Police State America

What Trump Could Do By Declaring A State Of Emergency: The Atlantic Lays Out The Worst Case Scenario

While most of these statutory powers have never been used, we now have a President who clearly feels unconstrained by the rule of law. By Dartagnan Daily Kos (12/8/18) If the last two years have taught us one thing, it is to take nothing for granted, particularly regarding the stability and resilience of our Republic. We are now witnessing firsthand in Wisconsin and Michigan how one of our two major political parties has become wholly captive to corporate dominance, and how it will behave when its power is taken away by ordinary voters. Instead of accepting the verdict of the people, it will subvert and…

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While Banned In Warfare, Tear Gas Is Now A Favorite Weapon Of U.S. Border Patrol & Domestic Police On American Streets

Customs and Border Protection began using tear gas under the Obama administration in 2010. The agency’s use of tear gas has now reached a seven-year record high. Democracy Now! (11/28/18) As the Trump administration continues to defend firing tear gas into crowds of asylum seekers, we look at the history of tear gas, which is banned in warfare but legal for federal authorities and police to turn on civilians. Border authorities’ use of tear gas has spiked under the Trump administration, with the agency’s own data revealing it has deployed tear gas over two dozen times this year alone. Bipartisan…


Whistleblowers Warn Of Harmful Conditions For Children In Migrant Detention Centers

  All Things Considered / NPR (12/8/18) Physicians Scott Allen and Pamela McPherson discuss the abuses they witnessed in government detention centers when they inspected the facilities for the Department of Homeland Security. Link to 6-Minute Audio No One On The Inside Can Talk About What’s Happening At The Tent City For Migrant Kids — TORNILLO, Texas – About 40 miles southeast of El Paso, past the billboards for fast food joints and rugged desert hills, residents of this small community sometimes can see the lights of the nearby detention camp glowing in the night. Some of them have brought gifts for…


Trump’s Gestapo: Thuggish ICE Agents Get Violent

A callous and cruel system. By Abbey Zimet Common Dreams (11/23/18) Thanksgiving weekend, but the barbarism of the Trump regime goes on apace. On Friday, plainclothes ICE officers in North Carolina ambushed and arrested Samuel Oliver-Bruno, a 47-year-old undocumented construction worker from Mexico in the U.S. for over 20 years who’s been living in the basement of a sanctuary church for 11 months while he petitions to stay here with his sick wife and teenage son. Oliver-Bruno left Durham’s CityWell United Methodist Church, part of the state’s growing faith-based sanctuary movement, for an alleged meeting with immigration officials, who told him he had to come in person to provide fingerprints for his…


The Deadly Desert Of Our National Soul: From Internment To Disappearance

As more and more souls simply vanish, the true scale of this expanding tragedy is unknown. By Sophie Smith NACLA (11/8/18) Nine miles inside the United States, in the vast quiet of the saguaro-studded Sonoran Desert, half a dozen plainclothes Border Patrol agents in bulletproof vests shove a handcuffed 15-year old Salvadoran boy into the back of an unmarked vehicle. The skin of the earth bakes to 117°F. Two miles to the west, a Black Hawk helicopter chases a group of teenagers migrating through rural ranchlands, flying low to kick a brown cloud of dust, cacti, and gravel 20 feet…


Amazon Echo Home Recordings At Center Of Murder Trial As Judge Orders Data Release

  By Nicholas West Activist Post (11/13/18) A new type of court case has been slowly but steadily emerging within the American legal system: alleged crimes being detected from data supplied by smart devices. The very nature of the 1st, 4th and 5th Amendments to the Constitution appears to be at stake. In December 2016, an Arkansas murder case made headlines not so much for the death itself, but how a suspect was brought into custody. James Bates hosted a party at his Bentonville home on the night of November 21st, 2015. At some point during the event a man drowned in…


On Kristallnacht: A Lesson In What Happens When We Stop Looking Out For One Another

  By Abby Zimet Common Dreams (11/9/18) Today [11/9] marks the 80th Anniversary of Kristallnacht, or Night of Broken Glass, the 1938 pogrom against German Jews that ignited the Holocaust. The night and day of terror – Jews killed, synagogues burned,  business destroyed, over 30,000 Jews arrested and sent to concentration camps – marked a new stage in a Nazi extermination project that began, it’s vital to remember, not with The Final Solution but with slowly escalating hate-infused speech and actions aimed at making life so untenable for Jews they’d feel compelled to emigrate. “I remember my mother standing pale and crying…I remember her phoning…


COINTELPRO: Teaching High School Students About The FBI’s War On The Black Freedom Movement

  By Ursula Wolfe-Rocca The Zinn Education Project Student-selected and student-run current events discussions are a daily ingredient of my high school social studies classes. The first 20 minutes of every 90-minute class period, we read an excerpt from a recent newspaper article and discuss its significance. In the last few years, the discussions have been dominated by names that have piled up with sickening frequency: Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland. My students, mostly Asian American and white, live in Lake Oswego, one of the wealthiest cities in Oregon and a…


American Police State Update: Undercover Cops Are Creating Fake Facebook Accounts To Track Protesters

  By Jon Schuppe NBC News (10/5/18) In the summer of 2015, as Memphis exploded with protests over the police killing of a 19-year-old man, activists began hearing on Facebook from someone called Bob Smith. The name was generic, and so was his profile picture: a Guy Fawkes mask, the symbol of anti-government dissent. Smith acted as if he supported the protesters, and, slowly, they let him into their online community. Over the next three years, dozens of them accepted his friend requests, allowing him to observe private discussions over marches, rallies and demonstrations. In public postings and private messages he…


‘How Fascism Works’ Review: An Essential Read For A Nation Under Trump

  By Tom McCarthy The Guardian (10/15/18) One of the insidious ironies of fascist politics, the philosopher Jason Stanley writes in his arresting new book, is that talk of fascism itself becomes more difficult because it is made to seem outlandish. The normalization of the fascist myth “makes us able to tolerate what was once intolerable by making it seem as if this is the way things have always been”, Stanley writes. “By contrast the word ‘fascist’ has acquired a feeling of the extreme, like crying wolf.” “My family background has saddled me with difficult emotional baggage, but it also, crucially, prepared…


Stifling Free Speech: Texas Cops Confiscated Woman’s Handmade Political Yard Sign, So Pass It On For Others To See

  By Brianna Stone Dallas News (10/4/18) AUSTIN — Marion Stanford expected the political sign she painted to rile up some folks in her small town of Hamilton in Central Texas. But she didn’t expect to end up in a heated Facebook exchange with Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, or for the police to show up to confiscate her sign. The sign features the GOP elephant logo with its trunk up the dress of a female figure, with the word “Help,” next to the phrase “Your vote matters.” Behind it in her yard were campaign signs for Democratic candidates Lupe Valdez, Beto…


Police State America: Trump Administration Reveals ‘Gitmo For Children’ Plan To Indefinitely Imprison Families With Children

  By Julia Conley Common Dreams (9/6/18) Attempting to change two decades of precedent, the Trump administration announced its intention Thursday to lift court-ordered limits on how long migrant children can be detained—a proposal multiple critics promptly denounced as “Gitmo for children.” The administration said Thursday it intends to enter into the Federal Register new regulations that would allow it to hold families who have crossed the U.S.-Mexico border indefinitely, for the duration of their immigration proceedings—a period that could last years. “Locking up children indefinitely is cruel and heartless, even for the Trump administration,” CREDO Action campaign manager Nicole Regalado…


John W. Whitehead Delivers Chilling Message On Threats To Freedom Posed By Government: ‘Battlefield America: The War On The American People’

“The future of the country is up to you.” By John W, Whitehead The Rutherford Institute (8/30/18) WASHINGTON, DC — “What’s the greatest threat we face today? Our own government!” warned constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute, in a chilling message delivered at the third annual Ron Paul Institute’s Peace and Prosperity Conference. Whitehead spoke on the far-reaching ramifications of domestic militarization and the transformation of America into a war zone. Whitehead’s speech can be viewed at www.rutherford.org. “Our founding fathers warned us not to have a standing army on American soil. We did not heed that…


Portland Police Aligned With Fascists In Recent Protest Melee

  Lesson 17. Watch out for the paramilitaries. When the men with guns who have always claimed to be against the system start wearing uniforms and marching around with torches and pictures of a Leader, the end is nigh. When the pro-Leader paramilitary and the official police and military intermingle, the game is over. — Timothy Snyder, ‘On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons From The Twentieth Century’ ***** ACLU Of Oregon Comment On The Portland Police Bureau’s Response To Protests ACLU of Oregon (8/5/18) PORTLAND, Ore. — After the violence against protesters and observers yesterday [8/4] in Portland, David Rogers, executive director of the…


Records Reveal “Lax” Supervision, Sexual Activity At Chicago-Area Shelters Housing Immigrant Children

  By Duaa Eldeib, Jodi S. Cohen & Melissa Sanchez ProPublica (8/2/18) Soon after Christmas 2015, three boys were left unattended in the TV room of a Des Plaines shelter that houses immigrant children and is operated by Heartland Human Care Services. One boy performed oral sex on an older boy, state child welfare records show. The older boy then tried to penetrate him from behind. When that was unsuccessful, the younger boy performed oral sex on the older boy a second time. The third boy in the room, the youngest, had been playing video games. He then walked to the door to…


AUDIO: A Judicial Coup d’etat, The Carceral State And The War Against Us All

Both parties have leadership that needs to go. We are in a war. [Editor’s Note: Wisconsin native and award winning investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill has a direct and powerful message all activists and mainstream democrats need to hear. It is right at the beginning of the podcast. The bottom line message: What we are facing is not normal: This is not Democrat/Republican; left/right; liberal/democrat. This is an existential crisis and party politics as usual will not be enough. Please listen. — Mark L. Taylor] By Jeremy Scahill Intercepted / The Intercept (7/11/18) DONALD TRUMP IS poised to make another lifetime appointment…


ICE Agents Claims Of ‘Just Following Orders’ May Not Shield Them From Personal Liability For Children’s Suffering, Legal Scholars Warn

[Editor’s Note: Falling back on the mindless and morally empty excuse of “just following orders” does not exonerate soldiers, police or prison guards from bearing personal moral or legal responsibility. This was one of the principles that came from the Nuremberg Trials of World War II Nazi war criminals. Be careful what orders you follow, officers. — Mark L. Taylor] By Julia Conley Common Dreams (7/11/18) A new report finds that individual Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents could be held personally liable for the suffering of families and children under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy—and warns that the…


Your Choice: Where Would You Be In This Picture?

  Go along or resist. Stand up or lay down. Speak out or be silent. There will be no neutral. By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (6/31/18) The arrival of government detention — concentration — camps for an oppressed and dehumanized minority group means that politics in America is about to become far more personal and much, much more consequential. The kidnapping of children into for-profit concentration camps has added an especially grotesque dimension. The forcible separation of parents from their infants and children into concentrations camps have made it official: We are living in a fascist state now. With…


‘Calculated Sadism’ — Detained Children Forced To Recite Pledge Of Allegiance ‘Out of Respect’ For Country That Tore Them Away From Parents

    By Julia Conley Common Dreams (6/25/18) While tearing children away from parents under a policy designed to keep asylum seekers from entering U.S. society, the Trump administration is forcing those same children to pledge their allegiance to the country that is actively trying to expel them. President Donald Trump signed an executive order last week stating that families would be detained together under his “zero tolerance” immigration policy, but thousands of children remain separated from their parents. The Washington Post on Monday detailed the conditions in which many of those children are living, in detention centers like Casa Padre in Brownsville, Texas, describing “a converted…


Glenn Greenwald: Think You Got Nothin’ To Hide? Here’s Why Privacy Does Matter To You, Your Family & Community

“Those who do not move, do not notice their chains.” — Rosa Luxemburg TED Talk (10/10/14) Glenn Greenwald was one of the first reporters to see — and write about — the Edward Snowden files, with their revelations about the United States’ extensive surveillance of private citizens. In this searing talk, Greenwald makes the case for why you need to care about privacy, even if you’re “not doing anything you need to hide.”


America’s New Normal: We Have Sprinted Across The Threshold To Fascism

By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (6/25/18) Even by Donald Trump’s bottom-scraping standards, the past week has been a head-spinning, heartbreaking gut punch to the nation. As Trump, Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions II and White House resident Hitler Reich Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels look-a-like Stephen Miller ramped up the federal child kidnapping and imprisonment scheme any doubts about what we are facing should have gone up like an out-of-control dumpster fire. In case you haven’t noticed, we have spun far, far beyond the run-of-the-mill Republican vs Democrat, conservative vs liberal, right vs left paradigm of usual American…


There Is No Excuse: The Immorality Of Authoritarian Order Followers

Authoritarian Fool Tool [Editor’s Note: In light of recent government child kidnappings in the southwest a Commoner Call reader forwarded this short video . I don’t agree with the speaker’s view on socialism (there is such a thing as democratic socialism) but I do find most of this comments on the immorality of the ‘just following orders’ defense to be insightful. Every ICE and Border Patrol officer needs to understand that their personal involvement in the child kidnappings makes them complicit in the crimes and mars them with guilt and shame. There was no honor in what they have done….


Investigative Report: Baltimore Cops On A Crime Spree

  The Center For Investigative Reporting (6/2/18) Baltimore’s police department was already notorious. But this year, eight former police officers were convicted on federal racketeering charges stemming from an FBI investigation. They belonged to an elite task force charged with getting guns off the city’s streets. Instead, the plainclothes cops roamed Baltimore neighborhoods at will, robbing people on the street, breaking into homes to steal money, drugs or guns and planting evidence on their victims. The targets of the Gun Trace Task Force included drug dealers and ordinary citizens. One of its favorite tactics was to speed toward a group…


Truly Orwellian: Abusive Secret Federal Prisons You’ve Never Heard Of Before Are Designed To Silence Political Dissent

  Environmental activists included in the count. TED Talk (11/9/15) Investigative journalist Will Potter is the only reporter who has been inside a Communications Management Unit, or CMU, within a US prison. These units were opened secretly, and radically alter how prisoners are treated — even preventing them from hugging their children. Potter, a TED Fellow, shows us who is imprisoned here, and how the government is trying to keep them hidden. “The message was clear,” he says. “Don’t talk about this place.” Link to 15-Minute Video (Commoner Call photo by Mark L. taylor, 2018. Open source and free for…


Normalizing Police State Tactics In Every Day Life: 96-Year-Old WWII Vet In A Wheelchair, Groped & Molested By TSA

[Editors Note: The accompanying video to this story is agonizing to watch. The once-through routine is bad enough but then we see the TSA agent go over the same already felt-up areas of the body a second time. Apparently, one-time molestation and humiliation isn’t good enough these days. I believe the “wand” that is used is to detect evidence of explosive residue. Until we see the parents and grandparents of White House staff and congressional enablers get this kind of treatment we can only expect to see things get worse. Meanwhile, avoid flying whenever possible. Road trip! — Mark L….


A Vile Act Of American Inhumanity: We Are Now Splitting Up Families Like The Slave Traders Did

  By Paul Buchheit Common Dreams (5/21/18) Families are being split up in the name of “zero tolerance” immigration policies. Jeff Sessions said, “[Your] child will be separated from you as required by law. If you don’t like that, then don’t smuggle children over our border.” John Kelly, White House chief of staff, added, “The children will be taken care of — put into foster care or whatever.” Yes, he said “whatever.” This isn’t much different from slave-trading days. People then were forced INTO the country and families separated; now they’re forced OUT OF the country and families separated. In both cases families have done…


Activist Holds Up Sign Saying Police Hate Free Speech, So They Arrest Him To Prove Him Right

  By Matt Agorist Activisst Post (5/2/18) Stamford, CT — Free speech and liberty activist, Michael Picard had harmed no one, had not committed a crime, and was merely expressing his right to free speech by claiming the Stamford PD dislikes free speech. Indeed, within just a few minutes, the chief of police himself came out to prove Picard right. Last Thursday, Picard held a sign that said, “F*ck Free Speech —Stamford PD,” merely attempting to point out the gross violations of the First Amendment committed by the department after they arrested another activist, Michael Friend, for holding up a different sign…


If You Want To Kill Dangerous Drug Dealers, Start With Big Pharma

By Domenica Ghanem OtherWords (4/4/18) At a recent rally in New Hampshire, Donald Trump called for the death penalty for drug traffickers as part of a plan to combat the opioid epidemic in the United States. At a Pennsylvania rally a few weeks earlier, he called for the same. Now his administration is taking steps toward making this proposal a reality. Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo on March 21 asking prosecutors to pursue capital punishment for drug traffickers — a power he has thanks to legislation passed under President Bill Clinton. Time and again, these punitive policies have proven ineffective…


Two-Thirds of Americans — Including Most In Wisconsin — Live In A “Constitution-Free Zone”

(Art from ACLU.) By Lornet Turnbull Yes! Magazine (3/23/18) In Hartford, Vermont, last year, U.S. Border Patrol agents boarded a Greyhound bus as it arrived from Boston, asking passengers about their citizenship and checking the IDs of people of color or those with accents. In January, they stopped a man in Indio, California, as he was boarding a Los Angeles-bound bus. In questioning him about his immigration status, they told him his “shoes looked suspicious,” like those of someone who had recently crossed the border. Interrogation, searches, demands for identification, and possible detainment are processes people are subjected to as they try to enter the…


The Curious Case Of A Florida Citizen Who Called Politicians Corrupt & Got Thrown In Jail

  By Nina Totenberg NPR (2/27/18) It’s not that uncommon to hear someone complaining that politicians are corrupt. But you wouldn’t expect to be thrown in jail for it. That’s exactly what happened to Fane Lozman at a city council meeting in Florida. On Tuesday, that arrest got to the U.S. Supreme Court, and it could have implications not just for Lozman, but for the limits of First Amendment protections of freedom of speech. Oddly, it’s not Lozman’s first trip to the nation’s highest court. Five years ago, the financial trader won his first case against the city of Riviera…


Really? In Most States, It’s Legal For Cops To Have Sex With People In Their Custody

  By Liz Wolfe Rare (2/9/18) Though most Americans are probably unaware of it, in most states it’s not illegal for police officers to have sex with people in their custody. Nationally, 35 states allow a strange legal loophole where cops can claim a sexual encounter between them and their detainee is consensual to avoid rape or assault charges. A recent Buzzfeed report brought attention to the case of 18-year-old Brooklyn native Anna Doe, who was allegedly raped while handcuffed during a traffic stop. “Inside, Anna said the detectives took turns raping her in the backseat as the van cruised the dark…


How Undiluted Dishonest I.C.E. Propaganda Makes Its Way Onto Your Local News

  On the Media (2/16/18) This week, the Senate failed to pass a bipartisan immigration bill that would have put up funding for President Trump’s wall and extended protections for the so-called ‘Dreamers,’ beneficiaries of an Obama-era program offering temporary residency to undocumented immigrants brought to the US as kids. Meanwhile, the threat of deportation remains a fact of daily life for undocumented Americans, especially since the Trump administration beefed up Immigration and Customs Enforcement operations last year. But the public has been left largely in the dark about who is being rounded up, because much of the press has…


Calif. Police Accused Of ‘Collusion’ With Neo-Nazis After Release Of Court Documents

  By Julia Conely Common Dreams (2/9/18) Defense lawyers for anti-racism activists who staged a counter-protest at a white supremacist rally in California in 2016 say that state police demonstrated sympathy for the neo-Nazis who organized the event and worked with them to arrest the counter-demonstrators. Documents related to the court case of three anti-fascist activists, who were charged with felonies for attempting to disrupt the Traditionalist Workers Party’s (TWP) rally, show that a California Highway Patrol (CHP) investigator assured a white supremacist that he would protect his anonymity and told another he was being seen as a victim in…


Baltimore Cops Kept Toy Guns To Plant Just In Case They Shot An Unarmed Person

  By Michael Harriot The Root (1/30/18) In April 2016, a 13-year-old boy was shot by officers of the Baltimore Police Department. The boy ran when faced with the police, so they gave chase. During the chase, the police spotted the boy holding a gun, and when he turned, they shot the teenager. The youngster wasn’t critically injured, and it seemed like an open-and-shut case of a justifiable use of force. Now people are wondering. The Baltimore Police Department is currently in court over one of the biggest scandals in the history of American law enforcement. The corruption case is replete…


American Gestapo: ICE Agents Carry Out Unnerving Raids At Nearly 100 7-Elevens Across Nation

  (Editor’s Note: Whenever the majority permits the abuse and persecution of some, it is just a matter of time before that creeping totalitarian abuse affects everyone. History has shown that over and over. Beware my fellow citizens — the freedom of you and your children are at risk. – Mark L. Taylor) By Andea Germanos Common Dreams (1/10/18) Immigrant rights advocates denounced the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids carried out Wednesday at nearly 100 7-Eleven stores across the nation. According to Cristobal Gutierrez, employment legal advocate at Make the Road New York, they are “yet another example of the escalating attacks…


“Worm Wood”: Errol Morris’s Latest Documentary Probes Deadly CIA Duplicity

Frank Olson may have been not just murdered but executed. (Editor’s Note: “Wormwood” is a fascinating Netflix documentary series on the 1953 suicide/murder/execution of government scientist Frank Olson, who grew up in Hurley, Wisconsin. The official story was that Olson’s death was an unfortunate outcome of a what was a whacky CIA LSD experimental program gone awry. Olson’s eldest son, Erik, never felt comfortable with the story; always felt there was more to it. He was right. This short series is a powerful, personal account of the abuse of unchecked government power and secrecy and perfectly timed as a warning…


FBI Affidavit Details Ex-Sheriff David Clarke’s Intimidation Of Fellow Airline Passenger

  By Mary Papenfuss HuffPost (12/30/17) Former Sheriff David Clarke abused his authority when he ordered the mistreatment and intimidation of a fellow passenger on a flight to Milwaukee in January, according to a newly revealed FBI search warrant affidavit, because Clarke assumed the man was showing disrespect toward the right-wing Donald Trump booster. The affidavit, which had requested a search of Clarke’s private email account, was revealed as part of a filing in U.S. District Court in Wisconsin on Thursday. It’s unclear if it indicates continued interest by the FBI or just details information from months earlier. In May, federal prosecutors informed Clarke’s attorney that they weren’t going…


New Documentary Reveals Major Coverup & Corruption In Las Vegas Police Department, Before And After The Mass Shooting

  By Liz Posner AlterNet (12/25/17) Unanswered questions still surround the mass shooting in Las Vegas on October 1 this year. Days after shooter Stephen Paddock killed 59 people and injured over 500, confusing details emerged. Journalists sparred with police at press conferences, grappling for missing details. The security guard who discovered Paddock in his hotel room with 24 guns and was shot by Paddock later disappeared, only to reemerge as a guest on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. To shed light on this confusion, a new film, “What Happened in Vegas,” explores the role of the Las Vegas Police Department after the mass…


A Bad Deal: Swapping Out Democracy For A State Of Perpetual American Fear

‘Scairdy Cat Nation By Ray Suarez NPR (12/17/17) Historian Elaine Tyler May says that ever since the Cold War, fear has crept into American life and created apathy toward democracy. During that time, the government and media gave Americans constant warning about nuclear war and communism — adults were encouraged to build shelters, children practiced hiding under their desks to prepare for a possible nuclear attack. “Basically, the message was the bomb could drop at any time,” she says. “Each person was responsible for their own safety. There’s really nothing the government or the leaders of the country can do…


Frank Rich: The Party Of Lincoln Is Now The Party Of Predators

  By Frank Rich New York Magazine (12/9/17) Though the Republican National Committee has restored funding for Alabama’s Roy Moore, Republican members of Congress — and even the committee’s own officials — are keeping their distance from party support. Is it better for the GOP if Moore wins or if he loses? Even The Wall Street Journal editorial page, which sold its soul to Donald Trump after the election, said this morning that “you have to believe in magic to think this is going to end well for Republicans.” Anticipating the resignation of Al Franken, the editorial pleaded with its party, from Trump down, to disown Moore — if…