fresh voices from the front lines of change








Gloria Oladipo

Don’t Call The Police, Call Your Neighbors

Here is a hard truth: Police do not keep communities safe. This year alone has produced numerous stories of officers causing distress, damage, or death in communities they’re sworn to protect. As this epidemic worsens, communities need to find new ways to handle crisis situations without police intervention. Modern U.S. police forces evolved from watch systems developed in the early colonies, which were gradually professionalized after the emergence of cities — and the rise of slavery. In the South, these forces were used as “slave patrols,” tasked with catching runaway slaves and squashing uprisings. The role of police has greatly expanded since then, with officers intervening in everything from mental health crises to routine schoolyard incidents. With police now receiving military-grade weapons and often legally insulated from accountability, citizens are at the mercy of choices officers make — decisions that may be made under extreme distress or tainted with bias. Black Americans are most at risk, but we aren’t alone. In rural communities, fatal encounters with police officers are also increasing, yet widely unreported. That’s one reason Western states like New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arizona, Alaska, and Wyoming, as well as other largely rural states like West Virginia, are among the top in the country for officer-involved shootings. Neighbors to get to know each other prior to conflicts in an effort to increase direct communication, instead of using armed police as mediators. Obviously, in some situations, calling police may still occur. But by understanding the often dire consequences of calling them in, we can be a lot more mindful about whether circumstances truly demand it. Even better, we can develop the relationships and skills necessary to solve problems with one another, helping to build safe and accountable communities for everyone.

House Votes To Proceed With Impeachment

The Impeachment inquiry is fully legitimate. The Atlantic: "n declaring the initiation of a formal impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, Speaker Nancy Pelosi was solemn: “We’re not here to call bluffs. We’re here to find the truth, to uphold the Constitution of the United States. This is not a game for us; this is deadly serious.” In the weeks since, she has upheld that intention: Three different committees of the House of Representatives, with their Republican and Democratic members in attendance, have called a series of witnesses, who have all confirmed the whistle-blower’s report that Trump had improperly solicited foreign intervention on his behalf in the 2020 presidential election. And now the House has formally approved an impeachment resolution affirming all the steps the Democrats have taken thus far in the investigation and setting out the roadmap for the rest of the inquiry, which will include the additional measure of holding public hearings. If you add up the nonsense that the president’s defenders have proliferated and his protestation that the Constitution allows him to do whatever he wants, their proposed result is disturbing: an executive who can shut down an impeachment inquiry and protect from disclosure anything done by anyone in the executive branch, and who is immune to criminal investigation and allowed to defy subpoenas. This is not the president our Constitution established. He would be a king, in spite of the fact that the Founders’ generation rebelled against one. They set out to create a presidency that was accountable to Congress if the occupant abused power and breached the public’s trust. Donald Trump’s efforts to delegitimize the impeachment inquiry destroy their vision."

Biden Flags In Iowa Polls

Warren leads tight Iowa race as Biden fades, poll finds. NYT: "The top Democratic presidential candidates are locked in a close race in the 2020 Iowa caucuses, with Senator Elizabeth Warren slightly ahead of Senator Bernie Sanders, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., according to a New York Times/Siena College poll of likely Democratic caucusgoers. Ms. Warren appears to have solidified her gains in the first voting state while Mr. Buttigieg has climbed quickly to catch up with Mr. Sanders and overtake Mr. Biden, the onetime front-runner. Ms. Warren is drawing support from 22 percent of likely caucusgoers, while Mr. Sanders is at 19 percent, followed by Mr. Buttigieg at 18 percent and Mr. Biden at 17 percent. The survey is full of alarming signs for Mr. Biden, who entered the race in April at the top of the polls in Iowa and nationally. He is still in the lead in most national polls, but his comparatively weak position in the earliest primary and caucus states now presents a serious threat to his candidacy. And Mr. Biden’s unsteadiness appears to have opened a path in the race for other Democrats closer to the political middle, particularly Mr. Buttigieg."

Warren Lays Out Plan To Pay For Medicare For All

Elizabeth Warren's plan to pay for 'Medicare For All'. NPR: "Sen. Elizabeth Warren says she can fund "Medicare for All" without raising taxes on the middle class. Instead, among other things, she would boost the wealth tax on the ultra-rich that she has promoted on the campaign trail. Warren had promised at a recent debate that she would not sign a bill that raises health care costs for the middle class. Under a plan released Friday morning, the Massachusetts senator and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate goes further: Middle class Americans would no longer pay health premiums or copays and would also not pay any taxes to replace those costs. However, she will boost what had been a 3% wealth tax on people with more than a billion dollars to 6%. Her plan would also have employers pay higher taxes to the government, which she says would replace what they currently pay toward private health insurance. Warren is proposing $20.5 trillion in new federal spending under the proposal. Altogether, Warren's plan says that total national health costs would not go up under the single-payer health proposal. Rather, all of the estimated $52 trillion in health spending over a decade would be paid via the federal government."

Sanders Talks Health, Inequality At NH Town Hall

Sanders talks health care, wealth inequality at Claremont town hall. Valley News: "U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., stood in a barn in Claremont, fielding questions Thursday afternoon from activists about health care, immigration reform and wealth inequality. Sanders said that when he put forth ideas about raising the minimum wage and addressing climate change during the 2016 campaign cycle, he found support in New Hampshire residents. 'The establishment told me that those ideas were too wild and extreme. But the people of New Hampshire did not,' he said to cheers from the crowd. Sanders touched on a lot of those same ideas during the Rights and Democracy Town Hall on Thursday, a question-and-answer event hosted by local activist groups People’s Action, Rights and Democracy and New Hampshire Youth Movement. It was the last stop on Sanders’ tour around New Hampshire this week, during which he held rallies in Keene and Concord and officially filed papers with the Secretary of State’s Office earlier in the day to run in the New Hampshire primary. The topic of health care costs became the forefront of the Claremont discussion, with attendees asking questions about opioid abuse, mental health and the rising cost of some prescription medications. 'Parents are burying their children in mass numbers, there are mass graves of our children across this country,' said Brenda Siegel, a Newfane, Vt., resident and member of Rights and Democracy, addressing the opioid crisis. Siegel, who lost in a Democratic primary for governor in Vermont last year, and another activist asked Sanders how he would combat opioid addiction. 'Addiction is a health issue, not a criminal issue,” Sanders said, adding that he wants the country to focus on treating addiction rather than jailing people with substance abuse problems. He said that his proposed single-payer 'Medicare for All' plan would support that goal. 'It says health care, mental health, is a human right, not a privilege.'"

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