According to a report from the New York Times, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) would rather his state and Ohio not receive much-needed federal money for a bridge many of his constituents won't cross because they regard it as "dangerous" because the money would be contained in Joe Biden's infrastructure bill.
With the Republican leadership resisting the $2 trillion infrastructure package proposed by the newly-elected president because it would be financed by raising taxes on the rich, residents in Kentucky and Ohio would like to see the Brent Spence Bridge that connects Cincinnati with northern Kentucky replaced.
As the Times notes, the bridge became unusable for six weeks last November due to a fire that followed the crash of a tractor-trailer hauling potassium hydroxide with another truck.
According to the Times, "Daily commutes were snarled. Shipping delays rippled across the eastern United States. And residents who had grown accustomed to intractable fights among politicians over how to update the unsightly and overburdened choke point — and how to pay for it — had a glimmer of hope that, finally, something might get done."
Those hopes are withering away now that McConnell has said he won't agree to help pass Biden's bill.
The top Republican in the Senate admitted as much when asked about the need for a new bridge.
"I can't imagine that somewhere in a multitrillion dollar bill, there wouldn't be money for the Brent Spence Bridge," Mr. McConnell explained while visiting his home state. "Whether that is part of an overall package I could support? I could tell you if it's going to have massive tax increases and trillions more added to the national debt, not likely."
According to the Times, "...the Brent Spence Bridge has become a window into the depth of the political and ideological divide that is shaping the debate in Washington over Mr. Biden's $2.3 trillion plan, so profound that Mr. McConnell — a longtime proponent of fixing the structure — has become its most vocal and hostile opponent."
Trey Grayson, a Kentucky Republican who has strenuously advocated for replacing the bridge pointed out the box McConnell has put himself in with his battle with Biden
"He would love to invest in Kentucky, not just because of his legacy but because he believes in it," he explained. "On the other side, he's the Republican leader of a caucus that doesn't want to cooperate with Biden, doesn't want to spend money, doesn't want to raise corporate taxes and is more willing to vote 'no' than figure out how to make this thing work."
According to the Times, "The Brent Spence Bridge — named for a 16-term Kentucky congressman who retired in 1963, the year it opened — is sturdy enough, but it was designed to accommodate roughly half the amount of traffic it now handles every day. By one estimate, its eight lanes carry freight amounting to 3 percent of the nation's gross domestic product each year, in addition to tens of thousands of daily commuters. Accidents amid the cramped and narrow lanes are frequent and, given that there are no side shoulders on the bridge, harrowing. In an era of booming e-commerce, the situation is only likely to become worse."
One Kentucky resident claimed it has been a problem for years and, despite Ohio and Kentucky being home to top Republicans, nothing is getting done.
"I remember when McConnell started becoming a big person in Washington, we were like, 'Oh, this is great. We're going to get more federal money and we're going to get the bridge done,' " explained Paul Long. "Then we had Boehner, who was the speaker of the House at the same time, people were thinking, 'Yes, definitely going to get it done now.'"
According to Long, he would "do anything I can to avoid" using the bridge.
You can read more here.
President Joe Biden use of the payment processing app Venmo is a national security concern due to how the platform displays information.
"BuzzFeed News found President Joe Biden's Venmo account after less than 10 minutes of looking for it, revealing a network of his private social connections, a national security issue for the United States, and a major privacy concern for everyone who uses the popular peer-to-peer payments app," BuzzFeed News reported Friday. "On Friday, following a passing mention in the New York Times that the president had sent his grandchildren money on Venmo, BuzzFeed News searched for the president's account using only a combination of the app's built-in search tool and public friends feature. In the process, BuzzFeed News found nearly a dozen Biden family members and mapped out a social web that encompasses not only the first family, but a wide network of people around them, including the president's children, grandchildren, senior White House officials, and all of their contacts on Venmo."
"The president's transactions are not public, and BuzzFeed News is not identifying the usernames for the accounts mentioned in this story due to national security concerns. After BuzzFeed News reached out to the White House for this story, all the friends on the president's Venmo account were removed. A White House spokesperson did not have an immediate comment," BuzzFeed reported.
Use of Venmo has also played a key role in reporting on the sex trafficking scandal embroiling Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL).
"Privacy advocates and journalists have warned about Venmo's privacy problems for years, yet the PayPal-owned app has persisted with features that can place people — including the president of the United States — at risk," BuzzFeed reported. "While many critics have focused on how the app makes all transactions public by default, Venmo's friend lists are arguably a larger privacy issue. Even if a Venmo account is set to make payments private, its friend list remains exposed. There is no setting to make this information private, which means it can provide a window into someone's personal life that could be exploited by anyone — including trolls, stalkers, police, and spies."
The platform's design inadvertently reveals a great deal of information.
"At a first glance, disclosing connections among people may seem trivial: Who cares if you know whom someone is connected to? But these public connections can be used to expose very private information. Using the public friend list, for example, a motivated fan was able to figure out who won a season of The Bachelor," BuzzFeed reported. "Using public friend lists and transaction feeds, BuzzFeed News found two members of Congress who were roommates in Washington, DC, as well as reporters who were on friend lists with Trump administration officials, potentially exposing sources. BuzzFeed News also has also spoken with survivors of domestic violence and abuse who suspected that former partners used Venmo to track them and therapists who use Venmo to receive payment from clients who were unaware that their friend lists showed who they were working with."
I spoke to people like @clur19, the Bachelor fan who figured out the winner of a season using Venmo. Even she said… https://t.co/0QxY7WEKui— Ryan Mac🙃 (@Ryan Mac🙃)1621021534.0
Former Donald Trump aide turned right-wing radio host Sebastian Gorka launched into a strange homophobic monologue on Thursday night, targeting a U.S. Army soldier who opened up in a new recruiting ad to share her life story of having two mothers.
On his afternoon radio program, in a segment now posted to Rumble with the caption "The U.S. Army goes lesbian," Gorka went off the rails, claiming that the soldier with lesbian parents would be a reason for foreign adversaries to attack the United States.
"It's not a joke, so let me just dissect that, lesbian couples with daughters that join the Army," Gorka began. "I heard a lot about her two moms. By the way, Ms. Emma Lord, you can't have two mothers, OK? Don't be a science denier. One woman can bear a child, and there is something that is missing if you want to have a baby and a woman can't do it, O.K.?"
Gorka proceeded to claim that the woman in the video who decided to serve in the U.S. Army is a "selfish little millennial," although he did not appear to know anything about her. "It's serving something outside of yourself, Emma!" said Gorka, who was born in England, spent his young adulthood in Hungary and has never served in the U.S. military.
Seb Gorka goes on homophonic "lesbian" U.S. Army rant (Salon) www.youtube.com
"It's about what the flag represents, not your rainbow posters!" Gorka stated before insinuating that the soldier who shared her personal story about having two mothers wasn't a "real soldier."
"You're a selfish, repugnant disgrace, and our real enemies are laughing at you and your little propaganda product, guarantee you that," Gorka stated. "You are the reason that we will be attacked again and again and again because you have demonstrated your willingness to be a puppet in a message of weakness, which is antithetical to what America really represents."
Gorka didn't return Salon's request for comment on his monologue.
Gorka is not the only conservative triggered by this new and allegedly "woke" U.S. Army recruiting ad, evidently designed to encourage other young people from diverse or unconventional backgrounds to enlist.
"Compare the New Woke U.S. Army Ad to a Russian Army Ad and Pray for the West," the right-wing blog RedState wrote on Thursday, claiming that "the left in America has infiltrated and introduced its rot to the U.S. military, and you can now see the infection in its recruitment ads."
You can watch Gorka's monologue above via "America First" on the Salem Radio Network.
Some of the creepiest conspiracy theorists on the planet are descending upon Dallas, Texas for the Memorial Day Weekend. And the city apparently couldn't be prouder.
The QAnon-organized "God and Patriot Roundup" will feature speeches by the likes of retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, famed Kraken-smoking attorneys Sidney Powell and Lin Wood, Rep. Louie Gohmert, Texas GOP Chairman Allen West and a large supporting cast of ghouls.
But the strangest part of the weekend won't be the revelation that Donald Trump is secretly serving as president and has unleashed a nuclear attack on an island of cannibalistic, pedophile Democrats. You knew that.
No, it's that the taxpayers of the city of Dallas are giving these freaks the finest convention deal they have to offer.
The headquarters hotel for Roundup attendees is the city-owned Omni Dallas Hotel. It is welcoming QAnon just like any other convention. A large block of rooms has been reserved at special rates. As of day, if you mention your part of the God-and-Patriot Roundup, your deluxe room costs $149 per night. Try Expedia.com as just a regular guest and you'll pay $281.
Originally the event was to be co-hosted by Omni Dallas Hotel and Gilley's, a major entertainment megaplex, but it was announced earlier this month that Gilley's was pulling out. No reason was given by the venue, which is owned by Dallas Mavericks General Manager Donnie Nelson.
The Dallas Observer reported this about the event's organizers:
"The faces behind Patriot Voice belong to Q power couple John Sabal and his partner, Amy. Sabal is known in the Q community as QAnon John. He writes to tens of thousands of followers on a daily basis through his two Telegram accounts, QAnon John and The Patriot Voice.
"Scrolling through the two accounts, you'll see Sabal encouraging people to buy the $500-$1000 tickets for the event and boasting that he recently had dinner with Sidney Powell."
The Observer also pointed out another fact that apparently was not troubling to management at the city-owned Omni:
"The FBI has called QAnon a domestic terrorist threat. The conspiracy theory revolves around the idea that the so-called "deep state" is controlled by pedophile Hollywood elites and powerful Democratic politicians, all of whom are supposedly acting against the former president. Promotional material for the event often includes an acronym that stands for "where we go one, we go all," a popular QAnon mantra."
The presence of the QAnon slogan in the event's logo does remove any doubt about the connection. So while it can be assumed the city -- as a public entity -- would be obligated legally to treat all potential convention clients in a non-partisan manner, the willingness to accept an organization publicly associated by the FBI was terrorism does beg this question: If you're OK with hosting QAnon, who would you not be OK with hosting?
The KKK? Al-Qaeda? The North American Man/Boy Love Association?
So far, it doesn't appear that the Omni Dallas has been pressed too hard by the local mainstream media. The event itself apparently has been mostly ignored except by the Observer and an online alternative publication Central Track.
The Observer had this reporting about pushback against the event:
"A petition aimed at canceling the QAnon-linked For God & Country Patriot Roundup event in Dallas has made the rounds in national media, garnering nearly 20,000 signatures. Despite the mounting pressure, Colleen Morgan, the Dallas resident who started the petition, said she didn't get any response from City Council members or the mayor's office when she sent it their way.
"Dallas' communication department has been throwing to the media the same statement since the event was announced.
"'The city of Dallas is a welcoming city, bringing together people of many varied interests and ideas,' a Dallas spokesperson said in an email to the Observer. 'As always, we will do our best to ensure Dallas residents and guests attending this event are safe while in our city.'"
Credit the city spokesperson for candor: Its big tent does seem to welcome people of many varied interests and ideas. But notably, the hotel hasn't always been so chill regarding controversial political topics. Say after the murder of George Floyd, when's the Omni's skyline neighbor decided to make a statement in his memory. From Central Track last June:
"On Tuesday night, Dallas' famed Reunion Tower showed a significant show of support for black lives and citywide demonstrations against police brutality by turning off its lights — something the landmark had only done once previously in its 42-year history.
"In social media postings announcing the decision, the operators of the tower said the building "stands for people – all people. The time is now to engage with compassion, patience and understanding."
"But some believe Dallas' notably LED-abetted skyline can and should still take things further. On Wednesday, a Change.org petition was launched by Dallas concert promoter Josh Smith that asks for more Dallas landmarks to follow Reunion Tower's lead. Specifically, the petition requests that Reunion Tower's neighboring Omni Hotel — a building capable of, and with a long history of, sharing important messages in trying times — to bear the message "Black Lives Matter."
"It is by no means an out-of-line ask. As we've reported in the past, the people in charge of the Omni's LED lights and the Reunion Tower lights often coordinate their efforts in the name of the Dallas skyline bearing unified messaging."
In another story, Central Track made the obvious connection: "Yes, that's the same City of Dallas-owned Omni Hotel that thought it might be too political to use its iconic LED façade to post the words "Black Lives Matter" during last summer's protests for racial justice."
Central Track, which had heaped criticism on Gilley's before its decision to withdraw from hosting the event, noted:
"To be clear QAnon is more than just another YouTube conspiracy theory gone mainstream. What began as a series of message board posts on the darkest reaches of the internet has gradually evolved into a psychotic subculture with a penchant for violence. Its followers' farcical belief system has evolved into a cult-like way of life for millions of people around the world. These people fervently believe in a never-ending string of coded false prophecies that are built around anti-Semitic, anti-democratic and wholly illogical ideals. In the process, QAnon has divided families, promoted white supremacy, destroyed minds and played a pivotal role in inciting the January 6, 2021, insurrection.
"Why is city-owned property rolling out the red carpet for something that will clearly bring unrest and unnecessary division to our city (yet again)?"
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