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Author Topic: At Occupy Berkeley, Beat Poets Has New Meaning
philnotfil
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This is isn't right.

nytimes.com

quote:
Earlier that day a colleague had written to say that the campus police had moved in to take down the Occupy tents and that students had been “beaten viciously.” I didn’t believe it. In broad daylight? And without provocation? So when we heard that the police had returned, my wife, Brenda Hillman, and I hurried to the campus. I wanted to see what was going to happen and how the police behaved, and how the students behaved. If there was trouble, we wanted to be there to do what we could to protect the students.

Once the cordon formed, the deputy sheriffs pointed their truncheons toward the crowd. It looked like the oldest of military maneuvers, a phalanx out of the Trojan War, but with billy clubs instead of spears. The students were wearing scarves for the first time that year, their cheeks rosy with the first bite of real cold after the long Californian Indian summer. The billy clubs were about the size of a boy’s Little League baseball bat. My wife was speaking to the young deputies about the importance of nonviolence and explaining why they should be at home reading to their children, when one of the deputies reached out, shoved my wife in the chest and knocked her down.

quote:
My wife bounced nimbly to her feet. I tripped and almost fell over her trying to help her up, and at that moment the deputies in the cordon surged forward and, using their clubs as battering rams, began to hammer at the bodies of the line of students. It was stunning to see. They swung hard into their chests and bellies. Particularly shocking to me — it must be a generational reaction — was that they assaulted both the young men and the young women with the same indiscriminate force. If the students turned away, they pounded their ribs. If they turned further away to escape, they hit them on their spines.

NONE of the police officers invited us to disperse or gave any warning. We couldn’t have dispersed if we’d wanted to because the crowd behind us was pushing forward to see what was going on. The descriptor for what I tried to do is “remonstrate.” I screamed at the deputy who had knocked down my wife, “You just knocked down my wife, for Christ’s sake!” A couple of students had pushed forward in the excitement and the deputies grabbed them, pulled them to the ground and cudgeled them, raising the clubs above their heads and swinging. The line surged. I got whacked hard in the ribs twice and once across the forearm. Some of the deputies used their truncheons as bars and seemed to be trying to use minimum force to get people to move. And then, suddenly, they stopped, on some signal, and reformed their line. Apparently a group of deputies had beaten their way to the Occupy tents and taken them down. They stood, again immobile, clubs held across their chests, eyes carefully meeting no one’s eyes, faces impassive. I imagined that their adrenaline was surging as much as mine.

My ribs didn’t hurt very badly until the next day and then it hurt to laugh, so I skipped the gym for a couple of mornings, and I was a little disappointed that the bruises weren’t slightly more dramatic. It argued either for a kind of restraint or a kind of low cunning in the training of the police. They had hit me hard enough so that I was sore for days, but not hard enough to leave much of a mark. I wasn’t so badly off. One of my colleagues, also a poet, Geoffrey O’Brien, had a broken rib. Another colleague, Celeste Langan, a Wordsworth scholar, got dragged across the grass by her hair when she presented herself for arrest.


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Pete at Home
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And none of this got filmed?
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JWatts
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Here's a link to some video, it's not quite as brutal as described, but it's still seems to be excessive force.

YouTube

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philnotfil
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You describe that as not brutal? Those are people being hit.

[ November 22, 2011, 06:49 PM: Message edited by: philnotfil ]

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JWatts
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No, I described it as 'not quite as brutal as described'.
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TomDavidson
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As a side note: a phalanx with clubs is no more like a phalanx than cavalry without horses are like cavalry.
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yossarian22c
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Why can cops beat people without recourse? If the protesters had responded to the police with the same level of force being used against them they would probably be charged with felony assault. Something is very wrong with how the police handle large groups of protesters in this country.
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Viking_Longship
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His wife is 60 years old, the author is 70. The police are able to get away with things like this because enough people in this country are willing to run interferance for the police as long as they only abuse liberals and minorities.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by philnotfil:
You describe that as not brutal? Those are people being hit.

Jwatts did NOT say that it was "not brutal." He said not QUITE AS brutal as described.

I otoh would say that it doesn't appear to be brutal, but that it DOES appear excessive. Nobody seems particularly hurt or injured, and they are using the batons in an odd thrusting motion, which seems designed to make the protesters back off from the police line. It seems excessive simply because at no time did the police attempt to simply push the crowd back with lateral baton movements which do not potentially injure.

When saying "not brutal" I note particularly the absence of baton swinging, particularly overhead baton-swinging, which is likely to crack bones. These baton-pokes are more "respect my authoritae" abuses, rather than full on brutality.

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Viking_Longship
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Pete both the author and his wife are at an age where being knocked down or whacked around are potentially a lot more damaging than they would be to someone in their 20s of 40s or even 50s. If someone did that to my mother she'd have a few broken bones.
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philnotfil
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNHXuf6qJas

Police using the hair of one of the Berkeley professors to move her out of the way.

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Viking_Longship
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Philnotfil

And many people will say it's their fault for not dispersing.

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philnotfil
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The protestors do share some of the blame, but two wrongs don't make a right.
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PSRT
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Why should they disperse? As long as they are behaving peacefully, they have a first amendment right to assemble in order to ask government to address their concerns. THere is no first amendment time limit, location restriction, or other restraint on that right, other than to behave in a peaceable manner.
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Viking_Longship
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PRST

Legally there have been restrictions on location, such as private property, school grounds or military bases.

That said I really think a public University needs to be considered a free speech, particularly for students and faculty.

Regardless of what the proper attitude should be, the reality is there is a large contingent of the American public who are going to look at a thing like this and say "serves 'em right for making trouble". We've already seen with the UC Davis incident that a lot of conservatives don't mind liberals getting a little roughed up by the cops.

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JoshuaD
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I don't like the protestors getting "roughed up" by the cops. But I don't see the alternative.

These protestors have been ordered to disperse. They are refusing to cooperate. At some point, the police have to be able to use force to disperse the crowd. We have the right to political protest in this country; but we don't have the right to screw up, for long periods of time, other people's ability to work in peace.

I am annoyed and frustrated that the police are acting with anger instead of restrained, necessary force. But I absolutely believe that the protestors should disperse. If they will not, the police are in their right to use force. Sometimes our government has to use force against us. I don't like it, but it doesn't really operate otherwise.

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JWatts
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So far nothing has approached the level of excessive force Janet Reno authorized at Waco. Thankfully.
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Viking_Longship
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JoshuaD
quote:
We have the right to political protest in this country; but we don't have the right to screw up, for long periods of time, other people's ability to work in peace.

Actually we have the right to do just that if we are in a free speech zone. It might not be nice, but we DO have that right.


The police could ticket the protesters or, and I know this sounds insane, back off. The world will not come to an end if the police lose a NONVIOLENT confrontation.

We can't have a free country if the government can send in the police whenever, wherever, by any means necessary, Constition be damned. If one looks at the videos of these incidents there's a lot of "Respect my athorit-tie!" going on.


JWatts

Reno's actions, and the actions of the ATF comanders who started that fight, the media and the politicians complicity in the matter were all atrocious.

Now having said all that, why are you bringing it up?

[ November 23, 2011, 10:16 PM: Message edited by: Viking_Longship ]

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Viking_Longship:
Pete both the author and his wife are at an age where being knocked down or whacked around are potentially a lot more damaging than they would be to someone in their 20s of 40s or even 50s. If someone did that to my mother she'd have a few broken bones.

Like I said, the stuff described in the text sounds brutal. The stuff depicted on the video is not by my standards brutal, judging by the lack of folks falling down or even staggering after being struck. I don't see any of the sort of wincing or staggering that I'd expect from broken ribs.

quote:
Originally posted by philnotfil:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNHXuf6qJas

Police using the hair of one of the Berkeley professors to move her out of the way.

Now *that* is disgusting. I'd attribute it to individual sadism except that they seem to be doing it systematically with multiple cops going for the hair, rather than for the proffered wrists. That's a low-scale example of institutional terrorism, i.e. an intentional violation of humanitarian norms for the sake of effecting a PR objective, in this case, terrorizing the masses.

Either that, or ICE officers somehow got pulled into crowd control, because that's how they routinely handle illegal immigrants, because Americans don't generally care how *they* get treated.
Jason, there's a clear alternative to going for the hair.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by PSRT:
Why should they disperse? As long as they are behaving peacefully, they have a first amendment right to assemble in order to ask government to address their concerns. THere is no first amendment time limit, location restriction, or other restraint on that right, other than to behave in a peaceable manner.

Maybe the state wheeled up a mobile abortion clinic next to the protest to constitutionalize the summary abridgement of 1st Amendment Rights. [Razz]
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Viking_Longship
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Pete are you presuming that Hass may have made the story up? The an was the Poet Laurete of the United States for two years and a pulitzer prize winner. He'd have a lot to lose by lying.
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RickyB
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"Now having said all that, why are you bringing it up?"

...

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Viking_Longship:
Pete are you presuming that Hass may have made the story up?

Given my statements on this thread, it should be completely obvious that I'm making no presumptions. What I have done on this thread is the exact opposite of "presuming:" I asked for corroborating evidence. The first video presented did not corroborate, so I said so. The second video DID corroborate the remarks about the hair-pulling.

As a defense attorney and as someone who has had a chip on his shoulder against bullying since my adolescence, I have to check my first instinct to believe any story that I hear against police brutality. If you're mistaking my measured requests for corroborating evidence as some sort of sign that I'm a suck-up for the system, well, all I can say is that you weren't at Channel 8 today in Vegas when I gave my first TV interview. [Big Grin] By all means fight the good fight, Viking; I'd personally like to have corroborating evidence on my side before I launch into the blogosphere shouting rumors of police brutality.


quote:
The an was the Poet Laurete of the United States for two years and a pulitzer prize winner.
Personally, I find the corroborating video more convincing than authority worship, but whatever floats your Viking boat ... [Razz]

quote:
He'd have a lot to lose by lying.
Who the hell said anything about "lying?" If some dude poked my wife with a billy club, I doubt that I would be capable of giving a dispassionate and perfectly accurate account of what happened. But based on the corroborating video, it looks like this guy is more level-headed than I am. Kudos for him, but if he makes more reports in the future, I'll still find them more credible if they are backed by video.
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Viking_Longship
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Pete it's not authority worship. I'm saying that we're not talking about an anonymous blogger.
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Pete at Home
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I understand you don't see that as a party worship. But given what you said When I simply asked about the possibility of video backup, your question, in my eyes, presumes authority worship.
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Pete at Home
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I cannot respect under any circumstances, valuing of any 1 human beings opinion over material fact.
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Pete at Home
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Given the fact that some of this dude's have been verified thru video, I tend to trust his honesty. But I can't help
noticing that he never describes the medical damage or even describes pains described by his wife.

Does that not strike you as a significant ommission?

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Pete at Home
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If not then consider yourself officially stricken.

What whappity whap.

[ November 24, 2011, 06:51 AM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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PSRT
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quote:
Legally there have been restrictions on location, such as private property, school grounds or military bases.
Oh yes. Politicians, lawyers and judges are great for not reading the constitution.
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Viking_Longship
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Given the fact that some of this dude's have been verified thru video, I tend to trust his honesty. But I can't help
noticing that he never describes the medical damage or even describes pains described by his wife.

Does that not strike you as a significant ommission?

Not really, this is an article, not a lawsuit.

This is not an opinion. It's an account of an event.

"The speed limit is too low" is an opinion.

"I was pulled over for speeding" is an account.

If you are demanding visual evidence for us to take a written accounting as serious then you've largely written off print journalism. (Where credentials really do matter).

If Hass was suing the police, sure I'd agree, let's see more evidence.

Question is, do you really care Pete or are you just disagreeing for the sake of disagreeing?

[ November 24, 2011, 12:20 PM: Message edited by: Viking_Longship ]

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TheRallanator
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quote:
Originally posted by JoshuaD:
I don't like the protestors getting "roughed up" by the cops. But I don't see the alternative.

These protestors have been ordered to disperse. They are refusing to cooperate. At some point, the police have to be able to use force to disperse the crowd. We have the right to political protest in this country; but we don't have the right to screw up, for long periods of time, other people's ability to work in peace.

Whose ability to work in peace is being disrupted? None of the campus Occupy protests have shut anything down or cordoned anything off, and when they're not being "dispersed" (ie assaulted) by the police they're no noisier than a yard full of college students usually is. The authorities are escalating the situation and indulging in completely unnecessary police actions, and I don't see why anyone would bother coming up with excuses to justify such a pointless waste of taxpayer money.
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jasonr
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Boo hooo hooo. If that had gone on for another hour maybe one of the protesters might have gotten a hangnail or twisted an ankle. It's obvious after watching the video that no one was hurt. People who are being seriously beaten eventually fall down. The guy in the grey shirt looks like he's smiling as he swats the batons back playfully.

Anyway, this is what these activist types live for. They love a good police confrontation. They're sad that the Arabs are getting all the fun and want to have their very own massacre. Sadly, the police just won't oblige and they need to settle with a faux beating.

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jasonr
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quote:
Whose ability to work in peace is being disrupted? None of the campus Occupy protests have shut anything down or cordoned anything off, and when they're not being "dispersed" (ie assaulted) by the police they're no noisier than a yard full of college students usually is. The authorities are escalating the situation and indulging in completely unnecessary police actions, and I don't see why anyone would bother coming up with excuses to justify such a pointless waste of taxpayer money.
I agree. These occupy types are best ignored. The only thing that will keep their movement going is if the police are stupid enough to react. Police brutality is the elixir that keeps these activists going. Take it away and they wither and die.
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TomDavidson
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That's an interesting theory, jason. Is it your opinion that there's no legitimate complaint at the core of the protests?
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TheRallanator
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quote:
Originally posted by jasonr:
quote:
Whose ability to work in peace is being disrupted? None of the campus Occupy protests have shut anything down or cordoned anything off, and when they're not being "dispersed" (ie assaulted) by the police they're no noisier than a yard full of college students usually is. The authorities are escalating the situation and indulging in completely unnecessary police actions, and I don't see why anyone would bother coming up with excuses to justify such a pointless waste of taxpayer money.
I agree. These occupy types are best ignored. The only thing that will keep their movement going is if the police are stupid enough to react. Police brutality is the elixir that keeps these activists going. Take it away and they wither and die.
I like how you live in this bizarre fantasy world where the use of extreme pain to disperse protesters is perfectly acceptable and the only argument against it is that its "what they want". Its come out in recent weeks that baton strikes, joint locks, and pepper spray are considered by police across America to be acceptable or standard techniques for dealing with non-violent protesters, and you're sitting here wondering why anyone's upset that the police are casually and routinely using techniques that would get anyone else charged with assault just to deal with people who are chanting or sitting in a public space.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Viking_Longship:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Given the fact that some of this dude's have been verified thru video, I tend to trust his honesty. But I can't help
noticing that he never describes the medical damage or even describes pains described by his wife.

Does that not strike you as a significant ommission?

Not really, this is an article, not a lawsuit.

This is not an opinion. It's an account of an event.

In my opinion, the omission of any description of injuries to his wife, while talking about his personal bruises, substantially weakens the article. That's not a slur against the writer's honesty.

quote:
Originally posted by Viking_Longship:
"The speed limit is too low" is an opinion.

"I was pulled over for speeding" is an account.

If you are demanding visual evidence for us to take a written accounting as serious

Who said that? I asked if there was corroborating video. You're the one that's twisting it into saying that you should not take a written account seriously. The idea that something like this could occur in late 2011 in the US during a major protest without someone taking video and putting it on utube is simply absurd. I have no idea why you're getting all pissy about my query about photos.

quote:
then you've largely written off print journalism. (Where credentials really do matter).

Well neato for you if that floats your longboat. Personally I don't get into uncritical acceptance of authority. Not my thing. Not telling you how to live your life. Just saying that if you wish to persuade me, then change your tactics, because that one in particular does not persuade me. What I don't get is why you're reacting to my statement as if I'd questioned your paternity.

quote:

Question is, do you really care Pete or are you just disagreeing for the sake of disagreeing?

What do you imagine that I'm disagreeing with? I don't think that you've made any effort to understand what I've said.

I agree that the cops used excessive force. I agree that pulling hair was despicable. I'm glad that was caught on video, and I hope some sadists lose their jobs over this. I found the article useful only inasmuch as it tells us what videos to look for. This isn't the era of the Salt marches, where everyone relied on journalist descriptions.

I disagree with the characterization of statements by JWatts and by myself on this thread.

[ November 25, 2011, 01:34 AM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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Viking_Longship
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Pete


If you're demanding corroborating video and that statement about the Salt Marches means you ARE saying Hass COULD be lying or at least grossly exagerating. That's a the logical understanding of what you're saying. Stop trying to have it both ways.

Recognizing someone has a reputation and that reputation matters in journalism, particularly print journalism is not uncriticle acceptance of authority. Ask Dan Rather what happens to a journalist who blows their reputation.

I was wondering if you were taking issue with me (skirting insult) just to keep the conversation going. Right now I'm wondering if you're posting drunk. Sorry, but that's how it looks.

[ November 25, 2011, 02:54 AM: Message edited by: Viking_Longship ]

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Viking_Longship
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quote:
Originally posted by jasonr:
Boo hooo hooo. If that had gone on for another hour maybe one of the protesters might have gotten a hangnail or twisted an ankle. It's obvious after watching the video that no one was hurt. People who are being seriously beaten eventually fall down. The guy in the grey shirt looks like he's smiling as he swats the batons back playfully.

Anyway, this is what these activist types live for. They love a good police confrontation. They're sad that the Arabs are getting all the fun and want to have their very own massacre. Sadly, the police just won't oblige and they need to settle with a faux beating.

You can go to 1:30 seconds on that video to see a person go down and have the police keep battering them.

BTW Most of what OWS wants you already have in Canada, so I can understand why this doesn't make sense to you.

[ November 25, 2011, 02:48 AM: Message edited by: Viking_Longship ]

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Viking_Longship:
Pete


If you're demanding

Demanding?

Now who's arguing for the sake of being disagreeable?

quote:
Recognizing someone has a reputation and that reputation matters in journalism,
I never contested that. I'm not in journalism, though, and appeals to authority bore the sheet out of me. And righteous posturing that I won't respect his authoritae does not impress either.

quote:
If you're demanding corroborating video and that statement about the Salt Marches means you ARE saying Hass could be lying or at least grossly exagerating.
You are wrong; that's a foolish false dichotomy. I thought that he was somewhat exaggerating, but the video does corroborate what he said about the hair-pulling, so that's points in his favor.

If you were actually reading what I was saying rather than trying to railroad me into calling the article guy a liar [Roll Eyes] , you would have noticed this statement above:
quote:
Who the hell said anything about "lying?" If some dude poked my wife with a billy club, I doubt that I would be capable of giving a dispassionate and perfectly accurate account of what happened. But based on the corroborating video, it looks like this guy is more level-headed than I am.
quote:
Right now I'm wondering if you're posting drunk again.
Odd you should mention that, because based on your misreadings I was beginning to wonder if you were tweaking. [Razz] Thanks for your heartfelt concern but I've been dry for weeks. [Cool]
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Pete at Home
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What my statement about the Salt Marches meant was this: Back when 90% of the population was NOT carrying around cell phones which act as portable digital videocameras, you could expect that a police repression of a carefully orchestrated protest event might not have video footage.

Anyone who does not recognize that youtube and cell phones have changed the landscape seriously has his head up his nethers.

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