Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The United States of America is a Fascist Police State

The United States of America is a Fascist Police State

I went online to check Google News for the latest on Madeleine, but got distracted by a link promising video of a guy getting zapped by a Taser by cops in Yankland.

He was getting mouthy at a meeting which was being addressed by Senator John Kerry. He was asking why Kerry lamely conceded defeat when Kerry knew that the election had been stolen from under him by fraudulent means.

Mr Mouthy then went on to ask why there isn't a move to impeach Bush. After all, there was a push to impeach Clinton on account of a blowjob, no more than that, so why not go after Bush?

Finally, the cops elect to try to hush the guy, and eventually take him away, with him crying "Get your hands the fuck off me!" - naturally, since this video comes to us from America, the land of sanitary speech, the "fuck" gets bleeped out.

Finally, after a lot of loud-mouthed protests from Mr Mouthy, one of the police draws a Taser.

At this point the protester is at the back of the room and we can't see what is happening, but we can hear him yelling. He knows they are going to Taser him, so he tells them not to. But they do.

What struck me about this incident was that Senator John Kerry said absolutely nothing. He made no attempt whatsoever to tell the cops to lay off. He didn't say "Cool it! Hold it! Wait a moment!"

He was Mr Passive Observer, as if he was a remote spectator observing this on YouTube.

Kerry, in my opinion, failed in his duty. The cops went over the top and did their police brutality thing in front of what is now a global audience. And Kerry said not one single word to stop this going down.

Protester:

"Are you going to arrest me? What are you arresting me for?"

This is only the second time in my life when I've seen Yankland cops arresting someone. The first time when I was sitting on a Grayhound bus which was going through the gritty suburbs to the east of San Francisco. I was at the start of an ill-advised bus journey right across the continental United States, from San Francisco to New York, with the mistaken idea that I would see interesting scenery en route. All I saw was four-lane highways, coast to coast.

Shortly after our journey began, the bus came to a halt and the cops got on board, cheerful cops with guns on their hips, and they escorted one of the passengers off the bus. I asked another passenger why the cops had done that and was told the driver had noticed that the guy was waving a handgun around, and had thought this behavior inappropriate.

That first arrest was gracefully managed by good-humored cops who did their job without any fuss at all, but the debacle at Kerry's forum was shameful.

"Don't Taze me!" says the guy.

But the cops are going to take this guy down.

But they do. We hear a kind of mechanical clickety click and the guy yells "Ow!" Repeatedly. And then "My God!"

The Taser is proudly brought to you by an outfit which appears to actually be called Taser [no, actually Taser International], and which has a website at www.taser.com.

"Our mission is to protect life by providing safer, more effective force options and technologies."

Yeah, very safe. You can use these handy gadgets to torture prisoners, electrocute mentally ill homeless people or rough up mouthy protesters, all this without getting your hands dirty. Great technology!

Now that I've highlighted the wonders of the world of Taser on my blog, what chance is there that Taser will give me one of these wonderful gadgets for free, so I can restore order to the family home on those occasions when my three-year-old daughter goes off the rails?

Right now, if you Google the term "taser," one of the snippets that you see includes this question:

"Why are students getting Tasered on video?"

Kerry was speaking, it seems, at UCLA [NO, WRONG! SEE BELOW!], and the student who had his own personal experience of American police brutality was a guy named Andrew Meyer.

No, I misinterpreted the snippet. Kerry was actually speaking at the University of Florida where the university cops did the Tasering.

UCLA comes into it on account of an earlier incident, which is noted on this page:

http://machinist.salon.com/blog/2007/09/18/university_taser/

Here, in square brackets, is a quote from the page which the URL above leads to:

[ Don't university cops have YouTube, too? These people work in the most visible environments in the world, where every witness has both a cellphone cam and a broadband connection and knows how to use them. You'd suppose that after just one of these well-publicized incidents, every campus P.D. in the nation would decide that whatever advantage there might be in using the Taser, the inevitable fallout is too much.

I called up the University of Florida Police Department to ask about its Taser policies; I'm waiting for a callback.

In the aftermath of the Taser incident at UCLA last fall -- when a student named Mostafa Tabatabainejad was stunned multiple times after he refused to show his I.D. card at a campus library -- the university asked the independent Police Assessment Resource Center to investigate.

PARC concluded: "While the student should have simply obeyed the order to produce the card, and by not doing so brought trouble upon himself, the police response was substantially out of proportion to the provocation. There were many ways in which the UCLAPD officers involved could have handled this incident competently, professionally, and with minimal force."

The group also criticized UCLA's Taser policies as "unduly permissive, giving the police unnecessary latitude, and are inconsistent with the policies of other universities and leading police departments across the country, including other University of California campuses, the LAPD, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD)." (The PDF of the report can be found here.)

Police at UCLA stunned Tabatabainejad using the device's "drive stun" mode, and in the video it seems that Florida campus cops used the same mode on Meyer.

In typical Taser operation, the gun shoots out electrode darts at a target. The darts incapacitate the target. Drive stun mode, on the other hand, is meant for close contact. There are no shooting electrodes -- the gun is placed directly on a target's skin. Drive stun does not incapacitate a target. He merely feels a great deal of pain that officers hope will induce compliance.

According to the Palm Beach Post, Taser International, the company that makes the device, warns officers that drive stun mode can lead to "prolonged struggles" with targets and that "it is in these types of scenarios that officers are often facing accusations of excessive force." (I called Taser with questions about its stun guidelines -- when I hear back, I'll update this post.)]

The Salon site has a video of the guy who was Tased by the police when he was leaving the library, and this time we hear a clear "Fuck off" from the guy. This one is not bleeped out.

We then hear the extremely sinister clickety click of the Klingon Pain Inflictor going into action once again. If you are a Star Trek fan, then you know that the distinguishing feature of the Klingons is that these aliens have no concept of mercy.

And seems that the Fascist cops who police the United States of America have, similarly, no concept of mercy.

The video of the zapping of Mostafa Tabatabainejad goes on and on and on and on and on. It is absolutely horrendous.

I had planned to blog again about Madeleine McCann, since I've found two websites set up by her parents, both including the father's blog, but I think I'll call it quits for today.

The spectacle of Fascist America in action has me in its thrall.

As for John Kerry, well, on account of his sterling war effort, up until today I'd always had a measure of respect for the guy. But after his Me Mr Passive act on campus, my respect for him has totally ceased.

A footnote on Kerry's performance: it is true that, very late in the piece, long after things have gone from bad to worse, Kerry does finally find his voice, and puts his senatorial intellect into play, coming up with a playful response. What he says is this:

"I want to answer his question ... Unfortunately, he's not available to come up here and swear me in as president."

Well, very senatorial. The polished elocutionist on display. But, while that is how a senator may act, it is not how a man should act in this situation. And my judgment on Kerry remains the same: he played Mr Passive when he should not have.

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