Showing posts with label Anti Gay Government. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Anti Gay Government. Show all posts

October 18, 2019

The Parents of Slain Gay Youth Mathew Shepard Blast Barr For Failing To Defend LGBT Civil rights


Matthew Shepard at 21 just before he was beaten and left to die crucified on a wire fence. It's been 10 years since a law punishing hate crimes and bearing his name was enacted. Now in danger at the Supreme Court. Did you vote? For whom?

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - 
The parents of slain gay Wyoming man Matthew Shepard blasted U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Wednesday for failing to stand up for LGBT civil rights in a statement read at a Justice Department ceremony marking the 10-year anniversary of a hate crime law bearing their son’s name. 
Judy and Dennis Shepard did not attend, but Cynthia Deitle, a former FBI agent and now an executive with the Matthew Shepard Foundation LGBT rights organization, read a scathing letter they wrote, drawing applause from many in attendance at the event commemorating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. 
“We find it interesting and hypocritical that he (Barr) would invite us to this event commemorating a hate crime law named after our son and Mr. Byrd, while, at the same time, asking the Supreme Court to allow the legalized firing of transgender employees,” Deitle said, reading from the letter. 
Barr’s Justice Department argued at the U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 8 on behalf of President Donald Trump’s administration that a landmark decades-old federal anti-discrimination law that bars sex discrimination in the workplace does not cover sexual orientation or gender identity. 
Barr was not in attendance, but Deitle made the remarks as Eric Dreiband, assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, sat nearby on the same stage. 
“Mr. Barr, you cannot have it both ways. If you believe that employers should have the right to terminate transgender employees, just because they are transgender, then you believe they are lesser than and not worthy of protection. If so, you need not invite us to future events at the Department of Justice,” Deitle said.  
The remarks drew applause and a standing ovation from a significant portion of the audience. Deitle said she was standing in for the Shepards because they were traveling. 
The Shepards in their letter also said Barr has failed to stand up to discriminatory actions supported by the Trump administration and urged him to “take a stand as a member of this administration to disavow and condemn any person who fuels the fires of hate with their words and actions.” 
The Trump administration also has supported the right of certain businesses to refuse to serve gay people on the basis of religious objections to gay marriage, restricted transgender service members in the military and rescinded protections on bathroom access for transgender students in public schools. 
The event got off to a routine start, with Dreiband praising the law signed by Republican Trump’s Democratic predecessor Barack Obama. 
“Prosecuting hate crimes remains a top priority here at the Department of Justice,” Dreiband said, noting that 100 defendants in about 50 cases have been prosecuted under the law since its passage. 
A Justice Department spokeswoman disputed the Shepards’ characterization of the administration’s position in the Supreme Court matter.  
Matthew Shepard was a student at the University of Wyoming in 1998 when was tied to a fence, pistol-whipped and left unconscious for hours in an anti-gay crime. He died a few days later at age 21. That same year, James Byrd Jr., a 49-year-old black man, was murdered by white supremacists in a high-profile racially motivated crime in Texas. 
The law named after them criminalized violence committed on the basis of race, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religion, national origin or disability, among other provisions. 
Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Will Dunham

October 1, 2019

Britain Refuses to Face It's Crimes Against Gays Through The Turing Law and Erase Their Convictions




A Scientist, Father of The Computer and Code Breaker, was driven to suicide. Electric shocks, Jail, this man was lost to all of us.

Two years ago the "Turing law" was passed to right a historic injustice by pardoning gay men convicted in the past because of their sexuality. But fewer than 200 living people have had their convictions wiped out so far. What's going wrong?
Terry Stewart is 66 and the recipient of an award for his work advising the police on LGBT issues.
But as a young man in 1981 he was a target: spotted by a pair of police officers in a Charing Cross public toilet, he was arrested for "importuning" - an outdated offence which effectively criminalised gay men chatting each other up in public.
"They said I had approached several men in the toilets and told them I wanted to have sex. There was nobody there," he says.
An outspoken campaigner for gay rights who had challenged police in the past, Mr Stewart feels the arrest was typical of a prevailing "hostile atmosphere" against gay people at the time. 
"It just confirmed all my fears about so-called British justice," he says. "The attitude was they were two upstanding police officers protecting society from people like me."
Mr Stewart was convicted on a majority verdict and fined £20, but a criminal record meant he could not pursue his chosen career in social work.
He is now one of thousands of gay men unable to obtain the pardons offered by the government since 2017, which were intended for people unjustly convicted because of their sexuality.
For Mr Stewart and many like him, it is because the offence they were convicted of - importuning - is not one of those eligible for a pardon, despite the government acknowledging it was used in a discriminatory way.
Others are put off from even applying by an intimidating, bureaucratic system, say campaigners.
Terry StewartImage copyrightTERRY STEWART
Image captionGay people were persecuted during an "absolutely horrendous" period, says Terry Stewart
As many as 15,000 gay men were said to be eligible when the law was passed, inspired by the posthumous pardon of World War Two code-breaker Alan Turing, who killed himself after being convicted of gross indecency.
The law meant the convictions of about 50,000 gay men who had died were automatically deleted, while those still alive could apply for statutory pardons.
Applications for pardons were tacked on to an existing Home Office scheme, where gay men could apply for some offences under laws which are now repealed to be "disregarded" or deleted.
But to date, only 189 of these applications have been approved. As a result, few pardons have been issued.
The convictions eligible for disregard and pardon are gross indecency and buggery under the 1956 Sexual Offences Act, equivalent military offences and similar offences under earlier legislation.
Mr Stewart says the government should live up to its promises and pardon all gay men with convictions for their sexuality.
"What I would like people to know is that there was a whole period of our history, within our lifetimes, which was absolutely horrendous. Our own government should be able to put its hand up and say, 'We treated these people appallingly,'" he says.
Katy Watts, a solicitor at the Public Law Project who has represented Mr Stewart, says the crime of importuning was repealed in 2003 and the Home Office has acknowledged it was used in a "discriminatory way".
She says: "People have lost livelihoods and careers because of an offence that should never have been a crime in the first place."

'Branded and ashamed'

Thousands of gay men are living with this conviction but the home secretary has the power to "put this right" by extending the system to more offences, Ms Watts says.
Campaigners working with people to overturn their convictions also say the "incredibly low numbers" applying for pardons are "inevitable" because of flaws in the scheme.
Christopher Stacey, co-director of Unlock, a charity which works with people facing obstacles because of a criminal record, says forcing people to apply instead of proactively pardoning them is a "clear barrier to justice".
"It causes people understandable anguish when faced with a Home Office form which forces them to show why their application should be granted for something that they might have felt branded and ashamed of for much of their life," he says.
When people do apply, they are often rejected for not meeting the requirements: 71% of the 663 applications made up to April this year were turned down.
Home Office figures show the reason most applications were rejected was that they related to offences not connected with sexuality - such as possession of drugs. 
Many people were also turned down because they were convicted of sex in a public lavatory, which remains an offence.
A handful were rejected because their offence was deemed non-consensual or involved someone under 16.
A Home Office spokesman said: "We are proud of the government's record on improving equality. We made it possible for men with eligible historical convictions for decriminalised behaviours to apply to have their convictions disregarded. Those who have their convictions disregarded are also automatically pardoned for the offence."
He said there was "no scope" to disregard offences outside the official scheme.
When the issue of men convicted of importuning was raised in Parliament before the Turing law passed, former Home Office minister Sam Gyimah said they were not eligible.
The full offence in the 1956 Sexual Offences Act is "soliciting and importuning", and soliciting remains a crime, he said. Today, it only applies to people seeking the services of sex workers on the street, however.

'You feel guilty'

Some gay men say unfair criminal records still have the power to blight their lives, even in recent years. Richard - not his real name - was arrested in the mid-1990s for importuning, after a man briefly spoke to him as he left a West End gay club.
He unwittingly signed a caution thinking it was part of the paperwork needed to leave the police station.
"As a gay person you think you're in the wrong anyway," he said. "You have internal homophobia yourself and everything that goes with it - the shame, everything else. You feel guilty."
Later, Richard worked in education for several years. But when he tried to change jobs in 2014, he fell foul of more stringent criminal records checks, which had been tightened after a series of controversies and tragedies.
He found himself rejected for multiple jobs and unable to work in his profession for a year because of a criminal record he had previously been unaware of.
"It broke me," he said, plunging him into depression and isolation. It was "so twisted and painful" to find his pride in his professional life under attack because of his sexuality, he said.
Richard eventually persuaded the police force involved to expunge his caution, after it accepted it was unlawful. But he says it is "outrageous" that there is no clear way for many other gay men to achieve the same outcome.

August 16, 2019

Trump Wants New Rule to Fire Gays Over Religious Objections



                                    Image result for religion fires gays


A new rule proposed by President Trump’s administration would allow businesses that receive federal contracts to discriminate against LGBTQ individuals according to employers’ religious beliefs, critics say.

According to the Department of Labor, the role of the proposal, which was announced Wednesday, is to “clarify the scope and application of the religious exemption.”

It’s "intended to clarify the longstanding civil rights protections afforded to religious organizations that contract with the federal government,” one official said, according to Bloomberg Law. “The proposal would ensure the “religious protections are given the same federal recognition as all other civil rights.”

But critics say that the rule would essentially let federal contractors use religious objection excuses as a defense for discriminating against workers on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity and other characteristics, such as sex, race, color, ethnicity or national origin.

The 46-page proposal “would allow federal contractors to apply for broad exemptions to civil rights law after engaging in discriminatory behavior,” The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) said in a statement. That behavior includes “firing or refusing to hire someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. It could also lead to federal contractors refusing to hire women or unmarried workers who are pregnant or parents, or even discrimination on the basis of race,” the statement continued. With the new rule, businesses that claim a “religious purpose” can benefit from the protection. However, the proposal expands on the meaning of a religious corporation: “The contractor must be organized for a religious purpose, meaning that it was conceived with a self-identified religious purpose. This need not be the contractor’s only purpose.”

The proposal wants to make clear that “religious exemption covers not just churches but employers that are organized for a religious purpose, hold themselves out to the public as carrying out a religious purpose, and engage in exercise of religion consistent with, and in furtherance of, a religious purpose.”

The proposed rule frustrates human rights advocates, who see it as the latest move by Trump to undermine the rights of LGBTQ individuals in the name of religious freedom. “Once again, the Trump administration is shamefully working to license taxpayer-funded discrimination in the name of religion. Nearly one-quarter of the employees in the U.S. work for an employer that has a contract with the federal government,” Ian Thompson, senior legislative counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), said in a statement. “We will work to stop this rule that seeks to undermine our civil rights protections and encourages discrimination in the workplace.”

Mara Keisling, NCTE’s founder executive director echoed that message. “Religious freedom must be a shield to protect the marginalized, not a sword to attack them. There are few values more sacred to the equality of all in this nation than the belief that nobody should be judged by an employer because of who they are or who they love, yet this administration continually seeks to undermine that value,” she said.

“Whether it’s our right to health care, our right to housing, or our right to equal employment, we are committed to fighting every action this administration takes against us," added Keisling.

July 18, 2019

GOP Official Blames The Government’s Fixation with Homosexual Activities’ Cause For Moral Decline




"Americans’ fixation with “homosexual activities” has, in part, caused the country's moral decline"
                 




As I show you the news on this posting I would like to address the title, so there is no mistake of what is involved here. 

The only moral decline that I have seen is from the Republican party headed by Trump. What kind of Decline?

*God and Country: No more on either one. They are going opposite the religious teachings they have always said they were guided by. They are going opposite of how the Bible is interpreted in this nation. As for the country, the President is willing to break the law of the country by telling our enemies that he will take negative information from them on his political opponents. He goes against the laws of what is illegal to do to people in the workplace. Everything that he called the US Representative last night in the "Lock her up" "Send her back" lynching party he assembled last night.

* Doing what the people do with the bible: Choose and pick.  Now is ok to do with the federal law set in place after the decades of experience and fights to try to make this union better. 

* Mixing the ideology that brought this country riots and way back a civil war with today politics as if they were trying to bring us back to the past.

* Breaking with the law and the Constitution in ignoring most of what it says. 6 years ago they used to carry a small copy in their pockets. Today, they don't want to hear about it following a President who knows no history, is incapable of holding two different ideas in his brain at the same time and doesn't read. 

* Sexual Abusers: The party of Lincoln is now the party of Epstein. Someone who is been accused and charged with the illegal use of young girls for sex and trade.

I found this man so interesting but no surprised because when they go for the women of color they extend to all people of color. That's spills over into civil rights laws in this country put in the place during the Presidency of Lyndon Johnson and Obama. They always go for what they consider the weakest which are women and women of color and much their way up from there. The above I will and hopefully, most people will consider a moral decline brought about when a tv personality and humanizer ran for President and lost the popular vote by over 3 million. Somehow he managed to win the election with the college vote. This was put in place so racists and crazies will not put one of their people in the white house. They just were thinking of how people where during those times and not the way will become, Staying home or voting for this crazy (Trump) because they hated the front runner against his man. 

                                                                      ⚐🇺🇸⚑


Tim Fitzsimons


Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, a Republican contender in the 2020 U.S. Senate race, has set off a new controversy after saying Americans’ fixation with “homosexual activities” has, in part, caused the country's moral decline.

Merrill, 55, is running to defeat Sen. Doug Jones, a Democrat who won the seat in 2017 after his Republican challenger Roy Moore was accused of soliciting sex from underage girls.

According to an April poll by Mason-Dixon, before Merrill entered the race, Moore was the top pick among Alabama voters.

“The foundational principles which we have grown up as a nation are no more,” Merrill said at a Fort Payne town hall over the weekend. “There are no more good TV shows on like ‘Gunsmoke,’ ‘Bonanza,’ ‘The Virginian,’ ‘Andy Griffith,’ ‘I Love Lucy.’ We don’t have those shows anymore. We’re too interested in homosexual activities.”  

“What you have today is you have more interest in homosexual activities, you have interest in wife-swapping, and who’s dating who, and how this family is messing with this other family, and those things substitute for entertainment value,” Merrill said.

When sharing an example of what he called Americans' preoccupation with “homosexuality activities,” Merrill cited media coverage of the U.S. Women’s National Team’s World Cup victory earlier this month.

“That’s exactly what I’m talking about,” he said. “What the national media chose to focus on is the fact that these young ladies’ sexual orientation was more significant than what they accomplished on the field of play,” which Merrill said, “was to separate themselves from any other team like them in the history of the World Cup.”

“The national narrative began to be one of divisiveness, and if you can’t support these young ladies because they’re gay and because they want to wear the LGBT flag on their uniform, as opposed to just appreciating the great talent that they have, and the unbelievable athletic accomplishments that they produce, that's a problem,” Merrill said.

A better kind of national conversation over athletics, Merrill added, took place almost 40 years ago when in 1980 the U.S. Olympic hockey team defeated the Soviet Union in a game called the “miracle on ice.”

“When they won the gold medal, it was a national celebration of an international accomplishment,” he explained. “Those issues were not introduced at that time.” 

Merrill said Megan Rapinoe, an out lesbian and co-captain of the World Cup-winning USWNT, is “in a position to represent our country — again you represent the entire country. Not just you and not just the team, but the entire country because you are the U.S. women’s soccer team.”

As for her status as an openly gay person, Merrill said, “A gay person can be gay, a straight person can be straight, that's a decision for each individual to make.”

Asked if there is a message he would deliver to gay Republicans in Alabama who might be offended by his remarks about “homosexual activities,” Merrill said he would never be supportive of an effort to take away gay Alabamans’ right to be openly gay.

According to polling firm PRRI, a majority of people in every state support “broad nondiscrimination protections” for LGBTQ people — including Alabama, where 59 percent support them. But the state still faces challenges when it comes to LGBTQ inclusion.

Carson Jones, the openly gay son of Alabama Sen. Doug Jones, penned an op-ed to Alabama voters in April in which he decried the state’s anti-LGBTQ policies and asserted that “Politicians in Alabama are hell bent on holding Alabama back.”

Merrill’s remarks about gays come on the heels of several other controversial comments made by Alabama officials, including a mayor who suggested killing gay people and a police officer who mocked a gay teen’s suicide.

Perhaps the Alabama public figure who has been the most outspoken about gays is Moore, who’s also running for Senate. Moore blamed gays, liberals, and socialists for the emergence of sexual misconduct allegations against him during his ill-fated first Senate run in 2017.


July 2, 2019

Turkish Police Goes After banned Pride march with Tear Gas



Image result for turkish banned gay pride march



Activists gathered in Istanbul to promote rights for gay and transgender people Sunday before police dispersed the crowd at a pride event that Turkish authorities had banned for the fifth year.

The rally on a side street to Istanbul's main pedestrian avenue drew several hundred people, who cheered and waved rainbow flags. Istanbul Pride organizers said the Istanbul governor's office banned the march from central Taksim district as well as a square designated for demonstrations west of the city. 

The Istanbul Pride group said it would continue activism to get sexual orientation and gender identity recognized in Turkish laws.

Amnesty International had urged Turkey to lift the "arbitrary ban" on the pride march. It said authorities rejected all suggested locations in the city by deeming the LGBT community "societally objectionable."  

Istanbul had up to 100,000 people attend a pride march in 2014, but police have blocked such marches since.

Though homosexuality has been legal in Turkey for decades, rights groups say discrimination is widespread.

The new mayor of Istanbul told a group of international journalists Friday that any group should be free to demonstrate as long as protests do not disturb the peace. Ekrem Imamoglu said he'd discuss the reasons for the ban with relevant authorities.

AP

June 11, 2019

How The Federal Government Purged Gay Employees (Lavender Scare)





You may have heard of the "Red Scare" of the 1950s – the fear stoked by Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy that Communists had infested the federal government. Accused State Department employees would be interviewed for the purpose of acquiring information concerning others. "That was the technique that was used by the government: grab one person, and then get that person to inform on other people," said filmmaker Josh Howard.
But a panic of a different shade led to a much wider purge of gay employees. "Homosexuals must not be handling top-secret material," McCarthy said. "The pervert is easy prey to the blackmailer."
The panic long outlasted McCarthy's tenure. 
lavender-scare-homosexual-purge-of-federal-workers.jpg
CBS News
 


David K. Johnson is the author of the definitive history of what's come to be known as the "Lavender Scare." He defined it as "a fear that permeated Cold War political culture, this fear that gay people were a threat to national security, that they had infiltrated the federal government, and that they needed to be systematically removed from government service."
The rooting-out of homosexual employees became official policy with an executive order signed by newly-elected President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953. 
"This is a guy who understood firsthand a real threat," said correspondent Mo Rocca. "I mean, he's the Supreme Allied Commander in World War II, so you would think he would understand a real threat."
"Well, I think he did," said Johnson. "I think he probably didn't see this as a real threat, but he saw that it won elections."
"That it was expedient, politically?"
"It was part of their campaign, right. 'Let's clean house.' Let's get rid of all these people."
the-lavender-scare-university-of-chicago-press-244.jpg
 UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO PRESS
Howard, formerly of CBS News, has produced and directed a new documentary, soon to air on PBS, about the Lavender Scare. He said there's a good reason probably you don't know about this chapter in history.
"The Lavender Scare happened in private," Howard said. "The people who were being fired didn't want to tell their closest friends and relatives why they had been fired, because they wanted to stay in the closet.
"If you were found out to be gay in those years, your life was essentially over. You were shunned by society. You were shunned in the workplace. It's the reason people were in the closet in the 1950s."
Even in private homes, gay people were not safe from investigators.  
Bob Cantillion, a Navy serviceman, was told to report to the police station for interrogation. He recalled in the documentary, "At Christmastime, some friends were having a party. Somebody must have tipped them off that there was a party where gay people were going to be. 
"I freely admitted that I was gay. And then they said, 'We also want five names of other people you know.'  So, I searched my mind and I gave them the names of five people I thought would be least hurt. My impression was that after I named the five names, they'd let me go and nothing else would happen after that. But then we were all discharged."
Rocca asked, "Was there any due process? I mean, could you call a lawyer?"
"You could not bring in an attorney, no, wasn't allowed," said Johnson. 
"You were just forced to answer yes or no, to confess?"
"Right. The security officials boasted that gay people very easily confessed and told the truth. What they don't talk about is the fact that they essentially blackmailed people. They threatened to tell their families. So, a lot of gay people quietly resigned."
Johnson estimates that between 5,000 to 10,000 people were fired or resigned, and we'll never know how many didn't pursue their dreams for fear of exposure.  
Navy Captain Joan Cassidy came from a family of proud veterans. She had a shot at becoming the first female admiral. "I couldn't do it, I just couldn't do it," she said. "It was too big a chance to take. So, I had to give up the possibility of admiral because I was gay and because I wasn't sure I could hide it well enough."
Other stories ended in the worst possible way. Drew Ference, the son of immigrants, spoke five languages and was serving in the U.S. Embassy in Paris when investigators confronted him with evidence that he was gay. Shortly after confessing, he killed himself.  
He wasn't the only one.
Johnson said, "I saw lots of news reports, newspaper reports, of single young men, government employees, who committed suicide in Washington for no apparent reason."
"No one was defending gay people," said Howard. "The Democrats stayed away from this issue. At the time, the ACLU believed it was perfectly legitimate for the government to fire homosexuals as a threat to national security."
The persecution of homosexual public servants gave rise to the gay rights movement in the pugnacious person of Frank Kameny, a Ph.D. from Harvard and an astronomer with the U.S. Army Map Service. He was fired in 1957 for being gay.  In the documentary he declared, "To the best of my knowledge and belief, I was the first person to fight back out of all those large number of people who were fired in the '50s."
According to Johnson, Kameny says that "this issue is not about national security, it's not even about morality. It's about civil rights. He creates this new rhetoric. He calls himself and his colleagues in the group 'homosexual American citizens,' and that you can't forget either part of that."
In 1963, he became the first openly gay person to testify on Capitol Hill. 
Then in 1965, he organized picket lines in front of the State Department and the White House. He told CBS News then, "Every American citizen has the right to be considered by his government on the basis of his own person merits as an individual."
homosexual-protesters-in-washington-in-1965-promo.jpg
A 1965 Washington, D.C. protest against job discrimination.  CBS NEWS
"Those folks were very courageous," Johnson said. "It had never been done before, and they were scared to death."
But the discriminatory policy continued. In 1980, Jamie Shoemaker worked for the National Security Agency as a linguist. When asked what kind of security clearance he had, Shoemaker said, "Very high. Probably more than the president has, actually. You might be surprised."
One day, his supervisor told him that security wanted to question him: "And the first thing they said was, 'Mr. Shoemaker, we understand you're leading a gay lifestyle.' And I said, well, I didn't think I was leading it, but I said, 'Yes. I am.' And immediately they took my badge off. And they read me my rights."
And so, he called Frank Kameny. Shoemaker recalled, "He yelled at me and said, 'Why did you let them take your badge? And why didn't you shut your mouth?'"
Six months later, with Kameny's help, Shoemaker made headlines when the agency allowed him to keep his job, and his security clearance. 
In 1995, after 42 years, the last vestiges of Eisenhower's executive order were finally overturned, when President Bill Clinton signed an executive order rescinding the policy
Rocca asked, "How many gay federal employees actually spied for foreign governments?"
"There was not a single example of a gay man or a lesbian who ever submitted to blackmail by a foreign agent, not a single one," said Howard. 
In 2009, Frank Kameny was back at the White House, this time invited by President Barack Obama for a ceremony extending the rights of gay federal employees.  
Kameny died in 2011, not long after being interviewed by Josh Howard, who said there are still lessons to be learned from Kameny's courage:
"I grew up in a time before there was marriage equality and before Stonewall," Howard said. "So, I'm in some ways envious of younger people, that they are growing up in a more tolerant society. But I also hope that they understand that equality is not a given, that there are people who fought and sacrificed for those accomplishments."
To watch a trailer for the documentary "The Lavender Scare" click on the video player below.

June 5, 2019

Facebook Still Doing Lots of Constitutional Damage It Violates Our Rights Like It was Supposed to be that way

In the lead-up to the 2016 election, Russian agents weaponized Facebook against American voters, unaccountable ad dollars ran rampant, and a data breach put 87 million Facebook profiles in the hands of Cambridge Analytica, a Trump-connected political consultancy.

Fast-forward to 2019: For all of Facebook’s big talk about cleaning up its act, things haven’t really changed. Political ad spending is barely more transparent than it was in 2016 — and there’s still plenty of political dark money coursing through the system.

Meanwhile, the “Facebook primary” is already underway. The Trump campaign has already spent $4.8 million on the platform since the beginning of the year, a strategy that campaign manager Brad Parscale calls “shock and awe.” Former Vice President Joe Biden has spent $1 million since he declared his candidacy in late April.

Researchers who study the platform up close tell VICE News that Facebook has even weakened or disabled some of the key tools it released since 2018 to give watchdogs and academics more insight into what’s happening, such as:
  • Cracking down on the use of “scraping” tools on its Ad Library, making it more difficult to collect data in bulk, and forcing researchers to search the huge database manually.
  • Limiting the number of searches an account can make in the Ad Library; researchers can’t keep up with the number of new ads flooding in.
  • Facebook’s API for political ads still doesn’t include the videos or photos in ads or show how advertisers are targeting users.
As a result, we still know little about how Facebook advertisers can target specific segments of users with highly tailored messages based on their personal data. Experts worry that, once again, Facebook holds the power to deepen the existing divisions in American culture — and it won’t reveal how it wields that power.

VICENews.com.

May 13, 2019

Gay Cuban March on Their Gay Pride But This Time The Plainclothes Come After Them




A plainclothes police officer detaining an activist during the march.CreditErnesto Mastrascusa/EPA, via Shutterstock
 By Reuters     

HAVANA — Chanting “Long live a diverse Cuba” and carrying rainbow flags, Cuban gay rights activists held an unauthorized pride parade in Havana this weekend despite a warning against it by the Communist government, which called it subversive, in a highly unusual show of civil disobedience in the one-party state.

More than 100 Cubans marched from Havana’s Central Park to the seafront boulevard before being stopped by dozens of security officials.

At least three activists were arrested by plainclothes police officers, and others were ordered to disperse because the march did not have an official permit.

Activists had called for their own parade after the state-run National Center for Sex Education, or Cenesex, last week abruptly canceled its 12th annual conga against homophobia, Cuba’s equivalent of gay pride. 

The national center denounced the alternative parade as a “provocation,” and several activists said that they had received threats either anonymously on social media or from state security in person not to attend — not that it stopped them.

The march on Saturday was the second such event organized independently of state institutions — previously a rare occurrence in Cuba — in just over a month, although the previous one, in defense of animal rights, had received a permit from the authorities.

As we know in the USA and other parts in the world, the LGBT community cannot be silenced or stop because the governemnt mistreat us, electro shock us like in Chechnya like in Egypt and Iran that hang us and like in Africa which threaten to stone us to death. These 'compadres' and part of our family in Cuba marches on becaause they have done it in the past and now now that there is religion is Cuba they even want to take that away just like they took the same sex marriage due to be palce on the constitution. We are not a club or a religion. We are people, real people born the way we are and no other person that goes to the bathroom the same way we do has no right to say thay are better than we are or we shuld have lesss rights because they decide so and feel they need  some poeple to put down so they can be superior or like my late friend Bill Wallace would have said, get etheir rocks off.   Adam Gonzalez
“This moment marks a before and an after for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, but also for Cuban civil society more generally,” Maykel González Vivero, an independent journalist and L.G.B.T. activist, said of the pride parade.

“Social media is playing its role, and civil society demonstrated it has strength and can go out onto the streets if necessary,” he said. “And from now on, the government will have to take that into account.”  

After the cancellation, Cenesex, led by Mariela Castro, the daughter of the Communist Party leader, Raúl Castro, said in a statement that certain groups had been planning to use the event to undermine the government, emboldened by the escalation of aggression by the Trump administration against Cuba and against Cuba’s leftist ally Venezuela. 

A plainclothes police officer detaining an activist during the march.CreditErnesto Mastrascusa/EPA, via Shutterstock
The United States has for decades financed covert programs to promote democracy on the island and undermine the Communist government.

But many L.G.B.T. activists said that they believed the government was reacting more to pressure from evangelical churches, which have a growing following in Cuba and have campaigned against the expansion of gay rights.

“This isn’t a political march; this is a celebration to give the L.G.B.T. community visibility,” said one activist, Myrna Rosa Padrón Dickson.

The march was promoted on social networks thanks to an expansion of the internet in Cuba in recent years that has more broadly resulted in increasing numbers of Cubans mobilizing online over certain issues, sometimes apparently managing to influence policy.

The government, for example, postponed the full start of a decree clamping down on the arts after an online campaign protesting the law, and stepped back on regulations governing the private sector after entrepreneurs and experts complained.

So far, however, the government has retained tight control over physical public spaces, mostly restricting marches to expressions of support for the government, like the recent Labor Day parade.
The conga in Havana was an exception that had become a regular occurrence. It was also a reminder that the government, which once sent gay men to work camps in the early days of Fidel Castro’s 1959 takeover, had made considerable advances in L.G.B.T. rights in recent years.

The country guarantees rights such as free sex-change operations and forbids discrimination on the basis of sexuality in a region where some countries still have anti-sodomy laws.

Some L.G.B.T. activists said that they believed the cancellation of the conga was a sign that those rights were being eroded, possibly because a recent public consultation over a new Constitution had suggested that there was more opposition to the community than previously thought.

Many Cubans expressed their opposition to a change in the draft Constitution that would have explicitly opened the door to same-sex marriage. Evangelical churches also ran extensive campaigns against the change, which was eventually watered down. 

May 10, 2019

Government Bars Gay Couple 2 Yr Old From Citizenship


             

By  Char Adams 


Andrew and Elad Dvash-Banks wed in Canada in 2010 and were excited to move to the U.S. after their twin sons were born in 2016. However, that joy soon turned to mourning when they learned the government refused to grant one of their 2-year-olds citizenship.
“He should be treated as any other child born to a U.S. citizen like his twin brother or like any other child born to a U.S. citizen abroad,” Andrew, who is from Los Angeles, said in a YouTube video about the incident. “We came to the United States and moved here but one of our sons entered on a tourist visa and entered on a tourist status.”
The couple’s sons, Ethan and Aiden, were born via surrogacy in Canada, with each boy conceived using a donor egg and sperm from one of the two men. Because Elad is from Tel Aviv, Andrew became a sponsor for his husband’s green card, granting Elad U.S. citizenship as a green card holder. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a child born abroad may become a U.S. citizenship at birth

 Even though Elad is a green card holder, authorities refuse to recognize the couple’s son Ethan as a citizen because of his biological connection to Elad. Aiden received a passport but Ethan did not.  

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