In a post on Red State today, CNN contributor Erick Erickson baselessly speculated that Defense Department budget cuts were related to the repeal of the military's Don't Ask Don't Tell policy, and that those cuts would be "detrimental to our national security":
I am not one of those who thinks the Defense budget is sacrosanct and cannot be cut. Even Governor Palin is on record saying we cannot spare the Defense budget from cuts in these times and she, unlike me, has a child in harm's way.
In any event, the Defense Department is out saying it will make cuts to the various branches of the military. Am I the only one who thinks it rather ironic that the two branches in for the biggest cuts are the Army and Marines. They also -- I'm sure it is totally unrelated. totally -- are the two branches of the service that were most vocally opposed to repeal of Don't Ask - Don't Tell.
I guess cutting the Army and Marines will boost diversity. Or something. Good grief.
In fact, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen have publicly supported the budget cuts as necessary, and both men, along with numerous other military officials, have advocated for repeal of the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy.
From the January 6 edition of The Advocate:
Ironically, what many of the president's key advisers had originally tagged as a stumbling block has now become his one pristine win for the progressive base. Tax cuts went to everyone, including the richest segment of our country, in a move that some believe will establish the rates as a permanent fixture that shreds the middle-class fabric of this nation. The opportunity that was health care reform was lost to the lack of a public option. Wall Street reform was a sham in the eyes of many liberals. Key environmental legislation and immigration reform never got off the ground, though the heroic efforts of youth activists put the DREAM Act in play.
In fact, repealing the gay ban marks the one place where Obama didn't compromise the ideals of his progressive base. The question now is whether the lessons of the repeal battle will dawn a new day in the national fight for equality.
Will politicians and especially President Obama and his aides begin to fixate on the upsides of making strides toward equality for all LGBT Americans instead of obsessing about the downsides of battles lost years ago? In history we are taught that nations often prosecute the last war they were in rather than fighting the battle that's unfolding before their very eyes. But great leaders -- those who change the course of history -- are willing to turn away from the tangibles of the past to keep their eyes trained on the potential of an amorphous but illimitable future.
Much is left to be done. Transgender individuals especially are at risk of chronic unemployment without a means of recourse for wrongful termination. Gay binational couples are still torn apart by the cruelty of a system that fails to view their families as legal entities. And simply put, our nation's laws continue to value the humanity of certain citizens and debase that of others according to the expressions of their love. [The Advocate, 1/6/11]
Eleveld is departing The Advocate to become editor of Equality Matters, Media Matters' new war room for LGBT equality.
From the January 5 broadcast of Talk Radio Networks' Savage Nation:
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At this point, I have to assume that the WoldNetDaily crew all made a New Years resolution to pay more attention to all the voices in their heads, no matter how contradictory and divorced from reality.
Here, WND employs a classic "you know who else was gay? Hitler!" line of argument as part of their ongoing campaign against gays:
You ever see those television commercials for some utterly useless gimmick that ends with "Not sold in any store!" and think to yourself "yeah, that's because they couldn't get any stores to stock their lousy product"? That's how you should think about the phrase "WorldNetDaily Exclusive": Nobody else is willing to peddle this garbage.
Anyway, WND editor Joseph Farah endorses the Gay Nazi Cult theory, and adds in a healthy dose of paranoia for good measure:
This is a deeply disturbing book," said Joseph Farah, editor and chief executive officer of WND, who recently added a new 4th edition of the book to the WND Superstore. Perhaps not until very recently, with the mandating of open homosexuality in the military and the widespread promotion of same-sex marriage, could Americans have been expected to see the relevance of this remarkable work to their own society. We say, 'never again.' But do we mean it? Do we even understand what actually happened? I didn't – until I read this book."
The nonsense about "the mandating of open homosexuality in the military" is just kind of funny for the clumsiness with which it tries to redefine reality: Don't Ask, Don't Tell repeal allows gays to serve openly in the military; it doesn't require that all members of the military be gay. But the rest of the paragraph is something else entirely. Farah subtly shifts from the already-absurd contention that the Nazis were a "homosexual, pagan cult" to the suggestion that gays are Nazis, and that we may therefore see a repeat of Nazi Germany in our "own society." There's nothing funny about that; it's just deranged.
Up next, WND continues its assault on CPAC, the annual conference at which far-right lunatics and hustlers peddled their Clinton-is-a-murderer crazytalk in the 1990s and where Ann Coulter goes when she wants to engage in a little gay-bashing in front of an appreciative audience. You'd think CPAC would be WND's kind of party, but it isn't. WND hates CPAC, because although CPAC is the kind of gathering where people laugh along as Ann Coulter calls someone a "faggot," it isn't the kind of gathering where there are bouncers at the door making sure no gays get in. To the crackpots at WorldNetDaily, who consider gays worse than the KKK and the Nazis a gay pagan cult, CPAC's refusal to ban gays from the event means the conference has abandoned conservatism. (Note, however, that WND is cool with Birchers and Birthers attending CPAC. Just no gays, please.)
Anyway, having repeatedly denounced CPAC for being too friendly to gays (i.e., not barring the door against them), WND now peddles the suggestion that CPAC "has come under the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is working to bring America under Saudi-style Shariah law."
So, let me get this straight: CPAC has been taken over by gay-friendly advocates of Sharia law? Uh … right.
From ABC News' Topline, accessed January 3:
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Continuing its tradition of anti-gay rhetoric, The Washington Times has responded to the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" by publishing numerous homophobic editorials and op-eds.
In a December 30 Washington Times editorial, Jeffrey Kuhner wrote that the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is "an act of national suicide," claiming that it is "one of the most revolutionary and damaging acts ever done to a core American institution" and that it will "decimate the greatest fighting force on earth, undermining unit cohesion, morale and discipline - the lifeblood of a successful military."
From Kuhner's op-ed:
Moreover, Mr. Obama - again with GOP help - succeeded in getting "don't ask, don't tell" (DADT) repealed, enabling homosexuals to serve openly in the military. This is one of the most revolutionary and damaging acts ever done to a core American institution. It will decimate the greatest fighting force on earth, undermining unit cohesion, morale and discipline - the lifeblood of a successful military. It is an act of national suicide.
In a January 2 editorial, The Washington Times again baselessly fearmongered over the repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," claiming that "[h]aving openly homosexual troops will be devastating to morale in the armed forces, and in practice the new policy's implementation will lead to the establishment of a privileged homosexual protected class with ramifications that will reach beyond military service."
From the Times editorial:
The politically wounded president enjoyed two last-minute victories when the lame-duck Congress flew to his rescue by ratifying the New START nuclear-arms treaty and repealing the ban on homosexuals serving openly in the military. These were only victories for Mr. Obama on the domestic political scene. The START agreement will weaken the U.S. nuclear deterrent and hamper future missile-defense deployments. Having openly homosexual troops will be devastating to morale in the armed forces, and in practice the new policy's implementation will lead to the establishment of a privileged homosexual protected class with ramifications that will reach beyond military service.
Following the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, Equality Matters finds that most countries to legalize same-sex marriage first allowed gays soldiers to serve openly. Of the nine countries that allow same-sex marriage and have a standing military, eight of them first allowed gays and lesbians to serve openly in their militaries.
In light of legislation repealing the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, Equality Matters reviews achievements in civil rights laws that were accomplished during the 19 years between racial integration of the military and the Supreme Court decision striking down laws prohibiting interracial marriage. Amid these groundbreaking legal changes, Martin Luther King warned that that there were still challenges to overcome in the fight for equal rights.
Townhall columnist Star Parker has an impressively unhinged reaction to the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell:
Homosexual behavior is unacceptable by these moral standards.
President Obama said that repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell "will strengthen our national security."
I cannot think of anything more dangerous to our national security and the ongoing strength of our nation than the collapse of our sense that there are objective rights and wrongs.
Really? The single greatest threat to national security and the strength of the nation is the existence of some openly gay Marines? That's the best news I've heard all day.
Among the most controversial reactions to the landmark repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell was a recent column at WorldNetDaily by Joseph Farah, in which he essentially urged soldiers and those interested in becoming soldiers not to serve in the U.S. Military.
"As much as I respect and admire the U.S. military as an institution, I would find myself actively encouraging men and women to leave - in droves," Farah, who oversees the well-read site, wrote in the column posted December 17 before the repeal occurred.
"If the U.S. military is going to be transformed into just another tool of twisted social engineering, rather than a force designed to defend America's national security interests, dedicated, brave and upstanding young men and women should no longer participate of their own free will," Farah added. "It's just that simple. Let the politicians cobble together a military of social deviants if they think they can."
The column drew several critical responses from those in the news business and those who follow military and gay rights issues, ranging from one who called it "irresponsible" to another describing it as "disgusting bigotry."
Mike Triplett, vice president of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and top blogger on the group's website, blasted Farah's column.
"It is clearly, incredibly irresponsible. This is a good example of the kind of irresponsible commentary that goes on so often in the conservative press," he said. "It is unfortunate that there is so much irrational vindictive inside the conservative press and that it gets linked to by conservative bloggers and legitimate press. That is of greater concern, they are linked by more legitimate people."
Ashwin Madia, an Iraq War veteran and interim chairman of VoteVets.org, stated in an e-mail response to the column:
"It's disappointing to hear someone demand that brave American men and women stop serving their country because of his blind hatred for a particular group of people. Fortunately, those who have served in today's military - including leadership from every branch - are rightfully confident that every survey of service members is correct and this repeal will have little effect on recruitment, retention, and readiness."
He also added, "...the disgusting bigotry of Mr. Farah makes very clear who has rightfully earned the title of 'social deviant.'"
Col. Dave Lapan, a U.S. Department of Defense public affairs officer, dismissed Farah's column.
"We see editorials and opinions all the time and people are free to have opinions," Lapan said. "I would suspect that most people in the military are serving for other reasons and wouldn't listen to that type of admonition for people.
"The military is, if nothing else, a meritocracy, people advance because they are good at what they do, regardless of where they grew up or what gender they are or what racial group they grew up with."
Lapan added: "Historically, when other militaries have made this change, those who reported that the change would cause them to either leave the service or not join the service severely overestimated what actually happened in practice. Very small numbers actually followed through on that."
Jarrod Chlapowski, field and development director of Service Members United -- the largest gay and lesbian troop organization - said predictions of military problems are unfounded.
"They made much more dire predictions about white soldiers leaving the military during the integration of African-Americans in the military and it did not occur," said Chlapowski, an Army veteran who served from 2000 to 2005.
He said reactions like Farah's are not a surprise, but hardly the majority viewpoint: "We won our biggest gay rights victory yet and this is what you will see. Yes, the media should not be advocating something that is clearly wrong and incorrect, but it is an opinion column and he is entitled to it. The implementation of the repeal will be the best education in that regard, it will demonstrate that it is not an issue. We are at a point where we are not arguing for repeal, it is actually happening."
From the December 23 broadcast of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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From Ben Shapiro's December 23 syndicated column:
During the 2008 election campaign, Barack Obama repeatedly informed the American people that he would call on the country's best minds to advise him. "You know," he told an audience back in May 2008, "my attitude is that whoever is the best person for the job is the person I want."
Too bad he thinks the best person for the job of secretary of defense is a bisexual, drug-addled talentless Auto-Tune creation with a relentlessly annoying fan base -- full of faux-profound morons who think that fashioning one's hair into a telephone qualifies as high art.
That's right -- Lady Gaga is the de facto secretary of defense.
This week, when the Democratic Senate trashed the Clinton-era "don't ask, don't tell" law designed to prevent homosexual activity and the breakdown of unit cohesion within military ranks, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) shuffled off to his Twitter account to send a note to the sponsor of the legislation: the aforementioned Gaga. "@ladygaga We did it!" Reid tweeted to Gaga, as though Gaga were a senator who had voted on the policy. "#DADT is a thing of the past."
Ms. Gaga -- a noxiously androgynous combination of Madonna, HAL 9000 and the worst of Salvador Dali -- had made it her personal mission to stump for the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell." On Sept. 20, 2010, Gaga made a speech in Maine replete with idiotic misconstructions of the Constitution and vicious slander about our troops (she compared them to the murderers of Matthew Shepard). Worst, she offered not a single argument as to how the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" would help the military.
In essence, her position was this: she likes homosexuals -- as she should, since she makes her living off of them. All those who feel uncomfortable about showering with homosexuals, being hit on by homosexuals or serving alongside gay couples, who will obviously defend each other before their comrades, are mean and nasty and brutish. Therefore, the military should throw out all of the soldiers who have such legitimate concerns (including 58 percent of front-line troops) in favor of the approximately 0.000188 percent of soldiers who have been discharged for homosexual behavior and/or self-identification.
If this seems like a troubling argument to you, you're sane. If it seems like a strong argument, you're Harry Reid.
Earlier this week, Media Matters announced it was launching Equality Matters, a new communications war room for gay equality. Below is a roundup of news reports and reactions from the broader progressive and LGBT communities.
As gay people around the country reveled on Sunday in the historic Senate vote to repeal "don't ask, don't tell," a liberal media watchdog group said it planned to announce on Monday that it was setting up a "communications war room for gay equality" in an effort to win the movement's next and biggest battle: for a right to same-sex marriage.
The new group, Equality Matters, grew out of Media Matters, an organization backed by wealthy liberal donors -- including prominent gay philanthropists -- that has staked its claim in Washington punditry with aggressive attacks on Fox News and conservative commentators like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.
It will be run by Richard Socarides, a former domestic policy adviser to President Bill Clinton who has been deeply critical of President Obama's record on gay rights. A well-known gay journalist, Kerry Eleveld, the Washington correspondent for The Advocate, will leave that magazine in January to edit the new group's Web site, equalitymatters.org, which is to go online Monday morning.
Just days after Saturday's historic passage of a stand-alone Senate bill repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," David Brock, founder and CEO of the liberal watchdog group Media Matters for America, has announced the launch of Equality Matters - a new media initiative that aims to promote lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality.
The initiative, which Brock describes in a press release as a "communications war room for gay equality," comes as activists start to shift their focus to other issues in the fight for gay rights.
"Most Americans believe that gays and lesbians are entitled to the same rights and responsibilities as their fellow citizens, including now over 50% who believe in marriage equality," Socarides wrote in a Dec. 19 blog post. "Yet in Washington during these last two years, even with the historic passage of 'don't ask, don't tell' repeal, we were unable to fully transform favorable public opinion into the powerful and undeniable force for change that it should have been."
So it is interesting to see this week that Media Matters for America, a well-funded and well-staffed liberal Washington media watchdog group that has spent more than half a decade tweaking members of the press and turning right-wing talk radio and television hosts into villians ad seriatim, has moved to create its first explicitly activist site on behalf of a specific cause.
Launched officially on Monday, Equality Matters is a Web site and enterprise within the larger organization dedicated to fighting homophobia in the press -- and also pressuring Congressional and policy leaders to support same-sex marriage.
The timing of the announcement, just days after the historic repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law barring gays and lesbians from serving openly in the armed forces, could not have been more auspicious.
But the most interesting part of the move for students of the progressive movement in Washington is that it means that one of its most well-funded institutions is now on record as being an advocate for same-sex marriage and making that advocacy an explicit part of the overall progressive agenda -- something it has not always been.
Equality Matters will "try to be a rapid response war room that can push back against homophobic misrepresentation in the media and politics quickly," Socarides said, "but also very much about keeping the pressure on members of Congress and policy makers to create change more rapidly."
The liberal watchdog group Media Matters for America has announced that it will launch Equality Matters, a "communications war room for gay equality" to be run by Richard Socarides, to focus on what backers believe is the "movement's next and biggest battle," marriage equality.
Media Matters announced the launch of Equality Matters on Sunday in the wake of the historic victory in the Senate, which voted to repeal the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
According to The New York Times, Equality Matters will aim to retaliate quickly against homophobic media messages and keep the pressure on elected officials as the climate for gay rights progress is expected to worsen in 2011 with a Republican-led House and a decreased Democratic majority in the Senate.
The group will be led by Richard Socarides, a former LGBT adviser to President Bill Clinton. Kerry Eleveld, the Washington correspondent for The Advocate, will leave the magazine in January to edit the group's website, EqualityMatters.org. The site goes live Monday.