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Afghanistan Veteran, Harvard Grad, Indiana Mayor Says ‘I’m Gay’ To Help Struggling Students, Seniors

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One of the nation’s youngest mayors, Pete Buttigieg surprised his city today by coming out as gay.

South Bend, Indiana has a population of just over 100,000 people. It’s a conservative town, settled by Polish Catholics. Its largest employer is the University of Notre Dame. And it has a gay mayor.

Democratic Mayor Pete Buttigieg is 32 years old. He is a Rhodes Scholar and a Harvard grad, and he served in Afghanistan, where he was a Lieutenant in the Navy. 

“I was well into adulthood before I was prepared to acknowledge the simple fact that I am gay,” Buttigieg wrote in a lengthy op-ed published in today’s local paper. “It took years of struggle and growth for me to recognize that it’s just a fact of life, like having brown hair, and part of who I am.”

“Putting something this personal on the pages of a newspaper does not come easy,” he acknowledges. “We Midwesterners are instinctively private to begin with, and I’m not used to viewing this as anyone else’s business.”

Mayor Buttigieg explains why it’s so important for LGBT people, and for him, to come out, saying, “it’s clear to me that at a moment like this, being more open about it could do some good.”

“For a local student struggling with her sexuality, it might be helpful for an openly gay mayor to send the message that her community will always have a place for her. And for a conservative resident from a different generation, whose unease with social change is partly rooted in the impression that he doesn’t know anyone gay, perhaps a familiar face can be a reminder that we’re all in this together as a community.”

The Advocate calls Buttigieg “a rising star in Indiana Democrat politics,” and Salon adds that he “was first elected Mayor of South Bend in 2011 with 74% of the vote, temporarily left his post as mayor to serve seven months in Afghanistan as a lieutenant in the US Navy Reserves and participated in protests against the war in Iraq while a student at Harvard.”

Buttigieg doesn’t say if he’s seeing anyone but he does notes he “would like to get married one day and eventually raise a family.”

And he offers his constituents these wise words about equality in the future: “the true compass that will have guided us there will be the basic regard and concern that we have for one another as fellow human beings — based not on categories of politics, orientation, background, status or creed, but on our shared knowledge that the greatest thing any of us has to offer is love.”

 

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Trump-Aligned Christian Nationalist Group ‘Taps Into Unholy Well’ That Threatens Democracy

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A well-funded and powerfully connected extremist group is raising alarms about its activities ahead of the 2024 election.

ReAwaken America, a project organized by Oklahoma businessman Clay Clark and funded by Donald Trump ally Patrick Byrne, has blended conspiracy theories about COVID-19 and the 2020 election to promote a Christian nationalist political message at rallies and other events, reported The Guardian.

“Christian nationalism has deep roots in American history and has gained traction at different points,” said Amanda Tyler, the executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty. “The ReAwaken America Tour taps into the unholy well of Christian nationalism to sow doubt about the U.S. election system and the safety of COVID-19 vaccines while equating allegiance to Trumpism with allegiance to God.”

“Clay Clark and others who run this tour are using the name of Jesus, Holy Scripture, and worship music to promote a partisan political agenda and personal business interests,” she added.

READ MORE: Bill Barr’s ‘hollow and self-serving’ image rehabilitation tour shredded in scathing NYT editorial

Michael Flynn, the Trump-pardoned former national security adviser, and convicted Capitol rioter Dr. Simone Gold have each made multiple appearances at ReAwaken America events, and a recent gathering hosted at the Tennessee church of right-wing pastor Greg Locke drew My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell, Eric Trump, Roger Stone and Kash Patel.

“The religious nature of these events is a pretext for a rally by people who are united by feeling victimized and outraged,” said Samuel Perry, a sociologist at the University of Oklahoma. “This is incredibly corrosive for democracy because you have a group of political leaders and their followers who not only feel victimized by the culture, but they feel like the very political system is against them. That’s how you get populist coup attempts.”

Trump National Doral will host a ReAwaken America gathering in May, which could give the impression that Trump still has strong support from evangelical voters, but mainstream religious leaders are concerned about the convergence of conspiracy theories about Trump’s election loss and COVID-19 could have a corrosive effect on democracy.

“White evangelicals are among the least educated of Americans,” said David Hollinger, a history professor emeritus at Berkeley. “The Republican Party’s increasing reliance upon them marks an unprecedented stage in American history: for the first time, one of the major political parties displays contempt for learning. Not even the Democratic party of Andrew Jackson was so dependent for its success on anti-intellectual postures.”

Image: lev radin / Shutterstock

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News

‘Low Energy Donald’: Trump Buried for ‘Monotonous’ Kick-Off Speeches in Critical Battleground States

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Donald Trump’s first two speeches touting his 2024 Republican Party presidential bid before smaller crowds in New Hampshire and South Carolina ended up being a rehash of old complaints and with a few lines that garnered applause but his demeanor was lacking the usual fire once seen at his raucous rallies.

On the morning after the speeches, MSNBC host Katie Phang shared clips of the president speaking and noted the lack of enthusiam from the former president when one considers how important the first foray into public in 2023 was to his third presidential bid with Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and a bevy of GOP lawmakers nipping at his heels.

As the MSNBC host pointed out, the president’s uncharacteristically short speeches were nothing less than monotonous.

“Do you guys remember low-energy Jeb?” Phang began, referencing former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, “That was the moniker Donald Trump branded on the former Florida Governor, Jeb Bush while they compete with others for the Republican nomination in 2016.”

“Well, now it seems like we have a low-energy Donald,” she continued. “Here was Donald Trump yesterday when he tried to kick his third white house run into high gear.”

RELATED: ‘All washed up’: Republican insider says Trump needs to ‘move on’ because ‘he’s bleeding support’

After showing a clip of the subdued former president telling the crowd, “So, we’re here. We start, we begin. I want to thank New Hampshire for the warm welcome outside. We are so far ahead in the polls, both in New Hampshire — one came out this morning, very nice poll — we are way ahead. We had a tremendous period of time. We had a tremendous thing happening just two and a half years ago,” Phang noted Trump’s demeanor.

“King of the monotone,” she pointed out, “Despite trump saying he is leading in the polls the reality is so far he is the only Republican who has even announced a run for president.”

“Trump’s first lethargic campaign stops of the 24 race come as sources are telling NBC News that [Rep.] Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) is angling to be his vice president,” she added. “The MAGA conspiracy theorist slash insurrectionist, slash election denier, reportedly sees herself as someone who can bridge the divide between the party’s far-right hard-liners and its, quote, establishment wing.”

Watch below or at the link:

 

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COMMENTARY

McCarthy Sat for an Interview With Trump Jr. – One Bragged About an ‘Illegal’ Act, One Wished His Dad Would ‘Show Some’ Love

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The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), sat down for a freewheeling hour-long interview with Donald Trump Jr., the son of the one-term twice-impeached ex-president currently under multiple criminal investigations including for absconding with hundreds of classified intelligence documents.

McCarthy, who had to battle his own Republican caucus 15 times before finally being granted the Speaker’s gavel, is now tied even more to Donald Trump. Trump reportedly was “working the phones,” making calls to House Republicans for days – and even hours before the final vote – strong-arming them to support the weakened McCarthy.

In one segment of the interview, McCarthy tells Trump Jr., “you know what? I’ve been around you guys privately. It is a real family that has real love for one another. And really, it stems of what [Donald Trump] did as a father.”

READ MORE: Watch: Nancy Pelosi Says ‘I Have Absolutely No Intention of Seeing the Deadly Assault on My Husband’s Life’

Don Jr., a bit choked up, comes out and says point-blank he wishes his father would “show some of that” love.

“I appreciate that, ya know, I want him to show some of that.”

Just before those remarks, McCarthy, again praising Donald Trump, says he’s a great father and grandfather, claims none of the ex-president’s children are “into drugs,” “have problems,” or “laptops” – presumably a dig at Hunter Biden and his father, President Joe Biden.

“I’ve watched him too, the pride he has [in] his children – and this is what I’ll say to you: Look, raising a family is not easy. You know – you’re a great father. But they don’t see him as a grandfather – I see your kids walk up.”

READ MORE: ‘Deliberately Deceived the Nation’: Legal Experts Stunned by ‘Jaw-Dropping’ Report on How Barr and Durham Protected Trump

“But you know what? You think of your life, okay? He was successful,” McCarthy continued, praising the disgraced ex-president. “He comes from a successful life. I’ve watched all you kids, as brothers and sisters love one another. You’re not into drugs. You don’t have problems. You don’t have laptops. You don’t have these other things,” McCarthy claimed.

Trump Jr. interjected, saying, “According to the press I’m really into drugs.”

Also in that interview, McCarthy admitted to “flipping cars” (buying for one price, quickly selling at a higher price) when he was in college, only to say it was illegal.

“I didn’t have the athletics to get a scholarship. I went to junior college, which was a great school,” McCarthy says. “But while I’m going there, I meet this guy that owns a liquor store but has a car dealer license – I’ll let you figure out how I met him,”

“But one day I say, ‘I’ll give you 100 bucks if you take me to L.A.,’ because L.A. has these car auctions – you got to be a dealer to get in there.”

READ MORE: ‘X-Rated’: Christian Nationalist Mastriano Promises Bill to Ban Public Drag Shows After High School’s ‘Queer Prom’

“So I started going down there, I start flipping cars, to pay my way through college. I find out later it’s illegal but I don’t know why I do it, I’ve been an entrepreneur, right?”

Don Jr. again interjects, telling the camera, “By the way, just just so you understand. We may have to cut this. Nancy Pelosi is gonna try to figure out how to impeach you for doing something like that.”

Trump Jr. also criticized most members of Congress who he said don’t have the same “hustle” as he does. He claimed his father made him work minimum wage jobs and he worked “for tips,” which both agreed was important.

“Like, no one’s ever had to make payroll. No one’s gonna sign the front of a check as opposed to the back,” Trump Jr. complains.

Watch the videos above or at this link.

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