Republican Senate Confirmation Fight Has Anti-Gay Stench

When it comes to defining dysfunctional in the Webster dictionary perhaps instead of using words it might be best to just post a picture of congress to allow for a meaning to be better understood.

It needs to be noted following a smooth and overall positive hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Eric Fanning’s confirmation to be the next Army secretary still is not guaranteed.  One might think this is impossible given the level of angst in the world and the need for such a position to be filled.

But due to Senator Roberts making a stink over discovering (as if it were a secret) that Fort Leavenworth is being reviewed as a potential site for relocating prisoners if the facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is closed the Fanning nomination is on hold.

There is also the little other item that comes into the mix fro folks like Roberts.

Fanning is an openly gay man.

Now the Republicans can spin and weave and duck all they want about this matter of Fanning’s sexuality and explain it anyway they desire.  But we know how conservatives operate.

Recall that we are also asked to believe that the first African-American president was only targeted by conservatives because he is a liberal.

It is to the credit of the senate that no one asked about Fanning’s sexuality during the confirmation hearing.  But I also add that no senator asked about issues that do matter when it comes to transgender military service, or the all important issue regarding keeping in place the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

What motivates members of congress to take one position or another is often very hard to state in a concise fashion.  But I find it very suspicious that the long simmering question over the future of Gitmo is now so central to Roberts that he would delay the next army secretary from undertaking the job that now needs doing.

Something tells me there is a dose of homophobia that makes more of a play to this story than what the headlines wish us to believe.

A Look Inside The Upcoming Democratic National Convention

It is vital that we keep the narrative going at the Democratic National Convention–the same narrative that has allowed all the recent major polls released this week to show President Obama is in strong shape heading into the fall election.

 The most innovative – and harshest – element of the preliminary program is a nightly “social contrast” in which two people describe their personal experience with a hot-button issue – one lauding the president’s actions, the other taking Romney to task. “Each paired-testimonial should have an ‘unexpected’ participant,” the documents say. For the gay marriage social contrast, for instance, the documents state the participants should be “not a gay couple” – but a “Parent and gay son or daughter.” Other examples: “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell: Gay soldier and fellow (straight) soldier who served together in Iraq or Afghanistan (ideally the straight soldier was helped by the gay soldier, i.e., medic, in fire fight) … Planned Parenthood: Husband who talks about how a PAP smear saved his wife’s life and his spouse … Immigration: Two young people from the same family, one who was born here, the other a few years older who was not … Choice: A couple who has children, but wants to make their own decisions, not have the government do it for them (or who has confronted a difficult medical situation).”

Marine Corp Birthday Ball After DADT As Told By Gay Marine With His Date Brandon

A most remarkable and uplifting story concerning the military following the removal of DADT can be found at A Work In Progress.

Well written, and spot on given the times in which we live.

This year, the 236th birthday, was my first opportunity to take another man as my date. I had always wanted to take a date, but DADT had prevented me from doing so. Certainly I would have been allowed to take a woman as my date, and no one would have thought anything of it, but it would have felt like a lie. For some of those years the person I would have liked to take was waiting for me at home, not allowed to go with me.

I met Brandon several years ago via MySpace (that should tell you how long ago it was–does anyone even use MySpace anymore?). We had the opportunity to spend an amazing weekend together before my deployment to Iraq in 2007 and stayed in touch ever since. He has been a wonderful friend through everything over the past several years, and I deeply appreciated his continued friendship despite personal hardship and thousands of miles. I asked him to go with me because of how much he means to me and his friendship through some of the most challenging times of my military career, but also because I knew that the experience would require the character and strength of a very special person.

Toby Keith: “Somebody’s Sexual Preference Is Like, ‘Who Cares?'”

Toby Keith is still too red-neck for my tastes, but I have to give credit where it is due.

The country music singer is not the most artful messenger for the cause of gay rights, but I do think it interesting that he has taken a stand for civil rights.  I truly applaud that.  I hope more in Nashville will follow his lead.

“It’s just such a big issue that people make such a big stink about — ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ … And that sounds like our government: ‘We’ll fix it by saying, “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” Everybody agree, raise your hands. All right, let’s go get a snack,'” Keith added with a laugh.

“You know, I don’t know enough about what they proposed or what they’ve put in place here. … Somebody’s sexual preference is like, ‘Who cares?'”

Republicans Booed United States Soldier At Presidential Debate

Patriotism, GOP style.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who has been targeted by gay rights groups in the past, was asked by a moderator at the Fox News-Google debate in Orlando Thursday night about the repeal this week of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy toward openly gay and lesbian service members serving in the military.

“In 2010, when I was deployed to Iraq, I had to lie about who I was, because I’m a gay soldier, and I didn’t want to lose my job,” said Stephen Hill, whose image was projected on a large TV screen in the debate hall. “My question is, under one of your presidencies, do you intend to circumvent the progress that’s been made for gay and lesbian soldiers in the military?”

Members of the crowd booed loudly at the question.

Santorum launched into an impassioned defense of re-instating the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

“I would say, any type of sexual activity has absolutely no place in the military,” he said. “And the fact that they’re making a point to include it as a provision within the military that we are going to recognize a group of people and give them a special privilege to — to — and removing “don’t ask/don’t tell” I think tries to inject social policy into the military. And the military’s job is to do one thing, and that is to defend our country.”

Applause grew in the audience as he added, “We need to give the military, which is all-volunteer, the ability to do so in a way that is most efficient at protecting our men and women in uniform. And I believe this undermines that ability.”

But Hill has already gone public as a gay soldier. What should be done with him, the Fox News moderator asked?

“What we’re doing is playing social experimentation with … our military right now. And that’s tragic,” Santorum argued.

“I would … just say that, going forward, we would … reinstitute that policy, if Rick Santorum was president, period. That policy would be reinstituted. And as far as people who are in … I would not throw them out, because that would be unfair to them because of the policy of this administration, but we would move forward in … conformity with what was happening in the past, which was, sex is not an issue. … It should not be an issue. Leave it alone, keep it … to yourself, whether you’re a heterosexual or a homosexual.”

The crowd in Orlando cheered wildly at Santorum’s answer.

Military Jar-Necks And Ribbon Wearers Hear From Court, Stop DADT Now

How many ways can it be stated?

Bigotry aimed at the those gay men and women who serve the nation in the armed forces must end.

No more waiting.

It just has to end.

Today a move in that direction came from the courts, the place where these decisions must be made as the jar-necks and ribbon-wearers seem unable to stop DADT as soon as most in the nation want.

This is great news for those who love justice.

In an order issued by a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Phillips’s judgment halting the worldwide enforcement of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” as a result of her decision in Log Cabin Republicans v. United States has been put back in effect.

DADT cannot be enforced, per the order, unless the government gets a stay of the order from either the Ninth Circuit or the U.S. Supreme Court pending an appeal of today’s decision.

Cynthia Smith, a Department of Defense spokeswoman, tells Metro Weekly that Pentagon officials “are studying the ruling with the Department of Justice” but added, “We will of course comply with orders of the court, and are taking immediate steps to inform the field of this order.”

The three-judge panel — Judges Alex Kozinski, Kim Wardlaw and Richard Paez — decided to lift the appellate court’s earlier stay of Phillips’s order pending the appeal of the LCRcase because, the judges write, “The circumstances and balance of hardships have changed, and appellants/cross-appellees can no longer satisfy the demanding standard for issuance of a stay.”

Among the circumstances cited by the court are the July 1 filing in Karen Golinski’s federal case seeking health insurance benefits for her wife and the related earlier Feb. 23 letter from Attorney General Eric Holder declaring that he and President Barack Obama had decided that heightened scrutiny applies to classifications — such as DADT.

The judges also note that “the process of repealing Section 654 [– the DADT law –] is well underway, and the preponderance of the armed forces are expected to have been trained by mid-summer.” Smith echoed this fact, writing to Metro Weekly, “[I]mplementation of the DADT repeal voted by the Congress  and signed in to law by the President last December is proceeding  smoothly, is well underway, and certification is just weeks away.”

President Obama Talks About DADT In State Of Union Address

No mention of DOMA or marriage equality from President Obama tonight.  We wanted more, and I think we deserved more.

There was this however regarding DADT.

Our troops come from every corner of this country – they are black, white, Latino, Asian and Native American. They are Christian and Hindu, Jewish and Muslim. And, yes, we know that some of them are gay. Starting this year, no American will be forbidden from serving the country they love because of who they love.  And with that change, I call on all of our college campuses to open their doors to our military recruiters and the ROTC. It is time to leave behind the divisive battles of the past. It is time to move forward as one nation.

Can Conservatives Condone This Waste Of Federal Money?

Fact is, they did. 

For all the talk about not wanting to waste taxpayer money it was the conservatives in both political parties that failed to walk the talk.  Folks like former Democratic Senator Sam Nunn must hang their head with the likes of Republican Senator Orrin Hatch.

For years many conservatives denounced the waste of federal money, but then supported squandering money on a program to remove gay members of the armed forces. 

Now the government has released a report that shows the waste and abuse conservatives allowed when it came to ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’.

How many hours did the taxpayer have to work to fund this horrible policy?

Enforcing the controversial “don’t ask, don’t tell” law cost the Defense Department nearly $200 million in administrative, recruiting and retraining costs over six years, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

The figure includes roughly $53,000 for each of the 3,664 gay servicemembers dismissed from fiscal 2004 through fiscal 2009.

According to the report, the majority of the expense came from recruiting replacements and retraining the new troops. More than a third of the discharged troops held “skills in critical occupations.” That included 23 language experts, whose training included years of language proficiency work prior to their dismissal.