[guest post by Dana]
Happy weekend! It’s a sweltering mess here as summer rudely announced itself ahead of schedule. Here are a few news items to talk about. Please feel free to share anything you think readers might be interested in and make sure to include links.
First news item
Sen. Raphael Warnock (D., Ga.) sent a fundraising email asking recipients to identify their support for “repealing strict and burdensome voter ID laws” just hours after he claimed he has “never been opposed to voter ID.”
Just hours earlier, NBC News published a report in which Warnock claimed he has “never been opposed to voter ID” and “in fact” does not “know anybody who is.”
Warnock, however, has attacked voter ID laws for years.
In 2018, he penned an Atlanta Journal-Constitution opinion piece invoking Martin Luther King Jr. to chastise Georgia’s “unnecessary and discriminatory voter ID laws.” Two years earlier, Warnock gave a lecture lamenting “all of these voter suppression laws saying we’ve got to have voter ID laws because if we don’t they might vote twice,” adding, “Are you kidding?”
During a 2015 sermon, Warnock said “dealing with these voter ID laws … is not about voter verification, this is about voter suppression.” And in 2012, he labeled voter ID laws “unnecessary and unjustifiable,” according to the Augusta Chronicle.
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) June 18, 2021
Second news item
A committee of U.S. Catholic bishops is getting to work on a policy document that has stirred controversy among their colleagues before a word of it has even been written.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops overwhelmingly approved the drafting of a document “on the meaning of the Eucharist in the life of the Church” that some bishops hope will be a rebuke for politicians who support abortion rights but continue to receive Communion.
The 168-55 vote to proceed, vehemently opposed by a minority of bishops amid impassioned debate during virtual meetings, came despite appeals from the Vatican for a more cautious and collegial approach.
Here’s a good analysis.
Third news item
The Justice Department on Thursday released horrifying new police body camera footage from the January 6 assault on the US Capitol, after CNN and other outlets requested the tapes.
The footage was used in the case against Thomas Webster, a former Marine and retired police officer from the New York City Police Department accused of participating in the Capitol attack.
Prosecutors say that the 56-second tape shows Webster, wearing a red coat among a large crowd of pro-Trump rioters, screaming profanities at officers, threateningly wielding a flagpole, and finally rushing at the officers, who engaged in hand-to-hand combat with him and other members of the mob. One of the officers eventually wrestles away the flagpole, but Webster then tackles the cop to the ground.
In addition to the new video, photos in charging documents show Webster straddling and grabbing at the officer who was wearing the body camera and was thrown to the ground. He has been charged with seven federal crimes, including assaulting police, unlawfully entering Capitol grounds with a dangerous weapon and civil disorder. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Fourth news item
Former Vice President Mike Pence was heckled with cries of “Traitor!” as he delivered a speech at the conservative Faith & Freedom Coalition conference in Orlando, Florida. The booing and name-calling presumably came from Trump loyalists who are still sore that Pence chose not to subvert the election of President Joe Biden. Pence tweeted out clips of his speech that did not include the cacophony—which resulted in some people being escorted out of the event.
Pence gets drowned out by hecklers at the Faith & Freedom Coalition summit, some of whom appear to be chanting "traitor!" pic.twitter.com/pAQxavsK3O
— Andrew Solender (@AndrewSolender) June 18, 2021
“Faith and Freedom Coalition.” Those are Christian activists, and they’re heckling Trump’s own VP and loyal servant for four years (minus one day) because that one critical day he refused try to overturn an election and potentially destroy the American republic.
Fifth news item
Mexico’s national team will play its first two home matches in World Cup qualifying without spectators, a penalty for its fans’ use of an anti-gay chant during last spring’s pre-Olympic tournament in Guadalajara, the country’s soccer federation announced at a Mexico City news conference Friday.
The games Mexico will play behind closed doors are against Jamaica on Sept. 2 and Canada on Oct. 7. The federation was also fined $73,000 following an investigation by FIFA, the world governing body for soccer.
“What for some seemed to be fun, I have news for you. It isn’t,” Yon de Luisa, the president of the Mexican federation, said at the news conference. “Because of it we’re kept out of the stadium and kept away from our national team. Please stop. Stop now.”
Sixth news item
Opal Lee is 94, and she’s doing a holy dance.
It’s a dance she said she and her ancestors have been waiting 155 years, 11 months and 28 days to do.
Ever since Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, to spread the news of the Emancipation Proclamation outlawing slavery in Confederate states. President Abraham Lincoln had signed it more than two years earlier.
“And now we can all finally celebrate. The whole country together,” Lee told NPR minutes after a landslide House vote on Wednesday approving legislation establishing the day, now known as Juneteenth, as a federal holiday to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States.
President Biden signed the bill on Thursday, and Lee was standing beside him during the ceremony.
TCW is spot-on:
My father is from Galveston, Texas, and before it became a mainstream convo, Juneteenth was something that he mentioned every June 19th, not because he based his identity on it, or because it kept him from being fully American. To call it "lame" is reprehensible.
— Thomas Chatterton Williams 🌍 🎧 (@thomaschattwill) June 18, 2021
Seventh news item
For those still reluctant, China has a powerful tool in its arsenal: a top-down, one-party system that is all-encompassing in reach and forceful in action, and a sprawling bureaucracy that can be swiftly mobilized.
The top-down approach has been touted by officials as a strength of the Chinese system that helped curb the virus — and has again been deployed to accelerate inoculations.
Breaking: The Chinese Communist Party is impressed by the way the Chinese Communist Party works.
Eighth news item
Senate Democrats repeatedly claimed that Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett would strike down the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — also known as Obamacare — if she was confirmed, but those predictions were proven false on Thursday.
Barrett voted with the majority in a 7-2 decision to uphold Obamacare on Thursday.
Have a great weekend.