January 20, 2018: “Empowering Women,” a Tea and Social, free and open to the public, with women from government and businesses as guest speakers. Come join the Pearl River County Federation Democratic Women at the Crosby Memorial Library, 2 to 5 p.m. Topics will include, but not limited to “How women can increase their influence and achieve goals of empowering themselves through a network of support with other women and not being afraid to stand for something.”
Please contact Ruthie Long at 985-788-1158 or Debbie Craig at 601-569-9921 for more information.
The Annual Hamer-Winter Democratic Dinner (formerly JJH) will be held on Saturday, January 27 in the Brandon Civic Center located at 1000 Municipal Dr, Brandon, MS 39042. Details will follow soon. Join Democrats from across the state as we celebrate and honor our own.
Pearl River County Democrats celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas at Ryan’s in Picayune.
Tuesday evening, members of the Pearl River County Democratic Party took time out of their schedule to some enjoy fun and a good meal. Of course, when Democrats get together, politics is the main course. It’s good to take some time just to relax before a long election season in 2018 and 2019.
Anyone interested in becoming involved in Democratic politics in Pearl River County is welcome at our meetings. Contact the chair, Agnes Dalton at email@example.com or join our Facebook pages – Pearl River Democrats, Picayune Democrats, or Young Democrats of Pearl River County.
Also, watch for a meeting in your neighborhood soon.
The Mississippi Association of County Democratic Chairs and Hinds County Democratic Party Chairperson Jacqueline R. Amos issued the following statement:
“ Yesterday, we learned with great dismay that the President will participate in the opening ceremonies of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum this Saturday. As the direct political heirs to the Freedom Democratic Party and in the spirit of Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer, we call upon all the authorities involved to cancel any appearance and remarks by President Donald Trump immediately. Any reasonable person knows that the presence of such a hugely divisive and polarizing figure will pervert and diminish what could otherwise be a healing and teaching moment for our state. Mr. Trump attained to the highest office in the land by appeals and tactics that do great and lasting violence to our civil rights heritage. His campaign appealed to the very worst demons of the American soul. He is a disgraceful president, a malicious influence, and an abominable human being. He has no place at a celebration of the very values and aspirations his presidency is clearly committed to destroy.
Mr. President, leave Mississippi alone. We have had far too much experience with your kind already.”
Lawmakers are scrambling to push something — anything — through Congress that would help secure the nation’s voting systems ahead of the 2018 elections.
But it might already be too late for some critical targets. By this point during the 2016 election cycle, Russian hackers had already been in the Democratic National Committee’s networks for at least three months.
Members of both parties insist they can get something done before Election Day 2018, but concede that the window is rapidly closing. Voters in Texas and Illinois will take to the polls in the country’s first primaries in just over three months — a narrow timeline for implementing software patches, let alone finding the funds to overhaul creaky IT systems, swap out aging voting machines or implement state-of-the-art digital audits.
“Not a lot of time, no question,” Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.), who is leading an investigation of Russia’s election-year meddling, told POLITICO.
It’s not for a lack of ideas. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have proposed a raft of legislative solutions aimed at inoculating future U.S. elections from foreign meddling. But the efforts have been stalled amid partisan fighting, ideological disagreements over who should fund election security and — perhaps most prominently — a packed congressional calendar that has prioritized repealing Obamacare and pushing through a tax overhaul.
“I don’t think anything can come that fast, unless you are a tax bill or something like that,” said Mississippi’s Bennie Thompson, who co-chairs a House Democratic election task force formed to explore bolstering the country’s decentralized election infrastructure ahead of the 2018 midterms.
Thompson’s group is planning to issue its own legislation next month and Thompson, the ranking member on the House Homeland Security Committee, insisted it would go through “regular order,” with extensive hearings, debate and amendments — a process that could take weeks or months.
“There’s no question from the standpoint of what we need to do, we’re behind,” he said. “And by being behind, we’re at risk for any future federal election.”
Cybersecurity experts have long warned that America’s election system is a sitting duck for hackers looking to cause chaos. Voter rolls have regularly been been storedon inadequately protected systems, and the country has for years relied on outdated electronic voting machines. At the state and local level, governments can lack the funds to hire elite cyber professionals or properly train staff.
And campaigns themselves are often harried and slapdash, with little thought given to digital security.
The 2016 election vaulted these realities into the public spotlight. The U.S. government accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of deploying his hackers in an orchestrated scheme to infiltrate political parties, campaigns and state election networks. The effort was wildly successful, pilfering and selectively leaking internal files from the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton’s campaign, spurring intra-party bickering and generating weeks of splashy headlines based on the exposed personal emails.
And U.S. intelligence leaders have warned that Moscow will be back, leveraging the lessons of 2016 to try and destabilize future elections. Already, officials and researchers have accused the Kremlin of using similar tactics in subsequent elections around Europe.
Yet Capitol Hill has not passed any legislation that specifically addresses the issue.
Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) pushed a bipartisan proposal that would allow states to apply for federal grants to update election technology after proving they had adopted certain federal cybersecurity standards. But the legislation hasn’t received a floor vote. And a companion House bill is stuck in limbo.
Sens. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) are another across-the-aisle duo offering their own bill that would speed through security clearances for top election officials, giving them access to classified information on hacking threats. The measure hasn’t gotten off the ground. And independent Maine Sen. Angus King pressed Senate appropriators — to no avail — for $160 million to help state and local governments purchase auditable voting machines. A slate of other mostly-Democratic proposals have similarly gone nowhere.
“I’m concerned that there’s not enough urgency broadly to move legislation forward,” Heinrich told POLITICO. “But we’re going to keep pushing, because I think these problems are not going away.”
Perhaps the most high-profile policy recommendations will arrive sometime early next year when Burr’s Senate Intelligence Committee releases the findings of its monthslong examination of Russia’s digital meddling efforts. Burr and panel ranking member Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) have vowed their final report will include suggestions for how to ensure the Kremlin can’t repeat its 2016 success in future elections.
But it’s unclear if lawmakers will swiftly act on the committee’s advice — or if it would even help at that point.
“It’s high-time we got started, and it will be too late soon if there isn’t action,” said J. Alex Halderman, a University of Michigan computer scientist and a leading expert on digitally securing elections.
Halderman said it’s probably already too late for the midterms to make many hardware upgrades to voting equipment — such as replacing paperless, touch-screen machines with ones that produce a paper trail — and that there’s only a window of about six to nine months to make the switch in time for 2020, due to the winding procurement process involved.
Earlier this year, Virginia was able to swiftly ditch any remaining paperless touchscreen voting machines just a few months before Election Day in the state’s closely watched gubernatorial race.
But Halderman noted that, “in terms of a coordinating, national effort to really address the cybersecurity threats to elections head-on, we don’t yet have that strategy in place and we need to get it going urgently — within the next very small number of months — if it’s going to help 2018 in a significant way.”
Congress is a “critical missing piece” in terms of leadership and allocating resources, said Lawrence Norden, the deputy director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law, who has worked on multiple reports detailing ideas to keep digital meddlers out of elections.
Currently, Norden noted, state and local officials are left to make piecemeal ties with the Department of Homeland Security — which has worked to boost the election security tools it offers states — and the Election Assistance Commission, a federal agency that helps administer elections but operates on a limited budget.
Even if a consensus bill emerged on Capitol Hill, however, Thompson expressed reservations that GOP leadership would let it get a floor vote.
“There’s no guarantee that it would ever see the light of day,” he said.
But several prominent Republicans, including Burr and Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn told POLITICO they might support some type of congressional or federal action, even if it isn’t as extensive as Thompson would prefer.
“We’re already late,” Cornyn said. “But it might not hurt to provide some best practices or some guidelines so that those states that aren’t as well prepared can deal with it, because it’s going to be ongoing.”
Such sentiment has given even the typically pessimistic cybersecurity crowd some restrained hope that something may be accomplished.
“I don’t want to sound too pollyannaish or optimistic but I haven’t given up on the fact something significant could happen from this Congress in time to have an impact on 2018 and certainly 2020,” Norden said.
But, he added, “the longer they wait, if something does happen … then I think that they will be blamed. No question.”
Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine is urging the Democratic National Committee to end its tradition of using superdelegates, which activists say diminish the influence of regular voters at the expense of party bigwigs in the presidential nominating process.
“I have long believed there should be no superdelegates. These positions are given undue influence in the popular nominating contest and make the process less democratic,” Kaine wrote in a letter Wednesday to DNC chairman Tom Perez, according to a copy obtained by POLITICO.
The plea from Kaine — himself a former DNC chairman, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 running mate, and a superdelegate — puts him on the side of many backers of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s primary opponent in last year’s race for the White House. Under the current system, elected officials and influential party members get to cast a vote for their preferred presidential candidate with extra weight, regardless of how their state or district votes during the primary.
Pointing to the ongoing work of the Unity Reform Commission appointed last year to review and change the DNC’s nominating process, Kaine urged the group to recommend doing away with the superdelegate system altogether, and by extension encouraged Perez to adopt that proposal.
“I support the ongoing reform effort and write regarding one aspect of the Commission’s work,” he wrote in the letter.
Kaine — who served as the DNC chairman between 2009 and 2011, largely during his time as Virginia’s governor — goes on to pledge that if the rules do not change, he will commit to voting for whoever his state supports in future nominating contests.
“I encourage any other superdelegate who feels the same way to take the same pledge. I believe the task of the Unity Commission will be made easier if its members know that there are many superdelegates, appointed automatically pursuant to party rules, who don’t mind changes to the current system to make our rules more democratic,” he wrote.
His letter could spur other superdelegates to publicly weigh in on the system’s future.
The superdelegate question has been front-and-center in the commission’s deliberations, and Sanders himself has urged reform to the process after Clinton entered their 2016 match-up with substantial support even prior to any primary contest.
After months worth of meetings, the commission — made up of appointees of Clinton, Sanders, and Perez — is due to wrap up its work and issue recommendations next month.
The group has considered various proposals for dealing with superdelegates — including automatically binding their votes to their states’ choice — but getting rid of them altogether has proven controversial, as some have argued that would be unfair to certain minority groups who they argue are otherwise under-represented.
The DNC’s handling of these recommendations is shaping up to be yet another inflection point for the organization, which has suffered through poor fund-raising and a series of controversies in recent months, most recently when former chair Donna Brazile published a book suggesting the institution was unfairly tipped toward Clinton over Sanders.
Pearl River County was well represented at the recent Southern District Federation of Democratic Women in Little Rock, Arkansas. President Ruthie Long, Past President Debbie Craig and Dr. Butts attended the conference.
Make no mistake. Republicans have the leadership positions and are the only ones pushing this agenda. They have a supermajority and can make it happen because rank-and-file Republicans vote as they are told by their leadership.
They have put the budget in the worst shape than anyone can remember, taken local funds for schools, failed to provide money for roads and bridges, and gave our tax dollars for these items to their corporate buddies that fund their campaigns. They tell you one thing at home then follow the leader in Jackson.
If you are concerned about your retirement, be aware because they have also eliminated 10,000 state jobs that pay into the retirement system to keep it healthy. They have a rotten plan for you and your retirement money. Contact your Republican legislators in the House and Senate and let them know this is a bad idea.
On Saturday, November 11, Representative Jeramey Anderson made it official. He is running to replace Steven Palazzo as the Congressional Representative from MS 4th District. Seven members of the Pearl River County Democratic Party traveled to Gulfport to show our support for this young man. Jeramey is a shining star in our party with a vision for a better Mississippi.
Qualifying for this seat begins in January, with primary elections in June. At this time, our party cannot endorse anyone until qualifying closes. We look forward to working with all of our candidates in the 2018 Mid-term Elections.