Thursday, February 29, 2024

Pushing The Envelope

Earlier in the week I wrote about Republican states trying to get abortion data and trans people seeking healthcare from other states, well now they are going after support networks!!!
AP News
February 29, 2024

A national LGBTQ+ advocacy group is suing the Texas Attorney General’s office rather than hand over information about its support of transgender children receiving gender-confirming medical care.

According to the lawsuit filed Wednesday in Texas court, PFLAG National says Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office is demanding “documents and communications” related to a sworn statement the group’s CEO Brian Bond provided to a court last year while opposing the state’s transgender youth medical care ban.

Bond’s statement at the time detailed how many PFLAG members had set up contingency plans should their child’s medical care be cut off, ranging from finding resources to move out of state to finding alternative care inside Texas. Bond’s affidavit was submitted shortly after Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed a sweeping gender-affirming care ban for minors.
This is something you would expect to be happening in Russia or China but not here. This is something that a totalitarian government would do not something that would happen here in the U.S.
PFLAG is asking the state court to block Paxton’s request.

“This mean-spirited demand from the Attorney General’s Office is petty and invasive, which is why we want the court to put an end to it,” Bond said in a statement.

Texas has a history of battling PFLAG in court. The state in 2022 adopted a policy of investigating families of transgender children who have received gender-affirming care as child abuse cases. Later that year, a judge blocked the investigations against the families and barred any similar investigations against members of PFLAG.

PFLAG says the attorney general is improperly using a state consumer protection law — which does include a provision prohibiting misrepresentation surrounding transgender medical procedures — to justify their information requests, which they claim is wrong because their group does not provide gender-affirming services.
This is the Fugitive Slave Act the 2024 version. Making free states from the oppression turn over data to the states that criminalize us.
“These demands are a clear and unmistakable overreach by the (Office of the Attorney General) in retaliation for PFLAG successfully standing up for its members, who include Texas transgender youth and their families, against the OAG’s, the Attorney General’s, and the State of Texas’s relentless campaign to persecute Texas trans youth and their loving parents,” the lawsuit states.

Since last year, Texas has also demanded records from at least two out-of-state health centers that provide gender-affirming care.
What is next? Records from affirming churches? Records from other states DMVs about those who have changed their gender on their driver license?

What do they hate us so? These laws are laws that we have seen in 1930s Germany, this is what you expect from a totalitarian government.

Last Night...

...last night I went to a vigil at the Capitol for Nex Benedict.

I want you to stop and think for a while about the event. I wrote about their murder here and all around the nation vigils were held for them, her brutal death at the hands of bullies.

Fox 61 reported,
Benedict’s death comes months after Oklahoma lawmakers passed a bill that required students to use the bathroom based on their gender assigned at birth.
By Jake Garcia
February 28, 2024

More than 100 members of Connecticut’s LGBTQIA+ community gathered inside the State Capitol Wednesday for a candlelight vigil to honor Nex Benedict.

The Governor assured members of the LGBTQIA+ community that they belong in Connecticut. “We're not going to be that bad village. We're going to be Connecticut; we're going to stand for each and every one of you. We love you for who you are,” said Lamont.
How many governor’s would have attended a vigil for her? He not only was there there were a number of other legislators there and the governor spoke about her death? Somehow I don’t think any Republicans would be at any vigils for them.

Here in Connecticut we have laws against bullying in schools and the state law requires the schools to report bullying incidents to the CT Department of Education each year. When I was on the Safe School Coalition run by the DoEd some districts reported zero incidents all year, we didn’t believe they reports, I believed the school systems were white washing the bullying to keep their districts from sounding bad… no news is good news!

There were a number of speakers last night and many of the speakers talked about bullying in schools
I have been avoiding driving at night but a friend offered to drive so that I could go. I saw a number of friends that I haven’t seen since I retired from Connecticut TransAdvocacy Coalition.

I snapped a few pictures during it but I used my cheap phone to take them and they are slightly out of focus.

P.S. Not all Fox outlets are conservative, Fox 61 has a trans producers.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Diseases Knows No Politics

Diseases are an equal opportunity infector.
Diseases are not straight or gay.
Diseases are forever.

You can never let your guard down, diseases are always looking for opportunity to infect people.
The United States was on course to eliminate syphilis. Now it’s surging
The syphilis crisis is hitting pregnant people and newborns especially hard
Science News
By Aimee Cunningham
FEBRUARY 22, 2024

Once on the path to eliminating syphilis, the United States has reversed course, with cases of the infectious disease surging.

From a low of under 32,000 cases in 2000, the number of people with syphilis has rocketed to more than 207,000 in 2022, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in January. That’s 62 cases per 100,000 people.

The crisis is hitting pregnant people and babies especially hard. The maternal rate for syphilis during pregnancy rose from 87 per 100,000 births in 2016 to 280 per 100,000 births in 2022, the CDC reported on February 13. Without treatment, pregnant people can pass a syphilis infection to the fetus. That can cause congenital syphilis and lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth, severe health problems after birth or the infant’s death. More than 3,700 babies were born with syphilis in 2022, roughly ten times the number in 2012.
We took our eyes off the ball during COVID but diseases never take a vacation.
The US hasn’t seen syphilis numbers this high since 1950. Other STD rates are down or flat
AP News
January 30, 2024

The U.S. syphilis epidemic isn’t abating, with the rate of infectious cases rising 9% in 2022, according to a new federal government report on sexually transmitted diseases in adults.

But there’s some unexpected good news: The rate of new gonorrhea cases fell for the first time in a decade.

It’s not clear why infectious cases of syphilis rose 9% while gonorrhea dropped 9%, officials at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, adding that it’s too soon to know whether a new downward trend is emerging for the latter.

They are most focused on syphilis, which is less common than gonorrhea or chlamydia but considered more dangerous. And while it continues to have a disproportionate impact on gay and bisexual men, it is expanding in heterosexual men and women, and increasingly affecting newborns, too, CDC officials said.
Do you know what else has dropped? Funding to the CDC!
State and local health departments across the U.S found out in June they'd be losing the final two years of a $1 billion investment to strengthen the ranks of people who track and try to prevent sexually transmitted diseases — especially the rapid increase of syphilis cases.

The fallout was quick.

Nevada, which saw a 44 percentage-point jump in congenital syphilis from 2021 to 2022, was supposed to get more than $10 million to bolster its STD program budget. Instead, the state's STD prevention budget fell by more than 75%, reducing its capacity to respond to syphilis, according to Dawn Cribb at the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health.

Several states told The Associated Press the loss of funding is affecting efforts to expand their disease intervention workforce. These are people who do contact tracing and outreach and are key in stopping the spread of syphilis, which reached a low point in the U.S. in 2000 but has increased almost every year since. In 2021, there were 176,713 cases — up 31% from the prior year.
I asked an AI, “Has closing of abortion clinics caused an increase of STDs and Stis?” Perplexity’s* answer was...
The closure of abortion clinics has been associated with an increase in sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Research and reports indicate that in areas where abortion clinics have closed, there has been a surge in STD and STI rates. For example, in Iowa, after the closure of clinics providing abortions, there were significantly higher rates of gonorrhea and other STDs. In Iowa counties where Planned Parenthood clinics closed due to funding cuts, STD cases increased by 20 percent. This trend is not limited to Iowa; states across the country that have experienced abortion clinic closures have reported a rise in STD rates. It is important to note that while the closure of abortion clinics is a contributing factor, various other factors also play a role in the increase in STD and STI rates nationwide.
The Des Moines Register wrote,
Some GOP politicians try to micromanage the lives of their female constituents by limiting access to abortion. The goal seems to be forcing every pregnant woman to give birth, whether she wants to or not.

The anti-choice tactics of these elected officials are largely targeted at health providers who offer abortion services. Threaten them with jail time. Pass laws requiring them to perform unnecessary ultrasounds on patients, provide state-approved literature and obtain special consent for a safe, outpatient procedure.

The favorite tactic, however, is starving Planned Parenthood of funding. Members of the GOP seem to believe running Planned Parenthood out of business will "save babies."

Perhaps they don't understand what syphilis does to an infant.

When a Planned Parenthood closes, Iowans don’t lose access only to birth control, cancer screenings and abortion services. They lose a place that offers testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases.
From their high moral horse in their effort to regulate our behavior, their belief that sex is only for married couples, that we are sinners I believe that want to force everyone to be cloistered monks and nuns.

*I like Perplexity because the AI gives source references.

I Noticed…

Back when marriage equality was being heard in the courts one of the things that I noticed was on the evening news. When they brought in a religious leader it was always a far right preacher, never a religious leader from an affirming church. Controversy sells ads.
Profiting From Moral Panic
How Profit-Driven Media Outlets Empowered the Anti-Trans Movement
The Flaw
By Simone Unwalla
January 21, 2024

In 2018, there were nineteen bills targeting transgender people in state legislatures across the United States.  In 2020, there were sixty.  Today, there are five hundred and forty-one.  The avalanche of legislative efforts to restrict and punish trans people has increased in both pace and severity over the past few years.  The crusade started with laws purporting to “protect children,” but it quickly evolved into a broader legislative assault on nearly all aspects of trans existence. This includes laws criminalizing trans people’s use of public restrooms, laws prohibiting essential gender-affirming health care, and “drag bans” that are so broadly defined as to threaten trans and gender-nonconforming people’s ability to simply exist in public as themselves.  This rapid escalation would not have been possible without a dominant narrative that positioned transness as a political debate and that validated the claims that transness poses a threat to children.  This article examines that narrative and the profit-driven media outlets that perpetuated it.

When conservatives started invoking anti-trans rhetoric to rally support among the Political Right, mainstream media outlets reinforced the anti-trans movement’s unscientific “child protection” claims, sensationalized them, and profited from the resulting panic.  We know the story of how conservative outlets like Fox News brazenly vilified the trans community.  But another important story is how liberal-leaning outlets like the New York Times helped anti-trans panic catch fire under a veil of objectivity and through misleading “both-sides” reporting.  Outlets like the Times didn’t just capitalize on transphobic rhetoric, they actively legitimized it and spread it to new audiences.

Like the conservative coverage, the liberal coverage stirred up moral panic.  Moral panic translated to clicks, profit, and an increasingly captive audience.  At the same time, non-stop coverage from reputable outlets like the Times allowed anti-trans activists to capture dominant narratives, turn transness into a political “debate,” and set the stage for the rapidly evolving legislative landscape that now threatens the trans community’s existence.  Many outlets have profited from perpetuating anti-trans hysteria, but this article focuses on the distinct culpability of the New York Times — an outlet long regarded as the “paper of record” that has peddled some of the most notoriously anti-trans reporting under the guise of neutrality.
Repeat are me… newspapers make profits they thrive on discord. If everyone is singing “Kumbaya” it doesn’t draw an audience. But Jerry Springer had people standing in line to see the show.
In February 2023, over a thousand current and former New York Times contributors signed an open letter expressing “serious concerns about editorial bias in the newspaper’s reporting on transgender, non⁠-⁠binary, and gender nonconforming people.”  The letter condemned the outlet’s coverage, highlighting that “the Times has in recent years treated gender diversity with an eerily familiar mix of pseudoscience and euphemistic, charged language, while publishing reporting on trans children that omits relevant information about its sources.”  “Plenty of reporters at the Times cover trans issues fairly,” the letter reads.  “Their work is eclipsed, however, by what one journalist has calculated as over 15,000 words of front-page Times coverage debating the propriety of medical care for trans children published in the last eight months alone.”
Do you think that the paper did that deliberately? It probably gave them a kick in readership, they got the right-wingers to read the article and the fired-up liberals to also read and comment. $$$$

Sometimes there is only one side… there are no two sides to slavery. There are no two sides for our rights… there is only our oppression or our freedom.
The first pitfall of the Times’ neutrality defense is the fiction that reporting can ever embody an objective “view from nowhere” perspective.  As explained by Maximillian Alvarez, Editor-in-Chief of the Real News Network, as a matter of principle “there’s no such thing as objectivity in journalism because we are all human beings with a limited perspective.”  Drawing from an argument made by Michel-Rolph Trouillot in Silencing the Past, Alvarez offers a simple example to illustrate this point.  “Imagine you are a sports caster trying to report on the game that’s in process,” he suggested.  “You are in the stadium, and the game is going.  There are tens of thousands, if not over one-hundred-thousand people in that stadium.  There are concessions people.  There are fights breaking out.  There are people on the bench.  You’re not going to report on everything that’s happening in that stadium.  By narrative necessity, you’re going to make choices about what to focus on.  You’re going to make assumptions about what your audience believes is important and is worth reporting on, so on and so forth.  The New York Times, just like every other outlet, makes those very same choices.”  
As James Baldwin said, “We can disagree and still love each other, unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression and denial of my humanity and right to exist.”

The bottom line is what counts, there is no moral ground in the news… it is all driven by the worship of the almighty dollar.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

The Kids Know!


The students at the Oklahoma school where Nex Benedict was murdered know the truth!
Oklahoma students walk out after trans student’s death to protest bullying policies
NBC News
By Jo Yurcaba
February 26, 2024

At least 40 students at Owasso High School walked out Monday to protest what they describe as a pervasive culture of bullying with little accountability, which they believe led to a student’s death at their school.

Nex Benedict, 16, died Feb. 8, a day after a fight in a bathroom on the school’s West Campus. In body camera footage from a police officer’s interview with Nex, he described how three students “jumped” him after he threw water on them because they were bullying him and his friend over the way that they dressed.

Nex’s mother, Sue Benedict, previously told the Independent that Nex told her he faced bullying due to his gender identity. Friends said Nex was transgender and primarily went by he/him pronouns at school but also used they/them pronouns, which Nex's family also used. Several other friends said Nex preferred he/him pronouns. In the body camera footage, when the police officer asked Nex if he ever reported the bullying to the school, Nex said, “I didn’t really see the point in it.”

Owasso students told NBC News that Nex’s answer is common among their classmates: LGBTQ students and others who face bullying due to their identities feel like when they report the bullying to the school, they either aren’t believed or nothing really changes.
I have to wonder how the autopsy was done. I am not a doctor but this sure sounds like a brain injury. According to AP News,
"Benedict’s mother called emergency responders to the family home the day after the fight, saying Benedict’s breathing was shallow, their eyes were rolling back and their hands were curled, according to audio released by Owasso police."
All the first aid classes that I have taken for in over twenty years all teach about eye pupils being equal and repressive, that if they are not there my be brain injuries.
The walkout is not political, said Kane, a nonbinary student who went to Owasso High School for 10th and 11th grade and now takes online classes for his senior year. Kane, who asked that only his first name be used for fear of being targeted further, led a 5-minute moment of silence in honor of Nex.

Kane said he has gone back and forth between in-person school and online classes since eighth grade in part due to bullying over his sexuality more than his gender identity. When he was a sophomore, a student called him and his partner “f------,” and he said students casually use the N-word often with no repercussions.
To me this seems like the school violated the First and the Fourteenth Amendments and probably a
Title IX violation at the very least for ignoring the law where schools must provide a safe learn space and created an unhealthy learning environment.
Ahead of the walkout on Monday, one counter-protester made anti-LGBTQ statements using a megaphone. As he made comments about AIDS and how Jesus Christ was the “real man” lesbians need, students holding signs stating “trans youth belong” surrounded him to block him from sight. 


“Even if something did happen, there’s no point in going to any kind of administration or teachers about it because absolutely nothing will be done,” Ally said. “And I’ve seen it time and time again with my friends.”
Now the school has been caught and can’t hide or sweep their death under the rug. I hope the parents sue the school, it seems like the only way to bring change is through the school’s pocketbook with fines and lawsuits.


Wednesday there will be a vigil for Nex Benedict inside the Capitol at 6PM.

The Good, Bad, And Mixed.

First the good:
Thank you all who took last year’s trans survey. When we were trying to pass the gender non-discrimination law we were asked questions like, how many? What types of discrimination do we face? What are the needs of the community?

We couldn’t answer because we had no data.
USA Today
By Susan Miller
February 23, 2024

When Ashton Holmes saw the results of the largest-ever transgender survey in the U.S., the data elicited ripples of joy: “It made my heart happy.”

The survey by the National Center for Transgender Equality of over 92,000 binary and nonbinary transgender people offers a window into a world often clouded by misconceptions. Nearly all respondents – 94% − said they were satisfied with their lives after transitioning.  

Holmes, 39, a Black transgender man who navigates life with a “let’s love on each other” philosophy, says the statistics give powerful proof “that people are satisfied when they are seen, when they are affirmed.”

Transgender advocates are hoping the data not only shows that validation − but also cuts through a tornado of misinformation about transgender people that has swirled in the past few years.

“This survey is tremendously significant for the quality, the quantity and frankly the timing,” says Cathy Renna, communications director for the National LGBTQ Task Force. “We could not need this more than we do right now.”
Except the right-wing conservatives will ignore it… fake news. They live in their own little world devoid of reality. But those with any education will see through the Republican deceit.

The Bad:
Spectrum News
By Rebecca Greenberg
February 22, 2024

A first-of-its-kind ban on transgender athletes in New York state is happening on Long Island.

"If there is a league or team that advertises themselves to be women's or girls, then biological males will not be able to compete," said Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, who signed an executive order Thursday which prevents transgender girls and women from participating on girls' and women’s teams. 

In New York state, the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act prohibits discrimination against transgender individuals in employment, housing and public accommodations.

“It’s a reflection here in New York of what’s happening around the country and the ways in which trans people are targeted. I only hope that we can offer some comfort here in New York state. We have very clear laws that this cannot be happening and this will not stand,” Hodgson said.

In a tweet, Schools Chancellor David Banks wrote, “New York City Public Schools strongly condemns this transphobic order, and we are assessing the practical implications for our athletes.”

Gov. Kathy Hochul, State Attorney General Letitia James and the New York Civil Liberties Union have all called the ban illegal, and are exploring legal action.
They don’t take them to court just say if you do this you will lose all state funding, that would really hurt them more than a long drawn out court battle.

Okay all my Long Island friends you got you work cut out for you.

The Mixed:
By The Associated Press
February 22, 2024

A South Carolina man was found guilty Friday of killing a Black transgender woman in the nation's first federal trial over a hate crime based on gender identity.

After deliberating for roughly four hours, jurors convicted Daqua Lameek Ritter of a hate crime for the murder of Dime Doe in 2019. Ritter was also found guilty of using a firearm in connection with the fatal shooting and obstructing justice.

A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled. Ritter faces a maximum of life imprisonment without parole.

"This case stands as a testament to our committed effort to fight violence that is targeted against those who may identify as a member of the opposite sex, for their sexual orientation or for any other protected characteristics," Brook Andrews, an assistant U.S. attorney for the District of South Carolina, told reporters after the verdict.

While federal officials have previously prosecuted hate crimes based on gender identity, the cases never reached trial. A Mississippi man received a 49-year prison sentence in 2017 as part of a plea deal after he admitted to killing a 17-year-old transgender woman.
Why is this mixed results when he is going to jail? Because we lost one of our own.

Monday, February 26, 2024

1984’s Big Brother Has Arrived!

Cameras are everywhere you look, security cameras record where we go and some states are trying to use them to root out trans children getting life needed healthcare.
Recent state and local legal maneuvers signal that Texas’ conservative movement could be wading into a complicated constitutional morass the country hasn’t dealt with since before the Civil War.
Texas Tribune 
February 9, 2024

In the months since Texas outlawed abortion and prohibited adolescents from receiving gender-transition care, women have flooded abortion clinics in nearby states and parents with transgender children have moved to places where puberty blockers and hormone therapy remain legal.

So now, Texas conservatives are testing the limits of their power beyond state lines.

Some cities and counties have passed so-called travel bans aimed at stopping Texans from driving to abortion appointments in other states. Meanwhile, Attorney General Ken Paxton has demanded medical records from at least two out-of-state clinics that provide gender-affirming care to minors.

“This request from the Texas Attorney General is a clear attempt to intimidate providers of gender-affirming care and parents and families seeking that care outside of Texas and other states with bans,” Dr. Izzy Lowell, a Georgia physician who received one such demand letter, said in a statement.

These recent efforts to restrict or scrutinize what Texans do out-of-state raise an important question: Just how far does Texas’ authority over its residents extend?
The long eye of the law is watching were you “go.”

Okay who remembers your history lesson about the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 or were you dozing that day in class? The Fugitive Slave Act required non-slave states to return who were escaping slavery to northern states. Well can Texas force northern states to turn over medical data on abortions and trans healthcare?
These recent efforts to restrict or scrutinize what Texans do out-of-state raise an important question: Just how far does Texas’ authority over its residents extend?

The question of extraterritoriality — when and whether a state can impose its laws beyond its borders — is largely unresolved, legal experts say. It just hasn’t come before the courts that often. And while the right to travel is well-established in the U.S. Constitution, the local travel bans are enforced through private lawsuits, a legal loophole the U.S. Supreme Court has so far allowed to stand.

When the U.S. Supreme Court allowed states to set their own laws on abortion, it put them on a political crash course with each other. These recent legal maneuvers from conservatives in Texas indicate a willingness to wade into a Constitutional morass the country hasn’t dealt with since the lead-up to the Civil War.
Many states including Connecticut prohibit medical reproductive healthcare information be sent to other states without the persons permission (Note: Gender Confirming Surgery and trans healthcare involves reproductive healthcare).
In 1974, just after Roe was decided, the high court ruled in Bigelow v. Virginia that a “state does not acquire power or supervision over the internal affairs of another State merely because the welfare and health of its own citizens may be affected when they travel to that State.”

But in a Columbia Law Review article, legal scholars David Cohen, Greer Donley and Rachel Rebouché note that, in addition to being an old ruling that focused on First Amendment arguments, Biglow relied in part on Roe v. Wade.

“The current U.S. Supreme Court, now that it has eviscerated Roe, could revisit Bigelow’s anti-extraterritoriality principle,” they wrote.
The 2021 lawsuit, given class-action status in September, alleges that Digital Recognition Network is breaking a California law meant to regulate the use of automatic license plate readers. DRN, a Fort Worth-based company, uses plate-scanning cameras to create location data for people’s vehicles, then sells that data to marketers, car repossessors and insurers. 
Okay substitute the state of Texas for “data to marketers, car repossessors and insurers” suppose they buy license plate data for all Texas license plates pulling into Planned Parenthood in New Haven parking lot?

Suppose the Republicans gain control of Congress and the presidency and they pass the Fugitive Abortion Act of 2024 where states have to report all out of state abortions and trans healthcare? Do you think that sounds har fetched?

“Your papers please.”

An update on my blog to this topic is here,
Earlier in the week I wrote about Republican states trying to get abortion data and trans people seeking healthcare from other states, well now they are going after support networks!!!

Vengeance Is Mine Saith The Republicans.

Ever notice how Putin killed off his opponents? How dictators “neutralize” their opposition?
Republican base sounds ready for Trump's promised 'retribution,' with some exceptions
"I would like to see him actually drain the swamp," one supporter at CPAC said.
ABC News
By Tal Axelrod
February 25, 2024

Former President Donald Trump vowed at last year's Conservative Political Action Conference to be his supporters' "retribution" -- and many attendees this year seemed eager to see what that looks like if he is reelected to the White House.

When more than a dozen attendees were asked by ABC News what they'd like to see in a potential Trump term, many organically said they wanted some version of mass firings in the federal government and payback against President Joe Biden, with many also saying Trump's detractors within the GOP should be politically exiled.


The former president in June wrote on his social media platform that he would "appoint a real special 'prosecutor' to go after" Biden and his family, whom he called "corrupt," as well as "all others involved with the destruction of our elections, borders, & country itself!"
Hmm… maybe Trump didn’t see these headlines,
Biden impeachment effort on the brink of collapse
A wide swath of House Republicans are acknowledging they likely won’t have the votes, especially given their struggle to recommend booting Alejandro Mayorkas.
By Jordain Carney
February 23, 2024

The House GOP’s push to impeach Joe Biden appears close to stalling out for good.

First, the impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas scraped through on the narrowest of margins — and took two tries, raising serious doubts about Republicans’ appetite for an even bigger impeachment fight. Then, a high-profile informant making bribery allegations against the Biden family was not only indicted, but has now linked some of his information to Russian intelligence.


Bacon estimated that as many as 30 House GOP lawmakers may be currently opposed to impeaching the president because they haven’t seen evidence of any crime. Private briefings to update members on the investigation haven’t swayed those holdouts, and Republicans know it only gets politically riskier to try to impeach Biden as they head deeper into an election year — possibly giving the president a polling boost even if they succeed.
Or maybe he did but that hasn’t stopped the revengeful Trump.
ABC News goes on to write,
Still, Trump also warned on Saturday that the day after the general election -- if he wins -- "will be our new liberation day" but for his and his supporters' enemies, "it will be their judgment day."
And his cult followers just ate it up!
But the CPAC crowd's appetite for revenge didn't stop with just Biden -- many said there is no longer a place in the party for some of the candidates who ran against Trump for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination.
Where have we seen purges before? Oh, Oh, I remember! Lets see there was Stalin’s Soviet Union, Castro’s Communist Cuba, China under Xi, North Korea under Kim, Trump will fit right in with the other dictators.
Mike Lindell, the MyPillow chief and prominent election denier, received a rock star's welcome when he took the stage Saturday before bashing "uniparty Republicans" for not supporting his baseless claims of election fraud and pushing his effort to recall Wisconsin state House Speaker Robin Vos, a Republican.
Need I say more?

How to put this, Trump hates the mainstream media.
Joe Biden gives the media a desperately needed lesson about Donald Trump
The president has to break the news to journalists that Trump plans to jail us
By Brian Karem
February 24, 2024

The most disturbing thing I’ve ever heard a president say did not come from Donald Trump.

It came from Joe Biden. Speaking with reporters in California on Thursday, the president said this about Donald Trump. “Two of your former colleagues not at the same network personally told me if he wins, they will have to leave the country because he’s threatened to put them in jail,” Biden told Katie Couric. “He embraces political violence,” Biden said of Trump “No president since the Civil War has done that. Embrace it. Encourages it.”


My experience tells me that Donald Trump means exactly what he says, and there are plenty of politicians who would do the same if they had the chance. Worse, in covering the Hamas war, a record number of reporters have been murdered in an attempt to silence those of us who risk it all to inform others. Those in power do not want us to inform everyone else about what is going on. To do so would be to risk losing control over the masses.

How long shall we tolerate politicians who are so hungry for power that they will risk destroying us all to get it?
I found this article on Yahoo News what surprised me was the comments...
I strongly urge him to read the Constitution and its amendments, especially the part about freedom of religion. You cannot have freedom of religion if you are governed by someone else's religion.
Notice a pattern? States with the lowest life expectancy: Mississippi, West Virginia, Alabama, Kentucky, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Ohio.

States with the highest infant mortality: Mississippi, Arkansas, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Alabama, Tennessee, Indiana, Georgia, Ohio, Louisiana.

States with the highest maternal mortality: Louisiana, Georgia, Indiana, New Jersey, Arkansas, Alabama, Missouri, Texas, South Carolina, Arizona.

Poorest States: Mississippi, West Virginia, Arkansas, New Mexico, Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Montana.

Least educated states: Tennessee, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, West Virginia.

States that receive the most federal aid per resident: Virginia, Kentucky, New Mexico, West Virginia, Alaska, Mississippi, Alabama, Maryland, Maine, Hawaii.

States with the highest per capita murder rate: Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Missouri, Arkansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Maryland, Illinois, New Mexico.
These are "very dark days" for our nation. The GOP and its leaders are systemically trying to dismantle our government and replace it with their version of a "theocratic dictatorship" that will make all others pale in comparison. This is the "Great America" they envision. "We, the People" of our great nation, must step up at the ballot box and reject everyone running on a GOP platform. This must be done at all levels of our government, including local, state, and national. We need both liberal and conservative representation, but not when one side demands that it is "their way or no way." They will not stop until we stop them by voting them out or until our streets are filled with terror.
I figured that the commenters would all be pro-MAGA instead the comments are most anti-Trump.

Like little puppy dogs vying for their master’s attention.
By Steve Contorno, Aaron Pellish and Alison Main
February 24, 2024


The jockeying to become Trump’s vice presidential pick, playing out behind the scenes for weeks if not longer, spilled into the open at this week’s CPAC, the country’s annual gathering of conservatives. In what amounted to an audition to be Trump’s No. 2, the program inside the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center at times appeared more like a casting call for some of the most talked-about contenders for the job.

In addition to Stefanik, Donalds, Gabbard and Noem, entrepreneur and recent presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, Ohio Sen. J.D. Vance, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and Arizona Senate candidate Kari Lake all addressed the Trump-adoring crowd.


Leaning into the political drama, CPAC organizers asked attendees to vote for who they want to see Trump pick as his running mate. Noem and Ramaswamy topped the poll in results announced Saturday, receiving 15% support each.
Naw… Trump’s choice for vice president will be the woman who has the shortest dress and the biggest b**bs.

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Have You Ever Been In A Prison?

I have, I been in the maximum security prison at Garner Correctional Institution, I did training there a number of years back (You can read about it here.) but for many of us it is not a visit but incarceration and that is when our nightmare begins.
Advancing Transgender Justice
Illuminating Trans Lives Behind and Beyond Bars
By Kelsie Chesnut and Jennifer Peirce
Illustrated by Bea Hayward
February 20, 2024

Key takeaways

Transgender people are especially at risk for contact with the criminal legal system and, once in detention, at risk of harassment and violence inside prison. According to a 2022 survey of LGBTQ+ people in the United States, 31 percent had been in some form of incarceration at some point in the last five years. 3

Transgender people in prison are not monolithic in terms of their experiences or preferences. Policies designed to benefit trans people in prison need to account for this variability to have a meaningful positive effect on the lives of transgender people in custody.

This survey includes the views of 280 transgender people in state prisons, about 73 percent of whom were transgender women. About 46 percent of respondents were white, 24 percent were Black, 14 percent were Latinx, 11 percent were Native American, and about 5 percent were multiracial or other racial groups.

Transgender people who are currently incarcerated have clear suggestions for changes to the content and implementation of policies, and decision-makers should meaningfully include these views. These findings represent common themes across survey participants’ responses.


This report shares the findings of a survey of 280 transgender people who are in state prisons across the United States. 11  By sharing their perspectives, in their own voices, this report provides a window into transgender people’s daily lives in prison and their recommendations for how policymakers and prison authorities can change rules and culture in positive ways. The insights here also show the real harms of incarceration and underscore the urgency of reducing the use of prison in the first place.
Here in Connecticut we have,

Sec. 8. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2018) Any inmate of a correctional institution, as described in section 18-78 of the general statutes, who has a gender identity that differs from the inmate's assigned sex at birth and has a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, as set forth in the most recent edition of the American Psychiatric Association's "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders", shall: (1) Be addressed by correctional staff in a manner that is consistent with the inmate's gender identity, (2) have access to commissary items, clothing, personal property, programming and educational materials that are consistent with the inmate's gender identity, and (3) have the right to be searched by a correctional staff member of the same gender identity, unless the inmate requests otherwise or under exigent circumstances. An inmate who has a birth certificate, passport or driver's license that reflects his or her gender identity or who can meet established standards for obtaining such a document to confirm the inmate's gender identity shall presumptively be placed in a correctional institution with inmates of the gender consistent with the inmate's gender identity. Such presumptive placement may be overcome by a demonstration by the Commissioner of Correction, or the commissioner's designee, that the placement would present significant safety, management or security problems. In making determinations pursuant to this section, the inmate's views with respect to his or her safety shall be given serious consideration by the Commissioner of Correction, or the commissioner's designee.
For us, or at least for me this is the last place I would want to be in, especially in the red states. from the brief visit I had, they "try" to make jails safe for trans people but I doubt it is a walk in a park. Doing time is not a sentence to be raped or assaulted.

Repeat After Me…

“It is my firmly held religious belief that life begins at birth.”


Those are the magic words and we have to learn to use them like the Christian Nationalist use them.
Gay rights advocates pushed back Wednesday against a Republican-sponsored measure to broaden Kentucky’s religious freedom law, claiming it threatens to undermine community-level “fairness ordinances” meant to protect LGBTQ+ people from discrimination.

The measure, House Bill 47, won approval from the House Judiciary Committee, but some supporters signaled a willingness to make revisions to the bill as it advances to the full House. The proposal would need Senate approval if it passes the House. Republicans have supermajorities in both chambers.

“I don’t think any of us here want to open a floodgate of lawsuits or, for that matter, to invalidate what local cities have done across Kentucky,” said Republican state Rep. Daniel Elliott, the committee chairman.

State Rep. Steve Rawlings, the bill’s lead sponsor, said the intent is to give Kentuckians a “fair day in court” if their rights to exercise their religious beliefs are infringed by any government action. The state’s existing religious freedom law, enacted more than a decade ago, consists of a few lines, he said.

They are weaponizing religion against us, they are using religion to get around the discrimination laws “It is my god given right to discriminate!”

They are forcing their religion on us and it is time to turn the tables on them and don't forget that the Bible was used to justify slavery.

A priest and other members of the parish went down along the border in 2017 leaving food and water for the undocumented immigrants and were prosecuted for leaving food and water for migrants in a desert wilderness area. They were convicted after a three day trial, the Washington Post reported,
In his verdict, U.S. Magistrate Judge Bernardo Velasco said the women’s actions violated “the national decision to maintain the Refuge in its pristine nature.” Velasco also said the women committed the crimes under the false belief that they would not be prosecuted and instead would simply be banned or fined.

Catherine Gaffney, a volunteer for No More Deaths, said the guilty verdict challenges all “people of conscience throughout the country.”

“If giving water to someone dying of thirst is illegal, what humanity is left in the law of this country?” she said in a statement.
The Intercept wrote that,
A FEDERAL JUDGE in Tucson, Arizona, reversed the conviction of four humanitarian aid volunteers on religious freedom grounds Monday, ruling that the government had embraced a “gruesome logic” that criminalizes “interfering with a border enforcement strategy of deterrence by death.”

The reversal, written by U.S. District Judge Rosemary Márquez, marked the latest rebuke of the Trump administration’s crackdown on humanitarian aid providers in southern Arizona, and the second time in matter of months that a religious freedom defense has prevailed in a federal case involving the provision of aid to migrants in the borderlands.
Okay what does this have to do with us?
“I do have a strong Christian faith and background,” said Democratic state Rep. Keturah Herron. “However, I do think that we have to be very careful when we say that, based on your religious belief, that you’re allowed to discriminate against people. That is not what we need to be doing here in this commonwealth nor across the nation, and basically, this is what this bill says.”

“Religious Freedom” is a two edged sword, it cuts both ways… when the religious-right uses the law to discriminate why can’t we? Why can’t we refuse to serve or sell to people who are bigots because “It is against our firmly held religious beliefs.” to discriminate against them?

I think we have plenty of smart lawyers on our side to come up with a legal argument for that. 

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Saturday 9: Shambala

On Saturdays I take a break from the heavy stuff and have some fun…

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) This week's song refers to the mythical kingdom of Shambala. Can you think of another song that mentions to faraway, mythical land?

2) "Shambala" is performed by Three Dog Night. The name is derived from an Aboriginal Australian legend. In the outback, hunters would sleep with a dog beside them. If it was very cold, they would sleep between two dogs. If it was freezing -- you guessed it -- it was a three dog night. Was it cold last night where you are?
No, it was above freezing. We have a heat wave coming this week, it might even be in the sixties, right now we have the third warmest February in history.

3) The lead singer is the late Cory Wells. Early in his career he was a member of the house band at the famous Sunset Strip nightclub Whiskey-A-Go-Go. Cory was a bit of an anomaly at "The Whiskey" because of his sober lifestyle. When did you most recently enjoy an adult beverage?
I can’t remember, it was over a month ago.
But I did have hot chocolate milk and cookie (Farm made Almond butter Crunch) last night before bed.

4) Bandmate Danny Hutton auditioned to be a member of The Monkees TV show. He didn't get the part. While he was a talented singer-songwriter, NBC was looking for musicians who could also act. Have you ever fantasized about a career as a performer?
I was in a commercial once for a non-profit and I kept flubbing my word. Notice I said word not words, do you know how many ways you can say “Because”?
I know you are wondering I meant. Well the ad was for the Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective, the ad had me and others saying “Because” and then the ad shown what they did. So after I said “because” an announcer said because of the dental office.

5) Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys was an early supporter of Three Dog Night's. What's your favorite Beach Boys song?
It is a three way tie: California Girls, Little Deuce Coupe, and Good Vibrations. How can you pick just one?

6) In 1973, when this song was popular, one of the best-selling toys Curious George plush doll packaged with a Curious George book. Can you recall a favorite book from your childhood?
Oh… that was 70 years ago!

7) The Exorcist was in theaters, terrifying audiences. It's still ranked among the scariest movies of all time. Have you seen it? Did it scare you?
Yeah, I saw it and I’m not a fan of horror movies, and no I wasn’t scared.

8) Roller skates were a big seller in 1973. While most rinks had skates available for rent, committed skaters had their own pair. Are you better on roller skates or ice skates?
Well I never roller skated but I have ice skated. We use to skate from Christmas break to late February. This year the pond never froze over… sad.

9) Random question -- Here's $100. What will you spend it on?
Well I just spent some on a new charger for my laptop. Probably the rest of it would be spent on the grocery store.

Friday, February 23, 2024

What Is A Bias Crime.

Well first off it is just another name for hate crimes but is more descriptive because not all bias crimes involve hate, a lot of them are just plaon discriminatory.

I weekly check the legislative website and search it for keywords, well this popped up this week. From time to time the legislature asks the neutral Office of Legislative Research to research a topic, this is their findings on...
Connecticut Hate Crime Laws
By: Michelle Kirby, Senior Legislative Attorney
February 1, 2024 | 2024-R-0043

Connecticut has several statutes that address hate crimes. The statutes protect a range of people, enhance penalties for bias crimes, and allow injured parties and the attorney general to sue for money damages.

The primary criminal statutes are the “intimidation based on bigotry or bias” crimes with three degrees of penalties. They address certain actions that intimidate or harass another person motivated, in whole or in substantial part, by that person’s actual or perceived race, religion, ethnicity, disability, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression. The other criminal statutes that address hate crimes include the following:
1. deprivation of rights, desecration of property, and cross burning;
2. deprivation of a person’s civil rights by someone wearing a mask or hood;
3. ridicule on account of creed, religion, color, denomination, nationality, or race;
4. certain threatening crimes; and
5. deprivation of a person’s equal rights and privileges by force or threat.
Notice number 2, “by someone wearing a mask or hood” how many time have you seen the right-wing thugs wearing a mask? Here in Connecticut that bumps up the crime, more on this later.

First of all bias crimes have 3 levels of crime…
First-Degree Intimidation
A person commits the 1st degree crime of intimidation based on bigotry or bias if he or she, maliciously and with specific intent to intimidate or harass someone, motivated in whole or substantial part by any of the actual or perceived attributes listed above, caused physical injury to that person or a third person (CGS § 53a-181j). 2024-R-0043 February 1, 2024 Page 3 of 10

Second-Degree Intimidation
A person commits the 2nd degree crime of intimidation if he or she acts maliciously and with specific intent to intimidate or harass another individual or a group of people, motivated in whole or substantial part by any of the actual or perceived attributes listed above, by doing the following:
1. making physical contact with the victim;
2. damaging, destroying, or defacing property; or
3. threatening to do either of these things, and the victim has reasonable cause to believe he or she will carry out the threat (CGS § 53a-181k).

Third-Degree Intimidation
A person commits the 3rd degree crime of intimidation if he or she intends to intimidate or harass someone or a group of people, motivated in whole or substantial part by of any of the actual or perceived attributes listed above, and he or she (1) damages, destroys, or defaces any property or (2) threatens to do so by word or act or advocates or urges another person to do so and gives the victim reasonable cause to believe the act will occur (CGS § 53a-181l).
Notice “perceived attributes” that means that you don’t need to have transitioned and it also means that you don’t have to be LGBTQ+ the person just has to think you are LGBTQ+. Plus it also covers someone LGBTQ+ harassing a straight person, they are also covered.
Deprivation of Rights, Desecration of Property, and Cross Burning
It is a crime to do the following:
1. deprive someone, or cause the deprivation, of any legally guaranteed right because of his or her religion, national origin, alienage, color, race, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, blindness, mental disability, physical disability, age, veteran status, or domestic violence victim status;
2. intentionally desecrate any public property, monument, or structure; religious object, symbol, or house of worship; cemetery; or private structure not owned by the offender;
3. place a burning cross or simulation of one on public property, or on private property without the owner’s written consent, with the intent to intimidate or harass someone or a group of people; or
4. place a noose or simulation of one on public property, or on private property without the owner’s written consent, with the intent to harass someone because of his or her religion, national origin, alienage, color, race, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, blindness, mental disability, physical disability, age, veteran status, or domestic violence victim status (CGS § 46a-58, as amended by PA 23-145, § 1).
Okay, masks are becoming more common during protests by the right-wing radicals and that opens up a major crime, a Class C felony (1 to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both) without a mask it would be a Class D felony (up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, or both).

Here is another important point…
Threatening Crimes
First-Degree Threatening
By law, 1st degree threatening includes threatening to commit a violent crime or a crime using a hazardous substance with intent to cause, or with reckless disregard of the risk of causing (1) evacuation of a building, place of assembly, or public transportation facility or (2) serious public inconvenience; or (3) for hazardous substance crimes, a person to be terrorized.

First-degree threatening is a class D felony. The law enhances the penalty to a class C felony if the threat was made with intent to cause the evacuation of the building or grounds of a house of religious worship, religiously-affiliated community center, preschool, school, higher education institution, or day care center during operating hours or when the buildings or grounds are being used to (1) provide religious or community services or (2) conduct activities sponsored by the house of worship, community center, preschool, school, institution, or day care (CGS § 53a-61aa).

A “religiously-affiliated community center” is real property (1) used for providing recreational, social, or educational services and (2) owned or leased by a nonprofit organization that holds the property out as being affiliated with an organized religion (CGS § 53a-61aa(b)).
The law has teeth!

The next part is the work of the committee that I am on,
Statewide Hate Crimes Advisory Council
In 2017, the legislature created the Statewide Hate Crimes Advisory Council (replacing the Hate Crimes Advisory Committee). The council is within the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney for administrative purposes only.

The council must meet at least semiannually to encourage and coordinate programs to increase community awareness, reporting, and combating of hate crimes. [We meet every other months and the sub committees meet on the off months.]
Some of out recommendations were…
Hate Crimes Investigative Unit
The law requires the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) commissioner to establish a Hate Crimes Investigative Unit within the State Police and assign enough personnel to the unit to fulfill the duties described below. The head of the Hate Crimes Investigative Unit must be ranked sergeant or above and must serve as a member of the Statewide Hate Crimes Advisory Council (see below) (CGS § 29-4(d)).

Investigative Unit’s Duties. The Hate Crimes Investigative Unit must seek to prevent and detect actual or suspected criminal activity involving (1) deprivation of rights or desecration of property; (2) certain ridiculing, threatening, and stalking actions; and (3) intimidation based on bigotry or bias.

Relatedly, the unit must compile, monitor, and analyze data about these criminal activities. It must also share data and information with other law enforcement units to help with their investigations of the criminal activities listed above, and it may provide additional help with those investigations (CGS § 29-7d(a)).


Law Enforcement Reporting. Starting January 1, 2023, all law enforcement units must use POST’s [Police Officer Standards and Training] standardized form or other reporting system to submit a notice and report to the Hate Crimes Investigative Unit within 14 days after receiving a notice, information, or a complaint of the criminal activities described above. Each unit must also continue to share information about its investigations with the Hate Crimes Investigative Unit according to the best practices developed by POST (CGS § 29-7d(c)).

Police Training
Basic or review training programs conducted or administered by the State Police, POST, or municipal police departments must include training on crimes motivated by bigotry and bias (CGS §7-294n).
I hope this helps you understand what is and is not a bias crime and the penalties for it are and that the governor is working to reduce bias crimes.

We are never going to end bias crimes but hopefully we can reduce them substantially. "It takes a village to raise a child" and it also takes a village to end bias and discrimination, we all have to speak up… “If you hear mean intervene.”

Update: Somehow, I don’t Believe It.

They had their head banged against the floor until they were lying on the floor.
Cops Say Non-Binary Oklahoma Teen Did Not Die From ‘Trauma’
Sixteen-year-old Nex Benedict’s autopsy report “will be available at a later date,” according to Owasso police.
Daily Beast
By Justin Rohrlich
February 22, 2024

The death of a non-binary high school student in Oklahoma earlier this month after a fight in the girls’ bathroom was not caused by “trauma,” authorities said.

In an investigation update issued late Wednesday afternoon, the Owasso Police Department said Nex Benedict, 16, “did not die as a result of trauma,” according to preliminary information from the medical examiner’s office. A complete autopsy was performed, the update said, but “any further comments on the cause of death are currently pending until toxicology results and other ancillary testing results are received.”

The official autopsy report “will be available at a later date,” according to Owasso cops.

On Feb. 7, Nex, a gender-fluid sophomore at Owasso High School, was in the girls’ restroom with a trans classmate. While inside, the two had a confrontation with a trio of older girls, which escalated into a brief tussle. By the time other students and a staff member broke it up, Nex was lying on the floor.
Does it sound like there was no trauma?

Well They Are.

Marriage equality doesn’t hurt anyone, no one is bring forced into a same-sex marriage.
Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito said he'd anticipated that Americans would be called bigots unless they hid their religious views on homosexuality.
USA Today
By Maureen Groppe
February 20, 2024

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito attempted an “I told you so” on Tuesday when he criticized a judge’s dismissal of potential jurors in a workplace discrimination case because they believed homosexuality is a sin.

Alito said that’s exactly the type of outcome he warned against when, against his objections, the Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage.

Alito said he’d anticipated that Americans would be labeled as bigots unless they hid their traditional religious beliefs about “homosexual conduct.”

The court had made clear the gay marriage decision should not be used in that way, Alito said, “but I am afraid this admonition is not being heeded by our society.”

Alito was writing about the Supreme Court’s rejection of an appeal of a workplace bias lawsuit against the Missouri Department of Corrections by an employee, Jean Finney, who is a lesbian.
Well I don’t know how to put it to you Justice Alito but you are a bigot. When you discriminate against someone because of who they love by definition you’re a bigot. You hide behind your religion but that doesn’t mean you are not a bigot.
While Alito agreed with his colleagues that the appeal should be rejected because of other factors, he criticized the trial judge’s decision to reject some jurors for their religious beliefs.

“When a court, a quintessential state actor, finds that a person is ineligible to serve on a jury because of his or her religious beliefs, that decision implicates fundamental rights,” he wrote.

The Missouri Court of Appeals said the questions asked of jurors appropriately focused on whether they had strong feelings about homosexuality because Finney’s sexual orientation was at the heart of her claim that she’d been harassed and mistreated.  

Other prospective jurors who identified as religious or Christian but did not express strong views on homosexuality were not eliminated.
When I had jury duty, there was a case about selling marijuana and the judge asked if we used marijuana, some brave soul stood up and said he did. The judge looked over his glasses and asked “Does that keep you from an impartial verdict?” The prospective juror said that he could hear the case impartially. The judge let him stay in the jury pool.

From what I read the judge did ask “Does that keep you from an impartial verdict?” and the prospective juror said it did.
The religious rights group Alliance Defending Freedom which has filed several successful religious appeals at the Supreme Court in recent years, had also asked the Supreme Court to weigh in.

In the majority opinion on same-sex marriage authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy in 2015, he emphasized that “religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned.”
If under oath they say that they can be impartial then I don’t they they can be blocked from sitting on the jury, but if they say that they can’t say they can be impartial then I don’t think they should be allowed on to serve on a jury.

More on the personhood of embryos... the long term goals of the Republican party is to make us a Christian Nation like "The Handmaiden's Tale" look how long the Republicans have been at trying to all abortions illegal.
By James Bickerton US News Reporter
February 23, 2024

A video of Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett declining to say whether a ban on in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment would be constitutional during her 2020 confirmation hearing has gone viral on X, formerly Twitter.

It follows the Supreme Court of Arizona ruling on February 16 that frozen embryos should be considered children under state law, in a move that led Alabama's largest hospital to pause IVF treatment, citing fears this could lead to their medical practitioners receiving criminal charges.

On Thursday Kyle Griffin, an executive producer on discussion show The Weekend on MSNBC, shared a clip from Barrett's Senate confirmation hearing, adding: "Flashback: During her confirmation hearing in 2020, Amy Coney Barrett refused to rule out criminalizing IVF."


During the hearing Barrett, a Donald Trump appointee, was asked whether "criminalizing" IVF treatment would be legal by Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat.

Barrett replied: "Senator I've repeatedly said, as has every other nominee who's sat in this seat, that we can't answer questions in the abstract. That would have to be decided in the course of the judicial process.
The 19th News wrote that Nikki Haley put it this way,
Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley said Wednesday that she sees embryos created through in-vitro fertilization as “babies,” just days after a ruling out of Alabama that fertility treatment advocates say could disrupt access to the procedure.

 Asked if the Alabama ruling could impact access to IVF treatments, Haley said “we need to be incredibly respectful and sensitive about it.” Haley went on to suggest that women and their partners should be presented with options and “make the decision that’s best for your family.” If conservative courts or legislature deem that embryos have personhood rights, fertility treatment patients could quickly lose that decision-making power.  
You know that there are many, many religions that believe life begins at birth such as the Jewish faith and what about sincerely held personal religious beliefs don't they count? Or do only the views of evangelical Christian beliefs count.

You can watch the video of the question here.

So this ban is not something that popped up out the blue, they have been working toward that goal for years.

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Off The Deep End!

That is where the right-wing conservatives just went, off into lala land!

Fertility clinics just became mass murders! If they destroy embryos they could be arrested for murder!
Alabama Says Embryos in a Lab Are Children. What Are the Implications?
A ruling by the state’s Supreme Court could change common practices at fertility clinics in the state and possibly nationwide.
The New York Times
By Jan Hoffman
February 21, 2024

The Alabama Supreme Court has opened a new front in the legal debate over when human life begins. Embryos created and stored in a medical facility must be considered children under the state’s law governing harmful death, the court ruled.

Friday’s ruling was cheered by anti-abortion activists nationwide, who have long argued that life begins at conception. They were thrilled that, for the first time, a court included conception outside the uterus in that definition. But the strongest and most immediate effect of the decision will be on fertility patients trying to get pregnant, not women seeking to end their pregnancies.
Yikes! Just think about all the thousand of frozen embryos that they have stored, if they have a poert failure and the embryos thaw out they could be charged with mass murder!!!!
The ruling is actually somewhat narrow. It applies to three couples who had sued the Center for Reproductive Medicine, a fertility clinic in Mobile, for inadvertently destroying their embryos. The plaintiffs argued that they were entitled to punitive damages under Alabama’s 1872 Wrongful Death of a Minor Act. Two lower state courts disagreed, saying the embryos were neither people nor children. The State Supreme Court reversed those rulings, saying that the embryos fell squarely under Alabama’s definition of minors and that the negligence lawsuits could proceed. The case will now go back to the State District Court for further litigation.


The decision is silent on the fate of other frozen embryos in Alabama because that issue was not before the court. The ruling is only about the terms under which plaintiffs may bring a negligence case against a fertility clinic for embryo destruction. However, it could eventually have major consequences for Alabama patients and providers.
Yeah but… fertility clinics are quaking in their boots because they can see the handwriting on the wall, the “Right-to-lifers” have their foot in the door and they will try forcing it all the way open. The Republicans candidates are already rallying around the decision as a major step forward.
Nikki Haley sides with Alabama Supreme Court on IVF ruling: 'Embryos, to me, are babies'
The Alabama court's recent ruling raised concerns among doctors and patients that classifying embryos as children could restrict in-vitro fertilization.
NBC News
By Ali Vitali and Alex Rhoades
February 21, 2024

Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley said Wednesday that frozen embryos created through in-vitro fertilization are “babies,” siding with a recent Alabama Supreme Court decision that raised concerns among doctors and patients about the future of the procedure.

“Embryos, to me, are babies,” Haley told NBC News in an interview, adding that she used artificial insemination to have her son, a different process than IVF that doesn't present the same complexities around creating embryos in a lab. "When you talk about an embryo, you are talking about, to me, that’s a life. And so I do see where that’s coming from when they talk about that.”

Classifying embryos as children under state law raises significant questions about whether the practice, used by families having trouble conceiving, could continue in states like Alabama. Unused embryos are often destroyed, which could open families or clinics up to wrongful death lawsuits under this policy. Storing frozen embryos, meanwhile, is expensive.

Later on Wednesday, the University of Alabama at Birmingham announced that it was pausing IVF treatments in response to the state Supreme Court ruling.

What do you think fertility clinics going to do? Get rid of the embryos as fast as they can? Close their doors? Do you think that freshly minted doctors will head to Republican states?

Then down in Florida according to The Hill, they waisted no time in...
Liberty Counsel, a nonprofit evangelical Christian legal group, almost immediately filed a notice of supplemental authority with the Florida Supreme Court, arguing against a potential abortion ballot measure. 

The potential amendment will take away “a protected right to life for the unborn,” the group argued. 

“Every unborn life is a human being. Every human life begins as an embryo, and now the Alabama Supreme Court has upheld the decision of its citizenry that every unborn life should be protected, no matter their stage or location,” Liberty Counsel founder and Chair Mat Staver said in a statement. 
Like sharks drawn to blood, these vultures are drawn to another step toward a "Christian Nation."

In another New York Times article…
If you don’t think this country is sliding toward theocracy, you’re not paying attention.

The drumbeat of incidents moving us ever closer to the seemingly inescapable future is so steady and frequent that we’ve developed outrage fatigue — we’ve grown numb.

For instance, on Tuesday, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos are children, and that destruction of those embryos, even by accident, is subject to the state’s Wrongful Death of a Minor Act. In his concurring opinion, the chief justice of the court, Tom Parker, wrote, “Even before birth, all human beings bear the image of God, and their lives cannot be destroyed without effacing his glory.”

The ruling could mean less access to reproductive care in Alabama if specialists in the field of in vitro fertilization simply choose to practice in states that don’t threaten their efforts.

There have been cases before in which embryos were destroyed as a result of negligence, but the Alabama decision significantly ups the ante. It essentially turns cryopreservation tanks into frozen nurseries.
This ruling and the banning of abortions in Republican states is going to be the death knell for fertility clinics in Republican states.

Digging out old news stories about embryos being people I found this…
By Eric J. Forman
July 24, 2018

The announcement that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy will retire at the end of the month and President Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to take his place has spurred concern over the future of women’s reproductive options. Not only is the legal status of abortion at stake, but the concept of embryos as “persons” could be decided by the next Supreme Court.
So this is something that the Republicans have been working towards for a very long time.
The process works like this: After in vitro fertilization, several embryos are grown in the laboratory for five to six days. A few cells are removed from each embryo for genetic analysis, after which the embryos are frozen. The DNA from each embryo is carefully assessed for a variety of genetic disorders. A single genetically normal embryo can then be thawed and returned to the prospective mother’s uterus.


The status of preimplantation testing of human embryos is a complex ethical and emotional issue. Some people believe that life begins at fertilization and, since every life has inherent value, we should not “play God” by choosing not to implant some embryos. Others recognize that embryos have the potential to create a child but require many more steps, and that most embryos are actually incapable of creating a baby.
Alabama is the first state to reach their goal of bring The Handmaid's Tale to real life!
Eleven states have introduced “personhood” bills (none have passed) and more than a dozen court cases have been brought on this issue. The outcome of these cases could significantly limit the ability to practice reproductive medicine techniques such as IVF with preimplantation genetic testing.
God told him to do it!
Chief Justice Tom Parker has long been revered by conservative groups as an architect for the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
The New York Times
By Rick Rojas
February 22, 2024

In an Alabama Supreme Court decision that has rattled reproductive medicine across the country, a majority of the justices said the law was clear that frozen embryos should be considered children: “Unborn children are ‘children.’”

But the court’s chief justice, Tom Parker, drew on more than the Constitution and legal precedent to explain his determination.

“Human life cannot be wrongfully destroyed without incurring the wrath of a holy God,” he wrote in a concurring opinion that invoked the Book of Genesis and the prophet Jeremiah and quoted at length from the writings of 16th- and 17th-century theologians.

“Even before birth,” he added, “all human beings have the image of God, and their lives cannot be destroyed without effacing his glory.”


Since he was first elected to the nine-member court in 2004, and in his legal career before it, he has shown no reticence about expressing how his Christian beliefs have profoundly shaped his understanding of the law and his approach to it as a lawyer and judge.
Do you remember the Colorado Masterpiece Cakeshop case about the cake? The Supreme Court found in favor of the bakery because as the Constitution Center wrote, 
...the Supreme Court reversed the state civil rights commission’s ruling and concluded that the state commission, during its proceedings, appeared to express hostility towards the baker because of his religious beliefs.
Now the Alabama Supreme Court justice used religion for his ruling, will the U.S. Supreme Court use that to overturn the Alabama’s court ruling like they did for the Colorado case?

So now in Alabama with the court ruling the Republican dream of controlling a women’s body is complete! A woman to the Republicans is nothing more than an egg laying machine.

My body, my choice!
My body, my choice!
My body, my choice!

This week’s Cuckoo Award goes to the Alabama Supreme Court for the craziest idea ever! This ruling will cause parents to think twice before getting IVF, normal they fertilize several eggs just in case the first ones don't take but now they cannot discard the unused embryos.

The Alabama Supreme Court just opened the largest Pandora's Box ever!