Attorney General Jeff Sessions: Hurricane Harvey Is Proof We Need To Militarize Our Police Forces

from the say-what-now? dept

Earlier this week, we wrote about Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions bringing back the Defense Department's 1033 program, which helped militarize local police forces with surplus military equipment. We've been covering all sorts of problems with the 1033 program over the years, and people like Radley Balko have written entire books on the problem. And the previous ban on the 1033 only put a fairly narrow limit on the practice of militarizing police -- but now even those modest limits are gone.

What's truly incredible, however, is the complete nonsense being used to justify this. Attorney General Jeff Sessions gave a speech about this on Monday, in which he trotted out his standard misleading and out-of-context stats, falsely claiming that there's some massive new crimewave across the country, when there's really just been a tiny bump after decades of decline in crime rates (the use of percentages by Sessions shows the he likely knows the absolute numbers are so meaningless that he has to mislead with percentages working off a small base).

But, even with the usual misleading claims about violence and violence directed towards police, I still never expected him to... point to Houston and the impact of Hurricane Harvey as a reason for increased police militarization. But that's exactly what he did:

Those restrictions went too far. We will not put superficial concerns above public safety. All you need to do is turn on a tv right now to see that for Houstonians this isn’t about appearances, its about getting the job done and getting everyone to safety.

Wait. Law enforcement in Houston needs surplus military equipment to rescue people? Last I've seen it's been tons of good hearted people using boats of all kinds going around and rescuing people. I don't see much need for military equipment.

Once again, this looks like law enforcement using "any means necessary" to justify getting their military surplus toys, despite tremendous evidence of how this process is abused, how it harms community relations and how it leads to civil rights of the public being violated. To point to the disaster in Houston as a reason for restarting the program is not just frivolous, it's dangerous.


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  • icon
    TechDescartes (profile), 31 Aug 2017 @ 8:18am

    Military Equipment for Houston

    Wait. Law enforcement in Houston needs surplus military equipment to rescue people?

    No, they don't.

    Last I've seen it's been tons of good hearted people using boats of all kinds going around and rescuing people. I don't see much need for military equipment.

    What about...

    • 12,000 Texas National Guard troops, who presumably didn't walk to Houston but drove in Humvees and other vehicles
    • the USS Kearsarge, an amphibious assault ship capable of launching helicopters and loaded with supplies
    • the USS Oak Hill, a dock landing ship
    • six Navy MH-60s already in Houston
    • three Air Force HH-60 rotary wing aircraft
    • a US Navy P-8 surveillance airplane providing imagery to FEMA
    • numerous Coast Guard helicopters
    • etc., etc., etc.

    There is a massive need for military equipment in Houston. Operated by the military. Not by law enforcement.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Fool, 31 Aug 2017 @ 10:07am

      Re: Military Equipment for Houston

      Yet, they called in the Texas National Guard that has this equipment.

      Giving some Military gear (Vests, small arms, etc) is ok.

      Why do the cops need grenade launcher, 50Cal guns, Tanks, etc? This stuff needs to stay with the Military, and controlled by the Military.

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      • icon
        orbitalinsertion (profile), 31 Aug 2017 @ 2:29pm

        Re: Re: Military Equipment for Houston

        A rowboat reaction-propelled by firing RPGs off the stern is faster? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2017 @ 5:41pm

        Re: Re: Military Equipment for Houston

        I believe the reason that this give-away to law enforcement went on for years previously, and now is likely to be resumed, is that it is quite popular with lawmakers who see it, not so much as a gift to law enforcement, but more importantly it is a give-away to defense contractors. It creates an additional market space for the defense industry to fill. Members of Congress believe the defense industry is a good source of jobs in their state, (and also a great source of campaign contributions.)

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    • icon
      Advocate (profile), 31 Aug 2017 @ 10:35am

      Re: Military Equipment for Houston

      The chance of them taking rescue equipment instead of rocket launchers and machine guns is somewhere south of zero.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 31 Aug 2017 @ 4:18pm

        Re: Re: Military Equipment for Houston

        To be fair playing 'Cops and Robbers: Military Surplus Edition' is a lot more exciting than playing 'Rescue', and isn't having fun why they took the job to begin with?

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    • icon
      Bamboo Harvester (profile), 31 Aug 2017 @ 10:50am

      Re: Military Equipment for Houston

      Well said. I recall hurricanes Agnes and Gloria on Long Island. The local Armory and such Commanders didn't wait for orders (or permission) from DC, they got every piece of equipment THEY HAD TRAINED PERSONNEL TO RUN out on the roads *helping* even before the storms hit.

      We could give street cops Apache helicopters to "help", but they're kind of useless without *trained pilots*.

      Giving them grenade launchers and tanks isn't any different.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2017 @ 10:58am

      Re: Military Equipment for Houston

      There is a massive need for military equipment in Houston. Operated by the military. Not by law enforcement.

      There is a need for equipment. But it doesn't have to be military. There really are such things as non-military vehicles, aircraft and ships.

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      • icon
        orbitalinsertion (profile), 31 Aug 2017 @ 2:35pm

        Re: Re: Military Equipment for Houston

        That isn't what law enforcement requests from 1033, and LEOs are not the best at help and rescue in the first place.

        I can just imagine drownings averted, only to be replaced by shooting and beatings because someone was too anxious or looked too... whatever. Also, you are going to have to let go of that baby so i can frisk and cuff you before pulling you out of the water, as my perceived personal safety overrides anything else.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 9:38am

          Re: Re: Re: Military Equipment for Houston

          And yet they are out there trying to help people, and you are sitting around typing things.

          Well, not to be rude, but fuck you.

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    • identicon
      Anon, 31 Aug 2017 @ 11:51am

      Re: Military Equipment for Houston

      Exactly - the typical military inheritance law enforcement gets is armored vehicles and assault weapons. Just what I would want to be rescued by is a vehicle with the density and maneuverability of a boat anchor. IIRC, not a lot of those desert-ready vehicles were equipped with snorkels for the engines. they sure as hell aren't amphibious.

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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 31 Aug 2017 @ 8:33am

    Using a disaster like this to grandstand is particularly despicable Sessions. Other than that I'm with TechDescartes. The equipment IS needed. But it should be operated by the military.

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  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 31 Aug 2017 @ 8:36am

    Who Knew?

    MRAP's float!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    rw (profile), 31 Aug 2017 @ 8:52am

    Why do we keep the senile in office?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    hij (profile), 31 Aug 2017 @ 9:03am

    What about the fire ants?

    To be fair, my first reaction upon seeing the pictures of floating mats of fire ant colonies involved the use of a lot of ordinance. Lots and lots of ordinance. From a great distance.

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    • identicon
      kallethen, 31 Aug 2017 @ 9:36am

      Re: What about the fire ants?

      Interesting fact: Regular dish soap would actually be quite effective against those fire ant rafts. The soap will break the surface tension of the water and the raft will sink.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2017 @ 9:42am

        Re: Re: What about the fire ants?

        apparently true, but go easy on the soap. it doesn't just go away and will kill water sliders and other creatures that rely on surface tension for their existence as well.

        consider soap a foreign chemical to open water.

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      • icon
        Roger Strong (profile), 31 Aug 2017 @ 9:52am

        Re: Re: What about the fire ants?

        Interesting fact: Regular dish soap would actually be quite effective against those fire ant rafts. The soap will break the surface tension of the water and the raft will sink.

        Palm Olive will do the same and be soft on their tiny little hands.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Fool, 31 Aug 2017 @ 10:09am

      Re: What about the fire ants?

      BREAK OUT THE FLAME THROWERS!

      I was wrong, they need all that equipment! ANT'S ARE TAKING OVER TEXAS!!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      TechDescartes (profile), 31 Aug 2017 @ 10:28am

      Re: What about the fire ants?

      Spelling matters. Which makes me think of a TLDR for the post:

      We don't want the military enforcing any ordinance and we don't want the police touching any ordnance.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2017 @ 9:40am

    I can see the need for surplus 6x6 trucks, good in high water.

    We don't build levees to combat 100 year storms, but we need equipment for them?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2017 @ 9:55am

      Re:

      Even those 6x6 trucks aren't high enough to use in most of the Houston area.

      Law enforcement doesn't need military equipment. They want it, to compensate for other things, but they don't need it and it does nothing but generate the very "us vs. them" atmosphere they use to justify acquisition of the equipment.

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    • icon
      JoeCool (profile), 31 Aug 2017 @ 10:46am

      Re:

      As a former Houstonian, these "100 year" storms come about every 20 years or so. They're worse on the city more recently NOT because the storms are any worse, but because newer construction done on roads and highways has blocked the paths to the bayous. The design up until about 1990 was for roads and highways to channel the flood waters straight into bayous around the city. If the storm was bad, you stayed off the roads until the storm was over, and things were fine. Now the water backs up and goes places it was never meant to go.

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      • identicon
        Wendy Cockcroft, 1 Sep 2017 @ 5:50am

        Re: Re:

        Eh, per the weather wonks the storms are more intense and drop more rain, so they are in fact worse.

        The structural problems you've reference exacerbate the problems caused by high winds and ever-increasing rainfall.

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        • identicon
          Wendy Cockcroft, 1 Sep 2017 @ 5:50am

          Re: Re: Re:

          *referenced

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          JoeCool (profile), 1 Sep 2017 @ 11:38am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I don't see how any "official" reading in Houston can be trusted after living there. Typical example: west of Houston near Katy (where I lived) would be a report of 2.5". North of Houston would report 2.25". East of Houston would be a report of 2". South of Houston would be a report of 2.5". The "official" rainfall reported by Intercontinental? "A trace". That was extremely typical. Houston tends to get a LOT more rain than the official total. We always joked that the official rainfall was what leaked through the roof as the rain gauge was INSIDE.

          Now storms ARE more powerful. I'm not a climate denier. But they aren't so much more powerful that it's overwhelming the provisions made to handle rain. As I mentioned before, it's the changes in the roads that causing the problems. I sat through Alicia, and there weren't major problems with flooding, but a decade later (and all the construction in the mean time) minor storms were causing severe flooding because of the changes made to the roads.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2017 @ 9:43am

    Hurricane Harvey was a surprise attack by nature

    Meteorologists predicted that the hurricane would strike farther south and west. Nature staged a sneak attack by hitting Houston instead. The police must be adequately militarized to meet these attacks in kind, and to retaliate against Nature with the full surplus might of the United States military.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2017 @ 9:47am

    my bet is the bozos in and around the whitest of white houses see the police as mainly armed racists who will side with the supremacists in the war they and charlie manson want.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2017 @ 9:52am

    Is he suggesting giving them submarines?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2017 @ 10:10am

    Why cast it as partisan? There's not even opposition.

    You could argue whether military help in emergencies is good -- well, no, "let 'em drown" is untenable.

    Let's stick to military equipment for police in daily use, then. ... Uh, why not? The actual use is all that matters, and while I agree that the trend of violent police is alarming, THAT is a separate problem. I'd also go along with the "have it will use" line, but that's still mostly separate problem. -- Of declining morals and unity under common law.

    Anyway, there's NO need for the headline to bring in the phony R/D division in "politics", because fact is that the Ds are not actually resisting the tyranny, either.


    Yet I do fully expect that some here will immediately start arguing fictional distinctions between the "two parties" of The Establishment.

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    • icon
      nasch (profile), 31 Aug 2017 @ 2:28pm

      Re: Why cast it as partisan? There's not even opposition.

      Anyway, there's NO need for the headline to bring in the phony R/D division in "politics", because fact is that the Ds are not actually resisting the tyranny, either.

      The headline:

      Attorney General Jeff Sessions: Hurricane Harvey Is Proof We Need To Militarize Our Police Forces

      So who exactly brought up the R/D thing now?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2017 @ 10:12am

    Last I've seen it's been tons of good hearted people using boats of all kinds going around and rescuing people.

    I'm pretty sure most of those people are responding to a request from the authorities for people with boats, not people doing it of their own initiative. That said, those boats aren't military equipment, so militarizing the police would not have kept them from needing to make the same request.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2017 @ 10:25am

      Re:

      "I'm pretty sure most of those people are responding to a request from the authorities for people with boats, not people doing it of their own initiative. "

      I think you are wrong, but then what do I know?
      Are you there? Have eye witness accounts? Have you watched the news - where they ask the people with boats about what they are doing?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2017 @ 11:08am

      Re:

      I'm pretty sure most of those people are responding to a request from the authorities for people with boats, not people doing it of their own initiative.

      That's a slap in the face to all those volunteers, suggesting that the only reason they are doing so is because they were somehow coerced or ordered to do so by "the authorities". F U!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2017 @ 10:23am

    Speaking as a first responder/first responder trainer...

    ...no.

    What's needed instead are exactly the kinds of resources that this administration wants to strip out of FEMA: simple, basic essentials that are relatively inexpensive and save lots of lives.

    Let me give you a timely example. The Cajun Navy, bless their hearts, showed up in force in Houston to do whatever they could to supplement the hopelessly-overwhelmed local, state, and federal personnel. And now some of them are dead, because they didn't have lifejackets (PFDs). A minimal PFD for this kind of work costs about $100, a good one is about $250, a bulk order for several thousand would no doubt drive the price down.

    No, it's not very cool and sexy and oh-gosh-look-at-the-pretend-soldiers, but it's a basic tool that keeps people alive in situations where they'd otherwise die. A quarter-million dollars worth of PFDs is chump change in comparison with the overall expense -- flying helicopters is REALLY expensive -- but it would yield value far beyond its price.

    That's just one example. There are a lot of others, including swiftwater rescue training -- something that almost none of the Houston city personnel have had because there's no money for it. But SWR is essential for anyone trying to perform rescues in fast water, particularly in urban areas where there are all kinds of hazards under the surface. Two days of quality SWR instruction costs $250/student and is probably enough to keep them from dying while trying to keep other people from dying.

    Harvey. Sandy. Katrina. This is the new normal. There will be another one. Soon. And money needs to be spent on basic gear and basic training before one of these turns into a multi-thousand person casualty event. So don't buy the cops AR-15's: buy them PFDs and SWR training. Those are FAR more likely to keep them alive.

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    • identicon
      David, 31 Aug 2017 @ 10:50am

      Re: Speaking as a first responder/first responder trainer...

      Harvey. Sandy. Katrina. This is the new normal.

      Looks like you didn't get the memo. Climate change is a Chinese conspiracy hoax and preparing against its consequences is prohibited to state and federal actors by decree.

      You get the science you voted for. You thought science is not up for a vote? Think again. While it is not yet outlawed.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2017 @ 11:39am

        Re: Re: Speaking as a first responder/first responder trainer...

        Is the present administration still considering defunding NASA weather satellites?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2017 @ 11:50am

          Weather satellite funding [was Re: Re: Re: Speaking as a first responder...]

          Is the present administration still considering defunding NASA weather satellites?

          NOAA cuts target future polar weather satellites”, by Jeff Foust, Space News, May 8, 2017

          While the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration received full funding for its ongoing weather satellite programs, the agency is looking at options after a cut to a program for future polar-orbiting weather satellites.

          The omnibus spending bill for fiscal year 2017, signed into law May 5, provides NOAA weather satellite programs with $1.979 billion, $84 million less than requested. . . .

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2017 @ 12:06pm

            Re: Weather satellite funding [was Re: Re: Re: Speaking as a first responder...]

                        Is the present administration still considering defunding NASA weather satellites?

            Space News, May 8, 2017

            Senate Appropriators Reject Trump’s Cut to Weather Satellite Budget”, Doug Messier, Parabolic Arc, Aug 7, 2017

            The Senate Appropriations Committee has rejected a proposal by the Trump Administration for a significant funding in a key NOAA weather satellite program.

            Senate appropriators have provided $419 million for the Polar Follow-on (PFO) program for fiscal year 2018 (FY 2018). . . .

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2017 @ 12:30pm

              Re: Re: Weather satellite funding [was Re: Re: Re: Speaking as a first responder...]

                                      Is the present administration still considering defunding NASA weather satellites?

                          … Space News, May 8, 2017

              … Parabolic Arc, Aug 7, 2017

              Quickly glancing through news just for the past week, Google's first result is a Newsweek article by Matthew Cooper, “Hurricane Harvey Looms, and So Do Trump Cuts to Weather Research” (Aug 24, 2017). While that article seems to provide an ok overview, be aware that some of the hyperlinks within it go to news from as long ago as last March.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                orbitalinsertion (profile), 31 Aug 2017 @ 2:44pm

                Re: Re: Re: Weather satellite funding [was Re: Re: Re: Speaking as a first responder...]

                They also hate things like earthquake and volcano monitoring.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2017 @ 2:46pm

                Re: Re: Re: Weather satellite funding [was Re: Re: Re: Speaking as a first responder...]

                So I guess it is still up in the air - what kind of dumbass trashes the one thing that provides early warning for hurricanes? ..... Not that everyone listens but many who stayed could not afford to leave.

                Yeah, we need more bombs but no more data about how we are fucking up the planet.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Wendy Cockcroft, 1 Sep 2017 @ 6:02am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Weather satellite funding [was Re: Re: Re: Speaking as a first responder...]

                  If the government becomes the only source of information on any subject, how can we have meaningful discussions on things like climate change? Any deviation from the party line can be dismissed as a subjective opinion when it's not outright sedition.

                  At times like this I think the Every Nation guy is right. We really should get on board with the Resist movement now and fight about our differences later.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 10:07am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Weather satellite funding [was Re: Re: Re: Speaking as a first responder...]

                  We could fuck up the planet by not having satellite data telling us to get out of the way of a storm?

                  I don't think the planet really cares one way or another.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Team Trump, 1 Sep 2017 @ 12:18pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Weather satellite funding [was Re: Re: Re: Speaking as a first responder...]

                  Hurricanes love the attention they get. So by monitoring them and giving them publicity you actually attract them. We need to quit doing that! Smart!

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 10:05am

            Re: Weather satellite funding [was Re: Re: Re: Speaking as a first responder...]

            If you have 5 agencies that basically does the same thing and you cut 2 or 3 of them, that doesn't mean you want to not reach the goals of those agencies.

            Additionally, government agencies waste so much money. If they wouldn't waste money, they could do more. The problem is they are governmental agencies, that is what they do. Cut their budget and they reduce their services, not cut their waste.

            For the sandy relief bill, a canary in Alaska got $8 million. Alaska wasn't affected. That is why the Texas politicians voted against the bill.

            Our government just can't resist wasting money, because it isn't theirs in the first place.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 10:55am

              Disaster relief funding [wa Re: Re: Weather satellite funding]

              For the sandy relief bill, a canary in Alaska got $8 million.

              The 2013 Congressional Research Service (CRS) report “FY2013 Supplemental Funding for Disaster Relief” contains exactly one mention of “Alaska” (fn.22 on p.13), and zero mentions of “canary”.

              Considering that in this context it's been widely noted that there's been some “Pinocchios” flying around — you should provide an authoritative citation for your assertion here.

              Where's your cite for the “canary in Alaska got $8 million” ?

              'Cause without a good cite, I'm gonna think you're just spreading birdshit around.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 11:03am

                Re: Disaster relief funding [wa Re: Re: Weather satellite funding]

                16,000,000,000 dollars for Community Development Block Grants (11 billion higher than HUD was requesting at the time)
                600,000,000 for State and Tribal Assistance Grants under the EPA
                348,000,000 for “construction” for the National Park Service
                100,000,000 for Head Start
                50,000,000 for the Historic Preservation Fund at the NPS
                45,000,000 for upgrades to NOAA aircraft
                22,000,000 for upgrading NOAA weather equipment
                50,000,000 for “construction” for Fish and Wildlife Services
                24,000,000 for the Defense Working Capital Fund
                10,000,000 to Small Business Administration to plus up grants to organizations seeking to participate in disaster relief
                4,400,000 for “capital improvement” to the Forestry Service
                3,000,000 for oil spill research
                2,000,000 for the Smithsonian’s leaky roofs.
                1,000,000 for new cars for the DEA.
                1,000,000 to the Legal Services Corporation.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 11:08am

                  Re: Re: Disaster relief funding [wa Re: Re: Weather satellite funding]

                  For citation, google "sandy relief bill Alaska fisheries" and pick one of the 7.35 million responses.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 11:12am

                    Re: Re: Re: Disaster relief funding [wa Re: Re: Weather satellite funding]

                    Factcheck.org stated that Ted Cruz's statement that 2/3 of the Sandy relief bill was pork was not true. They state that only 1/3 of the bill was pork.

                    It was $60 billion. So only $20 billion was pork. Gee, that makes me feel better.

                    Unless you don't believe those conservative Nazi's over at the Annenberg Public Policy Center.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 11:19am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Disaster relief funding [wa Re: Re: Weather satellite funding]

                      Unless you don't believe

                      These the same people who told you the porker about the “canary in Alaska” ?

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 11:24am

                  Re: Re: Disaster relief funding [wa Re: Re: Weather satellite funding]

                  Your long list here is not a citation for the “canary in Alaska” birdshit.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 11:10am

              Canary range [was Re: Re: Weather satellite funding]

              … a canary in Alaska…

              Wikipedia: Atlantic Canary

              The Atlantic canary (Serinus canaria) is known worldwide simply as wild canary. It is also called the island canary, canary or common canary . . .

              Distribution and habitat

              It is endemic to the Canary Islands, Azores and Madeira in the region known as Macaronesia in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. . . .

              Alaska, for the geographically challenged, is not in the eastern Atlantic. Rather, Alaska's coastline extends along the Pacific Ocean, the Bering Sea, and the Arctic Ocean.

              Alaska is not tropical. It is cold.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 10:35am

      Re: Speaking as a first responder/first responder trainer...

      So the federal government should go around paying for every police department to receive training? Floods happen everywhere, so I guess everyone needs it.

      That is the problem, who pays for it? Why should someone in Maine see their tax dollars to go Houston because Texans decided they didn't want to be prepared? Why is that a federal issue? Shouldn't the people who will benefit be the one footing the bill?

      Yeah, yeah, yeah, sing songs and take care of one another, but you can always volunteer your help or send our own money as a donation, but that isn't the Feds job.

      Perfect example is that Florida backs its own flood insurance program as no insurance company will provide it. Florida's flood insurance program is woefully underfunded (if it were a real insurance company, it wouldn't be allowed to operate, because it violates insurance regulations) and if a major storm hits the state of Florida will turn to the Federal govt. for help, because the money just isn't there.

      Should someone in Iowa see their tax dollars to go help when Florida politicians willfully underfunded something?

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      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 1 Sep 2017 @ 3:19pm

        Think of it as your entry ticket price to the theme park 'Society'

        You might as well be asking why someone who's house is not on fire should be forced to pay for the fire department that's trying to put out the fires in someone else's house.

        Like it or not I can pretty much guarantee that you benefit from a system that spreads the costs out to make it a smaller burden on the individual, and while you may not benefit from it now by paying you ensure that should that change you aren't left in the dark scrambling to get the resources needed to get by/survive.

        Be very careful with the idea that things like natural disasters and/or training for them isn't something that the government should be handling, because while you may not see a benefit now and think that it's unfair that you pay for the help/training someone else gets, that can easily be turned around on you, such that you find yourself in a situation where you need help and those around you are saying, "Why should I have to pay for them? Doing so doesn't benefit me, so why should I care?"

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          nasch (profile), 2 Sep 2017 @ 1:01pm

          Re: Think of it as your entry ticket price to the theme park 'Society'

          You might as well be asking why someone who's house is not on fire should be forced to pay for the fire department that's trying to put out the fires in someone else's house.

          I don't necessarily agree with AC, but maybe a closer analogy would be whether people who live in fire-prone forests should be required to have extra fire insurance. Putting out someone's house when it's on fire - or helping with rescue, shelter and cleanup after a flood - is one thing. Subsidizing peoples' decision to live in a fire or flood prone area is something else. Why should I pay people to live in Houston, Miami, and New Orleans? Shouldn't the people living in those places bear the cost of buying insurance? If not, why not? It's probably not that simple since some people can't afford the insurance and don't have good options to move, but it seems likely that we won't be able to afford to just continue rebuilding cities as these disasters occur more and more frequently and get worse and worse.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            That One Guy (profile), 4 Sep 2017 @ 7:28pm

            Re: Re: Think of it as your entry ticket price to the theme park 'Society'

            Because those particular areas would benefit from federal funds being spent on training and equipment that matches the likely issues that would crop up, just like another area might have different problems of their own that would require different training and/or equipment.

            The problem as I see it is that the matter is being looked at too closely('Why am I, in state X, paying taxes to support someone in state Y?'), when pulling back a little more changes the framing and I feel leaves it making more sense.

            'Federal taxes are spent on things that (theoretically) benefit the public at large according to their specific needs. Their state benefits more from certain funding which my taxes help pay for, whereas my state has different needs that their taxes help pay for.'

            Looked at on a state level it can appear that certain people are being 'subsidized' for living in the 'wrong' area by people that live elsewhere, but if you look at it as a whole it's simply a matter of allocating resources where they're needed.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              nasch (profile), 4 Sep 2017 @ 7:36pm

              Re: Re: Re: Think of it as your entry ticket price to the theme park 'Society'

              Doesn't that assume that all states are equally at risk of needing a sudden influx of disaster aid? Even when controlled for population, I very much doubt that is true.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2017 @ 10:28am

    "All you need to do is turn on a tv right now to see that for Houstonians this isn’t about appearances, its about getting the job done and getting everyone to safety. "

    Thank god the police still have a few mortar rounds left from their last military hardware distribution, because that hurricane certainly is asking for it ... time to break out the military shit and exact revenge on that hurricane - you know ... to send a message to all hurricanes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 31 Aug 2017 @ 10:52am

      Re:

      More like a message to looters. But it's kind of a stupid message when the equipment would do a lot more damage to property than the looters would.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2017 @ 11:46am

        Re: Re:

        I'm sure that all looters respect the mortar much more that a simple little nine millimeter. I can imagine the scene ... looters dashing out of the seven eleven with their ill gotten twinkles and slurpies only to be confronted by a barrage of mortar fire exploding in all direction cutting off escape via their yellow '72 pinto. Then dropping from their attack helicopter officers in black clad armor descend upon the overwhelmed twinkie pirates slapping on the cuffs and high fives all around. Good Job Boys! Couldn't have done it without those mighty fine mortars. Sorry about all that damage to the building and stuff - too bad soo sad.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2017 @ 10:28am

    Gallup: Confidence In Police

    The article above links AG Session's Aug 28 speech:

    The vast majority of our country appreciates what you do. In fact, just a few weeks ago, Gallup released their annual poll, which showed that overall confidence in the police has risen to 57 percent this year.

    Gallup: “Confidence in Police Back at Historical Average” (July 10, 2017)

    Overall confidence in the police has risen slightly in the past two years, with 57% of Americans now saying they have "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in law enforcement -- matching the overall average for the 25-year Gallup trend. . . . .

    Further according to Gallup's “Confidence In Institutions” survey, in 2017, for “the police”:

    • 28% “Some”
    • 14% “Very little”

    About 1 in 7 out of the surveyed group have “very little” confidence in the police. Another 2 out of that 7 lack stellar confidence in the police.

    Four out of seven people might be characterized, in AG Session's words, as a “vast majority”.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Advocate (profile), 31 Aug 2017 @ 10:40am

      Re: Gallup: Confidence In Police

      Where's the line for "Confident that they'll screw up majorly and regularly!"?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2017 @ 10:59am

        Re: Re: Gallup: Confidence In Police

        Where's the line for "Confident that they'll screw up majorly and regularly!"?

        Think that's probably the 1% in 2017 who — when asked, “a great deal, quite a lot, some or very little?” — they volunteered the response, “none”.

        That column's unchanged from 2016, but down from the 2% recorded in 2015.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        crade (profile), 31 Aug 2017 @ 12:13pm

        Re: Re: Gallup: Confidence In Police

        What should I put if I'm 60% sure that the cop in any given interaction will not intentionally harm me for no good reason? 60% is quite a lot right? It's more than half. Lets go with quite a lot!

        What I'm 100% on is if the cop *does* feel like hurting me, he won't be held accountable.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2017 @ 1:34pm

          Re: Re: Re: Gallup: Confidence In Police

          What I'm 100% on is if the cop does feel like hurting me, he won't be held accountable.

          BREAKING NEWS:Cobb officer who said ‘we only shoot black people’ will be fired”, by Ernie Suggs and Rosalind Bentley, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Aug. 31, 2017 (“updated 3:58 p.m.”)

          A white Cobb County police lieutenant who told a woman uring a traffic stop that “we only shoot black people” will be fired, the police chief said on Thursday. . . .

          Earlier today from the AJC, “Cobb leaders address public over ‘we only shoot black people’ remark”, by Ben Brasch and Rosalind Bentley, Aug 31, 2017 (“updated 12:57 p.m.”)

          A white Cobb County police lieutenant has been moved to administrative duty for telling a white woman during a traffic stop, “Remember, we only shoot black people.” . . .

          Stepping back from the breaking news, and responding to your comment, police officers do occasionally get placed on administrative duty, and even fired.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            JoeCool (profile), 31 Aug 2017 @ 5:26pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Gallup: Confidence In Police

            While the SAY they're going to fire him, more than likely what they'll REALLY do is arrange him a job at another station or the sheriff's department at which point he'll "quit". It's nearly impossible to get an LEO fired these days.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Wendy Cockcroft, 1 Sep 2017 @ 6:07am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Gallup: Confidence In Police

              Breaking: he's resigned. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/georgia-police-officer-resigns-racist-joke-kill-bla ck-people-lieutenant-greg-abbot-cobb-country-a7923806.html

              However, you may be right. There's nothing to stop him creeping back into an LEO job down the line. You know what's funny? I keep getting into arguments with Antifa supporters over their violence and the best they can come up with is that they're trying to prevent Hitler 2.0. What nobody seems to have noticed is that the Nazi problem isn't the prats with the torches and the awful haircuts marching in places like Charlottesville, it's horrible people like that Cobb County cop. They might not generally say it out loud but they're sure as hell thinking it.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                crade (profile), 1 Sep 2017 @ 6:10am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Gallup: Confidence In Police

                Nothing to stop him except that he already has a cushy pension and problem doesn't need to work anymore. This guy just made a bad joke though, I would hardly call that a serious crime.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Wendy Cockcroft, 1 Sep 2017 @ 7:10am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Gallup: Confidence In Police

                  While it's not a crime at all, it was inadvisable, to say the least. As it is, stoking racial tensions by pretty much admitting to deliberately killing black people (which is what it looks like to BLM) could lead to serious repercussions.

                  Since many a true word is spoken in jest my comment stands: prats marching in costume aren't the problem, it's prats with power making throwaway comments like this. If all lives matter, that includes our brothers and sisters of colour.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 9:49am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Gallup: Confidence In Police

                    Agreed, it was a stupid thing to say, but how do we know he wasn't being really sarcastic? Kind of like, Yeah, we shoot people for no reason all the time, but only blacks.

                    People say a lot of stupid things, like the U. Penn professor who wrote that other cultures are inferior to Euro cultures. Or the kid who tweeted that she hopes she doesn't catch aids when she visits Africa.

                    Sometimes a joke or sarcastic comment is exactly that.

                    Of course, some positions are held to a higher standard and joking around or being sarcastic can and will get you fired, but I also think that people need to lighten up and develop a sense of humor, or at least learn to just ignore things sometimes.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • identicon
                      Wendy Cockcroft, 4 Sep 2017 @ 5:50am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Gallup: Confidence In Police

                      None of that is funny, though.

                      I can't "lighten up" over people being deliberately targeted and shot like vermin because they're the wrong colour. The Aurora shooter and the church mass murderer were captured alive. Why are their lives worth taking more care over?

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 9:44am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Gallup: Confidence In Police

                  This guy just made a bad joke

                  You're sure it was a joke? Iow, you're confident they really do shoot white women, too.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            crade (profile), 1 Sep 2017 @ 6:04am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Gallup: Confidence In Police

            Being fired is hardly what I would consider being held accountable for serious crimes.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 12:32pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Gallup: Confidence In Police

              "Being fired is hardly what I would consider being held accountable for serious crimes."

              Actually not even fired. Allowed to retire, with benefits. I wish my job was like that, and it's even more dangerous.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Narcissus (profile), 1 Sep 2017 @ 12:14am

      Re: Gallup: Confidence In Police

      I also heard that Trump won the popular vote... So more than half definitely qualifies as vast majority for them.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 6:48am

        Re: Re: Gallup: Confidence In Police

        Heck, the way Trump talks up his electoral victory (with less than half of the votes) as "historic" and "unprecedented," less than half probably qualifies as a vast majority for them.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2017 @ 10:39am

    Everyone knows a hurricane's true weakness: bayonets.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2017 @ 10:41am

    what the fuck is wrong with these senior USA people? is becomming the first and worst Police State before Trump is exited so important? is it so important to force the USA to be the first and worst country in the supposed civilized world that supposedly runs on and lives for democracy, freedom and privacy, to throw all those things away? Sessions is behaving like a damn Hitlerised idiot!!

    ever since Trump got the top job, his priorities seem to be to ensure that all his cronies in industry continue to keep their various enterprises going, even when people are dying because of them and to stomp on, not just the rights, the freedom and privacy of the people but on the people themselves!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 31 Aug 2017 @ 10:42am

    Typical say one thing while believing something else

    Don't be fooled by what Sessions says about militarizing the police. Like most politicians, he believes one thing but says something different.

    What he says: militarize police because of crime after a hurricane!

    What he thinks: militarize police in order to stop hurricanes from making landfall!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2017 @ 11:14am

    Why cast it as partisan? There's not even opposition.

    You could argue whether military help in emergencies is good -- well, no, "let 'em drown" is untenable.

    Let's stick to military equipment for police in daily use, then. ... Uh, why not? The actual use is all that matters, and while I agree that the trend of violent police is alarming, THAT is a separate problem. I'd also go along with the "have it will use" line, but that's still mostly separate problem. -- Of declining morals and unity under common law.

    Anyway, there's NO need for the headline to bring in the phony R/D division in "politics", because fact is that the Ds are not actually resisting the tyranny, either.

    ---

    Yet I do fully expect that some here will immediately start arguing fictional distinctions between the "two parties" of The Establishment.

    ---

    Went in "Moderation" about 10:10 Pacific... And I waited over an hour, no show. Is the "Free Speech Edition" of Techdirt off already? The notice is down. -- This comes from a session which used "Resend" to get through on 2nd try.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2017 @ 11:16am

      Re: Why cast it as partisan? There's not even opposition.

      My prior attempt is NOT now showing: I searched for
      "cast it", and not found.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      kallethen, 31 Aug 2017 @ 11:49am

      Re: Why cast it as partisan? There's not even opposition.

      The article (and title) didn't say anything about Republican vs. Democrat. You know TD's been posting articles voicing an opinion against militarization of police during the prior administration too. Perhaps it's you who shouldn't be casting things with a phony R/D division.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2017 @ 11:20am

    Why they need military gear.

    Military gear is good for killing people.
    Dead people don't need disaster help.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 31 Aug 2017 @ 11:28am

    Dont assist..

    Dont help
    Dont do anything except..
    HOLD a gun, sit in a tank, and POINT to the nearest exit..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    drkkgt (profile), 31 Aug 2017 @ 11:39am

    Define Surplus

    This is the thing that always gets me. We hear reports that our troops on the lines don't have enough quality equipment be it food, weapons and armor, vehicles, etc, so we must buy more but then we sell "surplus" to the cops. Is this truly surplus or is this just a middleman deal? The military buys the gear that is wanted to militarize the domestic ground forces and passes it on? Granted, I used to think such conspiracies were not worth the time but the more and more I see and read about our entire government and the games they play, there are days I start to wonder. Then again it may be as simple as "If we don't spend the department budget, they will cut the budget and we can always just sell it off to the cops."

    Either way, Sessions is a dangerous person to have in this position.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2017 @ 12:49pm

      Re: Define Surplus

      Our troops don't have enough [i]current[/i] equipment. "Surplus" is last year's gear or older. You can't get the budget you want if you have enough of what you want already so, like college textbooks, make sure everything has to be replaced annually or biannually and you can be sure your personnel are underequipped but your division is well funded. The nation's police will buy up all the perfectly modern gear you deprecated on the taxpayers' dime and further pad your coffers, too.

      It's a [nearly] perfect scam on the American taxpayer.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        drkkgt (profile), 31 Aug 2017 @ 2:09pm

        Re: Re: Define Surplus

        that it is. and since the vocal citizenry will demand their right to own every type of gun ever made, then the police must always be one step above - and the coffers get bigger.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 12:09pm

      Re: Define Surplus

      The military always wants the very best and newest gear. Anything less is considered "surplus" to be disposed of.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2017 @ 11:52am

    Well - obviously Sessions is correct here. The police do need some real fire power down there in Houston - they need to be able to kill all those sharks swimming around eating people. Do you want them to be eaten? Sickos!

    The sharknados will continue and we will need protection. Think of others for a change rather than what music you are going to steal next.

    /s ... jic

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2017 @ 12:37pm

    The Rs want to Militarize the Police.
    The Ds want to disarm the citizens.

    You just gotta love being stuck between a rock and a hard place.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 31 Aug 2017 @ 1:13pm

      Re:

      The difference is that the Rs keep following through on plans to militarize he police. The D's don't make any plans to disarm the citizens, let alone follow through on them.

      For all the endless claims Republican made about Obama taking away everyone's guns, he never made any such attempt. Instead he signed an order that allows the carrying of firearms in national parks, reversing an order by Ronald Reagan that guns had to be kept in locked glove compartments. He signed an order allowing guns to be carried in checked luggage on Amtrak, reversing a ban that went into effect after 9/11. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence has given Obama an “F” on every issue on which it graded him.

      The few vague noises and gestures he made about background checks and keeping guns away from felons and the mentally ill merely duplicated what even the head of the NRA - and Bush II, McCain and Reagan - had called for in the past.

      It was the same for Clinton. Constant screaming that he was going to take everyone's guns away Any Second Now. The closest that came to reality was the assault weapons ban, but even former Republican presidents Ford and Reagan called for it. Future President Trump too. And those who already had them could keep them.

      It makes no difference who the next Democratic candidate is or what their policies are. Republicans will keep conning gullible inbreds with the same claims.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2017 @ 2:54pm

      Re:

      Yup, I saw Obama driving around collecting all our guns, just like some internet troll said he would. He also set up FEMA camps to keep all those awaiting their death panel rulings.

      Obama also sent that hurricane into Texas, we all know that Obama controls the weather - I read it on the internet so it must be true.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2017 @ 1:40pm

    Equipment needs training

    Sessions wants to flood the police depts with these vehicles, weapons and equipment but has anyone thought to get the people that will use it the proper training? Are they just going with OJT and hot laps in the parking lot? Are the commanders getting training on when not to deploy MRAPS and grenade launchers?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2017 @ 7:26pm

    With military grade equipment, police would have been able to shoot down the hurricane!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), 31 Aug 2017 @ 10:06pm

    Hurricane tactics

    If only the police had grenade launchers, tanks, and tactical nukes, they could have confronted Harvey and...wait...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ThatDevilTech (profile), 1 Sep 2017 @ 12:54pm

    wow...what the hell???

    The national news and politicians love to blow it up and go overboard on what's going on in Houston and south Texas. Granted, it's devastated and sadly won't be same for a long time if ever. BUT, the national news is bullshit. The local stations here in Texas are doing a good job of actually covering the rescues and people helping people. It's not black vs white or R vs D. The cops don't need more military equipment because of the hurricane. They don't need it...period.

    Just another example of how the idiots in Washington have no %&*S('ing clue as to what is truly going on "on the ground" where people are helping people and Texas is showing what it means to be a good neighbor. And people from all over, even Kentucky, not just the Cajun Navy from LA have come to help. Saw a picture of an NYPD vehicle in one of the towns south of Houston yesterday. The country is doing it right to help. Sessions needs to shut up and GTFO.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 2:15pm

    Just another example of how the idiots in Washington have no %&*S('ing clue as to what is truly going on "on the ground" where people are helping people and Texas is showing what it means to be a good neighbor.

    They know, they just don't care.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    DanK, 3 Sep 2017 @ 1:52am

    Washington has become warped, perverted, unworkable.

    Washington is what happens when a system is totally corrupted -- nothing but lies and fraud remain. Many (most?) state governments are complicit in this perversion of our country.

    It's way past time to take a broom to this filth -- starting with Sessions and Trump ..... ending with Bush 2, Obama and the Clintons.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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