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Coincidence?

In 2010 Midterm Elections, Civil Liberties, Politics on January 8, 2011 at 12:03 pm

This is an image from Sarah Palin’s Facebook page from March 23, 2010. It illustrates a “target” list–cross hairs above 20 congressional districts including that of the Arizona Congresswoman from the 8th district Gabrielle Giffords who has been shot this morning along with six others at a public meeting in Tuscon, AZ.

From Sarah Palin’s facebook page entitled “Don’t Get Demoralized! Get Organized! Take Back The 20!”:

Signed “Sarah Palin”.

This link takes you to a chilling video of Giffords on MSNBC last March reacting to the vandalism at her office and threats to her safety after her vote in favor of health care reform.

At the Donkey Edge, our thoughts and prayers are with the Giffords family and all of those who were killed and wounded today at the Safeway in Tuscon.

-SH

Update: Courtesy of @ebertchicago, “this ad was run by Giffords’ rightist opponent”

Update: Here’s Palin’s original Facebook post from March 23, 2010.

Update: I have revised this post changing “who has allegedly been fatally shot” to “who has been shot” as Giffords’ and the others who have been shot are at the hospital in critical condition. At this point MSNBC reports one fatality–a 9 year old. Our prayers are with their family.

Update: A prescient video from the March 25, 2010 edition of–wait for it–“The View” reacting to Sarah Palin’s Facebook page posting of March 23, 2010. I can’t believe I’m writing this–but I agree with Elizabeth Hasselbeck and find her reaction both well-spoken and spot-on. Whoopi Goldberg’s words are chilling and pointed: “to the talking heads who are still inciting this — Whatever comes down from this, it’s on your hands.”

Watch:

Update: No matter one’s political views, there is no place in our free society for violence of any kind.  The cowardly shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and eighteen innocent bystanders (as of this writing), including the deaths of Federal Judge John Roll and a nine-year-old child, is despicable, made even worse by the constant drumbeat of violent rhetoric that stems from the paranoid, anti-government forces on the far right.  It is one thing to criticize someone politically: it is quite another to use violent language and gun-related metaphors to incite supporters.

-SF

No Pain, No Gain

In Civil Liberties, Politics on August 26, 2010 at 10:03 am

Tase This!

I’m a gadget guy. So you think I’d be into the new toy the LA Sheriff’s department picked up this month. It’s called the “Pain Ray” and it shoots an invisible laser beam of white-hot microwaves that makes your skin feel like it’s being seared. It’s official name is the “Active Denial System” (ADS) and it’s made by Raytheon. It was to go into use in Afghanistan this summer primarily for “crowd dispersal” but the US Military thought the Pain Ray was too controversial for the war.

That from the folks who brought you Abu Ghraib. Here’s more:

For a while now, the United States military have been playing around with a fun little weapon that is, in essence, a pain raygun. The idea is this: you want to take out an insurgent, but you don’t want to kill him, so you aim this Raytheon-design, seven and a half foot tall millimeter wave weapon at him when he’s 100 feet away and turn it on. What sensation will he feel? The unbearable agony of being burned alive… without any of the actual immolation.

Obviously, this sort of weapon is contentious, and pretty obviously at odds with our attempts at garnering the good will of the native Afghanis, so it was quickly pulled out of service.

Cooler heads prevailed in the military but the LA Sheriff’s department pounced:

According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, there is one group of insurgents inhuman and evil enough to use the pain ray on: Pitchess Detention Center prisoners. Calling it the “Holy Grail of Crowd Control,” the LASD hopes to use the pain ray to reduce the 257 inmate-on-inmate assaults of this year alone, as well as the nineteen assaults on deputies. The idea is to break up incidents like riots before they get out of hand.

There’s a lot of problems with this. One big problem is that in a riot, a pain ray can’t really be aimed any better than a flamethrower, meaning you’re also going to hit the victim with unbearable agony. Furthermore, we’re already locking up way too many people for way too frivolous offenses: it’s no wonder our prisons are a pressure cooker waiting to explode. Randomly zapping people with a ray gun that essentially tortures them isn’t a good way to improve that situation.

Turns out the LASD is really into these Marquis de Sade-esque devices. They were on the forefront of using the sonic pain ray, the LRAD (which we posted on here), as early as 2005. Since we don’t have an NFL team, I guess it’s good to be first in something. But why would the LASD need such a “crowd dispersal” device in a prison? That got me into looking into the swelling inmate population in America. Here’s a chart which shows the precipitous rise in the number of incarcerated Americans from 1920 to 2006.

What the hell has happened since 1980? Here’s a closer look:

As a percentage of the population it has nearly quadrupled:

We’re locking up nearly four times the number of citizens we were 30 years ago. And when it comes to the demographics of who makes up this population, it’s sickening. More than 1 in 10 African American males between the ages of 25 and 40 are currently in prison or jail. Right now. (This is all from the 2009 US Department of Justice. Here’s a PDF with more detailed statistics.)

We have nearly 2.3 million Americans in our prison/jail system and the number keeps growing at an increasing rate which is why there’s never been a better time to be in the prison business in America. Here’s how one of the top 4 US prison companies, Correctional Corporation of America, is growing and reinvesting in its physical plants during the great recession as it anticipates continued growth:

CCA isn’t pouring nearly a third of it’s annual revenue into new property/plant investments without a reason. I’d expect that in the coming quarters, this amount of investment will begin to yield tangible returns for the Company.

Because state and federal budgets are tightening there is an incentive from some quarters for governments to privatize our prison system and get them “off the books”. But by privatizing our prison system, the offenders who would at one point and time would have been in line for rehabilitation and release (as they cost the taxpayers money and rehabilitation into society is a worthy goal) today’s “privatized” prisoners become a valuable asset to the privately-held corporations who run the prison system.

These companies are paid per head. So the more heads, the more revenue. Plus, it’s critical that this system keep creating new assets (citizen/prisoners) to keep the system profitable and growing for the shareholders. (You can read more on the “Prison-Industrial Complex” in the seminal article by Eric Schlosser here.)

Given this new paradigm, we will need more prisoners to continue to feed the private prisons that are being built in this country and all we’ll hear about is how “good” this is for our economy because it’s creating jobs and keeping America safe. Which is why, with a swelling prison population, we’re coming up with even more extreme ways of keeping the prison population under control with gadgets like the Pain Ray.

Okay, you’ve waited patiently for it. Here’s the video from Rachel showing people being shot with the Pain Ray:

My favorite part is the faux protesters with the signs “Peace Not War” being dispersed. Obviously, they need to be punished. They’re not profitable.

– SH

Here’s more on the sonic Pain Ray, the LRAD, which was used at the G-20.

Tarjay: The Musical!

In 2010 Midterm Elections, Civil Liberties, Inequality, Politics on August 18, 2010 at 3:03 pm

The Donkey loves a good musical. Here’s one of our favorites!

More on how Tarjay hates “The Gay” here.

BREAKING: Judge Rules Gay Marriages Can Continue In California

In Civil Liberties, Equal Protection, Inequality, Politics on August 12, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Judge Vaughn Walker has lifted a stay on his original ruling that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional under the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses.  Although this stay will allow same sex marriages to continue in the state of California, it does not go into effect until August 18, 2010 at 5 PM PST, presumably to give the forces of evil the supporters of Prop 8 time to appeal the stay to the Ninth Circuit Court.

The immediate impact of this ruling is that love trumps hate, but more practically, if you are a same-sex couple who was considering marriage in California, then get thee to a chapel on August 18 and beyond.  The more couples who enforce their constitutional right to marry, the harder it will be to undo and to deny gay couples equal treatment under the law.

Here is a link to the Judge’s order.

And it bears repeating one more time that both Governor Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown refused to defend this odious law in court.  The Democratic nominee for Attorney General, Kamala Harris, has also stated that she will not defend the law if elected this fall.  While on the other side of the aisle, Meg Whitman supports Proposition 8, defending her position to the Los Angeles Times as a “matter of personal conscience and my faith.” I’m so glad E-Meg’s personal morality can be foisted on the rest of us. And Republican Attorney General nominee, Steve Cooley, has publicly stated that the Attorney General should defend it. Here’s a quote from his interview with the San Diego News Room:

California’s Supreme Court ruled that [Prop 8] was constitutional, and since they ruled it is constitutional and there are no clear and obvious unconstitutional aspects to it, the AG should defend it as a matter of his or her oath of office. You can’t pick and choose; the public voted it in, it’s the majority. It’s been ruled as constitutional so it should be defended and the state should be involved in that litigation along with the real parties and interests.

Simply put, elections matter, which is why we need to elect Jerry Brown and Kamala Harris as our Governor and Attorney General, respectively.  And to those who say that judges shouldn’t practice “judicial activism”, here is Ted Olson, noted conservative and lead attorney challenging Prop 8’s constitutionality, laying out in no uncertain terms why these judicial decisions are crucial to our democracy.

-SF

Tarjay Hates The Gay (An Open Letter To My Wife)

In Civil Liberties, Equal Protection, Politics on August 9, 2010 at 3:22 pm

Dearest Sweetheart,

I have some bad news. And it’s going to change our lives. I just found out that I have three days to live.

Just kidding. No, I’m not dying. Not funny? Sorry. That was in bad taste. You see I heard that if you have to break really bad news to someone you love then you start by telling them something even more unimaginable than the actual bad news because it helps to cushion the blow. Here’s the real bad news:

We can’t shop at Target anymore.

I’m sorry. I know you’re the most fiscally-responsible person ever and that I’m infinitely worse when it comes to impulse-buying. And I know that there are only two things in the world you get crazy with the cash on – your hair and anything from Target. Well, good news is we’ll have more money to spend on your hair.

We can’t shop at Target anymore because Target hates our friends and family — my cousin, your mom’s best friend and so many our dear friends who love and support us. Yes, Target hates them. They hate them because they’re gay.

In fact Target hates our gay friends and family so much that the company and its top executives have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on anti-gay candidates and propositions. A few weeks ago they donated $150,000 to support a virulently anti-gay candidate in Minnesota, Tom Emmer, who “views gays and lesbians as immoral, wants to keep them from being parents, and supports religious ministries that advocate violence toward the LGBT community.”

Target’s CEO, Gregg Steinhafel, has supported the Tea Party belle Michelle Bachman who once “compared gay people to pedophiles” and current Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty who “vetoed a bill that would have allowed gay people to plan the funerals of their deceased partners.” That’s not the Target we know, love and shop, right?

Sadly, it is. It turns out Target is homophobia headquarters — its executives are crawling into bed with the religious right. Senior Target executives supported the anti-gay marriage Prop 8 here in California all the way from Minneapolis. Plus, the Target VP for Governmental Affairs has supported amending the Constitution to ban gay marriage and has said that “people who are gay and lesbian should be disqualified from certain governmental positions, particularly the Supreme Court.”

We probably wouldn’t have known how much Target hates and fears The Gay before Citizens United because they would have been in the closet about it. Kind of ironic, huh?

First Brett Favre and now this. I’m having a really hard time these days with anything involving Minnesota outside of Al Franken.

So, cut up the credit card – we’ll need to find another place for cheap hello kitty paraphernalia for our daughter. But I think you’ll agree that since we now have found out that to choose Target means to support those who hate our friends and family that there really is no choice.

So, good-bye Tarjay. Hello… Costco?

Your Loving Husband,

SH

BREAKING: Proposition 8 Ruled Unconstitutional – Our Analysis

In Civil Liberties, Equal Protection, Inequality, Politics on August 4, 2010 at 5:46 pm

It has been a great month for the forces of good. First, parts of DOMA were ruled unconstitutional, the most insidious parts of Arizona’s SB 1070 were blocked, and now a federal district judge in California, Judge Vaughn Walker, has ruled that Proposition 8, the voter-approved initiative that bans same-sex marriage in California, is unconstitutional under both the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses in our Constitution.  The key conclusion in his ruling (read the entire ruling here):

Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples. Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.

In plain English, the rational basis test is the lowest level of scrutiny used to determine a law’s constitutionality. Judge Walker ruled there is no legitimate interest or justification for this law. In short, he ruled that the law’s sole purpose is to discriminate.

More from Judge Walker’s decision:

In the absence of a rational basis, what remains of proponents’ case is an inference, amply supported by evidence in the record, that Proposition 8 was premised on the belief that same-sex couples simply are not as good as opposite-sex couples. FF 78-80. Whether that belief is based on moral disapproval of homosexuality, animus towards gays and lesbians or simply a belief that a relationship between a man and a woman is inherently better than a relationship between two men or two women, this belief is not a proper basis on which to legislate.

[…]

The arguments surrounding Proposition 8 raise a question similar to that addressed in Lawrence, when the Court asked whether a majority of citizens could use the power of the state to enforce “profound and deep convictions accepted as ethical and moral principles” through the criminal code. … The question here is whether California voters can enforce those same principles through regulation of marriage licenses. They cannot. California’s obligation is to treat its citizens equally, not to “mandate [its] own moral code.”

So what happens again when we try to legislate morality?  And to the forces of hate and bigotry who have put forth the ridiculous argument that somehow advancing the right to marry to same sex couples would tear apart the very fabric of society and ruin opposite-sex marriages, the judge had a very harsh response to David Blankenhorn, the anti-gay marriage side’s expert witness who testified that gay marriage would somehow weaken traditional families.

Blankenhorn gave absolutely no explanation why manifestations of the deinstitutionalization of marriage would be exacerbated (and not, for example, ameliorated) by the presence of marriage for same-sex couples…

[…]

The court now determines that Blankenhorn’s testimony constitutes inadmissible opinion testimony that should be given essentially no weight.

In other words, it’s a completely bogus argument that should be mocked and summarily dismissed.

Judge Walker also began to un-do the harm of the intellectually dishonest ruling (at least in my opinion) in Lawrence v. Texas (2003), in which the Supreme Court ruled sodomy laws in Texas unconstitutional because they unfairly targeted homosexuals but without creating a precedent in which gay citizens were equally protected under the law as a group in future cases.

From Judge Walker’s decision:

All classifications based on sexual orientation appear suspect, as the evidence shows that California would rarely, if ever, have a reason to categorize individuals based on their sexual orientation.

Judge Walker also permanently enjoined the state from enforcing the law, pending appeal. Here’s his ruling under “Remedies” (h/t to our friend, Joe Sudbay, of AmericaBlog):

Plaintiffs have demonstrated by overwhelming evidence that Proposition 8 violates their due process and equal protection rights and that they will continue to suffer these constitutional violations until state officials cease enforcement of Proposition 8. California is able to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, as it has already issued 18,000 marriage licenses to same-sex couples and has not suffered any demonstrated harm as a result, see FF 64-66; moreover, California officials have chosen not to defend Proposition 8 in these proceedings.

Because Proposition 8 is unconstitutional under both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses, the court orders entry of judgment permanently enjoining its enforcement; prohibiting the official defendants from applying or enforcing Proposition 8 and directing the official defendants that all persons under their control or supervision shall not apply or enforce Proposition 8. The clerk is DIRECTED to enter judgment without bond in favor of plaintiffs and plaintiff-intervenors and against defendants and defendant-intervenors pursuant to FRCP 58.

We have a lot of people to thank for this decision. The two lead counsel, Ted Olson and David Boies, as well as California Attorney General Jerry Brown and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who chose not to defend the law.  We at The Donkey Edge have been very critical of the job Gov. Schwarzenegger has done, but in this instance, he did the right thing.

But most important, this is a victory brought about by such activist organizations as our friends at the Courage Campaign, Equality California, and Freedom To Marry (among many others), and the countless gay activists and their straight allies who worked tirelessly to bring equal rights to the gay community.

But our work is not over yet.  The forces of bigotry have already announced they will appeal this judgment to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, as well as to the Supreme Court if necessary.

But wing-nuts’ heads all over the country must be exploding today.  No wonder they are wetting themselves trying to marshal forces to overturn the 14th Amendment.

We must never let them.

– SF

(h/t to NF)

BREAKING: Parts Of AZ S.B. 1070 Blocked

In Civil Liberties, Police State, Politics on July 28, 2010 at 5:14 pm

In our inaugural edition of “Profiles In Bed-wetting,” I took Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) to task for her cynical political opportunism in criticizing the Justice Department’s decision to sue Arizona for the unconstitutionality of the newly passed S.B. 1070. I was appalled at Giffords’ decision to put her political needs over the constitutional rights of many of her constituents who were being unfairly targeted simply because of the color of their skin.

It looks like I wasn’t the only one.

In an important (but by no means final) victory for the forces of good, federal district court Judge Susan Bolton ruled on the DOJ’s motion for preliminary injunction preventing enforcement of this heinous law.  Judge Bolton struck down four of the law’s most disgusting provisions, citing the unconstitutionality of the state law’s encroachment on what has perennially been a federal issue – the regulation of immigration.

According to AZCentral.com, the portions of the law that will not go into effect are:

•  The portion of the law that requires an officer make a reasonable attempt to determine the immigration status of a person stopped, detained or arrested if there’s reasonable suspicion they’re in the country illegally.

•  The portion that creates a crime of failure to apply for or carry “alien-registration papers.”

•  The portion that makes it a crime for illegal immigrants to solicit, apply for or perform work. (This does not include the section on day laborers.)

•  The portion that allows for a warrantless arrest of a person where there is probable cause to believe they have committed a public offense that makes them removable from the United States.

Some take-aways from Judge Bolton’s legal opinion (h/t to Adam B of Daily Kos):

Requiring Arizona law enforcement officials and agencies to determine the immigration status of every person who is arrested burdens lawfully-present aliens because their liberty will be restricted while their status is checked. Given the large number of people who are technically “arrested” but never booked into jail or perhaps even transported to a law enforcement facility, detention time for this category of arrestee will certainly be extended during an immigration status verification.  [The Court is also cognizant of the potentially serious Fourth Amendment problems with the inevitable increase in length of detention while immigration status is determined.]…

And…

If Arizona were to enforce the portions of S.B. 1070 for which the Court has found a likelihood of preemption, such enforcement would likely burden legal resident aliens and interfere with federal policy. A preliminary injunction would allow the federal government to continue to pursue federal priorities, which is inherently in the public interest, until a final judgment is reached in this case.

The state of Arizona will inevitably appeal this decision to the 9th Circuit, but this ruling is a great first step in stopping this racist, unconstitutional law. And in case you’re so inclined, here’s the ruling in its entirety.

– SF

The “Damn, Lazy, Drug-Addled, Good-For-Nothing” Unemployed

In Civil Liberties, Great Recession, Inequality, Message/Framing, Politics on July 20, 2010 at 9:26 am

Homeboy Industries: A beacon of hope

A generation ago, the myth-making maestro Ronald Reagan conjured out of thin-air the story of a Chicago “Welfare Queen” who had ripped the government off for over $150,000 using nearly 100 aliases, dozens of addresses and social security cards, and a handful of dead husbands. The country was outraged. Reagan promised to roll back welfare. And we found out that

Unfortunately, like most great conservative anecdotes, it wasn’t really true. The media searched for this welfare cheat in the hopes of interviewing her, and discovered that she didn’t even exist.  As a bit of class warfare, however, it was brilliant. It diverted public attention from insider traders in their limousines to Welfare Queens in their Cadillacs.

The beat against the least fortunate goes on. In March Senator Jon Kyle (R-AZ) claimed that jobless insurance “doesn’t create new jobs. In fact, if anything, continuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work.” And last week Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) proposed drug testing the jobless: “A lot of people are saying “Hey, it’s about time.” Why do we keep giving money to people who are going to go use it on drugs instead of their families?”

Blame the unemployed: a familiar refrain. All this despite the fact that our economy is sputtering and unemployment insurance is the second most effective way for the government to spend to money to stimulate the economy.  Here’s how much one dollar in government spending creates in value to the overall economy versus other programs and tax cuts:

Republicans have for three weeks now blocked an extension of unemployment insurance because of their cynical political calculation that it’s better to see Democrats fail than to help people that are really hurting. Sadly, stupidly and counter-productively, the modern Conservative movement is filled with this misplaced resentment, but no idea is more destructive than the one that I believe lies at the core of their movement. I read this line in Father Greg Boyle’s amazing book “Tattoos On the Heart” and believe it applies here:

“The wrong idea has taken root in the world. And the idea is this: there just might be lives out there that matter less than other lives.”

I had lunch at Homegirl Cafe in downtown LA yesterday. The food was amazing, the service top-notch, the salsa had a kick, and most everyone working under the roof here is doing it for free. In the midst of the Great Recession, Homeboy Industries has had to lay off 330 workers since mid-May. 100 are still paid, but most of the staff, administration and Father Greg Boyle himself continue to work at Homeboys without receiving paychecks.

These are people without jobs: the damn, lazy, drug-addled, good-for-nothing unemployed, right? And even worse, they’re former gang members (gasp!) and just like Orrin Hatch predicted… they are working for free. Er, what’s that again?

Yes, many of them are receiving unemployment insurance. That’s what happens when you lose your job in this country. But, they are flying in the face of the Great Right Hoax — these unemployed are working their asses off daily to help save their business — a beacon of hope that got many of them off the streets, out of gangs, and into a better life. This is the only after-prison work program for former gang members in existence. It was founded 20 years ago by a Jesuit priest, Father Greg Boyle. It’s talked about in prisons and as this post from LA Moms Blog states, without this hope there is nothing:

Homeboy serves about 12,000 people a year and if those people don’t get the counseling, drug treatment, job training that they need, where will they go? “We’re the only game in town…This is the only place in LA County and the only place in the state and the only place in the country that offers such services.”

He said he was talking to a gang member who had recently been released from jail and the man said they were talking about Boyle and Homeboy on the inside. Those men need to know that there is hope, that there is something for them on the outside other than the gang life that they’ve lived since childhood.

Because of the Great recession, Homeboys Industries five businesses (a café, a silk-screen shop, a bakery, a construction company, and a gift shop) have taken a hit just like most every other business in America, but unlike other businesses they need donations to handle the needs of 1,000 gang members who walk in the door every month. When donations fall off a cliff, somebody has to take a cut. In this case it’s most of their employees who hail from an area forgotten by most of us. These brave and tireless souls continue to keep the lights on so Homeboy Industries can keep their doors open and their mission alive.

Gang members work beside one another at Homeboys Industries because as part of his mission Father “G”, as they call him, says: “I discovered that it always becomes impossible to demonize someone you know.” More from the book:

“Our locating ourselves with those who have been endlessly excluded becomes an act of visible protest. For no amount of our screaming at the people in charge to change things can change them. The margins don’t get erased by simply insisting that the powers-that-be erase them. The trickle-down theory doesn’t really work here. The powers bent on waging war against the poor and the young and the “other” will only be moved to kinship when they observe it. Only when we can see a community where the outcast is valued and appreciated will we abandon the values that seek to exclude.”

Years ago Grover Norquist made the infamous neo-con missive claiming he wanted to shrink government “down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.” Well, he and his “homies” have succeeded in a way. The selfish and cynical decisions that have been made at the highest levels the last decade – the Bush Tax Cuts, the bank bailouts and the frivolous nation building on all nations but our own – have put our economy, and those who need our help the most, in peril. Class warfare is being waged. And most of America is losing. The decisions we make in this country of ours, the elections we hold, they actually do matter because “the wrong idea has taken root in the world. And the idea is this: there just might be lives out there that matter less than other lives.”

I urge you to buy “Tattoos On the Heart” for you and your friends. All of Father Greg’s proceeds go directly to Homeboy Industries. You can find the book at the Homeboy gift shop or on-line here. And to donate directly to Homeboy Industries here.

– SH

7/20 PM Update: The Senate voted 60-40 today to re-authorize unemployment benefits for the 2.5 million for the long-term jobless. Read the article at HuffPo here.

7/21 Update: DONKEY ACTIVISM! 1st FREE BOOK GIVEAWAY. The first 40 subscribers to our The Donkey Edge e-mail list will receive a FREE COPY of “Tattoos On The Heart”. Click here to find out more.

Dr. Strangeloud (Or “How I Learned To Stop Worrying at the G20 and Love the Acoustic Bomb”)

In Civil Liberties, G20, Police State on July 7, 2010 at 9:48 am

The G20 always brings out the best in new technology to break up those incendiary gatherings of radical leftists and their Captain America shields. One of my favorites which came to the fore in Pittsburgh last September is the LRAD (Long Range Acoustic Device.)

This is one hell of a speaker. It goes beyond eleven. To put into perspective how loud this sucker is, the dulcet tones of an Iron Maiden reunion concert are a mild 110db; a 777 jet engine on the avgas-perfumed tarmac of LAX is 130db — also the official threshold of pain — which is where most “loudness” charts top out:

The LRAD maxes out at a volume of 146db and, like the Ginsu 2, that’s not all — the LRAD can wreak havoc with your eardrums and cause permanent hearing damage with ear-splitting bursts up to 151db! So, the LRAD is literally off the charts.

Note: A hunting rifle is louder. It tops out at around 163db. Reality check, we’re now comparing a “legal” crowd dispersal sound cannon used by police in the US and Canada to a hunting rifle. My father-in-law lost hearing in his left ear with a shot from a hunting rifle. The LRAD is slightly quieter than that. Thank god for small favors.

Here’s the baby in action at the Pittsburgh clambake with an introduction featuring the extras from “Brazil”. Roll 212:

What spooky-ass dystopian sci-fi film does that remind you of? If you guessed “ALL OF THEM” you win.

Survival Tip: If you find yourself in harms way, for example at the 2011 G20 in France — the friendly folks at Top Bits tech community have given a few tips on how to survive and thrive in an LRAD attack. (SPOILER ALERT: it rhymes with blearblugs.)

But here at TheDonkeyEdge we think outside the blearblugs, and have a suggestion for the LRAD corporation: tone it down, dudes. You don’t have to be loud to disperse a crowd. We’ve put together a little demo for you of what we’re calling the “W”5000, the most lethal left-wing, commie, hippie crowd dispersal sound cannon you can imagine. Watch:

Nobody will lose their hearing, only their minds.

–       SH

(h/t to the folks who shot this video and to the gang at Crooks and Liars for calling Hillary Clinton out on not recognizing this for what it is. Read it here.)