January 19, 2012
Our national email on the Internet-wide SOPA/PIPA blackout day, 1/18/12:
In early 2003, a former governor of Vermont threw his hat in the ring as a long-shot contender for the Democratic presidential nomination. With limited name recognition and without funds to run a national campaign, Howard Dean's chances seemed minuscule at best. But a new force emerged in politics. Grassroots supporters passionate about what Howard Dean stood for self-organized on the still-new "Internet" and propelled his candidacy into the national spotlight. Bloggers, donors, and activists connected through this new medium, and very nearly pulled off one of the biggest upsets in American presidential politics.The Internet made the impossible possible. The Internet is a place where voices are expressed and grassroots action can begin. The rapid sharing of ideas and the ability to potentially reach a huge audience with nothing but a computer and an Internet connection empowers anyone to let their voice be heard. For now. The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) attempt to combat the very real issue of online piracy, but take a scattergun approach that could kill free speech and openness across the Internet.Taken to an extreme, this type of legislation could result in political bloggers, news outlets, and even organizations like DFA being silenced because the powers that be don't like our message. Click here to see what the web would look like if SOPA/PIPA passed. To fight back, Democracy for America moved all of our domain names away from GoDaddy, a domain registrar supporting these dangerous bills. Today, DFA is joining with hundreds of other organizations and drawing a line in the sand. We are blacking out our website on January 18, 2012 to show what the Internet under SOPA and PIPA could become. We are asking you to learn about this issue, and join us in opposing these bills. Take action and voice your opposition to Internet censorship. Consider this: If no member of Congress had ever driven a car, would you want them writing traffic laws? Or worse yet, would you want corporations handing Congress pre-written traffic laws and asking them to pass them into law? Dramatic as that sounds, the current situation with Internet freedom-killing SOPA and PIPA legislation is exactly this. Congress has repeatedly demonstrated that they do not understand how the Internet works -- yet that doesn't stop them from trying to regulate it, session after session. Corporate lobbyists produce legislation to further their narrow business interests without regard for how those laws would impact Internet freedoms. The Internet thrives as a medium for political discourse because it is free and open.It's this same openness that has made the Internet a medium for growth and job creation among 21st century industries, keeping thousands of Americans employed at the same time as many sectors of our economy are shedding jobs. Today we have the opportunity to fight back against corporate control, to protect the free and open nature of the Internet and its potential for innovation. Please join us. Thanks for everything you do. -Jase JaseRoberts, Technology Director Democracy for America
January 18, 2012
The 2012 Presidential race has begun and people all over the country are gearing up to cast their vote for president come November. While the 2008 election saw more people turn out to vote in over a decade, as many as 5 million voters will be restricted from voting in this upcoming election.
Its no surprise that those disenfranchised voters include African Americans, Latinos, elderly, students and others. Why? Its all part of a larger Republican strategy to restrict voting rights to people who have traditionally voted for democratic candidates. Almost five decades ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Voting Rights Act of 1965, outlawing discriminatory voting practices. The bills champion, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, fought tirelessly to expand voting rights to all Americans. As we celebrate his legacy this week we need to keep a keen eye on every attempt to keep Americans from the polls. Voter identification laws have been popping up throughout the United States since 2005 when Indiana passed its voter identification law. Last year alone we saw a dozen more states pass voter identification laws including South Carolina, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Michigan, and Ohio. In the key battleground state of Ohio, House Bill 194 that is set for referendum in 2012 would disenfranchise as many as 900,000 voters. That alone could turn the tide for any Republican running for President and allow the GOP to gain Ohios 88 delegates along with a clear path of victory to claim the White House. As bills passed last year become law, voters across the country must stay diligent if Republicans are allowed to use voter identification laws to cover up their attempt to steal elections, more and more Americans will continue to lose their basic right to participate in the democratic process. The Brennan Center for Justice estimates that the 25 laws passed last year could potentially prevent as many as5 million votersfrom being able to cast a ballot for President let alone for any other issues or candidate. 5 million voters is a significant number of voters, especially if you consider in the 2008 presidential contest 131 million Americans cast a ballot for president. 5 million voters could very easily exceed the margin of victory for the 2012 presidential election. It should come as no surprise that any one of these states that passed these unreasonable voting ID laws could decide the outcome of the 2012 presidential race. Recently Attorney General Eric Holder stated that the Department of Justice must ensure equal access at the ballot box. In December, at the LBJ presidential library in Austin, Attorney General Holder said, The right to vote is not only the cornerstone of our system of government it is the lifeblood of our democracy. And no force has proved more powerful or more integral to the success of the great American experiment than efforts to expand the franchise." If Attorney General Holder is correct in his assertion that voting is the lifeblood of our democracy why arent more people demanding that the mainstream media pay attention to the Republican attempt to steal elections? Last year alone, we witnessed the Republican Party attack nearly every value that progressive voters hold dear. Nationally, their most important issue was making President Obama to be a one-term president," croaked Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Republicans in Congress would rather our economy double-downed into another depression than to vote for any legislation that would paint President Obama in a positive light. Clearly, an economic recovery and advancing the general well being of all Americans is not a Republican priority voter fraud is. The laws passed last year amount to the largest effort to disenfranchise voters since the Jim Crow era. While Republicans may not be winning the voting public's support with their attack on jobs, families and our way of life, across the nation GOP supporters see a very small window of opportunity to pass voter id laws that restrict access for African Americans, Latinos, the Elderly and Students at the voting booth. By restricting these voters, a core demographic of the Democratic base, Republican-held state legislatures believe that they will hold and then gain significantly more power at the local and national level. Simply put the Republicans are cheating their way to victory. Imagine for years to come, Republicans winning every election and not ever having to worry about a concession speech. The 25 such laws passed last year have basically rigged the outcome in 14 states to make this future a possibly reality. Forget for a moment the political implication of such laws, since clearly the political impact is much more significant when you look at how these disenfranchised communities would be affected by such legislation in the long term. Republican candidates rarely support populations other than wealthy white men, so by disenfranchising African Americans, Latinos and others, Republicans essentially take away their voices but will also deny them the opportunity to pass legislation that affects their lives and livelihoods. The great civil rights leader and current congressman John Lewis has said of these archaic ways to disenfranchise minorities, There is a deliberate attempt to prevent millions of elderly voters, young voters, students, minority and low income voters from exercising their constitutional right to engage in the democratic process. Voter ID laws are becoming all too common. It remains perfectly clear that the Republican agenda is to win elections - no matter the cost.
Progressive legislators are not sitting by idly and democrats, independents and even Republicans who support voting rights can push their Representatives to support and pass two bills that will combat voter suppression and American Citizens right to vote. Next week,join the conversationwith Congressman Keith Ellison (MN 5) and Democracy for America as Rep. Eillison unveils two bills in the House that would protect voters and curb harmful voting laws across the country. The bills will ensure the protection of Americans most fundamental right - the right to vote.
Congressman Ellison has long been an very vocal advocate for expanding voting rights. Not only has he been a staunch believer in the right to vote for all citizens regardless of the party they vote for or the candidate they support, Rep. Ellison strong supporter for the Occupy movement and supports the 99 percent. Passing his voting rights legislation will be no simple task, especially with Rep. John Boehner controlling the house. But progressive voters must not give up hope. Our democracy hangs in the balance. Rep. Ellison said on the floor of the house when introducing these bills last year, This year 13 states are trying to pass laws restricting the right to vote for American citizens. These laws add up to the largest attack on voting rights since the Jim Crow era. In all, they could strip more than 5 millions Americans from the right to vote.. Rep Ellison doesnt just believe that the Republican party is on the wrong track restricting voting rights for citizens, he believes that if you truly believe in democracy you should do everything you can to increase the enfranchisement of American citizens not take it away. Clearly the Republican party which became the party of No in 2011 will continue its assault on the very principles that built our great nation unless we stand up together and put a stop to these horrendous voter identification laws and support Rep. Ellison's voting rights legislation. Click here to join us nextMonday, January 23 for a DFA Live Call with Congressman Ellison where youll have an opportunity to speak directly with him and ask questions regarding both bills that protect our democracy. These bills keep our democracy strong and honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King and all civil rights leaders who fought tirelessly to bring the right to vote to every citizen.
January 17, 2012
A message from Gov. Howard Dean:
The Citizens United Supreme Court decision has changed the way we run elections in this country, allowing billionaires to secretly finance so-called "Super PACs" and empowering big corporations and Wall Street like never before. The attacks that we saw in 2010 were just the beginning. Any candidate who challenges Wall Street's status quo is going to come under an avalanche of hateful attack ads this year -- and no candidate is going to come under greater attack than Elizabeth Warren. Elizabeth is a progressive champion who has spent her career fighting for working families. That work is what's going to make her Wall Street's number one target this year. We need to have Elizabeth's back in this fight. We need progressive fighters like her in the Senate to overturn Citizens United and get this country working for all Americans again. Join me in supporting Elizabeth Warren -- Please contribute $12 right now. This week is the two-year anniversary of Scott Brown's special election. He's playing up the anniversary to officially announce his reelection campaign and he's probably going to raise huge sums of money from big contributors because of it. Elizabeth's campaign isn't fueled by big money -- it's fueled by tens of thousands of small contributions from everyday Americans across the country. A grassroots campaign like that is the only thing that can beat big corporate money, so please join me in supporting Elizabeth today. Beating Elizabeth Warren is Wall Street's top priority. Contribute $12 now to help put Elizabeth over the top. Thank you, Russell, for everything you do. -Howard Gov. Howard Dean, M.D. Founder, Democracy for America
January 17, 2012
The Internet is where democracy happens. The last thing we need is corporate censorship of free speech. Arshad Hasan, Executive Director of Democracy for America Burlington, VT Statement from Arshad Hasan, Executive Director of Democracy for America (DFA) on DFAs participation in the web site blackout on Wed. Jan. 18th to stop SOPA & PIPA, or corporate censorship of the Internet: Democracy for America recently divested our 48 domains from GoDaddy in protest of their support of SOPA and PIPA which will amount to unlimited corporate censorship of the Internet. The Internet is where democracy happens. In a post Citizens United world where corporations already can spend unlimited amounts of money in politics, the last thing we need is corporate censorship of free speech. Democracy for America was founded from Howard Deans campaign for President, a campaign that was born on the Internet where innovations in online organizing paved the way to more participation in our political system than ever before. Our organization of deeply engaged members and volunteers would not exist without a free and open internet. The idea that corporations would have the power to police or censor the Internet puts Democratic movements like ours at risk everywhere. # # # ABOUT DEMOCRACY FOR AMERICA Democracy for America is a people-powered Democratic Political Action Committee. With over one million members nationwide, DFA is a grassroots powerhouse working to change our country and the Democratic Party from the bottom-up. www.DemocracyForAmerica.com Paid for by Democracy for America, www.democracyforamerica.com, and not authorized by any candidate.
January 16, 2012
A message from Levana Layendecker:
Today we celebrate a great leader who fought hard to make sure that all Americans, regardless of the color of their skin, could fully participate in our Democracy. The most fundamental right Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for was the right to vote.
And today, those rights are under attack.
This year, 34 Republican state legislatures introduced bills designed to turn voters away from the polls who cannot produce specific types of state issued ID. If all of these bills pass, roughly 21 million voters will lose their right to vote. And, it's no coincidence that most of those voters are minorities, students, and elderly voters who vote Democrat.
That's why, today, we are supporting Rep. Keith Ellison's two bills to protect the right to vote.
Sign on as a citizen co-sponsor today to protect the right to vote by making sure election boards cannot require state ID and allowing voters to register the same day they go to the polls.
Rep. Keith Ellison, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, explains how these bills affect voters in a recent post on Daily Kos:
In Indiana, 12 nuns were denied the right to vote in the last presidential election because they didn't have "updated" identification. The facts that some of them had old passports, they were in their 80s and 90s and didn't drive--or that they're nuns--seemed not to be a good basis for affirming their identities.
These are not isolated incidents. They are part of the largest effort to disenfranchise voters since the Jim Crow era, almost exclusively targeting youth and minority voters.
To stop this attack on voting rights, Rep. Ellison introduced two bills to curb voter suppression. The Same Day Registration Act would require states to provide for same day voter registration for a federal election. The Voter Access Protection Act would make sure election officials cannot require photo identification in order to cast a vote or register to vote.
Add your voice and become a citizen co-sponsor of these two bills today.
Don't allow this year to be the first in our history that we shrink the size of the voting public, instead of expanding it. Make this Martin Luther King Day count, and sign on to protect voting rights.
Thank you for all that you do,
Levana Layendecker, Communications Director Democracy for America
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