Thoughts I Have

Military

Navy to Remove Antigay Vid Officer


Posted on Advocate.com January 03, 2011
Navy to Remove Antigay Vid Officer
By Advocate.com Editors

Owen Honors

The Navy officer behind a series of videos featuring simulated sex and antigay slurs will be temporarily relieved of duty as early as Tuesday, Navy sources told NBC News on Monday.

Capt. Owen Honors (pictured) currently commands the USS Enterprise. He reportedly produced the videos, which were shown to the crew of the aircraft carrier in 2006 and 2007, while he was second in command.

Honors will reportedly be relieved of duty while the Navy investigates.

The Virginian-Pilot newspaper in Norfolk, Va., first published excerpts from the videos and descriptions of their content on Saturday. In one of the videos, the paper reported, two female sailors stand in a shower stall aboard the aircraft carrier, pretending to wash each other. In other skits, “sailors parade in drag, use anti-gay slurs, and simulate masturbation and a rectal exam. Another scene implies that an officer is having sex in his stateroom with a donkey.”

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Navy Investigates Antigay Sex Vids


Posted on Advocate.com January 02, 2011
Navy Investigates Antigay Sex Vids
By Advocate.com Editors

Capt. Owen Honors

The Navy has launched an investigation into the production of a series of videos containing simulated sex and antigay slurs shown to service members deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

CNN reports the videos were reportedly shown to the crew of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise in 2006 and 2007. Navy spokesman Cmdr. Chris Sims called the videos “clearly inappropriate.”

The Virginian-Pilot newspaper in Norfolk, Va., first published excerpts from the videos and descriptions of their content on Saturday.

According to Time magazine, the man behind the videos is Capt. Owen Honors, who at the time was the executive officer, or second-in-command, of the Enterprise. Honors recently took command of the carrier, which is weeks away from deploying.

In one of the videos, two female Navy sailors stand in a shower stall aboard the aircraft carrier, pretending to wash each other. In other skits, “sailors parade in drag, use anti-gay slurs, and simulate masturbation and a rectal exam. Another scene implies that an officer is having sex in his stateroom with a donkey.”

According to Time, Honors is likely to lose command of his carrier before it heads out from Norfolk.

Watch the video posted to the Virginian-Pilot’s website and an interview with Pilot editor Meredith Kruse below.

Go to this link to watch the video:
http://www.advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2011/02/Navy_Investigates_Raunchy_Antigay_Vids/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+AdvocatecomDailyNews+%28Advocate.com+Daily+News%29


Sexuality Doesn’t Matter On The Battlefield


Sexuality Doesn’t Matter On The Battlefield
By Nathan Cox
Thursday, December 16, 2010; 8:00 PM
Washingtonpost.com

I am an active-duty U.S. Marine Corps infantry officer. I have deployed twice to Iraq and once to Afghanistan and have commanded infantry Marines in combat.

On Tuesday, Gen. James Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, said he believes repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” and allowing gay and lesbian Marines to serve openly could “cost Marines’ lives” because of the “mistakes and inattention or distractions” that might ensue. I am not homosexual. And in this instance, I must respectfully disagree with my commandant.

The commandant cites the importance of cohesion within small combat units and warns against its disruption by allowing homosexuals to stop concealing their identities. In my experience, the things that separate Marines in civilian life fade into obscurity on the battlefield. There, only one thing matters: Can you do your job? People care much more about whom you voted for or what city you’re from while on the huge airbase with five Burger Kings, or back in the States, than they do when they’re walking down a dusty road full of improvised explosive devices in Haditha or Sangin.

In the end, Marines in combat will treat sexual orientation the same way they treat race, religion and one’s stance on the likelihood of the Patriots winning another Super Bowl. I do not believe the intense desire we all feel as Marines to accomplish the mission and protect each other will be affected in the slightest by knowing the sexual orientation of the man or woman next to us.

In the recent Defense Department survey, 58 percent of combat arms Marines said they felt allowing homosexuals to serve openly would negatively affect their unit, but 84 percent of combat arms Marines who had served with a homosexual said that there would be no effect or that the effect would be positive. It seems obvious that if allowing homosexuals to serve openly degraded performance, rather than improved it, a majority of Marines who had served with homosexuals would oppose repeal. Yet this is not the case, and homosexuals serve openly in the militaries of Britain, Canada, Australia, Israel and others with no ill effect. This suggests that much of the opposition toward repeal within the Marine Corps is based on the politics of individual Marines and not any measurable military effect.

Repeal would undoubtedly produce some disruption, but if other nations’ experiences are any guide, it will be so minimal as to be essentially nonexistent. Consider what is likely to happen if and when “don’t ask” is repealed: Lance Cpl. Smith will be having a typical Marine conversation with Lance Cpl. Jones, and the topic will turn to women. Smith will remark on how much he enjoys their company. Jones will reply: “Actually, man, I like dudes.”

Smith: “Really?”

Jones: “Yeah, man, really.”

Smith: “Wow. I didn’t know that.”

Both will then go back to cleaning their rifles.

Is it really likely that lance corporals who know each other better than brothers, and may have saved each other’s lives in split-second reactions during deployments, are suddenly going to refuse to serve in the same unit or quit the Corps because they have to share a shower?

Repeal will of course have many effects. Gay and lesbian Marines who are now barred from discussing their identities honestly with their superiors, peers and subordinates would be able to do their jobs free from the nagging knowledge that they are being less than honest with their brothers and sisters in arms. It is difficult to see how this could do anything but improve their job performance. Gay and lesbian Marines have long fought and died for a country that refuses to acknowledge their existence. Some are certainly among the Marines who have passed through Bethesda Naval Hospital and rest in Arlington.

I believe the reluctance many Marines feel about repeal is based on the false stereotype, borne out of ignorance, that homosexuals don’t do things like pull other Marines from burning vehicles. The truth is, they do it all the time. We simply don’t know it because they can’t tell us.

It is time for “don’t ask, don’t tell” to join our other mistakes in the dog-eared chapters of history textbooks. We all bleed red, we all love our country, we are all Marines. In the end, that’s all that matters.

The writer is an infantry captain in the Marine Corps.


Three Discharged Vets Sue For Re-Instatement Challenging DADT


Monday, December 13, 2010
Three Discharged Vets Challenge DADT, Sue For Reinstatement
Posted by Joe Sudbay (DC) at 12/13/2010 12:41:00 PM

Minimages.com

Secretary Gates keeps saying he wants DADT ended by Congress, but we’re still waiting — and time is running out. Discharged servicemembers aren’t waiting. Today, three of them, Mike Almy, Anthony Loverde and Jason Knight, filed a lawsuit against DADT, seeking reinstatement. The suit was filed in California, meaning the Witt Standard is applicable.

SLDN’s press release:

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) and Morrison & Foerster LLP filed a complaint today against the United States government asking for the reinstatement of three service members discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT), the discriminatory law barring gay, lesbian and bisexual service members from serving honestly and with integrity. The filing in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, also argues the current law and the regulations, policies, and guidance that implement it, are unconstitutional. To read the filing visit: http://bit.ly/eZg5EL

Statement by Servicemembers Legal Defense Network Executive Director and Army Veteran Aubrey Sarvis:

“This filing is a shot across the bow as we prepare to pursue and sustain an aggressive far reaching litigation strategy if the Senate fails to act this month to repeal the law. This dispute can be resolved by Congress or by the courts. With this filing we put Congress on notice that a cadre of service members and our national legal team stand ready to litigate strategically around the country. The plaintiffs’ are three service members who want to serve their country again. They represent some of our best and brightest who were fired because of who they are, despite their decorated records. More than 14,000 have already lost their jobs and the investigations and discharges still continue. We are also preparing litigation on behalf of young people who would enter the armed forces to serve our country but for this terrible law. Another suit we’re working on involves clients discharged under ‘Don’t Ask’ who want to enter the reserves or a guard unit, and we plan to file such cases early next year if Congress fails to act. Clearly there is an urgent need for the Senate to act on legislation this week.”

Statement by Morrison & Foerster’s M. Andrew Woodmansee:

“Today we are asking the Court to allow these three brave Americans to fulfill the commitment they made years ago when they joined the military. They simply want to serve their country, and it is fundamentally un-American to refuse their service merely because they are gay — especially when our all-volunteer military is stretched thin as we fight wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Throughout our nation’s history, citizens have turned to the courts to remedy injustices when Congress would not act. If the Senate will not meet its obligations by ending this unconstitutional law, we will ask the Court to step in to protect the rights of my clients as well as all men and women who wish to serve this country in the military.”

ABOUT THE PLANTIFFS:

Plaintiff Michael D. Almy served for thirteen years in the United States Air Force, including four deployments to the Middle East. He is a highly trained communications officer. During his thirteen-year Air Force career, former Major Almy received numerous military awards and decorations. In 2006, he was discharged from the Air Force under DADT.

Plaintiff Anthony J. Loverde served for seven years in the Air Force. He is a trained C-130 Loadmaster and Precision Measurement Equipment Laboratory Technician. During his seven-year Air Force career, former Staff Sergeant Loverde received numerous military awards and decorations. In 2008, he was discharged from the Air Force under DADT. He is currently a contractor serving in Iraq, doing effectively the same job with many of his old coworkers, as an openly gay man.

Plaintiff Jason D. Knight served for a total of five years in the United States Navy. He is a trained Cryptological Technician Interpretive, Linguist. During his five-year Navy career, former Petty Officer Second Class Knight received numerous military awards and decorations. Mr. Knight has the unique distinction of being discharged twice under DADT. In 2005, he was discharged from the Navy under DADT. Mr. Knight was recalled to active duty in 2006 but was discharged again in 2007 under DADT.


Obama Has Betrayed The Gay Community


During his Presidential Campaign he courted the Gay Community and spoke of the inequality shown us by the military. He made a promise. He said over and over again that he would repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. He spoke of how the Black Community had struggled against discrimination for generations. He compared the discrimination Blacks had endured for generations to the discrimination Gays have endure – well – for thousands of years. He spoke of the America where all citizens are equal and free to pursue happiness.

The Gay Community overwhelmingly supported him in his campaign. The Gay Community voted for him en masse. The Gay Community believed his promises. The Gay Community believe he offered the “Change We Need”. The Gay Community had such high hopes after he won the Presidency with an overwhelming landslide. The Gay Community believed America’s attitude towards us had changed for the better. The Gay Community thought their time had come and their Civil Rights were about to be recognized just as the Black Community – with our support – had been recognized as equals and their Civil Rights guaranteed.

Obama spoke of the Black Community’s Civil Rights movement and how Harry Truman’s Executive Order that repealed segregation in the Military had been the catalyst for the future Civil Rights movement. He noted that Truman’s courage to do “What was right” set events in motion that could not be stopped. He spoke of how that moment in time was pivotal and that Truman should be remembered for the stroke of his pen that ended the discrimination Blacks had suffered.

I remember watching Obama make his acceptance speech when he won the Primaries as he spoke to that crowd of 100,000 in Chicago and untold millions on television. I remember Obama spoke of the rights of the Gay Community during that speech. It was awe inspiring. I thought that was a pivotal moment in our struggle for Civil Rights.

Obama took office in January, 2009 with a Democratically controlled Congress. He had an initial approval rating over 80%. At that moment in time he could have put us at the forefront of his administrations agenda. He could have submitted to Congress legislation to repeal DADT and it would have been passed without hesitation. He had the power to help us then but he waited. He never even spoke of it again until recently. Gay rights activists have been persistent and asked over and over again about when he could do as he promised and help us end DADT. Recently – now that his ratings have crashed through the cellar – he decided it was time to help us. Now that he couldn’t get Congress to pass time of day for him. Now that he needs us to help him improve his ratings he decides to put on a Grand Show of it. The Military Spending Bill that was defeated in the Senate today died because of the amendment included in it that did not actually repeal DADT, it did not actually set a time table for the repeal, it simply instructed the military to do more “studies” about the possibility of repealing DADT. WHAT? That’s right – the mere suggestion caused those brave Democratic Senators to throw us out like so much garbage. After all, it’s an election year and they can’t risk their careers for our civil rights. Obama knew what the outcome would be but he wanted to use us again.

Perhaps Harry Truman should have taken on the challenge of helping the Gay Community instead of the Black Community. I wonder how Black Americans would feel if they were in our shoes watching as these greedy, slimy politicians stab them in the back over and over. Perhaps Obama would not even be allowed to drink water from the same fountains as Gay Americans. How would he feel? Perhaps Martin Luther King should have marched to Washington, D.C. demanding Civil Rights for ALL Americans – oh, wait a minute – HE DID!!! Martin Luther King did call for Civil Rights for all Americans – we are part of the “All Americans” group.

How could Obama forsake us this way? How could he lie to our faces and promise us we would be as equal as Black Americans? How could he ignore our pleas for mercy with a clear conscience? How can he sleep at night?

If I could go back to that night when I watched him with so many millions of other Gay Men as he made that promise to us now that I know he is just as slimy as the rest of those slime balls that America voted into office maybe my hopes would not feel so betrayed tonight.

Obama has betrayed the weakest minority in America – I hope he is proud. I hope his family is proud of him for betraying us. I’m sure the hate mongers and homophobes of this country are proud of him. After all, that is who he has made happy with this betrayal.


Lady Gaga’s Grand MTV VMAs Entrance


Lady Gaga’s Grand MTV VMAs Entrance

Posted Sun Sep 12, 2010 6:46pm PDT by Joseph Brannigan Lynch

Yahoo Entertainment

Gaga Wows VMAs Red Carpet

Leave it to Lady Gaga to make sure the 2010 MTV VMA Awards got off to a fashion-forward start-the new Queen of Pop brought a new look to the red carpet and, of course, a touch of political controversy.

The inimitable Lady Gaga arrived in a dress by the late Alexander McQueen: the flowing regal gown wrapped her body in royal shades of gold, dark reds and deep greens. The whole look brought to mind a medieval monarch — only most ancient queens didn’t wear metallic golden feathers on their heads that looked like a Mohawk crossed with a Trojan helmet of war.

Naturally, like any royalty worth her weight in gold, Gaga arrived with military protectors. In Gaga’s case, her Ladyship was flanked by servicemen and servicewomen who had been discharged from the military for refusing to go along with the US’ controversial “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Gaga even directly dissed the policy in her red carpet interview and vocalized her support for SDN.org, a 17-year-old organization formed in reaction to DADT policies.

All in all, Gaga’s unforgettable entrance brought to mind her “Alejandro” video by combining commentary about gays in the military with religious iconography. The religious element to Gaga’s dress was less noticeable but still present-there appeared to be the face of a saint sewn onto the décolletage of her dress, bringing to mind Renaissance-era religious paintings.


Memorial Day In America


MEMORIAL DAY

In the United States we have many national holidays.

Some are frivolous and some are not.

This is a list of our National Holidays for 2010:

In my opinion Memorial Day is the most appropriate one of them all. We should ALL observe this day with reverence and humility.

The military men and women who have given their lives in defense of our nation deserve to be honored above all others. They are often sent into harms way for the wrong reasons and yet they go. They are often given faulty or  inadequate equipment to accomplish what ever mission is given to them and yet they go. They enter the combat zone knowing their very lives are in jeopardy and yet they go.

Aerial view of Arlington National Cemetery

I have known so many who have served. I have known a few who never returned. From VietNam to the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and every deployment in between the list goes on. I am so proud of those who joined voluntarily or those who were conscripted.

Deer grazes among the headstones

I have never been a war monger, a “Hawk”. I have always been against killing. Unfortunately we live in a very dangerous world where men go to war with each other. I understand the need for a strong defense and I’m willing to support our military by whatever means necessary. The countless boys (and recently girls) who have worn the uniform of our armed forces and gone into battle without question or hesitation and have returned home  in one piece or have been wounded or killed should be honored above all others.

Soldier decorating graves with flags

I was just thinking of a close friend of mine in high school – Laren, Laren Hill. He was 18 and joined the army so he could go to VietNam. I never heard from him again. It seems like I think of him every Memorial Day. He was such a beautiful boy and so macho. I just wonder how many others will join him in the legions of our honored dead.