Sunday, September 13, 2020

Is Portland Burning?

Report from a friend in Portland ...

With Apologies to my readers abroad this is a very American story but I think it has some valuable lessons for people everywhere.  Portland, Oregon, a bastion of liberal Democrats, has been singled out by the administration and the media as a hotbed of anarchy.  Naturally, worrying about a good friend there we asked him what his perception of the situation really was.   He happens to also be a former newspaper reporter and here is his reply ...

What's going on in Portland? It's much, much calmer than the news (and especially the right-wing media and the Dumpster in Chief) make it out to be. The action is generally confined to a very few, very small hot spots while most of the city is business as usual-as-it-gets-in-the-midst-of-an-international-health-crisis.

The problem is, we're down to the hardcore -- maybe 200 determined ultra lefties who taunt the cops and the white supremacists, hoping they'll go over the line and attack. Often the cops do: Like so many forces across the nation, Portland's is riddled with heavily armed white supremacists who cozy up to the right-wingers, ignore everything they do, and then attack the BLM protesters after the right-wingers have moved on.

The police union is a huge problem -- the cops hide behind its near-absolute protection, and it's stronger than either the police chief or the mayor. It needs to be busted -- and I support unions.

Trump is obviously using the Portland "situation" to pull a Willie Horton on voters, hoping that fear of urban liberals and the dread "Antifa" will round him up enough votes in swing states to pull this thing off. The killing the other night plays straight into his hands, and that truly scares me.

Details are still scant, but apparently the guy who got shot had just maced some people on the street, and one of them then shot him in the stomach. The right-wingers almost all come from outside Portland, hoping to stir up trouble, which they do, with the aid and abetting of the cops and the criminal president (note that I do not pretend to journalistic "objectivity" in this instance). I've figured the way things have been going a death was almost inevitable. Now it's happened, and there could be hell to pay. Trump would dearly love to send in federal troops of one sort or another and bash heads in Portland to win votes elsewhere.

And yet, the vast majority of the city is unscathed. This is hardly the Watts Riots. Plus, property damage is minimal (you read about federal buildings being set on fire: in reality, they're tiny little things on the floor that are put out immediately) and except for immediately after the Minneapolis murder, when there was a mass of window-smashing downtown, looting has been nonexistent. Portland's targeted by the right. Why? Basically, because we're a Scandinavian city in a nation that hates the idea of social democracy. (There: Off the soapbox now.)”

The protests have now lasted over a hundred days and the self-proclaimed Antifa activist who claimed he shot the member of the Rightwing group in self-defense has himself been shot dead by federal marshals.

Here is an article in the New York Times written around the same time as our friend’s report. It gives an insight into the local Portland protesters, as opposed to the extremists from Right and Left who are getting the spotlight:

Edgar Allan Poe wrote, ““Believe nothing you hear and only one half that you see.”  Unfortunately, I may add, and even less of what you read.  Unfortunately, sometimes, the media is parroting what is coming from hate groups!

There were student riots in Paris, France in 1968 when I had to go there for work.  Everyone thought I was crazy to go because the Newspaper reports made is sound like the city was on fire.  The truth was that most if not all the fuss was around the school, the Sorbonne, and most of what was burning were car tires.

Guess what, I did not visit the student quarter and neither had nor saw any issues during my visit.  So, I learned it is best to find out the details behind a story and not just read the headlines!


NB: A question hanging over my last missive was how did the Tiffany Fire Hood survive with a salvage company.  Now, I have heard from Norton’s source, Arlie Sulka at Lillian Nassau, there was an additional owner.  She wrote, “I acquired the piece from a private collector who had been storing it for many years”

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