Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Barry O's No-Nos






Yesterday, as Marcia and Stan noted, Barack Obama invited LGBT 'leaders' to the White House and tried to use his oily charm and pretty words to pretend he might someday -- not any time soon, understand -- do something. Someday. Maybe. In the real world, Lt. Daniel Choic fights for his career and does it with no help from the alleged 'fierce advocate' for the LGBT community. Alexa James (Times Herald-Record) reports that closed-door deliberations continue by a US Army board over what to do about the New York National Guard member who's 'crime' was being honest about who he was. James notes, "Choi graduated from West Point in 2003 as an Arabic major and served as an interpreter in Iraq in 2006 and 2007. He left active duty and joined the Guard last June." Daniel Nasaw (Brisbane Times) explains, "In one of the last instances of government-sanctioned discrimination, the military allows gay men and lesbians to serve in the military only if they keep quiet about their sexuality. For more than a year after meeting his boyfriend and falling in love, Lieutenant Choi was forced to lie or risk joining a list of almost 13,000 gay and lesbian personnel discarged in the past 16 years under the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy'." Mike McAndrew (Syracuse Post-Standard) notes the hearing began this morning at eight o'clock. Scott Horsley (NPR's All Things Considered) files a report featuring noted homophobe and hag Elaine Donnelly, apparently taking a break from writing for the National Review and taking ugly lessons, who weighs in against any changes to Don't Ask, Don't Tell declaring, "We don't make policy based on popular culture or marching in the streets or party favors." Party favors? The last time Donnelly was invited to a party, Howdy Doody was still on the airwaves, thereby explaining her bitter bitchiness. Bitchy? Oh, we're back to Barack who wanted to talk about how he was committed to changing people's minds when all the lazy ass needs to do is sign an executive order putting a stop-loss on discharges under Don't Ask, Don't Tell. That's all it takes. If he'd do that, Dan Choi would not be fighting for his career, no one would be at risk. It would cost him nothing and he wouldn't even have to go through Congress. Barry O loves to mingle with his fellow celebrities posing as 'leaders'. But Barry just doesn't like to do anything. June 19th on Democracy Now!, it was explained how simple it was for Don't Ask, Don't Tell to be stopped immediately:

AMY GOODMAN: And what is the significance of it being passed by Congress, rather than just a policy of the Pentagon?
NATHANIEL FRANK: Well, a couple things. First of all, because it's now a matter of federal law for the first time, because before that it was just a Pentagon policy and regulation, it's now that much more difficult for the policy to be repealed, because as a law passed by Congress, Congress would need to repeal it.I do want to correct one thing that Secretary Alexander said, that President Obama does have the power to stop the firings. He can act unilaterally to use his powers of stop-loss through a statute, 12305 from 1983, in which Congress itself gives the President the power to stop separations in the military for a variety of reasons. And so, he has said that he wants to stop the firings, and he actually has the power to stop the firings. And so, it's really been very unclear to many of us why he's unwilling to take that step. The White House has been --
AMY GOODMAN: You mean it would be an executive order?
NATHANIEL FRANK: It would be an executive order halting all separations while we are under a national emergency, which the statute defines as being -- having the National Guard mobilized, as it currently is. And then he could go to Congress some months down the line and say, "Look, we've had openly gay service officially" -- incidentally, we already have openly gay service; thousands of people are serving openly, notwithstanding the policy. But he could turn to this situation officially and say, "We have openly gay service because of this executive order. The sky hasn't fallen. Now, Congress, let's move to get this off the books permanently." So it would be a one-two punch. And that is an option that Obama has. And he's been asked about it, the White House has been asked about it, and they haven't given a good reason why, given what he said about wanting to stop the firings, he's continuing to let the firings go, when he has the power to do otherwise.

But he chooses not to do a damn thing. And the board has reached a decision to recommend that Lt Dan Choi be discharged. For the 'crime' of being gay and being honest about it. Mike McAnder (Syracuse Post-Standard) reports Choi was informed of the decision at five this evening and that "he plans to appeal to higher ranking officers" because, "I refuse to lie about my love relationship."

The reality is that Barack could have stepped in at any point and put a stop to this witch hunt but he chose not to. And eality is that Barry O will be judged him not by his pretty words and empty promises but by his actions. Related, Chris Hedges' "The Truth Alone Will Not Set You Free" (Information Clearing House): All periods of profound change occur in a crisis. It was a crisis that brought us the New Deal, now largely dismantled by the corporate state. It was also a crisis that gave the world Adolf Hitler and Slobodan Milosevic. We can go in either direction. Events move at the speed of light when societies and cultural assumptions break down. There are powerful forces, which have no commitment to the open society, ready to seize the moment to snuff out the last vestiges of democratic egalitarianism. Our bankrupt liberalism, which naively believes that Barack Obama is the antidote to our permanent war economy and Wall Street fraud, will either rise from its coma or be rolled over by an organized corporate elite and their right-wing lap dogs. The corporate domination of the airwaves, of most print publications and an increasing number of Internet sites means we will have to search, and search quickly, for alternative forms of communication to thwart the rise of totalitarian capitalism.Hedges supported Ralph Nader in 2008 and Ralph Nader's sent out an e-mail today entitled "Obama Betrayal Syndrome" which opens with:

"I want my money back, President Obama!" That's the title of Marie Marchand's column in Common Dreams this week.
Marie Marchand says she gave $20 a week for seven months to the Obama campaign -- plus $60 every once in a while for a t-shirt and sticker.
"I gave of my modest purse joyfully," she writes. "I thought I was supporting change I could believe in, not more of the same bloodshed and war!" She now feels betrayed. Millions of Americans are feeling betrayed. They thought Obama as President meant change we can believe in. They thought Obama as President meant withdrawal from Iraq.

"Well they were wrong then, weren't they?" as Marty Feldman says in Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein. Nader's e-mail is promoting Single Payer Action TV, so check that out. Cynthia McKinney also ran for the US presidency in 2008. And Kimberly Wilder (On The Wilder Side) passes on this news release:

ISRAEL ATTACKS JUSTICE BOAT; KIDNAPS HUMAN RIGHTS WORKERS; CONFISCATES MEDICINE, TOYS AND OLIVE TREES For more information contact: Greta Berlin (English) tel: +357 99 081 767 / friends@freegaza.org Caoimhe Butterly (Arabic/English/Spanish): tel: +357 99 077 820 / sahara78@hotmail.co.uk www.FreeGaza.org [23 miles off the coast of Gaza , 15:30pm] - Today Israeli Occupation Forces attacked and boarded the Free Gaza Movement boat, the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY, abducting 21 human rights workers from 11 countries, including Noble laureate Mairead Maguire and former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (see below for a complete list of passengers). The passengers
and crew are being forcibly dragged toward Israel . "This is an outrageous violation of international law against us. Our boat was not in Israeli waters, and we were on a human rights mission to the Gaza
Strip," said Cynthia McKinney, a former U.S. Congresswoman and presidential candidate. "President Obama just told Israel to let in humanitarian and reconstruction supplies, and that's exactly what we tried to do. We're
asking the international community to demand our release so we can resume our journey." According to an International Committee of the Red Cross report released yesterday, the Palestinians living in Gaza are "trapped in despair." Thousands
of Gazans whose homes were destroyed earlier during Israel 's December/January massacre are still without shelter despite pledges of
almost $4.5 billion in aid, because Israel refuses to allow cement and other building material into the Gaza Strip. The report also notes that hospitals are struggling to meet the needs of their patients due to Israel 's disruption of medical supplies. "The aid we were carrying is a symbol of hope for the people of Gaza , hope
that the sea route would open for them, and they would be able to
transport their own materials to begin to reconstruct the schools, hospitals
and thousands of homes destroyed during the onslaught of "Cast Lead". Our mission is a gesture to the people of Gaza that we stand by them and that
they are not alone" said fellow passenger Mairead Maguire, winner of a Noble Peace Prize for her work in Northern Ireland . Just before being kidnapped by Israel , Huwaida Arraf, Free Gaza Movement chairperson and delegation co-coordinator on this voyage, stated that: "No
one could possibly believe that our small boat constitutes any sort of threat
to Israel . We carry medical and reconstruction supplies, and children's toys. Our passengers include a Nobel peace prize laureate and a former U.S. congressperson. Our boat was searched and received a security clearance
by Cypriot Port Authorities before we departed, and at no time did we ever approach Israeli waters." Arraf continued, " Israel 's deliberate and premeditated attack on our unarmed boat is a clear violation of international law and we demand our immediate and unconditional release." One of the last labor reporters left in the United States is independent journalist David Bacon -- whose latest book is Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press). At Immigration Prof Blog, Bacon's photos of a Mixtec migrant Margarito Salvador's family who work in the strwaberry fields of Watsonville, Calif.

RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
"US military announces 4 more deaths"
"Abu Ghraib and Lynndie are back in the news"
"We need to grow the hell up"
"Grilled cheese in the Kitchen"
"gordo the wounded shark"
"Summer cold"
"Barack is full of s**t"
"Barry tries to pretty-word his way out of it"
"Isaiah, Murat Kurnaz, Ava and C.I."
"Isaiah, Michael Ratner, Third"
"False gods and idols? Better check yourself."

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