Whatever I posted earlier on the protests in Portland, it's gotten worse. Via Kanishka Singh at Reuters:
One person was shot dead in Portland late on Saturday as protesters from rival groups clashed in the northwest U.S. city, which has seen frequent demonstrations for months that have at times turned violent...
Sounds of gunfire were heard in the area of Southeast 3rd Avenue and Southwest Alder Street, according to the spokesman’s statement.
The police said they were not currently releasing suspect information.
When asked by Reuters if the shooting was related to clashes between rival protesters in the same area, the spokesman said "it is too early in the investigation to draw those kinds of conclusions..."
The New York Times and the Oregonian newspapers reported that a large group of supporters of President Donald Trump had traveled in a caravan through downtown Portland, with a pro-Trump gathering drawing hundreds of trucks full of supporters into the city.
The Times cited two unidentified witnesses as saying a small group of people got into an argument with other people in a vehicle and someone opened fire.
The man who was shot and killed was wearing a hat with the insignia of Patriot Prayer, a far-right group based in Portland that has clashed with protesters in the past, according to the New York Times. Reuters could not independently verify this...
The New York Times reported that Trump supporters and counter-protesters clashed on the streets, with people shooting paint ball guns from the beds of pickup trucks and protesters throwing objects back at them...
trump is tweeting out praise to the shooter(s) who went in that pro-trump caravan with paintballs and then real guns. he's been attacking the Portland, OR mayor for being weak and allowing the violence to continue in order to make trump "look bad" (when it's trump's own people making things worse). trump hasn't said much about the teen shooter in Kenosha but trump's media allies sure have.
trump has been bashing Black Lives Matter protesters and praising Far Right militias with equal fervor, pushing for division and making calls to violence more frequently, especially as the 2020 election campaigning enters the final round toward November.
What trump is doing is horrifying. In my lifetime, I cannot recall any of our Presidents actively sowing dissension in our own streets (worse, doing so for political points with his rabid base). Whenever there were protests going on, be it under Bush the Elder, Clinton, Bush the Lesser, Obama, the White House message was usually along the lines of "we do not agree with what the protesters are claiming but we respect their right to march as long as they're respectful of the public peace" (There were protests during Reagan's tenure I recall but usually about apartheid and divesting from South Africa and usually too small to make the headlines, I can't recall anything more large-scale). Under trump, every BLM protest is a violent riot and every White Pride riot is a protest.
One of the job duties of a President - along with Commander-in-Chief and Chief of State - is being a Uniter figure, a Mourner-in-Chief in moments of great tragedy (like Reagan with the Challenger disaster) and a Rallier-in-Chief in moments of dark times (when Dubya offered words of condolence and strength - genuine or not - after 9/11).
It is telling that trump has failed since DAY ONE in the White House in the duty of being a Uniter. It requires traits - empathy above all - that trump never had in his soul.
trump can only appeal to the emotional states of greed, rage, and cruelty. Those are the only tools he really has when it comes time to stand at a podium and speak to the nation at large. And it's why when given the chance, trump will always fail to speak to the nation and speak instead to his base of angry voters who care not for empathy, sharing, or compassion.
For all that trump tries to compare himself to Lincoln, trump is actually the polar opposite. Where Lincoln - even in the throes of the civil war where our nation was at its most divided - spoke to the better angels of our nature, trump instead wants that civil war in order to maintain his corrupt hold on power and thus speaks to the worst demons of our nature.
Let me refer to David Frum at the Atlantic, who also got to the same point of realization about trump's crossing of the moral event horizon:
...The Trump campaign probably broke the law—and certainly trashed norms of republican constitutionalism dating to the very origins of the United States—when it made a campaign prop of the White House. But was Trump troubled? Absolutely not. He basked in the moment. He invited his supporters to bask with him. Bask they did.
Donald Trump is a dreadful public speaker, but a master communicator.
When he chooses to deliver a formal oration, as he chose to do on the fourth night of the convention, he visibly bores himself. He comes alive only when he can free-associate onstage about his grievances, bigotries, and hatreds. And while those speeches may seethe with dark energy, they are hemmed in by his shrinking vocabulary and egocentric content...
Mid-speech, Trump expatiated on the greatness of the American past. “Our American ancestors sailed across the perilous ocean to build a new life on a new continent,” he began. Almost any other candidate, even any other Republican, would feel some need to acknowledge the experience of Native Americans and enslaved Africans, to place a question mark over the concept of wild frontier and open range—the literal phrases in his text. But Trump knows that millions of his fellow Americans are sick and tired of having to pretend to care about Black and Indigenous people. He wants them to know that he doesn’t care either. That’s what they love about him.
The night before Trump’s acceptance address, a Trump supporter shot three people, killing two, in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The 17-year-old crossed state lines to carry his AR-15-style rifle to a scene of confrontation that ended in death. Some presidential nominees might have felt obliged to say something about that. Again: not Trump. “In the strongest possible terms, the Republican Party condemns the rioting, looting, arson and violence we have seen in Democrat-run cities like Kenosha, Minneapolis, Portland, Chicago, and New York,” he said. Trump spoke not a word to his followers urging them to put down their guns and quit the provocateur tactics that have so often accelerated disorder into violence. He knows that millions of his fellow Americans regard an armed white vigilante as an honorary law-enforcement officer. He wants them to know that he agrees. That’s something else they love about him...
Trump is a secessionist from the top. As my colleague Ron Brownstein often observes, Trump regards himself as a wartime president of Red America against Blue America. That’s how he can describe riot and disorder as happening in “Biden’s America,” even when it happens under his presidency. In his mind, the majority of the country is already “Biden’s America,” even before Biden enters office—and the remainder of it will continue to be “Trump’s America,” even should Trump leave office.
Since we are two countries, we can have two sets of laws and rules: one for friends, another for enemies. That’s why so many prominent Trump supporters can look at the shooting in Kenosha and perceive the gunman, who went to a city where he did not live with an AR-15-style rifle in hand, as acting in self-defense. The gunman had legitimate rights that must be respected. The dead men did not, and neither did all the many victims this year of police shootings. If those victims had criminal records, then they were criminals—unlike, say, Michael Flynn, who remains a rights-bearing American despite his criminal record. Two countries, two classes of citizen, two systems of law...
One of the points about America is that we're supposed to be The United States of America. Under trump, we are no longer united. As Divider-in-Chief, trump has separated us into a Red America and a Blue America, and he's given the okay to Red America to open fire on the Blue America.
We're in the middle of the Second Civil War, not the beginning. It's just that now we don't have a President in the White House working to save us, it's a Loser of the Popular Vote fighting hard to keep us divided so he can stay in power.
Gods help us.