Nel's New Day

March 24, 2018

DDT: Week Sixty-one – Tweeting, Hiding from Protests

Late Friday evening has become the time for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) to drop bombs, usually in order to steer the media away from news that he doesn’t like. DDT’s news last night before the massive March for Our Lives gatherings today was to once again ban transgender military members in the military. His ban of several months ago has been overturned in court, but DDT executed an order supporting the new memo from Defense Secretary Jim Mattis that disqualifies U.S. troops who have had gender confirmation surgery because “military service requires sacrifice.” Transgender troops without surgery can stay if they have been medically stable for 36 consecutive months before joining the military or if they were diagnosed with gender dysphoria after President Obama’s end of the ban in 2016. Four lawsuits are already opposing DDT’s earlier ruling.

Facebook’s providing Cambridge Analytica with data consumed much of the news during the past week. Clips of C.A.’s officials were caught on a hidden camera explaining their blackmail to put conservative candidates into office. Last Sunday, CBS reported that DDT’s campaign never used any data from Cambridge Analytica, but suspended C.A. CEO president Alexander Nix disagreed, saying that C.A. put DDT the winner in the presidential election. Brad Parscale, DDT’s current campaign director, worked with C.A. to turn women and black voters against Hillary Clinton with fake stories.

Worse news from C.A.: key players have a new company, Emerdata, with C.A. primary funder Robert Mercer’s daughters, C.A.’s suspended CEO Alexander Nix as director, C.A.’s chief data officer Alexander Tayler, and Julian Wheatland, chairman of Cambridge Analytica parent firm SCL Group. Connected to Emerdata is Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater and now chairing the private security firm operating mostly in Africa. Prince is the brother of Secretary of State Betsy DeVos. George Nadar, who organized a meeting in the Seychelles between Erik Prince and a high-level Russian banker to set up a secret DDT-Russia back channel, has been granted immunity and is now singing to Mueller. Before he became FBI Director, discovered that Prince had probably broken the law by trying to sell secretly modified paramilitary attack aircraft to Azerbaijan’s military.

DDT’s keeps tweeting continual denial that “there was no collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), minority leader of the House Intelligence Committee, responded:

“Mr. President, the Committee reached no such conclusion — only Republicans. In fact, we did find evidence of collusion, despite GOP members being more interested in protecting you than learning the truth. When accusing others of lying, best not to misrepresent facts yourself.”

DDT’s increasingly frantic tweets about Mueller indicates that he is closing in on the truth about DDT’s corruption, fraud, and Russian collusion. The messages from DDT, stuck in the White House for last weekend, hit a new high for him, and desperate aides took him to a golf course after the Sunday morning tweet storm. DDT came back with more vituperative tweets by Wednesday.

Excited about Vladimir Putin’s being “re-elected” for another six years, DDT called the dictator to congratulate him, ignoring warnings from his national security advisers. Briefing materials stated “DO NOT CONGRATULATE” and condemn the recent poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) tweeted:

“An American president does not lead the Free World by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections. And by doing so with Vladimir Putin, President Trump insulted every Russian citizen who was denied the right to vote in a free and fair election.”

DDT took pride in being on good terms with the Russian president and not bringing up anything negative such as the Kremlin’s murders and meddling in the U.S. elections. Republicans such as retiring Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) treated DDT’s turning his belly up to Russia as the new normal. Videos showed ballot-stuffing at polling stations; earlier, viable candidates were either arrested on sham charges or killed. The story escalated when DDT became furious about his actions becoming public, and he is again determined to discover who did the leaking, calling it criminal.

Although the White House staff does not work for him personally, DDT has required them to sign “non-disclosure” agreements with threats if they reveal anything about him. Earlier DDT failed to force reporters to sign NDAs when they traveled with VP Mike Pence. As rumors run rampant, some people think that Chief of Staff John Kelly is behind the leaking because of past inappropriate statements to the press. DDT took pride in being on good terms with the Russian president and not bringing up anything negative such as the Kremlin’s murders and meddling in the U.S. elections.

More revelations about Russia’ interference in the U.S. elections:

The hacker that stole Democratic National Committee emails, Guccifer 2.0, was “an officer of Russia’s military intelligence directorate (GRU),” connecting the hack to the Kremlin.

Andrew McCabe, fired by the DOJ with the blessing of AG Jeff Sessions, had authorized a criminal investigation into Sessions last year because he “lacked candor when testifying before Congress about contacts with Russian operatives.” Sessions said under oath that he had no contacts with any Russian officials during the campaign until he began to remember that he talked to the Russian ambassador twice. After Mueller was appointed as special investigator, McCabe’s investigation moved on to him. Other Sessions’ “lack of candor” comes from his claim under oath to the House Judiciary Committee that he “pushed back against a suggestion to meet with Russians during DDT’s campaign. Three people have told investigator Robert Mueller that Sessions never objected to arranging a meeting with Russia. Emails show that DDT’s campaign urged George Papadopoulos to reach out for a “partnership with Russia.” Although Sessions recused himself from all things Russian, he fired McCabe to defend DDT from Mueller’s Russian investigation. Former Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) has written a thought-provoking description of Sessions’ “lack of candor.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has called for a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about McCabe’s firing. Even Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said that McCabe should have been allowed to finish his last 26 hours.

As GOP congressional leadership shy away from protecting the investigation into the Russian scandal, the conservative WashPo chides their refusal to declare Robert Mueller off-limits from DDT’s firing machine:

“The president treats government as purely a tribal battle between one side and the other and expects public servants to put loyalty to him before loyalty to country or the rule of law. Republican congressional leaders should not remain complicit in this debasement.”

Columnist Eugene Robinson wrote:

“If Trump does try to fire Mueller, [Ryan] and [McConnell] should get much of the blame. They have given Trump no reason to believe they will ever stand up to him.”

This past week, DDT hosted Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), who gained his new position in a coup that involved torture and imprisonment of his family members. Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and national security adviser H.R. McMaster expressed concerns about the relation of Jared Kushner, DDT’s son-in-law, with MBS who bragged about having Kushner “in his pocket.” MBS may also have used classified information from DDT’s daily briefings to determine who MBS imprisoned. Tillerson and McMaster are gone; Kushner remains in the White House, and the Senate failed to stop the U.S. part in a bloody, three-year war in Yemen. Despite a bipartisan effort, 45 GOP and 10 Democratic senators voted to continue its support for Saudi Arabia’s bombing missions.

With Jared Kushner head of his family business, it filed at least 80 false applications for construction permits in a three-year period ending in 2016 lying about the rent-regulated tenants in its buildings to make it easier to push them out and sell a building with higher rents.

The Dow Jones index dropped 1,460 points this past week after the Feds raised the prime rate a quarter of a percent, Facebook suffered from public knowledge that it provided information to Cambridge Analytica, and DDT escalated the trade war by placing tariffs on $60 billion of Chinese goods and limiting China’s freedom to invest in U.S. tech. China threatened tariffs on $3 billion in U.S. goods, most of them agricultural, hitting the states that voted for DDT. The 1930 Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act may be a harbinger of our future. Yet DDT caved on most of his steel and aluminum tariffs, exempting countries for two-thirds of steel and over half of aluminum imports.

Capping the week was March for Our Lives, a movement by young people protesting unlimited gun ownership with the message “Enough Is Enough.” Millions of people, almost one million just in Washington, D.C., marched around the world with 800 different protests in the United States alone. DDT escaped to Mar-a-Lago before the event this morning, detouring around any protesters on his way back from the golf course. Most legislators went home yesterday immediately after a $1.3 trillion spending bill passed Congress. [Above: the view from the Washington, D.C. stage.]

Two GOP congressional members gave lukewarm praise for the young people although Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) misrepresented their mission. Others idly commented about sports, farmers, and praise for the spending bill and tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. Democrats were seen attending the marches. For the first time in almost two decades, more people have a negative view of the NRA than positive, according to a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. It found that 37 percent see the NRA in a positive light with 44 percent viewing it negatively. The greatest drop came from white married women.

August 23, 2017

Our Dark Week

Filed under: Discrimination — trp2011 @ 10:34 PM
Tags: , , , , , ,

This week was one of darkness. On Monday, people rejoiced across the country with the morning eclipse as millions of people looked up through their special lenses so that they would not permanently damage their eyes by looking at the sun. Thousands of others most likely may suffer from some physical damage because they ignored the instructions to not stare at the sun without these glasses. Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) was one who ignored these directions—six times.

If you still have your funky glasses, you can recycle them with Astronomers without Borders. They are collecting these glasses to sent to children in Asia and South America in 2019. Mail them to the organization’s corporate sponsor: Explore Scientific, 621 Madison Street, Springdale, AR 72762

The joy from the eclipse was short-lived. That evening DDT gave his first prime-time speech to announce what he calls his “strategy” for the war in Afghanistan. After calling the war a waste for several years, he decided that war is good and President Obama’s attempt to wind it down is bad. DDT spent 27 minutes with the message that the U.S. will be at war forever but he can’t say anything specific. He’s turning over all the decisions to the military—those generals he earlier said are dumber than he is. Goading both Pakistan, which DDT says is not civilized, and India, who he says should give aid to Pakistan, DDT claimed both of them are the biggest terrorist threats in the world although neither country is on the travel ban. DDT refuses to appoint any diplomats and plans to vastly increase finances for killing people in the world and spending more money on “the nuclear.”

DDT clearly plans to loot Afghanistan of its wealth in minerals. Hamdullah Mohib, Afghanistan’s ambassador to the U.S., said:

“President Trump is keenly interested in Afghanistan’s economic potential. Our estimated $1 trillion in copper, iron ore, rare earth elements, aluminum, gold, silver, zinc, mercury and lithium.”

The reason behind the speech’s timing is unknown although he could be trying to rescue is badly sagging approval ratings. The verbiage and approach were similar to that of George W. Bush when he declared his preemptive war. DDT had no new ideas except perhaps his goal to negotiate with the Taliban. Founder of privatized military Blackwater and sister of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Erik Prince, called DDT’s “strategy” an “Obama-lite policy.” Many people agree with Prince, but he may be suffering from sour grapes because he wanted to operate a privatized military in Afghanistan. Breitbart, run by the deposed White House strategist and white supremacist Steve Bannon, demonstrated hostility toward DDT’s speech by describing the proposed surge as giving in to national security adviser H.R. McMaster and the other national security officials. The Telegraph agreed:

“If Donald Trump sounded presidential on Afghanistan it is because he is repeating his predecessors’ mistakes.”

No mention was made of Russia, who may be providing physical support for the Taliban. With his speech on Tuesday, however, DDT now owns the wars in the Middle East, no matter what their results.

The Afghan War:

  • 104,000: people killed in armed conflict since 2001, including over 31,000 civilians.
  • 26,512: civilians killed after troop surge in 2009 (48,931 injured).
  • 8,400: U.S. military members in Afghanistan.
  • 2,394: U.S. military casualties, including the 44 killed after the official “end” in 2014.
  • 22,100: Pakistani civilians killed, including 2,000-3,800 from U.S. drone strikes since 2015 and 40,000 wounded.
  • 1.4 million: Pakistani refugees from violence.
  • $1 trillion: direct costs to war in Afghanistan including medical services for wounded veterans.
  • $1 trillion: federal costs for treating wounded veterans from military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Pakistan by 2053.
  • $4.8 trillion: total price tag for U.S. operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria since 2001.
  • $453 billion: interest as of 2014 on debt to pay for wars with another $7.9 trillion added to the national debt by 2053.
  • $110 billion: humanitarian relief and reconstruction in Afghanistan.
  • 58 percent of $13.3 billion: USAID funds on reconstruction to only ten contractors despite complaints about delays and cost overruns as well as lies about improvements including students in U.S.-funded schools at 70 percent lower than these claims.
  • 54 percent: defense share of U.S. discretionary budget with DDT’s request to increase it to 63 percent in 2017 and 68 percent in 2018.

The Fox network expressed great admiration for this speech contributed by DDT’s generals and read somewhat competently from the teleprompter. That was Monday. Last night DDT gave another campaign rally in Phoenix (AZ) to throw red meat to his ever-shrinking base. Any positive remarks from the media press—about half of them—could be summarized with the common statement that “Trump was Trump.”

DDT outdid himself in lying as he relitigated the media response to his racist remarks after the protests at Charlottesville (VA). His 30-minute tirade against the media completely distorted his statements as he read only portions of his reaction. Gone were comments about the protesters against racism, who he called the “alt-left,” being “very violent” and placing “blame on both sides.” DDT had frequently repeated the accusation of their being “very violent.” Also missing for last night’s speech were his descriptions of some white supremacist marchers as “very fine people.”

DDT’s threats:

  • Close down government if Congress doesn’t approve his wall. [Mexico must be off the hook for the cost because DDT wants taxpayers to pony up the tens of billions of dollars.]
  • Terminate NAFTA.
  • Pardon law-breaking former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio in the future. [DDT said he wouldn’t pardon “Sheriff Joe” at his speech because he didn’t want to cause any problems. “I’ll make a prediction. He’s going to be just fine.” Wink, wink. Left: Arpaio campaigning for DDT.]

 

 

More DDT lying assertions:

  • CNN quit the rally. [Their cameras stayed on for the entire show.]
  • CNN is at an all-time low. [CNN is at a five-year high.]
  • CNN shouldn’t have fired “poor Jeffrey Lord” who tweeted “Sieg Heil!” at a prominent liberal activist.
  • Only Fox and Sean Hannity are honest media.
  • DDT drained the swamp. [No mention of the large number of billionaires benefiting from DDT’s administration, especially the Goldman Sachs coterie.]
  • Racism was worse with Barack Obama as president. [Perhaps DDT sees a stronger white supremacy since his inauguration?]
  • Kim Jong-Un “respected” his words of fire and fury. [North Korea has threatened “merciless retaliation” this week.]
  • DDT has a new coal mine that cleans coal.
  • About the journalists: “[DDT]went to a better school than them. I live in a bigger, more beautiful apartment than [the journalists] do.”
  • DDT’s claimed that very few people were outside overlooked several thousands of people. Police pepper spray and tear gas dispersed the crowd.
  • The image showing huge crowds in the streets for DDT was actually one of the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers parade.
  • And more.

DDT vigorously criticized both Arizona senators and came close to endorsing Kelli Ward over Sen. Jeff Flake in 2018 while bragging that he wouldn’t mention them by name. Ward ran against McCain last year. She sees chemtrails behind jets as a government plot to poison people, Arizona’s GOP senator John McCain as responsible for ISIS,  the UN having an agenda to move rural people to cities, Common Core standards turning children into slaves, foreign powers sending troops to subdue U.S. citizens, “polio-like illnesses” from undocumented people shipped throughout the nation, mysterious helicopters spotted in Arizona, and martial law. [Maybe she knows DDT’s plans on the last one.] She also described her time on the Cliven Bundy ranch in 2014 to visit with the Oathkeepers as a “family friendly” event.

Another strange piece of DDT’s speech came from the careful placement of a black man behind DDT waving the sign “BLACKS FOR TRUMP 2020.” Maurice Symonette believes that “ISIS and Hillary race war plot to kill all black & white women of America.” He has a fixation with the evil Cherokees, beginning with a demand that they pay taxes and continuing that they are the “real KKK masters.” You can read his rants on his website.  Another of his favorite websites. Symonette was praised by Glenn Beck, opened a Rick Santorum rally, and accused Barack Obama of trying to assassinate him.

DDT’s speech brought out open discussions on many media outlets pondering DDT’s mental instability. Even past friend and GOP Joe Scarborough (The Morning Show) joined in the criticism:

“This was a hateful, derisive speech. It was a frightening speech. He sounded like an autocrat trying to dehumanize his allies.”

Don Lemon began his memorable reaction by calling the speech “a total eclipse of the facts.”

Former intelligence chief James Clapper, who has worked for every president until DDT since John F. Kennedy, questioned DDT’s fitness for office, especially with his access to the nuclear codes.

DDT did not address the five injured and ten missing or dead sailors lost in the latest collision between a Navy ship and a merchant ship at any of his speeches. His first response when he was told about the tragedy was “that’s too bad.”

Today has stayed dark. DDT preached love and unity for all, including the military, both on Monday in his “strategy” speech and this afternoon at an American Legion convention audience in Reno (NV) when he signed a bill streamlining the appeal process on disability for veterans. He also sent a memo to the Pentagon to give Secretary of Defense James Mattis six months to enforce the transgender ban cited in DDT’s tweets, an act that leaders of the military branches oppose. Mattis will be in charge of deciding whether transgender service members are to be thrown out of the military. “This is NOT how you keep America safe,” Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), minority leader, tweeted. The ban reverses a one-year policy allowing transgender people to serve openly in the military. Five transgender service members, including veterans of recent wars, are suing DDT for violation of their rights to due-process and equal protection under the law.

The question now is whether transgender veterans will have any benefits. And whether immigrants who served honorably in the military will continue to be deported.

June 5, 2016

Conservative Governments Push Christianity with Taxpayer Funds

North Carolina’s law that forces all communities to maintain the lowest minimum wage and discriminate against veterans gained fame for keeping transgender people from the restrooms and other facilities that match their gender identities. Far-right religious conservative leaders are taking pride in proclaiming their determination to keep their version of Christianity in laws. For example, that state’s Lt. Gov. Dan Forest made the following statement on a far-right conspiracy theorist’s radio show. He justified HB2, the discriminatory measure, because “we have a lack of moral compass in our country right now, we’ve taken our eyes off God in America, we have turned our back on God, we have forgotten God in a lot of ways, so the moral compass is broken here.”

Forest continued by explaining that these discriminatory laws “discriminate against behavior, not against people.” He compares them to traffic laws: “If I want to go out and drive 95 miles an hour down the interstate in North Carolina because I feel like doing that, I don’t have the right to do that. It doesn’t mean the law is discriminating against me, it’s discriminating against my behavior of wanting to drive 95.” His logic is problematic: traffic laws aren’t created because people have “turned their backs on God.” The other piece of his illogical statement is that a car’s speed has nothing to do with a person’s sexual orientation or identity. Forrest also blamed the media for the entire controversy.

Phil Bryant, governor of Mississippi, is also busy defending his state’s new discriminatory law:  “About 60 days ago, it seemed as if all of the secular, progressive world had decided they were going to pour their anger and their frustration—their friends in the media willingly joining with them to bring all that they could upon the governor of the state…  How dare them [sic]. How dare them [sic].” He finished by stating that he was willing to be crucified for his beliefs against transgender people using the appropriate bathrooms.

In Iowa, Gov. Terry Branstad signed a proclamation in April encouraging “all Iowans” to participate in a statewide Bible-reading marathon, a declaration that the ACLU argues is unconstitutional. The marathon is scheduled for four days starting on June 30 and located in front of all 99 state courthouses. The declaration also states that “the Bible is recognized as the one true revelation from God” and that  “I, Terry E. Branstad, Governor of the State of Iowa, do hereby encourage all Iowans to read through the bible on a daily basis each year until the Lord comes.” The “Lemon test” for constitutionality, taken from the 1971 case Lemon v. Kurtzman , establishes three criteria for government action:

  1. Does the government action have a secular purpose?
  2. Does the government action have the primary effect of advancing or inhibiting religion?
  3. Does the government action foster an excessive entanglement between government and religion?

Violation of any one of the above violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment which prohibits the promotion of one religion over another. Both Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas objected to the Lemon test, but Scalia is gone from the court.

Mike Robertson, the mayor of Beebe (AR), has selected the celebration of the nation in its freedom from religious and other domination by Britain, to pay for a gospel band at the 4th of July festivity. His letter encouraging people to attend the concert read in part: “Their goal for the evening is to usher in the presence of god and to celebrate the Christian message. They feel privileged and honored to enjoy the freedom to honor Christ with any and all of their abilities.” Robertson’s justification of using taxpayer funds for a religious concert is that people can just stay home if they don’t approve.

Two years ago, Beebe approved a small temple in a garage, thinking that it was Christian, but then falsely claimed the zoning laws would prevent worship on that property after they found out that the temple would be pagan. Robertson’s justification of using taxpayer funds for a religious concert is that people can just stay home if they don’t approve. Beebe is also the town of under 10,000 where tens of millions of blackbirds have died in multiple years, possibly because of its fireworks during a temperature inversion. Or maybe God-created events against the city’s bigotry.

Not every government rejects all religions except Christianity. Philadelphia has followed New York City in adding two Muslim holy days to the school calendar. Students will be given the days off for Eid al-Fitr, celebrated following the month-long observance of Ramadan, and Eid al-Adha, which marks the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham in Judaism and Christianity) to sacrifice his son for God.  In the upcoming school year, Eid al-Adha falls on September 13 and Eid al-Fitr on June 25, a Sunday.

The 2016-2017 Philadelphia school calendar has already been drafted so students and staff who wish to celebrate the two holidays will have excused absences. After that the Philadelphia school district will send the holiday dates to the School Reform Commission, which oversees Philadelphia’s public schools. These holidays vary each year as Muslims follow a Lunar calendar. Philadelphia is also exploring how to make the two holy days city holidays.

bible emoji

My favorite story of today! Emojis have popped up—briefly—almost everywhere, but they may have hit the ultimate location—the Bible.  Now available is the newest bible translation, Bible Emoji: Scripture 4 Millennials. This project follows The Twible: All the Chapters of the Bible in 140 Characters or Less … Now with 68% More Humor, published in 2013. Jana Riess’s four-year project translates the holy book into tweets; she sent out one tweet per chapter every day.

The creator of Bible Emoji used the translation engine Lingo Jam to automatically translate all 66 books of the Bible. The person chose about 80 emojis from Unicode and 200 corresponding words, linking each with words that are often repeated in the Bible. About 15 percent of the total character count of the biblical text was replaced with modern slang.

The anonymous author of the emoji version who represents himself or herself on Twitter, @emojiBible, shows God as a smiley face. The six-month project had a few glitches. One respondent suggested that the author might be wrong in emojing  “in the beginning angels created the stars & the earth.”

The emoji bible is an excellent example of how Western culture tries to colonize Africa, South America, and the Inuit communities. The bible emoji for prayer hands fails to represent cultures that pray without outstretched hands, and emojis of supernatural figures—angels, the devil, the halo, etc.—are pop Western cultural depictions.

Someday, texting will be passe, and people will communicate completely with emojis. Unfortunately, miscommunication will most likely be even more rampant as opposite little critters can look almost exactly alike. The same thing may happen in the emoji bible.

November 6, 2015

The Bathroom Issue

Houston LGBT people lost some of their rights after last Tuesday’s election because radical conservatives claimed that the city ordinance would allow men to go into women’s bathrooms and molest little girls. The city’s Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) would have prevented discrimination on the basis of race, age, military status, disability and 11 other categories. The vote shows great ignorance about transgender people as Kelly Lauren pointed out in her photo on Facebook with the caption “Houston, do you REALLY want me in the same restroom as your husband or boyfriend?” Matthew Mills show this photo for a class project.

husband bathroom

Lauren also wrote:

“I am 54 years old and have been performing for about 37 years as a drag entertainer. “I am transgender… The picture was taken several months ago but I reposted it when all of this nonsense happened… All I have to say is that I would get in way more trouble in the men’s room than I could ever possibly in the women’s restroom because I am THAT kind of girl! [laughs]”

Joni Rodgers wrote this for the Houston Chronicle:

 “Skewing Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) as the “Bathroom Ordinance” was the latest ultra-conservative pitch for preserving their sacred right to hate on LGBT folks. The ordinance in no way authorizes men to use the ladies’ room. None of this is about the ladies’ room. Or the men’s room. It’s about the straw man’s room.”

no men in women's

Two men carrying signs outside Rodgers’ polling place, claimed that they were standing up for her rights as a woman. When she said that she had previously had a penis, one of them said, “You’re not a woman. You’re a pervert!” He decided that if she were a woman that she would have had bigger breasts. Rodgers said:

“So now I’m required to have large breasts to use the women’s room? What’s the minimum cup size? What if I’m a woman who’s had a mastectomy? Or what if I’m just a hippie chick who doesn’t wear a bra? How do you plan to enforce this policy if you can’t tell the difference?”

The man claimed that “God can tell the difference!” Rodgers asked if God was supposed to monitor the lady’s room. “Like he doesn’t have enough to do?”

Rodgers concluded:

“The ‘Bathroom Ordinance’ mentality is not about anything you’re doing wrong. It’s not even about who you are. It’s about who some stranger thinks you are. And some people think anyone who doesn’t fit the standard gender template is to be hated and feared.

“I wish I had a dime for every time I was called “sir” when I was in chemo. Perfectly understandable. I have the height of a supermodel, but I’m not stacked like one. I was bald as a grapefruit. My skin was too sensitive for any kind of makeup, and because I was in misery, I dressed for comfort, frequently wearing Gary’s oversized shirts with baggy cargo pants. I was aware of some stink-eye glances, but I was never genuinely afraid to use the ladies’ room. I wouldn’t feel that way today.

“I am not for a moment co-opting the disenfranchisement experienced by people who actually are trans or cisgender. I’m saying the promotion of ignorance and hate forces all of us to live in a city that is less generous, welcoming and intelligent than it should be.”

I recognize that the proposed HERO was about so much more than using a bathroom, but the focus of the battle against the ordinance was all about the bathroom. It is just the tip of the iceberg of discrimination against LGBT people. These photos show why the argument used to fight these rights is totally ridiculous. The bathroom police need to figure out that the transgender males below should be allowed to use the appropriate–male–bathroom.

man with two womentrans man in cowboy hatman in baseball hat

December 22, 2012

Reviews on DMS-V Mixed

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) from the American Psychiatric Association has been the bible of its treatment for six decades, with the most recent edition to be released in May 2013. DSM-V has made a number of changes in definition, including the loss of Asperger’s syndrome when it was shifted to a form of autism and the addition of hoarding and binge eating as psychiatric disorders.

Within the LGBT community, however, the biggest buzz has been the change of “Gender Identity Disorder,” referring to transgender people, to “Gender Dysphoria,” described as “a persistent discomfort with gender role or identity.” In addition, GD is supposed to be placed in a chapter of its own, no longer linked with sexual dysfunctions and paraphilias (non-normative causes of sexual arousal), which will also have chapters of their own.

Earlier this year, the APA also released new health guidelines for transgender patients and a position statement affirming transgender care and civil rights.  Both documents align with a new standard for respecting trans people in the medical community.

Since the DSM-III first used the term “disorder” for trans people in 1980, many in the trans community have pointed out that the term doesn’t fit them because it is associated with symptoms that impede people from living their lives fully and which encroach on their overall well-being. Although gender appearance and identity mismatch may cause trans people depression and anxiety, gender realignment intervention can change that.

The GID diagnosis has been used to discriminate against trans people because the word “disorder” is seen as a descriptor for someone who is mentally ill.  In one legal case, according to San Francisco psychiatrist Dan Karasic, a trans woman from Utah benefits from the change to GD. Because she is trans, a lawyer has argued that her GID is a “severe, chronic mental illness that might be harmful to the child” who she fathered before her transition. The change from GID to GD may help her, but the fact that gender identification appears at all in the DSM-V continues the stigma for this community.

A problem with the change from GID to GD arises in preserving and increasing access to medical treatment; insurance companies are more willing to cover expenses if they view treatment as medically necessary rather than what they consider cosmetic. For transgender prisoners, the shift from a GID diagnosis may cause them to lose access to hormones, surgery, and other trans health care. Benefits don’t necessarily come from only a GID diagnosis, but it can be important when combined with other issues.

While the DSM-V may have moved forward on the issue of transgender, it moved backwards by changing “Transvestic Fetishism” to “Transvestic Disorder.” This makes the unscientific assumption that any social irregularity from occasional cross-dressing to transitioning into another gender is “motivated by a sexual obsession to see themselves as the opposite sex … used to justify shame-based ex-trans therapy and stigmatize all forms of gender variation among all sexes and all sexual orientations.” according to

Because Transvestic Disorder has been placed in the sexual disorders chapter, it is grouped with paraphilic diagnoses such as pedophilia and exhibitionism. Authored by Dr. Raymond Blanchard of the Toronto Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (formerly called the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry), “this punitive and scientifically capricious category maligns many gender variant people, including transsexual women and men, as mentally ill and sexually deviant, purely on the basis of nonconforming gender expression,” according to trans activist Kelley Winters. She also wrote, “It is written to promote Blanchard’s unfounded theories of ‘autogynephilia’ and ‘autoandrophilia’ that conflate social and medical gender transition with fetishism.” Sponsored by the International Foundation for Gender Education (IFGE), an online petition calling for the removal of this harmful diagnosis from the DSM has garnered thousands of signatures.

It appears that DSM-V giveth and it taketh away. On one hand, gender dysphoria may align DSM-V with current moves to affirm trans identity, but on the other, concerns over Tranvestic Disorder’s broad and damaging nature may undercut the good found in the first change.

Experts in the field of psychiatry are concerned about the influence of this volume. Ron Rosenbaum wrote about the DSM in “The Gonzo Neurologist,” an article about Oliver Sacks in the December 2012 edition of The Smithsonian:  “[The DSM’s] supposedly objective quantifiable ‘criteria’ for mental illness … [reshapes] the way we think about what is ‘normal’ and what is ‘malfunctioning’ … because the health insurance industry demands a certifiable DMS diagnosis from a psychiatrist before it will agree to subsidize payment for medication and treatment.”

Sacks compares the use of the DMS in diagnosis to using “a sledgehammer rather than a scapel, obliterating questions such as what is the difference between ‘justified’ sadness and clinical depression.”

The British Psychological Society in the United Kingdom has an equally harsh response, stating that it has “more concerns than plaudits”. Like Sacks, the Society criticized proposed diagnoses as “clearly based largely on social norms, with ‘symptoms’ that all rely on subjective judgements … not value-free, but rather reflect[ing] current normative social expectations.” Other doubts about the reliability, validity, and value of existing criteria are that personality disorders were not normed on the general population. In addition, “not otherwise specified” categories covered a “huge” 30% of all personality disorders.

The Society also expressed concerns that “clients and the general public are negatively affected by the continued and continuous medicalization of their natural and normal responses to their experiences … which demand helping responses, but which do not reflect illnesses so much as normal individual variation.” It suggested a change from using “diagnostic frameworks” to a description based on an individual’s specific experienced problems, exploring mental disorders as part of a spectrum shared with normality.

Another criticism came from Robert Spitzer, the head of the DSM-III task force, concerned because the APA mandated that DSM-V task force members sign a nondisclosure agreement, effectively conducting the whole process in secret. Later the APA instituted a disclosure, but many people believe the process is not transparent enough and doesn’t protect against industry influence.

In a Point/Counterpoint article, Lisa Cosgrove, PhD and Harold J. Bursztajn, MD noted that “the fact that 70% of the task force members have reported direct industry ties—an increase of almost 14% over the percentage of DSM-IV task force members who had industry ties—shows that disclosure policies alone, especially those that rely on an honor system, are not enough and that more specific safeguards are needed.”

Those who don’t need to worry about employment, housing, insurance, benefits in prison, etc. are safe from the decisions of codification in the DSM-V. But those who lack this freedom, including young people, will need an understanding psychiatrist to survive its ramifications.

April 28, 2011

Transgender Woman Beaten

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 3:18 PM
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What would you do if you saw someone getting beaten up in a restaurant where you were eating? Ignore it? Stare? Or jump in and try to stop it? All those things happened last week when two young women, ages 18 and 14, assaulted a 22-year-old woman. In this case assault means punching her in the nose, ripping her earrings out of the lobes, throwing her on the floor, kicking her in the face, and spitting on her—before dragging her across the floor. They stopped when the bloody 22-year-old went into an epileptic seizure and an older woman intervened. All this because the 22-year-old is a transgender woman.

Meanwhile a McDonald’s employee filmed the assault with the sound of people, some of them other employees, cheering on the assailants. The video was subsequently posted to the Internet, and the employee justified the assault because the beaten woman “was a man dressed like a woman.” A week after the assault, he was fired, but change.org is asking people to sign a petition asking that McDonald’s hold all the employees who witnessed the event and did nothing to be held accountable–something that has not happened yet.

Vicky Thoms, the 55-year-old witness who tried to help the woman beaten at a McDonald’s, was also pushed and punched when she tried to stop the two young women. The only person who tried to help the victim, Thoms is also recovering from a back injury. At a rally last Monday night outside the McDonald’s, she said she was overwhelmed by the positive response from people, that strangers came up to her and hugged her.

The 22-year-old victim said that she had gone into the Rosedale McDonald’s to use the bathroom immediately before the two teen-aged girls attacked her. She called this a hate crime. We agree although the police are still not sure.

The assailants are being kept in jail without bond. The older one had attacked another woman in the same McDonald’s last year. The judge asked her why she was accused of only assault—why not attempted murder.

This assault happened in Rosedale, Maryland, the state in which the Senate failed to vote on a bill that would give housing and employment anti-discrimination protections to transgender people. Although the state’s hate crime law includes crimes against transgender people, a bill to provide more extensive protections disappeared after being passed by the House.

Bigotry is rampant across the country even among those who suffer discrimination. After Richard Raskind transformed himself into Renee Richards, he had to fight to compete in tennis because of the “he/she” controversy. This was 35 years ago. But as recently as four years ago, Richards said that marriage should be between a man and a woman.

Last Sunday’s entry included two books about the pain of a transgender teen, one of them I Am J. There are others that explain the torture that transgender people suffer. No one can read these books and look at the transgender experience in the same way again.

Cris Beam’s book Transparent: Love, Family, and Living the T with Transgender Teenagers (Mariner Books, 2008). In passionate, clear writing, Beam tells of her experiences with four transgendered girls during her volunteer work at a school for gay and transgender students in Los Angeles. She shows, through her experiences with individual girls, the problems that transgenders suffer; i.e., a clerk refusing to change a name on a driver’s license and the need for lying to the police after a rape because of the fear of discrimination.

Brian Katcher’s  Almost Perfect , comes from the perspective of a boy who discovers that Sage, the new girl of his dreams, is a transitioning male.  The novel explores Logan’s evolving emotions from fury and fear that people will think he is gay to dismay when he sees how Sage’s father shuns her because of her decision and his frustration that his love for her cannot overcome the realization that he cannot get past Sage being born a boy. Painfully funny, the narration realistically describes Logan’s roller-coaster feelings as he rises to the top before being plunged into the depths of despair and helplessness. Reading about Sage’s attempting to commit suicide and then trying to decide whether she should return to her biological male appearance despite her knowing that she is a female shows the agony that transgenders endure.

Catherine Ryan Hyde’s newest book, Jumpstart the World, also tackles the issue of surviving as a transgender from the perspective of a straight person, this time a 16-year-old girl. Her growing knowledge about Frank’s background shows the serious problems of changing genders, especially when one has no money and cannot go to a hospital for a serious illness even because of a serious illness.

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