Friday Night Fun and Culture: Richard & Mimi Farina

Transgender troops, Trump officials to testify before Congress on military ban

From The Washington Blade:  https://www.washingtonblade.com/2019/02/19/transgender-troops-trump-officials-to-testify-before-congress-on-military-ban/

by Chris Johnson
February 19, 2019

Transgender troops and Trump administration officials are set to testify before Congress on February 27 about President Trump’s transgender military ban, the Washington Blade has learned.

The House Armed Services Committee announced on Tuesday as part of it weekly scheduling announcement the personnel subcommittee, newly chaired by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) under the Democratic majority, will hold a hearing on that date on “Transgender Service Policy.”

Set to testify are transgender members of the armed forces — Army Capt. Alivia Stehlik, Army Capt. Jennifer Peace, Army Staff Sgt. Patricia King, Navy Corpsman Petty Officer 3rd Class Akira Wyatt and Navy Lt. Cmdr. Blake Dremann. (Two of these witnesses — Peace and Dremann — were among the transgender service members lawmakers invited to the State of the Union address earlier this year.)

The Trump administration officials set to testify on Trump’s ban are James Stewart, who’s performing the duties of under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness, and Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, director of the Defense Health Agency. They’ll likely face questions from the subcommittee why on the Pentagon is seeking to ban transgender people from the armed forces and whether there is a medical need to do so. (The American Medical Association has concluded there is not.)

Also set to testify is Jesse Ehrenfeld, a combat veteran who deployed to Afghanistan and is now a professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

During the Obama administration, Ehrenfeld questioned then Defense Secretary Ashton Carter during a military town hall in Kandahar after transgender military policy. The process toward implementing openly transgender military service started shortly afterward.

Trump later sought to reverse this policy change by announcing on Twitter transgender people will no longer be able to serve in the military “in any capacity.” Although courts have until recently issued orders blocking implementation of Trump’s policy, the U.S. Supreme Court issued stays on those injunctions, essentially allowing the ban to go into effect.

(Technically, one injunction against the ban issued by a federal court in Maryland remains standing, but the order isn’t expected to last long. The U.S. Justice Department is seeking to have it dissolved following the green light from the Supreme Court.)

BDS Is Linked To Terrorists. Just As You Suspected.

From The Forward:  https://forward.com/opinion/418744/bds-is-linked-to-terrorists-just-as-you-suspected/

Peter Lerner
February 4, 2019

For years, we have heard various claims from Israeli officials positing that the global movement to boycott Israel, known as the BDS Movement, is tainted and controlled by extreme anti-Israel individuals who are unconcerned with the human rights of Palestinians which they claim to champion.

However, until this week, no incriminating evidence had ever been provided.

All that changed when a report by Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs provided conclusive evidence that the energy of terrorists and their organizations has infiltrated, and is even driving, the BDS activities.

The report reveals direct ties between numerous boycott groups and US, Canada, and EU-designated terror organizations such as Hamas and the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

“Hamas and PFLP operatives have infiltrated and adopted seemingly benign NGOs in the Palestinian Authority, Europe, North America and South Africa, for the purpose of advancing their ideological goal: the elimination of the State of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people,” reads the report. “Convicted terrorist operatives who have served prison sentences currently hold senior positions in NGOs which delegitimize and promote the BDS campaign against Israel. In these positions, they recruit fellow terrorist operatives to their NGOs. Israeli courts have determined that some of the terrorist operatives listed in this report pose a concrete security threat.”

Until I read this report, I have always remained a moderate voice. I have advocated listening to criticism of Israel and its policies, even when uncomfortable for us. But as BDS it looks like we’ve all been duped.

Read more: https://forward.com/opinion/418744/bds-is-linked-to-terrorists-just-as-you-suspected/

See also: Documenting the BDS Movement’s Undisputed Ties to Terrorism

Bari Weiss and Deborah Lipstadt discuss the rise of antisemitism at home and abroad

Anti-LGBT Groups Launch Movement Against Federal Equality Act

From The Southern Poverty Law Center:  https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2019/02/08/anti-lgbt-groups-launch-movement-against-federal-equality-act

Hatewatch Staff
February 08, 2019

Anti-LGBT hate group leaders and activists recently launched a new project, the #Gone2Far movement (GTFM), to oppose H.R. 2282, the federal Equality Act, which seeks to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include protections for the categories of a person’s sex, sexual orientation and gender identity.

The GTFM officially debuted at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 5, where participants decried the Equality Act, which has been introduced in Congress in one form or another since 1974 but has never passed. It has renewed support in 2019 from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is committed to passing it.

The GTFM attempts to link LGBT people to pedophilia and refers to the Equality Act as “The Pedophilia Act.” The movement’s website is filled with false assertions that LGBT people are attempting to recruit or assault children.

The site includes a “Proclamation for Morality” and claims that “the consumption of fecal matter” is a common sexual practice among gay men, and homosexuality is a behavioral choice caused by childhood sexual abuse, a common myth among anti-LGBT activists. Visitors to the site are invited to sign their name in support.

The following people spoke at the press conference:

  • Scott Lively, best-known for being sued for violating human rights in Uganda and for the pseudohistorical book The Pink Swastika, which claimed gay men were responsible for the Nazi party and the Holocaust
  • Peter LaBarbera, director of anti-LGBT hate group Americans for Truth about Homosexuality (AFTAH), who believes that pedophilia “is a subset of the larger deviance of homosexuality”
  • Randy Short, an advocate of anti-LGBT and anti-Soros conspiracy theories
  • Stephen Broden, senior pastor of Fair Park Bible Fellowship, Dallas, Texas, and a Texas Republican congressional candidate with Tea Party ties who peddles conspiracy theories and rails against the “New World Order”
  • Stephen Black, executive director of Oklahoma’s ex-gay ministry First Stone Ministries
  • Dan Fisher, pastor and former Oklahoma state representative who introduced an anti-trans bathroom bill into the state legislature

Each speaker expressed a litany of grievances against LGBT people and the Equality Act during the over 90-minute event, with a focus on homosexuality and “transgenderism” as behaviors that are not immutable characteristics and therefore are ineligible for protection under the Civil Rights Act.

Randy Short, the first speaker, set the tone of the event, proclaiming, “Today is the day that we declare war on those who are ungodly, unbiblical and wicked.” Short went on to say that “we are sick and tired of all the deviants, all the eugenicists, all the homophiles coming out of the closet to destroy this country.” “We have a group,” Short said, in reference to LGBT people, “that nobody wants, that has decided like a parasite to hook itself to the history and legacy of the African American people.”

Other speakers offered warnings about the “homosexual and pedophile agendas.” Stephen Black claimed bans on pseudoscientific and harmful conversion (ex-gay) therapy are a way to “take our sexually confused youth and bind them into LGBTQ chaos.” Scott Lively warned of nondiscrimination policies including LGBT people that are “the seed that contains the entire tree of the LGBT agenda and all of its poisonous fruit.” According to Lively, LGBT people are introducing the pedophilia agenda through the “transgenderization of the children” while Peter LaBarbera said that nondiscrimination means discrimination against Christians.

GTFM is currently promoting the upcoming “God’s Voice: A Biblical Response to the Queering of the Church” conference, slated for Oklahoma City on Feb. 22 and 23. LaBarbera and Black, members of the GTFM organizing committee, will also be spreading their message there.

My patient swapped chemotherapy for essential oils. Arguing is a fool’s errand

From The Guardian UK: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/feb/14/my-patient-swapped-chemotherapy-for-essential-oils-arguing-is-a-fools-errand

I wish that as an oncologist I could see off quackery through good communication. Unfortunately that doesn’t work


Wed 13 Feb 2019

“Tell me why I should have your chemotherapy when I can be healed naturally!”

His face is set, his arms defensively squared. His friend carries a pamphlet that features a suspiciously healthy woman with glamorous hair and a glowing complexion. This is the urgent appointment of the day, for whom other patients were hastily shuffled to make room.

I know I shouldn’t take the bait but, like an addict, I have the urge to say:

Go ahead then, be healed. And I will almost certainly see you again, emaciated, ruined, lamenting the fact that it’s too late.

Thankfully, the code of conduct glides in. I imagine his dread. I remember my position. And I say: “Tell me more.”

I hear about the man who uses waves, the woman who boosts immunity and the seller of pure herbs. They are the healers – 100% convincing, 100% certified by a gaggle of secret Facebook users.

He asks: “What’s the guarantee of your chemo, anyway?”

I have perfected my retort during sleepless nights.

In life there are no guarantees but you have a curable cancer. Yes, there will be side effects but we can manage them. No, I can’t guarantee a cure, but I’d recommend evidence-based treatment any day over the magnet that purportedly draws out cancer cells. And while we are there, it’s not my chemotherapy. Your taxes fund my job but I don’t profit from giving you chemo.

But how many times have I heard that if oncologists hectored a little less and listened a little more, we might win more hearts?

So I bite my tongue again, thinking of the alarmed nurse who begged me to change his mind. As I talk him through his various options from least to most intensive, I remember the patient who swapped chemotherapy for essential oils, the one who chose to “burn” the tumour out and the one who suggested I become a sales representative for a life-saving juice.

Continue reading at:  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/feb/14/my-patient-swapped-chemotherapy-for-essential-oils-arguing-is-a-fools-errand

Friday Night Fun and Culture: Chet Baker