Is Donald Trump’s Cabinet Anti-Woman?

Central Oregon Coast NOW

anti-women Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Donald J. Trump’s campaign was dogged by accusations of misogyny. Now his cabinet is shaping up to be one of the most hostile in recent memory to issues affecting women, advocacy groups for women say. Tax credits for child care and the prospect of paid maternity leave are exceptions to a host of positions that could result in new restrictions on abortion and less access to contraception, limits on health care that disproportionately affect women and minorities and curbs on funding for domestic violence, as well as slowing the momentum toward raising the minimum wage or making progress on equal pay.

Consider their positions on these issues.

Domestic violence

Jeff Sessions, Mr. Trump’s selection for attorney general; Tom Price, chosen for Health and Human Services secretary; and Mike Pompeo, the pick for C.I.A. director, all voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act in 2013, which funds…

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Picture of people holding signs about why they want a recount of the Presidential and US Senate races in the 2016 elections in Pennsylvania

Rally: We Want a Recount in PA

This morning, citizens from throughout Pennsylvania came to the Capital Complex in Harrisburg to say that we want to ensure that the ballots cast in the most recent election were accurately counted.  Chants of “Count Every Vote” rang out throughout the Rotunda with people holding signs like

  • STAND UP 4 DEMOCRACY! Hand Recount NOW!!!
  • Count All Votes
  • We need a Paper Trail
  • Military Families Have Earned Transparent Democracy #RecountPA
  • PA’s voting machines are outlawed in some states!
  • Hand Recount NOW
  • SHOW CODE
  • Restore my Faith. #RecountPA
  • It’s a Recount, not a Rerun
Picture of people holding signs about why they want a recount of the Presidential and US Senate races in the 2016 elections in Pennsylvania

Citizens of PA calling for a recount in Pennsylvania

This rally occurred about an hour after Jill Stein announced that she was had filed suit in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia).  She called Pennsylvania’s voting system a “disgrace.” Her federal complaint said, in part,

“Voters are forced to use vulnerable, hackable, antiquated technology banned in other states, then rely on the kindness of machines. There is no paper trail. Voting machines are electoral black sites: no one permits voters or candidates to examine them.”

There were five speakers at the rally.  Carl Romanelli, the 2006 Green Party Candidate for the US Senate spoke first. He discussed Jill Stein’s federal complaint, a need to have a forensic review/audit of the electronic voting machines, and a manual recount of the paper ballots in the few counties that have a paper trail.

Pat LaMarche,  the 2004 Green Party Vice-Presidential Candidate, spoke next. She blasted the PA Commonwealth Court, saying “Shame on you!” for demanding that the 100 Pennsylvania citizens  (not Stein’s campaign) put up a $1,000,000 bond for the court to hold the hearing on whether or not to recount and audit the votes in Pennsylvania.

Next up was MaryBeth Kuznick, President of VotePA. VotePA is a statewide citizen’s organization that believes in fair and open elections in Pennsylvania.  This group is leading “the fight against unverifiable paperless electronic voting and dangerous internet voting in Pennsylvania.”  She talked about her experiences as a recount monitor in the Ohio presidential recount in 2004.  She also spoke of the electronic voting machines that have either been outlawed or required to have a voter-verifiable paper trail in other states, including Ohio and California.  These very same machines, now over a decade old, are still used in most counties in Pennsylvania, BUT without any paper trail at all.

I was the next speaker.  Representing Concerned Voters of Centre County, my county’s local version of VotePA, I talked about my experiences with both the electronic voting machines (commonly called a DRE) in 2006 and my experiences with this year’s election.

  • In 2006, I personally witnessed a gentleman attempting to vote on our DRE machines.  Every time he tried to punch the voting square for the Republican candidate for Governor, the screen said he was voting for the Democratic candidate.  After multiple attempts to get the machine to register his vote correctly, he complained to the Judge of Elections. She told him to go back and try again because his “fingernails were too long” and he wasn’t punching the screen correctly.  I followed him out of the polling place and told him that even though I didn’t vote for his candidate, I believed that he had an absolute right to have his vote recorded correctly.  The two of us went to the Board of Elections the next day and filed a complaint.  Two years later, after voting in a new set of County Commissioners, this incident along with others resulted in the new Board ordering our DRE’s to be replaced by scannable paper ballots.
  • This year, over concerns about whether our ballots across the state were accurately counted, Concerned Voters of Centre County joined in with many other counties throughout Pennsylvania calling for a citizen-initiated precinct level recount.  Over 100 citizens in 32 Centre County precincts (over 1/3 of the county’s precincts) successfully filed our affidavits on Monday, November 28.  Unfortunately, due to how the county solicitor defined “day,” our petitions were thrown out; we were told that they were not “timely.”  The vote count was certified even after we raised what the Board of Elections considered a legitimate complaint; in at least one precinct, a provisional ballot was counted even though the voter who put the provisional ballot through the scanner had not been verified as a registered voter.

Finally, Dr. Candice Hoke spoke.  She is a lawyer, cyber-security professor, and Director of the Center for Election Integrity at Cleveland State University. Hoke talked about the legal (Constitutional)  and security issues surrounding the election process in Pennsylvania. As an elections lawyer, she discussed the Constitutional mandate for a complete, open, and fair election process that doesn’t stop once you cast your ballot; it only ends once you can ensure that the vote is accurate. Then putting on her election cyber-security hat, she talked about what can and has gone wrong with the electronic “ballot boxes” we’ve been using across the country and the serious problems we have with the unverifiable DRE voting system we have in Pennsylvania.  Her bottom line was that with the lack of a statewide voter-verified paper trail, aging electronic voting and scanning machines, and the inability/refusal to do a forensic audit of the machines and voting, the results of this election are in doubt.

Here’s her full speech.

The arguments for a recount/audit are being made in the public arena and in the courts.

For the integrity of our voting system AND for the health of our democracy.  We now wait to see what happens next.

Major Victory: #DAPL Halted

Great blog. The statement of Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman, Dave Archambault II helps put this decision by the US Army Corps of Engineers in perspective. This was and is an indigenous family human rights struggle. Let’s hope that the new presidential administration honors this decision.

Central Oregon Coast NOW

Today is a historic day both for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and for indigenous people everywhere.

Thanks in part to the pressure from people like you, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it would not be granting an easement under Lake Oahe for the Dakota Access pipeline to cross the Missouri River, just a half mile upstream of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reservation.

Taylor Peterson, Katherine Morrisseau, Nancy Scanie, and Fawn Youngbear-Tibbetts. Clan Grandmother Nancy Scanie from Cold Lake Dene First Nation in Alberta Canada represents the Athabasca Keepers of the Water. (photo by Joey Podlubny)

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman, Dave Archambault II said in a statement,

“We wholeheartedly support the decision of the administration and commend with the utmost gratitude the courage it took on the part of President Obama, the Army Corps, the Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior to take steps to correct the course of history and to do the right thing.

With this decision we look forward to being able to return home and spend the winter with our families…

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Victory at Standing Rock

I am so pleased that the Sioux Nation has won the day. For their people and for Mother Earth. This is one of two great blogs I’ve seen this morning that provides a very good background summary on this civil rights battle. Read on…

Nel's New Day

CANNON BALL, ND - DECEMBER 04:  Fireworks fill the night sky above Oceti Sakowin Camp as activists celebrate after learning an easement had been denied for the Dakota Access Pipeline near the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on December 4, 2016 outside Cannon Ball, North Dakota. The US Army Corps of Engineers announced today that it will not grant an easement to the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under a lake on the Sioux Tribes Standing Rock reservation, ending a  months-long standoff.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images) CANNON BALL, ND – DECEMBER 04: Fireworks fill the night sky above Oceti Sakowin Camp as activists celebrate after learning an easement had been denied for the Dakota Access Pipeline near the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on December 4, 2016 outside Cannon Ball, North Dakota. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Protesters across the United States celebrated today after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it would “explore alternate routes” for the Dakota Access Pipeline instead of granting an easement the pipeline. Over 2,000 U.S. military veterans had joined the thousands of protesters at the site to protect them from the authorities, and federal officials had given them until tomorrow to leave the site .

Native American tribes began last April to block the part of the current 1,172-mile-long pipeline’s $3.8 billion project designed to cross under Lake Oahe in North Dakota at the confluence…

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Centre County Citizens Attempt a Recount of the November 2016 Election

Over the Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend, citizens from around Centre County, PA joined together to call for a full manual recount of the Presidential and US Senate races within their individual voting precincts.

In Pennsylvania, there are three ways that a recount of the votes can be held.  The first type occurs when the top two candidates total vote count is within a half percent of each other.  This was not the case in either the presidential race or the US Senate race.

The second way allows either a candidate or registered voters to file a recount petition with the courts.  On Monday, November 28,  Jill Stein—Green Party Candidate for President—filed a petition in Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court to hold a full statewide recount.  The hearing before the Court is scheduled for 10 am, Monday, December 5.  According to PennLive.com,  Stein’s petition and her lawyer, Lawrence Otter, contend that

“[A] recount is needed because of what he called a “discontinuity” between pre-election public opinion polls and the actual outcome. Otter also cited problems with the state electronic voting system and the hacking of the Democratic National Committee.

The third way allows for a citizen-initiated recount call.  This is what about 100 citizens from throughout Centre County did on Monday, November 29, 2016. Believing that the state elections law allows citizens five business days to petition the County Elections Office to recount their precincts ballots, people from 32 of the 91 precincts in the county filed notarized affidavits asking for a manual recount.  The law requires that a minimum of three individuals per precinct file their affidavits within five “days” of the initial completion of the counting of the ballots.

Here’s the list of the 32 precincts that were officially accepted:

  1. #1 Bellefonte North
  2. #3 Bellefonte South
  3. #5 Bellefonte West
  4. #16 State College North
  5. #17 State College North East
  6. #20 State College South 2
  7. #21 State College South East
  8. #23 State College SC 2
  9. #32 State College West 2
  10. #35 Unionville Borough
  11. #37 Benner South
  12. #41 College North
  13. #42 College South
  14. #43 College East
  15. #47 Ferguson North 1
  16. #48 Ferguson North 2
  17. #49 Ferguson Northeast 1
  18. #50 Ferguson Northeast 2
  19. #51 Ferguson East
  20. #52 Ferguson West
  21. #55 Halfmoon
  22. #57 Harris West
  23. #59 Huston
  24. #64 Patton North 1
  25. #65 Patton North 2
  26. #66 Patton South 1
  27. #67 Patton South 2
  28. #68 Patton South 3
  29. #88 Ferguson North 3
  30. #89 Ferguson West Central
  31. #90 Halfmoon East Central
  32. #91 Ferguson North Central

Emily Reddy of WPSU Radio came to the Centre County Elections Office on Monday while the petitions were being filed.  Here is her story.

Then on Tuesday, November 30, the Centre County Board of Elections held their certification hearing. Mary Vollero and I spoke at the hearing on behalf of the voters and for both Concerned Voters of Centre County and Vote PA.  These two organizations are the local and statewide voter-integrity advocacy groups.

There were two sessions held on Tuesday by the Board. The first one lasted a little over a half an hour.  Mary spoke first, and I spoke second.  My initial comments during the first session were not videotaped.  But the Centre Daily Times did quote part of my remarks:

“We have a country right now that is up in arms, and we are fighting with each other,” Tosti-Vasey said. “We need to make sure that people respect the elections as they occurred and doing a recount will help in making sure that here in Pennsylvania we understand what happened.”

The Board of Elections agreed that if the petitioners filed their affidavits in a timely fashion, then they had no choice but to halt the certification of the votes and hold a recount. Timely filing, according to the law is within five days after the end of the count.  The decision hinged on what the word “day” in the election law means.  The petitioners had understood from their lawyer that “day” meant business days.  The board’s attorney said it meant consecutive, calendar days.

The count was finalized on November 17.  If you use calendar days, the last day to file was on November 22. Using the petitioners’ definition of “day,” the final day to file was on Monday, November 28 since there were 4 weekend days and the two-day Thanksgiving holiday days intervening.

Listen to what was said.

So when the board realized there were differing legal opinions on the meaning of “day,” they recessed for two hours to have a further discussion with their solicitor.  When they came back, we got the bad news.

Their solicitor recommended that they use the calendar day definition and certify the election. Which they unanimously did.

After they had voted to certify the election, I questioned the count in my particular precinct. I noted that a provisional ballot was counted without the board verifying that this ballot was received from a registered voter.  The Board said I had a legitimate complaint and suggested that I take the issue to the county’s Court of Common Pleas.

After the meeting had ended, we were asked what we would do.  Mary and I said we need to weigh our options. So…

Stay tuned!

The Day We’ve Been Dreading: Plans to Evict #NoDAPL Water Protectors Made Public

Native Americans are asking all of us to stand with them. Speak out. Help stop this atrocity and violence against the indigenous peoples.

Transformative Spaces

14917209_1834292066812571_2296314898723987447_o Water Protectors square off with police earlier this month. (Photo: Johnny Dangers)

As people from around the country continue to converge in Standing Rock, and less than a week after police blasted Water Protectors with water cannons in freezing temperatures while gassing them in a confined space, the Army Corps of engineers has lived up to a long-held tradition of the United States government — the displacement of Native peoples. In a letter addressed to Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II, the Army Corps outlined its plans to remove water protectors from their frontline encampment areas on December 5. In what we can expect will be a violent spectacle, reminiscent of the violence we have already witnessed during this struggle, Indigenous people will once again be faced with forced relocation for the sake of white wealth. While the government has at times voiced sympathy for the Protectors, such actions are, of course, both historically consistent…

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JFK’s Dream, A Call to Action

Picture of President John F. Kennedy making a speech that I found on Word Clip Art. Photographer unknown.

President John F. Kennedy

Today is the 53rd anniversary of President John F Kennedy’s assassination. He gave his own “I have a dream” type speech a month before he died.

We need to heed his words and repeat them even louder and stronger now. We need to stand up for all our brethren. We need to peacefully  push back on the hate we see occurring around the United States.

If we don’t stand up now, then JFK’s dream will be lost….

“I look forward to a great future for America – a future in which our country will match its military strength with our moral restraint, its wealth with our wisdom, its power with our purpose. I look forward to an America which will not be afraid of grace and beauty. And I look forward to an America which commands respect throughout the world not only for its strength but for its civilization as well. And I look forward to a world which will be safe not only for democracy and diversity but also for personal distinction.”*

President John F. Kennedy; October 26, 1963

*NOTE, I bolded two sentences above that stand out in this part of his speech that speaks to me about my concerns at this time in our history.

A simple question of decency when people are being harassed. Share it.

Thanks Peter for this great letter to the President of Penn State University and for standing up for civil rights and civil discourse in our community.

Peter is in the Forest

Dear President Barron,

During these contentious times, I’m going to ask you to something that requires courage. We need you to show us that “We are…all in” by taking a stronger stance for love and against division and hatred. I know you have it in you as you stood with your hands up to stand for the lives of our black brothers and sisters. Will you do it again?

eric-barron-0c284829af5d513a

The election of Donald Trump has unleashed powerful forces of bigotry in our country and the adulation of ignorance. Already at our campus, students are being threatened and harassed. A young Muslim woman was found curled up in a stall. A young man donning a Donald Trump mask entered a class and shouted racial epithets at students. One of my students is dropping out of school because of worries for her family. Across the nation the Swastika is being openly used…

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From A Friend…

Central Oregon Coast NOW

Just received this email from a NOW friend.  Please READ.  Several NOW members have signed the petition – that decision is up to you, but the content of this post is important, so please READ:

“I am not advocating that you sign the petition, but reading these comments filled me … again… with fear, resolve, and determination.  I go around humming the song “I will survive,” and then segue to “I am woman.”  Then go back to bed or have a glass of wine or send all of you more emails.  Love and strength and thanks that you’re out there persevering.”  pat

Please read this entire e-mail, consider the extreme importance of acting now, and sign the following White House petition: https://wh.gov/ie80r

Feel free to forward to any and all social/professional networks and post on social media.

Over the last few days, the following transpired:

  1.   1.  Donald Trump…

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