Saturday, July 08, 2023

Veterans , John Waters, crazy Naomi Wolf and Haliburton


Veterans?  Corey Dickstein (STARS AND STRIPES) reports on one:

The man arrested last month with multiple firearms and hundreds of rounds of ammunition near the Washington, D.C., home of former President Barack Obama was a Navy veteran who served in combat in Iraq, the service said Friday.

Taylor Franklin Taranto, 37, served in the sea service from 2004 to 2010 and earned a Combat Action Ribbon while serving on a deployment to Iraq, Navy records show. The Combat Action Ribbon is awarded to Marines, sailors and Coast Guard members "who have actively participated in ground or surface combat,” according to the services.

Taranto, who is from Washington state, was captured by Washington Metropolitan police June 29 in the neighborhood where the former president and his wife, Michelle, live. The veteran was arrested after Secret Service agents observed him walking near a restricted area close to the Obama's home, according to federal prosecutors. A search of the van in which Taranto had been living and parked near the Obama’s home turned up at least two firearms, a machete, “hundreds of rounds of nine-millimeter ammunition,” and bomb-making materials, according to court documents.  

This is the veteran who supposedly reacted above as a result of Donald Trump posting Barack Obama's address on social media.  They are saying Donald's social media post was the equivalent of pouring gasoline on a raging fire.  No idea if that's accurate or not.  But all that fire power?  Reminded me of "Celebrity Burnout" in John Waters' CRACKPOT:

A woman I know from my many summers in Provincetown walked into a restaurant in this eccentric beach community and, according to the CAPE COD TIMES, "demanded a drink."  When told the lounge wouldn't open until later in the day, she allegedly pulled out a loaded twelve-gauge double-barreled shotgun and threw down a wad of money.  She also happened to have with her a "hunting knife" and a "powerful compound bow with three razor-tipped arrows."  She was carrying "$7,000 in cash" (think of the tip!) and "100 grams of cocaine." Talk about Rambo! "Did she have a shopping cart to carry all the weapons" friends wondered, trying to cut the conversation short so they could rush to photocopy the article while it was still hot.  When this rather aggressive customer was finally released on bail from jail, she reappeared at all the local fashionable watering holes, and no one dared mention the incident.  "Are you kidding?" commented a friend who had barred her in the past from his restaurant.  "She might have a cannon!"  Suddenly the whole town had newfound respect for this reluctant newsmaker.  And you can be sure she can count on tip-top service in the future.  Buy the lady a drink, for God's sake!

Yes, it's John Waters' the director of such classics as PINK FLAMINGOS, HAIRSPRAY, SERIAL MOM and CRY BABY, FEMALE TROUBLE and CECILE B. DEMENTED.  Dennis Perkins (PORTLAND PRESS HERALD) interviewed John a few weeks ago (John's touring with his one-man show THE END OF THE WORLD) and here's an excerpt:


Not to get too political, but with the hysteria surrounding sex and gender right now, is it worse than it ever was, or is it just louder?

John Waters: It’s really gonna help, just like Anita Bryant helped with gay rights. Because she came out, bitched about everything, just like they’re doing now, and everybody banded together, got more militant, stronger, and her career was over. Same thing’s gonna happen here. I built a career on people hating me, on bad reviews. I wish my books (“Carsick,” “Mr. Know-It-All,” “Role Models,” and his recently published first novel “Liarmouth: A Feel-Bad Romance”) were banned. Then they wouldn’t be back in the Gay section near the bathroom, they’d be up front in the banned books section next to the cash register.

Speaking of “Liarmouth,” there have been rumors that it’s going to be your first movie in 19 years (since 2004’s “A Dirty Shame.”)

John Waters: Well, I can’t really talk about it because of the writers’ strike, but the book was optioned for me to write it as a screenplay. And I have to end it there because of the strike.

Let's hope John's right about the pushback (I believe he is and I've noted that these hate merchants have overplayed their hands).  On this topic, we're going to note Africa.  I don't usually do that.  I don't really feel it's my business to comment on weigh in.  "Wouldn't they like their peace, don't we get bored?" as Joni Mitchell sings.  But this is something that actually does involve the US as Caroline Kimeu (GUARDIAN) explains:

A group of human rights organisations in Africa renewed their calls this week for the American multinational Intel Corporation to dismiss a senior employee over his alleged involvement in fanning the growing anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment in several countries, including Kenya and Uganda.

In a petition, supported by more than a dozen organisations, the rights groups claim that Greg Slater, Intel’s vice-president of global regulatory affairs, has been “actively responsible for exporting, financing, and spreading hate, homophobia” on the continent for decades, through the American conservative organisation, Family Watch International.

The activists accuse Family Watch International, which is run by Slater’s wife, Sharon, of lobbying high-ranking African leaders and lawmakers to block LGBTQ rights – allegations that have dogged the Slaters for years. The organisation is described as a “hate group” by the US civil rights group Southern Poverty Law Center.

Sharon Slater is a hate merchants with links to Moms For Liberty -- another hate group.  She should have been expelled from Africa some time ago.  Cara Anna (AP) reported earlier this month:

Efforts to legalize and make abortions safer in Africa were shaken when the U.S. Supreme Court

ended the national right to an abortion a year ago. Within days, Sierra Leone President Julius Maada Bio declared that his government would decriminalize abortion “at a time when sexual and reproductive health rights for women are being either overturned or threatened.”But some U.S.-based organizations active in Africa were emboldened, especially in largely Christian countries. One is Family Watch International, a nonprofit Christian conservative organization whose anti-LGBTQ+ stance, anti-abortion activities and “intense focus on Africa” led to its designation as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

In April, Family Watch International helped to develop a “family values and sovereignty” meeting at Uganda’s presidential offices with lawmakers and other delegates from more than 20 African countries. The organization's Africa director also is advocating for his country, Ethiopia, to revoke a 2005 law that expanded abortion access and dramatically reduced maternal mortality.

“It’s kind of like the gloves are off,” Sarah Shaw, head of advocacy at U.K.-based MSI Reproductive Choices, an international provider of reproductive health services, said in an interview.

In a September speech to the African Bar Association, the president of Family Watch International, Sharon Slater, alleged that donor countries were attempting a “sexual social recolonization of Africa" by smuggling in legal abortion along with sex education and LGBTQ+ rights.“Sexual rights activists know if they can capture the hearts and minds of Africa’s children and indoctrinate and sexualize them, they will capture the future lawyers, teachers, judges, politicians, presidents, vice presidents and more, and thus they will capture the very heart of Africa,” Slater claimed.

Again, she needs to be expelled from Africa.  She is a US citizen, she needs to stop meddling in their affairs.  I am so sick of these people who cannot just shut the f**k up about what people in their own countries should be doing.

She's not a Christian, she's a hate merchant.  If there's a hell, she'll rot there due to her desire to pervert the teachings of Christ to back up her own bias and hatred.

Naomi Wolf just gets crazier.  I almost picked up the phone to call her but I don't want anything to do with her.  I read an e-mail to the public account ( where she's now not just transphobic but also homophobic as well.  She's nuts and she's just another hate merchant.  I think I'm going to really enjoy Naomi Klein's book when it comes out shortly -- about all these crazy grifters -- including "Dr" Naomi Wolf.  And let me repeat, she needs to be stripped of the doctorate.  Her 'doctoral thesis was turned into her book OUTRAGES.

You read that book, right?

No, you didn't.  Because it got pulped.  While promoting it, an interviewer confronted her with the reality that she had misinterpreted wording in British government documents.  Her book was not released here.  Oxford needs to pull her doctorate and they need to explain how their doctorial committee didn't catch the mistakes and errors in her research?  Again, the books the same as the thesis that saw her awarded a doctorate.  Shoddy scholarship.  She needs to lose her doctorate because she didn't actually earn it and her thesis is riddled with one error after another which, yes, does undermine the central argument of the thesis.

We'll wind down with this from The National Trial Lawyers:

Two whistleblowers have announced that a 12-year litigation with KBR Services has been settled for $108.75 million, the largest cash settlement ever obtained in connection with alleged Iraq War fraud. Filed under the “qui tam” provisions of the False Claims Act, the lawsuit by former KBR employees Geoffrey Howard and Zella Hemphill Anderson alleged KBR defrauded the United States Army in connection with KBR’s contract to supply troops in the War with property and materials. Despite widespread reports of billions of dollars in waste, fraud and abuse over the course of the War, no other case has successfully recovered such a substantial sum for alleged fraud.

The lawsuit alleges that KBR defrauded the Army under the multi-billion dollar LOGCAP III contract when it routinely ordered new materials when excess quantities of the same items were sitting in KBR warehouses in Iraq. The case cites extensive evidence that KBR routinely lied to the Army, certifying that it had checked for excess material before ordering anew. According to the whistleblowers, KBR was indifferent to this massive waste because the Army reimbursed KBR for all these unnecessary costs, plus profit. The fraud was related to “cross-leveling,” a LOGCAP requirement that before buying new material, KBR had to check within the theater to see if excess of that same material was in-country.

The whistleblowers’ evidence as laid out in their lawsuit showed that KBR fraudulently manipulated its inventory management system such that vast amounts of material in inventory were “invisible” to anyone trying to cross-level. For example, KBR was allegedly ordering new electrical wire when it had up to 65 years’ worth of inventory of such wire on hand. There was enough stock of four other items to last 32.9 years, 15.6 years, 13.0 years, and 12.7 years. This practice resulted in massive amounts of excess material paid for by U.S. taxpayers, much of which was turned over to the Government of Iraq or abandoned at the end of the War. The whistleblowers’ internal complaints to the company were routinely ignored, according to the complaint.


The following sites updated:

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Reps. Balint and Torres Reintroduce Legislation Promoting More Inclusive Education to Include LGBTQI+ and Women’s History


Reps. Balint and Torres Reintroduce Legislation Promoting More Inclusive Education to Include LGBTQI+ and Women’s History

Washington, June 23, 2023

Reps. Balint and Torres Reintroduce Legislation Promoting More Inclusive Education to Include LGBTQI+ and Women’s History


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representatives Becca Balint (VT-AL) and Ritchie Torres (NY-15)– both Co-Chairs of the Congressional Equality Caucus – today reintroduced the “LGBTQI+ and Women’s History Education Act of 2023” following a string of states that have proposed and/or implemented harmful and discriminatory anti-LGBTQI+ education laws.


The bill authorizes the Director of the National Museum of American History of the Smithsonian Institution to develop and disseminate resources to classrooms for educators to teach LGBTQI+ and women’s history education in a more inclusive and intersectional manner. Full legislative text can be found here.


“Students’ right to an education is facing continued efforts to silence the history and stories of women and LGBTQI+ people. In legislatures across the U.S., book and curriculum bans are erasing trailblazing historical figures and events and preventing students from getting a full and well-rounded education," said Rep. Becca Balint (VT-AL). "As a parent and former teacher, I know the importance of education to the health of our communities and democracy. We cannot support the next generation of responsible citizens without understanding the contributions of women and LGBTQI+ people. I'm proud to work alongside Congressman Torres to stand up for an education system that highlights and celebrates our difference rather than censoring them."


“If we do not learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it,” said U.S. Rep. Torres (NY-15). “Children today must be provided the opportunity to learn about the incredible contributions and significant impacts of so many heroic trailblazers in the LGBTQI+ and women’s movements. This is especially true at a time when extreme politicians are working overtime to ban books, silence our voices, and censor our history. As the first openly gay Afro-Latino elected to Congress and proud Co-Chair of the Congressional Equality Caucus, I stand on the shoulders of those who came before me and am committed to working with Rep. Balint to prioritize this legislation because LGBTQI+ and women’s history is American history, and we must teach all of it.”


“Today, U.S. Representatives Ritchie Torres and Becca Balint reintroduced the ‘LGBTQI+ and Women’s History Education Act’, which would direct and provide funding to the Smithsonian to create high-quality resources and programming for educators on the histories of LGBTQI+ communities and women using an intersectional approach,” said Melanie Willingham-Jaggers, Executive Director, GLSEN. “Research shows that LGBTQI+ youth who attend schools with inclusive curriculum have higher GPAs, a greater sense of belonging, and are more likely to pursue post-secondary education. We must rise up for LGBTQI+ youth and keep advocating for inclusive education where every young person sees themselves reflected in the classroom and can learn about others who are different.”


“Inclusive learning environments are proven to be important for student learning and development, and for supporting positive school climates, especially for LGBTQI+ students. This is why we’re proud to support the ‘LGBTQI+ and Women’s History Education Act of 2023’, which will support educators to teach history that is intersectional and inclusive of LGBTQI+ people and women,” said Shiwali Patel, Director of Justice for Student Survivors, National Women’s Law Center. “Ensuring that all students see themselves in school curriculum and are able to learn about others is especially critical right now given the ongoing attacks on curriculum and books that teach history, and about race and the LGBTQI+ community.”


Original Cosponsors: Rep. Suzan Bonamici (OR-01), Rep. Shontel Brown (OH-11), Rep. Judy Chu (CA-28), Rep. Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09), Rep. Gerry Connolly (VA-11), Rep. Jasmine Crockett (TX-30), Rep. Sharice Davids (KS-03), Rep. Al Green (TX-09), Rep. Raul M. Grijalva (AZ-07), Rep. Ro Khanna (CA-17), Rep. Stephen Lynch (MA-08), Rep. Grace Meng (NY-06), Rep. Kevin Mullin (CA-15), Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-AL), Rep. Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Rep. Linda Sánchez (CA-38), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Rep. David Scott (GA-13), Rep. Melanie Stansbury (NM-01), Rep. David Trone (MD-06), Rep. Nydia Velázquez (NY-07), Rep. Frederica Wilson (FL-24)


Endorsing Organizations: GLSENNational Women’s Law CenterAACTEAdvocates for YouthAmerican Association of University WomenAmerican AtheistsAmerican Federation of TeachersAmerican Psychological Association ServicesAmerican School Counselor AssociationAsian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJCCA LGBTQ Health and Human Services NetworkCenter for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), CenterLink: The Community of LGBTQ CentersEDGE Consulting PartnersEducateUS: SIECUS In ActionEducation Law Center PennsylvaniaEducation Reform NowEquality CaliforniaFamily EqualityFORGE, Inc.Gender SpectrumGLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ+ EqualityGSA NetworkHuman Rights CampaigninterACT: Advocates for Intersex YouthJapanese American Citizens LeagueLegal Momentum, The Women's Legal Defense and Education FundLos Angeles LGBT CenterMovement Advancement ProjectNational Action NetworkNational Alliance for Partnerships in EquityNational Association of School PsychologistsNational Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP)National Black Justice Coalition, National Center for Parent Leadership, Advocacy, and Community Empowerment (National PLACE)National Center for Transgender EqualityNational Council of Jewish WomenNational Disability Rights Network (NDRN)National Education AssociationNational LGBTQ Task ForceNational Organization for WomenNational Women's Political CaucusPFLAG FresnoPFLAG NationalPROMOSchool Social Work Association of AmericaSIECUS: Sex Ed for Social ChangeThe Education Trust The Trevor ProjectTrans MarylandTrue Colors United


Additional Background: According to the New York Historical Society Museum & Library, only 13% of named historical figures in textbooks across the U.S. are women, and even fewer are women of color.


Between 2021 and 2023, the Movement Advancement Project found nine states passed curriculum censorship laws restricting instruction on LGBTQI+ people and issues, including Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” law.


As of May 2023, the ACLU reported there have been more than 200 anti-LGBTQI+ school and education bills introduced in state legislatures across the country.


To date, only three states have legislated standards for inclusion of women’s history in elementary, middle, and high school instruction, according to the National Women’s History Alliance.


To date, only seven states have passed legislation in support of LGBTQI+ inclusive curriculum, according to GLSEN.




In Concert - Judy Collins (1974) - Chelsea Morning, Both Sides Now, My Father, The Hostage, Suzanne, Who Knows Where The Time Goes

Congressman Robert Garcia, County Supervisor Holly Mitchell and Mayors for a Guaranteed Income Co-Chair Michael Tubbs Highlight Success Of Guaranteed Income Programs In Southern California

Congressman Robert Garcia, County Supervisor Holly Mitchell and Mayors for a Guaranteed Income Co-Chair Michael Tubbs Highlight Success Of Guaranteed Income Programs In Southern California

June 30, 2023
Long Beach, California – Today, Congressman Robert Garcia (CA-42) joined Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly Mitchell, Mayors for a Guaranteed Income co-chair Michael Tubbs, and Rev. Zach Hoover of LA Voice to discuss the life-changing impact unrestricted cash payments have on low income families. As the first stop of the Guaranteed Income Works national tour begins, the community leaders came together to show how guaranteed income pilots have succeeded and how an income floor can work for the country. During the event Congressman Garcia announced he will soon be introducing legislation to provide $1,000 a month in universal basic income for foster youth aging out of the system for five years. 
Guaranteed Income Program Event Speakers and Staff

"The evidence is clear: guaranteed income fights poverty and builds stronger communities.” Congressman Robert Garcia said. “I’m proud to be fighting in Congress to restore the expanded child tax credit and will soon be introducing legislation to create new guaranteed income programs to uplift families.” 

“Our pilot in Stockton demonstrated that guaranteed income works, and with dozens of pilots showing similar results across the country, we’re taking the case for an income floor across the country,” Mayor Tubbs said. “I’m excited for Americans to see what could happen if a guaranteed income becomes a reality. People would have longer amounts of time to respond to market pressures, to invest in themselves, to go to job training and all the things we know that we've seen repeatedly over this country that people do when they're given this little bit of money and real opportunity.”

“The era of invasive and patronizing social welfare in the United States needs to end. Research has shown us that things like work requirements and possible barriers to eligibility do nothing to truly address poverty and just continue to criminalize poverty,” Supervisor Mitchell said. “Guaranteed income can serve as an extension to existing social programs, like Medicare and Social Security. Those were, in their time, cutting-edge, innovative concepts around income security. Those were game-changing, life-saving policy initiatives that took a while to get done, and I believe we can get there with guaranteed income.”

This is the first event in an 20-city tour that Mayors for a Guaranteed Income (MGI) is producing to show the evidence that providing direct payments can end poverty in the United States. Guaranteed income recipients have been able to pursue higher paying jobs, obtain undergraduate degrees, pay off debt, and afford basic necessities like food and utilities. 

Congressman Garcia believes in defending our democracy, leveling the playing field with progressive education policy, addressing the climate crisis, supporting working families with increasing wages, and fighting to expand and protect essential rights for women, immigrants, and the LGBTQI+ community. 

Under his leadership as Mayor, Long Beach piloted programs like tuition-free community college and a universal basic income pilot. He also passed measures to support community safety and rebuild our infrastructure, legalized and taxed cannabis while promoting social equity, and promoted open, honest and transparent governance by strengthening the city auditor, setting term limits, and creating ethics and redistricting commissions. His signature ballot initiative, Measure A, launched the largest infrastructure repair program in a generation, promoting good-paying union jobs.


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VIDEO and RUSH TRANSCRIPT: On CNN, U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres Condemns Two Supreme Court Rulings on Student Loan Debt Forgiveness, LGBTQI+ Rights

VIDEO and RUSH TRANSCRIPT: On CNN, U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres Condemns Two Supreme Court Rulings on Student Loan Debt Forgiveness, LGBTQI+ Rights

Jun 30, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Ritchie Torres (NY-15) today appeared on CNN’s Inside Politics with Dana Bash where he strongly condemned two Supreme Court rulings in cases dealing with President Biden’s student loan debt forgiveness plan and LGBTQI+ legal protections.

“I cannot help but feel that the most consequential policy decisions are being decided not by elected officials. But by the unelected judges of the Supreme Court, particularly a right-wing supermajority. The Supreme Court is increasingly operating as a super legislature…,” said Rep. Torres.

VIDEO of Rep. Torres’s interview can be viewed here.

A RUSH TRANSCRIPT of the interview, as broadcast live, is as follows:

DANA BASH, Anchor: Just moments ago President Biden reacted to the major Supreme Court decision on LGBTQ rights. Joe Biden calls it an invitation to discriminate that threatens dignity and equality of all Americans. Congressman Ritchie Torres of New York is the only openly gay black man currently serving in Congress and he joins me now. Thank you so much, sir. for being with us this hour, the Supreme Court just ruled in favor of a Christian web designer who cited religious objections and refusing to make a website for same sex couple. I want to get your perspective, you’re a member of Congress, but as I mentioned, or you’re an openly gay man, what was your reaction when you learned of the ruling.

REP. TORRES: Well, the decision is a dark day not only for the LGBTQ community, but for democracy, and I cannot help but feel that the most consequential policy decisions are being decided not by elected officials. But by the unelected judges of the Supreme Court, particularly a right-wing supermajority. The Supreme Court is increasingly operating as a super legislature and laws become politics by other means. And this particular decision reminds us that the greatest threat to LGBTQ equality is the weaponization of religious liberty. Religious Liberty properly understood, means freedom from discrimination, not freedom to discriminate. And if the Supreme Court continues to reinterpret religious liberty as a license to discriminate, it’s going to have implications for civil rights laws at every level of government, and it’s going to have implications far beyond the LGBTQ community.

BASH: I want to read you an excerpt from the majority opinion it was written by Justice Neil Gorsuch and it says, “taken seriously that principle would allow the government to force all manner of artists speech writers and others whose services involve speech to speak what they do not believe on paying a penalty. Equally, the government could force a male website designer married to another man to design websites. For an organization that advocates against same sex marriage.” Does he have a point there?

REP. TORRES: He’s wrong and he’s sending a message. You’re free to discriminate as long as you do so, under the guise of religious liberty. The principle that there will be no discrimination in the public market, which is a legacy of the Civil Rights Act of 1965. And the Supreme Court is overturning of course civil rights principle in the name of religious liberty.

BASH: Some are more concerned congressman about the ambiguity of the word expressive, expressive services, that’s a term that is used frequently in this majority opinion. Does the ruling today point to a Supreme Court that could be ready to overturn other rights of LGBTQ people including same sex marriage?

REP. TORRES: We’re witnessing of radical politicized Supreme Court that we’ve seen in recent history. As you might recall, Justice Thomas famously called on the Supreme Court to overturn about Obergefell versus Hodges which protects the right to marriage equality. And Congress had to take action to codify marriage equality in federal law, in order to preempt what is increasingly a politicized Supreme Court. So I do worry that the threat to LGBTQ equality from the Supreme Court is real and it’s going to continue.

BASH: The other big cases at the Supreme Court ruled on today was against President Biden’s plan to relieve student loan debt. The Chief Justice wrote quote, “Today, we have concluded that the words ‘waive or modify’ does not mean ‘completely rewrite’; that our precedent old and new requires that congress speak clearly before department secretary can unilaterally alter sections of the American economy.” You just said that the court is to politicize and they’re acting like the legislative branch, in the other case, student loan debt. They said it’s not up to us. It’s up to you, Congressman Torres and other members of Congress. Do you understand that they have a point there, or do you believe so?

REP. TORRES: Well Congress did speak clearly. Congress passed a law that authorizes the education secretary to modify or waive any statutory or regulatory provision to protect borrowers affected by a national emergency. Congress did not say some provisions or most provisions. We said all provisions and the Supreme Court proceeded to ignore the will of Congress in order to deprive more than 40 million households of student debt forgiveness, these 40 million households are burdened by nearly $2 trillion in student debt.

BASH: What are the political implications of this? I mean, imagine 40 million people that would have benefited starting to benefit from this plan. The President made it a cornerstone of his 2020 campaign. Is it a political problem now for the President and other Democrats like yourself who are going to be on the ballot and promised this would happen?

REP. TORRES: What quite the opposite. The excesses of the Supreme Court is going to backfire. On the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade reduced what was supposed to be a red wave in the 2022 election cycle to nothing more than a red trickle. So not only is the Supreme Court’s decision-making bad law it’s also bad politics, and it’s going to come back to haunt the Republican Party.

BASH: Congressman Ritchie Torres, thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it.

REP. TORRES: Of course.


Cyndi Lauper - When You Were Mine - 1985 live performance and 2014 live performance

Pappas Introduces Legislation to Ban Use of LGBTQ+ Panic Defense in Federal Courts


Pappas Introduces Legislation to Ban Use of LGBTQ+ Panic Defense in Federal Courts

June 26, 2023

Legislation introduced as New Hampshire legislature moves legislation forward on the state level to ban the use of so-called ‘panic’ defenses

Today Congressman Chris Pappas (NH-01), Co-Chair of the Equality Caucus, and Senator Edward J. Markey announced the reintroduction of the LGBTQ+ Panic Defense Prohibition Act

, legislation that would ban using panic defenses based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression in federal courts. These defenses are used to excuse violent crimes, such as murder and assault, by arguing that the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression is to blame for the defendant’s actions, placing the blame on the victims for the violence committed against them. 

16 states and Washington D.C. have already taken legislative action to curtail the availability and effectiveness of using LGBTQ+ panic defenses, and similar legislation has been introduced in New Hampshire.

“In many jurisdictions throughout the United States, including our federal courts, violent perpetrators can attempt to avoid accountability for their crimes through the use of bigoted ‘panic’ defenses,” said Congressman Pappas. “As a bipartisan coalition of legislators come together in New Hampshire to ban their use in state courts, I am working to make progress on the federal level. Congress should work to end these bigoted defenses, and I am committed to working across the aisle with my colleagues to advance this legislation.”

The LGBTQ+ Panic Defense Prohibition Act is endorsed by the American Bar Association, the LGBTQ Bar Association, and the National Center for Transgender Equality.

Pappas serves as Co-Chair of the Congressional Equality Caucus and is New Hampshire’s first openly gay member of Congress. In his role as Co-Chair of the Equality Caucus, he has helped to introduce and pass the Equality Act through the House of Representatives and enact the Respect for Marriage Act into law. Pappas also leads the SERVE Act, which would guarantee and protect VA benefits for LGBTQ+ veterans; legislation to improve VA resources for LGBTQ+ veterans; and has led successful callsfor the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reassess policy that blocked members of the LGBTQ+ community from donating blood. In the 116th Congress, Pappas led the Put Patients First Act, which would have blocked a Trump-Pence Administration rule that permitted discrimination in health care.

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"Missing You" Diana Ross & Smokey Robinson

Davids Statement on Supreme Court Decision on LGBTQI+ Rights


Davids Statement on Supreme Court Decision on LGBTQI+ Rights

June 30, 2023

Today, Representative Sharice Davids released the following statement on today’s Supreme Court decision in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis. Today’s ruling provides an unprecedented constitutional basis for businesses involved in providing customized “expressive” services to discriminate against marginalized communities currently protected by public accommodations nondiscrimination laws.

“I am deeply disappointed with today’s extreme Supreme Court decision that turns back the clock on equal rights, allowing businesses to discriminate against LGBTQI+ Americans, and potentially other minority groups, based simply on who they are. Public businesses should be open to all people in our community, and I will continue working to make that a reality. Now, Congress must act to protect the American people, including by passing the Equality Act, which would renew our commitment to equality for all and send a message to the LGBTQI+ community that they are supported by our federal government.”

Stevie Nicks - Stand Back - Live 1983 US Festival

Baldwin Demands Answers, Accountability From Coast Guard Following Disclosure of Decades-Long, Hidden Reports of Sexual Assault


Baldwin Demands Answers, Accountability From Coast Guard Following Disclosure of Decades-Long, Hidden Reports of Sexual Assault

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Chair of the Subcommittee on Oceans, Fisheries, Climate Change and Manufacturing, which oversees the Coast Guard, and Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, sent a letter to the Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Linda Fagan, seeking answers and accountability for the mishandling of a previously undisclosed, years-long investigation into sexual assault allegations in connection to the Coast Guard Academy. Within the last week, Senator Baldwin’s office learned of these reports that had previously been withheld from Congress and the public through the Commerce Committee’s routine oversight role during a briefing from the Coast Guard.

“We write to express our grave concern regarding the reports of rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment at the United States Coast Guard Academy between 1988 and 2006 and the Coast Guard’s lack of action to properly and timely investigate, prosecute, and report these criminal acts,” wrote the senators in their letter. “We are also concerned about the Coast Guard’s failure to disclose its investigation that began in 2014 and ended in 2020, the withholding of which some have described as intentional.”

According to Coast Guard officials, in 2014, the Coast Guard established “Operation Fouled Anchor” to investigate certain reports of sexual assault and sexual violence during the years of 1988 to 2006. The Coast Guard indicated that the “operation” identified 62 substantiated incidents of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment that occurred at the Academy, or by Academy cadets. The letter recounts that the Coast Guard further identified 42 individuals against whom there may have been substantiated claims of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment through “Operation Fouled Anchor,”yet it does not appear that the Coast Guard appropriately investigated at the time the incidents were reported. Further, according to information provided by the Coast Guard, a number of those individuals continued to serve for decades without any subsequent investigations into their conduct throughout their careers, raising a number of questions about their conduct, their access to sensitive information and their treatment of members in their commands. The “operation” concluded in 2020 but was not disclosed to Congress or the public.

“It is unclear how many other officers had substantiated claims against them, were not disciplined, and remained in positions of leadership or management,” the senators continued.

According to the Coast Guard, the “operation” also uncovered Coast Guard personnel, including Coast Guard Academy leaders, who failed to respond to reports of rape, sexual assault and harassment. Despite the serious nature of those findings, the Coast Guard chose not to further investigate or discipline those leaders for their lack of action and dereliction of duty. 

“We understand from the Coast Guard that the ‘operation’ revealed Coast Guard leaders had knowledge of, and in some cases received formal or informal complaints or other disclosures of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment yet did nothing” the senators wrote. “More disturbingly, some of these leaders discouraged survivors from filing formal complaints or otherwise disclosing their assaults.”

In their letter, the senators request answers and documentation related to the reports of crimes, subsequent investigations and Coast Guard leadership decisions related to what was, and what was not, investigated by the Coast Guard when the incidents occurred and during the “operation.”

“We must resolve the past to build a better future for the Coast Guard, and in this case, that means pursuing full accountability for perpetrators and investing in meaningful support for survivors,” the letter concluded.

Read the full letter here.


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