Friday, February 24, 2017

Republicans put in motion, expanded police powers, eliminate government dissent, arrest protesters and seize property.

Trumpian heads are spinning after trying to digest two conflicting party movements. One will vilify liberal free speech on campuses, and the other will arrest protesters and seize their assets if they dare speak out against the government.

This is the wet dream vision Republican have of America. Twisted, ugly and vindictive.

What is happening in Arizona is the start of the U.S. unraveling as a country and the Constitution. But first in a related story....

End of Free Speech # 1: Education Sec. Betsy DeVos sent a chill nationwide with this Bizarro World defense of weak-kneed conservatives "victims" who are too afraid to speak out on campus:
DeVos: “Now let me ask you: How many of you are college students? The fight against the education establishment extends to you too. The faculty, from adjunct professors to deans, tell you what to do, what to say, and more ominously, what to think. They say that if you voted for Donald Trump, you’re a threat to the university community. But the real threat is silencing the First Amendment rights of people with whom you disagree.”
End of Free Speech # 2: This is how liberty dies? What's happening in Arizona is breathtaking and scary, signaling in the beginning of the end of our country or the Republican Party. Treating government protesters like organized crime something I never thought I'd see, and I was there in the 60's:

Arizona Senate votes to seize assets of those who plan, participate in protests that turn violent: Claiming people are being paid to riot, Republican state senators voted to give police new power to arrest anyone who is involved in a peaceful demonstration that may turn bad — even before anything actually happened.

SB1142 expands the state’s racketeering laws, now aimed at organized crime, to also include rioting. And it redefines what constitutes rioting to include actions that result in damage to the property of others.

But the real heart of the legislation is giving the government the right to criminally prosecute and seize the assets of everyone who planned a protest and everyone who participated. And what’s worse, said Sen. Steve Farley, D-Tucson, is that the person who may have broken a window, triggering the claim there was a riot, might actually not be a member of the group but someone from the other side ... sometimes what’s planned as a peaceful demonstration can go south.

But Sen. John Kavanagh (R) said that chilling effect is aimed at a very specific group of protesters.“You now have a situation where you have full-time, almost professional agent-provocateurs that attempt to create public disorder. A lot of them are ideologues, some of them are anarchists. But this stuff is all planned.’’

By including rioting in racketeering laws, it actually permits police to arrest those who are planning events and Kavanagh, a former police officer, said if there are organized groups, “I should certainly hope that our law enforcement people have some undercover people there.’’
 “Wouldn’t you rather stop a riot before it starts? Do you really want to wait until people are injuring each other, throwing Molotov cocktails, picking up barricades and smashing them through businesses in downtown Phoenix?’’

Sen. Sylvia Allen, R-Snowflake, said “I have been heartsick with what’s been going on in our country, what young people are being encouraged to do. If they get thrown in jail, somebody pays to get them out. There has to be something to deter them from that.’’
The "unintended consequences?"
The legislation does far more ... such a broad law could end up being used against some of their allies. For example, a “Tea Party’’ group wanting to protest a property tax hike might get permits, publicize the event and have a peaceful demonstration. “And one person, possibly from the other side, starts breaking the windows of a car. And all of a sudden the organizers of that march, the local Tea Party, are going to be under indictment from the county attorney in the county that raised those property taxes. That will have a chilling effect on anybody, right or left, who wants to protest something the government has done.’’

Sen. Katie Hobbs, D-Phoenix, said the whole legislation is based on a false premise of how disturbances happen. “This idea that people are being paid to come out and do that? I’m sorry, but I think that is fake news.’’

Sen. Andrea Dalessandro, D-Green Valley, had her own concerns. “I’m fearful that ‘riot’ is in the eyes of the beholder and that this bill will apply more strictly to minorities and people trying to have their voice heard."
And guess what happened...
The 17-13 party-line vote sends the bill to the House.

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