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Nonviolence Webinars in June 2016

Looking for ways to do things differently? Check out the Nonviolence Training Hub’s page of online classes and webinars. Times from their site appear to be Pacific Time, but check that against the events registration page. Due to WordPress’ stripping out links in quoted text, use the link above to access individual training pages.

Preview: Working for Transformation – June 2, 2016 – 12:00 pm – 1:15 pm
Online Orientation to Kingian Nonviolence – June 4, 2016 – 12:30 pm – 6:30 pm
“Person Power and the Roadmap to Nonviolent Action” – June 9, 2016 – 11:00 am – 12:15 pm
Nonviolence Education and Building Community: Conference Call Series – June 9, 2016 – August 4, 2016 – 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Preview: Working for Transformation without Recreating the Past – June 10, 2016 – 12:00 pm – 1:15 pm
Working for Transformation without Recreating the Past – June 17, 2016 – 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
NVC at Work: Preview – Just Enough Connection: Finding the Sweet Spot – June 20, 2016 – 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm
Beyond The Dream: The Radical Love of Martin Luther King, Jr. – June 22, 2016 – November 30, 2016 – 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm
Compassion Course Online – June 22, 2016 – June 21, 2017 – All Day
Taste of Compassion Leadership Free Teleclass – June 25, 2016 – 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

via Online Class or Webinar – The Nonviolence Training Hub

 

If you attend one of these webinars, I’d love your opinion on how things went.

 

 

Throw Them All Out? Stop Dreaming, Start Acting

“Throw them all out!” seems to be theme of this year, whether you’re speaking of the Alaska Legislature of Congress.  People of all political persuasions are upset with the pace and actions of our legislative bodies. And so in frustration cry out for a clean sweep.

There’s no way that we as a State or a Nation can do this. Legislators and members of the US House are elected by district. US Senators are elected by States. So there is no instrument at hand that “we” can throw “them” all out. It sounds good, but in the end, all we have voting influence over is OUR legislators, our US Representative and our US Senator.

I think we would be better served at placing our anger and frustration with legislative bodies aside and really have a laser focus on the people we can actually vote for and against. Two actions within our power are monitoring our representatives as best we can and ensuring there is always an alternative.

Monitoring your representatives

The most important reason for paying attention to your state and federal representatives is that you might find you actually support what they do. Or you can become more articulate about exactly what you’re opposing.

The first step in monitoring your elected representatives is to find out who they are. Here are some places to get you started:

To use me as an example, here are my elected representatives, compiled from the Alaska Legislature and the federal links above:

State Representative (House District 33) – Sam Kito III (D)

State Senator (Senate District Q) – Dennis Egan (D)

I knew who my state representatives were before writing this post. If you live in Alaska, you’ll need to go to the bottom of the Legislature’s home page and search the box labeled “Who Represents Me?”

US Representative – Don Young (R) (Alaska has so few people, we only have one US Rep for the whole state.)

US Senators – Dan Sullivan (R) and Lisa Murkowski (R)

Now that you know who they are, visit their pages. Check out their press releases. In Congress and in most states, you can get a list of bills they sponsored. Are you on social media? Many elected reps have Twitter and Facebook accounts. Follow them. With your US Representatives and Senators, you can use Congress.gov to sign up for alerts of their activities.

Do you like what you see? Keep them and tell them. Don’t like? Tell them. In private and in social media. Be respectful – few people listen when they’re insulted. If they don’t listen (and some won’t), explore alternatives. If you can’t picture yourself voting for the other party, find who’s challenging your rep or senator in the primaries. If there’s no one, consider running even though you’d be a long shot. Uncontested means automatic victory.

One last thought is to treat candidates as individuals rather than as party avatars. Maybe that Republican is a bit more liberal than you thought – or you agree on an important issue. Maybe that Democrat is actually an NRA member. Look beyond the label to the person and see if you can support that person. You can always vote against them in the next election.

Ensuring there is always an alternative

Were you aware that many Alaska House and Senate seats go uncontested? Some US House and Senate seats go uncontested as well. What I mean by this is that the incumbent faces no one in their party primary. Then they win the general election by default because the other party did not run a candidate.

While having an alternative in either the primary or general election is no guarantee that your member will be turned out of office, not having anyone run is a guarantee their incumbency will continue. If you can’t find someone else to run, consider running yourself.

The requirements to file as a candidate vary by state. You should find your local election office and go from there. If you are looking for a party home, check out this list of parties from politics1 or google your favorite party name. If you have the inclination and time, consider joining your local party organization.

 

References

Ballotpedia, Alaska Senate – https://ballotpedia.org/Alaska_State_Senate_elections,_2016

Ballotpedia, Alaska House – https://ballotpedia.org/Alaska_House_of_Representatives_elections,_2016

 

Enjoy Wildlife, Help Researchers: Snapshot Wisconsin

I sometimes get e-mail on new resources and new Citizen Science opportunities. Here’s one I think some of you will be interested in. I thought it was fun when I tried it:

From: Grant at the Zooniverse <no-reply@zooniverse.org>
Date: Tue, May 17, 2016 at 7:29 AM
Subject: New Project – Snapshot Wisconsin
To: ZOONIVERSE@jiscmail.ac.uk

Hi there,

 

We’re happy to announce a new wildlife project called Snapshot Wisconsin, a journey into the American heartland in search of deer and elk, bears and hares, and all other things wild!

 

Like Snapshot Serengeti, Chicago Wildlife Watch, and WildCam Gorongosa, Snapshot Wisconsin lets you explore trail camera photos of wild animals. Along with scientists from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and their collaborators, you’ll be taking part in valuable research to better understand the distributions and behaviors of animal species over space and time. Snapshot Wisconsin is replacing the Wisconsin Wildlife Watch project, bringing new features and functionality.

 

As always, people from all over and of all ages are welcome to participate. Whether you love wildlife, ecology, or just helping out, come join the Snapshot Wisconsin team today and discover the hidden world of Wisconsin’s animals.

 

You’re also invited to chat with researchers and other users on Snapshot Wisconsin Talk, and check out the project’s blog. The team is looking forward to working with you!

 

Thanks so much for all that you do!

Grant & the Zooniverse Team

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Secret Service Bans Guns at GOP Convention, Ending Debate | Alaska Dispatch News

http://www.adn.com/article/20160329/secret-service-bans-guns-gop-convention-ending-debate

No guns at convention. A loss for self consistency but a likely win for safety for reasons explained in my last blog post.

Bonus for Republican candidates: can now officially blame Obama administration for keeping guns out of delegates hands.

Petition · Quicken Loans Arena: Allow Open Carry of Firearms at the Quicken Loans Arena during the RNC Convention in July. · Change.org

Donald Trump said “I will get rid of gun-free zones on schools—you have—and on military bases on my first day. It gets signed my first day…you know what a gun-free zone is to a sicko? That’s bait.” (Jan. 8. 2016)

Ted Cruz has accurately pointed out “shooting after shooting after shooting happens in so called gun-free zones.” He continued, “look, if you’re a lunatic ain’t nothing better then having a bunch of targets you know that are going to be unarmed.” (Dec. 4, 2015)

And Ohio Governor John Kasich has been a leader in this movement to eliminate deadly “gun-free zones” starting with his brave decision to fight the Democrats and end “gun-free zones” at National Guard facilities in Ohio. (Dec. 18, 2015)

via Petition · Quicken Loans Arena: Allow Open Carry of Firearms at the Quicken Loans Arena during the RNC Convention in July. · Change.org

I believe people should live up to their professed values. So if the GOP truly believes that gun free zones endanger people AND they are holding their convention in an open carry state, they ought to accept guns at their own convention and not hide behind the Arena’s policy. They’d waive the rule if the GOP and Ohio’s governor asked.

I would sign the petition myself except for this ridiculous paragraph:

This doesn’t even begin to factor in the possibility of an ISIS terrorist attack on the arena during the convention. Without the right to protect themselves, those at the Quicken Loans Arena will be sitting ducks, utterly helpless against evil-doers, criminals or others who wish to threaten the American way of life.

There will probably be an immense amount of security outside the arena. Protestors will likely be herded into “free speech zones” far from the venue. IF there is a lone wolf out there, he or she won’t get near the venue to threaten people inside. No ISIS cells organized from outside the United States have been identified. I’m not signing on to a petition whose organizers honestly fear imminent large scale ISIS shootouts.

I submit that if a lone wolf is out there, allowing guns in the area will increase the likelihood of an attack and multiply the damage. All it would take is one individual with fake credentials getting into the arena and taking their best shot at a speaker. People immediate start drawing and firing their guns where they think the shooter is. Chances are good that several people around the actual shooter will have drawn their guns. People won’t know who the real shooter is and someone will panic and gun down a delegate with a gun. That person in turn will be targeted as “the real shooter.” The number of shots will continue to escalate until order is restored. Possibly with additional casualities as the police unknowingly kill more “real shooters” because orders to drop weapons were either unheard or disregarded as terrorist tricks.

I believe this to be true because a convention floor is a very, very crowded place.

Another scenario would be panic following an accidental discharge – no terror attack needed.

Despite these dangers, I believe the Republican National Convention ought to allow guns on the floor. They need to live with the consequences of policies they have forced other people to live by.

I will close with the actions desired by the petition and leave it to you if you want to sign or share with Republican friends:

THEREFORE, WE ARE CALLING TODAY FOR THE FOLLOWING FIVE POINTS OF ACTION:

1. From the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland: A suspension of their policy preventing the open carry of firearms on the premises of the arena from July 18-21, 2016 to coincide with the Republican National Convention.

2. From the National Rifle Association: An immediate condemnation of the egregious affront to the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution constituted by the “gun-free zone” loophole to the state law.

3. From Ohio Governor John Kasich: A concerted effort to use his executive authority to override the “gun-free zone” loophole being exploited by the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.

4. From Reince Priebus and the Republican National Committee: An explanation of how a venue so unfriendly to Second Amendment rights was chosen for the Republican Convention. Further, we demand a contingency plan to relocate the convention to another location should the Quicken Loans Arena refuse to honor the constitutional rights of the RNC guests to open carry firearms during the convention.

5. From all Republican candidates for President: You have been brave in raising awareness about the immense dangers posed by “gun-free zones.” In order to ensure the safety of your supporters, delegates and all attendees at the convention in July, you must call upon the RNC to rectify this affront to our Second Amendment freedoms and insist upon a suspension of the Quicken Loans Arena’s unconstitutional “gun-free zone” loophole. Every American is endowed with a God-given Constitutional right to carry a gun wherever and whenever they please.

 

 

Supreme Court: Open Letter to Senator Sullivan

I write to express my continued dismay at your continued rejection of considering ANY Supreme Court appointment of President Obama’s.

I have read your statement at https://www.facebook.com/1499142123704271/posts/1702865476665267 but remain unconvinced that you and your party are acting in the interest of the nation by refusing to act on the President’s nomination. You state:

The decision to withhold advancement of Mr. Garland’s nomination isn’t about the individual, it’s about the principle. Alaskans, like all Americans, are in the midst of an important national election. The next Supreme Court justice could fundamentally change the direction of the Court for years to come. Alaskans deserve to have a voice in that direction through their vote, and we will ensure that they have one.

Even if the Constitution provided a role for the general electorate in Supreme Court appointments, we Alaskans have already had three votes on the direction of the Supreme Court – As a State, we voted for Romney in 2012, but didn’t get him. In 2010 we re-elected Senator Lisa Murkowski and in 2014 we elected you to the Senate. Under the Constitution, those are all the votes Americans need for Supreme Court nominations to proceed to confirmation or failure.

While the Constitution does not provide for a popular vote on the Supreme Court, it does provide for Senate votes. If you believe that Judge Garland is wrong for the court, or that a President’s power to appoint should end in year three of their term, vote NO on Judge Garland.

I believe that your attitude not only harms the country but your own party and donor class in at least three ways:

1) Republican control of the Senate is threatened. Whether or not the majority of Alaskans support your position, voters in states with vulnerable Republican Senators favor acting on the President’s nominee. They say that your refusal to have a vote on the President’s nominee will make them less likely to vote for their Senator. Is blocking the Presidents nominee worth going to minority status?
2) If your effort to limit a President’s appointment power to the first three years of their term succeeds, you can count on the Democrats throwing your words in your face if something similar happens in the last year of a Republican President’s term. They will enforce your own views either by having a majority or through filibuster. Unless you remove the filibuster — which I heartily recommend should you retain control of the Senate in 2017.
3) Whether Trump or Clinton gets elected President, you are unlikely to get a nominee as acceptable to you as President Obama’s choice of Merrick Garland. You may dream of confirming Judge Garland in a lame duck session, but if Clinton wins, some Democrats will almost certainly filibuster him, using your own words of “Let the next President make her own nomination” against you.
As I stated in my last letter to you on this subject, when I say “take action” I do not say “confirm” even though I do support Judge Garland’s appointment. I mean that you should urge your leadership and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold hearings followed by an up or down vote. If you don’t believe that Judge Garland should not be on the Supreme Court, vote him down and wait for the next nominee. That is a legitimate exercise of the Senate’s power of advise and consent. It’s an exercise contemplated and expected by the Founders. I can’t believe that they intended the Senate to take no action at all — though if you have documentation to the contrary please send it to me and I will read through it.

Please do your constitutional duty. Hold hearings on Judge Garland. Give him an up or down vote.

Supreme Court: Open Letter to Senator Murkowski

I write to express my continued dismay at your continued rejection of considering ANY Supreme Court appointment of President Obama’s.

I read your statement at http://www.murkowski.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2016/3/murkowski-statement-on-u-s-supreme-court-nominee but remain unconvinced that you and your party are acting in the interest of the nation by refusing to act on the President’s nomination. You cite then Senator Biden’s statement on nominations in an election year as support, but as documented by Politifact, Senator Biden spoke within a few weeks of the Democratic Convention AND stated that President Bush did have the right to appoint a Supreme Court Justice the day after the election. He never suggested, as your party does, that such a choice should be left to the “next administration.”

By the way, I think that Senator Biden was as wrong then as you are now. Had a vacancy come up at the time, I would have urged the Senate to do then what I’m asking you and your party to do now – hold hearings and have an up or down vote. If the candidate was unworthy, reject them.

Back in 1997, your father voted to give Judge Garland a lifetime appointment to the DC Circuit of Appeals, considered by some to be the nation’s second most powerful court. You can find his “Yea” vote at http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=105&session=1&vote=00034. Has your father changed your opinion of Judge Garland? If so, what changed? If not, why do you seem to trust Senator McConnell’s judgment more than your own father’s?

I believe that your attitude not only harms the country but your own party and donor class in at least three ways:

  1. Republican control of the Senate is threatened. Whether or not the majority of Alaskans support your position, voters in states with vulnerable Republican Senators favor acting on the President’s nominee. They say that your refusal to have a vote on the President’s nominee will make them less likely to vote for their Senator. Is blocking the Presidents nominee worth going to minority status?
  2. If your effort to limit a President’s appointment power to the first three years of their term succeeds, you can count on the Democrats throwing your words in your face if something similar happens in the last year of a Republican President’s term. They will enforce your own views either by having a majority or through filibuster. Unless you remove the filibuster — which I heartily recommend should you retain control of the Senate in 2017.
  3. Whether Trump or Clinton gets elected President, you are unlikely to get a nominee as acceptable to you as President Obama’s choice of Merrick Garland. You may dream of confirming Judge Garland in a lame duck session, but if Clinton wins, some Democrats will almost certainly filibuster him, using your own words of “Let the next President make her own nomination” against you.

As I stated in my last letter to you on this subject, when I say “take action” I do not say “confirm” even though I do support Judge Garland’s appointment. I mean that you should urge your leadership and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold hearings followed by an up or down vote. If you don’t believe that Judge Garland should not be on the Supreme Court, vote him down and wait for the next nominee. That is a legitimate exercise of the Senate’s power of advise and consent. It’s an exercise contemplated and expected by the Founders. I can’t believe that they intended the Senate to take no action at all — though if you have documentation to the contrary please send it to me and I will read through it.

Please do your constitutional duty. Hold hearings on Judge Garland. Give him an up or down vote.

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