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At a Protest of Saudi Prince’s Visit and the War on Yemen

Sat, 03/24/2018 - 13:12

I was there to film and take pictures as fifty or so peace activists came out early this cold morning on the steps of City Hall to tell Mayor Bill Di Blasio and institutions like Harvard University and MIT in Boston, also where the Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud will be visiting while in the US, not to meet with a war criminal.

Member of Veterans for Peace at the steps of City Hall today to tell Mayor De Blasio to denounce the visit of war criminal Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud’s visit to NYC next week. Two Yemeni women holding a flag of their country calling to end the genocide of their people and homeland by Saudi Arabia with the help of the United States which has killed countless Yemenis and created a humanitarian crisis the world has never before seen.

Take a look at some recent relevant articles from Aljazeera on the war in Yemen and on the Cholera outbreak that the United Nations has declared the “world’s worst cholera outbreak”.

Protesters told de Blasio to denounce the Saudi Prince’s visit and told Senators Schumer & Menendez to immediately commit to vote to end US support for Saudi war on Yemen. Members of the NYC Metro Raging Grannies and Their Daughters led the protesters in song, and others, dressed as Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and US President Trump, held props representing money and war planes.

QUOTES FROM THE EVENT SPEAKERS

Somia Alrowmeim, NYC Protest Co-Organizer and MC:

“For three years now, I have witnessed the total destruction of my ancestors’ homeland and the pain and suffering of family, friends, and millions of innocent Yemenis as my beloved America continues to fuel and support Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen.”

Rabyaah Althaibani, NYC Protest Co-Organizer

“For more than three years I have seen the world forgetting the war on Yemen. I have seen the people who didn’t get killed by rockets and Saudi bombs killed by slow death. Sixty-five percent of the Yemeni people have been working without a salary for two years. They need immediate help. The people are dying from hunger and disease from no electricity, no water, and no gas. Even the environment is polluted by the use of internationally prohibited weapons. I have a hope that the USA is going to stop the war and save Yemeni people’s lives.”

Kate Alexander, Policy & Outreach Director, Peace Action NYS, Protest Co-Host

“The population of Yemen is sick and starving, and being bombed the Saudi-led coalition with U.S. support. Our elected officials — Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, and Mayor Bill de Blasio — must end support for this unconscionable war impacting Yemeni families, in New York and in Yemen.” 

Isaac Evans-Frantz, Unpaid Organizer, Action Corps NYC, Protest Co-Organizer

“Time is running out for the people of Yemen. We thank Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Cory Booker for supporting the bill to end US support for Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen. We demand that Senators Chuck Schumer and Bob Menendez follow their lead. Congress should listen to the American people: Stop bombing children.” 

William D. Hartung, Center for International Policy, NY Protest Speaker:

“Mohammed bin Salman’s propaganda tour of the United States should not be allowed to obscure the devastating impact of his U.S.-backed bombing campaign and blockade of Yemen, which has killed thousands and put millions more at risk. The best way to mark his visit is for the Senate to pass the Sanders/Lee/Murphy bill that would end U.S. support for Saudi airstrikes that Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) has said ‘look like war crimes.'”

 

Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK cofounder and author of a book on Saudi Arabia, DC Protest Co-Organizer

“Mohammed Bin Salman employs an army of lobbyists and PR firms to sell himself as a reformer when he is really a war criminal and a power-hungry bully whose ego rivals that of Donald Trump. It is absurd that the US is in bed with this ‘prince’ who mercilessly bombs Yemen, shakes down Saudi businessmen, captured the Lebanese prime minister, concocted a rift with Qatar and even kidnapped his own mother. The Saudi monarchy also jails and beheads dissidents, discriminates against the Shia minority, and forces women to live under a repressive male guardianship system. It is not a regime the United States should be arming and abetting.”

Additional speakers included:

  • Larry Goldbetter, National Writers Union
  • Sal Altaheri, Office of City Council Member Justin Brannan
William Hartung, calling Saudi Prince bin Salmen’s visit to the U.S. next week a “Propaganda Tour. He’s not a reformer, he’s a War Criminal”.

Take a look at my livestream video of the event with William Hartung speaking at min 2:11 –

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Posted by Cat Watters on Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Moderator of the event Somia Alrowmeim

Katie Alexander of Action Corps NYC speaking on the steps of City Hall today to denounce the Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salmen’s visit to NYC next week. Yemeni, Anti war activist Rabyaah Althaibani addressing the crowd, “It’s been 3 years, my community is suffering, we need to end this”.

Rabyaah Althaibani speaks on the livestream video above at min 10.

Larry Goldbetter from National Writers Union said today, “THEY SAY THE FIRST CASUALTY OF WAR IS THE TRUTH”, then referred to Sunday’s piece 60 Minutes did on Prince bin Salmen calling him a “visionary” and a “revolutionary”, that he was “liberating women by teaching them to drive” when it’s bin Salmen who is has “released a blitzkrieg against the civilian population of Yemen”.

You can see Larry’s LinkedIn for more information on him or see him speak on my livestream video above at min 11:30.

Isaac Evans- Franz

You can see NYC Mayor De Blasio entering City Hall during the rally at min 16:45 of the livestream video above.

Yemeni woman holding toy bomb over the head of performance artists Marni Halasa dressed at Saudi prince Mohammed bin Salmen and Elliot Crown as the Twitter in Chief Trump.

Here is some information about the event from Fedbook event invite:

ACTION: Protest organizers demand the US end all support for the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen. In Washington DC, demonstrations will take place at various venues associated with the Crown Prince’s visit. The protesters are focusing on the Crown Prince’s key role in the bombing of Yemen, and seek to debunk the narrative that he is a reformer who is fighting corruption and bringing a new age of enlightenment to the kingdom. New York protesters today asked Mayor Bill de Blasio to speak out against the Crown Prince’s visit and Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) to immediately announce their support for the Sanders-Lee-Murphy resolution to withdraw US support for the Saudi military aggressions in Yemen. They thanked the Mayor and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (N-NY) for announcing their support for the Sanders-Lee-Murphy.

BACKGROUND: The war in Yemen is creating what the UN describes as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis: thousands of civilian deaths, untold hunger, and the worst cholera outbreak in recorded history with over one million suspected cases by the end of 2017. This crisis has been deeply exacerbated by the Saudi-led military intervention and blockade, which has received critical support from both the Obama and Trump administrations in the form of arms sales, targeting assistance, intelligence sharing, and mid-air refueling of Saudi bombers. US bombs have been used in Yemen against markets, hospitals, funeral halls, and residential neighborhoods. This support has never been authorized by Congress.

Despite Saudi Arabia’s reported measures to provide humanitarian relief, humanitarian and commercial access remains highly restricted. It is against this backdrop that the chief architect of the Saudi intervention, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is visiting the US. Meanwhile Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Chris Murphy (D-CT) have introduced a bill to end the unauthorized role of US forces in the Saudi-led war on Yemen. The bill is expected to be debated Tuesday or Wednesday.

*The DC events are being organized by CODEPINK: Women for Peace, Peace Action, Just Foreign Policy and World Beyond War.

**The NYC protest was organized by Yemeni-American community activists and Action Corps NYC, and was co-hosted by various organizations, including New York and New Jersey chapters of Veterans For Peace, Peace Committee of 15th St. Quakers, Peace Action New York State, Anti-War Working Group of Democratic Socialists of America NYC Chapter, Coalition to End the U.S.-Saudi Alliance, MPower Change, War Resisters League, CODEPINK and Just Foreign Policy. The protest was endorsed by the NYC Metro Raging Grannies and Granny Peace Brigade.

Our Demands for Our Mayor and US Senators:

1) Speak Out Against Saudi Crown Prince Visit to NYC.
2) Declare Your Support Sanders-Lee Yemen Resolution (Senate Joint Resolution 54).

The Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, is coming to NYC in the last week of March. Bin Salman is the chief architect of a three-year-long bombing campaign against Saudi Arabia’s neighbor, Yemen. This war is creating the world’s worst humanitarian crisis: thousands of civilian deaths, untold hunger, and a cholera outbreak with a million victims in 2017 alone. Both the Obama and Trump administrations have provided critical support to bin Salman’s war, including arms sales, targeting assistance, and mid-air refueling of Saudi bombers.

This support has never been authorized by Congress. We must end our ongoing support for the war on Yemen.
Join us at 8:45am on Tuesday 3/20 in front of City Hall as we call on Mayor de Blasio to condemn the Saudi Prince’s visit. Call Congress at 1-833-STOP-WAR (786-7927). Tell your senator to support the Sanders-Lee bill, S.J.Res.54, which uses the War Powers Act to end U.S. support for the illegal war on Yemen.

Join the vigil, every Sat. at 11am in Union Square, NYC.

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Internet Access in Least Developed Countries Brings Tech Gains

Sat, 03/24/2018 - 12:35

A recent study conducted by the International Telecommunication Union, revealed that more than 64 percent of citizens of the least developed countries around the world now have access to the internet and/or a mobile device. The results have been transformative.

The study, conducted in 2017, surveyed 47 of the world’s least developed countries also known as LCD’s. In those countries, more than 60 percent of the citizens now have access to what is known as a 3G network, allowing access on a mobile device, though not as fast as a 4G or 5G or LTE network.

Many networks over the past ten years have advanced their services to where they have what is known as LTE networks, the fastest of the internet options available for smart devices.

“It gives farmers access to information on crops, when to plant their crops, weather patterns, that are happening,” ITU spokeswoman Jennifer Ferguson, said to a website covering the topic. “It can make micro and small and medium sized enterprises be able to compete with larger businesses,” Ferguson continued.

The official definition of Least Developed Nations (as they’re also known) is “a list of the countries that, according to the United Nations, exhibit the lowest indicators of socioeconomic development, with the lowest Human Development Index ratings of all countries in the world.”

According to the United Nations, the top five LCD’s include, 1) Afghanistan,  2) Angola, 3)Bangladesh, 4) Benin and 5) Bhutan.

The study also showed that, 70 percent of the world’s youth are now online through either computer or mobile device. A study by Pew Research in 2016 also showed that 45 percent of adults in the emerging world considered themselves internet users in 2015. However, the study showed an increase for 2016 with 54 percent considering themselves internet users.

Many of the Least Developed Nations are under restrictive regimes that often limit internet access to only a certain percentage of the population. “Governments are treating words as weapons, adopting vague laws that give officials massive discretion to undermine speech and opinion,” UN special rapporteur on the freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, said in October 2016.

Kaye also went onto describe how the internet kill switch is used by restrictive regimes as a weapon to kill any opposition they feel threatens their regimes.

“I am especially concerned that many governments assert legitimate grounds for restrictions such as protection of national security or public order or the rights of others as fig leaves to attack unpopular opinion or criticism of government and government officials,” Kaye continued.

As a result of poor and repressive government, many countries in Africa and in South Asia, where some of the most restrictive regimes operate, have lower than normal percentages of internet use. The United Nations has a goal of universal internet access for these LDC’s by 2020, which it says is on the way to achieving.

Concluding, it’s a very positive trend that countries are gaining access to the internet and technology, however they clearly must also focus on pressuring restrictive regimes to allow greater expression of expression and opinion online even if it does criticize government officials and leaders.

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Revealed: Russia used Tumblr for 2016 election disinformation

Sat, 03/24/2018 - 11:39

Tumblr announced Friday the blogging platform was used by a shadowy Russian internet group to spread disinformation during the 2016 election campaign as it published the 84 account handles linked to the effort. Tumblr, which was acquired by Yahoo in 2013 and now is part of Verizon unit Oath, said it uncovered the scheme late last…

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Agreement Reached on UN-Sponsored Iraqi Electoral Code of Ethics

Sat, 03/24/2018 - 11:37
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File photo: Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. Haidar Hamdani / AFP Representatives of Iraqi political parties and parliamentary blocs agreed on Friday on an “electoral code of ethics,” under the sponsorship of UN and western experts. The text, a copy of which was obtained by Asharq Al-Awsat, includes 24 clauses based on which Iraq will hold…

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Thousands of Slovak protesters demand snap elections

Sat, 03/24/2018 - 11:33

Thousands of protesters across Slovakia called for snap elections Friday, in a sign that a change of government ministers has not been enough to quell a public backlash triggered by the murder of a journalist probing corruption. The president on Thursday appointed the new cabinet led by Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini, whose predecessor and close ally…

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Exiled Saudi journalist decries lack of MBS democracy

Sat, 03/24/2018 - 11:13

A prominent Saudi journalist and former royal family adviser has criticised the government’s crackdown on Saudi intellectuals and journalists, lamenting that the kingdom will never become democratic under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Speaking to Al Jazeera in the programme UpFront, Jamal Khashoggi – currently self-exiled in the US – said that there was no space…

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Facebook in American elections, from Obama to Trump

Sat, 03/24/2018 - 11:10

The use of Facebook data to target voters has triggered global outrage with the Cambridge Analytica scandal. But the concept is nothing new: Barack Obama made extensive use of the social network in 2008 and stepped up “micro-targeting” in his 2012 re-election effort. The unauthorized gathering of data on 50 million Facebook users by a British…

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Franking: Elected Officials Selling Themselves With Your Tax Dollars

Sat, 03/24/2018 - 11:08

WASHINGTON — Your lawmakers in Washington last year spent spent more than $666,000 in taxpayer money on mailings, robocalls and other communications to show you what they’re doing, according to a new report tracking members of the U.S. House. Known as “franking,” the funds go to such things as legislative updates, newsletters and notices about upcoming…

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Newly Political Comedian Roseanne in Combative Trump Interview

Sat, 03/24/2018 - 11:04
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Roseanne Barr’s appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live Thursday quickly became combative as talk turned to politics. But the results were unintentionally hilarious. Barr, whose classic 1990s sitcom Roseanne makes its return to ABC next week, appeared on the late-night talker with co-star John Goodman. The revival will focus largely on family dissent caused by the 2016…

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Cate Blanchett Slams Aung San Suu Kyi Over Rohingya Crisis

Sat, 03/24/2018 - 10:57

Australian actress Cate Blanchett says she is bewildered by Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s silence over the atrocities being committed against Rohingya Muslims. More than 670,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar have sought safety across the border in Bangladesh since August 2017, after a military campaign against the minority group that a U.N. official has previously…

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The disastrous lack of Pakistani female enfranchisement

Sat, 03/24/2018 - 10:54

As another election draws ever nearer so does the question of the participation of women in the core activity of the democratic process. Votes for women was one of the defining movements of the early 20th century, and the enfranchisement of women is still far from universal, with Pakistan being one of the countries that actively…

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Few of the States Prepped by Feds on Election Security

Sat, 03/24/2018 - 10:42

The White House called a snow day, wiping all events from its schedule, including a Cabinet meeting, as a powerful snowstorm hit Washington on Wednesday. However, lawmakers working on the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Russia investigation weren’t daunted by the expected 4 to 8 inches of snow and continued to forge ahead with a hearing on election…

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Déjà Vu: Tear Gas Released in Kosovo’s Parliament Again

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 14:54

Members of Kosovo’s political opposition released tear gas into a parliamentary session on Wednesday in order to prevent lawmakers from voting on a border agreement they oppose. Kosovo, a tiny nation that unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008, must ratify a 2015 border agreement with its neighbor Montenegro in order to obtain visa-free travel to…

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When an armed staffer, not a gun-restriction, stops a school shooting

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 13:14

Recent school shootings have left the country desperate for constructive results. Much like with any other social issue, a bipartisan divide has ensued, leaving Republicans and Democrats indicting one another with a variety of false dichotomies.

Republicans claim Democrats want to steal guns, while Democrats allege that Republicans don’t care about the lives of the country’s youth; neither of which are true. The former claim, with the exception of liberal-extremists, is greatly exaggerated. Even the most unequivocally left-leaning Democrats are not in favor of abolishing the Second Amendment, but rather enhance regulation pertaining it. However, the fact of the matter is that in many events, gun-restriction doesn’t work to begin with.

No enhanced gun-restriction would have prevented the latest school-shooting. That is not an opinion, but rather an objective fact.

In Maryland, state law prohibits any individual under the age of 21 from obtaining or possessing a firearm; the shooter was 17. The shooter did not walk into a store and purchase a firearm, but rather took it from his father, who had acquired the gun legally. The father was a law-abiding citizen who had no outstanding red-flags that would have prevented him from acquiring the gun.

One thing we do know for sure: if the school resource officer had not been present and armed, the shooter would not have been stopped as abruptly as he was, and could have potentially taken the lives of a quantity of innocent people similar to that of the ones taken in the Parkland shooting in Florida.

When you juxtapose all school-shooters, one thing remains glaringly obvious: a blatant disregard for the law. “Gun-free zones” do not deter any individual who has foul intentions and intent to harm, but rather disarms law-abiding citizens with intent to protect.

Although I’m not in favor of the idea of gun-control, I am receptive to the entertainment of it. If any legislation could prevent mass-casualty shootings, then I would welcome it. That being said, I’m reluctant to believe that any legislation would prevent lawbreakers from law-breaking. It hasn’t worked to this point, and likely won’t work in the future. Not only that, but any enhanced-measure would almost surely infringe on the rights of law-abiding citizens. Criminals have no regard for the law, and if they have a desire to break the law and the means to do so, they won’t hesitate.

Bottom-line: armed staff, not gun-laws, prevented this shooting from becoming another tragic, mass-casualty event. That isn’t to say that all gun-restrictions are redundant; it does, however, exemplify the advantages of protecting students with armed-staff.

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Coverage of a March to Mark 15 Years Since US Invasion of Iraq

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 13:03
Iraqis on the mind at the NYC Public Library at 42nd Street

Last week, I was able to capture footage of a protest march against the Iraq War in Manhattan. Participants were marching from the NYC Public Library at 42nd Street and arriving at the U.S. military recruiting station in order to remind people of the millions slaughtered in Iraq in an ongoing, illegal and endless war.

The march was organized to mark the anniversary of sorts for the fifteen years passed since America invaded Iraq and plunged the region into a period of horrific violence.

A recent article from Counterpunch entitled, “The Iraq Death Toll 15 Years After the US Invasion” states:

March 19 marks 15 years since the U.S.-U.K invasion of Iraq in 2003, and the American people have no idea of the enormity of the calamity the invasion unleashed. The US military has refused to keep a tally of Iraqi deaths. General Tommy Franks, the man in charge of the initial invasion, bluntly told reporters, “We don’t do body counts.” One survey found that most Americans thought Iraqi deaths were in the tens of thousands. But our calculations, using the best information available, show a catastrophic estimate of 2.4 million Iraqi deaths since the 2003 invasion.

The number of Iraqi casualties is not just a historical dispute, because the killing is still going on today. Since several major cities in Iraq and Syria fell to Islamic State in 2014, the U.S. has led the heaviest bombing campaign since the American War in Vietnam, dropping 105,000 bombs and missiles and reducing most of Mosul and other contested Iraqi and Syrian cities to rubble.

Beating the drums for Peace on this 15th anniversary of the U.S. illegitimate genocide of the people in Iraq with no accountability or reparations.

Demonstrators, about 35 in all, met at the NYC Public library on 42nd St. and marched to the military recruiting station for a rally.

Debra Sweet of The World Can’t Wait

Debra Sweet of The World Can’t Wait organization told me why she was involving herself in putting on today’s event. She said to me:

“2003, March 19th, the U.S. released ‘Shock & Awe’ on the people of Iraq. It was a completely illegitimate, immoral and unjust attack which has led to almost 2 million people being killed in the region. IT WAS A ‘WAR’ THEY SAID AT THE TIME COULD LAST GENERATIONS AND HAD NO BOUNDARIES”. “WHEN YOU ARE THE #1 IMPERIALIST POWER YOU HAVE TO ASSERT THIS DOMINANCE OVER THE MIDDLE EAST. It is more than just profit, it is control and dominance”.

I asked Debra about extremist groups like “al Qaeda who have grown since the U.S. began its attack on the Middle East, using the event’s of 9/11 as an excuse when Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 and WMD’s was a total lie”. She replied, “In the 80’s that’s how they were going to get the Russians knocked out of Afghanistan, funding the Islamic fundamentalists. A strategy that had unforeseen repercussions”.

Here is video of the full interview I was able to get with Debra Sweet during the event:

I also captured a Facebook livestream video you can see here:

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Posted by Cat Watters on Monday, March 19, 2018

Leading the song, This Land Is Your Land, was anti-war activist Bud Courtney on guitar.

The event was hosted by the NYC War Resisters League and the invite can be seen at their Facebook event page:

Come to the NY Public Library (Fifth Ave. at 41st St.) at 11:30 am to protest the endless war in Iraq — now 15 years since the U.S. invasion — followed by a 12 noon march along 42nd St. to the Times Square military recruiting station (43rd St. and 7th Ave.).

Sponsored by NY War Resisters League, Pax Christi Metro New York, World Can’t Wait, Veterans For Peace/Chapter 34, Brooklyn For Peace, Granny Peace Brigade, KnowDrones.com, NYC Metro Raging Grannies, Peace and Justice Committee of Uptown Progressive Action

To download a 4-up call to action flyer for the demonstration, go to https://nycwarresistersdotorg.files.wordpress.com/2018/03/3-19-18_call-to-action1.pdf

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At a Manhattan Rally for Early Voting in New York State

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 23:32
Demonstrators in Manhattan’s Foley Square

I was there to take pictures and video as at least 100 demonstrators turned out today in Manhattan’s Foley Square amid bright sun and cold temperatures to rally for the introduction of at least 14 days of early voting. The first in a series of livestream videos I filmed at the event can be seen here:

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Posted by Cat Watters on Sunday, March 18, 2018

New York remains one of only 11 American states that do not offer any form of early voting. Speakers at the event included:

  • Stanley Fritz, Citizen Action (MC)
  • Gale Brewer, Manhattan Borough President
  • Minister Kirsten John Foy, National Action Network
  • Letitia James,Public Advocate
  • Brian Kavanagh, State Senator
  • Carolyn B. Maloney, Congresswoman NY-12
  • Eric Schneiderman, Attorney General
  • Ricky Silver, Empire State Indivisible
  • Mazeda Uddin, South Asian Fund For Education, Scholarship & Training
  • L. Joy Williams, Brooklyn NAACP
  • Pastor Zac, Faith in NY
The League of Women Voters came out today among the demonstrators rallying for early voting in NY state. Kathy Kaufman (left)

Demonstrator Kathy Kaufman told me why she was out today in support of early voting: “Voting is foundational to our Democracy and the more votes we have the better, stronger and more progressive our Government will be”. In response to my question of how she felt about our current one weekday voting we have now Kathy said, “Some people have an impediment to voting and the more barriers we can break down the better”.

Elise Nakhnikian of Common Cause (center)

Elise Nakhnikian of Common Cause told me the following at the event:

“It’s really about fairness in voting and making voting accessible. There are many people who have more than one job these days, or maybe they’re taking care of an aging parent, or maybe they’re in school. If you have early voting it just makes it possible for more people to vote. WHY WOULD WE NOT WANT MORE PEOPLE TO VOTE?”

They should want people to vote, women couldn’t vote til the beginning of the last century, black people couldn’t vote a little before that. There have been a lot of roadblocks to voting even though we like to think of ourselves as being an open Democracy, there’s been a fight for that”. “Not allowing ex-felons to vote in so many states ends up disenfranchising mostly black and poor people”.

Brooklyn NAACP’s L. Joy Williams

The impressive L. Joy Williams of the Brooklyn NAACP spoke to the crowd:

“This is not a new fight, we have been pushing this issue to expand voter registration, we’ve been pushing the issue for early voting. We’re going to Albany tomorrow to lobby the Assembly members to make sure that we don’t have 8 days of early voting, not 12 days of early voting but, to make sure that we have at least 14 days of early voting in NY state”.

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was at the event as well.

“There is No Right more important than the right to vote”, Schneiderman began his talk, “and impeding the right to vote is not only undemocratic it’s un-American”. Schneiderman then gave a history lesson about the site of Foley Square stating that it was “the site of three different British prisons where they locked up advocates for democracy in the time around the Revolutionary war”. Video of Eric Schneiderman’s speech can be seen at minute seven of the livestream video above.

Stanley Fritz of Citizen Action, the MC of the event, told the crowd that Governor Cuomo put $7.1 million in the budget for early voting. The he reminded everyone, “Unfortunately the NY State Senate has not”, eliciting boos from the crowd. Fritz said “NY State has progressive policies in the year 2018 but has voter laws stuck in the 1800’s”. “WE NEED CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM FOR NY STATE!”.

Andrea Bundy

Andrea Bundy, who has been working at JFK airport for five years and who has been impacted herself by the draconian voting ‘laws’ stated, “As a single mom I have to work 12 hours a day, 6 days a week to be able to support my young daughter”. Clearly Andrea and others like her would have extreme difficulty finding the time to vote on a Tuesday. You can see Andrea Bundy speak at minute 10 of the livestream video above.

In his remarks, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer said, “It’s a question of whether our democracy will survive. Number one, we have to say to the Independent Democratic Conference members: you’re not Democrats you are Republicans and we know it and we’re going to change things. I HAVE HAD ENOUGH. Number two, 20 years ago I introduced the first same-day voter registration bill. They told me it would take years to get it done. It’s still stranded in the Republican Senate, 20 years ago I introduced that bill. That has to change”.

This second livestream video I captured at the event and has Scott Stringer speaking:

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Posted by Cat Watters on Sunday, March 18, 2018

NY State Senator Brian Kavanagh

Letitia James (The second livestream video above has NYC Public Advocate Letitia James speaking at minute 7.)

For more information, checkout the event’s facebook page titled “Rally for Early Voting in NY“. From the event description:

No one should have to choose between their job, their personal responsibilities and their vote. It’s time for Albany to hear us loud & clear: 2018 is the year NY gets Early Voting! With money pay for early voting included in the Governor and Assembly budgets, we’ve never been closer to joining the 37 other states that have Early Voting.

But now we need to convince our State Senators to accept the money and include Early Voting in the final state budget. Negotiations are going on throughout March behind closed doors in Albany, so they need to hear from us loud and clear! We need every concerned New Yorker to come out and join us to be sure our leaders get the message that we expect them to keep money for Early Voting in the budget, and Let NY Vote!

The rally was co-sponsored by members of the Let NY Vote coalition, which includes over thirty organizations, nonprofits, and labor unions, including Common Cause/NY, Public Citizen, New York State United Teachers, SEIU 32BJ, RWDSU, CWA District 1, as well as the statewide NAACP and the National Action Network, grassroots organizations, faith groups, civil liberties, reproductive and immigrant rights, criminal justice and re-entry groups, New American, and the LGBTQ community. A full list is available at letnyvote.org

Carolyn B. Maloney, Congresswoman NY-12 Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer

The post At a Manhattan Rally for Early Voting in New York State appeared first on Democracy Chronicles.

Can artificial intelligence solve the fake news problem?

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 14:53

We’re in our misinformation predicament partly because of algorithms. Can they also get us out of it? Is that a fact? Our author and the art team’s idea of her AI opponent. Max-0-matic You may have noticed: It’s a weird time for facts. On one hand, despite the hand-wringing over our post-truth world, facts do still…

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A close up look at Indonesia’s rising millennials party

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 14:49

A new political party dubbed the “millennials party”, officially called the Indonesian Solidarity Party ( PSI), has risen in Indonesia and is set to take part in next years general election. The PSI is one of four new parties the General Election Commission is allowing to compete in next year’s legislative and presidential elections. Two of…

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How Canada is preventing social media from interfering in elections

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 14:43

By Sara Bannerman, Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Communication Policy and Governance, McMaster University. Some of the Facebook and Instagram ads linked to a Russian effort to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick) The clock is ticking. The Ontario provincial election will be held in three months, in June 2018;…

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Why defamation followed murder of Brazilian activist Marielle Franco

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 14:36

First, Marielle Franco was gunned down in an apparent organized hit, prompting tens of thousands of Brazilians to protest. Then came the character assassination. The immediate reaction to the killing March 14 of the Rio de Janeiro city councilwoman was raw and spontaneous. Huge crowds took to the streets in Rio and in Sao Paulo, with…

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