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At UN, Biden Spoke On Climate For Three Minutes -- And Enraged The Right

Right-wing media are expressing outrage that President Joe Biden mentioned climate change during his September 21 speech at the United Nations General Assembly.

Biden’s nearly-30 minute speech, which focused mainly on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, also included calls for global cooperation on important issues including food insecurity, human rights, and climate change. The climate part of his speech lasted roughly 3 minutes and included celebrating the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act. He also touched on recent climate disasters and the need for global emissions reductions, as well as promising billions of dollars in international climate finance.

Despite the relatively modest amount of time he spent on climate change, many in right-wing media were outraged that he even mentioned climate at all. Their comments included climate denial and falsehoods about the importance of climate change to the global community.

Right-wing media falsely claimed that the global population doesn’t care about climate change

Climate change is a serious concern around the world. For example, a January 2021 survey found that a majority of people around the globe want greater climate action. And a September 2021 Pew poll found that the world’s population increasingly views climate change as a personal threat. In August of this year, another Pew survey found that a “median of 75% across 19 countries in North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region label global climate change as a major threat.”

Additionally, people from the global south — those who have contributed the least to the climate crisis but disproportionately suffer its effects — are often some of the loudest voices for climate action. Around the same time that Biden gave his UN speech, indigenous peoples from around the world were protesting in New York for climate justice. The president of Kenya made climate change a key part of his UN speech, and the prime minister of Pakistan, a country that has seen over 30 million displaced due to climate-fueled monsoon flooding, thanked Biden for “highlighting the plight of the flood victims.”

Climate change and poverty, meanwhile, are inextricably linked, as are climate change and global hunger. These facts, however, were still not enough to convince right-wing commentators in the U.S. that climate change is a significant threat to the global population.

For example, on the September 22 edition of Newsmax’s Wake Up America, host Rob Finnerty stated that “there's 193 sovereign nations in that room right there. … And nobody cared about that part of the speech. They needed a lot more from the American president, with everything going on in the world right now, and they get climate change.”

On Fox News’ Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy insinuated that people living in poverty don’t care about climate change, stating, “Suddenly he’s talking about climate change. And, you know, there are 675 million people living in poverty around the world. And for the president of the United States to be talking about climate change rather than trying to figure out a way to feed them.”

Doocy also entirely missed the fact that Biden did discuss food in his speech; he mentioned the term “food insecurity” 6 times, while also mentioning “feeding the world.”

The editorial board of the right-wing New York Post also claimed that the world's poor don’t care about climate change. They referred to climate change as part of a “laundry list of left-liberal shout-outs,” before writing that the speech focused “on climate change, which Biden claimed lists first among the ‘challenges that matter most to people’s lives.’ The planet’s 674 million people living in abject poverty don’t agree, Joe.”

Right-wing media also dipped into one of their favorite overused talking points when it comes to climate change: U.S. action is worthless because China is the biggest polluter

There were also criticisms claiming China does not care about climate change. Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade remarked about Biden’s climate comments that “climate change is unbelievable. The fact is that China could not care less.” On Wake Up America, The Daily Caller’s Briana Lyman took this China criticism a step further, stating that if “you want to talk about climate change, then you need to talk about China because China is responsible for more than double the emissions of the United States. … I think it's a dereliction of duty when he doesn't tie China and climate change together.”

Kilmeade’s comments ignore the fact that China is by far the largest market for clean energy in the world, and that its pledge to become carbon neutral by 2060 came about a year before the U.S. passed major climate legislation. Yes, its coal plants (and emissions) are a huge problem, but to say that the country doesn’t care about climate change (especially when an unprecedented heat wave just hit the country) is absurd.

Regarding Lyman’s comments, Biden did mention that the United States “will work with every nation, including our competitors, to solve global problems like climate change.” Immediately after this, he referenced China and said the U.S. will not seek out conflict with them.

Lyman also touched on a longtime right-wing trope about climate change: that countries like China are the problem because they currently emit the most carbon, and because of this, it’s foolish to think that the U.S. should act on climate change. But the United States is the largest historical emitter; per capita emissions in the U.S. vastly outweigh those of China; and many of our products are manufactured in China.

Solely blaming China while absolving the U.S. for its own pollution problems and its outsized role in spreading climate denial does nothing for solving climate change in the long run.

Right-wing media also exaggerated the time Biden spent talking about climate change, and they threw in some good-old-fashioned climate denial

Three minutes out of 30 is arguably not enough time to devote to a problem that has led to a summer of destructive extreme weather across the globe. But it was still enough to annoy right-wing media figures.

Again on Wake Up America, host Rob Finnerty stated that “the president spent a lot of time talking about climate change during his speech. … This, of course, coming at a crucially important time. We’re seven months into the worst war in Europe that we've seen since World War II, and the president took the opportunity to campaign for Democrats and talk about climate change.” On the September 21 edition of Kudlow, guest Steve Moore falsely claimed that “he spent half the time talking about climate change.”

Perhaps the worst reaction came from Newsmax host Eric Bolling, who went on a climate denial rant on the September 21 edition of Eric Bolling The Balance. He called climate change “another made-up crisis lurking just around the corner,” adding, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” He then blamed Al Gore for supposedly inaccurate predictions about climate change and chastised former President Barack Obama for buying a house near the sea despite being concerned about rising sea levels.

The right-wing blow-up over Biden’s climate comments is not surprising. To these figures and outlets, any action on climate, big or small, is akin to a radical socialist takeover of the U.S. economy. In particular, the right has increased its climate denial and criticism of climate policies in recent months. As climate change worsens and global citizens come together to clamor for climate action, right-wing media will continue to double down on denial and lies to protect their polluting interests.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

Despite 'Reforms,' The Torture Of Solitary Confinement Persists Unabated

Albert Woodfox passed away on August 4, 2022. In what’s believed to be the record for the longest stint in solitary in American history, Woodfox spent approximately 43 years alone in a 6-by-9-foot cell in the Louisiana State Penitentiary, colloquially called Angola, the name of the plantation that once occupied the same land.

The circumstances of his incarceration are as mind-boggling as the length of time Woodfox languished in loneliness. Along with an inmate named Herman Wallace, Woodfox was falsely accused — and wrongly convicted twice — of killing a corrections officer. Woodfox, Wallace, and another inmate were known for their indefinite placement in segregation and were dubbed the “Angola 3.”

It’s not as if administrators, lawyers and even judges didn’t know that the Angola 3’s duration in isolation was beyond objectively unreasonable. In 2005, federal United States Magistrate Judge Docia Dalby wrote that the Angola 3’s confinement went “so far beyond the pale” that there seemed not to be “anything even remotely comparable in the annals of American jurisprudence.”

Yet Woodfox remained in isolation for over ten more years after that judicial proclamation. Only when he was finally released in 2016 when he pleaded guilty to lesser charges did he get out of the box.

Despite the fact that the United Nations declared that solitary is torture, no prison will completely eliminate the practice of confining people for weeks and even months, sometimes years, in a parking space sized cell. This “affront to our common humanity”— as former President Barack Obama called it — persists. And it will, since even reforms to the system often don’t stick.

In what was heralded as a bipartisan win and demonstration of humanity, the Criminal Justice Reform Act became law in Massachusetts in 2018. It was designed to, among other changes, make the time spent in isolation more humane and bearable, as well as cap periods of time spent in isolation at six months. But the hoopla might have been premature. Inmates filed a class action lawsuit on July 23, 2022 alleging that the Department of Correction isn’t obeying that law and are leaving them in solitary confinement for as long as 10 years.

It’s not just Massachusetts that’s seeing reform’s empty promises; the solitary confinement refit in New York City isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The Board of Correction, the oversight body for New York City Department of Correction, had put forth new rules that former Mayor Bill DeBlasio claimed would “end” solitary confinement in the city.

But overhauling the “restricted housing” at Rikers Island came to a “screeching halt” according to reporting in the publication The City when Mayor Eric Adams signed Executive Order 148 in July, pausing implementation because the department lacks sufficient staff.

Even if the rules went into effect, they’re not that drastic of a change. Solitary confinement goes by different names so reforming it can be as easy as changing a label. Indeed, that’s what the Board of Correction will be doing should Mayor Adams ever give them the green light. The new rules will christen the system as the Risk Assessment and Management System or RAMS instead of ‘Punitive Segregation’ or ‘PSEG.’

Typical conditions for solitary confinement are 23+ hours of isolation with only a few minutes of time in an outside area - alone. The new rules boast 10 hours of out-of-cell time - longer than an average work shift. The problem is that this freedom happens in a literal cage placed outside of the cell. The out-of-cell time allows people to see and hear each other - through indoor chain link fencing.

The now-indefinitely paused new rules for New York City don’t limit the amount of time a person can be held in these conditions, a stark contrast to the state statute, the HALT Solitary (Humane Alternatives to Long Term Solitary Confinement) Act, which limits segregation stays to 15 days no more than 20 days every 60 days, in accordance with what the United Nations calls The Nelson Mandela rules. United States District Court judge Mae A. D’Agostino recently tossed a lawsuit filed by New York State Correctional Officers And Police Benevolent Association, Inc. — the guards’ union — that sought to invalidate the law, so this statute might have some staying power.

But even if the HALT Solitary Act endures as a public law, legislation is a long way from implementation as the claims of the Massachusetts inmates demonstrate. James Pingeon, litigation director for the Prisoner Legal Services of Massachusetts, told Michigan law professor Margo Schlanger in a recent interview that Massachusetts’ Criminal Justice Reform Act came about because advocates had used litigation to garner political support.

The same is true for New York’s trajectory of limiting use of isolation; it started in response to litigation. In 2016, the state of New York settled a class action case — it consolidated a number of pro se prisoner suits into one case — and agreed to remove young, pregnant, and disabled prisoners from extreme segregation and set first-ever maximum limits on the time people can spend in extreme isolation. The Peoples v. Fischer settlement paved the way for the 2021 passage of the HALT Solitary Act. The law is brand new. In four years, the State of New York may be facing litigation similar to what Massachusetts confronts right now, amid allegations that the changes aren’t panning out.

Addressing honest complaints about continued reliance on solitary confinement need not take so long. New Jersey’s reform wasn’t in place for even a year when the law appeared to be violated. The Isolated Confinement Restriction Law went into effect in 2020, with segregation limited to 20 day terms — five more than the 15 day limit established in the Mandela rules — or no more than 30 days in a 60 day period. However, a review of disciplinary records found that women at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility were sent to “Restorative Housing” — another clever name change — for anywhere between 60 days and a year.

It’s not that reform of solitary hasn’t made any strides. The American Civil Liberties Union called 2019 a watershed year for change, with twelve states enacting some measure of reform. A new law in Connecticut limits the use of confinement to no more than 15 days at a time and no more than 30 days within a 60-day timeframe. Ridding correctional spaces of torturous practices will require patience because it’s an incremental process.

But that’s the problem. Incrementally phasing out human rights abuses seems insufficient. When faced with atrocities, we ban them. Implementation may take time but the moral position is clear immediately.

Not only is this slow reform ethically dubious, it’s not even effective. Passing a law about solitary confinement seems almost meaningless at this point, leading to changes that are largely cosmetic if they happen at all.

It’s one of the most perplexing realities of modern corrections: Despite substantial consensus — five of six voters support restricting use of this type of isolation — and broad acknowledgment that solitary confinement is abusive and harmful to people with disabilities and mental illness, reducing its use is almost impossible, even with statutes in place that demand change.

Chandra Bozelko did time in a maximum-security facility in Connecticut. While inside she became the first incarcerated person with a regular byline in a publication outside of the facility. Her “Prison Diaries" column ran in The New Haven Independent, and she later established a blog under the same name that earned several professional awards. Her columns now appear regularly in The National Memo.

UN General Assembly Suspends Russia From Human Rights Council

The United Nations General Assembly on Thursday suspended Russia from its 47-- member Human Rights Council amid widespread reports of war crimes in Ukraine. The vote was 93 to 24 with 58 nations – including China India, Brazil, Mexico, and the United Arab Emirates – abstaining.

The body expressed “grave concern” over Russia's “gross and systematic violations and abuses of human rights," according to The Washington Post.

Russian troops are facing accusations of brutally massacring civilians, particularly in Bucha, a suburb of the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, where hundreds of victims have been found shot in the head with their hands bound behind their backs. In some instances, piles of corpses were burned or dumped into mass graves as if to cover up the atrocities.

Russia's Deputy United Nations Ambassador, Gennady Kuzmin, said that the move was “an attempt by the US to maintain its domination and total control” and to “use human rights colonialism in international relations.” Kuzmin maintained that the allegations are “based on staged events and widely circulated fakes.”

The Russian delegation on Wednesday had threatened to retaliate against nations that vote to boot it from the HRC.

"It is worth mentioning that not only support for such an initiative, but also an equidistant position in the vote (abstention or non -- participation) will be considered as an unfriendly gesture," the note read, according to reporting by Reuters. "In addition, the position of each country will be taken into account both in the development of bilateral relations and in the work on the issues important for it within the framework of the UN."

Russia's bluster notwithstanding, the evidence is mounting that Russian President Vladimir Putin's forces are intentionally unleashing hell onto the Ukrainian population.

In addition to the flood of photographic and video documentation that has circulated on social media and international news outlets, "Germany’s foreign intelligence service claims to have intercepted radio communications in which Russian soldiers discuss indiscriminate killings in Ukraine," the Post reported. "In two communications, Russian troops described how they question soldiers as well as civilians, and proceed to shoot them, according to an intelligence official familiar with the findings who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the matter’s sensitivity."

Last month, the HRC established a Commission of Inquiry to investigate Russia's genocidal actions in Ukraine. On Saturday, ex -- United Nations prosecutor Carla Del Ponte called for Putin to be arrested and tried by the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Meanwhile, in the United States, President Joe Biden has for weeks designated Putin as a war criminal. On Thursday, the House of Representatives voted unanimously to strip Russia of its preferential trade status and ban imports of its oil and natural gas.

Printed with permission from Alternet.

UN Secretary-General Warns Of Global Recession

This article was produced by Globetrotter, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

The United Nations has shut down most of its meetings and all of its conferences, but the world body in New York stays open. There are peacekeeping missions to follow, conflicts around the world and the plight of the millions of refugees from wars that don’t heal.

But most of the work is done electronically with meetings conducted remotely. Despite the coronavirus (COVID-19), Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reports to work and telephones UN officials and world leaders from his office.

Major summit conferences have been canceled, and travel bans have left many diplomats stranded. The 193-nation General Assembly, the global parliament, has had no meetings since March 6, and the 15-nation prestigious Security Council intends to meet only when there is no other way to discuss or vote on a measure electronically.

On March 19, Guterres held a remote press conference with resident correspondents following sign-in instructions from the chief spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, who, along with his deputy, Farhan Aziz Haq, had appeared in person every noon until March 17. This time Melissa Fleming, the undersecretary-general for global communications, led the session but allowed few questions.

UN Chief Talks of Recession

The UN chief warned that current responses to the world’s common enemy, coronavirus, were inadequate because “we are in an unprecedented situation and the normal rules no longer apply.”

“This is a moment that demands coordinated, decisive, and innovative policy action from the world’s leading economies. We must recognize that the poorest and most vulnerable—especially women—will be the hardest hit,” Guterres said.

Global Recession

“A global recession—perhaps of record dimensions—is a near certainty,” he said. Guterres cited a report by the International Labor Organization that said workers around the world could lose $3.4 trillion in income by the end of this year.

So far, as of March 19, there have been more than 219,000 coronavirus infections and an estimated 8,900 deaths.

Guterres said he would participate in an emergency summit the following week, by teleconferencing, with the leaders of the Group of 20, major economic powers, who intend to respond to the pandemic. He appealed to them to have “a particular concern with African countries” and other countries in the developing world. Saudi Arabia called the meeting.

A prime minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002 and chief of the UN refugee agency from 2005 to 2015, Guterres said governments and central banks have to guarantee there is liquidity in the financial system. Banks, he said, have to “support their customers” but “apply that same logic to the most vulnerable countries” by alleviating their debt.

On March 9, a diplomat from the Philippine mission to the United Nations had tested positive for the virus, the first case reported in New York. And more recently, one staff member, who was not identified, came down with the virus, and a close colleague of this reporter recently announced he had tested positive but was recovering.

More than 20 UN officials worldwide have come down with the virus, Dujarric said. One was David Beasley, the executive director of the Geneva-based World Food Program. He is resting at his South Carolina home.

What Was Canceled?

The cancellations in the world’s largest multinational forum have been painful. The first was the 1,200-plus women from around the world expected to attend the annual Commission on the Status of Women events in mid-March. Their lobbying often changes the position of governments. They are also valued for making connections across the globe and participating in many side events.

Among many other key events were at least two regional meetings to prepare for COP26 (Conference of Parties) in Glasgow, the UN climate change conference in November, which had promised some concrete action this year. Of course the United States has opted out of support for climate targets.

Still, the UN is reeling from the cuts in daily meetings. To achieve an agreement or consensus on nearly every subject in the world, especially conflicts, diplomats need to talk to each other face to face.

And most startling would be a postponement or cancellation in September for the UN General Assembly, the largest global multilateral forum that would also celebrate the world body’s 75th anniversary.

Let Them Eat Cake, Says U.S.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO), a UN agency, has overcome some earlier criticism in shielding member states from bad news on AIDS and other epidemics. It now gives daily updates, has distributed testing and other equipment, and has visited such danger spots as China and Iran to analyze the virus.

“The Trump administration is eyeing steep cuts to global health funds in its 2021 budget proposal,” Foreign Policy reported. In 2020, the administration allocated $123 million to WHO. This would be cut to less than $58 million next year. “The budget proposal also calls for slashing more than $3 billion from the more than $9 billion Congress approved for global health programs managed by the State Department and USAID,” Foreign Policy noted.

Perhaps Congress will stop this.

This article was produced by Globetrotter, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

UN Report: Immediate Emission Reductions Needed To Avert Climate Disaster

Publish with permission from American Independent

Countries need to begin making steep cuts to their greenhouse gas emissions immediately or risk missing the targets they’ve agreed for limiting global warming, with potentially dire consequences, senior United Nations officials said Tuesday.

A report by the U.N. Environment Program, published days before governments gather in Madrid for an annual meeting on climate change, showed the amount of planet-heating gases being pumped into the atmosphere hitting a new high last year, despite a near-global pledge to reduce them.

Man-made greenhouse gas emissions rose in 2018 to 55.3 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide, according to the U.N.’s annual “emissions gap” report. While much of the increase came from emerging economies such as China and India, some of those emissions are the result of manufacturing outsourced from developed countries.

“We need quick wins to reduce emissions as much as possible in 2020,” said the agency’s chief, Inger Andersen. “We need to catch up on the years in which we procrastinated.”

To stop average global temperatures from increasing by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) this century compared with pre-industrial times, worldwide emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases will have to drop by 7.6 percent each year in the coming decade, the agency said. Scientists say the 1.5C target — contained in the 2015 Paris climate accord — would avert some of the more extreme changes in global weather patterns predicted if temperatures rise further.

“What we are looking at is really that emissions need to go down by 55 percent by 2030,” said John Christensen, lead author and director of the UNEP-Danish Technology Institute Partnership.

Even the less ambitious goal of capping global warming at 2C (3.6 F) would require annual emissions cuts of 2.7 percent between 2020 and 2030, UNEP said.

That currently seems unlikely.

At present, national pledges would leave the world 3.2 degrees Celsius (5.8 Fahrenheit) warmer by 2100 than pre-industrial times, with dramatic consequences for life on Earth, the U.N. agency said. Getting the world back on track to 1.5C would require a fivefold increase in measures pledged so far, it calculated.

Last week, UNEP published a separate report, which found that countries are planning to extract more than twice the amount of fossil fuels from the ground than can be burned in 2030 if the 1.5C target is to be met.

This includes countries such as Norway, which touts its green credentials while it continues to drill for oil in the North Sea.

Officials appealed to governments that have already laid out targets for reducing their emissions to see if they can do more, and insisted that industries like power, transport, building and shipping can find opportunities to lower their emissions too.

“As individuals, we have a choice about how we live, what we eat and how we go about our business … and opportunities to live a lower-carbon life,” said Andersen.

Governments’ plans to reduce emissions haven’t been universally welcomed, however.

A $60-billion package of measures agreed by the German government recently has been criticized as a further burden on businesses, while environmentalists say it is too little, too late. Presenting a study Tuesday showing average surface air temperatures in the country have already risen by 1.5C since 1881, German Environment Minister Svenja Schulze insisted that Europe’s industrial powerhouse “is one of the countries that is doing a lot.”

“There are other countries which are quitting climate accords,” she added, without explicitly naming the United States, which under Donald Trump announced its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement.

Experts agree that the longer countries continue burning fossil fuels, the more warming will be “locked in” as emissions stay in the atmosphere for years or even decades.

Conversely, the sooner countries take steps to wean themselves off gas, coal and oil — such as by ending government subsidies for fossil fuels — the more warming will be prevented in the long term.

“There has never been a more important time to listen to the science,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said of the UNEP report. “Failure to heed these warnings and take drastic action to reverse emissions means we will continue to witness deadly and catastrophic heatwaves, storms and pollution.”

New Report Shows How Americans Pay For Trump’s Trade War

Farmers have been filing for bankruptcy at record rates, economic growth is stalled, and manufacturing is in a recession — all contrary to Donald Trump’s promises that he would return the economy to four percent growth and be the “greatest jobs president God ever created.”

Now a United Nations report released Tuesday “finds implicit evidence that the cost of the tariffs has been generally passed down to United States consumers.”

“US consumers are paying for the tariffs,” said Alessandro Nicita, an economist at the U.N.’s trade agency, “in terms of higher prices.”

The report only analyzed the first six months of 2019 and does not include Trump’s September tariffs. Economists from University College London and the London School of Economics expect the new wave of tariffs to cost middle-income American families almost $500 a year, as electronics like washing machines and televisions — as well as basic foods, like pork, cheese, and beer — all become more expensive.

CNBC reported in May that the cost of Trump’s trade war with countries like China and Canada is “equivalent to one of the largest tax increases in decades.”

Trump first started his trade war with China in April of last year, when he levied tariffs on Chinese products like shoes, airplane parts, and batteries. He also put a tax on foreign steel and aluminum. The Chinese government responded in kind, imposing its own tax on American goods, especially machinery, electronics, and agricultural produce.

Trump has claimed that his trade war would lead to more jobs for Americans and make the U.S. richer at China’s expense, but that hasn’t happened.

And China’s retaliation has hurt American farmers in particular, who have lost billions because of falling Chinese demand.

“Trump is ruining our markets,” Bob Kuylen, a North Dakota farmer, told CNBC in August. “No one is buying our product no more, and we have no markets no more.”

“There’s no incentive to keep farming, except that I’ve invested everything I have in farming, and it’s hard to walk away,” he said.

Factory workers have fared poorly too.

Tens of thousands of jobs have been lost in Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Industries Trump promised in 2016 to revitalize — such as automobiles, steel, coal, and mining — have faced downsizing, bankruptcy, and closure. Manufacturing’s tough times, which now qualify as a recession, are largely due to Trump’s trade war.

Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton, told NPR that Trump’s trade war is a key contributor to the slowing U.S. economy, which is now growing half as quickly as Trump promised on the campaign trail.

“Businesses don’t know where to place their bets and don’t know where to invest when they don’t know where the next tariffs are going to come from,” she said. “That’s been one of the biggest weights on the U.S. economy.”

Published with permission of The American Independent.

Commerce Secretary Ross Snoozes Through Trump UN Speech

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross inadvertently—and without using words—spoke for millions upon millions of people around the world on Tuesday morning as he very clearly fell asleep during President Donald Trump’s ultra-nationalist address to the United Nations General Assembly.

But was Ross actually sleeping? It certainly looks like it:

The scene of Ross sleeping during the address quickly went viral on social media, not just because of the U.S. president’s numerous false statements during the “low-energy” speech but because Ross has been known to fall asleep during public events as well as meetings.

During a Trump speech in Saudi Arabia in 2017, Wilbur also appeared to doze off:


United Nations Blasts Migrant Detention Centers For ‘Damage’ To Children

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet slammed the current state of facilities used by the Trump administration to detain migrants families.

“As a pediatrician, but also as a mother and a former head of State, I am deeply shocked that children are forced to sleep on the floor in overcrowded facilities, without access to adequate healthcare or food, and with poor sanitation conditions,” Bachelet, a former president of Chile, said in a statement released on Monday.

“Detaining a child even for short periods under good conditions can have a serious impact on their health and development — consider the damage being done every day by allowing this alarming situation to continue.”

Bachelet cited the recently released report from the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general that detailed the dangerous overcrowding at the camps, a situation one camp manager called a “ticking time bomb.”

“Any deprivation of liberty of adult migrants and refugees should be a measure of last resort,” Bachelet noted.

Trump is trying to downplay reports of the deplorable conditions at the facilities, arguing on Sunday that migrants are “very happy” to be in the centers.

Bachelet rejected this type of argument in her statement.

“In most of these cases, the migrants and refugees have embarked on perilous journeys with their children in search of protection and dignity and away from violence and hunger,” she wrote.

“When they finally believe they have arrived in safety, they may find themselves separated from their loved ones and locked in undignified conditions. This should never happen anywhere.”

But it is happening in America, under the policies enacted by Trump and enabled by his congressional allies like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Last year the United Nations warned that Trump’s child separation policy was “arbitrary” and “unlawful,” and called on Trump to stop it.

Now the world is once again being forced to rebuke Trump for his callous indifference to human suffering.

Published with permission of The American Independent.

IMAGE: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, former president of Chile.