I’ve had about enough of 2020


John Lewis is dead. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is being treated for liver cancer. Canadians had been building monuments to Nazis after WWII. And, well, Portland, Oregon.

If this were an epic fantasy novel, this is the part where all hope is lost, the cause of goodness is doomed, despair overwhelms our brave heroes…and then, a shining silver army crests the hill, eagles swoop in, the evil fortress collapses, and the bad guys fall into lava-filled crevasses. Huzzah! Except this isn’t a fantasy novel, dammit.

Portland is the test case. This is where fascism is practicing its tactics.

A block west of Chapman Square, Pettibone and O’Shea bumped into a group of people who warned them that people in camouflage were driving around the area in unmarked minivans grabbing people off the street.

“So that was terrifying to hear,” Pettibone said.

They had barely made it half a block when an unmarked minivan pulled up in front of them.

“I see guys in camo,” O’Shea said. “Four or five of them pop out, open the door and it was just like, ‘Oh shit. I don’t know who you are or what you want with us.’”

Federal law enforcement officers have been using unmarked vehicles to drive around downtown Portland and detain protesters since at least July 14. Personal accounts and multiple videos posted online show the officers driving up to people, detaining individuals with no explanation of why they are being arrested, and driving off.

The tactic appears to be another escalation in federal force deployed on Portland city streets, as federal officials and President Donald Trump have said they plan to “quell” nightly protests outside the federal courthouse and Multnomah County Justice Center that have lasted for more than six weeks.

Strange men in camo swooping in with unmarked civilian vehicles and hauling people away…where’s the transparency, due process, the goddamned justice? What’s to stop some Proud Boys or other paramilitary jagoffs doing the same thing? You know that they’re planning to spread this tactic to other cities next, and eventually, people getting picked up will be ‘disappeared’.

Perhaps you pin your hopes on the November elections. Just keep in mind that getting rid of Trump won’t instantly erase these people in power within the police and our terribly numerous federal offices that support monstrous thugs like those “police”. This is a new institution metastasizing and growing, and it won’t disappear even if you lop off the head.

No eagles. No shining elves. Get used to it.

Comments

  1. batflipenthusiast says

    Pretty much the only things i know about Ginsberg is that she’s supposed to be a non-conservative judge and that a lot of Bernie bros and other lefty’s really hate her. To the point that i’ve seen people who’re expressing sympathy for her health issues and how the supreme court needs her getting push back.

    What’s up with that?

  2. grandolddeity says

    That seems like an excellent way to get yourself shot. If those are true predators, though, they just survey the perimeter for the weak and defenseless.

  3. mailliw says

    Interesting to hear conservative historian Anne Applebaum marking the similarities between the political tactics of right wing populists and the former communist regimes in Eastern Europe:

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/jul/12/anne-applebaum-how-my-old-friends-paved-the-way-for-trump-and-brexit

    Perhaps the most telling comment is about the current Polish government – which can be applied equally to all right wing populist administrations:

    Repeating the lie was the price of admission to Law and Justice’s ruling circles and the public sector jobs they controlled. As Applebaum noted in the Atlantic magazine: “Sometimes the point isn’t to make people believe a lie – it’s to make people fear the liar.” Acknowledge the liar’s power, and your career takes off without the need to pass exams or to display an elementary level of competence.

  4. mailliw says

    Interesting to hear conservative historian Anne Applebaum marking the similarities between the political tactics of right wing populists and the former communist regimes in Eastern Europe:

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/jul/12/all

    Perhaps the most telling comment is about the current Polish government – which can be applied equally to all right wing populist administrations:

    Repeating the lie was the price of admission to Law and Justice’s ruling circles and the public sector jobs they controlled. As Applebaum noted in the Atlantic magazine: “Sometimes the point isn’t to make people believe a lie – it’s to make people fear the liar.” Acknowledge the liar’s power, and your career takes off without the need to pass exams or to display an elementary level of competence.

  5. Stuart Smith says

    @1 The only thing I can think of is that a lot of people believed she should retire under Obama, thus allowing him to select her replacement. Instead, she hung on, and now has had repeated hospitalizations under Trump. If she dies, then the supreme court goes from 5-4, which is bad, to 6-3, which is disastrous. So some people think it’s irresponsible for a sick, extremely elderly woman to bet the civil rights of Americans on her ability to outlive the current administration.

  6. stroppy says

    Yeah but, pretty much anything Obama tried to do on that front would have drawn vigorous and effective efforts at sabotage by the usual suspects.

    Hang in there RBG! Stay notorious!

    “Strange men in camo swooping in with unmarked civilian vehicles and hauling people away…where’s the transparency, due process, the goddamned justice? What’s to stop some Proud Boys or other paramilitary jagoffs doing the same thing? You know that they’re planning to spread this tactic to other cities next, and eventually, people getting picked up will be ‘disappeared’.”

    For that matter, given the anonymous thuggery, why wouldn’t people feel justified, morally and legally, in defending themselves with lethal force? Even “stand their ground” so to speak? I’m asking. It’s a legitimate question, no? I fear this is all leading to worst end.

    “Trump needs to resign.” Not going to happen. He he intends one way or the other to leave maximum tears and chaos in his wake.

  7. microraptor says

    Notice that the language the administration is using to justify this is primarily about stopping the protests, not the violence.

  8. raven says

    CBP Mark Morgan
    Jul 17, 2020

    .@CBP will continue to arrest the violent criminals that are destroying federal property & injuring our agents/officers in Portland. CBP will restore and maintain law & order.

    It’s now known who the federal thugs are.
    They are CPB, Customs and Border Patrol, agents being directed by the head of the Department of Homeland Security, Mark Morgan.

    They aren’t trained for riot control or law enforcement.
    They are also acting illegally on many different levels.
    You need probable cause to be arrested, they are supposed to read you your rights under Miranda, you get access to a lawyer, and bail is set by the court.
    It also looks very questionable whether they have jurisdiction in Portland outside of protecting federal buildings.
    Jurisdiction should reside in the state, county, and city legal authorities.

  9. christoph says

    @ Stuart Smith, # 4: A good move by the Democrats would be to pull the same stunt the Republicans pulled before Obama office-refuse to confirm any of Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court and justify that by claiming the authority to do that rests with the president-elect when he assumes office.

  10. bcwebb says

    It would be interesting for Portland to arrest some of the unmarked Federales for kiddnapping. One of the problems is the fascist “anti-terror” legislation passed with the support of people like Feinstein that gives Federal police (such as Customs, the guys involved here) wide authority to protect Federal property such as the Federal Courthouse they are using as a base. The issue is that the authority is broad and does not limit them to acting on Federal property. However, it would be really interesting to watch the Feds trying to claim that some guy randomly pulled off the street was a threat to Federal property. The other question is why Portland hasn’t sought an injunction in Federal Court over violations of habeas corpus. Of course, in that Portland police are part of the problem….

  11. christoph says

    Here’s some interesting commentary from a YouTube video, and why the federal thugs are actually helping the cause:

  12. says

    I’m cynical enough — and experienced enough in dealing with totalitarian governments (it’s not “right” versus “left,” guys, it’s “at least grudging acknowledgment of democratic principles” against “authoritarianism/totalitarianism”) — to think Portland is at least in part politicomilitary theater and provocation. Certain Self-Selected Evil Geniuses (who have never heard of Dunning-Kruger, but in that they’re just politicians and political operatives!) have deployed untrained but “clearly marked” law enforcement personnel specifically hoping for violent resistence. They didn’t get it with marked cars and cops, so they’ve escalated to unmarked cars and paramilitary garb not qualifying as uniforms.* Once there are several violent resistance of arrest incidents to point at, they can send in the big guns and Take Back the Streets.

    Let’s just say that Wile E. Coyote is better at producing complex behavioral schemes than these guys appear to be.

    Ironically, the lack of violent-resistance-to-“arrest” incidents is the best possible demonstration that the vast majority of these protesters are legitimately engaging in the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and present their grievances. That has to be tremendously frustrating to the Self-Selected Evil Geniuses… because in their weltanschauung there aren’t any “legitimate” grievances to present, just opposition to their own rightful (and fully justified) seizure of the mechanisms of power.

    Under the Law of Armed Conflict, both military and paramilitary forces get to claim such status only if the “uniforms” are pre-specified and widely known as uniforms of a specific force. That’s why slapping a “force name” on surplus store/hunter’s camo won’t qualify… and at least one photograph coming out of Portland indicates that’s at least in part what’s been done.

  13. says

    What’s to stop some Proud Boys or other paramilitary jagoffs doing the same thing?

    Worse yet, what’s to say they’re not already doing it? How could you tell?

  14. Andrew G. says

    christoph @8: The Democrats don’t have the votes to block an appointment—all it takes is a simple majority in the Senate to push it through under the “nuclear option” (as used to confirm Gorsuch).

    Furthermore, Mitch McConnell has already explicitly stated that he has no intention whatsoever of following his own “rule” from 2016 used to justify blocking the Garland appointment.

  15. fishy says

    Guns.
    Get rid of them.
    All of them.
    I write these words and I feel insane. I know this will never happen.
    Iowa says it’s okay to walk into a public place sporting your dick when their isn’t any other, “security.”

  16. raven says

    What power do the federal officers have in Portland?
    by Keaton Thomas Friday, July 17th 2020 Katu.com

    Tung Yin, a law professor at Lewis & Clark College, says federal law enforcement have authority to protect federal buildings in the city. There are questions about how they are doing that, though.

    “The federal government has some authority to defend the courthouse, arrest people for certain crimes. But are the people they are arresting– is there probable cause to believe they are committing these crimes? Is this actual law enforcement with an eye towards prosecution? Or is it sort of harassment, intimidation, and chilling of free speech?” said Yin.

    Yin said there are clear processes for prosecuting a federal crime.

    “But what happens if the government isn’t really interested in prosecuting?” said Yin. “What if they just want to grab someone, get them off the street and make things unpleasant for up to 72 hours and then after that they just say, ‘Hey, you know what, you can go.’ Then there is not as much recourse. You might be able to file civil rights lawsuits.”

    According to this law professor, what the CPB is doing is illegal.
    It’s not law enforcement, it is harassment and intimidation.
    And, there isn’t a whole lot you can do about it.

  17. says

    I know it’s wrong, but I’m starting to think the crazy militia guys with the barn full of guns might have had a point. This could never happen in a civilised country. Irreparable breakdown of law and order means it really is time to try out all those theories of anarchy.

  18. kome says

    @17 The crazy militia guys with barns full of guns are either (a) the very same men in camo jumping out of unmarked vehicles to detain and arrest random citizens exercising their rights or (b) aspire to be them.

  19. says

    It’s real, it’s happening and it’s bad. The DHS is “disappearing” people. This is real life. American citizens are being denied their right to Habeas Corpus because Trump finally figured out that he could take advantage of this emergency. I know people who have been snatched. Trump is punishing Portland ans he’s trying to make an example out of us. Mayor Ted Wheeler has politely asked DHS to leave our city. If they are not gone within a week it will come down to the impolite method.

  20. mnb0 says

    “…. won’t instantly …..”
    Given Biden’s political record not on a somewhat longer term (say four years) either.

  21. F.O. says

    @christoph #10 as much as I appreciate Beau of the Fifth Column, I think he’s seeing this from the wrong perspective:

    Alarmed to hear Oregon’s governor describe events in Portland as “political theater” for Trump, even as she’s horrified by them. What’s happening is far more than political theater. This is a small scale experiment of what they want to roll out at a much larger scale.

    They’ve been testing what they can get away with, and that test has so far been highly successful. They’ll try to get away with more, before taking the Portland model elsewhere in the United States. The political theater is only the cherry on the top.

    This strategy of pushing the limits of what’s possible and breaking old norms while establishing new ones is well known. We’ve seen it followed by Putin, Assad, Sisi, MBZ, Netanyahu, and of course by MBS.

    (Emphasis mine)

    https://twitter.com/iyad_elbaghdadi/status/1284415907163443200

  22. Kagehi says

    @17 Ian King

    The problem though has always been that those crazies with guns in their barn “want to be” the guys dragging people into unmarked vehicles. They only thing keeping them from being actual members of the CPB at this point is paranoia that it might be the “wrong” crazies in charge. Then again, given the escalation towards hiring thugs, authoritarians, etc. into positions from the cops on the bottom, to the military at the top, the “new plan” for the crazies with the guns in the barn is probably to wait until there are enough of them “in” these various agencies to come out of the cold, and take their proper place as the new government.

    They never had a damn point. They where always the problem, just no one wanted to believe, or recognize, when such elements started finding their way “into” the very institutions such nuts where constantly paranoid about. In fact, if the insane BS that was is being promoted by such insiders, and we are seeing played out, wasn’t so obviously freaking “right wing”, its more or less, stupidly, what they imagined, “The left will one day do to us!!”

    Its a bit like what I understand is in the insane, so called, Nazi bible – “We need to become horrible dictators who commit terrorism, torture, mass murder, and oppression, to put a stop to all the imaginary terrorism, torture, mass murder and oppression we think is already secretly being done, some place, some where, to white people!!!”

    This is always the thing that has scared me about those supporting some sort of “uprising” against government, to this point – they never seemed to comprehend that the sort of people most likely to support them, with guns and supplies, and eventually leadership, do not want an end to the problem – they want to be the ones doing it.

  23. F.O. says

    @Ian Kind #17

    I know it’s wrong, but I’m starting to think the crazy militia guys with the barn full of guns might have had a point. This could never happen in a civilised country. Irreparable breakdown of law and order means it really is time to try out all those theories of anarchy.

    Anarchism doesn’t /require/ weapons, and as an European I really hope it never gets to that.

    However, given the situation in the US, I can’t argue with Black people (or anybody else) there who decides to take firearms.

    We need to organise ourselves into communities, we need to re-learn to act as groups rather than individuals, otherwise we can’t stand to the powerful.
    Individualism divided us and allowed the powerful to conquer us.

  24. mailliw says

    Here in Germany it is illegal for the armed forces to be involved with matters of civil policing.

    The USA could do with similar laws by the look of it.

  25. unclefrogy says

    @25
    yes that would be good but that would be very hard to do. For much of the last 20 years or so the political pressure has been the exact opposite.
    uncle frogy

  26. says

    Cross posted from the Political Madness thread:

    One of my favorite statements about John Lewis:

    “In the face of what John considered the evils of segregation, he was fearless,” said longtime SNCC activist Courtland Cox.

    This is from the past, but it is still good:

    “Generations from now,” Obama said when awarding him a Medal of Freedom in 2011, “when parents teach their children what is meant by courage, the story of John Lewis will come to mind — an American who knew that change could not wait for some other person or some other time; whose life is a lesson in the fierce urgency of now.”

    And here is what that villainous canker-boil Trump said in 2017 about Congressman John Lewis:

    All talk, talk, talk — no action or results.

  27. says

    From Laura Bassett, regarding Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

    Has everyone stopped to meditate on the fact that an 87-year-old woman on chemo has to keep working full-time, full-force, because she’s quite literally the only thing stopping the country’s full slide into fascism?

  28. starsend42b says

    Has anyone heard from the people who were abducted? What have they said?

    RIP Mr.Lewis. You were too good for this world.

    RBG HANG ON, for God’s sake HANG ON!

    Stay safe out there, wear your mask!
    StarsEnd42

  29. whheydt says

    My daughter showed me a picture she found on line from a Portland protest… Line of people with make-shift, rectangular “shields”. One guy in the middle with a round shield with a steel center boss (covers the shield hand grip) wearing a steel helmet. Our best guess is that he is a trained SCA fighter…

  30. whheydt says

    Re: Numenaster @ #32…
    I know. I’ve visited. I’m in the West. So…anyone in particular in the Portland area using a Viking round –sable with something argent on it (not a real clear picture)–and a conical helm?

    Just FYI…when I was first in the Society, there were a total of 3 kingdoms. I am not a “dinosaur” in Western terms. Neither is my wife, but her first event was the second one ever.

  31. springa73 says

    mailliw @25

    I don’t think the people doing this are technically military – they are some kind of federal law enforcement, but they look military because law enforcement in the US has become so militarized.

    In any case, this is scary, and looks indistinguishable from kidnapping. I wonder if anyone will be charged with just that?

  32. blf says

    @36, etc., A previously-posted excerpt of ‘Abuse of federal law’: Remove troops, Portland mayor tells Trump in poopyhead’s current [Pandemic and] Political Madness all the Time thread says (in part):

    […]
    A spokeswoman for the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP)[gestapo] told Reuters news agency that federal agents had been deployed to Portland to support a newly launched Department of Homeland Security (DHS)[another gestapo] unit, tasked with enforcing last month’s executive order from Trump to protect federal monuments and buildings.
    […]

    So at least some of the secret police are “police” rather than formal “military”.

    The ACLU and others (see the links) have already filed lawsuits.

  33. says

    @36
    According to the Oregonian they are Department of Homeland Security. Not cops or military. I was worried back in the 2000s when DHS was formed. “Homeland” left a bad taste in my mouth. Sounds a bit too much like “Heritage”.

  34. unclefrogy says

    homeland is just too close to father land to make me feel safe and secure

  35. whheydt says

    Re: Ray Ceeya @ #36…

    “Homeland State Police” –> “Geheime Staats Polizei” –> Gestapo.

    How plain did it have to be made?

  36. says

    I’m seriously considering going down to the DHS office tomorrow and protesting. Depends on how hungover I am. Today is my 40th birthday but the DHS office is just up the street from me.

  37. Zeckenschwarm says

    @40:
    ‘Geheime Staatspolizei’ translates to ‘Secret State Police’.

  38. blf says

    @43, ‘Geheime Staatspolizei’ translates to ‘Secret State Police’.
    Yes, but the abbreviation (apparently invented by the post office) was gestapo.

  39. says

    Here is a good explanation, (an explanation, not an excuse — DHS is exploiting loopholes in order to engage in all kinds of fuckery in Portland):

    […] The Federal Protective Service is the federal police agency with jurisdiction over federal buildings and other federal facilities and property around the country. There’s nothing particularly controversial or surprising about this. When you go to a federal court house and see police you probably know that they’re not from the local police department. They’re federal officers. The FPS has been housed within the Department of Homeland Security since the Department was created in 2002.

    Unconfirmed political appointees at DHS (which include the Secretary, the Deputy Secretary and the Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection) say that the FPS in Portland and other cities has been overwhelmed by ‘violent agitators’ so they’ve sent in CPB, ICE and other federal police agencies housed within DHS to support FPS’s mission and, critically, under FPS’s jurisdiction. In other words, in their view, it’s really not ICE of CPB. These are just other federal officers supporting FPS since it’s overwhelmed. The jurisdiction of FPS is being used as a hook or loophole to give CBP and ICE police powers over citizens in American citizens for purported crimes entirely unrelated to immigration enforcement. […]

    Link

    As Josh Marshall said:

    […] CPB and ICE are among the most aggressively politicized branches of federal law enforcement and heavily supportive of the President’s policies. They are also accustomed to and indeed trained to deal with people with few civil or political rights and little ability to invoke the few rights they have. The specific officers deployed in support of FPS aren’t even regular CBP and ICE officers. They’re the immigration equivalent of SWAT teams. The acting head of CBP openly says they won’t wear name tags or numbers because this would allegedly put them and their families at risk from Antifa. In other words, they’re explicitly invoking the Antifa hysteria one sees on Fox News and right wing media to justify what are commonly understood as secret police tactics. […]

  40. says

    A correction to text in comment 48.

    The error is in the original, which reads: “The jurisdiction of FPS is being used as a hook or loophole to give CBP and ICE police powers over citizens in American citizens for purported crimes entirely unrelated to immigration enforcement.”

    It should be: “FPS is being used as a hook or loophole to give CBP and ICE police powers over citizens in American cities for purported crimes entirely unrelated to immigration enforcement.”

  41. says

    Things were going fairly well in Portland before Trump sent his gestapo in there to make things worse.

    From the New York Times:

    […] Last Saturday, the crowd was 100 or so. It was very chill—nothing going on beyond the now-normal occupation of the Justice Center. And feds came out grabbing people seemingly at random and beating people with sticks. There was the kid who got shot in the head and his skull was fractured. […]

    Commentary from Mark Sumner:

    […] The federal forces didn’t just shoot an unarmed student in the head. They shot the relationship between the police and the protesters. They blew away an already tentative sense of cause and effect. They made it clear that there are no rules. Anyone could be hurt at any time for any thing. Or nothing.

    This is not accidental. In both the protests in Washington D. C. and what’s going on in Portland, the forces sent in by Trump, Attorney General William Barr, and acting Director of Homeland Security Chad Wolf are people completely untrained in dealing with either public demonstrations or even normal law enforcement. These are ass-kickers, and they’ve been sent in to kick ass.

    They are not there to make things better. They are very, very much there to make things worse.

    And they’re being successful. Early on in the sequence of protests in Portland, a man called “Legend” started providing free food to protesters. His efforts got him tear gassed, but the community response ended up allowing him to create an always-open spot where anyone—protester, homeless, or just hungry—could come in for a free plate of food. The community rallied around him, local merchants provided supplies, voluntary contributions covered all the costs. Other services grew up around “Riot Ribs,” including free medical care, and even help in finding jobs and homes for those on the streets. But after the federal forces smashed the unspoken agreement between the police and protesters, the location was stormed, Legend and everyone else involved was driven away or arrested, and all the donated food was confiscated. A fence was put up to make sure no one could come back. The relationship between the police and protesters went way down. The chance of violence … through the roof.

    This is exactly the kind of outcome Trump is going for. It does Trump no good to have people sitting around sharing food, helping their community, and planning for the future. He needs there to be violence. So he, and Barr, and Wolf, are creating it. They have no intention on stopping with Portland. […]

    Fox News and right wing sources are already selling their audience on a vision of America in which blue states and cities are in “anarchy” and where violence “demands” a federal presence. […] They mean to make violence not just understandable, but inevitable. […]

    But the most important thing at the moment may be to elevate the videos and reports from those on the ground. To join in saying that this is unacceptable. And to make it clear to Donald Trump that you see what he is doing. […]

    Link

  42. says

    @48 Thank you. I’ve been watching it in real time with my eyeballs. Like I said, there was a tacit agreement between us and the cops. No more property damage, no more tear gas. WE WERE WORKING WITH THEM to maintain the peace and still allow the message to be heard. DHS just rolled in and shit all over all of us. Protester and police alike. More shit on the protesters obviously, but PPB is not happy with this.

    Why did we create DHS and ICE when we already had the FBI, INS, NSA, and a dozen other agencies. The answer is Bush. Those agencies were created to bypass the responsible people in the room. They were created to reinforce racist ideals. The seed planted by Bush is flowering with strange fruit.

  43. square101 says

    @49 The PPB don’t seem to be too bothered by it now, evidenced by their willingness to work with the Feds to fuck up protesters.

    “But hours after Wheeler’s most recent public plea for federal agents to leave, Portland police advanced on protesters in a coordinated effort with federal officers. Friday wasn’t the first time Portland police worked in tandem with federal officers. Portland police and federal officers marched shoulder-to-shoulder early Sunday morning to disperse protesters downtown.”

    https://www.oregonlive.com/news/2020/07/evidence-shows-portland-police-working-with-federal-officers-at-protests-contradicting-city-officials.html

  44. says

    @#12, LyleX:

    I have seen unsubstantiated reports that they’ve already been trying this.

    @#13, Andrew G.:

    This is why people were saying the Democrats should have used the “nuclear option” once the Republicans said outright that they were not going to act in good faith (which was, if you’ll recall, the night of Obama’s inauguration). They refused to do so because, IIRC, it would set a bad precedent and open them to accusations of overreach by Republicans. Now the bad precedent has been set and the Republicans, as always, accused them of overreach anyway.

    The leadership of the Democratic Party always refuses to adopt effective strategies which the Republicans use, but they’re always willing to compromise with Republicans by giving up on key points (hey, remember when Bush’s tax cuts for the rich were made permanent in exchange for… basically nothing?), and they’re always willing to apply Republican moral standards, such as turn 180° on a dime to support candidates with a history of rape and racism.

    @#49, Ray Ceeya:

    Why did we create DHS and ICE when we already had the FBI, INS, NSA, and a dozen other agencies.

    Dunno. The creation of DHS (with ICE as its largest branch) was an obvious fascist move right from the start. Why don’t you ask some of the people who voted for those things… like Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton. If Biden were honest about it, his answer would probably be “the formation of a national police force with militarized members and sweeping powers which throws a lot of innocent people into prison has been a lifelong dream of mine, as you can see from my history, including <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/joe-biden-touted-crime-bill-1992-death-penalty-jaywalking-senate-2019-6"my public comments”. But don’t worry; I’m sure once he’s in office, with the precedents set by Trump of how the President can get away with pretty much anything, he’ll be the absolute reverse of how he has been for his entire career, because that is completely plausible and not at all wishful thinking.

  45. says

    I have no idea about the postwar ukrainian nazis in Canada, however just to be fair (to nazis… well… still..) most of the members of non-german waffen SS divisions were volunteers who just seized the only opportunity they saw to fight Soviet Union, which invaded and annexed their countries, commiting countles atrocities in the process.
    It doesn’t mean they were good guys in any way, just that nazi ideology was not neccessary the main factor in their decision to join Waffen SS.

  46. says

    @50
    I’m not too happy about a lot of the things I do at my work but I still do them. PPB is being forced to accept this “help”. Not all of them are blind to the fact that this is making the situation worse.

    I’m not kidding about going to the DHS office and protesting.

  47. says

    A block west of Chapman Square, Pettibone and O’Shea bumped into a group of people who warned them that people in camouflage were driving around the area in unmarked minivans grabbing people off the street.

    “So that was terrifying to hear,” Pettibone said.

    They had barely made it half a block when an unmarked minivan pulled up in front of them.

    This is domestic terrorism by our own gov’t, targeting civilians with violence and intimidation for political aims. Fits the textbook definition. Glad I don’t live in Portland or I’d be tempted to arm myself.

  48. Rob Grigjanis says

    Gorzki @52:

    most of the members of non-german waffen SS divisions were volunteers who just seized the only opportunity they saw to fight Soviet Union

    Yeah. I’ve heard that a lot of the Latvians who joined the Latvian Legion had the attitude “first we deal with the Russians, then the Germans”. But there were also far-right scum who joined. I suspect the same was true for other non-German units.

    Two sayings come to mind.

    “The enemy of my enemy is (at least for the time being) my friend.”

    “When you lie down with the Devil, you wake up in hell.”

    I’ve often wondered what I would have done, at the time, if I saw the Soviet Union as the more immediate threat to my country. I don’t know. Hindsight is really easy. But I certainly don’t like the idea of celebrating anything to do with allying with such existential evil, after the fact.

  49. christoph says

    @ F.O., # 22: I like Beau of the Fifth Column mostly because everything I’ve heard him say is well thought out and presented. It’s true that not all insurgencies are successful, (Russia and China for example, where totalitarian rule has taken a strong hold) there are places where the insurgents have had some notable success.
    Anyway, I hope he’s right about Trump being finished.

  50. unclefrogy says

    @57
    well it was reactions exactly like these in question which were clearly stated by Lenin himself, that help bring about the success of the Russian revolution in 1917, which led to the complete over through of czarist Russia. alas what started out as a positive change became over time another authoritarian government with many abuses.
    One of which was what happened in Ukraine purges and famine used to punish. long term it has always been the Russian empire that’s proved to be Ukraine’s most important antagonist. they are fighting today.
    uncle frogy

  51. captainjack says

    The Vicar @ #51
    So, Vicar, how does voting for Biden normalize Facism?

    Have you got splinters in your ass from the hobby horse yet?

  52. DanDare says

    So what are the effective things that people can do about this breakdown of law and democracy?
    Obviousy there is bringing legal suit.
    What about a protest crowd network that brings others to the svene and gets thongs filmed, people challenged for ldentity and proper legal process.
    What else?

  53. mailliw says

    springa73 @36

    I don’t think the people doing this are technically military

    They look military, but I take your point. In Germany the police is normally a matter for the individual provinces, there is however a Bundespolizei – which is roughly equivalent to the federal police – whose duties include policing the railways, protecting national buildings (the parliament, the residence of the chancellor, the national courts and so on, but also

    Die Bundesregierung kann die Bundespolizei zur Abwehr einer drohenden Gefahr für den Bestand oder die freiheitliche demokratische Grundordnung des Bundes oder eines Landes einsetzen

    The government can employ the federal police for the defence of stability or the free democratic foundation of the country or a province.

    I want to investigate under what circumstances the federal police have been in action in Germany in this role. They have been less effective than they should have been in their anti-terrorism role when it comes to right-wing terrorism.

    I’d also have to concede that the Grundschutzgruppe 9 (Border protection group 9) look pretty damn military:

    springa73 @36

    I don’t think the people doing this are technically military

    They look military, but I take your point. In Germany the police is normally a matter for the individual provinces, there is however a Bundespolizei – which is roughly equivalent to the federal police – whose duties include policing the railways, protecting national buildings (the parliament, the residence of the chancellor, the national courts and so on, but also

    Die Bundesregierung kann die Bundespolizei zur Abwehr einer drohenden Gefahr für den Bestand oder die freiheitliche demokratische Grundordnung des Bundes oder eines Landes einsetzen

    The government can employ the federal police for the defence of stability or the free democratic foundation of the country or a province.

    I want to investigate under what circumstances the federal police have been in action in Germany in this role. They have been less effective than they should have been in their anti-terrorism role when it comes to right-wing terrorism.

    I’d also have to concede that the Grundschutzgruppe 9 (Border protection group 9) look pretty damn military https://www.bundespolizei.de/Web/DE/05Die-Bundespolizei/04Einsatzkraefte/GSG9-neu/01-Die-GSG9/gsg9_node.html

  54. mailliw says

    Sorry about that doubling up @62. A small misadventure with cut and paste. I’ve noticed that a comment with a long URL in it sometimes doesn’t get posted, so I had copied the whole post before hitting post – I just meant to paste in the link to the Bundespolizei web site.

  55. mailliw says

    springa73 @36

    The Bundespolizei in their border control role, have been strongly criticised for systematic racism by the group Pro Asyl (For Asylum).

    I have witnessed this myself in a train coming into Germany from Austria, where only people with some particular physical characteristics were controlled.

  56. mailliw says

    whheydt @40

    Staatsicherheitsdienst – State Security Service – abbreviated to Stasi.

    Disappeared a lot of people in the former East Germany.

  57. mailliw says

    Grundschutzgruppe 9 (Border protection group 9)

    Mistranslation on my part – Grund is a difficult word to translate – Foundational Protection Group? – Grund can also mean reason. Reason Protection Group? If only we had such a thing.

  58. mailliw says

    Gorzki @52:

    I understand that many people in the Soviet Union initially welcomed the Germans as liberators only to be brutally disabused of this idea.

    I read an interview with a Russian poet a while back who recounted asking a German prisoner why he was fighting against his Russian comrades, to which the prisoner replied “because the Slavs are sub-humans”.

  59. says

    @#59, captainjack:

    So, Vicar, how does voting for Biden normalize Facism?

    You think he’s going to undo all this stuff. He’s not. He has been in favor of this sort of thing throughout his entire career. Even now, while he needs to attract voters, he’s still saying he won’t permit defunding any police (and he said that long before Trump tried to claim that he would), and his proposed “solution” to this problem is to give them even more funding. (Nearly a third of a billion in federal funds). He has already told you he’s going to do this. He says police shooting at people is okay, we just have to train the police to shoot at limbs. This is not speculative, or a conspiracy theory, or anything. This is the stuff he himself is saying right now, before the traditional “turn to the right” post-convention (which you know is coming), that he will do. In practice, it’s pretty certain to be worse, because it always is.

    I have no doubt that he’ll follow the Obama plan, which is to put a smiley face on temporary minor improvements and count on the relief of the public to prevent them from noticing the big picture. I imagine he’ll pull these DHS Secret Police out of Portland and Seattle (Trump has now announced that this is going to be nationwide, now, so by the time Biden gets into office this will be happening in New York and Chicago and San Francisco and so on as well). He will triumphantly announce that this has been done, without mentioning that it’s continuing everywhere else. After the party faithful (i.e. people like you) have had their chance to be smug and the press has been distracted by something shiny and stops paying attention, the DHStapo will be back in Portland and Seattle as well. It’s pretty much how Obama managed his continuation of the Iraq war and his failure to actually prosecute anybody for the 2008 financial meltdown. If it worked on you before, it will work again — or so the Democrats are hoping.

  60. William George says

    @59 captainjack

    Obama really loved all the domestic spying Bush set up for him. He never closed Gitmo. There are dozens of other examples of the Democratic party continuing the shitty norm put in place by Republican overreach at least since the Reagan era. Biden won’t be as nakedly corrupt as Trump but he will do little to nothing in regards to reversing the current slide America is taking. History has shown that it either takes generations to fix the effects of power out of control, or it takes violence. Power itself never does it.

  61. unclefrogy says

    @69
    so if it all happens as you said
    if there is no hope of any real change to be expected
    are you suggesting that violence will be the only thing that has a chance to make things change? what should we do? what chance do we have?
    do you think that there is only one thing happening right now?
    It looks to me that there are much more then one problem There is the current crisis of pandemic which this administration is utter failing at on just about all levels, their is the economic crisis that is just beginning to the crash we have been expecting for a couple of years now, there is no will nor much else to do any thing the tax cut has not left much but huge debt and has not improved much but the rich. What do you think all those out of work people are going to do?
    especially when the bodies really start to pile up. Do you think that this pandemic is the only one we have to worry about? this is the easy one the next one will be hard.
    climate change is still moving ahead at it’s own pace we have done nothing at all.
    this november one of 2 guys will become the president there is no one else with a remote chance in hell. your harping along with the other named guy (if there is even another guy) are tiresome why don’t you just go and get stoned instead,
    uncle frogy
    complain all you want it. I ask you what should we / I do?

  62. Andrew G. says

    The Vicar @ 51:

    In point of fact it was indeed the Democrats who employed the “nuclear option” first, in 2013 to get confirmations of some federal appellate judge appointments (their use of it then explicitly did not apply to Supreme Court appointments). In 2016 when Scalia kicked it, the Democrats were by then in the minority, so they had no way to even bring the Garland appointment before the Senate much less to any vote.

  63. logicalcat says

    So we going to ignore that Biden is working along side Sanders and AOC coalition? Or the fact that Bush who preceded this was aided by the antiestablishmentarian left to steal the election by pushing third party, costing Gore Florida? Which lead to the country moving even mlre rightward.

    Are we still ignoring that The Vicar openly admits to wanting Trump to win.

    Vote blue. Peoples lives depend on it. And continue voting blue.

  64. captainjack says

    Vicar @ #68
    Aaah! Ha! Yeah, I thought you were locked in. You just proved by straw manning me that you can only see things in binary. I haven’t been affiliated with a political party in 20 years.
    I already know, as most people reading the comments here know, that you have no empathy for the powerless who stand to suffer and die even more if Trump is re-elected. What do YOU stand to lose if Trump is? I suspect not much. You have shown that what you value most isn’t the betterment of the country, but the elevation of your own sense of importance.

    William George @ #69
    You demonstrate the paucity of your intellect. Power is not a thing unto itself; it is an aspect of human relations. It’s impossible to “Fight The Power”. (Look up reification.) The best result of political action would be to change people’s minds, though changing behavoir is often adequate. And violence doesn’t always succeed in making things better, as the French and Russians discovered.

  65. mattandrews says

    Are we still ignoring that The Vicar openly admits to wanting Trump to win.
    Vote blue. Peoples lives depend on it. And continue voting blue.

    People like the Vicar are so far up their own asses with the whole “Trump/Biden/Obama/Hitler/Pol Pot are interchangeable” horseshit that they would rather see Trump win and more people die, because that would somehow prove them right about something.

    They’re just as dangerous as the fucking MAGAts.

  66. velociraptor says

    @62

    It’s ‘(Grenzschutzgruppe 9). Translation correct, first word wrong. For the rest, think FBI HRT.

  67. KG says

    It’s odd. Reading The Vicar’s bletherings, you would never guess that the USA is in the grip of a triple crisis (an out-of-control epidemic, a huge recession, and a crisis of the legitimacy of state power), of a depth unparalleled at least since the 1930s, and which might just possibly affect how Biden and those around him act if they win the election. And that’s without the looming megacrisis of climate disruption, which some at least in the American elite can see approaching. It’s not easy to predict how these multiple crises will affect that response (although I’m sure The Vicar’s crystal ball will tell him, if we can get him to pay attention to them); it is easy to predict that it won’t be “business as usual”. It might even depend on whether progressives demobilise as they mostly did in 2008.

    History has shown that it either takes generations to fix the effects of power out of control, or it takes violence. William George@69

    Whenever someone starts a sentence with “History has shown” you can bet some unsound generalization (at best) will follow. I guess whenever you have an actual dictatorship – a government that can’t be removed by being defeated in an election – that’s power out of control. The dictatorships in eastern Europe crumbled when Gorbachev withdrew Soviet support (without significant violence in those which were actually Soviet-controlled), and after the failed coup against him, the non-Russian republics of the USSR seceded. Now the subsequent history of those states has varied, none of them are by any means perfect, but many of them have remained peaceful, and seen peaceful transfers of power when the government lost an election, in the subsequent three decades. Is that a refutation of your claim, William George? If not, what would count as a refutation, and why does your claim tell us anythnig useful about what will happen if Biden wins and Trump is ejected from power?

  68. logicalcat says

    Hey real quick if Biden is the lesser of two evils and your actions ends up supporting the further establishment of the greater evil (Trump), then what does that make you Vicar? Any other “tired of voting for lesser evil” spouting fools are free to answer as well.

    Just curious.

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