Social Question

Joybird's avatar

Is the United States slowly but surely becoming a police state?

Asked by Joybird (3144 points ) November 5th, 2010

The term police state describes a state in which the government exercises rigid and repressive controls over the social, economic and political life of the population. A police state typically exhibits elements of totalitarianism and social control, and there is usually little or no distinction between the law and the exercise of political power by the executive.

The inhabitants of a police state experience restrictions on their mobility, and on their freedom to express or communicate political or other views, which are subject to police monitoring or enforcement. Political control may be exerted by means of a secret police force which operates outside the boundaries normally imposed by a constitutional state.

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43 Answers

KhiaKarma's avatar

I ditto the No I believe that people will continue to fight for their rights.

YARNLADY's avatar

The sights of the police action in Oakland tonight make it look like that. People think the police are trying to prevent them from a peaceful march, yet they wear masks and bandannas on their face.

In the previous peaceful demonstration, thugs and gangsters parked their cars along the streets near downtown, so they wouldn’t have too far to go when they stormed the computer and TV stores and carried away as much merchandise as they could steal.

Business owners in downtown Oakland begged for police protection, and they got it.

KhiaKarma's avatar

@YARNLADY ? Guess I should turn on the news? :/

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@YARNLADY Two years? No wonder people are fucking pissed.

kenmc's avatar

I won’t say yes or no, but it’s closer than it should be to a police state.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Why would they need a police state when fluoridated water and daily chem trails are working well to keep us all dumbed, numbed, and quite compliant?

Joybird's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies You must have been watching conspiracy theories too!

ETpro's avatar

The US is heading toward a Corporatocracy and corporatocracies generaly involve corporate use of police to ensure that their grip on power remains absolute. We are increasing a plutocracy, and banana republics always involve the wealthy plutocrat elites controlling both the government and the police to ensure their families alone receive all the wealth not absolutely required to keep the peasants alove and working as dutiful servants.

In the past 10 years, we have seen warantless wiretapping, secret arrests where the detainee is sent to foreign nations for torture, waterboarding of prisoners, transfer of the prison system largely to private, for-profit enterprises who then work with government to make more and more things prison offenses in order to boost profits. We have seen the suspension of habeas corpus, a right gained with the Magna Carta all the way back in 1215. Our President, Secretary fo State or Secretary of Defense can now legally classify a US citizen as a terrorist and have them assassinated without any due process or court review. How long till some genius realizes that is a great way to eliminate political opposition.

So what do you think. It sounds pretty close to a police state to me. All the pieces are in place. We just need a good terror plot to convince the cowardly that they need to give up all their hard earned liberty for a bit of safety from a guy hiding in a cave half a world away.

Joybird's avatar

@ETpro How about a Bildegard conspiracy to set in motion culling of the world’s population? I hear these conspiracy theories and they sound crazy but then you can’t help but pay attention to everything you’ve mentioned along with the continued shifting of all wealth to a very small percentage of the population who are already wealthy, powerful and influential.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

How do you know what I “must have been watching”? Are you watching me? Get the FUCK OUT of my headroom! Aarrrggghhh! The Voices! The Voices! Why won’t they stop???

i know you know what i know

I’m not bad… I promise… Are you my friend or have you come to kill me again?

Don’t worry… you win!

Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii, ahhaiiiiiiiiii, have become, comfortably numb

Joybird's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies hahahahaha. I have moments like that too! It all started after reading that book, “The paradigm conspiracy”. I haven’t been the same since.

ETpro's avatar

@Joybird They are most often called the Bilderberger Group. They are quite real, not a conspiracy theory. Their members do include many of the world’s wealthiest billionaires and prople with powerful political connections. Hillary Clinton is a member. There do seem to be a number of them who think the New World Order(conspiracy_theory) is a good idea. I have always been reluctant to buy into conspiracy theoiries that the Bilderbergers really want to take over the world. I hope that they are just powerful, well placed people who are very bright and want to do what they can to aim for a better future. But since the financial crisis of 2007, there does seem to be a worldwide swing toward far right repressive measures and an attempt to balance national budgets on the backs of the poor and middle class so that billionaires can get massive tax concessions.

As Luke 6:44 tells us, “Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers.”

Pandora's avatar

I’m going to say. no?.
Please don’t make me disappea….

downtide's avatar

No, but I think the UK is getting more that way. We have far more surveillance over us in the UK than you do in the US, and the latest proposal is that every email we send or receive, every web-page we look at, is going to be recorded and archived for government officials to look at whenever they want. This, from a government that’s already proved, time and time again, that it can’t manage to look after it’s citizens’ data without losing it on a train somewhere.

The only silver lining to this cloud is that the British government doesn’t actually have enough money to put a plan like that into practise.

ratboy's avatar

No, not slowly.

Pandora's avatar

I’ve taken some time to think about this one. Yes, it has factors of a police state but I wouldn’t say the executive branch has become a totalitarianism. Castro is not running our country. But we do have more restrictions than ever before. However, people complain and come up with no real solutions.
It is easy to wag ones finger from a far and say bad, but not so easy to come up with genuine ideas on how to keep citizens safe.
Lets face it. We have seen the enemy and he exists in our borders. He can be your everyday neighbor.
So how do you propose the government keep us safe from the worlds lunatics without stepping on some rights, time to time. Do I like it? No. But I don’t know of a better way to get from point A to point C without running through point B.
If you want an omlet you have to crack a few eggs.

iamthemob's avatar

@Pandora – arguably, it is how much we respect the sanctity of our civil rights during times of crisis that reveals whether we really have those rights at all.

Pandora's avatar

@iamthemob True, but there is a point when people can push their government so hard as to suffer from the inaction it takes.
Your government sitting on its laurels can cause an equal amount of damage than a government that may be a little over zealous.
As it is, I think it would be safe to say that they sit on their laurels 80% of the time.

Linda_Owl's avatar

The US has been a ‘Police State’ since the passage of the Patriot Act & the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. The combativeness of police officers towards US citizens has increased to the point that the public is rarely safe from being unjustly arrested, beaten, & tasered by police officers (who put their own interpretation on law enforcement).

ETpro's avatar

@Linda_Owl The Gestapo would have been jealous of the size and power of the Department of Homeland Security.

iamthemob's avatar

@Linda_OwlThe combativeness of police officers towards US citizens has increased to the point that the public is rarely safe from being unjustly arrested, beaten, & tasered by police officers

I think that’s a drastic spin to put on it. “Rarely safe”? I also don’t see how the patriot act and homeland security would increase this directly with the local police – police are state agents, and the PA and DHS are federal agencies.

Pandora's avatar

@Linda_Owl I hate to tell you this but police and other protective services have beaten and tasered citizens for years. Especially if you are a minority. This has been happening since our country first began. You may need to read up on some of our history. The Patriot Act did not make it any more unsafe to approach a cop than in the past. Only thing that has changed is that being rich or white no more entitles you to a pass on aggressive or invasive behavior from the police.
What most people don’t realize is that the freedom of information act allows all citizens to inquire what any and all agencies are doing. You can even require any an all records kept on yourself.
Also because of the Department of Homeland Security exist everything from each agency is made available to each other at all time. So it has become almost impossible to sweep violations under the rug.
I’m not saying it isn’t possible, but it certainly isn’t more possible than before.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

It’s all over the web, in the UK, Australia, and apparently in three States in the US, it is now illegal to photograph an on-duty police officer. Numerous people have been arrested for this.

kenmc's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies That is horrifying. Absolutely horrifying.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

This photographer was arrested just for photographing a building on a public street, and wasn’t released until they got “his genetic material stored permanently on the DNA database”.

Pandora's avatar

I don’t see why it should be legal. There use to be a time, before someone took your picture they would approach you and ask your permission first.
Now with so many camera phones and cameras everywhere, people can just randomly take your photo without your permission. Which is very creepy.
I don’t care if its a cop or a person, it should be illegal to photograph people without their consent.
Maybe the law is to protect undercover agents or cops who some day may be undercover agents.
You don’t want a narc cops picture from a time when he was in uniform showing up on someones facebook or utube and then the drug dealers knowing who he once was and possibly may still be.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Not. We have the right to photograph anything and anyone which is on the public property. If you don’t want to be photographed, or risk being, then stay on private property with rules against photography.

News would die if the public arena was off limits to photograph. And any problems with being photographed in public should be directed at your local law enforcement authorities because they do it all the time without your permission or consent, or even knowledge it’s being done.

Who is watching the watchers? If they can photograph us, then we damn sure better be photographing them.

Pandora's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies I know people have the right to photograph anyone but it never does make it right. It would be difficult to avoid all public property. The moment you are on the hwy. you are on public property.
News dying wouldn’t be upsetting to me being that it is mostly for gore and ratings. Not real news any more. Most are up there with the Enquirer.
Whos watching the watchers. All the agencies are keeping an eye on each other. That is why you are hearing more about corrupt cops and officials more than ever. It is getting more difficult for them to keep things hush, hush, and so people are spilling the beans about each other before they get pegged for being an accomplice in the cover up.
No real honor among theives and thugs when you hold a flash light up to their messes.
The agencies are all spying on each other as well.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Which government agency captured this video of a brave woman fending off police raiding her home without a warrant. Watch it to the end. It gets scary.

Which agency is responsible for airing this vid of a guy who passed a sobriety test, was completely cooperative, laid down on the ground when commanded to, and got tasered for it. His elderly mother, whom he was taking home, ended up getting pepper sprayed.

What agency to we have to thank for this gas station video showing two drunk cops stealing food and attacking the employees?

Maybe this mini mart is really a secret government agency, lucky enough to catch a cop putting a gun to the head of a woman who had been in an accident with his son.

Are the schools considered government agencies? Perhaps, because their security cameras caught this cop kicking the shit out of a Special ED student.

Maybe this hospital is a government agency secretly looking out for our best interest. Good thing they caught this cop tasering a baby.

There are hundreds, thousands of these videos on youtube. I’m sure that some are sting operations set up by official agencies watching other official agencies, but I haven’t found any yet. Most seem to come from cell phones, gas stations, mini marts, schools, or video confiscated from police cars. I’m glad these cameras are everywhere. For if they were not, there are thousands of police crimes, and other crimes, that would never be witnessed, or prosecuted.

Cameras are all over the place. They are there for our protection. Best get used to it.

kenmc's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies That first video you posted made me want to vomit. I don’t think I could take the rest you put up.

YARNLADY's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies I have read many quips on Fluther urging people to do some of the very things you have posted, but that doesn’t mean you and I advocate or participate.

Whitsoxdude's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies
How does this prove that they aren’t keeping an eye on each other?

Here’s why I don’t think the U.S. is turning into a police state:
The government can barely handle the post office, what makes you people think they can control everything you do?
You guys are talking about cops like they aren’t real people. There are good cops and bad cops. If I was a cop, this thread would really piss me off.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

I never said the agencies weren’t keeping an eye on each other. But even if they are, there seems to be a lot they would miss were it not for the many security and handy cams so prevalent in society.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

If I were a cop, it would piss me off too. Especially seeing how bad cops can taint the reputation of all cops.

Pandora's avatar

I think it would be unrealistic to think the government can have eyes everywhere all the time. But I was referring to people who film or take pictures of people willy nilly without consent. Who may do so to commit crimes of their own.
Not of people filming others actually commiting offenses.
I’m sure in cases where cops where seen committing a crime, people where not prosecuted for filming the police in it.
@Whitsoxdude Sorry, not meaning to offend cops. I was simply trying to say that there may be reasons that it may be against the law in some states to photograph them.
Like all jobs, there are good and there are bad people.
I agree about the government not having actual funding to really police citizens the way some think they do.
I personally believe our government is trying to do its best to protect its citizens.
I just watched an awesome movie. It was the ghost writer. I remember a line the prime minister said. I would like to create two airports. One with no security and another with our current security and then see which one people put their children on.

ETpro's avatar

@Whitsoxdude I take your point, but the US Post Office is a Private ENterprise. It has not taken taxpayer funds or been “handled” by the government in many decades.

Whitsoxdude's avatar

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independent_agencies_of_the_United_States_government

You are right in the fact that they are not taxpayer funded. If you have a link I will read it as I don’t fully trust wikipedia.

mattbrowne's avatar

No. This is nonsense.

ETpro's avatar

@Whitsoxdude You can read the financial reports on the USPO Site itself. These are copies of fiduciary documents subject to IRS and SEC review. The only money the Post Office receives from the US Government is in postage purchases and in payment for the free franking privileges given to members of Congress

The Post office has operated from the proceeds it collects for services for over 30 years now. It is beginning to run into the red because email is eating into the more profitable snail mail that was for many years its main line of revenue.

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