Not new by any means…but still as relevant today as it was when it was released…
Not new by any means…but still as relevant today as it was when it was released…
- Robert Wadman, emeritus Weber State University criminal justice professor-
Excerpt, Standard Examiner – “Law enforcement officials agree: Police execute a “door kick” somewhere in Weber County, on average, once every week.
The forced entries range from a welfare check, when neighbors become concerned as newspapers pile up on someone’s porch and the family car is parked in the driveway.
At the other end of the spectrum are the full-on, SWAT-style raids with helmeted officers battering down a door unannounced, such as the Sept. 16, 2010, entry that left the suspect, Todd Blair, fatally shot.
Officials point to the frequency of door kicks, in police parlance, that occur without publicity or complaint as proof they’re benign — only a small percentage go awry. They steadfastly maintain they are crucial, the swift deployment necessary for officer safety and to keep suspects from destroying evidence.
But there are critics concerned about the increase in the commando-style entries, also known as a breach.
The American Civil Liberties Union recently announced a nationwide investigation of the “militarization” of police departments, simultaneously filing 255 public records requests in 24 states on March 6.
Among 18 Utah agencies whose records were requested are the Ogden, Roy and Brigham City police departments and the Weber and Cache county sheriff’s offices.
The agencies have been asked to provide data on SWAT team deployments and injuries during the deployments, weaponry used, and the level of funding for armament and equipment from the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security.
The ACLU decried militarization as an erosion “of civil liberties encouraging increasingly aggressive policing.”
In the wake of high-profile, lethal-force incidents involving officers, police brass and prosecutors have defended the strong-arm tactics as necessary in an increasingly violent world.
“Officers plan for the worst and hope for the best,” said Ogden Police Lt. Will Cragun. “It’s easy to second-guess after the fact, but you need to get down in the dirt with us to know what’s going on.”
Officials typically point to recent mass shootings around the country as a constant reminder to officers to be on their guard.
Roy Police Chief Greg Whinham noted the Columbine High School shootings of 1999, where 12 students and a teacher were killed and 21 injured, moved him to make his department the first in the state to put A-4 automatic rifles in the trunks of all patrol cars.
“I will always err on the side of getting my officers home at the end of their shift,” he said.
In an earlier news story about the ACLU records request, Weber County Sheriff’s Deputy Chief Klint Anderson said the problem is “the militarization of our criminals.”
Anderson said law enforcement is seeing “criminals who have military experience and military training.”
“They are better armed, better trained and more dangerous than before.”
Jim Retallick, veteran Ogden public defender, and other defense attorneys argue there are other ways to serve search warrants than the military-style door kicks.
“Hell yes, it’s getting dangerous,” Retallick said. “For seven people to get shot over marijuana is ridiculous.”
He is referring to the Jan. 4, 2012, forced-entry raid on the Ogden home of Matthew David Stewart. Six officers were shot, one fatally. Stewart was also wounded, hospitalized and jailed and now awaits trial, facing the death penalty…” Full Article Here
***Warning: Video Contains Graphic & Heartbreaking Footage***
Grow your garden outdoors, officials will bust you, fine you and demand that your ‘eyesore’ be removed from their cookie cutter communities…try to be nice and plant your veggies indoors where the neighbors can’t complain…and SWAT is going to come bust in your door and seize your uh…squash. After all, everyone knows that the only thing hydroponic equipment could ever be used for is growing that terrifying plant known as “Pot”, right?
The Activist Post – “Did you know that buying hydroponic growing equipment is now being used as probable cause for the government to raid your house?
Neither did Bob and Addie Harte, a Kansas couple who were raided by SWAT without a warrant last April because the authorities took notice of their purchase of indoor gardening items.
The illegal raid turned up “just six plants — three tomato plants, one melon plant and two butternut squash plants — growing in the basement”, and now the couple is suing the sheriff’s department.
The Associated Press reports:
~Two former CIA employees whose Kansashome was fruitlessly searched for marijuana during a two-state drug sweep claim they were illegally targeted, possibly because they had bought indoor growing supplies to raise vegetables.
Adlynn and Robert Harte sued this week to get more information about why sheriff’s deputies searched their home in the upscale Kansas City suburb of Leawood last April 20 as part of Operation Constant Gardener.~
It seem peculiar that the couple are former CIA agents. Perhaps government watches their former employees’ purchases more closely?
“With little or no other evidence of any illegal activity, law enforcement officers make the assumption that shoppers at the store are potential marijuana growers, even though the stores are most commonly frequented by backyard gardeners who grow organically or start seedlings indoors,” the lawsuit says.
“If this can happen to us and we are educated and have reasonable resources, how does somebody who maybe hasn’t led a perfect life supposed to be free in this country?” Adlynn Harte told the Associated Press.
The lawsuit says the Harte children (7 and 13) were traumatized when deputies wearing bullet-proof vests armed with assault rifles pounded on their door.
“It was just like on the cops TV shows,” Robert Harte told The Associated Press. “It was like ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ ready to storm the compound.”
“You can’t go into people’s homes and conduct searches without probable cause,” said Harte’s attorney Cheryl Pilate.” Source
There is nothing unintentional about what has happened with our incarceration rates and prison system in this country over the past 2 decades or so. Since the latest scheme of enslaving people has taken root in this country, everything has gone exactly according to the plans of the slave-owners, a.k.a. the private prison industry- which is supported and funded by the very legislators we elect.
To call the current system a ‘poverty trap’ is an understatement…it isn’t an accidental trap; it is intentional and well planned. Every time something is proven to reduce recidivism rates, that *something* is magically removed from the equation. Strong outside ties help prisoners? Well then, let’s move prisoners farther from home, charge outrageous rates for phone calls and then…ah yes…let’s go ALL out and mandate that prisoners only be allowed to receive 1 postcard a month instead of long letters from home…
And if poverty increases incarceration rates well by all means…let’s make it impossible for anyone even arrested to ever rise above the poverty and earn their way out of the system via legal employment. There is no profit to be made by allowing people to serve a short, fitting sentence for actual crimes (vs non-crimes such as drug use) and then letting them return to the free world and get on with the business of earning a real living wage and becoming part of productive society and our legislators (you know, those folks who own stock in prison companies or at the very least, accept
bribes campaign contributions from prison companies) damn well know it.
Excerpts, NYTimes- “The shift to tougher penal policies three decades ago was originally credited with helping people in poor neighborhoods by reducing crime. But now that America’s incarceration rate has risen to be the world’s highest, many social scientists find the social benefits to be far outweighed by the costs to those communities.
“Prison has become the new poverty trap,” said Bruce Western, a Harvard sociologist. “It has become a routine event for poor African-American men and their families, creating an enduring disadvantage at the very bottom of American society.”
Among African-Americans who have grown up during the era of mass incarceration, one in four has had a parent locked up at some point during childhood. For black men in their 20s and early 30s without a high school diploma, the incarceration rate is so high — nearly 40 percent nationwide — that they’re more likely to be behind bars than to have a job.
No one denies that some people belong in prison. Mr. Harris, now 47, and his wife, 45, agree that in his early 20s he deserved to be there. But they don’t see what good was accomplished by keeping him there for two decades, and neither do most of the researchers who have been analyzing the prison boom.
The number of Americans in state and federal prisons has quintupled since 1980, and a major reason is that prisoners serve longer terms than before. They remain inmates into middle age and old age, well beyond the peak age for crime…
…Epidemiologists have found that when the incarceration rate rises in a county, there tends to be a subsequent increase in the rates of sexually transmitted diseases and teenage pregnancy, possibly because women have less power to require their partners to practice protected sex or remain monogamous.
When researchers try to explain why AIDS is much more prevalent among blacks than whites, they point to the consequences of incarceration, which disrupts steady relationships and can lead to high-risk sexual behavior. When sociologists look for causes of child poverty and juvenile delinquency, they link these problems to the incarceration…” Full Story Here
The world needs more thinking and more medicine like what is accomplished with projects like Unlikely Friends.
“The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world with one out of 32 Americans under criminal justice supervision. The rest of the world is intrigued by the paradox that the leading democracy in the free world imprisons so many of its citizens, 25% of the total prisoners worldwide.
UNLIKELY FRIENDS documents victims of brutal crimes who, through forgiveness, unexpectedly become friends with their perpetrators.
Finding a criminal justice system that has left them empty and unsupported, these victims of unspeakable crimes forgive out of a deep need to heal themselves, which in turn motivates the perpetrator to fully account for their actions and thereby begin the process of true rehabilitation.
These relationships, so unfathomable for most of us, open our thinking to new possibilities of how to transform a system ensconced in punishment and retribution to one of restorative justice that is based in humanity.”
Hate begets hate; healing begets healing…it is not a difficult concept to grasp but it isn’t one that is promoted nearly enough. All of the ridiculous fear-based propaganda like “TOUGH ON CRIME” has taken root in our society’s thought process and we are just now beginning to see and feel the ramifications of that school of thought…More prisons, more abuses, more crimes, more violence…more, more and more of everything that is unhealthy and damaging to us all.
Politricksters who stand to profit from the private prison industry have no reason to reverse anything they have accomplished so it is once again up to US – The People – to instigate the change. I don’t care if you are a ‘bleeding heart liberal’ that thinks we can abolish prisons entirely or an ‘uber-conservative rightwinger’ that is simply fed up with the exorbitant amount of your taxes being spent on prisons…it behooves all of us to do whatever is necessary to halt the revenge-based and profit-driven prison system from rooting itself even more deeply into our societies. (Yes, plural…ALL societies are at risk of being over-run and destroyed by this cancerous growth; it is NOT just an American problem.)
Proliferation, Paul Rucker
Animated mapping of the US Prison system set to original music.
Green Dots: 1778-1900
Yellow Dots: 1901-1940
Orange Dots: 1941-1980
Red Dots: 1981-2005
The only way to make an idea take hold and start to grow is to keep promoting it so please help spread the word (Loudly, repetitively and often!). The intent of this project is health-based and healing-based…but unless more people hear about it, there is little hope of the spark becoming a wildfire. If you also think it is time to stop the hate and turn towards true healing then fan the flames of forgiveness and share the message(s) and help promote projects like Unlikely Friends as much as you can…social media is our most powerful tool right now, I think and here is another opportunity to use it for good!
Connect with and support Unlikely Friends -
Oh my…how tempting it is to accept the offer of the White House and to tell them what I think of them right about now…but…
…I sort of have a hunch that if I were to sit down and really tell the White House how I feel, I’d be banned from ever communicating with anyone there again. Rick Perry asked people what they thought and I answered him honestly…next thing I knew, I was blocked from his FB and Twitter accounts. Hrm…maybe he really doesn’t know how he functions as a sociopathic, cold-blooded murderer while appearing to be a real human being?
At any rate, below is the White House response to the recent petition I posted concerning Chris Williams, the medicinal marijuana grower in Montana who is now serving an 80 year prison sentence in a federal penitentiary.
By The White House
Thank you for signing the petition “Grant a full pardon to Chris Williams, a man facing 80 years in prison for legally growing medical marijuana“ We appreciate your participation in the We the People platform on WhiteHouse.gov.
Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution gives the President the authority to grant “Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States.” For more than 100 years, Presidents have relied on the Department of Justice and its Office of the Pardon Attorney for assistance in the exercise of this power. Requests for executive clemency for federal offenses should be directed to the Pardon Attorney, who conducts a review and investigation, and prepares the Department’s recommendation to the President. Additional information and application forms are available on the Pardon Attorney’s website.
The President takes his constitutional power to grant clemency very seriously, and recommendations from the Department of Justice are carefully considered before decisions are made. The White House does not comment, however, on individual pardon applications. In accordance with this policy and the We the People Terms of Participation – which explain that the White House may sometimes choose not to respond to petitions addressing certain matters — the White House declines to comment on the specific case addressed in this petition.
And I might just end up telling the White House folks what I think…but probably not until after I’ve had time to uh…munch a nice bowl of fresh green salad and calm down a bit!
**Apologies** I did notice when I initially made this post that wrong video was inserted. Sorry if the video didn’t seem to match the content!**
If you own your own business and want to avoid all of the pesky headaches of finding & keeping good employees, the DoJ and UNICOR have the solution you may be looking for…
Partner up with your local prison and find the slave labor that is right for you!
That’s right folks! Join up and promote the enslavement of your friends and neighbors! Keep the drug war going and by all means, let’s keep funding more privatized prisons in order to guarantee and steady workforce.
Just think, by partnering with UNICOR you too can avoid paying any kind of living wage and skip all of those pesky things like benefits or sick days!
What are you waiting for?! Call 1-800-Dial-A-Slave and get started with your new prison workforce tomorrow!
***All comments in this article are 100% Snark as I could not address this subject in any normal manner lest it turn into a 20,000 word insanely incoherent rant***
♫ You better watch out!
You better not cry..better not shout,
I’m tellin’ you why..
Santa Clause is coming to town..! ♫
In this case it looks as though Santa arrived early this year for Monsanto when, for unknown (or publicly undisclosed) reasons, the Dept of Justice decided to (prematurely) end the antitrust investigation into our seed industry that it began back in January of 2010. Instead of the giant lump of coal (or perhaps stocking stuffed with GMO foods) or punishment they so richly deserve, it seems Monsanto has once again been cut a break by Obama and his federal-corporate little elves.
Perhaps Santa just needs some new glasses… or to start checking his list more than twice if he overlooked the fact that Monsanto (and their ilk) have been anything but nice this year!
A press release from Monsanto (11/16-1012) states,
“Monsanto Company announced that it has received written notification from the U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division, and that the agency has concluded its inquiry regarding the company’s soybean traits business and the seed industry. The DOJ has closed that inquiry without taking any enforcement action.
“We’re pleased that the Justice Department has closed its inquiry and this issue is now behind us,” said David Snively, Monsanto’s executive vice president, secretary and general counsel. “Our business is focused on delivering new product innovations to farmers each and every year and we remain committed to developing the products that deliver results for them.”
Monsanto originally reported this inquiry in January 2010 and had cooperated fully with the Justice Department since that time.
An excerpt from Mother Jones demonstrates just how hush-hush the investigation’s end and sheds more light on why the DoJ was investigating the seed industry to begin with -
“The Obama administration sneaked a tasty dish to the genetically modified seed/pesticide industry…
For the crops that cover the bulk of US farmland like corn, soy, and cotton, the seed trade is essentially dominated by five companies: Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta, Bayer, and Dow. And a single company, Monsanto, supplies nearly all genetically modified traits now so commonly used in those crops, which it licenses to its rivals for sale in their own seeds.
What’s harder to figure out is why the DOJ ended the investigation without taking any action—and did so with a near-complete lack of public information. The DOJ didn’t even see fit to mark the investigation’s end with a press release. News of it emerged from a brief item Monsanto itself issued the Friday before Thanksgiving, declaring it had “received written notification” from the DOJ antitrust division that it had ended its investigation “without taking any enforcement action.”
I’ve made other posts about No-Knock raids in the past but I am doing so again because nothing is being done to stop or prevent them. How can we consider ourselves free so long as agents of the government can beat down our doors…shoot our children, our grandparents and our family pets…any time they feel like it?
The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. ~ John Stuart Mill~
I suppose that “No Knock” raids are for our own good, right? Police must protect us from ourselves and prevent us from making choices about how we choose to live. Raiding the homes of innocent people or of people who choose to grow and consume *illegal* plants must be for our own good!
Now, if police happen to bust down the wrong door, we shouldn’t be upset because obviously, mistakes happen in the heat of enforcing the prohibition on freedom. And if they happen to shoot your dog, well…remember, they are only ever doing their jobs. And no one is perfect…
Excerpts from Reason.com:
“Fred Skinner was eating a piece of toast when police from three different agencies burst through his front door with guns drawn, put the 76-year-old in handcuffs, and began ransacking his house in search of drugs. Minutes later, one of the officers noticed a piece of mail on Skinner’s table. The name on it didn’t match the name for the suspected drug dealer the officers were after. The officers asked Skinner if the name on the mail was his. When Skinner said yes, the officer shouted “Wrong house,” and the entire raid team headed out the way they’d come, without apologizing or explaining themselves. They were, according to a department spokesperson, in too much of a rush to get next door, where their suspect was supposedly located…”
What the police had to say about the raid -
“It was a mistake,” Auburn Police Chief Gary Giannotta told WSYR-TV. “We’re no different than anyone else. We make mistakes just like everybody else. We try to make sure our information is as current and as reliable as possible. Once in a while we get it wrong. When we get it wrong, we make it right.”
If raids on the homes of innocent senior citizens doesn’t make your blood boil,
“If a widespread pattern of [knock-and-announce] violations were shown . . . there would be reason for grave concern.”
~ Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, in Hudson v. Michigan, June 15, 2006.
According to Radley Balko, as many as 40,000 of these raids happen every year.
As long as the “War on Drugs” is allowed to continue, no one is safe in their homes. If “No-Knock” raids aren’t the ultimate display of the unconstitutional actions committed by our government then I don’t know what is.
Oh me, oh my…how shocking! *Snort* Or not so much, really. Has anyone in our government ever even tried to hold Blackwater and The Prince of Darkness accountable for their misdeeds..? No, I didn’t think so. This is just another example of cronyism at its finest.
“The US Department of Justice is letting a military contractor away with a fine despite it being charged with grave crimes. Scott Horton, contributing editor to Harper’s Magazine, tells RT the US government has reasons to fear the firm going on trial.”
Read full transcript here.
Two-term Governor, Gary Johnson, will win our nation’s futile war on drugs by ending it. America once faced a similar dilemma with alcohol and mustered the public will to make a wise decision in ending Prohibition. Today America is safer and organized crime is out of the alcohol business.
It’s time to take the Capone out of cannabis, too.
We The People are ready to LIVE FREE.
A Senate staffer was tasked two years ago with compiling reports for a subcommittee about the number of times annually the Justice Department employed a covert internet and telephone surveillance method known as pen register and trap-and-trace capturing.
But the records, which the Justice Department is required to forward to Congress annually, were nowhere in sight.
That’s because the Justice Department was not following the law and had not provided Congress with the material at least for years 2004 to 2008. On the flip side, Congress was not exercising its watchdog role, thus enabling the Justice Department to skirt any oversight whatsoever on an increasingly used surveillance method that does not require court warrants, according to Justice Department documents obtained via the Freedom of Information Act.
The mishap is just one piece of an ever-growing disconnect between Americans’ privacy interests, and a Congress seemingly uncommitted to protecting those interests.
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