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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

 

With the federal government having been partially shut down for a week, around 800,000 federal workers have either been furloughed or asked to report to work without a definite pay date. And the Trump Administration has a suggestion on how they can pay their rent on January 1: ask their landlords if they can perform chores in exchange for rent payments.

On December 27, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) posted a tweet that advised federal workers affected by the shutdown, “Feds, here are sample letters you may use as a guide when working with your creditors during this furlough. If you need legal advice, please consult with your personal attorney.”

Bizarrely, the government seems to believe that the average federal employee has a personal attorney to consult (presumably for free, since money is tight) about legal options.

One of the sample letters reads, “I will keep in touch with you to keep you informed about my income status, and I would like to discuss with you the possibility of trading my services to perform maintenance (e.g. painting, carpentry work) in exchange for partial rent payments.”

It remains to be seen how much longer the partial shutdown of the U.S. federal government will continue. President Donald Trump has declared that he will not sign any spending bill that lacks $5 billion for a proposed U.S./Mexico border wall, which House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are adamantly opposed to—although both of them have stressed that they consider border security a high priority and are open to greater funding for high-tech surveillance equipment for the United States Border Patrol.

 

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL)


Twitter has restricted access to a tweet posted Monday by Rep. Matt Gaetz, in which the Florida Republican called for what commenters described as extrajudicial killings of protesters.

"Now that we clearly see Antifa as terrorists, can we hunt them down like we do those in the Middle East?" Gaetz tweeted, joining Donald Trump and other Republicans in blaming anti-fascists for the violence across the country at protests over the death of George Floyd.

Floyd, an unarmed black man, died after a white police officer kneeled on his neck for eight minutes, even as Floyd said he could not breathe. Autopsies have found that Floyd died of asphyxia.While Gaetz's tweet is still up, users have to click on it to see its contents. It's covered by a box that reads, "This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public's interest for the Tweet to remain accessible."

Democratic lawmakers called out Gaetz in response to the tweet and urged Twitter to remove it from the social media platform.

"Take the Gaetz tweet down right now @twitter. RIGHT NOW," Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) tweeted Monday night. "The survivors of mass shootings are lighting up my phone. They are scared to death this will inspire someone to start shooting into a crowd tonight. They are right."

After Twitter took action against his tweet, Gaetz said, "Their warning is my badge of honor."

"Antifa is a terrorist organization, encouraging riots that hurt Americans. Our government should hunt them down. Twitter should stop enabling them. I'll keep saying it," Gaetz said in a tweet that he pinned to the top of his profile page.

Donald Trump has demanded that the antifa movement be labeled a domestic terrorist organization.

However, as factcheck.org noted, "There is no such official federal designation for domestic terrorism organizations." Even if such a designation existed, the site said, it would be "difficult or questionable" to categorize antifa in that manner because it is not an organized group with a hierarchy and leadership.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.