Rebekah Sager

Schumer cleans the floor with Cornyn over voting rights laws and the GOP’s ‘obeisance’ to Trump

Nothing is better than using your enemy’s weapons against them. On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer did just that, practically shoving Sen. John Cornyn’s chart and questions straight down his throat.

At the opening of Tuesday’s session, Schumer took an opportunity to use Cornyn’s ridiculous questions about election fraud to clearly lay out why it’s absolutely vital to pass two monumental voting rights bills—the landmark Voting Rights Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act—and the reason it’s imperative to use new filibuster rules to do it.

Schumer pummeled Cornyn with a few truth hammers. Calling Republicans out on their lack of evidence of election fraud and reiterating that former President Trump lost the election by 7 million votes.

Schumer took no prisoners. He railed against Republicans and their “obeisance” to Trump.

“I would guess that most of them know the election wasn’t stolen and that the ‘Big Lie’ doesn’t take effect. But Trump has such power over the Republican party. Such power that they do what he wants, the legislatures and here in the Senate,” Schumer said.

He added:

“I would remind my good friend from Texas, that his fellow Texans, George H. Bush, George W. Bush, both proudly supported the extension of the voting rights act until Donald Trump came over and, in my opinion, poisoned the Republican party on voting rights.”

The latest discussions are over forcing voting rights through using the “nuclear option,” meaning changing Senate rules to pass laws without a majority.

Senators need 60 votes to do just about anything in the Senate, except to change the rules. That takes only 51 votes.

According to an official who previewed President Joe Biden’s speech in Atlanta Tuesday, Biden will back changes to the Senate’s filibuster rules, allowing a minority of 41 senators in the 100-member chamber to block most legislation.

“The next few days, when these bills come to a vote, will mark a turning point in this nation,” Biden will say in the speech, according to an excerpt of the speech distributed by the White House. “Will we choose democracy over autocracy, light overshadow, justice over injustice? I know where I stand.”

At least 19 states have passed 34 new laws making it more difficult to vote, according to voting access advocates, with some state legislatures continuing to repeat Trump’s unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud in order to push through restrictions.

The New York Times reports that several leading voting rights groups will protest Biden’s speech today, arguing that the president is using the speech, and the historical symbols of the civil rights movement simply as a backdrop for what they call “more speeches and platitudes.”

“We don’t need any more photo ops. We need action, and that actually is in the form of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, as well as the Freedom to Vote Act—and we need that immediately,” James Woodall, former president of the NAACP of Georgia, told the Times.

Schumer announced Tuesday that the Senate will act “as soon as tomorrow” on voting rights and elections reform. “It is my intention to once again bring legislation to the floor to fight back against the threats to democracy and protect people’s access to the ballot,” Schumer said.

He continued, saying that if Republicans “continue to hijack the rules of the Senate” to block these bills and “continue paralyzing this chamber to the point where we’re helpless to fight back against the Big Lie,” he’ll “consider the necessary steps” to make the Senate “adapt and act.”

That’s a direct challenge to Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), but particularly Manchin, who spent the last 24 hours flat-out lying about the filibuster, unchallenged by Fox News reporter Chad Pergram. He said the filibuster has been “the tradition of the Senate here in 232 years now […] That’s what we’ve always had for 232 years.” Which, of course, is utter bullshit.

Trump called her an ‘incredible woman’ — but a new report reveals the disturbing past of Ashli Babbitt

Ashli Babbitt has been heralded by Trump and his MAGA supporters as a martyr, but the reality tells a vastly different story.

Babbitt, 35, was an Air Force veteran who was fatally shot by a Capitol Police police officer as she attempted to climb through a broken window of a door leading to the Speaker’s Lobby inside the U.S. Capitol during the terrorist attack on Jan. 6.

Since her death, former President Donald Trump has praised Babbitt, calling her an “innocent, wonderful, and incredible woman,” taped a posthumous video for her birthday, and demanded the Justice Department reopen an investigation into her death. Trump supporters idealize her as a soldier for justice who was wrongfully murdered. Her name and photo have been emblazoned on T-shirts and flags at Trump rallies.

However, Associated Press spoke with a woman by the name of Celeste Norris who says the Babbitt she knew was dangerous and violent. “I lived in fear because I didn’t know what she was capable of,” Norris told the AP. “I was constantly looking over my shoulder.”

Norris’ first encounter with Babbitt took place on July 29, 2016, when Norris says Babbitt rammed her SUV in a road-rage incident in Prince Frederick, Maryland.

“She pulls up yelling and screaming,” Norris told AP. “It took me a good 30 seconds to figure out who she was. … Just all sorts of expletives, telling me to get out of the car, that she was going to beat my ass.”

Norris says Babbitt had been having an affair with her boyfriend, so Norris called Babbitt’s husband and told him.

Norris was in a six-year relationship with Aaron Babbitt when she discovered he’d been having an affair with Babbitt, who then went by her married name Ashli McEntee. Her ex-husband’s name is Timothy McEntee.

“He was telling me about this foulmouthed chick that’s on his shift, blah, blah, blah,” Norris said. “Come to find out a few months later ... they were basically having this relationship while they were at work.”

On the day that Norris was hit by Babbitt, she told AP she was sitting at a stop sign. A white Ford Explorer passed her going in the opposite direction. The SUV made a U-turn and then began speeding up behind her, forcing the car between them to move aside. When Babbitt got behind Norris she rammed her rear bumper, and then again and then again all while the two SUVs drove down the road.

Babbitt got out of her car and began banging on Norris’ window. Norris says she had no idea initially who Babbitt was, so she called 911. Deputies arrived within minutes.

On the day of the altercation, Norris says she was so shaken by the event she went with a friend and filed a peace order, a kind of restraining order, against Babbitt.

Babbitt initially claimed the accident happened because Norris had backed her car into her SUV, but once the case went to trial, Norris told AP, Babbitt admitted to colliding with Norris but alleged it was an accident.

AP reports that Babbitt was issued a criminal summons on charges of reckless endangerment, a misdemeanor defined under Maryland law as engaging in conduct “that creates a substantial risk of death or serious physical injury to another” and is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. She was also charged with malicious destruction of property for the damage to Norris’ SUV, and later reckless driving, negligent driving, and failure to control a vehicle’s speed to avoid a collision.

A year later, Norris filed another restraining order against Babbitt citing harassment and stalking. Norris says Babbitt called her repeatedly in the middle of the night and was following her.

In 2019, Norris filed a personal injury suit against Babbitt seeking $74,500 in damages. The case was settled with Babbitt’s insurance.

AP reports that in the months prior to her death, Babbitt had become obsessed with the “big lie,” and made numerous violent threats on her now-defunct social media platforms. She railed against Democrats and was a devout anti-masker, QAnon follower, and xenophobe.

The day before the insurrection, Babbitt tweeted, “Nothing will stop us,” and “They can try and try and try but the storm is here and it is descending upon DC in less than 24 hours....dark to light!”

Aaron Babbitt’s attorney, Terrell Roberts III, has said the shooting “was tantamount to an execution without trial.” Adding: “Given her background as a 14-year veteran of the Air Force, it is likely that Ashli would have complied with simple verbal commands, thereby making the use of any force unnecessary.”

Roberts has raised over $375,000 via a Christian crowdfunding site and has threatened to file a wrongful lawsuit against the Capitol Police for his Babbitt’s death, AP reports. Roberts alleges that Babbitt, a 5-foot-2 and 115-pound former military police officer, “could have been stopped by a single trained officer” and that Babbitt “was entitled to a warning and chance to surrender before she was shot to death.”

Lt. Michael Byrd, the Capitol Police officer who shot Babbitt, was cleared by both the U.S. Capitol Police and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, finding that he acted in defense of members of Congress and in self-defense.

“I tried to wait as long as I could,” Byrd told NBC News. “I hoped and prayed no one tried to enter through those doors. But their failure to comply required me to take the appropriate action to save the lives of members of Congress and myself and my fellow officers.”

Right-wing anti-vaxxer Candace Owens is pushing a bogus cure that turns skin blue

The notoriously ignorant right-winger and anti-vaxxer Candance Owens went from denying the validity of vaccines to encouraging her 4.1 million followers on Instagram to follow her regimen of using colloidal silver as a daily supplement.

“Yes, colloidal silver!” Owens says enthusiastically in her latest Instagram video. “I take colloidal silver every single day, I love colloidal silver. That is a great one. That is another one that people probably know nothing about.”

And just in case you’re interested in staving off illness with colloidal silver, the Mayo Clinic clearly says the stuff isn’t safe or effective for anything basically. “Silver has no known purpose in the body. It's not an essential mineral.”

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center reports side effects of using colloidal silver that include: seizures, skin burns, near renal failure, hospitalization, neuropathy, acute myeloid leukemia, and death.

The most infamous side effect from using colloidal silver is argyria, a condition that can permanently turn the skin of the user a bluish-gray.

Owens began her rant against vaccines, HPV, and tetanus after being called out by Meghan McCain for being “owned by Trump” after former President Donald Trump told Owens during an interview that he believed in the COVID-19 vaccine, even calling results “very good.”

Owens explained to her followers that the former president’s opinions should be dismissed as just a product of his generation, which didn’t have TV or the internet to do independent research.

The irony here is great because colloidal silver was the cure-all used before the advent of antibiotics in 1928 when Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin.

We’d have thought that Stan Jones, a former libertarian candidate for Senate in Montana whose face turned blue after he repeatedly used colloidal silver in 1999, would be enough of a deterrent, but I guess Owens didn’t do that research. Jones believed he should take the silver to ward off infection as a precaution against shortages of antibiotics from Y2K and the impending anarchy.

Owens is in the fatuous company of Info Wars chief Alex Jones. Daily Beast reports that in 2020, Jones got a warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) telling him to stop promoting colloidal silver products on his website as a cure for COVID-19.

Jones was selling products such as “Superblue Silver Immune Gargle,” “Super Silver Whitening Toothpaste,” “Super Silver Wound Dressing Gel,” and “Superblue Fluoride-Free Toothpaste.”

Disgraced TV televangelist Jim Bakker also peddled colloidal silver as a cure for COVID-19 until the Missouri Attorney General's Office sued him.

According to The Washington Post, Bakker advertised colloidal silver products for as much as $125.

Bakker invited “naturopathic doctor” Sherril Sellman on to his show to discuss the benefits of the products in fighting the coronavirus.

Sellman admitted that the products hadn’t been tested on COVID-19, but it had been tested on other strains of the coronavirus and had been able to eliminate it within 12 hours. “Totally eliminate it, kills it. Deactivates it,” she said, adding that the government has “proven” that the product “has the ability to kill every pathogen it has ever been tested on, including SARS and HIV.”

Willliam LeGate posted on Twitter that Owens gave specific instructions to a commenter on Instagram, telling the fan that she takes a “teaspoon a day,” and “more when I’m sick.”

Judge wants ‘forgiveness and understanding’ after she’s caught on video calling suspect N-word

Last weekend a Lafayette City Court judge and her family were the victims of a car burglary at their home. Police were called and the suspect was arrested. But, of course, that wasn’t the end of it.

Days later, Judge Michelle Odinet and her four children were captured on cellphone video watching security footage of the moment the suspected burglar was apprehended. And oh boy, did that family enjoy watching it. They whooped and hollered as they joyfully commented on the home surveillance video, calling the suspect, a Black man, a “roach” and using the N-word repeatedly.

“We have a n---—. It’s a n-----, like a roach,” a female’s voice can be heard saying while laughing.

Now Odinet is asking for “forgiveness and understanding.”

“My children and I were the victim [sic] of an armed burglary at our home. The police were called and the assailant was arrested. The incident shook me to my core and my mental state was fragile,” Odinet said in a statement Monday, The Acadiana Advocate reports.

According to the Daily Beast, the Lafayette Police Department confirmed to local media that an attempted burglary of a vehicle took place at Odinet’s home at around 2 a.m. Saturday.

But Lafayette Police Sgt. Paul Mouton told KLFY that the suspect—identified as Ronald Handy—did not have a weapon with him at the time of his arrest despite the fact that Courthouse Karen described the incident to police as an “armed burglary.”

Odinet added that she “was given a sedative at the time” and had “zero recollection of the video and the disturbing language used during it.”

“Anyone who knows me and my husband knows this is contrary to the way we live our lives. I am deeply sorry and ask for your forgiveness and understanding as my family and I deal with the emotional aftermath of this armed burglary,” she said.

Odinet was elected to her position on Nov. 3, 2020. According to the website for the City Court of Lafayette, Louisiana, prior to being a judge, she worked as a prosecutor for both Orleans and Lafayette Parish District Attorneys offices, “where she prosecuted juvenile delinquencies and adult felonies ranging from theft and narcotics to rape and first-degree murder.“

Handy was charged with two counts of simple burglary and is being held on a $10,000 bond.

The sedative excuse and nonapology are not working as the judge had hoped for. And now the community is calling for her to lose her damn job—which she should.

“I’m sure that people of color will find it impossible to trust that they will be treated fairly and equally when they have to stand for judgment before Judge Odinet,” Lafayette City Marshal Reggie Thomas said in a statement Tuesday.

“We will not tolerate bigotry from the bench. Fairness and impartiality cannot coexist with racism; Lafayette needs a new Judge,” Louisiana Democratic Party Chair Katie Bernhardt said in a press release demanding “Judge Odinet’s immediate resignation.”

On Monday, Lafayette NAACP chapter President Michael Toussain called for Odinet to resign.

Toussain’s letter reads in part:

“While we continue to strive to form the more perfect union there are still those who bare the mark of America’s original sin of racism. The recently reveal video is clear that Judge Michelle Odinet see people base on the color of their skin and she holds a firm belief they are no more than roaches, rats or lesser species than herself. Her quote “We got ——!” is the clearest expression of her heart in regards to respecting people of diverse racial backgrounds. If she had said “We got thieves” we would understand that, but the use of the word ——, clearly expresses that Judge Michelle Odinet places all black people in a position of inferiority and discontent. Her voice is remnant of the shouts at lynchings in years gone by and white mob’s mentality that is evident still today.”

Sen. Gerald Boudreaux called Odinet’s comments “reprehensible, offensive and unacceptable” from anyone serving as a judge, according to The Advocate, adding that he will officially petition the Judiciary Commission of Louisiana to investigate the ethical conduct and actions associated with the incident.

"We have struggled miserably to garner public support for our judicial system at every level in this country. The political landscape has become so toxic that the negative impact has been identified and evident from the United States Supreme Court to the Lafayette City Court,” Boudreaux said.

Watch: These video clips reveal the extent of what Trump did after he reportedly got a positive COVID test

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes went in on former President Donald Trump after it recently came to light that the twice-impeached, one-term president appeared at rallies, meetings with Gold Star families, a party for a Supreme Court nominee, and even the first debate with then-candidate Joe Biden—all while knowing full well he had tested positive for COVID-19.

The timeline as laid out by Hayes shows dereliction of duty even more repugnant than usual for Trump.

According to a memoir by Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, titled, The Chief’s Chief, before Trump tested negative for COVID-19 on Sept. 26, 2020, he tested positive—nearly a week before he publicly disclosed his condition.

But instead of quarantining out of an abundance of caution, the White House chose to dismiss Trump’s positive result and allow the president to attend an event honoring his Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett—with her children in tow—along with several other GOP members—all without masks, indoors and zero social distancing. This event was later acknowledged as a super-spreader event.

Later that day, Trump again tested positive for COVID-19. Still, instead of letting the folks present at the Barrett event know of his results, the president flew to Middletown, Pennsylvania, for a rally—even walking on to Air Force One maskless and speaking to reporters, one of whom later got COVID-19.

The following day, Sept. 27, Trump held meetings with Gold Star family members in the White House.

The next day, Trump held a press conference outdoors on the subject of COVID-19 testing. He asked Admiral Giroir to talk about COVID testing during the event, where he joked, “Good luck. Hope you don’t test positive.”

Several staffers in the White House would test positive for the virus.

On Sept. 29, knowing that he had COVID-19, Trump flew to Ohio for his first debate against a then 77-year-old Biden.

According to MSNBC, Mark Meadows writes that even though he was fully aware that each candidate was required “to test negative for the virus within seventy-two hours of the start time ... Nothing was going to stop [Trump] from going out there.”

Meadows writes that Trump had been looking “physically unwell,” and was not tested before the debate.

“His face, for the most part at least, had regained its usual light bronze hue, and the gravel in his voice was gone. But the dark circles under his eyes had deepened. As we walked into the venue around five o’clock in the evening, I could tell that he was moving more slowly than usual. He walked like he was carrying a little extra weight on his back,” Meadows writes.

Chris Wallace of Fox News, later said Trump hadn’t tested before the debate because he arrived late.

In the days that followed, Trump attended multiple rallies, without masks or social distancing.

Trump’s aide Hope Hicks was the first person in his inner circle to test positive for COVID-19. Trump then got a second positive test, but told Fox News’ Hannity that he’d recently gotten a test, but implied he didn’t know the results, saying, “we’ll see what happens.“ He then said that, if he’d gotten COVID, it would have been contracted from “soldiers and police” desperate to shake his hand.

“They want to hug me and they want to kiss me. And they do. And frankly, I’m not telling them to back up,” Trump told Hannity.

Trump finally publicly announced his COVID diagnosis on Oct. 2, allegedly just one hour after getting the test results. He was checked into Walter Reed later that day.

“Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19,” Trump tweeted, adding that they would begin to quarantine immediately.

But even in the hours before announcing his diagnosis, Trump was diminishing the virus and the pandemic.

”I just want to say that the end of the pandemic is in sight,” he said in prerecorded remarks.

In a statement on Wednesday, Trump called Meadows’ claims “Fake News.”

The full video is below:

Here’s Everything Trump Did After Testing Positive For Covid www.youtube.com

Republican infighting spills into public and devolves into high school bickering

When you find yourself siding with one GOP deplorable over another, catch yourself. Because, as captivating as it is to watch a rodent eat its own, reading how Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene attacks South Carolina Rep. Nancy Mace over racist and Islamophobic comments from the truly detestable Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert, you have to wonder how low these disgusting folks can go.

In a now-deleted tweet, Greene launched the first shot to Mace for condemning Boebert, following a now-viral video of Boebert “joking” that Omar was a terrorist and member of the “jihad squad.”

“I looked to my left, and there she is, Ilhan Omar. And I said, ‘Well, she does not have a backpack—we should be OK.’” The audience laughed raucously. Omar has denied the incident Boebert described ever took place.

“I have time after time condemned my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for racist tropes and remarks that I find disgusting, and this is no different than any others,” Mace said during an interview on CNN.

“As a member of Congress, and seeing such division in our country, we all have a responsibility, both elected members of Congress on both sides of the aisle and the American people in our communities and at work in our communities [...] have a responsibility to lower the temperature, and this does not do that,” Mace added.

Tuesday, Greene called the South Carolina Rep. “trash” and accused her of being what amounts to kryptonite to GOP-ers: “pro-abort.” According to MSNBC columnist Eric Michael Garcia, this is relevant “because Mace was raped in high school and as a result, wants exemptions for abortion bans for rape and incest, which many anti-abortion conservatives also support,” Garcia tweeted.

Greene sprung into an attack. Challenging Mace to: “back up off of” Boebert, or “just go hang with your real gal pals, the Jihad Squad.”

“Your out of your league,” Greene added.

Mace responded by first correcting Greene’s grammar—an OG social media move that is usually only successfully applied to Republicans, who can be elected but somehow can’t figure out an apostrophe.

“And, while I’m correcting you, I’m a pro-life fiscal conservative who was attacked by the Left all weekend (as I often am) as I defied China while in Taiwan,” Mace wrote. “What I’m not is a religious bigot (or racist). You might want to try that over there in your little ‘league,’ she added.

The Twitter battle comes just a day after Boebert attempted to apologize to Omar, one of three Muslims serving in Congress—both the call and apology failed miserably, ending with Omar hanging up on Boebert.

Omar followed up the miserable and tone-deaf call with a written statement, saying in part: “Instead of apologizing for her Islamophobic comments and fabricated lies, Rep. Boebert refused to acknowledge her hurtful and dangerous comments publicly. She instead doubled down on her rhetoric, and I decided to end the unproductive call,” Omar said. “I believe in engaging with those we disagree with respectfully, but not when that disagreement is rooted in outright bigotry and hate.”

In true carnival barker-form, Greene doubled down on the call from Boebert to Omar on Steve Bannon’s War Room, saying “there’s no need to apologize” to Omar and accusing the Rep. of being “pro-Al-Qaeda” and “anti-American.”

Monday, Boebert posted a video of her vision of the call, saying in part: “as a strong Christian woman who values faith deeply, I never want anything I say to offend someone’s religion.”

Adding: “Make no mistake, I will continue to fearlessly put America first, never sympathizing with terrorists. Unfortunately, Ilhan can’t say the same thing. And our country is worse off for it.”

As our DK staffer Hunter so succinctly points out: “Boebert is being currently investigated by the House select committee probing Jan. 6 for her ties to a domestic terrorist attack on Congress. Omar is ... not.”

Why there haven’t been calls to censure Boebert for her repugnant comments is a mystery.

Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar was censured after posting a dangerous video on Twitter depicting him murdering Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and attacking President Joe Biden.

In the end, Omar is always the class act, despite the anti-Muslim rhetoric constantly thrown her way.

Monday afternoon, she tweeted: “There is only so much grace we can extend to others as humans before we must learn to cut our loses [losses] or hang up on someone in this case.”

It’s obviously too much to ask that feeble Minority Leader of the House, Kevin McCarthy steps in.

On Nov. 27, Greene posted to Twitter, saying, “I just got off a good called with @GOPLeader [McCarthy]. We spent time talking about solving problems not only in the conference, but for our country. I like what he has planned ahead. “

Tuesday, Mace tweeted the exact same message.

Texas megachurch breaks into chants of 'Let's go Brandon' — raising questions about its tax-exempt status

When a bunch of QAnon-believing, MAGA-loving, former White House employees show up at church and begin shouting a veiled version of f**k Joe Biden via "Let's Go, Brandon," from the pews, that's not a religious service, it's a political rally; and San Antonio, Texas-based Cornerstone Church's Rev. John Hagee needs to pay his fair share in taxes starting right now.

This is the same megachurch reverend who once said that Jesus Christ is the vaccine for COVID-19, but after getting the virus recanted. He is now, as he says, "taking the vaccine." And in 2008 he preached antisemitic statements, such as God sent Hitler to hunt the Jews who had failed to support Israel by moving to the Middle East.

In order to cover its ass, the church was technically rented out for the "ReAwaken America" conference, but Hagee regularly engages in politics during services. This past weekend, he claimed that President Biden is the worst president ever.

Video of the chant began spreading like a disease on social media over the weekend when throngs in attendance were egged on by event organizer Clay Clark, host of the podcast "Thrivetime Show."

Guest speakers at the event included former President Donald Trump confidant, Roger Stone; Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton; Mike Lindell, CEO of MyPillow; and Alex Jones, who ranted that Bill Gates, Hillary Clinton, and President Barack Obama all serve Satan.

Michael Flynn, former national security advisor to the one-term president, spoke Saturday, saying the U.S. should have one singular religion. The same QAnon devotee Flynn who's said the U.S. government is controlled by the "deep state" by Satan worshippers and even took an oath to the bizarre Q-cult.

The origins of the chant go back to Oct. 2, and an interview with NASCAR driver Brandon Brown, who'd just won his first race. While being he was speaking with NBC reporter Kelli Stavast, the crowd started chanting "F**k Joe Biden." Stavast said, "You can hear the chants from the crowd, 'Let's go, Brandon!'" in her broadcast. No one knows if she misheard the crowd or was trying to deflect.

"Any Christian church that engages in the white Christian nationalism that John Hagee's Cornerstone Church does has long forsaken the teachings of Jesus, the Prince of Peace. And for those confused, QAnon is incompatible with Christianity," Rev. Dr. Chuck Currie, a minister in the United Church of Christ in Portland, Oregon tweeted.

Josh Mandel, Ohio's former state treasurer and current Republican Senate candidate, called the chant "amazing."

"Pastor John Hagee is the founder of Christians United for Israel. He is a leader among leaders in protecting the Judeo-Christian bedrock of America," Mandel tweeted.

But, as Rep. Joaquin Castro says, this event felt more like a political rally than a church service, leaving many to wonder how Cornerstone can maintain its tax-exempt status.

According to the IRS, churches and religious organizations, like many other charitable organizations, qualify for exemption from federal income tax under IRC Section 501(c)(3) and are generally eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions.

To qualify for tax-exempt status, the organization must meet the following requirements:

  • The organization must be organized and operated exclusively for religious, educational, scientific, or other charitable purposes;n net earnings may not inure to the benefit of any private individual or shareholder.
  • No substantial part of its activity may be attempting to influence legislation.
  • The organization may not intervene in political campaigns, and the organization's purposes and activities may not be illegal or violate fundamental public policy.

Churches that indulge theocratic hogwash and politics in the pews, like Hagee's congregation routinely witnesses, should be taxed. As Crooks & Liars so eloquently puts it:

"Our tax laws are so biased and corrupt in favor of right-wing politics that Hagee and his ilk could convert their church to a 501-c-3 Political Action Committee and be fully within the law. We need to overturn Citizens United. Corporations are not people, even when those corporations are supported by people [who] have their butts in the pews."

This Texas town's first Black principal was fired over CRT — which the district admits was never taught

The first Black principal of Colleyville Heritage High School in Grapevine, Texas, has lost his job after a months-long battle with the school board, which accused him of teaching and promoting critical race theory (CRT) in his school.

Just a month after Dr. James Whitfield wrote a letter decrying the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, saying systemic racism was "alive and well" and that "education is the key to stomping out ignorance, hate, and systemic racism," Stetson Clark, a former school board candidate at Grapevine-Colleyville High School, called for the principal's firing.

"He is encouraging the disruption and destruction of our district," Clark said, July 26, 2020, according to the Texas Tribune.

Whitfield received a disciplinary letter from the district a few weeks later and was placed on administrative leave soon after that. In late July, the board then recommended a proposal not to renew Whitfield's contract for the 2022-2023 school year.

In addition to Whitfield's email condemning the deaths of Black folk, the mostly white Texas community, had issues with the fact that Whitfield has a white wife and his participation on a district-approved panel about diverse differences.

And even though the school district acknowledges that CRT was never taught in the school, these Karens and Brandons have elected to offer the principal a settlement in lieu of keeping him in his job.

Monday, the school board voted unanimously to fire him.

A joint statement from Whitfield and the school board gave the following rationale:

"Both the District and Dr. Whitfield each strongly believe they are in the right. However, each also agrees that the division in the community about this matter has impacted the education of the District's students… The District and Dr. Whifield have mutually agreed to resolve their disputes."

"Educators are fighting this battle. And it's a battle that's been manufactured," Whitfield told NBC News' Antonia Hylton about how he came to lose his job and how parents and students are responding to the decision.

"No teacher is teaching critical race theory in schools, but what they've termed to be critical race theory. Which are diverse books, which you've seen in Texas. A list of hundreds of books they want to have removed or investigated. And teachers are worried about what they're bringing to their classrooms or the resources they've been given," he tells NBC News.

Texas is one of the eight states with broad laws banning the teaching of CRT.

The irony of Whitfield's case is that the majority of the community is in disagreement with the decision and believes it's based on racism and discomfort with Whitfield himself.

The issue of CRT ended up being at the dead center of the recent Virginia gubernatorial election. A rallying cry of Virginia moms created a groundswell many are crediting with the win of Glenn Youngkin to the post.

But, digging in a bit more deeply, The Daily Beast found that several of most vehement Virginia's anti-CRT groups had backing by lobbying firms, Koch groups, former Trump officials, and The Federalist Society.

A Black Principal Is Accused Of Pushing Critical Race Theory. He's Fighting Back. www.youtube.com

When Whitfield was suspended from his job in September, several local Grapevine residents spoke up on his behalf.

"I grew up in the Jim Crow South, and what's going on here is not particularly new. It's an old playbook," one resident, who said mentioned that she lived in the area for 10 years, said, according to the Daily Beast.

"But to beat it, we need to start being very clear about what's OK and what's not OK—or we're going to continue being bullied by a reactionary minority."
"It is not OK to make baseless accusations about what our schools are teaching, particularly when all you know about the topic is what's been told by professional propagandists. It is not OK to demonstrate contempt for another human being by making salacious comments about his family… To the board: It is not OK to punish a respected educator for defending himself when you could not find the intestinal fortitude to defend him as you, yourself, should've done."

Eric Clapton now funding anti-vaxxer musicians group in the UK

I think it's time we all simply agree that Eric Clapton is a racist, right-wing, anti-vaxxer nutjob. Deny as he might that his tirades are just drug- or alcohol-fueled outbursts if it walks like a duck and quacks like a bigot, it's a bigoted ignoramus.

So I guess it's no surprise that Clapton, once again, revealed his true colors by donating £1,000 recently to a GoFundMe page to help support the group Jam for Freedom started by Cambel McLaughlin, 27. The group comprises "pro-medical choice" musicians in the U.K. who play for free while spreading their anti-lockdown, anti-vaxxer, anti-mask toxic propaganda.

McLaughlin told Rolling Stone magazine when the money turned up in the GoFundMe account, he initially thought it was a joke. So he emailed the account associated with the donation and struck up a relationship with the 60s icon himself.

According to the Jam for Freedom website, the group "is spearheading the pro-freedom revolution happening globally as a response to restrictions on our basic human rights to work, travel and live," gratefully supported by Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, members, and public donation.

Clapton, 76, claims that his AstraZeneca vaccine caused him "disastrous" side effects, leading him to become a vocal vaccine skeptic. He recently joined Van Morrison to record a song called Stand And Deliver, and another on his own, titled This Has Gotta Stop, a protest anthem of sorts against his vaccine and the lockdowns in the U.K.

"I took the first jab of AZ and straight away had severe reactions which lasted ten days. I recovered eventually and was told it would be twelve weeks before the second one," Clapton wrote in a letter to Robin Monotti, according to Rolling Stone.

"About six weeks later I was offered and took the second AZ shot, but with a little more knowledge of the dangers. Needless to say the reactions were disastrous, my hands and feet were either frozen, numb, or burning, and pretty much useless for two weeks, I feared I would never play again, (I suffer from peripheral neuropathy and should never have gone near the needle.) But the propaganda said the vaccine was safe for everyone…"

In July, Clapton announced he would not play any venue where vaccines were mandated for the audience.

"Following the PM's announcement on Monday the 19th of July 2021 I feel honour bound to make an announcement of my own: I wish to say that I will not perform on any stage where there is a discriminated audience present," Clapton said in a statement posted to his friend Robin Monotti's Telegram account. "Unless there is provision made for all people to attend, I reserve the right to cancel the show. Eric Clapton."

He launched a U.S. tour in September, booked only in red states and only at venues that don't require vaccines or proof of a negative COVID-19 test. While in Texas he posed with anti-abortion, anti-mandate, and hater of gender-neutral toy aisles Gov. Greg Abbott.

As for the 18-time Grammy winner's history of racist comments, we travel back to an 1976 concert in Birmingham, England, where in a drunken stupor the famed guitarist began slamming immigrants, saying Britain must stop itself from becoming a "black colony," they should leave Great Britain, screaming, "Get the wogs out ... get the coons out." (Wog is shorthand for "golliwog," or anyone who is not white).

Since then, and over the years, Clapton has apologized/not apologized, explained, defended himself, paid tribute to Black musicians then slurred Black musicians, and laughed off his comments. But, all in all, he's never truly stepped away from offensive things he's said.

Now he's going after vaccines because he had a bad reaction, and he's offering plenty of fodder for the right.

Conservative talking head Michael Knowles tweeted, "Eric Clapton is a much more credible person than Dr. Fauci." He told Rolling Stone reporter David Browne that "Clapton isn't pontificating about matters of science or health — he's discussing his own experience with this vaccine," he says. "I think in many ways Eric Clapton does have more credibility on this question and many others than Dr. Fauci does."

PA attorney general announces slew of environmental charges against pipeline developer

Pennsylvania's attorney general, the man behind the explosive investigation into the Catholic Church's decades-long cover-up of sexual abuse of over 1,000 children, and who took Postmaster Louis DeJoy to court, arguing that DeJoy's cuts could damage citizens' trust and confidence in the mail, announced a slew of environmental charges against a notorious energy company on Tuesday.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro held a news conference Tuesday at the location where Energy Transfer, the corporate successor to Sunoco Pipeline LP, spilled thousands of gallons of drilling fluid last year. Shapiro announced 48 criminal charges against Energy Transfer related to the construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline—most of them for releasing industrial waste at 22 sites in 11 counties across the state, including contaminating the water supplies of at least 150 families.

Additionally, one charge is a felony for willfully and consistently failing to report the releases to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

The Mariner East pipeline project crosses 17 counties in the southern tier of Pennsylvania and moves natural gas liquids from the Marcellus Shale gas field to an export terminal near Philadelphia. The spill took place during the construction of the pipeline.

"There is a duty to protect our air and water, and when companies harm these vital resources through negligence — it is a crime," AG Shapiro said at the press conference. "By charging them, we can both seek to hold them criminally accountable and send a clear message to others about how seriously we take protecting the environment and public health."

According to the Associated Press, Energy Transfer acknowledged that Shapiro was investigating alleged criminal misconduct involving the construction and related activities of the Mariner East pipeline.

Energy Transfer has paid more than $16.4 million in fines for polluting waterways and contaminating water wells, including a $12.6 million fine in 2018, one of the largest ever imposed by the state Department of Environmental Protection, AP reports.

"Under our state laws, if convicted, this company will be sentenced to fines and restitution," Shapiro said in a statement. "There is no jail time for these environmental crimes, and fines are not enough. That's why we are, once again, calling for stronger laws to hold these companies accountable and protect Pennsylvanians' health, and demanding DEP toughen up the independent oversight we need them to provide for the industries they regulate."

The Delaware County District Attorney's office was the first to refer this case to the attorney general and assigned a prosecutor from its Environmental Crimes Unit to work with the Pennsylvania DA's office on this case.

"Pennsylvania's criminal prosecutors have made it clear that the environment and our communities will be protected, using the tools that the criminal justice system offers. I have established a unit dedicated to Environmental Crimes prosecutions that have supported this investigation and we will continue the fight for environmental justice," Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer said in a statement.

Of course Mariner East 2 pipeline is just one in a long line of reasons why environmental changes need to be made. Just last weekend, millions of beachgoers were likely exposed to toxic pollutants after local officials made the decision not to notify the public about a mammoth oil spill that took place the night before, just off the Southern California coast. You can read the full story about that spill here.

Huntington Beach city officials closed the beachfront from Huntington Beach Pier down to Newport Beach and Dana Point to begin cleanup on the 5.8-mile oil plume—about 13 square miles in size.

Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley writes on Twitter that dead birds and fish continue to wash ashore. The pipeline leak, connected to an offshore oil platform know as Elly, reportedly seeped into Talbert Marsh in Huntington Beach, home to about 90 species of birds, according to the Huntington Beach Wetlands Conservancy.

On Monday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency due to the spill.

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