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Member since: Sat May 15, 2010, 03:48 PM
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Watch Live NOW: Democrats Introduce Historic, Expansive LGBT Civil Rights Bill

Source: thenewcivilrightsmovement.com

Members of the House and Senate introduce the Equality Act, a comprehensive LGBT equality bill that could make history for millions of Americans.

Scheduled to begin at noon EDT.

Read more: http://www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/davidbadash/watch_live_now_members_of_congress_introduce_historic_expansive_lgbt_civil_rights_bill

I posted this originally in GD (see http://www.democraticunderground.com/10027002662)

The entire video is worth watching, but John Lewis, at 15:45, is especially moving. Also, the testimonies of people who have been the victims of precisely the kinds of discrimination this bill would prohibit, in particular a lesbian couple, whose infant daughter was turned away from a pediatrician because of her parents' sexual orientation, at about 32:00. There are also fine speeches by, among others, Senators Jeff Merkley and Cory Booker, Steny Hoyer, Nancy Pelosi and Jerry Nadler.

The bill so far has over 155 co-sponsers, including 40 in the Senate. And the political timing is perfect, as it will put Republican opponents on the defensive as we enter the 2016 election season!
Posted by markpkessinger | Thu Jul 23, 2015, 03:27 PM (3 replies)

THIS IS HUGE! Members of Congress Introduce Historic, Comprehensive LGBT Non-Discrimination Bill

We can all be very proud of Congressional Democrats today! As one of the speakers at the news conference introducing the bill pointed out, the reality of last month's Supreme Court ruling permitting same-sex marriage is that in the majority of states, LGBTQ folks are now free to get a marriage license on Friday, get married on Saturday, and then get fired or evicted on Monday. This bill extends the already existing federal protections from discrimination based on race, sex, religion and ethnic heritage to LGBTQ persons. This law is needed. And it is long, long overdue!

Posted by markpkessinger | Thu Jul 23, 2015, 12:47 PM (17 replies)

NY Times Editorial: The Campaign of Deception Against Planned Parenthood

Superb editorial. Here is the text of a comment I posted to it. An excerpt of the editorial itself follows.

Mark Kessinger

I understand that many people, especially on the political right, have sincere and deeply held moral, ethical or religious objections to abortion. (Actually, many of us on the left have moral and ethical concerns as well, but simply believe it is a decision that must rest with the woman who will carry the child.) But if conservatives truly believe abortion should be illegal, then they should make that argument honestly and openly, and see if they can convince enough of their fellow citizens as to the moral truth of their position. The fact is most Republican legislators lack the guts to tackle the issue directly, so they continue to try to put into effect a de facto abortion ban, making it unavailable to women by attacking Planned Parenthood through thoroughly dishonest attacks such as this one, or by imposing outrageous and unnecessary requirements upon medical facilities that provide such services.

This entire stunt -- from the deceptively edited video, to the right-wing media's promotion of it, to Republican legislators' calls to defund and investigate Planned Parenthood -- is taken right out of the James O'Keefe/ACORN playbook. That infamous stunt, and the current one against Planned Parenthood both stand as illustrations of the right's political amorality and its thoroughgoing contempt for honest democratic process!

And here is the editorial itself:

[font size=6]The Campaign of Deception Against Planned Parenthood[/font]


A hidden-camera video released last week purported to show that Planned Parenthood illegally sells tissue from aborted fetuses. It shows nothing of the sort. But it is the latest in a series of unrelenting attacks on Planned Parenthood, which offers health care services to millions of people every year. The politicians howling to defund Planned Parenthood care nothing about the truth here, being perfectly willing to undermine women’s reproductive rights any way they can.

The nine-minute video clip released by the Center for Medical Progress, an outfit apparently created in 2013, invites viewers to “Hold Planned Parenthood accountable for their illegal sale of baby parts.” In it, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood’s senior director of medical services, is seen discussing the collection of fetal tissue in a lunch meeting with two people posing as potential tissue buyers. A second video, released on Tuesday, shows another Planned Parenthood staff member discussing fetal tissue.

After the first video’s release, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky pledged to “introduce an amendment to pending Senate legislation to immediately strip every dollar of Planned Parenthood funding.” Senator Ted Cruz of Texas called for defunding and for “an investigation of Planned Parenthood’s activities regarding the sale and transfer of aborted body parts.” The House Energy and Commerce Committee is undertaking an investigation, and Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas and Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana have ordered investigations in their states.

The full video of the lunch meeting, over two hours long and released by the Center for Medical Progress after complaints by Planned Parenthood, shows something very different from what these critics claim. Clearly, the shorter version was edited to eliminate statements by Dr. Nucatola explaining that Planned Parenthood does not profit from tissue donation, which requires the clear consent of the patient. Planned Parenthood affiliates only accept money — between $30 and $100 per specimen, according to Dr. Nucatola — to cover costs associated with collecting and transporting the tissue. “This is not something with any revenue stream that affiliates are looking at,” she said. Under federal law, facilities may be reimbursed for costs associated with fetal tissue donation, like transportation and storage.

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Posted by markpkessinger | Wed Jul 22, 2015, 01:40 PM (47 replies)

The ever-obtuse Kathleen Parker

I often find Parker's obtuse musings to be annoying, but this one particularly so. Here is a comment I just posted to her Washington Post column, followed by an excerpt of the column itself.

4:35 PM EST
Public symbols are important, and the Southern Cross flag was a toxic one. It was long overdue to come down. But really, Ms. Parker, we are not even a month out from the racially-motivated killings of nine African Americans at the hands of a white supremacist in Charleston, and you're ready to declare a "new day" in South Carolina?

Perhaps you haven't noticed that there remains a not insignificant number of South Carolinians, and indeed of people across this country, who are furious that the flag has come down. Perhaps you haven't read about the effort by the Republican leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives to amend a domestic appropriations bill to permit that same flag to be displayed in federal cemeteries. A statement such as this is almost as empty-headed as were statements after President Obama was elected that America was now a 'post-racial' society.

Sadly, your rush to proclaim a "new day in South Carolina" is all too typical of conservative whites in America, who will seize upon any small step in the right direction as evidence that problems of entrenched racism are behind us and need be given no further thought. That is, always has been and, for the foreseeable future will remain, a dangerous delusion!

Here is an excerpt of the column:

[font size=5]A new day in South Carolina as the Confederate battle flag comes down[/font]
[font size=3]By Kathleen Parker[/font]

The past may not be past, as William Faulkner put it. But it sure seems to be leaving.

As I watched the broadcast of the Confederate battle flag being brought down from its post on the South Carolina statehouse grounds Friday morning, my thoughts went to Gen. Robert E. Lee, who surely would have raised a toast to this new day.

< . . . . >

Friday’s ceremony in Columbia was brief, dignified and profoundly moving for the many gathered, as well as those watching from afar. Gov. Nikki Haley (R), surrounded by fellow officials and lawmakers, looked resplendent in a white suit that was reminiscent of a white flag offered in surrender and in peace. I don’t mean the South’s surrender to the North, or of the Sons of Confederate Veterans to the NAACP, which has fought for the lowering of the flag in South Carolina for more than 20 years.

< . . . . >

Adding to the layers of symbolism, it was Haley, an Indian American and the first female governor of the state, who called for the flag to come down. Although she once supported the flag as a part of history, Haley recognized the urgency of its removal as so many others finally did. It may have been overdue, as critics who never take a vacation will say, but it is done.

< . . . . >
Posted by markpkessinger | Sat Jul 11, 2015, 04:14 PM (10 replies)

Don't look now, but one of the chief justifications for the TPP may have just evaporated`

The supposed juggernaut of a Chinese economy has been cited as one of the biggest reasons why the TPP is a necessary deal. Well . . . not so fast. From the CNNMoney:

[font size=5]Nearly 25% of Chinese stocks have stopped trading[/font]

Over 700 Chinese companies have halted trading to "self preserve," according to the state media. That means about a quarter of the companies listed on China's two big exchanges -- the Shanghai and Shenzhen -- are no longer trading.

China's stock markets are in trouble. The Shanghai Composite Index has fallen over 25% since mid-June. The Shenzhen, which has more tech companies and is often compared to America's Nasdaq Index, is down even more.

The government has taken extraordinary steps to try to prevent further damage. The Chinese central bank made a surprise rate cut at the end of June. Then China's securities regulator stopped initial public offerings on the exchanges.

Over the weekend, over 20 of China's top brokerage firms publicly pledged to buy back stocks and funds in an effort to slow the downfall. The firms expect to spend at least 120 billion yuan (about $19.3 billion).

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Posted by markpkessinger | Tue Jul 7, 2015, 01:35 PM (11 replies)
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