fresh voices from the front lines of change








Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA)

Real Change Takes Voices And Votes

As highly engaged citizens, you know that we live in a time of great inequality and injustice. The White House and Fox News want to sow fear in each of us and divide us because of the color of our skin, where we came from, the person we love, and whether or to whom we pray. They want you to believe that brown and black people are to blame for the deep inequality that exists today in the country, that we should fear Muslims and those seeking asylum, and that immigration is bad for this country instead of the very force that has helped build and define it. And they want to distract you from the fact that today in America, most people do not even have $1,000 in their bank account. Tonight, families across America will go to sleep wondering how they will pay for a car that has broken down, a roof that is leaking or a parent who has fallen ill. With the stakes so high, there has never been a more important time to use your voice to speak up and steer our country back to a set of core values that bind us all together. We have, in this upcoming election, an incredible opportunity to articulate a clear, progressive vision for our future. And we have a diverse field of passionate Democratic candidates, some of whom are lifting up innovative new proposals to address our greatest challenges. It’s going to take a grassroots movement of regular Americans to create the change we need. So let’s get to work.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal will be the keynote speaker in Des Moines at the statewide Convention of Iowa CCI Action, part of the People's Action network, which will be held on Saturday, July 27th from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm at the Iowa Events Center.  For more information, to register or watch a livestream, go to or call 515.255.0800.

Russia Targeted Elections In 50 States

Russia targeted elections systems in all 50 states, report finds. NYT: "The Senate Intelligence Committee concluded Thursday that election systems in all 50 states were targeted by Russia in 2016, an effort more far-reaching than previously acknowledged and one largely undetected by the states and federal officials at the time. But while the bipartisan report’s warning that the United States remains vulnerable in the next election is clear, its findings were so heavily redacted at the insistence of American intelligence agencies that even some key recommendations for 2020 were blacked out. The report — the first volume of several to be released from the committee’s investigation into Russia’s 2016 election interference — came 24 hours after the former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III warned that Russia was moving again to interfere 'as we sit here.' While details of many of the hackings directed by Russian intelligence, particularly in Illinois and Arizona, are well known, the committee described 'an unprecedented level of activity against state election infrastructure' intended largely to search for vulnerabilities in the security of the election systems."

House Passes Budget With Trump Support

House passes bipartisan budget bill with Trump support. Time: "Observing a rare cease-fire in their battles with President Donald Trump, the Democratic-controlled House on Thursday easily passed bipartisan debt and budget legislation to permit the Treasury to issue bonds to pay the government’s bills and lock in place recent budget gains for both the Pentagon and domestic agencies. The measure, passed by a 284-149 vote, would head off another politically dangerous government shutdown and add a measure of stability to action this fall on a $1.37 trillion slate of annual appropriations bills. The Senate is scheduled to approve the bill next week. The hard-won agreement between the administration and Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lifts the limit on the government’s $22 trillion debt for two years and averts the risk of the Pentagon and domestic agencies from being hit with $125 billion in automatic spending cuts that are all that’s left of a failed 2011 budget pact. It is a welcome detente for lawmakers seeking to avoid political and economic turmoil over the possibility of a government shutdown or first federal default."

Making The Case For Social Security

At historic hearing, progressives make case for expanding - not cutting — Social Security benefits. Common Dreams: "Progressive advocates and experts made the case for expanding Social Security during a historic House committee hearing on Thursday, providing a stark contrast to President Donald Trump's call for billions of dollars in cuts to the popular New Deal-era program in his 2020 budget proposal. The Ways and Means hearing on Rep. John Larson's (D-Conn.) Social Security 2100 Act—which would boost benefits by hiking taxes on the rich and ensure the program's solvency through the end of the century—represents the first time a congressional committee has considered legislation to expand Social Security in nearly 50 years. Nancy Altman, president of advocacy group Social Security Works, called the event a 'critical milestone in the fight to increase, not cut, Social Security's modest benefits.' During her testimony in support of the Social Security 2100 Act on Thursday, Altman said the legislation would help solve America's retirement income crisis."

Trump May End Entry To All Refugees

Trump turning away victims of violence and trafficking. Axios: "The Trump administration is making it harder for immigrants fleeing violence, persecution and trafficking to stay in the U.S., in the name of getting tough on fraud. There are always cases of fraud in the immigration system, and not everyone who applies for asylum or the T visa, which is for victims of human trafficking, is eligible. But since Trump took office, visa denial rates for asylum and T visas have skyrocketed while the number of refugees admitted to the U.S. has plummeted. The refugee cap has been cut three times during the Trump administration, and for the first time, Canada took in more refugees than the U.S. Meanwhile, the number of forcibly displaced people in the world is higher than at any other point since World War II, according to the UN. That number has been growing."

DOJ Brings Back Death Penalty

Bill Barr brings back federal death penalty after 16 years, orders five executions. Salon: "The federal government will reinstate the death penalty for the first time in nearly two decades, Attorney General Bill Barr announced Thursday. Barr announced that he has directed the Bureau of Prisons to schedule the execution of five inmates over the next six months. Though the Justice Department has sought the death penalty in several high-profile cases, the federal government has not executed anyone in 16 years and has only put three people to death since 1988. Though the death penalty has remained legal nationally and in 29 states, the number of executions have fallen from nearly 100 in 1999 to less than two dozen per year, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. Support for capital punishment has fallen from a high of 80 percent in 1994 to 56 percent in 2018, according to Gallup. Just 31 percent of Democrats and 47 percent of independents said they believe the death penalty is applied fairly, compared to 73 percent of Republicans. Nearly a decade ago, drugmakers in both the U.S. and major European nations stopped selling drugs used in executions to the federal government, forcing the government to rely on alternative means that can result in botched executions. Barr said in a news release on Thursday that he had issued a protocol that replaces the current three-drug cocktail used to sedate inmates in federal executions with the drug pentobarbital, a commonly used sedative."

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