fresh voices from the front lines of change







United States of Mean

Texas GOP lawmaker calls ICE on protesters, threatens to shoot colleague in the head. NPR:  “By the end of the state legislative session in Texas on Monday, the Capitol had devolved into scuffles and grave accusations. A Democratic lawmaker had accused his GOP colleague of threatening to “put a bullet” in another lawmaker’s head… Protesters from around the state descended on the Legislature, first watching Monday’s session in silence then gradually growing louder. The demonstrators, many of whom were Latino and dressed in red, shouted slogans from the second-floor viewing area, eventually interrupting the proceedings below… GOP state Rep. Matt Rinaldi says he called Immigration and Customs Enforcement on the protesters, several of whom carried signs proclaiming ‘I am illegal and here to stay.'”

Trump to decide if US leaves Paris climate accord this week. CNN: “The heat is on: President Trump says he will decide this week whether to stick with the landmark Paris climate accord. If Trump bails on the agreement, which has been signed by 195 countries, he will do so over the objections of hundreds of major U.S. businesses… Trump has called climate change a ‘hoax’ and blasted the Paris agreement as a ‘bad deal.’

Investigation of Russia influence turns to Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law. NYT: “The president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, was looking for a direct line to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia — a search that in mid-December found him in a room with a Russian banker whose financial institution was deeply intertwined with Russian intelligence, and remains under sanction by the United States. Federal and congressional investigators are now examining what exactly Mr. Kushner and the Russian banker, Sergey N. Gorkov, wanted from each other.”

The Home of the Brave

‘Brave and selfless’ Oregon stabbing victims hailed as heroes for standing up to racist rants. WaPo: “They had tried to intervene, police said, after another passenger began “ranting and raving” and shouting anti-Muslim insults at two young women. That’s when the ranting passenger turned his anger toward those who sought to calm him down. He fatally stabbed two men and seriously injured a third, police said, before fleeing the train on foot.”

One hundred eighth-graders refuse to be photographed with Ryan. Common Dreams:  “One hundred eighth grade students refused to be photographed with Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan during a field trip to the nation’s capital because they “didn’t want to be associated with a person who puts his party before his country,” as one student put it. According to reporting, roughly half of the 200 students who traveled from South Orange Middle School in New Jersey protested the photo-op on Thursday, watching instead from a parking lot across the street.”

Tax Time?

Democrats Should Propose an Actual ‘Middle Class’ Tax Cut. New York Magazine: “Democrats have every reason to make taxes one of their signature issues. Voters want the tax code to be simpler and fairer — which is to say, they want the middle class to pay less, the rich to pay more, and for everyone to spend less time on government-mandated paperwork. Republicans cannot deliver these goods because they are beholden to interest groups that oppose them. The libertarian billionaires who shield the GOP from popular rebuke demand tribute. And those billionaires — along with tax-services companies — have an investment in keeping Americans confused and overwhelmed at tax time.”

Are Dems Winning…

Why Populism Is the Pragmatic Way Forward for Democrats. Alternet: “…two relatively minor elections in the Northeast provided further confirmation that populism is the pragmatic way forward for Democrats. The first was in New York’s Long Island, where Christine Pellegrino, a progressive and Bernie Sanders delegate at last year’s Democratic National Convention, was elected to the New York State Assembly…. The second… took place in New Hampshire, where Edie DesMarais became the first Democrat to win a state House seat in Wolfeboro, a longtime Republican stronghold in the rural swing state. ‘This successful effort is the first crack in the Republican majority, and the initial sign of Democratic energy translating into electoral victory in the aftermath of the 2016 election,’ declared the New Hampshire branch of the Democratic Party.”

…or Losing?

Wake up, Liberals: There will be no 2018 ‘Blue Wave.” Salon: “We received a message from the future this week, directed to the outraged liberals of the so-called anti-Trump resistance. It was delivered by an unlikely intermediary, Greg Gianforte, the Republican who won a special election on Thursday and will soon take his seat in Congress as Montana’s lone representative… If you found yourself ashen-faced and dismayed on Friday morning, because you really believed the Montana election would bring a sign of hope and mark the beginning of a return to sanity in American politics, then the message encoded in Gianforte’s victory is for you.”

More from

Trump Budget Makes America Land of No Opportunity. Leo Gerard: “A few hundred billion cut here, a few hundred billion slashed there, and the Trump budget proposal adds up to real crushed opportunity. The spending plan slices a pound of flesh from everyone, well, everyone who isn’t a millionaire or billionaire. Each incision is painful. But what’s worse is the collective result: the annihilation of opportunity. The rich can buy opportunity. The rest cannot. What was always special about America was its guarantee of opportunity to everyone.”

New NAFTA Must Put People and Planet First. Tobita Chow: “Any renegotiation of trade agreements must include replacing the ISDS corporate court system, which tilts the playing field in favor of multinational capital, with new, strong standards that will protect workers and the environment in every country.”


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