fresh voices from the front lines of change








Rachel Hodes

What ‘Abolish ICE’ Really Means

To most of America, “Abolish ICE” is a cry of the far left. Even Americans who dislike Trump’s attacks on undocumented immigrants wouldn’t necessarily tell you that ICE should be abolished; that seems far too radical. They’re forgetting that ICE is actually pretty new. It was only created in 2003, replacing the Immigration and Naturalization Service (the same agency responsible for the internment of Japanese-Americans in the 1940s). Since its creation, ICE’s budget has almost doubled, and its activity has expanded to triple the number of agents it employs. The individuals targeted by ICE are people — and all people are entitled to basic conditions of safety and for themselves and their families. When the majority of these immigrants are fleeing violence with roots in U.S. intervention in Central America, the moral responsibility to offer safe haven becomes even more pressing. When government agencies neglect this responsibility, we all lose some of our humanity. What calls to abolish ICE actually do is beg the question: Why do we need an immigration system dedicated solely to terrorizing immigrant communities?

Biden, Warren Squared Off After Debates

Biden steadies ship while setting up impending clash with Warren. Reuters: "After two sets of Democratic presidential debates, it appears that Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren, at least at the moment, are two high-speed trains on a collision course. Biden, 76, battled a wave of critics on the Detroit stage, from U.S. Senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris to former Housing Secretary Julian Castro and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, emerging relatively unbloodied. Warren, a U.S senator from Massachusetts who has been gaining in opinion polls, turned in an assured and defiant performance in Tuesday’s debate, forcefully responding to moderate critics who charged her plans were too sweeping and expensive. In a reversal on Wednesday, Biden’s moderate record was repeatedly questioned by progressives on the stage."

McConnell Quietly Advances Lifetime Court Appointments

With nation's attention on Democratic debate, McConnell advances over a dozen lifetime Trump judges. Common Dreams: "While the nation's attention was fixed on the Democratic presidential primary debate in Detroit, the Republican-controlled Senate Tuesday night advanced more than a dozen of President Donald Trump's lifetime judicial appointees. As Common Dreams reported earlier Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is rushing to confirm 19 Trump judges before the chamber breaks for recess at the end of the week. Tuesday night, the Senate voted to end debate on 11 of the president's judicial appointees, setting up confirmation votes for as early as Wednesday evening. The Senate also voted to confirm Sean Jordan for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas and James Wesley Hendrix for the Northern District of Texas. Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), and Doug Jones (D-Ala.) were the only Democrats to vote yes on Jordan. Hendrix was confirmed with the support of 38 Democrats. Of the senators who voted, Sen. Richard Blumental (D-Conn.) was the lone Democrat to vote no. Despite the long-term consequences of Trump and McConnell's efforts to move the federal judiciary even further to the right, CNN moderators did not ask the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates a single question about the nation's courts during the debate Tuesday night."

House Dem Majority Supports Impeachment Inquiry

Majority of House Democrats now support impeachment inquiry. Politico: "The impeachment dam has broken. More than half of House Democrats say they would vote to launch impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, a crucial threshold that backers say will require Speaker Nancy Pelosi to reconsider her steadfast opposition. Though Pelosi has given no indication that even a majority of Democrats embracing impeachment proceedings would shift her view, supporters of an inquiry argue that crossing the halfway mark among Democrats will be a symbolic boost that could shift the political dynamic. 'The President’s repeated abuses have brought American democracy to a perilous crossroads,' said Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, who announced his support on Tuesday. 'Following the guidance of the Constitution – which I have sworn to uphold – is the only way to achieve justice.' Democrats who support impeachment proceedings eclipsed the halfway mark — 118 out of 235 voting members — on Thursday, when Rep. Ted Deutch of Florida announced his support. Deutch was also the 23rd Democratic lawmaker to support impeachment proceedings in the week since former special counsel Robert Mueller testified to Congress, affirming publicly his damning evidence that Trump attempted to obstruct justice."

Cyntoia Brown To Walk Free

Sentenced to life in prison at 16, Cyntoia Brown will walk free next week. USA Today: "Cyntoia Brown will leave the Tennessee Prison for Women next week after serving 15 years of a life sentence for the 2004 murder of a Nashville real estate agent. She was 16 at the time of her crime. Earlier this year, then-Gov. Bill Haslam took the rare step of commuting her sentence, paving the way for her Aug. 7 release. Brown is now a 31-year-old woman who has been institutionalized for more than half her life. Before she shot a stranger who picked her up at an east Nashville fast food restaurant one warm August evening, she spent two years in facilities operated by the Tennessee Department of Children's Services. In the years leading to her release, Brown's complicated story has served to rally celebrities and lawmakers, juvenile justice reformers and critics of Tennessee's unusually harsh life sentences for teens, those working to expose child sex trafficking and others highlighting racial inequities in the justice system. Brown is African American."

Trump Trade War Backfires

Trump's former top adviser: tariffs backfiring on US. BBC: "US President Donald Trump's trade war with China is backfiring and impacting the US economy, according to his former chief economic adviser. The tariff battle has had a 'dramatic impact' on US manufacturing and capital investment, Gary Cohn told the BBC. He thinks the trade wars have created geopolitical uncertainty, which is stopping businesses from investing. Strikingly he also thinks that, for all the rhetoric, the trade war with China is hurting the US more than it is the Chinese. Mr Trump won't like reading that."

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