Missouri

Militarized police supporters in Congress such as Nancy Pelosi get big bucks from defense contractors

The recent stories coming from Ferguson, Missouri have stirred the police militarization debate by putting the spotlight on the police’s use of “surplus” war gear to contain a mass of protestors in the suburbs of St. Louis.

The protests followed the killing of Michael Brown, and while most are peaceful, local police — and now the National Guard — have proceeded to use rubber bullets, tear gas and other aggressive methods such as curfews to fight locals and even journalists covering the events.

Without proper coverage, it’s nearly impossible to know what is truly going on in Ferguson, especially because the Federal Aviation Administration banned helicopters to fly below 3,000 feet over the region as soon as the unrest began. News crews often use helicopters to cover live events, but with the ban, law enforcement agents on the ground have a free pass to act according to their understanding of the situation.

No accountability.

One essential piece of this equation, however, is missing from the public debate; lawmakers who support the government’s program allowing the distribution of leftover war gear and weapons to local police departments are also the same lawmakers who receive a considerable amount of financial support from defense contractors.

Police should wear body cameras to protect themselves when they’re accused of wrongdoing

body-mounted camera

It seems that there is at least one area of agreement (with caveats) between some in law enforcement and some civil libertarians: cops should wear body cameras. The how, when, and where is still a question for all concerned but at least there seems to be some agreement on the broad outlines.

PoliceOne.com’s editor-in-chief Doug Wyllie argues that police departments should embrace the idea of body mounted cameras on almost every police officer. Wyllie writes:

In the week following the officer-involved shooting in Ferguson (Mo.), many have asked me for a comment and/or my commentary on the matter. My reply has generally been, “What, precisely, might that comment be? We know very little detail regarding the incident itself, so any ‘analysis’ on my part would be tantamount to irresponsible speculation. Further, analysis of the rioting and looting (and police response to same) would be redundant — we’ve got reams of columns on crowd control tactics and strategies.”

One thing, however, merits mention in this space. It’s directly related to the first thought that came to my mind when news of this tragedy broke: “Man, I hope that officer was wearing a body camera.”

Todd Akin and the “War On Women”

I’m sick and tired of this “War on Women” meme. It portrays women as nothing more than helpless vaginas that need subsidized abortion, free birth control, subsidized daycare, special loans in order to start a business, special laws to negotiate a decent wage, and all sorts of things only sugar daddy government can provide. It is dehumanizing and insulting to the millions of strong, independent women everywhere and the millions of men who love them. If you want to see what a real “War on Women” looks like, here it is. Finally, just because someone opposes abortion and wants to cut government spending does not make them a misogynist. In fact, many feminists believe that women can and should stand on their own without the help of the government.

No, Let’s Keep Todd Akin

Unlike many on the political right (arguably) in America, I’m not going to argue for Todd Akin to drop out. In fact, I am going to argue that he should stay in his Missouri Senate race, as a sort of painful yet absolutely necessary medication for the Republican Party.

Akin, as I’m sure you are aware, is the bozo who went on the radio and said that in cases of “legitimate” rape, a woman’s body would shut down the pregnancy, thus abortion should be illegal. It has got to be the dumbest thing said in politics over the past ten years, if not the past fifty. Nevermind that there is no way for a woman’s body to know that it is being raped, and then determine it must abort on its own (I don’t even think a woman’s body can abort pregnancies like that), you just don’t put “legitimate” and “rape” in the same sentence, period, unless there is a “not” between them.

In any case, despite the national party disavowing the fool, and numerous calls from conservative leaders and conservative media outlets, Akin has decided to remain in the race. (He’s even attacked Mitt Romney for calling for him to step down.) Despite this monumental tomfoolery, I believe it would be good for the GOP to have Akin remain in the race…

…and then lose disastrously in November.

This Week in the Race for the GOP Presidential Nomination

This week will be the busiest that we’ll see in the race for the Republican presidential nomination this month. Coloradans and Minnesotans will be headed to the caucuses today while Missourians will be voting in the nonbinding primary that precedes their March 17 caucuses. We can also expect to see the results of the Maine caucuses this Saturday. After this week, we’ll see only a handful of caucuses and primaries in Guam, Arizona, Michigan, and Washington before Super Tuesday on March 6.

Public Policy Polling shows former Governor Mitt Romney (R-Mass.) with a comfortable lead in Colorado with 37%. Former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Penn.) trails Romney with 27% while former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and Congressman Ron Paul (R-Tex.) clock in with 21% and 13% respectively. It looks like we can expect another big win for Romney in the Centennial State.

The race could get a little more interesting in Minnesota, Missouri, and Maine. Santorum leads the field in a tight race for the North Star State, but that race is still very much up in the air with a range of only 13% between Santorum and Paul, who is polling in fourth place. Santorum looks to be headed for a win in the Show-Me State’s nonbinding primary; he leads with 45% to Romney’s 32%. Meanwhile, Politico is calling the race for the Pine Tree State a two man race between Romney and Paul.

If these numbers hold, what could all of this mean for the race going forward?

Missouri cannot produce sources for militia report

Remember the MIAC report on militias (you can read it here)? It has come back up in the blogosphere after an open records request to find out what information was used for the conclusions in the report:

This is an extremely chilling chapter in American history. The controversial MIAC “threat advisory” is the stinging report wherein Missouri and other state law enforcement agencies were told to profile as possible “terrorists” all individuals concerned about unemployment, taxes, illegal immigration, gangs, border security, abortion, high costs of living, gun restrictions, FEMA, the IRS, and the Federal Reserve.

The MIAC advisory also stated that potential domestic “terrorists” would be attracted to gun shows, shortwave radios, action movies, movies with white male heroes like Rambo, Tom Clancy novels, and presidential candidates Ron Paul, Bob Barr, and Chuck Baldwin.

Now, they claim to have retained no records of the sources that were used for this report. Nor, they claim, do they even know who wrote it.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s response to ALG’s Sunshine Law Request, “[b]ackground material was not retained by the author during drafting” and “[t]here is no record listing the individual who wrote the report.” In fact, the only record the state of Missouri apparently claims it has of the report was its single draft version, for which there were no material differences between the report that actually went out.

Politicizing Ferguson before a grand jury has had a chance to review the evidence is a roadblock to justice

Jay Nixon

On October 27, 1838, Missouri Governor Lilburn Boggs issued Missouri Executive Order #44, also known as the “Mormon Extermination Order.” At that time The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, known by most then, as now, as simply the “Mormons,” was less than a decade old as a formally organized religion. Founded in Fayette, New York, in April 1830, the church quickly came under severe persecution, surprisingly so for such a tiny, obscure church, in large part due to outrage from many Protestants at the claim of Joseph Smith, the religion’s founder, to have seen the resurrected Jesus Christ, and God the Father, in the flesh.

Over the next eight years, the Saints would be persecuted and driven out of New York into Ohio, and from Ohio to Missouri, and from there to Illinois and eventually out to the Utah territory. The persecution in Missouri was particularly grievous, when initially it seemed the state might be a peaceful home for them.

Missouri was a slave state, and deeply so. The Mormon Church was anti-slavery, and deeply so. The first Mormons first began settling in Jackson County in 1831, but before long were attacked by mobs, their leaders dragged from their homes, beaten, tarred and feathered. The Mormons fled from Jackson to Clay County, but persecution followed and soon drove them from Clay County to Caldwell and Daviess counties. For a short time, there was hope of peace, the Missourians believing the Mormons effectively corralled into these two counties.

Back on vacation: Obama leaves Washington to work on his golf game

As expected, President Barack Obama left Washington yesterday afternoon to return to his vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, though the White House won’t say why exactly he came back to the nation’s capital, according to The Hill, except to say that some meetings were involved:

Obama’s two days in Washington were mostly quiet, and concluded with the president receiving his daily national security briefing in the morning, and joining Vice President Biden to huddle with members of his economic team in the afternoon.

Administration officials have insisted for weeks that the president just wanted to return to the White House for a series of meetings, but the explanation was met with a healthy dose of skepticism, since Obama rarely interrupts his vacations.
[…]
Speculation for why Obama returned focused around the possibility of a secret foreign leader meeting or the roll out of a new administration initiative on immigration or corporate taxes.

But no such explanation materialized.

Here’s why the Second Amendment matters: Ferguson business owners guard their property against looters

Shortly after Ferguson, Missouri began to resemble a war-zone, David Frum, a former speechwriter for George W. Bush and senior editor at The Atlantic, reaffirmed his support for increased gun control by tweeting this:

Keep in mind that the initials protest in Ferguson were peaceful, according to Radley Balko. It was only after protesters were greeted with a militarized police presence, complete with assault weapons and armored vehicles, that the situation devolved into rioting and looting.

Still, Frum repeated his anti-gun refrain with a follow up tweet moments later:

Obama interrupts his vacation to return to Washington for meetings on foreign and domestic crises

Barack Obama

President Barack Obama has finally figured out that the optics of a two-week vacation in Martha’s Vineyard while Ferguson, Missouri and parts of the Middle East are on fire may not sit well with the American public. So, he decided to interrupt his vacation to return to Washington:

In a rare move for him, the president planned a break in the middle of his Martha’s Vineyard vacation to return to Washington on Sunday night for unspecified meetings with Vice President Joe Biden and other advisers.

The White House has been cagey about why the president needs to be back in Washington for those discussions.

Part of the decision appears aimed at countering criticism that Obama is spending two weeks on a resort island in the midst of so many foreign and domestic crises.

Yet those crises turned the first week of Obama’s vacation into a working holiday. He made on-camera statements on U.S. military action in Iraq and the clashes between police and protesters in Ferguson, Missouri. He called foreign leaders to discuss the tensions between Ukraine and Russia, as well as between Israel and Hamas.
[…]
Obama is scheduled to return to Martha’s Vineyard on Tuesday and stay through next weekend.

 


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