Archive for the ‘Rants’ Category

Update on UC Davis pepper spray incident   Leave a comment

First of all, here is another YouTube video which shows even more clearly the brutal pepper-spraying of peaceful protestors:

The video also shows the crowd chanting, “Shame On You!”  They are clearly angry, but remain peaceful.  I am proud of their bravery and their restraint, as the video also shows guns leveled at the crowd.  Unbelievable!

The news as of today is that two UC Davis Police Officers (who are not named) have been placed on leave “pending an investigation.”  Knowing how these things usually go, it is likely paid leave.  Unacceptable!  They need to be fired, fined, arrested and publicly named.  I would hope that after this they are never permitted to work in law enforcement again.  A public apology would be nice as well.  But things don’t usually happen this way.  A good example is BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle, who was only convicted of involuntary manslaughter for shooting an unarmed, restrained man in the back.  We cannot continue to accept this.  The police needs to be subject to the same laws as the rest of us.

Chancellor Katehi: do not fail the campus and the city of Davis in this!  It is your responsibility to bring these brutal officers to justice.  They do not deserve anonymity nor a job in law enforcement.  The officers who stood by must be disciplined as well.  Perhaps a new battery of psych tests on all University of California police officers is in order as well.  There are clearly some unstable individuals who slipped through the cracks.

Let’s see how this plays out…

At the same time, I want to give kudos to the City of Davis PD, who seem, to date, to have left Occupy Davis protestors in peace.

Peace,

Stephan

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Shame on you UCDPD!   Leave a comment

WTF!  Where am I living? What year is this?  What happened to the freedom of assembly?  In the video below, obtained from YouTube and the AP, a University of California at Davis police officer calmly and systematically pepper-sprays a line of seated, passively resisting Occupy protestors:

(The video sometimes starts with an ad, so please be patient)

This is unacceptably brutal.  The officer responsible should be immediately and decisively punished: fired and arrested would be a good start.  A thorough dousing with pepper spray would also be a healthy consequence.  In fact, if each protester sprayed by him were to be given the opportunity to spray him back, I would not object.  All other officials who stood by without intervening should also face immediate disciplinary action.  If this does not happen, we face a slippery slope of escalating police brutality.  Does anyone remember Kent State?  Four Dead In Ohio.

The pain inflicted by using pepper spray is tantamount to torture when used on peaceful protestors.  We used to find torture unacceptable, but that is changing.  First it is okay to torture terrorists, then liberal protestors.  Who is next?

Any “civilian”  pepper-spraying innocent people would certainly be punished.  Let’s have the same justice served on brutal police officers, otherwise we risk becoming no better than the countries we criticize.  I do realize that this does not rise to the level of Libyan or Syrian etc. police tactics, but it does make us look like hypocrites.   A uniform does not give you those kinds of rights.

I biked by probably three minutes before this happened.  People were chanting and loud, but peaceful.  There was no riot.  Nothing to justify this disgusting act.  UC Davis chancellor Linda Katehi has a chance to make this right, but to do so, she needs to act quickly

I am ashamed of my alma mater.

Give me a break already…   Leave a comment

“Tax the rich, Obama says; class warfare, says GOP”

Really?  Class warfare?  Give me a break.  We have it already.  Have had it for quite some time, in fact.  It’s what you get when the gap between the haves and everyone else keeps widening, as it has been for the last 30 years or more… when the economy is balanced only on the backs of the poor and the middle class (what is left of it).

You really do know that the tax-cutting fetish has gone too far when Warren Buffet freely admits that his tax rate is lower than that of his secretary.  “How can this be?” you ask, when the top marginal tax rate is 33%, and those in lower brackets pay at a 10% rate.  The answers are actually quite simple.  For starters, the rich enjoy far more tax shelters, many of them of dubious legality.  Second, the Social Security and Medicare withholdings phase out at approximately $106,000 (raising this ceiling, and then indexing it for inflation could solve the Social Security/Medicare  problems quite easily).  And finally, much tax liability for the super-rich comes from capital gains taxes, which are at historical lows.  The rate for long-term holdings is currently at… wait for it…: between 0% and 15%.  Granted, the 0% rate is for the low-income, but how much stock do these folks really own?

Now, benefit cuts to ordinary folks, parks, police, libraries, schools and so on have been brutal for the last several years, with cuts coming in at federal, state and local levels.  Pain to the rich who can buy a politician or two?  Little to none.  As soon as even modest tax increases (or the phasing out of tax cuts we can no longer afford, given that we are still fighting two interminable wars) are proposed there is always the scream by those in the Rainman (“taxes suck”), oops… excuse me, the Republican party that the rich need this money to create jobs.  BS!  This is, and always has been a fantasy, ever since Reagan introduced the concept of trickle-down economics.  There is only one thing that has trickled down, and it sure isn’t money.  Corporations are sitting on obscene amounts of money, but most of them are doing little, if any hiring.  Even Reagan and Poppy Bush eventually had to concede that to balance the budget revenues (a.k.a. taxes) had to increase.  I guess that makes them liberals by today’s standards.

Now whenever someone mentions that maybe, pretty please, the rich might pay a wee bit more in taxes, the Rainman, uh… excuse me, the Republican party, goes nuts.  The screaming heads on TV and radio go wild, calling those who propose the increases “Socialist,” “Communist,” “Traitor,” and worse.  Excuse me?  But Barack Obama scarcely even qualifies as a liberal (same goes for Bill Clinton, for that matter).  In fact, real liberals are in very short supply.  The Democratic party is populated mainly by slightly left centrists who are far too eager to compromise with a party which current has no interest in compromising on anything.   Once a proposal has been uttered by the President, they cannot even accept a compromise embracing an idea that they themselves laid out earlier.   Lately, dealing with elected Republicans seems akin to arguing with a drunk.  Ever since Dick Cheney told Patrick Leahy, “go f*&^ yourself,” that has been the Republican attitude on the Hill.

Meanwhile, ordinary Americans get to watch all chances at realizing the American Dream slip slowly away.

Now, mind you, almost no one is talking about punitive taxation, but the Republicans would have you believe otherwise.   Shared pain is all we ask.  Civil discourse, and a willingness to compromise.   That, and maybe a spine transplant for the Dems.  A guy can dream, right?  But all kidding aside, if we want America to remain a First World country, the gap between the rich and poor cannot continue to widen.  If we end up like Mexico with essentially two classes, things could get far uglier than they are today.  Then again, that may solve the immigration problem to the Republicans’ satisfaction.

Well, that’s it.  Good night and pleasant dreams.  I will leave you with this.  Steppenwolf’s song (“Monster”), penned in 1969, still rings true about our situation today:

Once the religious, the hunted and weary
Chasing the promise of freedom and hope
Came to this country to build a new vision
Far from the reaches of kingdom and pope
Like good Christians, some would burn the witches
Later some got slaves to gather riches

But still from near and far to seek America
They came by thousands to court the wild
And she just patiently smiled and bore a child
To be their spirit and guiding light

And once the ties with the crown had been broken
Westward in saddle and wagon it went
And ’til the railroad linked ocean to ocean
Many the lives which had come to an end
While we bullied, stole and bought our a homeland
We began the slaughter of the red man

But still from near and far to seek America
They came by thousands to court the wild
And she just patiently smiled and bore a child
To be their spirit and guiding light

The blue and grey they stomped it
They kicked it just like a dog
And when the war over
They stuffed it just like a hog

And though the past has it’s share of injustice
Kind was the spirit in many a way
But it’s protectors and friends have been sleeping
Now it’s a monster and will not obey

(Suicide)
The spirit was freedom and justice
And it’s keepers seem generous and kind
It’s leaders were supposed to serve the country
But now they won’t pay it no mind
‘Cause the people grew fat and got lazy
And now their vote is a meaningless joke
They babble about law and order
But it’s all just an echo of what they’ve been told
Yeah, there’s a monster on the loose
It’s got our heads into a noose
And it just sits there watchin’

Our cities have turned into jungles
And corruption is stranglin’ the land
The police force is watching the people
And the people just can’t understand
We don’t know how to mind our own business
‘Cause the whole worlds got to be just like us
Now we are fighting a war over there
No matter who’s the winner
We can’t pay the cost
‘Cause there’s a monster on the loose
It’s got our heads into a noose
And it just sits there watching

(America)
America where are you now?
Don’t you care about your sons and daughters?
Don’t you know we need you now
We can’t fight alone against the monster

Posted September 19, 2011 by dragonbreathpress in Rants

Okay, what is wrong with the ISPs in this country?   Leave a comment

Alright, the last post took me over an hour to compose, and that isn’t because I am incompetent.  I had already written it and posted it to several Yahoo! Groups without any problems.  The problem is Comcast.  I lost my supposedly high-speed connection at least five times.  Each time it takes a minute or three to decide it won’t connect, and another minute or so to diagnose the connection.  And this, unfortunately, is not an unusual situation.  What the hell?  For this they are going to want $70 per month when my introductory rate runs out?  And AT&T?  They couldn’t even get me hooked up.  In Davis.  California.  USA.  We invented the internet in this country, and we have the slowest, most expensive internet.  What gives?

I am not pulling this out of thin air.  There are numerous studies that have shown this.  Just a couple of examples:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-10317118-38.html

http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/broadband_speeds_around_the_world.php

And God forbid that we ask for some regulation of the companies that are ripping us off!  You want what you’re paying for?  That makes you a communist!  Regulation?  No!  They need a tax cut and the ability to give unlimited political donations!

Anyway, I’ll add some pictures into the vacation post when my connection is being more cooperative.

Good night.

Stephan

Posted August 25, 2011 by dragonbreathpress in Rants

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