Tag Archives: United States

Racism In the USA: an incomplete timeline of recent events

Off with his head! This statue of Christopher Columbus in Boston was beheaded by anti-racism protesters.

The words “America” and “racism” seem to be inextricably linked – to the shame of everybody in authority there.

This Writer has been trying to keep up with events since the killing of George Floyd and it is practically impossible, especially if one wants to comment on those events too.

Here’s a truncated timeline of events. Feel free to send links in to the comment column so I can add to this and improve it:

Also on June 12:

Christopher Columbus Statues Beheaded, Pulled Down Across America

“As monuments to controversial figures face a reckoning around the world, protesters in Massachusetts, Minnesota and Virginia have targeted statues of Christopher Columbus, damaging or pulling down three in a matter of days.

“In St. Paul, demonstrators toppled a ten-foot-tall statue that stood in front of the Minnesota state capitol. In Richmond, protesters pulled down an eight-foot-tall statue in Byrd Park, carrying it about 200 yards before setting it on fire and throwing it into the nearby Fountain Lake. And, around 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, police in Boston received a report that a marble statue of the Italian explorer and colonizer had lost its head.”

June 14:

June 16:

Buffalo protester Martin Gugino has a fractured skull and cannot walk

“Martin Gugino, the 75-year-old protester who was pushed by two Buffalo, New York, police officers earlier this month, has a fractured skull and is not able to walk, his lawyer said in a statement provided to CNN on Monday.

“”I am not at liberty to elaborate at this time other than to confirm that his skull was fractured,” Gugino’s attorney Kelly Zarcone said. “While he is not able to walk yet, we were able to have a short conversation before he became too tired. He is appreciative of all of the concern about him but he is still focused on the issues rather than himself.””

June 17:

Black people ‘dependent’ since slavery, Mississippi official says after rejecting removal of Confederate monument

“A white Mississippi official claimed that African Americans have been “dependent” since slavery, following a meeting where a proposal to take down a Confederate statue was rejected.

“Harry Sanders, who is a Lowndes County supervisor, made the offensive comments during a Board of Supervisors meeting on Monday.

“The board were discussing the possible removal of a Confederate statue on the lawn of the county courthouse in Columbus, that has stood there since 1912.”

Rayshard Brooks death: Police officer Garrett Rolfe charged with murder

“The former Atlanta police officer who killed Rayshard Brooks has been charged with 11 offences including felony murder following the death of the 27-year-old black man in a Wendy’s restaurant car park.

“Garrett Rolfe, who fired two shots into Mr Brooks’s back on 12 June, could face life in prison or the death penalty if convicted

“Mr Rolfe was fired and police chief Erika Shields resigned just hours after the shooting. The other officer, Devin Brosnan, was placed on administrative duty. He also faces a charge of aggravated assault. Arrest warrants have been issued for both men.”

Why protesting racism during a pandemic is important – an epidemiologist explains

“Widespread protests have broken out across the United States in response to the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and many other black Americans at the hands of police. Demonstrations have also erupted in the UK, Australia, France and several other countries in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and in protest at these countries’ own domestic cases of institutional racism.

“The fact that these protests are happening in the middle of a pandemic raises certain issues regarding the spread of the virus, but also they highlight deep inequalities that exist due to structural racism and its effects on people’s health.

“It is no coincidence that the people who are most at risk of dying due to institutional racism are also those who are most at risk of COVID-19.

“Protests, by their nature, lead to the clustering of large groups of people. Police are dealing with this by crowding people together to control their movements, a tactic known as “kettling”, and spraying tear gas. When protesters are detained, they are often placed in crowded vans and cells.

“These conditions are ideal for the transmission of COVID-19. Tear gas irritates mucous membranes, causing people to cough and remove face masks. The proximity of other protesters increases the risk of infection. Additionally, people who are asymptomatic play a large role in infection and increase the possibility of transmission in settings where physical distancing is nearly impossible to observe, such as in jail cells.

“The interconnected nature of racism, structural inequalities and health cannot be ignored. Black people are dying at three times the rate of white people in the US due to COVID-19.

“Similar to COVID-19, police killings and structural racism are major threats to public health, and the protests bring these issues to the forefront of public discussion. From an epidemiological perspective, there are certainly risks of increased COVID-19 spread as a direct result of the protests – but the racial disparities in health (which have the same roots as police brutality) and implementation of measures which address these are just as important.

“Many protesters are from communities of colour, which have been hardest hit by the effects of the pandemic. They are not acting out of ignorance, but out of necessity.”

But racism goes both ways. Why did this guy push a woman so that she cracked her skull on a fire hydrant?

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Vox Political scrapbook: June 8

The news was dominated by the toppling of the Edward Colston statue in Bristol, but there were two snippets from the States.

One showed how the American public had reacted to their president’s decision to wall himself inside a big fence (he likes putting up barriers, doesn’t he?):

The other shows how the American authorities respond to police officers who attack members of the public.

I hope people in the United States have aken note, and realised that the system they have created has been perverted against them.

No longer government of the people, by the people and for the people, it is government by the elite, against the people, and terrorising the people.

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Chlorinated chicken is back on the Tory menu – they have lied AGAIN

Remember when Theresa Villiers made this promise, back in January?

Boris Johnson has just turned her into a liar:

According to the Telegraph:

Britain is prepared to permit imports of chlorinated chicken from the US but will slap high tariffs on cheaply-produced food in order to minimise the impact on British farmers.

The latest Government proposal for a trade deal with the US is for a “dual tariff” regime that imposes different levels of duty on imported foods, depending on whether they comply with UK animal welfare standards.

Hormone-fed beef, chlorinated chicken and other foods that use techniques banned in Britain will be allowed across the Atlantic, but ministers want to use tariffs to make it uneconomical for US producers to export them to the UK.

It’s a classic Tory tactic.

Faced with public opposition to a plan, they say they absolutely will not allow it – not now, not ever, our laws forbid it.

Then they wait a while, before saying: “Oh, we’re going to allow it but with severe restrictions.”

Then when the change comes into effect, they quietly ensure that no restrictions are imposed.

Bear in mind that 14.7 per cent of US citizens suffer from a food-borne illness each year, compared with just 1.5 per cent of UK citizens. Watch the UK percentage skyrocket after this change is imposed.

Today’s announcement means you will be asked to eat chicken and beef that does not meet UK food standards – effectively poisoning yourself so fat Tory businesspeople can have a cosy trade deal with the United States that the majority of people in the UK don’t want. And they won’t be chomping on chlorinated crap!

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Will the UK send more riot gear to a despotic Trump? Of course. It makes a profit

Sacrilege: Donald Trump had people tear-gassed so he could have this picture taken, outside a church, with a Bible. It seems he hasn’t read the New Testament… and if he stepped inside the church, would he disappear in a puff of brimstone?

Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas K. Lane

UK prime minister Boris Johnson is being urged to ban the sale of riot control equipment to the United States in response to shocking images of police attacking peaceful protesters against the killing of George Floyd.

Trump seems to be entirely out of control. He had peaceful protesters tear-gassed so he could take part in a photo shoot in front of a church, clutching a Bible, in what many people (including myself) may describe as a blasphemy.

This is symptomatic of the attitude he has displayed since public opinion boiled over in the wake of George Floyd’s killing. Many – including media pundits – believe he has turned the corner into dictatorship:

His attitude to the classes seems to support this:

For clarity, let’s have a look at some video clips of what has been going on:

https://twitter.com/LowkeySinistra/status/1267109420955086848

We need these clips by members of the public, too. If we didn’t have them, Ice T would be right:

Look at how news reporters have been targeted:

There have been exceptions, though – and it is important to note them. Not all in the police or the military agree with Trump that peaceful demonstrations should be put down with an iron fist:

It seems US police have been learning “brutality and repression” in specially-funded trips abroad. I make no comment about the country providing the training.

The good news is that, after Derek Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for the killing of Mr Floyd, the three other officers involved are also to face criminal charges. It has been said that Tou Thao watched while J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas K. Lane helped hold the victim down:

And a civil rights investigation has been launched into the activities of Minneapolis police.

Back with the president, it seems the affair has killed Trump’s approval rating among US citizens. Now 54 per cent of them disapprove of him – the highest disapproval rating for any US president.

Trump should be happy – he’s always trying to say he’s top at something, and now he is.

All of this takes us back to the UK’s response to all this. Boris Johnson has been urged to stop exporting arms and riot equipment to the United States, so it cannot be used to harm peaceful protesters in the way we’ve seen in the videos (above):

According to the Independent article, neither Johnson nor any government spokesperson has yet commented on the issue.

This Writer’s opinion? There won’t be any cessation of arms trading with the US – it makes Tory-donor UK firms a fortune every day.

And Trump supporters can’t help shooting themselves in the foot (if only metaphorically). After Piers Morgan tweeted critically about the depths to which Trump has dragged his country, a US Twitter user made it clear that they did not want people from the UK to be involved in that country’s business. The response from a Brit was well-deserved and entirely appropriate:

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George Floyd death: asphyxia finding creates potentially catastrophic collapse of trust

Trump: while all this is going on, he’s been sitting in a White House bunker, writing incendiary tweets that could burn down his country.

People in the United States cannot trust their police or the services who work for them, after a private post-mortem found that he was asphyxiated by Minneapolis police officers.

The county medical examiner had previously claimed that the death of George Floyd was caused by the combined effects of being restrained, underlying health conditions, including coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease, and potential intoxicants in his system.

Now we hear that this was not true.

It means the people of the United States cannot trust the officers they appoint to keep the law – either to enforce it properly or to tell the truth about it when others have failed in that duty.

In such circumstances, they cannot afford to trust in those who provide the services they fund. People of colour must feel particularly at risk.

This has happened in the term of exactly the wrong president.

Whereas Barack Obama (for example) might have agreed that there are serious problems with the authorities in Minneapolis, authorised an investigation and promised to get to the bottom of it, Americans have to face whatever decision Donald Trump makes instead.

He is likely to try to brazen it out – pretend that the county medical examiner’s finding was right and threaten action against anyone who says otherwise. In other words, he is likely to make a terrible situation disastrous.

If he’s not careful – and we know he isn’t – Trump could turn every US citizen against their neighbours. People across that country have already participated in violent confrontations over this.

There’s nothing to stop Trump from escalating that violence catastrophically. For example:

How is that helping?

And then there’s the fact that this is happening in the middle of the worst disease pandemic in a century.

If Trump is stupid enough to turn the American people against each other, then they’ll probably spread the virus like wildfire.

And – thanks to Trump’s daft-headed policies – the death count in the States is already higher than anywhere else in the world.

Source: George Floyd died of asphyxia, private post-mortem finds – BBC News

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Gove is hiding the harm we’ll all suffer because of Brexit

Could you trust this face? Don’t. Michael Gove is hiding the facts from you.

Here’s a typical double-standard from Michael “Don’t Trust Experts” Gove:

He’s broadcasting the predicted boost to the economy of a future trade deal with the United States – just 0.16 per cent.

But he’s refusing to admit that the loss of the current trade deal with EU countries – gone because of Brexit – means a loss of 5.2 per cent of GDP over 15 years, and that’s if a “typical” free trade agreement is struck.

It’s all part of the Tory Brexiteer bid to make fools of the general public.

They think we’re so stupid that if they don’t tell us about the harm their policies are causing, we won’t notice.

Are they right?

The economic cost of Brexit was laid bare on Wednesday by Britain’s official budget watchdog, which warned that leaving the EU would hit growth, exports and the public finances at a time of rising uncertainty.

Against a backdrop of coronavirus and slowing global growth, the Office for Budget Responsibility modelled for a 5.2 per cent loss of potential GDP over 15 years if a “typical” free trade agreement was struck.

The watchdog said that Britain had already lost 2 per cent of potential output since the 2016 Leave vote with a further 3.2 per cent to come, blaming rising trade friction, restrictions on migration and red tape.

The warning came as Michael Gove, cabinet office minister, revealed that the government would not publish its own economic impact assessment of the Canada-style trade deal that Britain hopes to strike with the EU.

Mr Gove told MPs he was “sceptical” about economic impact assessments, even though the government has just published a detailed 60-page document setting out the possible economic advantages of a trade deal with the US.

“We are taking a different approach with the EU,” Mr Gove told a House of Commons committee examining the Johnson government’s handling of post-Brexit trade negotiations.

The report also warned that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s new migration regime, which aims to halt the inflow of low-skilled EU labour, would force up Britain’s borrowing costs by £1bn a year in 2024.

Source: Economic cost of Brexit laid bare in OBR forecasts | Financial Times

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Now we know Boris Johnson is selling the NHS to America, who gets your vote?

This is conclusive: the 2019 general election is now a fight for the survival of the National Health Service.

In a press conference, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn brandished 451 pages of government papers detailing trade talks between the Conservative government and the Trump administration in the USA.

They make it clear that Mr Johnson will sell the NHS to US-based private companies if he wins the election on December 12:

According to the papers, “total market access” for US companies to all UK service sectors is the baseline from which the trade talks will start.

It is also worth noting that the US demand no mention of climate change in any deal – so if Mr Johnson is elected, the UK’s commitment to carbon neutrality, by any date, will be canclled. Apparently BoJob wants to see us burn.

Mr Trump and his people want a “no deal” Brexit – so any claim by Mr Johnson that he is going to agree a deal with the EU seems to be a lie.

And the talks cover a range of other sectors including financial services, the British film industry, UK nursing qualifications, workers’ rights, data privacy, pesticide control, sugar content labelling and even gender discrimination rules. These represent a major power-grab.

International trade secretary Liz Truss has responded by saying that Mr Corbyn is “out-and-out lying to the public about what these documents contain”. But that’s a hard stance to maintain when he handed out copies to members of the press.

According to the BBC, Mr Johnson also said the claims were “total nonsense”.

But Mr Corbyn has an impeccable record of honesty while Mr Johnson has been exposed as a liar, time and time again. Here are a few examples:

If Jeremy Corbyn says Boris Johnson is in the process of selling off the NHS, then I believe him – and I think you should too.

This election has become a choice between accepting a hugely-expensive US-style insurance-based health system that will keep you sick and bankrupt you while doing so – under Boris Johnson, or a restored NHS, fully public, and free at the point of use – under Jeremy Corbyn.

If you value your health, you must tell our politicians that our NHS is not for sale.

Those of you who think voting for another party – especially the Liberal Democrats – will help achieve this should think again. The Lib Dems helped inflict privatisation on the health service during the Coalition government and cannot be trusted not to get right back in bed with the Tories if they have a chance.

So who are you going to elect? A Labour Party that is telling you the facts? Or the lying Tories who’ll sell your health for pennies?

Source: Corbyn reveals secret documents that ‘confirm Tory plot to sell off NHS in US trade talks with Trump’ | The Independent

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Boris Johnson’s big NHS meltdown

After their campaign on law and order dissolved into chaos, the Tories tried to take the moral high ground on health. It didn’t work.

Most particularly, it didn’t work for Boris Johnson, who was challenged on the subject by prime minister-in-waiting Jeremy Corbyn at Prime Minister’s Questions.

Mr Corbyn was keen for Mr Johnson to explain why his government had held secret trade talks with US firms that would nearly triple the price of medicines bought by the NHS, creating serious pressure on the service at a time when it is already under enormous strain.

I discuss the issue here, or you can watch this video to have it in a nutshell:

Note also that “drug pricing” is now to be known as “valuing innovation”. And, as a TV comedian once said, from now on radiation will be known as “magic moonbeams”.

Here’s Mr Corbyn, opening his questioning in PMQs – and Mr Johnson’s answer:

Of course, Mr Corbyn was well aware of the situation regarding the cystic fibrosis drug Orkambi; it was his intervention that succeeded in getting it provided on the NHS, we’re told.

Mr Johnson’s claims about building 40 new hospitals fare less well in the fact-check. As Mr Corbyn put it: “As for the fabled 40 hospitals, that figure dropped to 20 and then finally dropped to six.” They’ll be down to none in the event of a Conservative election victory.

Mr Corbyn continued: “We learned this week that Government officials have met US pharmaceutical companies five times as part of the Prime Minister’s planned trade deal. The US has called for “full market access” to our NHS, which would mean prices of some of our most important medicines increasing by up to sevenfold. While the Government are having secret meetings with US corporations, it is patients here who continue to suffer.”

And he said: “Of course we need to import medicines from various places; I just want it to be done in an open and transparent way. I do not want secret talks between Government officials, on behalf of Ministers, and big pharma corporations in the USA.”

He slammed Tory privatisation of NHS services, which has skyrocketed with more than £10 billion being frittered away to private companies and their shareholders, rather than supporting the health of UK citizens.

He said: “What we do not want is private companies like Virgin Care suing our NHS for contracts that they did not get. Our NHS should be focused on making people better, not making the wealthy few richer.

“National health service A&E departments have just had their worst September on record. This morning, the Royal College of Emergency Medicine said that this winter the NHS needs more than 4,000 extra beds.” But under Boris Johnson’s government, he said, the number of people in England waiting for an operation has now reached a record high of 4.4 million.

He continued as follows:

And he concluded: “Despite the Prime Minister’s denials, the NHS is up for grabs by US corporations in a Trump trade deal. Is it not the truth—the Government may not like this—that this Government are preparing to sell out our NHS? Our health service is in more danger than at any other time in its glorious history because of the Prime Minister’s Government, his attitudes and the trade deals that he wants to strike.”

It is indeed the truth.

Mr Johnson spluttered on for a while but the best he could do in his defence was quote a discredited CBI claim that Labour would spend nearly £200 billion on a privatisation programme; the CBI itself has admitted that the claim was based on questionable assumptions and withdrawn it.

He lied that Labour would tax corporations, people, pensions and businesses – in fact Labour will only increase taxes on the people earning the most, who are therefore most able to accommodate such a charge.

And he said Labour would condemn the UK to two more referendums – on Brexit and Scottish independence. He neglected to say that he would consign us all to even more Brexit uncertainty as he would try – yet again – to push through a departure on the worst possible terms for the majority of the nation.

Finally, he appears to have become tongue-tied in his predictions of the future, mixing the roles of his party and Mr Corbyn’s.

I’ll fix that for him now:

“That is the future for this country: drift and dither under the Conservative party, or taking Britain forward to a brighter future under Labour. That is the choice this country faces.”

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Shock revelation: Liar Boris Johnson has been secretly selling out the NHS

Boris Johnson has been selling out the National Health Service in negotiations on a trade deal that would allow US companies to set drug prices, it has been claimed.

The revelation about these secret talks could not come at a worse time for the Tory government, as it prepares to dissolve Parliament and launch a general election campaign.

This is electoral poison for the Conservatives as Boris Johnson, health secretary Matt Hancock and international trade secretary Liz Truss have all insisted that the NHS is “off the table” in talks with the US if the UK leaves the European Union.

The threat is that NHS finances would be put at risk by a trade deal with the US that would force the health service to buy more expensive drugs.

And there is evidence that it is an overarching Tory policy to lay the NHS open to exploitation by US pharmaceutical monopolies, as the talks began under Theresa May (who also lied about them) but have continued under Mr Johnson.

Who will vote for a government that is bad for our health – and deliberately lies about the harm it is doing?

Here’s the information from Channel 4’s Dispatches:

The Independent has reported that more than one-third of people surveyed in a recent poll said they were “very concerned” about the future impact of a deal with Washington on the NHS.

Meanwhile, Tories like Michael Gove have apparently been lying through their teeth (metaphorically, on Twitter)…

… and the public isn’t having any of it:

The message for the general election is clear:

Your NHS is not safe with Boris Johnson – or any of his Conservative liars.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Standards on environment, safety and human rights to be slashed for a grubby trade deal with Trump

Boris Johnson and Donald Trump: Enemies of the UK?

The Tory minister who once complained that the UK imports too much cheese is set to abolish the UK’s environmental safeguards – to get a food import deal with Donald Trump.

Theresa May promised that the UK would keep within EU rules on the environment, safety standards and human rights after Brexit.

But Boris Johnson will get rid of all these rules – that protect you – so he can sign a grubby deal with Donald Trump, to import genetically modified, inferior US food products at a high cost to the UK.

He describes this a way of gaining “flexibility”.

It seems responsibility for scrapping our protections will fall to cheese-loving international trade secretary Liz Truss.

This will require a huge admission of hypocrisy on her part – the woman who said importing two-thirds of our cheese was a “disgrace” –

– now seems perfectly happy to lower standards across the country in order to import all kinds of junk.

EU officials say that British negotiators are particularly keen to jettison EU restrictions on genetically modified foods – a key demand of American trade negotiators.

One EU official with knowledge of the Brexit talks suggested US trade officials appeared to have been in contact with British negotiators and told them standards would need to be slashed if there was any chance of a US trade deal.

Liz Truss, the international trade secretary, said scrapping the protections was “vital for giving us the freedom and flexibility to strike new trade deals and become more competitive”.

And of course rejecting EU standards means there can be no free trade deal with the bloc after the UK leaves it.

The intention seems to be to put the entire country at Donald Trump’s mercy – and he doesn’t seem to have much of that.

It seems clear that this plan is in the interests of nobody in the UK – apart from, possibly, Boris Johnson.

He certainly seems not to be interested in his duty to act in the interests of the people of this nation.

Of course, none of this can happen while the UK remains in the EU – and without an exit deal that MPs and MEPs can support, the UK will do just that.

Source: Brexit: Boris Johnson moves to scrap environment safeguards to get deal with Trump | The Independent

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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