Public Citizen: can you guess what country this is?

A story:

  • Imagine a nation that has been taken over by a far-right political party under the thrall of a “populist” demagogue and beholden to the perverse whims of its richest citizens and corporations.
  • Throughout the country, police forces routinely violate the civil rights of law-abiding citizens with near impunity.
  • Activists have been bravely protesting the country’s authoritarian government and the tactics it uses to repress dissent.
  • So, the nation’s president and his gang send a battalion of unidentified law enforcement personnel — outfitted in battle fatigues and armed with military-grade weaponry — into a city at the heart of a metropolitan area that over 2 million people call home.
  • These forces bear no badges or other identifying insignia. They refuse to provide their names, their orders, or their chain of command.
  • They are caught on video chasing down and apprehending peaceful, unarmed activists, shoving them into unmarked vehicles, and driving away — essentially kidnapping them.

No doubt you know where this is going.

I’m not describing something from a dystopian novel or a country halfway around the world.

I’m describing the United States of America in the year 2020 — specifically what has transpired in Portland, Oregon, in recent days.

To state it very plainly:

Donald Trump and his gang have sent unidentified paramilitary troops into an American city to kidnap activists as a craven political stunt designed to:


1. Soothe Trump’s pathetically frail ego and incite his increasingly unhinged base.

2. Feed Trump’s enablers at Fox News and One America News.

3. Deflect attention away from Trump’s absolutely catastrophic response to the coronavirus emergency, which has seen tens of thousands of preventable deaths of Americans as a direct result of his utter disregard and incompetence.

The mayor of Portland, Ted Wheeler, and the governor of Oregon, Kate Brown, have demanded that Donald Trump recall this mysterious militarized menace from their city and state.

Add your name:

I oppose Donald Trump’s deployment of secret paramilitary forces in Portland, Oregon. And I stand with the people there as they endure what may be Trump’s most fascistic maneuver yet.

Thanks for taking action.

Stay safe.

- Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen

P.S. Public Citizen — like many nonprofits and other small businesses — is feeling the financial strain of the coronavirus emergency. If you can, please consider donating to support the critical work we’re doing together. Thank you.