Headlines: October 9, 2018
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The White House held a ceremonial swearing in for Judge Brett Kavanaugh on Monday night, two days after the official ceremony was quickly performed in the wake of the razor thin Senate vote to confirm him. During Monday night’s event, President Donald Trump apologized to Kavanaugh on Monday night at a ceremonial swearing in of Brett Kvanaugh to the US Supreme Court.
Earlier, Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono spoke to ABC News about the impact that Kavanaugh will have on the court.
Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine was in the spotlight until the very last minute over the vote to confirm Kavanaugh. Although she is a Republican, progressives are angered by her decision to vote for Kavanaugh despite her position as a pro-choice politician. Now, voters are rethinking their support for her and although Collins is not on the ballot this November, many are gearing up for her re-election bid in 2020. Former Obama aide Susan Rice has announced an intention to run against Collins and activists have generated more than $3.6 million in pledged funds to whoever runs against her. There appears to be less animus against Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia who was the sole member of his party to have voted for Kavanaugh.
Later on our show, Megan Peterson, Executive Director of Gender Justice will join us for an analysis of how Senators said they would vote and what a court with Kavanaugh on it would look like.
Hurricane Michael has intensified to a Category 2 storm as it hurls itself toward Florida with landfall expected this Wednesday as a Category 3. According to meteorologists, “Storm surge, damaging winds and heavy rain are likely impacts along the northeastern Gulf Coast, [h]eavy rain and strong winds will spread farther inland across parts of the Southeast after landfall.” Additionally there are predictions that, “Michael could be the strongest hurricane to landfall along the stretch of Florida’s Panhandle Gulf Coast in 12 years.” Storm surge watches are in effect across the state.
As if underscoring the advent of yet another intense hurricane, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a major report on Monday and warned that we have about a dozen years before the worst impacts of climate change can be staved off. Debra Roberts, a co-chair of the working group on impacts said, “It’s a line in the sand and what it says to our species is that this is the moment and we must act now. This is the largest clarion bell from the science community and I hope it mobilises people and dents the mood of complacency.” The report was the product of the Paris Accord signed in December 2015 and will be formally presented at the next UN climate conference in Poland later this year.
Former Trump campaign staffer Rick Gates is under scrutiny once more. The New York Times obtained documents showing that Gates attempted to obtain intelligence advice from an Israeli company about how to manipulate voter sentiment. He was of course seeking to sway the election in Trump’s favor. The Times, which published its exposé on Monday, wrote, “Gates sought one proposal to use bogus personas to target and sway 5,000 delegates to the 2016 Republican National Convention by attacking Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, Mr. Trump’s main opponent at the time. Another proposal describes opposition research and ‘complementary intelligence activities’ about Mrs. Clinton and people close to her.” And, “Though the Israeli company’s pitches were narrower than Moscow’s interference campaign and appear unconnected, the documents show that a senior Trump aide saw the promise of a disruption effort to swing voters in Mr. Trump’s favor.”
Meanwhile President Trump says he has changed his mind about firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. This is Trump speaking with reporters on Monday before boarding Air Force One on Monday about Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein who oversees the Special Counsel investigation into Election 2016 wrongdoing.
In other news, white Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke was convicted of Second degree murder on Friday in the fatal shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald. Although the Van Dyke conviction was overshadowed by the Kavanaugh confirmation story, in Chicago, activists, politicians, and police officers were all paying close attention to the outcome of the historic trial. According to the Washington Post, “Van Dyke, 40, also was found guilty on 16 charges of aggravated battery with a firearm, one for each shot fired at McDonald. He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for the second-degree murder conviction. Each count of aggravated battery with a firearm carries a sentence of between six and 30 years. The judge can decide to have the sentences served concurrently or in succession.”
On Monday President Trump attended a chief of police convention where he said he has instructed the Justice Department to help bring back the controversial practice of “stop and frisk” to Chicago. He said, “‘Stop and frisk’ works and it was meant for problems like Chicago.” He added, “Rudy Giuliani, when he was mayor of New York City, had a very strong program of stop and frisk, and it went from an unacceptably dangerous city to one of the safest cities in the country and I think the safest big city in the country, so it works.” Mr. Giuliani is now Trump’s own lawyer. The “stop and frisk” police practice was widely denounced for its racist applications, targeting primarily black and brown people purely on the racially motivated suspicions of police officers.
The police officer that fatally shot and killed 12-year old Tamir Rice in 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio has a new job – as a police officer in Bellaire, Ohio. Samaria Rice, Tamir’s mother, says she plans to travel to Bellaire to protest the hiring of Timothy Loehmann, who was shockingly not even charged in her son’s killing. Ms. Rice is leading a social-media based protest urging people to call the police chief in Bellaire and urge him to rescind Loehmann’s hiring.
Hotel workers with Marriott are striking in cities around the country. About 7,700 workers have walked off their jobs in 8 cities over contract negotiations that have stalled. According to USA Today, “Oahu and Maui in Hawaii have 2,700 Marriott workers on strike, San Francisco has 2,500 and Boston has 1,800. The other affected cities are: San Diego, Oakland, San Jose and Detroit. Almost two dozen hotels have been affected.” Unite HERE represents the workers and its president D. Taylor said, “Marriott is the richest and most profitable hotel company in the world, and by taking them on in this historic hotel worker strike, Unite Here union members are going to change the lives of all workers in our industry.”
In international news, Brazilians voted for their President over the weekend and the far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro won a whopping 46% of the votes with his closest rival, Fernando Haddad of the Workers Party bringing in only 29%. Bolsonaro and Haddad will face each again in a run-off election later this year and the right-winger expects to win. Facing pressure to tone down his extremist rhetoric, Bolsonaro said after Sunday’s election, “I can’t turn into a Little ‘Peace and Love’ Jair, which would be betraying who I am. I have to keep being the same person.” Anticipating winning the run-off, Bolsonaro has already begun talks with lawmakers.