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Member since: Sat Sep 26, 2015, 03:46 PM
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No Justice No Peace PAC: Elections, actions, and activism

Rob Johnson, Al Womble, and Eddie Mauro of the New Frontier Fund jointly authored this commentary. The No Justice No Peace PAC is online at www.njnppac.com.

History is a curious thing. Our understanding of our past changes with time – moving through phases where our perception shifts, evolves and deepens. This examination of our history is constant, and it happens in the public sphere through discussions via social media, the news, commentary, and politics.

We are in the midst of a significant reorganization and shift in how we see, hear, and experience the history of race in America. It’s colliding with a time when Americans fundamentally re-evaluate how we relate to our institutions of government, our neighbors, and our local communities.

This confrontation is messy. It’s fraught with conflict. And it’s necessary.

Intersectionality, Liberation, and Justice
The intersection of movements for Black liberation and justice, calls for recognition of the essential humanity of our LGBTQ brothers/sisters/siblings, and our approach to the COVID-19 pandemic have created both a challenge to the primary institutions of our democratic system and an opportunity for real structural and transformational change. Change that can make our country healthier, our communities safer, and our institutions more just. If we rise to the challenge, recognize the need for change is real, and act boldly, we can emerge from this moment stronger.

If we fail to rise to this challenge and merely go back to business as usual – we will have failed and will be committing generations to come to a future of continued division and injustice.

Our Call to Action
With this in mind, we are launching a new organization to help lay the foundation for a more progressive, just, and equitable future. We call it the New Frontier Fund, and our first project is a new political committee – No Justice No Peace.

No Justice No Peace will initially focus on a #BlackNewDeal. A plan that aims to fundamentally change our criminal justice system, guarantee the right to vote, pursue economic justice and equity, and end the over-incarceration of people due to the criminalization of marijuana.

To us, this is a matter of life or death.

The criminal justice system incarcerates millions of black men. That is effectively sentencing them to death in jails and prisons that are hotbeds for COVID-19. If you are a young black man in America, you are far more likely to be incarcerated for a non-violent drug offense than a young white man. Once confined, you are far more likely to be exposed to COVID-19, HIV, and other infectious diseases and far more likely to die while incarcerated than similarly situated white inmates.

Immediate Attention in Our Own Backyard
We call for three actions that Governor Kim Reynolds, the Iowa legislature, and Congress can and should take immediately in response.

First, we need an Executive Order from Governor Reynolds restoring voting rights – automatically – to all people who have served their prison sentences. Bringing these voters back into the electoral process will help reduce recidivism (and our prison population in the future) and create a more equitable election process. You can take action here.

Second, there needs to be an immediate moratorium on all sentencing involving jail time for all non-violent drug offenses – then permanent legalization of marijuana at the federal, state, and local levels. According to John Hudak at the Center for Effective Public Management, “Despite cannabis usage rates between whites and non-whites being similar, Black Americans are arrested for cannabis offenses at a rate of nearly 4:1, compared to whites.

Incarceration during these trying times dramatically increases your chance of contracting COVID-19, impacts the ability to obtain a job, and our prison population is already overburdened. If Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen can get a reprieve from their prison sentences, we need to extend this to people who have committed non-violent drug offenses.

And third, we are calling on President Donald Trump and the U.S. Department of Justice to immediately reinstate the federal moratorium on the execution of federal inmates. The state inequitably applies the death penalty to persons of color, and the state shouldn’t be in the business of taking a person’s life.

If Not Now, When? If Not Us, Then Who?
Over the last year, there has been an awakening of millions recognizing the violence perpetrated against communities of color. This awakening is occurring all over our country, and right here in our backyard in Iowa.

One hundred and fifty-two years ago, in the aftermath of the Civil War, Iowa became the first state to desegregate our public schools. We were among the first states in the nation to recognize the right of same-sex couples to marry legally. Our legislature and Governor Reynolds were among the first states to pass policing reforms in response to the George Floyd murder.

Now, we have an opportunity to build on that foundation. To make our way into a new frontier where we pursue justice for all and peace for future generations.

Editor’s note: Rob Johnson is a community and business leader, faith leader, and mental health policy advocate in Des Moines.
Al Womble chairs the Iowa Democratic Party’s Black Caucus and was previously state director for Andrew Yang’s presidential campaign in Iowa and Eddie Mauro’s campaign for the U.S. Senate.
Eddie Mauro is former teacher and longtime business owner who has been involved in community service, activism, and organizing for many years. He is the President of UIG in Des Moines and a co-founding member of AMOS in Central Iowa.


Progressive Senators Ready To Help Confirm 2 Anti-Choice Trump Judges

Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth are backing nominees who questioned Roe v. Wade and worked with groups trying to end abortion rights. Why?
By Jennifer Bendery, Huffpost

WASHINGTON ― Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth are progressive Illinois senators who support abortion rights. They both scored the full 100 points on NARAL Pro-Choice America’s 2019 congressional scorecard. And in the coming weeks, they are ready to help confirm two of President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees who have records of hostility to women’s reproductive rights and Roe v. Wade.

The Democratic senators praised Stephen McGlynn and David Dugan when Trump nominated them to lifetime federal court seats last December and February, respectively. Both have been picked for seats on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.

“We are pleased that the President has nominated Judge Stephen McGlynn,” Durbin and Duckworth said in a joint statement last December. “He has the qualifications, integrity, and judgment to serve with distinction as a district court judge in the Southern District of Illinois. We appreciate the Administration’s willingness to work with us and with our nonpartisan screening committee to reach consensus on nominees who will serve the people of Illinois well. We look forward to guiding his nomination through the Senate.”

They issued a similar joint statement for Dugan in February.
. . .


Chuck Todd's opening segment is about Barr's

testimony and how it proves Barr believes he is a partisan warrior for trump. It’s a good segment.

The historic Methodist church on the next block

just played “Morning Has Broken” by Cat Stevens to chime the noon hour. It was lovely.

The church, Grace United Methodist, serenades the neighborhood at noon and 6 pm daily and chimes the hours. It was the home church of vice-president and ag pioneer Henry Wallace. There is a peace memorial honoring Wallace and George Washington Carver on the grounds. As churches go, this is one of the good ones.

Johnson County (Iowa City) researching possible renaming

The US vice-president, Richard M Johnson, Johnson County is named for was dispicable, even by the standards of the day. The county is looking into renaming itself after a different "Johnson" and one excellent suggestion is Lulu Merle Johnson.



Gun manufacturer Brownells One Of Top PPP Loan Recipients In Iowa

from Iowa Starting Line, Posted 7/7/2020

"Brownells, the Grinnell-based international gun manufacturer and firearm supplier, was one of Iowa’s leading recipients of the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program.

Data released Monday by the federal agency shows that Brownells was one of 50 Iowa businesses and nonprofit groups, mostly comprised of hospitals, manufacturing or agricultural corporations, to receive a loan in the range of $5 to $10 million — the highest amount distributed in the state. The major supplier of firearm accessories declined to answer how many jobs the loan helped them retain while most of the other Iowa top loan recipients saved an average of 288 employees.

The recent release of the SBA loan numbers has been subject to controversy as a number of President Donald Trump’s donors, businesses owned by members of Congress and large Wall Street-backed supply chains were notable grantees of the $660 billion small-business relief program. The PPP’s intent was to offer forgivable loans to smaller businesses in order that they stay afloat and maintain employees during the U.S. economic slowdown due to the pandemic.

According to Federal Election Commission filings, Frank Brownell, Co-Chairman of the Board, donated around $5,687 to Trump and his campaign. Brownells CEO Pete Brownell, a onetime president of the National Rifle Association, often contributes to Joni Ernst and Mariannette Miller-Meeks’ congressional funds, the National Shooting Sports foundation PAC and the Republican Party of Iowa.

In March, several Iowa gun stores said they were having difficulty meeting an increased demand for ammo. Nationally, firearms sales hit record levels in recent months. Brownells said they saw an uptick in purchases from across the country as people stocked up to “protect themselves” from potential paranoia and unrest during the pandemic.

Ryan Repp, Brownells’ director of communications told the Des Moines Register that California, Texas and New York are the top states for ammo sales on the company’s website. “We buy ammo no differently than the average consumer would buy toilet paper,” he said

In total, 58,463 Iowa companies and nonprofit groups were granted PPP loans, 52,527 of which received the lowest level loan of under $150,000. 5,936 loans were granted to at $150,000 and up."


Outsmarting the repugs with absentee ballot requests

"Polk County plans to send voters absentee ballot request forms" - Des Moines Register 7/7/2020

"Polk County Auditor Jamie Fitzgerald said his office will send every registered voter an absentee ballot request form before Election Day as a safety precaution against the potential spread of coronavirus.
. . .
In 2018, Polk County sent 86,105 ballots to voters, and 78,068 were returned, according to data from the Iowa Secretary of State. In 2016, the county sent 96,388 absentee ballots to voters, with 88,114 returned. Those numbers may not reflect voters whose ballots were received by the Auditor's Office after Election Day, or voters who opted to vote in-person.

The decision to mail absentee ballot request forms in the state's largest county comes after the secretary of state's office mailed similar forms to every registered Iowa voter before the June 2 primary. That election saw record turnout and more than 411,000 people voted absentee, up from 38,000 in the 2016 primary election.

But Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a law forbidding a secretary of state from doing similar mass mailings in the future without the permission of a legislative panel. Secretary of State Paul Pate has not yet made that request for the November election."


Polk County Dems weekly email...VOTE BY MAIL

"The sun is rising and it is very much a new day in Polk County. After four long, strange years, Iowa voters can now request their 2020 ballots to finally get rid of Donald Trump.
Today, we’ve launched www.votepolk.com to let folks know the voting process has started.
Today, there is at least one yard sign in every one of Polk County’s 177 precincts.
Today, there are 19 digital billboards all across the county.
Today, an aggressive social media campaign started across all our platforms.
And there are 119 days until the November election..."

The yard signs are printed on corrugated plastic for reuse and say:
D Polk County Democrats

I'm so proud of our county Dems, we'll defeat Joni Ernst and help save the nation.

They like being called rebel rather than confederate.

For one thing, it’s short so they can spell it.
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