Judge Brett Kavanaugh made it out of committee this morning in his quest for the Supreme Court. The Senate voted narrowly to cut off debate on his nomination and move to the floor for a final vote as early as tomorrow. The 51-49 vote is the next-to-last step in the most tumultuous Supreme Court confirmation process in decades. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) initially said her vote to move the confirmation forward did not signal how she would vote in the end, but she announced later on Friday that she will vote to support him on the floor. I think after the past few weeks of this hearing process, it looks like Kavanaugh will become the next Supreme Court justice. What does all of this mean?
Jason Van Dyke was found guilty of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm, carrying a mandatory minimum of six years in prison, and had his bail revoked. For some insight into this verdict we turn Fred G. Rabner, the attorney for the family of Antwon Rose II, the unarmed 17-year-old who was shot and killed in June by Michael Rosfeld, an East Pittsburgh police officer.
It's Friday! Time for the weekly panel discussion. There are lots of things to talk about. Mike Pence declares Trump's fight with China just got personal. Claiming that Beijing wants to get Trump out of office, Vice President Pence outlines a China policy that threatens to dramatically increase tensions. "A new consensus on China is rising across America," is what he told an audience in Washington, warning Beijing in fighting terms that "this president will not back down." The wide-ranging speech employed many criticisms long levied against Beijing, including backpedaling on reforms and representing a malign influence in global politics. But Pence also denounced the Chinese government on a new front that related to President Trump himself: election meddling. So far, the allegation appears to be based primarily on the fact that retaliatory tariffs placed on US goods by China have overwhelmingly targeted counties that voted for Trump in the 2016 presidential election. The notion that Beijing is specifically targeting Trump, which served as an exclamation point at the end of Pence's laundry list of grievances, raises the question of whether the US president will abandon his insistence on maintaining the public image of a warm relationship with his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping.
Job growth slumped in September, but the unemployment rate hit the lowest level since 1969. Job creation for September fell to its lowest level in a year, though the unemployment rate dropped to a point not seen in nearly 50 years, according to Labor Department figures released Friday. Non-farm payrolls rose just 134,000, well below Refinitiv estimates of 185,000 and the worst performance since last September, when a labor strike weighed on the numbers. The unemployment rate fell two-tenths of a percentage point to 3.7 percent, the lowest level since December 1969 and one-tenth of a percentage point below expectations. A separate measure of unemployment that includes discouraged workers and those holding jobs part-time for economic reasons — sometimes called the "real unemployment rate" — edged higher to 7.5 percent. Unemployment among black Americans declined three-tenths of a point to 6 percent, slightly above its record low of 5.9 percent achieved in May. The increase in pay over the past 12 months slowed to 2.8 percent from 2.9 percent, but it's widely expected to top 3 percent soon because of the growing competition for a shrinking pool of available workers. Most economists believe it's just a matter of time before hiring slows sharply, and they wonder if September is a hint of what's to come. The economy is starting to run out of workers, they contend.
We've got all those topics and more!
Leslie Proll — Civil rights lawyer, advisor to the NAACP on judicial nominations, former NAACP LDF Policy Director and former Alabama director of the US Department of Transportation
Attorney Fred Rabner, Esq. — Attorney in Antwon Rose II case.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson — Political analyst; author of Why Black Lives Do Matter; the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report on KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles and the Pacifica Network.
Caleb Maupin — Journalist and political analyst who focuses his coverage on US foreign policy and the global system of monopoly capitalism and imperialism. He has appeared on Russia Today, PressTV, Telesur, and CNN. He has reported from across the United States, as well as from Iran, the Gulf of Aden and Venezuela.
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