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September 3, 2008

Minneapolis / St. Paul: asking the right questions
Posted by Patrick at 05:42 PM *

Below, a guest post from longtime Twin Cities resident Elise Matthesen, regarding recent violence there.

Who are these people?

Seriously, who are these people? I mean the person breaking that store window and the person or persons who smashed the windows of that police car: who are they? Are they protestors? Are they idiots just pretending to be anarchists, but whose actual agenda is to get their rocks off on breaking things? (I’ve seen one blog post describing how most of the self-described anarchists in the breakaway group yelled at the window-breaker to stop, and asked what the hell the vandals were doing; the observer said that some of the anarchists then went and cleaned up the trash in the street from the dumpster* somebody pushed over.) Are they agents provocateurs, sent in undercover to do something bad and give authorities a reason to gas everybody else?

I’ve been on a business trip since August 20, and have been watching the stories of what’s happening in my home cities from afar, and it’s making me crazy. On the one hand, raids where the people conducting them allegedly don’t show the warrant and won’t identify themselves are completely out of line, and it’s not like the outfit conducting them has been a model of probity and right action lately. On the other hand, if what the affidavit and request-for-warrant says is to be believed, some folks have been practicing some pretty alarming things, including allegedly setting off a practice incendiary device this spring not all that far from my neighborhood. On the other other hand, people from my church were at the protests, and they are shocked and appalled at how the law enforcement personnel are being used, and are forwarding various letters and accounts of it around. On the other other other hand, I’m not there, and I don’t know firsthand what happened, and awful things are going down, and it’s making me crazy.

And somebody I care about is there, working in a building a block away from where that window-smashing photo was taken, and he’s really disquieted—both by the idiots who broke stuff and gave law enforcement the excuse to use tear gas and pepper spray and concussion grenades and who-knows-what-all, and by the overwhelming riot squad and other enforcement presence on the streets of St. Paul and the Mississippi River, which is apparently being patrolled by a Coast Guard vessel with what looks like twin 50-caliber machine guns. (No confirmation on the exact nature of the alleged armaments, so maybe somebody could get a picture and identify that for sure, please? And weren’t the Canadians complaining about armed Coast Guard vessels drilling on the Great Lakes recently?) I’m not real thrilled by the idea of that boat with guns. Or by seeing a photo of his usual smoking porch, full of riot cops.

While I’m mulling all these things over, a report comes in via the comment thread in the Making Light post about the RNC that one of the posters knows the protester in the this story who was tasered while lying down. The poster says this person is nonviolent, is committed to non-violent protest. The tasered guy, who according to his friend has been beaten pretty badly, manages to get word out, while in custody, saying that contrary to reports, medical attention is not being given to injured protesters in custody, and that transgender and queer protesters are being harrassed and that the holding situation is not sufficient to guarantee their safety. My stomach turns over.

And through all of this, I weigh the comments various people I know and care about and trust. I hear from one friend with a brother in the Sheriff’s Department, which conducted the raids before the convention (and is, according to some bloggers, reportedly still holding a number of protestors from those raids without adequately informing either them or the outside world as to the charges and the protesters’ physical condition), and he talks about how protest is one thing, but smashing stuff and threatening people is another. And, you know, I can’t argue with that, but…something’s wrong with the whole picture here.

I cannot help but remember some people I knew in college, one of whom turned out to be an informant and provocateur who infiltrated antiwar and other related groups. I thought of it again, sharply, when I read this LiveJournal post about a past event. I look at that photograph, where the “protesters” being detained and the officers ostensibly arresting them have matching footwear, and I read that no charges were pressed against the “protesters,” even though they were the ones committing acts of vandalism, and I cannot help but think “provocateurs.” Which brings me to the question I started with: Who are these people?

Seriously. We have a lot of people who can look at photos and figure this stuff out. Supposedly the pro-surveillance folks are doing it to us. Let’s put our heads together and figure out who really broke stuff at the demonstration, and then let’s find out if they’re really regular protesters, idiots with a taste for vandalism and no political savvy, or provocateurs. Let’s find out if they even get charged.

Let’s find out who these people are.


(*) From photo #53 in the Minnesota Public Radio photostream.

Comments on Minneapolis / St. Paul: asking the right questions:
#1 ::: Laura G ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 06:24 PM:

This reminds me of what happened in Seattle. The peaceful protesters were overshadowed by the violent ones, who weren't even from town, and the police cracked down on everyone. People who lived and worked in Seattle (like myself) wrongly blamed the protesters at first. But it wasn't the majority.

Like you say, who are these people?

#2 ::: Ambar ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 06:38 PM:


thank you for being more coherent about all this than I am capable of being right now.

Remember when this story was making the rounds?

#3 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 06:40 PM:

Detail observation of first linked picture which may or may not be at all helpful:

His hair looks bleached, but could possibly be naturally that blond. I don't see dark eyebrows.

The bandana looks like one you can buy at Hot Topic.

The backpack appears to have "4:20" written on it in silver pen -- slang for smoking marijuana. There's something else written under it but it's too small and indistinct for me to read.

However, in my experience, people who doodle on their backpacks tend to doodle all over them, and he hasn't. May mean nothing, may mean someone trying to look like an anarchist and not quite doing it, dunno, just putting it out there.

Likewise, the backpack appears to have a suede bottom panel. While this is a common design for backpacks, a lot of the hardcore punk anarchist protester types I know are pretty strict vegans and wouldn't use a leather bottomed backpack. Also inconclusive.

Definitely doing the young male thing of underwear sticking up over pants waistband, probably not just from the movement involved, because the pants are belted with underwear showing.

Belt, with two rows of pyramid studs, appears slightly too big for him. Underside of belt tongue looks like leather, but I could be wrong, and synthetic versions of those belts are widely available.

Other than that, I have nothing to contribute.

#4 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 06:49 PM:

Good thinking. If enough images are gathered on the web, they can be searched by many people. would be needed. No resources to contribute, though, except perhaps some time.

Dare we hope that the Democratic Party would provide some help?

#5 ::: Brennen ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 06:54 PM:

The 4:20 bit on the cheap backpack (is that an Eastpak?) also struck me as a bit odd, but then again it might be the kind of item someone had lying around as a throwaway, so doesn't necessarily mean anything...

#6 ::: Darth Paradox ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 06:55 PM:

Are they agents provocateurs, sent in undercover to do something bad and give authorities a reason to gas everybody else?

This is my guess. My sister was jailed last year at the Critical Mass "riot" that the Minneapolis police used to practice their suppression tactics ahead of the RNC. That was provoked by bicycle riders in disguise who'd never been seen at a mass before, and then the police responded with overwhelming force and in sufficient numbers to make it obvious that they were prepared for and expecting a disturbance from a usually peaceful group.

#7 ::: Lola Raincoat ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 07:07 PM:

Here is an account of the arrest and mistreatment of my friend's brother, a young Minneapolis resident who was only trying to attend a concert. You might want to read the earlier post in Blacksquirrel's blog as well, for context. This happened on September 1-2.

I have never met her family but I have met her; she's a very quiet, honest, gentle person, and I expect her brother is too. For what it's worth I can vouch that this is an honest account.

So that's one of those arrested who is not a violent protester - nor a protester at all.

#8 ::: Ambar ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 07:20 PM:

Hanne Blank's open letter. "I encourage those of you whose local newspapers or TV news outlets are similarly not covering the frightening and extremely violating events going on around the Republican National Convention in St. Paul to write a similar letter to the relevant editors."

#9 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 07:24 PM:

I saw the article in the Star-Tribune which stated that the FBI had infiltrated peace groups and was reminded of COINTELPRO, which as I recall was one of the abuses the Church hearings uncovered and legislated against.

#10 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 07:29 PM:

I remember when I was a kid in the 1960s my dad telling me about marching in peace marches and that there was a certain group of people who would come out of nowhere and run to the front of the peace march and start smashing windows, and that those were the people who would get their pictures in the paper. My husband David talks about a similar moment: of attending demonstrations in the 60s at Columbia University in which speakers said things like "The issues are not the issues; the issue is revolution." That scared the hell out of him and he stopped going.

Perhaps the windowsmashers are the more disaffected than thou; or maybe they like getting on CNN.

But at this point, I who would never smash a store window am pretty darned disaffected. I am sick to death of the paranoia economy in which being hassled and scrutinized every moment is an amenity that we all pay for. So it's a little hard to envision someone that much more sincerely disaffected who needs to trash the city.

Maybe some people have the need to play chicken with they paranoia economy; perhaps they are its flip side, maybe they are what happens when you grow up in a gated community.

Or maybe they are just sociopaths out for a good time. But what is indeed hard to understand is how someone that disaffected would still be in the US when the Candadian border is so close.

Be friendly to strangers. In 2008, that is one of the most revolutionary of acts.

#11 ::: Redshift ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 07:34 PM:

Emptywheel over at Firedoglake had some info back in May about Minneapolis' Joint Terrorist Task Force recruiting people to infiltrate peace groups; I'll try to point people there over here to help.

#12 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 07:40 PM:

#11: Ah. We have met the enemy and he is U.S. Eeek.

#13 ::: Yarrow ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 07:46 PM:

I know Jason myself. He's part of the Pagan Cluster, as are the folks who were driving the Permaculture bus that was seized, Elliot Hughes (also badly beaten), and Riyanna.

I've been in actions with the Cluster on several occasions. We do non-violent direct action, which includes civil disobedience as well as the bioremediation in New Orleans that Ambar mentions

The police don't need excuses to "use tear gas and pepper spray and concussion grenades". Jason was tasered seven times while lying unresisting in the street, then beaten; Elliot was pulled from his bike, beaten in the street so badly he coughed blood all night, and then tasered and beaten again in jail.

The latest I've heard is this:

UPDATE: Hi folks--not so much action today, but lots of really bad stuff is happening in the jail.

We're asking people to continue to call three people:

Mayor Chris Coleman 651-266-8510

Sheriff Bob Fletcher 651-266-9333

Ramsey County Chief Judge Gearin 651-266-8266

Head of the Ramsey County Jail: Ryan O'Neill 651-266-9350

On the good side, some progress is being made toward getting the bus back. Update on all that later. Thanks for all the calls and support, Starhawk

#14 ::: Doctor Science ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 07:48 PM:

Lola @7:

This DailyKos poster seems to have been caught in the same sweep as blacksquirrel's brother, but was let go.

#15 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 07:51 PM:

Duh. Infiltrators. Surely I was the most paranoid? But it has happened over and over, that agent provocateur.

A resident, on her A View From A Broad blog says today she spotted Blackwater mercs hanging out.

There's nothing to stop anybody from adopting the outfit, weapons and attitude who isn't affiliated with any of the swats, militias, cops, Guard etc. and calling themselves and doing whatever.

Reports are that you can't PEE without some armed guy telling you to move. This was on Rachel Maddow's show tonight. A journalist, in the men's room, and a guard told him he couldn't stand there. He says you can't go anywhere without some armed goon telling you "You can't stand there. Move."

Love, C.

#16 ::: Lola Raincoat ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 08:05 PM:

Dr. Science @ 14, thanks, I'll pass that along to Black Squirrel (unless someone else already has ...)

#17 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 08:10 PM:

TwinCities Indymedia has this up:

In what appears to be the first use of criminal charges under the 2002 Minnesota version of the Federal Patriot Act, Ramsey County Prosecutors have formally charged 8 alleged leaders of the RNC Welcoming Committee with Conspiracy to Riot in Furtherance of Terrorism. Monica Bicking, Eryn Trimmer, Luce Guillen Givins, Erik Oseland, Nathanael Secor, Robert Czernik, Garrett Fitzgerald, and Max Spector, face up to 7 1/2 years in prison under the terrorism enhancement charge which allows for a 50% increase in the maximum penalty.

Affidavits released by law enforcement which were filed in support of the search warrants used in raids over the weekend, and used to support probable cause for the arrest warrants, are based on paid, confidential informants who infiltrated the RNCWC on behalf of law enforcement. They allege that members of the group sought to kidnap delegates to the RNC, assault police officers with firebombs and explosives, and sabotage airports in St. Paul. Evidence released to date does not corroborate these allegations with physical evidence or provide any other evidence for these allegations than the claims of the informants.

Trouble is, it's not bylined. I can understand a desire for anonymity, but it reduces credibility.

#18 ::: Doctor Science ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 08:12 PM:

Lola: Oh, I already did -- my post at DailyKos was largely quoting from her LJ reports.

Oh, guess what. Taxpayers off the hook for GOP convention lawsuits.

The deal required the Republican Party's host committee to buy insurance covering up to $10 million in damages and unlimited legal costs for law enforcement officials accused of brutality, violating civil rights and other misconduct.
Denver made no such deal with the DNC.

#19 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 08:12 PM:

#15: Ginmar's not just a resident; she's an Iraq war vet and presumably knows from personal experience there what Blackwater goons look like.

#20 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 08:16 PM:

It looks like the guy in the photo has something rectangular strapped to his left arm, under the sleeve. Also given the extreme pallor of his skin, I think the hair colour is probably natural.

#21 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 08:19 PM:

In the early 1960s, the Vault in Boston apparently PAID people to vandalize Roxbury and Dorchester in the vicinity of the homes of elderly Jews and beat up elderly Jews, in a successful terror campaign to force the Jews to sell their multifamily homes and move to single family homes in Brookline or West Roxbury (a part of Boston adjacent to the town of Brookline)or elsewhere, so that the houses could be sold to naive folks of dark skin color moving mostly up from down South, who didn't have the continuing income for the most part to pay the mortgage and taxes and who would then default on the house and the banks would get to resell to someone else, collecting fees each time....

Disclaimer: I am not a disinterested party, my maternal grandfather and my elder uncle who never married, and my oldest aunt and her husband were all living in a triple decker owned by my grandfather in Dorchester and at the urgings of the rest of the family sold and moved out.

#22 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 08:33 PM:

Manufactured incidents?
People willing to spend time in jail, perhaps, in return for sinecures? (That sort of thing is not unheard of in rumor mills, with allegations of there having been people in corporate America who were the token fall guys for illegalities in e.g. federal contract competitions, with the corporation arranging for the person's long-term financial well-being.)

#23 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 09:33 PM:

Try to get photos of the violent "anarchists"' footgear, especially soles. It's been noted at prior events that rock-throwers and police were wearing boots with the same distinctive yellow-on-black sole markings -- and when parade organizers would confront the rock-throwers to stop them, the latter would immediately run into police custody.

#24 ::: BC Holmes ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 09:36 PM:

The photo linked toward the end -- the one from the Montebello protests just over a year ago -- well, the Quebec police eventually admitted that, yes, the people in question were cops, but denied that they were "provocateurs". That latter claim might have been more credible if they hadn't spent a few days denying that they were cops.

#25 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 09:39 PM:

The yellow on black soles are the standard Vibram brand pattern; I've got a pair, and my sister and BIL have several. They're used on several brands of work shoes and boots.

I think that there is almost certainly a civil liberties outrage going on in St. Paul right now, but please don't get distracted by such a minor and almost certainly meaningless detail. Please.

#26 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 10:36 PM:

re IDing possible agents provacateur Footwear, per se, isn't going to do it. The incident in Quebec had the advantage of being small. St. Paul is huge (how many arrests have there been? How many detainments? How many of the former are going to end up, as with the last RNC in New York, just dismissed?)

There is is a lot of cover for those who are, intentionally, providing cause for heavy-handed police behavior (some of which will be by cops who are acting in good faith. They are outnumbered, and it may look to them as if they are under siege).

Faces are needed. Footage of them being treated differently from other "rioters" is needed.

Lawsuits are in order (of the sort which will cost the insurers so much money they will never entertain such a liability again).

Attempts to break the cover of insurance (which the insurers will, passively, collude to make happen if the lawsuits are solid enoug to make them never want to entertain such liability again).

Those insurance clauses imply a guilty mind to me. They expected to be doing things in excess of the law, and the RNC was willing to let it happen.

#27 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 11:00 PM:

Kathryn, #10, remember that picture of the teenager putting a flower in the soldiers' rifles during the March on the Pentagon? I was in that march and he wasn't. He was an actor who came in a car with the flowers. It was just a photo-op for him.

#28 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 11:14 PM:

Terry #26:

Yep. That insurance policy screams "moral hazard." And if the brutality complaints cost the insurance company enough money, they'll raise the price for next time.

#29 ::: Scott Janssens ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 11:33 PM:

Revolutionary poseurs. There's a long history of these assholes showing up at protests. I had the displeasure of seeing them in Seattle during the WTO meetings.

#30 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 11:48 PM:

JESR #25, the photo you're talking about -- with the boot soles -- is from a union protest in Canada last year, not the current events in St Paul.

I've heard, from people active in protest politics in the '60s, that one easy way to spot government infiltrators was to look at people's shoes. The FBI and the cops would constantly be trying to insert people into various counter-culture groups, and you'd see these guys with tie-dyed shirts and blue jeans -- and shiny shoes like a businessman.

#31 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 11:52 PM:

Whoever they are, I want to know. I want to know who they are, why they did what they did, who encouraged them, and everything. And I want to know if they've been charged with anything, and I want to know the outcome of that.

Why don't we know that already?

#32 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 12:03 AM:

Avram, I've heard that said (Shiny Black FBI Shoes is the term of art) but the big deal was being made about those particular black cleated shoes with the yellow stamp on the insole.

I would expect that there are, indeed, agents provacateurs around; there are also, however, "anarchists" who show up whenever trouble is expected because they get off on the sound of breaking glass; around here, they tend to have Eugene as a home address. Back in the day, part of the protest training I was exposed to was how to identify and neutralize their effects. If I was going to be really paranoid about this, I'd say that part of the purpose of the raids before the convention was to knock out people trained in the fine art of peaceful protest so that the jackasses would be unrestrained.

#33 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 12:05 AM:

Black soles with the yellow stamp on the instep.

The signs point to sleepytime.

#34 ::: joel hanes ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 12:27 AM:

Marilee, #27: are you talking about Joel Tornabene, aka Super-Joel ?

Neddie Jingo and Super-Joel's brother remember things a bit differently.

#35 ::: dave ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 12:35 AM:

I was one of those detained (but thankfully not arrested) on Shepard Rd on monday. I wasn't even protesting... I'd come down to get some photos, and stumbled into the police trap. For a while, it looked they were going to arrest EVERYONE... a couple hundred people. Most of the people caught on Shepard weren't even protesters! They were trying to get to the concert on Harriet Island, or were locals. There were enough "anarchists", though, that I got to talk to some.

I don't think there were COINTELPRO plants there. I don't think they were necessary. The world is full of 18-25 year old boys, full of piss and vinegar, looking for ANY excuse to hurt people and destroy stuff. The ones I talked to claimed there was no difference between Obama and Bush, Democrat and Republican, liberal and conservative.... if you're not with them, you're a fascist. Change their alignment slightly, and they'd be out bashing "fags and dirty fucking hippies" instead, with the same glee. It's really sad.

If there were agents provocateur, we wouldn't be seeing broken windows... it'd be pipe bombs and handguns. Why go halfway? REALLY justify the police state.

#36 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 01:10 AM:

dave: I don't think so. If that were the case, there would have been more unrest at the DNC. Police reaction has a lot to do with things.

Which is part of why the LAPD riot training stresses keeping the riot sticks (strings of control officer, 13, or 17, or 23, etc.) in column (two files), and only responding to actual acts of riotous behavior.

Because an aggressive police presence will instigate riot where only peacful demonstration was intended.

The 500,000 people who showed up to chant, "Si, se pueda" had lots of young, disaffected people. There was no violence.

A year later, there was; because the LAPD decided to go out in force (contrary to doctrine). The leadership are pretty much parked in dead end jobs now.

You are right, perhaps, that the anarchists aren't plants, but I do think one can say the methods the cops are using are in, and of, themselves, provocative.

The question is, is this cupidity, or stupidity?

#37 ::: Xopl ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 01:21 AM:

What's most disturbing are the comments left on any articles covering these stories in the pioneer press or star tribune or other major news sites... the comments are appallingly in favor of police violence. You have to wonder how many of those comments are left by the police themselves or other agents of the government.

#38 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 01:52 AM:

Xopl @ #37, "You have to wonder how many of those comments are left by the police themselves or other agents of the government."

Regrettably, fewer than you think. There are an awful lot of people in this country who think "law n' order" should be enforced with clubs. There were quite a number of them in the XCEL Center in St. Paul this evening.

#39 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 01:56 AM:

#35 Dave

Every year on July 4 several hundred thousand people gather in Boston on the Esplanade on the bank of the Charles River between the Longfellow Bridge and the Harvard Bridge to attend to annual outdoors July 4th Pops concert at the Hatch Shell.

The number of untoward incidents, given the crowd is over the half-million people mark, is negligible. About the worst problem is all the trash that gets left behind that has to get disposed of the next day.

Yes, there are nihilistis jackasses in the Boston area. But somehow hundreds of thousands of people manage to gather peaceble for a common purpose of enjoying the concert and fireworks, year after year after year, without any substantiative vandalism to speak of, without civil disobedience, without even more than noise-level incidences of such things as pickpocketing (I think)! There is a police presence, but it's not a threatening/police brutality one.... and the Pops Concert has withstood the presence of generations of MIT students, who can be counted upon to wreak massive publicity-generating mischief if the mood strikes them to be mischief-making (although the welding the trolley to the tracks incident was a more than a half-century ago.... and these days the perpetrators probably wouldn't get off so lightly with it as a prank).


Thinking a bit more--there was vandalism etc. that occurred after a sports game months ago, among the crowds in the Kenmore Square area, with partying i/d/i/o/t/s 18-25 year olds causing the trouble. A female student IIRC got killed by the police who were improperly using riot-deterrence equipment, a victim of being in the wrong place at the wrong time (somehow it rarely the vandals and looters who are the victims in those sorts of cases, instead there are the "collateral damage" cases and the perpetrators (if there are any--queue up "Ohio" from the untoward event in tht state during tenure of Richard M. Nixon) often get completely away.

Crud. I just realized, 1968 was 40 years ago--1968 being the year that what was going on outside of the Democratic National Convention, has more effect on the election than what happened inside the election.... but surveillance technology back then, was considerable less sophisticated and capable and less scary than what there is today.

#40 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 02:55 AM:

Paula - was there a more recent student death, or are you thinking of the Emerson student who was killed in the 2004 World Series celebrations? (Don't remember if it was rubber bullet or if she was trampled by the crowd.)

#41 ::: egon ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 05:00 AM:

It seems odd that he has gloves on. Maybe a protester might feel they need to hide their face (a sad comment on our government), but why gloves. It maybe Minnesota but it isn't cold here yet. I would say that this person planed on doing some thing physical from the start.

Two other things I cant be sure of.

One the cameraman got a pertty lucky shot here. I think you can see him in the reflection. It also looks like a wide angle lens and short shutter speed. Meaning he was right in the thick of things. I would think the "anarchist" would be less then happy about that

Two his shirt looks odd he may be waring padding under it. A handy thing if you are going to be shot at with anti riot gear. Seems like a very prepared man.

#42 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 05:02 AM:

As far as plants are concerned- on the one hand, there seems to be some evidence pointing towards that. On the other hand, what dave, JESR, and Scott Janssens said.

Xopl @37:

What's most disturbing are the comments left on any articles covering these stories in the pioneer press or star tribune or other major news sites... the comments are appallingly in favor of police violence. You have to wonder how many of those comments are left by the police themselves or other agents of the government.

You'd have to wonder that if you'd never heard of Bob Altemeyer. If you have, there's not really any reason to wonder about that.

#43 ::: Nicholas Patrick ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 05:41 AM:

How to catch a cop in the US?

Simple. Don't shout "He's a cop!"

Ask him, "Are you a cop?"

#44 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 06:10 AM:

#37: I don't think the authorities have much need of being their own comment cheering section; unfortunately, via scare tactics a substantial portion of the population has been sold the idea that excessive "security" is an amenity that we should all want to pay for. Maybe a few people writing there are cops but the Internet has no shortage of homicidal state-spronsored-violence cheerleaders.

#45 ::: Eimear Ní Mhéalóid ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 06:25 AM:

Some stuff over at Unfogged, from a regular commenter there who lives in the Twin Cities and is an activist.

#46 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 08:23 AM:

It's also worth remembering that the protesters aren't the only group subject to being infiltrated by young men full of p-ss and vinegar, wanting to go out and kick some a-- in a righteous cause. The police are also subject to this. My uninformed sense is that SWAT teams are very subject to this--one of those places where the kind of guys who want the job may not be the kind of guys you want in the job.

Where did Minneapolis get all the policemen to handle the RNC convention? Was there some volunteering process that would favor people who were looking forward to a bit of head-bashing in a good (or at least officially sponsored) cause?

#47 ::: Michael Bloom ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 08:38 AM:

Paula @#39, Rikibeth @#40: A college student was shot in the eye with a pepper pellet from a gun that was advertised as non-lethal. The pellet went through her eye into her brain and she died. I believe it was eventually decided that the police had used the gun improperly (duh).

#48 ::: Giacomo ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 08:42 AM:

When things were really bad in Italy in the 60s and 70s, the main (and largest, getting up to 40% of the vote at times) leftist political party used to have "security organizations" composed by tough guys (including ex-WWII resistance fighters) that would effectively police their own demonstrations to avoid exactly this sort of scenario. I wonder if we didn't grow too complacent with self-policing demos.

This also reminded me of the G8 in Genoa, where meaningless riots were started by hooded "nobodies".

#49 ::: Rosa ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 09:07 AM:

I haven't been active in the Minneapolis anarchist community since 2002, and then on the fringes, but I learned to assume that any asshole talking not just about violence but about *stupid* violence is either a delusional crazy person (at least one of whom was pretty central in what remained of the local community after most of the Coldwater people dispersed) or a police plant.

You can't tell by their clothes. They arrest people and STEAL THEIR CLOTHES to dress the undercovers (and not just as anarchists - you can find a lot of stories from people busted after hip hop shows whose clothes mysteriously disappeared in the evidence room overnight). You can't tell by their rhetoric - it's not like every strand of anarchist thought and speech habit can't be found all over the internet, pirate radio, and zines.

The only way to tell is by whether or not they show up, all cleaned up, to witness against you in court. And most people plead for suspended sentence so there's never a trial.

This is all SOP for the police department in Minneapolis and St Paul - executing door-kicking, house-busting raids even when the warrant is a knock warrant, for things as minor as employee theft (I knew someone in St Paul who came home to smashed-in doors and a messed-up house because her ex husband, who no longer lived there, was accused of stealing merchandise from his workplace.) Police routinely delete digital images in the course of arrest. When they did the mass arrests at ISAG, almost 10 years ago, Minneapolis police developed everyone's pictures and refused to return them until *after* people had been dragged into court to plead guilty or not guilty three or four times - the Minneapolis City Council passed a law against that after the event, but they were talking about repealing it before the RNC.

One way to estimate undercover presence is to compare arrests to charges, but with groups this big that gets harder.

#50 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 09:14 AM:

Rosa #49:

Do you know whether the police use informants who are under the threat of prosecution for other crimes in this kind of case? I gather that's a technique that's used often against drug dealers, and that it also has a bad tendency to lead to incorrect warrants and such--the coerced informants often aren't especially reliable or truthful, being themselves criminals.

#51 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 09:24 AM:

#18 ::: Doctor Science:

As I understand such things, $10 million would be rather small to cover the damages.

#21 ::: Paula Lieberman:

I've passed this on to Brad Hicks, who occasionally writes about scams directed at blacks, though it's usually selling investments in booms after it's too late to do anything but lose money.

Ok, the mainstream media haven't been doing these stories justice unless I missed something overnight. What about the comedians? Aside from Stewart and Colbert, there's Le Show and Wha'd Ya Know?.

I've got a line for the mainstream media-- do you think it's also true? "Tell the news or become the news".

#41, from egon,

I can think of two reasons for gloves: concern about broken glass and a desire to not leave fingerprints.

#52 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 09:26 AM:

Michael @ 47 -
Paula @#39, Rikibeth @#40: A college student was shot in the eye with a pepper pellet from a gun that was advertised as non-lethal. The pellet went through her eye into her brain and she died. I believe it was eventually decided that the police had used the gun improperly (duh).

This is the case.

Rubber bullets are supposed to be bounced off of the ground in front of the target (so the round loses momentum, and so the target space is more likely to be legs and abdomen, rather than chest and face).

Pepper-spray projectiles have a minimum engagement range that they should not be used inside of, because the projectile has too much velocity (they also shouldn't be deployed in weather that is very cold - the projectiles are basically paint-ball rounds, and have the same problems with actually breaking when cold).

Both of these deployment patterns were not done properly, in some cases, in Boston in 2004, and in one case, it lead to a death. (There is also some question, in the case of Victoria Snelgrove, regarding the weapon deployed - it appears the FN303 used is not as accurate as advertised).

These weapons - including mace, tear gas, pepper spray, tasers, stun "guns", rubber bullets and pepper projectiles, and most other variants - are not "non-lethal" - there are few, if any means of subduing or dissuading a human being that are actually "non-lethal" besides words (and maybe not those). They are officially designated as "less than lethal", but advertising and promotional materials sometimes gloss over the "deploy this weapon improperly, and people could still die" part.

Every other technology - every single one - can kill if improperly deployed (gasses can asphyxiate if deployed in closed environments, tasers and stun guns have killed over a hundred people in the US, and any projectile can hit something vital).

This is why such weapons - especially those that are "not quite lethal" like rubber bullets or pepper bullets - need to be closely monitored, their deployment restricted to trained, professional (and level-headed) officers, and their utilization restricted to the most serious situations. They are not phasers, and should not be treated like they were.

#53 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 09:49 AM:

I can think of one more reason to wear gloves -- one which I'd expect Jim MacDonald to be very familiar with...

#54 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 10:08 AM:

Nancy #51:

Yeah, the hole where the coverage of this stuff should be is, to me, like the scene in any number of SF books in which you realize that the other guy has compromised your computers or evaded your sensors or whatever, and the map you've been treating as the territory is suddenly revealed to be lethally flawed.

I knew this kind of thing happened sometimes, but all the cases I'd seen before were subtle, or only seemed to be happening locally--some ideas don't get discussed, some data aren't reported, the headline is written to spin casual readers away from the details in the story, etc. This is different--like something you'd expect in a totalitarian state--the police bust a bunch of heads, and the newspapers simply don't report it. Like the antiwar protests in the lead-in to the Iraq war, which were not reported in my local media. Like the differences in coverage of the Abu Girab scandal in US newspapers and foreign ones (at least El Pais). But bigger, somehow.

Seeing this, I'm left with a whole set of big questions. What else aren't these guys telling me? What are they lying to me about "for my own good?" What are they omitting to keep on the right side of their sources or advertisers? What are they ignoring because "the public doesn't need to know about that?"

Why do we tolerate this crap? The total value to me of _The Washington Post_ or CNN has gone way down, as a result of this and many related things. I'm not interested in what they think is "responsible journalism," I want them to tell me what happened, as honestly and completely as they are able. (I want similar things from scientists, engineers, doctors, historians, etc.) The news sources that report on these things will increase in value for me, relative to the ones that don't.

#55 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 10:09 AM:

Person breaking window is risking major cuts on forearms. Just follow the blood trail... If for some reason I ever had to break one I'd go for full body armor.
When I was a kid, I swatted at a fly with my hand and broke the window it was on--a couple of minor cuts that didn't hurt but did bleed--Mom was upon me before the shards hit the ground--and the damn fly got away! Lesson learned!

#56 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 10:17 AM:

Just because some of the violent "anarchists" are sociopaths on a spree doesn't mean that none of them are agents provocateur. One of a good agitator's jobs is to stir up the genuine idiots and get them to do most of the work; that saves having to fake arrests of real agents. Think of the idiots as a force multiplier.

And I would bet a lot of money that there were plants at that demonstration. All the signs* point to advance intent to break heads, defame protest organizations, and intimidate free speech. Agents are a familiar part of these tactics. So are plants in the police and riot squads, though the idea of Blackwater plants sends a chill down my spine. Atrocities only take one act to start; there was one National Guardsman who fired the first shot at Kent State, out of fear and bad (or no) training. Suppose that had a been a deliberate act, with the rifle set to full auto?

Please, everyone, let's try to implement Patrick's suggestions about identifying these people for sure. Contribute and help analyze photos, arrest reports, whatever documentation you can get your hands on. The only way to fight these tactics is to out the people using them.

* The insurance policy, the raids beforehand, with the really bogus warrants (that one warrant online had only 2 out of 6, IIRC, justifications that were at all defensible in my non-legal opinion), the known attempts to recruit agents (see all links above), indicate an intent on the part of the organizers of the convention and some of the local law enforcement officials. And, very likely, the FBI. They've been doing this sort of thing since the 1920's at least.

#57 ::: JJ Fozz ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 10:34 AM:

Qt bng sch pss. Th cnstttn grnts th rght fr pcfl ssmbly. "nrchsts" wh tr sht p r brkng th lw nd gt wht thy dsrv. Nt vry cp s pg, nd nt vr prtstr s pcfl hpp.

#58 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 10:40 AM:

Albatross @ 54 -
Yeah, the hole where the coverage of this stuff should be is, to me, like the scene in any number of SF books in which you realize that the other guy has compromised your computers or evaded your sensors or whatever, and the map you've been treating as the territory is suddenly revealed to be lethally flawed.


Further depondent sayeth not. I'm mad enough at this whole situation to not trust myself with anything other than strictly information postings.

#59 ::: Dena Shunra ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 10:41 AM:

Bruce @56, the online copy of the search warrant didn't have a signature page and didn't name the judge who authorized it.

That seems odd.

#60 ::: Adrian ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 10:49 AM:

Rikibeth (41), Victoria Snelgrove was killed by Boston police crowd shooting pellets of pepper spray into a crowd after a Red Sox game in 2004. One of the pellets went into her eye at close range. Many news reports called her death "accidental" or say she bled to death because the crowd refused to let an ambulance reach her in time. (To my mind, that seems to miss a large part of the point. She died because somebody shot her.) She was 18 and a student at Emerson College.

This summer, David Woodman was killed by Boston police crowd control measures after a sports event, but the circumstances were different. He was 22, and a student at Emmanuel College. Unlike Snelgrove, he broke the law--he was carrying an open cup of beer on the sidewalk. He was rude to police officers from across the street. (Not making threats. He shouted "Wow, it seems like there's a lot of crime on this corner.") Several police officers tackled him and continued to apply various kinds of force until he stopped squirming and complaining. After they noticed he was not breathing, the police did CPR, but the crowd was too dense for a quick EMT response. He died a week later. There was an investigation for why Woodman did not get medical help more quickly, but I don't recall an investigation about whether the police used excessive force. Or about whether the police should be expected to use ANY force against that kind of comment from across the street.

The mainstream media is very accepting of police violence these days. Maybe the fireworks on the Esplanade draw big crowds, and draw police details, and nobody expects a fight. But many suburbanites only go downtown for sports events, and many of them *do* expect violence to surround those. I know people whose kids are little Red Sox fans, and they don't think it's safe to bring them to post-season games or parades. One can scoop up a 5-year-old to protect her from getting stepped on in a crowd, but what if the crowd gets hit with pepper spray?

I was listening to WBUR after an American League Playoff Game in 2005. The reporter was talking about how great the game had been, and she was reporting from the crowd leaving Fenway Park. There was a lot of cheering, crowd noise, and traffic noise, in the background. The reporter mentioned seeing a lot of police, and said this crowd was really noisy and excited, but there hadn't been any of the rioting that had been a problem in previous years. She said it was really crowded and traffic seemed to be moving slowly, so it would take a long time to get out of there. Then, whoops, the police are coming around the corner and they're using pepper spray, so she has to stop broadcasting. End segment. *NO* *COMMENT* from her or from the studio, about how disturbing it was to have police shooting pepper spray at reporters and sports fans who are not rioting. They acted like it was as judgment-worthy as a thunderstorm.

#61 ::: Rick Innis ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 10:55 AM:

Raphael @ 42: Hadn't heard of Altemeyer or his research into authoritarianism. Tnx.

#62 ::: Ray ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 10:57 AM:

Right. Do your best to publicly identify those people. And if it turns out that they were actual protesters and you've just helped them get arrested, well gee, its their own fault for breaking the law...

#63 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 11:05 AM:

My, we do have some new people today.

#64 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 11:18 AM:

#54 ::: albatross:

What else seems to have fallen in the memory hole?

#58 ::: Scott Taylor:

Was "This." intended to be a link?

I do have some hope that if the blogosphere keeps making noise, the mainstream media won't ignore it indefinitely.

#65 ::: Ambar ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 11:28 AM:

JJ Fozz @57: I can't tell who your advice is addressed to, but I certainly haven't seen anyone in this thread defend "tearing shit up". Last I checked, what our law system says lawbreakers "deserve" is a right to a trial by jury.

Perhaps you'd like to weigh in on what treatment an American citizen, peacefully and legally protesting, "deserves"? I'm pretty sure it's not being knocked down by mounted cops, dog-piled by more cops in riot gear, and tased seven times.

#66 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 11:31 AM:

Nancy @ 64 -
Was "This." intended to be a link?

Nope. Sorry, that's an rpg.netism - "this" posted after something is basically a sign of agreement, as in "this says what I would say better than I would have said it" or "I can add nothing but agreement to this, and so am indicating so in a brief fashion to save electrons."

I do have some hope that if the blogosphere keeps making noise, the mainstream media won't ignore it indefinitely.

Yeah, that would be nice. I'm afraid I'm not holding out much hope, though. the Fourth Estate, at this point, appears nearly hopelessly corrupt.

#67 ::: sherrold ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 11:41 AM:

To quote a great thinker:

"I deeply resent the way this administration makes me feel like a nutbar conspiracy theorist."

In Seattle, the "anarchists" (sneer quotes definitely) who came out of nowhere were never identified, so we never knew whether we were crazy, or setup. I hate that.

Here's another depressing article from the Minn. Independent. Part of me wonders if it is just more of the same, yet another way of making the government less legitimate.

#68 ::: JJ Fzz ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 12:19 PM:

mbr - vryn dsrvs trl by jr nd t b trtd th rght wy b th cps, bt whn ctzns strt ctng lk sshds wh tk th lyrcs f RTM t srsl, thn thy hv crssd ln. Tht ln s whr th cps hv t tk stnd.

'v bn hrssd b cps n m rlr dys, nd t ws nncssry - bt ls knw th thr sd f th stry frm cps wh d VRYTHNG thy cn bfr sng frc. Rmmbr, thy r ls prtctng thmslvs.

By th wy, ds Pln lk lk th frstrtd lbrrn n vr sftcr Cnmx mv vr flmd, r s tht jst m?

#69 ::: 'Cochituate' ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 12:26 PM:

Bob Fletcher, our local county sheriff has a few skeletons in his closet (look up his last election campaign), and I still don't know his political afillation, but the stuff that has been done this week in my name as a citizen of St. Paul in beyond the pale. I had forgotten the local push to infiltrate the groups expected to protest, but the assholes who have smashed the windows are not locals, and the locals have no idea who the hell these people are.

By the way, we have a nice modern airport here, and ever gate has Jetways (or Giant Airplane suckers, as I like to call them), so when the hockey kid showed up in the Cities before making his appearance last night, what the hell was the photo op of the Palin and McCain families on the tarmac all about? If it was done as a photo op, then you can't complain about the media taking your pictures, can you? I hope the National Equirer finds everything they're looking for in Alaska, folks.

Paula- good to see your name again!

#70 ::: Seth ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 12:33 PM:

Ray, if someone was smashing windows, he _should_ be arrested and charged, whether or not he's a police agent.

#71 ::: cgeye ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 12:36 PM:

Why does JJ Fozz #68, when engaged reasonably about the use of violence during demonstrations, suddenly decide to change the subject? To Palin pr0n?


#72 ::: Josh ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 12:43 PM:

Re: footwear: Those are vibram soles, a common sole with an identical pattern on literally hundreds of different boots, from multiple brands.


#73 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 12:44 PM:

JJ Fozz: By default the police ought to be considered more likely wrong than than not. Power tends to corrupt, and the police have a huge amount of power.

I've done a lot of work with cops, gotten police training, spent a lot of personal time with cops (my dad was a deputy sherrif). The stuff going on in St. Paul is, to my jaundiced eye, largely caused by the nature of the police presense.

If that makes me a pussy... so be it.

But the blithe acceptance of the idea that the cops have justifcations for the things we've seen and heard, will make you a slave to authority, which my pussification won't.

I know which I prefer.

As to what citizens deserve... no.

Every citizen is innocent until proven guilty, and cops have no right to "take stands". They have the right to defend themselves, and a duty to protect the public.

With that they give up a lot of the right to take offense, or respond to abuses which don't threaten their lives. Contempt of cop is not a crime, and if cops stopped assaulting people for no good reason, the contempt of them would go down.

See above about power, and it's tendency to corrupt

#74 ::: snrkl256 ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 12:44 PM:

Srr gys, hv hd sm kllr gs ltl. Jst kp bfn' nd blwng t wndws. Gss t's bttr t blw t wndws tht my "-rng" rght? mn tht sht wth th chllngr ws hrdcr!

#75 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 12:48 PM:

JJ Fozz: Care to address the issues; or is it going to be quips and deflections until you get tired of trying to impress us with your street cred and worldy wisdom?

#76 ::: Karounia ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 01:03 PM:


Maybe they flew in on Cindy M.'s essential small private plane?

#77 ::: Anonymous ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 01:13 PM:

It is typical of those who believe only in authoritarian capitalism to fantasize that the most organized and effective people at a protest are secretly the police.

The police have other and more effective ways of destroying the city: blocking off the bridges and intersections of a downtown core all night and then firing tear gas, as a recent example.

The fact that only the protester violence gets coverage has nothing to do with the non-violent protesters getting no coverage. They never would have gotten anything at all from standing in the street and inviting unsuspecting children and old people to be tear gassed for a photo op, and they shouldn't be. The organizers of these demonstrations will tell people that they have a permit and it is a legal demonstration right up until the police block them off and start gassing.

On the other hand, the black bloc and the police have the same opportunity to spread their message of total dissatisfaction with their everyday lives in this city. There are plenty of stories of police firing off tear gas in the empty city, just to feel the kick. Both groups, in the protest situation, finally get their chance to get back at the scum they see every day driving in their priuses and looking so smug with their civil rights and their double-shot lattes.

Everyone but the rich and the deluded wants to destroy the city, and the protest situation simply make it a little more possible. Occasionally, of course, the police want to try things on the other side, who wouldn't? For the most part, however, I think this is a volunteer activity.

#78 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 01:15 PM:


Postings here must be civil and on-topic. Violators will lose their vowels. Some already have.

If you want to say it, say it intelligently and politely. This is not a street brawl, but a peaceful conversation. No breaking of windows, no throwing of bricks, not even metaphorically*.

* Actually, feel free to throw real bricks and break real windows in your own house as you read this. No skin off of my nose.

#79 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 01:23 PM:

Abi @ 78... For some reason, I first read that as 'Violators will lose their towels'. I need coffee.

#80 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 01:27 PM:

Serge @79:
'Violators will lose their towels'

Hoopy froods never troll.

#81 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 01:29 PM:

Toiletors will lose their towels.

#82 ::: Rosa ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 01:31 PM:

albatross #50 - I wrote a response and it hasn't shown up, so if this is a repeat because the other one was delayed somehow, I'm sorry.

I don't know anything about informants, except to assume there are some. Despite trying to practice "security culture" most groups just assume everyone knows what they're doing - venues are assumed to be bugged, FBI agents occasionally stop by to ask questions, etc. The little bit I know about undercover officers comes from the community looking at their history after they've been outed in court.

Bruce Cohen in the first paragraph of #56 said something I've been trying to say, only much better than I've ever managed to articulate it.

Back in the early '00s it was discovered that a murder suspect on the lam had been bumming around anarchist spaces here. That disturbed a lot of people, but it highlighted an important truth: one of the weaknesses of left activism is that there's no good mechanism for excluding people. It's a corollary of the openness that's a real strength of most of the Left (though not one of anarchist communities, really; there are strict moral & dress codes)

#83 ::: Seth ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 01:32 PM:

Toiletors will loose their bowels.

#84 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 01:36 PM:

Rosa @82:
Nothing in the moderation queue for this thread, so the repeat is welcome.

(One item of interest was stuck on the RNC Policing thread.)

#85 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 01:39 PM:

P J Evans @ 63

Drivebys in opposite directions. Maybe they'll run into each other.

#86 ::: cgeye ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 01:40 PM:

#77: "Everyone but the rich and the deluded wants to destroy the city, and the protest situation simply make it a little more possible. Occasionally, of course, the police want to try things on the other side, who wouldn't? For the most part, however, I think this is a volunteer activity."


I'm sorry that the commuters to our little burgs who want to get their kicks fomenting violence feel a bit cramped when the folks who *live in those cities* don't want to see them destroyed.

What sort of sociopaths do you hang out with?

#87 ::: JJ Fozz ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 02:00 PM:

Terry, I'm not trying to impress anyone with street cred or toughness.

(I was speaking my mind, the mod obviously thought I was being antisocial - ironic when you consider the subject of this thread.)

The comments on this board give me the impression that much of the extreme left gives: incredibly paranoid, unbelievabley sensitive, and missing the real picture by getting bogged down in unnecessary details.

Anarchists are a joke. They're rich little white boys getting their kicks by pretending they're Joe Strummer.

Keep protesting in the streets, fine by me. When the Left lies down with dogs, they're gonna get fleas. And probably bounced around by the cops.

#88 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 02:09 PM:

Does anyone here have a feeling for whether #77 ::: Anonymous : is some sort of authoritarian anarchist I've never heard of or a troll with an unusually subtle sense of humor?

#89 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 02:09 PM:

JJ Fozz: No, the mod thought you were being rude, a subtle difference, perhaps, but not the same.

You made a specific point of how you'd been harrasesed as a kid, and then grew out of misbehaving; that looks like an appeal to cred to me.

You've still not addressed the issues.

#90 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 02:14 PM:

JJ Fozz @ 87

We're paranoid because everything we've been saying for the last eight or ten years (and were laughed at for saying) is turning out to be true. What we're worrying about now is enough to scare us spitless, and it ought to scare you too. Think Germany in the 1930s, or the Soviet Union under Stalin, for just how bad it can get.

#91 ::: JJ Fozz ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 02:15 PM:

Terry - I wasn't trying to impress, I was saying that I have been harassed by the cops ANDI have seen the other side of what they're up against.

What are the issues?

Protestors getting kicked around by the cops?
It stinks. It happens. Why are people surprised by this?

Agent provacateurs breaking windows?
Please, put on the tinfoil hats.

Anarchists giving real protestors a bad name?
Yes, it gets in the way of the "real" protestors' message. They need to do their own policing (no pun intended)

Mainstream media doesn't cover this event?
The MSM is pathetic. Again, no surprise there.

All of you can relax. Obama will walk off with this election.

#92 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 02:20 PM:

P.J.: Barring some actual attempt to answer the questions (instead of derailing things with the ever moving subject change), I'd ignore J.J. Fozz.

I, after all, have been lumped in with the extreme left, we've been called oversentive, and told we will get what we deserve for having sympathy for the protesters (who have all be likened to "anarchists" getting their kicks; instead of people who care about things enough to risk getting their heads kicked in by the powers that be).

He's acting as a stalking horse for the authoritarians (who, in my experience are afraid to debate on the issues, and would rather make it a discussion of emotions, and minor aspersions).

If he's willing to address the issues he so blithely tosses out like little hand grenades, then I'll talk to him.

Until then, a little sandbag here, a little sandbag there, and the damage can be contained.

#93 ::: Nell ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 02:34 PM:

Randolph Fritz: Dare we hope that the Democratic Party would provide some help?


The Democratic Party sent the cops outside the Brown Palace Hotel in Denver to get rid of the ABC cameraman who was inconveniencing them by filming senators, lobbyists, and big donors. He was arrested and charged, despite standing on the public sidewalk and not interfering in any way with the comings and goings.

The Democratic Party gave no attention at all to anything the cops did in Denver. The Democratic mayor of Denver has not made public his city's expenditures from the $50 million grant each convention city gets for "security". St. Paul has, and on the model Naomi Klein reported from China, part of the spending stays in place as more state surveillance against the city's residents.

#94 ::: JJ Fozz ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 02:35 PM:

Terry, see my last post for addressing the issues. Good job on misinterpreting what I've written.

Name the issues. Then we can debate.

#95 ::: Nell ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 02:35 PM:

Apologies to Randolph, not Randolph Fritz.

#96 ::: JJ Fozz ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 02:38 PM:

Also, having reread the beginning of this post, it seems that everyone tends to quickly believe what they hear from those who have been arrested. A little too quickly.

Nazi Germany? The Soviet Union? Those initially worked because of the time, place and the masses who were invovled.

Yeah, it may be "bad" here, but if you think the US turns into Berlin circa 1937 because of the authorities and the media, I think you're way off base.

#97 ::: Scott Janssens ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 02:44 PM:

xopl #37:

Being close to it can change one's perspective. The destruction isn't generic, it's an attack on their home town and by extension, them. Odds are the jerks causing the problems aren't even from there.

#98 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 02:44 PM:

JJ Fozz:

The past history of police and FBI "political" squads such as Cointelpro, up through at least the '70s, has included police undercover agents infiltrating groups and promoting violence up to and including bombings. While nobody has said that is definitively what's going on here, no tinfoil hats are required to suspect that it is one possibility, particularly when the FBI and police were trying to recruit infiltrators for Twin Cities protest groups earlier this year.

#99 ::: Nell ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 02:59 PM:

albatross: Where did Minneapolis get all the policemen to handle the RNC convention?

St. Paul (not Mpls) has accounted for its spending of the $50 million security grant to each convention city; Denver has not. From the Pacifica story on that breakdown:

Around $34 million is going to pay personnel costs for more than 3,500 law enforcement officials from various jurisdictions. Note that St. Paul normally only has 600 officers. The others are coming from other cities - even as far away as Mesa, Arizona. Plus, there are all the county sherriff's deputies, state troopers, National Guard forces, and FBI -- all of them coordinated by the Secret Service and St. Paul Police.

I doubt very much that any "volunteers" are involved. There are plenty of problem cases on existing, paid, purportedly professional police rosters.

#100 ::: JJ Fozz ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 03:00 PM:

You can't blame them for trying, can you? Now before everyone knocks over their cup of green tea on their hemp sandals, hear me out.

One side is trying to achieve a goal (peaceful protest, change the world, etc.) the other side is trying to do their job (keep the peace, protect society).

Ya with me?

So why is everyone so surprised when the authorities try and get a leg up on their opposition?

It's been happening since we became a country. It's the give and take of the game. When you think about it, it's very American.

Kind of like pro football. . .

#101 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 03:01 PM:

JJ Fozz: It's not the authorities, and the media, per se which make such things possible, but rather the active (and passive) collusion of citizens who decide the, "bad guys" have it coming.

Since guilt has to be proven, the burden isn't on the arrested to prove their case, but the police.

Barring a trial, and evidence, the cops are presumed (at law) to be wrong. The charged are accused; they are not merely awaiting the just sentence of the court.

Care to address the issues?

Here, I'll help you.

1: Why was such an aggressive policing action needed; days before the event, and with no overt acts on the part of those raided?

2: Why was such an overbroad set of warrants issued?

3: If, as reported, the police had informants in the places/groups they raided, why weren't the warrants a) more specific, and b) more fruitful.

That's just on the pre-convention issues.

The next is where you seem to be either a willing collaborator in the nascent rise of facistic traits in America, or willfully blind to what is going on.

4: If the raids and arrests before the convention, with the advantage of informants, were so fruitless, why should anyone give much credence to the claims of the cops out busting heads after the convention started?

Those are the issues. You might like it to be about what you think the posters here are like (whiny, oversentive combat vets like me, who have trained in riot control with the LAP), and how they fail to understand the realities of life as your urbane self does, but those aren't the issues.

The issues are what the cops are doing and why.

All the rest is smoke and mirrors which only serves to let abuses of power continue.

#102 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 03:04 PM:

And then of course there are the questions Elise started with:

Who are these people? Seriously, who are these people? I mean the person breaking that store window and the person or persons who smashed the windows of that police car: who are they?

#103 ::: Rosa ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 03:14 PM:

I just went back and read the RNC policing thread, and I want to say:

I love the internet.

Seriously. At first I was kind of PO'd at the shock in the liberal blogosphere. OMG POLICE MISCONDUCT! INTIMIDATION! I mean, really, people are surprised? None of this stuff is new. It predates the Patriot Act. It predates this Bush administration. It goes back in American history to the Alien & Sedition Act, and it's the daily experience of many poor communities all the time.

Then I talked to some acquaintances of mine who were around during my arrest & detention. Even though they knew my (almost farcical - it includes, among other things, alleged assault on a horse and a conditional release that would have prevented my presence at home, at work, and at school) story. People believed me, but they all assumed it was just some sort of isolated incident, not one point in a pattern. But the coverage of the RNC is making them see a pattern.

The difference is the web. People's ideas of how the world works are being changed by a bunch of first-hand accounts and local news stories aggregated together from various sources.

Some people, at least.

#104 ::: JJ Fozz ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 03:16 PM:

Terry, didn't you get all over me about bragging about how tough I was? (Regardless of our disagreements, thank you for serving our country, I respect that immensely.)

If the raids were fruitless, as you claim, then basically the cops were nothing more than a bunch of goons out looking to hurt people. That doesn't wash with me. An entire division of the police force acting without any kind of limitations - too Orwellian.

#105 ::: Ambar ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 03:24 PM:

Rosa@103: Yes, exactly. A cynical "what, you're surprised?" response is not one that leads to change. I am not willing to accept a status quo that has unarmed, empty-handed civilians being tased in the streets of St. Paul. Therefore, while I acknowledge that this is history repeating itself, that doesn't mean I'm willing to deem it acceptable.

JJ Fozz@96,100: I think Terry's response to your remark about hemp sandals and green tea is actually rather restrained. As for your suggestion that we naive little bunnies are accepting the reports of the arrested without question -- perhaps in your rereading, you missed the statement that some of us here knew some of them before they were arrested? They have credibility with me that you lack.

#106 ::: meredith ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 03:25 PM:

The mainstream media is finally picking up on some of these goings-on ... of course the spin is "look at these horrible violent fringe radicals, aren't the police doing a great job of saving us all from them?" :P

From the home page

#107 ::: Anonymous ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 03:39 PM:

I am neither an authority on anarchism (and could not imagine that these things exist), nor am I trying to humiliate anyone on the internet.

I am simply pointing out that maybe the people who, for example, shot the mayor of San Francisco to death and got away with it, aren't going to be arrested at a protest for breaking a few windows. That will be true even if they aren't being paid for it.

What is sociopathic about destroying the window of a building that you will never be allowed into? What is so strange about attacking a vehicle that you have been beaten inside before? I think your lack of understanding is a smokescreen for cowardice.

#108 ::: Ambar ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 03:49 PM:

Dear abi and elise,

I had meant to hang A Charm Against Disemvowellment over my computer, but had not gotten to it yet. I didn't think it would be needed this badly.

On the other hand, it might crack under the load, and I would hate that.

[haiku deleted for lack of merit]

#109 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 03:51 PM:

nameless one at 107

'The people' who shot Moscone didn't get away with it. He was arrested and tried. (Remember the 'Twinkie defense'?)

Destroying stuff doesn't make us more sympathetic to any cause, no matter what we actually think of that cause. You might possible want to think about that.

#110 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 03:55 PM:

Ambar @108:

Without trying to devalue elise's craft, I must say that you already display, in your comments, the requisite charm to avoid disemvowelment.

Indeed, it is usually the lack of any charm at all that causes the loss of vowels. If you get what I mean.

#111 ::: creedofhubris ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 04:04 PM:

If you got photos of the violent types, then offered $10 for each successful ID on the Mechanical Turk, I imagine that would get the job done.

#112 ::: KD ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 04:05 PM:

JJ Fozz at 104--

Did you really just say "It can't be true, so I won't believe it?"

The raids were pretty much fruitless. Most of the "weapons" are things we all have around the house. The "urine" seems to be two buckets of gray water (sink run-off they were using to flush toilets) and an actual toilet-bucket, taking from the guy who'd been living for years in an illegal apartment above the garage that had no bathroom. Though as best I can tell they took this stuff from the raid of the I-Witness house, not one person was arrested there. They were raided, handcuffed, interrogated, documented, and photographed--and then let go, once the police had confiscated their things.

Just because the truth is unpalatable doesn't make it false.

#113 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 04:05 PM:

JJ Fozz (note, I don't use just your initials as a form of address, I don't know you well enough to presume... and you may keep your thanks. I didn't do it for you).

I mentioned my experience because it was relevant to your imputations of my/our ignorance about what cops do. Mind you, I didn't bring it up just for you. It first came up at comment 33, which gives me the stronger impression you are just here to cause a stink, because I now have to assume you've not actually read the thread, and are just spewing trite banalities about The Left.

Which is reinforced by the way you don't address the issues, glossing over the questions with a facile, "the cops won't act that way."

History, recent history (RNC, in NYC, to choose just one, relevant example)

You may believe the cops are all sweetnees and light; wouldn't harm a fly, couldn't be used to wag the dog. Bully for you, continue being a good little lackey to the PTB, when the black helicopters of the Right Wing's One World Gov't show up I know you'll think them perfectly jusified, just as the FBI was at Ruby Ridge, and the BATF in Waco.

Anon: The person who shot the Mayor Moscone of San Fransicso, and Councilman Harvey Milk most certainly wasn't going to be arrested for breaking windows at a protest. He was, after all, another city councilman. He was arrested (IIRC) at the scene. After he was released from the hospital for the mentally insane he killed himself.

#114 ::: JJ Fozz ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 04:15 PM:

Terry, you have got to be kidding me: black helicopters, nwo? Good god. I read the thread, thanks. These are my opinions, we're still allowed them in the USA, right? You can take or leave my thanks, that's up to you. As for me, I'm going to go get my barcode tattoo on my neck.

Maybe all of you could use a little bit more of JC in your lives . . .

#115 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 04:26 PM:

JJ Fozz: Put up -- that is, address the issues, the questions that Terry has asked you -- or shut up. Your "opinions" are blather, and you've been called on them repeatedly. As for using "a little bit more of JC in your lives"... if you're referring to Jesus Christ, I call "fundawhacko troll".

#116 ::: JJ Fozz ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 04:34 PM:

1: Why was such an aggressive policing action needed; days before the event, and with no overt acts on the part of those raided?

-How do you know what they learned? You don't.

2: Why was such an overbroad set of warrants issued?

-When dealing with the amount of possible arrests, an "overbroad", as you call them, set of warrants are issued to expedite the judicial process.

3: If, as reported, the police had informants in the places/groups they raided, why weren't the warrants a) more specific, and b) more fruitful.

-Might it be that the cops got some information but not enough to make charges stick? Perhaps they were waiting to see if their suspects actually committed a crime.

4: If the raids and arrests before the convention, with the advantage of informants, were so fruitless, why should anyone give much credence to the claims of the cops out busting heads after the convention started?

-See my previous posts.

Are you happy, Joel?

#117 ::: Ambar ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 04:54 PM:


Thank you for the compliment. I was thinking less of personal protection and more about protection -- for the entire community -- from the forces that require disemvowelling to begin with.

If I thought for a millisecond that the Nielsen-Hayden's hosting provider would humor me, I'd ship it to be hung in the appropriate rack. Then again, the artistry wouldn't be as appreciated in a co-lo, so I guess I'll carry on with the original plan. ;-)

#118 ::: JJ Fozz ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 05:11 PM:

Not sure if I'll visit again. It seems having a differing opinion gets you attacked on all sides instead of fostering an interesting discourse on the subject.

All of this blather and posturing, and the tossing around of 10 cent words, does it accomplish anything?

Good luck with the revolution.

#119 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 05:17 PM:


Go read the 4th amendment (it hasn't been repealed, although the current maladministration is doing everything it can to break it): warrants are required to describe what they're looking for, and 'everything that can possibly be used as a weapon' shouldn't be acceptable, in any way it's actually described, to a judge.
Neither should 'pre-emptive arrests', which is what these were. That's thought-policing; so is busting people - ahead of time - for 'conspiracy to riot'.

We shouldn't be that kind of country. What that is, is a police state, where people can be disappeared at any time, just because someone doesn't like the way they talk, write, dress, or vote.

#120 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 05:21 PM:

JJ Fozz @118:
It seems having a differing opinion gets you attacked on all sides instead of fostering an interesting discourse on the subject.

You don't think that coming in calling everyone pussies might have had an effect on your reception?

Sometimes it's not what you say that gets you ignored. It's how you say it. There is no message so correct, so shining, and so interesting that it cannot be ruined by insulting your audience.

#121 ::: JJ Fozz ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 05:29 PM:

"There is no message so correct, so shining, and so interesting that it cannot be ruined by insulting your audience."

Abi, you're saying that using the word pussies totally and completely gutted what I had to say? If that's the case then this is the wrong place for me

#122 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 05:35 PM:

JJ Fozz @121:
you're saying that using the word pussies totally and completely gutted what I had to say?

Let's just say that it did not dispose anyone to read the remainder of the posts with the interest and attention that you might have hoped for.

I'm not saying that you really recovered from that moment either, though at least the sandals and green tea crack was more family-friendly.

I suspect that your particular style may not be well suited to this community. That does rob us of whatever of your perspectives might otherwise have been of use (if any; I am at best agnostic on this issue), and you of an audience that might have appreciated or even refined them.

It's a big internet. I hope you find someplace that is more suited to your particular style.

#123 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 05:50 PM:

JJ Fozz, I think that this is, indeed, the wrong place for you. But not for the reason you think. Either you are not very good at reading for comprehension, or you are not very good at expressing your ideas through words.

As far as I can determine, all your responses depend on a single fundamental assumption. It is, as follows:

"I believe the police are automatically in the right until it can be entirely proven that they are wrong. As you do not have access to all the information in the possession of the police, it is foolish to suggest they might be wrong in this case."

Is there some wrinkle to your assumptions that we are not gathering? Because this seems something of a logical fallacy. It is much akin to the people who still believe there are or were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. To them, it is unimaginable that their government might lie to them about the presence of such weapons. As it can never be proven conclusively that such things never existed, it is foolish to assume that our government deceived us.

It is the difference between running on faith and running on logic. I am only 98% sure there are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq - because while the search has been thorough it is impossible to search every square foot of ground in a massive country - but this bulk of available evidence suggests there are likely no weapons of mass destruction there.

The same holds true for this situation. I am 90% certain that the majority of these protesters were innocent because that is what the bulk of available evidence seems to convey.

If someone found WMDs in Iraq tomorrow, I'd change my view on whether or not Iraq had WMDs. If there was strong evidence that these warrants were properly executed and general mayhem prevented, I'd change my view on the protesters.

But simply because it is impossible to be 100% certain about any single thing does not mean that it is illogical to draw a tentative conclusion based on the available evidence.

It is your apparent failure to either grasp that concept or convey your understanding of it that makes you a bad fit for this board.

If all that is TL;DR, my questions to you, JJ Fozz, are this:

1. Is there any wrinkle to my summary of your assertion that I have missed?

2. How are your assertions different, in a logical sense, from assertions that we still do not know whether there are or were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?

3. Do you believe that default assumption that anyone the police might arrest is a criminal will not lead to a more authoritarian society? If not, why not?

#124 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 05:55 PM:

#51 Nancy

It was decades ago.

There was at least one book written about it in the 1990s or so. Googling, I found e.g.

Redlining and the Displacement of the Jewish Community of Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan

...Joseph Korff remembered this time:

"...This policy allowed minority people to get loans that they normally would not have gotten. The banks got together and defined a neighborhood [that] was just precisely the Jewish neighborhoods of Mattapan, Roxbury, and Dorchester, home to 90,000 Jews.

"Blockbusters came and they blockbusted. ...
...There were gangs that beat up Jewish children. The elderly became frequent targets of muggers...

"...unscrupulous real estate brokers coming in and profiting on the buying and selling. They would encourage Jews to sell their homes at below-market value to them and then the brokers would turn around and resell the houses at inflated prices to Blacks.

#125 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 06:01 PM:

Bah, I apologize for the crosspost, abi.

I'm from pretty rough and tumble parts of the internet, so for me the "pussy" keyword just makes me roll my eyes a bit. I'll still read, because of the chances it's being used ironically. Or for... other things.

If this was one of my other boards, I'd probably add in the shifty eyes emoticon.

I now read my response as a bit harsh, though I'd still be interested in the answers. I'm on a bit of a hair-trigger lately, and I'm sorry if I jumped the gun there.

#126 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 06:29 PM:

Mr. Fozz: For my part, I don't care. You want to use four letter words, in lieu of, "ten-cent" ones, power to you. I can be as coarse as anyone else.

But, as abi points out, making your introduction by spitting in the soup is likely to make a for a cool reception.

Following it up with banalities about "the extreme left", and other such presumtions; coupled with comments making it plain you've not read the arguments you are dismissing... well here in the reality based community (were cops are people, and people make mistakes, and organisations have habits) that doesn't tend to persuade much.

All you had to do was answer the questions in good faith. You didn't. You adamantly refused to do it, and mocked those who asked them.

So, if you want to stay... fine. There are other subjects; you might even try your hand at poetry.

If you want to leave... godspeed, but don't pretend you were savaged for being some iconoclast speaking truth to the ignorant.

You were savaged (at least as far as I was ooncerned, and honestly, I don't see anyone else really raking you over the coals) because you were rude, and offensive.

Take care.

#127 ::: ginmar ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 06:42 PM:

"Abi, you're saying that using the word pussies totally and completely gutted what I had to say? If that's the case then this is the wrong place for me."

I cannot imagine why using a sexist slur that compares womanhood, so to speak, with cowardice and weakness as a greeting would make both men and women doubt your sincere and genuine desire to communicate openly and without bias.

#128 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 07:26 PM:

joel hanes, #34, I've never heard of Super-Joel, but the WashPost thinks otherwise.

#129 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 07:53 PM:

On another note... today I came across an article by a reporter covering the protests in St. Paul, about "how to cover a riot." It's unintentionally revealing in places. At the end he has a numbered list of riot-covering suggestions; see if you can spot what's wrong with his #3:

3. Always — ALWAYS! — know where the Little Assholes are. Most people in protest mobs are pretty sincere, and don't want to fight cops or break things. But there's a subset of most any anti-war mob, the LAs, who are similar to the football hooligans in Britain. They are there to break things for their own entertainment. They don't have much real interest in politics — they're just LAs. You can pick them out because they wear fashionable bad-ass street dress — black or olive drab, boots or heavy running shoes, bandanas, hoodies. They tend to pierce themselves a lot. The dress is usually pretty worn, and they tend to cluster; so look around the crowd and when you see a sudden darkening of dress, you've found the LAs. You need to know where they are, because when they start breaking things, that's your film-at-six.

(He also says "Breaking glass or sudden gusts of screaming means good photography.")

#130 ::: Ambar ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 08:27 PM:


Interestingly, that reporter also writes best-selling thrillers under the name of John Sanford.

#131 ::: JJ Fozz ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 08:54 PM:

What I can't get over is how full of yourselves each one of you are. You pity me like some kind of retard at the party. I'm sure that's what you consider me.

Terry, did you see my answers to your questions? I guess they were "wrong" in your eyes.

Leah, that's my opinion, not some logical fallacy. I believe that the reports on this board about what occurred are mostly over hyped crap.

I don't agree with any of your views. So I used a "bad" word to describe you, but that's the way I feel.

I don't view the world through the hysterical lens of paranoia, but you all do. That's your choice.

See you on the next discussion board, my furry friends.


#132 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 09:02 PM:

JJ Fozz, #131: So I used a "bad" word to describe you, but that's the way I feel.

A disciple of Brad Goodman, I see.

#133 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 09:08 PM:

re #131: Time for the pool; how long until the inevitable return?

I pick two hours from now.

#134 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 09:31 PM:

Is somebody already running a side bet on a sockpuppet, or can I start that action?

#135 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 09:49 PM:

You pity me like some kind of retard at the party. I'm sure that's what you consider me.

No, I don't think you're that innocent.

#136 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 09:50 PM:

[I posted this earlier to the "Police at the RNC" thread after that had died down; Terry Karney helpfully suggested I repost it in this still-active thread. I've slightly revised it here.]

Human Rights Watch issued a report in 1998 called Shielded From Justice: Police Brutality and Accountability in the United States which I listed a while back on The Online Books Page. I haven't read it in detail, but it looks like it provides useful background on an ongoing problem. Minneapolis is one of the 14 cities profiled.

The report references, among other things, the famous Kerner report (Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders) that had its 40th anniversary this year. (It was issued following the "long hot summers" of the 1960s, and talked a lot about the various factors that caused them.) I would love to list this as well if I could find an online copy. (There are excerpts and summaries online, but I haven't been able to find the whole thing, which runs to over 400 pages in the original.)

#137 ::: morgue ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 10:08 PM:

I thought someone woulda picked this up by now - there's another photo of the guy breaking the window, from the reverse direction.
Shows a lot of folk standing around.

See it at my blog because I presume we can't put images in these comments?

#138 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 10:28 PM:

JJ Fozz:Trust me, I don't pity you.

I didn't see answers. I asked how it could be the cops had such great intel, and found diddly squat.

Your responses to Joel (to questions of mine) aren't much.

I asked why cops who had such good intel (they sure as hell knew where all the groups were) they had such overbroad warrants. You said so they could catch bad guys. Ok... how is it they failed.

You said your experience told you cops wouldn't engage in skullduggery, and you qualified it by saying, "if the raids were fruitless."

Ok, if the raids weren't fruitless... where is the evidence? There weren't any charges from that laundry list of things to find.

The best we have is, "conspiracy to commit riot."

That's a law just begging to be overturned for overbroad. Things said here could be construed as such a conpsiracy. I own firearms. I use black powder firearms. I've got minature cannon (the nine-pounder is a thing of true beauty). I have black powder.

I'd be charged with having bomb-making materials.

Give me that warrant, and the odds are there isn't a house in the US I can't make a case for having bomb-making materials.

A cop swore that warrant out. Why? On what basis?

It's a sworn statement. How comes it the sworn statements for all those warrantes were all so wrong? Have you looked at the warrant? Have you thought about the 4th amendment, in regards to that warrant [The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. That warrant pretty much said, "everything in the house").

What about the warrant for the wrong house, which the served anyway?

If the cops weren't acting in bad faith, they were incompetent. If they are so incompetent they can divert so much manpower as was used; and get no good result, how many other aspects of their job are they screwing up in like manner.

These are the questions we have been asking.

You have, again, and again, and again, responded to them with, "I don't believe cops would make that kind of mistake," and, "the protestors probably deserved it."

Well fine, if they are all such honorable men (and the protesters all so dishonorable... you have been saying they probably deserved to be arrested {the cops had to take a stand} and are most likely lying about the treatment they've been getting), how do you explain things like the woman with the flower, backing up, getting pepper sprayed, and then sprayed again when she was trying, in her blindness, to get away?

What of the guy who was tasered as he lay on the ground?

Why is it the cops in St. Paul are to be presumed to be so different from the cops in NYC, whose actions in 2004 just cost the City of New York millions of dollars in damages (and this isn't the first time I've asked about them. I've not seen the answer... unless you are implyig in the comment that your experience militates against cops doing bad things discounts that. Probably just a few bad apples).

Am I being sarcastic? Yes. Because I've looked, and you've not really answered.

I don't think you stupid. I think you either don't see, refuse to see, or have an agenda (the oversenstivities of the Extreme Left inclines me to think the latter), which prevents you from seeing.

It's not your difference of opinion, it's that you make nothing but assertions and expect us to just accept them. That and your assertions that we need to wake up and smell the coffee; learn how, "The real world" works.

Well, I'm a adult.

I've been arrested. I've been detained. I've been interrogated by professionals. I've been homeless, I've been comfortable, and I've had to depend on the help, kindness and forbearance of my friends.

I've been employed. I've been out of work, and I have my own business.

I've been in the National Guard for 16 years, and about six years of that time has been active time. My dad was a deputy sherrif.

In short, I've been around the block a few times. I know how the world works. I'm not the only one here. Being a progressive, a liberal, even a (gasp) leftist, isn't because we are some sort of sheltered flowers.

For some (like me) it comes from having been around the block, and seeing how the world works, and deciding it could be better done.

Oddly, a lot of the core values of the "leftists" can be found in the New Testament.

#139 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 10:37 PM:

morgue - in the one on your blog, you can see the shadows of the photographers, too. They're just off the left edge of the picture, as far as I can tell.

#140 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 10:43 PM:

Neil #99:

What subset of cops from far away will volunteer for a situation in which they will be trying to keep peace during protests, but may get a chance to bust some heads? A lot of perfectly decent cops who want some extra money, right? But also, I have to guess, some guys[1] who are looking forward to the chance of maybe busting some heads. This is speculation; I have no data. But I would expect that on the margin, there are some cops for whom the extra payoff of maybe getting to kick some ass without getting in trouble for it is enough to make the job worth taking. (This assumes there was some element of choice in a given cop being sent; if it was completely random, then my speculation is full of holes.)

One way to check this would be to get a random sample of the records of the police brought in for riot control, and then get a random sample drawn proportionally from the police departments from which they were brought. Then, see whether there's a statistically significant difference in brutality cases brought against the officers. (You'd need to deal with confounding variables here, such as age and what the policemen do back at home; if you sampled from SWAT teams back home, you'd almost certainly get very aggressive guys.)

One thing to remember here: Just as with the protesters, it only takes one or two thugs to start a hell of a lot of trouble. Once one or two protesters start tossing bricks at the cops or busting out windows or whatever, a whole bunch of people are likely to get hurt. Once one or two cops start pounding on some protesters, it's easy for things to ignite, and all the good cops to be pulled into a violent conflict with the protesters.

[1] It usually seems to be guys.

#141 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 10:51 PM:

Not sure where this question was, but one way that the Twin Cities got the police personnel was by canceling all vacation time (over labor day weekend!) and mandatory overtime. That isn't going to put the cops in a good mood right there.

Then you have personnel from different departments, and possibly recruited (i.e. borrowed) from other places in the state, working together under what may be ad hoc supervision. This also can cause friction and misunderstandings.

I tend to blame the people at the top, the FBI, Homeland Security, etc, rather than the people on the front lines.

No, Deputy Dawg is NOT my friend!

#142 ::: Neil in Chicago ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 11:16 PM:

What distresses me the most, and doesn't seem to have been mentioned at all here (I could have missed it . . . ) is that there is no evidence of community learning behavior whatsoever.
400 miles away, I saw the article about recruitment of spies and infiltrators three or four months ago. Why weren't any of the groups prepared for provocateurs? Why didn't everyone have a camera? When the house full of video people got busted, why in blazes didn't they already have cameras running?
Why are people planning in big leak-assured groups, weeks and months in advance?

The door and witness smashing sucks, but it was totally predictable. The incredible bone-headed unreadiness for it is my own cause for despair.

#143 ::: Neil in Chicago ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 11:23 PM:

JJ @ 116 --
Why was such an aggressive policing action needed
No, first: what evidence is there that such policing was needed at all? It didn't find any bad guys or bad stuff, and clearly didn't stop bad guys from later doing bad things.

Why was such an overbroad set of warrants issued?
No: why were such lame, bogus warrants used, and why were there severe raids with no warrants at all? Remember "probable cause"?

If the raids and arrests before the convention, with the advantage of informants, were so fruitless, why should anyone give much credence to the claims of the cops out busting heads after the convention started?
This one is a pure non sequitor. The police "intelligence" listed bunches of innocuous people, and ignored the actual troublemakers.

#144 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 11:29 PM:

abi, not to tell you your business as moderator, but can we kick this JJ Fozz character out? He's pissing in a pool I'd like to swim in.

(I apologize to all if this drags the troll back in... I say it mostly in the belief that even if I didn't post this he wouldn't stay gone.)

More constructively--

How can people who aren't in the Twin Cities help? There must be a way. Unfortunately most of the information provided is photographic and not textual -- it's easy for people who aren't in the area to dig through various text sources online, but it's pretty hard for us to dig for photographs without some text to go on. (Is there a flickr photo-pool for the RNC protests that we could look through to find other pictures of this guy? A raw feed from photojournalists somewhere?)

Beyond that, the most productive thing I can think of is to give /everybody/ in the protests cheap digital video recorders (so you get sound as well as visual) so as to get the best-possible documentation of the event, in the hopes that somebody, somewhere will have the right video that can identify the wolves in protesters' clothing. I tend to believe that with enough eyes all problems are shallow (and I /do not/ mean more state surveillance, and I'm not even sure I mean David Brin's Transparent Society). I worry that the problem is that /we/ don't have enough eyes.

#145 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 11:45 PM:

Oh, wow, I missed all the action. JJ, if you come back -- Terry's too polite, but I agree with you, actually. You are a retard. If we are so unfortunate as a community to lose you permanently, I will really and truly miss you, because with you around, we all look a whole lot smarter.

(Abi, haul out the disemvoweller if you want -- God knows this isn't a very constructive post -- but I really don't suffer fools gladly, and ol' JJ has all the signs and symptoms.)

#146 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 11:49 PM:

Hmm, in retrospect I phrased that poorly. "Not to tell you your business as moderator, but let me tell you your business as moderator." I'm sorry. I think I meant it that way in the heat of the moment, but it was the wrong reaction.

Restated-- "abi, is there a reason this guy hasn't been banned yet? I feel that arguing with him has dragged on longer than I'd like, he hasn't contributed anything I found useful to the discussion,[1] and he has distracted us from the interesting and somewhat time-sensitive topic at hand, and his words are making me unproductively angry. (Sometimes pinatas are fun, but he's not very, and I'm not in the mood for it right now.)"

(I do kinda wish Making Light had the "eye" buttons like BoingBoing does...)

::hopes fervently that this doesn't further derail the conversation::

[1] Not a single measly haiku, to say nothing of a sonnet.

#147 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 11:51 PM:

Kevin Riggle: I don't think he's done anything to warrant a ban; and I will speak my mind as if this were my place, as opposed to just a place I call homely.

One, I can take some abuse. Two, I like to think ML is a place where one can spit on the mat and call the cat a bastard.

Three, if he were a regular, and this were one of his peeves (and we have several who have peeves... don't get me going on torture, I can wax loud and prolix and downright vituperative), we'd sigh, and move on.

Or we'd sink into one of our occaisional quagmires.

Is he (and forgive me Mr. Fozz 1: for assuming you are male, and 2: speaking about you when you are present) is irritating, so be it. That's the price for having an open door policy.

He's had some vowels stripped, and it seems he's learned from it. He's been spoken to pretty harshly, and not lost his cool.

Yes, I think he's been unresponsive, but we have regulars who can do that too.

In short, the only real thing I see which separates him from the rest of us is a lack of familiarity, and that's not good reason to give someone the boot.

#148 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 11:53 PM:

Continuing to reply to myself...

It just occurred to me that trolls are the Internet equivalent of the disaffected anarchists -- people throwing stones, of whatever form, because they've got a hard-on for conflict and destruction.

#149 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 12:00 AM:

Kevin, intruders don't usually get banned here, they often leave on their own after being tackled by a big crowd of regulars who know how to tag That Which Is Other without triggering the moderator's disemvoweling reflex.

#150 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 12:12 AM:

Earl Cooley III @ 149 wrote:
...being tackled by a big crowd of regulars who know how to tag That Which Is Other without triggering the moderator's disemvoweling reflex.

... which has me wondering how exactly one might apply that to other forms of community interaction, perhaps even as discussed above.

#151 ::: Ambar ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 12:33 AM:


The keyboard rattles
a single measly sonnet
is too much to ask

Hit refresh again
Someone on the Internet
is wrong
-- more than one!

Sorry, it's haiku
again tonight; the fast food
of ML poets.

#152 ::: morgue ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 12:59 AM:

#139 P J Evans

Yeah, I hadn't noticed that - well-spotted.

There must be a better quality version of the image I'm linking to, but I'm not sure where. again, the photo is on my blog - check it out for another angle on the photo above

#153 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 01:33 AM:

Your second haiku definitely resonated, Ambar. So I add:

I've little work to do today
And so I fill my mind with words
'lectrons and 'lections hold me sway
And outrage flits about like birds

I hit refresh on three sites, four!
The blood of fools sprays soft and fine
But when they're mopping up that floor
Most of that blood is prob'ly mine

Riots, banned books, I can't run from
their endlessly replayed refrain
Mai hed be hertin frum teh dum
I fill my mind with words again...

And a wiser voice brings consolation
Singing somethin' 'bout a better nation

#154 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 01:41 AM:

Terry Karney @113:

You may believe the cops are all sweetnees and light; wouldn't harm a fly, couldn't be used to wag the dog. Bully for you, continue being a good little lackey to the PTB, when the black helicopters of the Right Wing's One World Gov't show up I know you'll think them perfectly jusified, just as the FBI was at Ruby Ridge, and the BATF in Waco.

I generally agree with your posts in this thread, but do you actually believe that?

#155 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 01:55 AM:

morgue @ 137, P J Evans @ 139

I see a photographer in the window reflection too, but looking at the window, I have a couple of questions:

1. I can't see what he used to smash the window. It looks like fairly thick glass, and I have trouble believing that he just pushed the glass in with his hands, even if he had some sort of metal inserts in his gloves.

2. The room behind the window looks empty; does anyone know what's in that building? Might it have been designated an acceptable target for a provocateur because it was unused, or not valuable to anyone Who Matters?

#156 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 02:02 AM:

#147 Terry

Wouldn't that rather be,

Tw, lk t thnk ML s plc whr n cn spt n th mt nd cll th ct bstrd.

TTTO Frere Jacques

[and WTF is an airplane doing flying into or out of Hascom Field at this hour, anyway (I just heard one overheard? Is it the infamous rendition airplane or something?!]

Dsmvwllng, dsmvllng
Trll trts nw, trll trts nw
b's gnn gt y b's gnn gt y
Ww ww ww, w ww ww!

(Hmm, I never tried writing a disemvowelled song/poem before, AFAICR!)

#157 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 02:25 AM:

Does it really matter who these people are?

Seriously. Let's break out the spreadsheet and add up all the dollar values for damage in broken windows and various other depredations done here and compare the total to the aftermath of your average St. Patrick's Day Parade or the Castro Halloween festival or what-have-you. The cops would never mobilize for that kind of damage potential unless they were being ordered around by people at the top of the authoritarian pyramid who can't tolerate being mocked, even a little bit, by a school of dirty fcking hippies armed with papier-mâché puppets and cardboard signs.

Of course, they were agents. They've as much as announced that they use agents for this purpose. Suppose you find out who they are. What do you do then? Suppose you achieve the best possible outcome: you find out who they are, and you nail them dead to rights for felony vandalism, conspiracy to riot, and the whole laundry list. You succeed in getting them put away for a long time.

They'll make more. They're right-wing authoritarians. They have a well-oiled machine for making agents.

Here's what I want to know: how can we effectively use their own agents against them. Maybe some clever anarchists ought to show up to the next round of protests with jackets that say "I WORK FOR THE COPS" in giant yellow letters on the back. Then when you start throwing water balloons at your otherwise unmarked comrades, they can all start running away and writhing on the ground like they've been hit with pepper spray.

Then you start throwing balloons at the news reporters.

At least, this would be an improvement over the game of Duck, Duck, Goose I watched them play at the DNC2K in Los Angeles.

#158 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 02:50 AM:

I wonder what the books were
That Palin wanted banned,
I wonder where the money went
Congress poured in her hand
For a bridge to nowhere
The rainbow in the sky
And the US taxpayer
Got spat into the eye.

Liars liars,
No moral creed
The words of hypocrites
And their stinking screed
Liars liars,
A platform full of scorn
For the Constitution.
They treat as if it's porn!

The Republican Convention
Now over for this year
And the stench of fascism
Is stinking ev'rywhere,
In the streets of Minnesota
With warrantless arrests
And the locking up of hundreds
With false claims that they are pests.

Liars liars,
No moral creed
The words of hypocrites
And their stinking screed
Liars liars,
A platform full of scorn
For the Constitution.
They treat as if it's porn!

One used veteran from long ago
Who sold his ethics out
And his token of a running mate
Who'll gut us like a trout
She hunts and dresses full grown moose
But what has that to do,
With the expertise to run a nation
That is not moose stew!

Liars liars,
No moral creed
The words of hypocrites
And their stinking screed
Liars liars,
A platform full of scorn
For the Constitution.
They treat as if it's porn!

Their corruption, greed, and disregard
For human dignity
And the Keating Five and prisoner torture
Gag reality
And the running mate's religion
Is a very scary thing
The Dominionist affiliation's
Like Sauron's One Ring.

Liars liars,
No moral creed
The words of hypocrites
And their stinking screed
Liars liars,
A platform full of scorn
For the Constitution.
They treat as if it's porn!

#159 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 03:08 AM:

Kevin Riggle:

Ban him? Naah; he is either a mouth with no ears, in which case I think he's been handled just fine, or he is teachable, in which case he may stay, and learn.

I was actually hoping he'd be a more complex and interesting specimen of Authority Worshipper; one of those is like a good whetstone to the knives of our arguments. And they're all over; it is best to have practiced.

As it is, xeger @150 has the right of it; he is a worked example of how to manage vandals within a larger community of purposed individuals. I've been enjoying the symmetry.

And I reckon comment 131 is like when my 7 year old, having slammed his bedroom door, opens it and slams it again.

#160 ::: Individ-ewe-al ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 10:51 AM:

Michael at 145, that was uncalled for. JJ Fozz has been causing trouble, but could you please find a less offensive way to insult him? Please?

[I hope this doesn't end up derailing; please read the link before you argue with me. The problem is not "bad language", the problem is making the world an even less safe place for the most vulnerable people.]

#161 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 11:46 AM:

Bruce @ 155

I was wondering that also. I know that it's possible to break window glass just by pushing on it, but it really isn't as easy as it would seem - I had to break a small pane, once, having locked myself out of the house when no one else was available with a key, and I had to brace myself against a fairly solid object to get enough push.
A large window like that should be thicker glass than a pane that was maybe 12 by 15 inches, and it should be a lot harder to break. I'd expect glass coated with solar film, in a streetside window that clearly gets full sun, or even (less likely) safety glass, and those would make it even harder to have that kind of breakage.

#162 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 11:47 AM:

Actually, JJ Fozz has settled into being a fairly pleasant and involved commenter on another thread.

Which is another reason I didn't ban him. Some people just land badly, but then find their feet.

#163 ::: TK ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 12:07 PM:

In answer to one of the initial questions, having taken a pretty close look at the Coast Guard boats, at least two or three were armed with M60 machine guns (7.62 caliber, not 50) fore and aft. Perhaps they were expecting pirates?

The yellow on black shoe soles in themselves are kinda a red herring, since Vibram soles are are one everything from combat boots to many kinds of hiking boots to Chaco sandals.

For anyone who's interested, more pictures of Monday here
, including the confrontation of Shepard Rd:

One of the things that surprised (don't ask me why) me about the later was that the police were firing tear gas into the crowd, then forcing people back through it.

#164 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 12:55 PM:

re black helicopters: No, of course I don't believe that. I was trying to point out the irony when those who are (and no, JJ Fozz I am not accusing you, specifically of this thinking) so fond of suppporting the police when they are thumping anarchists who, "deserve it," and the sorts of overbroard warrants of harrassment as the ones served last week, are so often the same folks who were screaming about the heinous overreach of the previous administration; even to the point they tend to blame actions of the adminstration before that one [Ruby Ridge] on them.

It was, apparently, failed sarcasm.

#165 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 01:10 PM:

Ths s jst t sy

hv pstd
th cmmnt
tht strrd p
th flmwr

nd whch
y wr prbbly
wld g nsd

Frgv m
ws mlcs
s snrky
nd s cld

#166 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 02:42 PM:

P J Evans @161 wrote:
I was wondering that also. I know that it's possible to break window glass just by pushing on it, but it really isn't as easy as it would seem - I had to break a small pane, once, having locked myself out of the house when no one else was available with a key, and I had to brace myself against a fairly solid object to get enough push.

You don't want to push on the glass - you want to hit it with something fairly narrow at the point -- impact force in a concentrated area, to get the break started.

It's surprisingly easy to get even safety glass[0] to break, given the right tool (there's a variety of tools online that are sold under the auspices of letting you extract yourself from your car after an accident, many of which are quite small).

FWIW, I have broken standard glass windows (at home) with my sweater-covered hand, and no injury. I was young and dumb, or I wouldn't have.

[0] The safety part being that it falls apart into rubble on contact, rather than creating dangerously jagged shards.

#167 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 02:55 PM:

xeger, I didn't have an object to hnd that would have been better for breaking the glass, or I would have used it (we were a bit short on loose bricks and rocks of a suitable mass). After that episode, I put a key in a convenient not-visible place outside the house, though. (Inside the boiler-room, on the other side of a stud from the door. Easy to get to, not easy to find if you didn't know.)

#168 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 03:30 PM:

(Was that too hard to decode?)

#169 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 03:44 PM:

albatross: No, it was perfect.

#170 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 03:45 PM:

albatross @ 168: I was just admiring your post at 165. Perhaps I should phrase it thusly: " ws jst dmrng yr pst t 165. Ncl dn. T bd w dnt gt mr f ths."

#171 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 04:06 PM:

And albatross@165 takes the gold!

#172 ::: Erich ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 04:24 PM:

In future consider the following:

1) Rethink civil disobedience. At this point its lost its moral high ground and serves, primarily, to piss people off. Fair or not, what most people saw this week was a bunch of white Trustifarians getting their revolution on. The Welcome RNC Committee's announcement of an intended blockade was plain dumb.

2) Seek allies that the cops are less likely to attack: progressive union members; socially aware Black churches; Peace Churches - Quakers, Mennonites, and so forth. And, most important, get some older activists involved. Preferably very old activists.

3) Provocateurs are easy to identify. They are the ones who provoke. Don't be provoked into doing something stupid.

4) Bear in mind that, just as Critical Mass was practice for the RNC...this also was practice. Our Finest are perfecting the tactics and methods to be used once there is a serious popular threat to Power. Don't help them.

#173 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 04:55 PM:

Erich: The problem isn't with civil disobedience.

Rather (as I look at the events I've seen, and the way they go bad), there are 1: those who are not civil. To cede the field to them is to give up. It won't make the cops lesss violent, and it won't get things changed.

2: The press doesn't cover these things well. LA had 500,000 people take the streets. There was no violence. It was covered in (so far as I could tell) a desultory way.

3: Being provoked leads to positive feedback loops. This is the hard thing to deal with. Cops who want to instigate will succeed. Being non-violent takes work, and courage and determination. The link to the events in Canada show how it can be done. The best thing would probably be to train people to back away, and point to, those who are being destructive.

A lane of the non-involved, letting the cops move in to arrest the perpetrators of violence might make for good television, and so get airplay. The more so if there was clear visibility of cops going overboard and attacking those who were stepping back.

One of the things pepper spray makes worse is that it's individual. Firehose are dramatics, and obviously used without discrimnation. Pepper spray is wielded by individual cops, and so seems to be a measured response, even when wielded indiscriminately.

When the gov't is wrong people have the duty to "assemble to petition for redress of grievance." If they don't do it peaceably, they will have to do it violently.

If they don't do it, they assent to what is going on, and become complicit, if they do it, it has to be something which isn't discredited because of the means, and we don't have much of a culture for rioting for things.

So civil disobedience is the best tool to use.

#174 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 07:45 PM:

More on the random observations: the second angle makes it apparent his hair color is natural. This suggests to me that he's relatively local to the area, for a variety of local that includes several surrounding states. Scandinavian-looking blonds are more common in Minnesota than they are in New England, anyway, which is why I at first suspected his hair was bleached.

#175 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 08:23 PM:

Terry Kearny, #171: "The press doesn't cover these things well. LA had 500,000 people take the streets. There was no violence. It was covered in (so far as I could tell) a desultory way."

Maybe the thing to do is march on the local television station.

albatross, #165: you are my new hero.

#176 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 08:25 PM:

We returned today from Eastern Wisconsin, where we had beem visiting with my partner's family during the RNC. We were coming out of a fast food place just off I-94, and coming into the restaurant was a whole busload of cops, literally. There was a full size (think Greyhound) bus and two vans, labeled Milwaukee Police department. I ventured that they were coming back from working the RNC in St Paul, Martin wasn't so sure - until we saw the guy with a T-shirt, black with white letters, in the "Got Milk?" format that said "Got Protester?"

Milwaukee?? That's on the other side of Wisconsin from Minnesota. WTF? Now I understand how it was possible there were more cops than protesters. I wonder how far and wide they went for cops, and how many towns had policing problems because their cops were in St Paul.

And once they were there, they had to have something to do, so why not beat up peaceful protesters. This is really scary. I really really hope that the past few days in St Paul are not a glimpse of our country's future.

#177 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 09:40 PM:

Individ-ewe-al @160 - point taken. "He started it" is a weak defense, and "I really should have slept more" even weaker, but ... I got nothing. (Thanks, abi -- I probably should have done that myself, but I really didn't like the green tea and hemp sandals remark, and barked when I should have gone elsewhere.)

albatross @165 - sheer genius!

j h woodyat @157 - I think it probably doesn't matter specifically who these people are, but the story is extremely important if it can be documented. If it could be demonstrated that the ... uh ... demonstrators were agents provocateurs in this instance, then ... well, who am I kidding? The media wouldn't cover that anyway, because it's not the story they want to be a part of, is it? But it would still be valuable, I think.

I'm not sure it's possible to do, without actually being there at the time and maybe following this person to see what happened to him.

I really like your idea of making it surreal street theater. I'd pay to see that!

#178 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2008, 11:52 PM:

All: Thnks!

Michael Roberts:

I wonder how much longer the MSM will keep their role as the gatekeepers of accepted reality. Every time they do the equivalent of reporting clear skies when you can look out your window and see rain, they lose credibility. That's been going on for a long time, and I've heard plenty of people express deep skepticism about the accuracy and completeness of the news. (In fact, it seems to be correlated with age.)

But before the net, what could anyone do about it, other than kind of discounting it the way people in the Soviet Union kind of quietly discounted the official propoganda? Now, there are alternatives. I've outsourced large amounts of my previous reliance on standard media to the blogosphere and Google and Wikipedia. Much of the rest is spread out among MSM types outside the US.

Already, many ideas that were once shut out of the discussion by the MSM gatekeepers appear on the net, for better and worse. Stories that various gatekeepers would prefer to quiet down become widespread, as this one has to some extent. The one-to-many model of newspapers is becoming more and more two-way.

I'm not sure where that leads. But I do wonder if, ten years from now, this concern about the media not reporting incriminating stuff will seem like a lot less of a problem.

#179 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2008, 02:07 AM:

#178 albatross

What about network censorship, though, that is, filtering nd processing done in any of the forms of what in electronic warfare gets called MIJI--


Plain old censorship and sending data to the bit bucket isn't part of traditional MIJI techniques, because there actually.

A Denial of Service Attack is jamming.

But selectively blocking out messages by the contrent or specific sender or recipient, from distribution or getting from through gateways en route for electronic warfare purposes, that's an artifact of computer-based communications technology and content distribution over it.

#180 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2008, 03:15 AM:

How many people are still detained? Are there any official charges so far? That haven't been dropped yet? (There doesn't seem to be much news on Greenwald's blog, and I'm not sure where else to look.)

#181 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2008, 04:39 AM:

This is really scary. I really really hope that the past few days in St Paul are not a glimpse of our country's future.

Alas, no. They're a glimpse of your country's present.

#182 ::: Yarrow ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2008, 09:52 AM:

Here's a message from Jason. His email is .

Hey all, I am on my way to recovering after a tough couple of days. I appreciate all the well wishes and energy that has been sent with the intention for safety, freedom, and health.

I was arrested in a peaceful and permited assembly on Tuesday at the rnc. I was shocked, beaten and terribly hurt before being held for 40 hours in prison with only minutes outside of my cell. with the nature of the attrocity against me, I am writing to request help with building a case against the state.

If you are searching the web or have any links for the rnc that involve any footage about my arrest at 5th and Waccouta at Mears Park at about
5pm on Tuesday, Sept 2, please send them to me to help me in building a case against the state and in defence of peace, justice and our rights to assemble and free speech.

Here is a link to some video footage that has been found on line.
Any assistance that can be offered is much appreciated.

#183 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2008, 12:07 PM:

abi @162, whoa. Sure enough. All, and especially JJ Fozz, I apologize for my call to banning. I was too quick to judge.

Earl Cooley III @149: I've seen that mechanism work well here in the past, but it seemed to be failing now. Clearly I was wrong. :-)

(Oh, hmm, my view-all-by is awfully short, isn't it. Drat -- the problem of changing e-mail addresses. I should have left a pointer in my first comment on the new address, but I didn't think of it. Here's the view-all-by for my old address.)

Poets, all: Bravo! (The last stanza of #151 especially had me laughing, something of which I have done too little of late.)

Has anyone else been reminded of Little Brother through all this? It's scary.

xeger @150, I am actually sort of surprised that protest groups don't have a subcommittee of imposing moderator-type people dedicated to policing these elements at their protests. If they don't, it seems like a clever and increasingly necessary innovation. The one failure mode I can see is how the media would report it if one of the enforcers and one of the smashing-windows types got into an altercation. To help steer that reporting in the right direction, the enforcers should be wearing clothing which makes it clear that they are providing security but still affiliated with the protest group.

#184 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2008, 12:46 PM:

Yeah, if I re-read Little Brother too often before the election, I'll go crazy.

#185 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2008, 02:58 PM:

Kevin #183:

Cut to scene of large protest. Several protesters are standing with large swords, looking around menacingly. Teresa comes running up, looking horrified.

No, no, NO! I said disemvowel the troublemakers.

#186 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2008, 05:52 PM:

Paula #179:

I worry a lot about how well the internet/blogosphere can stand up to concerted attack of various kinds. A well-funded adversary willing to spend some serious resources could presumably cause a lot of net.discussion of some important issues to just fall apart for awhile. That wouldn't stop the discussions forever, but it might very well be enough to keep news of a last minute scandal from being spread far and wide before the election. I would be only a little surprised to see, for example, massive DDOS attacks on various political sites in the last few days before the election. And of course, much worse is possible.

Check out this link from the FSecure blog, about politically targeted malware This isn't unique, either. People have talked about the DDOS attacks on Georgian sites, or the "patriotic hackers" who took down the English-language Al Jazeera site during the Gulf War (apparently because it was showing US casualties). And here is another link showing Chinese use of targeted malware. Along with e-mail, badguys could (and probably will) try to use exploits on common video players + interesting Youtube videos, or give away malware-installing USB drives at political meetings, or CDs or DVDs with nastiness installed by the autorun.

FWIW, the FBI also uses targeted malware in investigations. It would be very interesting to look on the computers of the folks who were organizing those anti-RNC rallies and got pre-emptively raided, and see what interesting stuff lurked there.

Outside malware, a natural thing to do is to simply compromise a website (or get DNS to send people to the wrong place) and make subtle defacements instead of large ones, perhaps even to show different IP addresses slightly different content. (That's been done a lot, as it turns out.) It would be possible, using this, to snarl up net.discussion in some really evil ways, with accusations of bad faith quickly piling up as some formerly trusted net.source appeared to be making stuff up about what they found in some CNN article or ML article.

There are defenses possible, but almost nobody wants to do most of them, because of the cost. After a recent really clever, really nasty attack on DNS, the common discussions about fixes were resisting even adding non-cryptographic stuff like additional acknowledgement messages or switching from UDP to TCP, let along something like serious crypto (that has been stalled for years in this case).

Sorry, I'll stop spewing random thoughts about this now. I wish I had some time to work on this stuff in depth, though my area of research is somewhat different (crypto, not network security or OS security/viruses/rootkits). But I wish our internet communications infrastructure weren't painted all over with bullseyes, and I expect we won't change it anytime soon. (Note that your cellphone and cordless phone use crypto that is pathetic and worthless, respectively, to protect the privacy of your conversations. Those vulnerabilties have been there forever, and are pretty trivial to fix with existing tools. But hardly anyone cares, so they go unfixed.)

#187 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2008, 09:58 PM:

albatross @185: Hee. I wonder what the real-world equivalent of disemvoweling is. Cream pies, maybe? What other ways to make someone look silly or ridiculous without actually hurting them are there? (And would looking silly or ridiculous actually dissuade them from smashing storefronts? Newscaster: "The protests against Governmental Policy in Major Metropolitan Area turned violent today, as protesters smashed... wait, why does he have a pie on his head?")

It would be so much easier if people had word balloons in real life.

#188 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2008, 11:18 PM:

Kevin Riggle @ 183 ...
xeger @150, I am actually sort of surprised that protest groups don't have a subcommittee of imposing moderator-type people dedicated to policing these elements at their protests. If they don't, it seems like a clever and increasingly necessary innovation. The one failure mode I can see is how the media would report it if one of the enforcers and one of the smashing-windows types got into an altercation. To help steer that reporting in the right direction, the enforcers should be wearing clothing which makes it clear that they are providing security but still affiliated with the protest group.

Arguably you want folk that are imposing in non-threatening ways (too big to make it worth picking the fight, or problematic ("she reminds me of my grandmother mary sue") in some other way) --which leads me to a wonderful mental image of some miscreant being gently told "Now, dear, we just don't do that here"[0] while being firmly relocated, whether by proximity or a firm-but-gentle hand on the elbow[1].

[0] Repeated as necessary, as though dealing with a slightly slow child...
[1] Although the mental image of the miscreant being dragged off by a little granny type twisting his ear is -priceless- :)

#189 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 01:25 AM:

You know how the RNC was willing to use police state tactics against Democrats, liberals, protesters, and other non-Republicans. Never let it be said they're not willing to eat their own dog food.

Check out this article on the RNC's Black hats. (I think they couldn't get enough brown shirts to cover the whole convention's security needs.)

Similarly, if you're upset because you suspect Republican involvement in insecure voting systems that sometimes silently discard your vote, again, they want nothing done to you that they're not willing to do to their own delegates.

I'm fking gobsmacked. This isn't just nuts, it's super-nuts. They weren't going to get the hardcore Paul supporters, but they just pissed all over a bunch of fking Republican party delegates, both with the bullying of the "we'll kick you out if you get off message" crap and the overt non-counting of votes. How do you win an election when you keep pissing all over your supporters?

#190 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 02:28 AM:

re the Black Hats: I read the comments. There were (at that point) 14. All of them against the Republicans.

The paper was the Washington Times.

#191 ::: nader paul kucinich gravel ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 04:29 AM:

Follow the $.

nader paul kucinich gravel
mckinney ventura
perot charts

Got honesty?

#192 ::: xeger wonders if we have spam ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 04:37 AM:

At least #191 certainly reads like a drive-by spambotting.

#193 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 05:31 AM:

xeger @192:

There's no payload.

I kinda like it, in a gnomic free-form poetic way. It might be better in the "You wrote what?" thread; it reminds me of the drunken jock's poetry in Grosse Point Blank.

I am minded to let it stay, like an abstract sculpture in an otherwise functional garden. It gives the eye a place to rest and the mind a place to wonder.

#194 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 06:41 AM:

xeger @ 188, I am unreasonably charmed by the idea of white-haired granny Decorum Enforcers at protest marches.

Maybe have them work in pairs with the linebacker-sized ones, so they have backup?

(note to self: this may also be a productive idea for Con Security in future.)

#195 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 08:31 AM:

There's a lot of that particular style of comment floating around various comment sites; the expanded version includes some Steppenwolf ("Monster") song lyrics.

#196 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 09:28 AM:

#191 who-the-???

What is Kucinich doing in that litany?!

#197 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 09:56 AM:

Paula: Isn't the category "politicians too far from the mainstream to be paid attention to, even if they got a fair number of people to vote for them?"

It's weird, but I'm not sure its entirely off topic. Surely we can riff on it even if we can't understand it.

Lunacy? Dissent?
All the same to MSM:
outliers vanish

#198 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 12:24 PM:

Except the photo-
genic ones, which it holds up
For ridiculing

#199 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 12:35 PM:

#191 is an example of memecasting. We're just one of many targets.

#200 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 03:10 PM:

It's not memecasting if you don't understand what it's saying. (And even if you're not the target, someone must be able to explain what the target would see in it.)

#201 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 03:18 PM:

It's a little more understandable when the song lyrics are included, I suppose.

#202 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 03:43 PM:

Rikibeth, thank you for pointing out xeger's comment, which was worth a second look. And yes, the fans I know who work con security would probably be very happy to have a few more white-haired granny (and grandpappy) types helping out. Except they'd be helping with "safety", there not being a "security" department.

I can understand how at a science fiction convention it's easy for fans, especially young inexperienced ones, to confuse costuming and role-playing with security. But it doesn't take much reading of Zimbardo and others to realize they don't mix well. When we dress up our safety monitors like cops, they start acting like cops. It changes the mood of the con not in a good way, and they're more likely to put themselves into risky situations where someone can get hurt. And when the city dresses up its cops like soldiers, they start acting like soldiers. Quelle surprise.

#203 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 03:50 PM:

TomB, in my experience, con security wears T-shirts and carries walkie-talkies, no cop suits involved. And the usual order of business is "quiet down the rowdier party-goers," and sometimes "call the EMTs for people who need attention."

I was honestly thinking that a Granny Patrol would be a good counter-force to the Poorly Socialized Creepy Dude brigade.

#204 ::: Ambar ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 04:14 PM:


here's an excerpt from Starhawk's report of 4 Sep in St. Paul. I'd call it one example of a Granny Patrol in action:

There are two great instincts that war in the human breast; not sex and death, as Freud maintained, but these: the urge to stay safe, and the urge to get into the action or at least, see what's going on.

For the moment, the second urge is dominant in all of us who remain. The march starts off, and we join it. But we're extra alert. We're looking for the exits and the escape routes, positioning ourselves always so there is somewhere to go.

The march heads up the street alongside the Capitol lawn, and then tries to turn across one of the bridges leading into downtown. The police move in, and block us.

There's a tense crowd of people on the bridge and filling the intersection. Around us are police in full riot gear and gas masks. There's also a group of bike cops, looking slightly underdressed in shorts and gas masks. They've brought in the Minnesota specials-a line of snowplows across the bridge. On them are perched black-masked cops in heavy leathers holding thick-muzzled rifles that shoot rubber bullets.

The energy is unfocused. Nobody knows quit what to do. It could all fall apart, in a moment, with the cops attacking the crowd, or it could remain a standoff for a long time. I am softly drumming, not quite sure what to do, when a young, African American woman with long
urls and a ring in her lip comes up and says, "Do you know how to sing, 'Aint' Gonna Study War No More?"

I shift the beat, we begin singing, and soon gather a small chorus that forms around us. A tiny, round, young black woman in spectacles
steps in front. She has a large voice, and she takes over as lead singer. The chorus grows and a space opens up in the center of the intersection, that is soon filled with riders on bikes, circling around and around, counterclockwise. A young man turns a cartwheel. A clown on stilts appears, out of nowhere, and joins the ride. Suddenly, it's a circus in the street. The mood shifts and becomes almost festive.

#205 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 04:48 PM:

Rikibeth, I agree completely. And maybe it would help those poorly socialized creepy dudes develop some good social skills. They could start with wiping up spills. My grandmother has a story of how she met my grandfather. They were in a party of friends and they all went to the apartment my grandmother was renting. She opened the door and saw the cat had thrown up on the floor. My grandfather quietly went over to the sink, got a rag, and started cleaning it up. She watched him and thought "this is the guy." Of course, it didn't hurt that he was quite good looking too.

#206 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 05:29 PM:

Re: Granny Patrol

Much of what happens at a demonstration is highly-conventionalized, one could say pre-scripted, action. Each person, whether on the side of the protesters or the cops, takes on one of a small number of roles. The results are often determined by who picked which role*. And that's where bending the roles comes in. Whether it's picking your security to look like grandma, or making the march as surrealistic as possible†, changing the roles, the costumes, and the motions can change the outcome. If nothing else, as long as the changes appear less threatening than the original to the average cop in the riot squad, there's less chance of an isolated incident, caused by one cop's overreaction, that triggers an outbreak of violence over the whole march.

* Did the officer in charge of the police think of him (usually) or herself as a SWAT** commander? Did the leader of the march think of hirself as a firebrand revolutionary?

** Anyone remember the EAT team on Hill Street Blues? There was a role-playing group if ever I saw one.

† The Bread and Puppet Theatre is a good example.

#207 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 06:57 PM:

Earl, #195: You want song lyrics? I've gotcher song lyrics right here.

There's something happenin' here,
What it is ain't exactly clear.
There's a man with a gun over there,
Tellin' me I got to beware.
It's time to STOP, hey, what's that sound,
Everybody look what's goin' down.

There's battle lines bein' drawn;
Nobody's right if everybody's wrong.
Young people speakin' their minds
Are gettin' so much resistance from behind,
We've got to STOP, hey, what's that sound,
Everybody look what's goin' down.

What a field day for the heat,
A thousand people in the street,
Singin' songs and a-carryin' signs,
Mostly sayin' "Hooray for our side!"
It's time to STOP, hey, what's that sound,
Everybody look what's goin' down.

--"For What It's Worth" as performed by Buffalo Springfield
(from memory -- any errors are my own fault)

#208 ::: Yarrow ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 11:34 PM:

Bruce Cohen, #206: making the march as surrealistic as possible

David Graeber has a wonderful article "On the Phenomenology of Giant Puppets: Broken Windows, Imaginary Jars of Urine, and the Cosmological Role of the Police in American Culture" about why police hate giant puppets, even though puppets and such are the closet thing that anarchist direct actions have to peacekeepers.

Puppets tend to be surrounded by a much larger "carnival bloc", replete with clowns, stilt-walkers, jugglers, fire-breathers, unicylists, Radical Cheerleaders, costumed kick-lines, ... [T]he critical thing is that every action will normally have its circus fringe, a collection of flying squads that circulate through the large street blockades to lift spirits, perform street theatre, and critically, to try to defuse moments of tension or potential conflict.

Graeber mentions a number of pre-emptive police strikes against giant puppets and their makers including the April 2000 IMF/World Bank protests in DC and the August 2000 RNC protests in Philadelphia (yes! before 9/11! which changed everything! or not!) and the Summit of the Americas in 2003.

He says that police hate puppets because unlike, say, marshals with armbands, there is no chain of command for puppetistas and clowns. They can't be co-opted by the police, and they not only don't follow the rules, they subvert them: "A situation that is sort of like nonviolent warfare becomes a situation that is sort of like a circus, or a theatrical performance, or a religious ritual, and might equally well slip back at any time. Of course, from the point of view of the police, this is simply cheating."

#209 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 09:21 AM:

Earl #199:

astroturf mating:
memes combine in tiny minds
a new smear is born

#210 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 09:31 AM:

Rikibeth @ 203... a Granny Patrol

Jane Yolen as Lenny Briscoe?

#211 ::: JJ Fozz ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 09:41 AM:

Police Hate Giant Puppets - man that sounds like an Onion headline.

#212 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 09:45 AM:

If you could get Granny Weatherwax and Granny Carry (from Liavek) out on the job..!

#213 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 10:51 AM:

Lee @ 207:

Paranoia strikes deep.
Into your life it will creep.
It starts when you're always afraid --
Step out of line, the man come and take you away.
You better stop, hey, what's that sound,
everybody look what's going down.

#214 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 12:00 PM:

Joel @ #212: Nanny Ogg would be even better. Granny can be threatening, but Nanny's just EMBARRASSING.

#215 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 12:01 PM:

Joel @ #212: Nanny Ogg would be even better. Granny can be threatening, but Nanny's just EMBARRASSING. Also, the ordinary grannies on the barricades in Night Watch would come in handy. "You'd better back off, our Jason, or we'll tell all these people what you did when you were five!"

#216 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 12:02 PM:

Dang it! Sorry about that!

#217 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 01:24 PM:

(For What it's Worth was written by Stephen Stills; we heard CSN&Y play it in the Tacoma Dome three years ago. It still rocks hard, and is a vastly better song than "Ohio" ).

#218 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 02:01 PM:

I'm still seeing videos of what happened during the protests, and they've got me speechless again. Not surprised, alas, but... it's going to take me a little while to get constructive again.

There's a woman in this one who gets pepper-sprayed repeatedly in the face at point-blank range while she is trying to keep her hands up to show she's non-violent, and giving the peace sign. The part where the cops shove her to the ground and then keep ramming their bike tires into her is .... gaaah. I have no words. She looks like a hundred people I know. I want to know what happened to her.

I want to know what happened to those cops, too. If those are MPD insignia, well, I want to know which precinct.

Also, apparently a bunch of protesters got the "First Precinct Special" treatment after the little fracas in downtown Minneapolis: picked up, put in the squads, never charged, driven around for a long time, and dropped off at a random location in the city. (Dunno if they got the special deluxe edition, where you get dropped off with no ID because it was "confiscated," but I know people... eh. I am getting incoherent again with upset.)

#219 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 02:14 PM:

NPR's press-watching program On the Media this week led with an account of the raids and arrests of journalists in St. Paul.

#220 ::: sherrold ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 02:19 PM:

Paula at 158

I love the entire piece, but it starts especially strong:
I wonder what the books were
That Palin wanted banned,
I wonder where the money went
Congress poured in her hand...

I've been trying existing tunes trying to find the perfect fit, but I may have to come up with something specifically for it.

Leah @ 153
I especially loved the last two lines of yours:
And a wiser voice brings consolation
Singing somethin' 'bout a better nation

It reminded me of that wonderful line about "work like you're in the early days of a better nation" (that I'm probably misquoting). Very cool.

(and Lee, now I'm sitting here at my desk humming, and it's your fault. OTOH, as earworms go, it could be a lot worse.)

#221 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 02:25 PM:

Caroline, #213: Thanks! That's what comes of not actually listening to the song again before posting.

#222 ::: Rosa ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 03:22 PM:

Elise, I'm stopping by Monica Bicking's house tonight to knock on the door & see if there's anything I can do (we live about 2 blocks apart.)

I don't think there's going to be a way to find out who everyone is, especially the people who weren't charged. But I think a side effect of the crackdown is going to be a whole lot of local organizing. I've not been politically active at all for almost 5 years and I'm getting involved again.

#223 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 04:55 PM:

The first version of "For What It's Worth" I ever encountered was this Muppet version. Even as a little kid it gave me the chills, and it still does. It diverts substantially from the original after the first verse. Both are surprisingly relevant to the current election, I think.

sherrold @ #220

I was trying to get at that, actually. It's a line I first heard here, and it's something I call up whenever everything bad in the world is piling up and I start to lose hope.

I can't remember when my attention was first drawn to it, but it definitely hit home after the 2004 election. I had to google the full lyrics, and I went looking for an audio version of the song. Unfortunately I couldn't find it anywhere, so I sort of made up my own tune to go to the lyrics. They've been my mantra whenever I feel overwhelmed.

I fall asleep with the TV on
Wake with an ache it's another week gone
And consider how my light was spent
And where it was that the real thing went
I asked a wise man for advice
I told him once and I told him twice;
My life is one long damage limitation
He smacked me hard around the head
He handed me a card that read:

Work like you were
Living in the early days of a better nation
Living in the early days of a better nation

Play that tune again! I cried
It's dead and gone the band replied
But as they slowly tried it through
The hands remembered what they had to do
Give it poke and give it licks
The name of the tune is Laying The Bricks
I Stood outside the Albert Hall
And wept, and wrote upon the wall;

Work like you were
Living in the early days of a better nation
Living in the early days of a better nation

We take the water to the tree
She says, Now do the same for me
It takes your sweat as well as art
To dig a channel for the human heart
There is no garden of delight
Unless you weed it day or night
Don't leave your life a lifelong long vacation
I hear her whisper when we meet
And when I crawl between the sheets, she says;

Work like you were
Living in the early days of a better nation
Living in the early days of a better nation

-Oyster Band

And now, I find they've put it up on youtube, so now I finally know what it sounds like. I should look at ordering it now that I've found a way.

#224 ::: ers ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 10:53 PM:

Arrrgghhh. With all due respect and a sincere desire not to undermine the content and value of this entire exchange, I think what we have here is an exercise in self-referential irony. All that's best and worst... caring, sniping, digressions, informed opinions, uninformed opinions, facts, references...

What I'm worried about is the same thing that I always worry about: we are stuck theorizing in the absence of real data because we can hardly lay our hands on real data. The most trustworthy information I've seen here is the first-person accounts from those on-site. I wish I could think of a remedy for this. OTOH, has there ever been a remedy for this? mumble human condition mumble mumble *shit*

#225 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 11:03 PM:

ers @ 224 ... would you care to clarify what you're trying to say?

It reads as though you're trying to say that the whole thread is pointless, because we're missing some (unspecified) 'real data' -- where first hand accounts aren't sufficiently 'real data'.

#226 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 11:25 PM:

The problem is that we have first person accounts from a small subset of people involved, all on the receiving end of some unwanted police attention. There are good reasons to think something bad was going on, and part of that is that the "something bad" appears to fit a larger trend in the US. But we don't have, say, accounts by randomly-sampled protesters, but instead by the folks who got treated the worst. (So we don't know whether this was a very small set of isolated cases of mistreatment, or a broad pattern of mistreatment.) We don't have any first-person accounts from the police that might explain what the hell they were thinking.

And this is definitely the human condition. Even if we had massive media coverage of this stuff, we'd still be getting an incomplete picture of what happened, subject to all kinds of error and bias and fraud. All you can do here, AFAICT, is to try to get multiple sources of information, and try to fit the information you get into the larger picture based on stable long-term data, related incidents, etc.

That last is why different people can sometimes come to radically different conclusions about the same event. Stuff like the OJ trial or the LAPD beating/riots make that very clear.

#227 ::: ers ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 11:37 PM:

Oops. Of all places to tangle my syntax. No, what I meant is that first-hand accounts, when the source can be verified, *are* real data. Or the closest thing to it.

More to the point, I am in a maze of realities and truths, all twisty. Who's an underground agent for which entity? Or is the idea of an underground agent meant to discredit... well, who? The sponsors of the agent, or the group the agent infiltrates?


Just a little existential despair, that's all.

#228 ::: ers ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 11:51 PM:

Thanks, alabatross. You articulated and summarized what I was too tired or lazy to spell out (as it were).

There is no unbiased information. The best we can hope for is a way to determine what the bias is.

#229 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2008, 12:04 AM:

albatross @ 226, ers @ 227-228...
Ah, okay! Sample bias! The light dawns ;)

[sample set of 1 here, now enlightened... ]

#230 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2008, 12:04 AM:

albatross @ 226, ers @ 227-228...
Ah, okay! Sample bias! The light dawns ;)

[sample set of 1 here, now enlightened... ]

#231 ::: xeger has stuttering fingers ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2008, 12:07 AM:

... and apparently I'm very eager to be an enlightened set...

(this being different from an enlightened Set, which would be a completely different kettle of desert animals)

#232 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2008, 12:28 AM:

Meanwhile, from the fluffy bunny birthday party at the park, the lack of reports of SWAT team tactics does not mean that in fact, such tactics did not occur. It could be that the pram-pushing moms are keeping mum.

#233 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2008, 08:37 AM:

TomB #232:

Yep. No evidence of X is not the same as evidence that there's no X. The real evidence you get that no X happened involves the probabilities you'd have seen the coverage that happened, given X had happened, and given X hadn't happened. This story was so disturbing partly because it forced me to revise those conditional probabilities--some stuff which I would have expected to be widely reported fell into a near-black-hole. If the media won't report on massive pre-emptive detention and harrassment of activists, reporters, and their lawyers, what else won't it report on?

#234 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2008, 10:38 AM:

Yes, it's disturbing. I think we need to get away from the idea that we can trust the media, especially the massive monolithic media. But people aren't going to hear that from the media. The good thing is people building independent sources of news and the new technology enabling anyone to report nationally on what they see.

In the meantime, I'm not optimistic about street demonstrations as a political strategy. (They are fine for team-building, but the challenge is changing politics on a national scale.) Demonstrations are reported on, but as a social problem, verging on crime. The protest is used to justify harsher and harsher repression. The conservatives continue to conform out of fear of the mob. Vandalism and violence only reinforce the right-wing narrative.

Which brings us back to Elise's question. Who are these people? I have no idea whether they are agents provocateurs or angry kids or misguided idealists, or some mix of each. But they're not helping. Unless you think that things need to get worse before they can get better.

Don't get me wrong, sometimes demonstrations are necessary to build support for change. They have worked before, and they can work again. But it seems to be really hard. It has to be done right. And this brings us back to Laura G's comment at #1 about Seattle. The Seattle demonstrations were huge and peaceful and smart. They were turning into an impromptu conference on world trade that was more interesting and newsworthy than the WTO meeting. I think we need to remember how it almost worked, and not just how it became a wreck.

#235 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2008, 11:04 AM:

There are anti-war demonstrations that haven't been covered. There are immigration marches that have barely been covered.

Missing white women are so much more important. [/s]

#236 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2008, 11:20 AM:

I wonder if there are enough people who don't trust the MSM to make a boycott possible/noticeable. Or are all those people already effectively boycotting?

#237 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2008, 02:27 PM:

Lila #236:

Many of us who don't trust the MSM all that much are boycotting it in the sense of not trusting it, looking for better sources of information, etc. The problem is, they do some stuff that isn't done by anyone else, including a lot of basic data collection on the ground. To the extent we're talking about punditry and analysis and "what it all means" columns, the stuff available on the web so thoroughly blows away the MSM's offerings that they haven't got a chance at my eyeballs anymore. But when we're talking about, say, reporting what happened at a public venue to which media were given special access and to which I couldn't have gotten access, well, I'm kind of dependent on them to tell me what happened. Knowing they're giving me low quality, ideologically filtered data that's been edited with an eye to the preferences of advertisers and the desire not to make enemies of anyone powerful, well, that means I give their claims less weight, but I don't have anything to replace it with. Youtube videos and pictures on flikr and weblogs all can help, but they have their own major problems w.r.t. sampling and other sources of intentional and unintentional bias.

#238 ::: Terry Karney see what looks like a SPAM probe ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2011, 02:36 AM:

One shot, no content to speak of and a straight .com, address.

#239 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2012, 08:06 PM:

Points for using majuscule, though, yah?

#240 ::: edward oleander ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2012, 04:02 PM:

I dunno... could just be we're not seeing the bigger picture, and connecting the right dots. Maybe we're just not seeing what it took this twiddler four years to piece together. Maybe we should ALL beware of the connections between Microsoft, Mozilla, Elise, and dare I say it, the Free Latvian Underground? Elise, I'm begging you, get out while you still can! /disengage chortlematic overdrive/

#241 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2012, 04:39 PM:

*pokes Edward Oleander and threatens to tickle*

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