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HeadlinesSeptember 29, 2023

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Ahead of Shutdown, Biden Says GOP Extremists Are Trying to “Burn the Place Down”

Sep 29, 2023

U.S. officials have begun notifying federal workers that the government may shut down on Saturday at midnight. During a shutdown, millions of federal workers will stop being paid, including members of the military and air traffic controllers. Millions of recipients of government aid may also lose access to benefits, including 7 million women and children who rely on the WIC program — the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children. While the Senate is working on a bipartisan proposal to keep the government open, no progress appears to have been made in the House, where far-right lawmakers are in a battle with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. The House passed a number of spending bills on Thursday night, including a $300 million military aid package for Ukraine, but the bills will not avert a shutdown. This comes as The Washington Post reports a group of far-right Republicans are plotting to remove McCarthy as speaker as soon as next week.
President Biden addressed the possible shutdown in a speech in Arizona at an event honoring the late Republican Senator John McCain.

President Joe Biden: “Extremists in Congress — more determined to shut down the government, to burn the place down, than to let the people’s business be done.”

Biden Warns Trump & MAGA Movement Are a Threat to Democracy

Sep 29, 2023

During his Arizona speech, Biden warned that Donald Trump and the MAGA movement threaten the future of democracy in the United States.

President Joe Biden: “And there’s something dangerous happening in America now. There is an extremist movement that does not share the basic beliefs in our democracy: the MAGA movement. … They’re not hiding their attacks. They’re openly promoting them, attacking the free press as the enemy of the people, attacking the rule of law as an impediment, fomenting voter suppression and election subversion.”

Activist Disrupts Biden Speech, Urges Him to Declare Climate Emergency

Sep 29, 2023

Biden’s speech in Arizona was interrupted by the climate activist Kai Newkirk, who called on the president to declare a climate emergency.

Kai Newkirk: “Please excuse my interruption, Mr. President, but I’m compelled by conscience to ask why you have yet to declare a climate emergency. Why have you yet to declare a climate emergency? Hundreds of Arizonans have died.”

President Joe Biden: “I tell you what: If you shush up, I’ll meet with you immediately after this. OK?”

18 Youth Climate Activists Arrested for Occupying Speaker McCarthy’s Office

Sep 29, 2023

In other climate news, 18 youth activists with the Sunrise Movement were arrested Thursday after they occupied the office of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, demanding he take action on the climate crisis and avert a government shutdown.

GOP Witnesses Admit No Evidence Yet to Support Impeaching Biden

Sep 29, 2023

Despite the imminent government shutdown, the Republican-controlled House Oversight Committee held its first hearing in its impeachment inquiry of Joe Biden on Thursday. The hearing did not go as planned, as the Republicans’ own witnesses, including forensic accountant Bruce Dubinsky and George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, admitted there is no evidence Biden committed impeachable offenses.

Jonathan Turley: “I do not believe that the current evidence would support articles of impeachment.”

Bruce Dubinsky: “I am not here today to even suggest that there was corruption, fraud or any wrongdoing.”

Republican leaders have deemed staffers dealing with the impeachment inquiry to be essential workers, so they can keep working even if the government shuts down.

GOP Lawmakers Refuse to Say Trump Should Be Held Accountable If Convicted

Sep 29, 2023

During the House Oversight hearing, Republican lawmakers refused to say if former President Donald Trump should be held accountable if convicted. They were asked that question by Texas Democratic Congressmember Greg Casar.

Rep. Greg Casar: “Will members of the Oversight Committee please raise your hand if you believe both Hunter and Trump should be held accountable for any of the indictments against them, if convicted by a jury of their peers? … Raise your hands if you think that equal justice under the law applies and if Trump should be held accountable. I think it is worse than embarrassing that Republicans won’t raise their hands. They refuse to say that equal justice under the law should apply to everyone.”

NY Appeals Court Rejects Trump Effort to Delay Civil Fraud Trial

Sep 29, 2023

A New York appeals court has rejected an effort by Donald Trump to delay his civil fraud trial, which is scheduled to begin on Monday. Earlier this week, the trial judge ruled Trump and his family had fraudulently inflated the value of their assets by billions of dollars to obtain loans and lower their insurance rates. This could lead to Trump losing control of some of his most iconic New York properties, including Trump Tower. Meanwhile, Trump has decided against trying to move his election interference trial in Georgia from a state to federal court.

Dozens Killed in Two Blasts in Pakistan

Sep 29, 2023

In Pakistan, at least 52 people have died in a suicide bombing in the province of Balochistan. The bombing occurred near a mosque as worshipers gathered for a religious procession to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. A separate blast today hit a mosque near Peshawar City, killing at least five people. No group has claimed responsibility for the blasts.

U.N.: Over 2,500 Migrants Have Died or Gone Missing This Year Trying to Cross the Mediterranean

Sep 29, 2023

The United Nations Refugee Agency is reporting more than 2,500 people have died or gone missing this year while attempting to cross the Mediterranean to seek protection in Europe. That is a sharp increase over last year, when about 1,700 migrants died or went missing. A top official at the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees called on nations to do far more to save lives.

Ruven Menikdiwela: “All Mediterranean states must urgently step up search and rescue efforts and implement effective and predictable disembarkation mechanisms. Saving lives at sea and providing humanitarian assistance is one of the most basic obligations of humanity, and those performing rescue operations or helping in good faith should not be penalized for doing so.”

Protesters in Niger Rally Outside French Military Base Demanding Immediate Troop Withdrawal

Sep 29, 2023

In Niger, protesters gathered again outside a French military base in the capital Niamey demanding an immediate withdrawal of French troops. French President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to remove French troops over the coming months. The prominent pan-African activist Kémi Séba of Benin addressed protesters.

Kémi Séba: “To taste freedom — every people has the right to taste independence. Every people has the right to regain its dignity. And if France won’t let Africans breathe, we’re going to force it to listen to us!”

Former Bolivian President to Pay Damages for 2003 Indigenous Massacre

Sep 29, 2023

The former president of Bolivia, Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, and his former defense minister have agreed to pay damages to the families of eight people killed during a 2003 massacre in the largely Indigenous Aymara city of El Alto. The murders happened as massive Indigenous-led protests erupted across Bolivia against a proposed pipeline in what became known as the Gas War. One plaintiff in the case was Teófilo Baltazar Cerro, whose pregnant wife was killed by a bullet fired through the wall of a house. He said, “I feel proud that Aymara Bolivians showed the world that no leader, no matter how rich or powerful they are, has absolute impunity.” The U.S. case against Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada was brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Mexico: Three Arrests Made After Bodies of Six Kidnapped Teenagers Found

Sep 29, 2023

In Mexico, three arrests have been made in the state of Zacatecas after an armed group kidnapped seven teenagers on Sunday. After days of searching, the bodies of six of them were found on Wednesday. One teen survived and is being treated in the hospital. Three of the teenagers were cousins; the rest were classmates. They were abducted while they were together for a sleepover. The killings have sparked outrage in a community where fighting between rival drug cartels has led to a soaring number of murders and disappearances. Many have blamed the U.S.-backed war on drugs for exacerbating drug cartel violence in Mexico.

Texas Man Pleads Guilty for Role in Death of 53 Migrants Trapped Inside Truck

Sep 29, 2023

In news from Texas, a 29-year-old man from the city of Palestine has pleaded guilty to federal smuggling charges for his role in the death of 53 migrants from Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras who died in the back of a sweltering hot truck in San Antonio last year. Christian Martinez faces up to life in prison. He is the first of the six charged in the case to plead guilty.

MAGA Gunman Attacks Protest in New Mexico over Reinstallment of Conquistador Statue

Sep 29, 2023

In New Mexico, a protest over the reinstallment of a statue of the violent Spanish conquistador Juan de Oñate was disrupted Thursday when a man wearing a red MAGA hat opened fire and shot a Native American protester, who had to be airlifted to a hospital. The shooting occurred in the city of Española. The shooter was taken into custody after he drove away in a white Tesla. The 16th century conquistador Juan de Oñate is a controversial figure in New Mexico. In 1599, a year after he became New Mexico’s first colonial governor, he ordered a massacre that killed between 800 and 1,000 Acoma Indigenous people.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Sues Tesla over Racial Abuse of Black Workers

Sep 29, 2023

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has sued Elon Musk’s electric car manufacturer Tesla for allowing rampant racial abuse of Black workers at its plant in Fremont, California. Tesla is also accused of retaliating against workers who raised objections to the racist harassment. In a statement, the federal agency said, “Black employees regularly encountered graffiti, including variations of the N-word, swastikas, threats, and nooses, on desks and other equipment, in bathroom stalls, within elevators, and even on new vehicles rolling off the production line.”

California: Gov. Newsom Raises Minimum Wage for Fast-Food Workers to $20

Sep 29, 2023

California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed legislation to increase the minimum wage for fast-food workers to $20 an hour. The law also creates a new council to help set industry-wide standards on pay and working conditions. The law takes effect April 1.

Rep. Bowman and Sen. Markey Introduce Green New Deal for Public Schools Act

Sep 29, 2023

On Capitol Hill, Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Congressmember Jamaal Bowman of New York have introduced the Green New Deal for Public Schools Act, a $1.6 trillion initiative to eliminate all carbon pollution from schools. Bowman, who is a former school principal, spoke outside the Capitol on Thursday.

Rep. Jamaal Bowman: “Schools without windows — I know, I have worked in them — without windows, and burning fossil fuels constantly, with toxins all throughout the air, where kids — we’re asking kids, our most precious and vulnerable resource, to go learn in these spaces. That’s what we’re asking them to do. So, while we are asking them to go to a place to be nurtured and loved and educated, we are also harming and killing them at the same time. So the Green New Deal for Public Schools is a response to this crisis.”

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