If Howard Dean Can Show Up At A “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Rally, Why Can’t Joe Solmonese?
“If Howard Dean can show up at a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” rally, why can’t Joe Solmonese?”
Justin Elzie, the first Marine to come out under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in 1993, asked me that question after he, along with several other present and former servicemembers spoke at a rally in Washington, D.C. Sunday. A rally that former Vermont Governor and former Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean showed up to and spoke at, but HRC President Joe Solmonese did not.
Howard Dean has no horse in this race. He’s not running for — or against — anything. These days, the six-term governor makes his living talking mostly about health care, not military policy. So what motivated Dean to speak? Chris Geidner at D.C.’s Metro Weekly wrote that Dean “was in the area for a Democracy for America fundraiser and supported the cause.”
At Sunday’s rally, Dean shared some of his thoughts on gays serving in the military
â€œIf somebody is brave enough to take a bullet for the United States of America then they ought to have equal rights under the law when they come home just like everybody else does.â€
â€œTo kick talented people out of the military because they happen to be gay or lesbian makes no sense at all.â€
â€œThe fact of the matter is, the first guy who took a bullet for George W. Bush, when he sent our troops to Iraq, wasâ€¦Eric Alvaâ€¦Eric Alva is a gay man.â€
Pity Joe Solmonese wasn’t in the area Sunday when Howard Dean was speaking to the crowd of 100 to 150. Pity Solmonese wasn’t in the area when just after Governor Dean spoke and six servicemembers once again were chained to the White House gates. (Some would say pity Solmonese was in the area the first time Choi chained himself to the White House gates.)
But the point is not that Solmonese wasn’t there. And it’s way too easy to point that out.
The point, is that there is a serious lack of leadership coming from Solmonese on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal. But Solmonese is in good company. There’s also a serious lack of leadership coming from the White House.
It seems these days that the real leadership on DADT repeal is coming from grass roots groups like GetEQUAL, and SLDN, Servicemembers United, and Queer Rising. HRC and others may very well be working behind the scenes, but until they can prove the effectiveness of their actions, the growing sentiment in the LGBTQ community is, “What have you done for me lately?”
These direct actions from grassroots groups like Servicemembers United and GetEqual, and others who are responsible for Sunday’s rally and White House protest are what’s getting attention. While the community and the greater citizenry may be divided on the wisdom of these events, the fact is that they are keeping the plight of LGBTQ Americans in the news.
At yesterday’s rally, half a dozen past and present members of our nation’s armed forces, Tanya Domi, Jarrod Chlapowski, Evelyn Thomas, Brett Edward Stout, and Robin Chaurasiya, along with rally host Justin Elzie, all spoke in favor of repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
And once more, six DADT protesters (this time, Mark Reed, Natasha Dillon, Alan Bounville, Ann Tischer, Nora Camp, and Eiona DiBona) chained themselves to the White House gates, the third time this year activists have done this to highlight the need to act urgently to repeal DADT.
Heck, Nancy Pelosi has shown more guts than President Obama on this issue. So have Carl Levin and Kirsten Gillibrand.
So, where is the Obama administration on this? Where is HRC on this? Why is it we’re seeing more bravery from members of our armed forces, Congress, and the grass roots, than from the Barack Obama or Joe Solmonese?
(image by Jamie McGonnigal.)
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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
‘Fail’: Critics Blast Youngkin for Claim Trump Is a Victim of ‘Politically Motivated Actions’ Just Like ‘Parents in Virginia’
Virginia Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin, a possible 2024 presidential candidate, is under fire after remarks he made Friday morning defending Donald Trump after the ex-president was indicted on what has now been revealed to be 37 federal felony counts related to the Dept. of Justice’s criminal probe into his handling of hundreds of classified and top secret documents.
Youngkin Friday suggested that the prosecution of Donald Trump, which includes Espionage Act charges, conspiracy charges, and obstruction of justice charges among others, was just like the alleged prosecution of parents.
Gov. Youngkin, often wrongly portrayed in the media as a moderate Republican, may have been attempting to invoke the false yet viral far-right claim that Attorney General Merrick Garland was investigating and prosecuting parents for merely speaking at school board meetings. That claim came about after Garland issued a letter asking the Bureau to come up with strategies to address violence and violent threats directed at school board members. Some who have promoted that erroneous claim, including Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, have falsely claimed Garland called ordinary parents “terrorists.”
On Friday, Youngkin tweeted about the Trump indictment, saying, “These charges are unprecedented and it’s a sad day for our country, especially in light of what clearly appears to be a two-tiered justice system where some are selectively prosecuted, and others are not.”
“Parents in Virginia know firsthand what it’s like to be targeted by politically motivated actions,” he added.
“Regardless of your party, this undermines faith in our judicial system at exactly the time when we should be working to restore that trust,” Youngkin concluded, remarks that themselves could undermine faith in our judicial system.
Days before his election, Youngkin also promoted the false Garland claim, even after the Attorney General that same day explained to the Senate Judiciary Committee his letter directed the FBI to investigate not ordinary parents, but people who were organizing attacks on school board members.
Candidate Youngkin appeared on Fox News in October 0f 2021 (video below) and falsely told Tucker Carlson, “What happened today was, of course, Merrick Garland doubled down. He said, ‘No, I’m absolutely maintaining my position that the DOJ and the FBI should be investigating parents.’ Parents who are trying to stand up for their children when there’s been a sexual assault in a school bathroom. We have a board of education and in Loudoun County that tried to hide it from parents, hide it from hiding from the public, and they move this child into another school and then that child again committed another sexual assault.”
READ MORE: DOJ Unseals 37-Count Trump Criminal Indictment – Legal Expert Calls It ‘Egregious’ and ‘Devastating’ (Full Text)
Youngkin made education and “parents’ rights” a campaign issue when he ran in 2021. His opponent, Democrat Terry McAuliffe, during a debate said, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” While experts claim it didn’t swing the election for Youngkin, it at least established him nationally as focused on education and “parental rights,” a mantle Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis quickly co-opted.
The Washington Post, alternatively, on Friday focused on Youngkin’s “two-tiered justice” remarks, reporting: “Youngkin’s suggestion that a rich White man — he didn’t actually name Trump — had been victimized by a ‘two-tiered justice system’ drew fierce pushback, with many critics noting the governor’s opposition to the notion that racial and ethnic minorities face systemic racism. The Republican won the governorship on a promise to purge ‘critical race theory’ from K-12 classrooms, though it was not part of any curriculum. Once in office, Youngkin launched a tip line for parents to report on teachers discussing ‘inherently divisive’ concepts in schools.”
Youngkin, who technically is a “populist conservative” but swings far-right on social issues, was quickly chastised for his tweet.
“You know what you are staying is wrong and incendiary. Shame on you,” declared former CIA officer John Sipher. “These charges stemmed from a grand [jury] of Florida citizens. Trump will have access to a Fair process. But instead you spread information to anger and confuse people. You are stoking misinformation and violence.”
READ MORE: SCOTUS ‘Surprise’ Voting Rights Decision Could – and Did – Have Big Implications for Democrats, Legal Experts Say
MSNBC’s Chris Hayes took a different approach, mocking the Virginia Republican.
“It’s the pivot to ‘Parents in Virginia…’ in the third sentence that elevates this to art,” he wrote.
“The moderate, genial suburban dad in a fleece vest suggests that the only way to restore confidence in the justice system is to place Trump above the law,” wrote The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent, also mocking Youngkin.
“Youngkin is pro-Trump, as usual–even though Virginia voted heavily AGAINST Trump in both 2016 and 2020. When it comes to Donald Trump, Liz Cheney has more courage in her pinky than Youngkin does in his whole body,” observed Larry Sabato, the well-known professor of politics, political analyst, and founder and director of University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.
The vice president of research for the liberal super PAC American Bridge 21st Century, Liz Charboneau, called Youngkin’s tweet an “especially stupid statement when a large portion of your state has a security clearance, handles classified documents, and has never been charged under the espionage act.”
Conservative Mona Charen, a syndicated columnist and Policy Editor at The Bulwark: “So here’s our answer as to whether Youngkin is a man of character. Fail.”
The Lincoln Project’s Michelle Kinney tweeted, “Youngkin twisting himself into pretzel to weave a vaguebook repudiation of Trump indictment and his weirdo anti vaxx anti trans ‘parents rights’ obsession into one tweet. It reads like Veep dialogue.”
Historian, professor, Holocaust expert Dr. Waitman Wade Beorn tweeted, “Hey dude, the Pentagon is literally in your state. Maybe stop in and have a chat…”
Watch the video above or at this link.
Watch Live: Special Counsel Jack Smith Holds News Conference After Trump Criminal Indictment Unsealed
Special Counsel Jack Smith will hold a news conference Friday at 3:00 PM ET, after the U.S. Dept. of Justice unsealed its 49-page 37-criminal count indictment against Donald Trump. The indictment also names a Trump aide.
Legal experts reviewing the indictment were stunned at not only the level of detail but the manner in which Trump treated classified documents, including allegedly storing them in boxes on the stage at Mar-a-Lago, in a bathroom, a shower, and a bedroom.
Former Dept. of Defense special Counsel Ryan Goodman, now an NYU professor of law, calls the indictment “devastating,” and concludes: “Extraordinary risks to U.S. national security. Foreign adversaries would pay tens of millions for that info.”
READ MORE: ‘Disgraced’ Trump-Appointed Florida Judge Initially Assigned to Oversee Ex-President’s Criminal Case: Report
Smith, who was appointed by Donald Trump as an acting U.S. Attorney, also prosecuted war crimes cases at The Hague. he also was the head of the DOJ’s Public Integrity Section.
Watch video of his full news conference below or at this link.
WATCH: Complete statement from Special Counsel Jack Smith: “Today an indictment was unsealed charging Donald J. Trump with felony violations of our national security laws as well as participating in a conspiracy to obstruct justice.” pic.twitter.com/llUlrvpVe4
— CSPAN (@cspan) June 9, 2023
This article has been updated to include full video of the completed news conference.
'EXTRAORDINARY RISKS TO U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY'
DOJ Unseals 37-Count Trump Criminal Indictment – Legal Expert Calls It ‘Egregious’ and ‘Devastating’ (Full Text)
The U.S. Dept. of Justice has unsealed its 37-criminal count, 49-page indictment in its case against Donald J. Trump, which includes the previously unknown and damning charge that the ex-president showed classified information to people who were not authorized to see them. One legal expert says America’s enemies would pay “tens of millions of dollars” for the classified documents.”
The indictment includes a Trump aide known in previous news reports as Walt Nauta.
“Dissemination is a much more serious crime,” former top DOJ official Andrew Weissmann said on MSNBC, referring to even allowing someone to see classified information.
READ MORE: ‘Disgraced’ Trump-Appointed Florida Judge Initially Assigned to Oversee Ex-President’s Criminal Case: Report
Two of the critical passages alleging dissemination:
“In July 2021, at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey (‘The Bedminster Club’), during an audio-recorded meeting with a writer, a publisher, and two members of his staff, none of whom possessed a security clearance, TRUMP showed and described a ‘plan of attack’ that TRUMP said was prepared for him by the Department of Defense and a senior military official. TRUMP told the individuals that the plan was ‘highly confidential’ and ‘secret.’ TRUMP also said, ‘as president I could have declassified it,’ and, ‘Now I can’t, you know, but this is still a secret.'”
“In August or September 2021, at The Bedminster Club, TRUMP showed a representative of his political action committee who did not possess a security clearance a classified map related to a military operation and told the representative that he should not be showing it to the representative and that the representative should not get too close.”
Politico’s Sam Stein points to this photo in the indictment that allegedly shows dozens of boxes of documents “stacked on the ballroom stage at Mar-a-Lago.”
Trump, for a period of time, stacked boxes from his time at the White House on a ballroom stage at Mar-a-Lago pic.twitter.com/uEO9WMrH2j
— Sam Stein (@samstein) June 9, 2023
Another damning passage of the indictment states:
“The classified documents TRUMP stored in his boxes included information regarding defense and weapons capabilities of both the United States and foreign countries; United States nuclear programs; potential vulnerabilities of the United States and its allies to military attack; and plans for possible retaliation in response to a foreign attack. The unauthorized disclosure of these classified documents could put at risk the national security of the United States, foreign relations, the safety of the United States military, and human sources and the continued viability of sensitive intelligence collection methods.”
Former Dept. of Defense special Counsel Ryan Goodman, now an NYU professor of law, calls the indictment “devastating.”
“I have looked at all prior prosecutions under the Espionage Act and have never seen egregious facts like this,” hew writes. “Trump ‘stored his boxes containing classified documents .. in a ballroom, a bathroom and shower, an office space, his bedroom, and a storage room.'”
Goodman concludes, “Extraordinary risks to U.S. national security. Foreign adversaries would pay tens of millions for that info.”
Special Counsel Jack Smith will speak to the media at 3 PM ET.
Read the full indictment below or at this link.
The United States of Americ… by ABC News Politics
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