What Now?! – June 10, 2020

President Trump suggested the 75-year old man pushed to the ground by Buffalo police was actually trying to set them up.

Said Trump: “Buffalo protester shoved by Police could be an ANTIFA provocateur. 75 year old Martin Gugino was pushed away after appearing to scan police communications in order to black out the equipment… I watched, he fell harder than was pushed. Was aiming scanner. Could be a set up?”

Daily Beast: “If the stories broadcast by the Trump-endorsed One America News Network sometimes look like outtakes from a Kremlin trolling operation, there may be a reason. One of the on-air reporters at the 24-hour network is a Russian national on the payroll of the Kremlin’s official propaganda outlet, Sputnik.”

Josh Marshall: “Every crisis President Trump faced until this year was a crisis purely of his own making. That meant that he could more or less stop them at will. Whenever things got hot enough and his advisors could convince him to stop being weird for a while it would go away. Because it was all about him, all of his own making.”

“This is what makes 2020 different. Each of today’s overlapping crises are ones for which Trump bears significant personal responsibility. But they are not crises of his own making and they are real quite apart from whatever actions he might choose to take. Donald Trump could turn magically into the perfect President and there would still be a COVID epidemic and tens of millions out of work. He could go through the motions on racism, police killings and criminal justice reform and those issues would remain only slightly less intractable.”

“The White House is preparing a speech on race relations written by Stephen Miller, who crafted the Trump Administration’s immigration plan along the southern border with Mexico,” American Urban Radio Networks reports.

Sweet Jesus.

“Third Ward, Cuney Homes, that’s where he was born at. But everybody is going to remember him around the world. He is going to change the world.” — Rodney Floyd, quoted by the AP, as his brother George’s funeral.

“I think what’s happened is one of those great inflection points in American history.” — Joe Biden, explaining to CBS News what George Floyd’s death at the hands of police means for the country.

Dr. Anthony Fauci delivered a grim assessment of the devastation wrought around the world by the virus, describing Covid-19 as his “worst nightmare” — a new, highly contagious respiratory infection that causes a significant rate of illness and death, the New York Times reports.

Said Fauci: “In a period of four months, it has devastated the whole world. And it isn’t over yet.” He added: “Oh my goodness. Where is it going to end? We’re still at the beginning of it.”

Since the start of June, 14 states and Puerto Rico have recorded their highest-ever seven-day average of new coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, according to data tracked by the Washington Post: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Kentucky, New Mexico, North Carolina, Mississippi, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.

Texas Tribune: As Texas businesses reopen, Covid-19 cases are rising.

The Atlantic: “Americans may wish the virus to be gone, but it is not. While the outbreak has eased in the Northeast, driving down the overall national numbers, cases have only plateaued in the rest of the country, and they appear to be on the rise in recent days in COVID Tracking Project data. Twenty-two states reported 400 or more new cases Friday, and 14 other states and Puerto Rico reported cases in the triple digits. Several states—including Arizona, North Carolina, and California—are now seeing their highest numbers of known cases.”

“These numbers all reflect infections that likely began before this week of protest. An even larger spike now seems likely. Put another way: If the country doesn’t see a substantial increase in new COVID-19 cases after this week, it should prompt a rethinking of what epidemiologists believe about how the virus spreads.”

Wall Street Journal: “The president consulted several advisers to ask their opinion of the disagreement, intent that day on removing Mr. Esper, his fourth defense secretary since taking office in January 2017… After talks with the advisers, who cautioned against the move, Mr. Trump set aside the plans to immediately fire Mr. Esper.”

“At the same time, however, Mr. Esper, aware of Mr. Trump’s feelings, was making his own preparations to resign, partly in frustration over the differences regarding the role of the military, the officials said. He had begun to prepare a letter of resignation before he was persuaded not to do so by aides and other advisers.”

Documents obtained by The Intercept reveal that a Pentagon war game, called the 2018 Joint Land, Air and Sea Strategic Special Program, offered a scenario in which members of Generation Z, driven by malaise and discontent, launch a ‘Zbellion’ in America in the mid-2020s.

“Minneapolis police initially told the public that George Floyd died after a ‘medical incident during a police interaction.’ The Buffalo, New York, department said a protester ‘tripped and fell.’ Philadelphia police alleged that a college student who suffered a serious head wound had assaulted an officer,” the AP reports.

“All three claims were quickly disproved by videos seen widely on the internet and television, fueling mistrust and embarrassing agencies that made misleading or incomplete statements that painted their actions in a far more favorable light.”

At this point, any claim by the police is to be not accepted as true by anyone unless there is collaborating evidence supporting it. Indeed, police reports are to be treated like Trump tweets. This of course will derail the criminal justice system, but the Police have no one to blame but themselves.

“A bipartisan group of Mississippi lawmakers, with the blessing of Speaker of the House Philip Gunn, began whipping votes and drafting a resolution on Monday to change the state flag, which was adopted in 1894 and is the last in the nation containing the Confederate battle emblem,” Mississippi Today reports.

“The conversation behind closed doors this week marks one of the first earnest legislative discussions about changing the state flag since the 2001 referendum in which Mississippians voted nearly 2-to-1 to keep the current flag.”

“Nearly two dozen Republican House members are urging the White House to reconsider its decision to cut by half the number of American troops assigned to Germany,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

President Trump’s decision to cut U.S. troop levels in Germany blindsided a number of senior national security officials, and the Pentagon had yet to receive a formal order to carry it out, Reuters reports.

Top officials at the White House, State Department and Pentagon didn’t know about Trump’s decision until they read about it in the Wall Street Journal.

Playbook: “The chasm between the president and pretty much everyone else in Washington is growing, as Donald Trump seems more alone and isolated with his thoughts, and detached from the overall political conversation in the Capitol, and the rest of America.

On Capitol Hill, the president’s party is beginning to rally around some overhaul of the laws governing police conduct. Top lawmakers like Sens. John Cornyn of Texas, Mitt Romney of Utah and Tim Scott of South Carolina are busy working up a police reform plan. House Democrats are almost ready to pass their own sweeping package.”

“But in the White House, the president is busy broadcasting a conspiracy theory that people find so alarmingly baseless and in poor taste that the party’s top lawmakers are treating it like it’s the physical manifestation of the coronavirus itself.”

The president of the U.N. General Assembly that world leaders will not be coming to New York for their annual gathering in late September for the first time in the 75-year history of the United Nations because of the coronavirus pandemic, the AP reports.

The Bulwark: “Why has police brutality in the United States moved so many people around the world to protest? It is surely in part because of the nauseating footage documenting George Floyd’s last minutes of life. And, to some extent, the protests are a result of the globalization of social justice activism.”

“But many of the protesters who have taken to the streets in recent days are also, as they have explained, driven by a recognition that America has been—and ought to be—a standard-bearer for freedom and human dignity.”

Top congressional Democrats are steering clear of the growing calls by activists to “defund the police,” saying they sympathize with the intent behind the movement but are concerned that the rhetoric could undercut efforts to overhaul policing practices nationwide, CNN reports.

Said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA): “That’s not the term I would use. But I think it’s important for all of us to listen to the pain and lived experiences of the people who are protesting, who have created a movement for real change… We need to put more resources responding to mental health issues and substance abuse. We need to demilitarize our police forces. There are a lot of things we need to do.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was skeptical in a New Yorker interview about the “defund the police” movement.

Said Sanders: “Do I think we should not have police departments in America? No, I don’t. There’s no city in the world that does not have police departments. What you need are—I didn’t call for more money for police departments. I called for police departments that have well-educated, well-trained, well-paid professionals. And, too often around this country right now, you have police officers who take the job at very low payment, don’t have much education, don’t have much training—and I want to change that.”

He added: “I think we want to redefine what police departments do, give them the support they need to make their jobs better defined. So I do believe that we need well-trained, well-educated, and well-paid professionals in police departments. Anyone who thinks that we should abolish all police departments in America, I don’t agree.”

Politico: “Top Democrats are carefully — but forcefully — speaking out against growing calls from activists to defund police departments, an idea backed by prominent progressives to dismantle the system that has perpetuated the type of brutality as seen in Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.”

“With the GOP eagerly drawing up their attack ads, senior Democrats are hoping to stifle momentum for the idea before it overshadows their broader reform effort. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are instead pressing ahead with a sweeping bill to crack down on use of force, bolster transparency, and ban certain practices, like chokeholds, while leaving questions of funding or structure to local leaders.”

“The United States officially is in a recession. But Senate Republicans are still in no rush to dole out more coronavirus relief,” Politico reports.

“Buoyed by a surprisingly strong jobs report last week and the knowledge that some of Congress’ $2 trillion March spending package still hasn’t been spent, the Senate GOP remains noncommittal on both the timing and substance of the next piece of legislation. Bipartisan talks still haven’t begun in earnest, according to senators and aides, and the White House and senior Republican senators say they won’t start until July.”

Bloomberg: Jobs rebound spurs GOP calls for Congress to go slow on stimulus.

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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