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

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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liberal political agenda,” despite a CNN poll released yesterday that found that 78% of “the American people” want DADT repealed.)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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ANALYSIS

Trump, Wanting to Change News Cycle, Appears to Confess to ‘Openly and Transparently’ Taking Classified Docs

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It’s been a tough month for Donald Trump.

After Republicans failed to produce the red wave he claimed he would have been responsible for if it happened, but could not be held responsible if it did not, then refused to take any responsibility, Trump has been held responsible by left and right wing pundits, and even some GOP politicians.

Trump then moved forward with his 2024 presidential campaign announcement, which was widely panned as “low energy” – so low that several guests trying to leave early appeared to be refused access to the exits.

Days later Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that because Trump announced he is running for President, a Special Counsel has been appointed to two of the DOJ’s investigations into Trump. (Some say that’s good news for Trump, some say bad.)

READ MORE: ‘Fraud’: Legal Expert Stunned After Trump Appears to Admit He Used DOJ to Interfere in Florida’s 2018 Election

And then a three-judge panel basically destroyed Trump’s attorney who was arguing the former president’s appeal in his case against the U.S. Government. Trump is arguing both that he declassified all the documents but also they are all his property.

That was all before last week.

Six days ago Donald Trump sat down with his invited guest, the antisemite and racist Kanye West, embattled after losing hundreds of millions in endorsements over his antisemitic remarks. That would have been bad enough, but West brought infamous white supremacist and antisemite Nick Fuentes, along with (reportedly) Milo Yiannopoulos and Trump 2016 aide Karen Giorno, who was reportedly involved in a pay-for-pardon scheme.

Since Wednesday the media has exploded with calls for Trump to denounce white supremacism and white supremacists. He has refused.

READ MORE: Republican Senator Denounces Trump’s Dinner With ‘Racist Antisemites’ – Critics Say His Claim ‘This Is Not the GOP’ Is False

Multiple advisers have urged Trump to denounce Fuentes, who has a long history of promoting white supremacism, but he has been “rejecting” their advice, The Guardian reports, “over fears he might alienate a section of his base, two people familiar with the situation said.”

Desperate to change the media narrative, late Monday afternoon Trump appeared to confess to stealing thousands of items (some counts say 13,000) including 300 documents with “Classified” and “Top Secret” headers.

“This fully weaponized monster, Jack Smith,” Trump said of the special counsel investigating him, “shouldn’t be let anywhere near the political persecution of ‘President Donald J. Trump.’ I did nothing wrong on January 6th, and nothing wrong with the Democrats’ fix on the Document Hoax, that is, unless the six previous Presidents did something wrong also,” Trump claimed on his Truth Social platform.

That’s when – in a departure from his previous suggestions that the classified documents, which he also claims to have declassified, may have been planted – Trump appeared to confess to the crime.

“When will you invade Bill and Hillary’s home in search of the 33,000 emails she deleted AFTER receiving a subpoena from the U.S. Congress? When will you invade the other Presidents’ homes in search of documents, which are voluminous, which they took with them, but not nearly so openly and transparently as I did?”

It’s the, “not nearly so openly and transparently as I did?” that has set off many.

The Washington Post’s Josh Dawsey, one of the first to notice Trump’s statement, wrote: “Imagine Trump’s lawyers may not love the final line of his latest Truth Social post. ‘When will you invade the other Presidents’ homes in search of documents, which are voluminous, which they took with them, but not nearly so openly and transparently as I did?'”

Some are suggesting the part, “not nearly so openly and transparently as I did?” appears akin to a confession.

Top national security attorney Brad Moss responded to Dawsey’s tweet, writing, “He has the right to remain silent. Anything he says can and will be used against him. He has the right to an attorney. If he can’t afford one, one will be appointed for him by the courts.”

Journalist Touré commented: “In which Trump admits to taking documents, charges other former POTUSs with also taking documents (without evidence), and says he took the documents in a way that’s somehow better than the way that those other stealing POTUSs did. Same ol Trump.”

 

Image: Shirley Preston / Shutterstock

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COMMENTARY

Franklin Graham’s Ugly Lie Ahead of Senate Vote on Same-Sex Marriage Bill

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Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will put the Respect for Marriage Act on the Senate floor late Monday afternoon. It is expected to pass, thanks to about a dozen Republicans who are expected to vote to protect, at least at the federal level, the marriages of same-sex and interracial couples.

Franklin Graham, who unlike his famous father has devoted a great deal of his time to attacking LGBTQ Americans, posted an ugly lie on Facebook to stir up his base of 10 million followers.

The Respect for Marriage Act merely states the federal government is required to recognize any marriage that was legal in any state it was entered into. An amendment to the bill goes a long way in codifying the right to anti-LGBTQ discrimination by faith-based organizations, but LGBTQ activists see it as a win to protect marriages after Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas called for cases that would help him overturn several laws, including the right to intimate contact and the right to marriage for same-sex couples.

READ MORE: 37 Senators Just Voted Against a Bill Protecting Same-Sex and Interracial Marriages. All Were Republicans.

The bill also ensures states, even if they ban marriage equality, will recognize any legal marriage that happened before any possible ban or that happened in a state where same-sex marriage is legal.

“It is very disappointing that these 12 Republican senators would side with the Democrats and ultra-liberal Senator Chuck Schumer to put the vast majority of Americans who believe in and support marriage between a man and a woman in jeopardy,” Graham wrote in an obvious and ugly lie on Facebook over the weekend.

He then listed the Senators’ names, and add links to their contact information on their government websites.

Graham’s false claim that somehow anyone who believes in or supports marriage between a man and a woman would be put “in jeopardy” by this bill is a dangerous falsehood.

READ MORE: 35 States Still Have Same-Sex Marriage Bans on the Books – Dems Say Same-Sex Marriage Bill Has Enough Votes to Pass

Graham didn’t stop there.

“The deceptively-named Respect for Marriage Act that Senator Schumer is trying to push through is just a smokescreen to give more protections to same-sex marriage—and it doesn’t protect the religious liberties of those who support traditional marriage. In fact, it would make individuals, churches, academic institutions, and organizations who stand with marriage between a man and a woman in danger of persecution and legal attacks because of their convictions,” Graham added, which, again is false.

As NCRM has previously reported, all the religious protections that people of faith currently enjoy would be unchanged – if not strengthened – contrary to numerous false claims of far right extremists and religious extremists, like Graham.

The bill and its accompanying amendment do such a good job of protecting religious liberties that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormon Church, has issued a statement supporting it.

READ MORE: Watch: Chasten Buttigieg Says Tucker Carlson Is Focusing on ‘Hate’ After Host’s Latest Anti-Gay Attack on His Husband

Despite decades of demonization by the right, same-sex marriage has become extremely popular, and not one of the false claims Graham and the religious right made before Obergefell has come true.

Same-sex marriage enjoys a favorability rating of 70% (per Gallup), and 61% of Americans say legalization of same-sex marriage is good for society (Pew).

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein of California is the original sponsor of the bill, and Democratic U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, an original co-sponsor, is taking the lead for the Democrats.

A joint press release that also includes Senators Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and Thom Tillis (R-NC), states an amendment to the bill, which Republicans fought for, ensures no religious rights will be impacted.

The amendment, their statement says, “Protects all religious liberty and conscience protections available under the Constitution or Federal law, including but not limited to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and prevents this bill from being used to diminish or repeal any such protection.”

Why Graham is telling his flock something greatly different is par for the course.

“The bill strikes a blow at religious freedom for individuals and ministries and is really the ‘Destruction of Marriage Act,’” Graham said two weeks ago in an egregiously false statement.

“Its sponsors remarkably claim it protects religious freedom. It does not. This disastrous bill sends a message to America that if you don’t agree with the left’s definition of marriage, you are a bigot,” Graham added, again, falsely.

Should the Respect for Marriage Act pass it heads back to the House for a final vote, as the House’s version is slightly different. President Biden has promised to sign it into law.

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News

Republican Senator Denounces Trump’s Dinner With ‘Racist Antisemites’ – Critics Say His Claim ‘This Is Not the GOP’ Is False

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U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) has become the first sitting Senator to denounce Donald Trump‘s dinner last week with, among other extremists, antisemite and white supremacist Nick Fuentes and Kanye West. But while some are relieved an elected Republican has finally denounced what they say should have been done lone ago, critics are informing the Louisiana Republican that he’s wrong to say, “This is not the Republican Party.”

“President Trump hosting racist antisemites for dinner encourages other racist antisemites. These attitudes are immoral and should not be entertained. This is not the Republican Party,” Senator Cassidy wrote on Twitter Monday afternoon.

Shortly thereafter U.S. Senator Susan Collins also denounced Trump’s dinner with Fuentes, as Axios reports. Fuentes was a guest of antisemite Kanye West, who has also made racist remarks going back nearly a decade.

READ MORE: Trump’s Dinner With Kanye Also Included a Former Aide Accused in Pay-for-Pardon Play, and White Supremacist Fuentes

“I condemn white supremacy and anti-semitism. The president should never have had a meal or even a meeting with Nick Fuentes,” Collins told NBC News’ Frank Thorp V and Sahil Kapur.

“Spokespeople for nearly two dozen House and Senate Republicans,” Axios adds, “including party leaders, co-chairs of caucuses and task forces focused on Judaism or antisemitism and sponsors of legislation to combat antisemitic hate crimes — did not respond to requests for comment.”

Nearly all House and Senate Republicans are not the only ones refusing to denounce the dinner or Trump’s antisemitic, racist, or white supremacist guests. Despite his advisors’ urgings, Donald Trump has spoken several times to defend himself and paint himself as a victim — not once to denounce his guests’ extremist and vile beliefs.

Some on the left are thanking Sen. Cassidy for speaking up, while many critics are correcting his proposition that the GOP is not the embodiment of today’s far right, including antisemites and white supremacists.

READ MORE: Kellyanne Conway, Who Trump Reportedly Told He Understood He Had Lost to Biden, Testifying Before J6 Committee

“Notable and praiseworthy to see an actually elected Republican lawmaker condemn Trump by name for meeting with antisemites. Of course, whenever someone says ‘there is no place for X in our party,’ it generally means there is! But naming and condemning the thing obviously matters,” wrote The Atlantic’s Yair Rosenberg.

“Actually embracing ‘racist antisemites for dinner’ is 100% percent today’s GOP. But still good to see a Republican denounce it–although Sen Cassidy has long been a Trump critic,” wrote SiriusXM host Dean Obeidallah.

The Dispatch’s senior editor David French, a former Republican who used to write for the right wing National Review, called Cassidy’s statement “Exactly right,” and added: “Thank you.”

“Took almost a week for ONE lone Republican Senator to openly say this,” pollster Natalie Jackson noted. “This is why I continue to say Trump has a chokehold on the party, even if some indicators wane.”

Brianna Wu, the co-founder the progressive political action committee Rebellion PAC, tweeted: “Spoiler. This is definitely the Republican Party.”

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