Accuracy in Media calls for Congress to investigate Obama admin for ‘un-American activities’

Gun up the DeLorean and let’s take a ride in the time machine to the 1950s, courtesy of Accuracy in Media’s Cliff Kincaid.

Kincaid suggests establishing in the new Congress a “House Internal Security Committee,” which sounds curiously like the (House Un-American Activities Committee). Yes, the fringe right has officially called for the raising of Zombie Senator Joseph McCarthy to take care of Nazi Muslim Socialist Humanist Black Panther influences that have taken over our government. (via Right Wing Watch):

Some conservatives have belatedly discovered that Obama has socialist and anti-colonial views. But that is not even half the story. The most important part of the story remains to be investigated by the FBI and, hopefully, by a new House Internal Security Committee. Re-establishment of this committee will demonstrate that the new Congress means business and that it won’t resort to politics as usual and compromise.

All of this requires that the new Congress takes its responsibilities seriously, not only on fiscal issues, but on matters involving the national security and moral integrity of the United States. The liberals will raise a hue and cry, and some conservatives may balk, but it is mandatory and necessary to begin addressing what an old congressional committee used to call “un-American activities” at the highest levels of the U.S. Government.

Perhaps while they are at it, they can call in McCarthy’s gay self-loathing BFF Zombie Roy Cohn to complete the deal.

So who will take on the McCarthy and Cohn roles in the new Congress if Kincaid’s idea takes flight?
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Obama admin. asks Supreme Court to deny LCR’s motion to end the DADT stay

The Acting Solicitor General, Neal Kumar Katyal, has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to deny the Log Cabin Republican’s motion to vacate the stay of the DADT injunction:

Government lawyers asked the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday to deny a request by the Log Cabin Republicans that the court lift a stay of the worldwide injunction a federal judge placed on the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in September after she rule the law unconstitutional.

The motion includes with a Declaration from Clifford Stanley, the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness who tells the Court:

I submit this declaration to make the following point: the Government intends to appeal the Court’s decision. During the pendency of that appeal, the military should not be required to suddenly and immediately restructure a major personnel policy that has been in place for years, particularly during a time when the Nation is involved in combat operations overseas. The magnitude of repealing the DADT law and policy is demonstrated by the Department’s ongoing efforts to study the implications of repealing DADT, which I outline in detail below.

According to Stanley, the injunction would adversely impact “military readiness”:

As demonstrated below, in the event DADT is no longer in effect, an injunction with immediate and worldwide effect will have adverse effects on both military readiness and the Department’s ability to effect a smooth and lasting transition to a policy that accommodates the presence of openly gay and lesbian servicemembers. The stakes here are so high, and the potential harm so great, that caution is in order.

There’s has been an abundance of caution. Too much caution. DADT should be long gone by now.

Could this be a bigger mess for the Obama administration? They’ve so lost control of this process – and I don’t really think there is a strategy to fix it. That’s why this Log Cabin lawsuit keeps causing more and more problems for the administration.

Log Cabin’s Executive Director and the group’s attorney have issued statements.

First, really interesting background from R. Clarke Cooper, the Executive Director of Log Cabin Republicans:

“It is unfortunate the Obama Justice Department has forced the Log Cabin Republicans to go to the Supreme Court to halt this failed policy. At the same time, President Obama remains far from the front lines of the fight for legislative repeal while commanding his lawyers to zealously defend ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ in court. This week Log Cabin Republicans have conducted meetings with numerous Republican senators potentially in favor of repeal, all of whom are waiting for the President’s call. The White House has been missing in action on Capitol Hill, undermining efforts to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ in the final session of this Congress, potentially leaving the judiciary as the only solution for our brave men and women in uniform.”

The White House was also missing in action in September, when the Defense bill hit the Senate floor.

And, here’s the statement from Dan Woods, the lead attorney from White & Case:

“We have reviewed the government’s opposition to Log Cabin’s application to vacate the stay of Judge Phillips’s injunction by the Ninth Circuit. In our view, the government’s lengthy, detailed, 29-page brief does not address the two key arguments we presented to the Supreme Court. First, we argued that the premise of the government’s position–that it needs time to conduct an orderly process of repealing DADT–is entirely speculative because Congress has not and very well may never repeal DADT; the government’s filing today does not address that issue. Second, we argued that the Ninth Circuit order did not take into account the harm to servicemembers and potential enlistees resulting from the stay; the government’s filing today does not respond to that point either. At this point, all we can do is to look forward to a favorable ruling from the Supreme Court.”

A favorable ruling from the Supreme Court would be a very good thing.

Solicitor General’s Opposition to LCR’s Supreme Ct. Motion to Vacate DADT Stay




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Obama admin statement – via the Dept of Education – about two of the rash of suicides

As we have been mulling about the silence by the White House about the rash of suicides today, it’s interesting to receive this in a late Friday afternoon dead drop.

Statement by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on the Recent Deaths of Two Young Men

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today released the following statement:

“This week, we sadly lost two young men who took their own lives for one unacceptable reason: they were being bullied and harassed because they were openly gay or believed to be gay. These unnecessary tragedies come on the heels of at least three other young people taking their own lives because the trauma of being bullied and harassed for their actual or perceived sexual orientation was too much to bear.

“This is a moment where every one of us – parents, teachers, students, elected officials, and all people of conscience – needs to stand up and speak out against intolerance in all its forms. Whether it’s students harassing other students because of ethnicity, disability or religion; or an adult, public official harassing the President of the University of Michigan student body because he is gay, it is time we as a country said enough. No more. This must stop.”

Michael Petrelis has been asking for statements from the admin. One from Kevin Jennings materialized:

From the Desk of Kevin Jennings

As is the case for most of those reading this message, I have been horrified by the recent media coverage of student suicides prompted by bullying. I am fortunate to have a boss who is just as horrified and today made the below statement.

I hope each of you will consider ways you can help bring bullying to an end and urge you to check out www.bullyinginfo.org for useful resources in so doing.

Kevin

“His boss” being Arne Duncan. He’s put in a request to see if the LGBT liaison, Brian Bond in the Office of Public Engagement has any comment on the issue. I’ll keep you updated if a statement surfaces.

Then I received a press release entitled “ACF awards grants to reduce long-term foster care” from the WH Communications Office that seemed a weird one-off to stem the criticism that the Obama admin “doesn’t care.” This passage was highlighted in the email:

Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center, which will create a county-wide system of care to address barriers to permanency and well-being for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning children and youth that are in or at-risk of placement in foster care, placement in the juvenile justice system, or homelessness.

You can read the full release about the LA award below the fold.

It’s really not about whether the administration cares; it’s about leadership and recognizing a crisis that concerns families across the country. When the rash of school shootings, including the tragedy at Columbine, it seemed every elected official had something to say, legislation to consider, and outreach to discuss the breakdown that caused them. Any WH, not just the Obama admin, has to consider that it has a role to play to reassure families that it is listening. Silence is not good for PR or for leadership.

Anyway, do you all have any thoughts about these statements from the administration departments?

HHS Awards Landmark .3 Million Grant to Fund L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center’s

Development of Model Program to Serve LGBTQ Foster Youth

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 1, 2010-Today the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center was awarded a landmark .3 million, five-year grant from the Federal Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Administration on Children, Youth and Families to create a model program that will provide life-saving support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth in the foster care system.  Following a highly competitive review process, six grants were awarded-the Center’s grant is the only one specifically to support LGBTQ youth and the only grant that did not go to a government agency or academic institution.  It’s also the largest federal grant ever awarded to an LGBT organization.

The need for services for LGBT youth in foster care is dire.  According to a 2001 (Feinstein) study, 78% of LGBTQ foster youth were forced to leave their foster placements due to hostility related to their sexual orientation or gender identity.  In a 2001 study from the National Center for Lesbian Rights, 70% reported physical violence and 100% reported harassment in their group home.  Gay and Lesbian Adolescent Social Services (GLASS), the only group home for LGBTQ foster youth in Los Angeles, closed its doors in 2008 (with its displaced residents turning to the Center for much-needed support).

“LGBTQ youth who aren’t living on the streets because of a hostile home environment are often in the foster care system,” said Lorri L. Jean, chief executive officer of the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center.  ”Many are rejected by foster parents and move from home to home or are considered unadoptable and live in overburdened group homes.  In either case, they’re more likely to turn to turn to drugs and crime, engage in unprotected sex, or commit suicide-and when they age out of the system at 18, they’re coming to us homeless.  This landmark grant will fund the development of a much-needed, model program to protect the health and well-being of LGBTQ foster youth-a program that will save lives, save taxpayer dollars, and could be replicated in cities around the country.”

By developing and leading a 19 organization collaborative that will include foster care agencies, researchers and government departments, the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center will create a comprehensive system of  care to help LGBTQ youth stay in school, and in homes where they feel safe and welcomed, until adulthood.  The collaborative will include: foster care agencies, researchers, Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), the Los Angeles Unified School District and government agencies, including: Los Angeles County’s departments of Children and Family Services, Mental Health, Probation and Juvenile Court.

“The public systems across the country that are charged with the care and well-being of children and adolescents have largely been unresponsive or slow to acknowledge the needs of LGBTQ youth, and in some cases even hostile” said L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center Chief of Staff Darrel Cummings, who led the team that developed the grant proposal.  ”As a result, these systems deliver misguided, uninformed, and ultimately second-class care that harms LGBTQ youth in their custody.  All too often they’re housed in isolation ‘for their own safety,’ blamed for being harassed because they’re open about their sexual orientation or gender identity, or disciplined for engaging in age-appropriate conduct that would not be punishable were it between youth of different sexes.  It’s the system that’s harming them and we’ve got to change that.”

Key features of the program will include research, evaluation and documentation.   “We will be recording, studying, and analyzing the program carefully,” said Cummings.  ”We want to know what works for our youth and when we learn it, we will document the success so that our program can be duplicated around the country.”

The Center’s proposal to HHS was enthusiastically endorsed by: the Los Angeles Juvenile Court, the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, County of Los Angeles Probation Department, Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services, Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaraslovsky and Hathaway-Sycamore Child and Family Services.

The L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center is a national leader in serving and advocating for LGBTQ youth.  In addition to a 24-bed transitional living program, where homeless youth (ages 18-24) can live for up to 18 months while developing the skills and resources to live independently, the Center operates the Jeff Griffith Youth Center, which provides meals, emergency beds, clothing, counseling and support services to youth seven days a week.   And to support the healthy development of LGBTQ youth, the Center’s LifeWorks program offers: mentoring by specially trained adults, peer-support programs, college scholarships, social activities and much more.

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Baptist Press is psyched that Obama admin. is defending DADT

Finally, the apologists and job-seekers who rationalize the Obama administration’s ongoing defense of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” have an ally. Yes, Baptist Press, which was “Formed in 1946 by the Southern Baptist Convention,” seems quite pleased that the Obama administration is defending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the courts:

The Obama Justice Department is asking a federal judge to keep the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy on homosexuals in place, arguing that rulings in other circuits upholding the ban prevent the judge from issuing a nationwide injunction against the 17-year-old policy.

BP adds a few choice tidbits about why defending DADT is so important:

Supporters of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) warn that reversing it would have a negative impact on military readiness, cohesion, recruitment, retention and religious freedom.

And:

Supporters of the policy say recent news events only strengthen their belief that Christian conservatives and other traditionalists will suffer if the policy is overturned.

Perhaps, the Southern Baptist Convention will file an amicus brief in support of the Obama administration’s defense of DADT when the appeal moves forward. And, I’m sure they’ll all be helping Jim Messina with the reelection campaign’s fundraising and get-out-the=vote efforts, too.




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LCR’s proposed injunction on DADT will ‘cover all military installations’ — expect Obama admin. to object

Karen Ocamb has done consistently excellent work covering the Log Cabin Republican’s lawsuit against DADT. She reminds us that, per the Judge’s instructions, the lawyers for LCR will be submitting their proposed injunction language today:

Meanwhile, in the other major development on the DADT front – District Court Judge Virginia A. Phillips, who ruled on Sept. 9 that the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy is unconstitutional, gave both sides a deadline of between Thursday and next Thursday, Sept. 23 to submit briefs on the permanent injunction against enforcing DADT.

Dan Woods, (pictured) the straight Republican the lawyer in the Log Cabin case, told me:

“As per the judge’s order, we plan to submit tomorrow (early afternoon) a proposed permanent injunction that would prevent any further application of DADT. The government then has a week to object to our proposal. The judge would then be expected to sign either our proposed injunction or a modified version of what we submit.

Our proposed injunction would cover all military installations, wherever located. We expect the government to object to this and try to limit it to California but feel we are on solid ground.

Once the judge signs the injunction, the government is free to appeal. I have no idea whether it will. If it does, it will also move for an order staying the injunction pending the appeal. We will vigorously oppose any such motion.”

Mike Signorile interviewed Woods on his show last week. He posted the audio. From Mike:

[Woods'] comments and observations are very important and under why the Obama administration must not appeal the case if the president truly believes the ban should end. And we should not accept the Department of Justice appealing the case. There simply is no reason to do so. This ruling would effectively end the ban across the country if it is allowed to stand. The judge ruled DADT unconstitutional and granted a request for an injunction to halt the discharges nationwide. Woods has until the end of the week to draw up the language of the injunction, and then the administration has seven days to respond. But, as Woods describes it, the only Department of Justice response that will change anything regarding her ruling would be an appeal. The judge is set to halt the discharges unless she is stopped by an appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals:




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The clock is now ticking for Obama admin. to decide on DOMA appeals

We’ll know in 60 days whether the Obama administration is going to appeal the recent decisions in Massachusetts, which found Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional. Judgment was entered today so the clock is ticking.

Activists in Massachusetts are saying don’t appeal. Via press release:

Although the ruling was released on July 8, 2010, the judgment in the case was not entered until August 12, 2010. Per Rule 4(a)(1)(B) of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, the deadline for submitting an appeal, if any, must be submitted within 60 days after judgment is entered. Thus, President Obama’s Department of Justice has a deadline of Tuesday, October 12, 2010 by which it must decide whether to appeal the decision or not.

Advocates are demanding that President Obama order his Department of Justice not appeal the decision. “This decision by Judge Tauro was a landmark ruling for gay and lesbian equality — the civil rights struggle of my generation’s time. The discriminatory law that is Section 3 of DOMA, which denies married same-sex couples all 1,138 federal marriage benefits, had its day in court and it lost out to the promises of fairness and equality in our Constitution. The President and his Department of Justice should allow that decision to stand.” said Paul Sousa, a Boston College Law School student and gay rights advocate in Massachusetts.

Now, I have every confidence in the legal team from GLAD, led by the legendary Mary Bunauto. I know they can whip DOJ’s ass again on appeal. And, it’s widely assumed that the DOJ will appeal.

While this will be viewed by many as a purely legal decision, there are huge political implications for the Obama administration. Huge. Essentially, the Obama administration will have to go to court and argue that DOMA is constitutional. That won’t be good. The usual apologists, lobbyists and job-seekers will tell us that DOJ has no choice moving forward. That’s not true.

I want to hear President Obama’s opinion on the constitutionality of DOMA. He’s called it abhorrent. He’s called it discriminatory. Will he ever call it unconstitutional?

If DOJ appeals the decisions that DOMA is unconstitutional, we’ll get our answer.




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—  John Wright