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Posts Tagged ‘dont ask dont tell

Arkansas Gays to Sen. Blanche Lincoln: Don’t Ask (For Our Vote)

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The Stonewall Democrats in Arkansas are not happy with Blanche Lincoln.

In fact, members of the group feel like they have “egg on their face,” according to one e-mail after Lincoln’s vote Tuesday on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Lincoln and Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor were the only two Democrats who joined all 40 Republicans in voting to block the bill. The Democratic majority needed 60 votes to break a filibuster and begin consideration of the bill — which would repeal a law preventing gays from serving openly in the military — but fell short 43 to 56.

On Tuesday night, Arkansas’ Stonewall Democrats, a Democratic Party GLBT caucus that has about 300 members statewide, had planned a fundraiser for Lincoln at a private home in Little Rock. On Monday, she called the event’s organizers to say that she had to cancel her appearance in order to return to Washington to be part of a historic vote, said Debbie Willhite, a political consultant and a member of the Arkansas’ Stonewall Democrats.

“She said she was going to Washington and hopefully be the 60th or 61st vote to move ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ forward,” Willhite told Politics Daily. “It’s very disappointing. I think she took a position on the procedure like she did on health care. She didn’t do the right thing that she seemed to indicate to us that she was ready to do. If it was just a battle of whose procedural rules were going to carry the day, it seems to have been intuitive to vote with the Democratic leadership.”

Lincoln said she voted against the measure on procedural grounds.

On Wednesday, she told Politics Daily in an e-mail: “I’m disappointed that some believe this procedural vote alters my support for allowing the military to repeal DADT. This is not true. This issue was taken hostage by election-year politics. I voted against this procedure because of the lack of an open amendment process; in fact, I had eight amendments to improve the quality of life for our troops that could not be considered. Yesterday could have been a bipartisan show of support for repealing DADT, but the procedure that was chosen made that impossible.”

In the past, Lincoln said she would support a repeal, but only when military leaders say it’s time.

In a statement released on Tuesday after the vote, she said, “I am a cosponsor of the DREAM Act, and have stated that I will support the Lieberman compromise, which would repeal the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy when our military commanders say it is appropriate for our military readiness and national security.”

She added, “I think the stalemate we find ourselves in today is an example of Congress’ failure to appropriately deal with issues of critical importance to Arkansans and the American people, and that is why people are so angry.”

Lincoln also blamed both parties, saying “they are too focused on how they can embarrass one another and we are no longer doing what our constituents expect us to do – work together to find common ground and move our nation forward.”

Progressives have not been happy with Lincoln, a Blue Dog Democrat, for many reasons.

During her primary against Lt. Governor Bill Halter, unions and progressive groups like MoveOn.org supported her opponent, Lt. Gov. Bill Halter. Lincoln has been in the cross-hairs of environmentalists for myriad issues, including her support of Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s effort to strip the Environmental Protection Agency of its ability to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

For some gays and lesbians in Arkansas, Lincoln’s reasoning for her “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” vote doesn’t wash, especially when top military leaders have said it should be repealed.

In an e-mail thread, one gay Lincoln supporter said that the senator showed her “true colors” with her vote. Many have said that they will not donate to her campaign. They are urging others to donate instead to an October Stonewall Democrat fundraiser, which will help support progressive candidates at the state level, that will feature comedian and actor Leslie Jordan.

There are no current plans for the Stonewall Democrats to reschedule a fundraiser for Lincoln.
Chris Kell, an organizer for the October event benefiting the Stonewall Democrats, said this week’s fundraiser had been planned for a little more than a month.

“It was a horrible vote for the Stonewall Democrats, but the only good thing to come of it is that Lincoln has raised awareness of the issues that the Stonewall Democrats care about,” Kell said.

For many in Arkansas’ liberal base, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was the one issue that they hung their hopes on with Lincoln. Polls show Lincoln trailing her Republican opponent, Rep. John Boozman, by margins ranging from from 17 points to 27 points. She was to appear in Boston Wednesday at a fundraiser with Vice President Joe Biden, but she canceled due to a scheduling conflict.

At home, Lincoln has her work cut out for her in trying to woo back the Stonewall Democrats and their allies before Election Day.

“Hopefully there’ll be a vote between now and November 2 and she can show us what her real intentions are,” Willhite said. “She needs to do something affirmative. Many of us stuck with her through the primary. It’s very disappointing and sad.”

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Written by suziparker1313

March 8, 2011 at 9:46 pm

John McCain Reponds to Lady Gaga’s Effort to Repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

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Two senators responded Friday to Lady Gaga’s campaign to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which included the release of a YouTube video featuring the pop star Friday morning.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told a radio station he hopes Lady Gaga realizes the repeal effort is “a pure political ploy” on the part of Democrats, and Sen. Kirsten Gillebrand (D-N.Y.) tweeted she opposes the 17-year-old law that bans gays from serving openly in the military and is “helping lead the fight to repeal DADT.”

Earlier Friday, Lady Gaga posted a seven-minute video aimed at McCain, Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) — as well as “youth all over the world who are watching.”

In a stark black-and-white video, Lady Gaga, wearing a black pants suit, white shirt and a black tie, sits in front of an American flag and asks the senators to repeal DADT.

She accuses the Obama administration of failing to protect 400 service members who have been discharged under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

Lady Gaga, who has become a serious and powerful advocate for LGBT rights, says DADT forces those in the military to “hide and keep private” their sexuality in order to serve. She says the law is being used to profile gays in the military, and that superiors are going through their private e-mails and belongings.

“Gay soldiers have become targets,” she says. “In short, not only is the law unconstitutional, but it’s not even being properly or fairly enforced by the government.”

On Thursday, Gaga tweeted to her 6.3 million Twitter followers: “SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN is attempting to stop the DON’T ASK DON’T TELL repeal vote this Tuesday, with a filibuster.”

She offered her version of a virtual Civics 101 lesson, with a bit of spin: “A Filibuster is a way to obstruct the Senate Floor from discussing or voting on a given LAW, + is essentially a tactic to hijack our debate.” (In fact, filibusters do not stop discussion, only the vote itself.)
Friday, McCain responded to Lady Gaga in an interview with KFYI in Phoenix. “I hope she’ll continue to pay attention, and to watch the debates on the Senate floor, and understand that this is a pure political ploy on the part of [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid and Democrats who see their majority slipping away.”
McCain added, “They’re politicizing national security. People like Lady Gaga need to understand that the military is a unique institution,” he said.

“I am here to be a voice for my generation,” she says. “Not the generation of the senators who are voting, but for the youth of this country, the generation that is affected by this law and whose children will be affected. We’re not asking you to agree with, or approve the moral implications of homosexuality. We’re asking you to do your job, protect the Constitution.”

She continues in the video to tell stories about military men and women who have been discharged because of their sexual orientation.

At its end, she tells viewers how to call their senators through the Senate switchboard. Lady Gaga attempts to call her senator – Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) – on her Blackberry. The phone rings and she gets a busy signal. Lady Gaga smirks. She tries to call the other New York senator, Kirsten Gillebrand, whose voice mail is full.

She urges viewers to call Friday and explains what to say — vote with Sens Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Carl Levin (D-Mich.) to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and oppose McCain’s “shameless filibuster.”

 

Later in the day, Gillibrand wrote to Gaga on Twitter: “Thx for calling. I couldn’t agree more and am helping lead the fight to repeal DADT. Do you have a moment to talk later today?”The Wall Street Journal reported late Thursday that McCain may move to block the upcoming DADT repeal effort. It said that activists from Arizona-based Human & Equal Rights Organizers stood up during a Senate hearing on the security of the Korean peninsula and held signs with images from the civil rights era. One protestor’s sign read, “Senator McCain, repeal ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ do you want to be the next George Wallace?”

McCain, a former Navy pilot, was a prisoner of war for more than five years in North Vietnam during the Vietnam War.

Lady Gaga’s activism on GLBT issues took center stage this week after she appeared on Sunday night’s MTV Video Music Awards program escorted by four gays from the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. Media also noticed her back-and-forth tweets with Reid on the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repealer, which is part of the Defense Authorization bill.

Her fans went into overdrive just minutes after Gaga tweeted her call to action. They retweeted her missive to thousands. One fan tweeted, “. . . #DADT needs to be stopped. Prejudice is a disease.”

Another tweeted about what McCain may expect in the days leading to the vote: “McCains VM box=full, so lets send a million tweets/emails telling him 2 allow the Vote on DADT.

Written by suziparker1313

March 8, 2011 at 9:32 pm

Can Lady Gaga Save Harry Reid from Sharron Angle?

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Could Lady Gaga be Harry Reid’s savior?

This week, Reid’s Senate re-election campaign got a boost that money can’t buy, thanks to Lady Gaga’s Twitter love notes to him about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” — and her postings urging millions of fans to “CALL HARRY REID” to schedule a vote on repealing the policy that prohibits gays from serving openly in the military.

Anyone under 30 who may not have known the Nevada Democrat or his position as Senate majority leader certainly does now.

Reid is in a dead-heat with Republican and Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle. This week, a Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of likely voters in Nevada found Reid and Angle tied at 48 percent. A CNN-Time poll has similar results.

Note to Harry: You may need to call in Mama Monster and her fans — known as Little Monsters — for reinforcements.

Reid is a 71-year-old politician whose brightest days may be behind him. Lady Gaga is a 24-year-old tsunami who knows how to get attention and politically energize the base that belonged to President Obama in 2008. Imagine if Lady Gaga went door-to-door with Reid. What red-white-and-blue creation would she wear? The imagination reels.

Reid, who follows pop culture, has targeted young voters in the past. In July, the Las Vegas band The Killers performed at a campaign rally for Reid. His spokesman, Jim Manley, told The New York Times earlier this week that Reid absolutely knows who Lady Gaga is, even though Reid’s musical tastes trend “more towards Wilco and The Killers. But the (“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”) provision is facing fierce opposition from Senate Republicans next week, so he’ll take support anywhere he can get it.”

Angle is trying to lure Sarah Palin to officially endorse her. Palin has donated $2,500 to Angle’s campaign. In October, Obama will campaign with Reid in Nevada.

But Lady Gaga is the one Reid needs before Nov. 2.

Lady Gaga, who won eight MTV Video Music Awards Sunday night, would be the perfect fit to shake up Reid’s campaign. Neither Wilco nor The Killers have the rabid, obsessive following that Lady Gaga possesses. Neither band gets the press coverage that Lady Gaga does. They aren’t household names.

With one tweet, Lady Gaga could activate her national base of nearly 18 million Facebook fans and 6.3 million Twitter followers to help Harry Reid save his job with grassroots activism and dollars. A Gaga television or radio ad could play very well in America’s playground – Las Vegas. Reid could promote Lady Gaga’s message of love and unity to counter the vicious attack ads by Angle.

At Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards, Lady Gaga showed up with four retired gay veterans from the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network as escorts. The appearance inspired Colorado college students Lauren and Ellie to make YouTube video calling on Sen. Michael Bennett (D-Colo.) to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

On Wednesday, Bennett responded to the pair via YouTube. He supports the repeal.

“Michael appreciates feedback from his constituents, and as a former superintendent of schools he encourages young people to engage in democracy and to make sure their voices are heard,” Adam Bozzi, spokesman for Bennett, told Politics Daily.

Lady Gaga could be the Left’s answer to Palin. She has taken on the hate group, Westboro Baptist Church, and the immigration brouhaha in Arizona. A rumor circulates in the LGBT community that she may show up in Washington next week for the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” vote. She speaks, and a generation listens, retweets and activates.

The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network Web site currently has a post with instructions to Lady Gaga fans about how to call their senators.

“Tell your senators to vote with Sen. Reid and Sen. Carl Levin in opposing the filibuster, defeat amendments to strike repeal, and defeat any crippling amendments,” the site says. “Senators should follow the lead of Sen. Carl Levin who will be managing the defense bill.”

One comment on the site said, “Thank you Lady Gaga! I called my Senators from Iraq . . . it took all of three minutes (one minute was dedicated to all the numbers I had to push on the telephone). Lets keep the pressure up!”

Harry Reid’s campaign Twitter account spent Wednesday responding to Little Monsters who had replied to his “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” action. The account had also started following some of Lady Gaga’s fans. One fan, HausofGem, wrote, “I want to thank Mr. @HarryReid. 1. For following me. 2. For supporting #DADT.”

Reid should harness these Lady Gaga fans and lure them to his side. And quick. As Lady Gaga would say: Paws up, Harry.

Written by suziparker1313

March 8, 2011 at 9:22 pm