More samplings of Black Lives Matter protest street art on and around Pioneer Place mall in downtown Portland, Oregon.

Note: My photo exports add a watermark by default; I am not claiming copyrights on anyone’s street art.

Mine Furor’s jackbooted lawyers at the Justice Department are trying to quash the judicial order restraining them from targeting the press. Their argument?

Federal officials responding to the long-running protests in Portland are asking that a court order protecting journalists be lifted on the grounds that some of those engaged in violence are masquerading as members of the press.

(Still say the Federal courthouse represents “everything essential to our system of justice”, Billy J. Williams?)

I can’t speak to the violence part, but protester Brandon Pappe for sure was doing this, openly admitting to Sergio Olmos that it was to avoid getting targeted by police when protesting.

People like Pappe are cowards and assholes, who believe they have the right to protest and demonstrate without any risk to themselves, and have endangered the working press — even if Pappe since has stopped.

It goes without saying (well, no, it can’t go without saying) that the TRO should remain in place and in force, especially with the feds compiling “intelligence reports” on members of the press.

Here’s why it’s ridiculous that Mayor Ted Wheeler didn’t learn until his police chief said it at a press conference that his Portland Police Bureau would be coordinating with Oregon State Police during the purported transition away from the paramilitary shock troops of Mine Furor’s Interior Ministry Department of Homeland Security.

If we’re going to have a militarized police force — and it’s going to take time to demilitarize in addition to defunding them — than the clear chain-of-command needs to stop and start with the elected civilian political official in charge of the Police Bureau. In this case, that means Wheeler.

His “apology” for the use of tear gas is an empty one given that his approach to the police is to defer to their decisions (per today’s news conference) or to “ask” them to do things rather than order them to do things (per his at-the-protest “listening session”).

The problem is that Wheeler is not required by law to have any political skin in the “game” of being the police commissioner.

Under the city’s 0635.10 Crowd Management/Crowd Control directive (currently under review, according to that page), it’s the responsibility of the Crowd Management Incident Commander to “[a]uthorize the deployment of riot control agents and/or special impact munitions, when objectively reasonable, to address civil disturbance and crowd dispersal”.

This should change.

Wheeler, as police commissioner, should be required either by city code or by policy directive to be present at the Justice Center or other appropriate command center whenever there’s a protest. I’ve literally no idea if he ever is; for all I know during these nightly protests he is asleep and finding out the next day what his police happened to do.

Further, it should be the express purview of the police commissioner — the elected political official responsible for the Police Bureau — to authorize the use of “riot control agents and/or special impact munitions”, barring the outright prohibition of such weapons.

(Wheeler’s statement of early June doesn’t count, as it continues to allow the Bureau’s incident commander the wide leeway to determine what is “violence that threatens life safety”.)

Not the chief, or the incident commander, or any other agent employed by our militarized police force. Only and solely the police commissioner.

For the Mayor’s apology to mean anything for the future of the use of riot control weapons, he needs to take actual, not merely rhetorical, responsibility for their use.

Given his habitual deference to the Police Bureau, however, I think it’s fairly clear that the only reason Wheeler maintains an in-name-only control of the Bureau is to protect them from any day-to-day oversight.

Ted Wheeler today was shown that as Police Commissioner he knows less about what his police are doing than does Acting Secretary Chad Wolf Chief Chuck Lovell. What a sentient farce is this guy.

“I will defer to the Portland Police Bureau and state police,” Wheeler said, when asked whether PPB would be working with OSP near the courthouse. “My understanding, the last time I was updated two days ago, was that it would exclusively be OSP. If that’s changed, I’m not aware of it.”

When asked a similar question, Lovell said that “OSP and PPB will work jointly”—and indicated that OSP will serve as a link between Portland police and federal officers who will remain in Portland after the speciality team leaves.

I guess the reason why Wheeler didn’t want to hand over the Police Bureau to Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty is because he doesn’t actually want anyone on the City Council controlling the Police Bureau at all.

‪So, yeah, let me say one thing: all of those prominent BLM-related groups that sprang up in the last couple of months—Rose City Justice, Riot Ribs, Wall of Moms—all rapidly becoming clusterfucks in one way or the other? This is what I mean by Portland talking a big game for itself but in reality being spectacularly mediocre.

Well, this is disturbing: the out of control policing-by-gas downtown appears to be causing menstrual irregularities, including “[t]rans protesters who had stopped menstruating since taking testosterone [seeing] their cycles restart”, according to interviews with “36 protesters, ranging in age from 17 to 43” conducted by OPB.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown says that “[b]eginning Thursday, all Customs and Border Protection and ICE officers will leave downtown Portland”; Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf says they “will continue to maintain our current, augmented federal law enforcement personnel in Portland until we are assured that the Hatfield Federal Courthouse and other federal properties will no longer be attacked”. Question: is Wolf saving face, or did Brown get played?

Federal authorities are arresting protesters on minor charges and then telling them “they can’t protest anymore as a condition for release from jail”. Is this blatant violation of Constitutional rights what Billy J. Williams meant when he complained that protesters simply didn’t understand that the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse “is the solution not the problem” and “absolutely represents everything essential to our system of justice”?

It could not be learned who drafted the orders barring the protesters from joining further demonstrations. The documents reviewed by ProPublica were signed by a federal magistrate in Portland. Magistrates have broad authority to set the terms of release for anyone accused of a crime. They typically receive recommendations from U.S. Pretrial Services, an arm of the U.S. Courts, which can gather input from prosecutors and others involved in the case. ProPublica identified several instances in which the protest ban was added to the conditions of release document when it was drafted, before it was given to the judge. It remained unclear whether the limits on protesting were initiated by Justice Department officials or the magistrates hearing the cases.

It’s nice of William Barr to release in advance a prepared statement showing off that he intends to commit perjury in front of the House Judiciary Committee.

Largely absent from these scenes of destruction are even superficial attempts by the rioters to connect their actions to George Floyd’s death or any legitimate call for reform.

That statement is a demonstrable lie. I wonder if the Beltway press 3,000 miles away from here will call him on it. He knows it’s a lie. And he’s going to say it under oath.

Where do we even begin with United States Attorney for Oregon, Billy J. Williams? The latest, per Maxine Bernstein of The Oregonian, are his remarks about the nightly protests outside the Federal courthouse.

It is absolutely destroying the soul of our city.

Let’s get some things straight. The map below encompasses almost all of Portland. You can see my the marker the location of the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse. (Ignore the blue dot; that’s me.)

This next map shows the four square blocks at the core of the nightly protests in downtown Portland, consisting of the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse, the Multnomah County Detention Center and Portland Police Bureau (collectively known as the Justice Center), and Chapman and Lownsdale Squares.

This geography does not represent the soul of Portland, except in a way that Williams never would concede, and perhaps can’t even see: that the people who have been gathering there every night for two months represent the soul of Portland, and that it’s been the alternating and sometimes combined forces of Williams’ government and our own local which have been seeking to destroy it.

That soul is very much on display not just on the frontlines at the federals’ fence, which sits not just on the United States property of the courthouse but on City of Portland property in the street and bike lane, but across the street in Lownsdale park, where everyone from street medics to food tents set up night after night.

Does he see that soul? No. In fact, per Bernstein, he hates what’s become of Lownsdale Square.

It doesn’t help anything.. It’s pretty astounding to see. That is an issue the city of Portland needs to address.

Williams can’t help but see his Federal government as the center of things. “This building is the solution not the problem,” Bernstein quotes him as saying. “It absolutely represents everything essential to our system of justice.”

Setting aside whether that’s ever been the case, it’s certainly not the case right now. His building represents everything that’s wrong with our system of justice, in that it hosts paramilitary forces which came to town to — in Mine Furor’s own words — quell a demonstration for racial justice because our own Portland Police apparently were not being violent enough, were just not quite using enough tear gas on our own citizens.

Williams needs to do some soul searching, for his own as well as for Portland’s, which has been staring him in the face for two months.