As 2020 continues, yet more stories of the pandemic, of inequality and lack of opportunity, and of naked corruption continue to dominate the headlines. Today’s daily news is no different. While nothing in these stories is truly unprecedented, all of the injustices we see daily feel more egregious for occurring during such a time of universal crisis. Thanks again to Newseum.org for trying to preserve and uplift the important work of local newspapers.
Biochemist conducting COVID-19 testing in Chile, Photo courtesy of Hospital Claudio Vicuña reproduced under CC BY 2.0 License
Latin America is seeing the same issues as the US as many countries are pursuing a too-early reopening and facing massive deaths and overwhelmed hospitals. Chile has been hit especially hard, facing the highest per-capita infection rate in the world at present. Central and South America has regionally exceeded the already-horrifying toll COVID has taken in North America.
UC Berkeley is a notoriously difficult campus for Black students. Truly eye-popping stories of racism - including students refusing to share an elevator with a Black student on move-in day - have been reported consistently every year. Berkeley administrators, likely seeing this reputation as an especially difficult PR problem in 2020, have begun implementing concerted efforts to change this. Despite these efforts, Black students on campus still report widespread aggressions (micro- and macro-) against them because of their heritage.
As a result of both the COVID-related shutdown of basic government functions and the dangerous politicization of the immigration process by right wing politicians and media, many immigrants who have successfully navigated the system are still finding that the processing of their status is unduly postponed. Even before the pandemic, wait times were trending upwards from an average of 6 months up to 8 months. Nearly 1 million applications are pending or completed and awaiting the ceremonial swearing in.
A picture of “violent vandalism” that apparently requires response by Federal immigration agents. Photo by Ted Timmons reproduced under CC BY-SA 4.0 License
After the DHS deployed ICE and Border Patrol tactical teams unmarked via a loophole in their operational restrictions, Portland’s and Oregon’s civilian leadership is demanding they leave after repeat acts of brutality by non-uniformed officers against civilians. DHS head and spectacularly failed Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli has indicated he couldn’t care less about the law and order he claims to protect. Despite their stated mission being to curb acts of vandalism, Portland officials have pointed out that almost all the vandalism had subsided by the time the Federal agents were deployed.
Despite the PPP being designed to help small businesses, more cases of corrupt direction of the vital stimulus have been uncovered. Well-connected right wing business owners accounted for millions of dollars of stimulus while family businesses were snubbed and will be forced to close. Among the recipients of this funding is 131st on last years’ Forbes list of the wealthiest 400 individuals on Earth. Despite having 5.7 billion dollars to his name, Harry Stine insisted he needed the money to pay his employees. Additional recipients in Iowa alone are the current head of the NRA, a large mining and construction corporation, and a literal pork producer. All received forgivable loans in the multiple millions of dollars.
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