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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US Intel Official’s Whistleblower Complaint Is About a ‘Promise’ Trump Made to a Foreign Leader
A U.S. Intelligence official who used to work at the White House lodged a whistleblower complaint with the Inspector General about a “promise” President Donald Trump made to a foreign leader. The subject of the communication with the unknown foreign leader is not publicly known, nor is the name of the foreign leader.
The Washington Post reported this latest development late Wednesday night, reporting that “Trump’s interaction with the foreign leader included a ‘promise’ that was regarded as so troubling that it prompted an official in the U.S. intelligence community to file a formal whistleblower complaint with the inspector general for the intelligence community.”
Trump’s “direct involvement in the matter has not been previously disclosed.”
The IC’s inspector general “determined that this complaint is both credible and urgent,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff has said.
“White House records indicate that Trump had had conversations or interactions with at least five foreign leaders in the preceding five weeks,” the Post reports. “Among them was a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin that the White House initiated on July 31.”
The whistleblower complaint was filed August 12.
MSNBC adds the whistleblower complaint should have been shared with the “Gang of 8,” the top leaders from each party of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. It has not been, which has become the subject of tremendous conflict between the White House, its Acting Director of National Intelligence, and Congress.
Read the entire report here.
Leaks Against Jerry Falwell Jr Suggest Liberty University Wants Him Out as President: Conservative Columnist
Jerry Falwell Jr. took over the evangelical Liberty University when his father died in 2007. Today, his myriad controversies—from his embrace of Donald Trump to the bizarre tale involving him, his wife and a pool boy—are threatening to spark a civil war at the institution.
Writing in the conservative publication The Bulwark, columnist Andrew Egger chronicles Falwell’s recent PR problems.
“Fallout from a legal dispute led to a series of bombshell reports about Falwell, which unearthed wacky details about, in the words of the New York Times, ‘the friendship between Mr. Falwell, his wife, and a former pool attendant at the Fontainbleau hotel in Miami Beach; the family’s investment in a gay-friendly youth hostel, and purported sexually revealing photographs involving the Falwells,’” Egger writes.
He points out that recent stories about Falwell Jr. in Politico and Reuters indicate Liberty insiders are leaking embarrassing information to reporters. The Reuter’s story contained nasty emails Falwell had written about students and faculty. In one, he called a student “emotionally imbalanced and physically retarded.” He also denigrated the police chief as a “half-wit.”
Eggers observes that whoever leaked the emails does not have a lot of faith in Falwell’s leadership. “Somebody, or some group of somebodies, wants Falwell out,” he notes. “The dispute is partly personal—Falwell certainly doesn’t come across as a guy who’s a good leader and manager in those emails—but also partly ideological.”
He notes that Falwell’s tenure has not been entirely unsuccessful: he’s upped enrollment, possibly grooming future right-wing leaders. Yet, his vulgar demeanor—confirmed by the leaked emails—makes him an uneasy fit in the evangelical movement.
Egger observes that Falwell is very similar to Donald Trump in this way. “In other words, the argument for evangelicals supporting Falwell as president of Liberty bears a strong resemblance to the argument Falwell pioneered for evangelicals supporting Donald Trump as president of the United States,” he writes. “You don’t have to like everything he gets up to; in fact, plenty of it you’re probably better off not knowing about. But he’s the kind of guy, the argument runs, that you want in your corner when the chips are down.”
But that can easily backfire. “Because the trouble with having a guy like Falwell or Trump running your institution, is that there’s always a danger that the institutional brand is consumed by the individual’s personal brand.”
“A few years more of that, and what brand beyond Fallwellism will Liberty have to call its own?” he asks.
Trump Signal Boosted Dangerous Tweet Falsely Claiming Democratic Congresswoman ‘Partied’ on 9/11 Anniversary
A dangerous and false tweet claiming Democratic U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar “partied on the anniversary of 9/11” has been deleted. President Donald Trump retweeted the lie, which includes a video of the Minnesota Congresswoman dancing at a Congressional Black Caucus event on Sept. 13. The original video had been posted by progressive activist Adam Green, but was co-opted and repurposed by a Trump supporter.
Here’s the original tweet from Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee:
— Adam Green (@AdamGreen) September 14, 2019
Here’s a screenshot of the now-deleted, dangerous and false tweet from Trump loyalist and “comedian” Terrence Williams who has over 600,000 followers. It includes the video from Green’s tweet:
And here’s Trump’s retweet, which is still up:
IIhan Omar, a member of AOC Plus 3, will win us the Great State of Minnesota. The new face of the Democrat Party! https://t.co/aQFEygSa4D
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 18, 2019
Here’s how the tweet looked before the offending tweet was deleted by the Trump-supporting troll:
Trump has not removed his tweet, but he subsequently posted this tweet about Williams:
Terrence K. Williams, “You can’t impeach Trump for being a winner!”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 18, 2019
Williams last month reportedly suggested former President Bill Clinton was involved in the suicide of Jeffrey Epstein.
A CNN reporter cites Twitter saying Williams deleted the original tweet:
— Donie O’Sullivan (@donie) September 18, 2019
Some responses to Trump’s retweet:
— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) September 18, 2019
Our co-founder @AdamGreen posted this video from a CBC event on Sept 13, and @IlhanMN retweeted it. Today @realDonaldTrump tweeted that she “partied on the anniversary of 9/11.” This is an abhorrent lie that endangers a Member of Congress. Twitter must remove Trump’s Tweet now. https://t.co/zzeb1dXTzc
— BoldProgressives.org (@BoldProgressive) September 18, 2019
Fucking shameful lie. Any other President did this and he’d be out of office by sunrise. https://t.co/E67CdqbMXK
— Kevin Stapleton (@KStapleton_BTV) September 18, 2019
— Richard W. (@IceManNYR) September 18, 2019
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