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‘Obscene’ 18-month delay for DWP complaints


This is disgraceful and should not be allowed to occur.

For a start the DWP, has should all Government departments, be more transparent and also honest and open. Unfortunately all this is someting outside the ‘norm’ for the Government and this also includes all Local Authorities and maybe those of Health.

For anyone to go to a complaints body takes some strength, as you are going against a large public body, which you are and will be again relying upon, will they hold the complaints against them and treat you are your relative worse than before.

Of course they will say they will not, but it has not been unknown in some authorities.

In some instances the complaints procedures themselves are ‘not fit for purpose.

That been said I do like that you can not refer until the complaint response letter has been issued, unlike going to the Ombudsman where their time period starts from when the complaint was initiated and there is a limit of 1 year. If that was so re this complaint then it would have been too late to go to the Independent Complaints body.

If certainly feel that the Ombudsman needs to change, could I say to Independent Case Examiner (ICE).

‘It is beyond cruel’: Ice refuses to reunite girl with the only family she has left | US news | The Guardian


María has been waiting to be paroled so she can be with her niece, who was sent to foster care 2,400 miles away

Source: ‘It is beyond cruel’: Ice refuses to reunite girl with the only family she has left | US news | The Guardian

A US-born teen was in border custody for 23 days. Now he’s suing the government | US news | The Guardian


A mother and her American-born teenage son are suing two US government agencies and speaking out over the inhumane conditions they said he endured while taken into border custody for more than three weeks.

Francisco Galicia, 18, from Edinburg, Texas, was released from detention earlier this week after an ordeal in which he said he lost 26 pounds, was kept in a crowded space with 60 others and, for 23 days, wasn’t allowed to call his family or a lawyer, brush his teeth, or get access to a toilet, shower or bed.

He was so desperate in the face of the conditions, and unable to communicate with anyone outside, that he almost allowed himself to be deported to Mexico, as first reported by the Dallas Morning News.

And his mother, Sanjuana Galicia, might not have found out where he was if it weren’t for his younger brother, 17-year-old Marlon, who is undocumented and who agreed to be swiftly deported to Mexico, from where he called his mother to tell her what had happened.

 

Source: A US-born teen was in border custody for 23 days. Now he’s suing the government | US news | The Guardian

Trump’s fans think he’s a macho he-man — he’s really a moral weakling who preys on women and kids | Salon.com


Donald Trump’s fans are obsessed with the idea that their hero is the pinnacle of manliness, here to restore the supposed greatness of American masculinity after its alleged assault at the hands of feminism and “political correctness.” His fans paint semi-erotic art portraying Trump as handsome and virile, either with a couple of dozen pounds shaved off his waistline or as an over-muscular he-man. They are so sure that Trump radiates a vibrant masculinity that Trump fanboy and convicted criminal Dinesh D’Souza recently posted a picture of Trump sitting next to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with the caption, “Masculinity in the twenty first century: which one is YOU?” The implicit assumption was that the orange-tinted primate, hunched over in a poorly-fitted suit was obviously more of a studly macho man than the suave young Canadian.

To outsiders, the idea that Trump is a model of desirable masculinity is just plain bizarre, as he lacks not just the positive markers of traditional manhood — stoicism, strength and virility — but any positive human qualities at all. But this past month has offered a strong reminder of what, exactly, Trump fans believe makes Trump such a harbinger of restored masculine greatness: His viciousness and cruelty.

Forget the handsome knight in shining armor protecting the weak of chivalric myth. Trump’s “manhood” is strictly about punching down and targeting those who are most vulnerable, with a particular sadism reserved for women and children.

Two of the biggest stories competing for headline space right now are a new allegation from journalist E. Jean Carroll that Trump raped her in the 1990s and reports from border towns in Texas that refugee children separated from their families have been crammed into cages in horrific conditions. But really, both stories are of a piece, illustrating Trump’s baseline impulses, which thrill his fans. He tries to make himself feel tough and powerful by inflicting pain on those who are smaller and unable to protect themselves.

Picking on someone your own size is, in Trump’s terms, for losers. “Winners,” in TrumpWorld, are the men who torture children and overpower women.

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Trump’s already unconvincing denials in the face of Carroll’s rape allegation got worse on Monday evening, when he told a reporter for the Hill, “She’s not my type,” a response that suggests he would have no problem raping someone he found attractive.

This response is one of Trump’s go-to responses to the many, many accusations of sexual harassment and sexual violence that have been made against him. He once told a rally crowd, in response to reporter Natasha Stoynoff’s allegations that he assaulted her, “Look at her … I don’t think so.”

This is nonsense, of course. E. Jean Carroll was a beauty queen and looked, at the time Trump allegedly assaulted her, very much like Trump’s first two wives. He resorts to this same line for exactly the same reason men commit rape in the first place: To dominate and humiliate women.

Trump’s “denial,” then, only serves to confirm that he has the capacity for cruelty and misogyny that fuels the crime of rape. It is yet another reminder that the issue isn’t so much that his followers don’t believe the accusations against him — after all, he’s on tape bragging about how he enjoys sexual assault — as that they thrill to his unconcealed malice. They mistake his willingness to hurt vulnerable as strength and feel that by siding with a sadist, they will somehow be more powerful and manly for it.

Grown women have some power to fight back, however, as evidenced by Carroll’s own telling of her escape mid-rape. Children, on the other hand, make even better targets for Trump and his supporters, as they can do almost nothing to resist the abuses of those who need to overpower the vulnerable to feel good about themselves.

This, I think, goes a long way to explaining the horrific situation on the border, where reports are streaming out of migrant children being forced to sleep on cold concrete and not allowed to shower or brush their teeth. Lawyers and reporters say that children are being left in soiled clothes and babies are handed off to older children to be cared for. CNN, for instance, spoke to a 14-year-old who was crammed in a cell with a 4-year-old stranger and an 11-year-old boy, caring for a toddler who was sick and covered in filth.

The administration is attempting to play off this horror show as the result of overcrowding due to a rapid influx of migrants. But all the evidence suggests instead that the government is deliberately abusing small children to satisfy the sadism of Trump and his supporters. As CNN has reported, “officials at the border seem to be making no effort to release children to caregivers — many have parents in the US — rather than holding them for weeks in overcrowded cells at the border.”

Within minutes, reporters were themselves able to locate the desperate parents of a second-grader who was languishing in a cell, abandoned by officials who were unwilling to pick up the phone and call a number the little girl was carrying with her.

The sense that this is being done deliberately was only compounded when it was reported that concerned citizens in the El Paso area keep showing at a Border Patrol holding facility with diapers, toothbrushes and other items to help the children and are being turned away. The Trump administration could help these children. It is deliberately choosing to neglect and abuse them.

There are political reasons for this, as Trump and his allies at Fox News are clearly hoping to exploit concerns about the children’s welfare, while arguing that the solution is to repeal people’s legal right to apply for political asylum. In that sense, this is straightforward hostage-taking by the Trump administration. Except that as some people who have been held hostage by Somali pirates or the Taliban are pointing out, at least they got toothbrushes and soap.

But I’d argue this is about more than Trump’s use of brinksmanship and hostage-taking as his primary political strategy. It’s also about he and his supporters making themselves feel big and powerful by picking on those who are weak and helpless. The word “bully” feels too small to capture what’s going on, but it does capture the pettiness at the heart of Trumpism. When Trump’s fans speak of making America “great,” this is what they mean: Finding someone smaller and more vulnerable and inflicting abuse on them, just because you can.

AMANDA MARCOTTE

Amanda Marcotte is a politics writer for Salon. Her new book, “Troll Nation: How The Right Became Trump-Worshipping Monsters Set On Rat-F*cking Liberals, America, and Truth Itself,” is out now. She’s on Twitter @AmandaMarcotte

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Source: Trump’s fans think he’s a macho he-man — he’s really a moral weakling who preys on women and kids | Salon.com

Salt doesn’t melt ice – here’s how it actually makes winter streets safe : The Conversation


Brrr … it’s cold out there! Children are flocking to the television in hopes of hearing there will be a snow day; the bread and milk aisles at grocery stores are empty because of an impending snow storm; and utility trucks are out spraying salt or salt water on the roads.

We all know why the first two happen – kids are excited for a day off of school filled with hot chocolate and snowmen. Adults are stocking up on necessities. But what’s up with those trucks?

They’re working to protect drivers from slippery conditions by spraying rock salt or a solution of salt water to prevent ice formation. This salt is very similar to the salt you have on your dinner table – it’s the same sodium chloride, NaCl. There are some proprietary mixtures that contain other salts – such as potassium chloride (KCl) and magnesium chloride (MgCl) – but they’re not as commonly used.

Road salt isn’t as pure as what you use on your food; it has a brownish gray color, mostly due to mineral contamination. Subjecting the environment to this salt via runoff can have some unintended consequences including negative effects on plants, aquatic animals and wetlands.

But it’s a cheap and effective way to protect roads from ice due to a simple scientific principle: freezing point depression of solutions. The freezing point of pure water, the temperature at which it becomes ice, is 32 degrees Fahrenheit. So if there’s snow, sleet or freezing rain and the ground is 32 F or colder, solid ice will form on streets and sidewalks.

If the water is mixed with salt, though, the freezing temperature of the solution is lower than 32 F. The salt impedes the ability of the water molecules to form solid ice crystals. The degree of freezing point depression depends on how salty the solution is.

 

Source: Salt doesn’t melt ice – here’s how it actually makes winter streets safe : The Conversation

ACLU files lawsuit against Florida sheriff’s office for nearly deporting U.S. citizen – ThinkProgress


The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) announced Monday that it had filed a lawsuit in conjunction with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) against a Florida sheriff’s office for unlawfully detaining and nearly deporting a U.S citizen.

Peter Sean Brown was born in Philadelphia and has lived in Florida for the last 10 years. According to the complaint, Brown reported to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office in April for violating his probation for a low-level marijuana offense and was subsequently detained longer than was required at the request of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

ICE believed Brown was a Jamaican undocumented immigrant of the same name, and was intent on deporting him. Despite his repeated pleas that he was a U.S. citizen with a birth certificate and a Florida driver’s license, Monroe County jail officers told him he was being sent to a country he had only been to once on a cruise.

“I am and have always been a citizen of the United States,” Brown said in a video released by the ACLU. “I did not even realize what ICE was at the time and reading through it I realized it had something to do with immigration, and at that point, I made a comment of, ‘There must’ve been a mistake.’”

Source: ACLU files lawsuit against Florida sheriff’s office for nearly deporting U.S. citizen – ThinkProgress

Trump’s words have consequences, and he can no longer deny it | Gary Younge | Opinion | The Guardian


Lizbeth Fierro, from Racine, Wisconsin, was 16 when Donald Trumpwas elected. “I thought he was a joke,” she told me. Then she noticed a change at school. “Once he was elected there were a lot more people who came out very bold and started saying mean comments about immigrants and Mexicans … I thought, ‘Wow, this is dumb, this is very dumb.’”

Then in July her father, Ricardo, the former head of the Latino chamber of commerce in town and a prominent activist, was detained at his home and is now threatened with deportation. Ricardo, who has been in the country for more than 20 years and has five children and two stepchildren, was one of the first of almost 40 undocumented migrants detained in Racine this summer. For the past few months, many in the Latino community have been keeping their heads down. They don’t go out, even to church, and when they do leave the house they get someone with documents to drive them.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (Ice) had previously concentrated on undocumented migrants who committed serious crimes. Now it is open season. “Ice will no longer exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement,” a spokesman said. Its agents are literally following people and picking them up in the street.

“It was like a summer of terrorism for the Latino community,” says Kelly Gallaher, a local activist. “Everybody knows somebody who is undocumented so it becomes a threat to the whole community.”

Trump’s election and the xenophobic rhetoric that came with it not only emboldened schoolchildren to parrot bigotry to their peers, it gave the state free rein to unleash its power indiscriminately against a minority community. So when pipe bombs are sent to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, California congresswoman Maxine Waters and CNN it should be understood not only as a specific threat to democracy but as one of the most violent examples yet from a democracy that has long been under threat.

We do not yet know who planted the bombs or what their motivation was. Nor, at the time of writing, do we know how many more are out there, though it has been reported that billionaire philanthropist and Democratic donor George Soros and actor and vocal Trump critic Robert De Niro have also been targeted.

But while the direct cause remains unclear, given the targets and the timing – just two weeks before the midterm elections – the context could not be more obvious or more chilling. Both in his candidacy and presidency Trump has made direct appeals to political violence. He has advocated protesters be beaten up at his rallies; tweeted a simulation of himself pummelling the news network CNN, as though in a wrestling match; encouraged police to rough up suspects; and in the week in which the Saudi government conceded that Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in its consulate, he lauded a politician for body-slamming the Guardian journalist Ben Jacobs.

So when he says, as he did on Wednesday, “We have to come together and send one very clear, strong, unmistakable message that acts or threats of political violence of any kind have no place in the United States of America”, it rings not only hollow but hypocritical.

Just two hours after CNN had to evacuate its studios, a pre-programmed email to Trump supporters in the name of his daughter-in-law and re-election campaign adviser, Lara Trump, read: “I have some breaking news for CNN … That is the real America that exists outside of the liberal bubble. It’s time for us to give the media another wake-up call from the American people.” When Trump later told a rally in Wisconsin, “Those engaged in the political arena must stop treating political opponents as being morally defective”, the people he has demeaned and demonised were aghast.

 

 

Source: Trump’s words have consequences, and he can no longer deny it | Gary Younge | Opinion | The Guardian

Thousands Protest Family Separations as Trump Blames Democrats : IJR


Hundreds of protests are planned across the country on Saturday to call for the reunification of immigrant families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border as part of the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” border policy.

Even after President Donald Trump ended family separation on the border with an executive order in June, images of children being taken from their parents, as well as a disappointingly slow reunification process, has sparked more than 700 planned marches in cities throughout the U.S., according to The Associated Press.

The protests attracted immigration activists as well as other first-time marchers who were drawn to respond to what they see as an immigration crisis on the southern border.

“I’m not a radical, and I’m not an activist,” Kate Sharaf, a co-organizer of a march in Portland, Oregon, said. “I just reached a point where I felt I had to do more.”

Protest organizers and immigration advocacy groups say the marches — which are funded by groups like the ACLU and The Leadership Conference, according to CBS News — show that the issue is gaining traction in response to White House policies.

“Honestly, I am blown away. I have literally never seen Americans show up for immigrants like this,” Jess Morales Rocketto, political director at the National Domestic Workers Alliance, said.

Meanwhile, Trump responded on Twitter to Democrats pushing for ICE to be abolished, and he called for more Republicans to be elected in the midterms and for Senate rules to be changed so that immigration reform legislation can be passed.

 

Source: Thousands Protest Family Separations as Trump Blames Democrats : IJR

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