War vs. Peace on US Streets | Your Repressive Fashion
1. As Trump Vows War, Protesters Mull Peace
“This is what Trump wants,” exclaimed Portland, Oregon, protester Dan Thomas as demonstrators swarmed a federal building. By sending paramilitary federal agents there and to other cities, Thomas warned, President Donald Trump “wants to label Black Lives Matter a terrorist organization.” That’s also the fear of officials in cities being targeted by “Operation Legend,” an effort Trump announced Wednesday to send officers from four agencies to combat “bloodshed” that he claims erupted from protesters’ “anti-police crusade.” But federal law enforcement officials are calling it a “partnership” with local authorities — unrelated to the shadowy unmarked force in Portland.
John Lewis got in a last word. His former colleagues — including 72 Republicans — honored the late congressman and civil rights leader Wednesday by passing a bill to remove statues of Confederate leaders from the Capitol. That includes Alexander Stephens, a Confederate vice president, who may be replaced with a statue of Lewis, a fellow Georgian. The move resembled Tuesday’s veto-proof bipartisan approval of a $740 billion defense funding package that directs the military to rename bases honoring Confederate generals, despite President Trump’s objections.
It was the “epicenter” of Beijing’s espionage. That assessment by a State Department expert is one explanation of why the U.S. ordered the Chinese Consulate in Houston to close. It was bolstered by charges that a visiting scientist who lied about military ties on her visa application is sheltering in China’s San Francisco Consulate. And while markets have weathered the pandemic well, the People’s Republic is vowing retaliation for the Houston closure. That’s sparking concerns, one analyst says, of a renewed trade war — a disruption that the virus-sickened world economy doesn’t need.
The treaty says refugees seeking asylum must do so in the first safe country they land in. But the problem with the 2004 Safe Third Country Agreement, which obligates Canada to send away asylum-seekers who come from the U.S., is that its southern neighbor isn’t safe anymore. After hearing an Ethiopian refugee recount “psychologically traumatic” incarceration by U.S. authorities, Canada’s Federal Court ruled Wednesday that the treaty is unconstitutional for violating refugees’ human rights. Officials in Washington have yet to comment, and the treaty won’t officially be voided until January.
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says she doesn’t accept the apology of a fellow lawmaker who called her a sexist expletive, though he said he regrets the “abrupt manner” of their discussion. Liverpool FC has finally lifted the Premiere League trophy after a 30-year wait. And newly excavated artifacts in a cave in Mexico suggest humans arrived in North America 15,000 years earlier than previously thought.
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1. One-Fifth of World’s Fashion Tainted by Forced Labor
How does that feel on you? A coalition of 180 human rights groups says 20 percent of cotton products worldwide are linked to prison camps in China’s Xinjiang region. There, 1.8 million Muslim Uighurs and other detainees are reportedly forced to work while enduring abuses including sterilization. But while many brands don’t do business with Xinjiang factories, their suppliers source cotton from the region, which accounts for 84 percent of China’s production. The coalition called out dozens of apparel companies including Gap, Adidas and Calvin Klein, some of which promised to review their supply chains in the region.
In a Washington Post op-ed this week, fired FBI Director James Comey wonders if President Trump, who’s sent federal agents to protesting cities, wants “televised conflict.” If so, the images might be curious, as the threat being combatted is moms. Bike-helmeted women carrying signs like “I’m so disappointed in you” and “You need a time out” are already on the streets of six U.S. cities, creating a “Wall of Moms” between Black Lives Matter protesters and Trump’s troops. They’ve been tear-gassed by the feds in Portland and were even joined by a few dads clearing gas with leaf-blowers.
“Demand is not our problem,” declared Elon Musk, the electric carmaker’s guru/CEO. The company has been beset by pandemic-related supply and production problems, and lost $408 million in last year’s second quarter. But Wednesday it posted a $104 million profit, or 50 cents a share — marking the first time it’s profited during four straight quarters. That strong showing also wasn’t because of one-off events, one analyst observed, which bodes well for its inclusion in the S&P 500 index. In his investor call, Musk also announced the selection of Austin, Texas, for Tesla’s second U.S. assembly plant.
This may qualify as a double bogey. Ambassador to the U.K. Robert Wood “Woody” Johnson IV faces accusations of making racist and misogynistic comments to embassy staff. But a more officially troubling allegation is emerging from reports of a State Department investigation that revealed he was trying to get the prestigious British Open tournament situated at one of President Trump’s golf clubs at the president’s request. If so — Trump denies it — it would exemplify what Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy called “dizzying” corruption that demands Congress write new laws to address it.
College players have been compared to slaves, earning nothing while generating revenue for rich institutions — and keeping opinions to themselves. But post-George Floyd, that’s changing, OZY reports. Coaches’ racist signals, like promoting a TV network that calls athletes “thugs,” aren’t being shrugged off anymore. When Florida State coach Mike Norvell exaggerated his sensitivity to civil rights concerns, claiming he’d had one-on-one talks with his players, defensive tackle Marvin Wilson called him out on Twitter, saying they’d all just gotten one identical text message. Now that these athlete activists have found their voices, it won’t be easy to silence them again.