In-Person Absentee Voting Tomorrow in NOVA

Saturday, October 1st

The following locations will be open for In-Person Absentee Voting tomorrowSaturday, October 1st from 9:00am until 5:00pm

For more information on Absentee Voting, visit www.elections.virginia.gov

 

Making Women’s History in VA

Randolph Macon College in Partnership with the Women’s Monument Commission:

Making Women’s History in Virginia Conference

Capture.JPG

Friday, September 23, 2016 from 1PM until 5 PM

Birdsong Hall Dalton Dining Room 106 East Patrick Street, 2nd Floor

Ashland, VA 23005


Registration is Free

Click Here to Register: http://www.pingg.com/rsvp/yt5ryzic3njx8t3s2

Agenda Starting Promptly at 1PM

1:00 Welcome

1:10 Introductions

1:25 Virginia’s Women’s Monument Commission Panel Plans for the first Monument to Women’s Achievements on the grounds of a State Capitol in the United States 

  • Sandra Treadway, Virginia State Librarian
  • Honorable Nancy Rodrigues, Secretary of Administration
  • Jonas Courey, Consultant to the Women’s Commission
  • Samantha Bentley, Intern to the Women’s Commission

2:30 Break

2:45 The 2019 Commemoration

  • The 2019 Commemoration will recognize the impact of women over the past 400 years through a series of events culminating with a major Women’s Leadership Conference in 2019.
  • Kathy J. Spangler, Executive Director, 2019 Commemoration

3:00 “Development of a Virginia Network of Women’s/Gender Studies Program”

  • Debra Rodman of Randolph Macon College
  • Open Discussion with Women’s/Gender Chairs, Directors and Faculty

Charlottesville NOW Invites You:

An Event for Reproductive Rights

WHY: The Supreme Court just ruled again that states aren’t allowed to pass medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion. When we fight, we win. Now it’s time to make sure that everyone has access to abortion when needed.
John D’earth and Dahlia Lithwick to Headline Charlottesville All Access Event On Reproductive Rights Cultural event to shine a light on abortion access with music, art, and family-friendly festivities

Charlottesville, VA – Charlottesville will play host to one of 30 All Access events September 10th, a nationwide day of cultural and arts events bringing attention to abortion access. Nonprofit organizations Progress Virginia Education Fund, Blue Ridge Abortion Assistance Fund and Shift. will host the family-friendly celebration at Blue Moon Diner on Main Street. The program includes a performance from local music sensation John D’earth, a presentation from Dahlia Lithwick, a nationally noted author and commentator, and surprise video appearances.

All Access is a powerful cultural event featuring simultaneous concerts in five cities and dozens of other events taking place in cities across the country. More information about the All Access events is available at allaccess2016.com.

Seven in ten Americans support abortion rights but it’s clear that we have an access problem. Eighty eight percent of U.S. counties have no abortion provider. Here in Virginia, 92% of localities have no abortion provider. We cannot exercise our right to abortion if we don’t have access. All Access will give each of us the opportunity to speak up in support of abortion access and the women who need it.
WHO: Author and commentator Dahlia Lithwick, musician John D’earth, Blue Ridge Abortion Assistance Fund, Shift., Progress Virginia Education Fund, and more.

WHAT: All Access Charlottesville

WHEN: Saturday, September 10th 6pm-8pm

WHERE: Blue Moon Diner, 512 W. Main Street, Charlottesville, VA

WHY: The Supreme Court just ruled again that states aren’t allowed to pass medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion. When we fight, we win. Now it’s time to make sure that everyone has access to abortion when needed.

Our Contact Information:

Blue Ridge AAF
PO BOX 5082
Charlottesville, VA 22905

434­963­0669
blueridgeaaf.com

PWC NOW Voter Registration!

YOU ARE INVITED:  Come hear from  NARAL VA, the LINKS, INC., JACK ‘N JILL, HOLA, and NEW VIRGINIA MAJORITY  who will come talk about their organization and discuss our collaboration.  The topic will focus on voter registration!!!  This is a great opportunity to hear what these Prince William powerhouse organizations have been doing and will be doing collaboratively!
Date:  September 10th
Time: 12pm-2pm
Where: Montclair Library
5049 Waterway Dr.
Dumfries, VA 22025

Light refreshments will be provided
More info can be found on Facebook event page:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1427799557233879/#

Violating the Fence – August 26, 1981 White House Action

Virginia NOW’s Treasurer, Lee Perkins provides a historical account of the 1981 ‘Women in Chains’ ERA White House Action. Thanks, Lee for this incredible contribution.

The August 26th files

One year later – again the chains. This time to the White House fence. Out intrepid chainees moved downtown to the broad sidewalk in front of the White House.

his time the action was much bigger and attracted a lot of press. Needless to say, the Park Service was not happy because the occupants of the White House were not happy (When the White House is not happy, they pass the unhappiness along), calling in the multiple ‘protective services’ to cope with the dangerous army of women in white. At least, unlike real criminals, we didn’t shoot at them. So getting in a little women bashing probably made their day. (Apologies to Dirty Harry). Since it was a chaining event, we displayed the chain banner and, as always, the full text of the ERA.

Shortly thereafter, the press arrived in force. As didthe demonstrators with their unique messages.

Frankly, we…

View original post 224 more words

Women’s Equality Day Reception

You’re invited to come celebrate Women’s Equality Day with the Charlottesville chapter of NOW!

Come celebrate the hard-fought right to vote!

new.JPG

 

Right to Choose Rally

Come CELEBRATE the U.S. Supreme Court Decision Supporting a ‘Woman’s Right to Choice’ Rally 

This Thursday, July 7th from 11:20 am to 1:30 pm

At the Federal Court House – 255 W. Main St.

At the corner of Main St., Water St., and Ridge McIntire Rd.

We are gathering to show out support to end all TRAP laws and for abortion to remain legal, safe, and accessible to all. We invite other supporters to join us on Thursday to stand up for women’s rights.

We also want to take this opportunity to all the women and men who work to provide care and important health services to women. 

Organized by Charlottesville NOW and Blue Ridge Abortion Assistance Fund (BRAAF)

A Big Stride for Plan B

Plan B One-Step Now On Store Shelves!


Until recently, the Plan B One-Step pill was only available without a prescription to women 17 and older who presented proof of age at a pharmacist’s counter. Following a drawn-out legal battle, Plan B One-Step (levonorgestrel) is now available in pharmacies with no age or sale restrictions.
According to the Plan B One-Step wesbite,
“You can start by looking for Plan B One-Step in the aisle. Otherwise ask anyone in the store where it’s located. Then just take it off the shelf, and pay for it at the cashier. No prescription or ID required.” 
 
The website’s Store Locator lists pharmacies and stores that have pharmacies.
The government’s decision means that any woman or girl will soon be able to walk into a drugstore and buy Plan B One-Step without a prescription, the same way that men may purchase condoms displayed shame-free on the shelves, with no ID required for purchase.
Plan B One-Step costs about $50 without any coupons or discounts.
“This decision by the administration affirms what feminists have been fighting for all along – the morning-after pill should be available to females of all ages, on the shelf at any convenience store,” 
-Annie Tummino, Lead Plaintiff and Coordinator of the National Women’s Liberation.

This is a great victory for women’s sexual and reproductive freedom! 

Join us in ‘Playing the Woman Card’

unnamed.jpg

Vienna Area NOW

NOVA NOW

Alexandria NOW

Arlington NOW

Prince William NOW

 invite you to an exciting evening with :

Ellie Smeal

President, Feminist Majority and eminent expert on the Gender Gap

Deal Women In:  Playing the Woman Card

opkp

because it’s the hand we’ve been dealt and we’re not folding

The power of the women’s vote

Maximizing the “gender gap”

Mobilizing voters

Supporting progressive candidates

Fighting to achieve equal rights and economic justice for ALL

Friday, June 17

Potluck at 6:30 pm ~ Meeting 7:00 – 9:00 pm

Center for Spiritual Enlightenment

222 North Washington St, Falls Church

Free Parking in the nearby Kaiser Permanante garage, after 6 pm. Entrance on Park Ave.

Special Invited Guest:

LuAnn Bennett

Candidate, House of Representatives from VA Congressional District 10

Space is limited so RSVP as soon as possible to Connie Cordovilla, NOVA NOW,

703-790-5362 or CordyNOVA@gmail.com

Surveillance Under the USA/PATRIOT Act

Courtesy of the American Civil Liberties Union


What is the “USA/Patriot” Act?

Just six weeks after the September 11 attacks, a panicked Congress passed the “USA/Patriot Act,” an overnight revision of the nation’s surveillance laws that vastly expanded the government’s authority to spy on its own citizens, while simultaneously reducing checks and balances on those powers like judicial oversight, public accountability, and the ability to challenge government searches in court.

Why Congress passed the Patriot Act

Most of the changes to surveillance law made by the Patriot Act were part of a longstanding law enforcement wish list that had been previously rejected by Congress, in some cases repeatedly.  Congress reversed course because it was bullied into it by the Bush Administration in the frightening weeks after the September 11 attack.

The Senate version of the Patriot Act, which closely resembled the legislation requested by Attorney General John Ashcroft, was sent straight to the floor with no discussion, debate, or hearings.  Many Senators complained that they had little chance to read it, much less analyze it, before having to vote.  In the House, hearings were held, and a carefully constructed compromise bill emerged from the Judiciary Committee. But then, with no debate or consultation with rank-and-file members, the House leadership threw out the compromise bill and replaced it with legislation that mirrored the Senate version.  Neither discussion nor amendments were permitted, and once again members barely had time to read the thick bill before they were forced to cast an up-or-down vote on it.  The Bush Administration implied that members who voted against it would be blamed for any further attacks – a powerful threat at a time when the nation was expecting a second attack to come any moment and when reports of new anthrax letters were appearing daily.

Congress and the Administration acted without any careful or systematic effort to determine whether weaknesses in our surveillance laws had contributed to the attacks, or whether the changes they were making would help prevent further attacks.  Indeed, many of the act’s provisions have nothing at all to do with terrorism.

The Patriot Act increases the government’s power to spy in four areas

The Patriot Act increases the governments surveillance powers in four areas:

  1. Records searches.  It expands the government’s ability to look at records on an individual’s activity being held by a third parties. (Section 215)
  2. Secret searches.  It expands the government’s ability to search private property without notice to the owner. (Section 213)
  3. Intelligence searches.  It expands a narrow exception to the Fourth Amendment that had been created for the collection of foreign intelligence information (Section 218).
  4. “Trap and trace” searches.  It expands another Fourth Amendment exception for spying that collects “addressing” information about the origin and destination of communications, as opposed to the content (Section 214).

1.  Expanded access to personal records held by third parties

One of the most significant provisions of the Patriot Act makes it far easier for the authorities to gain access to records of citizens’ activities being held by a third party.  At a time when computerization is leading to the creation of more and more such records, Section 215 of the Patriot Act allows the FBI to force anyone at all – including doctors, libraries, bookstores, universities, and Internet service providers – to turn over records on their clients or customers.

Unchecked power
The result is unchecked government power to rifle through individuals’ financial records, medical histories, Internet usage, bookstore purchases, library usage, travel patterns, or any other activity that leaves a record.  Making matters worse:

  • The government no longer has to show evidence that the subjects of search orders are an “agent of a foreign power,” a requirement that previously protected Americans against abuse of this authority.
  • The FBI does not even have to show a reasonable suspicion that the records are related to criminal activity, much less the requirement for “probable cause” that is listed in the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.  All the government needs to do is make the broad assertion that the request is related to an ongoing terrorism or foreign intelligence investigation.
  • Judicial oversight of these new powers is essentially non-existent.  The government must only certify to a judge – with no need for evidence or proof – that such a search meets the statute’s broad criteria, and the judge does not even have the authority to reject the application.
  • Surveillance orders can be based in part on a person’s First Amendment activities, such as the books they read, the Web sites they visit, or a letter to the editor they have written.
  • A person or organization forced to turn over records is prohibited from disclosing the search to anyone.  As a result of this gag order, the subjects of surveillance never even find out that their personal records have been examined by the government.  That undercuts an important check and balance on this power: the ability of individuals to challenge illegitimate searches. 
The law before the Patriot Act The law under the Patriot Act
When can the Patriot Act be used? To gather foreign intelligence or investigate international terrorism To gather foreign intelligence or protect against international terrorism
What can the FBI demand be turned over?  “records” “any tangible things (including books, records, papers, documents, and other items)”
Who can they demand information about? Only people who the FBI has evidence are an “agent of a foreign power” Anyone
Who can they demand it from? Only common carriers, public accommodation facilities, physical storage facilities, or vehicle rental facilities Any entity (including bookstores and libraries)


Why the Patriot Act’s expansion of records searches is unconstitutional
Section 215 of the Patriot Act violates the Constitution in several ways.  It:

  • Violates the Fourth Amendment, which says the government cannot conduct a search without obtaining a warrant and showing probable cause to believe that the person has committed or will commit a crime.
  • Violates the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech by prohibiting the recipients of search orders from telling others about those orders, even where there is no real need for secrecy.
  • Violates the First Amendment by effectively authorizing the FBI to launch investigations of American citizens in part for exercising their freedom of speech.
  • Violates the Fourth Amendment by failing to provide notice – even after the fact – to persons whose privacy has been compromised.  Notice is also a key element of due process, which is guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment.

2. More secret searches

For centuries, common law has required that the government can’t go into your property without telling you, and must therefore give you notice before it executes a search.   That “knock and announce” principle has long been recognized as a part of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.

The Patriot Act, however, unconstitutionally amends the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure to allow the government to conduct searches without notifying the subjects, at least until long after the search has been executed.  This means that the government can enter a house, apartment or office with a search warrant when the occupants are away, search through their property, take photographs, and in some cases even seize property – and not tell them until later.

Notice is a crucial check on the government’s power because it forces the authorities to operate in the open, and allows the subject of searches to protect their Fourth Amendment rights.  For example, it allows them to point out irregularities in a warrant, such as the fact that the police are at the wrong address, or that the scope of the warrant is being exceeded (for example, by rifling through dresser drawers in a search for a stolen car).  Search warrants often contain limits on what may be searched, but when the searching officers have complete and unsupervised discretion over a search, a property owner cannot defend his or her rights.

Finally, this new “sneak and peek” power can be applied as part of normal criminal investigations; it has nothing to do with fighting terrorism or collecting foreign intelligence.

3. Expansion of the intelligence exception in wiretap law

Under the Patriot Act, the FBI can secretly conduct a physical search or wiretap on American citizens to obtain evidence of crime without proving probable cause, as the Fourth Amendment explicitly requires.

A 1978 law called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) created an exception to the Fourth Amendment’s requirement for probable cause when the purpose of a wiretap or search was to gather foreign intelligence.  The rationale was that since the search was not conducted for the purpose of gathering evidence to put someone on trial, the standards could be loosened.  In a stark demonstration of why it can be dangerous to create exceptions to fundamental rights, however, the Patriot Act expanded this once-narrow exception to cover wiretaps and searches that DO collect evidence for regular domestic criminal cases.  FISA previously allowed searches only if the primary purpose was to gather foreign intelligence.  But the Patriot Act changes the law to allow searches when “a significant purpose” is intelligence.  That lets the government circumvent the Constitution’s probable cause requirement even when its main goal is ordinary law enforcement.

The eagerness of many in law enforcement to dispense with the requirements of the Fourth Amendment was revealed in August 2002 by the secret court that oversees domestic intelligence spying (the “FISA Court”).  Making public one of its opinions for the first time in history, the court revealed that it had rejected an attempt by the Bush Administration to allow criminal prosecutors to use intelligence warrants to evade the Fourth Amendment entirely.  The court also noted that agents applying for warrants had regularly filed false and misleading information.  That opinion is now on appeal. [link to FISA page]

4. Expansion of the “pen register” exception in wiretap law

Another exception to the normal requirement for probable cause in wiretap law is also expanded by the Patriot Act.  Years ago, when the law governing telephone wiretaps was written, a distinction was created between two types of surveillance.  The first allows surveillance of the content or meaning of a communication, and the second only allows monitoring of the transactional or addressing information attached to a communication. It is like the difference between reading the address printed on the outside of a letter, and reading the letter inside, or listening to a phone conversation and merely recording the phone numbers dialed and received.

Wiretaps limited to transactional or addressing information are known as “Pen register/trap and trace” searches (for the devices that were used on telephones to collect telephone numbers).  The requirements for getting a PR/TT warrant are essentially non-existent:  the FBI need not show probable cause or even reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.  It must only certify to a judge – without having to prove it – that such a warrant would be “relevant” to an ongoing criminal investigation. And the judge does not even have the authority to reject the application.

The Patriot Act broadens the pen register exception in two ways:

“Nationwide” pen register warrants
Under the Patriot Act PR/TT orders issued by a judge are no longer valid only in that judge’s jurisdiction, but can be made valid anywhere in the United States.  This “nationwide service” further marginalizes the role of the judiciary, because a judge cannot meaningfully monitor the extent to which his or her order is being used.  In addition, this provision authorizes the equivalent of a blank warrant: the court issues the order, and the law enforcement agent fills in the places to be searched. That is a direct violation of the Fourth Amendment’s explicit requirement that warrants be written “particularly describing the place to be searched.”

Pen register searches applied to the Internet
The Patriot Act applies the distinction between transactional and content-oriented wiretaps to the Internet. The problem is that it takes the weak standards for access to transactional data and applies them to communications that are far more than addresses.  On an e-mail message, for example, law enforcement has interpreted the “header” of a message to be transactional information accessible with a PR/TT warrant.  But in addition to routing information, e-mail headers include the subject line, which is part of the substance of a communication – on a letter, for example, it would clearly be inside the envelope.

The government also argues that the transactional data for Web surfing is a list of the URLs or Web site addresses that a person visits.  For example, it might record the fact that they visited “www.aclu.org” at 1:15 in the afternoon, and then skipped over to “www.fbi.gov” at 1:30.  This claim that URLs are just addressing data breaks down in two different ways:

  • Web addresses are rich and revealing content.  The URLs or “addresses” of the Web pages we read are not really addresses, they are the titles of documents that we download from the Internet.  When we “visit” a Web page what we are really doing is downloading that page from the Internet onto our computer, where it is displayed.  Therefore, the list of URLs that we visit during a Web session is really a list of the documents we have downloaded – no different from a list of electronic books we might have purchased online.  That is much richer information than a simple list of the people we have communicated with; it is intimate information that reveals who we are and what we are thinking about – much more like the content of a phone call than the number dialed.  After all, it is often said that reading is a “conversation” with the author.
  • Web addresses contain communications sent by a surfer.  URLs themselves often have content embedded within them.  A search on the Google search engine, for example, creates a page with a custom-generated URL that contains material that is clearly private content, such as:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=sexual+orientation

Similarly, if I fill out an online form – to purchase goods or register my preferences, for example – those products and preferences will often be identified in the resulting URL.

The erosion of accountability

Attempts to find out how the new surveillance powers created by the Patriot Act were implemented during their first year were in vain.  In June 2002 the House Judiciary Committee demanded that the Department of Justice answer questions about how it was using its new authority.  The Bush/Ashcroft Justice Department essentially refused to describe how it was implementing the law; it left numerous substantial questions unanswered, and classified others without justification.  In short, not only has the Bush Administration undermined judicial oversight of government spying on citizens by pushing the Patriot Act into law, but it is also undermining another crucial check and balance on surveillance powers: accountability to Congress and the public. [cite to FOIA page]

Non-surveillance provisions

Although this fact sheet focuses on the direct surveillance provisions of the Patriot Act, citizens should be aware that the act also contains a number of other provisions.  The Act:

  • Puts CIA back in business of spying on Americans. The Patriot Act gives the Director of Central Intelligence the power to identify domestic intelligence requirements.  That opens the door to the same abuses that took place in the 1970s and before, when the CIA engaged in widespread spying on protest groups and other Americans.
  • Creates a new crime of “domestic terrorism.” The Patriot Act transforms protesters into terrorists if they engage in conduct that “involves acts dangerous to human life” to “influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion.”  How long will it be before an ambitious or politically motivated prosecutor uses the statute to charge members of controversial activist groups like Operation Rescue or Greenpeace with terrorism?  Under the Patriot Act, providing lodging or assistance to such “terrorists” exposes a person to surveillance or prosecution.  Furthermore, the law gives the attorney general and the secretary of state the power to detain or deport any non-citizen who belongs to or donates money to one of these broadly defined “domestic terrorist” groups.
  • Allows for the indefinite detention of non-citizens.  The Patriot Act gives the attorney general unprecedented new power to determine the fate of immigrants.  The attorney general can order detention based on a certification that he or she has “reasonable grounds to believe” a non-citizen endangers national security.  Worse, if the foreigner does not have a country that will accept them, they can be detained indefinitely without trial.

Sources

Thank you to the ACLU for taking a stand for our civil liberties!


 

In Revolution,

Paradise
Virginia NOW
Communications Vice President
communicationsvp@vanow.org

Previous Older Entries