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flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Archaeology)
Good afternoon UC Davis Campus Police Lieutenant John Pike,

I have a history of violence. We now have something in common, you and I. Society tries to portray monsters as being something other than human, as though we are not all capable of doing horrific things. The UC Stanford prison experiments says otherwise; your own experience says otherwise. I had a year of weekly counseling, in 90 minute sessions, and it was enough for me to understand how to not be pushed toward violence, and how not to depersonalize myself or others to commit violence.

The pressures and duties of your job have warped you to the point where you can no longer be considered an ethical human being. I suggest that you demand UC Davis pay for the years of therapy you will need to process having taken part in a human rights atrocity at their insistence. Your face in the pictures and videos is carefully blank, as though you had to suppress your own personhood and emotional involvement in order to repeatedly use pepper spray at point blank range. If your face had showed you enjoying it, this would be a very different letter. But unleashing that sort of violence feels very freeing, and can become addictive. Unless becoming a situational psychopath is a risk you are willing to take with your own mental health and the physical safety of those around you, please seek treatment.

Good luck, sir.
flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)

CBS news is LYING. We have live feed of the police beating protesters, using pepper spray, there are several report of long-range sonic device usage, AND THEY"RE WHITEWASHING THE WHOLE THING.
There are pockets of resistance, chanting, drummers, but tweet reports say more arrest teams are coming that way.

If we were to take legislative recusal to its obvious conclusion - lawmakers unable to vote on the legislation they were lobbied for - then lobbying by corporate side-stepping of campaign finance rules would be pointless. It is an unacknowledged but clear conflict of interest to have ties to one side of a debate that a legislator is voting on. Campaign contributions or the promise of contributions for favorable legislation is bribery, though we don't like to think about our traditions as being founded on unethical behavior. So I propose a thought experiment: re-imagine the United States as a place where all politicians in a given race are allotted the same amount to use for campaigning, supported by anonymous voluntary donation. Then ask yourselves these questions:

What harm would it do to have no more corporate lobbyists?
  • ~1,000 lobbyists are out of a job.
  • Without the leveraging of our economy, economic growth might slow marginally

    What benefits would come of having no more lobbyists?
  • Less collusion, corruption, earmarks, and kickbacks
  • No incentive to go to war for war profiteering
  • A stronger EPA
  • Prison system reform away from for-profit incarceration (modern slavery)
  • Tighter regulation of dangerous industries like oil, financial derivatives, and coal

    What does our society stand to gain by taking away the power of the rich to effectively silence the voices of the poor through campaign finance?
  • A gradual return to a more level financial playing field
  • A depolarization of politics and more nuanced political referendum with the voting public
  • The repeal of laws that lead to the 3 major financial crises of this nation through mis-appraisal of risk and hyper-competition

    What would it cost our society to change this tradition?
    - - - I can't think of a single reason that holds any water
  • flamingsword: Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not. (Seuss Activism)

    I'm having to write this out of order because it's jumbled with too many emotions.

    Today I triaged a kid lying on the ground who had been hit in the head by a billy club hard enough that he was nonresponsive for two minutes and disoriented and uncoordinated for several more. I put him in recovery position and stood by him checking his pupil response and trying to get him verbal until enough people yelled at the police to let the ambulance in to the blocked off streets. They brought in a police medical vehicle instead.

    Today I shouted "SHAME" at a police officer who set off a firecracker behind the protest lines in an attempt to simulate unlawful protest by the Occupiers. He was ten feet from me. We hadn't been paying him any attention because we weren't expecting sabotage. After that didn't work he joined the officers out in the street. Two minutes later the police started clubbing the people closest to the banks doors. I don't know why.

    Today I watched the Dallas Police Department drag a man with blood on his face into a waiting police car. He had been hit repeatedly and thrown to the ground to be cuffed for being off of the sidewalk.

    Today I talked at sient police officers who avoided making eye contact about how this was not the job they signed up for. I asked them what happened to the smiling, tolerant faces that first Thursday when we gave them oranges, when they would talk to us, when they could look us in the face. I told them that the Albany PD had violated unlawful orders to harass protesters. One cop walked off to another part of the police line like he had something to say and couldn't, had to remove himself from the possibility of conversation.

    We were protesting on the sidewalk outside Bank of America. There was no protester violence. There was a drummer, two people with whistles, and an old guy with a megaphone. There were people chanting and waving signs. There was a tiny hipster girl waving an American flag next to what may have been her grandparents and several Anons. The big banks are using their customer's money to commit crimes against those customers and buy off the consequences. And when you protest that, you can be beaten and arrested.

    To my friends who don't know why we're protesting: do any of these things sound like the country you want to live in?

    EDIT TO ADD: The shaky video footage makes me ill to sort through but Channel 8 has a report on the<a href="http://www.wfaa.com/news/City-to-probe-Occupy-Dallas-confrontation-at-bank-133334993.html">protesters arrested Saturday afternoon still being in jail Sunday night</a> some whose charges were only released a few hours ago. <a href="http://occupydallas.org/letter-police-0">Occupy Dallas has released a letter to the Dallas Police Department</a> outlining the officer's infractions and the difficulties they present to exercising First Amendment rights.

    Posted via LiveJournal app for Android.

    flamingsword: Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not. (Seuss Activism)
    So the Oakland police almost killed a Marine last Tuesday night by lobbing a flashbang into the crowd of people pulling him away from the front line where he'd been struck in the head by a rubber bullet.That event is worrisome for several reasons including being in direct violation of Oakland's civic policies. And other Marines are not happy about it. You do not fire on noncombatants. Also, you don't mess with a Marine.

    Youtube has only existed since 2005. Police who've been on the force since before 2006 (which is most of them) did not sign on to be policemen where the world could see. Their corporate culture has failed to adapt to the changing information landscape of our culture, and instead of getting with the times, several places have resorted to unconstitutionally using anti-eavesdropping laws to circumvent the First Amendment right to freedom of expression which covers journalists and people documenting public affairs. Image-sharing across social media and Youtube along with live streaming video sites such as Qik, Livecast, and Stickam have changed the ability of people to effectively block law enforcement's ability to silence their testimony. When you can document wrongdoing digitally, conflict between police narratives and eyewitness statements can be bypassed in favor of easier-to-correlate and much-harder-to-fabricate data.

    Sousveillance is the natural social response to imbalances of power in a media-technology saturated environments. It has more applications than keeping public officials accountable, though, and is part of a trend of radical honesty where people document the seemingly unimportant events in their lives in the experimental art of learning to stop self-censoring. It is part of how we're learning to be more honest with ourselves and learning that while simple mistakes are common and easily apologized for, it's not worthwhile to do things that we might be ashamed of later. OPD: for future reference, as a tactical move, that was better for our side than yours, but we both lost. Maybe try something more proportional next time?

    To our comrades in Oakland tonight, police and occupiers: I wish you luck and good judgement.
    flamingsword: Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not. (Seuss Activism)
    Occupy Dallas News:
    City of Dallas adds addendum to agreement to let let protesters stay in Liberty Park, tells protesters they need $1 Million in Insurance because the city can't be liable if one of the protesters gets . . . hurt.
    Former Mayor Offers Support, Then Backs City of Dallas' Play to Restrict Protest.
    City says group did not obtain required insurance coverage from hostile group within 18 hour deadline and should now go quietly home.
    Occupy Protesters respond they will seek Federal injunction to continue protests, arrests or not, and then do so.
    KERA subtly reminds everyone that this is a non-violent movement and that Dallas is one of a few of 200 cities being Occupied with no arrests or anti-protester violence to date.

    Occupy Wall Street News
    Occupy Wall Street: A Banker Explains What Really Happened To America. <-- THIS IS THE EYE-OPENING FINANCIAL PIECE TO READ.
    A chart-based pictorial of financial statistics sounds dull, but it's lucid non-partisanship is actually pretty damning to the Wall Street agenda. Good link for convincing fiscal conservatives.
    And we must be doing well at reaching out because more Americans approve of Occupy Wall Street than not.
    In honor of Guy Fawkes Day, Occupy Wall Street is planning a rally at banks to withdraw funds from corporate banks and open accounts at community banks and credit unions. (Have I told y'all how happy I am with my credit union lately? Happy iz me!)
    The New York Times chimes in on the Opinions page about the clear messages of the protest.
    What Do They Want? A blogger gets eloquently enraged on our behalf, well worth reading when your spirits start to flag.
    The Daily Kos is rounding up links on the side of reason also; isn't it nice to have neighbors to keep us out of trouble?
    Someone points out that the Occupy Movement Spotlights Disappearing Civil Rights. Because it's not obvious to everybody, even if it feels like it should be.
    And somebody finally comes out with evidence to answer a question we all know the answer to: Who Really Owns NYPD? Turns Out It's Not So Rhetorical.

    Relevant Wall Street and World News:
    International Monetary Fund advisor Robert Shapiro goes on record to say that we may be facing a second bank collapse in two to three weeks. "This would be a crisis that would be in my view more serious than the crisis in 2008."
    Comerica Bank executive sees a 50% chance of relapse into recession within the next 18 months. He's not kidding, and neither is the dude at the IMF. This politico-economic situation is inherently unstable, and our congress is dragging its feet on the emergency measures their policies have necessitated. Expect the need for the Occupations to be continuing through the next year.

    The 99% will still be here.


    Apr. 26th, 2010 08:23 pm
    flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (awkward)
    Over on her journal, [livejournal.com profile] cluegirl has been talking about bullying, and the need for speaking the controversy.

    Bullying is a system of subtly interlocking actions and beliefs that people have about the world which influence their perceptions about power and control. Bullies all have parents who use pain or the threat of force to control them. Always. Spanking and physical/emotional intimidation mean power to them from the time that they're toddlers, and that makes pain the natural way for them to seek control in later situations. They don't turn to bribery and social maneuvering the way normal children do, so they don't develop those skills 'til much later. As humans, we identify with our tools, even the emotional ones. Making deals with someone means that we are the kind of person who makes deals, we own that and identify with that sense of agency and the problem-solving that it implies. Hitting someone makes us someone who hits, and we identify with violence. If our development has arrested at that earlier point, before social bargaining, we do not develop the tools that others identify with until much later, so we spend our formative years identifying with using force to get what we want.

    As we develop moral reasoning, we develop justifications for the things that we do. I never had the will to power, so I had no reason to build up the layers of moral justification and the necessary ethos to carry on hurting people once I had other ways to do things. Others were not lucky enough to be my kind of broken. I only had ethical problems with fighting once I got scared of myself and what I might do, and that wasn't until junior high. Before then fighting had no moral component for me. It had nothing to do with being mean, and in fact sometimes those were mutually exclusive. People who wanted to beat me up were sometimes not actually mean to me and vice versa. And some of the meanest bullies never tried to hit me at all. The worst of them just belittled me for being white trash, a clumsy loser, and a freak.
    (Dominica McCarthy: I remember you. I have no more shame to paralyze me, and I'm no longer afraid of harsh words. Dread my return.)

    Starting when I was 4, I used to pick fights with bullies. )

    That's my perception of the bullying that had happened to me. What I think should be done about it is going to be a whole other post.
    flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Rosa Parks smile)
    1. If you have not yet heard about the county of Sonoma CA separating an elderly gay couple and auctioning off their possessions, then allow me to state that it is legit and documented as well as being blood-boiling.

    2. Further people volunteering to be justiced upon: Steven Seagal keeps sex slaves and assaults women. And is a douchebag, but we knew that already.

    3. In better news, I am reading Quirky, Yes - Hopeless, No, a book on Asperger's kids and the very VERY most basic social skills, and I rather like the memories that it is bringing up, not because they were particularly nice memories, but because they show me how far I've come since I had no social skills. And some things have occurred to me: up until the six months before my brother died, nobody could have possibly known that I wasn't making eye contact, because they didn't know that I couldn't see people's faces. The glasses happened the summer before he died, and six months isn't all that long to draw a conclusion from. And my family probably assumed that since my dad doesn't look people in the eye much either, then maybe it was a mannerism I picked up from him. And after Larry died nobody held my behavior to any sort of standard other than knowing where I was at all times, which was pretty easy: I was wherever I could hide behind a book the longest.

    4. I am putting off THE LIST until I have reinforcements. The fuzzy emotional cavalry are coming in the form of [livejournal.com profile] jslorentz and maybe [livejournal.com profile] kadairk if she's free that day.
    flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)
    Just woke from a dream where I had apahsia, and could not talk. I could sing, hum, and whistle, but as soon as I tried to listen to words or say them, nothing would work. Maybe 'nightmare' is a better descriptor. At least my headache is gone!

    So, since I'm having some scaring-myself headspace, I thought I'd entertain you all with more stories of the crazy I used to be, and maybe finish up today's post with some new crazy I'm trying on.

    Crazy I Used To Be )

    In other news I'm trying to back off of the internet usage the way I currently use it and change it up. To what, I'm not sure. But I spent so much time reading this spring, and I think I'm going to get a second job this fall. I'll be living 100 yards from a Starbucks. The logical way to keep from bankrupting myself is to be working there. Thoughts?
    flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Crisis)
    America is addicted to oil - even George W. Bush says so. But now we are an addict that robs other countries at gunpoint to support our habit. And Russia, the neighborhood kid that always competes with us and follows our dumbass lead on the one-upmanship, is following our example with Georgia.

    Good gods, you guys, we're that country. I love US, but maybe it's time we stopped using wisdom as a dump stat.

    Also: many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] luckyckljw for the link to the most thought-provoking article on world politics I've read this year. It describes the whole wicked problem aspect of things quite well.
    flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Biohazard)
    I'm baking pumpkin cake in preparation for the Halloween 'drink rum and watch bad movies' session. Yes, [livejournal.com profile] brotherdaniel, I found some Cruzan Black Strap of my own. It is Of. The. Yummy. I have also taken one of your posts and stolen a tangent of it to put here.

    In thinky news, articles on assault often take a stance that says that violating common safety precautions is like asking to be mugged, beaten, raped, or kidnapped. And in an understandably irate response to that, people who have been in such a situation or know of someone who has rail on at the journalist putting forth that view. But what if both parties are wrong? Surely if either side actually knew how to fix the problem it would be fixed by now?

    So here is assault as I see it, and to put a label on it for memetic aptness it will be called Save The Villain, Not The Victim. ) Hidden behind the cut for bandwidth reasons.
    flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Grand Theft ZPM)
    [livejournal.com profile] copperbadge has a nom de plume (or possible imaginary friend) who writes poetry. Sometimes he writes limericks, and sometimes he writes social truths, but sometimes he'll cast out a pearl of such enduring beauty that it must be lifted up for all to see. April is poetry month, and as this one keeps haunting me, I give it on to you.


    by Ellis Graveworthy

    When he is hungry, fill his mouth with words;
    Teach her to recite while fever burns.
    Build houses with three walls for little pay
    At night the flat's unheated; sleep in turns.
    "The money has all gone; there's no return
    On beauty, and we can't invest in joy.
    The dividends of war outnumber peace;
    If you want pay, go be a soldier boy.
    You want to live for art, then art you'll eat;
    Art will be your doctor, keep your books.
    Art will have to keep you warm at night."
    The moneymen won't give you second looks.
    But when the soldiers come all limping home
    Not cash nor goods will soothe their deadened eyes;
    And riots in the streets are the result
    Of those who live too narrow, too-small lives.
    The parents often starve to feed the young,
    But there will be a recompense at last
    And when they know you can't get love with guns
    The artists will be kings of all the lands.
    So bide a while and fill your mouths with words;
    Recite, recite, recite, while fever burns.

    Again, the link to leave comments at.


    Jul. 24th, 2006 12:40 am
    flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)
    For the semanticians and wordsmiths in the rogues gallery that read this, I will be using a definition of violence that is one part action with the intent to alter, one part competition with the intent to alter relative positions, and one part marauding with the intent to force growth from the self or another.

    Violence is part of how I am built- how we all are, to some variable degree. It may be the tool of last resort, and it is a much more difficult tool to use gently or with precision, but our culture has been over-reacting to something that is basically a chainsaw. In the right hands, it is no more to be feared than a screwdriver. In the wrong hands a screwdriver is deadly. And that used to scare me a lot more than it does, until I realized that (in real-world models) violence doesn't do a tenth of the damage that inattention and indifference do. Abuse of power is not more reprehensible when violence is the medium of the abuse; abusive voiolence is just the most visible format. You fight the enemy you can see, but indifference is almost invisible.
    Violence is visible. It breaks open static orders, rearranges things: that's kind of the point.

    Violence has the ability to change the world.

    Fire is the most common metaphor for destructive change. The reason the young and the active have such greater attraction to fire is simply this: if the four magickal elements are a metaphor for the four states of matter, then fire is plasma: the element that can't decide if it is supercharged physical matter or the pure distillation of energy. Restless, oscillating things that are too full of motion to NOT radiate can see the parallels between their state and the nature of plasma. Plasma is bright and amphibious, like fire. And fire is really fucking pretty.

    Violence is pretty.

    The strength you feel when you destroy something is not an illusion. It is very real. It's easy to ignore your power when you're not using it, and you get dissociated from that part of yourself. When you force change on yourself or the world around you it's scary to think how easily you could be changed. But that's also beautiful. All the broken pieces we have can be eventually made to not matter, can be reworked into something fuctional and cool. Or we could be demolished utterly, grisly bits scattered about, maybe not so pretty. But the motion of it, the sense of life and freedom, those are beautiful.

    The abuse of violence for unjust ends is a perversion of the thing, not it's true nature. I don't think our culture has very realistic attitudes towards violence, to what it is or how it makes you feel. Dancing, sports, chess, driving, these things are all violent in their execution. What is chess but an orderly interpersonal war? It is intellectual violence- no grey areas. It may seem ordered and boring to an observer but to the opponents it is a battle.
    If you take what you are and aim that the world, you are challenging the world to be stronger than you. You are setting up a contest of conflicting orders, a battle of wills. Sometimes you break; sometimes the world does. The martial arts as they apply to social situations and financial stuctures are still in their infancy. There's not much science to it yet, unlike the shaped charges and GPS guided missiles that are scarily freakily cool even to people who hate the thought of war. Maybe once the destruction of a flawed order is seen in a rational light, our cultural attitudes towards violence will change.

    flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (courage)
    This is the military-industrial complex taking away your privacy.

    "A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction. Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.

    Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

    This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

    In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

    We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."

    -President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Farewell Address


    Mar. 30th, 2005 01:27 pm
    flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)
    There's a hawk that lives near here (I'm at my mother's house doing laundry again). Actually two hawks, a bonded pair. If they were in competition with a pair of owls, the different natures would mean different hunting times and different prey. They could live nearby and get along. Animals that aren't too alike get along. Animals that are too alike have war.
    War is the extremest form of self-expression. When the world needs one thing and we are another, we demonstrate the difference between what is our nature and what is expected from us, sometimes through force. If things that are not you, like other countries, need you to not need as much product x, sometimes you can do without. Sometimes you can't. When the two conflicting needs can't be changed or substituted for, there is war.

    At first there are skirling skirmishes along borders or in financial matters. This grows into defiant leaps onto one another's territory and pyrotechnic displays rivaling anything Hollywood can produce.
    War is the interpretive dance of nations.

    Battles are set up like plays with different staged moods: hard or soft target, narrow focus or widespread confusion, temporary disability or salted earth and poisoned wells. There are different tools, lots of options, cool gadgets: a lot of human creativity goes into war. People put different things into the war effort, sometimes muscle, brain power, their need to protect or their whole lives. War is personal.

    How can we expect to solve conflicts between nations when we can't solve conflicts between and within single people? If I am at war with myself, how can I be at peace with you? I'll keep expecting you to take a side. I'll draw you into the conflict. How can I make you and I get along? If war can be started at so small a level, how can it be stopped at so great a level? If I mediate the conflicts within myself, can I spread peace as easily as war? Theoretically yes, but I've never seen it in practice. I've seen one person's war and another's cancel each other out like opposite waves of equal amplitude, but I've never seen peace spread out and cancel a war. Why is that?

    I am deep right now, which is easy when I have good coffee and after I've had company. But not during. That bothers me, too.

    Hello, Sophie. I just met you and I have the feeling that I came across as a psychotherapy fascist. Which sucks. I wish I could be this person, this cool, articulate part of me when I'm meeting people. I wish people could meet the one who isn't arrogant or dorky before they have to deal with the one that is. She's o't as easy to get along with. I wish I could look past my uncertainty at meeting you and see the person you are when you aren't meeting me for the first time. But time doesn't work that way. And that sucks, too.


    flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)

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