Daily Archives: May 29, 2020

WASHINGTON — On Friday, the Minnesota State Patrol arrested CNN reporter Omar Jimenez as he and his colleagues were reporting on the ongoing protests in Minneapolis. Jimenez, who is Afro-Latinx, and his crew were handcuffed and led away by police. The journalists’ cameras continued rolling, broadcasting the unjustified arrest live to CNN viewers.

The footage shows that the news crew clearly identified themselves as members of the press and attempted to comply with police commands. A second nearby CNN journalist, who is white, reported that the police let him continue working after he identified his press status in a similar way. Jimenez and his colleagues have since been released.

Free Press News Voices Organizing Manager Alicia Bell made the following statement:

“The Minnesota State Patrol’s arrest of CNN reporter Omar Jimenez as he and his crew were covering the protests in Minneapolis is yet another example of unchecked police power in our society. Jimenez, who clearly identified himself as a member of the press, was nonetheless targeted for arrest as at least one of his white colleagues was given the OK to continue reporting.

“It should go without saying, but the First Amendment protects newsgathering regardless of the race or ethnicity of the reporter. Freedom of the press is intended to prohibit law enforcement from silencing the voices of reporters and the protesters that they seek to cover.

“While we’re pleased to learn that Jimenez and his news crew have been released without charges, we demand that the Minnesota State Patrol conduct a thorough investigation of the arrest and provide a full accounting of why these particular journalists were taken into custody.

“Minneapolis-based racial-justice and civil-liberties advocates have documented a long history of systemic racism in state and local police. The Minneapolis Police Department failed to adopt many reforms that local community leaders and federal officials recommended. At least two of the police officers involved in George Floyd’s tragic death, including the officer who knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, have a history of police misconduct and yet were allowed to remain on the force.

“Free Press supports Twin Cities activists’ ongoing calls for transformation. We also support local efforts to increase public safety by abandoning lethal policing practices and using valuable public resources to instead invest in the food, shelter, employment and local information that people need to keep themselves safe and healthy.

“Coverage of protests like the ones unfolding across the country is essential to informing the public and responding to the needs of our communities. Free Press is working with allies to reimagine crime-justice reporting, and eager to extend our work with newsrooms committed to deeper engagement — and ultimately, to shifting power away from the anti-Black status quo and toward a shared vision of the future.”

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Free Press is a nonpartisan organization fighting for people’s rights to connect and communicate. Free Press does not support or oppose any candidate for public office. Learn more at www.freepress.net.

By David Femi, Administrative Vice President, Multicultural Banking Segment Head, M&T Bank
This pandemic has brought enormous challenges that have tested all of us. It has threatened our health, and it has deepened financial hardships for communities that were already struggling or just scraping by.
Before the outbreak, one survey found 74 percent of workers were living paycheck to paycheck. Since then, millions have been laid off or furloughed. In just two months, over 40 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits.
The job losses seem to have hit families with lower incomes the hardest. About 40 percent of people with household incomes under $40,000 reported losing a job in a recent Federal Reserve study.
Now more than ever, our financial situations require our attention. Just like we can protect our physical health from the coronavirus by practicing social distancing, wearing facemasks and thoroughly washing our hands, we can protect our financial health by making smart money moves. Our team at M&T Bank wanted to share a few ideas to help you get started.
The time to understand your budget is now. Calculate how much money you have coming in, and then prioritize your expenses. Housing, food, utilities and insurance are essential to everyday life, but some forms of entertainment, including streaming services, certain clothing or beauty items and other indulgences may be optional. Make a list of your expenses and underline what’s most important, then decide what you can reduce or eliminate. Many financial institutions have online and mobile solutions with built-in money management tools that make organizing and visualizing budgets easier.
Don’t avoid creditors. Let your credit card company and service providers know about your financial situation if it’s affecting your ability to pay. Many are waiving late fees or putting brief holds on monthly payments. If you can hold off on a mortgage or car loan, likely two of the biggest items you have in your budget, that will allow you to focus on day-to-day essentials such as groceries. Also, consider debt consolidation. Interest rates are low – use that to your advantage.
If you’re still getting a paycheck, try reprioritizing your spending. With many businesses shut down, can you redirect some of your usual expenses to a savings account? Consider putting money that you would have otherwise spent on transportation, the gym or entertainment into padding your savings as much as possible to prepare for the next emergency. Try to save four to six months of your typical household expenses.
Ask your bank or credit union what other resources are available to you during these trying times. From helpful guidance to personal loans or payment flexibility, financial institutions can help you navigate economic hardships. While many bank branches are open by appointment only and others are temporarily closed, every bank is still open to help in some way. You can find contact information on their website, through their mobile app, or on a recent bank statement.
If you have the ability, support your neighborhood small businesses and buy local when possible. Helping small businesses survive will help our local economy recover faster. Many restaurants are still offering take out options. You can also pre-pay or purchase gift certificates for restaurants, shops, hairdressers and maybe even your local mechanic. Your small effort could make a big difference.
If there has been any silver lining during this crisis, it has been how people have come together to support each other and help neighbors in need. We are all in this together.
We should approach our financial health in the same way. Reach out for help if you need it, and let’s work together to plot out the right money moves to get through these tough times.
David Femi leads M&T Bank’s Multicultural Banking Team, which assists the company in serving multicultural and diverse communities in new and different ways that are designed to help individuals, families and businesses overcome obstacles and achieve their financial goals.

    MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) – A third night of racially charged arson, looting and vandalism gripped Minneapolis as protesters vented rage over the death of an unarmed black man after a white police officer knelt on his neck as he lay on the ground following arrest

    The latest unrest in Minnesota’s largest city went largely unchecked late Thursday, with the mayor ordering a tactical police retreat from a police station that was set ablaze.

    National Guard troops called out earlier in the day by the governor kept a low profile. Governor Tim Walz had ordered the Guard to help keep the peace after two previous nights of disturbances sparked by George Floyd’s death on Monday.

    In a late-night Twitter message, President Donald Trump said he would send in National Guard troops to “get the job done right” if the “weak” mayor failed to restore order, suggesting lethal force might be needed.

    “Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” Trump wrote.

    The arrest of Floyd, 46, was captured by an onlooker’s cell phone video that went viral and showed a police officer pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck as he moaned: “Please, I can’t breathe.”

    Four police officers involved in the arrest of Floyd, who was accused of trying to pass counterfeit money at a corner store, were dismissed on Tuesday, but unrest has continued unabated.

    Sympathy protests erupted on Wednesday in Los Angeles and Thursday in Denver, with freeway traffic blocked in both cities. In Phoenix, protesters faced off with police in riot gear at City Hall, and a rally was held at the Arizona state Capitol.

    Thursday night’s disturbances in Minneapolis also spread into adjacent city of St. Paul, the state capital, with fires and vandalism breaking out there.

    In contrast with Wednesday night, when rock-throwing demonstrators clashed with police in riot gear, law enforcement in Minneapolis kept mostly out of sight around the epicenter of Thursday’s disturbances, the Third Precinct police station.

    Protesters massing outside the building briefly retreated under volleys of police tear gas and rubber bullets fired at them from the roof, only to regroup and eventually attack the building, setting fire to the structure as police withdrew.

    National Guard troops were absent, as were members of the fire department. Protesters were later observed on the roof, and a crowd of hundreds lingered around the building for hours, feeding flames with hunks of plywood and other debris.

    STRONG AS HELL”

    At a news briefing early Friday, Mayor Jacob Frey defended his decision to evacuate the precinct station due to “imminent threats to both officers and the public.”

    Asked by reporters if he had a response to Trump’s tweet, Frey said: “Weakness is refusing to take responsibility for your own actions. Weakness is pointing your own finger at a time of crisis.”

    “Donald Trump knows nothing about the strength of Minneapolis. We are strong as hell,” he said.

    The Minnesota National Guard said it activated 500 of its soldiers in the greater Minneapolis area, mostly to provide security support to firefighters.

    The mayor said many of the troops had been posted around the city to help police prevent looting of banks, grocery stores, pharmacies and other essential locations during the coronavirus pandemic.

    Several other buildings and a car were set ablaze and looters plundered several businesses, including a burning liquor store and nearby discount store that had been ransacked the night before. Fire officials said 16 buildings were torched on Wednesday night.

    The upheaval followed concerted efforts by law enforcement officials to ease tensions by promising justice for Floyd.

    The Floyd case was reminiscent of the 2014 killing of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man in New York City who died after being put in a banned police chokehold as he, too, was heard to mutter, “I can’t breathe.”

    Garner’s dying words became a rallying cry for the Black Lives Matter movement that formed amid a wave of killings of African-Americans by police.

    At a peaceful daytime rally and march on Thursday around a county government center in Minneapolis, protesters pressed their demands for the four policemen to be arrested and charged.

    “We’re not asking for a favor. We’re asking for what is right,” civil rights activist the Rev. Al Sharpton said as he addressed the crowd.

    Police Chief Medaria Arradondo publicly apologized to Floyd’s family on Thursday morning, conceding his department had contributed to a “deficit of hope” in Minneapolis.

    Officials overseeing investigations from the U.S. Justice Department, FBI, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and prosecutors appealed for calm, vowing a thorough investigation.

    Floyd was a Houston native who had worked as a nightclub security guard. An employee who called police described the suspect as appearing to be drunk, according to an official transcript of the call.

    (This story is refiled to correct spelling of Floyd in paragraph 7)

    Reporting by Carlos Barria and Eric Miller in Minneapolis; Additional reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago, Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles, Nathan Lane in Wilton, Connecticut, Keith Coffman in Denver, David Schwartz in Phoenix; Maria Caspani in New York and Shubham Kalia in Bengaluru; Writing and additional reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Timothy Heritage

     

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Federal Reserve officials have talked broadly about helping households and firms through the current economic crisis and quickly unleashed trillions of dollars in cash and credit guarantees to build a “bridge” to the post-pandemic world

    But underlying that swift response is a debate over how to ensure the cure for the country’s immediate economic problems doesn’t damage future growth by keeping otherwise failing firms alive, saddling others with too much debt to thrive, or encouraging people to stay in jobs that will disappear.

    It’s a longer-term dilemma, to be sure, when the priority is to prevent a wave of personal and business bankruptcies from creating an even deeper economic hole. But it is one the world’s central banks and elected leaders are struggling to get right even as they roll out unprecedented support. A misstep could damage productivity and slow the hoped-for recovery.

    “It is a very tricky balance,” Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin said in a recent interview where he sketched out the paradox U.S. officials face in lowering an unemployment rate that likely topped 20% this month: Federal programs, based on hopes of a short downturn and sharp rebound, have been geared toward returning workers to jobs they held before the novel coronavirus outbreak; but those might not be the jobs the economy demands in a slow-to-recover world with new social norms and entire industries like elder-care likely to be reimagined.

    “Some of this has to start with where do you see growth” in the future, Barkin said. His thought was echoed in a recent New York Fed study on how job training programs struggled after the last recession to adapt to in-demand occupations, possibly prolonging unemployment.

    ‘MAIN STREET’ SET TO OPEN

    The Fed is expected by next week to open its “Main Street Lending Program,” which will provide four-year loans to businesses with between 500 to 15,000 employees. The signature program, one of several measures taken by the U.S. central bank to battle the crisis, was announced about two months ago but delayed as officials wrangled over complex details.

    Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren, whose bank will administer the program, described the hunt for a sweet spot in which loans are too expensive for firms that “have no problems” while troubled borrowers are weeded out by private banks who must put some of their money at risk for each loan the Fed makes.

    “What we are really looking for is firms that were doing fine going into the end of last year,” Rosengren said on Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation” program.

    At up to $600 billion, the program is the Fed’s most extensive use ever of its credit-creating powers for non-financial firms. Officials expect to avoid losses on the program, and the Fed says its aim isn’t to provide bailouts – a spending issue for elected officials to decide – but to provide a credit lifeline likely to turn a profit for the central bank.

    The coming weeks will tell if Fed officials got it right.

    LIQUIDITY LESS IN DEMAND

    The crisis programs the Fed has opened so far have been largely aimed at the financial sector, and seen only weak demand. The modest take-up is viewed as a success, a sign the central bank’s announcement of support for financial markets convinced investors to keep credit flowing and allow firms like Boeing Co, Ford Motor Co and others to raise money on their own.

    Central banks in Europe and elsewhere have seen similar tepid use of “liquidity” programs, which is also viewed as evidence the financial sector only needs to know that central bank help is available if needed, not to actually tap it.

    In the case of programs for potentially thousands of firms in the real economy, however, even Fed officials say they expect strong demand – and don’t want to be seen as too strict in the midst of a global crisis.

    Other central banks are working through the same issues.

    The Bank of Japan has designed a program along the lines of what the Fed is doing. Britain’s experience shows why the details are important. When the British government offered to guarantee 80% of loans banks made to companies to navigate the crisis, banks were still reluctant to lend. When the guarantee extended to 100%, the flow of credit doubled.

    What that means for the future will be a core concern for policymakers as the recovery takes shape.

    Some economists have begun discussing the legacy of bad debt that may be left behind by the pandemic, and whether the same sorts of programs erected to erase bad loans in the early 1990s savings and loan crisis or the 2007 housing meltdown may be needed again.

    For labor markets and business investment, meanwhile, the “reallocation shock” has already begun, University of Chicago economists Jose Maria Barrero, Nick Bloom, and Steven J. Davis argued in a recent paper. They estimated more than 40% of the pandemic-related job losses will prove permanent, and said governments should not encourage workers to wait for their return, for example through programs that extend generous unemployment benefits too far into the future.

    The shift to new jobs and industries will “lag the destruction,” they wrote. “Partly for this reason we anticipate a drawn-out economic recovery.”

    Reporting by Howard Schneider; Additional reporting by William Schomberg in London, Leika Kihara in Tokyo, and Balazs Koranyi in Frankfurt; Editing by Dan Burns and Paul Simao

     

      The speaker said he wasn’t being literal — but later suggest he might have been, at least in part. And this is part of a pattern for Trump

      If there was ever a tweet tailor-made for promotion by President Trump, it might be this one: A video by an account called “Cowboys for Trump” in which the speaker begins by saying, “The only good Democrat is a dead Democrat.” The speaker quickly qualifies that he’s not speaking literally.

      At precisely midnight, the president felt this was the kind of message that people needed to see. “Thank you Cowboys. See you in New Mexico!” he said in a retweet.

      https://t.co/aCRJeskUA

      What lay ahead was entirely predictable. People are rightly pointing out that a president just promoted the idea of dead Democrats. Trump will have the kind of plausible deniability he craves — the guy even said he wasn’t being literal! — and the world will keep turning.

      But the speaker has also made clear he wasn’t being entirely figurative. And Trump’s history with this kind of thing makes clear he knows exactly what he’s injecting into the national dialogue.

      The video is actually more than a week old, having caused a stir back then. The speaker, an Otero County, N.M., commissioner named Couy Griffin, has already been disavowed by the New Mexico Republican Party, even if he was just speaking figuratively.

      New Mexico GOP

      @NewMexicoGOP

      The Republican Party of New Mexico wants to state for the record that any statements, whether in jest or serious about harming another individual are just plain wrong

      157 people are talking about this

      “The Republican Party of New Mexico wants to state for the record that any statements, whether in jest or serious about harming another individual are just plain wrong,” the party said in a tweet on May 20. The Young Republicans of New Mexico have also called for him to apologize.

      Griffin initially declined to back down and claimed persecution, though he eventually said he “could’ve chosen a different verbiage, you know. I guess I need to be more careful when I choose the words that I speak.”

      But his other comments indicated he’s not entirely discounting the idea of violence or dead Democrats.

       

      (Reuters) – Twitter hid a tweet from President Donald Trump on Friday, accusing him of breaking its rules by “glorifying violence” in a message that said looters at protests in Minneapolis would be shot

      Twitter’s decision to step in, at a time of racially charged civil unrest in cities across the United States, escalates a feud between Trump and tech companies.

      It came just hours after Trump signed an executive order threatening Silicon Valley social media firms with new regulations over free speech.

      “…These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!” Trump’s tweet read.

       

      LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — At least seven people were shot in Louisville as protesters turned out to demand justice for Breonna Taylor, a black woman fatally shot by police in her home in March

      Louisville Metro Police confirmed in a statement early Friday that there were at least seven shooting victims, at least one of whom is in critical condition. The statement said there were “some arrests,” but police didn’t provide a number.

      “No officers discharged their service weapons,” police spokesman Sgt. Lamont Washington wrote in an email to The Associated Press. Washington said that all seven were civilians.

      Around 500 to 600 demonstrators marched through the Kentucky city’s downtown streets on Thursday night, the Courier Journal reported. The protests stretched for more than six hours, ending in the early hours of Friday as rain poured down.

      “Understandably, emotions are high,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer tweeted just before midnight, sharing a Facebook post asking for peace that he said was written on behalf of Taylor’s mother. “As Breonna’s mother says let’s be peaceful as we work toward truth and justice.”

      Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical tech, was shot eight times on March 13 after Louisville narcotics detectives knocked down the front door. No drugs were found in the home.

      Attention on Taylor’s death has intensified after her family sued the police department earlier this month. The case has attracted national headlines alongside the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery in a Georgia neighborhood in February.

      Thursday’s demonstration came as protesters across the country — from Los Angeles to Memphis, Tennessee, to New York to Minneapolis itself — have demonstrated against the death of a black man, George Floyd, in Minneapolis police custody.

      Around 12:20 a.m., Fischer tweeted a video that he said was a message from Taylor’s family.

      “Louisville, thank you so much for saying Breonna’s name tonight. We are not going to stop until we get justice,” a woman says in the video. “But we should stop tonight before people get hurt. Please go home, be safe and be ready to keep fighting.”

      Meanwhile, live video from downtown Louisville around 12:30 a.m. showed some protesters behind makeshift wooden barricades, which appeared to be made out of picnic tables spray-painted with the words “You can’t kill us all.” A small fire inside a trash can was visible in the middle of the street.

      Police in body armor and face shields held batons and lined up around Louisville City Hall. They appeared to fire rubber bullets and deploy tear gas canisters, fogging the air and inducing coughs among the remaining members of the crowd. Protesters were shown filming police with their cellphones.

      Kentuckians are still under social distancing mandates driven by the coronavirus pandemic. Many protesters wore masks.

      Chants early Friday included “No justice, no peace” and “Whose streets? Our streets.”

       

       

       

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