Thursday, February 21, 2019

Elizabeth Warren Is Not Afraid of Democrats

The 2020 presidential candidate has a long track record of opposing lobbyists, billionaires, the Republicans—and her own party’s centrists. When Senator Elizabeth Warren declared that she was running for president in February, she described Donald Trump’s administration as “the most corrupt in living memory.” But she didn’t stop there: “Even after Trump is gone, it won’t be enough to do a better job of running a broken system,” she said. Warren’s speech was centered around the notion that political corruption is not a uniquely Republican problem. “To protect their economic advantages, the rich and powerful have rigged our political system as well,” she continued. “They’ve bought off or bullied politicians in both parties to make sure Washington is always on their side.”

Anyone who’s followed Warren’s career knows she’s been making statements like this for years. These are all implicit criticisms of the Democratic Party’s centrist policies charted by President Bill Clinton and adopted as party orthadoxy over the last quarter century. But her position is suddenly mainstream.

Read the rest of the story at: The Nation: Elizabeth Warren Is Not Afraid of the Democrats

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Green New Deal

In very broad strokes, the Green New Deal resolution offered by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass. asks members of Congress to recognize the duty of the Federal Government to set goals to slow and stop global warming. In that vein, the resolution stresses that it aims to meet its ambitious goals while paying special attention to groups like the poor, disabled and minority communities that might be disproportionately affected by massive economic transitions like those the Green New Deal calls for.

Importantly, the resolution is nonbinding, meaning that even if it were to pass, it wouldn't itself create any new programs. Instead, it would affirm the sense of Congress that carbon output should be cut in the coming years to slow global warming and the ravages of climate change.

The resolution is simply a statement of intent, explaining the justification and goals of an infrastructure program to transition to a sustainable low carbon output future. This is at once incredibly ambitious and politically practical, in that resolution co-authors seem to have in their minds a long-term plan to get it accomplished.

(Lawmakers pass nonbinding resolutions for things as simple as congratulating Super Bowl winners, as well as to send political messages — for example, telling the president they disapprove of his trade policies, as the Senate did in summer 2018.)

The Green New Deal resolution outlines a framework of big climate-change-related ideas combined with a list of progressive public policy proposals that, taken together, would touch nearly every American and overhaul the economy.

While the Green New Deal has in the last year or so grown central to progressive Democrats' policy conversations, the idea of a Green New Deal itself is well over a decade old. Environmentalists were talking about it as far back as 2003, when the term popped up in a San Francisco Chronicle article about an environmentalist conference.

It gained traction with a 2007 New York Times column from Thomas Friedman, where he used the phrase to describe the scope of energy investments he thought would be necessary to slow climate change on a large scale.

The phrase was also used around President Barack Obama's 2009 stimulus, which had around $90 billion worth of environmental initiatives.

This latest iteration is different both in the political energy that it has amassed and the grand scope it is taking. While it was a product of the progressive activist community, Ocasio-Cortez has been perhaps the most visible proponent of the plan and has helped it gain nationwide attention.

The Green New Deal proposes a 1940’s World War II or “1960s going to the moon in a decade” scale mobilization that focuses the robust and creative economic engine of the United States on reversing climate change by fully rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, restoring our natural ecosystems, dramatically expanding renewable power generation, overhauling our entire transportation system, upgrading all our buildings, jumpstarting US clean manufacturing, transforming US agriculture, and putting our nation’s people to work doing what they do best: making the impossible possible.

The Earth is facing a climate change deadline , with a looming tipping point into a dramatically changed, less hospitable planet – and Democratic lawmakers are beginning what's likely to be a long discussion over how best to deal with it.
The resolution is intentionally short on details but long on vision for a cleaner environment that caps global warming while promoting jobs, higher education and social justice for all U.S. citizens. What’s crazy about that?
RESOLUTION

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

State Driver’s License Becomes National Real I.D. Card


Texas residents are receiving letters from the department of public safety warning that their driver’s licenses are about to expire, even though their licenses are still valid for more than a year or two. But, there is an explanation.

Texas DPS is in the process of implementing the Federal REAL ID ACT, which will require many Texas to get an updated driver’s license or ID card to board air planes for domestic travel, and go into federal buildings to ask in person for help at their local Social Security office, or any other federal services office.  While the REAL ID Act deadline is October 2020, Texas DPS officials do not want Texans to wait until the last minute to be in compliance with the federal law.

Driver’s licenses issued by states not compliant with Real ID, which do not have a white star in a gold circle on the upper right corner of the card, will soon not be accepted for people boarding domestic commercial flights, or to get past the front door of  any federal facility.

Note that you MUST renew in person if:
On May 11, 2005, President Bush signed into law the Emergency Supplemental Appropriation for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief, 2005 (H.R. 1268, P.L. 109-13), which included the “Real ID Act of 2005.” The original Real ID Act was attached by the House Republican leadership as a rider to HR 1268, a 2005 bill dealing with emergency appropriations for the Iraq War and with the tsunami relief funding.
The Real ID Act rider was attached to the main bill without debate by any committee or on the House floor. The Senate also did not specifically discussed or vote on the Real ID Act. No Senate committee hearings were conducted on the Real ID Act prior to its passage. Critics charged this procedure was undemocratic and that the bill's proponents avoided a substantive debate on a far-reaching piece of legislation by attaching it to a "must-pass" war funding bill.
The Real ID Act of 2005 mandates that all fifty states must follow specific security, authentication, and issuance regulations, administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in issuing driver's license and personal identification cards. Title II of the Real ID Act provides that state-issued driver's licenses and identity documents will not be accepted by the federal government for "official purposes" unless they meet certain conditions, including:
  1. Connectivity to a 50-state, interlinked database making driver's personal information available to the federal government, U.S. territories and every DMV office in the country.
  2. Standardized data elements and security features on driver's licenses. At a minimum, all licenses would contain the carrier's full legal name, birth date, gender, driver's license number, photograph, principle address and signature.
  3. Presence of a "machine-readable zone" on the license to allow for the easy capture of information contained on a license.
  4. Proof of a driver license applicant's full legal name, date of birth, Social Security Number, principal address and lawful status in the United States.
  5. State verification of every document presented at motor vehicles agencies as part of an application for a Real ID card.
To be compliant with the Real ID federal law, a state must require applicants for first time driver's license or ID card issuance, and renewal of driver's license and ID issuance for those issued before the state implemented Real ID procedures, to prove five items of fact (full legal name, birth date, citizenship or immigration status, social security number, and proof of permanent residence address of at least 30 days) in person at their state driver's license office. Title II of the Real ID law lists these documents as satisfying the items of fact requirements:
  • State certified original or copy of a birth certificate (not just a hospital issued birth record), or
  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or
  • Certificate of Naturalization issued by DHS, or
  • Certificate of Citizenship, or
  • US Passport
and
  • Social Security Card or other proof of social security number and
  • Two documents that show a principal residence address, such as a bank statement and a utility bill.
For cases where person's current name and the name on the primary identity document(s) are different, first time and renewing applicants must also present:
  • Court ordered name change document, and/or
  • Certified original or copy of all marriage certificates, issued by the courts, and/or
  • Certified original or copy of all divorce decrees, issued by the courts.
In all cases, ID applicants must show a clear trail of name changes originating with the birth name to the current name. This requirement places a disproportionate burden on women who commonly take the last name of their husbands at the time of their marriage, and therefore must show their certified marriage certificate along with the other required ID. Women who have been married more than once must produce all marriage certificates and all divorce decrees.

To obtain a state certified copy of a birth certificate most state vital records departments require the person requesting their birth certificate to show identification like a driver's license or personal ID card. The catch-22 of this is that people who do not hold a driver's license or personal ID card can't obtain a copy of their state certified birth certificate -- so they can't obtain a driver's license, personal ID card or election identification certificate.
Under the Real ID Act personal information on Americans, including digital copies of their Social Security cards, birth certificates, bank statements and other personal documents, is amassed into a single national database network. The information stored in the database network is only as secure as the State DMV office with the weakest security or least trustworthy staff in the nation. A single breach in the system could compromise the personal information and documents of 250 million Americans. Armed with this national information identity thieves or a foreign government could wreak havoc on 250 million Americans.

Thirty-seven states, plus the District of Columbia, are in compliance, according to the Department of Homeland Security. As of October 10, 2018, 37 states, territories, and the District of Columbia have been determined by DHS as compliant with all REAL ID requirements. The other 19 jurisdictions are noncompliant, but have been granted a temporary extension from enforcement. Extensions are granted at the discretion of Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen who is committed to enforcing the REAL ID law and regulation according to the planned enforcement schedule. For this extension cycle, DHS has issued limited compliance extensions for only the amount of time that states or territories need to both begin issuing REAL IDs and to complete the DHS compliance review.

All 245 million driver's license and identification card holders in the U.S. will be required to make an in-person visit to their state driver's license office in order to obtain a Real-ID compliant license by October 1, 2020. On December 29, 2014 DHS announced that residents who currently use a non-compliant license or identification card issued from a state who is now in compliance with REAL ID requirements will have until October 1, 2020 before they must present their five items of identity fact at their state driver's license office. The previous deadline was December 1, 2014 for those born after 1964 and December 1, 2017 for those born before.

Homeless veterans, battered women seeking safety, people thrown out of their homes by bank foreclosure, and others who have unexpectedly fallen on hard times and are temporarily living with relatives or in shelters or out of the trunk of their car (if they are lucky enough to still have a car) will have difficulty obtaining and renewing a Real ID driver's license because of that law's "documented proof of permanent residency" requirement.


You'll find links to several helpful websites explaining the REAL ID Act the following Related Links: