Tag Archives: Cori Bush

‘Monstrous’: Federal Judge Rules HIV Drug Coverage Mandate Violates Religious Freedom

The right-wing judge found that requiring insurers and employers to cover the HIV prevention drug violates the religious liberty of a company whose owner advocated executing LGBTQ+ people.

By Brett Wilkins  Published 9-7-2022 by Common Dreams

A person pours two PrEP pills from a bottle. (Photo: NAM aidsmap/cc)

Legal, healthcare, and LGBTQ+ advocates on Wednesday denounced a ruling by a right-wing federal judge in Texas who found that the federal law requiring insurance coverage of an HIV prevention drug violates a Christian-owned company’s religious freedom.

U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor ruled in Braidwood Management Inc. vs. Xavier Becerra that the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) requirement that insurers and employers cover pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, infringes upon the liberty of a company under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Continue reading

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‘Good Trouble’: 17 House Democrats Arrested Protesting Roe Reversal at Supreme Court

“Even though they arrested us, we won’t stop our organizing, agitating, and legislating for justice,” declared Rep. Cori Bush.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 7-19-2022 by Common Dreams

Representatives Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, Cori Bush, Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Photo: Cori Bush/Twitter

Several members of Congress were among the demonstrators arrested outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday while protesting right-wing justices’ recent ruling against the constitutional right to abortion.

“Today I was arrested in a civil disobedience action at the Supreme Court to protest Roe v. Wade getting overturned and the assault on reproductive rights across the country,” said Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) in a statement.

“Our reproductive rights are under assault across the country, thanks to an extremist court with little regard for precedent or our basic rights,” she added. “I will do whatever it takes, including putting my body on the line, to protect our reproductive rights.”

Analilia Mejia, co-executive director of the Center for Popular Democracy Action, said that “today, the CPDA network and Democratic members of Congress sent a powerful message to Republican lawmakers and SCOTUS: We will not back down.”

U.S. Capitol Police confirmed in a tweet Tuesday that officers arrested 35 people, including 17 members of Congress, for “crowding, obstructing, or incommoding.”

Others arrested include Reps. Alma Adams (D-N.C.), Cori Bush (D-Mo.), Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.), Veronica Escobar (D-Texas), Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Andy Levin (D-Mich.), Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.).

“This Supreme Court has been relentless in stripping away our reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy, but we’re not backing down,” said Pressley. “Today, we put our bodies on the line to defend abortion rights because the stakes in this fight could not be higher.”

Pressley noted that “due to the cruelty and callousness of this court, millions of people now face insurmountable barriers to abortion care and the health of our most vulnerable—especially our Black, Brown, low-income, disabled, Indigenous, and LGBTQ+ siblings—is now further at risk.”

“I’m grateful to all of the advocates on the frontline of this fight who led us in peaceful protest today and have been leading this movement for generations,” she added. “Abortion rights are human rights, and we won’t stop fighting until our policies and budgets reflect that fundamental truth.”

Chants at the demonstration included “shut it down,” referring to the high court, and: “What do we want? Freedom! When do we want it? Now!”

Lawmakers and others in the road were warned, “Cease and desist or you will be arrested.”

Bush—who on Monday introduced legislation to boost access to medication abortion—shared a photo of fellow “Squad” members at the demonstration and vowed that “even though they arrested us, we won’t stop our organizing, agitating, and legislating for justice.”

Some of the participants invoked the words of the late John Lewis. The civil rights leader who became a Democratic congressman and represented Georgia for over three decades famously encouraged getting into “good trouble” when fighting against injustices.

Referencing anti-choice legislation recently enacted by GOP Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Republican state legislators, Escobar said:

Protesting injustice in our country is as old as our democracy itself; it is a cornerstone of our history, a principle of our nation, and a faithful mechanism for the will of the people to be heard. That is why, in the face of unprecedented attacks on abortion access and reproductive justice, like the draconian laws and anti-woman agenda we are seeing from the Texas state Legislature, Gov. Abbott, and the Supreme Court, I joined several of my colleagues in front of the highest court in the land to make good trouble.

My arrest today for civil disobedience was a small act in the centuries-long battle to ensure every woman has the freedom to make personal decisions with those they love and trust without politicians trying to control them. We stand on the shoulders of giants whose struggle against injustices everywhere lights the way forward: The fight didn’t start here, and it’s far from over.

Levin, the only male lawmaker arrested, tweeted that “I’m always down to stir up #GoodTrouble and fight for our rights. We cannot give in to this extremist, right-wing court. I’m angry and ready for ACTION!”

In a recent opinion piece for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Rep. Nikema Williams (D-Ga.) noted that July 17 marked the two-year anniversary of Lewis’ death. The congresswoman suggested that if her “friend, mentor, and predecessor” were still alive, “he would be moved to act, like he did throughout his entire life,” in response to “the Supreme Court’s cruel and damaging decision to strip more than half the country of their right to access abortion.”

Watson Coleman pointed out that “on Friday, Democrats in the House passed legislation to protect the right to choose.”

Although House Democrats approved the Women’s Health Protection Act and Ensuring Access to Abortion Act, neither bill is expected to get through the Senate due to the filibuster rule and obstruction by the GOP as well as Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).

Maloney highlighted that while overturning Roe was a longtime ambition of Republicans in U.S. politics, they are not likely to stop there.

“The Republican Party and the right-wing extremists behind this decision are not pro-life, but pro-controlling the bodies of women, girls, and any person who can become pregnant,” she said. “Their ultimate goal is to institute a national ban on abortion. We will not let them win. We will be back.”

This work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)
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‘Utter Travesty’: Uninsured Americans Will Now Be Charged $125 for a Single PCR Covid-19 Test

Government funding cuts to key pandemic programs forced by GOP opposition arrive as progressives in Congress renew their push for Medicare for All.

By Jon Queally.  Pubihed 3-26-2022 by Common Dreams

Employees operating a testing center at the Walmart Supercenter in Elizabethville, PA. Photo: Governor Tom Wolf/flickr/CC

A major testing company in the United States announced this week that it will now charge people without Medicare, private coverage, or other insurance a $125 out-of-pocket charge to receive a Covid-19 PCR test—a fresh example of how the U.S. remains an outlier among wealthy nations for refusing to provide universal healthcare for its people.

According to ABC News, Quest Diagnostics, one of the largest testing companies in the country, has decided that those “who are not on Medicare, Medicaid or a private health plan will now be charged $125 dollars ($119 and a $6 physician fee) when using one of its QuestDirect PCR tests either by ordering a kit online or visiting one of the 1,500 Quest or major retail locations that administer the tests, such as Walmart or Giant Eagle.” Continue reading

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‘Senselessly Unjust’: Ex-Chicago Cop Who Killed Laquan McDonald Released From Prison

The Justice Department is facing pressure to bring federal charges against Jason Van Dyke, who served less than half of his 81-month sentence after being convicted of second-degree murder.

By Jessica Corbett.  Published 2-3-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: C. Presutti/VOA

Critics of police violence toward Black Americans expressed outrage as Jason Van Dyke, the former Chicago cop who killed 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in October 2014, was released Thursday after serving just over three years in prison for a state murder charge.

“A white officer who murdered a 17-year-old Black child by firing 16 shots into his body is walking free today after just three years behind bars. Think about that. Just three years for a violent, vicious attack that killed a child,” tweeted Kina Collins, a Democratic candidate running to represent Illinois’ 7th Congressional District, which includes part of Chicago.

A Cook County, Illinois jury found Van Dyke guilty of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery in October 2018. He was sentenced to six years and nine months in prison the following January. The judge’s decision to merge all charges for sentencing was significant because the 16 battery counts each had a mandatory minimum of a six-year prison term.

“An 81-month sentence for the gruesome murder of a child was inadequate in the first place,” said Collins. “For Van Dyke to walk free in less than half that time is senselessly unjust.”

WGN TV reports that Chicago activists “plan on holding a ‘large demonstration’ in Federal Plaza Thursday around 4:00 pm to express their displeasure, with at least 15 social and civil rights groups pledging their attendance.”

Leading up to Van Dyke’s release this week, activists, the NAACP, and political figures have urged the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to update the public on an investigation that was announced in April 2015 and to pursue federal charges against the convicted murderer.

“We’ve been crying aloud for federal charges on Jason Van Dyke for the past three years,” community organizer William Calloway told WGN TV. “It shouldn’t take this to happen, to be on the cusp of his release, to get federal charges pressed on him.”

Tracie Hunter, McDonald’s grandmother, said of Van Dyke that “this man doesn’t need to get out. We are seeking federal charges. The time he did wasn’t enough.”

Collins, in her Thursday morning Twitter thread, said that “I’m calling on U.S. Attorney John Lausch Jr. and U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to intervene and bring federal charges against Jason Van Dyke to ensure that he is held accountable.”

The congressional candidate also blasted former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s recent confirmation as U.S. ambassador to Japan. U.S. Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) on Wednesday similarly slammed Emanuel’s new post and called for federal charges against Van Dyke.

Bush also shared a letter that NAACP leaders sent to Garland Tuesday which said the “lack of resolution” in the investigation coupled with the release of the “disgraced” ex-cop is “clearly alarming” and “has given rise to very vocal concerns and unrest” in Chicago.

“We trust that you find the matters alarming as well,” wrote NAACP president Derrick Johnson and Illinois State Conference president Teresa Haley, urging Garland to close the investigation and “move forward with appropriate and applicable federal charges based on the federal grand jury findings and other relevant evidence.”

A DOJ spokesperson confirmed to CNN that the department received the NAACP letter as well as one from Illinois’ two Democratic U.S. senators, who wrote to Garland that “the facts of this case remain shocking and upsetting,” and demanded an update on the federal investigation.

As Sens. Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin, the Senate Judiciary chair, detailed:

In April 2015, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced a joint federal and state investigation into the shooting; however, there was never an announcement that the federal investigation had closed after Van Dyke was convicted of state charges. In October 2019, when activists called for federal civil rights charges against Van Dyke and other officers involved in the cover up of the murder, the U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to state whether the federal investigation was still ongoing or closed. Last week, the U.S. Attorney’s Office again declined to comment on the status of the investigation.

Van Dyke’s state conviction and sentencing do not preempt or negate the interest of the federal government, if the evidence supports charging Van Dyke with violating McDonald’s civil rights under Section 242 of Title 18. The recent federal civil rights case against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin demonstrates this; after Chauvin was found guilty by a state jury and sentenced to 22 years for murdering George Floyd, Chauvin pleaded guilty to federal civil rights charges under Section 242. Chauvin admitted that his willful use of unreasonable force resulted in Floyd’s death. Under the terms of the plea agreement, Chauvin faces a sentence of over 20 years in prison.

“We urge the Justice Department to carefully and expeditiously complete its investigation,” the senators wrote, telling Garland that they “look forward to your prompt report” on the probe.

Collins, in a statement Tuesday, said that “this is a step in the right direction” for the senators, “but let’s be clear: we don’t just need an update, we need charges filed.”

“This is an open and shut case,” she said. “This murder was a clear-cut violation of Laquan McDonald’s civil rights. Just like in Chauvin’s case, the federal charges against Van Dyke should be straightforward. It’s past time for the federal charges to be filed.”

U.S. Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García, who represents Illinois’ 4th Congressional District, said Thursday that “there can never be justice for Laquan McDonald, but Jason Van Dyke’s early release negates even the small measure of accountability that his conviction provided.”

“Van Dyke’s early release is a slap in the face to our communities, and today I join the call for the Department of Justice to consider bringing civil rights charges against Van Dyke,” García added. “Laquan’s life mattered. Black Lives Matter.”

This work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).
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Low-Income Americans to Congress: ‘I Am the Cost of Cutting Build Back Better’

“We need to stop asking, ‘How much does a bold Build Back Better agenda cost?’ and instead ask, ‘How much does it cost not to Build Back Better?'” said Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II.

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-28-2021

With President Joe Biden and many congressional Democrats bowing to right-wing party members’ demands to gut their once far-reaching agenda to tax corporations and the wealthy to fund expanded public benefits and climate action, low-income people from across the United States convened in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to say that “I am the cost of cutting the Build Back Better plan.”

“We need to stop asking, ‘How much does a bold Build Back Better agenda cost?’ and instead ask, ‘How much does it cost not to Build Back Better?'” Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, president of Repairers of the Breach, said during Wednesday’s rally, which was organized by the Poor Peoples’ Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, an effort that he co-chairs. Continue reading

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‘Weapon of War’: Cori Bush Decries Unregulated Use of Tear Gas on US Civilians

“The current design of our law enforcement is militarized,” said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 10-14-2021

Tear gas in front of Oakland Museum – Occupy Oakland January 2012. Photo: Steve Rhodes/flickr/CC

Following a call by Rep. Cori Bush to investigate the use of tear gas on civilians by law enforcement, the House Oversight Committee on Thursday released a memo showing that the federal government has never determined the unregulated chemical to be safe for use on humans—despite the fact that manufacturers earn millions of dollars per year providing tear gas to police departments across the country.

Reps. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) and Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), who chair the Oversight Committee’s panels on economic and consumer policy and civil rights liberties, respectively, released the memo decrying “a complete void in the regulation of tear gas, a weapon that is banned in war yet commonly used against U.S. citizens.” Continue reading

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Warnings of Trump-Like Insurrection Ahead of Bolsonaro Rallies in Brazil

“The people of Brazil have struggled for decades to secure democracy from military rule, Bolsonaro must not be permitted to rob them of it now.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-6-2021

Jair Bolsonaro, President of Brazil speaking during the Session: “Special Address by Jair Bolsonaro, President of Brazil“ at the Annual Meeting 2019 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, January 22, 2018. Photo: World Economic Forum/Flickr/CC

As supporters of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro prepare to take to the streets for orchestrated demonstrations Tuesday, warnings within the country and across the world are growing that the embattled right-wing leader is seeking to foment an insurrection or possibly a military coup with similar undertones to the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol incited by former President Donald Trump.

“Right now, President Jair Bolsonaro and his allies—including white supremacist groups, military police, and public officials at every level of government—are preparing a nation-wide march against the Supreme Court and Congress on 7 September, stoking fears of a coup in the world’s third largest democracy,” said over 150 lawmakers, academics, and former government officials in a joint statement issued Monday. Continue reading

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58 Years After Historic Rally, Thousands March on Washington for Voting Rights, DC Statehood

“We must protest, we must rally, we must organize and mobilize and sit in and stand up,” said one speaker. “Not just for a day. Not just for a summer. But until all people are housed, until all people are fed, until all people earn a living wage.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 8-28-2021

Photo: Mondaire Jones/Twitter

A summer marked by rallies, motorcades, and pressure campaigns targeting lawmakers standing in the way of voting rights legislation culminated on Saturday in the 2021 March on Washington, where thousands demanded that Congress pass far-reaching measures to protect and expand the right to vote.

Demonstrators traveled from across the country to mark the 58th anniversary of the historic 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Continue reading

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‘A Devastating Failure’: Eviction Ban Expires as House Goes on Vacation and Biden Refuses to Act

“We’re now in an eviction emergency,” said Rep. Cori Bush. “Eleven million are now at risk of losing their homes at any moment. The House needs to reconvene and put an end to this crisis.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-1-2021

Capitol police tell a group it’s “prohibited to sleep on the ground” as they protest the end of the eviction moratorium. Photo: Alia Fierro/Twitter

A nationwide eviction moratorium officially expired Saturday after the Biden administration refused to extend it unilaterally and Congress failed to act in time, putting millions of people across the U.S. at risk of losing their homes in the near future as the highly virulent Delta strain tears through the country.

The CDC’s temporary eviction ban lapsed as a growing group of lawmakers and activists rallied on the steps of the U.S. Capitol to demand that Democratic leaders immediately reconvene the House and pass an extension. Many lawmakers skipped town Friday after the House adjourned for its seven-week August recess without holding a vote on prolonging the moratorium, which—while flawed—significantly curbed the number eviction filings nationwide. Continue reading

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Medicare for All Advocates Take to the Streets of Over 50 US Cities

“How can we have life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness when we live in constant fear of illness, bankruptcy, or homelessness because of the outrageous for-profit healthcare system?”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-24-2021

People marched in more than 50 U.S. cities on Saturday to demand Medicare for All. (Photo: @Jaybefaunt/Twitter)

Just days before the 56th anniversary of Medicare being signed into law, advocates for creating a public, universal health insurance program in the United States to replace the largely private, for-profit system held marches in more than 50 cities across the country on Saturday.

The day of action was organized by a coalition of over 100 groups, from Mainers for Accountable Leadership, the Chicago Teachers Union, and Sunrise Movement Seattle to various arms of Democratic Socialists of America, Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), and Our Revolution. Continue reading

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