Robocops police battle protesters in Seattle

Protesters & Police Clash In Seattle Again – Blast Ball Grenades & OC Spray (CHOP Round 2)

While covering protests in Seattle I got gassed again and hit with probably pepper spray because I couldn’t see, my eyes were burning and my respiratory system was in distress as I coughed and stumbled off to get away from the chemical agents used on the crowd by police.

Protesters built barricade of burning dumpsters at the original site of #CHOP (Capitol Hill Occupied Protest) at 11th and Pine – one block from the East Precinct station. Police attacked with blast ball grenades/pepper spray, etc. U can use my video with attribution.

Here’s the point where everything went off last night. Seattle police attacked protesters with blast ball grenades which exploded with a loud bang and shot out fire/sparks then dispersed a noxious gas. It was nasty! While covering the events as a journalist I got caught in the middle of it. You can use my video with attribution.

Some cops physically attacked the crowd, grabbing umbrellas, etc. They arrested some folks and pinned them to the ground with three or four cops on top of them. It looked very painful!

Later in the evening police had issued a disbursal order to a crowd of people at Cal Anderson Park but after a long tense stand off the police retreated, de-escalating the situation. After that most people left the area.

Police Attack Seattle Protesters With Blast Ball Grenades & Gas

This video was shared by @MarcusKulik on Twitter. It shows police attacking protesters in the previously designated CHOP zone formerly known as the Seattle Autonomous Zone on Capitol Hill near the East Precinct station. Police used pepper spray and “blast ball” grenades on the crowd of anti-racism/police brutality marchers. The grenades cause loud explosive sounds, deploy tear gas, and are incendiary devices which burn at extremely high temperatures.
Police weapons control crowds, but may heighten chances of violence at protests

“Just another day in Seattle…” as my song goes – “Protest In Seattle”. SPD is still assaulting Black Lives Matter demonstrators, even after multiple lawsuits, an attempted ban on crowd control weapons by the city council, and two restraining orders issued by the courts. None of this seems to dissuade the police from brutalizing and injuring protesters during violent arrests. Over 15,000 complaints have been filed against the Seattle Police Dept.
Lawsuit claims Seattle and Washington failed to protect protesters from drivers and harm. “The plaintiffs also condemned Seattle police for crowd control tactics like tear gas and blast balls.”

Some protesters say Seattle police officers chilling free speech with recent arrests

Mark Taylor-Canfield from Seattle is a weekly guest at The Jeff Santos Show broadcasting from Boston. He blogs at Daily Kos, reports and serves as Contributing Editor for Democracy Watch News and is a guest columnist at The Capitol Hill Times. Jeff Santos Show: https://revolutionradionetwork.com
MTC Blog: https://mtcbog.blogspot.com


Report on police action against Seattle CHOP

Early this morning Seattle police entered the CHOP zone pushing people out of the area with batons and using pepper spray which has been banned by the city council. (Apparently that doesn’t mean anything to SPD who do pretty much whatever they want while thumbing their nose at the courts and the council’s oversight, much like the police dept. in Portland which loves the smell of tear gas in the morning…) Doesn’t look like the city council’s unanimous vote to demilitarize the SPD has had any discernible effect. They moved in as a military force and were brutal to anyone in the way. Police made very aggressive arrests that looked like excessive use of force.
32 reported arrests so far. This is about the same number of people who were arrested during the sweep of the historic Occupy Seattle encampment at Westlake Park during that movement.

Police attacked tents in Cal Anderson Park today looking for inhabitants. They were aggressive and seemed angry as they tore some tents apart. As far as I know, most of the property at the camp is being confiscated and destroyed by police and Parks Dept. personnel. Apparently that also includes community supplies and food. One of the first signs to be taken down was the black fist on the pole just outside of the east precinct. There did seem to be something symbolic about that act by city workers and police.

Livestreamer Omari Salisbury was notified by SPD that if he did not cease broadcasting from the Converge Media office next to the police station, he would be arrested. SPD claims they are empowered to do that via Mayor Durkan’s executive order. The order will be in effect for ten days. So much for the First Amendment rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of the press!

As of this afternoon Seattle riot police were blocking the street at Broadway & Pine and not allowing access to that area, so I’m not really sure how that is going to help local businesses at this point. SPD swept up dozens of people in their raid, many of whom will surely be mistreated and traumatized by their experiences today. Seattle police always seem to tackle protesters, throwing them to the ground and sitting on top of them basically, to keep the arrestee from moving. Large officers with their knees in your back, on legs, etc. can be very painful or very dangerous. The cops don’t seem to care.

The FBI and Washington State Patrol were also reportedly participating in the sweep of the CHOP zone today. As I speak crews are throwing the artwork and tables, tents and other items into garbage bins and hauling the material away presumably to the city dump.

Meanwhile right wing agitators are ecstatic that Mayor Durkan and Police Chief Carmen Best have adopted Trump’s hard line attitude towards the protesters. Fox News, KOMO and other neo conservative media outlets feel vindicated after weeks of negative reporting on the Black Lives Matter George Floyd demonstrations. Along the way there were multiple shootings near the site leaving two young black men dead. Part of my sadness comes from the fact that the original issues which inspired this uprising may sometimes get lost in all of the politicizing, factionalism and right wing lies being perpetrated about the protests.

Be advised that protests against racism and police brutality have not ended in Seattle. After weeks of triumph and tragedy the community experienced a historic watershed moment and none of us will ever be the same again.

The powers that be will continue to try and control the narrative but petty politics and personal agendas will not deter an entire generation of new young activists from hitting the streets until their demands for social, economic and justice reforms are met.

Vladimir Putin Says Liberalism Has ‘Become Obsolete’

In an interview with Financial Times Vladimir Putin says liberalism has ‘become obsolete’. The Russian leader made the statement before he left for the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan.

He claimed that liberalism is in conflict with “the interests of the overwhelming majority of the population…”

According to BBC News, Premier Putin also stated that multiculturalism is “no longer tenable”.

He criticized German Chancellor Angela Merkel for allowing an increasing number of refugees into that country, claiming:

“This liberal idea presupposes that nothing needs to be done. That migrants can kill, plunder and rape with impunity because their rights as migrants have to be protected.”

This kind of false, bombastic and divisive rhetoric is one reason why Donald Trump considers Putin to be his authoritarian role model. Both men share a habit of making outrageous and insensitive remarks about immigrants which in some cases have incited racism and hate crimes by their supporters. They see themselves as fulfilling a Mussolini-style “strong man” role using blunt macho-ism to bully their opponents.

Putin also had some bigoted remarks about members of the LGBT community. His statements are obviously designed to marginalize and isolate people who do not practice traditional heterosexual behavior.

“They claim now that children can play five or six gender roles,” he said. “Let everyone be happy, we have no problem with that. But this must not be allowed to overshadow the culture, traditions and traditional family values of millions of people making up the core population.”

The Russian Premier praised US President Donald Trump, describing him as a “talented person” who is able to relate to voters.

Your comment about Putin “meddling” in the US election is not a joke Mr. President!

European Union President Donald Tusk spoke out against Putin’s remarks. When addressing reporters he said:

“Whoever claims that liberal democracy is obsolete also claims that freedoms are obsolete, that the rule of law is obsolete and that human rights are obsolete.”

Tusk added:

“What I find really obsolete are authoritarianism, personality cults, the rule of oligarchs, even if sometimes they may seem effective.”

Donald Trump’s admiration for Vladimir Putin is a very bad sign for American democracy. A US President who openly displays reverence for dictators is anathema to the ideals of a Republic founded upon the principle that all people are created equal. His belief that some members of society should be discriminated against due to their race or religion has attracted the support of white supremacist groups like the Ku Klux Klan.

This kind of racist legacy cannot be tolerated in a nation which claims to be a leader of the free world. During the lead up to our next national election it is incumbent upon all of us to speak out against bigotry and hatred, and to remove those from office who promulgate this kind of regressive ideology. Demagogues who use the crass politics of division to win votes and suppress minorities must not be allowed to win at the polls.

It is time for us to take back our country from those unethical opportunists who have attempted to turn back the clocks to the bad old days of prejudice and segregation. It’s our duty to honor all those who have made enormous sacrifices over the last two centuries in the quest for freedom, equality and justice!

I am Executive Director of Democracy Watch News. Our mission is to cover pro-democracy movements around the globe. It is the obligation of all reporters, editors, publishers, etc. to promote and protect freedom the press and freedom of speech wherever it is being challenged or suppressed. We will continue to fight for democratic principles in the face of authoritarian trends.

https://democracywatchnews.org Our podcast: https://democracycast.libsyn.com

Loss of Progressive US Media Voices – There Is An Alternative! By Mark Taylor-Canfield

I just heard the news that yet another progressive voice will be leaving the US media due to lack of financial support: The Norman Goldman Show is ceasing operations as of Feb 22nd. I have been a regular contributor/guest on the show for several years and Norm has been one of my mentors.

I’m getting very tired of watching as talented and well informed people leave the airwaves or their online programs due to lack of support and sponsorship, while fake conservative pundits continue to be bankrolled by Clear Channel (iHeartMedia) , Cumulus, Fox, etc. and their advertisers.

When will progressive investors finally get a clue and begin to support forward thinking shows? Where are the green economy advertisers and investors? Why is it that only very “mainstream” and corporate voices, or radical right-wing talkers get to monopolize media in the United States? Where is the balance?

We saw Mike Malloy, Randi Rhodes, Nicole Sandler, Norman Goldman, Ron Reagan, Jr., Sam Seder, Janeane Garofalo, Al Franken, Stephanie Miller, Thom Hartmann, Ed Schultz, Rachel Maddow and dozens of other progressive media personalities kicked off the air during major corporate media takeovers. Meanwhile, I testified before the Federal Communications Commission about the negative effects of corporate media ownership consolidation to no avail. Conservatives on the commission have given the big media companies almost everything they’ve asked for while ignoring most community and public broadcasters. And although a few of the broadcasters were later able to find gigs on television or radio, most have languished in relative obscurity broadcasting online from their homes. Most failed to get paying gigs – not due to lack of talent or experience, but simply because the networks didn’t want them. Instead, we saw a proliferation of embarrassing right-wing media shock jocks like Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck take over the airwaves, financed by Clear Channel, Fox and major corporate advertisers.

When will the madness end? Neither Portland or Seattle have progressive commercial radio stations anymore despite a HUGE audience waiting for someone to speak their language. A great business opportunity is being ignored. This makes no sense to me…

There are plenty of “left of center” billionaires out there, including Tom Steyer but I and folks like talk show host Jeff Santos (I’m a weekly guest on his show) have approached Steyer and he would rather spend his money trying to impeach Trump or running for US President. One wealthy donor could launch an entire network but nobody seems willing to do it.

Isn’t it very obvious that progressive media networks like Nova and Air America helped get Barack Obama elected? They were very effective in getting out the vote, etc. Why is that not clear to everyone on the progressive side of the political spectrum? I love small community broadcasting stations like KBCS near Seattle, but they are not enough to counter the behemoth corporate media monopolies. There is a solution if folks would just band together and do it!

Invest in progressive media! It’s just that simple…

I would love to have my own radio/TV show talking progressive politics. But where would I find a network that supports me even in so-called “progressive” Seattle?

Portland listeners were able to create the low power FM station Xray.fm, but in Seattle the Progressive Radio Northwest group were set on purchasing a radio station at the cost of 5 or 6 million dollars. Needless to say, that never happened…

And what’s really frustrating about the situation is that there is a new progressive trend in US politics represented by folks like Alexandra Ocasio-Cortes and Bernie Sanders but the US media does not reflect that.

Some folks like Hartmann and Lee Camp were so desperate they went to RT! Not a good choice, however…

Eventually Hartmann purchased his own program and resigned from his RT show. I am also an occasional guest contributor to Thom’s show.

I suppose Democracy Watch News might be able to fill in some of the gaps but we are also in need funding support.

Democracy Watch News is a non-profit news organization that was chosen by Onalytica as one of the top 100 digital media influencers in the world but we still struggle to finance operations. I am currently Executive Director. We have a podcast called “Democracycast” which is available on Libsyn, iTunes, Stitcher, etc.

Independent media for independent thinkers…

My website: https://mtc2010usa.wixsite.com/mark-taylor-canfield

Mark-Taylor Canfield

Mark-Taylor Canfield

Future of Independent Media:

Independent journalist Mark Taylor-Canfield talks with Norman Goldman about efforts to bring back progressive and independent voices to the Northwest US media. KPTK(Seattle) & KPOJ(Portland) went off the air, sparking groups like Progressive Radio Northwest and KRXY to launch campaigns to establish new broadcast stations and networks in Washington and Oregon.

Seattle Hosts Progressive Media Gathering – Is Radio Dead?

Progressive radio fans and broadcasters gathered in Seattle’s Pioneer Square on January 18th to discuss the future of the media. A standing room only crowd listened to guest speakers including Norman Goldman and local journalists Geov Parrish and David Goldstein. The event was organized by Progressive Radio Northwest.

PRNW was founded by former listeners of KPTK(AM 1090). The station was broadcasting progressive talk shows until CBS decided to convert its format to sports radio last year. KPTK’s programming included Rachel Maddow, Randi Rhodes, Thom Hartmann, Norman Goldman, Mike Malloy, and other former Air America network broadcasters. PRNW was formed to bring progressive media back to the Seattle area.

Progressive radio has been suffering all across the country. Brad Friedman of Bradblog recently posted a map on his website showing the number of red stations versus blue. To put it mildly, the conservative stations have been expanding rapidly while progressive and liberal programs are disappearing at an alarming rate. A few hundred miles to the south in Portland, Oregon, KPOJ also discontinued their progressive talk show programming. That station is owned by Clear Channel.

Most of these talk shows are now heard exclusively online. The major complaint from many progressives has been that corporate networks have dropped all support for progressive media, leaving only sports, religious and right-wing broadcasting. The irony here is that two of the most progressive cities in the country (Seattle/Portland) have no commercial progressive media.

Blogger/broadcaster David Goldstein talked about his experience as a local talk show host after he created his popular blog reporting on local politics. Goldstein hosted a talk show at KIRO and he is currently a blogger for The Stranger newspaper. He described how his program was dropped when the radio station was purchased by a conservative group of investors.

Geov Parrish has been a political writer for the Seattle Weekly. Currently he is a broadcaster on KEXP’s public affairs program “Mind Over Matter”. He gave a presentation on the history of progressive media in Seattle, including a discussion about Seattle’s legendary independent radio station KRAB. Parrish also talked about the influence of local public stations KUOW, KBCS and KSER. He explained how subscriber based media began in Berkeley California with the Pacifica Radio Network. The network grew as a result of the Berkeley free speech movement and Pacifica flagship stations were established New York City, Washington DC, Los Angeles and Houston. Today the network has grown to include affiliate stations across the nation. Amy Goodman’s “Democracy Now!” and Free Speech Radio News are two recent examples of the Pacifica Network’s cutting-edge programming.


Norman Goldman was the keynote speaker at the PRNW event in Seattle. As an attorney, he was a frequent contributor to the Ed Shultz Show until he launched his own national radio program. Now Goldman finds himself in the middle of the progressive media transition from radio to the web. Along with Mike Malloy and other progressive talk show hosts, Goldman’s program has been dropped by by radio stations in Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco. His message is very simple – “Everything is moving online.” He pointed to his smartphone, referring to it as the “new transistor radio”.

According to Goldman, the traditional radio industry no longer exists. He described how most US radio stations are owned by large corporate interests such as Clear Channel and Culumus and their subsidiaries (Premier, etc.). Corporate investors have purchased hundreds of stations around the nation through what he described as “leveraged buy-outs”. Clear Channel now controls over 800 radio stations.

To fund this monopoly, Clear Channel borrowed huge sums from hedge funds managed by Bain Capital. Goldman claims Clear Channel currently owes $20.4 billion and is guilty of practicing the same kind of financial scam that caused the national economic crash of 2008. Cumulus has borrowed $2.25 billion to fund it’s own media buying buying spree.

Since their true loyalty is to the investors, not to their audience, radio station owners have raided these businesses by firing employees and automating the broadcasts. They have created national networks which do not serve local communities. FCC allowance for corporate media ownership consolidation has resulted in a situation where the majority of all US media is owned by just a few corporations.

The unfortunate casualties of this corporate raiding party have been: 1) journalistic credibility; 2) the idea of publicly owned airwaves; 3) all practices of the “Fairness Doctrine”.

These traditional ideals have been thrown out the window, replaced by corporate greed. Media bosses have been blinded by their need to make huge profits in order to pay back these enormous debts. In this type of Mitt Romney style corporate takeover, CEO’s pocket large fees by skimming off the top, and most of the rest of the income goes to pay the investors. Clear Channel is reportedly paying 11.25% interest on the debt, which Goldman described as comparable to mafia loan shark rates.

In a desperate attempt to pay back investors, large media corporations continue to dump the burden of their loans onto local radio stations. This is being accomplished by the enforcement of economic austerity measures which have resulted in the loss of  thousands of jobs. Goldman told his Seattle audience that 80% of all radio jobs have been eliminated in the US.

In the United States, alternative, independent and progressive media has been left struggling to survive with little or no funding. Lacking the multi-million dollar advertising budgets that corporate networks possess, these programs continue to experience financial crises on a regular basis, and many of them languish in obscurity. Pacifica’s Free Speech Radio news recently went off the air due to lack of funds. Broadcasters Nicole Sandler and Jeff Santos are now broadcasting on the web from their own living rooms. The challenge for these independent broadcasters is how to invent new economically sustainable networks.

Meanwhile, corporations like Clear Channel have decided to buy their conservative “talent” by signing Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck to exclusive contracts. Limbaugh is being paid $28 million per year and Beck receives $20 million. Yet Goldman points out that most of the top neo-con talkshows are still losing much of their audience. He estimates that Sean Hannity has lost up to 60% of his listeners around the nation. In Los Angeles, Limbaugh and Beck’s shows are being moved by Clear Channel to a smaller station with less broadcast coverage. Although the corporate executives are obligated to honor their expensive contracts, they see the writing on the wall. In many US markets, radio is dying.
It’s being replaced by online content.

As I have often tried to explain to alternative media network representatives, the radio station antenna tower is no longer essential to broadcasting. In fact, going online can gain the station access to listeners worldwide. Seattle’s music station KEXP is a prime example. Bankrolled by billionaire Paul Allen, KEXP even sponsors music concerts in New York City. Their fans live all around the earth. No radio transmitter or antenna can compete with this unlimited coverage. Granted, much of the planet is still not wired for the internet. Surprisingly, it is still impossible to go online in remote regions of Alaska, but the world is changing fast and the technology is spreading rapidly.

Norman Goldman maintains that the only sustainable model for broadcasters today is subscription based programming. The goal is to recruit subscribers who will pay a nominal fee for media content which can be accessed through any computer or mobile device. He emphasized that this also applies to listening to programming while commuting in your car.
The “drive time” audience has always been a major reason that radio talk shows have flourished in the past.

Another model is to fund the program through underwriting/sponsorship. Jeff Santos’ talk show in Boston is sponsored by a labor union. In Portland, progressive radio fans launched a Kickstarter campaign which raised $250,000 to help fund a new radio station.

Currently there are many ongoing discussions and forums among US alternative media folks regarding these political. economic and technological issues. Media democracy is an important part of these discussions for the simple reason that new progressive media networks have been instrumental in helping to elect progressives and Democrats during national elections.

President Barack Obama’s election campaign benefited directly from progressive and liberal radio networks and their daily political talk shows. Presidential candidates Rocky Anderson(Justice Party) and Jill Stein(Green Party) relied almost exclusively on progressive media to get their message out to the voters. If the recent trend towards conservative corporate owned media continues without a serious challenge, we can expect direct political results from this development as well.

When democratic voices are stifled or censored, the entire nation suffers. An effective, participatory democracy requires opposing viewpoints and alternative analysis. The constant echo chamber of neo-liberal and neoconservative viewpoints in US media represents a regressive tendency towards uniformity and authoritarianism. Although no commercial media will report on this fact, the US is currently ranked as 37th on the World Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders (rsf.org). In other words, due to the corporate dominance of US media, there are now 36 other countries where you will find more freedom of the press. Finland is currently ranked as number one.

As a US journalist I must admit that I am not proud of our ranking on the World Press Freedom Index. We can do much better than this! One conclusion I’ve drawn from this low ranking is that public broadcasting has not provided the necessary balance to heavily funded conservative media programming. I am also sadly aware that freedom of the press is taken for granted by the majority of the public and by most of my colleagues. After reading the Reporters Without Borders report, any responsible journalist, editor or producer should immediately address the issue with adequate news coverage and analysis. We may not have state controlled media in the US, but corporate control leads to less diversity in reporting and less interest in investigative journalism or political criticism of national policies.

With any luck, this negative trend in US media can be checked by a growing number of new innovative and progressive networks. Though many of the details have yet to be worked out, organizations like Progressive Radio Northwest and the Northwest Progressive Institute are dedicated to making this new media possible. PRNW plans to sponsor future forums and eventually, they hope to help create a new progressive media network that will broadcast, podcast and live stream new cutting edge programs from Seattle.




Originally published at OpEdNews

Seattle May Day Mayhem – Pepper Spray and Flash Grenades

Videos @ Youtube – Free Speech Radio News Reports:
(Including voice of ABC News reporter Hanna Scott on being pepper sprayed.)

Originally Published Wed May 01, 2013 at 10:19 PM PDT
@ Daily Kos

Seattle May Day Mayhem – Pepper Spray and Flash Grenades

by Mark Taylor-Canfield

Thousands of people marched in Seattle on May Day.

Labor unions brought large numbers out to an immigrants rights march organized by the group El Comite.

Although the main march was peaceful, a group of 100 to 200 protesters fought a moving battle with police starting downtown near Westlake Park and ending on Capitol Hill.

SPD officers used large amounts of pepper spray and flash/bang grenades.

A Walgreens on Capitol Hill had a broken window. Other property damage and broken windows were reported.

13 arrests for property damage and assault. 2 juveniles arrested.

Police report bottles, rocks, and metal pipes were thrown at them.

KIRO TV news reports that their reporters were attacked by protesters, and several suffered from the effects of the pepper spray.

These incidents are sure to continue the ongoing controversy over police crowd control policies and anarchist tactics. Last year’s events resulted in a federal grand jury, the jailing of four activists (in solitary confinement), an independent review of SPD actions, an internal investigation and the resignation of SPD chief John Diaz.

(Update: SPD reports 18 arrests.)


Independent Report on May Day Critical of Seattle Police

Youtube video of news report here:
MTC FSRN Report_0001

Originally broadcast April 4, 2013 @ Free Speech Radio News on the Pacifica Network.
FSRN broadcasts on 110 stations globally!

Link to news report @ FSRN:
News Report For Free Speech Radio News on the Pacifica Network fsrn.org pacifica.org

Reporter: Mark Taylor-Canfield

“Seattle’s city council questioned the police chief on Wednesday, about his handling of last year’s May Day protests, in which eight people were arrested. An independent review of the protests found that the Seattle Police Department failed to practice adequate crowd control and officers were confused by conflicting orders. FSRN’S Mark Taylor-Canfield has more.”

“Authored by former Los Angeles Police Deputy Chief Michael Hillmann, the review focuses on the policing of a small independent march. On May Day 2012 demonstrators broke off from the main march and damaged property in downtown Seattle. Officers reported that they were given conflicting orders on how to engage protesters and make arrests. Hillman claims that police activity on May Day ‘significantly damaged the credibility of the Police Department’. In particular Hillman found that fellow officers criticized Assistant Police Chief Mike Sanford’s decision to enter a crowd of protesters alone to make an arrest. They told how Sanford then had to be rescued by other police officers.”

“The review also points out that Seattle Police officers have not received any new training on crowd control since demonstrations against the World Trade Organization took place in Seattle in 1999. The department’s handling of those protests was also widely criticized. At the time of the May Day protest the Seattle Police Department was under a US Dept of Justice investigation for use of excessive force. A federal grand jury is also currently investigating the protests.”

“Mark Taylor-Canfield, FSRN, Seattle.”