June 30, 2021

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The Headlines

The Edge

Corporate Media Ignores Filibuster’s Ties to White Supremacy (The Edge)

Structural and Political Violence Are ‘All Related’ (The Edge)

More from The Edge

‘Liberal’ Media Propaganda Tells the World: America Is First (The Edge)

Corporate Media: California Only Gets Attention When It’s on Fire (The Edge)

Amazon’s Dollars Bust Unions and News (The Edge)

U.S. Politics

Judge Threatens NYPD Lawyers with Sanctions for Foot-Dragging in George Floyd Protest Case (The Intercept)

Amid Nuclear Talks, Biden’s Latest Middle East Airstrikes Give “More Fuel” to Conflict with Iran (Democracy Now!)

U.S. Politics

As Delta Variant Spreads, WHO Urges Masks and Social Distancing (Truthout)

Climate Emergency

Miami Tower Collapse Stokes Fresh Climate Anxieties (Mother Jones)

GOP Fights Climate Proposals as the Northwest Roasts Under Record Temperatures (Truthout)

The Edge

Corporate Media Ignores Filibuster’s Ties to White Supremacy

In recent weeks, the filibuster has been the subject of vitriol from both Democratic members of Congress and the American public. On May 28, Senate Republicans used the filibuster rule to block a commission into the January 6 insurrection.

Less than four weeks later on June 22, Republicans used the filibuster to block the For the People Act, a progressive voting rights bill that would have countered the increased voter suppression bills being passed on a state level. In response, many are calling for the abolition of the filibuster, which is now coming to be viewed as a method to undermine democracy in the United States.

While controversy around the rule has gained national attention, mainstream news coverage is leaving one major issue with the filibuster: its ties to white supremacy.

Structural and Political Violence Are ‘All Related’

On June 24, the Tompkins County Office of Human Rights hosted an expert local group to discuss violence in Ithaca and across the U.S. Director Ken Clarke moderated the panel, which interrogated root causes and coverage of violence.

Dr. Sabrina Karim, Assistant Professor in Government at Cornell University, described how structural violence can account for much of the violence we see, and how lack of opportunity can “ripple out to criminal violence.”

Community Organizer Richard Rivera emphasized that “this violence doesn’t come out of nowhere.” He also detailed how discussions tend to focus on crime committed by Black youth.

PCIM Director Raza Rumi criticized coverage by mainstream news outlets, saying they “default to evading law enforcement accountability” and fail to inform the public of the real crisis of gun violence.

And Travis Brooks, Deputy Director of the Greater Ithaca Activities Center, touched on how reframing healthy masculinity can contribute to reducing violence against women.

Read more and watch the full discussion here.

More from The Edge

‘Liberal’ Media Propaganda Tells the World: America Is First

CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and other outlets drive home the idea that the U.S. “has the absolute right to impose sanctions on country after country overseas if they violate human rights or are not democratic.”

During the Cold War, Martin Luther King Jr. denounced the U.S. government as “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.” Liberal outlets including the New York Times and Washington Post condemned King, essentially telling him to leave foreign policy to “us white guys.”

King criticized the arrogance of the West feeling that “it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them.” Now, that same arrogance pervades U.S. media. Whether China, Iran, or Venezuela, we have everything to teach with crushing sanctions.

Jeff Cohen, founding director of PCIM and founder of FAIR, writes, “Let’s do today what MLK urged us to do back then: look at ourselves in the mirror.”

Corporate Media: California Only Gets Attention When It’s on Fire

Among 2020’s many disasters were the apocalyptic wildfires that raged in the American west. The infernos turned the skies eerie shades of orange and left over 4 million acres of land scorched in California alone.

According to CalFire’s list, six of the 20 largest recorded wildfires in California since 1932 raged during the summer of 2020, and unfortunately, California is poised for another catastrophic season.

Consistently devastated by extreme heat, drought, and wildfires in recent years, the state has been enduring the ravages of climate change. Yet, unless California is being actively destroyed by massive wildfires, its climate emergency sees little airtime from major news networks.

Amazon’s Dollars Bust Unions and News

This spring’s union drive at the Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, saw workers attempting to organize to improve conditions under the company’s grueling pressure. Outlets in independent and mainstream media thoroughly covered the failed drive, which was mired with union-busting strategies, including cops hired to harass organizers and advocates, and an army of employees defending the brand on Twitter.

Continued reports of Amazon’s dangerous working conditions—which have led to the widespread practice of delivery drivers peeing in bottles—demonstrate the power massive corporations like Amazon hold over both workers and media. Ads in the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post suggest an idyllic work environment, while product promotions on CNN’s website bury reports of overworked employees.

U.S. Politics

Judge Threatens NYPD Lawyers with Sanctions for Foot-Dragging in George Floyd Protest Case 

During last summer’s George Floyd protests, the New York Police Department kettled, beat, pepper-sprayed, punched, shoved, rammed, and arrested people protesting police violence. Many victims decided to sue alongside the attorney general of New York.

These lawsuits against New York City Mayor de Blasio, the city, the NYPD, including leadership and individual officers, have all been consolidated and put on an accelerated schedule by Judge Colleen McMahon, who aims to have the case ready for trial next year.

On Thursday, McMahon threatened de Blasio’s administration with sanctions if its failure to produce relevant evidence continues, as it has for months so far; none of the requested police records, officer names, mayoral communication, training materials, or body camera footage have been forthcoming. The Intercept details the ramifications of the delays on the case.

Amid Nuclear Talks, Biden’s Latest Middle East Airstrikes Give “More Fuel” to Conflict with Iran

Recent U.S. airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, which the Biden administration says targeted Iran-backed militias, are facing growing criticism. Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi condemned the latest attack as a “blatant and unacceptable violation of Iraqi sovereignty and Iraqi national security.” A symbolic funeral was held Tuesday for four members of the Iraq Popular Mobilization Forces killed by the strikes.

This comes as the Biden administration is holding indirect talks with Iran about reviving the Iranian nuclear deal. Democracy Now! speaks with Jamal Abdi, president of the National Iranian American Council, who says the U.S. needs to end its “constant tit for tat” with Iran across the Middle East. “By failing to pivot away from that and instead bombing targets inside of Iraq, we are giving more fuel to this conflict,” he says.


As Delta Variant Spreads, WHO Urges Masks and Social Distancing

On Friday afternoon, the World Health Organization announced that, because the Delta COVID-19 variant continues to rapidly spread across the globe, people should continue wearing masks and social distancing, including those fully vaccinated.

WHO Assistant Director-General for Access to Medicines and Health Products Mariangela Simao announced, “People cannot feel safe just because they had the two doses … Vaccine alone won’t stop community transmission.”

For Truthout, William Rivers Pitt remarks that, while vaccines will help with what comes next, “the ideological divide in this country is mutating into an immunological divide that cannot be bridged with words or promises or prizes.”

Climate Emergency

GOP Fights Climate Proposals Amid Record Temperatures and Miami Tower Collapse

The Thursday morning collapse of a 12-story condominium tower on a barrier island north of Miami Beach has killed at least four people and left more than 150 missing. The cause of the collapse remains unclear, but scientists have long feared the effects of rising global temperatures and sea levels on the densely populated land on porous limestone.

The disaster has spurred new calls to survey buildings in areas vulnerable to sea level rise and subsidence, highlighting lesser-known threats of climate change. Mother Jones writes, “The disaster’s timing emphasized the cascading crises linked to global warming,” as the Biden administration struck a deal to potentially water down an already insufficient package to curb emissions.

A more direct effect of climate change is being felt in the Pacific Northwest, which is facing record high temperatures of 108 and 112 degrees in Portland, Oregon. The crisis is also fueling flooding in Michigan as Republicans and centrist Democrats in Congress are fighting to exclude climate provisions and other vital measures from President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill, reports Truthout.

In Other News

1. US northwest and Canada temperatures soar towards 50C as 130 die and wildfires rage (The Independent)

2. Nowhere Is Ready for This Heat (The Atlantic)

3. Can We Trust Corporations To Deal With Their Own Waste? (HuffPost)

4. Australia Covid: Seventh city locks down amid vaccine chaos (BBC)

5. Big oil and gas kept a dirty secret for decades. Now they may pay the price (The Guardian

Read previous Briefs and more from independent media on the PCIM website, and follow PCIM on social media: Facebook | Twitter

The Indy Brief is edited by Jeremy Lovelett.