Posts tagged with "democrat"

Kamala Harris illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

Joe Biden × Kamala Harris

Presidential candidate Joe Biden has declared California Senator Kamala Harris his Vice President running mate. Former Vice President Joe Biden’s selection of Senator Kamala Harris Harris shows Biden doubling down on his long history of excessive law enforcement and support for the war on drugs. 

In a year of national uprising against police violence, Kamala Harris who spent 25 years in law enforcement is an ironic selection. Her campaign for president ended quickly as she dropped out of the race two months before the Iowa Caucus and three days before the filing deadline to be on the ballot in her home state of California, where she was behind in the polls. Part of her decline was caused by voter dismay at her reversal on Medicare For All, when she flip-flopped to a policy that subsidized private health insurance and misleadingly continued to call it Medicare for All.

While Joe Biden was the principal legislative architect of the drug war and mass incarceration from his time on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Harris’s record as a prosecutor and Attorney General was as a foot soldier in the drug war and mass incarceration. As the San Francisco District Attorney drug-related prosecutions increased from 56 percent in 2003 to 74 percent in 2006. In 2019, she admitted smoking marijuana in college but while Attorney General of California from 2011-2017, Harris sent at least 1,560 people to prison over marijuana-related offenses. In 2014, a week after the New York Times called for legal marijuana, Harris laughed when asked if she supported it. Now, she supports ending federal laws against marijuana, a position not held by Biden.

While Biden sponsored mandatory sentencing, Harris defended one of the worst mandatory sentencing laws in the US, California’s ‘three strikes law’ that also applied to “minor” felonies. She campaigned against a voter initiative that would have reformed this to require serious or violent felonies for life sentences. Harris did not take a position on two ballot initiatives in 2012 and 2014 that would have reduced punishment for low-level crimes and given judges more flexibility at sentencing. Both initiatives passed without her support.

After the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, police accountability was on the agenda in the California legislature. Harris refused to take a position on racial profiling by police. As Attorney General she refused to investigate highly questionable police shootings in Los Angeles 2014 and in San Francisco in 2015.

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Violence Spikes in Major Cities

By Eamonn Burke

Last month, 65 people were shot in New York City and 87 in Chicago over the course of the 4th of July weekend. Six children were killed that weekend as well. The holiday may have been a peak in homicides, but numbers of shootings and deaths have been trending upward as the nation handles a pandemic and a historic recession. The amount of shootings in NYC from January to July exceeded the total for the entire year of 2019. Other major cities are experiencing high rates of gun violence as well, such as Philadelphia, where more than 240 people have been killed this year and which now has the 2nd highest homicide rate in the nation. Chicago saw a violent July, with 584 shootings and 105 deaths. Even smaller cities like Pheonix and Omaha are seeing rises.

As a whole, homicides are up 24% in the nation since last year. Data shows homicides and shootings trending upward sharply since late May in major cities across the US. However, as a national study shows, gun violence was creeping upward even before the pandemic began.

President Trump blames the rise in violent crime to “radical” Democratic politicians , such as Major Bill DeBlasio, despite signs that this is a bipartisan issue. DeBlasio himself blames the shootings on the virus, among other factors such as the BLM protests and faults in the criminal justice system that have recently been exposed. The Council on Criminal Justice also concluded that the virus is the root issue, and that it must be stopped first in order to reduce homicides. A chart of homicides in Chicago does in fact show a major spike after the beginning of the protests, and the BLM protests in 2014 and 2015 had a similar effect on gun violence. However, further analysis of police data instead points to a decrease in gun-related arrests as a potential cause, as well as the increase in gun purchases in recent months.

Police say that many of these crimes are gang related, and a shortage of staff due to the virus have made it harder to crack down on crime. DeBlasio was adamant about getting back on top of the gun crisis through the courts: “Our courts not only need to reopen, they need to reopen as fully and as quickly as possible.” Chief administrative judge Lawrence Marks fired back, saying the blame of courts was “false, misleading and irresponsible.”

A strange finding amongst this gun crisis is that rates of other crimes such as burglaries have not followed the same trend, and have even decreased in some cases. As this is extremely odd, it’s possible that it’s a matter of what is getting reported given the complications of COVID-19 and the BLM protests on policing.

Rita Azar illustrates US Federal officer story in 360 MAGAZINE.

Federal Agents Move into Multiple US Cities

By Emmet McGeown

On June 29, 4-year old LeGend Taliferro was killed by gunfire in Kansas City, Missouri. He had fallen asleep inside his pillow fort and at around 2am he was murdered in a targeted shooting of his apartment, according to the Kansas City Police Department.

Having been diagnosed with a heart defect shortly after birth, LeGend received his first open-heart surgery at just 4 months old. His mother, Charron Powell, said that her only child “has the heart of a lion” and was always excited to create awareness for conditions similar to his.

As a result of this horrific murder and spiking crime rates in St. Louis Attorney General, William Barr, announced “Operation LeGend” on July 8. This Justice Department initiative has directed agents from the FBI, DEA, ATF, and US Marshals Service to supplement local law enforcement agencies with the aim of cracking down on illegal gun trafficking and aiding ongoing homicide investigations.

In total, 225 federal agents were sent to Kansas City to help the 400 federal agents already located in the metro area. US Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, Tim Garrison, announced on July 31 that 97 arrests have been made by federal and local law enforcement since the launch of Operation LeGend. Five arrests were made for homicide, but other offenses cited were drug trafficking, robbery, and child molestation.

However, this has not been the extent of federal intervention in US cities. In a Fox News phone interview, the President stated “We’ll go into all of the cities, any of them. We’re ready.” Such a statement is emblematic of the President’s desire to make federal policing a key part of his Nixonian “law and order” campaign strategy. Undoubtedly, he is hoping to appeal to suburban voters worried about crime spilling into their neighborhoods from urban centers. The President also claimed that he was prepared to dispatch “50,000, 60,000 people” into American cities.

Trump has presented increasing crime rates in cities as a partisan issue whereby Democrat-run cities are the most dangerous places in the country largely due to their leadership’s political affiliation. Overall, out of the 50 largest cities in the US the homicide rate has increased by 25% in cities with Democratic mayors and by 15% in Republican-run cities revealing a decidedly bipartisan issue despite the President’s best efforts.

Operation LeGend’s coordinated law enforcement plan has now expanded into Chicago, Albuquerque, Cleveland, Detroit and Milwaukee. Reasons for this move include a 54% increase in homicides in Chicago from last year, a 7% increase in Detroit’s violent crime compared to the previous year while each of Cleveland’s 5 police districts are coping with an increase in shootings of around 20%.

Such statistics reveal a problem in many US cities, yet the question remains as to whether this problem can or should be solved through federal intervention or whether this, being a local issue, should be remedied via local resources.

politics, podium, flag, speech

End of Federal Moratorium

By Eamonn Burke

The CARES act instated in March that protected renters across the country from evictions ended on Friday. The 12.3 million households under federally backed mortgages can now be given 30-day notices and evicted in August. The end of this protection, as well as the end of additional unemployment payment will make it hard for many renters to keep their homes.

“We are looking at an eviction cliff,” said National Housing Conference President David Dworkin. “Once we fall over it, it will be hard to climb back.”

The “cliff” that Dworkin references will bring a spike of homelessness across the country. States like Arizona and Tennessee have shown data of many more pending evictions than normal. It’s not only the numbers that tell the story, however:

“We still anecdotally have seen some people become newly homeless due to informal evictions” says Jacquelyn Simone, a policy analyst in New York’s Coalition for the Homeless.

Although the moratorium period has officially ended, the fight to extend it has not. Some states such as New York, Washington, and Connecticut, have enacted their own ban on evictions until the end of August. The fight continues at the Federal level as well. The House passed a $100 billion assistance fund, while Senator Kamala Harris (D) of California released a plan for a year long ban on evictions and leniency on rent. The Senate, on the other hand, seems to be unwilling to include these ideas in their coronavirus legislation. Many Republicans feel that the moratorium has extended long enough.

“We disagree . . . to a forever, ongoing moratorium” said Maryland Multi-Housing Association director Adam Skolnik, calling it “fundamentally unfair” to the renters who are also struggling. It remains to be seen whether the parties can come to an agreement on how to deal with the complex issue.

John Lewis illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

John Lewis Funeral Procession Reaches DC

By Eamonn Burke

Civil rights icon and Democratic John Lewis will lie in state in Washington D.C. following his death on July 17. The funeral procession, which began on Saturday, included the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where a state trooper broke Lewis’ skull during a march, and a stop in Selma. It culminated in the arrival to the U.S Capitol and the ceremony held at 1:30 pm today, and it will continue until Thursday, when he will he laid to rest in Atlanta.

The arrival of the procession prompted many regulations including street closings and prohibited items in the city of Washington D.C.. The ceremony was private, put public viewings were available as well, in addition to crowds around the hearse as it made its way to the Capitol Rotunda. Those who were inside and invited, mostly House and Senate members, sat apart in circles. Speakers such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell remembered the life of Lewis.

“John was revered and beloved on both sides of the aisle, on both sides of the Capitol” said Pelosi. McConnell remembered the “respect and love” that Lewis showed everyone. The speeches were followed by a performance of “Amazing Grace” by Christian singer Wintley Phipps. Finally, Lewis’ son John-Miles-Lewis led the conclusion of the service.

John Lewis was a founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, a powerful civil rights organization, and later became the chairman. He also helped organize the 1963 March on Washington at which Dr. Martin Luther King gave his famous “I have a dream” speech.

Allison Christensen, 360 Magazine, Vaughn Lowery

Federal Officers in Portland

By Eamonn Burke

In the wake of George Floyd’s death, cities around the country and the world erupted in protest. While in many cities protests have diminished or stopped, one city has shown crowds of protestors since Memorial Day: Portland, Oregon.

Rallies were shrinking here too, but were reinvigorated following repeated and excessive use of force by federal officers in the city. Video shows officers responding to one protest using non-lethal ammunition, gas, and fire. Secretary Chad Wolf of the Department of Homeland Security sided with the officers, calling the protestors “lawless anarchists.” Trump and his administration have also given consistent support to the efforts of the officers.

Tensions first rose last Thursday night when protestors gathered around a local precinct shouting “Who do you protect? Who do you serve?”, and police told them to leave after hearing rumors of a plot to burn down the building. The crowd, however, were equipped with homemade shields and flashlights. The crowds stayed however, leading to police discharging impact munitions and using smoke and tear gas to disband them.

The ongoing clash continued Tuesday when roughly 1,000 people filled Portland’s center, with help from the recently dubbed “Wall of Moms.” Hundreds of moms stood before the officers to provide protection for protestors. Their arms were linked as they chanted things like “Don’t shoot your mother!”

“That really affected me the most, being a mom. I wanted to come down and give my support as a mother and a grandmother to all these people who have been out every night” said 55 year old mom Debbie Scott.

The “Wall or Moms” has recently spread beyond Portland into other major cities such as New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia, ready to defend Democratic-lead cities from Trumps’ plan to deploy federal officers. Meanwhile, the violence continued in Portland on Tuesday when officers used more gas, non-lethal bullets and stun grenades as protestors gathered outside the courthouse.

Women Suing Fox News for Rape, Misconduct

By Eamonn Burke

Ed Henry, long time Fox News anchor who was fired under accusations of sexual assault this month, is now being sued by two women named Jennifer Eckhart and Cathy Areu. Eckhart, a former associate producer for Fox, alleges that Mr. Henry offered promotions in exchange for a sexual relationship with her. Co-plantiff Areu also accuses him of harassment in the form of inappropriate messages and also mentions Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, and Howard Kirtz in other “sexual charged” instances.

Fox News responded by acknowledging Eckhart’s claims and assuring that they fired Henry as soon as they heard of them. As for Areu’s allegations, they dismissed them as “false, patently frivolous and utterly devoid of any merit” as determined by a law firm they hired. Mr. Henry’s lawyer, Catherine Foti, does not accept the allegations from either party: “The evidence in this case will demonstrate that Ms. Eckhart initiated and completely encouraged a consensual relationship” she asserted.

Ms. Eckhart’s account of her interactions with Mr. Henry do not suggest something consensual, instead something far from it. The suit, filed on Monday, says that Henry “sexually assaulted her on office property, and raped her at a hotel where Fox News frequently lodged its visiting employees.” Additional information says that Eckhart was handcuffed, and Henry took photos of her afterwards.

The suit also claims that Fox News knew that Henry was engaging in this behavior as far back as 2017, and only did something about it now in order to “get ahead of this suit.” This accusation has major implications, and suggests perpetuation of the misogynistic culture that is rumored to exist at Fox News, which came to the forefront when news tycoon Roger Ailes faced multiple allegations of sexual harassment.

The women are suing for sexual harassment, creating a hostile work environment, retaliation, and violation of sex trafficking laws, and are seeking damages.

Women Suing Fox News for Rape, Misconduct

By Eamonn Burke

Ed Henry, long time Fox News anchor who was fired under accusations of sexual assault this month, is now being sued by two women named Jennifer Eckhart and Cathy Areu. Eckhart, a former associate producer for Fox, alleges that Mr. Henry offered promotions in exchange for a sexual relationship with her. Co-plantiff Areu also accuses him of harassment in the form of inappropriate messages and also mentions Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, and Howard Kirtz in other “sexual charged” instances.

Fox News responded by acknowledging Eckhart’s claims and assuring that they fired Henry as soon as they heard of them. As for Areu’s allegations, they dismissed them as “false, patently frivolous and utterly devoid of any merit” as determined by a law firm they hired. Mr. Henry’s lawyer, Catherine Foti, does not accept the allegations from either party: “The evidence in this case will demonstrate that Ms. Eckhart initiated and completely encouraged a consensual relationship” she asserted.

Ms. Eckhart’s account of her interactions with Mr. Henry do not suggest something consensual, instead something far from it. The suit, filed on Monday, says that Henry “sexually assaulted her on office property, and raped her at a hotel where Fox News frequently lodged its visiting employees.” Additional information says that Eckhart was handcuffed, and Henry took photos of her afterwards.

The suit also claims that Fox News knew that Henry was engaging in this behavior as far back as 2017, and only did something about it now in order to “get ahead of this suit.” This accusation has major implications, and suggests perpetuation of the misogynistic culture that is rumored to exist at Fox News, which came to the forefront when news tycoon Roger Ailes faced multiple allegations of sexual harassment.

The women are suing for sexual harassment, creating a hostile work environment, retaliation, and violation of sex trafficking laws, and are seeking damages.

Survey Of Registered Voters

This survey is conducted by researchers in the Department of Government at Harvard University and is part of non-partisan academic research. Your answers will help us to better understand what voters think about current issues.

Participation is voluntary and your personal information will not be shared with anyone. Your email was obtained from publicly available lists of registered voters in your state.

Completing the survey takes less than 10 minutes. Follow this link to the Survey.

This research is led by Ryan Enos and Jacob Brown of Harvard

Sara Sandman, Black Lives Matter, illustration, 360 magazine, protest, rebellion, looters, riot, civil rights, human rights

BLM Mural Vandalized Again

By Eamonn Burke

Two women have been arrested in connection with vandalization of the Black Lives Matter mural outside the Trump Tower, the second time in the last 24 hours and the third time in the last week.

The women smeared black paint on a newly painted yellow mural after it was attacked on Friday, an incident which involved 10 people with blue paint. Red paint was used on Monday in another defacement.

A shirt worn by one of the women read “All Lives Matter” and claimed that the mural should read the same. Video captures her yelling “Refund the Police” as she was being arrested. Meanwhile, others witnessing the scene chanted in the opposing favor of their actions. Mayor of NYC Bill De Blasio called it a “nice try” in a tweet, and said that the movement can not be undone. Trump, however, has repeatedly called the mural a “symbol of hate.” Fellow Democrats such as Hank Newsome, leader of the BLM movement, and New York governor Andrew Cuomo are less extreme, but are also not entirely in favor of the mural.

“I like this project because it annoys Trump, but we don’t need de Blasio to sign streets. We need him to sign legislation,” said Newsome, expressing sentiments that the governor agreed with.

The women were charged with criminal mischief and released with an appearance ticket.