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KY-Sen: Amy McGrath (D), “We need to tackle police brutality, give Breonna Taylor's family justice”

6 min read

U.S. Senate candidate, Amy McGrath (D. KY), is working to unite her party after her close primary win against progressive challenger, Charles Booker (D. NJ). McGrath stopped in Louisville to address police brutality and seeking justice for Breonna Taylor after being killed by three police officers:

“I think the investigation needs to come out and then a judgment needs to be made at that,” she said. “You know, if the officers in this case were in the wrong, then they need to be held accountable. But the first step is we need to have an independent investigation that is transparent and swift.”

McGrath spoke to reporters for several minutes Monday morning outside of Peace Presbyterian Church, which was holding its monthly food pantry. By 10 a.m., at least a dozen cars waited in line for bags of food. The line lasted until roughly 10:30 a.m.

Investigations by the Louisville Metro Police Department's Public Integrity Unit, which is being reviewed by Attorney General Daniel Cameron, and the FBI have been going on for months.

McGrath, a retired Marine fighter pilot, said she not an expert in policing, but in the aviation world, investigations take time to be done right.

“The main thing is, let's make sure it's accurate,” McGrath said. “Let's make sure it's transparent, because the family of Breonna Taylor and the community, they deserve justice. They deserve to know what happened.”

Taylor's death and the death of George Floyd sparked weeks of protests in Louisville and around the country over police brutality and systemic racism.

“We need to tackle police brutality and do it in a national way, in my opinion,” McGrath said, referencing police body cameras and banning no-knock warrants, like the one used in the Taylor case, as starting points.

Well said. John Nichols at The Nation makes a pretty compelling case for why Democrats really need to put up a fight to get rid of Moscow Mitch:

If Trump is defeated while McConnell retains his seat and remains majority leader, the Kentuckian will no longer have to provide cover for an erratic president, but that doesn’t mean proper order—as least as it is understood in civics books—will be restored. Even before Trump began remaking the Republican Party in his image, McConnell had remade the Senate GOP as a fully owned subsidiary of the corporate interests and billionaire donors that fund campaigns. That’s not going to change if Biden is elected, despite the dim-witted fantasy the former vice president entertains about sitting down with a former Senate colleague to work things out.

McConnell and the Senate Republicans will put the brakes on every meaningful policy initiative that Biden advances. Hundreds of measures that have been approved by the House since the Democrats took over in January 2019—including the Heroes Act package of Covid-19 relief measures that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her colleagues passed in May—have been laid to rest in what Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer describes as “Leader McConnell’s legislative graveyard.” The Republican lawmaker and his cadre of obedient partisans have made it perfectly clear time and again that they will not be moved by the fact that a legislative initiative is essential.

The challenges that a President Biden will face on Day One—pandemic surges, mass unemployment, a climate crisis, and demands for racial justice—are daunting enough. The prospect of seeking to address them in a process defined by McConnell ought to send chills down the spines of Democrats. As the majority leader has proved beyond a reasonable doubt, his caucus will do whatever it takes to maintain conservative control of the Supreme Court—which is no small matter, since Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will turn 88 in the early months of the next presidential term and Justice Stephen Breyer will turn 83 that summer. To fill those positions with jurists who respect civil rights and civil liberties, Jealous says, requires not just the election of a president who will make sound appointments but also “the firing of Mitch McConnell.”

To disempower McConnell, Democrats need a clear-eyed political calculus that recognizes that the fight for control of the Senate matters just as much as the battle between Biden and Trump—perhaps more. They must fully embrace an understanding expressed by the Rev. Raphael Warnock, a leading Democratic contender in the special election for one of two Georgia Senate seats up this year. In order to “restore moral leadership to our government,” says the pastor, it is necessary to “flip the Senate.” Democratic candidates, strategists, donors, volunteers, and voters all talk about the need to fundamentally alter the direction of our governance and our country. If fundamental change is the point, winning the Senate has to be understood as the defining struggle of a definitional election year. To that end, even as he mounts his own reelection bid this year, Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley is fundraising and campaigning for Democratic challengers nationwide with a message that pulls all the pieces together: “Dump Trump. Ditch Mitch. Save America.”

“That’s my six-word mantra. It ends with ‘Save America’ for a reason,” says Merkley. “I am absolutely trying to send the message that all the things we’re campaigning on won’t happen if we don’t win the Senate.” To do that, the chamber’s Democratic caucus must grow.

And Robert Reich’s op-ed in The Guardian makes the case that McConnell shares responsibility for ruining recovery efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Donald Trump has not only refused to contain Covid-19 but is actively pushing Americans into harm’s way, demanding the nation “reopen” while cases and deaths continue to rise. Meanwhile, he’s siphoning federal money intended to dampen the economic crisis into the pockets of his cronies and family. And he is deliberately stoking racial tensions to energize his “base” for the upcoming election.

As if this weren’t enough, Trump continues to attack the rule of law, on which a democracy depends in order to deal with these and all other challenges.

But he could not accomplish these abhorrent feats alone. Senate Republicans are either cheering him on or maintaining a shameful silence. Trump’s biggest enabler is the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell.

McConnell’s response to Trump’s overt appeals to racism? “He is not a racist,” says McConnell. His reaction to Trump’s failure to contain Covid-19? “President Obama should have kept his mouth shut” rather than criticize Trump. McConnell’s take on Trump’s multiple attacks on the rule of law, including Friday’s commutation of former Trump campaign aide Roger Stone’s prison sentence? Utter silence.

But McConnell has been a vocal opponent of the Heroes Act – passed by the House in early May to help Americans survive the pandemic and fortify the upcoming election – calling it a “liberal wishlist”. In fact, it’s a necessary list.

McConnell and his fellow Senate Republicans don’t want to extend the bill’s extra-$600-a-week unemployment benefits, enacted in March but due to expire on 31 July. They argue the benefits are higher than what low-income workers are likely to earn on the job, so the money is a disincentive to work.

Baloney. Few jobs are available to low-income workers, and most are in so-called “essential” work rife with Covid-19. Besides, the US economy can’t be revived unless people have extra money in their pockets to buy goods and services. Even before the pandemic, nearly 80% of Americans lived paycheck to paycheck. Now many are desperate, as revealed by lengthening food lines and growing delinquencies in rent payments.

Yet McConnell and his ilk are happy to give away trillions of dollars in bailouts to Wall Street bankers and corporate executives, on the dubious premise that the rich will work harder if they receive more money while people of modest means work harder if they receive less. In reality, the rich contribute more to Republican campaigns when they get bailed out.

Let’s make Moscow Mitch and Trump pay big time this year. Click below to donate and get involved with McGrath and Biden’s campaigns:

Amy McGrath

Joe Biden

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