April 23, 2017

Aaron Hern.Moved $$ to 3 Accounts 1 was to Silence His ExMale Lover








Believing in the Bible(guilt) and wanting the false security of a locked closet because of family and friends (fear) killed Hernandez and it still kills thousands a year between the US and England alone. Until the straight world, particularly families raising kids stop putting pressure on their kids that straight is good and gay is suffering (suffering that they themselves impose on their kids) this problem will not stop.

I have a niece that asked her pre teenager daughter if she was gay because she read one of her emails and said that was signed “I love you”

She approached her daughter with tears in her eyes and told her that she would love her no matter what but she had to tell her if she was a lesbian. When she told me I was in shock and I told her 
“of coarse she told you, she was straight and may be she is not but if she was gay she will never tell you." I stop trusting her from that moment on because I knew she felt the same way about me. She could not help my being gay but she would rather not have be gay (these are things one gets from another person without words). Homophobia is not that you commit crimes against gays, Homophobia is fear of being gay which in turn makes you fear the ones you love to be gay. I grew up Evangelical and I know the damaged that did.I am glad I had the opportunity to become a seminarian with 5 years of study throughout all my teens. It gave the tools to search for the truth not for myths you are taught from the first day you step in a church.

Aaron Hernandez sister was willing to go to jail for him by hiding the gun that he was accused of using for the murders he was accused and latter acquitted of committing. That was ok for her. It was ok to loose her kids, She was protecting blood. But before he killed himself she is taped on her final conversation with him telling him “ I would have not done it if I knew you were a ‘loose wrist’ (another way to call someone a fag). Can you imagine how repulsed she felt for her blood she loved when she finds out a piece of private information. It didn’t change him, he was what he was and she was accepting of him even as a murderer! But not as gay or bisexual. Why would it be anyone business where you stick your dick? I have asked that question so many times!

But is not that easy. For uneducated people on the subject,  they want to remain uneducated. How many times I tried to give my niece the information I had and how I was wired. She never paid attention when I talked to her saying that I was her uncle and she didn’t care. She didn’t care about me her uncle but she cared about her daughter. Trying to give her information was like beating your head against a cement wall. Time after time I got the unsaid message “Im ok you are gay, don’t push it.” It was a good thing when I came out I only cared what one person thought, my mom and I figured that if she really loved me the way she said, it will make no difference to her and it never did. 
I did get rid of girl fiends and straight friends before I did it. I wanted to deal with just myself because I was  not too happy with it, particularly being an evangelical.  In my own quiet way I was as homophobic as homophobic can be. Dind’t beat up anybody nor insulted anybody but I was care shitless and it also drove me to suicide. I just got lucky, only nine days in the hospital and my doctor agree to keep my secret about suicide. This was a jewish doctor at Maimonides Hospital in Boro-Park, Brooklyn. He knew that the best way to keep me from doing it again was not to create more problems for me. Never attempted it again but remained a little reckless not caring too much about being around since I still felt I had to put up with my family’s and other’s homophobia. It’s an awful feeling to imagine that one does not belong.
Adam Gonzalez, Publisher 
adamfoxie.blogspot.com



On April 19, sometime before 3 a.m., Aaron Hernandez, the former star New England Patriots tight end, scrawled three notes—one to his fiancée, the mother of his little girl, one to that daughter and a third to his close prison friend—and placed them next to a Bible in his solitary prison cell in the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Massachusetts.

The Bible was opened to a section of the New Testament, John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whosoever believes in him would not perish but have eternal life.” He had scrawled that verse on his forehead with red ink, and also made marks on his hands and feet with that red pen, as though mimicking the stigmata associated with the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. 

Then the 27-year-old former NFL star serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for murder, jammed the track of his cell door with cardboard to prevent guards from coming in, slicked the floor with liquid soap and shampoo (which investigators believe he did to make it harder for him to back out in case he lost his nerve), wrapped his bed sheet around his neck multiple times and then tied one end of it to a bar on the window of his cell.

A correction officer saw his limp body through the cell door at 3:03 a.m., and tried to resuscitate him. Hernandez was then rushed to UMass Leominster hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 4:07 a.m.

It was an ugly end to the former NFL star’s often ugly life and it came on the same day players on his former team traveled to the White House to celebrate the New England Patriot’s Super Bowl win. Questions immediately began to swirl about why Hernandez, who had been acquitted five days earlier in connection with a separate double murder charge stemming from a drive-by shooting in 2012, picked this time to die.
  
That’s just one of many mysteries Hernandez, known for never shedding the gang connections he made growing up, left behind. He was convicted in April 2015 for shooting and killing his friend, Odin Lloyd, seemingly without motive. But interviews with multiple law enforcement officials directly involved in the case say Lloyd—a semipro football player who was dating Hernandez’s fiance’s sister at the time—had information the football star did not want out: that he was bisexual.

Motivation to Murder?

One of the notes left by Hernandez was to his prison boyfriend, who is now on 24/7 suicide watch, multiple law enforcement sources confirm. Hernandez’s sexuality would, of course, not be relevant save for the fact that an intimate relationship he allegedly had with a male former high school classmate was at the center of the investigation into Lloyd’s murder. 

Ernest Wallace, a co-defendant in the Lloyd murder case, told detectives the victim had called Hernandez a “schmoocher,” which was taken by Hernandez and his companions as a gay slur. Wallace was also recorded saying during a jailhouse visit with Tanya Singleton, Hernandez’s cousin, that he would not have helped Hernandez get rid of the murder weapon—a crime for which he is now serving a 4½-to-7 year sentence on accessory to murder charges—if he had known Hernandez was a “limp wrist,” multiple sources say. 

Singleton was accused of helping Wallace discard of Lloyd’s murder weapon and was later sentenced to two years probation with one year under house confinement after pleading guilty to criminal contempt for refusing to cooperate with investigators in Boston investigating the double murder. Prosecutors in both Bristol and Suffolk counties said Hernandez had promised to set up a trust fund for Singleton’s children for her silence but never did.  

Hernandez’s alleged longtime male lover, the high school friend, was interviewed extensively by authorities after Lloyd’s murder, and was forced to testify in front of a grand jury. Law enforcement officials also say Hernandez moved a large amount of money into three accounts shortly before his arrest for the Lloyd killing: one account was for his fiancée; a second was for his daughter; the third, where the most money was moved, was for that friend.

Hernandez’s secrets went well beyond his sex life, according to court testimony and police records. His brushes with the law for extreme acts of violence began when he was playing football at the University of Florida. In 2007, Hernandez, then 17, was identified as a person of interest in a double shooting.
 
The words “blood” and “sweat” are seen tattooed on the hands of former NFL New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, as he appears in court for a motion hearing in Attleborough, Massachusetts, August 30, 2013. Pic: New England Patriots

Then came a shooting in July 2012, when a Boston man spilled a drink on Hernandez but didn’t apologize. Prosecutors said that when an enraged Hernandez saw the same men later that night in a BMW, he leaned across a friend, Alexander Bradley, who was driving a Toyota SUV, from the passenger seat, and yelled to the occupants, "What's up now, n****s?" Hernandez squeezed off five shots into the vehicle, according to Bradley. Two men died, a third was wounded. Hernandez was acquitted in that case last week after six days of deliberation. Jurors refused to comment on their verdict, but legal analysts speculate that the prosecution’s case was weakened by the fact that its main witness, Bradley, is a career criminal who had testified he wanted to hurt Hernandez.

Seven months after the Boston double murder, after a night at a Florida strip club in February 2012, Bradley says Hernandez shot him in the head, pushed him out of a vehicle and left him for dead. Bradley refused to cooperate with police but marked Hernandez for revenge. He testified on the stand in March 2017, "I didn't want to cooperate with police. I wanted Mr. Hernandez's life."
 
That threat apparently prompted Hernandez to surround himself with hard men from his gang past, men like Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz, who became Hernandez’s co-defendants after the murder of Lloyd in June 2013. Both men told investigators that Hernandez was the gunman in that killing. But it was the other information that Wallace offered about the motive that never made headlines, the fact that Lloyd knew Hernandez had a complicated sex life and could pass that information to his girlfriend, the sister of the Patriot’s player’s fiancée.

It was also well known that Hernandez was high on hydroponic marijuana the night Lloyd was shot and killed, and  prosecutors said a joint with his DNA was found near Lloyd’s body. Bradley told the court that Hernandez was a daily marijuana smoker and said he knew that because he was the NFL player’s dealer. Investigators are now looking into claims by inmates at the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center that Hernandez was smoking K2, synthetic marijuana, the night of his suicide.

A brief fight over Hernandez’s brain ended Thursday when the Worcester County District Attorney said his family’s wishes would be met and his brain would be studied by the vaunted CTE Center at Boston University, where scientists are researching the effects of concussions on the brains of athletes. Initially, the state medical examiner said that its pathologists wanted to study Hernandez’s brain, leading his attorney, Jose Baez, to claim this week that the ME was “illegally” holding onto the former NFL star’s brain, against the family’s wishes. After Baez’s press conference, held outside the ME’s office, Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early released the brain.

Russian LGBT Network Makes Call For Gay Chechens to Contact Them



 Gay man lay on a Moscow Street after being beaten during demonstration
 in Russia after Putin passed the Anti gay Law




STATEMENT OF THE RUSSIAN LGBT NETWORK’S BOARD REGARDING THE INFORMATION ON THE KIDNAPPINGS AND MURDERS OF LGBT PEOPLE IN THE NORTH CAUCASUS

The Russian LGBT Networks is highly disturbed and concerned about the information on the kidnapping and killing of people in Chechnya because of their sexual orientation. We are also outraged by the reaction of the officials of the Chechen Republic, who in fact justify the killings.  No national and/or religious traditions and norms can justify kidnapping or killing of a human being. Any references to “traditions” to justify kidnappings and killings are amoral and criminal.

The Russian LGBT Network makes every effort to contact the victims and to provide the emergency support. Taking into account the recent statements of the Chechnya officials, we believe that the only thing that can work out is the evacuation. We cooperate closely we the human rights defenders both in Russia and abroad, and ready to evacuate.

On Monday, the Russian LGBT Network will appeal to the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation with two claims. The one is the demand to investigate the information on the crimes, published in “Novaya Gazeta”. Another one is the claim to check whether the public statements of the Chechen officials made on April 1 and justifying the killings, contain the elements of the offence.

We are grateful to everyone who contacted us and asked how they can help. What do we need now?

Help us to spread the information about the fact that the Russian LGBT Network is ready to evacuate people. Please think for whom this information can be useful. You can spread the information publicly or personally. Everyone who needs help can contact us by email or call the Hotline (8 800 555 73 74). The call is free all over Russia.

In accordance with the Russian legislation, every citizen can apply to the Investigative Committee with the demand to investigate the information about the crime published in mass media. We encourage everyone to apply (the template of the claim will be published tomorrow).
We understand that many people want to help those in need. But please remember that any uncoordinated actions can put in additional danger people in need and those who are ready to help. Therefore, we do not recommend to collect the addresses of people who are ready to provide temporarily shelter.

Be aware, that the situation with the human rights in the North Caucasus is truly difficult. Now people’s lives are endangered and the only way to help is the evacuation. The Russian LGBT Network has the necessary resources to evacuate people, there is a team that already makes every effort to safe lives. That is why we ask everyone to share with us the information about people in need and any offers of assistance.
l.: +7(812)454-6452
e-mail: info@lgbtnet.org

Erin Moran of ‘Happy Days' Dead at 56



Erin Moran arrives at the Fox Reality Channel

Erin Moran arrives at the Fox Reality Channel Really Awards in Los Angeles in a Sept. 24, 2008 file photo. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Frazer Harrison


(AP) — Erin Moran, the former child star who played Joanie Cunningham in the sitcoms "Happy Days" and "Joanie Loves Chachi," died Saturday at age 56.

A statement from the sheriff's department in Harrison County, Indiana, said the dispatcher "received a 911 call about an unresponsive female. Upon arrival of first responders, it was determined that Erin Moran Fleischmann was deceased. An autopsy is pending."

The dispatcher confirmed to The Associated Press that the woman was the actress, who had been married to Steven Fleischmann.

"Such sad sad news. RIP Erin," ''Happy Days" star Ron Howard tweeted Saturday. "I'll always choose to remember you on our show making scenes better, getting laughs and lighting up TV screens."

A Burbank, California, native, Moran began acting in TV and movies before she was 10 years old. She had several years of experience when she was cast in 1974 in "Happy Days" as Joanie Cunningham, the kid sister to high school student Richie Cunningham, played by Howard. Other cast members included Tom Bosley and Marion Ross as Joanie's parents and Henry Winkler as the loveable tough guy Arthur "The Fonz" Fonzarelli.
"What happened with all of us was like we were this family," she told Xfinity in 2009. "It was so surreal with all the cast members. ... They were my family, get it?"

Debuting at a time of nostalgia for the seemingly innocent 1950s, the sitcom was set in Milwaukee and became a long-running hit. Howard and Winkler were the show's biggest stars, but the smiling, freckle-faced Moran also became popular. In 1982, she was paired off with fellow "Happy Days" performer Scott Baio in the short-lived "Joanie Loves Chachi." Moran returned to "Happy Days" in 1984, the show's final season.

"I would love to do a feature (film), I'd love to do a play," she told CNN in 1981 when asked what she'd like to do after "Happy Days."

Her more recent credits included "The Love Boat" and "Murder, She Wrote," but she never approached the success of "Happy Days" and was more often in the news for her numerous personal and financial struggles and was reportedly homeless at times.

In 2011, she and Ross and former "Happy Days" actors Anson Williams and Donnie Most sued CBS, saying they were owed money for merchandising related to the show. The lawsuit was settled the following year.

Moran told Xfinity that she had been working on a memoir, called "Happy Days, Depressing Nights."

"OH Erin... now you will finally have the peace you wanted so badly here on earth," Winkler tweeted Saturday. “Rest In It serenely now.. too soon.”

There is no cause of death as of yet or if she had any underlying medical condition.


Scotland Yard Does Not See a Difference Bet.Homosexual to Homophobia


 One has to give kudos to Buzzfeed.com  for sticking with their questioning of the way this major Police Dept (MET) classifies a community called LGBT, to crimes committed to this community, to offenses between partners within this community. It would seem they only know two words Homosexual and Homophobic to cover a complex large community of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgender’s and crimes to the community and within the community. Food for thought for other large police depts. around the world but particularly in known non homophobic governments.



Last week, Greater Manchester police (GMP) announced a major new initiative: officers across the force will now use a special code in reports of domestic abuse incidents where the victim is LGBT. This would enable officers to understand the scale of the problem and respond more effectively.
The scheme had already been trialled in one district since last June – with over 150 incidents recorded – and its success led to the force rolling it out throughout the region.
It is the first of its kind in the country, and with no national statistics available on LGBT domestic abuse, BuzzFeed News asked the Metropolitan police whether they would follow GMP's lead. Apart from being Britain’s biggest police force, the Met covers the UK’s largest LGBT population, and prides itself on being innovators in crime fighting. The new commissioner at Scotland Yard, Cressida Dick, also revealed this week that she is in a same-sex relationship.
But what unfolded was a protracted conversation, first by email and then by phone, that revealed that the Metropolitan police have no idea how many LGBT people have reported domestic abuse to its own force, and indicated at least some of its employees do not understand some of the most basic terms, words, or concepts related to the issue.
The Met press office was for example unable to distinguish between domestic abuse and a hate crime, referring to the former as a “homosexual incident”.
The extraordinary exchange has led two major LGBT charities to accuse the Met of being so “confused” that victims would be less likely to come forward – and called for the force to implement GMP's policy and seek further training.
The concepts involved are straightforward: when someone punches someone else for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, that is a hate crime because it is motivated by homophobia, biphobia or transphobia. And when, for example, a woman hits her girlfriend, that is domestic abuse.
But when BuzzFeed News approached the Metropolitan police to enquire about whether they intended to emulate GMP in specifically recording LGBT domestic abuse, the initial response was that they already did. “The Metropolitan police have for a long time recorded same sex domestic abuse and use crime ‘flags’ on their crime reports to identify those that are vulnerable, homophobic, transphobic, and at risk of hate crime offences,” said a spokesperson by email.
But if the Met really did specifically record domestic abuse incidents affecting LGBT people then GMP's claim to be the first to do so was not true.
So BuzzFeed News asked for clarification.
The response came back: “The flag system allows you to record offences with more than one flag i.e. those shown as DV [domestic violence] and homophobic, transgender etc. This will pick up LGBT crimes.”
This still did not appear to make sense, not least because again domestic abuse and homophobic abuse were being lumped in together. Keen to clarify further, BuzzFeed News asked the Met for the figures on LGBT domestic abuse – if they do indeed record them, the force must have the statistics.
Eight days later, the Met emailed over a table of figures. But the numbers were so low – never more than 75 incidents during an entire year across the whole of Greater London – that they could not possibly be the LGBT domestic abuse statistics.
And they weren't.
The Met spokesperson had sent them over with the line: “These are domestic abuse crimes that are also homophobic or transgender hate crime as well.” These, it transpired, were in fact incidents where hate crimes occurred within a domestic setting – for example, a father hitting his gay son – a tiny proportion of all domestic abuse against LGBT people, leaving out all incidents where one partner attacked another.
So BuzzFeed News phoned the spokesperson to discuss the issue.
“These figures don’t quite add up,” BuzzFeed News suggested. “The ones you’ve sent through you say are domestic abuse figures that are also homophobic or transphobic incidents.”
“Yes,” they replied.
“All I’m asking for is the total number of domestic abuse reports involving LGBT people,” said BuzzFeed News, explaining that what they had provided was not that. “Does the Met hold those figures?”
“I’m not sure it does,” said the spokesperson. “The only way you’re going to do that is literally bean-counting – reading every single crime report, trying to work out whether the victim and suspect are both of the same sex.”
“That was the purpose of my original email,” said BuzzFeed News – Manchester police found a simple way of doing this, so it seemed reasonable that the Met might adopt it. Since they don’t, “The Met would not hold figures on the total number of domestic abuse incidents affecting LGBT people. Is that correct?”
“Yes,” the spokesperson replied.
“In which case the Met does not know how many domestic abuse incidents there have been with LGBT people,” said BuzzFeed News.
“They wouldn’t,” the Met spokesperson said, before adding. “We can’t give you a number but the actual information is recorded on our systems.”
“In what way is it recorded?”
“The figures you’ve got – domestic abuse crimes where one or other part also has a homophobic offence recorded on the same crime.”
“That’s not the same thing,” said BuzzFeed News. “If my boyfriend beats me up, that’s not going to be recorded as a homophobic incident.”
“It will be recorded on the crime report as a homophobic incident,” they replied.
“What?”
“If you’ve alleged that your boyfriend has beaten you up it will be reported by the police as a homophobic incident.”
“That cannot be the case.”
“Well it is,” said the spokesperson.
“It cannot be the case that when a gay person is hit by another gay person it is automatically deemed an anti-gay hate crime,” said BuzzFeed News – if it were then the entirety of the Metropolitan police force’s hate crime statistics would be nonsense. “That doesn’t make any sense…clearly the motivation is not homophobia.” At this point, BuzzFeed News set out a scenario where a man hits his boyfriend. The Met spokesperson responded by describing the imaginary men as “both boyfriends of heterosexual partners” rather than in a relationship with each other.
So BuzzFeed News tried again: “Are you saying that if one male gay partner hits his gay male partner the Met would record that as a homophobic incident?”
The spokesperson replied: “If someone says, ‘I’m a homosexual and my partner or boyfriend hit me’ then that would be flagged up on the system as a homosexual incident.”
“Homosexual is not the same as homophobic,” said BuzzFeed News. “What I’m trying to clarify is: if a gay man in a relationships is hit by his partner are you saying automatically that would be flagged as a homophobic incident?”
“Can you ask me the question again please?”
BuzzFeed News did. And again the Met spokesperson appeared to complicate the situation: “If they turn round and say, ‘I’m gay and my other friend/partner is gay and he hit me’ then it may well be recorded as a homosexual report, as well as a homosexual assault.”
Baffled by the terms used, which do not correlate to criminal offences, BuzzFeed News replied: “It’s confusing that you’re using the language ‘homosexual’ when talking about homophobia. What I’m trying to pin down here is the extent of LGBT domestic abuse in London.”
“I think it’s easier if you raise all the questions you want on an email,” replied the spokesperson, despite BuzzFeed News already having done this several days ago. “I think you need to clarify precisely the question you want to raise.”
“I’m really clear,” said BuzzFeed News. “You’ve already outlined the Met does not hold figures on the totality of LGBT domestic abuse but what you’re saying is a gay man being hit by his gay male partner would be flagged as a homophobic incident when clearly it is not a hate crime; it’s a domestic abuse issue.”
“Can you raise that as an email?” replied the spokesperson once more. So BuzzFeed News did. The following day, they responded one last time. “If a gay man is attacked by his partner it is recorded as domestic abuse."
In answer to whether the Met would follow police in Manchester’s lead and introduce a specific code for domestic abuse, they added that the force welcomed new practices and would “link in with our Greater Manchester police colleagues to monitor how the trial manifests”.
This did little to quell the reactions from LGBT charities that work in the field.
“It concerns me that there appears to be confusion with the Met in terms of how incidents may be categorized or understood by them and how they’re subsequently recorded or not recorded,” Monty Moncrieff, CEO of London Friend – which forms part of the LGBT Domestic Abuse Partnership – told BuzzFeed News. This confusion, he added, “contributes to the lack of evidence” of LGBT domestic abuse that is available, such as the figures on incidents reported to police. “And we know that a lot of LGBT domestic abuse can go unreported because people may fear a homophobic, biphobic or transphobic response from the police. We are concerned that people don’t feel empowered enough to report it.”
This was echoed by Galop, the anti-hate crime charity that now also runs the only LGBT domestic abuse helpline in Britain, and worked with Greater Manchester police on its code system. A spokesperson told BuzzFeed News that “There are still significant gaps with appropriate training provided to police” to enable them to understand LGBT domestic abuse.
As such, the spokesperson added, “When faced with two men or two women, it is not as easy to conclude who is the victim and who is the perpetrator. This confusion often leads to incorrect reporting and or worse, underreporting from victims who feel they will not be taken seriously.”
There was, however, one concrete measure the Met could take to help rectify this, said Galop: “Statistics are hard to ignore. Implementing a recording procedure which identifies same-sex abuse will help highlight how big of an issue this is for our community and get victims the help they need. We encourage the Met police to follow the lead of the GMP and implement similar recording mechanisms.”
West Midlands police, meanwhile – the UK’s second largest force – was also unable to respond to BuzzFeed News’ request for statistics on LGBT domestic abuse. A representative replied to say that it would forward the request to the Freedom of Information department.

Buzzfeed.com
By Patrick Strudwick an LGBT editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London. 
Contact Patrick Strudwick at patrick.strudwick@buzzfeed.com.

Trump’s Homophobic Army Sec Believes LGBT Vets ‘Diseased’



 Mark Green, President Trump homophobic nominee for Army Secretary




Like Mark Green — President Trump’s nominee for secretary of the Army — I served my country in uniform. I was proud to be an infantry officer and retired honorably after 34 years. But as a transgender member of the military, I hid my authentic self for decades to continue serving the country I love. Unlike Green, I was forced to serve in silence the entire time, but I won’t be silent now.

I respect his Iraq War service as an Army flight surgeon, but the disrespect — the bigotry — he’s shown over and over toward the LGBT community, including LGBT service members, doesn’t reflect the spirit or direction of the military I know. Rather, his selection reflects poorly on the president and our armed forces. He’s the wrong choice to be Army secretary.

As a Tennessee state senator, Green has targeted the LGBT community. He introduced legislation that would enable businesses to discriminate against LGBT individuals. At a town hall meeting with his constituents, he expressed support for the idea of his state’s government defying the Supreme Court’s decision upholding marriage equality in all 50 states. He argued being transgender “is a disease.” 

Now that he’s been nominated, Green says “politics will have nothing to do” with how he would do the job of Army secretary. Wrong. Leading the Army requires an appreciation for every individual, without exception, and Green wouldn’t have the confidence of the thousands of LGBT soldiers proudly and openly serving today. Every soldier needs to know that those at the top, uniformed and civilian, have their back. But based on the way he has used anti-LGBT politics to advance his career, that’s not him.

And his views put him at odds with the Department of Defense, which values its diversity and has been a leading organization in advancing equality. Years before marriage equality became the law of the land, the Pentagon supported ending “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Last year, after studies conducted by the Palm Center and others institutions were released, the United States joined the militaries of 18 other nations, announcing that transgender service members would be able to serve openly. LGBT soldiers play an integral part in the defense of our nation and have since our founding. I know from personal experience that serving authentically only improves individual performance and, thus, enhances unit readiness. A RAND Corp. study conducted last year found that the impact, specifically, of transgender service members serving openly would have a minimal impact on readiness and costs.


Retiring as a full-bird colonel, I’m one of the highest-ranking publicly out transgender veterans in the country. During my two-and-a-half years as a Pentagon civilian analyst, I was identified as an exceptional performer and was known for the skills I brought to the table. I worked with former Army secretaries and their staffs. As a former human resources director for two federal agencies, I can attest to the value of an inclusive workforce. In and out of the military, what matters isn’t an individual’s orientation or identity, but whether they can do the job. The fact that three women have earned the prestigious Army Rangers tab and greater numbers of women are becoming infantry officers is proof ability knows no gender.

To be effective and maintain a competitive edge, organizations must be willing to learn and evolve. To do that, leaders must recognize advances and implement change accordingly. As a physician, I suspect Green accepted and incorporated medical advances and new protocols that were in the best interest of his patients. But based on his repeated attacks on the LGBT community, he doesn’t seem capable of evolving and accepting all service members as equals.


The Army follows a clear chain of command, and the tone is set from the top. Army leadership matters, and confirming Green to be secretary of the Army would send a very clear, very wrong, signal: LGBT soldiers are not welcome. By nominating Green, Trump has shown his true colors on LGBT issues, and if U.S. senators vote to confirm Green, they will have done the same.

Oh, and Sen. Green, I’m not diseased.


  
Sheri Swokowski is a retired Army officer who served as the human resources director for the Wisconsin National Guard and the Rocky Mountain region of the U.S. Forest Service. She is vice chair of the Fair Wisconsin Education Fund and a member of the Wisconsin ACLU board of directors.

NYC Calls The Trump Administration Liars






After the Justice Department had claimed that the New York City Police Department is soft on crime NYPD Commissioner, Jim O’Neill accused the Trump administration of willfully disregarding facts.

On Friday, the Justice Department cited some false crime statistics to label New York City as soft on crime, “The number of murders in Chicago has skyrocketed, rising more than 50 percent from the 2015 levels. New York City continues to see gang murder after gang murder, the predictable consequence of the city’s “soft on crime” stance. And just several weeks ago in California’s Bay Area, after a raid captured 11 MS-13 members on charges including murder, extortion and drug trafficking, city officials seemed more concerned with reassuring illegal immigrants that the raid was unrelated to immigration than with warning other MS-13 members that they were next.”

In a statement, O’Neill said that the Trump administration is willfully disregarding the facts:
Statement from NYPD Police Commissioner O'Neill following DOJ comments.


The NYPD isn’t going to stand by and allow the Trump administration to lie about them. It is unprecedented that a police department would accuse a presidential administration of lying, but we are clearly in some unique territory when it comes to the Trump administration. 
Trump and his DOJ have a clear goal of a mass deportation of immigrants. Sanctuary cities are standing in their way. The White House needs a justification for punishing sanctuary cities, and since the facts aren’t on their side, they invented some crime statistics.

If Jeff Sessions comes after sanctuary cities, he will be hauled into court before the ink is dry on his orders. The stage is being set for a major legal confrontation. The New York Police Department defended their honor, but there is a major larger battle looming in this country over sanctuary cities.

April 22, 2017

European Council Reports The Kremlin Connected with Underworld Crime







A European think-tank has published a report alleging the Kremlin exploits connections with the criminal underworld of Europe.

The European Council on Foreign Relations highlights the influence of what they call “Russian-based organised crime” (RBOC) on violent and dangerous crimes across Europe. ECFR say Russian criminals are responsible for 1/3 of the heroin on European street corners, a “significant amount of non-European people trafficking”, and a majority of illegal weapons that find their way into European criminals’ hands.  

But as so-called “indigenous gangs” continue to take their lead from RBOC, ECFR and the report’‘s author Mark Galeotti says there is “growing evidence” to link these criminals to the Moscow’s state security networks- including the FSB (formally known under a different acronym as the KGB).

The links between the Russian government and criminal gangs are not new.

Galeotti points out that since Putin’s rise to power in the late 1990’s and 2000’s, Moscow has worked with Chechen criminals to ensure the gangsters did not side with rebels against the Russian state. And during the 2011 Duma elections, reports show “clear indications” that criminal organisations were employed to disrupt opposition efforts.

The papers says that although Moscow-linked street gangs, such as the Georgian “Kutaisi ‘clan’”, do still operate (and are targeted by coordinated, pan-European police raids), most RBOC is more sophisticated.

An example of this type of operation was broken up by the Portuguese police in Operation Matrioskas. Gangs had invested ‘dirty money’ (from drug imports) into failing football clubs, in order to launder money and run illegal betting groups from the UK, to Estonia, to Germany and Moldova.

According to Galeotti, Putin’s Russian state is run as an “Adhocracy”, meaning rank and number matter little in comparison to how useful one is to be Russian state. Putin, Galeotti continues, has “continued the tradition” of putting criminals and prisoners to use.

Viktor Bout is an example of this. A career criminal who was allegedly linked to GRU (Russian military intelligence), and set up a freight business with a twist. It is unclear if, for example, Bout’s offer of 700 surface-to-air missiles to the Colombian rebel group the FARC was on Moscow’s direct instruction, but the ECFR point out that the sheer number of missiles apparently sourced by Bout “suggests so”.

However international these alleged crime links are, not all the criminal projects are on the macro-scale of large weapons trading.

The Russian security services also seem to be involved in seemingly less significant, but still highly organised operations, such as the illegal mass-import of cigarettes from Russian into Estonia.

This link was uncovered after a “brazen raid” by the FSB into Estonia to arrest an Estonian security agent who was allegedly on the cusp of discovering Russian ties to the illegal trafficking.

ECFR say the evidence points to the profits from this endeavor being poured into “operational funds” for apparent Russian political activities in Europe, while avoiding any Kremlin fingerprints being found.

The report suggests several ways in which European nations and security agencies can combat RBOC, including a common approach to money laundering, and better information exchanges between security services and police.


Denmark Takes a Lead in Fighting Homophobia in Football







Danish football clubs, players and the authorities are to launch a series of initiatives aimed at combating homophobia in the game, they said in a joint statement on Friday.

 The Danish Football Association (DBU), the Players Association and the Danish League are teaming up for a nationwide campaign to fight against anti-gay chanting and to improve behaviour in the dressing-room, on the pitch and on the terraces. “Tolerance has always been a core value in football – as we have seen in the campaigns against racism. 

We are very pleased that we together can campaign against homophobia,” Danish League CEO Claus Thomsen said. Openly gay male players in Europe’s top divisions are very rare, with former Aston Villa and VfB Stuttgart midfielder Thomas Hitzelsperger one of just a handful a players to come out in public. “I do not understand how we can have a stadium of 25,000 people screaming homophobic or sexist slurs, and everyone just shakes their head,” FC Copenhagen defender Mathias Joergensen told Reuters. 

As well as Danish clubs taking part in Pride parades in Copenhagen and Aarhus this weekend, captains of top-flight sides will wear rainbow-coloured armbands and rainbow flags will be carried as the teams walk out onto the field. There will also be a major event around Denmark’s friendly against Germany on June 6, although no details have yet been announced.

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – 

(Reporting by Philip O’Connor in Stockholm, editing by Neil Robinson)

Hope U Like Gulf Since You Might Be Paying for Trump’s Mar a Lago Gulf Coarse




 You! Thank You! for Paying in these times of austerity for you


Last month President Donald Trump unveiled his new budget plan. Unsurprisingly, it consists of an incredible number of funding cuts. Most notably, the plan will slash the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget by a third and the Department of Education’s by more than 13 percent.

Trump’s contentious budget also included a wish list of other programs he would like to wholly defund. As Care2 has reported, this would include Meals on Wheels, a program that feeds almost 2.5 million Americans who would otherwise be unable to access nutritious food.

The National Endowment for the Arts and The National Endowment for Humanities, crucial programs that sponsor art and culture across the country, are in Trump’s crosshairs too. Similarly, public broadcasters NPR and PBS may also be getting the ax.

As Trump pushes for these draconian budget cuts, he has somehow found it necessary to utilize millions of taxpayer dollars to fund his frequent trips to Mar-a-Lago, his private golf resort located in Florida.

These trips typically cost around $3.6 million per jaunt. And this comes not only from his personal travel expenses, but also the extensive security detail that must follow Trump each time. 

While that might not sound so bad on its own, since taking office, Trump has spent seven of 14 weekends in Mar-a-Lago – culminating in $25 million spent so he can hit the green.

This is particularly ironic as Trump, among his many criticisms of President Obama, tweeted that the then-president was spending too much time on the golf course, rather than taking care of important White House business:


One might wonder whether Trump could make better use of both his time and taxpayer dollars. Well, wonder no more — a clever new website dedicated to monitoring Trump’s Mar-a-Lago trips calculates how the associated costs could be applied to other programs.

For example, with the $25 million spent to send the president to the golf course, Meals on Wheels could cover the costs of 9,000 recipients for a whole year. As far as school lunches go — another program Trump and Republicans have expressed a desire to dismantle — 61,000 students could be fed for a year.

Federal homeless aid, which is headed to Trump’s budget chopping block, could be funded for six years. Pell Grants, intended for low-income college students, could be covered for 7,000 recipients.

To see a handful of other comparisons, take a look at IsTrumpAtMarALago.org.

Republicans often tout themselves as the party of fiscal responsibility — a supposed justification for the drastic budget slimming. However, when the leader of their party so flippantly burns through millions of taxpayer dollars to merely go on vacation, there are only two reasons available: startling cognitive dissonance or gross hypocrisy.

Either way, this use of taxpayer dollars is appalling and, frankly, offensive behavior from a president who is pushing aggressively for American citizens to embrace austerity. Perhaps Trump should lead by example.

April 21, 2017

Canadian LGBT Call for Emergency Visas for Gays Out of Chechnya







 Canada should open its doors to LGBT people from Chechnya where dozens of men have been reported to be imprisoned and tortured because they are believed to be gay, a Canadian advocacy group says.
The call for emergency visas came from Rainbow Railroad which said it was working with a Russian non-profit group to help people flee Chechnya through a global network of safe routes. 
"We're expanding our on-the-ground contacts as well as increasing our capacity to identify and assess new or alternative safe routes out of Chechnya," said Kimahli Powell, executive director of Rainbow Railroad, which helps LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people facing violence or death escape their countries.
Independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta has reported that up to 100 men have been thrown in secret prisons in Russia's southern region of Chechnya, and that some men have disappeared altogether.
A Kremlin spokesman told journalists on Thursday that the claims were groundless.
"These reports are distortion of reality, slander," said Dmitry Peskov in a conference call. "There are no such people."
But the United Nations has urged the abuses to end, and the 57-nation Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has called for Russia to investigate the reports. 
Toronto-based Rainbow Railroad said it was formally requesting humanitarian or refugee visas from the Canadian government for those in danger.
A spokeswoman for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada told the Thomson Reuters Foundation: "We cannot speculate on any future policy."
Canada chooses whom it accepts as refugees by relying on the U.N. and others for referrals, she said.
The crackdown in Chechnya came after several cities in the North Caucasus, where the Chechen republic is located, sought permits to stage gay pride parades, Novaya Gazeta reported.
Same-sex sexual activity is a crime in some 70 countries but not in Russia, said Maria Sjödin, a spokeswoman for OutRight Action International, a New York City-based group that advocates for LGBT rights.
But a law limiting the dissemination of information on LGBT issues to young people has emboldened people to grow violent toward LGBT people, she said.
"On top of that, there are reports that police are not investigating," said Sjödin.
(Reporting by Sebastien Malo @sebastienmalo, additional reporting by Denis Pinchuk. Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit news.trust.org)

Why Gay Men are Being Kidnapped and Tortured in Chechnya

On April 1, the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported that more than 100 gay men had been abducted by authorities in the Russian republic of Chechnya, and at least three had been killed.



Jose Luis Gonzalez / Reuters

[Buzzfeed.com posted this article today]

Since then, gay men from Chechnya have described brutal torture at the hands of the authorities, the journalist who broke the story has fled her home, and international figures, including US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, have denounced the violence.
One victim interviewed by Human Rights Watch said authorities treated him and others held in an unofficial detention facility "like animals."

“Beatings, electric shocks I could deal with… I was strong. But the humiliation was unbearable," he said. "The [police] spit in our faces, they called us disgusting, offensive names, they forced us into humiliating poses... When they finally released me, I was close to hanging myself. I cannot live with this, I just can’t.”

According to a report by The Guardian, as many as several hundred men may have been abducted.

How did we get here? Let's start with Chechnya: a Muslim-majority republic in southern Russia, where Russian troops fought two bloody wars against separatists in the 1990s and 2000s.
The rebels wanted the area to become an independent country. The two wars killed tens of thousands of people and didn't result in full independence. Today Chechnya is part of Russia, but has autonomy to run its own affairs. Its approximately 1.4 million people are Russian citizens, though few are ethnic Russians.


Wikimedia Commons / Via en.wikipedia.org

The rebels wanted the area to become an independent country. The two wars killed tens of thousands of people and didn't result in full independence. Today Chechnya is part of Russia, but has autonomy to run its own affairs. Its approximately 1.4 million people are Russian citizens, though few are ethnic Russians.

Who runs Chechnya? Ramzan Kadyrov, a Kremlin loyalist and prolific Instagrammer accused of numerous atrocities and human rights abuses. He came to power in 2007.

Essentially, Russian President Vladimir Putin has made a deal with Kadyrov: Keep separatists at bay and Moscow will let you do what you like. This means that even before these roundups of gay men, the authorities in Chechnya operated with impunity, conducting “extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, torture, and cruel and degrading treatment” for two decades, according to Human Rights Watch’s Tanya Lokshina.“Local authorities are viciously and comprehensively cracking down on critics and anyone whose total loyalty to Kadyrov they deem questionable,” Lokshina said in a statement in January.


Maxim Shemetov / Reuters

Essentially, Russian President Vladimir Putin has made a deal with Kadyrov: Keep separatists at bay and Moscow will let you do what you like.
This means that even before these roundups of gay men, the authorities in Chechnya operated with impunity, conducting “extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, torture, and cruel and degrading treatment” for two decades, according to Human Rights Watch’s Tanya Lokshina.

“Local authorities are viciously and comprehensively cracking down on critics and anyone whose total loyalty to Kadyrov they deem questionable,” Lokshina said in a statement in January.

Kadyrov has shaped life in Chechnya through strict interpretations of Islam and a traditional code of conduct called adat. He’s enforced mandatory modesty rules for women, he's supported polygamy, and, like Putin, he projects an uber-macho image.

Kadyrov’s use of religion and Chechen customs parallels the way Putin has pushed to unify Russia — and, critics say, conceal his lack of a political ideology — around ‘traditional’ values and Russian Orthodox Christianity. 

Kadyrov’s use of religion and Chechen customs parallels the way Putin has pushed to unify Russia — and, critics say, conceal his lack of a political ideology — around "traditional" values and Russian Orthodox Christianity.

It’s not easy to be LGBT in Russia, but that's especially so in Chechnya, where a person's sexuality can jeopardize their siblings' marriage prospects and lead to blackmail by the authorities.

Hate speech and violence against LGBT people has been on the rise since Putin signed a law banning 'propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations' among minors in 2013. Vigilante groups have lured gay men into setups, where they assault and humiliate them, and post footage of the attacks online. Teachers have been outed and forced out of their jobs. In recent years many Russian LGBT people have fled the country to seek asylum abroad.


Hate speech and violence against LGBT people has been on the rise since Putin signed a law banning "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" among minors in 2013. Vigilante groups have lured gay men into setups, where they assault and humiliate them, and post footage of the attacks online. Teachers have been outed and forced out of their jobs. In recent years many Russian LGBT people have fled the country to seek asylum abroad.

The roundups in Chechnya began after activists with the group GayRussia applied for permits to hold pride parades in cities across the country — including Nalchik, in the neighboring Kabardino-Balkaria republic. Vladimir Klimov, the activist who filed that request on March 9, is based some 1,500 miles away in Sverdlovsk region.

A copy of the application was posted March 10 in a VKontakte group for gay people from the Caucasus with the comment: 'Is this true?''If so, you can forget about social networks and sit quietly jerking off to porn, because there will be such a scandal across the entire Caucasus region and an awakening of homophobia,' one VK user wrote. The request was denied, with the authorities citing the region's 'traditional family values' in a statement that said 'conducting events that directly or indirectly propagandize the idea of LGBT is unacceptable.' Klimov told the website Caucasian Knot that after he filed the application, people from the region began threatening him by phone and over messaging platforms. 

Moscow-based GayRussia leader Nikolai Alexeyev — a polarizing figure in Russian LGBT activist circles, pictured above — told Novaya Gazeta that petitioning the authorities to hold LGBT rights events around Russia is part of a strategy to gather denials for a case before the European Court of Human Rights.

A copy of the application was posted March 10 in a VKontakte group for gay people from the Caucasus with the comment: “Is this true?"

“If so, you can forget about social networks and sit quietly jerking off to porn, because there will be such a scandal across the entire Caucasus region and an awakening of homophobia," one VK user wrote.

The request was denied, with the authorities citing the region's "traditional family values" in a statement that said "conducting events that directly or indirectly propagandize the idea of LGBT is unacceptable." Klimov told the website Caucasian Knot that after he filed the application, people from the region began threatening him by phone and over messaging platforms.

Moscow-based GayRussia leader Nikolai Alexeyev — a polarizing figure in Russian LGBT activist circles, pictured above — told Novaya Gazeta that petitioning the authorities to hold LGBT rights events around Russia is part of a strategy to gather denials for a case before the European Court of Human Rights.

Organizing a pride parade in Nalchik, one person wrote in an online LGBT group, would be like throwing "a match on a haystack. Not one gay person from the Caucasus will participate in this... Better if they leave the Caucasus alone and don't mess with things here. Because it's we who live here that bear the consequences."

Meanwhile, Chechen authorities' official response to the reports was that there are no gay men in Chechnya — but if there were, their families would have already sent them "somewhere from which there is no returning."
“You cannot arrest or repress people who just don’t exist in the republic,” Kadyrov spokesman Alvi Karimov told Interfax. “If there were such people in Chechnya, the law enforcement organs wouldn’t need to have anything to do with them because their relatives would send them somewhere from which there is no returning.”

He also cited the republic's high birthrate as proof there are no gay men there — because getting someone pregnant is obviously incompatible with being attracted to people of the same sex.

Then things got worse: On April 3, 15,000 people came to a televised rally in Grozny, the capital of Chechnya, where a Kadyrov adviser accused Novaya Gazeta of libel and called its journalists “enemies of our faith and of our country."

The paper, known for some of the fiercest investigative journalism in Russia, announced that it was afraid for its reporters' lives. There's precedent for attacks on its staff: Novaya Gazeta journalist Anna Politkovskaya, who covered human rights abuses in Chechnya, was gunned down inside her apartment building in 2006.

On April 18, Nikolai Alexeyev, the activist behind the push for LGBT rallies across Russia, announced that he was suing Novaya Gazeta for linking him to the violence and said there were "no proven facts of gays being prosecuted in Chechnya."

In a meeting with Putin Wednesday, Kadyrov vehemently denied reports that Chechnya was abducting and torturing LGBT people, saying, "It's uncomfortable to even talk about this."
Kadyrov said the articles about the roundups were a provocation, though Putin didn't actually ask him about the reports. But Human Rights Watch's Tanya Lokshina said the fact they came up at all 'was likely a result of consolidated and persistent international pressure,' adding that 'the Kremlin has not seen such outcry on Chechnya for many years.'Russia's State Prosecutor's Office said the regional prosecutor in Chechnya has opened an investigation into the reported abuses. But Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday investigators have not found evidence of state-sponsored abductions, torture, or killings of LGBT people in Chechnya. ‘Kadyrov's confirmation that everything will be done within a legal framework was of course approved by the president,' he said.


Kadyrov said the articles about the roundups were a provocation, though Putin didn't actually ask him about the reports. But Human Rights Watch's Tanya Lokshina said the fact they came up at all "was likely a result of consolidated and persistent international pressure," adding that "the Kremlin has not seen such outcry on Chechnya for many years."
Russia's State Prosecutor's Office said the regional prosecutor in Chechnya has opened an investigation into the reported abuses. But Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday investigators have not found evidence of state-sponsored abductions, torture, or killings of LGBT people in Chechnya. “Kadyrov's confirmation that everything will be done within a legal framework was of course approved by the president," he said.

Meanwhile, the Russian LGBT Network says it has heard from around 60 people targeted by the authorities for “their real or assumed homosexuality," who need help starting new lives outside Chechnya.

'Some of these people are still in the area and are in need of urgent evacuation, while others have managed to relocate themselves but nevertheless need further assistance,' the group said in a statement posted on its website April 17.LGBT people in Chechnya are using messaging apps to alert each other about setups and scams offering ‘help,' and confirm what assistance can be trusted.


“Some of these people are still in the area and are in need of urgent evacuation, while others have managed to relocate themselves but nevertheless need further assistance," the group said in a statement posted on its website April 17.

LGBT people in Chechnya are using messaging apps to alert each other about setups and scams offering “help," and confirm what assistance can be trusted.

The US State Department and the Canadian foreign minister have called on Russia to investigate the reported abuses, and the UK's Foreign Office has condemned them. Lokshina says "the West needs to keep the pressure up on Putin."
“If all the key international organizations and international actors continue to raise the issue with the Kremlin in one way or another, Russia’s president will be compelled to put an end to Kadyrov’s anti-gay purge," Lokshina wrote in a Moscow Times column.

 

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