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Martha Burk

The Most Dangerous Time For Women’s Rights In Decades

We’re living in the most perilous time for abortion rights and reproductive freedom since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973. Since President Trump succeeded in elevating Brett Kavanaugh — an abortion foe, alleged sexual assailant, and mean drunk to boot — to the Supreme Court, his right-wing lynch mob has launched a laser-focused attack on reproductive freedom. They’ve been flooding the states with anti-abortion legislation in hopes of getting a case to the Supreme Court that will overturn Roe. More than 250 bills restricting abortions have been filed in 41 states this year. Georgia and Alabama have moved the goalposts for extreme anti-abortion laws, but the most horrific bill of all was recently debated in the Texas state legislature. It defines all abortions as murder, punishable by death in Texas. It hasn’t passed yet, but the numbers are frightening: 446 people testified in favor the Texas measure, with only 54 standing against it. Will burning at the stake be next? Be very afraid.

Dems To Charge McGahn With Contempt

As McGahn prepares to defy subpoena, Democrats’ anger swells. NYT: “The House Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday morning is expected to feature an empty chair — and a full measure of Democratic rage. Donald F. McGahn II, the former White House counsel, plans to defy a House subpoena under order of the White House and skip a hearing meant to spotlight President Trump’s attempts to obstruct the Russia investigation. The committee will convene the hearing anyway, though without the man Democrats had hoped could serve as a star eyewitness as they seek to build a case before the public. Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, the panel’s chairman, said Monday night that his committee would vote soon to recommend the House hold Mr. McGahn in contempt of Congress. But it is not clear if that will be enough to quell Democratic anger at the stonewalling by Mr. Trump and his administration, who in the month since the release of the report by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, have shut down virtually every request and subpoena from House lawmakers investigating the president.”

Koch Brothers Group Changes Name, Priorities

The Koch network is reorganizing under a new name and with new priorities. WaPo: The Seminar Network, which includes the constellation of groups funded by the billionaire industrialist Charles Koch and around 700 like-minded conservatives and libertarians who contribute at least $100,000 annually, will now operate as Stand Together. Freedom Partners, an entity that was once used to air campaign commercials, will cease to exist. Americans for Prosperity will now oversee all political and policy efforts. Groups that cater to specific constituencies, like Libre for Latinos or Concerned Veterans for America, have moved under the AFP umbrella. This is also happening against the backdrop of growing hostility on the right toward billionaires and the business community. These forces have led other entities, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, to also disentangle their brands from the GOP.”

TX Passes ALEC Bill To Criminalize Protest

Texas senate passes ‘Unconstitutional’ bill that would hit pipeline protestors with up to 10 Years in prison. Common Dreams: “Sparking outcry from indigenous tribes and environmental groups, the Texas state Senate on Monday passed industry-backed Republican legislation that would hit pipeline protestors with a third-degree felony and up to ten years in prison. ‘Here in Texas, members of the legislative body are looking to pass laws that harshly criminalize free speech and the right to protest,’ Juan Mancias, Tribal Elder with the Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe of Texas, said in a statement. As the Associated Press reported, the bill ‘would classify pipelines as critical infrastructure, putting them in the same category as power plants and water treatment facilities.’ According to the AP, the ‘amended bill would still subject those who trespass and damage the facility to a third degree felony with up to 10 years in prison,’ a sentence on par with the punishment for attempted murder.”

Poverty Undermines Vaccination Rates

Poverty and health care access keep kids from vaccination. NPR: “During this recent measles outbreak, there’s been a lot of discussion about the religious and ideological reasons behind low vaccination rates, especially in places like Washington state and New York. But sometimes the reasons why a kid is not up-to-date on their vaccines has more to do with poverty and access to health care than a parent’s vaccine hesitancy. Data from the CDC shows the connection between poverty and vaccination rates bears out nationally. ‘We see large coverage gaps among children who are living below the poverty line compared to those at or above poverty and among children who have no insurance,’ says Hill. ‘The highest disparity is among the uninsured compared to those with private insurance.’ For instance, CDC data shows that in 2017 only 75% of uninsured children age 19 to 35 months had gotten at least one dose of MMR, the vaccine for measles. That compares to 94% of privately insured children, and 90% of those on Medicaid. Insurance is not supposed to be a barrier to vaccination. There’s a federally funded program started in the 1990s called Vaccines for Children that provides free vaccines to children who are uninsured or on Medicaid. The CDC’s Hill says the agency needs to look at the program and ‘find ways to make it work better for more kids.'”

Yiannopolous Rallies Far Right For Civil War

Milo announces his intent to lead the next Civil War. Crooks and Liars: “The deplatforming of Milo Yiannopoulos — once one of the hottest names in far-right social media, now relegated to the dank corners of the Internet, thanks to his social-media ban — is following a somewhat predictable arc: He’s openly embracing the agenda of the radical right.Specifically, he’s now fomenting for a civil war. Fantasies about a civil war remain a highly popular target at far-right forums like Gab and 4chan. Apparently, Yiannopoulos is offering himself as their leading strategic thinker, since he apparently has more experience in insurgent strategies than anyone else in that corner of the Internet. Or so he would tell us.”

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