Military-Industrial Complex Ensures Americans War Will Go On Despite Gov’t Shutdown


The United States government’s mission of spreading empire, destabilizing peaceful countries, and violent regime changes will not be hindered by the government shutdown. Our fearless rulers have ensured Americans that the military-industrial complex will be just fine—despite not paying the soldiers.

On Saturday, Vice President Mike Pence encouraged troops to focus on their missions and ensured them that they will be just fine even though their paychecks won’t come in next week.

Although military personnel remain deployed and on the job, they won’t be paid unless Congress votes to compensate them.

“We’ll get this thing figured out in Washington,” Pence said early Saturday as he greeted US servicemen in Ireland shortly after the government shutdown. “Stay focused on your mission,” he said.

“We have soldiers that are headed down range to Kuwait for six months in a critical theater to serve the country, and yet because of Democrats in the Senate, they have anxiety about their pay,” the US Vice President said playing partisan tactics as he addressed the non-partisan military.

Pence then took to Twitter to lambast Democrats for their role in the shutdown—ignoring the fact that both equally repugnant sides are at fault.

While many bureaucracies will suffer as a result of the shutdown, the warmongers made sure to let everyone know that the programs “that keep us safe” will not be affected.

As the report read on the DoD’s website, the Defense Department will continue its mission to defend the people of the United States, American allies and U.S. vital interests around the world during the government shutdown that began at midnight, Defense Secretary James N. Mattis said in a memo.

“We will continue to execute daily operations around the world – ships and submarines will remain at sea, our aircraft will continue to fly and our warfighters will continue to pursue terrorists throughout the Middle East, Africa and South Asia,” the secretary said. “While training for reservists must be curtailed, active forces will stay at their posts adapting their training to achieve the least negative impact on our readiness to fight.

“I recognize the consequences of a government shutdown,” Mattis wrote. “You have my personal commitment that the department’s leadership will do our best to mitigate the impacts of the disruptions and any financial burdens to you and your families.

“Steady as she goes – hold the line. I know the nation can count on you.”

Just before his signature, Mattis wrote “Stay alert.”

Fret not free world, the United States failing to fund itself will not hinder their ability to drone bomb villages in Afghanistan and Yemen and sell weapons to terrorist Saudi Arabians.

While many people in the United States will fear this government shutdown, those of us who see the state as the leviathan police state that it has become will welcome it.

This shutdown also serves to illustrate another very powerful point. While every other bureaucratic function in the country will cease to open tomorrow, the war machine will march on.

As Randolph Borne wrote in 1918, after World War I.

War is the health of the state.

It automatically sets in motion throughout society those irresistible forces for uniformity, for passionate cooperation with the Government in coercing into obedience the minority groups and individuals which lack the larger herd sense. The machinery of government sets and enforces the drastic penalties. The minorities are either intimidated into silence, or brought slowly around by subtle process of persuasion which may seem to them really to be converting them. Of course, the ideal of perfect loyalty, perfect uniformity is never really attained. The classes upon whom the amateur work of coercion falls are unwearied in their zeal, but often their agitation, instead of converting merely serves to stiffen their resistance. Minorities are rendered sullen, and some intellectual opinion bitter and satirical. But in general, the nation in wartime attains a uniformity of feeling, a hierarchy of values culminating at the undisputed apex of the State ideal, which could not possibly be produced through any other agency than war. Other values such as artistic creation, knowledge, reason, beauty, the enhancement of life, are instantly and almost unanimously sacrificed, and the significant classes who have constituted themselves the amateur agents of the State, are engaged not only in sacrificing these values for themselves but in coercing all other persons into sacrificing them.

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Female Officer Blows Whistle as Fellow Cop Pleads Guilty to Raping Her—Faces No Charges

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Nashville, TN – A female police officer who was strangled and raped is now calling out the district attorney’s office for letting the man who assaulted her off the hook because he was a fellow officer.

When the unnamed woman went to police to report the assault in June 2016, she was armed with evidence in the form of an audio recording in which the man who assaulted her admitted to his crime—but the district attorney determined that the recording was not enough.

Julian Pirtle was charged with aggravated assault for strangling the woman, but because he accepted a plea deal, the rape charges he was facing were dropped, according to a report from WSMV News.

The woman had previously dated Pirtle, and they worked together as school resource officers before the assault happened. Two days after the incident took place, the woman confronted Pirtle at work and recorded the encounter.

“I was so f—ing drunk,” Pirtle said in the recording.

“You were drunk?” the female officer asked. “And the look in your eyes?”

What did you see?” Pirtle responded.

“What did I see? It looked like you wanted to kill me. I have never felt that before,” the woman said. “Did you know for two days that I could not swallow? For you to know what you were doing.”

“I didn’t. I don’t think you understand that there are moments of intense rage,” Pirtle said, going on to say, “It’s like—why do you think they call me the Hulk?”

“I don’t know, but that doesn’t give you the right to put your hands on me,” the woman said.

“They don’t call me Bruce Banner for no reason. It’s not an excuse,” Pirtle replied.

When WSMV’s chief investigative reporter, Jeremy Finley, confronted Pirtle in October 2016, he said, “I’ve listened to the audio—the recording of you—and you refer to yourself as the Hulk. You want to explain that?”

Pirtle did not respond, and the report noted that during the Metro police internal investigation, “Pirtle said he was just talking dirty to the female officer in the parking lot, and that she was setting him up by recording the conversation.”

While Pirtle was fired from his job as a school resource officer, there are still questions remaining as to why the rape charge against him was dropped. Doug Thurman, the assistant district attorney who helped prosecute the case, told WSMV that while the audio recording helped prove that Pirtle strangled the woman, it did not provide any evidence that he also raped her.

“Obviously he makes comments about himself being angry, and that supports the aggravated assault, but in terms of the rape charge, we just did not have the evidence,” Thurman said.

Pirtle began receiving special treatment from Judge Rachel Bell in the case from day one when his bond was lowered from $75,000 to $5,000, and he was released on the same day he was arrested, according to jail records—even though he was facing aggravated assault charges.

Now, the woman is calling out the district attorney’s office in a statement in which she said the trial taught her that “political influence and our flawed justice system have voices that supersede the needs of domestic violence and sexual assault victims.” 

Though the aggressor pled guilty to an Aggravated Assault which nearly took my life and openly acknowledged the severity of his actions, I’m baffled at having no consideration in a plea agreement that drops a prior conviction for order of protection violation, dismisses sexual assault, removes all safeguards and essentially renders me unprotected. Being a victim made me realize I was owed justice that I’ll never receive.” 

The female officer said her experience has helped her understand why incidents of domestic violence and sexual assault often go unreported, and she is now devoted to raising awareness and helping other victims

“I am moving forward with greater understanding of why so many domestic violence and sexual assaults go unreported, as victims are often dragged through lengthy litigation processes only to be unheard in the end,” she said.

WSMV News 4

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Gov’t Tried to Crack Down on Tide Pods For “Looking Like Candy” After Senator Wanted to Eat One


“I don’t know why they make them look so delicious,” said the United States Senator.

In recent months, many people began noticing memes and jokes appearing online about people eating “Tide Pods,” the conveniently prepackaged laundry detergent capsules that you throw in the washing machine. At first, we all thought that this was some kind of joke, that people could not possibly be doing something so obviously dangerous. However, videos began to circulate online showing large numbers of teens taking the “Tide Pod challenge,” by eating the detergent pods on camera.

This is a sad and strange testament to how far our society has fallen, and how young people have a total lack of concern for their health and their lives. There is not much that can be done about this as it is the symptom of a mass psychosis that has left millions of teens feeling like they have nothing to live for, aside from impressing strangers on the internet.

This is obviously not something that can be fixed with laws or regulation, but don’t tell that to Senator Charles Schumer of New York, “The Empire State.” When Tide Pod consumption first became an issue, Schumer gave a press conference demanding that The Consumer Product Safety Commission crackdown on detergent companies who use colorful “pods” for their soap. Schumer said these pods are tempting for children to eat because of how they look. He then admitted that he has wanted to eat tide pods in the past.

“The incidents are skyrocketing, these pods were supposed to make household chores easier, not tempt our children to swallow harmful chemicals. I saw one on my staffer’s desk and I wanted to eat it,” Schumer said, adding that, “I don’t know why they make them look so delicious.”

Schumer said that he is not interested in flat-out banning the pods, but says that further regulation is needed.

“We don’t want to throw out the baby with the detergent water,” he said.

This press conference happened before the trend caught on, back in 2012, and was directed more at children than teens, but these comments are still relevant to the discussion, as politicians are renewing calls for regulation. These comments also seem even more rediculous in light of people eating these pods intentionally.

Dr. Rais Vohra, a medical toxicologist at UCSF Fresno, told CNN that the pods can burn a person’s insides.

“They can cause burns in the mouth, if the liquid bursts open and goes in the back of the throat, they could cause burns in the back of the throat which would necessitate an ER visit or even ICU admission,” Vohra said.

Some companies and stores have taken voluntary measures to increase the safety of the pods. For example, in May, Proctor and Gamble made the lids for the Tide Pod containers more difficult to open, and many grocery stores have taken measures to lock them behind the counter.

Poison control centers last year received 10,570 reports of children 5 or younger being exposed to laundry detergent packets.

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Racist Police Chief Caught Teaching Police Candidates to ‘Kill Black People’


Prospect, KY — The assistant police chief in Prospect, Kentucky, who was already under investigation for ties to pedophilia, is now without a job after it was revealed that he was sending racist, violent, and sexual private messages to police recruits on Facebook.

Todd Shaw was “a bit of a character,” according to Prospect Mayor John Evans, who appeared visibly upset that his town’s reputation has been hurt by Shaw’s alleged actions.

The private Facebook messages came to light during a criminal investigation alleging Shaw aided LMPD officer Kenneth Betts who was being investigated for allegedly raping a teenage boy enrolled in the Louisville Metro Police Department’s Explorer program.

As The Free Thought Project reported in October, Betts and Brandon Wood were accused of running a pedophilia network within the department, using their badges to cover up the fact that they were abusing children. Shaw worked for LMPD for 20 years before retiring and becoming the assistant police chief in Prospect.

Betts reportedly asked Shaw to access the National Crime Information Center database, or NCIC, to run the license plates of undercover officers who were investigating him. That action is considered criminal in the state and Shaw reportedly performed the favor for Betts who was no longer a police officer at the time.

It is unclear whether or not Shaw is also involved in any way with the alleged sexual abuse of teenagers within the LMPD Explorer program. But because he was accused of the crime, an investigation into Shaw’s conduct commenced.

Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell then uncovered the private Facebook messages and later drafted a letter to Evans detailing the disturbing messages he discovered. He described the messages. In one exchange with the LMPD recruit, when asked what the recruit should do if he found teenagers smoking marijuana, Shaw reportedly responded:

Fuck the right thing! If Black, shoot them!

When asked how to handle juveniles’ parents Shaw responded:

Call the parents. If mom is hot then fuck her. If the dad is hot, handcuff him then make him suck my dick…unless daddy is black then shoot him.

O’Connell then instructed the mayor to take disciplinary action against the acting chief of police and promised to determine whether or not any pending cases with which Shaw was involved could be prosecuted or would have to be dismissed.

The Facebook messages were filled with references to Blacks as “n—rs,” to women who date Black men as “single moms,” and they often claimed that Black children did not have fathers and that Martin Luther King Jr. was a racist womanizer whose only purpose was to provide police officers with a day off.

Shaw and his lawyers attempted to keep the private Facebook messages from becoming public but Judge Judith McDonald-Burkman ruled this week that the records must be released. Prosecutors are now in the process of dismissing the nearly two dozen cases where Shaw would potentially have been called as a witness. He was suspended in September and resigned in November 2017 upon the conclusion of the internal investigation.

Taken in its entirety, given Shaw’s involvement in helping Betts identify his investigators, his messages to a potential LMPD recruit—who was later dismissed—and his subsequent resignation, the career police officer has now been outed as a racist, a pedophile sympathizer, and most likely a criminal. Fortunately, the LMPD and the city of Prospect were able to take corrective action to ensure more citizens do not end up in the prison industrial complex by the unscrupulous actions and beliefs of a bigot.

WDRB 41 Louisville News

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WATCH: Cops Tase, Assault Handicapped Vet—Then Arrest Him For Half a Gram of Cannabis


Jasper City, FL – Disturbing body camera footage has just been released that shows a handicapped man being tased and manhandled by police officers for the heinous crime of flexing his rights.

Corey Bracken, 38, was trying to eat his lunch in his van outside a convenience store when officers approached him and demanded that he exit his vehicle. Bracken, aware of his rights and his need to protect himself against unlawful prosecution, began recording the incident.

Bracken rightfully asked for the officer’s supervisor to come to the scene. He told officer Chris McGauley he was not going to exit his vehicle and was just trying to eat his lunch.

Other officers arrived on the scene, but instead of protecting Bracken’s Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights to unreasonable searches and seizures, they joined in on the abuse. After a bit of back and forth bantering, one officer attempted to take Bracken’s phone from his hands. Citizens have the right to film all police encounters but the officer apparently wanted to take that right away from Bracken.

Possibly realizing he was about to be jerked out of the van, the handicapped man reached for his walking cane. That action angered the officers who claimed they were fearful he was reaching for a gun. From the intensity in their voices and their screams to stop “reaching” for his cane, the officers escalated their use of force.

McGualey grabbed his arm and nearly broke it by bending it back against the van. The other officer, Less Harris, possibly realized Bracken was reaching for his cane and simply yelled for him to get out. Even though McGauley was ordering Harris to tase him, he did not. McGualey then stepped in and tased Bracken who still had not been informed as to what crime they suspected him of having committed.

The painful tasing forced the man to give up. He was then pulled out of the van and forced to lay on the ground without his cane and his apparent ability to stand. In a TFTP exclusive, Bracken explained that the officers did not charge him with any illegal activity and the prosecutors will not press charges against him.

He said he simply wants to know why he was tased, treated without any human dignity or respect, and why the officers denied the freedoms guaranteed to him by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Equally disturbing to Bracken and others was the cavalier way in which the officers mishandled him and then bragged to other officers saying:

I wasn’t going to waste five seconds on him.

The officer who attempted to break the handicapped man’s arm also lied to responding officers, saying:

He wanted to fight.

Clearly, Bracken did not want to fight and could not put up a fight with two fully armed officers even if he wanted to. He simply wanted to be afforded the opportunity to retrieve his walking cane and was denied such a simple accommodation.

The entire incident serves to illustrate the aggressive nature some police officers use on citizens who wish to exercise their rights to unwanted police contact, unreasonable searches and seizures, and to be treated with dignity and respect—regardless of their socioeconomic status.

Bracken said he was panhandling at a nearby gas station. He was asked to leave and he did. He went to the S&S convenience store and was enjoying his meal when police arrived. Bracken explained that he was hit by a drunk driver when he was 21. In addition to suffering brain injuries, his knee was damaged and his other knee has suffered from compensating for his injuries.

After police unlawfully detained Bracken, they searched his vehicle and found half of a gram of cannabis and a pipe to smoke the healing herb, which he said he used his chronic pain. They arrested Bracken and charged him with felony resisting arrest with violence, and possession of cannabis and paraphernalia. He spent five days in jail before paying $1,500 to post bond. He said he was also mistreated while he was in jail by abusive guards.

Bracken said his car was also impounded, and it will cost him $1,000 to get it back. He holds a medical marijuana card from Oregon. After prosecutors reviewed the body camera footage, they dismissed all charges.

Bracken told TFTP he is a veteran of the U.S. Navy and was discharged due to color blindness. He is now planning on filing a lawsuit over the incident initiated by the police officers who refused to respect his rights. He has also set up a GoFundMe page to help high schoolers train K9s as service dogs.

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Bernie Sanders denounces 'outrageous' Trump ad as 'so sad for our country'

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., condemned a new advertisement from President Trump’s reelection campaign that blamed Democrats for the deaths of any U.S. citizens at the hands of undocumented immigrants as “so sad for our country.”

The advertisement, titled “Complicit,” was released on the anniversary of Trump’s inauguration, and hours into the government shutdown that resulted from the unresolved standoff over immigration reform. “Democrats who stand in our way will be complicit in every murder committed by illegal immigrants,” the ad says.

On CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday morning, Sanders said it was “really unbelievable” that the president of the United States would say “such nonsense” and make “such outrageous statements.”

Sanders is calling for the government to reopen as soon as possible, but said he will not vote for any funding bill that does not help people previously protected from deportation by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), which Trump ended in September. The Trump administration has accused liberals like Sanders of “holding lawful citizens hostage over their demands for amnesty for illegal immigrants.”

The former Democratic presidential candidate cited polls by CNN and CBS that found that a majority of Americans believe that the so-called “Dreamers,” who came into the United States illegally as children, should be given a chance to obtain legal status.

“They need a path towards citizenship. That’s not my view. That is the overwhelming view of the American people. Then you see a president put stuff like that on the air trying to divide us up, trying to foment hatred?  It is — it is really sad,” Sanders told CNN anchor Jake Tapper.

Sanders strongly criticized the administration’s threat to deport the roughly 800,000 young people protected by the Obama-era executive action. “Let me say this,” he said. “If we allow Trump to get away with what he did — and that is, repeal the executive order on DACAs — and if these 800,000 people, young people, are subjected to deportation, this will be one of the ugliest stains in the history of the United States.”

The advertisement, however, does not specifically address the DACA issue. The short video focuses on Luis Bracamontes, a Mexican citizen living illegally in the United States, who murdered two Sacramento police officers in 2014, to justify Trump’s proposed immigration policies: building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, deporting criminals and stopping illegal immigration.

When asked if Sanders would be willing to vote for the construction of a border wall if Republicans offered a pathway to citizenship for the “dreamers,” he said, “It’s something — look, I think the wall was a great idea in the 15th century, when the Chinese built the Great China Wall. I don’t think it makes a whole lot of sense now. But I’m willing to sit down in a room and do what the American people want.” Sanders then reiterated his belief that American voters favor making it possible for the Dreamers to become citizens.

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Roe Made Abortions Legal, But It Doesn't Keep Women And Providers Safe

Before 1973′s Roe v. Wade, the problems were dangerous abortions and unequal access to safe abortions. Forty-five years after the landmark Supreme Court case, we still have the problem of unequal access, now exacerbated by a national, coordinated effort to harass women seeking abortions and their providers, both on the street and through a multiplicity of laws.

By the time Roe v. Wade ― and its oft-overlooked companion case, Doe v. Bolton ― reached the Supreme Court, the magnitude of the public health problem was obvious. Obvious too was the fact that poor women and women of color were the most likely to land in emergency rooms (5,000 per year in Chicago’s public hospital, for example), and to die as a result of illegal and self-induced abortions, as I wrote about in 1996′s When Abortion Was a Crime.

In New York City, African-American and Puerto Rican women died due to unsafe abortion at five to 10 times the rate of white women in the 1950s and early 1960s. The racial difference in mortality due to abortion in Georgia was even more dramatic: In 1969, the rate was 14 times higher for black women compared to white women.

At the same time, legal hospital abortions ― therapeutic abortions performed for medical reasons by physicians with anesthesia and antibiotics ― were, in contrast, extremely safe. 

Yet in the 1950s and 1960s, only a handful of women could get those safe, legal therapeutic abortions; they were almost exclusively well-to-do white women with private health insurance in private hospitals. Women of color or low-income women who went to public hospitals almost never obtained medical clearance for a legal abortion. 

The goal of reform laws enacted in a dozen states in the 1960s, first in Colorado and California ― and including the 1968 Georgia law struck down by Doe v. Bolton ― was to reassure doctors who wanted to perform therapeutic abortions that they acted within the law. Doctors, lawyers, women’s rights organizations and other supporters of reform in the 1960s and 1970s lobbied for abortion reform laws with the hope that they would increase the availability of safe, legal abortions.

Instead, as California’s 1967 reform law showed, the opposite happened. Doctors were more afraid of police and prosecutors going after them; the year before they had seen state officials revoke medical licenses and threaten prosecution of some of the state’s most reputable doctors for performing therapeutic abortions. And instead of allowing an abortion in cases of rape, as permitted by the new law, some local prosecutors rejected these cases, believing the man who denied committing a crime.

Georgia’s 1968 reform law listed multiple steps before a doctor could legally perform an abortion. The abortion would need to take place in an accredited hospital, be approved by an abortion review committee and be endorsed by two additional doctors. This was an obstacle course designed to restrict legal abortions. Noting that state law required nothing similar for any other surgical procedure, the Supreme Court found the Georgia law unconstitutional in Doe v. Bolton. The case was as important as Roe v. Wade because it made it clear that the system of legal abortion created by reform laws violated the rights of both the patient and the physician.

Aiding and abetting this sexual harassment are elected lawmakers who pass legislation designed to stigmatize and restrict the constitutional rights of women and reproductive health care providers.

Doe made the development of independent abortion clinics possible. Clinics were preferable to providing abortions in hospitals because they cut the cost of the procedure and moved it out of the obstetrics ward and away from hostile medical personnel. No one predicted then that anti-abortion forces would use the physical independence of the clinics to surround them with protesters and isolate them from their medical colleagues.

There is now jeering, name-calling, jostling, shaming, threatening and worse. The anti-abortion movement has led, trained and reveled in the street harassment of female patients and the workplace harassment of abortion providers for decades. Medical students who want to learn how to provide this necessary part of women’s health care are similarly harassed and silenced, as are their teachers.

Aiding and abetting this gender-based sexual harassment are elected lawmakers who pass legislation designed to stigmatize and restrict the constitutional rights of women and reproductive health care providers.

Sexual harassment is treating a woman like a sexual object to be played with, ridiculed and touched. It’s aim is to demean her and empower the harasser. Insisting that women carry pregnancies to term against their will is to also treat women like objects without regard for their bodies, health or moral decision-making; it is to use their bodies for power and politics.

Laws that require women to see ultrasounds of the developing fetus or listen to a heartbeat are harassment. Requiring vaginal ultrasounds by law prior to every abortion is sexual assault.

Requiring doctors to tell lies about the consequences of abortion is harassment.

Requiring young women to inform parents of abortions knowing ― hoping ― that this will be humiliating and might induce parental rage or violence is harassment.

Today laws are designed to close the doors of specific clinics. This includes forcing hospitals to comply with design requirements or requiring a clinic’s physician to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital (while allowing hospitals to discriminate against abortion providers.) These are new forms of what Doe found to be unconstitutional. Fortunately, the Supreme Court has struck down some of this legislation, known as targeted regulation of abortion providers, or TRAP laws.

There is other hopeful news, too: young African-American and Latina women are leading the struggle for reproductive justice and sharing their stories to support other women. Funds have been developed in Mississippi to help pay for the cost of travel and child care for women who must travel hundreds of miles to reach the state’s one provider and then stay overnight because of state-mandated waiting periods. Alabama just elected a pro-choice Democrat to the Senate. Five states expanded access to abortion and 11 others expanded access to contraception.

Since 2010, hundreds of laws restricting abortion have been enacted, particularly in the Midwest and South, in states dominated by the Republican Party. The anti-abortion movement ― with its leaders and co-workers in the Catholic and (white) evangelical churches, right-wing nationalist movement, the Republican Party and, too often, some members of the Democratic Party ―  have been participating in sexual harassment on a grand scale for decades. It is past time to stop it.

Leslie J. Reagan is a professor of history, law, and gender and women’s studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and the author of When Abortion Was a Crime and Dangerous Pregnancies.

This piece is part of HuffPost’s brand-new Opinion section. For more information on how to pitch us an idea, go here.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

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The Washington D.C. City Government Does Not Participate In The Shutdown

WASHINGTON ― When the federal government partially shut down in 1995, the local city government closed recreation centers and suspended trash collection while then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich seethed over having having to sit in the back of Air Force One.

That won’t happen this time, though.

District of Columbia residents run their own civic affairs, but the U.S. Constitution gives Congress ultimate control, so when lawmakers fail to fund the government and “nonessential” federal services go by the wayside, the same thing is supposed to happen to the city, too.

During the shutdown drama of 2013, then-mayor Vince Gray decided D.C. was not doing that anymore. The city defied the federal government by spending its own money, and Gray declared all of the city’s workers “essential to the protection of public safety, health, and property,” thereby exempting them from the federal shutdown.

Through a referendum and a lawsuit, the D.C. government has since tried to give itself more budget autonomy from the federal government, and Republicans in Congress seem to be losing interest in the fight. They made only a half-hearted attempt to thwart the city’s 2015 legalization of recreational marijuana, for instance, and haven’t said much in recent years about its budget.

On Friday, current D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said the city would remain fully open and that the Department of Public Works would also handle litter collection at 126 National Parks Service sites that would otherwise not get service during the shutdown.

“Leadership is about stepping up, not shutting down,” Bowser said in a press release.

D.C. residents still don’t have any voting representation in Congress, even though the city is more populous than the entire state of Wyoming, which gets one representative in the House and two senators. 

But the fact that the city has no voting member of Congress means D.C. residents, who are often subject to mockery and erasure by the city’s out-of-town professional class, played no part in failing to fund the federal government. 

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

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Leaders to meet with white separatist town official in Maine

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Leaders in a Maine town said Sunday they will meet with their town manager, who has come under fire for espousing white separatist views.

Jackman town manager Tom Kawczynski recently made public comments bashing Islam and calling for preservation of white European heritage in northern New England.

Local officials are scheduled to meet with him on Tuesday. Town lawyer Warren Shay said Sunday the town manager’s beliefs aren’t shared by Jackman officials, who intend to meet with him at Jackman Town Office at 8:30 a.m.

“The meeting is to talk with the town manager about comments attributed to him in a number of newspapers and other media outlets around the state,” Shay said. “The beliefs reflected in those comments are not shared by any of the select persons or the Town of Jackman.”

Kawczynski didn’t return phone calls from The Associated Press. He moved to Maine a year ago and launched a group called “New Albion” to promote what he calls “the positive aspects of our European heritage” in northern New England and Atlantic Canada.

Kawczynski has said he expects to be fired over his actions, but he does not intend to quit, and he does not feel that his views on race interfere with his work as town manager. His website states that its purpose is “defending the people and culture of New England.”

The website includes essays that make the case for a voluntary separation of races, and identifies Kawczynski as “steward for New Albion.” He has also identified as a supporter of President Donald Trump.

The Jackman-Moose River Chamber of Commerce president has said businesses in the area “do not condone” Kawczynski’s views. The American Civil Liberties Union of Maine has condemned him as well.

Many social media users are taking to Jackman-related Facebook pages to call for Kawczynski to quit or be fired. Jackman is a town of about 850 people near western Maine’s border with Saint-Théophile, Quebec, about 170 miles north of Portland.

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Turpin family: Police may bring in dogs to search for bodies in house where children 'tortured' by parents, reports say

Detectives investigating the case of the 13 siblings found locked up in a house in California, may “send cadaver dogs” to see if there was anyone else in the house who may have died, reports have suggested.

Crime Watch Daily, a syndicated news show broadcast in multiple states across America, also reported that investigators were considering carrying out DNA tests on the Turpin children to check if they were all related, citing sources close to the case.

The Sheriff’s Department in Riverside County and the police department in the City of Perris, California did not respond to The Independent’s requests for comment on the alleged plans.

They did not confirm the allegations to Crime Watch Daily, but the programme claims sources told them there were “serious discussions” about bringing in dogs to help the investigation.

A support fund has also been set up for the 13 adults and children by Riverside University Health System Foundation, which is welcoming donations from individuals and organisations for their long-term needs.

“We recognise financial gifts will not eliminate their trauma, but additional resources will be extremely important in helping these victims adjust over time,” said Erin Phillips, executive director of RUHS Foundation, who assured 100 per cent of funds will go to the rescued family members.

(Facebook/David-Louise Turpin)(Facebook/David-Louise Turpin)

The siblings, aged two to 29, were rescued from the house in Perris after a 17-year-old girl escaped out of a window and called the police on 14 January.

She told them her 12 brothers and sisters were being held captive inside. Investigators from the Riverside Sheriff’s Department described the teenager as “emaciated” and as having the appearance of a ten-year-old.

At the “foul-smelling” house, police said they found a number of children shackled to beds with chains and padlocks in the dark. Seven of the individuals were aged between 18 and 29, but police said all the victims looked like children as they were so malnourished and “very dirty”.

The oldest, a 29-year-old woman, weighed only 82lb according to Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin. Authorities rescued the siblings and provided them with food, water and medical treatment. They discovered the 17-year-old had been planning her escape for two years.

Parents David Turpin, 56, and Louise Turpin, 49, who were arrested and detained, have pleaded not guilty to charges including multiple counts of torture, child abuse, dependent adult abuse and false imprisonment dating to 2010.


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Mr Turpin, who worked as an engineer, also pleaded not guilty to performing a lewd act on a child under age 14. If convicted, they could face “about 94 years to life” jail according to Riverside County’s District Attorney’s Office. Each is held on $12m bail.

The family, who lived about 60 miles southeast of Los Angeles, led a nocturnal existence and slept all day, which kept them largely out of sight of neighbours in their tight-knit suburban community.

It has since been alleged the children were often starved and not allowed to use the toilet. Some did not understand the concept of a policeman or of medicine.

David and Louise Turpin with their 13 children (Facebook)David and Louise Turpin with their 13 children (Facebook)

Riverside District Attorney Mike Hestrin alleged that the children, who were home-schooled, had “never” been to the dentist and had not visited a doctor in years.

He told reporters that they were regularly beaten and strangled for behaviours such as washing their hands above the wrist.

Psychologists have said their recovery could take many years, but is likely to be easiest for the youngest children.

Patricia Costales, chief executive of The Guidance Centre, a California-based nonprofit that provides children with mental health therapy, said of the younger children: “Their brains are still adapting, they’re still forming, they’re still developing their understanding of the world. But someone who has experienced these things for 20-some years of their life will have a lot of learning to do about what relationships are like, what the world is like, how they’re supposed to be treated.”

The therapist and social worker, who has previously worked with kidnapping victims, said “You don’t need to learn what a police officer is from going to school, you learn that from just being out in the world. To not even know something like that really speaks to how incredibly controlled their environment was. They’re going to experience a culture shock even apart from the trauma they have undergone.”

Therapists also suggested it is best to keep the siblings together. Jessica Borelli, a clinical psychologist and professor at the University of California, Irvine, said despite what they went through, they may struggle to be away from their parents.

“When we come into this world, our attachment figures are our primary sources of safety and security, no matter how abusive they are,” she said. “That impulse or that draw to be back with the people who are supposed to keep you safe is incredibly strong, and that is what has to be overridden to get out of an abusive situation.”

She felt the 17-year-old girl who escaped could be key in helping the family to recover. “To me, that is a sign she has something inside of her that is really healthy,” she said. “One of the things that happens with really prolonged abuse like this is the instincts about self-protection and the desire to protect oneself are totally disrupted — but she has it. So, I think she might be someone who can help.”

Additional reporting by Associated Press

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