fresh voices from the front lines of change








Maggie Ellinger-Locke

ALEC Wants To Make Protest Illegal In Illinois

Dangerous anti-protest legislation is working its way through state assemblies all across the U.S., chipping away at the right to protest and undermining social justice movements. State legislators have introduced nearly 100 bills curbing your right to protest since the resistance at Standing Rock began. And if oil and gas companies get their way, Illinois will now be added to the list. Illinois HB 1633 seeks to increase criminal penalties for people who trespass on so-called critical infrastructure facilities. The bill lifts its language from a model bill authored by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the secretive group of corporate lobbyists trying to rewrite state laws to benefit corporations over people. The bill would broadly redefine “critical infrastructure” to include oil and gas pipelines and processing facilities, and turn peaceful activity by protesters into a class four felony punishable by up to three years of incarceration and a heavy fine. The right to protest is a core American value, and free speech is the truly critical infrastructure of our democracy. Don’t let ALEC erode your rights. Read up on these bills, and do everything you can to speak out. Our very future depends on it.

White House Stonewall Sparks Constitutional Crisis

Trump's feud with Congress puts American democracy on the brink. CNN: "The constitutional showdown between President Donald Trump and House Democrats is taking a grave new twist that threatens to embroil the nation in a deep political and legal nightmare that could last for years. With almost every day that passes, Trump is providing a glimpse of how American government might look under a President who disdains the principles and pillars on which it is built. His sweeping assertion of executive privilege over the entire Mueller report on Wednesday intensified the most serious standoff between Congress and the White House in decades and opened a hugely significant new battle over the nature of US democracy.
The move followed broad and repeated efforts by the administration to thwart congressional oversight, for example, by ignoring subpoenas for documents and testimony by current and former officials. On Wednesday it also emerged that the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee is deadlocked with the President's eldest son, Don Jr., who has been subpoenaed to return to the panel to testify."

Dems Seek To Restore Checks And Balances

Facing a Trump stonewall, Democrats struggle for options to compel cooperation. NYT: "House Democrats, infuriated by President Trump’s stonewalling, are struggling to mount a more aggressive campaign to compel him to cooperate with their investigations — a push that could include a threat to jail officials, garnish their wages and perhaps even impeach the president. With Mr. Trump throwing up roadblocks on practically a daily basis — he moved on Wednesday to keep the unredacted version of the special counsel’s report out of lawmakers’ hands — Democrats and their leaders are feeling a new urgency to assert their power as a coequal branch of government. Some who previously urged caution are now saying impeachment may be inevitable. 'If the facts lead us to that objective, so be it,' Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the majority leader, told reporters on Wednesday. He said Democratic leaders and the chairmen of six committees are coordinating on what he hopes will be a 'holistic' strategy to paint a picture for the public of 'perhaps the greatest cover-up of any president in American history.'"

'Domestic Terrorism' By White Nationalists Rises

FBI is investigating 850 cases of potential domestic terrorism. NPR: "The FBI is investigating some 850 cases of domestic terrorism and considers it serious and persistent threat, the FBI's Michael McGarrity told the House Committee on Homeland Security on Wednesday. McGarrity and his fellow national security officials then went on to explain to committee members why the U.S. doesn't have an explicit law allowing the federal government to criminally charge extremists with domestic terrorism. The federal government, law enforcement and even civil rights groups like the ACLU all consistently say that free speech rights under the First Amendment would make it problematic to define U.S. groups as terrorist organizations. The U.S. has designated about 60 groups as terrorist organizations. Most are Islamist, all are based abroad. The Patriot Act does define domestic terrorism, which gives law enforcement some additional authority to investigate, but this does not include an actual criminal charge of domestic terrorism. High-profile attacks in recent years, including mass shootings at synagogues and churches, has led to increased discussion about whether Congress should establish a domestic terrorism law."

Trump Jokes About Shooting Migrants

Trump jokes after rally attendee's suggestion to 'shoot' migrants at the border. CNN: "President Donald Trump made a joke Wednesday night when someone in the audience at his campaign rally suggested migrants crossing into the United States should be shot. Trump outlined his concerns about the US-Mexico border, making the case for his long-sought border wall: "When you have 15,000 people marching up, and you have hundreds and hundreds of people, and you have two or three border security people that are brave and great. 'And don't forget, we don't let them and we can't let them use weapons. We can't. Other countries do. We can't. I would never do that. But how do you stop these people?' the President said. Someone in the audience interrupted Trump, shouting: 'Shoot them!' Trump chuckled at the shouted remark before shaking his head, as the crowd began to laugh 'That's only in the Panhandle you can get away with that statement,' the President then said with a smile, with the crowd erupting into laughter."

'Students For Trump' Founder Indicted For Wire Fraud

He founded ‘Students for Trump.’ Now he could face jail time for impersonating a lawyer. Politico: "n the eve of the last presidential election, NBC’s “Nightly News” broadcast featured two skinny college students in jackets and ties, discussing the future of American politics. They were co-founders of Students for Trump, a grassroots group that had tapped the social media power of Donald Trump’s populist movement — and of photos of bikini-clad co-eds in MAGA hats — to become the real estate mogul’s standard-bearer on college campuses around the country. 'I see Donald Trump as reviving the Republican Party,' one of them, John Lambert, declared with a confidence uncommon for a college junior. Last month, Lambert, now 23, showed up in the news again. This time, he had been indicted for alleged wire fraud. According to the federal government, at the same time he was building a nationwide political network and serving as one of the most visible young faces of Trump’s populist movement, Lambert was also posing online as a high-powered New York lawyer, eventually making off with tens of thousands of dollars in fees he stole from dupes seeking legal services."

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