Trump blocked $25 billion for COVID-19 testing and contact tracing: Over the weekend the President interrupted a debate among Congressional Republicans over how much aid to deny the country and blocked a $25 billion dollar proposal to fund testing and contact tracing programs as the pandemic continues to surge, according to the New York Times. In the next few days, the GOP plans to offer a $1 trillion package with no extended unemployment benefits, no stimulus check, a pittance for states and local governments, and legal immunity for reopening schools and businesses.
Meanwhile the Dems have a $3 trillion package in mind, with another round of checks, extended benefits, and more money for states to deal with gaping budget holes, according to Politico.
Portland protests for the 52nd day in a row: And the crowds are bigger than ever, thanks to the federal and local government's brutal escalation of violence. Sunday night, a line of moms led the demonstrations outside the federal courthouse, but that didn't stop the cops from attempting to disperse protesters with tear gas and rubber bullets. Here's The Mercury on Saturday's protests. And here's some coverage from Sunday:
Anti-ICE and Black Lives Matter protests continue apace: Sunday afternoon Seattle police deployed blast balls and pepper spray against protesters demonstrating at the West Precinct in South Lake Union. Police arrested two people; one for assault, another for theft. Fireworks sent one officer to Harborview according to the Seattle Police Department.
The protest started at Westlake and ended on Capitol Hill, with some protesters smashing windows and tagging buildings along the way. Public buildings with broken windows include the William Kenzo Nakamura United States Courthouse on 5th Ave, the Seattle Municipal Court, Seattle Police Headquarters, the West Precinct, and the East Precinct. Officers claim someone threw a "pyrotechnic device...that ignited a small fire" into the lobby of the East Precinct. That device appears to have been a firework:
This is the dramatic moment when a protester threw an incendiary device into the lobby of Seattle Police's East precinct building. You'll also bear witness to the fire started by the explosion, just as Seattle Police claim. Terrifying.
Protesters have gone too far this time. 😟 pic.twitter.com/OonAcDdhDv
— Spek the Lawless (@spekulation) July 20, 2020
Protesters also smashed windows and tagged the Starbucks Reserve on Pike St., the Walgreens on Broadway and Pike, the AmazonGO on Pike, and the Starbucks on Denny and Broadway, where a small basket appeared to be lit on fire inside the building. Activists and Starbucks employees have been marching on Starbucks stores for the last couple days, according to the South Seattle Emerald and the Seattle PI, for "donating to the Seattle Police Foundation," a booster club for cops. At around 6:00 p.m., the group convened at the Bobby Morris Playfield and decided to disperse. Another protest is planned on the Ave in the University District at 7:00 p.m. today.
As always, if you need it: Here's The Stranger's very good "Beginner's Guide to Targeted Property Destruction."
"We're reigniting the movement," said Nate, who helped lead the protesters the Seattle Police Department kettled, tear-gassed, and blast-balled for 10 days at 11th and Pine. She dismissed Mayor Jenny Durkan's gestures to "reimagine" policing, and said waiting until next year to defund the police would be unacceptable. "They think they have all the power, and I'm showing the people that we have the power. They are the few, we are the many. They forgot that, and we need to remind them," she said.
"They respect property, not people," Nate went on to say, when I asked about the damage to windows.
As for the people who live in the apartments above the Starbucks where a fire was lit? "My people are being slaughtered in the streets," Nate said. "They can get over it, or get out of their house and join us in the streets."
A guy sweeping up glass outside the Starbucks on Denny told me he works in that location and lives five minutes away. When he saw the broken windows on social media, he thought "the least I could do was grab a broom and sweep the glass away from pedestrians." This employee, who didn't want me to use his name for fear of retaliation from his boss, said he feels the broken glass "perverts the overall message" of groups such as Black Lives Matter. "Now you'll have this stuff associated with it, and it's going to dilute the message," he said. "Even if [Starbucks] did contribute to things that hurt society by funding aspects of the police department that would cause harm, is this really the answer to that?"
Seattle Police Officers Guild president Mike Solan said protesters engaged in "domestic terrorism:"
https://t.co/ovf1FrGRwJ #DomesticTerrorism enveloped #Seattle today & held our reasonable #IgnoredMajority of citizens hostage. With a dozen injured, @SPOG1952 members still protected our community. Good will win & prevail over evil. #Marxism #HoldTheLine🇺🇸
— Mike Solan (@realmikesolan) July 20, 2020
Department of Homeland Security acting director Ken Cuccinelli did not follow the Seattle City Council races closely:
This is a dramatic point. These anarchist are so far left, that they don’t think Amazon is far enough left, and so they are attacking it. One of the most important businesses in Seattle. https://t.co/plGxqN4ZWO
— Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli (@HomelandKen) July 20, 2020
Another group of protesters Sunday marched to the home of Councilmember Debora Juarez, who has not pledged to support defunding SPD by 50%, according to King 5.
At a prayer vigil Sunday, signs featured the names of people killed by Seattle police: SPD Chief Carmen Best appeared at the vigil as well. "Any death is a tragedy," she said, according to the Seattle Times.
In March, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) started targeting sanctuary cities for increased, intense "enforcement," according to the New York Times. The agency deployed BORTAC, the same dorks with no crowd management training who appear to beating up Navy veterans in Portland, to conduct "24-hour-a-day surveillance operations around the homes and workplaces of undocumented immigrants" and "to deploy hundreds of additional officers in unmarked cars in the coming weeks to increase arrests in cities where local law enforcement agencies do not cooperate with federal immigration enforcement." Seattle is a sanctuary city; Washington is a sanctuary state.
Nearly 3,000 ICE detainees have tested positive for COVID-19: And at least two have died with the virus in U.S. custody, according to the Washington Post.
Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County holds #StrikeforBlackLives today: A local BLM chapter and a couple big health care unions (SEIU 775 and SEIU 1199NW) have planned actions from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. all over the city. They're calling for officials to declare racism a public health crisis in Washington, end youth incarceration, defund the police, end cash bail, stop the sweeps, end fare enforcement on Sound Transit and King County Metro, and provide PPE and testing for the incarcerated, among other things.
We #StrikeforBlackLives. Your first action: Demand @GovInslee and @WaDeptHealth Declare Racism a Public Health Crisis. We’ve provided their contact information on our website. Act now. https://t.co/UH3txeGyQ2 #StrikeforBlackLives pic.twitter.com/bq4zuuUkUU
— BlackLivesSeattleKC (@BLMSeattleKC) July 20, 2020
Local coronavirus numbers still looking bad: "In Washington, 920 new cases were recorded Saturday, bringing the total in the state to 46,946 cases. Three more people died from COVID-19, with the total toll reaching 1,447," reports the Seattle Times.
The University of Oxford says its vaccine won't kill people: "The results of the Phase I/II trial published today in the scientific journal, The Lancet, indicate no early safety concerns and induces strong immune responses in both parts of the immune system," says the scientists at Oxford and AstraZeneca. There are some side-effects, though. "70% of people on the trial developed either fever or headache," reports the BBC. It's also important to note that "the study cannot show whether the vaccine can either prevent people from becoming ill or even lessen their symptoms of Covid-19," and that there's plenty of more work yet to be done.
"There's still no clear plan." Russell Wilson and other NFL players on Sunday said they are on concerned the NFL is not taking sufficient safety precautions ahead of training camp in two weeks, reports KIRO.
Ethan Stowell vs. insurance company: Stowell is suing Fireman's Fund Insurance Company for refusing to cover business income claims. The revenue generated from takeout is just 20% of the restaurant group's former revenue, and Stowell's company has lost at least $1.5 million so far, according to KIRO.
Animals: A pod of orcas was harassed by more than two dozen boaters last week, witnesses told The News Tribune, including one person on a jet ski who drove circles around the whales. "They were surrounded by boats," a Gig Harbor resident told TNT. She suspects because the boaters were "getting their dumb Facebook video or whatever they're trying to do."