(Take Action) Tell President Obama: We need fierce advocacy on DADT now

This morning, President Obama is meeting with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. Hopefully, they’ll be discussing a strategy to secure passage of the Defense bill, which includes the DADT language.

If you had a chance to watch the video of the panel on DADT in the post below, you know that one of our biggest obstacles to success is the calendar. Time is running out. The President needs to step up if we’re going to pass the DADT language this year, as promised. Today, we’ve launched a sign on letter urging President Obama to fully engage in this process — we’ll be delivering the letter to the White House on your behalf. We’ve sent this email to our AMERICAblog list, and hope you’ll join us in signing it:

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs recently told reporters that President Obama hasn’t made any calls to wavering senators in support of repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell — which will soon be voted on in the Senate. What’s he waiting for?

At a recent meeting between President Obama and progressive bloggers, Joe Sudbay personally told the president about our widespread disappointment over his failure to fulfill his campaign promises, including repeal of DADT.

Today, we’re asking you to help us show that this sentiment is real by joining our open letter that we’ll personally deliver to the White House.

Click here to join us in telling President Obama to put some skin in the game and call senators in support of repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell — now.

In September, when John McCain was leading the filibuster against the Defense Authorization bill, which includes the DADT language, President Obama didn’t make one phone call to Capitol Hill. But he did find time that day to call the WNBA champs.

With the Defense bill being brought up again in the next few weeks, we need President Obama’s leadership once again — this is not the time for him to be MIA. He promised to be our fierce advocate. Let’s tell him: We need his fierce advocacy now on this issue.

If we don’t repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell now, we all lose. It would be a “political disaster” for President Obama, according to The Hill newspaper. LGBT voters know that it could be years before we get another chance at passing anything pro-gay at the federal level. And Democrats learned this past November what happens when they leave their base disillusioned. None of us can afford to miss this window of opportunity.

So please join us in telling President Obama to start calling senators now in support of repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Click here — then, share with friends.

The stakes are high. Thanks for joining us in this fight.

We want to help prevent this political disaster, which will be a loss for our servicemembers, our national security, the President and our country.

Add your voice to the letter. Sign here.


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Discharges Under ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Have Stopped

The AP's Lisa Leff reports:

"Pentagon spokeswoman Cynthia Smith told The Associated Press that no discharges have been approved since Oct. 21. Smith did not know if the absence of recent discharges was related to the new separation procedures. The Pentagon has not compiled monthly discharge figures for any other months this year, she said."

More at the WaPo

Towleroad News #gay

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Politico: Is the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ repeal DOA?

After some optimism that there could be 60 votes scraped up in the Senate, here’s a more dim view of the political situation going on up on the Hill regarding DADT repeal, referring to the ability of Republican amendments to the Def Auth bill that could kill the whole thing even if that filibuster is overcome.

The window for action on reversing the ban on gays in the military is quickly closing, and the path to undoing the 17-year-old law is riddled with roadblocks: a crowded lame-duck calendar, Democratic defectors, and emboldened Republican senators who have no desire to hand a legislative victory to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

…a handful of those 60 votes come with a condition: that both Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) agree to allow senators to offer amendments to and have an extensive debate on the bill.

While he fully backs the repeal, Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the Armed Services Committee chairman tasked with shepherding the defense bill through the Senate, sought to tamp down Lieberman’s exuberance. Levin doesn’t want to be the first Armed Services chairman in 48 years to fail to pass a defense authorization bill, so he’s concerned about “don’t ask” bringing down his big bill.

…And if they’re given the chance to offer amendments to the defense bill, Republicans could try to insert measures unpalatable to Democrats, including a ban on sending any Guantanamo Bay prisoners to the U.S or tougher limits on the countries prisoners can be transferred to. Both proposals could win majority support in an up-or-down vote to attach them to the Senate bill, but they’d be sure to draw the ire of the Obama administration.

Among the wavering Senators mentioned in the piece regarding the vote on the overall bill — who were against it before or want an open amendments process that can still tank the whole thing — Jim Webb (D-VA), Scott Brown (R-MA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Dick Lugar (IN), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), George Voinovich (R-Ohio), Mark Pryor (D-AR) and Blanche Lincoln (D-AR).
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

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Watch: ‘John McCain Has Sold his Soul’ on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’


Washington Post columnist Sally Quinn says that John McCain is "absolutely for" DADT.

"I hate to see John McCain sell out like this."


(via the new civil rights movement)

Towleroad News #gay

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Watch: John McCain Wants Another ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Study, Says This One Took the Wrong Approach


John McCain discussed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" on Meet the Press, and seems to be unhappy that the results of the Pentagon's DADT study were leaked, cause now he's saying he won't listen to those results:

"I will listen to our military leaders, and not a study that is leaked."

McCain also criticizes the study itself, and says it took the wrong approach:

"All four service chiefs are saying we need a thorough and complete study of the effects, not how to implement the repeal, but the effects on morale and battle effectiveness. That's what I want, and once we get this study, we need to have hearings and we need to examine it and look at whether it's the kind of study that we wanted. It isn't in my view."

I have to believe that McCain was apprised of the questions in the study before it went out, but now that it's not going his way all of a sudden the study is bad.

It appears McCain won't be happy until he has a study that categorically keeps gays out of the military.

David Gregory also asked what he thought of Cindy McCain's recent statements on DADT.

Said McCain: "I respect the first amendment rights of every member of my family."

(Would love to know what went on behind-the-scenes that caused Cindy's swift turnabout.)


HRC released a statement reacting to McCain's remarks:

“Obviously the senator doesn’t like the preliminary findings of the Pentagon’s DADT survey, which found a clear majority of U.S. service members are okay serving with their gay and lesbian comrades. The senator has known all along the study developed by the Pentagon Working Group was looking at how to repeal DADT—not whether to do so.

“McCain has said he wanted to hear from the senior military leadership. He heard loud and clear from Secretary Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, last February when both were firmly in support of repeal.

“McCain has said he wanted to hear from rank-and-file troops. He has just heard loud and clear from them through the survey. But he doesn’t like their answer– and is stonewalling, trying to run out the clock on repeal by calling for congressional hearings.

“The truth is McCain is increasingly alone in his irrational opposition to open service. Sixty-four percent of Republicans disagree with McCain and favor lifting the ban. No matter the evidence, McCain will use whatever tactics at his disposal to not only stop repeal from moving forward, but will hold hostage the most critical military defense bill to do so.”

Towleroad News #gay

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Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Mythunderstood

I took one look at where this article came from, the title, and inwardly cringed, “They are making fun of a stereotypical gay lisp and arguing in favor of keeping the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.” After diving into the article, I was reminded to be careful not to stereotype. This article may come from a military college in a deep red southern state but it hits every single point for why the policy is unfair, illogical and should be immediately overturned.

DADT was based on personal morality views, not issues with unit cohesion. Repealing DADT is not complicated; it only takes leaders willing to enforce a single, non-discriminating code of conduct.

Ending DADT is not like fully integrating blacks or women into the military; gays are already serving. Most troops are okay with working side by side with gay soldiers. A majority of the public supports the repeal of DADT, so there is no political risk involved.

It is inevitable that the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy and law restricting “out” gays from serving will be changed. And yet, very little will change. Gays have always served in the military, only now they won’t have to lie to do it.

The author, Patti Mills, references Aaron Belkin’s article and the in depth discussion and dismantling of five myths surrounding the policy.

DADT was created to promote unit cohesion and military readiness.

Repealing DADT will be complicated.

The integration of women and African Americans into the military offers useful comparisons.

The troops oppose repealing DADT.

DADT is a losing issue politically.

I’m blown away at how the Obama administration has allowed itself to be painted into a corner on this issue when it would have taken so relatively little on their behalf to advance on this important civil rights issue. Instead, Obama’s stubborn intransigence on his precious process, and maybe a deep seated fear he might be perceived as too “soft” (wink… wink…) on gay civil rights issues, has successfully turned this otherwise gift of a publicly popular issue into a political hot potato and no-win situation. Never underestimate the power of active and passive homophobia to cause one to act irrationally to the very point of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

If the Obama administration wants a second term, I suggest they learn how to become less transparent, and predictable in their tired endless pattern of handing conservatives everything they want at the expense of the principals they claimed they stood for. If only Obama had campaigned on the fact everything he claimed he stood for was negotiable, and he was willing to dispose of his principals to make nice with the Republicans and what he considered their equally valid points. It would have made the primary decisions so much easier. This administration has already neutralized and fractured the decades long historic support the Democratic party has enjoyed from the LGBT community.

I would suggest the Obama admin reopen and study the works of Machiavelli, but I fear they already have, and we are the one’s who naively believed their insistent overtures and have actually been quite skillfully played. If so, our only recourse is to regroup, lick our wounds and determine to not ever allow our community to be used as a political football again, especially when it comes to those who have sworn to be our allies. If our community has to begin publicly embarrassing our supposed friends, and our sworn enemies, with non-violent civil disobedience that has just started to reemerge from years of restless hibernation then we must not shrink from it. The time has come for us to realize our equal civil rights and nothing can be allowed to stand in the way of that worthy recognition. Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is just one of the promises Obama made to us, but it would have been the easiest to deliver upon had it been an actual priority for his administration.


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NYC Alert: 3 “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Events

A trio of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” events will be coming soon to New York City, two tomorrow.

Pictured above is Iraq War veteran Anthony Woods, discharged under “Don't Ask, Don't Tell. He was a candidate for US Congress in 2008. He was photographed by Brooklyn photographer Jo Ann Santangelo. She will be having a display of photographs from her project “Proud to Serve,” a recent 4 week, 10,167 mile road trip around the United States documenting the lives of LGBT veterans and servicemembers. Let us support those putting faces to the statistics.

Exhibit opening and book release this Thursday, November 11, 2010 at 5:30 at New York City's The LGBT Center, Manhattan.

There will also be a roundtable discussion among activists and media professionals at the NYC Gay Center at 7:00.  Clinton White House LGBT advisor Richard Socarides, Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart, Nathaniel Frank formerly of the Palm Center and Center for American Progress' Winnie Stachelberg are expected.

Hosts include The Center and its Young Leaders Council (YLC), Knights Out, The Service Member’s Legal Defense Network (SLDN), The Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN) and the Lesbian and Gay Law Associate of Greater New York (LeGaL).

As most of us know, DADT disproportionately affects women, and people of color.

Next week, plan to attend the Gay Veterans of Color Speak Out panel discussion at the New York City's LGBT Community Center on Monday, November 15th at 6:30 PM (208 W. 13th street). 

A speaker slot is still open. Interested parties should contact organizers here. Transportation costs can be covered.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

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Video: Can you tell which of these servicemembers are gay? Exactly.

Good As You

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Video: Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Lez

You know those popular “Babysitters Club” books that were all the rage in the ’80s? Yea well — now imagine one penned by someone who calls himself “FaggotryIsOfSatan,” where the plot revolves around finding the title caretaker in a lesbian embrace, searching said caretaker’s Internet history, then calling her father to warn him of the gay and Gaga “evils” that have captured his child’s mind:


**NOTE that the video maker uses a screen cap from Peter LaBarbera’s AFTAH site to highlight Obama’s supposed gay agenda. Telling.

Good As You

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This is SO messed up…please tell me this is a joke.

Does this give you the creeps or what?

“I just got done welcoming Sarah Palin to our County. Had a nice chat and gave her a pair of pink underwear.” — Sheriff Joe Arpaio http://twitpic.com/2zw5gn

I just got done welcoming Sarah Palin to our County. Had a ni... on Twitpic
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

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