Obama issues Presidential Proclamation declaring June LGBT Pride Month

Read the full proclamation:
From the moment our Nation first came together to declare the fundamental truth that all men are created equal, courageous and dedicated patriots have fought to refine our founding promise and broaden democracy’s reach. Over the course of more than two centuries of striving and sacrifice, our country has expanded civil rights and enshrined equal protections into our Constitution. Through struggle and setback, we see a common trajectory toward a more free and just society. But we are also reminded that we are not truly equal until every person is afforded the same rights and opportunities — that when one of us experiences discrimination, it affects all of us — and that our journey is not complete until our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law.
Across our Nation, tremendous progress has been won by determined individuals who stood up, spoke out, and shared their stories. Earlier this year, because of my landmark Executive Order on LGBT workplace discrimination, protections for Federal contractors went into effect, guarding against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The Federal Government is now leading by example, ensuring that our employees and contractors are judged by the quality of their work, not by who they love. And I will keep calling on the Congress to pass legislation so that all Americans are covered by these protections, no matter where they work.
In communities throughout the country, barriers that limit the potential of LGBT Americans have been torn down, but too many individuals continue to encounter discrimination and unfair treatment. My Administration supports efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy for minors because the overwhelming scientific evidence demonstrates that it can cause substantial harm. We understand the unique challenges faced by sexual and gender minorities — especially transgender and gender non-conforming individuals — and are taking steps to address them. And we recognize that families come in many shapes and sizes. Whether biological, foster, or adoptive, family acceptance is an important protective factor against suicide and harm for LGBTQ youth, and mental health experts have created resources to support family communication and involvement.
For countless young people, it is not enough to simply say it gets better; we must take action too. We continue to address bullying and harassment in our classrooms, ensuring every student has a nurturing environment in which to learn and grow. Across the Federal Government, we are working every day to unlock the opportunities all LGBT individuals deserve and the resources and care they need. Too many LGBTQ youth face homelessness and too many older individuals struggle to find welcoming and affordable housing; that is why my Administration is striving to ensure they have equal access to safe and supportive housing throughout life. We are updating our National HIV/AIDSStrategy to better address the disproportionate burden HIV has on communities of gay and bisexual men and transgender women. We continue to extend family and spousal benefits to legally marriedsame-sex couples. And because we know LGBT rights are human rights, we are championing protections and support for LGBT persons around the world.
All people deserve to live with dignity and respect, free from fear and violence, and protected against discrimination, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. During Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month, we celebrate the proud legacy LGBT individuals have woven into the fabric of our Nation, we honor those who have fought to perfect our Union, and we continue our work to build a society where every child grows up knowing that their country supports them, is proud of them, and has a place for them exactly as they are.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2015 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists, and to celebrate the great diversity of the American people.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-ninth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-ninth.
Obama has issued the Pride Month proclamation every year since taking office in 2009. Prior his administration, President Bill Clinton was the last president to issue such a proclamation, first doing so in 1999 and then in 2000 before he left office. President George W. Bush never issued a proclamation commemorating LGBT pride.
Obama will host a reception at the White House on June 24 to commemorate Pride month.

There’s a shocking human toll associated with World Cup corruption

 A Guardian investigation last year showed that 964 migrant workers died in Qatar in 2012 and 2013, or one every two days. While it's tricky to compare those numbers to death tolls directly caused by other major sporting events, in Qatar they are just the tip of the iceberg.
FIFA is proceeding with a presidential election today, and current president Joseph “Sepp” Blatter is expected to easily win his fifth consecutive term.

FIFA’s shady decision to award the World Cup to Russia and Qatar — and a scandal over a coverup of its own internal review — might lead to the organization’s downfall.

Fox News Ignores Duggar Pedophile Scandal

Media Matters is out with a new report, and finds that Fox News has all but ignored the Josh Duggar sexual molestation scandal. Duggar, who in his former role as executive director of Family Research Council Action, was quite welcome on the conservative cable news channel, but when the "19 Kids and Counting" oldest son is the focus of news, Fox fails to inform their viewers.
Between May 21 and May 25 Fox News reported on the scandal for all of one minute and twenty seconds. By contrast, CNN reported on the story for one hour, four minutes, and MSNBC, for nearly 58 minutes.
"Representatives of FRC, an anti-gay hate group that routinely links homosexuality to pedophilia and describes LGBT people as a threat to children, are a regular fixture on Fox News," Media Matters' Carlos Maza adds. "Fox News' media critic Howard Kurtz even criticized other media outlets for 'piling on' by highlighting the Duggar family's ties to prominent Republican politicians."

The Political Nature Of Fox News

Image result for karl rove on fox news

It's Not "Entertainment," It's The Engine Driving The GOP Agenda- Media Matters

Posted on MediaMatters.org 
Fox News has been on the air nearly two decades and some Beltway journalists are still denying the transparent truth about the cable channel and its intricate political machinations. Even some longtime conservatives, such as historian and former Reagan aide Bruce Bartlett, now concede Fox News is "brainwashing" the conservative electorate, and that the GOP is being harmed by the network.
Responding to Bartlett at Politico, senior media writer Jack Shafer insists, "Fox in its current incarnation is neither a help nor a hindrance" to the Republican Party. Shafer argues the network, "a news-entertainment hybrid," doesn't really have much impact on the GOP and has not moved the party to the far right. "The Fox tail does not wag the Republican dog," Shafer concludes. Instead, Fox News is just trying to make a buck. Yes, it ventures into partisan politics with "combative programming," according to Shafer. But people like Bartlett who claim the channel's changed or damaged the Republican Party are overstating their case.
The truth is, as Media Matters has documented for years, the over-the-top programming on Fox News, anchored by baseless claims and wild attacks, routinely mirrors Republicans' legislative agenda. The focused misinformation trademarked by Fox News doesn't exist in a vacuum; it's not merely "entertainment" concocted to sell advertising. (Although it does that quite well.)
The programming on Fox News is designed to shape and change American politics, plain and simple. It's designed to do damage to Democrats and Democratic initiatives. It's built to be the marketing arm for the Republican Party, as it hurdles further and further towards the radical right. And quite often, Fox News is successful.
There's a reason that Fox contributor Newt Gingrich once told conservative activists that Fox News helped make Republican Scott Brown's senate "insurgency possible" in 2010. And there's a reason Fox News drafted the theme of the 2012 Republican convention, "You Didn't Build That."
I'm not sure tails can wag much harder than that.
To bolster his argument, Shafer invokes Roger Ailes' failed efforts at political kingmaking and the network's audience size compared the general voting population, but he downplays the larger role that Fox News plays in influencing the Republican Party.
To claim Fox News simply toils in the fields of  "entertainment" (or even "news-entertainment") is to deny the seamless and unprecedented relationship between Rupert Murdoch's cable channel and the Republican Party. It's a link many in the D.C. press have spent years trying to play down, since the open association crosses all previous known boundaries of journalism.
Fox News itself hasn't been shy about advertising its historic role, so why do journalists look away? In 2009, when asked how his channel would adjust to having a new Democratic president after having spent the previous eight years cheering President George Bush, Fox News VP Bill Shine suggested that Fox would adjust by serving as  "the voice of the opposition."
In 2015, the Fox effect has continued to advertise itself. Just ask Indiana Gov. Mike Pence who ignited a national controversy after he signed his state's "Religious Freedom Restoration Act" (RFRA) into law. The law -- which was widely criticized by religious leaderslegal scholars, and even the Republican mayor of Indianapolis -- provided a legal defense for individuals and business owners who cited their religious beliefs while discriminating against LGBT people.
Under intense political pressure, Pence backtracked. But long before Gov. Pence signed Indiana's RFRA into law, Fox News laid the groundwork for Republican politicians to take action by routinely championing bogus claims of religious persecution to justify the passage of sweeping "religious freedom" laws.
As Media Matters noted:
In early 2014, those horror stories were the primary argument used to justify Arizona's SB 1062, a similar "religious freedom" bill that would have allowed business owners to turn away gay customers on religious grounds. That legislation, which similarly garnered national condemnation, was eventually vetoed by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R), who described the bill as a solution in search of a problem.
In other words, you see it on Fox News now, you read it in Republican-sponsored legislation later. In that regard, think of Fox News as a Rupert Murdoch-funded GOP think tank, but with television hosts.
Meanwhile, just this month, the House Committee on Agriculture held a hearing addressing the government's food stamp Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which helps the poor. During the hearing, Fox News' misleading 2013 specialThe Great Food Stamp Binge, was referenced several times by Republican members of Congress as evidence of abuses within the SNAP program.
It's no surprise that Fox's nasty attack work on SNAP served as a talking point. After The Great Food Stamp Binge aired, the network delivered copies of the show to members of Congress in an apparent attempt to influence a vote to cut SNAP benefits by $40 billion. Indeed, Fox News has spent years demeaning food assistance programs and their recipients
In April, Media Matters highlighted how Fox News' long-running campaign to stigmatize those recipients may have been a key influence in Republican legislators in both Missouri and Kansas moving to pass welfare-shaming laws to curtail what recipients could purchase with their aid.
That's not how "news-entertainment" works. Not when programming talking points are regularly turned into legislation.
Fox News' influence also extends behind the scenes. In 2010, the New Yorker reported that Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham told fellow senators negotiating a climate change bill that "they needed to get as far as they could in negotiating the bill 'before Fox News got wind of the fact that this was a serious process'" and derailed the negotiations by targeting the bill's supporters. 
As for Shafer's claim that Fox News "is neither a help nor a hindrance" to the Republican Party, he might want to ask Mitt Romney about that. Because what were arguably Romney's two biggest public missteps of the 2012 campaign? The first came when Romney was surreptitiously recorded while addressing wealthy donors criticizing the "47 percent" of Americans who allegedly "pay no income tax" and are "dependent upon the government."
Where did Romney likely pick up the divisive idea that 47 percent of Americans "believe that they are victims" and mooch off the federal government? He certainly could have gotten it from Fox News, which championed the claim and touted it endlessly, including herehere, and here. In terms of the larger, "makers vs. takers" talking point which Romney echoed in his tape recorded comments, Fox News had pushed that malevolent theme herehereherehere, and here.
Romney then followed-up his "47 percent" misstep with another high-profile blunder at the second presidential debate when, pressing the issue of the Benghazi terror attack and echoing bogus Fox News claims, the candidate claimed Obama had refused to immediately call the deadly raid an act of "terror."
Those two stumbles clearly represent examples of how Fox News directly influenced the Republican Party (how the tail wagged the dog) and how the Republican Party likely paid a very steep price for it. That's at the center of Bartlett's claim about party members being "brainwashed."
And he's right.

Is Fox News Bad For The GOP


Transcript via Reliable Sources:
STELTER: Let me read one line that I thought stood out to me and a lot of other people.
You said: “It can almost be called self-brainwashing. Many conservatives now refuse to even listen to any news or opinion not vetted through FOX and to believe whatever appears on it as the gospel truth.”
BARTLETT: I don’t think that word is too strong.
I think many conservatives live in a bubble, where they watch only FOX News on television, they listen only to conservative talk radio, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, many of the same people. They — when they go on to the Internet, they look at only conservative Web sites, like “National Review,” Newsmax, World Net Daily.
And so they are completely in a universe in which they are hearing the same exact ideas, the same arguments, the same limited amount of data repeated over and over and over again. And that’s — that’s brainwashing.
STELTER: And do you believe that’s more true for conservatives than for liberals?
BARTLETT: Yes, I do. I believe that, but…
STELTER: What causes that?

BARTLETT: Well, I think, for a long time, the media was — did tilt a bit to the left. And so I think that conservatives, once they got a media of their own, just sort of glommed onto it like a man in the desert, you know, being given some water. They drank very heavily from the FOX waters.
is, it’s a double-edged sword. There’s no question that FOX helps the Republican Party enormously, but it’s not 100 percent positive. There are some negatives. And I think we’re starting to see some of them in this election cycle.
STELTER: You’re bringing up what — basically, you’re describing negative consequences of having a channel that does reinforce viewers’ beliefs.
BARTLETT: That’s right.
One of the things, I cite a study in my paper where I talk about how FOX viewers in the 2012 election cycle tended to have more wishful thinking, so to speak. That is, they were more confident, unrealistically confident, I think, based on objective analysis of the polls. And you may remember, there was this Web site, what was it, Unskewed Polls. Remember that?
STELTER: Right. Right.
BARTLETT: Where some — it was just widely, widely believed in Republican circles that all of the polls were biased against Romney, and that he was actually doing really, really well, much better, and was going to win pretty easily.
And, as we know, Karl Rove, among others, was shocked on election night, when he didn’t do as well as expected.

It is rare to see any of the cable networks call out the Republican media bubble. Most of the press is so worried about being left out and not getting access to Republicans that they treat Republican falsehoods as facts and don’t bother to examine a media culture that has created millions of brainwashed voters.
Republicans are living in a media bubble that allows them to create a false reality. In the conservative media bubble, facts are bent to fit their ideology. Anything that isn’t sunshine and rainbows for the Republican Party is immediately discredited as “liberal bias.”
The conservative media bubble plays a role in the hyper-partisan nature of Congress. While most networks are afraid to do it, CNN gave a platform to a discussion of how Fox News is harming the Republican Party.

Ireland’s gay citizens woke up Sunday in what felt like a nation reborn

Yes supporters celebrate at Dublin castle, Ireland, Saturday, May 23, 2015, after Ireland became the world's first country to legalize same-sex marriage by a popular vote of its citizens.
Yes supporters celebrate at Dublin castle, Ireland, Saturday, May 23, 2015, after Ireland became the world’s first country to legalize same-sex marriage by a popular vote of its citizens.


 Ireland’s gay citizens woke up Sunday in what felt like a nation reborn – some with dreams of wedding plans dancing in their heads.
Many weren’t rising too early. The Irish gay community’s biggest party in history came late Saturday, after the announcement that the nation’s voters had passed a same-sex marriage referendum by a landslide.
Ireland’s unexpectedly strong 62 percent “yes” to adding same-sex marriage to its conservative 1937 constitution is expected to lead to a wave of gay weddings this summer. The Justice Department confirmed Sunday it plans to publish a marriage bill this week that will be passed by both houses of parliament and signed into law by June.
With the move, Ireland became the first country in the world to approve same-sex marriage in a popular national vote. Nineteen other countries, including most U.S. states, have legalized the practice through their legislatures and courts.
For Ireland’s most prominent gay couple, Sen. Katherine Zappone and Ann Louise Gilligan, it’s an emotionally overwhelming moment. Since 2003 they have fought Ireland legally to have their marriage in Canada recognized as valid here, have taken their case all the way to the Supreme Court. Now, their day has come.
“For so long, I’ve been having to dig in my heels and say: Well, we ARE married. I’m a married woman!” said Zappone, a Seattle native who resettled with her Irish spouse in Dublin after they met and fell in love while studying theology in Boston College. “Now that it has happened, at a personal level, it’s just going to take a long time to let that acceptance sink in.”
The unexpectedly strong percentage of approval surprised both sides. More than 1.2 million Irish voters backed the “yes” side to less than 750,000 voting “no.”
“With today’s vote, we have disclosed who we are: a generous, compassionate, bold and joyful people,” Prime Minister Enda Kenny proclaimed.
Analysts credited the “yes” side with adeptly employing social media to mobilize young, first-time voters, tens of thousands of whom voted for the first time Friday. The “yes” campaign also featured moving personal stories from prominent Irish people – either coming out as gays or describing their hopes for gay children – that helped convince wavering voters to back equal marriage rights.
Both Catholic Church leaders and gay rights advocates said the result signaled a social revolution in Ireland, where only a few decades ago the authority of Catholic teaching was reinforced by voters who massively backed bans on abortion and divorce in the 1980s.
Voters legalized divorce only by a razor-thin margin in 1995 but now, by a firm majority, dismissed the Catholic Church’s repeated calls to reject gay marriage. Abortion, still outlawed, looms as the country’s next great social policy fight.
Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said the “overwhelming vote” against church teaching on gay marriage meant that Catholic leaders in Ireland needed urgently to find a new message and voice for reaching Ireland’s young.
“It’s a social revolution. … The church needs to do a reality check right across the board,” said Martin, who suggested that some church figures who argued for gay marriage’s rejection came across as harsh, damning and unloving.
“Have we drifted completely away from young people?” he asked. “Most of those people who voted ‘yes’ are products of our Catholic schools for 12 years.”
After the result was announced Saturday, thousands of celebrants flooded into the Irish capital’s pubs and clubs. At the George, Ireland’s oldest gay pub, drag queens danced and lip-synced to Queen and the founding father of Ireland’s gay rights campaign, Sen. David Norris, basked in the greatest accomplishment of the movement’s 40-year history.
“The people in this small island off the western coast of Europe have said to the rest of the world: This is what it is to be decent, to be civilized, and to be tolerant! And let the rest of the world catch up!” Norris, 70, shouted with jubilant zeal to the hundreds packing the disco ball-lit hall.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Norris waged an often lonely two-decade legal fight to force Ireland to quash its Victorian-era laws outlawing homosexual acts. Ireland finally complied in 1993, becoming the last European Union country to do so.
This time, the gay community in Ireland managed to build a decisive base of support.

“People from the LGBT community in Ireland are a minority. But with our parents, our families, or friends and co-workers and colleagues, we’re a majority,” said Leo Varadkar, a 36-year-old Irish Cabinet minister who in January announced on national radio that he was gay. “For me it wasn’t just a referendum. It was more like a social revolution.”

How The Corporate Media Sold Us On The Iraq war Lies

The Iraq War was a complete disaster and, no matter how much the Republicans try to downplay how terrible of an idea the invasion was, nothing will change that.
The GOP, however, wasn’t alone in selling America on a war it should never have been in. Corporate media was in on it as well.
Rolling Stone‘s Matt Taibbi recently sat down with Democracy Now! to discuss just how big of a part the media played in the Iraq mess, and what part they’re playing today.
Read Forget What We Know Now: We Knew Then the Iraq War Was a Joke: By Matt Taibbi

Lies of top Bush administration officials leading up to the Iraq war

Iraq War Card, Searchable database of false statements
Iraq: The War Card (Photo: Center for Public Integrity)
As part of its investigation into the false statements made by top Bush administration officials leading up to the Iraq war, the Center for Public Integrity in 2008 released an interactive database where you can search who said what, when.

The Center examined every public pronouncement by President Bush and seven top officials on the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and on the links between Iraq and Al Qaeda. They concluded that eight individuals — President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and White House Press Secretaries Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan — made 935 false statements from September 11, 2001 to September 11, 2003.
Who had the biggest problem with the truth? That honor goes to President Bush, who made 232 false statements about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 28 false statements about Iraq’s connections with Al Qaeda. The runner-up, Colin Powell, made 244 false statements about weapons of mass destruction and 10 about Al Qaeda links.
Search the interactive 935 Iraq War false statements database by clicking on an individual’s photo to see a timeline, as well as the statements in full.

Watch this 2008 Interview about the 935 LIES

Justice Clarence Thomas: States may establish an official state religion

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas argues states may establish an official state religion, and sees no problem with an individual state making Christianity the official state religion.
Thomas believes the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause does not apply to the states. The Establishment Clause is that part of the First Amendment that says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”
The Establishment Clause not only forbids the government from establishing an official religion, but also prohibits government actions that unduly favor one religion over another, or none.
While Thomas believes that the Establishment Clause “probably” prohibits the federal government from establishing an official, national religion, he sees no problem with individual state establishing an official state religion.
In the recent, disastrous Supreme Court ruling that found Christian prayers used to open government meetings to be constitutional, Thomas went further than his other conservative colleagues in condoning sectarian prayers at government functions. In his dissenting opinion Thomas disputes the widely accepted notion that the First Amendment’s ban on the “establishment” of religion even applies to state and local governments.
MSNBC summarizes Thomas’ official opinion:
“If policymakers in your state chose today to establish Christianity as the official state religion, Clarence Thomas believes that would be entirely permissible under the First Amendment.”
It is a position Thomas has staked out before. In 2011 Thomas made a similar argument. Rob Boston, writing for Americans United, summarized Thomas’ position:
“Perhaps most shockingly, Thomas once again states his view that the First Amendment’s religious liberty provisions apply only to the federal government. In his view, the 50 states are free to “establish” any religion they want. In Thomas’ world, the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution was apparently never ratified.”
Thomas’ constitutional views are extreme, dangerous, and out of touch. Even more worrisome, there are plenty of Christian conservatives who will embrace Thomas’ perverted reading of the U.S. Constitution as they pursue their twisted vision of a Christian theocracy for the U.S.A.
- See more at: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/progressivesecularhumanist/2014/05/constitutional-horror-clarence-thomas-argues-states-can-establish-official-religion/#sthash.xcO9AMc7.dpuf