At CPAC this year, the NRA head Wayne LaPierre, delivered a chilling speech to his audience warning that American freedoms are under attack from, “a tidal wave of European style socialism that seizes the democratic party.”  LaPierre told his listeners that the Democrats are, “A party that is now infested with saboteurs who don’t believe in capitalism, don’t believe in the constitution, don’t believe in our freedom, and don’t believe in America as we know it.”

But really, LaPierre was not warning about the Democrats, but something much more insidious.  His grave warnings of “European style socialism” was a code phrase, a micro-message implanted in his overall narrative.  It was a wink and a nod to those in the know.

The then NRA leader continued by discussing security in the aftermath of school shootings, stating that, “Our jewelry stores all over this country are more important than our children.”  He continued by talking about how our banks, movie theaters, politicians, and celebrities are more important to protect than our children at school, as they have better security. But it was no mistake that this statement was front loaded by mentioning jewelry stores.  Those familiar with the diamond industry, particularly in New York City, know what this is a reference to.

In all, LaPierre mentioned fifteen individuals who pose a threat to American freedom.  Seven of them — including Bernie Sanders, Saul Alinsky, Chuck Schumer, George Soros, Michael Bloomberg, Tom Steyer, and Karl Marx — are Jews.  Another person mentioned is Senator Kamala Harris, who is married to a Jew.  And Andrew Cuomo, who is Catholic but is a huge supporter of Israel and the Jewish community in New York.

During the CPAC speech, LaPierre said that while the election of President Trump was critical, it, “cannot turn away the wave of these European style socialists bearing down upon us.”  He continued by explaining that these secret saboteurs politicize the Department of Justice, weaponize the IRS, and cripple both the FBI and Intelligence Community while embedding their own leadership in each organization in order to advance their agenda.

This notion that our institutions of government are being infiltrated by a Jewish conspiracy is something that is gaining momentum, but today it isn’t just on weird public access television shows or pirate radio stations like back in the 1990’s.  Today these ideas are given credibility in the mainstream media.

Chris Farrell, Judicial Watch’s director of investigations, went on Lou Dobbs’ show to repeat the conspiracy theory that the caravan of Central American migrants heading to the United States is being funded by the “Soros occupied State Department.”  George Soros has become the arch-boogey man of the American right since Glenn Beck began speaking out against him when he had a television show on Fox News back around 2009.  In this case, Chris Farrell used “Soros-occupied” as a flimsy stand in for the more common “Zionist-occupied government” term used by anti-Semites.  The Fox Business Network has since banned Farrell from appearing on the show again, due to the Soros comment.

George Soros is to the right what the Koch Brothers (or more recently, Russian intelligence) are to the left: a sprawling conspiracy theory that explains everything wrong with America.  Soros is deeply invested in politics, making him a political actor open to political and public criticism, but that isn’t what we are talking about here.  It is one thing to be opposed to Soros’ political and philanthropic endeavors, and another to use Soros as a code word for a fictional Jewish conspiracy that occupies American institutions.

These types of dog whistles are heard loud and clear by American fascists as made clear by the disturbingly popular podcast Fash the Nation (FTN) in episode 110.

I did some reporting from the March for Our Lives protest this year in New York City, and spoke to a handful of Trump and NRA supporters who came out to counter-protest.  Several told me that the anti-gun protesters were being paid to be there by people like George Soros.  I turned and looked over my shoulder at hundreds of people marching by as they blended into thousands.  “All of them?” I asked.  I had been interviewing 14-year old kids and middle-aged school teachers all morning who came out to protest gun violence and demand some type of legal reforms.  “Well, no not all of them,” one counter-protester told me, “but most of them are.”

Last year, Tucker Carlson did an odd news piece about how a few dozen Gypsies from Romania have immigrated to the United States, but that the assimilation into American society is not going well.  “I’m not anti-Roma, but I am pro-American citizen,” Carlson opened with that caveat, but said that Americans are right to be upset about the lack of integration, as the gypsies were allegedly defecating in the streets, leaving garbage everywhere, and “cutting the heads off of chickens.”

It was a bizarre piece for Fox News to run, one that reminded me of a meeting I had in Serbia with a university professor and leader in his country’s socialist party in which he insisted to me that gypsy girls have a coming of age ceremony in which they kiss each other and engage in sexual touching in a group setting.  I remember thinking that despite this being an educated man, that I was talking to the old Europe at that moment.  The pre-war Europe.

This type of rhetoric leads us into the somewhat complicated history of the alt-right — too extensive to cover here, but well articulated by BBC journalist Mike Wendling in his book Alt Right: From 4chan to the White House.  At its core, the alt-right seeks to replace traditional American conservatism with white ethno-nationalism.  What the alt-right has done is popularize neo-Nazi ideologies with its insistence that, “they are a fun, ironic counterculture and that the left is entirely devoid of humor or joy,” Wendling writes.  “It’s an argument that on the face of — say to an 18-year old, freshly enlisted at a university and encountering committed feminists for the first time — has a certain common sense logic, even if it’s ultimately absurd.”

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This is the popularization of fascist ideas, the building of a bridge between those who believe in a white ethno-state and the so-called normies, or as the more recent meme might describe mainstream America, the NPCs — which are, of course, the computer controlled Non-Player Characters in video games that just do what they are programmed to do; programmed by the “J-Left” as modern fascists would describe it.  As Richard Spencer wrote regarding Milo Yiannopoulos, “I believe Milo did act as a bridge between the mainstream and the Alt-Right for a time.”

Yiannopoulos and others would claim that their activities are just edgy jokes and satire, but this Saturday morning a gunman opened fire at a Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.  The alleged shooter, Robert Bowers, was taken alive after killing 11 elderly people at the synagogue, and told a SWAT team officer that he just wanted to kill Jews.  Before his attack, Bowers logged into the alternative social media website and wrote, “I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.”  An examination of his past social media posts shows that Roberts believed that Jews were behind the migrant caravan heading to the United States.

Sound familiar yet?

The problem with the claims made by Milo Yiannopoulos and other alt-right figures that they are just a humorous counter-culture movement is that jokes, even edgy jokes, tend to at least make some people laugh.  Today, the only people laughing are the crypto-fascists among us, the committed anti-Semites, who see their message rapidly going mainstream.