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View Diary: It's Happened: Paramilitary Police vs Civilians in Anaheim (272 comments)

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  •  How is this his fault? (11+ / 0-)

    The militarization of our police forces has been ongoing for the better part of two decades now and has been driven by far too many factors to attribute to just one person or even one idea. It's also base on a host of current laws and funding measures that police departments depend on to keep the lights on for all those things that we agree police should be doing, i.e., tracking down and arresting actual criminals like robbers and murderers.

    But for many reasons (and the relatively recent "anti-terrorism" push is just the latest) funding for basic police functions has been tied to a lot of other funding that includes these large-scale purchases of equipment. Of course, once you have this stuff, the temptation to use it (even when the justification for doing so is paper-thin) is overwhelming. "Well Sarge, it looks like we could have a riot down at that protest, so we'd better break out the riot gear just to be on the safe side." So out comes the paramilitary gear that's been sold to them (at least partially to backstop the bottom lines of defense contractors, which is why this stuff is all basically slightly outmoded military gear, like the Interceptor vests) and the boys get to take the new toys out for a spin.

    It's also perfectly in line with the police mindset; be prepared for the absolute worst scenario so that if it happens no one can blame you for not being prepared. After all, think about what happens in the wake of every violent incident that occurs while the police are nearby; if they don't stop it entirely (whether that was actually possible or not) they get blamed for it even if they're not actually involved themselves. It does breed a very "lock it all down" attitude that I know well from my friends who are or have been cops. They firmly believe in preventing trouble by doing things like showing up in full riot gear to a protest that, unless confronted by what looks like a threat (i.e., policepeople so covered in military gear they look like soldiers, which always looks like a threat when they're facing you) probably wouldn't get anywhere close to violence.

    The point is that you don't need to read a conspiracy theory into the situation to understand it or the actions and motivations of everyone involved. It's both simpler and more complex than that. Simpler in that this is a perfectly predictable set of actions both from protestors and the police that needs nothing further to explain ti directly. More complex in that the reasons for the overall trend toward militarizing our police are nothing so simple as an ongoing conspiracy to create a police state.

    I understand what the diarist was trying to do here, and the vigilance of us all is the only thing that keeps (and has always kept) those who currently run the government at any level from doing whatever they like. But we are supposed to be the fact-based, rational, intelligent part of the electorate here in the Progressive blogosphere. Carelessly throwing out accusations that the military is operating on the streets in Anaheim (in contravention of the Constitution, the Posse Comitatus Act and a host of other federal and state laws) is not the way to stick to fact and reason. We all need to be more careful in reviewing facts and evidence before we make charges that can easily be proven incorrect so easily.

    Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory, tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. Sun Tzu The Art of War

    by Stwriley on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 06:23:23 AM PDT

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    •  very detailed post (10+ / 0-)

      I appreciate all the points you make, my only criticism is you felt I was saying all of this was Obama's fault.  Of course that is not true. What I meant to say is that on this and so many other frightening devopments in American society- the assault on labor being another major issue, Obama has put up little, if any, fight on the behalf of the people who elected him.  Of course, now that he has an election coming up, the progressive Obama we all thought we voted for in 2008 has suddenly sprung back to life, after a 3 year absence.  Sorry to call me just a tad skeptical of the sincerity of this.

      •  Wow! Now how about the most obstructionist (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        high uintas, reginahny, emelyn, Quicklund

        Congress in history? How about us the citizens who either voted for Republicans or stayed at home in 2010, resulting in giving the obstructionist even more power to obstruct. Yeah, a lot of things to do, but how does he get it done. We have to take responsibility for being so gullible and impatient, giving up on Obama. Now see what that impatience got us?. Next time, think about the consequences and not ignore the real reasons Obama didn't do all we wanted and CORRECTED ALL in the first 2 years.despite all the obstruction. When will WE take responsibility?

      •  Can't blame you for that... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        reginahny, WaryLiberal

        I've felt it enough myself. I certainly won't say that I'm happy with the President's record on everything, but I also knew I was getting a centrist who might have enough Roosevelt in him to rise to greatness; I haven't seen it yet, but he still might make it.

        Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory, tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. Sun Tzu The Art of War

        by Stwriley on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 07:09:42 AM PDT

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    •  How is it his fault? Money. (7+ / 0-)

      Obama does have considerable influence in the budgeting process.  The DHS budget is now up to about $60 billion.  How much of that is for things like FEMA, and how much of it is for grants toward the purchase of fancy boats, tanks, or military weaponry  for local police departments?  It looks to me like DHS has a big part in the militarization of the police in this country, through their "anti-terrorism" efforts that look a lot more like citizen suppression than protection from terrorism.

      I am become Man, the destroyer of worlds

      by tle on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 06:50:36 AM PDT

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      •  That's just the latest wave of funding. (4+ / 0-)

        The real culprit in the militarization of police departments has been the "War on Drugs" and the funding shoveled into local departments as asset seizures and grants for interdiction and eradication efforts. The way the entire thing has been structured, it practically guaranteed that police departments would buy increasingly militarized gear (helicopters, semi-automatic handguns and assault rifles were the first steps, but those are so common now they're often overlooked) and made the departments' funding dependent on the entire enterprise continuing. Funneling some DHS funding into that certainly made the situation worse (or better, if you're a defense contractor and this all helps pad you bottom line) but it's sort of like calling someone an arsonist because they toss a blazing torch into a fully-engulfed building.

        Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory, tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. Sun Tzu The Art of War

        by Stwriley on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 07:05:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yep. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Stwriley

          You're certainly right about that.

          I remember reading The Underground Empire, particularly one little anecdote.  When Bob Graham was a US Senator, he visited Columbia to promote the drug war.  As he landed at the airport, another plane was taking off in full view of the Columbians.  Loaded with cocaine.

          Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

          I am become Man, the destroyer of worlds

          by tle on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 02:31:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  This would make a good diary. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      highacidity, Stwriley, fuzzyguy

      Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

      by Wee Mama on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 06:54:26 AM PDT

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    •  You make some good points, but this is still true (7+ / 0-)
      the militarization of the civilian police is accelerating on his watch.

      How did Supreme Court decision ACA help the 23 million still uncovered? Ask the 18,000 Doctors of PNHP -- they're not waiting, FORWARD now to pass H.R. 676, the “Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act .

      by divineorder on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 07:01:15 AM PDT

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      •  Partially because of Federal funding (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Stwriley, ballerina X, divineorder

        that he is trying to shift to police as stimulus. He can give them $$s but can't tell them how to spend it.

        "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

        by high uintas on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 07:11:07 AM PDT

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        •  Love to see a link for that, thanks. (0+ / 0-)

          How did Supreme Court decision ACA help the 23 million still uncovered? Ask the 18,000 Doctors of PNHP -- they're not waiting, FORWARD now to pass H.R. 676, the “Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act .

          by divineorder on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 08:18:21 AM PDT

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        •  Not quite. (5+ / 0-)
          that he is trying to shift to police as stimulus. He can give them $$s but can't tell them how to spend it.
          Many of the "grants" given by the Fed have to be spent for specific types of gear and not on general funding for things like detectives or expansion of white collar crimes divisions. Take a look at Montgomery County in TX for examples of police who get grants and buy drones, but can't afford detectives and white collar crimes investigations. The funding by the Fed is fairly specific in the grants given to local PDs. Obama is the executive. The DHS answers to him. Obama could change some of this if that was his desire.
    •  "Accelerating on his watch" != "his fault" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WaryLiberal

      Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

      by Robobagpiper on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 07:32:53 AM PDT

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      •  Poster says WHAT!?! (0+ / 0-)

        If it's not his fault, whose is it? While I'm not naive enough to think that he can realistically write an email to somebody and have the entire funding program cancelled, he sure as hell can make sure it's not being expanded.

        As multiple other posters have noted, this level of militarization of our local police is directly paid for and inspired by the Federal government, and in particular via the War on Drugs. Police departments get grants to buy these sorts of toys and to establish SWAT teams, but not to hire additional beat cops, forensic technicians, and the like.

        Like it or not, this looks a whole lot like an effort to provide an intimidating police force that answers in a significant way to the Federal government, and that can be called out on central orders as part of a national campaign to suppress dissent.

        •  I am distinguishing between partial and (0+ / 0-)

          sole responsibility. Upthread, it was lamented that this trend accelerated under Obama's watch. The person who lamented this replied with "how is this his fault?".

          I am merely pointing out that citing a President for partial responsibility for a long trend is not the same thing as assigning him the bulk, or entirety, of the blame.

          Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

          by Robobagpiper on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 10:48:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Black books during Katrina = Blackwater test. (0+ / 0-)

      STOP the spread of this insanity NOW people.
      Get involved with your local governments.
      Speak out.

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