Showing posts with label democracy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label democracy. Show all posts

Sunday, January 9, 2022

FM #691 - January 6 Vigil (on the Town Common) - 01/06/22 (audio)

FM #691 = This is the Franklin Matters radio show, number 691 in the series. 

This session of the radio show shares the audio recording of the Jan 6 VIgil held on Thursday, Jan 6, 2022 on the Franklin Town Common. The vigil was organized by the Committee to Protect Our Democracy (CPOD), a subgroup of the Franklin Democratic Town Committee, as part of remembrances scheduled across the country.  

The master of ceremony Justin Bates introduces all the speakers.

The recording of the vigil runs about 45 minutes.  Audio file ->


The text of the remarks by State Representative Jeff Roy can be found ->

Milford Daily News/Wicked Local coverage of the event can be found ->

Photos of the event can be found in one album ->


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The music for the intro and exit was provided by Michael Clark and the group "East of Shirley". The piece is titled "Ernesto, manana"  c. Michael Clark & Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with their permission.

I hope you enjoy!


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Rep Roy giving his remarks at the January 6 Vigil (on the Town Common)
Rep Roy giving his remarks at the January 6 Vigil (on the Town Common)

Saturday, January 8, 2022

State Representative Jeffrey N. Roy: Remarks at Jan 6 vigil in Franklin

Jeffrey N. Roy (@jeffroy) tweeted on Fri, Jan 07, 2022:
"Remarks at Jan. 6 vigil in Franklin"
Shared from Twitter:

"As Senator Rausch indicated, our day in the Massachusetts Legislature started with finishing the work of the 191st General Court on January 5, 2021.

We passed multiple pieces of legislation on the final day of the session. This work included wide-ranging pieces of legislation, including one early item that was a resolution for Franklin’s Frank Liotta, on the occasion of his 90th birthday. Another piece that passed around 2 AM was a law I had been working on for two years on the prevention of campus sexual violence.

We worked until around 5:00 AM on January 6, and I finally went to bed exhausted to get some sleep."

Continue reading Rep Roy's remarks here ->

Audio of the event will be ready for publication and sharing this weekend. Franklin TV also captured a video recording. When that is ready for airing, I'll share the schedule.

State Representative Jeffrey N. Roy: Remarks at Jan 6 vigil in Franklin
State Representative Jeffrey N. Roy: Remarks at Jan 6 vigil in Franklin

Milford Daily News/Wicked Local Franklin coverage

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Voices of Franklin: Ted McIntyre on the "crisis in the democratic process"

America is trapped in a set of interlocking crises, which the anniversary of the January 6th insurrection puts in high relief. Each crisis by itself could be overwhelming, but it is not hyperbolic to say that the multiple simultaneous emergencies present a generational challenge.

The tests of our time are as big as any faced by America from the Revolution to WWII. Either we rise to the occasion with new ideas or we will sink into a civilizational quagmire. The stakes are indeed that high.

The list of crises is daunting. The Omicron variant will kill thousands this winter if the Delta does not. The new variant is simply the next wave of a preventable disease, exacerbated by the Fox TV-induced delusional behavior of 'anti-vaxxers'. It is fair to say that a segment of the population living in an alternate reality is a crisis all by itself.  

Inequalities in income and opportunity are a crisis, made extravagantly clear by billionaires joy-riding in their space ships while others die from a lack of insulin.  Constitutional rights, long secured by the Supreme Court's dedication to probity, are at risk due to the assertion of extreme legal philosophies. Rising above all this is the threat of climate change, where urgent and transformative action needs to begin now.

One crisis, however, stands out in high profile in the very near term.  This is a crisis in the democratic process. The imminent risk to American democracy demands immediate attention, because its resolution is foundational to addressing all the other crises. The seeds of authoritarianism have been germinating for a long time, but the former guy's big lie--that the election results were not accurate--has been adopted by cynical actors in states across the nation. It is important to note that these cynical actors are almost exclusively conservative members of the GOP. 

Legislatures in red states across the country are actively suppressing the votes of minority communities. We in MA should not feel immune to the impact of these threats to others’ rights in other places. Our votes in Franklin are devalued by voter suppression in Atlanta. Worse, these GOP extremists are changing the very rules under which the elections are certified. (Who knew that was even a thing before 2020?) These process changes mean that no matter what the actual vote count, GOP legislatures can discard the voters’ choice. Such a power in extremists’ hands will come home to roost in the 2024 presidential election, where Q-Anon--style secretaries of state in places like GA, AZ, PA, and MI will be able to ignore actual votes and submit the slate of presidential electors that they prefer. 

There will be no need of an insurrection at the US Capitol in January of 2025, because the coup will happen in state capitols across the nation. The solution to these woes lies with Congress, which can mandate sane election rules for the whole country. Passing such laws with Democratic votes is prevented by the filibuster and the Senate’s timidity in facing the question. The issue should be addressed now, before the new year. This kind of progress can happen only if the filibuster, an old and racist tool designed to prevent progress, is modified.

Protecting our democracy is not partisan issue. Republicans of good will can support voting rights. Citizens of Franklin should demand that Senators Warren and Markey act immediately in ways that reflect the seriousness of the moment. Hardball tactics--for example stripping recalcitrant legislators like Manchin and Sinema of committee assignments, or stalling Senate business until these important issues are considered--may be needed to force the Senate to take action.  

The battle is joined in the US Senate. Time is short. 2022 is too late. Please call or write your senators and urge them to do whatever is needed to save our democracy. 

Ted McIntyre
Franklin resident

You can add your own statement to "Voices of Franklin". 

Voices of Franklin: Ted McIntyre on the "crisis in the democratic process"
Voices of Franklin: Ted McIntyre on the "crisis in the democratic process"

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Jan 6 Vigil at Franklin Town Common Bandstand Among More than 175 Events Across the Country

WHAT: January 6, 2022 marks one year since a faction of elected officials incited armed right-wing militants to attack the U.S. Capitol. One year later, the same faction is working to restrict the freedom to vote, attacking fair voting districts, and quietly preparing future attempts to sabotage free and fair elections. 

On Thursday, January 6, 2022, Americans across race, place, party, and background are holding candlelight vigils to say: In America, the voters decide the outcome of elections. To prevent this kind of attack from happening again, advocates are demanding that elected leaders pass urgent legislation including the Freedom to Vote Act, the Protecting Our Democracy Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and DC Statehood. 

This event in Franklin is one of more than 175 events that will take place across the country, including at the U.S. Capitol. 

WHO: The Committee to Protect Our Democracy

WHERE: Franklin Town Common Bandstand

WHEN: 5:00 -6:00 PM

VISUALS: Speakers include Representative Jeffrey Roy, State Senator Becca Rausch and a member of Congressman Jake Auchincloss’ staff with a message from the congressman

Vigil at Franklin Town Common Bandstand Among More than 175 Events Across the Country
Vigil at Franklin Town Common Bandstand Among More than 175 Events Across the Country 

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Boston Globe: America is ‘closer to civil war than any of us would like to believe,’ CIA adviser says

"One of the world’s leading experts on political violence and terrorism is sounding the alarm on the state of democracy in America, warning that the country is increasingly on the path to being caught up in the throes of a second civil war.

Barbara F. Walter, a political science professor at the University of California at San Diego, has served on an advisory panel run by the Central Intelligence Agency for the past several years that aims to predict where in the world a “civil war, political violence, and instability is likely to break out,” she said in an interview with CNN on Sunday, where she discussed her new book out January, “How Civil Wars Start and How to Stop Them.”

But Walter, who has been studying civil wars and conflicts in places like Northern Ireland, Ethiopia, and Syria for the last three decades, applied international research and the metrics used to evaluate democracies in other countries to America. What she found was that the nation is “closer to civil war than any of us would like to believe,” according to a passage from the book published by the Washington Post.

“No one wants to believe that their beloved democracy is in decline, or headed toward war,” she writes in the excerpt. “If you were an analyst in a foreign country looking at events in America — the same way you’d look at events in Ukraine or the Ivory Coast or Venezuela — you would go down a checklist, assessing each of the conditions that make civil war likely. And what you would find is that the United States, a democracy founded more than two centuries ago, has entered very dangerous territory.”

Listen to Town Administrator Jamie Hellen and I riff on the need for civil discourse in our Winter Solstice episode of "Talk Franklin"

Talk Franklin - the Winter Solstice episode - 12/21/21 (audio)
Talk Franklin - the Winter Solstice episode - 12/21/21 (audio)

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Misinformation and democracy: How can we find truth in the age of misinformation?

"The past several years have seen a massive, sometimes malicious, assault on our sense of shared reality. The combination of social media and conspiracy theories has increased the reach and velocity of destructive lies. As a result, both the physical and political health of our country have been placed at risk.

On public health, the dissemination of misinformation about COVID-19 and the safety of vaccines has been responsible for thousands of avoidable deaths. Public benefit from the miraculous development of vaccines was partially squandered. Some politicians even echoed fraudulent information for political benefit – riding a wave of falsehoods with casualties when it crashes to the shore.

On America’s civic health, the tribalization of information is a serious threat to democracy. Many Americans live in ideological bubbles where their main sources of information gain profit by feeding fear and anger. In some cases, it has encouraged the self-radicalization that led to the Jan. 6 insurrection and other violence. "
Continue reading the article online

The research report that drove the article can be found here ->

hidden common ground
hidden common ground

Sunday, September 12, 2021

George W. Bush: “It is our continuing duty to confront them” (video)

"Few Americans expected wisdom from former president George W. Bush on the 20th anniversary of 9/11. Even fewer expected wisdom on the current state of our politics. That is nevertheless what we got from his remarks in Shanksville, Pa., today.

In perhaps the most important words spoken in his political career, Bush in his remarks at the crash site of United Airlines Flight 93 drew a straight line between the 9/11 terrorists and the 1/6 terrorists. “We have seen growing evidence that the dangers to our country can come not only across borders but from violence that gathers within,” he said. “There is little cultural overlap between violent extremists abroad and violent extremists at home. But in their disdain for pluralism, in their disregard for human life, in their determination to defile national symbols, they are children of the same foul spirit." He added, "It is our continuing duty to confront them.” Bush’s words were an indictment not only of the violent MAGA insurrectionists but also, implicitly, of his party that coddles them and the leader whom the 1/6 terrorists wanted to install by force."
Continue reading the article online. (Subscription maybe required) 

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Still time to pull papers, obtain signatures, and run for Town of Franklin elected positions

Friendly reminder - Election Timeline

  • September 10 by 5:00 PM – Last day to obtain Nomination papers
  • September 14 by 5:00 PM – Signed Nomination papers must be submitted to Board of Registrars for certification
  • September 30 by 5:00 PM- Last day to withdraw your candidacy
  • October 13 – Last day to register to vote.  Office hours will be extended to 8:00 PM or register online at
  • Please visit our website or call the Town Clerks Office at 508-520-4900 for a complete list of available positions.

Who is running so far? Check out the listing of potential candidates posted by the Town Clerk as of 8/16/21

Still time to pull papers, obtain signatures, and run for Town of Franklin elected positions
Still time to pull papers, obtain signatures, and run for Town of Franklin elected positions

Monday, August 16, 2021

Voices of Franklin: Ted McIntyre also on "For The People Act"

The former guy lost the 2020 election. Sadly, his absurd lies about his loss have spawned an attack on voting rights across the country that threatens the integrity of our democracy. No matter what your personal political beliefs are, we citizens must act now to preserve the American experiment.

Trump is a diminished figure. Nevertheless, his multiple, fantastical lies about the election have been used to justify grotesque voter suppression bills in many state legislatures.  These bills do not address 'policy' questions or make good faith efforts to ensure election integrity. They are blatant attempts to intimidate the kind of voter Republicans don't like. For example, in Georgia and Florida, it is now illegal to give food or drink to people forced to stand in hours-long lines waiting to vote.  (This begs the question: Why are people forced to stand in line for hours?)

We are moving to "Jim Crow, Esq." in the sophistication and reach of these efforts. The intent is clear--make it harder for those who may oppose GOP policies to cast a ballot. They are intended to guaranty the dominance of a single political party in the currently red states, and weaken other voices in the rest of the country. But  this is not 'just' an issue for certain minorities. These laws will impact everyone in the country, and everyone should be alarmed.

The effects of these proposed new laws are far reaching. If these voter suppression bills had been in place in November of 2020, the GOP would have manipulated the results and the now former guy would still be president. If the new batch of bills is left unchallenged now, the integrity of the 2022 and 2024 elections will be compromised. Remember, the Members of Congress elected in 2022 will vote to certify the winner of the 2024 Presidential election. Based on the performance of the GOP in (not) certifying the 2020 election on the day of the Insurrection on January 6, 2021, we can expect a coup-like power play in 2024.

The good news is that a path back to sanity exists. The US House has passed a bill called the "For The People Act."  It set a nationwide floor for voting rights, and would reverse most of the egregious voter suppression bills in consideration in state legislatures. The bill is now before the Senate, but the filibuster rule is being used to prevent passage.

The filibuster rule was adopted early in our history and infrequently used-except to block civil rights legislation. It is anti-democratic, with a small "d."  The filibuster requires a supermajority of 60 votes in order to pass legislation. Unfortunately, in recent years it has been weaponized by the GOP to block all action in the Senate. The important word is 'rule.' The Senate sets its own rules of procedure and can change them. The filibuster is a self-imposed rule. It is not in the Constitution. The Senate can simply vote to change that rule and allow a vote on the For The People Act.

Time is of the essence. If the bill does not pass this summer, there will not be enough time to implement its protective measures before the 2022 election. What can be done to get the For the People Act through the Senate? There are many ways to help, but the simplest is to call your US Senator. Here in Massachusetts, both Senators Warren and Markey are outspoken in support of the bill.  They need to know that you support passing the bill and that you encourage them to do whatever it takes to get it passed. It is easy to reach the Senators. A brief phone call to 202-224-3121 will suffice. Simply leave a message saying "My name is ___ and I live in Franklin. Please do everything you can to abolish the filibuster and pass the For the People Act.  I think Joe Biden should speak forcefully. The Senate should cancel its August recess.  The Senate must pass these bills."

Time is short. The action is easy. Your democracy is at stake. Please act.

Ted McIntyre Ph.D.
Franklin MA 

Voices of Franklin: Ted McIntyre on "For The People Act"
Voices of Franklin: Ted McIntyre also on "For The People Act"

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Voices of Franklin: Ted McIntyre on "For The People Act"

The Insurrection of January 6th was an attempted coup, a brazen assault intended to interrupt the functioning of the American democracy. But the coup attempt did not end on January 6th. In fact it is ongoing. The GOP is even now laying the legal foundation for a second coup attempt, this one conducted under a pretense of respectability.
Voter suppression laws are being passed in states across the country. Those laws not only selectively suppress voting by people the GOP dislikes, but they also provide means to reject the result of an election in favor of one the GOP legislatures like better. For example, the state of Georgia is attempting to take responsibility for the certification of election results in Fulton County, which includes Atlanta's largely black population.
If these state level  laws are not preempted by Federal legislation, the GOP will have two different paths for a new coup attempt, this time under the cover of law. The first path is through the impeachment of Joe Biden. If the GOP retakes the House and Senate in 2022, they could elect Donald Trump Speaker of the House. While according to tradition, the Speaker is always a Member of Congress, the Constitution does not forbid Trump's selection. Given the cult like devotion already accorded the former guy, it is not implausible to think the GOP would make this choice. Once Trump is Speaker, he is third in line to the Presidency. The House could impeach both Biden and Harris- truth and evidence be damned- and make Trump President.
The second pathway for the GOP's 'legal' coup is through the Electoral College. The Supreme Court, in the infamous 'Bush v Gore' decision of 2000, said that- unless there is a Federal law preventing it- the state legislatures hold the power to determine the Electoral College members. This is a nightmare scenario, since legislators are right now giving themselves the authority to challenge election results on flimsy grounds and then override the voter’s choice by installing electors they prefer. Does anyone think, if given the opportunity in 2020, that the legislatures of GA, PA, WI and AZ would not have chosen Trump electors for  the Electoral College? In 2024, those state legislatures will have granted themselves that opportunity.
We should not think that the GOP is too high minded or patriotic to do these things. Five years ago, who would have thought that Trump's  contempt of norms  and open corruption would be accepted? The recent testimony of Trump’s complicit DOJ employees is chilling. Who would have thought the GOP could install a Supreme Court Justice just before an election? Who would have thought Members of Congress would support a violent assault on the Capitol? The scenarios outlined above are shocking and nearly unthinkable. But the time had come to think about the unthinkable. The GOP has forfeited its status as a legitimate participant in a democratic process, and now represents an authoritarian power grab threatening our very democracy. There is no bottom, no ‘bridge too far’ for them in pursuit of power.
It is essential that the Senate, now under Democratic control, passes the For The People Act to protect the election process from the GOP plans. Time is of the essence. If the bill does not pass this summer, there will not be enough time to implement its protective measures before the 2022 election. What can be done to get the For the People Act through the Senate? There are many ways to help, but the simplest is to call your US Senator. Here in Massachusetts, both Senators Warren and Markey are outspoken in support of the bill.  They need to know that you support passing the bill and that you encourage them to do whatever it takes to get it passed. It is easy to reach the Senators. A brief phone call to 202-224-3121 will suffice. Simply leave a message saying "My name is ___ and I live in Franklin. Please do everything you can to abolish the filibuster and pass the For the People Act.  I think Joe Biden should speak forcefully. The Senate should cancel its August recess.  The Senate must pass these bills.”

The time to act is now.

Ted McIntyre
Franklin resident

Voices of Franklin: Ted McIntyre on "For The People Act"
Voices of Franklin: Ted McIntyre on "For The People Act"

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Drawing Democracy provides an answer to the question: "How can I get involved in redistricting?"

Drawing Democracy (@DrawingDemMA) tweeted on Wed, Jul 21, 2021:
In order to ensure a fair and transparent redistricting process, we need community members to get involved – and there are SO many opportunities to do so! Learn more below. #Redistricting101 #FairMapsMA


Drawing Democracy provides answers to the question: "How can I get involved in redistricting?"
Drawing Democracy provides an answer to the question: "How can I get involved in redistricting?"

Thursday, January 28, 2021

A message from the Diversity Awareness Club ...

January 26, 2021

To the Franklin Community:

Three weeks ago, an act of domestic terrorism shocked and saddened the American people and left many shaken by the explicit displays of racial, ethnic, and religious hatred. In the days following this attack, members of the Diversity Awareness Club at Franklin High School met to discuss their feelings and to unite in one voice against the dangers posed by white nationalist groups and their enablers. This letter represents that united voice.

It is impossible to entirely separate this event from current political divisions; however, the Diversity Awareness Club believes that a stand against hatred is fundamental and not political - it is American and not Republican or Democratic. We are convinced that the majority of Donald J. Trump’s political supporters reject these acts as well. Nonetheless, we believe it is important for all Americans to reflect deeply on the unique pain experienced by people of diverse racial and religious backgrounds. More than just an attack on democracy, this insurrection made plain the ongoing threat that extremist groups pose to racial and religious equality in the United States.

Below are the unedited voices of the Diversity Awareness Club members. We ask that you take the time to consider their perspectives. They are your classmates, your students, your neighbors, and your fellow Americans.

…”The terrorisms shown at the Capitol resurfaced many of the feelings I’d know when I was younger. The same fear, disgust, and sadness for our country was back. Not only had people committed acts of hate, but they had gotten away with it in a way that people of color wouldn’t have been able too.”- Mia Story

...“In school we barely learn about the history of slavery and the roots of racism. This affects our everyday lives because if we were educated on topics like this, then it would make people more comfortable using their voice, instead of just agreeing with whatever Trump has to say. This man is abusing his power and getting all his followers to do what he says. He encouraged what happened at Capitol Hill and people still think this is okay. This was an act of terrorism, this was not a protest. But when people do peaceful protests to try and save lives they get shot with rubber bullets and burned with tear gas. It is a pure image of racism in America.” - Shay Kilroy

... “The riot at the Capitol should not come as a surprise to anyone. Trump has been abusing his power for 4 years, encouraging hateful extremist groups to behave with malice and violence. Trump told the groups that stormed the Capitol that he loved them. That’s messed up.” - Ji-Yann Chin

... “The people who stormed the Capitol are filled with hate, and it should not be tolerated. I am scared for what could happen in the future; I should be able to do my schoolwork instead of having to be worried about myself, or someone I love getting hate crimed, but sadly this is what it is like being a teenager in America.” -Darby Nicholson

... “One of the most appalling things seen at the capitol in my opinion was that a confederate flag entered that building. This is the first time since the civil war that a confederate flag has ever got into that building. People fought and died so that flag would never be on Capitol Hill, now not even a week goes by in 2021 and that hateful flag entered the building.”- Julia Atwood

... “Allowing such aggressive, unnecessary “protest” with not nearly as much resistance from law enforcement as Black Lives Matter was met with made me angry, and upset, and many other overwhelming emotions that I did not know what to do with.”- Sofia Chouinard

... “Although one of my teachers did bring it up and we did discuss a bit about how insane and stupid the riot was, all the other teachers stayed quiet. I feel that more teachers should have brought it up because of the amount of pain it caused to others. The racism, anti-semitism, these are real problems and not talking about them will not just make them magically disappear.”

... While there is so much wrong with the riots, and so much to say about them, the anti-semitism is what affects me most personally. Knowing that so many people across the country believe in and act violently on the behalf of anti-semitic rhetoric has always been upsetting and scary. But actually seeing people storm our nation's Capitol building and outwardly expressing that they want me, my family, and people of my ethnicity dead, was literally horrifying. And seeing the sitting president condone those actions was even scarier.

“The riot that took place in the Capitol was a disgrace to the democracy that America stands for. The Pro-Trump rioters believe in making America great again, supposedly support the blue lives matter movement but their actions clearly proved that they are not capable of following the laws which go against the American constitution and they also harmed many capitol police officers”.  -Amulya Chirravuri

“So the most important thing we have to do now is face these problems. We have to fight for the liberty and equality that our country is supposed to stand for. We have to choose to move forward, as a town, as a state, and as a country. The riots last Wednesday only showed a small portion of what is to come, and the potential dangers it can provide to our country if untouched. We must do better.”


The Diversity Awareness Club remains committed to working with the superintendent and members of the school administration in order to help stop the spread of racism and discrimination and to create a safer environment for minorities entering Franklin Public Schools.

Parents, teachers, and students, we ask for your support in making this community a better and safer environment for all students and families.

Thank you,

Diversity Awareness Club Members of Franklin High School

Shared from Twitter:

PDF version of the text:

Sunday, December 13, 2020

‘An Indelible Stain’ and "Republicans faced a simple choice: For or against democracy"

From the New York Times, an article of national interest for Franklin:
"The Supreme Court repudiation of President Trump’s desperate bid for a second term not only shredded his effort to overturn the will of voters: It also was a blunt rebuke to Republican leaders in Congress and the states who were willing to damage American democracy by embracing a partisan power grab over a free and fair election.

The court’s decision on Friday night, an inflection point after weeks of legal flailing by Mr. Trump and ahead of the Electoral College vote for President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Monday, leaves the president’s party in an extraordinary position. Through their explicit endorsements or complicity of silence, much of the G.O.P. leadership now shares responsibility for the quixotic attempt to ignore the nation’s founding principles and engineer a different verdict from the one voters cast in November."
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

From the Washington Post, an article of national interest to Franklin:

"HOUSE REPUBLICANS have faced what amounts to a choice between standing for or against democracy: whether to sign on to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s delusional lawsuit to overturn the presidential election. A large majority of them failed the test. More House Republicans, including Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), on Friday signed an amicus brief supporting Mr. Paxton, just hours before the Supreme Court unceremoniously rejected the suit. This is a disheartening signal about what these members of Congress might do on Jan. 6, when at least some Republicans probably will object to the counting of President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral votes.

Mr. McCarthy and the other extremists and toadies who have signed their names to President Trump’s antidemocratic plot may think their complicity is costless, because the Supreme Court was bound to reject the Paxton lawsuit, as it did on Friday, and there are enough Democrats on Capitol Hill to foil any GOP mischief during the electoral vote counting. They are wrong. Their recklessness raises the once-unthinkable possibility that a Congress controlled by one party might one day flip a presidential election to its candidate in defiance of the voters’ will, citing claims of mass fraud just as bogus as the ones Republicans have hyped up this year."
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Friday, November 27, 2020

A Most Worthy Read: "We walked up to the edge — and did not jump"

Via Mark Hertling (@MarkHertling) :
"This wondrous piece by my friend ⁦@MollyMcKew⁩ is simply the best description of where we've been, and where we must now go. Poetry, prose and truth.  Read this and be thankful we've stepped back from the edge."  
We walked up to the edge — and did not jump
A Thanksgiving message, part 1 = by Molly McKew

"I’ve spent these past weeks with breath held, fingers crossed, afraid to look away, but also afraid not to. To just put all this down for a minute, and take a breath, and look up, out, see again the horizon and the sense of movement toward it that has always defined the expansive land and spirit of America. 

America is a constantly morphing and adaptive idea. But fundamentally we are still, as we have always been, a nation of madness. Mostly good madness — but madness still. 

The people who would build this nation must have been mad to seek where there be dragons — to cross storm-riven seas, arrive on the shores of this wild and magical land, and embrace the idea of living in the haunted wilderness to have the chance — just a chance — of shaping something new. Something removed from the mental and physical confinements of history. 

In that time of wilderness, each one of us here was a zealot of some cause — a zealot of gods, commerce, ideas, quests, adventures. We came here running from things, or toward others. And this strange amalgamated zealotry was somehow integral to our survival, the good and bad forces that shaped us in their conflict. A core belief that old rules didn’t apply. That the frontier could be pushed ever outward. That we could survive against the odds. And that always, always, the sins of the past could be overcome by achieving a righteous future."

Continue reading the article online =

Friday, September 25, 2020

In the news: Gov Baker "balks" or"rebukes" President Trump

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:  "Baker balks at Trump comments on power transfer"

"Gov. Charlie Baker said Thursday that he and other public officials “will do everything we can to make sure that the people’s will is followed through” after this fall’s election.

“A huge part of this nation’s glory, to the extent it exists as a beacon to others, is the peaceful transfer of power based on the vote of the people of this country,” Baker said. “Mail-in balloting has been with us forever, and that peaceful transfer of power is what the people of this country rely on when they go to vote. It is appalling and outrageous that anyone would suggest, even for a minute, that if they lose an election, they’re not going to leave. Period.”

The governor’s impassioned comments came in response to a question about President Donald Trump’s refusal on Wednesday to commit to a peaceful transition of power if he loses the Nov. 3 election."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required) 

From CommonWealth Magazine we share an article of interest for Franklin: "Baker rebukes Trump power transfer remarks"

GOV. CHARLIE BAKER rebuked President Trump on Thursday for refusing to say whether he would commit to a peaceful transfer of power in the wake of the November 3 election.

In response to a question at a State House press conference, Baker criticized Trump without ever mentioning his name. The Republican governor said the peaceful transfer of power is what Americans rely on when they vote. “It is appalling and outrageous that anyone would suggest for a minute that if they lose an election they’re not gonna’ leave,” he said.

Continue reading the article online

Gov Baker press conference on Thursday, Sep 24: 
The last question Gov Baker gets is where he makes his remarks to "rebuff" or "rebuke" President Trump. You can listen and make your choice. Much of the conference covers the return to school re-opening process where Gov Baker and DESE's Riley are accused of pressuring districts to return in person.

Friday, June 28, 2019

In the News: Demonstration returns Saturday; Supreme Court rules on Census question

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:

"As campaign activity ahead of the 2020 presidential election begins to build, the Franklin Democratic Town Committee is ramping up efforts to express dissatisfaction with the current administration and to make a plea for change.

The committee is mounting a demonstration on Saturday “against the behavior of the Trump administration” from 10 a.m. to noon in downtown Franklin on the sidewalk in front of the Rome Restaurant, 4 East Central St.

It will be the group’s second protest held this month. The first was held June 15 and drew participants from Franklin and many neighboring towns, organizers said.

“We are part of a great effort across the country with several activist organizations, including and,” said Sue Cass, a member of the Democratic Town Committee."

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demonstration on Saturday, June 15 (courtesy photo)
demonstration on Saturday, June 15 (courtesy photo)

"The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling halting the inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 Census was cheered Thursday by state officials and advocates who said such a question could jeopardize an accurate count in Massachusetts.

In a 5-4 opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts, the court temporarily blocked the U.S. Department of Commerce from asking Census respondents about their citizenship status, finding “a significant mismatch between” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’ decision to add the question “and the rationale he provided.”

The court sent the matter back to the Commerce Department, seeking a new explanation.

Secretary of State William Galvin, who oversees the Census count in Massachusetts, and Attorney General Maura Healey, one of 18 attorneys general who sued the Commerce Department over the question, both urged the department to accept the court’s decision and prepare for a Census that does not ask about citizenship status."
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Learn more about the 2020 Census

learn more about the 2020 Census
learn more about the 2020 Census

Sunday, February 18, 2018

How (and why) Russia Hacked the US Election (Video)

"Hacking, fake news, information bubbles ... all these and more have become part of the vernacular in recent years. But as cyberspace analyst Laura Galante describes in this alarming talk, the real target of anyone looking to influence geopolitics is dastardly simple: it's you."

This was recorded in April 2017 at TED2017. And yes, this helps to understand the indictments handed down to the 13 Russian nationals on Friday.

In case you missed it, the NY Times link is here

You can also find this talk on the TED.COM site

Monday, October 13, 2014

"What is democracy for the Internet era?" (video)

Pia Mancini gave a TED Talk recently on "How to upgrade democracy for the Internet era." During her talk she says:
"it seems like the 18th-century slogan that was the basis for the formation of our modern democracies, "No taxation without representation," can now be updated to "No representation without a conversation." We want our seat at the table."

To extend her idea to an app some Franklin folks are already using, we could incorporate the feedback and conversation into the app that we used to report potholes or broken street lights. Imagine having such a poll and conversation with a tool in most folks hands. Yes, it is not in everyones' hand but access is available on desktop and laptop computers.

Franklin Smart Phone app
Franklin Smart Phone app

For more about the Commonwealth Connections app visit here

For more about Pia and her efforts to update democracy in Argentina follow this link

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Young Democrats of FHS [feedly]

With the Massachusetts' state election approaching in November it is good to see some engagement among the high school youth as they prepare to turn 18 and register to vote. While sports and the performing arts also offer good after school programs, the Young Democrats of FHS is a great opportunity for the students to become aware of their civic responsibilities.

Now more than ever, young Americans are not politically engaged. According to a poll by the Harvard University Institute of Politics, fewer than 1 in 4 millennials under 30 “definitely” plan to vote in this year’s midterm elections in November. This same poll also found that more people between 18-29 years old identify as Democrats than Republicans. This means that election results do not match the political makeup of our country, so our representatives in Congress do not truly representative us. 
So, why should you care? As high school students, we are on the brink of turning 18, the time when we can have a voice in the country’s political system. Voting is more than filling in some circles on a ballot in the gym at FHS. It is utilizing your power to make change. 
Young people have most likely lost their desire to vote out of cynicism. We see and hear about what Congress is doing – or, not doing – every day. We have lost hope for the future, picturing a life riddled with college debt and a lack of jobs. We are not wrong for having these feelings, because our elected representatives do not reflect the young people’s interests. If you do not vote, you will not see change be made.

Continue reading the article at Pantherbook:

pantherbook article screenshot
pantherbook article screenshot

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