You say Police State, I say potato. Either way let's discuss surveillance and government overreach.

When asked about possible entrapment, the U.S. government source said the suspect went out on his own to buy component pieces for an improvised explosive device.

That's the only reference to entrapment that I've seen so far in articles about the suicide bomb plot, and it's from an unnamed government source. Overall I haven't seen strong evidence for or against entrapment, and don't expect to see anything that detailed until it's revealed in court.

Every time I see the argument that the US is some sort of a police state, it invariably comes out of the mouth of someone who has never spent any significant time in another country and/or hasn't spent a terribly significant amount of time with a member of an historically oppressed minority in this one.

Sundown Towns were pretty commonplace in the South until the 1970's. Today they are extinct.

Until 1967, in numerous states in the US, it was illegal for a man and a woman of different races to intermarry.

We are practically the only Western democracy that allows the legal ownership of handguns without obtaining a license that requires a psychological evaluation.

The ability to participate in the political process is open to more Americans now than at any point in America's history. Women and minorities can and do vote and run for office... and win.

Police abuse, when it happens, is reported and legal action is pursued with vigor. Moreover, the democratization of media has made abuse much more difficult to deny. Every swinging phallus with a cell phone can and does provide "eyewitness video" of police misconduct.

Honestly, as a racial minority, I can't think of any other time to be an American. And there are very few countries I can think of that would provide a significant improvement on my personal freedom.

Paleocon wrote:

Every time I see the argument that the US is some sort of a police state, it invariably comes out of the mouth of someone who has never spent any significant time in another country and/or hasn't spent a terribly significant amount of time with a member of an historically oppressed minority in this one.

How much time constitutes a significant amount? Do you have to live there? Months? Years? No one in the US who hasn't lived abroad can have that opinion and have it be valid? I travel quite a bit. Doesn't count?

Paleocon wrote:

Every time I see the argument that the US is some sort of a police state, it invariably comes out of the mouth of someone who has never spent any significant time in another country and/or hasn't spent a terribly significant amount of time with a member of an historically oppressed minority in this one.

Yeah, living in China and Hong Kong has opened my eyes to the notion of freedom. Everyone seems to define it pretty differently. Hong Kong is a vassal state, but no one gives a damn. As long as the locals are free to take pictures of Dolce & Gabbana , then that's free enough for them. Nevermind that the mainland has a love hate relationship with this city. At least we can freely look at porn and Facebook! Mainlanders on the other hand, they care about money more than anything else. Unless you're poor. But China is good at watching the poor people. In fact, at one point, they loosened up restrictions on porn and some people think it was to counter rising violence in rural areas. Don't know if it's causation, but violence rates did drop, which is really interesting if there's an actually causation effect there.

Another reason why the US is relatively more free than the rest of the world? We protect hate speech. That always confuses my friends from other countries. I admire that though. I know the U.S. will have turned into a police state when it actively censors hate groups. I think that's the point where we need to worry.

Grubber788 wrote:
Paleocon wrote:

Every time I see the argument that the US is some sort of a police state, it invariably comes out of the mouth of someone who has never spent any significant time in another country and/or hasn't spent a terribly significant amount of time with a member of an historically oppressed minority in this one.

Yeah, living in China and Hong Kong has opened my eyes to the notion of freedom. Everyone seems to define it pretty differently. Hong Kong is a vassal state, but no one gives a damn. As long as the locals are free to take pictures of Dolce & Gabbana , then that's free enough for them. Nevermind that the mainland has a love hate relationship with this city. At least we can freely look at porn and Facebook! Mainlanders on the other hand, they care about money more than anything else. Unless you're poor. But China is good at watching the poor people. In fact, at one point, they loosened up restrictions on porn and some people think it was to counter rising violence in rural areas. Don't know if it's causation, but violence rates did drop, which is really interesting if there's an actually causation effect there.

Another reason why the US is relatively more free than the rest of the world? We protect hate speech. That always confuses my friends from other countries. I admire that though. I know the U.S. will have turned into a police state when it actively censors hate groups. I think that's the point where we need to worry.

Living in Taiwan for four years pretty much ended a lot of my own complaining about the US.

I remember when Pai Ping Ping's daughter was kidnapped, raped and murdered. The resultant nationwide manhunt for the killers seemed out of proportion with the threat at the time. When I asked some of my Taipei cop friends what was really going on, most of them simply chuckled nervously and whispered the word "politics".

It was rumored that Pai was pretty well connected with the KMT and the underlying organized crime syndicate the Bamboo Union. Allegedly, she had heavily invested in a real estate development deal that went south when it was revealed that the building was so shoddily constructed even by notoriously lax Taiwanese standards that it was unlikely to obtain occupancy permits. They stated that she found out about this prior to the announcement and pulled out her money and failed to inform her fellow investors (who just happened to be in the aforementioned crime syndicate).

Needless to say, her associates were not terribly impressed by this move and, it is rumored, sent the world's most incompetent kidnappers to try to convince her to make restitution. And in an episode of idiocy that closely mirrored the movie Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead, they managed to rape and kill her 16 year old daughter instead.

What happened next was an impressive piece of security theater. The state influenced media hyped it up as some kind of Kennedy assassination, the national police force was mobilized in what could only be described as a "hunt and kill" operation, and prices were put on the kidnappers' heads. The last thing the government/crime syndicate wanted was the real story getting out. Three of the four kidnappers ended up dead in police shootouts. The fourth survived only because he took the family of a South African diplomat hostage and was guaranteed safety to prevent an international incident. He was subsequently executed before being able to spill the beans.

When I spoke with a number of English language news correspondents about this, they all said pretty much the same thing: Everyone knows it, no one can prove it, and if there is one thing a foreigner can get killed in Taiwan for, it is printing something like that.

That is "free" China. That's what the center right of the world's political spectrum looks like (where the left end is anarchy and the right end is North Korea).

We're nowhere close.

Stengah wrote:
DSGamer wrote:

No one in the US who hasn't lived abroad can have that opinion and have it be valid?

Kinda touchy for a guy who implies that everyone who disagrees with him are children.

Huh? Cite when I said or inferred that, please. The only thing I can think of that's close is my frequent comment that I wish the "grown ups" would return to the Republican party writ large. That has nothing to do with P&C.

Otherwise I'm not sure where that's coming from. I've already apologized for attempting to consolidate the police state discussions. I was questioning what Paleocon said. You were engaging in an ad homenin attack.

Addressing Paleocon, I get that your perspective is unique. I'm not sure that growing up your entire life in the US as I have, makes one *less* of an authority on how free the US is. I would argue that since I've lived through the 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s my opinions on the US are at least worthy of being taken seriously and not discounted.

Living in China or Taiwain gives you a unique perspective on relative freedom between nations, but you're talking about entirely different cultures as well. China, Taiwan, Russian, etc. have hundreds and thousands of years of history on which to draw. It may be harder in a nation like the US, being a native of the US to accept the premise that the freedoms we're giving up will be recoverable when we have no long perspective on that.

Paleocon grew up in the US.

On historical precedent: The US's legal model has a thousand years of tradition to draw on. And that's if you only count British common law. While there are some unique departures in American ideas, they're not nearly significant enough to consider the US to be cut off from all tradition. We're a cultural melting pot, yes, but our models of government and law are clearly drawn from European roots.

Suggesting that other nations with [em]actual[/em] police states are that way because "that's their culture" is rather offensive and patronizing.

And it certainly does nothing to demonstrate that the US is a police state.

Paleocon wrote:

Every time I see the argument that the US is some sort of a police state, it invariably comes out of the mouth of someone who has never spent any significant time in another country and/or hasn't spent a terribly significant amount of time with a member of an historically oppressed minority in this one.

Sundown Towns were pretty commonplace in the South until the 1970's. Today they are extinct.

Until 1967, in numerous states in the US, it was illegal for a man and a woman of different races to intermarry.

We are practically the only Western democracy that allows the legal ownership of handguns without obtaining a license that requires a psychological evaluation.

The ability to participate in the political process is open to more Americans now than at any point in America's history. Women and minorities can and do vote and run for office... and win.

Police abuse, when it happens, is reported and legal action is pursued with vigor. Moreover, the democratization of media has made abuse much more difficult to deny. Every swinging phallus with a cell phone can and does provide "eyewitness video" of police misconduct.

Honestly, as a racial minority, I can't think of any other time to be an American. And there are very few countries I can think of that would provide a significant improvement on my personal freedom.

I consider due process to be part of freedom so I would say that we were more free before 9/11 (or more specifically the PATRIOT ACT) than we are now.

While more trivial than the PATRIOT act the UIGEA has also turned the US into one of (if not the) only free countries that you can't play online poker in. It's not indefinite detention nor is it something I would use as an example of a police state but it's still a freedom I no longer have that has had a significant impact on my life.

Same-sex marriage is the only positive change in freedom I can think of since then but that's also only on a state level, not federal, and it's not a freedom granted to the majority of US citizens.

It's good to keep perspective and realize how far we've come in just a small number of decades but I do think we have slipped in the last decade.

Nevermind

You know, at this point I can't say anything without finding a way to give someone ammunition for personal attacks. So I'll bow out of the police state discussions. Maybe P&C writ large for a while. I'd like to think that in my time in GWJ I was engaged and interested enough in Games and other stuff to be a welcome and interesting member of the community. That at least I had something insightful to add now and then. Right now it doesn't feel that way, tough.

I think I'll stick to the Games threads and I hope I manage not to offend anyone there. It's not worth the stress and my point of view is clearly wrong or not welcome. Either way I'm not adding to the discussion at this point. Sorry to those I offended.

EDIT: And please, please resist the urge to follow this up with a post about how I'm bowing out to "win" the thread or garner sympathy. I'm not. I sincerely mean what I said. I'm not adding anything constructive to the conversation by continuing to defend my perspective. We have two points of view and I'm clearly in the minority. It's time to stop fighting that and walk away before I say anything else that might cause offense.

gregrampage wrote:
Paleocon wrote:

Every time I see the argument that the US is some sort of a police state, it invariably comes out of the mouth of someone who has never spent any significant time in another country and/or hasn't spent a terribly significant amount of time with a member of an historically oppressed minority in this one.

Sundown Towns were pretty commonplace in the South until the 1970's. Today they are extinct.

Until 1967, in numerous states in the US, it was illegal for a man and a woman of different races to intermarry.

We are practically the only Western democracy that allows the legal ownership of handguns without obtaining a license that requires a psychological evaluation.

The ability to participate in the political process is open to more Americans now than at any point in America's history. Women and minorities can and do vote and run for office... and win.

Police abuse, when it happens, is reported and legal action is pursued with vigor. Moreover, the democratization of media has made abuse much more difficult to deny. Every swinging phallus with a cell phone can and does provide "eyewitness video" of police misconduct.

Honestly, as a racial minority, I can't think of any other time to be an American. And there are very few countries I can think of that would provide a significant improvement on my personal freedom.

I consider due process to be part of freedom so I would say that we were more free before 9/11 (or more specifically the PATRIOT ACT) than we are now.

While more trivial than the PATRIOT act the UIGEA has also turned the US into one of (if not the) only free countries that you can't play online poker in. It's not indefinite detention nor is it something I would use as an example of a police state but it's still a freedom I no longer have that has had a significant impact on my life.

Same-sex marriage is the only positive change in freedom I can think of since then but that's also only on a state level, not federal, and it's not a freedom granted to the majority of US citizens.

It's good to keep perspective and realize how far we've come in just a small number of decades but I do think we have slipped in the last decade.

I think that concern over the powers present in USA PATRIOT is legitimate, but I still don't think it pushes the needle anywhere near the point where I or just about any reasonable person should consider the US a "police state". We still have a press that operates with near impunity (Often to the point of irresponsiblity. Try mounting an entirely unsubstantiated smear campaign about David Cameron or Silvio Berlusconi being a secret, Kenyan born Muslim and see if you don't end up in far more serious trouble than Rush Limbaugh did here.)

As for due process, we, as a nation may not be unique, but were are certainly special in our rabid protection of the legal guarantee of protection against double jeopardy. This, I remember, was an issue back during the O.J. trial when my Brit friends all expressed astonishment that the prosecution couldn't get a do-over.

The American political system allows for this kind of movement toward greater police power during times of real or perceived exigent circumstance. Abraham Lincoln is still excoriated today for his suspension of habeas corpus. FDR is rightly condemned for his collective imprisonment of Japanese Americans. The Red Scare is still considered one of the darkest times in our nation's history. And gods know that I have been one of the most vocal critics against USA PATRIOT and the fear reaction of the "global war on terrorism" of anyone I personally know.

But the facts that I can and have: 1) rationally discussed my concerns with people employed by US government intelligence, 2) written about it publicly, and 3) made no attempt to disguise my disagreement with the premise of the "global war on terrorism" ... all without rational fear of reprisal, points to this not being a police state.

Seriously, in what real police state can people show up to an anti-government rally armed with military rifles and rhetoric admonishing rally goers to "water the tree of liberty" (within walking distance from the seat of government power) and not show up mutilated in a ditch along with the body parts of their family members?

Stengah wrote:

I was referring to this:

DSGamer wrote:

I don't know where you'll find the grownups. Most people in America seem A-OK with spy drones. Why would the grown ups bother coming back when everyone is content to be babysat?

It heavily implies that you consider people who are "A-OK" with "spy drones" as children. There were multiple people that explained why recent UAV bill is not something to be concerned about, but apparently not freaking out about how there's a chance they'll be misused means we're content to be babysat. If you didn't mean to include us in "most people," I'll withdraw my comment, but given the context, it's hard to see how you couldn't.

There was no ad hominem as I was just pointing out your hypocrisy, not trying to counter your argument. Frankly, I agree with it.

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

Paleocon wrote:

Honestly, as a racial minority, I can't think of any other time to be an American. And there are very few countries I can think of that would provide a significant improvement on my personal freedom.

It's a strange thing that a lot of racial minorities are more free in America than they would be back in places where they would be the majority.

and I think that's what makes this issue tough. While the freedom all Americans enjoy is becoming more equal and evenly distributed, it sometimes feels like it's not just a result of treating minorities better, but treating the majority worse: in some ways, the government is starting to treat us all like a suspicious minority.

I wonder if what people are reacting to is not so much the absolute level of freedom, but the direction that things feel they are going in. Like we're reached 'peak freedom' or something.

Personally I don't see why we can't let the police state people have their own thread. It can't be any crappier than the atheist thread, and honestly it improved the discussion in P&C by giving people a place to vent these feelings about it being a police state rather than having this stuff pop up in other threads.

Paleocon wrote:

I think that concern over the powers present in USA PATRIOT is legitimate, but I still don't think it pushes the needle anywhere near the point where I or just about any reasonable person should consider the US a "police state". We still have a press that operates with near impunity (Often to the point of irresponsiblity. Try mounting an entirely unsubstantiated smear campaign about David Cameron or Silvio Berlusconi being a secret, Kenyan born Muslim and see if you don't end up in far more serious trouble than Rush Limbaugh did here.)

As for due process, we, as a nation may not be unique, but were are certainly special in our rabid protection of the legal guarantee of protection against double jeopardy. This, I remember, was an issue back during the O.J. trial when my Brit friends all expressed astonishment that the prosecution couldn't get a do-over.

The American political system allows for this kind of movement toward greater police power during times of real or perceived exigent circumstance. Abraham Lincoln is still excoriated today for his suspension of habeas corpus. FDR is rightly condemned for his collective imprisonment of Japanese Americans. The Red Scare is still considered one of the darkest times in our nation's history. And gods know that I have been one of the most vocal critics against USA PATRIOT and the fear reaction of the "global war on terrorism" of anyone I personally know.

But the facts that I can and have: 1) rationally discussed my concerns with people employed by US government intelligence, 2) written about it publicly, and 3) made no attempt to disguise my disagreement with the premise of the "global war on terrorism" ... all without rational fear of reprisal, points to this not being a police state.

Seriously, in what real police state can people show up to an anti-government rally armed with military rifles and rhetoric admonishing rally goers to "water the tree of liberty" (within walking distance from the seat of government power) and not show up mutilated in a ditch along with the body parts of their family members?

I don't necessarily disagree with any of this, I was just kind of nitpicking the "We are freer now than we ever have been in our history" because I think unfortunately that's not true.

Robear's post that we've turned more into a surveillance state than a police state was very interesting and I'm honestly thinking that might be the heart of the disconnect here for most people.

Every time I see the argument that the US is some sort of a police state, it invariably comes out of the mouth of someone who has never spent any significant time in another country and/or hasn't spent a terribly significant amount of time with a member of an historically oppressed minority in this one.

Every time I see someone claim it isn't, it is inevitably someone who isn't black or Muslim.

Malor wrote:
Every time I see the argument that the US is some sort of a police state, it invariably comes out of the mouth of someone who has never spent any significant time in another country and/or hasn't spent a terribly significant amount of time with a member of an historically oppressed minority in this one.

Every time I see someone claim it isn't, it is inevitably someone who isn't black or Muslim.

I work with inner city black folks every day. There isn't a single one that believes that their freedom hasn't improved DRAMATICALLY since the 1970's let alone the 1870's. Even the ones that have had run ins with the law admit that the overall professionalizing of police forces has been an overwhelmingly good thing.

CheezePavilion wrote:
Paleocon wrote:

Honestly, as a racial minority, I can't think of any other time to be an American. And there are very few countries I can think of that would provide a significant improvement on my personal freedom.

It's a strange thing that a lot of racial minorities are more free in America than they would be back in places where they would be the majority.

and I think that's what makes this issue tough. While the freedom all Americans enjoy is becoming more equal and evenly distributed, it sometimes feels like it's not just a result of treating minorities better, but treating the majority worse: in some ways, the government is starting to treat us all like a suspicious minority.

I wonder if what people are reacting to is not so much the absolute level of freedom, but the direction that things feel they are going in. Like we're reached 'peak freedom' or something.

Personally I don't see why we can't let the police state people have their own thread. It can't be any crappier than the atheist thread, and honestly it improved the discussion in P&C by giving people a place to vent these feelings about it being a police state rather than having this stuff pop up in other threads.

It's also possible that the government is simply no longer treating whites as as much of a privileged over class as it once did.

Oftentimes when I encounter folks complaining about "how safe things were back in the day", it is invariably because there was a horrific stability in the racial caste system. My ex girlfriend's grandfather once told me that when he moved to Washington, DC from Altoona, PA in 1936, "the blacks really knew their place". And by that, he meant that they lived in terror of horribly repressive and oftentimes entirely arbitrary "justice". A sizable portion of the South had "negro vagrancy" laws that made it a crime punishable by imprisonment and hard labor if you were black and unable to prove you had gainful employment.

It's easy to feel "free" when one hand is on the whip.

CheezePavilion wrote:
Stengah wrote:

I was referring to this:

DSGamer wrote:

I don't know where you'll find the grownups. Most people in America seem A-OK with spy drones. Why would the grown ups bother coming back when everyone is content to be babysat?

It heavily implies that you consider people who are "A-OK" with "spy drones" as children. There were multiple people that explained why recent UAV bill is not something to be concerned about, but apparently not freaking out about how there's a chance they'll be misused means we're content to be babysat. If you didn't mean to include us in "most people," I'll withdraw my comment, but given the context, it's hard to see how you couldn't.

There was no ad hominem as I was just pointing out your hypocrisy, not trying to counter your argument. Frankly, I agree with it.

semantics

So are you saying I have no understanding of what semantics are, or that I'm just arguing semantics?

Edit - Redacted.

DSGamer wrote:

Huh? Cite when I said or inferred that, please. The only thing I can think of that's close is my frequent comment that I wish the "grown ups" would return to the Republican party writ large. That has nothing to do with P&C.

Otherwise I'm not sure where that's coming from. I've already apologized for attempting to consolidate the police state discussions. I was questioning what Paleocon said. You were engaging in an ad homenin attack.

I was referring to this:

DSGamer wrote:

I don't know where you'll find the grownups. Most people in America seem A-OK with spy drones. Why would the grown ups bother coming back when everyone is content to be babysat?

It heavily implies that you consider people who are "A-OK" with "spy drones" as children. There were multiple people that explained why recent UAV bill is not something to be concerned about, but apparently not freaking out about how there's a chance they'll be misused means we're content to be babysat. If you didn't mean to include us in "most people," I'll withdraw my comment, but given the context, it's hard to see how you couldn't.

There was no ad hominem as I was just pointing out your hypocrisy, not trying to counter your argument. Frankly, I agree with it.

Stengah wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:
Stengah wrote:

I was referring to this:

DSGamer wrote:

I don't know where you'll find the grownups. Most people in America seem A-OK with spy drones. Why would the grown ups bother coming back when everyone is content to be babysat?

It heavily implies that you consider people who are "A-OK" with "spy drones" as children. There were multiple people that explained why recent UAV bill is not something to be concerned about, but apparently not freaking out about how there's a chance they'll be misused means we're content to be babysat. If you didn't mean to include us in "most people," I'll withdraw my comment, but given the context, it's hard to see how you couldn't.

There was no ad hominem as I was just pointing out your hypocrisy, not trying to counter your argument. Frankly, I agree with it.

semantics

So are you saying I have no understanding of what semantics are, or that I'm just arguing semantics?

I may be wrong, but I think he was actually saying that your original meaning could be interpreted more than one way (the way you meant or the way some ppl took it as). Thus, semantics.

Paleocon wrote:

I think that concern over the powers present in USA PATRIOT is legitimate, but I still don't think it pushes the needle anywhere near the point where I or just about any reasonable person should consider the US a "police state". We still have a press that operates with near impunity (Often to the point of irresponsiblity. Try mounting an entirely unsubstantiated smear campaign about David Cameron or Silvio Berlusconi being a secret, Kenyan born Muslim and see if you don't end up in far more serious trouble than Rush Limbaugh did here.)

What's being discussed here takes years/decades to accomplish and my personal opinion is that the USA PATRIOT is proof that the needle is heading in that direction. It's like you said it's no where near, but it's definitely heading in that direction.

[quote=ranalin]

Paleocon wrote:

I think that concern over the powers present in USA PATRIOT is legitimate, but I still don't think it pushes the needle anywhere near the point where I or just about any reasonable person should consider the US a "police state". We still have a press that operates with near impunity (Often to the point of irresponsiblity. Try mounting an entirely unsubstantiated smear campaign about David Cameron or Silvio Berlusconi being a secret, Kenyan born Muslim and see if you don't end up in far more serious trouble than Rush Limbaugh did here.)

I still think we have a very long way to go before we're anywhere near how bad things were in the 1790's, 1860's, or 1950's.

Thing is, if the Congress was not so partisan right now, we'd be rid of the nasty bits in the Patriot Act already. People have spoken out against much of it from both sides of the aisle. But of course, going against your side right now is a career-ender. Lots of other legislation that will be changed, won't be touched until the current atmosphere is drained of it's poison, either through a return to compromise and cooperation on the big things, or through a clean sweep for one side or the other.

Robear wrote:

Thing is, if the Congress was not so partisan right now, we'd be rid of the nasty bits in the Patriot Act already.

Sorry, but this is wishful thinking. A substantial majority of Congress is all for the Patriot Act and has been since the beginning, and the President considers it to be an "important tool". No one in the Congressional or party leadership has even seriously discussed repealing any of the provisions, let alone actually attempting to do so - in fact, it's quite the opposite. There is a clear bipartisan agreement on maintaining the Patriot Act, and the dividing line on this issue is not the party line.

People have spoken out against much of it from both sides of the aisle.

Yes, but only a handful - and those people are dismissed as "fringe" or "isolationist", and when they attempt to do something about it, they are undermined by their own party.

Aetius wrote:
Robear wrote:

Thing is, if the Congress was not so partisan right now, we'd be rid of the nasty bits in the Patriot Act already.

Sorry, but this is wishful thinking. A substantial majority of Congress is all for the Patriot Act and has been since the beginning, and the President considers it to be an "important tool". No one in the Congressional or party leadership has even seriously discussed repealing any of the provisions, let alone actually attempting to do so - in fact, it's quite the opposite. There is a clear bipartisan agreement on maintaining the Patriot Act, and the dividing line on this issue is not the party line.

People have spoken out against much of it from both sides of the aisle.

Yes, but only a handful - and those people are dismissed as "fringe" or "isolationist", and when they attempt to do something about it, they are undermined by their own party.

Largely because those people are "fringe" and "isolationist", but also right about the Patriot Act

http://www.peacefuluprising.org/tim-...

I just heard about this story for the first time tonight. While protesting the auction of land in Utah to oil and gas companies, Tim decided to 'protest from inside' the auction, and ultimately ended up bidding on and winning auctions for a number of parcels. This ultimately led to the entire auction being scrapped because it turned it all sorts of rules were broken and it should not have been occurring in the first place.

The prosecutors and the judge involved have stated that he is being used as an example:

Judge Benson explained to the court and to DeChristopher that were it not for DeChristopher's "continuing trail of statements" post-auction, he might have avoided prosecution and prison time. Judge Benson stated, "The offense itself, with all apologies to people actually in the auction itself, wasn't that bad."

There has been at least one case since then were two companies were caught breaking the same laws, and the only result was that they received small fines.

He was being kept in a minimum-security setup, but has now been moved into "isolated confinement", at the request of an unnamed congressman.

Tim was informed by Lieutenant Weirich that he was being moved to the SHU because an unidentified congressman had called from Washington DC, complaining of an email that Tim had sent to a friend. Tim was inquiring about the reported business practices of one of his legal fund contributors, threatening to return the money if their values no longer aligned with his own.

It is quite possible I'm missing something, but based off of the information I've been able to find so far, I have a hard time not calling him a political prisoner.

absurddoctor wrote:

It is quite possible I'm missing something, but based off of the information I've been able to find so far, I have a hard time not calling him a political prisoner.

Sounds like it applies to me. A) He was jailed to serve as a warning to others who would get in the way of energy companies, and B) he's been moved into isolated confinement in an attempt to stop his message from spreading. It's even more blatant since, according to the article, "the threat of climate catastrophe that motivated Tim was banned from the courtroom and kept from the ears of the jury, as were the fact that Tim managed to raised adequate funds for initial payments on the parcels after the auction; the fact of the auction’s confirmed illegality; and the dismissal of multiple parcels." He was sentenced to jail time for violating the Federal Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing Reform Act, despite the fact that every other time it had been violated, the guilty party only had to pay a fine.

The Department Of Homeland Security Is Buying 450 Million New Bullets

I wonder who they're planning to shoot at? That's enough ammo for a small war.

They bought 200 million in 2009. ICE is also involved. The idea is that they take year-end funds and set up a contract for five years to buy hollow-points, with a quantity not to exceed 450 million. That's about 90 million a year, maximum, but there's no reason to assume they'll have that much money to spend each year. I'd figured 250 million if the run rate is similar to the last two years.

It takes, what, a few thousand rounds to become proficient with a weapon, and if you spread that out over 200,000 DHS employees - or even, say, 100,000 armed agents, I have no idea what the number actually is - it's actually a pretty small number of bullets per day per agent. (TSA has 58000, I'd say more than half are armed (it's human-intensive work); ICE has 15,000; Border Patrol has over 20,000... There are a lot of armed people running around DHS.)

So let's say ICE alone gets 250 million rounds and divides them up among their employees. That's about 2500 rounds per employee over 5 years, or 500 rounds per year if I did the math right. 200 working days, that's 2.5 rounds a day.

Big numbers are big. DHS is an incompetent, poorly directed, expensive boondoggle, but I don't think in this case that there's anything unusual here. Most of that lead will not be bought by them, and what is will mostly cut paper. This is in no way an apologia for their policies, funding or anything else. It's just a look at the numbers.