- FBI Interview
- Calpella Stabbing
- SNWMF Interview
- Odds & Ends
- Little Dog
- Ambulatory Surgery
- Yesterday's Catch
- Library Events
- SF Tent People
- World War 1 Recruiting
- FB Kingdom Hall
- Hmong Among Us
- Portland Confrontations
- National Listlessness
Time Magazine's "Person of the Year" (2002) Coleen Rowley on Mueller’s History of “Cover-up” -- On KMEC Radio, Monday, June 5, at 1 pm
Rowley, a former FBI special agent and division counsel whose May 2002 memo to then-FBI Director Robert Mueller exposed some of the FBI’s pre-9/11 failures, was named one of TIME magazine’s “Persons of the Year” in 2002. She just appeared on The Real News report “Special Counsel Investigating Trump Campaign Has Deep Ties to the Deep State,” about Mueller being appointed to investigate the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.
While Mueller has been widely described as being of impeccable character by much of official Washington, Rowley told KMEC Radio: “The truth is that Robert Mueller (and James Comey as deputy attorney general — see my New York Times op-ed on day of Comey’s confirmation hearing) presided over a cover-up …”
In her interview, Rowley noted: “The FBI and all the other officials claimed that there were no clues, that they had no warning [about 9/11] etc., and that was not the case. There had been all kinds of memos and intelligence coming in. I actually had a chance to meet Director Mueller personally the night before I testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee … [he was] trying to get us on his side, on the FBI side, so that we wouldn’t say anything terribly embarrassing. …
“When you had the lead-up to the Iraq War … Mueller and, of course, the CIA and all the other directors, saluted smartly and went along with what Bush wanted, which was to gin up the intelligence to make a pretext for the Iraq War. For instance, in the case of the FBI, they actually had a receipt, and other documentary proof, that one of the hijackers, Mohamed Atta, had not been in Prague, as Dick Cheney was alleging. And yet those directors more or less kept quiet. That included … CIA, FBI, Mueller, and it included also the deputy attorney general at the time, James Comey.”
Rowley also noted that Mueller presided over “the ‘post 9-11 round-up’ of innocent immigrants, the anthrax investigation fiasco, as well as going along with a form of martial law (made possible via secret OLC [Office of Legal Counsel] memos written by John Yoo etc. predicated upon Yoo’s theories of absolute ‘imperial presidency’ or ‘war presidency’ powers that the Bush administration was making [Attorney General John] Ashcroft sign off on).”
“While not the worst of the bunch, neither Comey nor Mueller deserve their Jimmy Stewart ‘G-man’ reputations for absolute integrity but have merely been, along the lines of George ‘Slam Dunk’ Tenet, capable and flexible politicized sycophants to power, that enmeshed them in numerous wrongful abuses of power along with presiding over plain official incompetence. It’s sad that political partisanship is so blinding and that so few people remember the actual sordid history.”
KMEC Radio: Listen at 105.1 FM in Ukiah, CA. We also stream live from the web at www.kmecradio.org
SATURDAY NIGHT IN CALPELLA
On 05-30-2017 at about 6:13 PM Mendocino County Sherff's Deputies responded to a reported stabbing in the 6100 block of North State Street in Ukiah, California. Upon arrival Deputies found a 59 year-old adult male with stab wounds to the abdomen. Medical was summoned and the adult male was transported to a hospital in Sonoma County via an air ambulance.
Jeremiah Luna, 34, of Ukiah was present at the scene and was detained until Deputies concluded their preliminary investigation. Deputies investigating the incident learned the adult male and Luna were intoxicated when they arrived at a bar in the Calpella area earlier in the evening. Shortly after arriving, Luna was asked to leave the bar due to some disruptive behavior and the adult male was asked to leave the bar a few minutes later. The adult male confronted Luna about getting kicked out of the bar and an argument ensued between them. The argument escalated and the adult male and Luna began fighting each other in front of the bar. During the fight Luna armed himself with a knife and began stabbing the adult male subject multiple times in the abdomen. Luna was placed under arrest for attempted murder and later booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $250,000 bail. Santa Rosa Police Department Officers responded to the hospital where the adult male was being medically treated and learned he was in stable condition and was expected to survive his injuries.
WORLD MUSIC FEST 2017
A Chat with Festival CEO Warren Smith
by Steve Heilig
AVA: The Sierra Nevada World Music Festival (SNWMF) relocated to Boonville in 2006, after operating in the Sierra foothills since 1994, making this the 12th year here. After some challenges with an extreme heatwave and then extreme fires in the first couple years, it's been pretty much smooth sailing since, albeit with some adjustments to volume and such. Any notable changes planned for this year?
Smith: It's been that many years already? Time sure flies. But no, other than some upgrades to the camping sites, to bring in more fresh water and such, going on some feedback from attendees, things will be pretty much the same. All your favorite food and drink vendors should be returning too. All the kids' and family stuff will be going on as usual. I guess overall we feel "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."
OK, so tell us about some the musical offerings you are looking forward to.
There are quite a few. Of course Gentleman is a treat — and they reached out to us to play again as they have such good memories from the first time they played for us, way back in Angel's Camp days. We have Macka B too, who also hasn't been with us since Angel's Camp. That one is an exclusive.
He is great. I've heard him do some very funny stuff about both vegetarianism — and cannabis, of course.
Have you seen his video "Kukumba"? It's got like half a million hits online so far...
His first LP was a longtime classic 30 years ago, and he sang of food on that one too — how "Baked Bean and Egg" can give you bad flatulence.
Indeed. And we finally got Horace Andy, after about three times trying to book him. And I'm really excited about Christopher Ellis, the son of the late legenday singer Alton Ellis. He's superb and a very nice guy, unlike the kids of some other stars we won't mention. And speaking of that, on the same day we have Tarrus Riley, son of the great Jimmy Riley, and he's also highly professional and a joy to work with. And one more — Marla Brown, the daughter of the legendary late Dennis Brown, maybe my favorite reggae singer of all time.
He was Bob Marley's favorite too. And for the "revival reggae" crowd, bringing some old school vibes back, you have the leader, Chronixx, plus I-Taweh, who really has a buzz about him too...
In the dancehall, the legendary Lee Scratch Perry is returning to make up for being rained out last year, with his Subatomic Sound System and even Dennis Bovell, the Linton Kwesi Johnson bassist/bandleader and dub, master who will do both dancehall and stage sets.
I've heard of people coming cross country just for that — could be called historic. But it does seem that it's getting harder each year to bring the old classic reggae founders, as you are renowned for doing. This year you've got Keith and Tex, and again, Horace Andy, and one ska band, Soul Ska from Marin County, who've really earned a place here, but that's about it.
Yes, and true, it gets harder to find and bring them as time flies by. But with Third World, Barrington Levy, Ranking Joe, and Bovell, we feel we've got plenty of the roots. And of course Mellow Mood is returning as they were such a huge success here last year; and Paulo Bandini from them will also do a dance hall set with Comanche High Power.
"Back by popular demand", as they say. On that note, some dancehall stars like Capleton have been controversial for homophobia and misogyny, and I know bringing him has been a sore spot in some quarters.
Yes, and we certainly gave it some thought. But he apologized for all that 15 years ago, although it has haunted him. I think at some point you have to take him at his word, that he's overcome the overt homophobia in Jamaica — it's like 95% prevalent there, but I think Capleton did realize once he got out into the broader world that this just doesn't fly. And I expect and hope that in Jamaica itself things are slowly changing, as Obama and so many others have spoken out for these human rights. Anyway, we welcome him back, and it's not the first time we've had him. He puts on a phenomenal show. A lot of our audience want some "fire" on stage, and he certainly brings that.
How about non-reggae acts this year?
We've got Lakou Muzik from Haiti, and they are amazing and will wind up the village stage on Sunday night. And Sinkane, who has his roots in the Sudan, a soulful world music artist. We've got Soul Sauce from Korea, a sort of follow-up to Windy City from there a couple years back who enthralled so many, and Eastern Standard Sound, a Korean DJ system. The Black Seeds from New Zealand are a kind of rock and reggae group who have been building a fan base for years. The Talking Dreads do Talking Heads songs in a reggae style, and I really recommend people catch them if they like something new and different — they're great.
How many staff and volunteers do you now have?
I'd say about 50 staff and about 300 volunteers. They have their own camp, with staff spread all over. I stay on site, and sleep after it's all over.
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(Disclosure: AVA writer Steve Heilig is also SNWMF MC Rico, announcing bands while wearing specially re-purposed recycled Armani suits)
ODDS & ENDS
LOOKED AT CYNICALLY, the only sane way to view public events and personalities these days, last week's pot raid in Redwood Valley can be seen as a warning to all other Mendo pot growers that you either pay up for your County gro license or a Redwood Valley type raid will happen to you. The busted Redwood Valley gro, by the way, had a permit in 2016 but had not yet applied for one this year.
THE County of Mendocino is running a protection racket. You pay, or you get hit.
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RESTROOM PROTOCOLS, DeYoung Museum, San Francisco, the signs over the bathrooms read, “Any Gender.” It was hilarious to watch three senior Chinese women the other day try to puzzle out which room they were supposed to use, and they were still trying to figure it out when we walked on.
CORRECT ME if I'm wrong here, but didn't we learn in human biology class that you're either one sex or the other, and there are only two of them? Some confused individual may feel like he or she would rather be the opposite sex, but shouldn't he or she use the restroom assigned to him or her at birth regardless of his or her adult costume?
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THE HEADLINE in a weekend Press Democrat read: "Staggered by setbacks, activist Julia Butterfly Hill is not backing down." I was sobbing from the first paragraph, but when I came to my senses I recalled that an attractive young woman with a practiced woo-woo patter, did a two-year tree sit near Carlotta in Humboldt County. If she had been an unattractive young woman, Butterfly's skeleton would still be in the tree.
IT WASN'T LONG after Butterfly had come to public attention that movie stars and random celebs were climbing up for well-documented visits with Ms. Fly, getting their media greenie tickets punched, too. (More than 70% of Americans claim to be environmentalists. Coming out for the environment is hardly a lonely stand.)
MS. FLY deftly parlayed her fame and unique ability to discuss current events with trees, especially old trees, into an expensive home in the Oakland hills and an un-green Lexus to get around in. The PD's odd notion that she's some kind of martyr cum hard luck kid is not only wrong, it's bizarre given the known facts.
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MY NEIGHBORS down the road in Yorkville, the Maillards, were also celebrated last week by the Press Democrat. The paper's serf-like awe in the face of big money rivals any devotion accorded medieval monarchs. "Face down in the mud, everyone, here comes King Henry."
THE MAILLARDS placed their thousands of acres Yorkville ranch into a conservation easement, meaning it can never be subdivided but it can continue to be logged and cattled and sheeped. In return the Maillairds get a huge tax break and, uh, ah, er the rest of us get nothing. The original Maillard money stems from Maillard the First's investments in 19th century Marin and Bay Area real estate.
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PUZZLING HED in the Ukiah Daily Journal and presentation to match sponsored by the Ukiah Methodists: “Series of talks in Ukiah to explore sex trafficking near Mendocino County.” Sex traffickers are closing in on us?
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Had to laugh. The boss was whining about this big dog attacking him on his walk the other day. ‘It was a big, white fuzzy thing damn near as tall as me. Jumped me in a crosswalk. The woman on the other end of the leash says, “He just wants to be friends.” I just want to walk unmolested, is that too much to ask?’"
by Louis Bedrock
I: Getting there
When I get home from my Spanish conversation class, there is a message on my answering machine informing me that my operation time has been changed from 7:00 a.m. on Thursday, May 25 to the same time on Friday, May 26.
I call my friends K and J, whose mission it is to drive me to the Ambulatory Surgery Center and ask if they can accommodate the change. They can.
Hospitals, medical centers, and doctors’ offices insist that a patient be driven there and driven home by a neighbor or “close friend” after any procedure that requires anesthesia. Cabs and limos are verboten. I have no living relatives and resent being obliged to impose upon friends.
One time, no one was available to drive me home. I arranged for a limousine service to deliver me and pick me up. When Overlook Hospital balked, I had my attorney call and threaten a law suit. The hospital acquiesced.
However, I’m old and tired and must select the battles I’m willing to fight. Thus, I usually give in and find a friend to drive me to and from the surgery site.
Friday morning, K picks me up at 5:25 a.m. and deposits me at the Ambulatory Surgery Center at 5:50. I am the first patient to arrive.
II: The Waiting Room
The receptionist hands me about 20 sheets of paper which I’m asked to read carefully and sign. I hand her three sheets of information that I printed out the night before about my medical history, supplements, and prescriptions—and a copy of a notarized living will.
However, I still have to sign about a dozen different forms authorizing anesthesia, surgery, sharing my confidential medical information, and agreeing to surrender every asset I own and sell my soul should my insurance companies fail to pay the bills.
I’ve brought a good book to read but forgot to bring my noise reducing headphones. Like almost every other waiting room in the world, this one has a television set tuned to a group of liars reporting the official version of the news. I ask the receptionist if she can turn the damn thing off but I don’t say, “damned thing”. She does so.
At 6:20, they summon me and the only other patient, “W”. We are escorted into a large hall where stations or booths are separated by sliding curtains. We are asked to put our clothing and belongings into large plastic bags and don those appalling hospital gowns with the opening on the back.
A nurse comes in and asks the same bloody questions I’ve already answered on the sheets given me by my doctor’s office and by the receptionist in the waiting room. Why do I have to provide the same information again and again in this age of computers? Why isn’t there some central data base where my information can be easily accessed by medical (and billing) personnel?
When the young nurse, who I like, asks me about STDs, I tell her with a straight face that several years ago I contracted anthrax from a sheep I was seeing at the time, but hadn’t included this information on the forms because I didn’t think that anthrax was a STD like syphilis or gonorrhea.
She looks at me for a moment and then moves to the next question.
Amazingly there is a small TV on a swivel inside the cordoned off area. I ask that it be turned off. Once again, it is. “Ask, and it shall be given you.”
Dr K, my orthopedic doctor and surgeon, stops by and chats. He writes some hieroglyphics on my right wrist with a purple felt marker. He says we’ll be moving to the operating room in about ten minutes. The anesthesiologist visits and assures me that I will probably awake with no permanent brain damage.
The nurse I like returns and cajoles me into signing about three dozen more forms. She expertly finds and taps a vein in my left forearm and hooks me up to an IV drip.
At 6:50, she and the anesthesiologist wheel me into the operating room.
IV. The Operating Theater
The anesthesiologist checks the IV hookup and is satisfied with the nurse’s competent work.
Several people unnecessarily assist me in moving from the cot to the operating table. The positions of the table and the patient are adjusted. My right hand is secured in a clamp and bathed with an orange liquid along with my forearm.
There are six doctors and nurses in the room. I thank them for being there and assisting with the procedure. The anesthesiologist tells me to prepare for a nap.
I like to resist the anesthesia and see how many seconds I can stay awake after the mild burning sensation in my arm indicates the initiation of the flow of the anesthesia. Once, I got to fourteen and actually watched my consciousness break into pixels on my inner TV screen. This time I get only to “three”.
V. Recovery Room
When I wake up, my nurse is beside me.
—Who’s picking you up? The sheep?
—K or J. You have their number.
—I’ve already called. What would you like to drink—cranberry juice, apple juice, or grapefruit juice?
After fifteen minutes, I get dressed and with my angel/nurse supporting me, I’m led into the waiting room. K is already there. On the way out he asks,
—Why do they have those goddamned televisions in every waiting room?
We stop at the drugstore near my house to pick up a prescription for Vicodin and a powerful antibiotic.
K asks me if I can get into the house on my own and I assure him I can. I feed the cat and nod out on the couch for several hours.
That evening I discover that I forgot to ask the pharmacist to NOT use those goddamned child-proof bottle caps for my prescriptions and that I CANNOT open the goddamned bottles with one good hand.
After releasing a torrent of obscenities in the three languages I can speak, I’m embarrassed to call on a neighbor for assistance. It’s a mild day, the windows are open, and the neighbors and their children are probably alarmed by the lunatic who lives next door to them.
I grab my claw hammer from the tool cabinet and vindictively smash the plastic vials sending twenty tablets and four capsules all over the table and the kitchen floor. Then, I collect the antibiotic capsules and Vicodin tablets in separate plastic sandwich bags and sweep up the remains of the vials.
The pain is not acute and I resist taking the painkiller. However, around 1:30 in the morning, the buzzing sensation in my palm and two of my fingers, which is keeping me from sleep, finally compels me to swallow a tablet. I sleep until 6:30 Saturday morning.
Before breakfast, I get on the treadmill for 45 minutes and take a shower. This clears my head. I am definitely ambulatory.
I vow not to take any more Vicodin.
Homemade veggie and fruit juice, oatmeal, and a couple of cortados fortify me. Next to the couch is a pile of books and magazines to distract me while I am unable to write or translate. Calliope seems to understand that I’m convalescing: she sleeps by my side for most of the day.
CATCH OF THE DAY, June 4, 2017
TOD ARGANTE, Fort Bragg. DUI.
RAYMOND BRUNETT IV, Willits. No license, suspended license, failure to appear.
ZACHARY CARPENTER, Antioch. Hashish possession.
STEVEN DANIELS, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.
JONI DEARING, Fort Bragg. Under influence, controlled substance, drunk/drugged in public. (Frequent Flyer)
AMANDA ESPINOZA, Upper Lake/Calpella. Drunk in public.
JOSE JIMENEZ-SANTILLANA, Ukiah. Contracting without a license.
CARLOS MAGANA, Ukiah. Vandalism, participation in criminal street gang, failure to appear.
ROBERT MAREK JR., Ukiah. Suspended license.
TIMOTHY MILLER, Redwood Valley. Misdemeanor hit&run.
JAVIER RAMIREZ, Ukiah. Fighting or challenging in public, probation revovation.
CHERRI ROBERTS, Ukiah. Camping in Ukiah.
UKIAH LIBRARY EVENTS
FREE JIU-JITSU/SELF-DEFENSE CLASSES for Teens @ Mendo Training Center
Tuesday, June 20th 2:30 pm
Tuesday, July 25th 2:30 pm
Tuesday, August 8th 2:30 pm
The Ukiah Library is proud to partner with Mendo Training Center to offer free jiu-jitsu/self-defense classes for teens this summer as part of the Library's Summer Learning Program! Classes will be taught by Nate Ducharme.
The class schedule is as follows:
June 20th @ 2:30pm
July 25th @ 2:30pm
August 8th @ 2:30pm
Registration is required, please call 463-4490 to sign up! For more information about the Ukiah Library Summer Reading Program, please contact: Melissa Eleftherion Carr at 707-467-4634 or email@example.com.
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THE KIDS’ FARMERS MARKET
Summer Wednesdays starting June 14th, 12-2 pm
Ukiah Library is excited to announce the return of the Kids’ Farmers Market.
Kids, bring your homegrown produce, eggs, honey, and handmade crafts.
Learn how to display and sell your products while you have fun with other young farmers.
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2017 SUMMER READING PROGRAM
Starting Saturday, June 10th 2017 the Mendocino County Library begins its annual Summer Reading Program!
All ages are invited to sign up for the Summer Reading Program at any Mendocino County Library branch (including the bookmobile) or online. Categories include “pre-readers” or ages 0-5, kids, teens, and adults. This year’s theme is “Reading By Design” and each library will have various events and performers scheduled to keep fun and learning going all summer long! For more information or to sign up, visit www.mendolibrary.org or stop by your local Mendocino County Library branch.
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JUNE LINE-UP OF SUNDAY MATINEE MOVIES AT UKIAH LIBRARY
Ukiah Library is delighted to continue offering great films on Sunday afternoons in June. The series, Sunday Movies at Your Library includes a rotation of PBS documentaries, Indie films, Lincoln Center performances, and, newly released children’s movies. All performances begin at 2 pm. PBS & Independent films will be screened in the Meeting Area. Lincoln Center performances and childrens & family films will be screened in the Children’s Room.
The films for June:
June 4th – The Genius of Marian is a “visually rich, emotionally complex story about one family's struggle to come to terms with Alzheimer's disease.” This event is a collaboration with POV, the award-winning independent non-fiction film series on PBS www.pbs.org/pov
June 11th – Hail Caesar,--“A Hollywood fixer in the 1950s works to keep the studio’s stars in line.” An Indie comedy by Ethan and Joel Coen.
June 18th – Aurelio—Singer-songwriter, guitarist, and percussionist, Aurelio Martinez, is a major tradition-bearer of the Garifuna music of Honduras. Garifuna music is a mix of West African, indigenous Central American and European rhythms. Major Support for Lincoln Center Local: Free Screenings is provided by the Oak Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Booth Ferris Foundation and the Altman Foundation.
June 25 – Monster Truck—for FAMILIES AND KIDS. “Looking for any way to get away from the life and town he was born into, Tripp builds a Monster Truck from bits and pieces of scrapped cars. After an accident at a nearby oil-drilling site displaces a strange subterranean creature with a talent for speed, Tripp may have found a new friend and a way out of town.”
For more information, call 463-4490 or visit Mendolibrary.org
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A HOME BREWING PRESENTATION
On Wednesday, June 21st from 6-7:30 pm, Mendocino County Library, Ukiah Branch is hosting a Home Brewing Presentation.
Have you been interested in learning how to brew beer from home? Join the Potter Valley Brewing Group to discuss and learn how you can get started. This event will discuss the history of Americans fascination with home brewing, what it actually takes to brew from home, and local organizations that can help you along the way.
This presentation is sponsored by the Ukiah Valley Friends of the Library. There will be tastings available with a $5.oo tasting fee.
MORE FOR MORE
Regarding SF Mayor Ed Lee’s plan to spend millions more on homeless: I looked with dismay at the photo of Mayor Lee in the new Dogpatch Navigation Center, perfectly clean and inviting. I’m dismayed because I know the stark reality of the Mission Street Center and the blocks of slum environment that surround it now which gives a truer picture of what our city is confronting. The reality also includes dozens of tents that make entire sidewalks unhealthy and impassable.
When city workers attempt a cleanup, the tenters just relocate to take possession nearby. I no longer know what the answer is, but spending millions more? I see so many folks who seem to have chosen our city for the ease it affords their daily life. The majority don’t want any rehabilitation.
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, June 4, 1917: “If anyone wants to make trouble we’re ready for them,” said United States District Attorney John W. Preston last night in speaking of preparations for possible trouble at military registration booths tomorrow. “Anyone trying to persuade a man of military age not to register will be arrested. This does not mean simply that there will be secret service men at the booths to arrest anyone who tried to make a disturbance there. If one man stops another down on Market Street and advises him to avoid registration he is liable to arrest.
“Up to 9 o’clock tomorrow night no one will be arrested for neglecting to register, though he may be warned and watched. But promptly at 9 o’clock arrests of men of military age who cannot show a blue registration ticket will be made.
“We are ready for any disturbance or any form of agitation. If necessary, every man in the Government secret service here will be on duty.”
CALIFORNIA’S ‘GREEN RUSH’ TAKES HMONG BACK TO THEIR OPIUM-GROWING ROOTS
'ALT-RIGHT' PORTLAND RALLY sees skirmishes with counter-protesters. Far-right and ‘anti-fascist’ groups face off with each other and law enforcement, a little over a week after two men died in a racially charged stabbing
by Jason Wilson
A much-anticipated “alt-right” rally in Portland, Oregon has ended in police using stun grenades and tear gas against the most militant segment of a counter-protest.
At 3.30pm, police began pushing antifascist or “antifa” activists out of Chapman Square, just across from the rally in Terry Schrunk Plaza, in downtown Portland. Officers discharged grenades and gas as missiles were thrown. Portland police said on Twitter that they had closed the park due to “criminal behavior” including the use of “bricks, mortar and other projectiles”.
As the antifascists were pushed out, “alt-right” activists interrupted their schedule of speakers to rush to the edge of Schrunk Plaza and taunt them. Police said they had confiscated makeshift weapons and shields from protesters in Chapman Square, and said that at around 2pm protesters there launched marbles and other projectiles towards Schrunk Plaza.
Hours before, as the opposing activists gathered, tensions in the city were high, a little over a week after two men were killed and one wounded in a stabbing on city transportation.
Jeremy Christian, 35, was charged in the attack, in which Rick Best, 53, and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche, 23, were killed after they intervened to help two young women who were the target of racial abuse. Christian was found to have expressed far-right views and to have attended a similar “free speech” rally in the city in April.
Portland mayor Ted Wheeler sought to block Sunday’s event, while on Saturday the leader of the Oath Keepers militia organisation told the Guardian members of his group were on their way to the city, to support and if necessary defend the rightwing protesters.
In the event, the “alt-right” rally was surrounded on three sides by separate counter-protests. Antifa activists occupied Chapman Square, to the south of the plaza. Portland United Against Hate, organized by 70 community and political groups, occupied the forecourt and sidewalk outside City Hall to the west. To the east, a protest organized by labor groups occupied the street outside a federal building.
At the City Hall rally, Seemab Hussein of the Oregon Council on Islamic Relations, a rally sponsor, said he wasn’t surprised to see an “alt-right” gathering in the city.
“It’s part of Portland,” he said, “it’s part of Oregon, it’s part of society.” He added that he didn’t take seriously disavowals of the racist politics of older far-right movements.
“I don’t think they actually moved away from that,” he said. “It’s the same ball of yarn – the hate, the prejudice, the violence. It just finds a new victim. If it’s not Muslims, it’s immigrants.” He was heartened, he said, to see so many Portlanders show up to oppose the rally.
All told, there were some 3,000 counter-protesters and only a few hundred at the “free speech” rally, where Kyle “Based Stickman” Chapman, who became a movement hero after physically attacking antifascists in Berkeley, California addressed the crowd. So did Joey Gibson, the organizer of the event. On the fringes, Pat “Based Spartan” Washington, a so-called “alt-right” celebrity, held an impromptu press conference.
“I believe in freedom of speech,” he said. “Our speakers have a right to say what they want, and not be exposed to this shit across the street. I am definitely willing to use violence to make sure my family is safe and my patriot family is safe. But do I want it? Not necessarily. Until antifa learns not to use violence … God, I hate them. I look over there and I just want to smash.”
Members of the Oath Keepers and another “patriot” militia group, the Three Percenters, were present, identifiable by their insignia. Also present were members of the Proud Boys, associated with Vice founder Gavin McInnes and identifiable by their uniform Fred Perry T-shirts, and members of Warriors for Freedom, a group led by Gibson.
Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes gave a late afternoon speech, referring to growing links between established rightwing groups and internet subcultures.
“We just went to Boston not too long ago,” Rhodes said, “and it was run by 4chan kids who put the rally on. They were standing there with pale skin, cos they don’t go outside too much, but they had homemade shields in their hands … and they were there. It’s my job as a paratrooper veteran to teach those kids everything I know.”
Tusitala “Tiny” Toese, a member of Warriors for Freedom, told the Guardian he was present to “stand for free speech”.
“If you look all around America,” he said, “they’re trying to take away free speech silently.” He also said that the group had ejected Jeremy Christian from the 29 April Portland rally. “We heard what he was doing,” he said, “we heard he was doing [Nazi] salutes, and we said we don’t like that, so we told him, you gotta leave.”
Earlier in the day, as protesters gathered, two members of the Rose City Antifa group, wearing masks, spoke to the Guardian. “We’ve got hopes for what we want to happen and we’re preparing for the worst,” one said, adding that their goals were “being here, being a visible opposition”.
“These guys are mostly not interested in free speech, they’re interested in fighting us,” the activist said. “If they come over here, we’re going to respond in self-defense, but our plan is not to take that path. Our main goal is the defense of the community, and to reveal their actions for what they are: fascist street violence.”
At one point Brian Fife, an “alt-right” protester, walked up to Chapman Square in an attempt to speak. He was surrounded and drowned out with air horns. Earlier, on the grass at Schrunk Plaza, Fife, who said he ran a small business in Salem, Oregon, said Jeremy Christian “did everything right up until the point he started killing people”.
“I do not support killing people,” he said, “I don’t think anyone does. But calling out the changing elements of our culture, I think that’s something I wish more of us would do.”
As police and DHS officers dressed in riot gear kept the groups apart, the rally passed without full-blooded confrontation between protesters. Police also announced that any movement between Chapman Square and Schrunk Plaza would be considered a criminal act. The plaza was cordoned off with yellow tape and police SUVs partially blocked traffic. Before the decision to clear Chapman Square, a small number of arrests were made.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Americans have been trained to exert their power through elections. But now, that process has been obviously subverted. One good thing to come out of the Trump election is that more and more voters are beginning to realize that our traditional elective process no longer works.
We’re now at the stage where we, as a society, have lost our footing, and we don’t know what to do about it, so naturally we are experiencing a state of anomie. Technology allows many people to avoid reality by throwing at us a multitude of escapist choices such as a zillion channels of tv, widespread coverage of professional sports, computer gaming and social media. It’s easy to run away and hide.
Some event or persons will ultimately shake us out of our national listlessness.