Mo Brooks snared by local paper over Alabama's Confederate holidays -- after he voted against Juneteenth
Rep. Mo Brooks, R-AL, provided a reminder this week of why intellectually challenged politicians are best served by not trying to explain their votes.
Brooks was one of just 14 Republicans to oppose the overwhelmingly bipartisan bill that made Juneteenth a federal holiday this week. When he tried to explain why, it just made matters worse.
"The Huntsville congressman…said he had fiscal concerns about the bill, noting that adding a federal holiday would cost the country $1 billion in lost productivity by giving federal workers a day off.
"The cost should have been offset by eliminating one of the other holidays so that taxpayers don't once again have to foot the bill for paying millions of people not to work," he said.
Asked which federal holiday should be cut to add one that celebrates the end of slavery, Brooks said, "I have some thoughts, but I'm not going to volunteer a holiday and get a group of folks unnecessarily mad at me unless it was going to be a trade-off."
Unfortunately for Brooks, his home-district daily newspaper, the Athens (AL) News-Courier, raised a matter even closer to home:
"A spokesman for Brooks did not respond to questions asking if the congressman had similar concerns about the cost to state taxpayers for the multiple Confederacy-related holidays in Alabama," the News-Courier reported.
Showing why local journalism stills matters, the story included this civics lesson:
"Alabama is the last state to have a legal holiday set aside solely to commemorate the birth of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Mississippi marks Davis' birthday but includes it in the Memorial Day celebration. In Texas, Davis' birthday is part of "Confederate Heroes Day" while other Southern states, including Florida, Kentucky and Tennessee, have a holiday for Davis on the books but do not give employees a day off."Alabama and Mississippi are also the last two states to have a combined holiday in January in observation of the January birthdays of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and Confederate Army Gen. Robert E. Lee. Legislation introduced in Alabama this year to move Robert E. Lee Day to Columbus Day did not make it out of committee."
Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona — a far-right Republican, conspiracy theorist and tireless devotee of former President Donald Trump — has been slammed by liberals and progressives as well as Never Trump conservatives (including Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois) for saying that Ashli Babbitt, a Capitol rioter killed on January 6, was "executed" by police who were "lying in wait" for her. Babbitt's death has been quite politicized, and that politization is the focus of an article by reporter Scott Glover published on CNN's website on June 18.
Glover explains, "Babbitt was shot once in the shoulder by an unidentified Capitol police lieutenant while attempting to crawl through a broken window leading to the Speaker's Lobby outside the U.S. House of Representatives' chamber. The shooting was captured on video and went viral for the world to see. The lieutenant has been cleared of criminal wrongdoing, but nearly six months after she was slain, Babbitt's memory not only lives on — it has become as polarizing and as politicized as the day itself."
The CNN reporter points out that the views expressed on Babbitt have been wide-ranging.
"To some Americans on the right," Glover observes, "she's a patriot who died a martyr's death. To others on the left, she's a domestic terrorist who got what she deserved — a sentiment conveyed with its own Twitter hashtag, #SheWasATerrorist."
Indeed, some websites in MAGA media have deified Babbitt, while many liberals, progressives, centrists and Never Trump conservatives have said that there is nothing good or honorable about committing an act of violence and insurrection in the hope of overturning democratic election results. Another school of thought sees Babbitt as neither heroic nor evil, but as a pathetic and gullible person who was manipulated and lied to by Trump and his fellow conspiracy theorists.
Kinzinger, in a June 15 tweet slamming Gosar, described Babbitt as someone who "was manipulated by people like you and breached an area and put lives in danger despite being repeatedly warned not to." And Bill Maher, host of HBO's "Real Time," said of Babbitt, "She is the tragedy of the modern Republican voter personified. She died for a second Trump term even though that would have solved exactly none of her problems."
You’re sick Paul, sadly. Truth is, Ashli was manipulated by people like you and breached an area and put lives in… https://t.co/aoLAvHXc6v— Adam Kinzinger (@Adam Kinzinger) 1623808370.0
In his article, Glover offers some details about the life of Babbitt — who was 35 when she died on January 6. Babbitt was a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, and her brother, Roger Witthoeft, told CNN that she voted for President Barack Obama.
According to Witthoeft, "She just would do her research, and whoever she thought was the best candidate was the best candidate. In her opinion, Obama was the better person at the time."
But Babbitt went from voting for a centrist Democratic president to becoming a far-right conspiracy theorist.
"She became an ardent supporter of Donald Trump, proudly wearing a bright red Make America Great Again hat and attending as many of his rallies as she could, her brother said," Glover notes. "She was prolific on Twitter, using the name @CommonAshSense, where she spread QAnon theories, attacked the credibility of the mainstream media and, after the pandemic hit, railed against COVID-19 restrictions."
On January 5, the day before her death, Babbitt tweeted, "Nothing will stop us. They can try and try and try but the storm is here and it is descending upon DC in less than 24 hours."
That tweet underscored Babbitt's support for QAnon, as "the storm" is one of QAnon's favorite terms.
Witthoeft, discussing video taken at the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, told CNN, "One of the hardest parts about seeing the video is you want to grab her and shake her and be like, damn it, Ashli. Why'd you have to do that? What the hell were you thinking?"
Mike Lindell claims a 'prophet guy' predicted he would change history prior to his first meeting with Trump
In a speech given at the Health and Freedom Conference in Tampa, Florida on Friday, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell claimed it was foretold by a man he described as a "prophet guy" that he would someday change human history and the at he believes that led to his first meeting with former president Donald Trump.
According to a report from Newsweek, Lindell -- who has taken the lead in trying to prove the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Trump which has also led to him facing a massive lawsuit -- described being a National Prayer Breakfast where he joined in prayer with former HUD secretary Ben Carson.
In Lindell's telling, "Divine things started happening to me ... I was picked out of 12 people to pray with Ben Carson in a room at the National Prayer Breakfast."
He then added, "... this one prophet guy, he said, 'A couple of you in this room are going to become great friends and change—and help change the course of history,'" before elaborating and telling the audience, "Anyway, these divine appointments kept happening all the way up to where I met Donald Trump in the summer of 2016."
Lindell also revealed that he finally got his one-on-one with the now-one term president on August 15, 2016 and that he came away believing Trump would be "the greatest president in history," Newsweek reports.
You can read more here.
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