BIDEN PLAYS IT SAFE
Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden has joined a local bishop, a senior White House official, and most of polite society in condemning Donald Trump for clearing out peaceful protesters with the help of rubber bullets and tear gas in order to hold a big bible outside St John’s Church.
After Trump threatened to bring in the army — a move that irked even the Pentagon — the ABC reports that Biden has accused the president of being part of the problem and “consumed with his blinding ego,” while pledging not to “fan the flames of hate if elected president and instead seek to heal the racial wounds that have long plagued” the country.
In some fresh horrors from the US:
- Austin police have shot three protesters with “less lethal” ammunition. These protesters included a pregnant woman, who was shot in the abdomen, and a man currently in critical condition.
- Seattle police deployed pepper spray and fireworks on a crowd in what ended up looking like a war zone. Arkansas police were filmed doing much to the same to kneeling protesters.
- Four Missouri police officers have been treated for non-life-threatening injuries after being shot by as-yet-unidentified gunfire. An officer has also been shot near the Las Vegas Strip.
- Military helicopters were filmed by a New York Times journalist flying low enough around DC to kick up dust and break tree branches.
- LA police attempted to arrest the black owners of a store who had requested help following a looting.
Conversely, The Daily Beast reports that groups of white men in Philadelphia armed with bats and guns are yet to be bothered.
WHAT DOES GOVERNMENT VALUE? For a good demonstration of America’s funding priorities, compare some of the shiny batons and shields in Trump’s photo-op to the literal trash bags nurses and doctors have been forced to wear during COVID-19.
US TECHNICALLY RESPONDS TO ASSAULT OF AUSSIE JOURNOS
As The Sydney Morning Herald reports, US Ambassador to Australia Arthur B Culvahouse Jr has issued a fairly generic statement on press freedom after DC police were filmed assaulting Channel Seven journalists outside the White House.
ABC America filmed cops hitting cameraman Tim Myers with a riot shield before punching him in the face, while reporter Amelia Brace was hit with a baton.
SOLIDARITY FOREVER: In a more tangible response to the instances of police violence, Business Insider reports that New York and Minneapolis bus drivers, with union support, have refused to transport police and arrested protesters.
FAR FROM A US PROBLEM
On the home front, the ABC reports that NSW police is investigating one of its own officers after he was filmed kicking the legs out of an Indigenous teenager.
The news comes as Nine reports that over a thousand people marched in Sydney last night ahead of even more protests this weekend, while CNN lists a number of other solidarity protests across countries including New Zealand, England, Mexico, Syria and more. Just remember to wear your COVID-19 masks, comrades!
ALMOST AS BAD AS THAT AFR EDITORIAL: In some incredible timing, the Victorian government yesterday introduced legislation expanding the deployment of Protective Services Officers from train stations to shopping centres, sporting precincts and other highly populated areas.
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FALLOUT ON THE HORIZON
As the Coalition faces pressure to include social housing under a homebuyer-focused construction scheme worth just under $1 billion, The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the Community Housing Industry Association and National Shelter will today release modelling suggesting a four-year building program of 30,000 homes could create up to 18,000 full-time jobs per year.
The news comes as the Morrison government considers the financial fallout across several industries with The Australian ($) reporting that Education Minister Dan Tehan will today stare down universities calling for urgent support. The Coalition will next week unveil an arts and entertainment package, and could announce the scaling back of free childcare by Friday.
NSW HITS A SNAG: According to the SMH, the Labor and conservative Senate crossbenchers have joined forces to block the Berejiklian government’s attempt to freeze public sector wages.
STATE WRAP: QUEENSLAND’S VIRTUAL MABO DAY CELEBRATIONS
- Virtual and live-streamed events will be held across Queensland today to celebrate Mabo Day, a full list of which can be found on the official Facebook page.
- The Tasmanian government will bring forward Stage Two restrictions from 3pm Friday June 5, to allow intrastate travel, more businesses to reopen, and gathering limits of 10 for households, 20 for indoor/outdoor events, and 40 for seated table service at cafes etc.
- The ABC reports that NSW will reopen gyms from June 13, with facilities to keep a (new) register of every visitor.
- Finally, with Winter upon us, South Australia, Queensland and Tasmania all posted updates about campgrounds reopening in time for the upcoming Queen’s Birthday long weekend.
PS: Winter, sadly, also means an increased risk of airborne transmission: a new University of Sydney study ($) found a 1% decrease in humidity could lift the number of COVID-19 cases by 6%.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
Instead of standing there and teaching a cop when there’s an unarmed person comin’ at ’em, with a knife or something, to shoot ’em in the leg instead of the heart is a very different thing.
Sure, it might not be Bernie Sanders’ idea of criminal justice reform — or even really how guns work — but the presumptive Democratic nominee still offers America a strong alternative to police killings: police maimings.
“What’s new is Trump’s real time dispersal of peaceful protesters outside the White House as he speaks, using federal police, not DC locals. Even LBJ, Nixon and Reagan didn’t do that.
“With the tear gas comes a whiff of the junta. Trump aspires to be the sort of strongman the US spent decades setting up South of ze border, and the protests appear to have a different air to the Jeffersonian upsurge of previous uprisings.”
“We should know by now that when the government goes after industry superannuation funds, the victims are likely to be ordinary Australians and the rival retail super funds sector — once upon a time controlled by the big banks, until the banking royal commission forced them to flee the wealth management sector in disgrace.”
“You can see how long these battles have taken in the faces of the women who were on the front line.
“A few days before abortion was decriminalised in Queensland in October 2018, Beryl Holmes stood, supported by a cane, on the steps outside state parliament house for a rally in support of the bill. She had been fighting for this for almost 50 years.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Australia had its own George Floyd moment, only it passed without international outrage — Isabella Higgins (ABC): “The deep anguish felt after the death of George Floyd is something Indigenous communities understand all too well, except here, they are still waiting for their moment of international reckoning. The response in the United States to the death has been enormous, thousands taking to the streets to protest against the death of black men in the custody of white police officers.”
A perfect storm is exposing Donald Trump and US frailties ($) — Paul Kelly (The Australian): “The most powerful nation on Earth is being brought undone from within by its pent-up governance and moral failures. The crisis has multiple triggers — abuse of police power, entrenched disadvantage of black Americans, mounting anger in American hearts, cultural schisms across the nation and political polarisation driven by Donald Trump’s populism and Democrat progressivism.”
ABC’s QandA: Old fossils versus smart advocates of clean energy transition — Giles Parkinson (RenewEconomy): “This must have been a set-up. Two middle aged men and three younger women arguing the toss on climate change and energy policies on the ABC’s Q&A program. Two old fossils putting the case for dirty, old, and incumbent technologies. Three smart women putting forward the environmental, economic and engineering case for a clean energy transition.”
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WHAT’S ON TODAY
Today is Mabo Day, the 28th anniversary of Eddie Mabo’s High Court win for Native Title rights and dismissal of “terra nullius” as a legislative principle.