8. August 25 - Public Education: Problems and Possibilities

Film Synopsis:

Film Website and Trailer

Program

Related Videos

Stay Informed and Get Involved


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August 2016 - Gerrymanding: Who Draws the Voting Districts lines?d

Program Synopsis:
Gerrymandering is about the greatest, most widespread and most completely unrecognized election scam ever perpetrated on the American voter. In 'Gerrymandering the Movie', filmmaker Jeff Reichert explores the secret deals that go down to define and redefine the nation's congressional districts.


Film website:  -  HERE!     Film trailer:   -  HERE!

Program:
* Welcome, Announcements, and Introductions
* Video introduction
* Janet Little (LWV - LV) opening remarks and introduction of panelist.
* Carol Kuniholm (LWVPA) - Why we need redistricting reform in PA and what is Fair Disrticts PA?
* Senator Lisa Boscola - Why we need redistricting reform in PA and why we need an independent commission to decide the voting district lines and what SB 484 will do!
* Representative Parker - We we need redistricting reform in PA and what HB 1835 will do and what is the procedure for passing it.

* Barry Kauffmann (Common Cause PA) - More on Fair Districts PA and what can citizens of PA do to help create redistricting reform.
* Discussion and questions from audience
* Closing statements by panelists


Related Information
* Unusual shaped districts
         a.  Examples of previously gerrymandered districts in 4 states. 
         b.  Map
of PA's current 18 Congressional Districts.         

         c.  Chart on vote % per party in a state and seats in Congress for that party in states 
             where politician draw the lines. 
         d. Chart for states where the court or commissions draw the lines - HERE!
* Website for Fair Districts PA.  Endorsing Organizations.
* Fair Districts PA Gerrymandering Info Sheet - HERE!
* Common Cause Gerrymanding Info Sheet - HERE!


Related Videos:
* What is Gerrymandering: HERE (3) and HERE! (4)
* Video interview with Jeff Reichert, writer/director 
of 'Gerrymandering the Movie'. (6)
* Complete video of 'Gerrymandering the movie' - HERE! (77 m with some commercials)
* What is Gerrymandering? - HERE! (3)
* How politicians rig elections! - HERE (2)
* The Blurred Lines of Gerrymandering - HERE! (4)
* Gerrymandering Explained - HERE!  (6)
* Gerrymandering: Crash Course - HERE! (8)
* David Daley NPR radio interview and transcript about gerrymandering - HERE! (31)
* David Daley interview on his new book about gerrymandering - HERE! (13)


Stay Informed and Get Involved:
* Article - Gerrymandering Explained.
* Article - Imbalance of Power.
* Article - Gerrymandering Reforms Start to Show Results.
* Article - Prison based gerrymandering.
* Book - Ratf--ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America's Democracy by 

                       David Daley - HERE! (13)
* Information about REDMAP 2020 program (Rep) and Advantage 2020 program (Dem)
* Website - Fair Districts PA.
* Website - Pennsylvanians for Fair Elections
* Website - FairVote.
* Website - Brennan Center for Justice.
* Website - End Gerrymandering.
* Website - All About Redistricting.
* Resources on redistricting from FairVote.



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2015 - Representative Democracy: Are We the People being represented?


Why is this topic important? 

Our 'Representative Democracy' depends on our elected officials making decisions that solve problems in ways that are fair for everyone. Therefore, who we elect, how they are elected, and who they represent while in office is critically important for everyone. 

In the last 35 years, escalating economic inequality has resulted in escalating political inequality. Are we are still a government of, for,and by 'We the People' or have we become a government of, for, and by the 'wealthy corporate elite.' 

This program looks at our Representative Democracy and asks 'Are We the People being represented?' If not, how do we change the system?


Program Schedule:
1.  Welcome and Introductions! The title for tonight's program: 
        'Representative Democracy: Are We the People being represented?'
2.  Ask everyone to raise their hand if they agree:
        * Our representative democracy is working well for the wealthy corporate interests.
        * Our representative democracy is working well for We the People.
3. Chart on the flow of influence related to the economic and political power.

4. So the question is - 'What can we do to repair our representative democratic system 
        so it works for everyone?'
5.  Start with the definition of terms below!
6.  Discuss two books that are great resources for tonight's program. 
       * 10 Steps to Repair American Democracy by Steven Hill    
       * Who Stole the American Dream by Hedrick Smith        
7.  Use the handout to discuss Steven Hill's '10 Steps to Repair American Democracy.' 
       Are these changes to the political and economic systems? Or changes to solve an issue?
       F
ocus on #8 - Minimize Money's Role - Public Financing of Campaigns 
8.  Quotes on Minimizing Money's Role - a. HERE    b. HERE     cHERE
9.  We start with a look at two videos about how some wealthy elites use money:
         a. Koch Bros Exposed 2014 - HERE! (55) (5:03)
         b. U.S. Billionaires Political Power Index - HERE! (10) (5:28)
10. Do we have a corrupt political system?
         a. Corruption is Legal in America - HERE! (6)
         b. 
Lawrence Lessig on how money corrupts - HERE! (2+) (2010)
11.  Videos on how public financing of campaigns can help to Minimize Money's Role!
         a. Lawrence Lessig on the Fair Elections Now Act - 
HERE! (1+)
         b. Public Citizen on public financing of elections - HERE! (3) (2009)
         c. Jim Hightower on public financing of elections - HERE! (5) (2008)

         d. Clean Elections: Changing the Face of Democracy - HERE! (15) (2009)
         e. Public Financing plan in Montgomery County Maryland - HERE! (3)         
         f.  Public Financing in Connecticut - HERE! (5)
12.  Discuss public financing of elections and other 'repair democracy' ideas on handout!
13.  Video - Politicians in Washington spend HALF their time doing What? - HERE!
14.  Public Campaign Finance Song - HERE! (3)


Take Action: Things We Can Do!
1. Contact your elected national officials to support the Fair Elections Now Act - HERE!
2. Click HERE to receive email updates from Every Voice on money in politics.
3. Read about (HERE) and Support the Disclose Act 2015 - HERE!

4. Call your representative to oppose HR 412 and HR 195 which would eliminate public funding system in presidential elections and the Election Assistance Commission - HERE for info.

Related Videos:
* Hedrick Smith TED talk on 'Can We Heal the Great Divide?' - HERE! (23)
* Hedrick Smith on Who Stole the American Dream - HERE! (22)
* Lawrence Lessig TED talk on the root of the problem - HERE! (18)
* Videos from Money in Politics Conference (5/09) - HERE!

* C-Span on Public Financing of Elections - HERE! (25)
* Miller Center Debate on Public Financing - HERE! (57)
* Sam Waterston on the Fair Elections Now Act - HERE! (3)
* Public financing of elections - HERE! (4)
* Dennis Kucinich on public financing of elections - HERE! (2)
Chellie Pingree on Clean Elections model in Maine - HERE! (9)
* Ralph Nader on public financing of elections - HERE! (3)
* Money, Elections, and the Public - 2009 National Survey - HERE! (23) (2009)
* Int'l Foundation for Electoral Systems Forum - HERE! (52) (2014)


Related Information!

First - Definition of Terms:

Oligarchy - government controlled by the few.
Plutocracy - government controlled by the wealthy. (HERE)
Corporatism (or Corporatocracy) - has been used recently to mean the merger of wealthy 

                 and corporate power with elected and appointed government officials.
Pure Democracy - a system in which the power is exercised directly by the people 

                 rather than through representatives.
Representative Democracy (Republic)
 - a system of government where the powers are
                 delegated to a body of people, elected from time to time.

Next - In his book '10 Steps to Repair American Democracy', Steven Hill lists 10 general areas of reform. They are listed on the page 13 on the right and on your handout. 


Ideas to Stay Informed, Get Involved, and Take Action on this issue!

Stay Informed: Articles and Books!
* Article - Bethlehem mayor issues policy that bans gift - HERE!

* Article - How the US Became an Oligarchy! - HERE!
* Article - Poll Shows Americans Favor Overhaul of Campaign Financing - HERE!
* Billion-Dollar Democracy by Demos on role of money - HERE!
* Stacked Deck by Demos on power of money - HERE!

* Government by the People Act - HERE!
* American Anti-Corruption Act - HERE!
* Fair Elections Now Act - HERE!
Voter Bill of Rights - HERE!
* Book - 
Who Stole the American Dream by Hedrick Smith - HERE!      
* Book - 10 Steps to Repair American Democracy by Steven Hill - HERE!
* Book - Unlock Congress: Reform the Rules, Restore the System - HERE!
* Voter Owned Elections: Public Financing in North Carolina - HERE!


Get Involved: Websites for groups that are active on this issue!
* Public Campaign - HERE is now Every Voice - HERE!
* Brennan Center for Justice - HERE!
* Center for Responsive Politics - HERE!
* New York City Campaign Finance Board - HERE!

* Campaign Finance Institute - HERE!
* Common Cause - HERE!
* FairVote - HERE!
* League of Women Voters - HERE!

* Demos - HERE!
* Reclaim the American Dream - HERE!


Take Action: Things We Can Do!
1. Contact your elected national officials to support the Fair Election Now Act - HERE!
2. Click HERE to receive email updates from Public Campaign on public financing of elections.
3. Read about (HERE) and Support the Disclose Act 2015 - HERE!

4. Call your representative to oppose HR 412 and HR 195 which would eliminate public funding system in presidential elections and the Election Assistance Commission - HERE for info.




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August 2014 - Immigration Reform

Program Synopsis:
This month we are discussing immigration reform. We will use several video to present information on this topic followed by a discussion.

Program Videos:

1. Video of Application Procedures for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals - HERE! (3)
2. Democracy Now on the recent Child Migrants at the Border Issue - HERE! (19)
3. Video about Three Immigration Myths - HERE! (3m) Also, handout article 'Top 10 Myths About Immigration!' - HERE! to read at home and share with others.
4. The Dream is Now - HERE! (31)

Related Videos:
*  Overview of the Senate Immigration Reform Bill - HERE! (7)
*  NAFTA plus U.S. Farm Subsidies Devastates Mexican Agriculture - HERE! (8)
* Security, Refugees, and Profit - HERE! (9)

* Destroy Their Economic Livelihoods, and They Will Come - HERE! (9)
* Children in the Fields - HERE! (11)
* Hidden in the Harvest - HERE (10) 
* Apple Forecast: Immigration Reform - HERE! (5) 
* Down in the Salinas Valley - HERE! (25)
* Baldemar Velasquez on Fighting for Farmworkers -HERE! (39)
* Frontline: Lost in Detention - HERE! (54)
* Democracy Now interviews Dave Pierre on his immigration prison 
confinement - HERE! (19)
* White People Say the Darndest Things To Latinos - Here's How It Sounds 
When Latinos Do It To Them - HERE! (2)
* Upworthy on Families - HERE! (3)


Ideas to Stay Informed, Get Involved, and Take Action on this issue!

Stay Informed: Articles and Books!
Article - A Guide to S. 744: Understanding the 2013 Senate Immigration Bill - HERE!

Article - Top 10 Myths About Immigration! - HERE!
Article - The Long Road to Immigration Reform - HERE!

Article - Border Patrol Nation: How US Creates War Zones With Mexico, Canada" - HERE!
Article - 5 Facts About The Child Migrants on Our Southern Borders - HERE!
Article - The Central American Child Migrant Crisis and Neoliberalism - HERE!
Article - Ten Reasons Young People Should Come Forward For Deferred Action - HERE!
Chart - Immigration Roadmap - HERE!
Article - 5 facts about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program - HERE!

Article - BiPartisan Policy Center PDF on the Immigration Issue - HERE
Book - "Border Patrol Nation' - HERE!
Book - "Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal" by Aviva Chomsky. Click HERE for Democracy Now interview.
Book - "They TAke Our Jobs and 20 Other Myths About Immigration" by Aviva Chomsky. Click HERE for video comments


Get Involved: Websites of groups that are active on this issue!
 

Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition (join their email list) - HERE!
Immigration Policy Center - HERE!
Fair Immigration Reform Movement - HERE!
National Immigration Law Center - HERE!
United We Dream - HERE!
National Immigration Justice Center - HERE!
UUPLAN Immigration Justice Issue Team - HERE!
UU Associaltion Immigration Page - HERE


Take Action: 3 Things You Can Do Now! 

1. Call your US Senators and Representative and ask them to support a Comprehensive
Immigration Reform Plan with a clear path to citizenship which ends unjust deportation policies.
2. Read 'Top Ten Immigration Myths' article by Leo Anchondo and share with others!
3. Reach out to faith leaders and ask them to take an active role in supporting just and compassionate treatment of child migrants. 

Take Action: Legislation and Petitions to support or oppose!

1. Sign the 'Time for Immigration Reform is Now' Petition - HERE!
2. Sign the 'Bring the Senate Immigration Bill to the House Floor' Petition - HERE!


Take Action: Monthly 'Fix Our Democracy Now' idea! 

Everyone should have the right to vote in free and fair elections regardless of who they are or
where they live. To that end, Fair Vote advocates for establishing an explicit individual 'Right
Vote Amendment' in the U.S. Constitution. Click HERE for info.