fresh voices from the front lines of change








Anat Shenker-Osorio

Progressive Ideas Are Popular, They Win – Here’s How

Like many of us, after the Trump election I looked around and saw that whatever it was we were doing, as hard as we were working, it either wasn’t enough, or wasn’t the right thing. So with UC Berkeley professor Ian Haney López, we started the Race-Class Narrative Project: a year-long exploration into how people actually perceive race, and how they articulate it. How does that alter or affect their political beliefs, both in terms of the people they want to vote for, and equally importantly, whether or not they actually want to vote? We found that one of the through-lines of messages that do work, versus those that don’t, is you have to say what you’re for – not what you’re against. Because what you fight, you feed. The more you belabor the size, strength, ubiquity and deviousness of your opposition, the more you just reinforce in your would-be actors the feeling of, “Why should I get up off the couch? You just told me that it’s hopeless, it’s never been worse, it’s getting worse every moment – but I should vote?” You know, that solution doesn’t feel commensurate to the problem. We say progressive ideas are popular. We say they enjoy majority support in most spots, and polls say that is true, but it doesn’t feel like we are winning. And when we present ourselves by saying, “We’re the losing team. We lose a lot, we lost recently, so you should join us,” that’s not really a compelling pitch. So with my new podcast, Brave New Words, I wanted something out there that says, “Progressive ideas are popular, they win – here’s how.”

Activists Mobilize To Support Impeachment

Nearly 300 US cities will mobilize to demand impeachment on eve of House vote. Truthout: "As corporate media focus on the dramatic impeachment hearings being conducted in Washington, D.C., another impeachment story is unfolding: Activists around the country are preparing to mobilize on the eve of the U.S. House of Representatives’ vote on impeaching President Trump. As witnesses testify in the nation’s capital, activists are making signs, getting protest permits and drafting speeches. On the night before what will be a historic vote, people throughout the country will pick up their signs, grab their megaphones and head to the nearest office of their House representative or senator, or to their state Capitol building. There, they will rally, calling on lawmakers to support impeachment and sending the message: Nobody is above the law. Nobody. Actions are planned in more than 270 cities in 43 states and Washington, D.C. They include cities in red and purple states — even cities and counties that voted for Trump in 2016, such as Boise, Idaho (the state voted for Trump by 59 percent to 27 percent); Gold Canyon, Arizona (the state went for Trump by 48 percent to 44 percent); Sherman, Texas (the state went for Trump by 52 percent to 43 percent); Springfield, Missouri (the state went for Trump by 56 percent to 38 percent); Muncie, Indiana (the state went for Trump by 56 percent to 37 percent); and Greensburg, Pennsylvania (the state went for Trump by 48 percent to 47 percent)."

GOP Doubles Down On Conspiracies As Impeachment Defense

Republicans buy into Trump conspiracies to blunt impact of impeachment hearings. CNN "Two weeks of dramatic and incriminating public impeachment testimony did little to sever the strong bond between President Donald Trump, his Republican supporters and conservative media propagandists. In fact, the more damning the suggestions of an abuse of power become, the deeper it forces Trump's defenders into his wild brew of conspiracy theories, disinformation and distortion. Trump is facing accusations that he withheld nearly $400 million in military aid and other recognition for Ukraine to try to force it to investigate a domestic opponent -- Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden -- and 2016 Democrats. But despite an impeachment case that solidified in two weeks of public testimony, there are increasing signs that the President's aggressive approach and mastery over the Republican Party in Washington is preventing any slippage of support from allies as Democrats prepare to pause the inquiry for Thanksgiving. Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy on Sunday ignored the expertise of US spy agencies, congressional probes and the first half of the Mueller report to lend credibility to Trump's claim that it was Ukraine that meddled in the 2016 election."

Parnas Gives Tapes To House Intelligence Committee

House Intelligence Committee in possession of video, audio recordings from Giuliani associate Lev Parnas. ABC: "The House Intelligence Committee is in possession of audio and video recordings and photographs provided to the committee by Lev Parnas, an associate of President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, who reportedly played a key role in assisting him in his efforts to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and Ukraine, multiple sources familiar with the matter tell ABC News. The material submitted to the committee includes audio, video and photos that include Giuliani and Trump. It was unclear what the content depicts and the committees only began accessing the material last week. "We have subpoenaed Mr. Parnas and Mr. [Igor] Fruman for their records. We would like them to fully comply with those subpoenas," House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff told CNN Sunday, with a committee spokesperson adding they would not elaborate beyond the chairman's comments. An attorney for Parnas, Joseph A. Bondy, also declined to comment, directing ABC News to a statement released earlier in the day Sunday reading in part, 'Mr. Parnas has vociferously and publicly asserted his wish to comply with his previously issued subpoena and to provide the House Intelligence Committee with truthful and important information that is in furtherance of justice, not to obstruct it.' The statement goes on to say, 'His evidence and potential testimony is non-partisan, and not intended to be part of a battle between the left and the right, but rather an aid in the determination by our government of what is in the best interests of our nation.'"

Christmas Budget Shutdown Looms

Bumbling Congress gives Trump the budget freeze he wanted. Politico: "White House budget hawks who have failed to rein in government spending in the Trump era might get a major win — by default. Top Republicans and Democrats are fumbling in their attempts to clinch a deal to fund the government over the next year. The result could be a governmentwide spending freeze — exactly what Mick Mulvaney and the rest of President Donald Trump’s negotiating team sought months ago. With no agreement in sight and impeachment captivating the Capitol, it’s increasingly likely Washington will be forced to accept another temporary funding bill in December. Lawmakers are already eyeing a monthslong stopgap to stave off a Christmastime shutdown. In the worst-case scenario, a full-year extension could follow. It’s an outcome that would not only highlight congressional dysfunction but also deny the Pentagon and domestic programs potentially critical funding boosts. Congress passed a massive budget deal earlier this year, but lawmakers still need to pass individual spending bills to divvy up the money. Until those measures are signed into law, Mulvaney and his allies get precisely the same budget restraints they proposed in June."

Economic Benefits Of Forgiving Student Debts

Economists say forgiving student debt would boost economy. NPR: "Presidential hopefuls Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders want to tear up your student loans and set you financially free. That's popular among voters – especially those struggling to pay off this debt.Other Democratic candidates have more modest plans. But economists say the dramatic proposals from Sanders and Warren to free millions of Americans from the burden of student debt could boost the economy in significant ways and help combat income inequality. Warren would forgive up to $50,000 for most people. Sanders would go further with total loan forgiveness. But with these plans having a price tag north of $1 trillion, such legislation would come with plenty of risks. The reason debt forgiveness could have a big impact on the overall economy is that a generation of Americans is making major life decisions differently because of student loans. 'Children, it's not about if you want them,' says Laura Greenwood in Montpelier, Vt. 'It's about can you afford them?' Greenwood works for the state education agency. She's 30 years old and makes $63,000 a year. 'I make probably a better salary than a lot of my peers.' Laura Greenwood in Montpelier, Vt. feels she can't afford to start a family because of her student loan debt. But after paying for college and grad school, Greenwood owes $96,000 in student loans. And she says that's got her and her partner feeling frozen. 'Yeah. It's always, we're interested in having kids, but just cost of living and all our other bills and then the student loans, it's just like the final straw.' She says it makes starting a family feel impossible. So if people like Greenwood suddenly had this millstone of debt lifted from their necks, it stands to reason that would unleash pent up desires and spending that would be good for the economy. A lot more people would have kids, or start businesses, or buy houses."

Buttigieg Releases Long-Term Care Plan

Buttigieg releases his plan for securing long-term care. Time: "For Democratic presidential candidate and South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg, the issue of long-term care is personal. When his father was dying last January, he and his mother grappled with the possibility of having to arrange long-term care for him. Because Medicare does not cover most long-term care costs, a social worker told Buttigieg’s mom that her best option might be to spend down her savings: if she got poor enough she’d qualify for Medicaid. 'While I heard about these kinds of stories in the past, I understood in a different way' after that experience, Buttigieg told TIME in a phone interview on Sunday. On Monday, Buttigieg released a set of policy proposals designed to prevent other Americans from facing the same dilemma that his mother had. His plan is aimed at ensuring that older Americans have access to affordable long-term care and can maintain their economic independence after retirement. The plan, entitled “Dignity and Security in Retirement,” calls for a new national long-term care benefit program, while strengthening the long-term care insurance market. It preserves private insurance coverage, which is similar to his proposed health care program, called Medicare for All Who Want It. The signature idea in Buttigieg’s plan is a benefit program, dubbed Long-Term Care America, which would give eligible seniors $90 per day that they could put toward care costs such as hiring a home health aide or paying for a nursing home. This would be open to people 65 or older who need help with two or more daily activities of living, according to the plan. Buttigieg’s plan also focuses on boosting the number of direct care workers, supporting unpaid family caregivers, promoting access to care in homes and communities, and extending Social Security."

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