Thomas Roberts will be the next host of Miss Universe, a jointÂ Donald Trump-NBC venture. Roberts, an MSNBC anchor, says he campaigned “aggressively” for the opportunity after Andy Cohen, who had hosted the previous two years, announced he would not go to Russia because of Vladimir Putin‘s anti-gay laws.
“Courage is contagious,” Roberts proclaimed, in a post at MSNBC yesterday. “I have felt that way since coming out publicly in 2006. Iâ€™ve never regretted it.”
Roberts, who turned 41 this month and last year married his partner of 12 years, Patrick Abner, writes that he made the decision to go “partly because it is a huge, visible opportunity for LGBT people. Everywhere.”
I am not a special case. I am a good person, good spouse, good child, good sibling, good friend and hard worker. That is me. I am just like millions of LGBT people around the world. We are good, regular, hard-working people who come from solid families. So when I heard there was a chance at this assignment I aggressively went after it. Lo and behold the Miss Universe team, NBC Entertainment & the Trump team agreed and offered it to me.
He also says he wants to go because all children, “Russian, American or otherwiseâ€”need hope.”
We do them no favors by turning away now. We must be visible, we must show up, and, as Harvey Milk said, we must â€œgive them hope.â€
I go to prove thereâ€™s hope.
Roberts, who is a Roman Catholic, also explains that he and his husband are, when it comes to many things in life, like most Americans, “traditional.”
I am unafraid to tell you how traditional my husband and I are. After 13 years, we continue to foster and grow our life together, with highs and lows, the folly and the fights. The same things many long term couples experience. Simple things: Trash night, dog walks, the remote control. Tough things: Homophobia, job loss, death.
You canâ€™t get more traditional than that and, above all, we love each other.
Acknowledging that there’s a “tremendous amount of hypocrisy” that goes with his work on equality and trip to Russia, Roberts explained his thinking this morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe:
Veteran LGBT journalist Karen Ocamb notes that “Roberts is not going as a journalist covering the pageant, where, like Anderson Cooper, he can insert himself into the story. And heâ€™s no flamboyant Elton John or Liberace where someone looking at near-naked women is going to look over and say, ‘Hey, heâ€™sÂ gay!’ No oneâ€™s going to know or suspect or care because Roberts easily passes as straight. And I doubt Trump is going to let him shout his not-so-secret love from the highest hills, get arrested and become a celebrity test case for the anti-gay ‘propaganda’ law.”
She cautions that “Roberts must do a lot of pre-pageant publicity to let those LGBT people know heâ€™s coming.Â And maybe then Trump will loosen the contract strings and let him appear on Moscow TV and talk about being a good gay with a good job and a loving husband. He does appear to be a good guy, after all. But Miss Universe is still a money-making ventureâ€”not a platform for LGBT or human rights. He might find juggling Trump harder to deal with than his Russian minders.”
Blogger John Aravosis, who has been one of the leading journalists reporting on the anti-gay hate in Russia, put it bluntly.
Itâ€™s not enough just to show up.
Clarence Thomas shows up.
So does Alan Keyes.
And Allen West.
Yet, the Republican party has not become any more concerned about African-Americans. The GOP does, however, have a few more token faces to wave at Independent voters to convince Indies of how welcoming the Republican party is to minorities.
One would also be at pains to argue that the presence of Ann Coulter, or Phyllis Schlafly, in the Republican party has done anything to temper the GOPâ€™s war on women. Â If anything, theyâ€™ve made it worse.
Thatâ€™s not to argue that Thomas Roberts is the gay equivalent of Clarence Thomas or Ann Coulter, he most thankfully is not. Â But bigots love an exception to a rule, and are perfectly capable of loving you as an anomaly, while continuing to hate your brethren. Itâ€™s why people fawned over Liberace half a decade ago, clueless â€“ or careless â€“ that the gayest man on the planet was queerer than a three dollar bill.
Any gay person who travels to Russia in an official capacity risks becoming homophobiaâ€™s beard.
There are many LGBT people and supporters of the LGBT community who believe any association with Russia, anything Russian, and anything perceived to be Russian, is a traitorous. There are others, perhaps like Roberts, who believe change comes by working from within.
What do you think about Roberts hosting Miss Universe in Russia?
Weigh in below.
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Georgia Republicans Push Bill Banning All Government Mandates of ‘Any Vaccination’ Including in Public Schools
Georgia Senate Republicans are pushing a bill that would end any requirements for any vaccinations by any state or local government agency or office in the Peach State, including vaccines for children entering public school.
The bill also bans any government agency from requiring private companies or entities from requiring any proof of any vaccination.
The bill, SB 345, was filed on January 14 with five original co-sponsors. It now has 17, including state Senator Jeff Mullis, whose campaign website prominently features photos of him with former Vice President Mike Pence, and former President Donald Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump, Jr.
“No agency shall require proof of any vaccination of any person as a condition of providing any service or access to any facility, issuing any license, permit, or other type of authorization, or performing any duty of such agency,” the bill’s text reads in part.
Georgia State Law law professor Anthony Michael Kreis posted Georgia’s school vaccine requirements, suggesting those would be optional were the bill to become law.
Legislation has been introduced in the Georgia Senate with to ban any public entity from requiring *any* vaccination as a precondition for services or facility access, wiping out the preexisting standards. #gapol https://t.co/uKg5Y85T71 pic.twitter.com/TsyljBC10x
— Anthony Michael Kreis (@AnthonyMKreis) January 24, 2022
The CDC recommends a list of about 17 different vaccines children should have before entering school. The list includes inoculations against diseases, often deadly, including Hepatitis B, Rotavirus, Diphtheria, tetanus, & acellular pertussis, Haemophilus influenzae type b, Pneumococcal conjugate, Inactivated poliovirus, Influenza, Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), Varicella, Hepatitis A, Tetanus, diphtheria, & acellular pertussis, Human papillomavirus, Meningococcal, Meningococcal B, and Pneumococcal polysaccharide.
Watch: Hot Mic Catches Biden Blowing Off Steam With Profane Remark Directed Towards Fox News’ Peter Doocy
It was not a good day for Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy. First, Press Secretary Jen Psaki was clearly irked by his line of questioning as he tried to make news by framing a rise in crime as something the Biden administration has ignored, despite Fox News promoting Second Amendment “activists” and doing its best to oppose efforts to reduce poverty and efforts to counter societal ills.
Later, after the close of President Biden’s Competitiveness Council meeting, reporters continued to shout questions at the President. Among them Peter Doocy, who carelessly asked the President if rising inflation was a “liability” for the midterm elections.
“It’s a great asset – more inflation. What a stupid son of a bitch,” President Biden appeared to say sarcastically.
At the end of a Biden photo op, when reporters shouted Q’s hoping he’d respond, Fox’s Peter Doocy asked, “Do you think inflation is a political liability in the midterms?” Biden deadpanned: “It’s a great asset—more inflation. What a stupid son of a bitch.” pic.twitter.com/Tt4ZVz5Ynj
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) January 24, 2022
Democratic Congressman Says Tucker Carlson’s Viewers ‘Upset We’re Not Siding With Russia’
As tensions heat up between the United States and Russia over Vladimir Putin’s unlawful attacks on Ukraine one Democratic Congressman says he’s getting calls from Fox News viewers who think the U.S. should side with Russia.
“My office is now getting calls from folks who say they watch Tucker Carlson and are upset that we’re not siding with Russia in its threats to invade Ukraine, and who want me to support Russia’s ‘reasonable’ positions,” writes Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ).
For nearly three years during the Obama administration, Malinowski served as Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. He now sits on the House’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, Committee on Homeland Security, and Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism.
For years Tucker Carlson has been advancing Russian propaganda, as he did here in November of 2019, only to be forced to walk back his comments later that same evening.
“Why shouldn’t I root for Russia? Which I am.”
– Tucker Carlson, Nov. 25, 2019pic.twitter.com/6cjRnjk5uW
— David Badash (@davidbadash) January 24, 2022
U.S. Naval War College professor Tom Nichols weighed in on Rep. Malinowski’s remarks, observing “Republicans are the Russia Party now.”
“For years,” adds political commentator Jared Yates Sexton, “the American Right has been drawing together with Putinist illiberalism’s antidemocratic, Christian theocratic, white supremacist construction. The divide we have in this country breaks down along these lines. None of this is a surprise or accidental.”
“We’ve been trying to tell you for years now this was happening. The Republican Party and its growing authoritarianism sides with Putin, Orbán, and illiberalism everywhere,” he continues. “It’s an international movement and this Ukraine situation only makes that more clear.”
Propaganda and political warfare historian and former NATO civilian official Mark R. Jacobson adds: “This is exactly how Russian disinformation/subversion works – they put out a talking point to advance their foreign policy goals & a set of perfidious pundits parrot the point.”
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