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icymist's Journal
icymist's Journal
July 1, 2023

Of course religion is being used to discriminate against a protected group.

The whole case is a hypothetical 'what if' that never happened where nobody was damaged except for an innocent man in San Franscisco whose name and identity was being used to bring this false case about.

Yes, that was his name, phone number, email address, and website on the inquiry form. But he never sent this form, he said, and at the time it was sent, he was married to a woman. “If somebody’s pulled my information, as some kind of supporting information or documentation, somebody’s falsified that,” Stewart explained. (Stewart’s last name is not included in the filing, so we will be referring to him by his first name throughout this story.)
A hate group that uses religion to bring about persecution of targeted groups then financed this fiasco, bringing it all the way to the SCOTUS.
Represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, she filed a First Amendment lawsuit in federal court in Colorado arguing that this vanilla Colorado civil rights law violates her freedom of speech by forcing her to create a custom wedding website for same-sex couples, in violation of what she thinks marriage should be.
The Roberts Court decided to hear the case despite the Southern Poverty Law Center's description of the sponsoring group as having a clear political agenda.
Founded by some 30 leaders of the Christian Right, the Alliance Defending Freedom is a legal advocacy and training group that has supported the recriminalization of sexual acts between consenting LGBTQ adults in the U.S. and criminalization abroad; has defended state-sanctioned sterilization of trans people abroad; has contended that LGBTQ people are more likely to engage in pedophilia; and claims that a “homosexual agenda” will destroy Christianity and society. ADF also works to develop “religious liberty” legislation and case law that will allow the denial of goods and services to LGBTQ people on the basis of religion. Since the election of President Trump, ADF has become one of the most influential groups informing the administration’s attack on LGBTQ rights.
This put a hypothetical case in front of SC justices who lied in conformation hearings in the US Senate about how they would rule in hypothetical instances. Now real world rights are taken away from a protected class.
May 24, 2023

Miami-Dade K-8 bars elementary students from 4 library titles following parent complaint

For Stephana Ferrell, the director of research and insight at Florida Freedom to Read Project, it underscores a growing trend to redefine what is considered age appropriate, “especially regarding books that address ethnicities, marginalized communities, racism or our history of racism.”

“Books written for students grades K-5 are being pushed to middle school [libraries and] out of reach for the students they were intended for,” she said. The books aren’t being banned from the district, she argued, “but they’re banned for the students they were intended for.”

The challenges were “school-level only” and “impact one school,” district staff said in an email Monday.

In March, Daily Salinas, a parent of two students at at Bob Graham Education Center in Miami Lakes, challenged The ABCs of Black History, Cuban Kids, Countries in the News Cuba, the poem The Hill We Climb, which was recited by poet Amanda Gorman at the Jan. 20, 2021, inauguration of President Joe Biden, and Love to Langston for what she said included references of critical race theory, “indirect hate messages,” gender ideology and indoctrination, according to records obtained by the Florida Freedom to Read Project and shared with the Miami Herald.

Read more at: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/education/article275671496.html#storylink=cpy

The Status Kuo substack has mentioned the above in today's mailing:
The banning of the inaugural poem by a National Youth Poet Laureate like Gorman is already garnering widespread attention on the absurdity and danger of Florida’s book ban laws, drawing focus to how a single extreme parent can ruin the educational experience for other children. Gorman’s response has already garnered over 5 million views on Twitter and 300,000 likes on Instagram.

The disproportionate impact of radical groups on educational curricula is also being exposed. Salinas, the parent who filed the complaint, is not just some concerned mother, as many might assume. According to an investigation by the group Miami Against Fascism, Salinas is a member of the extremist organization Moms for Liberty and has joined others from that group to disrupt school board meetings. She is also a supporter of the Proud Boys and has stood beside leader and convicted seditious conspirator Enrique Tarrio at local Florida protests. She is also allegedly a member of the Christian Nationalist group CCDF, and, according to her social media feed, a purveyor of antisemitic conspiracies online.

April 20, 2023

Trans Adults Officially Being Detransitioned In Missouri: "I'm Scared And Don't Know What To Do"

On April 13th, Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey signed a decree that banned most gender affirming care for transgender adults in the state. This set of guidelines, reminiscent of targeted restrictions on abortion providers also known as TRAP laws, makes most care in the state impossible to administer. As a result, doctors that provide gender affirming care statewide have had to pull their trans patients off of their medication, forcing them to medically detransition. The Missouri order is one of the cruelest in the country, and is part of a new wave of laws that target adult care.

The Missouri ban outlines numerous stipulations for clinics offering care, effectively making it illegal or too legally precarious to provide such services. One particularly troublesome requirement mandates that transgender individuals must have depression and anxiety resolved prior to receiving gender-affirming care. Coupled with another condition stating that dysphoria must be "intense," clinics that successfully address depression and anxiety to comply with the first stipulation may then be informed that their patients' dysphoria was not "intense" enough. This creates a clear Catch-22, particularly since gender-affirming care often alleviates depression and anxiety on its own.

...For transgender adults already receiving care, a questionable "grandfather" clause purportedly allows them to continue treatment. However, in practice, this is not the case. Clinics must still retroactively adhere to all other regulations, even for transgender adults who have been grandfathered into their care. Compliance with some of these regulations is unattainable, such as evaluating "transgender social contagion," an unproven pseudoscientific concept that clinics have no means to assess.

Additionally, the mandate requires clinics to maintain 15-year follow-up records, distribute misleading informational pamphlets, ensure that patients are evaluated by a psychologist for unspecified developmental psychology concerns, and maintain extensive paperwork detailing compliance with these regulations. Ultimately, the directive imposes sudden and strict infrastructure requirements, similar to Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws used to close abortion clinics. As a result, transgender individuals' access to medication is effectively restricted or eliminated at all levels.

March 9, 2023

Inside the Secret Working Group That Helped Push Anti-Trans Laws Across the Country

On a Saturday afternoon in August 2019, South Dakota Republican state Rep. Fred Deutsch sent an email to 18 anti-trans activists, doctors, and lawyers with the text of a bill he planned to introduce that would make it a felony for doctors to give transgender children under 16 gender-affirming medical care. “I have no doubt this will be an uphill battle when we get to session,” Deutsch warned the group. “As always, please do not share this with the media. The longer we can fly under the radar the better.”

The message was one in a trove of emails obtained by Mother Jones between Deutsch and representatives of a network of activists and organizations at the forefront of the anti-trans movement. They show the degree to which these activists shaped Deutsch’s repressive legislation, a version of which was signed into law in February, and the tactics, alliances, and goals of a movement that has sought to foist their agenda on a national scale.

In messages back and forth, some members of the group pushed Deutsch to make the bill even more restrictive. Vernadette Broyles, the president and general counsel of a Georgia-based law firm called the Child & Parental Rights Campaign, urged him to raise the age threshold to 18. Broyles, who is also affiliated with the conservative Christian legal powerhouse Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), warned that other religious-right groups might not support the bill if “you start by giving away 16 and 17-year olds right from the outset.” Others, including Andre Van Mol—a member of a fringe, conservative doctors group that calls itself the American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds)—raised concerns that the bill as written might backfire by accidentally blocking healthcare providers from “attempting to change…a child’s perception of their sex” when kids identify as transgender. Deutsch agreed to rewrite the section.
At the time, there was little precedent for such bills, and Deutsch’s legislation, called the Vulnerable Child Protection Act, was killed in the Senate after doctors showed up at the South Dakota statehouse to argue they should not be sent to prison for following the medical consensus. “Though our session in SD is now over and our efforts to protect gender-confused vulnerable children failed, I continue to receive ugly email and social media posts,” Deutsch complained to the group in March 2020.

February 17, 2023

Bill would ban companies that offer trans care from TennCare

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The private companies that manage care for most of Tennessee’s Medicaid program could no longer contract with the state if they cover gender-transitioning medical care, according to a bill Republican lawmakers advanced Tuesday.

The legislation is the latest proposal targeting transgender people that Tennessee lawmakers have introduced this year. It's similar to bills seeking to limit or ban gender-affirming care being considered in statehouses across the country.

According to the legislation, Tennessee's Medicaid program — known as TennCare — could no longer contract with managed care organizations if they provide coverage for gender-transition treatment, be it in Tennessee or in any other state. The rule would apply to patients of all ages.

Republican Rep. Tim Rudd told the House Insurance Subcommittee that insurance companies should not use Tennessee dollars to cover such medical treatments in other states.

February 17, 2023

Kentucky bill would ban drag shows within 1,000 feet of schools, parks and homes

Kentucky Republicans introduced legislation last week that seeks to keep drag shows at least 1,000 feet — approximately the length of three football fields — from "locations that cater to minors," including schools, churches, parks, homes and walking trails.

While the bill, SB 115, broadly takes aim at "adult-oriented businesses" — which it also defines to include adult cabarets, strip clubs and adult movie theaters — one of the bill's five co-sponsors said the idea for the bill originated, in part, from concerns over a “family-friendly” drag show in the state.

“They’re adult-oriented performances; there’s no reason children need to be exposed to that,” Kentucky state Sen. Lindsey Tichenor told NBC affiliate WLEX of Lexington on Wednesday.

Uma Jewels, a drag queen based in Lexington, the state's second largest city, disagreed with Tichenor.

“Drag is just about the most unsexy thing I can think of doing and if you are wanting to sexualize drag, I think that is on you and not on the performer,” Jewels told WLEX.

February 17, 2023

Missouri Considers Forcing Detransition On Incarcerated Trans People

Missouri has been the site of some of the most vicious battles over transgender rights in recent years. In 2022, a trans healthcare ban and trans sports ban came just short of passing after time ran out over a fight about redistricting. In those debates, transgender people were openly compared to “an infection” by sitting legislators. This year, the pace of anti-trans bills has increased, with sometimes as many as 8 anti-trans bills being heard in a single day. Now, one of the gender affirming care bans for trans youth that passed out of committee was amended with a new provision: the forced medical detransition of incarcerated transgender people.

The new amendment contained carveouts to HB419, which bans gender affirming care for transgender youth. Legislators removed language that involved continuing hormones if withdrawing them meant a threat to the life of the child - explicitly voting through an amendment that removed protections for the life of the kid. Republicans also added a new line that has never been before seen in anti-trans legislation: that any correctional facility would no longer provide gender affirming care to those incarcerated.

The withdrawal of gender affirming care for incarcerated people is especially alarming, considering that Missouri is also considering several bills that target drag artists and transgender performers. In the hearing over those bills, Representative Mazzie Boyd (R), one of the anti-drag bill sponsors, stated that she knew it targeted transgender people and any gender nonconforming person performing regardless of explicit sexualization and seemed to agree with that end goal. When asked later if she considered drag in and of itself sexually explicit, she stated yes. It is conceivable that, should both bills pass, Missouri could legalize arresting transgender people for doing anything considered “performance” and forcing their medical detransition.

January 25, 2023

Feds: 3 South Florida nursing schools sold 7,600 fake degrees; 25 charged

MIAMI – Three now-shuttered South Florida nursing schools sold more than $100 million worth of fake nursing diplomas, leading authorities to charge more than two dozen people, federal prosecutors said Wednesday afternoon.

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Markenzy Lapointe and representatives from FBI Miami and Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General spoke at a news conference in Miami Wednesday.

Authorities charged 25 people across multiple states in the scheme, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors have made 21 arrests. Those charged were from Florida, New York, New Jersey, Texas and Delaware.


From the state that's currently banning books from schools and students.
January 25, 2023

Sorry, Twitter, but Florida's war on books is no joke. Ron DeSantis wants to keep kids from reading

For those who are paying attention, it's been obvious for some time that Florida's mega-MAGA governor, Ron DeSantis, is aggressive with book bans because he would just prefer it if kids didn't read books at all. So while it was infuriating, it was not surprising to read that the investigative journalism team at Popular Info had discovered that teachers in Manatee County, Florida were told that every book on their shelves was banned until otherwise notified. Failure to lock up all their books until they could be "vetted" by censors, teachers were warned, put them at risk of being prosecuted as felons.

The facts of this situation are straightforward: A Florida law signed by DeSantis requires that every book available to students "must be selected by a school district employee who holds a valid educational media specialist certificate," in most cases, the school librarian. This may sound reasonable on its surface, but as the situation in Manatee County shows, in reality, it's about creating a bottleneck preventing books from getting into the hands of students. Even more importantly, it's about establishing the idea that books are inherently dangerous objects, to the degree that no student can be allowed to handle one without heavy-handed surveillance.

Moreover, even if the librarians in Florida are not themselves interested in being the reading police, they may feel they have no choice. DeSantis has made it quite clear what kinds of ideas he believes should be banned in the state of Florida. He doesn't want schools to acknowledge that LGBTQ people exist. He's banned the teaching of Black history classes on the grounds that lessons on people like Frederick Douglass or Rosa Parks, for instance, "have no educational value." He has been forcing schools to teach a lie, that racism is not the cause of racial inequality. With that level of pressure, it is no surprise that schools would simply err on the side of having few, if any, books available. If books return to the shelves, they may likely be heavily limited to those that portray the world like it's a 1950s sitcom, which pretty much guarantees they'll go unread, as such themes hold little interest to kids in 21st-century America.

When it comes to keeping kids from reading much, if at all, DeSantis' policy is a smashing success. He's established the idea that no student should ever be allowed to just grab a book and read on their own. He's stigmatized basic curiosity. Big Brother must always be watching, a reference kids probably won't get if "1984" is no longer a book readers can just pick up.

January 25, 2023

The People Who Don't Read Books

During Kanye West’s spectacular plummet last fall, my friends and I would often marvel at the latest outrageous thing he’d said. And we would send around clips of what were, in hindsight, terribly suspect comments he’d previously made. One such example was “I am not a fan of books,” which Ye told an interviewer upon the publication of his own book, Thank You and You’re Welcome. “I am a proud non-reader of books,” he continued. That statement strikes me as one of the more disturbing things he’s ever said. Ye’s patently reprehensible anti-Semitic tirades rightly drew the world’s scorn. But his anti-book stance is disturbing because it says something about not only Ye’s character but the smugly solipsistic tenor of this cultural moment.

We have never before had access to so many perspectives, ideas, and information. Much of it is fleetingly interesting but ultimately inconsequential—not to be confused with expertise, let alone wisdom. This much is widely understood and discussed. The ease with which we can know things and communicate them to one another, as well as launder success in one realm into pseudo-authority in countless others, has combined with a traditional American tendency toward anti-intellectualism and celebrity worship. Toss in a decades-long decline in the humanities, and we get our superficial culture in which even the elite will openly disparage as pointless our main repositories for the very best that has been thought.

If one person managed to outdo Ye in that season of high-end self-sabotage marking the end of 2022, it was the erstwhile techno-wunderkind Sam Bankman-Fried. In an ill-conceived profile from September, published on the Sequoia Capital website, the 30-year-old SBF rails against literature of any kind, lecturing a journalist on why he would “never” read a book. “I’m very skeptical of books,” he expands. “I don’t want to say no book is ever worth reading, but I actually do believe something pretty close to that. I think, if you wrote a book, you fucked up, and it should have been a six-paragraph blog post.”

It’s a galling sentiment, every bit as ignorant and arrogant as Ye’s but even more worrisome because SBF is not an entertainer whose debut album was called The College Dropout. He is a supposedly serious young man who was celebrated in the corridors of power not only as a financial savant but also—through his highly publicized philanthropy and conspicuous association with the “effective altruism” movement—as a moral genius. The title of that profile: “Sam Bankman-Fried Has a Savior Complex—And Maybe You Should Too.”


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