I Guess It Can Happen Here–In Fact, It’s Beginning

The reports from Portland have been more than frightening.

Armed men in unmarked camouflage uniforms have been jumping out of unmarked vans and arresting–kidnapping might be a more accurate word–peaceful protesters.  Thus far, they have subsequently been letting them go, but only after a demonstration evidently intended to terrify and disorient.

Trump insists that he is sending “troops” to Portland to “help” local officials quell violence. Presumably, he is signaling to his cultish base that he’s a “strong leader”able to take on (nonexistent) violence in America’s cities, perpetrated by “those people”–and not so incidentally, distracting from the mounting death toll caused by his mismanagement of the Covid-19 pandemic.

There has been considerable blowback.

Local officials insist that they can handle any incidents arising from the protests–and note that the activities were subsiding until the appearance of these storm troopers. Portland’s mayor has demanded that he withdraw these forces, evidently part of Homeland Security. The Governor of Oregon has demanded that he withdraw them. The Oregon Attorney General and the ACLU have sued. 

The House Judiciary Committee issued a statement questioning the legal basis for this use of force.

Frankly, it is not at all clear that the Attorney General and the Acting Secretary are authorized to deploy federal law enforcement officers in this manner. The Attorney General of the United States does not have unfettered authority to direct thousands of federal law enforcement personnel to arrest and detain American citizens exercising their First Amendment rights. The Acting Secretary appears to be relying on an ill-conceived executive order meant to protect historic statues and monuments as justification for arresting American citizens in the dead of night. The Administration’s insistence on deploying these forces over the objections of state and local authorities suggest that these tactics have little to do with public safety, but more to do with political gamesmanship.

The blowback has even included self-identified moms, wearing yellow shirts, helmets and masks. Reportedly, several hundred women, calling themselves the Wall of Moms, formed chains between the officers and the protesters. 

This resistance–and the very negative press coverage–has evidently not deterred the administration. According to Huffington Post, 

The Trump administration is preparing to roll out a plan this week to send military-style federal assault squads already in Portland, Oregon, into other cities, warned White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, who only named locations with Democratic mayors.

Attorney General William Barr is “weighing in on that” with acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, Meadows said Sunday on Fox News.

“You’ll see something rolled out this week, as we start to go in and make sure that the communities — whether it’s Chicago or Portland or Milwaukee or someplace across the heartland — we need to make sure their communities are safe,” he added.

All three cities named are run by Democrats.

President Donald Trump also indicated that federal squads would likely target cities run by the party that opposes him. He said on “Fox News Sunday” that “violence” was on the increase in “Democrat-run cities.”

Yesterday, there were reports of similar activities in Columbus, Ohio.

This is eerily reminiscent of Hitler’s SA.

The SA — Sturmabteilung, meaning ‘assault division’ — also known as the Brownshirts or Storm Troopers, was a violent paramilitary group attached to the Nazi Party in pre-World War Two Germany.the SA functioned as a ‘security’ force at Nazi rallies and meetings, using threats and outright violence to secure votes and overcome Hitler’s political enemies.

The Germans who objected were obviously unable to mount an effective resistance to the use of extra-legal thugs to subdue Hitler’s political enemies. 

 Americans have long believed “it can’t happen here.” We’re now testing that belief.


  1. Since our ill-conceived response to 9/11 under the guidance of another sub-par leader, the USA has acquiesced to growing militarized policing and surveillance. Trump is now taking advantage of this, and we would be foolish to imagine he will not use our distorted culture to his personal advantage.

  2. I read several news items about Portland. On Yahoo, one item was followed by reader comments. At worst, I expected a 50/50 split. At best? That 80 or 90 percent would call these actions by trump what they are: police state actions w/o legal authority. Instead, anonymous entries that advanced blatant lies followed, one after the other. One said warrants had been issued by Federal judges (not true); another said only violent individuals were taken into custody (not true). This is Putin’s work, but far more polished than what his people did in 2016. We had the first attempted assassination of a Federal judge (who’d been nominated by President Obama). They’re getting revved up.

  3. Sheila-our country must turn out to vote and our Republic will survive.

  4. Old Russian proverb; “Do not stir shit with stick; it will cause stink.”

    Trump is using his stick to cause the Republican stink of distraction and has now turned to the most dangerous political stinking distraction during this election year; he is PRETENDING to have “seen the light” and has done a turnaround to appear lucid and is suddenly aware of the realities of Covid-19 Pandemic and the dangers it poses for all of us. His “protective” tactic for the population of Portland, OR, is a warning to all other cities still having protests that martial law is on its way. Or has it possibly given other cities an opportunity and the time to form protection from his federal (?) troops by local law enforcement. Could those unidentified federal (?) troops be those of Betsy DeVos’ brother Eric Prince’s Blackwater reactivated troops from George W’s Iraq war?

    “Frankly, it is not at all clear that the Attorney General and the Acting Secretary are authorized to deploy federal law enforcement officers in this manner. The Attorney General of the United States does not have unfettered authority to direct thousands of federal law enforcement personnel to arrest and detain American citizens exercising their First Amendment rights.”

    If Trump’s deployed federal (?) troops are in fact NOT federal troops but are mercenaries; this is another set of laws being broken by this current administration. The Trump Republican administration is waging a very public war on Democratic local and state elected officials and state laws which he, himself, turned the full responsibility over to to avoid his responsibilities and another violation of his Oath of Office has been unleashed on this country.

  5. I find it much more troubling that the head of Chicago’s police union wrote Trump a letter cheering him on and thanking him for sending in the SA. This is why I personally have no problem with the phrase “defund the police”. Without a direct threat to their very existence the unions will block any attempt to curtail the massive power they’ve accumulated over decades. It’s also why even Franklin Roosevelt felt that public employees shouldn’t be able to form unions. Their very existence is a conflict of interest – they essentially negotiate with themselves by lobbying to elect friendly local and state office holders .

  6. The guest commentators on “Morning Joe” today made the most salient point: These actions in Portland are a dress rehearsal for continuing voter intimidation. John Heilmann suggested that we should expect to see these storm troopers at polling places for “security” come November. Oh, and guess which precincts they’ll be deployed to.

    These actions are PRECISELY those that Hitler used on his own citizens for political purposes. Will we be any different in 2020 than the roll-over-and-cover-your-eyes Germans were in 1933-39? Will our conscientious law enforcement and military personnel stand up and realize that they are being used by a tyrant whose only goal is to destroy democracy? Mary Trump was correct: Her uncle is the most dangerous man in the world.

    When a local security force confronts these Trump goons and thugs, what will they do? The Chicago mayor has flatly declared intolerance for this invasion. The swinish Mark Meadows is the perfect chief-of-staff for the porcine president. Stay tuned. Your freedom may be a fleeting thing in the coming months.

  7. The ACLU and the Oregon AG have filed suit to stop this “deployment”, but Congress needs to step up and take away funding from DHS. There is probably no chance that the Senate would agree to legislation to halt these moves. The House has the power of the purse and the members there need to start using it judiciously to preserve the Constitution.

  8. Sinclair Lewis wrote “It Can’t Happen Here” in 1935-36. The parallels in that work of fiction are becoming increasingly and spookily more obvious today. As Trump’s mind continues to deteriorate into a bunker-like mindset, watch for increasingly desperate measures. Oh, and who can forget the beloved Ron Johnson who is yet another Republican Putin ass-kisser. He is adding to the lore of treasonous Americans all for the sake of protecting his political future. What were the people of Wisconsin thinking by electing this very, very corrupt weasel?

  9. March the streets en masse. The protesters are scaring Trump. Don’t back down.

  10. Well, it’s happening here. It’s happening now, and we’d better open our eyes to the danger.

    None of us will be exempt from the horrors to come should Trump remain in power. He has already dismantled much of the Constitution by beating Congress out of its powers as the third branch of government. He has planted a pack of “religion first” followers onto the Supreme Court and that same crowd of right wingers to hundreds of federal court benches.

    Next up? The police. As Hitler did after he gained complete control of the German government, look for Trump to plant “special federal police officers” into local police forces to guide the suppression of all protesters. All in the name of National Security.

  11. I am just curious but is there any reason these Brown shirts can’t be arrested/detained. With no identification on their uniforms, how do local police know if these are actually authorized law enforcement. They should be locked up while their identities are investigated (at least we will know who they are and from what agencies) and the city attorney can research (no rush) whether she thinks the activities of these neo-nazis are lawful. Maybe they can drive them around for a few hours in a bus with the heat turned up like the Philly police deem appropriate

  12. If Americans had been taught how the U.S. has been installing Right-wing dictatorships trained in repression and systematic torture techniques by U.S. military and intelligence officials around the world for decades, they would realize that this long-standing, bipartisan foreign policy has come home to roost. And if the U.S. public had known the truth, maybe these tactics could have been stopped before being applied domestically. Read history not written by U.S. government and its associated corporations.

  13. Many Americans are clueless but most are not totally oblivious. There is a possibility that most will notice that Trump is overplaying his hand here and rebel against the use of the Sturmabteilung. Trump has yet to find a line of appeal that is effective against Biden. When he strains to flout his autocratic credentials, voters sit up and take notice.

    Biden has just issued a powerful statement about how, if elected, he will deal with foreign countries trying to influence our elections. He needs to issue another one explaining how the storm troopers will be dealt with by a Biden administration. Pelosi could introduce legislation threatening penalties against Trump’s goon squads. Schumer could make daily speeches on the floor of the Senate decrying the illegal use of federal (or Blackwater) troops against citizens exercising their First Amendment rights.

    What’s important is that mayors and governors not panic by falling for Trump’s ploy to suck them into a violent reaction. That is his clear goal. If they don’t exercise discipline, Trump wins. It’s also crucial that demonstrators limit their protests to peaceful actions, or they invite federal intervention. If they stick to peaceful protests, it highlights Trump’s thuggishness and his willingness to violate the Constitution and helps to dig the hole he’s in even deeper. Yes, beating up people appeals to his base, but that base is dwindling in a way that will castrate them unless we overreact to his obscene behavior.

    Democrats need to emphasize that Trump’s bungling of his first major challenge, the coronavirus, is not an anomaly, but a sample of how he would deal with any quandary beyond his ken (i.e., most quandaries). The balance is currently tilted in Biden’s favor. Let’s not fall for any of Trump’s tricks to change that.

  14. The fascist-in-chief seems to have begun his total power grab as the next election looms. Coincidence?

  15. From the very moment I first saw the reports about Trump dispatching thugs to Portland, I was scared shitless (sorry). But true. As already noted, it is Hitler’s playbook (Trump doesn’t know that, but Miller, Barr, et. al., do).

    Several goals:
    First, as already noted, distraction from his pandemic utter failure.

    Second, intimidation. Try to scare White suburban moms to death. all of Trump’s ads running in Arizona are about Biden defunding the police and terrorists, i.e., Black and Brown people, coming to rape and pillage White people.

    Third, dress rehearsal for the fall elections. Either to scare away as many voters in Democratic strongholds as possible. Or if they want to go bold, try to cancel the elections entirely by declaring a National Emergency (the Trumpites have apparently learned their lesson from D.C., that they might not be able to count on the actual military troops — so send in the hired goons from DHS).

    And finally, if all else fails and Trump loses the election, to keep him in office by force. Trump has already said he won’t accept the results of the election, if he loses.

    Never in my lifetime did I ever believe it could happen here. But it is happening here. This will end very badly. The only question is will it end with Trump in power for life (only to be succeeded by Donald, Jr. Ugh!), or whether we will still have a chance to rescue what’s left of our representative Democracy. The answer, if it goes the way it appears to be going, will depend largely on what the U.S. Military does.

  16. With no Reichstag to burn, perhaps Trump will import thugs and anarchists from Portland and Chicago to burn down the Capitol Building (the thugs and anarchists being unidentified members of the grossly misnamed Homeland Security Department).

    A few days ago I saw a squib on the internet by Chad, the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, telling us that he did not need an invitation to go to Portland or anywhere else he pleases in order to protect property and control anarchists. I answered his claim directly as follows: Oh really? Cite me chapter and verse of your authority to arrest American citizens who are exercising their constitutional rights and understand that even if you did have such statutory authority it is inoperative by reason of its unconstitutionality. No gestapo allowed, fellow.

    Later I learned that he claimed to base his authority on a Trump executive order, but of course statutes, ordinances, executive orders or any other executive directives are void if unconstitutional, as were Trump’s executive order and the acts of government thugs in Oregon.
    Local police should arrest these kidnappers and they should be sued civilly for false imprisonment by their victims. Perhaps after a few years in stir and $500,000.00 judgments for damages these badge-less kidnappers will see the light.

    Meanwhile, our task is to nip these democracy-destroying Nazi-like moves by Trump in the bud, moves he is using to divert our attention from his utter failure to handle our twin disasters, economic and pandemic, and all before he adds a political catastrophe (the loss of our democracy) and makes it a threesome. Otherwise, Putin (at the invitation of Trump and Republican Senator Johnson of Wisconsin who once spent July 4 in Moscow) can then visit us and make the takeover official. Goodbye, democracy; Hello, Russian province.

    Think I’m over the top? Take a look at the pre-WW II expansion of Germany and Japan. Can’t happen here? It’s already happening – but from within. Our most valuable asset held in common, our democracy, is at stake, without which we have no country, so let’s resist – bigly!

  17. Great. So we’ve got right-wing militia, bikers, and gun rights advocates swarming small towns by the hundreds to intimidate tiny groups of protesters and Trump sending in groups of Storm Troopers to intimidate the protesters in the cities. Putin must be so proud.

  18. Well I’ve talked about this very thing before, mentioned the very same things, and so did Marv for that matter, and it seemed to be a big joke! Of course, all of us knuckleheads really don’t know what were talking about anyway. And if anyone thinks I’m exaggerating, go back over the past few months and revisit your comments. I have, and I just shake my head.

    “What’s to prevent Trump from using federal officers to arrest and detain all members of Congress like he did to the protesters in Portland?”

    John Sorg
    In recent history all we have to do is look at Nazi Germany! What will be America’s Reichstag fire? The white nationalist Nazis blamed the Reichstag fire on the Communists, and, what happened after that? All of the Communists were rounded up, many executed, the rest thrown in prison. This was a false flag operation, the Nazis did it themselves! But, it worked! It got the public behind them. At least the public who were convinced there was some nefarious conspiracy going on. Kind of similar to the Antifa scenario being groomed by the current administration.

    So, it could be that America’s Reichstag fire is Antifa and Monuments. The brownshirts of the Nazi movement were the vehicle that was used to bring about the chaos after the Reichstag fire.

    These individuals that showed up in Portland, could very well be Erik Prince’s boys, special mention, the Boogaloo Boys and the Proud Boys. All have sworn allegiance to Trump! Erik Prince had approached Donald Trump to allow him authority as a special private army under the president’s control, sounds kind of brownshirtish to me! And in case you don’t recall who Erik Prince is, he was the purveyor of blackwater military contractors in Iraq. And the brother of Betsy DeVos.

    271 views Upvoters 5

    Louis S Argenziano
    Please you really believe this ??? If it was the” A team” working the crowd these lowlife leftists would be milk carton kids by now .. and whole areas of the desert would be under federal control for “ containment and public protection “ so no it’s simply the DHS and since no one has turned up missing all is good order.

    John Sorg
    Original Author · Sat
    Do I believe history? Absolutely! Does history constantly repeat itself? Absolutely! The Nazi party was in existence for 10 years (1920/1922) at least before the Reichstag fire. Let’s not forget “Night of The Long Knives,” which happened in 1934, (brownshirts annihilated the competition in one bloody night ) one year after the Reichstag Fire and of course the pièce de résistance, Kristallnacht in 1938 or as was known as “night of the broken glass.” Why would Trump invite Eric Prince to the White House for exactly what I mentioned in my comment? And if it was just some sort of innocuous mulling, why did they both lie about it? Claiming it wasn’t a serious conversation! Why would anyone have a unserious conversation like that? Why are the Proud Boys or, the Boogaloo Boys hanging around federal buildings? Why are they showing up at police functions around the country? Why have they caught these white nationalist groups posing as BLM protesters or Antifa? I don’t think you have to extrapolate anything, it’s fairly obvious!

    That was my post from another blog, but it’s still like banging your head against a wall.

    Now, I’m not saying that everyone should’ve seen this coming and that even if everyone did, it would’ve made any difference. But having a false sense of security will put everyone at risk .

    Thanks for posting this article Sheila, I believe you’re one of a few that can see the forest through the trees.

    Take a look on YouTube, in the past couple of weeks, Russia has been doing the same thing to their citizens, wearing the same type of uniforms, going against their own rule of law, why the similarity?

  19. Yes, they are like the Nazis, but also like Putin in Crimea, Xi in Hong Kong, and we shouldn’t forget Pinochet’s Chile among others.

    Patrick – quick note – Police unions are to real unions like Trump is to a real President. They are the NRA in blue. Public school teachers are public servants and their unions concern themselves with wages, benefits, and working conditions – like private sector unions.

    Jeffery reminds me –
    Back in the day (late ‘70’s) people came to Central Liquors in DC to buy alcohol because it was much cheaper than in Maryland or Virginia. One day, the Maryland State Police decided to park an unmarked car to note any Maryland license plates of people shopping there. I can’t remember the exact set of events, but the owners found out and called the DC Police, who threatened to arrest the Maryland cops for loitering. That store must have paid a gold mine in local sales taxes. Oh, the Maryland police left and never tried that again.

    So, here is my fantasy, a bit beyond. At the Mayor’s request, the Governor calls in the Oregon National Guard to break up and arrest the men who are obviously a right-wing militia engaged in kidnapping. Armored cars to stop any of the mystery black vans.

    Maybe Todd’s suggestion leads to something more realistic. Every politician in the area should urge every Oregonian to take to the streets with cameras and signs saying, “This isn’t Putin’s Russia” “This isn’t Xi’s China” “This isn’t Pinochet’s Chile” and “This isn’t Hitler’s Germany”. Add bullhorns and super bright floodlights. Invite every news service to be there with cameras.

    Call it the “We won’t let it happen here” rally.

    After recapturing the government in January, the full force of the Justice Department should prosecute everyone, with no “I was just following orders” excuses. We need to keep Gitmo open – for these thugs.

  20. To all commenting
    Listen to Heather Cox Richardson’s video she posted for yesterday (7/21) on you tube
    Dr Richardson explains in detail where/why these troops are being used

  21. Jeh Johnson, the Director of Homeland Security in the Obama administration, said on MSNBC last night that many of the DNS/ICE thugs sent to Portland were actually private security forces hired by DHS. Man! That does reek of the Nazi “Brownshirts.”

  22. Constructively, what can we do to protect, keep open polling places on Election Day?

  23. Just a suggestion from DKos, for anyone out protesting, take along your referee’s whistle. Then IF you see any unmarked, unbadged, cammo clad ‘people’, make noise! I don’t happen to have a whistle, but I doe have a couple of ‘Screaming Meanie’ alarms(when I take out my ears at bedtime, I can sleep through a freight train rumbling by across the street!), which put out 120 decibels. And I wouldn’t have to lower my mask to blow the whistle! They run on 9v batteries, so can blast for quite a long time. That reminded me about something in my junk drawer(for at least 20 years!), I found it finally but the 9v battery was just about dead. With a fresh battery, it has a variable sound almost like a police siren. Do you think those ‘thugs’ would stay around if everyone started making that kind of racket?

  24. I think it is important to note that the State has the monopoly on the legitimate use of force, and when protesters begin violent actions such as breaking windows, destroying property, throwing objects at police etc., not only does that detract from the message, but it gives the State a legitimate excuse to use force. That is what MLK knew, what John Lewis knew, what Ghandi knew, what Thoreau knew, and is why they were all adamant about non-violent protests and acts of civil disobedience. If even a few individuals give way to acts of violence, Trump gets exactly what he wants; distraction.
    If we are going to remove this administration, which I hope we do, and then achieve a lasting change in this country, it will only come by way of non-violent acts of civil disobedience. I know that the large majority of protesters in the street are non-violent. To commit to non-violence in the face of threats of force is an act of true heroism and great bravery. I only hope that the citizens who continue to march in the street have the strength and moral fortitude to remain committed to non-violent action.

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