Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Incredible Statistics: DADT & the DREAM Act Are Supported by the Vast Majority of Americans

     There are many reasons that the Republicans claim they blocked the Defense Authorization Bill in the Senate today.  

     The two amendments that they objected to in the bill were the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, which wasn't to go into effect until the military deemed it the right time, and the passage of the DREAM Act, which would grant citizenship to college graduates who were brought to the United States illegally by their parents when they were children.

     Here is some incredible data regarding the DREAM Act and DADT via TruthOut:
     It is important to note that senators representing a relatively small minority of the American population sustained a filibuster of a bill despite the fact that it contained very popular provisions. According to polling, 70 percent of Americans support the DREAM Act and 75 percent of Americans support fully repealing DADT.
     The 42 senators who filibustered the bill, on the other hand, represent only 36 percent of the American population. Thanks to senate procedure, a small minority can easily obstruct the will of the vast majority of the public.


Does John McCain Have Alzheimer's? The Post-Filibuster Meltdown & a Letter to Cindy and Meghan

     After leading the Republican filibuster to block the Defense Authorization Bill before it even reached the floor for debate, Senator John McCain had this meltdown, when questioned about Don't Ask Don't Tell by The Advocate's Kerry Eleveld.
     Did I just witness the fabled "Gay Panic"?  Or is John McCain just being an ass hole?  Is he lying?  It sounds like he has Tourette Syndrome or possibly Alzheimer's.  More than likely, we just got a glimpse into McCain's tautological inner monologue.
"It's not the policy.  It's not the policy.  It's not the policy..."
    In the video embedded at the bottom of this post, Rachel Maddow interviews Maj. Mike Almy, who was dismissed under DADT after his emails were searched by the Air Force.  Maj. Almy didn't tell, but the military asked.  John McCain watched Maj. Almy's testimony earlier this year before the Senate Armed Services Committee.  So, either McCain didn't listen to Almy, McCain's lying, or he forgot.

    I've watched two of my grandparents die with Alzheimer's.  In my days as a priest, I ministered in numerous nursing homes and retirement centers that had Alzheimer's wings.  I've seen the anger, confusion, and repetition of thought that comes in the early stages of this disease.  So, I've written this letter:
     Dear Meghan and Cindy McCain,
     Over the past year, it seems that your father/husband has forgotten who he used to be.  He is fighting against bills he previously supported and principles he once held.  For months, I thought he was just being a hypocrite and playing to the Tea Party base for his re-election bid, but after witnessing his meltdown today, I think he might be losing his mind to Alzheimer's.
     I know that sounds harsh, but I've seen this reversion to almost childlike behavior before in elderly people who've suffered from Alzheimer's.  Watching the mind, memories, and personality of a loved one deteriorate into a shell of what they once were is painful.  I was there when we moved my screaming grandmother into a nursing home.  I was there when my grandfather couldn't stop crying because he couldn't go home.  But neither one of them was fit to live at home.  They needed to be cared for by people capable of doing so.
     If you have noticed that Senator McCain is forgetting names and events. if he's repeating himself in conversations, if he's displaying any signs of Alzheimer's onset, please get him to a doctor.  The Senator's government-provided health insurance will pay for drugs that may slow his mind's deterioration.  Maybe I'm wrong.  Maybe the doctor will say that the Senator's fine, but he owes it to his constituents and to you, his family, to get checked out.
     It's not easy to take away the keys to an elderly loved one's car, but if your father/husband is suffering from Alheimer's please don't let him run for reelection.  He owes it to the American people to step down from office.
     Sincerely,
                       Heretic Tom  
     PS.  Thank you for standing up for LGBTrights! 

Republicans Succeed in Blocking Don't Ask Don't Tell Repeal and Passage of the DREAM Act

     Children of immigrants and gay and lesbian soldiers were once again thrown under John McCain's Straight Talk Express today, the victims a Republican political maneuvering and Democratic impotence.

     Hypocrite McCain was successful in leading Republicans and two Democrats in a Senate filibuster to block the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell and the passage of the DREAM Act, two things McCain previously supported.

     I, for one, am sick and tired of having my civil rights and the rights of immigrants being used as political weapons.  I'm also disgusted with "fierce advocate" President Obama repeatedly failing to stand up for what is right and stop discrimination against gay and lesbian soldiers.

     The U.S. Senate dashed the hopes of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal supporters on Tuesday when a vote to proceed on major defense legislation containing repeal language failed, 56-43.
     A unified GOP caucus — in addition to Democratic Arkansas Sens. Mark Pryor and Blanche Lincoln — comprised the “no” votes that defeated a cloture vote on the fiscal year 2011 defense authorization bill.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) changed his vote to “no” in a procedural move so he could bring the bill up at a later time.  The votes of 60 senators were necessary to end Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) filibuster and move forward with the legislation.
     Advocacy groups working on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal bemoaned the failure of reaching cloture in statements following the vote.  Alex Nicholson, executive director of Servicemembers United, said the inability to invoke cloture is “a failure of leadership on the part of those who have been duly elected to serve this nation and to put the best interests of the country ahead of partisan politics.”
     “The Senate could learn a good lesson from those who serve in uniform and who stand to benefit from proceeding to debate on this bill — serving this country means putting politics aside and getting the job done,” he said. “It is simply inexcusable that this vote failed today.”
     The Washington Post printed a number of reactions including this one from Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force:
     "Once again, politicians are playing politics with people's lives. Filibustering the defense authorization bill to block action on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' repeal and the DREAM Act -- two measures that do justice to the fundamental principle of fairness -- is a disappointment and disservice to our country. Seventy-eight percent of Americans support ending 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' and countless others believe that young people should be provided a path to citizenship in the country they love and have always called home. Today's Senate vote mocks those ideals. The senators who led and supported the filibuster effort should be ashamed."

Christine O'Donnell Said Gays Suffer From "Identity Disorder"

     The Washington Post reports the latest on Republican Senate Candidate Christine O'Donnell's homophobia:
     Christine O'Donnell claimed in a 2006 interview that homosexuals are psychologically defective, arguing that they suffer from "identity disorder," the reporter [Victor Greto] who conducted the interview tells me [Greg Sargent of the Post].
     "People are created in God's image. Homosexuality is an identity adopted through societal factors. It's an identity disorder."
     O'Donnell's suggestion that gays suffer from a psychological disorder is far worse than other comments about gays that have already gotten media attention, such as her claim that the government spent too much on AIDS and her insistence that "gays get away with so much."
     Also: Last week O'Donnell insisted that her rigid moralistic views represent long-ago youthful excesses. But as late as 2006, she was apparently still suggesting that gays are suffering from some sort of mental illness that has caused them to stray from God's "image."
     But begging an imaginary friend in the sky to help you stop masturbating isn't an identity disorder? 

Maddow Exposes Hypocrisy of Republicans Taking Credit for Stimulus and Bailouts that Are Working

     Rachel Maddow exposes Republican politicians that are taking credit for the economic stimulus even though they voted against it and how Democrats are failing to get the word out that the stimulus worked.  

     Most incredible is Senator Bob Corker (TN), owner of a $2.4 million 10,000 square foot home, who voted against the car industry bailout but just lied to a crowd of booing auto workers whose jobs he argued to sacrifice that he worked to safe the industry.

DADT Filibuster Update: Susan Collins Threatens to Join Republican Filibuster

     CBS News reports:
     Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine says she supports the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, but indicates she will join the Republican filibuster against proceeding to the Department of Defense Authorization bill if Senate Majority Leader Reid does not allow her Republican colleagues the opportunity to be heard and offer amendments to the bill.
     The Huffington Post explains how Collins' logic is off.  In actuality, the Republican filibuster will make it impossible for amendments to be offered and heard.
     Collins made an eloquent case that the DADT policy is unfair and morally indefensible, that it is a waste of taxpayer resources and that other nation's that don't similarly discriminate have seen no adverse consequences. But equally as troubling to Collins as the policy, she said, is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) failure to allow unlimited amendments to the defense bill.
     "I find myself on the horns of a dilemma," said Collins. "I was the sole Republican in the committee that voted [to repeal DADT]. I think it's the right thing to do. I think it's only fair."  But, she said, refusing to allow unlimited amendments is an equal affront to decency. "That too is not fair," said Collins of Reid's decision. "I cannot vote to proceed to this bill under a situation that is going to shut down debate.
     Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the Armed Services Committee, took the Senate floor after Collins to say that he agreed that members should have the opportunity to amend it, but Republicans were filibuster the motion to proceed to the debate - and without proceeding to the debate, there could be no amendments.  Reid spokesman Jim Manley said that he was "not sure how many more assurances that we can provide both privately and publicly to [Collins], but we need to get to the bill first of all."

     Yes, Collins you are such a friend to gays, using our rights as bait for your political agenda.  It's time Maine dumps their "moderate" Republican Senators.

John McCain & Republicans to Filibuster DADT, DREAM, & the Entire DA Bill; Lady Gaga Attacks

     Republicans to filibuster the entire defense authorization bill in order to fight the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell. Who's leading the way? Hypocrite John McCain, who formerly said he'd repeal the discriminatory policy when the military leadership got on board.

     Yesterday in Maine, Lady Gaga challenged McCain and the Republicans' use of homophobia to justify Don't Ask Don't Tell.

     It's all in the Rachel Maddow segments below: