Monday, August 25, 2014

MILITARIZATION OF POLICE AND THE USE OF DEADLY FORCE

I think there is ample evidence of the Police getting out of hand.  Especially in light of huge increase in the number of laws, many times contradictory, which are written at all levels of government and the extreme tactics which are being employed to enforce these laws.

Herewith is an article from the Washington Examiner which describes the militarization of our police forces: 
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/aug/23/police-militarizing-without-any-checks-power-exper/?page=all#pagebreak

How many of you live in small communities which have large and extremely fortified police forces?  How many of you even know how fortified your police force actually is?  Have we really reached the tipping point where the idea of justice is a police force which willingly uses force to strip us of our constitutional rights in an attempt to enforce the law?


How many of you remember the response to the Boston Marathon bombing when the police force cordoned off entire blocks of the city and forced the residents out of their homes as they searched their homes without a warrant?  Does anyone think that show of force was justified or constitutional?  Can you imagine what would occur if a home owner refused to willingly leave and allow police complete access to  their PRIVATE residence?  At the least they would be removed by force and charged criminally.  If they were the least resistant, they would be physically assaulted or worse by the officers who are supposed to "Protect and Serve".

Why do we need an NSA gathering spying on every citizen of the US?  why do we need the CIA, FBI, DIA, TSA, Homeland Security on the national level and State, city, local and sherriff departments on the state level?  all in the name of protecting us when in fact, they do not protect, but instead are in many cases a part of the problem?  Why do we need so many distinct forces, all becoming extremely militarized to protect our streets when they are never available when a crime occurs?

What ever happened to the concept of a police force which is there to "protect and serve" the community at large?  Does this protection extend to the killing of citizens without a trial by jury?  Is it right for the police force to in essence become the supreme law of the land wherein they become judge, jury and executioner with impunity?

Most people have heard about the shooting of unarmed Michael Brown by a white policeman in ferguson Missouri and the riots which occurred in response.  How many of you know about the shooting of an unarmed white young man in Utah by a black policeman a week earlier?  Not many, I'll wager and there was certainly no reaction by the president, US Attorney general and the race baiting Sharpton and Jesse Jackson to this incident.  Now assume that the evidence of the Black Utah cop shooting the unarmed white kid proves to be indictable while the White Fergusons cop shooting the young black man is found to have been in self defense and thereby not indictable.  I'm willing to wager that then you will see Jesse, Sharpton, Holder and need I say Obama leading the riots.

But I digress.  Is either incident right or warranted?  Is the use of extreme, ie... deadly force by police because a young man refuses to immediately honor the orders of a police officer acceptable in our country?  

Is it right that in America, where the violent crime rate has declined for the past 5 years we have seen a 3 fold increase in the average number of killings by police during this same period?  Prior to 2006, FBI statistics show the incidents of lethal force to number under ten a year nationwide.  From 2006 to 2009, they increased to an average of 50 per year.  From 2010 to the current they have averaged over 100 per year. This during a time when the incident of violent crime has been decreasing.

Certainly there is reason for the police to use deadly force in the most extreme cases, but why does it seem that the use of extreme force is occurring with more frequency at a time when the incidence of violent crime is decreasing?  Is this a result of the militarization of our police force?  Is it a result of attempts to enforce the plethora of laws which are overburdening our society?  Is it a case of the police becoming too arrogant? Or is it as simple as the police encountering violent criminals more often than in past years?

We will probably n ever be able to answer these questions to any degree of certainty, but we must look at what is happening in our country and how this country based on the ideals of self governance and personal responsibility has become a country wherein almost anything one does on a daily basis can be construed as being illegal in some manner, shape of form and might be met with lethal force for not complying immediately to one of the myriad "officials"ndemands.

Just something to think about.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Snowden Interview #2

I recently wrote a piece about the first Snowden interview.   after I posted it to a number of different sites, I was surprised to receive more than 2500 responses.  I was even  more amazed that the response was more than 90% in favor of snowden. 

Recently I was forwarded the second Snowden interview:
http://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2014/jul/17/edward-snowden-video-interview

Along with the link was the following comment by an admitted NEOCON (ie...one characterized by their support of extremely hawkish policies) who spent the final years of his career as a government service bureaucrat at one of the alphabet agencies:

"I couldn't watch this crap.  The guy is a criminal, a felon.  He stole info from his own country.  He is therefore guilty under the espionage act.  If he was such a GD patriot why didn't he just go to the media?  Hell's bells if Major Andrea was hanged on Washington's orders for carrying a letter in his boot, then why not hang Snowden for what he did?  The German-Americans who didn't even get off the beach in WWll were shot, then why don't we do the same with Snowden?  No matter what you may think of what he said he stole, he is still a traitor in any sense of the word.  He was evidently a low grade contract employee - probably a help desk weenie who wanted his 15 minutes of fame.  Even the Russians don't want him and are trying to get rid of him.  He could not have known too much or the Chinese and Russians would have wanted him to stay.  He is a liability to the Russians now.  He serves no useful or political purpose.  I say let the little bastard rot with Russian help."


So, I ask a few simple questions"

1, Is it wrong for a citizen to "steal" information about illegal government activities and make the citizenry aware of such actions or is it his responsibility as a citizen?  
2, is it OK for the government to steal from the citizenry, store the largess of said theft to use against us at a later date for other nefarious actions against its own citizens?  
3, Think they don't, that they are above board, honest and honorable men who are just trying to protect us?  Well, I have a "bridge to nowhere" I'm willing to sell you which was was built with Federal dollars. .

Read this and think again:  http://www.wnd.com/2014/07/whistleblower-irs-in-cahoots-with-nsa/

Personally, I think, as evidenced by the single largest building owned by the government being the NSA data gathering and storage facility and the second largest being the HSA campus, that  the intelligence gathering apparatus of the Federal government is completely out of hand and it is the ALPHABET agencies who are criminal.

Of course I have watched the interviews, I have thoroughly researched the "theft" and what was released. I have discussed the "theft" with a number of people with current "top secret" clearances, who also have the same knee jerk reaction expressed here and I have discussed the issue with a current congressman and a former US senator.  The most interesting take away is that all of the parties expressed anger, which is reasonable, but none have expressed any method that Snowden would be allowed to act as a whistleblower due to "national security" concerns, not one has been able to offer a single instance of released information which has compromised national security except the revelation that the NSA is tapping the German Prime Ministers phone, an admission which they agree she knew but was embarrassed to have publicized.

I believe those who claim that Snowden no longer has any value to the Russians, are correct, but not for the same reason.  As Snowden and his attorney both have stated unequivocally, he did not have the data when he traveled to Hong Kong and then through Russia where he was forced to remain due to the US state department revoking his passport. So he was not an asset to Russia because he had secrets to offer, he was an asset because Putin saw him and his temporary political asylum  as a black eye for Obama.  Now that Obama and Secretary of 
State Clinton were made to look the fools, Snowden has no more value to Putin.


The fact is that there have been no, I repeat, NO national secrets revealed except that the government is collecting information on it's own citizens in complete and total violation of the 4th amendment of the US Constitution.  And to those who suggest that Mr. Snowden be summarily executed, without a trial by a jury of his peers, are you not advocating another violation of the US Constitution?  Doesn't Due Process mean anything to you when you are offended by the actions of a fellow citizen?

I recently read a biography of a "low level" bureaucrat who served the Brits during World War I.  He admittedly gave away secrets he was entrusted with in direct violation of a superiors orders.  He did so as a matter of conscience, under the same condition for which Snowden is being excoriated.  Should this man have been defined as a traitor to his country especially considering his actions took place during a time of war no less?  Did his action harm England, some say yes, some say no.  Did it embarrass England?  Absolutely because they were exposed as underhanded double dealing. In the past, I have listened to the same neocon quoted above hail him as a hero.


That man was T.E. Lawrence, otherwise known as "Lawrence of Arabia".  As history shows, he was not tried for treason and in fact, as a man of good conscious, resigned his commission and reenlisted as a private doing the most menial work in an infantry regiment where he continued serving his country during the war.  Do people, his countrymen and history condemn him as a traitor?  Did his government try him as a traitor?  He admittedly gave away state secrets in violation of a direct order. Did they try to murder him without a trial?  No, they didn't, they gave him a stipend, wrote books about his heroic efforts and made an Oscar winning movie about his exploits.  In fact, today many historians opine that if the English government had listened to him rather than carry on their underhanded double dealing political land grab, we wouldn't be suffering the complete degeneration of the middle east we are currently experiencing.

So, ask yourselves. when the government runs amok and it's bureaucracies become so large and powerful that they can trample on the rights of the citizens is it wrong to make the citizenry aware?  Or should those who are aware of the egregious law breaking of the government use whatever means available to inform and educate, especially when all other means have been attempted and have been thwarted by the law breaking entities in control?  Those who have actually watched the interviews and reviewed the history of the Snowden issue, know that he tried to go through the channels but was told to keep quiet.  They also know that he didn't try to stop in Russia, but was forced there by US State department actions

Finally, a quick and simple study of the issue will inform those who are really interested that his attorneys have been negotiating with the government to have him return and stand trail, but will not be allowed to present evidence defend him in the interest of "National Security".  I try to keep an open mind about these things, but it seems pretty damn obvious that the government is gaming the system in order to avoid exposing the truth to the citizens it is supposed to represent.  Until further evidence is presented, at this point I agree with Snowden when he states that if he were allowed to come home, stand trial and present evidence to defend himself at trial, it is highly unlikely that a jury of 12 peers would convict him.