Headlines: December 6, 2019
Listen to story:
Download: mp3 (Duration: 8:22 — 7.7MB)
A shooting at Pensacola Naval Air Base in Florida has claimed the lives of 3 people and injured at least 11 early on Friday morning. As of this recording the suspected gunman has not yet been identified but reports confirm that he was a Saudi Arabian national. He was fatally shot by a Sheriff’s deputy. Pensacola airbase has thousands of military personnel both American and foreign troops who receive training. The Naval base shooting was the second in just days. On Wednesday a shooter identified as 22-year old Gabriel Romero shot at 3 civilians at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard in Hawaii. Two were killed and the shooter then shot himself. No motive is known. The attack came just days before the 78th anniversary commemoration of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
In other news, House Democrats are moving quickly to write articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump with a possible vote before Christmas. The House Judiciary Committee will hold another public hearing on Monday morning featuring witnesses who have been investigating how Trump used his office for political gain in the Ukraine scandal. Meanwhile in the case over Rudy Giuliani’s associate Lev Parnas facing campaign finance violations, there may be a possible plea deal looming. If Mr. Parnas takes a plea he may be willing to implicate Giuliani, who is Trump’s personal attorney and at the center of the Ukraine scandal. Giuliani is also implicated in communication records with the Office of Budget and Management showing that he may have been in contact with OMB officials around the withholding of US military aid to Ukraine.
The latest jobs report for November is out and points to an increase in job growth. The US economy added 266,000 jobs last month with analysts pointing to the end of the General Motors strike as one reason for the jump in numbers. Wage growth remained stagnant according to some economists but others pointed to a slight increase in wages. President Trump celebrated the report on Twitter.
Democratic Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is facing scrutiny for several years of work he did with the top consulting firm McKinsey. Because the company is secretive about the services it offers Buttigieg says he cannot reveal what he did at McKinsey during his time working there. The New York Times explained that, “The firm has long advocated business strategies like raising executive compensation, moving labor offshore and laying off workers to cut costs.” Additionally the company has been notorious for, “its work advising Purdue Pharma on how to “turbocharge” opioid sales, its consulting for authoritarian governments in places like China and Saudi Arabia, and its role in a wide-ranging corruption scandal in South Africa.” Most recently ProPublica in collaboration with the Times revealed how Buttigieg’s former employer recommended immigrant detention policies to ICE that were so harsh that even ICE employees were daunted. McKinsey employees have donated more than $50,000 to Buttigieg’s presidential campaign and a coalition of immigrant rights groups are demanding he return the money.
CNN is reporting that State Secretary Mike Pompeo slipped away during the recent NATO summit in London in order to meet with a rightwing organization called Hamilton Society that consists of British and American conservatives. The action fueled speculation that he is mulling a run for a Senate seat in Kansas in order to preserve the Republican majority in the Senate. But Pompeo was in London for a trip funded by US taxpayers while he met with the private donors at the hotel he was staying at.
The state of Wisconsin is grappling with the presence of armed guards in public schools after so-called “resource officers” shot two students in two separate schools one day apart. Neither of the students were killed. Armed “resource” officers are deployed to more than 40% of American schools ostensibly to prevent school shootings but they have rarely successfully done so. Meanwhile gun control groups announced this week that they are creating a 2018 “year book” of victims of school shootings to send to President Donald Trump and US Senators. The Democrat-controlled House has passed gun safety legislation but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has blocked the Senate versions of the bills.
The US Supreme Court is currently considering a case over the right of homeless people to sleep on streets. It is the first time that such a case has been taken up by the court. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals last year ruled against criminalizing homelessness in cities where there are not enough shelter beds for people without homes. Meanwhile, California, which has struggled with high housing costs, says it is frustrated by the federal government’s withholding of Housing vouchers that could ease homelessness. The Trump administration has decided to use homelessness in California as political leverage against the liberal-leaning state. The White House has just picked a controversial nominee to head the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. Former homelessness consultant Robert Marbut is known for opposing the public feeding of homeless people and advocates building big shelters that some say are akin to jails.
As a UN climate conference continues in Madrid, Spain, the renowned youth climate activist Greta Thunberg arrived to join climate justice protesters including members of indigenous communities from Latin America. The action is part of on-going weekly climate-strikes every Friday around the world. Thunberg told reporters, ““We have been striking now for over a year, and still basically nothing has happened…The climate crisis is still being ignored by those in power.” The streets of Madrid on Friday night were packed with tens of thousands of activists including children demanding climate action. Here in the US, activists in Washington DC shut down the nation’s capital blocking roads and frustrating drivers. The group Extinction Rebellion led the actions. Among those facing arrest every Friday in Washington DC is actor and activist Jane Fonda. In an op-ed in the New York Times Fonda wrote, “We must start to live our lives as if this is an emergency, because it is. Each of us one day will have to answer this question: What did I do to protect the planet for our children, grandchildren and so many precious species while we still had time?”
The US State Department this week estimated that Iran’s government has killed at least 1,000 protesters for their dissent against rising fuel prices. Brian Hook, the special representative for Iran announced the number as justification for further US sanctions on Iran’s government even though existing US sanctions are partly to blame for the rise in fuel prices. The announcement came at the same time that the Trump administration announced a potential increase of 14,000 US troops to the Middle East saying it was to counter threats from Iran.
In India thousands of people celebrated the extrajudicial police killings of four suspected rapists in a case that had angered the nation. The case involved the gruesome rape and murder of a young woman veterinarian. Police say they traced the suspects using CCTV camera footage but after less than a week in custody all four were shot dead. While the officers were hailed as heroes – including by right wing Hindu fundamentalist members of Parliament – civil rights activists denounced what they called “vigilante justice.” In a separate issue thousands of people marched on Friday in the Indian state of Assam to protest Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s move offering Indian citizenship to non-Muslim residents of India’s Muslim-majority neighbors.