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Senate Poised to Pass Huge Industrial Policy Bill to Counter China

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“The commercial and military distinction is eroded in China’s case,” said Senator Chris Coons, a Delaware Democrat who co-sponsored several bills that have been folded into the legislation. In China, “almost all the big companies are elements of state power and tightly connected to the central government, which largely has financed their dramatic rise.”

What is most striking about the legislation is the degree to which the projects that the bill funds closely parallel those in China’s “Made in China 2025” program, which funnels huge government spending into technologies where the country is seeking to be independent of outside suppliers. The Chinese government announced its initiative six years ago.

The result, many experts say, is that the bill may accelerate the decoupling of the world’s largest and second-largest economies, even as each worries about how dependent it is on the other. Beijing fears that it will be reliant for years on foreign sources for the most advanced chips and cutting-edge software; Washington has the mirror-image worry that China’s dominance in 5G technology will give Beijing the ability to cut off American telecommunications.

The shift to limit the intertwining of the two economies may also be sped by steps like the one President Biden took on Thursday, when he issued an executive order barring Americans from investing in Chinese businesses that support China’s military, or that manufacture surveillance technology used in ethnic or religious repression.

While some Republicans have balked at the bill’s costs — a $52 billion subsidy program for the country’s semiconductor firms and another $195 billion in scientific research and development — most are still signing on. And that has created concerns that the legislation, a classic Washington mash-up of other bills that has grown to more than 2,400 pages, may be longer on cash than real strategy.

Mr. Schumer rejected that contention in the interview.

“When the government invests in pure forms of research, down the road it creates millions of jobs,” he said, citing investments in the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

His Republican co-sponsor, Senator Todd Young of Indiana, argues that the ideological orthodoxies of his party have been swept away by the realities of how China funds its “national champions” like Huawei, the telecommunications giant that is wiring nations around the world with 5G networks capable of directing traffic back to Beijing.

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Video of Black woman being dragged by her hair in sports bar ignites protests in Washington, D.C.

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Young elaborated on her experience, saying, “It was an altercation in there … They were trying to get some other people out because somebody else brought a bottle in there. Somehow I got mixed up in an altercation because I look like somebody else … And I got hit and dragged down the steps.” She stressed she did “nothing wrong” and she remembers simply walking up the steps and then “being dragged right back down the steps.”

When asked what it was like to see the video of herself being dragged by the steps, she said, “It’s a little bit much.”

You can watch that interview below.

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“An apology is not going to get rid of the bruises on my body,” Young said in response to the statement issued by Nellie’s, as reported by local outlet WJLA. The same outlet reports that it contacted the Metropolitan Police Department and was told they received no service calls for Nellie’s related to the incident. 

Some protesters marched to the home of the owner of Nellie’s, also located in the U street neighborhood, which you can see below.

And here are videos and images from the protest, where people share why they’re showing up for the young woman in the video, and why it’s especially important during Pride Month. 

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Nellie’s posted a statement to Facebook, saying: “We were incredibly upset and disturbed to see the unfortunate event that took place at Nellie’s last night. We are undergoing a full investigation of the situation. At Nellie’s we foster an inclusive and safe environment, so events like this are completely unacceptable to us.”

This incident is not the first time Nellie’s has had to issue an apology—you might remember that back in 2017, the popular sports bar apologized after displaying a “blue line” flag. The establishment removed the flag, but people—and especially people of color—have not forgotten.

You can watch coverage of the protest, and the interview with Young, below.

And lastly, you can view the video of the incident below. As a warning, the violence is graphic and may be disturbing to viewers. 


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One woman killed and three people injured as vehicle rams into protesters in Minnesota

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Police said that alcohol or drugs may have been a factor in the driver’s actions, but this must not be treated as an isolated incident: Last summer, according to USA Today, there were “at least 104 incidents of people driving vehicles into protests from May 27 through Sept. 5.” In eight of those cases, police were the drivers.

And Republican lawmakers have rushed to offer protections to drivers who injure protesters in this way. Iowa, Oklahoma, and Florida have all reduced or abolished penalties for such drivers, with the Iowa and Florida laws offering civil immunity and the Oklahoma law protecting drivers from criminal penalties when they “unintentionally causes injury or death to an individual” while “fleeing from a riot” and “under a reasonable belief that fleeing was necessary to protect the motor vehicle operator from serious injury or death.” Which just means every driver who does this will claim they were fleeing under a reasonable belief that their life was at risk. 

The Washington Post’s Philip Bump likens such laws to “stand your ground” laws, writing, “A Rand Corp. study found that states with ‘stand your ground’ laws allowing residents to use firearms in self-defense were states that had more firearm homicides. Allowing people to use guns to kill in some circumstances correlated with more people using guns to kill.”

The laws letting drivers off the hook for injuring or even killing protesters came amid a wave of state-level legislation targeting protesters in other ways. In a sense it’s similar to the Republican push to ban the teaching of “critical race theory” (by which they mean “anything about racism”) from schools. Republicans are trying to criminalize any effort to change U.S. culture and society to make it less racist or less unjust. In this case, they are actively encouraging murder.


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Federal judge dismisses anti-vaxxers’ lawsuit, sides with Texas hospital

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Despite the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission supporting policies that employers could require “all employees physically entering the workplace to be vaccinated for COVID-19,” at least 117 employees of the company attempted to sue the hospital claiming it violated state policy and made them “human guinea pigs.” 

According to the plaintiffs, federal law prohibits employees from being required to get vaccinated without full U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of the vaccines. While the lawsuit was filed in Texas state court, it was moved to federal court at Houston Methodist’s request. As a result, U.S. District Judge Lynn N. Hughes ruled Saturday that federal law does not prevent employers from issuing that mandate because the law in question did not apply to private employers. 

“The hospital’s employees are not participants in a human trial,” Hughes wrote. “They are licensed doctors, nurses, medical technicians, and staff members. The hospital has not applied to test the COVID-19 vaccines on its employees.”

He continued that the mandate was a way to make the environment safer for both employees and patients. “This is not coercion. Methodist is trying to do their business of saving lives without giving them the Covid-19 virus. It is a choice made to keep staff, patients and their families safer.”

Hughes’ ruling addressed each and every one of the plaintiffs’ arguments including the vaccination requirement violating Texas law and a comparison to forced medical experiments in Nazi Germany. “Equating the injection requirement to medical experimentation in concentration camps is reprehensible,” Hughes wrote. “Nazi doctors conducted medical experiments on victims that caused pain, mutilation, permanent disability, and in many cases, death.”

Ultimately Hughes concluded that the plaintiffs “misconstrued” the law and “misrepresented the facts” and “will take nothing” from the hospital. If they had an issue with the policies in place, they should seek employment elsewhere, he wrote.

Upon hearing the ruling, lead plaintiff Jennifer Bridges noted that she would continue to fight her case. “This doesn’t surprise me,” she told USA Today. “Methodist is a very large company, and they are pretty well-protected in a lot of areas. We knew this was going to be a huge fight, and we are prepared to fight it.” Bridges has also started a petition against mandatory vaccinations by employers.

In response to the ruling, attorney and conservative activist Jared Woodfill who represents her and the other 116 plaintiffs said: “We took the position that it shouldn’t be dismissed for a whole host of reasons and we believe that forcing an individual to participate in a vaccine trial is illegal.”

“This is the first battle in a long fight,” Woodfill continued. “There are going to be many battles fought. Not just in this courtroom, but in courtrooms all across the state. There are battles that are going to be fought in the higher courts, the 5th Circuit, the Texas Supreme Court, even the United States Supreme Court. So this is just one battle in a larger war. It’s the first round, if you will.”

Woodfill confirmed that they would appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court “if necessary.”

So despite the judge noting and clearly addressing that they had no case, the plaintiffs refuse to back down.

The employees who were suspended from their roles made up only 1% of the hospital’s total number of employees, according to Houston Methodist CEO Marc Boom. Boom noted that many other hospitals are working on similar initiatives but were only waiting on this case’s verdict to take action. “We can now put this behind us and continue our focus on unparalleled safety, quality, service and innovation,” Boom said after the ruling. “Our employees and physicians made their decisions for our patients, who are always at the center of everything we do.”

According to CBS News, as of this report, nearly 25,000 Houston Methodist employees had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and at least two employees who worked in management chose to leave rather than receive the vaccine.


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