Parents Lose Custody Rights for Refusal to Allow Transgender Hormone Therapy

Cincinnati, OH— On Friday, Hamilton County, Ohio judge Sylvia Sieve Hendon took a transgender teenager away from her parents, and awarded custody to her grandparents, due to the parents’ refusal to allow their 17-year-old daughter to undergo hormone treatments or call the child by her chosen male name, according to court records.

The case began when the parents took their daughter, who had lived as a gender-conforming female until 2016, to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center for treatment of the teen’s depression and anxiety, where they were “surprised and confused” by the diagnosis of gender dysphoria, the court decision noted.

An article in The Washington Times reported that court records show the legal dispute began in February 2017, when family services alleged parental neglect and abuse and sought temporary custody of the child. The allegations of neglect and abuse stemmed from the parents’ refusal to allow their daughter to undergo hormone treatment or call their daughter by her chosen male name.

According to the report in the Washington Times:

Those allegations were dropped in subsequent adjudication, but the child was nonetheless placed in the temporary custody of family services and ordered to remain in residence with her grandparents.

Shortly after that, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital recommended the 17-year-old undergo hormone therapy at the hospital’s Transgender Health Clinic. The parents objected, citing their religious beliefs.

Family services then sought to terminate the temporary custody arrangement and grant full legal custody to the grandparents. Both grandparents filed petitions for full legal custody in December.

Although they objected to the transition treatments, the parents continued to pay for therapy sessions at the children’s hospital.

Prosecutors for the state argued that hormone therapy needed to begin as soon as possible to prevent the teen from becoming suicidal, and claimed that the child was traumatized by her parents’ refusal to call her by a male name. According to a CNN report, the grandparents’ attorney, Jeffrey Cutcher, told the court that “even seeing [her] birth name on documents has caused trauma.”

The New American reported:

The girl herself alleged that she felt unsafe in her parents’ home, saying her father had told her to kill herself because she was “going to hell anyway,” and that she was forced to attend “Christian” therapy that consisted of listening to Bible verses for hours on end.

The parents’ attorney, Karen Brinkman, denied the allegations and said the parents’ objections were not solely based on their religious beliefs. She maintained that they “have done their due diligence contacting medical professionals, collecting thousands of hours of research and relying on … their observation of their own child … that led them to the conclusion that this is not in their child’s best interest.” In fact, they believe hormone therapy “would do more harm than good,” she said.

“It does not appear that this child is even close to being able to make such a life-altering decision at this time,” Brinkman said, adding that granting custody to the grandparents “would simply be a way for the child to circumvent the necessity of parents’ consent.”

The parents ultimately agreed that regardless of the custody decision, living with the grandparents was in the best interest of the child.

The order specifies that although the teen can legally change her name, prior to undergoing hormone therapy she must be “evaluated by a psychologist who is not affiliated with the current facility where [she] is receiving treatment, on ‘the issue of consistency in the child’s gender presentation, and feelings of non-conformity,’” according to a report by CNN.

In her decision, Judge Hendon wrote, “It is unfortunate that this case required resolution by the Court as the family would have been best served if this could have been settled within the family after all parties had ample exposure to the reality of the fact that the child truly may be gender-nonconforming and has a legitimate right to pursue life with a different gender identity than the one assigned at birth.”


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Opinion: CNN Had a Bad Week


Over the past week, CNN has been battling allegations of scripting a town hall event, spreading fake news, and exposing the identity and location of a woman during an interview. These accusations have been claimed by some as proof that the network fails to live up to its “Facts First” credo, while others view CNN as being unfairly targeted by phony accusations. The network’s most recent faux pas, described by some as harassment of a private citizen, drew particularly strong criticism from prominent media figures. 

Chris Cuomo Retweeted Fake News and Defended It

Earlier this week, CNN host Chris Cuomo retweeted an article written by 20-year old Cody Davis who claimed he was “able to buy a gun in five minutes” in his headline. The article itself proved nothing of the sort; the author admitted that he was given five pages of paperwork to fill out and instead, he abruptly left- contradicting his claim that he “was able to buy” a gun. A few days later Twitter users criticized Cuomo for retweeting fake news. Rather than discuss the content of the article— particularly the detail that many of Cuomo’s detractors found most crucial, which was that the author left before filling out required paperwork for the gun purchase— Cuomo argued that he shared the article because he felt the “system should be better.”

Colton Haab Claims CNN “Scripted” His Town Hall Question

Update, February 24, 2018, 1:25pm:

A CNN source has released emails to address the Haab family’s claims of the network putting forward “scripted” material. According to Business Insider, Fox News and the Huffington Post received CNN-related email exchanges from the Haabs on Friday afternoon, and CNN later “provided Colton’s version of the emails, as well as their versions of all of the communications between the Haabs and CNN.”

Business Insider reports that CNN opted to release their communications upon the revelation that the emails received by Fox and HuffPo were missing a portion of text. CNN’s version of one particular email shows that producer Carrie Stevenson told Colton’s father, Glenn, that Colton needed to “stick to” one question that he and Stevenson “discussed on the phone that he submitted”; the version of the email reportedly provided by the Haabs to Fox and HuffPost is missing the phrase “that he submitted.”

Original report:

Colton Haab, a Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivor, was among a number of survivors invited to a special CNN town hall event. Haab said that he was asked to prepare questions and commentary for the event, and went on to claim that CNN attempted to replace his proposed material with the network’s suggested material. Haab accused CNN of turning his remarks into a “scripted” question, an allegation that CNN quickly denied.

Since Haab’s initial accusation, more details have been revealed and both Haab and CNN have doubled down on their positions, with Haab appearing on Fox News to share further context and CNN standing firm in their refutation.

Haab’s father, Glenn Haab, told the Huffington Post that his son had been informed that his prepared material was too long and was directed to cut his proposed remarks to one question. Haab’s father went on to say that his son could not properly convey one question with no context, so he chose not to attend the town hall.

According to the Daily Caller, Matt Dornic, CNN’s Vice President of Communications and Digital Partnerships, claimed that CNN “gave Haab the opportunity to expand on the idea of arming teachers, a topic which was brought up multiple times during the town hall, as opposed to delivering a prepared speech.” The Daily Caller noted that “Haab reportedly declined to reframe his remarks, and his father subsequently prevented him from taking part in the program. Despite CNN’s explanation, the network did in fact let multiple participants deliver lengthy remarks which went beyond the pale of simple questions.”

When President Trump waded into the controversy, CNN’s Drew Griffin dismissed the situation as a lie “repeated over and over again.”

Haab went on to appear on Fox News, going into further detail with Tucker Carlson and went into further detail about the incident:

So what had happened was four days ago I had gotten contacted by a lady named Carrie Stevenson from CNN. She had asked me originally to just write a speech. It was going to be at the town hall at the BB&T Center. So I agreed. I felt like it would be the right thing to do. Be able to go speak my part as well as open eyes to a few things that I thought that can make this situation a little better. From there, three days ago, so the next day after that I had gotten an email back from her and she asked for more of questions rather than a speech. Which I was totally fine with so I wrote a little less of a speech and more of questions that I wanted to ask at the town hall. The day after that it was more of just questions. She asked for just questions that I would like to ask.

So, I gave her my questions and then yesterday, at about 5:15, I made contact with her. And she had asked if I had just asked her one question. So what they had actually done was wrote out a question for me because in my interview with CNN, I had talked about arming the teachers, if they were willing to arm themselves in the school to carry on campus. And they had — she had taken that of what I had briefed on and actually wrote that question out for me. So I have that question here if you would like me to ask it for you.

“So you sent them a long, in effect essay on what you thought but they put their own words in the question and they weren’t the same as the words you had sent in? They were the producer’s words?” Carlson asked.

“Absolutely,” Haab answered. “They had taken what I had wrote and what I had briefed on and talked about and they actually wrote the question for me.”

Andrew Klein, the father of a survivor of the Stoneham Douglas shooting, told Laura Ingraham that he had been approached by a CNN producer the day after the shooting, and “the producer insinuated to me they were looking for people who were willing to espouse a certain narrative which was taking a tragedy and turning it into a policy debate and I read that as being a gun control debate.” When Ingraham pressed for clarification, Klein said “the producer said we’re looking for people who want to talk about the policy implications about what happened in terms of— she didn’t mention guns but in terms of the policy implications for preventing future mass shootings and if you know folks who want to talk about that, we’d like to speak to those people.”

At this point, CNN and Haab have yet to provide proof to fully substantiate their respective claims, but both are staunch in their convictions. CNN’s most recent rebuttal on Twitter noted that “we can prove” Haab’s statements are untrue.

The Latest: CNN Confronted a Woman at Her Home and Exposed Her Identity

CNN’s Drew Griffin tracked down and confronted a woman at her home as part of Griffin’s reporting on “unwitting” American participants in Russian interference related to the 2016 election. Griffin described the woman to viewers as an individual helping “Russian internet trolls infiltrate U.S. communities by spreading Russian made messages without knowing it.”

The woman reportedly used her Facebook page to promote purported Pro-Trump rallies, which were allegedly organized by a “front group” tracing back to a Russian organization called the Internet Research Agency. Griffin repeatedly questioned her outside of her home about her level of involvement with Russians regarding her pro-Trump Facebook group’s promotion of the rally:

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The unwitting: The Trump supporters used by Russia

A Florida woman who ran a Donald J. Trump supporters page that unwittingly promoted a Russian-coordinated event on Facebook says she doesn’t believe that she was influenced by Kremlin-linked trolls http://cnn.it/2Gx3gN3

Posted by CNN on Tuesday, February 20, 2018

In publishing the woman’s first, middle, and last name, as well as her county and state of residence, she was quickly discovered online and has reportedly been subjected to a high volume of harassment.

CNN’s report was widely rebuked by a number of public figures.

“There is no allegation in this indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity,” Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein noted last week following the indictment of 13 Russian nationals and three Russian organizations. “There is no allegation in the indictment that the charged conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election.”

This is not the first time CNN has shown affinity to exposing identities of citizens; last summer, the network had reported how it identified a Reddit user who crafted a GIF depicting President Trump beating a man whose head had been replaced by a CNN logo. The network reported that while it would not disclose the user’s identity at the time because the Reddit user submitted an apology to CNN’s satisfaction, “CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change.”

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New Yorker Reporter Downplays Competency, Effectiveness of Russian “Troll Farm”

Washington, D.C.— Following Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment of 13 Russian nationals and three organizations allegedly behind a Russian “troll farm” accused of interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, a reporter from The New Yorker— who profiled the Internet Research Agency (IRA) “troll farm” in 2015— has largely refuted the indictment’s characterization of the operation.

Adrian Chen, staff writer for The New Yorker, was interviewed on MSNBC with Chris Hayes about the IRA troll farm, and likened the operation to a social media marketing campaign.

In an article for The New Yorker, Chen noted the amateurish nature of the IRA:

In the indictment, Mueller’s team reveals that the Agency didn’t discover the idea of targeting ‘purple states’ until June, 2016, when a Texas-based conservative activist introduced them to the term. Cambridge Analytica this is not.

Chen made clear that the operation was not a professionally-run covert operation as propagated in the media, but instead, noted the outfit was “inept and haphazard.”

In the Times Magazine article that supposedly made me an authority, I detailed some of the Agency’s disturbing activities, including its attempts to spread false reports of a terrorist attack in Louisiana and to smear me as a neo-Nazi sympathizer. But, if I could do it all over again, I would have highlighted just how inept and haphazard those attempts were. That the Agency is now widely seen as a savvy, efficient manipulator of American public opinion is, in no small part, the fault of experts. They may derive their authority from perceived neutrality, but in reality they—we—have interests, just like everyone else.

In a Twitter post, Chen wrote:

Tried to tamp down the troll farm panic on @chrislhayes show last night. It’s 90 people with a shaky grasp of English and a rudimentary understanding of U.S. politics shitposting on Facebook.

In a response to a tweet noting the IRA actually has 300 to 400 individuals, Chen wrote “that was the entire Internet Research Agency. The American department had ~90 people, according to the Russian journalists who did the most in-depth investigation.”

Chen then provided a link to a Washington Post profile of Russian journalists who had also investigated the troll farm, and reached a similar conclusion to Chen’s regarding the capability of the IRA troll farm.

Additionally, Rob Goldman, Facebook’s Vice President of Advertising, refuted the idea that the IRA was trying to get Trump elected, arguing on Twitter that due to the vast majority of Facebook ads being purchased after the election was over, the goal was likely not to elect Donald Trump, but “to divide America by using our institutions, like free speech and social media, against us.”

After suggesting that the underlying narrative was not to bolster a candidate, but to sow discord within the American polity, Goldman was apparently caught in the crosshairs, and according to Wired, Facebook VP of Global Public Policy Joel Kaplan stated that “Nothing we found contradicts the Special Counsel’s indictments. Any suggestion otherwise is wrong.”

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Peer Reviewed Study Asserts US History of Interfering in Foreign Elections

Washington, D.C. — The mainstream media continues to report heavily on Russian interference in the U.S. election process narrative, but according to a peer reviewed study by Dov Levin, a fellow in the Institute for Politics and Strategy at Carnegie Mellon University, the United States is king when it comes to election meddling.

Attempts at intervening in the internal domestic politics of other countries is nothing new, and the U.S. and Russia both have a long history of spreading political propaganda, covertly supporting military coups, channeling funds and rigging polls, according to Levin’s research.

Levin’s research indicates that between 1946 and 2000 there were 117 combined “partisan electoral interventions” between the United States and the Soviet Union/Russia, or “one in every nine competitive national level executive election”; with the U.S. accounting for nearly 70 percent of the cases of election meddling.

In a brief summary of his research, Levin wrote:

In a dataset I constructed (called PEIG) the US and the USSR/Russia have intervened in this manner 117 times between 1946 and 2000–or, put another way, in about one of every nine competitive national level executive elections during this period. Both countries used a variety of methods for this purpose, including public threats or promises, the secret provision of money to the preferred party or candidate’s campaign, “dirty tricks” such as the release of true (or false) damaging information about the undesired side, or either an increase in foreign aid or other assistance before election day or a withdrawal this kind of aid.

At least 21 of the interventions reportedly took place in the post-Cold War era between 1990 and 2000, of which 18 were carried out by the United States. The cases involved varying degrees of interference, but nearly two thirds of the meddling was done covertly, with voters being completely unaware that a foreign power was attempting to influence the election process and results.

“60 different independent countries have been the targets of such interventions,” Levin noted, with 45 being allegedly targeted by the United States.  “The targets came from a large variety of sizes and populations, ranging from small states such as Iceland and Grenada to major powers such as West Germany, India, and Brazil.”

A Channel 4 News report on Levin’s research highlighted some of the specific countries that were targeted by covert electoral intervention operations:

According to Levin’s research, those countries where secret tactics have been deployed by the US include: Guatemala, Brazil, El Salvador, Haiti, Panama, Israel, Lebanon, Iran, Greece, Italy, Malta, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, South Vietnam and Japan.

For Russia, the list of covert interventions includes: France, Denmark, Italy, Greece, West Germany, Japan, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Congo, Venezuela, Chile, Costa Rica, and the US.

Channel 4 also noted that “Covert interventions have been done by many countries over the years and – because they are shrouded in secrecy – it’s impossible to get a comprehensive picture of every instance across the world.”

“Although they usually get far less international attention and media coverage than various violent forms of meddling, partisan electoral interventions, or attempts by foreign powers to intervene in elections in other countries in order to help or hinder one of the candidates or parties, are actually quite common,” Levin summarized. “Such interventions can frequently have significant effects on election results in the intervened country, increasing the vote share of the assisted side by 3% on average – enough to determine the identity of the winner in many case.”

Levin’s figures do not include military coups or regime change attempts following the election of a candidate the U.S. opposed.

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School Shooting Survivor Says Armed Teacher Could Have “Stopped the Threat”

Parkland, Florida— While a number of students at Stoneman Douglas High School have called for stricter gun control following the deadly school shooting, 17-year-old Stoneman student Colton Haab told Fox News that he believes football coach Aaron Feis, who was reportedly killed while shielding students from gunfire, would have been able to neutralize the threat had he been allowed to carry his firearm on school grounds.

“If Coach Feis had had his firearm in school that day, I believe that he most likely could’ve stopped the threat,” Haab told Fox News. Haab is a Junior ROTC member who has been revered for shielding and directing as many as 70 kids to safety during the shooting.

Assistant football coach Feis was remembered by students and staff alike as a “hero” for turning himself into a human shield in order to save the lives of others.

“He died the same way he lived— he put himself second,” school spokesperson Denise Lehtio said. “He was a very kind soul, a very nice man. He died a hero.”

Haab explained that he saw Feis, who was reportedly a trained security guard in addition to being an assistant football coach, run toward the sound of the gunshots, only to later learn that Feis was killed as he tried to shield students from gunfire.

In an interview with Fox News, Haab said:

“I believe if we did bring firearms on campus to teachers that are willing to carry their firearm on school campuses—and they got their correct training for it—I think that would be a big beneficial factor for school safety. Because if Coach Feis had had his firearm in school that day, I believe that he most likely could’ve stopped the threat.”

An article from CNN reported that Haab, who is a member of the school’s Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC), jumped into action upon hearing gunshots and directed around 70 students into a classroom where they proceeded to use bulletproof Kevlar mats from the JROTC’s marksmanship program to act as protection in case found by the gunman.

“We lined [the students] up into the wall and along the back of the wall…and from there I was standing with my first sergeant and I said, ‘these are kevlar, these are bulletproof material,’” Haab said. “We started moving the kevlar sheets forward.”

The Florida school shooting has reignited a wide-ranging debate as to how to most effectively stop the school shooting phenomena, with some in favor of stricter gun control laws while others support armed guards or allowing trained teachers to carry firearms on school grounds.

Haab recently told local reporters that he backed out of attending a CNN town hall focused on the Stoneman Douglas school shooting, claiming that his own prepared commentary was proposed by CNN to be replaced with “scripted” material.

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