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116 Lawmakers Call for End to Transgender Military Service Ban

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116 members of Congress sent a letter Wednesday to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Attorney General William Barr to call for the elimination of the ban on open transgender military service. This follows the June 15, 2020 Supreme Court ruling that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects LGBTQ people from workplace discrimination. Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) spearheaded the initiative.

“This policy is an attack on transgender service members who are risking their lives to serve our country and it should be reversed immediately,” DelBene said.

On April 12, 2019, the Trump administration banned transgender individuals from serving openly in the military. The discriminatory policy denies transgender people the ability to enlist in the military and puts transgender troops at risk of being discharged for living openly. It also denies them transition-related health services.

“In light of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling…we urge the Department of Defense (DOD) to immediately update its policies to eliminate the ban on open transgender military service,” lawmakers wrote in the letter. “Additionally, to prevent further harm to transgender service members, we urge the DOD to instruct the Department of Justice (DOJ) to negotiate the end to litigation challenging the ban.”

“It’s past time for the Trump administration to end its ban on transgender troops serving openly,” said Mara Keisling, Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. “The policy is hateful and discriminatory, and puts at risk our country’s national security by purging brave transgender people from the military despite their honorable service to the American people. The administration must move quickly to right this wrong and protect transgender members of the military.”

“It’s crucial that the Department of Defense remove this unconstitutional transgender military ban and ensure any qualified patriot is able to serve,” said Modern Military Association of America Interim Executive Director Jennifer Dane. “Thousands of transgender service members have already more than proven themselves with honor and distinction, and this discriminatory barrier that has nothing to do with their ability to accomplish the mission must be taken down. We are thankful for Congresswoman Suzan DelBene’s leadership, and we urge the Department of Defense to take swift action.”

The transgender service ban was put in place against the recommendations of several former Surgeons General. Additionally, the country’s preeminent health care organizations, including the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Medical Association, have all affirmed that transgender people can competently serve in the military.

The letter was signed by Representatives Alma S. Adams, Ph.D. (NC-12), Colin Allred (TX-32), Karen Bass (CA-37), Ami Bera, M.D. (CA-07), Donald S. Beyer Jr. (VA-08), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE-At-large), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Salud O. Carbajal (CA-24), Ed Case (HI-01), Sean Casten (IL-06), Kathy Castor (FL-14), Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Judy Chu (CA-27), David N. Cicilline (RI-01), Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr. (CA-39), Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09), Emanuel Cleaver, II (MO-05), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Gerald E. Connolly (VA-11), Jim Cooper (TN-05), Joe Courtney (CT-02), Angie Craig (MN-02), Charlie Crist (FL-13), Sharice L. Davids (KS-03), Danny K. Davis (IL-07), Madeleine Dean (PA-04), Peter A. DeFazio (OR-04), Diana DeGette (CO-01), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Eliot L. Engel (NY-16), Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Bill Foster (IL-11), Ruben Gallego (AZ-07), Jesús G. “Chuy” García (IL-04), Sylvia R. Garcia (TX-29), Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03), Deb Haaland (NM-01), Alcee L. Hastings (FL-20), Jahana Hayes (CT-05), Brian Higgins (NY-26), Jim Himes (CT-04), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-At-large), Jared Huffman (CA-02), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Henry C. “Hank” Johnson (GA-04), William R. Keating (MA-09), Joseph P. Kennedy, III (MA-04), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Daniel T. Kildee (MI-05), Derek Kilmer (WA-06), Ron Kind (WI-03), Ann McLane Kuster (NH-02), Rick Larsen (WA-02), John B. Larson (CT-01), Barbara Lee (CA-13),  Andy Levin (MI-09), Ted W. Lieu (CA-33), Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Stephen F. Lynch (MA-08), Tom Malinowski (NJ-07), Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18), Betty McCollum (MN-04), A. Donald McEachin (VA-04), James P. McGovern (MA-02), Gregory W. Meeks (NY-05), Grace Meng (NY-06), Gwen S. Moore (WI-04), Joseph D. Morelle (NY-25), Seth Moulton (MA-06), Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (FL-26), Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), Grace F. Napolitano (CA-32), Joe Neguse (CO-02),  Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06), Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), Chris Pappas (NH-01), Donald M. Payne Jr. (NJ-10), Scott Peters (CA-52), Mark Pocan (WI-02), David E. Price (NC-04), Mike Quigley (IL-05), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Kathleen M. Rice (NY-04),  Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), Tim Ryan (OH-13), Linda T. Sánchez (CA-38), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Adam B. Schiff (CA-28), Bradley S. Schneider (IL-10), Kim Schrier, M.D. (WA-08), José E. Serrano (NY-15), Albio Sires (NJ-08), Thomas R. Suozzi (NY-03), Mark Takano (CA-41), Mike Thompson (CA-05), Dinna Titus (NV-01), Lori Trahan (MA-03), David Trone (MD-06), Lauren Underwood (IL-14), Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-07), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23), Peter Welch (VT-At-large), Jennifer Wexton (VA-10), Susan Wild (PA-07), and John Yarmuth (KY-03).

A copy of the letter can be found here.

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Morning Joe Shames GOP Lawmakers Who Won’t Speak Up for Capitol Cops After Another Officer Takes His Life

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MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough called on Republican lawmakers to stand with the Capitol police officers who defended them against Jan. 6 rioters after a fourth officer has taken his life since the violent insurrection.

Four officers have committed suicide since the riot and a fifth died from injuries shortly after Donald Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in a violent effort to overturn the presidential election results, and the “Morning Joe” host said Republicans need to speak out against their colleagues trying to block an investigation of the attack.

“Look at the Trump signs everywhere,” Scarborough said. “Donald Trump trying to deny that this wasn’t his riot, this wasn’t his insurrection when, in fact, he was cheering it on from the White House, according to Republican senators and, of course, called up [House minority leader] Kevin McCarthy and Kevin McCarthy asked him, begged him to shut it down, and he told McCarthy it wasn’t his people, even while he was cheering them on. McCarthy shouted at him, swore at him, called him a liar — how stupid do you think we are? Everybody knows. Look at the Trump signs. These are all Donald Trump supporters in there.”

Four law enforcement officers testified last week before the House select committee investigating the riot, which Republicans have downplayed as a minor event, and some conservative media figures mocked their pain in describing the brutal violence they faced.

“Let’s be clear about it,” Scarborough said. “Republicans, they have a choice to make, it’s a simple choice. You can either be on the side of American terrorists, that’s what the cops called them, that were getting brutalized with American flags. You can either be on the side of American terrorists or you can be on the side of law enforcement officers, of police officers. It’s that simple. Terrorists or cops, pick a side, and if you decide that you do want to support law enforcement officers, if you do want to protect those who have protected you every day inside the United States Capitol, if you are a Republican, could you please, please offer your support publicly for law enforcement officers today in the Capitol, D.C. Metro force?”

“Please let them know how much you appreciate what they do for you every day, and specifically what they did to save your life on Jan. 6,” he added. “Because right now, they obviously aren’t feeling that. They’re hearing a lot of Republicans undermine them and attack them and claim that they’re actors, and claim that this was just another day on the Hill, and so, when Republicans come out and say that, or when carnival barkers come out and say that and you say nothing, as a Republican members of Congress, you’re sort of endorsing that.”

If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention LIfeline at 1-800-273-8255

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‘Very Selfish People’: Exhausted Louisiana ICU Nurse Shames Americans Who Refuse Vaccinations

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An intensive care unit nurse in Louisiana told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that she’s exhausted dealing with patients who haven’t gotten vaccinated against the novel coronavirus.

During a lengthy interview, Cooper asked ICU nurse Felicia Croft to describe the conditions she’s seeing at her hospital at the moment.

“Right now, we’re seeing a lot of patients, number one. and patients that are sicker and patients that are closer to my age, which just brings it to a whole new level,” she explained. “I’m 34 years old.”

Cooper then asked her how she felt about people who complained about being asked to get vaccinated or wear face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic, which so far has killed more than 600,000 Americans.

“So we have become… a very selfish just group of people,” she said. “This pandemic — and masks and vaccines — this is not about you and this is not about what always makes you feel good! And it’s about, you know, the cashier at your local gas station. and it’s about your local baker. and you know, your neighbor and your cousin’s friends.”

She then explained how she believed that COVID-19 vaccinations were a divine blessing and that it is arrogant for people to turn them away.

“God gave somebody a whole lot smarter than me… the knowledge to develop this vaccine,” she said.

Watch the video below.

 

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‘Milquetoast’: Some Slam Graham for Not Strongly Urging Americans to Get Vaccinated After Announcing He Has COVID

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U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham Monday afternoon announced he has tested positive for the coronavirus. The South Carolina Republican and top Trump ally says he was vaccinated, but like a minuscule percentage of Americans – less than 1% – who were inoculated he contracted the virus after being vaccinated.

Graham did credit the vaccine for his mild symptoms, but some believe he should have taken this opportunity to urge other Trump-loving Republicans to get vaccinated, rather than just mention that he was vaccinated. The vaccine is credited with keeping those who contract the virus after being fully inoculated alive and out of the hospital. Many, like Graham, report only mild symptoms.

“I was just informed by the House physician I have tested positive for #COVID19 even after being vaccinated. I started having flu-like symptoms Saturday night and went to the doctor this morning,” Graham tweeted.

“I am very glad I was vaccinated because without vaccination I am certain I would not feel as well as I do now,” he added. “My symptoms would be far worse.”

But, like many noted, Graham offered up no direct plea to get vaccinated.

Earlier Monday the CDC announced that 70% of eligible Americans have had at least one dose of the vaccine, but Republicans are the largest group who are refusing to get inoculated, thanks in large part to anti-vaxx disinformation coming from Fox News, other far right media outlets, and lies posted on social media.

Some used Graham’s tweets as an opportunity to explain that vaccinated or not the virus can be transmitted and that’s why masks are still necessary in most parts of the country.

Some felt he struck an appropriate tone:

Others just blasted him for not going far enough and insisting others get vaccinated:

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