fresh voices from the front lines of change








Chuck Collins

Tax The Rich Before The Rest

Presidential candidates should take a pledge: The middle class should not pay one dollar more in new taxes until the super-rich pay their fair share. Already candidates are outlining ambitious programs to improve health care, combat climate change, and address the opioid crisis — and trying to explain how they’ll pay for it. President Trump, on the other hand, wants to give corporations and the richest 1 percent more tax breaks to keep goosing a lopsided economic boom — even as deficit hawks moan about the exploding national debt and annual deficits topping $1 trillion. Eventually someone is going to have to pay the bills. If history is a guide, the first to pay will be the broad middle class, thanks to lobbyists pulling the strings for the wealthy and big corporations. Here’s a different idea: Whatever spending plan is put forward, the first $1 trillion in new tax revenue should come exclusively from multi-millionaires and billionaires.

HHS Finds Migrant Children Suffer From PTSD After Separation

Children separated under Trump show signs of PTSD, watchdog finds. The Guardian: "Separated from his father at the US-Mexico border last year, the little boy, about seven or eight, was under the delusion that his dad had been killed. And he thought he was next. Other children believed their parents had abandoned them. And some suffered physical symptoms because of their mental trauma, clinicians reported to investigators with a government watchdog. 'You get a lot of ‘my chest hurts’, even though everything is fine' medically, a clinician told investigators. The children would describe emotional symptoms: “Every heartbeat hurts,” or “'I can’t feel my heart.' Children separated during the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy last year, many already distressed in their home countries or by their journey, showed more fear, feelings of abandonment and post-traumatic stress symptoms than children who were not separated, according to a report from the inspector general’s office in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), released on Wednesday."

FBI Monitors Immigration Activists

FBI monitoring immigration activists as violent "extremists" — though there's been no violence. Salon: "An FBI document obtained by Yahoo News shows that the bureau is monitoring groups that protest the Trump administration immigration policies as 'extremists.' An FBI “external intelligence note” that was sent to law enforcement and government agencies by the bureau’s Phoenix field office in May warns that immigration activists are “increasingly arming themselves and using lethal force to further their goals,” although it offered no evidence of violence. The memo alleges that 'anarchist extremists' are 'very likely' increasing the 'targeting' of immigration enforcement officers and detention facilities and pose the 'risk of armed conflict.' The memo acknowledges that the claims were made with 'medium' and 'low confidence.' Even though nearly all evidence cited in the memo refers to nonviolent protests and statements, the document alleges that the 'threat' to Arizona 'likely will grow' and may be 'emboldened' if given an 'opportunity for an escalation to violence.' The memo further claims that some of the groups it described as 'anarchist extremists' have 'banned firearms or [are] carrying loaded weapons.' No specific evidence that this had actually happened was cited. The evidence cited for the FBI's claims largely refers to activist websites and social media accounts calling for 'disruptions' near ICE facilities. The allegation that immigration activists are arming themselves appears to refer to comments from 'antifa' groups about training members to use firearms. There have been no instances of shootings linked to antifa members. The document also cites a single human source to claim a group planned to provide 'armed support of the migrant caravans' in December 2018. There has been no evidence that any group or any individuals actually did so."

San Francisco Names NRA As Terrorist Group

City board labels NRA 'Domestic Terrorist Organization'. NYT: "Unsettled by recent mass shootings across the nation, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution this week declaring the National Rifle Association a domestic terrorist organization. The resolution was introduced by Supervisor Catherine Stefani on July 30, two days after a shooting at a garlic festival in Gilroy, Calif., in which three people were killed and more than a dozen others injured. Before the resolution was put to a vote on Tuesday, Ms. Stefani spoke about the 'carnage across this country,' also citing mass shootings last month in El Paso; Dayton, Ohio; and near Odessa, Tex. Ms. Stefani said the N.R.A. conspires to limit gun violence research, restrict gun violence data sharing and block every piece of sensible gun violence prevention legislation proposed at local, state and federal levels. 'The N.R.A. exists to spread pro-gun propaganda and put weapons in the hands of those who would harm and terrorize us,' Ms. Stefani said in a statement. 'Nobody has done more to fan the flames of gun violence than the N.R.A.'"

GOP Cuts Primaries In Four States

Republicans to scrap primaries and caucuses as Trump challengers cry foul. Politico: "Four states are poised to cancel their 2020 GOP presidential primaries and caucuses, a move that would cut off oxygen to Donald Trump’s long-shot primary challengers. Republican parties in South Carolina, Nevada, Arizona and Kansas are expected to finalize the cancellations in meetings this weekend, according to three GOP officials who are familiar with the plans. The moves are the latest illustration of Trump’s takeover of the entire Republican Party apparatus. They underscore the extent to which his allies are determined to snuff out any potential nuisance en route to his renomination — or even to deny Republican critics a platform to embarrass him. Trump advisers are quick to point out that parties of an incumbent president seeking reelection have a long history of canceling primaries and note it will save state parties money. But the president’s primary opponents, who have struggled to gain traction, are crying foul, calling it part of a broader effort to rig the contest in Trump’s favor. 'Trump and his allies and the Republican National Committee are doing whatever they can do to eliminate primaries in certain states and make it very difficult for primary challengers to get on the ballot in a number of states,' said former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), who recently launched his primary campaign against the president. 'It’s wrong, the RNC should be ashamed of itself, and I think it does show that Trump is afraid of a serious primary challenge because he knows his support is very soft.'"

Trump Raids Military, Disaster Aid To Fund Border Wall

Military construction projects raided to fund wall. Newsweek: "As the government continues to face backlash over its decision to divert $3.6 billion in funding for military construction projects to the development of President Donald Trump's long-promised wall, we now have a clearer picture of which initiatives will be affected. In a letter, which was first reported on by The Daily Beast, Defense Secretary Mark Esper outlined 127 projects expected to lose a total of $1.7 billion in funding. While Esper said that money would not be pulled away from "family housing, barracks, or dormitory projects," the list, which lists dollar amounts in the thousands, reveals an array of initiatives within the U.S. and around the world that will be affected. Among the initiatives that will be impacted by the funding diversion are educational facilities for children, weapon maintenance facilities and firing ranges."

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