There were quite a few people who came out winners from the events of Boston Common.  Today we’re going to list those who earned honorable (or dishonorable) mentions and the 1st and 2nd runners-up in that pageant:

Honorable (or Dishonorable) Mentions

Mayor Marty Walsh:  He was able to play up his credentials not only as an opponent of the President, and a denouncer of hate,  but his decision to deploy rather than stand down police allowed him to project an image of law and order without damage to his liberal credentials and, despite a few exceptions, the success of the Police in maintaining overall safety for people in the crowd (if you weren’t wearing an Israeli Flag, a Trump Banner or was a policeman) earned him national praise that might come in handy if he wants to progress to a senate seat or the governor’s chair.

Left wing fringe groups:  The various activist groups from ANSWER to the Socialist Workers et/al had a great day on Boston common.  Not only were they able to get the media and mayor to uncritically accept their premise that the speakers like Shiva Ayyadurai were Nazis and Klansmen, not only where they able to keep anyone from hearing what they actually said, they were able, because of the size of the crowd who arrived to oppose the unseen Nazis and Klan members, to give the impression of a much larger base of support than they actual have for their fringe political positions.

The News Media:  Their willingness to run with and sell the left whole “Nazi/White Supremacist Hoard descending on Boston” meme meant they were given a spectacle which provided them with days of copy and tons of coverage to attract eyeballs and thus advertisers. Even better for the media their success in selling the meme gives them a chance to deploy it any time a tea party group gets a permit from any city in Massachusetts.

2nd Runner up:  The Boston Police

The Boston Police was both a short term and a long term winners of events on the common. Despite Jeff Jacoby’s correct assessment concerning actual free speech, their highly visible presence at the event, their ability to prevent fatalities or serious injury combined with their willingness to be the primary target of the ANTIFA thugs violence, not only achieved their primary goal of avoiding a blood bath or serious riot, but rightly raised their stature both locally and nationally as a peace force.  Regular people, with nothing to do with professional activism, who turned up to oppose “nazis” were thanking police for keeping them safe and rightly so.

Sure there were State Police and Transit Police there as well but the City’s police force was the most visible and got the lions share of the attention and credit.

1st Runner up:  ANTIFA

I’m sorry to say ANTIFA was the 2nd biggest winner of the events on Boston Common for many reasons:

They were able to show numbers. The total amount of masked thugs was considerable which meant a pretty good show of muscle.

They were accepted and cheered by the crowd despite (or perhaps because of) their violent history against any who they consider their political opponents.

Because of the size of the crowd, the need for police to protect certain areas and people and the media’s disinterest they were able to get away with isolated acts of violence with impunity .

Although there were a small amount of folks arrested, you actually had incredible sight online of police asking ANTIFA thugs to “to refrain from throwing urine, bottles and other harmful projectiles at our officers.” as they ignored said request while berating and assaulting officers.  Perhaps next time they’ll be able to get the police to say “please”.

Like any group of actual fascists their real power is to intimidate far beyond their actual numbers.  Boston Common put that intimidation factor on display to those they wanted to keep in check.  I’m not just talking about City Mayors not wanting to blow their budgets on police details denying permits or venues and groups choosing to avoid public event due to fear of liability cost or physical violence.  I’m not even talking about the tiny group of speakers who would have been dwarfed even if the 100’s of ANTIFA folk never showed their face.

I’m talking about the successful display of physical power to their political allies on the left.  They were the real target.  Thanks to events on the common where ANTIFA was willing to take on police and show some muscle against their foes out of police sight, reporters who might consider a critical story, activists who might consider giving the other side a chance to speak and even regular people, particularly those not enamored with the 2nd amendment who might decide they agree with the President or the Tea Party on an issue or two will think twice before doing so thanks to the fear (rational or not) that their actions will prompt a visit from the folks wearing masks.

Finally all of this will attract the young stupid recruits that are the bread and meat for such Fascists, particularly from those who are rejected (didn’t the crowd show them support?) or fearful (Wouldn’t it be great to have a bunch of strong friends having your back?) or thuggish (didn’t they stand up to police even with the whole country watching?).  Boston was ANTIFA’s recruitment video for useful idiots and there are plenty of directionless and foolish teens and twenty somethings who will see it and come running.

As for the big winner from events in Boston, that’s tomorrow lead post.

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Saturday Morning ,much to the concern of DaWife and some of my friends I got in the car and headed to Boston to cover the protests/counter protests going on in Boston post Charlottesville.

I left early enough that the traffic was fairly light and getting to Alewife station went directly to the 4th level to park. It was fairly empty at the time I got there before 10 AM.

When I got on the Subway train I found my surrounded by large groups of people carrying signs, some homemade some not. They varied from hit Nazis to attacking the “alt right” to the standard “love Trumps Hate” and “Black Lives Matter” I quietly sat and listened. It was my impression that the folks
who had come to Boston from out of town were mostly people who wanted to “make a difference”. Their grandparents had fought in World War 2 and they saw themselves as doing what they did. This was a theme I got a lot from a certain segment of the crowd once I got to Boston, a feeling that they were emulating the “greatest generation” by going to Boston to stand up to the Nazis, Fascists and Klansmen That meme was common among the people I ran into on the train and in the crowd once I got there and my primary goal in going to the event was to not only report on what I saw, but to find out if their assessment was true.

There were a fair amount of masked folks in the crowd, some wearing green who were organizing things (they seemed distinct from the ANTIFA folk who I saw later) I asked one young lady why she was wearing a mask and she replied that it was to keep her from being doxxed which seemed to be the standard line, which frankly didn’t seem all that credible to me.

At the time I got there the crowd was comparatively large but not massive as it would later become there was a large crowd by the Statehouse, that was the Marty Walsh event and various groups to the far side where the free speech rally was supposed to be. It was at this time I saw a familiar group go by.

As I continued to head deeper into the common I saw a group of folks sitting down on a bench who consented to an interview

I found the remarks about people losing their jobs ironic after the doxxing stuff the masked lady had said, but from there continued on. At this point I spotted a group of State Police and spoke to one about them.

He said they would do their best to protect everyone’s first amendment rights (and from what I saw there was a large enough police presence to do so. I asked him about the masked ANTIFA folks, he mentioned that they were a worry but as there was no law against wearing a mask on the common all they could do is keep an eye on them.

I walked all the way to the far end where the pond was and then doubled back to get to the gazebo. All this time the crowd continues to grow as more and more folks showed up as the weather continue to get better but hotter.
When I got to the Gazebo area I found the entire section was cordoned off. Only people specifically on a list were invited in and that included the press

This was a large blow to my plans as the primary thing I wanted to do is record the speeches and see what they were saying to answer the question: Were these guys actual Nazis, White supremacists et/al or were they just conservatives that because they supported Trump were considered all of these things?

Of course to the crowd none of this mattered. It was a matter of faith that these guys were Nazis but it seemed to me also a matter of faith that President Trump was also a Nazi/White Supremacist as was anyone who supported him and this was evident by some of the chants

The attendees were very good at the whole repetitive chanting thing which requires very little thought.

the attendees were very good at repetitive chanting

I tried to find some other angles to get a better view of the bandstand but there was no place where I could get close enough and the fence lining it was filling up

All of it seemed like overkill to me but the crowd seemed rather enjoying themselves as I walked through them.

The crowd itself consisted of the following groups:

Group one:   The well meaning folks standing up as I mentioned at the start (worth interviewing)
Group two:   The college kids finding something cool to do while establishing their liberal credentials (worth interviewing)

I’d say those two groups at least at the time I was there was a solid 1/3 or more of the crowd

Group three: The mayors folks also establishing both their anti-trump and liberal cred (spinning pols no interest to me)
Group four: The various activist groups there to push their specific causes (again professional protesters spinners mostly not worth my time)
This was I’d guess about half the crowd or slightly less. When you report they are very noticeable and you could see the polish in how they carried themselves and their organization.

Group five:  The freaky guys like the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (drag queens dressed as nuns) and Vermin Supreme (folks looking for attention but not getting it from me)
And Group six:  ANTIFA violent thugs who I had no intention of associating with.

Despite how different they were all of them were all united in two propositions:

Donald Trump is a bad evil racist.

If you voted for Trump you are as are as bad or worse than he is.

The effects of that unifying idea was interesting,  particularly interesting how well the Masked Antifa crowd was being received by said crowd

That really shocked me I figured either they had no idea the type of people ANTIFA was (groups 1 & 2) , pretended they didn’t (group 3) or didn’t care (groups 4 & 5).

It was around this time that everyone got an education concerning them from an event that was to me, the defining event of the time I was there.

I noticed people swarming and went to check it out and was disgusted by what I saw

Two men one wearing a Trump, Make America Great Again and another wearing an Israeli flag being greeted by cries of “fascist go home” and quickly surrounded. At least of the organizers recognizing that the potential of something that would shatter the image they wanted portrayed to the press and to some of the more innocent people there who had no idea what company they were keeping so one of the folks who had been coaching some of the masked folks on one side and two members of the highly radical “veterans for peace” did their best to make sure nobody threw a punch but it didn’t stop people from getting in their faces and surrounding them.

I was completely beside myself over this first of all Donald Trump won the majority of voters in 29 states. If a man can’t safely walk through Boston Common with that banner no matter who is there that’s an incredible escalation as it the dubbing of any person supporting Trump a fascist or a Nazi.

But what set me off even more was the vitriol against they guy wearing the Israeli flag and the crowd joining in on the chants against him. The irony of people carrying anti-nazi signs and lowly proclaiming their opposition to hate driving out a person wearing the Star of David flag seems to have been completely lost on the people there and frankly I was outraged.

What was even more amazing were those calling em cowards those two guys were the bravest people there and I found myself wishing that I had a Trump banner or an Israeli flag and was standing with them.

To me this was a turning point, it is a moment that in my opinion will get replayed over and over in states that Trump carried and I can’t think of anything else that would infuriate and energize Trump supporters more.

On the bright side there were some signs of sanity and plurality in the crowd this one stood out.

But then again one would expect Quakers to be expressing this kind of thing.

By this time it was getting clear that unless I was willing and able to stay very late there wasn’t going to be much big news and I noticed people starting to leave so I started to leave but found some interesting sights like the Panda crowd that I saw earlier

That the people signing were basically saying “take away my freedom” never seemed to occur to them.

There was Gary who had an interesting quest

Four nice folks from Plymouth who seemed to have experience in this sort of thing without being professional activists

A catholic poet and musician who bought my book

and my favorite person Gary who while not liking the right had my favorite sign of the day as embraced his opinions while defending the 1st Amendment

Finally a large crowd came by marching and I filmed them for five minutes

then a few minutes more

which couldn’t help but make me think of the famous scene from Monty Python’s Life of Brian where the crowd chants in unison “yes we’re all individuals, we’ve all got to work it out for ourselves”

Finally it was time to leave and I headed for a T station as Park Station was closed. Because of this I missed some violence that took place later (conveniently after the regular people who might have objected had already left) but ran into the nice young ladies that I’ve already mentioned.

As for the object of these protests they became an afterthought but the real irony is, if there had been no protest they would have gotten even less attention but most of the people there seemed happy at what they felt they achieved and proud of their actions. What did they achieve? Well that’s an analysis post for later this week.

We’ll finish with a few assorted images and clips

And My photo gallery follows my tipjar pitch


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I’ll have a lot to say about events in Boston tomorrow with photos, video and several interviews to round it out. But before I upload those videos and do anything else let me give one thank-you and two shout outs.

First thank all those who consented to interviews (either recorded or not) and gave me some of your time. You were all a pleasure to meet.

Now two shout outs. The primary shoutout goes to the all the Police present.

Unlike Chancellorsville the Boston/State and other Police were present and on the ball. While I didn’t like that I was unable to approach the primary rally and cover what people were actually saying which had been my goal, they did yeomans work to keep people safe and prevent those who would have liked to have cracked heads (and believe me there was a significant number of people there with that goal) in check.

So to all the police there, the Boston Police, the State Police, the Transit Police and even the Police who were guarding the parking garage, you symbolized the best of both Boston and Law enforcement and I tip my Fedora to you.

The second shoutout goes to a set of young college age ladies that I don’t know.

By the time I standing in the subway car back heading back to the parking garage at Alewife Station my body, which had gone all day without food or water on a hot day while running all around the Boston Common covering the story, finally had its say. I found myself suddenly dizzy and nauseous and had to sit, so I lowered myself to the floor taking my laptop bag and camera off from around my neck. Immediately three young ladies standing next to me were at my side offering me water and a fourth offered me her seat.

All of these ladies had been at the protest and were carrying signs to that effect. I suspect none of them were Trump supporters or shared anything close to my political views.

But here, away from the crowd, their concern wasn’t with who I voted for or what I thought of the various event I had seen. All they saw was a fifty something man in some distress and wanted to help, our common humanity overrode everything else.

They did me a great service, not only by giving me a hand but by reminding me not to judge all those in attendance by the signs they carried or by the lowest common denominator of a crowd at a time when I most needed that reminder.

In this age of division it was a breath of fresh air. Ladies I tip my fedora to you


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Around 10:30 things got exciting on media row at Fenway Park for an entirely unexpected reason.

As I was circling the park for the final time as I got half way down Van Ness street (by the Right Field grandstands )police suddenly required us to move from the area requiring us to move back to the intersection of Van Ness & Ipswich streets.

Mixed in with a very long line of media vans there was a plain brown van parked opposite a NECN media van. It wasn’t clear at first which van was causing the police concern the media van or the plain one but the public and the media were pushed back from the scene as the closed either end of the street.

After several minutes a black Boston police special operations van came down Van Ness

and parked on the opposite end of the street. The cameramen deployed at the crosswalk at Van Ness and Ipswich to film the police one of them lying on the soaking wet ground to get the best possible angle as the police deployed

After approx 15 minutes the all clear was given the public was allowed back down the street and the media was allowed to re-occupy their vans.

Although I was able to ascertain that the issue was with the media van rather than the plain one when I spoke to police on the scene (one of them wearing a K9 unit badge) they were unable to answer question, told me no media officer was going to be on the scene and the Sgt on duty suggested I call HQ’s media department for info that they could release.

When I called Boston police there were only able to confirm that they received a call concerning said van and deployed to investigate, no details beyond that: who called, why the van was considered suspicious, or what they were looking for, were forthcoming and there is no word on if the call was related to the possibility of President Obama attending the game.

Hopefully he will choose otherwise so the fans, players and media can concentrate on the thing that matters the possibility of the Boston Redsox Wrapping up a winning World Series at Fenway for the first time in nearly 100 years.

Update: Added video of the van row before the incident.

Update 2: CBS reports some details