Archive for tear gas

The More Things Change...

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...the more they stay the same.

The photographer who shot that iconic photo at the top of the page was arrested last night in Ferguson, MO. Scott Olsen, a photojournalist for Getty Images, has brought the reality of what's happening in Ferguson to the rest of the world via his amazing photos, many of which can be seen here. 

Apparently, the police didn't want Olsen doing his job where he was standing- as if they wanted him to do his job at all..

Scott Olsen wasn't the only member of the media arrested last night. We know of at least two others.

Intercept reporter Ryan Devereaux was arrested this morning while on the ground covering the protests in Ferguson, Mo. According to St. Louis Post-Dispatch photographer David Carson, who witnessed the apprehension, Ryan and a German reporter he was with were both taken into custody by members of a police tactical team. They were handcuffed and placed in a wagon, and Carson was told they were being taken to St. Louis County jail.

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Update: Johnson and his colleagues did not take the “proper action.” Ryan spent the night in St. Louis County Jail, where he remains this morning. According to officials there, he is due to be released without charge—the initial pretext for his detention was “failure to disperse”—within the hour. Ryan and Lukas Hermsmeier, a reporter for the German newspaper De Bild, were both apprehended last night—and shot with beanbags and rubber bullets—while attempting to return to their car after a night of reporting. When they were shot at, they had their hands raised in the air and were shouting, “Press! Press! Press!”

Second Update: Ryan has been released. And a correction: While the situation is still not entirely clear, I believe now that both Ryan and Hermsmeier were hit with beanbags, but not rubber bullets as reported above. Also, I’ve updated the post and the headline to reflect the fact that Ryan was in fact arrested and jailed overnight, not merely detained.

Ryan Devereaux's Twitter stream from last night tells the story of a police force in over their heads and seemingly out of control.

 

 

 

And finally,

That was Ryan Devereaux's last tweet last night. This morning, he tweeted this:

Aside from the Twitter play-by-play accounts, you might be wondering what year this was.

When I heard that Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon was sending in the National Guard, the first place my mind went was back to Richard Nixon and Kent State.  In his 2008 book Nixonland, Rick Perlstein wrote about the rise of the militarized police.

Rick has a new book out, The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan, and he joined me on the show this morning to talk about it.  (Since I only got the book yesterday, I haven't had time to read it. Rick promised to return after I do for another conversation.) Obviously, we spoke about the parallels between the two eras.

And in hour two, GottaLaff joined in for our weekly segment, the Gliberal Goddesses. Obviously there was much to talk about today, most of it Ferguson related. But I had a few things to get off my chest too...

Now I'm battling the beginnings of a cold/fluish kind of thing. So it's off to get some rest. Tomorrow, Susie Madrak and Thomas Frank join me... Radio or Not!

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Unrest & Disorder

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The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Last night, the peace in Ferguson, MO was once again shattered by a standoff between police and protesters. According to the police, provocateurs in the crowd fired guns and threw Molotov cocktails at the line of police. According to protesters (as well as media representatives on my show today), the aggression came from the uniformed force of power attempting to disperse the crowd.

I'd call the actions of the Ferguson PD and Mayor, of the Missouri Governor and the rest of the "powers-that-be" a "comedy of errors" except there's nothing remotely funny about what's going on in Ferguson - from the moment Michael Brown was stopped for walking down the middle of the street to this morning when Governor Jay Nixon called in the National Guard. Nothing.

After one night of peaceful protest during which police in shirt sleeves walked and talked with protesters, the police seem to have done everything wrong.

From bringing out the heavy artillery to arresting journalists to firing tear gas to imposing a curfew to holding the name of the killer cop to releasing the convenience store surveillance video to bringing out the military gear again... and let's not forget, for one of their own shooting an unarmed teenager walking down the street in the first place, I blame the people charged with keeping the peace and protecting the community for the mess they created and keep compounding with each dim witted move.

As for all the military firepower, we no longer have to wonder who's to blame. Congressman Alan Grayson actually foresaw this problem and tried to prevent it from happening.

On June 19, 2014, Congressman Grayson introduced an amendment to the Defense Appropriations Act of 2015 that reads as follows:

None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to transfer aircraft (including unmanned aerial vehicles), armored vehicles, grenade launchers, silencers, toxicological agents (including chemical agents, biological agents, and associated equipment), launch vehicles, guided missiles, ballistic missiles, rockets, torpedoes, bombs, mines, or nuclear weapons (as identified for demilitarization purposes outlined in Department of Defense Manual 4160.28) through the Department of Defense Excess Personal Property Program established pursuant to section 1033 of Public Law 104-201, the "National Defense Authorization Act For Fiscal Year 1997".
Purpose
An amendment to prohibit use of funds to transfer aircraft (including unmanned aerial vehicles), armored vehicles, grenade launchers, silencers, toxicological agents, launch vehicles, guided missiles, ballistic missiles, rockets, torpedoes, bombs, mines, or nuclear weapons through the DOD Excess Personal Property Program established pursuant to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1997.

As Howie Klein explained to us this morning during our weekly segment, The Steve Israel Hour sponsored by Little Debbie, Congressman Grayson had lined up more than enough Republican votes to join with Democrats to pass the amendment. Unfortunately, all but 43 Democrats inexplicably voted against his bill that would have prevented the military equipment going to local police departments!

Howie followed the money, and found that the only member of Congress seeking re-election in November with over a million dollars in contributions from the military industrial complex (two others aren't returning) - Pete Visclosky (D-IN) - was responsible for killing the bill! 

Although Howie broke that news on the show this morning and will soon follow it up with at post at Down With Tyranny, he has written about the sickening reality that is the militarization of our police departments here and here.

We turned away from Ferguson for a few minutes to talk about Thomas Frank's latest column for Salon, and how Democrats could still win in 2014 - by doing the opposite of what Steve Israel is doing!

After the news from Talk Radio News Service's Justin Duckham who spent the weekend in Ferguson and filed this report, I spoke with the two members of We Act Radio's media team - Seth Jackson and Peter Callahan - who are still there covering the events in Ferguson. Find their live stream at Credo Mobile's Youtube page, or via WeActRadio.com.

And finally, we bid buh-bye to David Gregory!  I had to invite my old "Fools on the Hill" cohort and fellow Nicole -- Nicole Belle, that is -- back on the show to tell him him not to let the door hit him on the ass on his way out of Meet the Press. David Gregory won't be missed. Sadly, his replacement is Chuck Todd, who's not very different from his predecessor.

Maybe NBC might want to find someone who doesn't have two first names, or is an actual journalist. What a concept!

I'll be back tomorrow with author Rick Perlstein and @GottaLaff too... Radio or Not!

 

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Ferguson or Fallujah?

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Nicole Sandler Ferguson Fallujah

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two images are shown above. One is courtesy of  Cpl Mike Escobar, taken in Fallujah, Iraq in 2005.  The other taken by reporter/photographer Danny Wicentowski of St. Louis' Riverfront Times two days ago in Ferguson, MO. Can you tell which is which?

It's getting increasingly more difficult by the day to tell the difference. Americans' civil rights have eroded to the point where we have to question whether the First Amendment exists as anything more than a historical reference any longer.

In case anyone needs a refresher,

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances

Although there may be no written law establishing an official religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, the Supreme Court of the United States, just made it a whole lot easier for religious fanatics to impose their beliefs on the rest of us. There may be no law abridging the freedom of speech or of the press, but both have been seriously hampered in recent days, months and years, with no let-up in sight.

As for our "right of the people peaceably to assemble," that was excised from the Constitution - figuratively, anyway - when the peaceful Occupy Wall Street encampments were forcefully, forcibly and, in many cases, violently, destroyed and their occupants harassed, brutalized and arrested.

Finally, regarding our supposed right to petition the Government for a redress of grievances, all one need do is some research into the plight of whistleblowers in the US today.

Either we fix the First Amendment or we need to just scrap the whole thing once and for all and start over again.

As for those pictures at the top of the post, the first one was from Fallujah, the second from Ferguson. Perhaps we should just realize that there's not much difference any more. Maybe we should just call them Fergustan.

On the show today

After listening to Huffington Post reporter Ryan J. Reilly and Washington Post reporter tell the stories of their arrests last night on MSNBC,

I was joined by Joshua Holland, senior digital producer at BillMoyers.com to help navigate the madness.

Stephen Goldstein, author of the Dictionary of American Political Bullshit joined in for his weekly No More Bullshit Minute. In light of the day's news, today's Bullshit term of the day was "Justice."

And finally, it's always an honor and a pleasure to talk with Harry Shearer. From playing Derek Smalls on This is Spinal Tap, to a litany of characters including Mr. Burns, Smithers, Ned Flanders and more on The Simpsons, to more serious pursuits including blowing the lid off the reason New Orleans flooded from Hurricane Katrina by directing and narrating the documentary The Big Uneasy, and for so much more, Harry Shearer is one of our most talented American treasures.

I don't really need a reason to invite Harry on to the show, as I could easily talk with him for hours. But with the 40th anniversary of Richard Nixon's resignation just behind us, and the US premiere of Shearer's take on Richard Nixon in Nixon's the One - lifted directly from the transcripts of his Oval Office recordings - coming soon, it was a perfect time for another chat.

Unfortunately, we were sidetracked a bit by the mess in Fergustan, so Harry will come back on for another conversation when the show is ready to premiere over here.

Tomorrow, we'll wrap up our week with the return of Greg Palast. And for Flashback Friday, it's back to 2000 for my interview with Chrissie Hynde of Pretenders ... radio or not!

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Egyptian Police Using U.S.-Made Tear Gas

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26Photo via Al Jazeera. With thanks to ReadWriteWeb.

How nice that we can provide them with something so special with which to stifle their protesters. Now they can be just like us!

Egyptian riot police are firing tear gas canisters bearing the label "Made in the U.S.A." against street demonstrations in Cairo, ABC News reports.

According to the canister labels, the tear gas is produced by Combined Systems International of Jamestown, Pennsylvania.

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