According to a report issued by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the ban on gays in the military, known as “don’t ask, don’t tell,” cost taxpayers close to $400 million, around $53,000 per solider discharged:
One month after President Obama signed a repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” government accountants have finished tallying up how much the policy cost taxpayers during the 16 years it was in effect.
The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office said in a report released Thursday that each discharge of a gay or lesbian service member over the past six years alone cost $52,800, including administrative costs and costs to recruit and train a replacement.
The removal of 3,664 service members total between 2004 and 2009 cost taxpayers an estimated $193.3 million.
The latest figures follow a 2005 GAO study that put the cost of the first decade of “don’t ask, don’t tell” at $190.1 million.
More than 13,000 service members have been discharged for violating the military’s ban on openly gay and lesbian troops since 1993, according to GAO.
Repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” was the right thing to as a matter of personal liberty and fiscal responsibility.
Anyone who values the First Amendment ought to oppose the campaign to “get” Assange by any means necessary. In a free society, you can’t just “change the law” to persecute someone you don’t like, and you can’t abuse your position to silence speech you oppose.
Last week in the Wall Street Journal, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., demanded that Assange be prosecuted under the 1917 Espionage Act. After all, she wrote, the First Amendment isn’t “a license to jeopardize national security,” any more than it’s a license to “yell ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater.” A poor choice of metaphor: It comes from Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes’ 1919 opinion in Schenck v. United States, when the Supreme Court allowed the Wilson administration to imprison a man for the crime of publicly arguing that the draft was unconstitutional.
We’ve since done a much better job protecting the First Amendment. In 1971’s New York Times v. United States, the Supreme Court rebuffed the Nixon administration’s attempt to stop the paper from publishing classified documents showing that the government had lied America into the Vietnam War.
Here is a funny, but NSFW, take on the invasive and unconstitutional security procedures, which have managed to turn many conservatives and Republicans into quasi-civil libertarians, being employed by the Transportation Security Administration:
H/T: We Won’t Fly
Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) has introduced legislation to end the harassment of Americans by TSA officers by making travelers to go through full-body scanners and subjecting them to “pat downs” as they try to board their flight.
Some of you may be flying next week for Thanksgiving, so here is a video explaining the Transportation Security Administration’s new screening techniques, which amounts to government-sanctioned sexual harassment:
One thing that is beyond debate, regardless of ideology, is that the day of September 11, 2001 is a date that change America forever. We all watched in horror as thousands died in the aftermath of the more heinous terrorist attacks we could have possibly imagined. The next weeks were spent listening to stories of heroism and survival as we learned more and more about what happened on board the planes and in the Towers. “Never Forget” became our mantra as Congress tried to do all it could to prevent the horrors of that day from repeating itself.
It was a day that may have destroyed our freedoms forever.
In the aftermath of that day, the PATRIOT Act was signed into law. We learned the phrase “Department of Homeland Security”. We found out about terms like “enemy combatant”. Security became a buzzword as we were told how vital it was to root out the terrorists regardless of where they were.
Today, nine years later, our nation is a different place in many ways. New and innovative ways to supposedly catch terrorists are being applied to ordinary Americans without probable cause. We are being told that to protest invasive measures is essentially giving succor to terrorists who may try to attack. We are hearing of people who are being told that they have no choice in the matter.
Many people have claimed some extraordinary things have happened at the hands of TSA, but John Tyner of Sand Diego, CA was smart enough to record the whole thing on his cell phone. He has written about his experiences, saying:
Earlier this week, I told you about a poll from Rasmussen showing Republicans leading Democrats on 10 major issues ranging from the economy to health care and national security to Social Security.
Gallup came out with a similar poll yesterday showing the GOP leading in seven out of nine issues important to voters. Democrats are statistically tied with Republicans on health care and corruption in government. The only issue they are running away on is the environment.
Here is a look at the poll:
Voters rank the economy and jobs as the most important issues, which the GOP has to hammer home in the coming months to do what they need to do to win. Other issues, such as Afghanistan, the environment and immigration are not as important to voters, according to the Gallup survey.