All the news and views fit to consume during your “morning grumpy”.
1. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a transformative and landmark speech on LGBT rights leading up to International Human Rights Day at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.
Some have suggested that gay rights and human rights are separate and distinct; but, in fact, they are one and the same. Now, of course, 60 years ago, the governments that drafted and passed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were not thinking about how it applied to the LGBT community. They also weren’t thinking about how it applied to indigenous people or children or people with disabilities or other marginalized groups. Yet in the past 60 years, we have come to recognize that members of these groups are entitled to the full measure of dignity and rights, because, like all people, they share a common humanity.
This recognition did not occur all at once. It evolved over time. And as it did, we understood that we were honoring rights that people always had, rather than creating new or special rights for them. Like being a woman, like being a racial, religious, tribal, or ethnic minority, being LGBT does not make you less human. And that is why gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights.
Secretary Clinton articulated the official position of the United States of America on issues of LGBT rights following a memorandum published by the President earlier in the day. In that memorandum, President Obama directgovernment agencies to ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, or LGBT persons. The broad strokes of the policy are as follows:
• Combat the criminalization of LGBT status or conduct abroad.
• Protect vulnerable LGBT refugees and asylum seekers.
• Leverage foreign assistance to protect human rights and advance nondiscrimination.
• Ensure swift and meaningful U.S. responses to human rights abuses of LGBT persons abroad.
• Engage international organizations in the fight against LGBT discrimination.
A remarkable day, indeed. THIS is American Exceptionalism.
2. The President then went to Kansas and gave a full-throated defense of progressive democratic policies and marked a “make or break moment” for the middle class. Watch the full speech here or read the complete transcript here. This was the President we elected in 2008 and he hit all the right notes as he began to outline his re-election campaign themes.
But for most Americans, the basic bargain that made this country great has eroded. Long before the recession hit, hard work stopped paying off for too many people. Fewer and fewer of the folks who contributed to the success of our economy actually benefited from that success. Those at the very top grew wealthier from their incomes and their investments — wealthier than ever before. But everybody else struggled with costs that were growing and paychecks that weren’t — and too many families found themselves racking up more and more debt just to keep up.
In the last few decades, the average income of the top 1 percent has gone up by more than 250 percent to $1.2 million per year. I’m not talking about millionaires, people who have a million dollars. I’m saying people who make a million dollars every single year. For the top one hundredth of 1 percent, the average income is now $27 million per year. The typical CEO who used to earn about 30 times more than his or her worker now earns 110 times more. And yet, over the last decade the incomes of most Americans have actually fallen by about 6 percent.
Now, this kind of inequality — a level that we haven’t seen since the Great Depression — hurts us all. When middle-class families can no longer afford to buy the goods and services that businesses are selling, when people are slipping out of the middle class, it drags down the entire economy from top to bottom. America was built on the idea of broad-based prosperity, of strong consumers all across the country.
This isn’t about class warfare. This is about the nation’s welfare. It’s about making choices that benefit not just the people who’ve done fantastically well over the last few decades, but that benefits the middle class, and those fighting to get into the middle class, and the economy as a whole.
If this is the Obama that we’ll see on the campaign trail, the Republicans better dig up Lincoln if they plan to win.
You know what? I’m gonna end the links here. Those two stories are enough for one incredible and exceptional day.
Fact of The Day: There is really only one choice for December 7th, a day that will live in infamy. If you ever have the opportunity to visit the Pearl Harbor Memorial in Hawaii, you must visit. The USS Arizona memorial is a haunting tribute to the fallen, and a place that will change how you see the world.
Quote Of The Day: “It is from the numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal or acts to improve the lot of others or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” – Robert F. Kennedy
Song Of The Day: “Tip The Scale” by The Roots
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