Saturday, July 18, 2020

Dry Run

On Tuesday, Oregon governor Kate Brown asked- to no avail- acting Department of Homeland Security Chad Wolf to take armed federal agents off the streets of Portland. They are "exacerbating the situation," Brown noted, "like adding gasoline to a fire."

Similarly, Portland mayor Ted Wheeler recognized their presence "is an absolute abuse of federal law enforcement officials" sent "purely for political purposes."

If  Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cucinelli is being honest- clearly open to debate-Brown and Wheeler probably are right. Cucinelli claims DHS, acting without local or state approval, may send more federal agents "to places like Portland." It's clear that the Trump Administration is instigating what reporter Charles Warzel (closely covering the continuing protests in Portland) calls "as close up to the line as you can get to actual war without live rounds."

Were that the sole motivation, it would be unbecoming even a President worthy of impeachment and removal from office. However

It's a prelude to either Election Day or  (more likely) a second Trump term.

This is more serious than it even seems. The aforementioned Warzel explains

Have you heard of Riot Ribs? There’s a guy named Lorenzo — he lives in Portland and came out one night grilling ribs for the protesters. He got tear gassed. He’s become something of a monument to the community. He Built a 24-hour rib restaurant — as much as you can eat. A local collective called The Witches created a fund-raiser for him while different houseless people helped to turn Riot Ribs into something bigger. Lorenzo set up résumé building programs and programs to get people showers and job interviews. It’s been a huge community effort. That's what people don’t see as much. You could go to Justice Center at night and provoke feds or you could eat ribs. It was this beautiful surreal community. Last night, police cleared out Riot Ribs.

There are two significant aspects to this. Local police, who have arrested five members of the operation, are trying to run it out of business because it is feeding the demonstrators, as well as helping the community.   The police moved in after twelve days, doing so only once it became clear that the federal government was sweeping innocent people off the streets.

It appears, therefore, that despite fervent opposition from Portland's mayor (and Oregon's governor), the locals are cooperating with the secret police- or soldiers- from Homeland Security.  We don't know for sure; this doesn't appear to be information that the media, especially cable news, is interested in.

It's bad enough that the federal government has turned lawless in an effort to determine how much authoritarianism the American people will accept. If municipal and/or state police departments, in Oregon and elsewhere, collaborate with them, the streets of many American cities will be rife with law enforcement officers, military and/or vigilantes aiming to turn the USA into an authoritarian state.

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