consultants are sandburs

Monday, August 18, 2014

Who are these people. Do they belong in the "first world?"

This link. How many foodstamps, how many Pell grants, how many social security checks do you see in that photograph?

It is not Meals on Wheels making a retirement home delivery.

UPDATE: AP, carried by Strib, source of that photo, here:

A report by the American Civil Liberties Union in June said police agencies had become "excessively militarized," with officers using training and equipment designed for the battlefield on city streets. The report found the amount of goods transferred through the military surplus program rose in value from $1 million in 1990 to nearly $450 million in 2013.

"Every police force of any size in this country has access to those kinds of weapons now," said David Harris, a police expert at the University of Pittsburgh law school. "It makes it more likely to be used (and) is an escalation all by itself."

In Louisiana, masked police in full body armor carrying AR-15 assault rifles raided a nightclub without a warrant, looking not for terrorists but underage drinkers and fire-code violations.

Four hundred fifty million dollars is a massive amount of transfer payment money. If it's not "transfer payments" then what is it? Just, not those traditional transfer payment beneficiaries benefiting. Hardly.

UPDATE: In all the multi-million dollar free goods going to domestic control effort; what in the world is wrong with buying relatively inexpensive wearable cameras and making the perps in blue document things beyond their inexact and sometimes wrongly incentivized recollections in testimony? Objectivity never can hurt. It can only help civil society to remain civil in terms of the empowered and the rest of us. Look how it helped the Rodney King truth to prevail. Over those vague and wrongly incentivized testimonial recollections of events that become easily fictionalized or at least stretched from actual reality to justify the testifying witness. Sen. Rand, here. Demilitarize our policy, domestic and abroad? He seems to favor both, and it seems to make sense to many in our nation. While a break from recent trends, making sense - that way or otherwise, is not a bad thing.

NY Times. AND FURTHER UPDATE: Here. Not enough quality income among civilians for retirement savings; citizens kept on tenderhooks at near poverty levels and rates; yet if the millions went to higher Social Security payments and more food stamps and medical pharmaceuticals aid instead of for military equipment passed on to cops not suitable for using it, the multiplier effect, people buying civilian goods vs military goods, butter instead of guns in Econ 101 terms, is how getting out of the depression into something more like prosperity can be fostered.

Surplus out war goods, then start another war and military goods will be needed, right? It's downright stupid, and the lesson of Iraq and Afghanistan should be to downsize ground forces since airstrikes is the wave of the future.

Grunts do not fly drones.

Worth observing, the tattoos on some of the Ferguson crowd; spending money on getting inked? That's stupid as well as wasteful. Body art is a luxury good, not a necessity, so what's in people's minds that way?

FURTHER: Bloomberg, maps and a chart. The "white flight" story is in the maps.

MORE: Economist. Again.

LAST: Saying, "I am not a racist and neither is the majority of Americans," does not magically make it true.

WELL, ONE MORE: LA Times, this ending quote:

Adding to the frustration, many protesters say, is that the people still running many of these towns don't much look like the people who live there now. Just three of Ferguson's 53 police officers are African American. Six of seven City Council members are white. So are six of the seven school board members, who run a district with a student body that's 78% black.

Many of these towns are still run "like little fiefdoms" by remnants of their old white middle class that may not share the concerns of newcomers, said Umana, who moved to Ferguson eight years ago.

"The numbers flip-flopped, but the power structure remained the same," he said.

It has been hard to build black political leadership in these fast-changing suburbs, said Mike Jones, an African American veteran of St. Louis' political scene. Indeed, it's been harder than in St. Louis, which has long been racially mixed.

But a more diverse set of voices at Ferguson City Hall, Jones said, might have avoided the heavy-handed police response that only inflamed protests.
lRelated Some warn that Gov. Jay Nixon's curfew for Ferguson, Mo., may backfire

"The question is how — in a city that's 67% African American — do you have absolutely no African American political representation?" Jones asked. "That's what leads you to a police force that could become involved in this sort of incident."

More LA Times.

ONE MORE, STILL: Rick Bergman, a friend in Seattle, sent this Guardian link by the head of police crowd control effort during the WTO - Battle of Seattle. Aimed lessons-learned retrospective advice for prospective Ferguson, MO, as it is and will continue to be:

First, leaders in Ferguson need to put together a large, representative, credible crisis team to work with the police, communicate systematically with the community and, most importantly, elicit grassroots suggestions for resolution of the conflict. While some leaders have already tried to do this on an ad hoc basis, their work needs to be institutionalized and expanded to include others.

Thereafter, the city or state government should convene a group of citizens, officers, politicians and civic leaders to craft and quickly implement a statement of non-negotiable standards for the performance and conduct of each and every police officer: for example, any officer should be fired if found to be using racial or ethnic slurs or excessive force. Those local officials should create a citizens’ review board (and a process for filling it) and give it investigative authority and subpoena powers, rather than rely on the local prosecutor and police to investigate their friends and colleagues – rather than just waiting around for the US Department of Justice and FBI to complete their own independent investigations.

The Ferguson police department’s disciplinary system will need to be overhauled – with the oversight of the citizens’ review board – to created a dual-track system for police offenders: those found through an independent investigation to have made honest mistakes or have “routine” performance problems should be subject to corrective action (coaching, counseling, schooling); and those found to have engaged in willful misconduct, gross negligence or recklessness should be subject to punitive actions (up through and including dismissal and, in appropriate cases, criminal prosecution).

Meanwhile, the police department needs to immediately begin a process of demilitarization and replace the military model with a community policing model. As part of that, they should adopt the “Memphis model” of crisis intervention – requiring every employee to undergo a week of intensive training in defusing and de-escalation techniques conducted by mental health and communications experts. And they need to prohibit Swat operations for anything other than school shootings, armed hostage situations and other immediate crises when negotiations fail and lives are at stake. So should every police department in America.

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