If you are reading this Message, then you are probably among the 82% of Americans that want Term Limits for Congress. Election Season is upon us and as we all know, Candidates will go out of their way to make sure they will receive your Support in ...


The Independent View - 5 new articles

Request Your member of Congress to Sign Term Limit Amendment

If you are reading this Message, then you are probably among the 82% of Americans that want Term Limits for Congress.

Election Season is upon us and as we all know, Candidates will go out of their way to make sure they will receive your Support in November.

If someone is running for Congress, they are supposed to Represent the Will of their Constituents, right?

Well, what better way to find out if your Senator and Representative support your Will, than by asking them to Sign the Term Limits Pledge! After all, if they want to Represent you, don't you think it is only fair that they Support what you want?

The Term Limits Amendment that is currently before them in the House (HJR6) and Senate (SJR2).

They Circulate a Pledge to Identify which Candidates and Members support Congressional Term Limits. When someone signs the Pledge, they Announce it on their website, inform their Supporters on several Social Media Platforms, and Issue a Press Release to Media Outlets in that District.

CLICK HERE to view the List of Current Members of Congress that have Signed their Pledge.

CLICK HERE To Read, Sign, and Send the Pledge Request to Your Members of Congress.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker


Renewable Energy Standards Initiative Qualifies for AZ Ballot

An Initiative to Increase Renewable Energy Standards to 50% by 2030 Qualified to go before Arizona Voters in the November 2018 Election.

The Initiative would require Electric Utilities that Sell Electricity in Arizona, and to acquire the Electricity from a certain Percentage of Renewable Resources each year, with the Percentage increasing by about Four Percentage Points Annually from 12% in 2020 to 50% in 2030.

Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona is leading the Campaign in support of the Initiative. As of the most recent Reports covering through June 30th, the Committee had raised $4.46 Million and had spent $4.17 Million.

NextGen Climate Action, a 501(c)(4) Nonprofit Organization founded by Tom Steyer, had provided 99.99% of the Committee's Funds.

Arizonans for Affordable Energy is Opposing the Initiative. The Campaign had received $7.5 Million in Contributions and had spent $6.8 Million as of June 30th.

Arizona Proposition 127, Renewable Energy Standards Initiative (2018), Which would Require the Deregulation of Energy and the Elimination of Energy Monopolies.

Nevada and Washington will consider similar Measures in November.

Nevada Voters will decide on:

Question 3 - Would require the Deregulation of Energy and the Elimination of Energy Monopolies.

Question 6 — Requires 50% of Energy to come from Renewable Resources by 2030, also backed by NextGen Climate Action.

Washington Voters will decide on:

Initiative 1631 - A Measure to Enact a Carbon Emissions Fee of $15 per Metric Ton of Carbon beginning on January 1, 2020.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker


Is Trump's Revocation of Security Clearance Legal?

Former CIA Director John Brennan said He is considering taking Legal Action to try to Prevent President from Stripping other Current and Former Officials' Security Clearances. Brennan said He's been contacted by a Number of Lawyers about the possibility of an Injunction in the wake of Trump's move to Revoke His Clearance and threaten Nine others who have been Critical of the President or are Connected to the Russia Probe.

"If my clearances and my reputation as I'm being pulled through the mud now, if that's the price we're going to pay to prevent Donald Trump from doing this against other people, to me it's a small price to pay," Brennan said. "So I am going to do whatever I can personally to try to prevent these abuses in the future. And if it means going to court, I will do that."

Brennan, who served in President Obama's Administration, said that while he'll Fight on behalf of his former CIA Colleagues, it's also up to Congress to put aside Politics and step in. "This is the time that your country is going to rely on you, not to do what is best for your party but what is best for the country," he said.

An Executive Order signed in 1995 by President Bill Clinton lays out the Process for Approving Security Clearances and describes a Detailed Revocation and Appeal Procedure. Former Obama-era CIA Director Leon Panetta, who also Served as Defense Secretary, said that Trump must Abide by the Executive Order unless he decides to Change or Cancel it. He said Trump's Decision to Revoke Brennan's Clearance raises Questions about whether he followed Due Process.

Brennan's Legal Warning came as other Officials joined the growing Chorus of Critics, now more than 75 Intelligence Officials, denouncing Trump's Security Clearance Threats, saying they have a Right to Express their Views on National Security Issues without Fear of Punishment.
Retired Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under George W. Bush and Obama, likened it to President Richard Nixon's Use of a Political Enemies List.

The Process is Governed by Two Executive Orders, Executive Order 12968 and Executive Order 10865, establish the initial Framework for Security Clearance Investigations and Revocations.

A Security Clearance may be Revoked at any time. But there are 13 Guidelines that are common to All Agencies of the Federal Government that are used to determine Eligibility for a Clearance and to Determine if an Existing Clearance ought to be Revoked. There is also an Appeals Process which varies with the Employment Status of the Individual.

The Adjudication Process is the careful weighing of a Number of Variables known as the Whole-Person Concept. All Available, Reliable Information about the Person, Past and Present, Favorable and Unfavorable, is considered in reaching a Clearance Determination.

Each Guideline is comprised of Three Parts:

1) The Concern is a simple Statement that sets forth the Concerns the Security Community has about each Adjudicative Guideline.
2) The Potentially Disqualifying Conditions are Conditions that, if present in the Applicant’s Life, may potentially Disqualify Him or Her for Eligibility or Access.
3) The Mitigating Factors are used by Adjudicators to Balance against the Potentially Disqualifying Conditions. The Mitigating Factors consist of Conditions that, if Present in the Applicant’s Life, may Cancel or Lessen the Severity of the Potentially Disqualifying Conditions.

The Adjudicative Criteria:

Guideline A: Allegiance to the United States - Belonging to a Terror Group, Advocating the Unconstitutional Overthrow of the Government, Associating or Sympathizing with Terrorists, Terror Groups, or those seeking the Overthrow of the Government.

Guideline B: Foreign Influence - Association with Foreign Citizens, Business Interest in Foreign Countries, potential that the Individual could be Coerced for some reason by a Foreign Government.

Guideline C: Foreign Preference - Dual Citizenship, Service in a Foreign Military, accepting Benefits such as Scholarships or Retirement Benefits from a Foreign Country.

Guideline D: Sexual Behavior - Criminal Sexual Behavior, Sex Addiction, Sexual Behavior that suggests a “lack of discretion or judgment”.

Guideline E: Personal Conduct - Refusing to Cooperate with the clearance Investigation, Refusing to Complete Requested Paperwork, Refusing Testing. Associating with known Criminals, Adverse Reports from Past Employers, Neighbors, or Friends. Providing False Information or Concealing Information from Investigators.

Guideline F: Financial Considerations - Pattern of not meeting Financial Obligations. White collar Crime. Unexplained Wealth.

Guideline G: Alcohol Consumption - Alcohol-related Incidents at Work or away from Work. Medical Diagnosis of Alcohol Abuse or Dependence. Continued Alcohol Use after a Rehab Program.

Guideline H: Drug Involvement - Use of Illegal Drugs. Drug-related Incidents at Work or away from Work. Medical Diagnosis of Drug Abuse or Dependence. Continued Drug Use after a Rehab Program.

Guideline I: Emotional, Mental, and Personality Disorders - “A condition or treatment that may indicate a defect in judgment, reliability, or stability.” Failure to follow Prescribed Treatments, including taking Prescription Medications. “A pattern of high-risk, irresponsible, aggressive, anti-social or emotionally unstable behavior.”

Guideline J: Criminal Conduct - Allegations or Admissions of Criminal Conduct with or without Charges being Pressed. Conviction for a serious Crime or Multiple Lesser Crimes.

Guideline K: Security Violations - “Unauthorized disclosure of classified information.” Deliberate Security Violations. Multiple Violations. Negligence.

Guideline L: Outside Activities - “Any service, whether compensated, volunteer, or employment with a foreign country, any foreign national, a representative of any foreign interest and any foreign, domestic, or international organization or person engaged in analysis, discussion, or publication of material on intelligence, defense, foreign affairs, or protected technology.”

Guideline M: Misuse of Information Technology Systems - Illegal or Unauthorized Access to a Computer system. Unauthorized Actions to Alter, Restrict or Deny Access to Systems. Unauthorized Removal of Software or Hardware from systems, or Adding Unauthorized Software or Hardware to systems.

Notification and Response

First, there is typically some Type of Incident that gains the Attention of the Security Management Officer. The Security Manager Inputs the Information into a Program called JPAS, the Joint Personnel Adjudication System. Once it is Reviewed they have 15 days to make an Initial Determination to suspend Clearance Eligibility or not.

If its Determines that the Clearance Eligibility should be Suspended they are required to Notify the Individual in Writing that their Eligibility is Suspended and include a brief Statement of the Reason(s) for the Suspension of Eligibility. This Letter is called a Letter of Intent (LOI) and includes Information about an Individual's Right to an Attorney, Right to Request and Review certain Documents considered in making the Unfavorable Determination, Right to Respond, and Suggestions for doing so. Accompanying the Letter of Intent, a Written Statement of Reasons (SOR) must provide a Comprehensive and Detailed Explanation for the Basis of the Unfavorable Security Eligibility Determination. The Individual must Notify the Adjudication Facility in Writing within 10 Calendar Days of Receipt of the LOI and SOR whether He or She intends to Reply to the LOI and SOR. If the Election to Reply is made, the Individual has 30 days to Submit a Written Response and a 30 day Extension may be Granted.

The Entire Process of Granting, Denying, or Revoking someone’s Security Clearance is derived from the President’s Article II Authority as Commander in Chief. The President is the ultimate Classifier of Information and, at least in Theory, the Ultimate Decider on who is Granted Access to Classified Information.

The President could Claim the Inherent Constitutional Authority to Revoke the Clearance Eligibility of each of the Individuals Without any Due Process. But there is No Precedent for such an Action, as No former President has ever Personally Intervened in the Clearance Revocation or Approval of an Individual. That has never happened before because Past Presidents, whatever their Flaws or Scandals, knew there were certain Institutional Norms and Customs that a President simply should Not Disturb.

Trump, though, is not burdened with an Affinity for Respecting Institutional Norms. He already bulldozed those Norms when it came to Hiring his Daughter and Son-in-Law, Refusing to Place his Assets in a Blind Trust, and Refusing to Disclose his Tax Returns.

Now that the President has taken this Unprecedented Exercise of his Authority, it is anyone’s guess how the Courts would construe the Issue. It would set up a serious Clash of Constitutional Questions between the Inherent Authority of the President regarding Classified Information, the Procedural Due-Process Rights of Clearance Holders under the Fifth Amendment, and the Extent to which the Judiciary is even Permitted to Rule on the Matter. As the President would say, we’ll just have to Wait and See.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker


NYC 2018 Mayoral Charter Revision Commission Votes to Create Final Ballot Proposals

The 2018 Charter Revision Commission convened by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to Review and Revise the City Charter passed a Resolution instructing its Staff to create Ballot Proposals related to Enhancing the Municipal Campaign Finance system, Increasing Civic Engagement, and Improving the Role and Structure of the City’s 59 Community Boards.

The Charter Revision Commission has spent months fielding Testimony from Experts, Elected Officials, and Members of the Public on ways to improve the Structure and Functions of New York City’s Government. The Commission largely came to Agreement on several Proposals and Directed its Staff to Prepare Specific Ballot Questions along those lines. The Resolution was Approved with Ten Votes in Favor, One Against, and One Abstention.

Campaign Finance

The Commission proposed Separate Contribution Limits depending on whether Candidates choose to Participate in the Campaign Finance Board’s Public Matching Funds program, which currently Matches the First $175 of each Contribution at a Rate of 6-to-1.

The Commission recommended a $2,000 Contribution Limit for participating Citywide Candidates, $1,500 for Borough President Candidates, and $1,000 for City Council Candidates. For those Not Participating in the Program, the Recommended Limits were $3,500, $2,500, and $1,500 respectively. The Commission also proposed Matching the first $250 at an 8-to-1 Ratio for Citywide Offices and the first $175 at 8-to-1 for Borough President and City Council Offices. They called for earlier Disbursements of Public Funds and Increasing the Public Funds Cap from the current 55% of the Spending Limit for an Office to 75%.

Matt Gewolb, Executive Director of the Commission, said the Proposed Reforms would Reduce the “perception of corruption” that New Yorkers feel about the Current system and that had emerged in Testimony before the Commission.

Creating a Citywide Civic Engagement Commission (CEC)

This was inspired by Council Member Brad Lander’s Legislative Proposal for an Office of Civic Engagement. The proposed CEC would Launch a Citywide Participatory Budgeting program, provide Technical Expertise to Community Boards, Coordinate current Civic Engagement Initiatives carried out by City Agencies in partnership with the Public and Private Sector, as well as Promote and Aid Voter Registration and Access Efforts.

It would also be Charged with developing Initiatives for New Yorkers with Limited English Proficiency and Expanding Language Access Services in Underserved and Minority Communities. The Office would have to Collaborate with the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs to Expand Voter Education and Outreach, and to ensure Adequate Interpretation Services at Polling Sites.

Changes to Community Boards

Add Ballot Questions to establish Term Limits of Four Consecutive Two-Year Terms with Staggered Implementation. The Proposal would allow Members who have Already Served for that Amount of Time to be Reappointed if they are Out of Office for a Full Term. The Commission Endorsed Reforms to the Appointment Process as well that would provide Uniformity across the Five Boroughs and called for Annual Reporting on the Composition of Community Boards and Recruitment and Selection Methods. The Measures would ensure that Community Boards are “more reflective of the communities they represent,” Gewolb said.

Commission Secretary Carlo Scissura was the Sole Dissenting Vote on the Resolution. He aired concerns that the Campaign Finance Reforms could lead to “additional burdens on the taxpayer” by Increasing the Amount of Public Funds Awarded to Candidates in each Cycle, and he also worried that the Civic Engagement Commission could potentially add “another layer of bureaucracy” for Community Boards to Navigate.

In the coming weeks, the Commission’s Staff will issue a Final Report containing the Language on the several recommended Ballot Proposals. The Commission will then meet again to Vote on the Report and to Approve the Questions before Filing them with the City Clerk before a September 7th Deadline. The Questions will be presented to Voters on the November 6th General Election Ballot.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker


News Outlets Challenge MD Online Ad Law

News Outlets filed a Lawsuit on Friday challenging a Maryland Law meant to fight Foreign Meddling in Online Political Advertising because they say it creates Unfair Burdens on Media sites that Publish such Ads.

The Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association and several Newspapers, including The Washington Post and The Baltimore Sun, filed the Federal Lawsuit challenging the Constitutionality of the Legislation passed in April. The Law went into effect without the Signature of the Governor, who had concerns about its Requirements.

The Challengers argue the Law infringes on Free Speech because it requires them to Publish Information about Political Ad Buyers. The Newspapers also say the Law includes onerous Requirements for them to make Data on Ad Buyers available to Election Officials on Request.

The Lawsuit states that "there is a stark difference between requiring speakers to disclose who they are and the source of their funding, and imposing that burden on newspapers and other Internet publishers, especially in the circumstances here."

The Plaintiffs asked for an expedited Court Schedule because they say the State won't Delay the Rules while the Lawsuit plays out.

The State Attorney General, Brian Frosh, and the Administrator of the Maryland Board of Elections, Linda H. Lamone, Esq., are both named as Defendants.

Supporters of the Measure said it was the First of its kind in the Country because of the Powers it gave the Attorney General and Elections Officials. New York also enacted a First in the Country Measure this year to Increase Transparency for Online Political Ads.

A Sponsor of the Law, Maryland Delegate Alonzo Washington (D-District 22, Prince George's County), had argued in February that the Law would provide greater Accountability and Transparency for Ads on Social Media Platforms. He cited Online Political Ad Buys linked to Russia during the 2016 Election Cycle.

But Maryland's Republican Gov. Larry Hogan expressed concerns about the Legislation, and Declined to Sign it. He said that while the Law had admirable Goals, he was concerned about its Constitutionality because of the Requirements it would put on Media Organizations.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker


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