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Is America a Police State?

Is America a Police State?

The current state of the United States’ criminal justice system, if it can even be called that anymore, is truly appalling.

Recently, in a small town in Pennsylvania, an insurance agent for Nationwide Insurance noticed a certain plant growing in a garden on the property he was inspecting. This insurance agent identified the plant as marijuana and notified the police about this nefarious behavior. An elderly couple lived at that property, and while the husband was out at the time, the wife was dragged from her home, in her underwear, while police proceeded to ransack the home for four hours. They found nothing illegal. And that marijuana plant that started this whole debacle? Actually a hibiscus. This is only one of countless examples of this exact sort of “raid first, ask questions later” mentality that police forces in this country have adopted. But it’s only natural that this sort of bad behavior has evolved because of the huge problem of overcriminalization. And when the difference between “criminal” and “lawbreaker” is more than just splitting semantic hairs, something needs to be done. Special guest Clark Neily of the Cato Institute joins James Harrigan and Antony Davies to talk about this and more on this week’s episode of Words and Numbers.

The public-choice dynamics behind overcriminalization

57-year-old grandfather from India partially paralyzed by a cop while visiting his son in Alabama — cop charged with assault but jury hung; charges dismissed

Philadelphia police captain slugs woman because he mistakenly believed she threw water on him. The officer was terminated by the police chief, but reinstated by an arbitrator with back pay.

Phila. cop who punched woman gets job back
6abc.com

NYPD officer nearly kills bicyclist by pushing him into a curb. The officer was convicted of lying about it in court but not punished.

Ex-Officer Guilty in Critical Mass Confrontation
www.nytimes.com

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How NSA Surveillance Was Birthed from the Drug War – The DEA Tracked Billions of Phone Calls Pre 9/11

How NSA Surveillance Was Birthed from the Drug War – The DEA Tracked Billions of Phone Calls Pre 9/11

The now-discontinued operation, carried out by the DEA’s intelligence arm, was the government’s first known effort to gather data on Americans in bulk, sweeping up records of telephone calls made by millions of U.S. citizens regardless of whether they were suspected of a crime. It was a model for the massive phone surveillance system the NSA launched to identify terrorists after the Sept. 11 attacks. That dragnet drew sharp criticism that the government had intruded too deeply into Americans’ privacy after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked it to the news media two years ago.

The similarities between the NSA program and the DEA operation established a decade earlier are striking – too much so to have been a coincidence, people familiar with the programs said. Former NSA general counsel Stewart Baker said, “It’s very hard to see (the DEA operation) as anything other than the precursor” to the NSA’s terrorist surveillance.

The extent of that surveillance alarmed privacy advocates, who questioned its legality. “This was aimed squarely at Americans,” said Mark Rumold, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “That’s very significant from a constitutional perspective.”

Holder halted the data collection in September 2013 amid the fallout from Snowden’s revelations about other surveillance programs.

– From today’s USA Today article: U.S. Secretly Tracked Billions of Calls for Decades

 

The drug war is something that wouldn’t even exist in a rational, mature and intelligent civilization. Not only is it ineffective, invasive and brutish, but we now know that the almost religious zealousness with which it has been pursued by its proponents has led directly to the current unconstitutional surveillance state. If not for our acquiescence to the “war on drugs,” would the authoritarian statists amongst us have been able to usher in the even more dangerous but similarly endless “war on terror?” Personally, I doubt it.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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