Thursday, August 13, 2020

From Roger Fitch and our friends down under at Justinian

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Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, congress explicitly rejected a federal police force in the US, but Donald Trump, aided by his servile (Acting) Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and Attorney Gerneral William Barr, is busy using a back door to create one.

Trump established the first beachhead in Portland, Oregon, with heavily armed, unidentified and camouflaged federal agents "stretching the limits of their authority", as the New York Times delicately put it. 

It was a manufactured crisis, quickly seen by some as "made-for-TV fascism" and "performative authoritarianism". 

With electoral doom increasingly likely, Donald Trump has ignited multiple Reichstag Fires (perhaps literally, in the case of the Democratic headquarters in Arizona) in Democratic-governed cities, with Portland the first regional sortie, following his unsuccessful assault on Washington, DC.

Unmarked federal agents in Portland

Chicago and Philadelphia remain particular targets of  Mr Trump. Just as Herr Hitler must have cracked down first on unreliable cities such as Hamburg and Dresden, Mr Trump has in his sights every city and state with elected Democrat leadership. Some Democratic officials are calling him out on "fascist tactics". 

Portland reminded Michael Dorf of Putin's Crimean manoeuvres, while Steve Vladeck pointed out the likely illegality and Neil Buchanan feared Chilean-style desaparecidos. 

After extensive litigation and bad publicity (war-zone surveillance aircraft circulating overhead), the Trump incursion backfired spectacularly, and a withdrawal of federal forces from Portland was negotiated.