President Joe Biden delivered a major voting rights speech in Philadelphia Tuesday, excoriating the Republican Party for “election subversion” and urging Congress to pass the For the People Act.
President Joe Biden: “This year alone, 17 states have enacted — not just proposed, but enacted — 28 new laws to make it harder for Americans to vote, not to mention — and catch this — nearly 400 additional bills Republican members of the state legislatures are trying to pass.”
But Biden stopped short of calling for an end to the filibuster, which many now see as the only way to circumvent Republican obstructionism and to pass voting rights legislation at the federal level. We’ll have more on voting rights later in the broadcast with two of the Texas Democratic state representatives who helped lead this week’s walkout to block the passage of Texas Republicans’ voter suppression bills.
As coronavirus cases continue to rise in the U.S., the Biden administration has begun vaccinating people detained in Immigration and Customs Enforcement jails with the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 shot. Around 20,000 people in ICE custody have tested positive for the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, with nine confirmed deaths.
The White House is hosting German Chancellor Angela Merkel this week. Ahead of her visit, a group of Democratic lawmakers have requested a meeting with the leader and are calling on Germany to drop its “blockade” of a WTO waiver on intellectual property rights around COVID vaccines. Protesters held actions across the country urging Merkel to back the waiver.
Tennessee’s top vaccine official, Dr. Michelle Fiscus, says she was fired after telling health providers that teens do not require parental consent to receive a COVID vaccine. The move, which is supported by state law and decades of medical practice, angered anti-science Republican lawmakers, who have also halted outreach efforts on the vaccine for teens and children.
Elsewhere, Russia recorded 780 fatalities Tuesday, its highest daily COVID death toll yet as the Delta variant rapidly spreads.
Meanwhile, in Iraq, the death toll from a massive blaze at a coronavirus hospital ward has risen to 92.
CNN is reporting 10 more suspects are wanted in connection with last week’s assasination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse. The U.S. State Department said earlier this week a third U.S. citizen had been arrested. The Drug Enforcement Administration confirmed Tuesday one of the other two detained U.S. suspects had worked as an informant for the agency.
Meanwhile, over 130 rights groups are calling on the Biden administration to welcome Haitian asylum seekers into the U.S. and to halt any deportations to Haiti amid the mounting unrest.
This comes as Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas warned asylum seekers fleeing danger in Haiti and Cuba by sea that they will not be admitted to the U.S.
DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas: “Individuals who take to the seas will actually not enter the United States. They are interdicted at sea, and they are repatriated to their countries of origin.”
Mayorkas is himself a Cuban immigrant who fled the island as a child with his family. Immigrant justice advocates are urging the Biden administration to have a more humane approach and to stop enforcing anti-immigrant policies.
In South Africa, police said the death toll from ongoing protests and unrest has risen to at least 72 people. Over 1,200 people have been arrested. The demonstrations erupted after former President Jacob Zuma, who was charged with contempt of court, began his 15-month jail sentence for refusing to testify in a corruption probe. Demonstrators have expressed frustration with entrenched poverty and inequity as South Africa battles a devastating wave of COVID-19.
In the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, thousands gathered for the burial of human rights activist Suha Jarrar, who was found dead at her home Sunday at the age of 31. She reportedly died of a heart attack, though the cause has not yet been confirmed. Suha Jarrar’s mother, Palestinian lawmaker Khalida Jarrar, is currently in an Israeli prison on what rights groups say are politically motivated grounds, and was not permitted to attend her daughter’s funeral. Suha Jarrar worked for Palestinian rights organization Al-Haq, focusing on the environmental impacts of the Israeli occupation.
A United Nations human rights expert says Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank amount to a war crime. This is Michael Lynk, U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Michael Lynk: “In my report, I conclude that the Israeli settlements do amount to a war crime. I submit to you that this finding compels the international community to assess the plentiful accountability measures on its diplomatic and legal menu and to make it clear to Israel that its illegal occupation, and its defiance of international law and international opinion, can and will no longer be cost-free.”
In Canada, over 160 unmarked graves have been found at the former Kuper Island Industrial School, which operated as a boarding school for Indigenous children from 1890 to 1975 on Penelakut Tribe territory. This is the latest in a series of recent discoveries of hundreds of other unmarked graves, which have shed light on the brutality of former government-funded boarding schools run by the Catholic Church across Canada. Some 150,000 Indigenous children were sent to the schools, many separated from their families.
In Texas, abortion rights advocates and providers filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday seeking to block a new state law that would ban abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, or when a fetal heartbeat is detected. The law also makes anyone in Texas eligible to sue patients, medical workers, or even a patient’s family or friends who “aid and abet” in an abortion. Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott signed the so-called heartbeat bill into law in May, and it’s expected to go into effect in September.
A new report finds fossil fuel companies used highly toxic, cancer-linked PFAS chemicals while fracking for oil and gas between 2012 and 2020, after the EPA under the Obama administration approved their use. PFAS, known as “forever chemicals,” have been tied to a host of dangerous environmental and health effects, including high cholesterol, decreased fertility and immunity, low infant birth weights and cancer.
More than a dozen immigrants in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE, have lodged a civil rights complaint calling for an investigation into abuse, life-threatening medical and COVID-19 neglect, reports of sexual assaults, and the overall deplorable conditions at the Bergen County Jail in New Jersey. The complaint also calls for ICE to terminate its contract with Bergen County and release all immigrant prisoners.
Top Senate Democrats announced late Tuesday they reached a deal on a $3.5 trillion budget plan that addresses much of President Biden’s social and “human infrastructure” agenda. The agreement includes an expansion of Medicare and provisions dealing with the climate crisis. Democrats would likely pass the bill without Republican support using reconciliation, alongside a bipartisan infrastructure plan that includes $600 billion in new spending. The proposal, which is supported by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, will likely include tax increases for corporations and wealthy individuals and will seek to extend tax credits for the working class and expand access to child care and education. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said his party will be able to get all 50 Democrats on board with the plan.
Care workers and labor activists rallied in Washington, D.C., to demand the infrastructure bill include fair pay and other benefits for home health workers, domestic workers, child care workers and unpaid family members who take care of their loved ones. This is domestic worker Nayeli Montes.
Nayeli Montes: “We were part of the workers on the frontline during the pandemic, and it’s time for them to recognize our hard work. And it’s time, too, that our work get more value, pay a little bit more than it is now.”
In California, climate activists from Sunrise Movement are organizing rallies and 24-hour sit-ins at Senator Dianne Feinstein’s offices, demanding she support a fully funded Civilian Climate Corps, refuse to back any infrastructure deal that doesn’t center the climate crisis, and that she meet with the young activists. This is Sylvester Ani of Sunrise Movement LA.
Sylvester Ani Jr.: “You’re the oppressor, or you’re the oppressed. That’s how it goes. It’s two classes right now. And we’re undergoing class warfare with people who put money over people. That’s what we’re going through right now. And the youth understand that.”