Canada outplayed and outfought the US. There is no progress under Berhalter

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Patience is in short supply among the USMNT fanbase, who have had enough of being told the team is in learning mode and that setbacks are growing pains

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Strange job, this, to have doubts about your ability raised only four days after steering your nation to a 7-0 win. But that was a cruise past Cuba, and this was the USs first loss to Canada in 34 years. And not a hard luck, miss five easy chances and give up a 93rd-minute own-goal sort of loss. This was an outplayed and outfought by a side whose near-term ambition is to be better than El Salvador kind of night.

Tuesdays 2-0 reverse at BMO Field was Gregg Berhalters 16th match as US head coach. On the surface a record of nine wins, two draws and five losses appears acceptable for a program rebuilding its roster and its self-respect after the shock of missing out on the 2018 World Cup. But the real test of Berhalters worth is not in how the US fillet the minnows. It doesnt really matter that they filled their boots against the likes of Cuba, Panama, Trinidad & Tobago and Guyana.

What counts is that the US have lost twice on home soil to their biggest rivals, Mexico (1-0 in the Concacaf Gold Cup final and 3-0 in a friendly); were especially brittle in defeats to Venezuela and now Canada; and drew 1-1 with both Chile and an under-strength Uruguay, two of their strongest opponents this year.

Put another way, since Berhalters appointment was announced last December there have been no results that exceeded expectations against good teams; there is currently no reason to believe that the US would be anything but makeweights at Qatar 2022, should they qualify. And there is a lack of clear evidence that the team is trending in the right direction, despite individual positives such as the continued improvement of the midfielder Weston McKennie.

Given the road trip tribulations endured during the last World Cup qualifying cycle and the inexperience of many of the current crop it is ludicrous (ticket income aside) that this was Berhalters first away game. If the Americans could not handle a half-empty MLS stadium in Toronto, how badly might they fare in Mexico City, against Honduras in San Pedro Sula, or in the Costa Rican capital, San Jos?

The US have not won on the road since they beat Cuba 2-0 in Havana in October 2016. Tuesdays outcome extends that streak to 10 matches without a victory. The defining image of the evening for the Americans? Christian Pulisic being substituted after 60 fruitless minutes and then howling and gesturing in existential agony, Americas brightest star devolved into Munchs The Scream in shorts and shinpads.

Berhalter told reporters afterwards that the 21-year-old has been battling flu-like symptoms. Perhaps he also feels sore from carrying the team on his back for three years. A below-par Pulisic, whether through illness, injury or rust from his lack of minutes at Chelsea, would present a grave problem for an American side that has few good attacking ideas without him.

Still, key man off the field and 1-0 down with half an hour to play? That is a situation where a team might look to its coach to conjure an inspired substitution or a tactical masterstroke. But the response to Alphonso Davies 63rd minute goal was a string of sideways passes, possession without purpose, as the US chased the game with as much cutting edge as a preschoolers pair of plastic safety scissors. Canada continued to look quicker, more coherent and more dangerous and added a second on the break through Lucas Cavallini in stoppage time.

As well as seeking to end a 17-match winless streak against their neighbours, Canada were on the hunt for Fifa ranking points in order to rise above El Salvador, the worlds 72nd best team. The top six Concacaf nations in Fifas rankings next June will go into the Hexagonal World Cup qualifying round, which delivers three automatic berths for a trip to Qatar.

The Americans, meanwhile, looked like they felt it would be uncool to get too worked up about a Concacaf Nations League group fixture. I wasnt happy with the desire that we displayed tonight, Berhalter told reporters. That is a jarring admission. Spirit used to be a given whenever a US side took the field at least until the dog days of the Jrgen Klinsmann regime.

Did the team think they could glide past an improving Canada on skill alone? A misguided belief, if so. Berhalter does not have a vintage crop of players at his disposal. And the US Soccer Federation poured pressure on itself, and the 46-year-old, by taking a year to appoint a permanent coach following the World Cup qualifying debacle, then choosing a low-profile figure who made his name as a tactician at a blue-collar MLS club.

Expectations remain high, even as the talent pool has grown more shallow. All the more important, then, that Berhalter lives up to his reputation as the method man – the clear-headed coach who devised a system that squeezed the best out of his players at the Columbus Crew.

Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl)

The man who will make the decision on Gregg Berhalters future as USMNT coach (Earnie Stewart) is very likely to soon report to … Jay Berhalter, Greggs brother. US Soccer, everybody.

October 16, 2019

The start of World Cup qualifying is still 11 months away, but another poor performance and result when Canada face the US in Orlando next month would see concern escalate into alarm. Ten months is not a long tenure and is less time than it took to complete the hiring process but patience is rightly in short supply among the fanbase, who have had enough of being told that the team is in learning mode and that setbacks are growing pains.

Suppressing doubts about Klinsmann and hanging on until after the start of the qualifying cycle before replacing him failed to work out last time. How long are Berhalters bosses prepared to wait for him to mould a team that is assertive, rather than aspirational? They are unlikely to be in a hurry.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

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YouTube partners with Merchbar to sell music artists swag underneath videos

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YouTube is partnering with Merchbar on a new integration that will allow artists to sell their official merchandise to their worldwide fans from a shelf just below the video.  The addition is the latest deal focused on helping video creators make more money from their videos, beyond the revenue brought in through advertisements and subscriptions.

Last year, YouTube announced a series of enhancements to the platform which focused on revenue generation, including channel memberships, premieres, merchandise, and more.

The merchandise feature was one of the more notable additions, as it lets creators put a shelf beneath their video where they can sell directly to fans. For example, they could sell their branded apparel like shirts and hats and other items.

At launch, YouTube had partnered with custom t-shirt maker Teespring on the effort. Earlier this year, the Merch shelf gained several more partners, including CrowdmadeDFTBAFanjoyRepresent and Rooster Teeth.

The company claimed at the time that “thousands” of channels had more than doubled their revenue as a result of Merch shelf and other integrations, like Super Chat and Channel Memberships.

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With this new Merchbar partnership, YouTube is now focused on serving its artist community.

Merchbar today carries over 1 million items from 35,000 artists, making it one of the largest music merchandise aggregators worldwide. Now, YouTube artists who have an Official Artist Channel on the platform will be able to promote their merchandise right beneath their music videos. (Marshmello, never one to shy away from a marketing opportunity, made a soccer jersey exclusively for Merchbar and YouTube.)

As with prior merchandise integrations, the new Merchbar shelf will sit directly under videos on both desktop and web. Users can also click through from the shelf to the artist’s Merchbar website. In prior merchandise partnerships, YouTube took a small cut of transactions on items sold through its site. It didn’t say what sort of deal it has with Merchbar, however.

The launch comes at a time when Google is more heavily invested in its YouTube Music service, a Spotify and Apple Music rival designed to offer both music and videos, including content not found elsewhere like live performances or remixes. The company recently made the YouTube Music app the default music app on Android, which should boost its adoption.

Eligible artists who have a Merchbar store offering U.S. fulfillment can sign up for the new merch shelf from YouTube Studio.

The feature is launching first in the U.S., and will later expand internationally.

Read more: https://techcrunch.com

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Trouble for Berhalter as USA lose to Canada for first time in 34 years

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Alphonso Davies and Lucas Cavallini scored to end USAs 17-match unbeaten streak against their northern rivals

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The US mens soccer team lost to Canada for the first time in 34 years, allowing second-half goals to Alphonso Davies and Lucas Cavallini in a 2-0 defeat on Tuesday night in the Concacaf Nations League.

A little over two years after the Americans failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup by losing to Trinidad & Tobago, they saw their 17-match unbeaten streak against their northern neighbors come to an end.

Davies turned in a cross from Scott Arfield. Goalkeeper Zack Steffen put a palm up to block Davies shot but the ball still dropped over the line as Canadas players rushed to join Davies for a raucous celebration. Cavallini added a goal in the 90th-minute for Canada, beating Steffen to the near post with a low shot.

Christian Pulisic had a point-blank shot saved by goalkeeper Milan Borjan in the 51st minute. The US, coming off last weeks opening 7-0 home rout of Cuba, had nine wins and eight draws against Canada since a 2-0 friendly defeat in Vancouver in April 1985.

Canada are trying to climb into the top six in the region in Fifa rankings, which will be used next summer to determine the nations in the hexagonal that will produce the three direct qualifiers from the North and Central American and Caribbean region for the 2022 World Cup.

The U.S. and Canada meet again next month in Florida, and the US face Cuba four days later.

The USA coach, Gregg Berhalter, made four changes, bringing in Steffen, right-back DeAndre Yedlin, central defender Aaron Long and midfielder Michael Bradley. Yedlin made his first international appearance since March after recovering from groin surgery.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

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New PSA warns parents to avoid youth tackle football by comparing it to smoking

Health

(CNN)A young football player stares down his opponents. He hikes the ball. Then the coach passes him a cigarette, which his mother happily lights.

The new PSA, which premiered Thursday morning on YouTube, kicks off the “Tackle Can Wait” campaign. The goal is for parents to keep kids out of tackle football until they’re 14 to lessen their risk of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.
The campaign was led by the daughters of two football players diagnosed with CTE after their deaths: Rebecca Carpenter, whose NFL player father, Lew Carpenter, died in 2010, and Angela Harrison, whose father, Joe Campigotto, played college football and died in 2016.
    The video’s release lines up with a new study in the Annals of Neurology, which found that the severity of CTE isn’t related to the number of concussions, but the number of years spent playing football. Concussion Legacy Foundation CEO Chris Nowinski was a study co-author.
    After studying the brains of more than 260 professional and amateur deceased football players, Boston University researchers concluded that the risk of CTE doubles for every 2.6 years of play.
    That means high school football players who started playing tackle football at 5 years old have 10 times the risk of developing CTE than players who started the game at 14, the foundation said.

    So why 14 years old?

    If age restrictions on cigarettes can prevent lung cancer in young people, Nowinski thinks similar rules might cut kids’ risk of CTE by as much as half.
    Research shows that kids who get brain injuries before age 12 recover more slowly. Plus, children’s bodies aren’t built to withstand the head-bobbling hits of tackle football, he told CNN.
    Of course, there’s also the option of skipping the sport.
    “They can choose not to play tackle football at all,” he said. “But if you do, the best way to manage risk and reward is to wait until 14.”
    Dr. Julian Bailes, the director of neurosurgery and co-director of NorthShore University HealthSystem Neurological Institute and medical director for Pop Warner, said the risk for contact in football is heightened after age 14.
    In high school, the hits are harder and more frequent, and teens face off against bigger players who can cause more damage when they tackle, he said.
    “The risk for brain degeneration later in life relates more to those who have played many years and at the higher levels, college to professional,” he said.
    As for the age limit, Bailes said there’s “no scientific agreement that 14 is a magic number.”
    Brains continue to develop well into adolescence and early adulthood, he said. Neuroscientists haven’t even set a benchmark age when brains have fully developed.
    Nowinski said the smoking comparison is “intentionally shocking,” meant to make parents consider their children’s health in a different way.
    Bailes called the comparison between smoking and tackle football “misleading and inaccurate.”
    “There are nearly half a million people in the US who die from illnesses related to tobacco use, and there are no deaths in youth football,” Bailes said.
    Youth and amateur organizations have made changes to reduce contact in the sport, he said, by taking out head contact during practice and eliminating kickoff for younger players to make football “safer than it’s ever been.”

    CTE symptoms take years to present

    The neurodegenerative disease is thought to be caused by repetitive brain trauma, which shakes the brain inside the skull. That leads to a buildup of tau, an abnormal protein that can take over parts of the brain.
    It can take years or decades after initial brain trauma for the effects of CTE to manifest, according to Boston University’s CTE Center. They include memory loss, confusion, aggression, impaired judgment and eventually dementia.
    There’s no known cure, andit can only be diagnosed through an autopsy.
      A 2017 study from the CTE Center found the disease in 99% of studied brains of deceased NFL players. Only one of 111 former footballers hadn’t shown signs of CTE. The studied brains were required to have football as their primary exposure to head trauma, and the study noted potential bias because relatives of players might have submitted their brains due to symptoms they noticed while they were living.
      But football players aren’t the only ones at risk. Boxers, baseball and soccer players and military veterans have been diagnosed with it, too.

      Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/

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      Elon Musk claims his investigator tricked him about diver he called a ‘pedo’

      In court documents, Tesla CEO says he regrets attacking man who helped save young soccer players trapped in underwater cave

      Elon Musk

      Elon Musk has claimed he was fooled by the investigator he hired to get dirt on a British diver, according to new court documents.

      Im a fucking idiot, Musk said, according to documents surfaced in court on Tuesday, in the latest development in a bizarre defamation case brought against the Tesla CEO over comments made in 2018.

      Musk has been feuding with Vernon Unsworth, a diver who helped rescue a team of young soccer players stuck in an underwater cave in Thailand, ever since Unsworth criticized Musks plan to save the youth with a submarine.

      Musk called Unsworth a pedo guy on Twitter and referred to him as a child rapist in emails to a BuzzFeed reporter.

      Unsworth sued for defamation in September 2018.

      Musk has argued in earlier court filings that he made the pedo guy insult in jest. Lawyers for Unsworth dismissed that claim at the time, pointing out that Musk had accused Unsworth in subsequent tweets and emails to BuzzFeed of sexual behavior with children and had referred to disturbing information allegedly uncovered in a private investigation funded by Musk.

      Unsworths legal team said in a court filing on 7 October that Musk failed to vet the man behind the investigation.

      Musk admitted in an email cited in the court filing that the investigator, James Howard-Higgins, whom he hired to look into Vernons background merely was, in retrospect, just taking us for a ride.

      In communications cited in the filing, Musk claimed he regretted emailing a BuzzFeed reporter, Ryan Mac, saying it was one of the dumbest things Ive ever done.

      Unsworths team called Musk a thin-skinned billionaire who is obsessed with his public image and has a history of vindictively and intentionally ignoring the truth to maintain that PR-created image. In the filing, Unsworths lawyers also noted that Musk paid at least $52,000 to the investigator without vetting him.

      The team alleges Musk paid to orchestrate a malicious, false, and anonymous leak campaign in the UK and Australian press regarding Unsworth.

      Vernon Unsworth will now spend the rest of his life with the asterisk of pedophilia attached to his name as the direct result of a public relations campaign of false, heinous accusations by Elon Musk, the filing from Unsworths team said.

      Musks legal team said Unsworth brought the case in pursuit of self-promotion.

      This case is nothing but a money-grab in which Unsworth has hired an agent and pursued profit, publicity and self-promotion at every turn, Alex Spiro, Musks lawyer, told the Guardian by email.

      The case is set to go to trial on 2 December 2019.

      Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

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      How Colorados Robin Fraser is breaking ground for black coaches in MLS

      The longtime MLS assistant and former USA defender is only the second African American head coach in league history

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      Robin Fraser stood stoic on the sideline at Red Bull Arena as the Colorado Rapids stymied the New York Red Bulls. To his right his former teammate, Chris Armas, was trying to rally the Red Bulls to come from behind, but a second Rapids goal has put the game to bed. It was the beginning of a stretch for the Colorado that would see the team win five out of six games, before falling just short of this seasons MLS playoffs.

      Really fucking good, that felt really good, Fraser said when a Rapids staffer asked him how he felt after the whistle. He had not held a head coaching job for nearly seven years when the Rapids offered him the opportunity to return to his native Denver. In that span, Fraser served as the tactician behind the Red Bulls Supporters Shield win in 2013, and was the assistant to long-time friend Greg Vanney when Toronto FC became the first MLS team to win a domestic treble in 2017 and came within a penalty shootout of winning the Concacaf Champions League the following spring.

      When Fraser took the sidelines again, it ended a span of over year in which MLS did not have a black coach. He is the fifth black coach ever in MLS and just the second African American. Before the Rapids offer came along, Fraser had been linked with several opportunities when he was an assistant. In interviews with the Guardianand others, Fraser said he didnt think race played a role in whether he was passed over for previous opportunities.

      Although MLS has its own version of the Rooney Rule mandating teams to interview minority candidates for any coaching or technical staff position there are few African Americans on backroom staffs. One reason is the relatively high cost of coaching courses with A license courses costing $4,000. These costs weigh heavier on members of disadvantaged communities. The FA acknowledged this and implemented grants for coaches from black, asian and minority ethnicities to cover Uefa coaching costs, but USSF has not implemented a similar program. Still, Fraser said he saw the makeup of his coaching classes diversify.

      Once upon a time, it was easier to go get licensed, but the courses now are far more detailed and as a result we are on the cusp of coaches becoming better and its something that Ive seen over the last five or six years, Fraser said. I feel like over the last five or six years, the coaching has gotten better because of the education and coaches are learning in a number of these advanced courses that are being offered.

      Fraser said he was able to move more quickly through the process because he was a former player. US Soccers Pro License is only available to professional coaches. He said he has noticed that there are more minorities in the coaching classes that he recently took than when he began his education more than a decade ago.

      When I did the Pro Course, it was only 12 to 15 people so its hard for me to say what the courses look like, but I do think there is a greater diversity of coaches coming through the courses, Fraser said. Its a function of the net being wider and more people playing. Theres a greater diversity of players and that means theres a greater of ex-players who are trying to be coaches.

      Colorado Rapids (@ColoradoRapids)

      Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

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      Real Housewives of Soccer Go to War Over Instagram Mole Hunt

      It was a lengthy investigation, one that was carefully planned and meticulously executed over the course of several months.

      And when the big reveal came, it was delivered in stunning style, with a sensational and dramatic denouement.

      The key players in this tale of skulduggery and social-media espionage are the wives of former England soccer captain and MLS star Wayne Rooney, who now plays for D.C. United, and Jamie Vardy, a striker, who used to play alongside Rooney in the English national soccer team.

      Coleen Rooney explained in a lengthy social-media post that she had set out to uncover the mole in her closed Instagram group who was leaking personal stories to the newspapers. By a process of eliminationshe eventually blocked all but one of her followers from seeing her Insta storiesshe planted fake stories and waited to see if they would appear in the British tabloid newspaper The Sun.

      The latest of these concerned the basement of her house being flooded; The Sun hastily removed the story from its website today. Another claimed the Rooneys were planning to jet to Mexico for gender-selection treatment.

      The only account left to read these totally false stories belonged to one Rebekah Vardy.

      Coleens next move was to take to Twitter and Instagram to blow the whistle on her fellow WAGBritish tabloid slang for the wives and girlfriends of soccer stars.

      Social-media users and British journalistsoutside of The Sun newspaperhooted with delight at the detective work of the D.C. United stars partner who was soon dubbed WAGatha Christie.

      Rebekah Vardy was quick to launch a speedy counterattack of the kind that made her husband famous on the sports field. She said Coleen was wrong to accuse her of leaking the stories and should have called her first. She suggested that her own Instagram account must have been hacked and accessed by a third party, who was then feeding the private stories to The Sun.

      The meme-loving referees of social media seem to have come down almost unanimously on Rooneys side.

      There have been persistent rumors that, off the field, they and especially their wives, didnt get along, despite the women being pictured sitting together in the bleachers cheering on their spouses during Englands unsuccessful Euro 2016 campaign. Those rumors exploded into the public on Wednesday.

      The bad blood is believed to go back to the ill-fated 2016 tournament. At the time, former England boss Roy Hodgson, asked about the alleged rift, said: I havent got a clue what you are referring to. There are absolutely no problems in football terms between Wayne Rooney and Jamie Vardy. In fact quite the reverse, they are very close friends, both on the field and off the field.

      That supposed friendship now looks about as likely as the U.S. winning the 2022 Mens World Cup.

      Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com

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      This asylum seeker was shot in the head. Ice jailed him and gave him ibuprofen

      Rolando, an indigenous man who survived a shooting and torture in Guatemala, was suffering blinding headaches when he arrived in the US

      Americas

      Some days, Rolando would bleed out of his eyes, ears and nose. Other days, hed lie on the floor, dizzy or barely conscious.

      But every time the jailed Guatemalan asylum seeker sought help from a doctor, staff at his US immigration detention center offered the same treatment: ibuprofen.

      The 27-year-old migrant survived a gunshot wound to the head in Guatemala and was suffering from excruciating headaches and possible brain hemorrhaging when he presented himself at the San Ysidro port of entry earlier this year. US authorities responded by isolating him in solitary confinement and jailing him for months at the Otay Mesa detention center in San Diego, giving him sporadic access to medical staff and medicine, his records show.

      I feared I was going to die, Rolando, who asked not to use his full name due tothreats against his life, told the Guardian. I thought in this country, there is really good medical care but I wasnt getting any treatment.

      Rolando made it out of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) detention alive, but his battle isnt over. Hes still fighting to get asylum, based on the physical torture and persecution he fled as an indigenous Guatemalan. Every step of his journey has collided with the Trump administrations aggressive attacks and expanding restrictions on migrants and refugees.

      Now, the White House is moving to block Central Americans like Rolando from presenting their cases at the border, a move that experts agree will have devastating and fatal consequences.

      I came to the United States because Id like to at least make it to 30, Rolando said.

      An orphan who escaped death: I dont have anyone left

      When he met the Guardian on a recent morning, Rolando carried the charger for his ankle monitor, which asylum seekers awaiting hearings are frequently forced to wear. Hes often worried about it running out of battery.

      Seated inside the small legal services office of Al Otro Lado, above a pizza shopin San Diego, Rolando looked down and wove a bracelet with his hands as he talked, a practice he developed inside detention to pass the time and distract from his health problems. His native Mayan language is Qeqchi, but he talks to his attorney in Spanish, which he was forced to speak in jail.

      Rolando was born into chaos in 1992 in the Petn region of northern Guatemala. His father had been a member of the armed forces but resigned and became a supporter of the pro-indigenous movement. He was killed as a result, just after Rolandos birth, and his mother died soon after from the trauma, he said.

      He was an orphan at age one: My brothers and sisters couldnt take care of me and they gave me to neighbors.

      Rolando became homeless and later a frequent target of violence by the people who he believes killed his father. Police tortured him when he sought help. According to his asylum application, that included placing nails in his hand and foot and burning his arms with hot knives.

      In 2016, while at a soccer game, assailants shot Rolando in the head and left him with a written death threat that referenced his fathers murder. He survived, was forced into hiding and was unable to get medical attention. He said he had to remove the bullet himself. Police later refused to help and assaulted him, according to his file.

      I dont have anyone left, he said, adding that fleeing to the US was his only option: Giving me an opportunity to be here is giving me an opportunity to stay alive.

      He escaped to Mexico and joined a caravan last year, eventually making it to Tijuana. Then the waiting began.

      As part of a vast crackdown on migration, the border patrol under Trump has instituted a policy known as metering, which limits the number of people who can apply for asylum each day. In Tijuana, this has led to a waitlist that has more than 10,000 people, with a few dozen allowed to cross daily, creating a wait time of roughly six to nine months, lawyers estimate.

      Trumps Remain in Mexico policy has also resulted in nearly 50,000 migrants from Central America being returned to Mexico while their cases move forward. That has translated to overcrowded shelters, tent encampments and a struggle to access medical and legal services.

      It also leaves migrants like Rolando vulnerable to the same violence they were escaping in their home countries. Rolando said he was beaten in Tijuana, suffering injuries to both his arms and forcing him to wear a cast.

      In February, he was finally able to enter the US through the San Ysidro port of entry. In his initial processing, authorities took his injured arms and placed him in handcuffs.

      In detention, in agony and without treatment

      Once he was in custody, Rolandos health problems worsened. More than 150 pages of Ices medical records paint a picture of repeated health crises and his persistent struggle to get help.

      Rolando regularly was bleeding from his eyes, ears and nose the cause of which was unclear to doctors but might have been related to his gunshot wound. Rolando said he was bleeding soon after he was taken into custody and that as a result, he was placed in isolation: They said, We dont know whats wrong with you.

      Its unclear how many days he spent in solitary, but he said he had difficulty getting any treatment while isolated, and that he would spend all day in a small cell with no window to the outside. Staff would pass him meals through a small slat.

      I didnt even know what was night and what was day, he recalled. I was sick already, but I was starting to get worse Nobody was coming to see me.

      Once in the general population of Otay Mesa, Rolando continued to suffer periodic bleeding, and at times his head pain was so severe, he would lose consciousness, or he would lie on the ground so that he would not injure himself if he passed out.

      Rolando
      Rolando made bracelets and sold them to other detainees so he could buy instant soup, he recalled. Photograph: John Francis Peters/The Guardian

      Rolando would frequently sign up for sick call to visit medical staff, but he said the appointments did little to help. Records show that on one visit, a nurse told him to drink more water and wash hair/head thoroughly.

      Eating the facilitys meats also started to make him sick, but he often struggled to get alternative food options, even though the medical staff said he needed to change his diet. Sometimes he made bracelets and sold them to other detainees so he could buy instant soup, he recalled.

      The records show that the main form of treatment Rolando received was prescriptions for ibuprofen in increasingly high doses as his pain worsened. Sometimes, he said, he ran out of ibuprofen and had difficulty getting a refill. He also received an ointment for his eyes.

      Anne Rios, his attorney with Al Otro Lado, said she was stunned when she was finally able to get a copy of his medical records: It seems unbelievable, almost too absurd to be true, but its not only documented, its the governments own records.

      By August, Ice had twice refused to release him while his asylum case was pending even after dozens of medical visits, including multiple to the emergency room. One ER doctor had written that he was a serious patient that presents with significant complexity of risk, adding that he might have some kind of brain hemorrhage.

      He had no criminal history or immigration violations.

      Rolando grew increasingly desperate. At one point, he considered giving up and deporting himself back to Guatemala a certain death, Rios said, recalling him telling her on one visit: Im gonna die here or in Guatemala, so I would at least rather go to my home country I just cant take it any more.

      After a third request by Rolandos attorneys, an Ice officer ruled that he could be released but only if he paid a $5,000 bond.

      For many, $5,000 might as well be $5m, said Rios. They come here with nothing, no resources, no family members, absolutely no way to pay for that.

      Rolando was only able to get out when Al Otro Lado found a way to cover the amount through its bond fund.

      Ice declined to comment on Rolandos case, citing his privacy. A spokeswoman said: everyone in our custody receives timely access to medical services and treatment, including a full health assessment with two weeks of custody, daily sick calls and 24-hour emergency care. A dietician ensures detainees unique health (included allergies), dietary, and religious needs are met for each meal, and all food must be visually appealing, palatable, and taste good.

      A final plea: I followed the rules and I am telling the truth

      Rolando struggles to understand why the US has treated him like a criminal: I followed all the rules and I asked for admission.

      Trump, however, is working to make the asylum process much more restrictive than what Rolando has experienced. His administration passed a policy in July banning migrants from seeking asylum at the US-Mexico border if they came from another country, saying they must first seek protections elsewhere.

      The supreme court ruled last month that Trumps ban could go into effect while legal challenges continued.

      Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

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      A year later, what Khashoggi’s murder says about Trump’s close ally

      (CNN)A year ago, Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi writer, entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain paperwork so he could marry his Turkish fiance, who was waiting for him outside the building. He was never seen again.

      A contributor to the Washington Post, Khashoggi, aged 59, was a critic of the Saudi regime and was living in self-imposed exile in the United States. He was murdered inside the Istanbul consulate on October 2, 2018, by a team that was dispatched from Saudi Arabia, among them associates of the Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman — known as MBS — the then-32-year-old de facto ruler of the country.
      The Saudis (and MBS himself) have consistently denied that bin Salman had any direct role in Khashoggi’s murder and instead have ascribed it to a rogue operation by overzealous subordinates. They charged 11 of them, five of whom face a possible death penalty, although given the opaque nature of the Saudi legal system little is clear about the yet unresolved case.
        In November 2018, the CIA concluded — with “high confidence” according to the Washington Post — that bin Salman had ordered the murder of Khashoggi.
        Khashoggi’s murder brought into sharp focus concerns about the judgment of the young prince that had percolated for years. MBS had variously entered an ongoing war in Yemen that, according to the UN, had precipitated the worst humanitarian crisis on the planet; he had blockaded the gas-rich state of Qatar, a close American ally and the site of the most important US military base in the Middle East. Domestically, MBS had also imprisoned a host of clerics, dissidents and businessmen.

          Trump: ‘I’m extremely angry’ about Khashoggi killing

        At first it looked like Trump might distance himself from MBS. Less than two weeks after Khashoggi’s murder on CBS’s “60 Minutes,” President Donald Trump promised “severe punishment” for the Saudis if it was proven that they had murdered Khashoggi. Khashoggi, after all, was both a legal resident of the United States and a journalist who was contributing regularly to a major American media institution.
        A month later, Trump backpedaled, citing putative massive American arms sales to the Saudis. Trump told reporters, “…it’s ‘America First’ for me. It’s all about ‘America First.’ We’re not going to give up hundreds of billions of dollars in orders, and let Russia, China, and everybody else have them … military equipment and other things from Russia and China. … I’m not going to destroy the economy for our country by being foolish with Saudi Arabia.”
        Until Khashoggi’s murder, it was possible to emphasize the positive case for bin Salman, to argue that he was genuinely reforming Saudi Arabia’s society and economy. He had clipped the wings of the feared religious police in the kingdom and had given women greater freedoms, such as the right to drive and a larger role in the workplace.
        Bin Salman encouraged concerts and movie theaters in a society that had long banned both and he also started to end the rigid gender separation in the kingdom by, for instance, allowing women to attend sports events.
        He also promised a magical moment in the Middle East when the Arab states could deliver a peace deal with the Palestinians, while he was liberating his people from the stultifying yoke of Sunni Wahhabism that had nurtured so many of the 9/11 plotters. For many years, Washington had puzzled over whether Saudi Arabia was more of an arsonist or a firefighter when it came to the propagation of militant Islam. Bin Salman appeared to be a firefighter.

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        MBS also has a somewhat plausible plan for diversifying the heavily oil-dependent Saudi economy known as Vision 2030, to be financed in part by the sale of parts of the oil giant Aramco, which may be the world’s most valuable corporation with a market value that the Saudis hope is two trillion dollars.
        In March 2018, MBS even visited Hollywood and Silicon Valley, where he ditched his Arab robes in favor of a suit and where he was feted as a reformer by film stars and tech industry heavyweights.
        But after Khashoggi’s murder, the positive case for Mohammed bin Salman was largely submerged in the West, where he was increasingly viewed as an impetuous autocrat. In 2015, he had authorized the disastrous and ongoing war in neighboring Yemen, in which tens of thousands of civilians have been killed. He had also effectively kidnapped the Lebanese Prime Minister, a dual Lebanese-Saudi citizen, when he was on a trip to Saudi Arabia. And MBS led the blockade of his country’s neighbor, gas-rich Qatar, which continues to this day.
        In addition to his arrests of prominent clerics and dissidents, Bin Salman, in a palace coup, supplanted his cousin Mohamed bin Nayef as crown prince in 2017. Famously, MBS also imprisoned 200 rich Saudis at the Ritz Carlton in Riyadh and had relieved them of more than $100 billion because of their purported corruption.
        Now Bin Salman faces what may be his most difficult foreign policy challenge yet: What to do about the drone and missile attacks earlier this month against the crown jewel of Saudi Arabia’s economy, the Aramco Abqaiq oil facility, an attack the crown prince and the Trump administration have plausibly blamed Iran for. The Iranians have denied involvement in the attacks
        This attack is particularly problematic for MBS, as he is also Saudi minister of defense and he has presided over a massive arms buildup, yet was not able to defend the kingdom against the missile and drone barrage that took down half of Saudi’s oil capacity, at least temporarily.

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        The Iranian attack also poses a quandary for President Trump, who doesn’t want the United States to get embroiled in another war in the Middle East, even though he has embraced MBS as a close ally.
        On Sunday, CBS’s “60 Minutes” aired an interview with bin Salman in which he said that he hoped that Saudi Arabia could reach a “political and peaceful solution” with Iran.
          One can only hope that MBS and Trump don’t launch a war against Iran, which has a large army, significant proxy forces around the Middle East and sophisticated ballistic missile systems. However, it’s hard to imagine them not responding at all since the Iranians have shown they can now attack with impunity a key node of the world’s energy markets.
          Mohammed bin Salman may be able to preside over the murder of a dissident journalist in Turkey with relative ease, but there is little in his conduct of foreign policy hitherto to suggest that he will skillfully deal with the Iranians.

          Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/

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