By Deirdre Fulton for Common Dreams – “I am not there,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein says of single-payer healthcare, a concept garnering big applause around the country. It’s not only Republicans that are feeling the heat in their hometowns during this congressional recess. Democrats who aren’t on board with increasingly popular progressive proposals are being held to account as well. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) was a case-in-point on Monday, when she faced angry and vocal constituents at a midday town hall meeting in her hometown of San Francisco. It was her stance on single-payer healthcare—an idea that’s picking up momentum in the wake of last month’s TrumpCare debacle, especially in California—that drew the most vociferous response. When asked about her position on such a system, Feinstein responded: “If single-payer healthcare is going to mean the complete takeover by the government of all healthcare, I am not there.” According to the Los Angeles Times, one audience member called Feinstein a “sellout” as others joined in chants of “single-payer now!”
By Miriam Berg for Planned Parenthood – Since Ronald Reagan was in office, a harmful policy known as the global gag rule has been taken off the books by every Democratic president and put back on by every Republican president. It bans foreign NGOs that receive certain kinds of American aid from counseling on, referring for, or even advocating for abortion. It’s a policy that hurts the world’s most vulnerable women – and stifles free speech. In one of his first executive actions in office and surrounded by smiling white men, President Trump instated an even worse version of this already dangerous rule. His action will be catastrophic for communities around the world that rely on U.S. funding to fight against Zika and to provide HIV/AIDS and maternal health care. This expanded version of the global gag rule threatens to undermine and reverse progress that family planning has made in lowering maternal mortality rates and preventing unsafe abortion worldwide. In fact, it could endanger the lives of millions of women and girls, and their babies.
By Staff of 2nd District of Wisconsin – Washington, D.C. – U.S. Reps. Mark Pocan (D-WI), Justin Amash (R-MI), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Walter Jones (R-NC), Barbara Lee (D-CA) and 50 other Members of Congress sent a bipartisan letter to President Trump calling on him to come to Congress before escalating military action in Yemen. The Trump Administration is currently weighing options for direct military involvement in Yemen’s two-year-old civil war, where a coalition of military forces led by Saudi Arabia has fought against Yemen’s Houthi rebels. The Saudi coalition has conducted indiscriminate bombings and imposed a crippling blockade…
By Diane Randall for FCNL – This week’s abhorrent chemical weapons attack was an act of unspeakable violence against civilians, and we are heartbroken over the deaths of Syrians, including many children. The Trump administration’s escalation is not the solution, and will only cause more killing and suffering for Syrian civilians. The U.S. should fully support the ongoing investigation of the chemical weapons attack and work with the international community to bring the perpetrators to justice. In all decisions about the U.S. course of action, policymakers must recognize that years of direct U.S. military intervention, support of extremist armed groups, and weapons shipments to anti-government rebels in Syria have only added fuel to the fire and put Syrian civilians in greater danger.
By Mark Weisbrot for The Huffington Post – Shame on us,” wrote Nicholas Kristof in The New York Times last month. “The Saudis have managed to block coverage of the crimes against humanity they are perpetrating in Yemen, and the US backs the Saudis.” He was referring to a Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen, which now puts millions of people at risk of death from famine. As the new administration approaches its first 100 days, Americans who care about the future of their country have understandably been preoccupied with the humanitarian consequences of Trump’s rule at home. These are things that affect us the most – with “us” including immigrants who live here. Health insurance, the environment, education, climate change, taxation and the budget…
By Jon Brodkin for ARS Technica – President Donald Trump yesterday signed the repeal of online privacy rules that would have limited the ability of ISPs to share or sell customers’ browsing history for advertising purposes, confirming action taken by the Senate and House. This was very much a partisan issue among elected officials. In a 50-48 vote, every Republican senator voted to kill privacy rules and every Democratic senator voted to preserve them. The House vote was 215-205, with 15 Republicans breaking ranks in order to support the privacy rules. But ordinary Americans aren’t split on the issue, according to a Huffington Post/YouGov survey that found 72 percent of Republicans and 72 percent of Democrats opposed the rollback.
By Staff of BBC News – Paraguay congress set on fire as election protests turn deadly Protesters stormed and set fire to the Congress building in Asuncion. Demonstrators in Paraguay have set fire to the country’s parliament during violent protests against a bill that would lift presidential term limits. One activist was killed by a blow to the head which the opposition blamed on a rubber bullet fired by police. Under the 1992 constitution, introduced after the dictatorship, a head of state may only serve a single five-year term. But sitting President Horacio Cartes is trying to remove the restriction and run for re-election.
By Katherine Paul for Organic Consumers Association – I have cancer, and I don’t want these serious issues in HED [EPA’s Health Effects Division] to go unaddressed before I go to my grave. I have done my duty.” It’s been four years since Marion Copley, a 30-year EPA toxicologist, wrote those words to her then-colleague, Jess Rowland, accusing him of conniving with Monsanto to bury the agency’s own hard scientific evidence that it is “essentially certain” that glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller, causes cancer. Copley has since died. But her letter suggesting that EPA officials colluded with Monsanto to hide the truth about Monsanto’s flagship weedkiller has been given new life.
By Janine Jackson for CounterSpin – Like others, this story was about how right-wing Republicans might present hurdles to the plan’s passage, because it’s too much like the dreaded Obamacare, and how they might be appeased. So much coverage of healthcare is set in terms of the political process—who presents obstacles, what groups are being whistled to—that the specifics, the reality of how changes in policy could affect actual people, can sometimes get lost. And healthcare could hardly be a worse place for that to happen. Here to help us see some of what’s going on with this GOP bill is Nancy Altman. She’s co-director of Social Security Works and co-chair of the Strengthen Social Security coalition and campaign. She joins us now by phone from Maryland. Welcome back to CounterSpin, Nancy Altman.
By Staff of Congressional Budget Office – The report’s conclusion is totally believable, despite President Trump, his Secretary of Health and congressional Republicans claiming it is not accurate. Repealing the ACA should result in going back to pre-Obamacare levels of people without insurance — about 50 million people. It is worth noting that an internal White House review found even higher numbers of uninsured, 26 million new uninsured people compared t the CBO’s 24 million. To put these numbers into perspective, a consistently accurate measure is for every one million not covered there will be 1,000 deaths — so the Republican plan will result in 50,000 deaths annually. The ACA, with 29 million without insurance, results in 29,000 annual deaths
By Beyond Extreme Energy. Over 130 organizations across the country announced today that they will oppose nominees made by the Trump Administration to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The move reflects the growing resistance nationwide from residents, farmers, business owners, physicians, and environmentalists to FERC’s practice of recklessly permitting pipelines that put hundreds of communities and the drinking water of millions of Americans at risk, in addition to the global climate. At a time when citizens are increasingly calling on Senators to oppose appointed officials that support the fossil fuel industry, the pledge signers, representing over a million people nationwide, pledge to work against each nominee to FERC made by the Trump Administration, and to call on U.S. Senators to use the nomination process to highlight FERC’s rubber stamping of pipeline projects and refusal to listen the legitimate concerns of community groups.
By Lee Fang and Nick Surgey for The Intercept – JUST HOURS BEFORE House Speaker Paul Ryan held a press conference to sell his health care overhaul legislation — using a PowerPoint presentation mocked for misrepresenting basic facts — he was doing something he’s much better at: fundraising. The two things were related. The Thursday morning breakfast fundraiser he attended was hosted by a lobbying firm working to unwind the Affordable Care Act on behalf of health insurance company Blue Cross Blue Shield, one of the big winners of Ryan’s proposed legislation. The breakfast, according to an invitation, was sponsored by McGuireWoods PAC, the political action committee for the lobbying firm McGuireWoods.
By Tony Pugh for McClutchy DC Bureau – WASHINGTON After more than 17 hours of deliberations, the House Ways and Means Committee approved the Republican bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act early Thursday morning even though the Congressional Budget Office hasn’t determined what the legislation will cost or how many people it will cause to lose health coverage. The House Energy and Commerce Committee is in the midst of a similar marathon session. They’re expected to approve the GOP bill on Thursday, setting the stage for the House Budget Committee to finalize the legislation next week. Republicans hope to move the bill to a full House vote…
By Gina Coplon-Newfield and Maggie Newsham for Join The FIght – States across the U.S. have been introducing legislation that would punish people for switching to electric vehicles. Since the start of 2017, six states (Indiana, South Carolina, Kansas, Tennessee, New Hampshire, and Montana) have introduced legislation that would require EV owners to pay a fee of up to $180 a year. Sadly, this isn’t the first time people have been penalized for driving green. Wyoming, Colorado, Virginia, Nebraska, Missouri, Washington, North Carolina, Idaho, Georgia, and Michigan have all implemented yearly fees on electric and hybrid vehicles that vary from $50 to $300 per driver per year. Arizona’s and Arkansas’ respective Department of Transportations are also suggesting legislators cast a fee for EV ownership. Georgia, formerly the state with the second most EV sales, used to offer a tax credit of up to $5,000, but replaced the program with a $200 yearly fee that led to an 80 percent drop in EV sales.