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Thu, 28 Jul 2016
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Sue 'em! ACLU sues Baton Rouge police for attacking crowds, violating rights at Alton Sterling protests

© Jonathan Bachman/Reuters
A photograph of riot police arresting a nurse protesting peacefully in Baton Rouge on Saturday garnered international attention.
'Peaceful protestors were violently attacked and arrested, assault weapons pointed at them with fingers on the triggers, some dragged across the cement, their clothes ripped off of them'

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Louisiana and other local civil rights groups filed suit against the Baton Rouge police department on Wednesday for violating the first amendment rights of demonstrators protesting the recent fatal police shooting of Alton Sterling.

Baton Rouge police showed excessive force when they arrived at this weekend's Black Lives Matter demonstration in riot gear and bearing machine guns, the lawsuit (pdf) alleges. The officers also violated protesters' First Amendment rights when they used "physical and verbal abuse and wrongful arrests to disperse protestors who were gathered peacefully to speak out against the police killing of Alton Sterling," the ACLU wrote.

"[The police response] made me afraid to protest. Seeing the way the police were manhandling folks caused me to hide, scream out of fear, and finally flee for my safety. I had to run. A peaceful demonstration should never be like that," said Crystal Williams, local resident and organizer with North Baton Rouge Matters. "I feel like speech is my most powerful tool to ensure my community and my family are safe. But now I feel totally silenced."

Black Magic

Why does synthetic marijuana make people act like zombies?

© The Morning Call
Users of increasingly popular street drugs called K2 or spice, which are made from mixtures of herbs laced with synthetic cannabinoids and other chemicals, are showing some incredibly strange behaviors.

Indeed, as the use of these so-called synthetic-marijuana drugs escalate among U.S. teens and young adults — who typically smoke or vape the drugs — TV and newspaper accounts report that users are passing out on sidewalks, stumbling out into traffic, and "looking and acting like zombies."

People on synthetic cannabinoid products can act anywhere from a bit confused to completely out of their minds, depending on the dose of K2 used and an individual's susceptibility to the drug, said Dr. Anthony Scalzo, a professor of pediatrics and chief of toxicology at Saint Louis University School of Medicine in Missouri.

Comment: Related articles:


The psychology of 'Pokémon Go': What's fueling the obsession?

© Courtesy of Sarah Lewin
Pokemon Go's Squirtle shows up on the streets of New York City.
Perhaps you've seen them: roving bands of (mostly) young people, gathering together with smartphones aloft, talking about something called Rattata or Squirtle.

If not, you've probably at least seen the headlines about these folks — players of the massively popular new game "Pokémon Go." The game, which uses geolocation to place virtual Pokémon characters in the real world, has breathed sudden new life into the 20-year-old Pokémon franchise, with some estimates suggesting that the game has been downloaded more than 7 million times in the U.S. since its release on July 6.

Part of its success owes to its deft mixing of the real world and the virtual world. "Pokémon Go" blends a game experience with real physical activity and real, in-person socialization, said Pamela Rutledge, director of the Media Psychology Research Center in Newport Beach, California.

Comment: Related articles:

Cell Phone

More lunacy: Pokémon Go players scale perimeter, sit next to tiger enclosure

© Sam Mircovich / Reuters
Two Pokémon Go players in their 20s were arrested after breaking into a Toledo, Ohio zoo in the middle of the night while playing the augmented reality video game.

Robin Bartholomy, 25, and Adrian Crawford, 26, were found sitting next to a tiger enclosure by police after they jumped a fence at about 2.30 a.m.

"They are certainly old enough to know better," Toledo police lieutenant Joe Heffernan told CBS8. "The fact that you're playing a video game on your phone is not going to play well as an excuse in court."

Local reports claim Bartholomy had said she would be willing to break the law to find the game's characters in a now-deleted Facebook post.

Evil Rays

Cop who shot Philando Castile received special training: Conditioned to believe that the public is the enemy

Jeronimo Yanez, the St. Anthony, Minnesota Police Officer who fatally shot Philando Castile, underwent "Bulletproof Warrior" officer survival indoctrination that imparts what one police trainer calls a "paranoid" and "militaristic" mindset.

In May of 2014, reports the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Yanez underwent a 20-hour seminar on "Street Survival" taught by Illinois-based Calibre Press, which teaches courses on the subject to police officers nationwide. The company's "Street Survival Seminar" overview displays a monomaniacal focus on that most important of all policy considerations, "officer safety." It treats every police encounter as a combat situation in which only one life truly matters - that of the government's armed emissary, not that of the citizen who is supposedly being protected and served by him.

Although Calibre co-owner Jim Glennon has written that viewing "police as the enemy is not a healthy or helpful position for a society to take," the courses presented by his company relentlessly teach officers that the public is their enemy. As one instructor summarized the course for the benefit of his students, "We've got to survive this job!"

Comment: Turning police into a robotic and militarized force has sure become a big business in the U.S.


Grow up! Nine ominous signs that you're a tool of the entertainment-industrial complex

We find ourselves at a critical time in history, on the brink of self-destruction, yet under the spell of so many lies, illusions and false realities. A survey of the actors on stage reveals the shocking truth that so many of the would-be-could-be change-makers out there are absent, sidelined, and simply not present or available for action when we need them most. Instead, so many of us are totally engrossed in entertainment-based lifestyles, substituting games, fantasies and phony arenas for the drama and achievement of real life.

Where are all the young warriors and radicals out there who won't stand for the abuse, oppression, surveillance, tyranny, and debt slavery being handed down by older generations? And why do so many young people seem to care not at all about world events, the quality of government, or the future of our society and culture?

It really is no accident that so many are too pre-occupied to 'occupy,' for after all, we do live in the matrix, a sort of glorified hamster cage for the human race, where controlling interests pre-design our lives by entrapping us with pre-set choices, all the while cutting off exit-strategies for those who'd rather opt-out.


How do cops without guns handle violence?

Confrontation, sporadic violence, and arrests during protests continue to follow the surge of racially biased shooting in the United States. People are angry, confused, and above all, terrified of law enforcement. They have lost faith and trust in the justice system of a nation which prides itself on racial equality.

More than 50 years after the passage of the Voting Rights Act, approximately six-in-ten Americans believe the country needs to continue making changes to achieve racial equality.

This year alone, 569 people have been killed by US police. Many of the circumstances have proven these killings to be unjustified, and many others have made media headlines for their clear racial profiling.

Comment: Aside from many officers having inborn tendencies towards violence, one can only suspect that American police training is specifically designed for maximum carnage.

Take 2

What if Obama told the truth about violence, poverty, gangs and drugs in the inner cities?

Suppose, instead of meeting for three hours with Black Lives Matter leaders...

The President of the United States, seized with some unexplainable attack of conscience, or a drug-induced revelation, stood up in front of television cameras and spoke to the nation and the world about...

The real web that entangles and holds inner cities hostage.

Suppose the President suddenly said:

"My fellow Americans, the first thing you have to know is that, since 1966, when the federal government declared a War on Poverty, it has spent some two trillion dollars, much of it earmarked for the inner cities of America. And now, today, those areas are worse off than ever.


Disney employees and elementary teacher caught in recent child porn sting

© Soe Zeya Tun/ Reuters
An undercover child pornography bust has led to the arrests of eight men, three of whom stand out. One man was a housekeeper at Disney's Animal Kingdom, another was a cook on Disney's BoardWalk and a third was a school teacher.

Two of the men worked at locations around Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

Angel Rivera-Maldonado, 44, worked in housekeeping at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge while Kevin Nazzaro, 52, was a cook at Big River Grille and Brewing Works on Disney's BoardWalk.

Comment: Unfortunately this is not the first and it definitely won't be the last time that we hear reports like this. In our sick society predators will go wherever they find their prey, see here for further information:


The racist killing machine in the age of anti-politics

The killing machine has become spectacularized, endlessly looped through the mainstream cultural apparatuses both as a way to increase ratings and as an unconscious testimony to the ruthlessness of the violence waged by a racist state. Once again, Americans and the rest of the world are witness to a brutal killing machine, a form of domestic terrorism, responsible for the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling who were shot point blank by white policemen who follow the script of a racist policy of disposability that suggests that black lives not only do not matter, but that black people can be killed with impunity since the police in the United States are rarely held accountable for such crimes.

In the Castile case, the police fired into the car with a child in the back seat - a point rarely mentioned in the mainstream press. At the same time, the power of violence as a tool for expending rage and addressing deeply felt injustices has resulted in a young black man mimicking the tools of state violence by deliberately killing five police officers and wounding seven others in Dallas, Texas. This is a horrendous and despicable act of violence but it must be understood in a system in which violence is disproportionately waged against poor blacks, immigrants, Muslims, and others who are now defined as excess and pathologized as disposable. The killings in Dallas speak to a brutal mindset and culture of mistrust and fear in which violence has become the only legitimate form of mediation.