Leading up to Congressional debate on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” earlier this year, SLDN organized “Stories from the Frontlines: Letters to President Barack Obama,â€ a new media campaign launched to underscore the urgent need for congressional action and presidential leadership at this critical point in the fight to repeal â€œDonâ€™t Ask, Donâ€™t Tellâ€ (DADT.)
This week SLDN is continuing these letters, but with different recipients. We’ll be sharing them with you every morning this week.
With the Pentagonâ€™s family survey now in the field, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), a national, legal services and policy organization dedicated to ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT), will release a letter each day this week from family members and spouses of former service members impacted by DADT. As the Pentagon reaches out to 150,000 straight couples on how their lives are impacted, these letters will share the perspective of those forced to serve under this law alongside their loved ones. SLDN is urging supporters of repeal to call, write, and schedule in-district meetings with both their senators as the defense budget, which contains the repeal amendment, moves to the floor just weeks from now: www.sldn.org/action.
General Carter F. Ham
Commanding General, U.S. Army Europe
Co-Chair, Comprehensive Review Working Group
Hon. Jeh C. Johnson
General Counsel, U.S. Department of Defense
Co-Chair, Comprehensive Review Working Group
U.S. Sen. Carl M. Levin
Chairman, Senate Armed Services Committee
U.S. Sen. John S. McCain
Ranking Member, Senate Armed Services Committee
U.S. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman
Member, Senate Armed Services Committee
Dear General Ham and Mr. Johnson:
In 1990 â€“ while working as a reference librarian at the Library of Congress — I met Joan Darrah, an active duty Naval Officer. I already knew about â€œDonâ€™t Ask, Donâ€™t Tell,â€ but I soon woke up to the harsh reality that loved ones of gay and lesbian family members are forced to serve in silence, too.
Over the years, Joan had adjusted to living two lives — in the closet at work and out after hours. For me, it was a bit of an adjustment as I had been fortunate to work for an employer who valued my skills and expertise and realized that my being a lesbian in no way detracted from my ability to do a great job.
I knew that Joan could be deployed at any moment. She may be away from home for two or three years. I realized that being with an active duty military officer was even more constricting than I could have possibly imagined and I worried constantly about Joanâ€™s well being. Yet, through it all, I knew our relationship was worth the compromises. I knew we had to make it work for Joan to continue to serve our Country.
There were so many things that we had to be careful about. For example, Joan had asked that I not call her at work unless it was truly an emergency. When we were out in public if Joan saw someone from work, I learned to â€œdisappear,â€ until Joanâ€™s co-worker moved on. We didnâ€™t dare go to nice restaurants on Valentineâ€™s Day or even Saturday nights. We could not show any familiarity while out in public. I went to parties at colleagues’ homes alone lest a guest I didn’t know learn that Joan was in the Navy.
The events of September 11, 2001, caused us both appreciate more fully the true impact of DADT on our lives and the reality of our mutual sacrifices. At 8:30 a.m. that morning, Joan went to a meeting in the Pentagon. At 9:30 a.m., she left that meeting. At 9:37 a.m., the plane flew into the Pentagon and destroyed the exact space that Joan had left less than eight minutes earlier, killing seven of her colleagues.
In the days and weeks that followed, Joan went to several funerals and memorial services for her co-workers who had been killed. Most people attended these services with their spouses whose support was critical at this difficult time, yet Joan was forced to go alone, even though I really wanted to be with her to provide support.
As the numbness began to wear off, it hit me how incredibly alone I would have been had Joan been killed. The military is known for how it pulls together and helps people; we talk of the “military family,” which is a way of saying we always look after each other, especially in times of need. But, none of that support would have been available for me, because under DADT, I didnâ€™t exist.
In fact, I would have been one of the last people to know had Joan been killed, because nowhere in her paperwork or emergency contact information had Joan dared to list my name.
Whenever I hear Joan recount the events of that day, I relive it and realize all over again how devastated I would have been had she been killed. I also think of the partners of service members injured or killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are unable to get any support from the military and they must be careful about the amount of support they offer to their closeted service member loved ones.
The events of September 11th caused us to stop and reassess exactly what was most important in our lives. During that process, we realized that this discriminatory law was causing us to make a much bigger sacrifice than either of us had ever admitted.
Eight months later, in June 2002, Joan retired from the U.S. Navy, and I retired from the Library of Congress. If it wasnâ€™t for DADT, we might both still be serving in our respective positions.
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‘The Law Is Clear’: Appeals Court Rules Trump Handpicked Judge Should Never Have Appointed Special Master
A three-judge panel on the conservative 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against Donald Trump, and effectively against his hand-picked federal district court judge Aileen Cannon in the ex-president’s “special master” case.
The judges, all three conservatives, two of whom appointed to the bench by Trump himself, ruled that Judge Cannon should never have agreed to Trump’s request to appoint a “special master” to review all the items the Dept. of Justice removed from his Mar-a-Lago residence by executing a legal search warrant.
Cannon had ordered the special master to specifically review approximately 100 classified documents, and blocked the DOJ from accessing them while they were under review. That block halted its investigation into Trump’s likely illegal retention of the documents and other items – over 10,000 – he removed from the White House and was string at Mar-a-Lago.
CNN calls Thursday’s ruling “a major defeat for former President Donald Trump.” The appeals court’s ruling halts “a third-party review of documents seized from his Mar-a-Lago estate,” and “removes a major obstacle to the Justice Department’s investigation into the mishandling of government records from Trump’s time in the White House.”
“The law is clear,” the judges wrote in their ruling Thursday, posted by NBC News’ Daniel Barnes. “We cannot write a rule that allows any subject of a search warrant to block government investigations after the execution of the warrant. Nor can we write a rule that allows only former presidents to do so. Either approach would be a radical reordering of our caselaw limiting the federal courts’ involvement in criminal investigations.”
“And both would violate bedrock separation-of-powers limitations,” they continued. “Accordingly, we agree with the government that the district court improperly exercised equitable jurisdiction, and that dismissal of the entire proceeding is required.”
They also wrote: “In considering these arguments, we are faced with a choice: apply our usual test; drastically expand the availability of equitable jurisdiction for every subject of a search warrant; or carve out an unprecedented exception in our law for former presidents. We choose the first option. So the case must be dismissed.”
“The district court,” meaning Judge Cannon, “improperly exercised equitable jurisdiction in this case. For that reason, we VACATE the September 5 order on appeal and REMAND with instructions for the district court to DISMISS the underlying civil action.”
Right Wing Social Media Platform Parler Announces Kanye West Will No Longer Buy It in ‘Interest of Both Parties’
After Kanye West‘s antisemitic and racist remarks last month, which led to him being deplatformed by Twitter and Instagram, the extremist artist and rapper announced he was purchasing the right wing “free speech” social media platform Parler, which performs little content moderation.
On Thursday, hours after West went on far right extremist and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ show and praised Adolf Hitler, Parler issued a statement saying by mutual agreement West would not be purchasing the platform.
But the Parler statement, which came from its parent company, also claimed the decision had been made weeks ago.
“In response to numerous media inquiries, Parlement Technologies would like to confirm that the company has mutually agreed with Ye to terminate the intent of sale of Parler,” Parler said on Twitter. “This decision was made in the interest of both parties in mid-November.”
On Thursday, stunning many, West told Alex Jones, “I see good things about Hitler,” as Consequence reported. “Every human being has something of value that they brought to the table, especially Hitler.”
When West had agreed to purchase Parler, he stated, “In a world where conservative opinions are considered to be controversial we have to make sure we have the right to freely express ourselves.”
CNBC reported last month that “Parler, which initially launched in 2018, was swept up in controversy last year over the role it played in the Jan. 6, 2021, riots at the Capitol building. That led a slew of tech companies, including Google and Amazon, to blacklist the service, rendering its app and website inaccessible.”
Owens, promoting nationalism, told young supporters in London, “Whenever we say nationalism, the first thing people think about, at least in America, is Hitler.”
“But if Hitler just wanted to make Germany great and have things run well, OK, fine. The problem is that he wanted, he had dreams outside of Germany. He wanted to globalise. He wanted everybody to be German, everybody to be speaking German. Everybody to look a different way. To me, that’s not nationalism.”
Hitler was responsible for the slaughter of up to 17 million people.
Image via Tinseltown / Shutterstock
‘This Is Nazism’: Americans Outraged After Kanye West Praises Hitler – ‘This Is Not a Clown Show. It’s Dangerous’
“I see good things about Hitler,” West told Jones, as Consequence reports. “Every human being has something of value that they brought to the table, especially Hitler.”
In between those two remarks West launched into a plethora of lies about all the good things Hitler has done, including inventing the microphone (false) and highways (also false.)
West doubled down, exclaiming, “I like Hitler,” and said, “the Jewish media has made us feel like Nazis and Hitler have never offered us anything of value to the world.”
West, who brought a white supremacist with him to dine with Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago last week, today also claimed he loves everyone but injected antisemitic tropes about contracts and pornography.
“I think most Jews are great people,” West said, while claiming, “I agree there’s a Jewish mafia.”
West, who goes by “Ye,” astonishingly “took credit for popularizing antisemitism,” Consequence reports, “saying, ‘No one in high school knew what antisemitic meant until Ye made it popular.'”
That, too, is a lie.
The outrage online is palpable.
U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) tweeted, “JUST NOW: ‘I see good things about Hitler, also. The Jews… Every human being has something of value that they brought to the table, especially Hitler.’
— Kanye West on far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ InfoWars show.”
“This is Nazism,” he added. “When are we going to say ENOUGH?”
Many pointed to a wildly offensive tweet posted by GOP Congressman Jim Jordan, who heads the House Judiciary Republicans. After nearly two months it was removed within minutes of West praising Hitler.
U.S. Rep. Eric Falwell (D-CA) blasted Jordan, saying: “for 2 months you were cool with Jew-bashing.”
For 2 months Jim Jordan refused to delete this tweet. Even after Kanye declared war on Jews. As he usually does, Jim looked the other way. Only after Kanye praised Hitler today did Jim delete the tweet. We have the receipts, Jim. And for 2 months you were cool with Jew-bashing. pic.twitter.com/kqzwkNW2pq
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) December 1, 2022
Funny to learn exactly where the line is for the Republican party.
It’s not explicit but vaguely deniable antisemitism. No, it apparently only kicks in at openly praising Hitler. https://t.co/vMdJmG4Qci
— Dylan Reeve (@DylanReeve) December 1, 2022
Kanye had to literally praise Hitler and the Nazis before Jim Jordan’s House Judiciary Republicans deleted their pro-Kanye tweet. If you want to understand just how extreme the modern GOP is. https://t.co/il7QAg2EiO
— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) December 1, 2022
Sam Stern of Politico and MSNBC took a wider view.
“We’re all gawking at Kanye saying he sees ‘good things about Hitler’ but i can’t escape the absolute dread that people who know no better and look up to this man and stumble upon this interview will be moved, even on the margins, by him,” he tweeted. “This is not a clown show. It’s dangerous.”
As did actor Josh Gad:
“It’s not what Kanye West says that scares me. It’s that he has 30 million followers who listen to his insanity on top of a cheerleader in the form of the current owner of this platform. No one who says “I love Hitler” should be allowed any oxygen on any social platform (period).”
There is video online of Kanye West’s vile remarks. NCRM will not post or link to it.
Image via Shutterstock
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