In a 2014 interview with The Washington Blade, a newspaper and website devoted to the gay community in the nation’s capital, former ambassador to Panama John D. Feeley aligned himself with President Barack Obama’s LGBT diplomacy–even when it meant feuding with local Catholic bishops. The Blade reported:
Feeley conceded progress on LGBT rights in Latin American countries has been “spotty,” in spite of a few exceptions. These include Mexico City extending marriage rights to same-sex couples in 2010 and Uruguay and Argentina enacting expansive transgender rights laws.
“We have seen in some places — Argentina, Uruguay — some very progressive, advanced thinking,” he said.
Feeley also applauded gay U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic James “Wally” Brewster and his husband, Bob Satawake, in spite of lingering opposition over the appointment from Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez of the Archdiocese of Santo Domingo and other religious leaders in the predominantly Roman Catholic country.
Feeley told the paper that the problem with some countries in the Southern Hemisphere is their obsession with machismo.
Despite progress the Obama administration and gay rights advocates were making in parts of the hemisphere, Feeley told the paper, is still: “absolutely retrograde, medieval behavior” in the region.
There were multiple media reports that Feeley resigned because of comments attributed to President Donald J. Trump during a private meeting with lawmakers at the White House Thursday, but Feeley, an Obama holdover had already made his decision to quit.
— John Hudson (@John_Hudson) January 12, 2018
new random nugget: The US ambassador to Panama John Feeley has resigned for personal reasons, according to a US official. pic.twitter.com/VyFZeoiMNG
— John Hudson (@John_Hudson) January 11, 2018
President Trump Announces Planned Ban on Chinese-Owned TikTok App
The app has serious spying concerns.
President Donald Trump announced that he’s preparing to ban the video app TikTok on national security grounds on Friday, citing the concerns over the Chinese app’s connections to Chinese government security, and the potential use of the nominally innocent app to surveil American citizens.
The President had made the announcement on an Air Force One flight to the press pool, later confirming that the media could report on the policy move on the record.
“As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States,” said the President bluntly.
TikTok is a viral video app marketed to teenagers and young adults that allows users to create short and edited videos. It’s frequently used for memes, pranks, and simple political content. It’s owned by Chinese company ByteDance, which is obligated to cooperate with Chinese intelligence services under the laws of China.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had previously spoken of security concerns involving the Chinese app. Microsoft had recently offered to purchase the app from its parent company, but the surveillance and security surrounding it appear to have shelved such a possibility for now.
There are genuine surveillance and data-mining concerns with TikTok, but it’s also probably worth considering that banning the app will allow neoliberal tech monopolies such as Facebook and Apple to share up an even larger share of the demand for platforms designed for similar content.
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