With the merger of our two organizations, we’ve changed the format of our newsletter. We hope you find it easier to read and to find the stories and resources that interest you most. Please be patient while we merge our mailing lists, we apologize if you are getting two copies of this newsletter because you are on both lists.
Stay loud and strong,
Executive Director, BORDC/DDF
To get involved in any of these campaigns, please email BORDC/DDF’s Organizing Team. We are eager to hear from you and to help support your activism.
California Organizes, Educates, to End Solitary Confinement
Solitary confinement is a form of torture. That’s the message behind the movement to end solitary confinement of prisoners in the United States. Actions take place on the 23rd of every month—representing the 23 hours per day that many prisoners stay locked behind bars. Over the past two years what began as a statewide grassroots movement to end solitary confinement of prisoners in California merged with prisoner support groups nationwide in spreading the word and staging public actions in numerous states.
Cleveland 8 Reject Tamir Rice Grand Jury as a Secret Trial
A group of activists and clergy condemn the prosecutor’s office for ignoring the judge’s finding of probable cause for arrest, deciding to rely on a grand jury process instead. “It is not the grand jury’s role to file the initial charges,” the letter points out. “For the vast majority of people, charges have already been filed against them prior to a prosecutor seeking an indictment before the grand jury”.
Bay Area Organizes Against Urban Shield
Last year, activists made sure the heavily militarized police and rescue event would not return to Oakland. Instead, it will be held in nearby Pleasanton.
Get Ready for Constitution Day: September 17
Each educational institution that receives Federal funds is required to hold an educational program about the U.S. Constitution for its students on Constitution Day, September 17. BORDC/DDF has lesson plans and other resources to help you help teachers talk about the Constitution.
Can We Fax This Zombie Bill to Death?
For five years, privacy and internet freedom advocates have successfully fended off cyber “security” bills that focus on data sharing and surveillance rather than sensible security measures. Will grassroots faxtivism finally drive a stake through its heart?
To Be a Domestic Terrorist, Hug an Animal
Was the shooter at the Louisiana movie theatre a domestic terrorist? What about the man who killed four marines and a sailor in Chattanooga, Tennessee? While the debate about the motives of the people responsible for these heinous acts continue, there’s no ambiguity about who the FBI and DOJ consider domestic terrorists: animal activists.
The Office of Propaganda and Censorship
A new bill would create a Countering Violent Extremism Office in the Department of Homeland Security. That’s not a great idea… These are the folks that brought us Terror Assessment reports that warn of girl scouts conducting voter registration drives.
What is Investor-State Dispute Settlement? TPP’s Lesser-Known Threat to Democracy
Giving foreign companies such power strips away the people’s voice and directly undermines our democracy. Economic prosperity—if the TPP can guarantee even that—cannot come at the cost of our welfare and freedom.
Shapeshifting Material Support and Apple
Could the DOJ prosecute Apple if terrorists use its end-to-end encryption? Yes. The material support statute doesn’t require knowledge or intent to support terrorism. It’s been used against charities and activists, why not Apple?
Liberal Counterinsurgency vs. the Paramilitary Right
Opinions about civil liberties and government repression range across the entire political spectrum. The Dissident Voices Series highlights these views without necessarily endorsing them. In the wake of the terrorist murders in Charleston, there are calls for a government crackdown on Right-Wing racist and paramilitary groups. This essay raises questions that should be considered in this public debate.
Expert on Right Wing Groups Challenges Federal Policies
“In short,” says Mudde, he believes US government federal agencies should “rely on and develop more expertise, invest in more desk research, conduct less surveillance, and reduce the use of informants.”
BORDC/DDF is your voice in the Nation’s Capitol. We advocate and agitate in Congress and in the Executive branch. Here are just a few of the issues we raised last month:
Whistleblower Appreciation Day: Let’s make it official
Congress should pass a law designating July 30th as National Whistleblower Appreciation Day. The date has historical significance, it’s the anniversary of the United States’ first whistleblower law, which our Founding Fathers unanimously passed on July 30, 1778, recognizing the right of all citizens to report “misconduct, frauds and misdemeanors” to the “appropriate authority.”
Coalition to Obama: Veto CISA
BORDC/DDF joined a group of 68 security experts, tech companies, and civil society organizations on a letter urging President Obama to threaten to veto the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA, S. 754). CISA raises many of the same concerns that were the basis of the Administration’s two veto threats over a previous information sharing bill titled CISPA. It could undermine Internet security, and it threatens privacy and civil liberties, as well as the traditional civilian control of cyberspace.
Why Do 48 Civ Lib and Civil Rights Groups Oppose CVE?
The bill threatens the freedoms of speech, association, and religion. HR 2899 tasks the Office for Countering Violent Extremism with coordinating DHS efforts aimed at “identifying risk factors that contribute to violent extremism in communities in the United States and potential remedies for Government and non-government institutions.” The risk factors that government agencies put forward often include common behaviors associated with religious practice and political activism. It is profiling, plain and simple.
Quick Action by Coalition Prevents FOIA Exemptions in Highway Bill
The Senate nearly passed a highway bill full of FOIA exemptions big enough to drive a truck though, but members of OpenTheGov.org (including BORDC/DDF) raised concerns in a hastily drafted letter, as well as through social media. At the last minute, the problematic provisions were removed or changed to protect Freedom of Information.
To help encourage outreach, public education, and grassroots mobilization, BORDC/DDF provides microgrants to grassroots coalitions pursuing local campaigns to advance civil rights and civil liberties.
- Grants up to $500 are available to help active coalitions expand their local visibility and/or host events. To apply for a grant please email the BORDC/DDF Organizing Team.
- Constitution Day Resources
- Local Law Enforcement Toolkit – take action locally against police abuses
- Campaign to Restore Due Process Toolkit