Saturday Night in Police State Amerika

I know most of you have seen this video or one like it from UC Davis yesterday. This is the most shocking version I’ve seen so far:

For the past couple of months, we’ve been watching Occupy Wall Street grow from a few thousand protesters in New York City to hundreds of thousands of protesters in cities and towns all over this country. One interesting side effect of the Occupy movement is that the militarization of police forces since 9/11 has been put on full display. Police departments have reacted to peaceful protesters as if they were dangerous terrorists. All those billions poured into “homeland security” have created a monster. And now we can see it plainly. We live in a police state.

Earlier this week, Digby wrote an excellent piece on how this happened: Militarizing the Police: How the Drug War and 9/11 Led to Battle-Dressed Cops Cracking Down on Peaceful Protests. Basically, she wrote, if you build it…it will be used.

The US has actually been militarising much of its police agencies for the better part of three decades, mostly in the name of the drug war. But 9/11 put that programme on steroids.

Recall that six short weeks after the September 11 terrorist attacks, the US congress passed the PATRIOT Act, a sweeping expansion of domestic and foreign intelligence-gathering capabilities. This

legislation gave the government the ability to easily search all forms of communication, eased restrictions on foreign intelligence-gathering at home, gave itself greater power to monitor financial transactions and created entirely new categories of domestic terrorism to which the PATRIOT Act’s expanded powers to police could be applied.

It was one of the greatest expansions of government police power in history, an expansion which, after some tweaking, has been mostly validated by the congress and reaffirmed by the courts.

I already linked to her article in one of my morning posts, but if you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, please do.

The American ruling class has become more and more powerful and less and less accountable to the rest of us. For a long time I’ve thought that our best hope is that they will become so arrogant and drunk with power that they overreach and reveal the truth–we are no longer free and the goal is to turn us all into cowering serfs.

So far the iron fist has mostly been concealed under a velvet glove, but now we are seeing the price we’ll pay if we demand our rights and freedoms back. I salute the protesters–young, old, and in-between for the courage they are showing in putting their bodies on the line.

As our President blithely gallivants around the world and our “representatives” fight over the spoils in Washington, we are beginning to see clearly the structure that Bush built and Obama has accepted–a domestic military force to protect the elites from the people whose homes and jobs and retirement savings they have stolen. A police state.

I fear if the push for austerity and the inaction on jobs continues, we are going to see riots in the streets that will make 1968 look tame in comparison. There a so many of us in the 99%. They can’t jail or kill all of us. Fortunately they are making the stupid mistake of showing us what is going to happen to anyone who resists. The more violence and cruelty they display, the angrier many Americans will get and the more backlash there will be.

Americans don’t like to be pushed around. Somewhere deep inside of each of us is a burning desire for freedom and the willingness to fight for it. In the end we will win, but it won’t be easy. We need to stick together.

26 Comments on “Saturday Night in Police State Amerika”

  1. janicen says:

    What kind of person could do that to people who were not threatening anyone? He should not be a police officer or in any position of authority.

  2. Minkoff Minx says:

    Wow BB, I just read about this now with your post…

    Tbogg has this image on his post:

    Spin This | TBogg

    • janicen says:

      F@cking psychopath looks practically serene as he is hurting those people.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        Yup, I thought the same thing Janicen. I saw a picture of the “incident” from another angle, and you can see his face and expression better.

      • Peggy Sue says:

        That cop deserves to be brought up on charges. You can’t say these students were presenting a danger or making threats. The more visuals people have like this–unwarrented aggression by the police–the greater the outrage of the public. That’s the beauty of a nonviolent movement. It’s the only thing that really works because you show the opposition for what it truly is: sadistic bullies.

        I give these kids a lot of credit. What they’re doing is neither easy nor pleasant. As for the power structure? This is the only thing they have–aggression to produce fear. But when people see this repeated on unarmed, passive protestors, see it often enough, it produces shame, anger and loathing.

      • Fannie says:

        Back in my day it was tear gas.

  3. dakinikat says:

    They’ve been tigtening the noose around us for some time. Take away incomes, make us dependent on two income families and debt. Then make it impossible to live on that, Remove the bankruptcy protection for families then poof! We can got to school without debt around our necks too. Then they make us feel like criminals every time we fly or go to the court house or go to big events. We’re herded like sheep to be searched. We’re the criminals, the terrorists. They’ve got all these toys now to use on us. They’ve got laws in place to protect their property and downgrade crimes against people. The noose has been tightening for some time and it’s time to fight back.

  4. dakinikat says:

    AlexSteffen AlexSteffen
    Davis pepperspraying vid just tipped the subject of the debate from liking/hating #ows to defending #democracy. This is big.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    UC Davis Faculty association demands resignation of Chancellor.

    • Fannie says:

      She makes over $500,000 a year salary…………she’s a hunkering 1%er.

    • Woman Voter says:

      She should resign and there needs to be an investigation to see who on a federal level ordered this use of violence with Chemical Agents and Impact weapons on our children, neighbors, brothers and sisters.

      Today SCAF is using the use of violence in the US to justify their use of same which has left several protesters blind (loss of eyes due to Impact weapons) and two dead and many more injured. The Patriot Act is doing more and more damage to the US and to think we thought Mr. Constitution Adjunct Professor, President Obama was going to do the right thing, but he extended the Patriot Act and put even more draconian measures in.

  6. bostonboomer says:

    Too Much Violence and Pepper Spray at the OWS Protests

    America has a very long history of protests that meet with excessive or violent response, most vividly recorded in the second half of the 20th century. It is a common fantasy among people born in the years since the great protests movements — and even some not so great ones — that they would have stood on the bold side of history had they been alive at the time and been called to make a choice. But the truth is that American protest movements in real time — and especially in their early days — often appear controversial, politically difficult, out-of-the-mainstream, and dangerous. And they are met with fear.

    Even decades later, acts of protest can be the subject of heated debate and lead people to question (as well as celebrate) the moral standing of those who put their bodies on the line during moments of historic tumult — as Sen. John Kerry, Vietnam veteran and former anti-Vietnam protester, learned during his presidential bid in 2004.

    This sort of dynamic holds for pretty much any group that aims to upend the existing social order using direct action, because few resort to such tactics if they think they have other, easier ways to petition for redress of grievances or could be heard as loudly through existing channels of expression. The Tea Party movement, for example, has held many protests but with few exceptions has stopped short of civil disobedience, finding early on that its members were by and large not willing to face arrest and that it could gain power relatively quickly through the political system by backing challengers in Republican primaries and allying with experienced party operatives. The Occupy movement is both very new and rather diffuse so far, and appears less interested in gaining power than making power uncomfortable and raising far-reaching questions and public awareness.

    Just over two months old, it has succeed in changing the terms of the national debate about income inequality in this country with shocking rapidity. And whether it flames out in a rash of alienating and chaotic street clashes or builds into a goal-oriented and sustainable force in American life — sustainable as any protest movement, that is, which is to say not very — it’s clear it has already made one of the most significant interventions into the national debate on economic equality in years.

  7. Minkoff Minx says:

    Okay, this is OT but:

    EU bans claim that water can prevent dehydration – Telegraph

    “I had to read this four or five times before I believed it. It is a perfect example of what Brussels does best. Spend three years, with 20 separate pieces of correspondence before summoning 21 professors to Parma where they decide with great solemnity that drinking water cannot be sold as a way to combat dehydration.

    “Then they make this judgment law and make it clear that if anybody dares sell water claiming that it is effective against dehydration they could get into serious legal bother.

    The EU will prosecute if water companies say that water helps keep you from getting dehydrated.

    Producers of bottled water are now forbidden by law from making the claim and will face a two-year jail sentence if they defy the edict, which comes into force in the UK next month.

    I guess this means we are one step closer to Idiocracy:

    But Brawndo has electrolytes…

    • Peggy Sue says:

      Wow! Water will not help dehydration and debt will set you free. How Orwellian can we get? And I’m sure Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Ireland appreciate this sort of research and pronouncement from the EU as they watch their sovereignty placed in absolute peril, their economic futures decimated.

    • The Rock says:

      We have officially landed in Bizarro World.


      Hillary 2012

  8. foxyladi14 says:

    That cop deserves to be brought up on charges.and put in jail.

    • Woman Voter says:

      There were two officers that did the pepper spraying, one was totally on another planet as he seemed to take joy in it and later found himself surround but by officers with students saying “Shame, shame, shame…”… Indeed it is a shame to witness the erosion of our First Amendment Rights; Freedom of Expression and Freedom of The Press.
      Police pepper spraying and arresting Peaceful students at UC Davis

      • Woman Voter says:

        The most amazing part of this video is that the students handled themselves well, they continued to be Peaceful and they let police leave without incident, despite the pointing of weapons by officers and one officer shaking two red pepper spray cans to be ready to use.

        PEACE will carry the message…well done UC Davis students.

  9. Under the guise of fighting terrorism, the Patriot Act was adopted WITHOUT public approval or vote just weeks after the events of 9/11. Such an unconstitutional set of laws should be abolished seeing as they violate human rights and due process. A mere 3 criminal charges of terrorism a year attributed to this act, which is mainly used for no-knock raids leading to drug-related arrests without proper cause for search and seizure. The laws are simply a means to spy on our own citizens and to detain and torture dissidents without trial or a right to council. You can read much more about living in this Orwellian society of fear and see my visual response to these measures on my artist’s blog at

  10. Sophie says:

    All those billions poured into “homeland security” have created a monster. And now we can see it plainly. We live in a police state.

    Indeed. Thanks for another great post.