Back in 2014, this was one sentence in a long comment written to an oblivious ass about events in Ferguson, Missouri:
A lot of us recognize the dire nature of this situation, and that sooner or later, that rumble will mow down our towns.
The rumble is here. It’s been here for a while, those at the No DAPL camp got to see it up close and personal, more than once. That noise you hear is the boot stomp of a police state, soon to be wherever you live in the States. Legislators have been busy for a while, coming up with various ways to strip people of their rights, and to punish them severely for attempting to exercise those rights. We’re not only back to the bad old days of COINTELPRO (don’t need that anymore, they have Palantir), it’s much worse now. Lately, I’ve been posting a bit of music every day, from the bad old days, which reflected the protests and fights we were in, music which helped to mobilize people. Turns out, we need that more than ever now. Young people, unlike old farts like myself, don’t have the experience of just how far our government is willing to go to shut down dissent. While past experience informs my current alarm, what’s happening now is worse. Much, much worse. Don’t be thinking it’s okay because you aren’t the protesting kind of person – your rights have been shredded and tossed to the wind too. Once open dissent is shut down, it’s never long before it isn’t safe to criticise or be thought unloyal. The loyalist business has already infected the white house, and that’s gotten worse too, with people being fired for having been critical of Trump.
Flint Taylor, a founding partner of the Chicago-based People’s Law Office, told AlterNet that he believes that Trump’s three executive orders on crime and policing have emboldened these state-level initiatives. One decree, titled “Preventing Violence Against Federal, State, Tribal, and Local Law Enforcement Officers,” is premised on the false claim that there is a war on cops. The order instructs the executive branch to “develop strategies, in a process led by the Department of Justice (Department) and within the boundaries of the Constitution and existing Federal laws, to further enhance the protection and safety of Federal, State, tribal, and local law enforcement officers.”
Sessions, who heads the DOJ, has said that he does not believe systemic police brutality is a problem worth addressing.
“The language of this executive order is focused on ‘preventing violence,’ which was the exact language of the memoranda that former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover wrote justifying the neutralization—i.e. destruction—of everyone from Martin Luther King Jr. to the Black Panthers,” said Taylor. “One of the key aspects of COINTELPRO was to ‘prevent violence.’ That was the cover for destroying movements.”
“Together with all the other preliminary indications from the Trump administration, this executive order bodes extremely ill, particularly for communities of color, in terms of unleashing the already awesome and racist power of police departments in cities across the country.”
Meanwhile, right-wing Republicans in Congress, with apparent backing from the Trump administration, are advancing efforts to declare the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization. The initiative, which emanates from far-right conspiracy theories that the Sunni Islamist group is infiltrating the U.S. government, is aimed at crushing Muslim civil society organizations at the core of resistance to Trump.
Amidst a climate of authoritarianism, anti-protest laws are advancing alongside so-called Blue Lives Matter bills that protect police officers under hate crime laws meant to safeguard historically oppressed communities. These initiatives are spreading across the country, with Republicans now in control of roughly two-thirds of the partisan legislative chambers in the United States.
“I definitely think there are a lot of Republicans who feel that Trump is a dog whistle to start writing bills that infringe on people’s rights, because we’re seeing that on a federal level,” said Grimm. “They are taking advantage of this time to make sure that people who don’t agree with them don’t have the right to express that. This is how you move toward fascism and nationalism, by getting rid of dissent.”
That’s just a bit of the full article running down all the current legislation looking to strip rights and quash dissent.
There’s also this:
Upon entering Spicer’s second floor office, staffers were told to dump their phones on a table for a “phone check,” to prove they had nothing to hide.
Spicer, who consulted with White House counsel Don McGahn before calling the meeting, was accompanied by White House lawyers in the room, according to multiple sources. There, he explicitly warned staffers that using texting apps like Confide — an encrypted and screenshot-protected messaging app that automatically deletes texts after they are sent — and Signal, another encrypted messaging system, was a violation of the Federal Records Act, according to multiple sources in the room.
The phone checks included whatever electronics staffers were carrying when they were summoned to the unexpected follow-up meeting, including government-issued and personal cell phones.
Spicer also warned the group of more problems if news of the phone checks and the meeting about leaks was leaked to the media. It’s not the first time that warnings about leaks have promptly leaked. The State Department’s legal office issued a four-page memo warning of the dangers of leaks — that memo was immediately posted by the Washington Post.
But with mounting tension inside the West Wing over stories portraying an administration lurching between crises and simmering in dysfunction, aides are increasingly frustrated by the pressure-cooker environment and worried about their futures there.
Full story at Politico. It should not need to be said that open, transparent governments don’t need to fear leaks. Authoritarian regimes, however…