Democrats Abroad

02/27/2015

Democrats_AbroadDemocrats Abroad pledge

Democrats Abroad was established on Mar 1, 1964.  Democrats Abroad is the official Democratic Party arm for the millions of Americans living outside the United States. They work to advance the principles of our Party by spreading the Democratic message to US voters in other countries and encouraging them to vote for Democratic candidates back home.

Democrats Abroad has committees throughout Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. These Country Committees keep Americans abroad informed of their rights and help them participate in the U.S. political process. A support office is maintained in Washington, D.C.

American Democrats living outside of the United States may participate but must first join Democrats Abroad. The online membership form is located on the web site https://www.democratsabroad.org/user/register. Members will receive information on how they may participate in the Democrats Abroad Global Primary.

Democrats Abroad is recognized as a “state” Party by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and is represented on the DNC by eight voting members, as well as at the quadrennial Democratic National Convention.

For more: https://www.democratsabroad.org/

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Facebook: DemsAbroad

Twitter: DemsAbroad

Vote Every Election

“in the last election — and I want to speak particularly the young people here — in the last election, a little over one-third of eligible voters voted. One-third!

Two-thirds of the people who have the right to vote — because of the struggles of previous generations, had the right to vote — stayed home. I’m willing to bet that there are young people who have family members who are at risk of the existing immigration system who still didn’t vote.

MR. DIAZ-BALART: Mixed-status families. There are millions of them.

THE PRESIDENT: Who still did not vote. And so my question, I think, to everybody — not just to the immigrant community, but the country as a whole — why are you staying at home? (Applause.) Why are you not participating? There are war-torn countries, people full of poverty, who still voted, 60, 70 percent. If here in the United States of America, we voted at 60 percent, 70 percent, it would transform our politics. Our Congress would be completely different. We would have already passed comprehensive immigration reform. (Applause.) It would have already been done.

So I, as President, have the responsibility to set out a vision in terms of where we need to go. I have the responsibility to execute the laws faithfully, and that includes making sure that what’s within my power I am doing everything I can to make the immigration system smarter. But everybody here and everybody watching also has responsibilities. And one of those responsibilities is voting for people who advocate on behalf of the things that you care about.

And staying home is not an option. And being cynical is not an option. And just waiting for somebody else — whether it’s the President, or Congress, or somebody — José — to get it done, that’s not enough.”

2/25/15 President Obama speaking at Telemundo/MSNBC Immigration Town Hall
Florida International University, Miami, Florida

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VOTE SMART & VOTE DEMOCRAT

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Net Neutrality

02/25/2015

FCC to vote to regulate net neutrality Thursday: What it means

2/25/15 By Caitlin Dickson – Yahoo News

The Federal Communications Commission is set to vote Thursday on a new set of rules for Internet service providers. And while Democratic Chairman Tom Wheeler’s proposal to regulate the Internet like water, electricity and other public utilities is slated for approval, the months (years, actually) of fighting over net neutrality, both within the FCC and on Capitol Hill, won’t likely end there.

As Thursday’s vote has drawn closer, Wheeler continued to face pressure from within his own party to amend the net neutrality rules. And contrary to a report in The New York Times on Tuesday suggesting that Republican lawmakers once poised to pounce on new FCC rules with counteracting legislation have now accepted defeat, Republican Senator and Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune tweeted that the GOP has far from conceded on the hot topic.

Beyond the response on Capitol Hill, the FCC can almost certainly expect a legal challenge to the new rules from the Internet service providers it seeks to regulate. So for all those who’ve avoided the net neutrality conversation, it’s not too late. In fact, there’s no better time to start paying attention.

Sure, net neutrality isn’t exactly riveting date or dinner party fodder. But while friends and neighbors might not be impressed with your ability to rattle off the arguments for and against federally regulated Internet service, the direct impact that Thursday’s vote — and its inevitable fallout — could have on your life and, more important, your wallet make it worth familiarizing yourself with the issue.

For more: http://news.yahoo.com/the-fcc-will-vote-to-regulate-net-neutrality-thursday—it-s-time-to-understand-what-that-means-214646803.html

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UPDATE: FCC adopts net neutrality rules to ban Internet discrimination

2/26/15 Aaron Pressman – YahooNews

Federal regulators moved forward on Thursday with a net neutrality plan to protect openness on the Internet by treating the online world more like heavily regulated telecommunications markets.

New rules from the Federal Communications Commission adopted on a 3-2 vote will prohibit Internet service providers like Comcast (CMCSA) and Verizon Communications (VZ) from discriminating against any web site or online service. That means sites like Netflix (NFLX) or Google’s (GOOGL) YouTube won’t have to pay extra fees or face sluggish connections with their users. And new sites and services will be able to reach everyone on the Internet on the same terms as the big players.

For more: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/fcc-adopts-net-neutrality-rules-to-ban-internet-discrimination-163703235.html

 

Pres Obama Net Neutrality

November 10, 2014

Statement by the President on Net Neutrality

An open Internet is essential to the American economy, and increasingly to our very way of life. By lowering the cost of launching a new idea, igniting new political movements, and bringing communities closer together, it has been one of the most significant democratizing influences the world has ever known.

“Net neutrality” has been built into the fabric of the Internet since its creation — but it is also a principle that we cannot take for granted. We cannot allow Internet service providers (ISPs) to restrict the best access or to pick winners and losers in the online marketplace for services and ideas. That is why today, I am asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to answer the call of almost 4 million public comments, and implement the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality.

When I was a candidate for this office, I made clear my commitment to a free and open Internet, and my commitment remains as strong as ever. Four years ago, the FCC tried to implement rules that would protect net neutrality with little to no impact on the telecommunications companies that make important investments in our economy. After the rules were challenged, the court reviewing the rules agreed with the FCC that net neutrality was essential for preserving an environment that encourages new investment in the network, new online services and content, and everything else that makes up the Internet as we now know it. Unfortunately, the court ultimately struck down the rules — not because it disagreed with the need to protect net neutrality, but because it believed the FCC had taken the wrong legal approach.

The FCC is an independent agency, and ultimately this decision is theirs alone. I believe the FCC should create a new set of rules protecting net neutrality and ensuring that neither the cable company nor the phone company will be able to act as a gatekeeper, restricting what you can do or see online. The rules I am asking for are simple, common-sense steps that reflect the Internet you and I use every day, and that some ISPs already observe. These bright-line rules include:

No blocking. If a consumer requests access to a website or service, and the content is legal, your ISP should not be permitted to block it. That way, every player — not just those commercially affiliated with an ISP — gets a fair shot at your business.

No throttling. Nor should ISPs be able to intentionally slow down some content or speed up others — through a process often called “throttling” — based on the type of service or your ISP’s preferences.

Increased transparency. The connection between consumers and ISPs — the so-called “last mile” — is not the only place some sites might get special treatment. So, I am also asking the FCC to make full use of the transparency authorities the court recently upheld, and if necessary to apply net neutrality rules to points of interconnection between the ISP and the rest of the Internet.

No paid prioritization. Simply put: No service should be stuck in a “slow lane” because it does not pay a fee. That kind of gatekeeping would undermine the level playing field essential to the Internet’s growth. So, as I have before, I am asking for an explicit ban on paid prioritization and any other restriction that has a similar effect.

For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/11/10/statement-president-net-neutrality

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May 15, 2014

Statement by the Press Secretary on Net Neutrality

The President has made clear since he was a candidate that he strongly supports net neutrality and an open Internet. As he has said, the Internet’s incredible equality – of data, content, and access to the consumer – is what has powered extraordinary economic growth and made it possible for once-tiny sites like eBay or Amazon to compete with brick and mortar behemoths.

The FCC is an independent agency, and we will carefully review their proposal. The FCC’s efforts were dealt a real challenge by the Court of Appeals in January, but Chairman Wheeler has said his goal is to preserve an open Internet, and we are pleased to see that he is keeping all options on the table. We will be watching closely as the process moves forward in hopes that the final rule stays true to the spirit of net neutrality.

The President is looking at every way to protect a free and open Internet, and will consider any option that might make sense.

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President Obama issues veto threat on attempt to repeal net-neutrality rules

11/08/11 By Brendan Sasso – TheHill

President Obama will veto an attempt to repeal the Federal Communications Commission’s net-neutrality rules if it passes the Senate, the White House said in a news release Tuesday.

“The Administration strongly opposes Senate passage of S.J. Res. 6, which would undermine a fundamental part of the nation’s Open Internet and innovation strategy — an enforceable, effective but flexible policy for keeping the Internet free and open,” the White House said.

The House approved a resolution to repeal the rules in April. The Senate version is sponsored by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) and has an additional 42 Republican co-sponsors. It has no Democratic co-sponsors.

The Senate is expected to debate the resolution Wednesday and vote Thursday, said a spokesman for Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). The spokesman said the resolution needs only a simple majority to pass and is not subject to a filibuster.
Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), a key centrist vote, told The Hill on Monday evening that he hadn’t decided how he would vote on the measure.

The veto threat is unsurprising: Obama promised to support net-neutrality rules during his 2008 campaign.

For the entire article: http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/192349-obama-threatens-to-veto-resolution-repealing-net-neutrality-rules

PBO on FCC Net Neutrality Ruling

 http://www.whitehouse.gov/net-neutrality

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Telemundo/MSNBC “Meeting with Obama” Townhall

02/24/2015

President Obama townhall José Díaz-Balart

Meeting with Obama
On Wednesday February 25 at 8 PM ET Telemundo presents “Meeting with Obama,” a forum in which Jose Diaz-Balart asked President Obama about the recent temporary suspension of immigration relief and will include questions from our audience. Send your questions using the hashtag #ObamaResponde

Encuentro con Obama
El miércoles 25 de febrero a las 8 PM ET Telemundo presenta “Encuentro con Obama”, un foro en el que José Díaz-Balart preguntará al presidente Obama sobre la reciente suspensión temporal del alivio migratorio e incluirá las preguntas de nuestra audiencia. Envía tus preguntas utilizando el hashtag #ObamaResponde 

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Obama promises to fight against attempts to slow progress on immigration

February 24, 2015 telemundo

Washington, February 24 (EFE) .- The US president, Barack Obama promised to “fight” against any attempt to dismantle the progress achieved in its mandate immigration, returning to criticize the decision of a judge to suspend measures to temporarily stabilize some five million undocumented immigrants.

In an article published today in the online newspaper The Hill, Obama expressed confidence that “all” the executive measures taken since coming to the White House to “fix” the “broken” immigration system can be implemented.

“These steps are good for our economy, for our families and for our country. They are also the type of action taken by every Republican and Democratic presidents in the last half century,” remarks Obama.

On February 16, a federal judge in Texas, Andrew Hanen ruled temporarily suspend enforcement actions announced in November for Obama to temporarily stabilize at about 5 million undocumented immigrants to the lawsuit filed by 26 states, led by Texas, against the constitutionality of these measures.

According to Obama, the “wrong” decision was in response to a “partisan demand,” since most of the states involved are held by Republicans.

“My government will fight against this judgment with all the tools at our disposal,” said the president in the article.

In fact, the Justice Department filed Monday in federal court in Brownsville (Texas) a resource that gives emergency until tomorrow Judge Hanen to temporarily lift the suspension imposed as the government continues with the appeals process, that parallel.

If the appeal is successful, the government could proceed with implementation of migration measures Obama, the first phase was to enter into force on 18 February.

In the text sent to the court of Brownsville, the government estimates that at least the judge should limit the application of its decision to Texas, which leads the 26 states demand measures against Obama.

Experts and lawyers are unlikely to Hanen lift the suspension, especially when you consider that in its judgment of 16 February referred to “irreparable harm” would suffer the 26 plaintiffs states if measures Obama while the legal battle run is underway.

If the court rejects the appeal, it is expected that the Department of Justice go to the federal Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit, located in New Orleans and considered one of the most conservative in the country.

In the article, Obama also expressed “hope” that the Congress with a Republican majority in both houses since January, try to “govern responsibly supporting common sense solutions” to improve the immigration system.

The Senate approved in June 2013 a bipartisan bill for immigration reform backed by the Obama administration, but the proposal was not even put to a vote in the House of Representatives. EFE

Source: http://www.telemundo.com/noticias/2015/02/24/obama-promete-pelear-contra-intentos-para-frenar-avances-en-inmigracion

We are and always will be a nation of immigrants

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US Minorities Civil Rights Timeline 1863-1963 

US Minorities Civil Rights Timeline 1964-2015 

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Februaru 25, 2015
Telemundo holds “Meeting with Obama”  Townhall

with host José Diaz-Balart
Florida International University, Miami, Florida

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25 de feb. presenta “Encuentro con Obama”. Envía tus preguntas

White House Hispanic 

WH.gov en Español

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Protect Your Retirement Savings

02/23/2015

Bad Investment Advice due to Conflict of InterestProtect Your Savings

 

What You Need to Know about Retirement “Conflicts of Interest,” in Three Big Sentences:

Today, the President is announcing major actions to update the rules in place to protect you and your retirement savings.

What exactly is a retirement “conflict of interest” and why should you care? Read on for a quick primer. And if you’re really short on time, just skip to the second big sentence to get a sense of what this means to the average American worker.

Want to dig deeper? Take a look at the new report released by the President’s Council of Economic Advisors today, which gives an in-depth breakdown of how these conflicts of interest are hurting the middle class right now.

Under our current system, your advisor can accept a back-door payment or hidden fees for directing you toward a retirement plan that’s not in your financial best interest. And it’s completely legal.

As it turns out, what’s legal is often the worst scandal. Right now, your financial advisor — someone who’s supposed to be acting in your best interest — can direct you toward a high-cost, low-return investment rather than recommending a quality investment that works better for you. That’s because those lower-return investments come along with hidden fees that benefit their Wall Street firms on your dime.

One percent a year may seem small — but you’d be surprised at how quickly it adds up.

Let’s look at an example:

Meet Stella, a 45-year-old worker who is rolling her $100,000 401(k) into an IRA. If she gets conflicted advice from her broker — exactly the kind of advice that’s legal for them to give right now — she could lose an estimated $37,000 by the time she turns 65.

You read that right. That’s $37,000 that would otherwise have been in Stella’s pocket, if not for backdoor payments and hidden fees encouraging her financial advisor to put his interests ahead of hers.

Now, let’s be clear for a second: Many advisors don’t accept hidden fees. They work on a business model that puts their customers’ best interests first. They are hardworking men and women who got into this work to help families achieve their dreams. But how are you, the investor, supposed to know who you can trust? Outdated regulations, loopholes, and fine print make it hard to know the answer to that question.

We’re fixing it by making the system more transparent.

Remember the housing crisis? We already know what happens when outdated policies allow lenders to direct their customers toward bad products. That’s why the President created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a watchdog on the beat to protect Americans from the abusive practices that predated the crisis.

And that’s why we’re taking action to fix the retirement advice market.

Today, the President is directing the Department of Labor to crack down on Wall Street to protect families from conflicted retirement advice. That would kick off a rulemaking process that would require all retirement advisors to abide by a “fiduciary,” or trust standard. In short, that means they’d be required to put their client’s best interest before their own profits.

For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/02/23/what-you-need-know-about-retirement-conflicts-interest-three-big-sentences

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February 23, 2015

Remarks by the President at the AARP

AARP
Washington, D.C.
2:05 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) It is great to be back here — not just to pick up my AARP card. (Laughter.) I want to thank Jo Ann and everybody at AARP for the work you do every single day on behalf of seniors. I am especially grateful to all of you for the work you’re doing to help us prepare for the White House Conference on Aging, which will be coming up later this year and will cover a whole host of issues, including protecting one of the most critical components of middle-class life, and that’s a secure and dignified retirement. And that’s what we’re here to talk about today.

I want to thank some other people who care passionately about this issue: My energetic, tireless Secretary of Labor, Tom Perez. (Applause.) A couple of outstanding Senators, Cory Booker from New Jersey — (applause) — and Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts. (Applause.) And Congressmen John Delaney is here — proud of the work he is doing. (Applause.)

So six years after the financial crisis that shook a lot of people’s faith in a secure retirement, the good news is our economy is steadily growing and creating new jobs. Last year was the best year for job growth since the 1990s. And all told, over the past five years, the private sector has created nearly *2 12 million new jobs. And since I took office, the stock market has more than doubled, which means that 401ks for millions of families have been replenished.

America is poised — as long as Washington doesn’t screw it up, as long as we keep the progress going with policies that help and don’t hinder the middle class, no stalemates, no standoffs, no self-inflicted wounds or manufactured crisis — if we stay away from those things, then the projections are that the economy can do very well again this year.

But we’re going to have to choose whether we accept an economy where only a few of us do spectacularly well, or whether we build an economy where everybody who works hard can get ahead, and have some semblance of security in this ever-changing world?

Because while we’ve come a long way, we’ve got a lot more work to do to make sure that the recovery reaches every single American out there and not just those at the top. That’s what I’ve been calling middle-class economics — the idea that this country does best when everybody does their fair share, and everybody gets a fair shot and everybody is playing by the same set of rules.

For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/02/23/remarks-president-aarp

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The Disintegration of DOMA – 2nd Anniversary

02/21/2015

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PBO Strive for Complete Equality for LGBT

Obama administration urges U.S. Supreme Court to strike down DOMA

‘Gay and lesbian people have been subject to a significant history of discrimination in this country’

February 22, 2013 lgbtqnation Staff Reports

The Obama administration on Friday filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing why it considers the federal Defense of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional.

Filed in United States v. Windsor, a case challenging Section 3 of DOMA, the administration said “gay and lesbian people have been subject to a significant history of discrimination in this country,” and argued that laws targeting individuals based on their sexual orientation should face additional scrutiny by courts reviewing them.

In the brief, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli asked the court to uphold a federal appeals court ruling that found DOMA to be unconstitutional:

Section 3 of DOMA violates the fundamental constitutional guarantee of equal protection. The law denies to tens of thousands of same-sex couples who are legally married under state law an array of important federal benefits that are available to legally married opposite-sex couples. Because this discrimination cannot be justified as substantially furthering any important governmental interest, Section 3 is unconstitutional.

This case deals with Edith Windsor, who was forced to pay $363,000 in estate taxes in 2009 upon the death of her spouse, Thea Spyer. The two had lived as a couple for 44 years and married in Canada in 2007. Because her decades-long partner was a woman, the federal government did not recognize the same-sex marriage in legal terms, even though their home state of New York did.

Section 3 of DOMA, which bars legally married same-sex couples from any federal benefits or programs based on marriage, has been found unconstitutional in eight federal courts, including the First and Second Circuit Court of Appeals, on issues including bankruptcy, public employee benefits, estate taxes, and immigration.

The brief also mentions Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage, and similar measures in other states as evidence of continued discrimination against gays and lesbians.

For more: http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2013/02/obama-administration-urges-u-s-surpeme-court-to-strike-down-doma/

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High court strikes down federal marriage provision

6/26/13 By MARK SHERMAN | Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that legally married same-sex couples should get the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples.

The court invalidated a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act that has prevented married gay couples from receiving a range of tax, health and retirement benefits that are generally available to married people. The vote was 5-4.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion.

Same-sex marriage has been adopted by 12 states and the District of Columbia. Another 18,000 couples were married in California during a brief period when same-sex unions were legal there.

The court has yet to release its decision on California’s ban on same-sex marriage.

“Under DOMA, same-sex married couples have their lives burdened, by reason of government decree, in visible and public ways,” Kennedy said.

“DOMA’s principal effect is to identify a subset of state-sanctioned marriages and make them unequal,” he said.

He was joined by the court’s four liberal justices.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented.

For more: http://news.yahoo.com/high-court-strikes-down-federal-marriage-provision-140557846.html

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June 28, 2013

Statement by the President on the Extension of Federal Employee Benefits

Today my Administration announced that, for the first time in history, we will be making important federal employee benefits, including healthcare and retirement benefits, available to eligible married gay and lesbian couples and their families.

This is a critical first step toward implementing this week’s landmark Supreme Court decision declaring that all married couples –gay and straight — should be treated equally under federal law. Thousands of gays and lesbians serve our country every day in the federal government. They, and their spouses and children, deserve the same respect and protection as every other family.

Under the leadership of Attorney General Holder, we will continue to move as quickly as possible to fully implement the Court’s decision.


Obama admin acts quickly post-DOMA

Fri Jun 28, 2013 4:54 PM EDT By Steve Benen – maddowblog

After the Supreme Court’s decision on Wednesday striking down the Defense of Marriage Act, Obama administration officials vowed to move quickly to implement the ruling throughout the federal government.

And while I believed them, I didn’t realize they’d move this fast (thanks to my colleague Cory Gnazzo for the heads-up). Chris Geidner reports:

“[T]he United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will now be able to extend benefits to Federal employees and annuitants who have legally married a spouse of the same sex,” OPM acting director Elaine Kaplan writes to the heads of executive departments and agencies today.

What does this mean in practical terms? The Human Rights Campaign added:

The United States Office of Personnel Management has begun the process of extending federal rights and benefits to married gay and lesbian federal employees and their families…. Now that the federal government recognizes legally married same-sex couples, federal employees’ spouses and their families may now access health insurance benefits, life insurance, dental and vision insurance and retirement benefits.

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Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBT Persons

Secretary of State John Kerry
Washington, DC
February 23, 2015

I could not be more proud to announce Randy Berry as the first-ever Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBT Persons.

We looked far and wide to find the right American official for this important assignment. Randy’s a leader. He’s a motivator. But most importantly for this effort, he’s got vision. Wherever he’s served – from Nepal to New Zealand, from Uganda to Bangladesh, from Egypt to South Africa, and most recently as Consul General in Amsterdam – Randy has excelled. He’s a voice of clarity and conviction on human rights. And I’m confident that Randy’s leadership as our new Special Envoy will significantly advance efforts underway to move towards a world free from violence and discrimination against LGBT persons.

Defending and promoting the human rights of LGBT persons is at the core of our commitment to advancing human rights globally – the heart and conscience of our diplomacy. That’s why we’re working to overturn laws that criminalize consensual same-sex conduct in countries around the world. It’s why we’re building our capacity to respond rapidly to violence against LGBT persons, and it’s why we’re working with governments, civil society, and the private sector through the Global Equality Fund to support programs advancing the human rights of LGBT persons worldwide.

Too often, in too many countries, LGBT persons are threatened, jailed, and prosecuted because of who they are or who they love. Too many governments have proposed or enacted laws that aim to curb freedom of expression, association, religion, and peaceful protest. More than 75 countries still criminalize consensual same-sex activity.

At the same time, and often with our help, governments and other institutions, including those representing all religions, are taking steps to reaffirm the universal human rights of all persons, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. So while this fight is not yet won, this is no time to get discouraged. It’s time to stay active. It’s time to assert the equality and dignity of all persons, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity. And with Randy helping to lead our efforts, I am confident that’s exactly what we can and will do.

US State Dept Special Envoy Randy Berry

US State Dept Special Envoy Randy Berry

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“My general view is that transgender persons, just like gays and lesbians, are deserving of equal treatment under the law. And that’s a basic principle,” the president said. “My sense is that the Supreme Court is about to make a shift, one that I welcome, which is to recognize that — having hit a critical mass of states that have recognized same-sex marriage — it doesn’t make sense for us to now have this patchwork system and that it’s time to recognize that, under the equal protection clause of the United States, same-sex couples should have the same rights as anybody else.”

2/17/15 President Obama interview with BuzzFeed

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US LGBT Rights Timeline 1903-2014 (ProPresObama.org Civil Rights Timelines ™)

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 White House – LGBT

LGBT Democrats Facebook

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Pres Obama Designates Pullman Natl Monument, Brown’s Canyon Natl Monument & Honouliuli Natl Monument

02/18/2015

National Monument in the United States is a protected area that is similar to a National Park except that the President of the United States can quickly declare an area of the United States to be a National Monument without the approval of Congress. National monuments receive less funding and afford fewer protections to wildlife than national parks. However, areas within and extending beyond national parks, monuments, and national forests can be part of wilderness areas, which have an even greater degree of protection than a national park would alone, although wilderness areas managed by the United States Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management often allow hunting and grazing.

National monuments can be managed by one of several federal agencies: the National Park Service, United States Forest Service, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, or Bureau of Land Management. National monuments can also be privately managed.

National monuments can be so designated through the power of the Antiquities Act of 1906. President Theodore Roosevelt used the act to declare Devils Tower in Wyoming as the first national monument. He thought Congress was moving too slowly and it would be ruined by the time they made it a national park.

For more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Monument_(United

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February 19, 2015

FACT SHEET: Launching the Every Kid in a Park Initiative and Designating New National Monuments

As part of President Obama’s commitment to protect our Nation’s unique outdoor spaces and ensure that every American has the opportunity to visit and enjoy them, today he will launch an “Every Kid in a Park” initiative that will provide all fourth grade students and their families with free admission to National Parks and other federal lands and waters for a full year. He will also announce the creation of three new National Monuments across the country.

The President will make the announcements near the site of the historic Pullman town in Chicago, a location iconic for its history of labor unrest and civil rights advances, which will be the City’s first National Park Service (NPS) unit. He also will announce that he will designate Honouliuli National Monument in Hawaii, the site of an internment camp where Japanese American citizens, resident immigrants, and prisoners of war were held captive during World War II, and Browns Canyon National Monument in Colorado, an historic site of extraordinary beauty with world-class recreational opportunities that attract visitors from around the globe. Together, these monuments will help tell the story of significant events in American history and protect unique natural resources for the benefit of all Americans.

For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/02/19/fact-sheet-launching-every-kid-park-initiative-and-designating-new-natio

Pullman Historical District

"Oriental Limited dining car" hand painted photograph by Great Northern Railway . Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

“Oriental Limited dining car” hand painted photograph by Great Northern Railway . Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

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Pullman Porter – Unionization

The Order of Sleeping Car Conductors was organized on February 20, 1918, in Kansas City, Missouri. Members had to be white males. Because the order did not admit blacks, A. Philip Randolph began organizing the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters.Using the motto “Fight or Be Slaves”, on August 25, 1925, 500 porters met in Harlem and decided to make an effort to organize. Under Randolph’s leadership the first black union, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, was formed and slowly working conditions and salaries improved.

By forming the first black labor union the Pullman porters also laid the groundwork for the Civil Rights Movement, which began in the 1950s. Union organizer and former Pullman porter E. D. Nixon played a crucial role in organizing the landmark Montgomery Bus Boycott in Alabama in 1955. It was he who bailed Rosa Parks out of jail after she refused to move on the bus, and who selected her as the figure to build the boycott around.

By the 1960s, between the decline of the passenger rail system and the cultural shifts in American society, the Pullman porters’ contribution became obscured, becoming for some in the African American community a symbol of subservience to cultural and economic domination.

The Pullman Company went out of business in 1969, and the railroads no longer followed the practice of hiring only black men as porters. In 1978, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters merged with the larger Brotherhood of Railway and Airline Clerks.

For more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pullman_porter#Unionization

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President Obama to make Chicago district a national monument

February 10, 2015 Mary Wisniewski – Reuters

CHICAGO (Reuters) – President Barack Obama will designate part of Chicago’s Pullman neighborhood, a site famous in the history of urban planning, labor and the civil rights movement, as a national monument, the White House said on Tuesday.

Obama once worked as a community advocate in the neighborhood on the far south side of the nation’s third largest city.

The district’s brick homes and ornate public buildings were built in the late 1800s by industrialist George Pullman

as a blue-collar utopia to house workers for his railroad sleep car factory. An 1894 strike by workers led to bloody conflicts.

Pullman car workers later organized as the first African-American-led union chartered by the American Federation of Labor. It is credited with helping build the nation’s black middle class.

“It is a place where people can commemorate, celebrate and learn from our past and discuss the future of our nation,” Michael A. Shymanski, president of the Historic Pullman Foundation, said in a statement.

For more: http://news.yahoo.com/president-obama-chicago-district-national-monument-173640537.html;_ylt=AwrTWf1rfd9UziUAMy3QtDMD

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Brown's Canyon, Arkansas River, CO

Brown’s Canyon, Arkansas River, CO

Browns Canyon National Monument in Colorado:
This monument will protect a stunning section of Colorado’s upper Arkansas River Valley. Located in Chaffee County near the town of Salida, Colorado, the 21,586-acre monument features rugged granite cliffs, colorful rock outcroppings, and mountain vistas that are home to a diversity of plants and wildlife, including bighorn sheep and golden eagles. Members of Congress, local elected officials, conservation advocates, and community members have worked for more than a decade to protect the area, which hosts world-class recreational opportunities that attract visitors from around the globe for hiking, whitewater rafting, hunting and fishing. In addition to supporting this vibrant outdoor recreation economy, the designation will protect the critical watershed and honor existing water rights and uses, such as grazing and hunting. The monument will be cooperatively managed by the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management and USDA’s National Forest Service.

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Honouliuli Internment Camp, Kunia, Hawai'i

Honouliuli Internment Camp, Kunia, Hawai’i

Obama to designate Honouliuli Internment Camp as national monument

Feb 18, 2015 10:01 AM PST By Melanie Yamaguchi – HawaiiNewsNow

KUNIA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) –

A significant symbol of Japanese-American history, hidden deep within an overgrown gulch in Kunia, will soon gain more recognition as President Barack Obama plans to designate the Honouliuli Internment Camp as a national historic monument.

Honouliuli, one of Hawai’i’s largest and longest-used World War II internment camps, was constructed in 1943 to hold more than 300 internees and 4,000 prisoners of war. Dubbed “jigoku danji” or “hell valley” by inhabitants, Honouliuli is often looked back on as a dark period in history when thousands of Japanese-Americans in Hawaii and across the country were forced into internment camps under excruciating conditions during World War II.

The overgrown gulch where Honouliuli resides has kept the 120-acre site hidden from view and largely untouched. However, Thursday’s designation announcement will mark a major historical change, putting the internment camp under the management of the National Park Service to help preserve its history and ultimately shed a light on the untold stories of the site.

The announcement has been long anticipated by some members of Congress and other entities – such as the Japanese Cultural Center and Japanese American Citizens League – who have been pushing for the designation.

U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono said on an interview on Hawaii News Now Sunrise that many people in Hawaii still don’t know there was an internment camp here, but the designation will provide resources necessary to be presented in the way it should be.

For more: http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/28139552/president-obama-to-designate-honouliuli-internment-camp-as-national-monument

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  • Feb 19,1942  Executive Order 9066, which allowed local military commanders to designate “military areas” as “exclusion zones,” from which “any or all persons may be excluded.” This power was used to evacuate and relocate Japanese-Americans to internment camps during World War II
  • Feb 19, 1999 Justice Department’s acknowledges, apologizes, and makes restitution for the fundamental injustice of the evacuation, relocation, and internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II

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Thursday, February 19, 2015
President Obama designates new national monuments: 
The Pullman National MonumentChicago, Illinois
Brown’s Canyon National Monument, Colorado
Honouliuli National Monument, Kunia, Hawai’i

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National Monuments Established by President Obama

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White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism

02/16/2015



counter violent extremism

White House to host summit on extremism

The White House on Tuesday will begin hosting a three-day summit to examine ways to counter violent extremism.

The meeting will put a special emphasis on domestic and international efforts to prevent extremists and their backers from radicalizing young people.

The conference, which has been in the works for months, comes just days after fighters with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) executed 21 Egyptians and weekend terrorist attacks in Copenhagen left two people dead.

President Obama is slated to address the summit — which will include representatives from over 60 countries – during events at the White House and at the State Department.

For more: http://thehill.com/policy/defense/232937-white-house-to-host-summit-on-extremism

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Department of State To Host Ministerial as Part of the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism

Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
February 13, 2015

The White House will host a Summit on Countering Violent Extremism during the week of February 17 to highlight domestic and international efforts to prevent violent extremists and their supporters from radicalizing, recruiting, or inspiring individuals or groups in the United States and abroad to commit acts of violence – efforts made even more imperative in light of recent, tragic attacks throughout the world.

As a component of the White House Summit, the Department of State on February 19 will host ministers, senior officials from the UN – including UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon – and other multilateral organizations, and private sector and civil society representatives to develop an action agenda against violent extremism. This high-level event will include remarks by President Barack Obama, opening remarks by Secretary of State John Kerry, and closing remarks by National Security Advisor Susan Rice. Panel sessions will feature a broad range of foreign government officials and representatives from civil society and the private sector.

For more: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2015/02/237499.htm

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January 11, 2015

Statement from the Press Secretary on the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism

On February 18, 2015, the White House will host a Summit on Countering Violent Extremism to highlight domestic and international efforts to prevent violent extremists and their supporters from radicalizing, recruiting, or inspiring individuals or groups in the United States and abroad to commit acts of violence, efforts made even more imperative in light of recent, tragic attacks in Ottawa, Sydney, and Paris.  This summit will build on the strategy the White House released in August of 2011, Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States, the first national strategy to prevent violent extremism domestically.

Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) efforts rely heavily on well-informed and resilient local communities.  Boston, Los Angeles, and Minneapolis-St. Paul have taken the lead in building pilot frameworks integrating a range of social service providers, including education administrators, mental health professionals, and religious leaders, with law enforcement agencies to address violent extremism as part of the broader mandate of community safety and crime prevention.  The summit will highlight best practices and emerging efforts from these communities.

At the same time, our partners around the world are actively implementing programs to prevent violent extremism and foreign terrorist fighter recruitment.  The summit will include representatives from a number of partner nations, focusing on the themes of community engagement, religious leader engagement, and the role of the private sector and tech community.

Through presentations, panel discussions, and small group interactions, participants will build on local, state, and federal government; community; and international efforts to better understand, identify, and prevent the cycle of radicalization to violence at home in the United States and abroad.

For more:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/01/11/statement-press-secretary-white-house-summit-countering-violent-extremis

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February 17, 2015  Countering Violent Extremism Roundtable 

Vice President Biden hosts a roundtable discussion with representatives from cities working to address the spread of violent extremism

Representatives from Boston, the Twin Cities, and the Greater Los Angeles Metro Area speak about their best practices, to talk about what’s working, what’s not working, and to share ideas with one another and with some of their international counterparts.

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February 18, 2015 White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism

President Obama delivers remarks at The White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism

Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson delivers remarks at The White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism

Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco delivers remarks at The White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism

Attorney General Holder delivers remarks at the Countering Violent Extremism Summit

Representatives from Boston, the Twin Cities, and the Greater Los Angeles Metro Area delivers presentations on what they’ve learned to date since the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security and other federal partners launched local CVE pilot programs

Representatives from cities around the world from the private sector, from NGOs and others will discuss the way that civil society, the private sector and families can play in countering violent extremism.
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February 19, 2015 Department of State’s Countering Violent Extremism Ministerial Summit

Secretary of State Kerry delivers remarks at The Summit on Countering on Countering Violent Extremism

Secretary of State Kerry hosts a meeting of representatives from 60 countries’ representatives, High Representative and Vice President of the European Union, the U.N. Secretary-General, senior officials from regional organizations, representatives from the private sector from civil society and other multinational bodies that will hold sessions focusing on:

* Economic opportunities to include expanding professional training for youth, as well as how the private sector can be engaged in a wealth of activities related to countering and preventing violent extremism.

* Weakening the legitimacy and the resonance of the brand of violent extremism, discussion of how non-violent religious issues and education can be elevated as a matter of international and local-level concern and best practices with regard to rehabilitating and reintegrating violent extremists.

* Focus on secure and resilient communities, the role of civil society, particularly youth and women preventing violent extremism, community-police relations and community-security force relations as a critical element of prevention, discussion on how to address social, economic and political marginalization and the effects of integration of minority communities.

President Obama delivers remarks at The Summit on Countering on Countering Violent Extremism

Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa O. Monaco meets with French Minister of the Interior Bernard Cazeneuve

National Security Advisor Ambassador Susan Rice deliver closing remarks of the Department of State’s Countering Violent Extremism Ministerial Summit

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we must stand united internationally and here at home. We know that military force alone cannot solve this problem. Nor can we simply take out terrorists who kill innocent civilians. We also have to confront the violent extremists — the propagandists, recruiters and enablers — who may not directly engage in terrorist acts themselves, but who radicalize, recruit and incite others to do so.

This week, we’ll take an important step forward as governments, civil society groups and community leaders from more than 60 nations gather in Washington for a global summit on countering violent extremism. Our focus will be on empowering local communities.

2/17/15 President Obama 

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