It just screams desperation now. The president seems to have failed to move the needle in the 2020 campaign with his bizarro alternate reality convention last week, so he's just going to turn up the dial on the conspiratorial fear-mongering, and the racism, from 11 to 16. In a truly deranged interview with Laura Ingraham of Fox News Monday night, he started blathering about a commercial plane full of Antifa supersoldiers in full uniform, funded by people "in the dark shadows," flying from "a certain city" that he'll "tell you sometime." By the end of this attempted horror story, the plane full of "thugs" had become "seven" people, and Ingraham, an interviewer doubling as his press secretary, was desperately trying to get the President of the United States to stop talking so crazy. (Turns out this little tale originated as Facebook detritus. Thanks, Zuck.) It was one of many such interventions from the Fox News anchor, as the network does all it can to prop up this raving lunatic.
Meanwhile, the president's number-one cable-news apparatchik was hard at work preparing the ground for a fascist action. Tucker Carlson hosted the "Acting" Secretary of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf, whom the Government Accountability Office found last month is illegally occupying that post in the federal government, to talk about the unrest on the streets of some American cities. There has been some vandalism and arson in places like Portland and Kenosha, though the vast majority of racial-justice protests since the killing of George Floyd—and, more recently, Jacob Blake—have been peaceful. There is no evidence the incidents of violence have been organized, and certainly not that they are some kind of top-down directive from the leaders of Black Lives Matter or Antifa—neither of which have traditional leadership.
But none of that was going to stop Tucker and Chad.
Acting DHS secretary says law enforcement is "working on" getting Black Lives Matter leaders arrested pic.twitter.com/KyFOFreB4C— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) September 1, 2020
It is traditionally a bad sign when senior members of the regime declare their intent to arrest protest leaders.
Carlson has consistently pushed the envelope from the right wing, demanding the Trump administration take a harder authoritarian line on street unrest than it has already. (This is the same Tucker Carlson, by the way, who had to go on vacation in July after his top scriptwriter was fired for doing freelance racism.) This time was no different, as the heir to a frozen-dinner fortune compared the "leaders of Antifa and BLM"—again, these groups have no discernible leadership structure, a trait common to many protest movements across the world today from Hong Kong to Belarus—to the Mafia, and demanded they be charged in a RICO conspiracy.
On the face of it, this makes no sense: how could the Feds arrest leaders who don't exist? But this question lacks imagination. Just as the Trumpists have successfully equated racial-justice protests to violence and anarchy in the Fox crowd's mind by pretty much exclusively talking about violence and anarchy while running B-roll of cars on fire—the same technique Trump uses to demonize immigrants by only talking about MS-13—Carlson is attempting to will a leadership structure into existence through sheer force of repetition and activating the lizard brain.
It raises the prospect that a good chunk of the country may soon believe there are insurrectionist leaders lurking in the shadows—funded by even more darkly-shadowed forces—and if the government, led by the president they support, starts arresting people as such, they will be primed to accept it. Celebrate it, even. Meanwhile, it would have the (real, intended) effect of chilling participation in protests among everyone else. Nobody wants to get thrown in an unmarked van by unidentified federal agents, whom, if we saw them at work in other countries, we'd call "secret police." Oh wait, that already happened.
Think this is all over the top? Did you notice what Chad said when Tucker demanded to know why this isn't happening already?
"This is something I've talked to the AG personally about," Chad said, referring to Bill Barr. The attorney general is purportedly the nation's top law-enforcement officer, but the current occupant of that office has an established record of fudging facts and meddling in criminal-justice proceedings to benefit the president and his political interests. "And I know that they are working on it," Chad added. Later, he suggested he and Barr chat about this weekly.
Chad then tried to conflate the prospect of these "leadership" arrests with the 300 arrests he says have already taken place across the country. But those have nothing to do with this supposed high-level conspiracy. They are random street arrests. Then Chad said Barr's Justice Department is "investigating the head of these organizations—the individuals that are paying for these individuals to move across the country." Nothing says "this is a real thing" like talk of individuals paying individuals, but then Chad went into some fear porn about roving bands of anarchist Marxist rioters roaming the country. When he followed that up immediately by pointing out 100 arrests in Kenosha were people from out of state, however, that does not mean they were part of this organized roving Antifa force. In fact, one of them was Kyle Rittenhouse, big fan of the president, who is accused of shooting two protesters dead.
Did we forget about this? That it was a Trump supporter and Blue Lives Matter type who actually shot a bunch of people, while the "rioters" have damaged property? (A Trump supporter was shot and killed in Portland this weekend, but there is no word yet on who's suspected in the crime.) That it was a guy once pictured front-row at one of the president's rallies who traveled to another city with an assault rifle and got into a deadly confrontation? Have you noticed the president has repeatedly refused to condemn this? That's the thing about "law and order": it doesn't mean the law applies equally to everyone, or that it should. It means that there's an order to things, and that both agents of the state and sympathetic citizens can use whatever means to enforce it. Just look at the aforementioned Laura Ingraham, who was back on the airwaves this morning to chat with Brian Kilmeade of Fox & Friends on his radio show.
When someone actually defends himself, upon being brutally attacked, that's the person that becomes the enemy. Now what does that say about our 2A rights? ... I don't want to prejudge the case. But I am going to say: We can't arrive at a place in our country where law abiding Americans who are trying to protect themselves and their property are made into the villains.
So now it's your Second Amendment right to travel to a city where you do not live and play policeman on their streets? It wasn't his property! It's not his job to protect it. And he wouldn't have had to protect himself if he hadn't gone there. If you are looking to restore order, you call the police. We as a polity have granted them that power through law and the mechanisms of democracy. It does not fall to people who've appointed themselves vigilantes and "militias," who are not accountable to the public, to do so. Of course, Tucker Carlson was making excuses for the Kenosha shooter the very next day.
This is all tied to the baseline fact that the president cannot and will not do the job, and his record in office shows it. His only option is unreason. He is promising to restore order to a country he already runs. He has completely failed, and now has given up, trying to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. He's overseen close to 22 percent of the world's deaths spread across just over four percent of its population, but rather than try to improve the actual response to the virus, Politico reports the Department of Health and Human Services wants to hire a firm to "defeat despair and inspire hope" about the pandemic. It's not about reality, it's about cooking up a new version, until enough people live in it that you stand a chance of winning the next election. Tucker and Chad are doing their part.
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