Weekend Review: One Last Debate Before Election Day
On Thursday night, Pres. Donald Trump and former Vice Pres. Joe Biden debated each other one last debate before Election Day 2020. The two verbally sparred over many of the same issues as in other debates, but with a little less machismo.
Biden used the opportunity to note that Trump has “no clear plan” for America and “doesn’t want to talk about the substantive issues.” He said he believes America is headed for a “dark winter” due to the longevity of the coronavirus pandemic
“I don’t think we’re going to have a dark winter at all,” Trump proclaimed deftly in response. As neither candidate mentioned, millions are facing utility insecurity and millions more will soon, so the term is as appropriate literally as it is figuratively.
Biden boldly promised to back a $15 national minimum wage. Trump initially said he would consider that to an extent before clarifying he would not raise the minimum wage if it would hurt small businesses. He said he would instead leave it as a “state option.”
Biden seized the opportunity to defend people who are “working two jobs because one job is below poverty.”
The two also drew clear lines on healthcare. Trump would like to replace the Affordable Care Act with “a brand new beautiful healthcare.” The president did not elaborate on a name or detail an actual plan other than to say it would be “better” than Obamacare and “always protecting people with preexisting conditions.”
Biden, on the other hand, has a name for his plan: “Bidencare,” or “Obamacare with a public option.” Some qualified Medicaid recipients would be automatically enrolled in this option, which Biden said would also reduce premiums.
Trump pushed back on the plan as “socialized medicine,” returning to the comfortable and demonstrably false claim that Biden and running mate Sen. Kamala Harris are “radical far-left” socialists. In reality, Biden is a Wall Street-friendly candidate who openly opposes socialism.
With little more than one week before Election Day, Biden has a significant lead in most polls. Final results are widely expected to be delayed due to discrepancies and legal challenges but we will soon know whether America will have a new president in the new year.
Ghislaine Maxwell’s Epstein deposition unsealed
On Thursday, a federal court released a 2016 deposition of Ghislaine Maxwell, alleged partner to late sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. The partially redacted transcript is over 400 pages long and contains numerous agitated denials from Maxwell, who is accused by many women of enabling Epstein in sexual abuse of underage girls.
Maxwell called her work for Epstein “very wide-ranging” but denied ever having recruited young women for him. She called hiring employees “a very small part” of the job and admitted she would sometimes find “adult professional massage therapists for Jeffrey.”
In her responses to deposition questions, she proclaimed that Epstein’s accusers were lying while simultaneously maintaining she had limited knowledge of certain activities. When asked about Epstein’s house in Palm Beach, she said she was there “most of the time” but there was “no way” she could have known if anybody else was in the house.
Maxwell was arrested and charged with sex trafficking of minors and perjury in July. Multiple Epstein accusers have identified her as a recruiter who would approach minor females to be trafficked for sex with adults under the guise of giving massages for money.
Her legal team attempted to suppress the transcript but the decision to release it was upheld by two courts. Epstein had connections to many powerful men, such as presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, but many names were redacted from the deposition prior to its release.
Peaceful protesters killed by army and police in Nigeria
On Tuesday, the Nigerian army and police opened fire on crowds gathered to peacefully protest police brutality and bad governance. Amnesty International confirmed at least 12 deaths in shootings which occurred in two different protest locations, Lekki and Alausa. Thousands of people were fired on and hundreds were severely injured.
The group used witnesses, video, and hospital records to confirm that “the Nigerian military opened fire on thousands of people who were peacefully calling for good governance and an end to police brutality.”
On Monday, a 17-year-old identified as Saifullah Sani Musa was killed by police in Kano after being arrested twice in the days leading up to his death. The #EndSARS protests had been gaining traction since earlier this month, but tensions erupted when Saifullah’s tortured body was brought home to his family.
The next day, a police station in the state of Lagos was set ablaze and a statewide curfew was enacted. The Nigerian government was accused of orchestrating some of the mayhem leading up to the curfew in order to allow a more ruthless response to protesters.
Amnesty International has called for an investigation into the Nigerian military for the deaths of peaceful protesters.
Unarmed Black couple shot, Marcellis Stinnette killed by police in Illinois
A young, Black man named Marcellis Stinnette was killed by a police officer in Waukegan, Illinois on Tuesday night. His girlfriend, 20-year-old Tafara Williams, was also shot in the stomach and hospitalized.
The police report states that the incident started when one officer was investigating the vehicle Stinnette was occupying with Williams. The first officer reported that the occupants left that scene, then another officer reported discovering the same vehicle in a different area.
The second officer exited his car to investigate and alleged that the vehicle began to reverse towards him. That’s when he opened fire on Stinnette and Williams, who was driving.
An eyewitness reported that the officer’s gun was drawn when he asked Williams to stop moving the vehicle and that she was scared but complied. “She put her up hands, she started yelling,” the witness reported.
Williams gave an interview from her bed in the hospital and asked, “Why did you shoot?” She added she is a licensed driver and had done nothing wrong.
“Why did you shoot?”20-year-old Tafara Williams from her hospital bed
It is not clear yet why the first police officer wanted to investigate the vehicle in the first place. Both Stinnette and Williams were found to be unarmed and there were no weapons in the car.
Families of the victims and activists with Black Lives Matter and other organizations protested the shooting.
The officer who shot the couple has been fired for “multiple policy and procedure violations” but Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim also announced a request for an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department. “A final decision will be made with respect to any potential charges” pending their conclusions, he said.
Prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump announced he will represent Williams along with co-counsel to lead an independent exploration of the case. “We have seen over and over that the ‘official’ report when police kill Black people is far too often missing or misrepresenting details,” he said. Crump promised to share their findings with the public.
Bombing attacks in Afghanistan
A suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan on Saturday left at least 18 dead and more than 50 others severely wounded. The blast occurred outside of an education center as the attacker was trying to gain entrance to the building but was stopped by security.
No organization claimed responsibility and the Taliban denied connection to that attack. However, the group is suspected by police in a separate attack from earlier in the day which left nine more people dead.