People’s Action and its member groups have boldly moved into electoral politics, successfully electing our own members and candidates who share our values to office. We’ve done this by building training pipelines and strategies that have proven effective to elect progressive champions with whom we can co-govern. But there is another major aspect of governance that is just as important: engaging those who implement policies in agencies and commissions. It’s often these unelected officials who implement – or can block – important policies. They’re where the rubber meets the road. Many a legislative victory has been undone by the appointed officials, agencies and commissions who are tasked to implement and regulate the policies we have won. We have learned from experience to tell candidates we expect input on staffing commensurate with our level of support up front. Just as we have developed a successful pipeline program for training potential candidates, we have also created a pipeline program for staffers. We still have work to do in developing both training for these prospective staffers, and strategies to get them hired, but we’re on it.
Trump Brings U.S. To Brink Of War With Iran
Trump approves strikes on Iran, but then abruptly pulls back. NYT: "President Trump approved military strikes against Iran in retaliation for downing an American surveillance drone, but pulled back from launching them on Thursday night after a day of escalating tensions. As late as 7 p.m., military and diplomatic officials were expecting a strike, after intense discussions and debate at the White House among the president’s top national security officials and congressional leaders, according to multiple senior administration officials involved in or briefed on the deliberations. Officials said the president had initially approved attacks on a handful of Iranian targets, like radar and missile batteries. The operation was underway in its early stages when it was called off, a senior administration official said. Planes were in the air and ships were in position, but no missiles had been fired when word came to stand down, the official said."
U.S. Opens New "Captured Children" Facility
Trump prepares to open new 'captured children' facility in Texas. Common Dreams: "A facility to house over 1,000 undocumented children is set to open Monday in Carrizo Springs, Texas—just days after almost 250 groups called on Congress to decriminalize migration and chart a new course for the country's border policies. The Carrizo Springs concentration camp, which was initially built by Stratton Oilfield Systems as worker housing, will be run by Texas non-profit BCFS Health and Human Services for the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). BCFS runs child detention centers for the federal government in Tornillo, Texas, roughly 489 miles from the Carrizo Springs facility. HHS spokesperson Victoria Palmer confirmed to Common Dreams that the agency was using Carrizo Springs as a camp to hold children. 'All children will be sheltered in hard-sided structures at the Carrizo Springs facility,' said Palmer. 'Semi-permanent soft-sided structures will be used for support operations.'"
Impeachment Calls Grow, Pelosi Unmoved
Pro-impeachment ranks grow as Pelosi remains unmoved. Politico: "The number of House Democrats calling for impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump has swelled to more than 70, showing momentum for efforts to oust the president, even as Speaker Nancy Pelosi refuses to go along with such a move. Just on Thursday, four Democrats — Nydia Velázquez of New York, Tony Cardenas of California and Jan Schakowsky and Sean Casten of Illinois — announced their support for an impeachment inquiry. That makes a dozen more Democrats now on record backing the inquiry since just last week, boosting the total to nearly one-third of the caucus. Included in the group are vulnerable freshmen members who beat Republicans during the last election cycle, and more Democrats are expected to announce their support in the coming days. The slow drip of members embracing impeachment isn’t entirely by accident. The rollout is being assisted by a handful of Judiciary Committee Democrats who have been providing tactical advice such as how to raise the issue with leadership and messaging support to their colleagues as they publicly back impeachment, according to multiple lawmakers and aides."
Judge Roy Moore Runs For AL Senate
Roy Moore, accused child molester and twice-removed judge, announces 2020 Senate run. ThinkProgress: "Just 18 months after losing a special election in Alabama, a state President Donald Trump carried by a 62% to 34% landslide, Republican Roy Moore is back and seeking another shot at the Senate. Moore is hoping to challenge his former opponent, Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL), who bested him by 22,000 votes in December 2017. In a combative press conference, Moore announced his 2020 candidacy and lambasted the party establishment for trying to block his campaign. Moore’s announcement comes despite Trump’s prediction that Moore, an accused serial sexual predator and twice-removed state Supreme Court chief justice, would lose if nominated."
Court Allows Title X Gag Rule
Ninth Circuit lets Title X gag rule go into effect, threatening health care for millions. Common Dreams: "The Trump-Pence administration’s Title X gag rule takes effect in every state but Maryland, after a ruling by a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Just yesterday, the House of Representatives passed a spending package that would block the gag rule from being implemented because it’s dangerous, it’s unethical, and it’s illegal –– and now the Senate must act. Trump’s gag rule makes it illegal for health care providers in the Title X program to refer patients for abortion, and also blocks access to care at Planned Parenthood by imposing cost-prohibitive and unnecessary “physical separation” requirements. Planned Parenthood has limited emergency funds that will allow affiliates to continue care for patients in the short term, while seeking further emergency relief from the Ninth Circuit. Title X helps millions of people struggling to make ends meet –– the majority of whom are people of color, Hispanic, or Latino –– access birth control, cancer screenings, STI testing, and other essential reproductive health care. Providers of care to nearly 50 percent of the Title X patients have made it clear that the rule would force them out of program –– the administration is putting health care at risk for patients across the country."