Things That Matter

Amid Accusations Of Detained Women Drinking From Toilets And Sexual Abuse, Trump Says His Guards ‘Love’ Detainees

There are now multiple reports on the conditions in migrant detention centers housing children and adults: overcrowding, people sleeping on floors using ‘solar blankets’ for warmth in centers that were only designed for adult men staying from just a few hours to no more than seventy-two hours, not weeks and months on end.

The drinking water fountains in these facilities are a standard-issue, combination drinking-fountain, and toilet unit. 

The fountain makes up the top portion of the toilet where people urinate and defecate.

This way anyone in need of drinking water must lean over the top of the toilet to reach the fountain in a cell designed for one or two.

This morning in a press conference on the White House lawn, the president accused Alexandra Ocasio Cortez, who visited detention centers in Clint and El Paso Texas last week of lying about conditions. His accusation was made in response to claims AOC made about migrants drinking from toilets at detention centers in her testimony to the Senate Oversight Committee.

‘To have Ocasio say that they’re drinking out of toilets? She made that up, okay?’

‘That’s a phony story. She made it up,’ said the president to reporters.

Trump also stated that ICE agents ‘love’ migrants.

‘I have been with ICE and I’ve been with border patrol a lot,’ he said. ‘They love those people coming across the border. They love them, and I’ve seen it. They love them.’ 

While some are citing inconsistencies in AOC’s Tweets about detention center access to clean drinking water, it is clear that the combination drinking-fountain toilet, and use of the word “toilet” to describe it, could mean that both the president, who has not visited the detention centers, and AOC’s war of words is a matter of semantics.

On July 1, after leaving one detention center, AOC, did report that she was told by detainees that on occasions when the sinks do not work guards have told them to drink from the toilet bowl itself.

Congresswoman Madeline Dean who also toured the migrant detention centers reported similar conditions: “15 women in their 50s-60s sleeping in a small concrete cell, no running water. Weeks without showers. All of them separated from their families.”

As did Congresswoman Judy Chu who reported that women were told by guards to drink from the toilet.

In an interview that aired on NPR’s Fresh Air Tuesday, national immigration reporter for the New York Times, Catilin Dickerson, did not discuss drinking water but she did detail the unsanitary conditions in the centers, or hieleras, as they are referred to by migrants, for their uncomfortably cold temperatures inside.

In the interview with WHYY’s Dave Davies, she discussed how she was told that the temperatures are kept low to prevent the spread of communicable diseases, but Dickerson believes there’s another reason for the low temperatures has to do with the smell created by bad conditions and overcrowding:

“I know that one other factor the agents consider is the smell. These facilities tend to smell really, really bad, and they smell even worse when the temperatures are higher because people aren’t showering. And so their body odor gets worse, and I think that’s a factor as well. And we’re not talking about your standard-issue body odor. I mean, again, it’s emanating from people who haven’t been allowed to shower for weeks, and so agents describe the smell actually seeping into their clothes so that when they go home or they go out into the community, people don’t want to stand near them because that’s how powerful it is.”

It remains unclear whether the president’s attack on AOC is a matter of semantics regarding the combination drinking-fountain toilet.

Or, whether his reasons for accusing AOC of lying is a tactic designed to distract from the undeniably terrible conditions and overcrowding in the detention centers. What is clear is how this issue and AOC have become a Twitter lightning rod.

Brian Tyler Cohen responded to AOC’s  Congress Oversight Committee testimony by quoting her, and at least one hundred people responded in just a couple of hours.

 “@AOC: “I believe these women. I believed the canker sores that I saw in their mouths. I believed when they said they were sleeping on concrete floors. And what was worse was the fact that there were American flags hanging all over these facilities.”

Aaron Brodock responded, “That’s what happens when you break the law and enter the country illegally you get held in a detention center not a 5-star hotel! Don’t break the law, don’t enter our country illegally = no detention center it’s really quite simple.”

Many have responded to the situation saying that it’s not illegal to seek asylum.

This, however, women drinking out of toilets, is an absolute disgrace.

AOC Took Down The Idea Of The Electoral College And Her Argument Is Angering Conservatives

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AOC Took Down The Idea Of The Electoral College And Her Argument Is Angering Conservatives

nrkbeta / Flickr

Republicans love to talk about Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, from the type of car her tía loans her to where she buys her clothes. They especially like to talk about how her Nuyorican upbringing has affected her politics. AOC has been talking about the injustices of the Electoral College for a long time now. On Monday, she took to her Instagram story to educate her followers on why the Electoral College is not such a good thing, an idea that has been gaining traction since the 2016 elections. Fox News “is big mad” about the idea of abolishing the electoral college, which tipped the election in favor of Donald Trump.

In fact, Fox News did an entire news segment on her Instagram story.

Credit: Fox News

The conservative news outlet was disturbed to consider the ugly notion that the Electoral College could be racist, and effectively acted aghast by the accusation. Their guest, Dana Perino, said that she “trusts” the Founding Fathers in that they knew what they were doing.

Obviously, AOC has taken to Twitter to make this civics lesson crystal clear for everyone.

Credit: @AOC / Twitter

Before we get too deep, for folks who don’t really get what the big deal is with the Electoral College, let’s simplify the system real quick. When we go to the polls to vote for the president, what we’re really doing is voting which candidate will receive all of your state’s electors. Each state has differing amounts, and it’s a winner-takes-all game in most states. If the majority of voters in say, Pennsylvania, vote for one candidate, then that candidate gets the entire state’s electors. What the Electoral College does for the everyday American is reduce the value of their vote. Moving on.

The GOP wants us to believe that eliminating the Electoral College, will make it so that just “a handful of states determine the presidency.”

Credit: @AOC / Twitter

Actually, that’s what the Electoral College does. The popular vote is simple. Each vote counts as one vote. Punto. The GOP has lost the popular vote in six of the seven last elections.

Then she shot down the GOP “concept that the Electoral College provides “fairness” to rural Americans over coastal states doesn’t hold any water whatsoever.”

Credit: @ocasio2018 / Instagram

In a follow-up tweet, she pointed out that, “First of all, virtually every state has rural communities. NY. California. Much of our states are rural.” Now let’s talk about racism. AOC had pointed out Monday that the Electoral College is premised on somehow evening the playing field between rural America and urban America. “Could you imagine,” she posted, “if we had this kind of democracy-altering “fairness” provision for literally any other group? If we weighed, for example, Black and Indigenous voters more because of unfairness?”

Studies show that the electoral college values white votes above all others.

Credit: @ocasio2018 / Instagram

Then, Ocasio posed several tough questions, sure to be evaded, of the GOP to Twitter: “We do not give electoral affirmative action to any other group in America. Do Black Americans have their votes count more bc they have been disenfranchised for 100s of years? Do Reservations get an electoral vote? Does Puerto Rico and US territories get them? No. They don’t.” That’s because the Electoral College isn’t about accurate representation.

Effectively, the Electoral College adjusts the fairness of the popular vote and automatically leans it more white.

Credit: @AOC / Twitter

The GOP is all about ensuring states maintain autonomy and power without “big government” influence as much as possible. The reality is that the Electoral College goes far beyond ensuring small states are given fair representation in national elections. That’s because every state is automatically given three electoral votes, no matter how many people live there. Those small states are whiter, on average than larger states, making nonwhite voters underrepresented in the Electoral College.

Latinos are the most underrepresented group in the Electoral College, and effectively, in the presidency of the United States.

Credit: The Nation

According to a study done by sociologist Sean Darling-Hammond, rural votes are disproportionately valued higher than any other group. Meanwhile, Latinos are the most underrepresented group in her study. Of course, her study doesn’t include indigenous folks.

We may not even need to abolish the electoral college, thanks to The National Popular Vote compacts.

Credit: @_cingraham / Twitter

Fourteen states have already signed bills into law that would automatically defer its electors to whichever candidate wins the popular vote. According to the Brennan Center, there are enough states considering adopting this pact that would effectively render the electoral college meaningless.

READ: Here’s What Is So Disturbing About Seeing Conservative White Men Pretending To Assault And Choke AOC’s Cutout Picture

It Turns Out The Great Woman Behind Julian Castro Is His Mother, A Woman Who Has Long Carried The Fight For Latinos

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It Turns Out The Great Woman Behind Julian Castro Is His Mother, A Woman Who Has Long Carried The Fight For Latinos

When discussing today’s volatile state of our country, the racism, the violence, the injustice, people often say “it’s never been this bad.”

How do we truly know for sure that something we are experiencing today, as a minority, as Latinos, is something, unlike anything previous generations have experienced before. We certainly cannot tell from history books mainly because history books often omit the Latino experience altogether. We sometimes only have oral histories to rely on. The stories elder Latinos share with us about what life was like in the past, before social media, before cell phones, and before the media ever reported about injustices against our community. 

Those special individuals are typically our grandparents, tias, la vecina, and more importantly activists that continue to fight for the cause today. Recently presidential candidate, Julian Castro said that he stands on his important platforms today primarily because of his mother Rosie. 

As a lifelong Texan, Rosie said the racism in 2019 is more evil than anything she has ever seen.

Credit: Instagram/@TexasMonthly

In an interview with NBC News, Rosie who’s not only grown up in Texas but has also worked her adult life as an activist for Latinos said that she knows racism well because she has lived through it her entire life but what is happening today is extremely different from the past. 

“When I was in the movement, I knew the racism was out there and it was institutional. This kind of racism is different,” she said to the network. “That rhetoric has gone on for three years now, and I think we’ve all seen the rise of the hate groups and then even the rise of just ordinary people in a store that feel empowered to say something to a person who is speaking Spanish or is dark-skinned.”

Rosie said the racist words from President Donald Trump has single-handly inspired white supremacists to target Latinos. 

Credit: Twitter/@thehill

She said he is the catalyst to our current crisis.

Rosie said that when Trump first got elected she immediately felt like she was back in time, as if it were the ’60s all over again, but adds that this time it feels much worse. She said back then, President Nixon and California Governor Ronald Reagan had a campaign against Latinos too. However, it does not compare to the injustices against Latinos today. She points out that Trump claims to be a Christian yet can spew such vile words. “He’s just allowed that to become a blatant racist part of our reality,” Rosie said. 

As a former community organizer in the ’60s and ’70s, Rosie said Latinos had a mission to work at making the country a better place.

Credit: Instagram/@TexasMonthly

Now, Rosie said that Latinos are fighting for their lives. She also attributes a huge difference between then now on gun violence. Children today are afraid to go to school because mass shootings happen so frequently. 

Her son has always had a strong position against guns. He has spoken about it extensively during his presidential campaigning. Julian has said he will push for renewing the assault weapons ban, as well as limiting high-capacity magazines and, naturally, requiring background checks.

One thing that is inspiring Rosie — aside from her son running for president — is that so many organizations today are rising up to fight for equality and against racism.

Credit: Instagram/@denisemhdz

Rosie said the organizations she sees today does remind her of her time as an activist back in the day. While the injustices and crimes against Latinos is a stark difference, one thing that feels familiar is the energy from young Latinos rising together. 

Rosie has long been credited for influencing her sons’ work as public servants, to fight for Latinos and all people in the U.S. 

Credit: Instagram/@truth_purpose

Both Julian and Joaquin had attributed their rise in politics to their mother. It was her work as an activist and in education that made them both want to strive to make the United States a better place to live. 

In 2012, Julian gave his now-famous keynote address at the Democratic National Convention where he introduced then-President Barack Obama. In a few words, Julian not only paid tribute to the women in his life but also the American Dream that they worked so hard for. 

“My grandmother never owned a house,” Julian said back then. “She cleaned other people’s houses so she could afford to rent her own. But she saw her daughter become the first in her family to graduate from college. And my mother fought hard for civil rights so that instead of a mop, I could hold this microphone.”

It is because of women like Rosie that we have a platform to stand on as well. 

READ: Julián Castro Walked Onstage To Selena, Struggles With Spanish, And Other Ways He Lives The Latino Experience On The Campaign Trail

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