May 26, 2017

What To Do If You Re Being Bullied at Work Because of Who You Are

(Orinally published on VICE)

Peter Bryan Torres worked happily at a prominent New York City museum for ten years – one that you and your family have probably visited. But that all changed after a new boss came into the picture and found out Torres was HIV positive after an incident forced him to miss work and become hospitalized.
From then on, he says, it was slamming doors, banging cabinets, and dramatically inching up against the wall when Torres walked past to indicate that he was someone “at risk for infection.” All of this, in addition to making discriminatory comments. When Human Resources allegedly failed to look into and address the matter, he decided to take legal action. His lawyers at The Harman Firm LLP say that Torres’s lawsuit is, unfortunately, just one of many workplace discrimination cases they’re handling this year. One of the firm’s lawyers, Edgar Rivera, says that while our awareness of discrimination is, in general, much higher today than it was a few years ago, and young people especially are tuned in to pick up on unequal treatment.
The changing nature of the workplace and the continued struggle for people to hold onto the human and civil rights they’ve gained in recent years leads us to believe that we need more information on how to best navigate and protect our rights in the workplace, and how we can take action to address any sort of harassment or mistreatment on the premise of one’s sexual orientation or identity. There is no law prohibiting a person from having racist, sexist, homophobic, or otherwise bigoted opinions, and no law exists that requires an employee to believe that all people are equal or deserve equal rights, or to punish people for having prejudiced or backwards beliefs about racial minorities, women, people with disabilities, gay people, transgender people, or any other group that anti-discrimination statutes protect. “The law only prohibits an employer acting on those biases, whether in making employment decisions, for example, the decision to fire or demote an employee, or in their treatment of employees,” Rivera said. “In other words, as far as employment discrimination laws are concerned, people are legally free to be as racist, sexist, or homophobic as they want to be in their homes or elsewhere: they just can’t bring it into the office.” Jerame Davis, Executive Director of Pride at Work in Washington, DC. says that lawmakers often claim LGBTQ harassment and discrimination do not exist, because “so few people who are subject to these things end up speaking out.” In 1999, Davis says, he and two other men were fired for being gay, and happened to live in one of only four cities in Indiana at the time that had protections against LGBTQ discrimination. Due to state law, however, compliance was voluntary. There is no law prohibiting a person from having racist, sexist, homophobic, or otherwise bigoted opinions, and no law exists that requires an employee to believe that all people are equal or deserve equal rights.
“When the company refused to acknowledge our complaint, rather than walk away, we fought back. We waged one of the first online campaigns for social justice, which we won, becoming the first, and possibly still the only, LGBTQ discrimination case settled for a monetary award in the state of Indiana,” Davis said. However, the agreement they signed included what Davis calls a gag order that prevented them from discussing the case for years—ultimately, until the company went out of business. “The other thing that happens is that so many people just don’t want to talk about their experience. It’s usually embarrassing to folks to admit they were discriminated against or harassed. Not only do you have to come out as LGBTQ in a public fashion, but you may also have to admit you were fired from your job. That’s a tough hurdle for many people,” Davis said. For reasons like this one, Rivera advises that if you experience discrimination in the workplace, you bring it to your employer’s attention and take care of yourself by seeking professional help to treat mental and emotional wellness. “Just like after a car accident, the best advice is to seek treatment immediately. Experiencing discrimination and harassment is incredibly difficult; it can be extremely stressful, emotionally exhausting, and even traumatic,” he says, “You just don’t know how you may be affected until much later, and you can prevent a lot of harm by catching things early.” Even before that,though, he cautions people to read over their contracts carefully.
“People are always excited to start new jobs and often ignore the mountain of documents received during onboarding. They shouldn’t. These documents often include essential information about how to deal with discrimination and harassment.” Even in unionized workplaces with strong nondiscrimination and anti-harassment protections, LGBTQ discrimination still happens frequently; recently, the most pervasive issue his organization has been seeing is contention over bathroom access for those who are gender non-conforming. In fact, Davis says, only 19 states, the District of Columbia, and a number of cities and counties have put up protections for LGBTQ working people in place.
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“For some reason, there are a lot of people who are totally onboard with nondiscrimination in housing, employment, and even public accommodations, like being served at restaurants and retail stores, but when the question of bathroom access is brought up, they are adamantly opposed to protecting a person’s right to use the bathroom that best fits their gender identity,” Davis said.
The other issue that is unfortunately prevalent, he says, is harassment in the form of anti-LGBTQ comments or “jokes” at the expense of queer folks, and inappropriate questions. “In many cases, even with employers who offer appropriate protections, managers will neglect to intervene when an LGBTQ employee is being harassed or bullied,” he said. “I would be wary working for any company in 2017 that doesn’t explicitly list sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes.”
If you’re already actively working in a specific position, he says, be sure to document anything that doesn’t feel right, and do it in writing, with as much detail as you can – including with whom you’ve spoke, what the content and context of the conversation was, how you feel you were mistreated, the names of any witnesses, and, of course, time and date. “If an employee doesn’t complain about discrimination, then, as far as the employer is concerned, it isn’t happening. It’s amazing what people will conveniently manage to ‘forget’ about witnessing after a lawsuit is filed,” he said. “And while an employee might think that his or her coworkers will stand up and testify about discriminatory conduct, the fact is that many employees aren’t willing to risk their jobs by doing so and will simply say whatever their employer tells them to.” Despite how far we may have come, it seems that the times are indeed lending themselves to a backwards crawl into ignorance and intolerance, even in the most liberal of cities. Then, you must decide if and when the time is right to take action: next steps will depend greatly on state and local law, company policy, and any existing contract language. “If the situation progresses and management refuses to address the situation, you have very limited options going forward,” Davis says. “Once you speak up about a situation, you should be prepared to leave your position, either voluntarily or involuntarily. In cases of harassment, for example, it’s often the case that one party or the other separates from the employer. It’s not always the victim who gets to stay. However, sometimes, the situation you’re up against is affecting others in the workplace similarly.” Despite how far we may have come, it seems that the times are indeed lending themselves to a backwards crawl into ignorance and intolerance, even in the most liberal of cities.
Barbara Belmont , a volunteer at the National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals in New York City, says that despite working in a state where it is illegal to discriminate against
people for sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression, she has recently witnessed displays of hate. And even though harassment and bullying in the workplace is less common these days, she says many young people are still afraid to be “out” at work. “Well-intended people in positions of power have warned them to ‘be careful.’ I say, bring your whole true self to the table,” Belmont said. “Let your coming out happen organically or make an announcement, or find a way to come out in your job interview to test the water. If you don’t get hired because you are LGBTQ, did you really want to work there anyway?” Her best suggestion for protection is to use the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index to discover which of the larger companies have the best ratings, seek employment with companies with inclusive Equal Employment Opportunity policies, Employee Resource Groups for LGBTQ people, trans-inclusive insurance benefits, and a corporate culture committed to diversity and inclusion. Ultimately, Rivera says, if your employer doesn’t adequately address a complaint about discrimination, speak to a lawyer who specializes in plaintiff’s-side employment law; every case is different, so there is no one-size-fits-all solution: you have to obtain specific and personalized advice. “When someone is sick, they know that they should go to a doctor and that searching Google or WebMD isn’t going to accurately diagnose the problem. People should view getting legal advice in much the same way,” he said. “It’s not enough to talk to your aunt the divorce lawyer. Go speak to a lawyer who specializes in this work, the sooner the better. It’s amazing the amount of comfort you’ll get from a 30-minute consultation with a professional who is experienced in employment discrimination law.”

A Gay Football Player Writes Essay For Out Sports

“A gay football player," writes Wyatt Pertuset in an essay on gay-football-player for Out Sports. "Even today it seems to be something very rare in the game.”

Pertuset is a wide receiver for the Capital University football team, and while homophobic incidents involving athletes are still far too common, Pertuset says his experience as an openly gay football player has been overwhelmingly positive.

Before coming to Capital, Pertuset was a star player at North Union High School in Richwood, a small community in northern Union County. He says he had no intention of coming out until after college.

“But my junior year (of high school), after the season had ended, I had told possibly the wrong person," Pertuset says. "The wrong person actually let it get to the wrong people. Rumors started to spread. The next day, I just came out and said, ‘You know what, there’s nothing I should be scared about. This is me.’”

All of his worrying, Pertuset says, was for naught. Classmates and teammates were supportive and encouraging. His senior year, he was voted a team captain, student body president, homecoming king and prom king.
As for his time on the Capital team?
“College has actually been 10 times better," Pertuset says.
Initially, Pertuset says he didn't want to make his sexuality a big deal in the locker room.
"Within two days, everyone knew and everyone was so accepting," Pertuset says. "I got so much good feedback from everyone on the team and the coaches and the friends I’d made at Capital already.”

Pertuset is listed on the Capital roster as a wide receiver, but he made an impact in his freshman year as a punter. The 19-year-old was called into duty after an injury to the starting punter, and did an admirable job in making 38 punts, including two over 50 yards.

Pertuset expects to be the starting punter in 2017 while also catching some passes at wide receiver.
Despite stories like Pertuset’s, openly gay college and professional football players are still pretty rare, though it’s become more common at smaller schools. By far the best-known example of a player coming out is Michael Sam, the former University of Missouri defensive end named 2013 SEC Defensive Player of the Year.

But even Sam waited until after college to come out.
“Even today, there’s still locker room talk about, ‘Oh, this is gross,’ or, ‘Oh, this is so wrong.’" Pertuset says. "You don’t ever hear about how uplifting the stories are that you see, like Michael Sam and Jason Collins.”

Jason Collins was a professional basketball player who in 2014 became the first openly gay player in any of the country’s four largest professional sports league.
When asked why he thinks many players are still scared to come out, Pertuset paused before answering.

“I think it’s a masculinity thing,” he says. “Like once you come out, it’s like, ‘Oh, it’s going to be easier to go against him. He’s just this fragile person. He’s just gay.’ So that just made me push harder to be a better football player just to show that an LGBT community member can show up and play the greatest they can.”

Trump in Europe Shows Zero Stamina, Falls Apart in Brussels

Click for video

(      The bull in the China shop              )

Losing, showing zero stamina and falling apart in the final days of his first “world-tour”, he has not quite started World War III, but is getting much closer.
Light assaults of other world leaders, first person to make Pope Francis show a ‘sad face’ so far, and other achievements of Boss Baby's first trip abroad as "the President"…
Emmanuel Macron may not be the largest fan of Donald Trump, and today he indicated it quite clearly. 

As the man approached the NATO leaders for their unveiling of the Article 5 and Berlin Wall memorials, Trump appears ready to shake hands or receive Emmanuel. Almost comically, Emmanuel pivots slightly, dodging Donald as he warmly greets Angela Merkel first. 
Donald Trump is “left hanging” with his hands open, body language suggests betrayal as he holds both hands outwards, empty, before remembering he is on camera, and the President of the United States.

Later that day, the two leaders had a ‘working lunch’, afterwards there was your usual photo-opportunity… Clearly, Emmanuel has been doing his homework, and was all prepared for Donald’s notorious grabby-hands… 
With a mischievous grin, Macron has ‘won’ this encounter. Donald Trump seems to wince in pain, and as soon as their handshake begins it is clear who is the stronger-man. Trump seems to be trying to escape the death-grip, but the French President is not letting go… He holds on for about 4-5 seconds too-long as Donald screams inside, before his sense of compassion lets the grumpy old man go. 
5 stars, will watch this on loop, and subscribe.
Later on, making an incredibly ignorant speech; one that Vladimir Putin must be very pleased with, decrying the “money that other countries owe” the United States in his errant understanding of the North Atlantic Treaty. 
“These grave security concerns are the same reason that I have been very, very direct with Secretary Stoltenberg and members of the Alliance in saying that NATO members must finally contribute their fair share and meet their financial obligations, for 23 of the 28 member nations are still not paying what they should be paying and what they’re supposed to be paying for their defense.
This is not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States.  And many of these nations owe massive amounts of money from past years and not paying in those past years.  Over the last eight years, the United States spent more on defense than all other NATO countries combined.  If all NATO members had spent just 2 percent of their GDP on defense last year, we would have had another $119 billion for our collective defense and for the financing of additional NATO reserves.” — Donald Trump

Not to finish on a sour note, Donald Trump shoved the Prime Minister of Montenegro; Duško Marković aside as he spitefully forced his obese frame through the NATO leaders and heads-of-state… 

Duško was diplomatic about the incident, and pretended to not mind at all; stating that “it is natural” to reporters after the summit. He took the time to thank Trump for supporting the relatively small republics new membership into NATO…

I had predicted that his behaviour would slowly decline each day Donnie is away from his golden-toilet and favourite toilet-bed, and it has played out as expected… 
Highlights such as: Making the Pope sad, Melania’s hilarious hand-rejections, and “bullying” or egotistical actions were all quite predictable, yet still shameful for the leader of the United States to display. An incredibly stupid man, with far too much responsibility to handle… 

How much longer can the citizens of the free-world stand this circus act?
Follow us on Twitter, and check out our website for more breaking news and media.

By Stirling Campbell

May 25, 2017

Great Difficulties for Adamfoxie But We are Stll At It

It is with great regret we have not being able to solve the problem with our main frame which help us scan for fresh stories world wide.

This is age related, I guess equipment kept in shape by having the latest software but when the Transmission quits on a car it doesn't matter that it has a good engine and brand new tires.

What are we doing about it? The publisher is in charge of getting the old one repaired or reassess if there is another way to accomplish our mission which is to give you the freshest stories on current issues while at the same time not publishing what everyone else is reporting.

We concentrate on the LGBT community worldwide so it can feel united by the knowledge of what others are doing and what issues they are facing. This is a community still suffering from homophobia, bias and straight out a lack of education and knowledge from others in regards to it. This while it has never been easier to obtain the latest information both in a human sense and a scientific form as to eliminate all the misinformation out there. It just so happen that homophobes and ignorant people are lazy and are not in the habit of getting new information that would make them reasses their beliefs and even sometimes their lives.

Please keep coming back because there would always be fresh content on the blog. Without readers we have no blog. There is no payment or credit of any type for traffic or hits on the blog. Volunteers have been the answer for work that needed to be accomplish.

Thank you, we have explained the issue thoroughly therefore it won't be  necessary for any more updates. We continue to function in an emergency mode until they issue is resolved.

Taiwan Gay Marriage Influences China as Well Other Sino Countries

Taiwan's d a shot in the arm for the gay rights movement in Asia, but it is likely to be many years before China approves similar measures, amid deep-rooted opposition in some quarters.
Until 2001, China listed homosexuality as a mental disorder, but it is not illegal to be gay. Many large cities have thriving gay scenes, although gay men and women still face a lot of family pressure to get married and have children.

Wednesday's decision, the first such ruling in Asia, cements Taiwan's position as a beacon of liberalism in the region, and could prompt legal action by activists in Thailand, home to one of Southeast Asia's most vibrant lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. 

Mainstream Chinese media either ignored the decision by Taiwan's constitutional court, or focused on the island's few protesters against it. The decision had "caused controversy", the state-run Xinhua news agency said.

China sees Taiwan as a wayward province to be brought under Beijing's control by force if necessary, and considers its people to be Chinese citizens. Proudly democratic Taiwan has shown no interest in being ruled by China.

But it is only a matter of time before China approves same-sex marriage, the English version of the Global Times, published by the official People's Daily, said. 
"The ruling proves that same-sex marriage is acceptable in Chinese culture, and is likely for the Chinese mainland to legalize gay marriage within a decade," Li Yinhe, a prominent sexologist at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences who has backed proposals to legalize gay marriage, told the paper.

But the far more widely read Chinese version of the paper was silent on how the decision might affect China.

Despite muted government reaction, the news drew millions of views and many broadly supportive comments on Weibo, China's answer to Twitter.
"This is the broad trend of the times. It doesn't hurt anybody else," Li Tingting, a gender equality and gay rights activist, told Reuters. 

Taiwan's decision would help promote the same-sex marriage issue in China, said Li, who was detained in 2015 for trying to fight sexual harassment and goes by the pseudonym Li Maizi.

"But the problem is society is too conservative," she added. "Many people have never had any contact with anyone gay."
As if underscoring that view, a Chinese academic denounced the news on the site Confucian Web, urging parents in Taiwan to move to China to safeguard children from catching AIDS.

Wei Xiaogang, who works on gay rights and gender issues at the Beijing Gender Health Education Institute, said he felt reaction in China had been generally positive.
"It raises the visibility of equal marriage in China, and if more places in Asia approve this, China will feel like it won't want to be left behind," Wei told Reuters, though he could not predict how long the change might take.

Chinese literature and history are rich in description of relatively liberal attitudes to homosexuality in imperial times, but the Communist revolution of 1949 ushered in more prudish attitudes towards sex.

Beginning in the late 1970s, however, China eased up on such strictures as it embarked upon landmark economic reforms.

Still, though there are a handful of openly gay celebrities, no Chinese politicians will acknowledge being gay in public, unlike in Western countries.
Trying to gauge the extent of support for gay rights in China is difficult as no proper polls are published, said Sun Wenlin, whose landmark case last year seeking permission to marry his boyfriend was rejected by a Chinese court.
By Ben Blanchard | BEIJING


There is No Gay Panic (scientists) but You Most Have known

Homophobic men are no more innately stressed out by seeing men kissing than tolerant men are.
May 23, 2017
The visceral and violent reaction to displays of gay affection dubbed ''gay panic'' has no basis in biology, scientists have found.
Gay panic has been used as a defence in cases of hate crimes against LGBTQ people. It's described as a momentary insanity when someone flies into a rage at seeing romantic or sexual behaviour between men. The defence has been used repeatedly in criminal cases, albeit mostly unsuccessfully.
"These men [who commit attacks] argue that it's out of their control and that it's something completely innate. It's likened to reverting to a natural fight-or-flight defence mode because they've seen something dangerous," Karen Blair, a researcher at St Francis Xavier University in Canada, told IBTimes UK.
But homophobic men have a stress reaction no different to men who are neutral towards gay relationships when they view pictures of men kissing, according to Blair's research, published in the journal Psychology and Sexuality.
Blair and her colleagues decided to test whether there was a biological response that could be called a ''gay panic'' state. They tested the saliva of about 120 men in Utah for a stress response while watching a slideshow of images. Some of the images showed men and women kissing, some showed men kissing other men, some were neutral everyday things like paperclips, and some were disgusting things, like maggots.
They tested amount of salivary alpha-amylase – a digestive enzyme linked to stress – while the men were viewing the images. The levels in people who tolerated gay relationships were the same as those who were found to hold homophobic views.

"This blows a big hole in that argument that people who react very violently to same-sex public displays of affection are somehow not in control," Blair said.
"There is no difference in the stress response based on attitudes. So it doesn't make sense to say that those people who are reacting violently are doing so because of some biological response."
However, the levels of salivary alpha-amylase were higher across all groups of men – homophobic and tolerant – than when viewing the neutral images. This could be due to internalised homophobia even among men who are accepting of gay relationships, Blair said.
"Perhaps this is a sign of some of this historic social conditioning that has been taking place. We have been raised for generations to believe that homosexuality is wrong and that it is disgusting. That is built into the internalised homophobia that gay people have themselves," she added.
"So perhaps what this is pointing to is that we are still physiologically experiencing a disgust response, regardless of our views."
Further research will be necessary to see if the results can be replicated with a larger sample. The approach also has yet to be tested in non-Americans. But the evidence that aggressive homophobia is not driven by an innate biological response offers hope, Blair said, and could spur on interventions to reduce such behaviour.

In the heart of hearts we most have all known there is no such thing as 'a reaction to create panic and harm others when confronted with a gay person.' It was invented by a clever lawyer trying to get his client off for killing a gay man because he thought he was going to get propositioned and therefore he momentarily lost his mind realizing that he too might be gay. It takes some heavy lifting to come up with that one. The lawyer did get the murder charges reduced.

Trump's Budget Will Leave 23 Millions More Uninsured

Here candidate Trump prays with Evangelicals . If people only knew this is what he meant by having people insured
Divinely insured.

Who pays when these millions of uninsured show up at the emergency room for treatment? Shouldn't  that be inthe budget too since is not going to be free and is a lot more than having these people insured. And all because people got to called the Obama health care instead of health care. Republicans in congress could not swallow that name. Thepeop,e who don't need insurance because they already got single payer from the Federal government because they work in Congress and the White House don't care and their followers would vote against teirw  mothers if they had and African American or Moslem sounding name.

The revised Republican bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act will leave 23 million more people uninsured in 2026 than if that act, also known as Obamacare, were to remain in place. The GOP bill would also reduce the deficit by $119 billion over 10 years.

That's what the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reported Wednesday in its latest score of the American Health Care Act. The CBO's assessment shows that the deficit would fall and premiums would fall for some Americans, but the report also raises potential concerns about the bill. The agency reports that the bill could destabilize individual insurance markets in some states, leaving unhealthy Americans unable to buy insurance.

The bill will now move on to the Senate, and should it pass that chamber, it will not look like this current AHCA version. As NPR's Susan Davis reported Wednesday, the Senate is likely to write its own version of the bill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also told Reuters IF he doesn't know what that path to passing the bill will look like.

"I don't know how we get to 50 [votes] at the moment. But that's the goal," he said.
A smaller deficit, but a far higher uninsured rate
The $119 billion deficit reduction represents a decline from previous versions. When the CBO first scored the AHCA, it said the plan would save $337 billion over 10 years. Later revisions reduced those savings to $150 billion.
By far the biggest savings would come from Medicaid, which serves low-income Americans. That program would face $884 billion in cuts. Cutbacks in subsidies for individual health insurance would likewise help cut $276 billion. But those are offset in large part by bigger costs, including the repeal of many of Obamacare's taxes.

Those tax cuts would overwhelmingly benefit the highest-income Americans, the Tax Policy Center, a Washington think tank, reported on Wednesday.
The increase in the number of uninsured is also slightly lower than in the CBO's initial estimate. That report estimated that 24 million fewer would be insured in 2026 if this bill were to become law, putting the uninsured rate at around 18.6 percent. This revised bill would reduce that by around 1 million — a difference of less than half a percentage point.

In contrast, the uninsured rate in 2026 would be around 10 percent under Obamacare, the CBO reports.
More than half of that increase in the uninsured — 14 million — would come from reduced Medicaid enrollment.
The CBO also notes that the AHCA could mean some Americans would buy policies that don't cover "major medical risks." Because of those policies' skimpy coverage, the CBO doesn't count those people as insured in this report.

The Trump administration responded by saying it believes the CBO's numbers are unreliable.
"History has proven the CBO to be totally incapable of accurately predicting how healthcare legislation will impact health insurance coverage," the White House said in a statement.
The CBO did indeed far overestimate the number of people who would sign up for the Obamacare exchanges, as's Brooks Jackson wrote in March. Likewise, it undershot on the number of Medicaid enrollees. (That said, Jackson added, the CBO predicted the uninsured rate relatively closely.)
Difficulties for some addicted, pregnant or sick Americans
The act could make obtaining health care coverage prohibitively expensive for some sicker Americans, the CBO found.

That's because under the AHCA, states could get waivers exempting them from some Obamacare provisions, including what are called essential health benefits — a list of basics like mental health and prescription drugs that the Affordable Care Act required plans to cover. States could also get waivers that allow insurers to charge more for people with pre-existing conditions.
One challenge the CBO faced in creating these estimates was figuring out how many states would get those waivers, and the report acknowledges that this creates some uncertainty in the estimates. In the end, it estimated that around one-sixth of the population lives in states that would seek both of those waivers. Around half of Americans live in states that would seek no waivers, meanwhile, and the remainder live in states that would make "moderate" changes.

In states that obtained both of those waivers, it would mean lower premiums for people buying individual insurance. But less healthy Americans in those states could face "extremely high premiums," the report said.
"Over time, it would become more difficult for less healthy people (including people with preexisting medical conditions) in those states to purchase insurance because their premiums would continue to increase rapidly," the CBO wrote.
Waiving essential health benefits could also make medical care much more expensive for people who are pregnant, addicted or have other mental health issues and who live in those states that waive those benefits.
"In particular, out-of-pocket spending on maternity care and mental health and substance abuse services could increase by thousands of dollars in a given year for the nongroup enrollees who would use those services," the report says of people living in those states.
Under current law, the CBO wrote, the markets will be "stable in most areas" because lower-income Americans buying individual insurance will be shielded from rising Obamacare premiums, thanks to subsidies.
However, the report acknowledges that insurers have reduced their participation in the exchanges, leaving some Americans with no options for buying insurance. "The Affordable Care Act doesn't have a back-up plan for this situation," as Vox's Sarah Kliff and Sarah Frostenson reported Wednesday, so it's not clear how this could play out.
Cuts to Medicaid
Medicaid accounts for by far the biggest spending reductions under the American Health Care Act. The bill would roll back the Medicaid expansion instituted under the Affordable Care Act, which extended the program to cover some Americans with incomes up to 133 percent of the poverty line. That expansion increased enrollment by 10 million, as NPR's Alison Kodjak previously reported. Rolling back that expansion would limit future enrollments.

The AHCA would also give states a choice: Receive Medicaid funding via either a block grant or a per capita amount per enrollee.
Together, these changes would create major cuts in enrollment for the program: 14 million fewer people by 2026, and $834 billion in spending cuts over a decade.
Older, lower-income Americans get higher premiums
Average premiums would be lower in 2026 than they would be under Obamacare, both in states that do and that don't seek waivers. But it's impossible to make a meaningful blanket statement about how premiums would change under this bill, as those changes differ vastly for different groups of people.
For example, older Americans who make little money and buy individual insurance would see their premiums climb far beyond what they would be under Obamacare. A 64-year-old making $26,500 would pay $1,700 in premiums annually under Obamacare. In a state making those "moderate" changes to its market, that 64-year-old would pay $13,600, and in a state with no waivers, the cost would be $16,100. That's more than nine times that person's premium under the Affordable Care Act.
However, younger Americans would see little change in their premiums, or even declines. Likewise, some people with higher incomes could see substantially lower premiums under this bill. For example, a 40-year-old paying $6,500 a year under current law could pay an estimated $2,100 in a state with "moderate changes" to its market.
The bill moves on to the Senate

The CBO's newly estimated deficit savings mean the bill can safely move on to the Senate.
The future of the bill hinged upon this report, as House Republicans passed their most recent version of the bill without waiting for the CBO to report its estimated price tag. Three weeks after passing the bill, however, they have not sent the bill on to the Senate yet, because they were waiting on this score. Budget rules dictate that if the bill's deficit savings had not reached $2 billion (and that $2 billion had to come from particular spending categories), the bill would be dead upon arrival.

May 24, 2017

Internal Bulying Hurts The Most

THE awful feeling was all too familiar. Someone had me in their sights and decided to attack, and nothing I said or did was going to stop it. Suddenly, I was a kid all over again.
On the weekend, a well-known gay activist from Melbourne named Rodney Chiang-Cruise orchestrated a very public campaign to have me removed from the Board of the New South Wales Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby.

My terrible indiscretion? Being employed as a journalist for News Corp Australia.
I’ve worked for News for three years. I became involved with the GLRL about a year ago and was formally elected as a committee member in late 2016. My place of employment was proudly declared in my candidate bio, presented to Lobby members at the annual general meeting.
I’ve covered all kinds of things in my career. Politics, general news, entertainment, property… you name it. I’ve also written extensively about LGBTIQ issues, from marriage equalityto Safe Schools, in News Corp’s vast stable of outlets.

But in Rodney’s opinion, when it comes to me, I can’t be a participating member of my community while working at News Corp, because of some of its past coverage of LGBTIQ issues, including Safe Schools.

Rodney doesn’t live in NSW, the state the Lobby represents. He doesn’t really contribute much to the LGBTIQ community, except to be an aggressor and distraction of important issues. He is a known bully within the space and he has a lot of time to devote to that hobby.
In my observations of his past activities, I’d describe him as hard-line and naïve, with a very black and white view of the world.
When I became aware of his attacks, which he waged on Twitter and Facebook, and also privately, I felt sick. It felt like I was a teenager again, when this kind of harassment was the core of my 

Even though this time it was directed via the internet, originating from thousands of kilometres away, it’s as though I could feel the nastiness like a strong breeze on a hot, humid day, stinging my skin; choking in its relentlessness.
As people very kindly stepped in to defend me, friends and strangers alike, Rodney grew more and more determined. Another known antagonist, Michael Barnett, joined in the fun and shared the messages, amplifying their reach.
Rodney took to a number of LGBTIQ-related pages on Facebook to spread his hate, attracting a smattering of support from some who agreed with him. It fuelled his momentum.
The snowball grew and grew. When I tried to reason with Rodney, he blocked me on his social media accounts.

As this was going on, my phone continuing to light up like a Christmas tree, I was sitting in my mum’s living room in central Queensland at the end of a three-day visit home. It felt just like old times — me silently fretting, holding back tears, not wanting to worry her; she wondering what was clearly wrong; me knowing I couldn’t win.

I went home to Sydney and felt increasingly worse about things. I stood down from the GLRL — a decision I made without pressure — in a bid to bring an end to the distraction Rodney and Michael were making. The LGBTIQ rights campaign is at too important a point to cop things like this. We should be talking about inequality and injustice, not a journalist from Sydney who sits on a Board.
The Lobby has been nothing but supportive but for now I feel it’s best I step away, particularly in light of the attention this unfortunate incident has received.

But Rodney had won. He achieved his goal of having me gone from the GLRL Board. And yet he still wasn’t happy. He gloated that if I thought this would end his ‘advocacy’ against what he calls “Gay Incorporated”, I was sorely mistaken.

I told him to go away, in my very pointed regional-Queensland-upbringing way. He threatened to make that colourful, admittedly not very classy message public. I don’t really care. I’d gladly repeat it here but it wouldn’t be published, so I’ll say this: Rodney, you’re a disgraceful bully and I wish you farewell, you meanie.

I’ve copped bullies my entire life. They’re the worst. They’re mean, without reason and they typically don’t give up, even when the fight is won. But to endure this from within my own community is the most disappointing thing I’ve encountered in a long time.
For the most part, the LGBTIQ community is warm, welcoming and supportive. The GLRL and groups just like it across Australia contribute an enormous amount to society and work tireless for equality and fairness of all kinds.

And it’s worth pointing out that my employer has shown incredibly overwhelming concern, ensuring I’m coping and even making very generous public statements of support.
For you see, the world isn’t black and white as Rodney sadly sees it.

Sometimes the LGBTIQ community is its own worst enemy, when people like Rodney hijack the agenda and steer focus away from the things that truly matter. Rodney is in the minority, thankfully, but his actions can’t be ignored.

I’m a bit embarrassed by all the attention. I’m extremely upset at how things have played out. I’m buoyed by the support I’ve received but I’m disappointed it was needed at all.
But mostly, I’m just sad — sad for Rodney, that he thinks the way he does, that his heart is so full of bitterness.

However he’s not representative of the community. Don’t let him distract from the work that’s being done.
This whole thing has left a sour taste in my mouth and I’m going to take some time away to reflect and let the dust settle. I hope for everyone’s sake that Rodney does the same.
Shannon Molloy is a reporter and producer for News Corp Australia.

Gay Marriage is Coming to Taiwan 🌈

In a landmark ruling on Wednesday, Taiwan's constitutional court positioned the country to become the first in Asia to recognize same-sex marriages.
Previously, Taiwan's civil code had stipulated that marriage must be between a man and a woman. But in a majority opinion, the court ruled that the ban on same-sex unions ran afoul of two articles of the country's constitution that uphold human dignity and equality in the eyes of the law, according to the Associated Press.

The legislature now has two years to either amend the existing civil code or to enact new laws pertaining to same-sex couples.
For LGBT activists in Taiwan — one of the most liberal democracies in Asia, according to the AP — the victory was hard-won.

On Wednesday, hundreds of same-sex marriage supporters gathered outside the legislature near the country's capital, Taipei, to wave flags and blast noisemakers. 
Tarah Demant, Program Director for Amnesty International's Gender, Sexuality, and Identity Program, said the hope is that the court's decision is the beginning of a broad trend "not only for Taiwan, but the entire region."

"There's broad homophobia globally, and Asia is no exception," she said in an interview Wednesday. "In the face of what can feel like growing discrimination, growing nativism, a growing sense of people doubling down on anti-human rights protectionist policy, this is a step forward towards human rights for all people and not just for a certain class of people."
Polls show that a majority of the Taiwanese public supports same-sex marriage, as do both the current ruling and major opposition parties. A bill to enforce the ruling is already making its way through the legislature, the AP reported.

Trump's FY18 Budget Puts LGBT Lives in Jeopardy

GLAAD Condemns Drastic Proposed Cuts to Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, CDC, and Planned Parenthood 
NEW YORK – GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, responded after President Donald Trump released the administration’s 2018 fiscal year budget, which highlights their key objectives and priorities in the upcoming fiscal year. The budget includes proposed slashes to programs and departments critical to the LGBTQ community, including Medicaid, Planned Parenthood, and the Center of Disease Control’s HIV and AIDS programs.
Further, the Trump Administration proposed additional cuts in the FY 2018 Budget that could also endanger policies geared to assist transgender women of color and their access to quality HIV-related health care.
“This budget would pull the rug from under some of America’s most marginalized communities, including transgender women of color, at a time when they need our help the most,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD. “President Trump’s budget is heartless and the latest example of the Administration working to systematically erase LGBTQ Americans from the fabric of this nation.”
Moreover, the proposed budget also slashes dollars to the Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights. This office is charged with helping marginalized communities, including LGBTQ Americans, gain access to health care and human services providers without discrimination. Roger Severino, who has a long history of anti-LGBTQ activism and remarks, was appointed to lead the Office of Civil Rights earlier this year.
GLAAD has been documenting the administration’s systematic erasure of the LGBTQ community and policies intended to support LGBTQ Americans. Click here to visit GLAAD’s Trump Accountability Project.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION: How the Trump Administration’s Proposed Budget Harms LGBTQ Americans
Health and Human Services Cuts to LGBTQ Health Care Access
Eliminates $59 million from the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program. [Health and Human Services FY 2018 Budget, Page 24]
Proposed discontinuing the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Part F AIDS Education and Training Programs and Special Projects of National Significance. [Health and Human Services FY 2018 Budget, Page 24]
The Special Projects of National Significance features a program geared toward transgender women of color

Cuts $186 million in HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STIs, and TB prevention CDC funding [Health and Human Services FY 2018 Budget, Page 28]

Drops $6 million in funding for HHS Office of Civil Rights [Health and Human Services FY 2018 Budget, Page 95]
Cutting Medicaid Harms People with HIV and AIDS
Advocate: Trumpcare Could Bring HIV Roaring Back: By gutting Medicaid expansion and other benefits, the proposal could complicate PrEP access and promotion in the states that adopted Medicaid expansion. If passed, the new bill will begin to eliminate money for Medical expansion in 2020, potentially blocking new applicants and access to critical medication…
WGBH News: Trumpcare Would Harm LGBT People And Those Living With HIV: “Changes to Medicaid proposed by the AHCA would put many people with HIV at risk of losing access to life-saving medicines and treatment” […] Trumpcare would also reverse ACA-related changes to Medicaid eligibility that have benefitted LGBT people. Previously, only low-income adults with dependent children or low-income adults with a disability were eligible for Medicaid. Now people are eligible for Medicaid on the basis of income alone. Since many LGBT people do not have children, this change has made it easier for them to enroll in Medicaid.”
Defunding Planned Parenthood Harms Trans Americans
HEADLINE: Trump’s Budget Proposes Kicking Planned Parenthood Out of All Federal Programs [New York Magazine, 5.23.17]
Daily Beast: The Attack on Planned Parenthood Hurts Transgender People, Too: “But a lesser-known consequence of the attack on Planned Parenthood is its potential impact on transgender people like Burns who rely on the organization for transition-related medical care. Elizabeth Clark, Planned Parenthood’s director of health media, told The Daily Beast that health centers in 16 states—including California, Florida, New York, and Illinois—currently offer hormone therapy to transgender patients. From 2013 to 2015, she added, there was an 80 percent increase in affiliates that reported offering that treatment.”
The Guardian: How defunding Planned Parenthood could wipe out transgender healthcare; “Unbeknown to many, Planned Parenthood is one of the largest sources in the US of transgender healthcare. The embattled provider offers hormone replacement therapy, which helps a person’s body appear more masculine or feminine, at dozens of its locations, and a growing share of its staff are trained to perform routine sexual health exams for trans patients.
Planned Parenthood in recent years has sought to address that problem. And it has made its clinics a magnet for thousands with few other options. Starting with Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes, in upstate New York, a growing number of its health centers have become places where trans people can begin to transition medically, as well as get basic reproductive services. Its centers use a newer model for gender transitioning that gives the patient input on whether to start their transition, rather than turning the decision over entirely to a psychiatrist. Some clinics have staff with detailed knowledge of how to update driver’s licenses, passports and social security cards to reflect someone’s name and gender.”

May 22, 2017

Pence Praises Indonesia While Hundreds of Gays are Rounded Off

(CNN)A raid by police on a gym and sauna in the Indonesian capital Jakarta on Sunday evening is being seen by some as the latest evidence of a crackdown on the rights of the country's LGBT population.
Police detained 141 men as part of the raid on the establishment in North Jakarta, said Polda Metro Jaya Kombes Argo Yuwono, the head of public relations for the Jakarta Police Department. 

GTen people have been charged with violating Indonesia's pornography laws, with police pointing to evidence including condoms, CCTV recordings and mattresses. The rest remain detained and are under investigation, though not officially charged, Argo said.
The sauna was allegedly holding a sex party, promoted as "The Wild One," for which guests were charged 185,000 Indonesian rupees (US$14) to attend, Argo said. 
"We are still ... examining the perpetrators one by one, this takes time," Argo told CNN Indonesia Monday.
Homosexual sex is not illegal in the majority of Indonesia, except in the extremely conservative province of Aceh. Jakarta is not part of any province; it is controlled by the central government.

'So much fear'

The raid is just the latest in a series of anti-LGBT actions by Indonesian authorities, which Human Rights Watch researcher Andreas Harsono told CNN was having a chilling effect on the community.

Pence praises moderate Islam in Indonesia
"So much fear, I meet them almost every day if not every other day. I've been helping many of them to escape arrest or to deal with abuses, give them counseling," he said.
In the past week, two gay men were sentenced to 85 lashes for having sexual relations in conservative Aceh -- a verdict condemned by human rights activists.
The sentence will be carried out on Tuesday, May 23.
Meanwhile the Indonesian Constitutional Court is currently hearing a petition by a conservative group to recommend changing the country's criminal code to make homosexual sex illegal.
"LGBT rights is going hand in hand with women's rights, it is going hand in hand with religious freedoms for minorities, they are all in slow decline in Indonesia," Harsono said.
"At the same time, sadly, we are seeing the rise of Islamic fundamentalism ... in Indonesia."

Trump Asked of Heads of Intelligence what He Asked of Comey

Trump asked them to push back against FBI probe, officials say
President Trump asked two of the nation’s top intelligence officials in March to help him push back against an FBI investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and the Russian government, according to current and former officials.
Trump made separate appeals to the director of national intelligence, Daniel Coats, and to Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, urging them to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election.
Coats and Rogers refused to comply with the requests, which they both deemed to be inappropriate, according to two current and two former officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private communications with the president.
Trump sought the assistance of Coats and Rogers after FBI Director James B. Comey told the House Intelligence Committee on March 20 that the FBI was investigating “the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts.”
Trump’s conversation with Rogers was documented contemporaneously in an internal memo written by a senior NSA official, according to the officials. It is unclear if a similar memo was prepared by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to document Trump’s conversation with Coats. Officials said such memos could be made available to both the special counsel now overseeing the Russia investigation and congressional investigators, who might explore whether Trump sought to impede the FBI’s work.
What we know about Trump's ties to Russia
White House officials say Comey’s testimony about the scope of the FBI investigation upset Trump, who has dismissed the FBI and congressional investigations as a “witch hunt.” The president has repeatedly said there was no collusion.
Current and former senior intelligence officials viewed Trump’s requests as an attempt by the president to tarnish the credibility of the agency leading the Russia investigation.
A senior intelligence official said that Trump’s goal was to “muddy the waters” about the scope of the FBI probe at a time when Democrats were ramping up their calls for the Justice Department to appoint a special counsel, a step announced last week.

Senior intelligence officials also saw the March requests as a threat to the independence of U.S. spy agencies, which are supposed to remain insulated from partisan issues.
“The problem wasn’t so much asking them to issue statements, it was asking them to issue false statements about an ongoing investigation,” a former senior intelligence official said of the request to 

The NSA and Brian Hale, a spokesman for Coats, declined to comment, citing the ongoing.

“The White House does not confirm or deny unsubstantiated claims based on illegal leaks from anonymous individuals,” a White House spokesperson said. “The president will continue to focus on his agenda that he was elected to pursue by the American people.”
In addition to the requests to Coats and Rogers, senior White House officials sounded out top intelligence officials about the possibility of intervening directly with Comey to encourage the FBI to drop its probe of Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, according to people familiar with the matter. The officials said the White House appeared uncertain about its power to influence the FBI.
“Can we ask him to shut down the investigation? Are you able to assist in this matter?” one official said of the line of questioning from the White House.

The new revelations add to a growing body of evidence that Trump sought to co-opt and then undermine Comey before he fired him May 9. According to notes kept by Comey, Trump first asked for his loyalty at a dinner in January and then, at a meeting the next month, asked him to drop the probe into Flynn. Trump disputes those accounts.

Current and former officials said either Trump lacks an understanding of the FBI’s role as an independent law enforcement agency or does not care about maintaining such boundaries.
Trump’s effort to use the director of national intelligence and the NSA director to refute Comey’s statement and to say there was no evidence of collusion echoes President Richard Nixon’s “unsuccessful efforts to use the CIA to shut down the FBI’s investigation of the Watergate break-in on national security grounds,” said Jeffrey H. Smith, a former general counsel at the CIA. Smith called Trump’s actions “an appalling abuse of power.”

Trump made his appeal to Coats days after Comey’s testimony, according to officials.
That same week, Trump telephoned Rogers to make a similar appeal.
In his call with Rogers, Trump urged the NSA director to speak out publicly if there was no evidence of collusion, according to officials briefed on the exchange.

Rogers was taken aback but tried to respectfully explain why he could not do so, the officials said. For one thing, he could not comment on an ongoing investigation. Rogers added that he would not talk about classified matters in public.

While relations between Trump and Comey were strained by the Russia probe, ties between the president and the other intelligence chiefs, including Rogers, Coats and CIA Director Mike Pompeo, appear to be less contentious, according to officials.

Rogers met with Trump in New York shortly after the election, and Trump’s advisers at the time held him out as the leading candidate to be the next director of national intelligence.
The Washington Post subsequently reported that President Barack Obama’s defense secretary and director of national intelligence had recommended that Rogers be removed as head of the NSA.
Ultimately, Trump decided to nominate Coats, rather than Rogers. Coats was sworn in just days before the president made his request.

In February, the Trump White House also sought to enlist senior members of the intelligence community and Congress to push back against suggestions that Trump associates were in frequent contact with Russian officials. But in that case, the White House effort was designed to refute news accounts, not the testimony of a sitting FBI director who was leading an open investigation.
Trump and his allies in Congress have similarly sought to deflect scrutiny over Russia by attempting to pit U.S. intelligence agencies against one another.

In December, Trump’s congressional allies falsely claimed that the FBI did not concur with a CIA assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Trump win the White House. Comey and then-CIA Director John Brennan later said that the bureau and the agency were in full agreement on Moscow’s intentions.

As the director of national intelligence, Coats leads the vast U.S. intelligence community, which includes the FBI. But that does not mean he has full visibility into the FBI probe. Coats’s predecessor in the job, James R. Clapper Jr., recently acknowledged that Comey did not brief him on the scope of the Russia investigation. Similarly, it is unclear to what extent the FBI has brought Coats up to speed on the probe’s most sensitive findings.
Adam Entous writes about national security, foreign policy and intelligence for The Post. He joined the newspaper in 2016 after more than 20 years with The Wall Street Journal and Reuters, where he covered the Pentagon, the CIA, the White House and Congress. He covered President George W. Bush for five years after the September 11, 2001, attacks.

Ellen Nakashima is a national security reporter for The Washington Post. She focuses on issues relating to intelligence, technology and civil liberties.
Democracy Dies in Darkness
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