On Friday, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) flew an unarmed Predator surveillance drone over Minneapolis to help police monitor protestors around the city. Essentially, the federal government used military-grade equipment to spy on its own citizens, but then again, the feds have long surveilled those who dare challenge state power.
A CBP spokesperson said the drone provided “live video feed” at “the request of our federal law enforcement partners in Minneapolis” to give police “situational awareness, maximizing public safety while minimizing the threat to personnel and assets.”
Though the drone flew around at 9 a.m. CST, made a hexagon around the city, and returned to its base. It was used to look over the aftermath of protestors who had spent the last three nights demonstrating against police brutality.
The protestors, some of whom are affiliated with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, seek police accountability and judicial reform after the May 25 killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man suspected of using a counterfeit $20 bill.
A Minneapolis police officer knelt on Floyd’s neck during his arrest for nearly nine minutes while Floyd said, “I can’t breathe.” Floyd, who had a bloody nose while having his face smashed against the pavement, cried out for his mother and then subsequently died in police custody.
While the offending officer, Derek Chauvin, is currently in custody and has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death, charges haven’t been filed against the three other officers present during Floyd’s arrest.
During the resulting protests, police from the neighboring city of St. Paul estimate that more than 170 businesses have damaged or looted with dozens of fires occurring elsewhere in the city, most notably burning out the 3rd Precinct Police building where Chauvin worked.
The U.S. government has monitored activists since possibly before the mid 20th century’s Civil Rights Era. These days, the CBP, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and local police have increasingly used high-tech tools to surveil protestors, including artificial intelligence-powered cameras, facial recognition, cellphone data locators, social media monitoring, license plate readers, body cameras, video analysis tools.
These tools have been used against BLM and Occupy Wall Street activists in the past, and these same tools are currently at the Minneapolis police department’s disposal while city and state leaders try to decide how best to defuse the escalating situation.
Yesterday evening, Minneapolis Mayor enacted an 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. weekend curfew for all city residents. The curfew forbids folks from any travel on city streets whether by foot or wheel. Violators can get a $1,000 fine or 90 days in jail.
Though CBP says it loans its drones out all the time to help with local police and the National Guard, Neema Singh Guliani, senior legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), thinks they shouldn’t be used at all.
“No government agency should be facilitating the over-policing of the Black community, period,” Guliani said in a statement. “And CBP has no role in what’s happening in Minneapolis at all. This rogue agency’s use of military technology to surveil protesters inside US borders is deeply disturbing, especially given CBP’s lack of clear and strong policies to protect privacy and constitutional rights.”
Democratic New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was more succinct in her reaction to the drone. “This is what happens when leaders sign blank check after blank check to militarize police, CBP, etc while letting violence go unchecked,” she tweeted “We need answers. And we need to defund.”
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‘Sociopath’:Tom Cotton Buried as ‘Blood-Thirsty Fascist’ for Claiming US Has ‘Major Under-Incarceration Problem’
It’s a playbook Americans know all too well. Right wing politicians getting elected – or elected to higher office – by promising to bring down crime by arresting the “bad guys.” Never mind what some of the causes of some of the crime are: unemployment, poverty, homelessness, lack of resources, inequity, lack of education, and in 2020, a massive global pandemic.
In response to a CNN report titled, “The US saw significant crime rise across major cities in 2020. And it’s not letting up,” Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas and likely 2024 presidential hopeful, just delivered his “solution.”
“Lock them up,” basically.
“We have a major under-incarceration problem in America,” Cotton tweeted Tuesday. “And it’s only getting worse.”
If there’s one thing America is suffering from, it is not “under-incarceration.”
America truly has found something to be “number one” at: locking people up.
“The United States is the world leader in incarceration, despite the national incarceration rate being at its lowest in 20 years, with about 25% of the world’s prison population being in the US,” World Population Review reports, citing data from World Prison Brief. “The United States currently has over 2.1 million total prisoners. The prison population in 1972 was 200,000, almost 2 million less than it is today.”
Not only does the U.S. lead the world in per capita incarcerations, but in total number of people behind bars. The U.S. has less than one-quarter of the population of China, yet has more people in jail than the world’s most-populous nation.
Cotton, who is the second-most far right Republican in the U.S. Senate and ranked below-average in leadership, literally offered not a single solution to the ills that plague the nation. Out of 26 votes this year, Cotton has voted no 23 times – against every Biden initiative or nomination but three.
Today he was scorched on social media:
If Tom Cotton is trending, you know it’s because he said another racist, ignorant or false thing. In this case, all three. The idea that people like him walk the halls of Congress every day — tells us exactly why this country is in shambles. He’s a despicable person. https://t.co/H9HxD5J3Zq
— Rochelle Cortez (@Rochell21664616) April 6, 2021
Tom cotton is a fascist. https://t.co/PdpvmBKqpX
— Monjula Ray (@queerBengali) April 6, 2021
I mean, we all know that Tom Cotton is a blood-thirsty fascist.
But to say that we have an “under-incarceration problem” is absolutely deranged even by his usual sociopathic standards. https://t.co/HDSh8DVBnp
— Erick Fernandez (@ErickFernandez) April 6, 2021
Just an FYI to that freak of nature Tom Cotton, we are the only country in the entire world that sentences juveniles to life without the possibility of parole.
— loud dame (@Sandernista412) April 6, 2021
Remember when Tom Cotton wrote that thing about using troops to crush Black Lives Matter and people insisted that he wasn’t a fascist? Well… https://t.co/GdwewzMjx2
— Will Bunch Sign Up For My Newsletter (@Will_Bunch) April 6, 2021
And let’s not just talk about incarcerating less. This shouldn’t be a debate about how we incarcerate far too many & that Tom Cotton is a carceral sociopath who loves torturing people.
Let’s use this an opportunity to continue fighting for a future where we incarcerate none.
— Scott Hechinger (@ScottHech) April 6, 2021
Not surprising that this is Tom Cotton’s take, but we have an over-incarceration problem, not an under.
We criminalize poverty and homelessness.
We criminalize addiction instead of investing in rehabilitation.
It’s disturbing he wants to penalize people for trying to survive. https://t.co/7MTZ4jManr
— Kitty 🧢🔮🦉🍎 • ♿ (@district12kitty) April 6, 2021
“Why Are All These Black People Moving About Freely?” by Tom Cotton https://t.co/CFNUPuLXFc
— Kali Holloway (@kalihollowayftw) April 6, 2021
We have a major white supremacist domestic terrorist problem in America.
And it’s only getting worse.
— Thesheepingofamerica (@tsoamerica) April 6, 2021
We have a major Tom Cotton problem in America.
And it’s only getting worse. https://t.co/BSHdGv4aPg
— Antifa Sarkeesian 🦥 (@AntifaSarkeesi3) April 6, 2021
DHS Offers Difficult Choice to Immigrants: Eat or Be Legal
The Trump administration is seeking to expand its brutal treatment of immigrants, potentially denying green cards to legal immigrants who have previously received — or might receive — government assistance.
The new policy would cause these immigrants choose between being legally allowed to function in the country or the ability to eat and secure other needs, such as medication.
The Department of Homeland Security posted the new rule online this Saturday.
Immigrants could be denied “lawful permanent residency” under the new rule if they have accessed certain government benefits such as food or shelter. They could also be barred if the government suspects they might use assistance programs in the future.
The Department of Homeland Security claims the policy is not anti-immigrant as much as it is pro-taxpayer.
Under long-standing federal law, those seeking to immigrate to the United States must show they can support themselves financially,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen in a DHS press release.
Nielsen added, “This proposed rule will implement a law passed by Congress intended to promote immigrant self-sufficiency and protect finite resources by ensuring that they are not likely to become burdens on American taxpayers.”
The policy is the handiwork of trump aide Stephen Miller, a staunch opponent of immigrants and immigration policy.
The Trump administration has been anti-immigrant from the beginning, with Donald Trump attacking Mexican immigrants in the very first speech in his campaign.
The administration has sought to bar visas for many traveling to the United States, has detained both adults and children in hastily-assembled facilities, and, of course, still seeks to create a massive wall along the country’s southern border.
Contrary to past assurances that the government was only weeding out illegal immigration, this policy targets those attempting to function in the United States legally, possibly forcing some to break the law just to survive.
Tucker Carlson Defends Trump With Racist Claim That Mexico Interferes in US Elections More Than Russia
Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson is defending President Donald Trump’s insistence Monday, while standing with Vladimir Putin, that Russia did not interfere in the U.S. election that placed him in the White House.
Carlson employed his best “whataboutism” to declare that Mexico has interfered in America’s elections far more than Russia because, presumably, undocumented immigrants cross the Southern border and vote.
“I don’t think Russia is our close friend, or anything like that,” Carlson said. “Of course they tried to interfere in our affairs, many countries do – some more successfully than Russia,” the Fox News anchor continued.
“Mexico,” Carlson offered as a supposed example, “which is routinely interfering in our elections by picking the electorate,” Carlson said in a racist claim.
Tucker Carlson says that Mexico has been more successful at interfering in US elections and does it more routinely than Russia by “packing our electorate” pic.twitter.com/vYk0jyVFUZ
— Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) July 16, 2018
That’s false, in fact. The incidence of immigrants – undocumented or not – illegally voting in U.S. elections is so minimal as to be almost zero.
Some responses via Twitter:
Every sentence about Tucker Carlson should start with the words “Prominent white nationalist Tucker Carlson…” https://t.co/0iN11yoZgM
— Matt O’Brien (@ObsoleteDogma) July 16, 2018
Americans of color interfere with elections by voting, according to Tucker Carlson. https://t.co/OT9zpAtZaa
— Bobby Kogan (@BBKogan) July 16, 2018
Folks, I realize Tucker Carlson is just some dude on Fox News but the message he’s testing here is really quite alarming https://t.co/wjsu4DNVTe
— EricaGrieder (@EricaGrieder) July 16, 2018
Tucker Carlson is a white nationalist and is counted as a fellow traveler by preppie neo-Nazi types. The mask is increasingly slipping. https://t.co/ohhFF7RmZt
— Dan O’Sullivan (@Bro_Pair) July 16, 2018
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