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Week in Review: UN Issues Historic Report on LGBT Rights, CDC Reports Epidemic of Violence Against American Women



The United Nations takes historical steps in support of LGBT human rights,  the Centers for Disease Control reports  epidemic sexual and intimate partner violence toward  American women and LGBT aging focus of the Obama Administration   


UN Reports 76 Countries Outlaw LGBT Identity, Violence Pervasive 

The first formal United Nations report on the state of LGBT human rights was presented to the UN General Assembly on Thursday by Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human rights, who has been an outspoken supporter of LGBT human rights. In issuing the report, Pillay called on UN member states to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, and prosecute all serious violations, repeal discriminatory laws, and end legal discrimination for all LGBT persons.  The report is historical, marking the first formal report issued in UN history and establishes the applicable international law that supports the universal human rights treaties and instruments that apply to LGBT persons.

The findings of the report indicate that LGBT people face widespread discrimination everywhere in the world and are subjected to extreme violence, including rape, beatings and torture, evidenced by confirmed reports of mutilation and castration that were characterized by a “high degree of cruelty,” including forcible rape of lesbians, a notorious activity by anti-​gay men in South Africa.

LGBT persons also face criminal punishment in 76 countries and risk capital punishment in five countries, including Iran, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen. The report lays out the evidence of widespread discrimination and arbitrary arrests and criminal punishment based upon sexual orientation and gender identity.

UN Hosts Homophobic Anti-Bullying Forum

The UN broke new ground by hosting an inaugural forum on homophobic bullying to mark International Human Rights Day in Geneva with Judy Shephard in attendance, the mother of Matthew Shephard who was murdered  in 1998.  The forum called on State members to adopt anti-discrimination measures and engage in public education to discourage bullying based upon perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

“In many countries, discrimination towards gay and lesbian people is hardwired into the law,” said Ivan Šimonović, the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights. “We know from experience that discriminatory laws reinforce and lend legitimacy to discriminatory attitudes at a popular level. If the State treats some people as second class, or second-rate, or, worse, criminals, because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, it invites members of the public to do the same. The result is an alarming and deeply entrenched pattern of violence and discrimination directed at people who are or are perceived to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.”

Clinton Breaks New Ground on Women, Peace and Security

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addressed a star-studded crowd at the International Crisis Group’s annual awards dinner in New York City on Friday evening, that included former President Bill Clinton, Queen Noor, the widow of Jordan’s King Hussein, Kati Marton, a journalist and author and the widow of the late Richard Holbrooke, a celebrated U.S. envoy and diplomat, U.S. Army Gen. (ret.) Wesley Clark, among many others, on  why it is vital to U.S. interests, as well as the world, to include women leaders when ending conflict and seeking to make peace in its many forms in conflicts that dominate much of Africa, including the emerging democracies in the Middle East and North Africa.  Clinton made her case by not only appealing with a moral argument to include representatives of more than half of humanity, but because emerging social science data indicates that to sustain peace, women must be included in securing agreements:

We can start by asking what’s missing from most peace talks and the agreements they produce. One answer to that question is women. In the past 20 years, hundreds of peace treaties have been signed. But a sampling of those treaties shows that less than 8 percent of negotiators were women.

Now, there is a clear moral argument – after all, women do represent half of humanity and they have, we have, a fundamental right to participate in the decisions that shape our lives. But the moral argument has so far failed to change behavior on the front lines, where it matters most.

So we need to move the discussion off the margins and into the center of the global debate, and we frankly have to appeal to the self-interest of all people, men as well as women. Because including more women in peacemaking is not just the right thing to do, it’s also the smart thing to do. This is about our own national security and the security of people everywhere.

Tonight I want briefly to examine the growing body of evidence that shows how women contribute to making and keeping peace – and that those contributions lead to better outcomes for entire societies.

Clinton ended her speech by announcing news that she would be announcing the Obama Administration’s new comprehensive policy that will be accelerating and institutionalizing efforts in support of UN Security Council Resolution 1325,relating to women, peace and security, across the U.S. Government to advance women’s participation in making and keeping peace in a speech on Monday at Georgetown University.

Last U.S. Troops Leave Iraq  Ending War After Nine Long Years

President Barack Obama fulfilled a 2008 campaign promise today as the last convoy of American troops left Iraq and crossed into Kuwait territory, ending a 9-year war that cost more than 4,500 American lives and more than 100,000 Iraqi civilian lives, amidst political uncertainty, with calls for a no-confidence vote against Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq, and security sources and lawmakers said an arrest warrant had been issued for Tareq al-Hashemi, one of Iraq’s two vice presidents.  Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s Shi’ite-led government still struggles with a delicate power-sharing arrangement between Shi’ite, Kurdish and Sunni parties, leaving Iraq vulnerable to meddling by Sunni Arab nations and Shi’ite Iran.


CDC Reports Epidemic of Violence Against Women in America 

The Centers for Disease Control announced this week findings from a ground breaking study that indicates domestic and sexual violence against American women at epidemic rates that affects “on average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner “.  The CDC data also estimates 1 million women are raped annually and more than 6 million women are stalked annually in the United States.

“The health problems caused by violence remind us of the importance of prevention”, said Howard Spivak, MD, Director of CDC’s Injury Center Division of Violence Prevention. “In addition to intervening and providing services, prevention efforts need to start earlier in life, with the ultimate goal of preventing all of these types of violence before they start.”

The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) is the first study by the CDC’s newest public health surveillance systems and is designed to monitor the magnitude of sexual violence, stalking and intimate partner violence victimization in the United States and breaks down the study by states, which contains much more detailed and explanatory data.

In the same week the CDC study was released, the 10th body of a group of murdered prostitutes, that included one transvestite, was recovered in Oak Beach, New York, a veritable burial ground who was identified as missing prostitute Shannon Gilbert.  All have been alleged to have been killed by a serial murderer, yet to be arrested.  And an unrelated horrific crime took place in Brooklyn, New York City on Saturday–a woman was burned alive in a Brooklyn elevator, apparently by a man dressed as an exterminator, who sprayed her with an accelerant and tossed a molotov cocktail into the elevator, burning her alive, trapped as the doors closed.

HUD  Hosts First Summit on LGBT Aging and Housing Needs

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the National Center for Lesbian Rights convened the first-​ever national summit for LGBT elders last Wednesday at HUD’s headquarters in Washington, DC.

Demographic shifts across the country have highlighted issues and challenges for older Americans, especially true for aging LGBT Americans – a population that has been historically ignored by the federal government and is more likely to age without the benefits of family support, face discrimination in housing and health care, and rely on assisted living and long-​term care.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights’ federal policy director Maya Rupert, issued a statement about the conference:

“This event was historic, and we are incredibly grateful to the Obama administration for understanding that housing for LGBT elders deserves to be a federal issue. Older LGBT people are in a particularly vulnerable position as they come to rely on long-term care and assisted living facilities because of widespread discrimination they and their families face in many of these facilities. We have a responsibility to ensure that as members of our community age, they are afforded dignity and respect wherever they live. We are thrilled to have been a part of making this event happen, and we look forward to continue working with HUD, HHS, and the rest of the Obama administration to ensure protection and high quality care for all elders and their families.”

The day-​long conference brought together advocates and practitioners from across the country to highlight existing barriers for LGBT elders, as well as explore future possibilities for building upon current efforts to support housing and long-​term care for LGBT elders. Speakers included Assistant Secretaries Raphael Bostic of HUD’s Policy and Research Development, and John Trasviña of HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, as well as a host of other leaders in the LGBT community.  See the event website for more information.

In Memoriam

Celebrated writer, author and pundit Christopher Hitchens died Friday morning after a long fight with esophageal cancer.  A proclaimed atheist and a polemical figure, with a massive appetite for cigarettes and scotch, Hitchens eviscerated his targets of opportunity over the years with a fine edged razor, drawing blood at whim and continued to write apparently until his final days, according to friends.  Hitchens did not convert to any sort of religion in his last moments, much to the chagrin of a number of his critics, including evangelical leader Rick Warren, who attempted to  profess that Hitchens had finally met the “truth” in his after life.

While many have offered soaring tributes to Hitchen’s prolific writing through the duration of his career, some of his critics have been particularly harsh with his right-wing tilt and embrace of the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld invasion of Iraq and upon reflective review of his ‘ode to fellatio’ Vanity Fair 2006 essay “As American As Apple Pie,” , Hitchens appears to have harbored not only misogyny, which is rather par for the course among straight men, but reserves of deep homophobia with lines like these:   “The queer monopoly on blowjobs was the result of male anatomy, obviously, and also of the wish of many gays to have sex with heterosexual men. … This was therefore an inducement the gay man could offer to the straight, who could in turn accept it without feeling that he had done anything too faggotty … The illusion of the tonsilized clitoris will probably never die (and gay men like to keep their tonsils for a reason that I would not dream of mentioning), … America’s gay manhood is still sucking away as if for oxygen itself….”.  Enough said.  Take a long rest Hitch.


H/T to Michael Bedwell for Hitchens’ “As American As Apple Pie” homophobic characterizations.  Christopher Hitchens photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

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, LGBT human rights, gender issues, sex trafficking, and media freedom.


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‘These Are Our National Secrets’: Democrat Slams GOP for Ignoring Trump Classified Documents Found ‘In the S——’



U.S. Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-TX) blasted House Republicans for ignoring the hundreds of classified documents photographed on stage and “in the s——” at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort and residence, while going after President Joe Biden who she said not one witness at Thursday’s impeachment “inquiry” had identified what crime he allegedly committed.

“As I prepared,” Rep. Crockett told members of the House Oversight Committee Thursday, “I said, ‘What is the crime?’ Because when you’re talking about impeachment, you’re talking about high crimes and misdemeanors, and I can’t seem to find the crime and honestly, no one has testified of what crime they believe the President of the United States has committed.”

“But when we started talking about things that look like evidence, they want to act like they blind, they don’t know what this is,” Crockett said, waving photographs of boxes allegedly containing classified and top secret documents on stage and in a restroom at Mar-a-Lago.

RELATED: ‘He Knows I’m Right’: Democrat Mocks ‘Scared’ McCarthy and Blows Off Chairman Comer in ‘Very Unserious’ Hearing

“These are our national secrets, looks like in the s—— to me,” she said, as NBC News described her remarks. “This looks like more evidence of our national secrets, say on the stage at Mar-a-Lago. When we’re talking about somebody that’s committed high crimes it’s at least indictments, let’s say 32 counts related to unauthorized retention of national security secrets, seven counts related to obstructing the investigation. Three false statements, one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, falsifying business records, conspiracy to defraud the United States, two counts related to efforts to obstruct the vote certification proceedings, one count of conspiracy to violate civil rights, 23 counts related to forgery or false documents statements, eight counts related to soliciting, and I could go on because he’s got 91 counts pending right now.”

“But I will tell you what the President [Biden] has been guilty of. He has unfortunately been guilty of loving his child unconditionally, and that is the only evidence that they have brought forward and honestly, I hope and pray that my parents love me half as much as he loves his child. Until they find some evidence we need to get back to the people’s work, which means keeping this government open so that people don’t go hungry in the streets of the United States, and I will yield.”

Congresswoman Crockett’s remarks quickly went viral, with just this video getting 4.6 million views in just four hours.

Watch below or at this link.

RELATED: ‘Flying Monkeys on a Mission for the Wicked Witch’: Raskin Rips Republicans Over Impeachment ‘Inquiry’

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‘He Knows I’m Right’: Democrat Mocks ‘Scared’ McCarthy and Blows Off Chairman Comer in ‘Very Unserious’ Hearing



During House Republicans’ impeachment “inquiry” into President Joe Biden, U.S. Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-FL) detailed Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s transition from refusing to allow a vote for an impeachment inquiry to ordering his top Chairmen to initiate an impeachment “inquiry” in the span of just twelve days.

Congressman Frost, the youngest member of the House, called the Speaker “scared,” before turning his attention to the GOP’s witnesses who he said “are not giving us any basis or giving us any evidence or anything,” angering Republican Oversight Chairman Jim Comer, who interjected, “That’s not true.”

Rep. Frost refused to allow the Chairman to interrupt him, and shot back, “Reclaiming my time.”

“These these witnesses are not giving any answers. They’re just asking more questions,” Rep. Frost continued.

While challenging the credibility of the GOP’s witnesses, Frost said there was “one witness who has a lot of questions .. one witness who knows something about accounting but has no real involvement,” and then accused the third witness, the well-known attorney and commentator Jonathan Turley, of “stopping here on his way to his next Fox News hit.”

READ MORE: ‘All Those Biden Towers’ Where ‘Influence Was Used’: Democrat Turns Tables and Mocks Republicans in Sarcastic Q&A

Frost noted that had McCarthy put an impeachment inquiry on the floor for a vote, it “would lose on the House floor and be another embarrassment in the long list of embarrassments in this Congress for the Speaker of the House.”

He added that far-right Republicans  threatened “to shut down the government, something that will happen in just two days.” He also noted, “this is the one that really got to [McCarthy], they said you, you’re about to lose your job and they said we will remove you as Speaker of the house.”

“And that scared him so much that Kevin McCarthy, the Speaker of the House, the United States House of Representatives, third in line to the presidency, completely caved due to the threats of people within his own caucus.”

READ MORE: ‘Flying Monkeys on a Mission for the Wicked Witch’: Raskin Rips Republicans Over Impeachment ‘Inquiry’

Pointing to Chairman Comer, Frost on social media said, “He had to interrupt me because he knows I’m right. They say that this isn’t an impeachment, it’s an impeachment ‘inquiry’ to get answers. Then they call up witnesses that are just asking more questions and not providing any answers or evidence. This hearing is very unserious.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.



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‘All Those Biden Towers’ Where ‘Influence Was Used’: Democrat Turns Tables and Mocks Republicans in Sarcastic Q&A



U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) turned the tables on Republicans during the House Oversight Committee’s first impeachment “inquiry” into President Joe Biden by sarcastically referring to “all those Biden towers all over the world where foreign partnerships were formed and influence was used here in the US,” forcing the witness to correct him and point out he actually meant ex-President Donald Trump.

The hearing, chaired by Rep. Jim Comer (R-KY) was widely seen as another failed effort by House Republicans against President Biden. It took a turn when Republicans’ own witness, law professor and Fox News media contributor Jonathan Turley told them he saw no evidence that warrants an impeachment of the President.

Meanwhile, Congressman Connelly’s scathing remarks quickly spread across social media, garnering hundreds of thousands of views views in just hours.

“Um, well let’s see,” Connolly began, slowly, “I’m looking at, um, I heard again, um, I think it was professor Hurley talk about – – because he’s not prejudging of course, but he’s just suggesting that maybe we want to look into criminal activity like obstruction, fraud, and abuse of power.”

“So let’s take fraud. So shouldn’t we be concerned that a New York judge just found President Biden’s organization committing fraud every year for the last 10 or 15 years,” Connolly continued, “and that, under the Martin law, that Biden organization is now subject to dismemberment and dismantlement because of the fraudulent activity?”

READ MORE: ‘Flying Monkeys on a Mission for the Wicked Witch’: Raskin Rips Republicans Over Impeachment ‘Inquiry’

“That should be of concern to Mr. Trump,” the witness, Professor Michael Gerhardt, replied.

“Mr. Trump again!” Connolly sarcastically exclaimed, feigning surprise. “And in this case, we’re not speculating, a judge actually made that ruling?”

“Yes sir,” Gerhardt replied.

”Should we be concerned about the personal – I mean, while we’re at it, while we’re loading on – shouldn’t we be concerned about the personal behavior of the President, for example, President Trump or President Biden, being found guilty of sexual assault and defamation associated with that activity, again in a civil court?”

“We should be concerned as it related to Mr. Trump,” Gerhardt again replied.

“With Mr. Trump again?” Connolly again said mockingly.

“I just think that one of the reasons we’re here is because somebody has been indicted in four different locales, on four different sets of concerns, with I think 81, 91 actual counts, and has been found guilty in two civil proceedings, one involving sexual behavior and one on actual corporate fraudulent activity. And we don’t want to talk about any of that. We want to speculate about discredited testimony from discredited witnesses,” Connolly added.

“Distract, deflect, dissemble,” Connolly added. “I think this hearing’s all about ‘look over here, not over there.’”

READ MORE: Poll Finds Majority Oppose Impeachment Inquiry as House GOP Kicks Off Hearings Two Days Before Likely Shutdown

“I’ve heard concerns about ‘branding,'” Connolly continued. “So, shouldn’t we be concerned about all those Biden towers all over the world where foreign partnerships were formed and influence was used here in the United States? I’ve seen these towers in Indonesia, in the Philippines, in Turkey. I even saw one in Chicago. Shouldn’t that be a source of concern of this committee in terms of influence, both foreign and domestic, when Biden became president?”

“If there were such things as ‘Biden building,'” Gerhardt said.

“Well, was there anyone who did have them?” Connolly asked. “Well, could you tell us? Just give me the name.”

“I think we’re talking about Mr. Trump,” Gerhardt replied.

“So, when President Biden appointed his son to manage U.S. foreign policy, both in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East peace, by the way, a son who couldn’t qualify for getting a security clearance, but President Biden apparently granted it to Hunter anyhow – and then, after leaving the White House, getting a $2 billion deal … shouldn’t that be of concern to us that maybe a sweetheart deal occurred with the blessing of the president, with foreign money, and shouldn’t we look into Hunter Biden for that, given the fact that the handled Middle East peace in the White House?”

“It should have been a concern with President Trump and his son-in-law,” Gerhardt said.

“Oh Trump. I got that wrong again,” snarked Congressman Connolly.

Watch the videos above or at this link.

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