fresh voices from the front lines of change







Trump Wants To Eliminate Transgender As Category

‘Transgender’ could be defined out of existence Under Trump administration. NYT: "The Trump administration is considering narrowly defining gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth, the most drastic move yet in a governmentwide effort to roll back recognition and protections of transgender people under federal civil rights law. A series of decisions by the Obama administration loosened the legal concept of gender in federal programs, including in education and health care, recognizing gender largely as an individual’s choice and not determined by the sex assigned at birth. The policy prompted fights over bathrooms, dormitories, single-sex programs and other arenas where gender was once seen as a simple concept. Conservatives, especially evangelical Christians, were incensed. Now the Department of Health and Human Services is spearheading an effort to establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans gender discrimination in education programs that receive government financial assistance, according to a memo obtained by The New York Times."

GOP Stokes Racist Fears For Votes

Trump’s closing argument: The brown people Are coming!. The Daily Beast: "There are 15 days from now until voting ends, and in addition to monitoring the polls and the fortunes of your preferred candidates, I suggest you keep an eye on the progress in the coming days of the caravan of Central American refugees who started crossing into Mexico over the weekend. It sure looks like the Trump administration wants to turn this story into its closing argument, riling up the base by stoking fear of a brown wave descending on Brownsville, Texas, and accusing Democrats (and of course George Soros) of making it all happen. Polls still indicate that Democrats and young people are fired up to vote. There was a burst of Republican enthusiasm around the Kavanaugh fight, but there are signs, perhaps, that has ebbed a bit. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released Sunday gave the Democrats a 9-point generic ballot advantage over the Republicans. So the Republicans have been playing their usual fear cards. But they’re coming up snake eyes. Fear of Nancy Pelosi isn’t working all that well and indeed now may backfire after that ugly demonstration against her when she appeared in Miami to campaign over the weekend. Members of the openly racist Proud Boys group were among those yelling “communist!” at the House Democratic leader. They may actually succeed in turning Pelosi into a figure of sympathy and solidarity. The fear of Democrats taking away your health care has bombed, since Mitch McConnell admitted late last week that if they solidify their majorities, Republicans will take another whack at Obamacare. That leaves the old reliable Republican fear cards, the ones that long predate Trump: national security and race, in this case fused into a narrative Trump and other Republicans are trying to build about the Honduran refugees attempting to enter Mexico. That’s where their closing argument is headed, and it’s terrifying to imagine where it might climax."

CFPB Sells Out Student Loan Borrowers

Dept. of Ed and CFPB renege on promises to public service borrowers. NPR: "On the morning of Monday, Aug. 27, Seth Frotman told his two young daughters that he would likely be home early that day and could take them to the playground. They cheered. Frotman assumed that after walking into his office and, at precisely 9:30 a.m., hitting 'send' on an incendiary resignation letter to lawmakers accusing the Trump administration of betraying student borrowers, he would promptly be walked out with his things, and his career, in a cardboard box. 'Unfortunately, under your leadership,' Frotman wrote to his boss, Mick Mulvaney, 'the Bureau has abandoned the very consumers it is tasked by Congress with protecting. Instead, you have used the Bureau to serve the wishes of the most powerful financial companies in America.' Frotman arrived at this conclusion, in part, after he and his team reviewed thousands of borrower complaints the previous summer. One program kept coming up, hurting and infuriating the very people it was meant to help: the U.S. government's effort to reward student borrowers for public service — for being nurses, teachers and first responders."

Will The Blue Wave Reach Texas?

Here's why the blue wave runs through Texas — and white Evangelical women. Alternet: "Eyes are locked on Texas. And deep in its heart are white evangelicals who could be part of a blue wave many hope will wash over that red state to carry Ted Cruz far out to sea. In tight race between Cruz and his energetic Democratic Party opponent Beto O’Rourke, New York Times reporter Elizabeth Dias suggests that white evangelical women could be open to Democratic candidates. Her interviews with long-time Republican voters point to an increasing disenchantment that could temper the unwavering evangelical support that Republican incumbents and candidates view as their inalienable birthright. White evangelical women from Texas, Dias explains, are not poised en masse to bolt from the Republican Party. But Trump’s leadership has down-ticket implications even for Cruz, his bitter opponent in 2016. In this competitive U.S. Senate race, even a slightly depressed turnout among the Republican base combined with a healthy number of party-switching voters could make a decisive difference. The evangelical women whom Diaz interviewed see a 'stark moral contrast' between Trump and O’Rourke. They view Trump’s policies and behavior, including banning Muslim refugees, separating children from their parents at the border, and Trump’s disrespect of women, as 'fundamentally anti-Christian.' When an older white evangelical man said to one of Diaz’s interviewees, Tess Clarke, that she couldn’t be a Christian and vote for O’Rourke, Clarke responded: 'I keep going back to who Jesus was when he walked on earth. This is about proximity to people in pain.'"

Evangelicals Question Pro-Trump 'Toxic Christianity'

Pastor decries 'loss of moral core' by pro-Trump Christians. Newsweek: "The white evangelical Christian community has followed its unyielding opposition to abortion down a path of immorality, a Minneapolis religious leader wrote in an impassioned opinion piece published Sunday. Evangelical pastor Doug Pagitt decried the loss of the religious right's moral core in a USA Today editorial. Pagitt pointed at abortion as the main issue leading evangelicals away from religious teachings. Pagitt mourned the broader loss of morality among white evangelicals, which he wrote was sacrificed to 'lockstep with the Republican Party' on abortion. He lamented the community's support for Republicans and Trump despite the president's immigrant family separation policy and the nomination of Supreme Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh. He wrote that the unwavering backing for conservatives had led white evangelicals to espouse values 'antithetical to what Jesus preached.' The preacher challenged the idea that faith should lead to a specific political alignment, writing 'my faith does not call me to be Republican or Democrat. My faith calls me to love God and love my neighbor as I love myself. I am called to vote for the common good, for justice and humanity.'

What It Feels Like In A Working Class Family

TV has more work to do for the working class. CNN: "The Conners live in the type of fictional Midwest town that's felt the burden of economic strife and saw Donald Trump as a way out. George Goehl recognizes that type of town, because he spends a lot of time in them as part of his work with People's Action, a nonprofit group that aims to unite poor working class people on the city, state and national level. Goehl would like to see strides in how working class families of all races are portrayed. 'Dignity' must be restored, he says. 'The amount of ingenuity and creativity it takes to survive being poor and to figure out how, you know, if you're a domestic worker, how you're going to take three buses to get to work on time and get your kid to school and figure out how to get back...that is a lot of work' he says. "I do think a new narratives around around poverty and poor people would help.' He adds: 'People's feeling seen and understood in all their beauty and complexity, I think does a lot for people, and their sense of place in a world.'"

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