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June 8, 2020

The Movement to Defund the Police Gains Momentum

This Day in History | 1913

Hudson Stuck, an Alaskan missionary, leads the first successful ascent of Denali (formerly known as Mt. McKinley) the highest point on the American continent at 20,320 feet.

Good morning Middle Americans, 

It seems crazy, but imagine a major U.S. city without a police department. That’s the future of Minneapolis Minnesota. What does that mean? We have a few stories that’ll give you some insight below. We’re going to hold back on most of our commentary on this for a couple of days. To be honest, we are not sure we fully understand what this means. What we can tell you is that Democrats in Congress are pushing a bill that should make everyone furious. They are using the deaths of George Floyd, Beona Talyor, Ahmaud Arbery and others for the dumbest kind of politics. Nancy Pelosi and Congressional Democrats, many of whom backed the 1994 Clinton Crime bill, which codified some of the most harmful police and criminal justice policies since the Jim Crow era, are now pushing a new anti-police bill. To absolve themselves from their sins.  They are trying to pass a law they know probably won’t go anywhere, but if it did – it would have serious long-term consequences. Like the 1994 crime bill – it could create permanent reminders of short term insanity. When congress says ‘We hAVe tO Do SOmeTHinG!’ We should duck and cover. The momentum seems to be on the side of Democrats now, if you believe the corporate media establishment. And there are some red flags when it comes to swing state polls. Those red flags flying in places like Texas and Georgia. But that’s only when it comes to the head to head match up with Biden and Trump. When we expand out and look at some other races across the country, we also see moderate Democrats gaining traction. No wonder people seem to want calm. And so do more and more Republicans. 

We also have stories below about Tropical Storm Cristobal, and the possibility of Colin Kaepernick possibly backing up Tom Brady. 

Read all about it!

-Fraser Dixon

Most of Minneapolis City Council Pledges to ‘Begin the Process of Ending’ Police Department

(Minneapolis Star Tribune) – In their boldest statement since George Floyd’s killing, nine Minneapolis City Council members told a crowd Sunday that they will “begin the process of ending the Minneapolis Police Department.”

“We recognize that we don’t have all the answers about what a police-free future looks like, but our community does,” they said, reading off a prepared statement. “We’re committed to engaging with every willing community member in the City of Minneapolis over the next year to identify what safety looks like for you.”

Their words — delivered one day after Mayor Jacob Frey told a crowd of protesters he does not support the full abolishment of the MPD — set off what is likely to be a long, complicated debate about the future of the state’s largest police force.

With the world watching, and the city’s leaders up for re-election next year, the stakes are particularly high. While Minneapolis has debated the issue in the past, Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police, has added a sense of urgency, and the calls for police departments to be disbanded have echoed in other cities around the country.

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Democrats Grapple With U.S. Protesters’ Demand to Defund the Police

(New York Times) – U.S. Democrats have largely embraced the activists packing into streets nationwide to decry the killings of black men and women by law enforcement but so far express wariness at protesters’ calls to defund the police.

While they are clearly attuned to the cries of demonstrators from New York to Los Angeles, some top Democratic elected officials are proceeding cautiously with any suggestion they would slash police budgets to fund programs to address other social ills.

Senator Cory Booker said during an interview Sunday on NBC News that he understood the sentiment behind the “defund the police” push but would not use that phrase.

“We are over-policed as a society,” he said, adding that spending on police departments was not solving problems.

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Some Republican Leaders Refusing to Back Trump for 2020

(Washington Post) – Former President George W. Bush won’t support the reelection of Trump, and Jeb Bush isn’t sure how he’ll vote, say people familiar with their thinking. Senator Mitt Romney of Utah won’t back Trump and is deliberating whether to again write in his wife, Ann, or cast another ballot this November. Cindy McCain, the widow of Senator John McCain, is almost certain to support Biden but is unsure how public to be about it because one of her sons is eyeing a run for office.

None of them voted for Trump in 2016, but the reproach of big Republican names carries a different weight when an incumbent president and his shared agenda with Senate leaders are on the line.

Former Republican leaders like the former speakers Paul Ryan and John Boehner won’t say how they will vote, and some Republicans who are already disinclined to support Trump are weighing whether to go beyond backing a third-party contender to openly endorse Biden. Retired military leaders, who have guarded their private political views, are increasingly voicing their unease about the president’s leadership but are unsure whether to embrace his opponent.

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Prosecutors Formally Request to Talk with Prince Andrew in Epstein Investigation

(NBC News) – The rare action is focused on making sure the inquiry is as thorough as possible, officials said. 

Federal prosecutors in New York have formally requested through the British government to speak with Prince Andrew as part of their criminal investigation into Jeffrey Epstein’s history of sexual abuse, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The request, made under a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, or MLAT, is similar to a subpoena in this case for Prince Andrew’s testimony.

It’s a rare move to seek an interview like this through MLAT, officials say, and it’s focused on making sure the investigation is as thorough as possible.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman foreshadowed the move in March when he said he would consider legal action after Prince Andrew’s representatives had closed the door to an interview.

“Contrary to Prince Andrew’s very public offer to cooperate with our investigation into Epstein’s co-conspirators, an offer that was conveyed via press release, Prince Andrew has now completely shut the door on voluntary cooperation,” Berman said, adding that his office is “considering its options.”

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Tropical Storm Cristobal Makes Landfall in Louisiana

(The Hill) – Tropical Storm Cristobal made landfall Sunday afternoon in Louisiana, where high winds, rainfall and flooding were reported in the storm’s wake.

The National Weather Service said in a statement Sunday afternoon that Cristobal would be responsible for heavy storm damage up through the Mississippi Valley as it crosses the southern U.S. early this week.

“Tropical Storm Cristobal makes landfall in Louisiana this afternoon, then tracks up the Mississippi Valley through Tuesday with impacts from heavy rain, strong wind gusts, coastal and inland flooding, and isolated tornadoes,” said the agency.

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Could Colin Kaepernick Back Up Tom Brady in Tampa Bay?

(Sports Illustrated) – In the wake of protests against police brutality rising up all over the country, and even across the world, the NFL joined the chorus of organizations issuing public statements about racism and social justice.

But the league’s initial statement left much to be desired by the players, and they responded with a strong statement of their own, a video response put together by the league’s own production team without the NFL’s knowledge of their involvement.

That led to a new and improved statement from the league, a video from commissioner Roger Goodell, posted Friday evening. Among other things, Goodell addresses the league’s failures in the way they responded to the players’ peaceful protests against police brutality and racism in recent years, a movement spearheaded by Colin Kaepernick.

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