Friday, May 26, 2017

Red Line Republicans

     The more I study the latter-day Republican Party, the more I'm convinced red is the perfect color for it. Red, as in red zones, is the universal color for danger, which Republicans are constantly reminding us we're in then make their apocalyptic scenarios, for different reasons, self-fulfilling prophecies.
     Red is also symbolic of the old Soviet Union, which Republicans used to revile until the rise of Trump. Now, as far as US-Russo relations are concerned, the Democrats and Republicans have completely switched sides like drunks in a madcap game of Musical Chairs.
     Red also is the token color of rage, the color that drives bulls into a murderous frenzy or the stereotypical red fog that we metaphorically see when we ourselves are in the grip of rage.
     All three of these colors are perfect for a psychopath named Greg Gianforte.
     If you've been paying attention, Gianforte is the New Jersey-born carpetbagger piece of shit who'd gotten elected to Congress last night in a runoff election to replace former Montana Congressman-at-large Ryan Zinke, Donald Trump's pick for Secretary of the Interior. Let's start with what happened on Wednesday the 24th and work our way back:
     Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs was at Gianforte's campaign headquarters just as the candidate was about to make one of his final public appearances before Thursday's election. Jacobs had asked Gianforte a question about the CBO's troubling analysis of the health care bill recently passed in the House and he deflected the question yet again and told Jacobs to talk to his spokesman Shane Scanlon. Less than one second later, Gianforte can be heard grappling with the reporter and screaming at him.
     To show how completely unhinged and blind to optics Gianforte is, he attacked Jacobs in full view of a Fox news crew and other journalists. As horrifying as the tape sounds, what actually happened is much worse- According to Fox reporter Alicia Acuna, the Republican grabbed the Jewish reporter by the neck with both hands, body-slammed him, moved him sideways then began punching him while screaming at him.
     Fox's hosts completely ignored the incident, as if this is supposed to be the norm. In fact, some of them had pressured Acuna into retracting her eyewitness report (to her credit, she didn't, although that didn't stop lying right wing scumbags from saying she did, anyway.).
     Other right wing scumbags like Duncan Hunter of California said Jacobs got what was coming to him. Laura Ingraham, the one who tried to get Acuna to change her story, was basically splitting hairs and trying to make a distinction between what's assault or not depends entirely on what part of a person's neck you grab (Montana law enforcement charged him with misdemeanor assault, although it's difficult to see how grabbing a man's neck with both hands, body-slamming him and punching him isn't felony assault).
     Pedophile Rush Limbaugh, a ghost from the past, called Gianforte "manly" and "studly" for body-slamming the "pajama boy" journalist (which makes the rest of us wonder if Limbaugh has something he'd like to share with the rest of the class while he's just playing out the string of the rest of his contract that surely will not be renewed.).
     This is not new for Republicans. Nearly two and a half years ago, Rep. Michael Grimm threatened to throw a reporter off a balcony after "breaking (him) in half." And we've seen since Trump was still candidate Trump how antagonistic he's been to a press that over the decades had fawned over him and made him a household name. And of course, there was the still-recent example of Dan Heyman, the reporter who tried to ask HHS Secretary Tom Price a question about the AHCA and actually got expelled and arrested by West Virginia authorities.
     And let's not forget the abrupt expulsion of Univision reporter Jorge Ramos during Donald Trump's first presser since Election Day.
     From a purely objective perspective, it's easy to see why Republicans for decades have been antagonistic toward the 4th (and now the 5th) estate. Republicans by and large are furtive scumbags who much prefer to operate in the shadows, well hidden from public scrutiny. They hysterically accuse the very infrequent examples of actual investigative reporting as ambush journalism.
     And it's perhaps this very type of journalism that put Jacobs on Gianforte's baleful radar screen, especially since Jacobs wrote and published last April 28th this piece about Gianforte owning stock in two Russian companies that had been sanctioned by the US government since Putin had annexed the Crimea. "You did this the last time!" Gianforte screamed at Jacobs as he repeatedly punched him in the process of putting him in the hospital.
     Maybe his already thin skin was already rasped when the NY Times had reported earlier this month that the Republican candidate had been caught on tape thanking lobbyists for their work in passing the House health care bill. To hear Gianforte talk, it was as if they'd voted on the bill themselves. Which they practically had.
     This increasingly toxic relationship between the GOP and the press seemingly reached its apotheosis with Gianforte openly and brutally assaulting a reporter who was trying to do his job (then lied about it), in full view of a room full of witnesses, and had his fellow right wing nut jobs excuse his Neanderthal behavior. But was it the apotheosis? One must pay close attention to this deteriorating relationship between Republicans and the press that's supposed to be their watchdog in a supposedly free and democratic society. Republicans are making jokes about murdering the press, such as this one from the Secretary of Homeland Security when Trump was presented with a saber at his whiny commencement address at the Coast Guard Academy.
     Yes, our Homeland Security from the top down perceives the media as a threat to our nation that needs to be liquidated. Trump said so on Twitter. It must be true.
     It's a sad day in a so-called free Democratic Republic that the highest levels of our government coddle dictators like the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, North Korea and especially Russia while steadily escalating hostilities with the media that is supposed to be its watchdog. And now, we've just elected to Congress a psychopath who attacked and sent a reporter to the hospital (then, again, lied about it) and has to answer to assault charges this June 7th.
     And people are making excuses for him. Overton's Window. Assault, once a crime, is now proof of "manly" and "studly" behavior. Just asking a question of these arrogant douchebags is also asking for it. It wasn't assault, it was self-defense. He spoke too loud. He got too close to me, he grabbed me, Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?
     To say this incident last Wednesday as well as the others I've itemized, is having a chilling effect on the media is soft-pedaling it. But far from having a chilling effect, it ought to energize this lapdog media that will ignore, spin, deny and whitewash anything just for direct access to bullshit. The media at large should be going after these furtive scumbags with hammers and tongs. They hate the media because they have a lot to hide.
     When Adolph Hitler ascended to power 84 years ago, it was not a coup. He was democratically elected by the people of post Wiemar Germany. Though he'd consolidated power with astonishing rapidity (in about 70 days), the Third Reich still did not materialize overnight. He did so by stages, including suppressing the German media and demonizing and expelling from the business anyone who wouldn't get in line with the National Socialist Party's agenda. Before anyone knew it, virtually all 4700 of Germany's newspapers became mere propaganda arms for Hitler and Goebbells. And they were able to do so with the threat of a Communist takeover. Otherism. Fear. There's always a market for it and never goes out of style.
     Incremental stages. Frogs in the boiling water who fool themselves into thinking they can still take it, that the water's not getting too hot. It's not just a case of it possibly happening here. It is happening now as we speak.

1 Comments:

At May 26, 2017 at 10:18 PM, Anonymous Comrade Rutherford said...

"Montana law enforcement charged him with misdemeanor assault, although it's difficult to see how grabbing a man's neck with both hands, body-slamming him and punching him isn't felony assault"

The Sheriff donated money to the Giantfascist campaign...

 

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