Here's your daily roundup of all the latest local and national news. (Like our coverage? Please consider donating to the Mercury to keep it comin'!)
• First things first: This amazing essay entitled "Can White Portland’s Fragility Handle a Megaquake?" by the great Tiara Darnell is the must-read of the day, and probably the year. DO NOT MISS IT.
• Today marks a new record of 278 additional coronavirus cases in Oregon since yesterday. Two new deaths have been added, for a total of 182. The top two counties for new infections is Multnomah at 42, and Union county with a shocking 119 new cases. (Many of yesterday's cases were linked to Union County's Lighthouse United Pentecostal Church which has been holding services for hundreds even though the county is still in Phase 1.)
• Last night was the 19th consecutive day of protests against police brutality and racism in downtown Portland. The protest was a shift from previous nights for two reasons: The group that normally meets at Revolution Hall and marches around the eastside joined protesters downtown, and the Justice Center was down one of its two fences. What didn’t change was the officer’s response to protesters. After throwing a few bottles and other items over the remaining fence at officers, a crowd of 500 demonstrators were hit with rubber bullets and pepper balls. One person was hit in the head, and needed urgent medical attention. The night ended after a fire was ignited (and extinguished) in front of Chipotle and armored officers bum-rushed journalists, youth, and other demonstrators out of public spaces. Another night of cops inflicting terror in downtown Portland.
• Portland Police in their zeal to squash protests have been violating the first amendment rights of local journalists and assaulting them as well.
• This morning Gov. Kate Brown announced a special session for the Oregon legislature in which lawmakers will address the coronavirus spike and potential legislation for police accountability.
• Another must-read: If you’ve participated in any of the Portland protests in the last two and a half weeks, there’s a decent chance you’ve heard Lilith Sinclair’s voice through a megaphone. For Queer Week, our Blair Stenvick interviewed the activist about the current protests, the power that comes from working for abolition, and how being nonbinary shapes their activism.
• When people like this are the ones who don't like what you did, you probably did a very good thing.
IN NATIONAL NEWS:
• Like Oregon, Florida broke its new coronavirus cases record as well. And though it's certainly not a competition, Oregon had a concerning 278 new cases, while Florida can claim a whopping 2,783 new infections.
• Today in "Trump's lackey Bill Barr hard at work": "Justice Department seeks court order to block release of book by former national security adviser John Bolton."
• In the past two weeks, two Black men were found hanging from trees in two different California cities, located an hour apart. Both deaths were immediately ruled as suicides, and after two weeks worth of calls to further investigate the highly suspicious deaths, the FBI has finally decided to intervene and examine both cases.
The worst part about this is I did the math & this is about the same rate police kill people ON AVERAGE. Police are being criticized worldwide for their use of force, & the death rate has NOT CHANGED. They hear you loud & clear, they’re just not gonna do shit about it themselves. https://t.co/pudkS7LIf0— nat “cops break laws to terrorize/intimidate” puff (@LeftAtLondon) June 16, 2020
• Hopefully you weren't expecting much out of our idiot president's slurred, wobbly attempt at social grandstanding this morning, as he announced an executive order focused on "police reform," whose major solutions are "spend more money on training" and "Cops shouldn't do the choke hold unless they think they're in danger." Annnnnnd that's about it. "Do what you were doing already, just remember to say 'I was scared' after you do it." Read the text of the order here.
The president’s use of victims’ families as a backdrop while he offered meager reforms and hollow rhetoric was insulting.— ACLU (@ACLU) June 16, 2020
The only real solution right now is to divest from police, shrinking their presence in the everyday lives of Black communities. https://t.co/zgIKzQ4J07
• Twitter: Directly responsible for the popularization and spread of our idiot president's demented blurtings with almost zero oversight or repercussion. TikTok: Home to a drive to reserve tickets to his irresponsible hate-fest of a re-election rally so that his actual followers can't get in.
• Doctors and scientists in the UK believe they've found the first truly effective treatment for COVID-19, a "cheap as chips" steroid that studies showed to have reduced the risk of death in patients on ventilators by one-third. Stay tuned for the update on this story, where some Shkreli-esque troll snaps up exclusive US rights to the medication and makes sure it's "cheap as cars" for you and your loved ones.
• New Zealand had no new cases of COVID-19, and had even publicly declared the virus to have been "eradicated" in their country. Note that we're using the past tense: Two new cases of COVID-19 were announced today, thanks to two tourists from the UK who visited recently, and are now isolated in the Wellington region.
• House Democrats announced their intention to vote next week on a bill that would make Washington D.C. the country's 51st state. The Republican-controlled Senate is expected to either sit on the bill indefinitely or outright reject it, because Republicans have a long and storied history of ensuring the disenfranchisement of Black people and aren't keen on adding two new Senate seats and one new House seat that they'll never have a chance in hell—even through cheating and gerrymandering—of turning red.
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• And finally, we like this argument.
Eating a hot dog and arguing with the tv pic.twitter.com/0VbrhHFvgI— daniel #cancelrent🌹🐌 (@escargotpro_) June 13, 2020