Are the images of lawlessness and disorder pouring out of Portland, Ore., and the gun violence and crime waves overtaking New York and Chicago going to have a negative impact on the rising political fortunes of the left?
They might. Hence the effort to frame the deployment of federal law enforcement to Portland and elsewhere as the emergence of American “fascism.”
Let’s be clear here: There are federal law-enforcement agents “deployed” in every city in the United States, and feds tasked with the protection of federal buildings in those cities. Local and federal officers work together on task forces on a daily basis on matters that cross jurisdictional lines.
Only the most radical among us, from the far left to the far right, see a fundamental problem with this — and generally speaking, that’s because they believe law enforcement is itself inherently unjust.
Given that fact — and the fact that it’s usually liberals and leftists who demand federal intervention in local law-enforcement issues (especially those having to do with race) — we have every right to wonder at the good will of those who are suddenly embracing the glories of states’ rights.
One word suffices as explanation: Trump. If federal intervention in Portland and elsewhere can be successfully characterized by Trump’s enemies as some kind of neo-fascist gambit, the danger these images might pose to liberal hopes in November could be neutralized to some degree.
There’s no doubt that President Trump wants to use this civil decay in blue-governed Portland as a political weapon in his re-election effort. But could any president ignore seven weeks of street-level chaos in a city of 650,000, the country’s 26th largest? Would President Barack Obama have ignored it? Would President Bill Clinton have ignored it?
The primary mission of the federal officers in Portland is protecting federal assets. Recall that the worst event of Bill Clinton’s presidency was the 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City by the domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh.
In the quarter-century since, and with 9/11 intervening, making sure that federal offices and federal property are unmolested by terrorists, foreign and domestic, has been a key responsibility. And we have all seen the footage of these Portland barbarians doing whatever they could to tear through the plywood to get at the glass windows to get inside the federal building to wreak havoc.
Barbarians is what they are. Lawless thugs. And yet their actions are apparently not worth criticizing, not when you can caricature the actions of federal law-enforcement officers as though they were “disappearing” enemies of the regime in Argentina in the 1980s.
There is a bizarre idea in the air that some awful crime against humanity was being committed because they were driving through the city in “unmarked vans” — as though it were somehow unsporting not to give the rioters sufficient notice with bright colors and clear lettering that they should run away.
Similarly, we were told, they were whisking people off the streets into vans and making off with them into the night — when in fact they were taking them into custody, reading them their rights, interrogating them and releasing them.
The gap between the sober reality — professionals trying to maintain order in the midst of psychotic madness — and the dystopian teen-lit fantasies promulgated by elite hysterics is startling.
The speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, actually referred to federal agents as “stormtroopers.”
How dare she. How dare she.
But that same narrative might contain within it the seeds of their disappointment. Because if it prevails, and the forces of wanton destruction feel empowered to continue, watch out.
Oregon attorney general Ellen Rosenblum has stepped in to file a lawsuit to stop the feds from interfering with the riots, effectively protecting the rioters from any consequences.
Rosenblum announced her intention to file the lawsuit in U.S. District Court tonight, as a federal police crackdown on Portland continues against the wishes of local elected officials for the 15th consecutive night. (Disclosure: Rosenblum is married to the co-owner of WW‘s parent company.)
Yet she, like many other elected “leaders” in Oregon, have been strangely silent when it comes to the rioters who have been destroying the city on a nightly basis. No criticism for them.
Meanwhile, the ACLU is launching their own lawsuit against the feds. KGW reports:
The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Oregon (ACLU) has sued the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Marshals Service for the deployment of federal agents in Portland.
Ellen Rosenblum, sought a federal court order to protect her terrorist friends and prevent the feds from intervening in the continuous riotous acts that have been ongoing in Portland. Her motion was DENIED.
A federal judge on Friday afternoon denied a request by Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum to issue a temporary restraining order against federal officers making arrests of Portland protesters without probable cause.
In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Michael W. Mosman said Rosenblum had failed to provide sufficient evidence that such arrests were occurring widely in the streets of Portland or were part of a federal policy.
He ruled that because the state of Oregon couldn’t establish a pattern or policy, it lacked the legal standing to seek to halt future incidents.
The judge’s ruling is a painful setback for Oregon officials and demonstrators who hoped to rebuke President Donald Trump and rein in the actions of the federal police he deployed to quash six weeks of uprising and upheaval. It marked a swift end to an ambitious legal strategy that as recently as this afternoon was endorsed by Portland City Hall, which asked to provide expert testimony.
Mosman’s ruling emphasized that Rosenblum had set a high degree of difficulty for herself by bringing an unusual request to his bench. He said victims of illegal treatment by police typically seek redress for themselves. But in this case, the state sought to ban future, hypothetical actions by police—many of which he noted were already illegal and did not need him to outlaw them.
“In a typical case alleging these types of constitutional harms, the aggrieved individual would sue on his own behalf,” he wrote. “Here, however, the state of Oregon—by way of Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum—has brought a suit alleging these same kinds of constitutional claims on a theory that they harm the state’s citizenry writ large.”
That left the state with a higher evidentiary burden: proving that the violations were taking place on a large scale, and that a restraining order was needed to protect its citizens from future danger.
Mosman wasn’t persuaded that danger was real. He tore apart the state’s argument that Portland protesters would reasonably fear they were being kidnapped by far-right paramilitary groups.