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Salvation Or Sham? “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Repeal Compromise



The compromise that created “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in 1993 has led, seventeen years later, to a compromise promising its repeal. But the LGBT community right now is in turmoil, unsure if it can trust the powers who have effectively oppressed and dominated us to keep their promises to free us.

Monday night, a compromise was reached between key Congressional leaders, the military, and the White House that effectively will allow a vote to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to take place this week, (probably Thursday in the full House, and in the Senate’s Armed Services Committee as an amendment to the 2011 defense authorization bill,) with the very mild support of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

(Gates’ support was so mild that it, along with Obama’s perceived reluctance, convinced Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) to decide to vote against repeal. “Moderate” GOP Senator and Senate Armed Services Committee member Scott Brown (R-MA) has also promised to vote against repeal. Fortunately, Senator Ben Nelson (R-NE) has surprised most and indicated he will vote in favor of repeal. Of course, Rep. Mike Pence is still lying, stating, “The American people don’t want the American military to be used to advance a liberal political agenda,” despite a CNN poll released yesterday that found that 78% of “the American people” want DADT repealed.)

If passed, repeal would not take place until after the military’s current invasive and unnecessary ten-month study has concluded, and even then, it would be up to the military — not Congress — to determine how and when implementation of the repeal would take place. In short, as many in the LGBT community are concerned, a gentleman’s agreement and a handshake are all we’re getting.

Esteemed civil rights activist David Mixner, who left the Clinton White House as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was being forged, weighed in. Writing “DADT: Compromise, Faith and Full Equality,” on his blog, Mixner voiced many strong and insightful thoughts which you should read, but I’ll share this one with you:

In the end, it is apparent that as a community we are being asked to proceed with “total faith” in the President and his willingness to take decisive action next winter. This compromise gives us no guarantees, doesn’t end current discrimination and leaves hoping for the best in others. ” Faith” is going to be tough for many people since some of us remember how in 1993 “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was touted as a major compromise and progress. Yes, it is wrong to live in the shadow of the past since it is 18 years later and it is a different world. However it is also wrong to ignore the lessons of our history – which tell us that most times when we have been asked to have “faith”, we have been given darkness.

So, do we trust Obama, who, I am sorry to say, is someone who means well but whose portrayal of patience, caution, and pragmatism seems more like running and hiding? (See: LGBT rights, BP oil “spill,” immigration reform, health care reform, public option…)

And how could we possibly trust the military to do the right thing? To quote a good friend, it would be like trusting a drug addict to quit cold-turkey, when he has no desire to quit in the first place.

The good news is once Congress votes to repeal, and it looks like they will, we’ve got a huge roadblock out of the way. The bad news is that once Congress votes to repeal, and it looks like they will, we have to trust Obama and the military to do the right thing. And then, we have to trust the next administration, and the next, and the next, to continue it.

Because even if and when “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the law, is repealed, there is nothing in place to ensure discrimination does not continue. Remember, before it was the law of the land, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” has been the military’s policy, in various forms, since World War II. And even if the law and the policy are rescinded, the attitude and behavior of harassment and subjugation must be eliminated through formal training and follow-up.

The right thing also means time. Because even if Congress repeals “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” tomorrow, they are ceding all power to the military to determine how and when repeal will become effective.

The worst case scenario is that the military could decide, after their study is complete on December 1, that implementation would have to take years. They could also decide to not stop the “don’t pursue” part of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue, Don’t Harass.” (Yes, most folks forget that’s really its name. Sadly, the last half of its name is forgotten, both in word and in deed.)

So, what we could have is an equally offensive slap in the face, if the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law is rescinded, but the policy remains in place. And literally hundreds of good soldiers will continue to be kicked out of the armed forces, this time, not because of the law, but despite the law.

Huffington Post’s Aaron Belkin is more optimistic. In “Jim Crow? Really?,” he writes,

Here’s why that scenario shouldn’t scare us. 2010 is not 1993. The Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff and the Republican Secretary of Defense have called for open gay service. The public supports open service overwhelmingly, and that includes a majority of Republicans. Within the ranks, people just don’t care. Sure, there are some die-opponents in uniform. But their numbers are small and dwindling. Polls show that the number of service members who feel strongly about the issue is trivial, somewhere around 5 or 10 percent depending on the survey.

I’m sure that future Republican administrations will try to force gay troops back into the closet. And it would be much better to have a legal promise of nondiscrimination than an executive order or Pentagon regulation. That said, the regulatory path will be durable. Ex-president George Bush tried to undo a Clinton-era executive order mandating non-discrimination among non-military federal employees, and he couldn’t get away with it. As Ana Marie Cox has pointed out, racial integration was wildly unpopular when President Truman implemented it via executive order, and that policy has persisted for more than six decades.

The major LGBT groups — HRC, SLDN (whose executive director, Aubrey Sarvis today called it a “welcomed compromise,”) and Servicemembers United all support the compromise.

Chris Geidner writes in Metroweekly,

A leading gay critic [Richard Socarides] of the administration’s progress on LGBT issues called the compromise language unveiled this week for ”Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” a ”conditional future repeal,” adding that it ”is not repeal with delayed implementation.”

The bottom line?

The compromise is a step forward, but into unknown, and unprotected territory. Kind of like where we were before the compromise.

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‘Fool or a Liar’: GOP Knives Out for ‘A–hole’ Matt Gaetz as Vote to Oust McCarthy Appears Likely to Succeed



House Republicans are expressing outrage at one of their own, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who by day’s end may succeed or come close to ousting Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy for relying on Democrats’ votes to keep the federal government from shutting down Saturday night.

“I prefer, you know, common sense over chaos,” Republican Congressman Anthony D’Esposito, who referred to Congressman Gaetz as an “a–hole,” told Fox News on Tuesday.

“I think that we should be focused on governance rather than grandstanding, and the fact that we have one a–hole that is holding us up and holding America up is a real problem,” D’Esposito added.

Far-right Republican Derrick Van Orden told CNN’s Manu Raju that Gaetz is “either a fool or a liar.”

“I’m telling you,” warned Republican Andy Barr of Kentucky, “it definitely puts the majority in jeopardy when you see disunity.”

READ MORE: Trump Has Now ‘Crossed the Line Into Criminal Threats’: Top Legal Scholar

GOP Rep. Steve Womack of Arkansas said, “I think it’s sending a terrible message to the electorate in advance of the 2024 election that this Republican majority could not govern itself.”

On camera, another Republican called Gaetz “a chaos agent,” and another said: “I don’t have tolerance for some pseudo psycho political fetish.”

Still another warned, “I think it’s sending a terrible signal to the electorate in advance of the ’24 election, that this Republican majority cannot govern itself.”

Watch below or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Sodom and Gomorrah’: ND Republican Unleashes Anti-LGBTQ Christian Nationalist Rant Calling for ‘Christ Is King’ Laws

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‘Probably So’: McCarthy Says His Speakership Likely Will End After Vote



The Republican Speaker, Kevin McCarthy, is acknowledging his leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives “probably” is about to end.

“If five Republicans go with Democrats, then I’m out,” McCarthy, sounding resigned to his possible future, told reporters late Tuesday morning. The Speaker acknowledged that if all Democrats vote against him in a vote schedule for Tuesday afternoon, and just five Republicans join them, he will lose his job.

“That looks likely,” ABC’s Rachel Scott told McCarthy.

“Probably so,” he responded.

There are currently at least five Republicans who say they will vote to oust McCarthy, according to CNN’s Haley Talbot, as of last Monday night.

Democrats on Tuesday have said they will not support McCarthy.

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) has been on a campaign to oust McCarthy, who was elected Speaker in January but only after the House voted 15 times before granting him the gavel. That gavel came with public and private concessions, among them, that any one member of the House could initiate a “motion to vacate,” which Gaetz did Monday night.

Gaetz claims he is working to strip McCarthy of the Speakership because he reached across the aisle and accepted votes from Democrats very late on Saturday to avoid what had been an almost-certain shutdown of the federal government. But McCarthy has long contended for Gaetz it’s “personal,” because the Speaker would not intervene to save Gaetz from a re-opened House Ethics Committee investigation into possible violations including sexual misconduct, unlawful drug use, and public corruption.

if Republicans do succeed on the motion to vacate, there currently is no one named to replace McCarthy. That would leave the position that is second in line to the presidency vacant.

Watch today’s House session live below, starting at 11:45 AM, see his remarks to reporters above, or watch both at this link.

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Trump Has Now ‘Crossed the Line Into Criminal Threats’: Top Legal Scholar



As Donald Trump’s rhetoric grows increasingly menacing and threatening, experts are again sounding the alarm.

It’s been weeks since Special Counsel Jack Smith asked U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan to impose a narrow limitation on the ex-president in the case charging him with attempting to overturn the 2020 election. It likely will be weeks until that Judge Chutkan announces a decision.

In the mean time, Trump continues to make disparaging remarks and what some have suggested are thinly-veiled threats or calls to action to his supporters against those he perceives as his enemies.

Trump recently suggested that his former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, “in times gone by” would have been executed for treason.

READ MORE: Gaetz Needs Just Five Republicans to Oust McCarthy – He Already Has Three

Milley’s perceived “treasonous” crime, according to Trump? Making a White House approved call to China to let them know Trump wasn’t planning to attack China, as the AP reported.

Last month, Trump wrote on Truth Social that General Milley “was actually dealing with China to give them a heads up on the thinking of the President of the United States. This is an act so egregious that, in times gone by, the punishment would have been DEATH! A war between China and the United States could have been the result of this treasonous act.”

Special Counsel Jack Smith included that post in his communication with Judge Chutkan on Friday.

Monday morning, inside a Manhattan courthouse before the start of New York Attorney General Letitia James’ $250 million civil fraud case, Trump unleashed an angry rant in front of news cameras, saying, “You ought to go after this attorney general.” He also called New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron a “rogue judge.”

He added, “now I have to go before a rogue judge, as a continuation of Russia, Russia, Russia, as a continuation of the greatest witch hunt of all time. And I don’t think the people of this country are going to stand for it.”

These were just Trump’s remarks at the start of the day. He faced the cameras two other times, during the lunch break and after the day’s proceedings had ended.

READ MORE: ‘Sodom and Gomorrah’: ND Republican Unleashes Anti-LGBTQ Christian Nationalist Rant Calling for ‘Christ Is King’ Laws

Describing Trump’s remarks, Vanity Fair’s Bess Levin wrote: “Speaking to reporters outside the courtroom, Trump called the case a ‘witch hunt’ and ‘a disgrace,’ saying, ‘You ought to go after this attorney general,’ because if there’s one thing the man loves, it’s a not-so-veiled threat against his enemies.”

Harvard University Professor Emeritus Laurence Tribe, a legal scholar and expert on the U.S. Constitution, on Monday warned Trump’s remarks “crossed the line into criminal threats.”

“Trump’s 1st Amendment freedom of speech includes the right to express his racist views about anyone, including Attorney General Letitia James,” Tribe wrote. “But he has no right to foment violence against her. He crossed the line into criminal threats when he said ‘you ought to go after this attorney general.'”

Former Chicago Tribune editor Mark Jacob, responding to the video, writes: “When Trump says “you ought to go after this attorney general,” we know what he means. Some call it stochastic terrorism, but I call it puppetmaster terrorism. He’s telling his crazed followers who the targets are.”

See the post and video above or at this link.

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