|Well, another week has gone by, and the news really isn’t any better. I’m sorry to be the bearer of 2022, y’all. Hopefully we’ll get better luck next week.|
Events to Know
Insurrection Updates. Most of this week’s news is about the GOP being a) completely behind Trump and b) completely off the rails. First there was the part where the GOP censured two prominent Republicans who have been participating in the House panel for a year because, apparently, the January 6 insurrection–an event that, I remind you, killed ten people–was mere “legitimate political discourse.” Unsurprisingly, Trump immediately congratulated the RNC for their decision. I say “unsurprisingly” because he was already engaging in witness tampering by dangling pardons for January 6 participants and publicly threatening Pence when Pence defended his decision to refuse to overturn the 2020 elections. Trump was also in the news this week regarding his multiple attempts to seize voting machines during his last days in power. As if to punctuate this point, stories also surfaced about Trump ripping up official documents that he was legally required to preserve in office and hoarding documents at Mar-A-Lago; this eventually culminated in Maggie Haberman’s new book adding flushing document shreds down the toilet to this list. The National Archives have asked the Justice Department to investigate all of this mishandling of records, because said behaviors are in fact flagrantly illegal.
- ABC – Top Gop Lawmaker Won’t Condemn Calling Events Of Jan. 6 ‘Legitimate Political Discourse’
- Politico – Jan. 6 Committee Member: Trump ‘Absolutely’ Tampering With Witnesses
- Washington Post – Trump Says Congressional Investigators Should Examine Why Pence Didn’t Reject Electoral College Results
- CNN – Trump Advisers Drafted More Than One Executive Order To Seize Voting Machines, Sources Tell Cnn
- Washington Post – National Archives Had To Retrieve Trump White House Records From Mar-A-Lago
- Axios – Haberman Book: Flushed Papers Found Clogging Trump Wh Toilet
Blinking Biden. Other than news about Russia, which I’ll cover below, Biden stories were kind of an afterthought this week. There were, however, a couple of threads about how Biden is mad at his chief health officer, and about a COVID surge in ICE detention facilities. There were also a couple of stories about how Joe Manchin says that Build Back Better is dead, which I frankly feel is almost as much a statement about Biden as it is a statement about Manchin.
- Washington Post – White House Frustrations Grow Over Health Chief Becerra’s Handling Of Pandemic
- Washington Post – Covid Infections Surge In Immigration Detention Facilities
- NBC – Manchin Says Build Back Better In Its Current Form Is ‘Dead,’ Leaves Door Open To New Talks
Black Lives Still Matter. I am extremely disheartened to be writing about not one, but two police shootings in the last few weeks. The lion’s share of media coverage is going to Minneapolis, where police fatally shot 22-year-old Amir Locke in his own home while serving a no-knock warrant for a completely different person. His parents are justifiably calling the act an ‘execution,’ and though no-knock warrants have been paused in the city, there are still no charges pending at the time that I write this. As the Washington Post notes, there was also a fatal police shooting in Tennessee, where nine police officers surrounded and shot a man holding a box cutter named Landon Eastep on I-65. And both of these stories are on top of the bomb threats being called into historically Black colleges and universities, which have been their own source of terror for Black communities over the last month.
- Reuters – Hundreds In Minneapolis Protest Police Killing Of Black Man In Raid
- Associated Press – Parents: Amir Locke ‘Executed’; Mayor Halts No-Knock Entries
- Newsweek – Minneapolis Police Chief Walks Out Of Conference While Being Grilled Over Amir Locke Death
- Washington Post – Breaking Down A Fatal Police Shooting On A Tennessee Highway
- Washington Post – Fear, Anxiety Follow Third Wave Of Bomb Threats Targeting HBCUs
Recent Inmate Win. California was in the news this week because the state is closing down its death row, signaling that the state’s moratorium on executions is likely to be permanent. It’s a small step in the grand scheme of things, but honestly this week has been so awful that I’m glad I have anything good to report at all.
Things to Watch
State of the COVID-19. COVID news this week is… a lot, y’all. The U.S. has now officially lost 900,000 lives to COVID, which, in case you were wondering, is way more than any other country with reliable access to vaccines. It’s an incredible indictment of our handling of the virus, especially because nearly half of those deaths occurred after vaccines became available. Needless to say, it’s stunning to see states already removing their mask mandates in the immediate aftermath of this dark milestone. Meanwhile, our brand of ignorant nonsense is now also infecting Canada, where a week-long vaccine protest with bonus white supremacy flavoring has caused a state of emergency in its capital city of Ottawa. But in more positive news, Moderna was fully approved this week by the FDA, and Pfizer thinks it is nearing completion of a vaccine for children under 5.
- New York Times – U.S. Has Far Higher Covid Death Rate Than Other Wealthy Countries
- Center For Infectious Disease Research And Policy – US Covid-19 Death Toll Hits 500,000 As Hospital Cases Drop
- Politico – CDC Weighs Updating Messaging Around Transmission And Masking
- BBC – Canada Trucker Protest: Ottawa Declares Emergency
- Stat – Moderna Wins Full Approval For Its Covid-19 Vaccine, As Novavax Seeks Authorization For Its Version
- Associated Press – Pfizer Asks FDA To Allow Covid-19 Vaccine For Kids Under 5
Land War Landmine. This one’s a bit complicated, and a bit outside my professional expertise, but I wanted to touch on it nonetheless. The short version is that this is a tense time regarding Russia, as there are a lot of signals to suggest that Russia may invade Ukraine in the near future. Unsurprisingly, Russia is saying otherwise, and argues that the U.S. stationing troops in Eastern Europe is unnecessary. But the U.S. troops are actually there reinforcing NATO troops that were already deployed to respond to Russia’s military buildup, so obviously that’s an oversimplification. Needless to say, this is a tense time and we’ll want to keep an eye on this.
- Washington Post – U.S. Accuses Russia Of Planning To Film False Attack As Pretext For Ukraine Invasion
- Washington Post – Putin Accuses West Of Using Ukraine As A Pawn In Showdown With Russia
- Politico – U.S. Deploys Troops To Eastern Europe; Thousands More On Standby
Actions for Everyone
It’s Black History Month! Take time this month to cultivate your knowledge on black history. Buy some art by a black artist. Start following more black creators. actively look to diversify your life. Becoming a true ally to the black community is about being anti-racist.
Seek out media that challenge your perceptions of race and culture.
Support organizations that are involved in anti-racist efforts like the NAACP, the ACLU, The Black Youth Project, Color of Change, Black Lives Matter, The National Coalition of Black Civic Participation and many others.
If you are an educator or a parent, pay attention to your local government and school board meetings . 7 states have already banned the teaching of Critical Race Theory, (even if CRT is not actually being taught in schools) because they are trying to prevent educators to bring new perspectives on race, speak about racial injustice and introduce BIPOC discourse into the curriculum; a much needed approach to cultivate an anti-racist youth.
Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, New Hampshire, Oklahoma and Tennessee have all taken measures to make sure CRT isn’t introduduced in school and Florida has come as far as to propose a bill that would prohibit public schools and private businesses from inflicting “discomfort” on white people during lessons or training about discrimination. We need to have our eyes and ears alert to stop these bills to become law in our states and to fight them when they arise in our community.
USPS bill goes to Senate. This week the House passed the Postal Service Reform Act and come next Monday the Senate will be voting too. Call your representatives and voice your support for this bill! This bill would save $50 billion in the coning decade. That’s huge!
Small but mighty! I think it’s important for us to be able to do small things that will ultimately have a positive impact on our world. This week I’m suggesting you change your default search engine for one that helps with every click!
Try using GiveWater, which produces revenue to help with water sanitation across the developing world.
You could also use Ecosia, that uses their profit to plant trees and fight deforestation.
Try using Lilo instead and raise money for a charity of your choice.