Saturday, August 15, 2020

Why bother arresting anyone if there will be no punishment for violence?

Oregon State Police Portland to its rotten children

Yes, the siege of the Hatfield Federal Courthouse has lasted for over 70 straight days, leaving only the question, is it because the civil authorities are incompetent or corrupt? From Zachary Stieber in the Epoch Times:

Oregon State Police troopers are leaving Portland despite continued violence in the state’s largest city.

Troopers were helping quell the unrest that has consumed portions of the city since May 28.

Capt. Timothy Fox, a state police spokesman, told The Epoch Times that the decision stemmed from the district attorney overseeing Portland deciding not to pursue some criminal charges.

“The Oregon State Police is continually reassessing our resources and the needs of our partner agencies and, at this time, we are inclined to move those resources back to counties where prosecution of criminal conduct is still a priority,” Fox said in an emailed statement late Thursday.

The state police had also fulfilled their commitment to a two week stint that ended on Aug. 12, he added.

“Troopers are returning to the communities that they are assigned to serve and protect. We will continually assess our resources if our partners at PPB need OSP assistance,” he said.

The violence has not subsided, as Steiber previously reported in the Epoch Times the DA is not pursuing charges because:

Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt claimed the unusual move would lead to a safer community.

Speaking at a press conference, Schmidt said he acknowledges the emotions of those involved in nightly demonstrations, many of which have turned violent.

“These demonstrations are being used to righteously express grief, anger, and frustration over that senseless act of violence, and the countless other abuses people of color have endured throughout history at the hands of the legal system,” he told reporters.

Schmidt said he wants to be responsive to demands from the demonstrators and the new policy on handling protest-related cases is just the start.

Escape in the third degree, harassment, and riot will also not be prosecuted under the policy.

County DA Schmidt may soon be tutored by US AG Barr if not the National Guard. In the meantime we have these little reminders that elections matter. Isn’t there another Blue DA in the news with creative approaches to law enforcement?

Incompetent or corrupt?

Chicago Shuts Down Its Business District Overnight This Weekend Due To Continued Riots And Looting. None dare call it terrorism!

Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot desperately wants the world to believe that she has the situation in her city under control and that she doesn't need help from the federal government - nor would she ever need it from President Trump.

But while she puts that facade on during interviews and press conferences with national media, the reality of constant looting, rioting and crime in Chicago continues to unfold; as do its consequences. 

For example, this weekend, the city will shut down its Central Business District overnight, effective at 9PM each night. The decision comes "in the wake of looting and unrest downtown, on the Magnificent Mile, and in Streeterville, River North, and the area near North and Sheffield avenues," according to CBS Chicago

A look at the aftermath of the Beirut explosion

Beirut's cultural scene damaged by explosion

The Sursock Art Museum survived 15 years of war, but not the blast. Beirut's historic buildings are at risk of collapse ⁠— along with the city's arts community.

Sursock Museum in Beirut after explosion (DW/J. Neumann)

The 1912 villa survived 15 years of civil war, but now the explosion in Beirut has destroyed the Nicolas Ibrahim Sursock Museum. The white facade of the building that housed modern and contemporary art still stands, but the blast that shook Beirut on August 4 took out the blue, yellow and red window panes.

"The interior of the museum is almost completely destroyed," said Elsa Hokayem, the museum's deputy director. "The wood, the lamps, the doors and 25 works of art have been damaged." A portrait of museum founder Nicolas Sursock, painted by the Dutch artist Kees van Dongen, is "torn from one corner to the other," she said.

But the museum is only part of Beirut's vibrant arts and culture scene, the core of which was located where the explosion hit. Among the areas most affected are Gemmayzeh and Mar Mikhael. According to UNESCO, many of the estimated 8,000 buildings affected by the blast are concentrated in those districts. The United Nations cultural organization added that some 640 historic buildings were impacted, approximately 60 of which are at risk of collapse.

The neighborhoods of Gemmayzeh and Mar Mikhael are home to many cafes, restaurants, galleries and venues for concerts and poetry slams, as well as studios for furniture, jewelry and clothing designers. Many are worried the vibrant scene won't be able to bounce back after the hardship.

Read more: #PrayForBeirut: Monuments worldwide lit in solidarity

The St. Nicholas Stairs in the Gemmayzeh district with rubble after Beirut blast (DW/J. Neumann)

Currently closed, the St. Nicholas Stairs in the Gemmayzeh district were a popular meeting point

Sursock Museum closes its doors

"It will probably be a year before we can reopen," Hokayem told DW. The the Sursock Museum was often used as a popular backdrop for photos and on the evening of the explosion, a bride and groom had taken part in a photo shoot. When the disaster struck, the museum had already closed and its employees had left the building. "Fortunately, the security guard had already finished his inspection tour that evening and had also gone home," said Hokayem.

Ziad Olleik was not so lucky. The manager of Plan Bey, an organization that supports Lebanese artists by selling their illustrations, photos and drawings at affordable prices, was speaking to a friend and a customer in the shop when the ammonium nitrate exploded in the port of Beirut at 6:08 p.m. "We felt this incredible pressure, and I told them to get down on the floor," he said. "Next, the entire shop window crashed down on us." The shards cut deep into his hands.

Read more: New documentary explores Gaza in black-and-white photos

A gallery in Beirut after the blast (DW/J. Neumann)

The Plan Bey after the explosion

Olleik, who is currently living with his family outside of Beirut, said he still sees the images in his mind, even without watching the dramatic footage replay on TV. The explosion destroyed everything in a neighborhood "full of art galleries, cultural centers, yoga studios, many beautiful places where you could have a coffee and read a book." Now, he said, it's all gone. "When I come back to Beirut and walk down Rue Gouraud, I'm sure I'll cry."

Salim Naffah, manager of the Plan Bey (DW/J. Neumann)

Salim Naffah, manager of the Plan Bey

Beirut's arts scene had already long been in trouble. Even before the disaster, many were worried about how they would make ends meet due to the country's economic crisis, including the organizers of Plan Bey. With the inflation rate getting ever higher, it had been difficult for the small business to survive — materials were becoming expensive.

"Paper must be imported and is expensive because we have to pay for it in dollars. That's why we can't print or produce anything new," explains 28-year-old Salim Naffah, also a manager at Plan Bey. The challenges had forced them to close one Play Bey location but they had wanted to continue to keep the business open on Rue Gouraud until the end of the year. After the blast, rebuilding was out of the question.

Read moreLebanon parliament approves Beirut state of emergency, grants military power

damaged Plan Bey building (DW/J. Neumann)

There are no plans to rebuild the damaged Plan Bey building

Unclear future

Now that many historic buildings been heavily damaged or destroyed, many in the culture industry are afraid they will be razed to the ground and the plots bought by investors. They worry that the city's vibrant scene won't be able to bounce back, and that the charm of the areas could be lost through reconstruction. As a result, residents and shop owners have hung signs saying "We are staying" in bright red letters to show that the neighborhood they love is not for sale.

Sign on Beirut building, 'we are staying' (DW/J. Neumann)

'We are staying'

So far, many of those affected have not yet had time to give much thought to the future — there are more pressing needs. They are  helping their neighbors reconstruct their homes, and supplying those in need with food and shelter.

Haven for Artists, which is usually a studio and co-working space for freelance artists, has been converted into emergency accommodation for women and migrant workers affected by the blast. The operators of Plan Bey are also using their second business, the Makan restaurant, to help by cooking food they donate to those in need in the neighborhood.

"After a disaster, people immediately think about food or accommodation. These are two needs, but there is a third: People need to talk and they need to be listened to," said Naffah. "They must be able to tell their stories and know that someone else cares. I see an empty space that the cultural scene can fill — especially these days."

Watch video02:52

Beirut's popular spots reduced to rubble

Friends of the Iranian terror state.

UN Security Council rejects Iran arms embargo extension

The US-sponsored resolution only got two "yes" votes at the UN Security Council, falling far short of the nine it needed to be adopted. China and Russia rejected the proposal, while Germany abstained.

Here are the members of the UN Security Council:

The Council is composed of 15 Members:

Five permanent members: ChinaFranceRussian Federationthe United Kingdom, and the United States, and ten non-permanent members elected for two-year terms by the General Assembly (with end of term year):