Tag Archives: Violence

Portland Protests

Originally posted on July 17, 2020

It was reported from Portland, Oregon, that several protesters were “arrested” by what appeared to be unidentified federal officers in unmarked vans. The one example that was related was that of Mark Pettibone, who is a self-professed non-violent protester. He claims (and there’s no reason to doubt his story) he was peacefully protesting when he realized these mysterious “police” jumped out of their mysterious vans and were coming for him. He sank to his knees and put his hands in the air. He was “arrested” and taken to the federal courthouse and a holding cell. After a while he was released.

Nobody ever told him why he was arrested. They didn’t provide him any record of his arrest. He has not been charged with any crimes. Later the Marshals Service claimed he had not been arrested and there were no records of his arrest. I’m thinking in any “law and order” society, this would be called kidnapping. I’m not holding my breath that any explanation of this frightening event will ever surface.

Not content to kidnap and try to intimidate protesters, one of the federal troops shot a protester with a rubber bullet in the head, causing serious injuries. You cannot look at the video of the incident without shock at what we’ve become under Trump’s presidency. You just can’t.

Trump has been bragging about what a good job his federal troops are doing in Portland. I guess any day his “troops” violently attack his critics is a good day.

Gettysburg

Originally posted on July 5, 2020

For several weeks some unknown person was posting on Facebook all about plans for Antifa to burn U.S. flags at the Gettysburg Memorial. Anyone with more than half a brain would be skeptical, but apparently there’s a lot of people around who don’t qualify. Several hundred of right-wing gun-toting “militiamen” showed up to, what, exactly? Protect the flag ? The burning of which is protected by the first amendment?

Almost needless to say, it was a hoax. First, there’s no Antifa organization, at least not worthy of the word “organization.” Second, this hoax has been foisted upon the “patriots” of the right wing any number of times before. It’s like they have their guns and they are eager to use them against anyone who is not like them.

The Washington Post had a long article about the fiasco, and if you just look through the pictures you can get a pretty good sense of just who these self-proclaimed “militiamen” are. Obviously, they are not well-regulated, as the second amendment requires. Just jerks out looking for trouble. I was especially intrigued by the Harley with a Confederate flag, pretending to be some sort of patriot. The irony is gobsmacking.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=https://arc-anglerfish-washpost-prod-washpost.s3.amazonaws.com/public/OYLGQAV6J4I6VF6BNTYRN77CNQ.jpg&w=916

The comments were pretty interesting as well. The best one I saw was from nanouk, and it is copied below in its entirety.

In 2017, Antifa did not show up to that flag burning. In fact, no one showed up because there is no mass movement of people seeking to burn the flag or to desecrate US heritage. But, in 2020, these yahoos with guns fall for the same hoax. Exact same thing! And again, no flag burner shows up. The logical conclusion should have been that Antifa is not a threat, and that there aren’t throngs of people looking to burn the flag to roast their S’mores on 4th of July. This should have made them realize that Antifa and the ‘flag-burners’ are not a real threat. But again, that is not the conclusion reached by these ‘militias’. 

These guys live in a dream world where Antifa is a powerful well-organized radical and destructive dark and evil force. They are delusional. The worst is that their delusion is based in no small part on projection. They imagine Antifa to be like them: radical, senseless, destructive and full of rage. Just hitching for a fight, and maybe some murder, if the weather permits.

These Right-wing types are the dangerous ones. They are the threat to the Republic. Their enemies are largely imaginary, but their hatred, their rage and their guns aren’t. If the Second Amendment is really about allowing losers with guns to threaten and intimidate others, in a made-up game of ‘war’, then maybe the Second Amendment should be revisited.

Tulsa II

Originally posted on June 21, 2020

The Tulsa rally was held last night and my opinion of Tulsans has gone up. Even in a heavily red state, the 19,000-seat arena had lots of empty seats. The fire marshal’s estimate was just 6,200. Trump’s campaign said it was due to all the mainstream media’s Fake News obsession with the coronavirus, along with violent antifa demonstrators blocking the entrances. The virus may have kept some people away, but the antifa demonstrators were yet again a figment of Trump’s imagination.

They had thought there would be so many people they built an outdoor stage so Pence and Trump could speak to the overflow crowd. There were so few out there that they cancelled the speeches and tore down the stage before the main event inside.

His speech went two hours, during which he never seriously addressed the virus nor the recent BLM demonstrations. He did, however, take 15 minutes to discuss his halting walk down the ramp at the West Point graduation, along with demonstrating that he can actually drink a glass of water using only one hand. I am So Impressed.

Trump was reported to be not very happy with the rally. I’m guessing that Brad Parscale’s (his campaign manager) days are numbered. Perhaps the most eloquent statement about the rally is contained in this picture, taken after the rally.

Having a hard day?

Tulsa

Originally posted on June 17, 2020

What sort of leader would ask his followers to risk their health and even lives just so he can feed his insatiable need for adulation? We all know the answer, don’t we? Since the coronavirus onset all public political campaign events have been cancelled or postponed. And let’s face it, Trump absolutely needs to feed off of the roaring crowds.

This Saturday, June 20, 2020, Trump is scheduled to conduct a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It will be in a 19,000 seat indoor arena – the riskiest environment according to his own CDC. To make matters worse he is insisting that the social separation guidelines published by his own CDC will not be followed. At least temperatures will be taken and masks made available, but I’m betting that not many of his supporters will be wearing them.

The rally is dangerous enough that Trump is requiring all attendees sign a legal waiver absolving him of any blame for them coming down with the virus. Looking at the New York Times covid map and Tulsa County, you can see why they might be eager to shift the liability to others. The map below shows the increase in each county over the last two weeks ending June 16th. Tulsa County is orange, indicating the number of new cases is increasing rapidly, in its case from 21 to 60 cases/day/100,000 people.

The local authorities are clearly not in favor of having this rally. Neither are the more knowledgeable national ones.

Does Trump care? I think we all know the answer to that one. Too bad his rabid followers don’t seem to care either.

Update, June 20. New covid-19 cases yesterday (Friday) in Tulsa – 225, a new record. And, Trump just can’t help himself. Here’s his latest tweet. Threatening violence against people who don’t bow down to him continues.

The CHAZ

Originally posted on June 11, 2020

Protestors have been busy in Seattle. On Monday, June 8, tired of continuing demonstrations and scattered destruction, the authorities decided to vacate part of the city and leave it to the protestors. They quickly proclaimed the “Capital Hill Autonomous Zone” (the CHAZ) where the police are forbidden, food is free (sort of ), speeches are given, bands play music and movies screened.

This largely peaceful takeover, apparently not requiring the presence of the police, didn’t set well with the Law and Order President. Trump tweeted:

Fox

Tucker Carlson had a largely false (i.e. no evidence of any Antifa) and inflammatory report on the situation but even his videos show a peaceful scene. A little bit later Trump, who apparently watched Carlson, upped the ante by tweeting the following:

Did Trump contact the local authorities before threatening them? Of course not – he wouldn’t dream of questioning Carlson’s information. Nor is it clear exactly how Trump would do this. Absent the governor’s permission he can’t send in the National Guard without declaring an insurrection. And Jay Inslee isn’t about to provide it. In fact, here’s his response:

The “Stoop” referred to a misspelling in Trump’s tweet above, which he subsequently fixed. Seattle’s mayor, Jenny Durkin, became a Nasty Woman with:

The Antifa Provocateur

Originally posted on June 10, 2020

By all accounts, Martin Gugino was a gentle man, a longtime activist for social causes. On June 4 he was part of a demonstration in Buffalo when he was roughly pushed by riot police, fell to the ground and suffered a serious head injury. As of this writing he is still in the hospital in serious but stable condition.

This is already a bad situation from any number of angles. After watching one of the many videos of the incident you almost have to conclude there is something broken with our policing. It is bad enough that the authoritarians supporting Trump are busily making up stories to discredit Gugino and justify the police actions. Trump himself got involved with yet another tweet:

Notice Trump’s choice of words: “[Gagino] could be an ANTIFA provocateur”. I guess that is, strictly speaking, a true statement. After all, he could be the Easter Bunny. The “scanner” was almost certainly his cell phone. And risking death is a “set up”?

Just how low can a person go? Especially when that person is the President?

Smaller Crowds?

Originally posted on June 7, 2020

Trump tweeted that he was pulling the National Guard out of D.C. That certainly is a welcome bit of news. He infers he can now do this because the crowds are smaller.

His inference is clear – he can remove the troops because there are fewer protesters. This was written on Sunday morning, so I assume he is referring to the crowds on Saturday. However, according to Forbes, hardly an Antifa mouthpiece, the crowds on Saturday were quite large. From that article, “…thousands of protesters gathered in Washington D.C. on Saturday in what city officials estimate is the largest Black Lives Matter demonstration since George Floyd died earlier this month.”

Trump just can’t admit that just maybe the National Guard etc were the cause of the violence, not the cure.

Enemy of the People

Originally posted on June 6, 2020

All wanna-be dictators, especially corrupt ones, need to keep secrets from their subjects. One of their favorite targets is journalists, who are apt to publish information and opinions that are unfavorable. From B Franklin: Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.

Trump has spent a large part of his term attacking the press. One of his more infamous tweets was:

Notice that Trump has two themes in this one tweet. The first is fake news (almost always in all caps, as it is here). Recall that the original meaning of the term was false news items, usually spread on non-monitored social media platforms, that were intentionally formulated to cause dissent. Often their real purpose wasn’t particularly political. Young hustlers, usually overseas, created these fake news items to get lots of clicks from outraged viewers, for which they got paid by advertisers. Given the term’s power to get a rise out of most people, Trump appropriated it to cover news items that he didn’t like, regardless of their truth.

The second is that the press is the “enemy of the people”. He apparently forgot the Washington Post and MSNBC, at least in 2017. The list of dictators who have issued similar statements is quite long and includes some of the most evil folks in the planet’s history — Robespierre, Goebbels, Lenin, Stalin, Mao. And now Trump joins them.

Trump’s drumbeat of blaming the press for “fake news” and “enemy of the people” has regrettably made their jobs more dangerous. There’s been a surge of violent incidents against journalists, most recently by members of the various police forces trying to handle the post-Floyd protests. A running total is kept at pressfreedomtracker.us. Reporters Without Borders has downgraded the United States’ commitment to press freedom.

I Cannot Remain Silent

Originally posted on June 3, 2020

This was the title of a recent article in the Atlantic magazine by the retired Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen. The entire article is worth reading, but to me the most important paragraph follows.

I remain confident in the professionalism of our men and women in uniform. They will serve with skill and with compassion. They will obey lawful orders. But I am less confident in the soundness of the orders they will be given by this commander in chief, and I am not convinced that the conditions on our streets, as bad as they are, have risen to the level that justifies a heavy reliance on military troops. Certainly, we have not crossed the threshold that would make it appropriate to invoke the provisions of the Insurrection Act.

When a lifelong military officer isn’t certain Trump will be issuing “sound” orders, and puts currently-serving officers on notice that they should be examining any orders Trump gives, this really drives home just how bad Trump is.

Update – the fallout from Monday’s events continues. More senior military leaders are speaking out about Trump’s use of soldiers on America’s streets.

Trump Emerges, Unfortunately

Originally posted on June 1, 2020

June 1, Monday, Trump finally came out to actually speak to the nation. It didn’t go well. One would have hoped he would have used his pulpit to calm things down. Not a chance.

First, on a conference call with the governors, he berated them as “weak” and urged them to use force.

If that wasn’t enough, later in a speech from the rose garden he threatened to send in the U.S. military if the governors won’t clamp down.

And to top it off, his security used tear gas, rubber bullets and flash grenades to clear a path through peaceful protestors for him to visit nearby St. John’s church, which was damaged during the recent protests. This just for a photo op. The New York Times reported:

The president’s church visit was criticized by Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, who said she was “outraged” that Mr. Trump went to the church “after he threatened to basically rain down military force.”

“The president used a Bible, the most sacred text of the Judeo-Christian tradition, and one of the churches of my diocese, without even asking us, as a backdrop for a message antithetical to the teachings of Jesus and everything that our church stands for,” she said in an interview.

Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington said the federal police officers’ clearing of peaceful protesters was “shameful” and had made the job of city police officers harder.

Just looking at the picture above makes me want to retch. Trump has almost certainly never read the Bible and everyone with half a brain knows that. Violently clearing peaceful demonstrators so you can have your picture taken with a Bible in your hand is so jarring to Christian conscience that a large number of people have criticized him. And if once was bad enough, he did the same thing at a Catholic shrine the next day, Tuesday June 2. Here’s the picture from that one.