out to vote on June 8th! Don’t waste your vote and please vote for a party other than the Tories. I think that our best chance at stopping May from seriously damaging this country is a united left of all strands- Labour, SNP, Lib Dem and Green. There may be lots of things we don’t agree on but I think we can all agree that we have to make sure Britain stays on the right side of history and I believe that is one that protects the things that really does make our country great - The NHS, education, housing, welfare and inclusivity. 

Article 50 has already been triggered- there isn’t any going back, whether you were for it or not, so now it is our job to make sure that the Conservatives don’t make it a worse situation, where the only people who come out on top are them and the bankers. We have to stand up and fight for young people, the working class, and other minorities. We have to protect the future for them and this country. 

I know we’re all tired and it seems hopeless with so much negativity in the world, but now is our chance! Now is our chance to change something, to take back power and see real positive change! Campaign if you can, talk to your friends and family about what you want from this election, do some research into your local candidates and parties. Even if you decide you don’t want to vote for a leading party in your area, spoil your ballot- I promise it will send a stronger message than not just voting! But I will say again, our best chance is a united left, so please take a moment to think and vote wisely! 

And again, PLEASE GO VOTE ON JUNE 8th !!!! A massive issue we face is a low turnout and we need to make sure we are ready to fight this battle. 

Even if you are not in the UK at the moment or are unable to vote, please reblog this post to spread the message and encourage others. This general election is so important. 

Just got back from Voter Protection Training!

It went really well! We do it in odd election years before the primaries because there are historically a lot of shenanigans regarding people crossfiling to get in primaries for parties not their own and we tend to have election observers for the different candidates in place, but there was a lot of general purpose information I want to generally make sure everyone knows.

Polling Place Dos and Don’ts: Campaigning

  • Candidate Behavior in Polling Places: Candidates can enter, vote and leave. They cannot hang around inside to say “hi” to voters, even if it’s stuff that’s not technically partisan like “I just want to thank you for voting today!” Vote and get out.
  • Not a candidate? You still literally shouldn’t even speak a candidate’s name while inside the polling place. This extends to the poll workers - if you forget a candidate’s name and ask the poll worker what it is, they actually should not even tell you that much. If you ever see a poll worker suggesting a specific candidate or seeming to promote a candidate, it is a violation and should be reported.
  • Along similar lines: do not wear candidate paraphernalia inside. No buttons, no shirts, no hats, no weird fun themed socks. This is a bit of a gray area but generally speaking, err on the side of caution and don’t.
  • Pamphlets should be handed out outside the polls, not inside. Rules vary by state, but generally you can’t hand out literature for a candidate inside the polls or within a certain perimeter of the entrance. I’ve seen some argument back and forth as to what counts as the “entrance” if you have two sets of doors, with an outer one to the building and an inner one, but I’ve absolutely reported people for being inside the polling building and seen them dutifully standing outside afterwards, so generally assume they should not be in the building.
  • NO ONE CAN BLOCK VOTERS FROM ENTERING OR INTIMIDATE VOTERS, INCLUDING GETTING IN THEIR PATH OR DEMANDING IDENTIFICATION OUTSIDE THE POLLS.
  • I want to really emphasize that last point - if you are in a voter ID state, your ID will be checked INSIDE. If you are asked for your ID outside the poll, that is a violation and those people do not have legitimate authority.
  • If someone is intimidating or harassing voters, including demanding to see ID,  report them. Additionally AS LONG AS YOU ARE OUTSIDE THE POLLING PLACE - get them on video on your phone if possible. Post the video to social media, but also post it to your local news station’s Facebook page. That having been said, be veeeery cautious about doing this inside a polling place - there are definitely rules in some states about recording inside a polling place. I’m afraid I can’t give general advice for this situation.
  • If you are unable to get into your polling place due to accessibility issues, that is also a violation. Report it, same as above.

Reporting Violations: See Something? Say Something!

  • Spot violations? Report them ASAP so they can be stopped before the day is out. They might get one or two voters, unfortunately, but don’t let them scare people away all day! They can be blatant about this type of thing, too - we had a story in tonight’s training about a district where, for years, Latinx voters were turned away at the door and told that “Latinos don’t vote here.” It was finally uncovered three years later when a phone banker calling for a local candidate spoke with a Latina woman who asked “Will I be able to vote this year?” and “I haven’t been able to vote these past few years, do Latinos vote somewhere else?” This was uncovered in 2012. Keep a sharp eye out. 
  • Generally speaking, each polling place should have a Judge of Elections - if anything is wrong, go to them first. Ask a poll worker until you get to speak to them.
  • Is the Judge of Elections complicit or not cooperating? Then go over to their head to the County Board of Elections. This information, obviously, varies by County, but I suggest googling it for your County and putting it into your phone’s address book.
  • 866-OUR-VOTE also does voter protection services, but their reactions may be slower, so go to them only after the above steps.
  • Phone issues/phone anxiety/etc.? There may also be places to report online! As I was informed, state sites are often more reliable for that then county, but please try to file a report on both. 
  • But the most important thing of all? Report A.S.A.P. The day after the election might stop them from pulling a repeat act next year, but who knows how many voters they’ll be able to stop before then? Don’t let these clowns operate all day! 
  • Finally, just as a note if you do see someone actively intimidating voters: record and report, but do not engage. However, you can offer to escort voters inside if they’re being intimidated! 
  • If you see someone being intimidated, encourage them to come forward - if you’re being intimidated, PLEASE come forward. Reporting when it happens the only way to nip this kind of thing in the bud. Without people coming forward and reporting, we get Latinx people being turned away from a polling place for three entire years before someone actually alerts the authorities because apparently no one posted a competent election watcher in that entire frigging time.
  • (I’m still so mad about that story - just oh my god.)

Trouble With Voting? Name Not on the Roll? No Voter ID?

  • Again, can’t emphasize this enough: If you have any trouble voting, flag down the judge of elections if you need help, then call your county board of elections if that fails or the judge is complicit in the problem.
  • Is your name not on the rolls? If all they’ve done is flip the book open to your alphabetical spot, they have not done their due diligence. Voter registration can be slow: sometimes, voter registrations will be sent in as “supplementals” to the book, depending on when they arrive. Have them check back of book for the supplementals first.
  • Still can’t find your name? Are you reasonably sure you’re in the right place and have registered? Better yet, is the online voter registration checker telling you you’re registered? Have the Judge of Elections call the county board of elections to see if you’ve been registered but not yet entered in the book yet!
  • Also, live in a Voter ID state? Check to make sure of the requirements! Some states only require voter ID if it’s your first time voting in that polling place. The exact form of acceptable ID may vary but your driver’s license should always be enough. If they’re telling you it isn’t, they are lying. Report it.
  • And if all else fails? ENTER A PROVISIONAL BALLOT. If you can prove after the fact that you’re eligible to vote at that polling place -  say, if you forgot your voter ID - you can still have your vote counted! 
  • You may never be denied a provisional ballot, ever. If someone tells you they’ve run out of provisional ballots they are ALMOST CERTAINLY LYING - they have a truly absurd amount of those on hand and can call for more. If someone tells you this, call the board of elections and tell them “Hey, [x voting place] is out of provisional ballots.” That’ll be resolved real quick then.
  • In fact, was there a mixup about your polling place? Whenever possible, you should always get to your actual voting place, but if you can’t make it in time to vote there, try filing a provisional ballot at the polling place where you currently are! It may be counted for your proper polling place later! Basically only do this if you physically cannot get to your polling place before the polls close, though. 
  • If you or someone else needs translation services, they are legally entitled to them; however, the translator does need to be certified, generally; you can’t just bring a friend or family member in to translate in the booth.

Poll Watcher and Worker Responsibilities

  • Poll watchers are usually registered for a certain candidate. I’m not sure if this is true for all states but in at least some there is a limit to number of poll watchers per candidate. Sometimes they’ll let a generic political party have a poll watcher (E.G., ‘Poll watcher for the Democratic Party’, etc.), but it’s rare and may be thrown out, so don’t count on it if you have another option.
  • Poll watchers need to be registered and approved. You can’t just show up and ‘poll watch’. If someone is claiming to be a poll watcher without official papers, report them. If someone is trying to ‘poll watch’ inside the polls without official papers, definitely report them.
  • What can poll watchers do? Well, for starters, they can check before polls open that numbers are at zero! After that, their job is to sit at table and watch. 
  • Do NOT tell any voters what candidate you are pollwatching for. That is a violation. See that thing about “literally do not speak a candidate’s name inside of a polling place” above.
  • Poll watchers can also watch the votes being counted and can even watch as the write-ins and absentee ballots are counted.
  • Aside from the Judge of Elections, poll workers, and poll watchers, polling places may also have an inspector for each party. Poll staff can be elected or appointed, depending on the position - if your polling place doesn’t have anyone from your party, you can tell the judge of elections you’re interested in volunteering. HOWEVER, you’re there from before it opens to after the last vote is counted, so make sure you’re up for that because that is a loooong day.
  • Finally, just as a general note: Exit pollers can ask you how you voted, but you can refuse to answer - no one can force you to answer how you voted.

And that’s my absurdly long voter protection spiel! There’s a lot of other voting rights stuff to know in terms of registration, felon registration rights (varies by state!), homeless registration rights (I know in at least some states you can register even if you’re homeless and just need to circle the area you’re usually in on a map in order to register, but that may not be universal), but we just covered stuff at the polls themselves here.

Now, get out there and vote! Every year has at least a primary and a general election, plus sometimes special elections - please don’t just turn out for Presidential elections!