ThePoliticalCat

A Blog devoted to progressive politics, environmental issues, LGBT issues, social justice, workers' rights, womens' rights, and, most importantly, Cats.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Civil Rights: Crapping On The Constitution


Our esteemed Schmuck-in-Chief is reported to have said that the Constitution, the document that forms the basis of the nation of America, is "just a goddamned piece of paper," and his minions throughout the nation's offices, high and low, have followed his example by wiping their rear ends with that document.

Recently, we blogged the case of Hope Steffey, the Ohio resident who was manhandled by police when she called for help after being assaulted. The police response was to assault her some more, breaking one of her teeth, stripping her naked, conducting a cavity search, and then throwing her, stark naked, in a cell to shiver, in full sight of male officers.

An irate troglodyte assured us that the Sheriff of Cuyahoga County, Ohio, who is to be held responsible for the outrageous treatment of Ms. Steffey, is a Democrat.

Our point is not that Republicans are bad and Democrats are good. That is way too Orwellian a stance for us to take. Our point is that when the highest authorities in the land refuse to obey the laws of the land, they set an example for every small-minded sadistic rotten fool in the country and out, that they too can wipe their tush on the Constitution or the Convention on Human Rights.

To put it very simply for the troglodytes: A man (or woman) who is a lying, stealing, abusive piece of shit is likely to raise children who go on to become lying, stealing, abusive pieces of shit. A leader who commits crimes will attract (or encourage) followers who commit crimes. That's the common wisdom behind all those handy little homilies, like "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree," and "As the twig is bent, so grows the tree," and "Monkey see, monkey do," et cetera, ad infinitum ad nauseam.

If the people at the top are corrupt thugs and criminals, every corrupt thug and criminal in the country will feel emboldened to act in a corrupt and thuggish manner. And good honest citizens will sit back and not speak up for fear of the corrupt thugs around them, and the even greater fear, as we've seen for the past seven years, that the corrupt thugs who run the country will not punish the corruption and thuggery but will leave anyone who is not a corrupt thug to the tender mercies of the corrupt, thuggish wolves. And that has repeatedly been the case.

What kind of message is the average citizen supposed to take away from the fact that the same Roger Stone who made threatening phone calls to an elderly man whose only "crime" appears to be having a son that Mr. Stone doesn't like is sought out by AP reporter Nedra Pickler as representative of "conservatives" when she writes a story designed to smear Barack Obama. La Casa de Los Gatos knows many conservatives who would shudder at being linked with Mr. Stone, a creep known for dirty political tactics. People like Mr. Stone and his friend KKKarl Rove typify the worst aspects of partisanship that have dragged the nation's political discourse into the gutter.

Our conservative friends differ politically from us, but believe in honour and fairness and the rule of law. They do not believe those who crap on the Constitution should get away with it.

Thus we find the recent slew of stories about police abuse in this country very very disturbing. Here, for example, is the story of a man named Nick Joseph Molfetto, a disabled person who needs a wheelchair and who also happens to be an inmate of the Hillsborough hoosegow. Yes, Mr. Molfetto is a criminal. Yes, he is probably a pretty nasty person, given that his criminal record runs 22 pages. He is also a person with a spinal injury with staples holding his back together. The man needs a wheelchair.

Yet, Hillsborough deputies refused to use a wheelchair van to transport Mr. Molfetto to his court hearing. Instead they made him lie on the floor of a regular van, despite his protests, and then schlepped him to a hearing THREE HOURS away. Needless to say, the journey injured him so badly, his court hearing had to be postponed. Nice work, deputies. So we have to house and feed and provide medical care to Mr. Molfetto for an extended period of time because you sadists felt that maltreating a disabled person was more important than doing your jobs professionally. Not to mention the fact that, because your wages are paid by taxpayers, you have now made us all complicit in the torture of a disabled person.

If you can't sympathize with Mr. Molfetto because he has a long rap sheet, try schoolteacher Paul King. Mr. King was arrested on a DUI, and there's video evidence of him being brutally maltreated by arresting officers. A hood, a restraint chair, what the hell is this? It's bad enough we do these things in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, now we're doing them to our own people? The deputies claim they put the hood on Mr. King because he "spat blood" at them. Deputies, the more pertinent question is, why is someone in your custody spitting blood?

So Paris Hilton gets to serve a few days in a fancy farm, but the Kings and Molfettos, the common people of America, get the crap beat out of them?

And then there's Brian Stern, a quadriplegic who got busted for a traffic offense. Apparently a very minor traffic offense, according to CNN:
[...] the arrest was a complete surprise to Sterner, who had received only a ticket after police stopped him in his hand-pedal-controlled car for failing to yield in October.

At the time, the attorney said, Sterner also submitted to a blood test and no illegal substances were found in his blood.
Mr. Stern had the misfortune to be in the custody of the Hillsborough deputies, who apparently believe that, like Jesus, they can work miracles. The Son of Man saith unto he that was afflicted with the palsy, "Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk." So did these sons of bitches say unto the man with the spinal cord injury, "Get thine ass out of that wheelchair and stand ye and hearken unto us." And when he didn't stand, being as he couldn't, and all that, instead of waiting for an explanation, they Tipped. Him. Out. Of. His. Wheelchair. Breaking his ribs.

And it's all on video. La Casa de Los Gatos is beginning to think that video might be the best thing that ever happened to law enforcement. Well, second to the actual appointment of decent people to run LE departments. To his credit, the Hillsborough County Sheriff apologized to Mr. Sterner and promised to set things right. He also said that his department has procedures for dealing with wheelchair-bound individuals that do not include tossing their heinies on the floor for the amusement of the deputies.

Given that The Lesser Shrub has been manufacturing lots more quadriplegics and paraplegics, we need to ensure that police departments around the country obey the law and the constitution and respect basic human rights.

When, if ever, will we see the Lesser Shrub take responsibility for the brutal acts of his minions at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo? Oh, that's right. Personal responsibility is for the "little people," as Leona Helmsley, the Queen of Mean, used to call them. Turn in your grave, Leona, there's a bigger Queen of Mean around these days. Georgie wants your crown. Ya better give it to him, too, or he'll exhume you and have your fingernails removed individually. With pliers.

And then there's Angie Garbarino of Shreveport, Louisiana. Ms. Garbarino was arrested on a suspected DUI. She went into custody looking like the picture you see on top here:


And she emerged looking like the picture on the bottom. Officer Wiley Willis, who processed Ms. Gabarino's arrest, claims Ms. Gabarino fell. However, the video recording of the arrest shows the officer, a relatively large, fit, young man, manhandling Ms. Garbarino, a small, skinny, older woman. At some point the officer turns off the video recorder.

When Officer Willis turns the video recorder back on, Ms. Garbarino is seen lying in a pool of blood. She is heard telling medical personnel that the officer beat her. Her nose was broken, a cheekbone fractured, she has two blackeyes and what looks like broken blood vessels in both eyes, a cut on her forehead, swollen lips, and she lost several teeth in the incident. We have seen a lot of drunken people in our time, some good number of them falling-down drunk. We have never seen injuries like Ms. Gabarino's. It's possible she did fall, but the video clearly shows her getting upset and the officer harrassing her. Why was a male officer alone with a woman?

What's most frightening about Angie Gabarino's case is the number of baying idiots who insist that she was drunk and abusive towards the officer. People, she's what, five foot four or six and maybe 120 lb? She's 42 years old. She's handcuffed with her hands behind her back. Real threatening, woo woo.

The officer, ten years younger than her, is some four inches taller and probably 50-70 lb. heavier. If an able-bodied man in his prime, in good physical condition, cannot control a small-built woman without inflicting injuries on her or being intimidated by her, he needs to look into a different line of work.

Also, you better pray to whatever you believe in that you don't end up on the bad side of Officer Kickurasski's nightstick. Because you could end up sitting in jail for three months for absolutely no reason, like Darrell Arthur Williams, who was not even charged with a crime. Mr. Williams has no criminal record. He came to the attention of the law because he was a homeless man urinating in public (like he had a choice). It cost the taxpayers $10,000 to keep Mr. Williams in jail for absolutely no reason, a sum that we contend could have been better spent providing him with health care, or food, or shelter, as needed.

Finally, Raw Story tells us that 60 Minutes, a prime source of irritainment, sent a reporter to get zapped with a new military weapon, a heat gun. The reporter states:
"[...] this gun, which has a range of roughly half a mile - the exact range is classified - can make you stop whatever it is you're doing."

It seems that is the intended benefit of this weapon, which Martin says causes the sensation of being scalded with hot water.

He asks, "How many innocent lives have been lost by someone approaching a check-point and not heeding the warning signs that American soldiers were giving them ...? Now you have this gun. If you shoot that ray gun at someone and they keep coming you can safely assume that they have evil intent and have cleared the way to use more lethal force, which would be their rifle."
We would like to point out that the reporter, David Martin, is clearly an idiot, but since you, our readers, are not idiots, we know we don't need to. If you were driving along minding your own business and suddenly felt intense heat all over your body, would you assume you were being targeted with a weapon? Or would you be too freaked out to think?

What if you, like many of the victims of our foreign wars, had metal prosthetics? Would the effect of this weapon be intensified? What if you were wearing contacts? What if you had never heard of heat guns before in your life? What if you had a weak heart, or diabetes, or epilepsy? Would you connect your physical sensations with the people shouting at you in a foreign language? We would venture to guess a big fat NO.

What kind of weapon is this, exactly, and what long-term studies exist on the damage that it can do? And if its range is half a mile or more, what steps does the government plan to take to minimize damage to innocent bystanders? Are children likely to suffer greater damage, due to their smaller mass and more delicate physical structure? And, most importantly, what kind of sick, perverted people think that it is important to use their intelligence and skill to develop something that will hurt people and can be used for crowd control?

It is only a matter of time before our government or some other government uses this weapon against civilians peacefully assembling to protest its policies, as is their right under any recognized internation human rights instrument. What do YOU plan to do to ensure that your rights, and the rights of your friends, relatives, neighbours, and fellow-citizens for the next generation or two are reasonably safe from this sort of abuse?

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