Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Democracy Spring is NOW... Happy Birthday Thomas Jefferson!


#Democracy Spring Movement Launches Voting Rights Sit-in Washington, DC - Sputnik International

Thousands of demonstrators have gathered at the US Capitol to stage a mass sit-in to call for election reform.

“Almost every American agrees our democracy is seriously out of whack – that our elections and government are dominated by wealthy interests,” Kai Newkirk, lead organizer of Democracy Spring, said in a statement.

“And yet Congress is doing nothing. So today we say no more.”

Sputnik's correspondent on the ground says hundreds of arrests have been made. Officials say the number of arrests at the Capitol is unprecedented.

"Over 1,000 people have confirmed over the phone with our organizers that they are going to be risking arrest this week," Democracy Spring's deputy campaign director Curt Ries told Sputnik. Demonstrators hope to "send a clear message to Americans across the country that their government is not only corrupt, but is refusing these solutions."

The group is calling for four specific reform measures. In addition to overturning the Citizens United ruling that legalized unlimited corporate campaign contributions, Democracy Spring is also calling for a modernization of voter registration, the creation of a public campaign financing system, and a restoration of a scrapped provision of the Voting Rights Act that allowed southern states to approve their own voting procedures.

Demonstrators plan to remain in protest throughout the week.

Thomas Jefferson is born, April 13, 1743

By Andrew Glass

On this day in 1743, Thomas Jefferson, who drafted the Declaration of Independence and served as the nation’s third president, was born as the third of 10 children into a prominent planter’s family in Albemarle County, Va.

Near the close of the Revolutionary War, Jefferson served two terms as Virginia’s governor. Returning to the United States from France after the ratification of the Constitution, Jefferson became the nation’s first secretary of state under President George Washington and then vice president under John Adams. During those years, he led the Republican-Democrats, one of two rival political parties, from which today’s Democratic Party descends.

Jefferson had briefly retired from public life but returned to it after the death of his young wife, Martha, in 1782. He then helped craft congressional legislation that laid the foundation for governance of America’s western territories.

Soon after Martha died, a French visitor, the Marquis de Chastellux, having conversed at length with Jefferson at his Monticello home, wrote:

“Let me describe to you a man, not yet 40, tall, and with a mild and pleasing countenance. … An American, who without ever having quitted his own country, is at once a musician, skilled in drawing, a geometrician, an astronomer, a natural philosopher, legislator and statesman. … Sometimes natural philosophy, at others politics or the arts, were the topics of our conversation, for no object had escaped Mr. Jefferson; and it seemed as if from his youth he had placed his mind, as he has done his house, on an elevated situation, from which he might contemplate the universe.”

In 1801, Jefferson merged the roles of president and party leader, setting a precedent that all presidents have followed. During his two terms, he arranged purchase of the vast Louisiana Territory from Napoleonic France.


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