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WATCH: Just Two Days After One GOP Politician ‘Body-Slammed’ a Journalist Texas Governor ‘Jokes’ About Shooting Reporters

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What was unacceptable a decade ago is now not only acceptable, but rewarded. And that’s a problem.

Late Wednesday afternoon Republican Greg Gianforte allegedly “body-slammed” a reporter who asked him a question about health care policy. On Friday morning, less than two days later, Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott “joked” about shooting reporters, while holding up a target at a gun range, where he had just signed a bill dramatically lowering the fee to obtain a license to buy a gun.

Texas Tribune journalist Patrick Svitek documented the event.

“I’m gonna carry this around in case I see any reporters,” Governor Abbott, who has declared war on LGBT, and especially transgender people, told, amazingly, reporters, Svitek included.

UPDATE: Here’s the video –

Cue the conservatives who no doubt will begin attacking liberals as both “anti-gun” and “can’t take a joke,” but the reality is we live in a society where basic acceptable norms of behavior, and yes, thought, are eroding quickly. 

If you doubt it, consider this.

On August 11, 2006, sitting Republican U.S. Senator George Allen of Virginia at a small outdoor campaign re-election gathering pointed out a young man who was recording his chat with supporters. He was a “tracker,” working for one of Allen’s opponents.

“This fellow here over here with the yellow shirt, Macaca, or whatever his name is. He’s with my opponent,” Allen told group. “Let’s give a welcome to Macaca, here. Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia.”

“Macaca” is a racial slur.

That was effectively the end of his Senate career. He lost his re-election bid because he used a slur against a minority individual.

On June 16, 2015 Donald Trump stood in the lobby of his New York City headquarters and told supporters he was going to run for president.

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” Trump infamously said. “They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

Donald Trump of course went on to win the White House. One month after being sworn in, Trump called the press “the enemy of the people.”

How we treat people in this country has changed, dramatically, and people like Donald Trump, and Greg Abbott, and Greg Gianforte, are in part, to varying degrees, to blame. What was unacceptable a decade ago is now not only acceptable, but rewarded.

Newsweek today said Governor Abbott’s “joke” was part of the “unrelenting Republican assault on the free press,” and noted it “would have been in exceedingly poor taste in any circumstances, but it is especially so now” because of the attack on the British journalist by Montana’s Greg Gianforte.

The last time journalists were murdered in the United States was on August 26, 2015, when Alison Parker and Adam Ward of a CBS affiliate in Roanoke, Virginia, were shot during a live segment. The killer was a disgruntled former employee. In 2007, a reporter for The Oakland Post, Chauncey Bailey, was shot and killed for investigations into allegations of corruption at Your Black Muslim Bakery, a popular business run by black nationalists. 

Those, however, were disparate incidents. Under President Donald Trump, suspicion and even hatred of the mainstream press has all but become dogma among some sectors of the Republican Party. Such a toxic relationship between a major political party and members of the press has not been witnessed since the days of Watergate.

Yes, cue the conservatives who no doubt will begin once again attacking liberals as both “anti-gun” and “can’t take a joke.” 

But get the ambulances ready too. Because, ultimately, and unfortunately, that where this leads.

Image:  via Twitter

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DEEP STATE HYSTERIA

Undercover Operatives Waged Sting Operation to Discredit ‘Deep State’ Officials on Trump’s Enemies List: NYT

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Undercover operatives from right wing Project Veritas worked with a former British spy trained by Betsy DeVos’ brother Erik Prince to wage a smear and sting operation to discredit “deep state” federal government officials on President Donald Trump’s enemies list while he was in office, including the National Security Advisor and FBI agents.

The New York Times broke the bombshell story, reporting that the “campaign included a planned sting operation against Mr. Trump’s national security adviser at the time, H.R. McMaster, and secret surveillance operations against F.B.I. employees, aimed at exposing anti-Trump sentiment in the bureau’s ranks.”

“The campaign,” the Times reports, “shows the obsession that some of Mr. Trump’s allies had about a shadowy ‘deep state’ trying to blunt his agenda — and the lengths that some were willing to go to try to purge the government of those believed to be disloyal to the president.”

“Central to the effort, according to interviews, was Richard Seddon, a former undercover British spy who was recruited in 2016 by the security contractor Erik Prince to train Project Veritas operatives to infiltrate trade unions, Democratic congressional campaigns and other targets. He ran field operations for Project Veritas until mid-2018.”

Last year, The New York Times reported that Mr. Seddon ran an expansive effort to gain access to the unions and campaigns and led a hiring effort that nearly tripled the number of the group’s operatives, according to interviews and deposition testimony. He trained operatives at the Prince family ranch in Wyoming.

The Times’ extensive reporting, which runs about 2700 words, does not reveal who initiated or who bankrolled the campaign.

The Times reports the operation was run out of a house that rented for $10,000 a month, and that it is not known if President Trump or his closest advisors, including family members, were aware of the operation or had anything to do with it.

“The operation against Mr. McMaster was hatched not long after an article appeared in BuzzFeed News about a private dinner in 2017. Exactly what happened during the dinner is in dispute, but the article said that Mr. McMaster had disparaged Mr. Trump by calling him an ‘idiot’ with the intelligence of a ‘kindergartner.'”

Those allegations were never proven, although they echo what some others inside the administration, like first Trump Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, had allegedly stated.

In the end, McMaster resigned amid far right-wing attacks, but no recordings of him calling Trump an “idiot.”

Read the entire New York Times investigation here.

Image: Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead via Flickr 
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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Newsmax Host Off Air After Online Outrage Over Antisemitic Remarks

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Newsmax TV host Grant Stinchfield will be off the air for the remainder of the week after massive outrage over his antisemitic remarks Wednesday night. Stinchfield claimed that American Jews’ “home country” is actually Israel, not the U.S., in a rant attacking President Joe Biden.

Eric Bolling, the former Fox News host who has seen his own share of controversy, in a tweet announced he will be covering for Stinchfield, which The Wrap reported.

“If you are Jewish and you are a Democrat and you are living in America today, how do you support an administration that turns its back on your home country?” Stinchfield had said, as Media Matters reported.

Outrage, especially from Americans who also identify as Jewish, was massive, as NCRM documented.

In March Stinchfield came under attack after claiming there was a “strong case” that President Joe Biden is “not really a Catholic.”

 

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CRIME

Active Duty US Marine Corps Officer Arrested for Alleged Role in January 6 Insurrection: DOJ

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The U.S. Dept. of Justice has announced the arrest of a 40-year old active duty U.S. Marine, a commissioned officer stationed at Quantico, for his alleged role in the January 6 insurrection.

Citing court documents and security camera footage, DOJ in a statement says Major Christopher Warnagiris “violently entered the Capitol on Jan. 6, after pushing through a line of police officers guarding the East Rotunda doors. Once inside, Warnagiris positioned himself in the corner of the doorway, using his body to keep the door open and pull others inside. When a U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) officer tried to pull the doors shut, Warnagiris refused and continued pushing it open. Warnagiris can be seen pushing the officer in an effort to maintain his position in the open door in security camera footage and publicly available video footage captured shortly after 2:25 p.m.”

Warnagiris “is charged with federal offenses that include assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers; obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder; and obstruction of justice, among other charges. Warnagiris will make his initial court appearance today at 2:00 p.m. in the Eastern District of Virginia,” the DOJ said.

HuffPost senior justice reporter Ryan J. Reilly adds:

On Wednesday several Republican members of Congress stated: “There was no insurrection. To call it an insurrection is a bold-faced lie,” the insurrectionists were merely “peaceful protestors,” and the attack on the U.S. Capitol looked like “a normal tourist visit.”

 

Image: DOJ

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