Photography Is Not A Crime

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Bbucko, Aug 4, 2010.

  1. Bbucko

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    There are many more threads in this forum decrying the Welfare State (that, at least by Dutch standards, we've never been nor will be) than the Police State we've become in the US in real life.

    A headline in Huffpo led me this Time article about a man facing sixteen years for, well...you read:
    So documenting police misconduct is now a felony warranting greater severity of punishment than, say, home invasion or car theft or domestic violence? Did I wake up in a new, different country all of a sudden?

    Actually, that last sentence was a slim piece of hyperbole, because, thanks to the various and sundry blogs* I read (left, right and center in all their individual idiosyncrasies and personal POVs), I've found links to this blog becoming more and more frequently cited/posted.


    *Blogs come in many different formats and cannot be automatically discounted as legit news sources per se. My blog, The Spin Cycle, is part literary journal and part polemical screed and, though frequently entertaining, is not a legitimate news source and was never conceived as such.

    But others, from
    Politico and RCP to The Daily Beast act more as news dumps than anything else and read much like newspapers (not without the predictable biases), complete with editorials and op-ed pages; others, like Powerline, The Daily Dish and TPM are either edited or slanted (depending on one's perspective) platforms for the owner's POV, still using outside sources as springboards for discussion.

    Then there are single-interest blogs, where all content is based on a single subject, whether it be Cakewrecks or Sarah Palin or, in this case, the current efforts to make as many people as aware as possible of how shifts in law enforcement are eroding our First Amendment Rights.

    I went from finding PINAC almost hysterical in its assertions to finding them to be, perhaps along with The Smoking Gun, to be one of the best sources for raw and unfettered (so far) access to our slow and steady descent into a Police State, municipality to municipality, county by county, state by state.

    This is most definitely NOT a left/right issue; nor is it a hard/soft on crime issue. This is about how our rights as individuals in the US are increasingly at odds with the actions of law enforcement to the detriment of our rights. And although not pertaining specifically to the topic at hand, I will say that this will come to no surprise to those dedicated to protecting the Second Amendment, either, who've long felt that gun laws of any kind erode those rights as well: gun laws which, unsurprisingly, as very enthusiastically supported by the police as well, so I'll open up this thread to discussions relating to Second Amendment abuses, too, though I want this thread to focus primarily on member's responses to intrusive policing and overzealous prosecution of citizens who are operating within their rights as defined by the First Amendment.

    This is not about some vague "surveillance" of the citizenry at large though dubious wire-tapping and e-mail monitoring. This is about how three+ decades of politician's chants over "law and order" have effectively criminalized behaviors and activities we took for granted just a generation ago. Any ideas on how we can stem (and reverse) this pernicious tide of 24/7 hyper-aggressive policing in the US?

    And yes, my Individualist Anarchistic loathing and intense distrust of "Authority" (of all stripes) is plainly, obvious evident: I've never attempted to hide it here or anywhere else.
     
  2. MercyfulFate

    MercyfulFate New Member

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    America is becoming a police state, and Americans are too stupid to realize it. Or if they do, they think it's a good thing or simply don't care.

    I've been saying it for years, people don't listen to me.
     
  3. Bbucko

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    I won't disagree with this, MF.

    Any ideas on how to reverse it, or are we essentially just doomed?
     
  4. Pendlum

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    Besides trying to inform as many people as possible and trying to get the laws changed? I don't know. I think that we'll keep going down this path until something happens that strikes a chord with a huge majority of Americans. Like something incredibly heinous that everyone can relate to, and it being filmed, and then the person who filmed it gets jailed, and abused by guards, etc. And, I know this sounds racist, but chances are the people involved will have to be white, well to do Americans.
     
  5. ericbythebay

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    If the street is now a private place, do I need to wear clothes and can I have sex there?
     
  6. HazelGod

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    The true enemy is apathy. The neofascist bullshit such as is described in your OP (and raised by DCDEEP a couple weeks ago as well) is just the symptomatic exploitation of that apathy.

    Unless you know of some way to motivate the cynical and apathetic masses out of their torpor, we're either headed for the police state or another civil war.
     
  7. Bbucko

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    Much as I agree with you Pendy, I worry that all these byzantine restrictions and other curtailments of civil liberties "for the greater good" are surprisingly popular with way too many people who somehow feel themselves insulated due to their race/ethnicity, social standing and/or wealth. To a degree, they have a point in as much as they can afford the kind of legal representation to make most criminal issues just "go away".

    It's also worth mentioning that YouTube vids of grandmothers being Tasered on the side of the highway and newspaper articles about grade-school kids being Tasered and arrested for what would formerly have been matters handled in the Principal's office. These are well-known but have yet to result in any movement toward reining in our current out-of-control overpolicing, three-strikes laws and zero-tolerance policies that are just simply unacceptable yet completely ubiquitous.

    Where the hell is the ACLU in all this?

    I work in a bar with a public liquor license where the lines between public and private are poorly understood by the patrons, many of whom think we are being assholes for protecting our livelihoods every day; just last night I required security to intervene when a customer threatened me bodily harm when I broke up what was, basically, a circle jerk ten feet away from me. Seriously.
     
  8. TopDudeFtl

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    Um, wow! :eek: What in the hell is going on in this country?!? I find this sentence very disturbing:
    Wiretap laws?? Yeah, that is a stretch.

    Geez, I miss all the fun. :cool:
     
  9. MercyfulFate

    MercyfulFate New Member

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    We're doomed, but then again I'm a pessimist. I mean look at police getting uppity about citizens taping their abuses. At the same time, they're installing CCTV systems in public places to watch US.

    If that's not blatantly hypocritical, I don't know what is. We pay their salaries, they have no right to do this.

    As for CCTV systems, they're a joke. To me they're nothing more than a form of control, since you can look up the UK's crime stats with CCTV in place. Crime didn't go down, they don't catch more criminals than they used to, etc.

    It seems to be some sort of psychological ploy for governments to keep the people looking over their shoulder. I wouldn't live anywhere with CCTV systems in public, it disturbs me greatly. Yet people "believe" it keeps them safe when in fact it doesn't, so they accept it and argue with anyone who says they shouldn't exist.

    Also add red light cameras to this, they're a total scam. Nothing more than a money trap to rip you off. If you stop at a red light and roll your car forward to see traffic to your left, they can snap your plate and give you a ticket. No cop present, nothing. It's complete crap.

    Welcome to 1984.
     
  10. Bbucko

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    I don't know how I missed this post, HG: otherwise I'd have responded sooner.

    My feeling isn't that there's some great torpor on the part of the average American (apathy is, of course, a legitimate concern). My fear is that such abuses of police power and their fascistic techniques are actually popular and applauded among a generation raised on all that "tough on crime" bullshit.

    It's facile to blame it on "racism", though there are undoubtedly racist roots in much of the motivation behind some of the original efforts: disparity in sentencing mandates between rock versus powder cocaine spring to mind immediately. The reason why I say "facile" is because, in many ways, it's all some sort of generational response to what Carter referred to as a "malaise" in our society over 30 years ago. Quite simply: lots of scared people thought the US was going to Hell in a hand-basket and decided it was time to "put their foot down": unfortunately that temper-tantrum foot stomping has turned into a hob-nailed boot on the backs of our necks.

    Most of those concerns: the rise in feminism, the emergence of a gay rights struggles, the leftover Hippy-Dippy New Agey crapoozie and the extreme pacifism of the No-Nukes crowd at the height of the Cold War all seem like history: anachronisms of a dimmer era. There's nothing especially racial about any of it, though attacking the endemic poverty of urban centers and their corresponding social concerns with police action was (and still is).

    These were the roots of Pat Buchanan's "Culture War". The original foot solders were WW2 vet-era Archie Bunker types (the "Greatest Generation") and lots of people for whom the various "liberation" and "power" movements in the 60s and 70s were deeply repellent (Nixon's "Silent Majority": my parent's generation). The former are finally gone now, mostly, the latter are in their 70s and 80s. The later Boomers, who started everything, went into full-scale retreat by the late 70s and became entrepreneurs in the 80s (I've worked for many). They may (or may not) claim to be socially liberal/fiscally conservative (whateverthehell that really means IRL), yet are more willing to see their "assets" protected through excessive policing and draconian mandatory-sentencing at the expense of everyone's civil liberties.

    Of all the signs of the utter corruption of our age through blind materialism, that has to be the most obvious.

    That leaves us: those born at or after 1960, who had nothing to do with the roots of the struggles of the era, coming of age in a time of deeply reactionary fervor and with no political clout or organization to have our voices heard. We have been subject to all types of prohibitionist legislation: rises in the legal drinking age is a great example: I could purchase and consume when I was 18 but not when I was 19. Ecstasy (MDMA) was completely legal the first half-dozen times I took it: it was criminalized in 1985. Zero-tolerance (a scary phrase when you think about it) came into vogue around the same time.

    So did the endless speechifying and campaigning to get "more police on the streets", to "crack down" on crimes which, in many cases, weren't even crimes 30-40 years previously. This mentality has twisted us so completely that, despite decades of falling crime rates, it's still whipped-up as a potent weapon to use against one's enemies. And, again, the Dems use it just as often as the Reps.

    I think that as we Busters/Slackers take greater reins of the government and assert our values more on society, things will begin to change (but glacially, as always). Reforms in marijuana laws and the spread of marriage equality (and the concerns voiced in opposition to the AZ immigration law) give me pause to hope.

    But how can we really corral the police and effectively limit the powers we've handed them? Municipal police are not, despite similarities in culture, the military: they are not bound to follow orders without question and with complete deference to their superiors. My (mercifully brief) encounters with both the FtL police department and the Broward sheriff's office revealed nothing but contempt for me personally and a complete disregard for my dignity as a human being (to say nothing of my rights as an American).

    And keep in mind, I live in one of the gayest places on earth :mad:
     
    #10 Bbucko, Aug 5, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2010
  11. Bbucko

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    You know where to find me, sweetheart, six times a week :wink:
     
  12. Bbucko

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    "Uppity" is one thing: a 16-year criminal sentence is something altogether different.

    Try and remind a "peace officer" of that the next time you have a run-in with one and see what happens: dare ya.

    In 2004 I finally pulled the plug on a nine-year relationship that lasted about four or five years too long. After weeks of effort, I finally just point-blank told him he had to leave: I just couldn't stand it any more. I left for a few hours to have an entirely platonic couple of beer with a friend and try and sort everything through. On my return, I'd discovered that he'd screwed the door completely shut in three-inch intervals (if nothing else, an illustration of how unreasonable he'd become). I had no cell phone at the time, so I walked a few blocks up to a corner gas station and used their pay phone to dial 911: my HIV meds were locked in the house and he refused to give them back to me.

    When the sheriff's office (eventually) showed up, my extended hand to shake was declined with a look and a shake of the head. Despite the fact that my partner was entirely unreasonable, it took over twenty minutes before I was allowed access through another door to which I didn't carry a key. On entering the house, he insulted, berated and, on one occasion, threatened to "kick my skull in" in front of the officers.

    This was not recognized as domestic violence; I was told that because his name was on the lease that they could not remove him. When I responded in horror that, if I were a woman and the situation were otherwise the same, he'd already be in handcuffs: I was reminded that I was not a woman. <no appropriate emoticon exists>

    I spent the night at the same friend's house. Though the police said that they'd be "monitoring" the situation, he vandalized my friend's house and car to such a degree that I was told to find other accommodations immediately; in lieu of any actual witnesses or video, the police said there was nothing to "prove" that my ex had done the damage.

    Keep in mind that my friend owned his house and was paying property taxes on it, which was valued at over $750,000.

    We can only hope that those red-light cameras will eventually be found unconstitutional. As to 1984: yeah, that's just about the year things really started changing permanently.
     
  13. B_mitchymo

    B_mitchymo New Member

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    Can you take any comfort in not being alone? A child was stopped by the police for riding a bike under anti-terrorist laws here.
     
  14. Pendlum

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    That just makes it all the more frightening mitchy. A possible silver lining is if other countries do it, we may be less likely to do it because of our self love. Also if you see someone else do it, you may acknowledge that you are doing the same thing, and try to change.
     
  15. TomCat84

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    I actually disagree with this. Red light cameras are perfectly reasonable. If you don't want to get a ticket, don't run a red light. It's as simple as that. Where would I draw the line? Probably at automated speed traps...
     
  16. helgaleena

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    No, don't tell me Orwell's book came true after all! It took me twenty years to crawl out from the underbrush already after '86...
     
  17. B_TonyK8483

    B_TonyK8483 New Member

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    Despite all the civil rights abuses happening in this country, I don't know really how to deal with the problem. I'd love to hear from somebody with some good ideas
     
  18. HazelGod

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    In all fairness, I don't think he raised the issue here... :wink:

    I disagree. There are numerous situations where a person might go through a red light where a citation would not only be unnecessary but would be downright stupid.
     
  19. TomCat84

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    I've never gotten a red light ticket, so I dont know- but I'm assuming you have the chance to appeal the ticket. If it's an emergency situation- perhaps a doctor's note or an ER bill would be be appropriate to bring to any traffic court hearing. In any case, I've never heard emergency situations as a reason to get rid of them....
     
  20. HazelGod

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    Three o'clock in the morning at an intersection in a seedy downtown area...I'll come to a stop, and if there's no other traffic on the road I'm not sitting there waiting for the stupid-ass light to change.
     
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