“No one is suggesting that the Timbers support fascism,” writes Abe Asher for Portland Mercury. “What they are suggesting is that by supporting the Iron Front ban, they are creating space for a political movement that physically endangers a great number of their players, staff, and supporters.”

While I suppose it’s true that no one is suggesting that the Timbers willfully support fascism, “creating space for a political movement” that “endangers” people, when that political movement is, well, fascism, means that the Timbers do support fascism, even if their true, honest, and earnest intention is otherwise.

What matters now, since language matters, is for the Timbers to explain how and why they made the decision to ape bogus conservative talking points about the nature of antifa. The rhetorical acrobatics in the Timbers statement had to require conscious thought, and giving credence to the dangerous mythology being constructed by the right is a problem the front office needs to confront.

When it comes to anything Timbers, I’m on the outside looking in. But since there’s an ongoing battle between Major League Soccer and antifascists, I’m briefly going to weigh in on the team’s front office statement today.

For obvious reasons banners and signs are widely visible to the broader stadium and television audience and thusly fall under a different set of guidelines. Despite its origins dating back to fascism opposition in World War II-era Germany and elsewhere, today most of the broader public are unaware of the Iron Front and its historic meaning. Instead it is widely associated with its frequent use by antifa, often in the context of violence at protests or counter protests. The Iron Front symbol is clearly different than a national symbol like the American flag, that some have tried to argue has been misappropriated by certain groups.

You know what I’m going to say before I say it. You can’t rightly point out the Iron Front’s “origins dating back to fascism opposition in World War II-era Germany and elsewhere” and then in the same breath state that because “it is widely associated with its frequent use by antifa” it’s become a problem

Antifa literally is a term that means “antifascist”. It’s right there on the tin. The front office of the Timbers openly asserts that an antifascist symbol cannot be flown on banners because of its use by antifascists. Antifa cannot “co-opt” the Iron Front, because antifa is antifascism.

In effect here, the Timbers front office is conceding the bad-faith argument that Black Bloc is all there is to antifa. There are good-faith arguments to be had over the nature of Black Bloc (most of which, for me, are lost by the critics) but this is an especially dangerous message for the Timbers front office to send. It’s also strangely mistimed, given the success of the serious yet joyful display put on by antifa in Portland just this weekend.

Language matters.

If you have a problem with Black Bloc, take on Black Bloc. But if the front office truly values “safety” and “inclusion” as they claim, they should be helping to educate the public about everyday antifascism rather than surrendering to the lowest-common-denominator smears that only serve to make the Timbers front office complicit.

Why Portland? The city presents a unique mix of past and present white nationalism; policing that enables the far right; weak political leaders; and a legacy of antifascist organizing. Combined, these elements allow the far right to stage violent spectacles with few legal consequences against their ideological enemies — antifa, liberals, so-called PC culture, cities — while using social media to glorify the violence as a recruiting tool and proof of their racial and masculine virility.

From Riotlandia: Why Portland Has Become the Epicenter of Far-Right Violence by

Popular Mobilization (or PopMob), a coalition of leftist groups that organized the counterprotest, distributed flyers in Portland this week that stated: “If you oppose racism, white supremacy, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and the xenophobic, ultranationalist ideologies of the far right (and our current administration), you are an EVERYDAY ANTIFASCIST.”

From Proud Boys, Outnumbered By Anti-fascists, Get Police Escort After 30-Minute Rally by Christopher Mathias and Andy Campbell

Unable to engage or focus, I found myself absently and endlessly scrolling up and down on this blog. I imagine it might have been a sort of virtual analogue to rocking back and forth. It did prompt me to resume my intermittent and continually-frustrated search for a local psychotherapist who grasps adult autism and is covered by my insurance.

Unfortunately, Multnomah County Health Department won’t search or filter for autism or Asperger’s; Psychology Today doesn’t include Health Share of Oregon as an insurance option; and Therapy Den (which I just found today) allows all the search and filter options I’d need, but yields zero results.

In the end, through the county’s directory I stumbled onto a place that focuses on various forms of trauma, and given my interest in research on how the autistic brain in many ways could be considered a brain being traumatized by sensory input and other stimuli, I’ve sent them a preliminary inquiry. It’s a bonus that it’s near the zoo.

I’m not especially hopeful, but at least I managed to do one last productive thing for the day before my ability to connect to anything outside of myself shuts down completely for the night.

That young, white Trumpist who “drove 10 hours to El Paso from Houston to make his statement of support for President Trump” by brandishing a gun outside an immigrant community center reportedly is heading to Portland for next weekend’s Proud Boys event, which is expected to be countered by “the Spectacle”.

“What’s your problem, Portland?” asks Portland Mercury and mostly I want to call attention to two transit-related matters.

First, Suzette Smith nails one issue as a pedestrian: drivers who think they are doing you a favor when they aren’t, because (at least as I see it) it’s simply too dangerous to cross the street without having the express and explicit right-of-why and sometimes not even then. It’s really much safer for pedestrians if drivers take the right-of-way when it’s theirs and let us pedestrian take it when it’s ours.

This doesn’t even get into the fact that often, if the height of the sun in the sky and the reflective angles of a car’s windshield are just right, we can’t even see if they are signaling us to go ahead. As a general rule, pedestrians here need either the clear right-of-way or the total absence of imminent traffic.

I’m also going to toss in one more: drivers, your turn signals are not just for use when there is a car behind you. Drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians in all the other directions also need to be able to tell what the fuck you are about to do with your lethal two-ton battering ram. Every single damned time you are going to turn, you need to put your turn signal on.

Second, a reader submission rightly knocks transit riders who don’t grasp the idea that you enter at the front, exit by the rear door, when you board you either find a seat or move toward the rear of the bus, and if you’re already on a crowded bus when more people board you make room for them to get on. Also, yes: use headphones, mute your device, or get off the fucking bus.

Sometime between seasons four and five of Portlandia, after a two-year stint abroad, I moved from the Kingdom of Morocco to the City of Roses. I settled first in rural Oregon. A year later I settled in Portland proper. And a couple enlightening years after that, I settled for the natural beauty and the promise of this place despite its glaring shortcomings.
I’m talking about its lack of racial diversity and its history of racial prohibition. Its integration and then systematic marginalization of communities of color. And its circumstances today as one of the fastest growing metro areas in the country, or the way I see it, one of the fastest growing cradles for whiteness.

From Your View: How Can Portland Stay Portland As It Grows? That’s the Wrong Question by Tiara Darnell

Alex Zielinski of Portland Mercury last night posted a write-up of what she’d found out about the Portland Police Bureau’s dangerous “cementshake” tweet. It’s based on the same info Katie Shepherd got from the Bureau, although Zielinski more explicitly draws a straight line to the on-site report from a police lieutenant in fact being the only information they received.

This afternoon, Zielinski reports on Twitter, this is confirmed by the mayor’s liaison to the Bureau (who, I learned today, is former police union boss and total jackass, Robert King).

Also, King confirms that the cement milkshake claim came from a single PPB officer who saw “a powdery substance that appeared to cause some irritation… and he smelled something that, having worked with concrete before, seemed familiar.”

Pressed if it was just one person who believed it was quick dry cement, King says: “Yes, it’s one person at this point.”

We are drawing ever closer to confirmation that someone, whom we now know is a Portland Police lieutenant, simply saw someone else being annoyed at the coconut flakes in the vegan milkshakes and decided it just had to be cement.

ETA: There’s a little bit more info about the original report of “cement” from Robert King via Katie Shepherd.

The mayor’s advisor on public safety, Robert King, doubled down im defense of the “cement milkshake” Tweet. He says an unnamed individual reported irritation of the eyes after being hit with a milkshake. Emphasizes the anonymous email mentioned below again.

So there’s still a slight confusion here on the source of the initial claim. According to Zielinski, King said it’s just the police lieutenant. According to Shepherd, King said someone said their eyes were irritated. Both report King referenced the lieutenant smelling an “odor”—which is going to turn out to be coconut.

ETA: I am dying to know just how often Robert King puts ice cream in his eyes that he knows the level of irritation it causes.

So here’s a thing we will have to watch unfold over the next several days or weeks here in Portland.

First there was a tweet from the Portland Police Bureau just sort of casually mentioning without even the suggestion of evidence that at the “Shake Back The Streets” protest today they’d “received information that some of the milkshakes thrown today during the demonstration contained quick-drying cement”.

Then, hours later within an hour, this became in a press release “reports of individuals throwing ‘milkshakes’ with a substance mixed in that was similar to a quick drying cement”, still with no indication that any officer had seen these alleged cement-shakes, or even any evidence of them, for themselves.

During these three hours this time, it’s already become holy writ in Twitter’s nazi circles that these cement-shake assaults happened.

Meanwhile, some redcap MMA fighter has been tweeting at the bureau photos and videos taken during the protest of vegan milkshakes being handed out, and photos of a GoFundMe page that’s actually about Slurpees and might not even be related, as if they were some sort of smoking gun or information previously being kept hidden.

Organizers and supporters have been tweeting for days (weeks, for all I know) about the protest and its vegan shakes (not Slurpees). They have a website, and a Facebook page, and a catchy promotional video.

There’s no secret being revealed here by your intrepid investigative journalism, redcap MMA lady.

Anyway, the point is that in three hours they went from “information” about “quick-drying cement” to “reports” only of something “similar to a quick drying cement”, but still without any assertion that they’d seen any of it for themselves.

Keep in mind that the PopMob video for today’s events literally warns that fascist groups like the Proud Boys show up in places like Portland specifically to manufacture propaganda. What are the odds, at this point, that weeks from now when no one is paying attention the Portland Police Bureau will admit these cement-shakes never existed?

But by that time the damage already will have been done by the bureau, and it long since will have become an established fact in alt-right circles and used in American profa propaganda for years.

ETA: Still without any evidence to back the bureau’s claims, NBC News picked up the profa line that we are talking about, essentially, concrete-block milkshakes. Others on Twitter have started pointing out that “quick-drying cement” probably means rubber cement.

Of course, even if it’s rubber cement, not, you know, Quikrete, there’s still been no indication, hours and hours later, as to what the police are basing this information on.

Let me make one thing clear, though: if some wingnut did for some reason try to use rubber cement as a weapon, that’s arguably more of an assault than just, you know, vegan milkshake. There’s just not yet anyone showing this actually happened.

But, and this a thing profa and redcap Twitter (or, say, “reporters” for The Daily Caller) will ignore, the organized PopMob milkshakes literally were being handed out for people to drink, not just potentially to use in a milkshaking. So there certainly was no grand conspiracy of rubber-cement-shakes going on out there.