January 31, 2020

Autism and Honesty as Being Authentic on Gay Sex on TV, 'Josh Thomas' Beyond Distraught

Josh Thomas is beyond distraught.
“Ah, fuck, I lost a suitcase! Ah, fuck! I lost my suitcase at security. Ah, shit! I’m an idiot. I have to go.”

And with that Thomas, the inventive creator, and star of Please Like Me and Everything’s Gonna Be Okay is off the line. After a bit of schedule wrangling, the interview resumes a few days later, but not without its own set of issues, this time faulty cell service in the Hollywood hills that currently serve as the boyish 32-year-old Australian’s home in America. After twenty minutes, a connection is finally made.
“I’m yours,” he laughs.
Those unfamiliar with Thomas would do well to invest serious binging time into his shows, starting with Please Like Me, which opens with Thomas informing his girlfriend that they have to break up because he thinks he’s gay. The funny, deeply felt comedy, which ran for four seasons from 2013 to 2016, and is now available on Hulu, is a stunning mix of humor and drama, as it follows a group of mopish, self-involved twentysomethings as they adjust to the daily rigors of adult life. The romances on the show — both gay and straight — are messy and real. More to the point, Thomas’ character — also named Josh — must cope with a mother who is manic-depressive and prone to bouts of suicide. It’s startling material for a comedy, and comes mostly from Thomas’ own life. Only the cataclysmic fourth season is not rooted in reality.
“The last season is not autobiographical at all,” he says, his strong Australian accent bright and buoyant. “It’s a bit weird when you start making up big life events for a character that’s based on you.” After the series ended, Thomas had second thoughts and decided to do a fifth season, but the host network, Pivot, shuttered. 

This is Not Science Fiction But Fiction and It Comes From Trump's Pastor: C.Virus To Purge Gays


Image result for Rick Wiles and trump"

A pastor and right-wing broadcaster who was recently granted press credentials by the White House has claimed that the coronavirus was sent by God to “purge” LGBTQ people.

Rick Wiles, the founder of the Christian website TruNews, was credentialed to cover Donald Trump’s trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland last week, Slate reports.

That decision to legitimize Wiles as a journalist was made despite TruNews’ history of promoting racist and antisemitic conspiracy theories.

They include Wiles suggesting that the “Jewish mafia” murdered President John F. Kennedy, and frequently calling President Barack Obama a “demon from hell” and the “jihadist-in-chief.”

Mere days after the Davos trip, Wiles used the Jan. 27 edition of TruNews to suggest that the spread of the coronavirus is a plague from God to “purge a lot of sin of this planet,” Right Wing Watch reports.

Wiles said China was the epicenter of the outbreak — which he called “one of the last steps of judgment” — because of its “godless communist government.”

He then turned his attention to the United States, suggesting things aren’t much better here — branding LGBTQ people “vile” and “disgusting” in the process.

“Look at the spiritual rebellion that is in this country, the hatred of God, the hatred of the Bible, the hatred of righteousness,” Wiles said. “Just vile, disgusting people in this country now, transgendering little children, perverting them. Look at the rapes, and the sexual immorality, and the filth on our TVs and our movies.

“Folks, the Death Angel may be moving right now across the planet,” Wiles continued. “This is the time to get right with God…. The blood of Jesus Christ will protect you. Do not fear. If you are living right for God, if the blood of Jesus Christ is on you, you have no reason to fear this Death Angel.

“But those of you who are opposing the church of God, mocking God, attacking his servants, you’d better wise up because there is a Death Angel on the loose right now, and you are going to get an attitude adjustment.”

Wiles is no stranger to equating viral outbreaks with LGBTQ people. In 2014, he said that the spread of Ebola “could solve America’s problems with atheism, homosexuality, sexual promiscuity, pornography, and abortion.”

And in 2017 he said that Hurricane Harvey, which caused $125 billion in damages and caused over 100 deaths, was a result of the city of Houston’s “LGBT devotion.”

“Here’s a city that has boasted of its LGBT devotion, its affinity for the sexual perversion movement in America. They’re underwater,” he said.

That same year, he claimed that if “God sent angels to this country, homosexuals would attempt to rape them” — adding, without evidence, that he had “read comments by homosexual rights activists [about] what they want to do to our Lord, Jesus Christ.”  

Parts of Trump's Wall Falls Due To: Not Explosives or Trump's yelling, But to the wind


Welcome to the wind resistance.
On Wednesday, high winds resulted in several concrete panels on the border wall, which had recently been installed and hadn't fully dried, falling over from the California side into the Mexican side, according to CNN
Police in Mexicali said that the portion of the wall, which is 130 feet long, fell over the border and onto some trees shortly before noon PT Wednesday, according to KYMA. Winds in the area hit as high as 37 mph that day, according to the National Weather Service. 
Customs and Border Protection agent Carlos Pitones told CNN that the wall sections that toppled had recently been placed in a new concrete foundation, which hadn’t completely set when the wind hit. “We are grateful there was no property damage or injuries," Pitones told CNN. Building a border wall was one of President Donald Trump’s key campaign promises back in 2016, but over the past few years, the issue has been nothing but a headache for the administration. Smugglers have reportedly been using $100 saws to cut through sections of it, while others have figured out how to climb around the wall’s “anti-climb panels,” Trump administration officials and agents told the Washington Post last November.
Earlier this month, the administration announced it had crossed the threshold of more than a hundred miles of a wall being built. At least 90 of those miles were replacing the existing walls, although officials continue to insist that’s “new wall.”
"One thing I want to emphasize is that every inch of the 100 miles that we have constructed is a new border wall system," Homeland Security acting secretary Chad Wolf told reporters earlier this month. "It's not so-called replacement wall, as some of our critics claimed. It is a new wall."
Trump’s repeated claim that Mexico would pay for the wall has also not come to fruition, but he continues to claim it will, most recently at a rally in Wildwood, New Jersey, earlier this week
"We like Mexico very much and we've gotten along great with Mexico, and the president’s a friend of mine. I think he's doing a fantastic job," Trump said, referring to new Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. "But Mexico is, in fact, you will soon find out, paying for the wall. The wall is ultimately and very nicely being paid for by Mexico." 
While Mexico isn’t paying for the wall itself, it is playing a huge role in preventing migrants from reaching the United States. Earlier this month, Mexican security forces began blocking the path of migrants attempting to enter the country via its Suchiate River border with Guatemala, even deploying tear gas in order to force migrants onto buses. 
Functioning wall or not, the Trump administration’s anti-immigration efforts appear to be reshaping immigration across the southern border. In 2018, immigration to the United States abruptly slowed to a decline of more than 70 percent from the previous year, according to an analysis last year
Cover: KYMA

January 30, 2020

U.S. Attorney Complaints Prince Andrew Won't Cooperate with The Epstein Investigation

A photograph appearing to show Prince Andrew with Virginia Roberts Giuffre and, in the background, Ghislaine Maxwell.
A photograph appearing to show Prince Andrew with Virginia Roberts Giuffre and, in the background, Ghislaine Maxwell.

London (CNN)Lawyers representing alleged victims of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein have threatened to subpoena Prince Andrew after the royal was accused of "zero co-operation" with US prosecutors.

In November, the prince said he was "willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency" if required after he appeared in a BBC Newsnight interview in which he was questioned over his friendship with Epstein.

But Geoffrey Berman, US attorney and the lead prosecutor in the inquiry, said Monday that the Duke of York has not responded to requests for an interview.
Prince Andrew has not cooperated with attempts to interview him about Jeffrey Epstein, US Attorney says

"It's fair for people to know whether Prince Andrew has followed through with that public commitment," said Berman, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
"To date, Prince Andrew has provided zero cooperation."

Gloria Allred, a US lawyer representing some of Epstein's alleged victims, told BBC Radio 4's Today program on Tuesday: "This is ridiculous. It's just not acceptable."
She added: "I don't know whether Prince Andrew thinks he's above the law or whether he thinks that he doesn't know anything... but excuses just don't cut this anymore."

Lisa Bloom, another US lawyer representing five women who say they were abused by Epstein, told BBC's Newsnight on Monday that her clients were "outraged and disappointed" by Prince Andrew's failure to cooperate.

"If Prince Andrew truly has done nothing wrong then it's incumbent upon him to go and speak to the FBI at a time that's convenient for him and say what he knows," she said. "Perhaps he can help bring other people to justice." 

Can the US subpoena Prince Andrew?

A subpoena is an order that compels someone to appear in court or to submit evidence.
Antonios Tzanakopoulos, associate professor of Public International Law at Oxford University, told CNN that a US court "can always issue a subpoena" but they cannot make someone comply if they are in another jurisdiction, including the UK.

Allred told the BBC that lawyers in the civil lawsuit could seek to subpoena Prince Andrew if he were to travel to the US. "Certainly, if he ever came back to the United States, that would be one of the first things that I'm sure a lot of lawyers, including me, would want to do," she said.

If he were to travel to the US on an official visit, it is likely he would have some form of immunity, although it might be different if he were on a private visit, added Tzanakopoulos. 
Is there another way Prince Andrew could be made to give evidence?

Countries including the UK and US have a Mutual Assistance Treaty, but this is reserved for criminal matters, says Tzanakopoulos. "There is no criminal matter pending in regard to Prince Andrew," he said.

Epstein died by apparent suicide in August, so his alleged victims have instead brought a civil suit against his estate, claiming damages. The FBI's criminal investigation concerns Epstein's alleged co-conspirators.

Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein's accusers, claims she was trafficked to London by Epstein in 2001 when she was 17, and forced to have sex with his friends, including Prince Andrew.

The prince has emphatically denied any form of sexual contact or relationship with her.

The US could make a request to the UK's High Court under a law that provides assistance in civil matters, says Tzanakopoulos, but this process is "so permissive it's easy to give reasons not to do it."
Are the UK courts likely to help?

The UK makes its own rules on how to comply with a request relating to a proceeding in a foreign court.

The Evidence (Proceedings in Other Jurisdictions) Act 1975 states that "a person shall not be compelled ... to give any evidence if his doing so would be prejudicial to the security of the United Kingdom."

Tzanakopoulos believes that "if we're talking about the Queen's son, arguments could easily be made that it is prejudicial."

Anna Bradshaw, a lawyer at Peters and Peters Solicitors, told CNN that even if a request were made for Mutual Legal Assistance in a criminal case, the prince could respond in a UK court with all the accompanying protections available under UK law.

Even if such a request were granted or refused, Bradshaw said, the public would not necessarily know about it -- UK government policy is not to reveal the details of such requests.

"Don't Talk To The Police" (Regent Law Professor Video)

Regent Law Professor James Duane gives viewers startling reasons why they should always exercise their 5th Amendment rights when questioned by government officials.

(As a service to our readers)

"Pot Makes You Dumb" by Donald Trump (Now We Know How it Happened)

                            Image result for trump on pot"

WASHINGTON — President Trump said smoking weed makes people “lose IQ points” and get into accidents. 
And he's unsure whether the wave of marijuana legalization sweeping the country is “a good thing or a bad thing,” according to the leaked recording of a private dinner Trump held in 2018
But Trump’s son Don Jr. piped up at that same dinner to assure the president that weed is less dangerous than booze.  “Alcohol does much more damage,” Don Jr. said. “You don’t see people beating their wives on marijuana. It’s just different.”

 Trump’s skepticism about cannabis emerged on a recording of a donor dinner last April, released over the weekend by Lev Parnas, an ex-associate of Trump’s private attorney Rudy Giuliani. Parnas, a Soviet-born businessman, has become a central figure in Trump’s ongoing impeachment drama after helping Giuliani’s search for damaging information about former vice president Joe Biden in Ukraine.  Parnas split dramatically from Trump, however, and is now releasing a trove of records that provide a revealing glimpse into Trump’s private, inner world — including, most recently, a conversation about regulating the marijuana industry with a roomful of deep-pocketed donors at the dinner on April 30, 2018.
The recording of the intimate, jovial affair presents a portrait of President Trump discussing national cannabis policy with Parnas and his associate Igor Fruman — now facing serious criminal charges over their alleged attempts to use campaign contributions to obtain marijuana business licenses on behalf of a still-unnamed wealthy Russian investor, according to the federal indictment against them. 
A month after the April 2018 dinner, Parnas and Fruman donated $325,000 to a Trump-supporting super PAC, America First Action, through a company they established to do business in the energy sector, called Global Energy Producers, although the indictment does not tie that donation directly to any potential marijuana business interests.  Parnas and Fruman were arrested in October and charged by federal prosecutors with campaign finance violations over the contributions. Both men have pleaded not guilty. 

‘It does cause an IQ problem’

The video of the dinner, which was reportedly made by Fruman, opens with the image of Trump and Don Jr. posing for photographs before approaching a dining table bedecked with flowers. The camera was then apparently placed on the table facing the ceiling, although the audio continues and much of the subsequent conversation can be heard clearly, including when Parnas kicks off a conversation about weed.
Midway through the dinner, Parnas asks Trump about one of the legal marijuana industry’s major stumbling blocks: access to banks. Legal weed operators continue to face trouble performing basic banking operations because marijuana is still a controlled substance at the federal level despite being legal in several states. 
“Mr. President,” Parnas says, “have you thought about allowing banking in some of these states that allow cannabis?” 
Trump seems confused at first. 
“You’re talking about marijuana, right?” Trump asks. “Why? You can’t do banking there?” 
Then Trump turns skeptical about weed. 
“I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing,” Trump says. “Do you think the whole marijuana thing is a good thing?”
Parnas tells Trump that legal cannabis represents a “tremendous movement,” and presents marijuana as a potential vote-getting issue among millennials for Republicans in the 2018 congressional midterms.  
Legal marijuana is “the future, no matter how you look at it,” Parnas says. 
Trump remains unmoved.
“In Colorado, they have more accidents,” Trump says. “It does cause an IQ problem. You lose IQ points.” 
Then, Don Jr. pipes up to praise the virtues of cannabis versus booze.
“Between that and alcohol, as far as I’m concerned, alcohol does much more damage,” Don Jr. says. 
Parnas suggests Trump establish a “presidential committee on cannabis” to advise him on the issue. The panel could include such high-profile figures as former GOP House Speaker John Boehner, who’s become a marijuana industry lobbyist following his retirement from Congress, Parnas says.
The conversation eventually moves on without Trump making any promises or resolving his concerns — which have been the subject of dueling and inconclusive studies. 
Trump’s remarks about the causal relationship between weed and IQ are disputed by one of his own governmental agencies, the National Institute of Drug Abuse. 
“Recent results from two prospective longitudinal twin studies did not support a causal relationship between marijuana use and IQ loss,” NIDA says on its website. “No predictable difference was found between twins when one used marijuana and one did not.” 
The agency does note, however, that a New Zealand study found that persistent marijuana use in adolescence was associated with lower test scores in middle age. 

But NIDA noted that “observed IQ declines, at least across adolescence, may be caused by shared familial factors (e.g., genetics, family environment), not by marijuana use itself.” Researchers’ ability to draw definitive conclusions about the question is “limited” because in the real world, “study participants use multiple substances.” 

There’s mixed research about Trump’s other claim, too, tying marijuana to accidents. Back-and-forth studies have turned up evidence both for and against that linkage.
A pair of studies released in late 2018 found an increase of up to 6 percent in highway crashes in four states where recreational marijuana is allowed. But another study from the American Journal of Public Health found that road accident deaths in Colorado and Washington state were the same as in states that still forbid pot smoking. 
“Three years after recreational marijuana legalization, changes in motor vehicle crash-fatality rates for Washington and Colorado were not statistically different from those in similar states without recreational marijuana legalization,” the study authors wrote
Cover: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during an event in the Oval Office announcing guidance on constitutional prayer in public schools on January 16, 2020, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

January 29, 2020

Gay Body Shaming Pressure is Led to Severe Heart Failure in Some


 "You're too ugly to be gay," a man in a Huddersfield gay bar told Jakeb Arturio Bradea.

It was the latest in a series of comments from men that Jakeb says made him feel worthless. Last summer, following the comments, he tried to kill himself.
Manchester-based charity the LGBT Foundation has warned that body image issues are becoming more widespread in gay communities. It says gay and bisexual men are "much more likely" than heterosexual men to struggle with them. 
A number of gay men have told the BBC they are going to extreme lengths to change their bodies - including using steroids and having plastic surgery - just to become "accepted" by others in the LGBT community.
Several said pressure from social media platforms and dating apps was exacerbating their body issues.
"Guys with stunning bodies get the comments and the attention," says Jakeb. "I've not gone on dates because I'm scared of people seeing me in real life. I would honestly have plastic surgery if I could afford it."
Instead of surgery, a few years ago Jakeb turned to anabolic steroids - class C drugs that can be misused to increase muscle mass.
"I got to a certain weight from just working out and going to the gym, but I couldn't get any bigger, and I got into my head that I needed to be bigger," he says.
"My friend said he knew a steroid dealer, so I thought maybe I'll just do a low dose to see what happens."
But anabolic steroids can be addictive. Jakeb soon found himself unable to stop.
"I got to the size I wanted to be, but it didn't feel good enough," he says. "I kept wanting more. It was like there was a harsh voice telling me I'm skinny."
Jakeb had his second near-death experience in November last year when - after several years of heavy steroid use - he suffered heart failure.
"I couldn't breathe, I couldn't sleep, I was days away from dying," he says. "The cardiologist said if I had done one more injection or gone to the gym a few more times I would have dropped dead."
Months later, Jakeb has stopped taking steroids and has lost the extra muscle he gained, but he continues to have health problems for which he is receiving hospital support. "It just hasn't been worth it at all," he says.
And Jakeb is not alone in taking drastic measures to try to appeal to men.
James Brumpton - a software engineer from Lincoln - found himself "catapulted into this world of self-consciousness", after he hooked up with a man at a local gay bar.
When James went back to the man's house and took off his T-shirt, his date looked at him and made a disgusted noise. "Nice arms though," the man added.

James Brumpton
Image captionOther men have shamed James about his body many times, he says

Eventually, the experience led to James deciding to have an abdominoplasty - otherwise known as a tummy tuck.
"I allowed another man to influence me to a point where I literally had part of me removed," he says.
According to the most recent figures released by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (Baaps), 179 abdominoplasties were performed on men in 2018 - up 18% on the previous year.
Prof Afshin Mosahebi, of Baaps, says gay men are currently having more cosmetic procedures done than straight men, although he notes that women have more procedures than men overall. 
The surgeon believes the pressure of social media is pushing people to go under the knife.
"Some patients don't need surgery, they need psychological help, and even the patients that do need surgery need to be appropriately informed of all the potential risks," he says.

James Brumpton's abdomenImage copyrightJAMES BRUMPTON
Image captionJames's abdomen after having a tummy tuck

After James's tummy tuck went wrong, he was left with permanent scarring, which made him even more conscious of his body.
"I've been shamed many times since then," says James. "A guy I was dating once said that I needed to go and find jeans in the maternity section because I have wide hips."
Dating apps have fuelled body image concerns, he says. "People having in their profiles 'no fats', or that they're only into masculine and muscular guys, so they don't want anyone that's super skinny," he says.
Images on social media and in leading gay magazines have also led James to feel he is an "invader in the space".
"The idea in your head is that to be a gay man, is to look like a Calvin Klein model," he says.
Photos of "sexy bodies" drive sales of gay magazines, according to Matthew Todd, a former editor of one such publication, Attitude.
"It was tension the whole time and I continually tried to put people on the cover that weren't like that: the first trans man, the first trans woman, the first lesbian," says Matthew.
"I kept doing those kinds of things, but they didn't sell well."
When Matthew put a photo of Stephen Fry on the front of the magazine in 2010, "it was one of the worst-selling editions ever", he says.
"That's not a reflection on Stephen Fry, because he's incredibly popular," he says. "I think it says more about what readers are coming to gay publications for."

Low self-esteem

Matthew, the author of Straight Jacket: How to be gay and happy, says homophobia has fuelled gay men's body issues.
"It's really important to remember that there is unprecedented pressure on everybody to present themselves in a visual way," he says.
"But I think you can't take out of this discussion the fact that LGBT people grow up, shamed, not able to be themselves.
"And I think for lots of people, that's a massive trauma that manifests as low self-esteem. If you don't like yourself, that manifests as not being happy with the way you look."
The result has been that gay men are under more pressure than straight men to have the perfect body, Matthew says.
"If you go on to some gay dating apps, you would think that the vast majority of gay men are supermodels," he continues.
"If you're a gay man, the act of finding another man attractive is also making a judgment of yourself. Many gay men confuse 'Do I want to be with him?' with 'Do I want to be him?'"
Jeff Ingold, from LGBT charity Stonewall, says it is "crucial" that we see more diverse representations of gay and bisexual men with different body types in the media.
"Not only would this help gay and bi men see themselves reflected in what they watch, it would also help break down harmful stereotypes that affect gay and bi men's body image and self-esteem."
But as it is, Jakeb says he still gets people online telling him they "wouldn't leave the house if they looked like me".
"I didn't go on pride marches and have bricks thrown at me to have the community we've got now," he says.
"We have equality, but we're horrible to each other."

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