fresh voices from the front lines of change








Reggie Griffin

Why I Chose To Die In Front Of The AMA

I never expected to “die” in front of a roomful of doctors. Much less in front of the annual meeting of the American Medical Association, in my hometown of Chicago. But that’s where I found myself, along with thirty fellow members of the Jane Addams Senior Caucus, when we took over their annual meeting last Saturday to tell the AMA to get out of the way of Medicare For All. Not so fast, AMA. If you want to kill Medicare For All, you’ll have to come through me, and my fellow James Addams members, first. And we’re not going anywhere. The time is up for us to sit on the sidelines and complain about things – you’ve got to get involved. And it’s not just for myself as a senior: I have two grown daughters, five grown grandkids, and five young great-grandkids. They, at some point, will come along the same route that I do. So we’ve got to fight now for them, to preserve and improve what we have for the future. I have to believe that if the members of the AMA can see the faces – our faces – and hear our voices, the voices of those directly affected by the denial of care, they will come around and demand that their organization support Medicare For All. After all, each and every one of them has taken an oath to first do no harm. And as members of the AMA, they are doing harm, to us, by standing in the way of Medicare For All. I can’t imagine that if they truly consider themselves healers, they’d want to be represented by an organization that acts more like the notorious gun lobby, the NRA, in the way they influence our politicians to advance policies that harm us and our communities – especially people of color. The AMA, like the NRA, says they defend our rights: but they only right I see them defending is our right to die. As long as they stand in the way of Medicare for All, they’re refusing to defend our right to live. And until they step up to actually defend us, we’ll stand in their way – so we can open a way towards the dignity and health care we all need and deserve in this country, with Medicare For All.

Trump Plans To Hold Migrant Kids At Former Japanese Detention Camp

Trump Administration to Hold Migrant Children at Base That Served as WWII Japanese Internment Camp. Time: "The Trump Administration has opted to use an Army base in Oklahoma to hold growing numbers of immigrant children in its custody after running out of room at government shelters. Fort Sill, an 150-year-old installation once used as an internment camp for Japanese-Americans during World War II, has been selected to detain 1,400 children until they can be given to an adult relative, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The agency said Fort Sill will be used “as a temporary emergency influx shelter” to help ease the burden on the government as it prepares to house a record number of minors even though it already operates about 168 facilities and programs in 23 states."

Migrant Defender Not Convicted Of Charges

Felony trial of migrant defender ends. The Intercept: "Nineteen months after his arrest, Warren’s case had drawn international attention and outrage, with United Nations human rights experts and advocacy organizations from around the world decrying the prosecution as a blatant attack on humanitarian aid in a region where migrants where thousands of migrants have died — and continue to die — in the desert. Despite the mistrial, the government has not dropped the charges against Warren, a 36-year-old geographer from Ajo, Arizona. The possibility of a retrial is still alive, with Warren facing up 20 years in prison if convicted on all counts and sentenced to consecutive terms. A status meeting in the case is scheduled for early July."

Some Dems Can't Even Say "Medicare For All"

Democratic Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal Reportedly Doesn't Want Phrase 'Medicare for All' Used During Medicare for All Hearing. Common Dreams: "Ahead of the House Ways and Means Committee's historic Medicare for All hearing Wednesday morning, committee chairman Rep. Richard Neal—a longtime opponent of single-payer and major beneficiary of insurance industry cash—reportedly informed the panel's Democrats behind closed doors that he doesn't want the phrase 'Medicare for All' to be mentioned during the session. "Neal, a Massachusetts Democrat who has been in office since 1989, told the Democrats on the panel that he didn't want the phrase 'Medicare for All' to be used," The Intercept reported Tuesday. "Instead, he said, the hearing should focus on all the different ways to achieve 'universal healthcare' or 'universal health coverage,' which he said was a better term to deploy." Medicare for All, he argued, was wrong on policy and is a political loser," according to The Intercept, which cited sources present at the private meeting held last week. Neal did not deny that he wants the focus of the hearing to be on the more vague idea of "universal healthcare" rather than the specific solutions proposed by Medicare for All advocates."

New Legislation Could Allow Gun Victims To Sue

Shooting victims could sue gun industry under Democrats' legislation. The Hill: "Congressional emocrats on Tuesday unveiled legislation that would grant victims of gun violence the right to sue members of the firearms industry, NPR reported. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) reintroduced The Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act to help victims of gun violence have their day in court. The measure aims to repeal a 2005 bill called The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), which grants federal protections to firearm and ammunition manufacturers, dealers and trade groups. PLCAA, signed into law by then-President George W. Bush, prevents the gun industry from most civil lawsuits when a firearm is used unlawfully or in a crime, NPR noted."

Budget Deadlock Looms

Trump budget negotiators get Republican brushback. Politico: "Republican leaders sat down recently with President Donald Trump and his top aides about avoiding a budget debacle this fall. Not everyone was on the same page. With Trump and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney at his side, acting budget chief Russ Vought repeatedly urged Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy to raise the debt ceiling without a broader agreement to lift stiff spending caps. McConnell, the Senate majority leader, was open to different ways to raise the debt ceiling and eager to avoid default. But he eventually grew tired of hearing from Vought. “Listen buddy, we’re not doing a clean debt ceiling. Get a budget caps deal,” McConnell said, according to people familiar with the conversation in April. For years, Mulvaney and Vought were the kind of conservative agitators that made life difficult for McConnell and his caucus. Now they have Trump’s ear on fiscal issues and have been directed to cut a deal with Congress — even though they’ve already expressed resistance to increasing spending in any pact with Democrats, raising the prospect of another shutdown fight or even a debt ceiling showdown in the fall."

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