Politics News Briefs: Melania Trump Wants White House Staffer Fired; House Democrats Against Pelosi; DOJ Approves Whitaker; 878,000 Millionaires Added in Past 12 Months, But World Has Wide Wealth Gap; Ohio Family Charged With Murdering Eight Members of Another Family; Monica Lewinsky Shares Details of Affair with Bill Clinton in new A&E Docuseries
Interview: ICDHH Executive Director Steven Snow Clarifies Vlog On Idaho Falls Mural Controversy
Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Wednesday, November 14. Ready for news?
Politics News Briefs: Melania Trump Wants White House Staffer Fired; House Democrats Against Pelosi; DOJ Approves Whitaker
Here are three politics news briefs.
The first: First Lady Melania Trump released a statement yesterday saying she wants President Trump’s deputy national security adviser, Mira Ricardel, to be fired. Melania said she no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House. Reports say there were strifes between the first lady’s office and Ricardel, and that she is on her way out. So we see that Melania isn’t the only person in the White House who can say, “you’re fired!”
The second news brief: there are a group of at least 14 House Democrats that are opposed to seeing Nancy Pelosi becoming the Speaker of the House because they want new leadership. Reports say the group plans to release a signed letter this week. The group could be big enough to prevent Pelosi from getting 218 votes she needs. Pelosi recently said she was 100 percent confident she would be the Speaker. So it appears there is an internal battle within the Democratic party as they take over the House.
The third news brief: the Department of Justice said President Trump has the authority to place Matthew Whitaker as the acting attorney general after Jeff Sessions’ removal. There were complaints that the position should have been Senate confirmed. One of the main concerns were on how Whitaker would handle the Russia investigation. The DOJ said the “Vacancies Reform Act” allows this, that it is not a violation of the Constitution.
First Lady: https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/lady-melania-trump-calls-firing-deputy-national-security/story?id=59175225
878,000 Millionaires Added in Past 12 Months, But World Has Wide Wealth Gap
The U.S.’s economic boom has created 878,000 more American millionaires in the past 12 months. This information was from a wealth report by Credit Suisse.
There are 42.2 million millionaires worldwide. The report said the U.S. wealth grew 6.5 percent over the past year, which is higher than the world average of 4.6 percent.
The Washington Examiner said the U.S.’s boom started during the Obama administration in 2008 and has continued into the Trump administration, with it going even higher after the 2017 tax cuts.
The report said the U.S. has the most “ultra-high net worth individuals” in 2018, by far. The next five countries are, in order, China, Germany, the U.K., Japan, and India.
The report said there is a large gap between the rich and the poor.
There are 3.2 billion adults in the world with wealth below $10,000. They account for 64% of the world’s adult population but only have 1.9% of global wealth. It’s many people with little money.
The 42 million millionaires comprise less than 1% of the world’s adult population, but owns 45% of household wealth. It’s a small number of people with a lot of money.
The report said those with low wealth are mostly young adults who had little chance to accumulate assets or live in regions, mostly in Africa, where there are limited opportunities for wealth creation. While those with large fortunes got it through a combination of talent, hard work, and good luck.
Washington Examiner: https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/washington-secrets/america-first-878-000-millionaires-added-in-last-12-months-trump-effect-relentless
Credit Suisse Report: https://www.credit-suisse.com/media/assets/private-banking/docs/uk/global-wealth-report-2018.pdf
Ohio Family Charged With Murdering Eight Members of Another Family
Ohio’s State Attorney Mike DeWine announced that six people from the Wagner family in Pike County will be prosecuted for the murders of eight members of the Rhoden family that happened in April 2016.
Police in 2016 found eight bodies, shot to death, in four homes. Their ages were between 44 to 16. There were three children that were unharmed. They lived in a few mobile homes and had a marijuana farm.
DeWine said the Wagner family were obsessed with custody and control of children, that a member of the Wagner family might have been the father of one of the children in the Rhoden family. Their strife might have been the motive for the murders.
The trial could take several years and the state might have to pay for public defenders. The homicide investigation was the largest in Ohio history.
A note -- Mike DeWine was just elected as the next governor for Ohio, he is a Republican.
Monica Lewinsky Shares Details of Affair with Bill Clinton in new A&E Docuseries
There will be a new six-part documentary on the affair between former President Bill Clinton and then White House intern Monica Lewinsky and the controversy that came after it with Clinton’s impeachment. The first episode is this Sunday.
Lewinsky has shared new details about her experience, information that she held back on in the past.
She said she had a crush on Clinton and told him this, then he laughed and asked if she wanted to go to the back office, and they did, and that’s when their intimate relationship started. It lasted from 1995 to 1997, and news broke about this in 1998.
Clinton first denied the relationship, saying “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” But the FBI was already into their investigation. Lewinsky helped the FBI by wearing a wire while she talked with other key people. She said she felt so much guilt and fear that she did consider suicide.
Lewinsky said she hopes that by telling the truth about a time in her life and in our history, she can help make sure that this never happens to another young person in our country again.
Clinton said in an interview in June that he doesn’t think he owes her an apology because he already apologized to the public several times.
Lewinsky said she thinks Bill Clinton should want to apologize to her.
05 Interview: ICDHH Executive Director Steven Snow Clarifies Vlog On Idaho Falls Mural Controversy
The Executive Director of the Idaho Council for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ICDHH), Steven Snow, posted a 13-minute vlog on Sunday to discuss the Idaho Falls mural controversy.
The Daily Moth did a report about the mural a few weeks ago, the link to it is below in the transcript. Snow’s vlog is also in the transcript.
In Snow’s vlog, he said that he had a meeting with the Executive Director of the Idaho ACLU, who described the process they took to pick the artist and the artist’s process. Snow said the artist did her due diligence in her research on the ASL signs. He said no deaf artists applied for the project. He said that the ACLU and the artist were shocked and disappointed with the reaction from the deaf community, which included harassment and possible death threats. Snow said this was unacceptable. He said the artist and other artists doesn’t want work with the deaf community again.
The reaction to Snow’s vlog was mixed. Several people said this was a good response, but several others felt like Snow was not defending or representing the deaf community.
I reached out to Snow to follow up on all this.
Alex: Hello, Steven.
Alex: Can you share more details about the death threats? Do you know how many death threats and who said them, can you share the details? Also, did you make it clear with the ACLU and the artists that the death threats does not represent the majority of the deaf community’s concerns, to not clump the two together?
Snow: In my meeting with the ACLU, when I talked about that situation, in one part of it, they told me that the artist received several threats. Those included harassment and I used the word, “possible death threats.” Why did I use the word, “possible” in my vlog? It was because the ACLU person told me the artist received harassment, threats, and very serious threats. It was strange that he mentioned two types of threats, and the second one seemed to have to do with death, even though the person did not explicitly mention, “death threats.” But his choice of words made it seem that way.
Now the questions of how often the artist received threats and how many there were, whether it was from a local person, or someone nationwide, whether it was via phone call or email, or in person, I do not know. But during our meeting, I want to add, that while the ACLU knew there were threats, the ACLU still wanted to listen to the concerns and they wanted to do it right. I don’t think the ACLU made a link between the threats and the deaf community to think that the deaf community typically makes threats. No. I wanted to make sure that the very few people did not make entire community look bad. The ACLU, I believe, realizes and knows that they are separate.
Alex: What is your response to some in the deaf community that felt you did not defend their concerns? One person, Ella Mae Lentz, who is a Deaf vlogger and activist, said it seemed like you were victim blaming, that you blamed deaf artists instead of defending them. What is your response to that?
Snow: I want to thank you for asking me that question. To be honest, I will admit this — I did not expect this kind of response to the vlog I posted. I was taken aback. Many well-respected people made comments and vlogs to share their concerns. It really crushed my heart. I want to thank those people who made the comments. I decided to go back and look at my vlog again. I’ve noticed and realized there were a few things that showed my poor choice of words, I could have changed some of it. For those who feel upset that I might have looked down on them and engaged in “victim-blaming,” I want to truly apologize. It was not my intention. My goal was to share information, but it seems like how I conveyed it was not done right. Again, it was never my intention.
I want to explain that myself, as a government agency, I have certain duties and responsibilities to abide by. I am very involved in defending the deaf community in any legal issues, policy issues, violations of ADA laws, violations of state levels, I am a very ardent defender to make sure access is there. If opportunities are denied because people didn’t follow policies or procedures, I will be very active, in any legal issues. In this situation with the mural, it is not a legal issue. I’m representing the government’s opinions. If cultural appropriation, suppose it is, had legal issues, we can get involved. I’m treading carefully. The information I had was really important, often the deaf community are left behind and lack information. I felt it was my responsibility to share information so they can understand and know what to do. But it seems like how I conveyed the information, it could have been done better. For that, I apologize.
Alex: Did you educate the Idaho ACLU and the artists on the issue of cultural appropriation and why it is a sensitive topic for the deaf community?
Snow: In my meeting with the ACLU, as I sat down with them, in that moment I thought of the past and couldn’t remember, in Idaho, a single case where the ACLU worked with the deaf community or a deaf person. Yes there were many other cases, but with a deaf person, there were none. Maybe I missed one but I’ve seen nothing. Maybe there was one before I moved here, but nothing in the 11 years I worked here. I wondered why that was. Did they just not notice us? During that time of reflection, I decided to explain our culture and what makes the deaf community different from other minority groups. I emphasized sign language and that it was unique. I explained all this to them. In that time I explained this, I discussed cultural appropriation and why the deaf community was sensitive about cultural appropriation with regards to sign language, based on our history of oppression. Cultural appropriation is a sensitive topic, some people disagree whether a thing is cultural appropriation or not, but the point is why people felt it was an important topic, it is because of our history. Maybe this situation is a relatively minor situation, but still the deaf community has scars from our past oppressions and how hearing people have stolen their opportunities to showcase their work, showcase their language, and more. That’s why the ACLU wondered why it was a big deal. I thought it was a great teaching opportunity in my meeting with the ACLU.
This is interesting, in the situation with the mural, although it was unfortunate, I think one positive thing that came out of this is that the ACLU now realizes the deaf community exists. We are now on their map, on their radar. This could mean future opportunities for partnership. In the past, the CDHH has never partnered with the ACLU on issues. There are other legal organizations that we have worked with, but not the ACLU. I think this is a great opportunity to work together on various issues. I am excited. But it is sad that it took an unfortunate situation to develop a potential partnership.
[Alex] Do you feel like the artist and the ACLU could have done more to reach out to the deaf community or reach out to you and your organization before they painted the mural?
[Steven] Yes. I want to share one thing that is interesting. When the ACLU director sat down with me, his body language told me he was truly disappointed with the whole process. His exact words to me were: ‘If we could go back, we would do it right the first time.” I applauded this recognition and desire to fix the problem, to figure out a solution.
One thing I want to expand on that I did not mention in my previous vlog. When we sat down and discussed it we shared our concerns and feelings on the issue. He admitted that with ACLU’s many years of advocating for disability groups and different minority issues, when the opportunity came to support the deaf and hard-of-hearing community, they failed. He admitted it was an embarrassment for them.
So we started focusing on solutions. We talked about many things in that meeting, but one part was on solutions. He suggested we get the artist together with the deaf community and figure out how they can improve the artwork. I agreed and told him bringing in the community is a great idea, but I also suggested finding a Deaf artist who can collaborate with them to create something together or improve the mural together. That would send a powerful message. The director liked that idea and said he has to share it with the committee first and will let me know what the result of that meeting is.
After some time passed without any updates, I reached out to the ACLU and asked them for an update. They shared that when they were preparing to meet with the artist and the committee to suggest the collaboration idea, the artist decided to cut all communications with the ACLU and the committee. What exactly happened with the artist, I honestly don’t know, but that communication channel was severed, leaving the ACLU stumped. They apologized and said the artist has to decide to move forward with the solution.
The ACLU wants to move forward, and I recognize that. Yes, they failed the first time. I think this situation is a learning moment for ACLU here. When working on projects in the future, I believe the ACLU has learned their lesson and will do the right thing.
[Alex] Any final thoughts or comments you want to share?
[Steven] Equal rights, accessibility, opportunities, etc. related to the Deaf community have always been a challenge all over the United States. It’s really an ongoing battle. I want to say that I’m thrilled to see the kind of commitment and investment that came from the Deaf community. I must thank you all for your comments and discussion and expressed your concerns and attention to this issue.
Idaho is a rural state with only a few big cities. Even though it happened here, the Deaf community all over the United States recognized it and shared their concerns. I was touched by this. It showed how the Deaf community cherishes and protects each other and holds others accountable.
Yes, there are a lot of discussions and a lot of different opinions and disagreements among us, but that is what makes democracy strong. I believe that those opinions will lead to stronger solutions and improve the quality of life for the Deaf community. I hope that we continue to push these conversations forward and lead with our hearts to improve the quality of life for Deaf people.
I want to emphasize the importance of identifying the key players at the state level who represent the Deaf community. All of your concerns don’t have to be confined to the community, you can take it to the state level. That’s where change can happen.
Thank you Alex for having me here.
Alex: Thank you, Snow, for your time.
Snow’s ICDHH Vlog: http://bit.ly/2Td3bVY
The Daily Moth Coverage on Mural: http://bit.ly/2K540ft