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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Trump Day Two

During his campaign for President, Donald John Trump actively sought the support of outlaw bikers and, much more importantly, the support of people who identify to some extent with outlaw bikers, which at last glance amounted to about 59,704,886 of your fellow Americans.
As we previously remarked, Nothing better represents the traditional American values of independence, self-sufficiency, courage, anti-authoritarianism, liberty,  blood lust and the unhindered pursuit of putting food in your baby girl’s belly by any goddamn means necessary than a biker on a V-Twin motorcycle – preferably a biker on a Harley with forward controls and ape hanger handlebars. And bare arms. And a little, American flag decal. And a Bowie knife. And a couple of tattoos.”

Love Bikers

Last April, a noisy group called Bikers for Trump appeared and then sometime during the Republican Convention in Cleveland, they disappeared like Brigadoon.
In May, Trump spoke at the annual Rolling Thunder rally in Washington,. “Look at all these bikers,” Trump said, standing in front of a statue of the President who presided over the nation’s most horrific war, a stone’s throw from the sunken, black chevron which commemorates the lost and the haunted of a war Trump used his father’s wealth to avoid. “Do we love the bikers? Yes. We love the bikers.”
On August 13, Ralph Hubert “Sonny” Barger, the grey eminence of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club and the current incarnation of Daniel Boone, Hawkeye and Wyatt Earp, wrote “I for one, am voting for Trump, because it’s time to change.”
For the last two days very many Americans who ride motorcycles and who do not ride motorcycles but who feel alienated from and picked on by their government and its agents and who feel misunderstood by and slandered by the American media establishment have basked in Trump’s victory as if it was their own. But it may not be.

Restoring Community Safety

Trump relied through most of the campaign on his blunt and iconoclastic style which was soaked with attitude and dry of specifics. Starting yesterday with a report by National Public Radio that has been copied by a thousand or so news outlets so far, reporters have been wondering what Trump might accomplish in his first hundred days. All of the reports have relied on a speech Trump gave about two weeks ago in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and a document released at the same time titled “Donald Trump’s Contract With The American Voter: My 100-day action plan to Make America Great Again.”
Among the ten pieces of legislation President Trump intends to “introduce…and fight for.” Is the “Restoring Community Safety Act (which) reduces surging crime, drugs and violence by creating a Task Force On Violent Crime and increasing funding for programs that train and assist local police; increases resources for federal law enforcement agencies and federal prosecutors to dismantle criminal gangs and put violent offenders behind bars.”
Nobody knows what that means yet because the “Restoring Community Safety Act” doesn’t appear to have actually been written yet. But it is possible to make some educated guesses.

Police Militarization

First off, Trump seems likely to reverse the half-hearted limits on police militar-ization President Obama suggested last June.
Many readers here are already aware of the concept of extrajudicial punishment by way of Swat raid in service of an indicia warrant issued by a divorce judge under exigent circumstances in the middle of the night.
Radley Balko of The Washington Post has covered the subject extensively and even published a book titled The Rise Of The Warrior Cop in 2013. Balko wondered: “How did we get here? How did we evolve from a country whose founding statesmen were adamant about the dangers of armed, standing government forces – a country that enshrined the Fourth Amendment in the Bill of Rights and revered and protected the age-old notion that the home is a place of privacy and sanctuary – to a country where it has become acceptable for armed government agents dressed in battle garb to storm private homes in the middle of the night – not to apprehend violent fugitives or thwart terrorist attacks, but to enforce laws against nonviolent, consensual activities.”
In 2014 the American Civil Liberties Union issued a report called War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing. The ACLU protested: “Across the country, heavily armed Special Weapons and Tactics teams are forcing their way into people’s homes in the middle of the night, often deploying explosive devices such as flashbang grenades to temporarily blind and deafen residents, simply to serve a search warrant on the suspicion that someone may be in possession of a small amount of drugs. Neighborhoods are not war zones, and our police officers should not be treating us like wartime enemies.”
Police militarization has been going on for a quarter century. It is almost entirely funded by the federal government, and the limits Obama enforced seemed modest. No tanks. No artillery. No heavy machine guns larger than .50 caliber. But police forces across the country immediately protested being “handcuffed” in the great crusade against reefer and dissent.
Obama saw police militarization are a matter that resulted from giving police military weapons. The problem is that ship has sailed. Police militarization is now a mindset. Whether Trump embraces that mindset or not remains to be seen. But yesterday the website noticed: “Trump has gone out of his way to demonstrate support for law enforcement throughout his presidential campaign. He has been photographed and videotaped on numerous occasions shaking hands with officers assigned to his protection detail. Officers have, in turn, overwhelmingly thrown their support to the president-elect, with the National FOP and myriad other police organizations endorsing the candidate in the run-up to Election Day.”
So there is some possibility that Trump and the warrior cops might be on the same wavelength.


Secondly, based on Trump’s rhetoric and the way federal police bureaucracies work, expect a new offensive against motorcycle clubs and other fringe groups like militias and wacky religions.
Federal crime fighting works exactly opposite of how most people think it works. First the federal cops get the money and then they invent a way to justify getting more. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and  Explosives used to police fireworks, untaxed cigarettes and moonshine. But the Bureau found it could get millions more by promising to fight “violent motorcycle gangs.” Most readers here know what happened next – expensive undercover operations. Motorcycle clubs were easy to infiltrate because they were mostly based on the idea of brotherhood. They were easy to criminalize because the undercover agents always offer to buy drugs and guns for ridiculous prices. So men literally go to gun stores to buy guns to illegally sell to an undercover agent for twice the price because it is easy money. And then they go to prison. And the ATF brags about its numbers.
The classic scam is the “guerilla street theater” drug deal. Men who need money are offered $1,000 by a trusted friend to provide a couple hours of “security” at some sort of meeting. They go to a desert airstrip. They are handed guns and bullet proof vests. A light plane flies in loaded with cocaine. While they watch their trusted friend unloads the cocaine and hands the “drug dealer” a suitcase of cash. They take the money and live and let live. Then the trusted friend turn out to be an undercover agent who has been paid $200,000 a year for years to ingratiate himself to his targets. He has handlers and a chase team. The plane is a government plane. The cash is government cash, The cocaine is government cocaine. The government spends $60 million to indict, incarcerate, try and incarcerate again something like ten guys. Everybody gets paid – the informants, the chase team, the analysts, the Marshals, the prison guards, the judges, the guys who clean the bathrooms at the palatial federal courthouse.
The root of this official evil is enormous amounts of money to fight contrived crimes.
Trump vows to open the spigots on the money pipes.

John W. Terry

Finally, Trump is a great believer in something called “Stop and Frisk” which, in practice, means authorizing police to search anybody in public at any time for any reason.
Writing in the Wall Street Journal on September 27, Rudolph W. Giuliani, who will probably be the next Attorney General, wrote: “Stop and frisk is based on an 8-1 decision of the Supreme Court, Terry v. Ohio. That ruling hasn’t been overturned or even modified by the court since it was handed down in 1968. Stop and frisk is constitutional and the law of the land. The majority opinion, written by then-Chief Justice Earl Warren, approved the constitutionality of stopping a suspect if the police officer has a reasonable suspicion that a person has committed, or was about to commit, a crime. If the officer also has a reasonable suspicion the person is armed, he can conduct a pat-down—that is, a frisk—of a person’s outer clothing.”
The important words in this quote are “Stop and frisk is based on;” as the rocket ship is based on the hot air balloon.
These meet and greets used to be called Terry stops and the idea behind them was that if a police detective investigating a crime reasonably feared that the person he was questioning was armed, he could cursorily pat that suspect’s outer clothing to reassure himself that the suspect wasn’t about to shoot or stab him. A policeman’s reasonable fear of harm was always the rationale for this exception to the Fourth Amendment. Two years before John W. Terry lost his final appeal, in a case titled Schmerber v. California, Justice William Brennan had written, “The overriding function of the Fourth Amendment is to protect personal privacy and dignity against unwarranted intrusion by the State.”
Trump’s comprehension of Stop and Frisk is basic – he seems to interpret it as a police right and he argued on its behalf during the first Presidential Debate. The practice became part of regular policing in New York City until it was discouraged by a federal judge. Trump calls her “a very against-police judge.”

Stop And Frisk

The judge was Shira Scheindlin.  The class action case was titled Floyd, et al. v. City of New York, et al. Scheindlin ruled that the way New York conducted Terry stops was unconstitutional. She wrote that the city had: “received both actual and constructive notice since at least 1999 of widespread Fourth Amendment violations occurring as a result of the NYPD’s stop and frisk practices. Despite this notice, they deliberately maintained and even escalated policies and practices that predictably resulted in even more widespread Fourth Amendment violations…. The NYPD has repeatedly turned a blind eye to clear evidence of unconstitutional stops and frisks.”
New York cops did not search people they were interrogating to protect themselves. In New York, cops searched for loose joints. The most common reason for initiating a search was “furtive movement.”
In 2011, New York police stopped and searched about 686,000 people. About 0.13 percent of them were found to be in possession of a gun – which according to the Terry decision, is the whole point of the search. Fifteen percent were found to be in possession of marijuana. Forty-seven thousand women were stopped and searched. Fifty-nine of them were found to be carrying a weapon but the stops resulted in about 3,900 arrests of women for other violations of the law.
Stop and Frisk as a police tactic has spread throughout the nation. It has become a way to interrogate people without cause, record their personal data and feed it into the supercomputers of the fusion centers network. Police in Florida have been accused of “Stop and Spit,” which uses the Terry exception to collect DNA from people the police decide to stop.


Trump thinks Stop And Frisk will bring down the murder rate in Chicago, for example. Through August, there were 474 murders in Chicago and an additional 2,358 people were shot but survived. And the city already stops and frisks people in compliance with the Terry decision. But Trump thinks Chicago police should be encouraged to be more aggressive. In an interview with Fox & Friends host Steve Doocy in September Trump said:
(Police Commissioner of the City of New York) “Ray Kelly did a great job, and New York was not in a Chicago situation, but it was really in trouble. It was in bad shape, crime-wise. And with all the shootings and everything in it, it really, they – Rudy Giuliani did a great job as mayor, and they really straightened things out with stop and frisk, and it was used further by the next mayor, Bloomberg. Now, they just – recently, not so recently, but fairly recently they stopped it. But stop and frisk worked. We had tremendous shootings, numbers of shootings. Now Chicago is out of control. I was really referring to Chicago with stop and frisk. They asked me about Chicago and I was talking about stop and frisk for Chicago, where you had 3,000 shootings so far. Three thousand from January 1. Obviously you can’t let the system go the way it’s going, but I suggested stop and frisk and some people think that’s a great idea and some people probably don’t like it, but when you have 3,000 people shot and so many people dying, it’s worse than some of the places we’re hearing about like Afghanistan, you know, the war-torn nations. It’s more dangerous.”
“I think Chicago needs stop and frisk. People can criticize me for that or people can say whatever they want, but they asked me about Chicago and I think stop and frisk with good, strong law and order, but you have to do something, can’t continue the way it’s going.”
“How it’s not being used in Chicago,” in compliance with Terry v. Ohio, “ is – to be honest with you, it’s quite unbelievable, and you know the police, the local police, they know who has a gun who shouldn’t be having a gun. They understand that.”