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Jun 24 2019

Outrageous Scandals We Will Ignore

Somewhere swimming out there is a quote from a D.C. Insider that goes something like “I wish the whole Russia thing never happened. We’d be impeaching him today.”

Probably apocryphal and I mostly disagree. I do think there are plenty of buckets full of Impeachable Behavior that don’t necessarily intersect except in the Criminal Activity of Unindicted Co-conspirator Bottomless Pinocchio.

Conditions at migrant detention centers are ‘horrendous.’ Trump, Pence blame Democrats.
By Meagan Flynn, Washington Post
June 24, 2019

Concerns about CBP facilities reached a fever pitch this weekend after Binford and a team of several other attorneys traveled to the Clint facility to interview dozens of detained children.

The attorneys were investigating Clint as part of ongoing litigation monitoring whether the Trump administration is complying with a 1997 consent decree. Known as the Flores Settlement Agreement, it requires that the federal government keep immigrant children in “safe and sanitary” conditions while they are in custody and that they are transferred out of detention quickly.

The attorneys typically do not speak to the media about what they find inside these facilities because of the pending litigation — but after visiting Clint, they felt they could not remain silent, Binford said.

Some children had been detained for as many as three weeks, she said, although by law, child migrants are supposed to be transferred to the custody of Health and Human Services within three days. They should then be placed with a parent, relative or guardian already living in the United States. The failure by the federal government to do so — rather than Congress’s failure to send aid, Binford argued — has left children languishing in overcrowded facilities meant for adults, with some sleeping on cold concrete because there are not enough beds and mats, she said.

“By the end of the second day, we were on the phone with the legal counsel on the case saying, ‘These kids are at risk. There’s gonna be another kid who dies if we don’t do something.’ This is not just about complying with the Flores agreement,” she said. “This is inhumane.”

Binford saw a 4-year-old with hair so matted and dirty she thought it would have to be cut off. The child had not bathed in more than a week, she said. She witnessed a 14-year-old caring for a 2-year-old without a diaper, shrugging as the baby urinated as they sat at a table because she did not know what to do.

Some of the kids had showered or brushed their teeth only once or twice in three weeks, Binford said. Some did not have toothbrushes at all. The warehouse had portable toilets; the main building had toilets in plain view, which humiliated the kids, who tried to cover themselves with blankets as they sat on the toilet, she said.

Some had been separated from their parents and siblings for undisclosed reasons, she said, and some were inconsolable.

“One of the terrible ironies is one of the little girls we interviewed was separated from her mother, her father, her younger siblings,” Binford said. “Her father told her not to worry, that they were going to take her to a place that was better for children.

“And then they brought her to this facility.”

The attorneys involved in the Flores case have been demanding in court that the government provide children with basic necessities such as toothbrushes, soap and adequate sleeping conditions since the Obama administration.

Last week, a Justice Department lawyer argued that the government shouldn’t be required to provide those basic hygiene products because none of them explicitly appear in the Flores agreement — a position that astonished all three judges on a panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

Moving on to White People Problems, like Rape-

Have we become numb to Trump’s loathsomeness?
By Paul Waldman, Washington Post
June 24, 2019

When we look back on June 2019, we’ll say that this was the time when a credible allegation of rape was made against the president of the United States, and he had already shown himself to be such a loathsome character that it was treated as a third-tier story, not worthy of much more than a passing mention here and there in the news.

After New York magazine published author and advice columnist E. Jean Carroll’s account last Friday of an encounter she says she had with Trump in a Bergdorf Goodman that ended with him raping her in a dressing room, many of our most important news outlets reacted with only minor interest. Most of the nation’s biggest newspapers — aside from The Post — left it off on their front page the next day. None of the five Sunday shows mentioned it at all.

There are many reasons to find Carroll’s allegation credible. She’s a fairly well-known public figure. Her description of what happened to her — him slamming her against a wall, mashing his face against hers, yanking down her tights, and penetrating her — accords not only with the allegations of multiple other women but Trump’s own words on that infamous “Access Hollywood” tape, in which he bragged that he can sexually assault any woman he pleases. “I just start kissing them, it’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”

Yet Trump’s position on Carroll’s allegation is the same he has taken on all the others: She’s a liar. He doesn’t say it was a misunderstanding or it was consensual, just that she’s a liar. That is also the position taken by his aides, his supporters and pretty much every Republican who has been forced to address the president’s horrific history: These women are all liars.

This is a common and ludicrous myth propagated by alleged sexual predators such as Trump, Harvey Weinstein or Les Moonves, and the people who defend them: that women regularly accuse powerful men of sexual assault because doing so is such a great career move. It’s actually a great way to have your life ruined. What woman wouldn’t want to render herself unable to find work and be targeted with hate mail and death threats?

Which is why we have to ask: For every E. Jean Carroll or Natasha Stoynoff or Summer Zervos, how many women experienced something similar at Trump’s hands but made the perfectly rational decision not to go public? How many said, “What’s the point? What does being the 10th or 15th or 20th woman to accuse him get me? I’ll be destroyed, and he’ll get away with it just like he always has.”

That’s what Carroll grappled with right after this incident and in the years since.

Weinstein and Moonves paid at least some kind of price; they lost their positions and in Weinstein’s case might face criminal charges. But Trump’s supporters have so much invested in him that they will disbelieve any allegation no matter how compelling, and will do everything in their power to protect him from accountability.

But the rest of us need not acquiesce to their dismissal of these stories out of some supposedly savvy assessment of political realities. We can speak the truth:

If the allegations are true, the president of the United States is certainly a sexual predator, and most probably a rapist. We will never know for sure how numerous are his victims, but at a minimum they might number in the dozens.

To those who say, “That’s awful, but what matters now is what he does as president,” I understand. But this all must be part of the reckoning we eventually make with this sickening era in our history. Not just his boundless corruption, his bigotry, his cruelty, his eagerness to allow hostile foreign governments to twist our elections. This, too: One of our great political parties selected as its champion the single most odious and immoral figure in American public life, then went to every length they could to defend him.

I have no illusions that Republicans will ever face the accountability they deserve for their tireless service to Trump, any more than he will face accountability for his own actions. But we can’t ever stop saying it, crying it, shouting it: This is who you gave us. You are complicit in all he is and all he has done. I’d say you should be ashamed, were it not for the fact that you’ve proved you have no shame.

History, at least, will remember — if we make sure it does. It’s not nearly enough, but it’s something.

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