Kevin McCarthy Wants to Withhold Money from States That Don’t Protect Statues

Kevin McCarthy wants to withhold federal funds from any state that does not protect statues from protesters. The Republican will offer a bill to give legal effect to his idea.

The House Minority Leader is reacting to recent protests following the death of George Floyd. Demonstrators have targeted several statues, particularly those depicting slaveholders and other racists. read more

Opinion: Will Trump’s Genocidal Administration Push Americans to Address History, Make All Lives Matter?

As many have pointed out, making Black lives matter is a precursor to making all lives matter.  To make all lives matter, we have to address the ways certain lives, particularly those of people of color in the United States, have been devalued.  Put another way, we can’t create a culture and society that values all lives unless we identify and root out the mechanisms and value systems that have been enabling the devaluation, the differential valuing, of particular groups’ lives.  read more

Mike Pence Declines to Say “Black Lives Matter,” Declares “All Lives Matter” During Interview

Vice President Mike Pence was repeatedly asked to say the words “Black lives matter” during an interview with 6ABC Action News in Philadelphia.

The vice president declined.

“Let me just say that what happened to George Floyd was a tragedy,” he said, referring to the unarmed black man whose death in police custody last month sparked a wave of protests against racial injustice and police brutality nationwide.

“And in this nation, especially on Juneteenth, we celebrate the fact that from the founding of this nation we’ve cherished the ideal that all, all of us are created equal, and endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights. And so all lives matter in a very real sense.”

Pence’s remarks, coming on Juneteenth, a day that commemorates the official end of slavery in the United States, received immediate criticism.

I used to do what Pence does here. Respond with “All lives matter.” But I was wrong then, and Pence is wrong now. Saying “Black Lives Matter” is acknowledging that if George Floyd were white, he’d still be alive. Black lives simply want to be on equal footing. Shame on Pence. https://t.co/EI2YiRGOCJ read more

Opinion: Racist Contradictions in Defining Freedom in Trump’s America

Last May, the conservative group Michigan United for Liberty organized protests in the state capitol against Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home orders.  While the group, composed of roughly 8,000 members, had already formalized its complaint against the orders in a law suit, the protest provided a forum for a defiant public expression against what the group sees as a gross violation of people’s constitutional freedoms. read more

Trump Spends His Morning Going After Biden and His “Radical Left” Supporters as Protests Rage

Trump smears Dr. Rick Bright as disgruntled

President Donald Trump railed against his Democratic opponent, former vice president Joe Biden, on Twitter this morning, falsely accusing him of using his influence to bail “Anarchists”––his word for protesters with the Black Lives Matter movement––out of jail.

“Sleepy Joe Biden’s people are so Radical Left that they are working to get the Anarchists out of jail, and probably more,” the president wrote. “Joe doesn’t know anything about it, he is clueless, but they will be the real power, not Joe. They will be calling the shots! Big tax increases for all, Plus!”

Sleepy Joe Biden’s people are so Radical Left that they are working to get the Anarchists out of jail, and probably more. Joe doesn’t know anything about it, he is clueless, but they will be the real power, not Joe. They will be calling the shots! Big tax increases for all, Plus! read more

Can an Economy be “Amazing” if it Promotes Sexual Violence?

When he resigned his position as Labor Secretary in the Trump administration yesterday, Alexander Acosta explained, “It would be selfish to stay in this position and continue talking about a case that’s 12 year old, rather than the amazing economy we have right now.”  For his part, Trump hailed Acosta as “a great labor secretary,” even going so far as to defend the plea deal Acosta’s office made with Jeffrey Epstein back in 2008.

Acosta’s remarks, and Trump’s affirmation, raise the question of whether or not we can really talk about economic matters apart from issues regarding violence against women and young girls.

Epstein serially raped young girls, and Acosta, for all intents and purposes, minimalized the gravity of these crimes by negotiating a back-room deal for Epstein’s punishment that was barely, in terms proportional to the grossness and heinousness of the crimes, a slap on the wrist.

Is talking about these serial rapes and Acosta’s effective cover-up really distinct from talking about the economy?

Isn’t that kind of like a captain of the mid-19th-century cotton industry in the U.S. talking about the amazing economy but deflecting issues of lynching and other forms of violence against African Americans, including the inhumane, violent, and exploitive enslavement of African Americans that was the basis for the economy itself?

The legitimation of violence against groups of people is premised on, enabled by, the larger social devaluation of the lives of those groups of people. And we have to recognize that our social values and our economic modes of valuing people do not operate independently of one another.

The workplace is a central site in our society, in our political economy, where we express and decide people’s value, people’s worth.

How we value people in the workplace—how we decide, say, how much Black lives and women’s lives matter—relates directly, indeed conditions and determines, how we value people in the world at large.

CBS journalist Norah O’Donnell put it well when commenting on Charlie Rose’s firing in November 2017 for his repeated sexual harassment of women in the workplace. She said, “Let me be very clear. There is no excuse for this alleged behavior. It is systematic and pervasive and I’ve been doing a lot of listening.” She added, “Women cannot achieve equality in the workplace or in society until there is a reckoning.”

She makes clear the relationship between how women are valued, or de-valued, outside the workplace, and how they are valued, or de-valued, in the workplace.

In short, how we value the work people do in economic terms bears direct correlation to how we value people in social and political terms.

Claire Cain Miller, in a 2016 New York Times piece titled “As Women Take Over a Male-Dominated Field, the Pay drops,” presents this point clearly as she takes on the question of why women’s median incomes stubbornly lag 20% behind men’s. Her study of the research yields this conclusion: “Work done by women simply isn’t valued as highly.”

And this reality isn’t because of any inherent value in the work itself; it’s because of the people doing it and the way our society values those people.

She points out that typically the gender pay gap has been attributed to the tendency of women and men to enter different professions. Miller, however, contests this easy conclusion, citing research demonstrating that “when women enter fields in greater numbers, pay declines — for the very same jobs that more men were doing before.”

She offers the following evidence and examples:

Consider the discrepancies in jobs requiring similar education and responsibility, or similar skills, but divided by gender. The median earnings of information technology managers (mostly men) are 27 percent higher than human resources managers (mostly women), according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. At the other end of the wage spectrum, janitors (usually men) earn 22 percent more than maids and housecleaners (usually women). read more

Chicago officer unjustified in killing black teen, prosecutor says

By Robert Chiarito and Suzannah Gonzales

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The white police officer who shot to death a black teen in 2014 fired 16 shots without justification, prosecutors told a Chicago jury on Monday, as the trial began in a decisive case for race relations and policing in the United States‘ third-largest city.

“What he saw that night was a black boy with the audacity to ignore the police,” special prosecutor Joseph McMahon said during his opening statement of the officer, Jason Van Dyke. “Not a single shot was necessary.”

Van Dyke’s defense lawyer, Daniel Herbert, portrayed 17-year-old Laquan McDonald as a dangerous drug user who caused the officer to fear for his safety.

“McDonald was an out-of-control criminal running with a knife,” Herbert told jurors. “What happened to Laquan McDonald is a tragedy. It’s a tragedy, not a murder.”

The deaths of mostly unarmed black men at the hands of police officers across the United States in recent years have led to protests and sometimes violence in major U.S. cities. The killings helped give rise to the Black Lives Matter movement and became an issue in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.

Eight witnesses for the prosecution, including a dispatcher, a Federal Bureau of Investigation forensic examiner and Chicago police officers took the stand on Monday.

Officer Joseph McElligott, who responded to the incident before the shooting, said McDonald swiped a knife at his squad car and kept walking, ignoring at least 30 orders to drop his weapon. Asked by prosecutors why he did not shoot McDonald, McElligott, who had followed McDonald on foot with his gun drawn, said McDonald did not move directly toward him and he was trying to buy time for a Taser to arrive.

Prosecutors were expected to continue to call witnesses on Tuesday.

Prosecutors showed jurors a soundless dashboard camera video that showed Van Dyke gunning down McDonald as he appeared to move away from officers. The video’s public release in 2015 spurred protests, fed a national debate over the use of excessive force by police against minorities and led to the ousting of local officials.

The video, released by the city more than a year after the shooting in response to a Freedom Of Information Act lawsuit, sparked days of protests in Chicago. Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, who has announced a mayoral run, was fired, and activists called for the resignation of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Emanuel said on Sept. 4 he would not seek a third term after facing widespread criticism over his handling of the city’s gun violence. He did not specifically cite McDonald in his announcement.

A U.S. Department of Justice investigation that began after the video’s release found Chicago police routinely violated people’s civil rights, citing excessive force and racially discriminatory conduct.

Van Dyke, now 40, opted for a jury trial on Friday following the selection of a 12-person jury and five alternate jurors. He was suspended without pay after he was first charged in 2015.

The 12-person jury includes one black person.

Van Dyke‘s attorneys on Monday morning asked Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan to dismiss the jurors, saying “the negative and inflammatory rhetoric” surrounding the case had made it impossible for them to be impartial, but the judge rejected that argument. Gaughan also denied a defense motion to move the trial out of Chicago.

Van Dyke faces first-degree murder, aggravated battery and official misconduct charges. He is the first Chicago police officer to face a murder charge for an on-duty incident in decades.

Three Chicago Police Department officers were indicted in June 2017 for conspiring to cover up McDonald’s shooting. They have not yet been tried.

(Reporting by Robert Chiarito and Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Dan Grebler)

Killing Spree: Police Are Killing Three Men Per Day in the United States

Police in the United States are on a killing spree. According to a new study from the American Public Health Association (APHA) officers in U.S. police departments kill more than 1,000 men per year, or almost three men per day.

According to APHA estimates, police are responsible for about one out of every twelve (8 percent) of all adult male homicide deaths in the U.S. each year. Their study used unofficial data collected through a group called “Fatal Encounters” which did a systematic review of media and public records.

What is most shocking is that the APHA report and analysis shows that the numbers of police-involved killings is twice as high as that reported by official data sources. They found many problems with official data. Even though deaths are reported in the news, the victims names do not appear in

official databases of police-involved deaths read more