US Marines get first female infantry officer:

US Marines get first female infantry officer:

This US Marine Corps photo shows a female Marine during an exercise at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California, on September 18, 2017

The lieutenant will lead a platoon of 40 Marines in combat

A female US Marine has made history by becoming the first woman to complete the Corps’ famously gruelling infantry officer training.

The lieutenant, who wants to keep her identity private, graduated in Quantico, Virginia, on Monday.

She will soon be assigned to lead a 40-strong platoon.

Marine Corps commandant Gen. Robert Neller tweeted a picture of the woman, saying he was “proud of this officer & her fellow leaders”.

There are almost 1.4 million active duty troops in the US armed forces, and about 15% are female.

In March 2016, then-President Barack Obama opened all military positions to women, including combat units.

The 13-week officer training course started in July with 131 Marines, and 88 ultimately graduated.

The Corps says it educates would-be officers in “the leadership, infantry skills, and character required to serve as infantry platoon commanders”.

Traditionally around a quarter of all applicants miss the mark, 10% of them on the first day.

Many women serve as officers in the Marines and other branches of America's armed forces but this woman, who has not been identified publicly at her own request, is the first to finish the 13-week infantry officer training course.

The Marines Corps hasn’t always been seen as female-friendly

The Corps has pushed harder to appeal to female recruits this year, after a nude photo scandal saw some Marines share naked photographs of female colleagues on Facebook.

In May it stoutly defended a recruitment advert – the first led by a woman – after critics said it pandered to political correctness.

In an opinion piece for the New York Times, former Marine captain Teresa Fazio said the female officer would be a major asset in Afghanistan.

“Female troops are invaluable for searching houses and communicating with local women, gaining access to spaces and information that, because of local custom, male troops cannot get,” she wrote.

The Marine Corps tweeted a video showing the female officer engaged in exercises in the mountains alongside her male counterparts.

She will now be sent to the 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, California, for her first assignment.

From: BBC

9/25/2017

 

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GOP ends birth control coverage to bribe far-right male senators on repeal bill:

GOP ends birth control coverage to bribe far-right male senators on repeal bill:

Republicans hope they can win enough votes from the most radical senators by making their health care bill even crueler to women.

Senate Republicans are still not quite at the required 50 votes to pass their disastrous, massively unpopular Graham-Cassidy Obamacare repeal bill.

But rather than try to find broad compromise or consensus, GOP leadership is instead making narrow tweaks to the bill that make it even harsher, to specifically target the votes of hard-right male senators like Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a longtime crusader against birth control coverage who has repeatedly warned GOP leadership that the bill does not go far enough for him.

On Monday, Senate Republicans unveiled a new draft of the health care bill, and one of the most striking changes is the complete elimination of the birth control mandate. As Erica Sackin, director of Political Communications for Planned Parenthood, notes allowing insurance companies to refuse to cover birth control means that 55 million women who currently have covered access could lose it.

This is a HUGE change from the old  text, which left the birth control benefit alone. New text means women could lose coverage

In the new form, the bill will massively punish women, forcing them to pay to prevent pregnancies or access care for a number of conditions related to reproductive hormones, like ovarian cysts or irregular menstruation.

Eliminating birth control is part of Senate Republicans’ larger pattern of putting targeted bribes in the bill to win over specific, wavering senators. The latest bill also includes vastly increased funding for Alaska and Arizona, a clear attempt to win over undecided Sen. Lisa Murkowski and firmly opposed Sen. John McCain.

So far, McCain shows no indication of switching his vote, and Murkowski has reiterated that she “cannot be bought off.”

As Republicans’ desperation to get a bill the floor increases, so too does the cruelty of that bill and the corruption of the process. The American people deserve to have health care policy written on the basis of what will improve their lives, not what will win over the hardest-right faction of lawmakers.

Ivanka Trump Used a Personal Email Account for White House Business, Too:

Ivanka Trump Used a Personal Email Account for White House Business, Too:

Less than a day after it was revealed that presidential son-in-law and White House senior advisor Jared Kushner used a personal email accountto conduct government business, Ivanka Trump, daughter of and special advisor to President Donald Trump, is facing the same scrutiny.

On Monday, legal watchdog group American Oversight published a batch of emails between Ivanka Trump and the Small Business Administration (SBA) acquired under the Freedom of Information Act. The emails show her corresponding with SBA administrator Linda McMahon using a personal email address.

Copied on the correspondence are: Dina Powell, the US deputy national security advisor for strategy; Julie Radford, Ivanka Trump’s chief of staff; and Mary Bradfield, McMahon’s chief of staff.

On Sunday, Politico revealed that Kushner was among White House officials using private email accounts to conduct official government business. Ivanka Trump and Kushner, who married in 2009, share a family domain, according to Politico.

“Yet again we see that there’s one rule for the Trump family and another for everyone else,” said Austin Evers, American Oversight executive director. “It’s simply breathtaking that both Ivanka and Jared Kushner would conduct government on a personal email account after running a campaign centered on that very issue. The fact that they would brazenly ignore rules governing email use raises even more questions about their judgement and fitness to hold positions in the White House.”

As White House staff, Ivanka Trump and Kushner’s emails are required to be archived under the Presidential Records Act. Both were provided government email accounts when they came to work for the Executive Office of the President that automatically archive. Kushner told Politico that to comply with the law, he had forwarded all emails containing government business to his official White House account—there’s no way to verify if that’s true, however.

Gizmodo has reached out to the White House regarding Ivanka Trump’s personal email account and we’ll update if it responds.