Reason Roundup

Shootings, Stabbings Mar a Weekend of Pro-Trump Protests

Plus: Vaccine distribution begins, stimulus talks continue, and more...

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The weekend saw ugly incidents of post-election violence at right-wing street demonstrations organized to protest President Donald Trump's "stolen" election victory.

In Washington, D.C., multiple people were stabbed and at least 33 were arrested in connection with a Saturday "Stop the Steal" protest that saw pro-Trump demonstrators boozing in the streets and vandalizing historically black churches.

Videos posted to Twitter from Daily Caller reporter Shelby Talcott show a contingent of Proud Boys—a right-wing group whose members are frequently in attendance at political street brawls—burning a "Black Lives Matter" banner reportedly stolen from the Asbury United Methodist Church in downtown D.C.

The church's senior pastor described seeing the immolation of the church's sign as "reminiscent of cross burnings" to The Washington Post.

The Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church also had its Black Lives Matter signs torn up by men sporting Proud Boys insignia.

A D.C. resident, 29-year-old Phillip Johnson, was arrested in connection to a stabbing incident that left four people injured, and one critically so. Police have declined to say anything about the ideology or group affiliations of either Johnson or those stabbed.

Videos posted to Twitter of the stabbing incident show one black-clad man being shouted at by a group of Proud Boys as he walks down the sidewalk. A person punches him in the head, after which the punched man appears to pull out a knife and lunge at the people around him. He's later arrested at the scene.

In Olympia, Washington, one unnamed demonstrator—described as a right-winger by the Post­­­—was arrested and charged with first-degree assault for allegedly shooting a left-wing counter-demonstrator at a rally of a few hundred people held near the Washington state capitol building. This is the second time in a little over a week that a Trump supporter has been arrested for shooting a gun at people during protests in that city.

Meanwhile, in Michigan, both chambers of the state legislature have closed their offices on Monday in response to reported threats made against Michigan's Electoral College electors, who are set to vote for President-elect Joe Biden in the state senate's chambers.

The weekend's clashes were ugly, but fortunately much more limited than the violence and vandalism that accompanied many of the George Floyd protests over the summer or the constant left/right street wars in downtown Portland.

Hopefully, with the Electoral College's vote on Monday, we can move beyond this "Stop the Steal" nonsense, and get on with hating the forthcoming Biden administration.


FREE MARKETS

Discussions about another federal COVID-19 relief bill are ongoing. The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that rank-and-file members of both parties are pushing for a broad bipartisan compromise package, while congressional leadership continues to mull the idea of passing a narrower stimulus bill that doesn't include the most controversial provisions on the table.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R–Ky.) has proposed excluding from a potential relief bill Republicans' proposed liability protections for businesses, which would shield them from coronavirus-related lawsuits, in exchange for Democrats agreeing to drop more state and local aid from the bill. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D–Md.) signaled openness to that idea, according to the Journal.

Other members of Congress are hoping to pass a larger $908 billion package that, in addition to liability protections and aid to states and local governments, would include a renewal of expanded federal unemployment benefits, $300 billion in aid to small businesses, and $35 billion for health care providers.


COVID-19 VACCINE

It's here! This week, Pfizer will start distributing doses of its now FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine. The New York Times has some of the details:

Early on Sunday, the first boxes of a vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech that received emergency approval from federal regulators were packed in dry ice at a Pfizer plant in Kalamazoo, Mich. Workers applauded as the first truck left the plant, the earliest wave of vaccines bound for distribution sites across all 50 states.

The first doses will go to health care workers, who could start receiving shots by Monday. Residents of nursing homes, who have suffered a disproportionate share of Covid-19 deaths, are also being prioritized and are expected to begin getting vaccinations next week.


QUICK HITS

  • The New York Post's decision to publish an exposé on a New York City paramedic running an OnlyFans account on the side is receiving near-universal condemnation.
  • The Cleveland Indians will reportedly drop their name and Native American mascot, according to ESPN. Trump is not happy about this.
  • Russian hackers have allegedly broken into the networks of several federal agencies, including the Treasury and Commerce Departments, according to Department of Homeland Security officials.
  • Germany goes back into lockdown this week in an effort to combat the surge of COVID-19 cases in that country.
  • Amazon's Zoox is out with a new, fully autonomous robotaxi.