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HeadlinesOctober 19, 2021

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Trump Sues to Block Release of Documents to Congressional Committee on Jan. 6 Riots

Oct 19, 2021

Former President Donald Trump has filed a lawsuit to stop the congressional committee investigating the Capitol insurrection from receiving records about the January 6 riot, as well as Trump’s efforts to overturn the will of voters in the November election. Trump’s legal team claims the request undermines Trump’s executive privilege, and is asking for more time to review records requests.

This comes as the January 6 committee has laid out its contempt case against former Trump White House strategist Stephen Bannon, who defied a congressional subpoena, claiming executive privilege. The committee is expected to vote today to refer Bannon for criminal charges.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump gave several hours of videotaped testimony Monday in a deposition ordered by a New York judge. The civil case was brought by six plaintiffs of Mexican descent who say Trump’s security guards assaulted them outside Trump Tower in 2015 as they peacefully protested Trump’s racist comments about Mexicans. Their lawyer said Monday that Trump personally authorized the violence.

Benjamin Dictor: “We believe there is ample evidence to demonstrate that before and after the incident at issue, the Trump Organization, the Trump campaign and Donald J. Trump himself authorized and condoned violent acts in violation of individual rights.”

FDA Panel Recommends Third Shot of Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine for Certain Groups

Oct 19, 2021

A Food and Drug Administration panel has recommended third, booster shots of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for people 65 and older and people at high risk of severe disease or workplace exposure. The FDA is also expected this week to allow U.S. residents to mix and match different COVID-19 vaccines.

Colin Powell Died of COVID-19 Complications After Blood Cancer Left Him Immunocompromised

Oct 19, 2021

Colin Powell’s family says the former top U.S. general and secretary of state had a form of blood cancer that left him vulnerable to infection, before his death from COVID-19 complications on Monday at the age of 84. Although Powell was fully vaccinated against COVID-19, he was struggling with both Parkinson’s disease and multiple myeloma, which left him severely immunocompromised.

On Monday, President Biden ordered flags at the White House to be flown at half-staff in Powell’s honor until Friday, and top administration officials were effusive in their praise of Powell. This is Secretary of State Tony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Vice President Kamala Harris.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken: “Today a grateful nation observes the end of a distinguished career and celebrates 35 years of service and victory.”

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin: “The world lost one of the greatest leaders that we have ever witnessed.”

Vice President Kamala Harris: “You know, what an incredible American.”

As chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Powell was the architect of the U.S. invasion of Panama in 1989 and oversaw the U.S.-led war on Iraq in 1991. As secretary of state under George W. Bush, Powell gave false testimony to the U.N. Security Council in 2003 about nonexistent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, paving the way for the U.S. invasion and occupation. By many estimates, the war killed over 1 million Iraqis. 

Sen. Joe Manchin Wants Strict Limits and Work Requirements for Child Tax Credit

Oct 19, 2021

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin is continuing to derail much of President Biden’s legislative agenda, with outrage growing over his demand for income limits and work requirements on families receiving a child tax credit. Manchin said Sunday he wants to offer the $300-a-month child tax credit only to families with incomes under $60,000, with children’s parents or guardians required to hold a job. An expanded child tax credit favored by nearly all other Democrats would lift an estimated 4.3 million U.S. children out of poverty.

Senator Manchin is also refusing to support President Biden’s climate change legislation, putting Democrats’ infrastructure bill and social spending package at risk. Manchin met separately Monday with two progressive leaders on Capitol Hill: Vermont independent Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Pramila Jayapal, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Justice Department Asks Supreme Court to Halt Texas’s Near-Total Ban on Abortions

Oct 19, 2021

The U.S. Justice Department has asked the Supreme Court to halt Texas’s near-total ban on abortions, after an appeals court overturned a stay on its enforcement last week. The conservative-led Supreme Court previously refused to halt the law before it first went into effect in September.

SCOTUS Decisions Bolster Doctrine of Qualified Immunity for Police Officers

Oct 19, 2021

A pair of Supreme Court rulings Monday will help police officers accused of excessive force escape liability in civil lawsuits. The court’s unsigned decisions bolster the doctrine of qualified immunity, which shields police officers from lawsuits.

Kenosha, WI Police Accused of “Deputizing” White Nationalists Ahead of Shooting Deaths

Oct 19, 2021

In Wisconsin, a new lawsuit accuses the Kenosha Police Department of “deputizing” armed white nationalist vigilantes during protests over the police shooting of Jacob Blake last year. Video from August 25, 2020, shows Kenosha officers giving out water and praise to vigilantes carrying high-powered semiautomatic rifles. The lawsuit was brought by Gaige Grosskreutz, a protester shot in the arm by 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, who also fatally shot two people with an illegally obtained assault rifle. Rittenhouse faces homicide charges in a trial set to begin on November 1.

Venezuelan President Maduro Says U.S. “Kidnapped” Diplomat Alex Saab

Oct 19, 2021

The Venezuelan government is denouncing the capture of Colombian businessman and Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab — a close ally of President Nicolás Maduro who was taken from the island nation of Cape Verde and flown to Miami over the weekend. Supporters say Saab was apprehended without any proper legal basis, as the U.S. has no extradition treaty with Cape Verde — an island some 400 miles off the northwestern coast of Africa. Saab was previously detained in Cape Verde for over a year after his private plane made a fuel stop en route to Iran, reportedly to buy humanitarian supplies. The U.N. Human Rights Committee had called for Saab’s extradition order to be suspended and said he’d been denied treatment for his cancer while jailed in Cape Verde. Saab appeared in a Miami court for the first time Monday, facing corruption charges.

In response, Venezuela’s government has halted negotiations with its opponents. This is Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. 

President Nicolás Maduro: “A plane arrived. Assassins, hitmen came down. They sought him out, and they removed him with blows from the jail he was held. They took him without advising lawyers, nor the family, nor anybody — a kidnapping by the United States government of an international diplomat.”

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Biden Administration Plans to Spy on Caravans of Asylum Seekers in Latin America

Oct 19, 2021

NBC News reports the Department of Homeland Security is planning to build an “intelligence-gathering” cell to closely surveil the movement of groups of migrants in Central and South America who may be making their way to the United States to seek asylum. DHS officials are also seeking to establish aerial surveillance of trucks and migrant camps across multiple borders and increase collaboration between Central and South American authorities and U.S. agents. The cell will reportedly be operational by the end of October.

This comes as some 90,000 migrants hoping to reach the U.S. for refuge remain trapped in the southern Mexican city of Tapachula. This is Luis García, a human rights advocate.

Luis García Villagrán: “The Biden administration will give $20 million to the Mexican and Central American governments to contain migrants and to find out what is going on. They should give $10 million to this city, and then all of us could stay here. But they should do it under the scrutiny of the whole world; otherwise, the money just goes into containment and deportation that the Mexican government is carrying out.”

Protesters Block Miami Port to Demand End to Haiti Deportation Flights

Oct 19, 2021

In Miami, at least 10 immigrant justice advocates were arrested Monday after temporarily blocking the entrance to Port Miami by lying in the roadway. The act of civil disobedience was led by several groups calling on the Biden administration to end the deportation of Haitian asylum seekers and issue permanent and humane immigration relief for millions of people.

Haiti’s justice minister says the criminal gang that kidnapped 17 U.S. and Canadian missionaries and their children is asking for $1 million for each hostage’s release. The Biden administration said Monday the FBI was in negotiations with kidnappers from the gang 400 Mawozo. 

Here in New York, Jean Montrevil, a father of four and longtime immigrant rights leader, has returned home to the U.S. on a special 90-day parole, after he was deported to Haiti in 2018. Democracy Now! has followed Jean Montrevil’s case for over a decade; later in the broadcast, he’ll join us from a studio here in New York.

Indigenous Amazonians Sue Ecuador to Halt Oil Drilling and Mining Plans 

Oct 19, 2021

Indigenous communities from Ecuador’s Amazon rainforest have filed a lawsuit against the government of right-wing President Guillermo Lasso to halt his plans for a massive expansion of oil and mining extraction in the region — endangering millions of acres of pristine and sacred land and the livelihood of Indigenous nations. Hundreds of Indigenous elders and youth arrived in the capital Quito on Monday to file the lawsuit with Ecuador’s highest court. This is a Waorani leader speaking yesterday.

Nemonte Nenquimo: “As Waorani de Pastaza, our territory is life. We live there, cultivate, fish, hunt. We grow yucca and plantains to feed our children. We rely on the rainforest, on the land, on the river. If oil companies enter the Waorani of Pastaza territory, all the 22 communities that live there and others will be affected.”

Tens of Thousands of Italian Anti-Fascist Protesters Rally in Rome

Oct 19, 2021

In Italy, tens of thousands of anti-fascist protesters rallied in Rome on Saturday in a show of strength one week after right-wing extremists smashed into the offices of Italy’s oldest trade union organization. Among those marching was Maurizio Landini, secretary general of the Italian General Confederation of Labour.

Maurizio Landini: “Fascist movements that use violence must be dissolved. We ask for concrete acts, not just chatter. From solidarity, we must move on to concrete action. And it is time for the state to demonstrate its democratic strength in enforcing laws and applying the principles of the Constitution.”

New York City Taxi Drivers Will Go on Hunger Strike to Demand Debt Relief

Oct 19, 2021

Here in New York City, a group of taxi drivers is launching a hunger strike starting tomorrow as they continue to demand the city enact debt relief for thousands of drivers who’ve been devastated by massive debt — accrued largely due to the artificially inflated cost of taxi medallions. This comes after taxi drivers held a 30-day, round-the-clock protest outside City Hall. Drivers have also been denouncing the mental health impacts triggered by the financial ruin. At least nine have died by suicide.

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