Sunday Sermon: Liberalism in Winter

It’s now been a long time since classical liberalism was stampeded to death by the ethnic hordes and progressive demons it nurtured in its breast over its long rule of condescension in the West. This calls for something fittingly pointless and insufficient to mark the passing. An indifferent epitaph.

Liberalism, to the extent it was genuinely held, was at base faith, for all intents and purposes indistinguishable from religious faith, despite its proceeding from Enlightenment values. I won’t criticize liberalism for being Utopian–to dissent against the well-entrenched madness of the present is Utopian, by virtue of its hopelessness. We are all Utopians now.

But the faith is in the possibility of the given Utopia; it’s in the pursuit of it against all historic evidence, against popular resistance, in spite of the endless depredations of malicious free riders; it was faith in unilateral disarmament before the illiberal world. Liberalism’s severing of society from the old restraints was a world-historic leap of faith, taken in a fit of romanticism and vanity.

Destruction is the ultimate act of faith. Something built as an alternative can simply fail. But the destruction of that which is forces a fait accompli on society, which has no choice but to rebuild, and the destroyer himself is Johnny on the Spot, with his plan, admonishing us that the destruction just proves how necessary and self-evidently just his plan was the whole time.

Liberalism had to have faith in the destruction of the sacred and time-honored; liberals had to have faith that they were dragging society, kicking and screaming, into a better world.

Liberalism foundered on its faith in the wisdom of a society ordered around the individual and therefore determined by the aggregate greed and desire of the mass. Post-liberal progressivism’s contempt for the common and working man follows logically the disillusion of liberalism: the common man let the left down, with his bourgeois aspirations and preference for patriotism over internationalism. Now we’re to get it good and hard, from the left’s new favorites, racial and sexual minorities. I’m reminded of the scene in Rocky, where the black actor Stan Shaw has been given Rock’s locker, by Mickey the Jewish trainer, because Dipper’s a contender and Rocky isn’t.

The Working Man coulda been a contender, a new man for the new age, studiously consuming the uplift offered by his betters.  But in the postwar prosperity people were content to work and raise families and take their modest share of happiness and indulge in patriotism (our ill-placed faith); the regular guy’s definition of happiness held, through years of propaganda belittling his aspirations, his leisure, his faith, even his hobbies: how pathetic, how gauche to the elite to, say, have a small boat you take out on the lake weekends.  There’s resentment in the post-liberal left’s assault on those habits of the working and middle class, on their assault on home ownership, cars, even outdoor recreation (in the name of environmentalism).

Ironically liberalism ended in outright opposition to its Enlightenment sibling, science, arguing with less credibility than creationists against the plain reality of human biology, against the very existence of race and sex. Even the edifice supporting liberalism’s ever-growing Rube Goldberg of rationalization refuting biology itself is one big appeal to consequences: if we aren’t all blandly equal under the skin it would be the worst possible thing. You are evil to even suspect it.

As for sex, the post-liberal Frankenstein that rules the present wears a skin suit knit out of the past’s naïve liberal proponents of the sexual revolution–our parents and grandparents, who scoffed at notions of familial decline and widespread degeneracy, and, if they’ve survived into the present, can only nod along obliviously as the kids praise these things they once reassured us would never happen, as progress. This is their dotage, and liberalism’s.

Smoke ’em if you Portland

Portland recently launched its “Here for Portland” promotion to bring people back to a downtown that remains economically distressed over a year after the onset of the “racial reckoning” of riots and police defunding.

Baby come back, I can make it good again…

To reassure the revelers, and following an untimely gang-style shooting last week, Mayor Ted Wheeler announced a plan to bring in extra Portland police from outside precincts and FBI agents to patrol downtown. This is of course the same Ted Wheeler who threw in with his more radical peers to condemn federal agents opposing rioters (then, the Mayor said the presence of feds “sharply escalated” the situation and was the cause of violence) on the same streets when they took to attacking the federal courthouse. Needless to say, Trump is long gone and our memory is quite short.

The presence of unmarked federal police cruisers last night was conspicuous, as well as the increased police patrols; Wheeler’s plan was to discourage gangstas–who’ve been noticeably more present and exuberant this summer in the city center–with a very visible police presence.

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Last night antifa organized a rally and marched downtown unmolested by police–with mask mandates gone, restaurants open and good weather people are returning to the city at night. Antifa’s group of about fifty blocked traffic, drumming and chanting, ignored by the people eating outside of restaurants and cruising bars; occasionally harsh words were exchanged. Normie tolerance of antifa seems at an ebb.

Last night was also the first night of this, Mayor Wheeler’s carrot and nightstick approach to reclaiming downtown. As if in response, there was a shooting, right around the corner from a mass shooting that prompted Wheeler’s new strategy–that chaos injured seven and killed one, a teenage girl. A local told me yesterday it began when the Golden Dragon strip club closed for the night and the crowd emerged; fighting ensued in the street, probably continuing hostilities began earlier inside the club. The Dragon remains open for business.

Another bar around the corner, Kelly’s Olympian, was the vicinity of last night’s shooting.

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Just around the corner another block was taped off. I assumed it was a search for suspects, but later learned there was a second stabbing there–in almost the same exact block as the Golden Dragon shootings that prompted the new strategy. The stabbing happened despite the massive police presence already there to investigate the shooting outside Kelly’s.

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Soon our love of Portland will only be able to manifest as grief.

Portland Dispatch July 17: the Weird, Weird West

Untethered Livestreams

Early this morning eight were injured by gunfire in downtown Portland

Eight people are being treated for injuries after a shooting in downtown Portland, including at least one with serious, life threatening wounds.

On Saturday, July 17, 2021 at 2:10a.m., Central Precinct officers responded to a report of multiple people shot in the 300 block of Southwest 3rd Avenue. When officers arrived they found many people injured. The officers initiated lifesaving measures and secured the scene for paramedics to respond. So far 8 patients have been located and transported to the hospital by ambulance. At least one is considered life threatening. There appeared to be both male and female adults hit by bullets.

The suspect or suspects left the scene before police were called and no one has been arrested. No suspect descriptions are being released at this time.

Officers have closed Southwest 3rd Avenue from Southwest Oak Street to Southwest Washington Street for the investigation. The PIO is not responding to the scene. More information will be released when appropriate.

Notably the police offered no description of suspects and didn’t even bother to send a public information officer, as they normally would.

Antifa attacks people protesting Wi Spa in LA

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Full Frontal Justice

While committing his office to restorative justice (prioritizing the rehabilitation and restoration of criminals rather than law and order) and indulging anarchist rioting, Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt is aggressively pursuing criminal convictions against cops, having charged one for assault for an extra baton strike on a rioter, referred two so far to the state Department of Justice and promising more. Schmidt even asked for help from rioters in identifying cases:

Schmidt said his office has faced challenges investigating the numerous complaints about police violence at protests, including identifying and contacting the victims. Reaching out to victims, he said, is usually necessary for assault investigations where it’s difficult to determine the level of harm or injury just from watching a video.

“I can’t say specifically how many we’re looking at, but when people are interested in reporting and there’s evidence there, we review it and decide whether or not to go forward,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt can’t trust his prosecutors. Having no real experience as a prosecutor and coming out of the Soros lab he sent police and prosecutors flying to support his opponent, an assistant DA, when he won a solid majority in the first contested district attorney’s election in a long time. The national project to install progressive DAs nationwide picked their target well here, or couldn’t lose. Naïve Portlanders voted in Schmidt without the expectation the world would be turned upside down because of a police homicide in Minneapolis. Whether deliberate or not, the wave of BLM-ready district attorneys preceding the riots came as the one in the ol’ one-two punch. Unappreciated is the damage done to the relationship between cops and prosecutors, which Schmidt is earnestly hacking away at.

The second case referred to our DOJ was sent back by Attorney General Rosenbaum. Undeterred, and in a first, the DA hired a criminal defense attorney from a private practice to lead the investigation.

In that case on the night of May 31 of last year, as the city was engulfed in its second night of rioting on behalf of George Floyd, a cop from the city of Gresham filling in for the understaffed Portland Police shot and killed a man he said was trying to run him over with his car. The incident was lost in all the hysteria because the deceased is white.

A county grand jury, reviewing body-cam footage (which would not have been available if a Portland cop were involved as they don’t wear them; police abolitionists here aren’t enthusiastic about body-cams, probably because of cases like this) nonetheless refused to return an indictment.

Meanwhile, Schmidt’s vague reference to more cases comes as a threat to cops and his implicit call for public help to root out “bad” cops can’t be helping police morale, which is running out of room down below. And I’m wondering now if Schmidt, or someone managing him, is going to start looking for a way around citizen grand juries.

In Portland, they’re winning, despite this minor setback.

God is Angry, BIPOC Hardest Hit

Oregon’s recent heat wave, where temperatures reached as high as 116 degrees, has killed about a hundred statewide and has inspired a biblical sense of catastrophe here.

Deborah Kafoury, Multnomah County Chair and second-generation Oregon power broker, has promised a “deeper analysis” to document the racial disparity in deaths and our concomitant failure of the “BIPOC” community.

Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury on Sunday, July 4, promised “a much deeper analysis” of the historic heat wave as the county death toll rose to 64, more than half the number of the entire state.

The analysis will include “how to plan for the future,” the county said in a press release

Appearing on the CBS news show Face the Nation Sunday, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said the record-breaking heat was a “harbinger of things to come” that disproportionately harms minority communities.

Kafoury is confident she’ll find racial disparities at the county level (deaths statewide are mostly white and older) that can be translated into political advantage. Everything now, policy, plans, crises, must be examined for racial disparities which must then be corrected. Morally inconceivable is the possibility that these outcomes can be explained by behavior and that, say, black people have as poor a record of preparing for emergencies as they have of preparing for life generally.

I’ve fancied black “dysfunction” as a sort of “nuclear fuel rod” of demagogic energy, because it will always be there, producing the misery and resentment that is the fuel of the racial demagogy that has taken over. It’s permanence is a feature, not a bug, and I’m sure some of the smarter ones in high places understand that only too well. But more precisely it isn’t the “dysfunction”–arguably not the right word for it–it’s the disparity that is the source.

Despite our mass delusion, black civil rights has become preeminent not because of its justice, but because it is an irresistible vector by which all opposition to power is effectively attacked. Disparity is the license for which the elite claim all manner of new powers and plans. In the case above, disparity will be cited to justify not just the usual transfer of funds to political clients, but “climate friendly” legislation, as a matter of “justice”, and becomes part of the broader global effort to redesign society and the economy to suit the elite. Disparity has become the universal solvent dissolving opposition to power.

Preliminary information shows the people who died ranged in age from 44 to 97, with an average age of 68. The majority were white. Many were found in their homes, with no air conditioning or fans. The county released a map on Saturday showing the deaths took place throughout the county, with the greatest concentration in Lents.

Local activists were demanding the demographic breakdown before the temperature came down.

Driving the inexplicable success of the BLM movement is the effectiveness of racial kitsch as a bludgeon to smash opposition to virtually anything. The daily petty outrages, critical race theory’s notion of pan-racism imbuing everything down to the cell; these are important. Things have changed so drastically so quickly because the rhetoric and actions of the devout found less and less resistance as they proceeded, and the instances and derangement of their charges expanded exponentially in this still unsettled environment.

In this light you see the real value of ethnic diversity to the powerful. Those disparities are the point, and if the elite were honest they’d raise a monument to them. A black dullard would personify it well. Perhaps we can recommission one of the George Floyd statues for the purpose.

Fourth of July Acid Flashback Rerun

Not having the heart to write about the Fourth of July on what feels like the last one–actually it feels like last year’s was our last, but we’re only now finding out.  Whatever the case, the Fourth of July is no longer tenable, like the US.

This is something I wrote sometime before 2008, when my patriotism was stronger and understanding weaker.  In the Oughts we were fixated on the war in Iraq and neocons.  This and identity politics, specifically black/white questions, critical race theory really, dominated my attention as a blogger, and I remember thinking I, and others, talked way too much about the latter.  I couldn’t help myself.  Re-reading this with the occasional personal cringe, I think we didn’t talk about it enough; specifically, I was still unable to appreciate the importance of Jewish power.

I think a lot of fervor in my (and probably others’) anti-war writing was borne of a need to virtue signal against the race realism that dominated our thinking more–more than perhaps an individual then and now is willing to accept.  Contra Charles Murray, the sooner there develops a white political advocacy movement the better, and I want to cry when I look back at the time wasted.  The prelude to the new dispensation was decades-long in developing, out in the open.  I regret fear and ignorance kept me so long on my seat.

Mea Culpa.

Anyway, this is old and weird.

Fourth of July, Summertime 2008 Acid Flashback Remix

History may be written with blood and iron, but it is printed with ink, and it is made real and dangerous when it is put on film, the alternate literature of our times…History is not over yet, and history collects its debts.
—Gustav Hasford, Vietnam Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry

U.S.A is the slice of a continent. U.S.A. is a group of holding companies, some aggregations of trade unions, a set of law bound in calf, a radio network, a chain of moving picture theatres, a column of stockquotations rubbed out and written in by a Western Union boy on a blackboard, a public library full of old newspapers and dogeared historybooks with protests scrawled on the margins in pencil. U.S.A. is the world’s greatest rivervalley fringed with mountains and hills, U.S.A. is a set of bigmouthed officials with too many bankaccounts. U.S.A. is a lot of men buried in their uniforms in Arlington Cemetery. U.S.A. is the letters at the end of an address when you are away from home. But mostly U.S.A. is the speech of the people.
—John Dos Passos, U.S.A.

America is not the answer. This statement does not constitute sacrilege, as we’ve been conditioned to believe. Yet its opposite assertion, the prevailing sentiment of our times, is taken for granted and only rejected by the remnants of the sixties radical Left who haven’t yet gone mainstream, mad or over to the neoconservative Right, where the business of quasi-religious global revolution, still, is so much better.
 
But this sentiment, that American values and institutions, that is to say America, are the answer to the ills of the world, is sacrilege in the literal religious sense, as well as loosely speaking–against decency, good sense, modesty, those tragically under-appreciated values that compel us to, for instance, recognize the rights of nations to self-determination and liberty. This widely held if little examined faith works through the same means of cultural intimidation as political correctness–is becoming intertwined as an article of political correctness–and is how liberal interventionists and neoconservatives alike have become the useful idiots of adventurous practitioners of machtpolitik–Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bush, et al. It’s illustrative that there’s not an ideologue in this unsavory triad.

We have become incapable of recognizing the tragic pride of this attitude. This, the closest thing we have to a national religion, is a faith that cannot rise to the level of religion because it requires nothing of us–other than nodding, unthinking acquiescence to power. It combines the worst aspect of religiosity–resistance to contradictory reality, with the worst consequences of secularism–immodesty, intellectual and moral sloth, decadence. We forget ourselves.

Espousing this faith is a requirement for those who seek elective office in America, as well as their most useful demagogic tool. The rhetoric of this exceptionalism is deployed as a means of intimidation by those across the spectrum, whether it is the welfare or the warfare state in which they are invested–of course it is often both, now. On this Independence Day, 2008, America is under siege from Right and Left, two enemies that aren’t so much diametric opposites as they are competing coalitions, factions that share the same thinly veiled contempt for the straight and double-edged sword that is the Constitution. Individuals move back and forth between these groups with ease and no real qualms or difficulties beyond those presented by their particular networks of individual and group alliances. Exceptionalism, hollow, fatuous and vain, is the enemy, ironically, of the people and the republic that it flatters. America is not the answer is not a criticism of America, but a defense of her.

A republic is above all about limits on ambition and power, about containing them, checking them, mitigating them through division. No ambitious man can serve in a true republic without conspiring against its limits. The more ambitious the individual the more he feels this disdain, the more he conspires against it, sometimes in collusion with his political opposites. The longer he serves the greater his contempt. This contempt has become a requirement of power. Personal ambition is the continual, perpetual corrosive that will always, in the end, erode a democratic republic. This is the never-ending struggle. Seeing as ambition is a value unto itself in a country that elevates a Donald Trump or the various growling, sulking absurdities that have taken over hip hop, ambition seems to have gained an irreversible advantage.

This vain conceit of exceptionalism is the American tragedy, the mass self-delusion by which we conceal our motives and crimes, for which we are squandering our inheritance, consuming institutions we’ve allowed to lapse into decrepitude and burning liberties for the paltry warmth of “security”–as if freedom from state power hasn’t always meant sacrificing security (it was a braver nation that accepted this); this delusion could only resolve itself in the hallucinatory paranoia that now has us flailing away at imagined enemies, destroying entire nations and frantically trying to build them back up. Our assault on history even includes its physical artifacts as we degrade the ruins of Ur itself. Unwilling to accept the limits of morality on the ordinary, we declare ourselves extraordinary, determined that America be the answer and all before and outside of it the question, declaring that history no longer applies to us.

Our cathedral is the cinema; its language is cinematic. In this alternate reality that we have the tragic power to will, for a time, upon the world, not only does history end, it has a happy ending, our happy ending, inevitable but somehow still necessitating that we will it into being, no matter how much wealth is expended, how much blood, innocent or not, is spilled, no matter how much capital of freedom and liberty must be spent. America now flatters itself with the ridiculous conceit that it is the hero of the piece that is human history, late in act three and poised to enjoy the denouement of a victorious resolution.

I prefer the nation that accepts the uncertainty of the question to that which preens as the answer. The bravery of the free to the arrogance of the powerful. My America is not complete. America is unfinished. It is a working title, a project, under construction; this thing America hasn’t yet run its course. One might even say it hasn’t occurred yet.

What is a nation? How durable is a nation founded on a proposition the vast majority of its citizens couldn’t define? How much apathy can our nominal republic take? How cheap a currency can be made of citizenship before the nation that backs it is no more? Has that already happened? Have we run off the edge of the precipice of hubris and empire, intoxicated by the sense of flight, soon to be falling?

A nation is a collective memory; America’s is short. How is it we’ve come to allow the president to wage war not on a congressional declaration but on the slippery ruse of an “authorization to use force”; nothing more than a means for congressmen to absolve themselves of direct responsibility while providing the president with imperial powers limitless in scope, duration and conception; a “global war on terror.” War everywhere, forever, not on a nation or an entity but on a tactic; knowing that we’re not actually waging war on a cruel device we have to acknowledge that we are really making war on a sentiment: anti-Americanism. Continual war, waged out of sight of the public and with the blind assent of a self-abnegating Congress. But enough of that, it’s Independence Day.

I have nothing to offer but my hallucinations:
I am hovering above the earth looking down upon us and I see we are dispersed across the globe, physically, ideologically, conceptually. There’s the U.S.A. before me; it’s barely recognizable, an elastic thing that has been pulled at the edges and stretched across the oceans to every reach of the planet; but the center is drawing continually on its fraying edges, edges that are under constant tension, elongating the holes created by the tilting pikes that cruelly spear them into place.

It’s a world littered with expatriates and wannabes, and with those our government sends abroad: lonely sentries manning worthless posts; homesick marines staring into their warm beer in the enlisted club on some Godforsaken island outpost; sailors working round the clock to keep the flight deck of an aircraft carrier going, forever keeping the birds in the air. The time has come to ask, if not why then: how much longer? I wish I could stand on the tallest mountain and call them all home, like a muezzin calling to prayer.
I see the soldiers coming back; streaming home, every simple one of them: jug eared farm boys, once callow suburban kids who’ve seen the worst horrors, swaggering brothers, fearless cholos; seen from my perch above the earth they are like trails of ants as they stream back from every direction, converging on America, converging on home; the guns are dismantled and left behind; moving among them like a wraith I’m looking all the way back across the Pacific; I see a tire swing draped from the end of a decommissioned artillery gun, some Okinawan kids are taking turns walking the barrel like a tight rope; they are silhouetted against a red setting sun. Somewhere a leftover land mine goes off.

Turning back toward home I see there is a lighthouse on a hill, its turret turning steadily, placidly, alternating a blood-filled red, white, and blue light, calling to home; the hillside is black and surging with the returning soldiers. They are marching in a disordered mass, officers and enlisted alike, hats cocked back or thrown aside, uniform shirts left open in front. They are ragged but they are not rabble, you can tell by the look in their eyes, you can tell by their bearing. They have a purpose.

The tall doors to the chamber are bursting, swelling from the mass pushing on them; politicians are fleeing in all directions; the massive double doors are pulsating and expanding like a great wooden heart; bu-bump; bu-bump. The doors fly open and in comes the mass of soldiers, some are hobbled on crutches, some have bandages wrapped about their heads, some walk mechanically on prosthetic limbs; they are running down the chicken-hawks and the neocons; pulling them down as they attempt to climb the curtains, pushing phony tough talking liberals back and forth between them; two of them are playing keep-away with a senator’s toupee. Barack Obama is unconvincingly, nervously affecting street-slang as he lies to a group of black Marines; their faces are impassive as they back him into a table. Beneath it John McCain is hiding, already dutifully drafting the public confession he expects to offer; seeing Obama’s skinny ankle he scowls, growling as he sinks his teeth into it; discovered, he snarls and snaps as he is dragged out into the open.

They are blanketing the Mall; security and police silently join their ranks. The rod-iron gate before the White House falls flat before them like bamboo fence. Inside they are coming through every door, every window; aides and functionaries are clutching like terrified children at impassive secret service agents who stand aside; the mass silently leaves an opening for a tour group to pass through on its way out, a soldier snatches Doug Feith by the collar as he tries to sneak out amongst the tourists, brushing aside the NASCAR ball-cap disguise awkwardly perched on his head; a giant corn-fed farm boy has cornered a red-faced Dick Cheney and has him gently and threateningly by the tie. Someone has Wolfowitz by the ankles, holding him out a window. They fill the oval office. Bush has escaped. Of course. Could it be any other way? They pass through without disturbing the furniture, driving their captives before them. Lagging behind, someone straightens a portrait on the wall.

In the halls of Fox News they are scratching and clawing in their flight, some of the men still wearing their make-up bibs, as the veterans come pouring in, continually flowing in impossible numbers from the elevator doors, as if they were a rising tide of camouflage green and tan flooding the building by way of the elevator shaft; Bill O’Reilly, half finished from makeup he looks like a transvestite who’s removed his wig, pushes a small woman out of the way and goes through a set of steel double doors into the stairwell; but they are coming up the stairs in step, echoing like one giant marching heel, boom, boom, boom. O’Reilly turns and finds the doors are locked, pulling frantically on the handles, whimpering. He has no choice, he flees upward, but they are coming down the stairs too somehow.

In Fresno someone has set fire to Victor Davis Hanson’s vineyards. As if made of rubber, the burning vines are pouring a foul, unnatural black smoke into the sky; their charred remains take on the form of skeletons. Little black cobwebs drift down to the ground. There is a smell of burning flesh. The smell lingers even though I am now viewing everything on a giant screen in America’s last drive-in theatre:

INT. SURBUBAN HOME, DAY
In a home office we see a computer workstation; the computer’s screen shows a typical war blog; we see the war blogger, just his lower half, being dragged out the window as his legs thrash about futilely.

EXT. AERIAL, MANHATTAN FROM ABOVE, DAY
The boulevards are filled with the dark mass of veterans, like a rapidly growing moss overtaking everything.

INT. NEWSROOM
The low ceiling shakes and drops bits of plaster as the veterans advance. Reporters cower under their desks; they are horrified and retching at the smell of death. Two Royal Marines are shaking down Christopher Hitchens; he’s talking like a hyperactive lunatic, trying to bullshit his way out of it; Judy Miller has been turned over to some butch female sailors who force her to march with Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton–she tries to slip one of them a bribe before her hand is slapped down.

EXT. STREET LEVEL, MANHATTAN, DAY
Civilians standing on cars to get a better view watch as the veterans march their captives before them.

EXT. CLOSE SHOT, AGED VETERAN, DAY
He is sitting in a wheelchair, watching the parade, an old army blanket over his legs. Tears are streaming down his face.

EXT. SAME, DAY
The veterans are marching down a street bordered by towering skyscrapers toward the harbor docks. Civilians are following behind them; running children bring up the rear; people are leaning out of windows, some are dumping ticker-tape out the windows, some are waving flags.

EXT. NEW YORK HARBOR, DAY
From a distance we see two World War II era military transport ships, waiting. No one is visible on their decks. They are in black and white against the technicolor backdrop. The captives appear in the foreground, followed and driven forward by their captors, moving toward the ships. The smell of death is lifting. An oversized sun is rising in the east.

FADE

What is U.S.A? I know only a small part of it. It’s an old black Studebaker covered in the dust and bugs of a dozen states; it’s low-rider bicycles, skateboards, pin-ups, cut-off shorts; it’s stupid high school jocks and crazy vatos, sullen, hard-headed brothers and single minded wave obsessed surfers; it’s burnouts chilling and insanely ambitious overachievers; it’s gaggles of picture perfect California girls that radiate sex and vitality.

U.S.A. is the ugly as well: streets filled with idling cars, strip bars and strip malls, spinning rims and vulgar bumper stickers, thumping bass coming from car stereos broadcasting infantile obscenities Doppler-distorted as they pass, spandex and tattoos, crass sitcoms and comic book film adaptations made by committees of accountants and focus groups, vapid celebrities attended by sycophants and watched with slack-jawed placidity by dullards in government subsidized homes on sixty inch plasma TVs planted in the midst of the refuse of their idly rapacious existence as unwashed children run about ignored until they step in front of the screen; it’s people with cell phones to their ears jabbering away emptily—not even they see the purpose in their chatter. They wouldn’t recognize purpose; they would look at you sidelong if you tried to explain relevance to them. They know irony; they know that this thing references that thing but they don’t know the origin of anything.

And everywhere always the noise; television advertisements, airplanes overhead, radio chatter, traffic, sputtering jake brakes, shouting, Friday night football, after hours clubs, video games, shooting ranges, brawling drunkards, crowds, arenas rumbling from across town–the din of it all everywhere at once, an overwhelming, shrill maternal embrace. Is there no silence left in America?

There is; I’ve felt it. It’s in those golden hills at the northern end of California, just before you cross into Oregon, it is perfectly still there; it’s in the early morning in various surprising places, sometimes right in the middle of the city. It’s in countless meticulously created and maintained gardens in suburban backyards. It’s as if there is only the one silence that moves about and sometimes descends on you. It once found me in the early morning on a highway turnout overlooking the Pacific after spending the night sleeping in the back of a broken down truck.

What is America? Right at this moment it’s a twenty year old homesick jarhead taking a harrowing cab ride through a narrow alley in the Far East. It’s a pair of adventurous college girls backpacking through Europe. It’s a twelve year old prodigy inventing a revolution in his father’s workshop without yet realizing it.

America isn’t represented in Star Wars movies and can’t be seen through CGI; it won’t be found in the weekend box office numbers of the latest would-be blockbuster, don’t bother looking there (who the hell cares anymore?); it isn’t seen on Entertainment Tonight or known to the clueless, smirking mediocrities of vox-pop television programs. It isn’t this week’s celebrity affecting a personal revelation described as an act of healing that just happens to coincide with her latest movie’s release. It isn’t the corrosive rot of cross-promotion. How easily we could do without these!

America is John Dos Passos making an epic journey of his life and finding himself back where he started; it’s Walt Whitman wandering the land as unnoticed as a beggar and taking it all in; it’s Ralph Ellison stewing away in his basement; it’s Francis Ford Coppola turning a Renaissance artist’s eye on New York across the decades; it’s Grandmaster Flash discovering scratching; it’s Smedley Butler refusing to ignore what motivates the bloodshed.

America is the dizzying, infinite profusion of countless imaginations left unrestrained. It is the automobile and the airplane; the moving picture screen and the internet. It’s the aggregate of millions of individual ambitions; it’s the vulgarian and the puritan, each holding up his end; it is ugly cel towers and elegant church steeples. It’s an ever-growing number of also-rans and extras, white trash losers with a fatalist attitude, unapologetic and defiant, proud failures like me, lost to the world the moment we passed into it, grateful nonetheless and happily railing away in obscurity–as you see. It is this right here.
It is still, in its conception, in its glorious past and in its tantalizing potential, in the imagination of the people, the greatest republic yet. U.S.A.

Portland’s Break with America Official

Before this is over antifa will have a statue, commemorating their current campaign, which includes the toppling of old statues, and the city’s leaders will be there to commemorate it. There are many ideal spaces with pedestals ready to receive the new dispensation.

It was certain the Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson and Roosevelt statues were not going to be restored after antifa took it upon themselves to liberate the city of their oppressive presence, though no one’s been asking. Those and a statue of a settler family arriving in Oregon, The Promised Land, probably couldn’t be restored even if the will was there–antifa would simply keep coming back to deface or topple them–and according to new rules quietly instituted, in the future the city will remove them for antifa, if they deface a monument for a period of time with “social justice oriented” graffiti (see below).

The 120 year-old Elk statue downtown may rise again–the minor fire damage to which it was subjected was incidental, nothing personal so to speak, it’s just the dry fountain pool around it made a nice big fire pit and the city thought it wise to remove the Elk before it was destroyed. Antifa then began gradually demolishing the fountain and pedestal with pick axes–the rubble making for good projectiles, the city eventually came and cleared out the ruins. Theoretical thumbsuckers appeared online at the time explaining What the Elk Means to antifa and why it had to be destroyed, but no: this one was purely collateral damage. They were indifferent to the Elk–and that in itself is something because they’re not indifferent to much.

The Evil Elk of Portland

While they may not have picked the Elk for any particular reason they welcomed and riffed on the shock its treatment produced in the public, first replacing the statue with a crude wooden “Evil Elk” parody, which was later captured and brandished as a trophy by their Patriot Prayer enemies. A progressively crasser series of iterations occupied the dirt mound where the fountain and Elk had stood until the last, a miserable thing made out of pallets was, I saw for myself, toppled, not by political actors but by black thugs who were sacking the antifa mutual aid “Jail Support” tents huddled around the spot, for whatever donation money the wretched little operation had on hand–grift was getting lean after the crowds of naive white zoomers occupying the park all summer went home in the Fall.

George Washngton
Thomas Jefferson

For the destruction of the two statues downtown, the Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt statues nearby and the George Washington statue across the Willamette river a total of one person has been charged by District Attorney Mike Schmidt–the guy who drove the van that pulled down Lincoln and Roosevelt on antifa’s Indigenous Day of Rage” (if it was a food product, the label would have to read it conains less than ten percent actual “indigenous” rage):

Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt announced this afternoon his office was charging two men in connection to a Sunday night riot that damaged the Oregon Historical Society and other buildings and saw a crowd pull down statues of former Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt that have stood for nearly a century.

Schmidt’s office charged Brandon Bartells, 38, residence unknown, with one count of criminal mischief and one count of riot for allegedly driving a vehicle that toppled the Roosevelt statue, causing an estimated $20,000 in damage. (He was not charged in connection with the Lincoln toppling, which the DA’s office estimates did $10,000 in damage.)

Local political leaders, including Sara Iannarone, “antifa candidate” running against Mayor Ted Wheeler, uniformly condemned the action.

“I condemn all acts of violence and destruction, especially those targeting public art,” Iannarone said in a statement early Monday morning. “Our systems of government have long ignored problematic symbols and impacts of institutional racism. I am committed to changing that as mayor. People are hurting and that pain is valid. But anonymous acts of destruction outside of any agreed-upon process are toxic, unaccountable behavior that has no place in our city.”

At a press conference later in the morning, Wheeler, speaking on the controversial holiday formerly known as Columbus Day but for the past five years in Portland called Indigenous Peoples Day, said the participants in last night’s incidents “co-opted what is otherwise a peaceful opportunity and instead engaged in acts of criminal destruction.”

“These acts are obscene,” Wheeler added. “As mayor, I will never tolerate violence or criminal destruction.”

Schmidt struck a similar tone this afternoon.

“It is sickening to me to see the destruction that occurred in Portland overnight,” Schmidt said. “For more than a century, the Oregon Historical Society, its staff of researchers, educators and volunteers have documented, preserved and shared Oregon’s history. They have put a spotlight on white supremacy, racism, civil rights and social inequality. They have elevated the voices and stories of marginalized and under-served communities in Oregon.”

And this was the last we heard about the crimes or the statues from government. This acquiescence has given implicit sanction for the destruction–by virtue of its desecration–of American history; I say that because I’m sure if antifa had torn up sidewalk to the tune of a hundred thousand dollars damage or more, the city authorities and District Attorney would feel no shyness about punishing and deterring any further instance of this senseless waste of public property.

That implicit sanction of violence has been made explicit:

Last summer and fall, protesters toppled Portland statues depicting three U.S. presidents: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt.

Last month, local authorities quietly adopted a policy that could ensure the statues stay down.

Regional curators adopted a policy that says public artworks can be removed if the “subject or impact of an artwork is significantly at odds with values of antiracism, equity, inclusion.” There’s a strong chance the presidents won’t pass muster.

The policy: On May 5, the board of the Regional Arts and Culture Council amended its policies on adding and withdrawing public art. RACC, a nonprofit, contracts with Portland City Hall and Multnomah County to collect and maintain government-owned artworks, including statues. It’s also in charge of removing (or “deaccessioning”) such artworks from public collections, under certain circumstances.

The policy change RACC’s board approved last month expands those circumstances. It says artwork that’s at odds with antiracism can be removed. Same goes for art that becomes a rallying place for “gatherings centered on racist or bigoted ideology.”

RACC is funded by public money but has an independent board, somehow. In an astonishing new policy the board has not only sanctioned further vandalism of monuments, but encourages it:

RACC can also decide to get rid of public art if it becomes the target of “overwhelming public objection” for at least two years. That means if enough people vandalize a work with “social justice oriented graffiti,” that can be reason to remove it from the public collection.

Expect antifa to descend like pigeons on any objectionable work. Portland and Oregon’s old historic aesthetic celebrated settlement and pioneers, and the area is resource-rich for the new postmodern pioneers, and the replacement of the ritual celebration of a history with its rejection and condemnation proceeds like a parody, a black mass version of our history.

Build a city, get a plaque

I don’t know how much autonomy RACC’s independent board has from the city, but it has complete independence from the public that funds it:

The idea that Abraham Lincoln was too racist to honor now is hardly a consensus view. But don’t expect tribunals for the presidents. While RACC plans to present its new policy to the Portland City Council this summer, it doesn’t plan to hold public hearings on each statue’s fate.

From the RACC website:

An independent nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, the Regional Arts & Culture Council supports the creative economy in greater Portland by equitably providing funding and services to artists and art organizations; managing and growing a diverse, nationally-acclaimed, public art program; and developing long-lasting public and private partnerships. We connect artists and creatives to opportunity and access.

According to an audit in 2018 requested by Mayor Wheeler the organization is funded entirely by the three Willamette Valley counties it serves. Typically what a group like this does is pass out small grants and create education programs and the like, and the Council’s budget is tiny. Where in the city charter does it say this unelected body has the authority to remove monuments and sanction vandalism? I have yet to find it. The link to the RACC page at the city’s website is down, returning a 404 error. The closest thing I’ve found to authorization is here in the city’s description of the group providing “stewardship of the City’s public art program.”

The City Arts Program manages the contract with the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC), the City’s arts agent. RACC provides a broad range of arts services on behalf of the City and region, including advocacy, grants administration, arts education monitoring, and stewardship of the City’s public art program.

RACC liaises with the city through the office of Commissioner Carmen Rubio, a rookie and redder, maybe, even than Jo Ann Hardesty, leader of the abolitionist movement who came into office with the intention of “ending white Portland.”

While some of the crude street art that went, and remains, up after the riots kicked off was donated to black activist grifters, probably out of fear of giving offense in the case of Apple–who, to reclaim their downtown store after it was made into a shrine to George Floyd, had to remove the plywood boarding covered in BLM graffiti art (the sleek glass cube style store now operates behind two-story tall steel-framed fencing held down by concrete traffic blocks that resemble the entrance to a prison). We can expect much of it to stay where it remains, grim and gaudy.

New art is going up already, too. The two-story portrait below incorporates the overtuned pedestal of the George Washington statue that came down:

And no relief in sight.

Manufacturing Output and Constraints

Over a year into the manufactured consensus that George Floyd’s “murder” produced an entirely organic cycle of outrage and grief necessitating a “racial reckoning” dismantling your local police department and other things, a Kabuki consensus of cable news outlets no one watches and politicians no one trusts, I suspect we’ve reached the high-water mark on that phony consensus’ effect on genuine popular support. Which may not matter, as it hasn’t mattered up to this advanced stage of rapid and radical change. The rapidity of that change isn’t only determined by opportunity, but also by the uncertain half-life of popular acquiescence. Go fast and get as much done as you can before they come around, the Masters of the Megaphone must be telling their charges.

Of course, ideally they never come around. But you can’t count on it.

Fake it ‘ti you make it should be the consensus craftsman’s creed; maintain the illusion of “expert” and moral consensus until the population adopts it out of virtuous conformity. But reality remains, fortunately or unfortunately for you, and there are severe limits on how far this can go. It helps a great deal if you’re proposing, say, to invade or bomb some distant country, ruin someone else’s economy, kill somebody else’s children. Shamefully, they can achieve awful wonders like the Iraq War when the comfortable citizen feels zero risk for the gain of moral posturing and flattered national chauvinism. But the George Floyd consensus is starting to hit home, and it’s American cities providing the lurid imagery on the screen; it’s George Washington’s statue being torn down–using the same rhetoric with which they took down Saddam Hussein’s. It’s Americans who are the “terrorists”; it’s Washington, Roosevelt and Jefferson who performed the equivalent of “gassing their own people”.

What should be happening–though nothing that should happen seems to happen any more–is that resistance to this narrative and movement should be getting harder the closer it gets to home for the individual. I suspect we’re in a phase now were public acquiescence to the BLM movement has begun to lag behind its increasingly crazy career:

Abolishing the police — once a fringe issue — has become a mainstream, albeit minority opinion.

After a year of unrest that pitted Portland protesters against cops, around one-quarter of Oregonians now support eliminating their local police department and creating alternative teams of social workers, drug counselors and mental health experts, a new poll says.

A total of 27% of survey respondents strongly or somewhat support that proposal, according to research by the Oregon Values and Beliefs Center — but 67% oppose it and 7% are unsure.

The seven percent unsure really shouldn’t be allowed to drive or use scissors, but it’s the hardcore 25 percent supporters, mostly young, who frighten me. Notably the BIPOC are only a little more likely to support police abolition than whites, and still a minority. Whatever happens now the police abolitionists have achieved real gains likely to remain behind if and when the tide flows out again, such as a bans on chokeholds and other tactics and the movement overall will have advanced as much in the past year as it has the previous decade.

OVBC polled 1,400 adult Oregonians from a curated online research group between June 8 through June 14. The margin of error ranges from 1.6% to 2.6%…

Support for law enforcement abolition is drastically higher among the young. About 45% percent of those under age 30 support the idea, compared with roughly 13% of those over age 55. Those who identify as Black, Indigenous or people of color offer more support (34%) than whites (26%). Democrats (36%) similarly outpace Republicans (11%) and non-affiliated voters (28%) in liking the idea.

• A slight majority of Oregonians support reducing some police funding — rather than scrapping their local department — in order to pay for more public health, education and social services. About 53% support some police cuts, while 40% oppose it and 8% are unsure. Support is highest among the young (61%) but remains significant (39%) even among those older than 75.

• More than two-thirds (72%) of state residents support banning officers from using chokeholds, 21% are opposed to a ban and 7% remain unsure. College graduates (82%) offer a higher rate of agreement, compared to high school grads (63%).

• About 44% of all polled gave the thumbs up to a ban on police use of tear gas and crowd-control munitions, while 48% gave the thumbs down and 8% were unsure. Women (49%) evinced more support than men (37%).

• Some 63% support banning no-knock warrants, with 30% opposed. Likewise, 63% also support allowing police officers to be sued in civil court over excessive damages, with 29% opposed.

• Requiring police officers to intervene when other cops use excessive force garnered support from 88%, with just 7% not in favor of the proposal. Requiring police departments to release officer disciplinary records is supported by 71% of poll respondents, while 20% said no to that idea.

Before too many average citizens come around regarding what’s happening, some woke Democrats have come around themselves, at least as to the damage the chaos is doing to the Brand and the Cause.

“Police violence has gone unrecognized in my community,” said one poll respondent who identified as white. “White people had their eyes opened by (the Black Lives Matter movement.”

Another Democrat-aligned poll respondent disagreed: “‘Defund the police’ and similar rhetoric has turned many in the community off to the basic message of injustice.”

Ebony and Ivory

A man shot by a Portland cop last night has died:

The subject involved in the officer involved shooting has died at the hospital.

On Thursday, June 24, 2021 at 7:06p.m., North Precinct officers were dispatched to a report of a welfare check on a white adult male dressed in all black at a motel in the 500 block of Northeast Holladay Street. After officers arrived with paramedics, they encountered a man matching that description and an officer involved shooting took place.

In a common occurrence the police were called because a mentally unstable man was behaving erratically or assaulting people in the street. Police are revealing nothing at this point but that and that a shooting occurred. Rumor is rife.

Immediately antifa propagandists sent out the call for action, alleging another black victim of police violence:

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The audio of the “interview” mentioned above has yet to appear and the tweets remain up, but neither of these characters, Grace Morgan or Griffin Malone, have updated their reportage, as of this writing, despite the fact early last night the cops–who’ve so far said barely more than that a shooting took place–revealed the race of the now deceased as white.

(notably as “a white man in all black”, like antifa)

Antifa sublimated their disappointment in affected outrage at the very notion they would be any less outraged, and the cynicism of the cops’ transparent, buzzkilling move.

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Among the rumors out there is that the shooter was a black cop and that the white perp was armed with a knife and had slashed someone (someone BIPOC!) before the encounter with police.

This takes place as the state endures a record heat wave.

Update: Koin 6 News here reports witnesses say the cop shot a man attempting to stab another:

Police Abolitionists Winning by Attrition, Still

Last week Multnomah County District Attorney MIke Schmidt charged a Portland cop with assault for an extra baton push or two to the back of a fallen rioter’s head last August 18, the same night the group tried to set fire to the Multnomah County Office Building.

Police internal affairs cleared him after an investigation. The rioter/photojournalist recently won a settlement in civil court–I don’t know what bearing that has on the DA’s decision, timing or prospects in court. The DA might be moving on these slight charges (fourth degree assault, a class A misdemeanor) to appease the left after he recently felt compelled to charge some of the more serious riot offenses of last summer and May Day of this year.

Schmidt threw a bone–with a crushing backhand–to the cops in his announcement:

“I want to start by thanking and acknowledging the Portland Police Bureau for their dedicated work on this investigation into one of their own,” Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt said in a statement Tuesday after the charges were filed. “I further want to thank the many members of the Portland Police Bureau who have showed up night after night in response to civil demonstrations that have at times turned violent. Despite these pressures, these law enforcement professionals remained professional, and their actions lawful.

Notably it’s not that “most” cops do their jobs honorably, but “many”, while the “mostly peaceful protesters” canard remains intact. Hapless police chief Chuck Lovell pleaded conflict of interest by way of involvement in the internal investigation and now legal case, and made no statement. The response by the defiant police union head got the usual bare notice–he can’t get arrested.

Then of course all fifty cops voluntarily assigned to the Bureau’s riot squad quit the detail in protest. Another place, another time maybe for such a move’s chances of shaming leadership or improving the cops’ position. Never one to fear shame or leave an opportunity for improving position unexploited, city commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, declaring the move proof of guilt in Maoist fashion, seized on the opportunity to push for disbanding the unit altogether. The Daily Mail:

City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty gloated in a statement on Thursday that the- resignations are a sign that ‘the good old boy network is crumbling and we can either be a part of the change or part of the status quo – but the arc of justice is bending quickly and it’s imperative that the Portland City Council lands on the right side of history’…

Hardesty, who proposed doing away with the crowd-control unit last fall, said her statement that the en masse resignations ‘are yet another example of a rogue paramilitary organization that is unaccountable to the elected officials and residents of Portland.’

She continued: ‘earlier this week, for the first time in Portland’s history, an officer from PPB’s Rapid Response Team was charged with a misdemeanor for assaulting a photojournalist during a protest last summer. 

Portland cops, like Minneapolis’, are probably among the nation’s least corrupt or cruel. Here the ferocity of antifa’s attack on the police reflects their mostly unchallenged power and the city’s wealth and prospects. The activist grifter goes, like the bank robber, where the money is.

But the demoralizing of the police and decimation of their ranks proceed apace. Their move had no chance of shaming political leadership or public apathy, and like everything that happens now, what we’re served is a demonstration of how one-party rule with compliant media works.