Thursday, January 28, 2016
Sanders Asks For Four DNC Sanctioned Debates- Not On Friday, Saturday, or Holidays

Coming out of his recent silence with relation to additional debates, Bernie Sanders relayed through his campaign that he would in fact join Martin O'Malley and Hillary Clinton for debates. Adding caveats as Clinton had previously, Sanders asked for four DNC sanctioned debates. The debates would need to be pre-schedulednot on a Friday or Saturday, and could not be on holiday weekends.

Below are the announced positions for each candidate. None are what the candidate said in totality. To see what each said look at their original releases over the past few days.


Governor Martin O’Malley’s New Hampshire State Director Statement – January 26th

Today is a big victory not only for our campaign and our supporters that championed this effort, but it is also a victory for voters across New Hampshire and the United States.  We look forward to participating.

Secretary Hillary Clinton Remarks on MSNBC’s Hardball – January 27th 

Look, I’m ready for the debate and I hope Senator Sanders will change his mind and join us. I think the DNC and the campaigns should be able to work this out. I've been for, you know, for a long time, that I'd be happy to have more debates and I hope we can get this done.

I would like the chairman of the party and the campaigns to agree we can debate in New Hampshire next week.

Senator Bernie Sanders’ Campaign Manager’s Statement – January 27th 

From the beginning of this campaign Sen. Sanders has called for more debates. Secretary Clinton has not. Now she is asking to change the rules to schedule a debate next week that is not sanctioned by the DNC. Why is that? The answer is obvious. The dynamics of the race have changed and Sen. Sanders has significant momentum. Sen. Sanders is happy to have more debates but we are not going to schedule them on an ad hoc basis at the whim of the Clinton campaign. If Secretary Clinton wants more debates that’s great. We propose three additional debates. One in March, April and May and none on a Friday, Saturday or holiday weekend. And all of the three Democratic candidates must be invited. If the Clinton campaign will commit to this schedule, we would ask the DNC to arrange a debate in New Hampshire on Feb. 4.
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Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Supreme Court Will Rule On Important Case Before 2016 Election


 "A principal feature of the removal system is the broad discretion exercised by immigration officials," wrote U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli in the administration's appeal. "When they encounter a removable alien, immigration officials, as an initial matter, must decide whether it makes sense to pursue removal at all." U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli

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How Should We Talk In The Digital Age?-By Kyle Leach




How Should We Talk In The Digital Age?-By Kyle Leach

I was inspired to write this piece after reading a post by Ray Buckley from his personal Facebook account. He had wandered into a comment section of a Facebook post, an online quagmire on the best of days, and was shocked with what he saw. He proceeded to tell us what he found and then gave everyone some of his thoughts to reflect upon. I reflected. You can read the post above if you didn’t already see it, to see Ray’s thoughts.

His post is actually a great place to begin the conversation we need to have about 21st century communication.   I think we, as a party, need to start talking about this. We are already a decade and a half into this century. Digital and social media are now powerful tools for communication, the subjects of research studies. Social media connects people in ways we have never been able to connect before and allows for sharing and collaboration at rates we never thought were possible. They can motivate and connect people around the globe. They can make human beings stronger and give them courage and help people everywhere feel they are not alone.

With that great power, comes great responsibility. You’ve probably heard me say before, words have power; words can change the world. I really believe that; I’m not just using that as poetic literary decoration.  I don’t believe in saying things you don’t mean or saying things simply because you can. Once words pour from your lips, or your fingertips, you can’t take them back. With that being said, are these modern tools too dangerous to use? Should we discourage usage because they can harm? Absolutely not. 

Tools cannot be good or evil, if you even believe those things exist. Tools are only as good as the human beings using them and that means it is necessary for all of us to monitor ourselves individually and monitor each other. We have to take the responsibility to help each other use these technologies in the best ways we can and teach each other to use them well. We need good digital citizenship.  If we did this we could all speak freely within the ether,  and reach each other without causing undue harm or encouraging homogeny or compliance, two things toxic to discussion, debate, and open discourse. To apply this to Democrats at large this would mean we need our organizational structures to promote these ideals and provide funding, time and people power, dedicated to this end. Anything less is just lip service.

One of the first suppositions Ray proposed in his post was that the digital realm provides a false sense of security and false courage. This is good place to center the conversation.  It is true that the online environment has a fair share of bullying and that can foster it. In some individuals, it provides a sense of protection from recrimination. However, most reasoned people using digital devices are careful in what they post and what privacy settings they use.  Facebook’s own research found people will quite often type something and change it several times before it is sent; and that often people type something out and erase without ever sending it at all. As Democrats, I think we should be very careful about acting as “thought police”.  That is not our job. I’ve always preferred the idea that the best library is the one that has something to offend everyone. The best environment for our party would be one that is supportive of diverse ideas, even if they are not convenient; even if there is something that may offend everyone.

Next, his response talks about your associates online understanding more about you, your leanings, and efforts you would support. This might be true of people like me who keep online friends and associates to a manageable minimum.  But many of us have accounts with followers into the thousands or tens of thousands. There isn’t any way a human being can keep track of that many people; we aren’t built like that. What we share can reach people we don’t know well or people we might be able to talk with. How our online world is decorated can be a way to show support, attack something we oppose, or simply be blank because we don’t care.  Are our online comments going to change every mind, sway every voter, or persuade an adversary? Definitely not. I know for sure that each individual’s space is theirs and belongs to no one else. What they choose to post or say is up to them. If you don’t like something you can always unfollow them or you can block them, or delete any comments that upset you. It really is as simple as that. But use that control sparingly. The worst thing we can do is to turn social media into a gated community where conformity is the expectation, and new ideas are squelched. 

I liked the second thought in Ray’s post very much, but I also find it to be short sighted. If a Democrat is feeling lonely or anxious, he says they should go to a local campaign office, local committees, or to a local Dem event, in order to feel more involved. It’s unrealistic. Many people would have to travel quite distance to find to these things.  And it is not like they are there all the time, and then there is just the fact that not all people connect with each other in those ways. Why limit ourselves? With social media you can reach out to the world for inspiration, help, and advice. You can learn about anything in history, read commentaries from around the world, and access video, audio, and podcasts of many political and social events. Information online comes with the same dangers of information in the real world. Democrats don’t want to discourage people from meeting face to face, but geography and financial limitations might. We expect people to learn and find new information. Why would we, as Democrats, discourage people from finding solace and information online?

The last four points in the post are the most problematic from my viewpoint. All are fearmongering, to an extent, and put severe limitations on speech at the least. Each reinforces mitigating or silencing dissent.  I have said this many times before; silencing dissent is not a Democratic value. Curbing passion and differing ideas might streamline communication and make it easier, but it has the chilling effect of dampening energy, limiting creativity, and fostering isolation. Sameness can be a tempting construct, but the differences we have are what make us special as individuals and as a collective. That’s when we shine. It would be a shame to shadow that potential because we fear social repercussions, because we fear our flawed past, or because we fear tomorrows we have yet to write. As Democrats, we have to make decisions wisely online.  We have to be better at inclusion and acceptance of new ideas. We can’t perseverate any more in the land of ones and zeros than we would in the physical realm.

In the online world some of us are more, myself included. If I were in front of you now, my agoraphobia would limit me tremendously. My social phobias would shut me down, and my connection to each of you would be strained terribly. It would be very hard to say all of this at once or even pull it together as I have here. In this online space, I am not limited by my body, or age, or perceived gender, or sexuality, or any of the confines of my real life. My soul and intellect reign here.  I don’t take that lightly; and many people don’t. We shouldn’t limit the potential of each Democrat by making them fear this space. This space can empower so many of us, in so many different ways. I hope it will eventually ignite the social humanity of many, many more. We don’t have to unite the party to be successful. We have to learn to arrange ourselves into a coalition that others want to connect with, want to become a part of.  We have to learn to share; to collaborate. We have to learn to be social, without the old constraints, and use our collective intelligence to move us forward. That’s what the 21st century is all about for Democrats. That’s what being a good digital citizen is.

Share this content as you like. Do not re-publish, in whole or in part, without the written approval of the author Kyle Leach.
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Saturday, January 9, 2016
BLACK LIVES MATTER: In Memory Of Tamir And MLK-January 18th, 5:30 - 6:30PM




 January 18th, 5:30 PM - 6:30 PM, Exeter Town Hall
10 Front Street, Exeter, NH  03833 


Join us on Martin Luther King's Birthday

To remember a child's tragic, unecessary death.

To reflect on how Martin Luther King would react, what he would do and ask of us and where he would lead us in this fight for equality.

We need to reaffirm the call for equality for the safety of our children.

What''s happened to America when children are dying in playgrounds at the hands of those who are supposed to be protecting them.

Join us on the steps of Exeter Town Hall, with candles and signs to bring attention to the continuing inequality and institutional issues we have within our police and legal system.
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Tri- Town Dems Meeting, Thursday, January 14th At 7PM, Emma Ramsey Center, Milton


Hi Folks,
Happy new Year.  This is your gentle reminder that the TriTown Democrats will be meeting this coming Thursday, January 14, 2016, at 7:00 PM in the Emma Ramsey Center in Milton.  Sorry, I do not have the minutes from the last meeting to attach for you.  I will get those around to you as soon as they become available.
 
 Meeting Agenda

Call to Order
Presentation:  Kristy Martino, RESULTS (www.results.org)
Secretary's Report
Treasurer's Report
Digital and Social Media Report 
Old Business
Honors Dinner Committee Report
Other Old Business Items
New Business
Visibilities
Meeting Schedule for 2016
Other New Business Items
Upcoming Events
Next Meeting
Our next scheduled meeting will be on February 12, at 7:00 PM in the Emma Ramsey Center in Milton.
Adjournment
We will have a guest speaker at our January 14th meeting.
Kristy Martino, U.S. Poverty Grassroots Organizer from RESULTS, will describe her group’s work to train volunteers to advocate for education, health, and economic opportunity by influencing policy makers.  RESULTS can provide training and research for action.

RESULTS Mission and Vision
Volunteer profiles and how we train and support them to become effective advocates
Our RESULTS (key success in making tax credits for working families permanent this year)
Special projects: REAL Change youth fellowship and Experts on Poverty
Seacoast and NH/ME RESULTS chapters

RESULTS is a movement of passionate, committed everyday people. Together they use their voices to influence political decisions that will bring an end to poverty.
Volunteers receive training, support, and inspiration to become skilled advocates. In time, volunteers learn to effectively advise policy makers, guiding them towards decisions that improve access to education, health, and economic opportunity.

With every hour of their time, volunteers multiply their impact through the enormous power of advocacy — whether it’s helping change policy to support millions of families putting food on the table or helping raise billions of dollars for the world’s most vulnerable children.

Backed by the in-depth research and legislative expertise of staff, RESULTS advocates realize the incredible power they possess to use their voices to change the world.

RESULTS Educational Fund, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that:
  • Performs cutting-edge research and oversight.
  • Educates and mobilizes the public, policy makers, and the media.
  • Supports powerful citizenship by training volunteers in public speaking, generating media, and educating their communities and elected officials on issues of poverty.
  • RESULTS, Inc., a nonprofit, grassroots advocacy 501(c)(4) organization:
  • Pushes for specific policies and legislation to address poverty.
  • Empowers people to become powerful voices for the end of poverty through grassroots advocacy.
For more information, visit: http://www.results.org/
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Thursday, January 7, 2016
Where Do We Go From Here? Reflections On The Democratic Party, 2016, And Beyond By Kyle Leach


Where Do We Go From Here? Reflections On The Democratic Party, 2016, And Beyond By Kyle Leach

Three things happened recently that led me to write this piece. This is difficult to talk about because I really care about these circumstances and outcomes. Otherwise, I would have just moved on. Writing often helps me to process what is going on in my head. Some of this is to extract meaning and determine any courses of action. But it is equally important because I've been told so often not to articulate what I’m feeling and I think it is important for others, who feel as I do, to know they are not alone.

The first story I have to tell is the most personal. I found out by chance that my father and brother are seriously thinking of voting for a Republican this year. That may not be very impressive to any of you, but for my whole life each of them have voted consistently and voted for Democrats. I can't tell you all the things that may have led to this change, but I do have some ideas. They've been watching more and more Fox News as the years have gone on and their life circumstances have taken turns for the worse, making them even more willing to believe the rhetoric coming from the right. I’m not going to blame Fox or Republicans; that is ridiculous. They simply benefited from our failure to keep them as Democrats.

We, as a party, pushed them away; neglected them; and they latched to the closest life raft they could. We failed to give them relief. We failed to give them hope. We failed to give them a glimpse of a future they could see themselves a part of; and so we lost them. We’ve allowed people outside the Democratic Party, and the Oligarchs, aligned both with and against us, to define who we are and how things will get done. And that has to stop. We have to stop blaming everyone else and take a close look at our own failings and inadequacies; and fix them. If we don’t, we will continue to loose support from our voters.

The second thing that led me to write this piece is less of an event, it is more of a progression. Now that I'm a Democratic town chair, and now that I have been on the county committee more than once, I've had the chance to attend and observe yearly events through a different lens. Different people sit in the positions and even with some good changes, I still have had far too many negative experiences, but the negative experiences I have pale in comparison to what I see happening to others within the party.

Most are being fostered by the Democratic Party establishment. Many of those negative experiences never needed to happen, and we lost good people because of those experiences. Many people became discouraged just from seeing those events unfold. I joke about how it is pretty funny that I'm often the youngest person in a room, but the truth is, it isn't funny. It's a warning sign. There are lots of warning signs. It is obvious that we need to change, but the Democratic Party is an ancient beast; and it doesn’t like change at all. Stronger, more important, people than I have relayed these feelings through the proper channels, but they go completely unheeded.

The last has to do with voting. Some people in the Democratic Party regularly debase the responsibility we have as voters. I see it all the time online. They reduce it to numbers and obscure strategy and unfortunately that doesn’t inspire anyone or persuade anyone to vote. In fact it makes voting look like an edict and a chore instead of a choice and a fulfilling duty. We should be making it feel important, something for everyone to take pride in. It is one of the most transformative things I do each year, along with serving on boards, going to town meetings, and writing and calling elected officials. Presenting people with the lesser of two evils does not make voters, it makes voters apathetic.

Each year, Democrats get directives from above. This year was no different. They always echo the same things. "Think of the party first. No dissent. No truths, we don't present ourselves." I'm not sorry to say that this is simply wrong. All three will lead us to worse places and further the distance we must navigate to get back to the path we should be on. Winning elections and raising money have become more than an obsession; it has become an addiction which drains the party and all of its’ time and resources, on all levels, no matter what the short or long term cost is. We have been borrowing against our future to feed this addiction; eventually our dealer is going to cut us off or we will die from complications of the addiction. If we don’t want that to happen we have to take the hardest step, that is to recognize that we have problems.

I’ve compiled a list of observations and recommendations. Things I think Democrats can work on. Things I think we can change. They aren’t fresh or new, but they ring true to me from where I sit and I think all would strengthen and empower us immeasurably.

1. Define who we are and define where we want to go. Make that definition clear. Figure out the pragmatic goals we can easily accomplish, but don’t stop there. Dream. Dream big and don’t just talk about it in inner circles and closed meetings. Share. Sharing is the most crucial part. Leave room for those ideas and dreams to grow. Letting another party define who we are limits us. Break that cycle. Above all else stop mirroring the GOP. They are a party based on fear, sustained by lies and deception. Why would we ever seek to emulate those behaviors? Stop deflecting by pointing fingers at the GOP. We can’t change them, but we can change ourselves. People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones and Democrats live in a giant greenhouse.

2. Now that we know what we want to be, change the way we connect. This is not the 19t century. This is not the20th century. Time to bring forth media and sharing structures that work in the 21st century. Digital and social media have to be a central focus not an afterthought or parlor trick that you spend an hour on. We have to be where people are, where the young people are. We have to get used to connecting in these new ways. We have to get used to sharing.

3. If there is anything we can learn from the Sanders campaign it is that you don’t need establishment or Super PACS to raise cash. What you need are good ideas that resonate with the average person, and clear messages. Change our fundraising dynamic. Drop the Super PACS, drop the Oligarchs. The sooner we do, the sooner we can build a future for ourselves instead of a world conceived for the most affluent around us.

4. Stop obsessing on winning all the time. At the rate we “win” we’d be better off using a coin toss. Start looking for people we can build with and people we can bring into the party to help transform it. Invest in the bottom of our structure and prune the top. That will breed innovation our party needs to transform. Leave behind egoists, information brokers, and people who don’t want the future our party exemplifies in our platform. It might take a decade or more but we could go from being a party that sells itself to the highest bidder to one that forges a path from the ideas of the masses.

5. Stop officials and elected party members from favoring campaigns or shutting others out. We are told to be non-biased, yet I’ve see this violated so many times it isn’t funny at all. It may not always be the intention, it may not always be grossly negligent, but in the end certain campaigns do get favored and others get shut out. Endorsements. Just stop. At its worst it is a very thinly veiled form of bullying; and the rest of the time, it just looks like we are all in high school again.

6. Change our votebuilder software. It is clunky and unsecure; the data is consistently outdated. And exactly why is it gated? On numerous occasions, during elections, I know of towns requesting information via their software and those requests are ignored. Ignored. Even after follow-up. I know I always appreciate being ignored and not getting information I need.

7. Listen and act on the advice of the young, immigrants, women, LGBTQIA, people of color, Latinos/as, native peoples. They are the groups in our society that have overcome the most adversity and taken limits and turned them into unifying rally cries and spontaneous opportunities that transformed entire portions of our society. Don’t fear them for their rowdy, unconventional, ever-changing behavior. Learn to embrace it. They have fire in their souls and that power can push back almost anything in the natural world. We need them in as many positions in the party as we can. They are our future.

8. If you are going to bother making rules, stick to them. If you are going to bother make a platform, stick to it. Make each process as transparent as you can and make it as easy to participate as you can. Stop locking things down. That fosters elitism and stirs up apathy. This century is all about collaboration and the sharing of ideas. We all benefit from our collective intelligence.

9. Support a National Voting Day holiday, and make it a priority. Make it happen. Everyone has a holiday -except essential personnel. Get people registered and help them become informed. If you want a governing structure of the people you have to provide the opportunity for that to happen.

10. For the people who would decry this as hippy- dippy esoteric nonsense, I’ll leave you with this. If you don’t think we could do these things or change the Democratic Party this much, with all the wonderful people and the wealth of resources and talent we have, why should anyone ever believe we would be fit to run an entire nation, or make decisions about the world? If we can’t change something like the Democratic Party, what should make anyone believe that same party could give our nation a better future? The implication, by default, is that we cannot or that we do not want these changes. And that is why we are in this horrible position in the first place. It’s an awful place to be centered.

I will live through several more Republican presidents and several more Democratic presidents. I may live long enough to see a viable third party emerge. I will see Congress change dozens of times and my local legislature will change more often. I will see the high court change not just one more time but probably twice. Every election I take part in is important, every vote I make is important, but make no mistake that is not equivocal to meaning winning elections is important.

Losing has merits. It allows you time to assess and to reflect. It allows you time to renew. It allows you the opportunity to find new allies and redirect attention. Keeping an organization focused on perpetual winning dooms it to failure. It deprives it of a future because you are always focused on the present win, never looking forward and eventually you are going to lose. Anyone that thrives learns to live beyond the wins, they learn to adapt from losses.

I've never had the privilege of having someone in public office who completely matches my ideological perspective. A few have come incredibly close. A few have tried and lost. For me, no matter who wins an election, the work afterward is much the same. If a Republican wins the national election all my efforts go toward fighting the severe ideological shift toward the right. If a traditional Democrat wins the national election half of my efforts go toward fighting for the things that help our people, that help our world, keeping them where they are, and the other half of my efforts go toward keeping that person from shifting toward the right. If someone truly revolutionary gets the office, I will spend all of my time transforming everything we are. All require my full attention and effort. All are prone to setbacks and failure.

I try to center my activities on what I can do, how can I help, fix things I can fix; but I don't let go of the things I most wish were true. That keeps me inspired. I've never taken voting for granted and though I've made a few mistakes in those I chose to support, I've tried to learn lessons from those mistakes. I don't listen to polls; they are generally designed for specific reasons, or paid for by very specific groups, with very specific interests. I don't pay much attention to where candidates are in comparisons, because there are few people I would trust to make a comparison of value. I don't listen very much to what politicians say during campaigns. I pay much more attention to what they do in offices they hold and how they vote while in office. I pay attention to how they live their lives. Look at who they surround themselves with. People don't change much at all beyond their twenties. If their statements don't match their lives or previous votes or what they did in office, they are probably lying. At best they are hedging. I wish it wasn't so, but it is advice from my youth that has served me well for two decades.

I also don't vote for people who I don't want in a position. Most of the time I do this in local elections where choices can be very limited, but I have never ruled out applying it further up the ticket as I have grown older and acquired more information about our political landscape. As I said before, I've regretted votes, but I've never regretted not voting for a specific person because I didn't want them in that position or because I didn’t think they were qualified. There were reasons I didn't think they were worthy. You are supposed to be electing a leader, not a place holder. Imminent doom is a voting mind trick that doesn’t work on me anymore. It is a false narrative both parties use to elicit fear based action and to direct people toward predictable, controlled behavior. Don’t fall for this. It’s the worst trap to get caught up in.

So where do we go from here? Well, some of us will stay in the system and work on our problems from within. Stan and others I trust have convinced me to concentrate my efforts within the system, so for now that is where my efforts will go. Others who were never a part or left at some point have the daunting task of building and contributing from outside the system. I imagine you'll continue, perhaps with greater success than me. I may re-join you some day. To everyone I simply ask that you vote. Be involved. Don't throw that gift away. So many people in our world don't have that right. So many people don’t have the opportunity to use it.

Share this content as you like. Do not re-publish, in whole or in part, without the written approval of the author Kyle Leach.
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Progressives Are Calling On Debbie Wasserman Schultz To Step Down From DNC Chair



"As DNC chair, you have repeatedly failed to act in the best interests of progressives and the Democratic Party. You have lost the trust of grassroots progressives and Democrats. Please resign immediately." CREDO's petition reads.


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Vision. Action. Community.

The Farmington Democrats believe that equality of opportunity can be achieved through community involvement, political action, and a shared vision of social justice.