Interview: Noam Chomsky on Nicaragua's autocratic Ortega government

In an interview with Democracy Now, Noam Chomsky talks about Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega's bullshit and what responsibility the United States bears for the current state of the South American nation.

If you're interested in reading a transcript of Chomsky's comments, you'll find it, here. Read the rest

Woman arrested for arguing over Chinese food order, then biting restaurant owner's ear

In Michigan, a woman was arrested on charges that she bit off part of a man's ear, while she was fighting with him at a Chinese restaurant over food she'd ordered. The victim does not speak English as a first language, and had a hard time communicating. The woman who attacked him immediately lost custody of her child as a consequence. Read the rest

Robert Longo's new sculpture is a Death Star of 40,000 bullet casings

Artist Robert Longo has created Death Star II, a stunning sphere made with a bullet for each gun death in the US. It premiered at Art Basel this week (photos below). Read the rest

Police set dog on a driver who politely refuses to answer questions

WKYC Channel 3 in Canton, Ohio, posted footage of police smashing a car window, dragging out the driver and setting a dog on him after he very politely refused to answer questions. The driver, Ronald D. Wagner II, appears to be a "sovereign citizen" type who refuses to screw the number plate on their car for arcane constitutional reasons. Their excuse? The car's registered owner had a concealed carry permit, so they were frightened for their lives: "Stop fighting the dog"

Listen to his screams and ask yourself if America is great again. Read the rest

Lone Canadian cop takes down alleged mass murderer without firing a shot

I was getting on a plane in Toronto yesterday when I heard the news that a van had been intentionally driven into a crowd of people. By the time I landed a few hours later in Calgary, word was that 10 people lost their lives in the attack. Just under 20 were wounded. I assumed that if he was found by the authorities, the alleged driver of the van would be toast. He or she would have no chance to be tried by a jury of peers; no option to stand before a judge. There'd be no justice, save what a bullet, by the driver's own hand or that of a police office, could afford.

This morning when I woke, I was amazed to see that this was not the case. A single Toronto Police Service constable managed to capture a suspect alive in the murder of those ten unfortunate souls. Despite the fact that the suspect menaced the officer, his demanded to be killed, and constantly reached for a firearm – which turned out not to have been there – the suspect ended up in handcuffs instead of a body bag.

The Canadian Broadcast Corporation's got what little footage of the event there is, along with commentary on how a police service that was once known for its heavy-handed tactics identified its aggression as a problem and fought to change its ways. Through frequent deescalation courses, Toronto's Police Service is changing its officer's responses to violent situations, slowly, but with measurable success. Read the rest

#ENOUGH: Striking instant camera photos memorialize victims of Chicago gun violence

Last year, photographer Jim Young visited murder scenes and memorials in Chicago and documented what he saw with an instant camera. Last year, there were 650 murders in the area with 90 percent of them involving guns. Enough. “Though most of the [memorials] are gone,” Young says, “their photographs will be forever, and I hope memories [of the victims] will be, too.” See the series at FOTO: "Behind the Bullets"

Image above:

On Sept. 21, Manuel Hernandez was in a car when a minivan pulled up beside him. Someone in that van opened fire, killing the 30-year-old father of two girls. Pictured: the shattered glass of a nearby restaurant, hit by a stray bullet.

Twin sisters Addison and Makayla Henning loved riding their bikes. They were just shy of 6 years old when their mother, Celisa Henning, shot them in a murder-suicide on Aug. 31, 2017. The twins’ grandmother said Celisa Henning had suffered health issues resulting from a car crash in 2015.

Damien Santoyo, 14, was killed by shots fired from a car while he stood on the steps of an apartment with two other boys on Aug. 6. His killers had reportedly yelled gang slogans as they drove by, but relatives said Santoyo was not involved in any gang activity. A football player in junior high school, he was weeks from beginning high school.
Read the rest

Youtube Kids spammers rack up billions of views on disturbing, violent, seemingly algorithmic videos

James Bridle takes a deep dive into the weird world of Youtube Kids videos, whose popular (think: millions and millions of views) genres and channels include endless series of videos of children being vomited on by family members and machinima-like music videos in which stock cartoon characters meet gory, violent ends. Read the rest

NYC women in 1977 talk about staying safe from the Son of Sam serial killer

Forty years ago, serial killer David Berkowitz, aka the "Son of Sam," was thought to be targeting women in New York City who had long, dark hair. (In reality, Berkowitz thought he was following orders from his neighbor Sam's demon dog Harvey.) The very real fear of being a target led many women to cut their hair short, dye it, or wear wigs. Above, a reporter's on-the-street interviews with women at the time.

Read the rest

Here's what a clown learned about male violence by face-painting kids at a picnic

Sanduhruh is a clown who wrote a twitter thread about her experience painting faces at a picnic. When little boys wanted butterflies painted on their faces, the parents objected. When girls wanted skulls and sharks "the parents shrug and laugh like 'haha she's a kooky kid!"' Because maleness and masculinity isn't a sin." Read the rest

Republican candidate Greg Gianforte attacks reporter during interview (Updated: he's been charged with assault)

Greg Gianforte, the Republican candidate in Montana's congressional election, attacked a reporter from UK newspaper The Guardian, body-slamming him and breaking his glasses.

In audio recorded by Ben Jacobs, who covers the U.S. political beat, you can hear Gianforte getting shirty, then, when pressed, the muffled sounds of what Jacobs said was "the strangest thing that has ever happened to him in politics."

“I’m sick and tired of you guys,” Gianforte said. “The last guy who came here did the same thing. Get the hell out of here. Get the hell out of here. The last guy did the same thing. Are you with the Guardian?”

“Yes! You just broke my glasses,” Jacobs replied.

“The last guy did the same damn thing,” Gianforte said.

“You just body slammed me and broke my glasses,” Jacob said.

“Get the hell out of here,” Gianforte yelled.

Jacobs was taken to hospital but is fine—except for his specs. A TV crew and a Buzzfeed reporter were nearby at the time, each apparently getting a partial look at the altercation. The Gallatin County sheriff, Brian Gootkin, says he's investigating.

One interesting aspect to Gianforte: he's a tech entrepreneur, which would account both for his emotional inability to cope with conflict and his evidently slobbish and untutored combat technique.

UPDATE: Gianforte's campaign released a statement suggesting that Jacobs got physical, not Gianforte. I'm not sure if it was released before or after The Guardian published its audio of the incident, but one doubts they were aware of it. Read the rest

Oregonians to vote on whether to end constitutional ban on duels between public officials

Move over, Florida! Oregon may supplant you as America's best source of mesmerizingly bizarre violent confrontations, if voters there overturn a constitutional ban on duels.

Should ongoing discussions in Salem materialize, voters would see a question on their general-election ballots asking if a 172-year-old ban on dueling by public officials — as in, the old-fashioned way of resolving fights — should be erased from the Oregon Constitution. The constitutional ban in question is Article II, Section 9, which says anyone who offers, accepts, knowingly participates in a “challenge to fight a duel … or who shall agree to go out of the State to fight a duel, shall be ineligible to any office of trust, or profit.” (this is exact language from the constitution) ...

Democratic Sen. Ginny Burdick, who chairs the Senate Rules Committee, kicked off the discussion by jokingly calling it “the bill I’ve been waiting all session for.”

This wouldn't make consensual homicide legal, but it might make it fun. Read the rest

Judge allows rally violence lawsuit against Trump to proceed

Did Donald Trump incite violence when he barked "get them out of here" at protesters who were then roughed up? A judge decided Friday that it's plausible, allowing a lawsuit filed against the president to go to trial.

U. S. District Judge David J. Hale of the Western District of Kentucky also wrote in an opinion and order released Friday that because violence had broken out at a prior Trump rally and that known hate group members were in the Louisville crowd, Trump's ordering the removal of an African-American woman was "particularly reckless."

Citing case law from tumultuous 1960s race riots and student protests, Hale rejected motions to dismiss the pending complaint against Trump and three supporters in the crowd that was filed by three protesters after a March 1, 2016, campaign rally in Louisville. Only a portion of the defendants' motion was granted, but the decision means that the bulk of the claims will proceed. Hale referred the case to Magistrate Judge H. Brent Brennenstuhl.

Hale obviously doesn't fancy Trump's luck and everyone's getting terribly excited on Twitter, but let's just say that bad things happen when weekend editors end up covering courts, he's just kicking it on to a trial that hasn't happened yet, so calm yer fingers. Read the rest

How LSD microdosing made a mega difference in one woman's mood, marriage, and life

Ayelet Waldman is a novelist, non fiction author, and former federal public defender. Her latest book is called A Really Good Day: How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life. I interviewed her this morning.

Why did you start microdosing?

I started microdosing because I was profoundly and dangerously depressed. I have a mood disorder and for many, many years my medication worked great. I took it, I did what my doctor told me and everything was fine. But at some point my medication stopped working. I tried all sorts of different things. And nothing helped. I was getting worse and worse and more and more full of despair and more and more full of rage and more and more unstable and I became suicidal. I started doing things like googling the effects of maternal suicide on children and I was so terrified that I was going to do something to myself, that I was going to hurt myself, that I decided to do something drastic and something that some people might think is crazy -- I decided to try microdosing with L.S.D.

Did it work?

Oh absolutely. It worked for sure. It's sub-perceptual. In fact, if I told you right now, "Hey Mark, I slipped a microdose of LSD. in your coffee," you wouldn't even know the difference. The effect for me was instantaneous. My depression lifted right away. The book is called A Really Good Day because at the end of that very first day, I looked back and I thought, "that was a really good day." It wasn't like everything was perfect. Read the rest

Law decriminalizing wife-beating and kid-smacking sails through Russian Duma

A bill that demotes domestic violence to a civic offense has passed Russia's lower parliamentary chamber, the Duma. Read the rest

Trump campaign boss Stephen K. Bannon was charged with domestic abuse

Stephen Bannon, the Breitbart News boss recently hired to lead millionaire businessman Donald Trump's faltering presidential campaign, was charged in 1996 with domestic violence, battery and dissuading a witness after allegedly beating his then-wife. The charges were dropped, reports Politico, after his alleged victim failed to appear in court.

The Santa Monica, Calif., police report says that Bannon’s then-wife claimed he pulled at her neck and wrist during an altercation over their finances, and an officer reported witnessing red marks on her neck and wrist to bolster her account. Bannon also reportedly smashed the phone when she tried to call the police. While the case ended when Bannon's ex-wife did not appear in court, the incident presents a new problem for the Trump campaign following the hiring of the controversial Bannon. He went on leave from Breitbart News, where he is chairman, to take over the Trump campaign.

The police report describes a distressing scene: responding to a silent 911 call (the phone was found smashed), a cop encounters a crying woman with red marks on her neck and arms.

According to the report, she said, “Oh, thank you, you are here. How did you know to come?” and took several minutes to compose herself.

Bannon, according to the report, was less than seven months into his second marriage, though the couple had known each other for a number of years prior to their April 1995 wedding. The couple just had twin girls seven months earlier, Bannon’s ex-wife told police at the time.

Read the rest

George Zimmerman to auction the gun he used to kill Trayvon Martin (Update: auction cancelled)

George Zimmerman, acquitted in 2013 of murdering Trayvon Martin, plans to auction the gun he used to kill the unarmed teen. The proceeds will be used to "fight violence against Law Enforcement officers" by black activists, Zimmerman says.

"I am honored and humbled to announce the sale of an American Firearm Icon," he wrote in the description of the gun used to kill the unarmed, black teenager. "The firearm for sale is the firearm that was used to defend my life and end the brutal attack from Trayvon Martin on 2/26/2012."

" He wrote that the proceeds will be used to "fight [Black Lives Matter] violence against Law Enforcement officers" and to "ensure the demise of Angela Correy's persecution career and Hillary Clinton's anti-firearm rhetoric," though he hasn't expounded upon how.

Zimmerman pursued Martin after finding the 17-year-old's presence in his Florida neighborhood "suspicious," then shot him dead during the resulting confrontation. Martin was visiting a family member who lived nearby; Jurors acquitted Zimmerman after finding that the 200lb Zimmerman was "standing his ground" against the boy, who was black. Zimmerman's last effort to court controversy was his sale of a painting of the Confederate battle flag.

Update: The auction was cancelled, without explanation.

Update II: Gunbroker, the auction site, canned Zimmerman's auction when it realized what was going on.

"Our site rules state that we reserve the right to reject listings at our sole discretion, and have done so with the Zimmerman listing," the GunBroker statement said.

Read the rest

Mother's Day was Chicago's most violent weekend in the last 7 months

Eight people were killed in Chicago over Mother’s Day weekend. Another 43 people in the city were injured in gun violence. Read the rest

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