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Republicans sustain critical self-inflicted wound from emotionally painful Kavanaugh hearing – Politics – Pulselive.co.ke

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  • President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s Senate grilling and the emotional testimony of his sexual assault accuser, Palo Alto University Professor Christine Blasey Ford, created a firestorm of bad optics for the entire Republican party.
  • But despite hours emotionally jarring testimony on both sides and no conclusions reached, the Senate is set to vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation on Friday morning.
  • By refusing to explore every avenue of investigation into the sexual assault claims against Kavanaugh, Republicans look as though they’re trying to push through a nominee credibly accused of sex crimes.
  • If the Senate confirms Kavanaugh and a later investigation finds credible evidence of wrongdoing, it will create a second disaster MIDTERMS? for the Supreme court and the entire Republican party.

President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s Senate grilling and the emotional testimony of his sexual assault accuser, Palo Alto University Professor Christine Blasey Ford, created a firestorm of bad optics for the entire Republican party.

After hours emotionally jarring testimony on both sides and no conclusions reached, the Senate is set to vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation on Friday morning.

Ford’s testimony, widely received on both sides of the aisle as credible and moving, put Republicans in every branch of government in the difficult position of appearing to side with the accused over a credible accuser.

In back-to-back testimonies, Ford and Kavanaugh couldn’t have appeared any more different. Ford gave slow, steady, consistent and at times scientific answers portraying a past trauma she had lived with for decades. Kavanaugh’s voice boomed through an angry opening statement where he mourned the near overnight loss of his and his family’s social standing.

Both Kavanaugh and Ford had clearly both been wrenched by pain in a hearing that reached no conclusions and only muddied the waters.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham erupted at the Judiciary Committee, accusing the Democrats of carrying out an “unethical scam” to spring allegations on Kavanaugh at the last minute. Graham’s speech, while it may have rallied conservatives, appeared to completely dismiss the serious nature of Ford’s allegations and her unambiguously credible and sympathetic testimony.

Republican Senator Orrin Hatch agreed that Ford’s testimony was credible, but drew flak for commenting that she was an “attractive, good witness.”

Republicans avoided the compromising situation of directly questioning Ford by hiring Rachel Mitchell, an experienced sex crimes prosecutor to question both professor Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh, but even that may have backfired.

A Republican strategist close to the White House told Business Insider’s Allan Smith Mitchell’s questioning was an “unmitigated disaster,” as “she didn’t even attempt to poke holes in the many inconsistencies in Ford’s story.”

Even on Fox News, normally a friendly space for Republicans, host Chris Wallace concurred that Ford’s “extremely emotional, extremely raw, and extremely credible” testimony had created a “disaster” for the GOP.

The Republican members of the Committee hired Mitchell to improve the optics of the all-male majority panel questioning a woman who testified to surviving a sexual assault from a man they sought to place on the country’s highest court.

Ford’s credible testimony, combine with Kavanaugh’s angry rebuttals and sometimes flighty answers to straightforward questions about the one pivotal witness to the alleged crime, Mark Judge, and on details of his drinking, also looked bad for the conservative judge.

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Kavanaugh swore up and down to have never lost memory while drinking, but tacitly admitted throwing up due to alcohol on several occasions with friends. Bafflingly, Kavanaugh made the words “I like beer” a common refrain of his testimony.

But Kavanaugh’s trial in the court of public opinion has recalled Anita Hill’s testimony against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, bringing further scrutiny to Republicans in the court.

Kavanaugh’s steadfast denials and spirited defense earned the praise of President Donald Trump, who praised his “powerful, honest, and riveting” testimony just seconds after the hearing adjourned.

Trump had spent around half an hour at an 80-minute press conference on Wednesday defending Kavanaugh and dredging up his own history of sexual assault accusations in the process.

In the end, Trump joined Senate Republicans in urging a vote on Friday, against a growing chorus of dissent that’s expanded beyond the Democratic party and to the American Bar Association, which called for the Senate to suspend the Kavanaugh vote while the FBI investigates the allegations.

For Republicans trying to confirm Kavanaugh before exploring every possible investigative avenue, they risk confirming a justice that may later be rocked by further evidence of misconduct.

Republicans could have withdrawn Kavanaugh’s nomination after such a wealth of adamant accusers stepped forward. They could have completed the FBI investigation before the hearing. They could have elevated women in the party onto the Judiciary Committee to avoid the bad optics of an all male panel.

Going into the 2018 midterm elections in November, that look increasingly make-or-break for the party, Kavanaugh and Trump have been plummeting in the polls, even among the GOP. Kavanaugh, now accused by four women, likely won’t stop providing bad headlines for the party for weeks to come.

But whether or not Kavanaugh gets confirmed on Friday, the Republicans have suffered a self-inflicted wound by their public alignment with a powerful man accused of sexual misconduct and their attempts to minimize the suffering of a woman who credibly alleges traumatic abuse at Kavanaugh’s hands.



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Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard

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Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. [File, Standard]
In a document from Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua new measure have been outlined to curb the bulging spread of covid-19. Public officers with underlying health conditions and those who are over 58 years -a group that experts have classified as most vulnerable to the virus will be required to execute their duties from home.

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However, the new rule excluded personnel in the security sector and other critical and essential services.
“All State and public officers with pre-existing medical conditions and/or aged 58 years and above serving in CSG5 (job group ‘S’) and below or their equivalents should forthwith work from home,” read the document,” read the document.
To ensure that those working from home deliver, the Public Service directs that there be clear assignments and targets tasked for the period designated and a clear reporting line to monitor and review work done.
SEE ALSO: Thinking inside the cardboard box for post-lockdown work stations
Others measures outlined in the document include the provision of personal protective equipment to staff, provision of sanitizers and access to washing facilities fitted with soap and water, temperature checks for all staff and clients entering public offices regular fumigation of office premises and vehicles and minimizing of visitors except by prior appointments.
Officers who contract the virus and come back to work after quarantine or isolation period will be required to follow specific directives such as obtaining clearance from the isolation facility certified by the designated persons indicating that the public officer is free and safe from Covid-19. The officer will also be required to stay away from duty station for a period of seven days after the date of medical certification.
“The period a public officer spends in quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19, shall be treated as sick leave and shall be subject to the Provisions of the Human Resource Policy and procedures Manual for the Public Service(May,2016),” read the document.
The service has also made discrimination and stigmatization an offence and has guaranteed those affected with the virus to receive adequate access to mental health and psychosocial supported offered by the government.
The new directives targeting the Public Services come at a time when Kenyans have increasingly shown lack of strict observance of the issued guidelines even as the number of positive Covid-19 cases skyrocket to 13,771 and leaving 238 dead as of today.
SEE ALSO: Working from home could be blessing in disguise for persons with disabilities
Principal Secretaries/ Accounting Officers will be personally responsible for effective enforcement and compliance of the current guidelines and any future directives issued to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

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Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard

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President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured) will on Friday, July 24, meet governors following the ballooning Covid-19 infections in recent days.
The session will among other things review the efficacy of the containment measures in place and review the impact of the phased easing of the restrictions, State House said in a statement.
This story is being updated.
SEE ALSO: Sakaja resigns from Covid-19 Senate committee, in court tomorrow

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Drastic life changes affecting mental health

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Kenya has been ranked 6th among African countries with the highest cases of depression, this has triggered anxiety by the World Health Organization (WHO), with 1.9 million people suffering from a form of mental conditions such as depression, substance abuse.

KBC Radio_KICD Timetable

Globally, one in four people is affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives, this is according to the WHO.

Currently, around 450 million people suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.

The pandemic has also been known to cause significant distress, mostly affecting the state of one’s mental well-being.

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With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic attributed to the novel Coronavirus disease, millions have been affected globally with over 14 million infections and half a million deaths as to date. This has brought about uncertainty coupled with difficult situations, including job loss and the risk of contracting the deadly virus.

In Kenya the first Coronavirus case was reported in Nairobi by the Ministry of Health on the 12th March 2020.  It was not until the government put in place precautionary measures including a curfew and lockdown (the latter having being lifted) due to an increase in the number of infections that people began feeling its effect both economically and socially.

A study by Dr. Habil Otanga,  a Lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Department of Psychology says  that such measures can in turn lead to surge in mental related illnesses including depression, feelings of confusion, anger and fear, and even substance abuse. It also brings with it a sense of boredom, loneliness, anger, isolation and frustration. In the post-quarantine/isolation period, loss of employment due to the depressed economy and the stigma around the disease are also likely to lead to mental health problems.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) states that at least 300,000 Kenyans have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic between the period of January and March this year.

KNBC noted that the number of employed Kenyans plunged to 17.8 million as of March from 18.1 million people as compared to last year in December. The Report states that the unemployment rate in Kenya stands at 13.7 per cent as of March this year while it stood 12.4 per cent in December 2019.

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Mama T (not her real name) is among millions of Kenyans who have been affected by containment measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus, either by losing their source of income or having to work under tough guidelines put in place by the MOH.

As young mother and an event organizer, she has found it hard to explain to her children why they cannot go to school or socialize freely with their peers as before.

“Sometimes it gets difficult as they do not understand what is happening due to their age, this at times becomes hard on me as they often think I am punishing them,”

Her contract was put on hold as no event or public gatherings can take place due to the pandemic. This has brought other challenges along with it, as she has to find means of fending for her family expenditures that including rent and food.

“I often wake up in the middle of the night with worries about my next move as the pandemic does not exhibit any signs of easing up,” she says. She adds that she has been forced to sort for manual jobs to keep her family afloat.

Ms. Mary Wahome, a Counseling Psychologist and Programs Director at ‘The Reason to Hope,’ in Karen, Nairobi says that such kind of drastic life changes have an adverse effect on one’s mental status including their family members and if not addressed early can lead to depression among other issues.

“We have had cases of people indulging in substance abuse to deal with the uncertainty and stress brought about by the pandemic, this in turn leads to dependence and also domestic abuse,”

Sam Njoroge , a waiter at a local hotel in Kiambu, has found himself indulging in substance abuse due to challenges he is facing after the hotel he was working in was closed down as it has not yet met the standards required by the MOH to open.

“My day starts at 6am where I go to a local pub, here I can get a drink for as little as Sh30, It makes me suppress the frustration I feel.” he says.

Sam is among the many who have found themselves in the same predicament and resulted to substance abuse finding ways to beat strict measures put in place by the government on the sale of alcohol so as to cope.

Mary says, situations like Sam’s are dangerous and if not addressed early can lead to serious complications, including addiction and dependency, violent behavior and also early death due to health complications.

She has, however, lauded the government for encouraging mental wellness and also launching the Psychological First Aid (PFA) guide in the wake of the virus putting emphasis on the three action principal of look, listen and link. “When we follow this it will be easy to identify an individual in distress and also offer assistance”.

Mary has urged anyone feeling the weight of the virus taking a toll on them not to hesitate but look for someone to talk to.

“You should not only seek help from a specialist but also talk to a friend, let them know what you are undergoing and how you feel, this will help ease their emotional stress and also find ways of dealing with the situation they are facing,” She added

Mary continued to stress on the need to perform frequent body exercises as a form of stress relief, reading and also taking advantage of this unfortunate COVID-19 period to engage in hobbies and talent development.

“Let people take this as an opportunity to kip fit, get in touch with one’s inner self and  also engage in   reading that would  help expand their knowledge.

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