DADT

Left taking issue with Dems on civil liberties

civil liberties

Most people seem to come to libertarianism from the right.  It honestly makes sense when you think about it.  The right tends to be a place of minimal government and typically argues for more freedom.  The problems kick in on some specific issues.  Many libertarians came to libertarianism after searching for a more consistent ideology.

Me?  I’m a bit of an oddball.  I came from the left.  I came from a place of seeking more consistency on the issue of civil liberties that I was getting from the Democrats.  There have been times when I wondered if there was ever being a small “L” libertarian in the Democratic Party.  Based on what’s being reported over the party’s new platform, I can see that is a resounding “no.”

The piece points out several issues where the Democratic Party has decided to back away from their stances on civil liberties just four years ago.  Issues like indefinite detention, closing Gitmo, illegal wiretaps, and racial profiling all pretty much continue without any modification from President Bush’s era.  Even torture, for which many wanted heads on the proverbial pikes, has reportedly continued despite an executive order ending the practice.

So which conservative or libertarian publication makes such remarkes about President Obama and the Democratic Party?  Townhall?  Nope. Red State? Not even close.

The Weekly Standard? No. The National Review? Hardly. Reason? Wrong again. Try the left leaning Mother Jones.

Many on the left are less than pleased that Obama has done so poorly on civil liberties.  That says nothing over any meaningful move on gay rights (besides the appeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”) or a host of other issues.

Podcast: Immigration, Crist Party Switch, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell On Hold AGAIN, 2010 Elections, Guests: Mike Hassinger & Doug Deal

This week, Jason and Brett speak with Mike Hassinger & Doug Deal, both far too infrequent contributors here at United Liberty.

The discussion covers these news stories from last week:

Podcast: State of the Union, Bank Fees, Spending Freeze, War on Terror, Gay Equality, Guests: Andisheh Nouraee & Jeff Scott

In a move that caused them to have more fun than normal, Jason and Brett were joined by Andisheh Nouraee and Jeff Scott this week.

Their discussion covered:

No, the crowd didn’t “boo” a gay soldier

Among the things that stuck in people’s minds from Thursday’s debate were some boos tossed the way of a gay soldier serving in Iraq who asked if Republicans hoping to become president would reinstate the now defunct “don’t ask, don’t tell” (or DADT) policy. As you can imagine, these served as fodder in the liberal blogosphere as they sought to use it to their advantage.

This was an incredibly unforunately incident, but the crowd didn’t erupt into boos at this soldier, who has both bravely served his country and revealed his sexual orientation. Accounts from inside the auditorum indictate that it was maybe a few idiots that sounded louder than they would have due to the acoutics of the room, and they were hushed by others around them (although that is inaudible in the audio). Have a listen for yourself:

ICYMI: Fox News-Google Republican Debate

In case you mussed it, here is the video of last night’s Republican presidential debate hosted by Fox News/Google, which was probably the best I’ve watched thus far:

Here are a few quick observations. While I’m not his biggest fan, Mitt Romney did very well. Rick Perry was unprepared and bombed. Gary Johnson was able to introduce himself, had the line of the night, and is reaping the rewards this morning. Last night was, by far, Ron Paul’s best performance in a debate. Michele Bachmann doesn’t matter anymore. Newt Gingrich is still a master of rhetoric. Herman Cain is good at giving sound bytes, but soft on substance. Jon Huntsman was marginalized. Rick Santorum bombed a question on DADT from a gay soldier, but really took an unprepared Perry to task on immigration (and I say this as someone that favors increased immigration and despises both Santorum).

Jeff Flake endorses Mitt Romney

If you’ve been around for awhile, you know that I’m a big fan of Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who is running for U.S. Senate in 2012. He has been solid on fiscal issues and free trade and voted to repeal the military’s outdated “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, and until his recent vote to reauthorize the PATRIOT Act, he’d been very good on privacy issues.

Unfortunately, Flake’s endorsement of Mitt Romney in the Republican presidential nomination is a big let down. Here is his brief statement on the endorsement:

“Mitt Romney has the experience and vision to get our country on the right path again. Whether it was his time as governor or as a successful businessman, Mitt Romney has shown that he has the economic knowledge to create the environment for businesses to start hiring again.”

The problems with Romney begin with health care, which may be a big issue during the 2012 election. Nominating Romney, due to the job-killing health care plan he pushed in Massachusetts, effectively takes that issue off the table.

Romney also seems to have no core or real principles. He’ll say whatever he thinks voters want to hear. Yeah, he does the best against Barack Obama in general election matchups, but does Jeff Flake really know what he’s getting with Romney?

Liberty Links: Morning Reads for Monday, February 21st

Below is a collection of several links that we didn’t get around to writing about, but still wanted to post for readers to examine. The stories typically range from news about prominent figures in the liberty movement, national politics, the nanny state, foreign policy and free markets.

Repeal of DADT to save taxpayers money

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.

BREAKING: Senate passes repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell”

After defeating a filibuster attempt this morning by a vote of 63 to 33, repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” - the Clinton era policy preventing gays from openly serving in the military - passed through the Senate just moments ago by a vote of 65 to 31.

Eight Republicans crossed over to vote for repeal: Scott Brown (MA), Richard Burr (NC), Susan Collins (ME), John Ensign (NV), Mark Kirk (IL), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Olympia Snowe (ME) and George Voinovich (OH).

A recent survey from Pew Research showed that 58% of Americans support eliminating the out-of-date policy; public support for allowing gays to serve in the military has been over 52% since 1992. The results of a study conducted by the Department of Defense released earlier this month showed broad support among members of the armed forces in repealing DADT with 70% believing it would have little or no effect.

The bill now heads to President Barack Obama, who has been advocating for legislative action to repeal DADT. However, his administration has opposed legal challenges to the policy.

Toomey supports DADT repeal

Senator-elect Pat Toomey (R-PA), former president of the Club for Growth, stated that he supports repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell”:

As I’ve said previously, my highest priority is to have the policy that best enables our armed services to do their job,” Senator-Elect Toomey said.  “Our civilian and professional military leadership have now spoken and said we should repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.  I would support a free-standing measure to do so.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said yesterday that he wants a vote on repeal of DADT, which is expected to pass, before the end of this Congress. A vote could come as early as Saturday.


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