Police: Atlanta shooter fueled by sex shame. Dems tempt GOP with $billions to back infrastructure. Putin on Biden’s “killer” comment: “Takes one to know one”. US, Russia in Afghan peace push.
Police: Atlanta shooter fueled by sex shame
The motivations behind the spree of massage parlor shootings in Atlanta that left 8 dead, including 6 Asian woman, are proving to be more complex than many first imagined. Cherokee County Sheriff Frank Reynolds says suspect Robert Aaron Long, 21, denies his crimes were racially motivated. “We asked him that specifically and the answer was no,” Reynolds said.
Instead, what is emerging is that the deeply religious Long was ashamed of his sex addiction for which he frequently sought relief in massage parlors. Long’s former roommate in a halfway house for recovering addicts has attested to this.
Nevertheless, given a recent uptick in hate crimes against Asian-Americans across the country, some say the two motivations cannot necessarily be divorced from one another. Asian women have reported more than twice the number of hate incidents, ranging from name-calling to violence, compared to men. Activists say Long’s decision to scapegoat these women for his own shame is linked to a widespread perception that Asian women working in massage parlors are de-facto sex workers, whether or not they provide sexual services.
Dems tempt GOP with earmarks to back infrastructure
Following last week’s announcement of an upcoming $multi-trillion infrastructure bill, Democrats in Congress are banking on $billions in earmarks to lure Republicans to the negotiating table. Senate Appropriations Committee Patrick Leahy (D-VT) says, “I’m perfectly willing to divide it equally between Republicans and Democrats, and so it will be up to them if they want it. If they don’t, we’ll just have it on the Democratic side. But I think enough of them would like to have it on both sides”.
Deficit hawks on the Republican side, including Sen. Mitt Romney, argue that earmarks are not necessarily in the national interest. It largely comes down to seniority when it comes to Senators winning lucrative and job-creating earmarks for their districts. Nevertheless, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) estimates that 60% of his Congressional colleagues overall support bringing back earmarks.
The Democrats are billing the infrastructure bill as a further stimulus, in addition to the predicted $2 trillion in COVID stimulus that will likely come with it. Last week, Nancy Pelosi said she hoped the bill would bring “jobs to every zip code”.
Putin responds to Biden’s “killer” comment: “Takes one to know one”
President Biden ruffled some feathers in Moscow yesterday when he characterized Russian President Vladimir Putin as “a killer”. Moscow-Washington tensions have escalated further in recent days over allegations of that Russian meddling in the 2020 US elections and the attempted murder and subsequent imprisonment of Putin critic Alexei Navalny.
Responding to Biden’s comments, Putin retorted, “I remember, in my childhood, when we argued in the courtyard, we used to say: ‘It takes one to know one’.”
Strange bedfellows Russia, US push for peace in Afghanistan
Three decades after their proxy-war in the country, Russian and US envoys are pushing Afghanistan’s warring factions to get their acts together for peace. At two upcoming summits in Moscow and Turkey, representatives from Afghanistan and its neighbors will meet to discuss the next step in bringing a now-decades old conflict to an end.
Russian and US envoys are pushing for the Afghan government and representatives of the Taliban to form an interim government. The US has already increased pressure on the Afghan government by refusing to confirm whether or not the US will move ahead on its planned May 1 troop withdrawal. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has warned that the Taliban may make territorial gains in spring fighting if the Afghan government does not take the opportunity for a political solution.