A favorite tactic of tyrants the world over is to simply toss the opposition in jail. No charges. No warrant. No problem. Just pick them up off the street, or in their homes in the dead of night. You treat them badly to the point of torture, and maybe later you release them, after they've calmed down, or maybe you don't. Maybe they die in captivity. Maybe they just disappear.
The founders of this country fought with a passion against arbitrary arrests by the British authorities.The ability to simply arrest whomever you please is the pentultimate power grab for any police state. The ultimate power being simply to kill whomever you please. The two are closely related, and one leads to the other as surely as night follows day. Our government is actively persuing the power to do both.
The U.S. Constitution is chock a block full of prohibitions against this kind of overreaching abuse of power. Our rights to warrants, due process, trial by jury, habeus corpus, as well as prohibitions against writs of assistance, bills of attainder, and ex-post facto laws are all aimed at curbing the government's natrual tendency to arbitrarily lock people up.
Casting aside his usual persona as Insufferable Liberal Blowhard, Keith Olberman has a thoughtful interview on a key case in the U.S. government's march toward fascism. Once U.S. officials achieve permanent immunity from the consequences of their lawlessness, there's nothing between us and total submission but our own willingness to resist. The law won't help us. Picking a different ego maniac to serve as our leader won't help us either.
It's also an interesting piece for those who might think there is any difference between a Republican police state and a Democratic police state.