fresh voices from the front lines of change







Selma Activists Demand Voting Rights

After 54 years, the fight for voting rights in Selma is ongoing, organizers say. USA Today: "Fifty-four years after the brutal beating of black civil rights protesters in Alabama catalyzed the passage of sweeping voting rights legislation, politicians and civic leaders gathered in a Selma church on Sunday morning and once again decried the state of voting rights in America. The annual church service in Selma's Brown Chapel AME's sanctuary was as much a commemoration of the historical Bloody Sunday march as it was a clarion call for looming Democratic legislative and political battles. 'We can't indulge in a moral amnesia and forget that you honor history not just by reciting it, but by emulating it,' said U.S. Sen. and Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker of New Jersey. "Let it challenge you, demand from you. We come together to honor the sacrifices today. The only way we can honor the work done before us is by recommitting ourselves to it." Last week, Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala., introduced a bill seeking to restore key provisions in the Voting Rights Act of 1965 — the legislation that was sparked when hundreds of civil rights protesters attempted to march from Selma to Montgomery on March 7, 1965. The non-violent marchers were met with clubs and tear gas from white law enforcement in a brutal clash that shocked the nation."

Sanders, Hickenlooper, Inslee Join Presidential Fray

Former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper joins race for president. The Guardian: "The former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper has joined the Democratic race for the 2020 presidential election, citing an ability to bring people together in a time of “crisis”. The 67-year-old’s campaign said he will formally launch his campaign with a rally in Denver on Thursday. Hickenlooper is a moderate who served two terms as governor of Colorado as the once conservative-leaning western state moved increasingly to the left, presiding over liberal policies that included the legalization of marijuana in 2012. He is the 14th candidate and second governor to join a historically diverse Democratic primary field. He joins more moderate senators Amy Klobuchar (Minnesota) and Cory Booker (New Jersey). Kamala Harris of California has made a strong start towards the centre of the race. Leading lights from the more progressive lane include Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Governor Jay Inslee of Washington has announced a run based on environmental concerns. Montana governor Steve Bullock is also considering a run, as is the Colorado senator Michael Bennet."

Dems To Expand Trump Probes

Impending Mueller report may just be the beginning of Trump's investigation woes. CNN: "Democrats on Monday will launch an 'abuse of power' investigation that could be easily transformed into an even more serious process, with an expansive demand for documents from Trump's government, his family and even his real estate empire. The President reacted to his worsening plight with a vehement defense on Sunday, after a week in which testimony from his ex-lawyer Michael Cohen deepened his political vulnerability and ahead of the expected filing soon of special counsel Robert Mueller's report. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, who would eventually lead any impeachment proceedings, on Sunday signaled a significant escalation into congressional inquiries into the President. The New York Democrat plans on Monday to request documents from 60 people and entities close to Trump, including from the Department of Justice, the White House and the Trump Organization.
The document trawl will be used "to present the case to the American people about obstruction of justice, about corruption and abuse of power," Nadler said on ABC News' "This Week" on Sunday.
Nadler stuck to the House Democratic position that impeachment "is a long way down the road," apparently in order to avoid Republican arguments that the decision has already been made to try to oust Trump. The document requests are not taking place under the auspices of an official impeachment investigation. But Nadler said nevertheless that he believes the President had obstructed justice, a potentially impeachable offense."

'Fake News' Flourishes In Heartland

Hiding in plain sight: PAC-connected activists set up ‘Local News’ outlets. Snopes: "On 6 February 2017, a website of uncertain origin named “The Tennessee Star” was born. At the time, it was unclear who funded or operated this “local newspaper,” which was largely filled with freely licensed content from organizations tied to conservative mega-donors. After some prodding by Politico in early 2018, the Tennessee Star revealed its primary architects to be three Tea Party-connected conservative activists: Michael Patrick Leahy, Steve Gill, and Christina Botteri. Now, a Snopes investigation reveals in detail how these activists used the appearance of local newspapers to promote messages paid for or supported by outside or undisclosed interests. Gill, for example, is the political editor of the Tennessee Star, but he also owns a media consulting company that at least one candidate and one Political Action Committee (PAC) paid before receiving positive coverage in the Tennessee Star. Several Star writers have in the past or currently work for PACs or political campaigns that they write about, without disclosing that fact. Though its owners claim that the Tennessee Star is funded by advertising revenue, it appears to be supported by wealthy benefactors. Whatever the Tennessee Star is, it is not a local newspaper producing transparent journalism."

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Gritty Trade Negotiations. Leo Gerard: "It took grit to get this far. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer explained that to Congress last week. So, he said, no one in the administration is backing down now. They’ve managed to confront Beijing, a trade renegade, and do it with a powerful tool that previous negotiators lacked – tariffs. They launched the penalties last spring with charges on all imported steel and aluminum, then increased the pain with levies specifically on $50 billion in Chinese imports in July, followed by duties on $200 billion in Chinese imports in September. China retaliated, particularly with tariffs on agricultural goods. Some American businesses, farmers and workers suffered. And they complained. But the tariffs brought China to the table to discuss its violations – abuses that have damaged American industries and destroyed millions of American jobs for nearly two decades. Several lawmakers told Lighthizer that their constituents, particularly farmers, are suffering because of China’s retaliatory tariffs. U.S. Rep. Ron Kind of Wisconsin said family farms there are being hammered and, as a result, filing a record number of bankruptcies. U.S. Rep. Jodey Arrington of Texas said these are desperate times for farmers and ranchers in his district, with agricultural income declining at the steepest rate since the Great Depression and suicides skyrocketing. Lighthizer made it clear he understood the urgency of reaching a settlement so that farmers get tariff relief. But, he said, after talking to business groups, agricultural representatives, labor unions and members of Congress, he felt obligated to produce an agreement that was specific, measurable and enforceable on all levels of Chinese government. In addition, he said, it must be a deal that enables the United States to unilaterally counteract violations that China refuses to resolve. Otherwise, all the pain suffered by American farmers and ranchers and the tenaciousness of the administration will be for nothing."

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