US police given billions from Homeland Security for ‘tactical’ equipment

The Militarization of U.S. Police: Finally Dragged Into the Light by the Horrors of Ferguson

The intensive militarization of America’s police forces is a serious menace about which a small number of people have been loudly warning for years, with little attention or traction. In a 2007 paper on “the blurring distinctions between the police and military institutions and between war and law enforcement,” the criminal justice professor Peter Kraska defined “police militarization” as “the process whereby civilian police increasingly draw from, and pattern themselves around, the tenets of militarism and the military model.”

The harrowing events of the last week in Ferguson, Missouri – the fatal police shooting of an unarmed African-American teenager, Mike Brown, and the blatantly excessive and thuggish response to ensuing community protests from a police force that resembles an occupying army – have shocked the U.S. media class and millions of Americans. But none of this is aberrational.

 

 

US police given billions from Homeland Security for ‘tactical’ equipment

With little oversight, federal agency awarded billions to local police for spending on drones, drugs, vehicles and ‘animals and plants’, among eligible purchases

Under existing federal requirements, police departments and state law enforcement agencies do not need to spend much of that money on preventing terrorism or preparing for disaster relief.

The Department of Homeland Security would not say whether it plans to review any of its grant programs in light of the controversy surrounding the deployment of military-style gear on the streets of Ferguson. One of its main congressional overseers told the Guardian he plans to “continue” scrutiny of the grants, while praising them as necessary.

During the current fiscal year, DHS plans to award $1.6bn in grant money for state, local and tribal agencies, mostly to aid them with counterterrorism, border security and disaster preparedness, it announced last month. By contrast, the Defense Department’s “1033” program to transfer surplus military gear gave out less than $500m worth of equipment in fiscal 2013.

 

SHOCKING 1 in 7 Americans are starving 
Explained by Lauren Bush granddaughter of George H and niece of George W bush
http://www.reuters.com/video/2014/08/18/feeding-americas-startling-statistics?videoId=340524227

 

Humans Need Not Apply 15:00 TOTAL

THE TAKE AWAY: AUTOMATION PRODUCED ABUNDANCE FOR LITTLE EFFORT.

  • MUSCLE LABOR REPLACED BY MACHINES
  • BRAIN LABOR REPLACED BY MACHINES
  • SOFTWARE BOTS ARE  BETTER THAN HUMANS (COLLEGE WHITE COLLAR WORKERS)
  • AUTOMATION ENGINEERS PROGRAM BOTS TO TEACH THEMSELVES
  • AUTOMATION ENGINEERS PROGRAM THE SHIT OUT OF YOU BEING NEEDED
  • BOTS THEN TEACH THEMSELVES HOW TO PROGRAM THE SHIT OUT OF AUTOMATION ENGINEERS
  • BOTS TAUGHT THEMSELVES HOW TO TRADE WITH OTHER BOTS ON THE STOCK MARKET IS HOW THIS WORKS NOW.
  • PROFESSIONAL BOTS DO THE WORK OF LAWYERS AND DOCTORS NOW
  • YOU ARE NOT SPECIAL THERE IS A CREATIVE BOT TOO
  • MECHANICAL BOTS CAN DO CREATIVE WORK
  • ARTIFICIAL CREATIVITY FOR ALL HUMAN TALENTS
  • EMILY HOWELL BOT WRITES MUSIC
  • THE ROBOT REVOLUTION WILL REPLACE 45% OF THE WORK FORCE. 13:44
  • WHAT TO DO WHEN THE MAJORITY OF THE WORK FORCE IS UNEMPLOYABLE?

MAKE SURE THE POLICE IS THE MILITARY!

 

 

“Abundance, for little effort.” 
That the way we live better is by producing more per unit of labor. Robert Solow’s (Nobel-winning) insight.

FROM 60- or 70-hour weeks.
TODAY with productivity increases from technical advance, decent livings are possible with 40-hour weeks.
TOMORROW  2-hour weeks

Of course, the _real_ issue, then, is wealth distribution.
Who ‘takes home’ the benefits from such dramatic labor-saving?
  The way things are going in the US, for example, the answer is:  A good bit less than 1 percent of the population.  Of course the world’s north-south divide illustrates this injustice at the global level.

 

 

 

Hundreds of bioterror lab mishaps cloaked in secrecy

Alison Young, USA TODAY 5:25 p.m. EDT August 17, 2014

Hundreds of bioterror lab mishaps cloaked in secrecy More than 1,100 laboratory incidents involving potential bioterror germs were reported to federal regulators during 2008 through 2012, reports show. Details of what happened are cloaked in secrecy.

More than half these incidents were serious enough that lab workers received medical evaluations or treatment, according to the reports. In five incidents, investigations confirmed that laboratory workers had been infected or sickened; all recovered. In two other incidents, animals were inadvertently infected with contagious diseases that would have posed significant threats to livestock industries if they had spread. One case involved the infection of two animals with hog cholera, a dangerous virus eradicated from the USA in 1978. In another incident, a cow in a disease-free herd next to a research facility studying the bacteria that cause brucellosis, became infected due to practices that violated federal regulations, resulting in regulators suspending the research and ordering a $425,000 fine, records show.

But the names of the labs that had mishaps or made mistakes, as well as most information about all of the incidents, must be kept secret because of federal bioterrorism laws, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which regulates the labs and co-authored the annual lab incident reports with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The issue of lab safety and security has come under increased scrutiny by Congress in recent weeks after a series of high-profile lab blunders at prestigious government labs involving anthrax, bird flu and smallpox virus. On Friday, a CDC investigation revealed how a rushed laboratory scientist had been using sloppy practices when a specimen of a mild bird flu virus was unwittingly contaminated with a deadly strain before being shipped to other labs. Earlier this summer, other researchers at CDC potentially exposed dozens of agency staff to live anthrax because of mistakes; nobody was sickened. Meanwhile, at the National Institutes of Health, long-forgotten vials of deadly smallpox virus were discovered in a cold-storage room where they weren’t supposed to be.

The new lab incident data indicate mishaps occur regularly at the more than 1,000 labs operated by 324 government, university and private organizations across the country that are registered with the Federal Select Agent Program. The program is jointly run by the USDA and the CDC, which are required by law to annually submit short reports with incident data to Congress.

Such secrecy is a barrier to improving lab safety, said Gigi Kwik Gronvall of the UPMC Center for Health Security in Baltimore, an independent think tank that studies policy issues relating to biosecurity issues, epidemics and disasters.

“We need to move to something more like what they do in aviation, where you have no-fault reporting but the events are described so you get a better sense of what actually happened and how the system can be fixed,” said Gronvall, an immunologist by training and anassociate professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Gronvall notes that even with redundant systems in high-security labs, there have been lab incidents resulting in the spread of disease to people and animals outside the labs.

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