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Will The Olympics’ Newly-Elected President, Putin’s Pal, Fix Sochi’s Anti-Gay Problem?



Probably the only less-transparent worldwide organization than the International Olympics Committee is the Vatican. And the manner in which both select new leaders is equally opaque. In fact, the only features the Vatican has over the IOC is that it does not announce how many votes each candidate received, and, well, supposedly those votes are acts of God.

So imagine the world’s surprise when, immediately after the International Olympics Committee elected Thomas Bach their new president yesterday, he received a telephone call from the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin.

“For the next five months Bach will have to manage the controversy surrounding the anti-gay measures that Putin signed into law,” USA Today reports:

Bach had just finished answering a question about that topic when Sochi Organizing Committee president Dmitry Chernyshenko interrupted and handed Bach the phone.

The man who holds the most powerful job in international sports and the man who holds the most powerful job in Russia exchanged pleasantries before Bach returned to answer more questions from reporters.

“Was that Mr. Putin?” he was asked.

“Yes, but we did not discuss the law,” he said with a laugh.

No one reported if it was a nervous laugh, but it should have been.

“New Olympics chief Thomas Bach is Putin’s friend,” reads a report at Gay Star News, which claims Bach “considers Russian president Vladimir Putin as a close friend.”

And an article in The Australian, which notes, “Thomas Bach counts Vladimir Putin among his allies,” reveals “Bach secured 49 votes” of the 93 total, adding:

Al-Sabah, known among the Olympic Movement as the Sheikh, controls about $400 million of IOC distribution money through his presidency of the association of national Olympic committees and has publicly admitted to working behind the scenes for a decade to get his man in the top seat.

German television had made claims of conflicts of interest against Bach and Al-Sabah.

Certainly Al-Sabah scored the trifecta at this session, securing all three of his preferred options: Tokyo to host 2020 Olympics, the reinstatement of wrestling on the Olympic program ahead of softball-baseball and squash and Bach as president.

Yet in the final days and hours of glad-handing, smiling and secret deal-making, Bach emerged with a most convincing mandate.

Meanwhile, “Bach and the IOC have been told by the Russians there would be no discrimination against anyone in Sochi, and that Russia would abide by the Olympic Charter,” Sports Illustrated writes:

“We have the assurances of the highest authorities in Russia that we trust,” Bach said.

Which means nothing. The Russians have made clear they believe Putin’s anti-gay laws aren’t discriminatory because they apply to all people. Which is like saying bans on same-sex marriage aren’t discriminatory because gay men can still marry women, and lesbians can still marry men.

Regardless, before, during, and after the 2014 Winter Olympics, Russia’s LGBT citizenry will still be targeted for hate, violence, and, if their latest anti-gay bill becomes law, the state-sponsored kidnapping of children from LGBT families.


Image by Olaf Kosinsky via Wikimedia

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‘Start the Kevin McCarthy Death-Clock’ After Biden Wins Debt Ceiling Battle: Rick Wilson



Appearing late Saturday night on MSNBC after it was announced that President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) had reached an agreement “in principle’ on a budget deal, former GOP strategist Rick Wilson claimed this could be the beginning of the end for McCathy’s speakership.

Sitting in on a panel with guest host Michael Steele, Wilson suggested that McCarthy’s decision to compromise with the president to avoid a default that would spin the economy into chaos will not go over well with far-right members of his House caucus who could make a motion to “vacate the chair” to express their displeasure.

Asked by host Steel about what comes next, Wilson stated it was a win for the White House which will not make conservatives happy.

RELATED: ‘Crazy cuckoo MAGA people’ could sink debt ceiling deal: Dem strategist

“Great night for Joe Biden, great night for the White House even though I think their messaging has been kind of tentative the past few weeks” the Lincoln Project founder began. “I think though we are now going to start the Kevin McCarthy death-clock. He has certainly got a very angry part of his caucus tonight who probably burning up his phone no matter how good it is for the country not to default.”

“It’s not going to please the chaos caucus in the GOP,” he added.

Watch below or at the link:


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Debt Ceiling: McCarthy Faces ‘Lingering Anger’ and a Possible Revolt as Far-Right House Members Start Issuing Threats



As House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) continues to negotiate a deal to avoid a debt crisis, members of the far-right Freedom Caucus are growing furious with him over broken promises he made to them.

According to MSNBC political analyst Steve Benen, with a slim GOP majority in the House, McCarthy is walking a tightrope to get a budget deal passed and may need help from House Democrats if members of his caucus refuse to go along with him.

As Benen points out, in order to win the speakership McCarthy agreed to an easier path for a motion to “vacate the chair” which could end his tenure as Speaker. That could come into play if the Freedom Caucus stages a revolt.

“… as the negotiations approach an apparent finish line, the House Republicans’ most radical faction is learning that it isn’t likely to get everything its members demanded — and for the Freedom Caucus, that’s not going to work,” he wrote in his MSNBC column.

ALSO IN THE NEWS: Trump in danger of heightened espionage charges after bombshell report: legal expert

Citing a Washington Times report that stated, “[Freedom Caucus members] want everything from the debt limit bill passed by the House last month plus several new concessions from the White House,” Benen suggested far-right House Republicans are now issuing veiled threats.

In an interview, Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) stated, “I am going to have to go have some blunt conversations with my colleagues and the leadership team. I don’t like the direction they are headed.”

With Politico reporting, “The [House Freedom Caucus] was already unlikely to support a final bipartisan deal, but lingering anger with Kevin McCarthy could have lasting implications on his speakership,” Benen added, “If this is simply a matter of lingering ill-will from members who come to believe that GOP leaders ‘caved,’ the practical consequences might be limited. But let’s also not forget that McCarthy, while begging his own members for their support during his protracted fight for the speaker’s gavel, agreed to tweak the motion-to-vacate-the-chair rules, which at least in theory, would make it easier for angry House Republicans to try to oust McCarthy from his leadership position.”

Adding the caveat that he is not predicting an imminent McCarthy ouster he added, “But if the scope of the Freedom Caucus’ discontent reaches a fever pitch, a hypothetical deal clears thanks to significant Democratic support, don’t be surprised if we all start hearing the phrase ‘vacate the chair” a lot more frequently.”

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Prosecutors Tell Trump They Have a Recording of Him and a Witness: Report



Prosecutors in Donald Trump’s Manhattan criminal trial have notified the ex-president’s attorneys they have a recording of him and a witness. The notification comes in the form of an automatic discovery form, CBS News reports, which “describes the nature of the charges against a defendant and a broad overview of the evidence that prosecutors will present at Trump’s preliminary hearing or at trial.”

CBS reports prosecutors have handed the recording over to Trump’s legal team.

It’s not known who the witness is, nor are any details known publicly about what the conversation entails, or even if it is just audio or if it includes video.

READ MORE: ‘Likely to Be Indicted Soon’: Trump Might Face Seven Different Felonies, Government Watchdog Says

According to the article’s author, CBS News’ Graham Kates, via Twitter, prosecutors say they also have recordings between two witnesses, a recording between a witness and a third party, and various recordings saved on a witness’s cell phones.

Trump is facing 34 felony counts in Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s case related to his allegedly unlawful attempt to hide hush money payoffs to a well-known porn star by falsifying business records to protect his 2016 presidential campaign.

See the discovery form above or at this link.

Image via Shutterstock


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