Venezuela has long been in chaos. The South American country is plagued by a disastrous, multi-year recession and political instability, mismanagement, and corruption. There isn't enough bread, so the government has arrested bakers. There isn't enough food, so the military is trafficking limited supplies for personal profit. Pets are starving, as their owners can no longer spare them food, and, as The New York Times reported in a lengthy story Sunday, children are starving to death, too.
Times reporters conducted a five-month investigation, interviewing medical staff at hospitals across Venezuela. The doctors they spoke with reported a heart-rending increase in malnutrition cases among their youngest patients:
Parents ... go days without eating, shriveling to the weight of children themselves. Women line up at sterilization clinics to avoid having children they can't feed. Young boys leave home and join street gangs to scavenge for scraps, their bodies bearing the scars of knife fights with competitors. Crowds of adults storm dumpsters after restaurants close. Babies die because it is hard to find or afford infant formula, even in emergency rooms. [The New York Times]
Statistical information about the scale of the malnutrition crisis is difficult to find, as the Venezuelan government has attempted to suppress such damaging data. One 2015 report from the Venezuelan Ministry of Health offers a grim hint: It said the mortality rate for children younger than four weeks increased by 100 percent — from 0.02 percent to just over 2 percent — between 2012 and 2015.
Social media users responded over the weekend to President Trump's tweeted claim that if Christine Ford's alleged assault by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh were "as bad as she says," she'd have reported it immediately.
Using the hashtag #WhyIDidntReport, launched by actress Alyssa Milano, survivors explained why they kept silent after suffering sexual abuse:
#WhyIDidntReport. The first time it happened, I was 7. I told the first adults I came upon. They said “Oh, he’s a nice old man, that’s not what he meant.” So when I was raped at 15, I only told my diary. When an adult read it, she accused me of having sex with an adult man.
— ashley judd (@AshleyJudd) September 21, 2018
I was 17. Raped by a friend. I was confused. In denial. Afraid. His parents were richer & better connected than my parents. He was a "good" student. Ppl liked him. The only friend I told--responded w: "He wld never do that." I didn't think anyone would help me. #WhyIDidntReport https://t.co/YbCuIMg07M
— Abigail Hauslohner (@ahauslohner) September 21, 2018
I was 9 years old. A man took me away from everyone else at a birthday party and stuck his hand down my pants. He asked me if I liked it. I thought I had done something wrong. #WhyIDidntReport
— Karen Tumulty (@ktumulty) September 22, 2018
I did, it didn’t matter, I was dismissed, disparaged, & I still get blamed #WhyIDidntReport
— Daryl Hannah (@dhlovelife) September 21, 2018
It is particularly difficult for sexual assault victims to report misconduct by those in positions of power, Laura Palumbo of the National Sexual Violence Resource Center told USA Today. And the assault is "not just something that affects their life in the short-term," Palumbo said. "It also affects their life in the long-term." Bonnie Kristian
"America is acting like a bully toward the rest of the world," Iranian President Hassan Rouhani charged Sunday in the aftermath of Saturday's attack on an Iranian military parade that left 25 people dead.
"But our people will resist, and the government is ready to confront America. We will overcome this situation," Rouhani continued, referring to U.S. sanctions on Iran, "and America will regret choosing the wrong path."
Rouhani linked the attack to the United States, arguing U.S.-allied Gulf states like Saudi Arabia support an Iranian separatist group, the Patriotic Arab Democratic Movement, and the Islamic State, both of which claimed the attack. "The small puppet countries in the region are backed by America, and the U.S. is provoking them and giving them the necessary capabilities," he said, including "financial, weaponry, and political needs."
Rouhani, who has been called the "diplomat sheikh," managed his country's side of negotiations in the Iran nuclear deal, from which President Trump withdrew the United States earlier this year. Bonnie Kristian
A communications aide working with the Senate Judiciary Committee on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation process has resigned in connection to a past sexual harassment allegation, a committee representative confirmed Saturday.
The aide, Garrett Ventry, denied all "allegations of misconduct," but a committee statement said despite the denial "he decided to resign to avoid causing any distraction." Ventry was in a temporary position on leave of absence from a public relations company; he resigned from that role as well.
Politico reports, citing an unnamed source, that Ventry also resigned in 2017 from a role with North Carolina House Majority Leader John Bell for allegedly misrepresenting his work with the 2016 presidential campaign of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). Two former Rubio staffers told Politico Ventry was also accused of harassment while on the campaign. Ventry denied these allegations as well.
This comes as the committee grapples with the sexual assault allegation against Kavanaugh himself, a development that has stalled the confirmation. Bonnie Kristian
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will sit for a deposition on a question about U.S. citizenship that has been added to 2020 census forms, a federal judge ruled Friday evening.
"Applying well-established principles to the unusual facts of these cases, the court concludes that the question is not a close one," wrote U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman in his decision. "Secretary Ross must sit for a deposition because, among other things, his intent and credibility are directly at issue in these cases."
The deposition is part of a suit brought by New York, as well as other cities, states, and counties, seeking to exclude the new question. Critics have argued the citizenship question will distort census results because some immigrants may choose not to participate in the survey.
Ross is the first Cabinet-level official in two decades to be deposed in a civil case. The Department of Justice argued that to "demand for a Cabinet secretary's deposition is extraordinary, unnecessary, and unsupported." Bonnie Kristian
Ted Cruz attacked Democrat Beto O'Rourke for demanding transparency and accountability in police shootings
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and his challenger, Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas), wrangled at a contentious debate in Dallas Friday night. And the fatal shooting of Botham Jean — the black man killed in his apartment by a white Dallas police officer who says she mistook it for her own home — was a key issue of division between the candidates.
The evening of the debate, Cruz's Twitter account shared a video of O'Rourke speaking to wild cheers in a majority-black church. The clip shows an impassioned O'Rourke arguing Jean's case has yet to see justice. "How can we continue to lose the lives of unarmed black men in the United States of America at the hands of white police officers?" he asks.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) September 21, 2018
The tweet's caption suggests the Cruz campaign sees this plea for better police accountability and a transparent public investigation into Jean's killing as self-evidently damning.
At the debate itself, Cruz argued his opponent consistently "sides against the police," claiming O'Rourke has "described law enforcement as modern day Jim Crow." O'Rourke's actual comment, made Wednesday, referenced the book The New Jim Crow to note black Americans are subject to demonstrable discrimination in the U.S. justice system.
"With the tragic shooting death of Botham Jean, you have another unarmed black man killed in this country by law enforcement," O'Rourke said at the debate. "Now, no member of law enforcement wants that; no member of this community wants that; but we've got to do something better than what we've been doing so far."
The latest polls show Cruz and O'Rourke are in a dead heat. Watch their full debate below; the discussion of policing begins around the seven-minute mark and continues through minute 16 with a discussion of NFL players' pre-game protests of police brutality. Bonnie Kristian
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Brock Long will not be fired for his inappropriate use of cars owned by the government, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Friday.
Long used federal vehicles and personnel for his weekend commutes from Washington, D.C., to North Carolina. He had a driver take him home, and reportedly brought aides with him, housing them in hotels using taxpayer money. He was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general.
Nielsen said Long, who will repay the government an undisclosed amount, was acting in line with a longstanding but unofficial FEMA practice intended to keep the administrator accessible in case of crisis. That practice has now been discontinued.
"We had a productive conversation where we discussed my expectations regarding the agency's use of government vehicles going forward," Nielsen's statement said. "The administrator acknowledged that mistakes were made, and he took personal responsibility." Bonnie Kristian
China on Friday canceled scheduled trade negotiations with the United States, citing the Trump administration's tariff escalations. President Trump announced a new round of tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports Monday and is expected to target another $257 billion in products this coming week.
"Nothing the U.S. has done has given any impression of sincerity and goodwill," said Chinese Foreign Ministry representative Geng Shuang. "We hope that the U.S. side will take measures to correct its mistakes."
China also slammed new U.S. sanctions punishing Beijing for purchasing weapons from Russia. "The U.S. approach is a blatant violation of the basic norms of international relations, a full manifestation of hegemony, and a serious breach of the relations between the two countries and their two militaries," said a Chinese Defense Ministry statement promising "consequences." Bonnie Kristian