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Week In Review: Obama Argues Gay Rights At UN, DADT Repeal, Palestine

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“Week in Review” is a new addition to the New Civil Rights Movement by Tanya Domi, which presents a review of top news throughout the world and in America each Sunday. We begin this week by highlighting several major stories from the annual UN General Assembly meeting in New York this week.

International News

Obama Affirms the Human Rights of Gays and Lesbians at the UN

After laying down an aggressive LGBT human rights agenda at the UN during the past year, President Barack Obama called for equal rights for lesbians and gays in an address before the UN General Assembly. “No country should deny people their rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religion, but also no country should deny people their rights because of who they love, which is why we must stand up for the rights of gays and lesbians everywhere,” Obama said. Mark Bromley, chair of the Council on Global Equality, issued this comment on Wednesday: “The President’s remarks today at the UN General Assembly, where he called for the world to ‘stand up for the rights of gays and lesbians everywhere,’ were historic. Never before has a sitting U.S. President spoken so clearly about LGBT rights in a formal address to the full General Assembly. It shows how far we have come.”

Palestinians Ask the UN for Statehood Vote

https://youtube.com/watch?v=d8_rd3PqT-k%3Fversion%3D3%26hl%3Den_US

 

Mahmood Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, went before the UN General Assembly this week andsolicited the UN for a full Statehood vote n the Security Council. The U.S. has indicated it will veto such a proposal. Abbas was received warmly by the world body during his speech, receiving a standing ovation. Abbas said during his speech, “I call upon the distinguished members of the Security Council to vote in favour of our full membership. I do not believe that anyone with a shred of conscience can reject our application for a full membership in the United Nations and our admission as an independent state.” Upon Abbas’ return to Ramallah in the West Bank, Palestinians greeted him in a raucous celebration.

Pope Calls for Global Religious Alliance Against Gay Marriage and Abortion

During a tour of his native Germany, Pope Benedict XVI called on Orthodox Christians to join with the Roman Catholic Church to form a religious alliance against gay marriage and abortion. During a meeting with Orthodox Christians he said, “Knowing, too, the value of family and marriage, we as Christians attach great importance to defending the integrity and the uniqueness of marriage between one man and one woman from any kind of misinterpretation,” adding, “Here the common engagement of Christians, including many Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Christians, makes a valuable contribution to building up a society equipped for the future.” The Orthodox Church also condemns homosexuality and has proven to be a formidable adversary toward LGBT rights in Russia and Eastern Europe.

Putin Announces Second Run for Russia’s Presidency

Endorsed by his party United Russia, Vladimir Putin announced he will run for President again in 2012by switching places with Dimitri Medvedev. Many Kremlin watchers have said the younger Medvedev had been keeping the seat warm for Putin to reclaim for a 2012 run. Theoretically, if successful, this election could extend Putin’s reign of power to 2024 equating his time in power to that of Stalin and Brezhnef. Medvedev announced he would step down from the presidency yesterday, allowing Putin to move forward, with no significant opposition in sight.

13 Million Affected by Famine in Horn of Africa

A predicted famine in Sub Sahara Africa rages on, affecting at least 13 million people who have been disproportiately displaced from Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, a failed state located in the Horn of Africa.  Startling photographs documenting this famine can be attributed to lower wheat crop yields around the world, coupled with poor humanitarian response by state officials.  Somalis are fleeing, by walking out of the poor country that takes about a month, to the Dadaab refugee camp, located in Northern Kenya, the largest such camp in the world today. But arriving to the the camp does not assure access to food or safety and many continue to die in the camp. The U.S. government is providing an array of humanitarian assistance, including $69 million in emergency food aid to support the populations in emergency conditions.

Jailed American Hikers Return to the U.S.

Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, two American hikers who had been held in an Iranian prison for more than two years, were released this past week and returned to the United States on September 25. The two were released from Tehran’s Evin prison under a $1 million bail deal and arrived in Oman on Wednesday in the first leg of their journey home. The third hiker, American Sarah Shourd, was released for health reasons in November 2011. Shourd met Fattal and Bauer in Oman for a joyous reunion. Bauer asked Shourd to marry him while they were imprisoned in Iran. Nick Kristof of The New York Times interviewed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad this past week and raised the issue of the American hikers. On Thursday, Ahmadinejad told CNN reporter Wolf Blitzer that homosexuality is, “one of the ugliest behaviors in our society. It is against divine will, divine teachings of any and every faith, and it is certainly at the detriment of humans and humanity.”

National News

End of Era: DADT Ends

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, a Clinton Administration “compromise” in 1993 during the effort to repeal the gay ban was finally repealed this past week that was marked by celebrations from Washington D.C. to San Francisco.  This watershed event was made evident in an official Department of Defense website titled “DADT is Repealed.” Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in observation of the day, “Today, with implementation of the new law fully in place, we are a stronger joint force, a more tolerant force, a force of more character and more honor, more in keeping with our own values.”

The White House issued the following statement from President Barack Obama, ‘Today’s achievement is a tribute to all the patriots who fought and marched for change; to Members of Congress, from both parties, who voted for repeal; to our civilian and military leaders who ensured a smooth transition; and to the professionalism of our men and women in uniform who showed that they were ready to move forward together, as one team, to meet the missions we ask of them.”

Republicans Boo Openly Gay Soldier During GOP Presidential Debate

In the same week DADT was repealed into the history books, a partisan Republican audience jeered Stephen Hill, an openly gay soldier based in Iraq, who questioned in an YouTube presentation whether Republican candidates for the presidency would reinstate the discredited and unconstitutional policy. Virulent anti-gay candidate Rick Santorum, condemned the jeering by the audience, only to retract his statement a day later. The New Civil Rights Movement captured all the candidates comments or actions about the jeering of the gay soldier following the debate. Ultimately, only John Huntsman, candidate from Utah, expressed his regrets for not condemning the jeers of the audience.

Troy Davis Executed in Georgia Prison Garnering Worldwide Condemnation

Troy A. Davis, sentenced to death row 19 years ago for the killing of Mark Allen MacPhail, an off-duty Savannah, Georgia police officer in 1989, was executed on September 21 after the U.S. Supreme Court and the Georgia Parole Board denied his request for clemency. Pleas for Davis’ clemency were submitted by numerous luminaries, including former Nobel Peace laureates President Jimmy Carter, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, as well as Pope Benedict and the European Union. The Georgia conviction of Davis unraveled in recent years, when several eye witnesses recanted their original statements. The NAACP has established an on-line condolence book for Troy Davis, who will be buried on October 1.

HRC Announces Obama as Keynote Speaker for Annual Dinner

“We are honored to share this night with President Obama who has a tremendous record of accomplishment for LGBT people,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “On the heels of the end to ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ we look forward to celebrating our victories and redoubling our efforts for the fights that remain ahead.”

The event, HRC’s largest fundraiser which is expected to draw nearly 3,000 attendees, will be the evening of Saturday, October 1st at the Washington Convention Center. many wonder if the President will make any major news this time, like supporting full civil marriage equality.

 

Tanya L. Domi is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University who teaches about human rights in Eurasia and is a Harriman Institute affiliated faculty member. Prior to teaching at Columbia, Domi worked internationally for more than a decade on issues related to democratic transitional development, including political and media development, human rights, gender issues, sex trafficking, and media freedom.

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BREAKING NEWS

Watch: Santos Responds to Report He Joked About Hitler, ‘The Jews’ and Black People

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U.S. Rep. George Santos (R-NY) allegedly made a social media post appearing to praise Adolf Hitler while referring to “the Jews and Black” people, and frequently made pejorative “jokes” about being Jewish according to friends interviewed by Patch and screenshots of now-deleted social media posts.

In 2011, Santos “commented on a Facebook post with what appear to be intended-jokes about Hitler, a phrase that appears to salute Hitler and observations about ‘the Jews and black[s],’ exclusive screenshots obtained by Patch show.”

Patch, which published a screenshot of  what appear to be Santos’ comment, reports he had written this: “hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh hiiiiiiiiiiiitlerrrrrrrrrrr (hight hitler) lolololololololololololol sombody kill her!! the jews and black [sic] mostly lolllolol!!! Dum”

Sarah Fishkind, whose LinkedIn profile describes her as a political organizer, posted video Thursday afternoon of her conversation with Rep. Santos.

“Do you have any comments about your most-recently-leaked Facebook comments about killing all Jews and Black people?” she asked, according to her post.

“I’m sorry?” Santos, appearing to be stunned, replied.

READ MORE: ‘Big No-No’: Santos May or May Not Have a Campaign Treasurer Prompting Questions About Whose Signature That Is

“It’s on the news right. now,” she responded, “that you Facebook commented.”

Santos replied with a frustrated huff, then said: “That’s going to be hard to hold.” It’s unclear what he meant by that comment.

Santos ran and won his congressional seat claiming to be a gay Jewish Republican, only later to falsely claim he never said he was Jewish, but “Jew-ish.” He also lied about his grandparents fleeing the Holocaust.

Jewish groups have condemned his false claims of Jewish heritage, which include false claims that his grandparents were “Holocaust refugees.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. 

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

‘Moral Turpitude’: Trump Coup Memo Author John Eastman Now Facing 11 Counts of Alleged Ethics Violations – and Disbarment

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John Eastman, the far-right attorney, disgraced former law professor, former clerk to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and current chairman of the anti-LGBTQ National Organization For Marriage (NOM) is facing eleven counts of alleged ethics violations, and disbarment, by California state bar regulators. Among the allegations, “intentional acts of moral turpitude, dishonesty, or corruption.”

As The New York Times reported last fall, “after the November election, Mr. Eastman wrote the memo for which he is now best known, laying out steps that Vice President Mike Pence could take to keep Mr. Trump in power — measures Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans have likened to a blueprint for a coup.

So has the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, which late last month referred Eastman – in the same breath as Donald Trump – to the Dept. of Justice for possible prosecution on criminal charges, including obstruction of an official proceeding and conspiracy to defraud the United States.

On Thursday, Bloomberg News reported California state bar regulators “say they will seek to strip” Eastman of his law license.

READ MORE: Ginni Thomas Looking Like ‘Full Fledged Potential Co-Conspirator’ After Discovery of Emails With Eastman: Legal Expert

“The Notice of Disciplinary Charges alleges that Mr. Eastman violated this duty in furtherance of an attempt to usurp the will of the American people and overturn election results for the highest office in the land — an egregious and unprecedented attack on our democracy — for which he must be held accountable,” the State Bar of California’s Chief Trial Counsel George Cardona said in a statement. “Eastman has not been charged with any crimes to date.”

“The 11 charges arise from allegations that Eastman engaged in a course of conduct to plan, promote, and assist then-President Trump in executing a strategy, unsupported by facts or law, to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 presidential election by obstructing the count of electoral votes of certain states,” the State Bar of California’s statement adds.

Law & Crime’s Adam Klasfeld further explains that Cardona “intends to seek Eastman’s disbarment for alleged violations of Business and Professions Code section 6106, which punishes making false and misleading statements that constitute acts of ‘moral turpitude, dishonesty, and corruption.'”

Last week The New York Times described Eastman as “a chief architect of Donald Trump’s effort to reverse his election loss,” but it is his fellow Republican attorneys who delivered the judgment on his skills.

“Many White House lawyers expressed contempt for Mr. Eastman, portraying him as an academic with little grasp of the real world,” The Times reported. “Greg Jacob, the legal counsel to former Vice President Mike Pence, characterized Mr. Eastman’s legal advice as ‘gravely, gravely irresponsible,’ calling him the ‘serpent in the ear’ of Mr. Trump. Eric Herschmann, a Trump White House lawyer, recounted ‘chewing out’ Mr. Eastman. Pat A. Cipollone, the chief White House counsel, is described calling Mr. Eastman’s ideas ‘nutty.'”

READ MORE: Bombshell NYT Report Reveals Bill Barr’s Special Counsel Opened ‘Secret’ Financial Crimes Probe Into Trump But Never Prosecuted

It wasn’t just Republican attorneys in the Trump White House.

During the January 6 insurrection, Eastman, certainly no silent architect, stood at the same podium Donald Trump would speak at, and delivered a fiery speech alongside Rudy Giuliani. Six days later his colleagues at Chapman University demanded his firing.

The disbarment may be the least of Eastman’s self-inflicted woes.

“He has been drawn into the criminal investigation into election interference in Atlanta, which is nearing a decision on potential indictments,” according to The Times, also adding that the “F.B.I. seized his iPhone.”

READ MORE: ‘Big No-No’: Santos May or May Not Have a Campaign Treasurer Prompting Questions About Whose Signature That Is

Watch the videos above or at this link.

This article was updated at 5:41 PM ET with details reported by Law & Crime, including references to “moral turpitude.”

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Bombshell NYT Report Reveals Bill Barr’s Special Counsel Opened ‘Secret’ Financial Crimes Probe Into Trump But Never Prosecuted

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Special Counsel Robert Durham, appointed by then-Attorney General Bill Barr, uncovered possible financial crimes by Donald Trump but made no attempt to prosecute them, The New York Times reveals in massive, bombshell report published Thursday after a months-long investigation.

“Mr. Barr and Mr. Durham never disclosed that their inquiry expanded in the fall of 2019, based on a tip from Italian officials, to include a criminal investigation into suspicious financial dealings related to Mr. Trump. The specifics of the tip and how they handled the investigation remain unclear, but Mr. Durham brought no charges over it,” The Times’ Charlie Savage, Adam Goldman, and Katie Benner report.

The “potentially explosive tip linking Mr. Trump to certain suspected financial crimes” came during a trip Barr and Durham, his special counsel, took together. They “decided that the tip was too serious and credible to ignore.”

But, “Mr. Durham never filed charges, and it remains unclear what level of an investigation it was, what steps he took, what he learned and whether anyone at the White House ever found out. The extraordinary fact that Mr. Durham opened a criminal investigation that included scrutinizing Mr. Trump has remained secret.”

That’s just one aspect of The Times’ extensive and disturbing report.

It also reveals that there was little justification for Barr to install Durham as a special counsel to investigate what Trump wrongly maintained was an unjustifiable investigation into his ties to Russia.

In fact, The Times “found that the main thrust of the Durham inquiry was marked by some of the very same flaws — including a strained justification for opening it and its role in fueling partisan conspiracy theories that would never be charged in court — that Trump allies claim characterized the Russia investigation.”

READ MORE: ‘Failed Spectacularly’: Top Legal Experts Call for Ethics Probe Into Bill Barr’s Handpicked Special Counsel John Durham

In another shocking revelation, The Times reports Durham “used Russian intelligence memos — suspected by other U.S. officials of containing disinformation — to gain access to emails of an aide to George Soros, the financier and philanthropist who is a favorite target of the American right and Russian state media.”

The Times does not explain how Durham obtained the Russian disinformation.

“Mr. Durham used grand jury powers to keep pursuing the emails even after a judge twice rejected his request for access to them. The emails yielded no evidence that Mr. Durham has cited in any case he pursued.”

Attorneys on Durham’s team apparently had significant qualms with his actions, leading at least two to resign.

“There were deeper internal fractures on the Durham team than previously known,” The Times reports. “The publicly unexplained resignation in 2020 of his No. 2 and longtime aide, Nora R. Dannehy, was the culmination of a series of disputes between them over prosecutorial ethics. A year later, two more prosecutors strongly objected to plans to indict a lawyer with ties to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign based on evidence they warned was too flimsy, and one left the team in protest of Mr. Durham’s decision to proceed anyway. (A jury swiftly acquitted the lawyer.)”

BARR THREATENED NSA

The Times also reports that Attorney General Barr bought into Trump’s false claims that there had been “no collusion” between the Trump camp and Russia.

READ MORE: Republicans Claiming ‘Censorship’ Threaten to Haul AT&T and DirecTV Into Congress for Dropping Far-Right Newsmax

Importantly, The Times states point-blank that the Mueller Report “detailed ‘numerous links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign,’ and it established both how Moscow had worked to help Mr. Trump win and how his campaign had expected to benefit from the foreign interference.”

According to The Times’ account, “soon after giving Mr. Durham his assignment,” in May of 2019, “Mr. Barr summoned the head of the National Security Agency, Paul M. Nakasone, to his office. In front of several aides, Mr. Barr demanded that the N.S.A. cooperate with the Durham inquiry.”

The NSA is a wholly separate entity from the Dept. of Justice. It is an agency under the Dept. of Defense and reports to the powerful Director of National Intelligence (DNI).

Barr apparently did not care, and, “repeating a sexual vulgarity, he warned that if the N.S.A. wronged him by not doing all it could to help Mr. Durham, Mr. Barr would do the same to the agency.”

DURHAM TRIED TO SCUTTLE A REPORT’S FINDING THAT TRUMP-RUSSIA INVESTIGATION WAS WARRANTED

“Mr. Durham’s team spent long hours combing the C.I.A.’s files but found no way to support the allegation” that the investigation into Trump and Russia was the result of some anti-Trump deep state operation.

Barr and Durham actually “traveled abroad together to press British and Italian officials to reveal everything their agencies had gleaned about the Trump campaign and relayed to the United States, but both allied governments denied they had done any such thing. Top British intelligence officials expressed indignation to their U.S. counterparts about the accusation, three former U.S. officials said.”

The Dept. of Justice’s Inspector General’s investigation found there was, in fact, sufficient cause for the DOJ to have opened up the Trump-Russia investigation, contrary to Barr’s personal beliefs.

So he tried to have that finding removed from the final report.

READ MORE: ‘Big No-No’: Santos May or May Not Have a Campaign Treasurer Prompting Questions About Whose Signature That Is

The Times reports that “the broader findings contradicted Mr. Trump’s accusations and the rationale for Mr. Durham’s inquiry,” which should have shut down what ultimately became Durham’s four-year long investigation that netted almost nothing.

The DOJ Inspector General, Michael Horowitz, “found no evidence that F.B.I. actions were politically motivated. And he concluded that the investigation’s basis — an Australian diplomat’s tip that a Trump campaign adviser had seemed to disclose advance knowledge that Russia would release hacked Democratic emails — had been sufficient to lawfully open it.”

So Barr tried to discredit Horowitz’s report.

“Minutes before the inspector general’s report went online, Mr. Barr issued a statement contradicting Mr. Horowitz’s major finding, declaring that the F.B.I. opened the investigation “on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient.” He would later tell Fox News that the investigation began “without any basis,” as if the diplomat’s tip never happened.”

Read the entire Times report here.

 

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