“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, August 14, 2014

American cops gone bad - Government using violence against Americans

AlterNet [1] / By Alex Kane [2]

11 Shocking Facts About America's Militarized Police Forces

June 27, 2014  |  
The “war on terror” has come home--and it’s wreaking havoc on innocent American lives.  The culprit is the militarization of the police.
The weapons used in the “war on terror” that destroyed Afghanistan and Iraq have made their way to local law enforcement. While police forces across the country began a process of militarization complete with SWAT teams and flash-bang grenades when President Reagan intensified the “war on drugs,” the post-9/11 “war on terror” has added fuel to the fire.  
Through laws and regulations like a provision in defense budgets that authorize the Pentagon to transfer surplus military gear to police forces, local law enforcement are using weapons found on the battlefields of South Asia and the Middle East.  
A recent New York Times article by Matt Apuzzo [3]reported that in the Obama era, “police departments have received tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft.”  The result is that police agencies around the nation possess military-grade equipment, turning officers who are supposed to fight crime and protect communities into what look like invading forces from an army. And military-style police raids have increased in recent years, with one count putting the number at 80,000 such raids last year. [4]
In June, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) brought more attention to police militarization when it issued a comprehensive, nearly 100-page (appendix and endnotes included) report titled, “War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing.” [5]  Based on public records requests to more than 260 law enforcement agencies in 26 states, the ACLU concluded that “American policing has become excessively militarized through the use of weapons and tactics designed for the battlefield” and that this militarization “unfairly impacts people of color and undermines individual liberties, and it has been allowed to happen in the absence of any meaningful public discussion.”
The information contained in the ACLU report, and in other investigations into the phenomenon, is sobering. From the killing of innocent people to the lack of debate on the issue, police militarization has turned into a key issue for Americans. It is harming civil liberties, ramping up the “war on drugs,” impacting the most marginalized members of society and transforming neighborhoods into war zones.  Here are 11 important--and horrifying--things you should know about the militarization of police.
1. It harms, and sometimes kills, innocent people. When you have heavily armed police officers using flash-bang grenades and armored personnel carriers, innocent people are bound to be hurt.  The likelihood of people being killed is raised by the practice of SWAT teams busting down doors with no warning, which leads some people to think it may be a burglary, who could in turn try to defend themselves. The ACLU documented seven cases of civilians dying, and 46 people being injured.  That’s only in the cases the civil liberties group looked at, so the number is actually higher.  
Take the case of Tarika Wilson, which the ACLU summarizes.  The 26-year-old biracial mother lived in Lima, Ohio.  Her boyfriend, Anthony Terry, was wanted by the police on suspicion of drug dealing.  So on January 4, 2008, a SWAT team busted down Wilson’s door and opened fire.  A SWAT officer killed Wilson and injured her one-year-old baby, Sincere Wilson. The killing sparked rage in Lima and accusations of a racist police department, but the officer who shot Wilson, Sgt. Joe Chavalia, was found not guilty on all charges. [6]
2. Children are impacted. As the case of Wilson shows, the police busting down doors care little about whether there’s a child in the home.  Another case profiled by the ACLU shows how children are caught up the crossfire--with devastating consequences.
In May, after their Wisconsin home had burned down, the Phonesavanh family was staying with relatives in Georgia. One night, a SWAT team with assault rifles invaded the home and threw a flashbang grenade--despite the presence of kids’ toys in the front yard.  The police were looking for the father’s nephew on drug charges.  He wasn’t there.  But a 19-month-old named Bou Bou was--and the grenade landed in his crib.
Bou Bou was wounded in the chest and had third-degree burns. He was put in a medically induced coma.  
Another high-profile instance of a child being killed by paramilitary police tactics occurred in 2010, when seven-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones was killed in Detroit.  The city’s Special Response Team (Detroit’s SWAT) was looking for Chauncey Owens, a suspect in the killing of a teenager who lived on the second floor of the apartment Jones lived in.
Officers raided the home, threw a flash-bang grenade, and fired one shot that struck Jones in the head.  The police agent who fired the fatal shot, Joseph Weekley, has so far gotten off easy: a jury trial ended in deadlock last year, though he will face charges of involuntary manslaughter in September.  As The Nation’s Mychal Denzel Smith wrote last year after Weekley [7] was acquitted: “What happened to Aiyana is the result of the militarization of police [8] in this country...Part of what it means to be black in America now is watching your neighborhood become the training ground for our increasingly militarized police units [9].”
Bou Bou and Jones aren’t the only case of children being impacted.
According to the ACLU, “of the 818 deployments studied, 14 percent involved the presence of children and 13 percent did not.”
3. The use of SWAT teams is unnecessary.  In many cases, using militarized teams of police is not needed.  The ACLU report notes that the vast majority of cases where SWAT teams are deployed are in situations where a search warrant is being executed to just look for drugs. In other words, it’s not even 100% clear whether there are drugs at the place the police are going to.  These situations are not why SWAT was created.
Furthermore, even when SWAT teams think there are weapons, they are often wrong. The ACLU report shows that in the cases where police thought weapons would be there, they were right only a third of the time.
4. The “war on terror” is fueling militarization. It was the “war on drugs” that introduced militarized policing to the U.S.  But the “war on terror” has accelerated it.  
A growing number of agencies have taken advantage of the Department of Defense’s “1033” program, which is passed every year as part of the National Defense Authorization Act, the budget for the Pentagon.  The number of police agencies obtaining military equipment like mine-resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicles has increased since 2009, according to USA Today [10], which notes that this “surplus military equipment” is “left over from U.S. military campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.”  This equipment is largely cost-free for the police agencies who receive them.
In addition to the Pentagon budget provision, another agency created in the aftermath of 9/11 is helping militarize the police.  The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) own grants funnel military-style equipment to local police departments nationwide.  According to a 2011 Center for Investigative Reporting story published by The Daily Beast [11], at least $34 billion in DHS grants have gone to police agencies to buy military-style equipment.  This money has gone to purchase drones, tactical vests, bomb-disarming robots, tanks and more.
5. It’s a boon to contractor profits. The trend towards police militarization has given military contractors another lucrative market where they can shop their products.  Companies like Lockheed Martin and Blackhawk Industries are making big bucks by selling their equipment to agencies flush with Department of Homeland Security grants.
In addition to the actual selling of equipment, contractors also sponsor training events for SWAT teams, like Urban Shield, a major arms expo that has attracted increasing attention from activists in recent years.  SWAT teams, police agencies and military contractors converge on Urban Shield, which was held in California last year, to train and to promote equipment to buy.
6. Border militarization and police militarization go hand in hand. The “war on terror” and “war on drugs” aren’t the only wars helping police militarization.  There’s also the war on undocumented immigrants.  
The notorious Sheriff Joe Arpaio, infamous for brutal crackdowns on undocumented immigrants, is the paradigmatic example of this trend.  According to the ACLU, Arpaio’s Maricopa County department has acquired a machine gun so powerful it could tear through buildings on multiple city blocks.  In addition, he has 120 assault rifles, five armored vehicles and ten helicopters. Other law enforcement agencies in Arizona have obtained equipment like bomb suits and night-vision goggles.
Then there’s a non-local law enforcement agency on the border: the Border Patrol, which has obtained drones and attack helicopters.  And Border Patrol agents are acting like they’re at war.  A recent Los Angeles Times investigation revealed [12] that law enforcement experts had found that that the Border Patrol has killed 19 people from January 2010-October 2012, including some of whom when the agents were under no lethal, direct threat.
7. Police are cracking down on dissent. In 1999, massive protests rocked Seattle during the World Trade Organization meeting.  The police cracked down hard on the demonstrators using paramilitary tactics. Police fired tear gas at protesters, causing all hell to break loose.
Norm Stamper, the Seattle police chief at the time, criticized the militarized policing he presided over in a Nation article in 2011.  “Rocks, bottles and newspaper racks went flying. Windows were smashed, stores were looted, fires lighted; and more gas filled the streets, with some cops clearly overreacting, escalating and prolonging the conflict,” wrote Stamper.
More than a decade after the Seattle protests, militarized policing to crack down on dissent returned with a vengeance during the wave of Occupy protests in 2011. Tear gas and rubber bullets were used to break up protests in Oakland. Scott Olsen, an Occupy Oakland protester and war veteran, was struck [13] in the head by a police projectile, causing a fractured skull, broken neck vertebrae and brain swelling.
8. Asset forfeitures are funding police militarization. In June, AlterNet’s Aaron Cantu [14]outlined how civil asset forfeiture laws work.  
“It’s a legal fiction spun up hundreds of years ago to give the state the power to convict a person’s property of a crime, or at least, implicate its involvement in the committing of a crime. When that happened, the property was to be legally seized by the state,” wrote Cantu.  He went on to explain that law enforcement justifies the seizing of property and cash as a way to break up narcotics rings’ infrastructure.  But it can also be used in cases where a person is not convicted, or even charged with, a crime.
Asset forfeitures bring in millions of dollars for police agencies, who then spend the money for their own uses.  And for some police departments, it goes to militarizing their police force.  
New Yorker reporter Sarah Stillman, who penned a deeply reported piece on asset forfeitures, [15]wrote in August 2013 that [16]“thousands of police departments nationwide have recently acquired stun grenades, armored tanks, counterattack vehicles, and other paramilitary equipment, much of it purchased with asset-forfeiture funds.”  So SWAT teams have an incentive to conduct raids where they seize property and cash.  That money can then go into their budgets for more weapons.
9. Dubious informants are used for raids. As the New Yorker’s Stillman wrote in another piece, [17]informants are “the foot soldiers in the government’s war on drugs. By some estimates, up to eighty per cent of all drug cases in America involve them.”  Given SWAT teams’ focus on finding drugs, it’s no surprise that informants are used to gather information that lead to military-style police raids.
A 2006 policy paper by investigative journalist Radley Balko [18], who has done the most reporting on militarized policing, highlighted the negative impact using informants for these raids have. Most often, informants are “people who regularly seek out drug users and dealers and tip off the police in exchange for cash rewards” and other drug dealers, who inform to gain leniency or cash from the police.  But these informants are quite unreliable--and the wrong information can lead to tragic consequences.
10. There’s been little debate and oversight.  Despite the galloping march towards militarization, there is little public debate or oversight of the trend.  The ACLU report notes that “there does not appear to be much, if any, local oversight of law enforcement agency receipt of equipment transfers.” One of the group’s recommendations to change that is for states and local municipalities to enact laws encouraging transparency and oversight of SWAT teams.
11. Communities of color bear the brunt. Across the country, communities of color are the people most targeted by police practices.  In recent years, the abuse of “stop and frisk” tactics has attracted widespread attention because of the racially discriminatory way it has been applied.

Militarized policing has also targeted communities of color. According to the ACLU report, “of all the incidents studied where the number and race of the people impacted were known, 39 percent were Black, 11 percent were Latino, 20 were white.” The majority of raids that targeted blacks and Latinos were related to drugs--another metric exposing how the “war on drugs” is racist to the core.


  1. A good start would be to drop the paranoid use of the word, “Homeland”. Although it does fit if you believe in empire.

  2. It has a real whiff of blood and soil - “Blut und Boden”.

  3. ... it reminds me of the hung-ho mutherfuckers who used the term “in theatre”.

  4. I can just picture Jesse Pinkman with a double cup to the nuts saying “”here’s your theatre” or “I got your homeland”.

    1. People need to grow up. Cops are not our heroes. They are not our friends. They are not our protectors per se. They are trained, professional, efficient thugs who chase law-breakers, secure properties, and terrify the rest of us into curbing our more violent and chaotic tendencies. Violence, brutality, and absolute dominance are part of their jobs. We pay and appreciate them for it. They are the monsters who keep the monster inside every one of us in check. We can't all go nuts because the odd cop errs every once in a while and reminds us who they are and how they really function.

  5. Protests racked this St. Louis suburb for a fifth straight night Wednesday as anger flared anew over the police killing of an unarmed young black man.

    Armored personnel carriers and officers carrying assault rifles greeted the demonstrators. When the crowd ignored orders to disperse, officers unleashed tear gas and rubber bullets, witnesses said.

    Police sealed off an area that was the scene of vandalism and looting on Sunday night.

    “We’ve done everything we can to demonstrate a remarkable amount of restraint,” St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said in an interview outside the command post. “If there was an easy way to fix this, we would have already solved the problem.” Belmar said officers had heard sporadic gunfire.

    At least 10 people had been arrested.

    Gov. Jay Nixon tweeted late Wednesday that he was canceling appearances Thursday to go to the stricken area.

    During the nighttime confrontation, protesters with shirts wrapped around their faces held signs that read “Hands up, don’t shoot” as police wearing full body armor closed in on the crowd. The chant has become the mark of the protests; witnesses say 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot Saturday with his hands in the air.

    In amateur video posted to social media, police can be overheard telling the group to get out of the area or they would be arrested. Clouds of tear gas are visible in the background.

    The confrontation came hours after St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch said details of Brown's shooting would not be released anytime soon.

    “We are still in the information-gathering part of the investigation,” he said in a televised news conference.

    He urged anyone with information to come forward and promised that all evidence would be reviewed, presented to a grand jury and eventually made public.

    Withholding details from the public during the criminal investigation will help investigators gauge witnesses’ credibility, he said. Along with the St. Louis County Police Department, the FBI and civil rights attorneys from the Justice Department are conducting parallel investigations.

    Racial tension has simmered since Saturday's shooting, beginning with a protest late that day. On Sunday night, vandals rampaged through 12 businesses, burning one and breaking windows.

    Ferguson is a working-class suburb of 21,000, where two-thirds of residents are black and police and city officials are predominantly white. Although the largest protests have been peaceful, demonstrations have turned ugly at night.

    The nightly protests have mostly been bloodless. But late Tuesday, two people were shot, one critically.

    Hours before demonstrations spiraled out of control Wednesday night, protesters had walked down West Florissant Avenue in a permitted march. Some young men at the back of the crowd shouted profanities and raised their middle fingers as they passed a police officer.



    The tear gas was practically still in the air in the fall of 1968 when the National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence -- yes, that was a thing -- formed a working group to probe the civil disorder that had just occurred at that year's Democratic National Convention in Chicago. It was there, some will recall, that police in baby blue helmets clubbed and dragged bloodied anti-war protesters through the streets, while TV viewers looked on and crowds chanted, "The whole world is watching." To describe the incomprehensible scenes, the so-called Walker Commission coined a new term. They called it a "police riot."

    There's been no police riot in Ferguson, Mo. -- not yet anyway (and hopefully never). But what is happening in the working class suburb just outside of St. Louis is, in some ways, far worse. A tense situation in the aftermath of Saturday's fatal shooting by a police officer of an unarmed college-bound 18-year-old named Mike Brown has been made much more tense, night after night, by brutal, bone-headed policing that makes one wonder if Birmingham's brutal Bull Connor has been re-animated.

    I thought I was losing my capacity to be shocked -- but events in Missouri over just the last couple of hours have crossed a frightening line, one that makes me pray that this assault on fundamental American values is just the aberration of one rudderless Heartland community, and not the first symptoms of nation gone mad with high-tech weaponry to keep its own citizens in line.


  7. {...}

    This afternoon, several hundred citizens who gathered on a public street, in broad daylight, to air their grievances over Brown's killing were met with a massive SWAT team, an armored personnel carrier, and men in camouflage pointing heavy artillery at the crowd. Two prominent credentialed journalists who tried to report on the event were arrested for a time, and there was a report that a state senator who questioned authorities about tear gas earlier was also in custody. All this as authorities continue to cover up the most basic information about what happened on the night Mike Brown was murdered.

    The people in charge of a large American community are systematically shredding the United States Constitution tonight. It is nothing less than a police coup.

    The Bill of Rights guarantees that all citizens have the right to assemble peacefully. And yet residents of Ferguson who gathered to protest under the bright August sun were met with a mid-sized Army of militarized cops, ordered off the public right-of-way, and ordered to go home, under the glare of a rifle mounted on a tripod. In a move that even George Orwell would not have believed, cops with loudspeakers insisted to the crowd, "You have the right to peacefully assemble - from 25 feet away.”

    The Bill of Rights guarantees freedom of speech -- but over these successive nights citizens who've tried to speak out of have had tear gas fired at them (in at least one case at a private citizen on his own lawn), then rubber bullets, as well as wooden pellets fired from guns.

    The Bill of Rights protects the right of a free press -- but apparently not in Ferguson, Mo., not tonight. Reporters from the Huffington Post and the Washington Post were arrested by cops inside a McDonald's (!) as they were trying to file their reports; the Post's Wesley Lowery, an African-American, was slammed into a soda fountain. They were eventually released (one small step for mankind) and when Lowery was asked, is he was more scared of the protesters or the cops, he answered: "Easy answer, i’m a black man – the police.” Other reporters, including two who happened to be black, said they were denied access to a news conference. Trymaine Lee, the former Daily News intern who went on to become a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, said on Twitter: “I've been told to disperse and go to my residence..."



  8. {...}
    America's political traditions insist that the public has a right to know what its government is doing. This, too, has been ripped into a thousand pieces in Ferguson, Mo. The name of the officer who shot Mike Brown has been shielded from the public, and so have most basic facts of what occurred last weekend. A report from the medical examiner was censored to keep the public from even knowing how many times Brown was shot. What is Ferguson covering up?

    There is a lot to talk about in the days and weeks ahead. For starters, authorities -- not just in Missouri but around the nation -- are going to need to explain the obscene (and obscenely expensive) over-militarization of American police departments, weaponry now aimed at the communities that these officers had sworn to protect and serve. Americans should not have to turn on their TV sets to see news that looks like it's coming from ISIS-held territory in Iraq or Kandahar, until we see the McDonald's arches in the background and realize that we are just 15 minutes from Busch Stadium. And there will need to be a massive conversation about community policing -- especially in Ferguson, a majority black community where 94 percent of officers are white -- but also anywhere where cops are seeing as suppressing communities instead of protecting them. And there must -- and one cannot emphasize this enough -- be real justice and accountability for the murder of Mike Brown.

    But that is not the priority tonight. Tonight, someone with a cool head and the utmost respect for the U.S. Constitution -- and frankly, I'm not sure who that is -- needs to take control of the situation on the streets of Ferguson. And the first move is to end this police coup, immediately.


  9. I wonder what Deuce will say when those "folks" start planting ied's to use against the police forces?

    Or maybe they start firing homemade rockets from back yards into the oppressor's subdivisions?


    1. Unlike Israel, the US doesn’t do apartheid so the impetus to instigate an insurrgency is missing.

    2. The last thing we need in the US is a police department acting like the IDF.

    3. well if you are going to throw terms around?

      America's ghettos are as apartheid as they get...

      And America police doesn't act like the IDF? That's a specious comment, as usual.

      But America's military has used nukes. The IDF never has...

      And when America occupied Germany after WW2? they were brutal.

      Nothing like the IDF.

    4. America’s ghettos are as apartheid as they get... (You Don’t Understand Apartheid)

      And America police doesn't act like the IDF? That's a specious comment, as usual.

      But America's military has used nukes. The IDF never has... ?

      And when America occupied Germany after WW2? they were brutal.(Explain)

    5. Obviously "O"rdure either does not know what apartheid is, or he has never been to the US, or both.

      The rest of what he says is just nonsensical.

    6. Do you?

      Did you ever go to South Africa and see what it was about?

      Your loose and sloppy usage of buzz words makes my usage germane.

      Urban ghettos in America are much closer to apartheid than any place in Israel. EVER.

  10. Obama's election (and, reelection) has driven the racist scumbags of Missouri full monte, batshit crazy. St. Louis Police have always been corrupt scum; but, now, they're stupid, corrupt scum.

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. A large part of the problem is the “all volunteer” military. If we had draftees, we would not have the need to be using the reverves and national guard. Cops and firemen are over-represented, especially in the Guard so that they can double-dip on pensions and the police forces give great latitude to cops that are away serving Guard duty.

    The sequence, is that they become cops first and then join the Guard. The practice a reinforced feedback loop of paranoia and a blurring of the lines between civil authority and foreign enemies.

  13. .

    Anyone who had any doubts on what has happened to this country under the Bush/Obama WOT only had to look at what happened in Boston when 'authorities' were searching for the Boston Marathon bombers: a mandated shutdown of a major city; millions of people ordered to stay in their homes; local, state, and federal troops searching the city; helicopters and armored personnel carriers patrolling the streets, martial law without martial law being declared, all to find two assholes with crude pressure cooker bombs.

    This one incident showed the level this country has devolved to, overreaction, stormtroopers in masks, heavy weaponry in an urban environment, indiscriminate firing of weapons, little concern for innocents that may be caught in the crossfire.

    That sad part, there was no public outcry, when people were told to stay home an entire city did, and the city wasn't Stinking Creek, Tn. it was Boston, a city littered with sites from the time this country declared Independence from tyranny. The irony is striking. The public has been so traumatized by the words 'terror' or 'terrorists' they are willing to accept the forfeiture of any of their rights just so they can 'feel' safe.

    It's hard to believe this trend wasn't intentional. 9/11 was a godsend to those 'officials' and individuals who think that the public has to be protected from itself whether it knows it or not. After 9/11, the wars, the military buildup, providing massive amounts of ammunition to the IRS and the Post Office, the color coded terror alerts, massive new bureaucracies (Homeland Security, TSA, etc.), government spying on ordinary citizens. And few people say boo.

    When it reaches the point where the police are killing as many people as the perps maybe we will recognize the problem.


  14. Cops should not be permitted to be active duty members of the military. Join the military, serve, leave and then become a cop.

  15. ..and quit the bullshit of thanking people for their service. That insurance company commercial where everyone is thanking for their service is just creepy.

  16. Most of the problem in Ferguson is simply the Police Chief, and the DA doing stupid, incompetent shit.

    The community is 2/3 Black, and the police dept. is 94% White. That has to tell you something.

    1. Multiple journalists reporting at the scene have reportedly faced pressure from Ferguson police. On Wednesday evening, reporters Wesley Lowery of The Washington Post and Ryan J. Reilly of The Huffington Post wrote on Twitter that they had been assaulted and detained by police, who at the time were attempting to "kick everyone out" of McDonald's.

      "Detained, booked, given answers to no questions. Then just let out," Lowery tweeted.

      The Washington Post reported that Lowery said he was slammed against a soda machine and plastic cuffs were put on his wrists. Reilly told MSNBC that an officer slammed his head against the glass "purposefully" on the way out of the restaurant "and then sarcastically apologized for it." The reporters were subsequently released without any charges.

      Martin D. Baron, The Washington Post's executive editor, issued a statement saying "there was absolutely no justification" for Lowery's arrest and said the organization was appalled by the officers' conduct.

      Ryan Grim, Washington, D.C., bureau chief for The Huffington Post, said in a statement that “compared to some others who have come into contact with the police department, they came out relatively unscathed, but that in no way excuses the false arrest or the militant aggression toward these journalists.”

      Al Jazeera journalists covering the protests in Ferguson on Wednesday night were also tear gassed by police.

    2. The behavior of the Ferguson and St. Louis County police in this matter is illuminating. They are ridiculously militarized suburban police dressed up like characters from Starship Troopers and pointing rifles at people from atop armored vehicles, i.e. the worst sort of mall ninjas. They are arresting people for making videos of them at work in public places, which people are legally entitled to do, a habit they share with many other police departments. Protecting life, liberty, and property — which is the job of the police — does not require scooping people up for making phone videos; in fact, it requires not scooping people up for making phone videos.

      These confrontations are a reminder of the eternal question: Who? Whom? Who is to protect and serve whom here? Is government our servant or our master?

      A police department habitually conducting its business in secrecy and arresting people for documenting its public actions is more of a threat to liberty and property than those nine looters are.

  17. .

    The trend is small but growing, the same practices that got us into the 2008 financial crises is once again raising its head and the US Government is right in the middle of it.

    From the NYT

    Investors Profit From Foreclosure Risk on Home Mortgages


  18. The US clean job sector has skyrocketed in recent months according to Ecotech Institute’s Clean Jobs Index, pushing past two million job postings in the first half of 2014 alone, which amounts to an 88% increase over the same period a year earlier.

    The report highlights clean jobs as defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which says that a clean job is part of a business that benefits the environment or conserves natural resources. A total of 2,637,133 jobs were posted through the first half of 2014, an 87.5% increase over the same time a year earlier, including 1.2 million jobs since the beginning of the year.

    Split up across the industry, it’s good news no matter what sector you’re . . . . . .

    Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

    1. The Chinese capital of Beijing has been making a lot of noise of late with regards to fighting their well-publicized pollution levels.

      In the past week alone, Chinese state media outlet Xinhua has revealed that the country will ban coal by 2020 in six inner-city Beijing districts; that China will ban the sale and import of “high-ash and high-sulfur coal from September 1″; and the latest piece of news, which goes a long way to proving the country’s intentions, announced that Beijing cut coal use in the first half of 2014 by 7%.

      The move combats not only . . . . . . .

      Taking Action


  19. Here is the Q2 report: Household Debt and Credit Report. From the NY Fed:

    Aggregate consumer debt was roughly flat in the 2nd quarter of 2014, showing a minor decrease of $18 billion. As of June 30, 2014, total consumer indebtedness was $11.63 trillion, down by 0.2% from its level in the first quarter of 2014. Overall consumer debt still remains 8.2% below its 2008Q3 peak of $12.68 trillion.

    Mortgages, the largest component of household debt, decreased by 0.8%. Mortgage balances shown on consumer credit reports stand at $8.10 trillion, down by $69 billion from their level in the first quarter. Balances on home equity lines of credit (HELOC) also dropped by $5 billion (1.0%) in the second quarter and now stand at $521 billion. Non-housing debt balances increased by 1.9 %, boosted by gains in all categories. Auto loan balances increased by $30 billion; student loan balances increased by $7 billion; credit card balances increased by $10 billion; and other non-housing balances increased by $9 billion.

    Delinquency rates improved across the board in 2014Q2. As of June 30, 6.2% of outstanding debt was in some stage of delinquency, compared with 6.6% in 2014Q1. About . . . . . . .

    Calculated Risk


  20. .

    Pension Smoothing

    Another brain-fart brought to you by the US government.

    Private pensions, those guaranteed by the PBGC have typically been somewhat underfunded therefore the regulations required by the PBGC. If a private company that has been paying for PBGC insurance goes bankrupt, benefits up to a set maximum are guaranteed to be paid by PBGC. If the PBGC runs short of funds to pay out the benefits, there is an implicit guarantee by the government to back up the fund with tax payer dollars.

    While it is true that the private pension funds may be suffering at the moment due to the low interest rate environment, in general corporate profits are high, costs are low, company stock prices are high, and cash reserves are at all time highs. One would think now would be the perfect time for companies to 100% their pension obligations and to make all required payments to PBGC.

    However, some in Congress are proposing reducing the amount that companies have to pay into PBGC so that corporate taxes will go up and help fund needed infrastructure spending. This is merely one more example of why Congressional approval ratings are so low. It's another case of hide the wienie, of robbing Peter to pay Paul. They let the countries infrastructure deteriorate to the level of some third world countries, until the point where it reaches crisis levels, then instead of allocating money to take care of the problem they steel money from a pot that is not in trouble now but very well could be in the future. If this action goes through it's the same as a private company skimming money from their pension fund to pay for a bad investment.

    Naturally, the private companies involved will like it, that is, until the next downturn, the next market crash, the next time things go south, or the next time the PBGC kicks up the premiums they pay in order to recoup money lost by this short-term action.


  21. In ‘worsening situation,’ police defend ‘heavy-handed’ response

    The police chiefs of Ferguson and St. Louis County said Wednesday that race relations were the top priority in the town, where a white police officer fatally shot the black teen. Authorities have vowed to reach across the racial, economic and generational divide in a community in search of answers. A meeting was scheduled for Thursday between civil rights leaders and police.

    Officers from multiple departments in riot gear and in military equipment have clashed nightly with protesters, who chant, "Hands up, don’t shoot." Protesters faced heavily armed police who at times trained weapons on them from armored trucks.

    Two reporters said they were detained by police for not clearing out quickly enough from a McDonald’s where they were working, near the protests but away from the more volatile areas. The two, who work for The Washington Post and The Huffington Post, were released without any charges. Both say they were assaulted but not seriously hurt.

    Among those arrested was St. Louis Alderman Antonio French, who has been chronicling the protests on social media.

    "I think the heavy-handed approach by police is escalating the situation and more people are going to get hurt if this keeps up," French told KMOX Radio.

    1. The Governor has relieved the St. Louis County Cops of duty in Ferguson.

  22. FERGUSON, Mo. -- Gov. Jay Nixon will pull St. Louis County police out of Ferguson after four days of angry protests over the killing of an unarmed black teenager, Sen. Claire McCaskill confirmed on Thursday.

  23. How America’s Police Became an Army: The 1033 Program

    Ferguson’s Police Chief Freaked Out After Finding Out His Cops Arrested Two Reporters

  24. With all the guns floating about the good ole USA you need a militarized police force to keep one up.

    1. There has always been an armed populous in the US, Ash.
      The trend to militarize the police is new.

      You are making excuses for totalitarianism.

    2. Because with the militarization of the local police, added to the practices of the NSA, CIA and the IRS, that is the direction of the trend line, towards totalitarianism.


    3. "What your government did abroad yesterday, it does at home today."

    4. So you are admitting that your murder that you committed abroad for the USA is now happening here?

    5. You have been telling the same lie for what, four or five years, "O"rdure?

      Come up with that reference, why don't you?
      The one no one else could ever find, not even the FBI.

  25. At least someone has caught on to

    U.S.-Israeli relations sink to new low. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a “particularly combative” phone call Wednesday over efforts to secure a lasting peace in Gaza, a sign that relations between the two countries have fallen to a new low, according to a Wall Street Journal report from Jerusalem. White House officials are said to think Netanyahu and his national-security team are both reckless and untrustworthy. The U.S. administration was caught off guard when it learned the Israeli military had been quietly securing tank rounds from the Pentagon during the Gaza conflict.

    1. Where did you get that from Deuce?

    2. Hard to secure a peace with Hamas when Hamas is the Palestinian version of ISIS & committed to the genocide of the Jews.


      Making peace with Islamic Nazis?

      Now that's fiction.

    3. Google ansers. Ash.
      If you really care, look.

    4. I put Deuce's quote into google and nothing obvious came up. Standard practice (old school method of avoiding the charge of plagiarism) is to provide reference when quoting. Hell, you guys have mostly abandoned the use of quotes though Italics do suffice. If for no other reason one should show where you copy and paste from as a courtesy to both the reader and the author.


    6. It is not so easy using an iPhone

  26. Netanyahi is reckless and untrustworthy on his better days.

  27. This should end some careers in The Pentagon.

    1. Obama canceled a shipment of hellfire missiles, and all future arms shipments have to be approved by the White House.

      Obambie is pissed.

    2. Obama supports Hamas, has since before he was elected. No surprise there. But will be more telling is what Obama is doing to the USA, Israel has gotten the message from Obama. He is not trusted.

      But wait a moment…

      America doesn't trust Obama either…


    3. Just in….

      No change in policy on weapons deliveries to Israel, US says

      Without issuing full denial of report that White House ordered halt of delivery of Hellfire missiles, administration officials say claims were a mischaracterization of inter-agency procedure, unchanged policy.

      WASHINGTON — The Obama administration denied on Thursday that it was surprised by the processing of a munitions delivery by the Pentagon to Israel during its operation in Gaza last month.

      Without issuing a full-throated denial of a report that the White House issued a halt on the delivery of Hellfire missiles, administration officials said the claims, first surfacing in the Wall Street Journal, were a mischaracterization of inter-agency procedure, and of a policy unchanged.

      Hardy har har...

    4. How come you guys don't reference your cut and pastes?

    5. Deuce ☂Thu Aug 14, 03:34:00 PM EDT
      This should end some careers in The Pentagon.

      Actually that by it's self should be an interesting thread, the number of top generals and associated brass obama has gutted in the last 20 months...

    6. "O"rdure has a blog, two of them, actually.

      If "O"rdure is really who he claims to be.

      To verify his claims, to authenticate them how about this ...

      A DOUBLE DOG DARE "O"rdure to post a thread on that subject, on both.

      Get back to us "O"rdure when it is done.

    7. An unreferenced cut and past by you WiO suggests it came from DEBKAFILE..

    8. ash, thanks for the complement

      but if you googled just a few of the lines you'd find it was easy to spot..

      man you draft dodgers are lazy..

    9. in case you missed it above:

      "I put Deuce's quote into google and nothing obvious came up. Standard practice (old school method of avoiding the charge of plagiarism) is to provide reference when quoting. Hell, you guys have mostly abandoned the use of quotes though Italics do suffice. If for no other reason one should show where you copy and paste from as a courtesy to both the reader and the author."

    10. It was not the JPost, you lying Zionist.

  28. .

    Israel is our most reliable ally in the ME.

    Well, reliable in the sense that nothing they do surprises.


    1. I guess, by your standards, you see no difference in living in Egypt, Jordan, Arabia, Yemen, Sudan or Israel.

      That speaks volumes about you.

    2. No, it speaks volumes about ALL those Semites.

    3. Your people chose their ethnicity, "Ordure, against all science, they made theirr choice clear.

      You made your own bed, enjoy it.

    4. My "bed" is just fine.

      Now your choices? Being a self confessed murderer of civilians in Central America? To stand with Hamas? To denigrate and libel Jews, Zionism and Israel every chance you get?

      Your bed is made. We all KNOW you for what you are….

      A bitter old, jew hating, criminal…

      Happy Trails Pseudo Cowboy….

    5. More lies about shit you can never reference, does nothing for your credibility.

      As for you disdain for isreal being compared to other Semitic countries, well, that is the bed your people have made, the ghetto you folks have moved to.

      Enjoy it.

    6. I notice you still have not made those blog entries, "O"rdure.

      Why not?
      Was it not a subject you thought important?

      Or are you a fraud that cannot post a thread, on blogs you claim are yours?

    7. I don't jump thru your hoops, nor am I a puppet on your your string…

      If I choose to post something on my blogs I will.

      Trust me trying to prove anything to you is not worth my spit.

    8. Farmer RobThu Aug 14, 05:28:00 PM EDT
      More lies about shit you can never reference, does nothing for your credibility.

      This coming from YOU?


    9. Yep, coming from me, you are liar.
      A contributor that cannot back up his bull shit.

      Lies from the liar, that is all that is expected from "O"rdure ...
      You never fail to meet expectations

    10. You? Mr man of 100 names?

      Man of invented history?

      Man who lies, distorts, slanders and misdirects?

      Fuck you...


  29. BAGHDAD (AP) — Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq's prime minister for the past eight years, says he is relinquishing the post to fellow Dawa Party member Haider al-Abadi.

    Al-Maliki says his decision is based on his desire to "safeguard the high interests of the country," adding that he will not be the cause of any bloodshed.

    "I will stay a combat soldier to defend Iraq and its people," he added in the televised address late Thursday, with al-Abadi standing by his side.

    Iraq's President Fouad Massoum named al-Abadi on Monday to form the next government, but al-Maliki had until now refused to step aside.

    Stepping Down


    Police Militarization Is a Problem the Left and Right Can Agree About — and Solve

    By Benjamin Wallace-WellsFollow @benwallacewells

    The outrage over the shooting death of Michael Brown escalated in part because of a sense that nothing had changed, that police officers were still operating in minority communities with a wantonness and brutality that belonged to another era.

    But over the past two days — as the police in Ferguson have responded to very angry protests with an alarmingly heavy hand, looking and reacting as if they were not the community's own peace officers but an invading army — something remarkable has happened. The longstanding liberal concerns about police racial hostility has seemed to merge with the longstanding libertarian concerns over police militarization. It isn't just that no one is defending the cops. It's that many of the criticisms from the left and the right sound very similar.

    "We need to demilitarize this situation" is how Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill's statement began this morning. The whole piece sounded awfully similar to Senator Rand Paul's op-ed, which appeared a little bit later under the headline, "We Must De-Militarize the police."

    Kevin D. Williamson, the roving correspondent for the conservative journal National Review, wrote from Ferguson this morning of "ridiculously militarized suburban police ... pointing rifles at people from atop armored cars, i.e. the worst sort of mall ninjas." (This is the same Kevin D. Williamson who compared a black child to a primate 24 hours earlier.) In a similar vein, the liberal MSNBC host Chris Hayes introduced a segment on police militarization on his show last night by mentioning the surreal fact that the police — in a suburban setting, not a jungle, were wearing camouflage: "What exactly are they trying to camouflage into?"

    By no means has every conservative been outraged by the police response in Ferguson. On Fox News this morning, the story was still that the protestors threw Molotov cocktails, and the police responded. But the argument against a militarized police is a longstanding libertarian concern, whose most dogged journalistic proponent has been the libertarian Radley Balko, author of The Rise of the Warrior Cop. Just as notably, the conservative perspective on law and order has been subtly changing, most obviously in the strengthening conservative enthusiasm for reforming prison sentencing, a cause embraced not only by libertarians like Mike Lee and Rand Paul but also by more conventional Republicans like Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan.

  31. from Juan Cole:

    Al-Abadi appears to believe that the army needs to be bolstered by “international” troops to take Tikrit. It seems a little unlikely that the international community will actually send combat troops to Iraq, at least unless Baghdad looks as though it is about to fall. Though, Australia’s far-right wing prime minister seems prepared for this possibility. British special operations forces, SAS, have arrived in Iraq and there are about 1,000 US special operations personnel in country now. Perhaps it is to these small contingents that al-Abadi is referring when he says “international forces.” A few special operations warriors go a long way, since they can paint lasers on targets for precision air strikes (and perhaps al-Abadi is thinking of US and other close air support for his army in its next push on Tikrit.)
    It seems to me remarkable that al-Abadi is speaking in this way, of recognizing that the Iraqi army (which he says he wants to rebuild) is inadequate. His Da’wa Party had been a form of Shiite fundamentalism seeking an Islamic state itself. It was so anti-imperial in the 1980s that it targeted the US and French embassies in Kuwait, and in Lebanon helped form Hizbullah. Now the party’s prime minister openly speaks of bringing international troops into the country to help recover the last Sunni Arab regions.
    Polling shows that the US public is OK with using the air force in Iraq to supply the Yezidis or bomb IS positions, but they emphatically do not want war-fighting boots on the ground.

  32. The outrage in Ferguson is understandable—though there is never an excuse for rioting or looting. There is a legitimate role for the police to keep the peace, but there should be a difference between a police response and a military response.

    The images and scenes we continue to see in Ferguson resemble war more than traditional police action….

    There is a systemic problem with today’s law enforcement.

    Not surprisingly, big government has been at the heart of the problem. Washington has incentivized the militarization of local police precincts by using federal dollars to help municipal governments build what are essentially small armies—where police departments compete to acquire military gear that goes far beyond what most of Americans think of as law enforcement….

    When you couple this militarization of law enforcement with an erosion of civil liberties and due process that allows the police to become judge and jury—national security letters, no-knock searches, broad general warrants, pre-conviction forfeiture—we begin to have a very serious problem on our hands.

    Given these developments, it is almost impossible for many Americans not to feel like their government is targeting them. Given the racial disparities in our criminal justice system, it is impossible for African-Americans not to feel like their government is particularly targeting them.

    This is part of the anguish we are seeing in the tragic events outside of St. Louis, Missouri….

    Anyone who thinks that race does not still, even if inadvertently, skew the application of criminal justice in this country is just not paying close enough attention. Our prisons are full of black and brown men and women who are serving inappropriately long and harsh sentences for non-violent mistakes in their youth.

  33. The "Real" problem in Ferguson is that the police, and DA, are not forthcoming on "who did what to whom."

    This information is supposed to be Public Record.

    If I were a citizen of Ferguson, I would assume (with good reason) that the police, and DA, were going to "cover up, and whitewash" the killing. I would be pissed, too.

  34. .

    WASHINGTON — The Obama administration denied on Thursday that it was surprised by the processing of a munitions delivery by the Pentagon to Israel during its operation in Gaza last month.

    Plugging those lines into google the first url that pops up is from the JP 4 hours ago.

    The story is chocked full of diplomatic bullshit from both sides saying how both much they like each other. Most of it is just trinkets for the natives. However, if you read it carefully and can decipher a couple of weasel worded comments, like those by the State Departments spokesperson Marie Harf you get the feeling the real relationship isn't going all that swimmingly.

    From this story, I can't tell when Israel will get their missiles.


    1. When Israel makes them.... Then sells them to whomever wants them... Then America will come and say no don't sell those, here we will help, we want to BUY in to control you...

      But this time? Israel may say no thank you...

      I hope.

    2. Hope does not bring Change, "O"rdure

  35. We knocked off another couple of ISIS armored vehicles, today. drip. drip.

  36. Exploiting the ISIS Vulnerabilities in Iraq
    The terrorists' heavy military equipment is hard to maintain, easy to target from the air.

    Yet ISIS is not nearly so invincible as its weaponry and territorial gains have made it seem. The terror group has clear vulnerabilities that the U.S., working with Kurdish Peshmerga militia and Iraqi forces on the ground, can exploit. In particular, U.S. airstrikes can negate or degrade the terrorist group's military capabilities and supply lines.

    The first ISIS vulnerability is their weaponry. After U.S. military forces withdrew from Iraq at the end of 2011, U.S. contractors performed maintenance on the equipment left behind. Those contractors are no longer in the country.

    Today, we estimate that ISIS has less than a total of 30 working M1 Abrams tanks and howitzers that are either self-propelled or towed behind trucks (based on our knowledge of how the Iraqi army is equipped and what divisions were in the north). These are the weapons that gave the Islamic State the advantage over the Peshmerga in recent firefights. Yet ISIS does not have the highly trained maintenance crews that are necessary to keep these weapons in good working order. The same problem exists for its armored Humvees and Mine Resistant Ambush Protected personnel carriers. Without maintenance, these captured U.S. vehicles and weapons will break down.

    The ISIS stock of Russian-made equipment, most of it confiscated from the Syrian and more recently the Iraqi military, requires less maintenance and can withstand the heat and the sand. The terror group has vehicle-mounted anti-aircraft weapons like the ZPU-4 and DShK—heavy machine guns mounted on pickup trucks. They are effective against low-flying, rotary-winged aircraft and ground targets. But they can be tracked and destroyed by U.S. fighter jets flying at higher altitudes.

    ISIS does have some Russian-made, shoulder-fired systems that can take out transport aircraft and helicopters, but it did not capture any equipment with the capability to shoot down U.S. fighter jets (because the U.S. didn't give the Iraqi Army such weaponry). The heat and image signatures for U.S. and Russian equipment are well known to American fighter pilots and most, if not all, of the heavy weapons systems remaining in Iraq can be easily destroyed from the air.

    The U.S. should also supply the Kurdish militias with anti-armor weapons and heavy machine guns. These will enable the Peshmerga to destroy captured U.S. armored vehicles and suppress ISIS fighters. The absence of such weaponry prevented the Peshmerga from retaking Sinjar—the city that ISIS sacked in the past 10 days, driving as many as 40,000 of its Yazidi minority population to seek refuge atop a desolate mountain.

    The Peshmerga do have an arsenal of inferior, dated Russian equipment—mainly old battle tanks and towed-artillery pieces in the contiguous Kurdish territories. Most of it was captured from the Saddam Hussein era. But the Peshmerga cannot move this weaponry to Sinjar without exposing it to attack by ISIS.

    The other side of the coin is that the Islamic State's supply and support lines from Sinjar to Mosul are open to U.S. airstrikes. Protecting the supply lines of the Peshmerga and cutting off ISIS supply lines by U.S. air power would enable the Peshmerga to retake ISIS-controlled territories.

  37. US Central Command said drones and fighter jets took part in the latest strikes, the first at 1505 GMT to take out two armed trucks that had been firing on Kurdish forces.

    The second strike took place just over 30 minutes later, targeting an MRAP -- a heavy armored truck of the type supplied by Washington to Iraqi forces and presumably captured by IS forces in recent months.

    "All aircraft exited the strike area safely," Centcom said.


  38. Looks like a big difference in Ferguson, Mo, tonight.

    State Highway Patrol in charge.

    Goodbye assholes, hello Professionals

  39. Just looking at the photos of those paranoid asshole cops in combat gear, with assault rifles and helmets and it makes you sick. WTF

  40. Active duty civilian cops have no business being in either the Guard or the reserves. It is insane.

  41. I am not sure how many posts and comments I’ve put up on this subject, let’s just say a lot. Reason has been a standard bearer against this needless and idiotic militarization of US police. This is the latest

    In June, the House of Representatives voted on a series of amendments to H.R. 4435, the National Defense Authorization Act. Among the amendments was one by Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) which would’ve prohibited funds from being used to transfer certain kinds of military surplus to local police departments. The amendment failed by a wide margin, with only 62 votes for and 355 against.

    Among those voting against this bill, which would slow down the militarization of America’s police forces, was Rep. Lacy Clay (D-Mo.), whose district includes Ferguson, Missouri, where many Americans have gotten their first glimpse of America’s militarized police in action.

    House leadership on both sides also voted against it, including Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Eric Cantor (R-Va.), and Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)

    Supporters of the amendment include the usual civil libertarian suspects, such as Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), who called attention to this vote on Twitter earlier today, John Conyers (D-Mich.), Rush Holt (D-NJ), Walter Jones (R-NC), Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), John Lewis (D-Ga.), who nevertheless called for martial law in Ferguson, Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), and Mark Sanford (R-SC). Fourteen other Republicans and 43 other Democrats voted for the amendment.

    There were a handful of members of Congress who didn’t vote, including Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.)

    See how your representative voted here.

    Here is a transcript of Rep. Grayson's argument in favor of his amendment before the vote killed it:

    Madam Chair, you may recall, yesterday, I gave an impassioned plea in favor of a different version of this amendment, which was ruled out of order. I am hoping for a better result tonight; but in any event, there is only so much passion in the world, so I will keep my remarks short.

    I rise today to address a growing problem throughout our country, which is the militarization of local law enforcement agencies. The New York Times recently reported that police departments have received thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment and hundreds of silencers, armored cars, and aircraft directly from the Department of Defense. These are military weapons. I think this is appalling. That is why my amendment would prohibit the Department of Defense from gifting excess equipment, such as aircraft--including drones--armored vehicles, grenade launchers, silencers, and bombs to local police departments. Those weapons have no place in our streets, regardless of who may be deploying them. As The New York Times article ``War Gear Flows to Police Departments'' explains:

    Police SWAT teams are now deployed tens of thousands of times each year, increasingly for routine jobs. Masked, heavily armed police officers in Louisiana raided a nightclub in 2006 as part of a liquor inspection. In Florida in 2010, officers in SWAT gear and with guns drawn carried out raids on barbershops that mostly led only to charges of ``barbering without a license.''
    One South Carolina sheriff's department now takes a new tank that it received from the Department of Defense with a mounted .50-caliber gun to schools and community events. The department's spokesman calls that tank a ``conversation starter.'' I don't think this is the way I want my America to be. I think we should help our police act like public servants, not like warriors at war.

    I think we should facilitate a view of America where the streets are safe and they don't resemble a war zone, no matter who is deploying that equipment. We don't want America to look like an occupied territory. I hope for the support of my colleagues, and I reserve the balance of my time.

  42. The District Attorney (who will have to be the one to prosecute the case) is all pissed off that the Governor stood the local Swat Team down, and brought in the State Police. Holy Moly

  43. I put up another post with the video of the local cops dressed up as Rambo gassing a camera crew and then trying to cover the whole thing up until they notice that another crew is recording everything.