Warmonger Rahm Emanuel Is an Abysmal Choice for US Ambassador

Remember the song about the cat? Well, the cat came back the very next day / Oh, the cat came back, they thought he was a goner but the cat came back / He just couldn’t stay away… Well, it won’t be official for a few weeks, but the word landed yesterday: Rahm Emanuel, among the most despised individuals within and without Democratic Party politics, will be named U.S. ambassador to Japan. The cat came back, and has apparently landed a key assignment in the foreign service.

University of California Pushes to Militarize and Expand Its Police Force

Politics & Elections India and Brazil’s COVID Crises Show We Must End the Fiction of Borders Human Rights 125 Democrats Say Military Aid to Israel Shouldn’t Depend on Human Rights Record Prisons & Policing University of California Pushes to Militarize and Expand Its Police Force Politics & Elections Sanders Accuses McConnell of Hypocrisy and Corruption in Scathing KY Speech Immigration DHS Touts Reuniting Just 4 of More Than 1,000 Separated Migrant Families Human Rights Over 10 Million People Could Become Homeless When Eviction Moratorium Ends As campus-based and grassroots movements against anti-Black and racist state violence continue to proliferate around the globe, university police and “campus safety” infrastructures and policies are rapidly losing their institutional legitimacy. Multiple national organizations, including Scholars for Social Justice and the American Studies Association, have endorsed the call for college and university campuses to join the national “Cops Off Campus” May 3, 2021, “Day of Refusal” and to organize with each other to contribute to solidarity activities throughout “Abolition May.” In addition to more than 30 University of California and California State University campuses, colleges and universities across the continent are participating in this month-long mobilization, including the University of Illinois, the University of Chicago, the City College of San Francisco, the University of Texas, Yale University, San Bernardino Valley College, the University of Virginia, the City University of New York, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Pennsylvania. The May 3 Day of Refusal is a one-day commitment to withdraw all labor and participation from college and university activities, including (virtual) classes, events/webinars, email correspondence and administrative meetings. This is the inaugural mobilization of Abolition May, which Cops Off Campus conceives as an open invitation to organize and participate in a wide variety of community-building actions, including abolitionist teach-ins, mutual aid drives for vulnerable people on and near campuses, autonomously organized town halls, banner postings, street theater, walking tours focusing on sites of past police and university violence, and the creation of memorials commemorating people killed by police. As this movement unfolds, the University of California (UC) administration is actively engaged in a repressive and reactionary response to the crises shaping the current historical moment. A series of proposed revisions to the systemwide UC police policy will expand the capacity for statewide police militarization (via “Systemwide Response Teams”), enhance UC Police Department (UCPD) surveillance technologies (by distributing body-worn cameras), and further weaponize the UCPD’s “Use of Force” policies. The implications of this administrative proposal are deeply concerning, not only because UC is among the largest public university systems in the world, but also because it has historically served as an experimental ground for the development of modern police technologies and protocols. Students, faculty, staff and surrounding communities are identifying and confronting the UC administration’s approach to police reform through vigorous abolitionist organizing. Central to this work is the embrace of rigorous shared analysis, education and planning that fundamentally challenge the institutional assumptions underlying police-dependent notions of campus safety. Alongside UC Student Association leader (and UC Riverside student) Naomi Waters, San Francisco State University student leader Ja’Corey Bowens and Laney College professor Kimberly King, I participated in the presentation of a clear abolitionist response to the ongoing problem of university and college police presence during the April 21 CalMatters/KQED (Los Angeles) event, “The Future of Campus Policing.” During this discussion, the four of us collectively reframed notions of “safety” and “security” by centering dynamic, decriminalizing, community-accountable infrastructures that deprovincialize college and university campuses, emphasizing how institutions like UC have historically had gentrifying, disastrously criminalizing effects on surrounding people and geographies. The resulting debate with the UC Regents Chair John Perez and UC Davis Police Chief Joseph Farrow exemplified the recent and remarkable shift in the content and parameters of critical public discussions of police power. Such debates are increasingly engaging with abolitionist frameworks and thus no longer accept the severe limitations of reformist scripts. While the impact of such invigorated debates on the UC administration’s policing policy is still to be determined, it seems clear that the campus police presence is steadily losing credibility. The administrative leadership can no longer presume consent to its definition of “campus safety.” Abolitionist security and safety measures directly confront and address the insecurities — housing, food, health, economic, and otherwise — that are not only created and reproduced by colleges and universities, but are also reinforced by their policed relation to surrounding (working-class and poor, unhoused, Black, Indigenous, Brown, undocumented, criminalized) communities. Abolitionist security and safety measures directly confront and address the insecurities — housing, food, health, economic, and otherwise. In contrast to this dynamic abolitionist approach, the UC administration proposes to reform, expand and further militarize its police force in the name of safety, peace and security. Three aspects of its plan are worth special attention, especially as they are likely to influence other institutions’ approaches to police reform: the creation of Systemwide Response Teams, deployment of body-worn cameras, and preemptive sanction of police violence and intimidation through enhanced use-of-force policies. On “Systemwide Response Teams (SRTs)” The “MISSION STATEMENT” of SRTs states, 1602. The mission of the University of California SRT is to maintain a trained team of sworn personnel with the skills and equipment readily available to assist local campuses to: (a) Facilitate and protect the Constitutional Rights of all persons; (b) Keep the peace and protect life and property; (c) Protect lawful activity while identifying and isolating unlawful behavior; (d) Provide dignitary protection; and (e) Provide training and other assistance when requested and appropriate. It is a shock to the conscience and ethical sensibility of many UC students, educators and workers that, after a year of worldwide uprisings against police violence, the UC administration is proposing the creation of a new, specialized police force that significantly expands the power, militarization and personnel of the existing UCPD. The SRT apparatus facilitates multicampus police mobilizations for the purpose of controlling and suppressing mass demonstrations on and near UC campuses. By way of example, the provisions cited above would allow (if not obligate) the UCPD to convene SRTs for the purposes of deterring, repressing, and/or neutralizing public protests of UC Regents’ meetings, while utilizing SRTs as a privileged form of paramilitary protection for visiting “dignitaries” (e.g. ambassadors and prominent state officials) representing governments that may be widely criticized for historical and ongoing atrocities, including apartheid, colonial occupation and genocidal violence. (This provision seems especially well-suited for targeting mobilizations of solidarity with Palestinian liberation that challenge the policies and asymmetrical violence of the Israeli state.) The paramilitary nature of the SRTs is crystallized in the proposed policy’s provision for the assignment of special personnel “to meet operational needs,” including “grenadiers.” According to the U.S. Army’s “Infantry Rifle Platoon and Squad” Field Manual, a grenadier is a soldier equipped with a grenade launcher for the purpose of “providing limited high-angle fire over ‘dead space.’” According to the University of Wisconsin police, the grenadier is an officer who has been trained in the use of “Chemical Agents/Munitions and their delivery systems.” Notably, the UC policy does not provide a clear definition of this personnel category, and the grenadier’s capacity to engage in tactics of campus-based counterinsurgency is left to speculation. On “Body Worn Audio/Video Systems (BWVs)” The proposed revision to UC police policy allows UCPD officers extraordinarily wide latitude to exercise “discretionary activation” when it comes to use of their body-worn video cameras (BWVs). They are given enough room for subjective interpretation of situations that they can essentially activate or deactivate their cameras anytime they wish, with rather loose requirements for post facto justification. Further, there is no clear consequence for failing to activate (or unjustifiably deactivating) BWVs, and there are also no apparent consequences for losing or “accidentally” erasing the BWV footage itself. By way of example, “1520. Modification, Alteration, or Deletion” states, “no employee shall modify, alter, or delete video or audio once recorded by the [body-worn] camera, except as authorized by Department policy,” yet there is no accompanying clarification of penalties if the policy is violated. Such toothless and deceiving policies effectively create superficial, bureaucratic approaches to “police accountability” that serve to expand the technology and judicial impunity of policing. Use of force protocols neither prevent nor curb anti-Black, racist, gendered and ableist police violence. It is well established that even when used according to prescribed guidelines, police-worn body cameras have never definitively reduced the frequency or intensity of police violence. Recorded footage is generally not accessible to the public, and police administrators (including officers themselves) are afforded significant privileges in handling the preservation and distribution of such recordings. (Keep in mind that the world learned of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of Minneapolis police through the video recording of a courageous 17-year-old minor, while former Officer Derek Chauvin’s body cam footage was not released until well into his criminal trial 10 months later.) Further, increased distribution of body-worn cameras contributes to the enhancement of criminalizing surveillance technologies, exacerbates privacy concerns, and often significantly increases police personnel and budgets under the guise of reform. On the “Use of Force Policy” The proposed revision to the UCPD’s Use of Force policy weaponizes fantastically broad definitions of “active resistance” and “assaultive resistance” to police authority. As defined in the proposed policy, these terms allow for extraordinarily generous interpretations of “resistance” that retroactively justify police force, potentially including deadly or maiming police violence; for example, the category of “active resistance” includes any observation of a policed subject’s “bracing, tensed muscles,” while the definition of “extreme agitation” — “agitation so severe that the person can be dangerous to themselves or others” — is precisely the rationale used to justify numerous anti-Black police killings, including Ma’Khia Bryant, Laquan McDonald, and many others. Similarly, the definition of “non-compliance” allows police the widest possible latitude to make subjective judgments of “physical gestures, stances, and observable mannerisms.” Such inferences are entirely saturated by the ideological, symbolic and historical forces of anti-Blackness, racism, sexism, gender normativity, ableism and ageism. The Use of Force policy is thus a potentially devastating weapon of repression, intimidation and criminalization because the scope of its implementation remains almost entirely determined by the perceptions of police officers themselves. Section 803 states: “reasonableness of force will be judged from the perspective of an objectively reasonable officer in the same situation, based on the circumstances perceived by the officer at the time.” (Emphasis added.) It is necessary to raise fundamental questions over the institutional assumptions that enable and allegedly necessitate such policies, which are usually framed by administrators as existing for the protection of those who are being policed. Use of force protocols neither prevent nor curb anti-Black, racist, gendered and ableist police violence. To the contrary, these policies establish the bureaucratic and legal premises for ensuring that police threat, harm and fatality remain central to “campus safety” infrastructures. Abolishing Normalized Institutional Violence While there are other aspects of the University of California’s proposed policy that call for critical examination, these few examples reflect the need to collectively challenge the normalized conditions of institutional violence that crystallize in the enduring presence of the UC police force. The UCPD’s enormous infrastructure of privilege and power (budgetary, juridical, and otherwise) has toxified one of the world’s largest public universities for well over half a century. At a moment in which people worldwide are questioning the institution of policing, it is both possible and necessary to challenge the very existence of police on college and university campuses. Copyright © Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.

Facebook Board Announces Trump Remains Banned. Trump Starts His Own “Platform.”

Prisons & Policing Jailers Tortured and Murdered Marvin Scott III, Family Says After Viewing Video Politics & Elections A New Wave of Jim Crow Laws Is Here. Here’s What You Need to Know. Politics & Elections Facebook Board Announces Trump Remains Banned. Trump Starts His Own “Platform.” Immigration Biden’s U-Turn on Refugees Aligns With Voter Support for Pro-Immigrant Policies Economy & Labor Amazon Is Dictating Personal Hygiene, Nail Length of Contract Drivers Politics & Elections Judge Says DOJ Memo on Barr’s Decision Not to Charge Trump Must Be Released “So shines a good deed in a weary world,” said Willy Wonka when confronted with an unexpected kindness. The candy master may have had similar words about today’s decision by Facebook’s new 20-person “Oversight Board.” For the time being at least, the silence will continue to reign, and a weary world sighs in palpable relief. “The Board has upheld Facebook’s decision on January 7, 2021, to restrict then-President Donald Trump’s access to posting content on his Facebook page and Instagram account,” the board said in a much-anticipated statement this morning. The decision surprised many, given Facebook’s rightward turn under the influence of Joel Kaplan, a former George W. Bush White House official who currently runs the social media giant’s powerful Washington, D.C. office. Time and again during the Trump administration, Facebook scrambled like a frog on a hot plate to rewire its rules in a way that made Trump’s gruesomely unacceptable proclamations palatable to the algorithms that run the site. Color me among the surprised; I would have lost a bet on this one. “Facebook has constrained its efforts against false and misleading news, adopted a policy explicitly allowing politicians to lie, and even altered its news feed algorithm to neutralize claims that it was biased against conservative publishers,” reports The Washington Post. “And as Trump grew in power, the fear of his wrath pushed Facebook into more deferential behavior toward its growing number of right-leaning users, tilting the balance of news people see on the network, according to the current and former employees.” Ultimately, Trump ran out of running room on January 6 of this year, when he went wild on Facebook as his supporters smashed their way into the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. The ban was handed down the next day. The board’s decision seemed to include a not-so-subtle scold aimed directly at Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg: However, it was not appropriate for Facebook to impose the indeterminate and standardless penalty of indefinite suspension. Facebook’s normal penalties include removing the violating content, imposing a time-bound period of suspension, or permanently disabling the page and account. The Board insists that Facebook review this matter to determine and justify a proportionate response that is consistent with the rules that are applied to other users of its platform. Facebook must complete its review of this matter within six months of the date of this decision. The Board also made policy recommendations for Facebook to implement in developing clear, necessary, and proportionate policies that promote public safety and respect freedom of expression. For the Trump camp, at least in the six-month short term, the board’s decision is a bigly expensive deal. Beyond the immediate contact with the public provided by social media platforms, Facebook has been a dual engine for Trump: The spreading of the kind of incendiary propaganda and misinformation that is devoured by his base, combined with a massive fundraising pool. “And while GOP operatives are gaming out just what it would mean to give back the former president a powerful media bullhorn, the real impact, they say, will be seen in dollar signs,” Politico reported a day before the decision was handed down. “A return to Facebook would open major fundraising spigots that further cement Trump’s hold on the Republican Party, protecting his massive grassroots donor network from potential rivals.” As corporate titans, politicians, the media and the rest of us wrestle with the concept of free speech in the immediacy of a wired world, Donald Trump will remain mostly muzzled down in Florida for the time being. Perhaps in anticipation of the board’s decision — or maybe just to stick a nyah-nyah-I-don’t-need-you thumb in Facebook’s eye — Trump has launched what he calls a “communications platform” that will be “a place to speak freely and safely.” In fact, it’s just a basic training-wheels blog, and a pretty shabby one at that. Trump is allowed to natter on at any length he wishes; the only way for readers to speak “freely and safely” is by clicking any of the ubiquitous donation buttons. If the thing had come with the ancient AOL login sound, I would not be surprised. Reaction from the Trump camp was swift. “If you’re surprised by Facebook banning President Trump, you haven’t been paying attention,” whined former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. “It’s just the latest page in the book of big tech coming after conservatives. And they won’t stop. Which means it’s past time to hold them accountable. Break them up.” The Facebook Board’s decision/non-decision adds another layer of complexity to the debate over free speech in the age of social media and the massive corporations that control them. Trump deserved to be banned for his January 6 comments, which cheered on the violent sacking of the Capitol building that resulted in multiple deaths and injuries. The issues of where to draw that line and who gets to draw it remain unresolved. The board has punted to Zuckerberg, and the possible future of online free speech now sits in his hands. This is an uncomfortable thought, to put it lightly. The limits of free speech remain among the most complicated issues in American jurisprudence, especially in the technological wonderland of the 21st century. The search for some form of standardized rules and strictures has been ongoing since the founding of the nation. In 1919, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes coined the famous free speech metric, “falsely shouting fire in a crowded theater.” For decades, that has served as a simple yardstick for the limits of speech. As with all issues of speech, however, the matter is not as straightforward as it seems. The case that inspired Holmes’s iconic line, Schneck vs. United States, actually stands as one of the most viciously anti-speech decisions the court has ever handed down. Charles Schneck, a socialist, was charged with violating the 1917 Espionage Act for handing out pamphlets condemning the draft during World War I. Holmes’s “fire,” in short, was an activist protesting a war. This garbage anti-speech standard stood until it was partially overturned by the landmark Brandenberg v. Ohio decision in 1969, some 50 years later and in the middle of yet another war. Remember this the next time you see that “fire in a crowded theater” line. It sounds entirely straightforward, pithy even, yet its history is one of suppression and militaristic fearmongering. It will serve no use for the social media giants trying to figure out where to draw the line. Fire in a theater, indeed. Moreover, what we have here in the Facebook Board’s decision is a matter of ethics, and not an actual legal statement. Bluntly, nobody has a “right” to a Facebook account, and free speech laws apply as protections from state and federal actions, not corporate decisions. The board has no inherent legal power, and these questions of legality will remain in place until a court has a flesh-and-blood case it can rule on, which would set the legal precedent going forward. As corporate titans, politicians, the media and the rest of us wrestle with the concept of free speech in the immediacy of a wired world, Donald Trump will remain mostly muzzled down in Florida for the time being. This is nothing but a stupendous public good, as he has not backed off one inch from his championing of the Capitol attackers and his ruinous lies about a stolen election. Trump still largely controls the Republican Party, and has a massive civilian following at his back. Were he at the bottom of a well, he would still retain the power to blow up the news cycle if he so chose, and could raise a million dollars an hour while he was at it. The board’s decision changes none of this, and answers no larger questions. It will remain quieter around here, though, and for now that will have to do. Copyright © Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.

Biden Breaks Campaign Promise, Approves Arms Sale to Saudi Arabia

Practically nothing seems to get in the way of war -- and specifically, the sale of U.S. war weapons abroad.

New COVID Variants Threaten to Make Pandemic Permanent

Environment & Health New COVID Variants Threaten to Make Pandemic Permanent Economy & Labor COVID Relief Packages Dramatically Reduced Poverty. They Should Be Permanent. Economy & Labor Predatory Banks at Walmarts Made Over 100 Percent of Profits From Overdraft Fees Environment & Health Biden to Set Goal for Half of All Vehicle Sales to Be Electric by 2030 Environment & Health MO Coroner Says He Alters Death Certificates If Families Dislike COVID Inclusion Environment & Health Biden Made Big Compromises on Climate — and Movements That Backed Him Are Livid My work days move to the sound of McCoy Tyner’s mastery pouring out of the Pandora app on the television. Every so often, and always against my better judgment, I’ll flip to one of the alphabet soup “news” networks to get an update on how screwed we are. They seldom disappoint, which is to say they always do, and I flee back to the piano of the gods at speed. Lately, however, those forays to CNN or MSNBC have been fraught with a special sort of gall. In between the litany of doom that is the average break-to-break broadcast, they’ve been showing wall to wall commercials congratulating viewers on COVID being over. “It’s been a long year, but now that things are getting back to normal…” intones one, followed by another announcing “We made it!” The imagery is all sunrises and maskless couples noshing pasta in crowded restaurants, everyone wreathed in smiles and presumably vaccinated… …and then the broadcast begins again: “Good morning, I’m Fippy Fuzznerf sitting in for Ankles McGee, and here are our top stories. There were more than 96,000 new cases of COVID-19 recorded yesterday alone, a two-week increase of 131 percent. Around the world, known cases of COVID have surpassed 4 million infections. Scientists credit the dramatic infection spike in this country to the national dominance of the highly contagious Delta variant, and to the fact that millions of Americans still refuse to accept vaccination. Leading COVID expert Anthony Fauci anticipates we may see as many as 200,000 new infections per day until this new spike recedes, or until enough people have gotten vaccinated. We’ll be right back after these messages.” “…Now that the pandemic is over, isn’t it time to start planning your special vacation at last? At BookYourCrap.com, we have all the tools you need to organize the trip you’ve been dreaming about for a year…” Sigh. Thanks to the incredible bungling of this crisis for vital months by the Trump administration, that last horse appears to have left the barn. “Early in the pandemic, when vaccines for the coronavirus were still just a glimmer on the horizon, the term ‘herd immunity’ came to signify the endgame: the point when enough Americans would be protected from the virus so we could be rid of the pathogen and reclaim our lives,” reports The New York Times. “Now, more than half of adults in the United States have been inoculated with at least one dose of a vaccine. But daily vaccination rates are slipping, and there is widespread consensus among scientists and public health experts that the herd immunity threshold is not attainable — at least not in the foreseeable future, and perhaps not ever.” There were more than 96,000 new cases of COVID-19 recorded yesterday alone, a two-week increase of 131 percent. Of course, it is not all gloom and shadows at this juncture. The number of people dying from COVID has plummeted, thanks almost entirely to the vaccines. Vaccination rates are ever so incrementally on the rise. Those who are vaccinated currently face a very low chance of enduring a virus “breakthrough” which infects them, and those who do become infected have a much, much lower chance of hospitalization. The vaccines are not seamless, a small percentage of people who got the shot(s) are still getting damn sick, but the drear finality of mass death at the end of a ventilator tube has receded dramatically for the time being. If that were the whole story, I would just put on my mask and bend my shoulder to the task of convincing as many people as possible to get vaccinated. I will still do so every single day, but there are weevils in this loaf that threaten to ruin all the progress we have made so far. Delta, you see, is not the only variant. New ones — specifically named Epsilon and Lambda — have emerged, and early research indicates these new breeds of COVID might be far more effective at breaching our vaccine defenses than Delta. “The Epsilon and Lambda variants of COVID-19 are ‘variants of interest,’ according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and early studies show they have developed a resistance to vaccines,” reports NJ.com. “Japanese researchers found the Lambda variant, which was initially discovered in Peru and is now spreading throughout South America, is highly transmissible and more resistant to vaccines than the initial COVID-19 strain…. Meanwhile, the Epsilon variant that was initially discovered in California in 2020 is spreading in Pakistan and is proving to be resistant to vaccines, according to researchers.” The current national conversation on COVID is not broad enough. It is essential to get millions more vaccinated — it’s an absolute top priority — but we must also recognize that we’ve let this thing burn for so long that it appears to be on the edge of evolving beyond our defenses. A virus evolves within its host at an astonishing rate. Every new host gives COVID a chance to concoct a variant with the ability to turn our vaccines into white wine spritzer, and as noted, there were almost 100,000 new infections yesterday in this country alone. The variant that partly defies our vaccines may have already emerged in the form of Epsilon or Lambda, but the research on those two has only begun. The Law of Large Numbers strongly suggests the emergence of a more strongly vaccine-resistant variant is going to happen sooner or later, and thanks to our bungled response for the first year of the crisis — and to the ongoing intransigence of millions who disdain science because it makes Donald Trump look bad — the rise of such a circumstance is all but inevitable. The TV commercials are peddling an alluring fiction, but the facts are difficult to dispute: This thing is not over, and the way matters are going, it may never be over. The wolf is through the door, and the feeding is fine indeed. Copyright © Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.

COVID Isn’t Over — the US Must Do More to Combat It Worldwide

I was asked to take my mask off for the first time yesterday. Well, that’s not quite accurate. Better to say I was invited to remove my mask when I popped into my local bodega (yes, we have bodegas in New Hampshire). The counterman was all smiles when he said it, maskless himself. The store was empty and I didn’t want to seem rude, so off it came… and it felt for all the world like I was standing there without pants.

Biden Tried to Absolve Himself for Afghanistan Aftermath — But He Voted for War

Former president George W. Bush recently took a break from painting portraits of the wounded soldiers he fed into the maw of dual wars 20 years ago to complain about the end of one of those wars. In a rare interview, given to German news agency Deutsche Welle (DW), Bush had himself a nice little sad about the fact that the Biden administration was finally shutting down U.S. military involvement in the two-decade bottomless pit that was, and will ever be, his Afghanistan conflict.

No, Joe Manchin, Eliminating the Filibuster Won’t Lead to “Serious Problems”

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) recently argued that eliminating the filibuster would lead to “serious problems.” According to Manchin, “the Senate is different” than the House, yet “for some reason, people are trying to make the Senate operate the same as the House,” even though “our founding fathers never intended that.” First of all, eliminating the filibuster will not lead to serious problems. Most U.S. states and most democratic countries around the world don’t allow for legislation to be filibustered. Many such states and countries function just fine. Giving the minority party veto power over widely supported legislation is unnecessary when there are other strong checks and balances in place.

The UK Is Embarking on Largest Military Spending Hike Since the Cold War

Late last year, with the pandemic in full, brutal swing, Boris Johnson’s Conservative government in the U.K. announced a nearly 17 billion pound (what was then $21.9 billion) increase in military spending. The increase, spread over four years, represented the largest hike in “defense” investments since the end of the Cold War, and, while it was a tiny fraction of what the U.S. spends annually on defense, made clear Britain’s ambition to be seen as a global military superpower once more. In an era of escalating tensions between a U.S.-led NATO and Russia, and during a period in which economic competition between China and the West is increasingly morphing into a high-stakes arms race, Britain’s move to ramp up military spending made clear that the U.K. won’t be sitting out these new global struggles.

On Juneteenth, Let’s Celebrate Momentum of a Growing Racial Justice Movement

“All slaves are free,” Union troops shouted. On June 19, 1865, they read Order No. 3, written by Gen. Gordon Granger to the enslaved people in Galveston, Texas. Cheering crowds followed the soldiers. In the war’s aftermath, ex-Confederates attacked Blacks for celebrating freedom, but joy was stronger than fear. The holiday of Juneteenth began. One hundred and fifty-six years later, Juneteenth — which has for decades been celebrated through family gatherings and grassroots political organizing — has now been designated by the U.S. Senate as the 11th federal holiday, in addition to being observed as a state holiday by 47 states.