Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti made a bold promise in 2014 when he pledged to provide accommodation for all the citys homeless veterans by the end of the next calendar year. Shortly after making the promise, it was clear that the ambitious timeline, though admirable, wasnt feasible. Los Angeles suffers from a homelessness epidemic, and even with a concerted effort by the government, the issue plaguing disenfranchised veterans would take longer to solve.

However, the city and charitable groups such as Step Up, which has been tackling this very issue for years, didnt get discouraged. They got creative instead.

During the evolution of the Los Angeles cityscape, many once-viable motels and lodges have fallen into disrepair and abandonment. Seeing these structures as yet another opportunity, Step Up began transforming one such property, utilizing civic incentives.

Not only does Step Ups new Hollywood facility give shelter to displaced veterans, but it also provides humanitarian services ranging from psychiatric care to job search assistance. Further, thanks to vouchers from the Department of Veterans Affairs, those placed in the new projects may reside there for up to 15 years free of charge.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/homeless-veterans-now-have-a-place-to-live-in-these-converted-motels

Whether you like it or not, Modern Family star Sarah Hyland is making her name known in music.

If you were completely unaware that the 25-year-old actress had angelic chords, consider yourself fully aware.How does it feel to know that you will no longer be missing out from this point going forward?!

It feels SO good I know, I know.

Sarah Hyland teamed up with Florida rock band Boyce Avenue for an acoustic rendition of The Chainsmokers monster hit Closer. Lets just say if its been forever since youve gotten chills purely from listening to music, thats all going to change.

Hyland took to Instagram to gush over the collaboration with a photo of fan art made for the cover song with a caption, reading,

THIS IS AWESOME FAN ART! Thank you so much Boyce Avenue for asking me to collaborate with you guys! Ive been dreaming of doing this since I was 19 years old! #closer #cover #thechainsmokers #boyceavenue

Heres the post.

As for the video of her blissful, soothing cover of The Chainsmokers Closer, the song was uploaded to YouTube on Boyce Avenues official account. So far, the video has managed to rack up over 1.7 million views in under 24 hours.

The video description reads,

We recently traveled to Los Angeles to film a couple videos with our good friend Sarah Hyland. She is an amazing actress and has a beautiful voice. We hope you all enjoy our collaboration of Closer by The Chainsmokers ft. Halsey.

Yeah, its good Its DAMN good. Your eardrums will agree.

The 4-minute cover begins with Sarah Hyland and Boyce Avenue sitting on stools surrounded by brick, concrete and musical instruments.

Lead vocalist Alejandro Manzano begins singing before Hyland jumps in to bless your ears like theyve never been blessed before.

Do you remember the first time you heard the original? Its just that hair-raising. Then again, Sarahs rendition might be even more hair-raising! Sorry, Chainsmokers, but thats revenge for the time you guys dissed Lady Gaga.

Former Stripper Is Running For Congress

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Read more: http://elitedaily.com/entertainment/celebrity/the-chainsmokers-sarah-hyland-boyce-avenue-closer-cover/1692139/

A study has found that a popular heartburn drug may be linked to an increased risk of death, following on from other studies that highlighted the various health problems they could cause.

The drugs are called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). They are commonly used to treat serious medical conditions like upper gastrointestinal tract bleeding, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and esophageal cancer.

Some of these are sold over the counter to treat indigestion, such as omeprazole. It should be noted that antacids, such as Rennies or Gaviscon, do not use PPIs.

This latest study was carried out by researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine. They examined the medical records of about 275,000 users of PPIs and 75,000 who took other drugs known as H2 blockers to reduce stomach acid. The research was published in the journal BMJ Open.

Among the PPI group, the researchers found a 25 percent increase in death compared to the H2 blocker group. The study looked at people who started taking PPIs between October 2006 and September 2008, and looked at their medical history over the next five years.

“No matter how we sliced and diced the data from this large data set, we saw the same thing: There’s an increased risk of death among PPI users,” said senior author Ziyad Al-Aly in a statement. “People have the idea that PPIs are very safe because they are readily available, but there are real risks to taking these drugs, particularly for long periods of time.”


Millions of people in the US take PPIs.Robert Boston

However, the results are certainly not without controversy. The National Health Service (NHS) in the UK noted some limitations of the study, such as that the conditions people were taking PPIs for in the first place may also have been one of the main causes of death.

The NHS also pointed out the study involved people from the US Department of Veterans Affairs national databases, a relatively narrow cross-section of society. The causes of death were also not directly linked to PPIs in any way.

Importantly, they note that people who have been prescribed PPIs shouldnt stop taking them, as the risk of not doing so may be much greater than any risk the drugs pose.

Even the researchers admit this too. PPIs save lives,” Al-Aly said.”If I needed a PPI, I absolutely would take it. But I wouldn’t take it willy-nilly if I didn’t need it. And I would want my doctor to be monitoring me carefully and take me off it the moment it was no longer needed.”

As always with these sorts of things, if you need medical advice regarding PPIs, have a word with your doctor. Theyll be able to give you much better advice than an online article ever will.

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/popular-heartburn-drugs-tenuously-linked-with-increased-risk-of-death/

It was Christmas 1994 when Scarlet Ross and her 10-year-old son went to get photos of their cat and dog with Santa.

Getting a dog let alone a cat to cooperate for such a photo op might be tough.

Not for these pets. Neither one seemed fazed by being held by a bearded stranger in a bright red suit.

Scarlet’s dog, Tyler, with Santa. Image via Scarlet Ross, used with permission.

Amazed by their calmness, someone approached Scarlet and asked her if she would be interested in getting her animals involved with a new animal therapy group: the Human Animal Bond (HAB).

After all, the stranger explained, if her animals were so even-tempered with Santa, theyd probably make great therapy animals.

Scarlet was immediately intrigued.

She decided to leave the cat at home, but she took her sheltie to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, to see if he was a good fit. He passed with flying colors, and “Thats just how I got involved,” she says. She remains a volunteer with HAB to this day.

Scarlet and Tyler visiting a nursing home resident 20 years ago. Image via Scarlet Ross, used with permission.

The volunteer-run organization was started by the U.S. Military Veterinary Services because they know how strong the bond between humans and animals can be.

The military veterinary services “felt that animals had a particular benefit to army families because of all the moving,” explains Ruie Gibson, a long-time HAB board member and volunteer.

Snickers, a greyhound HAB therapy dog, at HAB’s annual picnic. Image by Tammy Patton, used with permission.

Not to be confused with service dogs, therapy dogs can provide comfort and support to those who need it. And there is science to back it up.

Psychologists, psychiatrists, and doctors have used, and continue to use, therapy dogs with patients because they have found they can help reduce feelings of depression.

Studies have also shown that simply petting dogs can help lower peoples heart rates and reduce stress and anxiety.

The military wrote a regulation, and the animal therapy group Human Animal Bond was born to help provide this service to those in need of comfort and support.

Families that are interested in being a part of HAB can sign up their dogs, cats, and even rabbits to be therapy pets.

HAB volunteer Erika Chester and her cat, Mia. Image via HAB, used with permission.

If these animals pass the temperament test, they can join the HAB network with their family.

“I would say that 99% of the time, the people who come to us and who want to do this, or think that their pet would be good at this, pass the temperament test no problem,” Ruie says. “They wouldnt even consider it if they didnt think their dog would like it.”

Once theyre members, the families take a special training session once a year which, Ruie says, is actually more for the owners than the dogs.

After that, the volunteers and their therapy pets sign up for and attend as many HAB events as they can with their schedules.

Two volunteers and their HAB therapy dogs at the annual Veterans Day Parade. Image via HAB, used with permission.

Sometimes the HAB therapy pets go to schools and libraries to meet students.

They even help kids who are having trouble reading practice doing it aloud.

Cobalt, a beagle mix, visits a teacher and her classroom in Leavenworth. Image via HAB, used with permission.

Other times, the pets visit nursing homes, elderly care facilities, or rehab facilities.

Goose, an HAB therapy dog, visiting a rehab facility. Image via HAB, used with permission.

They also go to a minimum security correctional facility on the military base to visit nonviolent offenders.

“Thats a very popular program,” Ruie says, adding that there is always a waiting list of inmates wanting to see the dogs.

Scarlet has now been an active volunteer with HAB for the last 23 years and has had several of her dogs join the program.

“It is very important to me,” she says. “Its very rewarding to see the joy of it.”

“A couple of years ago, I had a dog that was blind, deaf, and incontinent, and we would go to the nursing home and talk about that,” Scarlet remembers.

Scarlet’s dog Aunt Bea was a regular visitor at the local nursing home. Image via Scarlet Ross, used with permission.

This dog, named Aunt Bea, was 12 or 13 when Scarlet adopted her, and she was also missing her teeth. When she went to the nursing home to visit, Aunt Bea “had to wear her Depends,” Scarlet continues, but “many of the residents related to her health condition. … They really enjoyed meeting her.”

Today, Scarlet’s two dogs a rescued golden retriever named Josie and a wild-haired shih tzu named Phyllis Diller are both in the program.

Scarlet and Josie, an HAB therapy dog. Image via Scarlet Ross, used with permission.

“I love sharing my animals with these people that have had animals in the past and cant have them now,” she says. “They get to hug them, they pet them, and I take photos of them with my pet and give it to them so they can have it.”

That’s why she particularly loves visiting the nursing homes with her dogs.

Tyler with a nursing home resident at Christmas. Image via Scarlet Ross, used with permission.

“So many need a special touch or hug that they used to get,” she says.

Being involved with HAB has also helped make Scarlet feel closer to her animals too.

“I love all of my dogs, however, with my therapy dogs there is a special bond and closeness,” she explains. “When you work with them like that, thats a special connection.”

Scarlet’s shih tzu, Phyllis Diller, is also a hit at senior facilities because her crazy hair makes them laugh. Image via Scarlet Ross, used with permission.

Whether it’s visiting the elderly or helping kids practice reading, it’s clear that HAB has been making a difference in peoples lives.

All animal lovers understand the joy their pets can bring. But sharing that joy is a step beyond.

HAB therapy dogs and member families at their 2017 annual picnic. Image via Tammy Patton, used with permission.

All it takes is one visit at a school or nursing home to know your therapy dog is making a difference, Ruie says. “Sometimes they might not even want to touch the dog, but just being in the presence, its amazing what a difference it can make.”

HAB dog Zorro and Maj. D. Thomas at the Munson Army Health Center. Image via HAB, used with permission.

“You might not know that it raises someones mood right away, but after you talk to a nurse, you find out that this patient hadnt talked all day until they saw the dog.”

“Its amazing the things that do happen in their presence,” she adds, “I dont know how long it stays that way, but at least for a short time, they feel better.”

If you think your pet would make a good therapy pet and you live in the Fort Leavenworth area, check out their website for ways to get involved as a volunteer.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/why-paws-and-whiskers-can-be-the-best-therapy-for-people-in-need-of-tlc

ALWAYS REMEMBERED

man-crouched-at-vietnam-memorial-washington

In this powerful photograph by Kevin Wolf, we see a lone figure knelt at the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. The photograph was taken earlier this year, and Wolf recalls:

“It’s not staged. I just got lucky. It was an unusually foggy and weekend night, so I went out for an urban hike. I was taking a short cut through the Memorial to get to the Reflecting Pool and saw the guy walk by me. He knelt down. I saw the shot. I took it. He then walked off seconds later. The combination of the perspective/vanishing point lines, the fog, and the moment make it one of my favorites. I just saw everything come together.”

Veterans Day is an official United States holiday which honours people who have served in armed service, also known as veterans. It is a federal holiday that is observed on November 11. It coincides with other holidays such as Armistice Day (a national holiday in many WWI Allied nations) and Remembrance Day (observed in Commonwealth countries), which are celebrated in other parts of the world and also mark the anniversary of the end of World War I. (Major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect.) [Source]

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is a national memorial in Washington, D.C. It honours U.S. service members of the U.S. armed forces who fought in the Vietnam War, service members who died in service in Vietnam/South East Asia, and those service members who were unaccounted for (Missing In Action) during the War.

The memorial currently consists of three separate parts: the Three Soldiers statue, the Vietnam Women’s Memorial, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, which is the best-known part of the memorial. The Memorial Wall was designed by American architect Maya Lin and features over 58,195 names inscribed on the wall. [Source]

Read more: http://twistedsifter.com/2013/11/always-remembered/

It was Friday when ABC News chief political analyst Matthew Dowd declared it time for America to switch to a singer payer health care system.

Read more: http://twitchy.com/brettt-3136/2017/05/06/people-at-the-va-much-happier-with-their-care-says-matthew-dowd/

When U.S. Marine Sam Johnson was on patrol in Iraq, he and his team came across a pressure plate IED.

It hit the front of his vehicle.

Fortunately, everyone survived the traumatic experience. Sam sustained some injuries to his knees, but after a number of surgeries, he was able to recover physically. “I feel good,” he said. “Now I can walk downstairs without too much pain.”

But as he transitioned out of the military, the next big hurdle was finding a new job one that he would find as fulfilling as his last.

“I knew I wanted to have a great job,” he said, so he turned to DAV (Disabled American Veterans), a nonprofit charity with the mission of providing a lifetime of support for disabled veterans who have made sacrifices for their country. They were holding a job fair in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Often what can be most terrifying for vets is what comes after their service.

Posted by Upworthy on Wednesday, May 24, 2017

DAV was founded after World War I, a war in which more than 4.7 million Americans served.

At the time, the country wasnt prepared to deal with the enormous scale of so many newly returned veterans, and it certainly wasnt prepared to help the 204,000 vets who had been wounded or injured during this brutal conflict.

These men needed jobs, access to medical care, and other forms of support, and there was no single government agency like todays Department of Veterans Affairs.

So groups of veterans with disabilities started gathering together all across the country to help fill that void, raise money for those who needed it, and create jobs for other veterans. Slowly a new organization began to take shape: the Disabled American Veterans of the World War. In September 1920, the organization held its first national caucus, attended by 250 disabled veterans. From there, the organization kept growing.

Of course, a lot has changed over the last century since the DAV was founded. But the organization has never wavered from its core mission: helping veterans and their families get access to the resources and tools they need as they transition back to civilian life.

Today, DAV has more than 1,300 chapters and 1.3 million members across the United States.

Every year, they help 1 million veterans such as Sam with everything from health care and benefits to rides to medical appointments and other issues as they arise.

They also represent the interests of veterans on Capitol Hill, engage with the public, and, of course, hold job fairs like the one Sam attended in Charlotte where he landed his current job a career he is very proud of.

He said, “It gave me the opportunity to interview with these companies and land a job making this world a better place.”

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/america-wasnt-prepared-for-so-many-returning-vets-after-wwi-so-it-created-dav

Psychologists have always been fascinated as to why some people believe in a higher being, while others are happy to accept that we are alone in life.Now researchers claimthey have found a region of the brain that, when damaged, may increase the likelihood that a person will hold fundamental religious beliefs. In particular, they found that damage to this regionreduced cognitive flexibility the ability to challenge ones preexisting beliefs when presented with new evidence.

The research builds on previous work that has found a neurological underpinning for religion, particularly in the prefrontal cortex. Thestudy, published in the journal Neuropsychologia, utilized a data set that was initially started to study Vietnam War veterans who had experienced trauma. Using this registry, the team compared soldiers who had received penetrating brain injury with veterans who had not.

They looked at 119 combat veterans with brain damage to their dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. They found that among those studied, the veterans with damage to this region of the brain, which has been linked to planning and problem solving, were less open to new ideas. Thismay help explain why they were more likely to be fundamental in their religious beliefs.

For the study, theygave the participants tests to see how cognitively flexible they were and placed them on a standardized measure to assesstheir level of religious fundamentalism. They then took CTscans to measure the size and locationof the brain lesions in the veterans. It turned out that those who had received trauma to the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, a region found at the front of the brain, were more likely to hold fundamental beliefs and were less likely to be cognitively flexible.

These findings indicate that cognitive flexibility and openness are necessary for flexible and adaptive religious commitment, and that such diversity of religious thought is dependent on [dorsolateral prefrontal cortex] functionality, write the authors.

Previous experiments have found that this part of the brain is involved in working memory, in which you hold in mind multiple pieces of information you have just learned. It has also been shown to be key to cognitive flexibility. This latest study, the researchers suggests, shows that the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex may also be crucial in helping us remain open about new ideas that may challenge deeply held beliefs.

This does not mean that forming a religious belief is down to some form of brain damage, or that trauma to the head will therefore lead to fundamentalism. The researchers simply state that damage to this particular part of the brain may make it more difficult for a person to assess their own deep-seated beliefs when presented with new evidence.

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/brain/damage-to-specific-site-in-the-brain-may-be-linked-to-religious-fundamentalism/

President Donald Trump bragged again about his law-making capabilities on Twitter the morning of Friday, June 23.

Echoing a prior boast, Trump touted the amount of bills he has signed into law.

However, while the White House has touted the president’s historic accomplishment and while Trump himself has impliedhe’s gotten more done than others at similar points in their presidencies an analysis from NPR shows what Trump has actually accomplished: Not much.

The bulk of Trump’s work hasbeen measures that reverse things former President Barack Obama tried to do. Other bills signed, meanwhile, have been of modest and narrow import, like theDepartment of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017, which impacts how easily employees at the VA can get fired.

In other words,Trump has yet to achieve a signature moment legislatively; i.e. working with Congress to get a major bill through the House and Senate, and then signed into law.

Both Trump and the White House have implied otherwise.

During a lunch last week with members of Congress, the president said,

We passed and signed 38 pieces of legislation, which nobody likes to talk about. I think probably seldom has any President and administration done more or had more success so early on, including a record number of resolutions to eliminate job-killing regulations.

The president’s tally of bills signed, however, is not a rarity. As NPR points out, both former presidents Bill Clinton and his predecessor George H.W. Bush signed over 40 bills into law at similar points of their tenures.

Jack Gruber-Pool/Getty Images

Trump could sign his first, major piece of legislation soon, if the GOP’s efforts to pass a new healthcare bill are ultimately successful.

For the time being, though, the president’s administration is still lacking its first signature piece of legislation, particularly one that fulfills a key campaign promise like a bill that secures funding for a new border wall or a bill that achieves tax reform.

That all means that yet another one of Trump’s boasts was a little bit off. In other news, water is wet.

Read more: http://elitedaily.com/news/politics/trump-bragged-signing-bills-tweet-hasnt-really-done-much/2001126/

President Donald Trump’s first months in office have been filled with a flurry of action, and he’s just getting started.

The 45th president has signed 78 executive actions so far, with far-reaching effects on Americans’ lives.

There are technically three types of executive actions, which each have different authority and effects, with executive orders holding the most prestige:

  1. 1.Executive orders are assigned numbers and published in the federal register, similar to laws passed by Congress, and typically direct members of the executive branch to follow a new policy or directive. Trump has issued 30 orders.
    2. Presidential memoranda do not have to be published or numbered (though they can be), and usually delegate tasks that Congress has already assigned the president to members of the executive branch. Trump has issued 27 memoranda.
    3. Finally, while some proclamations like President Abraham Lincoln’s emancipation proclamation have carried enormous weight, most are ceremonial observances of federal holidays or awareness months. Trump has issued 21 proclamations.

  2. Scholars have typically used the number of executive orders per term to measure how much presidents have exercised their power. George Washington only signed eight his entire time in office, according to the American Presidency Project, while FDR penned over 3,700.

In his two terms, President Barack Obama issued 277 executive orders, a total number on par with his modern predecessors, but the lowest per year average (35) in 120 years. Trump, so far, has signed 30 executive orders in 99 days.

Here’s a quick guide to the executive actions Trump has made so far, what they do, and how Americans have reacted to them:

Executive Order, April 29: Renegotiating trade agreements

Trump greets Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the White House on February 13, 2017.Reuters/Carlos Barria
In his last order on his 100th day in office, Trump started making moves to fulfill one of his top campaign promises, directing Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross to review all the US’s trade agreements.

If a deal “harms the United States economy, United States businesses, United States intellectual property rights and innovation rate, or the American people,” the Trump administration will renegotiate it, the order says.

In the days leading up to the order, rumors swirled that Trump was going to cancel the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the US, Canada, and Mexico. But he said he spoke with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Pea Nieto, and decided to renegotiate the trade deal that has existed since 1993 instead of completely abandoning it.

Corporate America reportedly went into “all hands on deck” mode to save NAFTA, having their CEOs call the highest-ranking Trump administration officials they could reach. Members of Trump’s Cabinet and the Republican party are split on whether it’s a “bad deal” or not. Democrats generally want to keep US trade agreement in place.

Read the full text of the order here

Executive Order, April 29: The Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy

Trump signs an Executive Order on the Establishment of Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy at The AMES Companies, Inc., in Harrisburg, Pa., Saturday, April, 29, 2017.AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
This order, also signed on the 100th day, established the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, with the goals of stimulating manufacturing in the US, decreasing the trade deficit, and propose policies to create jobs and boost the economy.

Trump appointed National Trade Council Director Peter Navarro to lead the new office, which will act as a liaison between the White House and the Department of Commerce. After the announcement, Navarro told NPR he wants the US to renegotiate trade agreements like NAFTA, and get US factory jobs back two promises Trump made repeatedly on the campaign trail.

Economic experts warn that trade policies Trump and Navarro have proposed could spark a trade war, and that considerably more American manufacturing jobs have disappeared because of automation, not trade agreements.

Read the full text of the order here

8 presidential proclamations, April 28: Designating days, weeks, and months

Signing a batch of ceremonial proclamations for the month of May at once, Trump designated the following:

May 1, 2017: Loyalty Day, to “stand strong against the threats of terrorism and lawlessness.”

April 30-May 6, 2017:

Small-Business Week, to “affirm our commitment to removing government barriers to the success of American small businesses.”
National Charter Schools Week, to “recommit ourselves to empowering students and giving parents their rightful freedom over their children’s education.”


Trump speaks at the NRA-ILA’s Leadership Forum at the 146th NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits on April 28, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia.Scott Olson/Getty Image
May 2017:

National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, to “remind” Americans to maintain “a healthy and active lifestyle.”
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, to “recognize the achievements and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders that enrich our Nation.”
National Foster Care Month, to “celebrate those who have opened their homes and their hearts to children in need.”
Jewish American Heritage Month, to “celebrate our Nation’s strong American Jewish heritage.”
Older Americans Month, to ensure “older Americans are not neglected or abused, receive the best healthcare available, live in suitable homes, have adequate income and economic opportunities, and enjoy freedom and independence in their golden years.”
Read the text of each proclamation in the links above.
Executive Order, April 28: Exploring offshore energy prospects


President Donald Trump speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, April 28, 2017, before signing an Executive Order directing the Interior Department to begin review of restrictive drilling policies for the outer-continental shelf. From left are, Vice President Mike Pence, Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, the president, Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais
Trump ordered his administration, led by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, to review where the US could allow offshore energy development, revoking rules put into place after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, and putting Arctic drilling back on the table.

Environmental groups, Democrats in Congress, and many residents of coastal states oppose offshore drilling, and experts conclude doing so wouldn’t make the US energy independent. Fans of the order include many Republicans and oil companies.

While the order mainly focuses on oil drilling, it also says offshore energy activities could include “wind, oil, natural gas, methane hydrates, and any other sources that the Secretary of Commerce deems appropriate.” The nation’s first offshore wind farm opened in Rhode Island in December 2016.

Read the full text of the order here

Executive Order, April 27: Protecting whistleblowers at the VA

President Donald Trump signs an Executive Order on improving accountability and whistleblower protection at the Veterans Affairs Department in Washington on April 27, 2017.REUTERS/Carlos Barria
This order is intended to protect whistleblowers at the Department of Veterans Affairs, and establishes the Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection.

Intending to alleviate the issues that have plagued the VA health system for years, Trump promised this order would help veterans get the care they need.

Read the ful text of the order here

2 presidential memoranda, April 20 and 27: Steel and aluminum dumping

Trump’s memo outlined an investigation his Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was conducting to evaluate how steel “dumping,” the practice where other countries sell products at a lower price than they sell at in the US, was affecting American manufacturers, and what the federal government could do to prevent the practice.


Trump and his Commerce Secretary nominee Wilbur Ross meet with representatives of Harley-Davidson at the White House on February 2, 2017.REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

US steelmakers, which have been hit lately with dumping from China especially, applauded the effort.

Read the full text of the memo here

Trump signed a nearly identical order for aluminum imports on April 27.

Read the full text of that memo here

Executive Order, April 26: Reviewing the federal government’s power in education

Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos meet with parents and teachers at Saint Andrew Catholic School in Orlando, Florida.Thomson Reuters
Trump’s order directs Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to review the federal government’s role in education, and determine whether states should have more say power she already has.

Under Obama, the Department of Education used its authority to allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice in schools, or to compel colleges to address sexual assault on campus. With this order, Trump said, the role of the federal government will likely be less hands-on, leaving states to make more of their own decisions.

Read the full text of the order here
Executive Order, April 26: Reviewing Obama’s actions to protect national lands

Donald Trump.Getty Images
Obama designated or expanded 554 million acres of land as protected national monuments more than any other president. Environmentalists lauded his legacy, and have lambasted Trump for undoing many of Obama’s greatest environmental achievements.

This order directed Trump’s Secretary of the Interior to review any national monument designations made since 1996 that are over 100,000 acres, leaving many of Obama’s moves in question going forward.

Many liberals, environmental groups, tribes, and scientists are against the action, while many conservatives, and proponents of using natural resources are for it.

Read the full text of the order here

Executive Order, April 25: Agriculture and Rural Prosperity

This order established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity, made up of many Cabinet and top executive branch officials, in order to “identify legislative, regulatory, and policy changes to promote in rural America agriculture, economic development, job growth, infrastructure improvements, technological innovation, energy security, and quality of life.”

Trump’s Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue was sworn in on April 25, 2017.AP

In 180 days, the task force should submit a report to the president on barriers or regulations to change in order to improve life in rural America. Farmers joined Trump for the order signing at the White House, and farm-lobbying groups applauded the move.

Read the full text of the order here
Presidential proclamation, April 21: National Volunteer Week

Volunteers pack food for the elderly at Meals on Wheels. Trump proposed cutting federal funding for the program in his budget.Wikimedia Commons
Trump proclaimed April 23-29, 2017 National Volunteer Week, to highlight the importance of giving back.

Read the full text of the proclamation here

Executive Order, April 21: Review tax regulations

Trump displays his financial services executive order during the signing ceremony at the Treasury Department in Washington on April 21, 2017.Thomson Reuters
This order aims to simplify the tax code, explaining that “numerous tax regulations issued over the last several years have effectively increased tax burdens, impeded economic growth, and saddled American businesses with onerous fines, complicated forms, and frustration.”

Trump directed the Treasury Department to review existing tax regulations, and submit a report in 150 days outlining which ones cost taxpayers too much money, are too complex, or exceed the IRS’ authority.

This is an issue Trump and Democrats could see eye-to-eye on. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has proposed a bill to simplify taxes.

Read the full text of the order here

2 presidential memoranda, April 21: Dodd-Frank rollback

Trump signed two memos directing his Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to judiciously apply the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the landmark legislation passed after the 2008 financial crisis intended to keep banks from getting “too big to fail.”

The memos doubled down on Trump’s orders on February 3 announcing his intent to review Dodd-Frank and other Wall Street regulations, a move many Democrats decried.

Trump has called Dodd-Frank “horrendous” and said he plans to “do a number” on the post-crisis reforms that aim to rein in Wall Street. Speaking with uncharacteristic candor, Federal Reserve vice chairman Stanley Fischer warned Trump not to rollback the law.

Federal Reserve vice chairman Stanley Fischer.Brendan McDermid/Reuters

“The strength of the financial system is absolutely essential to the ability of the economy to continue to grow at a reasonable rate,” Fischer said April 21, “and taking actions which remove the changes that were made to strengthen the structure of the financial system is very dangerous.”

Read the text of the first memo here

And the second one here

Presidential memorandum, April 20: Reporting sanctions on foreign persons

Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announced the sanctions against 271 Syrians on April 24, 2017.Reuters
The defense spending bill and the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act require the president to submit a report to Congress every year outlining who the US sanctions, what the penalties were, and why they were imposed. In this memo, Trump was doing just that.

After the April chemical attack that killed at least 80 people in Syria, for example, Trump imposed sanctions on 271 people linked tothe country’s non-conventional weapon use.

Read the full text of the memo here
Executive Order, April 18: ‘Buy American, Hire American’

President Donald Trump speaks at Snap-On Tools in Kenosha, Wisconsin on April 18, 2017.Associated Press/Kiichiro Sato
At a tools manufacturer in Wisconsin, Trump signed an order directing federal agencies to review and propose changes to the popular, but controversial H-1B visaprogram meant to attract skilled foreign labor.

Critics say it’s used by companies to hire cheap, foreign workers in place of Americans, while proponents including many in the tech industry say it provides much-needed skilled workers to sectors where companies have struggled to hire Americans.

Trump’s “Buy American, hire American” order also directs federal agencies to maximize the American products they purchase, particularly calling out “steel, iron, aluminum, and cement.”

Read the full text of the order here

Presidential proclamation, April 14: National Park Week

Trump designated April 15-23, 2017 as National Park Week, during which all 417 sites (59 official “parks”) across the country are free to enter, a move many past presidents have made as well.

The president also donated his first quarter salary to the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program. Critics were quick to point out that Trump’s $78,333.32 donation could hardly make up for the nearly $2 billion his federal budget proposes cutting from the Interior Department this year.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer gave Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke the first quarter check of Trump’s salary to the National Park Service as Tyrone Brandyburg, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park Superintendent, looked on during the daily press briefing at the White House on April 3, 2017. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Read the full text of the proclamation here
Presidential memorandum, April 12: Delegating terrorist report request

FBI Director James Comey testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington on Jan. 10, 2017, before the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Russian Intelligence Activities.AP Photo/Cliff Owen
The 2017 National Defense Authorization Act directs the president to review “known instances since 2011 in which a person has traveled or attempted to travel to a conflict zone in Iraq or Syria from the United States to join or provide material support or resources to a terrorist organization,” and submit a report to Congress.

Trump delegated this responsibility to FBI Director James Comey.

Read the full text of the memo here

Presidential memorandum, April 11: Signing letter on including Montenegro in NATO

Montenegro’s PM Djukanovic attends a NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels.Thomson Reuters
At the end of March, the US Senate voted to include Montenegro’s in NATO, 97 to 2. While Trump called the alliance “obsolete” as recently as January, he said he no longer feels that way, and didn’t veto the small southern European country’s inclusion.

The president has called on members of NATO to pay their fair share, saying the US carries too much financial responsibility for the military stronghold. The addition of Montenegro is likely to irk Russia, however, as it means one more country looks to West instead of staying under the influence of the Kremlin.

Read the full text of the memo indicating Trump’s approval of the Senate’s vote here

Presidential memorandum, April 8: Notifying Congress of the US Syria strike

This memo formally informed Congress of Trump’s order to launch a salvo of 59 cruise missiles on Shayrat airfield and nearby military infrastructure controlled by Syrian President Bashar Assad on Friday, in response to a chemical attack that killed at least 80 people in the northwestern part of the country on April 4.

Some lawmakers slammed Trump for not getting congressional or UN approval before ordering the strike, as the president’s legal authority for doing so is unclear.

In this image from video provided by the U.S. Navy, the guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) launches a tomahawk land attack missile in the Mediterranean Sea, Friday, April 7, 2017.Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ford Williams/U.S. Navy via AP

“I acted in the vital national security and foreign policy interests of the United States, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive,” Trump said in the memo. “I am providing this report as part of my efforts to keep the Congress fully informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution.”

Read the full text of the memo here

5 presidential proclamations, April 3-7: Honoring and drawing awareness

John Glenn was the first US man to orbit the Earth as part of Project Mercury.NASA
Trump proclaimed various days and weeks in April were in honor of five different causes:

April 2-8, 2017: National Crime Victims’ Rights Week
Honoring the Memory of John Glenn
April 7, 2017: Education and Sharing Day
April 14, 2017: Pan American Day; April 9-15, 2017: Pan American Week
April 9, 2017: National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day
Read the full text of each proclamation in the links above
Presidential memorandum, April 3: Principles for reforming the draft

The president’s son-in-law and top adviser Jared Kushner talks with Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. during his visit to Iraq with the US military on April 4.Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff/Flickr
The United States has had a volunteer-based military for over four decades, but nearly all American males still have to register for the draft when they turn 18.

In the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress called on the president to outline his principles for reforming the draft. So in his order, Trump told Congress that the US military should recruit a diverse pool of citizens, and offer them training opportunities that will benefit the armed forces as well as their future employment, in order to “prepare to mitigate an unpredictable global security and national emergency environment.”

Read the full text of the memo here

2 Executive Orders, March 31: Lowering the trade deficit and collecting import duties

Ahead of Trump’s first meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, he signed two orders focused on an issue he decried during the campaign: the US trade deficit.

The first order directs the executive branch to produce a country-by-country, product-by-product report on trade deficits in 90 days, in order to figure out how to reduce the $500 billion trade deficit the US had in 2016.

Business Insider’s Pedro Nicolaci da Costa wrote that the order’s plan for a “90-day ‘investigation’ into why the US had trade deficits with specific countries, [was] a quixotic exercise most economists say shows a deep lack of understanding of the workings of international trade.”

Vice President Mike Pence tries to stop President Donald Trump as he leaves before signing executive orders regarding trade in the Oval Office on March 31, 2017.AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

The second order seeks to strengthen the US response to its trade laws preventing counterfeit or illegal imports, citing “$2.3 billion in antidumping and countervailing duties” that the government hasn’t collected.

“On a typical day, CBP screens more than 74,000 truck, rail, and sea cargo containers at 328 U.S. ports of entry with imported goods worth approximately $6.3 billion,” a Department of Homeland Security press release on the order wrote. “In Fiscal Year 2016, CBP seized more than 31,500 of counterfeit shipments and collected more $40 billion in duties, taxes, and fees, making CBP the U.S. governments second largest source of revenue.”

Read the full text of the deficit order here

And the full text of the antidumping order here
Executive Orders, March 31 and February 9: Changing the DOJ order of succession

Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks after being sworn-in in the Oval Office of the White House on February 9, 2017.REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

On February 9, Trump signed an order establishing a line of succession to lead the US Department of Justice if the attorney general, deputy attorney general, or associate attorney general die, resign, or are otherwise unable to carry on their duties. In order, the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, the US Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and then the US Attorney for the Western District of Missouri will be next in line.

The action reverses an order Obama signed days before leaving office. After Trump fired acting Attorney General Sally Yates for refusing to enforce his first travel ban, he appointed Dana Boente, US attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, as acting attorney general in her place. This order elevates his position in the order of succession.

Read the full text of the first order here
On March 31, Trump signed another order reversing this order. The new order of succession after the AG, deputy AG, and associate AG are as follows: US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, US Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, and then the US Attorney for the Northern District of Texas.

Since Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the DOJ probe into Trump’s associates contacts with Russian operatives, the order of succession will determine who will oversee that investigation. Trump will have to fill the North Carolina post soon, the Palmer Report points out, possibly allowing the president to influence who leads the Russia investigation.

Read the full text of the second order here
6 presidential proclamations, March 31: Sexual assault awareness and others

Jessica Drake (R) was one of several women who accused Donald Trump of past sexual misconduct during the 2016 election.Reuters/Kevork Djansezian
Trump proclaimed April 2, 2017 World Autism Awareness Day, and that the month of April 2017 was in honor of five different causes:

  1. 1. Cancer Control Month
    2. National Child Abuse Prevention Month
    3. National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month
    4. National Financial Capability Month
    5. National Donate Life Month
  2. Many criticized Trump’s National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, in particular, because multiple woman came forward during the campaign and accused Trump of sexual misconduct in the past. He also bragged on a 2005 tape that surfaced in October 2016 that he could “grab” women “by the p—y” because “when you’re a star they let you do it.”

Read the full text of each proclamation in the links above.

Executive Order, March 29: Combating the opioid crisis

This order established the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. The commission, headed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, is supposed to report to the president strategies to address the epidemic, which is now killing 30,000 Americans a year.

But many experts said the president’s action is “underwhelming.”

President Donald Trump shakes hands with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at a panel discussion on an opioid and drug abuse in the Roosevelt Room of the White House March 29, 2017 in Washington, DC.Shawn Thew-Pool/Getty Images

“These people don’t need another damn commission,” an anonymous former Obama administration official who worked on the issue told Politico. “We know what we need to do. It’s not rocket science.” Business Insider’s Erin Brodwin outlined some strategies that scientists think will work.

Read the full text of the order here

Executive Order, March 28: Dismantling Obama’s climate change protections

President Donald Trump, accompanied by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt, third from left, and Vice President Mike Pence, right, signs an Energy Independence Executive Order, Tuesday, March 28, 2017, at EPA headquarters in Washington with coal and oil executives.AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais
On the campaign trail, Trump vowed to bring back coal mining jobs and dismantle Obama’s environmental policy, declaring climate change a “hoax.” While coal jobs are unlikely to come back in droves, this executive order makes good on the second promise, directing federal agencies to rescind any existing regulations that “unduly burden the development of domestic energy resources.”

It also rescinds four of Obama’s executive actions, two of his reports, and tells the Environmental Protection Agency to review his landmark Clean Power Plan that would have capped power plant emissions. Since many of Obama’s actions were complex, however, it may take Trump a while to reverse them.

Democrats, environmentalists, and protesters demonstrating outside the White House after Trump signed the order decried the action, declaring it would lead to runaway climate change, while many Republican congressmen applauded the action for promoting energy independence.

Read the full text of the order here
Executive Order, March 27: Revoking Obama’s fair pay and safe workplaces orders

President Barack Obama meets with then-President-elect Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House on November 10, 2016.REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
In 2014, Obama signed an executive order requiring federal government contracts over $500,000 had to go to companies that hadn’t violated labor laws. He signed two more orders making minor clarifications to that original order later that year and in 2016.

Trump’s new order revoking those three orders, and directed federal agencies to review any procedural changes they made because of the orders. When companies bid for federal contracts, they’ll no longer have to disclose if they’ve violated the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker
Protection Act, or the National Labor Relations Act.

Read the full text of the order here

Presidential memorandum, March 27: Establishing the White House Office of American Innovation

Trump established the White House Office of American Innovation, choosing his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner to lead it. The office will aim to overhaul government functions with ideas from industry.

Business titans Gary Cohn (National Economic Council director), Dina Powell (senior counselor to the president for economic initiatives and deputy national security adviser), Chris Liddell (assistant to the president for strategic initiatives), and Reed Cordish (assistant to the president for intragovernmental and technology initiatives) will also be on the team.

President Trump departs the White House in Washington with son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner.Thomson Reuters

Read the full text of the memo here
Presidential proclamation, March 24: Greek Independence Day

President Donald Trump speaks to guests during a Greek Independence Day celebration in the East Room of the White House, on March 24, 2017 in Washington, DC.Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Trump declared March 25, 2017, as Greek Independence Day.

“American patriots built our Republic on the ancient Greeks’ groundbreaking idea that the people should decide their political fates,” the president wrote in the proclamation.

Read the full text here

2 presidential memoranda, March 23: Declaring an emergency in South Sudan

The same day he signed these memoranda, Trump honked the horn of an 18-wheeler truck while meeting with truckers and CEOs on the South Lawn of the White House, Thursday, March 23, 2017.AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
Trump signed two memoranda declaring a national emergency in South Sudan, and notifying Congress that he did so, extending the emergency Obama declared in 2014. One million people there are on the brink of dying from a lack of food.

United Nations officials have called the famine in South Sudan, Nigeria, and Somalia the “world’s largest humanitarian crisis in 70 years.

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney has said that the president’s proposed budget would “spend less money on people overseas and more money on people back home” and “absolutely” cut programs like those that would aid those starving in South Sudan.

Read the full text of the memos here and here

Presidential memorandum, March 20: Delegating to Tillerson

Trump delegated presidential powers in the National Defense Authorization Act to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. The law doles out funding “for military activities of the Department of Defense, for military construction, and for defense activities of the Department of Energy, to prescribe military personnel strengths.”

President Donald Trump smiles at Secretary of State Rex Tillerson after he was sworn in in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017.Associated Perss/Carolyn Kaster

Read the full text of the memo here

Presidential proclamation, March 17: National Poison Prevention Week

President Donald Trump departs the White House with his grandchildren Arabella and Joseph on March 3, 2017.Win McNamee/Getty Images
Trump proclaimed March 19 through March 25, 2017 National Poison Prevention Week in order to encourage Americans to safeguard their homes and protect children from ingesting common household items that may poison them.

Read the full text of the proclamation here

Presidential memorandum, March 16: A letter to the House of Representatives outlining Trump’s proposed budget

Winners and losers in Trump’s first budget.Mike Nudelman/Business Insider
Trump sent his first budget to the House of Representatives, requesting an additional $30 billion for the Department of Defense to fight ISIS and $3 billion for the Department of Homeland Security to protect the US border.

To offset the massive defense money, Trump proposes slashing funding for several key federal agencies, dropping budgets for the State Department and the Environmental Protection Agency by almost a third.

Several noteworthy Republican lawmakers signaled they didn’t approve of Trump’s first budget, and Democrats across the board decried the deep spending cuts.

Read the full text of the memorandum here

Executive Order, March 13: Reorganizing the executive branch

With the written aim of improving the efficiency of the federal government, Trump signed an order to shake up the executive branch, and “eliminate or reorganize unnecessary or redundant federal agencies” identified in a 180-day review.

It directs Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney to review agency head’s proposed plans to reorganize or shrink their departments, and submit a plan to Trump by September 2017 outlining how to streamline the government.

President Donald Trump’s Cabinet gathers in the Oval Office on March 13, 2017.Donald Trump/Twitter

Historians expressed skepticism that Trump would be able to effectively shrink the government, since many past presidents have tried and failed to do so. Critics argued that Trump could use the order to dismantle federal agencies that he or his Cabinet members don’t like.

Read the full text of the order here
Presidential proclamation, March 6: National Consumer Protection Week

Pool/Getty Images
March 5 through March 11, 2017 was National Consumer Protection Week, Trump proclaimed, which “reminds us of the importance of empowering consumers by helping them to more capably identify and report cyber scams, monitor their online privacy and security, and make well-informed decisions.”

Read the full text of the proclamation here

Executive Order, March 6: A new travel ban

President Donald Trump signs a new temporary travel ban in the Oval Office on March 6, 2017.Sean Spicer/Twitter
Trump’s second go at his controversial travel order bans people from Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, and Libya from entering the US for 90 days, and bars all refugees from coming into the country for 120 days, starting March 16.

Existing visa holders will not be subjected to the ban, and religious minorities will no longer get preferential treatment two details critics took particular issue with in the first ban. The new order removed Iraq from the list of countries, and changed excluding just Syrian refugees to preventing all refugees from entering the US.

Democrats denounced the new order, with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer saying the “watered-down ban is still a ban,” and Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez saying “Trump’s obsession with religious discrimination is disgusting, un-American, and outright dangerous.”

Read the full text of the order here

UPDATE 3/15: US District Judge Derrick Watson put an emergency halt on the revised travel ban the day before it would have taken effect, after several states and refugee groups sued in court. Trump vowed to appeal the decision and take the order all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.

Presidential Memorandum, March 6: Guidance for agencies to implement the new travel ban

This memo instructs the State Department, the Justice Department, and the Department of Homeland Security how to implement Trump’s new travel ban.

It directs the three department heads to enhance the vetting of visa applicants and other immigrants trying to enter the US as they see fit, to release how many visa applicants there were by country, and to submit a report in 180 days detailing the long-term costs of the United States Refugee Admissions Program.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly make statements on Trump’s new travel ban on March 6, 2017.AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Read the full text of the memorandum here

3 Presidential proclamations, March 1: National months for women, the American Red Cross, and Irish-Americans

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