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Joint Chiefs of Staff tells military no change in trans policy one day after Trump abruptly announces ban

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President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced that he opposed allowing transgender people to serve in the United States military “in any capacity.”

One day after the president’s surprise announcement, however, the Joint Chiefs of Staff are telling the military that they should not implement any changes to the current transgender policy until they receive more explicit direction from the White House.

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“US Joint Chiefs of Staff tells military there will be no modification to transgender policy until direction received from [president],” writes Reuters reporter Idrees Ali.

Ali also reports that Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, sent out a letter informing the military that it should “continue to treat all of our personnel with respect” until it receives guidance from the White House.

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Trump’s transgender policy announcement caught many in both the military and in Congress by surprise. A report from Politico claimed that the president made a snap decision to announce a ban on trans service members after social conservatives in Congress threatened to withhold funds from his proposed border wall unless he barred them from military service.

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Catholic leaders promised transparency about child abuse — but they haven’t delivered

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It took 40 years and three bouts of cancer for Larry Giacalone to report his claim of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of a Boston priest named Richard Donahue.

Giacalone sued Donahue in 2017, alleging the priest molested him in 1976, when Giacalone was 12 and Donahue was serving at Sacred Heart Parish. The lawsuit never went to trial, but a compensation program set up by the archdiocese concluded that Giacalone “suffered physical injuries and emotional injuries as a result of physical abuse” and directed the archdiocese to pay him $73,000.

Even after the claim was settled and the compensation paid in February 2019, however, the archdiocese didn’t publish Donahue’s name on its list of accused priests. Nor did it three months later when Giacalone’s lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian, criticized the church publicly for not adding Donahue’s name to the list.

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Mike Pompeo’s behavior is straight out of Nixon VP’s playbook: historians

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s expletive-laden dust-up with NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly is on message for the Trump-led Republican Party. Complaining that Kelly’s question about Ukraine was “another example of how unhinged the media has become in its quest to hurt President Trump and this Administration,” Pompeo has rallied the Republican base by slamming a journalist doing her job.

Whether he knows it or not, Pompeo is drawing from a playbook written a half century ago and perfected by a politician once voted the worst vice president in American history. Secretary Mike Pompeo, meet Vice President Spiro Agnew.

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‘Our chances of ever exiting the nightmare are shrinking’: Paul Krugman explains how the GOP is getting worse

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It is a great detriment to civil discourse that the divide between left and right in the United States is often depicted as being purely cultural — as if one’s politics were solely mediated by aesthetics, such as whether one prefers shooting guns or drinking lattes. This fabulist understanding of politics is harmful inasmuch as it masks the real social effects of the policy agendas pushed by left versus right. Seeing politics as aesthetic transforms what should be a quantitative debate — with statistics and numbers about taxation and public policy, questions of who benefits more or less from policy changes — and devolves it into a rhetorical debate over values.

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