The Blend welcomes Sue Fulton and JD Smith as commentators who will liveblog the Senate debate involving DADT repeal. They will be here today and tomorrow.
The URL for the CoverItLive console is http://tinyurl.com/phbdadt.
Sue Fulton is the Chair of Knights Out – 1980 graduate of West Point, former Army Captain and company commander.
JD Smith is the active duty co-director of OutServe. A graduate of a U.S. service academy. “JD Smith” is a pseudonym since he is currently an active-duty officer.
Note: Comments will be disabled in CoverItLive, but readers are welcome to use this blog entry to post your thoughts/reactions. If you want to see what people are tweeting about DADT, we’ve included that stream on the right.
Video feed is here: http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/SenateSession4651
It is also below the fold so you can watch and comment.
Pam Spaulding: This event is now live. Reader comments are disabled for the time being to allow producer commentary until break.
Jd Smith: Everyone is filtering into room now. Not many seats to watch.
Pam Spaulding: Thanks for doing this, JD!
Jd Smith: Sitting next to lt col fehrenbach, Jonathan Hopkins, Tony woods.
Jd Smith: Code pink has started to hold up signs.
Jd Smith: They say “repeal dadt”
Jd Smith: No problem Pam! Hope you feel better!
Jd Smith: Code pink has stood up with signs now. Secretary gates is here
Louise: Good morning, all, and thank you!
Jd Smith: McCain has just showed up
Louise: http://www.c-spanvideo.org/pro… A link to videofeed.
Jd Smith: Code pink has sat down in audience. Security is talking to them now
Pam Spaulding: Hi Louise. I will add that link to the post that is now up: http://pamshouseblend.com/diar…
Sue Fulton: Hey everybody. Tech-challenged, but I’m here now.
Sue Fulton: Quick bio on me: West Point ’80 grad. Company commander in Germany. Witch-hunted under the old gay ban, but managed not to get kicked out. Resigned on my own in 1986. Helped found Knights Out in 2009; currently I am the Chair.
Sue Fulton: In today’s hearing, all four of those testifying are in favor of repeal (tomorrow, not so much…)
Sue Fulton: We can expect Ham to give a strong defense of the Working Group report; to some extent he will also defer to the SecDef (“We did exactly what the SecDef charged us to do”).
Jd Smith: I obviously can’t see cspan, are the hearings now being broadcasted?
Sue Fulton: It will also be interesting to see if they ask Ham (he and civilian Jeh Johnson) co-chaired the Working Group) directly about his personal views, it will be interesting.
Louise: Yes they are, JD; I found a link to the video and we’ve got it posted on the Blend.
Sue Fulton: Yes, the broadcast started when Sen Levin started speaking.
Sue Fulton: Sen Levin is in process of the intro, praising the report and focusing on the 92% message, i.e., those servicemembers who know they’ve served with gay troops think there’s no problem.
Levin: “In other words, real experience is a powerful antidote to the stereotypes” that create so much discomfort among some troops.
Jd Smith: The 92% point in the survey that says 92% of straight service members that have known someone that is gay in their unit and found it to be ok Is a huge positive talking point in this debate.
Jd Smith: McCain looks angry.
Sue Fulton: Expect McCain and his cronies to focus on the 30% of troops – 40% of Marines, even higher among combat Marines – who said they thought repeal would negatively impact readiness.
Sue Fulton: Towards the end of the Working Group’s report, they made two points clearly focused at McCain: 1) the report is NOT biased by the views of SecDef and Obama; and 2) we didn’t ask whether SHOULD DADT be repealed (as McCain said they should) because we don’t make decisions by referendum, but we did find out that we CAN.
Sue Fulton: And now McCain is going RIGHT AFTER that second point
Sue Fulton: McCain says that Congress must answer the question SHOULD DADT be repealed.
Sue Fulton: Now McCain is going to try to delay… “There’s more than 1500 pages and 72,000 comments” that they have to review
Jd Smith: Here we go, McCain going after the 28% only filling out survey. Palm center put out a great memo to respond to this argument. Can someone post that link?
Louise: Let me find it, JD; will post ASAP.
Sue Fulton: McCain is now bringing up “only 28%” responded. Palm Center deftly took this apart with a scholarly analysis. This number is at least at the average of email survey responses. Check it at http://www.palmcenter.org/pres…
Jd Smith: You should see the reaction of servicemembers right now in audience. McCain is insulting us all right now.
Sue Fulton: “This debate is focused on our military and its effectiveness”
McCain is ending on a note of, this is too controversial to address in our military at a time of two wars.
He ends “one of our highest responsibilities is to our men and women in the Armed Services” – though apparently not the gay ones.
Jd Smith: Everyone in audience laughed at McCain when he said to put politics aside
Sue Fulton: Secy Gates is on now.
Sue Fulton: Gates: “This … is not a poll. The Commander in Chief made his position clear.”
Code Pink demonstration moments ago
Sue Fulton: Go Code Pink!
Jd Smith: That’s Chris neff smiling from the palm center.
Sue Fulton: “Existing laws should be applied equally” – t will be interesting to see if the billeting and showers issue will be brought up. I kind of hope it will, because I believe Mullen and/or Ham can handle that neatly.
Jd Smith: Potentially dangerous!?!?
Sue Fulton: In Tuesday’s press conference, Ham addressed that billeting concerns/issues will continue to be handled at the low-level commander issue, not by policy.
Jd Smith: The British military integrated gays by a court decision. So it can change overnight.
Sue Fulton: Gates is making one of HIS biggest concerns now – we don’t want this to happen in the courts, we want it legislatively so we can do it our way.
Sue Fulton: Don’t agree with him that that’s necessary – JD, you’re right – but this could be persuasive for moderate Repubs.
Jd Smith: It’s really cold in this room (well I’m cold)
Jd Smith: Gates is making an important point now that he did this before with the CIA
Sue Fulton: Now he’s taking a little credit for tightening the procedures on enforcing DADT, that he’s “added a measure of commonsense and decency to a legally and morally fraught process” – that last phrase is pretty damn strong.
Sue Fulton: Mullen is going right after the % of combat troops who are resistant
Jd Smith: McCain is smiling at ADM Mullens comments. Specifically at the part where Mullen said it’s fact now.
Sue Fulton: This is a good strategy. He’s going to handle this.
Sue Fulton: Mullen “Knowing [you've served with someone gay ] means a lot.”
Sue Fulton: Mullen is not speaking in soundbites, but this is eloquent and moving. “It may be the combat arms community” that does the best job implementing this change “disciplined as they are.”
Sue Fulton: Mullen is talking about foreign military experience He acknowledges that their military is not as challenged as ours, but he dismisses that.”gay or straight, they have fought with our troops, and bled with them.”
Sue Fulton: Mullen is impressive. Gates comes off as a polished politician; Mullen comes off as a leader. McCain should be shaking in his loafers.
Sue Fulton: Mullen is clarifying, it’s all about effective leadership. This is perfect. Positions opponents as lacking confidence in leaders throughout the military.
he quotes a Marine: “If that’s what the president orders, I can tell you by God, we’re going to outpace the other services in getting it done.”
Sue Fulton: Now Mullen is echoing Gates’s point – don’t let this happen in the courts.
Jd Smith: I’m very impressed my ADM Mullen right now.
Sue Fulton: “War… does not make change harder – it facilitates it.”
Sue Fulton: “Knowing something to be true…about some of their colleages will not take away” from troops’ readiness and ability to fight. – Mullen
Sue Fulton: OOH – slap down to John McCain for calling him “political”
Sue Fulton: This is the right thing to do for our military, our nation, and our collective honor.
Sue Fulton: Ham: short and sweet. Holding his powder for the responses. My guess is he will be the target of most of the questioning.
Sue Fulton: Jeh Johnson – the chief lawyer for DoD. Four-star equivalent.
Sue Fulton: Ham is an Infantry guy, solid command experience. Had battalion command in Macedonia during the mess there.
Sue Fulton: Johnson is outlining the risk of letting this happen in the courts.
Sue Fulton: Clear that they are all standing by the merits of the study – but they know their best strategic angle is, do this in Congress or the courts will do it, and we don’t want that.
Sue Fulton: Passing repeal legislatively allows repeal “…on our terms, on our timetable, on the advice of our senior military leadership.”
Sue Fulton: I disagree with this notion that this could be done with a stroke of the pen, that all these policies need to be handled – but I see the strategy.
Jd Smith: Wow.
Sue Fulton: Cool – so they’ve positioned Johnson as the guy to answer the legal questions only.
Louise: Now McCain is trying to block by suggesting MORE hearings? Good lord is he DESPERATE!!
Sue Fulton: McCain already starting his strategy, we need more time.
Sue Fulton: Louise – dead right.
Sue Fulton: He clearly thinks this is his best strategy – delay. Shocker.
Louise: My deep deep respect for those in the room, that they are not standing and screaming at McCain. I am sitting here in Maine and apoplectic!
Sue Fulton: JD, what is the reaction like in the room?
Jd Smith: Dang. Secretary gates shuts McCain down
Sue Fulton: Guaranteed McCain will bring this up over and over -
Jd Smith: The audience is all laughing about going from 5-6 minutes
Sue Fulton: Six-minute question rounds instead of five.
Jd Smith: The audience got very angry. And even The press seemed to negatively react to McCain suggesting more hearings.
Sue Fulton: Levin is trying to make the point that these guys considered the views of the service chiefs – trying to mitigate the problems we will hear tomorrow from them. Clumsily, I might add. I mean, I love Levin, but hey.
Pam Spaulding: McCain is an embarrassment.
Sue Fulton: McCain vs Mullen/Ham is the headline event. I think the officers will win in a TKO.
Sue Fulton: He asked Ham’s personal opinion about repeal, not about homosexuality. Wrong question, Senator.
Sue Fulton: McCain is coming across as bitchy.
Sue Fulton: But maybe that’s just me.
Sue Fulton: McCain is quoting 265,000 troops “will leave the military” if DADT repealed. Gates is pointing out that Aussie and Brit surveys had similar results, and it never happened. McCain will respond about how much braver and stronger (and more homophobic) our troops are… j.k.
Sue Fulton: OMIGOD, he’s pointing to the gay guy for WikiLeaks!!!! McCain is TRULY desperate.
Sue Fulton: Ran out of time, but he’s trying to pin WikiLeaks on the gays.
Jd Smith: The room really started to turn on McCain when he started to talk about wki leaks
Sue Fulton: Lieberman is up. He’s making the case, whether the law should be repealed is up to Congress. In making the case, as long as the law CAN be repealed, Congress should act in the interests of justice. Not a bad point, but as a Jon Stewart devotee, I can never listen to Lieberman without hearing Deputy Dawg…
Louise: I am just astounded at that by McCain, Sue. Almost as astounded as I am at finding myself saying “ATTA BOY!” at Joe Lieberman…
Sue Fulton: The wikileaks point was nasty politics.
Sue Fulton: JD, how many uniforms in the room outside those supporting the witnesses and members? do you sense pro or con?
Sue Fulton: Lieberman is trying to make the point that DADT is bad for the military, but focused on 14K kicked out. Mullen is talking about recruiting and retention – which is good.
Sue Fulton: The RAND study! Great.
Lieberman quoting from a gay servicemember, making the point that there won’t be huge numbers of people coming out, much less “flaunting” as some seem to be so concerned about.
Jd Smith: Must not be too important to McCain. He’s left the hearings
Jd Smith: Something must be more important
Sue Fulton: At McCain’s age, you can’t go an hour without a bathroom. No insult, I’m just sayin’.
Sue Fulton: Lieberman: “DADT is a stain on the honor of our military.”
Louise: True, plus one never knows who McCain is talking w/out there and getting his next batch of talking points from. Just sayin’.
Sue Fulton: Why, Elaine! so nice to see you!
Louise: lol- yup!
Sue Fulton: Inhofe is back to the retention and recruitment issues. But if this is their only point, they’re dead in the water.
Sue Fulton: Mullen is being very reasonable: there are lots of reasons why servicemembers stay in or get out. He’s going back to the 92% point, quite effectively.
Sue Fulton: Inhofe: why did only x% respond? Mullen: by every scholarly view, this was an extraordinary response level.
Sue Fulton: Mullen is being very reasonable: there are lots of reasons why servicemembers stay in or get out. He’s going back to the 92% point, quite effectively.
Sue Fulton: Inhofe: why did only x% respond? Mullen: by every scholarly view, this was an extraordinary response level.
Sue Fulton: Inhofe is going after the response rate, claiming people didn’t answer the survey because “the decision was already made” – we know that (a) the response rate was good; and (b) many people didn’t answer the survey because they couldn’t care less if DADT is repealed.
Sue Fulton: SEN Jack Reed, West Point ’71, is up next. Good guy.
Sue Fulton: He’s bringing it back to the 92%. If you’ve served with someone gay, you don’t have concerns. Perfect.
Sue Fulton: Shout-out to Lez Get Real readers logging in to follow this! LGR rocks.
Jd Smith: This is interesting. I didn’t even realize it in the report. Soldiers that are actually engaged in combat right now had a more favorable view of repeal than combat arms not actually in combat at the time
Jd Smith: We recently launched a campaign with courage campaign that shows straight soldiers actually deployed discussing how this policy needs to change. Http://testimony.couragecampaign.org.
Louise: I’ve been trying to post as many other sites liveblogging as possible to the Blend’s post, to give readers as many POVs and thoughts as possible!
Dr Jillian Weiss, Bilerico http://www.bilerico.com/2010/1…
Adam Bink, OpenLeft and Prop 8 Trial Tracker
Louise: Thanks JD, that is an important link and I’ll go share it on FB right now as well.
Sue Fulton: Brown talking about the 28% again. I hope they continue to waste their time on this. It’s a loser of a point, because statistically it’s solid.
Sue Fulton: Hard to tell from his questions where he’s going to land. We could use his vote.
Sue Fulton: Politically, if he votes for cloture, he would need to be able to say publicly, They addressed my concerns. That may or may not be what he’s doing right now.
Sue Fulton: Ben Nelson. Interesting: starting with the honor & integrity point.
Louise: Ah, my future ex-Senator from Maine… wonder if she will actually stick with her stance of repeal or “phone a friend” and ask Bush Sr and Jr? GAH.
Sue Fulton: Re “only 28% responded because troops figured the decision was already made”… neat and complete response from Palm Center: (
1) The decision still has not been made, so he is factually incorrect,
(2) the response rate is the same as in other military surveys. Most people decline to answer most surveys,
(3) the question isn’t how many people answered, but whether steps were taken to ensure that those who did respond represented the entire force. As is described in the report, Westat conducted many statistical tests and engaged in many scientific procedures to ensure exactly that.
(4) There is a 95 percent chance that the survey is accurate to within plus or minus 1 percent. This is much more accurate than most polls, in which there is a 95 percent chance that they accurate to within plus or minus 2 or 3 or 4 percent
Sue Fulton: Collins from Maine. Rumor has it she had a personal meeting with Ham and Johnson after the report was released.
Sue Fulton: Collins is rebutting McCain’s point that we should have asked troops whether to repeal.
Louise: She wants to support it. But I have learned never to trust her or Snowe.
Sue Fulton: Collins is coming on strong. After this, she would have a hard time walking this back to a “no” vote. “Truman integrated the military during the Korean War…” strong stuff!
Louise: She did well; I am relieved!
Sue Fulton: Webb – rebutting Inhofe. Pointing out that he opposed the legislation in the spring.
Sue Fulton: Webb is also highlighting the importance of the study. Good sign so far.
Sue Fulton: Webb is considered shaky on this, to say the least, but I think he likes Ham.
Sue Fulton: “This was done WITHOUT politicizing men and women in uniform” – Webb is coming across positive. Waiting for the “However.”
Sue Fulton: Webb to Ham: what % of today’s force is gay or lesbian? Ham: imprecise, but RAND’s update suggests it’s about the same as general population, 2-3%.
Sue Fulton: That seems low.
Ham also points out that % of gay men slightly lower, % of lesbians slightly higher than general pop.
Sue Fulton: Webb calls study a “landmark piece of work.”
Sue Fulton: Five-minute recess.
Sue Fulton: Louise, how hard is it to disable comments for a few minutes? Would love to know if there are any pressing questions from those following… Understand if it is technically not feasible.
Louise: Hmm. Not sure; my producer knowledge isn’t as up to speed as it should be. Lemme give it a try…
Louise: Okay, I think I have now enabled comments; if anyone has questions of Sue and JD, fire away!
[Comment From MichaelBussee]
Just wanted to say “thanks” for the excellent coverage and commentary!
[Comment From Ken]
Sue – is everything as expected so far, or were there any surprises for you?
Sue Fulton: I was surprised by how positive Collins and Webb were.
Sue Fulton: Also, I’m with JD at not having read the piece about soldiers in the combat zone being more open to repeal.
Sue Fulton: Thanks for your comments. Louise, I’m open to multi-tasking – I like the comments, thanks! Of course, if you think it’s distracting, you can turn them off again. Thanks!
Sue Fulton: Got it, Shawn – I thought that might be the case for some – will try to get more quotes, but I don’t think my transcriptions are 100% accurate.
Sue Fulton: Gates is pointing out that troops have given frank, open, honest POVs on this.
Sue Fulton: Gates is back to his #1 point – don’t let this happen in the courts.
Sue Fulton: # 2 point from Gates: If not now, when?
Louise: No, that’s okay Sue- our Blend readers are for the most part a pretty terrific bunch and moderating comments isn’t difficult. Any misbehaving and I’ll let them know it!
Sue Fulton: JD, is this Thune? I was typing and missed the intro
Sue Fulton: Yeah, Kip, the WikiLeaks thing is really a red herring.
Sue Fulton: Gates: If the Service Chiefs, why not the Theater Commanders? If them, why not the Vice Chiefs? How far do you go?
Louise: Yes, it’s Thune.
Sue Fulton: We know that Petraeus and Odierno – two major combat commanders – are in favor of repeal. It’s a shame that we’re stuck with Casey testifying for the Army instead of them.
Jd Smith: As a side note. It is cold in these hearings.
Sue Fulton: JD – No one wants to see officers sweat.
Sue Fulton: Ham is staying on point. Every time someone asks about the % opposed, they go back to, “…but if you KNOW someone who’s gay, your response changes. That’s what matters.”
Jd Smith: @Ken. I think this is all expected so far. What we are now seeing is this debate is now the military vs a small population in senate. The military is now all in line.
Ken: I wouldnt mind seeing McCain sweat
Jd Smith: Important question just asked. Will this all happen at once?
Sue Fulton: At the press conference, I thought they bobbled this one.
Jd Smith: Secretary gates addressing partner issues.
Sue Fulton: Gates saying he disagrees with the idea of looking into a new benefit for partners for both gay and straight members, family counseling, etc. Gates: you will hear from service chiefs opposing this, partly from cost and lack of definition, but also because it’s hard enough delivering these services for married members.
Sue Fulton: Shu87: Amen. So say we all.
Ken: What all do they have to do to implement this? What’s so hard about just “not kicking people out anymore”?
Sue Fulton: Chaplains issue: Johnson is addressing this. Making key point: Chaplain’s duty is to care for all.
But changing religious beliefs not required.
Johnson: there are strong views in the Chaplaincy. We should assume that we may lose some of our Chaplains. We also heard from some that they take seriously their responsiblity to care for all, and will stay.
Sue Fulton: Surprised Chaplains issue not raised before now.
Sue Fulton: Manchin (WV) did a nicejob.
Sue Fulton: The implementation plan is not onerous – I think it’s there as a sop to the opponents.
Sue Fulton: Chambliss is going to be tough. I think.
Sue Fulton: Chambliss is asking Mullen, when did you serve with SMs who were gay?
Sue Fulton: Chambliss: What was the law at that time?
Sue Fulton: OMG I think Chambliss is attacking Mullen for not kicking out gays?!
Sue Fulton: Chambliss: did you discharge everyone you knew was gay at that time?
Sue Fulton: This is CRAZY.
Sue Fulton: Mullen: I discharged every one.
Chamblss: did that have an impact on morale of those serving under you?
Mullen: No, not at that time.
Sue Fulton: Ouch.
Sue Fulton: Chambliss: p. 49, para 2, “an important caveat: if we…” added up all the views expressed, the majority were against repeal.
Chambliss: “Now, you’re basing your view on only 28%” of respondents. It’s prettty clear that… the majority across the spectrum were opposed to repeal”. Mr. Gates, knowing that, does that change your opinion?
Sue Fulton: Gates: I was told that this wasn’t statistically significant, that the anonymous survey was more reliable.
Chambliss: I am really bothered by your response to that, along with your response to Sen. McCain about 265K people resigning the military, you said that was not important and wouldn’t happen.
Sue Fulton: Chambliss was not good.
Louise: Also talk of how they can’t leave immediately; they have to fulfill their contract.
Sue Fulton: Johnathan – I agree. I’m surprised Mullen said that morale wasn’t affected by kicking out gay servicemembers. In my experience, whenever that happened, it was negative.
Louise: I wonder how many new recruits and re-enlistments they would get, on the spot!
Sue Fulton: Coons very low key.
Sue Fulton: So happy to see Chris Coons instead of Christine O’Donnell sitting there.
Sue Fulton: Guest, church and state should be separate, but church is very powerful in the military. The key is that Chaplains are there to guarantee the servicemembers’ freedom of religion, NOT their own. They are required to care for all servicemembers, including those not of their faith.
Louise: Has anyone ever discussed the second and third generational effects of DADT on the families? Say, my own example- I cannot “out” myself online, because it would be easy to trace my real name to my “adopted through the Blend daughter”, Keori- and from there, her real name to her ex, who is still serving in the military.
Sue Fulton: Louise, I don’t think so. You should blog on that!
Louise: Our entire family has to be silently and anonymously supportive, to protect a woman we have never met but respect highly.
Louise: I might well. I think there are points here that people need to be aware of- it’s NOT just the soldier and their partners affected.
Sue Fulton: Online inbox is irrelevant because it got hacked and many non-military people got access to it.
[Comment From Guest]
Sue, first thing. I think you are doing an awesome job. I have been watching this closely for a while now, and this might be the real deal… so, Mcain was the loudest anti-voice and he is still gone?
[Comment From Steve Riedisser]
Sue, first off… GREAT JOB!
[Comment From Shawn]
Thanks for this, I can’t get to a TV or Internet, crouched over my phone reading your posts!
[Comment From Kip]
I was surprised that Wikileaks was brought into the session (and… somewhat not surprised given who raised it) – do you think that was a calculated step and something that is going to be a talking point of sorts as we move forward from this?
[Comment From Johnathan Abbinett]
KUDOS to Senator Webb for being an important straight ally in support of GLBT civil rights – he knows the vast majority of our military will be happy to serve with ALL Americans!
[Comment From Guest]
Louise: My apologies; forgot to check reader comment feed and allow them through to be displayed for all! As I said upthread, my working producer knowledge is a tad weak…
[Comment From Sam Geerah]
Thank you for keeping me updated! Since I can’t access the live stream video, this really helps!
[Comment From Consigliere]
Gen Petraeus is pro-repeal. Any mention of his view, given the resistance to change “while we’re fighting two wars”?
[Comment From Gerry]
McCain is morphing into more and more of an outlier in the big picture…purrfect.
[Comment From Shu87]
As an enlisted soldier, I just want to throw my comment in on this whole DADT situation. I know several military members that are gay. They don’t throw it out there for everyone to see. They keep it private and to themselves and don’t even talk about it. They are just like every other soldier. Their orientation is just different. Who cares? They’re talking about different showering facilities and sleeping quarters. I’ve deployed with these soldiers and did not feel awkward. They’re just like family and they grow on you. You’re not thinking the whole time they are gay, you’re thinking of them as family, brother, sister, best friend. They are no different and should not be treated differently. Repeal DADT and don’t change anything after that! It’s that easy!
[Comment From Johnathan Abbinett]
The Military Chaplains should be serving in an all-inclusive, ecumenical, non-denominaitonal manner…if we lose a few, so be it, the military will be better off without bigots and hypocrits!
[Comment From Johnathan Abbinett]
WOW! Had a GLBT member been discharged in my unit – the vast majority of fair-minded members morale would have been saddened!
[Comment From Guest]
omg, church and state are suppose to be seperate right??
[Comment From nicole]
i was watching the beginning of the cspan video and was surprised to see them worshiping god? is church and state to be seperate???? idk
Sue Fulton: Roger Wicker from Mississippi: sounds like you are saying the other two branches of the government are painting the Congress into a corner?
Gates: the Congress has to overturn this law. The exec branch, for all practical purposes, is the odd man out. The action is in the courts or the Congress.
Sue Fulton: Gates: and we don’t poll the military for decisions. the “should” question needs to be decided by the congress or the courts.
[Comment From Carlos]
It’s looney for Chambliss to suggest that a majority of respondents were opposed by including the anonymous feedback from the inbox. There’s no way to quantify the number of people who responded (whether once or over and over again).
[Comment From nicole]
, i didnt know the meaning of it and i was confused. im not saying its wrong at all. i hope that our closed minded goverment grows up
[Comment From nicole]
i have a friend who was discharged from the military and he was 3 years away from retirement
[Comment From Lindsay Gambini]
Sue, Great to see you doing this. Thanks.
[Comment From CDT X]
Sue thank you for this blog, I am diligently reading this in class and its keeping me informed on one of the biggest issues that will affect my future. Thank you!
[Comment From Joe S.]
Nice Job Blogging Sue!
[Comment From nicole]
wow theres a feed delay on my end lol
Sue Fulton: Wicker is pushing Gates on, why didn’t you poll them?
Sue Fulton: Yes, guys, I see comments from 20 minutes ago just now getting posted. Perhaps some of my responses make sense now!
Sue Fulton: Wicker is a lost cause, but I don’t think he’s doing any damage.
Louise: Not necessarily a delay Nicole, so much as me not pushing the right buttons! My fault, not Sue’s… thx for your patience everyone!
nicole: LOLOLOL duly noted:)
[Comment From CDT X]
sitting in class being a typical cadet and not paying attention and reading this blog. Thank you Sue and JD for keeping me on the edge of my seat and entertained in class!
nicole: its ok, i can wait, its all well louise
Sue Fulton: Wicker: To Gates and Johnson: will you acknowledge there is considerable difference of opinion as to what lower courts have said? and Mr Johnson, will you commit to this congress that, until the law is changed, will you continue to fully defend the law?
Johnson: it’s my job to defend the law, which is why we appealed in LCR and Witt. that’s our obligation.
Louise: Claire McCaskill up.
Sue Fulton: Johnson continuing: There is a legal trend taking place, after Lawrence v. Texas, that we need to be mindful of.
Sue Fulton: McCaskill: I have an awful lot of confidence in the military…
Louise: Oh, she gives me CHILLS. I would love to replace either of my senators with her…
Sue Fulton: McCaskill talking about honor, integrity
“i am disappointed with some of the rhetoric around this issue because it impugns the honor of our military.”
reminds everyone that Gates appointed by Bush.
Sue Fulton: She is a strong speaker, one of the best on the committee.
Sue Fulton: McCaskill praising Gates for defending the honor of the military and serving administrations of both parties honorably
Sue Fulton: McCaskill talking about Truman now. More than a decade after Truman’s deseg order before Congress started taking up civil rights. Asks about comparison.
Sue Fulton: Johnson: I’ll take that….
Opposition to deseg was 70-80%… Military about 8mm strong, with about 700M black SMs. (more history)
My assessment is that theopposition to racial integration much stronger to today’s opposition to DADT repeal.
Carlos: No special treatment….good point
Sue Fulton: McCaskill: any special treatment for gay SMs?
Good question – the answer of course is no, good of her to point this out.
Sue Fulton: Carlos, you’re ahead of me!
Louise: Oh no, maybe I shouldn’t have allowed comments!
Sue Fulton: McCaskill continues, hammering home no quotas, no privileges, no special treatment.
And Carlos, no apologies, I’m congratulatinhg!!
Louise: Love-love-love the Blenders. I really do.
Sue Fulton: Integration of women… about damn time they mentioned that.
Sue Fulton: As an aside, I graduated in the first West Point class to include women, and believe me, if they could do that, they can do this no problem.
Louise: Oy. Jeff Sessions. Time to bite my tongue…
nicole: yeah sue, we need to break that glass ceiling
Sue Fulton: OMG, they’re back to the “DADT works just fine” trope.
Louise: LOL! Sue, if I ever meet you face to face, I am sooooo buying you a drink!
nicole: AAAAHHH NO
Joe S.: Sessions: More about “actions” then who they are as a person. I guess his fundamental preimse regarding homosexuality is a choice. I was sort of hoping he would say discrimination of gay soldiers is permissable.
Sue Fulton: The good news is, he’s a slow talker. Six minutes will only allow for his mini-speech and about three questions…
Sue Fulton: Joe: right on.
Sue Fulton: Sessions has the old talking points.
Louise: Including his rabid hatred of Elena Kagan.
Sue Fulton: Sessions: this is a political commitment made by the president. Each of you serve at the pleasure of the President so we have a right to raise these questions.
Carlos: where are they getting this half are opposed crap? Are they still harping on that inbox?!
Carlos: AHHH! He’s lying about Kagan!
[Comment From Katie Miller]
Hey Sue, Katie here.
Sue Fulton: The anti-Kagan stuff is so wrong.
Sue Fulton: Former Cadet Katie Miller, ladies and gentlemen!
nicole: im straight and I could not chose to be gay, i couldnt do it, thats not how i was born. POINT, you are born the way you are, its not a CHOICE!!
Sue Fulton: hey Katie, have you been following?
Louise: Hi Katie; so glad you are here!
Joe S.: It’s funny that Sessions thinks he is “really on to something.” At least the guy appears to believe what he is saying.
nicole: hiya katie
Katie Miller: Just got out of class. How have the SecDef and Adm. Mullen been holding up?
Katie Miller: Hello all
Katie Miller: Mr. Johnson*
Carlos: Where is he going with the Witt case? The case is still pending!
Sue Fulton: Sessions has gone off the rails with a conspiracy theory about how the government has handled appealing the DADT court cases.
JD, is there a lot of eyerolling on this inside the room?
nicole: HAHHA i bet there is sue
[Comment From Ben]
Just remember though, Sessions has voted against every LGBT bill in his history as a senator. No surprises here!
[Comment From JM]
This line of questioning … What does this have to do with DADT repeal?
[Comment From roxanne fox]
sue, i am uncertain as to the immediate outcome, if any for this hearing. is this a discussion or decision panel?
Carlos: OMG Sessions is weaving a giant cocoon of crazy with this conspirac theory crap!
Sue Fulton: Roxanne, the Senate hearings today and tomorrow should lead to a vote next week or later if Reid can bring it to the floor.
Ben: question though. What does a court decision have to do with the legislative conversation? Does this kind of thing happen often?
Carlos: How is Sessions so confident that the government would have won a Supreme Court case against Witt?
Sue Fulton: He’s saying that, if the Witt case had been appealed to the Supreme Court, they would have reaffirmed DADT and then SecDef couldn’t argue that we need this in Congress. He’s rebutting Gates’s main point.
Interesting way to use his entire time.
Sue Fulton: Udall is a huge ally, very close to gays and lesbians at, and out of, the Air Force Academy.
Ben: oh, ok, thanks for clearing that up.
Sue Fulton: Udall back to the “DADT makes troops lie” point. Nicely done.
Joe S.: Have any of the republicans on this committee said anything positive about repeal?
Ben: Udall is also one of the 20+ senators that said they’d stay through Christmas debating this if they need to.
Sue Fulton: Joe, Collins was very positive, rebutting McCain on some points.
Sue Fulton: and if you count Lieberman…
Ben: He said he’d stay through the 8th day of Channukah! LOL
Carlos: OOOOHHHH he’s bringing up Almy!
Sue Fulton: Udall is touching on the breadth and width of this survey. A little behind-the-scenes: they wanted to call it “the largest survey of military ever undertaken” – but there was some short census-like survey at one point that was bigger. Then “the most comprehensive…” but at some point they decided there might be something they hadn’t found, and their credibility would suffer, so the report only refers to “one of the most…”
By any calculation, you have to give credit for the massiveness of the work done on this.
Sue Fulton: Mike Almy!! Love him!
Sue Fulton: Major Mike Almy was brought up when Sen. McCain claimed that the military never pursues people on this issue.
Louise: Udall talking about Major Mike Almy’s discharge via email leaks. As Mullen says he doesn’t know much about the specifics, I went a-searching for info:
Carlos: I hope he brings up Fehrenbach having to chose between going to trial for sexual assault vs admitting he was gay
Sue Fulton: If you saw the clip, you’ll never forget it…
the press asked him about military brass searching emails and otherwise pursuing people who hadn’t made public statements – and after a follow-up or two, McCain goes off saying “they do NOT, they do not, they do not, you can tell me they do, but they do not.”
Sue Fulton: Louise, nice clip. Can you find the video of McCain?
Louise: The incomparable Kerry Eleveld and Chris Geidner were the reporters.
Louise: Sure, lemme find it and brb.
Sue Fulton: Brilliant. Love them too.
Sue Fulton: Mullen talking about the Service Chiefs.
Sue Fulton: Tomorrow is going to be wild. I promise to be back btw.
Sue Fulton: Looks like these guys are going to go long. Doh’t know if Levin will end it or let it go on. I’m guessing he has to let all the members have their time.
Sue Fulton: Kay Hagan from the marvelous state of North Carolina.
Louise: Here is the story:
And direct video link:
Ben: That’s the video of McCain freaking out about Almy’s case
[Comment From Michael Watts]
I am watching the hearing. I heard Jeff Session trying to relive the Kagan Confirmation battle.
Sue Fulton: Hagan: I support moving forward with repeal.
Points out that the oath of office is to the Constitution.
Is there any finding in the survey that there would be a departure from that commitment if DADT is repealed?
Ham: we heard everywhere, if the law changes, they will make it happen.
[Comment From Casey]
Sen Hagan comes from a long line of military family.
Sue Fulton: Michael: the whole Witt discussion, strange as it was, was an attempt to counter the SecDef’s # 1 point: we need Congress to pass this so that it doesn’t happen in the courts. Sessions trying to say, it’s your fault for delaying appeal of Witt.
Ben: It’s good that she’s bringing up that people who were kicked out because of DADT could re-enlist as long as they fit all the other requirements. Age, physical ability, etc.
Michael Watts: It sounded to me like he wants to re-live the Kagan Confirmation hearing.
Sue Fulton: SMs kicked out for being gay, but otherwise qualified, will be allowed to re-enlist. Johnson pointing out that many would in fact do so.
Hagan pointing out that we’d get back trained people.
Sue Fulton: Kagan: how do we protect gay and lesbian SMs?
Mullen: current standards of conduct will cover this.
Louise: Lindsey KNOWS this is doomed.
Joe S.: Any chance Lindsay Graham will vote with the Democrats?
Michael Watts: And I also want to say, from one Vet to another, thank you for your service.
Sue Fulton: No way Graham breaks with McCain.
Sue Fulton: Graham asking, what is the current way DADT is enforced? What kind of events wouldlead to discharge? Seems the regulatory changes you guys have made have cleaned up some of the abuses from the past.
Sue Fulton: Graham is trying to make the case, people are not hounded day in and day out, that current regs are pretty easy. “We can debate amongst ourselves whether you want to take that final step” of repeal.
Louise: Yeah, ask Mike Almy about those enforcements and the abuses of the system Lindsey.
Michael Watts: Maybe someone should search his e-mails….
Louise: Stick with your day job, honey; you’ll never make it in comedy!
Joe S.: Someone needs to search Graham’s emails…
Sue Fulton: Graham: ADM Mullen, what has led to your change of view?
Mullen: for me, it’s the mismatch between the values of integrity and truthfulness and our values. We have thousands of service members willing to give their lives, and we ask them to lie about themselves every day. It is corrosive over time.
Ben: who is the woman behind Mullen? She looks like she’s in pain! Is she an official?
Sue Fulton: Graham: I’m going to ask a questoin that is tough for a Navy guy to answer, why do the Marines think the way they do?
Joe S.: Ben, nice observation. I thought of the same thing.
Carlos: Slap! Mullen corrects him about his involvement with Marines
Sue Fulton: OMG, is it just me, or did Graham just impugn Mullen’s manhood around being just a Navy guy?
Louise: Yeah. He did, Sue.
Ben: I wish C-Span 3 had rewind/pause controls! I keep missing stuff!
[Comment From Michael Bussee]
He sure did. Low.
Joe S.: I haven’t heard a lot of people say?! What?!
Sue Fulton: Graham: I’d be surprised if courts strike this down. but if they did, what would you like to see congress do that would mitigate this?
Going after SecDef’s stance: so what if it happens in the courts, tell us what you need to protect against that
Joe S.: Yes, because a paranoid gay soldier is going to say anything about the policy? Or, even better, a straight soldier isn’t effected by the policy!
Carlos: Who cares why they didn’t ask?!
Sue Fulton: Graham: I just haven’t heard a lot of people in the ranks say, I wish this policy were changed. If you asked the question, are you comfortabel with the policy and should it be changed, what answer would you get?
Mullen: I think you’d get answers on both sides. That’s why this study is so important.
Graham tries to pretend that asking SMs to vote on this issue is not the same as asking them to vote on whether to deploy for 15 months at a time
Joe S.: Exactly.
Sue Fulton: Levin: We promised SecDef to let him go by noon.
Levin is allowing Bayh to go next so SecDef can leave.
Louise: Oh jeez, Evan Bayh sounds like he is running for re-election, not working on DADT repeal…
Carlos: Quit rambling!
Sue Fulton: Bayh is praising those “on the other side of the aisle” that their “hearts are in the right place”
Talking about the huge war memorial back at home in Indiana… Yep, Louise, he sounds like he’s runnin’ for SOMETHIN’
Since he’s resigned from the Senate, that’s kinda weird. Old habits?
Have I got that wrong?
Sue Fulton: Gates reiterating, “I will not sign the certification if I am not sure we are not sacrificing our security.”
Carlos: racial problems? try race RIOTS! yet they proceeded wth integration
Sue Fulton: Bayh also calling back to desegregation.
Sue Fulton: Put Gates in the position of having to remind him that military deseg did NOT go very smoothly, but at least got to the point that our readiness was enhanced
Sue Fulton: He’s covering old ground with the desegregation thing – I don’t think this is our best argument.
Louise: For the life of me I cannot think WHAT was possibly gained by letting Bayh take these few minutes…
Sue Fulton: It’s clear he just sailed in, didn’t hear anything else. JD, did you notice when Bayh arrived?
Carlos: he talks too much!
Sue Fulton: JD – did McCain ever return?
Louise: PROBABLY gay soldiers at Arlington and Normandy, where he took his kids… IT IS ALL ABOUT HIM!
Joe S.: Ham seems exceedinlgy rigid.
Michael Bussee: Please… Make him stop.
Sue Fulton: Bayh asking Ham, don’t you think the % of gays in the military has been about the same over time?
Ham: reasonable assumption.
Sue Fulton: Bayh: how do we say to them and their families, we don’t honor your sacrifice?
Ham: my only response can be, we support the Constitution of the US, that means we follow the law.
WTF else if Ham supposed to say?
Sue Fulton: No one should ever be required to answer rhetorical questions.
Sue Fulton: Levin opens it to a second round.
Louise: THERE’S McCain, griping about how he has been limited with his time of asking questions…
Carlos: grandpa’s back!
Michael Watts: Old Man McCain speaking
Sue Fulton: Levin rebutting “we’re here because the President made a campaign promise.”
“That’s not why I’m here. I’m here because Congress made a law in 1993. I’m here beause of the gays and lesbians serving honorably…” etc.
Sue Fulton: My feed is behind yours.
Louise: I have no problem whatsoever with a person’s age, especially living in one of the states with the oldest populations. I have a LOT of problems with a person acting as McCain has, over the course of the past few years. The man is an utter disgrace and a bad American.
Sue Fulton: McCain just started, talking about Colin Powell saying sexual orientation is different from skin color.
Sue Fulton: McCain: I am really taken aback that we won’t have a quote referendum, that we based this on a survey with only 28% return. Everything I ever learned about leadership, always consulted with his subordinates about their views. Certainly an issue of this magnitude is LEADERS take into consideration the views of their subordinates.
Sue Fulton: McCain: I’m almost incredulous that on an issue of this magnitude, we wouldn’t solicit the views of the enlisted people.
That’s not a referendum, that’s not waht leadership is. Leadership is soliciting the views of your subordinates.
Sue Fulton: A former pilot lecturing battalion, regiment, and brigade combat commanders about leadership. Shame.
Carlos: leadership has NEVER been conducting straw polls to make a decision
Sue Fulton: Mullen: I’ve paid attention to my people at every level of leadership. The report has spoken to, whether this can be done successfully.
McCain: why wouldn’t we just ask the question.
Mullen: it’s essentially voting.
McCain: it’s asking their views.
Sue Fulton: McCain sounds like “they do NOT, they do NOT, they do NOT”
Ben: clearly McCain has never listened to the people under him telling him to stop being so anti-LGBT
Ben: sometimes, being a leader means you make the decisions without their input, because your knowledge is supposedly higher than theirs.
Sue Fulton: McCain is rebuking Mullen. Mullen is stumbling a little with how to handle this guy.
Mullen: I disagree with your approach.
We’ve gotten in great part, their views on this.
Sue Fulton: I want him to go after Ham. Ham can take him apart.
Louise: Next he will suggest we put it out to a special referendum election vote across all of the states, so all Americans can have a voice. Which of course, we are NOT and will NEVER be set up to do- but it is a delay tactic I have seen done time and again here in Maine…
Sue Fulton: McCain won’t be satisfied until he has a personal interview with each and every servicemember.
Michael Watts: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…
Louise: If he thought he could do that, Sue, as well as ask them to recuse themselves from voting if they are gay… yow.
Sue Fulton: Mullen referencing the Marine Commandant AGAIN.
Sue Fulton: Lieberman up again.
Sue Fulton: sorry my comments seem to be delayed.
Michael Watts: The video is of John McCain in 2006 when he told Chris Matthews and an audience that if the brass said repeal DADT, he’d be in favor
Sue Fulton: Thanks Michael!
Louise: Good share, Michael!
[Comment From Pepe]
I have no words that can adequately express my disappointment with Senator John McCain. I don’t think I could find them in any language.
[Comment From Sara Isaacson]
Except McCain wouldn’t want to interview the gay Servicemembers
Sue Fulton: Lieberman talking about the poll. Asked about margin of error. Johnson: less than 1%, far lower than typical. (Yeah, Palm Center!)
[Comment From Steve Riedisser]
McCain simply doesnt want DADT struck… and he is using any means to delay it
Sue Fulton: Lieberman: talking about the training $ lost when we kicked out 14k servicemembers.
Steve Riedisser: Are the Texas Senators present? Cornyn and Hutchinson
Ben: I don’t think either of the TX senators serve on this committee
Michael Watts: @Steve: What do you think….?
Ben: but both TX senators are vocally against repeal…
Ben: I’ve talked to both of them
Michael Watts: KBH will say your wrong and tell you why. Cornyn will file your letter under S
Louise: Every time I hear Scott Brown, I want to go to Arlington to apologize to Teddy and ask him to please stop spinning. I can’t help it…
Sue Fulton: Brown repeating, we should have asked the question.
Sue Fulton: Brown, a JAG LTC, talking about his own military experience.
Sue Fulton: No TX Senators on the committee. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S…
Steve Riedisser: @Sue: thanks
Sue Fulton: Brown talking about his abs.
Isn’t he worried it will remind us all he posed nude?
Sue Fulton: Can’t figure out where Brown is coming from. “I served with people straight and gay”
Brown: Has a soldier ever said “hey I’m gay” in order to get out of the military?
Johnson: Yes, that happens. particularly when the economy is strong. (cites an example of when he was AF counsel).
Carlos: is Brown sounding supportive??
Sue Fulton: Brown is hard to read, but sounds like he’s leaning supportive.
Sue Fulton: The issue of people using DADT to get out of the military argues for repeal.
Michael Watts: Liberman speaking: 6 words in and I was already bored…
Louise: And let’s not forget Mrs Senator Scott Brown/ aka Gail Huff, who was a TV reporter helping along the anti-lgbt careers of Robin Wirthlin and her husband, grandson of Elder Mormon head Joe Wirthlin!
[Comment From tbaxfer]
Where is Scott Brown on this? Can anyone tell? He sounds like he might be open to this but I fundamentally don’t trust him.
[Comment From Jen]
I’m glad someone finally brought up that just because people say they would get out, doesn’t mean they can. They are still under their contract, and are required to serve the term of their contract, despite their personal beliefs.
Sue Fulton: Brown to Johnson: Who’s your boss?
J: I am a Senate appointee, I serve at the pleasure of the President, but my professional duty is to the SecDef.
Brown: so if he says, I’m in favor of the repeal…?
J: at the outset of this assignment, the SecDef was very concerned that we “systematically engage the force” – he expressed support for repeal with the huge caveat that he wanted this report done, he wanted to this to inform his decision.
Sue Fulton: How many times did Brown reference “being an attorney…” or “being a JAG officer…”??
Sue Fulton: Brown’s last questions about Constitutionality of DADT , and timing of getting this done. Next week? Next year?
Johnson: timing is unpredictable.
Mentions how in Oct, they had to shut down altogether after LCR decision and stay.
Carlos: ohh no! grandpa again!
Sue Fulton: LCR case is on “expedited appeal track” – next ruling sometime in 1st half of 2011.
[Comment From Chris]
Ok really just what does the Wikileaks issue have to do with DADT?!?!
Michael Watts: Scott Brown: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…
Sue Fulton: McCain back on the WikiLeaks topic. He is trying to link the fact that the perp is gay to DADT.
Michael Watts: OK…. Old Man McCain needs his nap
Sue Fulton: I kinda think of Levin as kindly Grandpa… McCain is grumpy Grandpa.
Chris: Ahh didn’t know the PVT was gay. Thanks
Michael Watts: And how many straight people have perpetrated crimes against the US?
Carlos: I’ll be supremely pissed if he brings up Manning being gay!
tbaxfer: That would only demonstrate his prejudice
Sue Fulton: I just don’t know that this works for the other side. I mean, it’s all over the interwebs, “this is the result of letting homos serve”, but I can’t imagine it would affect anyone other than wingnuts.
Sue Fulton: for those of you not watching, we’re still on Wikileaks… oy.
Louise: John McCain is channeling his inner Dr Strangelove’s “Major Kong”…
Sue Fulton: yadda yadda wikileaks yadda yadda
Sue Fulton: Levin: (parapaphrasing) I agree, Wikileaks bad. Whatevs, old man.
Sue Fulton: Levin wrapping up. Adjourned.
I will stay on for five minutes more if folks have questions?
Sue Fulton: Also, JD and I will be back tomorrow blogging when the Chiefs testify.
Sue Fulton: Louise – thank you so much! Fingers crossed for Snowe and Collins.
Louise: Thank you so much, Sue, for your wonderful blogging and valuable commentary!
Louise: Oh you are very welcome- enjoyed this immensely and learned so much. A pleasure.
Michael Watts: Again, thank you.
Steve Riedisser: Sue, Louise… you rock!
Sue Fulton: thanks for your service, Michael.
Michael Watts: Listening to the comments on CSPAN-3. Ugh
Sue Fulton: Michael, I don’t have it up. are they negative?
Michael Watts: One of the comments was.
Sara Isaacson: Will the webcast of the hearing be available later today on the SASC site? I had to miss an hour and a half of it
Sue Fulton: Looks like you can watch it in segments over at C-SPAN.
Sara Isaacson: Thanks!
Sue Fulton: I’m sorry we lost JD. Will figure out the issues and get him back tomorrow.
Sue Fulton: Hey Candice, you ROCK. Love ya.
Michael Watts: Dems and Independents are calling in favor of repeal
Sue Fulton: Great!
Ok, guys, that’s a wrap for me. See you tomorrow, same bat-time, same bat-channel.
Louise, email me where this convo will be stored so we can link to it.