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Week in Review: Occupy Wall Street, Saudi Women Suffrage, DADT Cases Moot



 This Week in Review is highlighted by gay xenophobia in Serbia, and the burgeoning “Occupy Wall Street” protests were marked by labor unions joining the fight along with 700 arrests on the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City, and after seven years of victories one flagrantly partisan decision renders a landmark DADT case “moot.” 


Belgrade Gay Pride Banned by Serbian Officials

The Serbian government’s National Security Council declared its police forces could not maintain public safety and protect LGBT Pride marchers in Belgrade today, because of the threat of violence by an array of ultra-nationalistic groups, empowering Minister of Interior Ivica Dacic to declare the historically marred event to be legally banned. European Union officials expressed their regret at the unsurprising action, noting the Belgrade Pride ban would be considered in Serbia’s EU accession review scheduled for early 2012.

Saudi Women Extended the Vote

Saudi King Abdullah in Abdulaziz al-Saud announced this week that women will be extended the right to vote and run for office in 2015. A bold action by the 88-year-old monarch who assumed power six years ago as a reformer, but has been cautious in his governing style. Notwithstanding the advance in women’s human rights in Saudi Arabia, for the time being, women remained banned from driving automobiles. So if a Saudi woman wants to get to the polls, or run for office, she will have to ask her father, husband, uncle or son to take her there. Could Suburu offer to send some of their auto makes and models to Saudi women, as an incentive for government reform? We could come up with a memorable commercial in Suburu tradition.

Anwar al-Awlaki Assassinated in Yemen

Radical Islamist Anwar al-Awlaki, an American but considered an enemy of the United States, was assassinated early Friday morning somewhere in Yemen, by missiles launched from an unmanned drone aircraft, under orders by President Obama. Born in New Mexico, al-Awlaki became an influential recruiter of English-speaking home-grown terrorists via the Internet and was considered a key figure in the radicalization of Major Nidal Malik Hassan, the Ft. Hood Army psychiatrist who killed 12 people in 2009 and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the so-called “Underwear Bomber,” who attempted to detonate a bomb hidden in his underwear while traveling on a Northwest plane, Christmas Day, 2009. This blog notes the sigh of relief that must be felt among U.S. government intelligence officers who have been tracking this bad guy for two consistent years.

The German Bundestag Votes to Support Euro Bailout

Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor of Germany and all of Europe took a deep breath, when the Bundestag, the lower House, voted three days ago, overwhelmingly in support of a German government bailout plan of more than $598 billion that will also expand the authority of the European Financial Stability Facility, the main fund for bailing out indebted euro countries, including Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain (known as the PIIGS). Europe continues to wrestle with reticent politicians across the continent, who have hesitated to cover the sovereign debt of the PIIGS countries, while more countries have been urged by the International Monetary Fund and Tim Geithner, the U.S. Treasury head, to contribute to the bailout fund.  Additional parliamentary votes will take place over the next several weeks. America watches and waits for Europe to act.

OSCE Reviews Human Rights in Eastern Europe, Former USSR

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe began its annual “Human Dimension” meeting in Warsaw, on Sept. 26-Oct. 7, that includes a review of human rights record and practices by 56 participating member states from Europe, Central Asia and North America. Ian Kelley, the U.S. Ambassador to the OSCE,  in his opening statement at the meeting, addressed the issue of violence against persons because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, calling it a “widespread problem.” Although LGBT rights are not on the formal meeting schedule, the informal side meetings are populated by organizations who work on LGBT rights in the OSCE region. Mark Bromley, chair of the Council on Global Equality traveled to Warsaw over the weekend to participate  in the second week of the review. We will report Bromley’s observations to our readers next week.

Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Laureate Dies at 71

The first African woman to win a Nobel Prize, Wangari Maathai, leader of the “green belt” environmental movement, died this week in Nairobi, Kenya, after sucumbing to ovarian cancer. The most highly regarded woman leader on the African continent, Maathai, a feminist, politician and “rabble-rouser” rose to international acclaim, working with women to plant trees throughout and in the process uplifted many women and their communities, while raising mass consciousness about the vital role of the environment in support of human life.


Log Cabin DADT Cases Declared Moot

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals tossed out the Log Cabin Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell challenge this week, ruling that the repeal of the statute rendered the legal challenge “moot”. DADT repeal activists were crestfallen in the decision, having banked on a legal strategy that could have rendered reparations to the 14,000 service members who were discharged under the law. SOme called the decision “as bad as it could have been.” The repeal legislation disallowed that option.

Wall Street Protests Grow, Unions Join 

As the “occupy Wall Street” protests progressed into their third week, labor unions joined the growing effort when the Transit Workers Union of New York City declared their active support and joined the burgeoning grass-roots activists who had a number of confrontations with local police,culminating in the arrests of 700 people on the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday, while chanting “We got sold out, banks got bailed out!”

A major national union, SEIU 32BJ New York City, announced they would hold a rally in the support of the protesters on Oct. 12th. Other actions erupted in Los Angeles and social media activists have launched a website Occupy Together with a full complement of Facebook pages. Twitter handle @OccupyWallStNYC has become a new phrase in American social media vernacular that is migrating into everyday conversations. Is this the beginning of a new political movement in America? Stay tuned.

Nyad:  Marathon Swimmer Withdraws in Third Attempt in Swim to Miami from Havana

Diana Nyad, the 61-year-old ultra-endurance athlete and lesbian heart-throb, reluctantly ended her third-time marathon swim quest from Cuba to Florida last Sunday,after sustaining life threatening stings by man-of-war jelly fish while attempting to swim the 103 miles to Miami’s South Beach.  Nyad’s efforts were closely reported by the New York Times, Associated Press and USA Today, among others. Bye, bye Diana! We lesbians especially will miss you!

Obama Takes a Congratulatory Bow at HRC Dinner

President Barack Obama took a victory lap by appearing at the Human Rights Campaign National Dinner last night  just 12 days following the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. But to no activist’s surprise, Obama did not make news by announcing his full-throated support for marriage equality, or that he would sign an executive order to extend non-discrimination job protections to federal workers based upon sexual orientation and gender identity. It appears that those two perks, can wait, for now.


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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‘Pits Parents Against Parents’: House Republicans Pass Anti-LGBTQ Florida-Style K-12 ‘Parents’ Bill of Rights’



The Republican-majority U.S. House of Representatives Friday morning passed HR 5, the “Parents’ Bill of Rights,” legislation similar to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ laws that have led to book bans and targeting of LGBTQ children.

The bill passed 213-208, with 14 Members not voting. All yes votes were from Republicans only. Five Republicans joined Democrats to vote no.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu of California warned the legislation “pits parents against parents.”

“The extreme MAGA H.R. 5 bill will let other parents dictate what books your child gets to read. It’ll make it easier for other parents to know if your child has an eating disorder, or is experiencing a mental health crisis,” Lieu warned.

READ MORE: Watch: GOP Lawmaker Orders Grieving Parkland Parents Removed From ‘ATF Overreach’ Hearing

U.S> Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) warned, “H.R. 5 would codify Republican book bans all over the country. Stories of Holocaust survivors, enslaved Americans, and over 1,600 other stories have already been pulled from shelves.”

U.S. Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-FL) said HR5 is “a vehicle for hate and political nonsense.”

Congressman Greg Murphy, Republican of North Carolina, in a recorded statement falsely claimed the bill was needed because “Children are being taught to hate our country,” and “parents are labeled as domestic terrorists.”

In his speech before the bill passed, Speaker Kevin McCarthy declared, “We believe parents should know what your children is [sic] learning.”

CNN reports the bill would also “require elementary and middle schools that receive federal funding to obtain parental consent before ‘changing a minor child’s gender markers, pronouns, or preferred name on any school form; or allowing a child to change the child’s sex-based accommodations, including locker rooms or bathrooms.'”

Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called the legislation “Orwellian to the core,” and promised it “will not see the light of day.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

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Far Right Christian Nationalist Brags His ‘Biblical Worldview’ Group Is Behind Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ Anti-Trans Law



Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed legislation Tuesday prohibiting transgender people from using public school facilities that match their gender identity. Later that same day, Jason Rapert, a former Arkansas state senator and founder of the National Association of Christian Lawmakers, posted a video crediting his organization for the legislation.

Rapert, a longtime religious-right activist and ardent Christian nationalist, bragged that this piece of legislation was first proposed by Arkansas school board member David Naylor during an annual NACL meeting, endorsed by the organization, and finally brought to the Arkansas state legislature by state Rep. Mary Bentley, who serves on the board of the NACL.

“The NACL has seven working committees,” Rapert said. “Those committees actually debate and discuss every major policy issue in this country, all from a biblical worldview.”

“We make model laws,” he continued. “Do you know that just recently Rep. Mary Bentley of Arkansas passed a model law that the NACL adopted at their last meeting in the state of Texas?”

“Rep. Mary Bentley, [who] is our chair of the National Legislative Council, she went to the Arkansas legislature, took that concept that came from Dr. David Naylor that was then adopted by the full body of the NACL, and guess what? It’s already been placed into law in the state of Arkansas,” Rapert crowed. “That’s the difference the NACL can make in your community.”

“This is what the NACL does every day all across this country,” Rapert bellowed later in the video. “We are fighting for the lives of little babies. We are fighting against the people that are putting the queer books into your school libraries and trying to groom these children into homosexuality. We’re standing up. We’re pursuing school board policies to save the nation. We are standing up and have our members running bills in the halls of the state legislatures to stand up against this woke ideology, to push back against the things of the devil in our country.”

In December, Rapert declared that right-wing Christians must rise up and “take authority” over everything from their local school boards to the federal government. The National Association for Christian Lawmakers seeks do just that, advancing legislation that fits their narrow conservative biblical worldview in statehouses throughout the country. The group’s advisory board includes politicians like Mike Huckabee and Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick as well as influential religious-right activists like Tony Perkins of Family Research Council and Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel.

This article was originally published by Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.

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Jim Jordan Busted for Helping Trump ‘Tamper’ With Probe: ‘Beyond All Bounds of What’s Legal’



Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg rebuffed a Republican House demand for a peek inside an investigation involving Donald Trump as “unlawful,” and MSNBC’s Al Sharpton agreed it amounted to “tampering.”

Bragg’s general counsel denied a request for documents and an interview with the district attorney by Judiciary, Oversight and Administration Committee chairs Jim Jordan (R-OH), James Comer (R-KY) and Bryan Steil (R-WI), calling the congressional inquiry an “unprecedented” intervention into a pending local prosecution undertaken at Trump’s request.

“Any man that is up in the middle of the night, that is going with this kind of language, is scared to death,” Sharpton said of Trump, who has been posting highly provocative online attacks against Bragg. “The problem, though, is that he is inciting people, no matter how small they have become as a crowd, to do something. Add that to him having the photo of the bat at a sitting prosecutor, I mean, it’s unimaginable. You’re right, we’d be arrested for that.”

“We have chairmen of committees telling a prosecutor, who is in the middle of an investigation, to come and give us the evidence,” Sharpton added. “I mean, they’re really tampering with an investigation. This is not an investigation that’s concluded. Before we know whether there is an indictment or charge, they’re saying bring us the evidence? I mean, this is unheard of. What is Jordan talking about? They’re in the middle of a grand jury proceeding. You want the prosecutor to leave the proceeding and tell me the evidence you’re giving, and we’ll put it on national television so the target can understand the evidence? I mean, we are going beyond all bounds of what is legal, what is respectful, and we have a man who is scared to death, that is up in the middle of the night inciting violence, having a photo with a bat, because he’s scared to death he’s going to have to face this prosecution.”

READ MORE: Trump is ‘out of his mind scared’ after late-night outburst : Morning Joe panel

Watch the video below or at this link.


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