Gen. McPeak also claims there is no evidence that troops will fight more effectively when the gay ban is repealed. In fact, research shows that the ban itself undermines cohesion and readiness. A bipartisan study group of Flag and General Officers which took a year to assess all of the evidence on "don't ask, don't tell" found that commanders in Iraq are ignoring the policy and choosing to keep their teams together rather than firing loyal gay troops. A recent Military Times poll confirms that many commanders know of gays and lesbians serving in their units, but choose not to discharge them, suggesting that these leaders believe that known gays help rather than hurt the force.
Finally, Gen. McPeak has acknowledged publicly that when there is a tradeoff between pursuing moral values and military effectiveness, he prefers the former, even at the expense of the latter. He opposed women in combat in the 1990s, saying he had "personal prejudices" against expanding combat roles for women, "even though logic tells us" that women can conduct combat operations just as well as men. He actually told Congress that he would choose an inferior male flight instructor over a superior female one even if it made for a "militarily less effective situation." "I admit it doesn't make much sense," he said, "but that's the way I feel about it." Elsewhere he repeated that his position did not meet "strict evidence standards for logic," but that that did not change his position, a direct contradiction to his claim that he seeks to engage in an enlightened debate.
Under the guise of protecting unit cohesion, defenders of the gay exclusion rule would have us believe that they are simply looking out for the nation's defense. What they are actually doing is using government policy to express moral animus. The reason to be disappointed by Gen. Merrill McPeak and others sharing his strategy is that their views have little to do with unit cohesion, and everything to do with an effort to encode prejudice into law and make the public believe that there is a national security rationale for doing so. That is a dangerous precedent.
Yesterday on Capitol Hill, Representative Jim Moran (D-VA) hosted a press conference with fellow Reps. Jared Polis (D-CO), Lois Capps (D-CA) and Jerry Nadler (D-NY) along with former members of the military who have been hit hardest by the Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) policy barring openly gay men and women in uniform from serving their country.
The event served as an opportunity for these brave men and women to share their personal stories while also confronting a variety of media myths and falsehoods (detailed here) surrounding debate over the repeal of the 16 year-old policy.
Said, Rep. Moran:
"...there are opponents who will do all that they can to prevent repeal [of DADT]. Media Matters just recently released a report outlining all of the false and misleading accusations that opponents of reform have been trotting out in recent weeks...they're getting scared."
Arm yourself with the truth. Get to know the media myths and falsehoods surrounding coverage of DADT so you can fight back:
From a March 3 Accuracy in Media "AIM Report" by Cliff Kincaid:
THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION (FDA) STILL BANS MALE HOMOSEXUALS FROM donating blood because they are notorious disease carriers. This fact was pointed out by Bryan Fischer, the director of Issue Analysis for Government and Public Policy at American Family Association, in a column arguing that homosexual behavior should be outlawed because it is a public health threat. He also points out that most of those getting AIDS are male homosexuals. Yet President Obama and Defense Secretary Gates want the military to admit these people into the ranks, to live in close quarters and even bathe with normal heterosexual service personnel.
From the February 22 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:
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In the wake of President Barack Obama's call for the repeal of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) policy in favor of allowing gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the armed forces, Media Matters for America reviews the myths and falsehoods conservative media figures have pushed in their efforts to prevent repeal.
On February 23, FOXNews.com posted an article about the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA) under the headline "Gay Discrimination Bill Will Stifle Free Speech, Advance 'Homosexual Agenda,' Critics Say":
From Ann Coulter's February 20 CPAC speech:
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From Anne Coulter's February 20 CPAC speech:
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Cliff Kincaid has another anti-gay screed up at Accuracy in Media endorsing the proposed anti-gay law in Uganda, this time going after Kathleen Parker's recent Washington Post column for daring to criticize a law Kincaid has aggressively defended. Kincaid denigrates Parker by claiming she is "[l]osing complete control of her senses," doing "her best imitation of lesbian MSNBC-TV commentator Rachel Maddow " and suggests she wrote her column out of "her eagerness to please those who syndicate her column and quote her approvingly in the liberal press."
Kincaid has added more misleading claims to his arsenal. He asserts that "[t]here is a myth that AIDS in Africa has been spread exclusively through heterosexual conduct." That's a red herring - he offers no examples of anyone making the claim that HIV has been spread "exclusively through heterosexual conduct." What has been claimed (as we recently did) is the documented fact that, historically, HIV transmission in Uganda and much of Africa has been spread mostly through heterosexual and mother-to-child conduct. Kincaid offers no evidence that this has significantly changed.
Kincaid then writes:
But the internationally acclaimed medical journal The Lancet last August published the first scientific study showing that male homosexuals are more often than not infected with HIV than the general adult population in sub-Saharan Africa. The study is titled, "Men who have sex with men and HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa."
But the Lancet study is about a lot more than how many homosexuals in Africa have AIDS, which Kincaid curiously fails to mention -- perhaps because it undermines his anti-gay crusade. First of all, it further debunks Kincaid's suggestion that heterosexual HIV transmission is a "myth," stating: "Notwithstanding the lack of reliable population data about African MSM [men who have sex with men], the proportion of current HIV incidence attributable to MSM is estimated to be as high as 20% in some west African countries." That leaves 80 percent that is attributable to something else -- in other words, heterosexual and mother-to-child transmission.
The Lancet then points to reasons why there is a high incidence of HIV among gays in Africa:
Meet Kevin McCullough.
McCullough wants to "hang" with students and under-30s attending CPAC. McCullough and Sharks in Venice star Stephen Baldwin have assembled something called the "XPAC" lounge, a.k.a. the "ultimate in cool." There, young folks can find "free food, films, games, and more" -- like meeting noted youth icon Brit Hume. According to McCullough and Baldwin, it'll be "GNARLY," which I understand to be one greater than tubular.
Speaking today at CPAC, McCullough told the audience that "saving freedom" from academia and government is the "greatest task" asked of a generation except "perhaps" the WWII generation, young conservative activists "will not sit at the back of the bus," and he's "not that terribly disturbed" that birther promoter J.D. Hayworth is challenging John McCain.
McCullough, a radio host and Townhall.com blogger, has apparently "been called the heir apparent to Dobson and Falwell" and "advocates for such shocking things as absolute truth." Indeed, "ultimate in cool" organizer McCullough has made a career out of bashing gays for their "perverse" lifestyle of "nihilism, narcissism and compulsive sexual addiction." A brief history:
This is the guy CPAC is using to reach students and young Americans?
Sean Hannity, Andrew Breitbart, and the editorial board of the Washington Times have picked up a new ally in their war against Obama administration official Kevin Jennings: the Westboro Baptist Church. The WBC will be protesting Jennings today outside a high school in Long Beach, CA. The right-wing media didn't seem to care that they were cribbing their Jennings smears from the anti-gay "hate group" MassResistance; perhaps this new development with cause them to have a bit of a gut-check.
The WBC are no ordinary anti-gay group - they are complete lunatics. The group is best known for protesting funerals of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, claiming that their deaths are inflicted by God to punish the United States for accepting the "sin" of homosexuality, and carrying signs reading "God Hates Fags." One of their websites - godhatesamerica.com - attributes swine flu, the September 11 terrorist attacks, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Columbia Shuttle crash, the Sago Mine collapse, the Minnesota bridge collapse, the Virginia Tech shooting, and the stock market crash on "God's Wrath." In short, they claim, "It's the fags, stupid." WBC has been classified a "general hate" group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Wilson Classical High School 4400 E. 10th St. To show the depth of the intelligence of residents/prisoners/WHOOPS, I meant students at this High School, check out this email from one of the brutes who attend: "From: [NAME AND EMAIL DELETED] Sent: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 12:51 AM To: Servants of God @ WBC Subject: Wilson High School I know its know use but on behalf of wilson high school and all of long beach we would like to ask you politely to leave our city what you people present and support is evil, offensive, and unwanted in our city and in our world you guys can believe what you want but please don't bring it here to a place that really is dangerous for you. I have faith in people and in our future...may god forgive and im sure he will what you guys are doing im sure you the good intentions spreading the word is great but when you spread evil and anger nothing comes of it but more negativity" DEEP man, DEEP! WHATEV. . . WBC will be here to tell you a few things about Kevin Jennings. When you look at the good for nothing youth of DOOMED america, what do you think? No brains, no truth, no life, no love for their neighbors! Therefore, WBC is determined that each place we go, all the children who you adults have lied to to, get this message: TWO WORDS define Antichrist Obama's "Education Plan", to wit: KEVIN JENNINGS, United States Education Czar. This fag who started GSAs and GLSEN Organizations all across DOOMED america. Now 63 years old, with ZERO CHILDREN of his own, this fag is DETERMINED to sodomize all of you children he and Obama can get their filthy, bloody hands on. Flee these lying false prophets, kids. God hates fags (Romans 1) and their hateful enablers (June 15). Jennings/Obama say "screw you buddy" to God. That is why God has sent them to punish your parents for lying to you all your lives long. Praise God and Fear Him! AMEN!
When you look around and find yourself on the same side as an organization that casually discusses how "Barack Obama is the Antichrist, and is leading doomed america to her final destruction and the destruction of the world," and how "The Jews have a long rich history of being fags and fag enablers," it's time to pick a new side.
It's been more than a month since Jim Hoft last took to Andrew Breitbart's Big Government website to smear Obama administration official Kevin Jennings with his patented concoction of falsehoods and distortions, but he makes his triumphant return today. As usual, he hasn't come up with anything original; instead, he's just regurgitating the falsehoods WorldNetDaily forwarded and we picked apart last week. I guess for him that's a step up - his usual source for Jennings lies is the anti-gay "hate group" MassResistance.
It begins with Hoft's trademark anti-gay hysteria:
The democrats in Congress are moving closer to passing the most radical anti-American, anti-Christian, anti-family bill through Congress that we have seen in decades.
What, pray tell, is this horror?
Democrats are working to push HR 4530 through Congress. This bill will force educators to prohibit harassment, violence and discrimination faced by students based on their sexual orientation. That doesn't sound so bad, but that's not all it does.
Actually, that's exactly what it does, but go on:
The bill will also allows educators and education officials like Safe Schools Czar Kevin Jennings to push their radical agenda in the classroom. And, if you don't like the new policies or object to the program, the bill authorizes the federal government to cut off the educational assistance to schools that fail to enforce the new rules.
Actually, the "radical agenda" that the bill allows educators and education officials to push is the prohibition on "harassment, violence and discrimination faced by students based on their sexual orientation," and the authorization to cut off educational assistance is the "force educators" part that Hoft mentioned in the previous paragraph. You may recall Hoft had said that forcing educators to prohibit such harassment and discrimination "doesn't sound so bad."
Critics of the bill understand the law would give the controversial Safe Schools Czar, Kevin Jennings, almost unlimited authority to mandate sexual indoctrination in public schools at taxpayer expense.
The "critic of the bill" Hoft is associating himself with is the single anti-gay activist, Linda Harvey, quoted in the WorldNetDaily article to which Hoft links. Harvey has previously stated that parents "need to caution our kids against friendships with people practicing homosexual behavior." Those "critics" are wrong - the bill doesn't mention Jennings or his office, and any rules promulgated by federal departments under the bill require presidential approval.
Hoft goes on to fearmonger about the "real intent" of the bill, cite Harvey's claim that the "purpose of this bill is not what is being stated, but is quite simply to mandate in public schools one acceptable viewpoint on the issue of homosexuality, using purported violence or harassment as the rationale, and the power of the feds as the hammer," then repeat a bunch of his previous false Jennings smears.
To clarify: for the right-wing, President Obama giving a stay-in-school speech to students basically amounts to child abuse. But congressional legislation to stop bullying constitutes "the most radical anti-American, anti-Christian, anti-family bill through Congress that we have seen in decades." That is a very... interesting set of priorities.
"Culture war" isn't a term we hear that often anymore because, well, the crucial center of American politics is sick and tired of the very idea of culture war.
But the concept (first coined by professor James Davison Hunter) still best explains where we are today in US politics -- where the vast center of America is stuck in a tug-of-war between two deeply competing visions of reality.
Cultural power, explains Hunter, is the power to "name reality." Culture is mostly created in urban centers and spread to the periphery. E.g.: Harvard Law School decides that gay marriage is a basic human right, which spreads through judges until it runs smack up into the one source of cultural power in America that isn't controlled by urban centers -- the American people.
We are by far the most democratic system on earth. A certain form of Euro-liberalism may capture the universities, reinforced by its dominant control over government money, influencing the media and Hollywood.
In Europe, the political leaders respond to this complex of cultural power mostly by submission to it -- it's easier. And then voters are deprived of choice. Where elite leaders cooperate to end the culture war by giving in, voters do not get to choose between competing visions.
But in America, leaders can spring up from nowhere, develop their own financial base, form a counter-academy through think tanks and a counter-media with talk radio and Fox News, and finally swarm into primaries to unseat party bosses who try to be an echo, not a choice.
From the February 12 broadcast of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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WorldNetDaily advanced false claims by anti-gay "critics" that a proposed bill would grant Obama administration official and longtime right-wing target Kevin Jennings "almost unlimited authority to mandate indoctrination in public schools." In fact, the bill -- intended to reduce discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in public schools -- does not mention Jennings, provide any official with "almost unlimited authority," or "mandate indoctrination."