LGBTI News and Politics

Archive for the ‘Editorial/Opinion/Letters’ Category

Bernie Sanders and the Crisis of Affordable College Education

Senator Bernie Sanders. (photo: Getty)
Senator Bernie Sanders. (photo: Getty)


Michael Sainato | Observer | Reader Supported News | August 1, 2015


College students are swimming in red ink and it’s hurting America


n May 19, 2015, Bernie Sanders introduced a bill to make all 4-year public college tuition free. Under the proposed legislation, the $70 billion a year awarded in assistance in the form of federal student loans and grants would be paid for through taxes on Wall Street transactions.

But, that’s not all. The bill would also simplify the student financial aid process, expand federal work-study programs, and reduce and cap interest rates on student loans.

The bill comes at a time of soaring college tuition rates as federal assistance is consistently declining.

Senator Sanders has announced his stance on this issue in numerous media appearances. This is a glimmer of hope to those with college degrees in wallowing job markets and burdening student debts, which is over $1 Trillion and counting, in America, while the Congressional Budget Office predicts that the student loans the government will make over the next decade will ultimately yield $135 billion over the term of those loans as graduates pay back their debt with interest.

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I’m Sick and Tired of This

Senator Elizabeth Warren. (photo:
Senator Elizabeth Warren. (photo:


Elizabeth Warren |, Reader Supported News | August 1, 2015


The Republicans have a plan. Just look at the facts:

    • In 2013, Republicans threatened to shut down the government unless they could change the law to let employers deny women access to birth control.


    • In 2015, Republicans held hostage an easy-to-pass bipartisan bill to stop human trafficking, demanding an unprecedented expansion of anti-abortion restrictions to cover new funds for providing assistance to trafficking victims.


    • Republicans have voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act dozens of times, including the portions that require insurers to cover contraception – and stop them from charging women more.


  • In state legislatures, Republicans have passed nearly 300 new restrictions on abortion access in the past five years – more than 50 this year alone.

So let’s be really clear about something: The Republicans’ scheme to defund Planned Parenthood isn’t some sort of surprised response to highly edited videos.

Let’s call out the Republican vote to defund Planned Parenthood on Monday for exactly what it is: Another piece of a deliberate, methodical, orchestrated right-wing attack on women’s rights. And I’m sick and tired of it.

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Where is my black body safe in America?

Rev. Irene Monroe | San Diego Gay & Lesbian News | July 31, 2015

Like so many African American women, myself included, Sandra Bland’s death, resulting from police brutality is not new news. The national attention it’s receiving is, however.

The reality of unarmed African American women being beaten, profiled, sexually violated and murdered by law enforcement officials with alarming regularity is too often ignored – especially with the focus of police brutality on African-American males.

And when gender identity and sexual orientation come into play, the treatment by police can be harsher.

For example, my spouse, who would drive her new BMW (a vehicle cops believe is stolen if a black male is behind the wheel) to and from work, was stopped suspiciously too often for the classic case of “driving while black.” And when the Cambridge cops realized she’s a woman, and a lesbian one at that, their unbridled homophobia surfaced.

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Bernie Sanders Launches “Political Revolution” With 100K Virtual House Partiers

Sen. Bernie Sanders. (photo: Getty)
Sen. Bernie Sanders. (photo: Getty)


Juan Cole | Informed Comment | Reader Supported News | July 30, 2015

ernie Sanders spoke from a house party in Washington, D.C., to supporters gathering in 3500 homes and other locations around the country in groups ranging from 7-8 to 80 or 90. He said it was a “historical night” and unprecedented to have these coordinated gatherings with an on-line streamed address so early in a campaign (in fact, it seems to me a little science-fictional– has this ever been done before?)

Sanders blasted the rich for getting richer while the US has more children living in poverty than any other OECD country, blasted corporations for evading taxes, insisted that it is “wrong that people are working 40 and 50 hours a week and still living in poverty.” He slammed 35% unemployment and underemployment rates among workers with a high school education or less. He criticized unaffordable tuition and unbearable student debt.

He blasted the treatment of African-Americans and “institutional racism,” instancing the Sandra Bland case.

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Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood | These Extremist Videos Are Nothing Short of an Attack on Women

Supporters of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri Tuesday in Columbia, Mo, on Tuesday. (photo: Don Shrubshell/AP)
Supporters of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri Tuesday in Columbia, Mo, on Tuesday. (photo: Don Shrubshell/AP)


Cecile Richards | The Washington Post | Reader Supported News | July 30, 2015

lanned Parenthood has been a trusted nonprofit provider of women’s health care for nearly a century. Each year, 2.7 million people come to our health centers for high-quality, nonjudgmental, compassionate care.

Since our very beginning, our health centers, providers and patients have come under outrageous attacks, political and otherwise. These attacks are not about us. They are about the ability of women across the country to access health care. Period.

The most recent attacks in this decades-long campaign represent a new low.

These extremists created a fake business, made apparently misleading corporate filings and then used false government identifications to gain access to Planned Parenthood’s medical and research staff with the agenda of secretly filming without consent — then heavily edited the footage to make false and absurd assertions about our standards and services. They spent three years doing everything they could — not to uncover wrongdoing, but rather to create it. They failed.

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It’s Not Climate Change – It’s Everything Change

Fire near suburban homes. (photo: David McNew/Getty Images)
Fire near suburban homes. (photo: David McNew/Getty Images)


Margaret Atwood | Medium | Reader Supported News | July 30, 2015


Oil! Our secret god, our secret sharer, our magic wand, fulfiller of our every desire, our co-conspirator, the sine qua non in all we do! Can’t live with it, can’t — right at this moment — live without it. But it’s on everyone’s mind.

Back in 2009, as fracking and the mining of the oil/tar sands in Alberta ramped up — when people were talking about Peak Oil and the dangers of the supply giving out — I wrote a piece for the German newspaper Die Zeit. In English it was called “The Future Without Oil.” It went like this:


he future without oil! For optimists, a pleasant picture: let’s call it Picture One. Shall we imagine it?

There we are, driving around in our cars fueled by hydrogen, or methane, or solar, or something else we have yet to dream up. Goods from afar come to us by solar-and-sail-driven ship — the sails computerized to catch every whiff of air — or else by new versions of the airship, which can lift and carry a huge amount of freight with minimal pollution and no ear-slitting noise. Trains have made a comeback. So have bicycles, when it isn’t snowing; but maybe there won’t be any more winter.

Due to improved insulation and indoor-climate-enhancing practices, including heatproof blinds and awnings, air-conditioning systems are obsolete, so they no longer suck up huge amounts of power every summer. As for power, in addition to hydro, solar, geothermal, wave, and wind generation, and emissions-free coal plants, we’re using almost foolproof nuclear power. Even when there are accidents it isn’t all bad news, because instant wildlife refuges are created as Nature invades those high-radiation zones where Man now fears to tread. There’s said to be some remarkable wildlife and botany in the area surrounding Chernobyl.

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Dylann Roof Is Not a “Terrorist” – But Animal Rights Activists Who Free Minks From Slaughter Are

Joseph Buddenberg. (photo: Facebook)
Joseph Buddenberg. (photo: Facebook)


Glenn Greenwald | The Intercept | Reader Supported News | July 29, 2015

he FBI on Friday announced the arrests in Oakland of two animal rights activists, Joseph Buddenberg and Nicole Kissane, and accused the pair of engaging in “domestic terrorism.” This comes less than a month after the FBI director said he does not consider Charleston Church murderer Dylann Roof a “terrorist.” The activists’ alleged crimes: “They released thousands of minks from farms around the country and vandalized various properties.” That’s it. Now they’re being prosecuted and explicitly vilified as “terrorists,” facing 10-year prison terms.

Buddenberg and Kissane are scheduled to appear this morning in a federal court in San Francisco for a hearing on bail conditions, while arraignment is set for early September. The indictment comes just days before the scheduled start of the Animal Rights National Conference, the largest and most important annual gathering of activists. The DOJ did exactly the same thing in July of last year: Shortly before the start of the 2014 conference, they arrested two activists on federal “terrorism” charges for freeing minks and foxes from a fur farm. The multiple activists and lawyers who spoke to The Intercept since Friday’s arrests are adamant that these well-timed indictments are designed to intimidate activists at the conference and more broadly to chill campaigns to defend animal rights.

This latest federal prosecution, and the public branding of these two activists as “domestic terrorists,” highlights the strikingly severe targeting over many years by the U.S. government of nonviolent animal and environmental rights activists. The more one delves into what is being done here — the extreme abuse of the criminal law to stifle nonviolent political protest or even just pure political speech, undertaken with tragically little attention — the more appalling it becomes. There are numerous cases of animal rights activists, several of whom spoke to The Intercept, who weren’t even accused of harming people or property, but who were nonetheless sent to federal prison for years.

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