Tag Archives: United States

IT'S BACK:  New COVID-19 Subvariant XBB Is Part of a ‘New Class’ of Omicron

United States Sets New Record Reports 82,600 New COVID Cases In 24 Hours

Via The Washington Post

America on Friday hit its highest daily number of coronavirus case since the pandemic began, recording at least 82,600 new infections. The rising numbers put the nation on the precipice of what could be its worst stretch to date with some hospitals in the West and Midwest already overwhelmed and deaths counts beginning to rise.

The current surge is considerably more widespread than the waves from last summer and spring. The unprecedented geographic spread of the current surge makes it more dangerous, with experts warning it could lead to dire shortages of medical staff and supplies.

Already, hospitals are reporting shortfalls of basic drugs needed to treat covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The high case numbers of recent days have stoked concerns because the country has not even hit the stretch of holidays and cold weather, which experts have long warned will send cases soaring even higher.

Despite what Donald Trump the Super Spreader In Chief says There is NO cure. There will be NO vaccine available soon. We ARE NOT rounding the corner and the Coronavirus WILL NOT magically disappear.

Almost 250,000, a quarter of a million Americans have died in the last 8 months, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE wear a mask, wash your hands, and practice social distancing. Your life, and the lives of others DOES depend on it.

The United States FINALLY Publicly Condemns Chechnya's Deadly Gay Purge And It Only Took 3 Years

The United States FINALLY Publicly Condemns Chechnya’s Deadly Gay Purge And It Only Took 3 Years

It may have taken over 3 years but the United States Government has FINALLY publicly condemned Chechnya leader Ramzan Kadyrov for the horrific human rights abuses against gay/bi men and lesbians that have left many jailed, tortured, and murdered.

Today, the Department of State is publicly designating Ramzan Kadyrov, head of the Chechen Republic of the Russian Federation, under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2020.  This designation is due to Kadyrov’s involvement in gross violations of human rights in the Chechen Republic.  The Department has extensive credible information that Kadyrov is responsible for numerous gross violations of human rights dating back more than a decade, including torture and extrajudicial killings….

Today’s action serves to notify Mr. Kadyrov that his involvement in gross violations of human rights has consequences, both for him and his family, and that the United States is committed to using all the tools at our disposal to ensure accountability for those who engage in this abhorrent behavior

In 2018 the United States Congress did pass a bipartisan resolution condemning the anti-gay persecution and violence in Chechnya but the Trump administration has remained silent on the human rights violations and while countries like Canada and the Netherlands have granted asylum to the persecuted LGBT refugees, the United States has not.

16 States Petition US Supreme Court For Companies To Be Able To Fire Workers LGBT Workers

16 States Petition US Supreme Court For Companies To Be Able To Fire LGBT Workers

Via Bloomberg Law

A group of 16 states urged the U.S. Supreme Court Aug. 23 to rule that companies can fire workers based on their sexual orientation and gender identity without violating federal workplace discrimination law.

The states, led by Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson, asked the justices to overturn an appeals court decision against a Michigan funeral home that fired a transgender worker. They said Congress didn’t intend the ban on sex discrimination in Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to cover bias against lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender employees. “The States’ purpose is to note that ‘sex’ under the plain terms of Title VII does not mean anything other than biological status,” Peterson wrote.

The friend-of-the-court brief is the latest development in a legal debate that has divided courts and exposed a rift within the Trump administration. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says LGBT bias already is banned, but the Justice Department disagrees.

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin joined the group to support states’ rights to determine employment protections.

“The state’s authority to create employment protections outside Title VII was established when the law was enacted in 1964 and should not change as a result of modern-day judicial activism,” Kuhn said. “Since Attorney General (Andy) Beshear will not defend the well-settled law supported by most Kentuckians, Gov. Bevin was compelled to join attorneys general from other states to ensure that Kentucky’s authority is not stripped away by the courts.”

The brief was co-authored by Nebraska Deputy Attorney General David Bydalek, formerly policy director of the Nebraska affiliate of the anti-gay hate group Focus On The Family.

United States Votes ‘No’ on UN Resolution Condemning Death Penalty for Homosexuality


The United States was one of just 13 countries to vote against a United Nations resolution condemning the death penalty for having gay sex. 

Although the vote passed, America joined countries such as China, Iraq and Saudi Arabia in opposing the move.

The US also supported two failed amendments put forward by Russia, which stated the death penalty was not necessarily “a human rights violation” and that it is not a form of torture, but can lead to it “in some cases”. And it abstained on a “sovereignty amendment” put forward by Saudi Arabia, that stated “the right of all countries to develop their own laws and penalties”.

Despite the opposition, the vote in Geneva passed with 27 of the 47-member Human Rights Council in favor. 

There are currently six countries where the death penalty is used for people in same-sex relationships: Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen, Nigeria and Somalia. This number rises to eight if the Isis-occupied territories of Iraq and Syria are included. 

U.S. State Department Denies Visas For Chechen Gay Men Facing Torture and Concentration Camps

The United States has declined visas to gay Chechens fleeing a wave of kidnappings, torture, and disappearances in the semi-autonomous Russian region, according to the organization Russia LGBT Network.

A group of around 40 Chechens are now in hiding in other parts of Russia, Russia LGBT Network spokesperson Svetlana Zakharova told BuzzFeed News, and are having difficulty securing visas that would allow them to flee the country.

Since the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta first reported the abuse of dozens of gay Chechens in April, just two have managed to secure visas to safe countries despite the European Union and the United States expressing concern about the allegations, Zakharova said. A handful of gay Chechens have fled without visas because they believed the danger of staying in Russia was too great.

A US State Department spokesperson said in a statement provided on background that the department could not comment on the visa denials because, “As visa records are confidential under U.S. law, we are unable to discuss individual cases.”

Left with no way to get out, the gay men seeking visas continue to fear for their lives in Russia. The strongman who rules Chechnya with near impunity, Ramzan Kadyrov, is accused of having his critics hunted down both in other parts of Russia and outside Russia’s borders.  – Buzzfeed

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled straight rich Russian and Chinese investors yearning to breathe free.

Elections have consequences.

John Kerry Apologizes On Behalf Of The State Department For Past LGBT Discrimination

Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement on Monday apologizing for past discrimination against members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community at the State Department.

On behalf of the Department, I apologize to those who were impacted by the practices of the past and reaffirm the Department’s steadfast commitment to diversity and inclusion for all our employees, including members of the LGBT community,” the statement reads.

Kerry said that he has stood “strongly in support” of the LGBT community throughout his term in office, though he recognized that has not always been the case.

In the past – as far back as the 1940s, but continuing for decades – the Department of State was among many public and private employers that discriminated against employees and job applicants on the basis of perceived sexual orientation, forcing some employees to resign or refusing to hire certain applicants in the first place,” the statement reads. “These actions were wrong then, just as they would be wrong today

Kerry’s statement came just weeks after Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland sent a letter to Secretary Kerry asking for a formal apology for hundreds of firings that occurred during the so-called lavender scare, a Cold War effort to rid the State Department of gays and lesbians.

In a Nov. 29 letter, Cardin wrote: “There is little we can do to undo the hurts and wrongs of the past. But we can take steps to assure that the lessons of these episodes are learned and remembered, and in so doing make a contribution to assuring that such injustice will never transpire again.”

EXCLUSIVE – U.S. Embassy to Hold “LGBT Pride Month” Reception for U.S. and Japanese Business Leaders

U.S. Ambassador to Hold  “Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month” Reception for U.S. and Japanese Business Leaders 
by Tokyo Guest Poster Jason Kendy

It was approximately a year ago when Hillary Clinton issued a State Department directive to overseas U.S. embassies: find ways to reach out to local populations regarding LGBT issues. It was part of a plan  to do with raising of awareness of LGBT issues worldwide and the importance of foreign countries embracing thier LGBT communities and to  demonstrate U.S. support overall on LGBT Equality.

I was skeptical to say the least.

Until yesterday that is, when I received by snail mail a personal (embossed no less!) invitation from U.S. Ambassador John Roos to visit his residence for a reception honoring LGBT Pride Month. Huh, wha? Is this the United States we’re talking about?

Seems ‘ol Hillary has been cracking the whip, making sure a directive doesn’t remain simply that and instead results in actual steps. The embassy did its homework as well— casting far and wide for the guest list. Word is they have invited not only U.S. business leaders here in Tokyo, but also executives from Japanese companies with sexual orientation non-discrimination policies (Nomura is a biggie that comes to mind) as well as companies making an actual gay marketing push (Softbank, Google Japan, Alfa Romeo Japan, some domestic beverage makers).

I contacted the embassy to suggest they include a recently elected openly gay assemblyman here, as well as some of the more effective political activists in the Japanese community.

As a 25-year resident of Japan, I can only hope the reactionary Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara hears about all this! The old coot is an unspeakable bigot from way back who never ceases to anger foreign and domestic communities alike with his intolerant views.

It says a lot to people like Ishihara, to the prime minister, and to Japan’s business community that the nation’s closest ally by far is opening up its ambassador’s residence specifically for this event.

Well done, Madame Secretary and Mr. President.

**Jason Kendy, a gay U.S. citizen, leads corporate communications at a major European financial institution in Tokyo. He left the U.S. for Tokyo just after college during the Reagan years and soon realized he had no intention of returning to the anti-gay environment of his birthplace. He would love to see the U.S. amend its immigration laws to recognize the validity of his 12-year relationship with his Japanese partner—but certainly is not holding his breath. You can follow Jason’s personal musings at @jkentokyo on Twitter.