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Gays Serving in the U.S. Military - Who should decide?

By maxwell edison ·
Tags: Off Topic
Disclaimer: My personal position is two-fold:

One: A person's sexual preference and/or practice is his/her own business. I don't know whether sexual orientation is a matter of choice or birth, nor do I care. It's not my business what you do; it's not your business what I do.

Two: Serving in the military IS NOT a Constitutional right. The military can indeed discriminate for a variety of reasons (sorry, you have flat-foot), all of which are implemented for the purpose of maintaining the most effective military force possible. If you disagree, please show me the exact article of the Constitution that shows me to be wrong. The mission of the military is to be the most effective fighting force - no more, no less.

Having said that, whether or not gays are allowed to serve in the military is a question that I would pass on to the military experts; I'd yield to their opinion.

What's yours?

Edited to change the title and add the following content:;leftCol

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Voters refused to cooperate; nobody was intimidated. Nobody will be prosecu

by Oz_Media In reply to I expect evenhanded enfor ...

You know, maybe you or I would not be intimidated by them, in broad daylight in front of a public building, with other people/witnesses around.

But a mother with her children in tow may very well be intimidated. Sure she may have even entered and cast a vote, but will she return again?

Why someone wouldn't be prosecuted for hefting a bat outside a public polling place is beyond me.

He didn't have a baseball and mitt with him, the bat was to used to instill fear and impose opposition, is that not illegal?

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Delbert's gone into the tank for Obama

by maxwell edison In reply to I expect evenhanded enfor ...

He advocates trillion dollar deficits and voter intimidation, all in the name of Obama, It's really sad.

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Was anybody intimidated?

by DelbertPGH In reply to I expect evenhanded enfor ...

I've watched two videos. One showed two guys from the University of Pennsylvania talking to the thug with the nightstick. (It was a nightstick, or policeman's billy club, not a baseball bat.) The guy with the stick certainly LOOKED intimidating. However, he did nothing.

The other video was a recording of a Fox News report. They showed up after the guy had been asked by the police to leave, which he did. They didn't draw guns, or arrest him; he didn't resist. He apparently spent about one hour in front of the polling station before being ejected. The Fox interviewers were very concerned that white people might be being oppressed by scary militant black guys in some episode of reverse racism, but they could summon up no report of anybody being pushed away, or who was too frightened to enter. A white poll worker said on camera that the two of them stood close together in front of the door after he spoke to them, and he walked between them and entered the building, and called the cops.

These two were pulling their trick in an overwhelmingly black neighborhood, and it is very possible that the only white people who approached the building in that hour were the poll workers. Perhaps they were what you might call "smart" black guys. Smart enough to realize that if they tried this stunt in a majority white neighborhood, it would take a lot less time for a half dozen angry white husbands and brothers to show up than it would for the cops to arrive, and when they did arrive, they would wonder why a black guy was lying in front of the entrance with a nightstick up his butt. I know a little bit about Philadelphia, and it works like that in many neighborhoods. There's a LOT of strong racial feeling in the town. Most of it never gets prosecuted.

So, here's the deal. Pretend you are a Federal prosecutor. Rush Limbaugh is indignannt. Sean Hannity is indignant. Every white guy with a chip on his shoulder and a microphone in his hand is indignant. The facts of the case seem indisputable: a guy was trying to intimidate anti-Obama voters, which probably means white ones. A clear case of racial discrimination. All you need is an intimidated white guy to prove your case. But, you can't find anybody who was actually there who says he was intimidated. All you can find is indignant Fox reporters, whose alter egos were vicariously intimidated. It's like the guy threw a brick through a window with no glass in it. Maybe you can charge him with vandalism, because he was TRYING to break the window, but the window failed to cooperate. In light of that, is it worth it to prosecute? Knowing that if you did he'd probably be defended by Johnny Cochrane, and that Al Sharpton and the leadership of the Black Panthers would get hours of free television exposure, and it would cost the taxpayers a couple million dollars, and race relations in Philadelphia would get a little worse? For the sake of throwing one punk in jail for three months, or maybe losing the case?

Quoting from the Washington Post, July 15 2010:

<i>The controversy will continue to play out before the Commission on Civil Rights, which plans to issue a report in September. Members of the commission, who have heard hours of testimony, are divided on the merits of the case.

Abigail Thernstrom, a commission member and a senior fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute, called it "small potatoes" and said conservatives should pursue more important issues against the Obama administration. The case, she pointed out, invokes a narrow and rarely used provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which has been used successfully to prosecute only three times since its passage.

"If you want to criticize [Attorney General] Eric Holder, there are lots of grounds on which to criticize him," she said. "Why waste your breath on this one?"

Thernstrom said that she did not find (former Justice Department lawyer) Adams's testimony convincing and that the facts of the case raised doubts in her mind, noting that the Black Panthers were standing in front of a majority-black precinct that had voted overwhelmingly for Democrats in previous elections -- not a prime spot for intimidating white voters. </i>

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That's not the point Delbert

by Oz_Media In reply to I expect evenhanded enfor ...

I can appreciate that the guy was somewhat passive and left without altercation when asked. Perhaps its less of a matter of him than the polling station security. Apparently he was there for an hour. He should have been addressed much sooner and dealt with right away, especially if he left quietly. They fact that news crews were there and managed to report on the guy just illustrates a lack or ineffectiveness of security taken at the polling station.

How quickly would this same situation be addressed if it had been a group of Muslims (not terrorists) trying to intimidate people outside?

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by DelbertPGH In reply to I expect evenhanded enfor ...

Of course there's a lack of polling station security. There are maybe 50,000 polling locations in the United States, and most of them have no cops at all. They are nearly 100% staffed by volunteers, usually equally divided between Republicans and Democrats, who check each other's work and cross-tabulate everybody who comes in to vote.

If there were police hanging around, staring at everybody, some people might be discouraged from voting. (If my car failed inspection and was illegal to drive, I might not want to drive to a place where I knew a cop would be loitering around the parking lot all day.) However, generally no police are necessary. It's not like Iraq here; polling stations don't attract trouble. So, to point out there was inadequate security is to observe an irrelevancy.

I said it didn't seem like anybody had been intimidated out of voting, or even from entering the building; nobody testified that they had. There's a lack of habeas corpus on that one. Prosecution for intimidating action has slightly more to go on, given that the one guy was slapping his billy club in his hand and yelling stuff like, "We're gonna elect a black president today! Nobody needs to vote here if they don't vote for Obama!" However, I didn't hear in that any direct threat, like "I'm gonna stop you if you try to enter." I can see where there would be difficulties in prosecution on this; apart from standing around with a weapon with 100 yards of a polling station, there's no unambiguous illegal thing that he did. (A side note: the other Panther guy, who had no stick and did less talking, actually lived upstairs in the building where the polling was taking place.) You can work up a case based on the <i>implied</i> threat they presented, in the absence of explicitly threatening language or behavior, but it would be a case against <i>two</i> dipsh*t guys, because nothing else like this happened in the city of Philadelphia that day, and there was no evidence connecting the Black Panther organization to this activity, except that the two were both members and both wore little funny Panther berets and military-style tunics.

Now, you may say it's not the point; it isn't the point that nobody was hurt, nobody was kept out of the building, no legally-defined threats were made, and no criminal conspiracy was established beyond two stupid guys acting together. You'd say it wasn't the point either that arresting them would make for ill will, an expensive and dubious prosecution, and nationwide free publicity in print and TV for a racist, radical organization. It's the principle! Just because there's no actual party who was harmed by them, and deserves justice, there's an imaginary party! There's a principle!

I think principles have their limits, and if standing on principle gets you nothing but trouble and no compensatory benefit, you might want to stand slightly to one side. It happens all the time. Cops tell a belligerent drunk to go home; unless he resists or breaks something, they don't bother to arrrest him for the half dozen ordinances he has violated. Cops don't give you a speeding ticket unless you're at least ten miles over the limit; they consider less a waste of time (caution: this rule does not apply in Alabama.) Voting is an important principle, but two guys acting dumb for one hour does not necessarily degrade its importance.

Smells like a big nothing to me. Ho, hum. I'll wait for the Civil Rights Commission report to see if there's more behind this.

Incidentally, if you drive through Alabama with Yankee license plates, there are some communities that cheerfully round your observed speed up, until you're ten miles over. Even if you thought you were one mile under. Seen it happen.

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by Oz_Media In reply to I expect evenhanded enfor ...

So police = security. That's new to me.

IN Canada, we have commissioners at places like welfare offices, banks, UI offices etc. They are just normal security dudes, usually very old security dudes, that are there to be eyes and ears, open doors for people that need help, speak to problematic people and escalate it to a greater authority (police) if needed.

Pretty sure that in this case, someone just there to watch over things would have had his request heeded and they would have left peacefully in a timely manner.

These people could also be volunteers as well, just ask them to make sure that everything is going as planned and report any difficulties they have if people refuse to cooperate. It works here nationwide, don't see how it wouldn't work there too.

So far you are barely hanging on by a thread, you have no logical or reasonable support for your comments.

To suggest a volunteer or part time, low income worker, assigned to keeping things orderly, would be either a financial or resource burden on the worlds greatest and most mighty nation, who can spend trillions on a foreign war but not manage it's own polling stations is purely laughable.

You are not Afghanistan....yet.

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Canadian voting experience

by JamesRL In reply to I expect evenhanded enfor ...

While I haven't done it in a few years, I've participated in the whole organization of voting at all three levels of government in Canada.

In Canada, there are people hired to be Returning Officers who manage the voting process. They are considering government officials. They in turn hire people to run polling stations (Deputy Returning Officers, and Poll Clerks).

Candidates may also assign scrutineers to watch over the process. They (scrutineers)are allowed to see the voters list to determine who voted. They are allowed to challenge the credentials of a voter (DRO has final say though). In the days of paper ballots they were allowed to view the counting process.

Candidates may also appoint a legal agent who may officially represent the candidate when talking to election officials. I've done that role too, though usually its a lawyer.

If any intimidation took place at a polling station, the paid staff have a procedure to handle it, by calling the Returning officer, and/or police.

In Canada we have rules about what can and cannot happen near a polling station, and there would be grounds for anyone seen to be campaigning withing XX feet of the polling station. Scrutineers are not allowed to talk to voters, wear pins or buttons.

I know if there was an incident, the scutineers would pitch in and help the paid staff. Because the last thing they want is the voting to stop because of a legal issue.

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100% speculation follows

by CharlieSpencer In reply to Agreed, bad behaviour is ...

Discrimination against blacks was a DOD policy, strictly under the control of the Executive branch, not a law passed by Congress. I believe "Don't ask, don't tell" (hereafter DADT) is a federal law passed by Congress, hence Obama's (and any other president's) inability to override it on his own.

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National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1994

by maxwell edison In reply to 100% speculation follows

AKA: Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

If the courts get involved in the issue, it should be to rule as unconstitutional any such law passed by Congress.

It's a function, by constitutional design, reserved for the president.

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This was passed by Congress, not by executive order

by DelbertPGH In reply to National Defense Authoriz ...

The President is not free to abrogate acts of Congress. It's been done, as when Truman refused to build out the Air Force to congressionally authorized levels, but it's rare.

Only the courts can rule an act of Congress illegal.

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