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May 22, 2012

Fired Up? Ready to Go (Electrocute People)!

The Washington Post just published a big article about how, despite Obama's promises, a deluge of lobbyists continues to inundate the White House. Most of them are for boring companies like Goldman Sachs, so it's nice to find something even a little out of the ordinary:

[L]esser-known names are [] among the frequent lobbyist visitors, including Tim Hannegan, an informal adviser to Obama’s 2008 campaign with clients such as Comcast and Taser International. He has been to the White House and executive buildings more than 30 times for social events or meetings.

Hannegan did not respond to requests for comment.

This is from an article this month in Medical News Today:

Tasers, also known as stun guns, can cause sudden cardiac arrest and death, researchers from Indiana University School of Medicine reported in the journal Circulation.

Here's a bl*g keeping track of this kind of thing:

According to Amnesty International, between 2001 and 2008, 351 people in the United States died after being shocked by police Tasers. Our blog has documented another 174 taser-related deaths in the United States in 2009-2012. That means there have been 525 documented taser-related deaths in America.

And of course Digby writes about individual taser atrocities more thoroughly than anyone.

Anyway, I see Tim H. lives in a million-dollar home in a lovely leafy suburb of Washington, D.C., coincidentally in the same neighborhood as my elementary and junior high schools. In fact, he and his wife recently hosted a fundraiser for the "education foundation" connected to my junior high, which pays for "state-of-the-art computers, software and AV equipment" there. All in all it's a great place to live, as long as you don't have enough of an imagination to hear all the screams of pain that pay your mortgage.

—Jon Schwarz

Posted at May 22, 2012 06:02 AM

From The New Yorker, May 14, 2012:

He mentioned that there had been talk of mounting Tasers on drones. "The first time a drone Tases the wrong dude at a Phish concert, you're going to have problems.

Or a wildly-successful YouTube video.

Posted by: darrelplant at May 22, 2012 10:09 AM

Can I assume that was a Shouts & Murmurs piece? I request more.

Posted by: Jonathan Schwarz at May 22, 2012 10:31 AM

Considering there is a severe shortage of drug used for Capital Punishment in the US and as EU has banned the export of the drug, may be this is a 'clinical trial'!!!!!!! for TASER which the govt may have intention of using for Capital Punishment!!!.... more successful it is, better for the State murderers AND OF COURSE profits for the manufacturers.....Capitalism indeed is the King!


Posted by: Rupa Shah at May 22, 2012 10:34 AM

heh- that title reminds me of the simpsons episode where chief wiggum orders the cops to adjust their nightsticks to "whomp" mode before enthusiastically subduing some hippies

Posted by: frankenduf at May 22, 2012 01:39 PM

Talking about Amnesty International, something has CERTAINLY CHANGED in AI USA administration. AI organised an event in Chicago, on Sunday the 20th ( the day of massive protests against NATO ) to speak out for protecting the Rights of Afghan Women and asked NATO to help and had posters saying, "NATO: KEEP UP THE PROGRESS GOING".... I beg your pardon! As if that was not bad enough, AI invited Madeleine Albright to speak on "Human Rights for Afghan Women"....
This was shocking.
If you are a member or supporter of AI, please register your protest if you agree that this is absolutely outrageous. You can also post a comment below.....


Posted by: Rupa Shah at May 22, 2012 04:15 PM

You know it's Snoburbia when a public middle school has an education foundation attached.

Speaking of which, or its opposite, I'm making a pilgrimage next month to Winchester, Virginia, ancestral home of the late and lamented Joe Bageant.

A review of his Rainbow Pie: A Redneck Memoir can be read at

You'll find a pdf excerpt from Rainbow Pie if you google "an excerpt from Rainbow Pie"

Posted by: mistah 'MICFiC' charley, ph.d. at May 22, 2012 06:23 PM

re "drug ban" - How can you run short of drugs for executing people? Can't you just give someone a nice big overdose of morphine?

Posted by: Freddy el Desfibradddor at May 22, 2012 07:00 PM

I didn't know tasers killed people. Is that really true? "Don't tase me bro!" takes on a whole new signification if one of the results of the application of juice can be a permanently non-functioning recipient.

Posted by: Not Errol Flynn at May 22, 2012 07:01 PM

Drones are already in use out this way. Why, the other day a rancher in North Dakota was arrested using a drone and a SWAT team over the question of 6 stray cows.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at May 22, 2012 07:22 PM

@ Freddy el Desfibradddor

It may surprise everyone that US drug manufacturers do not want any part of govt using their drug for execution and hence have stopped manufacturing drugs used for lethal injections.


Here is some interesting information about how 'lethal injection' concept evolved...


As far as morphine is concerned, the raw materials for manufacturing Medicine grade Morphine have to be imported and one of the biggest exporters is India. And there have been intermittent shortages of Morphine too. Ironically, the states would like to execute humanely, so a drug is given to make the individual unconscious and then given couple of other drugs that will paralyse the muscles and stop the heart...... allegedly a painless death!!!
On the other hand, Morphine kills by causing respiratory arrest and it is possible, the individual may feel "air hunger" ( cruel and unusual punishmnet ) before breathing stops..... that may be the reason it is not used...


It would be great if Capital Punishment was abolished through out the USA..... then no worries about drug shortage!

Posted by: Rupa Shah at May 22, 2012 09:05 PM

I just posted a comment but because it had three links, it has gone to the moderator.... hopefully, it will be posted soon!

Posted by: Rupa Shah at May 22, 2012 09:11 PM

Jon the New Yorker article was long-form "Here's Looking At You" by Nick Paumgarten

Posted by: darrelplant at May 23, 2012 12:21 AM

Schwarz is so cool, accepting certain premises a decade after many of us had done so.

What a cool dude. No seriously -- he tells us he's cool with his unfunny "jokes" in his essays, Ese.

Posted by: Weir Sokoul at May 23, 2012 11:16 AM

Hmm, 525 taser-related deaths since 2001.

That's almost as many as the number of state-sanctioned executions.

According to the Death Penalty Information Center, there have been 612 executions in the U.S. since 2001.

Posted by: Emma at May 26, 2012 11:13 AM