Police State America

‘The US Government Has Scarred My Daughter And Me For Life’: Families Sue Trump Over Deliberate & ‘Inexplicable Cruelty’

Tearing children—often small children—away from their parents in a way that was designed to deliberately inflict emotional trauma. By Julia Conley Common Dreams (2/12/19) Accusing the Trump administration of deliberate and “inexplicable cruelty” perpetrated against them under it’s so-called “zero tolerance” immigration policy, six families have filed suit against the U.S. government for the harm and “lasting trauma” they continue to suffer. In the filing, six mothers described having their children torn away from them, with officials giving them little to no information about where their children were, if they were safe, and when they would be reunited—treatment that the lawyers involved in…

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‘Shock Doctrine’ Author Naomi Klein Worries ‘What Next?’ If Trump Succeeds In Inventing A ‘National Emergency’

“What is to stop him from declaring emergencies again and again if this works?”   By Jon Queally Common Dreams (1/10/19) As a result of creating a fake crisis in order to appease his far-right base and achieve a policy goal that has majority public opposition, President Donald Trump continues to threaten to declare a “national emergency” as a way to commandeer military funds in order to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. But even as experts debate whether or not Trump has the authority to make such a declaration—and consensus that an immediate legal battle would ensue—author and activist Naomi Klein…


Dear FBI, I Would Like A Word With The Manager Regarding The Arrest Of My Dear Associate, Mr. Stone, Please

  By Alexandra Petri Washington Post (2/1/19) Dear FBI, I would like to complain about the service Roger Stone recently received. There were a lot of problems with the raid! First, we can all clearly see that Roger Stone is not only a white gentleman who owns numerous hats, but furthermore, is a cable news personality. How dare arresting officers burst unexpectedly into this man’s home with undue force, nearly as though he were a black man who had done nothing wrong? This is not the treatment for a Roger Stone. I believe (I do not have the guidelines in front of me) the arrest…


‘We Have Monsters Leading America’: Trump’s DHS Locked Up More Children Than Previously Known

By Julia Conley Common Dreams (1/17/19) Confirming the fears of human rights groups, the inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reported on Thursday that thousands more children were separated from their parents at the southern U.S. border by the Trump administration, long before it first publicly unveiled the family separation policy last spring. “The total number of children separated from a parent or guardian by immigration authorities is unknown,” reads the report, and the inspector general found that children were separated over a longer period of time as officials “observed a steep increase in the number…


It Could Go On Forever: What Trump Could Legally Do If He Declares A State Of Emergency To Save Himself

From seizing control of the internet to declaring martial law, President Trump may legally do all kinds of extraordinary things. By Elizabeth Goitein The Atlantic (Jan/Feb 2019) In the weeks leading up to the 2018 midterm elections, President Donald Trump reached deep into his arsenal to try to deliver votes to Republicans. Most of his weapons were rhetorical, featuring a mix of lies and false inducements—claims that every congressional Democrat had signed on to an “open borders” bill (none had), that liberals were fomenting violent “mobs” (they weren’t), that a 10 percent tax cut for the middle class would somehow pass…


Targeting American Citizens: Corporate Infiltrator Sows Deceit & Suspicion

“Everyone was suspicious of everyone. It was infuriating and debilitating for the movement.” By Alleen Brown The Intercept (12/30/18) JESSE HORNE STILL struggles to talk about the day he was kicked out of the anti-Dakota Access pipeline movement. It had been an intense week. Searching for direction and ideological fulfillment ever since Iowa’s stand against the pipeline wound down, the 20-year-old had reconnected with some of the state’s more radical pipeline opponents, and the group was now taking on drone warfare. After a protest outside a drone base in Des Moines in which Horne and several others were arrested, two of his…


He Drew His School Mascot — And ICE Labeled Him A Gang Member Then Deported Him

  “That scarlet letter sits on these kids’ files forever. When that happens at the immigration level, it’s fatal.”  By Hannah Dreier ProPblica/New York Times Magazine (12/27/18) WHEN ALEX WALKED INTO SCHOOL on June 14, 2017, it felt as if summer had already started. He didn’t have regular classes, just a standardized math test in the late morning. The other immigrant students in the bilingual program at Huntington High were crowded in a hallway comparing their plans for the break — most already had jobs lined up — and promising to stay in touch. Classmates came up to greet him. At 19,…


Ex-Spies Are Harvesting Facebook Photos For A Massive Facial Recognition Database

If Terrogence isn’t solely focused on terrorism, but has a political side to its business too, its facial recognition work could sweep up a vast number of people.  [Editor’s Note: Do you really want to continue putting up photos of your family on Facebook? be careful, folks. — Mark L. Taylor] By Thomas Brewster Forbes (4/16/18) When Mark Zuckerberg appeared before the House Energy and Commerce Committee last week in the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica revelations, he tried to describe the difference between “surveillance and what we do.” “The difference is extremely clear,” a nervous-looking Zuckerberg said. “On Facebook, you have control over…


‘This Must End. Now.’: 8-Year-Old Boy Dies In US Border Patrol Custody On Christmas Day

“A reminder that, yes, this is who the U.S. is. The U.S. is a country that murders children both directly and indirectly in a myriad of ways.” By Common Dreams Staff Common Dreams (12/25/18) An eight-year-old Guatemalan boy died in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) shortly after midnight on Christmas Day, the second death of a migrant child detained by the agency this month alone. According to the Associated Press: “The boy showed “signs of potential illness” Monday and was taken with his father to a hospital in Alamogordo, New Mexico, the agency said. There, he was diagnosed with a cold…


U.S Law Enforcement Coddling Of Far Right Fascist Gangs & Nazis Places Nation At Risk

And now they have no idea how to stop it. [Editor’s Note: This is a stunning piece of reporting on not just the ignoring of fascist organizing and violence but a deadly fostering through neglect. As Timothy Snyder notes in his book “Twenty Lessons From The Twentieth Century”, when the police and military begin to align with the fascist paramilitaries the game is over. — Mark L. Taylor] By Janet Reitman The New York Times (11/3/18) The first indication to Lt. Dan Stout that law enforcement’s handling of white supremacy was broken came in September 2017, as he was sitting…


Bill McKibben Calls FBI Tracking Of Environmental Activists “Contemptible”

  By Steve Hanley Clean Technica (12/14/18) As the result of a Freedom of Information suit brought by The Guardian, the FBI has revealed it maintained an open investigation of 350.org — the climate activism group founded by Bill McKibben — and its members as part of an ongoing anti-terrorism campaign. “Trying to deal with the greatest crisis humans have stumbled into shouldn’t require being subjected to government surveillance,” McKibben says. “But when much of our government acts as a subsidiary of the fossil fuel industry, it may be par for the course.” He added the FBI’s apparent failure to distinguish between…


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…


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…