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‘Horrendous’: US military confirms bayonets were issued to troops responding to George Floyd protests

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“It is insane to issue bayonets to soldiers for crowd control.”

“Are they supposed to stab protesters?”

That was Rep. Ted Lieu’s (D-Calif.) response Thursday to a letter by the highest-ranking military officer in the United States confirming that troops deployed to the nation’s capital last month to confront demonstrators protesting the police killing of George Floyd were issued bayonets.

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“It is difficult for us to imagine a circumstance which could necessitate or justify the deployment of bayonets against American civilians.”
—Reps. Ted Lieu and Raja Krishnamoorthi

Faced with questions from Lieu and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), Joint Chiefs Chairman Army Gen. Mark Milley admitted that members of the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division from Fort Bragg, North Carolina and the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment were given bayonets for their June 2 deployment to Washington, D.C.

The solidiers were told that the weapons could not enter the capital “without clear orders and only after nonlethal options were first reviewed,” according to the Associated Press, which obtained a copy of Milley’s letter.

Krishnamoorthi and Lieu thanked Milley for his response but voiced concern over the general’s refusal to commit to banning the potentially deadly practice in the future.

“It is difficult for us to imagine a circumstance which could necessitate or justify the deployment of bayonets against American civilians,” the Democratic lawmakers said in a statement.

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In a letter (pdf) to Milley last month, Krishnamoorthi and Lieu demanded answers following a June 2 AP report which noted that soldiers deployed to D.C. in response to mass demonstrations “are armed and have riot gear as well as bayonets.”

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“The prospect of troops deployed with bayonets in response to demonstrations, regardless of anyone’s intentions, raises the alarming specter of past demonstrations that have escalated and left unarmed protesters wounded,” the lawmakers wrote. “While the tragic events in 1970 at Kent State University are most remembered for four students killed by National Guardsmen, the escalation and violence leading up to and following those killings included those same troops meeting peaceful demonstrators with bayonets and leaving several wounded.”

“Less than a week later at University of New Mexico,” Krishnamoorthi and Lieu continued, “demonstrations in response to Kent State escalated after protesters were met with Guardsmen who no longer carried live ammunition but instead wounded 11 people with bayonets, including a bystander and a local news photographer.”

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Nobel economist says he’s done the math — and the risk Trump and McConnell pose to the economy is ‘terrifying’

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Very much a student of New Deal economics, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has often stressed that helping the unemployed during an economic downturn not only helps those who are out of work — it also benefits the economy on the whole. Krugman made that point many times during the Great Recession, and in a column published this week, the liberal economist warns that the “coronavirus recession of 2020” will become even worse if unemployed Americans don’t receive the help that they need.

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‘Friday Night Massacre’ at US Postal Service as Postmaster General—a major Trump donor—ousts top officials

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Government watchdogs, Democratic lawmakers, and pro-democracy advocates declared it a "Friday Night Massacre" for the U.S. Postal Service after news broke in a classic end-of-the-week dump that Louis DeJoy—a major GOP donor to President Donald Trump and the recently appointed Postmaster General—had issued a sweeping overhaul of the agency, including the ouster of top executives from key posts and the reshuffling of more than two dozen other officials and operational managers.

According to the Washington Post:

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‘Gullible’ Trump administration paid up to $500 million too much for these ventilators: investigators

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Citing “evidence of fraud, waste, and abuse,” a congressional subcommittee investigating the federal government’s purchase of $646.7 million worth of Philips ventilators has asked the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General to launch its own investigation of the deal.

The House subcommittee launched its review after ProPublica stories in March and April showed how a U.S. subsidiary of Royal Philips N.V. received millions in federal tax dollars years ago to develop a low-cost ventilator for pandemics but didn’t deliver it. Instead, as the coronavirus began spreading around the globe and U.S. hospitals were desperate for more, Philips was selling commercial versions of the government-funded ventilator overseas from its Pennsylvania factory. Then in April, despite having not fulfilled the initial contract, the Dutch company struck a much more lucrative deal to sell the government 43,000 ventilators for four times the price.

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