FBI agents today arrested Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari, a 20-year-old Saudi national studying chemical engineering at South Plains College near Lubbock, charging him with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, according to reports on MSNBC.com. Reports says one of Aldawsari’s primary targets may have been former president and current Dallasite George W. Bush.
Bush, who earned the wrath of many LGBT activists with his adamantly anti-gay stance that included support for a federal constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, now lives in Preston Hollow.
MSNBC reports that Aldwasari came to the U.S. to attend Texas Tech after getting a scholarship to the school, then trasnfered to South Plains. FBI agents have reportedly found his journal in which he wrote about specifically seeking a scholarship because it would help him get into this country more easily and because it would provide him with funds to carry out his jihad.
MSNBC.com says FBI agents found out about Aldawsari’s plot after being alerted by Carolina Biological Supply of Burlington, N.C., from whom Aldawsari tried to buy a chemical that has legitimate uses but can also be used to create an explosive called trinitrophenol. Agents then conducted covert searches of his apartment where they found chemicals and other items to create explosive devices. They also searched his computer and e-mails, finding e-mails he sent listing his potential targets. Those targets included the homes of three U.S. military troops who had served at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and reservoir dams in Colorado and California.
In his new memoir Decision Points, President George W. Bush says that when he approached Dick Cheney about being his running mate in 2000, Cheney reminded him that he had a gay daughter, Mary. Here’s the passage from the book:
By the time Dick came to the ranch to deliver his final report, I had decided to make another run at him. As he finished his briefing, I said, “Dick, you are the perfect running mate.”
While I had dropped hints before, he could tell I was serious this time. Finally, he said, “I need to talk to Lynne.” I took that as a promising sign. He told me that he had had three heart attacks and that he and Lynne were happy with their life in Dallas. Then he said, “Mary is gay.” I could tell what he meant by the way he said it. Dick clearly loved his daughter. I felt he was gauging my tolerance. “If you have a problem with this, I’m not your man,” he was essentially saying.
I smiled at him and said, “Dick, take your time. Please talk to Lynne. And I could not care less about Mary’s orientation.”
If Cheney really said this, clearly it was because he was worried how the Republican Party’s right-wing base would react to having a vice presidential candidate with a gay daughter. But this obvious fact seems completely lost on Bush. When Matt Lauer asked Bush about the passage last night (video above), he insisted that Cheney was testing his own personal tolerance for gay people. WTF? Here’s the exchange:
LAUER: Wasn’t he gauging the tolerance of the base of the Republican party?
LAUER: Wasn’t he saying, “Isn’t this– will this be an issue?”
BUSH: No. He was gauging my tolerance.
As Salon.com notes, after selecting Cheney as his running mate Bush proceeded to repeatedly use his opposition to gay rights to galvanize the Republican base. But we suppose this was nothing more than a sign of Bush’s own personal intolerance, as opposed to some carefully orchestrated political strategy. Whatever.
For the fifth consecutive year, the Equality Forum presents GLBT icons for each day of October, to mark GLBT History Month. And this year’s first icon is Texas’ own Eric Alva of San Antonio, who was the first casualty of the Iraq war. Alva, a Marine staff sergeant, lost his leg when he stepped on a land mine three hours into the ground invasion in 2003. But it wasn’t until after Alva returned home — and had been visited by President George W. Bush in the hospital and appeared on “Oprah” — that he came out as gay and become a spokesman for the repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell.” From our story on Alva in April 2007:
He says it wasn’t until one night last fall that it came to him. He had always wanted to help people, but wasn’t sure how.
“I would always talk about it, but it was more words just coming out of my mouth because I never did anything about it,” he says.
After Alva’s partner, whom he met after returning from Iraq, pleaded with him to do something before his notoriety wore off, Alva decided to e-mail HRC.
“I said, ‘I don’t know how I may help you, but the story is I am a gay Marine,’” Alva recalls.
A few days later, HRC returned his call. Then, after U.S. Rep. Marty Meehan, D-Mass., announced plans to reintroduce the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, which would repeal “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” they called again.
“They called and said, “‘Eric, we need you now,’” Alva says. “I knew that what I was about to do was a huge sacrifice on my part. But I needed to tell people that this is the way the country should be.”
Of course, more than three years later, “don’t ask don’t tell” remains in place. So perhaps it’s fitting that Alva is the first icon of this year’s GLBT History Month. We haven’t heard much from him lately, but according to the Equality Federation, he’s working on his master’s degree in social work.
ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL | Then-Republican National Committee Chair Ken Mehlman hits the campaign trail with U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt, an Ohio Republican, in October 2006. Mehlman came out as a gay man last month, but many in the LGBT community have refused to welcome him into their ranks because of his past support of anti-gay politicians, like Schmidt who has consistently voted against LGBT-friendly legislation. (Nati Harnik/Associated Press)
On the surface, it would seem that having a former chair of the Republican National Committee, someone with close ties to a number of high-level Republican officeholders and party officials, come out as a gay man and a same-sex marriage supporter would be a real coup.
After all, who could be better at helping sway politicians and policymakers away from their anti-gay stances than a man who helped them reach their positions of power in the first place.
But when Ken Mehlman, former RNC chair and 2004 campaign manager for George W. Bush, announced last month that he is gay and intends now to be an advocate for marriage equality, he wasn’t exactly welcomed with open arms by the LGBT community overall.
It was during Mehlman’s tenure as Bush’s campaign manager that, LGBT activists say, the Republicans used LGBT issues, specifically same-sex marriage, as a tool to whip up fear among right-wing conservatives, driving them to the polls to give Bush a second term in the Oval Office.
Although Republican Karl Rove is widely seen as the architect of that strategy, liberal activists aren’t willing to give Mehlman a pass for the role he played in that election, when right-wingers in 11 states got constitutional amendments banning gay marriage on their ballots — and all 11 passed.
Mehlman has also previously worked as chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Kay Granger of Fort Worth and as legislative director for U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith of San Antonio. Both Texas congressmembers have consistently voted against LGBT-positive legislation, and Smith last month announced his intention to introduce legislation this fall to define marriage as between a man and a woman.
Mehlman himself acknowledged, in an interview with Marc Ambinder published Aug. 25 in The Atlantic, that if he had come out earlier he might have been able to fend off some of the GOP’s most anti-gay efforts and rhetoric. And Ambinder said Mehlman had told him previously, in private, off-the-record conversations, about working behind the scenes to “beat back efforts to attack same-sex marriage.”
Mehlman told Ambiner that he had only begun coming to terms with his sexual orientation earlier this year, and that he “really wished” he had reached this point earlier in his career so that he could have fought against the federal marriage amendment pushed by right-wing Republicans in 2004, and, as RNC chair, “reached out to the gay community in the way I reached out to African-Americans.”
Mehlman, through Ambinder’s interview, asked for, if not support, “at least … understanding” from the LGBT community. But some aren’t willing to give him that, either.
Erin Moore, president of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, this week summed up the feelings of many on the left.
“He’s just another closeted gay Republican that came out. But more than that, he was a closeted gay Republican who worked against the community,” Moore said. “That’s my biggest issue. You can’t work against the community, and then come out and say, ‘Just kidding,’ and think that makes everything OK. When you have done a crime, you can’t erase it by doing community service.”
Moore said Mehlman’s new-found LGBT activism is “too little, too late.”
She said, “If there is a rosy side to this, then I’ll be happy to see it. But I don’t think it will happen. If he thought he could change hearts and minds, why didn’t he do it when he had the power to do it? When he was in a seat of power and was gay, he hid it and worked against our community. Now that he is outside that seat of power, I don’t think he will have the influence to make a real difference.”
Michael Mitchell, now president of the National Stonewall Democrats, was working with Equality Utah in 2004. The marriage amendment there, Mitchell said, “literally ripped families apart. It caused suicides. The Republican Party pushed those amendments in as many places as they could. There are people in Utah today who are still not talking to each other because of that, and I am sorry, but I implicate the Republican Party in that. And Ken Mehlman was part of it.”
Mitchell said that in his work with the GOP and the Bush campaign, Mehlman “spent a lot of time putting a stamp of approval on some really heinous policies, on pushing ways of thinking that have changed the way people treat LGBT people.”
Mitchell also noted, as have other liberal activists, that Mehlman has continued to donate to candidates and officeholders who are stridently anti-gay.
According to the website OpenSecrets.org, which tracks campaign contributions, Mehlman has donated a total of $20,200 to nine different political candidates, plus $5,000 to the Every Republican is Crucial political action committee, for a total of $25,200 over the past 12 months.
All nine candidates are Republicans, and of them, five are described as “hard-core conservatives” who have consistently voted against LGBT issues, by the nonprofit, non-partison website OnTheIssues.org. Granger is one of those five.
Two more of the nine were described as “centrists,” by OnTheIssues.org, and an eighth, Sen. John McCain of Arizon, is described as a “populist conservative.”
The ninth is Kelly Ayotte, candidate for the U.S. Senate from New Hampshire. Because Ayotte has not served in the Senate yet, she is not listed on OnTheIssues.org. However, in her former position as New Hampshire attorney general, she opposed efforts there to legalize same-sex marriage, and resigned her office when Gov. John Lynch signed the marriage equality legislation into law.
Mehlman made six of those 10 political contributions since Jan. 1 this year, including contributions to Rep. Mark Kirk of Illinois, Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Rep. Michael Castle of Delware, McCain and Ayotte.
His most recent donation to Granger, for $2,400, was made Dec. 10, 2009. Records on OpenSecret.org do not show any donations to Smith.
Mitchell said, “Ken Mehlman continues to give money to conservatives who are working against the best interest of the LGBT community. How quickly can a tiger change his stripes, is my question.
“Yes, he’s come out. I applaud him for that. I am sure he has a bit of influence still in the Republican Party, and if that shifts the debate and takes gay rights off the target list for the Republicans, then that’s great,” Mitchell added. “If Ken Mehlman can help accomplish that, then bully for him. But I think there’s a lot of making up he has to do.”
The gay Republican view
But those on the opposite end of the LGBT political spectrum said this week that those who continue to condemn Mehlman and refuse to accept him into the LGBT activist community are, in effect, cutting off their noses to spite their faces.
“I say, let’s move forward and bring about reconciliation,” said R. Clarke Cooper, executive director of the national Log Cabin Republicans. “Yes there are a lot of folks within the broader LGBT community that are not happy [with Mehlman over his previous work with the GOP]. That’s understandable. But I say to them, remember where you were at certain stages of your own coming out process.
“I am not discounting the past. We shouldn’t ignore it. But I would offer a gentle reminder that we preach to people to come out … . Not every person in the LGBT community is a Democrat.”
Cooper said he sees “something cannibalistic” in the way LGBT liberals have been attacking Mehlman since he came out, and suggested that to “continuously vilify Ken could delay those conservative young gay Republicans in coming out themselves. … People are on record now saying stuff about Ken that could be used against our community, and this is coming from bloggers and advocates in the community who have a record of calling for tolerance and reconciliation. That stuff is out there now. You can’t just hit delete.”
Cooper also said LGBT liberals shouldn’t castigate Mehlman now for donations he made at a time when he wasn’t out as a gay man, either publicly or to himself. And, he added, Mehlman’s continuing donations to Republican candidates will help keep open doors of opportunity.
“Look where he’s going now,” Cooper said of Mehlman. “I know he has reached out to Log Cabin and to other entities to say, ‘This is what I want to do moving forward. Tell me where I can be the most helpful.’ We would be foolish to refuse that.”
Cooper compared Mehlman’s situation to his own experience. Cooper worked in the Bush administration, and has also worked for Republican legislators such as Rep. Iliana Ross-Lehtinen, a moderate Republican from Florida. Although he was not closeted during those years, Cooper said, “There were people I worked with who didn’t know I was gay because I didn’t lead with that. But I never hid that part of me.”
Now, because of the relationships he built with those lawmakers in the past, Cooper said he has a better chance of making headway toward swaying their positions on LGBT issues. As does Mehlman.
“Both of us has a certain amount of credibility with the conservatives. Since I took this job [with Log Cabin] three months ago, there have been people I have met with that I know the only reason I even got in the door is because I have that ‘R’ next to my name, or because they remember me from past working relationships. And getting in the door is the first step,” Cooper said.
He also said that activists who refuse to work with or support candidates who don’t vote with the LGBT community in every instance are making a mistake.
“There are Republicans who are supportive on [the Employment Non-Discrimination Act] but they are not going to vote with us on marriage. Are we supposed to throw away any chance of making progress on at least one issue because somebody isn’t with us on every issue,” he said. “People like [U.S. Rep.] Pete Sessions and [U.S. Sen.] John Cornyn [both of Texas] who have told us, ‘We’re not going to be 100 percent with Log Cabin. But let’s start talking about where we do concur, and move forward from there.’ That is a vast shift. And [Mehlman] helps push that it even further forward.”
Cooper recalled one visit to a member of the Texas delegation in Congress who asked him, “When did you become a gay?” That prompted, he said, “a serious conversation” about the fact that sexual orientation is not a choice.
“If [Mehlman] can do the same thing with the people he knows, even better. That’s why it is important to come out. That chips away at the argument that sexual orientation is a choice, that it’s deviant and only a small subset of society. The more people who come out, the more it shows how diverse the LGBT community is. And [Mehlman] being out and available to answer those kinds of questions can only help.”
Rob Schlein, president of Log Cabin Republicans of Dallas, was even more adamant.
“I think it’s great that [Mehlman] has figured out who he is and that we now have a high-profile advocate” in the Republican Party, Schlein said. “I am disappointed but not surprised that people in the gay community are giving him so much grief about what happened before. They blame him for things that happened when he was not out, even to himself, and things that he probably had no real say in. Sometimes even the RNC chairman just has to be a good soldier and execute the strategies that other people have laid out.”
And while Cooper offered “a gentle reminder” to those on the left to think about their own coming out process, Schlein was much less gentle.
“They yearn to talk about inclusion. They yearn for acceptance, and they yearn for grace. But when it’s time to show that acceptance and grace to someone else, they don’t walk the talk,” he declared.
“Anyone who would criticize [Mehlman] for what he did before he was out needs to remember what they did before they were out, what it was like for them. If you want acceptance and tolerance and inclusion, then you have to actually practice acceptance and tolerance and inclusion. I say there is a lot of hypocrisy coming from the left.”
Neither Granger nor Smith, nor any of the aides in their offices, returned calls from Dallas Voice seeking comments for this story.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 3, 2010.
A few weeks back we wrote about how anti-gay leaders in Texas were deafeningly silent about U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker’s landmark decision declaring Proposition 8 unconstitutional. As we said at the time, this case has the potential to void gay marriage bans in all states including Texas that have passed them, so one might expect the folks who pushed through the 2005 state constitutional amendment to chime in. Our post was later picked up by Rachel Maddow. Anyhow, looks like Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who’s been fighting gay divorce tooth and nail, has finally said something about Walker’s ruling, in an interview last week with the Texas Tribune (which has seemingly become the only mainstream media outlet in the state that even pretends to care about LGBT issues). Below is a transcript of the full exchange between Abbott and the Tribune’s Evan Smith, taken directly from the first three minutes of the video. Smith asks legitimate questions but fails to follow them up and seems to let Abbott off the hook pretty darn easily. For example, Smith allows Abbott’s assertion that Baker v. Nelson is binding precedent — which is pretty far-fetched at this point — to go unchallenged. Likewise, Abbott fails to respond substantively about Ken Mehlman’s coming out or the issue of transgender marriage. Again, kudos to the Tribune for bringing up these topics, but ultimately that’s not enough — they need to do their homework and be prepared to hold people’s feet to the fire.
Smith: I want to start with a bit of news that broke yesterday afternoon, and that is about Ken Mehlman. Ken Mehlman is the former chair of the Republican National Committee. He was George W. Bush’s campaign manager in ’04, a close aide to George W. Bush over the years politically, who I think as you know announced yesterday that he’s gay, and that he intended to use that public position to campaign for gay marriage? What do you think about that? Abbott: What do I think about Ken Mehlman?
Smith: What do you think about the Mehlman announcement and what do you think the larger significance of the Mehlman announcement is if there is any for the discourse about gay marriage in this county? Abbott: Well it adds further discourse into the whole issue, but it doesn’t change the legal dynamics. What one person feels doesn’t change the law, doesn’t change the constitution, doesn’t change pre-existing Supreme Court precedent on the issue.
Smith: So there’s a legal issue that you addressed. Mehlman’s announcement doesn’t change that. But there’s also a political dynamic, surely you would agree, at work here? Abbott: Well, there is a political dynamic. There’s a political dynamic that’s been in play for decades. But once again, the political dynamic is not going to rewrite the constitution. The constitution says what it says, and just because one person comes out and says, “Listen, I’m gay, I believe in same-sex marriage, doesn’t change the constitution.
Smith: And nor does necessarily the actions of a judge in California, as one did recently, holding the door open to the overturning of the proposition in California That as well is one judge’s decision and does not overall affect the issue? Abbott: It doesn’t impact the issue. If you want to delve into the details, the reality is that that judge failed to do what a judge is supposed to do. Lower court judges are supposed to follow higher-court precedents. There is a precedent from the United States Supreme Court on this issue, in Baker v. Nelson, that is binding precedent on the lower courts unless and until the Supreme Court changes that opinion, and that binding opinion is one that doesn’t recognize same-sex marriages.
Smith: You had the opportunity recently in a case here in Texas involving a transgender individual to offer an attorney general’s opinion. This is a case where people say it may be kind of a small crack in the door, where gay marriage is actually in certain instances legal in Texas. Your office was asked to offer an opinion, and you declined to. Can you talk about that? Abbott: First of all, we had three opportunities to weigh in legally in courts about whether or not gay marriage is legal in the state of Texas. The issue you’re talking about is the transgender issue, and that involved an issue where we got an opinion request from the county attorney in El Paso, and we rejected opining on that opinion because of current pending litigation. Now if I tell the county attorney from El Paso that I will not give them an opinion, Evan, I’m not going to give you an opinion either.
Gay blogger Mike Rogers, a pretty reliable source when it comes to these things, is reporting that former Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman, who served as President George W. Bush’s 2004 campaign manager, is set to come out of the closet — in an Atlantic magazine column to be published Friday or early next week. Before leading what Rogers calls “the most homophobic national campaign in history,” Mehlman served as chief of staff to Texas Congresswoman Kay Granger and legislative director for Texas Congressman Lamar Smith. From Rogers:
So, how can Ken Mehlman redeem himself? I want to hear from Ken that he is sorry for being the architect of the 2004 Bush reelection campaign. I want to hear from Ken that he is sorry for his role in developing strategy that resulted in George W. Bush threatening to veto ENDA or any bill containing hate crimes laws. I want to hear from Ken that he is sorry for the pressing of two Federal Marriage Amendments as political tools. I want to hear from Ken that he is sorry for developing the 72-hour strategy, using homophobic churches to become political arms of the GOP before Election Day.
And those state marriage amendments. I want to hear him apologize for every one of those, too.
And then there is one other little thing. You see, while you and I had the horrible feelings of being treated so poorly by our President, while teens were receiving the messaging ‘gay is bad’ giving them ‘permission’ to gay bash, while our rights were being stripped away state by state, Ken was out there laughing all the way to the bank. So, if Ken is really sorry, and he very well may be, then all he needs to do is sell his condo and donate the funds to the causes he worked against so hard for all those years. He’s done a lot of damage to a lot of organizations, while making a lot of money. A LOT of money. It’s time to put his money where his mouth is. Ken Mehlman is sitting in a $3,770,000.00 (that’s $3.77 million) condo in Chelsea while we have lost our right to marry in almost 40 states.
THEN, and only then, should Mehlman be welcomed into our community.
“It’s taken me 43 years to get comfortable with this part of my life,” Mehlman said. “Everybody has their own path to travel, their own journey, and for me, over the past few months, I’ve told my family, friends, former colleagues, and current colleagues, and they’ve been wonderful and supportive. The process has been something that’s made me a happier and better person. It’s something I wish I had done years ago.”
Resource Center’s Rafael McDonnell informs us that RCD has made some notable acquisitions of late for its Phil Johnson Historic Archives and Library. For example, McDonnell said activists Blake Wilkinson and Rick Vanderslice recently dropped off some Queer LiberAction memorabilia, including a megaphone and the group’s patented kissing booth. Also, some recovering ex-Log Cabin Republicans provided a copy of a letter they wrote in the 1990s to Karl Rove, then an advisor to Gov. George W. Bush (we’re dying to read this). And finally, McDonnell sent over the below photos he took of photos that came in from William Waybourn, a pioneering Dallas gay-rights activist who now lives outside of Washington, D.C. Unfortunately, many of these items will have to be placed in storage for the time being due to space concerns. But McDonnell says Waybourn’s pics are slated for display at the Center. After the jump, we’ve posted a few a more of them along with Waybourn’s descriptions.
This is a photograph I took of John Thomas in the mid-1990s. He loved it, saying it captured the essence of who he was. Later, when AIDS began to take its toll on him, John wanted it used as his “official” photo because he was concerned that people wouldn’t remember how he looked before AIDS, and not as someone ravaged by the disease. On a side note, I asked John, Bill Nelson, Mike Richards or others appearing in the media on behalf of lesbian and gay issues to look presentable, e.g. wear coats and ties, etc. John and Charlotte Taft, then Dallas’ most “out” lesbian, were always media outstanding role models, skewing people’s impression of what they thought “activists” looked and sounded like.
Why doesn’t Laura Bush just come right out and say that she supports same-sex marriage? The former first lady appeared on “Fox News Sunday” in what is said to be the first interview conducted in the couple’s new Preston Hollow home. Host Chris Wallace asked Bush whether she supports gay marriage. She gave pretty much the same response she gave last week when asked the same question by CNN’s Larry King:
“What I really believe is that it’s something that is so difficult,” Bush told Wallace on Sunday. “It’s a very, very difficult issue for very many people because the marriage between a man and a woman is so fundamental to our civic life for all of our history, for the history of humans. And it’s a debate that I think people want to have, and I hope they have it in a way that protects people. And in many ways, I think it’s generational and that gay marriage will come. I’m OK with that.”
Laura was also asked about her views on “don’t ask don’t tell,” and she told Wallace she doesn’t have an opinion about it. “Well I think that’s just something else that the military and the legislators are going to have to talk about and figure out what is really best for the United States military,” she said.
It seems more and more like Laura’s comments on same-sex marriage are just designed to create a stir and drum up publicity for her book. She’s never actually said that she supports same-sex marriage, and now she isn’t even sure about DADT. Until she actually does something tangible to support LGBT equality, it’s all just talk — talk designed to sell books, because Preston Hollow ain’t cheap. If Laura feels so strongly about gay rights, maybe it’s time for her to start appearing at fundraisers for LGBT groups in Dallas. It would be a small step toward undoing some of the tremendous harm inflicted by her husband on the community.
Just a little heads up for all our friends out their in Instant Tea Land: Karl Rove is coming to the DFW Metroplex.
The World Affairs Council is bringing the man who was President George W. Bush’s senior advisor and deputy chief of staff to town to talk about his newly-released memoir, “My Life as a Conservative in the Fight.”
Rove will speak at the Hyatt Regency Dallas, 300 Reunion Blvd. in Dallas, on March 15 and at the Fort Worth Club, 306 W. Seventh St. in Fort Worth on March 16. Both programs start at noon.
Tickets are $55 for WAC members and their guests, and $70 for nonmembers, and can be purchased online DFWWorld.org or or by calling the council’s events hotline at 214-965-8412.
I am sure you will all want to get your tickets early. Wonder if he will stay with the Bushes while he’s in town?game rpg mobileсео что это