Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Friday, April 6th, 2012.


Police and Cover-ups

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criminal justice, Trayvon Martin

What can one say but … Charles Pierce. This happened in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina:

One of the things that the country looked at briefly, and then determined that it would look upon it no longer, because what it meant was that the country’s anesthetic lies had lost their potency, occurred on September 4, 2005 on the Danziger Bridge, which carries US-90 (Thanks commenter Bobby Dupont.) across the city’s Industrial Canal. That night, a group of lawless New Orleans Police, all pretense of maintaining civic order literally thrown to the winds, rolled up in a Budget rental truck on a group of citizens who had taken shelter behind some concrete barriers near the bridge and committed an act of unimaginable official terrorism. The cops leaped from the truck and opened fire. Officer Robert Faulcon blew away with a shotgun blast one Ronald Madison, Jr., a 40-year old mentally-challenged man. Faulcon shot Madison in the back. Sgt. Kenneth Bowen jumped out of the front seat of the truck and sprayed the area with an AK-47. Sgt. Robert Gisevius, Jr. jumped out of the back of the truck and opened up with an M-4, while Anthony Villavaso II let go with his own AK. Somewhere in the storm of bullets, another man named James Brissette was killed, too. Four others were wounded.

After the shooting, the cops concocted a plan to cover up what they did. A sergeant named Archie Kaufman, the lead police investigator into the events at the bridge, helped them do it. Evidence was faked. Fraudulent reports were filed. Most of this barbering was done to further the notion that the police had been under fire, in deadly danger, and that the fusillade was unleashed in self-defense against a mob from a city that had become barbarous.

But the Trayvon Martin shooting was an anomaly! And hoodies!

The NOLA police involved were all found guilty, eventually, and this week they were sentenced. Almost seven years later.

Going back and reading earlier stories of the incident, there really is a resemblance to the aftermath of the Trayvn Martin shooting. There was a claim the shooting was in self-defense (later found to be bogus); little care was taken to collect or or preserve evidence properly; the local police seemed to have no interest in investigating or prosecuting anyone.

A state grand jury brought indictments two years after the shooting. The FBI was called in and were still investigating five years after the shooting.

I certainly don’t think all police are capable of this, but … anomaly, my ass. This shows us why it is not at all unreasonable to suspect a police cover up whenever white on black violence goes unprosecuted.

This is from last year’s trial testimony, btw:

After the barrage of bullets stopped, while Susan Bartholomew was lying on a concrete walkway of the Danziger Bridge, the men shooting at Bartholomew’s family ordered her to raise her hands.

But Bartholomew recalled realizing that would be impossible.

“I couldn’t do it, because my arm was shot off,” she said softly. “I raised the only hand I had.”

The good news is that most of the perps got long prison sentences. The bad news s we haven’t seemed to learn anything.

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Now They’re Saying We’re Insects?

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Republican Party, Wingnuts Being Wingnuts, Women's Issues

A few days ago a Gallup poll found a widening gender gap in swing states.

The biggest change came among women under 50. In mid-February, just under half of those voters supported Obama. Now more than six in 10 do while Romney’s support among them has dropped by 14 points, to 30%. The president leads him 2-1 in this group.

Romney’s main advantage is among men 50 and older, swamping Obama 56%-38%.

One poll does not an election make, but this was a Gallup poll, and I understand Gallup tends to overstate Republican support. But instead of trying to reassure women voters that the GOP is not anti-woman, the freaking idiot Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus compared us to insects.

Well, for one thing, if the Democrats said we had a war on caterpillars, and mainstream media outlet talked about the fact that Republicans have a war on caterpillars, then we have problems with caterpillars. The fact of the matter is it’s a fiction and this started a war against the Vatican that this president pursued. He still hasn’t answered Archbishop Dolan’s issues with Obama world and Obamacare, so I think that’s the first issue.

This is right up there with the claim, repeated many times on the Right, that the reason African Americans vote overwhelmingly for Democrats is that they’ve been snookered into staying on the Democrat “plantation” by food stamps and welfare. That righties don’t realize this as a slap in the face of African American voters exemplifies why African Americans vote overwhelmingly for Democrats.

Now Reince Priebus is saying the war on women is a media fiction that women, apparently, are falling for out of stupidity. And apparently our concerns are of no more importance than an insect’s. This is not reassuring us that you’ve got a clue, Reince.

Of course, there are women who do support Republicans. Women who diss their own gender are a common phenomenon. (I blame their fathers, but that’s another rant.) This columnist at the New York Daily News is an example.

The truly compelling — and frightening — finding from the Pew poll on the gender gap isn’t about abortion or contraception. It’s that women prefer big government solutions. And this is where feminism meets its match.

The percentage of women who favor bigger government providing more services outpaced men by 9 points in 2011, and has since at least 2000, with widest gap in 2004 at 12 points.

Women, it seems, are falling for the left’s “we’ll take care of you” economic paternalism, the insistence that women need the state, or wealthy taxpayers, to rescue them from a life of oppression, squalor and servitude.

The way I’d put it is that women are more realistic about their own vulnerabilities than men. They are much more likely to actively seek emotional support systems and to realize that sometimes they need help from others. Men are more likely to be in denial that they need anything from anyone else, which is a big reason why men commit 75 percent of suicides. When the fickle finger of fate points at men, they are less emotionally prepared to deal with it.

For most of us, beyond our friends there are big, ominous powers out there capable of either helping us or jerking us around. The government is one of those powers. Employers are another one. For some, Church is a third. According to Republicans, the only one of those likely to harm you is government.

But in their real lives, women are far more likely to have been jerked around and otherwise treated shabbily by their employers than by the government. Government can be annoying and unhelpful sometimes, but it usually doesn’t make your day to day life a living hell the way a bad employer can. And these days, even Catholic women are ignoring their Church on “women’s” issues.

So when anyone, including another woman, sneers about the left’s “we’ll take care of you” economic paternalism, it does not resonate with the real-world experience of most women. Sure, some fall for it, such as the Tea Party ladies who want to keep government out of their Medicare. But I think more women would vote for the “paternalism” of government over that of their employers when it comes to, say, why they are on the pill.

I don’t think most women look to Democrats to create a government that will “take care” of us. But when Republicans clearly take the side of corporations and churches over individuals, that ought to scare the stuffing out of us. And I think it is scaring the stuffing out of some of us.

And it ought to scare the stuffing out of men, too, but in my experience white men at least are more likely to be loyal to the powers that be. Yes, there are many exceptions, but on the whole I think I am right. This is another reason they are more likely to commit suicide when their trust is betrayed.

The fact that Republicans can’t seem to imagine why it would be bothersome to a woman to have to get a permission slip from their employers to get their pills paid for tells me these people cannot be trusted.

Government programs that benefit the poor, especially children, don’t impact the day-to-day lives of most women nearly as much as programs that give our employers more power to jerk us around or corporations more power to rip us off with impunity. And messing with our health care is the last straw. Steve Benen:

As we’ve reported on the show many times, the effort on the part of GOP policymakers at the federal and state level to undermine women’s health care is as severe as anything we’ve seen from a major party in many years. Unlike the war on caterpillars, Republican efforts are real.

I’ll spare you the full list of every bill in every state, but the policy offensive is, well, offensive. Restricting contraception; cutting off Planned Parenthood; state-mandated, medically-unnecessary transvaginal ultrasounds; forcing physicians to lie to patients about abortion and breast cancer; abortion taxes; abortion waiting periods; forcing women to tell their employers why they want birth control, going after prenatal care, possible abortion permission slips … this is no minor policy initiative.

For the chairman of the Republican National Committee to dismiss concerns as “fiction” only adds insult to injury.

Eric Boehlert documents that righties are in massive denial about how much they are hurting themselves with women. They think we are insects? Let’s show ‘em how hard we can sting.

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