Posts tagged with "President Trump"

Election illustration for 360 magazine

Pornhub Launches Voting Campaign

Pornhub, the premier online destination for adult entertainment, has announced its “Give A F**k, Get A F**k,” campaign to encourage American users to vote. On Election Day, Pornhub will be reserved only for those who have voted in the United States. 

“Roughly 43 percent of eligible voters – equal to 100 million people didn’t vote in the 2016 U.S Presidential Election, according to turnout estimates from the U.S. Elections Project. We want to encourage people to do their civic duty this year by casting their ballot and having their voice heard,” said Corey Price, Vice President, Pornhub.

Leading up to the campaign officially launching on Nov. 3, Pornhub will be running a social campaign with an assortment of high-profile models. This includes Pornhub Brand Ambassador Asa Akira, Domino Presley, Natassia Dreams, Janice Griffith, Lance Hart, Soverign Syre and Lotus Laine. They are posting videos encouraging people to get out and vote and also teasing them that “if they don’t give a f***, they don’t get a f**k.” 

When the campaign officially kicks off on Nov. 3, Pornhub users in the United States will be greeted by an overlay page which will appear over the Pornhub website from 10 a.m. EST to 9 p.m. EST reminding them to vote before entering the site that day. 

Of course, nothing can actually be done to prevent Americans from watching porn since there is no way for citizens to provide pornhub with any proof they voted. However, the campaign is clever and a helpful reminder to users that their voice matters. 

Pornhub tweeted about the campaign on its official Twitter account. “Election Day is around the corner and we’re here to make sure you give a F**K! So on Nov.3, only those who give a F**K will get a F**K on Pornhub!” the tweet read. The video attached to the tweet has over 45 thousand views.

Pornhub’s “Give A F**k, Get A F**k” campaign is a collaboration with Just For Fun, a creative agency. “In 2016, over 100 million eligible voters had zero f**ks to give about the election. This year, to encourage everyone to get off the couch and head to the polling places, we knew we needed to hit them where it hurts – their pants,” said a spokesperson for Just For Fun.

The two companies are working together to promote voting for the 2020 election. Some people have even said is one of the most important elections so far in their lifetime. Their goal is to get as many eligible voters to vote as possible.

Final Presidential Debate

By Hannah DiPilato 

The final presidential debate took place on Thursday. Significantly less chaotic than the first debate, both candidates were able to express their opinions on certain issues and to respond to the moderator, Kristen Welker‘s, questions, for the most part. 

The first unavoidable topic presented was the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Current President Donald Trump took over the first question claiming that a vaccine would be distributed as soon as a few weeks from now. He claimed the military is ready to distribute 100 million vaccinations. He also placed emphasis on the fact coronavirus is a worldwide problem as well as emphasizing his own recovery.  

Presidential candidate Joe Biden came in with a rebuttal focusing on families that have lost loved ones as a result of the pandemic and how Trump will not take responsibility for these deaths. He also used the statistic that a predicted 200,000 Americans would die before the end of 2020 at the current rate. Trump disagreed with this and compared coronavirus to the Swine Flu which occurred while Joe Biden was Vice President. 

Welker then led the conversation to lockdowns as a result of Covid-19. Biden began by saying he plans to shut down Covid, not the country. He wants to get places with high reproduction rates under control. 

Trump’s main point was that schools should reopen because children aren’t the main concern in relation to the pandemic. He talked about his son’s rapid recovery and his belief schools should open. 

“I don’t look at this as blue states and red states, we’re the United States,” said Biden. However, he quickly followed this statement by saying upticks have been seen mostly in red states. Trump responded that America should not shut down, but instead just protect the elderly and those at high risk. 

After a significant amount of time discussing coronavirus, the topic switched to national security. Biden questioned why Russia, China and Iran are interfering with the election and Trump has not taken any measures to handle this. Trump refuted this saying nobody is tougher on Russia than himself and pointed fingers at Biden saying Russia is paying Biden a lot of money. 

Biden then explained how he has never taken money from another country but points a finger at Trump who has overseas accounts, pressuring Trump to reveal his tax records. Trump then explained he prepays his taxes and that he would love to release the taxes as soon as he can. He stressed that the IRS “treats him very badly.” 

The next main topic of the debate was American families, beginning with a focus on healthcare. Trump wants to create a healthcare plan that is better than Obamacare while always protecting those with preexisting conditions. He accused Biden of wanting to eliminate private healthcare. 

Biden responded that he supports private insurance and no one would lose their private insurance under his plan. He said he wants to continue Obamacare as Bidencare He explained he wants everyone to have a public healthcare option and he plans to lower drug prices and insurance premiums. Trump also compared Biden to the United States Senator Bernie Sanders, but Biden said he disagreed with Sanders’ plans. 

Welker asked both candidates if this was the right time to raise the minimum wage considering the Covid-19 pandemic. Trump explained he would consider raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, but that minimum wage heavily depends on the state. On the other hand, Biden believes everyone deserves a minimum wage of at least $15 an hour in order to live without multiple jobs. 

Many people have previously had issues with how Trump has handled immigration laws in the past. His views have not seemed to change since he said illegal immigrant children are brought by “coyotes and bad people” to America as a ploy to get into the country. 

Biden’s response was that the children were not brought by “bad people” but parents that deserve equality. If he were to be elected, he plans to make more undocumented people citizens and able to stay in the United States. Trump then responded that if you take in a rapist or murder ICE then has to come to find them and only those with the “lowest IQ” will come back to get caught. 

The Black Lives Matter movement has brought systemic racism into the media, so Welker ensured both candidates addressed these issues. Biden gave a very sympathetic response where he spoke about wanting to learn more about systemic racism and that he understands the hardships families of color go through. He touched on white privilege and institutionalized racism as well and believes there should be less imprisonment for drug problems. 

Trump claimed that “no one has done what I’ve done” regarding racism. He claimed he has great relationships and that that he “is the least racist person in the room.” This was ironic considering the Kristen Welker is a person of color. He also claimed he has done the most for racism since Abraham Lincoln. 

Nearing the end of the debate, the topic of conversation was climate change. Trump explained he created a lot of “programs” to battle climate change but was being incredibly vague. He explained America has a very good carbon emission and he defended his decision to back out of the Paris Accord. 

“We don’t have much time, we’re going to pass the point of no return, return the next eight to 10 years,” said Biden on the topic. Biden wants more industries to transition to clean energy and he has a plan to have 100% clean energy by 2050. 

At the end of the debate, each candidate was asked to speak directly to those that did not vote for them if they were elected. Trump explained he wanted to make the country successful, how it was before the pandemic. He expressed that he has been able to have the best unemployment rate for minorities and how he wants to cut taxes, unlike Biden. 

Biden clarified that he represents everyone, whether someone voted for him or not. He said he would emphasize hope over fear and science over fiction. He wants to help the economy, end systemic racism and promote clean energy. He concluded by saying what is on the ballot is the character of the United States.

The aftermath of the debate on social media was less prominent compared to the first debate, but there were still a few highlights. Rapper 50 Cent said he will be voting for Trump because of Biden’s tax plan.

“Yeah, I don’t want to be 20 Cent. 62 percent is a very, very, bad idea. I don’t like it,” said the rapper on Tuesday. 

Presidential candidate illustration

Presidental Campaign Money

By Hannah DiPilato

Both President Donald Trump and presidential candidate Joe Biden have splurged a fair amount on their 2020 presidential campaigns. Biden’s campaign along with his allies have spent an estimated $600 million while Trump’s campaign and his supporters have spent a little over $400 million. 

Over $1 Billion has been spent between the campaigns on TV advertisements in only 13 states alone according to an NPR analysis from the tracking firm Advertising Analytics. This money is being used to target six states: Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Arizona. TV ads may be playing a larger role in the presidential campaign this year because of the pandemic keeping so many Americans at home watching TV. 

Tracked by Ad Age Datacenter, for the presidential, congressional and gubernatorial races, campaign spending has now surged past $3 billion. This hefty amount includes TV, radio and digital ad spending. The digital ad spending includes Facebook and Google properties only for presidential candidates. 

This is “the most expensive election in history,” according to CNBC. The expected total spending for the 2020 election is predicted to be a whopping $10.8 billion according to the Center for Responsive Politics. This prediction takes into account both presidential and congressional races. CRP has recorded the election has already cost $7.2 billion, so the $10 billion milestone isn’t far out of reach. 

“The 2018 election smashed fundraising records for midterms, and 2020 is going to absolutely crush anything we’ve ever seen — or imagined — before,” Sheila Krumholz, executive director of CRP, said in a statement. “This is already the most expensive presidential election in history and there are still months of election spending to account for. The unanswered question is whether this will be the new normal for future elections.” 

So far Biden has topped the charts for his advertising spendings. Between September 28 and October 11, Biden estimated spendings have been $55,928,770 and his ads have aired about 80,452 times. Trump trails Biden with estimated total spending of $31,796,960 and 32,011 airings in the same time period. 

The Biden campaign has been able to air ads in 17 states, even though there are many fewer states considered a close race. The campaign cost continues to grow over the expected TV budget of $280 million. “If we didn’t have the resources we had now, we’d be having to make [some] hard choices right now,” said one Biden campaign official.

Bill Stepien, Trump’s campaign manager, said the campaign has “more than sufficient air coverage.” He also stated that the campaign has spent more than the Biden campaign in different areas such as Facebook ads. 

The Biden is not shying away from spending and they plan to keep spending as much cash as possible until the campaign concludes. However, in the event the result of the race is contested, the Biden campaign is reserving money for legal fights.

Presidents Illustration for 360 Magazine by Maria Soloman

Biden vs. Trump: First Debate

The first presidential debate took place on September 29 and it made waves on social media. The dispute was borderline chaotic with candidates shouting over each other and quite frankly immaturity from each party. 

Moderator Chris Wallace tried to keep things civil, but with minimal success. From coronavirus to white supremacy, topics were covered that everyone should know each candidate’s stance on. Although summarizing the entire debate would be nearly impossible, some of the most notable moments are recapped below. 

One of the most memorable parts of the night was when Trump refused to condemn white supremacy. Wallace asked Trump if he was specifically ready to call out this group of terrorists and Trump said he was prepared to do so but immediately blamed recent violence on “the left-wing.” Wallace and Biden continued to encourage Trump to criticize “right supremacists and right-wing militia” to which Trump responded, “proud boys, stand back and stand by.” This comment only fueled the Proud Boys organization and group lead Joe Biggs commented on the social media platform Parler that the comment “makes me so happy.” 

Biden did not shy away from calling out Trump’s racism. “This is a President who has used everything as a dog whistle to try to generate racist hatred, racist division,” said Biden. However, supporters of Trump have been brushing the Proud Boys comment off as a misinterpretation. The president’s son, Donald Trump Jr. vindicated his father’s comment. “I don’t know if that was a misspeak, but he was talking about having them stand down,” Trump Jr. explained to CBS News’ Gayle King. 

An unavoidable debate topic is the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the steps Trump has taken to combat the disease. When asked about a reopening plan Biden commented that he “would know what the plan is,” for a safe reopening when the time is right. He was interrupted by Trump who said “he [Biden] wants to shut down this country and I want to keep it open.” Trump continued to bash democratic governors for shutting down states and claimed this was only for political reasons. 

Although Trump has been seen in public various times not wearing a mask, despite the advice of health professionals, during the debate he said “I’m okay with masks. I’m not fighting masks.” Trump also mentioned how Dr. Anthony Fauci agreed Trump saved thousands of lives. Trump continued to attack Biden for all of the losses the country endured during the Swine Flu.

Through the debate, Biden remained composed during Trump’s offense comments and interruptions. Instead of losing it, he made small remarks that established his thoughts on Trump as a candidate. Biden also exchanged a fair share of side glares and head shakes to many of Trump’s points. “You’re the worst president America has ever had. Come on,” said Biden later in the debate. 

One quote by Biden, “Will you shut up man?” was a popular line from the debate that has been reposted on social media. This saying has already been plastered across a t-shirt that advocates for Biden. One post by @thefeministvibe on Instagram received over twelve thousand likes for posting this quote and their opinion on it. 

Another debate topic voters have been eager to hear the two candidates debate is the plan to replace late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Badar Ginsburg. Trump has recently nominated Amy Coney Barrett to take the place of Ginsburg. Nevertheless, there has been controversy surrounding Trump’s selection of a supreme court justice due to the rules implemented when Obama was still in office. 

Biden tried to lead the discussion about the supreme court into a conversation about health care. He mentioned that a Supreme Court with a 6-3 conservative majority would overturn many decisions that have already been made. This includes the Affordable Care Act and Roe V. Wade that made abortion legal nationally. 

The next presidential debate will be at 9 p.m. on Thursday, October 15. There is suspicion that the moderator will be able to cut the microphones of the candidates if they don’t obey the rules. Hopefully, the next debate will be less of a shouting match and a little more contained.

Who is Judge Amy Coney Barrett?

By Payton Saso

Just eight days since the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, President Trump has already made his nomination for her replacement. The nominee? Her name is Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

This decision comes days after President Trump and Senator McConnell called for a speedy nomination to secure the seat before the November election, despite Ginsburg’s dying wish as written about last week in 360 MAGAZINE.

This isn’t Trump’s first nomination though, this would be the third Justice he has appointed, but this one seems to be as controversial as his nomination of Brett Kavanough. In 2018, Kavanaugh was nominated and a grueling Supreme Court hearing took place which left the country divided when Dr. Christine Blasey Ford accused then nominee of sexually assaulting her when they were both teens.

Even though Dr. Ford passed a polygraph test, according to USA Today, and testified, Kavanaugh’s nomination was pushed and he is now a sitting Supreme Court Justice. And Trump’s new nomination is not shy of public controversy either.

Judge Barrett, a 48-year-old Notre Dame Law School alumna, has made headlines recently for the obvious but with a special interest in her religious ties.

While religion is not normally a deal breaker when it comes to government officials, since most hold faith in the Christian God and that is what the country was founded on, for Barrett that is what is becoming the headline.

It is important that, regardless of religious beliefs, judges are able to separate their religion and the law when making decisions and that expectation is even higher with Justices who are given their lifetime appointments to dissuade any bias. Barrett even said she was able to do that in her 2017 confirmation hearing for the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals, which is the seat she holds currently.

However, she was asked when the public was unaware of her ties to People of Praise. This is where the current public concern stems from. According to their website, People of Praise “is a charismatic Christian community. We admire the first Christians who were led by the Holy Spirit to form a community. Those early believers put their lives and their possessions in common, and ‘there were no needy persons among them.'”

While Barrett herself has not publicly claimed she is apart of this ultra-conservative group, CNN reported that Barrett appeared often in the groups magazine “Vine’s and Branches” however, “a number of online versions of the issues that include her appear to have been removed from the website — though it is unclear why that action was taken.”

Being apart or not apart of this group is not what makes Barrett a win for the conservatives, she already has publicly made it aware of her stance on liberal issues. Like when she signed the Letter to Synod Fathers from Catholic Women that stated, “…marriage and family founded on the indissoluble commitment of a man and a woman” and “…the value of human life from conception to natural death.”

In less preachy terms, she supported a letter that said marriage is only between a man and a woman, therefore she does not support same sex marriage, and supported the idea that life begins at conception, so she is a pro-lifer.
There has also been a lot of focus on the fact she undoubtedly supports the pro-life view. She stated in one of her lectures that she “expected that the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision would be hollowed out, but not reversed,” according to NPR.

Which is not something many want to hear. A majority of people would rather Roe v. Wade be upheld in the Supreme court not “hollowed out.” Since her appointment to the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals, Barrett has ruled on two abortion cases.

One of the cases was Box v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky Inc. In this case, she voted on whether an Indiana Law that demanded minors to notifiy their parents/guardians in order to receive an abortion was just. Barrett dissented saying that the law shouldn’t have been blocked, according to the ABA Journal.

Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation will shift the court to a conservative 6-3 vote and it is hard to tell what this means for America, but many speculate much will change. In a time where America is vehemently divided on many social issues, many that sparked from conservitive ideals, this nomination seems like it is only another deterrent to silence the majority. However, Americans have proved over the last few months they will not go quietly and we can expect the deafening sound of their protests to ring strong regardless of the courts constitutional ideals.

Trump Booed at Ginsburg’s Casket

By Payton Saso

On Thursday, President Donald Trump made a brief trip to the Supreme Court to visit the casket of the late Justice Ginsburg. However, where he and his wife, Melania, came to stand in silence to pay their respects, the observing crowds’ chants consumed the moment.

The crowd booed, chanted “vote him out” and “honor her wish” as the President stood for a short time wearing a mask, which he is not usually seen doing. It seems his symbolic act of honoring Justice Ginsburg did not appease the masses.

After a video showing the moment Trump learned of the Justice’s passing was broadcasted, many people were shocked that the President appeared civil, for lack of a better word, when interviewed.

However, it is important to remember actions speak louder than words, and this bare minimum, one-off moment does not over power his lasting sentiment about Ginsburg.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had not been one to shy away from sharing her opinion, especially when she saw something as an injustice. CNN reported that in 2016 Ginsburg “called Mr. Trump “a faker” who has “an ego” and has been treated too gently by the press. She said Mr. Trump “says whatever comes into his head at the moment” and has no consistency in his thinking.”

But this does not come as a surprise that this is how the Justice felt about the President. As a champion of women’s rights and one of the Justice’s that falls far left in opinion, it’s not unusual that the acts of an ultra-conservative, law bending president would not be Ruth’s cup of tea.

This showed strongly when NPR reported Ginsburg’s dying wish: “Just days before her death, as her strength waned, Ginsburg dictated this statement to her granddaughter Clara Spera: ‘My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.’”

This, however, is not the track the President is taking. With a vacancy on the Supreme Court, a Republican President’s nomination could shift the court in their favor 6-3, and Trump and Senator Mitch McConnell are trying to clutch that nomination before the November election.

It seems the revered Justice’s dying wish will not be honored even though the man pushing for her replacement made a similar exception four years ago.

Republican Senator McConnell’s words have come back to haunt him when in 2016 following Justice Scalia’s passing, he made it clear they would not allow a nomination during an election year. “Approximately one hour after his death, McConnell announced that the Senate would not hold confirmation hearings for anyone President Barack Obama chose to nominate. McConnell claimed, without any legal basis, that Supreme Court vacancies should not be filled in election years,” NBC reported.

But it seems now the Senator is back peddling, pushing for a new nomination just 40 days from the election. Not only are they dishonoring Justice Ginsburg’s death by nominating someone while Trump is still president, but Trump publicly said he doesn’t believe that was really her dying wish.

On the Fox News broadcast ‘Fox and Friends’ Trump gave an interview Monday claiming her dying wish might have been fabricated.

“I don’t know that she said that, or was that written out by Adam Schiff and Schumer and Pelosi. I would be more inclined to the second, OK? That came out of the wind,” Trump said. “It sounds so beautiful. But that sounds like a Schumer deal or maybe a Pelosi or shifty Schiff. So that came out of the wind. Let’s see. I mean, maybe she did and maybe she didn’t.”

This was dedicated in a fact checking article written by CNN where they rebuffed saying that these claims are completely baseless.

This conspiracy theory made up in the mind of Trump, seems just another way Trump has concocted that Democrats are out to get him. Claiming a person, let alone a Supreme Court Justices’ dying wish is a scheme made up by Democrats to dissuade Trump from making a nomination is outlandish.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg deserves to honored after death for her revolutionary career and the lasting impact she had on many people’s lives, especially women’s. So while the crowd booed and chanted “honor her wish” as Trump paid his respects, whether it was for show or not, the public can only hope that the President does, or at least isn’t able to push his nomination.

Kaelen Felix illustrates Twin Towers for 360 Magazine

Remembering 9/11

By Elle Grant

For any American, 9/11 marks an essential day of reflection and remembrance. September 11, 2020 marks the nineteenth anniversary of the historic terrorist attacks that rocked New York City, shocking the United States and the world.

19 years ago, four passenger jets were hijacked by the terrorist organization Al-Qaeda in an effort to strike at American symbols. One was flown into the Pentagon Military Headquarters in Washington D.C. Another two, most remembered of the four, were flown into the two towers of the World Trade Center in New York City as Manhattan looked on in horror. A fourth, upon hearing news of the other hijackings, realized their plane was also under attack and chose to fight back, resulting in their plane plunging into a Pennsylvania field. In sum, roughly 3,000 lives were loss, with 2,700 of them being in New York City. The toll of lives and on the psyche of Americans was hitherto unimaginable, as was the ensuing consequences including the now infamous War on Terror.

The victims of 9/11 have been commemorated in numerous ways across the country, including at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum opened on the tenth anniversary of the attacks. The memorial is located where the Twin Towers formerly stood, now marked with design features such as man-made waterfalls, a forest of white oak trees, and the inscribed names of the victims as part of the memorial. This long-awaited memorial site has since been part of the commemorations each year, with 2020 being no exception. Visitors such as Vice President Pence and Democratic nominee for president Joseph Biden were among the attendees today.

New York is especially reflective this year as the anniversary of 9/11 comes during the COVID-19 pandemic, of which the city was an early epicenter, resulting in thousands of lives lost. Governor Andrew Cuomo, who was thrust onto the national stage following the New York outbreak, said “This year it is especially important that we all appreciate and commemorate 9/11, the lives lost and the heroism displayed ‎as New Yorkers are once again called upon to face a common enemy.” In NYC, the current death count due to coronavirus is placed at 23,000. This year, at the somber moments held at the September 11 memorial in Manhattan, those paying their respects wore face masks while honoring the dead, a new feature in remembering 9/11. New York remains a fixture of American culture, with eyes turned towards them during the tragedy of 9/11, as well as the current tragedy of coronavirus.

Another way victim’s families, including those killed and affected during rescue efforts, is the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, currently authorized through 2090 and worth billions of dollars. “Our nation owes each of you a profound debt that no words or deeds will ever repay,” President Trump said during the bill signing ceremony. “But we can, and we will keep our nation’s promise to you.” Certainly, monetary efforts are no replacements for the lives loss and the impacts made, but it represents Congress’ efforts to assist those left in the wake of the tragic attacks.

Vaughn Lowery of 360 MAGAZINE drops by world trade center on 9/11 in nyc.

Vaughn Lowery of 360 MAGAZINE drops by world trade center on 9/11 in nyc.

Trump Tax Findings posted by 360 MAGAZINE and illustrated by Rita Azar.

SSPBA endorses Donald Trump

Southern States Police Benevolent Association, Inc. (SSPBA) announced today that it is endorsing Donald Trump for President in the 2020 election. SSPBA board members and representatives met with Vice President Mike Pence in Raleigh today to announce the endorsement. SSPBA is composed of over 60,000 law enforcement officer members throughout the Southeast. This is the association’s first presidential endorsement in over twenty years.

“With the stakes as high as they are for the law enforcement profession today, we felt that we must speak up in support of the true law enforcement candidates,” said Chris Skinner, SSPBA president.

“President Trump has been unwavering in his support of law enforcement,” President Skinner continued.  “He has shown time and again that he stands behind the men and women who put on their uniform and badge and go to work each day,” President Skinner said.  “In these times when many are attacking the law enforcement profession, it is imperative that law enforcement officers know that they are not on their own as they face the dangers of their job.  We believe that President Trump and Vice President Pence have demonstrated that they understand and appreciate the honor and sacrifice of serving as a law enforcement officer.”

“The number one priority of government is to provide for safety and protection of the citizens. We are convinced that President Trump recognizes the fact that law enforcement and law enforcement officers are vital to the strength and stability of our communities,” President Skinner added. “We support President Trump and Vice President Pence because we know that they are the candidates who will continue to support us.”

Southern States Police Benevolent Association, Inc. is a non-profit professional organization dedicated to improving the law enforcement profession. PBA members are active or retired employees of federal, state, county and municipal law enforcement and correctional agencies. This professional association provides legal, legislative, disciplinary and other representation to member officers as well as a salary replacement death benefit to members’ beneficiaries. The PBA prohibits members from engaging in or condoning any strike by law enforcement officers, electing instead to represent members through aggressive political action. For more information, please visit our website at www.sspba.org.

Jacob Blake Shot by Wisconsin Police

In the most recent incident to incite protests against injustices across the nation this summer, a Black man has been shot in Wisconsin. Jacob Blake, witnesses said, was attempting to break up an argument between two women. Following this, he walked back towards his silver SUV this past Sunday, August 23rd while being trailed by a police officer involved in the confrontation. As three of his children watched from their vehicle, the police officer proceeded to fire seven times at Blake’s back and close range. One can only imagine the trauma for his sons. As of today, Blake remains hospitalized in serious condition, but is expected to survive.

The incident, caught on video, has gone similarly viral to other violent misconducts by the police over the course of spring and summer 2020. The officers involved in Blake’s shooting have been placed on administrative leave and have shocked the small city of Kenosha, Wisconsin. Protests across the city have motivated Governor Evers to call in the National Guard, though he attempted to assure constituents it was not in an effort to mimic clashes between protesters and servicemen in places like Seattle, Minneapolis, or New York. Minor confrontations have occurred over the past two days despite this.

Following George Floyd’s murder this past May, protests against the police and in favor of the movement Black Lives Matter have exploded across the country. Blake’s shooting has added fuel to the fire, inspiring renewed protests and calls to action all across the nation. The incident in Kenosha has furthered the call for cities to cut funding to police departments, restructure their legal practices, amongst other changes.

Governor of Wisconsin Tony Evers tweeted in support of Jacob Blake and in condemnation of the actions of police officers involved: “I have said all along that although we must offer our empathy, equally important is our action. In the coming days, we will demand just that of elected officials in our state who have failed to recognize the racism in our state and country for far too long. And we stand against excessive use of force and immediate escalation when engaging with Black Wisconsinites.” The Governor also signed an executive order into Wisconsin’s state legislature for a special session to pass legislation and police reforms for August 31st. The reforms are expected to be fought by the state’s Republican leadership.

Calls from the countries Democratic leadership have come again for immediate reform, including the voice of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden as he “wakes up yet again with grief and outrage that yet another Black American is a victim of excessive force.” President Trump has not commented directly on the shooting, but Vice President Pence made a statement yesterday emphasizing the administration’s loyalty to their men and women in blue.

The situation involving the shooting of Jacob Blake and ensuing actions in Kenosha, Wisconsin continues to develop.

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.