Trump taps U.S. Marine Band for White House event and raises questions about employing the military for political purposes

The band has played at every presidential inauguration since 1801, when President Thomas Jefferson gave the group the title “The President’s Own,” according to its online history. The band is called upon when the president is discharging his duties as head of state.

But federal regulations bar the use of government resources for, and the coercion of federal employees into, political activities aimed at a candidate’s reelection — and taxpayer-funded military bands cannot be used for campaign events. Members of the U.S. military are prohibited from wearing military uniforms at political campaign events.

Administration and military officials said the activity on Saturday was an official White House event called, “Peaceful Protest for Law and Order.”

“The United States Marine Band provided musical support for the Peaceful Protest for Law and Order event, an official event on the South Lawn of the White House,” Capt. Joseph Butterfield, a spokesman for the Marine Corps, said in a statement. “All tasking for U.S. Marine Band support at the White House, including for this event, is generated by the White House Military Office.”

Judd Deere, a spokesman for the White House, said: “The event yesterday was an official White House event and was conducted in compliance with the Hatch Act.” The Hatch Act bars federal employees from using their titles and positions to engage in political activity. The president and vice president are exempt but do fall under criminal provisions that prohibit the coercion of federal government employees to engage in political activity.

Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and his predecessor, retired Marine Corps general Jim Mattis, have sought to protect the military from overtly partisan activity. But their efforts have been challenged by a president who has shown a willingness to defy civil-military norms respected by his predecessors, beginning with his first official visit to the Pentagon, when he used the Hall of Heroes to sign a ban on travel from majority-Muslim nations.

In the years since, Trump has treated troop talks and Pentagon appearances like campaign rallies, intervened in military justice cases and signed “Make America Great Again” paraphernalia on official presidential visits to military facilities overseas. He deployed active-duty forces to the southern border with Mexico before the 2018 midterm elections, taking heat for using the military as a political prop.

On Saturday, the Marine Band provided the musical backdrop as a crowd gathered under the South Portico of the White House, where Trump gave remarks from the balcony due to his coronavirus infection. Despite being billed as a non-campaign event, Trump began his talk by calling on the guests to vote his opponents “into oblivion” and attacked his Democratic opponent, former vice president Joe Biden.

Trump’s rallies regularly make use of show tunes, including from “Phantom of the Opera.” Saturday’s event was no exception. One “Blexit” supporter posted a video on Instagram beaming with excitement as the Marine Band played “America” from “West Side Story.”

“We are here at the White House, guys. Look!” the supporter said. “Isn’t it an

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Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen > United States Marine Corps Flagship > News Display

The Fire Prevention team is cooking up some excitement for Fire Prevention Week 2020, themed “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen!” aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, California, October 4 – 10.

The goal of Fire Prevention Week is to involve people, children and adults alike, to learn how to stay safe in case of a fire.

“Firefighters provide lifesaving public education in an effort to drastically decrease casualties caused by fires,” said Michelle Bledsoe, fire prevention officer on base.

This year the focus is on preventable fires and injuries that happen while cooking in one’s kitchen or while barbequing in their yard.

“During 2014 – 2018, local fire departments responded to approximately 172,900 home cooking fires per year,” said Paul Aguilar, fire prevention officer aboard MCLB Barstow. “These fires caused an average of 550 civilian deaths; 4,820 civilian injuries; and $1.2 billion in direct property damage annually. Cooking caused almost half of the reported home fires, 49 percent, and home fire injuries, 44 percent, and one in five home fire deaths, 21 percent. Cooking was the leading cause of reported home fires and home fire injuries and the second leading cause of home fire deaths.”

One of the things that makes cooking such a hazard is indeed the fire or hot surface itself. However, in many cases, it is human error, negligence or complacency which is the root cause of the disaster. So, it’s important for families to learn and teach proper kitchen safety etiquette.

“One common cooking related injury is caused by introducing frozen foods to hot grease or oil,” said Greg Kunkel, Emergency Medical Services chief on base. “Typically, when ice melts it turns to water then to a vapor. When frozen foods are dropped into the hot oil, it causes what is called ‘sublimation,’ which means it skips the water stage and goes straight from solid to vapor, suddenly and violently causing mini explosion. The expansion rate of the ice to gas is crazy! It expands at a factor of 1,600. So, those mini explosions the oil to pop and spray, potentially burning the cook.”

“Cooking is such a routine activity that it is easy to forget that the high temperatures used can easily start a fire,” said Nicholas Llewellyn, fire prevention officer aboard MCLB Barstow. “Sometimes people become complacent and leave items unattended. Sometimes, especially during holidays, sporting events, or other activities, it can be easy to get distracted. For example, home fires caused by cooking peak during Thanksgiving and Christmas when people may be cooking more than usual, but may also be distracted by visiting family members and friends. Always be attentive to what’s cooking and never leave any items on the stove or oven unattended.”

 “Firefighters provide lifesaving public education in an effort to drastically decrease casualties caused by fires.” Michelle Bledsoe, base fire prevention officer

The type of clothing worn while cooking can also make the difference between slight discomfort, versus a full on 3rd degree burn.

“Be

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Marine wins Democratic primary for Kennedy’s US House seat

Jake Auchincloss, a city councilor in suburban Boston and a former Marine, won a packed primary to become the Democratic nominee in the race to fill the U.S. House seat being vacated by Rep. Joe Kennedy III in Massachusetts.

Auchincloss edged out six other Democratic candidates in the crowded field for the open 4th Congressional District, a contest that took until early Friday to decide because of a deluge of mailed-in ballots that overwhelmed several cities and towns.

Nearly 1 million voters, skittish over the coronavirus pandemic, used the mail option for Tuesday’s primary. A state judge late Wednesday had approved a petition from Secretary of State Bill Galvin asking for more time for cities and towns to complete their vote tallies.

After graduating from Harvard in 2010, Auchincloss served as a captain in the U.S. Marines. He commanded infantry in Afghanistan in 2012 and led an anti-narcotics platoon in Panama in 2014. He was elected to the Newton City Council in 2015. He also worked at a cybersecurity startup and as a senior manager at Liberty Mutual’s innovation lab.

Auchincloss, a moderate, was also briefly registered as a Republican in part of 2013 and 2014 while he worked to help elect moderate GOP Gov. Charlie Baker, a background his primary rivals had questioned.

He listed among his priorities making “health care a right, not a job perk,” protecting reproductive rights and combating the pollution that causes climate change. During the campaign, Auchincloss also said he wanted to help rebuild the country that sent his grandfather — “a poor Jewish kid” — to college during WWII.

Auchincloss, 32, narrowly defeated fellow Democrats Jesse Mermell, Becky Grossman, Alan Khazei, Natalia Linos, Isshane Leckey, Ben Sigel and Chris Zannetos.

State law allows campaigns to ask for recounts in specific precincts or city wards, but Mermell — who formally conceded the race Friday — said she wouldn’t seek one. The former aide to ex-Gov. Deval Patrick trailed Auchincloss by an unofficial margin of 1,800 votes, or just under 1.2%.

“But that doesn’t mean that I’m content with the returns. I have serious returns about some gaps in the process,” Mermell told reporters, adding she would advocate for ranked choice voting — a system that lets voters rank all the candidates in a political race in order of preference, from first to last on the ballot.

A candidate who reaches 50% or more is declared the winner. If there’s no majority, then there are additional tabulations aided by computers, in which last-place finishers are eliminated and those voters’ second choices are reallocated to the remaining field. It’s been used in some states, including Maine, but not in Massachusetts.

Auchincloss tweeted Friday about the need to defeat President Donald Trump in November.

“We must rally behind Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to defeat the Trump agenda and get to work rebuilding this country: its institutions, its confidence, and its commitment to justice,” he wrote.

Kennedy opted not to seek reelection so he could challenge incumbent

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