Wednesday, August 1, 2012

THE PRIVATIZED POLICE STATE

Irrefutable evidence and statistics suggest we as Americans do in fact live in a modern Police State being run for massive profits split between Private Companies and the Government.  Tomorrow we may just wake to to a very real American nightmare while today we sleep at the wheel allowing civil liberties to be limited one piece of legislation at a time and often literally at the expense of citizens one dollar at a time. 

"Fuck Tha Police" inks on bristol / 2012

The term, "Police State" was coined in mid-19th century Austria. While degrees of government suppression vary from country to country throughout the world, each year which passes brings the United States closer and closer to each and every definition of the term.  Many of the key aspects which mold this seemingly foreign circumstance can be easily identified by the current level of police control in our country.

Inhabitants of a Police State find themselves subject to restrictions in mobility, freedom to express political views and subject to police monitoring and enforcement (often by a secret police force executing social control by executive order.)  

Restricted mobility?  In a post-9/11 world, citizens find it difficult to travel with intimate body scanning techniques and security screenings being used inside every airport terminal in the nation.  Laws differ from state to state as officers are given leeway for racial profiling.  In Arizona, state laws attempt to supersede federal authority as Police screen Hispanics daily for immigration papers.  In New York City, officers last year reported the number of stops and searches of black youths exceeded the number of them living in the city under their "Stop and Frisk" law.  Here in Middle Tennessee, out-of-state vehicles are profiled and stopped without probably cause, leading to forced searches and seizures.  Drivers found with cash money are required to go to court and prove their ownership of the money and its purpose.  Often this money is kept by police as suspected drug trafficking capital.

 Limited Freedom to Express Political Views?  Just ask Occupy Wall Street protesters.  Over 7,000 arrests have been made of people protesting Wall Street corruption over the past year.  Rounded up by the busload, people of all ages and backgrounds were pepper-sprayed, beaten and their personal property destroyed by police from Oakland to New York City.  Local law enforcement agencies along with Homeland Security and the FBI infiltrated protest groups undercover and quickly came down with physical force to let the public know that dissidence would not be tolerated.  Numerous lawsuits still stand denouncing these tactics as excessive use of force.  A recent independent law panel in NYC requested oversight to reprimand the NYPD for what they found to be gross violations of Civil Rights. 

Subject to Police Monitoring?  Police entities in our country are requesting Facebook and Twitter history from Social Networking Companies at an alarming rate.  Anonymous, Wikileaks and Occupy Wall Street Activists find their Twitter accounts being shut down as their messages are being used against them in open court.  The FBI has applauded social networking as the greatest modern investigation tool, replacing many monitoring tactics.  As far as our verbal communication, software screens cellular phone calls for buzz words leading to terrorism investigations of people based on computer recognition.  RFID chips are being implemented in passports and photo identification across the nation, which can be used as scanning and tracking devices. 

Secret Police Force?  There are three in the United States which operate on a National Level: The CIA, The FBI and Homeland Security (not to mention localized Bureaus of Investigation operating largely in secret on the State Level across the Nation.)

Excessive Police Enforcement?  America has 5% of the world's population and 20% of its prisoners.  The Corporate Media and Government routinely place labels like "authoritarian" and "police state" on countries like China, which has 4x the population of the U.S. and 1/2 the prisoners.  On average, America has 6x the prisoners of every country in the world.  Of course it wasn't always like this.  From 1925-1975, the percentage of citizens imprisoned in the States lined up with the rest of the world.  In the mid-70's, the prison boom launched with the War on Drugs.  By 1980, 40,000 Americans were imprisoned for narcotics.  The 1990's brought the implementation mandatory minimum sentences and three strikes laws.  By 2008, the number of citizens incarcerated for drugs reached over a HALF MILLION people.

Social Control by Executive Order?  Mayors and Governors give State Police marching orders (often under the advisement of those "secret police" mentioned above.)  By Executive Order, the President of the United States has the power to pull the plug on the internet for public use.  With the passing of the NDAA this past year, whoever holds the Presidential office also holds the power to detain citizens of the United States (as well as people here illegally) indefinitely and without trial.

 So WHY all the Orwellian Oversight?  Policing is BIG BUSINESS in a the country which revolutionized Capitalism.  

The early 1980's ushered in an era of deregulation for American Business, leading to the privatization of public services such as the prison system.  The CCA (Corrections Corporation of America) was born in 1983, purchasing prisons from state governments and promising to keep them at 90% capacity by contract.  The gradual privatization of U.S. prisons for profit has grown to this very day as a $250 million campaign is being waged in 48 states to lobby for more and more prisons to be turned into money-making machines this year.  

It's not always been a smooth progression of profit for these facilities.  In the 1990's, many public service groups enacted drug treatment programs to help prisoners with early releases from their sentence.  With general populations dropping, companies like CCA found themselves saddled with debt.  Just when America was beginning to rethink profiting from incarcerating citizens, the events of 9/11 changed the world (and the public perception of certain minorities.)  The U.S. now had an enemy to round up besides your every-day drug user/peddler.  Prisons lobbied heavily for bills such as Arizona's SB1070 (the immigration profiling law which has been similarly adopted in states like Georgia and Alabama.)  10 years later after the detainment of thousands of immigrants, the top two prison companies, CEO and CCA posted a combined profit of $3 Billion in 2010.

Once inmates are locked up and pulling the dollars from old Uncle Sam, Fortune 500 companies put them to work for a variety of services  All these guys have is time being under the lock and key of a private company; so why not make the most of it?  Prisoners can earn anywhere from 93 cents to $4.73 for a DAY's work.  Of course, when such wages are reported in other countries, it's referred to in more derogatory terms such as "sweat shops" and "slave labor."  What do you call it when the largest prison population in the world is put to work at a wage far below the poverty line?  Free Market Capitalism. 

You don't have to be behind bars for Wall Street's finest to bust your wallet.  General policing brings in the BIG bucks as well.  Companies have infiltrated the traffic ticketing game by raising high-tech cameras at busy intersections all over the country.  Americans pay approx $6 Billion in speeding citations each year with a chunk of that going to companies with an invested interest in what's NOT in your best interest (or safety.)  For example, camera companies are allowed to impose restrictions on the length of yellow lights.  700 communities employing these camera-enforced traffic laws are netting $1.5 Million a year which gets split 60/40 with the company.  Some states such as Florida have up to 40 lobbyists working alone on skimming money off everyday traffic.  Big cities can draw big numbers such as Chicago in 2010 by giving their residents a lashing for a whopping $69 Million.

With all those cameras doing the busy-work, Police are out protecting their communities through services such as Saturation Patrols and good old fashioned Road Blocks!  In 2009, California shined in protecting their state though such programs which bankrolled $40 Million back to the State.   In most cases, less than 10% of the fines levied involved alcohol but rather unlicensed motorists and other citations.  Today, it costs a few grand to handle a DUI charge and being prosecuted of ANY felony leads to expensive probation charges and fines.  Of course, cops are out catching the REAL bad guys too- all those drug users, drug dealers, drug traffickers and peoples of terrorist descent.  Round 'em up... Ship 'em off to earn an honest day's wage building office furniture, making clothing, taking hotel reservations and even butchering meat to earn less in a day than the Federal Minimum Wage for one hour's work.

 If Policing is for Profit, FUCK tha POLICE.




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18 comments:

  1. Prison for Profit = Slavery. I don't understand why people can't see that making cash off of the act of locking humans in cages is just fucking wrong. Great piece, Brandt.

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    1. Thanks for commenting but in Capitalism, it's not called slavery or indentured servitude- these people are job creators who profit off of incarceration. It's even cheaper than outsourced labor because we don't have to ship the products back to the U.S.

      Much of the general public is so indoctrinated to think like this. They don't see things for what they really are. I think you do sir.

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  2. Hi, I was interested in your blog post, but stopped when I read the incorrect info about Arizona. I've actually Read SB 1070, unlike many people who protest it. The law does Not supercede federal law, it Mirrors it! It does Not require racial profiling, it in fact expressly prohibits it! An officer in Arizona, where I live by the way, May Only ask for identification during a Legal Contact, as in pulling someone over for speeding for instance. Then IF the officer has a Reasonable suspicion that the person(s) is/are in the country illegally, they can then ask for immigrant papers, which are Required by Federal Law to be on the person who is a legal immigrant. IF that person cannot produce what is required by law, the officer can arrest that person. At the Police Station all possible attempts are made to identify the suspect, and determine their status. IF they are found to be illegally in the country, they are turned over to ICE, which is Federal! Arizona can not deport random hispanics! I oppose racial profiling, and would protest against it in public! I also think these people are Economic Refugees, they are only doing the one thing they have to do to survive, and keep their families alive. Our immigration system is ridiculous and broken, and yet America still allows more legal immigration per year than any other country. Mexico is worse, by far, dealing with illegal immigration than the USA ever has been. I want immigration reform, but the Federal government's refusal to do their jobs and enforce existing law is causing allot of harm to our state, and people are facing increasing violence. This is not the America I want to live in. I want to change many things. But don't hate Arizona for finally doing the job the feds refuse to do!

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    1. Krepta, I really do appreciate your point of view. In my own view, if these laws were just they wouldn't have just been partially overturned by the Supreme Court as well as currently face numerous litigation against them. It's also fact that privatized prisons lobbied for the legislation to make money, which was why it was included it in the article.

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  3. There is so much corruption in all levels of government it makes me sick. Our choices when voting? Only the chosen, the elite, whose kids never have to go to war. Those that have been groomed for politics. I taking voting very seriously, however, these days the pickin's are slim to none, damn if you do, damn if you don't! If we had more Ron Paul's in congress we wouldn't be in the mess we are in now, and the government would stay out of our personal lives. The police state creates more problems than it solves. Nice Artwork Brandt~!

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  4. Thanks Tim- Great comment. I feel we need to embrace independent candidates more but unfortunately, a media with its strings being pulled by the money people only expose the money people. Look at Gary Johnson, who is on the ballot in every state against Obama and Romney but gets close to NO press. In order to vote in independents who are further away from the monetary corruption, we have to seek them out for ourselves and generate word of mouth.

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  5. The term "police state" was first used in 1851, in reference to the use of a national police force to maintain order, in **Austria**. http://bit.ly/OAeb7o

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  6. County Sheriffs Push Back Against Feds

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=H7aUrtroSk0

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  7. This post is so informative and makes a very nice image on the topic in my mind. It is the first time I visit your blog, but I was extremely impressed. Keep posting as I am gonna come to read it everyday!

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  8. The american dream at it's finest.

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  9. Have you checked out the police complaint center? www.policeabuse.com ? Those guys are doing their best to make public aware of the corruption of the worst gang in the country, the po - lice

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    1. Aware Anonymous, Cop Block is a good source also where folks can tweet their stories to get published. Thanks for sharing- I'll check them out.

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  10. Police- the most dangerous street gang in America. Example, after the "Rampart scandal", LAPD still plants drugs and guns to "seal the deal", and the LA courts are so corrupt the county pay's judges to rule in their favor, and it's been legislated into law. (SBx2-11)

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    1. Indeed, we live in a nightmare dystopia where quotas are placed on finding and/or "creating" crime.

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  11. Word brother. FTP!

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