Saturday, August 30, 2014

Ferguson and the Emerging Police State

There's been much ado about the recent fatal shooting of 18 year old Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO on Saturday, August 9th. It started as a news headline later that day, when 'a white cop shot a defenseless african american who had his hands up and his back turned for no good reason.' Instant response by most (myself included) - 'This is despicable. Why would a cop do that, especially with all of the recent police #fails over the past year (botched SWAT team missions, injuring babies in their cribs with explosives, choking out a Notorious BIG look-a-like for loitering in front of storefront)?'

As usual, media reports THEN does their due diligence. Predictably, the official story unraveled and completely reversed over the past week. What started out as innocent Mike Brown minding his own business turned into 1) surveillance video showing him reaching over the counter to steal handfuls of cigar packages 2) putting the tiny indian store manager in a headlock despite being twice his size 3) hot pursuit by local police once the robbery was reported 4) taunting his eventual shooter, Officer Darren Wilson while he bum-rushed him in his car 5) busted up Wilson's face in an altercation to gain possession of Wilson's gun (unconfirmed reports of a broken eye socket). And we're supposed to riot and protest against cops in defense of Mike Brown, who officially became human fecal matter the second he robbed a store and choked out a cashier?

As I write this, media and National Guard have pulled out of Ferguson, MO. Protests have died down (ironically as more evidence was released), and the facts of the case are starting to make the looters and aggressive demonstrators second guess their blind racially-based support for the deceased. So that's promising at least. We had the corrupt Attorney General Eric Holder fly in to ensure things were 'going smoothly'. Hint - if you want Eric Holder to be actively engaged with an issue, make sure the victim is black. See also: Fast & Furious, Benghazi, IRS, AP wire-tapping, and at least five other scandals. Had the victims painted their faces, those responsible would feel the full force of the law! So now you have the AG, the police chief, and the Governor Jay Nixon using suggestive language to encourage an indictment of Darren Wilson.....cause.....cause he shot a black kid!!!! Circumstantial evidence be damned! At this point Mike Brown could have pushed a geriatric out of a wheelchair, stolen ice cream from a toddler, and hijacked a police car and people would still be on his side 'because he was black'. Contrast this circus with the recent shooting of 20 year old Dillon Taylor by a non-white cop. Bet you didn't hear about it. Cause no one rioted. And the media ignores it:

Where am I going with this? Real simple - I'm not losing sleep over the Mike Brown shooting. One less thug on the streets (look it up - he had a juvenile criminal record and was arrested in a case involving second degree murder, not to imply that he COMMITTED the murder. But 'Gentle Giant' is not how I would describe this guy). There, I said it. Was Dillon Taylor a budding criminal? Don't know, but if he was, we no longer have to worry about it. I don't see black or white, I see contributor to society or future goon. What I DO care about is the police response to general unrest. That's what folks seem to be missing here. These controversial cases flare up from time to time, but the real concern is how the police forces are martialed, how they treat the peaceful demonstrators, and what means they resort to. Here are some recent developments in Ferguson that will be connected to a wider theme:

- Repeated injury or harm to journalists or various members of the news media. This one sticks out in my mind, only because the media should never, under any circumstances, be touched by police if they are simply doing their job. Independent of how you feel about media bias or slanted reporting, they cannot and should not be manhandled. Well guess what - they were in Ferguson:

1) Washington Post/Huffington Post reporters Ryan Reilly (WP) and Wesley Lowery (HP) were roughed up and accused of resisting arrest in a McDonalds. The video was recorded here (not shown: cuffing and arrest):

2) Al-Jazeera news crew reporting Ferguson school closings hit by tear gas canister. Video here:

3) Irate officer approaching 'photojournalist' (whatever the hell that is) and threatening to 'f*cking kill' him. Video here:

Honorable mention:
- tear gas on protesters. Not the first time, not the last time. BTW - tear gas is not allowed to be used in international wars.
- rubber bullets fired at close range. Remember Victoria Snellgrove, shot through the eye after the Red Sox won the 2004 ALCS? Rubber bullets cause damage.
- deployment of MRAPS (used in the Iraq/Afghan war, now on our streets).
- gas masks
- 40mm wooden baton rounds
- M4 carbines

Should we be shocked by anecdotal bush-league incidents, or should we come to expect this? I tend to side with the latter. Expect more 'police state gone-awry' as we increasingly move to throw any and all high-grade military equipment at local police in an effort to further militarize/federalize them to be in full alignment with their Department of Homeland Security big brothers. Here's some interesting developments in the past decade:

“Since 2006, state and local law enforcement have acquired at least 435 armored vehicles, 533 military aircraft and 93,763 machine guns, according to an investigation by the New York Times published in June. This was made possible under a department of defense program that allows the agency to transfer excess military property to US law enforcement agencies. More than $4.3bn worth of gear has been transferred since the program was created in 1997, according to the Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO)."
- SWAT team raids are through the roof. 3000 estimated raids per year in the 1980's, up to 45,000 annual by 2005 (and over 50,000 by 2013). 62% for drug-related raids, and 79% in private homes, of which only 7% were related to the initial intended use of hostage situations and barricades. 
- The oft-debated '1.6 billion rounds of Genova-convention-banned hollow point ammunition' purchased by DHS, recipients including National Weather Service, Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement, Social Security Office and countless others. To be fair, these were renewals in bulk but no one seems to be questioning the overall NEED to have them.
- The gun confiscation/martial law in New Orleans after Katrina, especially around the Superdome.
- The limited martial law in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy
- The infamous Watertown martial law in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing. 10,000+ militarized police with Humvees, K9's, scary guns, raised voices, SWAT team gear, shut down subways, 'stay in your homes' (cause that's a normal response to a glorified manhunt - how many murderers have 'escaped' and been on the run and we do nothing other than report on the 6 o clock news to 'be on the lookout'? And GUESS WHAT? Some sweaty slob goes out to his back yard to smoke a cigarette and notices blood on his boat and solves the crime. Case closed. Civilian saves the day. 

The government loves strife. Us versus them. Police vs civilian. Black vs white. Man vs woman. Rich vs poor. Straight vs gay. Christian vs Muslim. They need to keep themselves relevant, so these types of flare-ups help reinforce the need for the police state to exist and expand. We always need a bad guy - communists, Nazis, ISIS, Al Qaeda, the Japanese, the British, you name it. Guess who the next enemy on the list is - the US citizen. And this all proves that. Watch the mission creep as unrest begins to become widespread. We've pumped over $3 trillion of Monopoly funny money into the zombie banks and created the worst asset bubble in history. We still have 100 million people on some type of government assistance. We are approaching $18 trillion of debt. The government is broke, the system could fall at any time. What will the government do when EBT cards stop functioning? You saw this last year at select Walmarts where folks started looting and rioting. And that was over a few HOURS of no service. The police need to know how to respond. Ferguson, Watertown, New Orleans are all SCRIMMAGES for the grid shut down, the mega terrorist attack from (insert bad guy here), the solar flare, the cyber attack, the New Madrid fault rupture, the economic crash, you name it. 

It's no secret the FBI/DHS have run urban warfare training in over 38 cities in the past three years alone. Look it up. Youtube the scary videos. Youtube the news reports warning 'its only a test'. Why is there coordinated training for urban unrest? Is something coming? Or is it just wasted money? Why don't we train for mass Zoo Evacuations? Because it's NOT LIKELY to happen. Why do we not plan for alien landings? Because it's NOT LIKELY to happen. Why do we not plan for crazed nuns going trigger happy during 8:30 Mass? Because it's NOT LIKELY to happen. Urban warfare is likely to happen when the system goes down. Subject of another blog post, but over 200 military leaders have stepped down from their positions after the Obama administration questioned them on whether or not they would fire on US civilians in a time of need. Rand Paul famously filibustered over the droning of US civilians on domestic soil after we droned US civilians (terrorists, mind you) abroad. Drones + NSA snooping + attack on 2nd amendment  = Scared US civilians. Check out what DHS/Armed Forces now qualifies as a domestic terrorist in the various links below:

That should get you scared enough. The last link especially - it appears devout Christians, constitutionalists, 2nd amendment advocates, libertarians etc are eventually going to be targeted. Can't wait. You saw it with the IRS scandal. You see it with all of the domestic shootings - the first people blamed are the 'gun nuts' or the 'preppers' or the 'tea party', and then silly things like facts emerge to dispel those theories. Expect more of it. It's ironic - we impose a police state with guns and weapons we try to get out of the hands of everyday Americans and if you don't go along with it, well, you get put on some type of terrorist watch list. This is the future of America. Whether under Obama, Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie or whomever - be afraid, be very afraid.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Hillbilly Hotel

I'm not going to bore my 1.4 readers with tales of my fun family vacations and the good times had. After all, that's what Facebook is for. However, on my last night of vacation, it warrants providing a chilling synopsis of a 'penny wise, pound foolish' decision that will haunt my kid's lives forever.

We drove out to Missouri (from Eastern PA) to visit family this past week, and went balls deep on the front-end by getting a nice hotel suite right over the Indiana/Ohio border. Great experience, ate like swine, super amenities, pools, workout rooms, etc. Really broke up the 14 hour drive nicely. However, the way back meant going the equivalent distance (9 hours) and stopping somewhere in West Virginia or Western Pennsylvania. I swallowed hard, was firm in my decision that we weren't going to break the bank on a hotel room after renting a minivan, gassing up, incidentals, etc on our Missouri trip. $85 to stay a night at the xxxxx hotel (name withheld due to me suddenly growing a conscience). Boring blog post so far, right? Hold on. 

The second we saw the oversized pillars supporting a sub-standard structure, we knew something wasn't right. We walked into the lobby to find 1970's meets Poconos cabin theme coupled with stale cigarette smoke and some cheap air neutralizer - not even a freshener, but merely a neutralizer. They apparently gave up on anything smelling 'good' so they said 'screw it, let's just make it not smell like a smokey whorehouse.'

We walked up to our room and passed what appeared to be a construction crew staying for a few nights. Which is great, cause none of them smoke or use foul language. There was the token 'old coot/codger' in overalls with no shirt underneath and a long white goatee in a rocking chair rambling about yesteryear and growing up on a farm. Like, this caricature of a human being actual existed on the way to our room. Think token Deliverance scene reference, combined with The Hills Have Eyes and Wrong Turn 1-4 horror movies. Somehow southern accents made their way into the equation. Keep walking kids, don't breathe the air.

Shitty Buckcherry or Quiet Riot were blasting from one of the rooms, along with the smell of weed. Friggin weed. At a seedy hotel. We kept our heads down and reached our room - smokey smell continues (despite being a smoke-free room). Spotty internet (whatever), and a proud PROUD sign on the bed talking about how the hotel takes pride in not washing sheets if the same guest stays multiple nights. If that's the future of 'green', I want off. Luckily our youngest ensured it would be closer to 'yellow' by morning. We had our kids sleep in their sleeping bags ON TOP of the beds in the off chance there was unwashed construction guy jizz lurking all over the sheets. We probably left with the pubes of five different men and trapped farts from late June all over our legs but whatever, I think we'll be ok. 

In order to kill time, my wife took the three kids to the pool while I went through my work emails. There was a layer of philm (phylm? film?) on the water, and some random Dave Chappelle look-a-like in jeans and a wife-beater lumbered over and put his mangy feet in the water whilst smoking a cigarette. "Ooooo weeeeeeeee. Ooooooooo weeee it's cold." Check please. Fam was back in the hotel room faster than you could say 'Michael Brown'. The kids were whimpering and not like their normal jovial selves, and I think they always expected hotels to be nice (not like we actually stay at super nice hotels, but rather 'nice enough' hotels). We agreed we would get up at 4am and get the hell out of dodge as soon as we could. Kill time till they get tired, make them crash and then leave while they are still half-asleep so they could lay in the minivan while we finish the trip. Screw the continental breakfast, as the muffins probably had crack rocks in them and the omelets had used maxi pads (no wings). I'll take Dunkies at that hour any day. 

We drove through the sketchy surrounding area where everyone had underbites, cutoff flannel sleeveless shirts, weird hairlines, ten inches of flab dangling from their triceps, three quarters jean shorts (jorts) that stop at the shins, fleshy jowls, and gyrating jaws but no dentures. Naturally a Denny's was nearby, which allowed us to kill another hour. Our youngest, however, felt the need to act like the biggest dickhead in his 3.5 year existence. He wouldn't eat, kept talking about how he needed to poop (I'm not putting his ass on one of those STD tawlets), and refused to do anything but stack jelly packets into a mock St Louis Arch to relive his vacation experience. That gets old after a few minutes. Our oldest asked to run to the bathroom - not to pee, mind you, but just have a private place so that he could cry since the town/hotel/sights and sounds were so depressing. Our daughter continued whimpering, at one point asking 'if we are going to get any diseases from the hotel room'? I had no simple answer for her, so I allowed the children to just fart freely at the table without fear of consequence. We didn't have appetites per se, but rather stomach knots that needed to get covered in unhealthy fried foods. Thank God kids eat free on Tuesdays. 

We got back to the room without getting butt-raped and forced ourselves to go right to bed. Out the door by 5:00am, with token peel-out noise as we left the Hillbilly Hotel, never to return. Lesson learned - don't cheap out on a family hotel room. Make sure it costs no less than $150. If you're on a family trip, you're probably paying out the ass anyway, so what's another $50 for better quality? Now please excuse me, I have to go think of ways to get myself off the family shit list.......