Your Wednesday Portland Riot-Palooza Roundup: Kate scoops Ted again
It's hard to believe it was more than five years ago that John Kitzhaber resigned as governor of Oregon over an influence-peddling scandal involving his concubine. That was a rough day for F. Ted Wheeler, who's now the mayor of Portland. Wheeler, who was state treasurer at the time, was surely thinking he had a crack at the governorship in the next election less than four years later. But when Kitz rode off into his libido-infused sunset, under Oregon law, Kate Brown, the secretary of state, became governor. They're all Democrats, and inertia is a big thing in politics around here, and so that meant that Kate was going to be governor – not Ted – for a long time.
Fast forward to now. The feds are occupying Portland. Demonstrators are being shot in the face and gassed with God-knows-what for the crime of standing near the precious federal courthouse while the anarchists throw flaming garbage over the temporary security fence. Just about everybody in Portland (except the U.S. attorney, who lives an hour away in Hood River) wants the federal shock troops out of their city. And so now the musical chairs are on to see who will emerge as the local hero who gets credit for their leaving.
The other day, Wheeler and his nemesis on the City Council, Jo Ann Hardesty, teamed up to demand a meeting with the feds to negotiate a "ceasefire." Ah, but lo and behold, Brown got first dibs on that action. Reportedly she and some suits from Chad Wolf's neo-SS operation are talking about a deal under which the federal mercenaries would leave if the state promises to police vandalism at the federal courthouse to the satisfaction of Orange Caligula in the White House.
So far, it's just talk, but it would be quite another coup for Brown if she could be the deal maker with the feds. And another bust for Ted.
On the other hand, it could backfire. The crazies in front of the courthouse are not all going home if the federal stormtroopers pull out. Who is going to whack the anarchists on Kate's behalf? The state police? The National Guard? Whoever inflicts it, the whacking will not play well on the millions of screens that count so much these days.
Anyway, Mayor Ted's cruel summer continues.
UPDATE, later that morning: Kate says she has made a deal with Pence(!) that the border patrol thugs are leaving. The Marshals Service and Protective Service surely aren’t, however. Oh, and she says the state police are stepping in.
Tuesday night at the courthouse
You call that a riot? Tuesday night's skirmish at the courthouse was a smaller, warmed-over replay of the five preceding nights. There were many fewer demonstrators – estimates in the hundreds now, not the thousands – and there seemed to be a lot of in-fighting within their ranks. Riot Ribs, after a most hostile takeover, is under new management. The folks in front of the Justice Center are lecturing the folks in front of the courthouse about what the right way to protest is. The various movements seem to be tiring a bit. (Although the trumpet guy is still getting it done.)
The federal stormtroopers aren't tired. There seemed to be quite a few more of them last night than ever before. As the main force stormed out of the courthouse for the nightly clear-out, reinforcements came running up the streets from the south (by Wells Fargo) and east (from down by the river).
The feds did all of their usual, atrocious stuff. And now there's a black smoke or gas of some kind being thrown in with the mystery yellow stuff and the just-plain tear gas.
I hope the protesters have good medical insurance for the rest of their lives, because 20 years from now, that stuff could surface. Remember "He gassed his own people"? Yeah, like that.
There was also a helicopter that made a hell of racket all night long. By the time it went over our place on the way back to the airport, it was 3:30 in the morning.
"If you protest again, you're going back to jail"
A couple of friends have pointed me to this story, which is making the rounds. When people get arrested at the protests, they are being released only on the condition that they don't attend any more protests anywhere in Oregon until their case is resolved. These orders, which one observer called "hilariously unconstitutional," are apparently being issued by the federal magistrate judges whose courthouse is being occupied.
I was hoping that the federal judges would speak up, but not like that.
Portlandia was a documentary
Another colorful City Council member, Chloe Eudaly, is in charge of "transportation" under the city's goofball, antiquated "city commission" form of government. In Portland, the sole mission of the 'transportation" bureaucrats is to make it miserable for you to drive a car or own a home.
Anyway, as of yesterday, Eudaly and her minions had fined the federal government $192,000, and counting, because Fencie the Federal Fence, which temporarily guards the courthouse, is blocking a bike lane. The fine is computed at $500 for every 15 minutes the bike lane is obstructed. Eudaly is maxing out the fine because she's one tough cookie, you see.
And now, for some warm milk
I honestly don't know what to make of this, which showed up yesterday. It's an agenda for government in these parts to respond to the cry of Black lives mattering. I would take it more seriously except for the fact that the first page is a wall of politicians' names. These people have been in power for many, many years, and yet now is the first time they have thought to get together and address these issues in a concrete way.
It almost sounds like they're saying "Please don't vote me out of office over this." But hey, I guess it would be wonderful if all of the promising ideas were implemented. So it's worth a skim, at least.