Progressive Briefing for Tuesday, October 9

Chicagoans fight for police accountability, UN report warns of looming climate catastrophe, and more.

Image credit: Aaron Cynic?NationofChange

‘This is just the beginning’ – Chicagoans fighting for police accountability react to verdict in trial of officer Jason Van Dyke

On Friday, Jason Van Dyke, a white Chicago Police Officer, was found guilty of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery for the 2014 shooting of Laquan McDonald, a 17 year-old African American teenager who Van Dyke shot 16 times, killing him.

Van Dyke, who was also found not guilty of first-degree murder, is the first Chicago Police Officer to face murder charges for an on-duty shooting in more than three decades.

On Friday afternoon, a few hundred Chicagoans – many of them community activists who’ve spent four years organizing and campaigning for justice for Laquan McDonald and police accountability since the shooting occurred in 2014 – gathered in front of City Hall to watch the verdict.

As UN report warns of looming climate catastrophe, 13 stories from front lines of fight for fossil-free future

As the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on Mondayput out a report that warns, “If the current warming rate continues, the world would reach human-induced global warming of 1.5°C (2.7°F) around 2040,” released a compilation of stories from 13 communities “fighting against fossil fuel projects and for a fast and just transition to 100 percent renewable energy.”

“With a planet barely 1°C warmer than pre-industrial times, we are witnessing a chain of catastrophic climate-related extremes all over the globe. If we want to avoid even more dramatic impacts, we have to stay under a 1.5°C increase in global mean temperatures,” program director Payal Parekh writes in The People’s Dossier on 1.5°C (pdf).

After outlining why “scientists say we must stop global warming now,” the dossier details a collection of stories that, as Parekh explains, “shows readers why we should all care more for this existential fight, and how each one of us can make the difference, not only through personal choices, but joining others, building grassroot movements from the ground up.”

Taylor Swift: Voter registration spike follows star’s political awakening

Taylor Swift’s first foray into politics appears to have produced impressive results. The non-partisan advocacy group reports tens of thousands of new voter registrations nationwide in the wake of Swift’s Instagram post which urged her 112 million followers to vote for the Democrats in November’s midterm elections.

Swift’s post directed fans to “go to” The site had 155,940 unique visitors in the last 24 hours against this year’s daily average of 14,078.

“We are up to 65,000 registrations in a single 24-hour period since T. Swift’s post,” Kamari Guthrie, director of communications for, told Buzzfeed, which reports, for context, that 190,178 new voters registered nationwide in the entire month of September, while just 56,669 signed on in August.

Kavanaugh debuts on Supreme Court, pledging to be a ‘team player’

The Supreme Court welcomes its newest justice Tuesday as Brett Kavanaugh takes the bench for his first arguments since a contentious Senate voted narrowly to confirm him, cementing a decades-long campaign by conservatives to reshape the nation’s highest court.

On Monday evening, Kavanaugh, 53, joined family members, friends and President Trump at the White House for a ceremonial swearing-in ceremony, at which the new justice tried to ease the partisan wounds from his confirmation process, during which he was accused of sexual assault when he was in high school.

“The Supreme Court is an institution of law. It is not a partisan or political institution,” Kavanaugh said. “The justices do not sit on opposite sides of an aisle. We do not caucus in separate rooms. The Supreme Court is a team of nine, and I will always be a team player on the team of nine.”

Trump calls women survivors of sexual assault ‘screamers’

President Donald Trump is now calling women survivors of sexual assault “screamers” in his latest offensive tweet. Barely more than 12 hours after apologizing to Brett Kavanaugh “on behalf of the nation,” the president took to Twitter to once again attack women, specifically women survivors. He also called them “paid protestors,” and once again devolved into his conspiracy theories, this time claiming they will be protesting once again because they didn’t get paid.

It is unclear where President Trump got his idea for the latest attack.

“The paid D.C. protesters are now ready to REALLY protest because they haven’t gotten their checks – in other words, they weren’t paid! Screamers in Congress, and outside, were far too obvious – less professional than anticipated by those paying (or not paying) the bills!” President Trump tweeted.


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