Tag Archives: Stop & Frisk

Love is the Answer

by Jill Dalton

I am dismayed and heartbroken by what’s going on in the US, as we descend into fascism. There appears to be no justice. No integrity. No accountability. The criminals that run the government lie cheat and steal for their own benefit, as they serve their puppet masters, and sell us out to the highest bidder. The bankers and Wall Street collapse the world economy, and walk away without so much as a slap on the wrist. We have a two-tier system of justice where white color crime is rewarded, and the poor are locked away for stealing a candy bar.10845660_645675715541983_986440080702296632_o

The Military Industrial Complex continues to murder, rape, and pillage with immunity, as they destroy civilizations, and the war profiteers bank billions. Americans sadly condone this behavior by remaining silent. Our clean water is used to frack shale, which destroys the environment and contaminates our water supply so natural gas can be sold overseas for higher profits, and because of the Halliburton loophole are not held accountable for their destruction. The Gulf oil spill was never cleaned up just hidden by a toxic chemical, corexit, which in effect hid the body.

Our food is poisoned by pesticides and genetically modified. We live in a surveillance state where every email is read, every phone call listened to, and stored on huge computers in the NSA’s mega data base located somewhere in Utah. Our civil liberties have been systematically stripped from us. With the signing of the Patriot Act we’re now unconstitutionally searched at airports, harassed by the signs and announcements in the New York subways telling us “if we see something to say something,” and remember we may be recorded for our own good.

Obama first signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law allowing US citizens to be held indefinitely without due process on New Years Eve (December 31, 2011). The 2014 NDAA still included this draconian provision against US citizens, and the 2015 NDAA was just passed by the House and according to Ramsey Cox from The Hill, “the Senate voted 85-14 to end debate on the motion to concur with the House on S.3979, advancing the measure for final vote no later than Friday.” Friday being December 12, 2014. American jobs were shipped overseas when Clinton signed NAFTA into law, as he proclaimed this trade agreement would bring jobs, and indeed it has just not to the US. But this pales in comparison to the new trade agreement the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The TPP’s been negotiated in secret for five years, but leaks show it’s the mother of all trade bills (NAFTA on steroids), and insures countries give up their sovereignty to corporations. According to Public Citizen this agreement would: offshore millions of American jobs, roll back Wall Street reform, sneak SOPA-like threats to internet freedom, ban Buy American policies needed to create green jobs, jack up the cost of medications, expose the US to unsafe food and products, and empower corporations to attack our environment and health safeguards. Since Clinton deregulated the media leaving us with six corporations in control of all our information, we need the Internet more than ever.

Citizen United ensures our votes no longer matter. Whoever has the most money wins. So corporations deluge our elected officials with cash and these cowardly politicians kowtow to them, and either pay us lip service or just plain ignore us. Corporations have no loyalty to any country. Profit is their only motive. Many large corporations no longer pay taxes, as they continue to make unprecedented profits, and receive tax subsidies on top of that. The wealthy are exempt from paying taxes too. That leaves us. We pay the taxes. But the middle class is disappearing fast, as Congress looks to raise taxes on the poorest among us. Economic inequality is higher than ever with, according to Forbes, “400 people owning as much as the combined net worth of half of all Americans.”

And after 12 years of war we find ourselves in this hyper masculine permanent war culture, which does not serve the planet or us. The US has become the largest terrorist organization in the world. Using deadly force, torture and rape instead of diplomacy. Diplomacy is for pussies after all.

The US has the largest incarnation rate in the world. We’re warehousing Blacks and Latinos at alarming rates. There are more black men in prison then were slaves. Since there are no jobs we put them behind bars or better still in solitary confinement. Black and Latino men are incarcerated for smoking a joint or murdered for walking down the street or selling a cigarette to make ends meet. In New York City we have the racist ‘stop and frisk’ law, which allows the police to stop anyone, meaning any male of color, for any reason. Our police forces have been militarized and now use lethal force instead of asking a question. Everyone is a threat. We are the enemy. 10698403_1498295060436014_6415171928574175256_n

The mindless murders of black men by the police and the refusal to indict their executioners even when, in the case of Eric Garner, his murder was caught on tape, is more than a little disturbing. At last count, since the murder of Michael Brown 14 teens have been killed at the hands of the police. These murders of black men bring to mind the death of Jimmie Lee Jackson. State troopers murdered Jackson on February 26, 1965, as he tried to protect his mother and grandmother from a trooper attack on civil rights marchers. His death led to the Selma-Montgomery march and the eventual passage of the Voting Rights Act.

“As long as justice is postponed we always stand on the verge of these darker nights of social disruption.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

These unjust events in Ferguson and New York and many others around the country make it perfectly clear the state does not believe black lives matter. But this is not just a race war it’s a class war by the ruling elites. It’s a war on the poor and impoverished. It’s now a crime to be poor in this country. Police have also been murdering dogs at an alarming rate as well. Seems the police feel very threatened by anyone or anything. We’re told being a police officer is a very dangerous job. However, the numbers show a very different story. According to a recent Huffington Post article,

“A total of 76 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty in 2013, the FBI reported Monday.” “Of those, 49 died in accidents and 27 were killed as a result of felonious acts—the lowest such figure in more than 50 years of FBI reporting, dating back to at least 1961.” “…the Bureau of Labor Statistics list of the 10 most-dangerous professions doesn’t include law enforcement officer.” “In Utah, for example, the Salt lake City Tribune recently reported that police in the state were the second-leading cause of homicide from 2010 to October 2014. Over that period, officers were responsible for more of the state’s homicides than gang members, drug dealers or child abusers.”

Preemptive wars. Pre-emptive policing. Shoot first; ask questions later or not at all is not policing, but military tactics used to subdue the enemy. We’re no longer citizens; we’re the enemy.

So what can we do? For starters the government ain’t gonna save us. Obama and the Democrats ain’t gonna save us. They sold us down the river for corporate money long ago. That leaves us. You and me. We’re the solution.

I’m so grateful there’s an outcry around the country, and we must stand in solidarity with our black brothers and sisters. What is done to them is done to all of us, and if you think you’re safe because you’re white, well, guess what, we’re next. As we descend into this militarized police state the only thing between us and them is us. We must stand together. Black lives matter. We all matter.1471175_881606885207127_3910082172814859105_n The answer is love.

These protests are a cry for unity, love and justice. The powers that be want to keep us divided and hostile to each other. We’ve been brainwashed to believe we’re separate, and in competition with each other, but this is a lie. We’re wired to love and cooperate with one another. But we must wake up from this bad dream. It comes down to consciousness. We must disconnect from the negative programming and reunite in love. All this injustice needs to be healed. We must open our hearts to love and stop being victims. Deprogram from this false narrative. Reconnect with our true selves. Reconnect with love. We are enough. We must play our part. The world needs us. The world needs more love, compassion, and kindness. The people united can never be divided. Thus far, the state has no solutions, and offers only violence. We must make a commitment to peace, truth justice, and nonviolence. It’s our only hope. We are one.

“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy, instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.

Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

 Martin Luther King, Jr.


If You See Something, Say Something

By Jill Dalton

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I’m finding New York City harder and harder to deal with. First, I’m accosted by the “If you see something, say something” signs painted on the steps in the subway stations.  And once I’m on the train there’s the disembodied voice straight out of Orwell’s “1984” warning me, “If you see a suspicious package, we have the right to search all bags and backpacks; if you see something, say something;” and on and on it drones.  

And the other evening, as I exited from the 5th Avenue/Bryant Park stop I came upon two police officers standing by a table with a large sign that read, “We have the right to search your bags.”  I wanted to take a photo, but I was running short on time, and would have needed to situate myself so as to not be detected, so instead, I kept moving.  And then there are the ubiquitous security cameras I see everywhere, including in Central Park.   

It’s really all about fear isn’t it?  Be afraid.  “Be very afraid” is the message the security state wants to convey; because when people are afraid they’ll do anything to feel safe, including giving up their civil liberties.  The Soviets used this fear tactic in the 50’s, and then the Bush Administration incorporated this tactic into their propaganda bag of tricks.  Remember those red/orange/yellow terror alerts?  

And now the kinder, gentler face of American empire, the Obama Administration, uses fear to control us with their pathetic, lame excuses for massive spying on U.S. Citizens.  “Be afraid.  Yes, be very afraid.  After all, the terrorists are coming!  But we’re here to protect you.  We spy on you for your own good.” 

Really?  Is anyone actually buying this anymore? 

Since 9/11 the security state has systematically taken our civil liberties away, and Americans have barely uttered a whimper.  President George W. Bush signed the USA PATRIOT Act into law on October 26, 2001. The title of the act is a ten letter bacronym that stands for Uniting (and) Strengthening America (by) Providing 

Providing Appropriate Tools Required (to) Intercept (and) Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001.  The act was in response to the September 11th World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks.  According to Wikipedia the act,

significantly weakened restrictions on law enforcement agencies’ gathering of intelligence within the United States; expanded the Secretary of the Treasury’s authority to regulate financial transactions, particularly those involving foreign individuals and entities; and broadened the discretion of law enforcement and immigration authorities in detaining and deporting immigrants suspected of terrorism-related acts. The act also expanded the definition of terrorism to include domestic terrorism, thus enlarging the number of activities to which the USA PATRIOT Act’s expanded law enforcement powers can be applied.

Then Obama extended three key provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act on May 26, 2011:

roving wiretaps, searches of business records (“library records provision”), and conducting surveillance of “lone wolves” – individuals suspected of terrorist-related activities not linked to terrorists groups.

photo-28After Bush was caught spying, the solution found and implemented was FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act).  But FISA has proved to be a rubber stamp—2,000 or more requests for domestic spying, and all but one was approved.

The NSA (National Security Agency) is caught spying on Americans and to rectify the situation “the senate passes the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) amendments act which overhaul government eves- dropping rules in terrorism and espionage cases, granting immunity to telecom companies that participated in domestic surveillance.  Senator Barack Obama (D-Ill.) votes for this bill.  — Washington Post

Once FISA was installed many of us assumed the spying had stopped.  Au contraire.  And now, so as not to be outdone, Obama has used the USA PATRIOT Act to illegally spy on Americans as well. 

Top-secret documents obtained by the Guardian illustrate what the FISA court actually does – and does not do – when purporting to engage in “oversight” over the NSA’s domestic spying. That process lacks many of the safeguards that Obama, the House GOP, and various media defenders of the NSA are trying to lead the public to believe exist. 

           No individualized warrants required under 2008 FISA law.

Glenn Greenwald, “FISA court oversight: a look inside a secret and empty process.  Obama and other NSA defenders insist there are robust limitations on surveillance but the documents show otherwise.”

After 9/11 Congress gave the government a blank check, and thus began the surveillance state.  Now 70% of this mass spying is privatized, with little or no government oversight.  They’ve built huge computers in Utah to house all the data.  Several whistleblowers have come forward to report the abuse, which included a spying program called Trailblazer that used $6 billion in taxpayer money and was a total bust.

I guess it’s not enough to have TSA scanners in airports radiate you; if you refuse to be radiated, never fear, some TSA lackey will gladly grope you.  I stopped flying soon after they infringed upon our 4th Amendment right of illegal search and seizure.

In New York we have the Stop and Frisk law, which is used to harass mainly black and Hispanic males anytime the police feel like it without probable cause.  This has resulted in racial profiling, illegal stops, and ignoring of privacy rights.  And guess what?  It’s only a matter of time before this draconian practice moves out into the rest of the population.  The privatized security state marches on, and the only word it knows is, “More!”  You see, to the corporate security state, we’re all potential terrorists.

Recently when Bloomberg was criticized over Stop and Frisk his response was, “ . . . I think we disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little. 

And then there’s the drone program, where we learn from The Washington Post: 

The FBI has received clearance from federal aviation officials to conduct drone surveillance operations in the United States on at least four occasions since 2010, according to public records and U.S. officials.

And if that isn’t disturbing enough, according to the same article, “Congress has directed the FAA to open domestic airspace to drones by 2015.”  

The ACLU has this to say about drones on their website: 

U.S. law enforcement is greatly expanding its use of domestic drones for surveillance. Routine aerial surveillance would profoundly change the character of public life in America. Rules must be put in place to ensure that we can enjoy the benefits of this new technology without bringing us closer to a “surveillance society” in which our every move is monitored, tracked, recorded, and scrutinized by the government. Drone manufacturers are also considering offering police the option of arming these remote-controlled aircraft with (nonlethal for now) weapons like rubber bullets, Tasers, and tear gas.

Numerous states are considering (and some have passed) legislation regulating the use of drones. You can see a chart summarizing the developments around the country here. Congress has ordered the Federal Aviation Administration to change airspace rules to make it much easier for police nationwide to use domestic drones, but the law does not include badly needed privacy protections. 

Turns out drone legislation has been, “proposed in 42 states, enacted in 5 states, and is still active in 29 states.”

 According to the New York Times article, “Rise of Drones in U.S. Drives Efforts to Limit Police Use.” 

A federal law enacted last year paved the way for drones to be used commercially and made it easier for government agencies to obtain them. The Department of Homeland Security offered grants to help local law enforcement buy them. Drone manufacturers began to market small, lightweight devices specifically for policing. Drones are already used to monitor movement on the United States’ borders and by a handful of police departments, and emergency services agencies around the country are just beginning to explore their uses.

Turns out Mayor Bloomberg is all for spying and having drones hovering above New York City.  He’s quoted as saying on his radio program, “Oh, it’s Big Brother; get used to it.”

Amazing how much disdain Mayor Bloomberg, President Obama and most of our elected officials have for civil liberties–other than their own, of course.  Seems they’re just not that into the Constitution.  It makes sense–the corporatists and their criminal buddies, who run the “too big to jail” banks, Wall Street, and the corporations that run our government–need drones to protect their self-interests.

Bloomberg brags, “I have my own army in the NYPD, which is the seventh biggest army in the world.”  Actually, they are nowhere near seventh; it’s more like ninety-seventh, but who’s counting?  According to Detective Abad Nieves’ “We are in the business of scaring people–we just want to scare the right people.” The NYPD has been rife with corruption, from rape to intimidation, harassing, pepper spraying, and beating Occupy protestors, as well as gunning down black teens over marijuana.  The NYPD has expanded into the largest police force in the U.S. with surveillance and military capabilities.

In an email published by WikiLeaks, an FBI official joked about how shocked Americans would be if they knew how egregiously the NYPD is stomping all over their civil liberties.

Check out “Nine terrifying facts about America’s biggest police force” by Tana Ganeva and Laura Gottesdiener.

So yes, Big Brother is alive and well, and flourishing in the U.S.  Our freedoms are systematically being stripped from us, our police forces militarized, and the NSA is data-mining every phone call, email and social network site, and all in the name of protecting us from terrorism.  You see, the powers that be know what’s coming.   As the economy gets worse for regular Americans, and climate change brings more disasters, and resources become less available the corporate security state is afraid of mass civil disobedience and unrest.

And if you have the unmitigated gall to actually report abuses of the corporate security state or the military industrial complex (Snowden, Manning, Assange, Drake, Greenwald, Hastings, etc.) you’ll be vilified, demeaned, and hunted down with the full intention of silencing and destroying you.  No one is off limits.  Seems real journalists (investigative reporters) are in the crosshairs as well.

The First Amendment to our Constitution protects freedom of the press.  Our press is supposed to report abuses by our government, but instead these talking heads who pose as reporters on TV are merely sycophants on the corporate tit.  And they not only spew the state’s propaganda, but condemn and openly chastise any reporting by real journalists who have the courage to stand up and speak truth to power.  And because of this new attack on journalists real sources have dried up according to Jane Mayer of The New Yorker.

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In Greenwald’s interview on Meet the Press, Dick Gregory accuses him of “aiding and abetting” and asks, why shouldn’t he (Greenwald) be charged with a crime?  And then there’s the recent untimely death of Michael Hastings (who wrote the famous Rolling Stone article on General Stanley McChrystal forcing McChrystal’s resignation), was met with much ridicule by many of these actors in the corporate media, calling themselves reporters, yet serving only to protect their overblown salaries and the status quo.

Glenn Greenwald and Snowden have really blown the cover off the whole corporate security surveillance police state that’s been covertly put into place.  And like many whistleblowers and journalists before them, they’re demonized by the security state and the corporate media whores posing as journalists.

And now that the cat’s out of the bag, so to speak, and the American people are outraged our senators cry fowl; “How could this happen?”  It happened because they voted for it and their outcry is merely posturing because they got caught. 

The NSA is not about protecting us from terrorists; it’s about protecting our corrupt security state from us.  And I for one will not go quietly into that good night.  So here’s to those of us who refuse to remain silent. 

Like Greenwald said in his talk to the 2013 Socialism Conference in Chicago 

Courage is contagious. If you take a courageous step as an individual, you will literally change the world because you will affect all sorts of people in your vicinity, and they will affect others, and they will affect others.  Never doubt your ability to change the world.

It doesn’t matter who you are as an individual or how formidable or powerful the institutions you want to challenge are.

He (Snowden) is a person with zero power, zero prestige, zero position, zero privilege, yet he, by himself, has literally changed the world.”

 Indeed, and so have you, Glenn Greenwald.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. —  Margaret Mead

So, to all the whistleblowers, truth tellers, real journalists, occupiers, and individuals who stand up and speak out about the injustices and cruelties being done in our name, I thank you.  I salute you.  I commend you.  I emulate you.  You give me hope.  It’s time to join with these great spirits in truth, justice, and peace.

 Fear not!  Like Greenwald said:

 You don’t need to be afraid.  Stand up to the US government, and be defiant, and exercise your constitutional rights.  Ultimately, we know we have rights we ought to exercise, and the only way they can go away is if we give in to fear.  Do not be afraid.

If you see something, say something.

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Glenn Greenwald Speaks Out: Socialism 2013 Conference

Socialism 2013—Glenn Greenwald:  Courage is Contagious + Trnascript

Timeline of electronic surveillance under Bush and Obama from 2001 – 2013.

Michael Jackson:  Somebody’s Watching Me

Sometimes I Feel Like Somebody’s Watching Me