SPLASH! News for February 28, 2017

Dive Into the News for the Day

Photo Credit: Kiran Opal


Ellison’s Loss Leaves A Sour Taste For Progressives

Buzzfeed – One of the protesters in the Atlanta Convention Center, angry and upset over the vote, directed his chants at the atrium full of Democrats.

“Party for the people!” Curtis Ries yelled. “Party for the people!”

Tom Perez’s narrow victory over Keith Ellison in election to chair the Democratic National Committee — a race progressives considered an urgent existential choice between the “establishment” and “grassroots” — did not spur the massive backlash DNC officials feared in the end. But Ellison’s defeat did leave some young, liberal activists with new disdain, as 28-year-old Ries put it, for “institutional leadership” — for the party, for elected officials, the 447 DNC members with a say in the chair.

Arizona Leaders Kills Protest Bill

McClatchy – The speaker of the Arizona House said Monday he won’t hear a bill that makes participating in or helping organize a protest that turns into a riot an offense that could lead to criminal racketeering charges, a move prompted by widespread criticism that the legislation sought to limit First Amendment rights.

The measure passed last week by the Senate drew nationwide attention, particularly from civil libertarians, because it classified violent protest as an organized crime and said protesters who didn’t initially intend to riot could still face criminal charges. That attention led Speaker J.D. Mesnard to decide Monday to kill it for the session.

Mesnard told The Associated Press that people all across the country now believe that the Arizona Legislature is trying to enact a law that will suppress their First Amendment right to assemble.

Sanders Under Rising Pressure to Form Third Party

The Washington Times – Democratic Party insiders say efforts to draft Sen. Bernard Sanders to launch a political party are foolish, doomed to fail and could do more to hurt than help the progressive cause.

The pressure on Mr. Sanders to strike out on his own is intensifying now that former Labor Secretary Tom Perez was elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee, overcoming a stiff challenge from Rep. Keith Ellison and progressive activists who say the party’s primary race last year was rigged against the Vermont independent.

But DNC members gathered here said the efforts — including from the Draft Bernie for a People’s Party — are misguided.

“He ran for president through the party, did extraordinarily well, better than anybody thought he was going to do, and I think it is incumbent upon him to make sure that his base stays in line with the party to ensure that we win races,” said Dave Halpern, a DNC member from Georgia.

False Claim that two key ACA Elements are ‘Republican provisions’

Washington Post – Among the most popular parts of the Affordable Care Act, passed in 2010 with zero votes from Republican lawmakers, are provisions that prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage based on a preexisting condition and requiring that adult children up to the age of 26 can be carried on their parents’ health plan. As Republicans craft a replacement for Obamacare, many have suggested that these ideas will be carried forward.

VA Vows More Drug Test Due to Opioid Theft Cases

CBS News – The Department of Veterans Affairs said Monday it would boost employee drug testing and inspections amid rising cases of opioid theft and missing prescriptions, acknowledging gaps that had allowed thousands of doctors, nurses and other staff to go unchecked for signs of illicit drug use.

Testifying at a House hearing, Carolyn Clancy, a deputy VA undersecretary for health, said the department was moving aggressively to stem VA drug crimes. She said the VA was adding some inspectors to help check drug inventories across a network of 160 medical centers and 1,000 clinics. Computer systems also were being fine-tuned to ensure that all employees subject to drug testing were flagged for monitoring.

Written by Pamela Getz

Writer and Activist. Follow Pamela on Twitter @goddesspamela.

Pamela Getz is Editor of International Affairs for Progressive Army and a member of its Editorial Board.

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Goodbye Democrats, Hello 2018!

SPLASH! News for February 28, 2017