What, me worry?

While rummaging around for information about Saturday night's pointless confrontation between demonstrators and federal troops in Portland's SoWhat neighborhood, I came across this recent press release from the U.S. attorney for Oregon, Billy Bob Williams. He says his office is going to be on the lookout for problems regarding the election. Someone on his staff has been placed in charge of watching over the electoral process.

United States Attorney Williams said, “Every citizen must be able to vote without interference or discrimination and to have that vote counted without it being stolen because of fraud. The Department of Justice will always act appropriately to protect the integrity of the election process.”

The Department of Justice has an important role in deterring election fraud and discrimination at the polls, and combating these violations whenever and wherever they occur. The Department’s long-standing Election Day Program furthers these goals, and also seeks to ensure public confidence in the integrity of the election process by providing local points of contact within the Department for the public to report possible election fraud and voting rights violations through election day.

Normally, this sort of announcement would be a soothing reassurance. But given the events of the last four months, it makes me more nervous than relieved.

It's Williams. Ever since George Floyd was murdered, he's followed the Trump-Barr party playbook to the letter. He was 100 percent behind calling in federal troops who greatly worsened an already unstable situation and tear gassed, maced, and critically injured protesters. He falsely claimed that the troops weren't out on the streets, when on any given night they could be seen smacking people around as far as five or six blocks away from the federal courthouse. He was fine with the untrained Chad Wolf army renting Enterprise vans and abducting people. He refused to let the city withdraw its ill-considered consent to the long-term federal deputization of city police.

And now he's named himself the shadow district attorney of Multnomah County. If you're arrested for any sort of infraction at a protest, even if the true, elected d.a. won't press charges, Williams might indict you for the spooky federal crime of "civil disorder." In fact, three press releases earlier in the queue, he's reliving his glory days as a deputy county d.a., prosecuting a guy who allegedly assaulted one of the sweethearts on the local police force over on East Burnside, far from any federal personnel or property.

With that as the background, you'll forgive me if I wonder whether Williams's idea of protecting the electoral process might be different from most people's. It might be more like Bill Barr's treasonous views. I'll be relieved if Williams just does no further harm.