February 14, 2017

Valentine’s Day (What does it mean?)




People who are religious associate this day with a saint in the catholic religion but Valentine’s has become a universal expression of love to reserve one special day to be extra nice to a love one or make you feel guilty if you don’t have one. May you have love in your life in any form!



LGBT Persecution Asylum Seekers to U.S.Facing A Tough Fight




 

People facing anti-LGBT persecution in their home country have been able to seek asylum in the U.S. for almost 25 years, but they face an uphill climb proving it under the U.S. immigration system, advocacy groups say.

Felipe Molina Mendoza, 25, of Durham faces possible deportation to Mexico after a judge denied his asylum request and he lost an appeal at the Board of Immigration Appeals.

Last week, after intervention by U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield, his scheduled deportation was put on hold pending his appeal to the Fourth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals. He must still appear before immigration officials in Charlotte on Tuesday, Feb 14, however, and now worries he may be sent to a detention center until the appeal is heard.

Molina Mendoza came to the United States when he was 8. He graduated from Riverside High School in Durham but returned to Mexico when he could not afford out-of-state college tuition here.

He tried to re-enter the U.S. in 2013, then again in 2014, when he said he sought asylum on the grounds of anti-gay harassment and threats in Mexico and was allowed to stay while his claim was pending.

In an interview, Molina Mendoza said he went to Mexican police for help after men threw beer bottles at him and his boyfriend and he was threatened with rape.

“They said if I didn’t want to be persecuted, I shouldn’t be acting gay,” he said, explaining why he wants to stay in the U.S. “Next time it might not be glass beer bottles; it might be a bullet.”

Mexico’s Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in 2015. But a study last year by the Transgender Law Center and the Cornell University Law School LGBT Clinic found anti-LGBT violence “remains pervasive through Mexico.” The study focused on transgender women, citing 120 murders of transgender people or people who didn’t fit traditional gender expectations since same-sex marriage was allowed.

“Legal recognition of same-sex couples has increased societal awareness of the LGBT community and made LGBT people much more visible,” the report said. “Ironically, increased awareness of LGBT people appears to have produced significant backlash.”

History

At one time, U.S. immigration law banned lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from entering the country on the grounds of “sexual deviation.”

President George H.W. Bush lifted the ban in 1990, and in 1994 Attorney General Janet Reno required immigration officials to recognize persecution based on sexual orientation as grounds for asylum, according to a 2015 report by the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank in Washington, D.C.

The report cited U.S. Rep. Barney Frank as key to that happening. In its report, analysts Sharita Gruberg and Rachel West quoted the gay congressman as saying, “It was explicitly done by (President) Clinton after the failure of the effort to get gays in the military in part because he recognized the importance of showing he was not only pro LGBT but capable of doing some real things.”

Nearly a quarter century later, however, LGBT refugees seeking asylum face significant hurdles.

People seeking asylum must prove they fear persecution based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political organization.

But proving you’re LGBT, especially if you’ve been hiding it for fear of being found out, is not always easy, said Laura Durso, vice president for the LGBT Research and Communications Project, part of the Center for American Progress.

About 80 countries criminalize LGTB people, in some cases punishable by death, Durso said.

“The idea that one is able to be out to friends and family or to have evidence (of a same-sex relationship) it really puts people in a complete bind because of the violence that causes them to flee and hide their identity,” she said.

When they do file for asylum, they go before judges who aren’t trained on LGBT asylum issues, Durso said.

“As a result, their decisions on LGBT asylees can be dangerously arbitrary, biased, or based on a lack of understanding of the serious threats LGBT people face,” she said.

“For example, judges might falsely believe that because Mexico has marriage equality, LGBT people across the country are free from violence – when cases like Felipe de Jesus Molina Mendoza’s prove the opposite is true,” she said.

Jennifer Quigley, of the advocacy group Human Rights First, agreed.

“That’s not something that’s supported across the country,” she said of same-sex-marriage. “It’s similar to here. You’ve made advancements in law; that doesn’t mean you’ve made advancements in society.”

A spokeswoman for the Executive Office for Immigration Review said judges consider asylum claims case by case according to the law, regulations and precedent.

“Immigration judges make a credibility determination ... considering a wide variety of factors including an applicant’s demeanor while testifying, the plausibility of an applicant’s claims, inconsistencies in the applicant’s testimony, or inconsistencies between the applicant’s testimony and any other evidence of record,” spokeswoman Kathryn Mattingly said by email.

“An applicant’s sexual orientation can be grounds for claiming membership in a particular social group for the purpose of claiming asylum,” she said.

Asylum requests

The transgender violence study reported 9,206 asylum applications from Mexican people in 2012 and 463 Mexican applicants being granted asylum that year. Another 1,395 cases were denied, with the rest classified as abandoned, withdrawn or “other.”

Both that study and The Center for American Progress said it is impossible to know how many requests for asylum are made on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity and how those cases fare compared to asylum cases overall.

But analysts Gruberg and West found LGBT people fare better when they have a lawyer, apply for asylum “affirmatively” – meaning they are not already in a deportation proceeding – and when they have not spent time in an immigration detention center like Molina Mendoza has.

As happened when he sought asylum in the U.S. in 2014 after his deportation in 2013, “the very act of coming back puts somebody in detention,” said Durso.

“We’ve essentially branded them a criminal, locked them up in a system that looks like prison,” she said. “There’s a perception that person is a criminal and doesn’t deserve to be granted asylum.”

Schultz: 919-829-8950;

Twitter: @thedurhamnews

 

Michael Flynn is Out but Trump Wont Be Able to Shake this Loose



 Alt. Right Sr. Advr.Bannon, National Sec Advr. Flynn, New AG Sessions



Throughout the confusion of Donald Trump's campaign and the chaotic events of his early days in the White House, one controversy has clung to the Trump train like glue: Russia.
The sudden departure of Michael Flynn from his role as national security adviser on Monday was the latest in a string of controversies tying the administration to apparent Russian interests.
Mr Flynn resigned after misleading the president, and Vice-President Mike Pence, over whether he discussed sanctions with Russia’s ambassador in the weeks before Mr Trump took office - which would violate a law that prohibits private citizens from conducting diplomacy.
 
Early warning signs

It was back in May 2016 that the first reports emerged of hackers targeting the Democratic Party. Over the next two months, the reports suggested US intelligence agencies had traced the breaches back to Russian hackers.
In July, on the eve of the Democratic National Convention, Wikileaks published 20,000 internal emails stolen by the hackers. US intelligence officials said they believed with "high confidence" that Russia was behind the operation, but the Trump campaign publicly refused the accept the findings.
Instead, at a press conference, Mr Trump caused outrage by inviting Russian hackers to target Hillary Clinton’s controversial personal email server, saying: "Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing".

Grey line
The first casualty

About the same time the hacking scandal was beginning to unfold, Mr Trump's then campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was accused of accepting millions of dollars in cash for representing Russian interests in the Ukraine and US, including dealings with an oligarch with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
While Mr Manafort was running the campaign, the Republican Party changed the language in its manifesto regarding the conflict in Ukraine, removing anti-Russian sentiment, allegedly at the behest of two Trump campaign representatives.
Mr Manafort was investigated by the FBI and quit as Mr Trump's campaign chairman. Like Mr Flynn, Mr Manafort, a political operative with more than 40 years' experience, was supposed to marshal some of the chaos and controversy around Mr Trump, but ended up falling prey to it.
 
At odds with the intelligence

In October, the US intelligence community released a unanimous statement formally accusing Russia of being the perpetrator behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
Mr Trump continued to argue against the finding, claiming in a presidential debate that it "could be Russia, but it could also be China, it could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds”.

The same day that the intelligence agencies released their finding, the explosive "Access Hollywood" recording emerged of Mr Trump's obscene remarks about women in 2005. An hour later, Wikileaks began dumping thousands more leaked Clinton emails.
Mr Trump continued to refuse to acknowledge the consensus that Russia was behind the hack.
 
Jump media playerMedia player helpOut of media player. Press enter to return or tab to continue.
Media captionTrump praises Putin's leadership
 
‘I always knew Putin was smart!'

In December, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security published a report of the US intelligence findings linking Russia to the hack.
In response, President Barack Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats and levied new sanctions on Russia. The world awaited Mr Putin's response but he chose not retaliate. Mr Trump, by then the president-elect, sided with the Russian president, tweeting: "Great move on delay (by V. Putin) - I always knew he was very smart!”

Mr Putin's decision not to respond in kind struck many as a canny PR move, but reportedly set off suspicions among US intelligence officials that Russia was confident the sanctions would not last.
The same month, Mr Trump picked Rex Tillerson as his nominee for secretary of state, arguably the most important job in the cabinet. The biggest hurdle for Mr Tillerson's confirmation? Close ties to Mr Putin.

As CEO of the ExxonMobil oil company, Mr Tillerson cultivated a close personal relationship with the Russian leader, leading many to speculate on whether he was fit to serve as America's most senior foreign diplomat.
Mr Tillerson was sworn in as secretary of state on 2 February.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, right, and Rex Tillerson, ExxonMobilImage copyrightAP
Image caption
Rex Tillerson has cultivated close ties with Vladimir Putin

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The ‘compromising claims' dossier

In January, Buzzfeed published a dossier compiled by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence official and Russia expert, which alleged that Moscow had compromising material on the then-president-elect, making him liable to blackmail.

Among the various memos in the dossier was an allegation that Mr Trump had been recorded by Russian security services consorting with prostitutes at a Moscow hotel.
Mr Trump dismissed the claims as fake news.

CNN revealed that President Obama and President-elect Trump had been briefed on the existence of the dossier by intelligence officials, and Buzzfeed went one further, publishing the entire thing.
The document went off like a hand grenade tossed into the already febrile political scene and generated a backlash against Buzzfeed for publishing what were essentially unverified claims.
 
Michael Flynn encouraged a softer policy on Russia
Grey line
The evidence against Flynn

In February, the most concrete and damaging Russia scandal finally surfaced, months after suspicions were raised among intelligence officials.

A Washington Post report said Mr Flynn had discussed the potential lifting of Mr Obama’s Russia sanctions with the Russian ambassador, Sergei Kislyak, before Mr Trump took office.

Mr Flynn, who had appeared regularly on Russian propaganda channel RT and once attended dinner with Mr Putin, resigned as Mr Trump’s national security adviser, saying he had "inadvertently briefed the vice-president-elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian ambassador" late last year.

It is illegal for private citizens to conduct US diplomacy.
Mr Trump has made no secret of his regard for Mr Putin and his desire to establish closer ties with Russia. But the more pressing question, and one which the president just can’t seem to shake, is just how close those ties already go.


February 13, 2017

Gallop Says Americans See US Standing at Its Worst in a Decade



  • 42% of Americans believe the world views the U.S. favorably
  • 29% say world leaders respect Trump; 67% said same of Obama in 2009
  • Satisfaction with U.S. on the world stage is near record low
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Americans believe the world at large sees the U.S. more unfavorably (57%) than favorably (42%), their worst assessment of the country's image in 10 years. A year ago, Americans' perceptions were more positive than negative.
Graph 1
These results are from a Gallup survey conducted Feb. 1-5, about two weeks into Donald Trump's presidency. The 42% favorable rating is one of the lowest since Gallup began asking this question in 2000 and may be attributable to the election of Trump, whose sometimes controversial statements and actions have rankled several world leaders. However, Americans' perceptions of the image of the U.S. abroad were marginally worse in 2007, when 40% thought the world viewed the nation favorably. At the time, the U.S. was embroiled in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and President George W. Bush was highly unpopular.
The high-water mark for Americans believing the U.S. is viewed favorably was 79% in 2002, in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the U.S.
Much of this year's drop in favorable perceptions of how the world views the U.S. is fueled by a precipitous slide among Democrats now that a Republican president is in office. Currently, 31% of Democrats think the world views the U.S. at least somewhat favorably, down from 68% last year. By contrast, Republicans' views have improved this year, to 54% from 39%, but not enough to offset the decline among Democrats.
Few Americans Believe Leaders Worldwide Respect Trump
Fewer than three in 10 Americans (29%) say leaders of other countries have respect for the new president, with 67% saying world leaders do not have much respect for him. When Barack Obama took office in 2009, the results were nearly opposite: 67% of Americans then believed global leaders respected the president, while 20% said leaders did not. At the time of the prior presidential transition in 2001, more Americans also believed George W. Bush was respected than believed he was not.
20170210_WorldPosition_chart
The 29% now believing that world leaders respect the president also represents a sharp drop from one year ago, in the last year of Obama's presidency. At that time, 45% said they believed the president was respected.
One reason for the drop is that fewer Republicans today think Trump is respected (60%) than Democrats in 2016 thought Obama was respected (79%).
Satisfaction With World Position Little Changed From 2016
Despite Americans' depressed perceptions of how world leaders view their new president, Americans' satisfaction with the country's position in the world hasn't changed much from last year -- 32% say they are satisfied with the position of the U.S. worldwide, down slightly from 36% in 2016.
Graph 3
The current reading continues a recent trend of relatively low satisfaction with the nation's global status, something that has persisted since the Iraq War troop surge in 2007.
While the Iraq War may have been a factor a decade ago, satisfaction has remained low even as U.S. involvement has wound down. The rise of the Islamic State and terrorism in general may be contributing to Americans' continued low level of satisfaction with their country's position in the world. Americans' widespread dissatisfaction with the way things are going in the U.S. could also affect their level of satisfaction with the nation's world standing.
Bottom Line
At the beginning of Trump's presidency, Americans' perceptions of how the world views the U.S. and its new president are significantly worse than they were a year ago -- and are on the low end for the past decade. This has been fueled by a sharp decline among Democrats who hold highly negative views of Trump's character and opening job performance.
But even a year ago, when Americans thought the world viewed the U.S. and Obama positively, Americans were still largely unsatisfied with the nation's global standing. This trend has been steadily negative for the past decade. Americans may not put much weight on how the rest of the world perceives the president in assessing whether they are satisfied with the United States' standing in the world. In addition to concerns about international matters such as Syria and terrorism, those views may be influenced by how they think things are going in the U.S., their low confidence in public institutions and their low trust in government. Such factors appear to have a marked effect on how Americans feel when they look beyond their borders.

by Art Swift
Historical data are available in Gallup Analytics.
SURVEY METHODS
Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Feb. 1-5, 2017, with a random sample of 1,035 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.
Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 70% cellphone respondents and 30% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

As Session Become AG The Admin Back Tracks on Bathroom Issue






 

President Donald Trump's administration is stepping back from a request made by former President Barack Obama's administration in an ongoing lawsuit over bathroom rights for transgender students in public schools.

In a filing Friday with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the federal government asked to withdraw a motion filed last year that asked a judge to scale back a temporary injunction blocking Obama’s guidance on the issue. 

The Department of Justice's filing, which came a day after Jeff Sessions was sworn in as Trump's attorney general, said the parties were "currently considering how best to proceed in this appeal."

Texas and 12 other states filed the lawsuit last year challenging the former president's guidance, which directed public schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity.

A federal judge temporarily blocked the directive nationwide in August. The Obama administration later requested that the hold only apply to the 13 suing states while it appealed the ruling. A hearing on the request was set for Tuesday, but the Friday court filing asked that the hearing be cancelled.

Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr said Saturday afternoon that the agency declined to comment beyond the filing. Calls to the Texas attorney general's office were not returned.

Sarah Warbelow, legal director for the Human Rights Campaign, said they were "incredibly disappointed" by the filing on Friday.

"Our concern is that it's a very clear signal that at a minimum the Department of Justice — and possibly more broadly throughout the Trump administration — will not protect transgender students," she said.

Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, called the filing a "callous attack" on transgender students.

"By refusing to fulfill their responsibilities to protect all the nation's students and defend this life-saving guidance, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Trump administration have attacked the dignity and safety of transgender students," Keisling said in a statement sent to NBC Out. "While the immediate impact of this initial legal maneuver is limited, it is a frightening sign that the Trump administration is ready to discard its obligation to protect all students."

U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor blocked the Obama administration order in August. The Obama administration had cited Title IX, a federal law guaranteeing equality in education. But the judge, in issuing a temporary injunction, said the Title IX "is not ambiguous" about sex being defined as "the biological and anatomical differences between male and female students as determined at their birth."

The ruling, he said, was not about the policy issues of transgender rights, but about his conclusion that federal officials simply did not follow rules that required an opportunity for comment before such directives are issued.

In the meantime, the U.S. Supreme Court is set in late March to hear the case of a Virginia school board that wants to prevent a transgender teenager from using the boys' bathroom at a high school.

The Virginia case involves 17-year-old Gavin Grimm, who identifies as male. He was allowed to use the boys' restroom at his high school in 2014. But after complaints, the school board adopted a policy requiring students to use either the restroom that corresponds with their biological gender or a private, single-stall restroom. A lower court ordered the school board to accommodate Grimm, but that order is on hold.

 

“You Can’t Be Accepted Coming Out”-an AuntMary Gay Conservative





 

The day after the American election, my ex-boyfriend messaged me to confess that he had voted for Trump. Hillary Clinton, he thought, just wasn’t trustworthy enough, so instead he opted for a compulsive liar and megalomaniac. As a gay man, I was repulsed by the idea that someone I’d once shared a bed with could now be in bed with our oppressors.

Now, another gay man has decided to “come out” (his words) as a conservative, this time in a piece for the New York Post. Chadwick Moore is a 33-year-old journalist who wrote a fawning profile of the out alt-right troll Milo Yiannopoulos for Out, one of America’s premier gay men’s magazines.

Yiannopoulos’ Islamophobia, transphobia, racism, and sexism are well documented, and that an LGBT publication would give him “neutral” (as Moore claims) coverage rightfully angered many in the community. It was met with swift condemnation from within the community, with dozens of prominent LGBT journalists signing an open letter condemning the article and Out’s decision to publish. 

Moore himself took a lot of flack for writing such a flattering piece of someone who has campaigned against gay marriage and is otherwise an equally deplorable human being. He was attacked on Twitter, but to his surprise, it did not end there. “Personal friends of mine — men in their 60s who had been my long time mentors — were coming at me. They wrote on Facebook that the story was ‘irresponsible’ and ‘dangerous’. A dozen or so people unfriended me,” he whinges.  He lost his best friend. People in gay bars wouldn’t talk to him. A guy he chatted up called him a Nazi.

Delicate little snowflake can’t take the heat, it seems.

All of this has led Moore to realise he’s not a liberal after all, but is actually a conservative. Anyone who read his piece on Yiannopoulos could’ve told you that, but apparently it took being criticised for fawning over fascists for Moore to realise his own political predilections. Now he’s standing for far-right gadfly Ann Coulter and hoping that “New Yorkers can be as open-minded and accepting of my new status as a conservative man as they’ve been about my sexual orientation.”

Girl, goodnight.

Conservatism in America has literally killed gay people. Thousands lost their lives because of Reagan’s homophobic inaction on Aids. The Vice President of the United States only two years ago signed a license-to-discriminate as governor of Indiana. The right uses religion to deny marriage equality, housing protections, job protections, and even trans peoples’ right to use a public toilet. Conservative Americans are so homophobic and transphobic that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office had to issue a travel alert to LGBT Britons going to North Carolina. And unlike the British Conservative Party, the Republican Party has made no overtures towards LGBT people, no apologies for past injustices, and no attempt at including us in their vision for the country.
 
Donald Trump did say LGBT like he was trying to sound out a Welsh place name though, so these Aunt Marys (a term used to describe gay people who side with the oppressor) suddenly want all of this forgiven.

Gay conservatives aren’t welcome in gay spaces because the people they support are an existential threat to our rights and our community. After all, queer spaces (such as bars, bathhouses, community centres, and even bookstores) were founded and instrumental in radical sexual politics and political engagement. You can’t divorce that from the social aspect, because doing so would deny the history of our community and the present reality of so many vulnerable LGBT people.

Asking that the gay community embrace you and your politics is like one turkey asking another to be okay that he voted for the farmer and Thanksgiving. I don’t care if this hurts someone’s feelings; I’m more concerned with the harm their vote causes. So until American conservatism welcomes queer people, queer people shouldn’t welcome American conservatives. Even if they’re queer themselves.

Sorry, Chad. Maybe Milo will buy you a drink. 

February 12, 2017

Pocket Books Open After a Trump Tweet on Business’





Before Donald Trump was president, he was a brand — from his TV show to his clothing line to his steaks. Now after surprising many by winning the White House, the Trump brand may have even more power, but it is also deeply connected to the divisive world of American politics. 
That means what Trump says and does and what others say about him has impacts that go far beyond policy and politics into the world of everyday Americans' lives — where they shop and eat and what they watch on TV. 
On Wednesday, Trump tweeted that his daughter had been "treated so unfairly" by Nordstrom after the store stopped carrying her clothing line. "Terrible!" Trump added. 
The impact? Nordstrom's website saw a big jump in traffic Wednesday, according to data from Connexity, an ecommerce marketing firm. There were about 908,000 visits to the site, compared to 709,000 the previous Wednesday, a 28 precent increase. 
And that makes sense considering Nordstrom's customer base, which skews politically liberal according to Connexity. People who describe themselves as "very liberal" are 40 percent more likely to visit Nordstrom.com than the average person. People who describe themselves as "very conservative" are 23 percent less likely to go to the site. The top 14 states for web traffic to the site all voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. 
Data from Simmons Research show Nordstrom shoppers are among the most politically liberal in the country. Among the top 10 retailers for self-described liberals, Nordstrom is No. 6 and Nordstrom Rack is No. 9. 
By the end of the Wednesday, the store's stock closed up 4.1%. In other words, Trump's bad-mouthing of Nordstorm likely only helped the retailer. 
The week before brought another example when Starbucks announced they would hire 10,000 refugees in their stores. The announcement came after Trump's executive order temporarily suspended refugees from entering the United States and temporarily blocked people traveling to the U.S. from seven predominantly Muslim countries. 
The response? A group of Trump supporters have called for a boycott of the coffee chain and #BoycottStarbucks became a trending hashtag on Twitter. 
But there are questions about how effective that boycott might be. Starbucks' customer base also skews politically liberal and an analysis from Simmons Research shows people in counties that voted heavily for Clinton were much more frequent Starbucks patrons than those who lived in Trump's best counties. 







The boycott could end up having a boomerang effect if blue-leaning Starbucks drinkers turnout in greater numbers to support the company's refugee proposal. But the larger point of blurring consumer/political lines around the Trump brand is apparent even in the call for a boycott — and there is more evidence. 
On Jan. 12, Trump urged his supporters on Twitter to "buy L.L.Bean" as a way of thanking company heiress Linda Bean for a big contribution to a pro-Trump PAC. Consumers seemed to notice and react. 
After the tweet, traffic to the L.L. Bean website declined from the politically blue New England states, all of which voted for Hillary Clinton, according to data from Connexity. Meanwhile some of the biggest jumps in L.L. Bean traffic came from Texas, Florida, Mississippi and Arizona, states with populations that visit the retailer much less frequently and that voted for Trump in November. 
The consumer core for Maine-based L.L. Bean has long had more of a Democratic cast because of its home. Purchasing a Rugged Ridge Parka (good to -40 degrees) is not a political act, but it's something more logically suited to blue states such as Vermont and Massachusetts than red states such as Texas and Arizona. 
That's why the numbers from that week are so eye-catching. 
Consider the decline in L.L. Bean website visits from the seven states that produce the most traffic to the online retailer — all cold-weather, New England states and neighboring New York. 
Only Rhode Island, which voted for Clinton, saw an uptick in traffic to the site. The other states, all of which voted for Clinton, saw declines, many of them sizable. 







You can see that drop in a broader tally as well. Of the 21 entities that gave their electoral votes to Clinton (20 states and the District of Columbia), 15 saw their traffic to L.L.Bean decline. 
Now consider the increases in website visits that week from the seven states that generated the least traffic to the L.L.Bean site before Trump's tweet. 







All those states saw an increase, except Hawaii, which voted for Clinton and saw a decline The only outlier in the group is Nevada, which voted for Clinton and saw an uptick in web traffic to the site. What's more, all those states, except South Dakota, are warm weather states. 
To be clear, the numbers show L.L.Bean was still drawing heavily off of its blue New England base. Even with the declines, the six New England states provided more traffic to Maine retailer than any others. And the changes in L.L.Bean's traffic also seem to have been temporary. Many of those trends had reversed themselves the next week. 
Regardless, the numbers show the depth of the divides running through the country under Trump. Much has been made of how the Trump administration’s plans to upend Washington have left businesses unsure of how to plan for the future, but for many retailers, just dealing with the Trump brand holds a complicated set of challenges.

and 

Foreign Born Doctors in Underserved Areas at Risk for Deportation







Patients in Alexandria, La., were the friendliest people Dr. Muhammad Tauseef ever worked with. They'd drive long distances to see him, and often bring gifts.

"It's a small town, so they will sometimes bring you chickens, bring you eggs, bring you homemade cakes," he says.

One woman even brought him a puppy.

"That was really nice," he says.

Tauseef was born and raised in Pakistan. After going to medical school there, he applied to come to the U.S. to train as a pediatrician.

It's a path thousands of foreign-born medical students follow every year — a path that's been around for more than half a century. And, like most foreign-born physicians, Tauseef came on a J1 visa. That meant after training he had two options: return to Pakistan or work for three years in an area the U.S. government has identified as having a provider shortage.

He chose to work with mostly uninsured kids at a pediatric practice in Alexandria. "That was a challenge," he says. "But it was rewarding as well because you are taking care of people who there aren't many to take care for."

And the U.S. medical system depends on doctors like Tauseef, says Dr. Andrew Gurman, president of the American Medical Association. He worries that if President Trump's executive order on immigration takes effect, it will mean parts of the country that desperately need medical care may not have a doctor.

"International medical graduates have been a resource to provide medical care to areas that don't otherwise have access to physicians," he says. "With the current uncertainty about those physicians' immigration status, we don't know whether or not these areas are going to receive care."

According to the AMA, today there are about 280,000 international medical graduates in the U.S. That's about 1 in 4 doctors practicing here. Some are U.S. citizens who've gone abroad for medical school, but most aren't.

"They don't all have permanent visas, and so a lot of them are concerned about what their status is going to be, whether they can stay, whether they can go home to visit family and still come back, and the communities they serve have similar questions," he says.

And the care provided by the graduates of foreign medical schools is, by and large, top notch. A study published Feb. 3 in the journal The BMJ, formerly The British Medical Journal, shows Medicare patients treated by doctors with degrees from non-U.S. medical schools get just as good care — and sometimes better — than those treated by graduates of American medical schools.

The immigration uncertainty is hitting medical schools at a tough time. Dr. Salahuddin Kazi is in charge of recruiting top students from across the world for the University of Texas Southwestern residency program.

"Typically we have 3,000 people applying for our 61 positions — of those 3,000, at least half of them are international medical graduates," he says.

Applicants find out their program match in March and usually start working in June. That gives them about 90 days to get a visa. Kazi worries this year that won't be long enough and that students from countries included in the travel ban won't be admitted.

"That would create hardship for the hospital, for us and for our remaining residents," he says. "They'll have to pick up more shifts or give up vacation."

Pediatrician Tauseef left Louisiana two years ago but continues to care for low-income patients at Los Barrios Unidos Community Clinic in Dallas. Six of the 30 physicians who work at this clinic are from other countries.

Tauseef says they're all educated to do the same thing. "As a physician, being a foreign medical graduate, U.S. medical graduate, a Muslim doctor, a non-Muslim, we are trained to look for signs and symptoms," he says. "We do not look at anybody's color; we are not trained to look at anybody's religion or ethnicity."

Tauseef, who has been in America for 13 years, says he will apply for U.S. citizenship in March.

LAUREN SILVERMAN

This story is part of a reporting partnership with NPR, KERA and Kaiser Health News.

Paris Protests Turn Violent Over Police Rape of Young Black Man






Sporadic clashes broke out Saturday in the Paris suburb of Bobigny, where some 2,000 people had gathered to protest against police brutality and the alleged rape of a 22-year-old man by an officer wielding a truncheon.

Demonstrators held placards reading “police rapes” and “police kills innocents” as they rallied outside the Bobigny courthouse, north-east of the French capital, surrounded by a large contingent of riot police.

While the rally was mostly peaceful, reporters at the scene said clashes broke out after a handful of protesters hurled projectiles at police and several vehicles were set alight, including a van belonging to RTL radio station. Officers responded with tear gas.

Earlier in the day, four people were arrested in the Mediterranean port city of Marseille on the sidelines of another march against police violence, officials said. Similar protests took place in other French cities, including Toulouse and Orléans.


The unrest in Bobigny follows several nights of violence in Paris' northern outskirts, triggered by the brutal arrest last week of a black man identified only as Theo, in the nearby suburb of Aulnay-sous-Bois.

The youth worker suffered such severe injuries to his rectum during the arrest that he needed major emergency surgery and remains in hospital.

One policeman has been placed under investigation for rape, suspected of deliberately shoving a truncheon into the young man’s rectum.

Three other officers have been charged with “deliberate violence in a group”.

On Thursday, police sources said their own investigation into the incident had concluded that the injuries were not inflicted intentionally.

The case has revived past controversies over the relationship between police and immigrant communities in France’s rundown suburbs, where police are regularly accused of discrimination and brutality.

In 2005, the death of two teenagers who were electrocuted while hiding from police in an electricity substation sparked weeks of riots in France. Around 10,000 cars were burned and 6,000 people were arrested.

The latest case comes in the midst of a presidential election campaign and follows the death of 24-year-old Adama Traore in police custody in another Parisian suburb last year.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

February 11, 2017

Ghana: Gay Students Caught Together in Dorm Saved from Lynching byTeachers





Two male students (names withheld) of Mawuli School in the Volta Region suspected to have been engaged in a homosexual act would have been flogged mercilessly, but for the timely intervention of two teachers of the school.

The male students, who were reportedly caught in one of the dormitories of Aggrey House, allegedly had canal knowledge of each other at about 3:00 pm last Wednesday, 8th February, after classes.

The culprits are final-year students in 3 Science 1 and 3 Arts 4 respectively.

According to some students, who spoke to DAILY GUIDE, this is not the first time students have been involved in homosexuality in the school.

The incident caused a serious pandemonium in the school, thereby attracting many students to the scene, most of who were said to be unhappy that the two students had been allowed to go scot-free without any punishment whatsoever.

Some supporters of a football team who had a friendly match with the school’s football team at the time said the chaos attracted them to the scene.

The pandemonium lasted for about two hours.

Three students, who also confirmed the incident to DAILY GUIDE, indicated that the two were first discovered by a student who was going to the dormitory after classes.

They said when the student got to his dormitory at Aggrey House, he realized the dormitory was locked from inside and so peeped through the window to find out what was happening.

“He found out that two of his mates who had left the classroom ahead of the closing time were in a compromising posture that suggested they were having canal knowledge of each other. The two were also allegedly seen using some cream as lubricant on their genitals.

“He quickly returned to alert many of his mates. On reaching the scene, they started banging the doors, telling the two ‘lovers’ to come out. However, they refused for fear of being beaten or lynched.

“The noise, chaos and mad rush to the scene attracted many, including two teachers (names withheld) to the scene. The teachers managed to get the two students out safely and handed them over to the Senior House Master.

“The students, who were unhappy with the situation, kept chanting and making noise throughout the campus because they believed nothing would be done to the gay students. They also requested that they be allowed to beat them to teach others a lesson,” one of the students narrated.

Headmaster Unware

When contacted, the headmaster of the school, Tawiah Agor, denied knowledge of the incident.

According to him, “I am hearing this for the first time from you. No report has gotten to my attention.”

He said he had been busy the whole week working hard to address the water situation and other important issues in the school.

That notwithstanding, he said he was going to investigate the matter and take appropriate measures to curb the situation.

DAILY GUIDE’s investigation suggests that the headmaster has since last Thursday evening, 9th February, held a crunch meeting with the administration over the matter.

February 10, 2017

UK: “The Church is Driving Gay People to Suicide”





The Church is driving homosexual people to suicide because of its negative and discriminatory attitude towards same-sex relationships, a major Christian charity has concluded.
A report by Oasis warned that churches must take a ‘disproportionate share of the blame’ for the mental health issues of people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual.
The charity found that every denomination of the Christian church in Britain, except for the United Reformed Church, held positions which actively discriminate against people with same-sex partners. Rev Steve Chalke MBE , Founder of Oasis, said, “It is no secret that the negative stance taken by the Church, and so many individual local churches, has a hugely distressing impact on large numbers of lesbian, gay and bisexual people and leaves countless numbers of them living lives of forced secrecy and dishonesty.  
“Tragically, it is also common knowledge that the resultant anguish and distress often leads to spiritual, mental and physical harm, and in the worst of cases to people making the desperate decision to take their own life.
“We will take a long hard looking the mirror and see the consequences of what we have said and done staring back at us.”  




The report warned that the negative stance taken by the church had driven some to suicide  CREDIT: YURI_ARCURS
The report concluded that local churches are ‘one of the biggest organises discriminators’ of gay people.
The research was released in part to respond to the report from the House of Bishops which restated the Church of England’s opposition to same-sex marriage and will be discussed at the General Synodmeeting next week.
The charity called for the Church of England to fund more research into the issue and also give more money to mental health charities.
It also said that liberal members of congregations must do more to ‘make their position heard.’  
                                            I Males                                                                                 
______________  76%I______________        _______24%_______I Females
  Data | Male suicide in the UK
Males Females
76%
24%


Suicide rates by age
Per 100,000 population
Men under 30
9.9
30-44
21.3
45-59
23.9
60-74
13.6
75 and over
14.4

Data: ONS

  The report said: “Churches that are inclusive to lesbian, gay and bisexual people, need to find effective ways of presenting this to local communities. We would encourage people in every church group and denomination to be as courageous as possible in championing the position that they believe in.”
Rev Chalke added: “Any doctrine, any policy, that causes destructive hurt and alienation cannot be born of a theology that reflects the God of the Bible."
telegraph.co.uk

In Iran Thousands March Against USA but Others Are Thankful


Its very interesting that in Iran an enemy of the US and being  a control society, still you find people that are listening not just to Washington nowadays but to Americans and to what americans are saying about immigration and racism. There are some crazy anti US *Mulas in Iran but so in the US. 

Hundreds of thousands of Iranians heeded the call of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to demonstrate Friday against U.S. "threats" — but some had words of support for Americans.

There was a notable absence of burning U.S. flags during the march along Revolutionary Road that leads to Tehran's Azadi (Freedom) Square - particularly given the fact that Friday marked the 38th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

At similar rallies in years past, it would be typical to see a U.S. flag burning every 10-15 yards, but none were seen Friday. And only one effigy of President Donald Trump was witnessed, as opposed to dozens of former President Barack Obama at the same event last year.

Despite Trump threatening Iran on Twitter last week that it was "on notice," and calls by Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani to rally, a social media movement to tone down the protests appeared to have had some impact in cosmopolitan Tehran. In addition, very few placards handed out by official state organizers mentioned Trump or had anti-American slogans.

Iranians used the hashtag #LoveBeyondFlags to urge an end to the U.S. flag-burning typically seen at the annual anniversary rally.

During the rally in Tehran, some people carried placards in support of the U.S. and thanked ordinary Americans for opposing Trump’s executive order banning entry to the United States to travelers from seven mainly Muslim countries, including Iran.

 

Image: Iranians mark the 38th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution in Tehran, Friday.


Iranians mark the 38th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution in Tehran, Friday. Abedin Taherkenareh / EPA
*In the smapnish language a *mula is a jack ass or donkey.

Gay Young Vet Meets A Buffalo for the First Time

The scream did for me and I had to show you…..




Animals have always been a passion for the 29-year-old gay dude. “I grew up watching Crocodile Hunter while everyone else was watching cartoons,” Matthew tells Queerty.  “I have been a vet tech for almost 3 years,” he said. “I have a serious interest in exotic and zoo animals. I interned at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium as well as an Exotic Animal clinic where I worked with everything from polar bears and walruses to carpet pythons and sugar gliders.”We’re not exactly sure what a sugar glider is, but we imagine they are in good hands with Matthew, who is single and not opposed to some lightly work-unfriendly images of himself on his very entertaining Instagram page. He sounds like perfect husband material for the man who likes his animal lovers sweet and sexy.

But please don’t try Matthew’s Buffalo antics at home – or at least, not in the wild. “When buffalo are hand raised on a farm they are as tame as cattle,” Matthew instructed us, “but wild buffalo are not to be approached under any circumstances.”

We’ll keep that in mind.
goodmenproject.com


February 9, 2017

Thousands Demonstrate in Paris After Black Man Raped, Beaten by Cops



 One officer has been charged over the alleged rape while three others have been charged over use of excessive force




Demonstrators have taken to the streets in and around Paris to protest the alleged beating and rape of a black man by French police.
The unrest has gone on nearly a week, and "rioters have clashed with police and have set fire to trash cans, cars and a nursery school," reported Jake Cigainero for NPR's Newscast unit.
Four police officers have been suspended and charged in connection with the incident, according to a statement by the French Interior Ministry. Three face assault charges and one faces a charge of rape.
The victim, referred to by officials as “Theo," gave the BBC a graphic account of what he says happened to him.
The BBC reported Theo said he left his house last Thursday evening and found himself in the middle of a police operation targeting drug dealers:
"Theo said he was sodomized with a truncheon, as well as racially abused, spat at and beaten around his genitals," the broadcaster reported. "He has undergone emergency surgery for severe anal injuries, and has been declared unfit for work for 60 days.
" 'I fell on to my stomach, I had no strength left,' he said.
“He was then sprayed with tear gas around the head and in the mouth and hit over the head." 




 On Tuesday, French President Francois Hollande visited Theo in the hospital, and later praising his dignity in a tweet, which included a photo of Hollande by his bedside.
CNN reported that police arrested 26 people on Wednesday, according to a spokesperson for the local prefecture in the suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis northeast of Paris, where the incident occurred.
Those arrests followed two previous nights of demonstrations in the region, CNN reported:
"A few miles away, near Paris' Ménilmontant metro station, several hundred demonstrators gathered to protest police violence. Authorities say 17 people were arrested in Aulnay-sous-Bois on Tuesday night, after protesters torched garbage bins and vehicles.
"Videos shared on social media showed clashes between riot police and youths as fires burned in the streets. Police fired warning shots into the air to disperse the crowd, according to French reports.
"On Monday, hundreds of peaceful protesters marched in the same northern suburb. Demonstrators carried banners reading 'Justice for Theo' past a nearby building that had 'police, rapists' written on it in graffiti."

Police block a street as people gather to protest police on Feb. 8.
Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt/AFP/Getty Images
Stephane Troussel, the president of the General Council of the Seine-Saint-Denis region, said the incident brought up "numerous questions," reported German broadcaster Deutsche Welle.
"Although thousands of police are doing their work properly...too many arrests end in nightmares for some young people. The image of the Republic is being tarnished,” Troussel said.
npr.org

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