The Biden administration released the Trump administration’s secret set of rules for carrying out drone strikes, prompting new calls for him to end targeted killings once and for all.
Meanwhile, police departments across the country are struggling to get their cops to take the coronavirus vaccine, despite plentiful access.
And finally, Austin voters brought back the city’s controversial public tent law, which effectively criminalized homelessness and would further destabilize the lives of many unhoused people.
THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:
The Biden administration released a set of confidential rules used by the Trump administration to authorize drone strikes, after the ACLU and New York Times filed suit to uncover the documents.
Biden suspended Trump’s rules when it came into power, and began a widespread review of the government’s use of force policies in March. But it has not, of course, ended the general U.S. policy of killing whoever it wants with drone strikes.
The documents show that under Trump, individual military commanders were given a broad latitude to authorize strikes, with plenty of wiggle room when it came to skirting guidelines meant to prevent civilians from being harmed.
The Biden white house’s review found that Trump’s rules were even more lenient when commanders were certain women and children wouldn’t be injured, even if adult male civilians were nearby.
Under Biden, strikes require direct White House approval. But approval or not, that still means that they happen.
Vaccine The Only Shot Cops Won't Take
America’s police officers were some of the very first people to become eligible for the Coronavirus vaccine, and yet guess what? They’re simply not getting it.
The Washington Post reports that in many police departments across the nation, the vaccination rate is on par or even lower than the general public, despite easy access to the jab.
For example, in Las Vegas, only 39 percent of cops are vaxxed. In Atlanta, it’s 36 percent. In Columbus, Ohio, it’s only 28. These are big departments!
Police unions, meanwhile, are strongly against making the vaccination mandatory for their cops, repeating the “personal decision” line that we’re hearing all over.
The Post reports that most cops are avoiding the vaccine for the same reasons the general public is struggling with: skepticism, paranoia, and the belief that since many of them had the disease already, they’re not going to catch it again.
As the Post points out, this is a massive risk not only to the health of the cops, but to the health of every community member they interact with. Since they’re refusing to get the jab, they’re putting every person they speak with at a traffic stop or routine interaction at even more risk than they were before.
Austin Criminalizes Homelessness
Austin voters approved restoring the city’s controversial public camping ban, a brutal law that effectively criminalized homelessness in the city.
The law specifically prohibits camping near downtown and UT Austin, areas where many unhoused people live. It also makes it a crime to ask for money or panhandle in certain areas.
Austin had similar bans in effect till 2019, when the City Council overturned them, correctly realizing that they were just contributing to overpolicing of already vulnerable groups of people. Forcing homeless people off the streets and into jail for the crime of trying to find a place to sleep isn’t going to end the problem, just make people in a desperate situation that much worse off.
Still, the public campaign to reinstate the bans was immensely successful, as the city passed the proposition by around 58 to 42 percent. They had pretty significant support from above, as Texas’s notorious GOP governor Gregg Abbott told the city that if it didn’t reinstate the bans, the state would do it for them. The PAC organized around the bill also raked in $1.2 million.
Activists at the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition and other groups fought the bill to the end, noting that it would disproportionately affect black and brown people and force even more of them into the jail and prison system.
The bans will go back in place on May 11, which will surely be a hard day for many people in the city.
AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:
Crowds of Trump supporters booed and heckled Mitt Romney during his speech at the Utah State Republican Convention on Saturday, which should dispel any notion that Romney will have much luck in any future national GOP primary.
Speaking of embarrassing public appearances, former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn apparently forgot the words to the pledge of allegiance while at a Bikers for Trump rally organized by crook lawyer Lin Wood. Sad!
If there was any question as to where Mitch McConnell’s priorities are, Biden’s big infrastructure plan would almost certainly give the Republican Majority Leader the money to fix a massive, vitally important bridge in his home state. But despite trying to find a fix for it for years, McConnell’s partisanship will always come before his constituents, and he’s resolutely against the bill.
Will Biden close Guantanamo Bay? Boy. I dunno. In an interview with 60 Minutes on Sunday, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said this noncommittal quote: We believe that it should be, that's certainly a goal, but it's something that we'll bring some focus to in the months ahead.” endquote. Whatever that means!
MAY 3, 2021 - AM QUICKIE
HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner
WRITER - Jack Crosbie
PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn