Thursday, June 15, 2017

As news media exploit partisan divide, Trump critics think or act out violently

From Nate Beeler, cartoonist at The Columbus Dispatch in Ohio. Too bad the major political parties are unable to agree on much else.

-- HACKENSACK, N.J.

UPDATE: Rep. Steve Scalise, who was critically wounded by a gunman on Wednesday, served in the State Legislature in Louisiana, which has the loosest gun laws in the nation and high gun violence.

By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

The two major political parties are calling for "unity" after the shooting of the No. 3 Republican in the House of Representatives.

But you can be sure that as long as Republicans hold a majority in Congress and the news media continually fan the flames of partisanship, the two parties won't agree on tightening gun controls to reduce violence, health care or anything else.

The gunman, James T. Hodgkinson, 66, used an assault weapon to shoot Rep. Steve Scalise, a Republican from Louisiana, in the hip, and wound four others, including two Capitol Police officers and a lobbyist for Tyson Foods.

According to the The Huffington Post, the bullet "traveled across his [Scalise's] pelvis, fracturing bones, injuring internal organs and causing internal bleeding," leaving the congressman in critical condition. 

The gunman was described as a Bernie Sanders supporter and Trump critic. He was shot and killed by police.

On his Facebook page, a photo shows Hodgkinson carrying a sign calling for higher taxes on the rich, and in a TV interview, he complained about the 1% mistreating the 99%.

News coverage

The Huffington Post headline reads: 


"For Washington, A Day of Baseball,
 Blood and Brotherhood"

But The Record of Woodland Park exploited the shooting with hysterical headlines:

"TARGETING
REPUBLICANS?"

Illinois man with history
of anti-Trump rants wounds 5

A second story ran under this headline:

"Scalise
gunman
raged on 
Facebook"

Violent acts

Supporters of Donald J. Trump were seen assaulting journalists, blacks and others during the 2016 presidential campaign, and they sent death threats to Jewish reporters.

But Hodgkinson is the first person identified as a critic of the president to have committed violence against a Republican.

A Trump-like Julius Caesar was stabbed to death in the Public Theater production that opened Monday night in New York's Central Park.

That followed the shocking photo of comedian Kathy Griffin holding a likeness of the president's bloody severed head. 

Who is Scalise?

Scalise, the congressman who was shot on Wednesday on a baseball field in Alexandria, Va., is a conservative who supported Trump's executive order banning citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.

Scalise's 2002 appearance before a group founded by anti-Semite David Duke, former head of the Ku Klux Klan, wasn't revealed until 2014, according to Wikipedia:

"In 2002, Scalise was a speaker at a convention for the European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO), a group which was founded by David Duke. This was revealed in 2014, after political blogger Lamar White Jr. uncovered anonymous comments from 2002 on Stormfront, a white supremacist website, which made reference to Scalise as a 2002 speaker at the convention. 
"Scalise confirmed that he had spoken at the EURO conference in 2002 and stated at the time he did not know of the 'racist nature of the group.'
"Scalise said he spoke about state tax legislation and that EURO was 'one of the many groups that I spoke to regarding this critical legislation' further stating that this is a group 'whose views I wholeheartedly condemn.' Scalise apologized for speaking to the group saying, 'It was a mistake I regret, and I emphatically oppose the divisive racial and religious views groups like these hold.'
"Various Louisiana politicians, including Republican Governor Bobby Jindal and Democratic Congressman Cedric Richmond defended Scalise's character. 
"Speaker of the House John Boehner voiced his continued confidence in Scalise as Majority Whip.
"Several Democratic members of Congress, as well as Mo Elleithee, a spokesperson for the Democratic National Committee, criticized Scalise, and challenged his statement that he was not aware of the group's affiliation with racism and anti-Semitism. Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center called upon Scalise to step down from his leadership position as Majority Whip."

Trump probe 

Meanwhile, The New York Times, Washington Post and other news outlets are reporting the investigation into ties between President Trump's campaign and the Russian government has now turned to investigating Trump himself for obstruction of justice.

"The expansion of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation would represent the clearest legal threat to date for Trump, who has long maintained that he is not personally" in jeopardy, USA Today reports (The Record's 1A).

Christie rating

And another front-page story in The Record today reports Governor Christie's job approval rating dropped to 15 percent -- the worst rating for any governor in any state surveyed by Quinnipiac University in 20 years.

The poll released Wednesday said 81% of registered voters in New Jersey disapprove of the job Christie is doing. Among Republicans, 58% turn thumbs down.

The election to pick his successor is set for Nov. 7, and it won't by any stretch of the imagination be a referendum on Trump's chaotic rule, as reported in The Record.

New Jerseyans got sick of Christie and his hundreds of vetoes long before the 2016 presidential election.

They blame him for the Bridgegate scandal, although he was never charged; and have been itching to get rid of the GOP bully for many years.