Tag Archives: Joe Lieberman

Ask and tell, and do it proudly

Dare I say it? Dare I even think it?

Hell yes! The Senate has voted to repeal Don’t ask don’t tell.

Here’s what I was thinking early this morning when it finally seemed possible.

My congressional correspondent phoned in to update the story on the “don’t ask don’t tell” debate — the debate over repealing the military’s repulsive policy requiring gay men and lesbians to lie if they want to serve their country in one of the armed services.

The update? Four Republican senators — who had previously said they would vote to repeal only if the Senate passed a spending bill to keep the government running — now say they will vote to repeal no matter what happens with the spending bill.

The House and the Senate, of course, passed a continuing resolution to fund the government through Tuesday — the funds would have dried up Saturday otherwise. But Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and Scott Brown — yes, the C0smo senator — have all committed to vote yes on the repeal.

And Joe Lieberman, the Democrat-turned-Independent senator who usually acts like a Republican except, inexplicably, on this issue — says he thinks he has a couple more “yes” votes from the Republican side.

But just those four are enough to invoke cloture.

See, my colleagues often shorthand voting in the Senate to say that the Senate requires 60 votes to pass a bill, but that’s not true. It requires 60 votes to end debate and vote. But the Senate still only requires a simple majority to actually pass the bill.

The Party of No, of course, has determined that they will stop Democratic measures any way they can, and that, ironically includes refusing to allow debate to end and a straight up or down vote to take place. Ironically, because just a few years ago the Republicans howled like mad men if Democrats tried that trick.

But anyway — can it possibly be true that sometime on Saturday, 60 senators will vote yes to cloture — setting up the repeal vote that will almost certainly pass?

Dare I say it? Dare I even think it? Are we really on the verge of the first gay-positive civil rights vote in years?

Republicans seem to see the writing on the wall, so they’re doing what comes natural to them — they’re threatening to screw up something else to keep Congress from doing the right thing. In particular, Sen. Bob Corker (go ahead, make any joke about his name you want) is threatening to fuck up the START vote, which quite a number of Republicans are trying to mess with anyway.

Years ago, in my other life as a journalist with the lesbian and gay press, I covered this debate when it first crashed down on us. Bill Clinton made a move to end the military’s policy of not allowing gay men and lesbians to serve at all and ended up enshrining what was already going on — that gay men and lesbians served in silence — in the code of law.

So many protests, rallies. Gay veterans proudly wearing their colors. To no avail. Sam Nunn, the supposedly Democratic senator from Georgia who headed the Senate’s Armed Services Committee, would have none of it. “Don’t ask don’t tell” — and it’s rarely mentioned and rarely enforced third part, “don’t pursue” — was the law of the land, and the gay illuminati turned their attention to marriage.

And now … and now … In a few hours, the Senate will take that cloture vote. Is it possible that for once in their sorry lives, the Democrats won’t cave to Republican bullying and do what they should have done years ago? Is it possible that by this time next week, “don’t ask don’t tell” will be confined to the proverbial dustbin of history?

It’s hard to fathom. It’s hard to believe. And Lieberman, the sponsor of the bill in the Senate (it’s already passed the House), is being “cautiously optimistic,” that favorite phrase of my colleagues when they don’t want to say for sure what’s going on.

I’m very optimistic at this point. But we know it ain’t over til it’s over and until all the votes are counted.

Meghan McCain said her daddy would filibuster this bill. John “Mean Old Man” McCain just can’t bear the idea of faggots and dykes in his military, never mind that we’ve been there for centuries. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” he said about the policy.

Well, John, it is broke. Gay men and lesbians are forced to lie to serve their country. That’s about as broke as it can get. And John, enough of your fellow Republicans disagree with you that your filibuster will amount to nothing.

I hope. I sure as hell hope. It’s about goddamn time.

The homophobia that has kept this policy in place is what’s out of place. And if this really does come to pass, it’ll be a stark reminder to the regressive Republicans that progress happens, whether they like it or not. All they can really do is make it harder.

Our full and complete civil rights — and this is one huge step toward that — are non-negotiable. We’ve come too far now. There is no putting that genie back in the bottle.

But is it really going to happen now? Dare I think it? Dare I even say it?

The only people saying no are a bunch of homophobic politicians and a marine commandant.

Yes. Yes, I think. This time, the answer is yes.

Ka-nu-nu

I wanted to write about frogs. Bullfrogs, in particular. The way even the smallest of them have deep, resonant voices. How deep, loud noises, like a plane approaching the airport or certain trucks, trigger their call. How they hunt down worms they spotted 20 feet away on level ground. In the dark. How they sit, stock still, waiting for something.

But then Sara Robinson said the S-word — sedition — and, while cautioning us not to throw that word around the way we’ve thrown “fascist” around, detailed just how seditious the American right is these days.

And a bunch of bigoted people — apparently white and black this time — pulled a stunt that was pulled a lot back when desegregation became law of the land. They held a secret, private prom, this time not telling the gay girl where it was and, in fact, sending her and a few other people they didn’t like off to the wrong location.

And the Heritage Foundation decreed that the United States is no longer free, just mostly free, not because we wiretap anybody we don’t like and torture them — that’s not part of the criteria, this being about economic freedoms —  or because the health insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies and banks have nearly ruined us — because the American people aren’t part of their criteria either — but because we have too much regulation of business and such. Of course, the seven countries ahead of the United States on their list are

Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Switzerland, and Canada, in that order.

Yes, the Heritage Foundation would be more satisfied if our economic freedoms were more in line with countries that have socialized medicine, impose higher tax rates, and in Ireland’s case, is in need of a massive bailout to prevent a catastrophe.

Oh, yeah, and Wikileaks released the video that proves at least some of our fine servicemembers aren’t and that the military covered up the killings of innocents.

And the death threats continue from the oh so reasonable right. Patty Murray got one that included some incredibly vile language along with the death threat.

Senator … Fuck you. You are fired. You are 86′ed. Fuck you, you Pike Street fucking whore. You fucking slut. Come over to Yakima and list — Come on down to Grandview and get some more spit dick there, you old fucking cunt.

And John Lewis. Well, just take a look at the phone call he got.

Yes, Bill Ves, calling from (inaudible) I ain’t gonna get no health insurance, tell that son of a bitch that, I ain’t getting the damned health insurance. That goddamned nigger, don’t tell me I gotta get some goddamned health insurance. I ain’t paying no goddamned fine. Tell that nigger he can come put my ass in jail if he don’t like it. Goddamn worthless nigger, and all them other niggers that voted for him. That nigger Obama and them white trash honkies that voted for that damned communist, socialist stuff. Dumb motherfuckers, Goddamn! I ain’t getting the goddamned mandatory health insurance from some bitch motherfuckers! Goddamn bunch of nigger,white trash honkies, sone of a bitch communist who voted for this shit. I didn’t go fight in no goddamned wart so I could be forced to do something I don’[t want to do. So fuck all y’all niggers. Fuck you John Lewis, you goddamned worthless, communist nigger.

And of course the Catholic Church’s pedophile problem continues unabated. What else but a religious organization could escape Congressional hearings and FBI investigations? Imagine. What if this had been, say, ACORN?

Republicans keep lying too. Government takeover of health insurance. Yeah right. If only. The lastest is this doozy from Newt Gingrich — the government’s plan to confiscate your retirement plans to pay for the deficit. It’d be funny if so many people didn’t believe it.

A Massey Energy coal mine blew up in West Virginia. Twenty-five dead. Massey’s CEO is a big ole teabagger named Don Blankenship. Teabaggers don’t like government regulation. Government regulation makes mines safe. Mmmm.

Know what else? ExxonMobile didn’t pay a dime in federal income tax last year. Neither did General Electric, although the company generated $10 billion in revenue. ExxonMobile, by the way, had a $45 billion profit, but it all went into the overseas accounts of subsidiaries. And we wonder why we have a deficit. Well, it ain’t government programs to help its citizens, that’s for damn sure.

John “No more cooperation from me” McCain and Joe “Fuck You” Lieberman have introduced a new bill into the Senate, one that would codify the Bush administration’s treatment of “enemy combatants” — you know, throw ‘em into Gitmo or some other military brig, make it hard for them to get lawyers and don’t even bring charges against ‘em. Forget civilian courts.

This is the kind of Constitution-shredding, civil liberties abolishing, tyrannical legislation you’d think would have the Tea People screaming at the top of their lungs and Sarah rethinking her support for its sponsor, John McCain. That it has slid by unnoticed with the largest screamers on the national stage right now is perhaps more troubling than the bill itself, which let’s hope dies a quick death.

Pay attention, people. Yes, I’m talking to you idiots in the tri-cornered hats yammering about crap of which you have no clue. Giving citizens access to a private, for profit health insurance market is not fascism, tyranny, or totalitarianism. Declaring U.S. citizens “enemy belligerents” and detaining them in military prisons indefinitely without trial is.

Bob McDonnell, the woman- and gay-hating Republican governor of Virginia just proved women and gays aren’t all he hates. He quietly declared April “Confederate History Month” in his state.

And if that’s not enough, former Tsalagi (Cherokee) Chief Wilma Mankiller died. She was one of my heroes, and I was privileged to meet both the chief and her husband Charlie Soap at a Martin Luther King Day celebration many years ago. Charlie and I had a long and wide-ranging conversation while we waited for the chief’s time on the stage to end.

Wilma was the Tsalagi’s principle chief for a decade, from 1985 to 1995, choosing not to run for re-election. Too many of her tribe couldn’t understand her push to bring social programs to the reservation where Andy Jackson, that son-of-a-bitch, left them to rot after driving them out of their mountains and valleys in the Southeast. They wanted the quick fixes, like casinos. Unfortunately, Oklahoma hasn’t been kind to those ideas.

The world has lost a huge section of its heart with Wilma’s death, and I have lost a friend.

Do-na-da-`go-v-i, v-ga-nu-we-u-we. To-hi-do.

And with that, the ka-nu-nu begin their nightly chorus.