God, Guns, Bats, and Patriotism: A Guest Blog from Portland & Horrific Quotes Suggesting What Is Coming

Today, we offer a glimpse of what lies ahead, beginning with a News In Brief from Heather Cox Richardson detailing how Trump is fomenting misinformation & violence & then from Portland, a view of right wing militia & what likely lies ahead.

Before we dive in to HC Richardson, a NY Times excerpt and a guest post from Portland, I want to first remind you about our Water Crisis Zoominar this evening and then share with you a counterpoint to the horrors coming from the right, a story about my son and a coalition of northeast Ohio professional sports team using their social capital to get out the vote in a very serious way. Read ON!

Tuesday, September 15, TONIGHT! 6:30 pm – 8 pm. NM Water Crisis. We have assembled a tremendous panel for our discussion of the water challenges facing NM. Yesterday’s post outlined the issues. The post was updated around 11 am yesterday with more input and detail from Norm Gaume, one of our panelists. If you read yesterday’s post before 11, you will want to review it again as the additions are pretty eye-opening. I highlighted the new material with a red inked heading so you can easily find the updated info. Our panelists are exactly who we need to hear from to assess where we stand and what needs to be done:

  • David Gutzler, an internationally renowned climate scientist from UNM;
  • Norm Gaume, former Director of the Interstate Streams Commissions; and
  • Theresa Cardenas, an advocate and leader of Middle Rio Grande Water Advocates;

Together the panel brings the perfect blend of scientific, regulatory, advocate and legislative expertise. All we need is you. Click here to register.

Full disclosure, last night Rep. Stansbury wrote to tell us that a series of emergencies had made it impossible for her to participate. If you want to hear how Rep. Stansbury plans to address the water crisis legislatively, you can view here 53 minute Retake Conversation here, as that was the focal point of that interview. Tonight, we will now devote more time to the state of the water crisis, why the state seems paralyzed in dealing with it and what needs to be done.

Northeast Ohio Sports Team Coalition to Get Out the Vote and
Work On Social Justice & Education Issues

My older son, Josh lives in Cleveland working for the Cleveland Indians where he coordinates strategies to create an organizational culture that promotes the personal and athletic development of players and of all the personnel in the sprawling organization. I had called Josh and his wife, Holly, Sunday to coax them into becoming active in our GOTV strategy. I was a tad nervous about asking them to do much of anything except survive the challenge of working from home with a one-year old who requires what all one-year olds require: your attention. But Josh and Holly had lived in Philadelphia for three years before moving to Cleveland and Holly has a wide circle of friends throughout Pennsylvania, hence they have potential to impact two critical swing state races.

I went through my pitch encouraging them to use their considerable social capital to step outside their comfort zone and get active in the campaign. Josh listened patiently to my pitch and then told me what he is already doing and I could hardly have been more proud.

Josh is coordinating a coalition comprised of the three major professional sports teams in northeast Ohio: the Cavs (basketball), the Indians (baseball) and the Browns (football). For those who do not follow much sports or know much about Cleveland, sports is a mania and the players are revered or reviled depending on the day. But the players and their teams are without question extremely influential in the community.

Two weeks ago, the Browns, Cavaliers and Indians announced an alliance to spread awareness on social justice issues. The three franchises, all with plenty of influence in the city, have been working together on this initiative for months. Josh should know as he is coordinating the effort and was directed by ownership to devote half his time to the effort.

The alliance will focus on improving police-citizen relationships, encouraging non-partisan voting and increasing quality education. And while the GOTV work is “non-partisan,” in the context of the other social justice work, it is clear what is intended. The coalition has created a website where Ohio voters can check their registration to verify it is current, where they can get registered if they are not already registered, where they can locate early voting polling stations and how to vote by mail. They are also working with other teams throughout the nation to replicate the model. The screen shot below of the coalition website captures this effort.

The Indians are a professional sports team, not a social justice agency. Ditto the Browns and the Cavs, but they have come together as a community to use their social capital to influence this election in such an important way. You can probably see where this is going….we all have social capital, we all know folks who live in swing states or in states with key Senate elections.

The News In Brief that follows and the Portland guest blog both underscore what is at stake. It is up to you to go to our GOTV strategy and send some emails to those you know AND encourage them to use this strategy with their friends, family and colleagues. It will take you only a very few minutes to complete. And then go to our overall election strategy where you can find out more about our other three strategies for the national election, the state legislative election and for forming a team to work together with friends on one of our strategies. Let’s Do It.

News In Brief:

  • From Letters from An American: “Heather Cox Richardson, September 12”. HCR ticks of a litany of ways in which Trump et al are cooking the books, inserting non-medical researchers in the CDC to alter COVID reports; installing a climate denier in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; installing Chad Wolf, a campaign operative with zero national security experience to lead Homeland Security; and enabling William Barr and DOJ to create what will be a fiction-based assault on the FBI, the Obama administration and the “deep state,” to be released just before the election. All of this work is designed to rewrite history, science, medicine, and the Trump administration. Most fearful in all of this, is how the DOJ is rewriting a Homeland Security report that had identified the greatest threat to American democracy as being Russian interference in the election and far right militia. Instead with their revisionist history, we will find how the Democrats plan to steal the election and how extremists are plotting to take over the suburbs. It is terrifying. And the next NIB makes it abundantly clear just how far Trump and his fellow hooligans will go.
  • From The NY Times: “Trump Health Aide Alleges Broad Conspiracies and Warns of Armed Revolt. The rhetoric is getting both deranged and frightening. It is clear that the stage is being set for November 4. As evidence, two quotes from the NY Times are offered:

“The top communications official at the powerful cabinet department in charge of combating the coronavirus accused career government scientists on Sunday of “sedition” in their handling of the pandemic and warned that left-wing hit squads were preparing for armed insurrection after the election. Michael Caputo, 58, the assistant secretary of public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services, said without evidence that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was harboring a “resistance unit” determined to undermine President Trump.”

From The NY Times: “Trump Health Aide Alleges Broad Conspiracies and Warns of Armed Revolt

He went on to state:

“And when Donald Trump refuses to stand down at the inauguration, the shooting will begin,” he said. “The drills that you’ve seen are nothing.” He added: “If you carry guns, buy ammunition, ladies and gentlemen, because it’s going to be hard to get.”

From The NY Times: “Trump Health Aide Alleges Broad Conspiracies and Warns of Armed Revolt

Any questions how much is at stake? Imagine four more years of Trump having been validated with an election win.

God, Guns, Bats, and Patriotism 

Below is a powerful guest blog from Mike Hastie Army Medic Viet Nam and a member of the Veterans for Peace organization in Portland. He took the photos below.

I live in Portland, Oregon, where presently the state is suffering from the worst wildfires in history. Eventually, these wildfires will be called what  they really are: ” Climate Fires.” 500,000 Oregonians are on alert to evacuate. Whole towns have been completely destroyed. The city of  Portland was so polluted from dark brown smoke yesterday that I had to    hurry home after delivering lunches to the homeless in Old Town Portland.   The poverty stricken people I gave lunches to earlier did not have that option.  The toxic smoke was starting to affect my breathing, as I was getting anxious. Other than breathing tear gas at many demonstrations, I have never been in this kind of situation before where I was conscious of being enveloped in highly polluted air. 

I wanted to talk about something I experienced last week on Labor Day when I drove to Salem, Oregon. I decided to observe a Trump rally at the Oregon State Capitol Building. There were about three hundred hard-core  Trump supporters who showed up. Many of them traveled there in pickup  trucks with multiple Trump and American flags flying from the back. One flag  had Trump’s head on Sylvester Stallone’s muscular body carrying a machine gun. On the flag was written in bold print: ” No Man, No Woman, No Commie Can Stump Him.”

This is quite an aggressive statement about Trump, who had five  military draft deferments to keep him out of the Viet Nam War. But, of course, all of this is down the memory hole for people who love him. Shortly after  I got to the rally, at least 75 Trump supporters chased after a group of Black Lives Matter people who were across the street from the capitol building.  Some of the BLM people were knocked to the ground, as Trump supporters  were hitting them with their fists.

Luckily, the Salem Police were there, so the  fights were broken up. Two Trump supporters were arrested for assault. Many of  the Trump supporters are members of either the ” Proud Boys ” or the ” Patriot Prayer ” group. A couple of weeks before, these two groups descended into downtown Portland and got into major fights with anti-fascists members. All kinds of weapons were used, except for guns with live ammunition, though one member of the ” Proud  Boys ” pulled out a pistol and pointed it at several people dressed in all black. For some miraculous reason, this ” Proud Boy ” member did not pull the trigger. A picture  of him pointing the pistol can be seen on the Internet. It is a very frightening image.  

A week after this happened, the ” Proud Boys ” and the ” Patriot Prayer ” group  were back in Portland with a long caravan of pickup trucks driving through an area where the fights had been the week before. There were people in the back of the pickup trucks who were firing paintball guns at antifascist members. Some of the  pickup trucks plowed into people who were wearing all black. That night a member  of the ” Proud Boys ” was shot and killed at 3rd and Alder St., an area I know well from previous demonstrations.

The person who shot and killed Aaron ” Jay ” Danielson  was a self described member of Antifa, by the name of Michael Reinoehl from  Portland. Six days later Michael Reinoehl was killed by the police in Lacey, Wash- ington, which is located near Olympia, Washington. 30-40 rounds were fired at  him by the police. The police said Michael Reinoehl was armed with a pistol. Some people say he did not have a gun, and that it was a police killing.

Like so many things, the truth will be swept under the carpet. I mention all of this, because these events tie into my experience at the capital building in Salem. I believe the ” Proud Boys ” and  the ” Patriot Prayer ” group are out for revenge. They are angry white men with God, Guns, Bats, and Patriotism on their side. That is what I saw when I mingled with the Trump  supporters that day. They were frightening to be around, because they were armed  with assault rifles, pistols, knives, bats and plenty of rage against anyone who opposed  them.

They are all Trump clones who want to settle things with violence. They see Trump as their savior, a parental figure who would never betray them. I walked around and heard conversations that were all about patriotism and the worship of the American flag. They  hate anyone who does not love this country, and they would commit violence against those who would desecrate the American flag. They are all on edge, ready to strike anyone who would provoke them. They are a powder keg waiting to go off. And, standing amongst  them was a man wearing a T-shirt with the words ” Trust Jesus ” in very large letters.

I spent a  lot of time sneaking pictures of men holding high powered AR-15 rifles. I have included some of these pictures with this article. Like the people who are carrying them, they are loaded and ready for anything that threatens them, real or perceived. For the ” Proud Boys ” and the  ” Patriot Prayer ” group, what is also in those ammo magazines is ANGER. Donald Trump has put them all on high alert, and that is what we are dealing with as we approach the Presidential  Election in November–just around the corner.

I did not plan on writing a long article, because  it’s just too much to read. But, it seems, so many things run together. When you are in the belly of the beast, and realize none of these people have a grasp of U.S. Empire History, you realize  you are surrounded by boy soldiers. These men are boys, and they will act like boys when they  pull the triggers on their AR-15 rifles, just like 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse did in Kenosha,Wisconsin on August 23, 2020, and killed two people. He was very angry, just like the raging Climate  Fires that are currently destroying towns in Oregon and California.

Everything is happening so fast,  with over 100 days of constant protests against the Portland Police, COVID-19, and now the worst fire storms in recorded history. Like anyone, you survive by staying connected to people who you can be honest with. If people don’t have community, they start talking to themselves. I see this constantly with homeless people. You stay in the lifeboat, because that is where you get validated.      

Mike Hastie Army Medic Viet Nam

Thanks to Mike for his report. Now let’s get in the game. Time for all of us to make Jan 20, the day we start over.

In solidarity and hope.

Paul & Roxanne



Categories: Fascism

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1 reply

  1. I can’t stand it. These reports, together with the podcast “Gaslit Nation” (you should check it out), are scaring me to – I don’t know. Into action, for one thing. Feels futile, though, in the face of right-wing power to control the stories or narratives we hear.

    Do go to Gaslit Nation and in particular listen to the episode titled “The Good Germans”. https://gaslitnation.libsyn.com/

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