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Brazil’s president says criminalizing homophobia could ‘hurt’ gays

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Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro on Friday criticized the Supreme Court’s decision to criminalize homophobia, saying it could “hurt” gays by deterring companies from hiring them.

Bolsonaro, who has a history of homophobic remarks — he once declared he would rather his son die than be gay — also said the court was “completely wrong” because it had stepped into legislative territory.

The Supreme Court on Thursday voted eight to three in favor of classifying crimes against gay and transgender people as similar to racism, until Congress passes a law specifically addressing such discrimination.

Congress is held by a conservative majority and is strongly influenced by evangelical churches.

Brazil, which has one of the world’s highest rates of violence against sexual minorities, now joins a growing number of countries in the typically conservative and Catholic-influenced Latin American region that have passed measures in favor of LGBT rights.

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Speaking to reporters on Friday, Bolsonaro said employers would “think twice” before hiring a gay person for fear they could be accused of homophobia.

Bolsonaro also raised again the possibility of nominating an evangelical judge to the country’s highest court to help “balance” the bench.

The three judges that voted against the measure agreed with Bolsonaro on his point that criminalizing homophobia was Congress’s job, not the court’s.

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“Only Congress can approve (the definition of) crimes and penalties; only Congress can pass laws on criminal conduct,” said judge Ricardo Lewandowski.

According to the NGO Grupo Gay de Bahia, which has collected national statistics for the past four decades, there were 387 murders and 58 suicides over “homotransphobia” in 2017, a 30 percent increase from 2016.

This works out to one LGBT death by suicide or murder every 19 hours in Brazil.


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GUILTY: Jury rules Michael Flynn’s former business partner is guilty of lobbying for Turkey

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Michael Flynn's former business partner Bijan Kian was found guilty by a jury for illegally lobbying for a foreign country.

The information was uncovered as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation and as the Justice Department's crackdown on illegal foreign lobbying, CNN explained.

Flynn has had a difficult go in his court case, but information Flynn gave was helpful, according to the DOJ.

Kian is an Iranian-American businessman who was charged with conspiring to hide his lobbying work for Turkey without registering as a foreign agent for the Turkish government.

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“It’s as bad as it looks”: Pelosi under fire for debt ceiling deal that hands GOP power to kneecap progressive agenda

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"It sets up a crisis of the first year of the next president's administration," said a former congressional staffer. "We're letting them light the fuse on another bomb and place it squarely in the middle of the next president's first year."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may have helped temporarily avert a looming fiscal crisis on Tuesday by striking a budget deal with the Trump administration, but progressives warned the agreement hands Republicans power to kneecap the next president's agenda by suspending the debt ceiling until after the 2020 elections.

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FLASHBACK: Mueller makes GOP lawmaker look like an absolute fool during 2013 hearing

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While previewing former special counsel Robert Mueller's upcoming testimony before the House of Representatives, CNN on Tuesday played a clip from six years ago showing Mueller schooling Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), who tried to corner the then-FBI director about his agency's work on the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

During the hearing, Gohmert tried to get Mueller to explain why the FBI supposedly hadn't visited the mosque that was frequented by the Tsarnaev brothers, the two American citizens of Chechen descent who carried out the attack.

"Why did no one go to the mosque and say, who are these guys?" Gohmert asked. "Why was that not done?"

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