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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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Fauci: Trump Hasn’t Been to a Coronavirus Task Force Meeting in ‘Months’ and Hasn’t Talked to Me ‘in a While’

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NIH Director Says White House Now Has ‘Different Priorities’ Than Coronavirus

Dr. Anthony Fauci says President Donald Trump has not attended a coronavirus task force meeting in “several months.” Fauci, the most respected and most recognized health official in the federal government, also says meetings of the task force have been only “about one per week.”

Almost since its inception the task force had been meeting daily, but that dropped done to weekly several weeks ago, Fauci told MSNBC’s Chuck Todd. Vice President Mike Pence still leads the group.

Fauci also says, “I definitely don’t have” Trump’s “ear as much as Scott Atlas,” the Fox News radiologist who has all but made “herd immunity” the official policy of this White House.

“Direct involvement with the President,” Fauci said, “I have not done that in a while.”

It is a staggering revelation, as the U.S. heads into what experts are calling America’s “third wave” of the coronavirus pandemic. On Thursday more than 70,000 new coronavirus cases were recorded. The U.S. now has had 8.7 million COVID-19 cases and is rapidly approaching 230,000 deaths.

Meanwhile, Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), recently called it “a bit of a chaotic time with the election,” noting that “there’s not a direct connection between the task force members and the president as there was a few months ago. But this seems to be a different time with different priorities.”

 

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Judge Shoots Down Effort to Delay Hearing on Trump Rape Case — After Barr’s DOJ Was Caught Lying: Report

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The United States Department of Justice received a public rebuke from a federal judge on Wednesday.

At issue was a hearing about the DOJ’s efforts to have taxpayer-funded lawyers defend President Donald Trump in a civil case over whether he defamed E. Jean Carroll after she accused him of sexual assault.

The DOJ attempted to delay the case after a government attorney was denied access to the courthouse due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

The DOJ claimed that the new rules had started on Tuesday, even though Gov. Andrew Cuomo had announced the ban a week earlier.

The judge denied the motion and noted the hearing could be conducted by phone.

The judge added that “contrary to the government’s suggestion, it appears that Virginia was added to the list of Restricted States over a week ago.”

The order was posted to Twitter by Courthouse News reporter Adam Klasfeld:

 

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Biden Is Offering ‘Xanax for Americans’ Who Need ‘Calm’ After 4 Years of Trump: CNN Panel

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A CNN panel on Wednesday said that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign has taken the nickname “Sleepy Joe”to heart and is now using it as part of its closing argument in the 2020 race.

Reacting to the Biden campaign ad that aired during the first game of the 2020 World Series, host John Berman noted that much of the 60-second spot seemed dedicated to projecting a return to normalcy after four chaotic years under President Donald Trump.

CNN correspondent Jeff Zelany shared Berman’s assessment.

“He’s hoping to present it as you know, Xanax for Democrats, milk of magnesia for Americans,” he said. “That ad in the World Series speaks volumes about where the Biden campaign is right now: They have resources and he is in command of this race. So he is trying to present an air of calm, really like he’s been trying to do from the very beginning.”

Reporter Abby Phillip also thought that the ad signaled where Biden’s closing argument is headed.

“What you do hear from a lot of voters is that they really are tired,” she said. “They really are kind of exhausted by this whole thing, they really do want things to be a little bit more calm.”

Watch the video below.

 

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