fresh voices from the front lines of change








Alex Lawson

Joe Biden Has Tried To Cut Social Security For 40 Years

When Washington politicians talk about Social Security cuts, they almost always use coded language, saying that they want to “change,” “adjust,” or even “save” the program. That’s because cutting Social Security is incredibly unpopular with voters of all political stripes. When corporate-friendly politicians like Biden use those words, they are trying to signal to elite media and billionaire donors that they are “very serious people” who are open to cutting Social Security benefits, without giving away the game to voters. Joe Biden doesn’t seem to have changed much from his time as vice president, when he offered Republicans “grand bargains” that included Social Security cuts again and again. At this point, it’s self-evident that the only agenda Republican politicians care about is cutting taxes for their billionaire donors and stealing earned benefits from the American people. When Biden says that he wants to work with them, it suggests that he remains open to that agenda. That’s very concerning for everyone who cares about the future of Social Security and Medicare.

Trump May Cut Social Security, Medicare

Trump opens door to Social Security cuts. LA Times: "With his penchant for saying the quiet parts out loud and assuming no one is paying attention, President Trump on Wednesday opened the door to cutting Social Security and Medicare later this year. The word came at the very end of an interview conducted by Joe Kernen of CNBC, in connection with Trump’s appearance at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. What’s important is that Trump appears to be falling into lockstep with the more general Republican position that closing the federal deficit requires cutting back on Social Security, Medicare and other social safety net programs. Never mind that the deficit was opened into a gaping maw by the tax cut Trump signed in December 2017, which went mostly to corporations and the wealthy, the effect of which goosed economic growth for a short period but has faded."

Dems Lay Out Case For First Article Of Impeachment

Democrats zero in on winnable Republicans in Trump trial. CNN: "The lead House impeachment manager is relentlessly pressuring the handful of Republican jurors who are considering a vote to call witness and delay the acquittal that President Donald Trump craves from his impeachment trial. Heading into the final day of his effort to build a devastating case, the indefatigable California Democrat is deploying every trick in the prosecutor's arsenal as he weaves a narrative of an unchained presidency hour after grueling hour. Schiff became emotional late on Thursday as he pleaded with Republican senators to turn against their President, arguing that America would be 'lost' if the truth of Trump's conduct in Ukraine did not emerge. 'You know you can't trust this President to do what's right for this country. You can trust he will do what's right for Donald Trump. He will do it now. He's done it before. He'll do it for the next several months. He'll do it in the election if he's allowed to,' Schiff said. Schiff is appealing to their sense of constitutional duty and to those who dream of a unique place in history. He's playing on the Senate's sense of self-importance, suggesting it as the only venue sufficiently wise to try the case."

U.N. Rules For Climate Refugees

Climate refugee ruling sets 'global precedent'. The Ecologist: "It is unlawful for governments to return people seeking asylum from countries where the climate crisis threatens their lives, a landmark ruling by the UN Human Rights Committee has found. The decision sets a ‘global precedent’, Amnesty International said yesterday in response to the ground-breaking asylum case. The judgment is a result of a case brought forward in February 2016 against the government of New Zealand by Ioane Teitiota, a man from the Pacific nation of Kiribati, after authorities denied his claim of asylum as a ‘climate refugee’. He was deported from New Zealand to Kiribati in September 2015. The UN Human Rights Committee delivered its decision on the case earlier this month. Kate Schuetze, Amnesty International’s Pacific Researcher, said: “The decision sets a global precedent. 'It says a state will be in breach of its human rights obligations if it returns someone to a country where – due to the climate crisis – their life is at risk, or in danger of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment triggered."

Neo-Nazi Leader Revealed

Revealed: the true identity of the leader of an American neo-Nazi terror group. The Guardian: "The Guardian has learned the true identity of the leader and founder of the US-based neo-Nazi terror network the Base, which was recently the target of raids by the FBI after an investigation into domestic terrorism uncovered their plans to start a race war. Members of the group stand accused of federal hate crimes, murder plots and firearms offenses, and have harbored international fugitives in recent months. The Base’s leader previously operated under the aliases 'Norman Spear' and 'Roman Wolf'. Members of the network do not know his true identity due to the group’s culture of internal secrecy. But the Guardian can reveal that 'Norman Spear' is in fact US-born Rinaldo Nazzaro, 46, who has a long history of advertising his services as an intelligence, military and security contractor. The revelation of his identity comes after a months-long investigation by the Guardian into Nazzaro and the activities of the Base. The Base – which is an approximate English translation of 'al-Qaida' – began recruiting in late 2018. The white supremacy group, which has regional and international cells, extols the virtues of an all-out race war while specifically targeting African Americans and Jewish people. Using encrypted apps, members of the highly organized group planned terror campaigns; vandalized synagogues; established armed training camps and recruited new members."

Sanders Surges In National Poll

Sanders surges in new nationwide CNN poll. Politico: "Bernie Sanders’ standing among voters nationwide surged, with a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS showing that the Vermont senator has joined Joe Biden at the top of the Democratic presidential field. Among Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents who are registered to vote, 27 percent said they would support Sanders for the Democratic nomination, compared with Biden polling at 24 percent. The difference between the two candidates falls within the margin of error, so there is no clear leader in the poll. This is the first CNN poll in which Biden hasn’t been the solo candidate on top. Sanders has gained 7 percentage points since CNN’s previous poll in December, the greatest surge among the candidates. Sanders has maintained consistent enthusiasm among voters since last fall. In the new CNN poll, 38 percent of Democratic voters said they would be enthusiastic if Sanders were to win the nomination, marking just a 1 point dip from October, whereas voters’ enthusiasm for Warren as the potential nominee has fallen 12 points to 29 percent. Biden’s dropped 9 points to 34 percent."

The Transformative Power Of Solidarity

How the transformative power of solidarity will beat Trump. The Intercept: "Late Monday night, CBS News reported that Bernie Sanders had just done exactly what many critics have long called on him to do: He asked his supporters to dial back the personal attacks on rivals in the Democratic primary and focus on substantial policy differences. 'We need a serious debate in this country on issues,' Sanders said. 'We don’t need to demonize people who may disagree with us… I appeal to my supporters: Please, engage in civil discourse.' Among Sanders’s steadily growing base of supporters, the mood is about as far from rage tweeting as you can get. In fact, despite the senator’s reputation as a finger-waving grump, the more time I spend with the campaign, whether in small meetups or huge rallies, the more I am struck by the undercurrent of tenderness that runs through all these events. Surprisingly enough, the force that is bridging what at first seem like huge divides — between multiracial urbanite Gen Z-ers and aging white farmers, between lifetime industrial trade unionists and hardcore climate organizers, between a Jewish candidate and a huge Muslim base — is a culture of quiet listening. Canvassers and organizers across the country report the same thing: that once a space for listening (as opposed to lecturing) has been opened up, the stories start pouring out. After these intimate stories have been shared, people are more open to hearing how the movement that the campaign is building could make their lives better with bold policies from Medicare for All to erasing college debt to a $15 minimum wage to a Green New Deal. If this sounds less like conventional electoral campaigning and more like old-school political organizing (maybe even consciousness raising), that’s because it is."

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