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Week in Review: Occupy Wall Street Goes Global, Congress Kills American Jobs Act, Ugandan Lesbian Awarded Human Rights Prize

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 NYC police aggressively arrest Occupy Wall Street activists, while the movement goes global with actions in Berlin, London, Rome & Tokyo; American jobs bill dies in Congress and a Ugandan lesbian activist honored by human rights prize. 

International

New York City Police Get Aggressive with Occupy Activists; Movement Goes Global, Expanding to More Than 80 Countries

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyziG5bUuBE&version=3&hl=en_US&rel=0]

The New York Police Department (NYPD) cracked down on the Occupy Wall Street activists this weekend, posturing early Friday morning by initially assembling at the mouth of Zucotti Park, dressed in full anti-riot gear intending to drive activists from the park, although its owners informed Mayor Bloomberg late Thursday evening that they were withdrawing their original request to “clean” the park.  But Mayor Mike forgot to tell the NYPD, who apparently lost their cool, as Occupy activists had expanded into Washington Park Square during the week. Ultimately, the Zucotti Park residents did not move. After a decision by the Occupy movement protestors to occupy Times Square on Saturday, the NYPD became aggressive, using barricades to pen people in, preventing them from moving block to block and used horse patrols who charged protesters. Police also locked in and eventually arrested activists and some innocent bystanders who had entered bank lobbies to withdraw money for the purpose of closing their accounts.

United for Global Change

Declaring a global action on Saturday titled United for Global Change with a custom prepared Twitter hash tag, peaceful actions ensued in Berlin, London and Tokyo–the one exception was Rome, where a group of anarchists who were participating– fire bombed cars and pillaged stores, causing extensive damage.  Even laid back Canada got in on the action, with several actions from Ontario to the British Columbia engaged. According to the “Occupy Together” website, 951 cities, located in 82 countries, have participated thus far since the movement began in New York City on Sept. 17.

 

Ugandan Lesbian Awarded Martin Ennals Human Rights Defender Prize

Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, a Ugandan lesbian activist, who has lived in fear for years, moving house to house, to avoid attacks for being a gay person and founder of Freedom and Roam Uganda, an advocacy group for lesbians, was awarded the Martin Ennals Human Rights Defender Prize on Oct. 13. Nabagesera is the first gay human rights advocate to receive the award, considered only second to the Nobel Peace Prize in prestige. She was presented the award by the UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva.

G-20 Orders Europe to Get its House in Order; Slovakia Votes Against Bailout and the EU Sets Deadline to Address Monetary Crisis 

In the lead-up to the G-20 meeting this weekend in France, Slovakia the last EU country to vote on a bail out for the Euro zone banking authority, was the first Euro zone country whose government collapsed as it voted down the referendum, before it finally passed the proposal two days later. The bailout fund is set to be 344 billion euros (about $472 billion) to resolve a sovereign debt crisis. The price of passage gives the Social Democrats an early election date. The G-20 advised for the bailout to continue, despite demonstrations throughout the European continent on Saturday and asserted that the EU summit later this month would be decisive in resolving the ongoing crisis.  The Euro zone banking crisis remains a crisis at full boil in Greece, which has yet to reach solvency, along with Portugal, Ireland, Italy and Spain.  EU officials have given themselves an Oct. 23 deadline to resolve the crisis.

UK Ties Foreign Aid to LGBT Rights

Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom’s Tory-led government, announced this past week that his government would leverage its foreign assistance to bilateral partners based upon their LGBT human rights records.  This foreign policy move is seen by some as much a domestic move to cut back on foreign assistance spending, but to bridge its spending aims to a growing popular issue at home that Cameron continues to pursue, most recently announcing his unqualified support for legalized gay marriage in the UK to the consternation of many of his own Conservative party members and church leaders.  This move was supported by lawmakers in Nepal, as well as gay activists in Nepal, as reported by the New Civil Rights Movement.

Polish Voters Elect First Trans Member of Parliament

Anna Grodzka a trans woman political activist was elected to Poland’s parliament this past week as a member of the Palikot Movement, which swept into office with a progressive liberal slate of candidates that garnered the third-most elected lawmakers in parliament, which is seen as a “change election” by Polish political watchers.  Grodzka is the first trans person to be elected to Poland’s parliament and will serve in the Sejm, the Lower House.  Grodzka is the founder and president of Trans-Fuzja, a non-profit advocacy group on behalf of trans persons.

 

National

 United States Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit Blocks and Upholds Alabama Immigration law

On Friday, the Federal 11th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked two key provisions of the Alabama Immigration law in HICA v Bentley that are according to the Southern Poverty Law Center:  the provision that chills children’s access to school by requiring school officials to verify the immigration status of children and their parents; and the provision that criminalizes failure to register with the federal government and carry one’s “papers” at all times.

The school provisions take effect immediately.  The Court did not block provisions dealing with immigration status checks during traffic stops. It also allowed to remain in effect the sections that bar illegal immigrants from entering contracts or engaging in business transactions with government.

The Alabama law took effect two weeks ago, compelling people to leave the state immediately.  The coalition of groups bringing the challenge to the law, include the Southern Poverty Law Center, the ACLU, the National Immigration Law Center and the ACLU of Alabama, the Asian Law Caucus, the National Day Laborers’ Organizing Network, AAJC, and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.  The U.S. Department of Justice has also challenged the law.

Obama Jobs Bill Blocked in the Senate; Rev. Al Sharpton Hosts Jobs Rally on the Mall

To no one’s surprise, Eric Cantor, the House Republican Majority Leader declared President Barack Obama’s American Jobs Act legislation dead on arrival in early October, but just this week, the Senate, controlled by the Democrats, was unable to muster the 60 votes needed to cloture proof a vehicle that would provide $444 billion for the president’s number one election issue–jobs for the American worker.  The bill went down 50-49, not even close, although Harry Reid changed his vote to “no” before the vote was recorded and preserved his right to bring the bill back for a vote.

Not to be deterred, Obama has hit the road, exhorting voters to help him generate support for the bill by calling their members of Congress.  In Washington yesterday, Rev. Al Sharpton, the newly successful MSNBC host and the president of the National Action Network, gathered his forces on the National Mall, joined by several national unions that also included Planned Parenthood, and staged a rally for jobs and justice, announcing he would be organizing marches in 25 states, offering to “generate some wind behind the president’s back” to get the jobs bill moving in Congress. In anticipation of the celebration held earlier today to inaugurate the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, Sharpton called the crowd together, saying the “dreamer may have been killed, but the dream remains.”  Following his speech, rally participants were encouraged to join Sharpton to walk the mall together in solidarity.

In Memoriam

Frank Kameny, an American LGBT civil rights lion, died of natural causes on Oct. 11, National Coming Out Day.   He was 86-years-old. Kameny coined “Gay is Good,” arguably the first positive message about homosexuals delivered to the American public.  A public memorial service is expected to be held in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 15th, the 50th anniversary of the Mattachine Society.

 

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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News

Fox News Host Suggests Trump ‘Force’ Court to Throw Him in Jail – by Quoting Him

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The Fox News host who targeted a juror serving on Donald Trump’s criminal New York trial is now suggesting the ex-president should violate his gag order and “force” the court to throw him in jail, by quoting the Fox News host.

Jesse Watters came under fire earlier this week for profiling juror number two, sharing possibly identifying information published by a myriad of reporters but then using that information to pass judgment on her ability to serve.

“I’m not so sure about juror number two,” Watters concluded on Fox News.

Jurors, at the judge’s direction, were to remain anonymous, for their protection and the protection of the trial.

The judge excused her, after she said she felt she was not able to be impartial because friends and family were calling her asking if she had been chosen to serve on the Trump trial, after the media blitz.

New York Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan admonished the press for reporting the information, but some news outlets appeared to ignore his warning.

Watters on Wednesday “did a segment with a jury consultant, revealing details about people who had been seated on the jury and questioning whether some were ‘stealth liberals’ who would be out to convict Trump,” the Associated Press reported.

READ MORE: Gaetz: ‘Corrupt’ Republicans Could ‘Take a Bribe’ and Throw House to Dems, Blocking Trump Run

Trump later posted Watters’ quote on his Truth Social platform, leading some, including New York prosecutors, to ask the judge to cite him for allegedly breaking his gag order.

Judge Merchan ordered Trump to not mention witnesses, jurors, prosecutors, court staff, or the family members of prosecutors and court staff, CNN has reported.

New York prosecutors told Juge Merchan Trump has violated the gag order at least ten times.

“Prosecutor Christopher Conroy described the ‘most disturbing’ example as a social media message Trump posted on Wednesday evening quoting a Fox News host as saying, ‘They are catching undercover Liberal Activists lying to the Judge in order to get on the Trump Jury,'” Politico reports.

That host was Jesse Watters.

RELATED: ‘Afraid and Intimidated’: Trump Trial Juror Targeted by Fox News Dismissed

Friday afternoon, Watters appeared to egg Trump on, urging the ex-president to violate the gag order.

“I would make them put me in jail,” Watters said on Fox News. “I would have a tweet about something perhaps I said on ‘The Five’ or ‘Jesse Watters Primetime,’ and I would force them to throw me in jail.”

Watch Watters’ remark below or at this link.

 

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News

Gaetz: ‘Corrupt’ Republicans Could ‘Take a Bribe’ and Throw House to Dems, Blocking Trump Run

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U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) says some of his fellow House Republicans would “take a bribe” to throw the razor-thin GOP majority to the Democrats if a far-right faction calls up a motion to oust Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, allowing Democrats to hand the gavel to the Minority Leader, Hakeem Jeffries. he warned if that happens, Democrats would immediately declare Trump ineligible to be President, pack the U.S. Supreme Court, and pass numerous laws like the American Rescue Plan.

“I do believe in a one seat majority there could be one or two or three of my colleagues who would take a bribe in one form or another in order to deprive the Republicans of a majority at all,” Gaetz said Friday on his podcast (video below.)

He added, “the risk that one or two of my corrupt Republican colleagues might take a bribe, take a walk, feign an ailment and flip this thing to the Democrats is a risk that is too high for me at this time.”

Gaetz’s fellow far-right Florida Republican member of Congress, Anna Paulina Luna, told listeners, “I heard that when, if and when the motion vacate is introduced, that there will be immediate resignations of a couple of more moderate members of Congress. And in the event that that happens, that ultimately means it does go to a Democrat speaker.”

RELATED: Jeffries Vows Democrats Will Ensure Ukraine Aid Passes as Johnson Defectors Grow

U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) last month filed a “motion to vacate,” which she can use at any time to force a vote to oust the GOP Speaker, Mike Johnson. U.S. Rep. Tim Massie (R-KY) and just today, U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) has signed on as co-sponsors.

Congressman Gaetz told listeners if Democrats do take the House through a force vote to remove Johnson, Democrats would “be declaring Donald Trump an insurrectionist and setting up a barrier to him being able to become the president United States.”

“That’ll be their leadoff hitter, and then the chaser to that shot will be a massive spending package that looks a lot more like the American Rescue Plan. They will blow past every concept of every cap ever imagined. You’ll be looking at Universal Basic Income, you could be looking at packing the Supreme Court.”

Watch a short clip of Gaetz’s remarks below or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Stop Bringing Up Nazis and Hitler’: Marjorie Taylor Greene Smacked Down by Democrats

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Jeffries Vows Democrats Will Ensure Ukraine Aid Passes as Johnson Defectors Grow

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Democratic House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries vowed Friday the majority of Democrats will support Republicans’ Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan, and Gaza foreign aid legislation as Republican Speaker Mike Johnson lost support of another member of his conference to a faction determined to oust him.

“Democrats will provide a majority of our majority as it relates to funding Israel, humanitarian assistance, Ukraine, and our allies in the Indo Pacific,” Minority Leader Jeffries said. “It remains to be seen what Republicans will do in terms of meeting the national security needs of the American people, but it was important for House Democrats to ensure that the national security bills are going to be considered.”

Despite Republicans having a one-vote majority, more Democrats on Friday voted to move the critical and long-awaited foreign aid bills forward than did Republicans.

READ MORE: ‘Stop Bringing Up Nazis and Hitler’: Marjorie Taylor Greene Smacked Down by Democrats

The 316-94 vote included 165 Democrats and 151 Republicans voting yes, and 55 Republicans and 39 Democrats voting no.

Axios’ Juliegrace Brufke posted the list of Republicans voting against their party’s legislation.

Calling it a “rare” moment in modern congressional history to have to rely on opposition party votes to pass legislation, BBC News reports Speaker Johnson’s “hold on power is tenuous, and the legislators who oppose him – and his bid to provide aid to Ukraine – occupy some key positions within the House’s power structure.”

Amid the procedural vote to move the foreign aid funding bills forward, U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, a far-right Republican of Arizona, announced he is joining Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), and Congressman Tim Massie (R-KY) in formally announcing their will vote to oust Speaker Johnson.

Gosar, like Greene, is reportedly a Christian nationalist. In 2022 CNN reported his “lengthy ties to White nationalists, [a] pro-Nazi blogger and far-right fringe received little pushback for years.”

RELATED: ‘Repercussions’: Democrats and Republicans Stand Against ‘Pro-Putin’ House GOP Faction

“We’ve been very honest in our assessment of the situation from the beginning,” Jeffries on Friday also declared. “At the appropriate time as House Democrats, we will have a conversation about how to deal with any hypothetical motion to vacate.”

“Moscow Marjorie Taylor Greene, Massie, and Gosar are quite a group. But central to our conversation is to make sure that the national security legislation in totality is passed by the House of Representatives.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

 

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