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If George W. Bush were a dictator . . .

. . . he would have used more coercive tactics to stop the New York Times (as well as its West Coast counterpart for the latter story) from publishing details about the NSA program to monitor the international calls of terrorist suspects and last week’s story about the SWIFT program to track terrorist financing.

In comments to this blog, some of our critics borrowing unsubstantiated (except by their own rhetoric) notions from other left-leaning blogs claim that the president wants dictatorial powers. Andrew Sullivan calls him a “quasi-monarchical president.

But, if the president were really attempting to exercise such powers, he would have not have used gentle suasion with the editors of the New York Times. Instead of trying to talk them out of publishing the story, he would have threatened the paper or sent armed thugs to rub them out.

President Bush has perhaps endured more mean-spirited and inaccurate attacks since taking office than any of his predecessors. But, as we know from recent experience, he has not been alone in suffering such slights. Indeed, newspapers and political opponents have been making nasty, unwarranted accusations against presidents going back to Thomas Jefferson at least — and perhaps even to George Washington.

To suffer that some people will level such unwarranted and dishonest attacks is the price we pay for the freedoms guaranteed to these hatemongers by the First Amendment. As hateful as their speech is, to prevent their speaking out would be wrong for a great variety of reasons. Not only would it deny them their freedom to speak out, but it would also lead to a slippery slope where even honest disagreement could be punished. And then there’s the key question of who would decide.

While I strongly believe that our media and the Chief Executive’s political adversaries should criticize the president when they disagree with his actions or proposals, in an ideal world, no leader would have to suffer the unsubstantiated allegations leveled by an arrogant press and vindictive opponents as has President Bush. But, that’s part of a free society. No dictator, however, would tolerate such opposition.

That President Bush has done nothing to silence the mean-spirited accusations of his opponents proves that he is anything but a dictator. That his critics continue to so attack him shows that they recognize as much. Their very rhetoric belies their arguments.

-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com

Angelenos: Join GPW in Volunteering at Outfest!

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 1:13 pm - June 30, 2006.
Filed under: LA Stories,Movies/Film & TV

For the past five years, I have volunteered at Outfest, Los Angeles’ annual gay & lesbian film festival. This year, the festival begins next Thursday, July 6 with a festive Opening Night screening of Puccini for Beginners at the Orpheum in Downtown LA. It continues for the next nine days with a variety of shorts, features, documentaries and panels — and even a West Side Story singalong on July 12 at the Ford Amphitheatre in the Hollywood Hills.

One reason I continue to volunteer for Outfest is that the folks at the festival have shown genuine appreciation for those of us who help out — much more so than for the other gay groups where I have volunteered in the past. Not only does the staff thank the volunteers in words, but they show their appreciation by hosting barbecues for us and allowing dedicated volunteers to see festival films for free (on a space available basis). In short, one thing which distinguishes Outfest from these other organizations (at least in my experience) is the way the paid staff treats its volunteers.

If you have some free time between July 6 and 17, please join me in volunteering for this fun festival. Not only will you help promote gay and lesbian cinema in Los Angeles, but you’re sure to have a great time as well — and meet other interesting gay people who enjoy movies. (And if you play your cards right, you may even get to meet me as well.) Click here to sign up to volunteer or here to learn more about the festival.

If you don’t feel like volunteering this summer, but enjoy gay movies, the staff and the volunteers, particularly the Theater Managers like myself, treat the patrons as well as the staff treats the volunteers, so click here to find out what’s showing and to get tickets!

See y’all at Outfest!

Gay Parenting: Part One – Adoption

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 8:02 am - June 30, 2006.
Filed under: Gay Adoption,Gay America

(GP Editor’s note:  This is the first of a three part series on Gay Adoption & Parenting by frequent GP commenters “V The K” and “Michigan Matt.”) 

Maybe you saw Glenn Reynolds’s article on TCS from about a month ago, which was subsequently reprinted on OpinionJournal (The Parent Trap: How safety fanatics help drive down birthrates). Reynolds’ thesis is that having children in our litigious society carries too much risk, too much cost, and not enough benefit.

“(P)arenting has become more expensive in non-financial as well as financial terms. It takes up more time and emotional energy than it used to, and there’s less reward in terms of social approbation. This is like a big social tax on parenting and, as we all know, when things are taxed we get less of them. Yes, people still have children, and some people even have big families. But at the margin, which is where change occurs, people are less likely to do things as they grow more expensive and less rewarded. “

Over the last century, social mores have shifted. In the past, raising families was not just encouraged, but expected. In the present era, especially among secularized elites, the predominant social pressure is against having children, or even marrying at all. Many married couples eschew parenthood. In stark contrast, gay and lesbian couples and singles are incurring even greated economic, social, and emotional costs to build families, sometimes in the face of powerful opposition.

Michigan-Matt and his partner completed the adoption of their son after an expenditure of tens of thousands of dollars, and after gut-wrenching disappointments. Their first attempt at adoption failed when the unwed birthparents opted to cancel after their son had already lived with Michigan-Matt and his partner for 17 weeks.

“There was no warning. No notice; the decision was entirely theirs and the grandparents –who we later heard, despite what they said earlier, opposed ‘giving up their first grandkid to some fruits’. They went into court, the judge granted them custody and it was over,” Michigan-Matt recalls. “It took us three years to get over that deep pain, ultimate failure of trust, and the violation we felt at the reversal.”

The second adoption attempt was successful. Michigan-Matt and partner were even allowed in the delivery room and received their newborn son into their arms from the womb. Michigan-Matt says, “It doesn’t get any better than that. Talk about bonding! The birthmom said she heard about us through the social worker and wanted to help us heal.”

Their next child will be provided by a surrogate mother. They’ve carefully picked the birthmom, hired her to carry their son or daughter to term. The impregnation has occurred and the due date is Nov 11th, Michigan-Matt’s birthday. So far, everything is going well.

Their 3 year old son is looking forward to the first of “ten or fiftwennie brothers and sisters.” Michigan-Matt still isn’t sure what number translates into “fiftwennie” but is interested in continuing to grow as a family. (Take that Reynolds!) The estimated cost of this adoption: $71,000-97,000.

Four years ago, V the K, set out to adopt his foster son in South Carolina. The county adoption agency threw every imaginable hurdle in front of him. To cite the worst example, the county’s Guardian ad Litem (GAL) office replaced the original GAL assigned his case with a notoriously homophobic South Carolina state senator; a man who in every legisilative session has tried to push bills outlawing gay adoption and foster parenting, who, strangely enough, had no prior experience as a GAL.

The GAL is responsible for making recommendations regarding the child’s adoptive placement. Before long, this senator and the head of the county GAL office were pulling VtK’s foster son out of school two and three times a week for “interviews,” during which they pressured him to make abuse allegations. The senator also tried to bribe another family to adopt the boy, and threatened them with obstructing another adoption they were pursuing when they refused to go along.

When he filed his report to the adoption office, it was filled with misinformation and made allegations of neglect. (Whereas all the reports filed by the GAL he replaced had been outstanding.) It is VtK’s belief that this jackass politician was trying to drum up an abuse incident so he could stoke public outrage and get his anti-gay adoption bill passed.

The county adoption agency fought the adoption even up to the final hearing, and insisted on a lot more requirements than a married couple would have gone through. Eventually, with enough lawyering, determination, and faith, VtK and his adoptive son prevailed. VtK has since adopted another son (relatively smoothly) and intends, God-willing, to adopt again.

A case could be made that subjecting gay couples and single parents to more scrutiny than traditional married couples is legitimate. After all, as we’ll discuss in the next essay, parenting outside the traditional nuclear family carries its own unique challenges. But the point is, we go through a lot more than most married couple do just to have children.

V The K and Michigan-Matt

Former NBC Newsie Blasts New York Times

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 7:25 am - June 30, 2006.
Filed under: Bush-hatred,Media Bias,War On Terror

Richard Valeriani, who covered The White House and State Department for the Peacock in the 1970s and 80s, blasts the treasonous acts of the New York Times.

Don’t Follow The Money Story – Huffington Post  (hey, do they pay over there for blogging??)

I find the decision of The New York Times and other newspapers to publish the story about the Administration’s money-tracing program to be really irresponsible.

The fault does not lie with the reporters.  The fault lies with the editors who put what they perceive as their own self-interest or the interest of their newspaper ahead of the national interest.

 

Where was the so-called “public interest?” There was no compelling need for the public to know about this. The story itself acknowledged there was nothing illegal going on—only an anonymous acknowledgement that there was a “potential” for abuse.

This was show-off journalism, pure and simple. Look at us. Look at what we found out. Look at how good we are uncovering secrets.

Running the story about the money-tracing program is a version of giving Anne Frank’s address to the Nazis.

Amen.  But is he channeling GayPatriot?

I also got a kick out of the last line of Valeriani’s bio at Huffington.

He was also the Washington correspondent for the Today show when news was news.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)