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Why I’m Hanging Up My Bilerico Hat For Good

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When I first started writing “The New Civil Rights Movement,” this blog on marriage equality, politics, and civil rights, I had a deep desire to make a positive impact for my community. Prop 8 had passed literally days before, and this blog was my response to the deep voice inside me that said at any and all costs, I can no longer stand by and do little to nothing to help achieve equality. Like so many, I was compelled to take action, and I did so in the best way I knew how: creating a blog and writing, all day, every day. All told, I think I’ve helped strengthen and educate our community.

Along the way, I’ve met many wonderful writers and activists, I’ve learned, been inspired, and hopefully have given back at least as much as I’ve received. There have been some small victories and successes, including my creation, and, along with a great many people, our establishment of “The Great Nationwide Kiss-In,” a fifty-five city event that we held last August, and FireFoxx, our Facebook group dedicated at first to replacing Rep. Virginia Foxx, now dedicated to replacing all anti-gay politicians.

I will confess, too, when I began writing I secretly hoped that one day, a blog I admired and read often, would someday notice my work and invite me to join.

That day happened almost a year ago. I was asked to do a guest post, then another, and finally, after writing “LGBTQ Leadership: Going The Way Of America’s Automakers,” and “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? Has The Promise Of Obama Been Broken For Now, Or Forever?,” Bil Browning, the founder of the iconic “The Bilerico Project,” invited me to join, as he put it, “the Bilerico family” as a regular contributor.

Anyone who has interviewed for a job at the company of their dreams — and gets an offer to join — knows how I felt. Ecstatic!

Along the way, I wrote a dozen more pieces for Bilerico. Some well-received, some controversial, but from each post I learned a great deal. I hope others did as well.

But also along the way, I noticed the tone of the content at Bilerico started to change. In my mind, and, perhaps ignorantly, I had viewed The Bilerico Project as a big “think tank” that generated ideas, discussion, passion, and worked to help us gain equality, educate, and improve how LGBTQs are perceived, both within and outside our community.

(Those of you who have read my writing know that to me, perception is very important, as it is one part of helping us achieve our goals. I’m fully expecting cries of “assimilationist!” from some, and that’s fine, if you choose to see it that way. I, by the way, do not.)

I recognize the need to “pay the bills,” and sadly, I understand that “Prince William’s penis pictures,” “First all Israeli gay porn movie,” and even “Top 10 Stores to Pick Up Gay Men” (three of the top-ten most popular posts on The Bilerico Project) may serve that purpose, but as a journalist, I have to believe that these are the easy way out, and, just as I wouldn’t expect to see that type of content coming from a think tank, or mainstream journalism site, I don’t expect to see it coming from what I thought Bilerico was. And perhaps that was my mistake.

I also recognize that other LGBTQ sites do offer pornography-as-content, but others do not. Via Twitter and a poll on this blog Wednesday night, I asked what folks thought of pornography-as-content. I’d say most were against it, but many were fine with it. It’s a personal choice, neither good nor bad, neither right nor wrong.

My writing and my activism is my work. My work is to help the LGBTQ community achieve full equality, both under the law and in the hearts and minds of our neighbors, family-members, friends, co-workers, and society in general. And so I view Bilerico and my own blog as my place of work. And, after twenty-five years of working in corporate America, I don’t believe pornography has a place in the workplace.

I’ve had this conversation, and others, with Bil. I understand his point. And most importantly, Bilerico is his home, and his business. Bilerico is an amazing institution, one that has taught me more than I expected, and one that has contributed a great deal to the LGBTQ community. I know Bil and all the Bilerico contributors will continue to do that fine work, to help open doors for our community, and help move the national conversation forward.

All that said, however, I have to add that Wednesday was the end of the line for me. The post, “Hot Mormon missionary boys masturbating,” in which Bil writes,

“I bring you pictures of hot Mormon missionary boys masturbating. They’re from the porn site Mormonboyz.com, but I’ve deliberately used ones where you can only see their cocks through their magical Mormon underwear…”

was just too much for me. I am not especially prude. That content has its place on the Internet, but to my mind, not on a site — not in a think tank — that is working to achieve equality. (And, given our community’s current challenges with the LDS Church, I feel it was an especially short-sighted choice.)

I do not see my work and pornography as compatible or even being able to share the same home. And I do not think that that type of content here helps us in our battle to win the hearts and minds of those who might choose to help us.

(Yes, our civil rights are “unalienable,” but, as I’ve learned, we still have to win hearts and minds to win at the ballot box, in the legislatures, and even in the courts. Our rights should never be put up to a vote, but, sadly, we have let it come to that.)

Adding insult to injury, Bil wrote, “you can’t be a proper Bilerico unless you’re both political and perverted.” Well, once more, and with all due respect to Bil, I think comments like that do not serve our community well. Am I “political?” Absolutely. Am I “perverted?” Absolutely not. And so I guess that means that I can’t be a “proper Bilerico.”

Like I said, Bilerico is Bil’s home and business, and I respect his right to run it in any fashion he chooses. I have the utmost respect for Bil and all he’s accomplished. Last year, during the Ronald Gold debacle, I gained even more respect for Bil, not from his editorial decision to run, “‘No’ to the notion of transgender,” but for how he handled the response the piece generated. Bil put his writers and readers first, and was on top of the situation quickly and competently. I went from debating to resign in protest over Bil’s decision to run the piece, to writing, “No To The Notion Of Irresponsibility. Yes To Embracing Our Past And Our Future,” in response against the piece but also in support of Bil and all he’s worked so hard to achieve.

So, it’s not the the intellectual content at Bilerico, but the lapse of it that forces me to say goodbye there.

I will continue fighting for our equality, for marriage, for civil rights, and work to educate here at The New Civil Rights Movement, and along any other avenue I find is compatible with my personal and professional beliefs.

I want to thank Bil, the entire Bilerico family, and all Bilerico readers for the support they have given me. I know they will all continue working to make our community stronger and the lives of our members better. I thank them for giving me the chance to contribute there to that goal.

Again, I am fully committed to The New Civil Rights Movement, and have many ideas on how I’d like to see it grow, so, I am not going away! I hope you’ll continue to visit here daily.

I welcome your thoughts, too. How do you feel about pornography-as-content?

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News

McConnell to Step Down as Minority Leader

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Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the longest-serving party leader in the history of the U.S. Senate, will relinquish his leadership role in November. The Kentucky Republican, who is 82 and has suffered health issues, has served in the Senate since 1985.

“One of life’s most underappreciated talents is to know when it’s time to move on to life’s next chapter,” Leader McConnell said in prepared remarks, The Associated Press reports. “So I stand before you today … to say that this will be my last term as Republican leader of the Senate.”

McConnell, who told colleagues Wednesday that “the politics within the Republican Party” have “changed,” is stepping down but not retiring. He plans to serve out his current term to the end, in January 0f 2027.

News outlets have reported McConnell has been under pressure to endorse Donald Trump’s bid for re-election. The New York Times reports “conversations between the Trump and McConnell camps have been happening between key advisers to both men,” despite that neither has “said a word to each other since December 2020.”

In March of 2016, as Majority Leader, he refused to follow the U.S. Constitution’s call for “advice and consent” of Presidential nominees, derailing then-Judge Merrick Garland’s appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court.

READ MORE: ‘MAGA-Motivated Conspiracies’: Hunter Biden Decimates Comer and Jordan in Opening Remarks

McConnell partnered with then-President Donald Trump to install a record-number of judges to the federal bench, many chosen by the far-right Federalist Society. But even before Trump’s election, McConnell, PBS’s Frontline reported, held open “vacancies that Trump then filled with conservative federal judges at a breakneck pace.”

“When President Trump took office and McConnell served as Senate majority leader, Trump had more than 100 vacancies to fill in the lower courts, including 17 in the U.S. courts of appeals — all of them lifetime appointments,” according to Frontline. “The Supreme Court hears around 80 cases a year, while the courts of appeals handle tens of thousands of cases annually — often making them the last word in most cases that impact the lives of Americans.”

MSNBC/NBC News legal analyst Glenn Kirschner, a former federal prosecutor for 30 years, remarked in a thread on X: “Mitch McConnell’s legacy, at least in part, will be violating the Constitution by denying a president’s Supreme Court nominee a confirmation hearing – ignoring the Senate’s ‘advice and consent’ responsibilities. McConnell then led Trump by the nose, orchestrating the degradation of the Supreme Court, with the predicable results being a callous and conflicted Supreme Court revoking women’s constitutional privacy rights, damaging equality of educational opportunities for minorities, and unleashing business discrimination cloaked in religious piety.”

“McConnell also improperly orchestrated an acquittal at Trump’s first impeachment trial,” Kirschner continued, “enabling Trump to launch a deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol. American will be better for Mitch McConnell’s departure from the US Senate.”

Watch McConnell’s announcement below or at this link.

 

 

 

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‘MAGA-Motivated Conspiracies’: Hunter Biden Decimates Comer and Jordan in Opening Remarks

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Hunter Biden is testifying behind closed doors in a joint hearing of the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees, but the President’s son released his opening statement Wednesday morning, accusing Republican Chairmen Jim Comer and Jim Jordan of basing their investigation on an “entire partisan house of cards” of “lies” told by two people who have been indicted, a third who is behind bars, and fourth who has been “exposed” for his “false statements.”

Politico calls Hunter Biden’s opening statement a “blistering rebuke of Republicans’ investigation into his father, President Joe Biden.”

“I am here today to provide the Committees with the one uncontestable fact that should end the false premise of this inquiry: I did not involve my father in my business. Not while I was a practicing lawyer, not in my investments or transactions domestic or international, not as a board member, and not as an artist. Never,” Hunter Biden’s statement begins.

“You read this fact in the many letters that have been sent to you over the last year as part of your so-called impeachment investigation. You heard this fact when I said it weeks ago, standing outside of this building. You heard this fact from a parade of other witnesses – former colleagues and business partners of mine, including my uncle – who have testified before you in similar proceedings. And now, today, you hear this fact directly from me.”

READ MORE: ‘Neck Snapping’: Speaker Johnson’s Latest ‘Flip Flop’ Could Kick Shutdown Down the Road

“For more than a year, your Committees have hunted me in your partisan political pursuit of my dad. You have trafficked in innuendo, distortion, and sensationalism – all the while ignoring the clear and convincing evidence staring you in the face,” Biden’s statement reads. “You do not have evidence to support the baseless and MAGA-motivated conspiracies about my father because there isn’t any.”

Biden goes on to charge Comer and Jordan with building their “entire partisan house of cards on lies told by the likes of Gal Luft, Tony Bobulinski, Alexander Smirnov, and Jason Galanis. Luft, who is a fugitive, has been indicted for his lies and other crimes; Smirnov, who has made you dupes in carrying out a Russian disinformation campaign waged against my father, has been indicted for his lies; Bobulinski, who has been exposed for the many false statements he has made, and Galanis, who is serving 14 years in prison for fraud.”

Alexander Smirnov is the latest witness House Republicans chose whose credibility has been destroyed. Two weeks ago today he was arrested on federal charges including lying to the FBI about the very topic Comer and Jordan have based their entire impeachment investigation on: the debunked “Burisma” conspiracy theory. Smirnov has admitted, according to court documents, those claims were handed to him by Russian intelligence officials.

“Rather than follow the facts as they have been laid out before you in bank records, financial statements, correspondence, and other witness testimony, you continue your frantic search to prove the lies you, and those you rely on, keep peddling. Yes, they are lies. To be clear, I have made mistakes in my life, and I have squandered opportunities and privileges that were afforded to me. I know that. I am responsible for that. And I am making amends for that. But my mistakes and shortcomings are my own and not my father’s, who has done nothing but devote his entire life to public service and trying to make this country a better place to live.”

READ MORE: House Republicans Move to Upstage SOTU With New Hur Investigation Subpoena and Hearing

Biden points to his “battle with addiction,” praises his father for his support, and says, “He helped save my life. His love and support made it possible for me to get sober, stay sober and rebuild my life as a father, husband, son, and brother.”

“What he got in return for being a loving and supportive parent is a barrage of hate-filled conspiracy theories that hatched this sham impeachment inquiry and continue to fuel unrelenting personal attacks against him and me.”

Biden charges Republicans with taking his “communications out of context,” and alleges they “relied on documents that have been altered, and cherry-picked snippets of financial or other records to misrepresent what really happened.”

He then told the Republican Chairmen they used “a few references to my family in emails or texts that I sent when I was in the darkest days of my addiction.” And he starkly warned: “If you try to do that again today, my answers will reveal your tactics and demonstrate the truth that my father was never involved in any of my businesses.”

U.S. Rep. Robert Garcia (D-CA), who is attending today’s hearing, blasted Speaker Johnson, Donald Trump, and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“We’ve been in the deposition now for about an hour, and one thing is crystal clear: Republicans have zero evidence linking Hunter Biden to any sort of business dealings with the president,” he told MSNBC. Garcia also accused Speaker Johnson of having “absolutely no plan” as the government shutdown deadline approaches.

Watch below or at this link.

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‘Neck Snapping’: Speaker Johnson’s Latest ‘Flip Flop’ Could Kick Shutdown Down the Road

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Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, opposed to a government shutdown but appearing willing to allow it to happen, during Tuesday’s White House meeting offered President Joe Biden and top congressional leaders to kick the can down the road in his latest policy “switch.” His reputation for flip-flopping is so strong it’s being described by the D.C. press as “neck snapping.”

“Johnson has offered to shift existing government funding deadlines from March 1 and March 8 to March 8 and March 22,” Punchbowl News reports, calling it “Johnson’s Latest Shift.” Johnson had chosen the March 1 and March 8 dates and the concept of a “laddered” government shutdown, which other stakeholders opposed but accepted.

Johnson has made clear he opposes stop-gap funding, or continuing resolutions, known as CR’s, which this would be.

“After saying late last year he was done with any more short-term stop-gaps to avoid a shutdown, Mike Johnson had to do one in January and may have to do one again. Facing a partial shutdown Friday, he’s bowing to reality and floating another CR,” notes CNN’s Manu Raju. “Negotiators say they’re making progress to complete at least some of the annual funding bills (that they were supposed to get done by last October.)”

READ MORE: House Republicans Move to Upstage SOTU With New Hur Investigation Subpoena and Hearing

The Speaker is now offering up a continuing resolution, but with strings attached.

“Any CR would be part of a larger agreement to finish a number of appropriations bills, ensuring adequate time for drafting text and for members to review prior to casting votes,” Johnson Press Secretary Athina Lawson said in a statement, Punchbowl’s Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan report.

“In this offer, Johnson also is making an explicit threat – if the Louisiana Republican doesn’t have a bipartisan agreement in hand by Friday, he’s not willing to pass a short-term CR to avert a shutdown. Johnson will let government funding lapse starting at midnight Friday. Four bills expire at that point.”

Punchbowl reports this is the “first time” that “Johnson is making explicit to Democrats and the White House that he’s willing to shut down federal agencies unless he has a global agreement – of sorts – on all 12 FY 2024 appropriations bills.”

“These kinds of course changes have become a hallmark of Johnson’s speakership. Plans shift drastically without much notice. Lawmakers are often settling into one strategy when the entire scheme changes. It’s neck snapping,” declare Punchbowl’s Sherman and Bresnaahan.

READ MORE: Republican Furious No ‘Real Wins,’ Like on ‘Transgender Surgeries’ as Shutdown Looms

The House has been on vacation for the past two weeks, and is not scheduled to be back in session until Wednesday evening, giving them just over 48 hours to craft legislation, pass it, have the Senate pass it, and the President sign it into law, all before the 12:01 AM Saturday shutdown deadline.

As Axios reported Tuesday night: “More than a year after Republicans took back the House, the sum result of their work on government spending so far is to extend the budget passed under former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).” Axios added, “What comes next in the shutdown drama is solely up to House Speaker Mike Johnson.”

 

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