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PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 10:50 am

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Some links to help understand the movement and some history of protest in the US... ... ington,_DC

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 2:18 pm

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Below, a small sampling of the less-lethal weapons being marketed to police officers as crowd control tools.

Spray it, don't say it: Defense Technology, a subsidiary of the weapons maker BAE Systems, markets these fire-extinguisher-sized cannisters of pepper spray as "crowd management" tools.

Defense Technology

Take off, hosers: "Crowds always outnumber the police force, so gaining control can be difficult…However, you cannot use lethal force...after all, they are citizens," notes Priax, the maker of the X-Stream Backpack, "a two-bottle OC (pepper spray) compressed air powered ejector weapon designed for use during large disturbances." For clean-up, the company recommends its Soothe-Away Plus wipes, which wash away burning pepper spray and are "rich in emollients and moisturizers that are used to reach deep in the skin and clean your pores."


Cloudy with a chance of pepper spray: For even more indiscriminate pepper spraying, ALS Technologies' Fog Generation Machine dispenses clouds of pepper spray, tear gas, or white smoke "to provide reliable, less-lethal, effective means of incapacitation."

ALS Technologies ... y-uc-davis

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 2:22 pm

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Weapons Part II

World's hottest gumball dispenser: In the UC-Davis video, campus police officers can be seen carrying PepperBall guns, which shoot gumball-sized pellets packed with pepper powder. Testimonials (PDF) on its website say PepperBalls "have been proven effective in civil disturbances, prison riots, and (other) law enforcement situations" and are "a prudent, practical choice for crowd control or for any situation which calls for use of non-lethal force."

Pepper Ball

Put a Super-Sock in it: For "dispersing large and unruly crowds," Combined Tactical Systems sells projectiles such as Super-Socks and Foam Batons. Police fired similar munitions at Occupy Oakland demonstrators in October, seriously injuring one who may have been hit in the head by a beanbag round. Safariland, another BAE company, says its bean bag "pain compliance round" is "most widely used as a crowd management tool by Law Enforcement and Corrections when there is a need to target individual instigators" and "may also prove valuable in riot situations where police lines and protesters are in close proximity."

Combined Tactical Systems

Don't tase us, bro: Taser describes its Shockwave system, a remotely controlled stack of Tasers, as "a perfect solution to implementing area denial, crowd control, and barricade defense capabilities."


Compliance without complaint: Finding willing test subjects for less-lethal gear isn't always easy. That's where LLOYD ("Less Lethal or You Die") the test dummy comes in. Covered in durable nylon and filled with packing peanuts ("this material provides a great response similar to a live person"), LLOYD can be shot repeatedly with less-lethal ammo without complaint—or legal repercussions.

Magnum Tactical

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 3:19 pm

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Health Hazards of Pepper Spray, written by health researchers at the University of North Carolina and Duke University, the sprays contain other risky materials:

Depending on brand, an OC spray may contain water, alcohols, or organic solvents as liquid carriers; and nitrogen, carbon dioxide, or halogenated hydrocarbons (such as Freon, tetrachloroethylene, and methylene chloride) as propellants to discharge the canister contents.(3) Inhalation of high doses of some of these chemicals can produce adverse cardiac, respiratory, and neurologic effects, including arrhythmias and sudden death.

Their paper focuses mostly, though, on the dangerous associated with pepper-based compounds. In 1997, for instance, researchers at the University of California-San Francisco discovered that the “hot” sensation of habeneros and their ilk was caused by capsaicin binding directly to proteins in the membranes of pain and heat sensing neurons. Capsaicins can activate these neurons at below body temperature, leading to a startling sensation of heat. Repeated exposure can wear the system down, depleting neurotransmitters, reducing the sensation of the pain. This knowledge has led to a number of medical treatments using capsaicins to manage pain.

Its very mechanism, though, should remind us to be wary. As the North Carolina researchers point out, any compound that can influence nerve function is, by definition, risky. Research tells us that pepper spray acts as a potent inflammatory agent. It amplifies allergic sensitivities, it irritates and damages eyes, membranes, bronchial airways, the stomach lining – basically what it touches. It works by causing pain – and, as we know, pain is the body warning us of an injury.

In general, these are short term effects. Pepper spray, for instance, induces a burning sensation in the eyes in part by damaging cells in the outer layer of the cornea. Usually, the body repairs this kind of injury fairly neatly. But with repeated exposures, studies find, there can be permanent damage to the cornea.

The more worrisome effects have to do with inhalation – and by some reports, California university police officers deliberately put OC spray down protestors throats. Capsaicins inflame the airways, causing swelling and restriction. And this means that pepper sprays pose a genuine risk to people with asthma and other respiratory conditions.

And by genuine risk, I mean a known risk, a no-surprise any police department should know this risk, easy enough to find in the scientific literature. To cite just three examples here:

1) Pepper Spray Induced Respiratory Failure Treated with Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation ... /961.short

2) Assessing the incapacitative effects of pepper spray during resistive encounters with the police. ... w=abstract

3) The Human Health Effects of Pepper Spray.

That second paper is from a law enforcement journal. And the summary for that last paper notes: Studies of the effects of capsaicin on human physiology, anecdotal experience with field use of pepper spray, and controlled exposure of correctional officers in training have shown adverse effects on the lungs, larynx, middle airway, protective reflexes, and skin. Behavioral and mental health effects also may occur if pepper spray is used abusively.

Pepper spray use has been suspected of contributing to a number of deaths that occurred in police custody. In mid-1990s, the U.S. Department of Justice cited nearly 70 fatalities linked to pepper-spray use, following on a 1995 report compiled by the American Civil Liberties Union of California. The ACLU report cited 26 suspicious deaths; it’s important to note that most involved pre-existing conditions such as asthma. But it’s also important to note a troubling pattern.

In fact, in 1999, the ACLU asked the California appeals court to declare the use of pepper spray to be dangerous and cruel. That request followed an action by northern California police officers against environmental protestors – the police were accused of dipping Q-tips into OC spray and applying them directly to the eyes of men and women engaged in an anti-logging protest.

“The ACLU believes that the use of pepper spray as a kind of chemical cattle prod on nonviolent demonstrators resisting arrest constitutes excessive force and violates the Constitution,” wrote association attorneys some 13 years ago.

Today, the University of California-Davis announced that it was suspending two of the police officers who pepper-sprayed protesting students. Eleven of those students were treated by paramedics on scene and two were sent to a hospital in Sacramento for more intensive treatment.

Undoubtedly, these injuries will factor into another scientific study of pepper spray, another acknowledgement that top of the Scoville scale is dangerous territory. But my own preference is that we start learning from these mistakes without waiting another 13 years or more, without engaging in yet another cycle of abuse and injury.

Lethal Force
May 4, 1970 when Ohio national guardsmen at Kent State University fired 67 rounds of live ammunition over a period of 13 seconds, killing four
peaceful demonstrator-students and wounding nine others, one of whom suffered permanent paralysis. No guardsmen were ever charged with the murders.


Killed (and approximate distance from the National Guard):
Jeffrey Glenn Miller; age 20; 265 ft (81 m) shot through the mouth; killed instantly
Allison B. Krause; age 19; 343 ft (105 m) fatal left chest wound; died later that day
William Knox Schroeder; age 19; 382 ft (116 m) fatal chest wound; died almost an hour later in a hospital while undergoing surgery
Sandra Lee Scheuer; age 20; 390 ft (120 m) fatal neck wound; died a few minutes later from loss of blood

Wounded (and approximate distance from the National Guard):
Joseph Lewis Jr.; 71 ft (22 m); hit twice in the right abdomen and left lower leg
John R. Cleary; 110 ft (34 m); upper left chest wound
Thomas Mark Grace; 225 ft (69 m); struck in left ankle
Alan Michael Canfora; 225 ft (69 m); hit in his right wrist
Dean R. Kahler; 300 ft (91 m); back wound fracturing the vertebrae, permanently paralyzed from the chest down
Douglas Alan Wrentmore; 329 ft (100 m); hit in his right knee
James Dennis Russell; 375 ft (114 m); hit in his right thigh from a bullet and in the right forehead by birdshot, both wounds minor
Robert Follis Stamps; 495 ft (151 m); hit in his right buttock
Donald Scott MacKenzie; 750 ft (230 m); neck wound

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2011 12:30 am

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How to Be a Liberal-Conservative-Socialist-Anarchist by J Purdy

When I argued last week that treating "socialism" as a slur shuts us off from some important and humane ideas, the posting drew a long string of comments (nearly 1k at last count). Naturally, lots of people want to know what it would mean to take socialism seriously, short of collectivizing the means of production -- and, if I just mean that I support good public education and universal health care, why use a controversial word for ideas that much of the developed world shares?

I think it's a very fair question. It's one I've also been asking myself about anarchism after spending some time in late October with the Wall Street Occupiers and being hugely impressed by the moral ambition and relative success of their attempt to live in a humane, voluntary, non-hierarchical way. It didn't leave me ready to declare myself an anarchist. It did convince me that there's real force in the anarchist complaint about how we usually live, and that, at least, I should be acting more like an anarchist -- more spontaneously generous and cooperative, less reflexively accepting of hierarchy -- day to day.

This essay is a very short sketch of why anarchism socialism, liberalism, and conservatism all deserve to speak to us. (It's inspired by a decades-old essay in which the philosopher Leszek Kolakowsi gave the same kind of list, with rather different emphases.) Each approach to politics and social life starts by seeing things that are true and morally important. These truths conflict with one another, though: some do not always hold as facts, and some are at odds as values. What I've done here is to give a quick list of these important, inconsistent truths. I think they should all have a claim on us, but that we often can't acknowledge them all at the same time.

I hope other people might recognize their own divided loyalties in this essay. I also think it casts political division in a helpful light. So much of our politics is insubstantive or irrational, and we often talk about our disagreements in terms of psychology, personality, and taste. Fair enough: but there are also abiding reasons for different, conflicting commitments. Maybe listing them will at least help us get clearer on where we disagree.

This is quick, crude, and polemical, so I apologize in advance for half a hundred disputable points and a baker's dozen of simple errors.

Liberal Truths
•Our power to take responsibility for our own lives by thinking and choosing, rather than take dictation from tradition, is both precious and heroic. Individual rights, political democracy, and market economics are all expressions of this power.
•Many social distinctions, such as those based on race, sex, and sexual orientation, are prejudices that obscure an underlying moral equality. We should work to make those distinctions less important.
•At least some of life's benefits and burdens should be distributed according to effort, talent, achievement, or some combination of those. This only makes sense, though, if there is some real equality in people's opportunities to develop their talents.
•Laws that enforce equal treatment can change people's attitudes and the whole society. Reforms like desegregating schools and forbidding employment discrimination are worthwhile even though they sometimes run aground on deep-seated social attitudes or raw economic power.
•Consciousness is an important force in history. Changed consciousness can change lives, and history is just all the lives that have been and will be. Because the ways that people understand themselves and see one another affect the whole social world, moral reform and appeals to conscience matter.

Conservative Truths
•Tradition matters. Sometimes what is familiar is, for just that reason, better than what is new. It is legitimate to prefer what you know, for better and worse, to an abstract promise of something better.
•A pair of threats haunts social and political life, rooted in the underbelly of human nature. One of these is disorder: people recurrently hurt one another, often in brutal ways, when conventional constraints give way. Radical efforts at reform, signally revolutions, sometime break those constraints. The other threat is abuse of power: big modern states and big ideologies provide new opportunities to take advantage of others and new rationales for doing so.
•When a majority cannot recognize itself in the government it lives under, legitimacy is at risk, disorder may follow, and abuse of power becomes more likely. It is sometimes necessary and appropriate to appeal to tradition and sentimental ties that join individuals in group and national solidarity.
•People may not always want to be "free" or do well under what liberals and socialists prize as freedom. We are often piggish, directionless, addictive, self-immolating. We are also superstitious, and seemingly superstition-seeking.
•In light of this bad evidence about how we are, it is not quite reassuring enough to explain it away all human depravity as the product of unjust circumstances. All reform has to be alert to the danger of doing more harm than good, of inadvertently breaking important sources of order or solidarity. Reform needs self-correcting mechanisms, steady attention to abuses of power, and a willingness to admit that sometimes slowness and caution are virtues.
•Maybe it is just as important for people to be built as to be freed. This is the work of discipline and tradition.

Socialist Truths
•Equality matters. Perfect equality may be unreachable and even undesirable, but the inequality of wealth and opportunity today leaves vast human potential undeveloped for no good reason. This is a form of brutality.
•An important part of individual freedom is control over work, which is how most of us spend many of our best hours and years. A society should be judged not just by the rights it gives its people, but the work it makes possible for them.
•Left to their own devices, markets concentrate wealth in individuals, families, and corporations. Concentrated wealth undermines equality, of course, and also feeds back into politics and undermines democracy.
•Market crises, like the one we are living through now, shape people's lives and opportunities in ways that are too important to be left to bankers and billionaires.
•For all these reasons, political control over key features of economic life is important. This may include regulating finance, guaranteeing high-quality education independent of the market, strengthening unions, and regulating labor markets for both fairness and mobility. Without this sort of regulation, both liberal rights and conservative traditions will have less real value.
•Human nature contains as much promise as threat. We are deeply products of our circumstances, so the future might be as different from the present as we are from our medieval ancestors. Moreover, history gives examples of solidarity, creativity, and the invention of new and viable forms of order - proof of the human power to recreate ourselves. Considering the disadvantages that weighed down on these efforts, we should take them all the more seriously as lights for the future.

Anarchist Truths
•There is a human appetite for cooperation and reciprocity that is just as basic as the appetites of self-interest. Sometimes working together is better than working separately, just because it means being together.
•Coercion is subtle, multifarious, and awful. We spend much of life in relationships and interactions that are structured by differences in power and by mandatory roles. This costs us the chance to know more about one another and about ourselves.
•The ideal of arranging social life without coercion and hierarchy is not a lazy fantasy: anyone who has had any involvement in it knows that it takes tremendous discipline.
•This ideal deepens and tries to perfect some of the most basic commitments of modern social life. Any voluntary and non-destructive act that gets us closer to it is worthwhile for its own sake.

You may deny that some of these "truths" are true, or give some much more weight than others. You may want to reclassify some of them: certainly they overlap, and some are shared. Taken together, though, they strike me as plausible and as a making a reasonable case that we need all four lines of thinking to grapple with our very confusing times.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 10:11 am

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That chant went "Who do you serve?" that November day. If you saw the video you understand the outrage.

The answer came late Tuesday, some 8 months later. You serve no one in your brutality against passive protesters.

Better late than never. He continued to collect his $110,243.12 salary during his paid leave while the attack was reviewed by IA and an independent panel.

The DA has not filed charges as of yet, but several lawsuits are pending.

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