fresh voices from the front lines of change








Andy Spears

To Save Rural Hospitals, Pass Medicare For All

Medicare for All is a popular idea — 70 percent of Americans say they support it, including 52 percent of Republicans. Why? Because in red and blue states alike, they see the costs of a market-driven system that values profit over patients. There’s perhaps no state in the nation making a better case for Medicare for All than Tennessee. Tennessee leads the nation in rural hospital closures and in the rate of medical bankruptcies. There are now 22 Tennessee counties without an emergency room Simply having private insurance is not enough to stem the crisis of medical debt. A fourth of all Tennesseans have medical debt in collections on their credit report. Most of them have health insurance, and still end up with medical debt they simply can’t afford to pay. When every Tennessean — and every person in America — has Medicare, there will be a consistent, reliable payment system for doctors and hospitals. Citizens can be assured that when they need care, it will be available to them. Jobs in places like Jamestown can be preserved. Medical bankruptcies will be a thing of the past, freeing up money to be spent in local businesses and strengthening small towns. Tennessee should move forward to expand Medicaid immediately in order to stop the bleeding in our rural areas. America needs Medicare for All to ensure a stronger, more prosperous climate for all our communities.

Andy Spears is the executive director of Tennessee Citizen Action, the state’s leading consumer advocacy organization and an affiliate of People’s Action.

Muller Lays Out Case For Obstruction By Trump

The most revealing exchange of the Mueller hearing. The Atlantic: "a charge of obstruction of justice requires three elements: an obstructive act, a nexus with an official proceeding, and corrupt intent. And in the report, Mueller’s team laid out several cases where President Donald Trump committed an obstructive act, in connection with an official proceeding, with what Mueller’s team concluded could be a corrupt intent. But because Mueller had decided at the outset of his report that he could not and would not charge the president with crimes, thanks to Justice Department guidance and in the interest of fairness, Mueller did not make the otherwise obvious jump from laying out the ways that Trump’s behavior met the three-prong test to actually stating that Trump obstructed justice. During today’s House Judiciary Committee hearing, Democratic Representative Hakeem Jeffries sought to demonstrate the disconnect by walking Mueller through the three-prong test. Perhaps even more striking was a set of questions from Representative Ken Buck, a Colorado Republican. 'You believe that he committed—you could charge the president of the United States with obstruction of justice after he left office?' 'Yes,' Mueller said."

Rosselo Resigns In Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico governor resigns. NBC: "Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló announced his resignation Wednesday days after demonstrators at the island's largest protest in recent history called for his ouster over a scandal involving leaked private chats as well as corruption investigations and arrests. His resignation, effective Aug. 2, came late Wednesday night on a recorded video published on Facebook. In the message, he touted what he considered accomplishments of his tenure, saying he fought corruption and made strides for different communities. 'My only North Star has been the well-being of my island,' he said. Crowds in the streets, which for nearly two weeks had been calling for the governor to step down, immediately erupted in joyous chants, cheering 'Puerto Rico! Puerto Rico!' 'Ricky, te botamos!' ('Ricky, we threw you out!') the jubilant crowd exclaimed after the governor's announcement."

Federal Judge Halts Trump's Asylum Ban

Trump administration's near-total asylum ban blocked by judge. CBS: "Delivering a painful defeat to the Trump administration's most sweeping effort to single-handedly overhaul the asylum system without Congress, a federal judge on Wednesday blocked a rule that made most migrants from Central America and other countries ineligible for asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border. Judge Jon Tigar of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California agreed to issue a temporary injunction halting the policy while he reviews the merits of a legal challenge spearheaded by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). In his order, Tigar seemed to agree with the concerns raised by the plaintiffs that policy could result in the U.S. government sending asylum seekers back to dangerous circumstances just because they did not seek protection in countries like Mexico. The judge noted Mexico does not have as robust of an asylum system as the U.S. to guarantee people safe haven.

ICE Smashes Car Window To Arrest Without Warrant

ICE smashed a car window to arrest an undocumented man. His girlfriend says they never saw a warrant. CNN:
"Cheyenne Hoyt recorded the moment an ICE agent smashed through a car window to arrest her boyfriend, Florencio Millan, who the government says is in the US illegally and wouldn't get out of the vehicle. 'He told my boyfriend to get out of the car or this could go bad," she said, adding that she had asked to see a warrant multiple times. "So once again, I asked for the warrant, he refused me again, I asked the name on the warrant and he refused.' She said the agent told them he had a 'paperless' warrant. After a couple of minutes, Hoyt said the Kansas City Police arrived 'The police told us that they could either do this the easy way or the hard way,' she said a day later, during a news conference Tuesday afternoon. 'And all I said was 'all I want to see is a warrant or a name' and that's when they started to try to bust the window out of our car.' Officers tried to negotiate with him for about 25 minutes until they were left 'with no other choice than make the arrest by physically removing him from the vehicle,' Neudauer said. Kansas City Police spokesman Sgt. Jake Becchina said there was an effort by both officers and the ICE agent to ask Millan to get out of his car. After ICE agents broke the window, Hoyt said she told her boyfriend not to resist. 'I put my hand on his shoulder and I told him not to refuse or not to resist because I didn't want them to shoot him in front of my kids,' she said. Four officers then grabbed Millan and threw him on the ground, Hoyt said."

Nashville Neighbors Thwart ICE Arrest

When ICE tried to arrest an undocumented man in Tennessee, neighbors and a network of volunteers formed a human chain to protect him. Time: "Residents in a suburban Nashville neighborhood came together to protect an undocumented man as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers attempted to arrest him Monday morning. After a four-hour attempted arrest — during which time the undocumented man and his young son barricaded themselves inside a van parked in front of their home — ICE agents left, and neighbors and activists on the scene created a human chain to allow the family to get indoors. 'At that point it was being extra cautious and letting the family know, look, we got your back, we’re between you and the unknown, and here’s a safe pathway back to your front door,' Tristan Call, a volunteer at Movements Including X (MIX), a collective of young activists who organize for social causes, tells TIME. Call was a part of the human chain. By the time the attempted arrest was over, dozens of people had showed up to support the undocumented man, including two city councilmen from Nashville. The volunteers showed up as part of a network called ICE Rapid Response to protect undocumented immigrants, just one example of communities throughout the country who have responded to increasing threats of ICE arrests."

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