Olice-pay Ate-stay: What to do if you feel you live in one?

CheezePavilion wrote:

Isn't there some kind of middle ground between 'police state' and 'happyville'?

He didn't say that made it a police state all by itself, he just said that that was one indication. Also even if that was the only thing that defined a police state there would still be a spectrum along that one variable. I suppose the middle ground in that case would be when you are exactly as afraid of the police as you are of random people.

gregrampage wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:
gregrampage wrote:
Bear wrote:

3. Is this within the law? If it is, then the police are doing what they're legally entitled to do aren't they? If it's a problem we have a mechanism to change the law.

How exactly do we go about changing the laws that give the police too much power?

We're not to the point where the police are so powerful that democratic means can't be used get them back under control. It's not the police that ended the Warren Court's expansion of our civil rights, it was the politicians we elected.

That's actually a really good point, but I don't see how it disagrees with mine. The police need to be stopped through democratic means, but the politicians are the ones who aren't concerned with protecting our rights. So how can we do anything?

Also does it matter if the laws exist? Who's enforcing them? Anthony Bologna was docked 10 vacation days. If he were charged with assault or kicked off the force, maybe I'd have some faith in democratic control of the police.

Better politicians. Either getting better ones in office, or getting the ones there to grow a backbone. To circle this back around, I think this is in part what OWS is about.

Also, to repeat something I said earlier in the thread: join the government. Become a cop. Become a attorney general. Get more involved in local politics: let's remember these are *local* police forces, not some secret police force under the command of the glorious leader.

In fact, wasn't it the public outcry against the police brutality in handling the clearing of another park--Tompkins Square back in 1988--that led to a stronger Civilian Complaint Board in NYC?

Yonder wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:

Isn't there some kind of middle ground between 'police state' and 'happyville'?

He didn't say that made it a police state all by itself, he just said that that was one indication.

If that was the case, I would have agreed with him, but I thought it would be a dick move for me to respond to "you may be living in a police state" with "that means you also may not." Maybe I misunderstood him, but based on prior conversations, I don't think I did.

Also even if that was the only thing that defined a police state there would still be a spectrum along that one variable. I suppose the middle ground in that case would be when you are exactly as afraid of the police as you are of random people.

Like you bring up, that's only one test of a police state. I'm talking generally in terms of how it seems any systemic failure by a police department means it's a police state.

CheezePavilion wrote:

I'm talking generally in terms of how it seems any systemic failure by a police department means it's a police state.

If those police departments (or others, for that matter) gave any indication that these issues were actually failures and not following policy then I would understand this reasoning. If there were visible and appropriate repercussions against the officers that failed I would feel a lot safer. Instead I'm aware that the only thing that's stopping a cop from pepper spraying an innocent citizen is a couple weeks of vacation time.

CheezePavilion wrote:

If that was the case, I would have agreed with him, but I thought it would be a dick move for me to respond to "you may be living in a police state" with "that means you also may not." Maybe I misunderstood him, but based on prior conversations, I don't think I did.

I don't think it would have been a dick move. I admit I was being flip and intentionally referencing Jeff Foxworthy in the middle of my comment. So honestly I would have found that funny.

Weird, borked comments.

Borked comments again. I think GWJ is telling me not to reply to Jayhawker.

As someone else here pointed out awhile back:

If other people are massively inconvenienced or have their lives destroyed by the government without good reason, that's just good security.

If I'm personally inconvenienced or have my life destroyed, only then is it a police state.

gregrampage wrote:

How exactly do we go about changing the laws that give the police too much power?

Also, whether or not it's within the law has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not we're in a police state. If it's happening, it's happening. Actually, if it's within the law, doesn't that actually make it worse, not better?

We still live in a country where private citizens can make a huge difference and have a massive impact on policy, law and procedure. If you truly fear that police power has become excessive have you called your local representative? They're the ones (who are still elected officials) who pass the laws the police work under. No police force gets to make up it's own laws. That's not their role. If the police are engaging in activities that are outside of the law then there are mechanisms to deal with that as well. If you're truly concerned about this issue then make a lot of noise with your elected officials. Talk to your neighbors, start a petition. Do something other than complain about it here. Laws and ordinances are changed daily all over this country. Please stop acting like this is Iran and we have no voice.

Bear wrote:

1. Does this have anything to do with the fact that there's a whole lot of people who keep trying to blow sh*t up in NYC?

gregrampage wrote:

Does that justify random stops of anyone for walking down the street? I don't think it does.

This is a sticky one for me. I have a huge problem with random stops and police taking action without probable cause. BUT, and this is the tricky part, how can the police ever ferret out a crime if they're not allowed to talk to you unless you're actually committing one? We all seem to forget that police are largely reactionary in nature and actually preventing crime requires actions that make people uncomfortable. Maintaining order in a city the size of NYC is a massive undertaking. I don't excuse the police who step over the line and openly admit that there are some cops that are just assholes. Let's not forget though, that the vast majority of them are good people who care deeply about the community they serve. They also have to deal with the absolute bottom of the humanity barrel every day. When you see the horror that they do on a daily basis it changes your view of the world. Again, that doesn't excuse them when they step over the line and if they do
they should be prosecuted.

Malor wrote:

As someone else here pointed out awhile back:

If other people are massively inconvenienced or have their lives destroyed by the government without good reason, that's just good security.

If I'm personally inconvenienced or have my life destroyed, only then is it a police state.

Isn't this pretty much the mantra for everything though? If it's not you, or your immediate family then most people don't give a sh*t.

Bear wrote:
gregrampage wrote:

Does that justify random stops of anyone for walking down the street? I don't think it does.

This is a sticky one for me. I have a huge problem with random stops and police taking action without probable cause. BUT, and this is the tricky part, how can the police ever ferret out a crime if they're not allowed to talk to you unless you're actually committing one? We all seem to forget that police are largely reactionary in nature and actually preventing crime requires actions that make people uncomfortable.

If given the choice between the two, I'd rather police stay reactionary. The only way I'd be comfortable with them being able to stop people without probable cause (what defines a probable cause would need a strict redefinition. Looking suspicious is not a probable cause) is if there was absolutely no penalty for refusing to comply with that request.

Stengah wrote:

Looking suspicious is not a probable cause.

Oh Stengah, it's almost like you're not terrified of minorities.

Yonder wrote:
Stengah wrote:

Looking suspicious is not a probable cause.

Oh Stengah, it's almost like you're not terrified of minorities.

Crazy!

Multiple people have suggested getting involved to change the laws regarding police. But no one has answered my question of what does it matter if those laws aren't enforced? Where is the punishment for all of the cops who cross the line?

gregrampage wrote:

Multiple people have suggested getting involved to change the laws regarding police. But no one has answered my question of what does it matter if those laws aren't enforced? Where is the punishment for all of the cops who cross the line?

I think that's why OWS is in the street. Because they know that being in privileged classes means you're immune to being punished for wrongdoing.

gregrampage wrote:

Multiple people have suggested getting involved to change the laws regarding police. But no one has answered my question of what does it matter if those laws aren't enforced? Where is the punishment for all of the cops who cross the line?

I brought up Civilian Complaint Boards and Attorneys General.

CheezePavilion wrote:
gregrampage wrote:

Multiple people have suggested getting involved to change the laws regarding police. But no one has answered my question of what does it matter if those laws aren't enforced? Where is the punishment for all of the cops who cross the line?

I brought up Civilian Complaint Boards and Attorneys General.

The CCB's findings can be overruled by the police department. So that's useless if the department isn't willing to enforce it's laws, so we're back to square one there.

Attorney General might be able to get something done, but are they going to sit and hear a citizen's single complaint? I would think they're too busy for that, but I could be wrong about that.

gregrampage wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:
gregrampage wrote:

Multiple people have suggested getting involved to change the laws regarding police. But no one has answered my question of what does it matter if those laws aren't enforced? Where is the punishment for all of the cops who cross the line?

I brought up Civilian Complaint Boards and Attorneys General.

The CCB's findings can be overruled by the police department. So that's useless if the department isn't willing to enforce it's laws, so we're back to square one there.

Attorney General might be able to get something done, but are they going to sit and hear a citizen's single complaint? I would think they're too busy for that, but I could be wrong about that.

So improve them. It's external enforcement, but it's enforcement. I'm not saying it's easy, I'm just saying that internal enforcement isn't the only way to enforce the laws.

I was going to post this in the OWS thread but maybe it's better suited here.

Matt Taibi wrote:
Glen Greenwald wrote:

The U.S. Government — in the name of Terrorism — has aggressively para-militarized the nation’s domestic police forces by lavishing them with countless military-style weapons and other war-like technologies, training them in war-zone military tactics, and generally imposing a war mentality on them. Arming domestic police forces with para-military weaponry will ensure their systematic use even in the absence of a Terrorist attack on U.S. soil… It’s a very small step to go from supporting the abuse of defenseless detainees (including one’s fellow citizens) to supporting the pepper-spraying and tasering of non-violent political protesters.

Why did that step turn out to be so small? Because of the countless decisions we made in years past to undermine our own attitudes toward the rule of law and individual rights. Every time we looked the other way when the president asked for the right to detain people without trials, to engage in warrantless searches, to eavesdrop on private citizens without even a judge knowing about it, we made it harder to answer the question: What is it we’re actually defending?

In another time, maybe, we might have been able to argue that we were using force to defend the principles of modern Western civilization, that we were "spreading democracy."

Instead, we completely shat upon every principle we ever stood for, stooping to torture and assassination and extrajudicial detention.

From the very start we unleashed those despotic practices on foreigners, whom large pluralities of the population agreed had no rights at all. But then as time went on we started to hear about rendition and extralegal detention cases involving American citizens, too, though a lot of those Americans turned out to be Muslims or Muslim-sympathizers, people with funny names.

And people mostly shrugged at that, of course, just as they shrugged for years at the insane erosion of due process in the world of drug enforcement. People yawned at the no-knock warrants and the devastating parade of new consequences for people with drug convictions (depending on the state, losing the right to vote, to receive educational aid, to live in public housing, to use food stamps, and so on).

They didn’t even care much about the too-innocuously-named new practice of "civil asset forfeiture," in which the state can legally seize the property of anyone, guilty or innocent, who is implicated in a drug investigation – a law that permits the state to unilaterally deem property to be guilty of a crime.

The population mostly blew off these developments, thinking that these issues only concerned the guilty, terrorists, drug dealers, etc. And they didn’t seem to worry very much when word leaked out that the state had struck an astonishingly far-reaching series of new cooperative arrangements with the various private telecommunications industries. Nobody blinked when word came out that the government was now cheerfully pairing up with companies like AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth to monitor our phone and Internet activities.

That's hitting a lot of the check boxes of the state police checklist.

Link

Are any of the checkboxes even missing, at this point? Every single point of a police state is there.

The fangs aren't drawing much blood yet, but they are there, and those who dare to be nonconformist are being savagely beaten and tortured.

Huh. In retrospect, it seems to me that this state of affairs is pretty much what bin Laden was gunning for when he made his plans. Mission Accomplished?

IMAGE(http://homepage.mac.com/cptchaz/iblog/C1200806250/E20070501214913/Media/osama-mission-accomplished-01.jpg)

Malor wrote:

Are any of the checkboxes even missing, at this point?

Yes, this checkbox: the regime and the country are considered indistinguishable.

I couldn't put my finger on it until now, and it finally hit me: when I think of a police state, I think of a country where enemies of the regime are automatically enemies of the state. When a leader sweeps into power with a landslide election in a police state, the opposition cowers in fear. It certainly doesn't derail The Leader's agenda simply by wearing TeaBagHattes and questioning his place of birth. In a police state, someone like Donald Trump winds up like Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

Which makes me think of another checkbox: propaganda. A police state doesn't shoot Enemy No. 1, dump his body in the ocean, and then tell everyone about it. A police state brings him home for a showtrial, or even better--it kills him *and never tells anyone* because what's a better way to scare your populace into compliance than by making sure they fear a monster that can never be found because you've already hidden his body?

+++++

As far as it being "a very small step to go from supporting the abuse of defenseless detainees (including one’s fellow citizens) to supporting the pepper-spraying and tasering of non-violent political protesters" in addition to those reasons listed, there's the big one no one is talking about: that we do not regard the bodies of other people as off-limits. When we turned a blind eye all these years to prison violence and sexual assault, we took a step in that direction. When we somehow wrote out of the abortion debate the idea that telling a woman what she can do with her own body is not dangerous ground to tread, we took a step in that direction. When we talk about how if we just hit our kids more they'd be better behaved, we take a step in that direction.

This might not be a popular stance, but I see an element of 'strict parenting' in pepper spraying these protestors. They're seen as unruly kids throwing a temper tantrum because they don't understand the way the world works and they're spoiled, so why shouldn't the authority figures punish them with physical pain? Considering the trend when it comes to children and parenting, are we really surprised someone like Bill O'Reilly is saying we can't monday-morning quarterback the police?

So Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) passed in a closed-door committee meeting, without even a single hearing S. 1867, the National Defense Authorization Act bill, in secret.

If enacted, sections 1031 and 1032 of the NDAA would:

1) Explicitly authorize the federal government to indefinitely imprison without charge or trial American citizens and others picked up inside and outside the United States;

(2) Mandate military detention of some civilians who would otherwise be outside of military control, including civilians picked up within the United States itself; and

(3) Transfer to the Department of Defense core prosecutorial, investigative, law enforcement, penal, and custodial authority and responsibility now held by the Department of Justice.

ACLU has the full story.

I can't believe what I am reading.

You guys need to either fight this, right here, right now, or ship out ASAP. I'm advising my American relatives the same.

The bill needs to not be modified, but junked in its entirety. The spirit under which such a tyrannical bill was drafted and proposed cannot bear fruit to any law acceptable to anyone who loves liberty.

Bin Laden started this process. That bill is the ultimate expression of his victory. If that bill is enacted, I think America, as an embodiment of a once cherished ideal, would be dead; said without without any exaggeration, embellishment, or dramatization. This supercedes any other crisis, IMO.

This is serious; pick-up-your-literal-guns-and-march-to-Washington serious.

The last time something like this came under my reading was when Marcos was assigning emergency powers to his administration, signed on September 21, 1972, following a rash of terrorist bombings and an attempted assassination of the Defense Secretary.

What followed was 16 years of tyranny and horror. You have a Marcos in your government. Anyone close to considering this bill at all should rightly have his political career ended by his constituents, effective immediately.

I would like to hear the thoughts from the people who didn't want to use the term police state yet as well as anyone that thinks there is no slippery slope.

Edwin wrote:

So Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) passed in a closed-door committee meeting, without even a single hearing S. 1867, the National Defense Authorization Act bill, in secret.

If enacted, sections 1031 and 1032 of the NDAA would:

1) Explicitly authorize the federal government to indefinitely imprison without charge or trial American citizens and others picked up inside and outside the United States;

(2) Mandate military detention of some civilians who would otherwise be outside of military control, including civilians picked up within the United States itself; and

(3) Transfer to the Department of Defense core prosecutorial, investigative, law enforcement, penal, and custodial authority and responsibility now held by the Department of Justice.

ACLU has the full story.

I can't believe what I am reading.

The sad fact is that many, if not most, Americans will support this under the belief that it will keep their kids safe from the scary terrorists.

For all intents and purposes, they might as well be urinating on the graves of Washington, Jefferson, Adams, and Franklin.

Our hope is that the White House is threatening to veto the bill. While the Udall amendment would squash the current forms, I am worried that it will open it up to even more changes. Not sure what the problem is with the current version of the way we address the status of detainees.

I don't see a problem here that needs to be fixed.

Phoenix Rev:

I think that the time for discussion or reflection is now past, having read the bill. It is now time for action - whatever action is left you. The fact that your country is now mired in a milieu where such a terrible law could even be drafted and could realistically be carried out if enacted is terrifying in the extreme. If I were an American, I'd be reviewing my options right now for physically being able to leave and live somewhere else safe. That, or I'd be arming myself with something significant.

You guys need to act, and it needs to be soon, whatever it is.

LarryC wrote:

Anyone close to considering this bill at all should rightly have his political career ended by his constituents, effective immediately.

Sadly, Levin and McCain have two of the safest seats in the Senate. I can't speak to McCain with the sort of knowledge PhoenixRev has, but Carl Levin was first elected to his seat before I was born, and even with this will not likely go anywhere until he retires or dies. Michigan voters are not known for their astute, long-term outlook on things.