Trump Threatens to Designate ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization – Again?

In his ongoing attempts to inflame tensions, incite violence, and shift blame for his own failings onto others, Donald Trump took to his Twitter machine to once again divide the nation at a time when it most needs healing. The dystopian nightmare vision of Trump’s MAGA Night at the White House is fueling his latest outbursts of unbridled rage. And he seems oblivious to the fact that there have been more than 102,000 deaths from COVID-19 (coronavirus), 40,000,000 Americans out of work, and an economy that is floundering in depression territory.

Donald Trump, MAGA

With everything else that’s going on, Trump is desperately trying to deflect from his negligence and incompetence by exploiting the nationwide protests against the sort of systemic racism that killed George Floyd. He is purposefully politicizing it by attacking Democratic leaders and making wholly unsupported allegations against liberal activists. His Twitter feed on Sunday morning looked like a screed from a typical white supremacist website.

Trump began by offering Congratulations to our National Guard” for “shutting down” the mythical “Antifa anarchists.” Although it’s hard to shut down something for which there is zero proof of existing in the first place. That was followed by by his taking a bitterly partisan swipe at Democrat run Cities and States”And naturally he went after his arch nemesis, the “Lamestream Media” that he accused of doing everything within their power to foment hatred and anarchy.” Because the giant, multinational, billion dollar corporations that control the media just love anarchy. But perhaps the most bizarre twitticism was this:

There is so much wrong with that that it will require some extended analysis. First of all, there is no Antifa organization. At best it is a loose assembly of unaffiliated activists who are opposed to fascism, as are most patriotic Americans. That alone would rattle Trump whose fascistic tendencies are well documented. Secondly, Trump has no legal authority designate any domestic group as “terrorist.” The law only permits such designations for foreign entities. Thirdly, Trump’s Department of Homeland Security already designated whatever it thinks Antifa is as having engaged in terrorist acts way back in September of 2017:

“Federal authorities have been warning state and local officials since early 2016 that leftist extremists known as ‘antifa’ had become increasingly confrontational and dangerous, so much so that the Department of Homeland Security formally classified their activities as ‘domestic terrorist violence,’ according to interviews and confidential law enforcement documents obtained by POLITICO.”

However, Politico also noted that the rise of so-called “extremist” left-wing protests was actually incited by Trump:

“In interviews, law enforcement authorities made clear that Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric and policies — first as a candidate and then as president — helped to create a situation that has escalated so quickly and extensively that they do not have a handle on it.”

That’s true as well with regard to the current protests going on around the country. Contrary to the heated blather of Trump and his Attorney General Bill Barr, it is right-wing extremists who appear to be responsible for the violence that has marred the protests in recent days. Facts on the ground have shown that…

“…the demonstrations that caused so much damage included provocateurs, likely from outside the area. State officials said around 80 percent of those arrested in the Twin Cities on Friday were from outside Minnesota. Former FBI agent and CNN commentator, Josh Campbell wrote, that Minnesota ‘authorities have been monitoring alleged criminals online, including postings by suspected white supremacists trying to incite violence.'”

That’s consistent with studies on domestic terrorism conducted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security:

“There is empirical and anecdotal evidence that far-right hate groups pose a significant threat to public safety. Far-right extremists commit many violent attacks, and some scholars conclude that far-right extremists, especially groups motivated by religious ideology, are strong candidates to commit future acts using weapons of mass destruction”

It is also consistent with studies conducted by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL):

“From 2009 through 2018, right-wing extremists accounted for 73 percent of such killings, according to the ADL, compared with 23 percent for Islamists and 3 percent for left-wing extremists. In other words, most terrorist attacks in the United States, and most deaths from terrorist attacks, are caused by white extremists.”

So all the evidence points to right-wing extremists being responsible for domestic terrorism both generally over many years, and specifically with regard to the Floyd protests. Yet Trump and his confederates are spreading baseless lies to smear the protesters, Democrats, and liberals across the board. It’s a despicable act of disinformation and slander. But it is precisely what we would expect from Donald Trump as he swirls ever lower in the downward spiral of his failed presidency.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Trump’s Base: FBI Cites Right-Wing Conspiracy Groups Like QAnon as Domestic Terrorists

The incidence of racial hatred and violence has done nothing but increase during the administration of Donald Trump. In fact, the relationship between hate crimes and Trump is so tightly correlated that one study shows an increase in violence of 226 percent just in the counties where Trump has held a recent rally. And his ramping up of racist remarks aimed at congressional women of color surely isn’t helping.

Trump Charlotsville

Not surprisingly, the response to this flagrant bigotry from Trump’s Deplorables has been an outpouring of support. Polls show that Republican approval for Trump actually went up after his racist tirades. But within his own FBI, a new report is placing the blame for violence instigated by hate groups where it truly belongs:

“The FBI for the first time has identified fringe conspiracy theories as a domestic terrorist threat […] It lists a number of arrests, including some that haven’t been publicized, related to violent incidents motivated by fringe beliefs.”

Other non-partisan organizations have found similar evidence of this sort of violent activity, but this is the first time that it has been affirmed by the FBI with specific citations of the bad actors:

“The document specifically mentions QAnon, a shadowy network that believes in a deep state conspiracy against President Trump, and Pizzagate, the theory that a pedophile ring including Clinton associates was being run out of the basement of a Washington, D.C., pizza restaurant (which didn’t actually have a basement).”

“The FBI assesses these conspiracy theories very likely will emerge, spread, and evolve in the modern information marketplace, occasionally driving both groups and individual extremists to carry out criminal or violent acts.”

The report forecasts that “conspiracy theory-driven extremists are likely to increase during the 2020 presidential election cycle.” And FBI Director Christopher Wray (a Trump appointee) warned that “a majority of the domestic terrorism cases that we’ve investigated are motivated by some version of what you might call white supremacist violence.”

What the report leaves out is the link between these violent groups and Donald Trump. QAnon is built around a clandestine cabal of cultists who believe that Trump is heading up a secret society whose mission is to expose a child sex trafficking ring masterminded by Hillary Clinton. No really! And Trump has also been closely affiliated with conspiracy crackpots like Glenn Beck and Alex Jones of Infowars. However, the ability of law enforcement to reign in these organizations was greatly curtailed when, according to the Department of Homeland Security, “nearly all, if not all, the intelligence analysts focusing on domestic extremist groups” were eliminated under the Trump administration.

The publication of this report at this particular time has its own set of peculiarities. Most notable is the fact that Trump himself addressed the matter of domestic terrorism just last week, but from the completely opposite direction:

Bear in mind that there is no such thing as Antifa. There is no organization by that name, nor are there any acknowledged members. There are, however, people who are intensely anti-fascist, and they sometimes express that opposition with physical force aimed at the organizers and attendees of neo-Nazi rallies.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

You have to wonder why Trump chose to speak out for the first time on this subject five days before the release of an FBI report on violence by white nationalists. Did he get a heads up from the FBI? Was he attempting to sandbag the FBI’s study with his own phony narrative? Whatever the reason, the effect of Trump’s tweet was to excuse the documented brutality on the part of the people who make up his base of support. And you can be sure that Trump will never make a similar denouncement of the “gutless Radical [Right] Wack Jobs” who populate his rallies and on whose votes he relies.

Watch Fox News Try to Smear Democrats By Turning Antifa Into the ‘New’ New Black Panthers

The Fox News propagandists have been fiercely battling the flood of bad news for Donald Trump and the Republican Party. Lately there has been more than the usual onslaught of lies and ignorance. Consequently, they have escalated their use of a hollow tactic that has come to be known as “Whataboutism.” So anytime someone brings up something negative about Trump or the GOP, Fox News responds with “What about this other thing?” It’s a means of avoiding a coherent defense when you obviously don’t have one.

Fox News

That strategy was in full force Monday morning when Fox News hosted a couple of pundits to discuss violent protests. The premise put forth by Fox was that “leftists” were not being sufficiently condemned for their acts of violence. The main reason for that is that leftists have not been engaging in any organized violent activities. What Fox News tried to pin on Democrats was behavior by the shadowy and leaderless group of anti-fascists known as Antifa. (See video below).

But here’s the problem with that. Antifa is not a Democratic movement. They do not campaign for Democrats. They do not vote for Democrats. None of them run for office as Democrats. And actual Democrats do not appear at their events. On the other hand, the alt-right, white nationalist, KKK crowd are tightly bound to Republicans. They openly campaign for GOP candidates and celebrate their electoral victories. Particularly that of Donald Trump. They feature GOP representatives at their rallies. And they have even run for office as Republicans.

It is entirely appropriate to expect a group of pro-Republican extremists to be renounced by the Republican Party. And when Trump failed to do so after the Charlottesville tragedy, he was effectively welcoming their support. However, Democrats cannot be expected to distance themselves from a group that they are in no way affiliated with. They can renounce violence broadly, and they have done so repeatedly. But they aren’t responsible for a group that isn’t among their supporters.

The efforts by Fox News to falsely tie Antifa to Democrats is reminiscent of their prior attempts to do the same with the ludicrous New Black Panthers. That was a group that may have had no more than four members, but Fox News built them up into a national terrorist enterprise. It was largely Megyn Kelly who focused on this nonsense. But now many hosts, contributors, and guests on Fox are pounding the Antifa drums.

This morning’s segment was a perfect example. Anchor Sandra Smith began by alluding to “Violence breaking out as thousands of left and right protesters descending on Berkeley.” The alt-right protesters were referred to as peaceful, but their motives were exposed simply by where they chose to protest. They knew that Berkeley would not be an especially welcoming locale. They were inviting counter-protests. But Fox’s Republican pundit, Lisa Boothe, immediately went on the attack against Democrats.

Boothe: I think we’re just seeing a lot of violence and a lot of hate in this country, and we have for a number of years recently. We saw it with the violence in Fergusson and Baltimore, where people are getting way out of hand. And I think what we really need to see is people marginalizing some of these hate groups. […] Unfortunately, we’re not seeing that same rebuke of groups like Antifa. I’ve not seen one Democratic leader say that these groups should stop their ways, should stop what we saw in Berkeley. Where is Congresswoman Barbara Lee who represents the thirteenth district of California? Where is former Speaker Nancy Pelosi?

Boothe completely avoided the alt-right’s record of violence and murder to blame Democrats for not denouncing a tiny fringe group that they have nothing to do with. The group would already be marginalized were it not for the publicity they get on Fox News. And contrary to Boothe’s tunnel-blind assessment, Democrats have condemned all violence of the sort that Boothe is addressing. The Democrat on the segment, Christie Setzer, had some trouble getting in her comments.

Setzer: I was just as horrified as most people by what transpired in Charlottesville. And I was equally inspired by what happened in Boston. Which is to say that there was a small number of neo-Nazi, KKK, and other hate groups who were calling themselves a free speech rally, but in fact were organized by a lot of the same people who were in charlottesville. And they were surrounded by 40,000 peace-loving, good Bostonians saying ‘We will not accept hate in our city, in our town, in our country.’

Setzer attempted to continue her remarks to insist that “We don’t want violent protests anywhere.” But Smith interrupted her saying that she “wanted Lisa to have the last word.” Never mind that Boothe had the first word and much longer uninterrupted time. Boothe used her conclusion to say that “We’ve seen the media prop up groups like Antifa.” Then complained again that Democrats had not denounced them, even though Setzer just did.

Boothe’s last comment, however, was true. It is the media that has propped up Antifa. Primarily the conservative media. They need it to deploy their Whataboutism tactic whenever there is violence from the alt-right supporters of the GOP. Some members of Antifa may be well-meaning anti-fascists, and who can argue with that? But the faction within the group that advocates violence is counterproductive to their own goals. That said, they still have no affiliation with the Democratic Party and it is dishonest for Fox News to make that linkage. But being dishonest has never stopped Fox before from disseminating lies in support of the Republican agenda. So we can expect this promotion and hyperbole about Antifa to continue until Fox News finds some even newer fake movement to promote.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.