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.

Some new polling of Oregonians from DHM Research and the Oregon Values and Beliefs Center includes some fairly interesting results when it comes to various proposed changes to how we structure policing.

As noted by Aaron Michael Brown, whether they understand it in these terms or not, 58% of Oregonians support defunding the police, while 37% support abolishing police departments outright.

On a sitenote: one of my pet peeves is polling a question that demands ungathered context in order to understand the results. In this instance, the matter of approval or disapproval “of the way police have responded to the protests”. People who think police should be more tough and those who think police should be more lenient can state that they disapprove of the police response.

These types of poll questions are effectively useless for public policy discussions, unless you’ve got the per-respondent answers on whether or not they support the protests; even then, it’s not going to precisely correlate and give you a full sense.

I guess my peevish sidenote ended up being longer than my main point of interest.

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.

Lois Beckett for The Guardian on what the data says about the antifa threat (via Lesley McLam).

A new database of nearly 900 politically motivated attacks and plots in the United States since 1994 includes just one attack staged by an anti-fascist that led to fatalities. In that case, the single person killed was the perpetrator.

Over the same time period, American white supremacists and other rightwing extremists have carried out attacks that left at least 329 victims dead, according to the database.

Emphasis added.

Richard Kreitner and Rick Perlstein for The New York Review of Books present a short history of the “outside agitator” in American politics and social change (via Alex Wittenberg). Carve out some time to sit down and read this one.

The man in charge of the Pentagon, a former Raytheon executive, then said, “And we get back to a…”—he paused, then offered an even more pregnant formulation—“the right normal.” This was the lens through which the institutions of the American security state began thinking about protests that had assembled to protect and preserve black lives: by constructing an entire model of military engagement, with the outside agitator trope as its foundation. Evidence suggests they still are thinking that way. At the end of June, with any violence in demonstrations associated with the George Floyd protests at least three weeks in the past, Barr formed a task force to monitor “anti-government extremists” engaging in “indefensible acts of violence designed to undermine public order,” possibly even “fortified by foreign entities seeking to sow chaos and disorder in our country.”

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.

Conrad Wilson and Jonathan Levinson have a pretty good look at the internal and external tensions — or, let’s say, the differences of opinion — around the various approaches, strategies, and tactics of two months of Portland protests. They talk to a number of Black activists and voices on the ground, and its great primer for understanding the dynamics of this particular debate.

In the crowd that night was Byrd, a middle aged Black woman who has been attending protests at the Justice Center since they started. Among other events bringing people to the street, she said the federal law enforcement officers’ actions have made people scared that their fundamental right to protest is in jeopardy. The hand wringing over white people in the protest misses the bigger point, she said.

“You’re either for human rights or you aren’t,” Byrd said. “We can’t concede the point that now there’s an energy that is bent toward racial justice for Black people. And that’s the focus.”

They also report that Mine Furor is increasing the numbers of paramilitary shock troops in Portland, which makes Ed Pilkington’s unsettling profile of Customs and Border Protection generally — and Bortac specifically — just that much more unsettling (via Andy Baio).

As news circulated of demonstrators being shot in the face with “less lethal” munitions, and of unidentified masked agents in camouflage strong-arming civilians into unmarked vans, the nightmare scenario Tomsheck had heard expressed by his bosses almost a decade ago – of border patrol becoming a nationwide militarized force operating outside constitutional constraints – was becoming real.

“Border patrol has always seen itself as a militarized force, and that aspiration is now being enabled by the current administration,” Tomsheck told the Guardian.

It’s unnerving to see in Pilkington’s piece that discussions of CBP in fact are beginning to refer to “the interior”; recall David A. Graham’s recent depiction of Trump effectively trying to cobble together a de facto Interior Ministry.

Where is Ted Wheeler? As near as I can tell, no one’s heard from the Mayor since a Saturday morning tweet (I’ve tried looking for news stories that might have gotten a more recent quote but to no avail; ping me if I missed something), and it’s difficult to view this silence as anything other than an inability for him to hop onto national newscasts to posture about Donald Trump and the abuses of his paramilitary shock troops from the Department of Homeland Security given that last night the Portland Police that he commands as Police Commissioner were full partners and participants in those very abuses. Wheeler and the rest of the City Council literally just this past week adopted a resolution prohibiting that, so I’d really love it if the local press corps could get an answer here: is the Mayor just trying to snow us all with his preening on television, while actually supporting his police’s behavior, or has he simply lost any and all control over them?

In addition to reportedly rendering the first seven floors of the Federal courthouse uninhabitable due to their own tear gas, paramilitary shock troops from Mine Furor’s ad-hoc wannabe Interior Ministry also are gassing inmates in jail at the Justice Center next door.

The sheriff’s department couldn’t say how many inmates or employees were affected. But tear gas infiltrated the sixth, seventh and eighth floors of the detention center and affected more than 60 inmates, according to defense lawyers who serve as public defenders to those incarcerated. The center’s eighth floor, which houses women, was the hardest hit, according to Maxfield.

On the morning of July 21, Maxfield said female inmates woke around 1 am to the sounds of another inmate screaming, “I can’t breathe!” As the gas continued seeping into cells, inmates began to panic because no jail staff are present at night. “So there was no one to help them get to a safe place,” Maxfield said. “It was pretty terrifying.”

Nothing suspicious about the feds sending paramilitary shock troops to Seattle so they are there “if needed” the day before they then sue Seattle to stop (pdf) a ban on the use of tear gas. The judge in the case has issued the temporary restraining order but called it “very temporary” while he hears from more parties.