[guest post by Dana]
Hello and happy (almost) weekend! I hope at least one of you is soaking up the sun on a gorgeous beach somewhere while you read a juicy novel and are lulled by the rhythmic rolling crash of waves so I can live vicariously through you.
Here are a few news items to chew over. As usual, feel free to add what you think readers might be interested in, and please remember to include a link.
First news item
A Minnesota judge sentenced former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin to 22 1/2 years in prison Friday for the murder of George Floyd.
Judge Peter Cahill wrote that part of the mission of the Minneapolis Police Department is to give citizens “voice and respect.”
“Mr. Chauvin, rather than pursuing the MPD mission, treated Mr. Floyd without respect and denied him the dignity owed to all human beings and which he certainly would have extended to a friend or neighbor. In the Court’s view, 270 months, which amounts to an additional ten years over the presumptive 150-month sentence, is the appropriate sentence.”
Cahill’s entire sentencing order and memorandum for Chauvin at the link.
Related: God bless the family that is “forever broken”.
Second news item
Vice President Kamala Harris visited a border patrol facility near the U.S.-Mexico border on Friday and urged a focus on children and practical solutions to migration, in a trip meant to blunt Republican criticism of White House immigration policies.
The visit – her first since becoming vice president five months ago – came amid a rise in migrants caught crossing the border, which has sparked outrage from Republicans who favor the stricter immigration policies implemented by former President Donald Trump.
President Joe Biden, a Democrat, tasked Harris with spearheading his administration’s handling of the broader issue of people fleeing Central American countries for the United States. She visited Guatemala and Mexico earlier this month.
“This issue cannot be reduced to a political issue. We’re talking about children, we’re talking about families, we’re talking about suffering. And our approach has to be thoughtful and effective,” Harris said at the conclusion of her short trip.
On the campaign trail, President Biden had blasted his predecessor for deporting veterans, calling it an “outrage” and promising to create a process in his first 100 days for them to return to the United States. He has since expanded that review to include their family members…
The Department of Homeland Security “recognizes the profound sacrifice that our military families make on behalf of our nation, ”spokeswoman Marsha Espinosa said in a statement.
“The Department is committed to bringing back military family members who were unjustly deported,” she said. “Additional steps will be taken to make sure that military families’ path to naturalization is easy.”
Veterans advocates said they have heard of few deported military family members or veterans returning to the United States…
“President Biden made all these promises,” said Margaret Stock, an immigration lawyer and retired Army officer who testified about the issue before a Senate subcommittee on Wednesday. “I’ve hardly seen anybody brought back.”
Nobody knows how many veterans and military family members have been deported from the United States. The practice has occurred for decades, including when Biden was vice president. Veterans advocates estimate that hundreds of veterans have been deported over the years and perhaps thousands of their relatives.
Third news item
Manhattan prosecutors have warned former President Trump’s lawyers that they’re now weighing criminal charges against the Trump Organization, The New York Times reports. The charges against Trump’s family business and Allen Weisselberg, its longtime chief financial officer, could be unveiled by next week if District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.’s office decides to move forward after its three-year criminal tax investigation, according to the Times. Much of the probe has focused directly on Weisselberg, including his personal taxes and whether he—as well as other Trump Org employees—received benefits that weren’t taxed properly. Trump’s lawyers reportedly met with prosecutors on Thursday as part of an effort to convince them to ditch any potential charges. It remains unclear whether Trump himself will be charged.
Fourth news item
Progressive Democrats’ concerns that their more centrist colleagues won’t support President Joe Biden’s larger spending and tax agenda are starting to bear out.
Oregon Rep. Kurt Schrader, a member of the fiscally conscious Blue Dog Coalition, said in an interview that he’s planning to vote against a budget resolution that would include reconciliation instructions for trillions of dollars in additional spending. Another moderate House Democrat, who requested anonymity to speak freely about a position that would upset party leaders, said the same.
With those two expected “no” votes, Speaker Nancy Pelosi doesn’t have much more room to maneuver on that first step toward passing a big spending bill, let alone the reconciliation legislation itself that would contain all the details.
She can only lose two more Democratic votes and still adopt the budget resolution in her narrowly divided 220-211 chamber, since no Republicans are likely to vote for it, as budget resolutions are designed to be partisan wish lists.
The budget resolution is needed to begin the reconciliation process, which Democrats can use to get around a Senate filibuster and pass a partisan spending and tax bill without Republican support. But it requires their party to remain fully united in the Senate, given the chamber’s 50-50 split and Vice President Kamala Harris’ ability to break a tie, and mostly united in the House where their narrow majority can only spare four Democratic votes.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Friday poured cold water on a $579 billion bipartisan infrastructure deal struck by the White House and senators of both parties a day earlier, predicting it would not pass Congress after President Biden linked it to a separate multitrillion-dollar reconciliation package.
“I think my members need a chiropractor ‘cause they got whiplash after watching the president yesterday say there was a deal and say there was no deal, say: ‘You can have a deal on the trillion dollars on infrastructure, but you’ve got to vote for $5 trillion at the same time too, and you’ve got to raise taxes on everybody, and you’ve got to have a Green New Deal,’” McCarthy told reporters at his weekly news conference.
“I don’t think that’s going to work. I don’t think that’s going to pass. I think they killed any opportunity. I think it was disingenuous in every shape and form.”
Fifth news item
The Department of Justice is suing Georgia over its sweeping election law recently passed by Republicans, alleging it violates the federal Voting Rights Act by seeking to disenfranchise Black voters.
“Our complaint alleges that recent changes to Georgia’s election laws were enacted with the purpose of denying or abridging the right of Black Georgians to vote on account of their race or color, in violation of Section Two of the Voting Rights Act,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said on Friday.
Sixth news item
Pakistan’s prime minister, Imran Khan, is facing backlash after he blamed victims of rape for wearing “very few clothes”. The former cricket captain was questioned by the Axios journalist Jonathan Swan about the ongoing “rape epidemic” in Pakistan and responded by saying: “If a woman is wearing very few clothes it will have an impact on the man unless they are robots. It’s common sense.”
Just how terrifying must it be to be a woman in Pakistan when the Prime Minister of the country has essentially told men “you can’t help it” if they rape a woman, and has told victims of rape “it’s your fault”. What a fucking monster. This has to strike fear into the heart of every woman. But hey, validating the rapist and punishing the victim is what rape apologists do. Oh, and exactly which women in [checks notes] Pakistan are wearing “very few clothes” anyway?? Because you can do a whole of googling, and “very few clothes” on women is simply not a thing.
Seventh news item
Mumford and Sons lose a gracious banjo player. READ THE WHOLE THING:
At the beginning of March I tweeted to American journalist Andy Ngo, author of the New York Times Bestseller, Unmasked. “Congratulations @MrAndyNgo. Finally had the time to read your important book. You’re a brave man”. Posting about books had been a theme of my social-media throughout the pandemic. I believed this tweet to be as innocuous as the others. How wrong I turned out to be.
Over the course of 24 hours it was trending with tens of thousands of angry retweets and comments. I failed to foresee that my commenting on a book critical of the Far-Left could be interpreted as approval of the equally abhorrent Far-Right.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Thirteen members of my family were murdered in the concentration camps of the Holocaust. My Grandma, unlike her cousins, aunts and uncles, survived. She and I were close. My family knows the evils of fascism painfully well. To say the least. To call me “fascist” was ludicrous beyond belief.
For me to speak about what I’ve learnt to be such a controversial issue will inevitably bring my bandmates more trouble. My love, loyalty and accountability to them cannot permit that. I could remain and continue to self-censor but it will erode my sense of integrity. Gnaw my conscience. I’ve already felt that beginning.
The only way forward for me is to leave the band. I hope in distancing myself from them I am able to speak my mind without them suffering the consequences. I leave with love in my heart and I wish those three boys nothing but the best. I have no doubt that their stars will shine long into the future. I will continue my work with Hong Kong Link Up and I look forward to new creative projects as well as speaking and writing on a variety of issues, challenging as they may be.
I dont’ know who this guy is but what he says sears my heart because I am one of those “who can’t”:
The Gospel isn't an instruction manual on how to 'get it together' but a declaration of mercy for all of us who can't.
— David Cassidy (@DPCassidyTKC) June 25, 2021
Summer in bloom:
Have a lovely weekend.