Protests

Trump Deploys Lawlessness Against Lawlessness

The president’s heavy-handed response to protests against police brutality belies his promise of "law and order."

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Donald Trump, whose 2016 presidential campaign was consciously modeled after Richard Nixon's 1968 run, seems to think he can win re-election by emulating his predecessor's appeal to a "silent majority" disgusted by raucous anti-war protests. Trump is offering voters a choice between his firm hand and the pusillanimity of "liberal Democrats" who let "violent anarchists" run wild in the streets.

Notwithstanding Trump's pose as "your president of law and order," his heavy-handed reaction to the protests triggered by George Floyd's death represents neither. In response to largely peaceful demonstrations against police brutality that have been punctuated by criminal behavior, he has deployed his own brand of lawlessness, including arbitrary arrests and the disproportionate, indiscriminate use of force.

Billy Williams, the U.S. attorney for Oregon, is aware of the crimes committed by some of the people drawn to the protests Portland has seen every day since May 28. He notes that the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse has been vandalized repeatedly and that federal agents assigned to protect the building "have been subjected to threats; aerial fireworks including mortars; high intensity lasers targeting officers' eyes; [and] thrown rocks, bottles, and balloons filled with paint." Williams' office is prosecuting seven people for participating in riots at the courthouse during the first week of July and has accused a Texas man of attacking a U.S. Marshals Service deputy with a hammer on July 11.

But Williams also understands that government officials charged with enforcing the law do not have a license to break it. Two weeks ago, he noted that the Justice Department's inspector general is investigating a July 11 incident in which a protester was severely injured by "less-lethal munitions" that the Marshals Service allegedly fired at his head. Last week Williams asked the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general to investigate allegations that "federal law enforcement detained two protestors without probable cause."

Williams was referring to reports that camouflage-clad federal officers, identified by nothing more than generic "police" patches, have been driving through the streets of Portland in unmarked rental cars, grabbing protesters for no apparent reason and detaining them without charge. Although that sounds like the sort of thing that happens in tinpot dictatorships, some of the incidents were caught on video.

"We cannot give up liberty for security," Sen. Rand Paul (R–Ky.) warned on Monday. "Local law enforcement can and should be handling these situations in our cities, but there is no place for federal troops or unidentified federal agents rounding people up at will."

In a federal lawsuit filed on Friday, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, citing the accounts of protesters who said they had been subjected to such treatment, argues that the Marshals Service and several Homeland Security agencies thereby violated their First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendment rights. "Every American should be repulsed when they see this happening," she said. "If this can happen here in Portland, it can happen anywhere."

Trump is in fact threatening to deploy federal agents, who are ostensibly in Portland to protect federal property, in Chicago and other cities "run by very liberal Democrats," whom he equates with "the radical left." Like Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, who describes the Trump administration's tactics in his city as "abhorrent," local officials elsewhere do not want his "help."

Partisan acrimony aside, that is hardly surprising. In addition to illegally detaining Americans who were exercising their First Amendment rights, federal agents in Portland—who according to an internal memo were not trained in controlling riots or mass demonstrations—have been accused of firing tear gas at peaceful protesters and shooting journalists with rubber bullets.

The officers who work for Trump have the authority to guard federal property and enforce federal law. But they do not have an open-ended license to "quell" protests, fight crime, or impose Trump's idea of "order" while flouting the wishes of local officials and treating the Constitution as an optional obstacle to the re-election of an increasingly desperate president.

© Copyright 2020 by Creators Syndicate Inc.

NEXT: Does a Judge have to recuse if a conflicted party files an amicus brief? Or should the brief be struck?

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  1. There is still no documentation of a single “lawless” act. Detaining a suspect and releasing him immediately when it is determined he is not the individual they want is the definition of lawfulness

    1. Wow, you can almost taste the boots

      1. You can’t handle the boots.

        1. > You can’t handle the boots.

          Underrated comment.

          1. No boots for you!

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      2. You’re not big on consequences for your actions, are ya nyla?

        1. Well he is a cthulian god…

      3. Some people pay big money for that kind of treatment.

    2. I thought the point was that the Garner/Gray/Castille/Floyd treatment was lawful and moral citizens were obligated to lawlessness?

      Objectively, I’ll take the Federal treatment seems pretty nice in comparison. If one believed Trump/Barr were playing 12D chess, one might almost wonder if it’s not an accident.

  2. First sentence links to NYT. That’s how you “Reason”.

  3. What a year and not even halfway done.

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    2. We’re past the middle of the seventh month. Maths is not your strong suit I guess.

      1. That’s because Alex was using his normal earnings as a marker of time. So, he still thinks it’s about April.

  4. his heavy-handed reaction to the protests

    absolutely deranged

    1. Reminds me of liberals whining about Reagan’s massive budget cuts, when they were barely even a trim.

      1. It’s a testament to how fuckiing soft we’ve become that a few anarcho-commies getting party-vanned and a rotating collection of feds trying to keep a federal courthouse from being torched is considered “heavy-handed.”

        This shit is NOTHING compared to what goes on in real authoritarian countries, now and throughout history.

        1. But this is how authoritarianism starts. It is always about restoring order. I see little difference between the Navy Vet beaten and gassed while asking questions and man standing before a tank in Tiananmen square.

          1. “I see little difference between the Navy Vet beaten and gassed while asking questions and man standing before a tank in Tiananmen square.”

            Repeated, because stupidity should be highlighted, marvelled at, and mocked.

            Laughable, except you probably vote.

            1. I almost think it’s sarcastic for the way it ape’s Sheldon Richman’s classic “Excuse me, but I have trouble seeing an essential difference between what Kyle did in Iraq and what Adam Lanza did at Sandy Hook Elementary School.” brain shart.

              1. Sounds like I got trolled then. Point to Slytherin.

                Or it actually was a case of the “Clever Sillies.”

                1. No, m4e really doesn’t see a difference.
                  The left is psychotic

                  1. The left has got to go. Anything, Trump is restrained.

          2. “…I see little difference between the Navy Vet beaten and gassed while asking questions and man standing before a tank in Tiananmen square…”

            Which is the reason you’re held in contempt here; you’re a fucking idiot.

          3. But this is how authoritarianism starts. It is always about restoring order.

            “Restoring order” tends to happen when people start acting chaotic. Actual authoritarianism is a constant, ongoing process.

            I see little difference between the Navy Vet beaten and gassed while asking questions and man standing before a tank in Tiananmen square.

            I’m sure Deng had pretty clear memories of what happened in China the last-time a youth-dominated movement took over the country.

          4. Funny, I thought authoritarianism frequently started with paramilitary groups rampaging through the streets. KristallNacht ring a bell?

          5. I completely agree with your first sentence, but they straight up shot like over a thousand people in Tiananmen Square. That’s a pretty big difference. That’s not to say this isn’t concerning, but let’s not minimize that incident.

            1. Obama couldn’t so much as pick his nose without you guys having an epic freakout over tyranny, so I don’t understand why anyone’s surprised if people object to Trump’s rounding up his political enemies and denying them constitutional rights.

              1. Your allies are getting the Big Government they deserve.

              2. “Obama couldn’t so much as pick his nose without you guys having an epic freakout over tyranny,”

                The problem is that Obama wasn’t content to pick his own nose, he wanted to pick everybody else’s nose too – that booger sucking, narcissistic mini-tyrant.

                The Constitution only guarantees the right to ‘peacefully assemble’, it does not grant free rein to burn, beat, pillage, tear down, stab, seize property, loot, and create general mayhem. Such people are not ‘demonstrators’, they are rioters – it reminds of the 1863 riots against Lincoln’s draft. Their initial cause was righteous resistance to Lincoln’s draft (like protesting the police murdering of Floyd was). But the focus of the mob soon turned to violence against blacks for ‘threatening’ the jobs of whites. Lincoln’s draft was unjust, but in the Floyd case, the officers have been charged with crimes and will be tried. In 1863, they were right to protest the draft, but when it turned to mayhem, the innocent were among the first victims. If memory serves, a hundred and twenty people died, probably thousands wounded – many of the victims were black, guilty of nothing but being black and being there. Similarly, the victims of these riots are also the innocent – store keepers, small business persons, passersby with kids in tow, residents guilty of nothing more than living in the neighborhood – perfect targets for Antifa black shirts and their communist financial and academic supporters.

          6. Well, one could argue that authoritarian regimes start when the law breaks down. Breaking the rights of individual citizens and abducting them from the streets is a worrying authoritarian gesture. However, failing to protect physical security and property by the local politicians who have abdicated their responsibility to the people of Oregon or Illinois is also a very dangerous act. One could even call the collusion between the democratic politicians on one side and and Antifa and BLM on the other side an act of sedition. I am very pessimistic, it looks like a start of a civil war.

    2. At least he’s admitting there’s lawlessness to respond to, that’s progress. His problem is that he’s equating proven lawlessness on one side, (Buildings being burned, people being assaulted.) with merely asserted lawlessness by the feds. Yes, the guy who got detained claims it was in an unlawful manner. But, was it? Why should we trust his account, like he’s got no reason to lie?

      1. Trust the cops. It’s the libertarian way.

        1. “Why aren’t our big government helpers helping us?”

      2. The guy also stated that at some point he said he wasn’t going to say anything more without a lawyer and everything just stopped and he was released. Hard to imagine he was under any sort of real duress. I mean, I don’t think you can stop somebody from water-boarding you by saying I want a lawyer.

    3. Wait 50 days, doing nothing except encouraging mayors on twitter to do let their police do their job, then send in the federales. “heavy handed”.

      1. then send in the federales only to defend federal property.

        Again, it’s not like these agents are arresting people all over the city or arresting dissident leaders in their homes. They aren’t even arresting or shutting down the people filming and peacefully protesting at the scene (the protestors’ videos show as much).

    4. IF protesting is ONLY what was going on, you’d be right.That WOULD be “deranged”.
      But tens of millions of dollars in damage have been done to federal properties alone these past few weeks, and millions more to privately owned properties. Portland have had a history for at least the past three years of extreme violence and wanton property destruction done by “peacful protestors and demonstrators”. Like the Broadway Toyota Dealership that had NONETEEN new cars on their lot destroyed one night during n Antifa/BLM action that lasted for more than a week or two, back about a year and a half. Dozens of downtown buildings sashed,looted, some fires set. Not to mention the ICE occupation tha tlasted nearly a month, last year. Trump SHOULD have sent in the “stormroopers” Pigliosi are whinging over back then. People happened to be driving in that area, were dragged out of their cars, beaten soundly, their cars stolen, burned, trashed…. I know many people who live/work in that area… life is very scary for them, BECAUSE Mayor Wheeler has decided, along with Baltiore’s Mayoress a couple years ago (after the Hands Up Don’t Shoot sparked riots) that “they wanted to destroy, so I gave them the space to do that”. WHO repaired the building, smerchandis,e inventory, equi[ment that was destroyed? The Mayoress? Fat chance.
      The FEDERAL government have the authroity and responsibility to quell riot and disturbance, using federal personnel, uincluding military. Perople standing about even in the streets might still be a demonstration, or “peaceful gathering”. I saw the picture of the Nusly brand (Home Cheapo) four pound hand sledge that was used on one of the Federal Marshalls. SERIOSULY injured, cause some “peaceful demonstrator” decided to make whang dang doodle on the guy’s back. I know Oregon’s firearms laws.. THAT force brought to bear against anyone who has not harmed you IS lethal force, and can lawfully be met with LETHAL FORCE. Had that been any normal armed citizen (Oregon is a SHALL ISSUE state for Mother May I Cards, there are thousands of Oregonians who have them AND carry everywhere they go, especially these days) Any one of them, being confronted with THAT sort of attack would have been fully justified to draw and fire, no warning, no hesitation… four pound hammer inhand, aggressivley advancing on you, hammer in hand raised, witih a dozen or more of his pals nearby to back him up (disparioty f force, numbers, as well as “lethal weapon” in hand, there we have opportuyninty, means, intent all very clear) that individual would be fully justified in firing upon his attacker “until he stops the threat”. And standing ready to also fire upon any f the perp’s cohorts who continue to aggress in any way.

      Portland IS steeped in lawlessness these days. Nor local govenment nor law enforcement demonstrate any interest in halting it, if anything they all seem to delight in promoting it.

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  6. Dumb drama is dumb.

    You guys keep obsessing over the same nothing story. You think you’re keeping the world safe from one guy getting arrested and then released 90 minutes later? Don’t you have anything real to talk about?

    How many hundreds of others were arrested around the country in the last few days? Undoubtedly a couple of them were treated worse for much less.

    You guys don’t care about liberty at all.

    1. Their colleagues are limping out about it on Twitter, and that’s the only way they interact with the outside world, so they’re taking it all at face value.

      1. Yep. They will do whatever it takes to keep cred with the Twitterati.

    2. They’re ignorant sluts

  7. How bad is the situation? Are we talking East Germany or one or two regrettable events? I’m just trying to pick my government overreach battles wisely, brother Rand.

    1. The problem is its impossible to find good information. According to the left, they are just attacking peaceful crowds and abducting people nonstop, according to the right every single instance has been by the book and legal. We know both of those narratives are wrong, but to what extent is hard to determine.

      That said, federal agent activity seems like it’s worth scrutinizing regardless. Maybe it’s on the up and up overall, but if they are deploying the feds there has better be a ton of transparency.

    2. Trump promised to deploy federal agents to various cities because they are run by his political opponents. You could just take him at his word.

      1. no, the fed troops need to be deployed to places wher riot, insurrection, treason, wanton destruction, serious bodily harm to innocent passers/drivers by….. THAT hs lawlessness, and as long as it continues and local gummit play Pat a Cake insteadof ENDING IT, Fed agents are appropriate.

  8. largely peaceful demonstrations against police brutality …
    …threats; aerial fireworks including mortars; high intensity lasers targeting officers’ eyes; [and] thrown rocks, bottles, and balloons filled with paint

    Trump should withdraw DHS from Portland and stay the fuck out of any and all communist urban hell holes unless specifically invited in with groveling apologetic pleading by local and state authorities but enough of this “peaceful protester” shit. Cops aren’t beating, gassing or arresting participants in peaceful protests anywhere in the whole fucking country.

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    2. Instead of troops, Trump should simply bill Portland for damage to federal property, move federal services to smaller towns, and cut federal funding to entities in those cities and states.

      1. Good suggestions. Not sure he has the authority to cut spending on his own.

        1. He isn’t cutting spending overall, just redirecting it. And he has likely ample authority to do so, since Congress doesn’t allocate funds to specific cities.

          For specific programs, he can come up with specific justifications. Just look at how progressives abused Title IX.

          1. And he has likely ample authority to do so, since Congress doesn’t allocate funds to specific cities.

            He absolutely cannot shut down and move a federal courthouse unilaterally. See Article III.

            1. Otoh, if it burns down he can relocate it quite easily.

              1. Unless you mean that, onces it’s ashes he can relocate it with a strong breeze, no. He can’t. He can be in charge of the approved spending to build a new one on the same spot. If he wants a 20’x1′ concrete wall circling a one-room courthouse at the base of a Trump statue he could get away with that, but Congress has to give him the money and site first.

            2. He absolutely cannot shut down and move a federal courthouse unilaterally. See Article III.

              Good thing then that I didn’t suggest that he do that or I’d be in real trouble! The administration does have clear jurisdiction over offices like the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Customs Enforcement, Department of Agriculture, Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, VA, and other such offices and institutions (many use rented space anyway). And the administration has discretion when it comes to funding for education, research, corporate grants, public transit, roads, air traffic, etc.

              If cities like Portland fail to provide a safe and free environment for citizens, there is no reason why they should receive a dime of federal taxpayer dollars.

              1. And his Oath of Office creates a positive duty to protect that Federal court from harm.

              2. Good thing then that I didn’t suggest that he do that or I’d be in real trouble! The administration does have clear jurisdiction over offices like the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Customs Enforcement, Department of Agriculture, Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, VA, and other such offices and institutions (many use rented space anyway).

                So, since the building they’re defending is a federal courthouse you’re yammering on why? To hear yourself babble like an idiot?

                And the administration has discretion when it comes to funding for education, research, corporate grants, public transit, roads, air traffic, etc.

                Discretion, yes. Sole discretion, no. JFC people! We just reviewed this lesson a few months ago when he redirected military spending and personnel to the southern border! Whatever spending discretion he has, it’s within the law dictated by Congress. He can, in an emergency, have the local Veterans’ Home vacated. He can’t, however, just build a new one somewhere else and simply erase the dollars from one part of the ledger and pencil them in somewhere else. And this ignores the logistics of either operating *and* building at an increased cost over operating or ceasing operations and tossing veterans out while new building takes place.

                1. NB: I’m not saying we shouldn’t move the courthouse and/or other federal buildings. I’m just saying that Trump can’t generally do so unilaterally for reasons obvious to anyone with even a passing familiarity with The American Revolution.

                  1. NB: I’m not saying we shouldn’t move the courthouse and/or other federal buildings. I’m just saying that Trump can’t generally do so unilaterally for reasons obvious to anyone with even a passing familiarity with The American Revolution.

                    The executive branch can relocate non-judicial federal agencies and allocate federal spending based on rational criteria. Persistent rioting and a city’s refusal to enforce the law is a rational basis for such actions. End of story.

                2. So, since the building they’re defending is a federal courthouse you’re yammering on why?

                  Portland fails to maintain law and order and fails to protect its citizens in general, not just the courthouse. I’m saying that in response, the president should remove as much federal tax dollars going into Portland as possible; the court house has nothing to do with that.

                  Whatever spending discretion he has, it’s within the law dictated by Congress.

                  And I’m saying he should use that discretion to the maximum extent permitted by law to remove as much federal funding going into Portland as possible. That’s not punishment, it just doesn’t make sense to spend federal tax dollars on universities, businesses, and non-profits in a city with persistent rioting.

                  He can, in an emergency, have the local Veterans’ Home vacated. He can’t, however, just build a new one somewhere else and simply erase the dollars from one part of the ledger and pencil them in somewhere else.

                  Federal offices are moved all the time. The Portland federal building has housed half a dozen federal agencies, and right now, none of them are in there. If Portland refuses to maintain law and order in the city, that’s an excellent justification for the executive branch to move offices out of there. This isn’t a political issue or punishment, it simply doesn’t make sense to have agencies in a city in the state that Portland is in.

                  You seem to think that badly run cities are somehow entitled to a continued influx of federal tax dollar for merely existing, and that’s absurd. The federal government should spend federal tax dollars efficiently, and that means it should avoid cities with housing prices, rioting, dysfunctional city government, and poor policing.

            3. Article three deals with thhe COURTS< not the courrt FACILITIES. The only thing relating to the facilities is that the trial for any crime must be held in the state where the crime was alledgely committed. It could be in an open field, for all that matters. but it must be in the state where it happened.

              NOTHING about building, maintaining relocating the structures wihtin which these trials must occur.

              Congress would have to approproate the funds, but if using the Fed courthouses in {ortland gets too dicey or spendy because of the troubles", there is no reason they could not go out to Bend or Ontario and rent a barn.

              BUT the facility in Portland would still be Fed property, and need to be protected by Fed forces, as Portland's constabulary are, per the past three years plus, abundance of evidence. Look into the history of the rioting, vandalism, mayhem destruction, shasing, fires, looting, etc, IN a Portland city over the past, say, four years. Billions n damage.
              If a bunch of PLO or Hamas had come aover and perpetrated that much damage, there'd be open war and a price on the heads of the guilty, and tey WOLD be brought to justice. So WHY do BLM and Antifa get a pass on the same activity?

      2. But Portland would just find a nice Liberal Federal Court to say that cutting Federal funds or moving Federal offices to safer places was unconstitutional.

        1. So what? Does that mean we should just give up?

          RBG is likely going to be replaced soon. In addition, the power of the courts is limited as well.

          1. No, NOYB2, it does not mean we should give up. Never give up. “[N]ever give in, never give in, never, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

            It does however predict that particular strategy is unlikely to meet with success.
            Arresting suspects they’ve good evidence of rioting, destruction of Federal property, and of committing other Federal crimes, is likely to work better. Despite the fainting spells it gives the Left.

            They’ll really start complaining if the Feds break out RICO for the organizers and funders of the mayhem.

            Never give

            1. Arresting suspects they’ve good evidence of rioting, destruction of Federal property, and of committing other Federal crimes, is likely to work better.

              How is that going to “work better”? What does it actually accomplish? I don’t see a winning strategy there. If Trump succeeds in pacifying these city centers, Democrats will take credit for the benefits and blame Trump for the inevitable deaths and injuries. If Trump fails, he will receive the blame for the violence, will have violated subsidiarity, and on top of that will have demonstrated that he can’t even get the job done.

              Using federal funding to pressure cities and institutions to do what the feds want them to do has a long term proven track record in the hands of progressives; Republicans and Trump should use this tool as well. There is no libertarian objection to withholding federal handouts. And on top of that, failing Democrat-run cities will continue to serve as a warning to voters.

      3. I was just thinking the same, but not just Portland. Move all the Federal buildings out of the middle of cities and into smaller towns. The maintenance costs would be much lower, provide jobs in communities hit hard by globalization and have the added bonus of moving the employees and judges out of Dem echo chambers.

        1. No move them to Death Valley. That’s what government toadies deserve.

    3. He’s the Corn King, SIV, and the one thing the Corn King can’t appear as for the peasants, is a weakling. Sitting around, acting ineffectual, is what Carter appeared to be doing with the Iranian hostage situation, and it buried him.

      Trump can’t afford to look indifferent when 20 percent or more of the country is out of work and major cities are embroiled in civil disorder that ordinary citizens can’t defend themselves against. If he can’t fix it, the voters will find someone else who promises they can. Whether the fixing coincides with a strict reading of the Federal Government’s enumerated powers or not.

      1. Don’t know what a Corn King is, but I agree on the substance. The silent majority, and I count myself in that number, are tired of this bull and are glad to see some action being done. When I hear these “Protestors” and there chanting and hollering it reminds me of that relative at the family get together whining on and on about some little thing and you just want to tell them to shut up but can’t because it will turn into a bigger argument with more caterwauling so you just sit there and say nothing but deep down you hope someone does. And when they do you may not say it then but you are like “Yes finally”.

        I see all this whining about Portland and keep wondering why, if the “Protestors” would just leave the Federal building alone, I mean it is supposed to be against police brutality but the Feds don’t control the Portland police so go protest there. They have the whole city to protest in but keep going to the same place, the Federal building, the one place they get push back? And it is the Feds fault? Sorry that dog won’t hunt. And then I read these articles and have to wonder, do they really think the average reader is that clueless, are the writers that clueless or are they just living in the same echo chamber?

        1. this guy gets it

        2. Well said.
          It all seems so… coordinated

            1. Stop it. Get some help.

        3. You left out another possibility.
          Clueless, echo chamber victim, or actively chosen a side.

    4. But how can they fire rubber bullets at journalists if they pull out?

      As Nixon said, “Pull out of Vietnam? Doesn’t sound manly to me, Bob!”

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  11. lArGeLy pEaCeFuL DeMoNsTrAtIoNs

    1. Well, over the time frame, considering all of the territory involved, and the limited number of engagements the first US Civil War was likewise mostly peaceful.

      1. Just peacefully marching from one protest to the next…

        I like it.

  12. “In response to largely peaceful demonstrations against police brutality that have been punctuated by criminal behavior, he has deployed his own brand of lawlessness, including arbitrary arrests and the disproportionate, indiscriminate use of force.”

    I may have to become a progressive so that whatever you are smoking gets redistributed properly. “[L]argely peaceful demonstrations” my ass.

  13. Earth calling Jacob Sullum…Planet Earth calling Jacob Sullum!

    After reading this TDS opinion piece, one has to wonder what planet Mr. Sullum inhabits, because it is surely not the Planet Earth, in the United States, in 2020. In the last 60 days, we have seen repeated riots in no less than 50 cities nationwide. The police aren’t wilding…rioters are. The police are not wantonly killing people…the rioters are. The police are not out there fucking up all kinds of private property and burning it to the ground…the rioters are.

    This is exactly the unhinged, divorced from all objective reality opinion piece that breeds contempt from Readership. And in this case, it is deserved.

    We expect better, Mr. Sullum. How about you make a half-hearted attempt to use ‘reason’ for some objective analysis, and the impact to our civil liberties (like 1A, 2A)…you know, that thing that is the name of the publication you work for (Reason)?

    1. “We expect better, Mr. Sullum.”

      Not all of us. I come here to marvel at the virulence of the staff’s TDS and to watch the bum fights in the comments.

      I admit I am not a nice person.

      1. Hey, remember when Reason when into full pants shitting mode over all those abuse of power midnight raids, and indictments on political opponents in Wisonsin during the ‘John Doe investigations’?

        Yeah, me neither. Forgive me if I find Sullum to be wholly disingenuous here.

        1. Yup, was just thinking the same thing. Not only indictments, but even denying them counsel!

          There is no progressive overreach that can’t be memory holed in the quest for the New Woke Man.

      2. Not all of us. I come here to marvel at the virulence of the staff’s TDS and to watch the bum fights in the comments.

        I’m interested to see how civil libertarianism is going to survive TDS. If it will develop some immunity and cure itself of the disease or just suffer through it and wind up permanently enfeebled mentally.

      3. Thanks, i chortled.

  14. I have yet to see any evidence of wrongful conduct my federal agents.

    1. Isn’t there some rightwing copsucking site you could pollute with your slavish genuflection to government authority?

      1. So you don’t actually have any evidence of widespread misconduct by federal agents.

        But true to form, you engage in homophobic slurs.

  15. I recommend the Feds shoot water cannons filled with a mixture of purple dye and essence of skunk at these rioters.

    1. Works for the Chinese and other authoritarians.

      1. Yes, that is exactly what is being done to the Uighurs.

        You are an intelligent and perceptive young man with bright future.

      2. Progressives are the ones that love their trains. They have since at least 1940.

      3. Do you favor tear gas? Rubber bullets?

        Dye and skunk would be effective but harmless. If the ChiComs are really doing this, then they are doing it right.

    2. Give back to the “protesters” what they give to others and mix in a bit of concrete mix. No big deal, it’s just water dude.

  16. In response to largely peaceful demonstrations

    Lol

    1. I expect this from the sillier employees of this magazine. But damn it, Sullum knows better, and has been writing decent articles on the Drug War when a lot of the commentariat was still in grade school.

      It’s disappointing to read a writer who you’ve read much better, more insightful work from, so completely buy into the bullshit about these riots.

      1. I’m seeing things in some of these articles that suggest a memo went out, that you either stick to the narrative, or expect to be fired.

        1. I just assumed they didn’t know how to change their narrative crafting editing software from the ‘non-partisan’ default to ‘left-leaning’ until the tech guy showed them in a zoom meeting.

        2. Remember that scene in the Sopranos where Tony is questioning the kid who tried to kill Christopher? At the end of the scene he pulls out a pistol to shoot the kid, then looks over at Big Pussy as if to say ‘you gonna just stand there?’ So Pussy pulls out his pistol and joins in.

          Yeah, it’s kinda like that.

        3. I expect the paymasters have changed.

      2. So a majority of the protesters are engaged in violence? Or is it more like less than 1%? Somewhere in the middle? Citation for why you think this characterization is incorrect?

        1. If it requires a majority of people involved being violent to move that event out of the “mostly peaceful” category, the American action in WWII was “mostly peaceful” since the overwhelming majority of those employed by the military in foreign theaters were non combatants. I guess that makes sense; *most* of them were “peaceful”.

          1. Well this isn’t a war and people aren’t supposed to be punished for crimes other people committed.

            1. What people are being punished for crimes others have committed? This is federal police officers arresting people that they believe, whether right or wrong, have committed federal offenses.

    2. Maybe like a largely non-rapey date?

  17. Trump is falling into the trap that just about every politician of any party is subject to – “Someone Should Do Something!”
    What he should do is give a press conference praising the republican structure of the nation, which allows different approaches to problems. “We all look on in eager anticipation of seeing how a Progressive city handles these issues.” At the same time he should direct the different agencies with offices in Portland, including the Federal Courthouse, to remove all documents and computers to a safe place outside the city. Then just pack up and leave the area.
    If the federal buildings are destroyed, as is certainly probable under the current climate, then he can tell the mayor that the city will receive less federal funding in 2021 to equal the cost of replacing the structures and their contents elsewhere. If you build on a flood plane and suffer damage, you might want to rebuild somewhere safer.
    Move the new locations to less convenient but safer locations inside Oregon. I suggest Medford, Roseburg, Coos Bay, and Pendleton.

    1. I don’t think he and the rest of the Feds are doing this to ‘save’ Portland, or even the courthouse. No, what is being done is a necessary part of any sort of RICO or counterterrorism effort – one with national implications. It didn’t have to be done there, but sooner or later it had to be done somewhere.

      And that explains why the reaction is so vociferous – enough people recognize the implications. It’s a follow the money and identify the networks effort aimed at the command and control elements of the antifa/BLM/occupy apparat.

      1. The press is freaking out because it’s their lefty allies in Antifa getting party-vanned and being mildly inconvenienced. Hence, the parroted catchphrases like “impact munitions” and “tear gas is banned by the Geneva Convention” even though it’s been used for decades to quell riots without a peep from these hypocrites. They wouldn’t give a shit otherwise.

  18. “In addition to illegally detaining Americans who were exercising their First Amendment rights, . . .

    The issue here isn’t that detaining these people is illegal. It isn’t. What HS is doing in detaining these people is legal under the Homeland Security Act of 2002.

    The issue is that what HS is doing should be illegal.

    It should be declared unconstitutional by the courts, and the law should be repealed before it ever gets to the Supreme Court.

    But that part of what Homeland Security is doing isn’t illegal.

    1. I wonder if that is why Attorney General Rosenblum declined to petition for habeas corpus.

    2. This whole piece is very muddled by Sullum, as though he’s just throwing “lawlessness” at a wall to see if it sticks. He should separate the issue of illegal LEO actions and tactics (qua LEO actions and tactice) from that of subsidiarity, and be more clear about the potential infringements on both that he discerns. Instead he seems to be trafficking in muddled insinuations. (And I’m sure such trafficking has been declared Federally actionable by some sort of five-vote-dissenting statute at some point in the last 20 years.)

      1. He should also make clear these are only accusations, instead of accusing Trump of lawlessness in this context.

    3. The issue is that some what HS is doing should be illegal.

      Shout “We’re going to fucking kill you.” to at an officer (or civilian), federal or otherwise, Portland or otherwise, and you should expect to get relocated at the very least.

      Throw objects at moving vehicles full of officers (or civilians), federal or otherwise, Portland or otherwise, and you should expect to get relocated at the very least.

      From what I’ve seen Officers aren’t relocating everyone. Most, if not all of the videographers aren’t even so much as “talk to the hand”ed. People shouting “You suck.” or “Black Lives Matter” don’t seem to be getting “disappeared”.

  19. Williams was referring to reports that camouflage-clad federal officers, identified by nothing more than generic “police” patches, have been driving through the streets of Portland in unmarked rental cars, grabbing protesters for no apparent reason and detaining them without charge. Although that sounds like the sort of thing that happens in tinpot dictatorships, some of the incidents were caught on video.

    Since when was what the cops wearing, or what the vehicle used to transport prisoners looks like, relevant to the legality of an arrest or apprehension?

    In a federal lawsuit filed on Friday, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, citing the accounts of protesters who said they had been subjected to such treatment, argues that the Marshals Service and several Homeland Security agencies thereby violated their First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendment rights. “Every American should be repulsed when they see this happening,” she said. “If this can happen here in Portland, it can happen anywhere.”

    I notice that her lawsuit does not include a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, which, if granted, would require the release of prisoners allegedly detained illegally. Furthermore, in a habeas corpus hearing, the custodian has the burden of proving the lawfulness of the detention.

    But they do not have an open-ended license to “quell” protests, fight crime, or impose Trump’s idea of “order” while flouting the wishes of local officials and treating the Constitution as an optional obstacle to the re-election of an increasingly desperate president.

    They have license to enforce federal law.

    Jacob Sullum seems to be treating these accusations and allegations as fact.

    1. He is blatantly privileging one side’s assertions over the other’s.

      ie. Choosing sides.

  20. So heavy handed that Sullum cannot find one “victim” to quote in his article.

    1. The internet is full of such, but they are all really suspect in their narratives.

      1. And surprisingly available to tell their stories (and continue rioting), despite having been ‘disappeared’.

  21. I would expect a libertarian publication to be against policing of any sort. However, credibility would be enhanced if magnitude were at least someone taken into account, particularly when doing comparative analysis.

    There is no group in America that currently receives such weak consequences vis-a-vis their actions than BLM protestors, and it’s not close. Does Reason really think that the McCloskeys are more deserving of their prosecution than these rioters?

    1. “I would expect a libertarian publication to be against policing of any sort.”

      Why? I’d expect an anarchist publication to do so, but the two concepts are not synonymous. A lack of any policing is a horrific environment for civil liberties to be respected.

      I’ll keep saying this till it sinks in with some of you: Take away all of the cops, and the penalty for every crime devolves down to the death penalty. As it did in more primitive societies.

      1. A lack of any policing is a horrific environment for civil liberties to be respected.

        And, from a libertarian perspective, property rights/dispute resolution as well.

        1. In a case of life imitating fiction/accusation, we pretty much got Somalia in CHAZ. Reason seemed quite sad that it ended.

      2. ” the penalty for every crime devolves down to the death penalty. As it did in more primitive societies.”

        Yep, think Nineteenth Century Sicily.

    2. How do you think American citizens should be punished for protesting?

      1. Are they trespassing? Committing other crimes such as assault, theft, vandalism, and arson? Arrest, prosecute, and convict for those. The locals—like in the time of desegregation and the end of Jim Crow—have no interest in doing that, so it falls onto the Feds to enforce federal law.

        And hopefully end this disorder before another mob rises up in reaction.

        1. So do we employ unidentified federal mercenaries whenever a crime happens now? If we’re changing how law and order works, you can explain why, but don’t expect people to go along with it like it’s the obvious thing to do.

          1. They not unidentified. Nor are they mercenaries. Nor are they ’employed wherever a crime happens’. As you well know.

        2. Are they trespassing? Committing other crimes such as assault, theft, vandalism, and arson? Arrest, prosecute, and convict for those.

          Just as was done with the Bundys, even if they were right about the grazing rights dispute.

          At one point weren’t the rioters protesting about something to do with equality before the law? Should be a badge of honor for hem to get hauled to court and get a disproportionately hard sentence than even a black dude would, no?

      2. Define “protesting”. If your definition includes things like setting fire to and otherwise attempting to damage or destroy public and private property, assaulting people who disagree with them or are filming their actions in public or that they believe to be “snitches”, throwing rocks, bricks, soda cans, and frozen water bottles at police, etc. then I would say their deserved punishment depends upon which exact type of “protesting” they were engaging in.

        If by “protesting” you mean simply publicly voicing their opinion without traducing anyone else’s person, property, or rights, I don’t think they deserve any punishment whatsoever. But that’s not what we are talking about.

  22. “In response to largely peaceful demonstrations against police brutality that have been punctuated by criminal behavior, he has deployed his own brand of lawlessness, ”

    It didn’t even take two paragraphs for me to stop reading…liars

  23. Continuing our story…When we last left Sullum, he had been waylaid by Bailey and dumped in a storage closet with a live rattlesnake.

    Sullum awoke, trapped in the storage closet. Despite being bitten by the rattlesnake a number of times, his habit of reading the Reason comments section made him immune to all forms of venom. Still trapped, he fell back on his CIA training, and extricated himself through a 7″ x 7″ ventilation duct. He crawled through the ventilation system, finding has way to Bailey’s office. Ron had already filed his article for the day, and left. Vengeance would have to wait. He drew a mustache on the signed photo of Bailey’s favorite doctor (Anthony Fauci), and returned to his own office.

    The day coming to an end, Sullum had to come up with an article, quick. With no time to gather random statistics for a COVID post, he settled for a fallback article he’d been sitting on. Feds being used as Trump Cossacks, conducting pogroms on peaceful protesters.

    1. Clap, clap, clap. Keep this up. It’s more entertaining than most of the comments.

      “…his habit of reading the Reason comments section made him immune to all forms of venom…” LOL, with LOLsauce.

      1. Does Sullum read comments? I don’t know that I’ve seen much evidence of the writers and editors doing so. Bailey foolishly wades in here to get torn apart, but I respect his engagement. I think Robby reads some comments because he’s worked on his worse habits and started focusing on issues differently

    2. This is rivaling The Hat and The Hair for may favorite alternate reality writing.

      1. Let’s not get crazy here. SF’s ‘gift’ wasn’t a thing you could find everyday.

        Still good though.

  24. Remember all of those “peaceful moms?”

    Yeah, not so much.

    I recognize a lot of the so-called “moms” as the same antifa women who dressed in black as recent as a couple days ago. They just put on a yellow shirt now for optics. Most of these people aren’t mothers & many don’t even identify as female. #PortlandRiots

    So they’re much like the “libertarians” who write here.

    1. Remember all of those “peaceful moms?”

      Yeah, not so much.

      Next you’ll astound me with the fact that the one that ENB said was pregnant lost the baby before she could get to her first OBGYN appointment and that all we have is a positive pregnancy test as a remembrance of the poor fetus’s life that these officers snuffed out.

      1. It’s really a shame that being so obviously pregnant at such a pivotal historical event, no one seems to have snapped a photo of her.

      2. Peacefully miscarrying or simple exercise. Who wants to be judgemental?

        1. Is there a term for a gold digger who, rather than wealth and financial security, uses her sex for socio-political gain. Vote bagger?Propaganda guzzler?

  25. I’m about as strict a constructionist as one can get, but this constant media trope about “peaceful protestors” needs to stop. You have right to PEACEABLY assemble. Tearing down statues you don’t like isn’t peaceful. Looting isn’t either. Throwing paint filled balloons or frozen water bottles. Not those either.

  26. Antifa peacefully assaults a reporter.

    Reason naps. It’s only violence if the government does it. Private excuses everything. Except cakes.

  27. Reason is nowhere near the events and are using cnn and twitter to get their info.

    Policing is not lawlessness. Words matter.

    1. It’s worked for Libertarians so far, Roberta…

  28. There are so many lies and distortions in this hit piece that I dont know where to begin. Jacob is an unrepentant lying shill.

  29. I’ll take Reason’s old milquetoast equivocations over this article’s deliberate (unless the author typed it in a padded room) dishonesty.

    Just stop.

  30. So you all are not only taking the government goons at their word… like good libertarians? You’re not even taking the government goons at their word. Trump is sending agents to fuck shit up in “Democrat run cities.” Is it constitutional to unleash cops on people for being in the opposing political party? Do you guys simply hate Democrats so much that you don’t care if they have any rights?

    Take Trump at his word if that’s what you’re going to do. This is political persecution in a fat-fisted attempt to boost his poll numbers. He said so. You said trust him. So defend what he said and not what you wish a smarter tinpot asshole would have said.

    1. Trump said “fuck shit up in Democratic run cities”?

      In a room full of people and lies flying back and forth, left and right, Tony’s the one motherfucker dumb enough to say “Why can’t everyone be as honest as I am?” out loud.

      1. Maybe pick a different occasion to be shameless servants of government authority. Trump is doing what a common rightwing internet troll would do with power. Do you think I missed all the mindless horseshit about “Democrat-run cities” on this very site and everywhere else you goobers hang out?

        The ideal Trump who’s just reluctantly protecting law and order does not exist. You’re stuck defending the one that does.

        1. Maybe pick a different occasion to be shameless servants of government authority. Trump is doing what a common rightwing internet troll would do with power.

          Maybe pick a different time to develop religion and claim feilty to a higher moral power. You’re proving that any given leftwing troll would be no better.

          Or did I miss the part where you pointed to Republican-run cities that are undergoing their 50th+ day of protests by pro-right wing groups while local government tell the police to stand down? And, as we all know you are want to do, you advised against further government involvement?

          1. I mean, FFS. I’d like to think that I wouldn’t have voted for Nixon in ’68 but you dumbfucks seem to think that it’s a great idea to spill more blood in the ~50 yr. recreation.

          2. I’m not sure why it’s relevant at all what political party is running a city when civil rights are at stake. A Republican rubs the federal government, and that’s the one sending the goons.

            Most cities are run by Democrats, and the ones run by Republicans are hardly distinct from them except for being smaller and whiter. Oh but I forgot, dog whistles aren’t real.

            Among the places run by Democrats are all of the world-class cities everyone with any money or culture wants to live. Characterizing them as violent hellscapes suggests that you have never been to one and are just regurgitating internet troll nonsense. I know Trump has been to a Democrat-run city or two. I know his main concern with them is having to comply with their laws himself.

            I know he’s playing you guys like a kazoo. And I know he’s a goddamn moron, so what does that make you?

            1. The Donkey cities are the ones with the worst (by far) rioting. So Trump is going after the rotten apples.

  31. At this point I am confused. Is it the Libertarian position that anarchy and lawlessness on the part of the public is okay? That any action taken by the government to protect property and enforce properly enacted laws is bad?

    1. Did they say “any action”?

      1. Did you offer anything other than bullshit?

  32. Such a shame. Reason used to be a great place for libertarians, now it has become the domain of socialist anarchist. I’m unsubscribing. C YA!

    1. I’m curious at this point if Sullum (and apparently all the other Reason writers) want “largely peaceful” bricks thrown at their heads.

      This sort of propaganda is certainly something I won’t forget for a long, long time. It’s a stink that is very hard to wash off.

      1. John had a point, a week or so ago, when he wondered if having the riots in DuPont Circle, where these guys are headquartered, might not give the employees some healthy perspective on how peaceful the protesters have been and are.

  33. More “largely peaceful” demonstrations. https://youtu.be/RT8fJB7ZuFc?t=214

    Those projectiles were thrown *with love*!

  34. Libertarians, apparently, believe the Woke Progressives who have had control of these cities for decades, the same cities with “systematic racism”. The do not believe the videos coming out of these cities nightly.

    “. . . or the right of the people peaceably to assemble. . .” The violent protesters have been using the “peaceful” stooges as a front for their violent actions.

    Buildings have been defaced, looted, and burned. These thugs need to be arrested and jailed. “Mostly” peaceful demonstrations have no place in a “relatively” free society.

  35. “Local law enforcement can and should be handling these situations in our cities, but there is no place for federal troops or unidentified federal agents rounding people up at will.”

    Sorry Rand, ol Pal, but Portland’s <ayor, for years has taken a strong stand against his police DOING anything to stop this mayhem, rioting, looting, occupyung, destryoing, burning…… yes, they CAN, but NO they IWILL NOT. And on that basis we as a nation are to shrug our collective shoulders and throw our hands up in the air and say "Oh wel,that's okay, we're fine with tens of millions of dollars damage done to OUR facilities. We dont mind opening up our already empty pocketbooks and shelling out the tens of millions it takes to repair those damaged buildings…..

    Further, on WHAT BASIS to you aver that Federal operatives are "rounding up people at will" withNO evidence of any crime? There are miles of video, Feds have been combing that across the country to try and identify those ringleaders in the violence and destrcution. As tey get a positive ID and location o them they are moving to bring them to justice. Like the freak Fly Lord, armd with his rifle and concealed handgun and playing gatekeeper at the Seattle takeover… alledgely a convicted felon and in possession of what some expers have identified as a FULLY AUTOMATIC rifle (like you and I cannot own) and a concealed handgun, which is another one or two felonies, and was seen and taped passing out functional firearms to whomever wanted one, inside that zone, which is STILL inside both Wathington State (no bckground checks were conducted (each transfer anohter felony) , some handguns went to individuals almost certainly under 21 years, (more felonies) Word has it on the street FedGov know the guy's identiy and where he sleeps at nightlff And it is REAL easy to move between Seattle and Portland, even if one wants to do so s=in stealth.

  36. And the “largely peaceful” permanent blinding of LEOs with high powered lasers.

  37. “Asking a tyrant for justice is just like asking a crazy being for sanity, a crazy person considers himself the only sane being among all people” ~ Ali Al-Wardi

    “A King, by disallowing Acts of this salutary nature, from being the father of his people, degenerated into a Tyrant and forfeits all rights to his subjects’ obedience.” ~ Patrick Henry

    The Trumpy the Clown Show’s plot is twisting from idiocracy to autocracy.

    1. “”The Trumpy the Clown Show’s plot is twisting from idiocracy to autocracy.”

      Why do lefty ignoramuses spend half their lives inventing ‘nick names’ which embarrass 1st-grade kids?
      Easy; they’re not as smart as those kids.
      The TDS needs jamming up your ass, so your face has some company, you pathetic piece of shit.

    2. Oh, and, shitbag, please do:
      “Little Rock Nine”
      […]
      “The Little Rock Nine were a group of nine black students who enrolled at formerly all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, in September 1957. Their attendance at the school was a test of Brown v. Board of Education, a landmark 1954 Supreme Court ruling that declared segregation in public schools unconstitutional. On September 4, 1957, the first day of classes at Central High, Governor Orval Faubus called in the Arkansas National Guard to block the black students’ entry into the high school. Later that month, President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent in federal troops to escort the Little Rock Nine into the school. It drew national attention to the civil rights movement…”
      https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/central-high-school-integration
      Make the world a better place and your family proud; fuck off an die, slowly and painfully.

  38. This is exactly the story that pushes me away from being an out and out Libertarian. No lines in the sand about anti-social behavior. When you watch the videos, you see that these are not protestors but just rioters. We should be able to respond forcefully to stop these people.

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