Three stories this week are linked by a common thread: Defiance.
“I’m telling you right now,” Trump ally Steve Bannon told reporters outside an FBI field office in Washington, “this is going to be the misdemeanor from hell for Merrick Garland, Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden.”
We’re “going to go on the offense,” Bannon said even as he live-streamed a cell phone video of his statement.
In a separate judgement this week, far-right conspiracy theorist and Infowars host, Alex Jones, must pay damages to 10 families of the Sandy Hook shooting tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, after repeatedly touting on his show that the tragedy that took the lives of 20 children and 6 adults was a “giant hoax” orchestrated by the government.
“These individuals, again,” Jones said, “are not allowing me to have a jury trial because they know the things they said I supposedly did didn’t happen. They know they don’t have a case for damages. And so the judge is saying you are guilty of damages, now a jury decides how guilty you are. It’s not guilty until proven guilty.”
“Connecticut Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis cited the defendants’ ‘willful noncompliance’ with the discovery process as the reasoning behind the ruling. Bellis noted that defendants failed to turn over financial and analytics data that were requested multiple times by the Sandy Hook family plaintiffs.”
Jones has also been banned by YouTube, Twitter, iTunes, Roku and Facebook for his behavior and hate speech.
In the same week, the House of Representatives took the rare act of censuring one of their own members. Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ) was censured and removed from congressional committees “for tweeting an anime video that depicted him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and swinging swords at President Biden.
“Gosar rebuffed calls to apologize… for what he described as a ‘false narrative’ that the video was ‘dangerous or threatening,’” and removed the tweet from his social media account.
While many House republicans voiced disapproval of Gosar’s video posting. None asked their colleague to apologize. And none directly labeled the actions despicable.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez precisely summed up the issue. “Wednesday’s resolution is not about her or Gosar, but rather about ‘what we are willing to accept.’
“‘What is so hard about saying that this is wrong?’ she asked.”
I would ask those House Republicans who downplayed Gosar’s behavior one question: Would you tolerate or downplay this kind of behavior from your own son or daughter?
Nonetheless, Bannon, Jones and Gosar remain defiant in the face of the decisions.
Bannon has refused to turn over documents ordered by the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol building and continues to spread the lies told by Trump and his allies that the 2020 election was stolen. On the front steps of the FBI filed office, Bannon told supporters, “I don’t want anybody to take their eye off the ball from what we do every day, OK,” Bannon said to a camera for his online show ‘WarRoom.’ “I want you guys to stay focused on message.”
Likewise, Alex Jones refused to produce documents to the court.
Last month, a Texas court “ruled that Mr. Jones and his legal team exercised ‘flagrant bad faith and callous disregard for the responsibilities of discovery under the rules.’ In more than three years of litigation, Mr. Jones and his lawyers had similarly failed to produce documents and take other actions ordered by the court.”
Jones’s defiance knows no bounds. “He’s has been sanctioned before by Judge Bellis, including after he went on his show with his attorney, Norm Pattis, at his side and offered $1 million for the head of Mr. Mattei, the Connecticut families’ lawyer, ‘on a pike.’”
“The judge ruled on Monday that because Mr. Jones had refused to turn over documents ordered by the courts, including financial records, he was liable by default. The decision, combined with previous rulings in Texas . . . means Mr. Jones has lost all the defamation lawsuits filed against him by the families of 10 victims.
Lawyers for Jones said he would appeal.
Besides the common link of defiance of the law and in Gosar’s case, an incredible act of indecency, both have millions of supporters.
InfoWars’ website boasts approximately “10 million monthly visits,” Wikipedia reports. Bannon’s support is tied to millions of Trump supporters. And Gosar is not only supported by Trump Republican, but millions more in Arizona.
You would think Gosar would learn from his mistake. However, on the website, Political Wire, Nick Martin writes, “Before his censure, Congressman Paul Gosar made a big deal about having deleted the anime video depicting him killing AOC. Others in the Republican Party cited the deletion as a sign of good faith. Now, after the censure, Gosar has re-posted the same video,”
“And it’s gone,” Martin writes. “Congressman Paul Gosar took the anime video down again, this time after leaving it up for two hours.”
So much for Republican’s “good faith.”
This is what passes for integrity by most House Republicans.