Friday, July 31, 2020

Walmart does an ad for Biden

     "Walmart is doing a better job leading on Covid than the US Government."

            Debra Lee, my wife, on seeing the Walmart. commercial.

Walmart does what Trump doesn't want to do. They have a message of patriotic unity on Covid.  That's not Trump's message. But it is Biden's.

For my brothers and sisters
Biden might thank Walmart, publicly. Why not? They are sharing Biden's best message and doing it well, and a lot of Democrats shop at Walmart. Republicans, too.

Please watch the ad. 30 seconds. Click here.

"For my mother, my father, my grandmother, my brothers and sisters, my friends. 

The going back to school, the barbecue, the lake, the beach, my place. 

For my neighbors, my community, my people, my country, my home. 

For him, for her, for them, for you.

 [Text: There are millions of reasons we're now requiring masks. Live Better. Together.]"

For my grandmother
There is music underscoring the various voices, Bitter Sweet Symphony, written by a 1990's pop group, Verve, with an orchestral arrangement of a song originally--remotely--by the Rolling Stones. (Verve is famous. The song is famous. I myself had never heard of either until this commercial.) The orchestral strings have an uplifting "morning in America" feel.

The ad makes a simple message, that we wear masks out of a mix of love of family and community and country. We do it willingly. We do it joyfully. 

Here is what it is not. It doesn't scold. It doesn't position masks as a conflict between safety and liberty. It isn't partisan. 

It doesn't position masks as a giant inconvenience. 

It isn't about race or ethnicity, while being gracefully inclusive. The images portray a variety of Americans: White, Black, Latinix. Young. Old. People playing. People working. Attractive people. Plain people. The generations love and help each other.
For my country

It is a message that could have been given from the White House. It is unfair to have expected Trump to know the virus would spread the way it did in February. At the beginning we didn't know what we were dealing with, not Trump, not Governor Cuomo, not Dr. Fauci. We were feeling our way. But once it became clear that we had a potential national catastrophe with community spread, there was an opportunity for national leadership. There were things we could have done--what South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, most of Western Europe in fact did. This could have been a call to a shared American project, the country coming together in a war. It could have been done for the purpose of unity, not division.

Trump went the other direction. He wanted to be strong and he wanted the worry-wart epidemiologists--and the Democrats who take their word--to be the opponent, so Trump took the other side. He picked a fight with a Democratic governor in Michigan. He tweeted support for mask protesters. There was a division to be had, if the issue was defined as another battle in the culture war rather than a unified stance against the virus. 

Wear masks for you.
Walmart did not intend it, but they made a Biden ad. They presented the Biden message, sentimental, unifying, and patriotic.  We are one country and we get along, the ad says.

Walmart is in good touch with the mind and values of the vast swath of the American people. They could have positioned this as obedience to a burdensome law, i.e. the Trump view. They didn't.

I consider this a validation of the polls we are now seeing. Biden is selling what Walmart is selling.

Can't we all get along? 

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Portland is Trump's Vietnam

The Battle of Portland winds down. 

Trump was losing the hearts and minds.

The Battle of Portland is moving to a new phase: troop withdrawal

Evacuating Vietnam 
America is familiar with this story. Federal troops enter a disturbance, certain that we are the good guys, backed up with overpowering weaponry and the willingness to use it. And then, amidst formal assertions that our forces are winning, the slow realization that the troops aren't welcome, and we are losing the message war. The local citizenry wants us gone, and our presence prolongs the conflict. Eventually we escape, or try to. 

This is Vietnam all over again. Or Iraq. Or Afghanistan. To Trump's credit, he is getting out sooner rather than later.

Trump had the conflict he wanted but it did not work out for him. The images on TV of fires and graffiti and people in the dark throwing rocks gave Trump good potential theater. Fox kept them on a loop and had reporters on the ground to talk about them. But there were three big problems for Trump. 

The first problem is a bad first impression. The video of the man being forced into an unmarked van would not go away. People are more afraid of strange men pushing them into vans than they are of people throwing water bottles and rocks. The costuming of federal officers in combat gear solidified the story: Storm trooper. Tyranny. Lawless government. That notion dominated the story for most of the media. The timing was unfortunate for Trump, since the demonstrations were sparked by the video of a policeman kneeling on the neck of a helpless man. This was another example of frightening police power. 

Scheduled to leave Portland
The second problem is race. The man pulled into the van and the race of most of the people being policed, both peaceful and not, are White. Trump's big meta message is that the "silent majority" of regular good people, White native born Americans, are being attacked and displaced by a dangerous other. Portland isn't Watts. The Moms in yellow standing between the police and protesters are White. The men with leaf blowers are White. They aren't Trump's other. 

The third problem was the local leadership. Senators Wyden and Merkley, Governor Brown, and Mayor Wheeler were competent spokespeople and they made themselves available to tell the story that the Feds are hurting, not helping. 

This is winding down badly for Trump, but he has a chance for this to work out for him. Quieting the streets is now the job of Oregon's state police. We can handle this, Oregon's Governor Kate Brown says. This won't be easy, and troublemakers could make it impossible. Some may in fact be anti-Fascist and ideologically driven from the left. Some may be conservative militia people, as we learned with the "umbrella man" who broke windows with a hammer in Minnesota. Others, as in Richmond, Virginia, may be White supremacists triggering violence to undermine support for Black Lives Matter. Some will just be thrill seeking vandals, powered by testosterone and youth.

This will be a test for Governor Kate Brown--and Democratic governance generally. If she can quiet the city, then a message will go out: that Democrats know how to bring peace and unity. If she can do it Biden can do it. If she fails, and especially if she fails spectacularly, then the very different message will be sent: that Democratic light-hand policing is naive and that Trump's style strong man government is necessary. 

This leaves an opportunity and temptation for Trump not just to hope for Democratic failure in Oregon, but to arrange for it. As this blog has noted, and does so again below, this isn't fantasy. It is history.
Jim Stodder, now. 

Classmate Jim Stodder had a follow-up to his comment of two days ago. The peaceful protesters are in a position to call out the violent ones, and they need to do it, he says. And they may do it in an environment of FBI sabotage. He saw it up close back in his days of radical youth.

Guest Post followup by Jim Stodder

There are troubling similarities between the performative violence of the Portland/Seattle extremists and the spectacular 'propaganda of the deed' by Russian anarcho-populists of the late 19th century. I noted the similarity in an earlier post. They are troubling because the Russian "People's Will" were successful in motivating not just a secret police but also a grimly pragmatic (and ultimately totalitarian) brand of Marxism.
Russian Okhrana had agents inside the revolutionists' cells, urging them to further outrages. And yes, there are agents provocateurs amidst the Antifa in Portland. But I would urge our side to not take the easy way out here. Why are many protestors so susceptible to agents provocateurs? They should have to work a little harder. It's our problem, because our Boys in Black Balaclavas, wanting too much to be a Hero of Our Time (another Russian reference), are too easily provoked. 
Stodder at age 18

From 1972 to 1980 I was something of a fixture on the New Orleans left. I had romantic dreams to be sure, but knew that playing James Bond would make me James Dead. And that a guy like Harry "Guy" Schafer had to be either crazy or an FBI agent (it turned out the be the latter). And which it was really made no difference. 
Schafer called me to ask for help in assembling a cache of small-arms for the American Indian Movement (AIM).  He had a pilot's license and proposed dropping the arms by parachute into Wounded Knee, SD where AIM members were under siege by US Marshalls and the FBI.  Schafer and his wife Jill were then working for the FBI: Click: Spy program  Thank god I hung-up on him, and never spoke to him again.

So much for our Boys in Black. As for our Moms in Yellow -- they are too ready to accept antifa-anarcho 'diversity' of tactics in their 'largely peaceful' demonstrations. They need to disassociate themselves. Otherwise, they look like non-violent cover for decidedly violent activity.

Not just the peaceful demonstrators, but Democratic politicians, from Joe Biden on down, should:
A) Call on peaceful protestors to get off the streets at night.
B) Condemn all violence against property and especially against persons perpetrated by a small band of extremists.
C) Demand the Federal troops leave.

We are facing not ordinary police, but elite state forces specialized for violent crowd suppression. With vague and varying identification, they can be reinforced by private paramilitaries like the Proud Boys or Boogaloo. A Washington Post feature shows that this is already happening. Click: conservative armed militias These are basics to the recipe for a police state, as much as sugar for making cookies. 

Antifa is making it too easy for Trump. We need to start making it harder. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Agent provocateurs in Portland

     "Where is the money supporting these radicals coming from? . . .  It appears likely that at least some of the asserted violence and anarchy is in fact instigated by agents provocateurs funded by our own secret police."

     John K. Olson, U. S. Bankruptcy Judge (retired)

Fox News, this morning

What is happening in Portland isn't right. But it isn't new, either. 

In the 1960's the FBI spied on Martin Luther King and it set up the Black Panthers to be charged with gun crimes by supplying them with guns. My cousin tells me stories about his service in the Army in the early 1970's. His job was to file daily reports on Black protesters in Los Angeles, using sources infiltrated secretly into those groups.

Today's Justice Department is justifying using extra-legal steps in Portland. They assert that the two men they strong armed into unmarked vans then brought to an interrogation room were not actually arrests. The law is utterly clear here. They were detained, restrained, and put into custody. That is an arrest. They know it
The fight Trump wanted.

They are arresting people for being in the presence of a protest, then requiring them to sign agreements not to attend further protests, as a condition of being released from a miserable holding cell. It is a right to assemble peaceably. They know those conditions of release will be deemed unconstitutional when, eventually, they get seen by a judge.

What is happening in Portland is unusual in how openly--proudly--Trump ignores both constitutional rights and long established norms. He is making a statement, that he will use political, police, and military power as he sees fit against people who oppose him. He did it to Jeff Sessions. He does it to protesters. He says he is doing it to China. There is a political market for this kind of talk and behavior; many people admire the strong man unencumbered by law and democratic norms. Republican voters seem to like it just now. 

The investigations into Russian assistance given Trump's 2016 campaign created a mindset among Democrats that the FBI and CIA were generally good actors, free of improper political agendas to carry out secret extra-legal policies of the president. Moreover,Trump criticizes the FBI and CIA, which further solidifies them as people of integrity, who resisted Trump. Democrats may have been lulled to sleep and forgotten history. The Justice Department is led by Bill Barr, and the CIA and Defense intelligence forces are led by Trump appointees. Of course, it is political.  

Trump needs an issue to turn around his campaign, and anarchy and violence in Portland appears to be his chosen vehicle. Why the continuing violence? A good question, most quickly answered by asking another one.  

Who benefits?  Trump thinks he does.

John Olson was a college classmate, then a lawyer, and then a bankruptcy judge. He has a perspective gained from history on what might be happening in Oregon's Portland. The idea that Trump might use the power of government secretly to undermine the credibility of opposition isn't preposterous. It is standard practice by governments that find themselves in trouble.

Guest Post by John K Olson

         I view the sixty days into demonstrations in Portland, Oregon, from a small city on the other side of North America — the original Portland, on the shores of Casco Bay, Maine.  

         From here, what’s going on in the Northwest looks like the actions of Narodnya Volya (“People’s Voice”), which emerged a few years after Tsar Alexander II freed the serfs in 1861. Understandably dissatisfied with the pace of his reforms (which look meaningful albeit insufficient to Western moderates 150 years later), some Russians were radicalized. There was an unsuccessful assassination attempt on the Tsar in 1867. That had the effect of giving more apparent power to right-wing forces who were opposed to all of Alexander II’s reforms. Although slowed down, reforms nonetheless continued.

         Narodnya Volya succeeded in assassinating Alexander II in March 1881, thereby bringing in extreme right-wing autocracy in the personage of his son, Alexander III. The two Narodnya Volya assassins (a third was waiting in the nearby) blew up the Tsar with dynamite.

         The new regime of Alexander III immediately created a monstrous secret police, the Okhrana, which survived until the Bolshevik revolution of 1917. From the early days of the new regime, Narodnya Volya and other opposition groups — radical and moderate — were infiltrated by agents of the Okhrana, who acted as both informers and agents provocateurs.  Thus, the most radical groups opposed to the regime were in fact funded by the tsarist secret police, who were simultaneously stirring up revolt, suppressing it, and in the finest of bureaucratic traditions, justifying increased budgets by “proving” that they were essential to the survival of the regime. Perhaps the ugliest of these provocations was Bloody or Red Sunday in January 1905, when unarmed demonstrators led by a supposedly-reformist priest, Father Georgy Gapon, who was actually an Okhrana agent, were fired on by the Imperial Guard as they marched toward the Winter Palace to present a petition to Tsar Nicholas II. This triggered the 1905 Revolution, ultimately and brutally suppressed by the regime.
         So what do we see now in the Northwest? Extreme radical folks seeking to subvert the legitimate efforts of Black Lives Matter to effect social and political change so as to impose their own version of radical change. We’re not talking about Universal Health Care or Reparations here.

         Where is the money supporting these radicals coming from? Are they led by agents provocateurs?  And if they succeed in provoking predictably violent, almost-certainly intended reactions from the Administration’s own secret police, the anti-democratic Customs and Border Patrol, who benefits? CBP’s stated goal is to become the “marine corps of the US federal law enforcement community” and it asserts that its agents are not required to adhere to the same constitutional restraints on the use of force as other law enforcers. “We are not cops,” said David Aguilar, formerly the head of CBP.

         Assuming, of course, that the federal agents operating in Oregon without badges or identification are actually CBP agents, and not some private army cobbled together from the likes of the Blackwater “contractors” run by Betsy DeVos’s brother Eric Prince.

         Trump is now threatening to send 75,000 CBP agents into US cities to tackle what he claims is an epidemic of violence and anarchy. But it appears likely that at least some of the asserted violence and anarchy is in fact instigated by agents provocateurs funded by our own secret police.

         In this year of pandemic incompetence and economic disaster, this Administration can only succeed politically if the violence of this secret police can been seen as necessary to protect the Nation. And only One Man can do that, etc.

         Trump himself knows nothing. Putin and William Barr know a lot. We are back to 1881.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Trump's double agents in Portland

The 2:00 a.m. violence in Portland.  

Who welcomes it? Trump.
Gun at throat of protester
Who publicizes it? Trump.
Who benefits? Trump.

Who are those troublemakers?  It would make sense to suspect Trump.

It takes at least two sides to have a fight that lights up the TVs for Breaking News, and we are getting the show Trump wants. Fox News has guest after guest moaning over the human suffering. By that they do not mean people in hospitals and morgues from Covid-19. They mean the protests, especially Portland and Seattle, but now Oakland.

Trump has made no secret that he wanted federal officers to enter Portland with a big show of force, to dominate. He wanted shock and awe. He got it, but with mixed, unsatisfying results for Trump. 

Big weaponry looks like godly all-American power, thunderbolts from the sky, when we see on television Iraqi tanks exploding, hit by missiles from afar--gotcha, you're dead. However, on the ground in Portland it looks like an authoritarian police state when weapons are pointed at American moms in yellow shirts, or a gun at the throat of the young woman. First impressions matter. The first news stories about the federal officers were about the kidnapping/detention of people at apparent random by unidentified people in combat gear, brought to secret locations to be interrogated. That impression stuck. Trump looked like a provocateur, not a peacemaker. 

He needed a bigger villain to justify bigger force. After all, if the danger is high--even if Trump is partly responsible for provoking it--there is still, visibly on TV--a danger people want to see confronted.  

Who are those troublemakers?

Three different college classmates, from three different learned professions, raised that issue with me, and I will quote two of them today, one tomorrow. Each raise a suspicion that the real source animating the 2 a.m. rock throwing are agents, one way or another, of Trump. 

Agent provocateurs are nothing new. Our FBI, CIA, and military used them, and presumably that is what case officers in the intelligence fields do, they recruit people to carry out missions that can only be done by people presumably affiliated with another country or group. The FBI used a agent to supply guns to the Black Panthers, who were then photographed with guns, to the detriment of the Panters. Click: NPR  In this political environment, the rock throwers and window breakers hurt the left and help Trump. Fox News keeps mentioning an effort to "burn down the federal courthouse." Trump needed a visible enemy to blame. He needed a Reichstag fire. He has one.

James Stodder is an economist, a specialist on economic systems and public finance, and a professor teaching at Boston University.(  He warns of the political peril to the left:  
Jim Stodder

     "Somehow, with an unerring instinct, the ultra-left has seized upon the only thing that could possibly swing this election in favor of our now crumbling 'Strongman' -- fear of greater violence and disorder.  

    I don't think he and they will be able to pull it off.  But at this point, it's not enough for Biden to say he "doesn't support" defund the police. He needs a Sister Souljah moment against these white kids. He should denounce not just the Federal Stormtroopers, but the idiotic performative violence of the ultra-left.  

     Like sandbox versions of the Weathermen or 19th century Russian regicides, they dream of one more glorious firebomb to awaken the sleeping masses. The masses just want them to go away."

Richard Plotz is a retired pathologist, an avid genealogist, puzzle-solver, and geocacher, living in Providence, RI. He says that people who presume that the protests come from the left, and the violence from the ultra left, misread the situation:

Dick Plotz and his wife
     "I think "ultra-left" is a counterproductive, and inaccurate, term to use. The point of the violent actions is to sow disorder. Cui bono? I see the hand of -- not Trump, he's too stupid-- but someone like Putin or Stephen Miller in the chaos. 

    Not to say that the participants in the violence have all been paid off, but it would only take a few agents provocateurs to rally a larger gathering of young hoodlums who just want to have fun by destroying things. I don't for a minute think that this is generated in a vacuum by a leftist-anarchist outfit; the true source has figured out how to push the right buttons to rouse a mob that undoubtedly does include a contingent of leftist-anarchists, but that doesn't make it "the ultra-left".

Facebook chatter on the left includes people who make the point that fully peaceful, symbolic protest--like Colin Kaepernick silently "taking a knee"-- was all too easy to ignore and it was in fact largely ignored, except by Trump who changed the meaning of the protest from one of racial injustice to an accusation he intentionally insults veterans. Facebook partisans cite the Boston Tea Party. They destroyed some property in 1773. That got the British attention. There are people on the left who justify violence, but they are a rare exception, and they aren't the ones throwing rocks.

Portland rock throwers and window breakers themselves likely include idealists of the anarchist left among the people who are out in costume and masks. Their target has largely changed from racial injustice to very fact of police forces there to stop them It is now a fight about a fight, by people who enjoy a fight. That could go on forever. Who benefits? Only Trump.

[Coming tomorrow: Retired Bankruptcy Judge John Olson cites in detail the use of agent provocateurs in Tsarist Russia.]

Monday, July 27, 2020

Portland: Stop the violence

     "I support the authorities doing what it takes to stop the violence."

                Michael Trigoboff, happy to live in a Portland suburb

The unrest in Portland is getting old. Democrats are at risk of misreading the public's patience.

Police tweet last night
The death on camera of George Floyd awakened White Americans to racial injustice in policing.

It came at a good time for Democrats. Trump represented White insensitivity and resistance to the concerns of Black Americans. Colin Kaepernick and his friends were "sons of bitches." Maxine Walters was "Low IQ." Immigrants should come from Norway not "shit-hole" countries. Trump was defending Confederate flags even South Carolina, Mississippi, the NFL, and NASCAR were removing them. Trump was exposed as being a holdout, behind the curve. Sure, he had his base, but he was shrinking it on this issue.

Plus there was the celebration of John Lewis, who represented the struggle against Jim Crow. This reminded White news viewers that overt, celebrated, legal racial prejudice and segregation was part of recent history. The John Lewis story added to the tide of change, and Trump looked guilty by association. Trump was George Wallace.

Now the backlash to that tide.

The "defund the police" slogan gave opponents an easy target. Worse for Democrats is that the protests for racial justice became co-opted by hooligans and young men fueled with testosterone and a desire to act out, with no clear political or other agenda. We see fires on TV and, as of last night late, images of Molotov cocktails and loaded magazines for assault rifles. The constituency of voters who want guns better controlled--those moderate suburban swing voters that are presumed to determine the election outcome--are repelled by images of this kind. They associate AR-15 gun magazines with uncontrolled violence in the hands of  unaccountable people.

Trump overplayed his hand with the federal officers in camouflage, but Democrats are at risk of overplaying theirs as well. Democratic officeholders need to show that they can bring order to the places they govern or else on balance this issue will become a good one for Trump, notwithstanding hid errors.

Cartoon Trigoboff suggested to illustrate his Guest Post
Michael Trigoboff teaches Computer Science at Portland Community College. His point of view might be a minority one in bright blue Oregon in 2020, but voters with concerns like his may well tip purple swing states back into red, notwithstanding current polls. At 2:00 a.m. swing voters want to be secure in their homes and beds. They sympathize with the police up at that hour, facing young people wearing black who throwing rocks and setting fires, some of whom might be carrying the rifles that will use those magazines filled with bullets.

Guest Post by Michael Trigoboff

The situation in Portland's "mostly peaceful" protests is that there are perpetrators of violence (black bloc, Antifa, etc) embedded in crowds of non-violent people. This is by design on the part of the perpetrators and also by some of the non-violent protesters. The idea is that the violence (e.g. large dangerous fireworks thrown at the police, lasers capable of eye damage shined at them, general vandalism) will cause a police reaction that will inevitably affect the non-violent protesters.

This allows the protesters to accuse the police of unreasonable actions. But the willingness of crowds of non-violent protesters to tolerate the presence of the violent among them leaves the police with little to no way of preventing the violence without also affecting those who are non-violent.
Michael Trigoboff

Tear gas, for instance, is a way to clear a crowd out of an area without injuring them severely. In the absence of tear gas, physical force would have to be used. That would almost certainly cause more injuries. Those who are opposed to the use of tear gas should consider what the alternatives are.

When violent acts emanate from a crowd, the choice is either to disperse the crowd or continue to allow the violence. Complaining that the police are attacking non-violent protesters obscures this fundamental fact about what's going on. The crowd is enabling the violence.

The protest movement even has a name for this. They call it, "diversity of tactics," which means that they will not criticize anything that any demonstrator does, regardless of how violent it may be. "Non-violent" protesters who protect the violent ones embedded within crowds of them are complicit in that violence.

I support the authorities doing what it takes to stop the violence. I am not sympathetic to supposedly non-violent protesters who defend or make excuses for or enable that violence.

                                              ---   ---   ---   ---

[Tomorrow: Comments by two college classmates who caution that the politics of Portland violence helps Trump enormously--and say that Biden needs to get in front of this promptly.]

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Portland: Armies Clash by night.

It's a peaceful protest. 

It's a happening. 

It's lawlessness and anarchy. 

It is the beginning of a fascist state.

It's a way to say you want change. It's a way to show whose side you are on. It's a dangerous job, protecting life and property. It's an opportunity for Trump to demonstrate competency in a crisis. It 's a shit-show that might get Trump re-elected. It's an opportunity for Biden, if he will take it.

There are many ways to construe what is going on in Portland in the summer of 2020.

Two big narratives have arisen.  

One of them, nearly universal in the mainstream media, is that the protest demonstrations about racial injustice evolved into more general protests against Trump, which protests included a small minority of people performing illegal acts of violence and destruction. This created conflicts with the police that some people calling themselves anti-fascists, or Antifa, invited, and this brought a counter reaction both from the police and from citizen counter protesters. Trump reacted to the disorder with federal officers that generally exacerbated the problem by triggering exactly the anti-fascist and anti-authoritarian fears of the public and protesters. Trump poured gasoline, not water, on the fire, and did it for obvious political purpose.Therefore: incompetent, dangerous Trump.

The other narrative, nearly universal on Fox and other conservative media, is that peaceful protests immediately got out of control and became disruptive and then violent, but that liberal officeholders, in Portland especially, but also the protesters themselves, tolerated illegal actions taking place under the cover of legitimate protest. Arson, looting, destruction of property grew completely out of hand so Trump, properly, sent in federal officers to do what liberal Democrats were failing to do, protect lives and property. Therefore, competent Trump, protecting us from danger.

As always, people differ on which narrative is more correct. Today this blog will present the first of them, this from a retired teacher and utility company employee, John Flenniken, who in both jobs worked in downtown Portland.

Guest Post by John Flenniken

"Living in Portland, Oregon, an eight minute drive to the Federal Court House, you would think I’m bunkered in my basement if you watch Fox News. On the 56th day of protests in my city I experience no disruptions to my daily life and can freely move within the city. 
John Flenniken

When George Floyd was killed on May 25 Portland was still in “Stay Home, Save Lives” order from Governor Kate Brown. Downtown was mostly empty. On May 26 the first protest demonstration took place as a peaceful and spontaneous reaction to the horrific video of the four Minneapolis police officers taking the life of George Floyd. Over subsequent days the demonstrations and silent vigils spread throughout the city to include the suburbs. The demonstrations and peaceful protests were covered initially as expressions of grievance against police abuse and harassment of Black people and systemic racism in general. Something snapped. The scab was ripped off decades upon decades of discriminatory treatment of our Black and brown community. 

Demonstrations organized by Rose City Justice, NAACP, and the Albina Ministerial Alliance have been peaceful. Starting in several city parks and marching into town some ending in Pioneer Square for speeches other gatherings along Portland’s Waterfront Park and to ones you’re seeing on the news in front of the Federal Justice Center. The marchers that crossed the Burnside Bridge into Portland city center tried to prevent acts of vandalism and looting telling them to stop their actions. Police were not protecting local businesses to prevent and/or arrest immediately those few committing crimes of arson, looting and vandalism. The actions of these individuals brought the declaration of riot and the use of crowd control munitions assaulting the peaceful protesters as well. These are the scenes we see on our TV and social media not the hundreds of thousands of peaceful protesters. 

The police and mayor’s office opened conversations with the most aggressive group, the Pacific NW Youth Liberation Front when everything fell apart with the appearance of unidentified Federal paramilitary forces on the city streets snatching suspected protesters, shoving them into unmark vans and spiriting them away to who knows where. That behavior lead to more confrontations early in the morning in front of the Justice Center. The Federal Justice Center is this area of Portland that is seen on TV. It is this area that draws the crowds nightly to peacefully protest. The Wall of Moms and the Dad Pod draw their ranks from affluent suburbia around the city. The push-back is against the unconstitutional use of Federal paramilitary forces overstepping their mission to protect the Federal property.

The broken windows can be replaced, the graffiti erased or painted over, the burn marks on the sidewalks from flares and tear gas canisters washed away, the general litter blowing around can all be cleaned up in front of the Justice Center. What can not be undone is the realization that the police do not treat our Black and brown community members fairly or justly. Worse than the damage to property is the damage done by the Federal forces to the rule of law, States Rights and our very democracy."

                                                       --- --- --- --- ---

Coming up:

Tomorrow: a contrary view, from Michael Trigoboff, who also works near the central city but who writes "I am so happy that I live in a suburb, not Portland itself." Insofar as the 2020 election is a battle for the minds and votes of the persuadable suburbs, his is a point of view that may determine the outcome

And then: a political comment from Jim Stodder, with advice for Joe Biden. Biden has an imperative, Stodder says.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Q Anon warns: Conspiracy! Hoax! Deep State!


     "Right now the country is being torn apart by the biggest political hoax and coordinated mass media disinformation campaign in living history. You may know it as Covid-19."

      From Video "Covid 911"

The Trump presidency is boosted by people who believe that he is fighting dark forces out to undermine America. 

Who believes these conspiracies?  Lots of people, including Trump himself. 

Donald Trump concluded the 2016 campaign with an ad that summarized his reason for being elected, a two minute "Donald Trump's Argument for America." it took some people by surprise because it projected a dark conspiracy featuring international bankers and identifying George Soros, Goldman Sachs' CEO Lloyd Blankfein, and the Fed Chair, Janet Yellen. It tapped into a vein of anti-semitic conspiracy that struck observers at the time as niche, not mass appeal. Yet, two days later he won election. Click

Conspiracies of a Deep State did not end with the election of Trump. Quite the opposite. Trump says he is beset by the agents of that vast conspiracy. According to a video circulating in social media, Trump is the victim of a man made weapon of that conspiracy. Here is a 9 minute video, posted by a person going by the name "Joe M." Watch: Click: Covid 911 Video  

From the video: Deep State actors at work
A link to the video was sent to me by a retired physician in the Medford area, telling me to hurry and see it, "but not that I agree with it or that I believe it is all accurate, but only as an example of some points that would explain what has occurred in the past few decades."  This is the common way I have received material of this sort. It might not be exactly right, they tell me, but It rings true to them.

The video posits a "merciless enemy" motivated by "pure greed and inconceivable cruelty" that has created a "vast corruption network that has infiltrated into the highest positions of power across every state," except for Trump. There are images of George Soros.

From video: masks cause discord.
Video: Covid-19 did not just happen. Democrats did it. "In 2015, as directed by the globalist criminal corruption network known as the Deep State, President Barack Obama authorized millions in funding for the Wuhan Institute of Virology." The purpose of that was specifically to create a weapon to release in an election year, a "global biological attack on a scale never before seen."

Trump won and is now running for re-election, therefore Democrats' "Deep State shadow corporation embarked on a coordinated irregular warfare insurgency with multiple aims, all under the cover of a global pandemic they themselves manufactured for this purpose. Enabled by their owned and controlled corporate media monopoly, they instituted a heavy handed and unjustifiable shutdown to reverse President Trump's many economic and unemployment gains." The shutdowns also stopped Trump's rallies "hiding from view the surging nationwide passion for his galvanizing message."

The video has apparently been viewed over 800,000 times already, and readers here might better understand Trump attitude toward the Covid-19 virus if they see what ideas are circulating about the virus, many of which Trump himself shares. The media is fake, the virus numbers are fake, the response is overblown, the virus was a Democratic plot and hoax to destroy his campaign. 
Click: AP

The Associated Press did a fact check report on the video, explaining, "This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform." 

It won't surprise Democrats that the video is full of falsehoods, and Democrats may find the assertions fantastical and ridiculous. Who could possibly believe this stuff?

Lots of people.