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Super Tuesday Kicks Off as Moderate Dems Coalesce in Support of Joe Biden

Mar 03, 2020

Voters in 14 states and American Samoa head to the polls today for Super Tuesday, with over a third of Democratic delegates up for grabs. On Monday, Senator Amy Klobuchar dropped out of the race. Both Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg — who ended his campaign Sunday — have endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden. Former presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke and Amy Klobuchar joined Biden at a rally in Dallas, Texas, Monday night.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar: “It is time for a president that will bring decency and dignity back to the White House.”

Beto O’Rourke: “At a time that this country is so polarized, so deeply divided, we need somebody who can bring us together and heal us. We need somebody who can reestablish the moral authority of the United States.”

That was Senator Amy Klobuchar, followed by Beto O’Rourke. NBC is reporting that while Barack Obama is not formally endorsing any candidate at this stage, he has been speaking to Biden and other moderate Democrats — including Pete Buttigieg on Sunday, the day he dropped out of the race. A slew of other Democrats have endorsed Biden following his South Carolina win, including former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Former national security adviser under President Obama, Susan Rice, also endorsed Biden.
On Monday, Bernie Sanders responded to a reporter asking if he believed Pete Buttigieg dropped out of the race as part of an effort to stop his path to the nomination.

Sen. Bernie Sanders: “Look, it is no secret — I mean, The Washington Post has 16 articles a day on this — that there is a massive effort trying to stop Bernie Sanders. That’s not a secret to anybody in this room.”

President Trump has also said in recent days the Democratic Party is “rigging the election” against Sanders.

Meanwhile, The Nation magazine has endorsed Bernie Sanders. They write, “Bernie Sanders and the movements he supports … have created a populist moment, a vibrant and growing alternative to the tired shibboleths of austerity and market fundamentalism. They are exposing and upending the white nationalist con that promises a blue-collar boom while cutting taxes for the rich and gutting health care, environmental protection and education for the rest of us.”

EMILY’s List — the political action committee that supports pro-choice Democratic women — endorsed Elizabeth Warren on Monday.
Billionaire former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg vowed to stay in the race and will appear on the ballot for the first time today.

In Nashville, Tennessee — which is holding its primary today — a tornado has left at least six people dead and left thousands without power.

6 Dead in Washington from Coronavirus, as Criticism Mounts over CDC Handling of Outbreak

Mar 03, 2020

The death toll from the coronavirus on U.S. soil leapt to six people Monday — all in Washington state, prompting King County to declare a state of emergency. At least 15 different states have now identified cases, with over 100 known cases countrywide. The Centers for Disease Control has come under fire for issues with its original diagnostic test kit, which then took weeks to rectify. The CDC also removed statistics on its website Monday tracking the number of people tested for coronavirus. This weekend, the agency said fewer than 500 Americans have been tested so far, but Trump claimed Monday a million tests might be administered by the end of the week. South Korea is reportedly administering 10,000 tests per day.

In New York, where the first case of infection was confirmed this weekend, one man has taken to self-quarantining himself in his Brooklyn apartment, after the CDC refused to test him despite having symptoms that appear to be consistent with coronavirus. This is New York City infectious disease doctor Matt McCarthy.

Dr. Matt McCarthy: “Before I came here this morning, I was in the emergency room seeing patients. I still do not have a rapid diagnostic test available to me.”

Joe Kernen: “Well, that’s easy to do, is it not? Is it hard to manufacture?”

Dr. Matt McCarthy: “It is easy to do for some countries. What happened in the United States is that the CDC created a test, sent the test out to 50 states and then said, 'Oh, hold up. Don't use it. Let us fix it.’ It’s now March.”

Joe Kernen: “OK, how quickly can you get on track now, Matt?”

Dr. Matt McCarthy: “We hear that it’s coming very soon. But I’m here to tell you right now, at one of the busiest hospitals in the country, I don’t have it at my fingertips. I still have to call the Department of Health. I still have to make my case, plead to test people. This is not good.”

President Trump meanwhile continues to rail against Democrats over the coronavirus. At a rally in Charlotte, North Carolina, Monday, he accused Democratic lawmakers of being “fringe globalists” who would prefer to keep borders open, which he says will prevent the containment of the virus.

This comes after he claimed that criticism of his handling of the outbreak is part of a Democratic “hoax.” The global death toll for the coronavirus has topped 3,000, with over 90,000 confirmed cases.

U.S. to Start Troop Withdrawal as Taliban Vows to Resume Attacks and Afghan Gov’t Rejects Prisoner Swap

Mar 03, 2020

In Afghanistan, the Taliban says it is resuming operations against government forces after the partial truce, which preceded the U.S.-Taliban deal signed this weekend. The Taliban also said it would not move forward with intra-Afghan talks until the Afghan government released 5,000 prisoners — which President Ashraf Ghani said he refuses to do. On Monday, an explosion at a football field in the eastern Khost province killed at least three people and wounded 11, though no group immediately claimed responsibility. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he gave the green light to begin the withdrawal of U.S. troops but that he expects violence to continue throughout the process.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper: “This is going to be a long, windy, bumpy road. There will be ups and downs, and we’ll stop and start. That’s going to be the nature of this over the next days, weeks and months.”

Migrant Child Drowns Off Greek Coast, Refugees Attacked as Asylum Crisis Deepens

Mar 03, 2020

In the Mediterranean, a child has died, and another was hospitalized, after a boat with dozens of refugees capsized off the coast of Lesbos, Greece. Another 46 refugees were rescued from the boat. On Sunday, a group of some 150 Lesbos residents tried to prevent a boat with refugees, mostly families and children, from disembarking, and set fire to a disused migrant center. This comes as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that Greek soldiers had killed two refugees and severely wounded a third person. Turkey loosened restrictions on its border with Greece this weekend, prompting thousands of refugees to head toward the border.

Iraqi Power Vacuum as Caretaker PM and Designated Successor Both Walk Away from Post

Mar 03, 2020

In Iraq, political turmoil is deepening as caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi said Monday he will step away from his post — one day after his designated successor, Mohammed Allawi, withdrew his nomination. The political vacuum comes after months of mass popular protests in which hundreds of demonstrators have been killed.

Benjamin Netanyahu Holds Lead Over Rival Benny Gantz But Falls Short of Outright Majority

Mar 03, 2020

In Israel, with most votes counted, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has earned a significant lead over former army chief Benny Gantz in the country’s third election in less than a year. But Netanyahu’s Likud party fell short of winning a parliamentary majority. Neither Netanyahu’s Likud party nor Gantz’s Blue and White party have been able to win an outright majority or form governing coalitions in the two prior elections. Full election results won’t be published until next Monday, according to Israeli media. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s trial for corruption will begin two weeks after the election.

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Report: 80,000+ Uyghur Muslims Forced into Factory Labor for Nike, Apple

Mar 03, 2020

Tens of thousands of Uyghur Muslims in China have been forcibly taken from prisons in Xinjiang province to work in factories that manufacture products and parts for companies including Apple, Nike and Volkswagen. That’s according to a new report from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, which analyzed satellite imagery and public documents to uncover the scheme known as “Xinjiang aid.” Workers are forced to study Mandarin and are subjected to ideological brainwashing. They are also barred from observing their own religious and cultural practices. The report says at least 80,000 Uyghurs have been forced to work in the factories since 2017.

Revolutionary Nicaraguan Priest and Poet Ernesto Cardenal Dies at 95

Mar 03, 2020

In Nicaragua, beloved poet and priest Ernesto Cardenal has died at the age of 95. Cardenal supported the Sandinista revolution movement that overthrew U.S.-backed military dictator Anastasio Somoza in 1979. Cardenal went on to become Nicaragua’s minister of culture under the Sandinista government from 1979 to 1987. His involvement with the Sandinistas caused the Vatican to suspend his priesthood in the 1980s, but it was later reinstated by Pope Francis. Cardenal was deeply influenced by liberation theology, which focuses on social and economic justice. In his final years, he became a vocal critic of his former Sandinista ally Daniel Ortega, after Ortega returned to the Nicaraguan presidency in 2007.

SCOTUS to Hear Case That Could Determine Fate of Obamacare

Mar 03, 2020

In the United States, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case in the fall term on whether the Affordable Care Act is lawful. A lower court in Texas ruled in 2019 that the individual mandate in Obamacare was unconstitutional, throwing the entire system into question.

SCOTUS to Decide First Major Abortion Case Since Trump’s Conservative Justices Joined Bench

Mar 03, 2020

The Supreme Court this week is hearing a pivotal abortion case involving the state of Louisiana. The case challenges a statute requiring doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. In 2016, a similar law in Texas was ruled unconstitutional by the justices, but two conservative Trump nominees — Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch — have tilted the court further to the right.

In other reproductive rights news, the Utah Senate passed a bill Monday that would ban abortions except in cases of rape, incest, if the life of the pregnant person is at risk, or if the fetus isn’t viable. The bill will now be taken up in the Utah House.

Argentina Set to Become Largest Latin American Country to Legalize Abortion

Mar 03, 2020

Argentina is set to become the largest Latin American country to legalize abortion. President Alberto Fernández said on Sunday he will send a bill to Congress in the coming days. On Monday, Colombia’s top court rejected a move to legalize abortion.

Chris Matthews Resigns After String of Controversies, Accusations of Sexist Behavior

Mar 03, 2020

Longtime MSNBC host Chris Matthews is out at the cable network after a string of recent controversies and accusations of sexual harassment. Over the weekend, journalist Laura Bassett published a piece recounting Matthews’s inappropriate comments to her when she was a guest on his show in 2017, when he told her, before going on air, he would “fall in love with her.” More recently, Matthews compared Bernie Sanders’s primary win in Nevada to the Nazi invasion of France and received backlash for being condescending during an interview with Senator Elizabeth Warren, in which he repeatedly questioned her over claims that fellow presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg and his company have a history of mistreating women. Chris Matthews’s show, “Hardball,” has been on the air since 1997.

ICE Transfers Cameroonian Migrant Prisoners in Retaliation for Protest

Mar 03, 2020

In immigration news, the publication Prism reports that over 40 women from Cameroon were transferred to another immigration jail in retaliation for protesting the conditions of the previous facility where they were being detained. The asylum seekers were taken from T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor, Texas, to a new immigration jail in Laredo, Texas. Last week, the women led a sit-in to protest a lack of medical services and prolonged detention periods.

Interior Dept. Official Peppers Reports with Lies About Climate Change

Mar 03, 2020

An official at the Interior Department inserted misleading and false information about climate change into at least nine agency reports. The New York Times reviewed the reports and found multiple false claims, including the idea that increased carbon dioxide is beneficial for the Earth’s atmosphere, and denial that there is a scientific consensus the Earth is heating up. The man who pushed the agency to add the lies to official reports is Indur Goklany, who was promoted in 2017 after Trump came into office. Goklany has represented the U.S. during high-level climate negotiations at the United Nations.

Husband of Los Angeles DA Threatens, Points Gun at Black Lives Matter Activists

Mar 03, 2020

In Los Angeles, a video showing the husband of L.A. County’s district attorney pointing a gun at Black Lives Matter activists has gone viral — one day ahead of the primary in which DA Jackie Lacey is up for reelection.

David Lacey: “Get off of my porch.”

Melina Abdullah: “Are you going to shoot me?”

David Lacey: “I am going to shoot you. Get off of my porch.”

Melina Abdullah: “Can you tell Jackie Lacey that we’re here?”

David Lacey: “I don’t care who you are. Get off of my porch right now.”

Melina Abdullah: “We’re going to get off your porch. Can you tell” —

David Lacey: “We’re calling the police.”

The video was taken by Cal State professor and organizer Melina Abdullah. Abdullah and other activists were at Lacey’s house to compel her to fulfill a promise to meet with Black Lives Matter organizers. Lacey has been criticized for her handling of cases involving police brutality. She is being challenged in the primary by two progressive candidates. Lacey has apologized for both herself and her husband over the incident.

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