Saturday, August 18, 2018

Progressive Briefing for Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Baltimore set to become first major American city to outlaw water privatization, House Democrats fight back against Big Pharma, Republicans want to give Trump the power to shut down media, and more.

Marine removed from service after participating in Charlottesville violence

Identified as a member of two of the most militant groups in the neo-Fascist movement, a U.S. Marine Corps lance corporal has been thrown out of the service after marching with white supremacists and committing violence at the deadly Charlottesville rally last year. After bragging about the attacks online, the white supremacist was convicted at a court martial and served 28 days of confinement at Camp Lejeune before being forced out of the U.S. Marine Corps.

House Democrats launch a challenge to Big Pharma

A bill from Representative Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) has the potential to start a new national conversation about the federal government’s relationship to intellectual property, monopoly power, and human needs. The bill, HR 6505, would allow Medicare to negotiate with drug companies to secure reasonable prices for medications—and, if pharmaceutical companies refuse, the bill permits the government to suspend exclusivity for drug patents and authorize other companies to offer generic competition.

The measure has already picked up more than 80 co-sponsors, including Representatives Keith Ellison, Raul Grijalva, John Garamendi, and Jan Schakowsky, and is backed by a broad coalition of progressive organizations. Representatives Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Peter Welch (D-VT) helped craft the bill, according to Doggett staffers.

New poll: 43% of Republicans want to give Trump the power to shut down media

Freedom of the press may be guaranteed in the Constitution. But a plurality of Republicans want to give President Trump the authority to close down certain news outlets, according to a new public opinion survey conducted by Ipsos and provided exclusively to The Daily Beast.

The findings present a sobering picture for the fourth estate, with respondents showing diminished trust in the media and increased support for punitive measures against its members. They also illustrate the extent to which Trump’s anti-press drumbeat has shaped public opinion about the role the media plays in covering his administration.

All told, 43 percent of self-identified Republicans said that they believed “the president should have the authority to close news outlets engaged in bad behavior.” Only 36 percent disagreed with that statement. When asked if Trump should close down specific outlets, including CNN, The Washington Post, and The New York Times, nearly a quarter of Republicans (23 percent) agreed and 49 percent disagreed.

A year after Charlottesville, racists to gather in Trump’s neighborhood

Jason Kessler, chief organizer of last year’s lethal “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, originally planned to return to the scene of the crime with an anniversary commemoration this month. But after he was denied a permit by the city of Charlottesville, he refocused his attention on a city with fewer Confederate monuments to defend but more robust media access and ideal proximity to his movement’s most prominent sympathizer. Barring some last-minute change of plans, “Unite the Right 2” will be held on August 12 in Washington, D.C., at Lafayette Park, in the shadow of the White House.

The palpable lack of interest in a Charlottesville reunion among many of the white-supremacist groups that disgraced themselves last year makes the extent of participation in a D.C. sequel questionable.

U.S. judge rules against Trump policy restricting transgender troops

A U.S. court on Monday ruled the Trump administration could not enforce an updated policy barring certain transgender people from serving in the U.S. military, becoming the second court in the country to rule against the government since it unveiled the policy in March.

President Donald Trump announced on March 23 that he would endorse a plan by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to restrict the military service of transgender people who experience a condition called gender dysphoria. The policy replaced an outright ban on transgender service members that Trump announced last year on Twitter, citing concern over military focus and medical costs.

Democrats poised to pick transgender woman for Vermont governor

Christine Hallquist leaned back in her swivel chair inside a private room at the Northshire bookstore and dialed up potential donors, trash-talking the plummeting approval numbers of Vermont’s incumbent Republican governor and touting her chances against her Democratic rivals. “It’s clear it’s for us to lose, which I won’t, ’cause I’m disciplined,” she assured one prospective contributor of the upcoming primary.

Beating her fellow Democrats and then defeating a sitting Vermont governor for the first time since 1962 are only the beginning. From there, Hallquist, a first-time candidate, plans to reverse the decline of rural Vermont and maybe even solve climate change.

Baltimore set to become first major American city to ban water privatization

Baltimore is on track to become the first major American city to outlaw water privatization of the public water system and human rights activists and union workers are celebrating. After Baltimore’s City Council approved “a charter amendment” that would “prohibit the sale or lease of the systems,” CommonDreams reported.

In a unanimous vote, the charter amendment makes both the water supply and sewer system “inalienable” and leaves the systems in local control. The amendment will now go to Mayor Catherine Pugh, who is said to sign it, before appearing as a measure on the November ballot.

REVEALED: GOP congressman Chris Collins committed securities fraud while he was at Trump’s White House

Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), the Trump-loving lawmaker who was arrested on Wednesday on insider trading charges, was allegedly at the White House when he broke the law.

According to the indictment leveled against Collins, the Republican lawmaker was attending the annual Congressional Picnic at the White House when he received an email from the chief executive of Australian biotech firm Innate Immunotherapeutics that informed him that the company had just suffered a massive drug trial failure.

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