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The Republic of El Salvador #fundie #sexist washingtonpost.com

A Salvadoran woman charged in the death of her stillborn baby was cleared Monday, a ruling advocates say is a notable triumph in a country with one of the world’s most severe abortion bans.

A judge’s decision to acquit 21-year-old Evelyn Hernández marks the culmination of a tragic saga that began when she was raped at the age of 18, her lawyers said. Those close to Hernández say she didn’t know she was nearly 34 weeks pregnant in 2016, when she walked into a latrine and delivered a stillborn child. Her mother found her, bleeding and unconscious, before rushing her to a hospital.

Paula Avila Guillen, director of Latin America Initiatives at the Women’s Equality Center, said a doctor concluded that Hernández’s condition was a result of an “incomplete abortion.” Police discovered her fetus in the latrine and charged Hernández with aggravated homicide. In 2017, she was handed a 30-year prison sentence.

“Mere suspicion of possible abortion immediately makes [women] guilty, presumption of innocence gets erased,” said Guillen, who worked closely with Hernández’s defense team. “When police were notified, they shackled her to a hospital bed and interrogated her.”

[Women serving decades-long prison terms for abortion in El Salvador hope change is coming]

Hernández spent 33 months in prison and was released in February after a successful appeal. In an attempt to retry Hernández on the same charges, prosecutors last week fought to increase her sentence to 40 years, arguing that she had lied about being raped and should have known she was pregnant.

The woman bled frequently and faced other obstetric ailments during her pregnancy, Guillen said, which she confused with her period.

The judge “simply couldn’t see enough evidence to be convinced she had done anything to commit any crimes,” Guillen said. “It was the right thing to do.”

Several Latin American countries have stringent abortion laws, including Argentina, where an 11-year-old rape victim was forced to give birth in February, even though the girl had repeatedly asked for an abortion. But no restriction is more severe than El Salvador’s absolute ban, which has been in place since the late 1990s and applies even if a mother’s life is in danger.

Guillen and other advocates say the ban is applied arbitrarily and specifically targets poor women in El Salvador who lack access to quality medical care. Even in instances of miscarriage, prosecutors in the country seek homicide or manslaughter charges on top of abortion-related counts.

Hernández’s case was remedied only after a painstaking process, and Guillen notes that this was just the second time a judge in the country has ruled that a stillbirth or miscarriage was not criminal. About 20 women remain imprisoned under similar circumstances, Guillen said.

But slowly, some of them have had their charges commuted or dismissed.

In December, Imelda Cortez was released after spending about 18 months in prison for attempted murder. She also gave birth to a baby in a latrine, but the infant survived, and prosecutors argued that she hid her pregnancy and was negligent. Cortez contended she was a rape victim and did not know she was pregnant.

Four months later, three Salvadoran women charged with aggravated homicide after suffering miscarriages had their sentences commuted. They’d spent a collective 29 years in prison.

“The stories are all so similar because they all follow a pattern of persecution of women who have stillbirths and are impoverished,” Guillien said. “You have to mobilize the world to save one woman; that’s what it takes in El Salvador."

Morena Herrera, an prominent advocate for women’s rights in the country, said in a statement that Hernández’s acquittal “is a sign of hope for all women who remain in jail for crimes they did not commit, for health problems that should have never been brought to court."

“It is a hope for Salvadoran society because we are beginning to take steps along the path of justice, of truth and of well-being for everyone,” Herrera added. “No woman should go through the ordeal that Evelyn did.”

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Sandy Rios #fundie #racist rightwingwatch.org

Sandy Rios says that when progressives criticize white supremacy, what they’re really criticizing is conservative Christianity. Rios works as the American Family Association’s director of governmental affairs and has been present at conservative events like the Values Voter Summit and the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

On this morning’s episode of “Sandy Rios in the Morning” on American Family Radio, Rios argued that people who speak out against white supremacy in the United States aren’t actually talking about white supremacy, but rather they are secretly attacking conservative Christians. Rios also claimed that comparing President Trump to a Nazi is unfounded because the Nazis also killed some white people along with the millions of Jews they murdered in a genocide.

“It’s not about your skin color and when they go further and compare President Trump to Nazis and their white racism, it’s really silly because, remember, the Nazis killed thousands, hundreds of thousands, of people, but guess what? They were white,” Rios said. “The Nazis were Aryan supremacists. They had a certain superhuman race they wanted to develop and most white people did not qualify.”

She continued, “So when the left is talking about white supremacism, they’re talking about the roots of this country. They’re talking about Christianity. They’re talking about hard work, about capitalism and free-market values. They’re talking about everything that has made America what it is. That’s what they mean.”

Rios went on to cite examples of left-of-center people criticizing racist and controversial remarks made by conservative activist Candace Owens to make her point.

“It may seem as though the hatred is focused on the president, but as I have said to you before, it is really focused on us—those of us that love this country, even if you don’t support Trump fully but you love the Constitution, you love the founders, you believe in Jesus—you are an object of their wrath.”

Rios made a similar argument in 2017 when she argued that the term “alt-right”—the label the white supremacist movement fixated to itself in the run-up to the 2016 election—was coined to denigrate conservatives, especially those who speak “in the name of Jesus.”

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Ralph Drollinger #fundie elclip.org

Drollinger’s latest expansion plan is the most unusual. On July 18, he traveled to Nicaragua following a personal invitation from President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, to establish a ministry in the capital city of Managua. The presidential couple also invited Drollinger to share a podium with them during the 40th anniversary of the Sandinista Revolution.

In a press release, Capitol Ministries explained it was Ortega who sent a letter to Drollinger inviting him to open a ministry in his government. The letter, published by CM, declared that “we know that if the people God has entrusted with the destiny of a nation are born again, our representatives will legislate according to the Bible”.

But while Ortega professed his faith, a report by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights charged that “the repressive actions of the State of Nicaragua had left, by June 2018, at least 212 dead, 1.337 wounded and 507 people deprived of freedom.” The report listed the names of each person who died.

By August that year, the commission counted 322 dead, most of them young people protesting alleged government abuse and corruption. Ortega harshly criticized the report, but acknowledged that 128 people had died during the civilian protests.

Despite Ortega’s human rights record, Drollinger accepted the invitation with enthusiasm and without acknowledging the crisis. During the commemoration of the Sandinista Revolution, he said “we would like to thank the President and the Vice President for the opportunity to plant the word of God here, and to begin by growing this Capitol Ministry within the community of politicians”. He also highlighted his close ties to the US government, adding that “in the name of the Bible studies of the White House, in the name of the students of the Bible in the US Senate, in the name of the Representatives of the Lower House that study the Bible, we bring you our peace and our blessings”.

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Cheryl Chumley #fundie gopusa.com

Christians Against Christian Nationalism, a movement driven by church leaders and executives of faith-based groups, just put pen to paper to warn Americans that “Christian nationalism” is becoming a concern because, in their words, it often serves as a cover for “white supremacy and racial subjugation.”
Sounds dire. Until you peer past the curtain, that is.

This is a campaign led by far-left types who use their religious positions to push their far-left ideas.
This is a campaign filled with self-proclaiming Christians whose Christian ideals and beliefs are, in strict biblical teaching, very un-Christian.

Hmm. Suddenly, the “Christian nationalism” they spit on becomes a pin the proud patriot, and particularly, the proud Christian patriot, should wear.

Among the “Christians Against Christian Nationalism” endorsers: There’s the Rev. Dr. Paul Baxley, executive coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, who supported the CBF’s opening of doors to gay church employees.
There’s Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of the Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, who openly backed the pro-LGBTQ bill, H.R. 5, The Equality Act, that would have barred discrimination based on “sex, gender identity and sexual orientation” — and who denounced President Donald Trump’s crackdown on refugees as “antithetical to our faith.”

There’s Tony Campolo, a founder of the Red Letter Christian Movement, who called for “full acceptance of Christian gay couples into the church,” as he put it, in June of 2015.
There’s Patrick Carolan, executive director of Franciscan Action Network, who just joined with more than 100 civil rights activists and social justice leaders to “pledge solidarity with LGBTQ Catholic school teachers,” Metro Weekly reported.

There’s Paula Dempsey, director of partner relations with Alliance for Baptists, who in 2017 said her staff were “thrilled” at the hiring of a lesbian couple to serve as senior members of a Washington, D.C., church — and that she hoped other churches would “have ministers who would identify as members of the LGBTQ community.”
There’s more. Many more.

But the big question is this: Just how “Christian” is this “Christians Against Christian Nationalism” movement in the first place?

After all, if these CACN types see the Bible as their rally call to fight against borders — which is another way of bucking the rule of law — why can’t they see it’s this same Bible that makes clear homosexuality, to God, is an abomination?

Grain, meet salt.

Or maybe, more to the point, conservatives, meet the newest leftist attack. It’s far-left ideology masked as religious righteousness. And it’s as wicked as it is clever.

An example? Here’s one. So when CACN endorsers write that “conflating religious authority with political authority is idolatrous and often leads to oppression of minority and other marginalized groups,” they’re not referring, say, to Sharia law, and how its Muslim adherents, working within the confines of government, toss homosexuals off buildings, or publicly cane women for the crime of walking in public without a face covering. No. They’re talking about Christian conservatives who stand for the rule of law.

They’re talking about Christian conservatives who believe in traditional marriage.

They’re talking about Trump, his supporters and those who believe in border controls.

They’re trying to draw moral equivalencies between religions that behead those of different faiths and religions of those in the Republican Party.

CACN endorsers say this: “Patriotism does not require us to minimize our religious convictions.” And this: “People of all faiths and none have the right and responsibility to engage constructively in the public square.”

They mean this: “Leave Rep. Omar Ilhan alone.”

They forget this: America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, with an emphasis on both the importance of the individual and the concept of original sin that are spelled out in the Bible. From there sprang our governing documents.

Truly, it’s easy to keep Christian preaching out of the public square. It’s easy to confine the formal teaching of the Bible from a religious perspective to Sunday morning pews.

What’s not so easy, though, is to remove Judeo-Christian principles from our government — while still keeping the government our founders envisioned intact. Bluntly put, the country would crumble from within without its moral compass of Judeo-Christian teachings, without its base values of Ten Commandments principles, without its guiding belief of individual rights coming from God, not government.

Without its borders.

Without its traditions, and yes, traditional values. Traditional, biblically sound values.

Calling out such viewpoints as Christian nationalism, either subtly or overtly, is to deride our entire nation.
The takeaway is this: On CAGN, beware the wolves in sheep’s clothing.

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Ralph Drollinger #fundie rightwingwatch.org

Drollinger pronounced himself “blessed” and “honored” by the invitation to come to Nicaragua for the celebration and to talk about creating Bible studies for government officials. “In the United States of America, we have found amongst our political leaders, that it is essential they have a Bible teacher in their midst,” Drollinger said. He reiterated that point, saying “we have found in our nation, that it’s an important aspect of our government to have a Bible teacher in the midst of our political leaders.”

“Mrs. Vice President has said you are a Christian nation,” he told the crowd. “In America, we view ourselves as a Christian nation. But what is a Christian nation? A Christian nation is a Christian nation to the degree that the people in the nation reflect the attributes of God.”

Drollinger went on to say that it falls to the institution of the church to reflect the mercy, grace, love, patience and kindness of God, adding that other attributes include justice and righteousness, which God has “asked the state to manifest.”

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Rafi Peretz #fundie #homophobia washingtonpost.com

JERUSALEM — Israel’s newly-appointed education minister has sparked outrage after saying in a televised interview broadcast Saturday that he believes it is possible to perform conversion therapy on homosexuals to change their sexual orientation.

Minister Rabbi Rafi Peretz, head of the far-right, ultranationalist Jewish Home Party, also told Channel 12 News that he had carried out such treatments in the past, counseling young religious students who spoke to him about being gay.

“I think it is possible. I can tell you I have a very deep familiarity with this kind of education, and I have also done this,” said the education minister when asked if he thought people could change such inclinations. 

Peretz, a former chief military rabbi, described counseling one student, “I hugged him first then uttered very warm words, I told him that we needed to think about this, learn about this, observe this. The objective is for him first of all to know himself and then I can give him the data.” 

Peretz became minister for education three weeks ago as part of a coalition deal with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has engaged in some complex political maneuvering to maintain his interim government as Israel heads toward its second general election this year to be held on Sept. 17. 

Peretz’s comments could now play a pivotal role in the election campaigning, possibly having a negative impact on Netanyahu’s reelection chances. Leaders of several rival parties said Sunday that a government expressing such extreme views was dragging the country back into the Dark Ages.

Netanyahu was quick to distance himself from Peretz’s comments, saying in a statement, “the education minister’s remarks regarding the gay community are not acceptable to me and do not reflect the position of the government under my leadership.”  

Also, in the interview, Peretz said he believed Israel should annex the entire West Bank, but under no circumstances allow the more than two million Palestinians living there the right to political vote.

“Israel should have full sovereignty in the West Bank,” said Peretz. “We will take care of [the Palestinians’] needs and make sure it is good for them … but of course they would not be able to vote.”

[Netanyahu’s election rivals merge as Israeli leader makes pact with extreme right]

Members of Israel’s LGBTQ community said they would hold a protest Sunday evening decrying Peretz’s comments and call for his resignation. 

“There is only one adequate response to such dark statements by the minister of education and that is to fire him immediately,” The National Association of LGBT in Israel said in a statement. “It is imperative to prevent Israeli girls and boys from exposure to the homophobic poison disseminated by one who is presumed to be involved with education and values.”

Israeli radio stations on Sunday interviewed individuals who had been subjected to such conversion attempts. 

“You are told to punish yourself for thinking about boys and it brings you to a very low point,” Shai Bramson, who said he was treated for three years as a teenager, told Israel’s Army Radio. “You are told that there is no hope for you unless you change this identity.”

Zvi Fishel, chairman of the Israel Psychiatric Association, said Peretz’s comments were “disgraceful and disturbing.” 

“The Israel Medical Association, the Israel Psychiatric Association and many other medical associations in Israel and around the world have determined there is no treatment that can replace a person's sexual orientation,” he said in a statement. “Conversion treatments that purport to change sexual orientation, not only have been scientifically proved useless, [they] pose a danger, and cause serious harm to the patient’s psyche, the sense of failure and may lead to suicide.”

Nitzan Horowitz, head of the left-wing Meretz Party, himself openly gay, called Peretz irresponsible and said his statements were very dangerous.  

“You are not a minister of education, but a minister of darkness. You are not worthy of being responsible for the future of our children. You must be removed from being minister of education to a position where you will cause less damage,” said Horowitz.

In an attempted to clarify, Peretz released a statement saying he didn’t mean it was necessary to send children to conversion therapy.

“In my years as an educator I have met with students who were in terrible distress with regard to their sexual orientation and decided to request professional help in order to change,” he said. “The school system under my leadership will continue to accept all of the boys and girls in Israel, regardless of their sexual orientation.”

Last week, Peretz also caused a stir when it was reported that during a cabinet meeting he had likened the rate of intermarriage between Jews and non-Jews in the United States to “a second Holocaust.”

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William Latson #racist washingtonpost.com

A Florida high school principal has apologized for telling a parent concerned about Holocaust education that he couldn’t say the World War II genocide was “a factual, historical event,” adding that “not everyone believes the Holocaust happened.”

Spanish River Community High School principal William Latson made the comments in emails to the parent in April 2018, according to the Palm Beach Post, which first publishedcopies of the messages last week. The public high school located in Boca Raton, Fla., is believed to have one of the county’s largest populations of Jewish students, the Post reported.

“I regret that the verbiage that I used when responding to an email message from a parent, one year ago, did not accurately reflect my professional and personal commitment to educating all students about the atrocities of the Holocaust,” Latson said in a statement to the newspaper.

The contents of Latson’s emails have since prompted fierce backlash amid growing nationwide concern over Holocaust education in the United States. Earlier this month, the World Jewish Congress launched a petition in support of federal legislation that would make teaching the Holocaust mandatory in schools, noting an “alarming rise in antisemitism” in the U.S. and abroad and a declining public understanding of the atrocity.

In a statement Sunday, Palm Beach County’s school board chairman Frank A. Barbieri Jr. wrote that the board “is, and always has been, committed to teaching all students, in every grade level, a historically accurate Holocaust curriculum; one which leaves no room for erroneous revisions of fact or the scourge of anti-Semitism.” Barbieri added that the situation involving Latson is “being investigated at the highest levels of the District Administration.”

“Every generation must recognize, and learn from, the atrocities of the Holocaust’s incomprehensible suffering and the enduring stain that it left on humankind,” he wrote. “It is only through high quality education, and thought provoking conversations, that history won’t repeat itself.”

The principal and the Palm Beach County School District did not respond to requests for comment from The Washington Post late Sunday.

Latson’s troubles began when a mother emailed him with a question on April 13, 2018: “in what ways/classes is Holocaust education provided to all of the students?” (The emails were obtained by the Palm Beach Post.)

A bill passed in 1994 requires all school districts in Florida to incorporate lessons on the Holocaust as part of public school education, but the mother wrote that Spanish River’s offerings on the subject were not mandatory and were only attended by “the minority of students.” A 2018 study conducted by Brandeis University reported that the number of Jewish children living in Palm Beach County increased from 11,000 in 2005 to 17,300 in 2018.

In response to the parent’s email, the principal wrote that Holocaust studies are “dealt with in a variety of ways.” However, he noted that the “curriculum is to be introduced but not forced upon individuals as we all have the same rights but not all the same beliefs.” Latson referenced an optional annual Holocaust assembly intended for 10th-graders and said the topic is also “covered in the various social science courses it aligns with.”

According to the Post, the mother, who was not identified, wrote back and asked Latson to explain his stance, telling him that, “The Holocaust is a factual, historical event” and “not a right or a belief.”

But rather than apologize, Latson appeared to stand firm.

“Not everyone believes the Holocaust happened and you have your thoughts but we are a public school and not all of our parents have the same beliefs so they will react differently,” Latson wrote in a subsequent email, adding, “my thoughts or beliefs have nothing to do with this because I am a public servant."

Latson said his position dictates he be “politically neutral,” while continuing to “support all groups in the school.”

“I work to expose students to certain things but not all parents want their students exposed so they will not be and I can’t force that issue,” he wrote. “I can’t say the Holocaust is a factual, historical event because I am not in the position to do so as a school district employee."

The principal added that he approaches lessons about slavery in the same way, writing, “I do allow information about the Holocaust to be presented and allow students and parents to make decisions about it accordingly.”

Unsatisfied with Latson’s answer, the mother met several times with the principal and school district officials to propose changes, which included making the Holocaust memoir “Night” by Elie Wiesel required reading for all 10th-grade English students, the Post reported. She also suggested that Holocaust assemblies be offered to all students and not just 10th-graders, according to the Post.

As a result of her efforts, “Night” became mandatory reading for sophomores this past school year, and Palm Beach County deputy superintendent and chief of schools Keith Oswald told the Post that the assemblies are slated to happen next year.

Oswald said Latson was counseled about the emails, but not formally disciplined. The school district administrator defended Latson, touting the longtime principal’s success leading one of Palm Beach County’s largest public schools. Latson has been the school’s principal since 2011, according to his LinkedIn profile.

“It was a hastily, poorly written email that he apologized for,” Oswald said. “That’s some of the challenge that we face when we email back and forth instead of picking up the phone.”

Laura Fellman, a member of the school’s advisory council, told the Post that she also didn’t think the emails represented Latson’s actual beliefs. Fellman wrote in an email that she has heard Latson “say he knows that the Holocaust happened” and praised him for working “diligently” to “make sure that Spanish River’s students are well informed about the Holocaust.”

Latson’s emails, however, did not sit well with Karen Brill, the only Jewish member of the county school board, the Post reported. “The Holocaust is a historical fact, and I am appalled that anyone in our district believes that its teaching may be opted out of,” Brill said.

The newspaper reported that Latson toured the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington this summer. In his statement, Latson said it is “critical, as a society, we hold dear the memory of the victims and hold fast to our commitment to counter anti-Semitism.”

Despite Latson’s apology, critics blasted him as a “Holocaust denier” and a petition calling for his resignation had more than 4,000 signatures as of early Monday.

But in the April 2018 email exchange, Latson made it clear that he was “not looking for a situation to divide.”

“My personal beliefs are separate and will always be as they have no place in my profession,” he wrote. “I am simply letting you know we do all we can as a public school within our ability.”

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Donald Trump #fundie #ableism #megalomania news.vice.com

Homelessness is super sad, President Donald Trump conceded — at least for the white-collar workers walking by unsheltered people to get into their office buildings.

For the people actually experiencing homelessness, though, Trump didn’t offer much sympathy in an interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Monday night.

Trump said the government “may intercede” in cleaning up West Coast cities swamped with tent cities and vehicle encampments after Carlson suggested people were living in “filth.” To be sure, Trump’s administration has proposed eliminating the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness — twice. The council was established in 1987 to coordinate the government’s homelessness efforts across federal agencies.

“Perhaps they like living that way,” Trump said of unsheltered people. “They can’t do that. We cannot ruin our cities.”

“You have people that work in those cities,” Trump continued. “They work in office buildings and to get into the building, they have to walk through a scene that nobody would have believed possible three years ago."

Homelessness has been gradually increasing in recent years to at least 553,000 people on a single night in 2018, according to government data. (Advocates and scholars have repeatedly said such “point-in-time” counts vastly underestimate the true number of people experiencing homelessness on any given day.)

Currently, about 59,000 people in Los Angeles County alone are homeless — a 12% increase from last year that’s shocked local lawmakers and spurred increased coverage on Fox News over the past month. The crisis is exacerbated by a shortage of affordable rental units in major cities, an inadequate amount of shelter beds, and a lack of resources for drug users or people experiencing mental illness.

But the homelessness epidemic has been used by conservative voices like Carlson to deride left-leaning cities like San Francisco, Seattle, and Los Angeles, where visible homelessness is concentrated and, in some cases, growing worse. During the recent G-20 summit in Osaka, Trump told reporters that San Francisco and Los Angeles have become “sad to look at” due to their liberal leadership.

Fox News recently increased its coverage of the issue, according to the left-leaning group Media Matters, but has mostly argued the crisis is caused by “virtue signaling” and city officials failing to take control of their residents.

“You only have one solution: You bulldoze the 50-block radius, and you institutionalize everybody and detoxify them, and then you let them out,” Fox News host Jesse Watters said of homeless encampments in June.

Cities have tried something pretty close to that: sweeping people off the streets and arresting them, or literally shipping people out of town. Advocates say those efforts don’t help. In fact, Trump mentioned that he “ended” homelessness in Washington D.C. because he was concerned world leaders were “looking at scenes like you see in Los Angeles and San Francisco.”

It’s unclear whether or not “ending” homelessness in D.C. meant that people were given help — but D.C. has greatly increased its efforts to remove homeless camps over the past two years, according to NBC4 in Washington.

“We have to take the people and do something, it’s destroying a whole way of life,” Trump told Carlson.

Cover: Homeless people move belongings from a street near Los Angeles City Hall as crews prepared to clean the area Monday, July 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

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María Corina Machado #conspiracy venezuelaconspiracytheories.blogspot.com

Opposition leader Maria Corina Machado warns in a recent video published via her party’s Twitter account (@VenteVenezuela) that the opposition must not “fall in the trap created by the Maduro regime of the so-called dialogue and farce elections.”

Machado, herself the target of accusation by the Venezuelan government of being the mastermind of a plot to assassinate Maduro, seems to however subscribe the government’s conspiratorial discourse about an “unconventional conflict.” But she claims this war has been unleashed by the government against the rest of the word. “The Venezuelan criminal State has unleashed an unconventional conflict in coalition with terrorist groups such as the ELN, the FARC, Hezbollah, Hamas, drug cartels, and the Cuban tyranny, and they will not let go of the Venezuelan territory, resources, and institutions, unless they are confronted with a stronger liberating force of those democratic actors in the region that understand what’s at stake,” says Machado.

Machado also speaks of the catastrophic consequences if Maduro were to remain in power. The main issue, according to her, is the problem created for the region by the exodus of millions of Venezuelans. Some of the consequences of this exodus, she claims, are obvious, but some are not: “...because the regime has managed to infiltrate some of these groups of migrants with what they call ‘social movements’, individuals whose objectives are to destabilize these democracies in our region.”

Venezuela expert David Smilde commented on Twitter (@dsmilde): “Brilliant. In a two-minute video aimed at international audiences, MCM manages to feed stereotypes of the Venezuelan opposition as crazy and intolerant, AND raise suspicions that Venezuelan migrants are dangerous.”

Indeed, on behalf of the millions of Venezuelan migrants around the world: thank you Maria Corina!

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Mitch McConnell #racist washingtonpost.com

Congressional Republicans have made their decision: Most of them are defending or at least not speaking out against President Trump amid the fallout from his “go back” remarks directed at four minority congresswomen.

But how do you defend racist language from the president of the United States? It appeared particularly difficult for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), whose wife is an immigrant, a woman of color and a member of Trump’s Cabinet. Reporters asked McConnell multiple times at his regular Tuesday news conference why he’s standing by the president on this, and McConnell didn’t have an answer. (The most obvious answer, of course, is that Republicans have a lot to lose by speaking out against Trump.)

Here’s the telling exchange between McConnell and reporters, annotated. Click on the highlighted text to read the annotation.

MCCONNELL: Yeah?

QUESTION: Several of you, including Senator Young, have talked about socialism and — and problems with which you have — policies and approaches with some of these Democratic members. That said, then the president uses such language that’s so far over the line, regardless of what their points of view are, or policies. Doesn’t that undercut your argument that these issues are — are a problem? That these policies, these approaches are a problem for the country? Doesn’t that undercut your argument, when he uses [language like that]?

MCCONNELL: Well, obviously, I think it’s a good idea to focus on what our Democratic colleagues are up to. The Green New Deal, their version of it, would take away your job. Medicare-for-all would take away your private health insurance. And if they made any effort to pay for all of this, they’d have to go after the most productive parts of our economy, because remember, the top 10 percent of taxpayers provide 70 percent of the revenue for the federal government. So I think this is a prescription for slowing America to a crawl. And I think it’s also important to remember that most countries that ended up adopting socialism did it by voting for it. As Margaret Thatcher once said, “The problem with socialism is, pretty soon, you run out of other people’s money.” So yes, I think we’re better off to talk about the policies of our adversaries. And as I said earlier, and I think, quite clearly, to lower all this incendiary rhetoric. Everyone involved should do that.

QUESTION: Senator McConnell, you’re — you’re married to an immigrant who’s a nationalized [sic] U.S. citizen. If someone were to say to her she should go back to her country because of her criticism of federal policies, wouldn’t you consider that a racist attack?

MCCONNELL: Well, the secretary of transportation came here at age 8 legally, not speaking a word of English, and has realized the American Dream, and I think all of us think that this is a process of renewal that’s gone on in this country for a very long time and is good for America, and we ought to continue it.

QUESTION: Was it racist for him to say go back to your country?

MCCONNELL: As I said, legal immigration has been a fulfilling of the American Dream. The new people who come here have a lot of ambition, a lot of energy, tend to do very well and invigorate our country, and my wife’s a good example of that.

QUESTION: Would you ever use the words, “Go back to where you came from”?

MCCONNELL: Look, I — I — I’m obviously a big fan of legal immigration. It’s been a big part of my family for a quarter of a century. As I look around the country and watch the contributions that have been made by new arrivals, and the children of new arrivals, it’s been reinvigorating America for hundreds of years. So I’m a big fan of legal immigration.

QUESTION: Do you think that the president would be more likely to tone down his rhetoric if Republican leaders like yourself spoke out more forcefully against it?

MCCONNELL: Well, I think I’ve just said I think everybody ought to tone down their rhetoric. We have examples of that across the ideological spectrum in the country — all across it. Everyone ought to tone down their rhetoric, and we ought to move back to talking about the issues.

QUESTION: But you’ve stopped short of calling his comments racist.

MCCONNELL: Look, I — I’m sorry?

QUESTION: You’ve stopped — but you’ve stopped short of calling his comments racist.

MCCONNELL: Well, the president’s not a racist. (CROSSTALK.) The president’s not a racist. And I think the tone of all of this is not good for the country, but it’s coming from all different ideological points of view. That’s the point. To single out any segment of this, I think, is a mistake. There’s been this kind of rhetoric from a whole lot of different sources all across the ideological spectrum in our country.

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Kevin McCarthy #racist #wingnut washingtonpost.com

McCarthy said during a morning news conference he would vote against the resolution and encourage other Republicans to do the same. McCarthy said he did not consider Trump’s tweets to be racist, but about “socialism versus freedom.”

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Ned Holstein #sexist washingtonpost.com

[Alabama law doesn’t automatically terminate the parental rights of rapists who conceive a child with their victim]

Ned Holstein, board chair for the National Parents Organization, which advocates for shared parenting after divorce, said that allowing family courts to sever parental rights based on rape accusations is “an open invitation to fraud.”


“Taking a person’s child away is a grievous act,” he said. “And if it is done to an innocent parent, you are also denying the child a fit parent forever and putting her into the sole custody of a ruthless parent who is willing to fabricate a heinous accusation.”


Even if a person is convicted of rape, “there is merit on both sides of this issue, and we have no position on it, either way,” he said of his organization.

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Charles C. W. Cooke #racist nationalreview.com

it is absolutely reasonable for [Americans] to wonder aloud how a person [Ilhan Omar] who hails from a dysfunctional, dangerous place built atop dysfunctional, dangerous institutions can exhibit the temerity—the sheer gall—to talk about America in the way that she does.

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Minnesota Prayer Caucus #fundie rewire.news

In December 2018, Kiffmeyer along with 25 members of the Minnesota Legislative Prayer Caucus—the state action arm of Project Blitz—had written to the nonprofit Minnesota Historical Society, objecting to a talk scheduled for March 2019 by a distinguished scholar and law professor, Steven K. Green, on the theme of his 2015 book, Inventing a Christian America: The Myth of the Religious Founding. They claimed that the Society was “promoting a narrative about our nation’s history and founding that is patently false,” and that it would be “prudent” for the Society “to cancel Prof. Green’s presentation or, better yet, allow us as Christian legislators in Minnesota, to debate this issue with Prof. Green.”

(Green later recounted the episode in Church & State magazine, noting that “the Caucus objected to my upcoming lectures, calling my book biased and one-sided—though admitting they had not read it.”)

Minnesota Historical Society Director Kent Whitworth replied that Green was a respected scholar (detailing how that was so) and would welcome respectful questions and dialogue. But that wasn’t good enough. Although the Prayer Caucus reiterated their demand in another letter, the program proceeded as planned. Afterward, Prayer Caucus state director, Rev. Dale Witherington, along with several Caucus members wrote again, this time demanding that the Society schedule someone who represented their point of view (which they had been casting as the “truth”) to speak or debate before “we begin reviews of the budgetary requests of the MHS.”

Witherington wrote that “we are here to encourage prayer, and to defend our religious freedom. The third pillar for the existence of our Caucus is to preserve our Judeo-Christian heritage. Prof. Green’s argument is a direct attack on that pillar. We cannot let that go. We will not be silenced.”

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Dominoes Pizza and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce #ableism washingtonpost.com

Domino’s sells more than 2.5 million pizzas every day, and the company says it offers at least 15 ways to order one. But Guillermo Robles, who is blind, said neither the company’s website nor its mobile app allowed him to order the pizza he wanted, or receive a discount for ordering online.

He sued.

Now Domino’s, backed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the nation’s largest retailers, wants the Supreme Court to step in to decide whether the Americans With Disabilities Act, which has transformed America’s physical landscape, applies equally to the Internet.

The ADA “says nothing about the accessibility of websites or applications on smartphones, whether standing alone or in connection with restaurants, stores, or any other brick-and-mortar establishments that qualify as public accommodations,” wrote Washington lawyer Lisa S. Blatt, who represents Domino’s.

“When Congress passed the ADA in 1990, websites were in their infancy, and apps did not yet exist.”

Lower courts have said the statute does apply, although they have disagreed about exactly when and to whom. As a result, the number of lawsuits has exploded: 2,250 federal suits asserting ADA violations based on website inaccessibility were filed in 2018, nearly triple the number from the year before, according to the Domino’s brief.

Beyoncé’s website has been targeted. So have art galleries in New York.

And the National Retail Federation tells the Supreme Court in a friend-of-the-court brief that its website doesn’t comply with industry standards, either.

The group ran supremecourt.govthrough a free online resource that applies Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) developed by private parties and found “19 ‘known problems’ and 411 ‘potential problems.’ ”

“Only this court’s intervention can establish a true nationwide standard establishing the proper scope” of website accessibility, writes Washington lawyer Pratik A. Shah, representing the retailers. “It is time for this court to bring order to a chaotic legal landscape marked by unpredictable and unworkable accessibility standards that run counter to the goals of the ADA, consumers, and the retailers who serve them.”

Businesses have rallied around the Robles case in their effort to persuade the Supreme Court to intervene, even as they profess that it would be in their best interests to make their goods as accessible as possible.

Robles sued because he said his attempts in 2016 to use the Domino’s website and mobile app to order a pizza for delivery were unsuccessful.

A federal judge in California agreed with Robles that the ADA covered websites but dismissed the lawsuit. He agreed with Domino’s that its due process rights would be violated because the Department of Justice has never made good on its obligation to issue guidance on exactly how websites and apps should comply with Title III of the act, which concerns public accommodations.

But earlier this year, a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit disagreed.

“At least since 1996, Domino’s has been on notice that its online offerings must effectively communicate with its disabled customers and facilitate ‘full and equal enjoyment’ of Domino’s goods and services,” Circuit Judge John B. Owens wrote.

He added: “While we understand why Domino’s wants DOJ to issue specific guidelines for website and app accessibility, the Constitution only requires that Domino’s receive fair notice of its legal duties, not a blueprint for compliance with its statutory obligations.”

The judges sent the case back for the lower court judge to decide whether Domino’s has complied with its obligations, saying “courts are perfectly capable of interpreting the meaning of ‘equal’ and ‘effective.’ ”

Domino’s and the business interests urging the court’s intervention said the decision in the 9th Circuit — which covers California and most of the western United States — was a game-changer.

“Virtually every national business and non-profit offers its goods and services at physical locations within the Ninth Circuit,” Domino’s tells the court, so its rule “will apply nationwide no matter what. No one can tailor their online presence to fit different rules in different circuits.”

But Eve Hill, a Baltimore attorney who has worked on website accessibility cases for the National Federation of the Blind and at Justice, said the decision “breaks no new ground.”

Courts across the country have found that websites and apps must comply with the ADA, she said. Companies may not like the message, but that doesn’t mean there is a need for the Supreme Court’s attention.

And she said the Justice Department’s inability to issue guidelines for compliance — it announced in 2017 that it was giving up the effort — does not mean companies are helpless. The lack of a national standard could be seen “as a feature, not a bug,” freeing companies to comply in different ways, Hill said.

In the Domino’s petition, and the accompanying amicus briefs, is a familiar battle between companies and lawyers who sue them.

Gregory G. Garre, representing the Chamber of Commerce, told the court that an “opportunistic plaintiff’s bar” has discovered “a lucrative sue-and-settle practice against businesses.”

“Businesses now face a rising sea of litigation that flows from one venue to another as plaintiffs’ lawyers seek out the most favorable local precedent, leaving companies unable to tell what standards they should meet in order to provide access and avoid liability,” he wrote.

Domino’s said the firm representing Robles has filed 14 suits on his behalf, and more than three dozen for a Montana resident. Joseph R. Manning Jr., the Newport Beach, Calif., lawyer who represents Robles, said in an email that he was not discussing the pending case.

He is due to respond to the pizza chain’s petition to the high court next month.

But Hill said the explosion in the number of lawsuits was simply a result of the explosion in new websites and apps.

Her client, the National Federation of the Blind, is not interested in “stick-up lawsuits,” she said, but securing companies’ compliance in opening the web to people with disabilities.

The case is Domino’s v. Robles.

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Thomas Homan #racist newsweek.com

Former Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) acting director Thomas Homan said on Monday that he thought about "beating" Democratic Representative Jesús Garcia during a congressional hearing last week.

During the Friday hearing, Homan was visibly angered as he responded to a line of questioning by Garcia, who is Mexican-American and represents Illinois. The former ICE director, who served in the acting leadership role under President Donald Trump from January 2017 until June 2018 when he retired, discussed the interaction in a Monday morning interview with Fox & Friends.

"I hesitated a minute before I started yelling because I actually think about getting up and throwing that man a beating right there in the middle of the room [sic]," Homan admitted. "Because when you tell somebody that spent their career saving lives that I don't care about dying children and I'm a racist, that's where I broke and that's where I had enough," he asserted.

Prior to Homan's angry response on Friday, Garcia had lashed out at the "zero-tolerance" migrant family separation policy implemented by the Trump administration until it was struck down by a federal judge last year. "Mr. Homan, do you understand that the consequences of separation of many children will be lifelong trauma and carried across generations?" the congressman asked. Pointing out that he himself was a father, Garcia asked if Homan had children and how he could "possibly allow this to happen" under his watch.

"Do you not care? Is it because these children do not look like children that are around you? I don't get it. Have you ever held a deceased child in your arms?" Garcia asked. At least five migrant children have died in custody since December.

"First of all," Homan responded, "your comments are disgusting."

Garcia shot back: "I find your comments disgusting as well, sir."

Homan yelled over the congressman to continue. "I've served my country 34 years and yes, I held a five-year-old boy in my arms," he said, claiming he said a prayer for that deceased child. "For you to sit there and insult my integrity and my love of my country and for children, that's why this whole thing needs to be fixed."

As acting director of ICE, Homan served during the Trump administration's family separation policy, which tore thousands of immigrant children from their parents or guardians. That controversial policy drew national and international condemnation. A report from the Department of Health and Human Services' Inspector General found earlier this year that the Trump administration did not even know how many children had been separated from their families. Furthermore, government officials had lost track of the whereabouts of many children, making reuniting them with their parents or legal guardians, as a federal judge had ordered, even more difficult.

As Garcia pointed out, detaining minors and separating them from their parents can cause lifelong psychological trauma, according to experts. Dr. Judy Ho, a clinical psychologist, told CNN earlier this month that detained children "have higher risk of depression and suicidal thoughts as they grow older." She also warned of the possibility of them suffering from PTSD and "having functional difficulties as adults as well as worse physical outcomes."

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Ángel García Banchs #conspiracy venezuelaconspiracytheories.blogspot.com

Part of the opposition is convinced that its own leadership is being sponsored by the Maduro regime and is betraying a clear and clean break with chavismo. The theory is linked to a warranted skepticism in Venezuela’s electoral system and with the belief that only a foreign military intervention will trigger a transition from authoritarian rule. Any sign by the opposition leadership of willingness to negotiate a peaceful transition, basically through elections, is considered by this faction of the opposition as a sellout to the regime. Indeed, to simply engage in dialogue with the government is tantamount to collaboration with a criminal narco-regime.

A good example of this conspiracy theorizing is Ángel García Banchs (@garciabanchs), a popular Twitter influencer with 336.1 K followers. García Banchs is convinced that Juan Guaidó, interim president named by the National Assembly, has been unwilling to unequivocally call for a foreign military intervention against the Venezuelan government because he is funded by bolichicos and boliburgueses (corrupt pro-government businessmen and government officials.)

Here is my translation of some recent posts by García Banchs:

“Foreign military intervention will happen even despite @jguaido and all the collaborators with the narco-regime, funded by the bolichicos and boliburgueses who looted PDVSA, CORPOELEC and the Venezuelan nation.”

García Banchs, however, is concerned that some people in the United States may be lobbying against a military intervention in Venezuela. They are doing this because they are financed by the Maduro government:

“How is it that these people are falling from the sky [paracaidistas] and giving talks in Washington? Money from the narco-regime or the bolichicos.”

“If there is funding by the bolichicos and the boliburgueses, the National Assembly and @jguaido are part of the regime. They will never become separated [from the regime].”

“Bolichicos and boligurgueses pay for the very expensive trips and lobbies of those talking about a PSUV-MUD transition. Unfortunately serious Venezuelan industrialists are not funding radicals in Washington [lobbies] to talk about the foreign military rupture/intervention”

“VENEZUELA is in the hands of a lobby struggle. Lobbies payed by bolichicos and boliburgueses to convinced Washington to wait for free presidential elections or for a coup by Padrino [Lopez], which will never happen. In the end, everything leads to a foreign military intervention.”

García Banchs seems aware that a military intervention would be far from a clean affaire and would entail sacrifice and suffering. Today he wrote:

“I won’t lie: the foreign military intervention, of course, will be a war. Those who speak of a surgical intervention are most likely referring to XIX Century surgery, not to XXI Century laparoscopy surgery. It’s either war with freedom or peace with submission under Maduro”

In fact, in the following audio, García Banchs argues that an “inevitable” foreign military intervention will lead to a purifying civil war which will purge Venezuela of chavistas and narcos, but also of populism and socialism. The war will end with a victory of “those in favor freedom, by which I mean liberals,” and will ensue in “the first economic miracle of the Twenty First Century.”

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Craig Northcott #fundie #homophobia washingtonpost.com

Y’all need to know who your DA is,” he reminded the crowd. “You give us a lot of authority. . . . We can choose to prosecute anything. We can choose not to prosecute anything.”


Using what he termed “prosecutorial discretion,” Northcott said, “the social engineers on the Supreme Court now decided we have homosexual marriage. I disagree with them.”
In his jurisdiction, which includes the area that hosts the summer music festival Bonnaroo, Northcott ensured that same-sex partners would not be afforded the protections of domestic violence laws.


In Tennessee, a domestic assault conviction carries enhanced punishments, like permanently forfeiting the right to own a firearm. The prosecutor’s interpretation of the statute was that the sanctions were created to “recognize and protect the sanctity of marriage.”


When reached by phone, Northcott said, “There’s no marriage to protect with homosexual relationships, so I don’t prosecute them as domestic,” and refused to comment further.

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Jason Kenney #fundie #homophobia washingtonpost.com

When Lea Cheeseman came out as bisexual in the ninth grade, her junior high school didn’t have a club for LGBT students. So she started the Calgary school’s first gay-straight alliance.

The student-run clubs, found in hundreds of schools across North America, provide a venue for gay students and their allies to meet — often without the knowledge of their parents. Studies suggest they can help reduce bullying, improve health outcomes and lessen the risk of suicide.

But across Canada and beyond, they have also been lightning rods for controversy, touching as they do on divisive debates around education, parental consent, religious freedom and students’ rights.

Now the United Conservative government of new Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, promoted by some on the Canadian right as a model for the nation, is proposing legislation that gay rights activists say would roll back protections for the groups. The education bill would eliminate a requirement that schools form clubs “immediately” when asked by students and would drop an explicit ban on notifying their parents.

Provincial Education Minister Adriana LaGrange has said that those provisions might have been well intentioned but were “unnecessary to begin with.” The aim of the new legislation, LaGrange said, “is to balance the need that, at times, students have around the way that they want to create their organization, but also to allow for occasions where there is a need for parents to be involved as well.”

Cheeseman, now 19, and others say gay-straight alliances are under assault in Alberta. Thousands have taken to the streets of Edmonton and other communities to protest.

“The end result of the changes will be that students will not feel safe,” Cheeseman said.

The education bill, which encompasses school policy, planning and funding, is one in a series of measures advanced by the United Conservatives to reverse the liberal policies of their New Democratic predecessors in Alberta, while also pushing back against the Liberal Party of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa.

In their first months in office, the United Conservatives have repealed a consumer carbon tax, cut the minimum wage for teenagers and introduced legislation to slash corporate taxes.

While federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer struggles to connect with voters ahead of the federal election this fall, and Progressive Conservative Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s popularity plummets amid unpopular budget cuts and scandal, conservatives are pointing at Kenney, 51, as a model for effective leadership.

The former federal cabinet minister once promised not to legislate on “divisive social issues.” But in changing the rules on gay-straight student alliances (GSAs), his government is taking on one of the most divisive.

In 2015, Alberta’s Progressive Conservative government required school officials to approve the clubs in every school, public or private, where a student requested one.

Supporters of the clubs cheered the move — but their celebrations were short-lived.

“School administrators were dragging their feet on establishing GSAs, encouraging students to call them something else or suggesting to them that if they formed or joined GSAs, they would tell their parents,” said former education lawyer Rakhi Pancholi, a New Democratic Party lawmaker.

The New Democratic Party approved legislation in 2017 to close those loopholes. Bill 24 required schools to help students establish the clubs “immediately” and made it illegal for officials to disclose student participation to parents, except when students were at risk of harm. Failure to comply could cost a school its funding.

Zachery Yeung was president of the Pride Club at his Edmonton high school last school year. Before Bill 24, he said, friends were “on the fence” about joining a gay-straight alliance, because they feared they would be outed.

“They were more comfortable after the changes,” the 18-year-old said.

Not everyone was pleased. Some faith-based schools said the legislation infringed upon their religious freedom. Some parents said they had the right to know of their children’s participation.

The Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms sought an injunction on behalf of dozens of faith-based schools and parents until it could be determined that the law was constitutional. In filings, the group described the clubs as “secret spaces” that exposed students to sexually explicit material, caused “irreparable harm” and violated parental rights.

Justice Johnna Kubik denied the request. In her decision, she wrote that an injunction would send LGBT students the message that “their diverse identities are less worthy of protection,” which would be “considerably more harmful than temporarily limiting a parent’s right to know and make decisions about their child’s involvement in a GSA.”

Kenney said in March that he supported allowing schools to notify parents if their children joined a GSA. After he was elected premier in April, students at nearly 90 Alberta schools walked out in protest.

His government’s education bill, which is expected to pass before September, would repeal Bill 24. There would be no deadline for school administrators to grant a student’s request to establish a club, and students would no longer be assured the right to use words such as “gay” and “queer” in the names of their clubs.

The bill would also eliminate language that explicitly prohibited teachers from disclosing a student’s participation to his or her parents. Instead, schools would be required to follow other laws, which allow school club participation to be disclosed if it would not be an “unreasonable invasion” of privacy, to minimize the risk of harm to a student or to aid law enforcement investigations.

Critics say that the changes will allow schools to delay club formation indefinitely and that relying on current privacy legislation leaves too much open to the interpretation of teachers. What, for example, is an “unreasonable invasion” of privacy?

“Teachers are not legal experts,” said Greg Jeffrey, president of the Alberta Teachers’ Association. “So we appreciated the clarity of ‘You cannot disclose.’ ”

“Taking out the word ‘immediately’ allows for forming a GSA to be put off with the hopes that students lose interest,” he said.

LaGrange did not respond to questions from The Washington Post about whether there would be a deadline for a school to form a gay-straight alliance before the government stepped in. A spokesman said the government opposes “mandatory parental notification of any student’s involvement in an inclusion group, including GSAs.”

“Alberta will have the most comprehensive statutory protections for LGBTQ2S+ students in Canada,” spokesman Colin Aitchison wrote in an email. He said the government “trusts educators to navigate these situations and do what is in the best interest of kids.”

Kristopher Wells, a professor at MacEwan University in Edmonton who studies sexual and gender minority youth and health, said the government is “softening and obscuring the language” around gay-straight alliances, “creating confusion and ambiguity.”

The clubs represent “one of the most promising health interventions that we’ve seen in a long, long time in schools,” he said, and it would be a mistake to make it more difficult for students to join them.

“We’d expect to see something like this in Alabama, not Alberta in 2019.”

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Craig Northcott #fundie washingtonpost.com

Less than two months ago, he was severely criticized for saying that Muslims have “no constitutional rights."


“There are only God-given rights protected by the Constitution. If you don’t believe in the one true God, there is nothing to protect,” News Channel 5 quoted him as saying in response to a claim that Muslims worshiped the same God as he.
Northcott refused to apologize and dismissed calls for his resignation at the time.