FROM Nathaniel Frank
Transgender Americans Still Barred from Military Earlier this year, an independent commission led by a former US surgeon general said there "is not a compelling medical reason for US armed forces to prohibit transgender Americans from serving. Yesterday, on ABC's This Week, Defense Secretary Hagel said he's "open" to reassessing the transgender ban. Nathaniel Frank is visiting scholar at the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia Law School author of Unfriendly Fire : How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America.
'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Comes Out of the Closet At a gay rights dinner on Saturday night, President Obama repeated a promise he made during last year's campaign, to revoke Bill Clinton's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. Now, from the Pentagon's highest levels comes a call for repeal of the ban against homosexuals in the military. An article for the Joint Chiefs of Staff says there's "no scientific evidence" that gays and lesbians damage morale."
'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Comes Out of the Closet At a gay rights dinner on Saturday night, President Obama repeated as promise he made during last year's campaign, that of ending the exclusion of gays in the military. Obama could revoke Bill Clinton's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," policy, but it will take an act of Congress to repeal the ban. Hard-line activists say Obama is moving too slowly, but now from the Pentagon's highest levels comes a call for the repeal of the ban. An article for the Joint Chiefs of Staff says there's "no scientific evidence" that gays and lesbians damage morale," but that, in the meantime, they're required to live a lie. Is Congress likely to listen?
'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Back on the Front Burner It's estimated that 65,000 gays and lesbians serve in the military, but that's legal only as long as their sexual orientation is secret. Since " Don't Ask, Don't Tell " was enacted in the early 1990's, some 13,000 have been discharged after being outed. The Obama White House is in no hurry to make good on the campaign promise to end the ban on gays and lesbians in the military. Now a gay national guardsman with a "mission-critical specialty" has challenged "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" by coming out on a cable news program. A leading opponent of homosexual rights has organized 1100 generals and admirals on the other side of the issue, and political pressure is building. We talk with both of them and hear about conflicting court decisions and possible options for the White House and Congress.
Will the Senate write a healthcare bill in secret? While Democrats and Republicans argue White House relations with Russia, another question is being decided behind closed doors: who gets help buying health insurance and who doesn't? We hear how the pros and cons are being shrouded in secrecy.
Ex-FBI Director Comey tells his side of the story Today, former FBI Director James Comey came close to calling the President who fired him a liar. The White House denied the claim and called it insulting, but Republican Senators did not challenge Comey’s truthfulness. Many questions remain: did the President try to obstruct a federal investigation? Later, we’ll go behind the “velvet rope” for a look at 5-Star health care for the richest Americans.
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.