Tuesday News: Poison pill


GOVERNOR VETOES BILL THAT WOULD BLOCK TRANSPARENCY OF POLICE KILLINGS: “Senate Bill 168 includes a provision to change the handling of public records by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner which could have the unintended consequence of limiting transparency in death investigations,” Cooper said in Monday’s release about the veto. “While I believe neither the Department of Health and Human Services, which proposed it, nor the General Assembly, which unanimously passed it, had any ill intent, the concerns that have since been raised make it clear this provision should not become law.” Dozens of protesters have camped outside the governor’s mansion since last Monday, to call on Cooper to veto SB 168. They have expressed concerns that limiting public access to the death records could hide actions that happen in police custody. Some have said the lack of transparency would only serve to increase police distrust.

JUDGE BLOCKS GRAHAM'S ORDINANCE TO LIMIT PROTESTS OF CONFEDERATE STATUE: A federal judge on Monday blocked for now an ordinance issued by a central North Carolina city that requires permits for protests and limits activities of demonstrators. U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles issued a temporary restraining order halting enforcement of the ordinance by the city of Graham for two weeks, pending a hearing on a request for a longer injunction. Civil rights attorneys representing the NAACP’s Alamance County chapter and eight people last week sued Graham city council members and local law enforcement leaders. The plaintiffs contend the ordinance violates the U.S. Constitution because it burdens their rights to protest and assemble in Graham. The ordinance requires protesters to apply in writing for a protest permit at least 24 hours in advance. The ordinance also illegally restricts the size and conduct of permitted protests, the lawsuit reads.

DAKOTA ACCESS PIPELINE PUT ON HOLD OVER POOR ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT: In a 24-page order, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg in Washington, D.C., wrote that he was “mindful of the disruption" that shutting down the pipeline would cause, but that it must be done within 30 days. Pipeline owner Energy Transfer plans to ask a court to halt the order and will seek an expedited appeal, spokeswoman Vicki Granado said. The order comes after Boesberg said in April that a more extensive review was necessary than what the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers already conducted and that he would consider whether the pipeline should be shuttered during the new assessment. The Dakota Access pipeline was the subject of months of protests in 2016 and 2017, sometimes violent, during its construction near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation that straddles the North Dakota-South Dakota border. The tribe pressed litigation against the pipeline even after it began carrying oil from North Dakota across South Dakota and Iowa and to a shipping point in Illinois in June 2017. The $3.8 billion, 1,172-mile (1,886 kilometer) pipeline crosses beneath the Missouri River, just north of the reservation. The tribe draws its water from the river and fears pollution. “This pipeline should have never been built here. We told them that from the beginning,” Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Mike Faith said in a statement.

TRUMP AND REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMEN BENEFITED FROM CORONA RELIEF LOANS: Among the loan recipients disclosed is KTAK Corp., a Tulsa-based operator of fast food franchises owned by Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.). Hern had advocated increasing the size of loans available to franchisees, including in a March letter to Senate leaders Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.). Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) benefited when three of his car dealerships, located outside of Pittsburgh, received a combined total of between $450,000 and $1.05 million to retain 97 jobs, according to the data. Several plumbing businesses affiliated with Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), all based in Broken Arrow, Okla., each received between $350,000 and $1 million. The lawyer who represented Trump in the Mueller investigation, as well as dozens of tenants of Trump’s real estate company, also received money, the latest in a series of instances in which Trump’s company and his government have overlapped. At 40 Wall Street, an office building Trump owns in Lower Manhattan, 22 companies received loans, for a combined total of at least $16.6 million. Triomphe Restaurant Corp, which operates the Jean-Georges restaurant at the Trump International Hotel on Central Park West, got between $2 million and $5 million. Sushi Nakazawa, a restaurant in the Trump D.C. hotel, received between $150,000 and $350,000 to support 22 jobs, according to the data. Another politically connected loan recipient was New York law firm Kasowitz, Benson & Torres, headed by longtime Trump attorney Marc Kasowitz, which received between $5 million and $10 million in PPP funds to support about 400 employees.

NURSES ON THE FRONT LINES OF THE PANDEMIC NOW FACE IGNORANT FAMILY & FRIENDS: For nurses, the widespread skepticism about something they have witnessed is jarring. The United States has hit daily case records three times in the first six days of July, as the politicization of public health measures and the spread of misinformation hinder the country’s ability to curb the coronavirus’s spread. Tamara Williams, a nurse from Dallas who came to New York, said she had to remove 50 to 100 friends from her Facebook account because she could not stand seeing their posts with false information about the pandemic. Virginia Bernal, a 45-year-old nurse who spent months working in New York, could tell from her conversations over the phone with relatives back in Phoenix that they were not taking the surge in cases there seriously. She said she had tried to discourage her mother from attending a graduation party for a friend’s daughter. But a few days later, when Ms. Bernal called, her mother did not answer her phone because she was at the party. Heather Smith, a nurse from Topsail Island, off the coast of North Carolina, who worked at Elmhurst Hospital Center in Queens, struggled to hold back tears when describing how she felt when her brother said he did not believe the virus was real. When Ms. Smith started typing a rant on Facebook, she said, “I realized how angry I was.” She said she could not get out of her mind the images of patients who died alone: “No one understands how serious and how traumatizing it is.” Courtney Sudduth, a nurse from Oklahoma City, said that when she arrived in New York people from back home wanted to know: Was it really as bad as the news media made it sound? Yes, she would tell them, describing the 18-wheel refrigerated truck that was parked outside Mount Sinai Beth Israel hospital in Manhattan and used to store bodies. One of Ms. Sudduth’s brothers, who lives in Mississippi, believed conspiracy theories about the virus and continued to socialize at cookouts — until last month, she said, when he came down with the virus. “That changed his mind,” Ms. Sudduth, 30, said.



The Trump campaign's focus is on racism

A White House reporter with the Washington Post appeared on MSNBC, discussing Republican leaders pushing Trump on his "message" for the campaign. They were told that Trump was setting the agenda and that agenda would focus on race - they could like it or lump it.

This makes the stakes in the 2020 campaign very clear - Republicans, like Tillis, can continue to try remaining silent about Trump's racist attacks or reject them. It's really that simple.