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Day 30: The Government Shutdown Continues

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Having approached the one month mark, the government shutdown of 2019 is the longest in US history. With no resolution in sight, affected Americans are demanding action as they stand on the verge of losing their homes.

This weekend, Trump made a statement offering Democrats a proposal to end the government shutdown. Calling it a “common-sense compromise”, Trump has offered the following:

  • Three years of legislative relief for 700,000 DACA recipients, giving them protection from deportation, access to work permits, and social security numbers
  • An extension of Temporary Protected Status for three years to immigrants whose protections are approaching expiration
  • $800 million in humanitarian assistance
  • $805 million for drug detection technology
  • 2,750 border agents and law enforcement professionals
  • 75 new immigration judge teams to reduce the backlog of court cases

Imploring both parties to embrace his plan, Trump says its an opportunity for “real bipartisan immigration reform.” However, Democrats are unwilling to accept the deal which uses DACA as a bargaining chip. Speaking out against the proposal, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called it “unacceptable.” and stated negotiations would take place only when the government reopened.

People Aren’t Bargaining Chips

In her statement, Speaker Pelosi said, “Democrats support smart, effective border security solutions” but, initial reports make it clear Trump’s proposal is an amalgamation of several previously rejected initiatives. Responding further to the President’s address, Pelosi remarked:

Unfortunately, initial reports make it clear that his proposal is a compilation of several previously rejected initiatives, each of which is unacceptable and in total, do not represent a good faith effort to restore certainty to people’s lives. It is unlikely that any one of these provisions alone would pass the House, and taken together, they are a non-started. For one thing, this proposal does not include the permanent solution for the Dreamers and TPS recipients that our country needs and supports.”

While Democrats are averse to negotiations that include DACA as a bargaining chip, in the past they offered a correction in return for border wall funding. Putting $25 billion on the table for border security, Democrats plan included a 10-14 year path to citizenship for the 1.8 million Dreamers. Their plan could have included a wall, as Senator Chuck Schumer privately promised up to $20 billion for a citizenship path for eligible immigrants. Still, both parties are pressured to resolve their differences and come to an agreement to reopen the government by Americans affected by the shutdown.

2500 Stores Unable to Accept EBT/SNAP

While the government is shut down, benefits for the 39 million recipients have been available without lapse. However, that could soon change. Roughly 2,500 retailers nationwide will be unable to accept any form of SNAP EBT benefits despite the funds early dispersion. Awarded through a debit-style card, stores will be unable to accept the payment method because they missed the deadline for license renewal before the shutdown. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, “Over 99 percent of SNAP retailers are able to accept benefits as usual. There is a small percentage of stores that failed to complete a required re-authorization process that was due on December 21.”

In addition to concern surrounding food benefits, rental assistance programs are also at a standstill. HUD’s official website states the agency is closed until further notice, leaving recipients to panic over whether they can pay their rent. Without HUD assistance, landlords have begun to send notice to tenants that they are responsible for the full financial burden of their housing costs.

Experts speculate the number of Americans impacted by the housing assistance lapse to be nearly 70,000 but that number increases every day. With landlords in a panic, organizations that administer HUD funding are attempting to calm them down so they don’t escalate to eviction proceedings. If politicians cannot come to a resolution, potentially millions of low-income seniors, people with disabilities, and families with children face rent hikes, eviction, and homelessness.

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The Best Tributes You Didn’t See On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2021

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Every year as the United States celebrates the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his lasting legacy, we see social media platforms littered with various MLK quotations, “love one another” captions, you know – the general bulls**t we all wish we didn’t have to see on an annual basis.

What we don’t see enough are actual dialogues about who MLK was and the type of radical he actually was. He was not a martyr – he died as the State turned a blind eye to the obvious plots against his life. He was not a capitalist – he died firmly abhorring capitalism. Toward the end of his life, he even grew increasingly concerned with Israel and its treatment of Palestinians.

MLK’s memory and legacy have been sanitized to make white Americans feel less guilty about their treatment of Black Americans and their complicity in white supremacy and its many atrocities. In his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” Dr. King stated in no uncertain terms “that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice…” 

Every third Monday in January those white folks more committed to order than to justice put themselves on full display. They proudly wave their “I’m not racist!” flag in Black folks’ faces, as if we give a damn about their shallow tweet that quotes a radical they know nothing about or their vapid, over-filtered selfie on Instagram captioned by a “deep, thoughtful” Martin Luther King, Jr. quotation.

Instead of carrying on about the commercialism of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, let’s take a look at a few of the best non-performative tributes the internet provided this year.

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Mob of Trump Supporters Storm U.S. Capitol, Sending Congress Into Lockdown

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On Wednesday afternoon an angry mob of Trump supporters, white supremacists, and what this website is calling “terrorists” stormed the United States Capitol as members of Congress were in session.

Earlier in the day, President Trump spoke to a crowd of several thousand at an event in Washington, D.C. called the “Save America March.” Of course, as you know, since he lost the November election to Joe Biden, he has vigorously promoted various unfounded conspiracy theories that the election was rigged and somehow stolen from him. Without a single shred of evidence to back up his claim, he rambled on in front of his supporters for over an hour, charging that he lost due to widespread voter fraud. At one point, he told the crowd:

“Now it is up to Congress to confront this egregious assault on our democracy… I think right here we’re going to walk down to the Capitol and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and our congressmen and women, and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them. Because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.”

Shortly after the event concluded, videos flooded the internet of the mob not only attacking police, but also walking past multiple police barricades – sometimes at the invitation of police. They eventually scaled walls, smashed windows, and broke down doors as they raided the Capitol Complex. Meanwhile, Congress recessed and went into an immediate lockdown, interrupting their largely procedural vote to certify the electoral results of the 2020 presidential election.

Many Twitter users were quick to point out the glaring disparity in law enforcement’s treatment of these terrorists with their treatment of Black Lives Matter protesters last summer. As you’ll recall, Trump ordered police use tear gas and rubber bullets when clearing a crowd outside the White House all for a photo op with a Bible.

Throughout the afternoon, many around the world watched as the Capitol grounds became unrecognizable in a sea of Trump flags and other white supremacist colors. For over 4 hours, the terrorists were allowed to roam freely throughout government halls. Many proudly posed for pictures inside congressional offices, on the floors of Congress, and throughout the halls. In one video, a police officer inside a building gave a thumbs up as he posed for a selfie with a terrorist. The scenes that came out of this insurrection were jarring for many.

For over two hours following the terrorists’ rushing of the Capitol, President Trump was completely silent on the matter. As more time passed, it became apparent that he would not make any serious attempts to quell the violence unfolding in his own backyard. All Americans got was a now-deleted video posted to social media in which Trump told the mob, “I know your pain. I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us… It was a landslide election, and everyone knows it – especially the other side. But you have to go home now… We love you. You’re very special.”

Of course the President of the United States calling armed insurrectionists “very special” lit people up. Today’s events were the last straw for many; even with only two weeks left in office, he still managed to make more enemies than he already had.

By the time police finally decided to respond, the mayor had already put a 6pm curfew in place. Despite multiple law enforcement agencies clearing the Capitol and blocking the area around it, terrorists still hung around the complex well into the evening. It wasn’t until 8pm – over 8 hours after the siege began – that Congress was able to return to counting the electoral votes (they didn’t finish the count until nearly 4am). 

When all was said and done, law enforcement made 52 arrests, safely detonated at least 2 pipe bombs found at the RNC and DNC headquarters, arrested a suspect connected to a vehicle found with firearms, ammunition, and explosives, and confirmed 4 terrorists died.

Photo Credit: Julio Cortez/AP

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Steve Bannon Arrested on Border Wall Fundraising Scheme

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Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s former political adviser, and three other leaders of the“We Build the Wall” online fundraising campaign have been indicted on wire fraud and money laundering charges by federal prosecutors. 

Federal agents and officials from the United States Postal Inspection arrested Bannon while he was on a boat located off the eastern coast of Connecticut.


Bannon is expected to make his initial court appearance in New York later today, according to the US attorney’s office. Bannon’s attorney, Bill Burck, declined to comment on the matter. 

Audrey Strauss, acting Manhattan U.S attorney, issued the following statement: 

“As alleged, the defendants defrauded hundreds of thousands of donors, capitalizing on their interest in funding a border wall to raise millions of dollars, under the false pretense that all of that money would be spent on construction. While repeatedly assuring donors that Brian Kolfage, the founder and public face of We Build the Wall, would not be paid a cent, the defendants secretly schemed to pass hundreds of thousands of dollars to Kolfage, which he used to fund his lavish lifestyle. We thank the USPIS for their partnership in investigating this case, and we remain dedicated to rooting out and prosecuting fraud wherever we find it.” 

According to the charges, Kolfage—one of the crowdfunding organizers, spent more than $350,000 of the donations on personal expenses. These expenses include a luxury SUV, a golf cart, cosmetic surgery, home renovations, jewelry, personal tax payments,  and credit card debt. 

The four individuals being charged—Bannon, Kolfage, Andrew Badolato, and Timothy Shea—are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, CNN reports

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