Inspectors found nooses hanging in cells at an ICE detention facility

“We identified serious violations that are important to inform ICE of immediately,” the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General said in a report released this week.
The management alert outlines a number of “issues requiring action” discovered by inspectors from the independent office when they conducted an unannounced visit to the Adelanto ICE Processing Center in May. The facility, located about 80 miles northeast of Los Angeles in Adelanto, is owned and operated by The GEO Group, a private prison contractor that runs a number of large immigrant detention centers in the United States.
“ICE takes seriously the OIG’s findings, and has agreed to conduct a full and immediate review of the center to ensure compliance with detention standards and expedite necessary corrective actions,” agency spokeswoman Lori Haley said in a statement.
Immigrant rights advocates said troubling findings in the government watchdog’s report echo concerns they’ve been raising for years about the facility and others like it. But even they seemed stunned by some details inspectors unearthed:

Nooses were found in more than a dozen cells

Braided bedsheets hanging from vents — referred to as nooses by staff and detainees — were found in about 15 cells inspectors visited, according to the report. That’s a violation of ICE standards, the report says, and “shows a disregard for detainee health and safety.”
One detainee told inspectors: “I’ve seen a few attempted suicides using the braided sheets by the vents and then the guards laugh at them and call them ‘suicide failures’ once they are back from medical.”
Detainees also noted sometimes the bed sheets were used to create privacy within cells, or as clotheslines. But given that a man died after being found hanging by his bedsheets in a cell at Adelanto in March 2017, and that at least seven suicide attempts have occurred at the facility, the report says ICE should prioritize addressing the issue.
“ICE’s lack of response to address this matter at the Adelanto Center shows a disregard for detainee health and safety,” the report says.
The report cites a 2017 Los Angeles Times story, which described at least four suicide attempts at the facility and notes that detainees had gone on hunger strikes to protest conditions there.

A disabled detainee was ‘inappropriately held’ in solitary confinement for days

A disabled detainee asked to be placed in administrative segregation but instead was placed in disciplinary segregation and “inappropriately held” there for nine days, according to the report. ICE uses “disciplinary segregation” to describe the practice more commonly known as solitary confinement.
“Based on our file review,” the report says, “in those 9 days, the detainee never left his wheelchair to sleep in a bed or brush his teeth … We also observed medical staff just looking in his cell and stamping his medical visitation sheet rather than evaluating the detainee, as required by ICE standards.”
After inspectors raised the issue with a medical health services administrator, the detainee was moved to medical for observation, according to the report.

A detainee reported that his teeth fell out while he was waiting for dental care

Another detainee interviewed by inspectors said he’d been waiting more than two years for cavities to be filled and had multiple teeth fall out in the meantime.
“Our detainee interviews and review of medical records revealed that detainees are placed on wait lists for months and, sometimes, years to receive basic dental care, resulting in tooth loss and unnecessary extractions in some cases,” the report says.
A review of records found that no detainees had received fillings in the last four years.
“When we asked one of the dentists why fillings were not performed, he said he barely has time to do cleaning sand screening, so as a result he does not do fillings,” the report says.

Inspectors say ICE should conduct a ‘full review’ of the facility

ICE should conduct a full review of the facility and GEO Group’s management, the inspector general said. Haley, the ICE spokeswoman, said the agency concurred with that recommendation.
“Adelanto, like all ICE detention facilities, is subject to stringent, regular inspections. Any compliance issues found during such reviews must be promptly addressed,” she said.
GEO Group didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. The company bought the facility in 2010 and entered into an agreement to house ICE detainees there in 2011.
In a statement included in the OIG report, ICE said it would be conducting its own inspection of the facility this month to gauge whether it complies with the agency’s detention standards.
“The safety, rights and health of detainees in ICE’s care are paramount. ICE is concerned by the OIG’s findings,” wrote Nathalie Asher, ICE’s executive associate director for enforcement and removal operations. “However, the OIG’s draft report lacks important context on some issues. For example, when a disciplinary infraction occurs, it may be necessary to remove the detainee from the general population while the matter is investigated to ensure the safety and security of the facility.”

Advocates say past warnings haven’t been heeded

The Trump administration has pushed to expand the use of detention facilities to hold immigrants who are in deportation proceedings. An average of more than 40,000 detainees are in custody daily at ICE facilities, according to government statistics.
Immigrant advocacy organizations have long criticized the Adelanto facility, where more than 1,600 immigrant men and women were held when inspectors visited in May.
On Tuesday, advocates argued that the government watchdog report proves that officials haven’t taken meaningful steps to address years of complaints.
“ICE has ignored the ACLU’s repeated complaints about abuse and neglect at Adelanto,” Michael Kaufman, an attorney for the ACLU Foundation of Southern California, said in a statement. “The OIG’s disturbing report (reveals) that GEO and ICE officials continue to disregard immigration detainees’ well-being, often with tragic consequences.”
This isn’t the first time that the inspector general has warned of problems in ICE detention.
In a December 2017 report, the watchdog said inspectors had found long waits for medical care, possible misuse of solitary confinement and inappropriate treatment of detainees at several US immigrant detention facilities.
Advocates argue the recurrence of such findings in surprise inspections shows the inadequacy of ICE’s own monitoring efforts.
The agency maintains that it ensures facilities meet standards through an “aggressive inspection program” and an oversight office that conducts compliance inspections and reviews detainee deaths.

Person in custody after suspicious letters sent to Trump and the Pentagon

FBI tactical and hazardous material response personnel searched the subject’s residence outside Salt Lake City.
Dozens of federal and local law enforcement officials were witnessed on the scene, and an FBI public information officer in Utah confirmed an operation was underway at the Logan, Utah, residence.
“As there are potentially hazardous chemicals involved, we ask that the public stay away from this location during the entirety of the operation,” the information officer said. “No wider threat to public safety exists at this time. As it is a pending matter, that is all we can say at this time.”
CNN reported previously that suspicious envelopes were sent to Trump, Defense Secretary James Mattis and the chief of naval operations, Adm. John Richardson.
A source familiar with the ongoing joint federal investigation said that based on preliminary investigative activity, the White House and Pentagon letters were believed to be connected and the substance in question was a very crude castor bean concoction that authorities were not technically calling “ricin” until further testing.
Ricin is a highly toxic compound extracted from castor beans. It can be used in powder, pellet, mist or acid form. If ingested, it causes nausea, vomiting and internal bleeding of the stomach and intestines, followed by failure of the liver, spleen and kidneys, and death by collapse of the circulatory system.
One person familiar with the investigation into the letters said there was messy handwriting on the envelopes. At least one of the letters contained an index card with writing that said, “Jack the missile bean” and “Stock powder.”
Dana White, chief spokesperson for the Pentagon, said in a statement on Wednesday that a preliminary analysis showed the letters contained castor seeds.
“The FBI is still investigating,” White’s statement said.
A previous ricin case in the Obama administration led to a lengthy sentence for a Texas woman. In 2014, Shannon Guess Richardson was sentenced to 18 years in prison after she admitted sending ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama and then-New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Opinion: In Trump’s family, the apple never really fell

The Times piece is the kind of massive story that few of us have time to read (the Times itself has even published some CliffsNotes versions of it.
Edward J. McCaffery

In the rush to summarize and understand, the main takeaway in the media seems to be that the Times story is confirmation that Donald J. Trump is not, indeed, a self-made man, contrary to the story the President likes to tell. But that will not surprise too many; there has long been reporting about the family bases of the President’s wealth. What should count as a main theme is not that Trump is not a self-made man, but rather that he is a man made, in considerable part, on taxpayers’ money. That is, all of us, not just Fred and Mary Trump, have played a role in both the myths and realities of Donald J. Trump, possible billionaire.
The very late British philosopher Thomas Hobbes was born when the Spanish Armada was en route to, presumably, conquer England (that didn’t end well for the Spanish), and he famously wrote that his mother gave birth to twins: himself and fear. Donald Trump’s twin was tax avoidance.
Trump is exposed as the fraud that he is

Trump is exposed as the fraud that he is

In 1946, the year of Trump’s birth, the top marginal tax rate under the income tax was 91%, on income above $200,000. Fred Trump did not want to pay that rate, or any rate, it would seem. What did he do? Like many aggressive taxpayers at the time, Fred put the young Donald on his payroll, and gave him property so that he, Fred, would have to pay his son rent. Per the Times: “[b]y age 3, Mr. Trump was earning $200,000 in today’s dollars from his father’s empire. He was a millionaire by age 8.” Later we learn that Fred “made Donald not just his salaried employee but also his property manager, landlord, banker and consultant.”
The creation myth of the billionaire businessman Donald Trump just imploded

The creation myth of the billionaire businessman Donald Trump just imploded

Why did Fred do such things? Out of love for his son? Because his son, starting at age 3, was just so gifted that his father needed his help? Nah. Fred Trump’s tax planning is typical of the wealthy of his time — except for its fabulous excess. Rather than earning another $200,000 himself, and paying $182,000 in taxes at his 91% tax rate, Fred was able to deduct the amounts paid to his son, who was in a far lower tax bracket. The government got less revenue than it should have.
In for a penny, in for a pound. The Times story makes clear that what started in Donald Trump’s toddler-hood continued throughout his father’s life. Before Fred died, in 1999, the tax avoidance games had morphed into using large “loans” that weren’t really loans, and transferring property at valuations that were shockingly low.
Donald Trump, real estate mogul, entrepreneur, and billionare, utilizes his personal helicopter to get around in August 1987 in New York.

Donald Trump, real estate mogul, entrepreneur, and billionare, utilizes his personal helicopter to get around in August 1987 in New York.

There should have been far more taxes paid on all these transactions and transfers: hundreds of millions of dollars, per the Times analysis. That is not money that came from Fred. That is money that came from all of us, an opportunity lost.
One more take-home from the Times story. When Trump was running for President, he boasted that, because he knew so many tax-avoidance schemes so well, he as President could fix them. Yet what we got, in Trump’s one major legislative accomplishment, the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017, were more, not fewer, tax breaks for billionaires, including a severe gutting of the gift and estate tax.
Far from draining any swamp or closing any loophole, Donald Trump’s tax policy is making it far easier for the rich like Fred Trump to avoid all taxes — without even needing to pay planners to help. Meanwhile, the Trump administration, like those before it, have made it easier to get away with even outright fraud, through lax IRS enforcement caused in considerable part by restricted funding for audits. This particular apple never really left the tree.

Family fights to keep brain-dead child on life support

Now, the girl’s parents are fighting to keep her on life support while seeking another hospital to care for her.
Payton has been on life support at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas, since late September, after she went into cardiac arrest.
Last month, Payton was staying overnight with her grandmother when the young girl suddenly woke up, “screamed for her grandmother to help her and said that she couldn’t breathe … then she collapsed,” Payton’s mother, Tiffany Hofstetter, told CNN affiliate KTVT in September.
Payton was taken to the hospital, where doctors established a heartbeat but put her on a ventilator since she wasn’t breathing. A test determined that Payton did not have brain activity. Under Texas law, a person is considered dead when they have suffered an irreversible loss of all brain function, a hospital statement said, according to KTVT.
“Per our protocol and national pediatric medical standards, a second brain death exam was scheduled to take place by a different physician within 12 hours of the first to complete the legal process of declaring Payton deceased,” the hospital said in a statement.
It added, “in addition to dealing with the sudden blow of her cardiac arrest and devastating brain injury, Payton’s family is also coping with the news that the arrest was caused by the growth of a very large tumor in her chest that is shutting off her circulatory system.”
Payton’s parents have argued that they need more time.
They filed a temporary restraining order against the hospital in order to keep Payton on life support there for at least two more weeks while they find another hospital that could take their daughter.
The parents have 12 days to find a new facility or else the hospital will remove her from life support.
“As of right now, we have not found a facility but we remain hopeful. I have friends and family that are continuing to send us different locations all over the United States that they feel would be a best fit for Payton, and we stay on top of it,” Hofstetter told HLN’s Michaela Pereira on Wednesday.
“Payton never gave up on anything. And I know that in this situation, she wouldn’t give up, either,” she said. “The fact that the doctors told me that her heart would stop on its own this weekend, and she made it until today, lets me know that Payton’s not done. She’s still here to fight. So I’m her voice, and I’ll do it for her.”
Justin Moore, a lawyer for Payton’s family, told CNN on Wednesday that there will be a hearing on Friday to learn whether a judge will grant the family more time to find another hospital.
Kim Brown, a spokeswoman for the hospital, said in a statement to CNN on Wednesday, “Cook Children’s has been informed that we no longer have the ability to speak to media about Payton Summons. Although the family previously signed a consent form authorizing the release of information protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), we have been notified by the family’s lawyer that the family has revoked their consent for us to speak about Payton’s condition.
“Unfortunately, this means that we are no longer able to provide detailed, factual information regarding this case. We’re disappointed that the family has revoked their authorization because we believe that accurate information facilitates fair, balanced and informed reporting.”

More than 250 people have died taking selfies since 2011

Some 259 people worldwide have died while taking selfies, according to a study published in the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care. Researchers from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, a group of public medical colleges in New Delhi, scoured news reports on selfie deaths that occurred from October 2011 to November 2017.
They found that the most selfie deaths occurred in India, followed by Russia, the US and Pakistan. Most of the victims were men (about 72%) and under the age of 30.
India accounted for more than half the total — 159 reported selfie deaths since 2011. Researchers attributed the high number to the country’s enormous population of people under 30, which is the world’s largest.
Although women generally take more selfies than men, researchers found that men were more likely to take risks — like standing at the edge of a cliff — to capture a dramatic shot. “It justifies the higher number of deaths and incidents for men,” the study said.

Drownings and fallings

Drowning is the leading cause of selfie deaths, usually involving people being washed away by waves on beaches or falling out of a boat.
The second-leading cause is listed as “transport” — people killed, for example, while trying to snap a quick pic in front of a moving train.
Tied for third are selfie deaths involving fires and falls from high places. Eight people died while taking selfies with dangerous animals.
Unsurprisingly, the US led in the number of selfie deaths involving a firearm — people accidentally shooting themselves while posing with guns.
How selfie-related deaths happen

The study says the problem is almost certainly underreported. For example, it notes that when a person decides to pose for a selfie while driving and is then killed in a car crash, it’s most often reported as just a fatal traffic wreck. And there are several developing countries where reports of selfie deaths may not make it into the local news.
Selfie deaths are on the rise, too. There were just three reported selfie deaths in 2011. By 2016 that number had shot up to 98.
“The youth and tourists are frequently affected because of the desire of ‘being cool,’ posting photos on social (media) and getting rewards in forms of likes and comments,” the study says. “Selfies are themselves not harmful, but the human behavior that accompanies selfies is dangerous. Individuals need to be educated regarding certain risky behaviors and risky places where selfies should not be taken.”

‘No selfie’ zones

The study’s authors suggest that “no selfie zones” be established in tourist areas, especially on mountain peaks, near bodies of water and on top of tall buildings. India has more than a dozen of these zones, including several in Mumbai.
Police there say they’ve pinpointed locations around the city where they want to “restrain” people to prevent further casualties. The high-risk areas are mostly along the city’s oceanfront — a popular destination for young people armed with camera phones.
“This is a new problem for us,” police spokesman Dhananjay Kulkarni told CNN in 2016. “We have identified spots in Mumbai. We want to restrain people from going there so that mishaps don’t happen.”
After a spate of selfie-related fatalities in 2015, police in Russia put out a brochure urging people to take “safe selfies.”
“A cool selfie can cost you your life,” reads the brochure, which police handed out to both students and the general public.
The two-page guide contains infographics that resemble road signs, most of which are based on actual incidents — such as the case of a 21-year-old woman who accidentally shot herself in the head and a teen who was struck by a train after trying to take a photograph of herself on railway tracks.
The brochure also warns against are taking selfies with animals, on rooftops and with exposed live wires.

The President’s mockery of Christine Blasey Ford indicates that he’ll take his disdain for the movement onto the campaign trail

Trump had clearly been working on the material for days, including on at least two occasions with reporters.
The version that emerged Tuesday night was primed for re-election rallies, and was the clearest indication that Trump will take his disdain for #MeToo onto the campaign trail.

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The fine-tuned attack on Ford and warning that emerged for supporters in Mississippi allowed Trump to attack her credibility and criticize her spotty memory on some specifics from the night of her attack compared with her conviction about details of others. That may be a common thread among assault victims, but in Trump’s hands she was made to sound untrustworthy.
His comments were direct and harsh pushback against the #MeToo movement, of which Ford has become emblematic and for which Trump, who was accused of assault by more than a dozen women not long before his election, is surely a villain. Trump has denied the allegations.
This latest anti-#MeToo talking point of Trump’s arguably started last week with a question from Steven Portnoy of CBS News at a news conference in New York the day before Ford’s public testimony.
Trump had already bemoaned what he said was a partisan attack on Kavanaugh and the effect the charges were surely having on the judge and his family.
But Portnoy wanted to know if Trump had a message for young men as the country enters a period where women feel more comfortable coming forward with allegations.
Trump did not say men should respect women, but rather suggested his message to young men was: Be afraid. He said the issue was bigger than the current debate over Kavanaugh.
“This is beyond Supreme Court,” Trump said. “This is everything to do with our country. When you are guilty until proven innocent, it’s just not supposed to be that way. Always, I heard you’re innocent until proven guilty. I’ve heard this for so long and it’s such a beautiful phrase. In this case, you’re guilty until proven innocent. I think that is a very, very dangerous standard for our country.”
Clearly Trump felt he was on to something with the “dangerous standard” idea, because he riffed on it a few days later, on Tuesday, when he was talking to reporters before getting onto Marine One.
“It is a very scary time for young men in America, where you can be guilty of something you may not be guilty of,” Trump said. “This is a very, very — this is a very difficult time. What’s happening here has much more to do than even the appointment of a Supreme Court justice.”
He added: “It’s a very scary situation where you’re guilty until proven innocent. My whole life I’ve heard you’re innocent until proven guilty, but now you’re guilty until proven innocent. That is a very, very difficult standard. You could be somebody that was perfect your entire life and somebody could accuse you of something.”
The message in what he’s saying is the same, but he’s refined it, economized the words and subbed in “scary time” for “dangerous standard.” He’s refined the idea to make clearer he thinks men should be afraid of the accusations of women. In both appearances he mentioned the many allegations against him in 2016.
Those two comments teed up the full-force treatment of the new material in Mississippi on Tuesday night, before a roaring crowd of supporters.
“Guilty until proven innocent,” Trump lamented, to booing from the crowd. “That’s very dangerous for our country. That’s very dangerous for our country. And I have it myself all the time. But for me, it’s like a part of the job description.”
Trump brushed off the accusations by more than a dozen women against himself, ranging from sexual harassment and sexual assault to lewd behavior, as something that should be expected.
“Let it happen to me. Shouldn’t happen to him. Shouldn’t happen to him,” he said, before launching into his attack directly on Ford’s memory, after which he added: “And a man’s life is in tatters. A man’s life is shattered. His wife is shattered. His daughters, who are beautiful, incredible young kids — they destroy people. They want to destroy people. These are really evil people,” he said, although it wasn’t exactly clear who he was referring to.
Trump came back to the idea again, driving the point home further and speaking to women who might worry about the men in their lives being accused.
The 42 most outrageous lines from Donald Trump's Mississippi campaign rally

The 42 most outrageous lines from Donald Trump's Mississippi campaign rally

“This is a time when your father, when your husband, when your brother, when your son could do great. ‘Mom, I did great in school. I’ve worked so hard. Mom, I’m so pleased to tell you, I just got a fantastic job with IBM. I just got a fantastic job with General Motors. I just got — I’m so proud.’
” ‘Mom, a terrible thing just happened. A person who I’ve never met said that I did things that were horrible and they’re firing me from my job, Mom. I don’t know what to do. Mom, what do I do? What do I do, Mom? What do I do, Mom?’ It’s a damn sad situation, OK?” Trump said.
Trump again mentioned his own accusations. At this point in the story, the Trump accusations are apiece with the Kavanaugh accusations, in Trump’s telling. And they’re apiece with the accusations that any man might face.
It’s clear, now, by using the material at such length in his Mississippi rally, that Trump is stirring backlash to the national reckoning with sexual harassment, and using that to drive his supporters to the polls. Which means this line isn’t going anywhere.

Opinion: To truly fight climate change, we need to set our sights higher

Frank Bainimarama

Hilda Heine

Hilda Heine

Simply put, the commitments the world has made so far under the Paris Agreement to reduce the emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases are woefully inadequate. And we are out of time. If we do not increase these commitments by 2020 as the agreement requires us to do, the potential impacts will be devastating, and they threaten the lives, homes and livelihoods of people in countries like ours.
We must act, and we must make the world understand its responsibility to act.
That is why, together, Fiji and the Marshall Islands, as members of the High Ambition Coalition, which came together in the Paris negotiations, are committed to continuing to lead the world by example. At this year’s UN General Assembly, we were among the first to announce that we will deliver stronger new targets to reduce emissions, and have, or are in the process of developing, long-term decarbonization plans.
How to show Trump you care about climate change

How to show Trump you care about climate change

Last Monday, the Marshall Islands published one of the most ambitious plans to decarbonize an economy, pledging to reach net-zero emissions by midcentury, and to implement short-term plans consistent with that long-term vision. This makes sense for our economy and our environment, as well as for our people and our planet. We will do this by transforming our electricity, waste and transportation sectors, and putting a big new focus on adaptation, for which we will be heavily reliant on securing additional international public finance.
Similarly, Fiji is committing to delivering an enhanced emissions-reduction target by next year. To achieve this, we are engaging all sectors of the economy to prepare a comprehensive long-term 2050 decarbonization strategy to achieve net-zero emissions. This process will inform the preparation of our new national target. We are examining extra reductions from our transport, maritime, agriculture and forestry sectors. This is in addition to our existing commitment to produce 100% of our electricity from renewables by 2030.
But governments alone cannot combat climate change. The enormity of the challenge defies simple government solutions. It will take conscious effort at every level — in every community, every business, every institution and every home. It will, indeed, require all of us, working toward one noble, and ultimately self-interested, objective to preserve the quality of life as we know it on planet Earth.
We are pleased to see that many sub-national governments — the world’s cities, counties, states, and regions — are taking up the mantle of leadership, and in some cases are ahead of their national governments in their efforts and their stated commitments. Climate action and leadership, wherever it arises, needs to be embraced. That is why we are encouraged that the vast majority of the private sector and civil society is energetically embracing the need to reduce carbon emissions and waste of all kinds. This kind of commitment should serve to strengthen the resolve and the ability of governments to raise their own targets.
There is a robust process in place to do so — through the UN Convention on Climate Change. This year’s meeting in Poland in December will be marked by the Talanoa Dialogue, based on the concept of an open, honest and respectful process of dialogue used in the Pacific. The idea of Talanoa is to bring the best ideas for how to tackle this threat to the surface and share them.
We need this process of collective effort now more than ever. The nations of the world will need to bring solutions — in the form of strengthened targets and long-term decarbonization plans by 2020. That is the deadline agreed to in Paris to increase our short-term actions in order to keep temperatures within the safe limits established by that very agreement.
To achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, we need to chart a clear path forward. This path goes from the groundswell of climate action we witnessed at California Gov. Jerry Brown’s Global Climate Action Summit last month, through Climate Week and the One Planet Summit in New York last week, through to the Virtual Summit of the Climate Vulnerable Forum in November, to the Talanoa Dialogue at COP24, and from there into 2019 and the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit. This is the path forward, and if we all walk it together, we can reach our destination.
Fiji and the Marshall Islands are leading by example. We are moving forward and we call on all other countries to follow our lead. We believe that if two developing countries can develop robust emissions-reduction targets that truly drive us toward the goals we agreed to in Paris, then other nations can, too — including the almost 30 countries that signed a Declaration for Ambition in June, and which we call on other countries to now join.
When we talk about combating climate change, we always talk about the need to raise ambition. That is what we have done. Every country must now join us.

Analysis: The 42 most outrageous lines from Trump’s rally

Just hours before Trump took the stage, The New York Times published a bombshell report laying out in stark terms that a) Trump and his father, Fred, had actively worked to evade tax law to enrich themselves and b) his own wealth was heavily dependent on and derived from his father’s wealth. The rally also came amid the FBI’s supplemental background investigation into Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

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Those twin pressures seemed to add up to a toxic mix, as Trump spent more than an hour savaging Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault, the media, Democrats and anyone else he could think of. It was quite a performance — and not one that sat well with the likes of Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska and Susan Collins R-Maine, the swing votes on whether Kavanaugh will be confirmed at the end of this week.
I went through the transcript and pulled out the most wild, wacky and woe-is-me lines. They’re below.
1. “Well, I have to start by saying that 2020 is looking really easy, isn’t it?”
And away we go!
2. “In less than two years, we’ve achieved the biggest comeback in American history. That’s what’s happened.”
The biggest comeback on what front? Economically? Internationally? Diplomatically? The US Men’s National Soccer team? Who knows! Just take his word for it. Biggest ever.
3. “And more Americans are working today than ever before. Today — ever before.”
True! Also, kind of pointless. There are more Americans working than ever before because, well, there are more Americans than ever before. According to The Washington Post’s Fact Checker, this claim “might go down as one of the more ridiculous economic claims made by the administration.”
4. “We’re calling it USMCA. You’re going to like that name. That’ll become a part of your vocabulary. USMCA.”
This line — in which Trump is talking about how he renegotiated and renamed NAFTA — is a good reminder of how he is, at root, a brander and marketer. “NAFTA” was a bad name because it didn’t make clear how America was the prime mover in it. USMCA — “United States-Mexico-Canada” — is way better.
5. “America is winning again, and America is being respected again, maybe respected like never before, because we are finally putting America first.”
[Pulls out trusty Respect-O-Meter, checks readings] Yeah, this checks out.
6. “I’m not on the ballot, but in a certain way, I’m on the ballot.”
He’s talking about the 2018 midterms — and correct! But that is not good news for Republicans. In all but three midterm elections since the end of the Civil War, the president’s party has lost seats in the House.
7. “The only reason to vote Democrat is if you are tired of winning.”
And who could be sick of that??? Losers, that’s who.
8. “You can really get your wife to like you a lot when that happens.”
Trump is referring to the fact that 401(k) values have gone up during his presidency. So, yes, he is suggesting that a sure-fire way to a woman’s heart is by making your retirement accounts more valuable.
9. “The Democrats — and I say this — and I’ve dealt with it — the Democrats are the party of crime.”
This feels like a slight oversimplification. Maybe it’s just me.
10. “No one under any circumstances is allowed to speak up if you’re on this side of the equation.”
This sentiment, vague as it is, is the beating heart of Trumpism. His candidacy — and presidency — is a reaction to political correctness, liberal shaming and the idea that conservatives need to shut up and sit down. He took that boiling cauldron of anger and resentment and turned it into political jet fuel.
11. “And first in his class at Yale. Top, top in his class at Yale Law School.”
Kavanaugh was neither of these things. Neither Yale nor Yale Law School, which Kavanaugh attended, calculate class rank. Kavanaugh graduated cum laude from Yale as an undergrad.
12. “What he’s going through: 36 years ago, this happened. ‘I had one beer.’ Right? ‘I had one beer.’ ‘Well, you think it was …’ ‘Nope, it was one beer.’ ‘Oh, good. How did you get home?’ ‘I don’t remember.’ ‘How did you get there?’ ‘I don’t remember.’ ‘Where is the place?’ ‘I don’t remember.’ ‘How many years ago was it?’ ‘I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.'”
No one should be shocked that Trump is mocking Ford’s emotional recounting of a sexual assault in her teen years that she alleges was committed by Kavanaugh. We shouldn’t even be shocked that lots and lots of people in the crowd laughed at Trump’s “impersonation.” But what we should remember is that this isn’t normal presidential behavior. Or, really, acceptable human behavior.
13. “They want to destroy people. These are really evil people.”
It’s not clear to me who the “they” is in Trump’s accusations. Is it Democrats? If so, what evidence is there that Senate Democrats had any role at all in Ford’s allegations? If it’s Ford (and the other accusers of Kavanaugh), well, then that’s a whole other — and darker — thing.
14. “Da Nang Richard Blumenthal”
This is the start of an extended riff by Trump attacking Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal for lying about whether or not he had actually served in Vietnam during the war. Blumenthal, who was never in Vietnam during his time as a member of the Marine Corps Reserves, was forced to apologize. This happened in 2010.
15. “And then he cried. When they caught him, he cried like a baby. Like a baby.”
Not much is a bigger indictment of you as a man in the eyes of Trump than if you cry. It shows weakness. It’s un-manly. One wonders, then, what Trump thought of Kavanuagh’s tear-filled opening statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee last week.
16. “And the reason he got elected is because in Connecticut it’s impossible for a Republican to get elected.”
[whispers] From 1995 through 2011, Connecticut had Republican governors.
17. “We had another woman just reported by a sleazebag lawyer named Aviante. Sleazebag. Sleazebag.”
Who is this “Aviante Sleazabag”? Sounds like a bad dude!
18. “I’ve had many false accusations. I’ve had it all the — I’ve had so many — and when I say it didn’t happen, nobody believes me.”
Reminder: During the course of the 2016, more than a dozen women came forward to say Trump acted inappropriately with them, sexually assaulted them or carried on affairs with them. Trump denied all of the allegations and pledged to sue each and every one of the women for defamation once the election ended. None of those lawsuits have been filed.
19. “You know, I’m listening to commentators, and they say, ‘If Trump were running, he’s going to beat everybody.’ They’re saying that. You know, it’s hard for them to admit that.”
I’m not sure where Trump is getting this quote although it’s almost certainly from cable TV — if it actually exists at all. And for what it’s worth: I think he has a real chance of winning a second term in 2020, but I wouldn’t make a prediction that he is going to win based on his not-so-great poll numbers at the moment.
20. “You know, with Biden, you go like this — whew — and he goes down.”
No big deal! Just the President of the United States saying he would knock out the former vice president of the United States with one punch!
21. “And they say if I was on the ticket, everybody would go, it would be a landslide. Even the fakers back there, they say that.”
[narrator voice] “They” didn’t say that.
22. “We’ll be on the ballot in two years, and we will do a landslide like you haven’t — like you wouldn’t believe.”
The biggest landslide. You’ll be amazed by the size of it. Believe me.
23. “Nobody has accomplished more in two years.”
This is almost certainly inaccurate. (If you assume “most accomplishments” can be accurately measured.)
24. “You think this is a big crowd in here? This place is packed, right? Right.”
Trump is obsessed with crowd size because he believes it is a direct indicator of just how popular he is. Which is why he had then-White House press secretary Sean Spicer make the false claim that his inaugural crowd was the biggest ever. (It wasn’t.)
25. “Because we don’t need much of a stage. Basketball, they need a big — you’re filled up with people, like it is tonight.”
[takes out notepad] Basketball, right. [scratches head, blinks repeatedly, stares blankly into space]
26. “And that kind of dishonesty happens all the time. Happened at the inauguration. It happened at the inauguration.”
He’s suggesting — STILL — that his inauguration crowd was bigger than it was reported!!!! (It wasn’t.) It’s October 2, 2018!
27. “We are thrilled to be joined tonight by several great Republican leaders.”
This is the first mention of why Trump is actually in Mississippi. And it comes more than halfway through the speech.
28. “Look at this guy. Is he central casting or what? Is he — look at this. He’s central casting.”
Trump’s referring to Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant — and, in so doing, reminding us all that looking the part is essential to doing the job in his mind.
29. “These are warriors. Look, the abuse they take, the abuse we all take, if you’re not a warrior, you just go home, go to the corner, put your thumb in your mouth and say, ‘Mommy, take me home.'”
Donald Trump on politicians. And crying. And warriors?
30. “He’s jumping around. The hair’s going crazy. The hair’s going crazy.”
Donald Trump has some thoughts on Bernie Sanders’ hair. Which is totally fine and not at all ironic.
31. “You know, he’s out there. He’s doing his thing, whether you like it or not. He’s out there doing his thing, and you’ve got to hand it to him.”
What’s interesting is that, I think, Trump sort of likes Sanders. They agree on almost nothing, but Trump admires his passion and spunk.
32. “Patrick Leahy — oh, he’s never had a drink in his life. Check it out. Look under ‘Patrick Leahy/drink.'”
Just the President of the United States suggesting a Democratic senator has a drinking problem. Totally normal stuff!
33. “Have to do it. We have to do it. We have to do it, and we want to do it. I want to do it. We’re all going to do it.”
What is Trump talking about here? Would you believe insurance companies covering pre-existing conditions?
34. “We’re building the wall. It’s going up.”
35. “They’re going to take your wealth away from you. They’re going to take your wealth away.”
So, if Democrats win the House, you will be poor. Case closed.
36. “We don’t have a magic wand.”
[Crosses Trump off running list of “people who might possess magic wands”]
37. “We need a real majority, and we’re going to do everything that you’ve been looking for a long time. You know, with that being said, we’ve done so much. We’ve done so much.”
In back-to-back sentences, Trump argues that if they had larger House and Senate majorities, then they could really get things done and then that they have already done so much. Sure!
38. “I love you, too. You’re not my type, but I love you.”
This was in response to a man’s yell from the crowd. I’ll just leave this here.
39. “Beautiful accent. I wish I had his accent. I would have been president 15 years ago if I had his accent.”
The President is admiring the accent of Jean-Claude Juncker, the head of the European Union. (Not Jean-Claude Van Damme.) And, yes, Trump he did an impersonation of Juncker, who is a Luxembourger. Which is really what you call Luxembourg natives. Which is terrific.
40. “Do you know how wealthy our country would be if they didn’t have these really stupid deals all over the place, so many of them?”
[tentatively raises hand] Um, very wealthy?
41. “The Space Force. And that’s what it’s all about, folks. You look at what’s happening. I’m not just talking rockets to the moon and to Mars. I’m talking about defense. I’m talking about — that’s where it is. It’s in space.”
The Space Force. It’s a force. In space. SPACE FORCE.
42. “Now, who knows, folks? Who knows?”
This feels like a good place to end.

Trump says it’s a ‘scary time’ for men. Here’s stats on false sexual assault claims

To hear President Donald Trump tell it, “It is a very scary time for young men in America.”
“It’s a very scary situation where you’re guilty until proven innocent,” Trump said about sex assault claims against men, including against his Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Trump says it's 'a very scary time for young men in America'

“You could be somebody that was perfect your entire life, and somebody could accuse you of something.”
Trump isn’t alone in his concern. Many women, including mothers of boys, are using the hashtag #ProtectOurBoys to denounce what they consider false claims.
We’ve seen some high-profile cases in which men were wrongfully accused of sexual assault: for example, the Duke lacrosse players and the former football player whose alleged victim later admitted she wasn’t raped.
But those appear to be anomalies. Studies suggest the prevalence of false reporting on sexual assault is between 2% and 10%, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
And there’s a big caveat to those numbers: “Research shows that rates of false reporting are frequently inflated, in part because of inconsistent definitions and protocols,” the resource center said.
For example, some law enforcement agencies might label a rape claim as “false” just because there’s not enough corroborating evidence to prosecute. (Those cases would be more accurately described as “baseless” rather than “false.”)
In thousands of sex asault cases, evidence isn't being tested

In thousands of sex asault cases, evidence isn't being tested

“It does not mean that some form of sexual assault may not have occurred, but only that from the legal perspective … the case does not meet the legal criteria, or it is ‘baseless,'” the resource center said.
The FBI and the International Association of Chiefs of Police have tried to improve accuracy when it comes to labeling sex assault claims.
They issued guidelines saying certain factors shouldn’t be sole reasons for labeling a report “false,” such as:
— Delayed reporting
— Insufficient evidence to prosecute
— A victim’s decision to not cooperate with investigators
— Inconsistencies in a victim’s statements
But those are just guidelines, not rules.
“While some police departments may follow these guidelines, it is not mandatory, and as a result, many do not,” the sexual violence resource center said.
And that can lead to more “false” claims than there actually are.
Another reason why sex assault cases can be perceived as false is the frequent lack of witnesses.
Offenders “are deliberate and strategic about not having witnesses. This is intrinsic to the crime,” said Kristen Houser, spokeswoman for the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
“So, if our nation continues to demand that there be witnesses, we are essentially ignoring the very nature of the crime.”

Opinion: As Trump gaslights America, GOP women are watching

Sadly, we’ve grown accustomed to what his acolytes call “Trump being Trump” at these rallies, which often devolve into red meat rants that fuel his supporters’ tribalism and his own narcissism.
Tara Setmayer

Trump’s latest transgression during a rally Tuesday in Mississippi was just another infuriating example.
By mocking Christine Blasey Ford, the President of the United States looked women in the eye and told them their sexual assaults do not matter. There should be no comedic value in denigrating such traumatic experiences, yet there Trump was, leading the way, as thousands of his supporters cheered him on and nodded in agreement. Even more alarming were the all-too-familiar chants of “lock her up” — usually reserved for Hillary Clinton, now directed toward Ford after Trump decried Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s treatment as “abuse.”
Why Kavanaugh should make men question 'himpathy'

Why Kavanaugh should make men question 'himpathy'

In Trump’s bizarre world, men are the actual victims. “It’s a very scary time for young men in America,” he proclaimed to reporters.
As shocking as this may sound to many, it’s consistent with Trump’s paranoia that everyone is out to get him. Despite being credibly accused of sexual misconduct by more than a dozen women, his own history of misogyny, his own words on the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape, and the growing list of powerful men brought down by their sexual misconduct, we’re supposed to believe Trump, and more broadly men, are the victims. Talk about gaslighting America.
What an insult to all the women, and there are thousands upon thousands, who have lived through the nightmare of sexual assault. How do I know? My mother is one of them.
The GOP is right to be worried about Kavanaugh

The GOP is right to be worried about Kavanaugh

My mother survived a sexual assault in her 20s by a well-known doctor in our hometown. Like so many women, she never reported it. When I asked her why not, she said, “He was a prominent doctor. I was a young, single mother on welfare with a biracial child. I didn’t have the resources to defend myself. I didn’t think anyone would believe me.” Sound familiar?
After watching Ford’s testimony, Kavanaugh’s belligerence and Republican senators’ tone-deaf reaction to it all during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, my mother felt emboldened to share with me another traumatic incident she experienced. After 43 years of silence, she decided to tell her story. While pregnant with me, at 20 years old, she survived an attempted sexual assault at gunpoint. She narrowly escaped with her life and mine.
Navarro: For the good of us all, Brett Kavanaugh should step aside

Navarro: For the good of us all, Brett Kavanaugh should step aside

Taken aback by this new revelation, I asked my mother if she remembered certain details about that day similar to the ones Ford has been criticized by Kavanaugh supporters for not recalling.
She said, “I may not remember what day of the week it was, or even what month, but I will never forget running to escape, the gun or the stubby hairy fingers of the man who put that gun to my head. To this day, I still cringe when I see men with fingers like that.”
She never reported it.
Watching the sexism on display by Republicans during the Kavanaugh nomination, I understand. It’s a sad commentary on where we are as a country when it comes to sexual assault. Wonder why victims of sexual assault don’t come forward? The treatment of Ford by the rabid conservative media, Republicans and Trump himself is exhibit A.
14 midterm races that could change America

14 midterm races that could change America

A multitude of studies have been done on why sexual assault victims delay reporting, if they do at all. It’s also well-known that individuals process trauma differently.
Yes, Mr. President. It is a very scary time in America. What’s scary for young men in this country is the fact that standards have sunk so low for the office of the presidency that a man who brags about grabbing women by their private parts and mocks sexual assault victims from the bully pulpit as an arena full of people cheer him on can now occupy the Oval Office in 2018.
It’s scary to see lines of people, including families with children, waiting to participate in these tribal circuses — we can’t even call them political rallies anymore. They’ve become altar calls at the foot of their faux messiah where common decency and honesty have been thrown to the wayside. This is what the Republican Party has become in the era of Trump. As part of their Faustian bargain, Republicans continue to stand by as craven enablers of this President. Shame on them.
This is a toxic political mix as we head into the midterm elections. The Kavanaugh saga has further divided the country along partisan lines and sadly relegated the serious issue of rampant sexual assault to political brinkmanship. The GOP already has a gender gap problem. The mishandling of the Kavanaugh nomination is only going to exacerbate it this November.
Suburban women in swing districts are paying attention. Their voices do matter. If they weren’t motivated to vote before, I suspect they will be now.
The question remains how big of an electoral price will Republicans pay?
An earlier version of this article incorrectly said that Trump’s rally was held in Tennessee.