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Top U.S. & World Headlines — September 2, 2020
Top U.S. & World Headlines — September 1, 2020
Meet the New Yes Man on Trump's COVID Task Force: Dr. Scott Atlas Wants U.S. to Adopt Herd Immunity
As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States passes 6 million, with a death toll of over 183,000, the Trump administration is loosening coronavirus restrictions, fast-tracking vaccine approval and disregarding safety tests, and now one of Trump's top medical advisers is pushing for the country to adopt a controversial "herd immunity" strategy, raising alarm among public health officials. Washington Post health reporter Yasmeen Abutaleb says Dr. Scott Atlas is not an epidemiologist and was brought on specifically because he would back President Trump's position "about how the pandemic was going, that the threat was receding, that the country should reopen." We also speak with Yale epidemiologist Gregg Gonsalves, who argues the U.S. is already following an "implicit" herd immunity policy. "They realize it's politically toxic, so they don't want to use the phrase, but if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is a duck," he says.
White Supremacist in the White House: Ibram X. Kendi on Trump's Calls for "Law & Order" in Kenosha
We speak with Ibram X. Kendi, director of the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University, and air excerpts from the families of Jacob Blake and George Floyd at the massive protest marking the 57th anniversary of the March on Washington. Kendi also discusses President Trump’s planned visit to Kenosha, Wisconsin, as he blames Democrats for violence during protests there and in Portland, Oregon. "Racism has spread to every part of the body," says Kendi, comparing U.S. racism to cancer, "and then we have a president who is claiming that it doesn't exist."
Stephen Miller: The white nationalist driving Trump's immigration policies
Republicans held a televised naturalization ceremony at this week's RNC featuring president Trump congratulating a group of five new citizens. Journalist Jean Guerrero says it was an attempt to create a "false dichotomy between legal and illegal immigration," meant to signal that the Trump administration supports this "legal" immigration. But Guerrero points out that many of the administration's immigration policies, led by top advisor Stephen Miller, have been aimed at dismantling many of those legal pathways — including, most consequentially, asylum protections for refugee families at the border. "Stephen Miller primarily has been targeting families," says Guerrero. "This is not about national security. This is not about keeping out criminals. This is about reengineering the ethnic flows into this country to keep Brown and Black families out." In her new book, "Hatemonger," Guerrero shows that Stephen Miller pulls directly from eugenicist and white supremacist playbooks in crafting immigration policy.
“On a Hunting Spree”: Wisc. Rep. David Bowen Says Cops Turned Blind Eye to White Militias in Kenosha
The police shooting of Jacob Blake has sparked massive protests across the country and in Kenosha, where a white teenager opened fire on Black Lives Matter protesters and killed two people. Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old self-declared militia member and avid Trump supporter, was apprehended in Antioch, Illinois, after fleeing Wisconsin. He has been charged with murder. Wisconsin state Representative David Bowen, who has attended racial justice protests in Kenosha, says he “witnessed firsthand” how freely organized white supremacists targeted protesters without interference from law enforcement, and accuses police of giving Rittenhouse the “Dylann Roof treatment,” managing to arrest him without incident, while unarmed Black people are frequently met with deadly force. “This is Exhibit A and Exhibit B of why we need to transform law enforcement and public safety in Wisconsin and in this country,” Bowen says.
ACLU Demands Resignation of Top Cops in Kenosha for Racism & Brutal Response to Jacob Blake Protests
The ACLU of Wisconsin is calling for top Kenosha law enforcement officials to resign in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake, who was left paralyzed below the waist after a white officer shot him in the back seven times. The shooting has sparked mass protests in Kenosha and around the U.S., bringing renewed attention to racism and violence in the Kenosha police force. A damning video of Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth has surfaced from a 2018 news conference, when he described Black people accused of shoplifting and crashing a stolen car as “garbage people that fill our communities that are a cancer to our society.” We speak with Chris Ott, executive director of the ACLU of Wisconsin, who says both Beth and Kenosha Police Chief Daniel Miskinis need to go. “When police and law enforcement go into communities in this militarized way, this heavy-handed way, it just inflames tensions, makes things worse and creates dangerous new situations,” says Ott.
From Reagan to Trump: Why the RNC was a pinnacle of conservative propaganda
President Donald Trump formally accepted the Republican Party’s nomination at the RNC on Thursday. Historian Rick Perlstein says Trump's rhetoric is driving people to the type of violence that was on full display this week in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where white 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse gunned down protesters who had mobilized against the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Perlstein says Trump draws directly from a history of Republican authoritarian propaganda dating back at least to Reagan. "Ronald Reagan would definitely say two plus two equals five — there's no question about it. But when he would say things like that, it would tend to be the off-the-cuff stuff," says Perlstein. "Whereas when Donald Trump takes a podium and he's reading a speech — that's when he lies the most adamantly. And it shows that the kind of lying, deception, propaganda, authoritarianism is qualitatively more systematic than under Ronald Reagan."
“The Games Will Not Go On”: Pro Athletes Strike for Black Lives, Bringing Leagues to Grinding Halt
Hurricane Laura Floods ICE Jails in Louisiana as Asylum Seekers from Cameroon Strike over Conditions
People held in immigration jails in Louisiana report horrific conditions and continued mistreatment after Hurricane Laura devastated the area. Immigrants detained at the LaSalle and Jackson Parish jails say that after the storm, the two facilities have flooded with urine and feces and lack electricity, clean food or water. Many of those protesting the conditions are from Cameroon, and refugee rights groups, including the Cameroon American Council, are demanding an investigation into conditions. "The current immigration system is based on the racist practices, the white supremacy of 400 years," says Sylvie Bello, founder of the Cameroon American Council, one of the leading immigration advocacy groups working with Black and African communities in the U.S. She says it's vital during a time of "racial reckoning" to fight for Black immigrants in ICE detention.
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