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Former Vice President Joe Biden stepped up on Friday and showed a grieving nation what humane, moral leadership could look like. Calling the killing of George Floyd “an act of brutality so elemental it did more than deny one more Black man in America his civil rights and his human rights, it denied him of his very humanity, it denied him of his life,” Biden described the United States as “a country with an open wound” that must be healed, not denied.
Not just Floyd but Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery are, Biden, said, “the latest additions to the endless list of stolen potential wiped out unnecessarily. It’s a list that dates back more than 400 years—Black men, Black women, Black children. The original sin of this country still stains our nation today. And sometimes we manage to overlook it. We just push forward with a thousand other tasks in our daily life. But it’s always there, and weeks like this, we see it plainly, that we’re a country with an open wound. None of us can turn away, none of us can be silent. None of us can any longer hear the words ‘I can’t breathe.’”
Biden called on white people to imagine if “every time your husband or son, wife or daughter, you feared for their safety from bad actors and bad police. Imagine if you had to have that talk with your child about not asserting your rights, taking the abuse handed out to them so—so, just so—they could make it home.” Black people, he reminded viewers, “don’t have to imagine it. The anger and the frustration and the exhaustion—it’s undeniable.”
“That’s not the promise of America. It’s long past time that we made the promise of this nation real for all people,” Biden continued, calling for “real leadership that will bring everyone to the table so we can take measures to root out systemic racism.”
Biden went on to call for “real police reform that holds cops to a higher standard that so many of them actually meet—that holds bad cops accountable.”
Biden later returned to the acknowledgement that “the promise of America” is not real for everyone, saying “We’ve got to make real the promise of America, which we’ve never fully grasped, that all men and women are equal, not only at creation but throughout their lives.” He closed with a promise to George Floyd’s family, with whom he’d spoken, that “we’ll do everything in our power to see to it that justice is had in your brother, your cousin’s case.”
Allegation of wrongdoing reopens war wound that has marred relations between Seoul and Tokyo.
Former Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin was taken into custody by investigators Friday in connection with the death of 46-year-old George Floyd. The announcement comes from John Harrington, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, who told the press that Chauvin was taken into custody but did not elaborate on any charges.
Floyd was arrested On Monday, May 25, in connection with a 9-1-1 call made about a man using possibly fraudulent cash to buy cigarettes from a store. The resulting arrest included four police officers responding, with Chauvin kneeling on and resting the weight of his body on the back of Floyd’s neck, while Floyd pleaded for his life. The entire event was videotaped by bystanders, who also pleaded for Floyd’s life.
Chauvin and three other officers were fired a day after a video showing Floyd’s arrest, brutal treatment, and death at the hands of Minneapolis police went viral across the country. Harrington did not mention whether or not those three other officers would also be taken into custody or charged. Floyd’s death, on the heels of other publicized cases of unarmed Black people being mistreated and killed by law enforcement, sparked massive protests throughout the country, as well as major clashes in Minnesota, leading to Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey calling for the state’s National Guard to come in to control justifiably angry citizens.
Conservatives have framed women’s rights rallies in March as a source of contagion, threatening to undermine the surging feminist movement.
As Beijing flexes its muscle from Hong Kong to Ladakh, the U.S. government must decide how to respond.
The Trump administration continues politicizing public health with its latest changes to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention coronavirus reopening guidelines. As Donald Trump works to cement the evangelical vote, the administration dramatically watered down the guidance for churches—and in particular for choirs.
Churches have been the sites of several superspreading events from South Korea to Arkansas, and a Washington state choir practice led to 87% of the attendees becoming infected. But the Trump administration has removed the CDC’s warnings about choir or congregant singing, as well as about shared cups.
The CDC had originally included the recommendation that churches “consider suspending or at least decreasing use of choir/musical ensembles and congregant singing, chanting, or reciting during services or other programming, if appropriate within the faith tradition.” From “consider” to “at least decreasing” to “if appropriate within the faith tradition,” that is extremely careful, noncoercive language. And it explained why: “The act of singing may contribute to transmission of COVID-19, possibly through emission of aerosols.”
That language hadn’t been approved by the White House, though, and the very next day, it had been removed and a statement that the guidance “is not intended to infringe on rights protected by the First Amendment” had been added.
”[Two White House] officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk about policy discussions, said there have long been concerns within the White House that there were too many restrictions on choirs,” The Washington Post reports. The White House is also worried that it would anger evangelicals by suggesting not sharing hymnals or passing collection plates.
People have literally died because of going to choir practice or to a church that wasn’t practicing social distancing, but Team Trump won't even offer a gentle suggestion that churches limit singing and the passing of shared objects. That’s not about the First Amendment—churches can be provided the information without the booted heel of the state slamming down on them. It’s about Donald Trump’s particular political need to suck up to evangelicals in advance of November. And it’s going to get people killed.
Protests of police killings of Black people spread around the country Thursday night, which was the third night of protests in Minneapolis. There was a lot to protest—and Donald Trump was trying to ensure there will be more, judging by his tweets calling for further state violence.
In Minneapolis, police killed George Floyd on Monday, kneeling on his neck as he choked out: “I can’t breathe.” In Louisville, Kentucky, the release of the 911 call from Kenneth Walker after police shot his girlfriend, Breonna Taylor, spurred new protests. Police—who were at the wrong house—claim they announced themselves as police and Walker fired at them. But in the call it’s clear that he had no idea they were police. He told the dispatcher: “I don't know what happened ... somebody kicked in the door and shot my girlfriend.”
Protesters gathered in Columbus, Ohio; Los Angeles, California; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Denver, Colorado; Memphis, Tennessee; New York City, New York; and Portland, Oregon.
The Minneapolis police precinct where the officers worked who killed Floyd, and the workplace of those who stood by while he was killed, was burned in the protests. Some local businesses were burned as well. Police quickly responded to protests on Tuesday with tear gas and rubber bullets. Police also arrested a Black CNN reporter live on the air while treating his white colleague nearby with respect.
Seven people were shot at a protest in Louisville while officials said police did not fire. In Denver, shots were fired near what The New York Times describes as a peaceful protest, but no one was injured. In another incident, a driver intentionally rammed into a protester. The Denver protest blocked traffic on Interstate 25 and surface roads. Police in Phoenix, Arizona, fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters.
For some odd reason, police weren't nearly as quick with the tear gas and rubber bullets when heavily armed white people protested the coronavirus shutdowns.
This uprising is the result of years of police violence against Black people, with prosecutors and courts lined up to protect police from any consequences for even the most blatant and brutal murders. This backlash was created by years of pain and rage and injustice. If you’re a white person saying “but the protests are too violent,” consider how you would feel if you lived your life in active fear of what happened to George Floyd and Breonna Taylor happening to you or a loved one. If you’re saying, “If only they were more like Martin Luther King Jr.,” remember that white people didn’t like him too much during his lifetime, either. You should be uncomfortable.
Hi, Daily Kos community!
Many of you may recognize my name from campaign action emails you receive from the Daily Kos activism team. For those of you who don’t know me, however, I’m Sarah Hogg, a campaign manager here at Daily Kos focusing on abortion rights and access.
I’ve worked in the abortion access and funding movements for eight years, and I know firsthand the drastic measures extremists will take to attempt to implement draconian measures to restrict reproductive freedom and autonomy.
It comes as no surprise to me that anti-abortion politicians are exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic to try to end or severely restrict access to abortion. From new legal challenges based on what is considered an “essential” medical service during a pandemic to existing arbitrary regulations like abortion pill restrictions, abortion patients and providers face roadblocks and barriers to receiving and giving care every step of the way.
The landscape of abortion restrictions is intentionally confusing—and it’s made even more so by extremist conservatives trying to capitalize on a crisis to score political and moral points. During a national public health emergency, we need answers, not more questions.
That’s why Daily Kos and our nonprofit media partner, Prism, are thrilled to host a livestreamed panel, “Abortion Access in the Age of COVID-19,” this Friday, May 29, at 3 PM EST.
Friday’s panel will be livestreamed on Facebook. Click here to visit the event page and RSVP! (If you’re not on Facebook, don’t worry! You can tune into Daily Kos’ YouTube channel at 3 PM EST on Friday to view the livestream.)
We have a stellar lineup of abortion access and reproductive justice advocates for Friday’s livestream. I’ll be joined on the panel by Carole Joffe and David S. Cohen, authors of Obstacle Course: The Everyday Struggle to Get an Abortion in America; Kamyon Conner, executive director of the Texas Equal Access Fund; Dr. Ghazaleh Moayedi, an abortion provider; and Tina Vasquez, Gender Justice staff reporter at Prism.
While the outlook on abortion rights and access is bleak, we won’t just be discussing obstacles and barriers. Our panel will also speak to patients’ resilience and tenacity, providers’ brilliance and compassion, and the necessary work of trusted, community-rooted organizations like abortion funds that help people get the funding, transportation, and child care they need in order to access care.
Whether you want to learn more about how COVID-19 impacts abortion, the existing restrictions that make it difficult for many to access care, or ways to take action, we hope you’ll join us on Friday.
Do you have a question for our panel about abortion access in the age of COVID-19? Leave it here in the comments and tune in on Friday to see if we answer it during our Q&A portion!
Trump essentially abandons White House pandemic task force, abdicating responsibility for death toll
The deaths of more than 100,000 Americans from coronavirus this week has not been marked officially by the White House. The White House coronavirus task force headed up by Vice President Mike Pence hasn't even issued a statement, much less conducted a briefing. But more disturbing, it has had just one meeting in a week, CNN reports. Because it's all about reopening now and apparently having the task force continue to operate publicly would undercut the big orange blob of rage's declaration of victory over the virus. He's moved on to other things, and the task force is now just meeting once a week.
It has " essentially been sidelined by Trump, said senior administration officials and others close to the group, who described a greatly reduced role for the panel created to guide the administration's response to the pandemic." Meanwhile, Trump is creating diversions, including his war with Twitter which he ramped up Friday with a violently racist statement about the situation in Minneapolis following the murder by cops of George Floyd. Forget the mounting, outrageous, unacceptable death toll for which Trump is personally responsible, and look over there at the other fire he's started.
Meanwhile, the country is reopening and new hot spots of infection are emerging and the medical and science officials in the White House are disappearing, along with it the messages about the importance of social distancing, mask wearing, and hand-washing to ward off the virus. Drs. Deborah Birx, Anthony Fauci and Surgeon General Jerome Adams rarely appear on camera anymore, while Trump continues to undercut all their warnings about how to stay safe. Like tweeting out an article that said "masks aren't about public health but social control" with the message "So many different viewpoints!"
That leaves uncertainty for what is almost certain to come. For example, Project Airbridge which has focused on securing personal protective gear for health care workers overseas and bringing it in on government-funded private flights is expected to wind down with the end of the month. Health care workers say that the shortages of personal protective equipment continued in May, and continues to be an issue for medical and dental practices trying to resume their practices.
Of particular concern, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been almost entirely sidelined. One official told CNN that "the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services made the CDC halt [daily briefings] earlier in the year, when some CDC officials offered dire warnings that angered the President." According to that official, the CDC and Director Dr. Robert Redfield have made "multiple efforts" to bring back the daily briefings, but they've "given up asking." The director "has tried on and off for awhile," the official said. "I'm not aware of any imminent plans for the CDC briefings to return."
Early in May, Trump said he was going to disband the task force altogether, but supposedly abandoned that plan. "I had no idea how popular the task force is until actually yesterday when I started talking about winding down. It is appreciated by the public," he said a few weeks ago. Instead of directly killing it, he's just forcing it to dwindle away. Whether he's carrying out his big genius brain plan to have the State Department take over the pandemic response is unclear. It seems likelier that he's just ending the federal government's response so that he can blame the states for the next 100,000 deaths.