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April 21, 2021: Public Celebrates As Chauvin Found Guilty; Study Names Political Megadonors; AOC Reintroduces Green New Deal

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Accountability, yes. Justice, not yet. A jury returned three guilty verdicts for George Floyd’s murderer, the ex-cop Derek Chauvin, and the public began celebrating with relief.

Meanwhile, what do Mike Bloomberg and Sheldon Adelson’s corpse have in common? A new study finds they were two of the top political donors of the past decade.

And lastly, AOC and her Senate ally have reintroduced the Green New Deal as a bill in Congress. And they’ve got support from the White House for some elements of the plan.


Guilty, guilty, guilty. Former Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted yesterday of three counts of murder and manslaughter for pinning George Floyd to the pavement with his knee on the Black man’s neck, the Associated Press reports. The case touched off worldwide protests and a furious reexamination of racism and policing in the US. Chauvin, 45, could be sent to prison for decades. People elated by the verdict flooded the surrounding streets downtown upon hearing the news. Cars blared their horns, and people ran through traffic, waving banners. Floyd family members could be heard cheering from the next room as each verdict was read.

The jury of six white people and six Black or multiracial people came back with its verdict after about ten hours of deliberations, according to the AP. Chauvin was found guilty on all charges: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. His face was obscured by a Covid-19 mask, and little reaction could be seen beyond his eyes darting around the courtroom. His bail was revoked and he was led away with his hands cuffed behind his back. Sentencing will be in two months. At the intersection where Floyd was killed, a crowd chanted, One down, three to go! – a reference to the three other fired police officers facing trial in August on charges of aiding and abetting murder in Floyd’s death.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who oversaw Chauvin’s prosecution, told reporters the verdict represented accountability but not yet justice, which was now in the hands of the people. And he praised the people who attempted to intervene to save Floyd’s life, and who filmed his final moments under a the knee of a murderous cop. He said, "They knew it was wrong, and they were right."

Study Names Political Megadonors

It’s like buying yourself extra votes. A dozen megadonors and their spouses contributed a combined $3.4 billion to federal candidates and political groups since 2009, accounting for nearly one out of every thirteen dollars raised, according to the New York Times. A new report, produced by Issue One, a nonpartisan group that seeks to reduce the influence of money in politics, shows the top twelve donors split equally between six Democrats and six Republicans. The list includes multiple Wall Street billionaires and investors, a Facebook co- founder, a shipping magnate and the heir to a family fortune dating back to the Gilded Age.

The study quantifies the increasing role of the super rich in American politics, the Times reports. The loosening of restrictions on political spending by the US Supreme Court more than a decade ago is to blame. The study found that the top one hundred ZIP codes for political giving in the United States, which hold less than one percent of the population, accounted for roughly twenty percent of the $45 billion that political groups raised between 2009 and 2020. Some of the top ZIP codes for giving weren’t even populated by any people at all; instead, they were primarily associated with skyscrapers and post office boxes that were used as business addresses by the wealthy.

The Times reports that the single biggest spender on federal campaigns from 2009 to 2020 was Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City, who spent $1.4 billion. Of that, $1 billion went toward his own failed campaign for president in 2020. The largest Republican contributor was Sheldon Adelson, the late casino magnate. He and his wife Miriam contributed $523 million to Republican campaigns. Just think, if Bloomberg turns Republican again, he can be number one in both categories.

AOC Reintroduces Green New Deal

It’s ba-aack! Senator Edward Markey and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez reintroduced the Green New Deal yesterday, two years after it first became a progressive

wish list for Democrats, CBS News reports. The original proposal called on the country to take a leading role in helping the planet reach net-zero emissions by the year 2050. To reach that lofty goal, the plan called for the US to wean itself off of fossil fuels and create high-paying green energy jobs. But the resolution was stopped with a cloture vote in the then GOP- controlled Senate before it could proceed.

With Democratic control of Congress and the presidency, CBS reports, progressives on Monday broadened the Green New Deal to include a proposal geared toward addressing pollution in low-income communities and one focused on cities with lead in their water supply. Ocasio-Cortez and Markey also introduced yesterday the Civilian Climate Corps Act, a nod to the group created by the original New Deal, which President Joe Biden said should be brought back in an executive order he issued in January.

Separately, the Washington Post reports that Biden this week will pledge to slash US greenhouse gas emissions at least in half by the end of the decade. It’s part of an aggressive push to combat climate change at home and convince other major economies around the world to follow suit. The move comes as Biden convenes a virtual summit of more than three dozen world leaders on Thursday, aimed at ratcheting up international climate ambitions and reestablishing the United States as a leader in the effort to slow the planet’s warming. The planned US pledge represents a near-doubling of the target that the nation committed to under the 2015 Paris climate agreement. Why stop there? The Green New Deal awaits your signature, Joe!


President Idriss Déby of Chad died of wounds sustained in clashes between insurgents and government soldiers, the New York Times reports, one day after he had claimed victory in his re-election campaign. Déby brooked no dissent and was feared by his own people. Except, you know, by the insurgents.

Reuters reports that hospitals in the Indian capital of Delhi will start running out of medical oxygen today as Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the country faced a coronavirus storm overwhelming its health system. India, the world's second most populous country and currently the hardest hit by Covid-19, reported its worst daily death toll yesterday.

The Biden administration issued a policy position yesterday in support of DC statehood, forcefully backing legislation to make the District the 51st state ahead of a House vote scheduled for Thursday, the Washington Post reports. It is the strongest backing the statehood cause has ever received from the White House. Maybe this time will be different?

A breeding herd of elephants in South Africa’s Kruger National Park trampled a suspected rhino poacher to death over the weekend, the Post reports. Gareth Coleman, the park’s managing executive, said that the weekend had brought fruitful anti-poaching operations, adding that several suspected rhino poachers had been arrested and one had died of injuries sustained in the trampling. It’s an occupational hazard.


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