fresh voices from the front lines of change







VA Teachers March To Demand Funding

Thousands of Virginia teachers march to state capitol demanding more funding, better salaries. ThinkProgress: "Thousands of Virginia teachers left their classrooms and rallied in Richmond on Monday to demand more education funding and higher salaries. Teachers gathered in front of the state capitol building, just as their fellow educators did during strikes and rallies last year in West Virginia, Kentucky, Arizona, Colorado, Oklahoma, and North Carolina. Virginia Educators United (VEU), which organized Monday’s rally, wants schools to have adequate support staff, such as nurses and social workers, competitive wages for support staff, improved school infrastructure, and better recruitment and retention of high-quality teachers. VEU encouraged teachers to take a personal day to attend the rally. 'I just think it’s one of those things where we have been waiting patiently and we always say, the [Great Recession] this, the recession that. That was 2008; we don’t have time to wait anymore so we need to fund education now,' Kevin Hickerson, president of the Fairfax Education Association, told ThinkProgress. Hickerson said that in Fairfax, like many other school districts across the country, it’s common for teachers to be working two or three jobs in order to make ends meet. The district needs to take additional steps to ensure support personnel, such as custodians, bus drivers, and cafeteria workers, can afford to live in the communities in which they work."

SCOTUS Ruling May Undermine Roe V. Wade

The Supreme Court may kill Roe v. Wade as soon as this week. ThinkProgress: "Lawyers representing a Louisiana abortion clinic and at least two physicians filed an application in the Supreme Court on Monday asking the court to halt a Louisiana law that is identical to a Texas law the justices struck down in 2016. The court is almost certain to deny this application in a 5-4 vote — possibly as soon as tonight. When it does so, it will effectively mark the end of Roe v. Wade. Yes, the court is very unlikely to hand down an opinion this week which uses the words 'Roe v. Wade is overruled.' But these abortion providers filed this application because a federal appeals court openly defied the Supreme Court’s most recent abortion decision. When the court refuses to enforce its own decision, that will send a clear signal to lower court judges throughout the country that they are free to uphold restrictions on abortion. The case is June Medical Services v. Gee. Gee involves a Louisiana law requiring “a physician performing or inducing an abortion” to 'have active admitting privileges at a hospital that is located not further than thirty miles from the location at which the abortion is performed or induced and that provides obstetrical or gynecological health care services.' If that law sounds familiar, that’s because it is identical, almost word-for-word, to a Texas law that the Supreme Court struck down in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. Whole Woman’s Health was a 5-3 decision, however, and the Supreme Court now looks very different than the court that struck down the Texas law in 2016."

Climate Change Is The Real National Emergency

Climate change, not border security, is the real national emergency. The Intercept: "be over for now, but President Donald Trump’s threat to declare a national emergency still looms. The continuing resolution passed Friday afternoon does not contain funding for a border wall, and the president has suggested that if Congress doesn’t compromise on a funding plan within three weeks, he may still proclaim a national emergency at the border. When Trump first threatened to use emergency powers to unlock $5.7 billion for his $20 billion border wall project, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. came out strongly against it — but not for humanitarian reasons or because he is concerned about an unmistakable creep toward authoritarianism. Rather, Rubio worried that normalizing the call for a state of emergency might make it easier for politicians to act on a genuine existential threat: 'If today, the national emergency is border security,' said Rubio, 'tomorrow, the national emergency might be climate change.' Rubio is right to worry. Climate change is a legitimate emergency, unlike Trump’s border 'crisis,' which is a fabrication sewn of foam-mouthed racism and vain partisan panic. Security and militarization at the border has increased steadily over the last decades; border crossings have been in decline for years; and most heroin smuggled over the border comes through legal border crossings, not the areas that are targeted for a wall. Meanwhile, overwhelming scientific evidence says that climate change could take hundreds of millions of lives and trigger a global economic collapse in the next several decades, making anything we might recognize as human civilization physically impossible."

ICE Courthouse Arrests Surge

ICE courthouse arrests rise 1,700 percent under Trump. The Intercept: "years after Donald Trump’s inauguration ushered in sweeping changes to the nation’s immigration enforcement system, accounts of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arresting undocumented immigrants in and around New York courts have increased by 1,700 percent, according to a new report. The expanded courthouse operations have been coupled with increased reports of New York-based immigration agents using physical force to take undocumented immigrants into custody, the Immigrant Defense Project said Monday. 'ICE operations increased not only in absolute number but grew in brutality and geographic scope' from 2017 to 2018, the IDP report found, with plainclothes agents in New York relying on 'intrusive surveillance and violent force to execute arrests.' Included in the new report are accounts of New York-based agents grabbing people off the street as they attempt to go to or leave court, shuffling them into unmarked cars, and refusing to identify themselves as bewildered family members look on. 'This report shows that ICE is expanding surveillance and arrests in courthouses across the state, creating a crisis for immigrants who need access to the courts,' Alisa Wellek, IDP’s executive director, said in a statement. 'We cannot allow ICE to turn New York’s courts into traps for immigrants.'"

Wall Street Pressures Dems On 2020

"It Can't Be Warren and It Can't Be Sanders": Wall Street Executives Make 2020 Preferences Known. Common Dreams: "The first 2020 Democratic presidential primary is still over a year away, but Wall Street executives are reportedly already freaking out about two likely progressive candidates: Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). 'It can't be Warren and it can't be Sanders,' the CEO of a 'giant bank' anonymously told Politico, which reported on Monday that Wall Street executives are "getting panicked" about the presidential prospects of the Senate's two fiercest financial sector critics. Warren launched an exploratory committee for president last month, vowing to take on the 'corruption' that is 'poisoning our democracy.' Sanders, for his part, has yet to publicly announce a bid for the White House—but Yahoo News reported on Friday that the Vermont senator plans to launch his campaign 'imminently.' Both progressive senators have placed scrutiny of Wall Street's size, record of large-scale fraud, exorbitant CEO pay packages, enormous political influence, and lack of stringent regulations at the center of their political agendas for years, and deep-pocketed bankers who have profited immensely from President Donald Trump's tenure are worried that one of the two could ascend to the White House and threaten their pocketbooks. 'Bankers' biggest fear,' Politico reported, is that the 2020 Democratic presidential "nomination goes to an anti-Wall Street crusader" like Warren or Sanders."

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