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Gender: Female
Hometown: NY
Home country: US
Current location: Florida
Member since: Mon Sep 6, 2004, 09:54 PM
Number of posts: 164,018

Journal Archives

Judge Promoted by Trump Administration Threatened a 2-Year-Old With an Attack Dog

Shades of Abu Ghraib

Judge Promoted by Trump Administration Threatened a 2-Year-Old With an Attack Dog
“Want me to go get the dog?” the judge yelled at a Guatemalan boy. “Do you want him to bite you?”
Noah Lanard

On March 30, 2016, in an immigration courtroom in Charlotte, North Carolina, a 2-year-old boy was doing what you might expect: He was making some noise. But Judge V. Stuart Couch—a former Marine known to have a temper—was growing frustrated. He pointed his finger at the Guatemalan child and demanded that he be quiet.

When the boy failed to obey his command, the threats began. “I have a very big dog in my office, and if you don’t be quiet, he will come out and bite you!” Couch yelled.

Couch continued, as a Spanish-language interpreter translated for the child, “Want me to go get the dog? If you don’t stop talking, I will bring the dog out. Do you want him to bite you?” Couch continued to yell at the boy throughout the hearing when he moved or made noise.

Kathryn Coiner-Collier, the only independent observer in the courtroom that day, says her mouth was on the floor as Couch made his threats. She sometimes saw Department of Homeland Security dogs sweeping the court building, and it was completely plausible to her that dogs could have been there that day. Coiner-Collier, then a coordinator for a project run by the Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy to assist immigrants who couldn’t afford attorneys, says she “ferociously scribbled everything” Couch was saying. Soon after, she wrote an affidavit containing the dialogue above, and Kenneth Schorr, the Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy’s executive director, submitted a complaint to the Justice Department in April 2016.

“I was outraged,” Schorr says about learning of the threats. “I’ve been practicing law for over 40 years and I have never experienced judicial conduct this bad.” Coiner-Collier says Assistant Chief Immigration Judge Deepali Nadkarni, Couch’s superior, interviewed her multiples times about the affidavit and told her that it was accurate. Schorr says Nadkarni told him that everything in the affidavit was corroborated by the internal investigation. Nadkarni wrote to Schorr in June 2016, “Judge Couch acknowledged he did not handle the situation properly and assured me it will not occur again.”

Schorr doesn’t think that Couch should have been able to remain on the bench after his threat to call in a dog on a child. In an unexpected way, he got his wish: In August, the Trump administration promoted Couch and five other judges to the Justice Department’s Board of Immigration Appeals, which often has the final say over whether immigrants are deported. All six judges reject asylum requests at a far higher rate than the national average; Couch granted just 7.9 percent of asylum claims between 2013 and 2018, compared to the national average of about 45 percent. (Before becoming an immigration judge, Couch served as a military prosecutor and attracted widespread attention for refusing to prosecute a Guantanamo detainee because he had been tortured.)


Posted by babylonsister | Tue Sep 10, 2019, 01:43 PM (3 replies)

"...The Trump campaign was run by criminals."


Quote of the Day
September 10, 2019 at 1:09 pm EDT By Taegan Goddard

“His campaign manager is a felon. His deputy campaign manager is a felon. His personal lawyer is a felon. His foreign policy advisor is a felon. His national security advisor is a felon. The Trump campaign was run by criminals.”

— GOP strategist Stuart Stevens, on Twitter.
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Sep 10, 2019, 01:29 PM (22 replies)

Number of uninsured jumps for first time since 2009


Number of uninsured jumps for first time since 2009
By Jessie Hellmann - 09/10/19 10:47 AM EDT

The number of people without health insurance jumped by 2 million from 2017 to a total of 27.5 million in 2018, according to census data release Tuesday.

It’s the first time the census survey reported an increase in the number of people without insurance since 2009, before ObamaCare took effect and vastly expanded coverage.

The total uninsured rate increased to 8.5 percent in 2018 from 7.9 percent in 2017.

Census officials said the increase was mostly driven by a drop in the number of people, including kids, covered by public programs like Medicaid.

The number of children without insurance also increased from 2017 to 2018 by 0.6 percent.

Kids living in the South were more likely to be uninsured than children living in other parts of the U.S.

Between 2017 and 2018, the uninsured rate for children living in the South increased by 1.2 percentage points to 7.7 percent

Hispanic children were more likely to not have insurance.
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Sep 10, 2019, 12:13 PM (0 replies)

We're starting to see the scale of Trump's personal corruption -- and it's massive

We're starting to see the scale of Trump's personal corruption — and it's massive
Mandatory stops at Trump resorts are the tip of the iceberg. This president has been "wetting his beak" all along
Heather Digby Parton
September 9, 2019 1:20PM (UTC)

So President Trump had a very normal weekend. He tweeted repeatedly about his mistake in telling Alabama it was in the path of Hurricane Dorian, insisting that it wasn't a mistake at all. The controversy grew into something quite serious when it became obvious Trump was ordering an admiral to fall on his sword and take responsibility, and forcing political appointees at the NOAA to say his lie was actually the truth. Orwell has been mentioned. A lot.

Then Trump had an angry Twitter tantrum on Saturday night, announcing that he was canceling a secret meeting with leaders of the Taliban, that had apparently scheduled for Sunday morning at Camp David.


According to this tick-tock in the New York Times, Trump had decided to inject himself into the later stages of the negotiation with this Camp David gambit. But the whole thing was upended by his egomaniacal desire to one-up Jimmy Carter and get credit for a big peace deal without having the first clue what he was doing or understanding the stakes. One of the parties he wanted for his photo-op was anathema to the Taliban, so they balked and then the whole thing fell apart — supposedly when Trump suddenly realized that the Taliban was still killing people. Nobody can quite figure out why he tweeted it out. One gets the feeling he doesn't know either.

Those two stories dominated the news this weekend, but there was another brewing that will start to come into focus this week — if, that is, the Democrats do what they say they're going to do. Congressional committees are reconvening and new reporting indicates they may have more information about Trump's corruption than has been made public.

A couple of weeks ago I wondered if President Trump wasn't hedging his bets a little bit on 2020 by accelerating the usual promotional activities for his properties. On some level he must know that he's vulnerable, and perhaps sees that his window for using his power to benefit himself may be closing. In the last week we've received even more evidence that he's been quite successful at dipping his beak ever since he became president.


Posted by babylonsister | Tue Sep 10, 2019, 08:35 AM (4 replies)

Amid Water Crisis, Michigan's Top Health Official Said Flint Residents "Have to Die of Something,"

Amid Water Crisis, Michigan’s Top Health Official Said Flint Residents “Have to Die of Something,” Scientists Say
September 9, 2019 /
by Patrice Taddonio Digital Writer & Audience Development Strategist

As summer approached, Shawn McElmurry, Dr. Paul Kilgore and Dr. Marcus Zervos were growing increasingly concerned.

The three men sat on a scientific panel that was formed to look into the source of a deadly outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in Flint, Michigan. The spread of the disease coincided with the state switching the city’s drinking water supply to the Flint River — and it had gone on for more than a year before the public was notified.

Now, it was May 2016, four months since Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder announced both the existence of the outbreak and the creation of the panel, and the state health department still hadn’t officially authorized the panel to begin working, its members say.

The group knew how Legionnaires’ disease, a severe form of pneumonia caused by the waterborne legionella bacteria, operates: once the weather heated up, more people could die. So in May, they met with state health director Nick Lyon to warn him that it was urgent to step up monitoring for Legionnaires’ cases.

“I remember, at one point, my colleague telling him that if he didn’t do that, people could die,” McElmurry, an engineering professor and the chair of the panel, told FRONTLINE.

“Unfortunately,” McElmurry said, “Nick Lyon’s response was that ‘They’ll have to die of something.’”

That’s just one of the troubling alleged incidents reported in new detail — or for the first time — in Flint’s Deadly Water. Based on two years of reporting, the FRONTLINE documentary premiering Sept. 10 reveals how a public health disaster that’s become known for the lead poisoning of thousands of children also spawned one of the largest outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease in U.S. history.


Posted by babylonsister | Tue Sep 10, 2019, 08:18 AM (9 replies)

Right-Wing Network One America News Sues Rachel Maddow For Calling it 'Paid Russian Propaganda'


Right-Wing Network One America News Sues Rachel Maddow For Calling it ‘Paid Russian Propaganda’
Jamie Ross
Published 09.10.19 4:58AM ET

The right-wing news network One America News, which counts Donald Trump among its fans, is suing MSNBC's Rachel Maddow for $10 million after she called the channel “paid Russian propaganda.” On her July 22 show, Maddow referred to a report in The Daily Beast that revealed an OAN employee also worked for state-operated Sputnik. “In this case, the most obsequiously pro-Trump right-wing news outlet in America really literally is paid Russian propaganda ... Their on-air U.S. politics reporter is paid by the Russian government to produce propaganda for that government,” Maddow said. In the lawsuit, which was reported by AP, OAN said its reporter Kristian Rouz was a freelancer for Sputnik, not an employee. In the lawsuit, Rouz stated: “I have never written propaganda, disinformation, or unverified information.” Amy Wolf, an attorney for NBCUniversal News Group, is quoted writing that OAN “publishes content collected or created by a journalist who is also paid by the Russian government.”
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Sep 10, 2019, 07:47 AM (27 replies)

Democrats Will Try to Block Trump's Border Emergency


Democrats Will Try to Block Trump’s Border Emergency
September 10, 2019 at 7:25 am EDT By Taegan Goddard 2 Comments

“Senate Democrats plan to force another vote in Congress aimed at overturning President Trump’s border emergency — potentially triggering another standoff between the administration and congressional Republicans over the billions in dollars being siphoned from the Pentagon to pay for Trump’s border wall,” the Washington Post reports.

“Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) plans to announce later Tuesday that Democratic senators will force a second vote in the chamber this year on a resolution to terminate Trump’s emergency border declaration.”
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Sep 10, 2019, 07:42 AM (1 replies)

Tennessee lawmaker calls for removal of higher education

Darned liberals


Tennessee lawmaker calls for removal of higher education
Updated 2 hrs ago | Posted on Sep 9, 2019

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Republican Tennessee lawmaker says he supports getting rid of higher education because he argues it would cut off the "liberal breeding ground."

Sen. Kerry Roberts of Springfield called for eliminating higher education while speaking about attending a recent abortion legislative hearing on his conservative radio talk show on Sept. 2.

Roberts specifically called out one activist who testified in favor of protecting abortion rights. He asserted without evidence that the woman's beliefs were a "product of higher education" and claimed that getting rid of higher education would "save America."

The senator did not immediately respond to a request for further elaboration.

Roberts also questioned funding higher education with tax dollars. He voted in favor of the state's $38.5 billion budget earlier this year, which included money for colleges and universities.
Posted by babylonsister | Mon Sep 9, 2019, 09:36 PM (17 replies)

Even some White House officials are balking at Trump's unprecedented $28 billion farm bailout

Even some White House officials are balking at Trump's unprecedented $28 billion farm bailout
Kerry Eleveld
Daily Kos Staff
Monday September 09, 2019 · 6:39 PM EDT

Donald Trump's trade war with China has so devastated American farmers that the administration's bailout to try ease their pain has ballooned to an epic $28 billion, and now even some White House officials are balking at the figure.

Last year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture used a New Deal-era vehicle to authorize an initial $12 billion in bailout funding, and this year the agency added another $16 billion. The monies are being distributed through the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), which has never been used to deliver such large sums for such an expansive program. Even the White House Budget Office reportedly requested further legal grounding for the funding after the USDA sent its request for the second round of allotments. USDA attorneys have signed off on the second installment, according to The Washington Post.

Naturally, Trump sees no problem with the massive bailout and has also tweeted that he would "do it again next year if necessary!” White House aides are also pressuring Congress to raise the $30 billion legal limit on what can be distributed through the CCC program. Whether Congress ultimately does that remains to be seen.

But legal issues aside, the bailout is being distributed in the shoddiest fashion possible, because Trump doesn't do any work unless it's shoddy and/or illegal. “They’re doing it really fast and shorthanded,” a former USDA official told the Post. “The agencies implementing it are stretched thin, and there’s immense political pressure to get the money out quick.” So far, about $11 billion of the first pot of money has gone out the door and another $2 billion of the second pot has been distributed.


Posted by babylonsister | Mon Sep 9, 2019, 08:09 PM (6 replies)

It's Not the Storm; It's the Cover-Up


It’s Not the Storm; It’s the Cover-Up
The president’s initial misstatement about the danger Hurricane Dorian posed to Alabama was relatively minor. His actions since then pose an actual threat to public safety.
5:17 PM ET
David A. Graham

President Donald Trump’s mind-bending debacle over Hurricane Dorian and Alabama comes to resemble the storm itself more by the day: unpredictable in course, lingering far longer than anyone hoped or expected, and ultimately disastrous.

There’s still no compelling explanation for why Trump has become so obsessed with the particular claim that he was right when he said that Dorian was headed for Alabama. (It was not.) Whatever the reason for his fixation, it has transformed an otherwise workaday gaffe—a simple, nearly harmless misstatement—into a far more dangerous assault on public safety.


On Saturday, the Post reported that on September 1, within hours of Trump’s misstatement about Alabama, and after the NWS Birmingham tweet, NOAA warned staffers via email not to contradict Trump. Or, to put that another way: NOAA had instructed weather forecasters not to correctly report the weather forecast, for fear of hurting the president’s fragile feelings. Instead, staffers were told to offer no opinion at all, even though their job is to forecast the weather. Today, the Post reported that NOAA’s chief scientist—who is only in the job in an acting capacity—is investigating the press release, which he labeled political.

“The value of our science is in the complexity of our understanding, our ability to convey that understanding to a wide audience of users of this information, and to establish and sustain the public trust in the truth and legitimacy of that information,” Craig McLean, the scientist, wrote to staff. “Unfortunately, the press release of last Friday violated this trust and violated NOAA’s policies of scientific integrity.”


It’s already hard for government officials to persuade people in a storm’s path to evacuate, because many people don’t believe forecasters. But it’s one thing to disbelieve the weatherman because he told you it would rain and it didn’t. It’s even harder to trust the forecast when you know that workers at government agencies are acting under explicit instructions not to contradict the president, on pain of firing.

“If the public cannot trust our information, or we debase our forecasters’ warnings and products, that specific danger arises,” NOAA’s McLean wrote in his email to staff. Next time a storm approaches, where can Americans go for reliable information? Not to Trump, of course. But can they trust official forecasts from government agencies? On August 31, that question was easy to answer. Now it is much cloudier.
Posted by babylonsister | Mon Sep 9, 2019, 07:57 PM (1 replies)
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