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The Electoral College’s Dirty History Encore
Nov16

The Electoral College’s Dirty History Encore

  Given the Trump Election and the difference between popular votes and Electoral votes, we explore the Electoral College. Who are the electors, anyway? And will the United States ever join the rest of the world, and adopt a popular vote for president? Yale University Law & Political Science Professor Akhil Reed Amar says the Electoral College discourages voting, lessens the power of the states, and could work to the disadvantage of either major political party. On this edition of Making Contact, Akhil Reed Amar speaks with Angela McKenzie of Initiative Radio about how the US constitution can be changed to create a more fair and just society.  ** SEE BONUS ARTICLE BELOW Like this program? Please show us the love. Click here and support our non-profit journalism. Thanks! Featuring: Akhil Reed Amar, Yale University Sterling Law and Political Science Professor Angela McKenzie, Initiative Radio Host Credits: Guest Producer:  Angela McKenzie, Initiative Radio MC Producer: Andrew Stelzer Remixers: Nicolo Scolieri and Monica Lopez Producers: Anita Johnson, Marie Choi, Monica Lopez, R.J. Lozada Executive Director: Lisa Rudman Web Editor: Kwan Booth, Sabine Blaizin The Troubling Reason the Electoral College Exists  by Akhil Reed Amar @Time.com The Founding Fathers had something particular in mind when they set up the U.S. presidential election system: slavery As Americans await the quadrennial running of the presidential obstacle course now known as the Electoral College, it’s worth remembering why we have this odd political contraption in the first place. After all, state governors in all 50 states are elected by popular vote; why not do the same for the governor of all states, a.k.a. the president? The quirks of the Electoral College system were exposed this week when Donald Trump secured the presidency with an Electoral College majority, even as Hillary Clinton took a narrow lead in the popular vote. Some claim that the founding fathers chose the Electoral College over direct election in order to balance the interests of high-population and low-population states. But the deepest political divisions in America have always run not between big and small states, but between the north and the south, and between the coasts and the interior. One Founding-era argument for the Electoral College stemmed from the fact that ordinary Americans across a vast continent would lack sufficient information to choose directly and intelligently among leading presidential candidates. This objection rang true in the 1780s, when life was far more local. But the early emergence of national presidential parties rendered the objection obsolete by linking presidential candidates to slates of local candidates and national platforms, which explained to voters who stood for what. Although the Philadelphia framers did not anticipate the rise of...

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Our Lives are NOT for the Taking
Nov12

Our Lives are NOT for the Taking

Dear friend, Corporate-owned media contributed to Trump’s win as much as this country’s entrenched racism and white supremacy, patriarchy and xenophobia. At Making Contact we value transformative storytelling and create a space for OURcommunities to be heard. An alternative to the empty calories of breaking “news” shows.Let’s take our stories back! People are in motion and in this period we’re redoubling our work: Slow cooking radio pieces that provide historical and political context, and highlight people’s solutions, to stimulate reflection and action. On Giving Tuesday we need you to join in and keep this work strong. And in this moment, we particularly want to hear from you: What topics and angles should we explore in the coming months? Give us feedback on our programs, and share programs with your friends. Tell us your own stories to add to the mix. We’re setting up a Twitter Chat soon. Stay tuned and join the conversation! Share your thoughts and ideas here and chat with us on Facebook and Twitter As you respond + regroup, take heart from the voices of these women: It’s chilling to think about Trump’s energy and environmental policies…  Countering that, are the voices of veteran activists working to phase out nuclear energy, power and research. Women Rising Radio revisits Chernobyl, Fukushima, Three Mile Island –  and you’ll hear about real solutions to the problem of nuclear energy. Women Rising: Phasing Out Nuclear Power Aileen Mioko Smith, Director of Green Action Japan Ursula Sladek, Founder of Shoenau Energy Company in Germany Claire Greensfelder, International Forum on Globalization, Women in Europe for a Common Future, and the Global Women’s Call for Climate Justice Recent Releases Greg Palast on Voter Supression and Buying Democracy  Greg Palast, is an investigative reporter and documentary filmmaker. His new film, “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: a Tale of Billionaires and Ballot Bandits”, unmasks the continuing and unrelenting Jim-Crow attempts by America’s “Billionaire Bandits” to prevent people of color from exercising their constitutional right to vote. Produced by Anita Johnson. Imigrants & Elections Pt. 2: Barriers to the Ballot In this second installment of Making Contact’s Immigrants and Elections series, ” we explore some of the barriers immigrants and other historically disenfranchised voters face in gaining access to the polls. Produced by Monica Lopez with special reports from Paulina Velasco and Valeria Fernandez. DONATE Making Contact is a nonprofit organization. We rely on you to support our community journalism.  Please make your generous donation...

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Greg Palast on Voter Suppression, and Buying Democracy
Nov02

Greg Palast on Voter Suppression, and Buying Democracy

  Like this program? Please show us the love. Click here and support our non-profit journalism. Thanks! Greg Palast, is an investigative reporter and documentary filmmaker. His new film, “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: a Tale of Billionaires and Ballot Bandits,” unmasks the continuing and unrelenting Jim-Crow attempts by America’s “Billionaire Bandits” to prevent minority communities from exercising their constitutional right to vote. Featuring: Greg Palast, Investigative reporter, documentary filmmaker Host: Anita Johnson Music: Quiet Orchestra, “My Friends” For More Information:...

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Immigrants & Elections Pt. 2: Barriers to the Ballot
Oct26

Immigrants & Elections Pt. 2: Barriers to the Ballot

Photo of Florita & Joseph Campbell at the Halo Halo Restaurant in Phoenix, AZ by contributing producer Valeria Fernández In the US, the right to vote is one of the country’s most cherished and hard-fought rights. But it doesn’t mean that everyone has equal access to the polls. In 2013 the Supreme Court struck down a key civil rights provision of the Voting Rights Act. This November will be the first presidential election in 50 years where voters will not have the full protection of the original law. In this second installment of Making Contact’s Immigrants and Elections series, we explore some of the barriers immigrants and other historically disenfranchised voters face in gaining access to the polls. Listen to our other episodes in our Immigrants and Elections series here. * Reporter Valeria Fernandez’s story was made possible with support from Making Contact and New America Media’s fellowship on voting rights. Part 2 Features: Nse Ufot, Executive Director of New Georgia Project Maria Rodriguez, Executive Director of Florida Immigrant Coalition Marco Ponce, active supporter of Proposition N Sandra Lee Fewer, San Francisco Unified School District Commissioner Matt Haney, President of the Board of Education of San Francisco Eric Mar, San Francisco County Supervisor Araceli Becerra, recently naturalized US citizen Leonardo Aromin, founder of the Filipino American Journal Samantha Pstross, Executive Director of Arizona Advocacy Network Vic Reid, civic engagement manager for Asian Pacific Community in Action.Host: Credits Host this week: Monica Lopez Contributing Producers: Valeria Fernández and Paulina Velasco Special thanks: Oyez Project for providing free online access to US Supreme Court audio recordings, Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library for access to their archives, and The Media Consortium for audio from their states’ briefing with Audio Recordist, Carson Riedel, The People’s Channel. Image Credits: “Florita & Joseph Campbell at the Halo Halo Restaurant in Phoenix, AZ” – Valeria Fernandez Music Credits: “Lifetrap”, Year of Glad; “Dents de fer”, FLIST!; “Motion”, Noah; “Surreal”, Ouri; “Future Life”, Ketsa YOUR SUPPORT MADE A DIFFERENCE:  Special thanks to all the individuals who contributed to our Beacon Crowdfunding campaign for our Immigrants and Elections miniseries. Thanks also to the Berwick-Degel Family foundation. More information The Oyez Project A Closer Look at Voter ID laws Across the US Jurisdictions Previously Covered by Section 5 The New Georgia Project Florida Immigrant Coalition Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library Feet in 2 Worlds As Trump Conjures the Voter Fraud Boogeyman, Voter Suppression is the Real Issue Asian American Voters Not Being Engaged in Ca.’s Ballot Initiative...

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Thwarting Democracy, the Battle for Voting Rights
Oct19

Thwarting Democracy, the Battle for Voting Rights

Since the 2013 Supreme Court ruling on the Voting Rights Act, many states have pushed changes to voter laws that raise disturbing connections to the past. Before the anniversary of the Voting Rights Act on August 6th, we revisit the hard fought battles for voting rights and the implications of new laws. Featuring: Reverend Tyrone Edwards, civil rights historian in Plaquemines Parish Louisiana Tyrone Brooks, Georgia State Representative Clifford Kuhn, Professor of History at Georgia State University JT Johnson, civil rights organizer Allen Secher, rabbi Jerel James, Tamia Adkinson, docents at Civil Rights Museum of St. Augustine August Tinson, testified in U.S. vs Fox (1962) Gary May, professor of history at the University of Delaware and the author of Bending Towards Justice: The Voting Rights Act and the Transformation of American Democracy. Lead Producer: Laura Flynn Contributing Producers: Andrew Stelzer, Jasmin Lopez, Anna Simonton and Dina Weinstein Music: “Ain’t Scared of Your Jails,” sung at civil rights march in Washington, D.C. August 1963, “Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…and Spring” by Newton Balloon, “vaya” by andrés elstein, “Equal Soul” by Trans Atlantic Rage / Balogh For More information: Bending Toward Justice: The Voting Rights Act and the Transformation of American Democracy By Gary May Civil Rights Library of St. Augustine Civil Rights Museum of St. Augustine The Formula Behind the Voting Rights Act New York Times Southern Poverty Law Center Department of Justice NY Times: Tracking changes of voting law changes ProPublica Civil Rights timeline ACLU Voting Rights Act timeline Movement Music Freedom Songs: Selma, Alabama Lyrics of the Freedom Songs Articles, reports, etc. Court Decisions on Voting Rules Sow Confusion in state Races New York Times Issues Related to State Voter Identification Laws U.S. Government Accountability Office United States v. Fox, 211 F. Supp. 25 (E.D. La. 1962) District Court, E.D. Louisiana FBI Re-Examines 1946 Lynching Case Remembering A Civil Rights Swim-In: It was A Milestone’ Lyndon B. Johnson speech Before Congress on Voting Rights (March 15,...

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From Dreamers in Arizona to Muslims in Michigan: Immigrant Communities Upholding Democracy
Apr20

From Dreamers in Arizona to Muslims in Michigan: Immigrant Communities Upholding Democracy

  This edition of Making Contact is Part I of our special series examining how immigrants are responding and participating in elections and politics today. From Dreamers in Arizona to Muslims in Michigan, we’ll meet immigrant communities upholding democracy. We’ll also have a conversation with the Brennan Center for Justice President and author of the Fight to Vote, Michael Waldman about how immigrants throughout history have expanded the right to vote. Featuring Elizabeth Perez, “Ellie” council assistant to the Office of Vice Mayor and councilwoman Kate Gallego Kate Gallego, City of Phoenix Vice Mayor Anthony Valdovinos, founder of La Machine Viridiana Hernández, founding member of Team Awesome Dr. Muzammil Ahmed, member of Community of Western Suburbs Mosque Saber Ahmed, member of Community of Western Suburbs Mosque Dr. Syed Taj, former Canton, Michigan City Council member Michael Waldman, Brennan Center for Justice President and author of the “Fight to Vote.” Credits Host: Laura Flynn Associate Producer: Marie Choi Contributing Producers: Valeria Fernández and Renee Gross Project Coordinator: Manolia Charlotin Photo Credits: Valeria Fernández and Renee Gross Music Credit: Ketsa, What tomorrow brings, Arbee, ambidextre, Ketsa, Where the river run Special thanks: Beacon journalism crowdfunding platform and all the individuals who contributed to our campaign for our Immigrants and Elections miniseries. Thanks also to the Berwick-Degel Family foundation. More information Making Contact: Immigration and Election Series La Machine Team Awesome, Arizona The Young Turks: Islamaphobic Ads Against Michigan Candidate Syed Taj The Brennan Center for Justice: Voting Rights & Elections 2016 The Nation: Ari Berman, elections coverage Segments Vote-less, not voiceless: Dreamers reshape Arizona politics Civil disobedience helped Dreamers inject new blood into the immigration reform movement in the U.S. It resulted in the creation of DACA or deferred action in 2012. It grants undocumented immigrants who entered the country before their 16th birthday protection from deportation and the ability to receive a work-permit. This election cycle Dreamers are working for presidential candidates and in one city, Dreamers are pushing the envelop again, but from outside the spotlight. From civil disobedience to civic accountability, youth that can’t vote are making the voice of the Latino community heard in local politics and at the ballot box. Valeria Fernández has the story in Phoenix, Arizona. A Michigan Mosque, mobilizing civic engagement Religion can play a big role in politics. Many religious intuitions work to mobilize their members to vote. Politicians, like Ted Cruz, have used churches as places to announce their campaigns. But for a while, members of the Muslim Community of Western Suburbs in Canton, Michigan were unsure about what role their mosque should play in politics. Now that’s changing. As anti-Muslim rhetoric has increased, members of the mosque...

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