Will Donald Trump leave office if he loses the election? Many are wondering how he might bend the law to stay in the White House. The president frequently inveighs against "voter fraud" and says his opponents will steal the election with fraudulent mail-in ballots. Further, he refuses to say if he will accept election results.
Labor Day is not just a national holiday, a day off from work, for some. Labor Day is an acknowledgement of the working people, activists who fought for worker's rights around the country.
"In 1885 and 1886, various American cities declared the first Monday in September to be a workers’ holiday, and on February 21, 1887, Oregon became the first state to recognize Labor Day. Massachusetts, Colorado, New York, and New Jersey followed later that year.
The activists who participated in and helped organize these early rallies also fought for the eight-hour day. Without that struggle, a labor holiday providing eight paid hours off was unthinkable. In fact, the slogan so synonymous with May Day — 'Eight hours for work, eight hours for rest, and eight hours for what we will' — appeared on banners at the first Labor Day demonstration in 1882."
Eugene Debs, a labor activist, wrote the following.
While we celebrate Labor Day, we need to be aware of the struggle that still continues in the United States. We currently stand in very poor ranking worldwide, for worker's rights violations. The United States ranks #4 - Systemic violations of rights, with 5+ being the worst.
Another indicator of the decline of workers rights is the decline in union memberships in the United States. The latest 2019 union membership numbers are down to 10.3%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unions have long fought and defended workers rights.
So while we celebrate Labor Day and hard fought victories for the health and safety of workers, please be aware, with declines in union membership on par with the Great Depression, with growing worker rights violations, we can't rest on our ancestors laurels, we need to fight for our current and future generations worker rights, so that Labor Day is not just a federal holiday, but something to truly celebrate.
The article below, Could we slide into the abyss like Germany in 1933?, is posted with permission by Jim Nelson.
The article is not fearmongering. In fact, recently in Portland, the President sent federal agents, some in unmarked uniforms and unmarked vehicles taking protesters off the street to unknown locations without any accountability and journalists have been targeted.
Neither the mayors or governors of Oregon or Washington requested Federal assistance. "Gov. Kate Brown made the announcement in a statement Wednesday and described the federal officers as 'an occupying force' that has 'refused accountability and brought strife to our community...' Brown and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler have repeatedly condemned the federal presence as Trump, Wolf and U.S. Attorney General William Barr have said the officers must stay until violent clashes at the courthouse stop." Trump has threatened use of federal officers in other Democratic states.
Here are some articles highlighting particulars in Seattle and Portland, which concern many people on a democracy level, feeling that it might be a test case for implementation in the upcoming election or Trump's responses afterward.
Trump politically targets cities like Portland, Seattle, stoking fears of new conflagration - "Trump’s deployment of federal agents in Portland and other cities comes as his foundering reelection campaign increasingly shifts toward a 'law and order' theme. The crackdown, in cities whose elected leaders don’t want federal agents, has been promoted by Trump in nakedly partisan terms."
OSP troopers have been deputized by the federal government. Here's what that means - authorizing troopers to charge protesters under federal law, "What it does mean is it’s an attempt by the U.S. Attorney’s Office to prosecute more of the crimes they see occurring." Conviction of felonies removes a person's right to vote.
Protesters in Multiple States Are Facing Felony Charges, Including Terrorism - "Prosecutors and lawmakers in several states have responded to mass protests against police brutality by charging demonstrators with committing felonies, including terrorism charges. The trend of criminalizing protest has been on the uptick since the 2016 protests against the Dakota Access pipeline at Standing Rock, during and after which numerous states upped charges for protests “near critical infrastructure” as felonies."
Could we slide into the abyss like Germany in 1933?
Matters are so serious that a bipartisan think tank of 100-plus current and former senior government and campaign leaders conducted matrix games on what could go haywire between the Nov. 3 election and the Jan. 20 inauguration. The Transitions Integrity Project concluded that there is “a high degree of likelihood that November’s elections will be marked by a chaotic legal and political landscape.” You can read the report at https://paxsims.files.wordpress.com/2020/08/preventing-a-disrupted-presidential-election-and-transition-8-3-20.pdf.
Trump has at his fingertips secret emergency powers called Presidential Emergency Action Documents (PEADs). They are, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, “executive orders, proclamations, and messages to Congress that are prepared in anticipation of a range of emergency scenarios….” They only require Trump’s signature.
They were created during the Eisenhower era in case of a Soviet nuclear attack. Over time they have been expanded. PEADs are, as a government document describes them, intended “to implement extraordinary presidential authority in response to extraordinary situations.”
- What powers do PEADs provide?
- Detention of dangerous persons
- Suspension of habeas corpus
- Martial law
- Search and seizure of persons and property
- Declaration of war
Go to the Brennan Center to learn more: https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/presidential-emergency-action-documents?fbclid=IwAR0ziqVRxGGWzdSi-maVOiGSWxeEdzwfs_e9c9tJQcKNjCF1RoxektPe0Yk.
While there are legal scholars who believe PEADs are unconstitutional, that remains to be seen. Therefore, it is important that “we the people,” as the Constitution states, speak out about these potential dangers. Unless we do, we could easily slide into the abyss that befell Germany in the 1930’s. The similarities are hauntingly similar.
- Arrest of enemies of the state
- Suspension of habeas corpus
- No right of assembly
- Search, seizure, and confiscation of property
The rest, as we say, is history. Could something like that happen here? We like to think our democratic traditions would prevent us from collapsing like Germany. While history does not always repeat itself, it offers insights into the dangers that societies face. An unstable president with unlimited power are ingredients that have poisoned democracies before.
As the philosopher George Santayana warned, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
The Very Rev. Stephen Brehe is the retired dean of St. Peter’s Cathedral in Helena.
Jim Nelson is a retired justice of the Montana Supreme Court.
Many voters are concerned about the 2020 Election, with good reason.
Make sure your voter registration is up to date by following this link - My Voter Page.
Below are some resources and information to assist voters in casting your vote this election.
Due to previously mail distribution center closings in Montana (for ex. mail in Helena goes to Great Falls, then back again; Bozeman's mail goes to Billings, then back.), we recommend that you fill out your mail-in ballots, drop them off directly at your county election offices (link below), to ensure ballot receipt. If you can't drop it off, please fill out and mail back immediately.
On the 6th of August, due to COVID19, "Governor Steve Bullock today issued a directive to ensure all eligible Montanans can safely vote in the 2020 November general election by allowing counties to expand voting by mail and early voting. Whether or not they provide mail ballots, all counties will be required to offer in person voting opportunities and take precautions to ensure Montanans have the option to register or vote safely.
The CDC has recognized that in person voting on election day increases the risk of transmitting COVID-19, and has urged states to use voting methods that reduce crowd size. Many Montana election workers are over the age of 60 and are often in close proximity to each other, large crowds, and interact with paper, pens, and other items that could be infected and exchanged frequently."
- Counties may choose to send mail ballots and expand early voting for the November 3, 2020 general election.
- Counties are encouraged to publicize available options and to work with nonprofit organizations to ensure that all Montanans will have access to a ballot, whether in person, early, or by mail.
- All counties must establish, implement, and enforce social distancing policies at polling locations, designated drop-off locations, or other public-facing portions of facilities involved in voting.
Please check with your county elections office to find out your specific details.
If voting in person, please make sure to wear a mask for your and others' safety.
"Calling Gov. Steve Bullock’s August directive permitting counties to hold the Nov. 3 election via mail ballot illegal, President Donald Trump’s campaign and three other Republican groups sued Bullock on Wednesday seeking to overturn it.
The suit filed in U.S. District Court in Helena by Trump’s campaign, the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Montana Republican State Central Committee also names Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton, a Republican."
PDF includes address and contact information for each county office.
USPS Mail Ballot Issues:
"Audrey McCue, elections supervisor for Lewis and Clark County, sent an informal survey to all 56 counties. As of last week, 52 had responded, with only 10 opting for poll elections."
"Sources told MTN News that high-speed sorters, that can sort up to 30,000 pieces of mail in an hour, have been removed this summer in Great Falls and Billings, and that smaller mail sorters have been taken out in Great Falls, Billings and Missoula.
It’s unclear how many blue U.S. mail drop-boxes have been removed in Montana, although Tester’s office said it had reports that as many as 65 had been removed or slated for removal, including 30 in Billings and 18 in Missoula."
David C.W. Parker, a political scientist at MSU, began analyzing the mailbox removals, compared to 2018 vote in the precincts and noticed a pattern. "In all but ONE location, the Dem vote for Senate was > (greater) for the precinct than the county percentage."
Montana Progressive Voters, please network trusted, accurate election information in your communities, when posting on social media.
Thank you for participating in our democracy.
Our next public Montana Progressive Democrat Board Meeting will be
May 29, 2020, at 4 PM.
Our meetings are open to the public, so feel free to join us, just click on the link below.
Early Agenda includes:
Progressive Happy Hour
Social Media Update
Welcome to the
Montana Progressive Democrats
Montana Progressive Democrats is a recognized partner organization of the Montana Democratic Party.
We are a grassroots activist organization made up of Organizers and Activists dedicated to revolutionizing the Democratic Party and bringing economic, political, equality and social justice to all Montanans.