ATLANTA — The defense on Thursday asked a judge to exclude thousands of hours of jailhouse phone calls made by the father and son charged with murder in the 2020 death of Ahmaud Arbery. Prosecutors have made it clear they intend to use select phone calls, including one in which Greg McMichael disputes the any suggestion that race may have played in Arbery's death, calling it "bull----." Arbery was Black; the defendants, including neighbor William "Roddie" Bryan, are white. "You've heard the saying that no good deed goes unpunished?" McMichael said in a phone call to his brother. "Yeah, that's ...
Donald Trump loyalists in the U.S. House are picking fights with Democrats and more moderate Republicans, and one columnist argued that the twice-impeached one-term president is to blame for the toxic infighting.
Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) is harassing Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar over her Muslim faith, while Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) attacks Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) for calling out the Colorado Republican, and CNN's Maeve Reston ripped the mud-slinging as a "toxic squabble."
"In its totality, the embarrassing inter-party schism -- and the lack of immediate consequences for Boebert's inflammatory comments -- underscored that the gutter politics that Trump ushered into Washington have only gotten worse following his retreat from the White House," Reston writes.
House minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) appears unwilling to put a stop to the theatrics, because Greene and Boebert have Trump's backing and a national following the far-right base.
"Republican leaders like McCarthy, whose chances of becoming speaker of the House hinge on maintaining the support of Trump and his hard-right acolytes, have not shown that they have any effectual way of dealing with the increasingly angry and toxic culture within the House of Representatives that has led to frightening threats against members, including Omar," Reston writes. "No matter how outrageous or reckless the comments of Trump acolytes like Boebert and Greene get, they always seem to find protection in their closeness to the former President, whose tight grip on the party never seems to abate."
"In the absence of consequences, the behavior only seems to grow more abhorrent -- and that could cost Republicans at the ballot box next year as they try to win back moderate and suburban voters who were alienated by Trump," she adds.
Center for Christian Virtue supporters will no longer be flocking to a Cincinnati church basement to lobby on far-right Christian conservative issues, such as abortion, race theory, LGBTQ rights, and religious freedom. The nonprofit has reportedly secured a building estimated at $1.25 million in Downtown Columbus - right across from the Ohio Statehouse (60 E. Broad Street).
Previously named Citizens for Community Values, the nonprofit made national headlines for protesting the Robert Mapplethorpe photography exhibit in Cincinnati in 1990. The collection heralded nude photos of children and LGBTQ culture. From 1991 to 2016, Center for Christian Virtue was led by Phil Burress, "a recovering porn addict who used the organization to campaign against pornography, promiscuity, obscenity, and other morality issues," according to The Columbus Dispatch.
The organization lobbied for a constitutional amendment on the statewide ballot to ban same-sex marriages and civil unions in Ohio in 2004. Ultimately, 11 years later, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriage is constitutionally protected in Obergefell v. Hodges and same-sex couples were allowed the freedom to marry.
"They have tripled their staff and have purchased a 15,000 sq. ft., six-story building, more determined than ever to bully Ohio backward, away from the progress we have achieved and will still win," reflected Alana Jochum, director of Equality Ohio, an LGBTQ rights group in the area.
"This building, for us, signifies the importance of having a strong Christian voice in not just Ohio politics but in American politics," said Center for Christian Virtue President Aaron Baer. "This is us saying we're going to be competing for ideas at the highest levels and have a real commitment to excellence in all that we do."
The building also requires renovations, which are estimated near $3.75 million. Fundraising efforts are scheduled to fill the void, which inherently implies community buy-in. The same community that will be up to vote in 2022 to carry on the organization's views on limiting health care for transgender children; opposing a bill to prohibit discrimination in housing, employment and public places based on sexual orientation and gender identity; and halting the legalization of marijuana in the state.
CCV Purchases Building on Capitol Square! [HUGE ANNOUNCEMENT] www.youtube.com
Christian nationalism is a threat to democracy, according to a German expert on fascism.
Andrew Seidel of Religion Dispatches interviewed Annika Brockschmidt, the author of the new book, "Amerikas Gotteskrieger: Wie die Religiöse Rechte die Demokratie gefährdet" (roughly translated as “America’s Godly Warriors: How Religious Right Endangers Democracy.")
"January 6 helped argue the case for fascist tendencies in Christian Nationalism," Brockschmidt said.
She explained why Germans have a tough time understanding American fascists.
“Germans have had a hard time understanding what’s going on in the US; most probably don’t know about the homegrown fascist movement, and, in a sense, how could they? We remember a United States that fought the Nazis,” she said.
And she explained that she does not think the comparisons between America today and 1930s Germany are overblown.
The signs of fascism that Brockschmidt listed include a "myth of a golden past," describing enemies as "not real Americans," veneration of law and order, and anti-intellectualism.
She also noted the "creation of unreality or a separate reality."
“QAnon is the 2021 version of the blood libel," she said.
Read the full interview.