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Category: Commentary

Leaked emails give a glimpse of the religious-right networks behind transgender health care bans.

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 the 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 emails demonstrate close collaboration between groups working behind the scenes to push bills banning transgender health care, including ADF—which has defended state-sanctioned sterilization of trans people in Europe—and the ACPeds—which has opposed adoption by gay couples and supported conversion therapy for LGBTQ youth. In recent years, ADF has drafted legislation banning trans children from using school restrooms or playing on school sports teams that align with their gender identity. (Both groups are also staunchly anti-abortion; ADF, which drafted the Mississippi abortion ban at the heart of the case that overturned Roe v. Wade, is currently representing ACPeds in a closely-watched lawsuit to ban an abortion pill, mifepristone, nationally.)

“These are groups who we know are not interested in the best-practice care for trans kids,” says Cathryn Oakley, state legislative director and senior counsel for the Human Rights Campaign. “These bills are coming from national organizations whose purpose is to harm LGBTQ people.” 

 

Inside the secret working group that helped push anti-trans laws across the country

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters. 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 withthe 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.

Inside TurboTax’s 20-Year Fight to Stop Americans From Filing Their Taxes for Free

Using lobbying, the revolving door, and “dark pattern” customer tricks, Intuit fended off the government’s attempts to make tax filing free and easy and created its multi-billion-dollar franchise.
An internal Intuit analysis of customer calls this year shows widespread customer confusion about ads for “free” TurboTax. (Highlights added by ProPublica.)

An internal Intuit analysis of customer calls this year shows widespread customer confusion about ads for “free” TurboTax. (Highlights added by ProPublica.)

By 2019, nearly 40% of U.S. taxpayers filed online and some 40 million of them did so with TurboTax, far more than with any other product.

But the success of TurboTax rests on a shaky foundation, one that could collapse overnight if the U.S. government did what most wealthy countries did long ago and made tax filing simple and free for most citizens.

For more than 20 years, Intuit has waged a sophisticated, sometimes covert war to prevent the government from doing just that, according to internal company and IRS documents and interviews with insiders. The company unleashed a battalion of lobbyists and hired top officials from the agency that regulates it. From the beginning, Intuit recognized that its success depended on two parallel missions: stoking innovation in Silicon Valley while stifling it in Washington. Indeed, employees ruefully joke that the company’s motto should actually be “compromise without integrity.”

Inside TurboTax’s 20-Year Fight to Stop Americans From Filing Their Taxes for Free

ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up for ProPublica’s Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox as soon as they are published. Last fall, Intuit’s longtime CEO Brad Smith embarked on a farewell tour of the company’s offices around the world.

When You Want to Annihilate Everyone Else in Society, Maybe the Problem Is…You

Hate is a strong claim, and yet it’s easy enough to see, or at least it should be, that in the manifold attacks on basic freedoms above, isn’t just the subtext of hate… But the real thing. Open calls for “eradication,” speaking about those of who are just pleading for decency as if we’re a “virus.” If all this isn’t hate, then what is? Surely hate doesn’t have only to be the next step, which is genuine material annihilation. It begins here.

Why Do the Fascists Hate Everyone So, So Much?

There’s a question which I keep asking these days. Maybe you do, too. It’s simple enough, and yet it’s surprisingly complicated, strange, and…ugly. Why do they hate us? You know what I mean already. Just think of the state of the nation or the world. It’s being rocked by fascist tides again.

Rail Workers Warn Safety Bill Loopholes Are Big Enough to ‘Run a Freight Train Through’

The Railway Safety Act of 2023—introduced earlier this week by Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), John Fetterman (D-Pa.), and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.)—is meant to “prevent future train disasters like the derailment that devastated East Palestine.”

If the language is not precise, the Class 1 railroad will avoid the scope of the law without violating the law, yet again putting the safety of our members and American communities into harm’s way,” said one union leader.

Read more at https://www.commondreams.org/news/railway-safety-act

The Jan 6 attack continues

What the Georgia GOP is doing cannot co-exist with a democratic Republic. It’s that simple.

On Monday night, the Republican-controlled Georgia House approved a bill that will empower Republicans to remove any elected District Attorney in the State if they go “rogue.” This follows the GOP-run Georgia State Senate passing a similar piece of legislation on Thursday.

Georgia Republicans want you to believe that the sudden need for this legislation is not about removing Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis for investigating Trump–as well as other GOP elected officials including Lieutenant Gov. Burt Jones for his role in Trump’s attempted coup.  Those GOP officials, however, are undermined by the reality that this legislation was called for by Trump’s allies and is now being publicly cheered by Trump.

Georgia GOP takes first step to remove Fulton County DA Fani Willis in order to protect Trump

What the Georgia GOP is doing cannot co-exist with a democratic Republic. It’s that simple. Georgia Republicans want you to believe that the sudden need for this legislation is not about removing Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis for investigating Trump–as well as other GOP elected officials including Lieutenant Gov.

I am your retribution

Like Mussolini and Hitler before him, Trump knows that the strongman must be everything to his people. His devoted followers must be so bonded to him that no other leader is possible in their minds. Only he can save them.

“I am your warrior, I am your justice, and for those who have been wronged and betrayed, I am your retribution.”

Victim and Avenger: The Fascist Roots of Trump’s CPAC Speech

Welcome back to Lucid, and hello to all new subscribers. Mark your calendars for our next Q&A, on March 10, 1-2pmET. Paying subscribers will receive a link to register for the Zoom event that morning.

Make America Florida

For starters, let’s look at SB254, which allows the state of Florida to seize custody of any child they deem “being at risk or being subjected to” gender-affirming medical care of any kind. Essentially, it’s state-sanctioned kidnapping of trans youth.

The infamous “Don’t Say Gay” bill banned any discussion of sexual orientation or gender in schools and condoned the removal or censorship of books that discuss the topics of LGBT or racism. On top of that, a rumored bill or addition would ban the use of preferred pronouns in schools.

Florida, or the Fourth Reich?

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is vying for a presidential run in 2024 with the platform “Make America Florida.” Indeed, Ron has spoken about how Florida is “where woke comes to die” and has done so by using his power to silence, intimidate, and destroy his political opponents.

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