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Washington Report: June 12, 2020 … “We Are In A Recession, By The Way”

12 Jun 2020

Washington Report: June 12, 2020 … “We Are In A Recession, By The Way”

Remembering George Floyd … Justice In Policing Act  … Seismic Shift On Police Bias … Video Of Crackdown Before Trump’s Photo Op … Neither Pandemic Nor Protests Abating … Demilitarize or Defund? … We Are In A Recession, By The Way … and other news of the week.
Best,
JR
Joyce Rubenstein
Capstone National Partners
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“God Took The Rejected Stone And Made Him The Cornerstone …”

Politico “For more than four hours, the world watched together as relatives, preachers and musicians paid tribute to George Floyd at a memorial service in Houston. theSkimm “Big Floyd” grew up in Houston, Texas, was a high school football star, and was reportedly the first among his siblings to go to college. He eventually moved to Minneapolis for a fresh start. Family and friends remembered him as a “gentle giant.”
As the service began, the New York Stock Exchange went silent for eight minutes, 46 seconds — the length of time a police officer held his knee on Floyd’s neck. It was the longest moment of silence on the stock exchange floor in its 228-year history.
“God took the rejected stone and made him the cornerstone of a movement that’s going to change the whole wide world.”
-The Rev. Al Sharpton, referring to Psalm 118 in his eulogy
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Real Life Changes Won By Protests

Axios “Marchers have delivered a clear message in the 19 days since George Floyd was killed — change how America’s police treat black people, and do it now. The big picture: If you look beyond the symbolic gestures and focus on the concrete actions, there’s a good deal of there there, even if it’s still insufficient.
Here is just a partial list of the actions underway because of the protests:
  • Tactical rule changes: Dallas and Minneapolis mandated officers intervene when a colleague is using excessive force. Seattle banned the covering of badge numbers. Minneapolis banned chokeholds. Houston banned most of them. New York made them illegal.
  • Budget cuts: Los Angeles is considering cutting its police budget by up to $150 million. NYC is considering cuts, but hasn’t disclosed specific numbers.
  • Defunding: Minneapolis’ city council passed a resolution today to replace its police department with a community-centric model.
  • School contracts axed: Minneapolis, Denver and Portland have moved to end the presence of police officers in local schools. Police officers have a presence in the 25 biggest school districts nationwide, per Chalkbeat.
  • No-knock warrants ban: Louisville, Kentucky — where Breonna Taylor was killed by officers who raided her home with this type of warrant — has banned the practice.
  • Police transparency changes: New York removed a shield clause that locked down records of officers who’d been investigated for excessive force.Between the lines: It is ridiculously hard to fire police officers in the U.S., let alone getting criminal charges to stick. Chalk that up to unions, or qualified immunity, or weakness from elected officials — but it’s a major roadblock to change. The Minneapolis Police Department said Wednesday that it is withdrawing from negotiations with its police union. The real effect of that is to be determined.”
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Congress Is Quiet Today

… BUT Washington has quite the next six weeks in store: Congress is going to try to cobble together a police reform package. … All parties appear in agreement that another coronavirus relief package needs to get done — including some sort of extension of unemployment insurance. Congress may begin the process of funding the government. … The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) needs to be completed.  … Will Congress ever finish FISA? … There is also a fight brewing over whether and how to remove Confederate statues in the Capitol. … Oh, and Joe Biden said he intends to name is VP candidate by Aug 1st.”
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‘Justice In Policing Act’

Politico “After holding a moment of silence in Emancipation Hall to honor George Floyd, congressional Democrats unveiled their sweeping legislation to reform police departments and stop police brutality. … House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said he plans to call the House back as soon as the bill is ready for a vote, likely before the end of June.

UPDATES
Sen. TIM SCOTT (R-S.C.) – leading the effort in the Senate — said he has some changes he’s making to the GOP police overhaul package, and hopes to file it by Tuesday or Wednesday. SO, TO RECAP: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is for banning chokeholds, and declined to name any issues he had with the House Dem bill. And Paul is for banning no-knock warrants. There is common ground beginning to surface between the two parties .. but things are never that simple.”

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An unforgettable, must watch 12 minute video. For Trump’s 3-minute photo op.
DC Mayor Muriel E. Bowser denounced the action as unprovoked and renamed the street in front of the White House “Black Lives Matter Plaza” and had the slogan painted on the asphalt in massive yellow letters … to honor peaceful demonstrators who are urging changes in law enforcement practices after the killing of George Floyd.
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Seismic Shift On Police Bias

Frank Luntz, a longtime GOP pollster, put it: “I’ve never seen opinion shift this fast or deeply. We are a different country today than just 30 days ago.”
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From a Washington Post-Schar School Poll … highlights how attitudes about police treatment of black Americans are changing dramatically. More than 2 in 3 Americans (69%) say the killing of Floyd represents a broader problem within law enforcement, compared with fewer than 1 in 3 (29%) who say the Minneapolis killing is an isolated incident. That finding marks a significant shift when compared with the reactions in 2014 to police killings of unarmed black men in Ferguson, Mo., and New York. Six years ago, 43% described those deaths as indicative of broader problems in policing while 51% saw them as isolated incidents. … Currently, 86% of Democrats, 69% of independents and 47% of Republicans say the Floyd killing represents a broader problem rather than an isolated incident. … Among both Republicans and independents, the shift is 28 points, while among Democrats it is 21 points. The biggest changes are among whites overall (a 33-point shift) and white women (38 points).” Trump receives negative marks for his handling of the protests: 61% disapprove and 35% approve.”
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10 Days Since Lafayette Square Have Not Been Kind To Trump

  • The joint chiefs chair publicly apologized for his participation. “I should not have been there,” said Gen. Mark Milley.
  • His defense secretary Mark Esper publicly disagreed with him about invoking the Insurrection Act to use active duty military to police U.S. cities. So did his previous defense secretary, James Mattis.
  • His Senate allies broke with his Confederacy defenses: Only two, Sens. Josh Hawley and Tom Cotton, opposed an amendment to the annual defense funding bill that pushes to rename bases that honor Confederate generals. This was after Trump vowed no changes would be allowed.
  • His House allies aren’t riding to his defense: Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said he isn’t opposed to renaming the bases, and House Democrats are working on a bill to remove Confederate statues from the U.S. Capitol.
  • Across the South, statues honoring Confederate generals are coming down in states ranging from Virginia to Alabama and Kentucky to Florida.
  • And NASCAR has publicly banned the display of the Confederate flag at its events, a suggestion that would have been inconceivable not so long ago.
THE KICKER: A majority of Americans support NFL players kneeling.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Trump staked out his side of the culture wars a long time ago, but that side seems to be shrinking fast.

Axios “In a flash, the culture wars seem to be leaving President Trump behind — and his photo op last week seems to have accelerated the process.

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“Demilitarize” Or “Defund” ?

Deep Dive … WaPo “The civil unrest that erupted in the summer of 2014 in Ferguson, Mo., drew attention to the heavy militarization of local police departments. The police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old black man, was never charged with any crime. But one consequence of the conflagration was an executive order by then-President Barack Obama to significantly curtail a Pentagon program that had transferred billions of dollars’ worth of equipment originally intended for overseas combat to local law enforcement agencies.

“We’ve seen how militarized gear sometimes gives people a feeling like they are an occupying force as opposed to a part of the community there to protect them,” Obama said as he announced the changes in May 2015, following the recommendations of a working group he appointed after the fires went out in Ferguson. “Some equipment made for the battlefield is not appropriate for local police departments.”

President Trump signed an executive order in August 2017 to rescind Obama’s restrictions on what is known as the 1033 program, allowing once again for the military to provide bayonets, grenade launchers, .50-caliber ammunition and other equipment to local law enforcement agencies. Police unions widely praised the move, which was championed by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions. This helps explain the ubiquitous images of Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicles, also known as MRAPs, deployed during nationwide protests of police brutality after George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis police custody on Memorial Day. … government data show that more than $7.4 billion of materials has been transferred to local law enforcement departments since the program started, and more than 8,000 agencies have benefited.These tactical vehicles, designed amid the Iraqi insurgency 15 years ago to withstand IED attacks, have been cruising around American cities, often accompanied by officers who are armed in ways that even infantry veterans of the global war on terrorism find themselves taken aback by.

Stopping the steady stream of battlefield equipment into American cities will not solve systemic racism, but many criminal justice reformers see demilitarizing local departments as both an essential first step to restoring public trust and a far more realistic goal than the rallying cry among some protesters to “defund the police.” Many Democratic strategists worry that calls for defunding the police will create political headaches, especially in swing states and the suburbs.
WaPo “Former vice president Joe Biden has signaled that he would restore Obama’s restrictions on the 1033 program if he is elected in November.”
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ABC “64% of Americans oppose ‘defund the police’ movement, key goals,” “Nearly two-thirds of Americans oppose calls for defunding police departments, compared to 34% who back the movement, and 60% specifically oppose reducing the budget for police to reallocate it to other public health and social programs, while 39% support that move.”

Biden Opposes Defunding

Axios “Joe Biden’s campaign said yesterday that he does not support defunding police, but is pushing for police reform and more spending on community, school, health and social programs. Why it matters: It directly takes on the Trump campaign’s plan to put the former vice president on the spot about the idea, which has been at the heart of activist demands and is a potential wedge issue between moderate and progressive Democrats. Biden told CBS’ Norah O’Donnell that he supports “conditioning federal aid to police, based on whether or not they meet certain basic standards of decency and honorableness.”
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We Are In A Recession, By The Way

Axios “The record U.S. expansion ended in February, Bloomberg writes, citing the academic panel that serves as the arbiter of recessions — the National Bureau of Economic Research’s (NBER) Business Cycle Dating Committee:
“The committee has determined that a peak in monthly economic activity occurred in the U.S. economy in February 2020. The peak marks the end of the expansion that began in June 2009 and the beginning of a recession. The expansion lasted 128 months, the longest in the history of U.S. business cycles dating back to 1854. The previous record was held by the business expansion that lasted for 120 months from March 1991 to March 2001.”

Fed Gets More Generous For Main Street

The Federal Reserve on Monday announced a broad expansion of its emergency lending program for midsize businesses, boosting stocks in the final 30 minutes of trading. The Fed is lowering the minimum loan amount, increasing the maximum loan size, upping the amount of risk it will take on for loans to already highly indebted companies, and lengthening the terms of the loans.”

Black-Owned Businesses Collapse By 41%

Bloomberg “The Covid-19 economic shutdown has hurt African American businesses the most among racial and ethnic groups in U.S., with a 41% decline of black owners from February to April, a new study from the NBER shows. “While the pandemic has hit entrepreneurs across the board, closing some 3.3 million small businesses at least temporarily, the sidelining of 440,000 African Americans was especially severe. Black owners may have fared worse because fewer of them operated in industries deemed “essential” during the pandemic, among other factors, according to the NBER paper. Immigrant business owners also fared poorly, with a 36% drop during the period.”
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Little Better At Combating A Pandemic Than Our Great-grandparents

“Fifteen years ago, after the SARS and H5N1 outbreaks, this magazine ran an article called “Preparing for the Next Pandemic.” Two years later came “Unprepared for a Pandemic” … Cut to 2017, after MERS and Ebola and Zika: “Ready for a Global Pandemic? The Trump Administration May Be Woefully Underprepared.”
None of this was prescience. It was conventional wisdom among public health experts. Anybody who didn’t understand the danger just wasn’t paying attention.”

-Foreign Affairs editor Gideon Rose writes in the forthcoming issue

Americans may be moving on, but the virus is not.

WaPo “Tony Fauci, who has been the federal government’s top infectious-disease expert since 1984, told biotech executives on Tuesday that the coronavirus is “my worst nightmare” because it’s brand new, highly transmissible, attacks the respiratory system and kills. “We’ve had outbreaks that have had one or two or three of those … but never all four,” he said during a live stream. “Ebola was scary, but Ebola would never be easily transmitted. … HIV, as important as it is, was drawn out and over an extended period of time.” Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the coronavirus will not just “burn itself out with mere public health measures,” but a vaccine will be required. “In a period of four months, it has devastated the whole world,” he said. “And it isn’t over yet.”
BGov “Anthony Fauci says Americans should skip large gatherings, such as rallies held by President Trump or protests, if they want to avoid the risk of catching or spreading the coronavirus. The “best way that you can avoid – either acquiring or transmitting infection – is to avoid crowded places, to wear a mask whenever you’re outside,” Fauci, tells ABC News
“If you can do both, avoid the congregation of people and do the mask, that’s great.”

What Pandemic?

Politico “Battling the contagion has become a lower priority across the Trump administration. “… The Covid-19 task force has scaled back its once-daily internal meetings — the task force now meets twice per week … The coronavirus task force, which used to send daily updates to state officials, has done so with less regularity over the last several weeks … At the FDA … some staff in the health department’s emergency response arm are pivoting away from Covid-19 and back toward natural disasters as hurricane season begins.”
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Campaign 2020

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GOP Picks Jacksonville, FL

Axios “President Trump’s acceptance speech as the Republican presidential nominee will be held in Jacksonville’s VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena after official convention business in Charlotte. President Trump and the RNC pulled the convention’s grand finale out of North Carolina after NC health officials declined to promise that they would allow the Republican National Committee to fill an arena in Charlotte for the Aug. 24-27 convention.”
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Chaos In Georgia

Politico “Georgia’s primary quickly turned into an ordeal for voters who waited for hours Tuesday when it became clear officials were unprepared for an election on new voting computers during the coronavirus pandemic. Poll workers couldn’t get voting machines to work. Precincts opened late. Social-distancing requirements created long lines. Some voters gave up and went home. The primary was a major test of Georgia’s ability to run a highly anticipated election in a potential battleground state ahead of November’s presidential election, when more than twice as many voters are expected. Elections officials fell short.”
👀 “If this is a preview of November, then we’re in trouble,” said DeKalb County Commissioner Mereda Davis Johnson.
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The Room Where It Happened … The White House

Axios … In a memoir coming June 23 that the White House has tried to delay, former national security adviser John Bolton will offer multiple revelations about President Trump’s conduct in office, with direct quotes by the president and senior officials, a source familiar with the book tells me.

In “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir,” Bolton will go beyond Ukraine, and argue there was “Trump misconduct with other countries,” the source said. Axios granted anonymity to the source in order to give readers a window into the book ahead of publication.

Why it matters: Bolton, U.S. ambassador to the U.N. under President George W. Bush, is a lifelong conservative and longtime Fox News contributor who is well-known by the Trump base, the source pointed out. Behind the scenes: People close to Trump have worried about the book because Bolton was known as the most prolific note taker in high-level meetings. Bolton would sit there, filling yellow legal pad after yellow legal pad. … In short: Bolton saw a lot, and he wrote it down in real time. And when he left, the White House never got those notes back.
@kyledcheney: “Bolton book will say Trump committed ‘Ukraine-like transgressions’ across his entire foreign policy. Yet he and his deputy chose to legally fight efforts to tell Congress about it during impeachment.”

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