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Worry Not, Citizens. Obama Still Opposes Marriage Equality

1:08 pm in Executive Branch, Government, LGBT by Teddy Partridge

No, we won't support DOMA; yes, we're still bigots. (photo: quinn.anya via Flickr)

Despite today’s remarkable about-face on defending the Defense of Marriage Act in federal court (explained here and here and here and here) the White House immediately made sure Americans are not misinformed about the President’s continued opposition to marriage equality. In Barack Obama’s personal opinion, same-sex unions are not to be blessed with equal state sanction:

Does this mean the president now favors gay marriage? At today’s press availiability, White House press secretary Jay Carney said he doesn’t:

“I would refer you to just to his fairly recent statements on that. He is grappling with the issue. But he — again, I want to make the distinction between his personal views, which he has discussed, and the legal decision that was made today.”

Obama recently said his position on the issue is “evolving,” so Carney’s quote appears to mean that it still is in that mode.

So, while his Attorney General has been directed to no longer act contra the interests of same-sex couples seeking equality, do not fear, Bigot-Americans: the President is still one of you.

Obama’s GOP Ambassador to China Resigns; Will Huntsman Seek Prez Nom?

3:27 pm in 2012 Election, Elections, Government, Politics, Republican Party by Teddy Partridge

Jon Huntsman (photo: saucy_pan via Flickr)

Jon Huntsman, the Mormon former Governor of Utah chosen by Barack Obama to be his ambassador to China, has resigned, effective April 30th, CNN is reporting.

U.S. ambassador to China Jon Huntsman submitted a hand-delivered letter of resignation to President Obama Monday, effective April 30th, according to two senior administration officials.

The news comes amid speculation that the former Utah governor will run for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination.

From that “amid speculation” link above:

But Republican strategists backing Huntsman – a former Utah governor now serving as U.S. Ambassador to China – say there is room for a “center-right” presidential candidate as the rest of the early GOP field races to the right.

“Everybody is gaming out 2012 as if it will be 2010, and it’s not,” said one Republican laying the groundwork for a Huntsman bid, should he decide to enter the race.

The adviser stressed that Huntsman is not involved in the details of setting up a potential campaign.

Politico ran with a “White House expects Huntsman to resign early in 2011” post earlier Monday.

GOP allies of Huntsman have already begun laying plans for a quick-start campaign should the former Utah governor decide to enter the ill-defined Republican field.

While Huntsman has no direct involvement in it, a group of operatives that could eventually comprise his strategy team has set up an entity called “Horizon PAC” to serve as a placeholder for his political apparatus.

FBI Has “Clarity” in Identity of Who Placed Spokane Bomb

2:13 pm in Government, Terrorism by Teddy Partridge

Backpack from attempted MLK Day bombing in Spokane, WA. (photo: FBI--detail)

The FBI announced today that while there’s “a lot of work ahead” they have achieved “clarity” in their investigation for a suspect in the bomb placed on Spokane’s Martin Luther King parade route on Monday.

Federal investigators indicated today that they have made progress in their efforts to identify the person or persons who left a bomb Monday along the route of the planned Martin Luther King Jr. march.

“We’ve obtained quite a bit of clarity” as to the identity of those believed to be responsible, said Frank Harrill, special agent in charge of the Spokane office of the FBI. “But we still have a lot of work ahead of us.”

The FBI continues to seek leads from the public in the case, which resulted in the re-routing of the King parade commemoration as well as the clearing of several city blocks and business closures while the bomb squad defused the bomb.

Earlier this week, investigators sent the bomb — which other security sources said could have been detonated by a remote triggering device — to the FBI lab in Quantico, Va.

Harrill has indicated that evidence from that analysis — which could take several days — may be needed before investigators levy charges against any potential suspects.

An anonymous official familiar with the case but not authorized to speak about the investigation yesterday provided a very scary off-the-record quote to the Associated Press:

“They haven’t seen anything like this in this country,” the official said. “This was the worst device, and most intentional device, I’ve ever seen.”

I marvel at the lack of attention to this case after America’s Legacy Media went wall-to-wall in November over the Portland ‘bomber’ at our city’s Xmas tree lighting. Maybe we only need to wait for a suspect to be in custody before the current case in Spokane — where there was a real bomb with real, or even historic, lethality — gets that same kind of attention.

DADT: A Half-Billion Dollar Rathole

10:50 pm in Government, Legislature, LGBT, Military by Teddy Partridge

Lift DADT and save our money now. (photo: The Other Pete via Flickr)

Not only discriminatory, injurious to American national security, and antithetical to our nation’s values — now we learn that Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell has cost America more than a half-billion dollars since its inception. Billion with a B.

A new Government Accountability Office report says the military spent over $193 million between 2004 and 2009 to replace around 3,660 troops. A Palm Center study in 2006 reported $363.8 million was spent by the military in the policy’s first ten years.

So, when Duncan Hunter and his co-sponsors

Rep Bartlett, Roscoe G. [MD-6]
Rep Bilbray, Brian P. [CA-50]
Rep Chaffetz, Jason [UT-3]
Rep Conaway, K. Michael [TX-11]
Rep Davis, Geoff [KY-4]
Rep Fleming, John [LA-4]
Rep Franks, Trent [AZ-2]
Rep Gibbs, Bob [OH-18]
Rep Gingrey, Phil [GA-11]
Rep Huelskamp, Tim [KS-1]
Rep Kline, John [MN-2]
Rep Lamborn, Doug [CO-5]
Rep Luetkemeyer, Blaine [MO-9]
Rep Manzullo, Donald A. [IL-16]
Rep Miller, Jeff [FL-1]
Rep Pearce, Stevan [NM-2]
Rep Rogers, Mike D. [AL-3]
Rep West, Allen B. [FL-22]

say they want to push the certification of repeal down to the service chiefs, or to whatever level they need to in order to justify their bigotry under the guise of ‘unit readiness and cohesion‘ — we need to ask them: where’s that money supposed to come from?

We’re all in favor of eliminating wasteful spending, right?

America wasted more than half a billion dollars — with a B — enforcing this stupid, discriminatory law. Long after our most stalwart allies realized it isn’t anybody’s business who a servicemember has sex with, America was still spending about thirty-eight million dollars a year on DADT investigations, personnel replacement, and training.

Come to think of it, since this certification process seems to be dragging out, where’s THIS YEAR’s money coming from, anyway? If eliminating waste and abuse are what the 112th Congress is all about, the Pentagon can save this money, starting right now.

Pawlenty: I’d Reinstate DADT

8:01 pm in Executive Branch, Government, LGBT, Military by Teddy Partridge

"Why yes, that's right, my husband Tim here will pander like crazy to the right, even promising to reinstate DADT." (photo: jim.greenhill via Flickr)

Dispelling any previous misconceptions within the chattering Villager class that he’s a “moderate” or some type of alternative voice to hard-line values within the GOP 2012 class of presidential aspirants, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty (R-Yawn) went on the radio with hate-group leader Bryan Fischer to say he not only opposes the repeal of DADT — he’d reinstate it.

…Fischer: One last question, got about forty five seconds left, put you on the hot seat one more time: we just saw the ban on homosexual service in the military repealed, overturned. Conservatives will be working over the next couple of years to see that that ban is reinstated. If you become president in 2012, will you work to reinstate the prohibition on open homosexual service in the military? Would you sign such a prohibition if it got to your desk?

Pawlenty: Bryan, I have been a public and repeat supporter of maintaining Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. There’s a lot of reasons for that, but if you look at how the combat commanders and the combat units feel about it, the results of those kinds of surveys were different than the ones that were mostly reported in the newspaper and that is something I think we need to pay attention to. But I have been a public supporter of maintaining Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and I would support reinstating it as well.

Pam’s got the interview at her place — I highly recommend it, especially if you’ve any still-deluded GOP friends or family who once heard T-Paw was a moderate and still believe it. He’s not — and the GOP in Minnesota will tell you so.

NC Lawmaker: No State Aid for HIV Patients with “Perverted Lifestyles”

1:12 pm in Government, Health care, LGBT, State Government by Teddy Partridge

North Carolina State Assemblyman Larry Brown (source: NCSA website)

North Carolina State Representative Larry Brown, proving that ignorance about public health knows no bounds even in the 21st century, wants to deny state assistance to citizens who contracted HIV through their own “perverted lifestyle.” This returns the debate to the era of the Innocent Victim, when only little children who got AIDS through botched blood transfusions or while being born to junkie moms were worthy of America’s attention and assistance. There’s a reason the most comprehensive federal assistance for HIV patients is named after a boy who was shunned at school, not a friendless San Francisco drag queen tossed out on the street.

Rationing care based on how you got your disease? It’s a pernicious proposal, and we may see more of it as states seek to cut assistance to anyone, anywhere, in their desperate attempt to balance their budgets.

Of course, Brown made this proposal within a conversation about his support of a constitutional amendment to affirm traditional opposite marriage as the only form permitted in his state:

He began by discussing his support for a constitutional amendment limiting marriage to a union between one man and one woman, which would forestall any efforts to allow same-sex marriage.

He went on to say he thinks the government shouldn’t spend money to treat HIV among people “living in perverted lifestyles.”

“I’m not opposed to helping a child born with HIV or something, but I don’t condone spending taxpayers’ money to help people living in perverted lifestyles,” said Brown, who ran unopposed in the November election to win a fourth term.

Brown extends his money-saving lack of compassion to others affected by their own choice — including smokers, an unusual stance in North Carolina:

Brown wouldn’t say Tuesday what he considers perverted, but did say that adults who get HIV through sexual behavior or drugs would be among those who should not be treated at government expense.

Asked how he would feel about the government paying for diseases caused by smoking, Brown said he felt the same as for HIV because smokers “choose to do that on their own.”

So — North Carolinians! — don’t do anything on your own that might make you sick, if you ever hope for state help.

Pam Spaulding says we’ll see more of this in North Carolina, not less. It’s very dangerous due to the GOP being in control now:

The 2010 midterm turnover of our legislature here in NC — it will now be under GOP control for the first time since Reconstruction — is such a horrific development that it is no surprise that the emboldened good old country boys are going right for the throats of the LGBT community.

Out of the box there is talk not about jobs and the economy, but cutting funding for HIV/AIDS and pushing a marriage amendment, which has been killed repeatedly in committee when the GA was under Dem control.

“And how did you get your HIV?” isn’t the question we want caregivers forced to ask when determining a course of treatment. AIDS drugs are horrifically expensive. Most people can’t pay for them without help. But as resources become increasingly scarce, states with Compassionate Conservative™ legislatures might find it’s one way to reduce their spending on those with “perverted lifestyles,” never among the popular recipients of state assistance.

DADT “Repeal” Provides Long Path to Eventual Open Service

5:27 am in Executive Branch, Government, Legislature, LGBT by Teddy Partridge

photo: joelgoodman via Flickr

[Ed: DADT passed the  cloture vote this morning, final vote should take place around 3pm ET]

There seems to be optimism this morning that the standalone “repeal” of Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell will be successful in the United States Senate. The House of Representatives has sent a ‘privileged’ bill which allows for only one cloture vote before actually debating and voting on the measure itself. First voting will begin about 11am eastern time.

(Funny how the houses of Congress can work quickly and sidestep their cumbersome processes when they need to, isn’t it?)

Joe Sudbay tells which Senators to watch carefully during today’s debate:

Over the next couple hours, before the vote, we could get indications if Mitch McConnell was able to strong arm the repeal supporters in his caucus to defeat this legislation

Senators to watch today, on the GOP side are: Collins, Snowe, Brown and Murkowski. All four have said they support repeal. If any of them starts to waver or makes a peep about process, it’s a bad sign. If all four of them are okay, we could get Lugar, too — and there could be one or two surprises. Mark Kirk is apparently undecided. But, Lindsey Graham is still opposed to repeal.

On the Democratic side, watch Manchin (WV), Webb (VA) and Conrad (ND). Just yesterday, Conrad’s name started popping up as a potential problem. It’s hard to envision a scenario where we get to 59, but don’t can’t one of those Democrats to make it 60.

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network posts its usual reminder for those in the military: THIS ISN’T OVER.

Even when the President signs the stand-alone bill approved by both houses, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” will still be the law. Service members will still be discharged. Read SLDN’s warnings: www.sldn.org/StillAtRisk.

***SLDN WARNING TO SERVICE MEMBERS – DADT is STILL in EFFECT***

The bottom line is DADT is still in effect and it is NOT safe to come out.

Rapidly changing events regarding the legal status of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) may be confusing for service members and recruits.

There’s a path to open service, but it doesn’t begin when the president signs this bill.  . . . Read the rest of this entry →

Three DADT-Discharged Vets Seek Reinstatement in Court

11:09 am in Executive Branch, Government, Legislature, LGBT by Teddy Partridge

photo: The Other Pete via Flickr

Filing their case in Northern California, three military veterans discharged under Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell have asked the federal court to reinstate their service in the United States military. Mike Almy, Anthony Loverde and Jason Knight seek reinstatement. This is the next phase of the court-ordered dismantling of DADT that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates warned the Senate about earlier this month.

Unless the Senate passes the already very weak repeal legislation opposed by John McCain and other GOP Senators, the federal courts will continue their inexorable march toward open service in all military branches, since the policy is unconstitutional. Being ordered by a court to implement open service has worked exceedingly well for other countries’ militaries, notably the UK.

Perhaps this will be the simplest, fastest way to sweep away DADT: no more studies, no more implementation plans, no more insulting surveys about family residential arrangements or showers.  . . . Read the rest of this entry →

Surprised Bill O’Reilly is Surprised by Geraldo Rivera’s Calling Terror Theater™ “Bogus”

5:21 pm in Government, Politics, Terrorism by Teddy Partridge

I don’t really know what’s surprising about a right-winger being suspicious of federal agents. It seems to me the Feds are who the right-wing feared all the time Bill Clinton was mapping the flight-paths of the black helicopters and Janet Reno was plotting ATF raids on red-state day care centers.

Why would that change now that there’s another Democrat in the White House — especially since he’s a black Democrat? And with that black Democrat having appointed a black Attorney General, isn’t it time for the right-wing to re-discover its anti-authoritarian roots? Isn’t it time for the folks who fear the knock at the door in the night, the warrantless sneak-and-peak, the prying eyes of the feds-bossed-by-Democrats to re-engage in defense of the civil liberties they cherish so much when their GOP Daddies aren’t running things any longer?

Now that the White House is back in the hands of Democrats and the Justice Department is back in the hands of Democrats it’s about time Bill O’Reilly re-engaged with the right wing’s fear of authoritarian government in the hands of the Wrong People.

Geraldo Rivera lays it out for Bill O’Reilly, calling the FBI’s recent Terror Theater™ entrapment projects “bogus” — but Bill has a hard time wrapping his head around opposition to the federal government. He needs to understand it’s being managed by the Wrong People now.

People the right-wing authoritarians don’t take orders from. Read the rest of this entry →

Holder to Muslims Re Stings: Get Used to It

1:14 pm in Executive Branch, Government, Terrorism by Teddy Partridge

Attorney General Eric Holder took his “Get Used to It” entrapment justification tour directly to the enemy this week. He headed to Marin County — gosh, why does that sound familiar, oh, right, that’s where they breed the American Taliban! — to address the annual meeting of Muslim Advocates, a group with two scary words in its name.

(I wonder if they have a gay non-advocacy auxiliary called Fierce Muslim Advocates?)

Anyway, Holder told this national group of Muslims who advocate that when it comes to stings, they better get used to it:

In a 20-minute speech delivered in this suburb of San Francisco at the annual dinner of Muslim Advocates, a national legal advocacy and civil-rights organization, Mr. Holder rejected criticism by such groups that sting operations amount to improper “entrapment.”

Using Team Obama’s patented “you don’t have your facts straight” defense against critics, AG Holder told the group they need to look out for sting-y Feebs:

Mr. Holder was given a standing ovation as he took the stage, and many applauded during his speech. But the room fell silent for several minutes while Mr. Holder defended the sting operation in an Oregon bombing attempt last month, calling it a “successful undercover operation” and not a case of entrapment. Those who think otherwise, he said, “simply do not have their facts straight.”

Also, the feds will be on the alert for terror against Muslims, which oddly seems to follow big Terror Theatre™ productions by the FBI’s JTTF:

“I believe that law enforcement has an obligation to ensure that members of every religious community enjoy the ability to worship and to practice their faith in peace, free from intimidation, violence or suspicion,” Mr. Holder said.

Seeing no contradiction, Holder went on:

But he also rejected criticism of some counterterrorism techniques used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, including sending informants into mosques in search of would-be terrorists and creating elaborate sting operations enabling them to carry out fake attacks using dummy bombs.

Because nothing says “we’re going to let you practice your faith in peace” more than recruiting your children into Terror Theater™ productions they couldn’t possibly carry out without the Feeb’s active intervention. Nothing says “ability to worship freely” like sending informants into mosques. Nothing says that you’re “free from intimidation” like putting you on a watch list to prevent you from accepting a job elsewhere in America. Nothing says “free from suspicion” like isolating children from their loving families through fake-jihad recruitment, cash payments, and provision of Terror Theater™ techniques and traps.

Eric Holder may have thought his speech would make him friends, but the organization’s president, Farhana Khera, has his number:

Ms. Khera emphasized that Muslim Advocates recognized that “there are actual threats that do exist and as Americans who care about the country, we want law enforcement to be effective.”

But the complex “entrapment operations,” she contended, may be getting people involved in terrorism who otherwise would not have done anything. She also argued that the operations divert investigators from “actual threats” and stoke “anti-Muslim sentiment.”

If the FBI spends resources developing Terror Theater™ productions with individuals unlikely or incapable of bringing threats to fruition or reality, then those resources are unavailable to track and identify actual terror threats. And Terror Theatre™ provokes actual terror — terror against Muslims — that the FBI must investigate.

All in all, though, from a bureaucrats’ perspective, Terror Theatre™, the responses to it, and the need to respond to the resultant terror make for a bigger budget request next year. Win!