Dr. Christine Blasey Ford has told the Senate Judiciary Committee she is now prepared to testify before the committee about her allegation that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh attempted to rape her at a high school party when she was 15 years old. In a letter to the committee, a lawyer for Dr. Blasey Ford ruled out testifying on Monday but said she would speak soon if the senators offer “terms that are fair and which ensure her safety.” In recent days Dr. Blasey Ford has received death threats and been forced to move her family out of their home. On Thursday, at least 56 protesters were arrested on Capitol Hill after they occupied the offices of key Republican senators.
Some Republican lawmakers are openly mocking Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation that Kavanaugh attempted to rape her. This is Republican Congressmember Ralph Norman of South Carolina speaking on Thursday during a debate.
Rep. Ralph Norman: “Did y’all hear the latest, late-breaking news from the Kavanaugh hearings? Ruth Bader Ginsburg came out that she was groped by Abraham Lincoln.”
The Wall Street Journal is reporting Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has backed continued U.S. support for the Saudi-led assault on Yemen despite objections from his own staff. While specialists in the State Department warned about the rising civilian death toll in Yemen, Pompeo expressed concern that any cutoff of support to Saudi Arabia could impact U.S. arms deals, including a plan to sell more than 120,000 precision-guided missiles to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The United Nations is warning Yemen is now facing the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.
CNN has revealed federal agents have arrested dozens of undocumented immigrants who came forward to take care of undocumented immigrant children in government custody. Between July and early September, ICE arrested at least 41 people seeking to take care of detained immigrant children. This comes as the government has acknowledged it now has a record 13,000 migrant children in its custody.
On Thursday, the White House marked the first anniversary of Hurricane Maria slamming into Puerto Rico by issuing a press release claiming the Trump administration has helped lead a historic recovery effort in Puerto Rico. But for many people in Puerto Rico, the recovery has barely begun, and much of the blame has been focused on FEMA. Earlier this month it was revealed that more than 2,000 Puerto Ricans applied for funeral assistance after the storm—FEMA approved just 75 of the applications. Residents say FEMA has also refused to help them after they lost nearly everything in the storm.
Lucila Cabrera Rodríguez: “When it rains, my whole house gets wet. It all broke apart the roof, because the house above me was made from cheap materials, and so the whole roof opened up on the downstairs. People from FEMA came, and this lady said, 'How are you still living here?' because the water was up to here through the house and the walls. The water was there. A little while later I got a letter from FEMA saying I didn’t lose anything in the hurricane. But I lost my fridge and the washing machine. I lost almost everything, even my clothes, because everything got wet—the beds, my furniture, everything. I lost everything, and I got nothing.”
Spain’s foreign minister has revealed President Trump recently urged Spain to build a wall across the Sahara desert in Africa to stop the flow of asylum seekers from Africa. Spain—which does not control any land in the Sahara desert—pushed back on the idea. Trump then reportedly said, “The Sahara border can’t be bigger than our border with Mexico.” In fact, the Sahara stretches for about 3,000 miles from Mauritania and occupied Western Sahara on the Atlantic to Sudan in the east. The U.S.-Mexico border is roughly 2,000 miles long. The second-longest wall in the world already exists in Africa. Morocco built a 1,700-mile wall or berm in occupied Western Sahara, dividing Sahrawis who remain under occupation from those who fled into exile. To see Democracy Now’s special documentary, “Four Days in Occupied Western Sahara—A Rare Look Inside Africa’s Last Colony,” click here.
In other news from Africa, at least 100 people have drowned after an overloaded ferry capsized on Lake Victoria in northern Tanzania on Thursday afternoon. It is feared the death toll will eventually top 200.
The president of Ireland has officially repealed a constitutional amendment that banned abortion in the country. This comes in the wake of a historic referendum in May when Irish voters repealed one of the world’s more restrictive abortion bans. Ireland’s health minister has said he expects women to soon be able to get cost-free abortions in the country.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s former top aide is going prison. Joseph Percoco was sentenced Thursday to six years for fraud and accepting more than $300,000 in bribes. Percoco was a longtime close personal friend to Cuomo.
And Harvard University has announced it will honor former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick with the university’s W.E.B. Du Bois Medal, which is awarded to individuals who have made significant contributions to African and African-American history and culture. In 2016, Kaepernick began protesting police brutality and racism by taking a knee during the national anthem before NFL games, sparking ongoing league-wide protests. He has since been effectively blacklisted from the league. Other recipients of this year’s W.E.B. Du Bois Medal include comedian Dave Chappelle and Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, who oversaw the creation of the country’s first memorial to victims of white supremacy.
In news from Brazil, the world-renowned dissident and linguist Noam Chomsky met with Brazil’s imprisoned former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on Thursday. This comes a week after Lula officially pulled out of next month’s presidential race. Lula has been jailed since April. Speaking outside the prison after his visit, Noam Chomsky condemned the right-wing media in Brazil.
Noam Chomsky: “We have just had the great privilege of spending an hour with Lula. And one of the points that he emphasized was that during his entire tenure in office, there was just a constant flood of attacks from all the media, constantly, thousands of attacks from every direction, which, of course, confuses and undermines public opinion. So the answer to your question is, something is needed to counter the concentrated power of right-wing media, which, particularly in Latin America, just overwhelms everything.”