Category: Protests and Actions

Police misconduct analogized to child abuse

| July 16, 2016 | 2 Replies

child abuse analogyWell . . . this sums it up perfectly. Found this on FB..

It’s not surprising, is it? There are bad doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers. We should make sure everyone out there is well trained. If they can’t be trained to do their job safely, they shouldn’t do it at all.

“Assuming one is against police when they’re against police brutality is like assuming one is anti-parent when they’re against child abuse.”

How about this quote too, to keep things in perspective?

brutality

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Myths of Authority in Practice

| August 22, 2014 | 2 Replies
Myths of Authority in Practice

I’ve been trying to come to terms with Ferguson since it began. The shooting of Michael Browne sparked a response that surprised many people and the counter responses have been equally surprising among certain people, not so much among certain others. Every time I start to write something I find what I intended to say had already been said better elsewhere. [More . . . ]

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Duck (And Cover…)

| January 4, 2014 | Reply
Duck (And Cover…)

By now those who don’t know about Phil Robertson and the debacle at A & E are most likely among those who have no access to any kind of media.  They have no idea what the world is doing, because they have no way of knowing what to pay attention to.  [More … ]

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Photography is not a crime. We need to keep reminding the police

| November 14, 2013 | Reply

Police have again determined that it is illegal to record them making arrests even when you are not up close or in any way interfering. From such an event in Boston, things have spiraled way out of control, as described to me by STL photographer Ed Crim, who read of this travesty and has issued this invitation to protest:

“Carlos Miller, of Miami, Florida, has been charged with witness intimidation by the Boston Massachusetts Police Department because he urged readers of his web site, Photography Is Not A Crime (PINAC) to call the Public Relations Officer of the Boston PD and protest the arrest of a videographer whose only offense was recording a public arrest. If you believe, as I do, that a Public Relations Officer should be willing to talk to the public about police policy, take a look at the petition and help protect our rights as photographers.”

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St. Louis Restore the Fourth protesters speak out against NSA spying

| July 5, 2013 | 1 Reply

Today I had the opportunity to interview some of the spirited demonstrators from Restore the Fourth. They spent more than six hours standing in the hot sun in front of the Old Courthouse (where Dred Scott was granted his freedom prior to the U.S. Supreme Court reversal). Their object was to educate the general public as to Fourth Amendment rights and the various ways that the federal government (including the NSA) is violating those rights.

I sympathize greatly with this cause. There is a reason why all of us invest in locks for our doors and passwords for our computers. We DO have an expectation of privacy when we call a friend to discuss wrenching life decision-making. We expect that NSA employees don’t have access to our bank account information, our emails, our Facebook messaging to individuals (or even to our posts when we’ve limited access to our Friends). How much trouble with our “computers” has been caused by the NSA invading our networks without warrants? Since when is it not search or seizure for a government employee to copy our personal communications? Many people react by thinking that there ought to be a law to prevent this, but there already is a law–the Fourth Amendment. This law should be observed or repealed after the People of the United States are fully informed about the extent that the government wants access to our personal communications and meta-data revealing our social networks. Since when is invading our privacy not a big deal, such that the government simply does it without probable cause? How much identity theft has been caused by a NSA employee or contractor swiping our personal identifiers or our financial information?

restore the fourth - St. Louis

In addition to invading our privacy, the NSA has destroyed the ability to do investigative journalism. The government has declared war on the right of American citizens to know what their own government is doing. Because investigative journalism is severely chilled, the only way for people to learn of government misconduct is when an extraordinarily courage individual such as Bradley Manning or Edward Snowden risks his life by leaking or blowing the whistle. And based on the way our own government treated Bradley Manning, future whistle blowers know that they will likely be tortured by the U.S. government, even prior to be charged with any crime or convicted of any crime.

Obviously, this is a fast moving story, and we will learn a lot about whether our elected representatives have the courage or the intelligence to go after the surveillance-industrial complex. I’m not optimistic, because our politicians cling to the strategy of selling us terrorism nightmares and pretending that they can protect us from those “terrorists” or “insurgents” who supposedly hate us for our freedom

The bottom line is that we all need to get involved with our representatives. There is much to be lost by a government policy that destroys the ability of citizens to keep their private things private.

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Twelve modern day patriots

| July 4, 2013 | Reply

Alternet provides a list of twelve modern-day patriots, many of them with criminal records earned out of conscience.

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Lee Camp unleashes ridicule toward big banks who censor chalk protester

| June 27, 2013 | Reply

Lee Camp says things that I think, but I also filter them. More and more, I’m feeling that being civil to the forces crushing democracy is not getting us anywhere. Therefore, Camp’s bursts of ridicule toward the rich and abusive are feeling cathartic. This episode takes a look at more abuses by big banks, especially a huge penalty levied toward a man who wrote his bank protests in chalk.

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Bradley Manning barred as S.F. Gay Pride Grand Marshal; abusive corporations welcomed.

| April 28, 2013 | Reply

Glen Greenwald reports that Bradley Manning may not be honored at this year’s San Francisco Gay Pride Parade, though corrupt and abusive corporations are welcome:

So apparently, the very high-minded ethical standards of Lisa L Williams and the SF Pride Board apply only to young and powerless Army Privates who engage in an act of conscience against the US war machine, but instantly disappear for large corporations and banks that hand over cash. What we really see here is how the largest and most corrupt corporations own not just the government but also the culture. Even at the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade, once an iconic symbol of cultural dissent and disregard for stifling pieties, nothing can happen that might offend AT&T and the Bank of America. The minute something even a bit deviant takes place (as defined by standards imposed by America’s political and corporate class), even the SF Gay Pride Parade must scamper, capitulate, apologize, and take an oath of fealty to their orthodoxies (we adore the military, the state, and your laws). And, as usual, the largest corporate factions are completely exempt from the strictures and standards applied to the marginalized and powerless. Thus, while Bradley Manning is persona non grata at SF Pride, illegal eavesdropping telecoms, scheming banks, and hedge-fund purveryors of the nation’s worst right-wing agitprop are more than welcome.

Greenwald also points out the flaw in Ms. Williams’ thinking, which is a conflation I often hear, even among many folks who think of themselves as progressive:

Equating illegal behavior with ignominious behavior is the defining mentality of an authoritarian – and is particularly notable coming from what was once viewed as a bastion of liberal dissent.

And how should one now characterize the Gay Pride parade?

Yet another edgy, interesting, creative, independent event has been degraded and neutered into a meek and subservient ritual that must pay homage to the nation’s most powerful entities and at all costs avoid offending them in any way.

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Why keep trying to clean up corrupt political systems?

| January 26, 2013 | 1 Reply

Why keep trying to clean up corrupt political systems? Glenn Greenwald offers this advice:

[O]ne indisputable lesson that history teaches is that any structures built by human beings – no matter how formidable or invulnerable they may seem – can be radically altered, or even torn down and replaced, by other human beings who tap into passions and find the right strategy. So resignation – defeatism – is always irrational and baseless, even when it’s tempting.

I think the power of ideas is often underrated. Convincing fellow citizens to see and care about the problems you see and finding ways to persuade them to act is crucial. So is a willingness to sacrifice. And to create new ways of activism, even ones that people look askance at, rather than being wedded to the approved conventional means of political change (the ballot box).

For reasons I alluded to above, putting fear (back) in the heart of those who wield power in the public and private sector is, to me, the key goal. A power elite that operates without fear of those over whom power is exercised is one that will be limitlessly corrupt and abusive.

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