Archives for category: Portland

Portland, Oregon, is the scene of the most frightening series of events in the nation today. Governors may call upon the National Guard. The President, under extraordinary circumstances, may send in troops to enforce the law, as when President Eisenhower sent troops to Little Rock to enforce a decision of the U.S. Supreme Court.

The armed personnel in Portland were not called in by the governor. They are not there to enforce the law or a court decision. They are there to harass and bully American citizens who are exercising their Constitutional right to assemble peaceably. They are there by order of Trump and Barr to help raise the “law and order” issue for the fall election. Trump has announced that he intends to send his personal federal police force into other cities, to “pacify” them.

We cannot normalize what is happening. It is highly irregular and probably illegal. It is wrong. Trump will stop at nothing to improve his poll numbers. He has no regard for law or the Constitution. He is ignorant of both. We are moving in uncharted waters. Step by step, we are sinking into authoritarianism, fascism.

Dana Milbank wrote today in the Washington Post:

In Portland, Ore., federal police use batons, tear gas and rubber bullets on moms in bicycle helmets.

Unidentified federal officers, defying duly elected state and city leaders, throw civil rights demonstrators into unmarked vans without charges. President Trump’s acting homeland security secretary, Chad Wolf, says his agents “go out and proactively arrest individuals.”

That’s so much easier than waiting for people to do something illegal before you lock them up!

The administration justifies the extraordinary disregard of constitutional protections by calling the demonstrators “violent anarchists” who have made “efforts to start fires at the Hatfield Federal Courthouse.” Trump says that the demonstrators “hate our country” and that “we must protect Federal property.”

Anarchists in Oregon who hate their country are trying to set fires and destroy federal property? Hmmm.

Steven and Dwight Hammond, also from Oregon, were convicted of arson for a fire that burned 139 acres of federal property in the state. A witness testified that Steven Hammond handed out matches with instructions to “light up the whole country” after his hunting party illegally slaughtered animals on federal land. Their imprisonment sparked an armed takeover of federal property in Oregon for 41 days in 2016 by dozens of militia-affiliated gunmen.

And what did Trump think of these arsonists who destroyed federal property and wanted to burn down America? Why, he pardoned them in 2018, calling them “devoted family men” and “respected contributors to their local community” for whom “justice is overdue.”

We have seen this pattern over and over.

In Washington’s Lafayette Square, across the street from the White House, federal police operating under the administration’s command fired gas and projectiles at peaceful demonstrators to clear the way for a presidential photo op outside a church. But when armed militants poured into the state Capitol in Michigan, brandishing their weapons in the legislative chamber to intimidate lawmakers (some of whom felt the need to don bulletproof vests) over public health restrictions, Trump declared that the gunman were “very good people” and that the state’s Democratic governor should “make a deal” with them.

Now Trump is decrying a supposed absence of law and order in Chicago and other cities run by Democrats (“worse than Afghanistan,” he said) and is threatening to overpower those cities, too, with armed federal agents. But when a Missouri couple came out of their home shouting at nonviolent racial justice demonstrators, pointing a pistol and brandishing a rifle at them, Trump called it “a disgrace” that they might face charges. Never mind that it’s a felony in Missouri to exhibit “any weapon readily capable of lethal use in an angry or threatening manner.”

In Trump’s America, it seems, the First Amendment applies only to those exercising the Second Amendment. Unarmed demonstrators pose a threat to “law and order.” But if you’re carrying a gun, you should feel free to threaten your elected representatives, menace civil rights demonstrators or do what you like to federal property.
Trump’s pretext for overriding state and local leaders with federal firepower is the racial justice demonstrators’ supposed violence. Though the majority of protesters have been peaceful, a few are indeed violent — you can view them on Fox News — and they deserve condemnation. But Trump is fomenting violence in the service of fueling a culture war he hopes will salvage his reelection. “It’s a choice between the law and order and patriotism and prosperity, safety offered by our movement, and the anarchy and chaos and crime,” he declared at a telerally this past week.

Or so he would like it to be.

Oregon’s Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, said Trump’s “dictatorship”-style use of “secret police” was “adding gasoline to a fire” that had been dying. “The situation had been improving over the past several weeks,” she told NPR, and “their presence here substantially escalated the situation.”

But escalation is clearly Trump’s aim when he threatens to send federal police into more American cities. He needs to frighten Americans into embracing federal police taking up arms against American citizens — and Americans taking up arms against each other.

On Tuesday, for example, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany described Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the Missouri couple who threatened demonstrators with guns, as being menaced by “violent” protesters who “trespassed,” threatened to kill them and “burn down the house,” but not before moving into the house and “taking a shower.” Video of the affair shows peaceful marchers on the sidewalk, walking past the agitated and gun-toting McCloskeys, on their way to demonstrate outside the mayor’s nearby house.

“The prosecutor apparently thinks her job isn’t to keep us safe from criminals, but to keep the criminals safe from us,” Mark McCloskey told Fox News on Monday.

What a perfect distillation of Trumpian justice! Nonviolent civil rights demonstrators are the “criminals” — and the people who threaten them with guns are the victims.

The Southern Poverty Law Center is one of our nation’s most valuable organizations defending our Constitution and democratic values against extremists.

Their report today says that extremist groups are holding a hate rally in Portland, Oregon, today. There are many links, which I am not including because I would have to do each one manually. If you sign up to get their newsletter, you can get the full report with links. What SPLC describes is an example of the way the far-right is “weaponizing the First Amendment,” using it as a shield to defend hatred, racism, and incitement’s to violence. What or who incited these groups?

SPLC writes:

AUGUST 4, 2018
Weekend Read // Issue 91

The threat of violence hangs over a rally that’s being staged by far-right groups in Portland, Oregon, today, nearly a year after the deadly white supremacist gathering in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys have held more than a dozen rallies throughout the Pacific Northwest over the past year, events marked by street violence and harassment and buoyed by a wide array of racist and antigovernment extremist allies.

David Neiwert, who frequently writes for our Hatewatch blog, has been covering the rallies from the beginning. In a piece for The Baffler, he describes the last violent rally they held in Portland on June 30th:

The Proud Boys and Patriots were primed for battle. Indeed, the whole point of the event was to try to provoke a fight that they were not simply prepared for, but were keen to take part in. Prior to the onset of street hostilities, the alt-right crowd bristled with warlike talk about martyrdom as the price of freedom and “taking down” the antifascists across the street. Periodically they’d break into chants of Queen’s mock-authoritarian seventies anthem “We Will Rock You,” which they dedicated to British Identitarian Tommy Robinson.

As I watched the last of the Proud Boys—waiting for the final school bus that had brought them to the rally to arrive so they could leave, clustered on a street corner and haranguing the counter-protesters across the way—I mused about how conservatives’ sudden concern to safeguard civility in American discourse is a crude, cynical manipulation. Its operational logic is very similar to the Proud Boys’ insistence on claiming that their protests are about nothing more than the assertion and protection of free-speech rights.

That, after all, has been what Gibson’s Patriot Prayer events have been ostensibly about since they were launched in Portland last year. Gibson and his comrades claim that they’re standing up for “conservative speech,” which has always translated into a lot of immigrant-bashing, Islamophobia, “constitutionalist” gun nuttery straight from the Bundy Bunch, and a heavy dose of Deep State/globalist conspiracy theorizing. Unsurprisingly, the gatherings attracted more than their share of extreme rightists, including a broad array of skinheads and white nationalists; last year one of the more unhinged such fellow travelers showed up to one of the earliest Patriot Prayer events draped in a flag, and then began shouting that he was a Nazi and using racial epithets. Organizers kicked him out.

His name was Jeremy Christian. One month later, in May 2017, while riding a Portland MAX commuter train, he began harassing two Arab teenage women, one of whom was wearing a hijab, using ethnic slurs against Muslims. Three men riding the train tried to intervene; Christian pulled out a knife and stabbed them, two of them fatally. At his arraignment, he was still protesting Joey Gibson style: “Free speech or die, Portland! You got no safe place. This is America—get out if you don’t like free speech!”

Patriot Prayer had a previously scheduled rally just over a week after the murders. Civic leaders urged the group to cancel the event amid burgeoning anger in the community, but Gibson and his cohorts held it anyway. It turned into a gigantic melee, with the Patriot crowd heavily outnumbered, and a number of assaults and arrests on both sides. It was some of the worst crowd violence Portland had seen in decades.

Since then, Gibson has organized an ongoing series of “free speech” and “freedom” rallies along the West Coast and elsewhere—in Seattle, San Francisco, San Diego, and Olympia and Vancouver, Washington. He’s denounced white supremacists after Charlottesville, but also openly embraced the Proud Boys, the group founded by the white identitarian hipster journalist Gavin McInnes, who’s long been a presence at Gibson’s rallies. The June 30 event was originally intended to commemorate the post-murder event, but it took on a life of its own after an early June rally in downtown Portland also dissolved into violence.

Gibson made a pitch for help from supporters across the nation, and the Proud Boys gladly obliged, putting out the word on their regional social media sites. As a result, a considerable number among the Patriots were wearing black polos and red MAGA ballcaps, and they came from all over the country, especially California.

Listening to them bait the counter-protesters with ugly speech, and talk among themselves about fighting tactics, it was clear the “free speech” they wanted to defend was bigoted and threatening. The lofty constitutional principles were little more than a pretext: they were there mostly to bash some “leftist” heads.

Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys were emboldened by the fighting at that June 30 event. Organizers have discussed coming to the rally armed; open carry is legal in Oregon. We will be monitoring the event closely and reporting live on Hatewatch and Twitter.

The Editors

Portland, Oregon, is in big trouble. Despite massive spending by the fake reform Stand on Children–err, Stand for Children–the corporate reformers lost in the school board election. Now, as local activist Deb Mayer reports, they are trying to bully a school board member into resigning.

Why the attacks on a man who won his seat and supports public schools? The board has been unable to pick a new superintendent. So the composition of the board is crucial, and the privatizers need another seat. They want Paul Anthony’s seat so they can win by bullying what they could not win at the polls.

Citizens of Portland must be informed. Stand for Children represents Bill Gates and the rest of the zbillionaire Boys Club that funds SFC. They are not working on behalf of the children and families of Portland.

Don’t be fooled.

Rita Moore, a pro-public education advocate, won a hotly contested seat on the Portland, Oregon, school board. Her son attended Portland public schools, and she has long been involved in support of public education. She holds a Ph.D. in political science.

She ran against a candidate who was principal of a KIPP school in Houston and worked also for TFA. See here.

In her response to a survey of candidates, she expressed her views about the importance of public education.

What is your stance on the movement to privatize education?

I am fundamentally opposed to efforts to privatize education. Free public education is America’s gift to the world. It has been the foundation of our society, the bedrock of our democracy, and the engine of economic growth, producing the American dream and making the US the capital of innovation.

Privatizing education is not good for students or this city. I am completely opposed to it, as is the vast majority of voters and residents of Portland. Public education is a door that all kids have the right to walk through and which we as a society have the obligation to fully fund.

Congratulations, Rita Moore!