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DADT: Mr. President, It’s Actually “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue, Don’t Harass”

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“I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are.”

— President Barack Obama, State of the Union, January 27, 2010

One sentence. Thirty short words, out of a total of 7077. That’s all Barack Obama spent on the 66,000 LGBTQ servicemembers in our armed forces who live daily in fear.

I want to remind everyone that the policy/law is actually titled, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue, Don’t Harass.” Somehow, the military fogot about the last half of the title. Especially the don’t pursue part. DADT actually is responsible for an increase in discharges from the military; ironic, perhaps, as the law was supposed to offer some cover for gay men and women serving in the armed forces.

And this reminder, via Georgetown Law, as well:

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is the only law in this country that authorizes the firing of an American simply for coming out as gay, lesbian, or bisexual.”

But, back to last night’s State of the Union.

On one hand, he included repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the State of the Union. That’s a big deal. many worthy initiatives don’t make it into the SOTU, so, one could say we should be heartened.

On the other hand, it was thirty words. And he didn’t say when (except, “this year,) how (except, “I will work with Congress,”) or who was responsible. He didn’t offer invoking stop-loss, which would put a hold on any further discharges until the law is repealed. He didn’t demand it, as he did the jobs bill (granted, jobs are hugely important.)

Reaction has been mixed. From the LGBTQ community, most of my friends are skeptical. “I’ll believe it when I see it,” is the bottom-line reaction from most. One wrote on my Facebook page, “I don’t think congress is going to answer that call…” Another, “He has just repeated the same thing he has said for the past 2 years.”

My feelings echo David Mixner’s statement today:

“The reference to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ in a State of the Union message was no doubt  a powerful and historic moment for the LGBT community. The community has succeeded in pushing this rock up the hill so that at last DADT is part of the national agenda. What I don’t understand is why the President continues to resist issuing a ‘stop-loss’ order and end this practice now instead of a prolong and maybe never ending Congressional battle? What a moral high ground he would have spoken from last night if he announced a ‘stop-loss’ order and then challenge Congress to meet his courage. The President has the power right this moment, beyond inspiration words, to create powerful change for this community. He once again decided not to use his Presidential powers and depend totally on Congress.”

Andrew Sullivan’s take:

“Bob Gates applauded the line. That’s the most encouraging sign in twenty years.”

I remain cautiously optimistic.

The President has effectively moved the ball into Congress’ court — he usual M.O. Will “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal be included in the Defense Department budget, as has been the expectation? Will Congress even answer the President’s call? John McCain, as I reported last night, has already said, “No.”

Our job now, as Lt. Dan Choi said last night, is to get to work to make repeal happen.

And as I said last night, “Game on!”

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Bartiromo Blasts Biden Administration for Encouraging Americans to Register to Vote

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Fox News Business anchor Maria Bartiromo is attacking the Biden administration’s efforts to encourage American citizens to register to vote. In interviews with several Republicans on Friday she claimed the federal government outreach only helps elect Democrats.

“Okay, so what are you all doing about it on the Republican side?” Bartiromo asked House Republican Majority Leader Steve Scalise Friday morning. “As the government, Biden’s government, Biden’s administration seems to be using a whole on government approach to get people to vote Democrat?”

Sticking to GOP talking points, Scalise suggested it is “the weaponization of government.”

Bartiromo had cited an article on the right-wing website The Federalist, “9 Ways The Feds Are Using ‘Bidenbucks’ To Rig The 2024 Election,” that details ways the administration is helping or encouraging Americans to register to vote. There is no such thing as “Bidenbucks.”

READ MORE: Republicans Kill Bill to Protect IVF After Claiming They Fully Support It

The article points to several instances where the administration is encouraging voter registration, like at colleges, or by outreach to Native Americans, and to new Americans.

“U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), an agency within DHS, announced an update to its Policy Manual in August, which included provisions directing agency employees to ‘increase awareness and expand access to voter registration during naturalization ceremonies,’ in which eligible immigrants officially become U.S. citizens.”

It also claims, “Studies have indicated a voting preference among legal immigrants for Democrat candidates over Republican ones.”

The Federalist reports other federal agencies are encouraging voter registration. The include: The Treasury Dept., the Department of the Interior, Veterans Affairs, Labor, Homeland Security, Agriculture, Health and Human Services, and Education.

Bartiromo also pummeled U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL): “What are the Republicans doing?”

Waltz replied the House has passed legislation to “defund” efforts to encourage American citizens to vote.

Watch the videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Injustice’: Experts Condemn Supreme Court’s ‘Fundamentally Corrupt’ Trump Decision

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Republicans Kill Bill to Protect IVF After Claiming They Fully Support It

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After the Alabama Supreme Court ruled two weeks ago that frozen embryos are “children,” causing several medical facilities to pause their in-vitro fertilization services, Republicans rushed to get ahead of the growing national outrage.

Many Republicans insisted that although they oppose abortion and support the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade, they did not think it would have effects this far-reaching. And they insisted, repeatedly, on-camera, they absolutely support in-vitro fertilization (IVF).

“Once you pass a law or accept the view that life begins at conception, IVF & some forms of birth control are at risk, along with abortion. It was never ‘just’ about abortion & women pay the price for all of it,” wrote professor of law and MSNBC legal contributor Joyce Vance on February 23. Three days later she added, “It’s pretty simple. If life begins at conception, IVF is off the table. If you make an exception for IVF then we’re just having a conversation about who you’re willing to make exceptions for.”

Republicans insisted they were willing to make an exception for IVF.

RELATED: Nikki Haley: Frozen Embryos Are ‘Babies’

For years, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), who has given birth to two children with the help of IVF, has tried to pass legislation to protect IVF.

Republicans each time have killed the bills.

Her latest attempt was Wednesday.

U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) on Wednesday spoke against the bill.

Sen. Duckworth stamped out Hyde-Smith’s claims, saying, “She said at one point the bill would allow for chimeras — human-animal hybrids — it does nothing of the sort. All the bill says if you want to seek reproductive technology you can …”

Sen. Hyde-Smith then killed the bill by formally objecting to Duckworth’s bill on Wednesday, which the Illinois Democrat tried to pass via unanimous consent.

It was the second time in two years Sen. Hyde-Smith has killed that bill.

They’re hanging this on Hyde-Smith. But the entire senate gop has now united to block a federal law to keep ivf legal,” observed Talking Points Memo publisher Josh Marshall. “They’re all coming out saying that frozen embryos are equal to living children.”

READ MORE: Democrats Discredit GOP Claims on IVF as Republicans Try to Regain Ground After Fallout

Also on Wednesday, the lone House Republican supporting legislation to protect IVF withdrew her sponsorship of that bill.

The Biden campaign on Thursday blasted Republicans for claiming to support IVF then killing the bill that would have protected it.

Watch the videos above or at this link.

 

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‘Injustice’: Experts Condemn Supreme Court’s ‘Fundamentally Corrupt’ Trump Decision

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Legal and political experts were stunned by the Supreme Court announcing Wednesday it will take up Donald Trump’s claim of presidential immunity, despite there being no contradiction in the lower courts. Compounding experts’ surprise and concern over granting certiorari was the length of time it took to announce the decision, and that they will not hear arguments until April 22.

“The Supreme Court heard and decided Bush v. Gore in THREE DAYS. THAT was expediting a case of national importance,” noted Tristan Snell, the former New York State prosecutor who led the successful investigation and $25 million prosecution of Donald Trump’s Trump University. “The Supreme Court apparently now thinks expediting means THREE MONTHS. Clearest evidence yet that SCOTUS is corrupt and broken.”

Professor of law and MSNBC legal analyst Andrew Weissmann, the former FBI General Counsel who served at DOJ for decades, asked: “Why on god’s green earth did the S Ct [Supreme Court] not take the case earlier when the Special Counsel sought review directly from the District Court? They have really played into Trump’s hands.”

He adds: “The Supreme Court is going straight for the capillaries: an issue the DC criminal case does not raise, namely the outer bounds of a presidential immunity doctrine.”

READ MORE: Trump Swore Under Oath He Had $400 Million in Cash – Now He’s Telling a Court a Different Story

Weissman Thursday morning noted that the Supreme Court’s actions essentially make Trump “de facto immune.”

Foreign policy, national security, and political affairs analyst and author David Rothkopf replied, “I think you have answered your own question. The only reason to handle this the way they did is to, at best, play Trump’s delay game and, at worst, set the stage for one of the most indefensible, corrupt decisions (or outcomes) in US history.”

“Those who did not understand the urgency of stopping the threat posed by Trump, MAGA and the dark money right, those who did not actively hold them accountable with every available institutional tool, may have been the undoing of American democracy…no matter their intentions,” he noted.

“Let’s not beat around the bush, decision by the Supreme Court to hear the Trump immunity case is outrageous and, at its heart, fundamentally corrupt,” Rothkopf also wrote. “The Appeals Court decision was bullet proof and there is no case Trump has any sort of immunity. The decision not to hear it until late April makes further significant trial delays likely. They are deliberately delaying the trial without any reasonable legal reason to do so. This is a political decision and, in my estimation, an ugly one.”

“If a special counsel had been appointed early in 2021,” Rothkopf also wrote, “if Trump obstruction of justice had be prosecuted, if Trump had not been granted special treatment on his theft of classified documents, if the classified documents case had been brought in DC as it should have been, Trump might very well be in jail now.”

READ MORE: Comer Announces Public Hearing After Hunter Biden Closed Door Testimony

He also pointed to this monologue from MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, calling it “correct.”

University Professor Emeritus at Harvard University Laurence Tribe blasted “the SCOTUS decision to slow-walk Trump’s outrageous immunity claim — the claim everyone knows would be rejected 9-0 by any self-respecting court.”

Noting the Supreme Court could have taken up the case back in December, Tribe told CNN, “There’s nothing new under the sun” in this case. “It doesn’t make any sense to stretch this out this way.”

“We can be sure that they want to use this case to settle a whole broad range of issues, contrary to their supposed practice of deciding no more than you must decide. In fact, the Chief Justice once famously said, if we don’t have to decide something, that means we have to avoid deciding it. He’s obviously violated that mandate here and the struggle within the court results in injustice for the nation.”

Tribe also slammed the Court for choosing to announce it will decide “the broadest possible question.” He suggests they could stretch it out even more, by taking the case, hearing it, then sending it back to the lower courts again.

Daily Beast columnist and “recovering attorney” Wajahat Ali observed: “A thoroughly corrupt Supreme Court with right-wing justices bought out by conservative billionaires and beholden to Christian nationalism should not be expected to side with justice, the rule of law, or democracy. Elections matter.”

CNN Senior Supreme Court Analyst Joan Biskupic on Wednesday said, The fact that they delayed this order … suggests that they certainly did not embrace the urgency that Special Counsel Jack Smith tried to impose upon them, way back in December.”

“Former President Trump’s effort to run the clock has a partner in the Supreme Court at this point,” she notes.

Watch the videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘How Extremism Is Normalized’: Schlapp Furious as Critics Slam CPAC Over Report of Nazis

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