Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Do we live in a police state?

Tom Tomorrow (thismodernworld.com)
Mind if I swab your cheek to profile you on our DNA database, boy? I didn't think so.
Checkpoints, documents, DNA tests
AirTalk, KPCC FM (SCPR.org, Dec. 30, 2013)
Jack boot, duck step (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
The LAPD will begin administering "voluntary" [failure to comply could mean a 12 month suspension of driving privileges] cheek swabs that detect drug and alcohol levels at their DUI checkpoints on New Year’s Eve.
[The pretext for invasions of privacy are always clothed in socially useful ambitions.] "Sobriety" checkpoints have traditionally included tests to determine whether drivers have consumed alcohol, including breathalyzers, but the new cheek swabs also pick up on drugs, including cocaine, marijuana, and ecstasy.

[The individual may not be intoxicated, but any trace level or false positive can lead to arrest. What is most likely to determine arrest? Race, age, clothing, obedience level, not this inadmissible test. Cheek swabs are not yet admissible in court, so jails will fill with targeted groups while others, even those who are genuinely incapacitated, are allowed to slide.]
You saw her; she came at me with that flower!
Different drugs can be detected by a cheek swab after various amounts of time. Cocaine and marijuana are traceable for up to 24 hours, ecstasy and meth for three days, and alcohol for just 12 hours.
Drivers stopped at DUI checkpoints may be asked to take the oral swab test, but can refuse. If the police suspect the driver to be intoxicated and arrest them, drivers can still refuse testing and have their license suspended for 12 months, otherwise a blood test would be administered to test for drug and alcohol levels. More

Police State?
Chase Madar
We're here to "protect" you (KC)
The term “police state” was once brushed off by mainstream intellectuals as the hyperbole of paranoids. Not so anymore.

Even in the tweediest precincts of the legal system, the over-criminalization of American life is remarked upon with greater frequency and intensity.

You’re probably a (federal) criminal” is the accusatory title of a widely read essay co-authored by Judge Alex Kozinski of the 9th Circuit of the US Court of Appeals in Pasadena.

But I'm suppo'd to be the "decider"!
A Republican appointee, Kozinski surveys the morass of criminal laws that make virtually every American an easy target for law enforcement. Veteran defense lawyer Harvey Silverglate has written an entire book about how an average American professional could easily commit three felonies in a single day without knowing it.
The daily overkill of police power in the US goes a long way toward explaining why more Americans aren’t outraged by the “excesses” of the war on terror, which, as one law professor has argued, are just our everyday domestic penal habits exported to more exotic venues. It is no less true that the growth of domestic police power is, in this positive feedback loop, the partial result of our distant foreign wars seeping back into the homeland (the “imperial boomerang” that Hannah Arendt warned against).
Look, young lady, whistleblowing is a crime!
Many who railed against our country’s everyday police overkill have reacted to the revelations of NSA surveillance with exasperation: Of course we are over-policed!

Some have responded with resentment: Why so much sympathy for this Snowden kid when the daily grind of our justice system destroys so many lives without comment or scandal? After all, in New York, the police department’s “stop and frisk” tactic, which targets African-American and Latino working-class youth for routine street searches, was until recently uncontroversial among the political and opinion-making class.

The United States of Fear
If “the gloves came off” after Sept. 11, 2001, many Americans were surprised to learn they had ever been on to begin with.
A hammer is necessary in any toolkit. But we use our hammer to turn screws, chop tomatoes, brush teeth. Yet, the hammer remains our instrument of choice, both in the conduct of our foreign policy and in our domestic order. The result is NOT  peace, justice, or prosperity but rather a police state that harasses and imprisons its own people while shouting ever less intelligibly about freedom. More

Story first appeared at TomDispatch.com and alternet.org. Follow TomDispatch on Twitter, join on Facebook or Tumblr, check out the newest Dispatch Book, Ann Jones’ They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return From America’s Wars — The Untold Story.

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