Happy Halloween 2014

10/29/2014

PBO WH Halloween

Steve Sack cartoon

Steve Sack cartoon

Tom Toles cartoon

Tom Toles cartoon

 

Don’t be tricked by the GOP candidates!

GOP WRONG WAY

Republicans Are Trying to Make Sure Minorities and Young People Don’t Vote This November

Control of the Senate could hinge on a few crucial court battles over voting rights.

Wed Oct. 8, 2014 6:00 AM EDT By Stephanie Mencimer – motherjones

As candidates across the country are kicking their get-out-the-vote efforts into high gear, many states are feverishly litigating to defend newly implemented voting restrictions that could prevent many voters from casting a ballot. The outcomes of those cases could shape critical races—and even influence which party wins control of the US Senate.

In a way, Barack Obama can be blamed for this. In 2008, his historic campaign inspired record turnout, drawing more people to the polls than the country had seen in 40 years. Almost all of the record increase came from black, Hispanic, and young voters, who tended to vote Democratic. Republican governors and GOP-controlled state legislatures, not surprisingly, saw this as a problem. They responded by throwing up a host of new obstacles to voting that disproportionately affect black, Latino, and low-income voters.

Since the last midterm elections in 2010, 22 states have passed strict new voting restrictions, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. Some of those measures took effect before the 2012 election, as in Florida, where long lines at polling stations apparently deterred at least 200,000 people from voting that year. Nationally, fewer people cast votes in the presidential race in 2012 than in 2004, even though the country saw the number of eligible voters increase by 8 million. In 15 states, this year’s midterms will mark the first federal election with a host of these new voting restrictions in action.

For more: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/10/voting-rights-november-voter-suppression-states

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5 Republican goals if they win the Senate Nov. 4

9/28/14 Associated Press By The Associated Press

Five things Republicans hope to do if they win control of the Senate this fall:

1. Try to pass measures backed by some congressional Democrats but opposed by President Barack Obama. This could include approving the Keystone XL oil pipeline and removing a tax on medical devices. Obama might find it difficult to veto such bipartisan efforts.

2. Highlight party differences on taxes, spending, regulations and other issues. Republicans could force Obama to veto — or Democratic senators to filibuster — GOP initiatives, painting Democrats as obstructionists.

3. Block confirmation of Obama’s judicial and executive nominees who do not satisfy Republicans’ demands.

4. Join the House in launching investigations into politically sensitive areas such as the Internal Revenue Service, environmental regulations and the killing of Americans in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012.

5. Appeal to conservatives by passing bills to repeal Obama’s health care law and achieve other long-frustrated goals. Obama probably would veto such efforts, assuming they survive Democratic filibusters. But GOP lawmakers could argue they’re doing all they can, and voters should elect a Republican president in 2016 to complete the work.

FLOTUS VOTE

Give America a treat

 

Vote for Democrats in 2014

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Polling Place Locator http://pollingplaces.democrats.org


Matthew Shepard & James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act – 5th Anniversary

10/25/2014

Shepard Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act

The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, also known as the Matthew Shepard Act, is an American Act of Congress, passed on October 22, 2009,  and signed into law by President Barack Obama on October 28, 2009, as a rider to the National Defense Authorization Act for 2010 (H.R. 2647). Conceived as a response to the murders of Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., the measure expands the 1969 United States federal hate-crime law to include crimes motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived gendersexual orientationgender identity, or disability.

The bill also:

  • Removes the prerequisite that the victim be engaging in a federally protected activity, like voting or going to school;
  • Gives federal authorities greater ability to engage in hate crimes investigations that local authorities choose not to pursue;
  • Provides $5 million per year in funding for fiscal years 2010 through 2012 to help state and local agencies pay for investigating and prosecuting hate crimes;
  • Requires the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to track statistics on hate crimes based on gender and gender identity (statistics for the other groups were already tracked).

The Act is the first federal law to extend legal protections to transgender people.

For more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_Shepard_and_James_Byrd,_Jr._Hate_Crimes_Prevention_Act

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FBI Contact Information: http://www.fbi.gov/contact-us/

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Equal_Love
Saturday, October 25, 2014
Attorney General Holder Announces Federal Government to Recognize Same-Sex Married Couples in Six Additional States

In the latest development following the Supreme Court’s decision earlier this month to decline to hear any pending cases regarding same-sex marriage, Attorney General Eric Holder announced Saturday that the federal government will now recognize same-sex married couples in six new states: Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Last week, the Attorney General made a similar announcement with respect to seven other states: Colorado, Indiana, Nevada, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. Saturday’s announcement adds to that list and brings the total number of states where same-sex couples are recognized by the federal government to 32, plus the District of Columbia.

The Attorney General’s announcement means couples married in these states will now qualify for a range of federal benefits, including those administered by the Social Security Administration and Department of Veterans Affairs.

“With each new state where same-sex marriages are legally recognized, our nation moves closer to achieving of full equality for all Americans,” the Attorney General said. “We are acting as quickly as possible with agencies throughout the government to ensure that same-sex married couples in these states receive the fullest array of benefits allowable under federal law.”

In addition, the Attorney General also announced that the Department of Justice has determined it can legally recognize marriages performed in Indiana and Wisconsin this past June. These marriages were performed immediately after federal district courts ruled that those states’ bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional, but subsequent developments created confusion about the status of those marriages. Based on the Attorney General’s announcement, however, those couples married during that period will now have their unions recognized by the federal government.

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 White House – LGBT

 LGBT Democrats Facebook

US LGBT Rights Timeline 1903-2014  (ProPresObama.org Civil Rights Timelines ™)

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VOTE SMART & VOTE DEMOCRAT 2014

10/23/2014

2014 VOTE DEMOCRATS INTO SENATE 2014 Congressional Elections Vote Every Election

Vote Every Election

Let’s be very clear, while we’re tuning out and staying home on Election Day, other folks are tuning in.  Other folks are taking politics very seriously.  And they’re engaged on every level.  They’re raising money.  They’re making their voices heard –- and their issues known –- from City Hall to Washington, DC.  And I know that in the face of all of that money and influence, it can start to feel like ordinary citizens just can’t get a seat at the table.  And that can make you feel helpless and hopeless.  It can make you feel or think that you’re powerless.

But I’m here today because that’s simply not true.  We are not helpless or hopeless.  Time and again, history has shown us that there is nothing –- nothing -– more powerful than ordinary citizens coming together for a just cause.”

” I’m talking about the tireless, the thankless, relentless work of making change — you know, the phone-calling, letter-writing, door-knocking, meeting-planning kind of work.  That is the real work of democracy –- what happens during those quiet moments between the marches. “

“That is how we carry on that precious legacy we’ve inherited — by recommitting ourselves to that day-to-day, vitally important work that has always paved the way for change in this country.

What does that mean?  That means being informed.  It means following the news, and learning about who’s representing us, and how our governments work.  It means showing up to vote — and not just every four years, but every year in every election.  It means engaging with the folks we elect, following how they vote and how they spend our hard-earned tax dollars.  And if you don’t like what you see, then let them know, or better yet, run for a seat at the table yourself.  “

June 28, 2012 First Lady Michelle Obama at the AME Church Conference

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“The vote is the most powerful instrument, the most powerful non-violent tool in a democratic society.”

U.S. Representative John Robert Lewis

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voter-protection-hotline

VOTE SMART & VOTE DEMOCRAT 2014

التصويت على 5 نوفمبر

投票于11月4日

Vote sur Novembre 4

Abstimmen am 4. November

הצביעו ב -4 בנובמבר

Vota il 4 novembre

11月4日投票

11 월 4 일 투표

Votação em 4 de novembro

Проголосовать 4 ноября

votar el 4 de noviembre

Bình chọn vào ngày 4 tháng 11

Vote Forward


United Nations Day 2014

10/22/2014

In 1947, the United Nations General Assembly declared 24 October, the anniversary of the Charter of the United Nations, as which “shall be devoted to making known to the peoples of the world the aims and achievements of the United nations and to gaining their support for” its work.

“UN Day is a day on which we resolve to do more.  More to protect those caught up in armed conflict, to fight climate change and avert nuclear catastrophe; more to expand opportunities for women and girls, and to combat injustice and impunity; more to meet the Millennium Development Goals.” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

For more: http://www.un.org/

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October 23, 2014 Presidential Proclamation — United Nations Day, 2014

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7/8/14 U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced that The United Nations now recognizes the gay marriages of all its staffers


George Washington’s Culper Spy Ring

10/21/2014
Culper Spy Ring map route

Culper Spy Ring map route

The Culper Ring was a spy ring organized by American Major (later Colonel) Benjamin Tallmadge under orders from General George Washington in the summer of 1778 during British occupation of New York City at the height of the American Revolutionary War. The “Culper” name was suggested by Washington who devised it from Culpeper County, Virginia. The two main members of the Ring, Abraham Woodhull and Robert Townsend, used “Samuel Culper, Sr.” and “Samuel Culper, Jr.” respectively, as aliases. Tallmadge was in direct contact with and control of the Ring but Washington often directed its operations. Tallmadge was referred to by the alias of “John Bolton.”

The Ring’s task was to send messages to General Washington about the activities of the British Army in New York City, the British headquarters and base of operations. The members of the Ring operated mostly in New York City, Long Island, and Connecticut. The Ring’s covert operations started in about late October 1778 and continued through the British evacuation of New York in 1783, but its heyday was between 1778 and 1781.

The Culper Ring provided valuable information to General Washington including that the British planned a surprise attack on the newly allied French forces under Lieutenant General Rochambeau at Newport, Rhode Island before the French could fully recover and set up defenses after their arduous sea journey to America; that the British planned to counterfeit American currency on the actual paper used for the Continental dollars, prompting the Continental Congressto retire the bills; that British Major General William Tryon’s raid in Connecticut in July 1779 was a diversion to induce Washington to divide his forces so British Lieutenant General Sir Henry Clinton could attack them piecemeal; and that a high ranking American officer, soon shown to be American Major General Benedict Arnold, had been plotting with British Major John Andre to surrender the garrison and to turn over the vitally important American fort at West Point, New York on the Hudson River to the British.

For more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culper_Ring

A page from the Culper Ring's code book, with noteworthy people and place names listed side-by-side with numeric representations
A page from the Culper Ring’s code book, with noteworthy people and place names listed side-by-side with numeric representations

George Washington – Profile

George Washington Papers

George Washington, Goodfellow, Women’s History and Agent “355”

The Founding Fathers of American Intelligence

Spies of the Revolution

Manuscripts of Benjamin Tallmadge

Caleb Brewster – Revolutionary War Hero

Break the Code

“TURN” THE UNTOLD STORY OF AMERICA’S FIRST SPY RING

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Waiting for Congress’ Approval – The Need for a US Surgeon General

10/19/2014

A Surgeon General nominee ‘tied up in politics’

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10/15/14 04:54 PM—UPDATED 10/15/14 06:48 PM By Steve Benen – maddowblog
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There’s a fair amount of public anxiety about the Ebola virus, and it’s important to have U.S. officials communicating clearly and effectively with the public so Americans understand the nature of the problem. That might ordinarily be the job of the U.S. Surgeon General, but as of now, we don’t actually have one.
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As regular readers may recall, President Obama nominated Dr. Vivek Murthy to the post nearly a year ago, and at first blush, this seemed like a no-brainer – Murthy is an impressive medical professional with sterling credentials. He’s an attending physician, an instructor, and a public-health advocate, so when Obama nominated him for the post, no one questioned his qualifications.
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But Murthy, like so many in his field, also sees a connection between gun violence and public health, which meant Republicans and the NRA decided to destroy his nomination. Senate Democrats could have confirmed him anyway, but red-state Dems got election-year jitters, which means. at least for now, Murthy has been temporarily derailed and the Surgeon General’s office is empty during a public-health scare.
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Contact your legislator Contact your Congress person to TELL THEM TO START WORKING WITH PRESIDENT OBAMA!!

U.S. Senators
U.S. Representatives
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Protecting American Consumers

10/17/2014

Chip and Pin Credit Cards - Buy Secure

October 17, 2014

Remarks by the President on Protecting American Consumers

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Washington, D.C.

12:00 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody! (Applause.) Hello. Good job, everybody. Everybody, please have a seat. Well, it is good to be back at CFPB.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Woo!

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, this is an enthusiastic and rowdy crowd, this group. (Laughter.) That’s what happens when you do good things — you feel good. And this group is doing great work.

I want to thank your director, Rich Cordray, for hosting me here today, and I want to thank all of you for doing a great job in looking out for the financial security of all Americans.

Now, obviously, right now the news is dominated by Ebola, and we’ve got an all-hands-on-deck approach across government to make sure that we are keeping the American people safe. But even as we meet that particular challenge, it’s also important that we don’t lose sight of the other challenges that we face as a nation, especially the challenge of making sure that our economy works for every single American. And that includes the challenge that brings me here today: protecting Americans from financial fraud and identity theft.

As President, I believe that America is stronger when our middle class can count on things like affordable health insurance, and Medicare and Social Security, where there are rules to protect our kids from dirty air or dirty water; rules to protect consumers from being taken advantage of. And I know you agree, those of you at CFPB, because that’s your mission.

And that’s why part of the financial reform that we passed in the wake of the worse financial crisis since the Great Depression was the creation of this agency, to make sure that we are looking at every aspect of the financial system and ensuring that the American people have the basic protections that they should be able to count on. You have one mission: You’re a watchdog for consumers to make sure that the American people have somebody who’s got their backs.

For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/10/17/remarks-president-protecting-american-consumers

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October 17, 2014

FACT SHEET: Safeguarding Consumers’ Financial Security

Today, the President is signing a new Executive Order directing the government to lead by example in securing transactions and sensitive data. The new BuySecure Initiative will provide consumers with more tools to secure their financial future by assisting victims of identity theft, improving the Government’s payment security as a customer and a provider, and accelerating the transition to stronger security technologies and the development of next-generation payment security tools.

During remarks at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the President will highlight steps by his Administration and the private sector to improve security. With over 100 million Americans falling victim to data breaches over the last year, and millions suffering from credit card fraud and identity crimes, there is a need to act — and to move our economy toward stronger, more secure technologies that better secure transactions and safeguard sensitive data.

While there is no silver bullet to guarantee data security, the President is signing an Executive Order to implement enhanced security measures, including securing credit, debit, and other payment cards with microchips in lieu of basic magnetic strips, and PINs, such as those standard on consumer ATM cards. He is calling on all stakeholders to join the Administration and a number of major corporations in driving the economy toward more secure standards to safeguard consumer finances and reduce their chances of becoming victims of identity theft — America’s fastest-growing crime.

Finally today, the President will announce the White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection later this year to promote partnership and innovation. The Summit will bring together major stakeholders on consumer financial protection issues to discuss how all members of our financial system can work together to further protect American consumers and their financial data, now and in the future.

The President will also renew his call to Congress to enact overdue cybersecurity legislation that will help protect Americans — particularly by clarifying companies’ obligations when sensitive data is breached.

Leading by Example: Securing Payments Across the Economy

Federal Efforts to Transition to More Secure Payment Systems: Today, the Federal Government is making an enterprise-wide transition to more secure credit, debit, and other payment cards, as well as the retail payment terminals at government locations like the passport office, VA canteens, and national parks. These new systems will, at a minimum, meet the global security standard of more secure microchips to store card numbers instead of unencrypted magnetic strips, and secure PIN functionality, like the kind featured on most ATM cards. The goal is not just to ensure the security of doing retail business with the government, but also, through this increased demand, to help drive the market towards swifter adoption of stronger security standards. Institutions like the United States Postal Service have already made this transition across tens of thousands of retail facilities across the country.

* Making Chip and PIN Cards the Standard for the Federal Government: These “chip and PIN” cards, which have cut down on payment fraud considerably in other countries, will become the standard for Federal Government programs like SmartPay® and Direct Express®. We are working with these programs to ensure that we begin a replacement program on January 1, 2015, and will, within the calendar year, issue over one million new, more secure government payment cards.

* Updating to Chip and PIN Card Terminals in Federal Agencies Processing Consumer Sales: Every Federal agency processing consumer sales will actively replace any prior-generation card retail payment card terminals to those with new chip and PIN security features under a plan issued by Department of the Treasury, which establishes requirements that federal agencies must follow when receiving credit and debit card payments when using Treasury’s collection system.

For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/10/17/fact-sheet-safeguarding-consumers-financial-security

The World Fact Book

The World Fact Book

Traveling Abroad? Consider a Chip-and-PIN Credit Card

Foreign countries have different cultures, different customs, different languages – and, to top it all off, some countries have different styles of credit cards.

Rather than using the familiar cards, which feature a magnetic strip at the top of the card, several countries have transitioned to “chip-and-PIN” credit cards, better for consumer safety. While some foreign vendors will continue to accept your traditional magnetic strip cards, some may not.

So, what’s the difference?

Chip-and-PIN cards are embedded with a computer chip that contains the information that would normally be contained in the strip along the top of the card. In addition to this chip system, users are required to enter in a PIN code, much like as would be required for a debit card.

The cards offer greater consumer protection, as it is harder to clone the payment information when a chip is being used, thus reducing identity theft. In France, chip-and-PIN cards have been responsible for a 50 percent reduction in payment fraud, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

The cards are increasingly being made available for U.S. residents, and before traveling, officials suggest you check with your credit card company to see whether chip-and-PIN cards are available. If not, they suggest that you carry a little extra cash, in case foreign vendors refuse to accept your current credit card.

Learn more about using chip-and-PIN cards on European travel.

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* International Travel Tips

Traveler’s Checklist – Bureau of Consular Affairs

Country Information – Bureau of Consular Affairs

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