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Senators Urge Sec. Mattis Not To Enact Trump’s Discriminatory Anti-Transgender Policy

Shaheen, Hassan Join Bipartisan Letter Urging Secretary Mattis Not to Implement Transgender Ban

Last week, President Trump tweeted that transgender individuals could no longer serve in the US Armed Forces.

“After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”

If enacted this new policy against transgender individuals would reverse policies issued by Sec of Defense,, Ash Carter in 2015 that stated:

“No Service member shall be involuntarily separated or denied reenlistment or continuation of active or reserve service on the basis of their gender identity, without the personal approval of the Under Secretary of Defense for personnel and Readiness.”

However since Trump’s policy announcement on twitter, the White House and the Department of Defense have not issued any official policy changes, leaving the thousands of transgender Service members hanging in the balance.  Since the official policy announcement in 2015, there have been zero reported issues by any branch of the military.

Now, everyone is waiting to see what Secretary of Defense James Mattis will do next.

Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan joined a bipartisan letter signed by 43 additional Senators to Secretary Mattis urging him to advise the President against implementing the announcement he made via Twitter Wednesday that transgender Americans can no longer serve in the military.

“We strongly oppose this policy change, and urge you to advise the President against it,” the Senators wrote in the letter. “This announcement contradicts existing Defense Department policies, undermines our military readiness, and puts our transgender service members as well as their commanders in an impossible situation.”

“We appreciate General Dunford’s message that no policy changes should be made until implementation guidelines have been issued. We further write to request that, at a minimum, you do not separate any service member due to the person’s gender identity until you have completed the assessment that you announced on June 30, have reported back to Congress about any challenges that you foresee in the accession and retention of transgender troops, and determined the Department is unable to mitigate these challenges.”

Veterans like Jason Lindsay fear that this policy shift is a “colossal step backwards” in a statement issued Wednesday.

“As an Iraq war veteran and member of the LGBTQ community who was personally impacted by ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ I am appalled at Donald Trump’s announcement this morning banning transgender people from serving in the military,” said Jason Lindsay, Executive Director of Pride Fund to End Gun Violence. “This is blatant discrimination, full-stop, and a colossal step backwards for our country.”

“Trump vowed to protect the LGBTQ community during his campaign, but his methodical dismantling of LGBTQ protections and rights shows his true intentions. This morning’s announcement is a direct attack on the transgender community,” said Lindsay.

The full text of the Senators’ joint letter is included here and below.

Letter to Mattis on transgender troops

Shaheen, Hassan Call for Reversal of Proposed EPA Cuts That Would Devastate Americans’ Clean Air and Water

SENATORS: Trump’s pledge for clean air and water is “meaningless” when followed by proposal for drastic cuts that would undercut EPA’s core mission 

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined a group of 36 Senators in opposing President Trump’s proposal to inflict a more than 30 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) budget.

Expressing “extreme concern” over the cuts, the Senators wrote to appropriations leaders, “During the President’s February 28, 2017 address to Congress, he pledged to ‘promote clean air and water.’ Such a pledge is meaningless when the President follows it by proposing a 31 percent cut to the EPA’s budget and a 20 percent reduction in its staff. If enacted, this funding cut would effectively eliminate the EPA’s ability to execute its core mission to protect public health and ensure citizens have clean air, clean water, and are protected from hazardous waste and contaminants.” 

The Senators highlighted many areas of concern where the proposed cuts would significantly harm communities across America—from reducing clean air and clean water grants and cutting enforcement against polluters, to cutting funding for Superfund sites by 30 percent, to entirely eliminating efforts to combat climate change and clean up major regional bodies of water, like the Great Lakes and the Columbia River Basin. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has insisted that states should be the primary protectors of the environment. However, this proposed budget would drastically cut grants that are crucial for states to protect their clean water and clean air, monitor health impacts of pollution, and reclaim toxic-contaminated sites throughout the country.

“We urge you to oppose these drastic and dangerous cuts, and support continued funding for the EPA,” the Senators concluded.

The letter was signed by Environment and Public Works Committee Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-DE), and Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tom Udall (D-NM), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Chris Coons (D-DE), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Al Franken (D-MN), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Mark Warner (D-VA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Gary Peters (D-MI), Bob Casey (D-PA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Bob Menendez (D-NJ).

The full text of the letter is copied below.

Dear Chairman Cochran and Vice Chairman Leahy:

We write to express our extreme concern over the drastic cuts President Trump proposed in FY2018 funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). During the President’s February 28, 2017 address to Congress, he pledged to “promote clean air and water.” Such a pledge is meaningless when the President follows it by proposing a 31 percent cut to the EPA’s budget and a 20 percent reduction in its staff. If enacted, this funding cut would effectively eliminate the EPA’s ability to execute its core mission to protect public health and ensure citizens have clean air, clean water, and are protected from hazardous waste and contaminants.

As the Senate works to finalize FY2017 appropriations and develop legislation to fund the federal government in FY2018, we urge you to oppose these cuts.  The EPA must receive funding and staffing levels that ensure the agency can fulfill its mission to protect the environment, reduce pollution, and safeguard public health.     

Unfortunately, instead of maintaining environmental protections, President Trump’s FY2018 budget blueprint would simply eviscerate the EPA’s core functions and adversely impact state budgets that rely on EPA grants for environmental remediation. President Trump’s vision for the EPA includes:

  • reducing clean air and clean water grants programs and cutting enforcement against polluters by 23%,
  • instituting a 45% cut to core state grants programs which make up nearly 30% of state environmental agencies’ budgets and allow them to implement longstanding environmental laws,
  • eliminating the Energy Star program, which saved consumers over $34 billion in utility bills in 2015 alone, and over $430 billion since 1992,
  • cutting research funding by nearly 50%,
  • eliminating the Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program, which allows the EPA to evaluate impacts to human health from chemical exposure,
  • cutting funding for Superfund sites by 30 percent, making it harder to clean up and reclaim contaminated and polluted sites across the country
  • eliminating climate change research and partnership programs, international climate change programs, and defunding the Clean Power Plan,
  • eliminating geographic programs accounts that provide important resources to clean up iconic water bodies that provide millions of Americans with drinking water including the Chesapeake Bay, the Great Lakes, Puget Sound, the Columbia River Basin, the Long Island Sound, and the San Francisco Bay,
  • cutting all funding for the U.S.-Mexico border program that support cross-border drinking water and sanitations improvements in the southwest,
  • cutting all funding for Alaska Native villages and rural communities that helps provide critical drinking water and sewer systems, and
  • eliminating the Targeted Airshed Grants program, which provides tools for local states, governments and tribes to reduce hazardous air pollution.

This is not the vision of the EPA that Americans support. We must ensure that vital public health and environment protections are maintained and funded. We urge you to oppose these drastic and dangerous cuts, and support continued funding for the EPA in the FY2017 and FY2018 appropriations process.


Chris Sununu Remains Silent After His Endorsed Candidate, Donald Trump, Sexually Assaulted Women

Yesterday, the Washington Post posted a video from 2005 where Donald Trump was recorded making lewd comments about women and admitted to physically assaulting them.

“You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything… Grab them by the p—y. You can do anything,” Trump said in the video

Donald Trump is a vile excuse for a human being and should not even be allowed to run for President of the United States.

When he first started to campaign here in New Hampshire I thought he will never go anywhere. People know he is a conspiracy theorist and complete nut job, but his popularity grew.  Then I said he won’t win because polling data shows more people despise him that like him, yet his popularity grew.  He attacked women, immigrants, latino’s, and workers yet his popularity grew.

To this day, I still cannot understand how he became the Republican nominee for President.

However there has to come a point when reasonable people on both sides of the political aisle say, “enough is enough.”

There has been no word from Executive Councilor and Republican Candidate for Governor, Chris Sununu. He has previously stated that he will support and endorse the Republican nominee and that is Donald Trump.

NHDP Press Secretary Evan Lukaske called for Chris Sununu to “rescind his endorsement of Trump immediately.”

Sununu’s response: *crickets chirping*.

Executive Councilor and Democratic Candidate for Governor, Colin Van Ostern called Trump’s comments “disgusting,” and says “it’s too late to disavow Trump.”

“Donald Trump’s comments about women are disgusting,  It’s sickening that a candidate for president could set such a terrible example for my kids and all our kids.”

“It’s too late to disavow Donald Trump now.  When Chris Sununu stood with Donald Trump long after we learned that Trump called women ‘dogs’ and ‘pigs,’ it made it clear that politics was Councilor Sununu’s first priority. We need to disavow politicians like Chris Sununu who didn’t have the guts to stand up to Donald Trump when they could have stopped him,” added Van Ostern.

In some cases, silence speaks volumes. In Sununu’s case, his silence is deafening.  

Pack A Union Card? Beware The Trump Con Job

AFT Local 1360

Start by taking this three question quiz

1. Who of the following presidential candidates supports “right to work?”

A. presidential candidate Donald Trump

B. newly ex-presidential candidate Ted Cruz

C. both

2. Who said, We hear terrible things about outsourcing jobs—how sending work outside of our companies is contributing to the demise of American businesses. But in this instance I have to take the unpopular stance that it is not always a terrible thing.”

A. Donald Trump

B. Ted Cruz

3. True or false, Donald Trump said, “But I think having a low minimum wage is not a bad thing for this country.”

Jeff Wiggins

Jeff Wiggins

Steelworker Jeff Wiggins of Reidland, Ky., knows the answers are “C” for question 1, “A,” for 2 and “true” for 3.

“Donald Trump is a liar and a con artist,” said Wiggins, president of United Steelworkers of America Local 9447 in Calvert City and president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council. “He’ll say anything to get elected, but he is no friend of organized labor.”

Cruz, a tea party-tilting Texas Republican senator, is so blatantly anti-labor that his presidential bid had almost zero support among union members. Bilionaire tycoon Trump is trying to sucker union members into voting for him by demonizing outsourcing, a business practice that unions vehemently oppose.

It looks like a lot of Americans who pack union cards also see Trump for the union-busting grifter that he is. “He preaches hatred of minorities to divide us,” Wiggins said. “He’s also doing everything he can to keep workers at his hotel in Las Vegas from organizing a union.”

Like Wiggins, Mother Jones magazine is on to Trump’s shell game. Before he became a politician, Trump defended oustourcing, the magazine recently pointed out.

Writer Russ Choma quoted a Trump blog from 2005. MJ even provided a screen shot of the blog, which includes the quote in question 2.

“Losing jobs is never a good thing, but we have to look at the bigger picture,” Trump posted.

“Last year, Nobel Prize-winning economist Dr. Lawrence R. Klein, the founder of Wharton Econometric Forecasting Associates, co-authored a study that showed how global outsourcing actually creates more jobs and increases wages, at least for IT workers. The study found that outsourcing helped companies be more competitive and more productive. That means they make more money, which means they funnel more into the economy, thereby, creating more jobs.”

Trump also parroted the corporate spin that outsourcing was often necessary for a company to survive or thrive, Wren wrote.

“I know that doesn’t make it any easier for people whose jobs have been outsourced overseas, but if a company’s only means of survival is by farming jobs outside its walls, then sometimes it’s a necessary step,” Trump blogged. “The other option might be to close its doors for good.”

Choma noted out that 11 years ago, “there was no fist-pounding about corporations that sent jobs overseas and the politicians who did nothing about it. By the way, at that time, Trump was selling ties and clothing under his Trump Collection line that were manufactured overseas.

“These days, Trump routinely rails against companies that ship jobs to other countries. He says he will no longer buy Carrier equipment or eat Nabisco’s Oreos. And he has blasted Apple for manufacturing its products in China. When did he change his tune on outsourcing? The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment.”

Trump put Carrier Corp., front and center in his victorious Hoosier State presidential primary campaign. He never missed a chance to castigate the company for announcing that by next year it would outsource 1,400 jobs from its Indianapolis plant to a Mexican factory, leaving behind only 200 non-union research and development positions, Adam Wren wrote in Politico.

Wren covered a recent March and Rally for Good Jobs at the Indiana capitol building. The scribe reported that the gathering attracted hundreds of Carrier workers from USW Local 1999 who cheered for their presidential choice—Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is running as a Democrat.

Wren waded into the crowd, interviewing a dozen workers. None of them supported Trump. All of them characterized him as a phony and they didn’t mince words.

“In all reality, I see Trump as an opportunist,” declared 57-year-old Carrier forklift driver Robert James.

Tay Walker, 52. replied with Trump-like bluntness.  “He’s full of shit,” the Steelworker said of The Donald.

“I don’t think he’s for the people,” said Ron Terry, 60, a 17-year employee in the shipping and receiving department. “He’s for his pockets.”

“He’s a loudmouthed fraud,” maintained Frank Staples, 37, who has worked at Carrier for 11 years.

Staples conceded that “a few people out there” favor Trump. But Wren wrote that by and large, the workers “see in Trump the same kind of corporate greed that led Carrier executives to outsource their own jobs.”

Staples also told Wren: “His own clothes come from China. He’s talking about American workers. There’s 1,400 people losing their jobs at Carrier. He could employ 1,000 people making his clothes. Bring his company to Indiana. Bring something that’s not going to fail to Indiana. Everything he’s ever ran has [fallen]. His airline fell. He got kicked out of his own Miss America pageant. I mean, come on. The Apprentice fell. He’s a reality star.”

Staples can’t imagine any union member wanting to vote for Trump. “You can’t have it both ways,” Wren also quoted him. “He has foreign interests himself, in China, and things of that nature. A few months ago, he made the statement that union workers make too much money. Then all of the sudden, you got an interest in Carrier?”

Staples ridiculed Trump for vowing not to buy Carrier air conditioners, pointing out that Carrier’s Indianapolis factory makes furnaces. 

Wiggins echoes Staples’ charge that Trump is a faker. “If Trump is such a patriot, loves America and cares so much about American jobs, why doesn’t he start making his clothes here instead of in communist China?”

The pro-RTW Trump, who likes a low minimum wage and  is fighting tooth-and-nail against a union at his hotel, figures to split the union vote with his new-found opposition to outsourcing. It’s the same divide-and-conquer strategy the Republicans have been using on organized labor since 1980 when Ronald Reagan trotted out the so-called social issues.

Reagan won votes in 45 percent of union households on his way to becoming the most anti-union president since Herbert Hoover.

“A union member voting for Ronald Reagan would be like a chicken voting for Col. Sanders,” said a sign in a Paducah union hall in 1980. That’s ditto for casting a ballot for The Donald.

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