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Week in Review: US “Occupy” Movement Explodes; UK’s Cameron Supports Gay Marriage; CA Dream Act Becomes Law

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The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to three women advocates of non-violent action; UK’s Prime Minister endorses gay marriage to party loyalists– Tories and religious leaders protest strongly; the American”Occupy” movement exponentially explodes. The New Civil Rights Movement introduces “In Memoriam”. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

International

Nobel Peace Prize Awarded to Three Women for Non-Violent Activism

Ellen Johnson-Sireaf, president of Liberia and Leymah Gbowee, a Liberian peace activist and Tawakul Karman, a Yemeni media and human rights activist were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Oct. 7 “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.”

President Obama praised the winners stating:   “On behalf of the American people, I congratulate the recipients of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee of Liberia, and Tawakkul Karman of Yemen. Today’s award honors three extraordinary individuals, and sends a powerful message that the struggle for universal rights and human dignity can only be fulfilled with the full participation of women around the globe.”

European Banks Face New Stress Tests

The European Banking Authority, the top European banking regulator, called for a second round of peripheral Eurozone bank stress tests this past week that could potentially identify capital shortfalls across the banking system that could total as much as $266 billion.  Europe continues to struggle with an Eurozone sovereign debt crisis, teetering on collapse which has been in crisis for weeks and months.  Principal countries of concern are Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain (aka the “PIIGS”).

UK PM David Cameron Declares Support for Gay Marriage

David Cameron, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, declared his support for legalized gay marriage at a Tory Party conference this past week to less than an enthusiastic audience that was marked by protest, prompting some party delegates walk out.  The Conservative Party leader forcefully expressed his support for gay marriage:  “Conserrvatives believe in ties that bind us; that society is stronger when we make vows to each other.  So I don’t support gay marriage despite being a Conservative.  I support gay marriage because I’m a Conservative”. Cameron’s endorsement was immediately repudiated by a spokesperson of the Church of England,  joined by various leaders of the British Roman Catholic Church.

U.S. Envoy hosts Eastern European LGBT Human Rights Defenders

Ambassador David Johnson, head of the U.S. delegation that attended the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s annual ‘Human Dimension’ Implementation meeting in Warsaw this past week, hosted a reception for LGBT human rights defenders who continue to face fierce and frequent violent oppostion to gay pride events around Europe, most recently in Belgrade on Oct. 2 when Serbian government officials cancelled a planned pride march due to ultra-nationalistic opposition that threatened violence.

Mark Bromley, chair of the Council for Global Equality, who also attended the meeting, said in a statement to the New Civil Rights Movement that the U.S. government’s role has proven to be a constructive one, although the 56-member state organization has yet to formalize a systematic review of LGBT human rights in the OSCE region:  “The U.S. government is now working closely with many EU colleagues to raise LGBT concerns in the discussion, even if it is not formally on the agenda.  Ambassador Johnson raised LGBT human rights issues several times during the meeting.”

 

National

Occupy Movement Explodes Across America 

The “Occupy” social and political movement in America continues to expand in the numbers of cities where actions are taking place, as activists increase, compelling organizers to create a second location in New York City at Washington Square Park and growing numbers of new cities join the disaffected ranks as the nacent movement enters its 4th week which began on Sept. 17 with a small group of demonstrators on Wall Street.   Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel laureate economist, among other luminaries made the trek to Wall Street to meet and talk with demonstrators , giving political heft to their disenchantment with American banks and investors,who were bailed out the U.S. government in recent years.

While liberal blogs, like Fire Dog Lake and Wonkette have been regularly reporting and blogging on “Occupy Wall Street” since its earliest beginnings–the movement appears to have gained legitimacy as mainstream media, including all major television networks who are reporting from Wall Street nightly, as well as on the additional 85 cities, who apparently are also “under occupation”.   President Obama acknowledged the demonstrators’ anger during presidential press conference this past week.  Criticism of the demonstrators has been forthcoming from Republican Party circles by presidential candidate Herman Cain who said on Wall Street Journal televison this past week:  “I don’t have facts to back this up, but it appears that these are planned and orchestrated demonstrations” to deflect attention from failed Obama Adminstration policies.  Congressional Majority Leader Eric Cantor has called the activists “mobs”.

Nation observes 10th anniversary of Afghanistan war–longest in U.S. history

Friday marked the tenth anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. During  the past decade, more than 2,500 international troops have been killed,  including nearly 1,800  American troops in the ongoing  military effort called “Operation Enduring Freedom.”  Additionally, more than 14,000 American soldiers have been injured, $450 billion has been spent in prosecuting the war that accumulates at $2 billion weekly.  Stanley McCrystal, the Army’s former commanding general in Afghanistan remarked on Friday before an audience at the Council on Foreign Relations that the [U.S.] was only halfway through accomplishing its goals there because of “our understanding of Afghanistan is frighteningly simplistic”.  McCrystal also said that the biggest challenge for the U.S. remains to assist Afghanis in the  establishment of  “a stable, legitimate government that is an effective counterbalance to the Taliban”.

California Adopts Dream Act; Alabama’s Immigration Law Creates Humanitarian Disaster

Governor Jerry Brown of California, put the most populated state into the pro-support column for undocumented immigrant students, when he signed the California Dream Act yesterday, giving legal access to these students for tuition assistance enabling them to  attend California state universities beginning in 2013. The Congress failed to adopt a federal version of similar benefits that was included in the the United We Dream Act in 2010, despite a gallant effort.  Supporters continue to pursue a federal remedy.

Meanwhile, the State of Alabama adopted a draconian anti-illegal immigrant law that has resulted in families leaving the state in droves.  The law’s adoption resulted in an immediate shortage of farm workers, compelling farmers to appeal to the State to use prison gangs to bring in this year’s harvest.  The Southern Poverty Law Center declared this week that the new Alabama law is creating a humanitarian crisis for immigrants, legal and undocumented. The SPLC has received more than a 1,000 calls to their immigration telephone hotline since the law was passed.

In Memoriam

Paula Ettelbrick, Gay Rights Pioneer, Dies at 56

Paula Ettelbrick, a lesbian feminist and heralded gay rights activist who had held a number of leadership positions with gay rights groups, sucumbed to an aggressive form of ovarian cancer Oct. 7. Ettelbrick was broadly recognized for her groundbreaking contributions and was honored by a New York Times news obituary in her passing.

Steven Jobs, the “Thomas Edison” of the 21st Century, Dies at 56

Steven Jobs, a co-founder of Apple Computers and considered the  Thomas Edison of the computer age, died on Oct. 6th after losing a battle to a rare form of pancreatic cancer.  Jobs, who had been sick for several years, worked through the last weeks of his life.

Matthew Sheppard, Remembering his Life 13 Years Later

Matthew Sheppard was a 21-year-old college student, when he was lured outside a bar under a ruse, beaten senseless, pistol whipped and left for dead, strung up on an unforgiving Wyoming fence that eventually claimed his life.  Eleven years later, Barack Obama would sign the  Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.  We remember Matthew, his sacrifice and the work continues.

Fred Shuttlesworth, Co-Founder of the SCLC and Civil Rights leader, Dies at 89

The Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, a major civil rights leader who battled  racisim and the Jim Crow South, who was also a co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Rev. Ralph Abernathy, died this past week at the age of 89.  He was a key decisionmaker in taking a principled stand against the Jim Crow policies of Birmingham, Alabama–a city that witnessed the use of dogs turned on black children by then-Sheriff Bull Connors, which became a major turning point in turning back racism in Southern United States.

 

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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COMMENTARY

‘Folks Knew Crimes Were About to Be Committed’: Dem Lawmakers Furious Over Republicans’ Involvement in Jan. 6

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Americans are expressing outrage after a bombshell Rolling Stone report that claims several GOP Members of Congress and their staffs were involved in planning and organizing Donald Trump’s January 6 rally that led to the violent and deadly insurrection, along with “Trump’s efforts to overturn his election loss.”

Some of those who are among the most outraged are Democratic Members of Congress, who were in the Capitol on January 6 and feared for their lives. Learning that some of their GOP colleagues were involved in the planning of the rally that precipitated the insurrection has been “triggering,” as one House Democrat revealed, adding that it makes her “blood boil.”

The Rolling Stone article cites two “planners of the pro-Trump rallies that took place in Washington, D.C.,” who allege Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) were deeply involved, along with these members of Congress or their aides: Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX).

Legal experts have called for those members of Congress and staffers to be expelled if the allegations are true, while one has urged people to “chill,” and let the DOJ do what it needs to.

Related –
‘Just Three Words: Call Your Lawyer’: Legal Experts Weigh in on Bombshell Report Naming Republicans Involved in Jan. 6

But the outrage is palpable.

U.S. Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA) calls the Rolling Stone article “highly disturbing.”

“No one should be above the law,” he says, “including Members of Congress and former White House Staff. And if pardons were indeed discussed in advance, why would that be? Because folks knew crimes were about to be committed.”

U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) says she is “joining the calls for those who helped plan the deadly January 6th insurrection to be immediately expelled.”

“Every Member of Congress that helped to plan the attempted coup of our government shouldn’t be allowed to serve in Congress.”

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng, the first Asian-American elected to Congress from New York, says she has “angry tears right now,” citing the Rolling Stone report.

“During 1/6, I, like many, texted loved ones goodbye. Countless people have asked if I’ve been ok since & I’ve always answered truthfully that i was fine. But this article was triggering. How could colleagues be traitors? This makes my blood boil.”

She adds:

U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) says the Rolling Stone report is “Further reinforcement of why the work of the” House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack “is so important. If any current members of Congress worked with the insurrectionists who threatened the very government they are a part of, they should be removed from office.”

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) says reports like the Rolling Stone article “underscore why the work of the Jan. 6th Committee is so important. We must follow all the facts, no matter where they lead.”

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OPINION

Don Jr. Suggests Trump’s New Social Media Site Was Created to Help Republicans Win Elections

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Donald Trump, Jr. is appearing to suggest his father’s new social media platform, Truth Social, was created to help Republicans win elections.

Appearing on far right host Sebastian Gorka’s Newsmax show that aired Sunday, Trump Jr. was asked in a segment about the new social media site what his “specific message” is “to those who had just kind of given up on the idea of America and free and fair elections.”

Trump Jr. did not hesitate.

“Let’s stay in the game,” he replied, after discussing Truth Social for several minutes and urging viewers to join. “I mean, you know, these are all steps that we’re taking to make sure that we can level that playing field, the playing field has been so biased for so long, right?” he claimed.

“We’ve been playing T ball while the other side has been playing hardball and doing whatever it takes,” Trump Jr. said, despite some Republicans working to overturn the free and fair 2020 presidential election.

“You know, Donald Trump opened the door for conservatives to start pushing back, to play the game the way the other side has done it. We need to keep doing that, we need to stay in this game. They would love for us just to tuck tail to run to turn the other cheek to be dejected, to take our ball and go home. We can’t allow that to happen, we have to stay in the game we have to stay involved we have to be vocal and we have to be unafraid.”

And even though Facebook was formed in 2004, Twitter in 2006, Microsoft in 1980, and Apple in 1976,  he also seemed to suggest that “Big Tech” or social media platforms have been working against Republicans for 50 years.

“And if we do that and you look at what’s going on right now with the insanity of this administration and all of the leftist agenda, you realize, Americans are waking up. It’s about time, but they’re finally doing it and we’re actually able to put up a front against a huge, huge platform that has been working against us, for half a century.”

Watch:

 

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COMMENTARY

‘Just Three Words: Call Your Lawyer’: Legal Experts Weigh in on Bombshell Report Naming Republicans Involved in Jan. 6

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Legal experts including a Harvard professor and a top election and voting rights law attorney are weighing in on Sunday night’s bombshell report from Rolling Stone naming members of Congress and the Trump administration who were involved in the planning and organizing of the January 6 rally and/or “Trump’s efforts to overturn his election loss,” according to two of the planners of the “Stop the Steal” rally.

Rolling Stone reports “planners of the pro-Trump rallies that took place in Washington, D.C., have begun communicating with congressional investigators and sharing new information about what happened when the former president’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol. Two of these people have spoken to Rolling Stone extensively in recent weeks and detailed explosive allegations that multiple members of Congress were intimately involved in planning both Trump’s efforts to overturn his election loss and the Jan. 6 events that turned violent.”

Those named in the Rolling Stone report as allegedly being involved include Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), and these members of Congress or their staffers: Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX).

Harvard professor, CNN Analyst, Grip Mobility CEO, well-known national security expert and former Obama Homeland Security official Juliette Kayyem says clearly: “Mark Meadows, just three words: call your lawyer.”

Marc Elias, a top election law attorney who oversaw the 50-state response to the Trump campaign’s attempts contesting the 2020 election for the DNC calls for every member of Congress involved to be “expelled.”

Elie Mystal, the Justice Correspondent for The Nation says this is a matter for the DOJ:

“The potential that Members of Congress were deeply involved in the failed Trump Coup is another reason AG Garland must appoint a Special Counsel to investigate Jan. 6th,” says former Nixon White House Counsel John Dean, who also makes clear this is a matter for DOJ. “There are Congressional staff who can testify to the involvement of Members.”

Glenn Kirschner, a former federal prosecutor for 30 years, is calling it the “mother of all cover-ups.”

Attorney Maya Wiley, an MSNBC and NBC News Legal Analyst and senior vice president for social justice at The New School says it “Certainly explains how hard GOP tried to derail” the January 6 Committee.

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