The Memo: Trump in a corner on Saudi Arabia | TheHill


In the wake of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Trump has appeared ambivalent about the right response to the kingdom and its crown prince, Mohammed Bin Salman, whom the U.S. administration has previously backed.
Trump’s son-in-law and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner was an emphatic supporter of Mohammed, often known in Washington circles by his initials, MBS.
On Friday, Trump said he viewed the latest Saudi statement as credible and called the arrest of 18 Saudi nationals in connection with the case “a great first step.”
But the kingdom’s statement — its first acknowledgement after more than two weeks that Khashoggi was killed inside its consulate in Istanbul — drew derision in Washington, including from Republican lawmakers such as Sens. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Bob Corker (Tenn.). Graham has, of late, been a strong Trump ally.
Nine other GOP senators, as well as Graham and Corker, have signed a letter to Trump calling for an investigation into whether sanctions should be levied against individual Saudis over Khashoggi’s death. Those sanctions could target the crown prince himself or his allies.
The Republican critiques point to a larger problem for Trump.
The Saudis are not viewed sympathetically even by conservative foreign policy voices or by Trump’s broader base, which tend to regard U.S. support for Riyadh as a necessary evil aimed at countering Iranian influence in the Middle East.
That makes it harder for Trump to gain traction with his case, outlined this week, that the Saudis have been somehow treated unfairly.
Trump twice compared the Saudis’ situation with that of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearings — first, in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday and, in milder form, while speaking to reporters on Friday.

 

Source: The Memo: Trump in a corner on Saudi Arabia | TheHill

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UK joins chorus of disapproval after Trump praises assault on Guardian reporter | US news | The Guardian


The British government has joined press freedom advocates and journalists in expressing dismay and disgust with Donald Trump’s remarks at a rally, where he praised the unprovoked assault on a Guardian US journalist by the state’s congressman, Greg Gianforte.

At the Republican rally in Montana on Thursday night, the president lauded and made jokes about the violent attack by Gianforte, when he was a candidate, on the Guardian’s political reporter Ben Jacobs in 2017.

A spokeswoman for the British prime minister, Theresa May, when asked about the president’s remarks, said on Friday: “Any violence or intimidation against a journalist is completely unacceptable.”

Journalists across the US launched into fierce criticism of the congressman, via social media.

“Gianforte is a criminal. He pled guilty to [assault]. The president is congratulating a criminal on committing a crime,” said the New York Times correspondent Binyamin Appelbaum on Twitter.

Trump’s comments “mark the first time the president has openly and directly praised a violent act against a journalist on American soil,” added the New York Times reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg.

Trump fondly reminisced about the physical assault that occurred on 24 Maylast year when Jacobs, the Guardian’s political correspondent, asked Gianforte a question about healthcare policy in the course of a special congressional election in Montana. At Thursday’s rally, Trump said that anyone who could perform a body-slam, as Gianforte did on Jacobs, was “my guy”, and that news of the attack, which occurred the night before the special election, probably helped Gianforte win.

Trump finished his account of the physical assault by saying of Gianforte: “He’s a great guy. Tough cookie.” The partisan crowd at the rally in Missoula in western Montana clapped and cheered.

On Friday afternoon, on his way to a rally in Arizona, Trump was asked if he regretted the comments. He said: “No, no, no, not at all,” according to a tweetfrom a CNN reporter traveling with the president. He labelled the rally a tremendous success and called Gianforte a “tremendous person”.

The writers’ organization PEN America, which had filed a lawsuit earlier this week against Donald Trump accusing him of violating the first amendment of the US constitution by using his powerful position to threaten press freedom, has also condemned the president’s encouragement for Gianforte’s attack.

In a statement issued on Friday, PEN America said Trump’s “explicit praise” for Gianforte’s assault “marks a startling new low in terms of the White House’s open hostility toward the press”.

 

Source: UK joins chorus of disapproval after Trump praises assault on Guardian reporter | US news | The Guardian

Government to amend deprivation of liberty scheme to cover 16- and 17-year-olds | Community Care


The government will amend its planned replacement to the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) so that it applies to 16- and 17-year-olds, not just those over 18, a minister has confirmed.

Junior health minister Lord O’Shaughnessy pledged to amend the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill so that the proposed Liberty Protection Safeguards applied to young people aged 16 and 17, in a House of Lords debate on the bill yesterday (15 October).

The government had been criticised for excluding 16- and 17-year-olds from the scheme, particularly as they had been included in 2017 Law Commission proposals to replace DoLS that form the blueprint for the government’s plans.

 

Source: Government to amend deprivation of liberty scheme to cover 16- and 17-year-olds | Community Care

UK plastics recycling industry under investigation for fraud and corruption | Environment | The Guardian


The plastics recycling industry is facing an investigation into suspected widespread abuse and fraud within the export system amid warnings the world is about to close the door on UK packaging waste, the Guardian has learned.

The Environment Agency (EA) has set up a team of investigators, including three retired police officers, in an attempt to deal with complaints that organised criminals and firms are abusing the system.

Six UK exporters of plastic waste have had their licences suspended or cancelled in the last three months, according to EA data. One firm has had 57 containers of plastic waste stopped at UK ports in the last three years due to concerns over contamination of waste.

Allegations that the agency is understood to be investigating include:

  • Exporters are falsely claiming for tens of thousands of tonnes of plastic waste which might not exist
  • UK plastic waste is not being recycled and is being left to leak into rivers and oceans
  • Illegal shipments of plastic waste are being routed to the Far East via the Netherlands
  • UK firms with serial offences of shipping contaminated waste are being allowed to continue exporting.

UK households and businesses used 11m tonnes of packaging last year, according to government figures. Two-thirds of our plastic packaging waste is exported by an export industry which was worth more than £50m last year.

 

Source: UK plastics recycling industry under investigation for fraud and corruption | Environment | The Guardian

Trump, GSA head caught putting Trump business ahead of taxpayers : MSNBC


Rep. Elijah Cummings talks with Rachel Maddow about e-mails that show Donald Trump’s direct role in preventing the FBI from moving to a new building and leaving their old building to likely development as a hotel that would compete with Trump’s.

 

Source: Trump, GSA head caught putting Trump business ahead of taxpayers : MSNBC

Slavery was never abolished – it affects millions, and you may be funding it : The Conversation


When we think of slavery, many of us think of historical or so-called “traditional forms” of slavery – and of the 12m people ripped from their West African homes and shipped across the Atlantic for a lifetime in the plantations of the Americas.

But slavery is not just something that happened in the past –- the modern day estimate for the number of men, women and children forced into labour worldwide exceeds 40m. Today’s global slave trade is so lucrative that it nets traffickers more than US$150 billioneach year.

Slavery affects children as well as adults

Debt bondage often ensnares both children and adults. In Haiti, for example, many children are sent to work by their families as domestic servants under what’s known as the Restavek system – the term comes from the French language rester avec, “to stay with”. These children, numbering as many as 300,000, are often denied an education, forced to work up to 14 hours a day and are sometimes victims of sexual abuse.

 

Source: Slavery was never abolished – it affects millions, and you may be funding it : The Conversation

Citizens Advice blame rent arrear rise on Universal Credit & welfare reform : Universal Credit Sufferer


A new report released by Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) has blamed the UK government’s welfare reforms for a rise in clients seeking help for rent arrears on. The report comes the day after the government whipped their MPs to block the release of papers showing how Universal Credit will impact families.
The report starts by saying that in Scotland, the agency has seen a 40% rise in clients seeking assistance for rent arrears. Before you can even get into the report their findings are listed, and it doesn’t make comfortable reading for the government in Westminster.
The first and possibly most damning finding for the Tories says;

 

Source: Citizens Advice blame rent arrear rise on Universal Credit & welfare reform : Universal Credit Sufferer

Outrage as disability assessment reports are ‘altered’ to refuse benefits support


There is growing evidence to suggest that disability benefit assessment reports are being deliberately “altered” or “tampered” with in order to deny disabled people the benefits support they desperately need, it has been revealed.

Evidence suggests that assessment reports for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) sent to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) are routinely “audited” by DWP officials so that the altered reports bear little or no resemblance to the originals.

Work and Pensions Secretary, Esther McVey MP, is now facing calls to explain the reasons behind these “audits”, after SNP MP Marion Fellows highlighted the case of one of her constituents who was refused PIP based on an audited assessment report by a DWP official.

 

Source: Outrage as disability assessment reports are ‘altered’ to refuse benefits support

SURPRISE! SURPRISE! Universal credit rollout delayed yet again


No matter how long they delay the process progressing, will it ever solve the problems.

My own view is No, because to solve a problem you have to firstly find out what the problems are and where they are and then you have to have the willingness to allocate time, money and all others to find an effective solution. There is the major problem, for does this Government really wish to solve the problems, for they wish to remove as many people as possible from the benefit systems. Therefore the problems with Universal Credit (UC) are a bonus for the Government in achieving their aim, for if people are in crisis and this affects their health and their ability to live then this is achieving one of the Governments aims in reducing the number of people on benefits.

So all this Government talk is just a ‘whitewash’ for they do not want to solve the problems.

Govt Newspeak

Holly Sargent has had to sell her possessions because of problems receiving universal credit

Ministers have bowed to pressure and are planning to further delay the rollout of flagship welfare reform Universal Credit. The system, which will merge six benefits into one payment, has been beset with problems.

Leaked documents seen by the BBC reveal plans to spend hundreds of millions of pounds to prevent claimants suffering hardship as they move onto it. The government said it always intended to introduce the benefit slowly.

Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey told the Commons on Monday that she had been discussing details of universal credit with the chancellor and details of this would be revealed in the Budget later this month.

The universal credit system was originally supposed to be up and running by April 2017, but is now not expected to be fully operational until December 2023. Massive overspends and administrative problems have…

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Donald Trump’s racist obsessions are the real story — not Elizabeth Warren’s heritage | Salon.com


After years of Donald Trump taunting Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., with the racist nickname “Pocahontas” and suggesting, falsely, that she used her family’s claim to have Native American ancestry for a leg up in her law career, the truth is now out: Warren, as her family has long believed, is partly of Native ancestry. A DNA test, analyzed by a Stanford scientist prominent in the field, confirms not just this fact but the Warren family’s timeline, which traced their Native ancestor back to the 1700s.

Now this largely irrelevant question — once again, Warren never used her claim to Native ancestry to influence her career trajectory — should be settled. Maybe the mainstream media can turn its attention to the more important and more interesting story, which is why Trump is so obsessed with this question of Warren’s ancestry in the first place. An overwhelming amount of public information suggests that Trump has an unhealthy obsession with questions of bloodlines, ethnic heritage and genetics. Worse yet, his understanding of these issues appears to be filtered through the lens of eugenics, a pseudo-science with an unsavory history that looks even more troubling in light of Trump’s overt and well-documented racism.

This isn’t even the first time Trump has become fixated on the question of the racial heritage of a major Democratic politician. It was he, after all, who catapulted a fringe conspiracy theory that Barack Obama had somehow faked his birth certificate into the mainstream news cycle, hyping this conspiracy theory not just on Fox News but on NBC and ABC. Obama finally released his long-form birth certificate, settling the issue in the mainstream media — which should have never let Trump play this racist game in the first place — but Trump kept on hyping birtherism, using his Twitter account to repeatedly insinuate that Obama had cheated his way into the White House.

Trump praises first responders after Hurricane Michael

 

Source: Donald Trump’s racist obsessions are the real story — not Elizabeth Warren’s heritage | Salon.com