Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Full Disclosure

Over the last few weeks, and especially over the last week or so, the issue of unlimited amounts of corporate money - and possibly foreign money - being used by organizations to buy influence in our American election process has been covered extensively here and elsewhere.

There have been some in the media who've attempted to drag the focus away from the main problem with the campaign finance law as it now stands. There has also been a great deal of squirming and non-denial denials coming from those who have been abusing the current system, like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Karl Rove.

What there hasn't been a lot of is full disclosure, which is what Americans are truthfully looking for, in finding out who is attempting to buy elections. In fact, that's what the DISCLOSE Act - which passed the House in April of this year, but remains stalled in the Senate - was specifically designed to do.

Thankfully, full disclosure appears to have come to another contentious issue that's been argued over for most of the last 17 years.

Last night, a judge in California finally pulled the trigger and killed the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, by barring enforcement of the policy worldwide, by the U.S. military.

In the suit, which was brought by the Log Cabin Republicans, an organization of LGBT GOP members, Federal District Court Judge Virginia Phillips said that DADT infringed on the First and Fifth Amendments of servicemembers and potential servicemembers. In her ruling, Judge Phillips also permanently enjoined enforcement of DADT and forced the military to "immediately suspend and discontinue" any DADT related military separation in progress.

The Defense department's recommendation on how to implement the elimination of DADT - not IF it should be buried, but HOW to move from current standards to new ones - was already scheduled to be released in early December. In some ways, yesterday's ruling is merely another step on the path to eliminating DADT completely.

It's also a step towards aligning the methods and laws with which we treat our armed servicemembers with the rhetoric of freedom, openness, and full disclosure those members of our military fight for.

Notice - the defeat of DADT was accomplished with support from BOTH Republicans AND Democrats.

Let's hope achieving the full disclosure of campaign finances doesn't take another seventeen years.

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