NBA in ‘exploratory’ talks to restart season at Disney World

The NBA and Mickey Mouse are moving closer to a July marriage. The league on Saturday confirmed a report from earlier this week that Disney World is on track to become the sole site for the NBA’s fan-less resumption to the season, likely in late July. The venue would be the ESPN’s Wide World of...
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Epidemic of wipes and masks plague sewers, storm drains
PHILADELPHIA — Mayor Jim Kenney kicked off a recent briefing on Philadelphia’s coronavirus response with an unusual request for residents: Be careful what you flush. Between mid-March, when the city’s stay-at-home order was issued, and the end of April, most of the 19 sewer and storm water pumping stations in Philadelphia had experienced clogs from...
GM to make electric vans for businesses in bid to beat Tesla
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GOP senator sides with Mattis, says she's "struggling" with supporting Trump
The Alaska senator said Mattis' statement was "true, honest and necessary and overdue."
American held in Iran since 2018 freed, on his way home, Trump says
A U.S. Navy veteran detained in Iran since 2018 was freed on Thursday and was on his way back home, his family and President Donald Trump said, in a rare instance of cooperation between the archenemies.
Cuomo says George Floyd protesters should 'assume' they have been 'infected' with coronavirus
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday said that those who have been participating in protests in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis Police custody last week should “assume” that they are “infected” with coronavirus, suggesting they get tested.
‘Wolverine’ man who chased down protesters in Queens arrested
The man caught on camera chasing down black lives matter demonstrators with a Wolverine-type claw in Queens has been arrested and charged, the NYPD said Thursday.  Frank Cavalluzzi, 54, was slapped with six counts of reckless endangerment in the first degree, seven counts of menacing with a weapon in the second degree and seven counts...
Lea Michele's apology backfires as more 'Glee' cast and crew wade into the fray
After Lea Michele apologized for her on-set behavior, her former "Glee" costars aren't letting it slide. Even a producer for the TV show has chimed in.
'Grand Theft Auto' and 'Red Dead' online games shut down for two hours in honor of George Floyd
Rockstar Games, parent company of the "Grand Theft Auto" and "Red Dead" game series, gave a two-hour notice on Twitter to players.
Weightlifting investigation uncovers long history of doping and corruption
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Bill de Blasio: NYC restaurants can have outdoor seating in Phase 2
Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday said that city restaurants will be able to create an influx of seating on the sidewalks and in open streets during Phase 2 of the Big Apple’s reopening from its coronavirus-induced shutdown when outdoor dining only will be allowed. “We will provide a massive expansion of curbside seating, a...
NBA owners approve proposal to resume season; some steps remain before plan is finalized
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NBA approves 22-team format to restart season: reports
The NBA’s board of governors approved a 22-team format to restart the season in the summer in which games would be played at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., according to multiple reports.
What to expect from 'Athlete A', the Netflix documentary about abusive doctor Larry Nassar
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NYC mayor condemns attack on police officers
Mayor Bill de Blasio condemned an attack on police officers on anti-looting patrol in Brooklyn Wednesday as "unacceptable." Two other officers suffered gunshot wounds to the hands and all three are expected to recover. (June 4)
White House fortifies security perimeter ahead of continued protests
The People's House continued to be fortified from the public Thursday, as workers erected a perimeter of tall metal fencing around the White House complex.
ECB sends euro higher, stocks pause after week-long rally
The euro jumped to a 12-week high against the dollar on Thursday after another shot of European Central Bank stimulus to help economies slammed by the coronavirus pandemic, but world equity markets pulled in the reins after a strong seven-day run.
Why Trump Is So Obsessed With Antifa
This nation has been roiled with anguish and anger this past week over the police and extrajudicial killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, and yet the White House is engaging in the same old rhetorical tactics of divisive scapegoating. Only now that rhetoric comes in the service of ominous ends: President Donald Trump relies on the shadowy specter of “antifa”—a label for a diffuse militant movement unified by a drive to counter fascism through direct action—to evoke fear in the American people. Since his inaugural speech and its dark focus on “American carnage,” Trump has used the Nixonian vocabulary of “law and order” to paint himself as a bulwark against a descent into anarchy. Now he is manufacturing bogeymen.As usual, the tweets came first. After railing against the “THUGS” of Minneapolis, Trump on Sunday praised the National Guard’s response in the city the previous night: “The ANTIFA led anarchists, among others, were shut down quickly.” Twenty minutes later, he declared on Twitter, “The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization”—despite the fact that, as many observers have pointed out, the president has no legal authority to designate domestic terrorist groups. And antifa, short for “antifascist,” isn’t even a distinct organization with central leadership, but rather a loose confederation of like-minded activists, often acting anonymously.[Read: The double standard of the American riot ]When Trump invokes antifa, he infuses the word with a vaguely foreign-sounding otherness, heightened by the fact that he never expands it to its full form, antifascist—a strategic omission. That would complicate the simplistic dichotomy that Trump and his allies have been constructing, between right-leaning patriots and the far-left extremists who must be to blame for any violent eruption. By latching on to a nebulous and under-defined term such as antifa, Trump can ascribe all manner of ills to a scapegoat that shifts to satisfy his needs at the moment.Trump doubled down in his remarks in the Rose Garden on Monday by enumerating a panoply of malefactors: “Our nation has been gripped by professional anarchists, violent mobs, arsonists, looters, criminals, rioters, Antifa, and others.” The organizers of “domestic terror,” he said, were now “on notice,” and “this includes Antifa and others who are leading instigators of this violence.” Though some activists who identify with the antifa movement may very well have taken part in recent demonstrations, The Nation reports that the FBI’s Washington field office “has no intelligence indicating Antifa involvement/presence” in the D.C.-area protests on May 31, according to internal documents. While inveighing against “Antifa,” Trump elided the violence that set off the protests in the first place: the police brutality that took the life of Floyd, just as it has imperiled the lives of other black Americans.This kind of attempt to shift the political discourse away from issues of systemic racism has long been a hallmark of Trumpian rhetoric. The president’s response to the Unite the Right rally of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, which descended into violence nearly three years ago, notoriously included the false equivalence that there were “very fine people on both sides.” (It was a white nationalist who drove a car into a crowd of peaceful counter-protesters, killing the 32-year-old Heather Heyer.) Antifa first entered his personal lexicon at campaign rally in Phoenix on August 22, 2017, a week and a half after Charlottesville, where he said, “You know, they show up in the helmets and the black masks, and they’ve got clubs and they’ve got everything,” before blurting out “Antifa!” Since then Trump has returned to the term often in speeches, reciting “an-tee-fah,” as he pronounces it, with an air of alien menace.[Read: Don’t fall for the ‘chaos’ theory of the protests]Both “antifa” and “antifascist” are, in fact, designations with extremely complex and commonly misunderstood histories, as explored in Mark Bray’s 2017 book, Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook. Bray gives the pronunciation as an-tee-fa, reflecting the word’s origins in a number of European languages, including German, where it abbreviated the noun Antifaschismus or the adjective antifaschistisch. As Bray explains, antifa was first used in Germany in the 1930s for a militant movement opposing the Nazi regime, and “Antifa committees” emerged toward the end of World War II with a revolutionary socialist bent. The modern antifa movement grew out of the punk scene in Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall, when young leftists clashed with neo-Nazi skinheads.On the American scene, the appellation antifa is fairly new, but antifascist has its own particular historical resonances, dating back to the 1930s when fascist organizations such as Friends of New Germany and the German American Bund were on the rise. In left-wing circles, those who had fought in the Spanish Civil War’s Lincoln Brigade, serving with the Loyalists against Francisco Franco, had antifascist bona fides. In 1943, however, reports emerged that Americans who had fought alongside the Spanish Loyalists were being persecuted by government officials for suspected communist leanings. One newspaper article at the time explained that the Army had discriminated against a Spanish Civil War veteran, using the bureaucratic explanation that he was “politically unreliable” and “prematurely anti-Fascist.” The peculiar label “premature anti-fascist” got even more attention that year when a congressional committee sought to root out subversives from the government and treated veterans of the Lincoln Brigade as suspect.The current scapegoating of antifa has historical echoes in other countries as well. I checked in with Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a history professor NYU and the author of the forthcoming book Strongmen: From Mussolini to the Present, who recently tweeted a quote from Mussolini referring to antifascists and other “degenerates” in 1927: “We remove these individuals from circulation just like a doctor does with an infected person.” “During Italian fascism,” Ben-Ghiat told me via email, “when they needed to wipe out the political opposition, antifascists were first treated as terrorists and a special tribunal was created, as well as a special political police, to deal with them. At times they were lumped together with other ‘degenerates’ like alcoholics, petty criminals, the mentally ill, and others who were viewed as deficient and unable to be redeemed and normalized by the state.”Other right-wing regimes, such as Augusto Pinochet’s in Chile, declared “wartime” as “a continuing state of exception,” in which “the left were treated as terrorists and counter-insurgency methods were used against them,” Ben-Ghiat said. This was accompanied by a “moral discourse of healing the nation,” in which “the terrorist” is treated as a moral and political sickness. Ben-Ghiat sees similar rhetoric extending from Mussolini to Franco to Pinochet up to present-day regimes such as that of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.Trump’s Rose Garden speech bore all of these authoritarian hallmarks. It used protests over grave injustices merely as a pretext for an aggressive militaristic stance against the country’s own citizens—any of whom might now be branded as “domestic terrorists” by the state. Being alert to how language can be weaponized in this way is a necessary step in deconstructing Trump’s would-be strongman act.
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Journalist Explains Why Republican Leaders Back Trump's 'Proto-Authoritarian Cult'
Atlantic writer Anne Applebaum draws parallels between regimes in Eastern Europe and the Trump White House. She says our democracy can be destroyed — unless people fight back.
Florida officer on leave after kneeling on man's neck
Sarasota police launched an internal investigation after video surfaced of an officer kneeling on a man's neck during an arrest in mid-May.
Mourners gather in Minneapolis to remember George Floyd; attorney general sees protest 'agitators'
Mourners gathered in Minneapolis on Thursday for a service to remember George Floyd, the black man whose death in police custody set off a wave of protests that have roiled America in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and a divisive presidential election campaign.
Social Distancing in Summer: Dr. Sanjay Gupta's coronavirus podcast for June 4
As the weather heats up, many are contemplating how to safely go out and enjoy the summer. CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta talks to immunologist Erin Bromage about what to consider before hosting a backyard party or going for a hike and more.
The Facebook Groups Where People Pretend the Pandemic Isn’t Happening
“Has anyone seen my friend Josh?” a man at a crowded concert asked last week. “I went to the bar for beers and now I can’t find him.” “Josh? Where are youuu,” a woman chimed in. “I brought enough earplugs for everyone! I know it seems lame, but you’ll hear the show a lot better and undistorted,” another attendee offered shortly after.Losing track of a friend in a packed bar or screaming to be heard over a live band is not something that’s happening much in the real world at the moment, but it happens all the time in the 2,100-person Facebook group “a group where we all pretend we’re in the same venue.” So does losing shoes and Juul pods, and shouting matches over which bands are the saddest, and therefore the greatest. Even the awkwardness of daily life is re-created in the virtual music venue, through posts such as “holds an empty cup the whole show because I don't know what else to do with my hands” and the riffing comments beneath them.The group was created in May by Natalie Miller, a 20-year-old fast-food worker from South Carolina who says she’s been missing live music more than any other aspect of pre-pandemic life. She now spends three to five hours a day there, volunteering to hold a broken bathroom-stall door for someone just trying to pee real quick, or handing out moderation privileges to whoever can most quickly get some water to her in the center of the mosh pit.“I want to feel dirty again,” she told me, speaking dreamily of grotesqueries like sweaty bodies and sticky floors—all the things “you don’t really think about or acknowledge until they’re taken away from you.”Role-playing in various forms has been a staple of the internet since its birth, and Facebook groups dedicated to the activity are not exactly new, either. Last summer, when Facebook redesigned its site and app around groups and started actively promoting them to users, absurdist groups started popping up in which members pretended to be farmers and cows, or middle-aged soccer moms, or participants in a multilevel-marketing scheme, or frogs in a pond. One group in which every person role-plays a member of an ant colony at all times has nearly 2 million members.But over the past few months, as the coronavirus has shut down much of the world and now U.S. cities have erupted in protests, the make-believe spaces on Facebook have taken a turn for the pleasantly boring. Rather than assuming the character of a farm animal or a resident of Twin Peaks, people simply stay in character as themselves. They do any assortment of not-that-interesting things that they would have done on an ordinary day a year ago and possibly resented, only this time they’re writing it out on Facebook with a tinge of longing. These groups provide escapism of a different and specific sort: a brief getaway to your pre-pandemic life, with all of its flaws and mundanities.In “A group where we all pretend to be running late or have to cancel plans,” Facebook users who are mostly not actually making plans or going much of anywhere post polite apologies and cloying excuses, one after the other, all day long. “I’m so sorry guys, I accidentally fell asleep and now it’s suuuper late,” one post reads, alongside a series of sad and sleepy emoji. “Next time?” Gracefully, everyone in the comments accepts the rain check. Next time, of course. No worries, obviously. Take care of you!The group was created in early May by three friends, Sarah Mowrey, Sarah Kennedy, and Genevieve Garcia de Mueller, comedians who met through the stand-up scene in Albuquerque, New Mexico. No one ever explicitly mentions the pandemic, and as a rule, the moderators take down anything that doesn’t adhere to the internal logic of the joke. You are canceling plans not because of public-health reasons, you are doing it because you’re poorly organized or generally kind of flaky. “It gives us a chance to escape, which is what us comedians are always trying to do,” Kennedy told me. “Since we can’t do it on stage, we’re really happy to get to provide it to people in a new way.”Dozens of these groups exist, most with memberships in the thousands, and all with the same basic naming format and rules. (You can’t talk about the pandemic, but in most groups the protests aren’t off-limits.) There’s a group where people all pretend to be in high-school band, a group where people all pretend to be part of the crew on a movie set, a group where people all pretend to work in a restaurant, and a group where people all pretend to be at a Phish show.Staying in character is paramount. When I tried to interview members of “A group where we all pretend to work in the same RESTAURANT,” I was told to make a reservation, come back when it was not rush hour, or go ask a host to see a manager. “We all take our roles seriously” Stephanie Illetschko, a group member, emailed me. “We aren’t allowed to get out of character. At. All. Which means by being in that group you now officially work at our restaurant.”Many people join these Facebook groups just to look at them a few times and laugh at the general joke, but some become sincerely invested. Evan Mayone, a 16-year-old student from Portland, Maine, told me in an email that the restaurant was just one of about 100 Facebook role-playing groups he’d joined since the start of the pandemic, including a slightly morbid one in which members pretend to work in a hospital, but are forbidden from referencing COVID-19 or implying that any of their imaginary patients have it. “At the start of quarantine where I live, I had no clue what I would do for the next few months,” he told me. “So I turned to Facebook and found the right people for me to express my real humor. This has been one of the best social experiences of my life.”Role-playing the mundane is interesting when the mundane exists only in our imagination, says Aubrie Adams, a communications professor at California Polytechnic State University who has studied role-playing games. “It might seem like simple make-believe on the surface, but the emotions and opportunities for social engagement are real,” she told me. Role-playing groups provide entertainment, companionship, and social interaction during a time when those are sorely lacking for many people.Like many of the new types of online social activity that have emerged during the pandemic, Facebook role-playing groups can throw members into bizarrely intimate situations with strangers—the same sort someone might normally happen by accident in a restaurant or a subway car. On Saturday night, as a police helicopter hovered over my New York City neighborhood, I dialed into a conference call organized by the members of a group in which people pretend to be at a Rainbow Gathering—a Burning Man-style communal-living experiment that happens deep in the woods in a different state each year. I expected to hear inside jokes about camping and cast-iron skillets, but instead I ended up listening to people break character to talk about the protests in their various cities.Even if they’re not breaking character, nobody is totally ignoring the real world when they enter into a fantasy. Many posts in “a group where we all pretend we’re in the same venue” are studded with comments of “ACAB,” an initialism for the phrase “all cops are bastards.” Although people don’t talk about the pandemic, and the protests come up only rarely, expressions of sadness and fear are common in the groups. These feelings are “looming, and part of the premise,” Sarah Kennedy said. You can’t openly discuss masks and quarantine and unemployment, but these things are precisely what brings someone to a random Facebook group filled with strangers in the first place.While news coverage of the pandemic is preoccupied with the big questions about how we’ll eventually come out of the crisis, these groups ask the smallest and yet maybe also the most pressing questions people have about their lives: Will we ever again be sweated on in a crowd? Will we be frustrated by the length of a bathroom line? Will we hate the way someone prepared the break-room coffee? Yes, eventually, and then those things will be boring again.
Watch live: George Floyd memorial service held in Minneapolis
Family members and prominent leaders were expected to speak at the service at North Central University's sanctuary in downtown Minneapolis.
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General John Allen, former commander of US forces in Afghanistan, criticizes President Trump and his actions following the death of George Floyd.
Russia oil spill into Arctic river spurs Putin to declare state of emergency after 20,000 tons leak
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Pandemic. Lockdown. Economic collapse. A senseless murder. Can 2020 gut-punch us anymore? Yes, riots in our cities and a debate about using our military to stop them.
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How Covid-19 can be more and less deadly than we knew
We’re starting to make sense of coronavirus mortality statistics. There are two ways you could assess the deadliness of a crisis like the novel coronavirus pandemic. One is to ask, “How many people are dying?” And the other is to ask, “What is the risk of dying if you contract the virus?” For months, public health officials were unable to fully answer either of those questions. Now, with death certificates and antibody-survey data coming in, we’re slowly getting a better picture of Covid-19 mortality. As we explain in the above video, that picture is of a disease that’s killing more people than we knew, but a lower percentage of those infected. Most places are looking at a higher death count and lower death rate than previously reported. But the biggest challenge in assessing a tragedy like this is that we’re still inside it — and nobody can predict how many lives will be lost before it ends. You can find this video and all of Vox’s videos on YouTube. And if you’re interested in supporting our video journalism, you can become a member of the Vox Video Lab on YouTube. Support Vox’s explanatory journalism Every day at Vox, we aim to answer your most important questions and provide you, and our audience around the world, with information that has the power to save lives. Our mission has never been more vital than it is in this moment: to empower you through understanding. Vox’s work is reaching more people than ever, but our distinctive brand of explanatory journalism takes resources — particularly during a pandemic and an economic downturn. Your financial contribution will not constitute a donation, but it will enable our staff to continue to offer free articles, videos, and podcasts at the quality and volume that this moment requires. Please consider making a contribution to Vox today.
A US lawmaker says using troops against protesters will harm the military’s legitimacy
A protester kneels in front of military police near the White House to protest the death of George Floyd at the hands of police, on June 3, 2020, in Washington, DC. | Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), a former Pentagon official on the House Armed Services committee, thinks time is running out to protect the military from Trump. President Donald Trump continues to signal he will use active-duty military forces to quash riots that have spring up alongside peaceful protests against police brutality. If he does that, it’s possible he could ruin the US military’s reputation for a generation. Demonstrations have continued and grown in every American state and many cities, most dramatically outside the White House. Last Friday, Trump’s security detail rushed him to the mansion’s bunker for safety despite no immediate threat, prompting Trump to bristle that he looked weak in a crisis. In response, Trump reached for the military to bolster his image and ego, brandishing force to quash the violence and looting. To do so, he’s pushed for out-of-state National Guard members to patrol the streets of Washington, DC, against the mayor’s will; deployed 1,600 active-duty troops on the Capitol’s doorstep; and threatened to send more forces around the country to arrest vandals. Should Trump take a further step and invoke a centuries-old law that allows him to deploy active-duty forces against the will of state governors, it’s likely Americans will begin to lose faith in the vaunted institution of the military. That’s the argument Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), a House Armed Services Committee member and former senior Pentagon official, made in a viral Twitter thread on June 1. She asserted that Trump is on the precipice of ruining the US military’s reputation and that its leaders — namely Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Army Gen. Mark Milley, the Joint Chiefs chair — aren’t doing enough to push back. That’s not only a crisis for relations between the US military and the citizenry, the lawmaker wrote, but also for the future of American democracy. As the wife of a 30-year Army officer, step-mom to Army officers, and someone who has worked alongside the military in a combat zone, what I have heard from the President on the use of the military in our cities –– with the support of the SECDEF and the CJCS –– has pained me.— Rep. Elissa Slotkin (@RepSlotkin) June 2, 2020 I called Slotkin to talk more about why she feels so passionately about this issue. To her mind, nothing less than the future of the US military is at stake. “If you’re a 22-year-old peaceful protester and the US military uses tear gas and uses unnecessary force like flash-bangs and other tactics in your city, mistakes are going to be made, and that 22-year-old will take that with him for the rest of his life,” Slotkin told me. “He will certainly never volunteer to serve in the military, and he will certainly not support the needs of the military.” Our interview, edited for length and clarity, is below. Alex Ward You wrote a viral Twitter thread about why the way President Trump wants to use the military in the protest response troubles you. Why is that? Rep. Elissa Slotkin Because I think it speaks to our status and our health as a democracy, and I’m worried about it doing serious damage to the reputation of the military, which is one of the remaining widely respected institutions that enjoys nonpartisan support. I want to look back on this week and say it was an aberration: We were looking into the abyss as the president threatened to send in active-duty troops against the will of governors, backing that up by events where he pushed unarmed protesters away for a stunt, with the support of the uniformed and the civilian leaders of the Pentagon. I want to look back on this as a really dark week, not as the start of Trump breaking a cultural norm and precipitating greater violence. I think we’re quite literally at a crossroads, because I don’t know if this is going to be a week we look back on as a historical blip or if this is the start of something more significant. Alex Ward What specifically do you mean by a “cultural norm”? And what are you implying when you say “something more significant”? Rep. Elissa Slotkin My husband was in the Army for 30 years. My stepdaughter is in the Army, my son-in-law is in the Army. When you grow up around the military — and certainly when you serve in a combat zone with the military as I have — you realize US armed forces are deeply apolitical, both in law and in spirit. While the president technically has the legal option through the Insurrection Act of 1807 to deploy active-duty troops in the country, it’s long been considered a cultural norm that you invoke it only as a last resort and only when the situation truly warrants it. The violence on the ground either got so bad that local authorities show almost no capacity to manage it — like the 1992 Los Angeles riots — or local leaders refused to implement law, like when some governors wouldn’t follow federal civil rights statutes. We don’t have either of those scenarios right now. Yet the president very cavalierly used deploying the active-duty military as a threat to the governors. And then his administration cleared the square next to the White House of unarmed protesters not because they got violent, not because the local law enforcement was overwhelmed, but because it was easier for his photo op. It breaks with a cultural tradition of using active-duty military only in a moment of desperate last resort. Alex Ward Some argue, though, that the active-duty military is the only way to quash any element of civil unrest right now. Rep. Elissa Slotkin Yes, it’s a bad precedent to be setting because I don’t see these protests abating. While most of them are peaceful, there are looters and there are people who are opportunists taking advantage of the situation and committing crimes. Number one, I don’t like thinking about the prospect of my stepdaughter being called in to put down folks in the street who are committing crimes because she’s not trained to do that. There is a skill to law enforcement that has to be trained. If we haven’t learned that through our time in Iraq and in Afghanistan, I don’t know when we’ll learn it. There is a skill to law enforcement that our military does not have naturally, it has to be taught. Number two, I certainly don’t want her involved in putting down unarmed peaceful protests or pushing unarmed peaceful protesters off of a mark using heavily armored-up active-duty forces. That prospect really wounds me and scares me. Alex Ward What options does your stepdaughter have if given an unlawful order during a potential policing mission? Rep. Elissa Slotkin The options should be presented to her leadership. That’s why in the Twitter thread I wasn’t talking to her or her peers, I was talking to the senior civilian [Esper] and a senior uniformed military official [Milley] of the nation. It is their responsibility to make those decisions on behalf of the institutions they love. It is not the lieutenant’s job to figure out what is an appropriate order or not, that is the role of leadership. I was glad to see Defense Secretary Mark Esper get on the podium and talk about how he didn’t think the Insurrection Act should be used in contrast to what the president wanted. That’s good, I applaud him for that. The question is not whether he thinks it should be used or not, though. The question is what will he do when he’s given the order? .@EsperDoD, glad to hear you don’t support deploying active duty troops to American cities, particularly given reports that the WH disagrees with your view.But I must ask: if ordered to deploy active duty troops vs. protesters without governors' consent, would you comply?— Rep. Elissa Slotkin (@RepSlotkin) June 3, 2020 Alex Ward Would you want him to resign? Rep. Elissa Slotkin I would want him to do the right thing for the institution that he loves, and I know he loves the US military. If there is not truly a just cause — meaning local law enforcement is completely overrun, there’s no law enforcement anywhere in a city, local law enforcement and the governor agree they need help and the National Guard can’t handle it somehow — that may be a different story. But the conditions I see today, echoing what Secretary Esper said in his press conference on Wednesday, do not warrant using the Insurrection Act. I would expect the secretary to follow his words with deeds and say, “No, Mr. President, I can’t support that.“ If it risks his job, you know what? Better his job than the reputation of the military. Alex Ward Are you worried sending in active-duty troops will harm the military’s reputation among the citizenry? Rep. Elissa Slotkin Right now, most Americans support the military. They believe in an all-volunteer force, and they believe that our military protects us and does a good job doing it. I know from my father-in-law, who served in Vietnam, what it was like when the majority of Americans didn’t support our military. It took a generation to recover from Vietnam. I think that if active-duty troops are used in the streets of our cities, we will lose that near-universal support for an institution that I really care about. It will make the military less effective, and it will make us as a nation question our military and their intent. If this president uses the military as a political club against his perceived enemies, what’s to stop a future president — even a Democratic president — from sending in active-duty troops to clear out a conservative-leaning protest movement like I had in my own district in Lansing, Michigan? We had armed, anti-coronavirus lockdown protesters on the steps of my Capitol push their way onto the floor of the Michigan Senate carrying semi-automatic weapons. And while I don’t agree with the reasons behind their protests, and I certainly don’t agree with their pushing through and entering the Senate chamber, they do have a right to protest. What if a different president sent in active-duty troops to take care of a different type of protest movement? I wouldn’t support that either. Alex Ward It almost sounds like you’re saying Trump is personally putting the military’s reputation at risk. Rep. Elissa Slotkin Absolutely, absolutely. If you’re a 22-year-old peaceful protester and the US military uses tear gas and uses unnecessary force like flash-bangs and other tactics in your city, mistakes are going to be made, and that 22-year-old will take that with him for the rest of his life. He will certainly never volunteer to serve in the military, and he will certainly not support the needs of the military. We rely on that consent from the American citizens to send our troops to protect us and to well-resource them. The Pentagon budget is huge. If the American public doesn’t support the American military, fewer resources follow. Alex Ward In your thread, you noted that you worked with Gen. Milley and that you hope he’s thinking seriously about the moral and ethical issues surrounding his role. He did put out a memo telling troops to follow the law, but he also did walk around the nation’s capital in his battle uniform. Is he living up to his duties? Rep. Elissa Slotkin My husband works at the Pentagon. He was in uniform for 30 years, and he would never walk through the streets of DC wearing his fatigues. He wouldn’t even wear his [formal attire] because that’s not what we are taught to do. In the military, you are taught that we don’t want a vision of a militarized society. We’re not a place where our military is running around everywhere. Milley on Monday could’ve said, “Mr. President, I think it sends the wrong signal to go in my [combat fatigues] with you on a press event, I need to sit this one out.” I don’t know if he did that, but I don’t think so. We all have choices, and I personally know of Mark Milley’s great love for the military. But this is the time when we need leaders to step up and think beyond the next 12 or 24 hours. Right now, what’s standing between the president and the souring of the reputation of the US military is Secretary Esper and Chairman Milley. Alex Ward Are you implying they haven’t lived up to this moment, then? Rep. Elissa Slotkin Well, we’re in the moment. This is the moment. Secretary Esper’s press conference, I thought, was a step in the right direction. But the moment is, in my mind, vaguely about a week. There’s a lot going on, and I expect military leadership to do everything that they can to calm the waters instead of exacerbating the situation. Alex Ward And that situation is Trump using the military as his own personal plaything while not thinking about larger consequences? Rep. Elissa Slotkin I think “plaything” is probably too strong because “plaything” is like fluffying and sort of implying he’s not thinking. I think he’s thinking very deliberately. I think that in his mind, he doesn’t seem to see a problem with breaking American norms and very cavalierly talking about using active-duty military forces in American cities. The fact that he doesn’t see anything wrong with it scares me more than anything. Conor Murray contributed to the completion of this post. Support Vox’s explanatory journalism Every day at Vox, we aim to answer your most important questions and provide you, and our audience around the world, with information that has the power to save lives. Our mission has never been more vital than it is in this moment: to empower you through understanding. Vox’s work is reaching more people than ever, but our distinctive brand of explanatory journalism takes resources — particularly during a pandemic and an economic downturn. Your financial contribution will not constitute a donation, but it will enable our staff to continue to offer free articles, videos, and podcasts at the quality and volume that this moment requires. Please consider making a contribution to Vox today.
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