Wednesday, July 22, 2020

"Proactive Arrests" in Portland; New Polls Show Biden Leading in Texas, Arizona and Georgia

Charles Wolf, acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security ("acting" because he couldn't get confirmed by the Senate), explained why law enforcement officials from his department have to be in Portland:
The Department, because we don’t have that local law enforcement support, we are having to go out and proactively arrest individuals. And we need to do that because we need to hold them accountable. This idea that they can attack federal property and law enforcement officers and go to the other side of the street and say, “you can’t touch me,” is ridiculous.
"Proactive arrests?"  What?  Didn't they make a movie about this?  Minority Report, I believe is its name.

Wolf, who has no law enforcement or legal background, was also asked about whether the federal agents had "probable cause" to arrest the individuals.  It is clear from his response that he has no clue what "probable cause" means:
This is a very difficult environment to work in. You have 500, 600 violent individuals, violent criminals across the streets that try to inflict harm on your property and law enforcement officers. We do our best to identify who they are using probable cause. What we don’t do is we don’t go into the crowd. We don’t try to go into a violent crowd of 400 people to arrest people.
Writing on the blog, Above the Law, Elizabeth Dye, shreds the legality of what DHS law enforcement officials are doing in Portland:
There is no such thing as a “proactive arrest.” There is no such thing as a “noncustodial arrest” where an individual is transported to another location and detained. There is no such thing as probable cause because a person was standing in a group of several hundred people, five or six of whom are suspected of committing a crime.
Maybe more troubling is Wolf characterizing all the Portland protesters as violent because a few of them are engaging in violent conduct.  Here is what Wolf's DHS's stormtroopers agents did to one Navy veteran:

While Wolf justified the crackdown on the Portland protesters because they were going to commit violent crimes, one of Trump's 2020 Advisory Board Member came up with an even kookier justification - the protesters were Communists!  Appearing on the local radio show Hammer & Nigel (who between them have never had an independent thought in their lives and spend their entire show working off Trump talking points), Steve Rogers, who supposedly has a law enforcement background, justified the crackdown because the Portland protesters were not only violent but they were also Communists!  Not kidding.  Rogers called them "Communists" multiple times.  I thought my radio had somehow transported me back to the red scare era of the 1950s, but it was not the case.  

My entire life the Republican Party has been the party that has defended federalism.   While I am certainly not surprised that President Trump does not understand or care about federalism, I find it shocking how many Republicans are throwing away their support of federalism to defend what President Trump is doing in Portland and is threatening to do in other cities.  Anyone who defends such nonsense should turn in their Republican card.


OOPs short takes:

  • Turns out the reporter who supposedly called White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany a "lying bitch" in response to a followup question, actually said "okay, you don’t want to engage."  This is confirmed by the White House's own transcript of the exchange.  I, however, was never bothered by the slur, because technically it was an accurate description of McEnany.
  • Trump's coronavirus press conference yesterday didn't turn out to be the train wreck I expected.  He mostly stuck to the script.  Of course, Trump told a number of lies about how the federal government is handling the virus, but that's come to be expected.  Trump did manage to "wish the best" to Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein's former "girlfriend" and alleged co-conspirator on the rape and molestation of of scores of underage girls.  Trump, as did many rich and powerful people, socialized with Epstein and Maxwell over the years.
  • Highly rated pollster Quinnipiac released a poll today showing Biden up 1 point in Texas.  Two other polls show Biden up 4 points in Arizona and Georgia.  All three are states Trump won fairly easily in 2016.   Biden probably does not need any of the three states to win the Electoral College.

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