The mission of USRENEW NEWS is to report on policy and programs to rebuild America and renew its spirit. We help our readers make informed choices about the public policy issues that affect their lives.
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Brief USRN Blog
By Sean Gray
The Republican Party is disdainful of democracy. In 2021 it has become an authoritarian personality cult led by disgraced former President Donald Trump.. It’s members have embraced blatant electoral untruths and stoked cultural wars in a a cynical political game. 30 state legislatures are controlled by the GOP. Voter suppression and cracking down on dissent are on the docket in many of them.
Stolen elections and burning cities received a disproportional amount of election coverage in the last few years. Neither represented an accurate portrayal of the 2020 election or the widespread well founded Black Lives Matter Protests. Nevertheless, as spurred on by Trump, the GOP and their chums in conservative media have spent a fair amount of time inciting their base over election fraud and antifa terrorists. The phony hysteria sounding these issues serves as a pernicious pretext to cripple democratic institutions. Self-governance and freedom to assemble and criticize said government is a bedrock of a free society. Those tenets are under assault in Republican-led state houses.
By Lily Lady Cook
U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh told Reuters in an exclusive interview at the end of April that he supports reclassifying certain gig workers as employees. In 2017, approximately 34% of the workforce in the US were independent contractors, and even more supplement their income with freelance work. These types of jobs can allow for greater flexibility and independence with regards to hours and variety of work. Yet the tradeoffs can be disproportionate: there’s often less job security, no employee-provided health or retirement benefits, and more expensive taxes.
Brief #160—Civil Rights
By Rod Maggay
On April 16, 2021 new U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a memorandum titled “Civil Settlement Agreements and Consent Decrees With State and Local Governmental Entities.”
The memo was comprised of four points. First, the new memo rescinded a November 2018 memo that imposed restrictions on the traditional use of consent decrees against state and local law enforcement entities. That November 2018 memo was issued by then Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Second, the new memo instructs that settlement agreements and consent decrees would return to the traditional process of approval that had been in place prior to Attorney General Sessions November 2018 memo. Third, the use of consent decrees again must lay out specifically what the violations are, what remedies are being proposed and how the remedies will address the violations. And lastly, the memo instructs that if monitors are brought in to help oversee the proposed consent decree that the monitors are independent, highly qualified and free of conflicts of interest. LEARN MORE
Brief #109—Foreign Policy
By Will Solomon
The saga of Alexei Navalny continues to play out in Russia. Navalny, the dissident anti-corruption activist, was jailed on January 17, after returning to Russia from Germany, and ultimately sentenced to over two and a half years in prison. He was in Germany recuperating from what appears to be an attempting poisoning by the Russian government.
Navalny is a popular and controversial figure in Russia and is increasingly well-known abroad. For the last several years, his profile and stature have grown in Russia, as he’s become the most prominent anti-Putin voice in the country. His movement largely centers on “anti-corruption,” and his exposes—like this recent one on Putin’s apparent luxury retreat on the Black Sea coast—are extremely popular in Russia. He’s also become a heroic figure in the West for his strident opposition to Putin
Brief #105—Health and Gender
By Erin Mcnemar
President Joe Biden has stated that ending violence against women has been a priority for him throughout his career. During the 1990s, Biden pushed for legislation such as the Violence Against Women Act to empower and protect women who had become the victims of violence. Since then, he has worked to continue strengthening and renewing that act. In The Biden Agenda for Women policy, Biden has pledged he will continue to build upon VAWA and provide better support for survivors.
Brief #14—Social Justice
By Erika Shannon
The police use of deadly force in America is a plague; the Washington Post reports that cops kill around 1,000 people per year, a number that has remained steady since 2015. There is an even bigger problem with the police use of deadly force – they disproportionally target black Americans in deadly force incidents, and this issue is unfortunately nothing new.
The numbers are alarming in cities across America. If we take a look at Minneapolis, where ex-police officer Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd, Minneapolis Police use force against black people seven times more than against white people. Since 2015, there were 11,5000 instances of force documented in Minneapolis; at least 6,650 of those instances involved black people. While white people make up 60% of the population in Minneapolis, force was only used against them 2,750 times. These numbers are similar to the rest of the country, where black Americans are twice as likely to be killed by police as white Americans. The Washington Post reports that police will kill 36 out of a million black Americans, while police will only kill 15 out of a million white Americans. The statistics are troubling, considering that black Americans only make up 13% of the population, yet account for so many instances of police-involved deadly force.