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Transgender Guidance Scrubbed From Office of Personnel Management Website

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A Transgender Rights in October fought against the administration's erasure of transgender people

In a second attack on transgender rights over the holiday weekend, guidance protecting transgender people in the workplace was removed from the website of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

The previous version of the page, created during the Obama administration, provided detailed guidance on transgender employees.

The page is now replaced with a more generic one, removing content regarding transgender people.

The previous version included a detailed breakdown of terms surrounding transgender people, and useful policies for employers to treat their transgender employees with dignity and respect.

All of the terminology section has been removed, and much of the directives specific to transgender-specific policies has been removed or reworded.

For example, a section on “Dress and Appearance” suggested changed to gender-specific dress and appearance rules, and allowing a transgender person to use a dress code appropriate to their gender identity.

The new version of that section simply states the following: “Agencies are encouraged to enact policies that lead to efficient and effective mission delivery.  Policies should require employees to follow dress and appearance rules consistent with the professional standards of their occupation.”

Of particular note is language buried in the section titled “Workplace assignments and duties.” In the previous version, it was noted that, “for a transitioning employee, once he or she has begun working full-time in the gender that reflects his or her gender identity, agencies should treat the employee as that gender for purposes of all job assignments and duties.”

The new version is far stricter on such, and includes a statement on “biological sex.”

“Individuals should be hired for, and stationed for assignments and duties, in accordance with the individual’s biological sex, consistent with the plain meaning of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as articulated by the Attorney General memo of October 4, 2017,” reads the section.

That directive seeks to bar protections under title VII from applying to transgender people.

This is the second move against transgender people this week. The Trump administration has also asked the U.S. Supreme Court to issue a quick ruling on their policy barring transgender people from serving in the military.

A ban on transgender troops was lifted under President Barack Obama in 2016, but Donald Trump declared his intent to reverse that via Twitter, leading to an executive order to ban transgender service.

The Trump administration has not won in any court challenge to the order, leading to the push to take it to the Supreme Court.

It was estimated in 2014 by the Williams Institute that approximately 15,500 transgender people are serving in the military, either on active duty or via the National Guard or Army Reserve. An additional 134,300 transgender people are veterans or retired from service.

It is one of the largest employers of transgender people in the country.

The Supreme Court, with the addition of Trump-appointed judges Gorsuch and Kavanaugh has swung to the right, and may uphold such a ban. This could also pave the way for future groups being banned from service by this administration.

It is unknown at this time if the Supreme Court will accept the administration’s unusual request in this case.

Image by Laurel Wreath of Victors [CC0], from Wikimedia Commons.

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Federal Judge Orders Barr to Release Redacted Portions of Mueller Report

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A federal judge has ordered the Dept. of Justice to publish redacted portions of the Mueller report after determining Attorney General Bill Barr had not met his burden to satisfy keeping the information privileged.

“Based on the Court’s review of the unredacted version of the Mueller Report, the Court concludes that the Department has failed to satisfy its burden to demonstrate that the withheld material is protected by the deliberative process privilege,” U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton wrote, as The Hill reports.

The redactions are important. They detail the process by which Mueller’s team decided to charge or not charge individuals with crimes. The full extent of who that includes in the report is not known, but there was great discussion after the report was released about why President Donald Trump had not been charged.

Judge Walton was appointed by President George W. Bush.

This is a breaking news and developing story. 

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‘Complicit’: Ex-Trump DHS Counterterrorism Head Slams President’s ‘Dangerous’ Refusal to Condemn White Supremacists

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President Donald Trump is being widely condemned for his refusal Tuesday night to condemn white supremacists. Instead of condemning the extremists, the president took control of a group of neo-fascist nationalistic violence-promoters known as the “Proud Boys.”

One of Trump’s top critics is a counterterrorism expert who saw Trump’s actions up close and first hand. She says Trump is already “complicit in the deaths of Americans.”

Elizabeth Neumann served as President Trump’s Assistant Secretary for Threat Prevention and Security Policy at the Dept. of Homeland Security until several months ago.

Today she is blasting Trump for his “dangerous” refusal to condemn white supremacists, and says “white supremacist groups & the Proud Boys have been energized by his comments.”

Neumann is cautioning that the “root ideologies at play are responsible for the [Oklahoma] City Bombing,” a 1995 domestic terrorism attack that killed at least 168 people, including children, and injured nearly 700 others.

President Trump’s comments “fall into both the ‘first-hand’ and ‘dangerous’ category,” Neumann says. “I served at DHS as the Asst Secretary for Counterterrorism from 2018-2020. The surge of violent white nationalism happened on my watch.”

Neumann looks at her first-hand experience with Trump to offer some disturbing history.

“I worked to develop policies, laws, and programs to better prevent domestic terrorism. My colleagues & I tried to educate the President and his staff on this threat. Initially, I thought the rebuffing was due to having other priorities (e.g., defeat ISIS, counter Iran, etc).”

And then, a devastating realization.

“He instead told these groups to ‘Stand Back and Stand By’. Online activity shows white supremacist groups & the Proud Boys have been energized by his comments as a rallying cry to attack ‘ANTIFA’ and ‘left-wing’ groups. They’ve already created a logo with those words.”

She’s absolutely correct.

Neumann is the co-founder of Republican Political Alliance for Integrity and Reform (RePAIR), and has endorsed Joe Biden for president.

Related –
Watch: Trump Just Can’t Bring Himself to Condemn White Supremacists

 

Image by U.S. Customs and Border Protection/Donna Burton via Flickr 

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‘Their Strategy Now Is Very Clear’: MSNBC’s Heilemann Explains How Trump Will Exploit COVID-19 to Steal the Election

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MSNBC’s John Heilemann warned that President Donald Trump doesn’t even seem to be trying to win a fair election anymore, and instead is exploiting the coronavirus pandemic to steal the election.

The “Morning Joe” contributor said the president was trying to widen the partisan gap between in-person and mail-in voting so he can challenge any vote that’s not physically cast on Nov. 3.

“Their strategy now is very clear, which is to try to win in enough battleground states the Election Day vote, and that I think is what’s going on here,” Heilemann said.

Many voters are casting their ballots by mail due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Heilemann said Republicans are exploiting the partisan divide in concerns about the deadly virus.

“We already know there’s a disparity between Republicans and Democrats in terms of who’s willing to put health concerns aside and show up on Election Day, stand in a long line, go and vote in person,” Heilemann said. “We know there’s this giant disparity. Democrats are going to vote early and by mail. Republicans are going to show up on Election Day.”

Republicans are concerned that Trump’s attacks on mail-in voting will discourage GOP voters from casting their ballots that way, but Heilemann said that’s exactly what the president wants.

“Trump has focused explicitly on, how do I win the gameday vote?” he said. “How do I get my core base supporters to come out on Election Day, so on the gameday vote, I can put a flag in the ground and say, I won Pennsylvania on Election Day, in-person voting, and then after Election Day, all of those other votes, those tens of millions of votes that come in by mail, that have come in early, many of which are not going to be counted until after Election Day, then engage in a knife fight in the counting rooms, in the validation-certification process, in the courts, in the Electoral College, in the House of Representatives, ultimately.”

“The Trump campaign thinks the fight for the presidency is not — we all say, hey, Election Day’s early, people are voting early right now,” he added. “They say, we don’t care about that, we’re going to contend that all of that was illegitimate, and for us, Election Day starts on Election Day and continues until Jan. 20. That’s where the fight is going to happen.”

Trump is purposefully pushing conspiracy theories about mail-in voting and stoking the possibility of polling place violence because he needs Democrats to stay home on Election Day to claim a narrow win based on higher GOP turnout, according to Heilemann said.

“What’s the Proud Boys thing about?” he said. “It’s about their increasing conviction that there is going to be civil unrest in the country between — I’m talking about their conviction. This is not a left-wing, partisan conspiracy theory. Within Trump’s inner circle, within Trump’s councils of power, within the influential people on the outside, like Steve Bannon, they now talk about the war starts the day after Election Day. The fight is between Nov. 4 and Jan. 20, and some of that fight is going to be, as I said, in counting rooms, in the courts, in the House of Representatives, and, potentially, in the streets, and i think they are getting ready for that fight, and they are in some respects realizing it’s the only path to the presidency for him.”

“It’s going to be really ugly,” Heilemann added. “That’s what Trump said last night, this is not going to be pretty. This is going to be ugly.”

 

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