Dads with leaf blowers join 'Wall of Moms' in Portland protests

After federal agents dressed in camouflage and with no way to identify them started whisking away Portland protesters in unmarked rental vehicles last weekend, many citizens decided enough was enough. The Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary, Chad Wolf, has indicated that the feds have no plans to back down, and Portlanders are showing up in droves to express their displeasure.

Portland has never been a place where people do anything in expected ways, so it wasn't all that surprising when a "Wall of Moms" wearing bike helmets and bright yellow shirts showed up arm-in-arm to shield protesters from the feds.

Not sure if anyone expected that wall to be followed up by a "Dads with Leaf Blowers." Yet here we are.



Dads with leaf blowers slung over their shoulders, holding signs with messages such as "Fathers Against Fascism," have joined the thousands of protesters who are now showing up in Portland nightly. Protests in Portland have continued for 50-some-odd days, with numbers increasing since the federal government agents arrived. Local and state government authorities have vehemently opposed the intervention/invasion of federal troops, who have used tear gas, flash bangs, and batons against protesters.

Not sure what the feds were expecting to happen, but according to Washington Post reporter Nick Miroff, a DHS official "expressed frustration and astonishment that Portland protesters were showing up with leaf blowers to disperse tear gas and send it right back at fed agents."

There are some solutions here. Maybe the agents could just...not use tear gas on peaceful protesters?

And perhaps the feds should realize that "frustration and astonishment" is exactly what you should expect when you attack American citizens, especially in a city that inspired its own surreal-but-almost-real television show about the city's culture. (Portlandia is fiction that skirts very close to the truth, despite how bizarre it may seem to people who've never been to Portland.)

So far, they've been met with a diverse crowd of demonstrators protesting racial injustice in addition to a naked woman, a badass Navy vet who took a beating without flinching, a "wall of moms" and now the "dads with leaf blowers."

A protester who goes by the alias "Doug Smith" told Truthout that the leaf blowers are not necessarily meant to be effective against tear gas individually, but are more of a symbol of what the dads are doing there.

"Honestly, I think you'd need scores of leaf blowers with a phalanx of dads holding their ground under pretty perfect conditions to use them effectively in the dispersal of chemical agents," he said. "But they are an iconic symbol of a tool dads use to clean up messes."

So far, the protesters don't appear to have plans to back away from this fight or to stop exercising their first amendment rights.

True
Frito-Lay

Did you know one in five families are unable to provide everyday essentials and food for their children? This summer was also the hungriest on record with one in four children not knowing where their next meal will come from – an increase from one in seven children prior to the pandemic. The effects of COVID-19 continue to be felt around the country and many people struggle to secure basic needs. Unemployment is at an all-time high and an alarming number of families face food insecurity, not only from the increased financial burdens but also because many students and families rely on schools for school meal programs and other daily essentials.

This school year is unlike any other. Frito-Lay knew the critical need to ensure children have enough food and resources to succeed. The company quickly pivoted to expand its partnership with Feed the Children, a leading nonprofit focused on alleviating childhood hunger, to create the "Building the Future Together" program to provide shelf-stable food to supplement more than a quarter-million meals and distribute 500,000 pantry staples, school supplies, snacks, books, hand sanitizer, and personal care items to schools in underserved communities.

Keep Reading Show less
via Pexels.com

The Delta Baby Cafe in Sunflower County, Mississippi is providing breastfeeding assistance where it's needed most.

Mississippi has the third lowest rate of breastfeeding in America. Only 70% of infants are ever-breastfed in the state, compared to 84% nationally.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends infants be exclusively breastfed for their first six months of life. However, in Mississippi, less than 40% are still breastfeeding at six months.

Keep Reading Show less
True

$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


via msleja / TikTok

In 2019, the Washoe County School District in Reno, Nevada instituted a policy that forbids teachers from participating in "partisan political activities" during school hours. The policy states that "any signage that is displayed on District property that is, or becomes, political in nature must be removed or covered."

The new policy is based on the U.S. Supreme Court's 2018 Janus decision that limits public employees' First Amendment protections for speech while performing their official duties.

This new policy caused a bit of confusion with Jennifer Leja, a 7th and 8th-grade teacher in the district. She wondered if, as a bisexual woman, the new policy forbids her from discussing her sexuality.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

We've heard from U.S. intelligence officials for at least four years that other countries are engaging in disinformation campaigns designed to destabilize the U.S. and interfere with our elections. According to a recent New York Times article, there is ample evidence of Russia attempting to push American voters away from Joe Biden and toward Donald Trump via the Kremlin-backed Internet Research Agency, which has created a network of fake user accounts and a website that billed itself as a "global news organization."

The problem isn't just that such disinformation campaigns exist. It's that they get picked up and shared by real people who don't know they're spreading propaganda from Russian state actors. And it's not just pro-Trump content that comes from these accounts. Some fake accounts push far-left propaganda and disinformation in order to skew perceptions of Biden. Sometimes they even share uplifting content to draw people in, while peppering their feeds with fake news or political propaganda.

Most of us read comments and responses on social media, and many of us engage in discussions as well. But how do we know if what we're reading or who we're engaging with is legitimate? It's become vogue to call people who seem to be pushing a certain agenda a "bot," and sometimes that's accurate. What about the accounts that have a real person behind them—a real person who is being paid to publish and push misinformation, conspiracy theories, or far-left or far-right content?

Keep Reading Show less