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Blasey Ford, Kavanaugh Testify

A day that will resonate in history. CNN: “When Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh and his original accuser Christine Blasey Ford deliver dueling testimony on Thursday, they will conjure drama of an intensity unusual even in the Trump administration. In Room 226 in the Dirksen Senate Office building, Kavanaugh will effectively stand trial after three women came forward with accusations about his conduct as a teenager in the alcohol-fueled youth party culture of the early 1980s. Kavanaugh will deny all the accusations against him, according to an advance excerpt of his remarks. Kavanaugh also denied new accusations released in Senate Judiciary Committee transcripts Wednesday night. But first, Ford will step forward to tell her story — exposing herself to the world, instantly becoming an icon of the social revolution unleashed by the #MeToo moment and putting her own reputation and her family’s safety at risk. ‘I am here today not because I want to be. I am terrified,’ Ford will tell the committee, according to an early copy of her testimony. ‘It is not my responsibility to determine whether Mr. Kavanaugh deserves to sit on the Supreme Court. My responsibility is to tell the truth.’ Thursday is about far more than a painful and compelling human drama that will be decided not by a jury, but the votes of 100 senators. It is the culmination of decades of political and societal forces that have led up to a political pivot point.”

Kavanaugh Risks Destroying SCOTUS Legitimacy

Kavanaugh risks destroying the Supreme Court’s legitimacy if he is confirmed. ThinkProgress: “Here is what the future will almost certainly look like if Judge Brett Kavanaugh becomes Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Some time very soon, possibly in the next several months, six men and three women will meet in a room within the Supreme Court building, and five of the men will vote to eliminate the constitutional right to an abortion. While there is some uncertainty about whether the Court will overrule Roe v. Wade outright, or hand down a more dishonest decision that allows states to ban abortion in underhanded ways, there is no reasonable uncertainty about how Kavanaugh will vote on abortion. The five votes to end the right to an abortion will include Justice Clarence Thomas, who almost certainly sexually harassed Anita Hill, and Brett Kavanaugh, who now faces multiple allegations of sexual assault and similar behavior. Mull this potential future over as you also ponder Alexander Hamilton’s words from The Federalist #78. ‘The judiciary,’ Hamilton wrote, ‘has no influence over either the sword or the purse; no direction either of the strength or of the wealth of the society; and can take no active resolution whatever.’ Courts ‘may truly be said to have neither FORCE nor WILL, but merely judgment; and must ultimately depend upon the aid of the executive arm even for the efficacy of its judgments.'”

Congress Passes Opioid Bill

In rare bipartisan accord, House and Senate reach compromise on opioid bill. NYT: “The House and Senate have reached agreement on a big package of measures to address the opioid epidemic. The legislation, backed by leaders of both parties, is a rare bipartisan achievement that lawmakers are eager to have in hand when they go home to campaign for the midterm elections. The 653-page bill contains a mix of law enforcement and public health measures, including one that aims to block deadly fentanyl from being imported through the mail and one that will allow more nurses to prescribe medication for opioid addiction. Another provision could make it easier for Medicaid recipients to get inpatient care for substance abuse over the next five years. ‘While there is more work to be done, this bipartisan legislation takes an important step forward and will save lives,’ a group of Republican and Democratic committee leaders said in a statement. But addiction experts say that while many of the measures will help incrementally, the investment remains meager and scattershot compared with what is needed, and with what the government spent to stem the tide of AIDS-related deaths in the 1990s.”

Mounting Costs Of Immigration Crackdown

Funding The Immigration Crackdown At An ‘Unsustainable Rate’. NPR “President Trump’s immigration crackdown has not come cheap. Take the cost of deportation: Immigration and Customs Enforcement has its own airline operation to fly deportees back home. So far this fiscal year, it’s $107 million over budget. ICE Air is the little-known, one-way ticket transportation arm of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. ICE Air is busier than ever because of stepped up deportations under President Trump, and more countries around the globe agreeing to take back deportees from the U.S. The cost to keep up the pace has jumped 30 percent this fiscal year. Ten times a week, an unmarked white jetliner lands at the airport in Guatemala City and disgorges a hundred or so unhappy passengers. They enter the Guatemalan Air Force terminal, check in with immigration, and spill out of double-doors, ready to sneak back to the U.S. border, or restart their lives at home.”

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