fresh voices from the front lines of change








Sameena Mustafa

Real People Will Lead the Way to #MedicareForAll

Seniors chanting “Get out of the way!” as they hold cardboard tombstones might not seem like a challenge to the largest physicians’ group in the United States. But in 78-year-old Reggie Griffin, the American Medical Association met their match. “The time is up for us to sit on the sidelines and complain about things,” says Reggie, a retired graphic designer who helped take over the floor of the AMA’s annual convention this June in Chicago. “I have two grown daughters, five grown grandkids, and five young great-grandkids. We’ve got to fight for them now, to preserve and improve what we have for the future.” Reggie helped lead this “die-in” that pressured the AMA to drop out of the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, a lobby founded last year by private insurers, hospitals and pharmaceutical makers. The Partnership has spent hundreds of millions so far to stop the expansion of health care coverage. Reggie and other members of Jane Addams Senior Caucus, a senior-led member-driven organizing and advocacy affiliate of People’s Action, joined over a dozen groups and about 400 people at the AMA’s annual convention to demand they leave the Partnership. And it worked. the AMA will no longer contribute to the millions spent by the Partnership to kill the bill. Most would not believe that a bunch of grassroots activists could stop a 172-year-old professional organization in its tracks. Such a feat would be nothing short of David felling Goliath. But that’s exactly what we did.

Sameena Mustafa is a past Congressional candidate for IL-05 and advisor to Jane Addams Senior Caucus, part of the People’s Action network.

DHS Takes $271 From FEMA To Fund Border Camps

As Puerto Rico braces for storm, DHS, FEMA to move $271 million to border operations. NPR: "As a major storm heads for Puerto Rico, the Department of Homeland Security and its Federal Emergency Management Agency said Tuesday they will move $271 million in funds to support President Trump's border enforcement efforts. The Department of Homeland Security said it will transfer the emergency funds — including $155 million from FEMA's disaster relief fund — to support new Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention beds as well as facilities for related court cases, according to documents obtained by NPR. In a July notification to Congress about the transfer, DHS said the $155 million comes from recoveries of prior year funds and that 'absent significant new catastrophic events' the department believes the fund will still have enough money to operate. Congressional Democrats slammed the move on Tuesday, which comes at the peak of hurricane season and as Tropical Storm Dorian was poised to reach hurricane levels. 'The Trump administration's plan to divert money away from FEMA at the start of hurricane season to continue its efforts to separate and jail migrant families is backwards and cruel,' Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said."

Oxycontin Maker May Pay $3b In Opioid Settlements

Sacklers would give up ownership of Purdue Pharma under settlement proposal. NYT: "The Sackler family would give up ownership of Purdue Pharma, the company blamed for much of the opioid epidemic, and pay $3 billion of their own money under terms of a settlement proposal to resolve thousands of federal and state lawsuits, according to a person familiar with the negotiations. The discussions have been going on for months as Purdue and the Sacklers have sought to prevent any new lawsuits against individual members of the family as well as their company. If all the parties agree and the settlement is completed, Purdue would be the first among some two dozen manufacturers, distributors and retailers of prescription opioids facing lawsuits nationwide to settle all claims against it for its role in a public health crisis that has killed hundreds of thousands of people in the past two decades. A document outlining a tentative negotiated agreement, which was described to The New York Times, valued the family’s and company’s contributions at between $10 billion and $12 billion, including the $3 billion Sackler contribution."

Trump Tax Returns May Confirm Russia Influence

Source: Deutsche Bank has Trump loan docs co-signed by Russian oligarchs. Crooks and Liars: "Lawrence O'Donnell announced this potential bombshell on Last Word last night. 'We begin with the breaking news from Deutsche Bank that Deutsche Bank has Donald Trump's tax returns. That is not exactly what Deutsche Bank said in its redacted legal filing today, but it is what one source close to Deutsche Bank has revealed to me about the financial documents in the bank's possession,' he said. He then described how he came to that conclusion, then continued: 'The subpoenas in question are from the House Intelligence committee and House Financial Services committee. Those committees told the court they have subpoenaed Trump family financial records and tax returns from Deutsche Bank as part of an investigation of Russian money laundering and potential influence on the president. The information publicly disclosed today by Deutsche Bank is so far consistent with what a source close to Deutsche Bank has revealed to me about the Trump-related financial documents in Deutsche Bank's possession. 'The information the source has revealed to me is also consistent with New York Times reporting tonight saying, quote, 'Current and former bank officials have said Deutsche Bank has portions of Mr. Trump's personal and corporate tax returns from multiple years as part of the reams of financial data it has collected over its two-decade relationship with him. The information revealed to me goes a few very important steps beyond that. The source close to Deutsche Bank says that the Trump tax returns reveal that the president pays little to no income tax in some years and the source says that Deutsche Bank is in possession of loan documents that show Donald Trump has obtained loans with co-signers and that he would not have been able to obtain those loans without co-signers. The source close to Deutsche Bank says that the co-signers of Donald Trump's Deutsche Bank loans are Russian billionaires close to Vladimir Putin.'"

McConnell Blocks Enforcement Of Election Laws

FEC can't enforce election laws right now, because of Mitch McConnell’s obstruction. Salon: "The Federal Election Commission will effectively shut down after a Republican appointee resigned, leaving the panel without a legally-required four-member quorum. Republican appointee Matthew Petersen, who was nominated to be a federal judge by President Trump before withdrawing after being unable to answer basic legal questions, announced his resignation Monday. The move comes days after Petersen and the lone other Republican on the panel blocked the FEC from investigating a complaint alleging that Russian operatives may have illegally funneled money to the Trump campaign through the NRA. With Petersen out, the six-member panel is down to just three members, one short of the four members they need to take any official action. 'Without a quorum, certain Commission activities will not take place. For example, the Commission will not be able to hold meetings, initiate audits, vote on enforcement matters, issue advisory opinions, or engage in rulemakings,' Republican commissioner Caroline Hunter said in a statement Monday."

Thunberg Calls For Global Climate Strike

Adults urged to join upcoming global climate strike. Common Dreams: "As climate activist Greta Thunberg neared the United States on a boat which set sail from Britain on August 14, the global climate action movement called on adults to join in the climate strike begun in part by the 16-year-old Swedish student. co-founder Bill McKibben wrote Monday in a letter to supporters that the choice to join in the global climate strike taking place in dozens of cities on September 20 should be a simple one. 'If a kid says help, you help,' said McKibben. The climate strike will take place a year after Thunberg, who is expected to arrive in the U.S. on Wednesday, began a global mass mobilization with a one-person protest outside Swedish Parliament. On September 20 and during the Week of Action which will follow, hundreds of thousands are expected to holding sit-ins at pipeline projects, planting trees, or attending rallies and marching in cities around the world to make a number of demands—passage of a Green New Deal, a shift to renewable energy and a just transition, and greater commitments from UN countries to cut their carbon emissions. 'We strike now, because now is our last chance; because change must occur today; because the future is written in the present,' said Fridays for Future NYC in New York, where Thunberg will speak at one of the strike's biggest events."

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