Step right up! “It’s just a few bad apples!”
Right, but they spoil the entire bunch.
And the same can be said for law enforcement, here in the US. While there are definitely, WORSE, police departments...none of them are good. None of them are safe from the disease of institutional, systemic racism and violence fueling our current civil unrest. And the actions of federal officers in Portland, Oregon are proving, without doubt, that the systemic damage is not confined to the municipal and state levels.
Last night (July 15/16), the Portland police department was uncharacteristically restrained in their crowd control tactics. Abnormal behavior from a department who has recently tear gassed their own citizens (SEE: War Crime); illegally cleared a park of protestors, including confiscating and destroying food and water supplies (SEE: War Crime: Starvation ) and was videoed knocking a man from his bicycle (SEE: Douchebaggery) A man, who was in no way interfering with their operations, because YOLO. Along with an entire social feed worth of other "just doing my job" tactics. But their restraint may have just been a not deserved breather, provided thanks to being tipped off, the federal government would be playing that inning.
Federal officers from the US Marshall service and other federal agencies began shelling the protestors with tear gas and firing less than lethal munitions in the early morning hours last night. I say “other federal agencies” because truthfully, no one really knows who in "Trump's Hell on Earth" these guys work for. Camouflaged and masked, unmarked agents have been spotted numerous times around Portland in the previous weeks, But their presence and their tactics have been escalating as of late. Particularly concerning is the use of unidentified, ununiformed federal agents in the gestapo “Black Bag-esque” removal of protest organizers from the streets of Portland, as seen in this video, tweeted by Senator Jeff Merkley (@SenJeffMerkley).
The senator expressed his outrage in the same tweet:
“Authoritarian governments, not democratic republics, send unmarked authorities after protesters. These Trump/Barr tactics designed to eliminate any accountability are absolutely unacceptable in America, and must end.”
And while I agree with his statement, to most of America and definitely to the rest of the world; this appears to be perfectly acceptable behavior. These are, afterall, protests in objection to police brutality. An irony not lost on anyone, except law enforcement, it seems. And there seems to be no end in sight.
A disturbing possibility that seems to be more reality, is that federal escalation in the Rose City appears to be related to downtown courts restricting Portland Police from using crowd control against non-violent demonstrators. But federal law enforcement is exempt from that restriction.
And so, let them eat tear gas once more.
And when the gas and smoke clears the battlefield...my mistake, the streets of the Portland protest. What are we left with? An administration and it’s constituency that seem not just comfortable, but gleeful about winning a meaningless and hollow victory over its own citizens. A victory won thru loopholes and gotchas.
“Yes these are war crimes, but this isn’t war.” and “You said Portland cops couldn’t do the war crimes, nothing about the feds” are what our children are learning as how the game is played here in Uncle Sam's Playhouse. A game played by quixotic cowards, tilting at the windmills of free speech (when it embarasses them). And boldly hiding behind the shield of the 1st amendment (to protect systemic racism and hate speech) as long as the price is right.
Our nightly circus (Sorry, no bread. The cops stole it.) is doing absolutely nothing to get us any closer to dismantling the racism and oppression, slowly choking off the will of millions of Americans. And it's only making the outrage over a plague of murderous and violent police, festering throughout this country, worse.
Oh, and there's a "plague" plague too.
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