Obamacare and the Police State

So as the government shutdown continues more and more memes are popping up about it. Figured maybe I would put in my two-cents on the matter finally.

First, let me say I do not support Obamacare. Not because it is socialist, but because it is fascist. This isn't about nationalizing healthcare, it is about mandating our participation in capitalism. Requiring us to purchase a product from a private company. Though I am no Lefty, I have to admit that at this point, I would sooner accept government hospitals and doctors, than a mandate to participate in a system that has royally screwed us without vaseline for the past two decades with insane cost increases.

Why is a so-called "Leftist" President and a Democrat, forcing us to participate in what amounts to highway robbery by layers, pharmaceutical companies, and most of all those damned insurance companies? A program that was originally implemented in Massachusetts by Obama's last Presidential opponent, the Republican, Mitt Romney. Now more than ever it should be clear to the American people that political ideals mean nothing in the face of The Agenda being visited on us by globalists and banker scum.

At the same time though, I want to talk about another facet of this evil, the now ubiquitous police state. Like in Fascist Italy, and even more so in Nazi Germany, these extreme right-wing measures coincided with the build up of a totalitarian police-state apparatus through which all dissent was silenced, and eventually exterminated.

Police-state Captain Six, of what speaketh thou?

Well, it really doesn't get much more obvious than the dry-run for total and utter martial law than what happened in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing where innocent civilians were ripped from their homes in true Gestapo fashion, door to door.

Let's cut to the chase here now. This is the pic that got me riled up tonight.

So what exactly is a non-essential employee? Certainly not the police who just shot an unarmed woman at the nation's Capitol. Not the NSA watching my every keystroke as I write this piece. Not the park rangers patrolling national parks that have been closed, in order to bar civilians from public property. (As if we needed the government to take a walk in the woods in the first place.)

Now this got me to thinking about the non-essential nature of even the so-called "essential" workers in the government. The non-essential nature of the police-state we live in. Everything from suspected child molesters molesting kids at airports on your dime, through the TSA, to the government extortion scheme known as the War on Drugs.

When Americans think of a police-state, they tend to think of places like Communist China. But despite the fact that they have nearly 4 times as many people as America, they actually have fewer prisoner. Not per-capita mind you, literally fewer prisoners. Per capita, we lead the world by far. We have only 5% of the total human population on the planet, yet 1 out of every 4 people in prison on Earth, live in an American prison.

So let's really cut to the chase here now, when we are talking about non-essentials. No one really wants to talk about the real cost to taxpayers to enslave ourselves, so there really aren't too many studies to go by. But there was one implemented in the state of Maryland a few years ago, that was quite enlightening. I believe this is something that should be done annually, in every state, and of course by Federal law agencies as well. But since we don't have that sort of clarity and accountability from our government. Let this serve as an example, to show you where your money is really going.

(Disclaimer: The following quoted text is presented for educational and conversational purposes only. as part of the larger theme presented. Rreaders are encouraged to read the original text and related material at reason.com.)

4.5 SWAT Raids Per Day

Maryland's SWAT transparency bill produces its first disturbing results

 Cheye Calvo's July 2008 encounter with a Prince George's County, Maryland, SWAT team is now pretty well-known: After intercepting a package of marijuana at a delivery service warehouse, police completed the delivery, in disguise, to the address on the package. That address belonged to Calvo, who also happened to be the mayor of the small Prince George’s town of Berwyn Heights. When Calvo's mother-in-law brought the package in from the porch, the SWAT team pounced, forcing their way into Calvo's home. By the time the raid was over, Calvo and his mother-in-law had been handcuffed for hours, police realized they'd made a mistake, and Calvo's two black Labradors lay dead on the floor from gunshot wounds.

As a result of this colossal yet not-unprecedented screw-up, plus Calvo's notoriety and persistence, last year Maryland became the first state in the country to make every one of its police departments issue a report on how often and for what purpose they use their SWAT teams. The first reports from the legislation are in, and the results are disturbing.

Over the last six months of 2009, SWAT teams were deployed 804 times in the state of Maryland, or about 4.5 times per day. In Prince George's County alone, with its 850,000 residents, a SWAT team was deployed about once per day. According to a Baltimore Sun analysis, 94 percent of the state's SWAT deployments were used to serve search or arrest warrants, leaving just 6 percent in response to the kinds of barricades, bank robberies, hostage takings, and emergency situations for which SWAT teams were originally intended.

Worse even than those dreary numbers is the fact that more than half of the county’s SWAT deployments were for misdemeanors and nonserious felonies. That means more than 100 times last year Prince George’s County brought state-sanctioned violence to confront people suspected of nonviolent crimes. And that's just one county in Maryland. These outrageous numbers should provide a long-overdue wake-up call to public officials about how far the pendulum has swung toward institutionalized police brutality against its citizenry, usually in the name of the drug war.

But that’s unlikely to happen, at least in Prince George's County. To this day, Sheriff Michael Jackson insists his officers did nothing wrong in the Calvo raid—not the killing of the dogs, not neglecting to conduct any corroborating investigation to be sure they had the correct house, not failing to notify the Berwyn Heights police chief of the raid, not the repeated and documented instances of Jackson’s deputies playing fast and loose with the truth.

Jackson, who's now running for county executive, is incapable of shame. He has tried to block Calvo's efforts to access information about the raid at every turn. Last week, Prince George's County Circuit Judge Arthur M. Ahalt ruled that Calvo's civil rights suit against the county can go forward. But Jackson has been fighting to delay the discovery process in that suit until federal authorities complete their own investigation into the raid. That would likely (and conveniently) prevent Prince George's County voters from learning any embarrassing details about the raid until after the election.

But there is some good news to report here, too. The Maryland state law, as noted, is the first of its kind in the country, and will hopefully serve as a model for other states in adding some much-needed transparency to the widespread use and abuse of SWAT teams. And some Maryland legislators want to go even further. State Sen. Anthony Muse (D-Prince George's), for example, wants to require a judge's signature before police can deploy a SWAT team. Muse has sponsored another bill that would ban the use of SWAT teams for misdemeanor offenses. The latter seems like a no-brainer, but it's already facing strong opposition from law enforcement interests. Police groups opposed the transparency bill, too.

Beyond policy changes, the Calvo raid also seems to have also sparked media and public interest in how SWAT teams are deployed in Maryland. The use of these paramilitary police units has increased dramatically over the last 30 years, by 1,000 percent or more, resulting in the drastic militarization of police. It's a trend that seems to have escaped much media and public notice, let alone informed debate about policies and oversight procedures. But since the Calvo raid in 2008, Maryland newspapers, TV news crews, activists, and bloggers have been documenting mistaken, botched, or disproportionately aggressive raids across the state.

Lawmakers tend to be wary of questioning law enforcement officials, particularly when it comes to policing tactics. They shouldn't be. If anything, the public employees who are entrusted with the power to use force, including lethal force, deserve the most scrutiny. It's unfortunate that it took a violent raid on a fellow public official for Maryland's policymakers to finally take notice of tactics that have been used on Maryland citizens for decades now. But at least these issues are finally on the table.

Lawmakers in other states should take notice. It's time to have a national discussion on the wisdom of sending phalanxes of cops dressed like soldiers into private homes in search of nonviolent and consensual crimes.

Radley Balko is a senior editor at Reason magazine.

When considering the validity of the American police-state, and what your tax dollars are actually paying for, you might also consider these articles.

SWAT Get Medals For Shooting Innocent Family at Christmas

Crime-Lab Tech Who Acted As Judge Puts 34k Felons Back On Streets

First Known American Execution of Innocent Man Happens In Texas

101 Death-Row Inmates Proved Innocent

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