Satori Fund Founder & Portfolio Manager Dan Niles joins Yahoo Finance’s Zack Guzman to discuss the recent market volatility amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Satori Fund Founder & Portfolio Manager Dan Niles joins Yahoo Finance’s Zack Guzman to discuss the recent market volatility amid the coronavirus pandemic.
REUTERSTHE VILLAGES— Supporters of Reps. Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene descended on The Brownwood Hotel and Spa in the Villages, Florida, on Friday night to hear two of the most controversial Republican members of Congress speak—and to presumably find some solace in the fact that even though Donald Trump is out of the White House, his two most zealous disciples are still determined to spread the MAGA gospel.Ahead of the event, some supporters were turned away after the venue reached capacity. Outside, near a side entrance to the hotel, a group of six people decked out in Make America Great Again regalia chanted “USA! USA!” and “All Lives Matter! All Lives Matter!” They followed up by shouting, “Stop the steal! Stop the steal!”Inside, a trio of police officers turned away latecomers trying to enter a ballroom where a standing room only crowd of about 1,000 people arrived almost an hour earlier to hear Gaetz and Greene speak. Nancy Formisano, a snow-haired 73-year-old wearing a tag that read “The Villages for Trump VIP member,” held a red placard with Greene’s name near the rear of the ballroom. “It only holds 400 people,” the maskless Trumper told The Daily Beast. “But they crammed in as many as they could. I’m just so glad so many people showed up.”At a time when Gaetz and Greene are arguably the most controversial Republican members of Congress, who have picked up right where the former president left off, it made sense for the hard-right Dynamic Duo to kick off their America First tour in The Villages. Located in Sumter County, the 55-and-older community is a must stop for Republican politicians during campaign season. The overwhelming majority of The Villages’ 132,000 residents are white, conservative voters. In recent years, they have become rabid supporters of the 45th President of the United States. Several cars flying Trump flags cruised through the hotel’s parking lot during the event Friday.Formisano and other fellow Villagers who spoke to The Daily Beast believed Gaetz and Greene represent the future of the Grand Old Party even as both of them navigate scandals that would normally have derailed their aspirations for more political star power.“If they had any kind of proof they would have arrested him already and he would be in jail,” Formisano said of Gaetz. “All Democrats do is throw mud at the wall and hope it sticks. They did it to Trump. They are doing it to Matt. They do it to everybody that comes against them.”Formisano felt the same way about Greene, the QAnon-friendly congresswoman known for pushing bizarre conspiracy theories and harassing at least one high school shooting survivor.“I hope she stays in [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi’s face,” Formisano said. “We are going to vote a whole lot more like her in the next election.”Nearby, a heavyset, bald 58-year-old named Marty Krause echoed Formisano’s assessment of Gaetz and Greene. “Gaetz is a fighter,” Krause said. “He tells the truth. He tells it like it is. And he doesn’t back down. Allegations are just allegations. In this country, everybody is innocent until proven guilty. One day, I hope he runs for president.”He said he also likes Greene a lot. “I think she is a force to be reckoned with as well,” Krause said. “She’s got a lot of guts. She has a lot of fight in her. To me, her and Gaetz want an even keel. They want to bring balance.”Gaetz has been in full damage-control mode ever since news broke last month that he’s under scrutiny by federal investigators for his alleged involvement in a sex ring that involved a 17-year-old girl. The probe initially focused on Joel Greenberg, a disgraced former Seminole County tax official who was criminally charged in a 33-count indictment that includes stalking and sex trafficking. Gaetz has denied any wrongdoing and taken a page out of Donald Trump’s playbook, portraying the allegations against him as a “Deep State” smear campaign.Matt Gaetz’s Wingman Paid Dozens of Young Women—and a 17-Year-OldGreene, who won a congressional seat from Georgia by embracing the QAnon conspiracy theory, has made her presence known on Capitol Hill by parroting Trump’s false claims of a stolen election, hanging up a poster attacking transgendered individuals, and making plans for a brazenly nativist and xenophobic caucus to push Trump’s “America First” agenda and “Anglo-Saxon political traditions.”In February, 230 Democratic house representatives and 11 Republicans voted to strip Greene of her two committee assignments following media reports detailing her abrasive social-media history, including condoning the execution of prominent Democrats such as liking a comment in January 2019 that suggested a “bullet to the head would be quicker” to remove House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from office. A total of 199 Republican lawmakers still voted against the measure, however.Inside the ballroom, Gaetz and Greene used the controversies swirling around them to gas up the MAGA base standing shoulder-to-shoulder, hanging on their every word. They hit all the notes known to rile up conservatives, from the biased liberal media to illegal immigration to the Deep State to Big Tech. The crowd cheered raucously throughout the rally.“We need a culture of free speech in America,” Gaetz groused. “Can you believe the Facebook oversight board took President Trump off their platform? But the Internet hall monitors out of Silicon Valley cannot cancel this rally or this movement or this tour or this congressman.”Less than six months after the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riots sent shockwaves through the country, the Florida lawmaker apparently saw nothing wrong with invoking the same incendiary rhetoric that resulted in the first insurrection, even going so far as to suggest another one might be the only way to keep America from falling victim to the so-called deep state. “We have the right to bear arms in this country and we better use it,” Gaetz snarled. “The second amendment is about maintaining with the citizenry the ability to maintain an armed rebellion against a tyrannical government, if necessary. People may not like that. People may think it is politically incorrect, but it is the truth.”Greene, dressed in a sleeveless black dress and pearls, told the crowd that the establishment in Washington, D.C. and the mainstream media had tried to muzzle her. “They thought they could shame me,” Greene said. “The media, all they do is lie. They only take a little piece they want you to know and twist it. We want to protect freedom of the press. But the media does it to themselves. They don’t realize that y’all are sick of it.”As the pair wrapped up their hard-right Sonny and Cher routine, rally goers leaving the hotel acted as if they had just attended a moral majority religious service where they were baptized in liberal tears.Sheri Burns, a Villager with an American flag draped around her back and a cowboy hat emblazoned with the phrase “America First” said the rally was everything she expected. “It was uplifting,” she said. “It gave me hope. Republicans are taking over in 2022.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
Harold M. Lambert/GettyThat children who came of age in the 1960s would come to find liberating and countercultural meanings in camping was not a predictable outcome. Camping in the 1950s was a decidedly mainstream affair. Since the end of World War II it had become a broadly popular choice for the summer family vacation, itself increasingly an expected annual ritual. Families clamored for campsites in the many loop campgrounds in public parks and forest preserves. Touted across the popular press, campgrounds became a prime stage to perform newly idealized family roles and camping a privileged method for producing the coveted sense of “family togetherness.” Public agencies had their hands full trying to keep up with the increasing demand. The US Forest Service (USFS), for one, had hosted 1.1 million overnight campers in 1943, when travel was depressed due to the war. By 1950, it was serving 3.9 million campers and ten years later, it struggled to accommodate 10.9 million. As Table 5.1 shows, the National Park Service (NPS) experienced staggering increases as well. Both agencies initiated major infrastructure development plans during the decade— Operation Outdoors (USFS) and Mission 66 (NPS)— which together aimed to increase the number of campsites available nationally, from 41,000 to 125,000. The inadequacy of that goal became clear even before it was realized, and private campground operators began to fill the gap in the early 1960s— such as the Kampgrounds of America (KOA) chain, whose franchised operators could collectively boast more campsites than the NPS by 1970.Several key factors accounted for the explosive growth of this form of camping. Federal investment in outdoor recreational infrastructure and transportation networks after the war, particularly interstate highways, put campgrounds within easier reach. The success of Emilio Meinecke’s formula led many Americans to assume that the government had an obligation to provide a low cost public campsite with modern amenities amidst a peaceful natural setting. A 1961 study concluded that most campers assumed essential amenities would be waiting for them, a “frame of reference” that “presumes the existence of picnic tables, wells, toilets, washrooms and the like.” They wrote unceasingly to the Park Service and their Congressional representatives to insist the government make good on these promises. One elementary school teacher from Texas asked her Senator, Lyndon B. Johnson, in 1957 to protect the rights of “us middle- class vacationers,” by improving campground conditions, which she found “very primitive for our progressive America.” As the thick files of complaint letters suggest, Americans were only raising their expectations of the camping experience.Keeping costs low for the larger families of the baby boom era remained significant. The oft-touted claim that “a camping vacation costs little more than staying at home, once you’ve got the camping equipment” may have been an exaggeration, but it was a standard reference in the popular press and had some basis in fact. The National Park Service collected minor entrance fees, but until 1965 charged nothing for campground privileges, even as it continued to upgrade amenities. Yet while camping could be less expensive than some other vacation types, the claim that it was equally available to all Americans, in the same manner, was less obvious. The standard figure cited throughout the era ranged between two and three hundred dollars for a basic complement of gear— not an inconsequential outlay at the time. While the public infrastructure subsidized it, camping was not free. Nor was access universal, as African Americans continued to experience discrimination at public campgrounds.Another significant factor was the way the campground came to epitomize the era’s suburban ideal. In a 1954 magazine article, experienced outdoor adventurer and 10th Mountain Division veteran Hal Burton narrated his embrace of the tamer pleasures of family camping. Burton was sheepish to admit his newfound attraction to car camping, which he had once disdained, but he empathized with his generation in seeking a vacation that was “easy on the pocketbook, soothing to the disposition, and ideal for the family that wants to get away . . . but not too far away.” What he had come to appreciate in the campground was the suburban dream come true:Happy, flushed youngsters romped among the birches, or splashed on the edge of Moose Brook. Bronzed men, chopping firewood or just relaxing, greeted us with a friendly “Hi” as we walked past their spotlessly tended campsites. Young mothers kept one eye on their tots, and the other on food sizzling over open fireplaces. A sign informed me that firewood was supplied to each tent site, and that there was daily trash collection. It was, all in all, pretty good evidence that camping out . . . wasn’t the outdoor version of tenement life I’d gloomily imagined.Burton’s picture of the campground was a rosy one: reliable public utilities and tidy homesteads with hearty children, virile husbands, and happy housewives. This vision seemed to wipe out lingering Depression- era suspicions of camps as refuge for the down and out. In fact, the near disappearance of concerns about tramps or hobos from camping discourse during this affluent era fueled a vision of campgrounds as better at achieving the suburban ideal than suburbia.The cultural imperative of “family togetherness” thus served as a key stimulus. While family vacations provided general opportunities to practice togetherness, camping gained acclaim for being uniquely effective at achieving it. Campers echoed these sentiments in their letters to the NPS. One woman from New York applauded the public support of togetherness in 1958. “It is heart- warming to see families camping together . . . from all walks of life. It is a good omen: ‘Families which camp together, stay together.’ ” Whether camping consistently delivered on this promise was less clear, as other letters complained about campers who violated these ideals.15 In this sense, the campground demonstrated many Americans’ commitment to achieving idealized domestic roles and gender dynamics necessary to dominant definitions of family and exposed tensions that underlay the performance of them. Within the domestic paradigms of the Cold War, the social benefits of camping took on heightened levels of importance. Outdoor recreation was understood to promote social stability and family solidarity, bolster the consumer economy, and demonstrate upward mobility— all of which contributed to the moral campaign against communism. Sociological studies tended to reinforce this interpretation: that the white, well- educated, middle- class families who dominated campground populations derived their “major satisfactions” of camping from the “social system of the camp,” the opportunity to perform modern rituals of “companionate marriage and family togetherness.” Recreating an outdoor version of the suburban neighborhood, with loop upon loop of identically- organized, well- equipped outdoor households, sustained an image of affluent American leisure for Cold War purposes and supported the search for the peak togetherness experience.These factors combined to drive the popularity of camping ever upward in the 1950s. As the next decade began, many began to wonder whether increasing crowds were undermining the appeal of the pastime. In July 1961 Time magazine ran a major story on the camping craze, emblazoning the cover with a double- sized fold- out illustration and a banner that branded it: “Camping: Call of the Not So Wild.” Vividly colored, the cover teems with tents, trailers, cars, hikers, boaters, and wildlife, packed cheek- by- jowl into every square inch of level ground. Vehicles crammed with people and gear snake through the panels in bumper- to- bumper lines. Everywhere people are busy fishing, swimming, reading, taking photographs, grilling hotdogs, playing ball, blowing up air mattresses, battling a thunderstorm, ascending switchback trails, fleeing from curious bears. An appealing and calmer landscape of hills and snow- capped peaks, complete with highflying birds, smiling sun and a rainbow, frames the hurly burly below. A closer look reveals notes of tension. On the crest of a hill, a transmission tower hides under the letter “M.” Two men are engaged in a fistfight while a ranger shakes a scolding finger. One man spanks his son for sinking the boat, while another rushes to rescue his daughter on the precipice of a waterfall. Bullies knock a boy off his canoe. Perhaps most tellingly, on the right a hill frowns in distress and on the left a grimacing face glares from a storm cloud. Nature, it seems, does not like being overrun.The article on the inside, titled “Ah, Wilderness?”, took a similarly conflicted perspective. After directing readers to examine the cover, it began by quoting Henry David Thoreau’s famous passage that starts with “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately” as a laughable mismatch. Thoreau had been the subject of renewed attention, as the Sierra Club and other nature organizations put his words in service to a modern push for wilderness preservation. If the reader missed the point, the article suggested that if Thoreau were to seek out Walden Pond today, he could find it easily by following the “snort and belch of automobiles” and “the yelps of children,” the sounds of the “invasion of hundreds of thousands families hungering for a summertime skirmish with nature.” These Americans, it declared, were “smitten by the call of the not- so- wild”— a not so hidden critique of their outdoor preferences. The piece aimed to understand “Why this mass movement into the world of mosquitoes, snakes and burrs?” But the unstated question it posed was instead this one: Who on earth would want to spend time in the crowded, harried world depicted on the cover?Upward of 16 million Americans, Time predicted, were headed to campgrounds that summer of 1961, “enough to make a forest ranger reach for a cigarette.” The federal Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission (ORRRC) noted in 1962 that “bumper- to- bumper traffic” and “campground full” signs had become frequent. Debates escalated over the relationship between improving amenities and increasing crowds. Some campers wrote to the NPS to ask for protection from modern intrusions. One woman registered her disappointment in 1961: “Couldn’t one little beautiful campground be . . . kept for those of us who still appreciate peace, and quiet, and can still get along quite well without lights and radios?” Others expressed the opposite sentiment, requesting long- distance phone service, better roads, precut firewood, and electric light in the restrooms. Almost everyone wanted reliable hot showers. via TIME Occasionally, campers asked for more and less in the same letter, as Frances Archer of New Mexico did in 1966. She expressed “great disappointment” that the NPS would take “the most beautiful section” of Big Bend National Park and “ruin it by building cabins, filling stations and hotels.” Rather, she contended, “is it not the main purpose of the National Park System to keep these beautiful sections of our country unspoiled by commercialism?” Yet Archer appended a postscript venting her frustration that the gasoline brand of her choice was not available in the park: “Because I had not a Gulf credit card, I . . . had to cut my park visit short and go outside the park and buy gasoline.” Even as campers like Archer recoiled against the ugly sight of filling stations, they relied upon the NPS to provide a host of modern services to facilitate their visits.Public agencies scrambled to strike the right balance. An NPS administrator laid out the nearly impossible task in 1961: “How to retain the charm, tranquility and beauty of a natural setting in the degree that each individual would like to see it preserved while permitting each to use the area according to his personal desires.” The Mission 66 building program essentially doubled down on the Meinecke system to achieve that delicate balance. The NPS Chief of Forestry urged the “continued endorsement of the principles published by Dr. E.P. Meinecke” in order to prevent damage to park resources in the rush to increase campground capacity. Yet so far, the one thing the Meinecke formula had produced most spectacularly was more campers. One lamented the feedback loop: “A few ‘improvements’ are made, then people hear that the camp has such amenities. . . . They like the beautiful location but aren’t satisfied with the campground. They start ‘pressuring’ for more ‘improvements,’ which brings more of the same type of people and the vicious circle continues.”The Time cover satirized the outcome of this process, but the article hedged. Despite campers’ “absurd concessions to civilized living . . . the great mountains and forests of the U.S. are such indestructible marvels, and so mysteriously instructive to man’s nature, that even the most unabashed dude and his togetherness- mad neighbor in the sprawl of Tent City return from a camping trip stronger from their experience.” The article contained a multipage spread of photographs showcasing the rewards of family camping, picturing tents and trailers amidst beautiful landscapes from the Ozarks to the Tetons, in Yosemite and Glacier National Parks. Even those who chose “the new- style, cocktail- slinging mass encampments” might experience a Thoreauvian “sublime.” The article thus concluded by admitting that in offering access to a public nature that fostered American ideals of middle- class living, even the call of the not so wild had its redeeming qualities.From Camping Grounds: Public Nature in American Life from the Civil War to the Occupy Movement. Copyright© 2021 by Oxford University Press and published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
Controlling Congress and the White House for the first time in a decade, Democrats were hopeful that this would be the year they finally secured civil rights protections for LGBTQ Americans. Then came a new debate over women’s and girls sports. Legislation that would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is running aground in the Senate, partly knocked off course by the nationwide conservative push against transgender participation in girls and women’s athletics that has swept state legislatures and now spilled into the halls of Congress.
Lurking beneath Facebook's decision on whether to continue Donald Trump's suspension from its platform is a far more complex and consequential question: Do the protections carved out for companies when the internet was in its infancy 25 years ago make sense when some of them have become global powerhouses with almost unlimited reach? The companies have provided a powerful megaphone for Trump, other world leaders and billions of users to air their grievances, even ones that are false or damaging to someone's reputation, knowing that the platforms themselves were shielded from liability for content posted by users. Now that shield is getting a critical look in the current climate of hostility toward Big Tech and the social environment of political polarization, hate speech and violence against minorities.
It won’t speed the manufacture of vaccines. More than a month of internal debate led up to Biden’s decision this week to endorse international calls to strip patent protections for vaccines. Biden endorsed it during his campaign for the White House.
GettyMinutes after dropping more money on extra-long nail extensions than I did on two weeks of groceries, I felt a pang of buyer’s remorse deep in my stomach. It wasn’t because of the expense. I had just discovered, upon heading to the salon bathroom, that my Edward Scissorhands kept me from pulling down my pants.I tried wrapping my fingers around my belt loops and pulling, but the extensions kept me from getting a firm grip. Then I tried wiggling my hips and dragging my jeans down with my wrists. After a few tries, this did the trick. I finally got my pants off—and then found my next battle to be with a piece of toilet paper I needed to rip off of its roll.Masks Are Coming Off, and Lipstick Is Back!I love my new nails, even though they keep me from getting anything done. I can’t open packages. I have the best excuse for ignoring the dirty dishes in my sink. When I dropped my MetroCard on the ground and tried to pick it up from the subway floor, my nails kept mashing into the tiles. I couldn’t grab it. “Just let it go,” a woman called to me as she entered the turnstile, sporting a rainbow-colored manicure herself.Typing—that thing I do for work—has become very difficult. I now have to hit my keyboard with the middle of my fingers, rather than my tips. After years of making fun of Nicole Kidman’s Grinch-like clapping at the Oscars (you know, the GIF where she looks like a seal slapping its flippers around), I now fully understand her pain. Nicole, I am sorry.My manicure left me feeling indolent and incapable of completing the most basic adult tasks, but I don’t regret a thing. For as long as I can remember, I’ve chewed my nails to bits. Not even COVID could cure my habit; I stopped touching my face when it was asked of us last March, but I continued to bite my fingers.So whenever I see a woman with stiletto-esque extensions, I am impressed. On Instagram, I watch friends and acquaintances show off their manicures, clasping books or coffee cups as accessories.They look so put-together, performing that type of easy-breezy femininity I am old enough to know does not actually exist. I realize that just about everyone feels burned out and exhausted these days, but those nails communicate a fashionable resilience. It reminds me of being a child and walking by beauty salons, staring into the store windows in awe and hoping that someday, I’d be there too. There is a prize that comes with committing to these established, if tedious, beauty rituals: leaving the salon with pristine nails. I carry myself differently now. An itchy nose is a chance to show that I am a woman who takes care of herself. Any time I gesticulate is an opportunity to remind others: I still care about how I look.A McKinsey report from last year found that sales of nail care products were way up. Amazon alone saw a spike to the tune of 218 percent higher in 2020 than 2019. Even as people lost interest in makeup given the laissez-faire standards in quarantine, polish sales were up 24 percent, according to data published in the trade publication Cosmetics Business.I would be remiss if I did not note the Lizzo Effect, which might not be an official, studied thing but very much a force in my life. A few nights before I got my nails done, Lizzo posted a video showing off her extensions, done by artist Eri Ishizu (who is also responsible for J.Lo’s manicures).The clip was part ASMR, part art, and pure hypnosis: in it, Lizzo clicks her nails together over and over again. The taps are loud and a little cartoonish, but so satisfying to hear. It’s as if Lizzo is speaking in a range only other manicure people can hear too—she looks good, and she knows it. So do we. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Lizzo (@lizzobeeating) As my nails tech glued on my gel extensions, she told me that her last client kept asking for longer, pointier nails. She was on her way to a first date and said, “I need them to be sharp, for protection.” And so I also asked for a razor-edged manicure. Creeps beware: I may not be able to eat nachos without getting a nail bed full of sour cream. I find it hard to blow my nose without inadvertently sticking a nail up my nostril. I prioritize phone calls over texts as it takes me around three minutes to type a single sentence. But make no mistake: my nails are prepped for battle. And they look fabulous, too. Alaina Demopoulos Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
Jung Yeon-Je/AFP via Getty In a one-man fight against the ruling establishments of North and South Korea, a 53-year-old defector has outraged Kim Yo Jong, kid sister of ruler Kim Jong Un, and South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in alike.Park Sang-Hak, who fled North Korea 21 years ago with his family, has defied both of them by sending thousands of leaflets cascading over the North in defiance of a new law rammed through the South’s National Assembly banning this expression of free speech.In the run-up Moon’s first summit with President Joe Biden in the White House on May 21, South Korean police have refrained from arresting Park, but the police searched his office on Thursday minutes after he told The Daily Beast in a Zoom conversation that he was “determined to keep sending leaflets” regardless of the law and constant surveillance.Kim Yo Jong Is Ready to Become the First Woman Dictator in Modern HistoryThe police may have listened in on the interview with The Daily Beast—Park’s last phone contact with a journalist before they confiscated his mobile along with documents from his office in Seoul to which he defected in 2000 through China with his wife and son.Park’s main message to the North Koreans, as propounded in 500,000 leaflets and 500 pamphlets dropped from balloons wafted over the North on April 28 and April 30: “Kim Jong Un is developing nuclear weapons while 20 million people are starving.”That was enough to infuriate Kim Yo Jong, who sought to intimidate the South in a statement asking if South Korean authorities were “ready to take care of the consequences of evil conduct done by the rubbish-like mongrel dogs who took no scruple to slander us while faulting the ‘nuclear issue’ in the meanest way.”“Clearly speaking,” she said in her statement, carried in English on May 2 by Pyongyang’s Korean Central News Agency, “[The South Koreans] will be forced to pay a dear price if they let this situation go on while making sort of excuses.”Speaking to The Daily Beast, Park cited Kim Yo Jong’s fury as evidence that South Korean officials were lying when they claimed that most of the balloons bearing the leaflets had blown back to the South, missing intended targets. He said many had landed in the vicinity of Pyongyang’s central railroad station where they were easily picked up by ordinary people as well as North Korean soldiers. Along with the leaflets, 5,000 one-dollar bills were also dropped over the North to give people real money as opposed to near-worthless North Korean currency.Park, who calls his organization “Fighters for a Free North Korea,” said in a Zoom conversation that police were constantly following his movements and watching both his office and residence to keep him from making good on plans to launch more leaflets—and also to protect him from assassination by North Korean agents. Over the past two decades, he’s been responsible for more than 100 leaflet launches over the North. Other North Korean defectors have launched many more, but he’s the only one to have defied the new law banning leaflets as passed by Korea’s national assembly in December.“The North Koreans have put out a directive,” said Park, talking through a long-time contact serving as an interpreter for the conversation. “They said, ‘Get rid of Park Sang-Hak.’”Defiantly, he added , “[South Korean police] cannot arrest me”—at least not until after Biden’s summit with Moon.North Korea Says It’s Ghosting Endless Calls and Emails From Team BidenBiden and his team have not commented on whether the topic of the anti-leaflet law will come up at the summit, but Park hoped Biden would ask about the legality of the legislation that he said represses free speech as guaranteed in the South’s constitution.“I want President Biden to ask all those questions,” he said. “Why does Moon violate the Korean constitution, freedom of speech, freedom of information. That’s what President Biden should confront President Moon with.”Park spoke out in terms that clearly identify with Korean right-wing forces, gathering strength while Moon’s own popularity sinks in response to corruption scandals and economic issues.“Moon is working for Kim Jong Un,” he said, echoing widespread comments by Moon’s conservative critics.He almost dared South Korean authorities to jail him, declaring: “If I am arrested, opposition party politicians and the mass media will not sit silently by. They will raise holy hell.” He believed one reason he remained free was the political pressure of the conservative Liberty Party, standing against the ruling Democratic Party in the National Assembly.“I don’t think Moon will arrest me,” he said. “It will look vile and low if he arrests me after the summit.”Park’s defiance of authorities contrasts with that of other defectors who have refrained from launching leaflets since enactment of the anti-leaflet law.“As long as the North Korean people suffer, there will be no stopping,” he said. “We will keep sending leaflets.”The police raid on his office, however, suggests that he may not be able to make good on that pledge even if he’s not arrested. Without a mobile phone, it’s not even certain he will be able to publicize his views anywhere.“Moon claims he’s for human rights,” he told The Daily Beast. “He’s a puppet of the North Korean regime, the Kim dynasty. He is close to Kim and also to [Chinese president] Xi Jinping. ”He said he saw no way for the Americans or South Koreans to get into dialog with the North after the Biden-Moon summit.“Moon will beg Biden to have a summit with North Korea,” he said. “I don’t think it will happen.” In the meantime, he added, “Kim Jong Un has got what he wants, nuclear weapons and intercontinental missiles. Moon will ask Biden to accept North Korea as a nuclear power.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
In the more than 15 years Salomon Tibiri has been offering spiritual succor as a military pastor in Burkina Faso, he’s never fielded so many calls from anxious soldiers and their relatives as in recent years, when the army found itself under attack by Islamic extremist fighters. Once considered a beacon of peace and religious coexistence in the region, the West African nation has been embroiled in unprecedented violence linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State since 2016, throwing an ill-equipped and undertrained army into disarray — and overwhelming the chaplains tasked with supporting them. In interviews in the Center-North and in Ouagadougou, the capital, military chaplains told The Associated Press that they are stretched thin by the unprecedented conflict and what assistance they are able to provide through phone calls and prayer services is insufficient.
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast / Photos via GettyDALLAS—Fears that kids are going hungry, and even fainting for that reason. A lack of mental-health and educational resources. Accounts of transfers in the dead of night without warning.These are among the allegations leveled by a handful of volunteers fed up with what they see as jail-like conditions at a migrant youth facility operated out of the Dallas Convention Center. It’s just one of several federal shelters set up in recent months to house a significant jump in the number of unaccompanied young people apprehended at the southern border of the United States.In other words, it’s not a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) detention center. But volunteers say it still seems an awful lot like these kids are behind bars.Biden Showers Cash on Ex-CIA Contractor to Transfer MigrantsIn mid-March, over 2,200 unaccompanied migrant youth were brought to the Dallas facility. Though it was at least originally slated to close in less than a month, over 1,400 remain. When the shelter first opened, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)—the agency responsible for the migrant youth after they leave CBP custody—worked with the Red Cross to manage the facility with support of local nonprofits.Then, near the end of March, a military contractor called Culmen International was granted a $2 million contract by HHS to take over day-to-day management. On April 19, the contract ballooned to $29.5 million.That’s when volunteers say things took a turn.Kirsten Chilstrom, a Dallas-based special education teacher, started volunteering at the convention center shortly after the youth arrived as a part of a program managed by the Catholic Charities of Dallas. She describes Culmen’s treatment of the youth in carceral terms.“It’s disturbing.... They are being treated like prisoners, and it’s insane,” Chilstrom told The Daily Beast.Sam Hodges, a Dallas-based MBA student who volunteers with the Catholic Charities, echoed Chilstrom’s assessment of Culmen International’s management of the facility. “They treat it like it’s a jail,” Hodges said.For weeks, Chilstrom and Hodges said, they and other volunteers advocated for improvements without running afoul of what they described as a policy meant to protect the privacy of the youth at the facility: don’t talk to the press. Having seen little progress, both Chilstrom and Hodges decided to speak on the record for this story. Two other volunteers and one concerned Culmen employee also shared information about their experiences with The Daily Beast under the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation. The Daily Beast also reviewed emails sent by a fifth volunteer expressing concerns to HHS.“At this point, I think it’s for the wellbeing of the kids,” Chilstrom said.As The New York Times and others have reported, the number of children in the custody of CBP has declined as they have been transferred from facilities designed for adults to HHS-managed shelters thought of as more suitable for children. But volunteers say the situation in Dallas suggests being transferred from one agency to another is no salve for the crisis facing young people detained at the border.Culmen International does not typically oversee the welfare of children. Their website describes their mission as “enhancing national and international security, supporting military readiness, and providing technology solutions.” But job listings for “Humanitarian Support Staff” indicate Culmen has a role in managing at least two other migrant facilities, in San Antonio and San Diego.Culmen declined to comment for this story and directed requests to HHS staff.In a written statement, HHS said the site is intended as a temporary measure, where the children are provided clean sleeping quarters, meals, laundry, recreational activities, and access to medical services. They did not respond directly to the claims made by volunteers, but stated that they require care providers to report and document all significant incidents in accordance with mandatory reporting laws, state licensing requirements, federal laws, and regulations.According to advocates like Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, President and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, it is an unfortunate truth that many of these large facilities are run by private, for-profit contractors with little to no child welfare experience. “Private security contractors should not be in the business of child welfare, and it’s outrageous to think companies are profiteering off vulnerable children as they cut corners,” Vignarajah said.Perhaps the most disturbing complaint: volunteers say Culmen does not provide adequate quality and amounts of food, leaving some of the kids hungry. “Numerous children have told me they are hungry and have begged me for additional food even after they have had a meal,” Chilstrom told The Daily Beast. “The food quality is subpar at best.... Culmen pays for separate meal service for their employees and they throw out anything that they don’t use."Hodges bolstered that contention, noting that many children have mentioned they go hungry. “The rationing is not proper,” he said. The Culmen employee echoed their concerns.Emails reviewed by The Daily Beast sent by a different volunteer to representatives at HHS suggested the food situation amounted to “negligence” and “child abuse,” and specifically pointed to how Culmen ordered separate meals for their staff. The HHS representative responded by saying the concerns would be shared with Culmen, which is responsible for managing and distributing the budget for food. They also instructed volunteers to file incident reports for any maltreatment they witness.Likewise, Hodges and Chilstrom both relayed stories they said they heard from migrants about how they would wake up to find that others had been transferred in the dead of night, with no explanation of whether they were sent to a sponsor or to another facility. “I would ask them what happened to so-and-so, and they would say, ‘I don’t know, they just came in the middle of the night and took them somewhere else,’” Hodges said. The Culmen employee corroborated these stories.Volunteers also described how a paucity of mental-health services and education has taken a serious toll on the kids. For over a month, they have been confined inside the convention center, where their movements are highly regimented. They have to ask permission to use the restroom and are only allowed to leave the main room where they sleep to eat and shower, according to three volunteers and the Culmen employee.In late April, Michelle Saenz-Rodriguez, an immigration attorney based in Dallas who’s volunteered at the convention center, expressed concerns about the situation in an interview with CNN. “[G]oing on a month in one room has to take its toll on the mental health of those boys,” she said.On April 23, Chilstrom told The Daily Beast, two children fainted. “I arrived after the first one, and was present for the second. It was in the middle of the center,” she claimed.The Daily Beast reviewed contemporaneous text messages Chilstrom sent about the alleged incident to another volunteer, as well as an email sent by a different volunteer to HHS referring to kids “possibly fainting due to a lack of nutrients.”Volunteers and the Culmen employee repeatedly emphasized the traumatic nature of the experiences some of the youth described facing in their home countries and while traveling to the United States. And advocates emphasize that the conditions in Dallas are likely to further traumatize children who have already been traumatized.“Child welfare means so much more than just a roof over their head,” Vignarajah said. “There, there is a lack of transparency around the standards of care these facilities and their operators are held to… it’s so important to have robust, state-licensed operations, ideally rooted in community-based, trauma-informed models of care.” Though effectively operating in a manner similar to temporary childcare facilities, ProPublica reporting suggests some of these operations may fall short of state license requirements.Where in the World Is Kamala Harris? Spoiler: Not at the Border.Hodges, Chilstrom, and other volunteers have participated in efforts to help connect migrant youth with their families, and described case management progress as slow and inadequate. With over 1,400 youth still at the center, and less than a month left until the center is slated to close, much work is left to be done to reunify children with their families or sponsors. According to Vignarajah and other sources familiar with the matter, approximately 80 percent of the youth have a family member in the United States. According to a statement from HHS, after the youth have been released to a sponsor or sent to a more appropriate long-term HHS shelter, they will be eligible to go through immigration proceedings and petition for asylum.“It’s critically important that we provide the case management necessary to as quickly and safely as possible to get these kids out of these facilities and into the arms of their families,” Vignarajah said.In Dallas, the management of the effort has been contracted to the Providencia Group, a for-profit federal contractor that only came into existence in June 2020. On March 17, they were awarded $14.6 million to provide end-to-end case management services, including sponsor assessments and timely reunification. The Providencia Group currently has open job listings for roles in Dallas and San Antonio, suggesting they are responsible for case management at more than one shelter.As of this writing, volunteers say, there are no full-time case managers working on site, and all case management interaction with the migrant youth thus far has been done via forms and video conferences.“Case management can be time intensive and requires experienced social workers, ideally who are bilingual,” Vignarajah said.The Providencia Group did not respond to a request for comment for this story.While Culmen International’s contract was anticipated to end on May 31, coinciding with the anticipated closing date of the facility at the Dallas Convention Center, the contract awarded to the Providencia Group was slated to end July 16. That suggests the center could remain open past May or that the remaining youth will be transferred to another facility.“It’s disheartening, but not entirely surprising, to hear allegations of inadequate care in this type of facility,” Vignarajah told The Daily Beast. “These facilities must be governed by the fundamental principle that these children are not just in their custody, but their care.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
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