Tuesday, September 21, 2010





And essentially, it is a conservative administration which has changed the mood music. So the talk is better. The images of the administration are better, the reasonable looks. But in terms of what they do—in foreign policy, we’ve seen a continuation of the Bush-Cheney policies, and worse, in AfPak, as they call it, and at home, we’ve seen a total capitulation to the lobbyists, to the corporations. The fact that the healthcare bill was actually drafted by someone who used to be an insurance lobbyist says it all.

So, it’s essentially now a PR operation to get him reelected. But I don’t think people are that dumb. I’ve been speaking to some of his, you know, partisan supporters, and they’re disappointed. So the big problem for Obama is that if you do nothing and promise that you would bring about some changes, you will not have people coming out to vote for you again. And building up the tea party into this great bogey isn’t going to work. It’s your own supporters you have to convince to come out and vote for you, as they did before. I can’t see that happening.


Yesterday's silence from @BarackObama will not be forgotten. Stop the firings, Mr. President.
Lt Dan Choi was discharged under the discrimantory Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy this summer. Barack Obama, runing for president, promised to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell. As Diana Ross once sang, "And I'm still waiting." The most Barack's done is authorized a study to determine the effects repeal of DADT might have. That's it. Viola Gienger (Bloomberg News) notes, "The military discharged 259 men and 169 women last year under the law. As many as 66,000 gay men and women may be serving in the U.S. military, about 2.2 percent of all personnel, including 13,000 on active duty, according to a study by the Williams Institute of the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law." This morning, on the eve of possible Senate action (the House already voted in May), David Welna (NPR's Morning Edition) reported:
David Welna: But Carl Levin, chairman of the Armed Services Committee points out that repeal would actually depend on the President, the Secretary of Defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. All three have said they favor repeal, but they would first have to certify that they have dually considered the Pentagon study and that rules have been put in place for its implementation that will not undermine the military. Levin says that's what the provision on Dont Ask, Dont Tell really calls for.
Senator Carl Levin: It does not repeal Dont Ask, Dont Tell. I wish it did but it doesnt. It simply authorizes the ending of the policy if there's a certification that doing so would not undermine the morale of our troops.
David M. Herszenhorn (New York Times) reports that today the US Senate "voted against [56 to 43] taking up a major military bill that includes a provision allowing the repeal of the 'don't ask, don't tell policy' regarding gay soldiers." Lisa Mascaro (Los Angeles Times) points out, "Democrats control 59 votes in the Senate." Ed O'Keefe (Washington Post) opines, "Tuesday's vote makes it almost impossible to ensure a repeal of the 17-year ban on gays openly serving in uniform is included in the final House-Senate compromise version of the defense bill that lawmakers may vote on during a lame-duck session after November's midterm elections." Mark Thompson (Time magazine) offers, "Repeal supporters believe it will be years before another plausible effort can be mounted to allow openly gay men and women serve in the U.S. military. [. . .] Some Pentagon officials believe repeal would have been a done deal if the political calendar hadn't intruded. Gay advocates agree, and also believe repeal could have happened if -- like dozens of militaries around the world -- the U.S. simply dropped the ban and commanded its troops to follow orders, as it did when President Harry Truman integrated the military in 1948." Barack is backing Gen James Amos to be the new Commandant of the Marine Corps because Barack and James Amos see eye to eye, that's why he nominated Amos. And Amos appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee today.
Before appearing, Amos filled out [PDF format warning] his responses to a series of questions by the Committee. This is the man the 'fierce advocate' for LGBT rights nominated.
What is your view of the current "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, and its impact on the Marine Corps?
Gen Amos: In my view, the current law (and associated policy) has been a reasonable compromise between the unique requirements of military service and the aspirations of qualified citizens who are interested in military service. I would characterize its impact on the Corps as being minor; about two tenths of one percent (.2%) of the roughtly 626,000 Marines discharged since 1993 were released for reasons of homosexuality.
In your personal view, should the current policy be repealed? Why or why not?
Gen Amos: In my personal view, the current law and associated policy have supported the unqiue requirements of the Marine Corps, and thus I do not recommend its repeal. My primary concern with proposed repeal is the potential disruption to cohesion that may be caused by significant change during a period of extended combat operations. Furthermore, I'm concerned that a change now will serve as a distraction to Marines who are tightly focused at this point on combat operations in Afghanistan. The Secretary of Defense has instituted a comprehensive review of the law and policy, and that review should tell us a lot about whether such a change will be disruptive to unit cohesion. The review will also provide insights into how, if the Congress approves of a change in law and the President signs it, the DoD should develop policy for its implementation.
LGBT rights are not an issue for Barack. They never have been. He didn't need a study to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell. He also could have issued an executive order to put a hold on discharges under DADT while it is being studied; however, he didn't do that. And the study does not mean it is repealed. The study is to determine 'harm' which means it could recommend -- as Amos does -- keeping the policy. Barack has repeatedly betrayed the LGBT community and that's no surprise from the man who put homophobes onstage at a campaign events repeatedly.
Amos' testimony served two purposes. First, it refuted all those rumors that James Amos is a public toilet troll. Second, it underscored how weak Barack is on LGBT rights. Listening to Amos pompously go on before the Senate Armed Services Committee today about his wife and how "in our forty years of marriage, she has raised our chidlren and been my assest, she has packed and unpacked" everytime they have moved revealed what a cheap ass bigot Amos is. He needs a supportive spouse but he'll damn any gay man or lesbian who has the same need. He'll treat them like second class citizens (if even that). This is the man Barack nominated and this nomination clearly sends a message. Barack's message? Bigotry will be rewarded and normalized. Message received.
And we'll close with this from Senator Daniel Akaka's office (Akaka is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee):


WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Military Family Association presented U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii) with a 2010 Support of Military Families Award tonight on Capitol Hill for his career of advocacy and recent success in passing the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act.

"The honor that comes with military service belongs not just with our troops and veterans, but also with the spouses, children and parents who sacrifice for them and support them. I thank the National Military Family Association for this privilege, and for their commitment to our servicemembers and their families," said Akaka.

The Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act was signed into law by President Obama on May 5, 2010. The law includes provisions to establish an unprecedented permanent program to support the caregivers of wounded warriors, improve health care for veterans in rural areas, help VA adapt to the needs of women veterans, and expand support services for homeless veterans.

Senator Akaka is Chairman of the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, and a member of the Committee on Armed Services.

For more on the National Military Family Association, visit http://www.militaryfamily.org


Kawika Riley

Communications Director and Legislative Assistant

U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs

Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii), Chairman


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