Saturday, November 19, 2011

In the News: Appalling Police Violence at UC Davis, More on Oklahoma City Pastor Tom Vineyard

Two newsworthy items catching my eye late this Saturday:

What police did to students staging a peaceful sit-in at UC Davis yesterday is beyond appalling.  The  video of a policeman casually strutting up to a group of students and then discharging pepper spray in their faces after he brandishes the can in the air (shaking it to distribute the pepper) is chilling.  This is what America has come to, under the rule of the super-rich.

If this can happen to a group of students peacefully sitting on the ground exercising their first-amendment right to protest, it can happen to any of us.  This video should make all of us stop and think long and hard about the barbarism into which we have rapidly descended under the rule of the super-rich.

As I write this, the story is the lead story at Huffington Post and the video has gone viral at websites all over the internet.  And a professor at UC Davis who should be applauded for his courage has started a petition demanding the resignation of Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi, who sicced the police on the protesting students but who has thus far refused to take responsibility for the police brutality that ensued.

And here's part of the reason this violence against Occupy protesters is escalating around the country, and is showing a new and increasingly ugly face all at once: I noted a few days back that commentators are asking critical questions about who's organizing the orchestrated attempt to break up Occupy protests, after the Oakland mayor let slip that she'd taken part in a conference call of mayors of other cities right before the crackdown began last weekend.  As Geov Parrish is reporting at Alternet right now, a group called the Police Executive Research Forum, comprised primarily of current and former police chiefs, which markets its services to municipalities and police forces to advise them on breaking up demonstrations, has been coordinating conference calls with mayors and police chiefs.

Among PERF's directors is Minneapolis police chief Tim Dolan, who spearheaded a crackdown on protesters at the 2008 Republican convention, at which it was reported that there were multiple injuries due to police violence.  Interestingly enough, it's also now being reported that New York city police are seeking to scrutinize the activities of churches that have offered sanctuary to protesters evicted from Zuccotti Park this past weekend--a development I mentioned in several postings earlier in the week.

Buck the super-rich and demand that they start serving the common good, and you can expect them to turn our democracy into a police state.

And an update on another item about which I blogged a day or so ago: Timothy Kincaid at Box Turtle Bulletin also finds Rev. Tom Vineyard's recent observation to the Oklahoma City council that "more than half of murders committed in large cities are committed by gay people" more than a little counterfactual.  I highly recommend Timothy's scathing and brilliant takedown of Vineyard, which notes (rightly) that no matter how much people ridicule his making-things-up-as-he-goes-along, he'll go right on with the making things up and dishing out churchpoop.  Because he's right and everyone who doesn't have his direct pipeline to God is wrong.

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