Much Brokenness – Tasers and Village Smears

Digby has been on the case of taser abuse for months and what it says about not only the criminal justice system and law enforcement but our society as a whole. In her latest post on the subject:

It’s not that I don’t understand that police have a thankless job and are often put in dangerous situations. I can even see the use of these things in those circumstances where a gun would otherwise be used. But the way they are deployed most often is simply to give a jolt of horrible, mind bending pain so that people will instantly turn docile and cooperative — at the sole discretion of the authority who wields it. Where does this eager subservience on the part of allegedly freedom loving Americans come from, that the population so willingly accepts that the police have right to make any of them feel “a hard punch in the stomach with the added trauma of electricity running through your body” whenever they feel the need? I can’t wrap my mind around that.

[...]this current debate has made it impossible to ignore any longer: the United States of America tortures its own children. It tortures prisoners. It tortures average citizens whom any policeman believes is failing to smartly comply with his orders and it tortures suspected terrorists. We just call it (in true Orwellian fashion) “Tough Love.”

Digby also does a useful summary of the truly revolting character assassination of Sonia Sotomayor.  Just disgraceful stuff. Greenwald and others have been on top of it as well.

Rosen irreparably harmed Sotomayor’s reputation and changed her life, all because his friends wanted to stop her career rise. The “white man’s burden” argument picked up by the more subtle parts of the Village media complex is just an recapitulation of Rosen’s story, making the snap judgment that Sotomayor isn’t “deserving” of the appointment, in the way, oh, a white man would be. I’d gather this happens far more than we all think – the Gladys Kravitz gossips in the Village whisper to one another about such-and-such, whether because of jealousy or backstabbing or whatever, then find enough anonymous sources to confirm the storyline and enough facts they can twist to back it up. And the target gets smeared in enough high places to set that storyline in concrete, and wherever he or she walks in Washington, they are subjected to disapproving stares and the shaking of heads. Somewhere in the Village, there’s a list of those on the inside and those on the outside, and the insiders guard their turf in the most zealous, vindictive way possible.

Digby is one of few independent bloggers I’ve occasionally donated to. All of her work is vital, trenchant, and insightful.  But it was the taser post that reminded me that I haven’t sent her any change this year and I immediately did so.  The taser horribleness reflects something broken in society at large and the Sotomayor smears reflect how broken Washington and the Village are.  I don’t know how or whether these broken things can be fixed, but at the very least it’s important to have voices like Digby’s documenting the atrocities.

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