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DADT: Goodbye Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, Hello To A New Civil Rights Movement



When Tanya Domi joined the Women’s Army Corps 37 years ago as a “slick sleeve” Private in 1974, she had no idea how the “Gay Ban” military policy which preceded “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell ” by  52 years would affect her life. Its ultimate repeal, fought successfully by a new generation of veterans and activists marks the beginning of a new civil rights movement in America. 

Today is a special day in American history. Indeed, the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law marks a major advancement in America’s political compact to create a “more perfect union” by extending the right to gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military. As of this morning at 12:01 a.m. in all time zones across the planet, for the first time in the 235 years since the U.S. Military was established, gays may serve openly in uniform without fear of discharge.

I would have never imagined how much the gay ban in the military would affect my life when I enlisted in the Women’s Army Corps in 1974 (I was not out to myself, let alone to anyone else when I enlisted.) The gay ban, most recently known as DADT, which became law in 1993, became a part of my daily venacular since that day in 1974 when I was called into a dark investigator’s office at Ft. Devens, Massachusetts, was read my Miranda rights and was charged with the crime of “homosexuality,” following an innocent first visit to a gay bar in Boston.

By the time the Ft. Devens witchhunt for lesbians took place in the mid-1970s, the American government  had officially discriminated against gays and lesbians who served in the military for 33 years, a practice initiated by psychiatrists who had pathologized homosexuality in a new policy created to actively exclude them from the ranks (see Coming Out Under Fire, by Alan Berube) as America launched a draft effort that would brings millions of Americans into uniform during World War II.

Most recently, the American media–populated by lazy journalists–have regularly portrayed DADT absent the factual history of an American government that has viciously pursued homosexuals in the ranks for more than two centuries. Since the days of General George Washington and the Continental Army, the American government had been meting out punishments to homosexuals. Under Washington, homosexuals were “drummed out” and tarred and feathered, and court martialed. Later, homosexuals were imprisoned for sodomy, delivered sentencing that included hard labor in maximum security prisons, or imprisoned in Navy brigs, which included the added indignity of being fed “bread and water.” Others were given nonjudicial punishment that resulted in the reduction of rank, and issuance of life-altering derogatory discharges that were characterized as “other than honorable,” “bad conduct,” and even, “dishonorable and psychiatric discharges.” Most recently, policy migrated to applying financial penalties which began under President George H. W. Bush in 1991, which applied a 50 percent reduction in benefits, not withstanding the receipt of an honorable discharge.

Today, as the bells of freedom ring across America for lesbian, gay, bisexual (but NOT trans persons) in the military, the sky won’t fall, gay marches will not ensue on military bases (although, why not?) gays in uniforms will not mob barracks or officer clubs in flaunting flamingo dances, ultimately belying the unfounded red-herring claims of wild-eyed, virulently anti-gay activist Elaine Donnelly. (Could we be so lucky that Donnelly will recede into history too?)

Indeed, while many across America today will celebrate this great moment, a new generation of LGBTQ activists, dominated by the “Millenials,” will mark this victory by taking to the streets in dozens of actions across the country, to illuminate the vast inequality of LGBT Americans under federal civil law, led by GetEQUAL, a national organization dedicated to applying the principles of nonviolent civil disobedience.  GetEQUAL played a decisive role in the demise of DADT when a number of activists–including Iraq war veteran Lt. Dan Choi– chained themselves to the White House fence, bringing a new image to the face of discrimination in America and no doubt, caused consternation within the Obama White House.

GetEQUAL arrived on the national scene during the most recent battle to take down “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,”  emerging to play a classic activist, outsider role, and, while sometimes disconcerting to mainstream groups such as the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), gave the DADT repeal effort the necessary political pressure to finally repeal legalized discrimination in the military.

GetEQUAL did not come out of “nowhere,” it was founded by a number of people, most prominently its director Robin McGehee.

McGehee, a lesbian and mother of two from Mississippi, had moved to Fresno, and became a co-director of the National Equality March and the Meet in the Middle March 4 Equality of 2009. She, along with many others, was radicalized by California voters who in November 2008 supported Proposition 8, overturning marriage equality for lesbians and gays by way of a constitutional amendment banning marriage between same-sex partners, reversing the California Supreme Court’s 2008 decision.

McGehee repeatedly says, she would rather spend time with her family than take on this fight for equality, but because she knows that discrimination must be challenged, she has stepped forward in very brave and decisive ways, emerging as one of America’s top leaders in the LGBTQ civil rights movement today.

In August, McGehee, along with Heather Cronk, the managing director of GetEQUAL, brought 92 activists from 25 states and the District of Columbia together in Memphis, Tennessee for a national meeting and training to discuss how the LGBTQ activist community can move forward in a nationally strategic and tactical manner that will advance our new civil rights movement toward full federal equality. Cronk a community activist, with superlative management and organizing skills, put together the training in collaboration with United We Dream immigration activists and community organizers, working and planning together in an unprecedented manner to advance the rights of the LGBTQ community. In Memphis, McGehee called on activists to take bold action around the country and put pressure on elected officials from California to Maine. Today, that plan and those actions are happening in 12 different locations across the country.

At the stroke of midnight today, McGehee tweeted, “Deep love & respect to ALL individuals & orgs who helped take us another step closer to = “.  GetEQUAL understands that we can’t achieve equality through one strategy alone–we must work together as a civil rights movement and use all political sticks and carrots to move our equality agenda forward and not leave anyone behind in a community that should and can be lead by principled leadership at all levels of activism.

Let me raise a flag and plant one too:  I joined GetEQUAL’s board recently because I don’t choose to wait another 40 years to achieve federal equality for LGBT people. I want to see and experience full federal equality in my lifetime. Watching GetEQUAL take on the Obama Administration’s double talk and delay tactics made me a true believer in bringing back principled non-violent civil disobedience as a legitimate tool in organizing for equality. That stick disappeared when ActUp! faded from the scene in the 1990s. GetEQUAL has replaced it at a vital moment in our history.

So as we shift from “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to expand our civil rights further, including trans rights in the military, my personal life involves a loving commitment to my Canadian partner, whom I have been with for nearly the past six years. We met and fell in love in New York City, our home. Under the NAFTA trade agreement my partner can legally work in America, but she does not have the right to permanent resident status through her work permit alone. These work permits are approved for three-year periods and must be renewed in order for her to remain in New York City. Because of DOMA, our relationship does not qualify for immigration status entitling her to live and work freely in the United States on a permanent basis.

In the new post-repeal military, I do believe that its leadership will not be exactly comfortable with the inequality of our gay families’ lives who are on active duty. To be denied housing and health care benefits because of DOMA, soldiers will sadly worry, for good reason, about the well-being of their families, thus distracting them from the mission at hand. This inequality will come into stark relief during the course of regular military life and ultimately, that unfairness delivered by the hands of DOMA, must face the glaring spotlight that we activists must directly expose.

This is a happy day for some of us in our community, but none of us should ever be satisfied or complacent with progress for one part of the community. GetEQUAL is going to be around to remind not only the community, but the rest of country, that we are not equal until all of us become fully equal under America’s laws.

Let me leave you with the words of the poet Langston Hughes wrote in “Democracy”:

I tire so of hearing people say, 
Let things take their course.
Tomorrow is another day.
I do not need my freedom when I’m dead.
I cannot live on tomorrow’s bread.

Is a strong seed
In a great need.

There is a great need for more equality. We are not done. We are not finished, until we are all equal together as one. Meet you at the barricades until we GetEQUAL.



Tanya L. Domi is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University who teaches about human rights in Eurasia and is a Harriman Institute affiliated faculty member. Prior to teaching at Columbia, Domi worked internationally for more than a decade on issues related to democratic transitional development, including political and media development, human rights, gender issues, sex trafficking, and media freedom.

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Watch: Expert Blasts Ginni Thomas for Being ‘In League’ With People Whose ‘Conspiracy Theories’ Contributed to J6 Riots



A court reform expert and progressive political activist is blasting both the U.S. Supreme Court and the spouse of one of its justices after a bombshell Washington Post article revealed how Ginni Thomas headed a secretive right-wing organization funded through a web of dark money with the goal of waging a culture war against the left.

Thomas, a Washington insider for decades, a well-known right-wing lobbyist and conspiracy theorist who had unprecedented access to the Trump White House and Oval Office, just happens to be the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Demand Justice founder Brian Fallon warned the Roberts Supreme Court has a reputation of “behaving unethically,” handing down “questionable” decisions, being “overtaken with scandal,” and “riddled with ethical conflicts and influence peddling.”

“Research that my group has done, we’ve noticed that part of what is animating this downward shift in opinion of the court is not just the highly unpopular, substantive rulings that are coming out of the court – and that’s saying something because they’re pretty unpopular,” Fallon, the former Clinton campaign national press secretary and former DOJ director of public affairs, told MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace, “but it’s also this idea that the court is behaving unethically, and that it’s become overtaken with scandal.”

READ MORE: ‘This Is About One Client – Donald Trump’: Eric Swalwell Destroys Jim Jordan and His ‘Insurrection LLC’ Committee (Video)

“There’s a feeling that not only is it reaching decisions that are questionable and unpopular, but it’s also reaching them through illicit means – that the majority that Republicans have now on the Supreme Court, that 6 to 3 majority, was gained through illicit means, and that the way it’s going about its business of hearing cases is just sort of riddled with ethical conflicts and influence peddling.”

Fallon warned that The Washington Post’s report on Ginni Thomas, “I think, would just further that narrative in the public’s mind.”

Wallace, pointing to The Post’s reporting, blasted Thomas’ “demented approach to ethics and transparency.”

“The piece about funding is so stunning to me, because it, you know, over here on Earth One, you would do the opposite, right?” Wallace posited. “If there were a nonprofit that involved the spouse of a Supreme Court justice, you would take the path that would bring about more disclosure, more transparency. Ginni Thomas does the opposite. She basically buries and hides the funding through a workaround that may or may not be legal, it certainly isn’t ethical or transparent.”

After criticizing Ginni Thomas for lobbying on issues Clarence Thomas could or does make decisions on, Fallon criticized her for the secretive organization she was heading, which she said was going after the left’s “cultural Marxism.”

Calling Thomas a “fringe figure,” Fallon observed, “the people that she brought together for this nonprofit that received $600,000 was a rogue’s gallery of people that do not belong in polite society in Washington, D.C.”

READ MORE: Watch: House Dem Mocks Republicans by Thanking Them for Taking Time Away From ‘Trump’s Memorial Service to David Koresh’

“You have the head of Project Veritas who’s been criminally prosecuted for the shady activities of that group,” Fallon alleged.

He also pointed to the right wing pro-Trump group Turning Point USA’s founder, Charlie Kirk.

“These are people that say outrageous things that help provoke conspiracy theories that contributed to the riots to try to overturn the government. And Ginni Thomas is in league with all of them.”

“This should be shocking and appalling to your average Member of Congress on both sides of the aisle, and we don’t see any movement from Republicans in the House to do anything in terms of an ethics bill, but it should be 100% uncontroversial at this point, to impose a mandatory code of ethics on the Supreme Court so that Clarence Thomas has to account for his wife’s activities more so than he does have to right now.”

Watch Fallon below or at this link:

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‘This Is About One Client – Donald Trump’: Eric Swalwell Destroys Jim Jordan and His ‘Insurrection LLC’ Committee (Video)



U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) unleashed massive criticism of Jim Jordan Wednesday afternoon, accusing the House Judiciary Committee Chairman of working solely for Donald Trump.

In his opening remarks of a Judiciary subcommittee hearing Swalwell, the Ranking Member, slammed Jordan for refusing to comply with a legal subpoena issued by the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, and criticized the subcommittee for holding a hearing – not on gun violence and mass shootings – but on what the California Democrat said was issues to help the ex-president.

Congressman Swalwell blasted Jordan and his “Committee to Obstruct Justice” on a wide range of issues, including obstructing justice, ordering a district attorney to commit a felony, and lying that Attorney General Merrick Garland labeled parents “domestic terrorists.”

“Well, here we are. Another partners’ meeting of Insurrection, LLC,” Swalwell said as he began his remarks. “That’s what this is. This is the newly formed largest law firm in Washington, D.C. Only has one client, maybe a second client that we’re going to learn about today, but that client is former president Donald Trump.”

“Their job,” he said, referring to Jordan’s Judiciary Committee, subcommittees, and his controversial Subcommittee of the Weaponization of the Federal Government, “is to litigate every one of [Trump’s] petty, petty, petty grievances.”

READ MORE: Watch: House Dem Mocks Republicans by Thanking Them for Taking Time Away From ‘Trump’s Memorial Service to David Koresh’

“It’s now 321 days since this subpoena was sent to Jim Jordan, that he did not comply with,” Swalwell said, pointing to a large blown-up copy of the subpoena, with the word “subpoena” enlarged exponentially.

“So it’s comical that we are here today, under Jim Jordan’s leadership, asking people why they don’t want to comply with subpoenas. The guy won’t comply with the one that was sent to him 321 days ago, witness to a crime, the crime that has led to more arrests than any investigation in America,” Swalwell observed, referring to the January 6 prosecutions.

“He’s a witness being asked to do his patriotic duty and respond to a subpoena 321 days later, refuses. Also, since the last hearing of this Committee to Obstruct Justice, Chairman Jordan is now in interfering in an independent criminal prosecution. There’s an investigation in Manhattan, also in Atlanta, also at the Department of Justice, into the former president and Jim Jordan has sent a letter to the independently elected District Attorney Alvin Bragg of Manhattan. He is asking Alvin Bragg to commit a felony.”

“Why is he asking Alvin Bragg to commit a felony? To help Donald Trump. Why is it a felony? Because if Alvin Bragg were to turn over what Jim Jordan is asking of him, Bragg would be violating New York law that says you cannot turn over grand jury proceedings, but that’s what they’re asking them to do. Again, the law doesn’t matter if your client is Donald Trump. ”

“The other day Jim Jordan was asked, ‘Well, what do you think of the former president who put out on Truth Social the other day, essentially an another call to action? A January 6-like post when the former president said this posting, Jim Jordan was presented with this post by the former president that calls for ‘death and destruction.’ And Mr. Jordan said that he would ‘need his classes.’ He was looking the other way. Jim Jordan looking the other way.”

READ MORE: Here’s How Five Republicans in Congress Are Responding to the Mass Shooting of 3 Children and 3 Adults in Nashville (Video)

“Well, we have blown up on the screen and we’ve put it right here and I’ll leave it for Jim Jordan. This is what Donald Trump said, Mr. Jordan,” Swalwell said, reading the e-president’s social media post:

“‘What kind of person can charge another person? In this case it former president of the United States who got more votes than any sitting president in history and leading candidate by far for the Republican Party nomination with the crime when it is known by all that? No crime has been committed and also known that potential death and destruction and such a false charge can be catastrophic for our country. Why and who would do such a thing? Only a degenerate psychopath that truly hates the USA?'”

“Again, I’m gonna leave this up here in probably 200 font. So Mr. Jordan doesn’t need his glasses to read it,” Swalwell added, referring to news that Jordan recently refused to comment on a Trump social media post claiming he first hadn’t read it, then when a reporter showed it to him, Jordan said he couldn’t read it because he didn’t have his glasses.

“The same individual who posted this also posted this photo. There you go, Donald. Trump. Real tough guy holding a baseball bat, next to a picture of that independent prosecutor that Jim Jordan wants to commit a felony, Alvin Bragg.”

“But you won’t hear from this Committee to Obstruct Justice, any condemnation of what Donald Trump posted. They can’t condemn him. They can’t. So in their silence, they condone it. And in these posts from Donald Trump, he incites more and more Americans to commit violence like a woman who was arrested yesterday, near Times Square with a knife seeking to carry out an act of violence in Donald Trump’s name.”

Swalwell blasted Chairman Jordan for repeatedly falsely claiming that Attorney General Merrick Garland had labeled parents speaking at school board meetings “domestic terrorists,” a lie made by many Republicans and conservatives.

READ MORE: New WSJ Poll Is Devastating for DeSantis and His ‘Anti-Woke’ Policies

“No parent has a right to threaten a school board volunteer. If a threat is brought to the FBI, it’s their duty to investigate those threats. We’ve also learned from all the document production from DOJ and the FBI in the Department of Education, that there is not one instance where the Department of Justice called any parent or a group of parents, ‘domestic terrorists,’ as has been claimed by Jim Jordan.”

And he criticized House Republicans, who, under Jim Jordan, had posted a tweet in support of Donald Trump, Elon Musk, and Kanye West.

“It’s also about a tweet that Jim Jordan posted back in the fall. ‘Kanye. Elon. Trump.’ Now after that tweet was posted, Kanye said he’s going to declare ‘DEF CON three on the Jews.’ The tweet stayed up for months. Everyone was like, ‘Hey guys, turns out your hero Kanye West hates the Jews. We all stand with Israel. Please take down the tweet.’ They didn’t take down the tweet. They kept the tweet up. Day after day. Jewish community they’re hurting, they say, ‘Please don’t take, please don’t put this tweet up.’ It stays up.”

He also blasted the GOP for holding hearings with witnesses they invited who are anti-police, despite their motto of “backing the blue.”

“Last week, we had a hearing where you could call anyone in America when you have the majority, the power of a subpoena. We had a hearing about the ATF. These guys brought a witness who had just recently tweeted, ‘fuck cops.’ Cops. That’s what this guy tweeted. Anyone on Earth could have come to that hearing and they brought someone that said, ‘fuck cops.’ Then one of their colleagues, this is what she’s selling on her social media: ‘defund the FBI.’ So we went from backing the blue to backing the coup.”

Swalwell concluded his remarks by slamming the committee for doing nothing to reduce gun violence in the wake of Monday’s school mass shooting.

“So we’ll waste our time today on this exercise on behalf of Donald Trump and perhaps Elon Musk, but everyone on their side is going to have to go home this weekend to their constituents and their constituents are going to ask them one question: Three little babies died this week in a school in Nashville. No other committee in Congress has jurisdiction to do something about that except this committee. So you’re on the Judiciary Committee. Three kids are dead. They’re gonna be buried this week. What did you do about it? Did you show up to the Judiciary Committee and fight for those kids? Or did you show up and fight for Donald Trump? They showed up to the first hearing after Nashville and they’re fighting for Donald Trump.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.



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Watch: House Dem Mocks Republicans by Thanking Them for Taking Time Away From ‘Trump’s Memorial Service to David Koresh’



U.S. Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-FL) mocked the entire GOP Wednesday afternoon by sardonically thanking his Republican colleagues for taking time away from Donald Trump’s “memorial service to David Koresh,” referring to the ex-president’s rally Saturday in Waco, Texas during the 30th anniversary of that deadly siege.

“I want to thank the majority for finding the time to fit this hearing in between attending former President Trump’s memorial service to David Koresh, just last week, who was a real advocate for young girls in this country.”

Congressman Moskowitz was referring to the Branch Davidian religious cult leader who allegedly was a polygamist and child sex abuser. In 1993, the ATF’s attempt to serve a warrant on Koresh for “unlawful possession of fully automatic machine guns and destructive devices” turned into a 51-day siege of his Waco compound, which ended with the deaths of 86 people. Experts point to that event as fueling the rise of right-wing domestic terrorism, including by Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.

READ MORE: Here’s How Five Republicans in Congress Are Responding to the Mass Shooting of 3 Children and 3 Adults in Nashville (Video)

Wednesday’s hearing of a House Oversight Committee subcommittee focused on Washington, D.C. also offered Rep. Moskowitz the opportunity to pose this question related to Monday’s Nashville school mass shooting: “Do you think parents, putting their young kids into pajamas at night, and tucking them into bed, do you think they’re worried about public urination in Washington, D.C. or do you think they’re worried about sending their kid to school and their kid not coming home?”

Moskowitz wasn’t done blasting Republicans for refusing to do anything to address mass shootings after Monday’s school massacre in Nashville.

“You know, speaking of crime, Republican on Republican crime, former President Donald Trump held a rally in Waco, Texas with his ‘Rasputin’ Ted Nugent. He said the number one national security threat to this great nation isn’t Russia or China or DC crime. But is an 81-year old slip and fall survivor in Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. I’m just wondering if we’re gonna find time in between, you know, some folks here attending the next rally to celebrating Timothy McVeigh, if we’re gonna find time to hold a hearing on mass murder in schools? When are we holding that hearing?”

Watch there videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Troubling Questions’: Experts Slam Ginni Thomas’ Group That Waged Cultural War Against the Left via Web of Dark Money Orgs

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