A Real Prize

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Memo to Joe Miller: YOU WIN THE WEEK!

Today, I answer the burning question that's been burning in your burning heart since I lit a burning fire in your heart yesterday. What the fuck could Joe Miller have done to out-crazy hanging with a biker gang, freaking out over Aqua Buddha, deciding the Hispanic Students Union "looked Asian", or completely spacing on two amendments to the Constitution?

Well, here's the thing. Do you remember, during the 2004 election especially, when Dubya would hold those fake town halls and those staged media events where anyone with the wrong T-Shirt or the wrong bumper sticker on their car were escorted from the premises by the authorities? And how fucking awful that was, and what a perversion of a free democracy it turned out to be?

Well, Joe Miller is like that, except he's not President, the victim isn't a protestor but rather a journalist inquiring into his past, and the "authorities" aren't authorities at all, but instead a shady private security firm that thinks it has the authority to handcuff and detain people. And then Miller lied his ass off about it. How do you like them moose apples?

Miller is, of course, the Tea Party darling and Sarah Palin endorsee who unseated establishment Republican Lisa Murkowski and is now running for US Senate. Murkowski is still running, but due to an inability to establish an Alaskans For Murkowski Party in time, is running as a write-in candidate. Miller's been dogged by questions about his past, specifically an incident of doing campaigny stuff during his political climb while on the public clock.

Miller responded to these allegations by saying he would not answer any questions about anything in his past, ever, and for the most part, this did not cause a huge stir because nobody ever cares about things candidates did before two weeks ago. At least not if they're Republicans and what they did wasn't attending an insufficiently pale and genteel church.

So already, we're into deep crazy territory in nearly any other election. But then, at a public event at a middle school, Alaska Dispatch reporter Tony Hopfinger was asking questions in the Forbidden Zone. So Miller's security team handcuffed Hopfinger, stuck him in a room, and told him he was "under arrest". When the police arrived, they let Hopfinger go, having determined there was no need to actually arrest the journalist.

Here's the deal. Private security doesn't really get to arrest people. They can do some light mall-cop citizen's arrest shit, but not without proper ID. Not just by putting on a suit and an earpiece and slapping handcuffs on people you find inconvenient in a public place. If 2010 America weren't already about as authoritarian as this nation has ever been, that alone would be enough for weeks of outrage. Plus, they didn't just arrest anyone, they arrested a journalist. For asking questions. Oh, they said he was "shoving" people, but I think we all know exactly how far we can trust that accusation.

But it's better. Because the security Miller hired isn't just your usual collection of bouncers, off-duty cops, and Guns And Ammo fanciers. They're called Drop Zone, for one thing, which I'm sure gives them all quite the paramilitary boner when they put on the t-shirts with what I have to assume is an angular, gunmetal or chrome DROP ZONE logo in some kind of sans serif extra bold. And working for Drop Zone that night? Two active duty members of the United States military.

The military has yet to confirm whether the two men had permission to moonlight as journalist-intimidating thugs for a deeply conservative political candidate, which I guess is supposed to make us all feel better? There are also reports that Drop Zone's owner is a militia asshole and that they'd let their security license expire nearly a year ago, but that's just the fucking icing on the cake, as far as I'm concerned.

No, the thing for me is that Joe Miller had his paramilitary goons lock up a reporter, then tried to justify it by saying the reporter followed him into the bathroom, and that he wouldn't have even HAD a security team there, but "We had to hire them because the school required that as a term in their lease." The bathroom thing may or may not be true, but the quote? Total fucking lie.

Now, the Murkowski write-in stuff makes the polling in Alaska strange and murky, but from everything I've seen, even after all this, there's a pretty good chance this douche could be Alaska's next senator. Aren't politics awesome?