Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Tuesday, November 21. Ready for news?
Buzzfeed reported that Rep. John Conyers (D, Mich.), who is the longest-serving member of the House, had settled a complaint in 2015 from a former female employee who said she was fired because she wouldn’t “succumb to [Rep. Conyers’] sexual advances.” The female was paid $27,000.
Buzzfeed said they read documents from former staff members who said Rep. Conyers would badger female staff for sex and transport other females to him to do affairs, paid for by Congressional money (taxpayer money).
Rep. Conyers, this morning at his home in Detroit, said he knows nothing about this and is amazed to see the stories. In the afternoon he confirmed he did settle a sexual harassment complaint, but he denied doing anything wrong.
There are now calls for an ethics investigation.
So now we have two prominent members of Congress accused of sexual harassment — Sen. Franken (D, Minn.) and Rep. Conyers. We also have Roy Moore, who is running to be Alabama Senator — he was accused of sexual assault to minors with him saying it was not true. We also have President Trump, who was accused of sexual harassment during the campaign, with him also denying and threatening to sue the accusers.
Here is a fact: over the past 20 years, the U.S. government has paid more than $17 million to settle claims of sexual harassment and other workplace violations.
Buzzfeed did an analysis of the process of reporting complaints in Congress — one part of it requires the person making the complaint to sign a confidentiality agreement before the complaint can proceed. Then if there is a settlement, the money could come from the Congressional fund for settlements or from the representative’s office budget, but nobody would know.
This is what Rep. Jackie Speier (D, Calif.) is trying to change — she wants Congress to publicly name any member who has entered in an settlement.
Charlie Rose, long time TV host and journalist, was accused by 8 women of sexual misconduct in a Washington Post report. The women, who were either employees or wanted to work for Charlie between 1995 to 2011, said he would ask them for sex, make lewd phone calls, walk around naked in front of them, or touched their private areas, sometimes on work trips and at his home when the women thought they were there to work.
Charlie said he deeply apologizes and is greatly embarrassed. But he added that he doesn’t believe all of the allegations are accurate because he thought he was pursuing shared feelings, but said he now realizes he was mistaken.
CBS and PBS has now fired him.
This morning on the CBS This Morning show, where Charlie worked as a host, his co-hosts Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell said they were deeply affected by this, applauded the women who spoke up, and that there were no excuses.
So this is is another TV journalist accused — we’ve previously seen similar accusations against NBC’s Mark Halperin and Fox News host Bill O’Reilly. Also recently a well-known New York times political journalist, Glenn Thrush, was suspended after being accused of sexual misconduct.
The Department of Justice, under the Trump administration, said they will sue AT&T to stop their planned takeover of Time Warner for $85 billion.
There were fears that AT&T might become too powerful with ownership and control of wireless, cable, and satellite networks (DirectTV), channels such as HBO, TNT, Cinemax, and media company CNN. AT&T would be able to charge higher prices.
There were several meetings between AT&T/Time Warner and Justice Department officials on how to “do this right” without becoming a monopoly, but it appears those discussions deteriorated with this lawsuit.
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said they would not back down from this lawsuit.
This deal has been in the works for more than a year. Last year when Trump was campaigning, he said he would not approve this because it was too much power in the hands of too few.
There has been speculation that Trump is against this to punish CNN, which is under Time Warner.
The lawsuit will be filed in federal court in the D.C. District Court.
— In Nigeria, a teenage suicide bomber blew himself up at a mosque as people were doing early morning praying, killing at least 50 people and injuring others. Pictures of the scene show debris and blood all over the floor. The roof was blown off. President Buhari said he was saddened by the cruel attack. It is possible that the terrorist group Boko Haram is responsible.
— Former president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, has resigned after 37 years of rule. It caused many in the country to go into celebration mode, with streets in the capital city, Harare full of dancing people high-fiving one another. Even lawmakers cheered in standing ovation — they were just starting the impeachment proceedings when the resignation was announced. Many feel this will bring a better future for the country. All of this happened quickly after the military seized control of the government and detained Mugabe and his wife, Grace last week.
— Updates with the U.S. border agent death last weekend: the local sheriff said it is possible that the agents were not attacked, but that they fell into a culvert. They had severe head injuries and broken bones. This is a different picture from what was stated by other media sources, President Trump and the Texas Governor — that the agents were attacked with rocks. The FBI is leading this investigation and have not discussed this in detail. We’ll know more later.
I will show you comments by Angela Maria Nardolillo, who recently visited Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria devastated the island. She focused specifically on looking for Deaf people and providing emergency supplies. She will share what she has seen.
[Hello, my name is Angela Maria Nardolillo, and I am the President of "Off-The-Grid Missions" a Non-Profit Organization focusing on bringing sustainable resources (and GJJ Self-Defense) to communities around the world.
My family lives in Puerto Rico and they are located in a variety of regions in and around the island. When Hurricane Maria (a category 4) hit the island, all of the power was gone and I had zero contact with my family. There was no access to water and eventually the water became contaminated by the dead bodies floating down streets, rivers... etc. Without electricity there is no light, and without light there is no communication. Dangers arise as well for the Deaf/HH as they become soft targets for violence. One example, waking up to their supplies stolen during the night.
San Juan (the capitol of Puerto Rico), is where the relief efforts (food and water) was entering. Which means any person who lives outside of this area would have a difficult time traveling-in due to collapsed highways and bridges, fallen debris from trees and wires. Not to mention, the difficulty getting gasoline ($10 limit per vehicle). I figured the supplies would make it's way in and around San Juan, towards the east of the island... but not so much inland, and definitely not out to the far west. So I decided to create mission "#offthegridPUERTORICO" which would focus on bringing supplies to the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing located in the remote regions of the island.
My friend Adriana Vasquez (an interpreter, of Puerto Rican descent and who also lost contact with her family) joined the mission. We flew in to Aguadilla, which is on the far opposite side of the island and would make for easier access into the remote areas. We truly had no idea what we were in for as far as how destroyed the island was and if we would be successful navigating through it.
As we rode through towns, there was only one word that came to my mind: "neglect". We didn't see any help, we saw every person was in need but there was zero help. Another thing we noticed was the island's iconic vegetation was completely destroyed if not gone. For example in the mountains where the heart of the hurricane struck, the trees were all white. The hurricane had stripped them, ripped them out of the ground, threw them and whatever was standing drenched with rainfall was burnt by the sun.
To this day our team has brought relief to over 200 Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing individuals: men, women and children. EVERY person we found informed us that we were their "first responder", meaning we were the first to provide them with supplies. Those Deaf/HH whose homes were destroyed such a missing a roof, broken walls, trees fallen on their home –to this day they have yet to receive any further support so their homes remain in the same condition as they were when our team had found them. Some people have generators, however I only met 2 or 3 Deaf/HH who had generators so everyone else was in the dark. There are supposedly hundreds of Deaf/HH in the mountains, however it has been difficult for us to locate them. They are cut-off from society for a variety of reasons and if they are younger, it is not uncommon for the hearing families to keep their Deaf children hidden (in an effort to protect them). Communication barriers, those who live in the mountains have created their own form of communication and so communication is limited to basic survival, such as: food, water, home –and without electricity, they can not make contact or alert anyone for help. Another words, help comes to them when help looks for them... and that is what we are doing.
Finding the Deaf/HH in these areas was extremely difficult. We did not have a list of names or addresses. We found every person on foot. When we would meet a Deaf/HH person, a Coda or an Interpreter –we would ask them if they knew of any Deaf/HH. One person would take us to one, and that one person would know another one, and that is how we would find them... one by one. That is also how we built our ground team of OTGM Field Operators working with us to disperse the supplies. We met a lot of strangers, asked a lot of questions; we would show-up to a town looking for anyone signing or wearing a hearing-aid. It was a constant search for clues.
Daylight was our number one enemy. Once the sun went down we could not longer look for people which meant that our team had to work extremely fast. Typically after sundown, when you drive down the street you see light in houses or on the street... but not in Puerto Rico. Not only were roads and signs displaced, but it was pitch black as in you could not see your own hand. We had the stresses of running out of time, racing with daylight not to mention a large amount of supplies we had to bring to people.
There were a specific amount of supplies that we brought. Light is crucial for communication, and Deaf/HH rely on hands for signing. So we had headlamps for hands-free communication. You wear it on your head and when you want to sign you would shine the light downward onto your face/hands; then when it is time to "GA" as in you want to see the other person sign, you turn the light towards them. There is another button which expands the light to a high beam to see long distance. If the person is standing at a distance and you want their attention (you can not wave in the dark, or shout to a Deaf person) so then you use the red light blinker function which is similar to an emergency signal, and that gets their attention. For the Deaf families or Deaf mothers, we would provide lanterns. It can become quite difficult with everyone wearing a headlamp trying to communicate, and it is not an effective tool for a mother holding a baby. We also had individual and portable water filters, such as the LifeStraw. The filter is worn around the neck and the bottom goes in to the "rainwater" (not groundwater nor faucet water due to contamination). It is held in the water for ten seconds, then five small sips are taken... after that, it can be used to drink with normally. These steps are to be repeated for every new container of water. [See below for Transcript Part 2]
I brought solar light panels and a heavy duty power pack that would hold up to 7 mobile charges and used at night, and during the day we relied on the car charger. It was top priority to take photos/videos for evidence of our work and the supplies in an effort to be transparent with donors and document/provide access to the "real news". We were in the same environment as those suffering the aftermath so there was nothing fancy about how we rolled; it was important that we gave 100% to the people.
I remember before heading to Puerto Rico, watching the news and the death toll was reported to be 45 or 46.... estimate. It was not until I arrived that I was informed by a trusted internal source that the numbers were well over the hundreds. Those who died were not reported and some bodies were still unaccounted for under debris. The government did recently make a statement that there were 911 bodies reported dead... but that number may never be accurate. For example, a cousin of my family was killed during the clean-up (when a tree fell and the branch entered his skull) and hundreds of others have died in the hospitals (ICU). Those whose life depended on machines to breathe were killed following the hurricane. Are those numbers related? Are they being reported? And how are they being reported accurately if most of the island is still without electricity?
Puerto Rico is NOT a state, NOR is it a country; it is a territory of the United States and treated much like a colony. It has specific rules and regulations such as being required to pay US Government taxes –but not being able to vote, and can not trade, receive support or do business with any foreign entities/countries. Therefore if Puerto Rico needs help (like it does now), it is only allowed to depend on the US Government. Let's say Puerto Rico became the 51st state, it would then be considered the poorest state in the nation because 45% of the island lives in poverty. The humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico is worse now than before due to Hurricane Maria and so without the support of the US Government, Puerto Rico will continue to suffer under such strict regulations.
Our team continues to bring relief to the Deaf/HH of Puerto Rico. We have run out of supplies so are currently restocking. We are open to anyone with ideas, who want to connect to benefit the people of PR. The t-shirt behind me (donated by our partner "Crazy Legs" of the "Rock Steady For Life" organization working in Puerto Rico) translates in to RISE-UP PUERTO RICO. We can only rise-up with education –but before we have education we need food, water, communication, language...
Thank you to the Daily Moth for encouraging me to share our story. To everyone who has donated, volunteered, partnered... to all the team members and everyone in support, we thank you!!
Thank you, Angela for sharing. It is heartbreaking to see how much Puerto Rico is impacted and there are many very concerning human issues.
Her team is planning another trip to Puerto Rico today. You can follow their trip on FB page Angela Maria Off The Grid or www.offthegridmissions.org, they are looking for donations, volunteers, or more information on Deaf people in PR.
This comes at a time that CNN is doing an investigation in which they found 499 people who died from hurricane-related causes after surveying over 100 funeral homes. This would be way above the official death toll of 55 people.
In separate but related news, Montana energy company Whitefish said they would stop working on various electricity projects because they were not paid by the PR government in invoices totaling over $83 million. They had a prior $300 million contract to repair the electric infrastructure, but that was cancelled after controversy and an investigation, but the two agreed to have Whitefish finish what they started. Now that’s stalled. Many parts of Puerto Rico are still without electricity.
That is all for today. See you tomorrow and stay with the light!