Multiple credible sources have reported that the Seattle police harassed counter-protesters but protected anti-Sharia marchers participating in Saturday’s anti-Sharia law march in Seattle.
I got permission to copy the post of a friend of friend, below. My apologies for the anonymity and “hearsay” nature of this evidence. Someone at my work attended the counter-protest and says that the post below is accurate: the police were aiding the neo-Nazis.
From a friend’s post:
“Report on Seattle events today. Multiple times fascists attacked a peaceful protest and were released by police each time. Cops arrested the peace keepers. The fascists were belligerent and picking fights in a totally peaceful crowd. Don’t believe the hype that antifa and the left are instigating violence. These guys were looking for a fight and we tried to not give it to them. (PS to join these so-called Proud Boys you are REQUIRED to attack people)
“Regarding the “anti-Sharia” action organized by a hate group and counter protest today [in Seattle] :
I was a part of the marshal team for the counter protest today and feel it is critical that I get my perspective out there on what happened. The marshal team was comprised of individuals from the Greater Seattle General Defense Committee as well as numerous folks from other organizations from the coalition that organized the action.
Our job was to facilitate the counter protest’s march to and from City Hall Plaza and help work to de-escalate situations and keep participants safe throughout the duration. We had two fantastic, designated police liaisons who before the march started, went to City Hall and spoke with multiple SPD commanders regarding our intentions to keep the rallies separated and safe. They were told by SPD that if the fascists wanted to march, they could, and that we would be expected to keep a block away from them which was in accordance with our own intentions anyways.
Unfortunately, the fascists were NOT held to the same standard by SPD.
While at City Hall Plaza, I personally escorted multiple groups of alt-righters, Proud Boys, and even Joey Gibson himself with his violent motorcycle club buddies through our crowd and helped them safely get to their rally without causing a scene on our end.
One particular group, mostly comprised of Proud Boys, crossed through our lines multiple times. I personally witnessed one of them unplug one of our speakers and violently push multiple people out of his way. During their last foray into our crowd, people moved to stop them from coming in and starting a fight and were immediately hit in the face by two of the Proud Boys. This all happened mere feet from at least 2 dozen SPD officers.
As a marshal, I immediately went to them, identified myself as one of the marshal team, and asked that they help get the assailants away from us. I was met with a response of “If you aren’t letting them march through your crowd, then we can’t stop them from hitting you.” The assailants were both pulled to safety by SPD and allowed to wander off. It’s safe to say that if any group of counter protestors would have tried to shoulder their way through the fascist rally, SPD would NEVER respond in such a manner.
In fact, just last week Portland Police Bureau and DHS officers cooperated with far-right militia members in arresting peaceful anti-fascists for merely being in the vicinity of their rally space. It is clear that they have no actual interest in free speech or peaceful engagement.
Around 12-12:30, we began assembling to escort our community members from MAPS and CAIR who were running an “Ask a Muslim” booth at the rally safely to our dispersal point at Occidental Square. As our march departed, the opposite direction from the hate rally, SPD allowed a group of around 20 of them (including the same Proud Boys, Joey Gibson of Patriot Prayer, and “Tiny”, a violent biker) to stalk our march a block away. This group then went to the Central Saloon and began drinking.
We arrived at Occidental Square and had a few more speakers before we began dispersing. While this was happening, a group of about 10 of the fascists attempted to come down and into the park. While this situation was arising, another group of them led by the same assaultive Proud Boys from before came from the other direction, walked by SPD officers, and went straight into the park and began attacking people. During this altercation, 3 members of the General Defense Committee were violently arrested while the SAME INDIVIDUALS WHO HAD ALREADY ASSAULTED PEOPLE EARLIER IN FRONT OF SPD WERE ALLOWED, AGAIN, TO GO FREE”.
SPD needs to be held accountable. The individuals who assaulted our people, who were part of a beautiful, rowdy, yet very peaceful protest need to be held accountable.
Please, if you can, start contacting your city council members, mayor, and police chief demanding accountability for allowing these assaults to happen. Help get the story of what actually happened today out to all of the standard bullshit media outlets. We all need to be strong and support the folks who got hurt and arrested today while taking action against hate in our community by violent thugs from out of town”
Another source, my coworker who said the facebook post was accurate, shared the above pictures from the rally and commented:
After the white supremacist rally dispersed, we marched back to Occidental Park, where we started the last part of our counter-protest, a set of speeches. Soon afterwards, I saw groups of white supremacists coming into Occidental Park, and starting to assault the counter-protestors. They had no business to be there because the counter-protest had obtained a city permit to rally in Occidental Park. The police had no business to let them come there, but they stood by and allowed the white supremacists to approach the park, and actually enter. These guys were definitely looking for trouble, and they knew exactly where to find it. I was busy with the speeches, so I missed the early part of the action, but as soon as the speeches ended, I headed out to where trouble had broken out, and took some pictures, which I’m sending you.
Descriptions for the 4 pictures:
1. Picture of two counter-protestors, who were part of the safety committee, being arrested by Seattle Police
2. On the left you can see the arrests in progress. On the right you can see that the two policemen have removed their pepper spray cans from their holsters, and are ready to use it on counter-protestors if “needed”
3. See how heavily armed the police were. They had 4 magazines each – over 50 rounds – on them, in addition to pepper spray, and they were probably carrying flash bangs in those pouches hanging from their uniforms
4. Seattle Police formed a roman-style phalanx, and literally pushed us back, away from the site where they were making arrests and using pepper spray. Can you believe this s happening in Seattle?
Hi, I’m God the Almighty, Creator of the Universe, also known as Jehovah, Allah, and Brahaman. Pretty cool, eh?Actually, it’s not so cool. I have to listen to a lot of tiresome prayers. Don’t you people realize that I already know what’s best for you? Lord knows: I don’t need to be reminded.
Secondly, the so-called Holy Books majorly misrepresent my teachings and contain all sorts of material added for political reasons. For example, all those threats about me sending people to hell for failing to believe or follow some religion? Total B.S.
And the bit about “Be fruitful and multiply”? I never said it.
The only thing I really care is about is that people should be kind to each other and take care of Creation.
See ya around.
In the video Winning the War of Ideas, Sam Harris interviews author Sam Harris. Both agree that progressives are making a serious error by failing to oppose Islamic violence and misogyny.
Harris and Maher don’t sufficiently acknowledge that progressives are indeed critical of Islamic repression. But progressives are even more concerned with stopping a Holy War against Islam. War lovers in both major parties are using the threat of terrorism to justify military spending and endless war.
After all, Muslim radicalism is largely a result of decades of war waged by the West against Muslim countries, and by U.S. meddling in the Middle East. The U.S. created Al Qadea in Afghanistan in an effort to eject Russia.
The U.S. waged war against secular Iraq but has protected theocratic Saudi Arabia. Mostly, the U.S. should stop trying to be the policeman of the world. In reality, the motivation isn’t to save them from repression. The motivation is to get their oil.
It’s time to confront conception obsessed Bible-believers on their own terms, with language they understand.
Imagine if we turned the Bible and Christianity’s highest values back on the Religious Right. This Saturday, February 11, the most conception-obsessed members of the Religious Right will be gathering at Evangelical and Catholic churches, loading teenagers into busses and cars, and surrounding Planned Parenthood with protest signs. Some will pray and sing church songs or shout Bible quotes or carry pictures of the Virgin Mary. But most will carry signs that say things like “abortion stops a beating heart” [so does oyster-eating] or “aren’t you glad your mother didn’t have an abortion?” [Yes; glad also that she didn’t have a headache that night] or “it’s a baby” [an acorn is an oak tree?] or “one life ended, one destroyed” [actually, factually not]. Some may carry “fetal squish” pictures—not images of common early abortions but of the rare fetus that dies or is aborted late in gestation. In other words, they will try to sway the rest of us by speaking our language—the language of science, human rights and secular ethical values; and they will appeal to our moral emotions: compassion, love of life, and disgust.
Those of us who cherish the freedom to choose our own lives and families—and to live by our own moral values—could learn a thing or two from the more sophisticated of these protestors, both what they say and what they want to hide.
I said that abortion foes try to speak to us in language we understand, by appealing to our sources of authority, science and conscience. When we appeal to people who are on our side or neutral or secular, we should do the same. We must work to end abortion shame and stigma, to convey that abortion is normal and that family planning as a whole—including abortion until it becomes obsolete (we are headed that direction)—is a positive social good.
But when it comes to confronting and neutralizing abortion protests, we should attack the home turf of the abortion foes, not defend our own turf. We should speak in language of the protesters and convey that their position is a threat to their own core values. (Remember, this is what they do to move us.)
At the same time, they are playing to a broader audience, and we can, too. To outsiders, we can neutralize the tradition of incessant clinic protest by framing it as a theological dispute (most people want to keep theology out of healthcare), that is driven by archaic, ugly gender scripts (no thanks!), and that is being played out by people who have little moral credibility (everyone hates a mean-spirited, self-righteous hypocrite).
Here are a few examples of what the counter-protest signs might look like. *Some may make sense only to Christians and former Christians. **Thank you to all the former Bible-believers who offered suggestions on Facebook. ***If you have ideas of your own as you read the list, please add them in the comment section.
Define this as an insider dispute about theology
Expose deep underlying misogyny
Shine a light on self-righteous (religious) hypocrisy
Planned Parenthood doesn’t organize counter-protests, because they don’t want to escalate conflict and because they have a job to do providing contraceptives, cancer screenings, STI tests, abortions and other basic healthcare for their patients. They have no desire to get involved in theological disputes. But I think it’s time for the rest of America, meaning religious moderates and non-religious Americans, to go on the offense against the Religious Right. For decades now—really, ever since Roe v Wade–we’ve been playing way too nice.
At some point in the future, pregnancy almost always will happen by mutual consent of two people who want to co-create a child. But we’re not there yet, in large part because patriarchal religious conservatives have opposed sexual health literacy and better birth control every step of the way. Right now, we could make elective abortion virtually obsolete if the Religious Right had any interest in doing so. They don’t. That means, for now, the only way that young men and women can live the lives of their choosing and form the families of their choosing and stack the odds in favor of flourishing children—is to have access to abortion so they can end ill-conceived pregnancies.
The Left has been squishy and apologetic about abortion care—leaving providers unprotected, and allowing brave, prudent young women to be shamed for making the best decisions they could under difficult circumstances. We’ve let the Religious Right bully all of us, including moderate Christians, into doubting our own moral convictions.
Sometimes, the only way to stop a bully is to hit back. In the spirit of courageous, unflinching, nonviolent resistance, we need to figure out together what that means. So, don’t forget to share your thoughts.
Oh, and if you decide to counter-protest on Saturday, remember that while you are taking a stand on behalf of women and families, Planned Parenthood employees will be serving them. Don’t interfere with traffic, stay away from the entry, keep off private property, and silently let your sign do the talking for you. Don’t distract from the ugly behavior of the Religious Right by engaging in ugly behavior of your own. You are a role model for any children and teens who have been dragged along; be the change fundamentalist parents don’t want their kids to see in the world.
Originally posted at ValerieTarico.com
Prolife leaders trying to convince the world that they are actually pro-woman have failed to convince even their own followers.
For years now, the professional class of abortion foes has been working to polish the Prolife brand, claiming that they are not mere fetal fetishists but actually protectors of women, who are being exploited by profit-hungry abortion doctors. They bolster their pro-woman positioning with false claims that abortion causes cancer (it doesn’t), or sterility (it doesn’t), or death (it’s a hundred times safer than carrying a pregnancy to term), or that women regret their abortions and suffer depression (as with any major life decision, some do; but most experience relief).
Even ignoring the disinformation, just beneath the thin layer of chivalry lies a toxic stew of religion, sexism, and judgmental certitude. Religious right politicians seeking to regulate abortion out of existence with bogus safety laws may have memorized their lines, but rank-and-file believers keep saying what they really think.
The Comment Thread Conundrum
Like most writers, I send articles to a variety of outlets, but I also cross-post to my own website, where religious conservatives and abortion foes not infrequently send me an unedited earful. (Do the people ranting or even making threats not realize that I have editorial control at my own site?) I don’t always publish such comments, but I do keep them, in part because they so clearly illustrate the dark underbelly of religious conservatism and its obsession with controlling sex and reproduction.
Consider a few of the recent tidbits:
Once Set in Motion . . . .
Prolife™ leaders may cringe and seek to distance themselves from comments like these, or from the prayer circles and rosaries and gauntlet of hell-threats outside of abortion clinics—or worse, from stochastic terrorism like the murders at Colorado’s Planned Parenthood. But ordinary Evangelicals and conservative Catholics really can’t be blamed for their difficulty in getting the branding right.
Many have been taught from childhood that every fetus is a teeny weeny baby, and that God values each from the moment of conception. Scientifically or statistically this may be implausible, but it’s black and white, beyond question like other points of theology. Some abortion opponents—most—retain an intuitive sense that the difference between an embryo and a child is morally consequential. But others simply follow that line of thinking to its logical conclusion: An abortion provider is a sniper on a school roof. A woman aborting a pregnancy might as well be drowning her preschooler in a bathtub. The only possible explanation is that those who disagree lack morals or are in the thrall of Satan.
The Fruit of the Prolife Spirit
One of the New Testament writers made the mistake of saying that Christians would be known by their “fruit,” meaning their actions and the consequences of those actions. If this is the case, the motives and morality of ProLifeTM Christians are laid bare not only by their own ugly words and behavior but by the fruit of their relentless, obsessive campaign to obstruct abortion access while simultaneously denying prospective parents the information and contraceptives needed to time their pregnancies. Pro-woman? Guess again.
Underlying all of this is the foundational assumption that women don’t know what is best for them and their families, can’t know what is best, can’t be trusted as autonomous moral agents—which is why God put men in charge. Women were made for childbearing. The Bible says so!
Not Gender Justice, Not Social Justice
If there’s one thing that can be said for the ancient texts gathered in the Bible, it is that many of them have a strong social justice message. Prolife leaders, recognizing this, often claim that they are advocating justice for the most vulnerable members of society, which includes children and racial minorities as well as women. They relentlessly link abortion with genocide or with the misguided eugenics push of the early 20th Century, proclaiming for example that Black babies are in particular danger of being aborted. (Poor Black women do abort somewhat more than white women but also carry more pregnancies forward because of a higher rate of pregnancy.)
In reality, families living at the hardscrabble edges of life are those most negatively affected by the Religious Right’s obstruction of family planning services.
I was in Singapore when my husband and I discovered that my first trimester pregnancy was infected with Toxoplasmosis. The consequences can be much like Zika, so we decided to abort and start over; and we received supportive, competent abortion care from a Singaporean doctor trained in Canada. Had timely care not been available in Singapore, we could have gone wherever we needed. Our privileged reality is inconceivable for most couples or women facing an ill-timed or unhealthy pregnancy.
Abortions have always been more available to upper and middle class couples than families struggling to get by. Knowing that they can’t control women of means, the Religious Right has doubled down on poor women who rely on public healthcare services, denying them insurance coverage and forcing on them long distance travel and childcare costs that [abortion foes hope will] become insurmountable barriers. In the Pacific Northwest, poor women in need of abortion turn to complete strangers for financial support via a program known as the CAIR Project, one of several “underground railroads” providing housing, transportation and funding for women in need.
Nationally, advocates for poor women and families are fighting through the coordinated campaign All* Above All to overturn the Hyde Amendment, which for 40 years has stripped abortion coverage out of Medicaid. Women of color—long denied the full right to manage their own fertility and disproportionately impacted by this restriction—are taking the lead.
Pro Woman, Pro Family, Pro Child
Not all women and men want children, but for all of us decisions about parenthood are among the most important and life-shaping choices we will ever make.
As parents, we all want to stack the odds in favor of our children flourishing. Those who can, seek prenatal and pediatric care, and provide nutritious food, and read stories, and help with homework, and get up bleary-eyed and go to work, and sock away a little financial buffer. Even men and women whose lives are destitute or desperate, or who are plagued with illness or mental illness, want what is best for their kids.
Religious rhetoric aside, we all know that parenting begins before conception, not at some magical moment when a sperm penetrates an egg. We know that the timing and circumstances of birth can shape the course of a child’s life. Mindful of our own limits, most of us try to time and limit our pregnancies, and we sometimes end them, so that we can bring our kids into the world under the best possible conditions available to us, with enough bounty to thrive.
Real pro-life passion is more than just lipstick on a pig in a clerical collar. It means thinking about what makes life so precious to all of us, regardless of our religion or circumstances. It means doing what we can to create genuine reproductive empowerment so that perhaps, someday, all children will come into loving families who are ready to welcome them with open arms.
Originally published at ValerieTarico.com