Flags and Statues

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Daniel Radcliffe Responds to J.K. Rowling’s Tweets on Gender Identity

From The Trevor Project:  https://www.thetrevorproject.org/2020/06/08/daniel-radcliffe-responds-to-j-k-rowlings-tweets-on-gender-identity/

By Daniel Radcliffe
June 8, 2020

I realize that certain press outlets will probably want to paint this as in-fighting between J.K. Rowling and myself, but that is really not what this is about, nor is it what’s important right now. While Jo is unquestionably responsible for the course my life has taken, as someone who has been honored to work with and continues to contribute to The Trevor Project for the last decade, and just as a human being, I feel compelled to say something at this moment.

Transgender women are women. Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo or I. According to The Trevor Project, 78% of transgender and nonbinary youth reported being the subject of discrimination due to their gender identity. It’s clear that we need to do more to support transgender and nonbinary people, not invalidate their identities, and not cause further harm.

I am still learning how to be a better ally, so if you want to join me in learning more about transgender and nonbinary identities check out The Trevor Project’s Guide to Being an Ally to Transgender and Nonbinary Youth. It’s an introductory educational resource that covers a wide range of topics, including the differences between sex and gender, and shares best practices on how to support transgender and nonbinary people.

To all the people who now feel that their experience of the books has been tarnished or diminished, I am deeply sorry for the pain these comments have caused you. I really hope that you don’t entirely lose what was valuable in these stories to you. If these books taught you that love is the strongest force in the universe, capable of overcoming anything; if they taught you that strength is found in diversity, and that dogmatic ideas of pureness lead to the oppression of vulnerable groups; if you believe that a particular character is trans, nonbinary, or gender fluid, or that they are gay or bisexual; if you found anything in these stories that resonated with you and helped you at any time in your life — then that is between you and the book that you read, and it is sacred. And in my opinion nobody can touch that. It means to you what it means to you and I hope that these comments will not taint that too much.

Love always,
Dan

Civil Rights Law Protects Gay and Transgender Workers, Supreme Court Rules

I really wish I wasn’t surprised when people in power actually do the right thing.  I sometimes think the line between those who are privileged and those who are not is one of social expectations.  Those who are privileged, expect those in power to act in such a way as to protect their lives and dignity, while those with lesser privilege dread the possibility of those in power acting in a manner which destroys those hard won rights and deprives them of their rights and dignity.

From The New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/15/us/gay-transgender-workers-supreme-court.html

The court said the language of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex discrimination, applies to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

By
June 15, 2020

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that a landmark civil rights law protects gay and transgender workers from workplace discrimination, handing the movement for L.G.B.T. equality a stunning victory.

The vote was 6 to 3, with Justice Neil M. Gorsuch writing the majority opinion. He was joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

The case concerned Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars employment discrimination based on race, religion, national origin and sex. The question for the justices was whether that last prohibition — discrimination “because of sex”— applies to many millions of gay and transgender workers.

The decision, covering two cases, was the court’s first on L.G.B.T. rights since the retirement in 2018 of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinions in all four of the court’s major gay rights decisions.

Those decisions were grounded in constitutional law. The new cases, by contrast, concerned statutory interpretation.

Lawyers for employers and the Trump administration argued that the common understanding of sex discrimination in 1964 was bias against women or men and did not encompass discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. If Congress wanted to protect gay and transgender workers, they said, it could pass a new law.

Lawyers for the workers responded that discrimination against employees based on sexual orientation or transgender status must as a matter of logic take account of sex.

The court considered two sets of cases. The first concerned a pair of lawsuits from gay men who said they were fired because of their sexual orientation. The second was about a suit from a transgender woman, Aimee Stephens, who said her employer fired her when she announced that she would embrace her gender identity at work.

The cases concerning gay rights are Bostock v. Clayton County, Ga., No. 17-1618, and Altitude Express Inc. v. Zarda, No. 17-1623.

The first case was filed by Gerald Bostock, a gay man who was fired from a government program that helped neglected and abused children in Clayton County, Ga., just south of Atlanta, after he joined a gay softball league.

The second was brought by a skydiving instructor, Donald Zarda, who also said he was fired because he was gay. His dismissal followed a complaint from a female customer who had expressed concerns about being strapped to Mr. Zarda during a tandem dive. Mr. Zarda, hoping to reassure the customer, told her that he was “100 percent gay.”

Mr. Zarda died in a 2014 skydiving accident, and his estate pursued his case.

Most federal appeals courts have interpreted Title VII to exclude sexual orientation discrimination. But two of them, in New York and Chicago, have ruled that discrimination against gay men and lesbians is a form of sex discrimination.

Continue reading at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/15/us/gay-transgender-workers-supreme-court.html

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NCLR Applauds Historic Supreme Court Rulings Affirming LGBTQ Employees’ Right to Work Free of Discrimination

From The National Center for Lesbian Rights:  http://www.nclrights.org/about-us/press-release/nclr-applauds-historic-supreme-court-rulings-affirming-lgbtq-employees-right-to-work-free-of-discrimination/

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 15, 2020

CONTACTS:
Christopher Vasquez, NCLR Communications Director
415.365.1337 | cvasquez@nclrights.org

NCLR Applauds Historic Supreme Court Rulings Affirming LGBTQ Employees’ Right to Work Free of Discrimination

“For the first time, this historic decision ensures that LGBTQ people have nationwide employment protection and represents a monumental step that will help to create a safer working environment for everyone”

WASHINGTON, DCThe National Center for Lesbian Rights applauds today’s rulings by the Unite States Supreme Court that federal law prohibits employers from discriminating against LGBTQ workers. In a 6-3 opinion authored by Justice Gorsuch and joined by Chief Justice Roberts, the Court ruled that Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act prohibits workplace discrimination because a person is gay or transgender. The historic rulings in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia reaffirm the opinion of a broad percentage of the American public that no one should be fired simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“For the first time, this historic decision ensures that LGBTQ people have nationwide employment protection and represents a monumental step that will help to create a safer working environment for everyone,” said NCLR Executive Director Imani Rupert-Gordon. “During a global health crisis and a growing nationwide movement to focus on supporting and protecting Black Lives – particularly Black transgender lives – against systematic racism and violence, this historic ruling is both uplifting and encouraging. However, we know that our work is far from complete, and the fight for fullLGBTQ equality continues.”

“This is a huge victory not just for LGBTQ people, but for our country, which benefits enormously when LGBTQ people are permitted to participate and contribute on equal terms,” said Shannon Minter, Legal Director of NCLR. “Today’s decision will be remembered as a watershed in the history of LGBTQ rights, even as our country continues to grapple with the brutal legacy of racism. The transgender movement owes a particular debt of gratitude to Aimee Stephens, who courageously fought this battle in the months of her life.”

While today’s ruling provides critical federal protections for LGBTQ people, most states still permit discrimination in public accommodations – including stores, restaurants, and hotels – based on real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

Additionally, the Trump Administration continues to target LGBTQ people in federally-funded programs that provide basic necessities such as healthcare, housing, and education. To achieve full equality for LGBTQ people, the National Center for Lesbian Rights urges Congress to pass the comprehensive Equality Act to ensure all LGBTQ Americans are protected from discrimination in every aspect of their lives.

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Marie Cau: First transgender mayor elected in France

From BBC: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-52795973

25 May 2020

A trans woman in France has won election in her local commune to become the country’s first openly transgender mayor.

The council in Tilloy-lez-Marchiennes in northeastern France chose Marie Cau as its new mayor on Saturday.

The 55-year-old ran on a platform of ecological sustainability and building the local economy.

Speaking to the AFP news agency, Ms Cau said she was “not an activist” and wanted to focus on municipal politics.

“People did not elect me because I was or was not transgender, they elected a programme,” Ms Cau said. “That’s what’s interesting: when things become normal, you don’t get singled out.”

France’s gender equality minister Marlène Schiappa tweeted her support on Sunday.

“Trans visibility, and the fight against transphobia, also depends on exercising political and public responsibilities. Congratulations Marie Cau!”

Residents of Tilloy-lez-Marchiennes – a commune of under 600 inhabitants on the Belgian border – voted in municipal elections in March.

They elected all the councillors from the “Deciding Together” list, among them Ms Cau. On Saturday these councillors voted nearly unanimously to make her the new mayor of the town.

Stéphanie Nicot, co-founder of France’s National Transgender Association, said the election showed that “our fellow citizens are more and more progressive”, voting on “the value of individuals, regardless of their gender identity”.

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J.K. Rowling facing backlash after controversial comments about transgender people

Fuck her.  Writing a wildly popular series of books does not automatically make you a good person.

From The Hill:   https://thehill.com/blogs/in-the-know/in-the-know/501663-jk-rowling-facing-backlash-after-controversial-comments-about

By John Bowden
06/08/20

“Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling is facing criticism from gay and transgender rights organizations after the British writer posted a tweet that many groups have said was anti-transgender.

A tweet from Rowling on Saturday commented on a headline from a news article referring to “people who menstruate,” which she suggested should have been shortened to just “women.”

“I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?” she wrote.

The tweet caused Rowling’s name to trend across Twitter over the weekend and earned backlash from LGBT rights groups including GLAAD, which urged supporters to “direct your rightful anger over JK Rowling’s latest anti-trans comments into something positive.”

Book Riot, a literary website, announced it would no longer cover Rowling’s material after the comment.

Rowling has faced criticism in the past for her views on the issue and was criticized on social media in December after defending a researcher who was fired for what a judge called an “absolutist” view of transgender people and sex.

“The enormous universe of #LGBTQ young people & adults who have been inspired by JK Rowling’s work deserve better,” said Lambda Legal, a nonprofit legal group representing LGBT clients, said at the time.

See also:

HRC President Alphonso David Responds to J.K. Rowling’s Latest Transphobic Blog Post

Anti-LGBTQ hate group tries to defend Rowling’s transphobia, gets its ‘wig snatched’

Emma Watson speaks out in support of transgender community amid JK Rowling row

Daniel Radcliffe on J.K. Rowling’s anti-trans tweets: ‘Transgender women are women’

Transgender bathroom ban heard by federal appeals court

From PBS:  https://www.pbs.org/newshour/health/transgender-bathroom-ban-heard-by-federal-appeals-court

May 26, 2020

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A Virginia school board defended its transgender bathroom ban before a federal appeals court Tuesday, as a transgender man who was barred as a student from using the boys’ bathrooms at his high school argued that the policy discriminated against him and violated his constitutional rights.

A judge ruled last year that the Gloucester County School Board had discriminated against Gavin Grimm, but the board appealed that ruling to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond.

David Corrigan, a lawyer for the school board, said school officials treated Grimm with respect after he began transitioning from female to male during high school, accommodating his request to use male pronouns and to be called by his new name.

Grimm had chest reconstruction surgery and hormone therapy. He also obtained a Virginia court order and Virginia birth certificate declaring his sex is male in 2016, when he was in 12th grade.

Grimm’s lawsuit alleged that the school board violated Grimm’s equal protection rights as well as Title IX, the federal policy that protects against gender-based discrimination.

But Corrigan argued that the law protects against discrimination based on gender, not gender identity. Corrigan said that because Grimm had not undergone sex-reassignment surgery and still had female genitalia, the board’s position was that he remained anatomically a female.

“Our position is it’s a binary concept, that you have males and females,” Corrigan said.

Joshua Block, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said the board treated Grimm differently than other students when it required him to use separate but unequal facilities — either bathrooms that corresponded with his biological gender — female — or private bathrooms.

“They were stigmatizing and humiliating,” Block said.

“It’s stigmatizing to be excluded from the facilities that everyone else uses,” he said.

Grimm’s lawsuit was once a federal test case that drew national attention. He graduated in 2017 from Gloucester High School, located in a mostly rural area about 60 miles (95 kilometers) east of Richmond.

The three-judge panel that heard the case Tuesday did not indicate when it would issue a ruling. The arguments were held remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The hearing was the latest step in a years-long legal battle. Grimm’s lawsuit was supposed to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. But the high court hearing was canceled after President Donald Trump rescinded an Obama-era directive that students can choose bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity.

U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen in Norfolk ruled in August that the board discriminated against Grimm.

“(T)here is no question that the Board’s policy discriminates against transgender students on the basis of their gender noncomformity,” Allen wrote.

“Under the policy, all students except for transgender students may use restrooms corresponding with their gender identity,” she continued. “Transgender students are singled out, subjected to discriminatory treatment, and excluded from spaces where similarly situated students are permitted to go.”

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Black Trans Protesters Are Marching for a Police Killing That Cis People Aren’t Talking About: Tony McDade

From Vice: https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/ep4xp4/black-trans-protesters-are-marching-for-another-police-killing-cis-people-arent-talking-about-tony-mcdade

“We have two different worlds. We’re fed up with the murders. We’re fed up with law enforcement just brutally killing us.”

by Tomas Navia and Sam Donnenberg
Jun 3 2020

As protests surrounding the killing of George Floyd and police brutality entered their eighth night, hundreds of protesters gathered in front of the historic Stonewall Inn in New York Tuesday yelling the name of another black man killed in a confrontation with police: Tony McDade.

McDade, a 38-year-old black trans man, was shot and killed by police in Tallahassee, Florida, on May 27, two days after Minneapolis police kneeled on Floyd for almost nine minutes until he couldn’t breathe. Tallahassee police said in a press release that McDade was the suspect in a local stabbing and was armed, which led to the shooting.

His death hasn’t received much attention in the wake of Floyd’s killing. Protests have happened in Florida, and national LGBTQ rights organizations including the Human Rights Campaign and the National Black Justice Coalition released statements about the killing.

Now, trans rights advocates are taking to the streets in New York, during Pride Month, to call for an investigation and bring more attention to the killing of black trans people.

“The cis people always take to the streets over all of their deaths, their murders,” said TS Candii, a 26-year-old black trans woman and one of the organizers of the protest at the Stonewall Inn. “We have two different worlds. We’re fed up with the murders. We’re fed up with law enforcement just brutally killing us.”

McDade’s death was at least the 12th killing of a trans or gender-non-conforming person in 2020, according to the Human Rights Campaign. Three of the known killings occurred in the last month — one of which, McDade’s, was at the hands of police.

Black trans women are disproportionately killed by violence, and arrest rates for their murders are significantly lower than for other demographics.

Though most of the killings of black trans women are not at the hands of police, the community does disproportionately experience police harassment. A third of black trans women who interact with police report that officers assume they are sex workers. Nearly 90% of trans women who police assume are sex workers report experiencing police harrassment and abuse, including verbal, physical, and sexual assaults.

Like the nationwide protests since Floyd’s death last month, the stark disparity in the treatment of black people by police was the central theme of the gathering on Tuesday.

Tuesday’s organizers led speeches in Sheridan Square outside the Stonewall Inn, where six days of violent protests against police in 1969 kickstarted the modern gay rights movement. Candii and Tahtianna Fermin, another organizer, recognized trans people of color killed by violence and called out the names of McDade and Nina Pop, a trans woman murdered in May, into the crowd.

Continue reading at:  https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/ep4xp4/black-trans-protesters-are-marching-for-another-police-killing-cis-people-arent-talking-about-tony-mcdade

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A Daughter Is Beheaded, and Iran Asks if Women Have a Right to Safety

From The New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/07/world/middleeast/honor-killing-iran-women.html

By Farnaz Fassih
June 7, 2020

Before he beheaded his 14-year-old daughter with a farming sickle, Reza Ashrafi called a lawyer.

His daughter, Romina, was going to dishonor the family by running off with her 29-year-old boyfriend, he said. What kind of punishment, he asked the lawyer, would he get for killing her?

The lawyer assured him that as the girl’s guardian he would not face capital punishment but at most 3 to 10 years in jail, Mr. Ashrafi’s relatives told an Iranian newspaper.

Three weeks later, Mr. Ashrafi, a 37-year-old farmer, marched into the bedroom where the girl was sleeping and decapitated her.

The so-called honor killing last month, in a small village in the rolling green hills of northern Iran, has shaken the country and set off a nationwide debate over the rights of women and children and the failure of the country’s social, religious and legal systems to protect them.

It has also prompted a me-too moment on social media of women pouring out their own stories of abuse at the hands of male relatives in hopes of shedding light on a problem that is usually kept quiet.

Minoo, a 49-year-old mother of two in Tehran, said her husband had beaten their 17-year-old daughter when he spotted her with a male friend in the street.

Hanieh Rajabi, a Ph.D. student in philosophy, tweeted that her father had lashed her with a belt and kept her out of school for a week because she had walked home from class to buy ice cream instead of taking the school bus.

Others shared stories of rape, physical and emotional abuse and running away from home in search of safety.

“There are thousands of Rominas who have no protection in this country,” tweeted Kimia Abodlahzadeh.

In many ways, women in Iran are better off than those in many other Middle Eastern countries.

Iranian women work as lawyers, doctors, pilots, film directors and truck drivers. They hold 60 percent of university seats and constitute 50 percent of the work force. They can run for office, and they hold seats in the Parliament and cabinet.

But there are restrictions. Women must cover their hair, arms and curves in public, and they need the permission of a male relative to leave the country, ask for a divorce or work outside the home.

Honor killings are thought to be rare but that may be because they are usually hushed up.

A 2019 report by a research center affiliated with Iran’s armed forces found that nearly 30 percent of all murder cases in Iran were honor killings of women and girls. The number is unknown, however, as Iran does not publicly release crime statistics.

Continue reading at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/07/world/middleeast/honor-killing-iran-women.html

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Hungary votes to end legal recognition of trans people

From The Guardian UK:  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/19/hungary-votes-to-end-legal-recognition-of-trans-people

Activists say new law will increase discrimination, especially as Hungarians must often display their ID cards

in Budapest
Tue 19 May 2020

Hungary’s parliament has voted to end legal recognition for trans people, passing a bill that rights activists say pushes the country “back towards the dark ages”.

The new law defines gender as based on chromosomes at birth, meaning previous provisions whereby trans people could alter their gender and name on official documents will no longer be available.

The votes of rightwing prime minister Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party pushed the legislation through by 134 to 56, with four abstentions. It is likely to be signed into law by the president, János Áder, a close ally of Orbán.

Although Orbán passed a bill during the coronavirus pandemic to allow him to rule indefinitely by decree, the transgender bill was part of a larger package of legislation that went through parliament in the normal way. It was proposed by the deputy prime minister on 31 March, International Transgender Day of Visibility, and amendments submitted by opposition parties were discarded one by one on Tuesday.

The law has been roundly condemned both at home and abroad. Bernadett Szél, an opposition MP who spoke out strongly against the bill in parliament, described it as evil.

Trans people and advocates say the bill will lead to increased discrimination against the community, especially as Hungarian daily life requires people to show their identity cards frequently. It also means that trans people will not be able to choose a name that fits with their identified gender, as Hungarian law requires first names to be chosen from a list kept by the country’s Academy of Sciences, which is sorted according to gender.

“It basically means coming out as trans to complete strangers, all the time,” Ivett Ördög, a 39-year-old trans woman living in Budapest, told the Guardian last month.

The Háttér Society, a Hungarian trans rights group, said on Tuesday that the law violated international human rights norms and went against the case law of the European court of human rights, as well as previous rulings of the Hungarian constitutional court.

Since 2017, legal gender changes in the country have effectively been frozen, and now the backlog of people waiting for the legal procedure will all be rejected, along with any new applicants. Because the new category will list “sex at birth”, there are also fears it could be used to target trans people who have already legally changed their gender.

Krisztina Tamás-Sáróy of Amnesty International said: “This decision pushes Hungary back towards the dark ages and tramples the rights of transgender and intersex people. It will not only expose them to further discrimination but will also deepen an already intolerant and hostile environment faced by the LGBTI community.”

Orbán’s government has increasingly used anti-LGBT rhetoric as part of a perceived culture war, and has made “traditional family values” a mainstay of many of its policies. The speaker of parliament, an Orbán ally, last year compared gay couples that adopt to paedophiles.

Black transgender man fatally shot by Florida police

From NBC News:  https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/black-transgender-man-fatally-shot-florida-police-n1218156

At least 11 transgender or gender nonconforming people have been killed this year, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

By Gwen Aviles
May 29, 2020

A black transgender man was fatally shot Wednesday by a police officer in Tallahassee, Florida — at least the third reported officer-involved shooting in Tallahassee in two months.

The victim, Tony McDade, 38, was identified as a suspect in a reported stabbing the morning of his death. Police said McDade fled the scene of the stabbing on foot before officers arrived, but they encountered McDade nearby shortly afterward.

According to police, McDade reportedly had a handgun and “made a move consistent with using the firearm” against an officer, prompting the officer to shoot McDade.

The Tallahassee Police Department said that it is investigating and that the officer, who was not identified, has been placed on administrative leave.

News of McDade’s death coincides with protests in Minneapolis over the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who died Monday after a white Minneapolis police officer pinned him to the ground and put his knee on his neck for about eight minutes. The officer was arrested Friday and charged with third-degree murder.

“When we say all Black lives matter, we mean ALL,” tweeted Black Visions Collective, a Minneapolis-based advocacy group working for racial justice. “Our hearts go out to Tony’s family and the Black people of Tallahassee.”

In a video posted to Facebook early Wednesday morning, less than 10 hours before the McDade shooting, McDade said he’d been attacked by a group of men and that he planned to fight back.

“It’s just Tony the Tiger all alone coming for your blood,” McDade said. “I am killing and going to be killed, because I will not go back into federal prison.”

McDade was released from prison in January after serving 10 years on federal charges of possessing firearms following felony convictions.

Though police and several local news reports referred to McDade as a “female,” McDade used he/him pronouns on Facebook, and local advocacy groups said he identified as a transgender man.

Equality Florida, a statewide LGBTQ advocacy organization, said McDade’s death further exemplifies that Florida is “an epicenter of anti-trans violence.” At least seven black transgender people were murdered in Florida over the last two years, according to the organization.

Following McDade’s death, the National Black Justice Coalition said the “tragic incident should be a reminder that hate crimes against Black LGBTQ” people happen “too frequently” and “often without the national public outcry that our cis and/or heteronormative brothers and sisters receive.”

“It is important to highlight the too often ignored violence that members of our community face in addition to the discrimination we may experience because we are Black,” the coalition said in a statement.”

At least 11 transgender or gender-nonconforming people have been fatally shot or killed by other means this year so far, according to the Human Rights Campaign, a national LGBTQ advocacy group.

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Protests in the Face of Racism and Fascism During an Epidemic

I stopped going to demonstrations that had any potential for violence or confrontation back in the early 1970s.

Any interaction with the Police that might possibly include arrest, which invariable results in severe emotional abuse and degradation along with the possibility of physical abuse, is not a situation I choose to put myself in.

Dare I say it.  I am afraid of the Police and rightfully so. I’m also old and walk slowly so running from danger is not an option.

These demonstrations are extremely dangerous.  We have a truly evil man in the White House who has pretty much given Police the authorization to use lethal force.

He is backed up by various ultra right wing paramilitary groups of thugs who want to start a race war.  One thing some seem to be doing in order to recognize each other is carrying an umbrella.  They are breaking windows and setting fires.  Many are armed and ready to kill people of color and liberals, progressives and people of the Left.  Numerous antisemitic incidents have been reported.

People…  Just last week we were sheltering in place to try to avoid infection with Covid 19. Trump was trying to prevent measures to allow voting by mail.

The right wing would like nothing better than to cancel the elections.

I am a gun owner.  Many people on the left don’t even have the shotgun or 9mm which I have for home defense.  Many of these people who are actively promoting a race war, they call the Boogaloo, are heavily armed and have practiced with those firearms.

Consider the risks before running into situations that may put your lives at risk from either violence or Covid 19.

I’m old I do my fighting with words and by voting.  I was young and crazy brave too once upon a time.  Don’t get killed or thrown in prison.  We need your votes come November.

Inclusion of Transgender Student Athletes Violates Title IX, Trump Administration Says

What happens if an F to M boy wants to participate in sports and is taking testosterone plus has had top surgery.  He has to compete against young women using this logic.

From The New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/29/us/connecticut-transgender-student-athletes.html

Three female high school students in Connecticut had challenged a scholastic sports policy that allows transgender athletes to compete against them in track.

By Michael Levenson and Neil Vigdor
May 29, 2020

A high school sports policy in Connecticut that allows transgender students to participate in athletics based on their gender identity violates federal law and could cost the state federal education funding, the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights has found.

The finding came after the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian organization (aka right wing Evangelical hate group), filed complaints against the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference and the Glastonbury school board on behalf of three high school student-athletes.

It was issued on May 15 but did not become public until Thursday. The policy is also being challenged in court. The students contended that the policy gave transgender students an unfair advantage in athletic competition and in the race for public recognition that is critical to college recruiting and scholarship opportunities.

The office said that, after an investigation, it had found that the policy violated Title IX, the 1972 federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in programs that receive federal funding.

By allowing transgender students to compete on female track teams, the policy “denied female student-athletes athletic benefits and opportunities, including advancing to the finals in events, higher level competitions, awards, medals, recognition, and the possibility of greater visibility to colleges and other benefits,” the office said.

The office gave the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, which governs high school athletics in the state — as well as school officials in Glastonbury, Bloomfield, Hartford, Cromwell, Canton and Danbury — 20 days to resolve the violation.

It said it would then begin the process of suspending, terminating or refusing to grant financial assistance to the association and the districts or refer the cases to the Justice Department for further action.

Transgender rights advocates denounced the finding, calling it another attempt by President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to trample civil rights for transgender youths.

In 2017, just weeks after the Trump administration took office, the Education and Justice Departments rescinded an Obama-era guidance document that informed schools that denying students access to bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity was a violation under Title IX.

Last year, a report by the liberal Center for American Progress found that students who said they had been discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or gender identity were significantly less likely to get relief from the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights under the Trump administration than they had been under the Obama administration.

“Today’s finding, which is not a legal ruling, represents another attack from the Trump administration on transgender students,” said Chase Strangio, deputy director for Trans Justice with the ACLU’s L.G.B.T. & H.I.V. Project. “Once again, the administration is wrong on the law, and we will continue to defend transgender students under Title IX and the Constitution. Trans students belong in our schools, including on sports teams, and we will not back down from this fight.”

Continue reading at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/29/us/connecticut-transgender-student-athletes.html

Anti-Semitism examined as a social virus in new PBS documentary

Tina and I watched this documentary earlier this week.  The following day I got into an argument with one of the “Anti-Zionist not antisemitic” tools.  Guess what he is petty much down with wiping out Israel and absolutely denies that Jews have any right to live there.  His labeling them as settler-colonialist only make sense if one ignores Jewish ancestral claims to Israel, which requires ignoring some 3500 years of history.  But listen to an “anti-Zionist no antisemite” for five minutes and you start seeing how much they have in common with the folks who say “I am not a racist, but…”

The film is available for streaming.

From The Times of Israel: https://www.timesofisrael.com/anti-semitism-examined-as-a-social-virus-in-new-pbs-documentary/

‘Viral: Antisemitism in Four Mutations’ looks at how hatred of Jews is treated, and spreads, like a virulent disease, and at how humanity can hope to combat it

By LAURA PAULL
27 May 2020

J. The Jewish News of Northern California via JTA — Any person who follows the news knows that anti-Semitism is on the rise around the world. As it has spread, so has our insight that this is a hatred with many faces, a many-headed monster fed by myths about Jews that will not die.

Its more violent manifestations — defacements of Jewish cemeteries, street attacks, armed assaults on Jewish institutions — are often referred to as “outbreaks,” as if anti-Semitism were a disease. Indeed, the phrase “virulent anti-Semitism” is often used to describe the manifold expressions of that ideology. And as with a contagious disease, humanity must marshal all its informational resources to have any hope of defeating it.

That is the concept of “Viral: Antisemitism in Four Mutations,” a probing new documentary making its television premiere May 26 on PBS.

“Our thought was that much of anti-Semitism spreads on the internet — it goes viral, in that sense,” director-producer Andrew Goldberg told J. recently. “But illness as a metaphor for anti-Semitism has been used for a long time.”

The film, which was in theaters briefly in February, opens with a black-and-white animation of what looks to be virus cell activity under a microscope.

“It started long ago … with a lie about the Jew,” the voiceover by actress Julianna Margulies explains. “The lie said the Jew was evil … conspiring … the enemy of God. The lie evolved and spread like a virus … and still does. Many don’t know they’re infected. Others don’t care. Some define themselves by it. The virus has endured for so long and spread so far because of its power to adapt and deceive. Of its thousands of mutations, this is the story of four.”

The film then launches into the first of four segments, looking at the American strain. In Pittsburgh, Goldberg examines the significance of the assault on the Tree of Life synagogue, then heads to North Carolina, where he engages with Russell Walker, an open racist and anti-Semite who got 37% of his district’s vote when he ran for the state House of Representatives in 2018.

Other segments examine state-sponsored anti-Semitism in Hungary under the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban; the rise of anti-Semitism in England within the leftist Labour Party under past leader Jeremy Corbyn; and beliefs about Jews among some North African immigrants in France. In the latter case, those beliefs have conjoined with growing disaffection with global capitalism among the French Left, resulting in an atmosphere harshly inhospitable to French Jews.

Goldberg travels to each of these locales to interview victims, witnesses, anti-Semites and experts — with his low-key, seemingly neutral style eliciting inside knowledge, alarm and, sometimes, acute pain.

A number of commentators are called upon to add information and perspective. This list includes former President Bill Clinton, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt, and journalists Fareed Zakaria, George Will and Yair Rosenberg of Tablet.

“Anti-Semitism is a conspiracy theory,” Lipstadt says of the penchant for anti-Semites to blame Jews for just about everything based on “the notion that there are forces more powerful than you.”

Continue reading at:  https://www.timesofisrael.com/anti-semitism-examined-as-a-social-virus-in-new-pbs-documentary/

No, Donald Trump, Americans are not dying to work – work may cause them to die

From The Guardian UK:  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/may/24/donald-trump-fox-news-sean-hannity-dying-to-work-coronavirus

The president, the Republican party and their Fox News cheerleaders care only for corporate profit


Sun 24 May 2020

Most of Europe and all 50 US states are in various stages of “reopening”. But why, exactly?

The pandemic is still with us. After the first tentative steps to ease the lockdown in Germany – the most successful large European country in halting the spread of the virus, thanks to massive testing – the disease has shown signs of spreading faster.

At least Germany is opening slowly and carefully, as is the rest of the EU.

By contrast, the US – with the highest number of deaths and most haphazard response to Covid-19 of any advanced nation – is opening chaotically, each state on its own. Some are lifting restrictions overnight.

Researchers expect the reopenings to cause thousands of additional deaths.

Two weeks after Texas’ governor, Greg Abbott, began reopening, the state experienced the single-highest rise in cases since the beginning of the pandemic. Since Nebraska reopened on 4 May, Covid-19 cases in Colfax county alone surged 1,390%.

Experts warn that Dallas, Houston, Florida’s Gold Coast, the entire state of Alabama and several other places in the south that have rapidly reopened their economies are in danger of a second wave of coronavirus infections over the next four weeks.

Last Monday, Ford reopened its large North American assembly plants. On Tuesday, it closed and reopened its Chicago Assembly plant twice in less than 24 hours, after two workers tested positive for Covid-19. On Wednesday, Ford temporarily shut its Dearborn, Michigan truck plant after an employee tested positive, then promptly resumed operations.

So why “reopen” so abruptly, when Covid-19 continues to claim lives?

The main reason given is to get the economy moving again. But this begs the question of why an economy exists in the first place, other than to promote the wellbeing of people within it.

Both Ford plants are vital to the company’s profitability, and that profitability is important to jobs in the midwest. But surely the wellbeing of Ford workers, their families, the people of Chicago and Dearborn and others are more important.

A related argument is that workers are clamoring to return to their jobs. “People want to get back to work,” Trump has asserted repeatedly. Fox News host Sean Hannity claims people are “dying to get back to work”, seemingly unaware of the irony of his words.

Polls suggest otherwise. Americans whose jobs require them to leave home express trepidation about doing so: 60% fear exposing their families to Covid-19.

Many Americans must return to work because they need the money, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Rich economies can support their people for years if necessary. During the second world war, America shut down most of its economy for nearly four years.

Continue reading at:  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/may/24/donald-trump-fox-news-sean-hannity-dying-to-work-coronavirus

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on No, Donald Trump, Americans are not dying to work – work may cause them to die

‘Believe All Women’ Is a Right-Wing Trap

I got over the idea that I had to believe everything anyone told me because of who they were by about the age of five or so.  That goes for politicians and professors, advertising and everyone else.  Individuals have varying levels of ethics and honesty.  You have to look at their histories to gauge probable levels of credibility.

Living your life by political slogans means setting aside your personal internal fact check.  People on the left can and often are just as stupid and dogmatic a herd of slogan regurgitating sheep as the Trumpster Tea Baggers.

From The New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/18/opinion/tara-reade-believe-all-women.html

How feminists got stuck answering for a canard.

By Susan Faludi
May 18, 2020

Joe Biden has been accused of sexual assault, and conservatives are having a field day, exultant that they’ve caught feminists in a new hypocrisy trap. A woman, with no corroboration beyond contemporaneous accounts, charges a powerful man with a decades-old crime? Hmm, doesn’t that sound mighty close to Christine Blasey Ford’s complaint against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh? Yet this time, many liberals who’ve championed the #MeToo movement seem skeptical?

Gotcha!

Tim Graham, executive editor of NewsBusters: “Where is the #MeToo movement on this story? What happened to their rigid ‘Believe All Women’ boilerplate?”

Fox News host Tucker Carlson: “the infuriating, the sickening hypocrisy of the media and the professional feminist movement. ‘Believe All Women!’ No they don’t.”

White House adviser Kellyanne Conway: “Three magic words, ‘Believe All Women.’ I didn’t hear an asterisk; I didn’t see a footnote, ‘Believe All Women so long as they are attacking somebody aligned with President Trump, Believe All Women so long as they are — have a college degree or better or are — are for abortion in the ninth month.’”

In fact, “Believe All Women” does have an asterisk: *It’s never been feminist “boilerplate.” What we are witnessing is another instance of the right decrying what it imagines the American women’s movement to be.

Spend some mind-numbing hours tracking the origins of “Believe All Women” on social media sites and news databases — as I did — and you’ll discover how language, like a virus, can mutate overnight. All of a sudden, yesterday’s quotes suffer the insertion of some foreign DNA that makes them easy to weaponize. In this case, that foreign intrusion is a word: “all.”

“All” insertion was all the rage during the Kavanaugh hearings. When senators from Kamala Harris to Mazie Hirono had their regard for Dr. Blasey’s credibility elevated by Fox News pundits to universal gender credulity, their actual words, “I believe her,” became believe all women. “That’s literally the hashtag,” former Fox News contributor Morgan Ortagus said in February 2019. “There’s a great search function on Twitter, and you can search the #BelieveAllWomen. For those of you who don’t believe that’s what the Democrats had in the case of Kavanaugh.”

Is there “literally” a hashtag? Well, kind of.

Meaningfully tracking hashtags on Twitter is a confounding chore, even for the professional data scrapers I consulted. “It’s a very interesting rabbit hole,” Pablo Morales Henry, digital archivist at Harvard University’s Schlesinger Library, which maintains a collection of more than 30 million MeToo-related tweets, told me.

Nevertheless, let’s take the Ortagus challenge. As she noted, Twitter has a search function that, while hardly “great,” does at least crudely reflect the site’s use — especially by its most popular users who are most likely to spread a hashtag far and wide. For instance, type in #BlackLivesMatter or #MakeAmericaGreatAgain” for 2016, and you get a bottomless well of references. Type in #BelieveAllWomen for 2017, when the #MeToo movement took off in October, and you get several dozen references, followed in 2018 (the year of the Kavanaugh hearings) by many more. But here’s the thing: I found that the hashtag is, by a wide margin, used mostly by its detractors.

Continue reading at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/18/opinion/tara-reade-believe-all-women.html

UK launches unprecedented attack on trans rights, will ban transition before 18

From Gay Star News:  https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/uk-launches-unprecedented-attack-on-trans-rights-will-ban-transition-before-18/

Statement appears to threaten trans bathroom access.

Tris Reid-Smith
Apr. 23 2020

Britain’s new Equality Minister Liz Truss has announced a major government policy change on trans rights, banning transition before the age of 18.

Her statement may also be the start of an attack on trans people being able to use the right bathrooms and changing rooms.

Truss made the statement to the UK Parliament’s Women and Equalities Select Committee. Her comments came as the UK Parliament got back to work yesterday with MPs speaking online from their homes.

In it, she said the government would finally be updating the Gender Recognition Act this summer.

The current law dates from 2004. And the Conservative government has been promising to update it for several years. They ran an extensive public consultation in 2018. But further progress stalled in 2019 as the UK parliament imploded over Brexit.

Trans people initially believed the act would make it easier to change gender. But since it went up for debate, new anti-trans voices have emerged in UK media and social media.

Truss’ statement on trans rights

Truss told the Women and Equalities Select Committee yesterday that they would be putting forward their plans for the Gender Recognition Act by the summer. She said:

‘There are three very important principles that I will be putting place.

‘First of all, the protection of single-sex spaces, which is extremely important.

‘Secondly making sure that transgender adults are free to live their lives as they wish without fear of persecution, whilst maintaining the proper checks and balances in the system.

‘Finally, which is not a direct issue concerning the Gender Recognition Act, but is relevant, making sure that the under 18s are protected from decisions that they could make, that are irreversible in the future.

‘I believe strongly that adults should have the freedom to lead their lives as they see fit, but I think it’s very important that while people are still developing their decision-making capabilities that we protect them from making those irreversible decisions.’

Continue reading at:  https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/uk-launches-unprecedented-attack-on-trans-rights-will-ban-transition-before-18/

“Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling continues support for extreme anti-transgender rhetoric

From LGBTQ Nation:  https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2020/05/harry-potter-author-j-k-rowling-continues-support-extreme-anti-transgender-tweets/

Rowling approved of a tweet that called a trans woman a “guy” who is “an adult human male who claims to be a lesbian.”

By
Monday, May 18, 2020

J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, is once again drawing criticism for liking anti-transgender rhetoric on Twitter.

Rowling, who has a strong Twitter presence, has liked transphobic tweets in the past, although her publicist said that the author clicked “like” by accident in a “clumsy and middle-aged moment.”

This past December, Rowling tweeted that “sex is real,” a common statement used by transphobes to imply that sex assigned at birth determines a person’s entire life, effectively erasing gender identity.

She used the hashtag #IStandWithMaya in that tweet, a reference to British anti-transgender activist Maya Forstater, who lost her job at a progressive organization for her statements about transgender women, including “men cannot change into women” and that transphobia against trans women only “hurts men’s feelings.”

Over the weekend, Rowling liked a tweet from anti-transgender activist Fred Sargeant. On Twitter, Sargeant frequently advocates that it’s “time to remove the T from same-sex advocacy groups” and that transgender women can’t be oppressed because they’re assigned male at birth.

The tweet in question wasn’t on a different topic. Sargeant wrote about Alex Drummond, a Welsh trans woman who has a beard, calling her “an adult human male who claims to be a lesbian.”

She “believes that real lesbians who aren’t into penises are transphobic and should be excluded from the lesbian community,” according to Sargeant, who misgendered her by calling her “this guy.”

Continue reading at:  https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2020/05/harry-potter-author-j-k-rowling-continues-support-extreme-anti-transgender-tweets/

 

Who Will Prosper After the Plague?

From The Tablet:  https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/kotkin-coronavirus-feudalism

The tech sector and the managerial class will get richer, while the rest of us become their serfs

by Joel Kotkin
April 13, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to widen even further the growing class divides now found in virtually every major country. By disrupting smaller grassroots businesses while expanding the power of technologies used in the enforcement of government edicts, the virus could further empower both the tech oligarchs and the “expert” class leading the national response to the crisis.

In our increasingly feudal society, the small property owning yeomanry who operate the local businesses essential to Los Angeles shopping streets, and New York neighborhoods are already under threat and will be squeezed further by both the pandemic and its aftermath. But even more hard-pressed will be the growing, propertyless serf class that includes laid-off workers and the roughly 50 to 60 million workers in essential jobs, notes a new report from Richard Florida, and of those, 35 to 40 million require close physical proximity as opposed to those who can retreat to safety behind their computers. Roughly 70% of these workers are in low-wage professions, such as food preparation, and often, despite their increased risk, often lack health insurance from their employers.

Plagues, such as in the 14th century, may have wiped out as much as one third of Europe’s population, and devastated great Renaissance trading cities. In the Middle Ages, the wealthy sought safety in their country estates, much like the affluent now fleeing major European and American cities. Diets and survival rates varied enormously between the upper and lower classes. As one 14th-century observer noted, the plague “attacked especially the meaner sort and common people—seldom the magnates.”

But the wreckage also created new opportunities for those left standing. Abandoned tracts of land could be consolidated by rich nobles, or, in some cases, enterprising peasants, who took advantage of sudden opportunities to buy property or use chronic labor shortages to demand higher wages. “In an age where social conditions were considered fixed,” historian Barbara Tuchman has suggested, the new adjustments seemed “revolutionary.”

What might such “revolutionary” changes look like in our post-plague society? In the immediate future the monied classes in America will take a big hit, as their stock portfolios shrink, both acquisitions and new IPOs get sidetracked and the value of their properties drop. But vast opportunities for tremendous profit available to those with the financial wherewithal to absorb the initial shocks and capitalize on the disruption they cause. As in 2016, politicians in both parties have worked hard in the new stimulus to get breaks for their wealthy constituents, whether they are big retail chains, rich California taxpayers, or, in some cases, themselves.

Over time, the crisis is likely to further bolster the global oligarchal class. The wealthiest 1% already own as much as 50% of the world’s assets, and according to a recent British parliamentary study, by 2030, will expand their share to two-thirds of the world’s wealth with the biggest gains overwhelmingly concentrated at the top 0.01%.

In an era defined by “social distancing,” with digital technology replacing the analog world, the tech companies and their financial backers will prove the obvious winners. In a sign of what’s to come, tech stocks have already soared.

The biggest long-term winner of the stay-at-home trend may well be Amazon, which is hiring 100,000 new workers. But other digital industries will profit as well, including food delivery services, streaming entertainment services, telemedicine, biomedicine, cloud computing, and online education. The shift to remote work has created an enormous market for applications, which facilitate video conferencing and digital collaboration like Slack—the fastest growing business application on record—as well as Google Hangouts, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams. Other tech firms, such as Facebook, game makers like Activision Blizzard and online retailers like Chewy, suggests Morgan Stanley, also can expect to see their stock prices soar as the pandemic fades and public acceptance of online commerce and at-home entertainment grows with enforced familiarity.

Continue reading at:  https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/kotkin-coronavirus-feudalism

Alcoholics Anonymous vs. Other Approaches: The Evidence Is Now In

I should have put this up sooner.  I’ve been totally vegging out, bingeing on Netflix and learning to bake bread.

AA works.  As of Dec 31 this year I will have been sober for 20 full years.

From The New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/11/upshot/alcoholics-anonymous-new-evidence.html

An updated review shows it performs better than some other common treatments and is less expensive.

By Austin Frakt and Aaron E. Carroll
March 11, 2020

For a long time, medical researchers were unsure whether Alcoholics Anonymous worked better than other approaches to treating people with alcohol use disorder. In 2006, a review of the evidence concluded we didn’t have enough evidence to judge.

That has changed.

An updated systematic review published Wednesday by the Cochrane Collaboration found that A.A. leads to increased rates and lengths of abstinence compared with other common treatments. On other measures, like drinks per day, it performs as well as approaches provided by individual therapists or doctors who don’t rely on A.A.’s peer connections.

What changed? In short, the latest review incorporates more and better evidence. The research is based on an analysis of 27 studies involving 10,565 participants.

The 2006 Cochrane Collaboration review was based on just eight studies, and ended with a call for more research to assess the program’s efficacy. In the intervening years, researchers answered the call. The newer review also applied standards that weeded out some weaker studies that drove earlier findings.

In the last decade or so, researchers have published a number of very high-quality randomized trials and quasi-experiments. Of the 27 studies in the new review, 21 have randomized designs. Together, these flip the conclusion.

“These results demonstrate A.A.’s effectiveness in helping people not only initiate but sustain abstinence and remission over the long term,” said the review’s lead author, John F. Kelly, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and director of the Recovery Research Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital. “The fact that A.A. is free and so widely available is also good news.

“It’s the closest thing in public health we have to a free lunch.”

Studies generally show that other treatments might result in about 15 percent to 25 percent of people who remain abstinent. With A.A., it’s somewhere between 22 percent and 37 percent (specific findings vary by study). Although A.A. may be better for many people, other approaches can work, too. And, as with any treatment, it doesn’t work perfectly all the time.

Rigorous study of programs like Alcoholics Anonymous is challenging because people self-select into them. Those who do so may be more motivated to abstain from drinking than those who don’t.

Unless a study is carefully designed, its results can be driven by who participates, not by what the program does. Even randomized trials can succumb to bias from self-selection if people assigned to A.A. don’t attend, and if people assigned to the control group do. (It may go without saying, but we’ll say it: It would be unethical to prevent people in a control group from attending Alcoholics Anonymous if they wanted to.)

Continue reading at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/11/upshot/alcoholics-anonymous-new-evidence.html