America’s attention recently turned away from the violence in Iraq and Gaza toward the violence in Ferguson, Missouri, following the shooting of Michael Brown. While all the facts surrounding the shooing have yet to come to light, the shock of seeing police using tear gas (a substance banned in warfare), and other military-style weapons against American citizens including journalists exercising their First Amendment rights, has started a much-needed debate on police militarization.
The increasing use of military equipment by local police is a symptom of growing authoritarianism, not the cause. The cause is policies that encourage police to see Americans as enemies to subjugate, rather than as citizens to “protect and serve.” This attitude is on display not only in Ferguson, but in the police lockdown following the Boston Marathon bombing and in the Americans killed and injured in “no-knock” raids conducted by militarized SWAT teams.
One particularly tragic victim of police militarization and the war on drugs is “baby Bounkham.” This infant was severely burned and put in a coma by a flash-burn grenade thrown into his crib by a SWAT team member who burst into the infant’s room looking for methamphetamine.
As shocking as the case of baby Bounkham is, no one should be surprised that empowering police to stop consensual (though perhaps harmful and immoral) activities has led to a growth of authoritarian attitudes and behaviors among government officials and politicians. Those wondering why the local police increasingly look and act like an occupying military force should consider that the drug war was the justification for the Defense Department’s “1033 program,” which last year gave local police departments almost $450 million worth of “surplus” military equipment. This included armored vehicles and grenades like those that were used to maim baby Bounkham.
Today, the war on drugs has been eclipsed by the war on terror as an all-purpose excuse for expanding the police state. We are all familiar with how the federal government increased police power after September 11 via the PATRIOT Act, TSA, and other Homeland Security programs. Not as widely known is how the war on terror has been used to justify the increased militarization of local police departments to the detriment of our liberty. Since 2002, the Department of Homeland Security has provided over $35 billion in grants to local governments for the purchase of tactical gear, military-style armor, and mine-resistant vehicles.
The threat of terrorism is used to justify these grants. However, the small towns that receive tanks and other military weapons do not just put them into storage until a real terrorist threat emerges. Instead, the military equipment is used for routine law enforcement.
Politicians love this program because it allows them to brag to their local media about how they are keeping their constituents safe. Of course, the military-industrial complex’s new kid brother, the law enforcement-industrial complex, wields tremendous influence on Capitol Hill. Even many so-called progressives support police militarization to curry favor with police unions.
Reversing the dangerous trend of the militarization of local police can start with ending all federal involvement in local law enforcement. Fortunately, all that requires is for Congress to begin following the Constitution, which forbids the federal government from controlling or funding local law enforcement. There is also no justification for federal drug laws or for using the threat of terrorism as an excuse to treat all people as potential criminals. However, Congress will not restore constitutional government on its own; the American people must demand that Congress stop facilitating the growth of an authoritarian police state that threatens their liberty.
Walter White is still alive. He’s played by Diego Trujillo now and goes by Walter Blanco, but he’s the same lumpenprole hero you’ve always known.
Breaking Bad is just getting started in Colombia where it goes by Metástasis, the Spanish-language remake stars Roberto Urbina as José Miguel Rosas (Jesse Pinkman), alongside Sandra Reyes as Cielo Blanco (Skyler White) and Julián Arango as Henry Navarro (Hank Schrader). Saul Goodman is named Saúl Bueno. Mexican actor Damián Alcázar plays the character Tuco Salamanca
Metástasis – Mon – Fri – 10pm – Unimás, Univisión, Galavisión, Fox Latino – Check Your Local Spanish Channel
Breaking Bad vs Adaptation – both by Vince Gilligan & Sony
The danger the corporate state faces does not come from the poor. The poor, those Karl Marx dismissed as the Lumpenproletariat, do not mount revolutions, although they join them and often become cannon fodder.
The real danger to the elite comes from déclassé intellectuals, those educated middle-class men and women who are barred by a calcified system from advancement. Artists without studios or theaters, teachers without classrooms, lawyers without clients, doctors without patients and journalists without newspapers descend economically.
They become, as they mingle with the underclass, a bridge between the worlds of the elite and the oppressed. And they are the dynamite that triggers revolt.
El Mercado Negro
Metástasis – Volviéndose Malo – Colombian Adaptation
Ron Paul: Local police not ‘warriors’
Ron Paul on Monday called for the elimination of the Defense Department program that has transferred billions of dollars in surplus military equipment to local and state agencies.
“It should be gotten rid of,” the Texas Republican said on MSNBC of the Pentagon 1033 program, which has come under increased scrutiny because of the equipment used by St. Louis County police forces in Ferguson, Missouri.
“Police are supposed to be local people, and they’re supposed to be peace officers,” he added. “They’re not supposed to be warriors.”
Former Iowa state senator pleads guilty in Ron Paul endorsement-for-pay scheme
“Lori Pyeatt is the treasurer of the Ron Paul 2012 campaign. Pyeatt is the daughter of Ron Paul. It is extremely unlikely that Pyeatt was aware of the madcap, lunatic secret payoffs that were made to Sorenson.”
Ron Paul on ebola
The government is “over-exaggerating” the Ebola outbreak, possibly to make a profit off less effective, more expensive organic phosphate medicine.
“Governments deceive us, and sometimes they hype things. I don’t think we are going to see in the next year a horrendous breakout of Ebola in this country,” the former GOP presidential candidate said.
There was never “absolute proof” that the chemical DDT, which was previously used to treat malaria, would be dangerous as a treatment to Ebola. However, instead of using DDT, doctors use “very expensive organic phosphates” that kill patients.
“Could there be a possibility in this that making the organic phosphates, maybe there’s a profit in this?” he said. “Maybe that is the reason that we end up doing this.”
Need to repeal 1913
Ron Paul full In Depth interview C-SPAN 8/3/14
RP is the most learned, articulate, thoughtful, and compassionate politician the USA has had in the last 50 years. It’s amazing the agenda 21 movement has not assassinated him.
Better a weak, controlled enemy than someone who can actually galvanize others to action.
Leave RP alive, you make him look like a fool, crying in the wilderness about the great calamity that is to come – but the sheep don’t see the knife, so they follow the Judas Goat right into the processing factory…
I begin to think it’s not worth trying to save the sheep. Just kill the butchers, let the sheep eat each other, drink a margarita on a tropical beach, and mourn what was lost (Given Away by the sheep.)
I’m often tempted to think along similar lines, Jean.
What keeps me from going over to the Dark Side, I suppose, is my own self-respect. My desire to not become one of them.
That doesn’t mean I won’t defend myself, if it comes to that.
Or that I have any less contempt for aggressive/stupid people.
But I won’t take advantage of them, even though they feel no such compunction themselves.
Probably dumb, I know.
But I is what I is….
Democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding what to have for dinner.