Some of what I gathered today:

“This is a democracy, not a dictatorship,” Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, said on Twitter. “We cannot have secret police abducting people in unmarked vehicles. I can’t believe I have to say that to the President of the United States.”

“It seems clear that there were at least some federal crimes committed here,” said Steve Vladeck, a constitutional law professor at the University of Texas. “But the notion that a handful of federal crimes justifies a substantial deployment of federal law enforcement officers … to show force on the streets is, to my mind, unprecedented.”

“Federal law enforcement,” Vladeck said, “is not a political prop.”

Gillian Flaccus, Federal agents, local streets: A ‘red flag’ in Oregon.

Part of the Crisis in Portland is that neither Trump nor Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf will say clearly whether the Feds are there to protect Federal Buildings (legitimate) or to restore order generally (not its job; see “Federalism”)/

[P]eople peacefully protesting police brutality and racism, including a county commissioner and religious clerics, have been subjected to riot-control munitions. One demonstrator was hit in the head by an impact munition, shattering bones in his face and head. Some were snatched off the streets by the federal officers and stuffed into unmarked vehicles.

David, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and a Navy veteran, was so disturbed by what he’d heard that he came to a protest site outside the federal building in downtown Portland on Saturday night.

He put on a sweatshirt with “Navy” emblazoned across the chest and a Navy ballcap, figuring the federal officers would be, like him, a military veteran. He figured they’d listen as he reminded them “that you take the oath to the Constitution; you don’t take the oath to a particular person.”

There was no talking. The federal officers, in full tactical gear, came charging out of the federal building.

“They came out in this phalanx, running, and then they plowed into a bunch of protesters in the intersection of the street and knocked them over. They came out to fight,” David said. One officer pointed a semi-automatic weapon at David’s chest, he said, and video shows another shoving him backwards as he tried to talk with the officers.

“I took a couple steps back, straightened up, and then just stood my ground right there, arms down by my side,” David recalled.

One officer began whacking at David with the baton. When he doesn’t fall or even flinch, another officer sprays him full in the face. David then retreats a few steps while making an obscene gesture.

“They are thugs and goons,” David said. “I couldn’t recognize anything tactically that they were attempting to do that was even remotely related to crowd control. It looked to me like a gang of guys with sticks.”

Andrew Selsky, Navy vet beaten by federal agents: ‘They came out to fight’

The death of Representative John Lewis on Friday has renewed interest in a campaign to rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., the site of a turning point in the fight for civil rights.

Named after a former Confederate general and Ku Klux Klan leader, the bridge became the focus of national attention on March 7, 1965, when Alabama state troopers beat demonstrators who were marching for Black voting rights in what became known as Bloody Sunday.

Death of John Lewis Fuels Movement to Rename Edmund Pettus Bridge - The New York Times.

My initial reaction was “What a splendid idea!” But then I read Why John Lewis didn’t want the Edmund Pettus Bridge renamed (spiked)

Those who thought that a “Department of Homeland Security” sounded a bit Orwellian when it was formed should be feeling vindicated in the last week.

[T]he president is still the man that he has spent his entire life becoming: a character out of C.S. Lewis’s “The Great Divorce,” in which the narrator visits a gray suburb of hell and finds it populated by souls who are self-imprisoned, incapable of freedom, their personalities reduced to grievances and grumbles. A couple of inhabitants go in search of Napoleon, who has “built himself a huge house all in the Empire style — rows of windows flaming with light,” and inside all he does is pace:

“Walking up and down — up and down all the time — left-right, left-right — never stopping for a moment. The two chaps watched him for about a year and he never rested. And muttering to himself all the time. ‘It was Soult’s fault. It was Ney’s fault. It was Josephine’s fault. It was the fault of the Russians. It was the fault of the English.’ Like that all the time. Never stopped for a moment. A little, fat man and he looked kind of tired. But he didn’t seem able to stop it.”

This is Trump as his first term as president concludes. At least 140,000 Americans are dead in a still-burning pandemic, the unemployment rate is 11 percent, and when asked by Wallace how his presidency will be remembered, all he offered was the old pre-Covid litany of grievance, starting with “I think I was very unfairly treated” and continuing for paragraphs in the same self-pitying vein.

Opinion | Can Trump Come Back? - The New York Times

Chris Wallace’s interview of President Trump, which aired on Sunday, is well worth watching if you’ve got a strong stomach.

The parts about the pandemic are as terrifying as you’ve heard—a veritable catalog of unfitness, incompetence, and willful ignorance that will leave you grateful for America’s system of federalism.

… Whether it’s in 2021 or 2025, the blinding power of self-pity and resentment may well end up being what stands out most when we regard Donald Trump’s years as President of the United States.

Yuval Levin, A Study in Self-Pity.

My stomach gave out after about ten minutes. We. Are. So. Screwed.

  1. Has your Governor been worse on coronavirus than the President has been? Few have.
  2. Levin refers to “the blinding power of self-pity and resentment,” but that’s just a slice off the blinding power of malignant narcissism, That his narcissism would blind him every day, let alone in a crisis, is why I could not vote for him, and I’m feeling conclusively vindicated in 2020.
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