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The future of Republican health care

Here’s how it’s going to work. You’re a 68 year old black man with a serious heart condition, and a medic alert bracelet, just in case. You accidentally press it one night.

Don’t expect an ambulance with EMTs. The police will come to your door and demand admission.

You will say, “Please leave me alone. I’m 68 with a heart condition. Why are you doing this to me? Can you please leave me alone?”

The police will tell you they don’t give a fuck. They will call you a nigger. They will force open the door as much as the chain allows.

They will taser you. You’re a 68 year old man with a heart condition, remember?

They will shoot you with a beanbag shotgun.

Then, they’ll shoot you dead with live ammo.

Sounds like some grim dystopian fantasy, doesn’t it? Nah, that could never happen. In what insane world would police, rather than doctors, respond to a medical alert, and treat it with deadly gunfire rather than medicine?

It happened in America, in White Plains, NY, last November. It happened to Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr.

What the hell is wrong with this country?

Comments

  1. says

    http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/29/10926817-hospital-mom-booted-from-er-to-die-in-jail-was-treated-appropriately

    It turns out “no right to healthcare” = “feel free to kill black people”

    When all the old straight white Christian conservatives finally die off, I still hope we have a chance to turn this ship around. I often have to remind people that most of the Fox News demo attended school prior to desegregation. So to act like racism isn’t a huge problem for the right is ridiculous.

  2. joed says

    link doesn’t work
    this murder is so typical of this country. Daily the police murder citizens and there is nothing anyone will do about it. It’s a heartbreaker.
    What a shitty country to allow this.
    Seems impossible to find on the net how many citizens the police kill each year in U S.
    FBI used to publish such figures in their UCR and elsewhere. But no longer.
    Seems the bad guys won and there is no going back.
    Orwell’s 1984 is an excellent message,
    “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face–for ever.”

  3. says

    From the link:

    KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: Where they say, “I don’t give a F.” And then they use the N-word. And then, as I said, ultimately, they bust down the door. And it hurts because, as I said, it didn’t have to go to that point. You also hear the operators from the LifeAid company call the police station and say that they want to cancel the call, Mr. Chamberlain is OK. And at one point you hear the officer there at their central office say, “We’re not canceling anything.” They say, “Call his son. Contact his son.” And they say, “We’re not contacting anyone. We don’t need any mediators.”

    If Jesus existed, he’d weep. He’d fucking weep. This is beyond outrageous. Why in the fuck is this alright? Why in the fuck are the people who committed this murder still walking around? Walking around with authority and weapons, I might add.

  4. Rey Fox says

    Link is working for me. And what a delightful link it is. *groan*

    I…just don’t even.

  5. congenital cynic says

    I know that we up here in Canada have our own right wing ideologue Prime Minister to get rid of, and he’s just a time-delayed version of the shithead you had in Bush Jr. (though less dangerous because we are not so influential), but you folks as a nation are off the fucking rails. This shit, plus some gun-toting wingnut killing a black kid in Florida because he had a sucker and a hoodie. What the fuck? It’s insane. Totally fucking insane. Top that off with your slate of republican presidential candidates and we can safely say that your country is as batshit insane as Afghanistan. North Korea still has you for the title by a hair’s breadth, but that’s nothing to be proud of. I stopped going to the US a decade ago because of the “state of the union”, and I used to go a LOT before that, but I can’t see me ever going back without a massive change in a number of US policies. I’ve got an outstanding traffic ticket in the US, and I might end up in jail if I cross the border, that’s just how fucking insane your country’s government is. The ticket was a joke, just like your government. How sad.

  6. says

    Hmm — I know you hate libertarians, PZ, but could you acknowledge that they have been working on this issue for a while? Radley Blako has whole sections on police professionalism and police militarization on his blog. Reason Magazine also covers this beat.

    Yes, the libertarian ideal of a totally voluntary society is lunacy, but could we at least stop insulting them long enough so that we can work with them to end the war on drugs and police brutality?

  7. alkaloid says

    When all the old straight white Christian conservatives finally die off, I still hope we have a chance to turn this ship around. I often have to remind people that most of the Fox News demo attended school prior to desegregation. So to act like racism isn’t a huge problem for the right is ridiculous.

    May they die off soon and painfully.

  8. flambard says

    I’m not American, but let me take a guess at what’s wrong; a society that posits violence and belligerence is the first solution to any problem, however small or unthreatening. A justice system that consistently protects murderers as long as they’re in some kind of uniform. A deep-seated cultural notion that ability and willingness to commit violence = masculinity and therefore the more violence you commit, the bigger dude you are. See also, gun fetishists. Oh, and a culture that produces an excess of persons possessed of both low ethical standards and even lower educational attainment who are consistently recruited into police forces because as we all know, like always recruits like. Police officers who simply assume cop solidarity ie. systemic police corruption will protect them from the consequence of their actions, because it nearly always does, so feel free to escalate into open acts of murder and torture. Oh, and bone-deep, highly belligerent racism, rooted in insecurity, the kind that always shows up in the people with aforementioned low ethical and educational standards. They need to brutalize someone to prove they’ve got it and who better than the victims least likely to get justice from the system, the black people?

  9. Rob says

    But I thought this was the greatest country on earth? That’s what they keep telling me anyway. Funny, I’m having a hard time thinking of even a single thing that this country is “the greatest” at. Shooting assault rifles in the air without spilling your beer, maybe?

    What a joke. The news has been making me sick to my stomach quite often lately.

  10. lexie says

    Sorry for the ignorance but I’m not American and I’ve tried to understand this issue from the outside but still struggle could some Americans please explain to me why so many Americans seem to be so against the idea of universal healthcare?

  11. says

    lexie:

    could some Americans please explain to me why so many Americans seem to be so against the idea of universal healthcare?

    It’s godless socialism! It’s commie! It’s a death panel, they’ll kill us all, that’s what they do in godless Europe, ya know!

    Basically, it’s a whole lot of stupid. That’s it.

  12. kosk11348 says

    flambard, you forgot “god-soaked,” but otherwise that was a startlingly accurate summary.

  13. Zugswang says

    I’m really sick of this shit. When do I get to hear some good news, like Lloyd Blankfein and Jamie Dimon being prosecuted for securities fraud? When do I get to listen on NPR that billionaire Jerry Epstein got more than just house arrest for underaged sex trafficking? When do I get to read about a cop who gets more than just a couple years in prison for shooting a black guy to death in a subway while lying prone and handcuffed?

    Can this country’s broken justice system throw us a motherfucking bone just once? Is it too much to ask that you take just a month off from killing black people or sending them to prison for trumped up drug possession charges to go after the overprivileged shitbags that are doing real, quantifiable harm to this country and the world? Just one time, show me that money won’t overrule facts and evidence and do your goddamned jobs?

    Or is the inveterate hate I feel simply going to be a perpetual companion?

  14. axilet says

    Goddamn it. I’m lucky enough to live in a multi-racial country where racism is treated with the seriousness it deserves, and following your blog reminds me all the time not to take it for granted.

    I wonder when the victim-blaming trolls will start coming out of the woodwork? I mean, this case is even more clear-cut than the Trayvon Martin shooting (he was a sick old man, for God’s sake), but I have no doubt that they will make a valiant effort.

  15. alkaloid says

    Zugswang:

    I’d say the inveterate hate is probably going to become a permanent companion. It certainly has for me.

    If anything, I’d say that inveterate hate is actually a good sign. A lot of liberals and leftists have imbibed so deeply of the Christian flavored Kool-Aid that a lot of the time, they respond to incidents like this with Chopra-esque woo and infuriating platitudes about forgiveness and loving your enemies. I’m coming to despise them as much as the kind of bigots that commit these kinds of crimes and justify them more directly.

  16. timberwoof says

    Grrrr.

    And I know plenty of people who would say, “Why do you hate the cops so much? They were following their training!”

  17. A. R says

    Horrid, absolutely horrid. Waiting for the excuses to start rolling from the police brutality apologists.

  18. spamamander, hellmart survivor says

    I just bet that colored bastard had skittles and iced tea.

    … ok, I’m going to throw up now.

  19. says

    An important point to be made here is that, even with the witnesses, we probably only know of this because a recording was made (not under the control of the police department) by the medic alert system. Were it not for this, the only thing we would know about is about some old mentally disturbed, coot who got shot after attacking police officers with a hatchet. Anyone associated with the murder should be considered to be unfit for duty as a police officer.

    Again, the take-home lesson with this incident is that, were it not for a third party recording of what went on here, this would, most likely, have been covered up.

  20. echidna says

    The actions of the police were horrific. But what really gets to me is the sense that the wheels of justice do not apply to certain segments of US society: the police, the religious institutions and the wealthy. This lack of consequences is really killing the US.

    It’s just corrupt.

  21. Snoof says

    Now I get why so many Americans want guns. So they can protect themselves from the armed thugs in uniform wandering around murdering civilians.

    (The above comment is only slightly ironic.)

  22. mirapath says

    Wow. This story is so fucking crazy and criminal on so many levels that it is a wonder that the saner citizens of America aren’t out on the streets protesting vehemently and loudly.Where’s the outrage in the national media? Where are the civil rights organisations, apart from the local NAACP chapter?

    So if you are a black teen walking down the streets, you can be murdered by vigilantes, no question asked?

    And if you are black, old and ill, you can reasonably expect to get shot down in your own home? By the fucking police?

  23. says

    When I was a child (in 1994), they told me that racism was over. That Martin Luther King Jr. and his ilk had, through their perseverance and sacrifice and effort, transformed the nation.

    They told me that I was growing up in a society that no longer cared about race. A society that took to heart equality for all.

    They lied.

  24. Lord Mawkscribbler says

    What the Hell? What kind of moron do you have to be to start shooting at someone when responding to a medical emergency? A US police officer apparently.

    Question from an ignorant Brit: What percentage of police officers in the States are black? I know that it’s going to vary vastly from area to area, state to state &c &c, but as a ball-park figure. Is it almost none? far lower than the percentage of black people in the communities from which they are drawn? about equal?

  25. speedweasel says

    Careful PZ, if you continue on like that you will piss off Steven Seagal. You don’t want to have to confront his awesome martial arts skills and his painfully empty mind*.

    Yeah, I’m aware that after 30+ years of swallowing Aikido’s metaphysical bullshit Steven would probably consider that a compliment.

  26. wilsim says

    When is this shit going to end? I can’t stop crying. Words cannot express my feelings right now.

  27. franko says

    What’s wrong with the USA?
    When the Federal Building in Oklahoma City was bombed in 1995, President Clinton’s immediate reaction was a comment to the effect that “we will find whoever caused this outrage and we will seek the death penalty for them”. The basic American mentality is that killing miscreants is right and reasonable. All that wobbles is the definition of ‘miscreant'; in the case of this post it was a disturbed black man.
    The attitude that you should kill things you don’t like then extends to US foreign policy, where the US feels it has a right to act globally like the cops in White Plains, New York. And of course, killing the opposition is one of the major foci of the Old Testament, whose message is not lost on the hordes of ill-educated American citizens.
    It’s not surprising that racism still persists. The USA was the next-to-last country on the planet to abandon apartheid as part of its political norms. It takes very long periods of time to change attitudes.
    But at least the USA takes a firm stand for civil rights: so long as that’s anywhere in the world outside the USA. Within US territory you have the right to hold people indefinitely without any prospect of trial (Guantanamo Bay), you deplore the idea that medical care should be applied to all citizens regardless of their wealth, and your police and military use guns in the most trivial situations (see original post).
    Yep, the US has become the shithole of the civilized world. What a shame!

  28. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    I don’t even know where to start, this is horrible on so many levels.
    Is it known why the hell did they even send the police to a medical emergency?

  29. unclefrogy says

    Well it still sucks mostly to live poor and or black in the states.

    I’m not as interested in the racial makeup of the police here they are not all white though but I do wonder about how many are combat veterans these days, the descriptions of this event sound like Iraq.
    Every time I see a police action I see at minimum 6 cars all over the place they do not just go in pairs but in half a platoon!
    I am waiting for the explosion but it has not occurred yet it is puzzling.
    uncle frogy

  30. Agent Smith says

    Yet another reason to believe that the bad old lynching days were never really over. If anyone wants to claim that the police were following their ‘training’, they can explain why the police were conducting their training sessions at St*rmfr*nt headquarters.

  31. nemothederv says

    I bet that the cops responsible have been suspended with pay while someone launches an “investigation”.
    Wow, that’s harsh punishment isn’t it?
    In my neck of the woods they call that “vacation”.

    The authority to do whatever you want to whoever you want and when you do something bad you get rewarded?
    Where do I sign up?

  32. Dick the Damned says

    We’re moving back to Canada, after living 27 years in the UK.

    What worries me most? Moving so close to the USA, & the poisonous influences emanating from there.

  33. jefrir says

    Is it known why the hell did they even send the police to a medical emergency?

    Sending the police as well as an ambulance can be a sensible option – if someone has collapsed and can’t reach the door, for example, the police might need to break down the door to let the ambulance crew in. They may also be required to restrain someone who needs treatment, but is a danger to the ambulance crew – for example, some people can get violent when hypogycaemic.
    They should leave as soon it’s clear that the person is okay, though, and I’m pretty sure there are no circumstances when shooting the casualty is appropriate.

  34. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    jefrir,
    I understand that in some situations police can be helpful and should be assisting the medical personnel, but I would expect that in a medical emergency health professionals are those to make primary contact and police to be there as a back-up if needed. Here, paramedics are barely even mentioned. The police are the ones banging on the door… and well, from there on everything goes to hell.

  35. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    …in a medical emergency

    That is, in a medical emergency where there is no apparent criminal activity and danger to the paramedics, of course.

  36. crocodoc says

    I’m pretty sure the policemen did not call Mr Chamberlain Sr. an “n-word”. They called him a nigger. But his son is not allowed to use that word when he must describe how his father was murdered. Because that could offend TV viewers and compromise our high moral standards.

  37. joachim says

    Is there an annalogy to the strategy of ID advocates? They first make a fuss and then claim a right to teach the controversy. Here, it seems, the policemen first frightened the man and then felt he was emotionally disturbed and eventually shot him.

  38. lordshipmayhem says

    He was a Marine, and has been drilled into me from a young age, once a Marine, always a Marine. When this goes to court, and it will, even if just to civil court, it would be a salutary reminder to the court (and especially the defendants) to have the audience filled with Marines of all ranks, ages and races in their dress blues, to provide emotional support to the family of the deceased.

    You mess with one Marine, you mess with the Corps.

  39. unbound says

    @spudbeach (#9) – Libertarians are hardly unique in this though. Any rational person understands that the police have gotten to the point of having too much power and too little accountability anymore. Heck, you’ll find there are some conservatives that understand this is a growing issue.

    @Dick (#39) – Unfortunately, the US approach is infecting all of the first world countries. The influence is coming from the large corporations and using whatever wedge issues they can as well as whatever distractions will keep people from focusing on the massive money / power grab by the super rich (not the 1% which was always the wrong dividing line, but the 0.0001%). Canada is getting more infected, but you can see similar issues in the UK, Germany and France. It may be more widespread than that, but here in the US it is so very hard to find decent reporting on other countries.

  40. jamessweet says

    Oh, I see. When they were all mad about “death panels”, their main concern was that it was an unnecessary layer of federal bureaucracy for a process that was better implemented by local law enforcement.

  41. joed says

    @13 lexie

    Here is an article that helps explain why the great majority of people in U S are so happy to cut their own throats and the throats of their children. Basic brainwash/propaganda generation after generation plus the typical lack of self-awareness and self-knowledge.

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30941.htm
    “While self-doubt is the worthy adversary of the wise, belligerent ignorance is the dubious ally of those who fear and resist self-awareness. Often, a journey towards self-knowledge and an attendant awakening to the nature of one’s condition can be unnerving and painful. The process is fraught with free-floating anxiety and weighted with saturnine regret. If I’ve made numerous life-determining choices based on my acceptance of proffered falsehoods, then I have lost many years constructing my life accordingly. The grief can be overwhelming. What alms does one chant into the grieving dawn on the morning after one’s illusions have died?”

  42. Louis says

    Jefrir, #40,

    …I’m pretty sure there are no circumstances when shooting the casualty is appropriate.

    It would seem that the medical condition of severe lead deficiency is affecting a number of black people in the USA. These policemen and George Zimmerman were providing high speed essential minerals to these people. Shame on all of us for doubting their good intentions.

    Louis

  43. jefrir says

    @Beatrice
    Hell yes, police should be there to assist and/or protect the ambulance crew, not instead of the ambulance. Even when a police escort is provided because of a history of violence to ambulance crews, the two teams approach together (or at least that’s how it works in the UK; in the US, fuck knows).
    A police accompaniment is fairly standard, having the police instead is stupid, and the police forcing their way in, tasering, and shooting the guy is monstrous.

  44. Ogvorbis (no relation to the Ogg family) says

    This is horrendous.

    Sometimes I wonder if every police car should have this as a a motto painted on the car: “We may be wrong, but we’re never in doubt!” The assumption was that this was a criminal complaint call on the part of the police. Even when they should have realized they were wrong, they were never in doubt.

  45. Louis says

    Crocodoc, #43,

    DING DING DING WINNER!

    I could not agree more. I am hugely opposed to the bowdlerisation of language. I’m not talking about calling people things, obviously racial slurs and what not are beyond the pale and need stomping on, but we need to stop treating words like they are magic. This is not “wah wah I can’t call people “niggers”, it’s the opposite.

    If we’re going to discuss this disgusting injustice, you know what, the fact that these racist cops tasered and shot an innocent man is the bigger horror. The fact that they called him a “nigger” is pretty horrific in itself, I hate the almost pretending it didn’t happen by hiding behind euphemistic language. I don’t think we should back off from hammering the comfortable viewers at home, people like me, with every emotive and horrific thing these people did.

    You’re damn right they didn’t call him an “n-word”. They called him a “nigger”. They shot him for being a “nigger” in their eyes. They didn’t see a person. They saw a “nigger”. THAT is where these incidents stem from. They stem from the dehumanising attitude racists have to real people. That idea grants them the feeling of entitlement necessary to treat people as less than human.

    So fuck people’s finer feelings, use the damn words the pissants who did this used. Let people see how ugly they are.

    There’s an American comedian called Reinald D Hunter here in the UK. He’s black by the way. He gives people a warning at the start of his show that he is going to use a few terms people might not enjoy, like, for example, the word “nigger”. He apologises for using it now that the word has become so offensive to white people. His sarcasm is bang on target.

    Louis

  46. kevinalexander says

    So Judge Dredd is making medical decisions now. Think how much he saved the family by this timely lead injection.

  47. catelliunhinged says

    Quick note as to why the police can arrive first. Many communities use a “first responder” approach to medical emergencies. Police, Fire and Paramedics are dispatched on an emergency call and whoever is first to arrive is expected to administer basic CPR until the trained health professionals arrive and to possibly provide alternative transportation if the ambulance (for whatever reason) cannot make the scene in time. This can vary from community to community, but this sort of first responder policy is quite common.

    Please note, first responders under this protocol are to render first aid, not tase or shoot the patient.

  48. says

    Rob at 12.

    According to Information is Beautiful, The USA is Best in the World at Serial Killers. (But not at Gun Deaths – that’s Brazil).

    Whereas Congenital Cynic at 8. can be proud to represent the country that has the highest proportion of single parent families. Here in the UK, we win on number of CCTVs.

    We’re all finding our won highways to Hell.

  49. Marcus Hill says

    franko @34:

    Yep, the US has become the shithole of the civilized world.

    No, this is just further evidence that the US isn’t part of the civilised world.

  50. says

    It turns out “no right to healthcare” = “feel free to kill black people”

    at the moment, it actually looks like in the US it’s: almost anything = “feel free to kill black people” :-(

    Yes, the libertarian ideal of a totally voluntary society is lunacy, but could we at least stop insulting them long enough so that we can work with them to end the war on drugs and police brutality?

    how about they stop doing their utmost to destroy what’s left of America’s social safety net, infrastructure, and environmental protections long enough to work together with us on that?

  51. says

    According to Information is Beautiful, The USA is Best in the World at Serial Killers. (But not at Gun Deaths – that’s Brazil).

    Whereas Congenital Cynic at 8. can be proud to represent the country that has the highest proportion of single parent families. Here in the UK, we win on number of CCTVs.

    We’re all finding our won highways to Hell.

    because having unmarried parents is comparable to ridiculous numbers of gun-deaths…? O.o

  52. crocswsocks says

    Clearly, Mr. Chamberlain should have moved across the tracks from “White Plains” to “Nigger Plains.”

  53. devin says

    I can’t defend the actions, words or attitudes of the officers. But I do understand why they were so insistent to be let in.

    I was a police officer for 20 years and I’m now retired.

    When you respond to these types of things, you never know for sure what is going on. Yeah, there is a voice behind the door saying “go away, I’m ok” But you don’t know if that is the owner of the home, or someone who just killed the owner. Even when he opens the door a crack and tells you “I’m ok, go away,” you don’t know that someone is not standing out of view with a gun to his head.

    Can you imagine the public outcry if the officers heard a voice saying “I’m ok go away” and they left. Then the next day it is discovered that the home owner was dead and they had been talking to the killer.

    So yeah, if I had been there I would have wanted the door open and I would have wanted to come in and take a short look around. But the whole thing could have been done by just explaining to the guy why they had to come in, what they were going to do and why. A few minutes of calm talking, a quick walk through and then good night sir.

    People like to be the ruler of their home and many take a very dim view of letting the police inside the door. But the officers are trapped in a no win situation. Force their way in and look like assholes, or take the risk of walking away from a crime scene and look like uncaring assholes.

    It was handled wrong. The officers were unskilled, racist and trigger happy. But they did have a reason to ask, or even demand, that they be let in.

  54. says

    Oh good grief.

    NO, it is NOT appropriate for police to roll on a call for medical assistance.

    I have had the need for medical assistance for myself or one of my family members numerous times over the years.

    The only time when the police rolled on the call was when they WERE the medical assistance. (This was in the 1960s, prior to the advent of EMTs, and the police were in charge of the ambulance.)

    But these days, everywhere in the United States, if you’re having a heart attack and dial 911, the FIRE DEPARTMENT responds with the EMTs. NOT the police.

    There’s no plausible scenario you can devise that involves first responders being police officers. None. Zero. Zip. Nada. Sure, you can spin fancy implausible scenarios that go against every single protocol of every single emergency management system in the United States.

    This was murder. Pure and simple. They should all be in prison.

    Period.

  55. sailor1031 says

    Unfortunately this kind of incident is not limited to the USA. I seem to remember that not all that long ago several of Canada’s wonderful ‘mounties’ tasered to death an innocent polish traveller whose only real need was an interpreter. And didn’t a couple of Britain’s finest brutally murder an innocent brazilian tourist not long ago, at a tube station?

    Bottom line – if you give morons deadly weapons the outcome is not likely to be positive.

  56. devin says

    Murder, I agree.

    But this was called in by the medical alert people. They had a choice to make. They could role a medical team or the police. A medical team cost money and someone, the victim or the life alert people were going to have to pay for that team to respond. Or they could send the police for free. So the reason that the police responded and mot EMT’s was just cost. Life Alert was saving a few bucks.

    Yeah, in some communities the EMT’s are the fire department and a call out where no services were used might be free. But many places the ambulance company is privately owned and so they will bill someone if they are called out.

    Its fairly common for the police to be the first responders on a check welfare. If they guy had called 911 himself and said “help I’m having a heart attack,” then EMT would have been dispatched. But because the call came is as an unknown trouble through the medical alert people, it was the free to respond police.

  57. joed says

    devin @61
    your pig attitude is much of the problem!
    you can always come up with some just-so scenario to make the pigs seem justified.
    They murdered the poor guy and that’s about it for the story.
    unless you can create some other nonsense about why the pigs had to enter the guys home.
    Talk about a police state–this is it.

  58. FilthyHuman says

    @joed
    #66

    your pig attitude is much of the problem!
    you can always come up with some just-so scenario to make the pigs seem justified.
    They murdered the poor guy and that’s about it for the story.
    unless you can create some other nonsense about why the pigs had to enter the guys home.
    Talk about a police state–this is it.

    Even a non-police state still needs police.

    And he was only justifying the fact that police do have a reason to insist on at least being let into the door. He’s not justifying the way they handled it.

  59. says

    So much rage, I don’t really know how to express it. I think it’s time we all started treating cops like the major criminal element in society. Maybe that might motivate the apathetic ones into cleaning up their departments.

  60. Ogvorbis (no relation to the Ogg family) says

    joed:

    The reasoning laid out by devin is an accurate assessment of how law enforcement officers are trained in the US. As LEOs become better trained and more militarized (witness the obscene growth of SWAT), their available approved actions drop. LEOs carry insurance in case they get sued because of the way they perform their duties. If an officer does something for which he or she is not trained, or an action is contrary to training, their insurance may not cover them. Additionally, if an officer screws up royally following the training and regulations of that department to the letter, the supervisor will not be in trouble. If they screw up because they have broken protocol, or the supervisor advises breaking protocol, the officers or the supervisor are up the creek without a lawyer. Officers are actively discouraged from thinking for themselves or trying to find less confrontational methods as this means they are stepping outside their training.

    Please note that I am not defending the action taken by these officers. I merely note that this type of absurdity (including insisting that the door be opened and the officers admitted) really is protocol. The murder of an unarmed civilian, inside his home, after he had accidentally called for help and then tried to cancel it is not, unfortunately, an aberration. It is a natural and thoroughly disgusting outcome created by the ‘professionalization’ (which should actually read militarization) of the civilian police force and the current training standards and protocols. There was a time when a huge problem with the police was lack of training. Now it appears that too much training, and a rigid protocol that forces the million types of incidents out there into five possible responses, is the problem.

  61. says

    These police belong in prison or worse, but I don’t think I understand what this atrocity has to do with “The future of Republican health care”.

    Off topic: It’s interesting that the Supreme Court might throw out Obama’s mandate idea, also known as forcing people to buy what they don’t want and don’t need (to subsidize slobs who drink, smoke, eat junk food, and never exercise).

  62. FilthyHuman says

    @humanape
    #70

    These police belong in prison or worse, but I don’t think I understand what this atrocity has to do with “The future of Republican health care”.

    Because the Republican’s version of healthcare for those less-fortunate boils down to “Don’t get sick. If you do, die quickly.”

    known as forcing people to buy what they don’t want and don’t need (to subsidize slobs who drink, smoke, eat junk food, and never exercise).

    You don’t need health-insurance? You never get sick? You will never get cancer? Will, LUCKY YOU!

  63. Ogvorbis (no relation to the Ogg family) says

    , but I don’t think I understand what this atrocity has to do with “The future of Republican health care”.

    Right wing authoritarianism, currently quite at home in the GOP, is really big on law enforcement and it is one of the few things that the GOP is willing to throw money at.

    (to subsidize slobs who drink, smoke, eat junk food, and never exercise).

    Are we really going to go down that shit road again?

  64. FilthyHuman says

    @Ogvorbis
    #72

    Are we really going to go down that shit road again?

    Aw… do we have to? I don’t want to get my $5000 shoes dirty.

  65. alexmartin says

    Hi. I am a 43 year-old black man and an Army veteran. Though I’m from the north (Michigan), I know racism. I have lived through it and suffered because of it, through loss of jobs because of racists, to vile treatment because of racists. Racism is real and can be, in some places, locally virulent, in that the strain may run extensively depending upon the region or state. I have been stationed in the south and lived in four southern states. Racial animosity by whites against blacks is real and, purportedly, endemic.

    Having said the above, I might also add: so, what?

    Looking through the lens of increasingly obscure history, at the time of my birth in 1968, it was the Democrats who were the Bull Connors and the Robert Byrds and the KKK party. I know, and you don’t, that the Republican party was founded in 1854 as a stated purpose, a mission to abate the spread of African enslavement, and that as late as 1968 it was the Republican party that had done all the heavy lifting to combat racism and discrimination against blacks and Democrat Jim Crowe laws, vote suppression, separate but equal treatment, and segregation in my beloved military and in society.

    The Democrat party of THAT era was YOUR alleged philosophical enemy. Or have you forgotten? Or ever knew?

    As this thread relates (ostensively, I suppose, though in actually just another excuse to gin yourselves up on more hatred) to healthcare coverage and those evil entities who would seek to deny same to society and particularly blacks whom they perniciously hate,I am a 1099 contractor. I have no employer provider healthcare simply because at present I choose not to accept what limited offerings that may be available. But let me tell you this much: I have never believed that an employer should have to offer healthcare to an employee any way.

    Do you understand?

    We place the cart before the horse, accept as pro forma that employers have the burden of supplying healthcare insurance coverage to their employees.

    Stretch your brains a bit, shall we, and ask yourself this question: Why is that?

    Says whom? By what writ or right or pronouncement or decree? By what agency? For you on the Left, you assume that Government has a right and duty to impose upon this nations’ employers the burden of providing healthcare insurance coverage or else.

    What a quandary. Start with that.

    You now tie racism and relatively isolated incidences of racist atrocity to the Republican party and to partisan healthcare coverage policy? How many ways can you knot a noodle? A twisted pretzel’s got nothing on your Collective tortured reasoning in this regard. Some BillyBob cops murder a black man (in the liberated, Liberal-Progressive North no less!), and that equates to all Republicans want to murder niggers (my word) and deny healthcare to them so that all just die?

    As a black man with my thinking cap on I will tell all you Statist socialists, please, get off the psychotropic drugs, ah-ight?

    I will boil it down for you as simply as I possibly can. Here goes. Healthcare costs waaaay too much. There is no excuse, justification, defense, or rationalization for that fact. Here’s more: your mothers and fathers for decades watched and tolerated this miscarriage of (social) justice. They and we all as citizens, dropped the ball in this matter in that we did not hold our government responsible for reigning in the avaricious, rapacious healthcare sector. And now today, healthcare for most is virtually unaffordable. Funny how that happened, no? And so convenient too, in that it allows you now to clamour for Father God (-or Mother God, if you prefer?-)Government to come in and Save Us all. You now demand it.

    There are many and obvious fixes that should have been employed decades ago to contain the run-away costs related to so basic and essential a service as healthcare, yet your parents and now we ourselves, as our duty as responsible citizens, sat back and dithered and watched and did nothing as the situation got out of control.

    And it is all, now, Somebody else’s fault. Wonder who’s fault that is? Hmmmm, let me guess….– got it!–Those racist evil conservative Right-Fundy Republicans.

    Got it.

    Question: Wouldn’t it have been better and more efficacious all along to have paid a few bucks every month into a healthcare fund, whether as an employee or private citizen, that provided health coverage, shepherded, protected, and assured by the state or federal government, and not owned and operated by government?

    Could we not have implemented such a plan today in our nations healthcare overhaul, after having excised all waste, fraud and abuse within the medical sector, that assured parity and portability across state lines, reformed tort laws, etc?

    I could go on, but I won’t. The point is, healthcare is essential, just like food is, but not a one of you wants to see the Federal government take over the food supply and administer your grocery store and regulate your grocery purchases, so WTF is up with you now?

    Stop taking a sledgehammer fix to a fractured tea cup. You’ll only f- it up beyond hope of repair.

    Or do you prefer the communist Cuba model instead?

    I am a conscious, informed, and intelligent man of color, and I’m gonna tell you that the entire premise of this thread, as stated by commentator #1 is just all f-ed up. Get f-in real. You cannot be that stupid. As a black conservative, I am appalled at you all. How many of you ARE one of us long-suffering, put-upon black folk anyway? Get your self-righteous patriachal liberal white guilt in check first, before you come at anyone else with this BS.

  66. DLC says

    The opposite end of this is Jeffrey Dahmer, who waved police off from rescuing one of his victims by insisting that it was just a homosexual lovers quarrel. Had officers been a bit more suspicious and intrusive they might have found the body of another of Dahmer’s victims inside the apartment.

    Second thing: police are routinely called to perform welfare checks on elderly or shut-in persons.

    None of this is intended to excuse or palliate the behavior of White Plains Police officers.
    In this case, it’s abundantly clear that police displayed racial bias, poor training, poor interpersonal skills and brutal overreaction to an already tricky situation, and that’s the mildest language I can find at the moment. So, yes, be angry about the outcome in this event. Without public outcry the police in white plains will not change their ways to –you know — something not of the 1950s.

  67. Porco Dio says

    Can you get jail time for racial slurs?

    Seems to me that if they can get it right in South Africa they should be able to get it right in the most backward superpower in the world.

    They get it right in much of Europe too.

    Call it the broken windows or zero tolerance policy of racism if you will.

  68. truthspeaker says

    Well was he wearing a hoodie? Maybe the police officers felt threatened.

    ^sarcasm

  69. alexmartin says

    As you were: commentator #2, with his asinine State-owned Media MSNBC link, and his insipid, irresponsible, and dangerous spew.

    These people have given you your narrative and your marching orders. Now it is up to you, as faithful zombies, to carry out your duties.

  70. FilthyHuman says

    @alexmartin
    #74

    The Democrat party of THAT era was YOUR alleged philosophical enemy. Or have you forgotten? Or ever knew?

    We know. We also know political party evolves over time. Just look at current events.
    Or just look at this.
    Republican Base Heavily White, Conservative, Religious
    If nothing else note this.
    The US population is, 12.6% black (based on 2010 census).
    In the Republican party, 2% of them are black.
    In the Democratic party, 19% of them are black.

    Now, I would be interested to know exactly why the two party seems to have swapped roles over time. But you can’t dismiss the fact that the modern Republican party is, frankly, extremely biased against black.

    Wouldn’t it have been better and more efficacious all along to have paid a few bucks every month into a healthcare fund, whether as an employee or private citizen, that provided health coverage, shepherded, protected, and assured by the state or federal government, and not owned and operated by government?

    Um… Obama’s ACA did, in part, that.

    It required ALL citizens to pay a few bucks into an insurance plan. The insurance company, in term, is regulated (the shepherded, protected, and assured part) by the law to have to provide the service. And it’s not owned and operated by the government.

    You know, the same law that Republican keep fighting against.

    The point is, healthcare is essential, just like food is, but not a one of you wants to see the Federal government take over the food supply and administer your grocery store and regulate your grocery purchases, so WTF is up with you now?

    Um… do you live under a rock? Progressive supports better regulation by FDA (you know, the one regulating the nation’s food supply) while the Neo-con want to gut the whole thing?

    I am a conscious, informed, and intelligent man of color, and I’m gonna tell you that the entire premise of this thread, as stated by commentator #1

    Judging by all that you have stated so far, you are none of it (okay, maybe you ARE black, but that’s only because it’s not a choice one could make).

    I also find it strange that you keep insisting that you’re a black man, as if you believe that the color of the skin reflects the content of your character.

  71. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Now it is up to you, as faithful zombies, to carry out your duties.

    Funny how real liberturd zombies keep calling us zombies. They all sound the same, like they are playing a broken record, without real thought.

  72. Matt Penfold says

    I could go on, but I won’t. The point is, healthcare is essential, just like food is, but not a one of you wants to see the Federal government take over the food supply and administer your grocery store and regulate your grocery purchases, so WTF is up with you now?

    Well, maybe some people actually want the US to have a good healthcare system where access to healthcare does not depend on your ability to play.

    Such systems do exist, and they not only deliver better healthcare they also cost less. Some of them are even run by Governments.

    Care to explain why you did not know this ?

  73. FilthyHuman says

    @Porco Dio
    #76

    Can you get jail time for racial slurs?

    No, first amendment rights and everything. It is a good thing thou, since that’s one less frivolous thing a racists law enforcement can use against minority.

    Else, you can get something like this.
    “Your honor! This black man called me a cracker, and it is racist!”

    Seems to me that if they can get it right in South Africa they should be able to get it right in the most backward superpower in the world.

    Um… I don’t see how jailing a woman for having an outburst (even if it’s racial) is considered getting it right.

    They get it right in much of Europe too.

    Examples?

    Call it the broken windows or zero tolerance policy of racism if you will.

    And who decide/enforce what speech is racists?

  74. FilthyHuman says

    @Matt Penfold
    #83

    Care to explain why you did not know this?

    He’s black?

    A little elaboration on the hypothesis.
    He’s using his supposed blackness credential to support his arguments. And if it fails and he’s viewed as a un-informed neo-con-bot… Hey! It’s a black guy viewed as an idiot!

  75. FilthyHuman says

    @ericpaulsen
    #87

    We are Rome in decline.

    Unless your rich, then bailing is always an option.

  76. says

    I know, and you don’t, that the Republican party was founded in 1854 as a stated purpose, a mission to abate the spread of African enslavement

    Actually, I did know that. The republican party used to be the more praiseworthy. That it isn’t now is a shame, but doesn’t change that it isn’t now.

    and that as late as 1968 it was the Republican party that had done all the heavy lifting to combat racism and discrimination against blacks and Democrat Jim Crowe laws

    Now that’s blatantly untrue. Well before then, the Republicans had stopped caring. In fact, it could fairly be argued that the majority of Republicans stopped caring within a generation of the end of the Reconstruction, if that long. Further, the bulk of the party did not work towards equality so much as ending slavery. That’s huge, yes; it’s also not the entire long slog you’re portraying it as.

    You should also be aware that the Southern Strategy was when the Republican Party decided to stop caring. Almost within an election cycle, the balance of who was patently anti-black and who was not had altered.

    The Democrat party of THAT era was YOUR alleged philosophical enemy. Or have you forgotten?

    I haven’t, I just don’t care.

    We place the cart before the horse, accept as pro forma that employers have the burden of supplying healthcare insurance coverage to their employees.

    Actually, I think the government has that burden, but will accept it being placed on employers in this insane society.

    I could go on, but I won’t. The point is, healthcare is essential, just like food is, but not a one of you wants to see the Federal government take over the food supply and administer your grocery store and regulate your grocery purchases, so WTF is up with you now?

    You’re aware that food is heavily regulated as it is, yes?

    Wouldn’t it have been better and more efficacious all along to have paid a few bucks every month into a healthcare fund, whether as an employee or private citizen that provided health coverage, shepherded, protected, and assured by the state or federal government, and not owned and operated by government?

    Why are you assuming, contra to the evidence, that it is better for this fund not to be government operated?

  77. Anri says

    I can’t defend the actions, words or attitudes of the officers.

    Spoiler: defense of the actions, words or attitudes of the officers incoming.

    But I do understand why they were so insistent to be let in.

    Called it.

    I was a police officer for 20 years and I’m now retired.

    When you respond to these types of things, you never know for sure what is going on. Yeah, there is a voice behind the door saying “go away, I’m ok” But you don’t know if that is the owner of the home, or someone who just killed the owner. Even when he opens the door a crack and tells you “I’m ok, go away,” you don’t know that someone is not standing out of view with a gun to his head.

    Can you imagine the public outcry if the officers heard a voice saying “I’m ok go away” and they left. Then the next day it is discovered that the home owner was dead and they had been talking to the killer.

    So yeah, if I had been there I would have wanted the door open and I would have wanted to come in and take a short look around. But the whole thing could have been done by just explaining to the guy why they had to come in, what they were going to do and why. A few minutes of calm talking, a quick walk through and then good night sir.

    People like to be the ruler of their home and many take a very dim view of letting the police inside the door. But the officers are trapped in a no win situation. Force their way in and look like assholes, or take the risk of walking away from a crime scene and look like uncaring assholes.

    It was handled wrong. The officers were unskilled, racist and trigger happy. But they did have a reason to ask, or even demand, that they be let in.

    So, it is your contention that accidental triggering of an ambulance service alarm grants police the right to forcefully enter your home, yes?
    If I (or someone else) triggers this sort of thing, and I refuse the officers entry into my home, am I guilty of a crime, such as obstruction of justice? If not, how can they have the right to enter?

    Does the presumption of innocence extend through a closed door? Do you consider pressing a button on a medical alert bracelet as probable cause for a forcible entry? Does it carry the force of a warrant?

    How do you suggest I determine if the police are actually responding or just decided to bust my door down? How would I argue that in court, assuming that refusing the entry leaves me alive?

    If I believe the police are entering without probable cause, may I Stand My Ground against them?

  78. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart, purveyor of candy and lies says

    Porco Dio:

    Can you get jail time for racial slurs?

    By themselves? No.

    However, NY has some fairly strict hate crime laws. Basically, if you use a slur while committing a violent crime (say, murder), the crime becomes “aggrevated” and you face more jail time (NY does not have the death penalty). If these officers were ever to face justice, they’re in for a hell of a prision sentance.

  79. says

    Uh, there are conservative republicans who are black and as stupid as the rest. Absent powerful evidence, I won’t doubt this point. I just don’t really care.

    How many of you ARE one of us long-suffering, put-upon black folk anyway? Get your self-righteous patriachal liberal white guilt in check first, before you come at anyone else with this BS.

    What makes you think everyone who suffers from racism is black, exactly? Or that everyone who opposes it is white?

  80. says

    Alkaloid:

    May they die off soon and painfully.

    Amen.

    Also:

    If anything, I’d say that inveterate hate is actually a good sign. A lot of liberals and leftists have imbibed so deeply of the Christian flavored Kool-Aid that a lot of the time, they respond to incidents like this with Chopra-esque woo and infuriating platitudes about forgiveness and loving your enemies. I’m coming to despise them as much as the kind of bigots that commit these kinds of crimes and justify them more directly.

    Fucking THIS.

    I made the mistake of reading the comments on Barbyau’s link at #2. Full of compassionate conservatives blaming Brown for not having “gone out and gotten a job” (despite being mentally ill in a terrible economy), complaining about all the “psychos” at ERs, and wishing for the days when “our lives were governed by the Ten Commandments.”

    There was also a comment in there about how Brown was “quite loud… about her level of pain” when visiting the ER. I have to wonder whether a similarly loud white person, especially a white man, would have been treated. And the comment also brings to mind discussions I’ve read about how some doctors’ attitudes toward disabled people who are pro-active and assertive about getting their pain treated properly, rather than passive and submissive.

    Spudbeach: Fuck libertarians. If it weren’t for them and their Koch sugar daddies there’d be a lot less resistance in the U.S. to single-payer healthcare, which may have saved Brown’s life. They don’t get credit for finding an occasional truffle.

    Will Ross, #56: Serial killers, gun deaths, universal surveillance…and single parent families. One of these things is not like the other. Why don’t we let Just_A_Lurker explain it to your clueless sexist ass.

    Alex Martin, sorry you’ve drunk so deeply of the Kool-Aid.

    Oh, and I should’ve done this months ago:

    Comment by humanape blocked. [unkill]​[show comment]

    Asshole.

  81. FilthyHuman says

    @Anri
    #90

    If I (or someone else) triggers this sort of thing, and I refuse the officers entry into my home, am I guilty of a crime, such as obstruction of justice? If not, how can they have the right to enter?

    I think the problem boils down to how effective you want the police to be given the scenarios. I’ll list a few (all of the below scenario was of the case that you’re the innocent party). Furthermore, for each scenarios.

    1. A neighbor called in a possible robber. Police shows up, robber answers door and claim everything’s okay.
    1F. Neighbor mistakenly called in a possible robbery, whether it due to you trying to get home but fumbled at the lock for too long. Or you’re drunk.

    2. There’s a home-invasion, you’re forced at gun-point/knife-point to tell the police that everything’s okay.
    2F. There’s no home-invasion, it’s just a movie/video-game being too loud.

    3. You’re an abused spouse/child, and the abuser answers the door telling the officers everything’s okay.
    3F. You had a heated argument with your spouse/child, but nothing physical or serious happened.

    4. (The paranoia scenario) There’s a home-invasion, you’re tied up and hidden in the basement, and the invader impersonates you.

    Add more scenarios as you choose, and ask yourself what kind of policy could best help resolve most of the situation correctly (or if you want to go with minimize the lost, a policy that would result in the least worst worst out-come).

  82. otrame says

    @filthy human. What you said.

    @ Alex Martin The southern Democrats were racists because they were southern, not because they were Democrats. The Democratic party had a lot to do with ending institionalized racism. The current Republican party is doing a great job of fostering the continuation of personal racism, and doing it deliberately, to get votes. All of which has nothing to so with the need to have a national health care system.

    @joed
    Fuck you. Police officers are not pigs. Some are very bad men and women. Some are wonderful men and women. Most are just average men and women. Dehumanizing them does not solve a problem.

    @devin

    You are, of course, absolutely correct. The cause of the problem is not that they insisted on coming in. I imagine the old man distrusted cops and was adamant that they not come in. He might have called them names, even threatened to sue, whatever. The problem is not that they insisted on coming in. It could even be said that only a fraction of the problem is that they were pissed and they hated black people and they probably didn’t know they were being recorded and they got carried away.

    The REAL PROBLEM is that they are not in jail. I understand the solidarity that cops have with each other. Facing attitudes like joed’s every day will do that to you. And only other cops will understand the pressures they are under. Having felt those pressures themselves, they think “it could have been me losing my temper” and want to cut slack. That is understandable. But it cannot be allowed. We must hold police to a high standard. When the racial attitudes are added, it makes it even more imperative that cops be required to submit to the law, just like everyone else. They need to be charged and tried. They killed a man.

    Nothing is more admirable than a good cop. Nothing is more dangerous to society than a bad one. The culture of cops needs to be less defensive and aimed at putting pressure on cops to be better cops. Having said that, I have no idea how to accomplish that, except by senior cops, police, chiefs, etc. demanding that when cops fuck up and hurt someone when they didn’t need to, they get treated like anyone else who fucks up and hurts some one. Until more cops go to jail behind this sort of thing, the hostility and distrust displayed by joed will continue to make the very difficult job of being a cop harder.

  83. Anri says

    In RE alexmartin:

    First of all, if you’re uncertain as to how/why/when/etc the GOP flipflopped on race relations, please Goolge the following term: Southern Strategy.
    You will learn things.

    Moving on:

    I will boil it down for you as simply as I possibly can. Here goes. Healthcare costs waaaay too much. There is no excuse, justification, defense, or rationalization for that fact. Here’s more: your mothers and fathers for decades watched and tolerated this miscarriage of (social) justice. They and we all as citizens, dropped the ball in this matter in that we did not hold our government responsible for reigning in the avaricious, rapacious healthcare sector. And now today, healthcare for most is virtually unaffordable. Funny how that happened, no?

    More or less ture, let’s continue…

    And so convenient too, in that it allows you now to clamour for Father God (-or Mother God, if you prefer?-)Government to come in and Save Us all. You now demand it.

    It’s not convinient in any way.
    And some of us believe that the purpose of government is to make life better for citizens. It’s not God, it’s not Mother or Father, it’s just government and can be a force for good or bad like any other powerful tool.
    And, oddly enough, you didn’t list the alternatives. Maybe you will below.

    There are many and obvious fixes that should have been employed decades ago to contain the run-away costs related to so basic and essential a service as healthcare, yet your parents and now we ourselves, as our duty as responsible citizens, sat back and dithered and watched and did nothing as the situation got out of control.

    “And if the wooden horse of Troy had foaled, feeding your stock would cost much less!”
    Lots of people dropped the ball for lots of years. We’re trying to pick it up again.

    And it is all, now, Somebody else’s fault. Wonder who’s fault that is? Hmmmm, let me guess….– got it!–Those racist evil conservative Right-Fundy Republicans.

    I’m sorry, do you believe that the GOP is not racist?
    Or that they are not vastly more closely allied to the wackloon fundamentalists preaching hate?
    Or that they are not the party that is more actively fighting health care reform?

    ?Got it.
    Question: Wouldn’t it have been better and more efficacious all along to have paid a few bucks every month into a healthcare fund, whether as an employee or private citizen, that provided health coverage, shepherded, protected, and assured by the state or federal government, and not owned and operated by government?

    You mean raising taxes?
    Hmm… now, what party adamantly opposes that policy again…?

    Could we not have implemented such a plan today in our nations healthcare overhaul, after having excised all waste, fraud and abuse within the medical sector, that assured parity and portability across state lines, reformed tort laws, etc?

    How do you ensure cross-state portability in something not regulated by the federal government? that offered just as a single problem.
    I’m curious, what legistator suggested your plan, and what party were they from? If the answers are (as I suspect they are) “none” and “none”, than you have your answer as to why it wasn’t adopted.

    I could go on, but I won’t. The point is, healthcare is essential, just like food is, but not a one of you wants to see the Federal government take over the food supply and administer your grocery store and regulate your grocery purchases, so WTF is up with you now?

    First of all, the food supply is heavily regulated by the government. Google “FDA” if you are unfamiliar with this.

    Clean air and water, transportation infrastructure, cross-state law enforcement, solvent currency, national defense… some people believe these are important too. All of them are regulated or directly administered at the Federal level.

    Stop taking a sledgehammer fix to a fractured tea cup. You’ll only f- it up beyond hope of repair.

    You’re an adult. Learn to type “fuck” if you mean “fuck”.

    Or do you prefer the communist Cuba model instead?

    No, but I do prefer a socialist medical system, as they seem to work a hell of a lot better than what we’ve got here.

    I am a conscious, informed, and intelligent man of color, and I’m gonna tell you that the entire premise of this thread, as stated by commentator #1 is just all f-ed up. Get f-in real. You cannot be that stupid. As a black conservative, I am appalled at you all. How many of you ARE one of us long-suffering, put-upon black folk anyway? Get your self-righteous patriachal liberal white guilt in check first, before you come at anyone else with this BS.

    Well, you tell me – am I black, and can therefore comment on this topic, or am I not and am therefore forbidden from doing so?

  84. says

    @ Alex Martin The southern Democrats were racists because they were southern, not because they were Democrats. The Democratic party had a lot to do with ending institionalized racism. The current Republican party is doing a great job of fostering the continuation of personal racism, and doing it deliberately, to get votes. All of which has nothing to so with the need to have a national health care system.

    The north is still really, really racist, and this is not the argument I would choose. The north’s racism is just relatively more subtle.

  85. says

    Looking through the lens of increasingly obscure history, at the time of my birth in 1968, it was the Democrats who were the Bull Connors and the Robert Byrds and the KKK party. I know, and you don’t, that the Republican party was founded in 1854 as a stated purpose, a mission to abate the spread of African enslavement, and that as late as 1968 it was the Republican party that had done all the heavy lifting to combat racism and discrimination against blacks and Democrat Jim Crowe laws, vote suppression, separate but equal treatment, and segregation in my beloved military and in society.

    The Democrat party of THAT era was YOUR alleged philosophical enemy. Or have you forgotten? Or ever knew?

    oh yawn. we all know about how the Southern Strategy resulted in the majority of overt racists switching out of the Democratic Party and into the Republican Party. why would you think this is relevant to anything?

    We place the cart before the horse, accept as pro forma that employers have the burden of supplying healthcare insurance coverage to their employees.

    Stretch your brains a bit, shall we, and ask yourself this question: Why is that?

    Says whom? By what writ or right or pronouncement or decree? By what agency? For you on the Left, you assume that Government has a right and duty to impose upon this nations’ employers the burden of providing healthcare insurance coverage or else.

    What a quandary. Start with that.

    what quandary? your country is too inept to provide universal healthcare, or even single payer insurance, so employer-provided insurance coverage is the least shitty possible policy in terms of outcomes.

    also, it’s “says who”, not “says whom” [/pet peeve]

    and that equates to all Republicans want to murder niggers (my word) and deny healthcare to them so that all just die?

    example of != equates to.

    also, Republican do want to deny many people access to healthcare, and a lot of people die as a result of that.

    Healthcare costs waaaay too much.

    and that too is the conservatives’ fault; single payer systems and universal healthcare are cheaper. Even Switzerland’s private but extremely heavily regulated system is cheaper than the US system; and it’s not the liberals who are against regulations. just saying.

    Here’s more: your mothers and fathers for decades watched and tolerated this miscarriage of (social) justice.

    my parents don’t live in your shithole of a country. They live in two countries with universal health coverage, and are so much better off for it. And there would be riots in he streets if someone tried to do away with that and institute the American system instead.

    . They and we all as citizens, dropped the ball in this matter in that we did not hold our government responsible for reigning in the avaricious, rapacious healthcare sector. And now today, healthcare for most is virtually unaffordable. Funny how that happened, no? And so convenient too, in that it allows you now to clamour for Father God (-or Mother God, if you prefer?-)Government to come in and Save Us all.

    do you even fucking read what you write? who do you think was going to rein in and regulate the healthcare sector? magic fairies? no, that would have been government.

    Wouldn’t it have been better and more efficacious all along to have paid a few bucks every month into a healthcare fund, whether as an employee or private citizen, that provided health coverage, shepherded, protected, and assured by the state or federal government, and not owned and operated by government?

    the absolute worst invention of the US is this concept of governmentally “shepherded, protected, and assured” private organizations; that is what leads to the nasty “socialize risks, privatize profits” model of screwing the US population over. Shit like that needs to be either heavily regulated and controlled, or it needs to be directly administered by the government, so that risks and profits are socialized (or not) equally.

    Could we not have implemented such a plan today in our nations healthcare overhaul, after having excised all waste, fraud and abuse within the medical sector, that assured parity and portability across state lines, reformed tort laws, etc?

    tort laws mustn’t be “reformed” as long as people aren’t guaranteed that costs accured from malpractice won’t fall on them. universal coverage would do that. until then, people need to be able to get costs of surviving a fuckup recovered, and in the US the only way to do so is via lawsuits.

    besides, in the AHA had passed with the public option instead of the individual mandates, a lot of these issues would have been taken care of (incl. the malpractice lawsuits). and whose fault is that? oh yeah, conservatives again.

    Stop taking a sledgehammer fix to a fractured tea cup.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    no part of the US can be described as a “fractured teacup”. Every system in the US is fundamentally broken. A very few could actually be patched, but most would have to be dismantled entirely and re-done from scratch. Which isn’t likely to ever happen as long as there’s such a thing as the party of “no”, instead of an actual productive opposition willing to fix what’s broken instead of just breaking shit some more.

    Or do you prefer the communist Cuba model instead?

    lol. The Cuban healthcare system has better outcomes than the US system. Think about that for a minute, dude.

    State-owned Media MSNBC

    do you even know what the words you’re using mean? MSNBC is a corporate media outlet, your idiotic biases notwithstanding.

  86. janine says

    Alexmartin has made the claim for special that he has and on one else here knows. Let’s us take a look.

    Looking through the lens of increasingly obscure history, at the time of my birth in 1968, it was the Democrats who were the Bull Connors and the Robert Byrds and the KKK party.

    And yet that is the year that Strom Thurmond and many of the other prominent Dixiecrats started changing party party affiliations. Shit, it was only a decade ago that the prominent Republican, Trent Lott wished that Thurmonds 1948 campaign Democratic Presidential ticket was successful. The one that was against federal anti-lynching laws.

    I know, and you don’t, that the Republican party was founded in 1854 as a stated purpose, a mission to abate the spread of African enslavement, and that as late as 1968 it was the Republican party that had done all the heavy lifting to combat racism and discrimination against blacks and Democrat Jim Crowe laws, vote suppression, separate but equal treatment, and segregation in my beloved military and in society.

    There is a huge difference between stopping that spread of slavery and ending the practice. Lincoln was willing to keep slavery within the Union as long as the Union survived. The Civil War forced him to end slavery, in the states that already denied his authority.

    Yes, it is true that the Democratic Party was racist through out most of it’s history. Just two examples, Wilson resegregating the federal government and Mayor Richard Daley’s campaign against MLK in the mid sixties. (It was not without reason that MLK called Chicago the most segregated city in the north.) But under Nixon and his attempts to woo the followers of Wallace, he made the Republican Party home to the worst racist excesses of the Democratic Party.

    Please, use your special historical insights that you claim the only you have to deny what I have said.

  87. Anri says

    Add more scenarios as you choose, and ask yourself what kind of policy could best help resolve most of the situation correctly (or if you want to go with minimize the lost, a policy that would result in the least worst worst out-come).

    The justice system isn’t arranged to result in the ‘best outcome’, it is arranged to result in the ‘protects the rights of individuals’. The presumption of innocence inarguably results in guilty parties avoiding justice. Should it therefore be dropped?

    You may spin as many Action Film Scenarios as you wish, I don’t intend to help. I would like an answer to a question I raised: given that there is no criminal complaint, what crime are you guilty of in refusing an officer entry into your home?
    And if you are not, by what right may the officer demand/force entry?

    To put it another way: assuming no criminal complaint, are you legally obligated to open to door to anyone identifying themselves as police officers?

  88. says

    The north is still really, really racist, and this is not the argument I would choose. The north’s racism is just relatively more subtle.

    in the specific instance of civil rights, the point is that the vote actually split north-south, not R-D; both in the north and in the south, a larger percentage of Democrats voted for the Civil Rights Act than against it, compared to Republicans, but the South (which back then was overwhelmingly Democratic) voted against it, while the north voted for it:

    7%–93% D vs. 0%–100% R (house) and 5%–95% D vs. 0%–100% R in the South

    94%–6% D vs. 85%–15% R (house) 98%–2% D vs. 84%–16% R (senate) in the North

  89. says

    a larger percentage of Democrats voted for the Civil Rights Act than against it, compared to Republicans,

    that’s phrased too ambiguously. let me rephrase:

    the percentage of aye votes was larger among the Democrats than among the Republicans

  90. alexmartin says

    #83.
    So, those fine folks in those superior countries just get their healthcare for free, then? The apples just fall off the trees for free, juicy and succulent? Frickin’ garden of Eden?

    What?

    And, since this is a post about how unutterably, unspeakably racist the Republicans are, racist, racist, racist, how in the 7 hells can you good decent folk decry my speaking on race and defending against the charge of racism against black people by my pointing out that I am black?

    Hello…?

  91. says

    So, those fine folks in those superior countries just get their healthcare for free, then?

    free at the point of service, yes. When I was in the hospital for 2 weeks waaay back when I still lived in a civilized country, my bill came to $50.

    it’s paid through taxes, or universal insurance, or, in the case of Switzerland, through heavily-regulated individual mandates. and it’s all cheaper, per person, than the US system.

  92. janine says

    I said nothing about your race. I was needling you for your claim of having a historical insight that the rest of us lack.

    Oh, I see you are having a shitfit instead of answering a challenge.

    And here I thought you were a serious person. My mistake.

  93. says

    And, since this is a post about how unutterably, unspeakably racist the Republicans are, racist, racist, racist, how in the 7 hells can you good decent folk decry my speaking on race and defending against the charge of racism against black people by my pointing out that I am black?

    I have no idea what the fuck this means.

  94. janine says

    Jadehawk, that is because you, like the rest of us, lack alexmartin’s unique insight.

  95. alexmartin says

    #98
    Lookahere, a mere five years ago, America was a country where some 80% of the population had healthcare insurance, primarily private. The rest have access to Medicare, Medicaid. And no one but no one is ever turned away from the hospital door in extremis in this “shitty” country.

    I ask again, why does healthcare cost so damn much in this country or any?

    Fix THAT problem first, clown-figure, for everyone’s sake, because that deplorable state imperils us all.

    What you gonna do about $10,000 MRI visits, $1800 just to get seen in the emergency room, $500 a night hospital stays, and $80 aspirin?

    Answer: not a damn thing.
    Just let big momma government take it over for everyone. Big momma make it all betters.

  96. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart, purveyor of candy and lies says

    Wait a minute. Is Alex Martin claiming to be the only black person on the internet?

  97. Louis says

    Audley, #111,

    Well there’s no women on the internet. Perhaps this is like that.

    Louis

  98. says

    @Jadehawk

    He’s calling me racist for mocking his “As a blackman” addendum to everything he says. As if that made it any less crazy. Or as if Uncle Ruckas wasn’t based on real people.

    “I’m black therefore right about racial issues” is as annoying as “I’m a skeptic and therefore right about _____ ”

    Obviously there are huge aspects of racial issues that require deference to a POC’s experiences, as you know…privilege means a lot of people can’t grook it… but using it as a hammer to drive home your rant and bitch at people about history isn’t it.

    Nor does it speak well of you to use your “as a blackman” defense to argue that the real victims here are the Republicans, ignoring entirely your (going on face value) fellow POC who was killed by police.

  99. says

    What you gonna do about $10,000 MRI visits, $1800 just to get seen in the emergency room, $500 a night hospital stays, and $80 aspirin?

    Answer: not a damn thing.
    Just let big momma government take it over for everyone. Big momma make it all betters.

    You do have to point out why “momma” wouldn’t actually work. Because right now it looks like you’re mocking people for their reliance on “SO CALLED technology

  100. janine says

    Ing, I dismissed alexmartin’s claims on race because it is just an attempt to try to make liberals and progressives own the very racist history of the Democratic Party while trying to whitewash the use of dog whistles by the modern Republican Party. (What did Santorum say?)

  101. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart, purveyor of candy and lies says

    Louis,
    You’re right, I think. EVERYONE ON THE INTERNET IS A WHITE, AMERICAN MAN! Glad we cleared that up.

  102. says

    I ask again, why does healthcare cost so damn much in this country or any?

    Because it’s in the hands of people who rate ‘efficiency’ in terms of profit? Because people don’t go to the doctor because preventative care is fucking expensive, so problems escalate, becoming even more expensive? It’s not because of a lack of ‘tort reform’ that makes genuine malpractice very hard to win all in the name of protecting the rich.

    Nor does it speak well of you to use your “as a blackman” defense to argue that the real victims here are the Republicans, ignoring entirely your (going on face value) fellow POC who was killed by police.

    It’s this part that annoys me. Not that he is doing it, but that he is doing it to forgive an even more ridiculously racist organization.

  103. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart, purveyor of candy and lies says

    Caine,
    Does the Crommunist even count? I mean, he’s not even American, so how do we really really know that he exists?

  104. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    And no one but no one is ever turned away from the hospital door in extremis in this “shitty” country.

    I’m sure knowing that would make this woman’s family feel better.

  105. says

    Lookahere, a mere five years ago, America was a country where some 80% of the population had healthcare insurance, primarily private. The rest have access to Medicare, Medicaid.

    “the rest” did not have access to medicaid, that’s complete bullshit. the 20% uninsured where people who didn’t have any kind of health insurance, including medicaid and medicare.

    And no one but no one is ever turned away from the hospital door in extremis in this “shitty” country.

    that’s also bullshit.

    do i need to again point out that the estimate of 45000 deaths/year related to lack of insurance is from 5 years ago?

    I ask again, why does healthcare cost so damn much in this country or any?

    pay attention. it only “costs so damn much” in the US. other countries already have fixed that problem.

    What you gonna do about $10,000 MRI visits, $1800 just to get seen in the emergency room, $500 a night hospital stays, and $80 aspirin?

    again: that’s a US-only problem. the public option would have fixed most of that (also, $80 aspirin is, of course, a strawman). Negotiation with pharma companies lowers costs of medicine, and non-profit, regulated hospitals, insurance, etc. regulates the cost of many other procedures. this has already been done in many countries.

    Answer: not a damn thing.

    just because you don’t want to look at solutions, doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

  106. Louis says

    Caine, #117,

    Pfff they’re not black! They’re liberals. That’s like, totally mutually exclusive or something.

    Louis

    P.S. Audley, everyone on the internet is either a) a white, American, teenage boy, b) an FBI agent trying to catch anyone doing anything, or c) a 400lb trucker from Arkansas called “Bubba” who has, shall we say, dubious tastes and rather too much knowledge of just how shallow shallow graves need to be…

    Louis

  107. Anri says

    So, those fine folks in those superior countries just get their healthcare for free, then? The apples just fall off the trees for free, juicy and succulent? Frickin’ garden of Eden?

    (previously):

    I am a conscious, informed, and intelligent man…

    Um….
    no?

    Yeah, sorry, gonna have to go with ‘no’ here.

  108. David Marjanović says

    I’ve got an outstanding traffic ticket in the US, and I might end up in jail if I cross the border, that’s just how fucking insane your country’s government is.

    …um… …not saying jail for a traffic ticket isn’t usually exaggerated… but… why don’t you just pay that ticket?

    I’m not American, but let me take a guess at what’s wrong; a society that posits violence and belligerence is the first solution to any problem, however small or unthreatening.

    A society that is so deeply scared that it believes every problem is so dangerous that only violence and belligerence can possibly solve it.

    Not the first solution, but the last – under the mistaken belief that all others have already been exhausted.

    You mess with one Marine, you mess with the Corps.

    Frankly, that’s the same attitude as the automatic cop solidarity mentioned in this thread. It, too, kills people.

    Quick note as to why the police can arrive first. Many communities use a “first responder” approach to medical emergencies. Police, Fire and Paramedics are dispatched on an emergency call and whoever is first to arrive is expected to administer basic CPR

    …whut?

    Oh, yeah, I forgot, we’re talking about the country where the police take forever to come when they’re called, and that only in a “good neighborhood”. Silly of me to assume the ambulance or the fire department would be any quicker.

    Is it a lack of personnel?

    But many places the ambulance company is privately owned

    Are you fucking serious?

    An ambulance that operates for profit?!?



    The Democrat party of THAT era was YOUR alleged philosophical enemy. Or have you forgotten? Or ever knew?

    We know. We also know the US parties switched places around the 1960s, with the last individual holdouts in the Democratic Party only officially switching parties in 2000 (or just never – remember Zell Miller?) after they had been voting Republican for decades.



    Says whom? By what writ or right or pronouncement or decree? By what agency? For you on the Left, you assume that Government has a right and duty to impose upon this nations’ employers the burden of providing healthcare insurance coverage or else.

    Whether your contribution to health insurance is paid before or after your employer pays you your wage/salary is completely beside the point.

    Government has, however, a duty to provide health insurance coverage for everyone. This – “to provide for the common Welfare” as the Declaration of Fucking Independence calls it – is one of the few reasons for having a government at all.

    Healthcare costs waaaay too much. There is no excuse, justification, defense, or rationalization for that fact.

    There is, however, an explanation.

    Where I come from, governments negotiate prices with pharma companies. That doesn’t happen in the US. Result? You folks pay more for your medication than anyone else.

    Where I come from, when you visit a doctor, health insurance pays the doctor. Where you come from, the for-profit health insurance company instead pays 1) itself and 2) lawyers who try to prove they don’t need to pay the doctor.

    That’s why people in the US pay twice as much for their healthcare, per person, than people in, say, Europe or Canada or Australia or New Zealand…

    The point is, healthcare is essential, just like food is, but not a one of you wants to see the Federal government take over the food supply and administer your grocery store and regulate your grocery purchases, so WTF is up with you now?

    Food is so cheap (nowadays anyway) that merely regulating it is enough. Healthcare is different.

    For fuck’s sake, Americans go bankrupt over medical bills all the time. Did you know this simply doesn’t ever happen in actual First World countries???

    I am a conscious, informed, and intelligent man of color

    You are conscious, and you are intelligent. But, get used to that fact, you are not informed. You need to learn a lot more about the rest of the world; it’s really sad that you apparently haven’t had an opportunity to do that in the last 43 years.

    State-owned Media MSNBC

    MSNBC is owned by, you know, MS. Microsoft. While Microsoft is richer than most states, it’s not a state itself.

    See what I said about your not being informed? You’re making really embarrassing errors.

    We are Rome in decline.

    Rome declined because the taxes were too high. When the barbarians came, suddenly everyone wanted to be a barbarian, because barbarians don’t pay taxes.

    In the US, the taxes are too low – at least the taxes on rich people – and you get almost nothing for what little you pay in taxes (except, you know, shiny new toys for the military).

    Uh, there are conservative republicans who are black and as stupid as the rest.

    Alan Keyes!

  109. Rey Fox says

    Just let big momma government take it over for everyone. Big momma make it all betters.

    You’re going to have to do better than that if you want to convince me that you understand a word that anyone here has written.

  110. says

    Audley:

    Does the Crommunist even count? I mean, he’s not even American, so how do we really really know that he exists?

    Damn, I forgot again! :mumbles to self, ‘merica is the whole world, ‘merica is the whole world:

    Of course, being a mixed race female, I don’t exist either. These are simply pixels of your imagination.

  111. Kagehi says

    Sigh.. I have to admit to the disturbing thought that, with some of the new “stand your ground” laws, this sort of stupid old west style justice has gotten to the point where there is ***literally*** nothing stopping someone from dressing up like The Punisher, or even The Comedian, and actively hunting down criminals, other than that it would embarrass some politicians enough that they would likely insist the person get arrested, while some dumb fuck, like mentioned last night on MSNBC’s Maddow show, can chase an unarmed man down, with a knife, take stolen property, and resell it to other people, hide the knife, and when finally identified as the killer, be told, “Ah, you where entirely justified in wanting to retrieve your property, and killing the guy.”, by a fucking judge. And that wasn’t the only example given of how these stupid ass laws are being interpreted, both by (I bet they are not being called “activist”) judges, and cops.

    I would lay odds though that you might, under one of these laws, actually be “justified” to go out, shoot up places where “criminals” congregate, and be, “justified, due to fear of what those people might do to you”, and, again, how would that change if you did it while dressed up like a comic book character? I think “Watchmen”, at this point, just got the date wrong…

  112. janine says

    Uh, there are conservative republicans who are black and as stupid as the rest.

    Alan Keyes!

    Allen West!

  113. janine says

    Caine, that forget that fact the you are also bisexual. You are an impossible woman.

    (Also, check your e-mail.)

  114. says

    …um… …not saying jail for a traffic ticket isn’t usually exaggerated… but… why don’t you just pay that ticket?

    how? often, you have to pay this kind of shit in person, after all!

    Is it a lack of personnel?

    don’t forget the population densities in some areas around here; sometimes, the nearest hospital/police station/whatever is dozens of miles away.

    Are you fucking serious?

    An ambulance that operates for profit?!?

    i think they are often part of a hospital… which are usually private

  115. says

    Janine:

    Caine, that forget that fact the you are also bisexual. You are an impossible woman.

    Oh yes. So many damn things to remember in non-existence! I will now check my non-existent e-mail.

  116. maureenbrian says

    alexmartin: Why does healthcare cost so damn much in this country?

    Answers include the following –

    1. a remarkably high proportion of the total system is run entirely for profit; profit can be jacked up if each individual item, however trivial and however essential, is billed separately.

    2. everyone billing everyone else in such detail and checking eachother’s bills a gazilllion times means that too high a proportion of the cost is for administrators and accountants and not for clinical staff or medicines.

    3. until very recently the insurance companies have felt perfectly free to call a halt to proceedings half way through a course of chemotherapy or suddenly change their policy on what is a pre-existing condition, leaving some to die half-treated and others to raise money in a great hurry and thus expensively.

    4. in an already over-priced system there is a tendency to over-treat or over-test those you know can pay the bills.

    5. people without insurance, on the other hand, are treated later than they should be and in the most expensive possible setting – the ER

    6. in a profit-driven system rotten with competition and short on ethics then there are few economies of scale to be had and producers of medicines and equipment can and do over-charge.

    7. all this plus people running about screaming about socialism mean that both preventive medicine and public health are denied attention and funding.

    And so on and so forth – I’ll elaborate if you wish – until you end up with a country which has a rotten perinatal mortality rate and a ridiculous proportion of its population bankrupt, under-treated, permanently disabled or dead. Need I go on?

  117. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Well, I didn’t need another reason to hate the police with every fiber of my being, but boy oh boy do they love to never stop giving me valid reason to hate them so much.

    at this point, anyone who claims racism is dead deserves horrible things happening to them.

  118. Pteryxx says

    Are you fucking serious?

    An ambulance that operates for profit?!?

    Sure they do. Most populated areas have competing ambulance services because whichever one makes the pickup gets the health-care dollars, as well as first call on deciding what hospital gets the patient.

    First example I found:

    http://www.wcnc.com/home/Two-Ambulance-companies-compete-for-patients-and-their-health-dollars–99140244.html

    —–

    More generally, here’s an analysis of deaths in the US due to poverty, segregation and other such factors:

    The Columbia University researchers calculated the PAFs of major social factors in the U.S., and here’s what they found: approximately 245,000 deaths in the United States in 2000 were attributable to low education; 176,000 to racial segregation; 162,000 to low social support; 133,000 to individual-level poverty; 119,000 to income inequality; and 39,000 to area-level (neighborhood) poverty.

    https://epianalysis.wordpress.com/2011/07/14/sdhcalculations/

  119. says

    I’ve got an outstanding traffic ticket in the US, and I might end up in jail if I cross the border, that’s just how fucking insane your country’s government is.

    you know, if the ticket is over 10 years old, you’re safe. also, that’s a state issue, so as long as you avoid the state you got the ticket in, you’re fine :-p

  120. David Marjanović says

    Oops. Should have refreshed before submitting.

    the absolute worst invention of the US is this concept of governmentally “shepherded, protected, and assured” private organizations; that is what leads to the nasty “socialize risks, privatize profits” model of screwing the US population over. Shit like that needs to be either heavily regulated and controlled, or it needs to be directly administered by the government, so that risks and profits are socialized (or not) equally.

    Seconded.

    tort laws mustn’t be “reformed” as long as people aren’t guaranteed that costs accured from malpractice won’t fall on them. universal coverage would do that. until then, people need to be able to get costs of surviving a fuckup recovered, and in the US the only way to do so is via lawsuits.

    *lightbulb moment*

    I am on the (center) right

    Yeah, by European standards. By post-2001 US standards, you and Bismarck are so far on the left alexmartin can barely see you.

    Jadehawk, that is because you, like the rest of us, lack alexmartin’s unique insight.

    Yup. He’s a veteran. That’s somehow important for this topic. *nodnod*

    And no one but no one is ever turned away from the hospital door in extremis in this “shitty” country.

    You wish.

    I wish.

    We also both wish you were actually informed.

    how? often, you have to pay this kind of shit in person, after all!

    WTF. Over here it’s bank draft. *tries to crack joke about the continued US use of checks, but fails*

    don’t forget the population densities in some areas around here; sometimes, the nearest hospital/police station/whatever is dozens of miles away.

    …Actually, I don’t know how small White Plains is… wait… pretty big, actually.

  121. David Marjanović says

    Sure they do. Most populated areas have competing ambulance services because whichever one makes the pickup gets the health-care dollars, as well as first call on deciding what hospital gets the patient.

    HULK SMASH

  122. carlie says

    Not only are there private ambulance companies, but there was a big stink awhile back here when the city had the audacity to think about if it would be cheaper to run its own ambulance service. The dominant local private ambulance company blanketed the radio and tv with scare ads about how many people would die with sub-par city services and how much it would cost everyone for weeks until the fuss died down.

  123. carlie says

    And no one but no one is ever turned away from the hospital door in extremis in this “shitty” country.

    I linked very high upthread a story about a woman recently getting arrested for trespassing by going into an ER and saying she needed treatment; she died that night in her jail cell.

    And on huge posters in the ER and in every triage room there, big posters are up saying that what you have the right to is “stabilization” of your immediate condition, not treatment. So, for example, if you walk into the ER with a broken leg, technically all they have to do is make sure it’s not poking through the skin and then can send you off.

  124. Pteryxx says

    And no one but no one is ever turned away from the hospital door in extremis in this “shitty” country.

    Following up on carlie’s answer: Make sure you have a bucket nearby, and search for the phrase “patient dumping”.

  125. FilthyHuman says

    @Pteryxx
    #143

    Following up on carlie’s answer: Make sure you have a bucket nearby, and search for the phrase “patient dumping”.

    Well, at least it is illegal to do so.
    However, the fact that it is happening…

  126. alexmartin says

    I defend no one. I marvel at your Collective induced victim mentality.

    Make aspirin not cost $80 at the hospital. We might then begin to fix healthcare.

    I’m reminded of a famous document. Some folks in powerful places desire to control, among other things, the means of production and distribution and to concentrate all power in the hands of Government. You will help them. Just lay down.

    Yep, paranoia.

  127. marksletten says

    Hmmm. A black man is shot by police officers executing the policies of a Democrat-controlled city government in a state with an overwhelmingly Democrat-controlled government, and this somehow reflects misdeeds by Republicans.

    OOOOkay…..

    What a marvelous Cathedral for faithful Leftists you’ve built here PZ. Your ideological rhetoric rivals the best the Evangelicals have to offer. You should be proud.

  128. says

    And no one but no one is ever turned away from the hospital door in extremis in this “shitty” country.

    No, but it’s funny how often the poor have their x-rays misread so that things that qualify as emergencies aren’t.

    I defend no one. I marvel at your Collective induced victim mentality.

    Good god, this is the most idiotic of conservative memes. Yes, people are so horrible for identifying shitty things that happen to them.

    I’m reminded of a famous document. Some folks in powerful places desire to control, among other things, the means of production and distribution and to concentrate all power in the hands of Government. You will help them. Just lay down.

    You know, invoking the specter of socialism or communism as an ‘argument’ doesn’t work against actual socialists. I’m not scurry in terror if you say I’m being a socialist. Welcome to the fucking conversation.

  129. Rey Fox says

    And on huge posters in the ER and in every triage room there, big posters are up saying that what you have the right to is “stabilization” of your immediate condition, not treatment. So, for example, if you walk into the ER with a broken leg, technically all they have to do is make sure it’s not poking through the skin and then can send you off.

    What.

  130. maureenbrian says

    I’m not paranoid. I’m not a victim. My daily 75mg of aspirin is free because I live in a rational country.

    You should get out more, alexmartin, out of the US I mean.

  131. says

    Hmmm. A black man is shot by police officers executing the policies of a Democrat-controlled city government in a state with an overwhelmingly Democrat-controlled government, and this somehow reflects misdeeds by Republicans.

    Yes, actually, it does literally reflect misdeeds by republicans. See: Trayvon Martin.

  132. Rey Fox says

    It’s the right-wing talking point machine! Put in a quarter (or a reasoned argument)(or a fact or two), and it spits out anti-communist boilerplate!

  133. says

    What a marvelous Cathedral for faithful Leftists you’ve built here PZ. Your ideological rhetoric rivals the best the Evangelicals have to offer. You should be proud.

    An old man is killed horribly by police while they screamed slurs at him; but you come here to comment because you MUST protect the Republican party?

    And you have the nerve to call hivemind/ideologue?

    Was calling it the Republican Health Care a cheap shot: yes. Why was it done? Because Republicans are unhinged about promoting tough on crime (unless it’s cops or DAs) and calling for more militarization of the police force.

  134. FilthyHuman says

    @marksletten
    #146
    Not sure about the city-government (since their party affiliation is hard to find on the spot).

    An embarrassingly easy Google search net the following.

    Florida Governor: A Republican.
    Lieutenant Governor: A Republican.
    Florida State House: 81 Republicans, 38 Democrats.

    Florida’s House Delegation: 19 Republicans, 6 Democrats.

    Sanford’s State House Rep is a Republican.

    So… the fact says otherwise.

  135. SloanStrife says

    We are Rome in decline.

    Rome declined because the taxes were too high. When the barbarians came, suddenly everyone wanted to be a barbarian, because barbarians don’t pay taxes.

    In the US, the taxes are too low – at least the taxes on rich people – and you get almost nothing for what little you pay in taxes (except, you know, shiny new toys for the military).

    Maybe the Rome comment was more the patriotism and self importance of the US becoming less popular? I remember a funny comment how the Roman Empire and the States being the only two groups who put their hands on their hearts for their country (was is Eddie Izzard?) Probably apocryphal, but funny and maybe a little poignant?

    Found it, yes Izzard :) (Rome part starts at 2:19)
    http://youtu.be/s5iu_JNvPII

  136. says

    Not sure about the city-government (since their party affiliation is hard to find on the spot).

    It’s on wikipedia, and it took place in New York.

  137. marksletten says

    David Marjanovic said:

    “to provide for the common Welfare” as the Declaration of Fucking Independence calls it…

    The word “welfare” does not appear in the Declaration of Independence. The quote you’re grasping for is “…to promote the general welfare…” and it comes from the preamble to the US Constitution, not the Declaration of Independence.

    Although I certainly understand why you believe you know what was intended by the document’s original writers, it’s pretty safe to say the modern interpretation has long defined the line between ideological sides in U.S. politics.

  138. says

    Although I certainly understand why you believe you know what was intended by the document’s original writers, it’s pretty safe to say the modern interpretation has long defined the line between ideological sides in U.S. politics.

    I swear if one more fucker claims that it’s all about their intentions I will dig up every last founder and shit in their skulls.

    How many centuries do we need to have between us before it stops being their country and we can live as if it’s actually ours now!? When does their lease expire?

  139. FilthyHuman says

    @andykaufman
    #161

    That story is sadder than Hell.And makes me embarassed to call myself a human being. Call I be an octopus now?

    Don’t go to Korea.

  140. says

    The word “welfare” does not appear in the Declaration of Independence. The quote you’re grasping for is “…to promote the general welfare…” and it comes from the preamble to the US Constitution, not the Declaration of Independence.

    The US constitution is actually legally binding (Although the preamble isn’t). I’m sure you love this nitpicking, but this is probably a case I’d have left it, were I in your shoes.

    Although I certainly understand why you believe you know what was intended by the document’s original writers, it’s pretty safe to say the modern interpretation has long defined the line between ideological sides in U.S. politics.

    Actually, I really couldn’t care less what the founding deities wanted (And David M isn’t MEriken, you presumptuous ass).

  141. says

    There aren’t ten times (read it: *10* times) more Americans in jail in their own country (per capita) than Danes, Swiss, Norwegians, or Swedes in theirs because we have more liberal policies toward crime and punishment…

    Ironically, there are some Americans in jail merely because it is the only place they can get the healthcare they need to keep themselves alive.

    That’s what happens when you have the confluence of insane right-wing policies of weakening the welfare system and being “tough on crime.” It’s a wonderful fantasy to believe that people will pull themselves up by their own bootstraps if only government will get out of the way, but it’s one that has been refuted time and again throughout thousands of years of history. Some will, but many don’t (often through no fault of their own or because they are simply incapable of doing so without help). Is it really such a shock that so many of those who fail are now rotting away in jail in America?

  142. marksletten says

    Ing said:

    …but you come here to comment because you MUST protect the Republican party?

    You prove my point. You are so ideologically hidebound you are not thinking logically.

    My implication it is idiotic to blame Republicans for this man’s death is not ‘defending’ Republicans, it is implying PZ made an idiotic claim based on ideology rather than rationality.

  143. says

    I defend no one. I marvel at your Collective induced victim mentality.

    are you capable of not talking in conservative talking points? no one here has a “victim mentality”; that’s not even a real thing (the closest thing to “victim mentality” that actually exists is called “learned helplessness”; and no one here is exhibiting it)

    Make aspirin not cost $80 at the hospital.

    easy: remove profit-motive, institute collective bargaining. you know, like other countries have done.

    I’m reminded of a famous document. Some folks in powerful places desire to control, among other things, the means of production and distribution and to concentrate all power in the hands of Government.

    you’ve never read the document you refer to, or else you’d know who is actually supposed to own the means of production. hint: it’s not “the government”.

  144. says

    Rey:

    It’s the right-wing talking point machine! Put in a quarter (or a reasoned argument)(or a fact or two), and it spits out anti-communist boilerplate!

    Boy, did I ever call it, way upthread @ 15.

  145. says

    My implication it is idiotic to blame Republicans for this man’s death is not ‘defending’ Republicans, it is implying PZ made an idiotic claim based on ideology rather than rationality.

    militarization of police? not a liberal policy; privade healthcare provision? not a liberal policy.

    and the race-baiters also mostly populate the Republican party.

    the headline was a quip, certainly riffing off these issues, rather than claiming that that specific incident was directly republican-caused or -ordered.

    but if you need to strawman to make your point…

  146. David Marjanović says

    Yep, paranoia.

    Yes, and because you people don’t pool your purchasing power – as a country – to negotiate with the pharma companies, you can’t afford your treatment!

    I remember a funny comment how the Roman Empire and the States being the only two groups who put their hands on their hearts for their country

    Whut? Patriotism was only invented in the late 18th century.

    The word “welfare” does not appear in the Declaration of Independence. The quote you’re grasping for is “…to promote the general welfare…” and it comes from the preamble to the US Constitution, not the Declaration of Independence.

    *headdesk* You’re right, I’m sorry.

    (…though… of course… if it’s not merely in the Declaration of Independence but actually in the Constitution, that gives it more weight, not less.)

    I certainly understand why you believe you know what was intended by the document’s original writers

    *eyeroll* No, it should go without saying that health insurance hadn’t been invented yet when the Constitution was written. I’m taking the fact that this part has never been amended as evidence that the Constitution as it exists today still regards promotion of “the general Welfare” as one of the purposes for having a government.

    (Which, of course, happens to agree with my opinion on what the purposes of having a government are.)

  147. says

    I’m really fucking curious though about the $80 aspirin. is that some weird garbled talking point? because even in the US it makes no sense that stuff you can find in a grocery store would cost that much in a hospital, which would indicate fraud or bill-padding if actually true.

  148. says

    Otrame:

    The Democratic party had a lot to do with ending institionalized racism.

    Huh? It’s ended now?

    Also, boo hoo hoo, the poor cops. Yeah, 90% of them give the other 10% a bad name.

    Alexmartin, #104: In those other countries, rich people actually give back substantially to their societies, rather than buying politicians to rewrite the tax laws and other regulations for them. And by “give back substantially,” I don’t just mean the façade of “charitable donations,” which ain’t shit.

    Yeah, I know. OMG SOSHULIZM.

    Just let big momma government take it over for everyone. Big momma make it all betters.

    Typical wingnut misogyny.

    David M.:

    An ambulance that operates for profit?!?

    Yep. And an ambulance ride, even a short one, can run you several hundred dollars. That’s in addition to whatever you rack up in the ER.

    You are conscious, and you are intelligent.

    I’d call his intelligence into question.

    Yup. He’s a veteran. That’s somehow important for this topic. *nodnod*

    All liberal veterans to the list of people who don’t exist.

    You are so ideologically hidebound you are not thinking logically.

    This from a libertarian. Also, “not thinking logically”? Are you going to call us “emotional” next? Perhaps even “hysterical”?

  149. marksletten says

    Actually, I really couldn’t care less what the founding deities wanted (And David M isn’t MEriken, you presumptuous ass).

    Nor do I. The original poster, however, made a reference (an incorrect one) to the statement in his defense of taxpayer-supplied healthcare, which is why I clearly said it is the current interpretation at issue.

    Currently, it is not at all clear that the majority of US citizens (the only opinion that matters) believe the phrase ‘promote the general welfare’ means taxpayers should pay for all healthcare.

    I don’t understand your reference to “David M isn’t MEriken,” or why you think me a presumptuous ass (other than that I presume to disagree with the mighty PZ).

  150. David Marjanović says

    I’m sure you love this nitpicking, but this is probably a case I’d have left it, were I in your shoes.

    Either way it’s better than letting me keep make a mistake. This is the 2nd or 3rd time I’ve misattributed the quote (and misquoted “common” instead of “general”).

  151. says

    Currently, it is not at all clear that the majority of US citizens (the only opinion that matters) believe the phrase ‘promote the general welfare’ means taxpayers should pay for all healthcare.

    Regardless of how they interpret the Preamble, anywhere from two-thirds to three-quarters support government-run healthcare. Now what legerdemain will you perform to contradict your statement that theirs is the only opinion which matters?

  152. says

    Ms. Daisy Cutter:

    Yep. And an ambulance ride, even a short one, can run you several hundred dollars.

    Where I live, it would probably be a thousand or more. I seriously fear something happening which would actually require an ambulance as that’s not covered by our insurance.

    Even when the acute pancreatitis hit and I had no clue wtf was going on and thought I was gonna die, it was get in the car and have Mister drive me the 60+ miles to the hospital. I cannot afford an ambulance. I’m damn fucking lucky to have the coverage I do.

  153. marksletten says

    …militarization of police? not a liberal policy…

    The bequeathment of surplus military (that would be U.S. military–federal government) hardware, including fucking ARMORED CARS, has continued unabated three years after Obama’s taking office.

    At what point does it become a ‘liberal’ policy?

  154. David Marjanović says

    I’d call his intelligence into question.

    I was using the broad definition of “he thinks at all”. There weren’t enough data for any stricter statement. :-)

    Also, it’s simply beside the point. The greatest genius can’t do shit without knowing enough facts to derive conclusions from.

    This from a libertarian. Also, “not thinking logically”? Are you going to call us “emotional” next? Perhaps even “hysterical”?

    That would be fun. :-)

  155. says

    The bequeathment of surplus military (that would be U.S. military–federal government) hardware, including fucking ARMORED CARS, has continued unabated three years after Obama’s taking office.

    At what point does it become a ‘liberal’ policy?

    Never? Obama isn’t a liberal. He’s right of center. You idiots just call everything left of fascism liberal.

  156. marksletten says

    Daisy said:

    Regardless of how they interpret the Preamble, anywhere from two-thirds to three-quarters support government-run healthcare. Now what legerdemain will you perform to contradict your statement that theirs is the only opinion which matters?

    I don’t need to contradict it. Go back and read your article again. The poll question was about a government-run health insurance plan which would compete with private insurance plans. That is a very different question than one of replacing the current (admittedly profoundly broken) system with a single-payer, taxpayer-supported plan like David M suggested is justified by out-of-context quotes from our country’s founding documents.

    Question: If the majority of Americans supported a single-payer system then why didn’t President Obama push for it when he had full control of the House and Senate?

    Answer: Because he knew the majority of Americans wouldn’t support fully socialized health care.

    http://tinyurl.com/ybjz3vd

  157. alexmartin says

    #154
    What has this crime by a ultra-liberal blue-state police department in a liberal city got to do with the republican party?

    Are you crazy?

  158. says

    What has this crime by a ultra-liberal blue-state police department in a liberal city got to do with the republican party?

    If you want to play that game, what party is the mayor?

    For fuck sake, this is officially the thread that is too stupid for me to keep up with.

    Keep ignoring the core point! Keep pounding that table! No need to care about you know, the dead guy.

  159. says

    Question: If the majority of Americans supported a single-payer system then why didn’t President Obama push for it when he had full control of the House and Senate?

    Because he’s not actually a leftist, and has a gigantic fucking hard on for compromising with people.

  160. says

    Actually, the mayor and city council are in fact democrats.

    OUPS my bad. I missed White plains and presumed NY,NY.

    I await the barrage of abuse in response to that.

    I stand by the point that there’s something wrong with you if you focus on the quip of the title rather than the body of the post. Again because Republicans are the real victims.

  161. marksletten says

    Mark, since when the fuck is Obama a “liberal”?

    Right. Obama didn’t turn out to be liberal enough for you, therefore he’s really a Republican.

    No True Scotsman…

  162. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I see our liberturd bully is back, doing what he does. Telling lies/disortions to support his theology, nevermind what reality says.

  163. says

    The bequeathment of surplus military (that would be U.S. military–federal government) hardware, including fucking ARMORED CARS, has continued unabated three years after Obama’s taking office.

    At what point does it become a ‘liberal’ policy?

    Obama? the guy whose favorite sport seems to be hippie-punching? what does he have to do with liberalism?

    Question: If the majority of Americans supported a single-payer system then why didn’t President Obama push for it when he had full control of the House and Senate?

    because DEEEATH PAAAANEEELS and BIIIPARTISANSHIIIP.

    seriously, democrats, and especially obama, have no spine. most of them also aren’t very liberal, but mostly they have no spine and cave at the slightest bit of opposition. otherwise, the public option would be a thing now.

    ultra-liberal blue-state police department

    no such thing. well, maybe somewhere in sweden there are ultra-liberal states and/or ultra liberal police departments

  164. says

    Oh Alexmartini apparently does this “I am black” on EVERY issue. And what a surprise that he comes out so fucking wrong

    I am a black man, or more popularly, “African-American”. I speak to you as someone who was initially just as enraged as any of you at the apparent racism and injustice involved in the Trayvon Martin killing (,or out-and-out murder, as I saw it then). I have since had time to cool down and, as facts and information has continued to trickle in, to reassess my viewpoint.

    The facts of the case as related by the supposed witnesses, what I have come to learn about the young Martin and his criminal and other activities (burglary, theft, self-acknowledged drug dealing, anti-social behaviors), and what I have learned about the killer in this case now give me pause, and reason to re-examine my initial knee-jerk reaction to the unquestionable outrage that is this young mans’ killing.

    Martin should not be dead. Zimmerman should not have disobeyed a sensible command (of sorts) by police dispatch not to pursue Martin.

    Other than that, I do not know for sure what happened that night in Florida when Zimmerman shot Martin.

    Neither do any of you.

    I now have reason to believe that Zimmerman was in fact walking back to his car after his encounter with Martin. That Martin did in fact attack Zimmerman from behind, striking him in the back of the head, perhaps, with an object. That there was a struggle between the two. That Zimmerman was on the ground defending against Martin, astride him, pummeling him, as witnesses report.

    At some point soon afterward, Martin was shot once and died.
    That’s all any of us “know”, or can know at this point.

    Perhaps it was that the 17 year-old Martin felt threatened, stalked. Maybe Zimmerman had racist motives after all. “We” (you and I and the “President” who loooooves us black folk so)
    just don’t know.

    Stop crying “racism” at every opportunity, will ya?
    You’re possibly acting “stupidly”, as some cretin once put it.

    Powerful forces want to use us useful idiots as enablers and fodder in the war against the coherence of the American union, it seems. To create, among other things, an unbridgeable gap between the races, to irreparably divide the masses along social and political lines; to fan and inflame grievances and bitterness and acrimony; to create and exploit anger; to put match to powder keg, for reasons I will not cite.

    Please, do yourself a favor: don’t play along. Please.
    You cut the limb you perch upon. That limb hangs from a tree perched precariously over a cliff on the edge of hell.

    If you are black I’m sorry you’re such a fucking tool and coward.

  165. says

    Obama didn’t turn out to be liberal enough for you, therefore he’s really a Republican.

    dude, let me explain this to you: the democratic party is centrist, the Republican party is right-wing. “Democratic” and “liberal” aren’t even close to synonymous.

    Besides, are you under the delusion that every incoming president can and does overthrow all policies instituted by previous presidents? because that’s the only way it would make sense to ascribe continuation of policies not to those who promote them actively, but to everyone as long as they exist.

  166. says

    I have come to learn about the young Martin and his criminal and other activities (burglary, theft, self-acknowledged drug dealing, anti-social behaviors)

    wow, the conservative victim-blaming machine certainly did quite the smear-job. too bad it’s all bullshit (as usual)

    That Martin did in fact attack Zimmerman from behind, striking him in the back of the head, perhaps, with an object.

    video from shortly after shooting shows no wounds or bruises on Zimmerman. if he was hit, it must have been with the goddamn skittle bag. wooo, how dangerous.

    fucking conservative idiots. this is why the US is going to shit: people who want to be lied to, just to not have to face these shitty realities.

  167. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Funny how anybody to the left of liberturds and RWA rethuglicans (the old country club replublicans for example) are automatically communists and/or socialists. Having gone to college during the ‘Nam war and the radicalization of campuses, even I have a long ways to go be a true socialist, much less a communist. I appears when you don’t have a real intellectual argument for your policies, “BOOGIE MAN COMMUNIST” must come into play. We don’t buy such bullshit around here.

  168. Jerry says

    I would think that alexmartin, veteran, would remember military medical care, which is a socialist system. People in the military are treated according to how much care they need, not based upon whether or not they could pay. Follow-up care is provided until they are fit to return to work (duty). They don’t get billed at the end of treatment. I know this because I am a veteran who once worked in military medical departments and was a patient. Although nothing is perfect, it works, usually very well, for millions of people.

    Military medical care is one of many socialist programs (mainly military) wholeheartedly supported by the GOP. I’m not sure why this rational idea somehow becomes unsupportable by the GOP when it comes to the rest of the population.

  169. says

    And no one but no one is ever turned away from the hospital door in extremis in this “shitty” country.

    I know of a patient who is a foreign national who had a medical emergency while visiting here. He is stabilized now, but in need of much more care and returning home is not likely to happen soon. He’s to be discharged from the hospital soon, but will need medical supervision for a while yet. Unfortunately, due to the health care system in his home country, he has no insurance and is here considered a charity case. Without payment, no doctors around here are willing to take him. So though he’s not on the verge of death at the moment, without continuing care, his condition will deteriorate. He will not make a full recovery, and will likely lose some or much of the progress already made. But he’s a foreigner, so fuck him, amiright?

  170. marksletten says

    I stand by the point that there’s something wrong with you if you focus on the quip of the title rather than the body of the post.

    I HAVE been responding to the body of the post. PZ is saying a Republican-controlled health care system will send police to kill old black people who call for medical help. The evidence he supplies as proof of this claim is an incident involving a black man killed by police in a Democrat-controlled city in a Democrat-controlled state.

    And none of the regular high-powered intellects who so effectively parse and dissect the logic of the luckless godbots who dare to post here see no inherent illogic with PZ’s position.

    How fucking insanely idiotic is that?

  171. says

    I HAVE been responding to the body of the post.

    Let me share the entire body

    ere’s how it’s going to work. You’re a 68 year old black man with a serious heart condition, and a medic alert bracelet, just in case. You accidentally press it one night.

    Don’t expect an ambulance with EMTs. The police will come to your door and demand admission.

    You will say, “Please leave me alone. I’m 68 with a heart condition. Why are you doing this to me? Can you please leave me alone?”

    The police will tell you they don’t give a fuck. They will call you a nigger. They will force open the door as much as the chain allows.

    They will taser you. You’re a 68 year old man with a heart condition, remember?

    They will shoot you with a beanbag shotgun.

    Then, they’ll shoot you dead with live ammo.

    Sounds like some grim dystopian fantasy, doesn’t it? Nah, that could never happen. In what insane world would police, rather than doctors, respond to a medical alert, and treat it with deadly gunfire rather than medicine?

    It happened in America, in White Plains, NY, last November. It happened to Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr.

    What the hell is wrong with this country?

    I see no mention of Republicans.

    PZ is saying a Republican-controlled health care system will send police to kill old black people who call for medical help.

    Look just because you assholes make claims like that doesn’t mean we do.

    And none of the regular high-powered intellects who so effectively parse and dissect the logic of the luckless godbots who dare to post here see no inherent illogic with PZ’s position.

    That is because we all politely decline your invitation to join your hallucination.

  172. Pteryxx says

    *headshake* I had a thing to say, about the original topic as it happens.

    From the OP article:

    AMY GOODMAN: What exactly did you hear your father say? He was inside the house as the police are coming inside, and the medical pendant company is recording all of this.

    KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN, JR.: I’ve heard—I heard several things on there. One thing you hear is my father pleading with them to leave him alone. Excuse me. You hear him asking them why are they doing this to him. He says, “I’m a 68-year-old man with a heart condition. Why are you doing this to me? I know what you’re going to do: you’re going to come in here, and you’re going to kill me.” You also hear him pleading with the officers again, over and over. And at one point, that’s when the expletive is used by one of the police officers.

    […]

    AMY GOODMAN: I want to read part of the initial news coverage around the killing of Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr. The headline on the News 12 website read, quote, “Officer fatally shoots hatchet-wielding man.” TheDailyWhitePlains.com website posted an article titled “Police Fatally Shoot Disturbed Man Carrying Knife.” The story begins, quote, “White Plains police say an officer discharged two rounds, fatally shooting an emotionally disturbed White Plains man who attempted to bar officers from entering his apartment with a hatchet and then turned towards police with a butcher’s knife.” Randy McLaughlin, would you respond to this?

    The point being (and the rest of the transcript does go into this) that if there wasn’t a recording of the incident from the medical alert company (which means someone in the company decided to come forward instead of keeping silent), AND Trayvon Martin’s death hadn’t gone viral, there wouldn’t be even this much attention paid to the case. This killing was in November, and it’s taken six months to even start organizing a grand jury to hear the facts of this case. Even now, the DA could decide not to release the video or audio and then there’d be nothing but the son’s word for it.

    This is from way upthread:

    Can this country’s broken justice system throw us a motherfucking bone just once? Is it too much to ask that you take just a month off from killing black people or sending them to prison for trumped up drug possession charges to go after the overprivileged shitbags that are doing real, quantifiable harm to this country and the world?

    …Over the weekend I (random whitish person) went and stood with an NAACP rally for Trayvon Martin. I hadn’t really understood until then, on a visceral level anyway, that this is a community of people who live with this shit every day for their whole lives. One of the speakers read off a LIST OF NAMES of black folks killed by cops over the last several years just in the local area. Several folks mentioned family members they had lost. They assume everyone who isn’t black doesn’t care and will just forget the whole thing in a few weeks, because that’s what happens every time. Help isn’t coming. The event organizer for the NAACP told me afterward he had been out working his contacts, all over the region, for days for this event, and his white friends and contacts didn’t show. IN HIS HOMETOWN. Total strangers hugged me and shook my hand, because a white person actually gave enough of a shit to show up.

    This is from the OP article again:

    And in 45 years of me being on this earth, that was the very first time that I ever heard my father where he was pleading and begging for his life, someone who I looked at as being extremely strong, to hear him beg for his life, to say that this was his sworn testimony on the audio, which the police did not know that was being recorded. He said, “My name is Kenneth Chamberlain. This is my sworn testimony. White Plains police are going to come in here and kill me.”

    Mr. Chamberlain knew the cops were coming to kill him, because he was black, and he was right.

    We folks who don’t live it need to understand this is the norm, and have radar for it, and give not one ounce of good faith to excuses. There’s a reason the powers-that-be need to keep all of us who give a damn widely separated from each other. Empathy’s kind of like plutonium, that way.

  173. marksletten says

    jadehawk said:

    the democratic party is centrist, the Republican party is right-wing.

    If that’s the case, then the entire premise of PZ’s missive is wrong; it wouldn’t matter if he said REPUBLICAN or DEMOCRAT since BOTH parties are engaged in the police policies he (rightly) abhors.

  174. marksletten says

    I see no mention of Republicans.

    Um, you forgot the title:

    THE FUTURE OF REPUBLICAN HEALTHCARE

    Sorta sets the tone for the body, no?

  175. says

    Sigh… isn’t it just like an asshole to take perfectly well-placed (and frankly poignant) satire and fuck it up by turning it into literal-ism?

    And then use that complete lack of ability to understand nuanced humor to launch an ideological defense. Where’s my fucking $80 aspirin… I have a $10,000 headache.

  176. marksletten says

    Fun fact, the worse your straw man is the stupider you look.

    Like I said, you guys have no problem seeing the logical errors in posts by those you disagree with ideologically, but the glaring strawman that comprises PZ’s original post we are all commenting on completely escapes you.

    Cathedral indeed…

  177. marksletten says

    Sigh… isn’t it just like an asshole to take perfectly well-placed (and frankly poignant) satire and fuck it up by turning it into literal-ism?

    I wholeheartedly applaud PZ’s calling attention to the horrific societal problems that result in the tragedy we are discussing. I just think it’s hopelessly, insanely, dreamily optimistic to think things would be different if only we could get those evil Republicans out of office. Especially when the subject of the ‘satire’ used to make the implication is one of gov’t overreach by Democrats.

  178. Anri says

    *sigh*

    Looks as though PZ is going to have to stop going for irony in post titles – it confuses the rubes.

    That being said, it was a very tenuous thread and it probably would have been better undrawn on our host’s part. It’s not like this is the first time he’s flubbed a post title.

    So, marksletten, got anything to piss and moan about other than the title? Like, yanno, the… actual post?

    I mean, if you’re arguing that we shoudn’t make socailized medicine because the majority of citizens oppose it, I’m glad you weren’t making civil right policy in the decade of the… well, just about ever, really.

  179. says

    Especially when the subject of the ‘satire’ used to make the implication is one of gov’t overreach by Democrats.

    You’re being intentionally obtuse… first of all, how does “cops respond to an accidental lifealert call instead of medical personnel and wind up killing an old black man” = Democrats did it? Do you really think the point of PZ using “Republican Health Care” in the title was because he thought this was a republican controlled area? Do you really think it had anything to do with who he thought was the party in charge in the locale in question?

    I doubt he even bothered to find out, because if you get the satire and understand the nuance, you’d realize that that particular detail is totally irrelevant to the point being made!

    Here’s a hint… PZ’s use of “Republican Health Care” has nothing to do with which party is actually in power in this particular district.

    I’ll leave it to you to come the rest of the way…

  180. says

    Marksletten –

    Maybe if you didn’t go into it with a bias, you wouldn’t read PZ’s article as “Fascist Republican stormtroopers kill a minority in cold blood because they hate socialized health care”… but that’s the point you seem to be defending, which is the straw-man we’re harassing you for.

  181. grumpy1942 says

    Things might be different now, but when I was negotiating contracts for my union back in the early 60’s, health insurance was part of the negotiations, just like wages and vacations.

    We agreed to lower wages than we wanted in return for group health insurance plans wholly or partly funded by the employer.

    The government did not mandate employer-provided health care.

  182. says

    grumpy1942 –

    Things are different now… the profit-monster that is the modern American health-care industry is a totally different beast.

    The government did not mandate employer-provided health care.

    Does that mean it shouldn’t have? Or that it would have been worse if it did? If so, why?

  183. marksletten says

    So, marksletten, got anything to piss and moan about other than the title? Like, yanno, the… actual post?

    See @203 & 213

    You can pooh pooh the title and interpret PZ’s intent ’til your face turns blue, but it doesn’t change the clear implication PZ is making when you combine the title with the post.

    Here’s something for the (way more than Obama) liberals here who along with PZ are desperate to use this tragedy as a commentary on just how ginormously awful racism is here in America to think about: Perhaps this case is not particularly representative of larger trends in contemporary America. I can spend less time than it took me to post this comment on Google and find example after example of police in both Republican and Democrat jurisdictions getting away with killing innocent citizens, both black and white, and for reasons and in situations even less justifiable than this one. Am I saying this incident, this horrible tragedy that has probably already shattered the lives of all the people involved was somehow justified? Of course not.

    I saying this happens all the time, and that this particular incident may not really shed any light on larger racial issues or trends. And I’m suggesting attempts by either the right or the left; unions or the NRA; the NAACP, or even PZ to force fit the tragedy of this man’s death into a pre-existing ideological agenda adds nothing to the understanding that will be required to prevent future occurrences, not to mention reflecting rather poorly on the character of those making the attempt.

  184. says

    You can pooh pooh the title and interpret PZ’s intent ’til your face turns blue

    Yes… as you’ve clearly demonstrated. You either get it or you don’t.

    You can decide for yourself which category you fall into.

  185. says

    Here’s something for the (way more than Obama) liberals here who along with PZ are desperate to use this tragedy as a commentary on just how ginormously awful racism is here in America to think about:

    Now who’s doing the magic interpretation dance? Where in PZ’s title or entire post is there the mention of “ginormously awful racism”? The post (other than PZ’s mentioning that the word ‘nigger’ was used) wasn’t about racism. The racism tangent came out of the subsequent conversation… which can often happen here.

    Just stop, ok? You jumped to the ideological defense the minute you got the chance, and did so in complete and blatant disregard for the nuanced point of the title and post in favor of a literalist interpretation that better fit with your bellyaching boo-hoobering.

    If you want to continue arguing with yourself i’m sure there’s a willing mirror somewhere in your vicinity.

  186. marksletten says

    Yes… as you’ve clearly demonstrated. You either get it or you don’t.

    You can decide for yourself which category you fall into.

    So you’re saying PZ is using this tragedy to score ideological points and/or make a joke.

    Okay, I get it now…

  187. says

    and let me just sum up your post #219 for you…

    Sooo… you were able to do a cursory google search to find innocent WHITE people who were murdered… therefor blatant racism is a myth in your opinion? Or at the least overstated?

    What a mind-altering asshole you are.

    Any human with even the slightest modicum of intelligence need only look at the last 3+ years of the Obama presidency, and the reactions it has generated from the “Old, white-guy party” with any objectivity to realize that contrary to what we all (naively) hoped when Obama was elected, that it would somehow lend credence to the thought that just maybe we were past our horrifically racist past, what it actually did was shine a very bright and focused light on just how deep-seeded and prominent that ignorant mindset still is. And if you don’t actually see that, you are willfully covering your eyes and ears.

    So take your claims of “overstated racism” and shove them right up your sheltered, pompous, lilywhite ass.

  188. says

    So you’re saying PZ is using this tragedy to score ideological points and/or make a joke.

    That you don’t understand that satire has been used to shed a harsh light on social injustices for centuries is just further evidence of your total ignorance…

    That you think satire = simple joke is both sad, and more than a little telling.

  189. marksletten says

    Sooo… you were able to do a cursory google search to find innocent WHITE people who were murdered… therefor blatant racism is a myth in your opinion? Or at the least overstated?

    No, shit for brains. My cursory Google search tells me that police kicking down the doors of and killing innocent people–since it happens to both blacks and whites–may not be an indicator of systemic racism, that may be an indicator of problems OTHER THAN RACISM. Further, given that it happened in a Democrat jurisdiction, THIS INCIDENT, the one we are commenting on, is a poor example to use in furthering arguments suggesting rampant racism among Republicans.

    And I’m guilty of building strawmen? Hmmmm.

    So take your claims of “overstated racism” and shove them right up your sheltered, pompous, lilywhite ass.

    Overreact much, or just playing to the peanut gallery?

    Oh, and fuck off.

  190. Pteryxx says

    I saying this happens all the time, and that this particular incident may not really shed any light on larger racial issues or trends.

    Y’know, I WAS about to write a reply full of evidence, citing Brayton’s series on The New Jim Crow, on disproportionately racist searches, arrests and sentencing (by a factor of 5 – link here); …but if you actually gave a crap about evidence you wouldn’t be whining about how this particular incident is totally isolated in a vacuum and not an example of anything.

    So I’ll just second this:

    So take your claims of “overstated racism” and shove them right up your sheltered, pompous, lilywhite ass.

  191. says

    that may be an indicator of problems OTHER THAN RACISM.

    A point that is HARDLY supported with your “cursory search”, and needs to be made WHY exactly? Other than to try and call into question the reality of abject racism that is still very much alive and well in the US?

    What the fuck compelled you to go to ANY lengths, whatsoever, to fucking defend an argument that ISN’T EVEN MADE in the fucking original post, and then do so with your brand of googleproof?

    Allow me to repeat myself…

    take your claims of “overstated racism” and shove them right up your sheltered, pompous, lilywhite ass.

  192. Pteryxx says

    Oh, right, and an incident where police are yelling a racial slur at their target? It’s not unreasonable to think racism might just be a factor there. As long as no political parties get impugned. Sheesh.

  193. marksletten says

    That you don’t understand that satire has been used to shed a harsh light on social injustices for centuries is just further evidence of your total ignorance…

    I see, I just lack education. Aren’t you laying on the condescension just a bit thick?

    That you think satire = simple joke is both sad, and more than a little telling.

    So not only am I ignorant of the value of satire in exposing social injustice, I mistake PZ’s profound work here as nothing more than a simple joke. You’re really good at this ivory tower shit, aren’t you?

    Be that as it may, it WOULD be sad if I thought PZ was joking, except I’m not the one intimating there’s a joke I ‘didn’t get.’ That was you…

  194. says

    Oh, come off it, Letten.

    Republicans oppose universal health care. They are insane.

    Republicans support harsher anti-crime measures. They are insane.

    Republicans support greater economic inequities. They are insane.

    Republicans are for injustice. They’re for racism. They’re for real class warfare.

    I am not saying the Democrats are blameless. I think the Democrats have done a damned poor job of opposing the destructive policies of your side. But Republicans represent the kinds of thuggish behavior exemplified in this news story to a greater degree than do Democrats.

  195. Ogvorbis (no relation to the Ogg family) says

    I see, I just lack education. Aren’t you laying on the condescension just a bit thick?

    Ignorance is not lack of education. Newt has a PhD, doesn’t he? And he is willfully ignorant.

  196. says

    I see, I just lack education. Aren’t you laying on the condescension just a bit thick?

    I can only work with what you give me… your suggestion that PZ’s satire = simple joke led me to the conclusion… and before you again try to deny doing so, let me ask you how else to interpret this: “So you’re saying PZ is using this tragedy to score ideological points and/or make a joke.”

    And don’t play the persecuted role… hypocrisy isn’t very becoming. You act like an ignorant twit, you get treated like one… especially if it’s intentional.

  197. marksletten says

    Oh, right, and an incident where police are yelling a racial slur at their target?

    Other than to try and call into question the reality of abject racism that is still very much alive and well in the US?

    but if you actually gave a crap about evidence you wouldn’t be whining about how this particular incident is totally isolated in a vacuum and not an example of anything.

    Heeeeeeere we go. Because I don’t believe this incident is a good starting point for a discussion about racism in America; because I believe this incident is indicative of problems far more dire than racism; because I believe that using this incident to score ideological points draws attention away from these deeper issues; I somehow don’t care enough about racism.

    I’m not PZ making a satirical point folks; there is no hidden meaning in what I wrote requiring a higher education to ‘get.’

    — I didn’t say racism isn’t a problem in America
    — I didn’t say racism isn’t a problem in the American justice system
    — I didn’t say there are no racist cops
    — I didn’t say racism doesn’t play a role in how some cops react to minorities.
    — I didn’t say Republicans (or Democrats) aren’t racists

    But whatever. You guys believe whatever your ideological hearts tell you to…

    CATHEDRAL INDEED!

  198. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Liberturds are:
    Arrogant, can’t ever, ever admit they are wrong.
    Ignorant of reality
    Stubborn and must get in the last word.
    Aggressive instead of assertive, and must get everybody to agree with them.

    I present MSLetten, example extrodinaire.

  199. Ogvorbis (no relation to the Ogg family) says

    Because I don’t believe this incident is a good starting point for a discussion about racism in America

    So if it had been an elderly, middle-class white man in suburbia, and all other facts stand save for the location and race, do you really think that this would have taken so long to see the light of day? That it would not have been headlined on Faux News for a week?

    It is a valid point to start a discussion about race using this incident because it has not made headlines across the United States, it has not been dissected on the evening news, it has not become a national or worldwide story. Why do you suppose that is? I think it was because the victim was a black man and, in the US, African Americans are, to the media, second, or even third-class citizens.

  200. carlie says

    I believe this incident is indicative of problems far more dire than racism

    It’s really easy to believe that there are problems far more dire than racism when you’re white.

  201. says

    Mark Sletten,

    Here’s something for the (way more than Obama) liberals here who along with PZ are desperate to use this tragedy as a commentary on just how ginormously awful racism is here in America to think about: Perhaps this case is not particularly representative of larger trends in contemporary America.

    You’d be wrong about that. There is a mountain of evidence illustrating the institutionalized racism in the criminal process. Racial minorities are enormously more likely than the white population to be arrested, to be prosecuted, and to receive a harsher sentence if convicted. There is a reason why African-American men are hugely overrepresented in the prison population, relative to their numbers in the general population. It’s not an accident. Racial profiling and racial bias are endemic.

    The criminal justice system is, as I’m sure you’re aware, a disaster; America has by far the highest prison population in the developed world (more than 700 per 100,000), with horrific and dehumanizing conditions in prisons, huge numbers of prisoners suffering from untreated mental illnesses and addictions, and many people in prison who are there for non-violent drug or property crimes and pose no danger to the public. Not to mention the huge and growing privatized prison industry. This is bad for everyone, but it is particularly bad for racial minorities, who are the targets of discriminatory policing.

    Not to mention the immigration enforcement system – a whole shadow system of cops, courts and jails with its own arcane rules – which overwhelmingly targets racial minorities. Detainees in immigration detention are often held for months or years before they get a court hearing. And the “Secure Communities” program, together with the state laws passed in Arizona and Alabama, involves state and local cops in immigration enforcement – meaning that they often stop members of racial minorities on a minimal pretext or for no reason at all, demand identification, and turn them over to ICE if they turn out to be undocumented.

    Are the Republicans to blame for this? Not exclusively, but they certainly should get a hell of a lot of the blame. It is Republicans who are the most enthusiastic proponents of the War on Drugs, of “tough on crime” policies, and of anti-immigrant laws at the federal and state levels. It is Republicans who elect racist white supremacists to public office, like Steve King (who once referred to undocumented immigrants as “cockroaches”), Joe Arpaio, Jan Brewer…

  202. marksletten says

    Ogvorbis said:

    So if it had been an elderly, middle-class white man in suburbia, and all other facts stand save for the location and race, do you really think that this would have taken so long to see the light of day?

    How many times do you think this happens in America? I urge you to do some googling and find out just how many such incidents you’ve never heard about.

    Here’s a starting point for you:

    http://www.cato.org/raidmap/

    Nerd said:

    Liberturds are: yadda, yadda, yadda…

    Yes we know. Ad hominem is your favorite debate tactic. Whatever…

  203. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Ad hominem is your favorite debate tactic.

    Telling the truth is not an ad hominem, and you know that. If I’m not truthful, show us the evidence, not talk about it…You are big on talking about your theology, but short on acknowledging it is theology.

  204. says

    Heeeeeeere we go. Because I don’t believe this incident is a good starting point for a discussion about racism in America;

    It’s not our starting point. We’ve been discussing racism in America here for years. You’re the one who’s new.

    because I believe this incident is indicative of problems far more dire than racism;

    We discuss those here, too. One of the problems is the destructive dogma of the modern Republican party, which seeks to deny health care to the poor and, through its “tough on crime” stance, and “War On Drugs”-style thinking, encourages the militarization of police forces that are supposed to protect and serve the public, not treat citizens as enemy combatants.

    because I believe that using this incident to score ideological points draws attention away from these deeper issues; I somehow don’t care enough about racism.

    I have no knowledge of the depth of your concern about racism. However, highlighting an incident as an example of a problem that might just require a political solution, and pointing out that the Republican party is pushing policies that logically lead to shit like this, is discussion of the deeper issues.
    So what, exactly, is the difference between presenting a political opinion and trying to “score ideological points?” Does it come down to whether or not you agree with the idea?

  205. marksletten says

    Carlie said:

    It’s really easy to believe that there are problems far more dire than racism when you’re white.

    Carlie, c’mon… seriously? I am not, repeat not suggesting it doesn’t suck to be a racial minority in America (or anywhere else in the world for that matter). But wouldn’t you say an issue that affects the freedom of ALL Americans is more dire than one that affects a minority of Americans?

    I contend that saying this–out loud even–in no way detracts from the fucked up situation racial minorities face in America.

    Walton, read my post @233. I’ll say it again: Being part of a racial minority in America–especially a black man–is fucked up, no doubt about it. I agree completely with this. I just don’t view the incident we are discussing as indicative of a racial problem; it is indicative of a bigger problem.

    As I said, by combining the words “Republican,” “black man,” “police,” “racial slur,” and “shoot you dead” in his post, I believe PZ is trying, for whatever reason, to shoehorn this issue into a ready-made ideological position.

    I understand there are those here who disagree with my opinion. Perhaps we should just leave it at that…

  206. echidna says

    Grumps,
    That’s a very interesting parallel. Black man gets abused by cops, with recorded evidence. No charges laid.

    The difference between the UK and the US is this:

    The Independent Police Complaints Commission referred the case to the Crown Prosecution Service on the basis that three officers, including MacFarlane, may have committed criminal offences.

    The CPS initially decided no charges should be brought against any of the police officers. However on Thursday, the service said it would review the file after lawyers for the man threatened to challenge the decision in a high court judicial review. MacFarlane has been suspended.

    The existence of an independent commission, and the idea that justice is an expected outcome of the system, makes all the difference.
    Things will go wrong all the time, as corruption and racism and greed are difficult to eliminate. The trick is to set up appropriate bodies to check the system is working as it is meant to.
    In the US, it just seems that the Government has never really embraced the ideal of justice, equality and liberty for all, only paid it lip-service.

  207. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    marksletten #219

    I saying this happens all the time, and that this particular incident may not really shed any light on larger racial issues or trends. And I’m suggesting attempts by either the right or the left; unions or the NRA; the NAACP, or even PZ to force fit the tragedy of this man’s death into a pre-existing ideological agenda adds nothing to the understanding that will be required to prevent future occurrences, not to mention reflecting rather poorly on the character of those making the attempt.

    This is a looneytarian whining about how PZ and the Pharyngula commentariat don’t admire his selfish socio-economic fantasies. He complains about the “ideological agenda” here because his ideological agenda, based on greed and sociopathy, is not well received by normal people.

  208. says

    because I believe that using this incident to score ideological points draws attention away from these deeper issues; I somehow don’t care enough about racism.

    may not be an indicator of systemic racism

    That is not, by any means, what you did.

  209. marksletten says

    …the destructive dogma of the modern Republican party, which seeks to deny health care to the poor and, through its “tough on crime” stance, and “War On Drugs”-style thinking, encourages the militarization of police forces that are supposed to protect and serve the public, not treat citizens as enemy combatants.

    See my earlier posts. A Democrat has been in charge of the Executive for over three years; all of the problems you highlight above continue unabated. President Obama has even claimed the power to kill US citizens he believes to be guilty of terrorism, without due process or even deigning to share his specific proof or reasoning with the public. I submit this and the problems you highlight above are related, and are not solely the province of the “modern Republican party.”

    So what, exactly, is the difference between presenting a political opinion and trying to “score ideological points?” Does it come down to whether or not you agree with the idea?

    No, I agree completely there is a major problem with the way police forces are used in America. I reject PZ’s intimation the problems are motivated by Republican ideology or racism. Since that is my opinion, I view PZ’s attempt to conflate overzealous police with Republicans and racism as trying to ‘score points.’

    But hey, if it gets the cops off our backs, more power to him…

  210. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Still proving the arrogance, stubbornness, and ignorance of the liberturds MSLetten. Why not try the one thing you haven’t in years? Just fade into the bandwidth without attempting to get the last word in, and prove me wrong…

  211. says

    Walton, read my post @233. I’ll say it again: Being part of a racial minority in America–especially a black man–is fucked up, no doubt about it. I agree completely with this. I just don’t view the incident we are discussing as indicative of a racial problem; it is indicative of a bigger problem.

    What’s mutually exclusive about the two things? There’s nothing contradictory about acknowledging that this tragedy is indicative both of an endemic problem of institutional racism and of an endemic problem of police brutality, and that the two things overlap. I don’t really understand what you’re arguing about here.

  212. echidna says

    Marksletten,
    You laid yourself wide open to criticism by talking about a bigger problem than racism with the situation PZ described, without describing what that bigger problem is, and how if you addressed the bigger problem, the problem caused by racism would be alleviated.

    Racism is clearly a problem in the US, else these situations wouldn’t happen in the first place, and the media wouldn’t ignore them when they do.

    The bigger problem that makes the situation dire is that the justice system is corrupt, and there is no recourse for victims. It would seem that laws are used as a form of social control, rather than for the purpose of the administration of justice. That causes the racism to be institutionalised, which is itself a bigger problem, mainly because the rot would spread as the greedy, misogynist, corrupt and racist folks become emboldened. They may even run for office. [insert sad smiley face]

    Justice needs to be embraced as a societal goal, and the adminstration of justice is a system of processes of the type that we, as a society, understand very well.

    The situation would be vastly improved if the government could get its collective head around the issues, and actually implement systems that address questions like:
    What are the stated goals of our justice system are being met? What mechanisms can be implemented to detect problems?

  213. says

    echidna,

    The existence of an independent commission, and the idea that justice is an expected outcome of the system, makes all the difference.

    I think you’re being unduly positive about the British system. The “anti-terror” cops who beat and abused Babar Ahmad were still serving in the Metropolitan Police years later, and were recently acquitted by a jury, despite the compelling evidence of their guilt. (Meanwhile, Babar Ahmad is still in prison despite never having been charged with a crime.) And we have just as much of a problem of endemic racism in policing.

    There are a few things that are better in Britain. Fewer of our cops are armed, so police gunning innocent people down in the street is less common. And criminal sentencing is less harsh. But let’s not pretend that we don’t have the same basic problem: racist cops with too much power and too little accountability, and a culture of violence and forced submission to “authority”.

  214. echidna says

    A Democrat has been in charge of the Executive for over three years;

    A systemic change of the magnitude required takes about 20-50 years. And that’s going full bore.

  215. says

    When did police brutality become seperated from other forms of discrimination anyway? Last I checked it wasn’t rich white dudes the police beat.

  216. echidna says

    Walton,

    I’m not being unduly positive. I’m just saying that with appropriate regulatory systems in place, there is a chance to alleviate endemic problems.

    The key point in the Guardian is that the victim had a recording, and was able to use it to seek justice through the system. The fact that there is a problem with racism and abuse of power remains an issue.

    My point is that if you don’t have, or dismantle, the regulatory systems, then you’re stuffed as a society. It doesn’t make societies with regulatory systems perfect.

  217. echidna says

    marksletten

    I just don’t view the incident we are discussing as indicative of a racial problem

    Then you are blind and deaf. The use of racial slurs during the event is indicative enough.

  218. Pteryxx says

    *raise talon* Point of order…

    Then you are blind and deaf. The use of racial slurs during the event is indicative enough.

    Can folks back off on the able-ism just a tad. My blind friend isn’t anywhere NEAR as clueless as marksletten’s proving to be. ~;>

  219. echidna says

    Walton,
    Thanks for the link. What happened to Babar Ahmad just shouldn’t happen. I look forward to the ruling by the European Court of Human Rights.

  220. echidna says

    Can folks back off on the able-ism just a tad. My blind friend isn’t anywhere NEAR as clueless as marksletten’s proving to be. ~;>

    Oops. What I meant was to question how it is possible to not perceive racism in the words and actions of the police?

  221. says

    A Democrat has been in charge of the Executive for over three years; all of the problems you highlight above continue unabated. President Obama has even claimed the power to kill US citizens he believes to be guilty of terrorism, without due process or even deigning to share his specific proof or reasoning with the public.

    Granted, and you will find heavy criticism of him ’round these parts. I think if you searched this blog network for “State Secrets Privilege” or SSP you would find Obama being taken to task for this.
    But here we are in an election year, and we’re down to the top two Republican contenders. I fail to see why Romney would be any improvement, and the way he flip-flops around like a fish on land and his general cluelessness about the lives of people who aren’t born rich doesn’t make me think his policy will be any different. And the other contender is the most odiously theocratic candidate I’ve ever seen, a guy who thinks all laws should be based on his religion and who, I think, would send armed men out to investigate miscarriages.
    And remember, the health care system is also an issue being addressed in this post, and it’s been the democrats, by and large, who have pushed for change, who have pushed for a system that covers everyone.
    Meanwhile, one Republican contender is running away from the system he helped implement in Massachusetts, and the other puts the needs of blastocysts ahead of living, breathing women.
    And a leading media figure and voice of the Republican party derides a woman as “slut” for her testimony regarding the importance of hormonal birth control bills in the field of women’s health.
    Given all that, I don’t think the post heading is really out of line.

  222. Anri says

    – I didn’t say racism isn’t a problem in America

    Nope, just not a noteworthy problem in this particular instance…where, yanno, a specific racial slur was used.

    – I didn’t say racism isn’t a problem in the American justice system

    Nope, just not a noteworthy problem in this particular arm of the justice system, where… but see the above….

    – I didn’t say there are no racist cops

    Nope, just that these cops, who shot a black guy after calling him a nigger, aren’t to an important degree.

    – I didn’t say racism doesn’t play a role in how some cops react to minorities.

    Nope, just that racism had no noteworthy part of this incident of caps shooting… but see the above…

    I didn’t say Republicans (or Democrats) aren’t racists

    Nope, just that no connection can be made between the clearly racist GOP – that happens to brand itself the Law and Order party – and has draconian health-care policies that tend to keep minorities from access to appropriate health care – and an incident in which a black man’s health care system reacted inappropriately, he was taunted with a racial epithet, and was killed by police officers.

    See, that’s all a coincidence.

  223. marksletten says

    If you think Democrats aren’t law and order types try not paying your taxes…

    Sorry gang, gotta fly; it’s been fun.

  224. says

    No one’s saying the British system is perfect — no country’s is, and the UK has plenty of issues (like jailing some bozo for 56 days for nothing more than issuing a few racist Tweets) but these are small when compared to the systemic problems in the US judicial system:

    — authoritarian ‘tough on crime’ conservatism
    — three strikes laws
    — institutionalized racism
    — prosecutorial immunity
    — ‘war on drugs’
    — private prisons that want minimum occupancy guarantees
    — the largest per capita prison population in the world (by far)
    — horny teens branded as sex-offenders for life
    — extreme reluctance to spend money on rehab and reform of offenders

    If the US system was as good as the British system, we’d be in a hell of a lot better shape than we are today, even if we’d only be half-way to the type of system that would be best for America (e.g. the Scandinavian model, whose recidivism rates are a fraction of America’s)

  225. echidna says

    If you think Democrats aren’t law and order types

    What? Where did that come from?
    It’s the *lack* of law and order in the very institutions that are charged with promoting law and order that’s the problem.
    Fleabrain.

  226. says

    If the US system was as good as the British system, we’d be in a hell of a lot better shape than we are today, even if we’d only be half-way to the type of system that would be best for America (e.g. the Scandinavian model, whose recidivism rates are a fraction of America’s)

    I mostly agree, but bear in mind that the UK has been imitating some of the worst features of the US system increasingly for the last twenty years. We have privatized prisons, and a growing prison population – the rate of incarceration in England and Wales was 140 per 100,000 in 2006, which is still a small fraction of the US rate which exceeds 700 per 100,000, but it’s nonetheless the highest in Western Europe and higher than it has ever been before. Not to mention that, outside the criminal justice system, we have administrative immigration detention of asylum-seekers and undocumented immigrants, including children, in appalling conditions

    There are several reasons why the UK system is not (yet) as bad as the US: it makes much less use of mandatory minimum sentencing; prosecutors have less discretion and there is less scope for plea bargaining; and some of the worst abuses, such as the death penalty, are not used. Nonetheless, the growing rate of incarceration has been disastrous.

    I agree with you that the Scandinavian model is the best one to emulate. We know empirically that being imprisoned tends to increase recidivism, and that rehabilitative community sentences are more effective in cutting crime. We also know that a huge proportion of the prison population suffers from untreated mental illness and substance addiction, poverty, and limited education; all of these things can in principle be fixed with more investment in social infrastructure.

  227. carlie says

    But wouldn’t you say an issue that affects the freedom of ALL Americans is more dire than one that affects a minority of Americans?

    You’re thinking it as us v. them. An issue that causes our society to throw away almost a third of the population is a pretty big one. Think of how much better our society would be right now if everyone had been allowed to reach their full potential instead of being shunted off from birth as lesser because of their skin tone.

  228. Pteryxx says

    But wouldn’t you say an issue that affects the freedom of ALL Americans is more dire than one that affects a minority of Americans?

    Mmmm, how about NO.

    First off, racist criminal justice does affect ALL Americans. (By which you mean white Americans, obviously.) It’s a waste of money, resources, training and effort that could be going to actual crime reduction. It’s a waste of fellow citizens who could be living productive, happy lives instead of wasting away in prisons or poverty when they’re not killed outright. It’s a waste of neighbors and allies whose help and friendship we white folks don’t have because they’re frightened of us, with good reason.

    But more to the point, if an issue affects a disempowered minority of Americans, then by definition they’re not going to GET justice unless folks who don’t have a direct personal stake in it get involved. As far as I know, there are more black Americans than there are atheist ones. There’s about the same number of black folks here as gay ones. There are WAY more of any of those than trans people, who SERIOUSLY need all the help they can get. Heck, women are half the population and they’re STILL getting shit treatment. Much of it from common enemies of all these groups, I might add; and the groups aren’t mutually exclusive. Thus we have what PZ called the Combined Arms Approach. As soon as you say demonstrable problems aren’t worthy of consideration because they don’t affect you, you’re part of those problems.

  229. Kagehi says

    I’m really fucking curious though about the $80 aspirin. is that some weird garbled talking point? because even in the US it makes no sense that stuff you can find in a grocery store would cost that much in a hospital, which would indicate fraud or bill-padding if actually true.

    Read some of the other recent articles by the guy I linked to. What can happen is that a specific brand they use has a production issue, or shipping issue, or the like, and due to a shortage, they have to buy drugs, literally, from a scalper. To make up the cost of this, and other stupidities, the expenses get redistributed around to everything else. The specific case given in one of the links was a medication that normally cost.. Here is the article:

    http://scienceblogs.com/denialism/2012/02/drug_shortages_reveal_the_free.php


    An online survey last year found 56 percent of 549 hospital purchasing agents and pharmacists reported receiving daily solicitations from gray-market sellers, and most bought drugs from them. “It is unreal to have to deal with ‘scalpers’ in health care,” one survey respondent said. In one case, a supply of propofol cost $25,000 instead of $1,500.

    And, again, to cover the 1,667% cost increase, due to this sort of thing, the money has to come from some place, either the drug someone ***needs*** to survive at all, or from the drug someone can live without, i.e., things like an $80 aspirin.

  230. says

    An online survey last year found 56 percent of 549 hospital purchasing agents and pharmacists reported receiving daily solicitations from gray-market sellers, and most bought drugs from them. “It is unreal to have to deal with ‘scalpers’ in health care,” one survey respondent said. In one case, a supply of propofol cost $25,000 instead of $1,500.

    Ah, but that’s simply the free market adjusting to fluctuations in supply and demand. That’s a feature, not a bug — as is the pain, suffering, and death that comes along with it…

  231. keenacat says

    When you respond to these types of things, you never know for sure what is going on. Yeah, there is a voice behind the door saying “go away, I’m ok” But you don’t know if that is the owner of the home, or someone who just killed the owner.

    Uh, “these types of things” being fucking medical emergency calls? So if there’s a fucking medical emergency call, as in, probably a fucking medical emergency, the first and foremost suspicion on the police officers mind is that somebody probs just killed the owner? Are you fucking kidding me??

    Never? Obama isn’t a liberal. He’s right of center. You idiots just call everything left of fascism liberal.

    dude, let me explain this to you: the democratic party is centrist, the Republican party is right-wing. “Democratic” and “liberal” aren’t even close to synonymous.

    QFFT.

    Ad hominem is your favorite debate tactic.

    Is there an internet law amounting to “commenters who claim to be the target of ad hominem have a 90% chance of being total fucking asshats”? Because if there isn’t, there should be.

  232. Anri says

    For the intelligence impaired:

    What I said –

    that happens to brand itself the Law and Order party

    (emphasis added for those that have trouble with 10 words in a row)

    What was responded-

    If you think Democrats aren’t law and order types try not paying your taxes…

    See, I’m not even sure if that’s deliberate or not. What’s the consensus? Dishonestly disingenuous or just kinda stupid?

    *sigh* And I bet this guy is shaking his head all the way home, not understanding why smart people don’t agree with his clearly brilliant argumentation.

  233. jamesevans says

    If you think Democrats aren’t law and order types try not paying your taxes…

    Sorry gang, gotta fly; it’s been fun.

    What kind of sick fuck uses tax evasion as the exiting debate salvo in a thread about murdering someone for the unforgivable crime of being poor, having the wrong skin color, and accidentally triggering a medical alert?

    Oh, that’s right, the kind of sick fuck that thinks a modern democracy can somehow magically exist without compulsory taxation, and twists every issue (including a discussion about coldblooded, racist murder) into a protest of same taxation like this is a perfectly rational, natural, and helpful thing to do.

    If marksletten hasn’t officially been drafted into the ranks of wacko, objectivist Ayn Rand followers, then they are seriously missing out on the warm company of a truly demented and clueless confederate.

    Don’t criticize the GOP for turning America into a paranoid, murderous police state, or I, marksletten, will show you and tell you ONLY Democrats want you to pay taxes.

    Because, I guess the reasoning goes, if we all didn’t pay our taxes, and we as a country had to eliminate the things Republicans really, really appreciate and campaign for like our bloated military, regime change invasions, intensifying homeland security and national intelligence efforts, subsidies for oil companies, etc., the GOP would show up at our doors, give us the thumbs up, and thank us with a big smile, while the Democrats would be in the background behind them, stomping their feet, impatiently curling their mustachios, and grumbling in a nasally voice, “Foiled again!”

    While you’re out flying around, marksletten, seek some professional help.

  234. Kagehi says

    I submit this and the problems you highlight above are related, and are not solely the province of the “modern Republican party.”

    You are right, it used to be the province of the, “old Democratic party”, until the Democrats turned racially progressive, and all the racists found they needed a new party to go to. But, seriously, the point isn’t that its **caused** by them. If 50 buildings burn down, all because of bad wiring, that is the result of a failure to prevent bad wiring, it doesn’t ***in any way*** reduce the complicity of the guy that *helped* 10 of them burn down, by poring accelerants on the floor, every day, knowing the wiring was bad. He is still helping it happen. That is the argument being made here, not that the problem doesn’t already exist, but that one of the parties is not merely doing nothing to change it, they are actively doing things that exacerbate it.

  235. Pteryxx says

    Re the OP. Crommunist’s take on the incident here:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/crommunist/2012/04/03/failure-to-shuffle-bow-and-scrape-the-fatal-consequences

    Even then, I didn’t really absorb the full implication of what Chuck D was talking about: racial profiling and abuse of power by law enforcement. It didn’t filter through. After all, I was brought up to have a very different understanding of the relationship between civilians and police. Police were there to catch bad guys, to protect regular folks like me, and were who you called when you needed help. And maybe that’s true for some people, but I’m not so naive anymore to think that it’s the case for everyone.