It’s 3 AM. Do You Know Where Your Violent Protest Is?

Earlier tonight on his FoxNews show, Tucker Carlson said we need to be afraid of Antifa again because they’re organizing “violence” across the country tonight. He even cited comments by the head of the “Fredericksburg, Maryland chapter” to buttress his claims. But at 3AM, all appears to be quiet in our major cities – or they’re at least not being disturbed by violent hordes of anti-Fascists. The FoxNews webpage has no stories on violent protests happening this evening, nor do CNN’s or MSNBC’s. So, what happened? Where did the protests go?

As may be obvious, there never were any protests planned. The threat was a lie. Antifa isn’t organizing anything. It can’t. Why not? Because Antifa isn’t an organization in any normally understood meaning of the word. There’s no organizational structure, no leader/president/CEO, no headquarters or local/regional chapters (not even in Fredericksburg, Maryland). There’s no way to apply to be a member, no membership fee or donations, no member roster, no membership list, no meetings and – sorry Tucker – no organizational plans. It can’t be a militia, and it can’t be mobilizing to commit violence because it doesn’t exist in that form.

Antifa is a portmanteau used to indicate that someone or something opposes Fascism. It literally means “anti-Fascist” and came into vogue to describe the tactics employed by people protesting Fascism. Some right-wing leaders and broadcasters, however, have made it one of their biggest boogiemen, casting it as an mysterious, violent group dedicated to ruining our way of life (and by their reckoning, “our” means “white people’s”.)

There are sufficient genuine threats in the world that we don’t need either side creating imaginary ones. While it’s possible that some people opposed to Fascism are plotting to engage in violence, “Antifa” as an organization is not. Rather than telling scary stories about large groups planning to riot “on both coasts and in the middle,” wouldn’t it be better to focus on any actual, known threats? The problem with that, of course, is that focusing only on real threats doesn’t scare nearly enough people, and history has shown that one of the most effective ways to get communities to accept an authoritarian, totalitarian, or Fascist government is to keep them afraid, and offer authoritarianism as the best way to protect everyone.

By morning, most who saw Tucker’s breathless fear-mongering will have forgotten there were supposed to be violent riots overnight, but the bit of fear he inflicted upon them as they watched his show will still be there. They’ve been given another reason to fear “Antifa” – whatever that may be – and have subconsciously absorbed it. And that’s how an imaginary “political militia” engages in imaginary “violence” and becomes another reason for people to think they need a strongman government to protect them.

The Five Scariest Words I’ve Heard This Week…

Here’s a phrase that should send shivers down just about anyone’s spine: Vice-President Marjorie Taylor Green.

Don’t laugh. Well, not too much, anyway. She’s serious about this.

NBC News says, MTG wants to be Trump’s running mate in 2024.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., is angling to be Donald Trump’s running mate in 2024, according to two people who have spoken to the firebrand second-term congresswoman about her ambitions.

“This is no shrinking violet, she’s ambitious — she’s not shy about that, nor should she be,” said Steve Bannon, the former top Trump aide who hosts the War Room podcast, where Greene has been a guest.

“She sees herself on the short list for Trump’s VP. Paraphrasing Cokie Roberts, when MTG looks in the mirror she sees a potential president smiling back,” he added, referencing Roberts, the late political reporter who worked for NPR, ABC News and other outlets.

A second source who has advised Greene said her “whole vision is to be vice president.” The source, who has ties to Trump but spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations, said he also believes Greene would be on Trump’s short list.

This ambition explains a few things she’s said and done lately, such as distancing herself from the “Q-Anon” conspiracy. Speaking to Howard Kurtz on FOX News, she claimed that “like a lot of people” she “had easily gotten sucked into some things I had seen on the internet.”

Snopes notes that this is similar to an earlier remark she’d made about her following Q-Anon.

Back in 2021 when she was stripped of her House committee assignments, she said her past comments about QAnon “do not represent me” and she was “was allowed to believe things that weren’t true […].” She added that she regretted that she “would ask questions about them and talk about them.”

[She was “allowed” to? Who do you go to to get permission to believe in crazy conspiracy theories?]

She has also bound herself tightly to Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who is rewarding her help in recruiting representatives to vote for his Speakership by giving her a place on two choice committee seats. “I will never leave that woman,” McCarthy told a friend, according to the New York Times. “I will always take care of her.” And taking care of her means assignments to high-profile, powerful committees – the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability and the House Committee on Homeland Security.

Two years is a long time, and loyalty among Republicans is highly volatile, but if McCarthy, trump and Green can maintain their bonds until the election, don’t be surprised if you hear Greene’s name floated for the Vice Presidency.

David Crosby 1941 – 2023

David Crosby with an extremely large joint

David Crosby, a singer and guitarist who played with The Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash/Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, has passed away at 81. According to Slate:

The Croz, who died Thursday at the age of 81 following a “long illness,” embodied the rebellious, abrasive, creatively innovative spirit of late-’60s California as well as anyone of his time. As the co-founder of two of the greatest American rock bands—the Byrds, and Crosby, Stills & Nash (& sometimes Young)—Crosby played an indelible role in some of the most influential tunes of the folk-rock era: for the Byrds, songs like “Eight Miles High” and their covers of Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man” and Pete Seeger’s “Turn! Turn! Turn!” (both No. 1 hits), and for CSN(Y), tracks like “Guinnevere,” “Wooden Ships,” and “Almost Cut My Hair.” He also played with several other notable artists of the period, adding his jazzy six-string licks and vocal harmonies to recordings by James Taylor, Jackson Browne, Carole King, and onetime girlfriend Joni Mitchell (whose career took off because of Crosby, and who later broke up with his cheating ass by penning a song about it).

One of Rock’s great elder statesmen, Crosby had a long and prolific career. His last studio album, “For Free” was released in 2021, and was followed by a live album in 2022.

…and Domestic

A man with very short cropped black hair, wearing glasses, a black jacket, grey t-shirt and khaki pants is being arrested by two heavily armed police officers wearing bulletproof vests over their uniform tops.

We were reminded again yesterday of the growing threat domestic terrorism poses. From the AP:

A failed Republican state legislative candidate who authorities say was angry over losing the election last November and made baseless claims that the election was “rigged” against him was arrested Monday in connection with a series of drive-by shootings targeting the homes of Democratic lawmakers in New Mexico’s largest city.

Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina held a news conference Monday evening hours after SWAT officers arrested Solomon Pena at his home.

The AP also noted:

Police said Pena, an election denier, had approached county and state lawmakers after his loss claiming the contest had been rigged against him despite no evidence of widespread voter fraud in New Mexico in 2020 or 2022. The shootings began shortly after those conversations.

The shootings began Dec. 4, when eight rounds were fired at the home of Bernalillo County Commissioner Adriann Barboa. Days later, state Rep. Javier Martinez’s home was targeted. On Dec. 11, more than a dozen rounds were fired at the home of Bernalillo County Commissioner Debbie O’Malley, police said.

The final related shooting, targeting state Sen. Linda Lopez’s home, unfolded in the midnight hour of Jan. 3. Police said more than a dozen shots were fired, including three that Lopez said passed through the bedroom of her sleeping 10-year-old daughter.

Fortunately, no one was injured in the shootings, but four families have been traumatized, or perhaps I should say four more as they are hardly alone.

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About Those Documents…

Given the controversy surrounding the discovery of retained classified documents at Trump’s Mar-A-Lago residence, you’d think that when Joe Biden people discovered documents at his former office in November last year that they’d have done everything to ensure their response would be impeccable.

You’d think.

Apparently, that’s not the case, and Biden has now handed the Republicans even more toys to play with. It turns out that there wasn’t just one set of documents, or even two, as a third document has now been discovered. The first batch came from his University of Pennsylvania office, the second and third from his Wilmington, Deleware home. The problem is, it took them 48 days after the first discovery to either look for or report finding the 2nd one, and another 23 days for the third. While nothing about the delays appears to be potentially criminal, it doesn’t look good.

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Right On Cue

A couple of days ago, I mentioned that I expected trump would be demanding searches at Pres. Biden’s home over news that documents had been found in a locked closet in an office he used from 2017-2019, and according to The Hill, he’s fired his first salvo:

Trump himself sounded a similar theme on social media.

“When is the FBI going to raid the many homes of Joe Biden, perhaps even the White House?,” he asked on Truth Social.

In the same article, The Hill also notes that the House of Representatives has formed an investigatory committee on the “Weaponization of the FBI” and predict that it will be used to investigate the Biden document situation as well.

The panel, which is in essence looking into what Trump calls “the Deep State” and what his critics say is a conspiratorial fiction, was created on a straight party-line vote. The panel is sure to probe deeper into the Biden documents.

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Lying Liar Lies Some More

I’m beginning to wonder if George Santos, the Pinocchio of the House of Representatives, has ever been caught doing or saying anything honest.

According to CNBC, one of his fund-raising tactics for both his 2020 and 2022 Congressional campaigns was to have someone from his staff call wealthy donors and impersonate Dan Meyer, who is Kevin McCarthy’s Cheif of Staff.

CNBC also reported that the Campaign Legal Center, a non-partisan watchdog group, has filed a complaint with the FEC with questions about how Santos was able to loan his own campaign $705,000 when he only has a middle-class income. Among the CLC’s concerns are the possibilities that he

…violated federal campaign finance laws by engaging in a straw donor scheme to knowingly and willfully conceal the true sources of $705,000 that Santos purported to loan to his campaign; deliberately reporting false disbursement figures on FEC disclosure reports, among many other reporting violations; and illegally using campaign funds to pay for personal expenses, including rent on a house that Santos lived in during the campaign.

In addition, there are concerns that because he has been concealing the sources of his donations that he may have taken donations from corporations or foreign nationals, both of which are illegal for Federal candidates.

Given the sheer number of other lies Santos has told, it’s appropriate that his finances should be given a very close look, as it seems that politicians lie about money more than anything, except maybe sex.

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other

As you’ve likely heard by now, former President Trump has been under investigation for having removed several classified documents from the White House as he was leaving in 2020 and may be facing serious legal consequences because of them.

He was asked to return them by the National Archives and, when he failed to return all of them, the FBI searched his home at Mar-a-Lago to try to find the rest. He has spent the last several months bitterly complaining that the documents are his (they aren’t) and must be returned immediately (they won’t be.) He’s said that he declassified them (but left no record of his having told anyone about it, which is an important step.) He also filed a suit to try to stop the investigation, but the suit was dismissed by the District Court.

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