• Don Lichterman

Kamala Harris, Joe Biden, No rights whatsoever, Public Health vs. Politics, ICE Jails on Sunset TV!

"No rights whatsoever": The historical development of the U.S. caste system

In a new book, "Caste: The Origins of our Discontents," journalist Isabel Wilkerson argues that the word "racism" does not adequately capture the historical plight of Black people in the U.S. in its totality. Drawing from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s reflections upon his 1958 visit to India, Wilkerson says the U.S. racial hierarchy is best understood as a caste system similar to the one that structures Indian society. "Caste system essentially is an arbitrary grading, an artificial graded ranking of human value in a society. And it’s one in which there’s a fixed infrastructure that, in our country, predates anyone who’s alive today," says Wilkerson. "This is the hierarchy that we have all inherited, that no one alive created, but we have inherited it, and we live under the shadow of that system."

The Case Against Trump Is “Open and Shut”: Kamala Harris Slams President’s Handling of Pandemic

As Kamala Harris, the first woman of color on a major presidential ticket, hits the campaign trail with Joe Biden for the first time, we play an extended excerpt of her address, in which she blasts President Trump’s handling of the economy, immigration, racial justice and the coronavirus pandemic. “The case against Donald Trump and Mike Pence is open and shut,” Harris says. “Just look where they’ve gotten us: more than 16 million out of work; millions of kids who cannot go back to school; a crisis of poverty, of homelessness, afflicting Black, Brown and Indigenous people the most.”

Public Health vs. Politics: White House Scrapped Nationwide COVID Testing Plan to Hurt Blue States

As the U.S. coronavirus death toll passes 155,000, there is still no national testing program, with widespread shortages and delays hampering efforts to contain the pandemic. This continues months after President Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner launched a White House task force with the goal of establishing a national testing plan. We speak to investigative reporter Katherine Eban, whose explosive Vanity Fair report chronicles Kushner's fumbling efforts and the sudden decision to abandon the project on political grounds. "The participants expected that at any moment in early April, the plan would be announced," says Eban. "It vanished into thin air."

"It's Basically a Death Sentence": Hunger Strikers Demand Release as Virus Surges in ICE Jails

People being held in Immigration and Customs Enforcement jails are holding work strikes and hunger strikes over the lack of access to personal protective equipment or quality medical care, and to demand their release. We speak with Joe Mejia, an asylum seeker who was among a group of prisoners at Yuba County Jail in California who led a hunger strike while he was held there for nearly 11 months. "That place is dangerous," Mejia says. "It is a death sentence to detainees, especially right now with the coronavirus."

Militarized BORTAC Border Patrol Raids & Ransacks Medical Camp on U.S. Border, Arrests 30 Migrants

In Arizona, heavily armed Border Patrol officers raided the medical camp of humanitarian group No More Deaths and detained 30 migrants whose whereabouts are now unknown. It was the second raid in just two days on the camp, which provides water, food and medical attention to refugees crossing into the United States through the scorching Sonoran Desert. "Immediately after they entered the camp, the first thing they did was round up all of the No More Deaths aid workers and zip-tie them, remove their phones," says Montana Thames, a humanitarian aid worker with No More Deaths. "It was very clear they didn't want any witnesses." No More Deaths also recently published documents revealing the Border Patrol Union, a pro-Trump and anti-immigrant extremist group, had instigated a 2017 raid of the same camp.

Big Tech monopolies need to be broken up and regulated, says business professor Scott Galloway

Business professor Scott Galloway says Big Tech firms have gotten too powerful, crushing smaller competitors and warping the entire technology sector with their control over major platforms. “If you own the rails you’re not supposed to be competing with the end destination," says Galloway, a professor of marketing at NYU Stern. The CEOs of Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple were grilled recently by lawmakers in Washington over their anti-competitive practices, part of a growing chorus of voices demanding antitrust action against the tech behemoths. Galloway says the online companies should be split up into several smaller firms, while Apple needs to be much more tightly regulated.

How the Pandemic Defeated America: Ed Yong on How COVID-19 Humiliated Planet’s Most Powerful Nation

As the world passes a grim milestone of 20 million coronavirus cases, we look at how the pandemic humbled and humiliated the world’s most powerful country. Over a quarter of the confirmed infections and deaths have been in the United States, which has less than 5% of the world’s population. Ed Yong, a science writer at The Atlantic who has been covering the pandemic extensively since March, says existing gaps in the U.S. social safety net and the Trump administration’s “devastatingly inept response” made for a deadly combination.

How did the coronavirus defeat the world's most powerful country? Ed Yong, science writer for The Atlantic, says the Trump administration's "devastatingly inept response" and preexisting gaps in the social safety net combined to make the U.S. the worst-hit country on the planet, accounting for a quarter of cases despite comprising less than 5% of the world's population. Yong says the most glaring problem is the lack of healthcare access, adding that "universal healthcare is a thing we have to fight for" in order to deal with the coronavirus as well as future pandemics.

As Kamala Harris Makes History as VP Pick, Her "Top Cop" Record Faces New Scrutiny Amid BLM Protests

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden's selection of California Senator Kamala Harris as his vice-presidential running mate for the November election makes her the first Black woman and the first Indian American on a major party presidential ticket. "It's hard to overstate how historic, how monumental this is," says Aimee Allison, president of She the People, which works to elevate the political voice and leadership of women of color. But in the midst of the largest protest movement in American history against racist policing, Briahna Joy Gray, the former national press secretary for the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign, says "there's a great deal of frustration" with Harris, who is "known for being the top cop from California."

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