Discrimination and bullying are emotionally and physically harmful, and can lead to death. The U.S. Senate today had a chance to literally save lives of LGBT students, and almost all of theÂ RepublicansÂ chose not to.
In September of 2010, the nation was stunned by what the media called a “rash” of LGBTQ student suicides resulting from bullying. At the time, the mainstream media reported there had been five bullying-related LGBT teen suicides, but NCRM counted at least ten that month. Some of the names you probably remember:Â Tyler Clementi,Â Billy Lucas,Â Seth Walsh,Â Asher Brown, to name a few.Â
September of course is the heightÂ of the back-to school season, and back-to-school for too many LGBTQ students can mean back-to-being-bullied.Â
Since 2010 the nation in many respects has changed dramatically. LGBT people are, overall, far more accepted. Gay people can serve openly in the military, marry, and generally live a life somewhat reduced of discrimination and bullying.
Kids, however, still have far less protections than adults, and with social media and constant access to the Internet, the bullying can be, literally, 24/7. For them, in many cases, it hasn’t gotten better.
That’s why LGBTQ students need protection from discrimination and bullying.
Al Franken, a Democratic US Senator from Minnesota, yesterday deliveredÂ a powerful address to his colleaguesÂ about anti-LGBT bullying and discrimination. That’s him above, standing next to a photo ofÂ Seth Walsh, a gay teen, one of the too many who in September of 2010 succumbed to suicide after relentless bullying.Â
â€œBy seventh grade, taunts and verbal abuse were a constant part of Sethâ€™s day,â€ Franken told his fellow Senators. â€œStudents called him faggot and queer. He was afraid to use the restroom or to be in the boysâ€™ locker room before gym class.â€Â
â€œAnd in September of 2010, Seth hanged himself from a tree in his familyâ€™s backyard,â€ Franken announced. â€œHe was 13. Seth left a note expressing his love for family and friends but also his anger at the school.â€
â€œThis amendment would simply provide LGBT kids with the same legal remedies available to other kids under our federal civil rights laws,â€ Franken said.
â€œIf a black child was referred to by a racial slur at school, would we say kids will be kids?â€ Sen. Franken asked his colleagues yesterday. â€œIf a Jewish student got beat up because he wore a yarmulke to school, would we wave it off and say boys will be boys? If a shop teacher told a female student she didnâ€™t belong in his class, would we be fine if the school just looked the other way? No, we would not. In fact, there are federal civil rights laws that are specifically designed to stop this kind of conduct.â€
Sen. Franken offered his colleagues an opportunity today to help reduce bullying against LGBTQ youth in public schools, by voting for a bill to “end discrimination based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity in public schools.”
They said, in response to helping save lives of LGBTQ students, “no.”
Literally, 45 RepublicansÂ â€“ and only RepublicansÂ â€“ all voted to let LGBTQ kids continue to be bullied and discriminatedÂ against in our nation’s school. Six Republican Senators did cross the aisle to vote for Sen. Franken’s legislation, an amendment attached to a bill updating No Child Left BehindÂ â€“ an appropriate gesture, in fact, but eight more Republicans were needed to bring to vote to 60 “yeas.”
The Washington Post credits Tennessee Republican Senator Lamar Alexander with leading the charge against Sen. Franken’s SENDA legislation,Â the Student Nondiscrimination Act, claiming it would lead toÂ â€œcostly lawsuits.â€
Apparently, fear of possible lawsuits outweighs Senator Alexander’s concern about the actual emotional and physical harm being visited upon LGBTQ youth.
Here’s the list of all U.S. Senators who this afternoon voted to allow our nation’s LGBTQ youth to continue to be bulliedÂ â€“ these are the NAY’s. You’ll notice that each NAY is from a Republican Senator, headed by Sen. Alexander:
Here’s the list of all the US Senators who voted to help protect LGBTQ youth from bullyingÂ â€“ these are the YEAs:
Not voting were U.S. Republican Senators and 2016 presidential candidates Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio. Also not voting was U.S. Democratic Senator Bill Nelson, who has been out after undergoing cancer surgery Monday.
You can also seeÂ the full listÂ at Congress.gov.
You can and should contact your U.S. Senator to let them know how you feel about theirÂ vote. If they voted yes, thank them and urge them to vote yes again. If they voted no, please explain to them why their vote literally is putting children in harm’s way.
You can also tweet your Senators, or look them up on Facebook.
Image: Screenshot via UpTakeVideo/YouTube
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McConnell Refuses to Commit to Confirming a Biden Supreme Court Nominee if GOP Takes Back the Senate
Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is refusing to say he will not “mount a blockade” against a possible Supreme Court nominee put forth by President Joe Biden, should the opportunity arise, if Republicans take back the Senate after the 2022 elections.
McConnell, as Majority Leader, infamously refused to even allow then-President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee to have any confirmation hearings, keeping the seat open if a Republican won the White House in 2016, which Donald Trump did.
In an interview with Politico’s Burgess Everett, the Kentucky Republican who has been in the U.S. Senate since 1984 was asked if he would again “mount a blockade.”
“Cross those bridges when I get there, we are focusing on ‘22,” McConnell said, Everett reports. “I don’t rule anything in or out about how to handle nominations if I’m in the majority position.”
Politico’s Anthony Adragna opines that “progressives will freak”over McConnell’s remarks.
“Liberal groups have ratcheted up the pressure on Justice Stephen Breyer to consider retirement, fearing McConnell would simply keep the seat open if he regains power in the midterms…. These comments will only add fuel to those fears.”
The U.S. Supreme Court currently has a 6-3 conservative majority, with three of those six justices being placed on the Court by Donald Trump. Many Democrats believe it’s time to expand the court to 11 or 13 justices to better represent the American people. The Court has had nine justices since 1869. The 1870 census reported the population of the United States at just 38 million people. Today, the total U.S. population is 332 million, nearly nine times that number.
Fox News Goes Full White Supremacist With Republican Who Says ‘Hope and Change’ Means ‘Replace the American Electorate’
Fox News has gone full white supremacist. The right wing cable network’s top primetime host, Tucker Carlson, has been promoting the racist “great replacement” conspiracy theory since April, doubling down on it this week. But now Fox News’ daytime programming is totally on board, embracing that racist rhetoric.
On Friday “Fox & Friends” hosted U.S. Rep Brian Babin, who spewed the “great replacement” conspiracy theory, adding a new racist twist.
According to the Texas Republican, former President Barack Obama’s “Hope and Change” slogan means “change America” by replacing “the electorate with third-world immigrants that are coming in illegally, many of them COVID-positive.”
Babin repeatedly said “change America,” honing in on the white supremacist conspiracy theory of “replacement,” a concept seared into the minds of many Americans who saw the tiki-torch wielding neo-Nazis marching through Charlotte chanting, “You will not replace us.”
“We know what the grand strategy of the Democratic Party is,” Congressman Babin declared. “They want to change America, ‘hope and change,’ and it started under Obama and now it’s really going to just racehorse speed.”
“They want to change America, they want to they want to replace the American electorate with third-world immigrants that are coming in illegally, many of them COVID-positive, drug resistant tuberculosis, I’m a health care provider, I can tell you it’s a disaster down there from a public health standpoint, and they are just want to change the electorate and put these people on a path to citizenship and franchise them with a vote and have a permanent majority. On every phase we can see every aspect the Democrats are trying to change America, from what we know what we love and what we have enjoyed for 244 years, right, it’s despicable.”
Fox News, largely through Tucker Carlson, has turned the white nationalist “great replacement” conspiracy theory into Republican orthodoxy.
— Lis Power (@LisPower1) September 24, 2021
‘It’s a War’: Trump Pleads With Employees as NY Prosecutors Look to Crack ‘Mob-Like Code of Silence’ – Report
New York prosecutors are attempting to exploit a “Shakespearean” internal conflict at the Trump Organization between two rival dynasties, as they aim to crack the company’s “mob-like code of silence,” according to a new report from the Daily Beast.
Former president Donald Trump, aware of prosecutors’ strategy, has been reminding employees to “stick together” and stay strong, according to the report.
The internal conflict pits the Weisselberg family — whose patriarch, Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, has been indicted in a 15-year tax-fraud scheme — and the Calamari family, led by Chief Operating Officer Matthew Calamari Sr.
“They hate each other. It’s a war,” Allen Weisselberg’s daughter, Jennifer, who has become a witness for New York prosecutors, recently told the Daily Beast.
Trump himself has always seemed to be New York prosecutors’ chief target in the ongoing probe, but in order to get him, they’ll need his right-hand finance man, Weisselberg, to flip, according to the report.
In order to get Weisselberg to flip, prosecutors are attempting to leverage the CFO’s assistant, company controller and accountant Jeffrey S. McConney. So investigators have been trying to get Calamari’s son, Matty Jr., to provide damning information about McConney, who prepared his individual taxes.
According to the report, it has become “common knowledge” in the upper echelon of Trump’s business and personal circles that prosecutors are attempting to exploit the rivalry between the two families.
“It’s gotten so apparent that, in multiple meetings and phone calls since the spring, Donald Trump has reminded business associates and other members of his inner orbit about the need for Trump Organization staff to ‘stick together’ and stay strong, according to two other people familiar with the matter,” the Daily Beast reported. “The enmity between the Weisselbergs and Calamaris dates back decades, and it centers on their unwavering love of Trump. Two longtime associates described a Shakespearean conflict of rival dynasties, with dukes competing for the king’s favor.”
Earlier this week, Weisselberg’s attorney said in court that he has “strong reason to believe there could be other indictments coming” in the investigation — which prosecutors have been aggressively pursuing.
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