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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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Watch: Pete Buttigieg Perfectly Slaps Aside Conservatives Criticizing His Paternity Leave

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Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday morning, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg perfectly dismissed conservative critics who took issue with his taking paternity leave following the premature birth of his twins.

Sitting down with host Jake Tapper, the Democrat sat and watched a clip of Fox News host Tucker Carlson making a crude joke about “breastfeeding” — which led Buttigieg to make his case.

“What’s your response?” host Tapper asked.

“As you might imagine, we are bottle feeding and doing it at all hours of the day and night,” Buttigieg explained while smiling. “I’m not going to apologize to Tucker Carlson or anyone else for taking care of our premature twins. The work we are doing is joyful, fulfilling, important work — it’s important work and it’s work that every American ought to be able to do whether they welcome a new child into their family.”

“I campaigned on that, so did the president, by the way,” he continued. “We are pretty much the only country left that doesn’t have some kind of national policy for paid leave. I think it’s us and New Guinea. It’s past time to make it possible for every American, mother and father, to take care of their children when a new child arrived in the family.”

Watch below:

Related:

Pete Buttigieg Brilliantly Destroys Tucker Carlson After Fox Host’s Homophobic Hit Job

Tucker Carlson Unleashes Ugly Homophobic Attack on Pete Buttigieg – and Every Parent Taking Paternity Leave

 

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‘Bannon Is Up to His Eyeballs’: Watergate’s John Dean Reveals Why His Testimony Could Implicate Trump

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Former White House counsel John Dean explained why it is so important for the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. to interview Steve Bannon.

Dean, who was disbarred after pleading guilty to obstruction of justice in the Watergate scandal that drove Richard Nixon from office, offered his analysis in an interview with CNN’s Jim Acosta.

“I think we have to be careful about what inferences we draw from non-appearance or non-testimony but, I think Bannon is up to his eyeballs,” Dean said. “I think he’s a vital witness.”

“I think he could lead to Trump or those closest to trump and I do believe that the indications are that Trump is much more involved in this whole thing than we think he was,” Dean said.

“Do you think this committee will ultimately get access to the documents and testimony they want and if so, by the time the next election rolls around?” Acosta asked. “Every cynic in Washington is just shaking their heads and saying no.”

“Well, it’s a good question,” Dean replied. ‘Trump has been as good a president as any to obfuscate and delay and do it with some success. I don’t have a crystal ball as to how this is going to come out.”

“I think this committee is determined. I hope, Jim, they get their act together and use the power they do this, which is inherent contempt powers. In 1934, the Senate sent the sergeant at arms down to get an assistant secretary of commerce and put him in jail, put him in the Willard [Hotel] for ten days until he agreed to cooperate. That’s still good law,” he explained. There’s Supreme court rulings back as early as 1821 that the House could do this. I think they should and I think they should do it next week, if you will.”

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Ivanka’s Investment Advice Became a ‘Rotten Deal’ That Has the Trump Kids Hoping for a Bailout: Report

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According to a report from Forbes’ Dan Alexander, the children of Donald Trump are hoping that the sale of the lease of the Trump International Hotel in Washington DC, for a reported $400 million goes through because it will bail them out of a “rotten investment” first proposed by Ivanka.

Earlier in the week the Wall Street Journal reported that the lease for Trump International — which has been nothing but a money-loser for the family — might be purchased by a Miami-based investment firm known as CGI Merchant Group.

The Journal reported the lease could be going for a reported $400 million — a drop from the $500 million that was being sought two years before.

As Alexander points out there is some skepticism about that amount which could have a major bearing on how much money each of the Trump kids, Don Jr, Eric and Ivanka walk away with — and for that they can thank Ivanka.

The Forbes writer explained that the Trump International is an anomaly among Trump properties and that the suggestion the family make the investment years ago originated with Ivanka.

“For a 75-year-old billionaire, Donald Trump doesn’t seem to have passed down much of his fortune to his children … A review of documents suggests that in the Trump family, however, the heirs don’t hold ownership stakes in any of their father’s major assets, except one: The Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.,” the Forbes editor wrote. “The three eldest Trump children—Don Jr., Eric and Ivanka—all seem to have 7.5% interests in a lease on the property. Unfortunately for them, the asset has been performing poorly, losing so much money that one of Donald Trump’s holding companies has had to inject additional cash to prop up the business, according to an analysis of financial statements that the House Committee on Oversight and Reform released last week.”

According to Alexander, Ivanka made the investment suggestion while “Don Jr. worked on leasing retail spaces, and Eric helped look after the operation, but things did not go well,” adding, “Deutsche Bank provided $170 million of financing, and by August 31, 2017, the Trump Organization’s financial statements listed $193 million for building improvements, $18 million for furniture and equipment, $5 million for operating supplies and $100,000 for tenant improvements, according to the House documents. Total tally: $216 million.”

That total, the Forbes editor is key when it comes to understanding what a “rotten investment” it became.

Pointing out that the “Trump family had invested an estimated $240 million—$170 million of which came from Deutsche Bank and $70 million that seems to have come straight from the family’s pockets,” Alexander wrote. “Bad news, given that plenty of people don’t think the place is worth $240 million. After speaking with seven real estate experts, Forbes estimated last month that the property was worth $173 million. Assuming the Trumps haven’t paid any of the principal back on their loan, that means their equity amounts to just $3 million, $67 million less than the amount of cash the family apparently invested into the place before August 2020.”

That difference, he points out, means the Trump kids could walk away with little for their years of efforts — or they could be the recipients of a massive bailout.

“Some industry insiders questioned the credibility of that report, given the sky-high price. But if such a sale actually goes through, all of the financial problems that the hotel has caused for the Trumps would suddenly wash away,” he wrote. “The kids’ apparent 7.5% interests—which would be worth just $225,000 after debt at a $173 million valuation—would grow to an estimated $15 million apiece. That’s a lot of money for Eric and Don Jr., who Forbes estimated were each worth $25 million in 2019. It’s also a fair chunk of change for Ivanka, who shares a fortune estimated at $375 million with her husband, Jared Kushner, heir to a separate real estate dynasty.”

You can read more here.

 

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

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