Nel's New Day

January 19, 2018

Polis Addresses Women’s March, Government Shuts Down

Filed under: Congressional legislation — trp2011 @ 11:03 PM
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Each week, Vice.com has a one-sentence report on the past week of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) followed by details about the events:

“President Donald Trump denied that he said anything ‘derogatory’ after he called El Salvador, Haiti, and African countries ‘shitholes’; underwent his first physical as president, was declared healthy by the White House physician, even as independent doctors claimed Trump has a common form of heart disease; stayed mum about allegations of paying former porn star Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about their affair; called himself the ‘least racist person’; urged Americans to observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day by getting involved in their communities; spent MLK Day golfing at Mar-a-Lago; lambasted Democrats over DACA, which he deemed ‘probably dead’; reportedly refused to sit down with the Congressional Black Caucus’ leaders; tweeted out a broken link to his highly anticipated ‘Fake News Awards’; more than halved U.S. aid money to Palestinians; traveled to Pennsylvania to campaign for Rick Saccone; and tweeted that his stance on the border wall has never changed right after his chief of staff said it had ‘evolved.’”

Tomorrow morning, DDT intended to go to Mar-a-Lago for his celebration party costing $100,000 per couple; $250,000 will get couples not only the dinner and photograph with DDT for the lower price plus a round-table discussion with him. He has changed his plans and will stay in Washington, highly upset because the shutdown keeps him from “my party.” [Just wait for the tweets!]

Tomorrow, people will also be protesting DDT in the second Women’s March. Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), married to Marlon Reis, will march in Denver after his participation in last year’s Washington, D.C. event. Below is his letter to their three-year-old daughter. The couple also has a son, six-year-old Caspian Julius.  [An interview with Polis (left) from last April.]

Cora,

It’s already been one year — and almost a third of your life so far! — since we participated in the big Women’s March in Washington D.C. I’m excited to have the opportunity to march with you again this year in Denver!

I know at the age of three, you’re only just beginning to sense the importance of the fellowship we shared with millions of civic activists around the country last year, and that we will share again tomorrow. And while I’m sad that the first President you will know is not only an unacceptable role model but in many ways a representative of the past that we thought we’d left behind, I am heartened by how our community is responding and resisting.

I hope that as you grow up, you look back on these marches the same way I look back on the equal rights and anti-war rallies I attended with your grandparents when I was a kid. I hope tomorrow’s march helps open the door for you to a lifetime of joining with others to fight for a better, kinder, more equal world.

For all the great things about the world you were born into, there is still a lot of work to do. We still live in a state where a woman earns 81 cents to a man’s dollar. We still live in a nation where a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions is under attack. We still live in a place where sexual harassment and assault happen, and people blame the victim.

I entered public office because I believe in the power of public policy, changing the laws to reflect our values and create a better future. But policy is not the only thing that matters. Many of the problems we face today will not be solved through legislation or by politicians. They’ll be solved by people from all walks of life coming together to break stereotypes, break cultural barriers, and break glass ceilings.

That’s why we marched last year. That’s why we’re planning on marching tomorrow.

Despite the challenges and uncertainty of this moment in our history, there are reasons for hope all around you. From Susan B. Anthony to Rosa Parks to Dolores Huerta, to Colorado’s own Florence Sabin, we’re inspired by the strong women before you that have paved the path toward equality and justice. I’m proud you can look to your own family including your “Gramma” Susan Polis Schutz, who shattered the societal norms of her time to become a successful business woman and bestselling poet, even if she does feed you ice cream when she’s not supposed to.

This is just the start for you. I look forward to you living your life and building the future you desire. Hopefully the glass ceilings will be shattered by the time you get there. But if not bring a hammer.

Love,

Dad

The main Women’s March, on the anniversary of DDT’s inauguration, has moved from D.C. to Las Vegas with a Sunday event called “Women’s March Anniversary: Power to the Polls” to follow this year’s success in electing women across the nation.

Tonight the government will shut down until Congressional members can pass a spending bill. The first government shutdown since October 2013, this one makes history; it is the first shutdown when one party controls Congress and the White House and the first time that a president of the United States has explicitly called for a shutdown. During the last possibility of a shutdown in November, DDT had said privately that a good government shutdown would help him politically. Earlier in May, DDT tweeted, “Our country needs a good ‘shutdown’ in September to fix mess!” Shutdown threats under DDT are a little like facing someone with a gun who keeps threatening to kill you. Finally, you give up and tell the person to just shoot.

Republicans already postponed the spending bill for the past several months while trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act to take health care from people and pass its tax bill to benefit the wealthy and big business. In addition, DDT’s blow-up with obscene language about non-white countries cut down on the compromise that included a way for DACA youth to not be deported. Everyday that no bill passes about the Dreamers, hundreds of them are in danger. Democrats had given into Republicans on a number of issues, but the negotiations were unsuccessful after DDT rejected the bipartisan agreement.

To gin up more fear, DDT continues to lie about a shutdown being “devastating to our Military.” A federal law generally bars agencies from continuing to work at taxpayer expense during a shutdown, but that law provides major exceptions for military and intelligence operations, national security, and emergencies. During the 2013 GOP shutdown, Congress unanimously passed a law guaranteeing continued pay for military personnel. Yet Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) object to Sen. Claire McCaskill’s (D-MO) proposal to continue paying military personnel.

Shortly after midnight, the vote of 50-49 against the spending bill officially shut down the government. Following the vote, McConnell blamed the Democrats for hurting the military, ignoring people with addiction, and denying children with insurance while saying that he cared about DACA. He said that DACA doesn’t affect anyone until March although hundreds of young people are being deported daily. Only when Republicans want to get their own way does McConnell claim to care about programs that he has postponed for at least four months.

McConnell declared that he would keep calling for votes until Democrats voted for the continuing resolution until after Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) talked about the Democratic compromises were willing to accept, including funding for the wall, that were also accepted by the president–until he left the White House and the chief of staff called to say that the deal was off. At that point McConnell proposed a continuing resolution on February 8, conveniently after DDT’s State of the Union address on January 30 and turned down a three-day continuing resolution. McConnell’s postponement may fail because DDT said he won’t negotiate on DACA while the government is closed.

Tomorrow will be filled with conservative news blaming the Democrats for the shutdown. Over four years ago, DDT said that the president of the United States is at fault for any government shutdown. Four Republicans, including the senior Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) voted the bill, opposing short continuing resolutions in exchange for a long-term spending bill.

DDT will want a continuing resolution for the spending bill because it gives him the ability to change funding for intelligence priorities. The House bill sent to the Senate dropped a long-standing law that keeps the person in the Oval Office from spending unauthorized money on intelligence activities until a long-term bill passes and puts DDT in charge of these expenditures.

Tomorrow the women are marching, and the government is in shutdown. Happy anniversary, DDT!

[DDT’s 52nd week will be chronicled next week.]

 

March 27, 2013

End LGBT Job Discrimination

Marriage equality has been the focus of media this week as the U.S. Supreme Court addressed two separate cases about allowing same-sex couples the opportunity for legalized marriage. Fox has started stirring up its audience into a froth, fomenting the fear that a ruling in favor of marriage equality would result in removing Christianity from our country and wiping out all the advantages that religion—primarily Christians—have. But there’s an even scarier thing going on for all LGBT people.

I want all the straight people in this country to consider what would happen if they were to be fired because they are—gasp!—heterosexual. Little do they know that this could happen in 29 states. It most likely won’t because straight people are in the majority in the United States, but their employers could legally use this excuse. That’s because Congress consistently refuses to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

Passing ENDA would prohibit discrimination in hiring and employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity by civilian, nonreligious employers with at least 15 employees. Introduced in every Congress since 1994 except for the 109th Congress from 2004-6, the concept of ENDA has failed since 1974. A version of the law failed in the Senate by a single vote in 1996. Even a Democratic Congress in 2006 couldn’t pass it, even after ENDA dropped protection for transgender people, perhaps because George W. Bush threatened to veto the measure. Even Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) voted for ENDA in 2007.

Following Democratic gains in 2008, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced ENDA that included transgender people. Failing in that Congress, the two men introduced the bill again in 2011 when a Senate committee held a hearing on the measure, the first such hearing to include testimony by a transgender witness.

Courts cannot protect LGBT employees fired because of their sexual orientation and gender identify because LGBT people are not classified as a “suspect class,” a group with a set of criteria indicating that they are probably the subject of discrimination. ENDA supporters argue that the Constitution guarantees equal protection and due process for all. The American Psychology Association (APA) argues the homosexuality is a personal identity and not a “choice” and that all employees should be judged by the quality of their work performance instead of completely unrelated factors.

Conservative Christians believe that there is no discrimination against LGBT people and that ENDA would negatively impact religious organizations. The Traditional Values Coalition (TVC), are afraid that schools would be required to hire transgender teachers.

In the current 113th Congress, with Frank no longer in the House, Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) plans to be the lead author of the next ENDA. One source stated that the new bill may have changes related to religious exemption and disparate impact to make the legislation’s protections stronger for LGBT workers than previously written. ENDA has previously included a strong religious exemption. In the most recent version of the bill, Section 6 provided an exemption for religious organizations and businesses that were also exempt under Title VII of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964.

Three weeks ago, the Family Research Council sent out a fundraising email warning its recipients that this “dangerous” and “totalitarian” bill is possible. Tony Perkins explained that ENDA would “give special rights to men and women who engage in homosexual behavior.” To far-right Christians, having a job is an example of “special rights.”

A public opinion poll from 2011 shows that almost three-fourths of voters (73 percent) support protecting LGBT people from workplace discrimination. Even two-thirds of Republicans supported nondiscrimination laws. Even Catholics (74 percent) and seniors (61 percent) are in favor of workplace protections for LGBT people. Even voters who describe themselves as being unfavorable toward LGBT people support nondiscrimination by 50 percent.

Yet 90 percent of these voters don’t understand that that these protections are not in place: they think a federal law protects LGBT people from workplace discrimination. ENDA affects far more people than equality of marriage and of lesbians and gays in the military, but the bill is largely ignored by most people, including President Obama.

There’s a 99-percent chance that the bill won’t even see the light of day in the current, Republican-dominated House although Ryan claims that the GOP will support ENDA—sort of. The GOP even strongly opposes universal background checks for gun buyers although 91 percent of the people support this. But if any heterosexuals are fired because of “sexual orientation,” they might want to consider support of ENDA.

As columnist Ruth Marcus wrote, “The movement for marriage equality is enormously important; its trajectory toward success is nothing short of astonishing. Yet no American should be asked to choose between the right to marry and the right to work. Every American, regardless of sexual orientation, is entitled to both.”

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