Saturday, November 27, 2010

Checkpoint Nation

Does anyone else remember back in the day, when we heard the word “checkpoint” we thought of Germany? First it was Nazi Germany with the “Your papers, please” checkpoints. Then we heard about Berlin’s “Checkpoint Charlie”, the crossing point between the free world and the Communist Bloc behind the Iron Curtain.

That was then. Now we live in a nation that’s becoming more like the old oppressive Eastern European states. We are now are a nation of checkpoints. We now have sobriety checkpoints. We now have drug checkpoints. We now have immigration checkpoints.

How much longer until we have Nazi style “Papers, please” checkpoints? Maybe we’re already there. Americans have been conditioned and frightened into accepting things that would have been dismissed as extreme only a decade ago.

Soon enough, we shall likely see corporate checkpoints with Blackwater thugs frisking citizens and shaking them down. Don’t be surprised.

Now we see old Willie Nelson was arrested for possession of a politically incorrect plant at a checkpoint. I hope you all feel safer.

It’s too bad this had to happen. The drug war is as insane and counterproductive as most other wars. It is institutionalized cruelty to harmless users and fills the pockets of criminal cartels. We can do better, but this is a corporatocracy where private prisons, mandatory “treatment” centers, courts, cops, and a vast horde of rogues profit from injustice.

At least the people are wising up. They are voting through ballot initiatives, perhaps our last vestige of democracy, to allow the humane use of medicinal cannabis. Politicians are the cowards responsible for the continuation of the cruel and unjust drug war. Not that they care about blood on their hands, or the lives of harmless people destroyed by prison and legal persecution.

As with the war on terror, the only way to win the war on drugs is to end it.

For now, all I can say is, “Roll down the windows, Willie.”


Mauigirl said...

Poor Willie. I agree with you, it is getting crazy out there. We were driving down the Northway (interstate 87 which runs from Canada to Albany) last weekend and they had a checkpoint on the highway - pulling everyone over. It was about 100 miles from the border of Canada. They asked us if we were citizens and we said yes and they let us go. At least they didn't ask for proof - yet. I wonder what they did to the Canadians?

Tim said...

mauigirl said it for me.Poor Willie

Blackwater will run the prisons and all security in the U.S. I fear.

One Fly said...

I'm sure he'll be made to pay much more than is needed. He's like the Clinton's and Ward Churchill-they don't like him. This happened to me at the first of the year. I was scared. I'm afraid it will not change and all are correct here. Good post!

Dave Dubya said...

Am I so cynical to think they put checkpoints near Canada to dispel charges of racism against Mexicans?

I am often accused by Righties of hating corporations. I don't, of course. I've grown weary explaining to them that I oppose their entitlement to personhood and influence on government. If that's what they think is hate, I wonder what they'd call my feelings about Blackwater...

One Fly,
Thanks. I keep saying we are one more Republican president from a police state. I don't want to be proven as right on that prediction as I was when I claimed the war on drugs was a dress rehearsal for the coming war on terror...back in the Nineties.

S.W. Anderson said...

There's a terrible community of interests perpetuating the drug war. Everything from "traditional family values" types, many of them religious fundamentalists, to tobacco companies, to police organizations, to private prison companies. The people mishandled by the justice system, the lives harmed, the money wasted are appalling.

When you have respected doctors and judges saying marijuana prohibition is unwarranted and counterproductive, you know it's past time for change. But on and on it goes.

It's one more sign our society and thus our politics is dysfunctional. When a person can't or won't accept the reality of their situation, we say they're mentally ill. By that yardstick, American society is more than a few sensible conclusions short of being all there.

Ironically, it's costing us all, big time, in money and all sorts of trouble. Like the recurring incidents when the homes of innocent people are broken into by DEA agents who got the address wrong or acted on a bogus tip. IMO, that's several orders of magnitude worse for having to stop at a checkpoint or show your papers. People have been seriously hurt and even killed in drug raids that went wrong.

Dave Dubya said...

You bring up a real issue that is not recognized by politicians or law enforcement. It's not just drug dealers who kill innocent victims. Every year we sacrifice grandmothers, ministers, and other innocent people who happened to have the address given by a frightened snitch to cops.

The drug war and the war on terror are the very definitions of insanity, where one expects a different outcome no matter how long they keep continuing the failed militarized policies.

Rick said...

People think you are a conspiracy nut when you say things like "Soon enough, we shall likely see corporate checkpoints with Blackwater thugs frisking citizens and shaking them down." But you are not exaggerating.

I am sure some self-important buffoon felt very proud when he nailed a high-profile criminal like Willie Nelson for the crime of thinking he lives in a free country where you don't get into trouble for minding your own business.

Tom Harper said...

We have Border Patrol checkpoints where I live too -- near the Canadian border. I think the Border Patrol has jurisdiction within 100 miles of the border. They were doing checkpoints for awhile, but it's been about two years since their last one.

In one of their checkpoints, they snagged an American citizen who had some medical marijuana in his car (legal in Washington State). Since the Border Patrol is federal, and federal laws trump state laws, he was busted. He was a disabled Vietnam veteran. He was released later, with all charges dropped, and the asswipe BP agent who had arrested him had a public tantrum.

It was a big topic in the local letters to the editor. As usual, the local rightwads -- the ones who think Democrats are fascists for trying to regulate banks and insurance companies -- were thundering "Hey, if the Border Patrol stops you, you sit there with your hands folded and say 'yes sir, no sir,' and if you have nothing to hide, they'll let you go."

Dave Dubya said...

My ongoing theme in commenting around lately has been dwelling on such dark visions. Maybe it's time for a healthy dispelling of the darkness by channeling it out through poetry.

Brave New Amerika

Americans have long been indoctrinated
To revere wealth and the wealthy
They have been told they too may become wealthy.

Instead they are programmed to be mere serfs
In the looming neo-feudalist society
Their economic elite lords and masters
Shall rule by divine right of wealth

And the serfs shall be taught to believe it is God's plan
In the brave new Amerika Inc. of Republistan

Unfortunately, I'm no poet...and I hope I'm no prophet.

I like a story where justice triumphs over bad laws. Yet still, the persecution is real enough for the person going through it.

Distributorcap said...

1933 Germany, = 2012 America

they laughed then, we shouldnt be laughing now

there are way too many similarities- especially an economy falling off the cliff and the need to blame someone.....

and those checkpoints - well they will be more than just checking for pot

Commander Zaius said...

How much longer until we have Nazi style “Papers, please” checkpoints?

According to the scuttlebutt I heard in my National Guard unit a few months after 9/11 we were just one more "attack" away from what amounted to martial law with soldiers standing on street corners.

S.W. said: It's one more sign our society and thus our politics is dysfunctional.

I completely agree and go even further and say the nation is like some abused dog scared of everything and ready to bite. The "good" governor of Texas recently mentioned in public the insane idea of invading Mexico to settle the drug and immigrant issue.

Kulkuri said...

Every time the government declares war on something (poverty, drugs, etc.) the situation gets worse.

As long as we have judges that allow our rights to be trampled, it'll get worse. It has gotten to the point where once you step out of your house, you have no rights because you are out in public. And you have fewer and fewer rights in your home.
SHIT!! Now I'm in a downer mood!!

Dave Dubya said...

It's hard not to depressed when our last "hope for change" is just another face of corporatism and cosmetic change is all we see.

We live in an empire over which we have no control. And within the empire we have no voice.

Although it is vital for a free mind, here's no solace in political awareness. This is why we need to find our own peace within. If religion, spirituality, or meditation don't work, we have the words of Tim Leary. Turn on. Tune in. Drop out.

Or my man George Clinton. "Free your mind and your ass will follow."

Weaseldog said...

I'm surprised none of the conservatives have chimed in to explain that we have to sacrifice our liberties to protect our freedoms.

Only Liberals care about our Liberties anyway, right?

Where's T. Paine to tell us how we've been winning the Drug War since Nixon and it's now time for a surge!

Dave Dubya said...

Conservatives love liberty and freedom, they just see it as paying no taxes.

As we've learned oppression, punishment, and tyranny are code words for taxes.

Weaseldog said...

Dave, It's hard for me to keep up with how words change.

I think I'm several editions behind the times in the NewSpeak Dictionary.

Unknown said...

In Cali, our prisons are so full they now ship roughly 5,000 prisoners a month to out of state 'for profit' prisons.

SW Anderson said it best. There are too many people and corporations profiting from the drug it will never end on a federal level.

When Cali tried to legalize cannabis last month, the feds sent in a plethora of assholes that held news conferences, to scare the shit out of everyone, saying they would bust everyone if the proposition passed, including those with legitimate health reasons for using it.

It worked.

Dave Dubya said...

This is a reason I like TP's comments. He keeps up with all the FOX(R) spin, Limbaugh-isms, and Beck-isms for us. And of course, he buys into all of 'em so we see how effective they are.

I wonder why he has no comment on this post.

Times are changing. Next time it will likely pass. You and SW are right. The cannabis problem is a money problem and not a public health or safety issue.

When drug cartels and conservative politicians agree on prohibition, we know something is very wrong.

libhom said...

The support for the criminalization of some drugs is primarily due to big money campaign contributions from Big Pharma and Big Religion. They want to snuff out the competition.

Beekeepers Apprentice said...

I'll add one thing to your assessment that we're one more republican, and that is one more foreign-born terrorist attack (because evidently homegrown terrorists don't count) away from a police state.

Dave Dubya said...

And don't forget the alcohol and tobacco industries are also in cahoots with Pharma and Fundies.

Oh, yes. One more big one and it's all over. The terrorists have already won.

Doc Häagen-Dazs said...

To exhume examples of demagoguery, I don't have to look any further than TeePee's own hyperbolic rantings:

Why do they want to severely restrict worship (except for Muslims it seems) in violation of the 1st amendment?

Why do they want to severely restrict conservative free speech with things such as the "Fairness Doctrine" and "Net Neutrality" in violation of the first amendment?

Why do they want to severely restrict or outright ban firearms in violation of the 2nd amendment?

Why do they want to further usurp power for an over-reaching federal goverment from that of the States in violation of the 10th amendment?

To Myopic TeePee, all government conflates to tyrannical government. What is his problem, one wants to ask. Is he incapable of voting or unqualified of holding office? Is it a question of citizenship or education?