Monthly Archives: August 2008

Cops illegally raid RNC protesters

If there is a lesson to be learned from these convention protests, it’s that security culture is more important than anyone had previously thought. Infiltration lead to the illegal arrests of many at an Unconventional Denver action August 25, and now infiltration has led to a series of illegal raids and arrests of members of the RNC Welcoming Committee.

“We are making sure that people here to legitimately protest have the right to do that, but people engaging in criminal activity are not going to be able to do that,” said St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman. So Coleman now feels he can define “legitimate” protest? I guarantee these Americans in jail considered their protests pretty fucking legitimate. Free speech does not mean free speech that the mayor thinks is OK.

Here is an excellent submedia.tv video about the raids:

Let’s be clear here. These people have been arrested in suspicion that they might do something illegal. And, of course, they just so happen to be leaders of an organization that is critical of the police and our government. The police are claiming crazy things, like that they were collecting urine to throw on cops. Here in Denver, that sounds awfully familiar. Did they find any urine or feces in Denver?

Of course not!

Police are using the time they have before they allow their prisoners a chance to tell their side of the story to try to win support from the public by painting the protesters as crazy, urine-collecting sociopaths. It’s like kindergarten, except the bullies have guns and pepper spray instead of crayons.

The submedia video above is really great for this exact purpose. It juxtaposes the police misinformation about anarchists with the obvious truth that these are regular people, too. They shower, brush their teeth, have senses of humor, drink coffee. In fact, they are not only human, but many spend their time feeding people FOR FREE through Food Not Bombs. How many cops do that?

A legal observer at the DNC made an interesting observation during a Denver Open Media interview about the August 25 police violence. As these anarchists were running away from the cops’ pepper spray super-soakers, he noticed that all of them made sure to avoid stepping on the flowers in Civic Center Park. Somehow, that image sums up everything.

Bill Johnson of the Rocky Mountain News wrote a column about the police state that could not be more spot on.

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Cop hits a biker and runs in Denver, among other violent, suppressive actions

A cop on a motorcycle, going the wrong way on a one-way street, ran his motorcycle into a couple bikers who were part of a critical mass bike ride through the city. After the collision, which was unquestionably his fault, the cop and his cop friend rode off quickly as angry bikers started yelling irately at him. He did not come back or report the incident.

As far we can tell, nobody got his badge number, a good photo or video of the incident.

This is why people hate cops, and why the world would be so much safer without them (or with incredibly few of them). None of the protests would have been violent if the cops were not there, and all the violence has flowed cop to protester.

I dare you to find any protester doing anything close that to a cop. It has not happened. They do it because they know there will be no retribution. There can’t be. They have the guns, and the batons, and the pepper spray, and the body armor, and the pepper guns, and the tasers. We have words, some clever signs and some bicycles.

Code Pink is bad ass, and their tactics are not intimidation tactics at all. Their stickers (which I have been sporting proudly) say “MAKE OUT NOT WAR”. And while I may be kind of put off that we no longer make love in war’s absence, making out is cool, too. They embarrass police by dressing in lots of pink, and riding innocent bicycles with pink parasols, making their guns and riot gear look ridiculous. And they do everything they can to make sure they are embarrassed for wearing it all. It would appear that this cop solved his embarrassment by clubbing one of them.

Now, he has been pulled off the lines and is under investigation, but that is only because it was caught on camera. That is the only reason whatsoever. This is happening all the time here. I see it everywhere I go. These cops are out of control. They are like a roving gang with free reign to beat up on whoever they want without retribution.

After the motorcycle cop hit the bikers and drove off, another biker yelled, “Someone call the cops!” That’s the point.

The cops also singled out a New York Times freelance photographer and sprayed him with a giant burst of pepper spray even though he was backed against a wall and was holding a camera (obviously not threatening).

courtesy of Rocky Mountain News

courtesy of Rocky Mountain News

courtesy of the Denver Post

courtesy of the Denver Post

I used to think cops were good people with hard jobs that make them a little cranky. That’s understandable. They deal with a lot of tough realities of our society, and that can wear on you. But after this week, I really don’t think they are good people. No good person could stand in that riot gear as this overwhelming violence and intimidation against American citizens takes place. A good person would step out of line and quit (or at least disobey orders and risk punishment).

Right now, this massive police force is just a mercenary army hired by the Democratic party to suppress dissension and keep their big party from getting crashed by concerned citizens. The fact that the Dems have not said anything about the outrageous actions of this police force (which, of course, they voted to fund with $50 million), proves that at best they don’t care, and at worst, they are happy with it.

We truly live in a police state. You are allowed to protest, so long as it is by their rules. And they set the rules. And if you do not obey their rules, they hurt you with overwhelming power. The only reason there have not been massive riots is because the police have intimidated us. They consider that a success. I consider that fascism.

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Cops have violently occupied Denver

courtesy of the Denver Post

courtesy of the Denver Post

Our country truly is a police state. Anyone who says we are free is a liar.

I just moved to Denver three days ago, and knew it would be exciting with the DNC in town and all. But after watching the actions of the $50 million police force against unarmed American dissenters, I am thoroughly convinced that we are not free. Just look at the photo above. And this is from the Denver Post, who have not exactly been supportive of the protesters. But there is no way to hide the fact that these cops are violently subduing dissenting opinions with massive, overwhelming “Shock and Awe” force against American citizens who do not agree with the government and demand change.

And all this force is needed to secure the power of the “good” party. This is our supposedly anti-war party. This is our “hope”. Jesus.

I watched a protester run out of the conflict with the cops screaming and crying, drop to her knees, grasp her face, medics running to help her. If you wear contacts when you get pepper sprayed, the contacts can fuse to your eyes and blind you. Volunteer anarchist medics are the only reason there were not permanent injuries during the clash. The cops brought absolutely no medical help with them. Medical help is not their concern, only violence against the dissenters.

If you choose to ignore what is going on here, then fuck you. People are getting the shit beat out of them fighting for your freedom. Either come to Denver and join the ranks, or do what you can to support them at home.

The amount of money ($100 million, $50 million for each convention) required to maintain a large enough police force to subdue dissenters in this nation is rising quickly. Our “two” party capitalist fascist government is showing a slight sign of weakness. Too bad our capitalist press does not give favorable coverage to anticapitalists getting the shit beat out of them. I wonder if that’s because they make their money off the corrupt system the police are defending…

Denver is under attack. We need back up, however you can give it.

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FOX radio in STL offers me $97 to take a shot of Ashcroft’s backwash

The saga of John Ashcroft’s backwash and I gets weirderer and weirderer.

I was on Allman and Crane on FOX talk radio 97.1 FM in St. Louis around 8 a.m. this morning talking about my efforts to sell the former Atorney General’s backwash on eBay. You can listen online at their site (or if you get frustrated with their buggy flash media player, I’m hosting it as well). I have to say, it was a strange way to wake up.

Allman gave me a really friendly intro, calling me a “mack daddy” at one point and plugging Big Muddy Records, which we of course always appreciate. This was nice, because I wasn’t sure if he was going to just yell at me like Papa Bear O’Reilly likes to do.

That’s so adorable.

But, as I do not listen to conservative FOX radio often, I did not know what to expect from Allman. He was, after all, former St. Louis Archbishop Burke‘s spokesman, and that dude sucked. I also knew that there was no way an anarchist like me was going to find much common ground with a guy who likes people like Ashcroft and Cheney, and who thinks “Guantanamo is a shining example of how great this country is”. Somehow I don’t feel that the Vatican would agree, but who knows? They sometimes like religious wars, too.

But Allman seemed to actually find the backwash funny, and was willing to let me speak my fair share, so I have to at least give him credit for that. That’s more than Papa Bear does.

So, to bury the lede, when we got around to talking about the backwash, he asked me if I would take a shot of John Ashcroft’s backwash out of a GOP shot glass for $97. That’s pretty gross, but I said yes. I’m not sure if that makes me a whore or a capitalist (is there a difference?), but I am confident it was the right choice. He suggested that it might make me smarter, too…

But I am left with some resonating concerns. At one point, Allman said, “Guantanamo is a Holiday Inn compared to the alternative, which would have been just shooting them on the spot. Which we actually could have legally done, but didn’t.” At the time, I couldn’t think of anything to say to that. I was genuinely shocked. That’s one of the most horrible things a person could say. I know he’s a shock jock, so I really hope he does not actually feel that way. I mean, these are people are are talking about. Real life people. No one could actually think such a cruel, lifeless thought, right?

Instead of challenging him, I addressed his assertion that these killings were legal and legitimate by pointing out that not only were they not, but that the wars themselves were neither legal or legitimate. At one point I made reference to an article about the mistreatment of Afghan prisoners (which is part of their huge report on Guantanamo). This point was, of course, not embraced. But this is the dance, I guess. It flows like a scene you’ve already performed 1,000 times.

But I can’t shake the idea that someone would not only condone this treatment of other people, but that they think it would have been OK for the U.S. Army to just shoot them on the spot. Watching people as they listen to the recording, they are always kind of smiling through it until they get to that part, and then the life is just drained from them. It’s like, in all the joking, we have managed to forget the very real consequences and victims we’re talking about. And when you realize that Ashcroft is not just a clown, but a man who made abusive, terrible decisions that have caused so much pain and horror for so many, it becomes hard to just laugh at the idea of taking a shot of the man’s backwash for $97.

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Ashcroft’s saliva back on the market

John Ashcroft’s backwash is back on eBay after the auction site removed the listing, citing it’s “adult” content and suggesting it could only be sold in the “mature content” section of their site. I did not put it there. This is a glass that John Ashcroft once drank from, not a dildo.

This is starting to make me wonder how eBay’s consorship mechanism works, or if they have changed it to make it even less personal than it already was. I guess I have never tried to sell anything weird before, but it seems pretty ridiculous to me that any eBay employee could have thought that item had adult content in it. Was it a political move? Is there some Ashcroft ally sitting in an eBay cubicle farm somewhere (that seems hard to believe, since anyone who actually agrees with that guy probably does not use a computer).

It looks like eBay censorship not only affects those trying to peddle the saliva of a mad man, but also people who are just trying to have a conversation in the eBay forums. Now granted, Doc seems particularly angry at the auction giant, but I trust him (at least more than I trust eBay).

Now, I must correct a statement I made in an earlier post about eBay allowing Hitler memorabilia. Turns out, Nazi memorabilia is often banned from the site because of it’s offensive nature. In fact, a search of “ebay banned” on Google returns 3,900,000 hits. So this reignites a theory I had that eBay thinks John Ashcroft is such a despicable person that the selling of a glass he drank from is offensive to all the domestic spying and wiretapping victims or tortured prisoners in American custody. If this is the case, then at least eBay is consistent with their banning of offensive stuff. But somehow, I don’t think that’s the case.

If anything, I guess this is just a good lesson in why capitalist corporations cannot be trusted to hold public forums, whether that forum is for the sale of some Third Reich dinnerware or the spit of a U.S. Attourney General or conversation about how the capitalist organization sucks. eBay is all worried about their loss of auctions now that Craig’s List and a bunch of other startups have come along, yet their solution is not to make eBay better, but to continue censoring the hell out of everyone who uses the site in their cold, impersonal way that drives people batty.

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eBay gets off on Ashcroft’s backwash

I got this e-mail today from eBay, explaining why they removed my listing for a glass of John Ashcroft’s backwash.

Dear tfooq(XXXXXXXXXX@gmail.com),

You recently listed the following auction-style listing:

320282682781 – John Ashcroft’s BACKWASH!! DNA of a war criminal!!!

The was removed because it violated the eBay Adult Material policy. We notified members who placed bids on the item that the listing has been canceled.

Adult material (material that is not appropriate for people under 18 years old) can be listed in the eBay Mature Audiences category only. Also, even though it may be legal to sell certain items to adults, sales of these items are still not permitted on eBay.

Obscene materials are not permitted anywhere on eBay. eBay defines obscene materials as those items that show or suggest rape, incest, bestiality, or necrophilia.
For more information about the eBay policy, please visit:

http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/mature-audiences.html

What could eBay possibly find erotic, adult, obscene, whatever in a glass of John Ashcroft’s backwash? It’s a glass the dude drank from once. That might be the least sexy thing I’ve ever heard of.

Now, would I want my child playing with a glass of John Ashcroft’s backwash? Hell no. The stuff creeps me out. But that’s just because he’s a pretty evil guy with bad vibes and a strange desire to torture people. But they sell Hitler memorabilia all the time on eBay, so that can’t be why they took it off.

So now I’m angry. I was all set to retire on the truckloads of money that auction was going to bring in (it was up to $0.16 before eBay destroyed my dreams!).

This fight is not over. EBay, you’re on the list. Being cold and impersonal is why everyone uses Craig’s List now. And your text editor is embarrassing (go start to make a listing and try using the text editor they give you. It’s ridiculous. The spell check looks like it was programmed in ’88).

Ah, so mad. Time to regroup. Anyone have any ideas? I still have the backwash. What should I do with it?

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Now selling John Ashcroft’s backwash on eBay

UPDATE (12:17 P.M. cst AUG. 4) eBay has removed my listing, calling it “adult”. I guess this means Ashcroft’s backwash turns them on.

I finally got around to it. Until August 10, you can bid to be the proud owner of a glass full of former U.S. Atorney General John Ashcroft’s backwash.

I would relate the story behind me getting the item here, but I did it pretty well in the listing summary. So here is that:

This is not a joke. This is actually a glass of former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft’s backwash.


He spoke at Knox College April 22 (Earth Day, of all days) and was a pretty big jerk to every one (including your humble seller). There is a YouTube video of him being mean to me, actually. My retort got more cheers than his, so if applause meters selected Attorneys General, I would be there right now.


(I am the dude in the purple shirt around 6:10)

After he left, my friends and I attempted to regain our ability to reason after the vicious attack against humanity that spewed from that man’s mouth, so we decided to play a little music in the theater where he spoke. You know, to channel that frustration into something productive.

And what do we find still sitting on the pedestal? John Ashcroft’s glass, still with water and backwash in it (in one photo, you can see the water pitcher and glass on the pedestal during his talk).

(P.S. Thank you, Evan Temchin, for the photo)

We first dared each other to drink it, but nobody would. It’s like Satan’s glass or something. You just never know.

Then I thought, Hey, we could probably use this to put hexes on him or something. But I don’t know anything about hexes. Derrick Jensen spoke at Knox a few days later, and he suggested we plant his DNA at a murder scene so he is found guilty. That’s by far the best idea, but I would have no idea how to do that. And how do you find a murder scene? I’d have to have pretty good timing (and happen to have the glass on me).

So, defeated and out of other ideas, I did what any good American would do. I decided to try to make money on it on eBay.

So here is your chance to buy the backwash, fingerprints, lipprints and DNA of a war criminal to do with as you please (though I wouldn’t suggest the framing for murder thing, since now I’ve spoiled that idea by writing it here).

It is a few months old. I’m not sure how long backwash stays good. But on close inspection, the water is still clear. There is nothing growing anywhere. I think Ashcroft’s saliva has a strong disinfectant in it that destroys all life. That would explain a few things.

And very little has evaporated, since it has been sealed with cling wrap and a rubber band and kept in a dark closet this whole time.

The glass is part of the deal, and I will figure out a secure way to ship the items. So worst case scenario, you have a glass that John Ashcroft drank from. That’s pretty cool, right? You can pour guests a glass of water and say, “You are drinking from the very same glass as the man responsible for the torturing of prisoners in American custody!” The perfect way to liven up any social gathering!

Happy bidding!

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