Sen. Harris: Listen to young Black, Latino voters

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California has emerged as a leading elected official calling for systemic change to the country’s policing system and urging political leaders to listen to young voters. (June 24)

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Kamala Harris: Trump Has ‘Abandoned’ His Role as President

Sen. Kamala Harris thinks that President Trump’s failure to respond quickly to the coronavirus has made the crisis worse, causing economic destruction and costing American lives.

“There is no question that that had we a president in charge who actually took their responsibility seriously, that we would probably be looking at a lot less damage than we have incurred,” she said in an interview with VICE News. “We watch every day of the number of people infected and the number of people who are dead. We are every day hearing and watching stories about body bags. So, look, the buck stops with the president.”

This week the U.S. took the global lead in both confirmed coronavirus cases as well as deaths, surpassing Italy, Spain, and possibly China, though data from China is thought to be unreliable. At the same time, 22 million have claimed unemployment benefits in the past three weeks, and retail sales have plummeted as wide sectors of the economy have shut down.

“The fact is that he has abandoned his role of leadership and meaning the role of the president of the United States,” she said. “He’s abandoned the role of the president of the United States.”

Then the California Democrat ticked off what she sees as failures of the Trump administration in its response to the pandemic, which has now claimed nearly 30,000 lives in the U.S.

“His failure to take this seriously, from the time of calling it a hoax, to getting rid of the Obama administration’s focus through the White House on pandemics, to him trivializing the issue including the importance of social distancing” has made the crisis in the United States worse than it needed to be, she said.

Harris spoke to VICE News through a video conference on Thursday to discuss legislation she has introduced to prioritize funding and tracking of racial health disparities from the pandemic. An Associated Press analysis of communities with racial impact data show that while African Americans made up 21% of the population studied, they accounted for 42% of the deaths to the coronavirus.

Harris, who dropped her own run for the White House earlier this year, is thought to be a potential vice presidential pick for presumed Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

In the interview, she accused the current White House of taking an ideological approach to fighting the virus, rather than using the best science and fact-based analysis..

“The thing about this moment and it also is a source, therefore, of frustration about who this president is and how he has been approaching this issue: this is science. These things just don’t lie. Science is based on empirical data. Science is based on peer review. Science is based on analysis, objective analysis.”

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AP Top Stories December 3 P

Here’s the latest for Tuesday December 3rd: Trump vs. Macron; House Dems release impeachment report; Harris out of 2020 race; Prehistoric puppy found in Russia.

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The man behind a Broadway play that is a ‘deeply raw space’

Playwright Jeremy O. Harris has a rule that he doesn’t cry in public. He broke that rule the night Rihanna attended his Broadway debut. Harris uses the singer’s 2017 hit single “Work” throughout his searing “Slave Play” and the pop star had promised to stop by one day. When she did, he wept. Recalls Harris: “I was an empty shell for a day.” Harris considers Rihanna “the patron saint” of the play. “Work” was playing in his head as he was coming up with the idea for it. (Oct. 15)

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Harris on hearing ‘go back to where you came from’

Senator and presidential candidate Kamala Harris says she’s personally been told ‘go back to where you came from.’ The California Democrat, in Iowa, had an angry response to President Trump’s recent tweet about four Democratic congresswomen. (July 17)

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Harris takes on ‘Make America Great Again’

Democratic presidential candidate Senator Harris campaigned in Hartsville, South Carolina on Sunday. She took on President Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan. (July 8)

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AP Top Stories July 4 A

Here’s the latest for Thursday July 4th: DC, Trump prepare for July 4th; Trump says administration still plans citizenship question on census; Police shoot, kill man at gas station near Cleveland; Harris clarifies views on busing.

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Harris in Iowa, discusses Trump and other topics

Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris campaigned in West Des Moines, Iowa on Wednesday. She criticized President Donald Trump’s planned Fourth of July celebration and discussed topics including healthcare and busing. (July 4)

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Sanders, Harris pitch immigration reform in Calif.

Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris dueled Friday over Hispanic votes in California, a central front in the nation’s immigration battle where Latinos represent the state’s largest ethnic group. (May 31)

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Dems In Congress Can’t Decide If They Should Impeach Trump (HBO)

To impeach, or not to impeach?

Elizabeth Warren broke the ice for the 2020 field on Friday afternoon when she called for Trump’s impeachment in a Twitter thread.

And during a town hall on Monday night, two top-tier candidates – Senator Kamala Harris and Mayor Pete Buttigieg- joined the call to bounce Trump from office.

“I think he’s made it pretty clear that he deserves impeachment,” said Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who’s surging in polls right now.

But Mayor Pete and senators don’t make that decision- at least for Warren and Harris, not yet.

The people who will really decide this are the Democrats in the House of Representatives. And right now, they’re struggling with the question that Democrats always seems to be struggling with: what’s more important—principles or politics?

Speaker Pelosi seems to be trying to strike a balance: move forward slowly, play down the impeachment talk, and characterize your investigations as regular old fact-finding. She held an all-caucus call on Monday to rally her base, and in a readout provided by a person on the call she called on Democrats to “save our democracy.”

“Whether it’s articles of impeachment or investigations, it’s the same obtaining of facts. We don’t have to go to articles of impeachment to obtain the facts, the presentation of facts.”

A lot of House Dems seem to be following that lead for now. Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon represents a mostly blue-collar district west of Philly. She’s a freshman elected last fall on the anti-Trump wave. She’s also the Vice Chair of the Judiciary Committee—the committee that is normally tasked with an impeachment investigation.

When asked bluntly if she would impeach the president today, Scanlon said no.

“I wouldn’t right now. I think we have a lot of work to do to get there. It’s not something you jump into. There’s so many important avenues of investigation that we’re not finished with,” she said in her district office on Wednesday morning.

The office says that in the last week, they’ve received 178 letters or emails asking for impeachment; 85 letters or emails saying that oversight should happen first; and 124 people have asked for the Mueller report to fully released to the public.

One constituent call that Vice News was allowed to listen to on Wednesday featured a woman struggling with the impeachment decision- but for different reasons. But she urged members of Congress to “get to the bottom of this” Mueller report.

“I’m not sure about impeachment. I’d love it but Pence is evil. I’m concerned about him being president. At least Trump is dumb,” she explained to a Scanlon staffer.

But for the Congresswoman Scanlon this isn’t a question about Trump being dumb or not. It’s a question of how congress should do its job. Is the moral high ground to impeach Trump?

“I think acting as a check and balance on an administration that’s out of control in a lot of ways is the moral high ground. It’s why a lot of us ran and that’s why a lot of us were elected,” Scanlon told VICE News. That’s the question that Scanlon thinks faces each member of Congress: “When you look at all of the evidence does it lead you to conclude that for the good of our country. Impeachment is what we have to do that. That it’s an executive who cannot function.”

Scanlon thinks that if impeachment were to happen in the House, that Republicans may be on board.

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Harris: ‘Stand up & fight for best of who we are’

(21 Jan 2019) Sen. Kamala Harris enters the Democratic presidential race Monday, vowing to “stand up and fight for the best of who we are” in America. (Jan. 21)

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T.I. surprises patients at Atlanta hospital

(19 Dec 2018) Grammy-award-winning rapper, Tip “T.I.” Harris hands out holiday presents to patients at Egleston Children’s Hospital in Atlanta. (Dec. 19)

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Why North Carolina Can’t Solve Its Hog Poop Problem (HBO)

PINK HILL, N.C. __ Leaning out over a bridge railing, Aaron Harris carefully lowers a basket of empty plastic bottles into the slow-moving Goshen Swamp, where they fill with water the color of weak coffee before he reels them back up.

Harris, an environmental specialist with the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, samples the water to understand just how polluted the water is after storms sweep debris and pollution into North Carolina’s low-lying watersheds. But residents worry about one potential source of contamination and it’s also the industry that keeps this region alive: Hog farming.

When storms season hits North Carolina, hog farms are some of the most vulnerable places in the state because most hog farmers here dispose of their hog waste in massive open-pit lagoons.

And North Carolina has already endured its wettest year on record. The saturated ground can’t absorb much more rain, which increases the flooding risk. So the storm that approached the region on Thursday only made things worse.

Torrential rains can send hog waste over the top of the lagoon, where it washes into rivers and streams. Sometimes, the lagoons themselves breach, and hog waste spills into the groundwater. During Florence, both happened, with at least 50 flooded lagoons and two breaches.

Catastrophic flooding aside, neighbors say hog farms also present a regular nuisance to their quality of life. That’s in part because of the lagoons, but mostly because of how hog farms traditionally dispose of their waste: Letting the solids settle to the bottom and spraying the floating liquid effluvia onto their fields.

That’s hog feces, hog urine and hog blood, sprayed in clouds sometimes just a few yards from someone’s house. For Elsie Herring, the stink is constant.

“We don’t come outside much, you know. And we don’t open the windows because the odor — you can’t keep the odor out, whether you open the windows or not, you just can’t,” said Herring, perched in a rocking chair on her pink house’s front porch as another spray cloud blew onto her property. “You can smell it now, can’t you.”

Herring is one of 500 plaintiffs suing Chinese-owned Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork producer. The plaintiffs claim Smithfield’s waste-management practice of storing hog shit in lagoons and then spraying it onto fields severely reduces their quality of life.

Nearly every hog farmer in North Carolina is a contract farmer, meaning the agribusiness corporations own the pigs and the farmers own the waste. Morris Murphy has 15,000 head of Smithfield hog on his land in Duplin County, and says the nuisance lawsuits are baseless.

While hog farms do smell, Murphy says, it’s not bad enough to affect his neighbors. His lagoons are open pits, and on a sunny morning in mid-October, didn’t present much of a smell, even just a few feet away.

He’s not being sued, but his friends are. He says at least one fellow hog farmer had his hogs taken back by Smithfield after a lawsuit.

Hog farmers say they can’t afford to operate without open-pit lagoons, and agribusiness conglomerates haven’t shown much willingness to pay to cover the lagoons — an expensive proposition that includes a whole separate system to deal with the biogasses produced by the covered hog poop.

“Personally I think the system’s fine,” Morris said. “Someone needs to come here and prove to me that what I’m doing is bad for the environment before I feel like I need to change it.”

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Harris cites Kavanaugh ‘sham’ in vote pitch

(7 Oct 2018) California Sen. Kamala Harris is calling the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation process ‘a sham and a disgrace’ in her appeal for voters to oust Republicans from power this fall. (Oct. 7)

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Harris: ‘People Need To Be Held Accountable’

(22 Aug 2018) Democratic Senator Kamala Harris of California says the Paul Manafort conviction and Michael Cohen guilty plea show that people are being held accountable for violating the law. (Aug. 22)

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This Woman Pays Drug Users Not To Have Kids (HBO)

For the last 20 years Barbara Harris has driven across the country in a branded RV, advertising her non-profit to drug addicts and alcoholics. Her organization, Project Prevention, pays substance-abusers $300 to get sterilized or put on long-term birth control like the implant, or an IUD. To date, she has paid over 7,000 people, mostly women, to give up their fertility.

By using cash incentives, she feels like she is stopping a problem in it’s tracks. “We’re preventing women who are strung out on drugs and alcohol from conceiving a child,” Harris says, “Nobody has a right to force feed any child drugs and then deliver a child that may die or may have lifelong illnesses.”

It seems straightforward enough – but the ethical questions behind Harris program are not. Vice News Tonight caught up with Barbara Harris during her first RV road trip of the summer, where she targets areas where addicts or those who know them hang out and speaks to long-time critics who think Project Prevention may be contributing to the very problems Harris set out to solve two decades ago.

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