The Spectator’s Douglas Murray has a first-hand account of the radical mob’s violence and destruction in Portland.
After the killing of George Floyd at the end of May, protests in Portland were among the most violent in the US. They are still going on. The left-wing mayor forbade the police from working with the federal authorities to act meaningfully against the rioters and at the forthcoming mayoral election the only candidate running against him is an open supporter of Antifa.
Recent successful operations carried out by this candidateâ€™s favoured militia include the pulling down of almost every statue and public monument in the city. The weekend before last it was Abraham Lincoln who fell. On another occasion â€” in a quasi-pagan ceremony â€” rioters repeatedly set a monument of an elk on fire and then pulled it down. A tour of the sights in Portland now comprises a huge variety of empty plinths. Few tourists will be returning for that. The remaining state and federal buildings are boarded up, graffitied over and abandoned.
Over the summer the President sent in federal guards, against the wishes of the local authorities. Today the remaining federal agents are among the few targets Antifa have left. I joined Antifa-BLM activists for a couple of nights this week.
First there was a â€˜Fuck Gentrificationâ€™ march (my first). With no policemen in sight, the activists used their own police force, including outriders on motorcycles, to block off roads and then parade through the streets screaming through megaphones at customers in the remaining bars and at the residents of an area which they claimed had once been lived in by black and indigenous families. The people who lived in many of these houses came out and put their fists in the air or waved in solidarity. Most had BLM â€” or â€˜Donâ€™t hurt meâ€™ â€” posters in their windows. All were accused of living on â€˜stolen landâ€™ by the mostly white marchers, whose other chants included â€˜Wake up, motherfucker, wake upâ€™.
A night later and we were outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility by the waterfront. This federal facility was boarded up, but Antifa like to try to burn these buildings down with the occupants inside. The federal authorities remain opposed to this. So a cat-and-mouse game kicked off, one which both sides are now practised in. The Antifa activists hurl projectiles at the boarded-up facility, beating drums to work themselves up into the violent frenzy they crave. Whenever the rioters get within a certain distance of the doors, and only after sufficient siren warnings have been given, the agents of law enforcement break out. Tear gas is fired and pepper bullets are used.
On Saturday the police came out shooting after fires were started in the street and Antifa made it to the door. A running battle saw the protestors chased back for a time, only for the police to retreat under a barrage of â€˜oinkâ€™ noises from the protestors including young white women (one in a pink onesie jumpsuit) shouting â€˜Nazisâ€™ and screaming through megaphones at the officers about how much the officersâ€™ children would hate their fathers.
Antifaâ€™s tactic is to provoke the police into an act of violence on camera so the activists can then claim they are being oppressed. From everything I saw of the police â€” including being cleared from an alleyway at gunpoint along with a dozen or so Antifa activists â€” I would say that most US federal agents have the patience of saints.
Still the image comes to mind of the elephant brought down by the smaller predators. America is not being brought low by one beast, but by a whole pack of them. These predators include, though are not limited to: ignorance, educational failure, radical indoctrination, pandemic, poverty, narcissism, boredom, the disappearance of the adults, a belief that law enforcement is the enemy and much more. Why America didnâ€™t throw off the first attacker and keep on moving is a question I cannot shake off, whether this pack brings the big beast crashing down or not.
Mark Hemingway discusses the unbearable television program, the absolutely appalling left coast city that inspired it, and the pathological politics infesting places on the Pacific coast.
Portlandia instantly struck a chord as a Garrison Keillor-type takeoff on the edgy urban set. Instead of idyllic Lake Wobegon, where â€œall the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average,â€ Portlandia is where â€œthe tattoo ink never runs dryâ€ and â€œall the hot women wear glasses.â€ The show is now in its second season and has even spawned a live comedy tour thatâ€™s bringing Portland to a venue near you.
But while Portlandia is more acerbic than Prairie Home Companion, it too can come off as a twee, chiaroscuro character study that spends as much time burnishing the cityâ€™s reputation for â€œWest Coast urban coolâ€ as it does mocking it. And thereâ€™s nothing necessarily wrong with that. Iâ€™m just afraid that the real-life absurdities of Portland merit a more cutting critique.
Case in point: One of the most commented-on sketches from the show is a scene from the first episode in which Armisen and Brownstein are sitting in a restaurant. After asking their waitress a series of absurd questions about whether the chicken they are about to eat is localâ€‹â€”â€‹â€œthe chicken is a heritage breed, woodland raised chicken thatâ€™s been fed a diet of sheepâ€™s milk, soy, and hazelnuts. .â€‰â€‰.â€‰â€‰. His name was Colin, here are his papersâ€â€‹â€”â€‹the couple ends up leaving the restaurant and driving to the farm to see the environment where the chicken was raised in order to assuage their guilt about eating it.
As a comment on urban Americaâ€™s foodie culture, the sketch is funny and incisive. But it doesnâ€™t begin to show how insufferable Portland actually is in this regard. Portlandâ€™s restaurants are incredibly good, provided you donâ€™t gag on their politics and pretension. Itâ€™s common for restaurants to brag about keeping â€œfood milesâ€ to a minimumâ€‹â€”â€‹a rough calculation on the menu informing you how far all the ingredients have traveled to your plate, as if this were a rational measure of the restaurantâ€™s environmental impact. One Portland ice cream parlor I visited recently was inviting patrons to swing by on Saturday afternoon for a meet and greet with the local producer of its â€œartisanal finishing salts.â€
Given the lack of critical attention to the city, I guess it falls to me to state the obvious: Portland is quietly closing in on San Francisco as the American city that has most conspicuously taken leave of its senses.
You know that Spring is really here when young activist women march topless in Portland, Maine to protest discriminatory laws about exposing the upper body in public.
Tactically, the use of the sight of nubile female breasts with the object of punishing the phallocratic enemy might seem a bit ill-conceived and fundamentally ineffective, but the more sophisticated of us realize that demonstrations always have multiple and diverse goals and that, particularly in the Spring, some young women just enjoy flaunting their assets.
Some people’s jaws hit the ground, plenty of men showed up with cameras, and others – including parents with their children – were just plain offended, as almost two dozen topless women marched in Maine’s largest city.
The women drew a crowd of over 500 onlookers when they shed their shirts and marched in downtown Portland on Saturday to promote what they call “equal-opportunity public toplessness.”
Organizer Ty MacDowell said the point of the march was that a topless woman out in public shouldn’t attract any more attention than a man who walks around without a shirt.
Good luck with that.
According to The Portland Press Herald, by the end of the march more than 500 people had amassed – a mix of marchers, young men snapping photos, oglers and people just out enjoying a warm sunny day.
“We should be able to walk down the street and not have this many men taking pictures of us,” a participant shouted.
The following is the full e-mail response that parent Briana Reese received from Principal Pam Wilson:
“The Pledge contains the words, ‘under God’ and we have many Muslim families here. So out of respect for the diversity of religious faiths practiced by our school community (parents and families) we decided that this year the students would memorize and sing the Preamble to the Constitution. At the rehearsal on Friday they did it from memory and to a wonderful song. It was very joyful and unique. I think you, and other parents, will really appreciate the creative and new way to open the program.”
I was arguing last night with one of my snobbish Yale friends who, though conservative, has imbibed enough of the toxic perspective of the elect to view the Religious Right as a major problem.
I contended that coercion, these days, was typically coming from intolerant secularists determined to drive religious symbols out of public spaces, and eager to punish private individuals or groups (like the Boy Scouts) who differ with them on moral issues. My friend countered by alluding to a legislative proposal in some retarditaire fly-over state which would compel Reproductive Health clinics to notify parents before supplying birth control items to persons under 18.
My own view is that children are expensive and a lot of trouble. Their parents, not the state or Planned Parenthood, brought them into the world, fed them, housed them, clothed them, and sat up with them when they were sick. Parents have a right to bring their children up with their own values. And parents’ rights include, at least, the formal (even if only theoretical) right of deciding if Peggy Sue at age 17 can go on the pill. Practically, I expect lots of 17-year-old kids can, and do, go around their parents and make these kinds of decisions for themselves, but that’s their business. These are matters for individuals and families to decide, not for teachers or school administrators, and not for government or public interest groups.
The notion that “we know better, kids are going to have sex, and we’re going to give them the tools to have sex without consequences whether their parents like it or not” is arrogant, simplistic, and typical of the liberal elite which is universally ready, willing, and eager to intrude into everyone else’s private sphere in order to tell everyone just what’s best for him.
I’m not religious or particularly Puritanical, but even I find the story below, from Natural News (4/3/08), appalling.
A middle school in Portland, Maine is considering a proposal to provide birth control pills and patches to students as young as 11 years old. King Middle School launched a reproductive health program after five of the 135 students who visited the school’s health center in 2006 reported being sexually active. The program already provides condoms to students, but the new proposal would expand this to include prescriptions for birth control pills and patches (which would then have to be purchased at a pharmacy).
The contraceptives could be dispensed without the knowledge of parents, although written permission would be required for children to receive (unspecified) services from the health center.
The proposed program has attracted controversy, with some people accusing the schools of taking away parental power and encouraging children to have sex too early. But school officials dispute these claims.
“We do certainly sit down and speak with them about why [being sexually active] is not a good choice,” said Amanda Rowe, the school’s nurse coordinator. “But there are some who persist… and they need to be protected.”
Logan Levkoff, a sexologist and relationship expert, said that while the school may be stepping into a role that would better be filled by parents, many parents do not feel comfortable enough to do so. “Parents should be the sex educator for their children,” Levkoff said. “The problem is not every parent feels empowered [to do so].”
Parents interviewed by ABC News were split on their feelings about the proposal.
“I don’t think I would want my child in middle school to be getting birth control pills unless I had something to do with it,” one woman said.
But another woman, a mother, disagreed: “I think that education at that age is appropriate because our culture is saturated with messages about sex,” she said.
Natural News is running a story which really dates back to last Fall.
After an outbreak of pregnancies among middle school girls, education officials in this city have decided to allow a school health center to make birth control pills available to girls as young as 11.
Maine’s King Middle School is the first in the state to offer full range of contraceptives to 6th-8th graders.
King Middle School will become the first middle school in Maine to make a full range of contraception available, including birth control pills and patches. Condoms have been available at King’s health center since 2000.
Students need parental permission to access the school’s health center. But treatment is confidential under state law, which allows the students to decide whether to inform their parents about the services they receive.
There are no national figures on how many middle schools provide such services. Most middle schoolers range in age from 11 to 13.
“It’s very rare that middle schools do this,” said Divya Mohan, a spokeswoman for the National Assembly on School-Based Health Care.
Portland’s three middle schools reported 17 pregnancies during the last four years, not counting miscarriages or terminated pregnancies that weren’t reported to the school nurse.
The Portland School Committee approved the plan, offered by city health officials, on a 7-2 vote Wednesday night. Whether the prescriptions would be offered this school year or next wasn’t immediately clear.
King is the only one of the three schools with a health center, primarily because it has more students who get free or reduced-price lunch, said Lisa Belanger, who oversees Portland’s student health centers.
Five of the 134 students who visited King’s health center during the 2006-07 school year reported having sexual intercourse, said Amanda Rowe, lead nurse in Portland’s school health centers.