Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Family Research Council's Tony Perkins lies about Trump's trans troops ban while attempting to smear Biden

FRC's Tony Perkins tells so many lies, he probably doesn't remember the definition of truth.

Yes, I know that to LGBTQ Americans, the fact that Family Research Council head Tony Perkins has has a habit of telling lies is rather passe. He and his group have told so many lies about us that if they ever accidentally told the truth, that would be the story.

But anti-LGBTQ industry lies about us are like lumps in oatmeal. Every time one pops up, you have to beat it down.

And this latest lie about President Biden is a doozy. Perkins is attempting - like the rest of the right, no doubt - to create a belief that some Americans are now having rethinking their votes for Biden. The fact that Perkins is attempting to pass along this talking point is simply more proof his hypocrisy. It wasn't that long ago that he and his group were a part of an effort to claim that Biden's win was the result of election fraud. So how can there be voter remorse if there was election fraud?

But it gets better. The entire theme of Perkins's piece is that Biden's honeymoon as president is supposedly over because he is costing Americans their jobs and prioritizing things like transgender rights:

Just three days in, the hashtag #BidenRemorse started popping up on social media. By then, the new president had stopped work on the border wall, shut down the Keystone XL Pipeline, and issued an oil and gas moratorium for drilling on federal land -- firing tens of thousands of workers in the process 

Yeah that's a lie. In a 2015 post, Media Matters (a group which catalogs conservative distortions) said the following:

 . . . an exhaustive study by the State Department concluded that the Keystone XL project will result in just 50 jobs, including “35 permanent employees and 15 temporary contractors.” Further, the report stated that spending on the project would support only 3,900 temporary construction jobs if construction lasted one year and just 1,950 temporary construction jobs if construction lasted two years. The report also states that a majority of potential other jobs supported by the project would come from “indirect and induced spending,” yet a recent Washington Post article detailed how the “indirect” job estimates themselves don't hold up, as some have already been created in anticipation of the pipeline, and most would last for less than a year . . .

But the centerpiece of Perkins' distortions about Biden is - guess who - us. Or more specifically, the transgender community. Ever since Biden took office, the religious right has accelerated lies and horror stories about transgender men and women. This particular lie has to do with his repeal of Trump's trans troops ban.

Unfortunately for our troops, the new president doesn't seem to care how his social experimentation affects our actual warfighting. Unlike Donald Trump, who insisted the military study the comprehensive effects of such a policy, Joe Biden -- from the so-called "party of science" -- has not asked for any updated information. In fact, he claimed this morning that opening the doors to transgenderism "does not have any meaningful negative impact on the Armed Forces" and "minimal" effect on "readiness and health care costs." 

 That's interesting, since the findings of then-Secretary James Mattis in 2018 were that the Obama administration had to ignore stacks of research to justify the change. After wading through 21 months of actual fallout, the DOD believed that introducing this type of gender chaos into the military presented a "considerable risk" to its "effectiveness and lethality." The memo does a great job dismantling the flawed and outdated RAND study that both Presidents Obama and Biden have used to prop up their decision. After almost two years of seeing the real impact on troops, the DOD argued that RAND had "mischaracterize[d] or overstate[d] the reports on which it rests its conclusions" (p. 39). "In fact," officials write, "the RAND study itself repeatedly emphasized the lack of quality data on these issues and qualified its conclusions accordingly" -- a fact the Biden administration hasn't bothered to mention.

So many lies:

1. Donald Trump did not insist that the military study the comprehensive effects of the policy at first.  He announced the ban via a tweet. And while he claimed that he consulted with military leaders, they were caught by surprise. It was after he announced the ban that Trump directed Mattis to study the issue.

2. Perkins referred to the "findings of Secretary James Mattis." He is referring to a memo and a report justifying the ban which Mattis signed off on. But therein lies the details. According to Fox News in February 2018, Mattis actually supported transgender men and women serving openly in the military.

What changed his mind?   According to the March 24, 2018 edition of The Slate:

The president announced the ban on Twitter in July, then directed Secretary of Defense James Mattis to “study” the issue and make recommendations. But the president quickly faced legal impediments, with those four federal courts blocking the policy after finding it to be an “arbitrary,” “capricious,” and unjustified infringement on trans people’s constitutional right to due process and equal protection. As a result of those four court orders, transgender service members have continued to serve openly, and trans individuals have been allowed to enlist in the military since Jan. 1, 2018. Yet behind the scenes, a “panel of experts” has been crafting a report, also released on Friday, designed to provide pretextual justification for Trump’s ban. 

According to multiple sources, Vice President Mike Pence played a leading role in the creation of this report, along with Ryan Anderson, an anti-trans activist, and Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, an anti-LGBTQ lobbying group. Mattis actually supports open transgender service, but he was effectively overruled by Pence, and chose not to spend his limited political capital further defending trans troops. In a memo released on Friday, Mattis encouraged Trump to ban transgender people from enlisting in the military, and to discharge those service members who wish to transition. Trump has now formally adopted these suggestions.

Now we are getting to the extent of how Perkins has lied. While trashing Biden's repeal, Perkins conveniently omitted how Pence overruled Mattis about open transgender service and how he himself (Perkins) played a part as one of the "experts" Pence solicited to justify the ban. So the findings which Perkins claims came from Mattis actually came in part from him. An article in the March 25, 2018 edition of Think Progress confirmed this:

Though it bears Mattis’ signature, the report released Friday appears to reflect the findings of Pence’s working group and not the committee report that Mattis submitted to Trump last month. Mattis’ original document was not currently publicly available at the time of the recommendation, but it was widely reported that Mattis favored an inclusive approach that resembled what had originally been proposed by Defense Secretary Ash Carter under President Obama in 2016. His February recommendation, also released Friday, jibes with the new report, contradicting reports at the time.

That same article ripped the report to shreds, exposing its many errors.

And what's an attack on trans people without negative spin about "gender assignment surgery?" From Perkins:

At the time, FRC's Peter Sprigg warned that it could cost taxpayers up to $3.7 billion over the next 10 years for medical costs and lost deployment time -- more than enough, we pointed out, to buy a Navy destroyer. And like a destroyer, this decision is equally capable of sinking our military's mission.

 Even after Donald Trump overturned the policy, taxpayers were forced to make a huge investment in the Left's social petri dish, sinking well over $8 million into treatments, hormones, and surgeries for the handful of transgender-identifying troops who were grandfathered in. By 2019, the Defense Department announced that it had redirected funds from salaries, equipment, and trainings for 22,992 psychotherapy visits, 9,321 hormone prescriptions, and a whopping 161 surgeries (ranging from hysterectomies and breast augmentation to "male reproductive" construction). Surgeries alone racked up $2 million -- an average of $12,422 a servicemember. And that was with the Trump ban in place! Imagine how much Americans will be spending when Biden opens the ranks to this all-expenses-paid gender nonsense for four full years!

Sprigg's estimation of $3.7 billion was another lie.  The actual number was in fact $8 million. But Perkins misrepresented the entire debate over numbers; a debate which was confirmed by USA Today in February 2019 but not in the manner in which Perkins described it. At the time in which Sprigg made that $3.7 billion figure, the true cost of $8 million was revealed, effectively refuted his claim. 

Perkins also omitted  (probably deliberately) proper context to his spooky laundry list about the costs of transgender troops to the military. The following is what I wrote about the issue in 2019:

From a recent PBS article, Transgender care cost military less than 1 percent of its health budget since 2016:

According to new data from the Defense Department provided to the House Armed Services Committee ahead of the hearing, the military has spent about $8 million on transgender care since 2016 out of its $50 billion overall health care budget. The Associated Press obtained the data Wednesday.

And according to the USA Today:

Through Feb. 1, the cost of treating troops with the diagnosis of gender dysphoria has totaled $7,943,906.75. That included 22,992 psychotherapy visits, 9,321 prescriptions for hormones and 161 surgical procedures. Surgeries performed included 103 breast reductions or mastectomies, 37 hysterectomies, 17 "male reproductive" procedures and four breast augmentations. Psychotherapy sessions cost nearly $5.8 million and surgery cost more than $2 million, according to the data 
The Pentagon's budget this year is $716 billion. 
Brad Carson, the Pentagon's former top personnel official and one of the architects of the Obama-era policy, said Wednesday that the number of transgender troops is smaller than anticipated, as is the cost of treating of treating them. He noted that the Pentagon spends about $50 billion per year on health care.

And it is here which I will point out another tactic of the religious right when it comes to lying about LGBTQ people - repetition. No matter how many times you refute their lies, they will continue to repeat them.  And they also make sure to repeat these lies in friendly interviews (hello Fox News), in front of friendly audiences, and especially during interviews where they won't be questioned extensively while being able to put out cute soundbites.

It's rather tacky and highly immoral but I'm sure they can find a verse in the Bible which justifies it. 

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