Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Modest Proposal *

Government-sponsored homophobia in this country has now officially jumped the shark.

SHE WASN'T ASKED AND DIDN'T TELL.... Amy Brian, as a Kansas Army National Guard lieutenant, served honorably in Iraq. She was part of a convoy that was hit by an IED; she worked 12-hour shifts at Camp Anaconda; and her superiors asked her to narrate award ceremonies.

By all appearances, Amy Brian is the type of proud, patriotic American we would all want to wear the uniform. Upon returning home after a tour of duty, Brian was given a job reorganizing the Kansas Army National Guard's government purchase card program. Except now she's been discharged -- because someone found out Brian is gay.


She joins nearly 12,500 other lesbian, gay and bisexual service members who have been discharged by the Pentagon from 1994 through 2007.

And in the New York Times, a Marine who served two tours in Iraq explains why he has changed his mind about DADT and now opposes it.

In addition, six years of war have clarified priorities. The battlefield has its own values, starting with courage. Sexual orientation falls somewhere below musical taste. What a person chooses to do back stateside, off-duty, in his own apartment is irrelevant in a fight. For months I lived with 12 other American advisers on an Iraqi outpost. There was a single pipe shower next to a hole that masqueraded as a sewer. But the reality of combat dominated personality quirks — nobody wondered about sexual orientation.

A 2006 poll of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans showed that 72 percent were personally comfortable interacting with gays. Bonnie Moradi, a University of Florida psychologist, and Laura Miller, a sociologist at the Rand Corporation, summarized the study this way: "The data indicated no associations between knowing a lesbian or gay unit member and ratings of perceived unit cohesion or readiness. Instead, findings pointed to the importance of leadership and instrumental quality in shaping perceptions of unit cohesion and readiness."

The other readiness argument concerns recruiting. To fill its swelling ranks, the military now grants one in five recruits waivers for disqualifications that run the gamut from attention-deficit disorder to obesity to armed robbery convictions. In a press conference last fall, Maj. Gen. Thomas Bostick, the head of Army recruiting, said the relevant question in considering such applicants was, "Does that person deserve an opportunity to serve their country?" That's exactly right. And to choose a felon over a combat-proven veteran on the basis of sexuality is defeatist. Ask any squad leader.

In the end, however, there is one factor that outweighs public opinion, troop morale and recruiting combined. The military is a dictatorship, not a republic. It is built to win in combat. Its strict codes of conduct ensure good order and discipline.

If "don't ask, don't tell" is rescinded, military leaders will ensure smooth compliance, as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, has said. Cohesion depends on leadership. Our troops will follow the lead of our combat-tested professionals who base their opinions on what a soldier brings to the fight, and little else.

So here's my proposal: reinstate the draft, expanding it to include both men and women, age 18 to 50, but restricting military service to homosexuals. Only homosexuals. No more heterosexuals in the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, National Guard or Reserves. Bonus: no more inconvenient pregnancies in the all-gay Armed Forces!

Why stop at the military? Let's ban heterosexuals from the government benefits of marriage, too. Seriously, they've had it to themselves for 5,000 years and have completely fucked it up. Gay-only marriage can't possibly make it any worse, and might even improve it.

Gay-Only Adoption. No more subjecting orphans to the twisted values of so-called straights.

And I can't imagine someone barred from serving in the military, from state-sanctioned marriage, from adopting, passing an FBI background check for a federal job.

Think of the political campaigns! Spying on candidates, trying to get pictures of them embracing someone of the opposite sex, the interviews with tearful gay spouses, the denials of heterosexual perversions.

Certainly no more ridiculous than the self-defeating anti-gay idiocy we've got now.

* With apologies to Jonathan Swift.

Cross-posted at They Gave Us A Republic.

There's more: "A Modest Proposal *" >>

Senator Cornhole Does The Wall Street Shuffle

It comes as no surprise to some of us that Texas' junior U.S. senator, John "Cornhole" Cornyn, is one of Congress' most servile right-wingers. But just how servile Sen. Cornhole is to the "repeal the New Deal" crowd on Wall Street wasn't quite apparent until the past week.

In an e-mail to Texas MoveOn members, MoveOn Executive Director Justin Ruben of Austin wrote:

You're not going to believe this.

In the midst of an economic crisis caused largely by Wall Street greed, our senator skipped this week's vote on the stimulus plan so he could meet with —- wait for it —- Republican donors from Wall Street.

Sen. John Cornyn wasn't just fiddling while Rome burned -— he was actually hanging out with the arsonists.

He showed us that congressional Republicans aren't fighting for their constituents who got laid off or watched their retirement savings disappear or lost their health coverage. They're just looking out for their big-money corporate friends.

Ruben went on to say that MoveOn mounted a radio ad campaign that has aired in a few Texas markets -- it's surprising that they could find any in this state -- and solicited for contributions to help fund the campaign. If you're interested in helping, visit

For more details on the kind of right-wing pond scum Sen. Cornhole was cavorting with Monday, instead of being in Washington for the cloture vote on the stimulus package, here's a link to Ben Smith's blog on Politico.

I have no doubt about how Sen. Cornhole would have voted had he been there -- against anything President Barack Obama advocates. But the point is, he was elected to represent Texans, not the Wall Street high-finance goons who are largely responsible for the nation's economic debacle.

Here's your special Valentine, Texans, direct from loving Sen. Cornhole his own self. Just goes to show that being a right-wing Republican means never having to say you're sorry.

But I'll say it -- Sen. Cornhole, you're sorry.

There's more: "Senator Cornhole Does The Wall Street Shuffle" >>

The New Anti-Americans

Just objecting to President Obama's plan for saving the economy and the world is not enough to be anti-American. Even publicly hoping, as Rush Limpballs does, that President Obama fails in everything he does is not enough to be anti-American.

No, to be one of the New Anti-Americans, you must combine strong dissent toward our new President with a long record of condemning as anti-American all those who dissented against War Criminal, Constitution-Shredder and Traitor George W. Bush.

For all of us who spent the last eight years enduring verbal and even physical attacks because we dared to express our anti-war, anti-torture, pro-Constitution, anti-bush patriotism, Blue Girl has a rant that will make your heart soar.

I remember being one of the people who opposed this war from the outset. I remember a squareheaded asshole with a buzz cut pushing his bumper up against mine and trying to push me into traffic a few days before the war started because I had bumper stickers on my truck that said "No War On Iraq" and "Get Afghanistan Right" - when he sped away I saw his..."This time, Anti-War is Anti-American."

I remember being told by the dispatcher at the police department that I might should take those bumper stickers off my truck because "this is a pretty patriotic town."

I remember the armchair patriots I worked with there being shocked that a military person was against a war, and how they viewed me with suspicion after learning that.

I remember having my patriotism questioned, even though I was the one with a record of service to point to.

And all of my opposing positions were prefaced with "I hope I'm wrong because if I'm right and this fails, America fails, and that is the last thing I want to see happen."

Yet I'm anti-American and these assholes are the patriots?

Bullshit. They are traitorous, treasonous cowards, and they do not deserve the rights afforded them by the people like my husband, and elmo, and Rook and, to a lesser extent, me and everyone else who stepped up and took that oath to the Constitution and did so enthusiastically because we knew what was said therein.

They don't deserve the civil liberties that men and women like bmaz and grolaw fight every day to defend in court. They don't deserve the the protections of the law that my friend RW works within every day to protect society in her role as a prosecutor.

Fuck Rush Limbaugh.

Read the whole thing.

Cross-posted at Blue in the Bluegrass.

There's more: "The New Anti-Americans" >>

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Other Great Emancipator

Four thousand miles away from a tiny log cabin in the Kentucky woods, another Great Emancipator was born 200 years ago today.

Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves, corrected a 250-year-old injustice and set the nation on the path to the Inaguration of President Barack Obama.

But Charles Darwin freed human minds from the tyranny of religion, crowned two centuries of the Enlightenment, and ushered in the era of scientific reason.

So celebrate Darwin Day, and rejoice that our new President's vow to restore the primacy of science and facts honors both Great Emancipators.

There's more: "The Other Great Emancipator" >>

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

House Stimulus vs. Senate Stimulus At A Glance

Propublica has a fantastic side-by-side comparison of the original House stimulus bill and the abortion produced by the Senate "compromise."

Short version: to give big corporate welfare "tax cut" handouts to Big Oil, Big Coal, Big Pharma, Big Banks, Wall Street and all the other rich people who have been fucking over the middle class for the last thirty years, the Cowardly Democrats in the Senate agreed to make huge cuts in anything and everything that creates jobs by helping working families, including:

aid to states, health care, education grants, repairing and building schools, repairing and building roads, public transportation, renewable energy research, unemployment insurance, repairing the electric grid, improving water and sewer lines, affordable housing, mortgage relief, expanding broadband access, etc., etc., etc., ad nauseum.

If you're not so rich that a global economic meltdown won't affect you, then you need to email or call your Congressional representatives right now and tell them to support restoring the House stimulus bill.

Click here for a quick way to send an email to your representatives, even if all you know is your zip code.

All that's at stake is your job, your house, your kids' future, and, you know, the world.

There's more: "House Stimulus vs. Senate Stimulus At A Glance" >>

Monday, February 9, 2009

Fantasy Obama

The Rude Pundit on how Fantasy Obama would conduct tonight's press conference on the stimulus bill.

As always, it's brilliant, dead-on and X-rated.

UPDATE, 5:30 a.m. Blue Girl live-blogged the press conference, and has has the full transcript as a bonus.

There's more: "Fantasy Obama" >>