Banksy Funding

Banksy funding refugee rescue boat in the Mediterranean: report – The Hill

British street artist Banksy is sponsoring a boat used to rescue refugees traveling to Europe from North Africa, The Guardian reported Thursday.

The boat, which set sail Aug. 18 from the Spanish port of Burriana, rescued 89 people in distress in the Mediterranean Sea on Wednesday, according to The Guardian. The vessel is named Louise Michel, after the French feminist and anarchist who played a major role in the Paris Commune in the late 19th century.

The ship is reportedly currently in search for a safe seaport to either allow the passengers to disembark or transfer them to a European coastguard ship.

It features Banksy artwork on its side depicting a girl in a life vest and sails under a German flag. It is crewed by European activists who have previously been involved in other rescue missions involving more than 100 people, according to the newspaper.

The artist reportedly emailed Pia Klemp, the former captain of several other rescue boats, last September.

“Hello Pia, I’ve read about your story in the papers. You sound like a badass,” he wrote. “I am an artist from the UK and I’ve made some work about the migrant crisis, obviously I can’t keep the money. Could you use it to buy a new boat or something? Please let me know. Well done. Banksy.”

Kemp said that she initially thought the message was a joke but later accepted Banksy’s help, with the understanding that his involvement would be limited to financial support.

“Banksy won’t pretend that he knows better than us how to run a ship, and we won’t pretend to be artists,” she said.

The Louise Michel is smaller but considerably faster than most ships used for the same purpose. Klemp said it would be equipped to “hopefully outrun the so-called Libyan coastguard before they get to boats with refugees and migrants and pull them back to the detention camps in Libya.”

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Funding Postal

Funding For Postal Service, Mail-In Voting Stall Coronavirus Relief Talks – NPR

President Trump on Wednesday criticizes Democratic congressional leaders for seeking additional funding for mail-in voting and the U.S. Postal Service.

Win McNamee/Getty Images

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Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump on Wednesday criticizes Democratic congressional leaders for seeking additional funding for mail-in voting and the U.S. Postal Service.

Win McNamee/Getty Images

Discussions for the next round of coronavirus relief funding remain ensnared in a political back and forth over election money, with the topic of mail-in voting a lingering point of contention between Democrats and the Trump administration.

President Trump on Wednesday spent much of his daily briefing to reporters railing against additional funding to support the U.S. Postal Service and mail-in voting, making the baseless accusation that voting by mail is ripe for fraud.

“The Democrats have abandoned the American people over the simple subject of politics. Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi are holding the American people hostage over money for the radical, left-wing agenda that the country doesn’t want and won’t accept,” Trump said.

“Now they want to take it countrywide — mail-in voting. It’s going to be the greatest fraud in the history of elections. When you always talk about Russia, Russia, Russia and China, Iran on voting — the biggest problem is going to be with the Democrats, not with China, Russia and Iran.”

Each side continued to blame the other for refusing to budge. Democrats have said they are willing to compromise with Republicans to reach a deal to provide Americans with financial relief from the effects of the deadly pandemic, but party leaders said Trump and his allies have refused to meet them partway in negotiations.

“An overture was made by [Treasury] Secretary [Steven] Mnuchin to meet and he made clear that his televised comments from earlier today still stand: The White House is not budging from their position concerning the size and scope of a legislative package,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a joint statement.

“Democrats have compromised. Repeatedly, we have made clear to the Administration that we are willing to come down $1 trillion if they will come up $1 trillion. However, it is clear that the Administration still does not grasp the magnitude of the problems that American families are facing.”

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, experts suggest that up to 70% of votes could be cast by mail this election cycle, necessitating costly equipment upgrades to handle the increase.

Last month, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, said on the Senate floor he was “prepared to look at more money for the states to use for elections this year,” signaling a new willingness from Republicans to address the issue.

Still, the Trump administration on Wednesday seemed unwavering.

“The Administration is willing to move forward with legislation that allows for substantial funds for schools, child care, food, vaccines, hospitals, [personal protective equipment] for small businesses, rental assistance, broadband, airports, state and local government assistance, and liability protection for universities, schools, and businesses,” Mnuchin said in a statement.

“The Democrats have no interest in negotiating.”

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