Well, I’ve used a cartoon character’s image and a variation of a popular phrase of his, but this is no laughing matter.

I recently warned about the danger to all Americans from increasingly intrusive and overreaching police state tactics utilized by our so-called law enforcement organizations. So-called because instead of enforcing the law they are highly intent on violating as many of our Constitutional rights as possible.

Here is that piece.

I quoted Glenn Greenwald of Salon who has been warning of the widening use of drones by domestic law enforcement as to the phenomenon of public acceptance of these measures.

There is always a large segment of the population that reflexively supports the use of greater government and police power — it’s usually the same segment that has little objection to Endless War — and it’s grounded in a mix of standard authoritarianism (I side with authority over those they accused of being Bad and want authorities increasingly empowered to stop the Bad people) along with naiveté (I don’t really worry that new weapons and powers will be abused by those in power, especially when — like now — those in power are Good). This mindset manifests in the domestic drone context specifically by dismissing their use as nothing more than the functional equivalent of police helicopters. This is a view grounded in pure ignorance.

Now comes this story from the Wall Street Journal reporting that drone use is taking off. From documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act it has been learned that over 50 institutions have been granted permission to deploy drones. This includes not only the police departments of such major metropolitan areas (he said sarcastically) like North Little Rock, Arkansas and Ogden, Utah, but also the University of North Dakota and Nicholls State University in Louisiana. Now what the hell do colleges need  drones for? Spying to ensure students are not copying term papers from fraternity files?

Well the drones in the Peace Garden State may serve a non-offensive purpose.

The University of North Dakota uses drones in connection with an undergraduate degree program in unmanned aircraft systems it started in 2009. Al Palmer, a university official involved in the program, said about 78 students have declared majors in the field and that graduates have found jobs with drone manufacturers or operators.

But, then again, those same students are moving into employment in the very field whose products threaten our privacy. Personally I would just as soon this industry suffer for lack of properly trained personnel.

I acknowledge that these events are taking place under the Obama administration which has been unduly criticized for alleged unconstitutional actions in other policies.

No undue criticism here. This foray into our privacy is reprehensible. I refuse to play party politics with it because I have no doubt that, given the same circumstances, a Republican President would be just as willing to peek into your backyards and under your windowshades.

But, based on the Greenwald quote above, maybe the most dangerous drones are the citizens who remain oblivious or silently acquiescent to these attacks on liberty.

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  • little_minx  On April 23, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    À propos of nothing (or everything):

    • umoc193  On April 24, 2012 at 3:09 PM


      I posted the cartoon you linked to on FB. It got reactions, good and bad. But the bad one, though serious, was in a joking manner.

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