Point of View Columns

Weekend Edition – April 6, 2012

The right wing of the right wing rests its warped hopes for the future of this country on the conservative cabal that currently occupies four seats on the Supreme Court of the United States. While almost casually planning to eviscerate or eliminate a national healthcare bill this same cabal has now given police permission to strip search citizens without any probable cause to do so. Meanwhile, Representative Paul Ryan has presented the Teapublican vision for the future in a budget presentation that alternatively makes the blood boil and the blood run cold. And finally, we are just learning that Kenneth Chamberlain died in November 2011. Sadly, we enter his name in the ledger of black men killed by the police in highly questionable circumstances.

The Strip Club

As you read this the Supreme Court of the United States has already decided that the police in any jurisdiction in the United States can conduct a strip search on you even if you have been stopped for a minor infraction. That an American citizen can be forced to disrobe and be subject to bodily inspection without any cause whatsoever would seem to be an impossible position to uphold or defend, even for the Conservative Cabal.

At least ten states have specific restrictions regarding strip searches of arrested (but not charged or convicted) individuals. Most police forces also have very strict guidelines regarding strip searches.

By opening the door to this most invasive form of police conduct, the Supreme Court is also opening the door to unnecessary abuse and misconduct.
And all of this is in the name of justice.

Ryan’s Express to Hell

Representative Paul Ryan is presented to us as some kind of self-styled expert on the federal budget. It is clear that his primary credential is his ability to keep a straight face while proposing the most draconian federal budget in American history.

A close analysis of the Teapublican budget “proposal” shows an absolute willingness to cut or eliminate almost every aspect of the “safety net” that has been put together over the past century. Care for the children, the elderly and the environment all are on Ryan’s chopping block. In Ryan’s World there is no money for infrastructure repair/replacement and no reason to invest in the education of American citizens.

The Koch-sponsored Teapublican budget offers lower and lower taxes, a Medicare structure that barely survives the amputations administered by Dr. Ryan and his team and —of course, an increased budget for defense. Presumably a dumbed down, sick and decaying America will have war as its primary occupation in the World According to Ryan.

That Mitt Romney would term this budget “marvelous” should tell you all that you need to know about the presumptive Teapublican nominee for president. The G.O.Tea Party is asking us to drink sewage but to believe that it’s a health drink and that it’s good for us.

Death in the Shadows

On November 19, 2011, Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr., age 69, was killed by the White Plains police. The police were responding to a call from a medical alert company requesting that they check on Mr. Chamberlain (a retired United States Marine), who was a heart patient. Although Mr. Chamberlain indicated to the police that he was alright and did not need assistance the police insisted on entering his apartment, finally taking the door of his apartment off its hinges. Mr. Chamberlain was tasered, shot with a bean bag and then fatally shot by the White Plains police. For details of this tragedy please go to http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/marine-veteran-kenneth-chamberlain-sr-killed-clash-police-responded-medical-emergency-article-1.1055569 .

It is sad to realize that it took over four months for this questionable killing of a black man by the police to come to light. It took almost a month for the questionable killing of a young black man, Trayvon Martin, to come to light.
We have to ask, how many other tragic and avoidable deaths lie lurking in the shadows of this country?

Happy Easter!

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