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An Open Letter To All LGBT Students Of The Anoka-Hennepin School District

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Dear LGBT Students of the Anoka-Hennepin School District:

This letter will help to clarify your rights, and also will instruct you on how to protect yourselves against those who mistakenly believe they can deprive you of your rights.

It is urgently important for you as LGBTQ students to understand that under the “No establishment of religion” clause of the United States Constitution, no religious superstition, hate, bullying non-acceptance of your gayness or any other religious stricture can be forced on you by means of any government entity including your public schools.

Deplorably, your public schools Superintendent has caved to many of the demands of certain adult, theocratic anti-gay bullies. If these anti-gay bullies, these adult theocrats, want their children to be raised in a religious environment hostile to LGBT human beings, then they have to send their children to anti-gay religious schools, not to public schools. They have no constitutional right — none whatsoever — to bully your public school administration into imposing a religiously-motivated anti-gay bigotry onto you. By contrast, you do have a right to a safe public school learning environment; one in which you may at times say “I am an out, proud gay student,” and never be harassed or assaulted for having said it.

The controlling legal standard for public school students’ free speech rights is that if something you say is not disruptive to the learning environment, you can not be stopped from saying it. The basis for teaching and learning in a public school is scholarly method and science, not the Bible and even more particularly not a nasty anti-gay bigot’s misinterpretation of the Bible. Ergo, for you sometimes to say “I am an out, proud gay student” is not disruptive of a public school learning setting, but for somebody to say “God hates fags,” – or anything that expresses that concept – however “polite” the language – is disruptive of and inappropriate to the public school learning environment and your right to a fear-free public school setting. If anti-gay bullying theocrats want for their children to be in school environments where people may say “God hates fags,” they have to send their children to that particular kind of religious school.

To emphasize the point that science, not anti-gay bigotry is the basis for teaching in public schools, I am now calling your attention to the booklet Just the Facts About Sexual Orientation and Youth. That booklet was produced by major medical and professional associations to educate school administrators, teachers and personnel and to counter the harmful effects of anti-gay bigotry. The organizations that endorsed this booklet are — get ready, this is a long list — the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Association of School Administrators, the American Counseling Association, the American Federation of Teachers, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselor Association, the American School Health Association, the Interfaith Alliance Foundation, the National Association of School Psychologists, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the National Association of Social Workers, the National Education Association and the School Social Work Association of America. The American Medical Association is not on that list, but has a policy firmly against all forms of anti-gay bigotry and discrimination.

Hateful anti-gay bigots — including those who abuse God and/or Jesus as excuses for their repugnant bigotry — do not know better than the collective minds of all of those professional medical, science and educational organizations what is healthy for school communities in the 21st century. Obnoxious, anti-gay bigot pigs have no basis in law for torturing you or for pressuring for you to be tortured in public school settings.

I am now going to name some of the theocratic bullies that have been attempting to transmogrify your public school lives as LGBT students into living hells. The professional anti-gay bigot Tom Prichard of the so-called Minnesota Family Council has a history of telling lies about gay human beings. The MFC website makes clear that Prichard is gay bashing on the basis of religious motivations. A tab on his site’s homepage is labeled “Pastors” and then there are pages devoted to what these filthy anti-gay bigots have the nerve to call “The Truth Project.”

“The Truth Project” aims to shove anti-gay bigots’ uniquely hateful interpretation of the Bible down innocent gay victims’ throats. It is a product of the anti-gay hate group “Focus on the Family,” whose executive Tom Minnery was called out by Senator Al Franken for falsifying evidence when testifying against the inalienable rights of gay Americans. Again, the public school standard for determining “truth” is scholarship and science, not the Bible. This is not to say that there are not huge numbers of religious people, including Christians of course, fully accepting of LGBTers and supportive of their equality. (Here is a list of 236 gay-welcoming churches in Minnesota).  But it is to say that the cowardly anti-gay bigots hiding their hate behind their veils of phony and fraudulent religious excuses have no constitutional right to impose – or to cause to be imposed — a theocratic anti-gay regime on you through and in your public schools. Another shameless, lying anti-gay theocratic bigot who has been trying to make your lives hell in Minnesota is Barb Anderson, also of the so-called Minnesota Family Council.  These and other bullying, lying, anti-gay theocrats may have cowed your irresponsible school superintendent, but you must not be afraid of them because the Constitution is on your side against the religiously-motivated, mean-spirited, anti-gay tyranny they want to impose on you.

A recent, disturbing article in Rolling Stone magazine – School of Hate; One Town’s War on Gay Teens – makes clear that you have not been adequately instructed on how to gather evidence for legal actions against anti-gay bullies and school administrators who fail sufficiently to protect you against anti-gay bullies.

Every single time you are a victim of anti-gay verbal harassment or of a hate-motivated physical attack, you must create a written record of the harassment and/or of the attack, who you reported it to and what they did about it. If school officials have not taken measures adequate to stopping a anti-gay tormentor from tormenting you, then you must create a written record of your complaint about the tormentor and of the official’s response. You can create a useful record with letters. Make copies of the letters with your complaints to school officials. Mail one copy of each letter to yourself. Keep that letter mailed to yourself inside its sealed envelope. The Post Office cancellation stamp on the unopened envelope is your legally-valid documentation of the date you sent the letter.

If you are having ongoing problems with anti-gay bullying, you must create as thorough and detailed as possible a record of the bullying and of school officials’ inadequate responses. Such a detailed record with names, dates and times will help you to win eventual court cases against your tormentors and their enablers in the public school system. When school officials see that LGBT students are organized and empowered against bullying in this way, they will become far less likely to cave to the anti-gay demands of bullying adult theocrats. The school officials will see that their dereliction of duty to uphold your constitutional rights is about to cost them money. Here, you can read of a bullied gay student awarded $100,000 by a court. Here, you can read of a school having to pay $225,000 for not doing enough to stop bullying.  There have been dozens, and dozens, and dozens of these cases. Your public school officials will see that you have the knowledge and the evidence to go to a competent school bullying attorney and to say “This public school is not adequately protecting me. Here is the record of all the bad things that have happened to me in this public school. Will you represent me in a lawsuit against the school?”  What wins money in lawsuits against public schools is the fact that bullied students and/or their parents or guardians have let school administrators know about the bullying, yet the administrators have not done enough to protect the victims. That is what will make creating a thorough record so empowering for you as an LGBT student in a public school.

Additionally, cowardly theocratic anti-gay bullies will try to make you feel isolated and alone, without support. But they are not going to succeed in torturing LGBT public school students that way any longer in the United States. You have human rights supporters all over the country and the world. Your human rights supporters will leap into action in your defense if bullying theocrats continue to try to make your lives hell in the Anoka-Hennepin School District. If you are experiencing anti-gay bullying in those schools, and school officials are not adequately protecting you, contact me with the story. I will expose your tormentors to the world and activate the human rights community nationwide on your behalf and in your defense.

Image: A Gay-Straight Alliance school bus from Seattle Pride, 2008. By jglsongs.

 

New York City– based novelist and freelance writer Scott Rose’s LGBT– interest by– line has appeared on Advocate .com, PoliticusUSA .com, The New York Blade, Queerty .com, Girlfriends and in numerous additional venues. Among his other interests are the arts, boating and yachting, wine and food, travel, poker and dogs. His “Mr. David Cooper’s Happy Suicide” is about a New York City advertising executive assigned to a condom account.

 


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'ABSOLUTE MASTERCLASS'

Texas AG Ken Paxton’s office “dysfunctional” with child porn and shady political dealings

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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is running for a third term in office while facing civil and criminal fraud charges for allegedly handly sketchy trade deals, giving office positions to donors, and trying to overturn the 2020 election.

However, a new Associated Press (AP) story paints Paxton’s office as highly political and dysfunctional.

Paxton’s office botched “Operation Fallen Angel,” an investigation that indicted six men on allegations of forcing teen girls to “exchange sexual contact for crystal methamphetamine.” Paxton’s office largely dropped the charges because they lost track of their key witness.

Another prosecutor said he quit Paxton’s office in January after supervisors pressured him to withhold evidence in a murder case, the AP wrote.

Eight of Paxton’s top deputies quit or were fired in autumn 2020 after they went to the FBI to accuse Paxton of using his office to help a donor who had employed a woman that Paxton admitted to having an extramarital affair with. The FBI’s investigation is ongoing.

The AP story notes that Paxton gave a senior role to a California attorney who gave him $10,000 to fight his 2015 securities fraud indictment. Paxton also hired Tom Gleason, a former police officer whose father donated $50,000 to Paxton’s legal defense. Gleason was given a job advising Paxton on child exploitation as well as Medicaid and voter fraud.

Gleason was fired less than two months into his new job. Paxton’s office didn’t explain why, but “three people with knowledge of the matter” told the AP that, during a work presentation at the agency’s Austin headquarters, Gleason played a video of “a man raping a small child” to highlight the difficult work facing child abuse investigators.

“It was met with outrage and caused the meeting to quickly dissolve,” the AP wrote. “Afterward, Paxton’s top deputy, Brent Webster, told staff not to talk about what happened.”

The AP also wrote that before Texas’ March primary elections, Amber Platt, a deputy over criminal justice cases, held a meeting asking lawyers in Paxton’s offices about which upcoming cases that would best help his reelection chances.

Despite all this, Paxton has a five-point lead over his Democratic opponent, Rochelle Garza.

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'BRUTAL'

Russia is torturing civilians in camps around eastern Ukraine

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The Russian military has established 10 torture sites in the eastern city of Izium, Ukraine, the Associated Press (AP) reported. Torture is a war crime under the Geneva Conventions.

Eight men died killed under torture in Russian custody, the AP wrote. All but one were civilians.

Russian forces captured Andriy Kotsar, tied him up, and threw him for several days in a trench covered with wooden boards. They beat his legs and arms and smashed his knees with a hammer. They then took his ID and passport so that he would find it hard to prove his identity, get help, or escape.

Russian forces captured him two more times after that. The torture was worse both times, Kotsar said.

“Russian torture in Izium was arbitrary, widespread, and absolutely routine for both civilians and soldiers throughout the city,” the Associated Press investigation found. The torture included waterboarding and electrocution, among other pain-inducing methods.

Mykola Mosyaky, a 38-year-old Ukrainian soldier, was handcuffed, thrown in a pit of dirty water, and hung by the wrists until his skin went numb.

“They beat me with sticks. They hit me with their hands, they kicked me, they put out cigarettes on me, they pressed matches on me,” he stated. “They said, ‘Dance,’ but I did not dance. So they shot my feet.”

Dr. Yuriy Kuznetsov, an emergency room physician in Izium, said that Ukrainians are showing up to his hospital with torture-related injuries, including “gunshots to their hands and feet, broken bones and severe bruising, and burns.” The victims never say how they got their injuries, worried about retaliation if they do.

A father and son who were both tortured said they could hear women’s screams every night as Russian soldiers raped them in a nearby garage.

Russians showed one local woman the body of her battered, unconscious soldier husband, pressuring her to provide information that she knew nothing about.

At least 30 bodies taken from a mass grave in the city showed “visible marks of torture,” including “bound hands, close gunshot wounds, knife wounds, and broken limbs.”

“[Torture] serves three purposes,” said Rachel Denber of Human Rights Watch. “Torture came with questions to coerce information, but it is also to punish and to sow fear. It is to send a chilling message to everyone else.”

On September 30,  Russia held sham referendums in the eastern Ukrainian territories of Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson. While the referendums sought to cede the territories to Russia, their outcomes were pre-determined by Russia as a way to basically lay claim to the territories.

The U.S. called the referendums illegal and also authorized an additional $12 billion in military aid to Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said of the referendums, “Recently, someone somewhere held pseudo-referendums, and when the Ukrainian flag is returned, no one remembers the Russian farce with some pieces of paper and some annexations. Except, of course, law enforcement agencies of Ukraine. Because everyone who is involved in any elements of aggression against our state will be accountable for it. And I thank everyone who brings these moments of victory closer, who returns the Ukrainian flag to its rightful place on Ukrainian land.”

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'APPARENTLY INEBRIATED'

Supreme Court refuses to protect Mike Lindell from a billion dollar defamation lawsuit

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The Supreme Court just started its new term, and among its first act, it refused to hear an appeal from Mike Lindell — the conspiracy theorist, supporter of former President Donald Trump, and MyPillow CEO — who wanted the court to throw out a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit against him.

The lawsuit was filed by Dominion Voting Systems, a manufacturer of voting machines, to litigate against Lindell for his repeated claims that their machinery played a role in “stealing” the 2020 election from Trump. He made his claims on Fox News and various media and social media outlets.

In response to Dominion’s lawsuit, Lindell filed a countersuit accusing the voting machine company of using the court system to “silence Lindell’s and others’ political speech about election fraud and the role of electronic voting machines in it.”

His countersuit also accused the company of “waging lawsuit warfare on private citizens…under the auspices of ‘defending election integrity’…[rather than] fixing their notoriously and demonstrably insecure voting machines.” The lawsuit said the company had “embarked on a concerted, collective enterprise to extort silence from their dissenters or bring financial ruin on any and all who persist in speaking their minds.”

In August 2021, Lindell held a public “cyber symposium” which, he said, would show undeniable proof about how voting machines helped steal the 2020 election.

Rob Graham, a cyber expert who attended the symposium, said, “[Lindell] gave us experts NOTHING today, except random garbage that wastes our time.” Graham said the Lindell had promised to give cyber experts who attended the symposium “packet captures from the November 2020 election could be unencrypted to reveal evidence of voter fraud.” Graham said those packets were never provided.

Fox News refused to run advertisements about the symposium. Lindell was accused of using the symposium as nothing more than to try and maintain relevance and continue the narrative about the “stolen election.”

Several months after the 2020 election, Lindell claimed that Trump would return as president by August. 2021 Lindell said this would occur either through Supreme Court rulings or “two other bonus pathways” involving vote audits in states that Trump lost in 2020.

Lindell said that once the Supreme Court considers his evidence of voter fraud, the justices will unanimously rule 9-0 in favor of allowing Trump to become president once again.

Lindell was wrong.

 

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