We speak with two award-winning teachers who are trying to teach Trump a lesson. On Monday, Jessica Dueñas, the 2019 Kentucky Teacher of the Year, and Kelly Holstine, the 2018 Minnesota Teacher of the Year, boycotted a White House ceremony honoring them and other state winners of the award in protest of the Trump administration’s education policies. But Dueñas and Holstine skipped the event to register their opposition to Trump’s policies on immigration, education and LGBTQrights, saying many of the White House policies directly impact their immigrant and refugee students.
The US Senate has rejected two bills to end the government shutdown, leaving no end in sight to the record-breaking closure of federal agencies.
The Republican legislation failed by 50-47 and the Democratic bill followed suit by 52-44. Both measures were long shots, needing 60 votes to pass.
Meanwhile, 800,000 federal workers who are struggling to cover their bills will miss another payday on Friday.
At 34 days with no end in sight, this is the longest shutdown in US history.
Six Republican defectors – including former White House candidate and Utah Senator Mitt Romney – voted for the Democratic bill. It would have reopened the government until 8 February.
One conservative Democrat backed the Republican measure, which would have provided the $5.7bn (£4.4bn) that President Donald Trump wants to build a southern border wall. It would also have temporarily shielded from deportation some US residents who entered the country without documentation as children.
Afterwards, Mr Trump told reporters at the White House that he would only sign a bill if it included a “down payment” on a border barrier.
But the Democratic leader of the US House of Representatives, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, said the Republican president’s request was not reasonable.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and his Democratic counterpart, Chuck Schumer, held brief talks after the votes failed, but there was no sign of a breakthrough.
Boy sells art to help mother through shutdown
The political imbroglio frayed tempers on the Senate floor on Thursday.
Before voting began, Michael Bennet, a Colorado Democrat, shouted at Texas Republican Ted Cruz, accusing him of shedding “crocodile tears” over unpaid workers while supporting the president’s plan for “a medieval barrier”.
Meanwhile, multi-millionaire Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross questioned why unpaid civil servants have been visiting food banks, saying they should just take out a bank loan.
Speaker Pelosi accused Mr Ross of a “‘let them eat cake’ kind of attitude”.
Ahead of the vote, an Associated Press opinion poll reported that the shutdown had negatively impacted Mr Trump’s popularity.
Just 34% of Americans in the survey supported Mr Trump overall – down from 42% a month earlier. But his approval among Republican voters was close to 80%.
Something has to give
Now it’s back to square one. Democrats in the House of Representatives suggest they could pass a package with border security – but no direct wall funding – as a compromise.
That’s a change from the no-negotiation position they held for over a month, but the president has previously said this was not sufficient.
Something has to give.
Will Mr Trump’s sagging polls ratings and these latest signs of dissent in the party’s Senate ranks be enough to change his mind?
While the president boasts about never conceding defeat, he surprised many by abruptly backing away from the recent showdown over the State of the Union Address. He also reversed course last year on his family separation policy at the border following public outcry.
A break, if it comes from the president, could happen quickly. The Democratic position would have to erode over time – and, for the moment, the party remains fairly united.
Also on Thursday, former White House chief of staff John Kelly and four other former homeland security secretaries wrote to lawmakers and the president, calling for the agency to be funded again.
They said it was “unconscionable” that Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employees were working unpaid on matters of national security.
The letter said those civil servants “should not have to rely on the charitable generosity of others for assistance in feeding their families and paying their bills”.
Just why has the US government partially shut down?
How is the shutdown biting?
- FBI: A report from agents nationwide has warned the bureau’s resources are at breaking point, which has delayed sensitive investigations and compromised operations
- Flight safety: This week, air traffic, pilot and flight attendant union leaders released a statement saying they “cannot even calculate the level of risk currently at play”
- Food shortages: A food bank for Coast Guard families in the north-western US state of Washington ran out of meals amid high demand
- Immigration delays: More than 42,000 immigration hearings have been suspended, adding to a court backlog of over 800,000 cases
Read more: The impact of the government shutdown
A Virginia man has pleaded guilty to the rape and murder of a 17-year-old Muslim girl whom he attacked near a mosque during Ramadan.
Darwin Martinez Torres, 25, assaulted Nabra Hassanen on 18 June 2017 in Sterling, about 30 miles (48km) west of Washington DC.
Torres admitted all eight counts in a plea deal that will spare him the possibility of the death penalty.
Investigators said they found no evidence it was a hate crime.
Nabra and her friends were walking back to the All Dulles Area Muslim Society mosque after a pre-dawn, fast-food meal when Torres pulled over in what police described as a road rage incident.
The construction worker drove at the group, ramming his car into the curb.
He followed the group in his car as they ran into a parking lot before jumping out wielding a baseball bat. He attacked Nabra and pulled her into his car.
Police said they found Torres hours later, circling the area with blood stains in his vehicle.
He eventually confessed and led police to where he dumped her body in a pond in Loudoun County, Virginia.
Nabra died of blunt force trauma, according to a medical examiner.
Nabra’s death sparked widespread concerns over the safety of Muslim Americans.
Her parents told US media they were certain Nabra was targeted because of her faith, but investigators said the incident was not a hate crime.
Across the country, hundreds joined vigils in her honour.
As Torres entered the packed court for a preliminary hearing last October, Nabra’s mother threw a shoe at the defendant, and her father lunged at him, shouting: “You killed my daughter!”
NBC News reported that Torres showed no reaction.
He will now be sentenced to life in prison.
His defence team had argued he is intellectually disabled with a low IQ.
Originally from El Salvador, US media report he is suspected of being in the country illegally.
On 9 Jan 2020, Facebook once again announced that it will not fact-check advertisements run by politicians or political organizations, instead taking a less disciplined stance of allowing people to limit which advertisements they are seeing. The year is 2020, and social media is a majour component and power platform for politicians, not just in the United States, but abroad as well.
This is a blatant monetary decision based on revenue income under the guise of free speech. As a company, Facebook has the ability to ensure its platform is used to enhance discussions, open healthy channels for debate and bring the truth to the community members who use their service daily.
Facebook has the revenue to ensure that advertisements are fact-checked and accurate before they are ran. This gives the public the ability to consume honest, straight-forward ads as opposed to smear campaigns and disinformation attempts. They simply do not want to take a hit to their overall income by declining advertisement revenue due to holding politicians accountable. This is not a luxury, this is a responsibility that they have.
Lawmakers agree – attempting to pass “The Honest Ads Act” but the public has a stronger pull as some current sitting lawmakers would rather continue to use the platform for disinformation.
Sign the petition and tell Facebook to hold our representatives accountable to the truth.
|Visit petition page|
Do you doodle, draw, paint, sing, dance, write, speak, sign, gif, sculpt, paper-mâché – or make pretty much any kind of art?
Then we want you to join us to art the vote in 2020!
Everyone in the world can make art – whether you’ve been doing graphic design for twenty years or are an expert in doodling stick figures on your notebooks, we want to see why you have had ENOUGH of Trump!
All you need to do:
1) Make art that represents something (or things) you have had ENOUGH of during Trump’s time in office (and digitize it if you need to!).
2) Post it on social media. Make sure to tag @peoplefor and use BOTH of these hashtags: #EnoughOfTrump and #ArtTheVote.
We’ll be keeping an eye out for your submissions – especially on Twitter! – and we’ll choose some to lift up on our accounts. Not on social media? Feel free to ask someone who is to submit on your behalf!
Last month, PFAW launched our ENOUGH of Trump campaign, designed to use art to mobilize voters and vote Trump out of office. With over forty years of experience in advocating for freedom of artistic expression, PFAW is using our expertise to highlight the work of activist artists nationwide, especially those from communities who are most negatively impacted by Trump’s bigotry, racism, and corruption.
The stakes in this election are higher than they’ve ever been, and that’s why we want to make sure our members are at the center of this campaign.
Our goal is to flood the digital world with art expressing the many reasons that it’s so important to all of us to vote Trump out of office this year.
If you’ve found yourself with a little more time at home than usual this year – whether you’re teleworking or protecting our communities by social distancing during your free hours – what better way to make the time fly by than to create something showing how Trump has failed us?
If Trump’s lack of action to combat the coronavirus pandemic has actively harmed you or your loved ones during this crisis, we want to see or hear your story!
If you have kids who haven’t been able to spend as much time outside this summer as they might want, this could be a great way to get them involved in and teach them about the political process – and we’d love to see what they make!
The election in November 2020 is a fight for the soul of our democracy, and we need you to get out the vote by showing us how you’ve had enough.
We can’t wait to see what you create!
In unity and creativity,
– Sarah, Digital Campaigns Associate
P.S. For even more ways to get involved, sign up to be notified FIRST about the ENOUGH of Trump Kickstarter campaign, which will include some incredible rewards from participating artists!
“The struggle for the Voting Rights Act taught us that people who love this country can change it. Don’t give away your power – go vote.” –President Barack Obama1
This week marks the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act being signed into law. As we commemorate this historic milestone, we must not forget to acknowledge and honor the long, hard struggle it took to get our nation to that place. Ever since the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution established citizenship for the formerly enslaved, Black people and other people of color have fought, sacrificed, and risked their lives in order to have the full benefits of citizenship—including the right to vote.
Voting is power, and this November, we’re taking our power back. For our families. For our communities. For our futures.
The grandfather clause, poll taxes, and literacy tests were just some of the ways Black people and people of color were unjustly disenfranchised for almost a century. But people fought back with the Mississippi Freedom Summer, the Selma to Montgomery marches, and many other ways in their communities.
After the Supreme Court gutted protections in the Voting Rights Act in 2013, we continue the struggle for equal and fair access to the ballot for all. The torch has been passed to us, and with this year’s elections—taking place during a global health pandemic and amid racial uprisings—we have the chance to create the future we want. We’re taking to the streets, organizing online, and lobbying our elected officials. On November 3, we’ll come together to use our greatest tactic: our vote.
Our votes are powerful. We are powerful. On November 3, we’re showing up in our power.
This sticker is the third in a series of seven. Follow along to collect all seven and for more on MoveOn’s massive cultural program to inspire and turn out young voters and people of color.
Thanks for all you do.
–Mary, Michael, Evelyn, Allison, and the rest of the team
1. Tweet by President Barack Obama, August 6, 2016
Want to support our work? The MoveOn community will work every moment, day by day and year by year, to resist Trump’s agenda, contain the damage, defeat hate with love, and begin the process of swinging the nation’s pendulum back toward sanity, decency, and the kind of future that we must never give up on. And to do it we need your support, now more than ever. Will you stand with MoveOn?
Created with N
Mitch McConnell will lose a lot of money if the NRA goes down…
I’m not sure what else to do.
New York’s attorney general has announced a lawsuit aimed at dissolving the powerful National Rifle Association over alleged financial mismanagement.
Letitia James said the NRA had diverted millions of dollars to leaders including its head, Wayne LaPierre, for their personal use.
“For these years of misconduct we are seeking an order to dissolve the NRA in its entirety,” she said.
The NRA described the lawsuit as a “baseless, premeditated attack”.
- America’s gun culture in charts
- NRA declared ‘domestic terrorist organisation’
- Why is US gun lobby NRA so controversial?
What did the Attorney General say?
Ms James said that the four named defendants – Mr LaPierre, Wilson Phillips, Joshua Powell and John Frazer “instituted a culture of self-dealing, mismanagement and negligent oversight at the NRA that was illegal, oppressive and fraudulent”.
The attorney general outlined a litany of charges against the defendants, but accused Mr LaPierre, long the face of the powerful gun lobby group, of being the “central figure” behind the organisation’s wrongdoings.
One example of misconduct alleged in the lawsuit states that Mr LaPierre visited the Bahamas more than eight times by private plane using funds intended for the NRA, for a total cost of $500,000 (£380,225).
The corruption “is so broad”, Ms James said, that total dissolution of the organisation is necessary.
Responding to questions, Ms James, a Democrat, rejected the notion that the charges against the NRA – closely tied to the Republican party – were at all influenced by her own politics.
“We followed the facts and the law,” she said. “We’ve come to the conclusion that the NRA unfortunately was serving as a personal piggy bank to four individual defendants.”
What is the NRA?
Founded in 1871 as a recreational group designed to “promote and encourage rifle shooting”, the National Rifle Association has grown into one of the most powerful political organisations in the US.
The NRA now lobbies heavily against all forms of gun control and argues aggressively that more guns make the country safer. It relies on, and staunchly defends, a disputed interpretation of the Second Amendment to the US Constitution, which it argues gives US citizens the rights to bear arms.
The NRA spends about $250m per year, far more than all the country’s gun control advocacy groups put together.
The organisation has boasted some high-profile members over the years, including former President George HW Bush. Mr Bush resigned from the group in 1995 after Mr La Pierre referred to federal agents in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing as “jack-booted thugs”.
Current members include former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, and actors Tom Selleck and Whoopi Goldberg. The organisation strongly backed Donald Trump in the 2016 election, but has faced scrutiny over its accounting practices in recent years and backlash from gun control advocates following high profile school shootings.
People in line until after midnight in Georgia. Voters locked out of their polling places in Louisville.
“If your vote held no power, no one would try to silence you.”
The November elections will be some of the most critical elections of our lifetimes. We say it so often because it’s true. And you have a powerful role between now and November 3.
Today, MoveOn is launching Your Vote Is Power, a brand-new initiative that will use art and culture to drive voter registrations with the goal of turning out an unprecedented number of young voters and people of color this November. Your Vote Is Power is a partnership of MoveOn and Amplifier, in collaboration with emerging and leading visual artists.
In the months leading up to the November elections, MoveOn members will work to inspire new voters to go to the polls through innovative voter engagement tactics, art installations, distribution of posters, stickers, postcards, and other creative tactics that create a culture of voting.
We are offering free stickers displaying one of the initial works of art to all MoveOn members. You can get the first one right out the gate!
Young people and people of color, along with women, immigrants, LGBTQ people, and others, are disproportionately impacted by federal and state policies and Supreme Court rulings. But too often, they are shut out of the political conversation, are told that their votes don’t matter, or face long lines, dysfunctional systems, broken machines, and changing and arbitrarily enforced rules that prevent their votes from being cast or counted.
The past few months have been a preview of what November could look like, as people in states like Georgia, Kentucky, and Wisconsin were forced to wait in long lines for hours to vote in primaries. The longest lines were in communities of color, where, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, voters had to choose between risking their health and exercising their right to vote.
But we can change this.
By acting together, we can build a better country where everyone can thrive.
Thanks for all you do.
–Michael, Amy, Mary, Rahna, and the rest of the team
Today, along with moms from around the country, I’m heading into a virtual meeting to fight against Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s latest attack on our children’s health.
Ground-level ozone, or smog, is one of the most widespread air pollutants in the US. It can cause asthma attacks and lung infections – the same respiratory health issues that make people more susceptible to the worst impacts of COVID-19. Communities of color face a disproportionate burden of exposure to smog, with children and older adults being most vulnerable. Right now, EPA is weighing whether to strengthen national standards for smog. We need stronger protections to keep families safe. But we are concerned that the EPA is getting ready to propose standards that don’t adequately protect Americans from smog.
The very breath of thousands of Americans is threatened. Moms will not stand for it.
Today we’re speaking with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the federal agency that is doing a review of this proposal, sharing the dangerous impacts ground level ozone has on communities. We are sharing the stories of families in some of the most smog-polluted cities: Denver, Las Vegas, and Phoenix. And we are demanding that they protect our families from smog.
Just in the course of the coronavirus pandemic, Wheeler has launched the following attacks on our health and families:
- He has gutted tailpipe pollution standards, which will increase air pollution in our communities, force drivers to spend more at the pump, and exacerbate the ongoing climate crisis.
- He has granted a pollution waiver for industry, giving polluters a green light to pollute during the coronavirus pandemic.
- He has proposed too-weak standards for fine particle pollution, ignoring the considerable science linking even low levels of this type of pollution to lung infections, heart attacks, and early death.
- He has moved to censor the types of scientific research that EPA can consider when setting pollution standards.
- And he has continued his campaign to weaken protections from toxic mercury emissions, which come from coal fired power plants and are particularly harmful to babies.
Each and every one of these attacks is connected by one harrowing theme, core to this EPA’s strategy: putting polluter profits over people, disproportionately harming communities of color. Wheeler’s EPA knows this, but they go ahead.
We must fight against EPA’s racist agenda from every angle, at every point in the process. Today, we’re raising our voices against the latest attack with the Office of Management and Budget. But we need Congress on our side as well.
The EPA is responsible for protecting human health and the environment. The color of a person’s skin does not exempt them from that protection. Trump’s EPA under Andrew Wheeler’s leadership is actively harming communities of color. We must fight back.
For clean air,
Public Health Policy Director
Moms Clean Air Force
P.S. It’s up to our community of over one million moms, dads, and children’s health advocates to keep speaking up, demanding a stop to these attacks, once and for all.