Suspicious Lack Of National Guard As 'Patriots' Storm Oregon Lege For Some Dumb F*cking Reason
A crowd of rightwing idiots, some armed with long guns, tried to break into the Oregon Capitol building in Salem yesterday as the state legislature began its third special session this year. The session was called by Gov. Kate Brown for the purpose of passing an extension of Oregon's eviction moratorium, as well as financial help for landlords, more funding for Oregon's response to the pandemic, and funding for recovery from this summer's wildfires. Clearly, all that was tyranny, especially because the Capitol was closed to all but legislators, staff, and some journalists, to prevent spread of the virus.
Although legislative staffers set up televisions outside the building so the public could view the proceedings, which are also being livestreamed, protester Crystal Wagner knew that her rights were being infringed, damnit:
"Why are they having a legislative hearing without the people?" Wagner said. "We are the people, we are the taxpayers. We're here to fight for our democracy."
Sorry, Ms. Wagner, that should have been "without We The People" and "We are We The People," so points off.
Professional rightwing provocateur Joey Gibson and his "Patriot Prayer" crowd, based in Vancouver, Washington, called for fellow idiots to show up and do their liberty and death demands that Oregon stop trying to stop the spread of the deadly virus. And yes, of course the rightwing hate group still has an active Twitter account.
To prove they love liberty, members of the crowd broke glass doors at the Capitol, tried to crowd inside, and twice sprayed chemical agents at state troopers and Salem police inside the Capitol. For good measure, they assaulted some journalists covering the protests, because the Constitution is all about shoving nosy reporters around, especially if they take photos of you while busting glass in a state capitol building. The Tree of Liberty, after all, must be refreshed from time to time with broken glass.
As of yet, Fox News has not called for the deployment of federal troops to protect the Oregon Capitol from violent extremist rioters.
Independent reporter Laura Jedeed covered the surreal insanity outside the statehouse in this excellent Twitter thread, and in a follow-up thread with loads of videos of far-Right idiots being idiots. A running theme of her coverage, only touched on in other reports, is the great shock and sadness among some of the wingnuts that the cops would try to eject them from the Capitol, even though many of the protesters have those stupid thin blue line flags on their pickup trucks, parked elsewhere. Also too, the contrast between the comparatively gentle treatment the whitey-righty protesters were treated to, compared to the aggressive head-busting meted out to Black Lives Matter protesters this summer.
"Here come the Nazis!" The police are done fucking about and so the far right finds out: impact munitions at close… https://t.co/hpiGwXgxJl— Laura Jedeed, Space Professional (@Laura Jedeed, Space Professional) 1608612338.0
Also too, Jedeed captures one especially charming part of the protest that other outlets appear to have missed: One of the militia Brain Geniuses saw "a Chinese dude in the fucking window right there," leading to a "persistent rumor that the Chinese communists are inside the Oregon State Capital building doing communist shit and destroying America. Yes, really. It comes up repeatedly for hours."
Well, those people do wear masks on the subway, don't they? Clearly a very suspicious connection.
Eventually, the Oregon State Police declared the whole mess an unlawful assembly, although — again, rather unlike actions against other protesters for some reason — that wasn't immediately followed by tear gas, beatdowns, or less-lethal munitions shattering anyone's skull.
State police declared the protest an unlawful assembly shortly after 9 a.m. and said organizers could be arrested on the grounds of disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing.
Two hours later, state police and Salem police started to push people out of the Capitol. Bear spray was used against police.
Two. Hours. Later.
One gentleman, Mr. Ryan Lyles, 41, was arrested — presumably quite gently — and charged with "felon in possession of body armor and unlawful use of mace" in that assault on cops. There were four arrests yesterday, but cops are still looking for another gentleman, Mr. Jeremy Roberts, 40, who was caught on video trying to break down glass doors and attacking two reporters.
Inside the Capitol, things got pretty stupid, too. State Sen. Dallas Heard (R-Roseburg, which used to be such a nice town) had himself a hissy fit because both houses of the lege had adopted tyrannical rules aimed at reducing the spread of the virus and literally harming God.
"This is yet another illegitimate session" due to those exclusions, Heard told Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem. Quoting from one of the Old Testament's books of Samuel, Heard told Courtney "adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces" and suggested elected leaders lack authority. "This is (God's) kingdom, not yours," Heard said to Courtney.
The problem, as Sen. Heard explained, was that the Oregon Senate was engaged in a "campaign against the people and the children of God," although it should be noted that the mask requirements in the Capitol apply to everyone, even godless atheists too. He ripped off his mask to prove he was a FREE MAN who knows the value of a pointless dramatic gesture, proclaiming,
If you had not done such great evil to my people and had simply asked me to wear my mask, I would have. But you commanded it, and therefore I declare my right to protests against your false authority and remove my mask.
We can only assume that everyone in his mind stood and CHEERED, and then a bald eagle flew through the window.
Oh, hold on, there was a bald eagle, it just didn't actively participate in Heard's show inside the Capitol
A bald eagle just flew overhead and the crowd lost their SHIT It was pretty cool, I admit— Laura Jedeed, Space Professional (@Laura Jedeed, Space Professional) 1608575825.0
Also, the Lege did get some work done anyway, passing the aid for landlords as well as a measure to protect schools from COVID-19 lawsuits, and another to allow restaurants and bars to serve cocktails to go. Which frankly sounds like a terrific idea RIGHT NOW.
[Oregon Public Broadcasting / Salem Statesman Journal / Oregonian / Dirk VanderHart, Oregon Public Broadcasting. Used by permission.]
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.