Friday, July 31, 2020

MUSIC - The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

By:  Danish National Symphony and Concert Choir
Soprano:  Christine Nonbo Andersen

I love both the movie and the music.  Was surprised to find this version of the theme.

Monday, July 27, 2020

MEMORIAM - Congressman John Lewis

"Services honoring Rep. John Lewis begin in AlabamaPBS NewsHour 7/25/2020


SUMMARY:  Memorial services spread over six days starting Saturday will honor and celebrate the life and legacy of civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis who died after a battle with pancreatic cancer.  The stops, across five cities, include Troy, Alabama  where he was born, and Selma where Lewis helped lead the voting rights march on “Bloody Sunday.”  Alabama Public Radio news director Pat Duggins joins to discuss.

OPINION - Shields and Brooks 7/24/2020

"Shields and Brooks on Democrats’ Senate momentum, John Lewis’ legacyPBS NewsHour 7/24/2020


SUMMARY:  Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week in politics, including how declining support for President Trump is shifting the momentum in several key Senate races toward Democrats, Trump’s decision to send federal forces into cities experiencing protests, Republican inaction on the pandemic and the legacy of John Lewis.

Judy Woodruff (NewsHour):  And that brings us to the analysis of Shields and Brooks.  That is syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.

It's so good to see both of you.

So, let's pick up, David, with what we were just hearing about these Senate races moving in the direction of the Democrats.  What is going on here?

David Brooks, New York Times:  Well, I would say, among Republicans, what had been concern has now turned into full-bore panic.

The President is behind by sometimes 12 or 13 points in the national polls, way behind in many of these states.  And that was survivable if you were a Senate candidate maybe in 1980, when you had a lot of ticket-splitting, and you could — you could run well ahead of your — the head of your party.

That doesn't happen anymore.  In 2016, there was basically no ticket-splitting.  If the President won in that state, the Senate candidate won.  And so it's just super hard to win when your President is losing.

I don't think there are any Republican candidates who have successfully found a posture, how to be loyal Republicans and not totally Trumpists.  And so you're not only looking at Arizona and Colorado, which seem gone for the Republicans, but we're talking about states like Iowa and Georgia.

And if — those should be solid Republican seats.  And it's just a — it's a just a complete collapse, it looks like, right now in the polls.

Judy Woodruff:  And, Mark, as Lisa pointed out, the year started out with Democrats worried and thinking they might not be able to take the Senate.

Are you surprised at this turn of events?

Mark Shields, syndicated columnist:  I am, Judy.  I'm surprised at a couple of things.

David's right about Democrats being on the offensive and Republicans being on the defensive.  But I guess what surprises me more than any — it should not surprise me — is that this has been the pattern.

When a President gets in trouble, his Senate colleagues face the same fate very often.  In 2016, for example, every Republican — every senator who — won in a state that the Presidential candidate of that senator's party carried.

In 2008, when Barack Obama swept, only one Republican survived in a state that Obama had carried.  That happened to be Susan Collins in Maine some three terms ago.

And we saw, in 1980 — David mentioned 1980 — 12 Senate seats switched in 1980, giants of the Senate.  George McGovern, Warren Magnuson, Frank Church, John Culver all went down and that year, and the Republicans won the Senate for the first time in 26 years.

Why?  Because the Presidential candidate, or the President at the top of the ticket, was just incredibly weak.  Jimmy Carter was at 31 percent job approval in 1980.  George W. Bush was at 25 percent job approval in 2008.  Even though he wasn't on the ballot, we had the financial collapse.  We had Iraq going absolutely south on him.

And so this is what Republicans face right now, is that same kind of climate.  And that's why they're worried.

Judy Woodruff:  And, David, it's interesting, because, as we just heard in Lisa's conversation, that these Democratic candidates are — they turn out to be candidates who are talented in an election year when people are paying attention to the challengers.

So often, it's the incumbent who's favored.

David Brooks:  And, so often, it's the incumbent who has the money advantage, and that's often not the case right now.

Mark Kelly in Arizona has twice as much money as the incumbent.  You're seeking big fund-raisers.  The Democrat who is running against Lindsey Graham has — is raising huge amounts of money.  So they're getting the money.

But I think it's not even the campaign.  So, James Fallows once said that this year is like 1918 with the flu, 1932 with the Depression, and 1968 with a war.  And so we have all of that all at once.  And I think it's just not an election like any other.

It's just a much more intense political era, a much more revolutionary political climate.  And it's, in this kind of climate, if ever — and it's unprecedented, so we don't know — I just think you're going to see something much vaster than we — than we think in a normal political year, even when there is a wave.

Judy Woodruff:  And, Mark, at the same time, the Democrats who are running who are challenging these Republicans have to be in a position to take advantage of what comes their way.

Mark Shields:  Oh, exactly, Judy.

And I thought the point in Lisa's piece that Jessica made that was so important is that nobody has been able to figure out how to distance themselves from Trump effectively.

I mean, two leading Republicans who did distance themselves from Trump, Jeff Flake and Bob Corker, both found themselves on the outs, Bob Corker of Tennessee, Jeff Flake of Arizona, and outside the Senate.

And so, how do you do that?  How do you walk that line?  Richard Nixon used to say, when — say anything you want to another Republican.  Say anything you want for me or against me.  Just win.  There was a practicality about it.

Donald Trump doesn't have that same approach.  I mean, it's total loyalty to him, and — which is coming with an increasing political price, as David mentioned, in the numbers that are currently in polls.

Judy Woodruff:  And speaking of the President, David, what we're seeing from the President now, and just yesterday announcing the Republican Convention isn't going to happen anymore, at least in Jacksonville, the big event that they had planned.

But you also have him being judged on an almost hourly basis by the way he's handling this pandemic.  You have him sending federal agents into American cities and threatening to send them into more.

I mean, that's the at most — that's the political reality that this Presidential race is taking place in.

David Brooks:  Well, the loss of the convention is bad news for Donald Trump, because he's behind, and he needs some events that can maybe shift the race, and he's down another one.

So, all that's left is the debates.  And so we're — and he will give a speech, I assume, some sort of convention speech, but it'll just be another day at the news cycle.

The violence in Portland is something I'm curious about.  I think most people — certainly, I'm appalled to have nameless random officers acting like this is not a democracy, acting like this is some sort of fascist state.

On the other hand, there is a lot of violence in Portland.  And if you go on a Republican news feed on the right side of my Twitter feed, it's all the violence of the protesters.

And so Donald Trump has tried to recreate a 1968 law and order campaign.  And maybe this will turn some minds about that.  Maybe there will be a sense of panic.  I tend not to think that.  The violence is not widespread.  It's in one place.

I think that the general trend, most people will look at that and say, are we turning into a police state?  But that sense of, we need law and order, I think that's the only way I see Trump appealing to some people who are genuinely scared, if they are genuinely scared, which I'm not sure about.

Judy Woodruff:  Mark, is that an attack that could be effective at this time, when the President is facing so much criticism for the way he's handled the pandemic?

Mark Shields:  Judy, he's dealing with a pair of deuces right now, if this were a poker game.  I mean, he's playing what he can play.  And that seems to be — maybe he a night to — soul-to-soul meeting with Roger Stone after his pardon — or his commutation, I should say, and was reminded of the best scenes from 1968.

The reality, Judy, is crowding upon him; 39 states saw increases in coronavirus, in the COVID-19, this past week.  We had four million cases for the first time.

And the one point where I have seen any Republican encouragement is that, for the first time, Donald Trump seems to be taking it seriously.  He doesn't do it well.  He reads it.  He cannot read from a teleprompter.  No one's ever taught him how to do it.  And it's not very convincing.

But he had a week where he was at least addressing the gravity of the situation and acknowledging it, and acknowledging that, in spite of the record heat wave in Washington and elsewhere in the country this year, that it's not going to miraculously disappear in hot weather.

Judy Woodruff:  And, Mark, I do want to turn both of you in our final seconds here to John Lewis, of course, the civil rights icon, someone who laid his body on the line for what he believed in, who fought in his quiet way for civil rights his entire life.

You had many occasions to be around him.  What would you say about John Lewis?

Mark Shields:  Well, one of the absolutely disarming qualities of Congressman Lewis was, whenever you ran into him, he would just grab you by the hand and said:  "Hello, my brother.  How are you?"

And I don't know.  Being called your brother by John Lewis was sort of special, and no matter how many times it happened.

Judy, you put it best.  He put his — he here is, the 10th child of poor sharecroppers at Alabama, born in the segregated South.  And he put his life, he put his body on the line.  At the age of 23, he was at the Lincoln Memorial.  He was the firebrand that they were worried about speaking before Martin Luther King.

Twenty-five, he walks across Edmund Pettus Bridge, seeking the vote, the right to vote that was promised to Americans and denied systematically by state after state, including his own.  And he had his skull fractured, his body broken, but never his spirit.

He was an incredible gentleman.  He was an incredible leader, an incredible example.  He left America so much better than he found it.  And people talk about changing the name of the Edmund Pettus Bridge to John Lewis Bridge, which is fine.

What they ought to do is pass a Voting Rights Act, after the court decision in 2013, which naively thought this problem was over.  We have seen the systematic denial of the right to vote, whether it's cutting polling places, cutting hours, purging of lists, I.D.s, voter I.D.s.

And that would be the testimony and memorial to John Lewis that would be appropriate, is a Voting Rights Act, a real Voting Rights Act.

Judy Woodruff:  Well, he will lay — people will pay his — respects to him next week.  His funeral is one week from today.

Mark Shields, David Brooks, thank you both.

Mark Shields:  Thank you.

CONGO - Threat Posed by Logging the Rainforest

"Widespread logging threatens the Congo Basin’s critical rainforestPBS NewsHour 7/24/2020


SUMMARY:  The Democratic Republic of Congo is a massive country, with a land area the size of Alaska and Texas combined.  It’s also home to a large part of the Congo Basin rainforest, a habitat for countless species and a crucial absorber of atmospheric carbon dioxide.  But illegal and uncontrolled logging represent major threats to this critical ecosystem.  Special correspondent Monica Villamizar reports.

VOTE 2020 - Virtual Campaigning

"What virtual campaigning means for Trump and BidenPBS NewsHour 7/23/2020


SUMMARY:  Both President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden have set records with their 2020 campaign fundraising.  But the pandemic has drastically altered how that money is spent, with events moving from in-person to online.  Guy Cecil political director for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential run, and John Brabender senior advisor for Rick Santorum’s 2016 bid, join Judy Woodruff to discuss.

JUSTICE IN AMERICA - Killing of Breonna Taylor

"No officers have been charged in the killing of Breonna Taylor.  Will they?PBS NewsHour 7/23/2020


SUMMARY:  Weeks before George Floyd's death fueled national protests over racism and police violence, the killing of Breonna Taylor sparked outrage in Louisville, Kentucky.  Her case has now become a national touch point for protesters, who often chant, “say her name.”  As John Yang reports, the city of Louisville’s response to the incident, in which police shot Taylor to death, is a flashpoint all its own.


"What’s at stake with political and pandemic challenges for 2020 censusPBS NewsHour 7/22/2020


SUMMARY:  On Tuesday, President Trump signed a memo aiming to bar undocumented immigrants from being included in the census count that determines how many members of Congress are allocated to each state.  The census is conducted once in a decade, but it shapes funding, policy and power for years.  Lisa Desjardins reports and talks to Hansi Lo Wang of NPR about what this and the pandemic mean for the census.

Editor's note:  The guest in this segment misstated that an enslaved person in the U.S. was counted as three-fourths of a person under the Constitution.  Enslaved Black Americans were counted as three-fifths of a person.

AMERICA vs CHINA - Chinese Consulate Ordered to Close

"Why the U.S. ordered a Chinese consulate closed — and what it means for foreign policyPBS NewsHour 7/22/2020


SUMMARY:  The Trump administration has ordered China to close its Houston consulate -- the latest action in an escalating fight between the two countries.  The State Department cited concerns about espionage and intellectual property theft as justification for the move.  Nick Schifrin reports and talks to Yale Law School’s Susan Thornton, former acting Assistant Secretary of State, and author Gordon Chang.

U.S. CONGRESS - New Pandemic Relief

"Congress resumes pandemic relief deliberations, but Republicans remain dividedPBS NewsHour 7/21/2020


SUMMARY:  Coronavirus infections and deaths are still climbing in much of the nation, and Florida has become the new national epicenter.  With Congress back in session after recess, continuing COVID-19 increases are fueling urgent negotiations on an economic rescue package.  But lawmakers are deeply divided about what the legislation should include.  Lisa Desjardins reports and joins Judy Woodruff to discuss.

"What these Americans say they need from congressional pandemic aidPBS NewsHour 7/21/2020


SUMMARY:  With Congress back in session, lawmakers are considering another round of coronavirus relief.  Two of the major sticking points are prolonging increased unemployment benefits and protecting against coronavirus-related lawsuits.  What do Americans think about these two issues, as they grapple with the pandemic’s economic fallout?  We hear some of their opinions.

AMERICA - Becoming a Police State

COMMENT:  No matter what Americans have a Constitutional Right to non-violent protest.  Trump Administration has, in affect, treated ALL protesters as criminals peaceful or not.  Constitutional law enforcement would ONLY target those persons engaging in harmful violence against persons or committing actual statuary crimes like looting.  This is Trump turning America into a Police State.

"Trump’s deployment of federal agents to quell Portland protests draws local irePBS NewsHour 7/20/2020


SUMMARY:  As U.S. protests continue over police violence and racism, some of them have been met with a federal response.  One such place is Portland, Oregon -- where local officials believe the presence of federal agents is doing more harm than good.  But President Trump has defended his decision to deploy them, calling the protesters, who have been mostly peaceful, “anarchists.”  John Yang reports.

"Oregon governor says ‘Trump troops’ in Portland are escalating tensions, not easing themPBS NewsHour 7/20/2020


SUMMARY:  Kate Brown is governor of Oregon, where ongoing protests over race and police violence have attracted federal attention.  Some agents deployed to Portland have refused to identify themselves to protesters, and their tactics have drawn criticism -- and even provoked a lawsuit.  Gov. Brown joins John Yang to discuss her concerns about lack of communication and what she considers “political theater.”

"Trump says he’ll send federal agents to more cities — even though they don’t want themPBS NewsHour 7/23/2020


SUMMARY:  President Trump is sending federal law enforcement into cities he claims are being overrun by violence -- even as local officials tell him the officers are not needed or welcome.  Many of the agents are dressed in military-style gear that obscures their identity, and their treatment of peaceful protesters has drawn criticism and sparked backlash.  Yamiche Alcindor reports.

"Trump’s deployment of federal forces to U.S. cities akin to ‘invasion,’ Ridge saysPBS NewsHour 7/23/2020


SUMMARY:  The divide between President Trump and local leaders in places where he has deployed federal agents is widening.  This week, 15 mayors asked Trump to withdraw federal forces from their cities, citing “fundamental constitutional protections.”  Former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge, First Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, joins Judy Woodruff to discuss why he disavows Trump's action.

"Portland police and feds are ‘responding to largely peaceful protests with violence’PBS NewsHour 7/26/2020


SUMMARY:  The Black Lives Matter protests following the death of George Floyd continue to gain momentum in Portland, Oregon, where protesters have clashed with the police sparking another wave of demonstrations against systemic racism and police brutality across the country.  Jonathan Levinson of Oregon Public Broadcasting joins Hari Sreenivasan for the latest from Portland.

PANDEMIC - Latest Consequences and Response

"‘No question’ slow federal pandemic response cost lives, Gov. Hogan saysPBS NewsHour 7/20/2020


SUMMARY:  American governors are on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19 -- and the economic collapse it prompted.  Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, is chairman of the National Governors Association, and he has spoken out recently about failures in the federal pandemic response.  Hogan joins Judy Woodruff to discuss the crisis, his forthcoming book, “Still Standing” and his political career.

"Can Italian tourism industry survive the pandemic?PBS NewsHour 7/20/2020


SUMMARY:  Italy is emerging from its COVID-19 nightmare into what is usually its busiest season for tourism.  The industry normally brings in 13 percent of the country’s $2 trillion GDP.  But there is no normal this year, and most tourists are not coming -- sparking fears that the pandemic will cause lasting economic damage.  Special correspondent Malcolm Brabant reports from Rimini, on Italy’s Adriatic Coast.

"Why the U.S. still doesn’t have control of COVID-19, 6 months after pandemic beganPBS NewsHour 7/20/2020


SUMMARY:  It was just about six months ago that the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in the U.S. Since then, the pandemic has exacted an enormous toll in terms of both human lives and economic harm -- with no end in sight.  Amna Nawaz marks the moment with two people focused on solving the pandemic: Dr. Rajiv Shah of the Rockefeller Foundation and John Barry of Tulane University School of Public Health.

"How the pandemic is making a global food crisis worsePBS NewsHour 7/21/2020


SUMMARY:  As the coronavirus pandemic tears across the globe, the toll exacted in lives lost and ruined grows by the day.  But for those already in need, especially the hungry and the starving, COVID-19 is accelerating their nightmares.  David Beasley, executive director of the World Food Program, joins Amna Nawaz to discuss the pandemic supply chain and how to keep 270 million people fed in a year of crisis.

"Colleges and universities grapple with decision to return to campusPBS NewsHour 7/21/2020


SUMMARY:  U.S. colleges and universities are scrambling to finalize their fall plans as coronavirus infections continue to rise in much of the country.  While some students, faculty and staff are looking forward to returning to campus, others are raising serious health and safety concerns.  Hari Sreenivasan reports on how schools are approaching the decision, as part of our Rethinking College series.

"U.S. must collect this data in order to contain pandemic, former CDC director saysPBS NewsHour 7/22/2020


SUMMARY:  More than 1,000 U.S. deaths from COVID-19 were reported Tuesday.  As many states struggle with outbreaks, Dr. Tom Frieden, former head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says the country desperately needs improved data collection to understand how the virus is spreading -- and to contain it.  He joins Judy Woodruff to discuss critical metrics and how to obtain and learn from them.

"What we know about the search for a COVID-19 vaccine — and what we don’tPBS NewsHour 7/22/2020


SUMMARY:  The question of when a COVID-19 vaccine might be available is perhaps the most pressing in the world.  There have been a number of recent headlines on this front, including early but encouraging results from trials.  And on Wednesday, the Trump administration awarded a contract to Pfizer and a German biotech firm to potentially deliver doses this year.  Miles O’Brien joins Judy Woodruff to discuss.

"Can MLB play ball and still avoid an outbreak?PBS NewsHour 7/23/2020


SUMMARY:  Months after the start of spring training, the first pitch of the 2020 Major League Baseball season will be thrown Thursday night.  Opening Day gets underway with the Washington Nationals hosting the New York YankeesBut the season will be very unusual, with no fans present at stadiums, and many questions about it remain unanswered.  Amna Nawaz reports and talks to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

"In Alabama, racial disparities in health outcomes predate the pandemicPBS NewsHour 7/24/2020


SUMMARY:  In Alabama, doctors and nurses are seeing record numbers of hospitalizations associated with COVID-19.  The state has reported more than 1,300 deaths since the pandemic began.  But certain regions and populations within the state are faring far worse than others -- and huge health disparities among Black residents are causing even more dire results.  Stephanie Sy reports on a tragic legacy.

"Honoring 5 more victims of the coronavirus pandemic" PBS NewsHour 7/20/2020


SUMMARY:  As we have every Friday for the past several months, we take a moment to remember some of the lives lost to the novel coronavirus pandemic, including a high school English teacher and a 39-year-old mother of six.

"How structural racism is magnifying the public health crisisPBS NewsHour 7/25/2020


SUMMARY:  As coronavirus cases disproportionately impact communities of color, several local and state officials have declared racism a public health crisis.  Rhea Boyd, a public health advocate, joins Hari Sreenivasan to discuss the structural racism in America’s healthcare system and how this ongoing pandemic of racial and economic inequality is compounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

PORTLAND OREGON - Trump's Police State a Reality

"Portland Protests Grow Despite Violent Crackdown from Militarized Federal Agents & Local Police" by Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! 7/21/2020

Heavily armed federal officers without name tags have carried out nightly attacks on antiracist demonstrations in Portland, Oregon, and snatched people off the streets into unmarked vans, sparking widespread outrage.  “What we’ve seen is a continuous escalation in violence against our protesters,” says Lilith Sinclair, an Afro-Indigenous local organizer in Portland.  They note the federal violence follows many years of “severe police brutality” from local police.  “It’s left the people of Portland not only worried about their safety, but, even more so, justified in the fight that we’re engaged in.”

AMY GOODMAN:  We begin today’s show in Portland, Oregon, where militarized federal officers continued their nightly attacks on antiracist protesters Monday, shooting gas and projectiles at demonstrators outside Portland’s courthouse, in a scene that’s become all too familiar in recent weeks:  camouflaged U.S. agents deployed by the Department of Homeland Security waging a campaign of violence against largely peaceful demonstrations in Oregon.

The harrowing scene in Portland has drawn increased outrage in recent days, with Oregon Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden demanding federal forces be removed from the streets, and an investigation into reports that unidentified federal officers have snatched protesters off the streets into unmarked vans and detained them.

On Saturday, Navy veteran Christopher David, who went to the site of the protests to question the officers about their use of violence, was hospitalized with his right hand broken in two places after the officers beat and pepper-sprayed him.

On Monday, Trump praised the use of unmarked cars and unidentified officers against the antiracist protesters and vowed to deploy law enforcement agents to more U.S. cities.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:  We’re going to have more federal law enforcement.  That, I can tell you.  In Portland, they’ve done a fantastic job.  They’ve been there three days, and they really have done a fantastic job in a very short period of time.  No problem.  They grab 'em, a lot of people in jail.  They're leaders.  These are anarchists.  These are not protesters.  People say “protesters.” These people are anarchists.  These are people that hate our country.  And we’re not going to let it go forward.

AMY GOODMAN:  Acting Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Ken Cuccinelli echoed Trump’s comments on CNN Monday.

KEN CUCCINELLI:  We backed up the Federal Protective Service, which is responsible for protecting the courthouse there and other federal buildings, with other DHS law enforcement components.  And that — and we’ve been there ever since, wearing, by the way, the very same uniforms every day, and the crowd has seen them every day.  … If we get the same kind of intelligence in other places about threats to other federal facilities or officers, we would respond the same way.

AMY GOODMAN:  But protesters in Portland say they won’t be deterred.  This weekend, a group of mothers joined, formed what they called a “wall of moms” outside the federal courthouse to shield protesters.  This is one of the mothers.

PROTESTING MOTHER:  Their actions are terrifying.  I mean, we, as a democracy, we need to stand up.  I am 60 years old.  I probably shouldn’t be here in public.  But this is beyond acceptable.

AMY GOODMAN:  For more, we go to Portland, Oregon, where we’re joined by Lilith Sinclair, an Afro-Indigenous organizer, along with an ASL interpreter.

We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Lilith, if you can start off by describing these last 50 days, why you’re out in the streets protesting, and what has been the response by not only the state but these federal officers that have not been — unclear who they are?

LILITH SINCLAIR:  Thank you so much, Amy, I want to say first, for having us here and for helping us to provide accessibility to this interview, which is something that we’ve been really focusing on in Portland for the last 50 days, starting on day one and staring two years ago.

It’s hard to encompass the depth of what we’ve experienced in the streets here in Portland.  This movement originally started with a single Black mom coming out to the streets and leading the call for an occupation here in Portland on the federal court steps to demand change.  And what that has swelled into is a movement, thousands and thousands strong, that has really proven to unite so many of our people here.

What we’ve seen is a continuous escalation in violence against our protesters.  But something that is important for us to understand is that here in Portland we’ve been facing severe police brutality, even from our local police force, for years, years, years and decades.  The movement that we have right now, what is happening in response to, as you mentioned, an international, really, uprising against police brutality, racism and, I would say, even more than that, against oppressive structures, because this isn’t just a movement about police brutality.

And so, what we’ve been experiencing is a solid escalation.  It started out with, as per usual, our local Portland Police Bureau engaging in a lot of not only intimidation tactics, but violent brutality against our protesters.  We’ve had officers that have been deploying flashbangs after flashbangs after flashbangs, while simultaneously deploying CS gas and other munitions, tear gas and all of these different types of pepper spray bullets and new things that we actually haven’t even seen, once the federal government has come in.  But this has been a long-term engagement with a militarized police force.  And it’s important for us to recognize that the federal occupation has escalated it, especially because of the rhetoric that we’re seeing from those who hold office.  But what we’re noticing is that the violence, as per usual, is continuing to rise.

We’re seeing these disappearances.  I think it’s important to note that these unmarked cars that are going around in the street are unmarked rental vehicles.  They are full of men in uniforms, no badges, no IDs.  They refuse to even answer the question of “Are you or are you not law enforcement?”  And it’s left the people of Portland not only worried about their safety, but, even more so, justified in the fight that we’re engaged in — a recognition that especially during an international global health pandemic, as you talked about these numbers rising and the continued push of normalcy in the midst of all of this, especially from not just Republicans but also Democrats, too, who are continuing to hold this pressure to reopen, like here in Oregon, where we created the new reopening and then saw people now, weeks later, experiencing higher rates in cases, being once again laid off from their jobs, being once again failed by the unemployment system.

And what’s happening in Portland is what’s happening all across the country.  The people have a moment to understand and truly see the failures of this capitalist, white supremacist system, because they have nothing but time on their hands.  And so, what we understand is that the movement continuing to go forward is only swelling.  It’s why we see moms coming out to line up a wall.  That was followed up last night with the dad bloc, a lot of amazing, amazing folks that came downtown last night after watching people get brutalized on a nightly basis.

We are spending our nights in terror.  We can’t sleep on one side of the city or the other due to the flashbangs, due to the tear gas across the entire city.  It’s affecting our houseless communities.  It’s affecting our neighborhoods.  And it’s gone unaddressed by both our state officials and also our local officials here in Portland, with nothing but well-meaning words, which is only further causing a very rightful sense of frustration, anger and a need for justice from the people here.  It’s why we see these things continuing to grow.

AMY GOODMAN:  So, Lilith Sinclair, can you talk about what you’re referring to, the elected officials?  You have everyone from the state attorney general to the two senators, the governor.  This is Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler criticizing Trump for deploying federal troops on the streets of Portland.

MAYOR TED WHEELER:  President Trump has used our city as a staging ground to further his political agenda, igniting his base to cause further divisiveness, and, in doing so, endangering Portlanders.  President Trump has gone so far, is vowing that federal law enforcement will, quote, “dominate,” unquote, protesters and mobilize federal agencies to operate in cities.  This is an explicit abuse of power and places federal officers and Oregonians in danger.

AMY GOODMAN:  That’s Portland mayor and police chief [sic] Ted Wheeler.  That might surprise some people that he occupies both positions.  But, Lilith, can you talk more about what the elected officials are saying, your agreement with them in this particular case, but disagreements with them in others?  The significance of them leading this charge, which now mayors are picking up all over the country, saying to Trump, “Do not send federal officers here”?

LILITH SINCLAIR:  Yeah.  So, I do want to make a slight correction, just because I heard you say “chief.”  And Mayor Ted Wheeler is our police commissioner and also our mayor.

So, I’d like to break down a couple of things, actually.  Thank you so much for that fantastic question.  I think one of the most important things to understand is that our mayor here in Portland, Ted Wheeler, has one of the best PR teams — and simultaneously the worst PR teams — because as much as we can play the words that were just shared here on the broadcast today, it’s important to understand that, for instance, something that made national headlines this month was when federal officers fired at a protester holding a speaker over his head, clearly unarmed.  That man is — sorry, it’s a little bit hard to handle because it made international news for our federal military officers to shoot an unarmed protester in the head and cause severe damage and hospitalization in that way.  However, it’s important to note that a year ago, during protesting against white supremacy, which is really, really, really, really, really present here in Portland, as a city within a state that was founded on a history of white supremacy and genocide — and what we know to be true is that even a year ago, when we were protesting white supremacy, our local Portland Police Bureau officers were firing flashbang grenades at point-blank range.  They actually hit a protester, wearing a very thick helmet, directly in the back of the head with a grenade.  It concaved both their helmet and also resulted in very severe skull fractures.  If they weren’t wearing a helmet, there’s almost no doubt that they wouldn’t be alive with us today.

And something that is important for us to understand is that Ted Wheeler is not leading the charge to anything except for his reelection campaign.  What we know is that we’ve been fighting for steps forward in regards to change around policing for years, in regards to the union police contract that we’ve been discussing here in Portland, that our mayor has been dragging his feet on for weeks — or for, I should say, years, in tandem with so many of our city officials, who I and others have had the opportunity to meet with.

And, you know, I think that something that’s the most poignant about it all is something that Ted Wheeler told a group of us as we literally cried, cried and yelled and expressed our frustrations in the Rose Room of City Hall, about the tear gas, which is an abortifacient, which affects all of our community members, which is destroying the lives of our houseless members and our neighbors and residents in the middle of a global health pandemic.  And Ted Wheeler’s response was to announce that they were considering doing an investigation.  And when we asked him when or how long that would take, he told us that there were no decisions on this yet, despite the fact that the day before, the Seattle mayor had actually already declared that she was going to be halting tear gas use by her police force.  And Ted, as the police commissioner, with the ability to do so, told us that he would not do so.  And he told us that he hasn’t gotten tear-gassed because he doesn’t want to.  And so, the recognition is that there is a disconnect.  We can’t look a politician in the face who says that he hasn’t gotten tear-gassed because he doesn’t want to, as though the millions of people across the world getting tear-gassed fighting for our rights and our safety and security don’t want to get tear-gassed, either.

And that is — that sort of inaction has been really evident all the way up the chain in regards to what Kate Brown has done about, for instance, perhaps pardoning prisoners in a state where we held for the longest time the, quote-unquote, “right” to process prisoners with nonunanimous juries.  That’s recently been overturned by the Supreme Court, and yet we still have prisoners that are sitting across Oregon jails and prisons that have been convicted with nonunanimous juries, wasting away, at risk of death of COVID.

And so, it’s an intersectional issue that we know is not centered on the police only, but when we talk about the Black Lives Matter movement, it’s important that we understand we’re talking about an intersectional movement that’s focusing on not just stopping the police from killing us, but stopping the entire system from killing us, whether that means a lack of access for the disability community, who also is Black; for members of the trans and queer community, who are also Black and are experiencing these things; houseless people, who are also Black; women, who are significantly underbelieved and at risk of death by our health system.  The issues are myriad and multiplied.  And the root of all of these issues, that we know to be true, is that all of this is based on the same colonialism, genocide, capitalism and white supremacy that is the foundation that this country was built on.

And here in Portland, we’re really making sure that we’re prioritizing education.  We’re prioritizing history.  We’re prioritizing teaching our people how to take care of one another.  And I think that that’s why it’s been so frustrating to consider what it is that our elected officials are or are not doing, because no matter what steps they take forward within — in regards to reform inside a system that is already broken and crumbling, we know that these, no matter what, are not steps that will save us.  And instead, we need abolitionist steps forward, fighting for the abolition of the police department, the militarized police, looking for the demilitarization and defunding of the entire U.S. military budget, understanding that we also mean abolition of the prison system and abolition of ableist, white supremacist, homophobic, transphobic and all these other oppressive systems that are all combined together, including anti-Semitism and all of these other things.

AMY GOODMAN:  Lilith Sinclair, I want to thank you so much for being with us, Afro-Indigenous local organizer in Portland, Oregon.

When we come back, we’ll look at the legal battle to protect protesters and remove the federal agents from Portland streets.  Stay with us.

Monday, July 13, 2020

SUPREME COURT - On Native American Rights

"The Supreme Court’s ‘landmark decision’ on tribal sovereigntyPBS NewsHour 7/10/2020


SUMMARY:  On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed Native American rights to millions of acres of land in eastern Oklahoma.  The 5-4 opinion granted jurisdictional control to the Muscogee Nation and extends to four neighboring tribal nations, which together make up more than half the state.  Allison Herrera, a reporter for KOSU public radio, joins Judy Woodruff to discuss the “landmark decision.”

CHINA RISING - Power and Prosperity

"As U.S. tensions grow, NewsHour documentary pulls back the curtain on China’s risePBS NewsHour 7/8/2020


SUMMARY:  A new PBS NewsHour documentary, “China: Power and Prosperity,” examines today's China, its powerful leader in Xi Jinping and relationship with the U.S.  Now, amid a global pandemic, the two governments are decreasing collaboration and accelerating confrontation, says Nick Schifrin, who joins Judy Woodruff to discuss this in-depth portrait.

RACE MATTERS - Anti-Racism Movement

"How anti-racism is a treatment for the ‘cancer’ of racismPBS NewsHour 7/8/2020


SUMMARY:  The deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor have sparked a renewed dialogue on racism in America.  Reform advocates want policy and institutional changes, but individuals are also asking how they can address their own inherent racism.  Amna Nawaz talks to Ibram X. Kendi, author of "How to Be An Antiracist;" and Robin DiAngelo, author of “White Fragility.”

SUPREME COURT - Decision, Threat of Theocracy

"What new decisions say about the Supreme Court’s view of religious freedomPBS NewsHour 7/8/2020

Another decision that supports the change of America from a Democracy to a Christian Theocracy.


SUMMARY:  The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld Trump administration rules that limit birth control coverage under Obamacare -- the third time justices have considered whether some employers could opt out of that coverage based on their beliefs.  As the court wraps up its final week of the current session, Marcia Coyle of The National Law Journal joins John Yang for a closer look.

GUNS IN AMERICA - Surge in Gun Violence

"What’s behind a recent surge in U.S.  gun violence — and how to stop itPBS NewsHour 7/7/2020


SUMMARY:  This summer is shaping up to be a bloody one in many cities and neighborhoods.  What’s behind the recent surge in gun violence?  Amna Nawaz talks to Pastor Mike McBride of the Live Free Campaign, a faith-based movement committed to reducing gun violence and ending mass incarceration of people of color, and Thomas Abt of the Council on Criminal Justice and an author of the nationwide homicide study.

COVID-19 SUMMER - Impact and Responses

"A muted Fourth of July as virus shatters infection recordsPBS NewsHour 7/6/2020


SUMMARY:  Fourth of July celebrations in many parts of the United States were muted this year, overshadowed by a virus spreading with alarming speed.  The national death toll from COVID-19 has surpassed 130,000, and hospitals in the South and West particularly are struggling to keep up with the demand for urgent care.  Still, some Americans oppose shutdowns and mask requirements.  William Brangham reports.

"How federal response has failed to address racial disparities in pandemic’s tollPBS NewsHour 7/6/2020


SUMMARY:  For months, it's been clear that the pandemic is taking a disproportionate toll on people of color.  Now, new data quantifies the disparities, showing that African American and Latinx people are nearly three times as likely to contract COVID-19 as white Americans and twice as likely to die from it.  Amna Nawaz talks to Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo of the University of California, San Francisco.

"‘We need help,’ say Latina workers, hit hard by pandemic job lossesPBS NewsHour 7/6/2020


SUMMARY:  With the U.S. economy in shambles due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, Latina workers have suffered the worst job losses, with 19 percent reporting being unemployed in May.  Latinx Americans are also among the groups most likely to contract COVID-19 -- and to die from it.  We spoke to several Latina women, including two undocumented immigrants, about their experiences of the past few months.

"Hong Kong residents challenge government over laws, but fight virus togetherPBS NewsHour 7/6/2020


SUMMARY:  Recent headlines out of Hong Kong have focused on politics, with the imposition of a controversial new national security law from Beijing.  But on the public health front, Hong Kong has been a coronavirus success story, suffering much less infection and death than was expected considering the semi-autonomous city’s high population density and proximity to China.  Nick Schifrin reports.

"In Britain, fears that reopened pubs will drive more virus spreadPBS NewsHour 7/6/2020


SUMMARY:  In Britain, pubs reopened over July 4th weekend after nearly three months of coronavirus lockdowns.  Patrons expressed their desire to get out and socialize after the long period of isolation, and business owners took special precautions to prepare.  But many revelers ignored appeals for social distancing, and police had to disperse drunken crowds.  Special correspondent Malcolm Brabant reports.

Ye Olde Salutation Inn, Britain (700 yrs old)

"More states are seeing ICUs reach capacity as coronavirus spreadsPBS NewsHour 7/7/2020


SUMMARY:  Coronavirus infections are on the rise in 42 states, with the national total passing the 3 million mark.  In the hardest-hit areas, including parts of Florida, intensive care units are filled to the brim with patients, and communities are grappling with testing shortages and delays.  But some officials, including President Trump, are downplaying the crisis and pushing to reopen.  John Yang reports.

"Schools face unprecedented pressure as they grapple with reopeningPBS NewsHour 7/7/2020


SUMMARY:  Parents across the U.S. are wondering what the next school year will hold for their children.  While reopening decisions will ultimately be up to state and local officials, President Trump said Tuesday he'll pressure governors to resume in-person classes.  Judy Woodruff talks to Noel Candelaria of the Texas State Teachers Association and Elliot Haspel an education policy expert and former teacher.

"Why more renters are being evicted in the middle of the pandemicPBS NewsHour 7/7/2020


SUMMARY:  During this coronavirus pandemic, we hear repeatedly from public health officials to stay at home.  But many Americans don’t have stable housing -- and now, a growing number of people are being forced out of where they live because they can’t pay the rent.  William Brangham reports on the causes and consequences of a national rise in evictions.

"In government’s absence, Mexicans turn to cartels for pandemic aidPBS NewsHour 7/7/2020


SUMMARY:  President Trump will welcome the president of Mexico to the White House on Wednesday.  The country has more than 215,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the second-highest total in Latin America.  More than 20,000 deaths have been recorded from the pandemic in Mexico -- but its government admits the number is a major undercount.  Nick Schifrin reports on Mexico’s failures to contain the coronavirus.

"Despite virus surge, Trump pressures schools to resume in-person classes this fallPBS NewsHour 7/8/2020


SUMMARY:  The summer surge of COVID-19 is raising more and more questions about reopening schools this fall.  That issue was at the forefront today, even as daily deaths nationwide rose to nearly 1,000, the most in weeks.  White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor begins our coverage.

"What the U.S. coronavirus response says about American exceptionalismPBS NewsHour 7/8/2020


SUMMARY:  Coronavirus cases in Florida, Arizona and South Carolina are increasing faster than in any other country in the world, reigniting the debate over American exceptionalism.  Nick Schifrin talks to former Mexican foreign minister Jorge Castaneda, former Hungarian ambassador to the U.S. Réka Szemerkényi, and Maina Kiai a human rights and anti-corruption lawyer previously with the United Nations.

"Why is the U.S. still struggling to test everyone who needs it?PBS NewsHour 7/8/2020


SUMMARY:  Since the earliest days of the coronavirus pandemic, public health experts have emphasized that having an efficient system for wide-scale testing was key to bringing the COVID-19 outbreak under control.  But in reality, virus testing in the United States has consistently missed the mark.  William Brangham talks to Dr. Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

"Top U.S. health officials say states should pause reopening effortsPBS NewsHour 7/9/2020


SUMMARY:  The rising number of coronavirus infections in the U.S. proves the pandemic is far from abating.  New cases are setting single-day records in several states and declining in only two.  While the nation’s top medical officials say states should pause reopening in order to control virus spread, the Trump administration insists schools should resume as normal this fall.  Yamiche Alcindor reports.

"This Maryland nursing home has had no coronavirus cases.  How did they do it?PBS NewsHour 7/9/2020


SUMMARY:  Of the nation’s roughly 130,000 coronavirus deaths, more than 40,000 have occurred in nursing homes.  But one facility in Maryland has had zero COVID-19 cases so far -- despite serving one of the most at-risk populations.  Rev.  Derrick DeWitt, director of the Maryland Baptist Aged Home, joins Amna Nawaz to discuss his facility’s proactive approach, systemic racism and a lack of federal leadership.

"Remembering 5 people lost to coronavirusPBS NewsHour 7/10/2020


SUMMARY:  The coronavirus pandemic is exacting a devastating toll on families and communities across the United States.  Each week, we want to remember some of the tens of thousands of lives we have lost.  Judy Woodruff shares five more stories.

"More states return to containment measures as virus sets new recordsPBS NewsHour 7/10/2020


SUMMARY:  The U.S. has set another record for daily new coronavirus infections -- as it has on six out of the past 10 days.  Texas logged 10,000 new cases Thursday, and hospitals in Florida are overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.  With no signs of improvement in infection rates, more states are again implementing restrictions such as mask requirements and business shutdowns.  Lisa Desjardins reports.