Praise the Lord: Obama will restrict grenade launchers and weaponized aircraft given to the Po-Lice!

From CNN: 

We’re safe!  The truth is, he’ll refuse them MRAPS on tracks, but the ones one wheels aren’t all that big a deal, anyway, are they?  And anything less than 50 caliber ammo ain’t all that life-threatening, according to him.  In his speech in Camden, NY,an hour ago, he said he reckons that military gear just might give citizens the wrong message.  Police forces need to be seen as protecting and serving communities, not looking like occupying forces!

But fuck yeah!  He sees Camden as a great example of the success of his 21st Century Policing Task Force Stuff, and he’s doing happy dances over the fact that cops are walkin’ beats and doin’ volunteer work.  They’re sincerely repairing community relations.

Of course, departments can still buy all that shit on their own, but the days of Free tanks on tracks and grenade launchers are over!  Hooray and booyah!

Via a leak by The Unknown Blogger who we assume was wearing her signature shopping bag with eye and mouth holes cut out:

“I heard the President whisper that some Police Chiefs said in the new report that they won’t even issue bullets to some of their most dangerous cops!

barney fifeThank you, Mr. President!  Thank you!

28 responses to “Praise the Lord: Obama will restrict grenade launchers and weaponized aircraft given to the Po-Lice!

  1. and for posterity, and for those who haven’t seen that tarheeldem had added it the other day, shaun king’s
    Let’s stop saying bad police officers are rare. Fact is they’re plentiful from coast to coast

    it’s long, and an incredibly dark and necessary piece of journalism.

    Breaking, and after reading it, all i can say is: Wow. ‘<strong>No charges filed in police shooting of VonDerrit Myers Jr., investigation differs with police on key points and raises case of mistaken identity’

    The Case of the Evolving and Disappearing Evidence. Officer Flanery is doing fine, and continues to Serve and Protect.

  2. Our infamous Sheriff Joe Arpaio is crying in his beer, again.

    • as in: ‘The Rift’? now see, his department is another one that’s been so busy jailing and deporting folks from the south not in possession of green cards that serious crimes have not been solved. who in hell, and how, will the morbid police culture there ever change? i just grabbed this piece, as i haven’t kept up with his contempt of court drama.

      srsly, i wrote about arpaio what…six years ago? and obama said about five years ago that HIS doj would take care of THAT racist mofo (or was it more inflammatory than that; i’ve forgotten…)

      ‘america’s favorite sheriff’, indeed. good people, joe is. (good to mop the floor with, as they say)

  3. Wendy,
    Sheriff Arpaio has court date next month or early June, and from that the Federal Judge will decide if the Sheriff is guilty of “civil contempt” and yet, Arpaio has admitted as such. Therefore, the Federal Judge will have to decide whether the Sheriff’s behavior and statement rise to the level of “criminal contempt.” If so, the Judge renders his decision accordingly, and then submits all data to the DOJ, and consequently, the DOJ conducts its investigation and possibly followed by a trial.

    And to date, there hasn’t been one Republican Elected Official to “speak out” against the Sheriff. Alas, the Republicans are in great support of Arpaio for escalating the racism in Arizona.

    • realizing that you are a rather devoted dem, jaango, how many dems have called him out forcefully? they used to be sparse, and i remember vividly that janet napolitano stood on stage with him in one of his announcements to run again for sheriff, not that it means *all* dems have been chicken livers, of course.

      but my stars, the man could be dead by the time all of that runs its course, no?

  4. It is interesting what happens when you start taking away the police’s toys and muscle cars. They get all bent out of shape. Meanwhile in the UK, the police told Cameron that if there is more austerity in UK police departments, the police will “be forced” to use paramilitary tactics. This from the folks who only a little while ago were noted for carrying only a billy club. But in the US, where the police adopted paramilitary tactics when they set up SWAT teams, they are going nuts because the President wants to take away their artillery and armor and air force.

    In tangentially related news, I was in South Carolina this weekend at a barbecue for high school class reunion. And to find out what is going on there these days. One big change. The legislature changed the price of a distillery license from $50,000 to $50. That has created a boom in startup microdistilleries all over the state (quite a reversal from when the churches opposed liquor by the drink.) So everyone has a startup “moonshine dispensary” of wildly varying quality but with some sort of moonshine motif container, including Mason jars. No doubt everyone is thinking of the tourist trade; sip rotgut and take home the Sandlapper Moonshine Distillery glass Mason jar for your conversation piece. Nonetheless, I think it ended the radiator shop side businesses there; those guys can be legal distillery suppliers now.

    Another trend. Signs for 11pm curfew at public housing. Deteriorating towns, privatized water systems. The economy is still hammered there.

    Another trend. Local tourism facilities that serve stuff in such a way as to avoid the regulations requiring them to have restrooms. There was a huge ice cream shop by a peach orchard on a relatively busy tourist highway with zero rest rooms. (The ghost of “Men” “Women” “Colored” seemed to hang in the air.) Motorcycle clubs out in the spring weather burning up this highway and the mountain roads as well.

    As I understand it, it is some of the exurban and suburban police departments that have acquired military gear.

    In travelling back we took a route through the small towns of the Piedmont Crescent (Charlotte to Raleigh) — the old textile and furniture manufacturing belt. There were a couple of heavy equipment military surplus places — mostly construction equipment and pontoons.

    And in Richard Petty country, there is the area of gun and pawn shops. So it appears that firearms have become a functional form of asset to use for securing loans.

    As usual with Obama, half-measure but still enough to get the hornets swarming.

    • with all due respect, this isn’t a half-measure, it’s another obama con to satisfy the Dem base and ‘The Negroes’, imo. he didn’t create an EO to limit PDs purchasing the same hardware, nor did he really speak to the culture of police violence that will be all but impossible to undermine, save for the things we’ve spoken about before.

      all of the carolinas zeitgeist you’re reporting is very on topic, and would remind me of this county except for the ‘no bathrooms available’ reminders of ‘no coloreds allowed’. here, the utes, especially, but all first americans, are the n*iggers now, and although our neighborhood had several now reportedly kkk members, i’d wager none of them had ever traveled far enough to have even *met* a black person. srsly. but oh, they *knew*…of hoods and robes, of course, and: America.

      way back before i had a car, i was on the edge of town walking back home down the canyon, carrying our adopted black/azteca son in my snuggli. a ragged child came up to me and asked what i was doin’ totin’ that nigger baby. ooof. *she knew*, as well. and no, it didn’t get all that better, contrary to the mytholoogy. i am sometimes haunted with the question of whether or not we should have adopted multi-racial chirren.

      but on to the reductions of distillery licenses. of course, during depressions and recessions, alcohol sales soar, so: taxation, yes? but hell, i hope they legalize cannabis along the way; at least it has plenty of medicinal value as well.

      geographically challenged as always, and forgetting you’d noted ‘charlotte to raleigh’ as in; NC, i looked it up wondering if you’d been speaking of the SC low country, home of pat conroy stories. but no, this:

      “I-85 Corridor megalopolis (also known as the “I-85 Boombelt”) that extends from the Raleigh area [1]) to Atlanta, Georgia in the southeastern United States”, and an indigenous path pre-european ‘settlers’ (ha! )i think the wiki said.

      i can’t speak to the pawn shop gun collateral here, but not long ago the gun shops couldn’t keep up with the demand.

      very interesting about the UK and austerity threats for police militarization; it seems to be afoot globally. of course, the imf in its faux-wisdom, warned of the same thing several years ago, didn’t they?

      and on those lines: ‘Senate Democrats Work with Republicans to Throw Medicare Under the Bus as Part of TPP Fast Track Sausage-Making’, by L. Strether, NC.

  5. Quotes from qz.com :

    police officers will not be able to obtain “[tracked] armored vehicles, weaponized aircraft and vehicles, bayonets, grenade launchers, and large-caliber firearms” through federal swap programs.

    No more NEW bayonets for the police. Jeez what a meanie! /s
    Of course,

    There is an exception: Law enforcement agencies that meet certain standards for training—including policies in place for better relations with their communities—will be able to obtain certain controlled surplus items. And that list includes lots of equipment that might still concern critics of law enforcement militarization, including armored personnel carriers, all-terrain vehicle, and drones.

    No hint of performance requirements. So, maybe in a few of years, with lots of new training and policies that will occur under the consent decree, APD could get drones (or shiny bayonets!) even though they committed one-fifth (1/5) of all ABQ homicides last year. It would be nice if the standards included some limit on state sponsored homicides and hospitalizations, but I doubt it.
    Is it appropriate or ironic? They can still get the Army gear the Army way: just do the right paperwork and you get the stuff. I am bemused…

    On the whole not Obama’s best fig leaf action – people see the weakness right away and it got reported. I give it two out of the five thousand figleafs it takes to camouflage a frikkin APC or tank. Mr. President gets one for doin’ something and a second because I know it took something for him to keep any little thing from the brave men in uniform.

    • lol – missed the backslash on the 1st block quote – gar

    • can’t stop lovin’ your ‘fig leaf rating system’, lemoyne. ;-) yep, sign off on ;bet policies’, and you got ’em! from the qz as well:

      “Police officers tend to push back against restrictions on the kinds of equipment they can use, and representatives of law enforcement agencies told US lawmakers (pdf) last year that most of the equipment is largely defensive.
      A bloody shootout yesterday between multiple biker gangs and a police officers in Waco, Texas—which left nine dead, none of them officers—will underscore the risks that police officers face in a country where gun laws make obtaining powerful weapons a fairly simple task for criminals.”

      aside from the claim of all that gear being *defensive*, i looked at a bunch of #blackLivesMatter accounts to see what various reactions to this obama order is. most folks just tweeted links to it, but the main subject under cynical scrutiny IS the 170 degree different response to the biker thugs, as in: “were these thugs black..”, and “where are the mraps?”.

      but worse was that a number of them had signed up to follow obama’s new twitter account, and shaun king had even decided to follow *the clinton foundation*, i suppose indicating support for being ‘ready for hillary’. arrgh

      someone had tweeted this piece by ‘the rise of the warrior cop’ radley balko. he thinks the ‘images’ projected are important,(and between the lines) a tan mrap is less threatening to a community than a camo one, urp. anyway, a lot of words in praise of O’s move as substantive, but he does warn that the grants for all these military toys given out by DHS will not be ham-stringing PDs from acquiring them for free. one post i read about it claimed ‘DoD and other agencies’, but i doubt it.

      Oh, Lord, won’t ya buy me…a new bayonet
      my friends all drive track MRAPs…please do make amends
      i’ll keep my grenade launchers in-side, ready-set
      and only launch them to serve and defend

      ah, yes. ‘burque. this comes with the same old warning: ‘Body Cam Shows APD Officers Sadistically Beat Up On a Dead Man’s Body’

      “Whether or not Lusian is a good person is irrelevant in this incident as it’s what police did to his dead body that is making waves in the Albuquerque Police Department and the New Mexico State Police.

      After the death of Lusian, police were mum on the details of what happened on March 21, 2014. Local News team, KRQE sued the department for the information related to the case. The details and subsequent video released through he suit was particularly disturbing.

      According to KRQE, Public records obtained by KRQE News 13 reveal APD and State Police used hours of force on the unresponsive man. More than a year after the incident, APD says the case is still open and has refused to release the investigation or do an interview about the case.” (with video, of course; and good on krqe)

      but that’s the thing; it’s the psychopathic culture that won’t be erased by taking away the grenade launchers, tanks, or even painting them tan.

  6. Oh how glad I am! No more grenade launchers divvied out free-gratis to Our Manly-Brave Po Po to Fight the Crime With! Yay!!!!!

    Of course it will be characterized as “Obama Disarms Police!” and “Obama Orders Police Stand-down!” and all sorts of bullshit like that there. Nonsense. What he’s done, late — oh so late — in the game is throw a bone, a very minimal bone, to the Rabble that’s causing so much disruption for all these months of protest and that ongoing “national debate” about violent policing.

    Basically, there is no “debate.” The policy is set. Violent policing is the standard, the “best practice.” It is the way that standard is implemented that leads to so much controversy and so many uprisings. The “debate” isn’t about whether there should be violent policing, it is merely over how violent they should be, toward whom, and how frequently.

    So of course Obama shan’t say a word about that demand that was highlighted in the New York Times Magazine a while back, you know the one: “Stop Killing Us!” For Killing Them (whoever is designated as the Other) is the Prime Directive of USA police forces at home and spanning the globe. They must die, one by one and in batches. Not so many as to cause too much of a stink among the Good White Folk, but enough to put the Fear of doG in them and keep them trembling and submissive — fearing for their lives and the safety of their loved ones.

    Speaking of the Shootout in Waco — is there a Hellmouth there or something? — I’ve been hearing hints that all the deaths and injuries from gunshots were caused by the police who (according to a report I heard last night) had been pre-positioned for weeks and had armored SWAT teams on site for the inevitable melee.

    “Banditos.” Huh. They cruise around these parts — oh yes — in significant numbers on Old Route 66 and sometimes on the less traveled blue highways as well. We never thought much of them. They were just some of the local color. But there’s been a lot of muttering about what went down in Waco.

    Vonderitt’s story is even worse in the SA’s report, isn’t it? “Mistaken identity…” Jeebus Christmas on a Cracker. Mistaken identity, and while it will never be known for sure whether he had or fired a gun at the Brave Officer who shot him down, it’s all good because… he fit the description…. and he had a waistband… BAM-BAM yer daid.

  7. fiddlesticks; i lost my whole comment again. drat and bugger.

    yes, that report is so crazy that i believe each time i’d re-read it, i’d notice more twists, turns, obfuscations and misinformations. “bullets to the left of me, casings to the right…here i am…dead.”

    dunno about waco; i never did click into the reports, just saw the twitpics. but flash from the past on mr. heat-moon. i remember prairyErth, but not blue highways.

    no, you’re so right: no mention of nettaaaaa’s demand, and only the *manner* of the violence is tweaked a li’l bit.

    will that dashcam video stir up the abq citizens again? and had you seen that rey garduño is retiring, and this is his choice to replace him? pat davis. whoa, nellie; one wonders why on ‘Erth’? one might think: What.a.Schmuck.

    and hello, radley balko; you been sippin’ the bad stuff? or lookin’ for a job in hillary’s white house?

    • Only thing I’ve ever read of Least-Heat Moon’s is Blue Highways so I wouldn’t know of anything else. BH became something of a bible for us as we wandered over the countryside off the beaten track as it were. Many adventures, oh yes, and we feel blessed to have a Blue Highway to get to and from Santa Fe on, one I realized today has the same number as the Blue Highway we would travel in California between Kettleman City and Cholame (James Dean was killed at the junction), thence on to Paso Robles (there’s a Hellmouth there, ya know, right in front of City Hall, opened up during the 2003 Earthquake it did) and on to San Luis, Santa Maria, Santa Barbara, or Pismo…

      Don’t rightly know what dashcam you’re referring to, but there is plenty of police stuff/shit for Burquenos to get up in arms over, even if the po-po are trying a bit harder to mind their manners these days and not kill quite so many as they did last year. Bless their hearts and pass the ammunition.

      Rey’s retirement is a bit of a shocker, especially since his excuse is to “spend more time wif his fambly.” Yeah, right. Wonder what the Real Story is. Something ain’t right that’s for sure.

      As for his chosen successor, I don’t know him, but the stories being passed around are pretty unfortunate.

      Balko? Wha? Since I’m not much of a fan of his, I tend not to give him clicks and such. But I have a hard time fathoming him on Team Hillary. Nooooo…..

      • ah, i was just irked by balko’s thesis about the ‘images’ portrayed by the heavy duty military tanks and weapons, that’s all. i’ve only read his essay from his book, but he definitely told dave grossman’s story and resultant development of ‘killology’ seminars. so his piece he’d tweeted seemed a distant cry from all of that.

        ‘blue highway’ reminded me of an ancient larry long song, but the only version on youtube is tinny, and from a bar. but it ends up that it was about the mighty mississippi river, in any event. thank you for half-explaining what a hellmouth might be. ;-)

        very kewl on the (i assume) state highway number/s you and miz traveled so long…now being practically in your backyard, wherever that is. (grin)

        this video, to which page i’d linked up yonder, silly mon. sickening wouldn’t come close to describing it.

        and in honor of glen ford’s central interest in black incarceration, ‘12 Heartbreaking Facts About The School To Prison Pipeline That Every Person Should Know’, By Marquaysa Battle. she’s a young ‘un, and very passionate. fantastic graphics.

        by the by, had he lived, malcolm X would have been 90 years old today. shaun king has been blastin’ out archival photos and dabs of his and his family’s history. very nice.

        • Oh, that video. I saw it on the news last night. Pretty revolting. Hours of assault on someone who was already fatally injured before the scaredy cat police could approach and desecrate the corpse. Yes, well. This happened a few days after James Boyd was fatally injured in the foothills, and truth is, I don’t remember this one, prolly because there was very little news coverage at the time in keeping with the State Police’s reluctance to say much of anything about the ones they kill. It was a State Police officer who did the desecrating, btw. And it was probably State Police who killed him, too.

          Whether it will rile up the Burqueno protest forces is an open question. My guess is not. There have been a number of (to my way of looking at it) egregious killings by police in New Mexico recently, and none of them have caused more than a momentary ripple through the protest community. You might want to ask Barbara Grothus, Dinah Vargas, or even David Correia what’s up with that.

          APD has pretty much stopped killing — and that’s a good thing. But the other agencies haven’t stopped. They keep right on blowing people away. But because the numbers of their dead were always well below APD’s, they didn’t get protested — or at least not to the extent APD’s killings did.

          • krqe said he was over-killed by apd and state cops; i hadn’t checked further. but you’re right; it was about the time of james byrd’s assassination, and i had made the connection.

            i reckon the police protestors you’ve named are indeed focused on the apd itself, as you say. state po-po do seem to have a district 5 office in ‘burque, though. david’s twitter account didn’t mention this new…news.

  8. Throw Medicare Under the Bus

    As I said after election day last November, the donkey died. What folks conventionally label Democrats are a cackle of endangered politicians scrambling to find what brings in money. There are begs for contributions but for the most part there is no party there anymore. Contributions are being made directly to candidates. The Republican clown car shows that they are drifting in the same direction; Citizens United has destroyed political party financial control over candidates and party discipline in deliberative bodies from city councils to Congress. Who shows up to vote and how they vote can move legislation is wildly different directions, most of them now tending toward the catastrophic.

    And the former donkeys are too dumb to know that putting their fingerprints on the destruction of Medicare is the end of their now very long-in-the-tooth careers. Taking over already collapsed Democratic party organizations in red states would be an excellent third-party co-option tactic; it’s only advantage is you are already on the ballot by default for one cycle. Wyoming might be an excellent test choice; winning anything is like winning a Congressional race—gathering 175,000 voters gives you a landslide.

    That’s my only departure for thinking that the bulk of energy needs to go with transforming the way we talk to each other about political so as to bypass the media and make our local, state, and federal political conversations real again. Reality on law enforcement and the “criminal justice system” and on infrastructure (including energy, health, education, etc.) are the biggies. At state and local levels, the coming firestorm over zoning and building code regulations that deferentially empower contractors and large developers is another huge political issue as people are forced into small and less expensive housing. How to keep less expensive from being unlivable.

    • oh, dear. do i take your meaning that in a red state like wyoming, a radical candidate could just run as a dem and win? what’s happened in CO is that any populist candidate, even one who’s won hands-down in the caucuses, is challenged by pouring massive amounts into the ‘other guy’s’ coffers, and who knows what other forms of…contributions. well, never mind,really, i am so out of touch with electoral politics now that i just sound ig’rant. and am ig’rant.

      as to your list, at the top i’d put access to clean water and the ability to grow and raise healthy food on larger scales than the vertical greenhouses and whatnot. people eat about a ton of food per year, though making food *count* in terms of nutrition is also important.

      but creating healthy for-the-people alternatives in all the sector you’ve named would take awesome cooperation, and belief in the worthiness of trying them. and funding, of course. not being out in the world any more hampers my imagination as to the process of spiking projects by now. what do you see in your area i know how involved you and miz thd are.

      the new tesla home solar battery designed for africa sounded great until you read that it can generate about 4 hours of juice, and a unit costs $3800 or something. the new Tesla tower? i failed to click into that information.

      oh, and i’d meant to add the other day that for so many people in detroit and elsewhere having had their water turned of: lots of the unpaid bills were down to absentee slumlords. but again, when one discovers that most of the many millions owed are *businesses*, but their water never gets turned off, it sends a very clear message.

    • okay. the truth is that my complete disaffection with the dead donkeys party means that i don’t think it can ever be coopted, and that more than likely, those attempting to would…be coopted by the dems.

      meaning what? i dunno, but the only minimally accepted other party is the greens, and they have been nowhere since the last presidential cycle. oh, yes, the shadow government: nowhere as well. pfffft, not running many/any candidates in local or state elections, either, or we may have heard.

      a worker’s and rabble party should have been created long before now, not tied to ideology, perhaps, except for economic and judicial justice. if revolution seems to be the answer, what is the question, and how does it get guided in the name of transverse democracy? small city states like the zapatistas as a model? the basques? i really have no idea.

  9. i wondered what glen ford might have to say about all of this…theatrical artistry. bingo: it’s his day on trnn.

    the transcript.

    i guess i tend to agree with sharmini, though, that the full riot uniforms and baton-tapping on massive shields is explicitly meant to instill fear into the hearts of citizens, whether ‘rioting’ or nonviolently exercising their fourth amendment rights. the message is quite clear: ‘go home, or will fuck you up.’ oddly, glen focuses more on incarceration than killing. and once again, none of this is limited to just black people, but all undesirable rabble, as in class, too, not just skin tones or ‘race’.

  10. Tamir Rice charges — Oh my! The bullshit of the Cleveland PD continues. Beyond the speakable.

    • any guess as to where shaun king got the documents? it seems to be an exclusive, from what i can tell. more than bullshit, methinks.

      remember the po-po and mebbe the prosecutor had said he’d klled himself, in effect? or close to that, then kinda/sorta backed away from it.

      sigh; saying thank you seems…not right.

  11. The Democrats are not dead in blue Colorado. But in Wyoming, who is it who holds the corporate seal, and does the organization itself have a pulse? As dead, dead as Georgia was before the Nunns tried to revive it. As dead, dead as South Carolina is. Put up the money and the candidate and start flogging a workers and rabble party as in a Dem primary. Have to have a strategy for the crossover vote to save the neoliberal party response. And one for getting enough voters out to win. (A populist party that hits the issues on-target should not hurt for voters; mobilizing them to put marks on ballots on election day is the huge challenge.)

    Of course the former Governor of Wyoming is sort of a eminence gris in the party, a highly symbolic figure whose past glory one must bow to without practically tying oneself to that wing of the party.

    My other electoral playing around is with the idea of a reprise in the South of the XXXXX Freedom Democratic Party, which seeks to be seated in the national convention instead of the rump Blue Dog Democrats.

    But those are beside the point if there is no good way of end running the highly funded media campaigns.

    Revolutions happen historically first as an event and then as a cascade of events unpredictable by the establishment or by the folks seeking change. Such an event will likely be disruptive sufficient to require locally-focused actions for subsistence during the transformation. Stuff like the Tesla battery are not economically practical because Tesla and Elon Musk are appealing to a $40,000 car pricepoint customer base. No five-digit cost battery is the current energy answer. The battery suffers from the same business model failings as the electric automobile.

    • i assume you mean that the tesla towers have that sort of price tag. argh, but even the home units are priced out of reach, and for little energy return, to boot. odd on the batteries, though; there’ve been so many low-cost breakthroughs, no? (not that i now how they work, or how sustainable or environmentally safe they are.)

      gar alperovitz started a series on ‘a checkerboard strategy’ that Yes magazine is carrying, i like that you’re thinking and imaging a better and more independent future, mi amigo.

      yes, i suppose you’re right about shaun king, but someone must have tipped him to the fact that there *were* charges, yes?

  12. Shaun King could have gotten them from the family’s attorney. They are also public documents. It might not be exclusive but Shaun King is the only one who bothered to get them and scooped the story.

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