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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  July 27, 2017 8:00am-9:01am PDT

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07/27/17 07/27/17 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> a lot of shock. it was completely unexpected. actively serving with distinction and honor, we have 15,000 servicemembers serving across all branches in all different jobs. amy: in a move that shocked even the pentagon, president trump has barred transgender people from serving in the military. meanwhile, the justice department is arguing the landmark civil rights act of
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1964 does not protect members of the lgbtq community. we will speak to the first openly transgender infantry soldier in the u.s. army about theident trump's words and resistance rolls on. we will look at how disability activist are staging a stork protest in washington and around the world to fight the republican effort to restrict health care from tens of millions of people. [chanting] amy: all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. in a surprise announcement, president trump tweeted wedndnesday he will than transgender people from serving in the u.s. military. trump made the declaration on
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twitter -- "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. thank you." trump's decision came despite his pledge at the republican national convention last year, that he would "do everything in power to protect our lgbtq citizens." the move set off protests outside the white house and at the military recruitment centers around the country. well, it seems what the president is saying is that he is going to fire 15,000 highly trained, motivated troops. it is a catastrophe for military
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readiness. it is a catastrophe for those 15,000 people who are just trying to serve their country. but it is just absurd that he dold think to do this and it, apparently, without consulting the pentagon. amy: it appear to shock the pentagon which has sent all of the questions about the order to the white house. david shall can said he learned of the policy change from trump's tweet. it came after defense secretary james mattis said last month he would give generals another six months to determine whether to allow transgender troops to enlist. questioningporter the white house press secretary sarah huckabee sanders during a news conference wednesday. >> what happens to tranansgender servrvice members now? are they merely thrown out of the military? >> that is something the department of defense and the white house will have toured together as and limitation takes place e and is done soo lawfull. amy: is study by the rand
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corporation estimates gender -- treatmentsreat would cost the military between $2.5 million and $8.5 million annually, a miniscule fraction of the pentagon's $600 billion budget. by comparison, the total military spending on erectile dysfunction medicines amounts to 10 times as much annually. we will have more on trurump's move to ban tranansgender people from the military after headlines. on capitol hill, the senate wednesday rejected legislation to repeal the affordable care act without a replacement, after seven republican senators broke ranks to reject the bill in a 45 to 55 vote. the latest defeat came a day after republicans failed in a bid to pass their bill to repeal-and-replace obamacare. with just eight hours left to debate healthcare, senate leaders are now considering what's being called a skinny repeal, which would eliminate the individual and the employer mandate that requires certain businesses to provide health insurance to employees. it would not touch the medicaid program.
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democrats blasted majority leader mitch mcconnell for keeping details of the skinny repeal secret. but on wednesday night, the congressional budget office offered its assessment of what democrats said is a likely draft of the bill, finding it would increase the number of uninsured people by at least 16 million while increasising premiums by about 20%. the debate came amid massive protests on capitol hill and at lawmakers' offices. a recent usa today poll found just 12% of americans supported the senate version of the healthcare bill. we'll have more on the fight over healthcare later in t the broadcast. meanwhile, president trump has nominated former republicann congress member pete hoekstra as u.s. ambassador to the netherlands. hoekstra is a co-founder of the house tea party caucus. he supports the death penalty, opposes abortion rights, and has spoken out against marriage equality and lgbtq rights. in yemen, the heads of the united nations' relief agencies pleaded wednesday for a massive increase in humanitarian aid, as
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the number of cases of cholera in yemen hit 400,000. u.n. leaders say the outbreak has increased ththe number off yemenis in need of assistance to nearly 21 million. this is peter maurer, head of the e international committee of the red cross. the overall situation is very dire and catastrophic with regard to certain areas that i have mentioned, health situation in particular. if the icrc, within two weeks, dedecideto double its program in yemen, it is an indicatation tht the situation is very bad. amy: the cholera outbreak comes as more than two years of u.s.-backed, saudi-led bombing in yemen has devastated the country's health, water and sanitation systems. meanwhile, reuters is reporting that u.n. investigators blame the u.s.-backed saudi-led military coalition for a deadly attack on a somali migrant boat off yemen in march that killed 42 people and injured 32 others.
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reuters cited a confidential u.n. report that found the attack violated international humanitarian law. it blamed a u.s. made helicopter gunship operated by saudi arabia for the e assault. in iraq, thousands of families from mosul remain liviving in camps and unable to return to their homes nearly a month after iraq's prime minister declared victory in the u.s.-backed offensive to reclaim the city from isis. at the salamiya camp west of mosul, residents complain of limited water supplies and sweltering heat. those returning to mosul say they face ongoing violence and unlivable conditions. >> i can't go back to my neighborhood because there's no water, no electricity, no services. our homes were destroyed. everything was stolen. we came here to this camp and life your is very difficult. amy: the independent reports
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more than 40,000 civilians died in the nine-month battle to retake mosul, with thousands of bodies still trapped under the rubble. meanwhile, human rights watch is calling on the trump administration to cut off support to an iraqi army division after it reported wednesday that iraqi troops trained by the u.s. allegedly executed several dozen prisoners in mosul's old city. "the new york times" reports president trump is being pressured by billionaire financier and chemical executive to escalate the u.s. war in afghanistan in a a bid to explot afghghanistan's mineral wewealt. trump times" reports discussed the vast deposits of metals and rivers metals with ishan president and reportedly considering sending an envoy to afghanistan to meet with mining officials. a 2010 u.s. estimamate found afghanisistan has mineral dedeps worth nearly $1 trillion. in france, human rights groups warn police are abusing migrants in the northern city of calais, as they return to the site of a
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former camp known as "the jungle" in the hopes of crossing into the united kingdom. benedict jeannerod, the director of human rights watch france, says police have r routinely confiscated sleeping bags and clothing from migrants, ile pepper spraying them and confiscating food and water. police forces use peppers are a the migrants who are sleeping or disrupt food distribution. this is the use of force which is unjustified. it is disproportionate and constitutes a violation of human rights and the protections these people have a right to. amy: last november, french police dismantled the calais refugee camp, scattering thousands of asylum seekers -- many of them unaccompanied children seeking to reunite with relatives in britain. back in the united states, police in minneapolis will be required to start recording video on their body cameras whenever they respond to emergency calls or interact with
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anany victim, , suspect, or wits under a new policy announced wednesday by they city's interim police chief. >> what good is a camera if it is not being used when it may be needed the most? from this day forward in the minneapolis police department, we want to add strength to our expectations. body worn cameras must be on. amy: the change follows public outcry over the death of 40-year-old resident justine ruszczyk, who was shot in the abdomen by officer mohamed noor on july 15 after she dialed 911 twice to report a possible sexual assault near her home. neither officer noor nor his partner had activated body cameras at the time of ruszczyk's killing. in austin texas, police arrested 15 immigrants rights activists wednesday as they blocked an intersection near the state capitol in a peaceful sit-in protest. the activists were calling on lawmakers to repeal sb 4,
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texas' harsh new anti-immigrant law. they also called on the trump administration not to end the daca program, or deferred action for childhood arrivals, which gives some immigrants permission to live, work, and study in the u.s. among those arrested were four daca recipients who chanted, "undocumented, unafraid." this is juan ortiz, an activist from el paso and one of the 15 arrested. >> time is running out under this leadership and we need to do whatever we can now so that we can get people out of the shadows and into the light. amy: the protests s came as firefighters in el paso, texas, say they discovered the bodies of four migrants, including two children, who died attempting to cross the rio grande river along the u.s.-mexico border. the deaths came just days after 10 undocumented immigrants died from heat exposure and asphyxiation after they and dozens of others were crammed into the back of a sweltering tractor-trailer as part of their journey to enter the united states from mexico.
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they were found in a truck in a walmart parking lot in san antonio. and in new york city, pedro hernanandez, a bronxnx teen wh's been held at the notorious rikers island jail while awaiting trial for a 2015 crime he says he did notot commit, wil be released on bail.l. the robert f. kennedy human rights group agreed to post $100,000. hernandez is fighting charges that he fired a shot that injured another teen in 2015, even though the victim and eight other teens who witnessed the shooting say hernandez is innocent. hernandez has been in jail since july of 2016. his plight has drawn comparisons to the case of kalief browder, another bronx teen, who committed suicide in 2015 at the age of 22 after being held at rikers for nearly three years without trial for a crime he did nonot commit. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. on wednesday evening, protesters
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gathered in front of the white house and u.s. armed forces are crewmen station in times square in new york to denounce president donald trump's surprise announcement banning transgender people from serving in the military. trump made the declaration on twitter wednesday morning, tweeting -- "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. thank you." he tweeted in three separate tweets. trump's announcement reverses obama-era rules allowing transgender people to serve in the military and have all their healthcare costs, including gender reassignment surgery, covered.
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trump's announcement appeared to have even shocked the pentagon, which is directed all questions about the order to the white house. reports york times" james mattis learned of trump's plans on tuesday. veterans affairs secretary david schalk and said he learned of the policy change from trump's tweet. politico is reporting trump may have made the snap decision in an attempt to secure congressional funding to build a wall along the u.s.-mexican border. a spending bill, which included money for the wall, was facing possible defeat in the house because some republican lawmakers wanted to ban pentagon-funded sex reassignment operations. a study by the rand corporation -- truru took a drdramatic stand to completely ban transgender people from serving in the military. but many questions remain unanswered. what will happen to the estimated 15,000 trans service
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members currently in the military? this is a reporter questioning white house press secretary sarah huckabee sanders during a news conference on wednesday. >> what happens to transnsgender service members now? are they i in legally thrown out of the military? >> that is something the department of defense and the white house will have to work together as implementation takes lace and is done so lawfully. amy: according to the transmilitary project, some 15,500 transgender individuals currently serve in the u.s. military. transgender people are twice as likely to serve than cis gender people and there is no other known organization that employs more transgender people than the us military. the 69thecisionn came on anniversary of the desegregation of the military. on july 26, 1948, president truman signed an executive order to integrate the armed forces. well, for more, we go now to seattle, washington, where we're joined by staff sergeant
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patricia king. she was the first infantry-member to reveal she is transgender. king has served in the army for 18 years, including three active combat deployments to afghanistan. staff sergeant patricia king, welcome to democracy now! your response to the presidential announcement yesterday that all transgender people will be banned from the military? for havingu so much me. when i woke up yesterday morning, i woke up to the news as my phone blewew it from other service members who are concerned about what this meant for them. do we still have a job? will we still have a job? can i continue to serve? a stateo very much in of shock. my first reaction was, d did i just get fired via tweet? from there i m moved on and cons it down my fellow servicemembers. we banded together, , as we alws do, and then i laced up my boots
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and liking of the day, i went to work. amy: where do you work? >> i'm a soldier at fort lewis, washington. amy: what t were peoeople sayiyn the base? >> the truth is, people still did not know. i was the first person to tell my chain of command what had happened. my leadersrship was quick to reassure me and say they supported m me and they have my back and that we are a team and they were in my corner. amy: so what exactly does this mean? i mean, if he is banning all trans, members who are -- are they going to bases all over the world, not to mention here like yours, for lewis him and kick you out? >> i i could not speak to what s going to happen next. what i know is i a a been servig fofor 18 years now. i have served honorably and probably.
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it is my intention to continue to serve and it is my golden make it so i can do that. amy: the pentagon has major to reassignment covered help benefit as ordered by the obama administration. what would it mean to transgender service members t to losese this benefit?t? >> well, i don't think healthth care should be considered a benefit, first of all. we h have to rememember that wht the previous secretary of defensnse had is that all medically necessary care will be covered. hard tortigan -- it is consider something medically necessary a benefit. the most important thing to usus is the ability to conontinue serving our cocountry. so while my health care is a concern, my major coconcern rirt now w is t that i have been serg this country from his two decades. i love my country. i just want to be able to continue to serve. amy: can you talk about why you joined the military? >> initially, i joined out of high school.
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it was verery much a soul-searching opportunity. i came into the military in an effort to figure out who i was and where my place in the world was. what i mediately found out is how much i love the military. i love the camaraderie and the ability to make a difference. that is what has kept me here for 18 years. amy: a study by the rand corporation estimates gender reassignment treatments would cost the military between $2.5 million and $8.59 annually. by comparison, the total military spending on erectile dysfunction drugs amounts to 10 times as much annually. your response e to this, staff sergeant king? >> i am fortunate to not need erectile dysfunction medication. amy: but what does it say to you about the priorities of the presidenent? i would be remiss if i decided d to speak on the priorities in washington, d.c. i can tell you my priority is
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service to my country and being able to contininue to represent this country and the transgender community. i know there are dozens and dozens of service members who their main concern is focusing on the freedom of our country and continuing to provide that freedom. we are certainly not worried ,bout the political leanings left or right, in washington, d.c. amy: last year candidate donald trump tweeted -- your response today? again, washington, d.c., seems like a world away from me. and get ready to go to work, my focus is on being a supportive member of my team. the team i work with, the brothers and sisters in arms
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that i work with are there to support me. they are not concerned about whether i am transgender or cis gender, men or woman. we focus on job performance in the military. that is the only thing that matters, how will you can do your job. amy: this seems to have taken the pentagon by surprise, this tweeted announcement yesterday that affects the lives of so many thousands of people. james mattis, the defense secretary, was on vacation. times" reports he and learn of of the day before but had announced a month ago he was doing a six-month investigation to decide on the status of transgender people in the military. what is your sense of what the leadership feels about this? has it changed under the trump administration, from the highest levels to come a well, were you are on your base? > when the department of defense decided they're going to integrate transgender people
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into the military, they did the most exhaustive study on a people group the military has ever done. commissioned rand corporation, new england journal of medicine to their own study, the department of defense did a study for a yearr. in that time, they also sought out the 18 partner nations that we have who all have open transgender service. this was a detailed study that took a year to complete. and in the secretary of defense decided to give a further six montnths just to make sure we we being thorough. don't dolitary, we anything quickly because we want to ensure we are doing things right. i think the secretary of defense has the best interest of all soldiers in service members in mind. i can to your here at fort lewis, there is been no change. nobody has said because o one persrson is s in chargrge or anr peperson is in charge at any lel that i was less or more of a
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person. my leadership has supported me and i will continue to support them. a makeup staff sergeant patricia king, you're the first infantry member to reveal you are transgender. you served in the army for 18 years, including three active duty -- active combat deployments to afghanistan. can you tell us your personal story? did you transition in the military? >> yes, i did. iname out as transgender january 2014 after sharing this information with my family and receiving overwhelming support. i decided it was time to move forward and d i wanted to live n authentic life. the next people i decided it was important to come out to was s y leleadership in the military. i sat down with them and shared i was transgender. at the time, the policy did not support transgender service. my leadership and the difference between what is allowed and what is right and wanted to support me in anyway they could, so they supported me.
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i appeared to policy. shortly thereafter, transgender integration began to happen. i was accepted by the military. finally, this is, oh, the 69th anniversary of the decision by president truman to desegregate the military. thatthoughts on the day ththis happened 69 y years ago - yesterday, the day donald trump tweeted that transgender people would be banned from the military was the a actual anniversary. >> in the military, we believe we are leaders. we have led this nation and so many things. we have led the nation in the integration of service members from different ethnicities, different religions. we have done gender integration - -- an intntegrated the lgbt cocommunity. last are we started the greatest gender integration to happen in our military by opening combat
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jobs to women and breaking down the transgender barrier. we are leaders in the military. wewe are people that don't see race, religionon, gender identi. the only thing we see is job performance. i know the military wants to support their soldiers, just as we have continued to support our country. i believe that is what they will continue to do. amy: will you be joining protest against president trump's tweet? it is not clear how this actually goes into effect. >> to be honest with you, i have work to do. i am a soldier. soldiers i need to support and stand with. and that is where my places. amy: staff sergeant patricia king, thank you for being with us, the first infantry member to reveal she is transgender. king has served in the army for 18 years, including 3 active combat deployments too afafghanistan.
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when we come back, we will continue to discussion. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: "true trans soul rebel" by against me! this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. to talk more about president trump's order to ban transgender people from the military, we are -- i want to turn to a clip from a short 2015 "new york times glasgow any documentary called "transgsgender: a at war and at loveve." >> my name is logan.
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i'm m 27. i am a senior in the united statates air fororce, currentlyn afghanisistan. there are not a lot ofof peoplee who o know'transgsgender. itit is on need to knonow basis. currentlyly in afghanistan, there's only a handful. thosose people a are of highgher ranks.s. en of f course, ththe people i came here with from my he station.n. >> how often do you give yoyourself a s shot? g guys asked d mer wh b being t transgender means,a basically say it is being assigned female at birth. does not come in alignment with your body. doing it every week for ovary threree years. -- or over three years. you just kind of get used to it. what i like about this dedeployments, i can be my authentic self. i'm justst another guy. female as back home, i am
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was stk k here in afghanistan, a war zone, is lilike a vacation o me because i c can be myself. c commanderto tell my ban transgender. i stand to lose everything. i stand to lose m my career, my futurere, my fououndations. it takes away the service i am done and that i feel very proudly to have accomplished. it takes all that away. amy: we are joined now by fiona dawson who directed the short documentary and the creator of the media project transmilitary. on wednesday evening, she attended the protest oututside e white house against trump's anannouncement to ban n transger service members. also with us, dean spade, longtime transaction is to founder of the sylvia rivera law project in new york. dean is now a professor at seattle university school of
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law. we welcome you both to democracy now! let's begin with fiona dawson. your response when you heard and read the tweets of president trump, taking many, to say the least, by surprise? >> thank you for having me. i was absolutely shocked. we had not anticipated this whatsoever. i think it another example of how this president is just waking up each morning and shooting off tweets left, right, and center. it is incredibly disruptive to our country to be living in this state of a affairs. , , talk abobout your response yesterday when you read what president trump said. >> of course i w was was similar about theconcerned parity the presidency we seem to be having. the use of twitter. it is all concerning. i think in particular, trump'ss
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asassertions about trans health care are counterfactctual and kd of feed into typical trans-phobic stereotypes. amy: fiona dawson, can you talk about what exactly this would mean? i put this question to patricia king. does this mean the military will go from base to base, barracks to barracks, and take out the thousands of people who are serving in the military and toss them out? >> we are going to have to deal with this moment by moment. the reality is that right now, what it is going to mean. i think when we are living in this environment of uncertainty, difficult and challenging place for service members now -- as you know, the numbers are more than 15,000 -- who are just when
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to keep going to work every single day. an exemplary is example of that. what we have to come to understand is yesterday was a series of tweets. a tweet is not an executive order. nor is it changing policy within the department of defense. this is something that was thoroughly examined and was deemed there was no scientific reason why trans people can't serve. this is also unprecedented. typically, a president will allow military leaders to make these types of decisions. this is inappropriate for president trump to come and try and tell military leaders how to lead their troops. so we don't know what is going to happen right now. i think it is telling that the pentagon is referring back to the white house for comment. we're going to do see how things evolve in the next few days. to talkn spadade, i want to you about youour comment on facebook. you said --
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"the liberation we're looking toward requires we fight for veterans and everyone else who gets exploited and abandon previous military imperialism. but not that we participate in rhetoric that celebrates u.s. military as an employer or ties trans well-being to military service." can you elaborate on this? >> yes. i'm concerned the ways in which this debate gets pitched puts trans people o on one sidede, fd as willing soldiers with absolutely no critique of u.s. imperialism, or of the us military as an extremely exploitive and abandoning employer. about abandonment of veterans. you while he covered the sexual assault levels in the us military. there is lots of new data about u.s. military is one of the largest polluters or the largest polluter on the planet. when we lose our critique of militarism and the u.s. military inin this debate, what happens n my view is trans people become
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sort of a symbolic space in which to have probe military advocacy and pr. to me, the military inclusion campaign has fallen into that trap, only preventing the military is a great place to work to protect our country -- which i don't think is a progressive view. it re-brandsds the military as a side of liberation and progressive politics, which it is fundamentally not. so my question is sort of, how cacan we have a more complex coconversation about, yes,s, transisition people are poor and neneed real jobs, but the option to not b be one of the most dangerous and exploitive jobs possible -- that is nonot what a trans collective liberation is about. i'm concerned about the way this conversation tends to get framed. amy: fiona dawson, your response? >> i have great respect for professor spade and i know we do have some common ground. however, we have some
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significant differences on how we view this issue. through my experience of coming to know many trans service members and just listening to their personal story, i realize the military is a very important employer in a way of them providing for their families, being able to access health care, be able to access housing, be able to live the life most americans want to live. trans people are twice as likely to be unemployed, yet twice as likely to join the military. the people that i know have not been coerced or forced to join the military. this is a job they want to do. i think patricia king was a wonderful example just now where she has now served for 18 years. i think you have to come to know and understand service members and realize that this is a place where they fulfill their hopes and dreams, and they just happen to be transgender. they joined the military for the same reasons that cis gendered
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people join the military. the debate on whether we should have the military should be taken outside of the debate about whether trans people should be able to serve or not. that is the issue we need to focus on, the equal opportunity in this country y to be a listsv in the milititary. amy: professor spade? >> i am afraid that iss politically naive innocence -- of course i carere about the trs people in t the military and otr tranans people. i i have worked with a a lot oft as well. vetets as well. i'veve seen the reality of what the job is like for many in the u.s. whwhat does s it mean when we oy frame e the story as a set of people who want to endorse the u.s. military right now and are serving? opportunity isst that? amamy, you mention the politico story in your intro and the ways in which we are coming to learn that perhaps this is less abobot trans phobia, but more abouut hs desire to build his wawall and t
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his huge defense budget passed. as, is it about trans people's well-beieing or not? we have to say, how has the u.s. military had a history of recruiting very vulnerable populations? may not see that as coercive, but i see that differently. trans people struggling to have basic health and housing services. we are framing it as you should have to join the military to get basic housing, health servivice, and employment is concerning to me. i ththink it is vital we look at it in n a broadway and not supporting people are currently struggling with their jobs in the military or as vets, but wee really are missising the way trs issues are beingng sort of useds a political symbol rather than this coming from an actual concern about trans people's
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well-being. amy: fiona dawson? >> i agree you should not have to join military to access these things, but the reality is people are. my main mission is building lgbtq equality in this country. when you see a poll that says 78% of americans think being in the military officer is a prestigious job, 64% of americans would encourage their child to become a military officer, you realize that our train service members -- trans , a way of people coming to understand who t trans people are. i feel the military is a place that can unite people. amy: i want to turn to some quotes of some conservative republican senators will like orrin hatch of utah. when asked about what seems to be the announcement of a change of policy, he said --
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senator john mccain of arizona said -- and i was senator joni ernst across this office -- amy: what about this, dean spade? while you're questioning the whole military, but separating the military cost of gender reassignment surgery, whether the military should pay for this? >> i think that is really concerning framework. a lot of my broader work has been about access for trans peoplele's health care needs and
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their other job health care plans. so this is kind of a classic political move -- again, i think trans people are used in this way politically so a lot of people on the right wiwill use trans people as a moral issue anand try to stir upp fear and concern, which is often focused on o our health cacare needs. there's a lot of stereotyping and misunderstanding. we see that happening. people on the right in the backdropop of this story, one thing to stir up their constituents and frame themselves as morally right and distract from the fact they are the 1%ians representing and other constituents. on the other side, people on the left, which includes the u.s. military but often politicians, who want to make himself look progressive by sayaying somethig bland abt t trans equality or trans people serving in the military. when it comes down to the main issues like the violent polici
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ng, poverty, extreme rates of incarceration, they are not there. it i is intereststing to have bh the left and the right use the figure of the controversial to their trans peoplee political exexpediencycy, but without actually getting into whwhat trans peoeople needed mor the life and well-being of the people.ns amy: kristin beck, the 20 year veteran of the navy seals including seal team six, which killed osama bin laden, challenged president trump wednesday over the band. she is the f first transgender navy seal. she told the new site business insider "let's meet face-to-face and you tell me i am worthy. transgender doesn't matter. do your service." fiona dawson? back formmend kristin coming out and challenging donald trump in this way.
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i also would employ donald trump to actually meet the service members that are essentially under his leadership. numbers more than 15,000. i would love for him to meet logan and leila who are in the you showed. and of course, we have a feature documentary coming out in january that is also going to feature or trans service members who have the courage to go inside the pentagon and share the personal stories with top brbrass officicials. so these service members have been putting themselves on the line for years and years. i think it is completely disrespectful for donald trump to fire off these tweets yesterday without truly knowing who these people are. transk he should meet service members. amy: i would to thank you both ,or being with us, fiona dawson
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and dean n spade speaking to us from seattle. this is democracy now! the resistance rolls on. we will speak with three disability rights activist who have been protesting and lobbying aroround the health c e bill. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman.
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we turn now to look at the rolling resistance of the repeal of the affordable care act. people in wheelchairs come organized by a daft americans disabled attendant programs today, scores of disabled activists have been arrested on capitol hill and at senators offices back in their home states demanding no cuts to medicaid. on tuesday as the senate voted to open debate, 31 protesters in the senate gallery were arrested, 64 more, many in wheelchairs, were arrested in the atrium of the hart senate office building. a protester continuing senate republicans continue their attemptsts to repeal obamacare. from more, we're joined by three guests who have been taking part in the protests. stephanie woodward is an organizer with adapt and a disability rights attorney. she was arrested tuesday for protesting at the hart senate building. video of her being ripped from her wheelchair and arrested for protesting outside mitch
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mcconnell's office went viral last month. ola ojewumi is a community organizer disabled cancer survivor. she's the founder of project ascend, which provides opportunities to low income and disabled students. and kalyn heffernan is the front-woman of the hipip-hop grp wheelchair sports camp. she was arrested last month with adapt members in denver after participating in a sit-in at senator cory gardner's office. we welcome you all to democracy now! let's begin with ola ojewumi. been protesting. you have been lobbying. what are your concerns right now about what the senate is considering? very hard for everyone to understand, but they have already defeated two bills -- repeal and replace and an outright repeal. >> i am most fearful of the skinny repeal they're pushing in
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the senate. i had met with a variety of en, steny hoyer, cory booker, and senator van hollen. i have done work in lobbying and sharing my story. the skinny repeal of the affordable care act would eliminate the employer mandate and would eliminate the individual mandate as well and medicacal tax a tax on medical devices as a means of getting the aca. this means 16 million people will lose their health insurance and severe cuts to medicaid may still be on the table in the senate. that is what i most fearful of, that 14% of medicaid recipients are people with disabilities. we will literally die as a result of this legislation. and caring for your fellow man does not mean eliminating access to health care. amy: stephanie woodward, you
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have been arrested now several times. is that right? protesting this bill. theyou talk about organizing that is going on with so many people using wheelchairs being arrested around the country, and particularly, your last arrest was at the hart office building? >> absolututely. on tuesdayest was when they were voting for a motion to proceed. i was arrested with about 64 of my lovely adapt warrior siblings as we were all chanting that we would rather go to jail than die without medicaid because we know that people with disabilities will quite literally die with these medicaid cuts. we started protesting with the house bill. i have been arrested five times just fighting for medicaid in the past few months. mitchrted with
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mcconnell's office on the senate bill. since then, we have had over 40 protests across the nation. people with disabilities who are already members of adapt or starting their own chapters now to fight for their lives and liberty. amy: this skinny repeal they're talking about today, this so-called skinny repeal, your concerns about it? our concerns are the same concerns we have always had at the heart of all of the repeal proposals has been dashing medicaid. medicaid is what pays for the freedom of disabilities. it hurts me to hear republicans talk about liberty and freedom all of the time when they want to steal the liberty and freedom of disabled people by cutting the one payer that pays for us to live in the community, that pays for us to live the american internet every other american lives. it does not sound like that is what they really care about will stop if you care about liberty and freedom, you should care about it for all americans. amy: and when they say thisis
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skinny repeaeal does not touch medicaid? the end result is they're trying to get the medicaid -- if this would not result in cuts to medicaid, heller would not have put a sense of the senate out yesterday about not cutting medicaid, bob casey would not have put a motion together about not cutting medicaid. clearly, there are cuts coming to medicaid or else we would not be talking about it still. we're not going to stop fighting until we are assured and we can actually see a bill that shows us there will be no cuts to medicaid. , you'reyn heffernan joining us from denver, one of the founders of wheelchair sports camp, the missile group. at participated in a protest senator cory gardner's office. is it true the staffers turned up, literally, turned up the heat to try to get you out? >> thank you for having me.
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we were denied access to the bathroom on the same floor for the first day that we were there. we were there for three days, two nights, about 60 hours almost. it seemed like the first day , but wened off the air did have a lot of community support that was bringing us resources. able-bodied people bringing us means to go to the restroom and also fans to keeeep the ventilatioion going. amy: what are you demanding a senator cory gardner? >> we showed up after seeing the .irst bill that was proposed and we showed of demanding that are senator vote no on anything that was going to cut medicaid services. amy: has he met --
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>> he did have a phone call with us a few days after we were released from jail, yes. know, adapt, your organization, was actually founded in denver. can you talk about the history of the group? >> denver is a super great place for a lot of movements, also the heart of the chicano movement. brokestarted when they some disabled people out of nursing homes in 1975 and amended the state to pay for their services, there long-term services. and that is really what created medicaid in the long run. adapt atlantis is also the first people to pay their bodies in front of public transportation here. and that is why all buses now must provide access for disabled
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people. and some of the first people to break the corners of the sidewalks in order to get curb cuts for us wheelchair users. denver and this group that i sat in with is definitely very historical, excitining g group t i am super honored to be a part of. amy: and you are also the founder of the hip-hop wheelchair sports camp. we just play the music at the break. can you talk about using music to push forward your politics? >> yeah. i am just in a super awesome position to be able to tour internationally and use my voice to advocate for more disabled people. i think a lot of my lyrics have always kind of talked about my
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own personal advocacy and what life is like for me as a disabled person. and after playing more shows and touring more, it has become a lot more aware this disabled community has been a big supporter of our music. we were just happy to be able to do this. i'm really excited to be able to lend my voice to the denver community as often as i can. so i will -- amy: you are one of the nine people who were arrested at senator cory gardner's office. can you talk about your experience with the police? i believe one of your group saying to the police when they were askingg her how to worker will check on "i don't have an obligation to tell you how to .ork my chair i will cooperate, but i will not
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teach you how to arrest me." of ust's right, three were charged on top of trespassing, with interference. usenot telling cops how to our wheelchairs. kerry and lucas was escorted away by a disabled rtd bus, which is ironically there because of the same group of adapt activist. some, yes, three people were also charged with interference because they were not telling cops how to use their chair. we have spokeni, to you before in a previous interview. >> the sound just went out. amy: you are a double oregon transplant survivor. you also use a wheelchair. the response of senators your lobbying, as you talk about this being a matter of life and that? the response from senators,
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especially on the democratic side, has been wonderful. they have really become champions for people with disabilities like me. i have survived a heart and kidney transplant. last year i became a cancer survivor. i'm just coming off the heels of two hospitalizations this month alone. they have given me a platform another disabled advocate a platform to share our stories. this goes beyond the aspect of medicaid. not all people with disabilities are on medicaid. many of us do have employer -based health care, like i do. the threats to our livelihood and the ability to have things like independent living, home-based and community services, is just not affected by the medicare aspect, but gutting other parts of the aca, including the employer mandate. i take 22 pills a day. my life is in the balance. i deserve the right to live, the right to work, and the right to
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have access to medicare -- i'm sorry, medical health care. and not be turned away because of a previous existing condition. amy: your response to see your fellow and sister wheelchair users at the front of these protests? all of so inspired by them. i am inspired by adapt because they are the reason that i can get on city buses here in washington, d.c. they literally put their lives on the line so that not just them, but the disability population at large can benefit. we are the largest minority. 19% of the american population is disabled. 49 million of us. those few activists that you see willing to get arrested, willing to lie in front of buses, the history of adapt and the history of these powerful young women, young men, people of all generations, people with disabilities, really changing
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the world and not just fighting for our rights -- if you see all of these people would disabilities on the hill, our work does not just affect us. it affects nondisabled people as well. health insurance isn't just for the chronically ill or people with disabilities. it is for all of us. they are laying their lives on the line not just for disabled people, but the able-bodied as well. a biginally, you're also planned parenthood activist. the possibility of planned parenthood being cut. and we only have 10 seconds. >> planned parenthood is roughly .orrelated with medicaid women of color who receive services from planned parenthood will be affected. we need to keep the aca alive a medicaid expansion so women and women of color can still get accecess to planned parenthood services, cancer screenings, and mammograms. amy: we have to leave it there. page, says noook
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one should have to fight this hard for what should be treated as a human right. ,la ojewumi, kalyn heffernan stephanie woodward, thank you for joining us. our website is [cap
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