Cognitive Dissonance

"Democracy! Bah! When I hear that I reach for my feather boa!" - Allen Ginsberg

Posts tagged cruel and unusual punishment

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State of Texas Has Run Out of Lethal Injection Drugs

Well, specifically, two of the three used in executions.

No, Rick Perry. Sit your ass down. There’s still one left. However, this is causing serious concern:

An Oklahoma inmate asked a federal court on Tuesday to halt his upcoming execution because that state has only one dose of pentobarbital left. A lawyer for Michael Hooper said Oklahoma has no backup plan if the drug fails to render Hooper unconscious, and that creates a risk of cruel and unusual punishment…

Texas officials said in May that they have enough doses of pentobarbital to carry out 23 executions. No one has been executed in the state since. Four other states — Arizona, Idaho, Ohio and Washington — have used a single drug to carry out executions, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. Ohio was the first to use just pentobarbital, during a March 2011 execution…

Death penalty opponents claim single-drug executions may be less humane.

Without the two others, the possibility for cruel and unusual punishment escalates. For the record, I oppose the death penalty for several reasons. Chiefly, I don’t believe killing to teach others killing is wrong is a good method of deterrence, and one commutation from death row is enough to stop all executions. It’s better to let a guilty person go free than jail one innocent one — much less kill an innocent person.

Filed under Death penalty Texas Cruel and unusual punishment crime 8th Amendment drugs execution

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Sheriff Joe Is Keeping the Birther Dream Alive

The Tea Party’s very own Sheriff Joe Arpaio — famous for his pink panty fetish and for leading a department full of human traffickers — on Wednesday night met with “more than 325 people” (!) who fear that Barack Obama will try to run on 2012 ballots in Arizona’s Maricopa County using a fake birth certificate. Oh yes.

The Surprise Tea Party Patriots™ handed Sheriff Joe a petition with 242 signatures. Joe said he’ll “probe” the issue (with tax payer’s money), and keep Maricopa County free of forged document-wielding illegal aliens.

Awesome! Sheriff Joe is proud of providing such a low standard of health care and sustenance to his inmates that he was ordered by the federal appellate court to improve conditions within the jail because of substantial 8th Amendment violations. One reason Arpaio cites for providing food like moldy bread is that it saves the taxpayers money. Truthfully, he’s cost Arizona taxpayers quite a bit in litigation costs and civil rights suits.

And now, with trying to ‘probe’ whether or not Barack Obama is going to run in Maricopa County (and, ostensibly, the rest of the country) with a false birth certificate, he’s prepared to further misuse taxpayer dollars. If you wrote this as a movie, no producer would touch it - it’s that ridiculous. However, welcome to the reality shared by much of the Tea Party and Sheriff Joe.

Filed under Arizona Joe Arpaio Sheriff Joe politics cruel and unusual punishment birthers Maricopa county civil rights Barack Obama President Obama Barack Obama is not from Kenya

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Inmates Facing Chilly Night In Tent City

PHOENIX — Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is used to dealing with extreme heat in his Tent City jail.For the next few days, inmates will be facing severe cold weather instead. The overnight temperatures are expected to dip below freezing. Inmates will have extra blankets for the next few nights, Arpaio said. They will also be issued pink thermal underwear to go with their standard pink boxers.The tents used for the jail date back to the Korean War.

"The conditions here are mild compared to what happened in 1950 in ‘frozen Chosin,’" Arpaio said, referring to the Korean War battle.

Fuck you, Joe Arpaio. Seriously. This is not the Korean War and the inmates did not enlist to be in the Army. He seems to be forgetting 2 important things:

  • Some of the inmates in your jail are innocent until proven guilty
  • The Eighth Amendment - “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” These are conditions banned by the U.S. Military in regards to prisoners of war: “Exposure to excessive cold, Inadequate bedding and blanketing, Sleep deprivation due to an accumulation of circumstances, Detrimental impact from an accumulation of confinement conditions…”

So what makes Arpaio exempt from humanely treating his prisoners? I understand this is not the military, but let’s face it, these are basic human rights, like the right to not be subjected to below freezing temps in only boxers, a t-shirt, thermal underwear, and an extra blanket in tents that are older than many of the inmates themselves. This is inhumane, and it’s little wonder Arpaio is being sued by the Department of Justice for refusing to provide full access to records and facilities for a civil-rights investigation.

Hmmm…:

The suit alleges the Sheriff’s Office is in violation of federal civil-rights laws by refusing for 17 months to fully cooperate with an investigation into police practices and jail operations. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Phoenix, names Sheriff Joe Arpaio, his office and Maricopa County.

Filed under Fuckery Joe Arpaio STFU civil rights cruel and unusual punishment eighth amendment inhumane inmates institutional cruelty prisoners Arizona

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Bradley Manning's health deteriorating in jail, supporters say

As Julian Assange emerged from his nine-day imprisonment, there were renewed concerns about the physical and psychological health of Bradley Manning, the former US intelligence analyst suspected of leaking the diplomatic cables at the centre of the storm.

Manning, who was arrested seven months ago, is being held at a military base in Virginia and faces a court martial and up to 52 years in prison for his alleged role in copying the cables.

His friends and supporters also claim they have been the target of extra-judicial harassment, intimidation and outright bribery by US government agents.

According to David House, a computer researcher from Boston who visits Manning twice a month, he is starting to deteriorate. “Over the last few weeks I have noticed a steady decline in his mental and physical wellbeing,” he said. “His prolonged confinement in a solitary holding cell is unquestionably taking its toll on his intellect; his inability to exercise due to [prison] regulations has affected his physical appearance in a manner that suggests physical weakness.”

He was arrested seven months ago and is still not charged with a crime. We are torturing one of our own citizens on our soil. If this doesn’t chill you, it should. Remember, he has not been convicted of a crime. He might be guilty, but he has not been convicted. Get the difference?

Read Glenn Greenwald’s excellent summary here.

Filed under Bradley Manning Wikileaks Julian Assange Torture Torture is torture Solitary confinement cruel and unusual punishment