Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.com.
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Reprinted with permission from Media Matters
After the Anti-Defamation League again called for Fox News host Tucker Carlson's firing due to his promotion of the white nationalist "great replacement" conspiracy theory, Carlson's first response was to tell a podcast interviewer, "Fuck them." His second was to use his prime-time show to blame a Jew for the resettlement of Afghan refugees in "your" neighborhood, echoing the apparent motivation of the alleged perpetrator of the 2018 Pittsburgh synagogue massacre.
Carlson is the nation's most prominent advocate for the "great replacement" conspiracy theory, which posits that elites are trying to gain and entrench their power by using mass immigration to systematically replace white people with people of color in the U.S. and other Western countries. This noxious viewpoint was once limited to internet fever swamps, but Carlson has helped make it increasingly mainstream in the Republican Party.
On Thursday, Carlson drew cheers from white nationalists with his most unambiguous endorsement of the theory yet. He explicitly referenced "great replacement," while alleging that President Joe Biden wants to "change the racial mix of the country" by replacing "legacy Americans with more obedient people from far-away countries" for political gain.
The next night, just hours after ADL called for his firing, Carlson singled out Jewish financier and philanthropist George Soros for his role in promoting the resettlement of Afghans "without the consent of the people who live there," through the group Welcome.US. According to Carlson, Soros' motivation is that he "hate[s] this country and want[s] to destroy it."
"It doesn't matter what you want, you're just a citizen," Carlson spat. "Shut up. George Soros is richer than you, he decides what you get."
Carlson added that Soros and the Clintons, Bushes, and Obamas, who are honorary co-chairs of the group, "have no idea who we are because they know nothing about the country." He concluded by promising more reporting in the future about what he learned in Hungary, where Viktor Orbán, the country's autocratic leader touted by Carlson, has waged a years-long war on Soros and his organizations.
Soros has long been a focus of right-wing media attacks for his role in funding progressive political candidates and organizations (including Media Matters). Those attacks often feature anti-Semitic overtones.
Carlson's chyron described Welcome.US as "Soros' Afghan Resettlement Org," and his commentary suggested that Soros is playing a lead role. But in reality, Soros' Open Society Foundations is one of more than 250 "organizations, leaders, and businesses" involved in the group. Other partners include such notorious America-hating radical organizations as the American Red Cross, Save the Children, the Episcopal Migration Ministries, and the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and charities from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are also helping with the effort to resettle Afghan refugees.
But Carlson isn't focusing his fire on any of those myriad nonprofit and faith groups involved in resettling Afghans. He chose to focus his fire very specifically on Soros, while portraying refugee resettlement as part of a plot to destroy the country. There's a very dark history to that brand of attack.
Carlson feigned confusion as to why the ADL would concern itself with his "great replacement" commentary in his initial comments to the podcaster. But as the group's initial letter calling for Carlson's firing explains, that conspiracy theory provided motivations for a series of hate-fueled mass shootings -- including the 2018 attack on worshippers at a Pittsburgh synagogue that killed 11 people. The alleged gunman, a white nationalist, had accused the Jewish refugee resettlement organization HIAS shortly before the attack of bringing Central American "invaders" into the U.S, and he claimed that Jews were "committing genocide" against his people after being captured at the scene.
Now Carlson is offering virtually the same claim from Fox's 8 p.m. hour, simply swapping Soros in for HIAS and leaving references to Jews implicit.
In 2018, Fox executives at least pretended to care about the network serving as a platform for vile rhetoric that echoed the alleged shooter. After Fox Business triggered a firestorm shortly after the attack by rebroadcasting Judicial Watch research director Chris Farrell's false claim that Soros had masterminded a caravan of Central American migrants headed for the U.S. border, Farrell was permanently banned from Fox News and Fox Business.
But there were no repercussions for more prominent Fox personalities who propagated that same lie. And Fox executives all the way up to Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch have since become even more invested in and supportive of Carlson using his platform to spew blood-soaked conspiracy theories.
Correction (9/27/21): This piece originally included the wrong name for the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service.
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Reprinted with permission from DailyKos
The next time that right-wing gaslighters—whether Tucker Carlson or other far-right pundits, or Republican congressmen—try to valorize the insurrectionists who attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6 by depicting them as harmless protesters, it might be helpful for everyone to review the case of Proud Boy Dominic Pezzola, charged with conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, assault, and multiple other felonies.
The bearded Pezzola, a 44-year-old Rochester, New York, man, is a familiar figure in photos from January 6 as the man who stole a police riot shield and used it to break windows on the south side of the Capitol. He was in court again this week in an attempt to win pretrial release from the D.C. Detention Center, and evidence released in that hearing demonstrate once again how violent and dangerous the insurrectionists were in reality.According to a memorandum filed by prosecutors in the detention hearing this week, among the evidence in his case was a USB thumb drive containing instructions on building homemade bombs, as well as guns and poisons, The Daily Beast reports.
Pezzola was one of the leaders in the Proud Boys' assault on the Capitol, prosecutors allege, along with fellow indictees Ethan Nordean and Joe Biggs, who have made similar legal attempts to obtain pretrial release. If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison on the obstruction charge alone.
FBI agents searching Pezzola's home found the thumb drive there, and discovered "hundreds" of PDF files with instructions on building terrorist devices at home. "A sample of titles includes, but is not limited to: multiple serials of a series entitled 'Advanced Improvised Explosives,' those serials including 'Explosive Dusts' and 'Incendiaries'; 'The Box Tube MAC-11,' with subtitle, 'The Ultimate DIY Machine Pistol;' 'Ragnar's Big Book of Homemade Weapons;' 'The Advanced Anarchist's Arsenal: Recipes For Improvised Incendiaries And Explosives.'"
Prosecutors allege Pezzola confronted Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman outside the Senate Chamber as part of a mob. "Where they meeting at?" Pezzola said, referring to the members of Congress voting to certify Joe Biden's win. "Where they counting the votes?"
In an earlier document filed in August, prosecutors claimed that Pezzola explicitly proclaimed in a video shot inside the Capitol that his intent was to interrupt the count:
Pezzola uploaded a victory speech to social media. Smoking a cigar, he exclaimed: "Victory smoke in the Capitol, boys. This is fucking awesome. I knew we could take this motherfucker over [if we] just tried hard enough." Pezzola concedes that he smoked the victory cigar because "he considered the objective achieved, stopping the certification of the election pursuant to the instructions of the then President."
Pezzola's previous attorney had written in court filings that he believed a so-called "cooperating witness" was sharing information about the Proud Boys. An earlier filing by prosecutors had revealed that this witness heard Proud Boys members claim that "anyone they got their hands on they would have killed," including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and that they would have also killed then-Vice President Mike Pence "if given the chance." The men—who all had firearms or access to them—also talked about returning to Washington for Inauguration Day, and that "they plan to kill every single 'm-fer' they can." That witness, prosecutors noted, has not been charged with a crime.
His previous attempts at winning release on bond denied by two different federal judges, Pezzola hired a new legal team to make a third attempt. Those attorneys, Marty Tankleff and Steven Metcalf, argued in court this week that the restrictions the D.C. Jail places on his access to the voluminous evidence in the case violate his constitutional rights.
However, they seem not to have persuaded the judge: "Even if defense were to be able to show a Constitutional violation in the way he's being detained, the remedy wouldn't be to release him, the remedy would be to remedy the Constitutional violations," Federal Judge Timothy Kelly said.
"Pezzola poses both a serious danger to the community and a serious risk of flight," prosecutors argued.
Just a reminder, once again, that there's a reason prosecutors are considering charges of "seditionist conspiracy" against some of these conspirators—and why "insurrection" is precisely the right term to describe what they attempted that day.
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