Friday, July 21, 2017

President Obama's Plan to Counter Russian Hacking on Election Day

President Obama’s White House quietly produced a Plan in October 2016 to Counter a possible Election Day Cyber attack that included Extraordinary Measures like sending Armed Federal Law Enforcement Agents to Polling Places, Mobilizing components of the Military and launching Counter-Propaganda efforts.

The 15-page Plan stipulates that “in almost all potential cases of malicious cyber activity impacting election infrastructure, state, local, tribal, and territorial governments” would have Primary Jurisdiction to respond.

But in the case of a “Significant Incident” the White House had several “Enhanced Procedures” it was prepared to take.

The Plan allowed for the Deployment of “Armed Federal Law Enforcement Agents” to Polling Places if Hackers managed to halt Voting. It also foresaw the Deployment of “Active and Reserve" Military Forces and Members of the National Guard “upon a request from a federal agency and the direction of the Secretary of Defense or the President.”

For Three days after the Election, a Special Interagency effort would be tasked with addressing “any post-election cyber incidents,” including “planted stories calling into question the results.”

The Plan reflects how thoroughly the Russian effort to undermine Public Confidence in the U.S. Electoral system had succeeded. The U.S. Intelligence Community had concluded the Primary and abiding Goal of the Russian operation was “to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process.”

By Election Day, with widespread coverage of Russian Hacking and then-Candidate Trump’s assertions that the Vote would be Rigged against him, Gallup found that only 30% of Americans had Faith in the Honesty of Elections, while 69% did not.

The Document’s formatting has been changed from the original.

CLICK HERE to read the 15 page report.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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Trump's FL Private Clubs Seeking Visas for Foreign Workers

The Trump Organization is asking the Federal Government for Special Visas to hire scores of Foreign Workers for two of President Trump's Private Clubs in Florida, the Mar-a-Lago Resort in Palm Beach and the Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter.

The Requests for H-2B Visas, posted on the Department of Labor website, are for 26 Cooks, nearly 50 Waiters and Waitresses, plus Housekeepers, a Hostess and a Bartender.

The Jobs range in Pay from just under $12 to less than $14 an hour. Mar-a-Lago and the Jupiter Club have relied on Foreign Workers in past years for Staffing during their Peak seasons, which run October through May.

This year, the request for Foreign Workers comes in the middle of "Made in America" week at the White House. Trump, who has had his own line of products manufactured Overseas, says he wants U.S. Companies to focus this week on ways to create more Opportunities for American Labor.

In the past, Trump has defended Hiring Foreign Workers at his Florida properties, saying that "getting help in Palm Beach during the season is almost impossible."

Employers say they are struggle to find Seasonal Workers, and Monday, the Department of Homeland Security announced it would be boosting the Number of Non-Agricultural H-2B Visas available this year by 15,000.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Treasury Fines ExxonMobil for Violating Russia Sanctions While Tillerson was CEO

The Treasury Department and ExxonMobil locked horns in a Legal Battle Thursday, with the Oil Giant Filing a Lawsuit to stop a $2 million Fine the Department slapped on it earlier in the day it for Violating Sanctions against Russia in 2014, when Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was Head of the Company.

Exxon named Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in the Complaint it Filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, putting the Trump Administration in the awkward position of Defending one Cabinet Member against a Lawsuit Filed by a Company formerly Headed by another Cabinet Member.

The Fine is a pittance for ExxonMobil, which reported $4 Billion in Earnings for the First Quarter of this year, but it illustrates how the Company's myriad Business Operations could complicate the Job of the Nation's Top Diplomat.

Tillerson has long spoken against the Sanctions on Russia, arguing at an Exxon Shareholder Meeting the same Month as the alleged Violations that “we don’t find them to be effective unless they are very well implemented comprehensively, and that’s a very hard thing to do.”

Just last Month, he argued against Toughening Sanctions on Russia.

The heart of the Dispute are Eight Contracts Exxon Representatives Signed with Igor Sechin, Head of Russia’s State-owned Oil Company Rosneft. Sechin is a close Confidant of Russia President Putin and is also Named in the Sanctions.

Exxon said the Administration, in its previous explanation of the Sanctions Policy, made a Distinction between Actions taken by Sechin in his Personal Capacity, which were not Permitted, as opposed to his Professional capacity at Rosneft.

Treasury said there was no such Legal Distinction, adding that no Materials from the White House or the Department itself “asserted an exception or carve-out for the professional conduct of designated or block persons, nor did any materials suggest that U.S. persons could continue to conduct or engage in business with such individuals.”

In a Statement, Company spokesman Scott Silvestri called the move “fundamentally unfair.” “ExxonMobil followed the clear guidance from the White House and Treasury Department when its representatives signed documents involving ongoing oil and gas activities in Russia with Rosneft — a nonblocked entity — that were countersigned on behalf of Rosneft by CEO Igor Sechin in his official representative capacity,” Silvestri said. He pointed to a Statement on May 16th, 2014, by a Treasury Spokesperson, “who said by way of example that BP’s American CEO was permitted to participate in Rosneft board meetings with Sechin so long as the activity related to Rosneft’s business and not Sechin’s personal business.”

Silvestri said the Treasury Department “is trying to retroactively enforce a new interpretation of an executive order that is inconsistent with the explicit and unambiguous guidance from the White House and Treasury issued before the relevant conduct.”

Treasury, in its explanation of the Action, said the Company “is a sophisticated and experienced oil and gas company that has global operations and routinely deals in goods, services and technology subject to U.S. economic sanctions and U.S. export controls. OFAC determined that ExxonMobil did not voluntarily self-disclose the violations to OFAC, and that the violations constitute an egregious case," it added.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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Electionline Weekly July-20-2017

Legislative Updates

Illinois: Senate Bill 1479 has been Approved by both Chambers and is awaiting the Governor’s Signature. Under the Legislation the Grace Period for Voter Registration and Changes of Address for Eligible Residents at Nursing Homes would be enhanced.

Maine: After State Lawmakers were unable to agree on Modifying or Killing Voter-Approved Ranked-Choice Voting, the Voting Method will remain on the Books for the time being.

New Mexico: The Santa Fe City Council will consider whether or not to Rescind its Decision to Postpone trying to Implement Ranked-Choice Voting. The Issue will be Revisited at the Council’s Meeting on July 26th.

Rhode Island: This week, Rhode Island became the Ninth State to Legalize Automatic Voter Registration. Gov. Gina M. Raimondo Signed a Bill into Law that will Automatically Register Voters doing Business with the State’s Division of Motor Vehicles unless they Decline.

Texas: Senate Bill 5, Filed by Sen. Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills), would Elevate the seriousness of some Voter Fraud Crimes, raising them from Class B to Class A Misdemeanors. A Companion bill has been Filed in the House during this Special Session.

Legal Updates

Georgia: The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia has Filed a Federal Lawsuit against Fulton County arguing that the County Violated State Requirements when the County Voted to Move several Polling Places out of predominantly Black Neighborhoods.

Kansas: According to Courthouse News Service, The Kansas Supreme Court’s Disciplinary Office has launched a Probe on Claims of Misconduct by Secretary of State Kris Kobach in Voting Rights Cases.

Mississippi: Special Judge Barry W. Ford has Denied a Motion to Dismiss a Legal Challenge to the May Democratic Mayoral Primary Runoff in Starkville. The Ruling allows the Challenge to Proceed, but according to The Dispatch, a Timetable for Resolution is not clear.

North Carolina: The State Supreme Court announced on Wednesday that it will take up Gov. Roy Cooper’s Lawsuit against the State Legislature over a New Law dictating how County Boards of Elections are Selected. The Decision by the State Supreme Court Bypasses an Intermediate Appeals Court.

Texas: According to Court Filings, Minority Groups have asked the Court to scrap the State’s Voter ID Law and place the State under the Court’s Supervision, Pre-Clearance, for at least a Decade.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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NYC Working Family Party Wants New Candidates

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio should be Denied a Place on the Working Families Party (WFP) Ballot Line in November, according to a Planned Legal Challenge that questions the Party's Process for Selecting Candidates. An Attorney with the Reform Party, Richard Luthmann, said he Plans to File an Objection to the WFP’s Endorsements in Races for Mayor, Public Advocate, and City Comptroller.

The Legal Objection may be Filed as early as this week, Luthmann said. It alleges the WFP Failed to follow State Election Rules in granting a Ballot Line using the so-called Wilson-Pakulas Waiver for Candidates who are not Members of the Party.

In Citywide Races, State Law requires Wilson-Pakulas be Granted by a Majority of Executive Members from the Five County Committees within New York City. In the Races for Mayor, Public Advocate, and Comptroller, the WFP issued Wilson-Pakulas from the State Party’s Executive Board.

Luthmann said he Plans to File the Objection on behalf of Reform Party Member Frank Morano. On Twitter this afternoon, Morano wrote "I'm hearing rumblings that @WorkingFamilies didn't follow election law in issuing their Wilson Pakulas. @BilldeBlasio may get bounced." The Reform Party endorsed former Councilman Sal Albanese for Mayor last month.

Bill Lipton, the State Director for the WFP, said the Party has followed its Long-Standing Procedures. “We properly followed the same process that has long led to great Working Families Party candidates qualifying for the ballot and winning elections citywide," Lipton said in a Statement. "We're confident that will again be the case this year."

A Spokesman for de Blasio's Re-Election Campaign, Dan Levitan, said the Mayor is "proud to be their nominee and we're confident we will appear on their ballot line."

The WFP's State Executive Board also issued Wilson Pakulas in Borough-wide Races, and City Council Races, which will not be affected by this Challenge.

The Reform Party is currently preparing to Defend its own Endorsement Process, though it faces a Different set of Requirements as a New Party that has yet to establish Party Committees in each County.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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House Votes to Skip Environmental Review on Pipeline Permits

House Republican Leaders are rushing through Bills to Expedite Pipeline Construction right before the August Recess.

The House voted 248-179 to hand over the Pipeline Approval Process to an Energy Agency with Zero Environmental Mandate.

If this latest attack passes the Senate, it will result in Kneejerk Approval of Gas Pipelines around the Country, regardless of the Risk they pose to the Environment.

This is just one prong of the Assault on the Environment. Interior Secretary Zinke has issued Preliminary Recommendations to Strip Protections from Bears Ears, and other National Monuments could be next.

To Prevent Trump from Implementing these Recommendations. a Campaign called Our Lands, Our Vote has started to stop Trump’s Attack on our National Treasures.

The Campaign is joining Tribal and other Groups to demand Banks and Companies to Divest from the Dakota Access Pipeline. Trump Greenlit the Pipeline just Three Months ago, and it’s already Leaking Dangerous Pollutants into Tribal Water Supplies, while Banks and Companies that have Invested in the Project Profit off this Environmental Destruction. This Campaign has already convinced several Companies to Withdraw their Funding.

Because Trump’s Budget is Radically Anti-Environment, and he’s already threatened a Government Shutdown to get what he wants. Trump's Budget massively Cuts the EPA, and specifically Targets the Programs that help the most Vulnerable and Marginalized in our Communities.

Because Trump just pulled us Out of the Paris Climate Agreement, more people than ever will feel the Effects of Catastrophic, Global Climate Change, and this move puts more People at Risk. But States and Cities are stepping up with Pledges to continue Acting on Climate.

CLICK HERE for more information about Our Lands, Our Vote Campaign.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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The DREAM Act of 2017

Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) plan on Thursday to introduce a New Version of a Bill granting Legal Status and a Path to Citizenship to Undocumented Immigrants who were brought to the Country as Children.

The Proposal comes as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provides Temporary Relief from Deportation to those Immigrants, who are known as "Dreamers," faces a Legal Challenge from Texas and Nine other States.

The Trump Administration has not said whether it will Defend DACA in Court.

Supporters of the Program are wary of leaving its Defense in the hands of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who consistently took a Hardline stance on Immigration measures in the Senate.

White House Legislative Affairs Director Marc Short said at an off-camera Briefing Wednesday that the Administration is unlikely to Support the new Bill. "The administration has opposed the Dream Act and we are likely to be consistent in that," he said.

President Trump Extended DACA in June, but has vacillated on the issue of Dreamers, the DACA Recipients who received that moniker after the original Dream Act. “It’s a decision that I make and it’s a decision that’s very, very hard to make. I really understand the situation now. I understand the situation very well. What I’d like to do is a comprehensive immigration plan. But our country and political forces are not ready yet,” Trump said last week.

A White House Official speaking on background said Trump "campaigned on enforcement first, and that is where his focus is." The Official added that the White House is "working with Congress on a number of key pieces of legislation, including with [House Judiciary Committee] Chairman [Bob] Goodlatte [R-Va.] on a series of enforcement measures as well as with Sens. [Tom] Cotton [R-Ark.] and [David] Perdue [R-Ga.] on merit-based reforms to the legal immigration system."

The Bipartisan Bill is likely to receive some Support from Democrats and Moderate Republicans pushing to provide a Permanent Legislative solution before any Legal Challenge against DACA takes effect. Many Members on both sides of the Aisle are on Record in Support of making DACA Benefits Permanent, and have supported previous iterations of the Dream Act dating back to 2001.

In their bill, Graham and Durbin, the top Democratic Sponsor of most earlier Versions of the Senate Bill, will Set Guidelines for Qualification, similar to DACA and earlier Dream Act Guidelines.

Under the 2017 Dream Act, Immigrants would qualify for Permanent Residence and a Path to Citizenship:

- If they are longtime Residents who came to the United States as Children.

- Earn a High School Diploma or GED.

- Pursue Higher Education.

- Have Lawful Employment for Three Years or Serve in the Military

- Pass a Background Check and Pay a Fee.

- Show Proficiency in English and U.S. history

- Have not Committed a Felony nor Posed a Threat to the Country.

Earlier Versions of the Bill and the DACA Program had similar Guidelines, but in most cases had Cut-Off Dates for Final Entry, making only Certain Childhood Immigrants Eligible for Benefits.

The Original Dream Act also Established Different Conditions for Childhood Arrivals to gain Temporary Residence or Permanent Residence.

The introduction of this Bill comes as the Attorneys General from 10 States have demanded that the Administration Eliminate DACA and End Protections for nearly 800,000 Young People that have come Forward, Passed Background Checks, and Gained Permission to Live and Work Lawfully in America.

There’s Broad Support for Dreamers: nearly 8-in-10 Registered Voters, including more than 7-in-10 Registered Republicans, believe Dreamers should be Allowed to Remain in the United States Legally.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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