Tag Archives: thugs

The ugly (and yes, supremely punchable) face of white privilege

This is the face of a punk-ass prick that only a mother wouldn’t want to punch (maybe…).

The viral incident that happened in Washington, D.C., on Friday, is sad: A “Make America Great Again”-hat wearing young white punk smugly and aggressively smiling in front of a Native American elder (it’s widely reported that he’s also a Vietnam veteran, although I’m not sure how important that is, frankly; I’m not into veteran worship, but I do respect Native Americans).

Slate.com gives a fairly tidy account of what happened:

Nathan Phillips, the Native American elder who was mocked and harassed by teenagers wearing “Make America Great Again” hats in Washington on Friday [where he was attending the Indigenous Peoples March], says the whole thing started when he tried to defuse an escalating argument.

Phillips told the Detroit Free Press the teenagers, who appear to be from Covington Catholic High School [which is in Kentucky, apparently], got upset by four people who were with a group known as the Black Hebrew Israelites. The group of Catholic students kept growing and they made the displeasure at what they were hearing, which, at least according to videos posted online, included some disgusting homophobic rhetoric, very evident.

“They were in the process of attacking these four black individuals,” Phillips told the Detroit Free Press. “I was there and I was witnessing all of this. … As this kept on going on and escalating, it just got to a point where you do something or you walk away, you know? You see something that is wrong and you’re faced with that choice of right or wrong.”

Phillips acknowledges some of the members of the Black Hebrew Israelites group were also “saying some harsh things” and one even spit in the direction of the students. “So I put myself in between that, between a rock and hard place,” he said.

Phillips said he quickly realized the situation was much more tense than he had anticipated. “There was that moment when I realized I’ve put myself between beast and prey,” Phillips said. “These young men were beastly and these old black individuals was their prey, and I stood in between them and so they needed their pounds of flesh and they were looking at me for that.”

Speaking to The Washington Post, Phillips said he realized he needed to get out. “It was getting ugly, and I was thinking: ‘I’ve got to find myself an exit out of this situation and finish my song at the Lincoln Memorial,’” Phillips said. “I started going that way, and that guy in the hat stood in my way, and we were at an impasse. He just blocked my way and wouldn’t allow me to retreat.”

Phillips spoke as some tried to change the narrative, sharing longer videos of the incident to somehow say that Phillips elder was deliberately trying to provoke the teenagers.

In an e-mail to a local network, a student says they were simply cheering “to pass time” while they were waiting for their ride. “In the midst of our cheers, we were approached by a group of adults led by Nathan Phillips with Phillips beating his drum,” the student wrote.

“They forced their way into the center of our group. We initially thought this was a cultural display since he was beating along to our cheers and so we clapped to the beat.”

The student also improbably claims that the white student who stood in front of Phillips with a smug look on his face was simply standing “where he was, smiling and enjoying the experience.” A mother of one of the students reportedly wrote an e-mail to Heavy.com, saying they had been harassed by “black Muslims.”

It’s clear just from the facial expressions of everyone captured in the screen grab above that the MAGA-cap-wearing punk-ass was not “smiling and enjoying the experience,” but was trying to impress his fellow white fascists by being a colossal prick to a Native American elder.

His behavior was aggressive and courted violence, and yes, he and anyone and everyone else who participated probably should be expelled from the Catholic high school.

And yes, the Catholics sorely need to get their shit together.

I’ll never forget or forgive them for their hateful, ignorant, fascist support of 2008’s Proposition Hate. (They lost that war, of course; same-sex marriage is now the law of the land throughout the United States.)

The whole rampant Catholic sexual abuse of minors thing aside, now we have Catholic punks wearing MAGA caps in public (they might as well wear fucking swastikas), and it’s interesting that they should be at a “pro-life” (“March for Life”) rally when clearly, the only lives they truly give a shit are their own white, over-privileged, fascist lives.

Part of me says don’t expel these punks, but try to rehabilitate them, because expulsion might make them even worse; we already have more than enough white, right-wing domestic terrorists. (As Vox.com noted in October 2017, “Since [“President” Pussygrabber] took office, more Americans have been killed by white American men with no connection to Islam than by Muslim terrorists or foreigners.”)

But can these young, white-supremacist punks be rehabilitated? They get their ignorance, hatred and bigotry from their families and friends — and from the Catholic church, which apparently is A-OK with them wearing MAGA caps in public to represent the Catholic church.

How likely is it that these young fascists are going to reject the sick and twisted worldview — pure evil masquerading as “Christianity” — that has been shoved down their throats by their social support system?

In the meantime, public naming and shaming might be our best weapons against these budding domestic terrorists (yes, even if they are minors — perhaps especially if they are minors).

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Cops’ first robo-killing is probably the scariest part of a week full of horrors

Corrected below (on Monday, July 11, 2016)

Last night in Dallas, Texas, cops for the first time ever used a robot to kill a perp on American soil, actually claiming that it was the only way. If we let this horrific abuse of police power pass, do we civilians not face routine robo-killings by the thugs of the state in the future? (Above is pictured one of the cops’ killing machines from the original movie “Robocop.”)

What a spectacularly fucked-up week it was, just after the Independence Day holiday on Monday, ironically.

The shooting deaths on Tuesday and on Wednesday of 37-year-old Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and 32-year-old Philando Castile near St. Paul, Minnesota, both of them black men, by white cops sure looked unnecessary.

It’s true that we don’t have every piece of information, and nor do we have full video footage of everything from beginning to end — the Sterling videos that I have seen start just before he is shot to death in a parking lot, and the Castile video starts after he already has been shot in a car (and is dying) — and the officers involved in the shootings deserve to be tried in real courts of law, not in the court of public opinion (which these days is held largely if not mostly on the Internet), but from what we know thus far, the shootings sure appear to have been wholly unnecessary.

My best guess is that these were spooked, adrenalized cops who were too trigger-happy, and, in a society in which black men’s lives are at the bottom of the pecking order where the value of human life is concerned, these cops just weren’t very concerned about not shooting first and asking questions later.

Then came the shooting deaths of five cops last night in Dallas (not far from where JFK was assassinated) by an-as-far-as-we-know-right-now militarily trained lone wolf, 25-year-old Micah Johnson, a black man of the Dallas area who reportedly had claimed that he especially wanted to kill white cops for the wrongful killings of black men by white cops.

On NPR today I heard the head of the nation’s largest cops’ union embarrass himself by stating that the shootings of cops because they are cops need to be treated as hate crimes. 

He further embarrassed himself by actually stating that just as we shouldn’t hate others because of the color of their skin, we shouldn’t hate anyone because of the color of his or her uniform (yes, he actually used those incredibly corny words). He asserted this as though the problem that so many of us have had with our cops actually were the color of their uniforms, or, OK, the fact in and of itself that they are cops — and not, oh, say, their rampant abuse of power and deadly force, such as by blowing away unarmed or otherwise non-threatening black men and by otherwise abusing their power against people of color and other vulnerable minorities.

The cops have had a long history of abusing their power in the United States of America. Many of them have been little more than state-sanctioned thugs, and let’s face it: The cops’ main job is to maintain the socioeconomic status quo, a status quo that isn’t about liberty and justice for all.

That said, don’t get me wrong; I don’t advocate the killing of one member of a group because you’re pissed off at another member of that group, be that group a racial group, a religious group, an occupational group, or any other group of people. I believe that we must deal with individuals, and not with entire groups of people. Micah Johnson’s “logic” that because two white cops in Louisiana and in Minnesota apparently unnecessarily killed — maybe murdered (well, maybe it was manslaughter; it’s all in the intent) — two black men, he should kill cops (especially white cops) in Texas speaks for itself.

And let’s be clear in our thinking and in our words: Blacks didn’t kill those cops in Dallas; one apparently mentally ill, or at the very least seriously unhinged, young black man did. (I don’t assert that Johnson had no legitimate grievances, but murdering random cops because they’re cops isn’t OK.) And all (white) cops did not kill Alton Sterling and Philando Castile (and way too many others); specific (white) cops killed them.

The problem is when we hold an entire group of people guilty for the acts of a relative few. It’s a mistake that often has deadly consequences and that can spiral into something like a civil war.

On the issue of hate crimes, I don’t argue that Micah Johnson didn’t hate cops; he very apparently did. (Again, I don’t argue that he had no grounds for his hatred; I only point out that he apparently had that hatred.)

But let’s be crystal fucking clear on what a hate crime is. Wikipedia defines a hate crime thusly:

A hate crime … is a prejudice-motivated crime, often violent, which occurs when a perpetrator targets a victim because of his or her membership (or perceived membership) in a certain social group.

Examples of such groups can include but are not limited to: sex, ethnicity, disability, language, nationality, physical appearance, religion, gender identity or sexual orientation. …

“Hate crime” generally refers to criminal acts that are seen to have been motivated by bias against one or more of the types above, or of their derivatives. Incidents may involve physical assault, damage to property, bullying, harassment, verbal abuse or insults, … or offensive graffiti or letters (hate mail).

Cops aren’t listed among the groups that so often are targeted in hate crimes, and implied but not explicitly spelled out in Wikipedia’s entry on hate crimes is the power differential that we have seen in the vast majority of hate crimes committed in the United States of America.

Whites who have committed hate crimes against blacks, for example, usually have far outnumbered blacks; ditto for “Christians” who have far outnumbered Jews and Muslims; heterosexuals and gender-conforming individuals who have far outnumbered non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming individuals; etc. With the vast majority of hate crimes, it’s the relatively powerful who are targeting the less powerful to even the relatively powerless.

One thing that we can’t say about cops is that they are relatively powerless compared to the general population. Um, they are not. Sure, we commoners far outnumber the cops, but most of us commoners don’t have their arsenals or their training — or their being backed up by the U.S. military if they need such backup. (All of this is made possible with our own tax dollars, but that’s another blog piece.) And, of course, the cops often if not usually have the full cover of the “justice” system should they ever actually be held to account in a court of law. And, of course, they know this fact even before they unnecessarily shoot someone to death, carelessly (manslaughter) or even intentionally (murder).

Therefore, call what Micah Johnson did last night in Dallas an act of terrorism — the use of fear and/or violence to try to achieve a political objective — but let’s not fucking call it a hate crime and by so doing shit and piss on all actual victims of actual hate crimes, past, present and future.

Let’s not buy the cops’ union thugs’ bullshit rhetoric that cops (as a group) now are the poor victims when American history is filled with incidents of cops’ thuggery against the populace, usually the relatively powerless.

Clearly, having had the first black man in the Oval Office hasn’t magically solved our problems. We, the people, have much work to do, primary among which is to devise non-lethal ways of neutralizing individuals whom cops deem need to be neutralized. It’s unfuckingacceptable that shooting someone in the year 2016 still is seen as an acceptable way of neutralizing him or her.

With the technology that we have, we should have solved this problem years ago.

On that note, we, the people, also must NOT allow state-sanctioned killing by robot to become the norm.

The cops in Dallas last night killed Micah Johnson by affixing a bomb to a robot, directing the robot to Johnson’s vicinity, and then detonating the bomb. It was the first time that cops anywhere on U.S. soil used a robot to kill someone.*

What the fucking fuck?

A robot that can deliver a bomb can’t deliver a tranquilizer dart or a knock-out gas? Really? Blowing Micah Johnson up via R2-D2 was the cops’ only option?

No, the cops blew Johnson up because he’d killed cops, and they wanted their instant revenge on him. The actual justice (well, “justice”) system might have allowed him to live, so they, the cops, had to be the prosecutors, judges, juries and executioners, you see.

And by so doing, the cops only further demonstrated last night that they have become a serious problem that we, the people, need to solve — lest the cops’ killer robots come for us next.

Correction (Monday, July 11, 2016): My bad: Apparently the cop who shot Philando Castile to death is Mexican American, not white. (In the viral video, only the cop’s forearms are visible, and he is light-skinned, so I’d thought that he was white.)

This is a rather ironic photo of the cop:

St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez, who shot and killed Philando Castile during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights on July 6, 2016, is shown taking part in the Standing of the Memorial Guard event during Law Enforcement Memorial Day and National Peace Officer's Day at the Minnesota Capitol in May 2014. (Courtesy of city of Falcon Heights)

(No, it’s not a Photoshop job. It was taken two years ago and it’s from here.)

The cop, named Jeronimo Yanez, has claimed, via his attorney, “This had nothing to do with race. This had everything to do with the presence of a gun.” (Of course, it’s not like any cop actually would admit it if his [or her] shooting death of someone had been racially motivated…)

Our society’s racial pecking order is fairly ingrained, it seems to me, and we can internalize and act out that pecking order unconsciously, methinks.

I just can’t imagine Philando Castile having been shot to death as he was had he been white (or perhaps Asian or Latino).

*NPR quotes a subject-matter expert as saying that bombs/explosive devices affixed to robotic devices have been used by the U.S. military in Iraq, but that last night’s was the first such use here on American soil.

Indeed, our police are becoming more and more militarized, and we, the people, fail to put a stop to this anti-constitutional bullshit at our own peril.

I vehemently oppose the use of armed/weaponized robots or drones to kill civilians on American soil — and their use in all other nations should be prohibited as well.

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Time to turn our backs to the cops

Some police officers turn their backs in sign of disrespect as Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during the funeral of New York Police Department Officer Wenjian Liu at Aievoli Funeral Home, Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Liu and his partner, officer Rafael Ramos, were killed Dec. 20 as they sat in their patrol car on a Brooklyn street. The shooter, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, later killed himself. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Associated Press news photos

Apparently right-wing, mostly white-male New York City cops have taken to turning their backs to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in public — even after New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton has directed them to cease and desist, proclaiming, “I remind you that when you don the uniform of this department, you are bound by the tradition, honor and decency that go with it.” (The mostly white male, classy cops shown turning their backs to the mayor in the news photos above did so today at the occasion of the funeral of one of two New York City police officers who were murdered on December 20. Hey, what’s a funeral for if not to use it for your own political purposes?) These rogue, neo-Nazi cops who believe that they are not required to follow orders have no honor or decency and need to be relieved of their uniforms. They are not irreplaceable.

At the time that our cops — most of them white men who are steeped in woefully outdated white-male privilege — whine that we stupid civilians don’t respect and support them enough, they repeatedly are demonstrating exactly why they don’t deserve our respect and support.

At least this is true of New York City cops. I hope that they’re not representative of all of the nation’s cops, but too many of the nation’s cops, being disproportionately white, share the same white-privilege mentality, along with the authoritarian personality and the right-wing, patriarchal, white-supremacist worldview.

Yet once again, today, New York City’s “finest” have turned their backs to democratically elected New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio — a.k.a. their boss — this time at the funeral of Wenjian Liu, one of two New York City police officers who were gunned down by an apparently mentally ill young man last month. Classy to use a funeral to stage your little political protest!

(And, as I have written, it’s ironic, because the shooter of the two cops was not inspired by anything that Bill de Blasio said or did, but was inspired by white cops who had killed unarmed black men. [We have this motivation in the young, now-deceased black man’s own words.] The actions of cops very apparently got these two New York City police officers murdered last month, but these cops very conveniently blame someone else.)

Moreover, the cops had been instructed by New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton not to protest at today’s funeral. As Yahoo! News reports:

“A hero’s funeral is about grieving, not grievance,” Bratton wrote in a memo to officers on Friday, less than a week after officers turned their backs on de Blasio at the funeral of Rafael Ramos, the other NYPD slain officer. “I remind you that when you don the uniform of this department, you are bound by the tradition, honor, and decency that go with it.”

When police officers will not obey even the directives of their indisputable supervisors, it’s time for them to be fired. These punk-ass fascist/neo-Nazi bitches who denigrate the badges that they wear can be replaced — and they should be replaced.

Neo-Nazi cops — white, white-supremacist, right-wing cops who believe that if they disagree with the politics of our democratically elected officials, they may openly defy our democratically elected officials (and even their police-department supervisors) — are much worse than are the criminals/“criminals” from whom they (supposedly) protect us (in-their-eyes) stupid, clueless civvies.

Our police forces need to be reworked from the ground up as it is. In most parts of the nation, our police forces do not represent the demographics of the people whom they purport to serve and protect. We need to purge our police forces nationwide of the criminals in uniform — most of whom are stupid, thuggish white men who abuse their white-male privilege to the point that they are the lawless ones — and replace these bad cops with younger, much more diverse individuals who know how to humble themselves — and who respect and thus follow law and order, which includes following the chain of command, including their democratically elected leaders.

In the meantime, if our cops want our respect and support, they will have to earn it. Far too many of them have not. They have forgotten, or they simply ignore, the fact that we, the people, ultimately are their bosses — and not the other way around.

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News flash: Thug-cops (and those who love them) get other cops killed

Patrick Lynch, head of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, speaks during a news conference after the bodies of two fallen NYPD police officers were transported from Woodhull Medical Center, Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014, in New York. An armed man walked up to two New York Police Department officers sitting inside a patrol car and opened fire Saturday afternoon, killing one and critically wounding a second before running into a nearby subway station and committing suicide, police said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Associated Press photo

Ironically, the likes of New York City cops’ union president Patrick Lynch, who, steeped in his big-mouthed white-male privilege, probably would defend every and any murder by cop, is much more likely to get cops killed than are anti-thug-cop demonstrators or progressive New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. (Lynch is shown above braying at a news conference in New York City yesterday after two city cops were shot to death by an apparently mentally ill young black man, who beforehand had posted online, “I’m putting wings on pigs today. They take 1 of ours, let’s take 2 of theirs.”)

That two New York police officers were ambushed and shot to death yesterday by a young black man apparently claiming that it was retribution for the deaths of the unarmed black men Michael Brown and Eric Garner at the hands of white cops is deeply unfortunate. But the politicization of the murders by the staunch, shameless defenders of white-male privilege and abuse of power, such as former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Patrick Lynch, the aptly-surnamed president of the city’s Patrolmen’s “Benevolent” Association, compounds the misfortune.

To be clear, first and foremost, when one human being kills another by gun, unless the killing is in actual self-defense and/or in actual defense of another, the person who pulled the trigger is to blame. And in a case like the ambush of the two New York cops (whose names were Wenjian Liu, 32, and Rafael Ramos, 40), we must assume, I think, that the trigger man, 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who went on to shoot himself to death after he murdered the two cops, was mentally ill (duh). (It’s not being widely reported, from what I can tell, but before Brinsley shot the two police officers yesterday, he had shot and injured his ex-girlfriend, so his state of mind yesterday went beyond anti-cop sentiment, apparently.)

But in this case, if we must blame someone other than the apparently mentally ill trigger man, as Lynch and Giuiliani have blamed anti-thug-cop demonstrators, progressive New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, then I pick Daniel Pantaleo, the New York City thug-cop who killed Eric Garner — on video. There is some amount of blood, methinks, on his choke-holding hands.

Given that Pantaleo’s murder of Eric Garner happened in New York City, I assume that that murder by cop had more of an immediate influence on Ismaaiyl Brinsley than did the more distant killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri (which, as I have written, I cannot conclude was a murder by cop, but the Garner case is pretty fucking clear-cut).

White cops’ reactions to the push-back for the killings of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, et. al., and their reaction to the murder yesterday of two of their own starkly reveals their dangerous, fascistic mentality for all of us to plainly see. (Indeed, they’re too fucking stupid and too over-privileged to even try to sugarcoat their not-so-crypto-Nazi-like mentality.)

As Salon.com’s Joan Walsh accurately put it recently, Patrick Lynch and others like him very apparently believe that cops, especially white cops, are apart from and above the rest of us (as well as apart from and above the law), and that they should be fairly wholly immune from civilian oversight, since we stupid civilians who pay their paychecks couldn’t possibly know anything about policing, but should leave every micro-detail of every matter to the mostly-white cops. We clueless civvies should shut the fuck up, keep our tax dollars flowing to the cops, and not worry our pretty, stupid little heads about anything that the cops, who are wholly beyond reproach, do (or fail to do).

The bottom line is this: Cops who refuse to obey democratically elected civilian rule (unless they are given patently unlawful orders) should be removed from duty. Immediately.

The New York cops who have taken to turning their backs to Mayor Bill de Blasio in his presence are not simply exercising any First-Amendment rights that they might possess in their capacity as police officers. They are announcing that they, in their estimation, reserve the right to refuse to submit to civilian authority when they deem such authority is a threat to their out-sized white-male privilege.

To me, it is little different for New York thug-cops (most of whom are steeped in white-male privilege) to turn their backs to their democratically elected mayor because they disagree with his political viewpoints than it would be for members of the U.S. military to turn their backs to the democratically elected president of the United States of America because they disagree with his or her political viewpoints.

Given cops’ training and resources (that, of course, wouldn’t be possible without the tax dollars of us stupid civvies) — and given cops’ veneer of probable innocence in every killing that they commit — rogue cops are much more dangerous than is the typical street criminal, and we stupid civvies allow rogue cops to proliferate at our own peril.

This is a growing cancer that we need to cut out right now.

Patrick Lynch, who advocates the insurrection of New York City’s police officers against their democratically elected civilian oversight, should step down or be removed from his position of authority that he abuses. How Lynch apparently has the support of his fellow cops when his words and actions only inflame tensions between cops and the public — thus putting cops at even further risk — eludes me, other than that an awful lot of cops must just be so fucking stupid as to participate in a deeply dysfunctional dynamic that increases the likelihood of even their own deaths at the hands of an enraged public.

(Yes, indeed, in addition to the likes of Daniel Pantaleo, I blame the likes of Patrick Lynch also for the deaths of Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, since Lynch so steadfastly publicly has stood behind the indefensible Pantaleo. Liu and Ramos, unfortunately, very apparently paid the price for the likes of the thuggish Pantaleo and Lynch.)

In the meantime, we, the people, must not shrink, and must never shrink, in the face of the abuses of power by our mostly-white-male cops. It is unfortunate that two New York City cops were gunned down yesterday by an apparently mentally ill young man. But the lives of cops are not more valuable than are the lives of civilians, as the thug-cops believe and wish all of us simple-minded civvies to believe.

The murders of Ramos and Liu yesterday are no excuse to stop the work that has begun to ensure that our law-enforcement officers nationwide, most of them steeped in their white-male over-privilege, do not abuse their power.

Indeed, the thug-cops’ public reaction to all that has been taking place over the past several months demonstrates that we, the people, cannot stop now.

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Cop in Garner death should be tried for homicide

This is a grab from a video showing thuggish New York cop Daniel Pantaleo putting a forbidden chokehold on Eric Garner in New York City in July, causing Garner’s death, according to both a medical examiner and a forensic pathologist. Yet Pantaelo’s “punishment” thus far has been only desk duty.

While there isn’t enough evidence — just conflicting testimony — in the August death by cop of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, to ascertain whether the state grand jury got it right or not, a New York grand jury’s failure to indict New York police Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the July death of Eric Garner is fucking mind-blowing.

On July 17, Pantaleo put the 43-year-old Garner in a chokehold, reportedly for Garner’s resistance to being arrested for having illegally sold cigarettes. However, Garner’s resistance to being arrested, if there was such resistance, apparently was only verbal, not physical, and nor did he try to flee the scene.

Therefore, Pantaleo’s chokehold appears to be a textbook case of police brutality.

A bystander’s video of the interaction between Garner and cops that went viral shows several cops holding Garner down on the ground (including Pantaleo, holding Garner’s head down to the pavement), while Garner repeatedly pleads, “I can’t breathe!”

Garner, who reportedly had asthma, died — perhaps of asphyxia from status asthmaticus, which could be caused not only from a chokehold, but from the physical and emotional shock of suddenly being manhandled and dog-piled upon like he was.

In any event, while Pantaleo’s shameless fucking defenders blame Garner’s pre-existing health condition for his death — a textbook example of blaming the victim — a medical examiner and a forensic pathologist both concluded that Garner’s cause of death was homicide (death caused by another human being, in this case, by Pantaleo).

Video of Garner’s chokehold takedown went viral, and, as The Associated Press notes, “A second video surfaced that showed police and paramedics appearing to make no effort to revive Garner while he lay motionless on the ground. He later died at a hospital.”

“I became a police officer to help people and to protect those who can’t protect themselves,” Pantaleo reportedly stated in a written statement. “It is never my intention to harm anyone and I feel very bad about the death of Mr. Garner.”

Regardless of what Pantaleo’s intention was, his unnecessary, thuggish chokehold predictably could have caused harm or even death, and therefore, in my book, he at least is guilty of negligent homicide or manslaughter. Chokeholds, after all, are banned by New York police policy. Pantaleo clearly violated the establish standards and norms for his job –– we have the video proof of that fact — and because of that, someone died.

Pantaleo should have to pay the price for that, and his merely being put on desk duty is nowhere near justice in this case. Those paramedics and police who also failed to do their duty to Garner also should be punished. Minimally, their fitness to remain in their jobs should be ascertained.

I hope that Garner’s survivors sue the holy living shit out of Pantaleo, and I hope that the feds bring about the justice that the New York grand jury did not.

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Political future of Repug thug in a suit should be grim

U.S. Representative King and Grimm talk to media after discussing relief fund hold up for Hurricane Sandy victims in Washington in this file photo

Reuters photo

Repugnican U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm, who might want to consider a switch to playing football, is shown in D.C. earlier this month.

The biggest news from last night’s State of the Union address, pathetically, was the post-address thuggery by a Repugnican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New York.

U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm, very stupidly on camera, threatened a significantly smaller male TV news reporter who had dared to (try to) ask Grimm about Grimm’s current legal and ethical troubles, especially involving his campaign finances, “If you ever do that to me again, I’ll throw you off the fucking balcony” and “I’ll break you in half like a little boy.”

Pro football player Richard Sherman, as Salon.com’s Joan Walsh has pointed out, recently has been termed a “thug” — the opinion of many is that if you are black (as Sherman is), you are more likely to be called a “thug” than is a white person who has engaged in the equivalent behavior, and that “thug” thus is a coded racist term — and I remember well that the wingnuts routinely called union members “thugs” when union members dared to fight to preserve their rights in the aftermath of Repugnican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s assault on workers’ rights in early 2011.

While “thug” certainly can be used as a thinly veiled racist epithet, the members of the right wing in general, in my observation and experience, deem those who act with assertiveness (physical or not) with whom they disagree as “thugs,” whereas those with whom they agree are almost never “thugs,” no matter what they do.

How about the “Brooks Brothers riot” in Florida on November 19, 2000?

As Wikipedia recounts, on that date

Hundreds of “paid GOP crusaders” descended upon South Florida to protest the state’s recounts, with at least half a dozen of the demonstrators at Miami-Dade paid by George W. Bush’s recount committee. Several of these protesters were identified as Republican staffers and a number later went on to jobs in the Bush administration.

The “Brooks Brothers” name reinforces the allegation that the protesters, in corporate attire, sporting “Hermès ties” were astroturfing, as opposed to [actually being] local citizens concerned about [vote-]counting practices.

The demonstration was organized by Republican operatives, sometimes referred to as the “Brooks Brothers Brigade,” to oppose the recount of 10,750 ballots during the Florida recount. The canvassers decided to move the counting process to a smaller room and restrict media access to 25 feet away while they continued. At this time, New York Rep. John Sweeney told an aide to “Shut it down.”

The demonstration turned violent, and according to the New York Times, “several people were trampled, punched or kicked when protesters tried to rush the doors outside the office of the Miami-Dade supervisor of elections. Sheriff’s deputies restored order.” Democratic National Committee aide Luis Rosero was kicked and punched. Within two hours after the riot died down, the canvassing board unanimously voted to shut down the count, in part due to perceptions that the process wasn’t open or fair, and in part because the court-mandated deadline was impossible to meet. …

Keep in mind that Bush officially “won” Florida, and thus the White House, by only 537 votes.

Would any Repugnican on the planet call the “Brooks Brothers riot” what it was, which was a mob of fucking thugs trying — and apparently at least partially succeeding — to influence the outcome of a presidential fucking election in their favor through the use of intimidation (the threat of harm from physical violence) and actual physical violence?

No, to the Repugnicans, especially those of the “tea-party” ilk, this incident was wholly justifiable, because its goal was to put George W. Bush in the White House even though Al Gore had won more than a half-million more votes than Bush had.

Similarly, there is no justifying the shit that the thug Michael Grimm pulled last night.

It’s understandable that Grimm was not pleased to be asked by a TV news reporter about an issue that could threaten Grimm’s political future. And Grimm has claimed that he had been promised by the local TV news outfit that the question would not come up.

But even if that is true, it doesn’t justify his threat to “throw” the reporter “off the fucking balcony” and “break [him] in half like a little boy.” (My understanding is that such verbal threats constitute at least a misdemeanor.)

We can expect such language from football players, I think — I mean, let’s get real; NFL players are essentially modern-day gladiators –but can we excuse such language from so-called statesmen?

Grimm initially apparently refused to apologize, stating, “I verbally took the reporter to task and told him off, because I expect a certain level of professionalism and respect, especially when I go out of my way to do that reporter a favor. I doubt that I am the first member of Congress to tell off a reporter, and I am sure I won’t be the last.”

Well, actually, Grimm just might be the first member of Congress ever to have threatened to throw a reporter “off the fucking balcony” and “break [him] in half like a little boy.” On camera, anyway.

And I find it funny that Grimm, who apparently lacks all self-awareness, should fault anyone else for lacking “a certain level of professionalism and respect,” when he certainly rather graphically displayed such a lack last night. 

My guess is that other members of Grimm’s pathetic party since spoke to him, because the latest statement that Grimm has issued is this:

I was wrong. I shouldn’t have allowed my emotions to get the better of me and lose my cool. I have apologized to Michael Scotto [the TV news reporter whom Grimm attacked], which he graciously accepted, and will be scheduling a lunch soon. In the weeks and months ahead I’ll be working hard for my constituents on issues like flood insurance that is so desperately needed in my district post-[Hurricane] Sandy.

In the end, I suppose, it will be up to the voters of Grimm’s congressional district to decide his fate in November.

If those voters have a brain cell among them, Grimm’s political future indeed is grim, and ironically, his on-camera blow-up probably has done him far more political damage than he would have sustained had he just manned up and answered the fucking question, even evasively and using the usual politico-speak, such as he used in his belated, apparently begrudging apology.

In the meantime: A “thug” is anyone of any race or any political ideology who uses intimidation (the threat of violence) or actual violence to try to obtain his or her objectives. (Admittedly, women rarely are called “thugs,” although I believe in equality of the two sexes, so I see no problem with the designation being made for women.)

So, indeed, if Richard Sherman is a “thug,” then Michael Grimm most certainly is also.

P.S. Of the State of the Union address itself, I don’t have much to say. Barack Obama has a solid history of lofty rhetoric but scant political results. And I still blame him for having squandered his political capital thoroughly in 2009 and 2010, thereby helping the Repugnicans regain control of the U.S. House in November 2010 and thus handicapping his presidency ever since.

I already am looking past Obama and forward to the next president, frankly, as are millions of other Americans, I’m sure.

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Obama solidifies his status as a thug

Updated below

U.S. journalist Greenwald embraces his partner Miranda upon his arrival at Rio de Janeiro's International Airport

U.S. journalist Greenwald walks with his partner Miranda in Rio de Janeiro's International Airport

Reuters photos

The courageous American journalist Glenn Greenwald — who, unlike the cowardly traitors in Washington, D.C., actually respects and defends the Constitution of the United States of America — receives his partner, David Miranda, at Rio de Janeiro’s international airport after his partner was detained for nine hours yesterday by British thugs — lapdogs of the Washington elite — at the Heathrow Airport in London, where Miranda had stopped on his way from Germany to his and Greenwald’s home in Brazil.

Wow is the Obama regime out of fucking touch.

To have had the government officials of the United Kingdom — Washington, D.C.’s obedient little bitches (the UK, recall, was the only major nation to join in the unelected Bush regime’s illegal, immoral, unjust and unprovoked Vietraq War) — for several hours detain and interrogate the partner of journalist Glenn Greenwald and confiscate his cell phone, his lap-top computer and his memory sticks — was supposed to accomplish what, exactly?

If you are smart — and neither the thug in chief Barack Obama nor anyone else in the Obama White House (nor, pretty much, in all of D.C.) is — you always calculate how a strike at your enemy might harm or hinder your own political position. There is this thing called blowback, and when you abuse your power to actually attack your political enemy’s family, you might find that this blatant thuggery gains you even more enemies than allies. 

No doubt the megalomaniacal Obama thinks that he’s some fucking bad-ass and that by having had the UK detain Greenwald’s partner, David Miranda, with whom Greenwald is in a civil union, he is going to frighten — to terrorize, and to terrorize for political gain, which yes, makes it a form of terrorism — anyone else who, like Greenwald, would dare to challenge the D.C. elite by exposing their treason against the American people, even when the D.C. elite brazenly and obviously treasonously are violating the most basic provisions of the U.S. Constitution, of which no one, not even the bad-ass President Hopey-Changey, is above.

Obama is painting himself and his pathetic, plutocratic-ass-kissing, Constitution-violating, corporation-loving party into a corner. Obama and his bots for years now have believed that they don’t need us members of the actual (a.k.a. the “professional” and the “sanctimonious”) left, that they can act just like Repugnicans — with impunity and for perpetuity.

Except that the Repugnican Tea Party traitors are even bigger traitors than Obama and the Obamabots are, and that without the support of the actual left, the so-called “Democratic” Party is only going to continue to weaken. You can claim to represent the interests of the majority of the American people while actually representing the interests of only the plutocratic elites for only so long.

Memo to the DINOs (and you are, I realize, legion): We actual members of the left don’t have to vote for the “Democratic” presidential candidate. In 2000 I voted for Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader, and in 2012 I voted for Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein. And I’d do it again.

Even if the DINOs who now comprise the “leaders” of the “Democratic Party” don’t worry about losing votes — even if they are confident that enough deeply disappointed and disgruntled Democrats will hold their noses and still vote for the latest center-right offering labeled as a “Democrat” (and labeled as “the best that we can do”) — in order to consistently and decisively win elections, you need the enthusiasm and the dollars of your base, and once you have lost that, good luck in your fucking elections.*

Having the family members of your political opponents detained, when neither these family members nor even your political opponents have broken any law, is, as Greenwald himself put it, despotism. (“It’s bad enough to prosecute and imprison sources. It’s worse still to imprison journalists who report the truth. But to start detaining the family members and loved ones of journalists is simply despotic,” Greenwald correctly proclaimed.) It is, as I have put it, terrorism — the use of fear and intimidation for political gain.

In this case, the political gain is that the D.C. elite intend to continue to blatantly violate the constitutional rights of the American people by making the mere exposure of their crimes against the Constitution itself a “crime,” while they, the real criminals, remain free (instead of in prison, where they belong) to continue to commit their crimes against the American people and our Constitution.

The Obama regime officially has lost all credibility. The transformation of the so-called “Democratic” Party into the Repugnican Lite Party is complete.

The only question now, it seems to me, is whether enough of us actual patriots — those of us who actually care about our Constitution and our freedoms — will fight against the despotic “Democratic” Party (as well as against the even worse Repugnican Tea Party) or whether the United States of America will go out with a boom or with a whimper.

P.S. Glenn Greenwald, I am delighted to see, has vowed to fight on with even more determination than before. As a result of the despotic detention of his partner by the UK, the U.S.’s No. 1 partner in crime, Greenwald proclaimed, “[I’m] going to write much more aggressively than before, [and] I’m going to publish many more documents than before.”

That’s exactly how you respond to thugs: You do even more of what you were doing before. You don’t back down, because that’s what they want you to do, and you use their continued thuggery as evidence that you are on the right track. If you weren’t, they wouldn’t be attacking you.

Update (Monday, August 19, 2013): In case you actually believe that maybe the Obama regime was not behind the unlawful detention of Greenwald’s partner, know that the UK Guardian reports today that “the White House confirmed that it was given a ‘heads-up’ before David Miranda was taken into custody for nine hours at Heathrow [Airport in London],” but that “the U.S. distanced itself from the action by saying that British authorities took the decision to detain him.”

But did the Obama White House instruct or even ask the British government not to detain Miranda? Very most likely not.

And why was Miranda’s name on a “terrorist” watch list no doubt authored by the U.S. government in the first fucking place? Simply because he is a close associate of a journalist whose reportage the White House dislikes?

These are serious, Nixon-level abuses of power. These are not tiny things.

Finally, I recommend that you read Greenwald’s column on these latest events. Among other things, he writes:

…. They [the British officials who detained and questioned Miranda with at least the knowledge of the White House] completely abused their own terrorism law for reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism: a potent reminder of how often governments lie when they claim that they need powers to stop “the terrorists,” and how dangerous it is to vest unchecked power with political officials in its name. …

And the money shot:

… This is obviously a rather profound escalation of their attacks on the news-gathering process and journalism. It’s bad enough to prosecute and imprison sources. It’s worse still to imprison journalists who report the truth. But to start detaining the family members and loved ones of journalists is simply despotic. Even the Mafia had ethical rules against targeting the family members of people they felt threatened by.

But the UK puppets and their owners in the U.S. national security state obviously are unconstrained by even those minimal scruples.

If the UK and U.S. governments believe that tactics like this are going to deter or intimidate us in any way from continuing to report aggressively on what these documents reveal, they are beyond deluded. If anything, it will have only the opposite effect: to embolden us even further.

Beyond that, every time the U.S. and UK governments show their true character to the world — when they prevent the Bolivian president’s plane from flying safely home, when they threaten journalists with prosecution, when they engage in behavior like what they did [yesterday] — all they do is helpfully underscore why it’s so dangerous to allow them to exercise vast, unchecked spying power in the dark. …

Greenwald adds that Miranda’s cell phone and lap-top computer remain with UK authorities, who had no legal or ethical right to forcibly take them from Miranda in the first place.

Those who aren’t abusing their power and who thus have nothing to hide have no reason to go to lengths against individual citizens of the world like this.

I hope that Miranda sues the holy living fuck out of the British government, which is as fascistic as its U.S. counterpart.

*Well, of course, one could argue that both the Coke Party and the Pepsi Party (a.k.a. the “Democratic Party” and the “Republican Party”), having stopped representing the interests of the American people long, long ago, rely increasingly on corporate millions and millions to fund their shams of “campaigns,” so no, they don’t need the dollars of individual voters, but still, how long can two duopolistic, pro-plutocratic, corporately owned and controlled parties that stopped representing the interests of the majority of the American people go on?

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