"Joy and pleasure are as real as pain and sorrow and one must learn what they have to teach. . . ." -- Sean Russell, from Gatherer of Clouds

"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

"I love you and I'm not afraid." -- Evanescence, "My Last Breath"

“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Friday, July 01, 2016

Well, It's Done

Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter this afternoon announced that “effective immediately,” the ban on openly transgender service members in the military has come to an end:

“The Defense Department and the military need to avail ourselves of all talent possible in order to remain what we are now — the finest fighting force the world has ever known,” Carter said Thursday at the Pentagon.

“We don’t want barriers unrelated to a person’s qualification to serve preventing us from recruiting or retaining the soldier, sailor, airman or marine who can best accomplish the mission. We have to have access to 100% of America’s population,” he added.

“Although relatively few in number, we’re talking about talented and trained Americans who are serving their country with honor and distinction,” he said. “We want to take the opportunity to retain people whose talent we’ve invested in and who’ve proven themselves.”

As you may imagine, this is not being greeted with glad cries across the political spectrum:

"This is the latest example of the Pentagon and the President prioritizing politics over policy," said [Rep. MaCc] Thornberry [(R-TX -- of course)], Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

"Our military readiness -- and hence, our national security -- is dependent on our troops being medically ready and deployable," he added. "The administration seems unwilling or unable to assure the Congress and the American people that transgender individuals will meet these individual readiness requirements at a time when our Armed Forces are deployed around the world."

We're talking about 11,000 people out of a million and a half.

And of course, the World's Biggest Liar weighs in:

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, a Marine Corps veteran, said President Barack Obama was using the military "to fight culture wars."

"This is yet another example of President Obama using America's military to fight culture wars instead of to fight real wars against the enemies of our nation," Perkins said.

"Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that 'the only military matter . . . about which I ever sensed deep passion on [Obama's] part was 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.' Now Mr. Obama has only added to his legacy of misplaced priorities with regard to our country's defense," Perkins added.

And if anyone's an expert on misplaced priorities, it's Tony Perkins. (Hmm -- I thought the biggest threat to our country was same-sex marriage.)

CNN, of course, fails to mention that the Family Research Council is a recognized anti-LGBT hate group. And I've read that Perkins' military service was as an MP. Somehow, that fits.

A little guessing game: which member of the teabagger caucus will be the first to introduce a "military bathroom bill"?

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