Notes from Sat. Nov. 15, 2014 meeting, RI Coalition to Defend Human and Civil Rights
1PM, Rochambeau Library
Present: Randall Rose, Patricia Raub, Terry Cummings, Patricia Fontes, Cathy Orloff ; also Marcus Pagnozzi for latter part of meeting.
- U.S. Surveillance – RALLY TOMORROW!!!!! Re: the recent revelation that it’s the U.S. Marshall’s office that participates in the new technology whereby a fake cell-phone-tower appliance is attached to small planes that fly over metro areas and trick every cell phone into registering its present location! Marshals say they need this to track fugitives, but it’s another expansion of government surveillance into our private lives, esp. where we all are at a specific time. Randall said a rally outside the U.S. Marshall’s office will be appropriate b/c they participate in this and the office is located right downtown. Planned for this Thursday, Nov. 20, 11AM. PLEASE SHOW UP IF AT ALL POSSIBLE!! At the rally we will deliver a letter to the Marshall’s office opposing this intrusive surveillance. Questions we may include: By what legal authority are they doing it? What judge authorized it? etc. Terry questioned how useful this would be in tracking fugitives, since it’s well known that criminals use throw-away cell phones.
PLEASE ATTEND, WE NEED NUMBERS!
- Re: Our group affiliating with Restore the Fourth (RTF): WE TOOK A TENTATIVE VOTE AT THE MEETING TO AFFILIATE WITH RTF. PLEASE EMAIL THE LIST IF YOU DISSENT FROM THIS BY FRIDAY, NOV. 28:
The earlier problem was RTF’s requiring that to affiliate, we have 5 members who pay their $60 dues annually. They have waived that so that only 1 of us has to pay. Randall agreed to pay and some of us partially reimbursed him. This means we can have our own identity and local issues, but still work consistently with RTF on surveillance. Our vote was 4-0 in favor of affiliating.
- An Occupy Providence meeting had preceded ours, It was noted that they will be contacting RI senators asking them to oppose the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Also perhaps going to Washington to lobby them personally? Contact Pat Fontes re: this.
- Patricia noted there will be a Black Friday vigil (day after Thanksgiving) at WalMart near Branch Ave. They have an internal strike going on re: wages, benefits, etc.
- Snowden movie, Citizen4, at Cable Car. Randall saw it Friday and got about 10 signatures on our petition, Stop Spying on the American People. The theater allows us to talk to people inside the lobby. (Hey, it’s a “lobby!”) Could others cover more showings? Patricia and Cathy agreed to do Saturday and Sunday. (We got about 15 more signatures with email addresses for the ListServe, plus info. re: our December meeting.)
- USA Freedom Act – It’s being revised in the Senate, but still too watered-down. Recommend that members call Congress opposing it and demanding something with more teeth. Pat suggested the Progressive Democrats could combine this with the TPP lobbying they’re doing.
- Net Neutrality – Obama is now in favor of this. Net Neutrality means being against the idea that internet companies, when they sell you service, could charge more for faster internet service.
This would seem to mean the end of the internet being equally open to all. Net Neutrality people want Congress to require the FCC to prohibit this discriminatory pricing, but the FCC says that the Internet would first have to be declared a public utility, because that’s what they regulate. A compromise has been proposed whereby the FCC could not discriminate among Internet COMPANIES, but they could when dealing with private individuals. We are against that compromise. Should we have a rally to that effect? David Segal of Demand Progress knows a lot about this. Terry suggested maybe it’s happening because Europe has a more open Internet than the U.S.? Ask Peter Nightengale if he can add this issue to our Blog.
- Police Militarization – We would like to get more info. about what weapons, etc.specific RI cities and town are getting. Difficult to get these facts. Randall did note some source that said that RI is getting less than other states…
- Our RiseUp ListServe is asking for donations to continue, and we all chipped in something at the meeting. All ListServe readers are asked to help them out. A great organization! https://help.riseup.net/donate
- Providence Mayor-Elect Elorza’s community meetings – The website is transitionpvd.com. Should we attend as a group? Ask about police brutality in Prov. And body cameras? Also about the city-level racial profiling bill? Please submit further suggestions/ideas via the listserv.
- Providence’s Lobbying Ordinance Hearing this Tuesday evening 11/25 Randall has been in touch with Councilman Seth Yurdin, also John Marion of Common Cause, who helped draft the proposed law, whose purpose is to identify people who are trying to get things passed that will economically benefit themselves or friends. They would have a $20 annual fee and have to file every 3 months. Now a proposed compromise is if you are lobbying for NON-economic reasons, you are exempt, but you still have to register once a year (I think).
- Next meeting of RICDHCR: Saturday, December 13, at Rochambeau Library.
Notes by Cathy Orloff, attendees please feel free to correct.