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Matt Gaetz showed nude pics of women he said he slept with to GOP members of Congress: report

April 1, 2021 in Blogs

By Matthew Chapman

On Thursday, CNN reported new salacious details about the behavior of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who is separately under a Department of Justice sex trafficking investigation.

“Sources say Gaetz gained a reputation in Congress over his relationships with women, and even showed fellow lawmakers some nude photos of women he said he slept with,” said anchor Wolf Blitzer. “Lauren Fox is on this part of the story. What are you learning about these photos?”

“We should be very clear from the top, this is a separate issue than the DOJ investigation that is ongoing right now,” said Fox. “When Matt Gaetz was a new member of Congress, he earned a reputation quickly of being a close ally of former President Trump’s. He liked to be in the limelight of the media. He also, according to multiple sources CNN spoke with, behind the scenes likes to show his colleagues photos and brag about sexual exploits he had with women.”

“Three sources told CNN this was something that Gaetz did, and two of these individuals had seen these images firsthand,” said Fox. “One of these individuals said they saw this image, Matt Gaetz shared this image with them, a nude photograph on the House floor. One said they had seen an image Gaetz shared with them just off the House floor, but still at the U.S. Capitol. CNN reached out to Gaetz for comment. We have not heard any response from either Gaetz nor his office. Obviously this is a significant development given what is going on with the DOJ investigation.”

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Matt Gaetz

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Source: ALTERNET

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The liberal contempt for Martin Luther King's final year

April 1, 2021 in Blogs

By Jeff Cohen

The anniversary of his assassination always brings a flood of tributes to Martin Luther King Jr., and this Sunday will surely be no exception. But those tributes—including from countless organizations calling themselves progressive—are routinely evasive about the anti-militarist ideals that King passionately expressed during the final year of his life.

You could call it evasion by omission.

The standard liberal canon waxes fondly nostalgic about King’s “I have a dream” speech in 1963 and his efforts against racial segregation. But in memory lane, the Dr. King who lived his last year is persona non grata.

The pattern is positively Orwellian. King explicitly condemned what he called “the madness of militarism.” And by any reasonable standard, that madness can be diagnosed as pervading U.S. foreign policy in 2021. But today, almost all politicians and mainstream media commentators act as though King never said such things, or if he did then those observations have little to do with today.

But they have everything to do with the USA now in its twentieth year of continuous warfare. The Pentagon’s constant bombing in the Middle East and elsewhere is the scarcely noticed wallpaper in the U.S. media’s echo chamber.

What compounds the madness of militarism in the present day is the silence that stretches eerily and lethally across almost the entire U.S. political spectrum, including the bulk of progressive organizations doing excellent work to challenge economic injustice and institutionalized racism here at home.

But as for the institutionalized militarism that terrorizes, wounds and kills people overseas—overwhelmingly people of color—a sad truth is that most progressive U.S. organizations have little to say about it. At the same time, they eagerly and selectively laud King as a visionary and role model.

King didn’t simply oppose the Vietnam War. In an April 4, 1967 speech at New York’s Riverside Church delivered exactly a year before he was assassinated—titled “Beyond Vietnam“—he referred to the U.S. government as “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today” and broadly denounced the racist and imperial underpinnings of U.S. foreign policy. From Vietnam to South Africa to Latin America, King said, our country was on the “wrong side of a world revolution”—suppressing revolutions “of the shirtless and barefoot people” in the Global South, instead of supporting them.

King critiqued the economics of U.S. foreign policy, complaining about “capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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The GOP has a plan to fight Joe Biden's infrastructure push — there's just one big problem

April 1, 2021 in Blogs

By Amanda Marcotte

Conflict drives engagement and ratings, so it should be no surprise that media coverage is framing President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill as controversial. “Biden’s Infrastructure Plan Meets Skepticism, Signaling Fight to Come,” reads the New York Times headline. “Biden’s infrastructure plan faces controversy over price tag and design,” reads the Washington Post headline. Politico’s Playbook declares, “Fault lines form on Biden’s massive infrastructure plan.

But this kind of framing is misleading. It is true that congressional Republicans oppose this bill and there is nothing that Biden could do, any concession he could make, that would induce Republicans to vote for it. But with the actual public? Well, this bill is a big hit. It is even a bipartisan hit.

This follows polling from Data for Progress that shows 69% of Americans support the plan, including half of Republicans.

Republican politicians oppose the bill, alright, but it’s because the bill is popular. The entire GOP political strategy, led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, is to block popular bills, and then run against Democrats for not getting anything done. If that means Republicans screwing over their own constituents, so be it.

The real story of the infrastructure bill is not, it turns out, one of a country divided against itself. It’s a story about how unpopular the Republican agenda is. It’s why the GOP has increasingly focused its resources on preventing Americans, especially people of color, from even having a chance to register their opinions at the ballot box. And it shows why right wing media so desperately clings to B.S. stories like the fake controversy over Potato Head’s gender or absurd claims that Dr. Seuss is being “cancelled.” Republicans need to keep the diminishing number of voters they do have distracted by culture war nonsense, no matter how fake it is, so those Americans don’t notice that Democrats keep trying to do stuff those voters like.

“[C]ulture war filler narratives intended to excite and outrage right-wing audiences are taking up an …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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How the decline of religion is radicalizing the evangelical right

April 1, 2021 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

For decades, far-right White evangelical Christian fundamentalists have feared the United States would, like Western Europe, become increasingly secular — and now, according to Gallup, that has come to pass.

Gallup has been polling Americans on their religious affiliations for 82 years, beginning in 1939. The polling company has been asking, “Do you happen to be a member of a church, synagogue or mosque?” And the answer went from 73% saying “yes” in the early 1940s to only 47% saying “yes” in the early 2020s. It’s a staggering and monumental decline.

Journalist Eric Levitz analyzes this polling in an article published by New York Magazine this week, arguing that it his significant implications for American politics.

Levitz argues, “In assigning culpability for this trend, one could assemble a long list of plausible co-conspirators. The ascendance of the evangelical right likely damaged Christianity’s brand with social liberals by associating the faith with theocratic politics, while pedophilic priests and their enablers surely drove no small number of American Catholics from the pews.”

Levitz goes on to note that in the United States, Gallup polling shows that Millennials are generally less religious than their parents and grandparents.

“Two-thirds of Americans born before 1946 belong to a religious institution, according to Gallup,” Levitz points out. “That drops to 58% among Baby Boomers, 50% among Generation X and 36% among Millennials. The pollster’s limited data from Zoomers indicates that they are roughly as irreligious as their cooler, wiser immediate predecessors.”

In Western Europe, the far-right White evangelical movement led by Christian fundamentalists like Pat Robertson, Dr. James Dobson, Tony Perkins and the late Moral Majority founder Jerry Falwell, Sr. didn’t catch on the way it did in the United States — where White evangelicals have been a major voting block within the Republican Party. Even European Christians who go to church are likely to favor a separation of church and state and be non-fundamentalist in their views. And the U.S., according to Levitz, is moving more in that direction — much to the Christian right’s dismay.

Levitz argues that as Americans become increasingly secular in their views, far-right evangelicals will respond in an authoritarian way — including voter suppression.

Levitz writes, “Whatever its impact on the GOP, the implications of creeping secularism are more dire for social conservatives. The Republican Party can ultimately retain political power by bringing its policy commitments …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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'Those who play with fire will get burned': How a dangerous game of chicken risks a globe-shaking war

April 1, 2021 in Blogs

By TomDispatch

The leaders of China and the United States certainly don’t seek a war with each another. Both the Biden administration and the regime of Chinese President Xi Jinping view economic renewal and growth as their principal objectives. Both are aware that any conflict arising between them, even if restricted to Asia and conducted with non-nuclear weapons — no sure bet — would produce catastrophic regional damage and potentially bring the global economy to its knees. So, neither group has any intention of deliberately starting a war. Each, however, is fully determined to prove its willingness to go to war if provoked and so is willing to play a game of military chicken in the waters (and air space) off China’s coast. In the process, each is making the outbreak of war, however unintended, increasingly likely.

History tells us that conflicts don’t always begin due to planning and intent. Some, of course, start that way, as was the case, for instance, with Hitler’s June 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union and Japan’s December 1941 attacks on the Dutch East Indies and Pearl Harbor. More commonly, though, countries have historically found themselves embroiled in wars they had hoped to avoid.

This was the case in June 1914, when the major European powers — Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and the Austro-Hungarian Empire — all stumbled into World War I. Following an extremist act of terror (the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Sophie by Serbian nationalists in Sarajevo), they mobilized their forces and issued ultimatums in the expectation that their rivals would back off. None did. Instead, a continent-wide conflict erupted with catastrophic consequences.

Sadly, we face the possibility of a very similar situation in the coming years. The three major military powers of the current era — China, the United States, and Russia — are all behaving eerily like their counterparts of that earlier era. All three are deploying forces on the borders of their adversaries, or the key allies of those adversaries, and engaging in muscle-flexing and “show-of-force” operations intended to intimidate their opponent(s), while demonstrating a will to engage in combat if their interests are put at risk. As in the pre-1914 period, such aggressive maneuvers involve a high degree of risk when it comes to causing an accidental or unintended clash that could result in full-scale combat or even, at worst, global …read more

Source: ALTERNET