Assessing Federal agents deployed to Portland

Intended for constructive conversations. Exhibits of polarizing tribalism will be deleted.
Hristo Botev
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Re: Assessing Federal agents deployed to Portland

Post by Hristo Botev »

Lemur wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 4:07 pm
So what you meant was fascists and antifa? :lol:
Or is it antifa and fascists? I just can't tell anymore.

Riggerjack
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Re: Assessing Federal agents deployed to Portland

Post by Riggerjack »

If on hand you are going to dismiss fascism as "that's what the kids are saying these days" then you at minimum lose the pedagogical moment which I believe is important.
I agree. And agree that this is a significant loss, if one is playing that game.
If on the other hand, you really believe that the country is fascist, then you have to define fascism historically, semantically, in order to provide evidence that the system has changed because the system does not state that it doesn't matter who the President is.
Also true if one is playing that game.

My point wasn't that you are wrong, it is that you are playing a game. It's a game we tend to play here, well, hard and often. It's how we tease out confounding factors in the situation we are discussing.

But it's not the only game.

And right now, there are lots of people playing a different game. And the way they use words is appropriate to their game.

I was trying, in my own way, to point out that similar words are being used in different ways, for different purposes. That in a situation like this, tighter definition of words is a winning move in one game, and completely irrelevant in the other.

Of course:
You are an idiot.
It seems that I might be an idiot.
Really.
Yeah. Really.

I've often been an idiot. I hope to be an idiot again. Looking back, and seeing what I used to think, before I learned something critical, I was most certainly an idiot.

In this case, maybe not though.

In any case, I don't seem to be helping, here, so I wish y'all the best, and I will hang back.

nomadscientist
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Re: Assessing Federal agents deployed to Portland

Post by nomadscientist »

Jason wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 4:00 pm
After communism fell and records became assessable, distinguishing between Russia and Germany became harder - hence "Bloodlands." Russia calling itself Communist was a double edged sword. It justified German invasion and an unholy WW II alliance that led to the Cold War. Stalin was arguably the most powerful man who ever lived. That doesn't comfort with a Marxist definition of Communism. It's plainly fascism. Hitler utilized anarchy. Stalin utilized control.
Distinguishing between the USSR and Nazi Germany was never particularly hard, just unfashionable. The USSR unleashed a wave of murder, torture, and starvation on its population immediately under Lenin, whereas Nazi Germany was a pretty good place to live for the first six years for a regular person and even political prisoners were almost all kept alive (e.g. they kept alive the guy who tried to blow up Hitler in 1939 and the leader of the German Communist Party, among many others, until right at the end of the war). Even Kristallnacht, certainly a brutal and dishonourable crime, had a death toll in the tens, not tens of millions.

Naziism became truly murderous under the pressure of war, its fangs turned outwards on other peoples, while the war actually moderated the Soviet government; killing your own people and disproportionately the most competent people in massive numbers can appear wasteful in such conditions.

Talking like this tends to make people think you are a Nazi, like how if you point out one guy murdered twenty children but this other, smellier and less popular guy murdered only four, you must be in favour of murdering children as a general rule. So I try to avoid it. At the same time, we need to recognize the distorting effect our alliance with the Soviets had in making Communist propaganda mainstream in our countries, the "fascist" label demonized beyond any reason, and not because fascism is good, but because it's not the only set of ideas against which we need intellectual antibodies.

As for Marx, the secular Jesus figure to people who have never read him:

"We have no compassion and we ask no compassion from you. When our turn comes, we shall not make excuses for the terror."

https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/w ... 05/19c.htm

Jason
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Re: Assessing Federal agents deployed to Portland

Post by Jason »

I don't think WW II pressured the Nazi party into the Holocaust. I think it provided cover.

Alphaville
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Re: Assessing Federal agents deployed to Portland

Post by Alphaville »

ZAFCorrection wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 3:49 pm
@alphaville

You may disagree with my logic, but I showed it to my satisfaction based on what I am thinking now. You are welcome to correct me if you find some flaw.
ah, i think i understand better what you meant now. i don’t disagree with your logic as logic, but there’s more to life than logic and computation, there are also facts, so let me see if i can trace the point of our disagreement
ZAFCorrection wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 3:49 pm
That being said, I think I showed it to be true because despite the fact that many of us are ready and willing to commit atrocities at any given point in time, it doesn't happen very often. That suggests some restraining force, which can safely be described as society. Thus, there does exist some regulatory force which must act to keep people in power, including presidents, from doing crazy shit.
“atrocities” is a bit of a red herring here i think, for me anyway. i don’t think trump is dangerous because of “atrocities” in themselves. (for this let me make a parenthetical note: every american president is capable of atrocities due to the sheer level of power they wield—not that they’re necessarily trying to commit atrocities, but that in spite of every best intention someone somewhere is going to get hurt one way or another.)

i think trump is dangerous because of his deep lack of ethics and the narcissistic impulses that inform his... “policies” (if you can call them that) and the effect that this has in our institutions and society. it’s the continuous erosion of democratic traditions and respect and civility that i find most damaging.

the problem as i see it is that he’s loosening the limits that are meant to contain him, and he’s altering the character of the society that is supposed to restrain him. we’re undergoing a cultural fracture. perhaps this is not his doing, perhaps he just exploits this. nevertheless he seems to only deepen the rift at every turn, and to erode the democratic institutions that support the social structure, and the global alliances that have mantained the international balance of power for the past seven or so decades.
ZAFCorrection wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 3:49 pm
The question before us is whether trump has the douchiness and the means to commit atrocities.
i don’t know that this was a question for me or of it’s relevant to my argument about trump’s toxicity. dubya/cheney killed A LOT more people, after all (so far anyway). but toxicity and douchiness are not the same thing.
ZAFCorrection wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 3:49 pm
It is also not clear that society is sufficiently damaged that a crazy person of even above-average political acumen could swoop in and have their way.
i think it’s clear we’re that damaged. we elected a carnival barker, and he’s not doing us any good.
ZAFCorrection wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 3:49 pm
If you disagree with those points, I would suggest arguing that trump does have more political ability or that our society is less able to resist him than I think.
i think yes, you probably have too much confidence in the system, and are underestimating the internal damage trump is causing from his uniquely powerful role in the system.
ZAFCorrection wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 3:49 pm
If we do conclude that trump is not able to have his way, then I would say he is not a serious problem.
but “his way” is not the only way that he can cause harm. he can fail at his goals and still wreak social and political havoc. whether it’s his way or an unintended consequence of his presidency, our social fracturing and institutional damage and international decline are tremendously serious problems.
ZAFCorrection wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 3:49 pm
Note that I am not saying you shouldn't vote for someone else. I have not really discussed solutions at all. Also note that I am saying that what we do only significantly matters in the aggregate. That has been a pretty orthodox opinion for most of recent history except when people want to freak out about a particular public figure. I find the behavior to be hypocritical.
presidents of superpowers do wield inordinate power for an individual however, and we shouldn’t assume they’re “the same as us.” they really are not. they’re the aggregates incarnate. elections do have consequences, and i think we’re living through some really bizarre times, and they’re going to get even weirder as we approach the november election.

ZAFCorrection
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Re: Assessing Federal agents deployed to Portland

Post by ZAFCorrection »

The the decline of the United States and the international order it established after WWII are baked into the cake, honestly. If not some other factor, the s-curve of technological development or the peaking nature of resource utilization rate are going to eat away at our power. Are you sure Trump is the cause and not the effect? If so, taking down Trump is likely to turn into a game of whack-a-mole in the long run. It might be better to reframe the problem and take a more targeted approach. As you mentioned, the dude got people to vote for him. Why did they feel that was a good idea in the first place? What can people do about it that will actually get some desired change?

Alphaville
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Re: Assessing Federal agents deployed to Portland

Post by Alphaville »

ZAFCorrection wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 5:40 pm
The the decline of the United States and the international order it established after WWII are baked into the cake, honestly. If not some other factor, the s-curve of technological development or the peaking nature of resource utilization rate are going to eat away at our power. Are you sure Trump is the cause and not the effect? If so, taking down Trump is likely to turn into a game of whack-a-mole in the long run. It might be better to reframe the problem and take a more targeted approach.
i said that much if you reread, trump might be the effect, but he’s not making things any better anyway.

i’m not an accelerationist, so i find it alarming.

as for “reframing the problem and taking a more targeted approach”, that is too abstract for me to make sense of it—i see a purely formal suggestion. what do you mean by this in concrete political terms?

ZAFCorrection
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Re: Assessing Federal agents deployed to Portland

Post by ZAFCorrection »

If you agree with that point then I am honestly confused why trump as president figures high in your list of concerns. If he isn't around mucking things up, it would just be some other person or factor.

By taking a more targeted approach, I mean honestly figure out why people thought to vote for him and try to fix that problem*. Most likely, the answer will be some intractable structural problem (e.g. resource constraints causing aggressive zero sum behaviors), so the better approach might be to figure out how to mitigate your personal exposure.

*Or at least come up with some positive way to convince people. Holy shit. Clinton was all stick and no carrot. You're an asshole if you don't vote for me. The Democrats have also really upped their narrative since then, haven't they? Vote for Biden or it's the end of world. You've automatically lost people if they don't think it will be the end of the world and that is all you have been telling them.

Alphaville
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Re: Assessing Federal agents deployed to Portland

Post by Alphaville »

ZAFCorrection wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 6:00 pm
If you agree with that point then I am honestly confused why trump as president figures high in your list of concerns. If he isn't around mucking things up, it would just be some other person or factor.
because the world is not a linear process..

i already said, i don’t know if trump is cause or effect, but i see him as making the problem worse regardless. there are many other possible responses to our current situation that don’t include trump.

your logic from A to B to C appears sound if there’s only A and B and C, but the world does not run on simple factors. we’re dealing with A1, A2.... An, followed by B1...Bn, etc etc., and compounded at each step.

if life were so easily deduced we would have solved it already.
ZAFCorrection wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 6:00 pm
By taking a more targeted approach, I mean honestly figure out why people thought to vote for him and try to fix that problem*. Most likely, the answer will be some intractable structural problem (e.g. resource constraints causing aggressive zero sum behaviors), so the better approach might be to figure out how to mitigate your personal exposure.
well, i believe there are structural problems that are difficult but not intractable, and any fix is going to be slow and painful. but the structural problems can be there without a huckster taking advantage of them for his own benefit and worsening the situation in the process.

and my personal exposure is not all that maters to me. the fate of the country matters to me as well. wtf. i’m not a solipsist, i don’t live alone in orbit, i live in a community in a society.

your advice makes me think of someone coming to you heartbroken because their mother is dying of a horrible brain tumor. then you say “well, her death was baked into the fact that your mother was born, so it’sn best to reduce your personal exposure to her death. just stop seeing her now.”

well, no. everyone dies, systems transform themselves, but it doesn’t have to be a horrible death or an awful transformation, and the horrible brain tumor with terrible side effects is worth removing regardless of the inevitability of eventual death.

ZAFCorrection wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 6:00 pm
*Or at least come up with some positive way to convince people. Holy shit. Clinton was all stick and no carrot. You're an asshole if you don't vote for me. The Democrats have also really upped their narrative since then, haven't they? Vote for Biden or it's the end of world. You've automatically lost people if they don't think it will be the end of the world and that is all you have been telling them.
yeah, hillary was a terrible candidate no doubt, most unfortunate, but nothing to do with the issue really. i didn’t personally handpick her for the job.

and i’m not a political campaign manager, so i can’t say with any certainty what will work.

but it really is the end of the world to me, to see this country going down the drain so quickly at the hands of a moral degenerate. and sure, the system can eventually self correct, but the damage is done already. we took the wrong turn and we’re paying for it, and will continue to pay for years to come.

brain tumor surgery scheduled for november. i expect many “reasonable republicans” will join.

Alphaville
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Re: Assessing Federal agents deployed to Portland

Post by Alphaville »

anyway, here’s [NOT a 20 year old hippie] explaining what’s wrong with the federal response to portland protests, for those who care about a serious assessment:

https://www.justsecurity.org/71696/form ... democracy/

here’s background on the author:
David Lapan
David Lapan (@DaveLapanDC ) is vice president of communications for the Bipartisan Policy Center, a DC-based public policy think tank that actively fosters bipartisanship to promote health, security, and opportunity for all Americans. Lapan previously served as press secretary and deputy assistant secretary for media relations at the Department of Homeland Security.

Col. Lapan (U.S. Marine Corps, retired) has more than 30 years of military service and 20 years of communication/Public Affairs experience at the highest levels of the U.S. Department of Defense. As a Public Affairs Officer, he served as a spokesman and advisor for several Secretaries of Defense; the 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; the Commander, International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and U.S. Forces – Afghanistan; and for multi-national forces during military operations in Haiti and Iraq.
and yes, he was dhs spokesperson in this administration.

ZAFCorrection
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Re: Assessing Federal agents deployed to Portland

Post by ZAFCorrection »

@alphaville.

There are higher order terms, but what you describe is not how a large coupled system usually works. The other components are influenced in various ways which then cause the cascading variations you describe, but there is still system inertia such that the overall disposition of the system is unchanged even if all the parts are in slightly different positions than they would otherwise be. The initial perturbation has to be sufficiently large in size to overcome that inertia.

As to whether or not I would offer sympathy to someone in distress, I can say that I might be somewhat less inclined to help them if they had a history of insulting me for no reason. Just calling it like I see it.

Acting in an insulting and derogatory manner doesn't exactly help your case that a douchy president is a huge deal.

Alphaville
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Re: Assessing Federal agents deployed to Portland

Post by Alphaville »

ZAFCorrection wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 9:56 pm
@alphaville.

There are higher order terms, but what you describe is not how a large coupled system usually works. The other components are influenced in various ways which then cause the cascading variations you describe, but there is still system inertia such that the overall disposition of the system is unchanged even if all the parts are in slightly different positions than they would otherwise be. The initial perturbation has to be sufficiently large in size to overcome that inertia.
there’s a large sociocultural perturbation that has been greatly exacerbated by a toxic presidency and is overcoming inertia

this is not a drill
ZAFCorrection wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 9:56 pm

As to whether or not I would offer sympathy to someone in distress,

i’m not asking for sympathy, i’m explaining that the proposed solution does not address the actual problems. people don’t just simply insulate themselves from their country’s problems just like they don’t insulate themselves from their family problems.

sure, there are always life boats when faced with the inevitable, but the first duty is to defend the ship, and then to save the ship from sinking, and then okay, fine, board the rafts as the last resort.
ZAFCorrection wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 9:56 pm

I can say that I might be somewhat less inclined to help them if they had a history of insulting me for no reason. Just calling it like I see it.

Acting in an insulting and derogatory manner doesn't exactly help your case that a douchy president is a huge deal.
douchery of the presidency is merely aesthetic and ultimately irrelevant, psychological toxicity is the central issue, with the destruction of democratic institutions and traditions.

and i’m sorry, but where did i insult you? honestly curious here. history??

eta: are you talking about me? or metaphorically about the country?


Campitor
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Re: Assessing Federal agents deployed to Portland

Post by Campitor »

The President using military/federal forces has been an issue since the inception of the republic. George Washington led the military force that suppressed the Whiskey Rebellion. Then there was the military occupation of the South during reconstruction to keep whites from suppressing and terrorizing their former slaves. Then Eisenhower sent military troops (Airborne paratroopers) to protect African American girls who were granted access to white schools by the Civil Rights act of 1957. Each time a President did this, it was to enforce laws that the local government was unable or unwilling to uphold. So Donald Trump isn't unique in this regard.

When local government selectively enforces laws in a manner that deprives local citizens of their due process and constitutional rights, it opens the door for this type of executive tomfoolery. Federal building were getting torched, local businesses trashed, and citizens attacked all with the vocal support by local government executives. It's just not Trump acting like a carnival barker.

In my personal opinion the executive branch has become too powerful. I also believe local government has become tyrannical to a degree that our rights are degraded enough to cause an overall miasma of political discontent which is redirected to POTUS and/or the opposing party in Congress by those in local power wanting to shift the blame for their failed local policies.

And what difference does it make if federal troops are used for police actions when the local police is indistinguishable from actual military units?

Stop supporting the militarization of police, selective enforcement of laws, and government immunity regardless which party is in power if you want to stop the idiocy that is currently being exploited by both parties.

IlliniDave
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Re: Assessing Federal agents deployed to Portland

Post by IlliniDave »

Misplacement seems to be the name of the game.

I think a large swath of the US population accurately senses the corruption of the various institutions. That's why Obama got elected, and that's why Trump got elected. Both polarizing figures as POTUS. That's probably why we're seemingly about to elect a president who shouldn't be doing much more than an occasional Life Alert commercial.

Borrowing terminology from Bret Weinstein (a self-described radical/progressive whose podcast* I started listening to regularly once I could no longer kid myself that NPR was a trustworthy source), both of the US political parties are corrupted, probably irredeemably so. BW describes it as an influence peddling racket and has likened it to competing crime "families" operating under a loose truce. It's hard to disagree with his metaphorical synopsis.

I've riffed on some of these ideas before. One of the more relevant ones in the current climate is what's gone on in many of our large cities regarding the blue collar demographic of ethnic communities. Decades and $20T worth of "programs" down the road I think it's fair to say most are worse off than they were in the mid-sixties. Clearly the intended communities were not served. That example is not unique, and it's nothing new. It extends beyond urban centers and hits all races, creeds, and ages. I witnessed it growing up in a modest-sized rust belt city. In that time and place it was hitting the lower niches of the ~80% white blue collar demographic as well as family farm operations and any small town that couldn't double as a bedroom community.

The game is simple: influencers shovel money (sometimes circuitously, sometimes not so much) at those who hold governmental power to rearrange the chess board in their favor. Ironically Biden personifies this M.O., although he's seen as the savior by many, apparently.

For decades now from the national level down, in some cases all the way to the local mayor and aldermen, there seems to be very little true advocacy for "the people" in the political class**. Just sufficient lies to be seen as the lesser of two evils on election day. The rare well-meaning candidate is quickly corrupted or drummed out. The adverse effects seem to intensify as successive generations hit the street. Failure of the education system has merrily skipped along hand-in-hand with the rotting political system, and has left people increasingly bereft of the tools and perspective to assess problems/challenges outside a few ideologically approved domains. I suppose that is why terminology that had relatively crisp meaning a few decades back have been fuzzified to the point meaningful communication is nearly impossible when it comes to issues of substance. My go-to for-instance is: I don't like you; therefore, you are a Nazi (can substitute any one of a half dozen heinous categories the end).

My dad used to keep bees. I was allergic to their venom so I never got to get my hands dirty with the hives, but he did let me watch (EpiPen at the ready, of course). Bees generally get pissed when you mess with their honey, so the keeper uses a smoker to scare them into thinking there's a fire. Fires goes to the top of the bees' lil brains' priority list and while distracted, the honey is easier to steal. One thing that's clear about our current president is that he wasn't coming to join the corruption. IMO the evidence is how far the establishment has been willing to go to try to oust him (talk about who is actually destroying democratic institutions). The list of accusations has been so outrageous that if I encountered such a cartoon villain in a novel I'd throw the book away. They failed to shorten his term, but I think that is only a secondary objective for them. Where they've pulled off a major coup is reframing everything to be about DT the cartoon villian, thereby keeping the national conversation safely away from the real causal forces (with generous application of cancellation to keep the herd in line). Ironically, the "liberal elite" are the arch-conservatives when it comes to preserving the status quo of the system handling the levers of power.

For all that I still think the country as a whole, the populace especially, and even the basic underlying system, is good. Better than it once was in many respects, but with room for ongoing improvement. I don't think we'll get anywhere good via intersectionality/identity politics and scapegoating (seems like the express lane backwards in societal evolution). Sadly it will take a lot of courage and even more effort/will to peel away the layers of gunk that have accumulated. There's a lot of valid angst simmering below the surface all across the country geographically and demographically. There's also a very deft effort to keep it misplaced. Portland is the current iconic outcome. It's sort of like dog fighting in that the parties are egged into violent confrontation without truly knowing why they are fighting. Nothing new, of course, but I always hope we've moved past that.

* His wife, Dr. Heying, contributes brilliantly to many of them, I can only imagine the dinner conversation their kids are exposed to.

** I don't know exactly what people mean when they harangue against "Populism", but it's clear to me that failure to address the well being of the broader populace is the great failing of leadership in this country. Advocating the well being of the populace, bottom to top, is how "populism" was defined back when dinosaurs roamed outside my grade school classroom window.

George the original one
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Re: Assessing Federal agents deployed to Portland

Post by George the original one »

Apparently, after butting heads & wills for a month, the Administration has realized they are using the wrong approach. Federal officers have been removed from Seattle as of tonight and there are negotiations underway with Governor Brown to remove them from Portland.

Alphaville
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Re: Assessing Federal agents deployed to Portland

Post by Alphaville »

finally

that’s good news

7Wannabe5
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Re: Assessing Federal agents deployed to Portland

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

I was reading the morning newspapers in the coffeehouse in Ober Sankt Veit. I can still feel the indignation that overwhelmed me when I took hold of the Reichspost. There had been a shooting in Burgenland, workers had been killed. The court had acquitted the murderers. The judgement was designated, no, trumpeted, as a "just verdict" in the organ of the government party. It was that mockery of any sense of justice rather than the acquittal itself that triggered an enormous excitement in the workers of Vienna. From all parts of the city, the workers marched in closed processions to the Palace of Justice, which with its sheer name embodied injustice for them. It was a completely spontaneous reaction, I personally felt how spontaneous. Taking my bicycle, I zoomed into the city and joined the procession.

The workers, usually well disciplined, trusting their Social Democratic leaders, and content that Vienna was ruled by them in an exemplary fashion, were acting without their leaders on that day. When they set fire to the Palace of Justice, Mayor Seitz, standing on a fire engine, tried to block their way with his right hand raised high. His gesture was futile: the Palace of Justice was burning. The police were ordered to shoot, ninety people were killed.

That was forty-six years ago, and the excitement of that day still lies in my bones. It was the closest thing to a revolution that I had physically experienced. A hundred pages would not suffice to describe what I saw. Since then, I have known very precisely that I need not read a single word about what happened during the storming of the Bastille. I became part of the crowd, I dissolved into it fully, I did not feel the least resistance to what it did. I am surprised that I was nevertheless able to grasp all the concrete details occurring before my eyes.
- Elias Canetti "The Conscience of Words"
The thousands stand and chant. Around them in the world, people ride escalators going up and sneak secret glances at the faces coming down. People dangle tea-bags over hot water in white cups. Cars run silently on the autobahns, streaks of painted light. People sit at desks and stare at office walls. They smell their shirts and drop them in the hamper. People bind themselves into numbered seats and fly across time zones and high cirrus and deep night, knowing there is something they've forgotten to do.

The future belongs to crowds.
- Don DeLillo "Mao II"

IlliniDave
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Re: Assessing Federal agents deployed to Portland

Post by IlliniDave »

That does sound like a good development. Appears the state is going to step in and ensure the security of the area around the federal buildings, the FPS secures the two buildings directly, and once the state police prove they can maintain a perimeter, the other federal law enforcement people can go back to doing their normal jobs. Makes the city government look pretty weak. Hopefully night crew on the protest side will cooperate.

For anyone with an hour to kill. Weinstein and Heying live in Portland, and as always their take on the situation is unique and interesting.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-U95sRfCKU

nomadscientist
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Re: Assessing Federal agents deployed to Portland

Post by nomadscientist »

That was forty-six years ago, and the excitement of that day still lies in my bones. It was the closest thing to a revolution that I had physically experienced. A hundred pages would not suffice to describe what I saw. Since then, I have known very precisely that I need not read a single word about what happened during the storming of the Bastille. I became part of the crowd, I dissolved into it fully, I did not feel the least resistance to what it did. I am surprised that I was nevertheless able to grasp all the concrete details occurring before my eyes.
Nothing beats annihilating one's ego in a victorious war party.

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