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David Goodner

International Students Misled Into Human Trafficking Scam In Iowa

Fifty-seven international students studying at a state technical college in Sioux City are being exploited in school and on the job after being lured to Iowa under false pretenses by public and private recruiters, according to eleven of the directly impacted people going public with the allegations. Trafficking in Persons (TIP), otherwise known as human trafficking, is the trade of humans for forced labor, modern-day slavery. TIP is illegal under Iowa, federal, and international law. The international students say they were brought to Sioux City as part of a cultural exchange on J1 Visas to study culinary arts for two years at Western Iowa Tech Community College. A local subcontractor and temp agency named J&L Staffing flew to Brazil and Chile with school officials to recruit the students. Prospects were promised free tuition, housing, food, job training, and job placement in their field of study. But after the incoming class of international students signed up, they suddenly found themselves on the hook for thousands of dollars in hidden recruitment fees. Their two year degree plans were changed to one year diplomas, and their specialized internships turned out to be mandatory, full-time jobs for $7.25 an hour at giant food manufacturers like Tur-Pak and Royal Canin. Anyone who complained about harassment or unsafe work conditions, forced overtime, injuries on the job, called in sick, asked for less hours, more pay, or a reduced course load were threatened with expulsion, deportation, and debt repayment. “This sounds like modern day slavery, complete with a company store in the company town – and it’s outrageous that this is happening at a state community college with companies doing business in Iowa,” said Tom Mohan, a Sioux City-area resident and the board president of Iowa Citizens of Community Improvement (CCI), the state's largest progressive organization and part of the People's Action national network of grassroots groups. “We demand an end to this exploitation with no evictions, no debt, and no deportations.”

Impeachment Trial Starts In Senate

Trump impeachment trial: What to expect. USA Today: "The Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump resumes Tuesday, with senators mapping out how to conduct the proceeding before hearing opening arguments from House Democrats who will prosecute the case and White House lawyers defending the president. When the trial resumes Tuesday at 1 p.m., senators will debate how to conduct the trial, under what is called an organizing resolution. The resolution will detail logistics such as when the trial will start each day and how long each phase will last. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., proposed allocating 24 hours to each side to present their case over two session days for each side. Then senators would have 16 hours to pose written questions through Roberts to both sides. Under his proposal, four hours of debate over whether to subpoena witnesses or documents would come after the opening arguments and questions. But Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he would offer amendments. He said the proposal wouldn't automatically allow House Democrats to admit their evidence into the record and would have arguments continue into "the wee hours of the night" to hide information from the American people. 'Under this resolution, Sen. McConnell is saying he doesn’t want to hear any of the existing evidence, and he doesn’t want to hear any new evidence,' Schumer said. A 51-vote majority of the Senate will determine rules for the trial, in a chamber with 53 Republicans and 47 Democrats."

Dem Candidates March Arm-In-Arm For MLK

On King holiday, 2020 Democrats march arm in arm to honor his legacy. NYT: "Several Democratic presidential candidates briefly put aside their recent sparring on Monday and marched arm in arm through the streets of South Carolina’s capital to honor the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whom they later invoked in speeches about America’s past and future that were rich with election-year overtones. As the six-block march began from the Zion Baptist Church to the State House, where a Confederate flag once flew over the dome, Senator Bernie Sanders looped an arm through Senator Elizabeth Warren’s elbow, as the two joined other candidates in singing “We Shall Overcome” for part of the trip. Representative Tulsi Gabbard and Senator Amy Klobuchar each locked elbows with former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. as well. The sight of Mr. Sanders and Ms. Warren shoulder to shoulder — after a week in which they argued over their recollections of a private conversation about whether a woman could win the presidency — delighted Lisa Ray Clarkson, a retired teacher from Norfolk, Va., who was at the march. 'That means they have gotten over their differences and the Democratic Party is reuniting,' Ms. Clarkson said as she walked alongside the procession to the State House, where several thousand people converged."

Thunberg Excoriates Davos Leaders For Lack Of Climate Action

Greta Thunberg: 'Nothing has been done' to tackle the climate crisis. CNN: "Greta Thunberg took the stage at the World Economic Forum Tuesday to admonish world leaders for doing 'basically nothing' to reduce carbon emissions despite evidence of a looming climate catastrophe. Speaking just hours before President Donald Trump's appearance at the annual gathering of the world's political, business and financial elite, the teen activist said awareness of the climate crisis had shot up but in other respects, not much had changed. 'Pretty much nothing has been done since the global emissions of CO2 has not reduced,' Thunberg said. '[I]f you see it from that aspect, what has concretely been done, if you see it from a bigger perspective, basically nothing... it will require much more than this, this is just the very beginning.' Asked what she wanted to see in the future, Thunberg said 'that we start listening to the science and that we actually start treating this crisis as the crisis it is.'"

White House Denies Obstruction Of Justice Is A Crime

White House submits defense brief. NPR: "The White House is offering a fiery legal response to the articles of impeachment, in an executive summary of a legal brief obtained by NPR. The brief expands upon arguments made in a document released over the weekend answering the articles of impeachment, dealing with both process and substance. They argue that the president cannot be impeached for an abuse of power short of a crime and that the president didn't abuse his power anyhow. 'Abuse of power isn't a crime,' said the source. Democrats argue abuse of power is the very thing the Framers had in mind and that 'high crimes and misdemeanors' spelled out in the Constitution isn't meant literally, but is a term of art. Over time, federal officials have been impeached without criminal accusations. But Trump's legal team says no president has been impeached without a criminal offense and charging abuse of power is simply too subjective. 'It would alter the separation of powers to allow this sort of vague standard to be used, to impeach the president,' the source said. The brief also argues that the article of impeachment for obstructing Congress is invalid because of standing executive branch protections and because the House didn't pursue judicial recourse to force cooperation."

Physicians' Group Endorsees Medicare For All

In historic shift, second largest physicians group in U.S. has new prescription: it's Medicare for All. Common Dreams: "The fight for Medicare for All received a two-handed boost from tens of thousands of doctors on Monday when the American College of Physicians—in a move described as a "seachange for the medical professions"—officially endorsed a single-payer system as among only one of two possible ways to improve the nation's healthcare woes. Representing 159,000 doctors of internal medicine nationwide, the ACP is the largest medical specialty society and second-largest physician group in the country overall after the American Medical Association (AMA).The ACP delivered its case in a 43-page position paper—titled "Envisioning a Better U.S. Health Care System for All: Coverage and Cost of Care"—published in the Annals of Internal Medicine on Monday. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a leading candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination and the author of the The Medical for All Act of 2019 now in the U.S. Senate, welcomed the development. 'I am delighted that the American College of Physicians has come out in support of a Medicare for All, single-payer healthcare system,' Sanders said in a statement emailed to Common Dreams. 'All over this country, a growing number of doctors are sick and tired of the enormous waste and bureaucracy that exists in our cruel and dysfunctional healthcare system,' Sanders added. 'They are sick and tired of spending time filling out reams of paperwork and arguing with insurance companies. Medicare for All will give doctors the freedom to focus on making their patients healthy, not making health insurance executives wealthy.'"

CPCC Chair Rep. Jayapal Endorses Sanders

Jayapal: 'We will end up with another Trump' if the US doesn't elect progressive. The Hill: "Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chairwoman Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) said in a new interview Monday that the United States risks ending up with 'another Donald Trump down the road' if it fails to elect a progressive presidential candidate. 'Even if it is a Democratic president, if we don't address these issues we will end up with another Donald Trump down the road,' Jayapal told CBS News the same day she formally announced her endorsement of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). 'Because people are suffering. And our job has to be to fix that suffering.' Jayapal first told The Washington Post on Sunday of her plans to publicly back Sanders. Her endorsement comes just weeks ahead of the Iowa caucuses and as Sanders battles with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) for support among progressives. The congresswoman told CBS News that she had chosen Sanders over Warren due to a belief that her and Sanders possess the same background. "At the end of the day, I think for me it came down to the fact that Bernie Sanders is like me: an organizer," Jayapal explained. 'He believes the change that we need is bold and big, and institutional, but it doesn't happen without building a broader movement.' She noted that she would publicly work to support a Warren candidacy if she won the Democratic nomination. But right now, Jayapal said that she believes Sanders is the candidate to 'turn this country around.'"

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