Police State: Yes or No?

One of my favorite commentators of American life, Ted Rall, recently wrote a column titled, "EVERYONE HATES THE COPS." Ted's point was "I can't point to a single positive experience I've ever had with a cop." He concedes that "No one should be less scared of cops than me. I'm white, clean-cut, middle-aged, invariably polite . . ." And goes on to say that, nevertheless, he's afraid of cops in practically every country in the world, especially Uzbekistan and the United States.

This subject came up for me when I recently watched Phillip Hoffman's "The Party's Over," his documentary about the 2000 election campaigns, conventions, and the final result of that moment when the charade of democracy in the United States formally ended. Recently, wingnuts have been comparing their violence-edged demonstrations at town hall meetings over health care to protests about the Vietnam and Iraq wars. Nothing, of course, could be further from the truth. The kids and adults who protested those wars were met by cops, rubber bullets, teargas, and arrest. The wingnuts and their insurance company instigators are welcomed by the cops and their gun-toting behavior has been ignored by the press and the cops. There is no aspect of personal courage being displayed by the wingnuts, since they are in no danger from anyone but themselves.

On the other hand, watching the gross overreaction of the L.A. cops at the 2000 Democratic Convention and the outright lunacy of the Philadelphia police and national guard at the Republican Convention, anyone familiar with the degeneration of the United States since WWII has to wonder where and why we went so wrong. Peaceful protest from anything resembling the left in the US is always met with overwhelming violence, police lawlessness, and depraved and pitiful reporting from the major news outlets. When the wingnuts carry automatic weapons into the street to intimidate participants at the town hall meetings, it barely makes the editorial section and never makes it to television news.

Which brings me back to my point, "Everyone Hates the Cops." Of course, that's not true. Wingnuts love the cops, since they act as official bodyguards for the right. Corporations own the cops, so they gotta love 'em. The rest of us are afraid of the armed force whose unpredictable behavior was best described as "cops on the take can't take orders" by reporters covering the unleashed violence Chicago police let loose on Vietnam protesters in 1968.

That is a big problem, too. Every Latin American country has discovered that building a police force, including a military, based on serving the interests of the corrupt rich and powerful creates a system inclined to self-destruct. You put guns in the hands of characters who will follow any order, regardless of legality or morality, and you are sowing the seeds of your own destruction. We've probably past the point of no return, in the US, on this regard. Between the un-Constitutional "Commander in Chief" designation of the President and the century of corporate invasions disguised as acts of "national security" defense, the war decision-making process has been handed from civilian to corporate-military and, since they have the guns, that is probably irreversible.

I've always thought that critical jobs like policing, governing, and maintenance should be nationally drafted positions. I totally agree with Rall that, " the kind of person who would want to become a police officer is precisely the kind of person who should not be allowed to work as one." That goes for politician, bureaucrats, and highway maintenance among most of the nationally vital tasks. But it's too late for that sort of logic. What we're left with is the choice to keep out heads down and try to avoid the scrutiny of our corrupt police or join the wingnuts and take to the lawless streets.


  1. Anonymous8/23/2009

    There are two possibilities here: 1) the Secret Service is trying to get Obama killed, 2) Republicans are gay.

    Allowing crazies to bring AR-16 assult rifles to Obama's health care rallies indicates that the first option is true. The fact that Bush was afraid of no-Bush tee-shirts indicates Bush was gay. Maybe both are true?

  2. Anonymous8/24/2009

    Henry Kissinger refers to us as "useless eaters."

    Henry is an "AshkeNAZI jew, he is the biggest criminal on the planet. It is known that he has ordered the assassination of many of the worlds, now dead, leaders he didn't like. And yes it is the Elite, they are not powerful, they are stupid, they got rich from the stupidity of those in this country and others. Stupid is as stupid does. Through deciet and fraud the have climbed their way to a financial level and have "hired" people to protect them and have bribed law inforcement and politicians to do their bidding. That doesn't take brains. And yes Larry is right as are millions of others, but we have no voice in the medai and they wouldn't listen to us anyway, were just cattle or sheep to them.

    Ciao, Don

  3. I'm not sure I disagree with the "useless eaters" designation for about 3/4 of human population. We're mindless breeders with no concept of limited resources. Now, there are almost 7 trillion of us? That is clearly insane.

    You're probably using a definition of "known" with which I'm unfamiliar. Kissinger didn't have much power, so passing off Nixon's responsibilities to Kissinger is a copout.

  4. Anonymous8/29/2009

    LOL - The battle has begun. Those neocons in the Whitehouse are running
    scared. The leaches in government will pay the debt, which they created,
    through inflation; then, they will complain and try to control this
    through price controls. Oh, so typical, so historical, so damaging to
    the economy. Simple tactic: fear. The fascists Republicans bailed
    themselves with TARP and the Bolshevik Dems bailed themselves out with
    the STIMULUS.

    Maybe you /should/ move to Canada. I just bought a beach house in Uruguay...

  5. Probably THE THING that has always put Libertarians in the nutbin of American politics is their absolute lack of historical knowledge. They like to pretend that their small government system hasn't been tried in the past and that human nature is some kind of idealized Ayn Rand fantasy soap opera yet to be tapped. The 1800's American West was the proving ground for small government and we found that, like today, the corrupt and powerful slither out of the crowd and become abusive if the crowd doesn't band together and form more powerful governments to control the sickos. We found that inherited wealth caused even more corruption and even more cultural decay, so we as a society tried to put limits on that corruption and power. The sickos discovered that they could control the media, dis-inform the ignorant and unimaginative, and counter those limits and we get Nixon, Reagan, Bush I & II, Ron Paul, and Faux News as a result.

    It turns out that, as Nixon so proudly discovered, that if you mix in a bit of truth with a Big Lie you can convince 51% of the public that any damn idiocy is true. The Neocons are far from scared, but they are inconvenienced and looking for the next Big Lie, since the last collection played out for all but the crazy True Believers.

    I'd say convincing the 50.1% of crazy shit like "Bolshevik Dems bailed themselves out with the STIMULUS" would be pretty high on their hit list. You need to research (as in with a dictionary) what a Bolshevik is before you imagine the current class of Democrats to be such. Most of the Democrats are the same bullshit corporate welfare clowns that we got with the Contract on America Republicans. You fell for the real estate bubble, the "get all the credit you can and pretend you're rich" promotion, the stock market bubble, the trendy yuppie business bubble, and Ron Paul's line of smoke and mirrors. At some point, you have to either discover you have a tendency to be a sucker or tip completely into the dark side. It would be cool to believe that humans are capable of wising up and figuring out who's manipulating them for what purpose, but I don't. Personally, I think humans have downbred themselves into a species that is doomed to vanish from the planet. The more the middle class fights against its own interests, the more I doubt we'll continue to exist.

    Some political systems can not exist in overpopulated conditions. Whacky capitalist fantasies are among that group. The only real problems every country in the world have are overpopulation and superstition. Any focus outside of reducing population growth and disabusing belief in magic is a distraction.