portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reporting portland metro

actions & protests

Fear and Loathing at Portland Democrat Headquarters

Free speech apparently isn't one of the key principles of the Oregon Democrat Party. I found that out today when I attempted to speak.
"I went down to the demonstration, to get my fair share of abuse."

It was round one of the Shame Campaign at 12:30 PM of 8/16/06 on 9th Avenue in Portland. Right in front of the Democrat Party of Oregon Headquarters. It was a self-proclaimed "Democratic Unity Event", and the Democrats were united, all right...against anyone who dares to question their immoral foreign policy decisions regarding Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq and Israel.

I am a 60-year-old 5-ft-4-inch man with a voice. Apparently this is enough to get you assaulted by Democrat goons.

While Earl Blumenauer was speechifying about how wonderful the Democrat Party is and how different they are from Republicans, I began to shout: "Shame on you for Lebanon. Shame on you for Gaza. You're complicit in war crimes." At About this moment, several thugs grabbed me by my arms and demanded that I leave. When I refused to leave, a no-neck skinhead wearing a union shirt threw me to the ground.

I called for police and no one responded. There were dozens of witnesses, all apparently Democrat regulars with shirts proclaiming their dedication to the party. None came to my aid.

I called to the assembled group, which was dutifully standing at attention, apparently waiting for more pap. I yelled that I had been assaulted and that this violence is what Democrats stand for. I refused to leave in spite of repeated demands that I leave by a now much larger group of goons. I asserted my privilege as an American citizen to stand in a street and talk.

I must admit that, while I was putting up a brave front, I was shaking in my boots. In the light of the failure of anyone at the event to object to the assault, I was anticipating further assault. This is the land of free speech that we want to bring to the rest of the world.

I believe that, because I was apparently the only dissident at the event, I was treated the way victims of American policy are always treated: if you don't follow orders, and if you are alone and defenseless, you will be attacked.

Next time, it could be you.

"Singing, 'We're gonna vent our frustration. If we don't we're gonna blow a 50-amp fuse.'"

Status Quo 16.Aug.2006 17:32

Den Mark, Vancouver

My own experience is that when i protest at republican events & when i protest at democrat events, i experience more tension at the latter. And that has long been the case. What might be the reason. Maybe republicans are more pretentiously aristocratic & have nothing but disdain for protesters, while democrats seem to think that everybody who's not a republican must ipso facto be a democrat. Whatever. I don't get it.

I can help explain 16.Aug.2006 18:28


It has to do with identity and how people lay claim to beliefs as part of their identity. When those claims are challenged people become anxious and upset, and often try and silence those challenges. So, if you push an anti-war message at a democratic party event those people will become very upset because they believe that they are *anti-war* and here come someone pointing out that their actions in supporting the democratic party is not consistent with that belief, perhaps a core part of how they identify. The same thing used to happen when people would criticize republicans for abandoning their smaller, less-costly, less-intrusive government ideology in supporting the "reagan revolution". Of course, modern day republicans don't identify as pro-small government anymore so this is no longer the case, but just to illustrate how it can be true for anyone that clings to beliefs and supports a political party that does not adhere to those beliefs. They will aggressively fight to keep a claim on their identity. I know I didn't explain that well but hopefully you get the idea.

good work harry! 16.Aug.2006 20:53


there's no place for conscience in todays political morass.
I know quite a few seniors who hang on to the democratic party nostalgic association with heart and soul but I think you need to accept that we are living in a new culture of pure profit politics and what was once unthinkable and reactionarty is the appropriate and proper position for those who have a soul and a heart: we need another fucking revolution. There is no other path available to us if we want to actually participate in our own governance or we will continue down the road to being increasingly governed (farmed) by the profiteers that are presently in power.

I respect your spunk and thank you for speaking your mind(and suffering the consequences)! Power to the people!

No body should lay hands on you. 16.Aug.2006 21:27


I concure to the ease at which feathers can be raised. I remember that union afl-cio guy
in the couve. A mixed bag of individuals, but the democrats are part of the lords of war. The real hard core democratic contributor really hates to have rain on its Parade.

But lets reflect a little on the party of Mayor Daily. Remember it was the convention of the liberal party that broke into a giant police riot with the whole world watching....This of course during the very democratic party favorite and illegal war in vietnam.

Further the democratic party composition. The strong union. Unions of the state apparatus (police, fire, schools, prisons) Unions of major trade operations( afl-cio, teamsters), and large employer unions (nurses, city and state workers to mind). These intitutions go hand in hand with big business even to the demise of the industrial unions.

Oh yes the dems have the nice liberal Clintons, leiberman, Gores to be proud of...I have even voted for some of these rascals too. Oh my dirty chad.

Remember not one god damn Senator sign on with the congressional black cuacus to contest any of Bush's elections...and the democrats were in the majority in 2000.

Not one goddamn Democratic Senator filibustered Bush's War Crime Judges. Not one goddamn Democratic Senator filibustered Bushs illegal war budgets. Not one goddamn Democratic Senator filibustered Bush's Patriot acts.

But you got to admit they got the ability to have a candidate run for office. So its not so much that you can vote, but that you can run for office. You can do it to.

D = R = USA = WAR
A bipartisan affair
A bipartisan affair

Harry is not truthful 16.Aug.2006 21:49

Truth Seeker

I was there Harry. You were never pushed to the ground. I watched the incident from when you interupted Rep Blumenauer until you walked away under your own power.

Yes, I saw two men take you by the arm and walk you to the back of the crowd. I kept watching because I was concerned for you. You were never on the ground.

By the way, Rep Bluemenauer is one of the few who has stood up in Congress against the war.

As an activist I am embarassed you apparently cannot discern friend from foe. Worse, your account of what happened according to my personal observation is untruthful.

truth seeker is right 16.Aug.2006 23:29


you yelled at the one congresscritter around who's stood up for justice in the middle east and were escorted out. you were never beat up or attacked.

not so black and white... 17.Aug.2006 00:11


Standing up for invasion and occupation in the middle east is hardly justice... Democrats get so angry when you point out how their candidates support warfare... Though I can understand it must be very frustrating when the Bush administration lobs an easy homerun and your "representatives" let it sail by untouched. But then the dems have been doing that for years; you'd think most people would be used to it. If public denigration is the best we can do for governmental accountability these days then the more the better.

Blumenauer against the war? 17.Aug.2006 07:15

No Sir

Earl Blumenauer is not against the war. Earl Blumenauer, now like many Democrats, is against how the war was fought. That is a huge difference, and one which is quite traditional among Democrats: they eventually opposed how the war was fought in Vietnam; they opposed how we dealt with the Sandanistas; and now they oppose how we fought in Iraq.

Democrats, largely--and including Blumenauer who has only come to oppose so-called free trade agreements because of extensive pressure activist groups have put on him--believe the United States has some right to lead the world and dominate its people. They just have a different belief on how it is to be done.

It's right to criticize Blumenauer on Lebanon! 17.Aug.2006 18:26


Blumenauer, like most Democrats, voted for a resolution unconditionally supporting Israel's military actions against Lebanon and commending President Bush for fully supporting the Israeli assault. If this is "standing up against the war", as "truth seeker" states, then we're screwed.

See Blumenauer's comments below.

Here's some pretty damn good analysis on this:

The Democrats' Lebanon Failure Stephen Zunes August 15, 2006
Soon after Israel began its offensive on July 12, House Republican leader John Boehner, along with House International Relations Committee Chairman Henry Hyde, introduced Despite reports by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the U.N. High Commissioner from Human Rights that Israel was committing war crimes in attacking civilians, the resolution praised Israel for its "longstanding commitment to minimize civilian loss" and even welcomed "Israel's continued efforts to prevent civilian casualties." The resolution also claimed that Israel's actions were "in accordance with international law," though they flew in the face of longstanding, universally recognized legal standards regarding the use of force and the treatment of noncombatants in wartime.
Despite such a brazen attack against the credibility of reputable human rights groups and the U.N. Charter that limits military action to legitimate self defense, Rep. Tom Lantos, the ranking Democrat on the International Relations Committee and likely next committee chairman should the Democrats win back the majority in November, signed on as a full cosponsor.
Even more alarmingly, all but 15 of the 201 Democrats in the House of Representatives voted in favor of the resolution.
The Senate endorsed by a voice vote a similar resolution unconditionally supporting Israel's military offensive. Drafted by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, it was cosponsored by a majority of Democratic senators.
The decision by Democratic members of Congress to take such hard-line positions against international law and human rights stems not from the fear that it would jeopardize their reelection. Public opinion polls show a sizable majority of Americans believe U.S. foreign policy should support these principles and only a minority of Americans, according to a recent New York Times poll, agree that the United States should give unconditional support for Israel in its war on Lebanon and support President Bush's handling of the situation.
Nor is it a matter of Democratic lawmakers somehow being forced against their will to back Bush's policy by Jewish voters and campaign contributors. Jewish public opinion is divided over the wisdom and morality of the Israeli attacks on Lebanon. More significantly, the vast majority of Democrats who supported the resolution came from very safe districts where a possible reduction in campaign contributions would not have had a negative impact on their reelection.
One reason for such broad Democratic support for the resolution may stem from the fact that the Arms Control Export Act forbids arms transfers to countries that use American weapons for non-defensive purposes, such as attacking civilians. Thus, in order to protect the profits of politically influential American arms merchants, the Democrats joined with Republicans in supporting language in the resolution claiming that Israel's actions were "legitimate self-defense."
Perhaps more significant in the Democrats' decision to support the Bush administration's backing of the Israeli attacks has been the absence of pressure from such liberal groups as MoveOn.org, which failed to mobilize their email list to contact their representatives and senators to protest. Nor did MoveOn.org call on its supporters to back proposed House resolutions calling for an immediate cease-fire weeks ago, initiatives which attracted little support among Democratic representatives.
This reticence contrasts with other foreign policy issues related to international law and human rights, from U.S. intervention in Central America during the 1980s to Iraq today. In these other cases, liberal groups made it a priority to hold their elected representatives in Washington accountable for backing administration policy. However, it appears that if the victims of such policies are Lebanese or Palestinian civilians, there are—with some notable exceptions—few organized protests heard on Capitol Hill. With so little pressure from progressive groups, elected representatives have little inclination to withdraw support for administration policy toward Israel and its neighbors.
In reality, the Democrats' support for Israeli attacks against Lebanon is quite consistent with their support for the U.S. invasion of Iraq. In both cases, they rushed to the defense of right-wing governments that have run roughshod over international legal norms, that have taken military actions which have gone well beyond their legitimate right to self-defense, and that have taken an incredible toll in innocent civilian lives.
In other words, the Democratic Party's support for Israel's attacks on Lebanon is consistent with its disdain for international law and human rights elsewhere and its defiance of public opinion on other foreign policy issues. It is not, therefore, something that can simply be blamed on "the Zionist lobby." Rather, it indicates that the Democrats' worldview is essentially the same as that of the Republicans.
This ideological congruence calls into the question whether the increasingly likely prospect of the Democrats regaining a majority in Congress in November will make any real difference on the foreign policy front at all.
This is an shorter version of an article that originally appeared on Foreign Policy in Focus.

Speaker: Representative Earl Blumenauer (OR)
Title: Condemning the Recent Attacks Against the State of Israel
Location: Washington, DC
Date: 07/19/2006



Mr. BLUMENAUER. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the gentleman's courtesy in permitting me to speak and for his hard work on this resolution.

I attempt to carefully examine the terminology and the nuance in such efforts because I want to make sure the United States' policy is carefully reflected in terms of our long-term interests, the security of Israel, and those of peace. And I think this resolution meets that test.

The attacks on Israel by Hezbollah are both unjustified and unprovoked, particularly given Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon 6 years ago.

Since the initial raid across the Israeli-Lebanese border, in which Hezbollah killed eight Israeli soldiers, took two others hostage, they have continued indiscriminately targeting Israeli civilians with increasingly sophisticated weaponry.

It is in this context that Israel has exercised its right of self-defense, which I completely support. I am, of course, I hope we all are concerned about the impact on the actions that deal with innocent Lebanese civilians. But as I cringed a little bit when I saw one of my colleagues look at the minority, and talked about shortcomings in the resolution, because I know Mr. Lantos had offered up on behalf of the minority specific language of concern for innocents which, sadly, is not in the resolution. But I do think it is a good starting point.

Even the Saudis and the Egyptians have recognized the responsibility for the current crisis lies with Hezbollah, Syria and Iran, as well as with Lebanon's inabilities to disarm Hezbollah as called for by Security Council Resolution 1559.

We should seek to impose a cease-fire that returns the region to the status quo without ensuring that Hezbollah is no longer a threat to Israel or Lebanon.

This resolution is a strong signal of support for Israel. It is a signal to people who are playing their terrorist politics with innocent lives, of the United States' intentions. It is a signal to governments on the sidelines that they need to step up and help.

Nothing has been more vexing to me during my tenure in the House than this continuing conflict with Israel. I don't pretend to know the answers, but I do know it does start with support for Israel and this resolution.


[ 23.Aug.2006 11:35


Blumenauer has taken a fully unethical position in his support of the resolution.

To blame Hezbollah shows a complete lack of understanding of the situation there on his part. Israel started the attack on Lebanon. It was not a response to an unprovoked and viscious attack by the evil Hezbollah. What a set of lies!

Either Blumenauer is willfully lying because to criticize Israel is bad for your political career, or he is so bloody ignorant that he has no place to be representing the interests of his constituents. We need people with some capacity to see what is true amongst the sea of lies and not just tow party lines!

another calling!? 23.Aug.2006 14:15

Gawan Greenman gawan.greenman@gmail.com

well well well.....it is citizen against citizen it seems. Do we get it, yet!? there is no democracy here in the states...lets listen carefully "people fighting and arguing"hmmmmm!?:-( about right point of views, and from this view from where eye sit is murder, call it what ever you want humans, it is still just murder. And aperrently we have a choice in the matter to pay the taxes for it to participate in propaganda and we can also bare witness so that we do understand who is behind the vail.

These freedoms we are talking about only are givin to ourselves: not by some soldier in the field, or a poltician with a degree that does not account for wisdom at all. Do we want things to shift well then it is going to take more than marches, debates, or relying on a system for nitwitts who want a machine to do all the work and is easier because they do not have to blame themselves when it has gone a fucking rye... Focus on the ones who doing these things, help them, learn from them, and most of all know thyself...

peace Gawan.

thanks, Harry 23.Aug.2006 17:13


I cried such tears for the children of Lebanon being pulled out of the rubble. I was so shocked and utterly dismayed when Earl Blumenauer refused to speak out against the killing of little babies by US-made Israeli war planes. No, he did more than that. He SUPPORTED, actively supported Israel. he spoke for death. May those chickens come home to his roost next election. Even then, it will not be enough. It will never bring back the little babies who died because people like him allowed the killing. Supported the killers. Blamed the victims.

Thank you, Harry, for speaking out. And if anyone from Earl's office is reading this, you should know that I will NEVER vote for a war mongering supporter of Isreali death squads. Earl, you have lost my vote. You had it for many years, but not any more. I will never vote for you again. Never.

wolfs in sheep clothing 21.Oct.2010 04:16

roger schmidtroger1000@hotmail.com

The wolfs in sheep's clothing!
Republicans need tax breaks for their rich friends. So they won't go green even though it would bring jobs and help pay the debt, Clinton was on letterman saying that it would be 8 to 1 green jobs over coal jobs. But the coal keeps burning and they don't want to care about the 1 of 2 guys getting cancer or the 1 in 3 gals getting cancer it just about profit over people. They Move to other countries and poison there people and land, genocide for profit, the wolf in sheep's clothing will say how they believe in god and profess there much better than the others! But do not live the way of the bible teachings nor do they care for their fellow man! Drunk with power and greed they let us fall. It's because they have it all, except love for their fellow man and the earth that keeps us all alive. None of it makes any since; more than % 75 of the U.S. population are poor and middle class. But many are tricked to vote for a party that are slaves to the wealthy and vote against themselves or what's good for them. By voting republican if you're poor or middle class, is saying you think the rich need tax breaks and those programs that help the poor and middle class are not important and that you think their right, not to care about the people that made them rich! And that they are somehow superior! They call them conservatives but the only thing I see them conserve is their self important holeyer then thou B.S. and a way of life that's protecting the coal and oil industry and the wealthy they have. They are not looking out for the average guy. But they pretend to by getting these so called average people that will help us like George w and sari palin. And we don't need average we need supper intelligent that cares for the majority of us! Not just the 1% that does not put the money into technologies that will help clean the air water and land. You know those that think its ok if the cancer rate is high or if millions die! It's not ok that they can buy elections now with the new Supreme Court ruling allowing millions to go to brainwash people and change the face of fair elections.
Just because they can do what they wish does not mean they should. For every action there is a reaction! Greed has no place in this place of so much life. Life and the chain reaction of events must be looked at, for it can change life or kill it! We must be responsible! The ways we are living poisoning are self's and others and 5000 spices are gone forever every year. Thousands die every week from cancer.
You cannot say your conservative and prolife and then poison the environment that kills people! Or that you are religious and then not be a kind loving person that cares about life and living things. We are many and things we do add up quickly we must take care and think! There are reactions especially when million are doing the same things that can be deadly we should try to have less deadly impacts on the earth and its life and are self's.
By: Roger Schmidt