UPDATE @ 11:01 PM Here’s the video of the group going after White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina, the man who claimed only a few months ago that DADT would be repealed this year. How’s that plan going, Jim?
UPDATE @ 8:14 PM via email from GetEQUAL. It was quite a protest:
David Smith, Vice President of Policy and Strategy for the Human Rights Campaign, Winnie Stachelberg, Sr. VP for External Affairs for CAP; Rea Carey, Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, were greeted tonight by the protestors and asked to stand with the LGBT community and not attend the meeting. All three of them chose instead to cross the protest line and enter into the hotel. Smith refused saying, “I’m running late”.
Also, White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina was greeted tonight by protestors who chanted to him “Obama, What’s Your Plan?” and “Keep Your Promise!
Here’s a photo of Justin Elzie, Rob Smith and Scott Wooledge at the protest:
On Tuesday nights here in DC, there’s usually a gathering of White House staffers, often led by Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina, with leaders of progressive organizations. The meeting is called “Common Purpose,” but is better known as the “veal pen” — a term coined by Jane Hamsher. Basically, the White House gives the groups their marching orders — and most of the groups have done as instructed. We can see how well that’s worked.
Among those attending the meeting tonight are CAP’s Winnie Stachelberg and HRC’s V.P. David Smith. Rea Carey from the Task Force is there, too. (UPDATE: Just learned Messina was there.)
Tonight, the Common Purpose attendees were met by representatives from GetEQUAL, including seven of the DADT protesters who were arrested yesterday for handcuffing themselves to the White House fence. They decided to directly address the progressive leaders, because as the sign notes, “There’s no common purpose without equality.”
From GetEQUAL’s press release:
This evening, seven of the original 13 LGBT veterans and advocates who were arrested yesterday at the White House fence, stood outside of the Capitol Hilton (1001 16th Street NW) to protest the White House’s “Common Purpose” meeting, a mostly secret, low-profile gathering of White House officials and institutional, progressive organizations aimed at controlling the agenda and messaging around those issues, which includes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues. The invite-only meeting, first launched back in 2009 by White House Chief of Staff Rahmn Emanuel, White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina and others, has been previously criticized by liberal, progressive bloggers and advocates for its attempt to shut-down any resistance to the White House’s strategy by instilling fear of retribution amongst the organizations invited.
Here’s the quote from GetEQUAL’s Heather Cronk via Politico:
“The White House’s Common Purpose meeting is the primary way that progressive ideas and values supported by a majority of Americans are being upended and compromised,” said Cronk in an email to POLITICO. “We are calling on the progressive groups attending these meetings to shake free the yoke of White House staff who are refusing to push forward the progressive ideals that President Obama campaigned on.”
Here are the messages the will greet the Common Purpose attendees tonight. I’ll post more about the protest when I get more details:
WASHINGTON – Leading Republicans are joining a push to reconsider the constitutional amendment that grants automatic citizenship to people born in the United States.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said Tuesday he supports holding hearings on the 14th Amendment right, although he emphasized that Washington’s immigration focus should remain on border security.
His comments came after other Republicans recently questioned or challenged birthright citizenship, embracing a cause that had largely been confined to the far right.
The senators include Arizona’s John McCain, the party’s 2008 presidential nominee; Arizona’s Jon Kyl, the GOP whip; Alabama’s Jeff Sessions, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee; and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a leading negotiator on immigration legislation.
“I’m not sure exactly what the drafters of the (14th) amendment had in mind, but I doubt it was that somebody could fly in from Brazil and have a child and fly back home with that child, and that child is forever an American citizen,” Sessions said.
More below the fold. As I’m sure most Blenders know, the Fourteenth Amendment addresses racial inequities that were endemic to the Confederate states before and during the Civil War. At issue here is Section 1, which reads:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
This is very easy to understand: all persons born in the United States are citizens, all citizens are entitled to all the rights and protections of the Constitution, and no person — citizen or not — within a jurisdiction of US law shall be denied equal protection under the law.
This text was a direct response to the 1858 Supreme Court ruling, Dred Scott v. Sandford. The Dred Scott ruling held that Africans who had been imported into the United States as slaves, and their descendants, were not citizens and therefore had no right to protection under the law and no standing to sue for their rights in any court. Further, it held that slaves were chattel, and that laws designed to free slaves amounted to illegal seizure of property and therefore unconstitutional. This is what the “honored gentleman” from Alabama has publicly expressed ignorance about. Not surprising, given Sessions well documented racist past.
The repeal of birthright citizenship would open the doors for a return to racial or bloodline based citizenship. More, it creates the possibility — the likelihood? — that other restrictions on citizenship could be imposed. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….” But might it be constitutional for Congress to say that only adherents of a particular religion had the rights of citizenship, as long as religion was neither imposed or restricted?