The Falwells come out swinging, just not in the way you think

I said in an earlier post three weeks ago, after Jerry Falwell posted a photograph of him holding a drink with his pants unzipped and his arm around the waist of a woman who also had her pants unzipped, that I suspected that such reckless behavior by someone who publicly professed a highly puritanical code and demanded that students at Liberty University live by it under threat of strict punishment, may be a sign that he and his wife were secretly ‘swingers’, people who lived a libertine sexual lifestyle.

That indeed turns out that is the case as Falwell’s wife Becki’s lover reveals more and more details that what went on was more than your run-of-the-mill clandestine affair.
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The deadly menace of Facebook

I think that it has become very clear that Facebook is the source of much of the dangerous disinformation that is spreading rapidly across the world. And this can result in real harm. One example is that of Erin Hitchens, a 46-year old woman who died from complications of covid-19 because she and her husband thought the virus was a hoax and so they disregarded all the recommended precautions. Her husband now regrets their foolishness.

A Florida taxi driver, who believed false claims that coronavirus was a hoax, has lost his wife to Covid-19.

Brian Lee Hitchens and his wife, Erin, had read claims online that the virus was fabricated, linked to 5G or similar to the flu.

The couple didn’t follow health guidance or seek help when they fell ill in early May. Brian recovered but his 46-year-old wife became critically ill and died this month from heart problems linked to the virus.

Erin, a pastor in Florida, had existing health problems – she suffered from asthma and a sleeping disorder.

Her husband explained that the couple did not follow health guidance at the start of the pandemic because of the false claims they had seen online.

Brian continued to work as a taxi driver and to collect his wife’s medicine without observing social distancing rules or wearing a mask.

They had also failed to seek help as soon as possible when they fell ill in May and were both subsequently diagnosed with Covid-19.

Brian said he and his wife didn’t have one firm belief about Covid-19. Instead, they switched between thinking the virus was a hoax, linked to 5G technology, or a real, but mild ailment. They came across these theories on Facebook.

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More professional athletes speak out and take action

It was four years ago yesterday that Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality. At that time, he was pretty much a lone voice and because of that act of peaceful protest, he lost his career and was vilified by many, including Trump. But the events of the past year, especially since the killing of George Floyd, have changed things. Now more and more professional athletes are not just speaking out or kneeling but taking action.
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No surprise-Kenosha killing suspect is a Trump supporter

The person who is alleged to have killed two people and injured another during the protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin following the killing of yet another unarmed black man by police, has been identified.

The law enforcement–obsessed 17-year-old who was charged with shooting and killing two people and injuring another in Kenosha, Wisconsin, during protests for Jacob Blake appeared in the front row at a Donald Trump rally in January.

Kyle Howard Rittenhouse’s social media presence is filled with him posing with weapons, posting “Blue Lives Matter,” and supporting Trump for president. Footage from the Des Moines, Iowa, rally on Jan. 30 shows Rittenhouse feet away from the president, in the front row, to the left of the podium. He posted a TikTok video from the event.

Seven months later, Rittenhouse went with his rifle to the third night of Black Lives Matter protests in Kenosha after police shot Blake, a Black man who is now paralyzed as a result, according to his family. Rittenhouse attended as an armed vigilante, supposedly assisting police and protecting property in an unofficial capacity. Instead, he allegedly prowled the protest with a gun. Videos captured him fraternizing with law enforcement and attempting to get their attention.
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The Republican platform: “Owning the libs and pissing off the media”

Tim Alberta has a long article describing what he found when he asked Republican operators who worked at the highest levels of the party what it now stood for. What he found was that they could not articulate any coherent message other than being loyal to Trump.

The reason he went on this quest was that despite spending more than a decade studying the Republican party, he found himself completely stumped by a question from a 17-year old high school student who asked in an exasperated voice, “I’m sorry, but I still don’t understand. What do Republicans believe? What does it mean to be a Republican?”
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Telling it like it is

Stuart Varney is, along with Sean Hannity and Lou Dobbs, Donald Trump’s most devoted hosts on Fox News and in a recent show he was visibly upset when Paul Romer, a former chief economist of the World Bank, called the people who speak about economics for the Trump administration, such as White House economics advisor Larry Kudlow, ‘liars for hire’ and that they should not be believed. When Varney remonstrated with him, Romer did not back down.

Trump risks overexposure

It used to be that American political party conventions involved some genuine uncertainty about who would become the party nominee and spirited debates about what the party platform should contain since that was supposed to (at lest in theory) set the party’s agenda for the next four years. But those days are gone. Nowadays the nominee is known well in advance and the party platform is also decided on and approved in advance. The last bit of suspense, the nominee’s pick for the vice-presidential slot, is now also announced in advance. Conventions have become infomercials consisting of fulsome praise for the nominees and criticisms of the rival party and candidates.
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Overcoming the fear of death the Epicurean way

Many people fear death and it has been argued that one major appeal of religion is that it enables people to think that they are immortal, that even if they physically die they will still live on in some spirit form.

Sam Dresser discusses how taking the approach of the Epicurean school of philosophers can reduce the fear of death without invoking an afterlife.
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Another shoe drops in the Falwell saga

In October of last year I wrote about the puzzling case involving the then-head of Liberty University Jerry Falwell, Jr, his wife, and their strange business dealings with some people, and said that there was clearly something going on behind the scenes. Today comes news that clarifies what was going on and it involves sex and blackmail.

Powerful evangelical leader and close Trump ally Jerry Falwell Jr has said that his wife’s ex-lover tried to blackmail them by contacting the media with “false claims” about their relationship.

Falwell’s statement to the Washington Examiner took place amid his indefinite suspension as head of the conservative evangelical Liberty University, which came several days after he shared a photo of himself with his pants unzipped while aboard a yacht.
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