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

CheezePavilion wrote:
gregrampage wrote:

Sure, it definitely does but my question was, essentially: after seeing this bill do you still think we're not on one? If this law passes, are we not much closer to a full blown police state before? In other words, I was asking "Does this change your opinion?" I understood the sentiment of the post and I think my question is still valid, regardless of tense.

Back to the actual topic itself, rather than discussion of discussion...I can understand not thinking we're in a police state but to say that we're not in a slippery slope seems just factually incorrect at this point.

Maybe I should ask what you mean by that phrase "slippery slope." There's more to something being a slippery slope than just things getting worse. When I think of a slippery slope, I think of a law that makes it harder to prevent the next, more oppressive law from being passed. Just because we're closer to a full blown police state doesn't mean we were on a slippery slope. It can mean we just kept passing more and more oppressive laws.

Are you guys talking more about like, the boiling frog metaphor? Where you use a succession of small changes to get people not to notice that there's been a big change?

Yeah, the boiling frog metaphor definitely applies. I think my interpretation of slippery slope is not "harder to prevent the next law" so much as "easier to pass the next law." if that's incorrect terminology, then that would explain the confusion.

Jayhawker wrote:

[...]

It's easy to press the panic button and assume we are in the end times, just like every other generation has claimed. But these events led to more freedom, not less. They were reality checks, and affected change in the system.

I was lucky enough to be a board-op for talk radio in the 90's. Let me tell you, the paranoia and worry about the police state was 100 times worse. Black helicopters were all the rage. Bill Clinton had hit list of political opponents he had murdered. It was scary how far paranoia drove people.

What we have today is another crisis, and humans struggling to deal with it. But it isn't some conspiracy to strip of us our rights. It's scared leaders over-reacting to protesters that are hitting too close to home. But effective protests have ugly moments. It sucks, but it is a predictable cycle.

When millions and millions live in the same country, there are going to times that test our ability to be civilized. And while there are some that think a crackdown will make the country safer, in the end, the opposite is what works. We'll get through this, and hopefully the officers will pay.

I just think it serves us better to deal with the current events, rather than trying to make this out as the end of times.

Thanks for your post and perspective. I really appreciate first hand knowledge like this.

jdzappa wrote:

Actually, we were more of a police state in WW I than WW II. It was made an act of treason to protest the war and hundreds of liberal anti-war protesters were thrown in prison to rot. The government also actively encouraged citizens to snitch out communists, anarchists, and other "traitors."

But history lessons aside, I don't think we live in a police state - yet. The Patriot Act makes it very easy for the government to institute martial law if things get bad enough. We've also crossed into really dark gray areas such as spying on the e-mails and phone calls of millions of Americans, or ordering the death of an American citizen.

Thank you too for pointing this out. My knowledge of pre-adulthood politics is limiting and I am always finding new things I didn't know about daily, and sometimes hourly.

Bear wrote:
jdzappa wrote:

Actually, we were more of a police state in WW I than WW II. It was made an act of treason to protest the war and hundreds of liberal anti-war protesters were thrown in prison to rot. The government also actively encouraged citizens to snitch out communists, anarchists, and other "traitors."

But history lessons aside, I don't think we live in a police state - yet. The Patriot Act makes it very easy for the government to institute martial law if things get bad enough. We've also crossed into really dark gray areas such as spying on the e-mails and phone calls of millions of Americans, or ordering the death of an American citizen.

I really wish we'd stop acting like we pulled some guy out of his house in Omaha and shot him on the street. Yes, he was an American citizen by birth, but through his actions he renounced his citizenship years ago.

75 years ago he would have been called a traitor and shot

I would have liked to at least seen due process and a trial first. That's my biggest problem with the extra judicial execution of an American citizen and son. I also believe that is what most people complained about.

Is there another case where someone has committed treason against his/her birth country and was not given a trial of some kind?

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.

Okay, I'm puzzled. Here's part of Section 1031 and 1032:

(a) In General- Congress affirms that the authority of the President to use all necessary and appropriate force pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40) includes the authority for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons (as defined in subsection (b)) pending disposition under the law of war.

(b) Covered Persons- A covered person under this section is any person as follows:

(1) A person who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored those responsible for those attacks.

(2) A person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces.

(a) Custody Pending Disposition Under Law of War-

(1) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in paragraph (4), the Armed Forces of the United States shall hold a person described in paragraph (2) who is captured in the course of hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40) in military custody pending disposition under the law of war.

(2) COVERED PERSONS- The requirement in paragraph (1) shall apply to any person whose detention is authorized under section 1031 who is determined--

(A) to be a member of, or part of, al-Qaeda or an associated force that acts in coordination with or pursuant to the direction of al-Qaeda; and

(B) to have participated in the course of planning or carrying out an attack or attempted attack against the United States or its coalition partners.

(3) DISPOSITION UNDER LAW OF WAR- For purposes of this subsection, the disposition of a person under the law of war has the meaning given in section 1031(c), except that no transfer otherwise described in paragraph (4) of that section shall be made unless consistent with the requirements of section 1033.

(4) WAIVER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY- The Secretary of Defense may, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence, waive the requirement of paragraph (1) if the Secretary submits to Congress a certification in writing that such a waiver is in the national security interests of the United States.

(b) Applicability to United States Citizens and Lawful Resident Aliens-

(1) UNITED STATES CITIZENS- The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States.

(2) LAWFUL RESIDENT ALIENS- The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to a lawful resident alien of the United States on the basis of conduct taking place within the United States, except to the extent permitted by the Constitution of the United States.

Note that last bit. "The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States." I think the bill maybe was changed since the ACLU got hold of it? Or am I missing something?

So even if a person was somehow targeted by the government under a loose interpretation of "directly supported such hostilities", an American citizen could not be held under military law and would need to be put into the normal judicial system. Do I misread these two elements?

It's entirely possible. When I was writing my initial post, section 1031 wasn't even available online. That first quote in your post was from the ACLU as I didn't have access to section 1031. Maybe the Udall Amendment already went through? I haven't seen any news about it, but then again, I haven't seen much news about the ACLU and the Washington Post.

Edwin wrote:

Is there another case where someone has committed treason against his/her birth country and was not given a trial of some kind?

I can't think of one right off the top of my head, but something that came very close was the case of Jose Padilla who was declared an "enemy combatant" and the U.S. government said that designation waived his habeus corpus rights. We literally were on the path to allowing U.S. citizens being locked up without benefit of charge or trial. I remember the cable talk shows and all the people clamoring that Padilla didn't deserve his constitutional rights because he was a terrorist (even though he had never been formally charged nor faced a jury of his peers).

No habeus corpus. No formal charge. No trial or jury of peers. Plenty of other Americans happy to see that happen to a citizen they despised simply because the government branded him a terrorist.

Thankfully, he did get his day in court but not without the government doing its best to stop him from getting one.

Phoenix Rev wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:

Are you guys talking more about like, the boiling frog metaphor? Where you use a succession of small changes to get people not to notice that there's been a big change?

I would agree that this is more along my way of thinking.

Unfortunately, the precipitous event was 9/11 where we went mad and started down the road of paranoia and fear believing that both will make us safer.

I have noted before that if you had said, say, 15 years ago that by the end of 2011 you would have to have your genitals rubbed by a government actor as a condition of passage on an airline, people would have laughed in your face or through you had lost your mind.

I wouldn't have laughed or thought you had lost your mind.

I would have believed that a lot faster than I would have believed the trend was *towards* gay marriage being legal. Which maybe is one of the reasons I have trouble wrapping my head around the idea of this being a police state. I don't normally associate a police state with the protection of the lifestyle rights of the individual. I think of this:

IMAGE(http://i1094.photobucket.com/albums/i453/czpv/profas.jpg)

No, they're not Nazis, they're Russians demonstrating against a pro-gay rally. I know a police state doesn't come overnight, and at first children are skating, ships are sailing, dogs go on with their doggy life and such, but it's tough to reconcile the rise of a police state with modern American life. It's not just that you don't see stormtroopers on the street yet, it's that we're worried about stuff like...bullying.

If it's a police state, it's a very unique sort of police state, where a gay sex columnist is free to wage a vulgar campaign of words against a former senator. Maybe freedom of speech is the last freedom this police state will go after, but yeah--hence my issue with calling it a slippery slope if it seems to actually avoid targeting the freedoms that make it possible for the populace to reverse course.

It's odd isn't it? There are clear signs, trends even, towards a police state in some ways but not in some, even many ways.

I wouldn't say that things permitted by a police state would be classed as evidence against it. I mean, i'm not saying that the US is a police state... but saying that people can be pro-or anti-gay (marriage) within a police state is like a pro-or anti-occult stance in Nazi Germany. It's entirely orthogonal to what the state is going after... therefore the state doesn't care.

*I'm not trying to belittle gay rights here, i'm just using it as an example since we were talking about it.

Duoae wrote:

I wouldn't say that things permitted by a police state would be classed as evidence against it. I mean, i'm not saying that the US is a police state... but saying that people can be pro-or anti-gay (marriage) within a police state is like a pro-or anti-occult stance in Nazi Germany. It's entirely orthogonal to what the state is going after... therefore the state doesn't care.

Heh, it didn't?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esoteri...

I think the issue here is you're confusing pro- and anti- as two sides on an issue, like "solar vs. wind power" when it's a question of more or less freedom: freedom to marry who you want, freedom to worship as you want.

It just seems strange to say that freedom is orthogonal to what a police state is going after, doesn't it? A police state that doesn't care about freedom of thought and expression? That's not the usual when it comes to police states.

Ah, i think i was confused in time lines... Looking at that page i might have been thinking of the period before and after the first world war, not the second. Thanks for straightening that out for me. My point was that if the state (police or not) allows something because it fits in with its view (or is of no consequence to it a la homosexuality) then you can't really measure your freedom by looking at those things.

e.g. White males would never experience racism or sexism in the same way that minorities and women do... However, just because you're a white male (speaking theoretically here, not at you) who's privileged doesn't mean that those problems don't exist.

Side note: It's funny reading the link you posted as you can see the decline, through laws passed, of esoteric views that were frowned upon by the ruling class. Does that not mirror, in some way, the things that have happened over the last few years? Just in a different area of life...

Duoae wrote:

My point was that if the state (police or not) allows something because it fits in with its view (or is of no consequence to it a la homosexuality) then you can't really measure your freedom by looking at those things.

Is it really of no consequence though? That's sort of the definition of a police state, isn't it: that *everything* is of consequence to the state?

I think I know where you've coming from in that the enforcement of the law is different from the substance of the law, it just seems more like we're talking about a broken police force than a police state if the state is going around often enough saying "meh--there are areas of life that are of no consequence to the state."

Just because it ignores those things now doesn't mean it will continue to. As soon as someone convinces powerful people in the apparatus of the state that these things are dangerous to its power, then those things will be suppressed.

Malor wrote:

Just because it ignores those things now doesn't mean it will continue to. As soon as someone convinces powerful people in the apparatus of the state that these things are dangerous to its power, then those things will be suppressed.

Citation?

If you provide even web hosting to an organization decreed to be 'terrorist', you can be penalized severely, up to and including jail time. These organizations aren't even allowed to speak, once they're on the Official sh*t List, and anyone that helps them speak is killed. (see: that guy who was assassinated recently; the sole non-secret "evidence" of collaboration is that he was daring to produce effective Youtube videos arguing the case for the other side. This was, in fact, the major cited reason for killing him -- he was much too effective as a spokesperson, so he needed to die.)

As soon as a behavior actually threatens power, the police state stops it. They don't allow the "terrorist" groups to speak, at least partly because they would say very, very embarrassing things about the U.S. government. See: Wikileaks.

Malor wrote:

Just because it ignores those things now doesn't mean it will continue to. As soon as someone convinces powerful people in the apparatus of the state that these things are dangerous to its power, then those things will be suppressed.

Well then I'm not too worried because this is a pretty dumb police state if it needs to be convinced such things are dangerous to its power. Heck of a police state, Brownie!

Malor wrote:

see: that guy who was assassinated recently; the sole non-secret "evidence" of collaboration is that he was daring to produce effective Youtube videos arguing the case for the other side. This was, in fact, the major cited reason for killing him -- he was much too effective as a spokesperson, so he needed to die.

If you're talking about Anwar al-Awlaki, you're seriously misrepresenting his situation.

Stengah wrote:
Malor wrote:

see: that guy who was assassinated recently; the sole non-secret "evidence" of collaboration is that he was daring to produce effective Youtube videos arguing the case for the other side. This was, in fact, the major cited reason for killing him -- he was much too effective as a spokesperson, so he needed to die.

If you're talking about Anwar al-Awlaki, you're seriously misrepresenting his situation.

Google David Headly and tell me al-Alwaki deserved assassination without trial while Headly has been tried.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Headley

EDIT: Also, not only did Headly have an actual operational role with a terrorist group, but he's now divulging information.

DSGamer wrote:
Stengah wrote:
Malor wrote:

see: that guy who was assassinated recently; the sole non-secret "evidence" of collaboration is that he was daring to produce effective Youtube videos arguing the case for the other side. This was, in fact, the major cited reason for killing him -- he was much too effective as a spokesperson, so he needed to die.

If you're talking about Anwar al-Awlaki, you're seriously misrepresenting his situation.

Google David Headly and tell me al-Alwaki deserved assassination without trial while Headly has been tried.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Headley

EDIT: Also, not only did Headly have an actual operational role with a terrorist group, but he's now divulging information.

Also he was in Chicago when he was arrested.

Headly did us the favor of coming into our reach to be captured. Had al-Awlaki done the same thing, he'd have been grabbed too. I believe he was even offered the chance to make his case in court. Not that he would have been free after taking it, but he'd have been alive. He was killed in part because he surrounded himself with people willing to die to protect him, and it was easier to take him out than to capture him.

Here's something to think about. Internet surveillance on the scale the US was simply not possible until a few years ago. Now, of course, any mid-size country could do it at reasonable expense, if they had access to the information flow. This is simply a result of the advance of technology; until the mid-2000's or so, by public accounts, the volume of traffic was simply too high to capture it all. Now we can.

So, that capability will continue to drop in cost. Right now, many countries could subvert carriers to get this kind of surveillance going. Certainly criminals or terrorists or even corporations could do similar things, if on a smaller scale (although the use of botnets or websites and Hadoop would give them a chance to do this in interesting ways). Given that our allies and enemies and advertisers can do this, is this a capability we can afford not to develop in the intel community?

That's a serious question. I'm not making a value judgement here. I'm asking, given the state of technology, can we realistically expect this *not* to be done, by the government or others? Or is this simply a natural progression that results from the advance of technology, even if we don't particularly like the idea?

I don't understand this line of thinking. Since the technology or product exists we must yield to its inevitability? Yet we worry about other countries developing nuclear technology. We try (some would say over zealously) to regulate drugs. But we should give up when it comes to our communication being secured? Just because something can be done doesn't mean it should be done.

We can develop technology to monitor thoughts; we are, in fact, in the process of starting to do so.

Does that mean we should? Does that mean you should pass a loyalty oath or be immediately put to death? Because that would be very, very safe for the people who were willing to swear that oath.

[edit: oops, got my threads confused.]

I don't understand this line of thinking. Since the technology or product exists we must yield to its inevitability? Yet we worry about other countries developing nuclear technology. We try (some would say over zealously) to regulate drugs. But we should give up when it comes to our communication being secured? Just because something can be done doesn't mean it should be done.

To be fair, I hold the same views on nuclear weapons technology and legalizing some drugs currently illegal (albeit hopefully with a social safety net to counterbalance the effects).

Anyway, I did not propose that "because it can be done, it should be". (Malor, that's a response to you too.) What I said is different. Please reread it and address the question I asked, rather than a point I didn't make. It would also be nice if the question were answered with a declarative statement rather than a redirecting question.

So you posit that because other people COULD do it, in theory, we SHOULD do it, now?

Sorry. No dice. It doesn't matter what other people are doing if it's wrong. And they're not even doing it -- you're using their possibility of doing so as our reason to start doing it for real, and then of course they'll use our doing it for real to justify doing it themselves.

Here's a response I posted in the OWS thread that ties in with the conversation on police states. I was only going to post the article link, which i think everyone here should read, but wanted to also provide the context, which was agreeing to earlier posts on the further militarization of the US police.

Agreed. Just this year there have been at dozens of instances where local SWAT teams raided citizens' homes for minor criminal offenses and used excessive force. In one case, they roughed up and terrorized a man and his family for hours for potential child porn activity and it turned out to be the neighbor using his wifi (they didn't bother to investigate first). In another, they stormed the home of a veteran suspected of selling marijuana and murdered him in front of his family who he was defending from unannounced intruders. In one other case, they rushed into a home in the early morning hours for minor drug activity and the home owner was killed after firing at the intruders. They had the wrong f'ing house.

I'm sure there are many others out there. What ever happened to a knock on the door or kick the door in and use non lethal force? What ever happening to innocent before proven guilty? What ever happened to identifying yourself as the police immediately after entering so people know exactly who is in their home? There are so many of these stories and these are only the ones I've personally read about.

Here's a recent article from Huffington Post that sums up the wrong doings of police departments quite well. Give this a read...

Driven By Drug War Incentives, Cops Target Pot Smokers, Brush Off Victims Of Violent Crime

93_confirmed wrote:

Here's a response I posted in the OWS thread that ties in with the conversation on police states. I was only going to post the article link but wanted to provide the context, which was agreeing to earlier posts on the further militarization of US police.

No one ever made the argument that there aren't incidents of excessive force. What seems to be lost in this conversation is a little context.

Fifty years ago you probably never would have heard about a police raid that went bad. There may have been five people who were accidentally killed in a raid but it wouldn't have made the local papers. You can't point to the past as a benchmark for what's going on today.

Today we live in a world of 24/7/365 news. If it happens, we hear about it. Everything that goes wrongs makes the news. We're also living in a country of 300+ million people, many of them are not so nice. I have no idea what the average number of police interventions, raids and arrests are on a daily basis but the number has got to be staggering. To pick out incidents where things were done wrong and paint that as the norm is disingenuous. It's important to remember that when these mistakes happen, they don't just say "whoops" and walk away. Police don't get to live above the law, nor should they.

Bear wrote:

It's important to remember that when these mistakes happen, they don't just say "whoops" and walk away.

Actually, they do... or at least they try to all the time. Especially in the UK.

Police don't get to live above the law, nor should they.

It takes a freaking miracle to get a prosecutor to bring a case against a cop. It is damn near impossible for cops to be significantly disciplined, even after egregious misconduct. And that's in the good districts. You get bad areas like New Orleans, and the entire force is considered corrupt and on the take.

Here's a bit of a challenge for you: look up some of the stories about the police conduct in New Orleans during Katrina, and how little punishment was meted out.

Malor wrote:

Here's a bit of a challenge for you: look up some of the stories about the police conduct in New Orleans during Katrina, and how little punishment was meted out.

Interesting to note that you can also use this style of argument (taking a minority of cases as compared to the whole) to claim that every person who plays video games is a dirty, stinking pirate, when in fact it is just a minority...

Huh? What I'm saying here is that misbehaving cops, no matter how terrible their crimes, are very rarely punished significantly. What does that have to do with piracy?