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State Department quietly creates commission focused on ‘fresh thinking’ about ‘natural rights’ – code for anti-LGBT

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The U.S. State Dept. on Thursday quietly published a notice in the Federal Registerannouncing it creating a new commission to provide “fresh thinking” about “natural law and natural rights,” which is the religious right’s code for anti-LGBTQ.

The “Commission on Unalienable Rights” will “provide fresh thinking about human rights discourse where such discourse has departed from our nation’s founding principles of natural law and natural rights,” the notice states.

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Politico reports human rights activists are “surprised,” and “privately said they worry that talk of the ‘nation’s founding principles’ and ‘natural law’ are coded signals of plans to focus less on protecting women and LGBT people.”

In fact, Christian extremists, anti-gay hate groups, and other factions of the religious right often argue against LGBT civil rights, including same-sex marriage, as violations of “natural law.”

The newly-formed Commission on Unalienable Rights will directly advise Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. It appears it may be headed by his Director of Policy Planning, Kiron Skinner, whose name appears at the bottom of the notice.

Pompeo is a far right religious extremist who has openly stated the function of politics is to “fight these battles” because there is a “never-ending struggle” until “the rapture,” as The New York Times has reported. He has also said the Bible “informs everything I do.”

Skinner is a highly-accomplished and noted scholar who recently caused an international stir. Professor Skinner at a public forum on national security told attendees that America’s upcoming competition with China would be especially bitter, as Foreign Policy reported, because, she said, “it’s the first time that we will have a great-power competitor that is not Caucasian.”

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The Trump administration has a horrific record on human rights here in the U.S. and internationally. At home, Trump has now rolled back or rescinded every protection for transgender people codified under President Barack Obama, including but not limited to evicting transgender Americans from the U.S. Armed Forces. He and has administration are working to remove hard-won protections across the board for LGBTQ people and women. Internationally, the President repeatedly praises and protects dictators who are responsible for the murder of their own people. Just one example: Trump’s claim that he and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un “fell in love.”

But Trump has also prioritized defending, promoting, and even creating special rights for Christian conservatives over U.S. law and over decades of U.S. foreign policy.

The Commission on Unalienable Rights appears to be the next step in the process.

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Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan to give up royal titles — ‘the hardest #Megxit possible’

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Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan will give up their royal titles and public funding as part of a settlement with the Queen to start a new life away from the British monarchy.

The historic announcement from Buckingham Palace on Saturday follows more than a week of intense private talks aimed at managing the fallout of the globetrotting couple's shock resignation from front-line royal duties.

It means Queen Elizabeth II's grandson Harry and his American TV actress wife Meghan will stop using the titles "royal highness" -- the same fate that befell his late mother Princess Diana after her divorce from Prince Charles in 1996.

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GOP senator tells home-state press that impeachment trial must be ‘viewed as fair’: report

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Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) spoke to local reporters on Saturday about her role in the upcoming Donald Trump impeachment trial.

Murkowski explained she would likely vote with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on an initial vote on whether to allow witnesses. However, she left the door open to voting for witnesses after House impeachment managers make their opening case.

"I don't know what more we need until I have been given the base case," she said. "We will have that opportunity to say 'yes' or 'no' ... and if we say 'yes,' the floor is open."

Overall, Murkowski said it was important for the trial to been viewed as fair.

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White House press secretary urged to do her job: ‘We don’t pay you to be a Twitter troll’

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White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham was blasted on Saturday over the confusion resulting from her refusal to hold daily press briefings.

CNN senior media reporter Oliver Darcy was alarmed that Grisham's assistant, Hogan Gidley, was forcing reporters to refer to his remarks as coming from a "sources close to the President's legal team."

Darcy noted that Trump had repeatedly questioned the veracity of unnamed sources, making it problematic for Gidley to demand to be quoted as such.

https://twitter.com/oliverdarcy/status/1218704788432572422

Grisham responded to the criticism and asked Darcy to "stop with the righteous indignation.

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