Your Papers Please: Police Seal Off Neighborhoods; Checking Identifications and Arresting the Disobedient

In the nation’s capitol, the Washington, D.C. police are closing off whole neighborhoods this weekend in a crack down on crimes — and civil liberties. No one will be allowed into areas of the Capitol unless they live their or can show that they are going things like going to church.

Police will determine whether people have a “legitimate purpose” in the area. — a plan that has drawn swift criticism from civil liberties groups.

The plan is not only constitutionally flawed but practically absurd. The police cannot maintain such roadblocks indefinitely. Pedestrians will not be subject to the checkpoints. It seems a publicity stunt being conduct at the cost of the Constitution. If they were really serious, they should have gone to Tibet and learned from the masters.

Remarkably, D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier insisted to the media that her record respecting civil liberties speaks for itself. It certainly does. I am one of the lead counsel in the World Bank protest cases where hundreds of people were arrested with probable cause and then many hog-tied with their wrists handcuffed to their ankles. Lanier’s role in the controversy would hardly be an endorsement of her commitment to civil liberties.

The fact that this outrage could occur in our Capitol is simply astonishing — particularly without a hearing in Congress.

For the full story, click here and here.

26 thoughts on “Your Papers Please: Police Seal Off Neighborhoods; Checking Identifications and Arresting the Disobedient”

  1. I share Micheal’s and whooliebacon’s opinion that our chance of having elections is a real question. It worries me greatly that the “pressies” prattle instead of investigate.

    I see this and other similarly disturbing events as trials runs.

  2. Michael Spindell wrote: “there is a part of my psyche that wonders if we will even have an election, much less a fair one.”

    My thoughts are:

    When more than 70% of US citizens respond that the country is on the wrong track, it is odd that polls indicate McCain and Obama very close, even though McCain is a Bush policy twin.

    Odder still, HRC presumptive nominee, is beaten by Obama, but it takes nearly a year.

    Next. HRC makes a power grab at the Democratic Convention.

    Odds are some very, very bad things are coming our way while we are being distracted by mainstream media’s endless non-news blather.

    When air strikes begin on Iran, this will be Bush’s excuse to cancel elections.

  3. bender:

    The administration did get into energy speculation. They called it ENRON.

  4. mespo: seven years ago a vote to open anwr to drilling lost by one vote in the senate. part of the excuse back then was it would be 6 years before a drop of that oil was in our system…..

    so the government, that cannot get a thing right, now knows how much less speculators would bid for future delivery of oil when they are aware that more supplies, anwr, would be in the system? maybe the government should get out of the taxing business and go into commoditiy speculation….

  5. Where is the outrage by legislators and journalists towards this unconstitutional behavior? I appreciate that there are lawyers like JT who battle it, but the lack of critical public response is eerily chilling. While I share Rafflaw’s hope about Obama, there is a part of my psyche that wonders if we will even have and election, much less a fair one.

  6. “What’s the Guinness record for consecutive stupid statements?”

    Mespo, I’m pretty sure Guinness does have such a record. However, George W Bush seems to have such a lock on the catalory of stupid statements that even niblick probably can’t catch up. Ya gotta give ol’ niblick points for trying extra hard to catch his idol, though.

    There’s ALWAYS critical information that niblick leaves out of his comments. In this case it’s that the 91%-97% of Republicans who supported coal-liquid, shale and off-shore exploration and refinery capacity did so by ignoring the detrimental environmental impacts of each and the steps necessay to prevent catastrophes. The oil companies now have plenty of money to ensure minimal impact, but won’t simly out of greed.

    Republicans couldn’t care less if our air looks like Bejing or Mexico City so long as the execs get huge bonuses and GOP politicians get their hands on graft.

  7. To answer niblet’s usual uniformed comment on just one point, I give you the word from our Dept of Energy (as quoted in US News & World Report-5/23/08–an avowedly liberal publication, you know) assuming it not has already been politicized by the Bush mob.

    “But the U.S. Energy Information Administration, an independent statistical agency within the Department of Energy, concluded that new oil from ANWR would lower the world price of oil by no more than $1.44 per barrel—and possibly have as little effect as 41 cents per barrel—and would have its largest impact nearly 20 years from now if Congress voted to open the refuge today. EIA produced the analysis in response to a request by Republican Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, who noted that the last time the agency had taken a look at the economics of ANWR production was in 2000, when oil was $22.04 a barrel.”

    One must conclude his other conclusions are equally as warped.
    What’s the Guinness record for consecutive stupid statements?

  8. June 6, 2008
    Who’s to Blame for High Gas Prices?

    ANWR Exploration

    House Republicans: 91% Supported

    House Democrats: 86% Opposed

    House Republicans: 97% Supported
    House Democrats: 78% Opposed

    Oil Shale Exploration
    House Republicans: 90% Supported
    House Democrats: 86% Opposed

    Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Exploration
    House Republicans: 81% Supported
    House Democrats: 83% Opposed

    Refinery Increased Capacity
    House Republicans: 97% Supported
    House Democrats: 96% Opposed


    91% of House Republicans have historically voted to increase the production of American-made oil and gas.

    86% of House Democrats have historically voted against increasing the production of American-made oil and gas.

  9. this may be a dumb question, but was this a local or federal govt decision?

  10. Mespo,

    “I’ve got other ideas for law enforcement too. We could ban left turns to reduce traffic accidents,”

    Apparently you’ve never experienced Hell in its purest form; i.e. you’ve never driven through New Jersey.

    Jug handles are truly a product of the vast right wing conspiracy.

  11. “So your argument is the residents of the area have no right to expect the Government to do its job to protect the populatin to help ensure a safe place to raise children.”

    Did you learn the art of inserting your own premises into the arguments of others and reducing them to absurdity from the Catholic priest that molested you as a child?

  12. Repression always produces quiet streets. We’ve seen it in one third world country after another. Crime rates in Nazi Germany were way down. As they were in Taliban-era Afghanistan. The list goes on and on. Our Founders saw repression first hand from the British troops and built an America that would succeed without being a police state using such Draconian tactics. Perhaps one day country bumpkin will learn to love what America stands for.

    This kind of acceptance of un-American repression is part of the terrible stench of the legacy of the Bush administration. Pre-emptive strikes, deliberate flaunting the breaking of privacy laws, suspension of habeus corpus and posse comitasis, the assimilation of militarism in pop culture, sanctioning bigotry, racial profiling and life-style intolerance, etc. It will take years to fully rid this national nightmare from our national psyche. In the meantime we must oppose these steps backward and regain America from the thugs who’ve nearly ruined her these past eight years.

  13. rafflaw:

    What do you get when you cross a member of the rodent family with a member of the donkey family?

  14. I’ve got a better idea. How about quartering a police officer in one house on every block at the homeowner’s expense. That would get cops to the scene faster and act as a deterrent. I’ve got other ideas for law enforcement too. We could ban left turns to reduce traffic accidents, and to stop shoplifting, we could make every store customer show id and get fingerprinted and put that in a big database. To stop jaywalking, we could have cops at every corner to enforce right-side sidewalk walking and crossing at corners. Oops, I forgot we fought a revolution to avoid this, but that’s passe.

    “Better a few throats slit on the Chants Elysées than [a policeman] on every corner…”

  15. This type of police activity is the “Freedom” that the so-called War on Terror is supposed to be protecting. Maybe it is a natural follow-up to demonstration zones and the other restrictions on our freedom to dissent by the Bush Administration. I can only hope that Barack Obama will help restore some of the damage done by the Bush Crime Administration.

  16. So your argument is the residents of the area have no right to expect the Government to do its job to protect the populatin to help ensure a safe place to raise children.

    I guess we don’t need Government then. Well, the bright side is pretty soon DC resident will be able to purchase and own firearms and then they can protect themselves.

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