“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Suspended — During Gulf War
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is our nation’s highest ranking military officer, and the principal military adviser to the President, the National Security Council, and the Secretary of Defense.
This country has long had a ban on gays in the military. In 1993, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” moved the ban from orientation to conduct, and from policy to law. But even before “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was codified into law under Colin Powell, his predecessor, then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral William J. Crowe, Jr., fought against it and the military’s treatment of gays.
In his 2007 obituary, The Boston Globe wrote,
“[Crowe] condemned the military’s antigay bias and the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, the first officer of his stature to do so.”
Over the past quarter-century, since 1985, America has had seven Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. And five of the seven now support gays serving openly in the military.
Yet, despite evidence to the contrary — and there is evidence — the Republican and religious-right wing wind machines are still blowing hot and hard, suggesting repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” will be the end of the U.S. military. Or worse.
Colonel Oliver (convicted felon, Nicaragua gun smuggler, and – surprise! Fox News contributor) North last week suggested repealing DADT would invite the North American Man-Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) into our Armed Forces. (I’m not quite sure how that would work, as you can’t be a minor and serve in the military, but perhaps as he was running guns in Iran to help fight the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, North got a little too chummy with Noriega and what he was selling?)
The stories coming via the Beck-Hannity-O’Reilly-Palin-North Network are just jam-packed full of shock and awe. At this point, one would not be surprised to hear from them that if “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal were enacted, the sun would never rise again, and George Washington and Ronald Reagan would roll over in their graves.
Well, guess what? We already have hard evidence about what will happen in the U.S. Armed Forces when “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is repealed. And the answer is, nothing.
In an opinion piece in Sunday’s Chicago Tribune, “Buried truths about gays in the military,” Steve Chapman reminds us that last June, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General John M. Shalikashvili, wrote an Op-Ed against “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and pointed to hard evidence that during the six-month long Persian Gulf War (August 2, 1990 – February 28, 1991,) under Republican President George H. W. Bush, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was suspended. Funny how no one (read: Senator John McCain) remembers that?
In The Washington Post, General Shalikashvili writes,
“The U.S. military itself has had successful experiences. Enforcement of the ban was suspended without problems during the Persian Gulf War, and there were no reports of angry departures.”
Well, well, well. Whaddya know…
“A majority of U.S. service members say they know or believe that someone in their unit is gay, according to a 2006 Zogby International poll, and most of those who know of openly gay peers report no detriment to morale or cohesion. A recent study co-authored by Laura Miller of Rand Corp. found no correlation between a unit’s readiness and whether known gays serve in it. And last year, four retired flag and general officers studied all available evidence and found that allowing gays to serve posed no risk to force readiness.”
We now have Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General John M. Shalikashvili, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell, under whom “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was enacted, and former Commander in Chief, President Bill Clinton, under whom “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was enacted, and many other military leaders at the highest levels, all stating that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” should be repealed.
Additionally, another former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard Myers, last fall said,
“Gays can serve in the military; they just can’t do so openly. And they do, and there are lots of them, and we’re the beneficiary of all that.”
So, Senator McCain, Senator DeMint, Congressman Hunter, Congressman Pence, and all you other hypocritical lawmakers and fanatical right-wing pundits, when will you listen?
(image above, from left: former Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral William J. Crowe, Jr., General Colin Powell, General John M. Shalikashvili, General Richard Myers, and current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen.)
A version of this piece was originally published in The Bilerico Project.
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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
Fox News Anchor’s Bad Week: Slammed for ‘Complete Lie,’ Accused of Making Up Story During Primetime Guest Hosting Gig
After firing its star host, Tucker Carlson, Fox News has been scheduling its other anchors to fill in as guest hosts on a week-by-week basis, with some viewers, if not network brass, seeing these as auditions.
This week Harris Faulkner, host of the far-right network’s “The Faulkner Focus” and co-host of “Outnumbered,” filled in during what was once Carlson’s slot.
Reaction online has not been positive.
On Monday, Faulkner claimed she had been kicked out of a restaurant for praying, in what The Wrap called a “blistering, biblical monologue about the ongoing ‘attack’ on the Christian faith in America.”
“We know who we are. And we know who’s we are,” Faulkner told the dwindling Fox News audience. “For those of us who believe, we must be bold in our faith right now. When you gather in public spaces pray thankfully over your food, even when the server gives you the stink-eye, or tells the manager that your peaceful grace is triggering them. Had it happen to me. I’ve been asked to leave a restaurant for openly bowing my head in prayer hands. In America. It’s all good. They don’t deserve my money anyway.”
Faulkner: I’ve been asked to leave a restaurant for openly bowing my head in prayer hands.. in America pic.twitter.com/oRi9lP0MN6
— Acyn (@Acyn) June 6, 2023
Many demanded Faulkner name the restaurant, or provide proof. Among them, The Daily Beast’s senior media reporter Justin Baragona, who tweeted, Monday night, “I’m going to ask Fox News PR if Harris Faulkner can provide the name of the restaurant and date when this happened. Will update if I receive a response.”
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Baragona has yet to state he’s received a response.
Another doubter is Republican former Congressman Adam Kinzinger, who wrote: “We need the name of this restaurant and when it happened. If true that’s awful. IF it’s not true… which seems most likely the case… then there needs to be accountability. Lies are not the tool of the Lord. And the USA isn’t his god.”
During that same monologue, as The Daily Beast noted, Faulkner told Fox News viewers: “Women and children are being redesigned by some sort of mad leftist science experiment.”
“It’s as though people on the left have more free time than anybody else. They want to acronym and pronoun us to death,” she said, apparently taking a swing at the LGBTQ community. “Well know this: the Lord has determined I am a woman, and my pronouns are U.S.A.”
Faulkner: The lord has determined I am a woman. My pronouns are U.S.A. pic.twitter.com/ysogoHrtK6
— Acyn (@Acyn) June 6, 2023
“We are in a spiritual fight for the soul of America,” she also claimed, “and if you think that’s not true, take a look around at what’s going on. The devil has gotten into some people. The worst part of experiencing our country ripping at the seams is that our enemies are massing, feasting on the tastiness of our weaknesses.”
Baragona pointed out, “In her first night on primetime filling in for Tucker’s old timeslot, Harris Faulkner drew 1.59 million total viewers and just 105,000 in the 25-54 advertising demographic, finishing behind CNN and MSNBC in the demo. Tucker averaged 3.26 million total viewers last quarter.”
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Former CNN media reporter Brian Stelter added, “And Jen Psaki was filling in at 8 on MSNBC,” suggesting MSNBC might have had fewer regular viewers during that time slot.
But the real outrage came on Tuesday, when Faulkner delivered what many deemed an outright “lie,” and served up proof of their accusations.
Faulker told Fox News viewers, “You know, we didn’t actually close schools in 1918, during the Spanish flu pandemic.”
That’s false. Provably false.
“And sometimes we make dangerously bad decisions, like pandemic lockdowns and keeping our own children home from schools when a virus was hurting them far less often than adults,” she said, ignoring the fact that family transmission often started with children (see below.) “You know, we didn’t actually close schools in 1918 during the Spanish flu pandemic. We didn’t even have penicillin back then. We did sacrifice. We suffered but then we pressed on. Our enemies hate us for surviving, but they would love to be like us.”
Faulkner: You know, we didn’t actually close schools in 1918, during the Spanish flu pandemic. We didn’t even have penicillin back then. We did sacrifice. We suffered, but then we pressed on. pic.twitter.com/mfGGvmXVRr
— Acyn (@Acyn) June 7, 2023
“This is blatantly untrue and takes about 3 seconds to fact check,” observed Media Matters for America’s Kat Abu.
And fact check many did.
Some noted that penicillin is an antibiotic, not an antiviral, and would have had no effect on the “Spanish flu,” an erroneous term (the first case identified was in the U.S.) for what is broadly known as the 1918 flu pandemic. The CDC says, “The 1918 H1N1 flu pandemic, sometimes referred to as the “Spanish flu,” killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide, including an estimated 675,000 people in the United States.”
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Attorney Brad Moss, calling Faulkner’s claim a “complete lie,” also tweeted: “Utter and total falsity. You would think these fools would have some shame after paying Dominion hundreds of millions of dollars.”
And he came with receipts, including a screenshot of a New York Times article from October, 1918, noting the entire state of Pennsylvania had “indefinitely” shut down all schools, churches, theaters, and “all places of public assemblage.”
This is a complete lie by @HARRISFAULKNER. Utter and total falsity. You would think these fools would have some shame after paying Dominion hundreds of millions of dollars. https://t.co/7KVm3rWxUq pic.twitter.com/29q3GvJQod
— Bradley P. Moss (@BradMossEsq) June 7, 2023
Others pointed to a PBS article from 2020 that reads: “During the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic, when an estimated 675,000 people died in the United States alone, the majority of public schools were closed for weeks to months on end. But three major cities — New York City, Chicago, and New Haven — kept their schools open amid valid questions and concerns about safety.”
So false was Faulkner’s claim, a readers’ note was added to video of it. It points to a study that states: “During the 1918–19 influenza pandemic, many local authorities made the controversial decision to close schools.”
Others on social media pointed to an article published last week by the University of Minnesota: “More than 70% of US household COVID spread started with a child, study suggests.”
As for Faulkner’s claim that, “Our enemies hate us for surviving, but they would love to be like us,” the U.S. ranks 15th worst among all countries around the world in COVID deaths per capita.
Meanwhile, Baragona also weighed in, noting: “Throughout the height of the pandemic, Harris Faulkner would only broadcast her show from the safety of her house.”
Watch the videos above or at this link.
Pence Presidential Launch Mocked for Suggesting Drag Queens Are Assaulting ‘American Values’ – With No Mention of Trump
Former Trump vice president Mike Pence on Wednesday officially launched his 2024 campaign for the White House, in a lengthy, polished video carefully constructed to position himself as the torch-bearer of American values, including Christian nationalism, while conveniently all but ignoring his four-plus years spent in service to Donald Trump, who recently was held liable by a jury for sexual abuse, is currently under a 34-count state felony indictment, and expected to soon be facing a slew of federal and state charges amid several other investigations.
“I believe in the American people, and I have faith God is not done with America yet,” Pence tweeted atop his campaign video. “Together, we can bring this Country back, and the best days for the Greatest Nation on Earth are yet to come!”
The well-known presidential historian Michael Beschloss, author of ten books, noted that it will “not be easy for a VP to separate himself from the President he served for four years.”
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And he made this critical observation: Pence’s “just-released announcement video cites ‘drag queens’ and Biden-Harris but not a single mention or image of You-Know-Who,” referring to Donald Trump.
In fact, in Pence’s video (below), he falsely claims, “President Joe Biden and the radical left have weakened America at home and abroad.”
“The American dream is being crushed under runaway inflation. Wages are dropping, recession is looming. Our southern border is under siege.”
“And the enemies of freedom are on the march around the world,” Pence continues.
READ MORE: Watch: Mike Pence Showed Up to Speak at the NRA Convention – It Didn’t Go Well
“And worse still, timeless American values are under assault as never before,” Pence cries.
As he says those words, the video shows three frames that appear to be clipped from TV news reports. One reads, “VA Parents Push Back Against Critical Race Theory,” one reads, “Controversy Over Female Trans Swimmer,” and the last one reads, “Drag Queens Storm Faith-Based Story Hour in AR.”
Journalist Grace Panetta offered a similar observation, tweeting, “Former VP Mike Pence’s presidential announcement video features faith imagery and headlines about trans athletes and drag queens, but no obvious references to abortion, to which he is staunchly opposed.”
Democratic strategist Sawyer Hackett, senior advisor to former Obama cabinet secretary Julián Castro, went one step further.
“In his announcement,” Hackett writes, “Mike Pence says ‘timeless American values are under assault’ as headlines about drag shows and trans athletes play. But nothing about the armed Trump mob who tried to hang him at the Capitol.”
Watch Pence’s video below or at this link.
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Fox News’ Sean Hannity Whines Charging Trump With ‘Obscure’ Obstruction Is Unfair
Fox News host Sean Hannity suggested on Tuesday’s edition of his radio show that the possibility of former President Donald Trump getting charged with obstruction of justice is unfair because President Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton never had their homes “raided” by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“So you know, and here’s the other problem, you know, with top secret classified documents. So what they’re doing here is they’re not going to go after what they thought was the crime. Because they didn’t raid Hillary Clinton’s residences. They didn’t raid Joe Biden’s four places where he had top secret classified information. No,” Hannity complained.
Both Clinton and Biden cooperated with federal investigators. Refusing to do so, or impeding their work, is considered obstruction, which is a felony.
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“So they’ll look to something obscure,” Hannity continued. “‘Well, as a result of the investigation, it is alleged that Donald Trump obstructed justice’ — blah blah blah blah blah. Which, by the way, I would argue, legally, he doesn’t have any obligation to cooperate with, and nor can anyone give a real definition of whether or not, you know, exactly how one president is supposed to declassify the materials anyway.”
Trump has claimed that he declassified documents psychically and that they automatically had that status once he took them from the White House. Those statements are not just false — Trump was recorded acknowledging the limits to his power to declassify certain items, such as war plans for an attack on Iran.
Hannity then said that “it’s not going to have anything to do with the documents themselves, except it’ll be a process crime. That is my prediction.”
There are many indicators that Trump could facing an espionage charge (among a litant of others), as recently highlighted by experts.
READ MORE: ‘Nihilistic moron’ Trump heading for another indictment: George Conway
“They’re gonna go down the process crime route and they won’t apply the same standards to Joe, just like they didn’t apply the same standards to the Hillary, and whatever bone they throw you on Hunter is the low-hanging fruit that does not get to the heart of the family business with a multitude of countries that they were paid a fortune from,” Hannity added. “And we still haven’t gotten the final numbers, and clearly, Hunter Biden with no experience was leading up the effort and implicates his own father. They’re gonna stay as far away from the real crux of what legality would impact Joe Biden and just go after Donald Trump, to just continue their policies of politicizing or criminalizing political differences.”
Listen below via Media Matters for America or at this link.
READ MORE: Ex-DOJ official: Trump keeping ‘war plans’ makes it ‘inconceivable’ that he will escape indictment
Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license
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