Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at www.thevertexfighter.blogspot.com.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

"Rampaging South Sudan troops raped foreigners"/ "Is Trump fair game for psychiatrists?"

Aug. 16, 2016 "Rampaging South Sudan troops raped foreigners, killed local" : I found this article in the Edmonton Journal today.  It's really intense and disturbing.  Reader discretion is advised:


NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The soldier pointed his AK-47 at the female aid worker and gave her a choice.

"Either you have sex with me, or we make every man here rape you and then we shoot you in the head," she remembers him saying.

She didn't really have a choice. By the end of the evening, she had been raped by 15 South Sudanese soldiers.

On July 11, South Sudanese troops, fresh from winning a battle in the capital, Juba, over opposition forces, went on a nearly four-hour rampage through a residential compound popular with foreigners, in one of the worst targeted attacks on aid workers in South Sudan's three-year civil war. They shot dead a local journalist while forcing the foreigners to watch, raped several foreign women, singled out Americans, beat and robbed people and carried out mock executions, several witnesses told The Associated Press.

For hours throughout the assault, the U.N. peacekeeping force stationed less than a mile away refused to respond to desperate calls for help. Neither did embassies, including the U.S. Embassy.

The Associated Press interviewed by phone eight survivors, both male and female, including three who said they were raped. The other five said they were beaten; one was shot. Most insisted on anonymity for their safety or to protect their organizations still operating in South Sudan.

The accounts highlight, in raw detail, the failure of the U.N. peacekeeping force to uphold its core mandate of protecting civilians, notably those just a few minutes' drive away. The Associated Press previously reported that U.N. peacekeepers in Juba did not stop the rapes of local women by soldiers outside the U.N.'s main camp last month.

The attack on the Terrain hotel complex shows the hostility toward foreigners and aid workers by troops under the command of South Sudan's President Salva Kiir, who has been fighting supporters of rebel leader Riek Machar since civil war erupted in December 2013. Both sides have been accused of abuses. The U.N. recently passed a U.S.-sponsored resolution to send more peacekeeping troops to protect civilians.

Army spokesman Lul Ruai did not deny the attack at the Terrain but said it was premature to conclude the army was responsible. "Everyone is armed, and everyone has access to uniforms and we have people from other organized forces, but it was definitely done by people of South Sudan and by armed people of Juba," he said.

A report on the incident compiled by the Terrain's owner at Ruai's request, seen by the AP, alleges the rapes of at least five women, torture, mock executions, beatings and looting. An unknown number of South Sudanese women were also assaulted.
The attack came just as people in Juba were thinking the worst was over.

Three days earlier, gunfire had erupted outside the presidential compound between armed supporters of the two sides in South Sudan's civil war, at the time pushed together under an uneasy peace deal. The violence quickly spread across the city.

Throughout the weekend, bullets whizzed through the Terrain compound, a sprawling complex with a pool, squash court and a bar patronized by expats and South Sudanese elites. It is also in the shadow of the U.N.'s largest camp in Juba.

By Monday, the government had nearly defeated the forces under Machar, who fled the city. As both sides prepared to call for a cease-fire, some residents of the Terrain started to relax.

"Monday was relatively chill," one survivor said.
What was thought to be celebratory gunfire was heard. And then the soldiers arrived. A Terrain staffer from Uganda said he saw between 80 and 100 men pour into the compound after breaking open the gate with gunshots and tire irons. The Terrain's security guards were armed only with shotguns and were vastly outnumbered. The soldiers then went to door to door, taking money, phones, laptops and car keys.

"They were very excited, very drunk, under the influence of something, almost a mad state, walking around shooting off rounds inside the rooms," one American said.

One man wore a blue police uniform, but the rest wore camouflage, the American said. Many had shoulder patches with the face of a tiger, the insignia worn by the president's personal guard.

For about an hour, soldiers beat the American with belts and the butts of their guns and accused him of hiding rebels. They fired bullets at his feet and close to his head. Eventually, one soldier who appeared to be in charge told him to leave the compound. Soldiers at the gate looked at his U.S. passport and handed it back, with instructions.

"You tell your embassy how we treated you," they said. He made his way to the nearby U.N. compound and appealed for help.

Meanwhile, soldiers were breaking into a two-story apartment block in the Terrain which had been deemed a safe house because of a heavy metal door guarding the apartments upstairs. Warned by a Kenyan staffer, more than 20 people inside, most of them foreigners, tried to hide. About 10 squeezed into a single bathroom.

The building shook as soldiers shot at the metal door and pried metal bars off windows for more than an hour, said residents. Once inside, the soldiers started ransacking the rooms and assaulting people they found.

Some of the soldiers were violent as they sexually assaulted women, said the woman who said she was raped by 15 men. Others, who looked to be just 15 or 16 years old, looked scared and were coerced into the act.

"One in particular, he was calling you, 'Sweetie, we should run away and get married.' It was like he was on a first date," the woman said. "He didn't see that what he was doing was a bad thing."

After about an hour and a half, the soldiers broke into the bathroom. They shot through the door, said Jesse Bunch, an American contractor who was hit in the leg.
"We kill you! We kill you!" the soldiers shouted, according to a Western woman in the bathroom. "They would shoot up at the ceiling and say, 'Do you want to die?' and we had to answer 'No!'"

The soldiers then pulled people out one by one. One woman said she was sexually assaulted by multiple men. Another Western woman said soldiers beat her with fists and threatened her with their guns when she tried to resist. She said five men raped her.
During the attack on the Terrain, several survivors told the AP that soldiers specifically asked if they were American. "One of them, as soon as he said he was American, he was hit with a rifle butt," said a woman.

When the soldiers came across John Gatluak, they knew he was local. The South Sudanese journalist worked for Internews, a media development organization funded by USAID. He had taken refuge at the Terrain after being briefly detained a few days earlier. The tribal scars on his forehead made it obvious he was Nuer, the same as opposition leader, Riek Machar.

Upon seeing him, the soldiers pushed him to the floor and beat him, according to the same woman who saw the American beaten.
Later in the attack, and after Kiir's side declared a ceasefire at 6 p.m., the soldiers forced the foreigners to stand in a semi-circle, said Gian Libot, a Philippines citizen who spent much of the attack under a bed until he was discovered.

One soldier ranted against foreigners. "He definitely had pronounced hatred against America," Libot said, recalling the soldier's words: "You messed up this country. You're helping the rebels. The people in the U.N., they're helping the rebels."

During the tirade, a soldier hit a man suspected of being American with a rifle butt. At one point, the soldier threatened to kill all the foreigners assembled. "We're gonna show the world an example," Libot remembered him saying.

Then Gatluak was hauled in front of the group. One soldier shouted "Nuer," and another soldier shot him twice in the head. He shot the dying Gatluak four more times while he lay on the ground.

"All it took was a declaration that he was different, and they shot him mercilessly," Libot said.
The shooting seemed to be a turning point for those assembled outside, Libot said. Looting and threats continued, but beatings started to draw to a close. Other soldiers continued to assault men and women inside the apartment block.

From the start of the attack, those inside the Terrain compound sent messages pleading for help by text and Facebook messages and emails.

"All of us were contacting whoever we could contact. The U.N., the U.S. embassy, contacting the specific battalions in the U.N., contacting specific departments," said the woman raped by 15 men.

A member of the U.N.'s Joint Operations Center in Juba first received word of the attack at 3:37 p.m., minutes after the breach of the compound, according to an internal timeline compiled by a member of the operations center and seen by AP.

Eight minutes later another message was sent to a different member of the operations center from a person inside Terrain saying that people were hiding there. At 4:22 p.m., that member received another message urging help.

Five minutes after that, the U.N. mission's Department of Safety and Security and its military command wing were alerted. At 4:33 p.m., a Quick Reaction Force, meant to intervene in emergencies, was informed. One minute later, the timeline notes the last contact on Monday from someone trapped inside Terrain.

For the next hour and a half the timeline is blank. At 6:52, shortly before sunset, the timeline states that "DSS would not send a team."

About 20 minutes later, a Quick Reaction Force of Ethiopians from the multinational U.N. mission was tasked to intervene, coordinating with South Sudan's army chief of staff, Paul Malong, who was also sending soldiers. But the Ethiopian battalion stood down, according to the timeline. Malong's troops eventually abandoned their intervention too because it took too long for the Quick Reaction Force to act.

The American who was released early in the assault and made it to the U.N. base said he also alerted U.N. staff. At around dusk, a U.N. worker he knew requested three different battalions to send a Quick Reaction Force.

"Everyone refused to go. Ethiopia, China, and Nepal. All refused to go," he said.
Eventually, South Sudanese security forces entered the Terrain and rescued all but three Western women and around 16 Terrain staff.

No one else was sent that night to find them. The U.N. timeline said a patrol would go in the morning, but this "was cancelled due to priority." A private security firm rescued the three Western women the staffers the next morning.

"The peacekeepers did not venture out of the bases to protect civilians under imminent threat," Human Rights Watch said Monday in a report on abuses throughout Juba.

Asked why U.N. peacekeepers didn't respond to repeated pleas for help, the U.N. said it is investigating.

"Obviously, we regret the loss of life and the violence that the people who were in Hotel Terrain endured, and we take this incident very seriously," the deputy spokesman for the U.N. secretary-general, Farhan Haq, told reporters Monday. "As you're aware, we have called on the national authorities to investigate this incident thoroughly and to bring the perpetrators to justice."

The U.S. Embassy, which also received requests for help during the attack, "was not in a position to intervene," State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau told reporters Monday. She said the U.S. ambassador instead contacted local government officials, and she noted that the Terrain area was controlled by South Sudanese government forces at the time.

Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said that "during the fighting throughout the city, the U.S. Embassy in South Sudan responded to distress calls from the compound and urgently contacted South Sudanese government officials, who sent a response force to the site to stop the attack."

"We are deeply concerned that United Nations peacekeepers were apparently either incapable of or unwilling to respond to calls for help. We have requested and are awaiting the outcome of an investigation by the United Nations and demand swift corrective action in the event that these allegations are substantiated," she said in a statement.

The assault at the Terrain pierced a feeling of security among some foreigners who had assumed that they would be protected by their governments or the hundreds of U.N. peacekeepers almost next door.

One of the women gang-raped said security advisers from an aid organization living in the compound told residents repeatedly that they were safe because foreigners would not be targeted. She said: "This sentence, 'We are not targeted,' I heard half an hour before they assaulted us."



Aug. 20, 2016 "Homeless get Olympic meals": I found this article by Joshua Goodman in the Edmonton Journal today.  60,000 meals are made for athletes, coaches, and staff.  There is a lot of leftovers and the chef Massimo Bottura and workers make meals for the homeless.  It's on Press reader.

Chef Rafael Cota e Silva: What you've enjoyed is a simple meal but one made with lots of love and care  (Wipes a tear.)  We wanted you to feel spoiled- for at least one night.

Funny Olympics news video:

Sports presenter Dan Walker was left red-faced as a couple canoodled on the beach in the background while he presented the latest update from the Rio Olympics.

The BBC presenter reassured viewers the couple in question were just “reading a book”.

They’re “just reading a book”, apparently (BBC)

The 39-year-old addressed the beach romp during his daily round-up when viewers started commenting on social media.

He said: “And for those asking what’s going on in the background on social media now, we’re not going to zoom in, but rest assured it’s not ‘that’, it’s just a hug … they’re reading a book … they are reading a book in a strange pose.”

He added that they would “find out what the book is maybe later on …” and then said the cameras would not be “going any closer than that though”.


Aug. 22, 2016 "Is Trump fair game for psychiatrists?": I read this article by Benedict Carey in the Globe and Mail today.  It's about psychiatrists diagnosing Donald Trump with a narcissistic personality disorder among other things.  It did say we are judging him by his public persona and not really fully knowing what he's like with his friends, family, and private life.  It's on Pressreader, but then I found a way to copy and paste it:

The Goldwater rule declares it unethical to diagnose a public figure’s condition without proof, but some argue it’s due for an update.
In the midst of a deeply divisive presidential campaign, more than 1,000 psychiatrists declared the Republican candidate unfit for the office, citing severe personality defects including paranoia, a grandiose manner and a God-like self-image. One doctor called him “a dangerous lunatic.”

The year was 1964, and after losing in a landslide, the candidate, then-senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona, sued the publisher of Fact magazine, which had published the survey, winning $75,000 in damages.

But doctors attacked the survey, too, for its unsupported clinical language and obvious partisanship. In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association adopted what became known as the Goldwater rule, declaring it unethical for any psychiatrist to diagnose a public figure’s condition “unless he or she has conducted an examination and has been granted proper authorization for such a statement.” Enter Donald Trump. The 2016 Republican nominee’s incendiary, stream-of-consciousness pronouncements have strained that agreement to the breaking point, exposing divisions in the field over whether such restraint is appropriate today.

Psychiatrists and psychologists have publicly flouted the Goldwater rule, tagging Trump with an assortment of personality problems, including grandiosity, a lack of empathy and “malignant narcissism.” The clinical insults are flying so thick that this month, the psychiatric association reiterated that breaking the Goldwater rule “is irresponsible, potentially stigmatizing, and definitely unethical.”

Putting a psychiatric label on a candidate they oppose can be a “seemingly irresistible tool for some in the field,” said Dr. Paul Appelbaum, a professor of psychiatry, medicine and law at Columbia University, who disapproves of the practice. “This year, perhaps more than most, they’re persuaded they’re saving the nation from a terrible fate.”

William Doherty, a psychologist at the University of Minnesota, believes exactly that. In June, Doherty posted an online manifesto against “Trumpism” that has been signed by more than 2,200 mental health specialists.

“Yes, for me this is an exception,” Doherty said. “What we have here is a threat to democracy itself.”

Supporters of the Goldwater rule have cited three main rationales for adhering to it: Most diagnoses made from a distance turn out to be wrong; the labels themselves can cause real harm to the person and family members; and the practice undermines the field’s credibility, particularly its commitment to confidentiality. Not to mention, others say, that it could expose a left-leaning bias in the field.

But the psychoanalyzing of public figures by commentators, columnists and pop psychologists has a bipartisan history. Concerns about grandiosity and narcissism dogged Lyndon B. Johnson’s presidency. Suspicions of a deepening paranoia clouded the end of Richard Nixon’s. Accusations of manipulation, deceit and a sense of entitlement have trailed the Clintons for years, prompting speculation about deeper personality problems.

Trump himself has recently tried to turn the tables, accusing Hillary Clinton of being “unstable” and “unhinged.”

While the vast majority of therapists’ comments remain focused on Trump, some in the profession say that if public psychoanalyzing is going to be done, it should be directed at both candidates.

“Do those things rise to a diagnosable level? I sure don’t know,” Don Sizemore, a family therapist in Lexington, Kentucky, said. “But if we’re diagnosing him, we should be doing the same for her.”

Yet, history cautions against the armchair analysis of either one. Psychiatrists point to Goldwater himself as a prime example of getting it wrong. By the time he died in 1998, Goldwater was regarded as “one of his party’s most respected elder statesmen,” The Washington Post said in its obituary.

In the wake of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, many people longed for a diagnosis to explain or denounce President Bill Clinton’s behaviour, said Dr. Nada Stotland, a psychiatrist at Rush Medical College in Chicago. “I remember getting all these media calls asking if he was a narcissist or a sex addict,” she said. “Well, sex addiction wasn’t a recognized disorder at the time. And if it had been, was the behaviour then not his fault? I ended up dancing around these questions, because this idea that we should go around, willy-nilly, putting diagnoses on people is just wrong.”

But those using clinical language to describe Trump’s behaviour contend that this presidential election is vastly different, for a big reason: The proliferation of social media comments and video clips, which afford direct, unscripted access to candidates, was simply not available in previous races. The depth of that material creates a public persona complete enough to analyze on its own merits, they say.

Doherty said he and the therapists who signed his manifesto were not diagnosing Trump’s personal traits, but his public persona. The manifesto characterizes “Trumpism” as reinventing history, never apologizing, demeaning critics and inciting violence. “One can talk about his public behaviour without knowing whether he is fully that way with his children, his wife, his friends,” Doherty said.

Dr. Steven Buser, a psychiatrist who with his colleague, Dr. Leonard Cruz, co-edited a new book, A Clear and Present Danger: Narcissism in the Era of Donald Trump, stressed, “We are careful not to make a clinical diagnosis here, to say that Donald Trump has narcissistic personality disorder.” The contributing writers include psychiatrists and psychologists, but Buser said, “We are focused on the image he projects, on TV, in tweets, in quotes.”

Appelbaum calls this distinction a convenient splitting of hairs. “It takes a skilled therapist months, sometimes longer, seeing a person regularly and asking probing questions to make a determination of whether a disorder is present,” he said.

The stigma of mental vulnerability is especially damaging in politics. In the 1972 presidential race, Sen. Thomas F. Eagleton of Missouri withdrew as George McGovern’s running mate after 18 days – at McGovern’s request – in the wake of revelations that he had undergone psychiatric counselling and electroshock therapy. In 1988, the Democratic nominee, Michael S. Dukakis, released his medical records to counter rumours that he had undergone psychiatric treatment. He had not.

During his libel trial, Goldwater was mystified by some of the psychiatrists’ comments about his personality, including one calling him an “anal character.” “I don’t know what an anal character would be,” he testified, according to news accounts. “I tried to look it up in the dictionary, but couldn’t find it.”

He took particular exception to a psychiatrist’s comment that he was “a counterfeit figure of a masculine man.” Such a charge “weighs several tons, and the effect is rather depressing,” he said.

If there are exceptions to the Goldwater rule, psychiatrists apparently cannot agree on them. More distant historical figures tend to be fair game; Lincoln’s Melancholy, a book by Joshua Wolf Shenk, making the case that Lincoln had suffered from depression, was well received.

Leaders of hostile nations may or may not qualify, depending on who is judging. A psychiatrist who provided a personality assessment of Saddam Hussein at the request of the George W. Bush administration was criticized by some in the psychiatric community, but not formally censured.

Retired politicians fall into a grey area. Therapists have penned books on George W. Bush, as well as Bill Clinton. Not all of their colleagues approve.

But in an era when private moments and comments are increasingly available for public consumption, some argue that the Goldwater rule is due for an update.

“There’s another perspective on this altogether,” said John D. Mayer, a University of New Hampshire psychologist who has written widely on the rule. “The ethicists who wrote the rule have been entirely focused on the negative side of commentaries. But there’s a positive, adaptive side to every personality trait.

“If you call someone deceitful, whether Clinton or Trump,” Mayer said of this year’s nominees, “it needs to be said that, for a good politician, there are reasons you can’t always say everything you know, or exactly what you think.”


Flashback: This reminds me of an old 2012 post where this person on the internet diagnose someone on TV:  

Jul. 3 Dr. Phil: I'm going to throw in Dr. Phil.  I haven't seen this show since 2006.  I quit after the 3rd season.  I have seen 1 ep this year though.  I'm going to give you an example:

In 2006, this mom writes: "My daughter thinks money grows on trees.  How do I teach her hard work?"  So the teen girl goes to this farm and digs manure and farm chores.  She says: "I feel like Paris Hilton in The Simple Life."  Then later she shows to the camera: "I got dirt under my finger nails."  After they aired the video, the audience laughs and so does the girl and her parents.  It was a 20min. segment and the girl learned her lesson.

I thought it was boring.  Then I went on twop.com and someone said: "This girl obviously has a narcissistic personality disorder.  She probably begged her mom to write to Dr. Phil just so she can get on TV."  I immediately got angry.

I guess I was little angry at myself for not being able to see right through her.  After I read that comment, I was like: "Of course she made up this problem to get on TV!  It's not a hard or serious problem to solve.  They all looked they had a good time."  I was angry at the girl for being fake, and her parents for being fake and helping her get on the show.  Also at Dr. Phil for not being able to see she's fake.


Oct. 31, 2016 The Simpsons: That reminds me of the episode where there was a burlesque house in Springfield.  At the beginning of the episode Lisa was begging Marge to take her to the beach so she can clean up all those cute animals who got oil on them.

Lisa: Please, it will be my birthday and Christmas present combined.
Marge: But you already used up your birthday and Christmas present on the peach tree in the backyard and you hardly ever play with that.
Lisa: I play with that peach tree all the time.  See.

Lisa runs outside and starts singing and dancing around the peach tree.

Lisa: La, la, playing with my peach tree.

The way Lisa was talking to Marge, that was probably what happened with the teen girl and her mom on Dr. Phil.

My week:

Oct. 30, 2016:

Video: Hero Shopkeeper Risks His Life to Save Terrified Boy From Knife-Wielding Maniac: This is a 36 second video.  The boy was a black teen and I don't know what the shopkeeper was.  It was pretty scary and intense to watch.  I watched it once to see it.  The second time to write it down and describe it to you.

The Teen runs in and closes the door and holds it closed.
The Shopkeeper closes the door.
The attacker was a white guy with a baseball cap on.

Nov. 1, 2016 Michael and Nicole Phelp's wedding:




Nov. 3, 2016 Channel Zero: Candle Cove: I got the channel Showcase for free preview for the month of Oct.  I did have free preview of it in Jan. this year and I was able to record and watch all these movies.  Now I'm watching a new TV show called Channel Zero.

 
"An anthology series telling the stories of Creepypastas, Internet short form horror stories, including Candle Cove and the No-End House."

The first season is about Candle Cove, a fictional TV show that is making kids murder people.  It's really creepy and scary.  There are only 6 episodes in the first season.  You can watch it on showcase.ca.  There is also no expiry date on the website.  If you watch a TV show on ctv.ca, you can watch the new episode for 1 week and then you can't access it.  However, the first 3 episodes are on the showcase.ca right now.

The lead actor is Paul Schnieder.  At first I didn't recognize him.  Until later, I was like: "Wasn't he on the first season of Parks and Recreation in 2009?"  I was right.  I only watched that show with my sister for the first season.  She continued watching it.

You should at least watch the pilot:
 
I have to say Schneider has certainly lost weight.  Here he is in 2009:


Here he is currently:






Alpha Meeting: Yesterday I went to an Alpha meeting.  I had Jambalaya, which is tomato soup, rice, veggies, chicken, and sausage in it.  I had a lot of leftovers.

Work: Today I worked at my first restaurant job today.  In the morning it was so quiet.  In the afternoon, it was so busy with these big reservations.

Nov. 4, 2016 Criminal Minds: On Halloween I watched a new episode called "Keeper."  There was one scene where the bad guy grabs one of the agents from behind.  I jumped. 

I then went to watch a new ep "The Anti- Terrorsim Squad" on my DVR, but it recorded an old ep, and also only part of it.  I went on CTV.ca and it doesn't have the new ep.  On imdb.com, it says the date it was to air, and it didn't.  It's a mild complaint that there's no new ep.

The Exorcist: I have mentioned earlier that I was going to record all the episodes and watch it in one week to get into the Halloween spirit.  I then watched it week by week.  It's really scary and good.  I jumped a few times.  It's disturbing.

Charity donuts: This afternoon I was at home and someone rang the doorbell.  She was an Asian woman in her 20s and she looked Filipino.  She was selling a box of Krispy Kreme donuts for $15.  There was a dozen glazed donuts.  It was for a charity, an orphanage in the Philippines (she showed it to me.) I was kind of "eh" with it as in I wasn't that interested in buying.

Tracy: Is 100% of the proceeds going to the charity?
Woman: Yes, Krispy Kreme donated the food.

She then was like saying: "Please.  I volunteered today and sold 11 boxes already.  This is my last box."  She seemed kind of desperate, and I was like: "Yeah, I'll buy it."

I went and got $15 cash to buy it.  She showed me her AB govt. ID. I had a donut, and my family can eat it too.  Probably my brother and sister will eat it for sure.

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