Happy Sunday! The world headquarters of Wrong has been without power, internet or telecom since last Tuesday, because tropical storm Isais actually did more damage in northwest Connecticut than did the ledgendary storm Sandy.
This means that Wrongo will not be resuming his crummy columns today as originally intended. He is writing this note on his mobile phone with his thumbs, a completely unstainable proposition.
Our incompetent power utility has promised we will return to the 21st century by Wednesday, so please continue to talk among yourselves.
(The Wrongologist is taking a summer vacation starting today. We will return on August 9th. Wrongo urges all readers to also take a break. Got to get ready for the silly season that starts soon.)
Time to talk 2020 census. The Census Bureau’s follow-up visits to non-responding households were originally scheduled to begin in early May, but they were delayed by a freeze on census field operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In April, the Trump administration asked Congress to extend the deadlines for the Census Bureau to turn in their head count data. The Census Bureau independently postponed finishing field operations for the census from the end of July to the end of October.
The House agreed to the extensions, but the Senate hasn’t. Senate Republicans on Monday instead proposed additional funding as part of their HEAL bill to help conclude the census on time, without extending the deadline.
The Census Bureau is required to turn over numbers for apportioning Congressional seats by Dec. 31, and the numbers to be used for redrawing state and local legislative districts by March 30. The requested deadline extensions would push back the apportionment deadline to April 30 for Congress, and to July 31 for state and local districts.
The politics of these decisions are clear. Trump no longer wants a deadline extension, and he doesn’t want undocumented residents counted at all.
The timing of Trump’s memorandum excluding the undocumented and his abandonment of the request to push back the reporting deadlines suggests that the White House wants to ensure that the numbers are undercounted. Also, that Trump receives the apportionment numbers while he’s still in office so they can be fixed if necessary.
House Democrats are wary of what they see as Trump’s attempts to politicize the 2020 census, and want the Senate Republicans to approve the request for deadline extensions. That would mean there’s a chance the final months of the data-crunching would take place under a Biden administration, assuming Biden defeats Trump in November.
“Among those who say they have not participated in the census, 40% say they would not be willing to talk to a census worker who came to the door…”
The 40% breaks down into 16% who say they’re unwilling to talk to the Census people at all, and 24% say they are not very willing to speak with them.
So, what does it all mean for apportioning Congressional seats?
The job is to use the census data to equitably assign the House’s 435 seats to the 50 states. The first 50 seats are automatically assigned, one per state. A series of formulas called the method of Equal Proportions is used to divide up the remaining 385 seats among the states on the basis of their populations. The method of Equal Proportions was first used to apportion House seats in 1940 and has been used ever since.
The apportionment population of a state is defined as all persons residing in the state as of April 1, plus all American military and civilian personnel of the federal government and their dependents from that state who were residing abroad.
At the last census in 2010, the states receiving the largest number of seats were California with 53; Texas with 36 seats, and then Florida and New York with 27 apiece. Alaska, Delaware, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming each received only one seat, the one they are granted automatically.
Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia did a preliminary estimate of how the House seats will be distributed once the 2020 census is in. It obviously is a projection, but the results are shown on this map:
Of the 10 states projected to lose one House seat each in 2020, only two are red states. Of the seven states projected to gain House seats in 2020, six are red states.
If the 2020 apportionment followed Trump’s plan to exclude undocumented immigrants, this would be the outcome:
Eight states will lose nine seats with California leading the way. Seven of the eight seats lost would be in blue states.
Seven states would gain nine seats: Texas and Florida would gain two each. Six of the gains would be in red states.
Remember that a state’s votes in the Electoral College are equal to its seats in Congress. It’s not hard to see why Trump wants an undercount that favors Texas and Florida.
Sunset, Northern CO near WY border – 2020 photo by Maxwell_hau5_caffy. Note the beetle kill.
On Monday, the Republicans released their latest coronavirus stimulus package, the so-called HEALS Act. HEALS stands for Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools.
We know that it drastically reduces unemployment assistance, but it also doesn’t include an extension of the federal eviction moratorium. Last Friday, the federal moratorium on evictions in properties with federally backed mortgages and for tenants who receive government-assisted housing expired.
They should have called it the Republican HEELS Act.
Since Republicans want to cut the amount of federal enhanced unemployment insurance from $600/week to $200/week, it’s likely that many fewer Americans will be able to make their rent payments.
Housing advocates had been pushing for at least $100 billion in rental assistance, as well as a uniform, nationwide eviction moratorium. According to the COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project, we may be looking at something like 19 to 23 million, or 1 in 5 people living in renter households could be at risk of eviction by October.
But that may be optimistic. CNBC published this map of potential evictions by state, based on an analysis by global advisory firm Stout Sirius Ross. It shows the percentage of renters in each state that could face eviction:
For example, 59% of renters in West Virginia (highest) are at risk of eviction, compared to 22% in Vermont (lowest).
The average number for the US is about 43% of tenants are at risk of eviction. That equates to 17.6 million households. The study estimates that there will be 11.9 million eviction filings in the next four months. They think that there will be two million evictions filed in both August and September, leaving 8 million for October and November.
Let’s have a thought experiment. The study assumes that there will be two million evictions filed in both August and September, and another four million in each of the following two months. Let’s stipulate that each household averages 2.5 humans.
August: 2 million evictions equals 5 million homeless
September: 2 million evictions equals 5 million homeless
October: 4 million evictions equals 10 million more homeless
That totals 20 million people who are casting about for shelter as the cold weather hits the US, with another 10 million to come in November, for 30 million total.
This is an apocalypse.
An important consideration is that perhaps as many as 7 million of them may be registered voters who will be disenfranchised in November, since they no longer live at the address where they are registered.
Think about what’s coming from this change to the Republican bill: Millions of people will be realizing that they have absolutely nothing left to lose, people who feel as though there’s no way out. Then they find they are suddenly ineligible to vote.
2020 has forced our eyes open. All generations that are younger than the Boomers already feel as though any opportunity they had for a sound future has been stolen. In the midst of a global pandemic, they’ve seen Washington deny them healthcare, a safety net, and fritter away most of the societal stability they had.
So where are we heading?
If evictions occur on a grand scale, we’ll be in uncharted waters. It’s not just people being thrown out on the street, there’s no one else moving in. Residential landlords with no tenants face a dilemma, the same situation that has already affected commercial landlords: Few tenants and those who remain are looking for lower rents. When residential properties in the cities become vacant because of eviction or other reasons, and nobody is around to move in, what happens?
Squatting is likely. Carving residences into smaller and smaller units was common during the Depression, and that’s likely to happen again. Our biggest problem is that there is no obvious way to get America off the current Road to Ruin. DC is a disaster on all fronts.
Once the pandemic emergency is past, we will understand the extent to which the rich and politically well-connected have been taken care of, while the poor have largely been destroyed.
We’ve learned beyond a shadow of a doubt how political action, including $multi-trillion bailouts can be mobilized quickly for the right class of people, while helping the rest of us can be dismissed out of hand.
So true for Wrongo. The video below shows one of Trump’s paramilitaries pepper spraying a Vietnam Vet. Not for anything he’s doing, or for anything he is saying, but simply because they can. The video was shot by Andrew Kimmel, who is at the Portland protests every night. Wrongo urges you to follow him:
The vet’s name is Mark Hastie. He was a medic in Vietnam. He’s pleading with federal agents to heed the warnings of history, and respect the oath they took to defend the people of their country. Hastie says that he has mental scars from his time in Vietnam, and that these paramilitaries will have them too, if they continue their authoritarian ways.
It’s worth noting that in Portland most nights after midnight, a few protesters escalate the confrontation which, to that point have been largely peaceful. Bottles, cans and fireworks are thrown, some try to rush the temporary fencing installed around the courthouse. That’s when the paramilitaries move in and harm the protesters.
“[at around 11pm]…someone fired a commercial-grade firework inside the fence. Next came a flare and then protesters began using an angle grinder to eat away at the [temporary courthouse] fence. A barrage of items came whizzing into the courthouse: rocks, cans of beans, water bottles, potatoes and rubber bouncy balls….
Within minutes, the federal agents at the fence perimeter fired the first tear gas of the night.”
Ultimately, by dawn the next day, the paramilitaries had cleared the protesters away from the courthouse, and both sides retreated to lick their wounds.
Yesterday, the WaPohad an opinion piece by E.D. Mondainé, president of the Portland branch of the NAACP, saying that the message of the protests about the murder of George Floyd and the response by the Black Lives Matter movement is getting lost in the ongoing confrontations with Trump’s paramilitaries: (emphasis by Wrongo)
“….we need to remember: What is happening in Portland is the fuse of a great, racist backlash that the Trump administration is baiting us to light…..If we engage them now, we do so on their terms, where they have created the conditions for a war without rules, without accountability and without the protection of our Constitution.”
Trump’s plan of escalation seems to be working. The original protesters wanted less police violence and more accountability. But the protest now is against anonymous armed agents sent to suppress protest.
Another thing lost in the Portland protests is that Trump officials admit off the record that they are sending federal troops into cities in order to create “viral content”:
“One of the officials said the White House had long wanted to amplify strife in cities, encouraging DHS officials to talk about arrests of violent criminals in sanctuary cities and repeatedly urging ICE to disclose more details of raids than some in the agency were comfortable doing. “It was about getting viral online content,” one of the officials said.”
We no longer know who is demonstrating, there are too many “false flag” operators everywhere in America, as shown by who was behind the arson in Richmond, VA.
What will bring us out of our current free fall?
If Biden wins in November, he’ll inherit an America with 15%+ unemployment, tens of millions more homeless people than we have currently. Hunger will be widespread, and COVID will still be working its way through our population.
Paradise Pass with Crested Butte in the distance, CO – 2020 photo by glacticspark
The second biggest story of the summer is the widespread support of the protesters, those people of all races and ages, who took to the streets to say something about racism in America. Portland is and seems likely to remain the epicenter of the Trump administration’s law and order response.
America’s First Amendment rights are under attack in Portland by Trump’s paramilitaries every day. How can that be? Few have heard of US Code 1357. It allows immigration officers to operate within 100 miles of any external US border. Hence Trump could call out border troops to DC, Portland, or Chicago.
USC 1357 gives DHS jurisdiction over about two-thirds of the US population. They can enter any building that isn’t a dwelling within 25 miles of the border without a warrant.
The regulation was adopted by the US Department of Justice in 1953. At the time, there were fewer than 1,100 Border Patrol agents nationwide; today, there are over 21,000.
These problems are compounded by a lack of personnel oversight by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the DHS. The CBP consistently fails to hold its agents accountable for abuses.
Portland has protests on most days of the year. It’s part of the DNA of the city. Now, it’s looking like Trump’s paramilitaries are trying to foment violence and create a backlash among the protesters. The NYT reports on how these troops were the instigators of recent violence: (emphasis by Wrongo)
“After flooding the streets around the federal courthouse in Portland with tear gas during Friday’s early morning hours, dozens of federal officers in camouflage and tactical gear stood in formation around the front of the building.
Then…the officers started advancing….they continued to fire flash grenades and welt-inducing marble-size balls filled with caustic chemicals. They moved down Main Street and continued up the hill, where one of the agents announced over a loudspeaker: “This is an unlawful assembly.”
By the time the security forces halted their advance, the federal courthouse they had been sent to protect was out of sight — two blocks behind them.”
What’s the end game for Trump in Portland? His paramilitaries aren’t going to murder groups of protesters in cold blood, so what are they going to do? Have nightly tear gassing until the November election?
Trump’s paramilitaries are saying to Portland: “We wouldn’t have to violate your Constitutional rights if you didn’t insist on exercising them.”
There is libertarian support for ending the Trump paramilitary presence in Portland. Libertarians acknowledge that there is no police power in the Constitution. Policing is left to the states. To the extent the President can send federal officers into Portland or other cities, it should be limited to protecting federal property, not moving into crowds that are two blocks away.
The libertarian argument would say that the people of Portland and other cities have the right to decide who they want to elect to City Hall and how much funding they want to provide for their police. The federal government should only be brought in to defend federal property if the local police are unwilling or unable to do so.
Ironically, during the Obama administration, the GOP thought that the “arming up” of America’s internal security forces like the CPB was a risk to THEM. Now, when it’s impacting Democratic-voting cities, they’re all for it.
Trump’s election chances seem to depend on whether he’s Nixon reborn in 2020. Nixon ran on law and order and against violent demonstrations, largely by students who were against the Vietnam War. Protests never spread as broadly as this in the 1960s. To a great degree, the Vietnam protests were by white college age youth. That isn’t true of today’s protesters.
Trump’s law and order gambit is that Antifa Marxists will take over our cities and then, our suburbs. He’s clinging to the idea that there is an equivalent of the “silent majority” of 1968 still out there to elect him.
Time to wake up America! People in Portland are not afraid of the protesters. They know that their safety isn’t in question. There’s no doubt this is a protest against the government, not their fellow citizens.
To help you wake up listen to Peter Green, guitarist of Fleetwood Mac who died this week, play “Albatross” from 1969’s “The Pious Bird of Good Omen”:
Possibly lost in the “Terrorist Antifa Moms” news out of Portland last week was the thought that we continually say things like this:
Another new low for Trump.
How dare he?
Trump flaunts the Constitution.
In the past, other presidents have used governmental authority for political ends, but no other president has used a combination of the FBI/DHS/ATF and private mercenaries to literally beat down our First Amendment rights. Who’s stepping forward to stop him?
Without a principled Congress, nothing will stop him. The Republican Party steadfastly remains unshocked by his behavior. The Democratic Party can hold all the hearings it wants. It will never make a dent in Trump’s behavior. The current national dumpster fire is 100% owned by the GOP.
From Trump’s perspective, he’s doing exactly what he’s certain that he can get away with as President. He’s moved the goalposts, because our system wasn’t designed to hold back a President without principles. On to cartoons.
Protection of your Constitutional rights is now in the hands of Portland’s mothers:
Here’s the true cognitive test for Americans:
Who’s behind these secret police masks?
Do Americans understand how close we are to Trump declaring Martial Law?
Happy Saturday, fellow disease vectors! Wrongo is beginning to think that COVID will be with us for a very long time, possibly forever. We seem incapable as a society of following two simple rules: Mask up, and practice social distancing. So we won’t even muster a basic defense against it.
The virus needs new hosts all the time, and if you keep potential hosts sufficiently separated from each other, it can’t spread. This isn’t unknown, and it isn’t difficult. Asian and South Pacific nations successfully implemented it.
Now even America’s denier-in-chief is tumbling to the reality that the virus will be with us for a long time. Back in March, Wrongo asked:
“What unpleasant decisions would our federal and state governments be willing to take to get us out of a deep recession, if the virus is still around a few months from now, and still killing a lot of people? Is restoring our economy, and putting Americans back to work worth a million lives lost? Is it worth 300,000?”
Well, we’re now halfway to 300k deaths, and we could lose 200,000 by Election Day. The pace of virus infections is growing, although the US COVID death rate has fallen. Having said that, we’re dying at a rate that’s 10 times faster than the Europeans.
Here’s a screenshot from CNN:
It was almost 100 days to our first million cases, and just 15 days to our fourth million! After a slowdown in the Northeast, American hospitalizations today are about the same as they were on April 15.
Politicians have largely gambled that some form of effective vaccine will be discovered, and that it will be available in large enough quantities to halt the epidemic by next year. If they’re correct, they figure that they can allow more of us to die today in order to keep the economy bumping along at least at its current stagnant pace.
In a way, they are saying that the illness and deaths of the little people are less important than the health of our current economic system. So, let’s experiment with reopenings, and play down the need to mask up. Worse, America’s checker-board response, where each state and each county takes a different approach, is perpetuating the likelihood of a bad outcome.
But, what if there is no vaccine? Who’s doing the planning for that downside risk?
Should Americans simply throw up their hands and wait to get infected? Of course not. The virus needs uninfected humans to propagate. A social system that isolates the infected from the uninfected must be instituted, along with universal quick daily testing, masking and social distancing.
If the virus is going to be around permanently, we’ll have to protect the most vulnerable Americans, the old and the young. We locked up the elderly in the petri dishes we call “senior living centers” and they died at staggering rates. We let kids stew in their homes without much chance at getting a real education.
Neither can be allowed to continue if the virus isn’t going away.
And the physical damage seems to go well beyond the lungs. A study reported in Australia covered patients sick with COVID in 69 countries across six continents. It shows that more than half of all COVID-19 patients were found to have damaged hearts. It surveyed 1216 patients, aged 52 to 71, 70% of them male, so it’s a small but troubling sample of what can happen. Ilargi asks:
“So what happens to your health care system if you let half the population catch the virus, and half of those end up with heart damage in one form or another, to one degree or another?”
Knowing all this, are you willing to go with: It’s not that bad, it’s not that deadly, and those old folks would have died anyway?
If the disease is going to be with us for a long time, do you think that kids should just go back to school? We all should get back to the office? That we should just open up the bars?
Wow, these thoughts make us need our Saturday Soother more than ever.
Here in Connecticut, we’re in for another hot dry spell. Wrongo picked our first tomatoes and jalapenos yesterday. Also, we saw a deer with three fawns, a rarity, since one or two are usual.
It’s once again getting difficult to write about this stuff. Trump is willing to deploy a secret army to protect buildings, but he won’t take responsibility to protect human beings from a pandemic that is killing Americans at the equivalent of three jumbo jet crashes a day.
Let’s focus on the conflict between the First Amendment and the Second Amendment that’s been playing out on our streets since the murder of George Floyd in May. Early in the COVID pandemic, armed protestors carried their long guns into the Lansing, MI state capitol demanding an end to the shutdown. They also stood around in Richmond, VA and in both cases, law enforcement kept their distance, bending over backwards to avoid creating a confrontation.
There are political ramifications and lessons to be learned from the reactions of both groups of protestors and local and federal authorities.
Carrying guns into a legislature completely undermined whatever goals the protestors in Lansing and Richmond were trying to accomplish. The response from most Americans was to ridicule them. The police believed that the armed protestors weren’t going to use their weapons. They knew that letting them yell and march around would placate them. Law enforcement was pretty sure they wouldn’t be back in larger numbers the next day.
On the other hand, the unarmed protestors inspired by George Floyd’s death started a national conversation about the role and conduct of the police. The BLM protestors turned out in the hundreds of thousands, every day, and theirs was largely an anti-police message.
Carrying arms would have certainly undermined their message. Armed anti-police protestors would have credibly shown (to the eyes of most Americans) that a violent police response was probably appropriate. Unarmed protestors have a moral weight that is completely lacking in the messaging of the armed anti-shutdown protesters.
More importantly, the BLM protestors are targeting their message at people who will vote in November.
The sustained, mostly non-violent nature of the protests in the face of an often-brutal police response (and now in Portland, a similar response by federal secret police) gives the protestors political power. Right now, a majority of the rest of the country is on the side of the Portland protestors. This is the exact opposite of the public’s response to the armed protestors.
Another factor is that Rep. John Lewis’s death reminded us of the 1965 march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Think about how different things would be today if those marchers had been armed. There would have been even greater state-sanctioned violence; and most of America at the time would have seen it as justified. It was those unforgettable and unforgivable images of brutal police violence against unarmed and peaceful marchers that shocked the nation and government enough to change the law.
Lasting change only comes through voting, and putting pressure on elected officials to sanction bad actors and change laws that enable bad behavior. That only happens if the protestors gain and keep credibility with voters.
Isn’t it sad that Trump sees two monsters, civil unrest, and the pandemic, and chooses to say that fighting the pandemic is up to the states, but graffiti on federal courthouses is the hill he’s willing to die on? This is the fallout:
A bunch of people in Portland have sprayed graffiti on buildings, broken windows, and started fires, which, to be clear, is wrong and should be punished. Trump’s response was to send in the feds, in force.
Trump’s play is to use federal law enforcement to prod the protestors into more unrest and property damage. He will continue calling peaceful protesters rioters and anarchists. He will try to paint Biden and the Democrats as enablers of the downfall of American society.
This old storyline has worked in the past. Portland is the test of Trump’s playbook. Protestors have to remain mostly peaceful in the face of threats and physical violence by the Federales.
That must be the BLM playbook.
It’s not going to be pretty. People will get hurt.
Hetch Hetchy, Yosemite, CA – 2020 photo by sfo2phx. This reservoir was created by damming the Tuolumne River in the Hetch Hetchy valley in 1923. The project remains controversial, since the valley was thought to be as beautiful as Yosemite.
Where is America going? It’s clear that wherever our economy is going mostly depends on where our Covid-19 pandemic goes.
Congress passed the CARES act to provide us with a financial bridge until August, when the Coronavirus was expected to be under control, and life would be able to return to something like normal. But the pandemic is now worse than we imagined in March. From the WaPo:
“Sunday marked the 41st straight day that the seven-day average for new daily coronavirus infections in the United States trended upward. Six months after the novel coronavirus reached America, more than 3.7 million cases have been detected, and at least 137,000 people have died.
Kentucky, Louisiana, Oregon and South Carolina all set new single-day records on Sunday….Idaho, Nebraska, Iowa and five other states have seen their seven-day average for daily new fatalities rise by more than 40% in the past week. More than 100 Florida hospitals have run out of ICU beds for adults.”
We’ve spent $ trillions, but we’re no better off than when the pandemic started. And we’re got a lot to think about as these programs start to end. Bloomberg prepared this timeline of what financial benefits are ending, and the likely impact on America:
These looming cutoff dates come amid signs the labor-market recovery has stalled. While the Senate is willing to send new financial bridging legislation to Trump, Republicans and Democrats disagree on number of issues, and Trump has his own demands. The WaPo reports: (emphasis and brackets by Wrongo)
“Senate Republicans were seeking to allocate $25 billion for states to conduct testing and contact tracing, but certain administration officials want to zero out the testing and tracing money entirely…. [the administration] is also trying to block billions of dollars that GOP senators want to allocate for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and billions more for the Pentagon and State Department to address the pandemic at home and abroad…”
Trump wants the states to own the responsibility for testing. The Coronavirus spending bill Congress approved in April included $25 billion to increase testing and also required HHS to release a strategic testing plan. The agency did so in May, but the plan simply asserted the administration’s insistence that states, not the federal government, should take the lead on testing.
Another sticking point is that Trump wants the legislation to include another payroll tax cut. The payroll tax is used to fund Social Security and Medicare, so cutting it is a stealth way to cut Social Security in a time of crisis. Trump is also trying to fund a new FBI building.
In May, the House approved a $3.5 trillion relief bill. Pelosi’s bill funnels $100 billion to help schools to safely reopen and calls for $1 trillion to be sent to cash-strapped states to pay essential workers and prevent layoffs. The impact of shortfalls in sales, income, hotel, and gas taxes are already biting.
The White House has said the final package shouldn’t exceed $1 trillion, showing how far apart the Parties are.
We blew it on testing…America hasn’t built the infrastructure necessary to process [tests] and trace the results….
We blew it on schools. Congress allocated $150 billion for state and local governments as part of the CARES Act. [But] there was no money earmarked for schools to buy new safety equipment, or to hire additional teachers for [adding many] smaller classes.
We blew public health….Had we all been directed to wear them [face masks] in March — and done so…you might not be reading this post.
We blew goodwill. Millions of Americans sheltered in place, pausing their social lives for the common good. But many millions of other Americans didn’t. Some were essential workers….Some just didn’t care, or didn’t believe the threat.
All of this was complicated by mixed messages from federal and state leaders. Top of that list was President Trump, who claimed to adopt a wartime footing without clearly asking Americans to make sacrifices necessary to defeat the enemy.
That was the same mistake that GW Bush made with America after 9/11.
Which is better: Gorbachev’s Chernobyl response, or Trump’s COVID response? It’s a high bar for Trump’s response to be worse than Gorbachev’s.
The Chernobyl disaster exposed the Soviet government’s ineptitude to both the Soviet people and the international community. The reactor’s core meltdown and its aftermath drained the Soviet Union of $billions in clean-up costs. It led to the loss of a primary energy source and dealt a serious blow to national pride. Thirty-four years later, the site remains a waste land.
Gorbachev would later say that he thought the Chernobyl meltdown, “even more than my launch of perestroika, was perhaps the real cause of the collapse of the Soviet Union five years later.”
Nobody in the world is in free fall like America. America has the highest number of new cases in the world, higher than Brazil’s 50K, or India’s 30K. Even individual Red States have worse outbreaks than many of the world’s poorest countries with far higher populations.
The EU has about 5,000 new cases. America has more than fifteen times the number of cases Europe has. Texas alonehad more than twice the number of cases, (more than 10K) and the population of Texas is 7% of the EU’s.
Trump nails the win over Gorbachev with his most egregious action, putting armed secret police on the streets of Portland, OR. Dozens of federal agents in full camouflage seized protesters, threw them into unmarked cars, and took them for interrogation without specifying a reason for arrest.
It appears that at least some of the agents involved belonged to the US Customs and Border Protection (the Border Patrol), a US government organization that has no business conducting actions against Americans in Portland.
Both the mayor of Portland and the governor of Oregon have asked them to leave. A US Attorney for the State of Oregon is calling for an investigation into the arrests.
Now, the acting head of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf, is vowing to ramp up these actions both in Portland and elsewhere. This is Wolf on the DHS website:
“Each night, lawless anarchists destroy and desecrate property, including the federal courthouse, and attack the brave law enforcement officers protecting it. A federal courthouse is a symbol of justice – to attack it is to attack America.”
We’ve seemingly reached a point where Trump’s brown shirt police force is reality.
Could it be that Trump is trying to foment unrest? His campaign can’t be happy that protests and urban unrest have quieted down across America in the last few weeks. Is Trump hoping this action will spark a revival of what we were seeing in June?
The calculation would be that an upsurge in protest will divert the country’s attention from the ongoing COVID-19 disaster while scaring moderate voters. It allows Trump to keep playing the law and order president, someone who will protect white suburbanites from scary black/brown anarchists.
We’ve heard this Republican tune before during earlier presidential elections. It’s a mash up of Nixon’s law and order strategy, and Bush I’s Willie Horton strategy. It’s important to point out that both won their elections.
Trump is using Executive Branch agencies that he controls. AG Barr knows there is nothing “Constitutionally” Congress can do about this. They’re trying out various actions to see what they can get away with: for now, it’s the dreaded ANTIFA. Before that it was immigrants and asylum seekers. Later, it could be any opposition.
Time to wake up America! This is who and what we have become. The only question remaining is whether enough non-authoritarian Americans will vote in November to stop the madness.
To help you wake up, here is Big Country’s “We’re not in Kansas” performed live in 1991 in Bonn Germany:
What did you learn in school today
Did you learn to run when the teachers pray
Did they teach you enough to know the state you’re in
Not enough to get out, not enough to win
What did you learn at home today
Did you learn to hate in the proper way
Did your liberated parents patronize your friends
Cos they had enough money cos they had the right skin
Those who read the Wrongologist in email can view the video here.