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Trump Creates New ‘Conscience and Religious Freedom Division’ at HHS to Support Discrimination by Health Care Professionals

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“No One Should Be Forced to Choose Between Helping Sick People and Living by One’s Deepest Moral or Religious Convictions” Division’s Chief Announces

The Office of Civil Rights at President Donald Trump’s Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) has a new division created to help ensure discrimination by medical professionals who chose to cite their religious or moral convictions when refusing to treat certain patients or when refusing to perform certain functions. The Conscience and Religious Freedom Division was officially announced in an HHS press release Thursday.

Transgender people, women seeking contraception or abortion services, gay, lesbian, bisexual people, people living with HIV/AIDS seem particularly at risk for further – and now federally-sanctioned – discrimination under the Trump administration.

No one should be forced to choose between helping sick people and living by one’s deepest moral or religious convictions,” said Roger Severino (photo), Director of the HHS Office of Civil Rights (OCR). Severino, whose resume includes positions at far right wing organizations, has a long history of publicly opposing transgender people.

In short, under the Trump administration’s new policy and new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division, health care workers could, for example, refuse to treat a transgender patient, just because they are transgender. Gay, lesbian, and bisexual people all could be refused a doctor’s appointment or told at an emergency room they have to seek help elsewhere. Unmarried sexually-active women could be refused contraception, or forced to shop around for a doctor willing to perform a medically-necessary abortion. Same-sex couples seeking a pediatrician for a newborn child could also be refused.

NCRM first reported Wednesday that the complaint portal website for the Office for Civil Rights at HHS had already been updated to include greatly expanded language on Federal Conscience and Religious Freedom Laws.

Invited guests attending Thursday morning’s announcement include Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) who vigorously pushed her now-failed bill that would have banned the Pentagon from spending taxpayer funds to support medically-necessary treatment of transgender service members.

Also invited is Senator James Lankford (R-OK) who infamously said in 2012, “race and sexual preferences are two different things. One is a behavior-related and preference-related and one is something inherently — skin color, something obvious, that kind of stuff.”

Both GOP lawmakers have ties to the Family Research Council.

“Severino is a defender of the discredited practice of conversion therapy, argued transgender service members ‘dishonors’ the military, and insisted that anti-LGBTQ discrimination is ‘based not on any sort of hatred but, in fact, out of love,'” GLAAD noted in a statement Thursday.

“Any healthcare worker who has moral objections to providing medically necessary care to an entire vulnerable population is in the wrong line of work,” Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, said. “Denying a transgender person – or any person – life saving care if they walk into an emergency room is far from a moral act, it is unjust and dangerous. Trump, Pence, and Trump’s appointees have tried time and again to establish blatantly bigoted policies that harm transgender and gender non-conforming Americans, and history will neither forget nor forgive this Administration’s attacks on its own people.”

The Catholic Health Association says that “the Catholic health ministry is the largest group of nonprofit health care providers in the nation. Every day, one in six patients in the U.S. is cared for in a Catholic hospital.” The organization represents health care facility operators that employ nearly 750,000 health care workers. Due to a rash of mergers many hospitals that appear secular are actually controlled by religious organizations.

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

‘Jesus Was Not a Socialist!’ Fox News Panel Explodes Over Jesus Christ’s Political Views

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Conservative religious pundits on Fox News recoiled in outrage on Sunday after a left-leaning guest suggested that Jesus Christ was “more of a socialist” than a capitalist.

During a Fox & Friends segment designed to cast doubt on the faith or Democratic presidential candidates, evangelical pastor Robert Jeffress argued that socialism is “antithetical to Christianity.”

But St. Paul Reverend Dee Dawkins-Haigler reminded the other panelists that scriptures seemed to point to what people now call socialism.

“We believe in things like, what did you do to the least of them?” Dawkins-Haigler explained. “You fed the hungry, you clothed the naked, you went to see those who are in prison.”

“You do not have to be a socialist to be a Christian!” Jeffress shot back. “Socialism is antithetical to Christianity and if they nominate Bernie Sanders, they are not going to be able to attract any faith voters.”

“I totally disagree,” Dawkins-Haigler retorted. “People would have said that Jesus was more of a socialist than anybody we’re talking about today.”

The remarks stopped Fox News host Pete Hegseth cold.

“Why was Jesus a socialist?” he exclaimed.

“Because Jesus did not sit with the establishment, he overturned tables of the tax collectors, he sat with people who were lepers,” Dawkins-Haigler explained. “He made sure he healed people who people thought should not have been healed.”

“So we have to be very careful how we use this language and try to take ownership of who God is,” she added.

“That’s a big claim,” Hegseth interrupted again, giving the floor to Jeffress.

“No! Jesus was not a socialist!” Jeffress opined. “He said render unto Ceasar the things that are Ceasar’s and to God the things that are God’s. He was compassionate. Church is to be compassionate, but you don’t have to believe in socialism, which is nothing but communism light and is absolutely is opposed to everything that is Christian.”

Watch the video below from Fox News.

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THIS IS WHAT FASCISM SOUNDS LIKE

Trump National Security Advisor Blasted for ‘Weaponizing’ Classified Intel Against Bernie Sanders as Nevada Caucuses

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President Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor was blasted online on Saturday for a smear against Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) while Nevada Democrats were caucusing to choose the DNC’s 2020 presidential nominee.

Josh Dawsey, White House reporter for The Washington Post, broke news on Saturday about what Robert O’Brien said in an interview to air on Sunday.

O’Brien was quickly criticized for his comments. Here is some of what people were saying:

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'WHAT REAL JOURNALISM LOOKS LIKE'

Internet Heaps Praise on CNN’s Anderson Cooper for His ‘Must Watch’ Destruction of Rod Blagojevich

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CNN’s Anderson Cooper received near-universal praise across the board for what one commenter called his “fiery rebuke” of recently paroled former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich on Friday night that culminated in the CNN host telling him excuses for why he should not have been in prison were “bullsh*t.”

During the highly-contentious interview, Cooper came armed with facts and did not let Blagojevich get away with comparing himself to political prisoner Nelson Madel a which drew a smirk and rebuke from the CNN host.

Many on Twitter were quick to point to the interview as one all cable hosts should look at as a way to stop guests who go on shows to lie with no pushback.

As former President Bill Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich put it: “At a time when so many lies go unchecked and unaddressed by the media, @andersoncooper ‘s fiery rebuke of Blagojevich’s narrative could not have been more necessary. This is what real journalism looks like.”

You can see similar comments — as well as video — below:

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