in case you missed it | Lame move on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’


Lame move on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

When it comes to making gays and lesbians equal citizens of our republic, the wheels sure do turn slowly. This week, national headlines trumpeted progress in repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT), the Clinton-era policy by which gays and lesbians are allowed to serve in the U.S. military as long as they pretend not to be queer.

But what progress has really been made?

It seems that the conscript fathers in Washington, D.C., have drafted a proposed agreement about creating a process for repealing DADT.

A proposed agreement about a possible repeal process.

Not everyone agrees with this proposed agreement regarding a possible process. Some felt that was too hasty a step and urged caution.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates says the Department of Defense needs time to study the impact that repealing DADT would have on the military and our nation’s ability to defend itself.

Because what if the guy everyone thought had shagged that one chick suddenly announced he had only shagged men? And what if that woman who’d taken showers with all of you and seen your boobs — ohmigod! — confessed she was a dyke? Would our weapons go limp, our bombs cease to burst, our planes fall out of the sky?

Or would everyone simply have to grow the hell up and realize that it’s not whom you fuck that counts in military service but how well you fight and follow orders?

Photo ops vs. freedom of the press

On May 17, President Barack Obama posed with members of Daniel Pearl’s family and signed the Freedom of Press Act in honor of the Wall Street Journal reporter, who was kidnapped and beheaded by terrorists in 2002.

The Act doesn’t do much. It simply requires the U.S. State Department to list countries that threaten freedom of the press and that permit or enact violence against journalists. Most journalists, investigators that they are, already know which nations are going to appear on that list. It’s not like Pearl believed that working in Karachi, Pakistan, was free of danger. Still, it’s nice to know that the State Department will think about protecting journalists rather than simply evading them.

But Obama’s signing the Act was political theater, nothing more than a photo op.

Some in the media have made a big deal about the fact that, after signing the act, Obama refused to answer questions about the BP oil catastrophe. And, sure, that’s kind of funny. However, it’s also business as usual.

Politicians use the media when it suits them — and do their best to thwart journalists the rest of the time. They want to get their message out, and they’re not terribly interested in responding to press queries about topics that don’t “align” with their agendas. Obama, media-savvy guy that he is, has perhaps used the press more than most presidents.

Here in the B-dub offices we’ve been ignored, deflected, fed bullshit and been forced to listen to long rambling answers that were anything but. It’s the nature of the game.

Since when did freedom of the press mean that politicians had to answer our questions, much less tell the truth?

Government, oil giant in hot 69

It seems that government inspectors who were supposed to be keeping an eye on BP’s oil rigs were on the take, accepting gifts from the oil giant and, in one case, even applying for a job while working for us, the American people. CNN reported that federal inspectors from the Minerals Management Service (MMS), which oversees drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico, accepted meals and tickets to sporting events from the companies they monitored.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, a Colorado Democrat, managed to look shocked and appalled by this and has threatened to clean house. But is anyone truly surprised?

It has long been public knowledge that corporations do all they can to seduce politicians and government inspectors with gifts and privileges. It’s not uncommon for a corporate leader — such as Dick Cheney of Halliburton fame — to find himself in a position of government power — like the vice presidency — and holding the authority to arrange or facilitate nice little deals for the industries from which they came. Nor is gift-giving, back-slapping and other forms of political fellatio uncommon between corporate giants and government agencies.

When it comes to government and multi-national corporations, life is just one big, sloppy 69.