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Harry Touart, San Clemente

I stumbled upon a highly organized protest gathering at the Outlets at San Clemente on Jan. 20. While grabbing a coffee at Starbucks around 8 a.m., I noticed close to 200 people gathering under the parking structure. Most were carrying antigovernment slogans, such as slurs toward President Donald Trump, #Resist and #BlackLivesMatter signs. Several people were wearing those ridiculous looking protest beanies with the two knots on top.

I stopped by to ask the security guard what was up. He told me an organization had rented out the parking structure to bus everyone to an anti-government protest. This was obviously a very clandestine place to set up and well planned, out of the public eye, hidden inside the parking structure. There were four large buses inside the structure that were loaded with people to ship to a protest. Some political organization spent a large sum of money to set this up.

If the owners of the Outlets of San Clemente are supporting this antigovernment movement then I will never spend another dime there and will boycott the Outlets, which already has a sore spot with much of the local population, and now they are offering support to disrupt our republic. What is it about these people that want to see our nation fail?

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comments (15)

  • Nothing was “covert” about this….it was broadcast all over the world. The meeting place was simply a spot that offered parking and easy access. There is nothing “anti-government” about having a protest. It is a patriotic duty to use the First Amendment. Actually, most of the protestors LIKE government, unlike the dismantling of it that the Trump Administration is doing.

    Contrary to “wishing to see our nation fail” the recent “resisting” (nothing wrong, evil, underhanded about that….compared to your hero who ignores 98% of the congressional vote to sanction Russia, but just ignores it and invites one of their chief spies to the White House), it is Trump’s actions that are setting us up to fail. And maybe not just us, but the world to fail. He’s a danger, he’s a fool.

    Do try to keep up Harry. Clearly you’re locked into a Fox Fake News world. I urge to open your eyes and become a responsible citizen.

    • I’d like to add to what Lola said. There were 5 buses not 4, and a lot more than 200 people, only in San Clemente. The Women’s March was likely the largest single-day demonstration in recorded U.S. history. In total, the women’s march involved about 4,200,000 people in the United States, the march took place in areas that were urban and rural, red and blue. About 68 percent of the marches had 1,000 or fewer participants. Overall, there were 297 marches in states Trump carried in the election, with between 721,000 and 1,005,000 total marchers. In red states such as Montana and Alaska, many people marched — if you use “many” to mean more than 1 percent of the state’s population using low estimates. There were sister marches in international locales ranging from Antarctica to Norway. To put this in perspective, the combined armed forces of the U.S. military — including the Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps reserves, National Guard, and Coast Guard — comprise just over 2 million people.
      Welcome to America.

  • This is one of the most ridiculous Letters to the editor I think I’ve ever read. Were you trying to be funny?
    There wasn’t anything anti government about this. I’m pretty sure supporting a President who is more concerned about protecting Russia than democracy is anti-government though. Just because these people have a different opinion than you does not mean they want our government to fail, in fact I think it’s quite the opposite.

  • Typical liberal snooty rant. The dangers were a President siccing the IRS on conservative groups he didn’t like, a political party spying on American citizens they didn’t like, ISIS wreaking havoc on the middle east creating a humanitarian crisis in Syria, the FBI and DOJ turning a blind eye to a Secretary of State who stored classified information on an unprotected private email server, selling 20% of the US Plutonium reserves to the Russians, giving $150Bl to Iran, a stagnant economy that was slipping into a recession with GDP declining from 2.9% in 2015 to 1.6% in 2016, flooding the country with illegal alien criminals, etc. all of which are no longer threats. I am no Trump fan but you can’t argue with the results. Ignorance must be bliss in the land of the “Resistance”.

    • Yes, it was a bit snooty. But at least it was informed, unlike Mr. Touart. Let’s go through your list: 1) IRS going after conservative groups because Obama told them to? Absolute balderdash. Obama didn’t authorize anything like that. However, historically, the IRS definitely has gone after liberal groups. Those groups? They deserved a closer look, because of how they were handling their books. 2) ISIS is Obama’s fault? Seriously, get off the faux news. ISIS is an extremist group, not a nation, that is difficult to destroy, but we have been trying since its inception…and many of our actions (like starting wars in Iraq based on lies) have emboldened ISIS. Also, remind me again who actually dealt the blow to Osama Bin Laden? 3) As for Clinton’s personal server….do you also think Condoleeza Rice should be indicted for that? In both cases of these Secretaries of State, no harm was done; no American lives and interests were compromised. 4)The “Uranium Deal” is not at all what you insinuate. Best to leave aside the Breitbart editor types and try fact-checking sites. Stagnating economy? It was a slow and steady and improvement under Obama, no thanks to Republicans who obstructed his every move. Ignorance is bliss, for men who look only at their stock portfolio in the last few months (BTW….how did you like today’s performance?) OH…..and none of this has anything to do with people and buses in parking lots. HILLARY IS NOT PRESIDENT! OBAMA IS NOT PRESIDENT!

      • Obama, law breaker in chief and the worst president in American history, rapidly becoming the worst ex-president in American history

        @ Lola Ford

        Your statement, “Absolute balderdash.”

        Balderdash, really? If it was balderdash, why did Obama acknowledge its occurrence and then blame it on a couple of overzealous agents in the Cincinnati office, agents who are livid that they are blamed for following the directives they received from Washington?

        Why did Lois Lerner, after claiming her innocence, plead the 5th, a tactic one employs only when they fear prosecution? Who was she protecting?

        Why did the conservative group initially called Media Trackers, get denied for over 14 months but when they changed their name (as an experiment) to Greenhouse Solutions, they were given the okay in three weeks?

        Why were the numerous Tea Party groups’ applications routinely and significantly delayed?

        Why did John Eastman of the National Organization for Marriage have to sue the IRS for leaking their entire, confidential tax information including their donor list to the Human Rights Campaign, a homosexual lobby group who, like Obama, were opposed to traditional marriage? The IRS acknowledged they deliberately leaked this information, thru a middle man, and paid Eastman’s organization $50K of yours and my tax dollars. When Eastman asked the Attorney General, Eric Holder (the only cabinet member in history to be found in contempt of congress), to prosecute the middle man who had illegally transferred this info., Holder said nobody will be prosecuted. When asked if he would give immunity to this middle man (the man was pleading the 5th) in return for testifying against those who directed him, Holder replied no. He and Obama weren’t interested in finding out who authorized this violation of Internal Revenue Code, 26 US 72.12 because it would obviously lead back to them. They were in violation of the Hatch Act and recall that Nixon was impeached, in part, for using the IRS to target his political enemies.

        From the above news article we find this quote:

        “The Department of Justice, righting the wrongs that the Obama IRS committed when it waged an egregiously partisan campaign against Tea Party and other conservative groups, has reached settlements with the roughly 400 groups that were targeted.

        On Thursday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the decision that affected groups whose tax-exempt status was significantly delayed by the IRS dating back to 2013, “based solely on their viewpoint or ideology.” Not only will the groups be paid, but the IRS has offered an apology.”

        Your statement, “ISIS is an extremist group, not a nation, that is difficult to destroy…”

        Obama was warned what would happen if he pulled out of Iraq too early but he ignored the advice of his generals and GW. Then, in his attempts to weaken al-Assad, he provided weapons to those who simply joined ISIS, ie., Obama is partially responsible for their growth if not existence. His feckless weak action there did nothing to stop the massacres but since Trump came into office, ISIS has been severely diminished. BTW, the war in Iraq was NOT based on lies, at least not lies from the Bush administration. All our intelligence agencies felt Saddam was developing WMD.
        Also, ISIS never existed until Obama was in office.

        Your statement, “Also, remind me again who actually dealt the blow to Osama Bin Laden?”

        That would be the US military, the men and women Obama did his darndest to discourage and undermine, and whose capabilities to defend and protect this country his policies eviscerated.

        Condoleezza Rice did not send or receive classified material on her personal e-mail account, she rarely ever used it. She also did NOT have a personal server and Comey testified that it was an unknown as to the damage. Here is a guide to Clinton’s e-mail scandal:

        At the above we find this quote,

        “Among Clinton’s predecessors, only Colin Powell (Jan. 20, 2001–Jan. 26, 2005) used a personal email account for government business. Madeleine Albright (Jan. 23, 1997–Jan. 20, 2001) did not use email at all, and Condoleezza Rice (Jan. 26, 2005–Jan. 20, 2009) did not use a personal email account to conduct government business, the IG report said.” AND “No other secretary of state maintained a private server that was used for government business.”

        Following millions in donations to the Clinton Foundation and $500K to Bill for a speech to a Russian bank tied to Putin, Hillary signed off on the deal to sell 20% of US Uranium mining interests to the Russians. See here for news on the Russian deal:

        From the above we find this quote:

        “They also obtained an eyewitness account — backed by documents — indicating Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow, sources told The Hill.”

        Your statement, “But at least it was informed, unlike Mr. Touart.”

        Lola Ford, you set a very low bar for being “informed”.

        • So the Daily Wire is your go-to source? Just as I thought….not facts, not legitimate news, but some chump writing a column for an extremely questionable online “site” of misinformation.

  • Mr. Touart’s letter about the protesters staging their march in the Outlets parking lot reveals a perspective that marks these days as such a dark time for America. Mr. Touart seems to forget that protesting politicians and government actions is exactly what a free society does. It’s the reason we have the First Amendment. While we may disagree with the point-of-view of any protest, as Americans we must acknowledge – and be proud of – the right of everyone to gather and publicly communicate their grievances.

    Instead, Mr. Touart suggests foul play, that gathering to load buses for transportation to a protest is “clandestine” because it occurs in full view of everyone in a parking lot. He complains, without evidence, that “some political organization spent a large sum of money to set this up.” Even if that’s true, so what? Someone has to pay for the buses. He implies that coordinating the logistics of transporting people to a protest is somehow unpatriotic or unethical, and that it should be prohibited.

    He claims that the Outlets are offering support to “disrupt our republic”. Protests are supposed to disrupt what they’re protesting by changing hearts and minds. But more insidiously, Mr. Touart implies that it would be OK if the Outlets rented its parking lot out to groups he agrees with, but not groups he disagrees with. That is simply repressing free speech.

    Mr. Touart wonders “What is it about these people that want to see our nation fail?” Perhaps he should realize that protests – regardless of what’s being protested – is an attempt to fix what ails our nation, not destroy it. The very act of voicing a protest is an act of patriotism, whether we agree with the protestor or not. Mr. Touart is wrong to advocate repressing the peaceful protest and free speech of any group.

  • This is the most ludicrous thing I’ve read all day. I was standing next to that security guard you were talking to and he made it very clear that it was simply a meeting area and the outlets were in no way for or against the woman’s march. You’re probably the person who called the OCSD on the people for an erroneous report of protesting at the outlets.

  • I was saddened to read Harry Touart’s opinion about people who want to see our nation fail” gather on Jan 20th at the Outlets of San Clemente for a protest.
    On the contrary, I feel that anyone who is not presently standing up for our constitution and rule of law is just idly standing by watching our democracy fail. Those people were gathered in a space at the Outlets to not interfere with shoppers and were all individuals paying for their own transportation; no political organization paid them. They were attending one of the many nationwide peaceful Women’s Marches (maybe Mr. Touart heard they were even held worldwide?). These people march to keep our democracy strong.
    It is appalling to daily witness our president’s overreach of power, intended to be limited by our government’s separation of powers. Our president appears to be making Russia happy by making Americans lose faith in our government. Senator John McCain recently stated, “Attacks on the Department of Justice and FBI serve Putin’s purpose.”
    Thank goodness, we still live in a country where Mr. Touart and I can still both voice our opinions and where the Outlets of San Clemente to do not restrict our freedom of speech. I certainly hope our nation will survive as a democracy through these divisive times.

  • I was gladdened to read Harry Touart’s opinion about the women’s protest and appreciate his concern that they might be undermining the success of America. The perpetually agitated left has been “protesting” since the news of Trump’s historic upset over Hillary and though my hat is off to the ladies for achieving such huge numbers at their many “protests”, I too wonder what it was all about. 

    Upon reviewing dozens if not scores of photos from these events, cartoon drawings or illustrations of female private parts seemed to dominate as did messages supporting abortion on demand. I fully support peaceful protesting, it is a necessary component to gather like-minded folks and let the government know how you feel. However, calling it a “women’s protest” seems misleading when one realizes that conservative women were persona non grata, or at a minimum, their views were. A more honest title may have been “a leftists women’s protest” to distinguish it from women who would, or did find the message counter productive for our country if not down right hateful.

    I suppose we should all be thankful these “protests” didn’t go the way of most leftist, anti-Trump, or anti-free speech, protests where rioting, vandalism, blocking highways, and assault are the order of the day. I was pleased NOT to see the usual photos and videos of children being dragged by their parents through a forest of profanity-laced signs and posters and people shouting obscenities and throwing objects at law enforcement. In short, perhaps the left has learned to behave itself in a civilized manner…one can only hope.

    As to the charges that Mr. Touart, who I don’t personally know, wants to repress free speech, if so, that is certainly not in his letter. Does any reader think Mr. Touart doesn’t have a right to boycott any establishment he chooses? And if the Outlets decided to deny supporting the protests by not allowing bus service, that also would not constitute a violation of the First Amendment.

    Lastly, if the “protests” weren’t just a continuation of the Trump derangement syndrome, then why the signs encouraging Americans to “resist”? Resist what?

    • Perhaps if you frequented sites that aren’t extremely right wing and inflammatory, you might have seen protest signs that were remarkable positive and patriotic. Then again, someone who uses the term “trump derangement syndrome” has his head squarely in the Limbaugh/Hannity/Coulter cesspool.

      As for the purpose of the protests? Besides being a huge rallying cry against the overreaching executive office, it has encouraged many people to get involved politically and not take our democracy for granted. Oh, and check out some of the losses incurred by Republicans in recent elections…losses in republican strongholds. You better believe protests and marches have had an effect.

      • Leftist hate is dividing America

        @ Lola Ford

        Wrong Lola, I didn’t use any news site for the pics I reviewed, right or left. I simply typed in the women’s march and went to images. I did so because I wanted as many pics as possible to more accurately reflect the environment of the marches, not just a handful some news agency felt was news worthy.

        In those pictures, I noticed one that said, “White women voted for Trump”. Since this was an anti-Trump protest, this sign was racist and considering that the racist group Black Lives Matter was in attendance, or at least signs indicated their attendance, the unbiased must ask, are the women attending these protests condoning racism? Would these women feel comfortable protesting alongside white supremacists or do they feel racism directed at whites is okay?

        Should parents bring their children to these events given the prominent display of pictures of female private parts and should they let young girls carry signs that say, “The future is nasty”?

        How about the profanity on the signs (admittedly, far less than at other leftist protests and minus the violence), including the use of the F word. Is that something you’re proud of?

        How patriotic is the message, “We must become ungovernable”? Or where is the positivity in pictures of our president, altered to make him look like Hitler or with his face in a pile of dung? Or the message, “Destroy the patriarchy, not the planet” and “power to the p*ssys” and “this machine kills fascists”?
        Are these folks suffering PTSD, President Trump Stress Disorder?

        You claim the protest was “a huge rallying cry against the overreaching executive office…” Really? Any examples of this over reach? Examples such as when Obama bugged the offices of the AP, or named Fox reporter, James Rosen, a criminal co-conspirator, or when, apparently, the government broke into the computer of CBS reporter, Sharyl Attkisson?

        From wiki: “In 2013, the United States Department of Justice, under Attorney General Eric Holder, came under scrutiny from the media and some members of Congress for subpoenaing phone records from the Associated Press (AP) and naming Fox News reporter, James Rosen, a “criminal co-conspirator” under the Espionage Act of 1917 in order to gain access to his personal emails and phone records.”

        From the same article: “An editorial board of the New York Times wrote: “With the decision to label a Fox News television reporter a possible ‘co-conspirator’ in a criminal investigation of a news leak, the Obama administration has moved beyond protecting government secrets to threatening fundamental freedoms of the press to gather news.”[14]

        Dana Milbank of the Washington Post stated: “The Rosen affair is as flagrant an assault on civil liberties as anything done by George W. Bush’s administration, and it uses technology to silence critics in a way Richard Nixon could only have dreamed of. To treat a reporter as a criminal for doing his job — seeking out information the government doesn’t want made public — deprives Americans of the First Amendment freedom on which all other constitutional rights are based.”[15]

        Same article: “On May 23, 2013, NBC confirmed with the Justice Department that Holder had personally signed off on the Rosen case.”

        Same article: “David E. Sanger, veteran chief Washington correspondent of The New York Times, for example stated that the revised guidelines were “just formalizing what was observed in past administrations. The guidelines worked pretty well until the Obama administration came in.”[24] “

        And from a 5/13/13 article we find this, “THE DEPARTMENT OF Justice secretly obtained phone records for reporters and editors who work for the Associated Press news agency, including records for the home phones and cell phones of individual journalists, according to the AP, in what the agency characterized as “serious interference with AP’s constitutional rights to gather and report the news.”

        NYTs, same date, “WASHINGTON — Federal investigators secretly seized two months of phone records for reporters and editors of The Associated Press in what the news organization said Monday was a “serious interference with A.P.’s constitutional rights to gather and report the news.”

        And from the same article, “In an angry letter to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Monday, Gary Pruitt, the president and chief executive of The A.P., called the seizure, a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into its news gathering activities.”

        NPR reported the same on 5/14/13.
        The above, from CBS news, is CBS news reporter, Sharyl Attkisson describing how her computer was broken into by a sophisticated hacker, precisely as she was reporting on the Obama administration’s malfeasance in Benghazi and Fast and Furious. CBS confirmed her computer had been hacked.

        The Huff Post also reported on Sharyl’s hacked computer…article titled similar to the CBS one.

        I’ve deliberately elaborated at great length from multiple news sites to minimize your hand waving and excuses blaming inconvenient news on chumps from right wing blogs. I hope I won’t be hearing from you how the Huffpo and NYTs are right wing sites. As for me, I attempt to address and evaluate the information provided, not just ignore it because it comes from those who don’t share my world view or the facts don’t comport with my personal philosophy. I wish others would do the same.

  • Judging by how many people that have told me good job for exposing this event. I feel totally vindicated. Due to the few posts that attack me regarding the letter to the editor. My reporting to the SC Times of this protest is now totally validated and proven. Truth hurts!

    My whole point was to expose the events taking place in our community without permit processes applied for. The 300 people who attended is not even 0.5% of the over 65,000 that reside in San Clemente and surrounding Beach Cities.

    The Outlets of San Clemente serve the general public and should remain 100% Apolitical. Regarding the reply “the protest were advertised all over Facebook remark” Seriously FACEBOOK!

    FB advertises to people through targeted algorithms. That’s who gets these notifications.

    Thanks Mark F Zuckerberg for helping divide the country ?

    • Mr. Touart’s letter to the editor is his own opinion. San Clemente Times has neither confirmed nor denied anything he had alleged up to this point.

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