Trump Issues Executive Orders To Make A Safe Nation Safe And Protect Cops Who Don't Need Protection

from the things-are-going-to-get-worse-before-they-don't-improve-at-all dept

More Executive Orders have been issued by Donald Trump. The latest skew heavily in favor of Trump’s recent conversational partners: members of law enforcement.

Earlier this week in a meeting with several sheriffs, Trump voiced his support for asset forfeiture and made an off-hand comment about ruining the careers of legislators engaged in reform efforts. Great fun was had by all… mostly Trump and perhaps a sheriff or two.

One order does nothing more than what large bureaucracies do best: institute task forces. Trump’s task force is charged with “crime reduction and public safety.” The DOJ will head this up and ask for cooperation from local law enforcement agencies. The public safety priorities are definitely Trump’s, though.

A focus on law and order and the safety and security of the American people requires a commitment to enforcing the law and developing policies that comprehensively address illegal immigration, drug trafficking, and violent crime.

Illegal immigration is apparently the most dangerous of the three listed, presumably because it’s the only one that justifies the erection of a Mexico-funded wall and the existence of a previous, possibly-unconstitutional executive order banning visitors from certain Muslim countries.

The scary part is a few paragraphs deep:

identify deficiencies in existing laws that have made them less effective in reducing crime and propose new legislation that could be enacted to improve public safety and reduce crime

If there’s anything this country has too much of, it’s laws. The president wants more laws, or existing ones patched up, to better reduce criminal activity. Given the state of mind of many in law enforcement, any perceived “deficiencies” in existing laws are likely concessions made to Constitutionality. You know, the sort of things cops and prosecutors call “technicalities” — like the Fourth through Sixth Amendments.

Arriving alongside the Task Force order is one directing law enforcement agencies to get a better grip on “transnational criminal organizations.” In short, Trump wants to reboot the Drug War and do all the things that have failed for the past 40 years harder, faster, and with more of a focus on foreigners.

To kickstart this new War, Trump has declared public safety and national security to be the same thing.

It shall be the policy of the executive branch to:

(a) strengthen enforcement of Federal law in order to thwart transnational criminal organizations and subsidiary organizations, including criminal gangs, cartels, racketeering organizations, and other groups engaged in illicit activities that present a threat to public safety and national security and that are related to, for example:

(i) the illegal smuggling and trafficking of humans, drugs or other substances, wildlife, and weapons;

(ii) corruption, cybercrime, fraud, financial crimes, and intellectual-property theft; or

(iii) the illegal concealment or transfer of proceeds derived from such illicit activities.

Just like that, RICO violations, drug dealing, IP “theft,” and depositing money in a bank in a certain way are all now considered threats to national security. The lessons not learned in the aftermath of 9/11 attacks continue to pay dividends for those seeking increased government power.

And once again, Trump makes sure non-US citizens are singled out for their inherent criminal nature/national security threatening.

…pursue and support additional efforts to prevent the operational success of transnational criminal organizations and subsidiary organizations within and beyond the United States, to include prosecution of ancillary criminal offenses, such as immigration fraud and visa fraud, and the seizure of the implements of such organizations and forfeiture of the proceeds of their criminal activity.

US persons’ data and communications already being shared by the NSA with at least 16 federal agencies will also be shared with foreign law enforcement.

work to increase intelligence and law enforcement information sharing with foreign partners battling transnational criminal organizations and subsidiary organizations, and to enhance international operational capabilities and cooperation

And Trump’s promise to ease restrictions on asset forfeiture appears to get a nod here:

identify Federal agencies’ practices, any absence of practices, and funding needs that might hinder Federal efforts to effectively combat transnational criminal organizations and subsidiary organizations

Because forfeiture has always been defended with claims that it’s used to dismantle criminal cartels, even when it’s just being used to take cars away from drunk drivers and tuition money from college students.

The last order appears to call for a federal “Blue Lives Matters” law:

pursue appropriate legislation, consistent with the Constitution’s regime of limited and enumerated Federal powers, that will define new Federal crimes, and increase penalties for existing Federal crimes, in order to prevent violence against Federal, State, tribal, and local law enforcement officers.

More specifically, the order says that the federal government will explore new definitions of criminal activity if it appears to be directed at law enforcement officers and implement harsher sentences for these crimes.

…make recommendations to the President for legislation to address the protection and safety of Federal, State, tribal, and local law enforcement officers, including, if warranted, legislation defining new crimes of violence and establishing new mandatory minimum sentences for existing crimes of violence against Federal, State, tribal, and local law enforcement officers, as well as for related crimes

The “for related crimes” shows this won’t just be used to punish direct attacks on law enforcement officers. It could be expanded to turn any number of “contempt of cop” charges (obstruction, resisting arrest, failure to identify, etc.) into criminal acts punished by extra-long jail sentences and hefty fines.

Also in this order: a nod to the 1033 program, which — until (briefly) curtailed by the Obama administration — distributed used (and new) military gear to local PDs for little to no cost.

(f) thoroughly evaluate all grant funding programs currently administered by the Department to determine the extent to which its grant funding supports and protects Federal, State, tribal, and local law enforcement officers; and

(g) recommend to the President any changes to grant funding, based on the evaluation required by subsection (f) of this section, including recommendations for legislation, as appropriate, to adequately support and protect Federal, State, tribal, and local law enforcement officers.

If this goes ahead as planned, small town cops will once again be riding high in armored vehicles, toting grenade launchers, and picking up Stingray devices without having to break the budget.

It was clear during his campaign that Trump was going to offer unconditional backing to the law enforcement community. And here it is, in three executive orders. They’re all predicated on something Trump keeps repeating but that simply isn’t true: law enforcement officers are not in more danger than they’ve been in years. The opposite is true. While there was an increase in officer deaths last year, it followed several years of steep declines. [Image via Reason]

And our cities aren’t the crime-filled nightmares Trump insists they are. The national crime rate is still at historic lows. There are a few outliers on the scale, but that’s the case every year, no matter where the national average sits.

On the other hand, there has been zero appreciable decline in the number of citizens killed by police officers. While crime rates remain low, this brand of killing hasn’t. Through February 9th, 137 people have been killed by law enforcement, which puts this at 1,250 for the year if this pace continues. Last year, officers killed somewhere between 1,092 and 1,153 people (depending on whose count you go with). So, while crime rates remain low and officer safety remains high, people are being killed by officers at a faster pace than last year.

But these orders have no place for facts. And they indicate a willingness to for this president to institute policies reflecting his own misconceptions, rather than the nation’s reality.

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Comments on “Trump Issues Executive Orders To Make A Safe Nation Safe And Protect Cops Who Don't Need Protection”

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61 Comments
Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Laws, laws, laws.

identify deficiencies in existing laws that have made them less effective in reducing crime and propose new legislation that could be enacted to improve public safety and reduce crime

Laws don’t stop crime, they define crime. If they really want to lower the crime rate, they should reduce the number of laws. On the other had, more laws create more opportunities…for something.

Now some people do bad things, and they should be stopped, but there is precedent that some people (not bad) are caught up in the net by enforcers failing to do their job…properly, as in within the law. And we now have lower expectations of those enforcers since the Supreme Court has ruled that they don’t actually have to know the law, unlike the rest of us. Maybe our feckless leader should issue an Executive Order mandating that enforcers have to know the law, so they can, you know, enforce it, rather than whatever their feelz are today.

Not all cops are bad, but there are enough bad cops to burnish the system with a significant amount of distrust.

It might just be that Mr. Trump thinks of the prison system like his hotels. More occupancy is better. Does he own any stock in private prisons?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Laws, laws, laws.

I’m sure he owns quite a bit of prison industry stock. We know that he owned shares in a company that will benefit from DAPL and no one seems to care about the conflict of interest there. If he is trying to create a revolution for the country to be reborn, he is doing a great job. If he isn’t, he really needs to be replaced with a picture.

Anonymous Coward says:

law enforcement officers are not in more danger than they’ve been in years

Indeed. Law enforcement officers are more of a danger than they’ve been in years, and this promises to make things worse, not better. It may even exacerbate the problems he plans to fix, by fostering further antipathy between the public and the police.

Anonymous Coward says:

Mandatory minimum sentences is such a gang rape of the judicial power by the conspiracy of the legislative (congress) and the enforcing power (president/government). They are strongarming a certain percentage of the least serious crimes to carry a higher and likely disproportionate punishment, while the most heinous will get a relatively less hard sentence. Welcome to lawmaking by stupid, where the small crimes are punished relatively more than the bigger ones!

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Corporations were designed from the beginning to be responsibility-diffusion mechanisms. To let a bunch of people get together, take some strategic risks they might otherwise not take, and then make sure none of them is devastated individually if it goes wrong.

Now that responsibility-diffusion mechanism protects executives.

“The lawyer I pay a huge salary to said it was OK.” Or “The little people were responsible; I had no idea.” Think of Wells Fargo executives NOT ordering the little people to break the law, instead setting goals that required the little people to break the law or be fired.

And now the prosecutor’s budget becomes important; fighting large corporations is expensive, so you have to pick your fights. And the corporation has probably been making large political donations…

Joe Dirt says:

“On the other hand, there has been zero appreciable decline in the number of citizens killed by police officers. While crime rates remain low, this brand of killing hasn’t. Through February 9th, 137 people have been killed by law enforcement, which puts this at 1,250 for the year if this pace continues. Last year, officers killed somewhere between 1,092 and 1,153 people (depending on whose count you go with). So, while crime rates remain low and officer safety remains high, people are being killed by officers at a faster pace than last year.”

It’s great to throw numbers around without specifying the situation that led to the shooting. How many of those deaths were in defense of the officer or a civilian? How many of the dead were using lethal force when they were killed?

Out of 320 million people, ~1000 dead. When you consider the hundreds of thousands of interactions law enforcement has with violent criminals every year, 1000 dead is pretty damn good.

Then there’s this http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/25/politics/violent-crime-report-us-cities-homicides-rapes/

or this… direct from the FBI
https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/latest-crime-statistics-released

Violent crime down my ass. Sad excuse for an article.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Response to: Joe Dirt on Feb 10th, 2017 @ 1:29pm

Violent crime that is reported is down. But most Americans live in fear at least part of the time. They have neighborhoods they won’t visit and places tgey will not go after dark. They spend piles of money on door locks, car alarms, and the like because they fear crime, especially violent crime.

Snitches get stitches is a nice way yo explain why crime is under reported.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Response to: Joe Dirt on Feb 10th, 2017 @ 1:29pm

Funny thing about that argument, unless you want to say that it’s a very recent change then that doesn’t actually change the numbers any(not to mention being completely useless as an argument).

If reported crime is down, unreported crime is also likely to be down.

Or unreported crime could be at an all-time high.

Or an all-time low.

That’s the thing about numbers you don’t have, they can be anything, which is why they’re ignored and you base decisions and arguments on numbers you do have.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Response to: Joe Dirt on Feb 10th, 2017 @ 1:29pm

A simple look out the window in most American cities will tell you that declining crime stats don’t jive with what is happening.

Stores feel the need fir iron bars and metal shutters to protect their businesses. Americans are arming themselves at the fastest rate in history. Security systems, alarms and videi surveillance are almost a must have for businesses and home owners alike.

Why?

If crime has declined that much, why are the courts, jails, and prisons overflowing? Why is every man, woman, and child in the US statistically going to be a crime victim in their life?

It doesn’t add up.

A better conclusion is that police are ineffective against most crimes, to the point people don’t want to report them. Reporting a crime often means making an insurance claim, which leads to higher premiums. People may be decling to report certain types of crimes because it is too expensive or time consuming to do so. Maybe they don’t want to have to face the bad guys in court. Maybe they fear reprisals.

We don’t know. We do know that America is less safe a place than it was 20 or 30 years ago, and we know that by the extents peooke go to protect themselves and to take protection into their own hands.

Denying that would be alternate facts at their very best.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Response to: Joe Dirt on Feb 10th, 2017 @ 1:29pm

Stores feel the need fir iron bars and metal shutters to protect their businesses. Americans are arming themselves at the fastest rate in history. Security systems, alarms and videi surveillance are almost a must have for businesses and home owners alike.

Why?

Well as long as we’re tossing out ideas I’d go with two explanations, ‘perception doesn’t always match reality’ and ‘because fear sells’. Just because people may think that crime is soaring doesn’t mean it is. The FBI doesn’t seem to provide info before 1996 on their site, or at least not that I could see with a cursory look, but in the chart I was able to find ever single category of crime was lower in 2015 than it was in 1996.

All of them, and several took a significant dive(violent crime for example went from 636.6 per 100,000 people in 1996 to 372.6 per 100,000 people in 2015).

However, during this time you’ve had the press and government constantly screaming ‘Be Afraid!’ for their own purposes(profits and power respectively), and constantly highlighting the crimes that do happen, making them more visible, meaning people ignore what the actual numbers are and are instead convinced that things are just getting worse, when in fact they’re not.

A better conclusion is that police are ineffective against most crimes, to the point people don’t want to report them. Reporting a crime often means making an insurance claim, which leads to higher premiums. People may be decling to report certain types of crimes because it is too expensive or time consuming to do so. Maybe they don’t want to have to face the bad guys in court. Maybe they fear reprisals.

Or maybe they’re not reporting it because it didn’t happen. Like I said before, using numbers you don’t have gets you nowhere, because those numbers could be anything, you have to use numbers you actually have.

We don’t know. We do know that America is less safe a place than it was 20 or 30 years ago, and we know that by the extents peooke go to protect themselves and to take protection into their own hands.

We really don’t actually, just because a fear may be widespread doesn’t mean it’s a justified fear. Just because people might think that crime rates are crazy high doesn’t mean they are, and the numbers show that those rates are pretty consistently going down.

As put by stand-up comedian Dara O’Briain:

"I get really pissed off when people give out about crime going up when say the numbers are definitely going down, and then if you go ‘well the numbers are going down’ then they go ‘but the fear of crime is rising’. Well so what, you know what I mean? Zombies are at an all time low, but the fear of zombies could be incredibly high."

Rapnel (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Response to: Joe Dirt on Feb 10th, 2017 @ 1:29pm

Why?

Because freedom is dangerous?

Why?

Because trickle-down is an inverted geyser and for about 20-30 years that ever shrinking pile of pie eats itself before you can so much as reach for a fork?

And nothing’s got nothing to do with a 40 year war on, what should always have been, free choice and a 15 year war on, what should be, a celebration? A celebration because our enemies can not defeat a nation of free people.

Why?

Because those that would do us real harm are the very same that would rob you blind for a profit?

Why?

Because you don’t have a cite for “We do know that America is less safe a place than it was 20 or 30 years ago” and you just made stuff up to suite someone elses agenda. Free people can choose to protect themselves or they can choose to let someone else do the protecting for them. The unfortunate side-effect of the latter is most a peaceful slavery.

Anonymous Coward says:

…make recommendations to the President for legislation to address the protection and safety of Federal, State, tribal, and local law enforcement officers

Of course.

The bullet proof vest, billy club, taser, sidearm, backup sidearm, pepper spray, long guns in the car, self-defense training, and not having to know the law they’re enforcing isn’t enough.

How do these vulnerable officers even leave the house in the morning?

Rapnel (profile) says:

Re: trump

.. He says safely tucked away miles and lifetimes away from anything he mentions. You entitled pussy. People died for this and you’re afraid of mexican gangs and islam. Brav-o.

Does freedom frighten you? You may have confused freedom for safety. Or do you need to feel safe to feel free?

But you may be partially onto something. America seems to have compromised herself from within – that does not a secure nation make. Daddy hairbucks is now the leader of the free world and this is shaping up to be a right cunt of a run. Nothing good will come from this – unless you’re just in it for the money then you might stand half a chance.

Justme says:

Re: Re: trump

‘Does freedom frighten you?’

Only the freedom of those who don’t live in his violent, twisted, a terrorist on every corner, world. Or anyone who won’t do their patriotic duty and fall to their knee’s to praise of out new supreme leader!

I think he has been hanging out with Dennis Rodman and his buddy from the north side of Korea! 🙂

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“New”? I infer you haven’t been following TD for very long.

Oh, and it’s not just POTUS – it’s all the criminal, treasonous, delusional, greedy, negligent, and ignorant asshats in any of the three branches of governments, both federal and state.

Pay attention – you might learn something useful about the nature of our increasingly Fascist plutocracy.

GEMont (profile) says:

Fascism - the death throes of Capitalism

I am somewhat impressed.

I thought fer sure that the Merchant King would push the stack of Crony-favoring, corporate-written EOs through the system over a 90 day period at the least, in order to make it at least appear as though T. Rump and his Gang of Rich Fascist Mamonites was actually producing them on-the-fly.

But apparently the Billionaires’ coup d’etat has been so successful that they’re gonna just drop them all into place in the first month and then happily join in on the now-legalized financial feeding frenzy, along with all the other Billionaire Sharks.

Not a good time to be poor, non-white, or non-Christian in Amerika. In fact, it’s gonna be really a bad time for anyone who is not among the Lofty Ownership Class.

Looks like they’ll be impeaching the Merchant-King a lot sooner than I’d figured at this rate.

Starting to look like just 30 days now before they’ll remove their Ringer and put the real Korporate Klown in office.

Vice Prez looks like a good candidate for Korporate Klown methinks. We will see, and apparently, very soon.

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