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Government Shutdown Enters Fourth Week

Shutdown damage ripples across country. NYT: “the sharpest effects of the longest shutdown in the nation’s 242-year history are only beginning to emerge across the country. In many parts of the United States, the shutdown has underscored how deeply the federal government is connected to everyday life, and the spending standoff has created cascading crises far from the border. About 800,000 federal workers are going without pay — and a growing number of them, worrying about missing mortgage and credit card payments, are filing for unemployment benefits. Thousands more federal contractors are off the job and will most likely not be able to recoup their missed paychecks. Restaurants and shops near major federal offices, especially in Washington, have emptied out. So have laboratories run by NASA and the Smithsonian Institution’s museums along the National Mall. Food inspections have become fewer, as have many checks by the Environmental Protection Agency. Travelers have complained that airport security lines, run by Transportation Security Administration officers who are working without pay, have come to a crawl. Trash has piled up at National Park Service sites, or at least those that are still open. Native American tribes have missed out on millions of dollars in federal funding for basic services, farmers have been squeezed by issues with loans and payments, and states have written checks to keep some services and properties, like the Statue of Liberty, running normally. The federal courts have hung on so far, with a goal of saving enough money to run as they ordinarily do through Jan. 18.”

L.A. Teachers Call Strike

L.A. teachers move forward with a strike. NPR: “Los Angeles public school teachers are expected to go on strike Monday morning, a result of failed negotiations between the teachers union and the school district. The strike has looked inevitable since Friday, when United Teachers Los Angeles rejected another offer from district leaders.’We are more convinced than ever that the district won’t move without a strike,”‘ declared union President Alex Caputo-Pearl at a Sunday press conference. UTLA has more than 30,000 members, including teachers, librarians, school nurses and counselors. The last time the city saw a teacher strike was nearly 30 years ago. The district says schools will remain open for the same hours during the strike, with the same before- and after-school programs. It has also said that student learning will still take place, with plans to keep schools staffed by administrators, volunteers and 400 newly hired substitute teachers. Negotiations with the LA Unified School District started in early 2017, and union members have been working without a contract for more than a year. LAUSD is the second largest school district in the nation, and the strike would affect about 480,000 students. The district and the union are close on teacher salaries, but educators and union leaders say the strike is about more than paychecks. ‘It’s about the conditions that the kids are learning in,’ says Scout Wodehouse, a drama teacher at Orthopaedic Hospital Medical Magnet High School in downtown LA.”

All The Ways The Shutdown Harms Us

The astonishing effects of the shutdown, in 8 charts. Vox: “While President Donald Trump and Democrats continue to duke it out over the politics of a border wall, the impact of the stalemate has already become very, very real for hundreds of thousands of federal workers, many of whom missed their first paycheck on Friday. The National Parks Service, the Transportation Security Administration, and the IRS are just a few of the government agencies that have been affected by the impasse, which is expected to cause serious economic fallout as well. The current shutdown is only a partial one, as Congress has already funded 75 percent of the federal government until September. Right now, there are still seven outstanding spending bills that have yet to be passed, which affect nine federal departments including Agriculture, Transportation, and the Interior. Because of the way funding is doled out across agencies, certain services are affected even though they may technically fall under departments that have already been covered. The FDA, for example, is under the Department of Health and Human Services, but receives funding from USDA as well, a gap in funds that’s led to a pause in some food safety operations. Aside from its effects on workers and local businesses, the shutdown will also reverberate across the US economy. According to S&P Global Ratings, the shutdown could shave approximately $1.2 billion off real GDP for each week that the government is partially closed.”

IA Rep. Steve King Called Out For Racism

House GOP leader says ‘Action will be taken’ on Steve King over white supremacist views. HuffPo: “House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Sunday said “action will be taken” against Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) over his recent comments to The New York Times questioning why terms such as “white supremacist” and “white nationalist” are considered offensive. McCarthy said on CBS’ ‘Face The Nation’ that he will meet with King on Monday to discuss the veteran lawmaker’s future in the Republican Party. Following his on-camera interview, McCarthy told host Margaret Brennan that he is reviewing whether King will keep his congressional committee assignments, CBS reported. In his interview with the Times, King said he’s OK with immigrants of various races legally entering the U.S. ― so long as American culture stays white and European. ‘White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?’ King, 69, told the newspaper. ‘Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?'”

The Case For A General Strike

The case for a national general strike protesting Trump’s heartless shutdown. Salon: “It is hard to understate the utter disdain and contempt being shown by President Donald Trump toward the 800,000 federal workers whose lives he has upended with the government shutdown. If this Trump shutdown had happened, say in France, where there is some residual social cohesion, there would have already been a national general strike in support of these workers. For decades Americans had that muscle of collective action and their children and grandchildren benefited. From the end of slavery and child labor to the very concept of the weekend itself, these advances in our circumstance were the fruits of bitter struggle. But our ancestors took this on because a sufficient number of them loved and cared for each other enough that knew their fates on this earthly plain were surely all interconnected. How long could Trump’s tyranny stand if all of working America stood up to this gold-plated bully?”

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