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Sanders warns Dems not to waste time catering to obstructionist GOP

April 11, 2021 in Blogs

By Common Dreams

Sen. Bernie Sanders, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, said Saturday that amid the immediate emergencies of climate change, Covid-19, mass unemployment, and homelessness, congressional Democrats cannot afford to dampen their infrastructure ambitions in the hopes of winning support from obstructionist Republicans.

“The time is now to go forward,” Sanders (I-Vt.) told the Washington Post. “This country faces enormous crises that have got to be addressed right now. When you have half a million people who are homeless, I’m not going to slow down.”

“When the scientists tell us we have five or six years before there will be irreparable damage done because of climate change,” the Vermont senator added, “I’m not going to slow down.”

Sanders’ remarks came as the Democratic leadership is weighing how to proceed with the roughly $2.3 trillion infrastructure package President Joe Biden unveiled last month, a proposal that will serve as a starting point for congressional negotiations. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has said she hopes to pass infrastructure legislation by July.

But unified Republican opposition to the package and growing complaints from conservative deficit scolds within the Democratic caucus are threatening to impede work on the package that progressives hope to transform into a sprawling bill that deals with a wide range of priorities, from climate to affordable housing to prescription drug prices.

On Monday, the Senate parliamentarian gave Democrats a green light to use the filibuster-proof budget reconciliation process for additional spending legislation this year, granting the party the option to move ahead with an infrastructure measure without Republican support.

Sanders told the Post that he is preparing to use the reconciliation tool, but Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has not publicly committed to that strategy as the Biden administration continues to hold out hope for a bipartisan compromise. With the legislative filibuster in place, Senate Democrats would need the support of at least 10 Republicans to pass an infrastructure bill through regular order.

“The president believes that there’s a path forward to get… this American Jobs Plan passed with bipartisan support,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during a Thursday briefing. “That’s why he’s going to invite Democrats and Republicans here. That’s why he’s …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Insurrectionist experiences 'shock' over being held with people accused of 'inner city crimes'

April 11, 2021 in Blogs

By Aldous Pennyfarthing

I’ve never seen so many snowflakes in my life, and I grew up in Wisconsin.

It’s still mind-boggling that so many Trumpaloompas thought they could storm the U.S. Capitol, openly engage in a violent insurrection, and then grab some Arby’s on the way home and chill with a box of Fiddle Faddle while the rest of us totally forgot about this picayune kerfuffle.

It’s almost as if white people have been conditioned to think they have nothing to fear from the law.

Rachel Weiner is a reporter for The Washington Post who has the latest on one of the foot soldiers in Donald J. Trump’s Jan. 6 Bumblefuck Putsch:

For the nontweeters:

Lawyer for Tommy Webster, retired NYPD cop accused of beating an MPD officer with flagpole on #J6, says his client is in a “dormitory setting” with people serving time for “inner-city crimes” – “for a middle aged guy whose never been arrested before this has been a shock for him”

Webster has a “sparkling record” with the NYPD which led to “the lofty assignment of protecting the mayor,” attorney says – but if he won’t be released he wants him moved back to jail in upstate New York

(He’s not in D.C., where riot detainees are in a separate wing, causing friction on both sides — like others arrested elsewhere he’s been moved around the country on the way to D.C.)

I hope that somewhere within the pages of Joe Biden’s omnibus infrastructure bill is an earmark for trillions of tiny violin-fabricating nanobots, because I don’t think modern science can possibly shrink them down any further. And there’s a huge demand, let me tell you.

Oh, and “inner city crimes,” eh? What the fuck does this look like?

ScreenShot2021-04-10at10.56.25AM.png

Oh, that’s not what they meant by “inner city”? Yeah, I know. We all know.

I’ve pretty much had it with the “aw, shucks, these are good folks who got a little too rambunctious” shtick. Does Webster …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Here's why Democrats have reason to hope for 2022

April 11, 2021 in Blogs

By Daily Kos

The Republican Party, this year more than any other since I’ve been covering politics, has become a fascination for me. While some readers here say it’s all business as usual, it seems anything but to me. Sure, the underlying motivators of racism, misogyny, xenophobia, anti-LGBTQ hate, and amassing wealth and power have been and continue to be driving forces for the party and are simply more transparent than ever.

But on the other hand, Republicans’ roadmap to obtaining power is perhaps more murky than at any point in my lifetime. When Mitch McConnell comes out and starts threatening American corporations, a sea change is at hand.

In fact, what seems to have happened since Donald Trump receded from the national stage is that congressional Republicans and some state officials have had to effectively become him in order to keep his base voters engaged—or should we say, enraged. So now, just like Trump threatened companies that angered him, McConnell is doing the same. And just like Trump swindled his base voters into donating gobs of money to him, House Republicans are now running the same scam. Perhaps even more telling, House Republicans are essentially presenting those donor solicitations as if they are coming from Trump himself. (Of course, Trump also relaunched his own fundraising operation this week complete with “Don’t Blame Me — I Voted for Trump” swag. Not a joke. So now Trump’s base will be getting fleeced from multiple directions.)

But it’s a stunning turn of events—the party that once kowtowed to corporate America is now publicly jeering at them. That schism will only deepen as Republicans grow increasingly and more glaringly out of step with the culture of young, diverse, upwardly mobile consumers American businesses hope to cultivate. Meanwhile, GOP lawmakers are only getting more brazen and dug into their anti-culture politics. As I noted yesterday, Georgia’s Republican House Speaker, David Ralston, defended the punitive measures they were targeting at their corporate detractors like this, “You don’t feed a dog that bites your hand.”

Ralph Reed, evangelical fire-breather and perennial GOP strategist, said the performative bellicosity had become the single most animating feature for Republican voters, describing it as a “virtue.”

“It has become the overarching virtue Republicans look for in their leaders,” Reed told the New York Times.

But the description of the GOP …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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'I don’t think it's fair': Matt Gaetz associate abruptly steps down from lobbying firm

April 11, 2021 in Blogs

By David Edwards

A longtime associate of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) has resigned his position at a prestigious lobbying firm amid the allegations of sex trafficking that are scandalizing the congressman.

WKMG reported that Chris Dorworth stepped down from Ballard Partners on Friday. He had been with the firm since losing his Florida House seat in 2012.

“The current political climate is nasty, and I told Brian I don’t think its fair for the recent media storm to take away from their missions,” Dorworth explained in a tweet on Friday, referring to Brian Ballard, president of the lobbying firm.

Dorworth’s biography and photo have since been scrubbed from the Ballard Partners website.

In a tweet last year, Gaetz and Dorworth were seen in a photo with Joel Greenberg, who is facing sex trafficking and dozens of other federal charges. He is expected to enter into a plea deal, his attorney has said.

Intelligence analyst Eric Garland pointed out that Ballard has been former President Donald Trump’s “lobbyist of choice in Florida.”

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Black Army Lt. pulled over, terrorized, and beaten even though police knew he'd done nothing wrong

April 11, 2021 in Blogs

By DailyKos

Last December, Army Lieutenant Caron Nazario was on his way home with a new SUV when the lights of a police car appeared behind him. Rather than pull over on a narrow, darkened street, he proceeded just over one minute, and less than one mile, down the road and pull into the parking lot of a gas station. There he was confronted by two police officers who proceeded to hold him at gun point, pepper spray him through the window of his vehicle, and threaten him with death.

According to the Associated Press, Windsor, Virginia police officer Daniel Crocker radioed that he was pulling Nazario over because his vehicle lacked a license plate and had tinted windows. He also described Nazario’s one minute, low-speed drive to the parking lot as “eluding police.” This, to Crocker, justified calling the stop a “high-risk felony traffic stop.” Which justified calling for backup and approaching the car with gun drawn.

Except that the temporary tag for Nazario’s recently purchased vehicle was clearly displayed in the rear window of the SUV. If Crocker had missed it initially, it seems impossible that he would have not seen it either during that “pursuit” conducted well below the speed limit. It’s also clearly visible as the car sits under the lights of the parking lot. By the time Crocker approached Nazario’s vehicle, he had to know that, if there ever had been any justification for the stop, that reason no longer applied.

Crocker might have stepped up, explained that he had missed seeing the tag initially, and sent Nazario on his way with an apology. Instead, he was joined by a second officer, Joe Gutierrez, and together the two terrorized Lt. Nazario … while never actually filing any charges.

Gutierrez reportedly saw Lt. Nazario’s car pull into the parking lot, which he admitted was a common occurrence. It was something that happens, “a lot, and 80% of the time, it’s a minority.” If there was any doubt about why a person of color might feel the need to pull over in an area that’s well lit, and where there are potential witnesses, the Windsor police soon made the reason clear.

In the bodycam video (some of which has to be watched at YouTube due to age restrictions), both Crocker and Gutierrez can be seen pointing …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Tucker Carlson sparks controversy with his latest defense of the racist 'white replacement theory'

April 10, 2021 in Blogs

By Meaghan Ellis

Fox News’ Tucker Carlson is facing stark criticism for his latest attempt to defend the notion of the “white supremacy replacement” theory.

According to Mother Jones, on Thursday, April 8, Carlson appeared to justify the disturbing theory that ultimately influenced the U.S. Capitol riots and the disturbing mass shootings that have taken place across the United States and in other parts of the world.

The Fox News host also concocted another conspiracy theory suggesting the Democratic Party had a long-term goal to expand its voter base to consist of “more obedient voters from the Third World” in an effort to advance their agenda.

“The Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate, the voters now casting ballots, with new people, more obedient voters from the Third World,” Carlson said on Fox News Primetime. “If you change the population, you dilute the political power of the people who live there. So every time they import a new voter, I become disenfranchised as a current voter.”

Carlson went on to suggest to viewers that there was nothing racist about his arguments. He added, “I mean, everyone wants to make a racial issue out of it,” he said. “Oh, you know, the white replacement theory? No, no, no. This is a voting right question.”

After Carlson’s segment aired, he was quickly met with opposition. Referring to the Fox News host, as “the new copycat,” “Daily Show” host Trevor Noah created a montage that highlighted similarities between Carlson’s remarks and the words of two different mass shooters: the Christchurch, New Zealand shooter and the mass shooter who murdered nearly two dozen innocent victims in El Paso, Texas, back in 2019.

In the manifesto written by the Christchurch shooter, there were remarks about the ideology of “ethnic replacement” He wrote, “This is ethnic replacement. This is cultural replacement. This is racial replacement.”

The El Paso shooter also echoed similar disturbing sentiments. “I am simply defending my country from cultural and ethnic replacement brought by an invasion [of immigrants]…a political coup by importing and then legalizing millions of new voters,” he wrote in his manifesto.

On Friday, April 9, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) also sounded off to verbalize its concerns about Carlson’s dangerous rhetoric. ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt penned …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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White supremacist propaganda appears around California cities as residents brace for 'White Lives Matter' rally

April 10, 2021 in Blogs

By Meaghan Ellis

Multiple reports have highlighted the influx in white supremacist propaganda in California cities ahead of the upcoming white supremacist rally at Huntington Beach.

Days before the Easter holiday, the Huntington Beach Police Department received intel about fliers promoting an upcoming Ku Klux Klan (KKK) event which led to an initial investigation. A photo of one of the flyers, which reportedly featured a klansman with a burning cross, included information about an event later that evening.

The flyer’s headline message read, “Say no to cultural genocide.” However, the website and contact information were excluded.

According to Newsweek, some of the flyers found along Long Beach were also handwritten. Those flyers reportedly featured “the white supremacist slogan: “the 14 words,” according to the Long Beach Post.

Chris Callopy, executive director for the Teachers Association of Long Beach, contacted police after finding one of the flyers outside of the association’s office. He also shared his reaction to the disturbing flyer. “It’s just so bizarre,” Callopy told The Long Beach Post. “I’ve been working here in Long Beach for 13 years, and I’ve never seen something like that before.”

Surveillance footage captured a man leaving the white supremacist flyer at the building around 1:15 a.m. However, police have not been able to identify the person.


White supremacist propaganda posted in Bixby Knolls

youtu.be

On Wednesday, Long Beach City Councilman Al Austin spoke with the Long Beach Post where he expressed concern about the event saying, “I’m extremely disheartened that somebody used our community as a platform to spread hate.”

In wake of the recent uptick in white supremacist propaganda, Huntington Beach Police Department Lieutenant Brian Smith weighed in on noting that permits are not required to hold rallies and demonstrations.

“Rallies and demonstrations in Pier Plaza are a common occurrence and do not require permits due to it being a public space, except for in certain circumstances such as if the organizer wants to set up a stage, restrict access to an area, or utilize utilities,” Smith said.

As for the flyers promoting the upcoming White Lives Matter rally, Smith noted that the police department is still unable to identify …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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'An existential threat': Concerned Republicans push for GOP to denounce QAnon conspiracy theories

April 10, 2021 in Blogs

By Meaghan Ellis

Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Mich.) is urging the Republican Party to denounce QAnon conspiracy theories and distance from the group’s dangerous rhetoric before it destroys the party in its entirety.

During an interview with CNN, Meijer expressed concern about the conspiracy theories and how they could have long-term impacts on the political party.

According to Meijer, a significant number of Republican voters are being deceived by the conspiracy theory which focuses on an alternate reality. “The fact that a significant plurality, if not potentially a majority, of our voters have been deceived into this creation of an alternate reality could very well be an existential threat to the party,” Meijer said during an interview with CNN.

Over the last year, the QAnon movement has evolved into a full right-wing conspiracy that many Trump supporters have adopted as a belief system. Meijer went on to explain the different facets of QAnon beliefs. “When we say QAnon, you have the sort of extreme forms, but you also just have this softer, gradual undermining of any shared, collective sense of truth,” Meijer said.

While there are many Republican lawmakers concerned about the QAnon influence on members of the political party, very few lawmakers have been willing to speak out and condemn the misinformation campaigns. Aside from Meijer, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) has been one of the more vocal Republican lawmakers to air his grievances with little concern about intraparty backlash.

Not only did Kinzinger vote in favor of former President Donald Trump’s impeachment, but he has also condemned the QAnon adherents’ beliefs. Michael Wood, a Texas Republican congressional candidate, has also followed in Kinzinger’s footsteps by opting to verbalize his concerns about QAnon.

“I think he bears direct responsibility for the rise of conspiratorial thinking in the Republican Party and the conservative movement as a whole,” Wood said in an interview. “The big lie that he promulgated after Election Day did a whole lot of harm to our civic institutions.”

With conspiracy theories taking centerstage, Kinzinger notes how fact-based Republicans are now “pariahs” within the political party. However, he is hoping fact-based politicians prevail and bring the party back to focus.

“It’s almost like we’re facts-based pariahs that are trying to sort of rein in this insanity that’s gone on,” he said. “It does feel lonely sometimes in terms of being the outspoken voice,” Kinzinger said.

The Illinois lawmaker also hopes the Capitol insurrection …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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I’m built for the battle’: Gaetz makes it clear he has no plans to go anywhere despite allegations

April 10, 2021 in Blogs

By Meaghan Ellis

For the last 10 days, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) has been at the center of an ever-developing investigation amid a litany of sex scandal allegations but now he has reemerged with a new outlook on the ongoing situation.

According to The Daily Beast, the Florida lawmaker appears to be shrugging off the most recent allegations which are actually described as the most “damning reports.” On Friday, April 9, Gaetz appeared at the Save America Summit held at the Trump Doral in Miami, Fla.

Gaetz appeared to downplay the reports suggesting that he paid multiple women for sexual favors, including a 17-year-old underage minor. The lawmaker spoke to the “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) crowd as he began his speech with the usual focal points of Trump supporters: former President Donald Trump’s regurgitated claims about the election being stolen as a result of “changes to the rules.”

At one point during his speech, he alluded to the investigative probes he is facing as he said, “I’m built for the battle, and I’m not going anywhere.”

But despite Gaetz’s attempts to brush off the severity of the allegations, the publication notes that the investigation is intensifying. Just hours before the Florida lawmaker’s appearance on Friday evening, the House Ethics Committee also announced it would be launching an investigation into Gaetz.

In a letter released on Friday, the committee explained the nature of its investigation.

“The Committee is aware of public allegations that Representative Matt Gaetz may have engaged in sexual misconduct and/or illicit drug use, shared inappropriate images or videos on the House floor, misused state identification records, converted campaign funds for personal use, and/or accepted a bribe/improper gratuity, or impermissible gift in violation of House rules,” the Committee wrote.

To make matters worse, Gaetz does not appear to have much support from Republican leaders and lawmakers. The publication reports that: “None of the 16 former senior Trump admin officials, ex-campaign brass, longtime GOP operatives, and sources close to the ex-president contacted by The Daily Beast were willing to defend Gaetz on the record.”

Trump has also remained mum about Gaetz’s investigation. When the former did release a statement about Gaetz’s ongoing scandal, he focused mostly on himself.

“Congressman Matt Gaetz has never asked me for a pardon,” Trump said in a statement following reports about Gaetz seeking a blanket pardon for himself and a number of other Trump loyalists. “It …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Oath Keepers' founder under increased scrutiny as part of Capitol riots investigation

April 10, 2021 in Blogs

By Meaghan Ellis

As more than a dozen alleged members and associates of the Oath Keepers militia group face charges for their involvement in the insurrection on the U.S. Capitol, investigators are continuing their probe into the group’s sordid history. The extremist group’s leader Stewart Rhodes is also at the center of the investigation.

According to NPR.org, prosecutors have noted that members of The Oath Keepers were allegedly part of the angry mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Rhodes reportedly perpetuated former President Donald Trump’s claims about the election being stolen from him. In fact, days after President Joe Biden was announced as the winner of the election, Rhodes attended a localized “Stop the Steal” rally in Virginia.

“What do you have right now if nothing but a communist insurrection intent on overthrowing our Constitution?” he said. Rhodes also described Biden as a “‘Chinese communist party” as he urged Trump to “use the U.S. military to put down the alleged communist-globalist insurrection.”

While Rhodes is currently a key person in the investigation, he is currently not facing charges. He was present at the U.S. Capitol the day of the insurrection but it is unclear whether or not he actually entered the federal building. According to court documents, Rhodes—identified as Person One—reportedly maintained contact with a number of individuals facing charges in connection to the Capitol riots.

Based on the evidence presented thus far, the publication notes that it appears prosecutors could have a potential case against Rhodes. Former federal prosecutor Tom Firestone weighed in on the details of the investigation.

“They’re saying in a public filing that he participated in communications showing that they were actively planning to use force and violence, so if they’ve got that evidence, that seems to me pretty strong evidence on which to charge him,” said Tom Firestone, a former federal prosecutor.

Rhodes may not be facing charges as of yet, but it appears he is aware of the investigative probe. During his appearance in Laredo, Texas last month, Rhodes argued that the U.S. government “was persecuting his group for its political beliefs.” However, he denied any all speculation about Oath Keepers planning a premeditated attack on the federal building.

“We were there to protect Trump supporters from Antifa,” he said. “That’s why my guys were wearing helmets and body armor and goggles.”

Although there is a possibility Rhodes could face charges, Sam Jackson, a …read more

Source: ALTERNET