Whose Country Is This?

Just so you are clear on where you are living, I strongly recommend you watch this recording of storm troupers invading a residence, killing a family dog for recreational purposes, and arresting two adults on trumped-up charges (possession of a minuscule amount of marijuana and a CYA charge of "child endangerment"). Obviously, what endangered the child was idiots in uniforms carrying weapons.

A short article discussing the case is included here http://reason.com/blog/2010/05/05/video-of-swat-raid-on-missouri and http://www.columbiatribune.com/news/2010/feb/23/family-questions-swat-drug-search-that-led-to/.

A few weeks ago, I worked with a kid on a video shoot who was once on track to become an engineer before he decided he wanted to take the easy way into life by becoming a cop. Like many nerds, this kid barely qualifies as "socialized." He's got a superiority complex, is often a bully (mentally, since he doesn't have the skills or the weapons to physically push anyone around), and is superstitious and a wingnut. Other than having had experience as a high school bully or an actual criminal (as best I know), he's perfectly qualified to join the US version of Nazi Germany's SS.

At one point during the show we were taping, he made the comment, "I don't know why people hate cops. We're professionals like doctors or lawyers." He claim to professionalism was based on the fact that to get their lifetime guaranteed employment jobs, cops have to "earn a college degree." Of course, unlike doctors and lawyers, a grossly misnamed "Criminal Justice" bachelor's degree is a minimal education with grade school difficultly courses offered by every fly-by-night correspondence program on the planet. You can get your Criminal Justice piece of toilet paper from the same fine people who bring us degrees in Court Reporting, Culinary Arts, Health Insurance Customer Service, Paralegal, and Video Game design training. Some of these degree mills have the gall to call their programs "Public Safety Administration." Watching the video above sure makes this member of the public feel safer.

For laughs, here are some of the course names from a typical criminal justice program:
  • Ethical Issues in Criminal Justice,
  • Police Report Writing,
  • Precision Driving,
  • Firearms,
  • Current Issues in Criminal Justice,
  • Criminal Justice Internship,
  • Physical Fitness Conditioning,
  • Physical-Defensive Tactics,
  • Conflict Management in Criminal Justice,
  • State Criminal Law,
  • State Criminal Procedures,
  • Criminal Investigation,
  • Patrol Problems,
  • Traffic Management,
  • Law Enforcement Assessment,
  • Advanced First Aid,
  • and Crime-Violence in Literature.
I'm not making this up. These are acual class names for a state college's Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice program. Of course, basketweaving and pushups are liberal arts requirements for this pablum degree. If you are currently employed as a cop or meter maid or security guard or crossing guard, you can receive 50+ credits for "time served." For all this empty-headed crap, a "student" receives a "bachelor of science" degree. I will never again criticize Communications degrees. Compared for Criminal Justice, a Communications degree is actually academic. The closest thing to a science requirement in this entire program is "Advanced First Aid," a course often taken by people wanting to do activities like scuba diving or motorcycle safety instruction. The rest of the degree requirements make a mockery of the word "science." I would expect a normal person to be less intelligent after completing this pointless program. If this crap doesn't numb your mind, you don't have a mind to work with.

The kid who inspired this rant dropped out of his EE program because it was too hard. He figured if all he was going to do with his life was issue traffic tickets and break down residential doors, shoot household pets, and terrorize unarmed citizens, why learn anything useful? The next time you watch one of those idiotic television programs that has a highly-skilled geek whipping through loads of information, chasing down criminals using beyond state-of-the-art tools, remember this kid. He will probably end up being some police department's "genius," but he wasn't near bright enough to complete a real engineering program or diligent enough to work his way through a real college degree program. The fact is, all our police can do is break into ordinary citizens' homes and terrorize the family next door. They don't have the skills necessary to protect society from real menaces. They have a degree in Criminal Justice.

As for why people hate and fear cops, I'd bet the 8-year old who saw his parents treated like dangerous criminals and his family pets shot down because men in armour felt like killing something could answer that question. I'd imagine that Jonathan Whitworth could give you a pretty good explaination of why he is afraid of his local nutcases with guns. Anyone with a lick of sense ought to be afraid for their lives after watching this video, especially with the knowledge that teams like this exist in every mid-sized city and they are itching to pretend to be tough.

Ideally, they can exercise their bullying instincts in safe environments like the bust shown in this video. If they were busting bikers cooking meth, they'd have to worry about getting shot at. Busting a recreational marijuana user and his family is about as dangerous as beating up kids at the local Dairy Queen. Let's face it, if these bozos weren't employed by the local cops, they'd be doing exactly that, beating up kids and hanging out in bars. It's not like they have real skills, a useful education, or any social value.


Imaginary Alternatives: Reagan's $50

In one of his most quoted statements, Reagan said, "In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. " And then, in true Republican fashion, he went on to deregulate a hoard of industries that had a long, well-documented history of desperately needing regulating and he created one of the longest periods of unemployment and wild government spending in US history. In the end, he left a shattered economy and massive debt as his legacy. The Republican history revisionists want to recreate his legacy as one of moderation and economic opportunity. There was opportunity alright, but it was for mobsters who took over S&Ls, the military-industrial complex who had a field decade with taxpayer "investment," and Wall Street's gamblers.

What was lost was the opportunity to fix America's real problems: taking on alternative energy solutions, converting to international metric standards, downsizing the post-Cold War military, modernizing our education system, facing the end-of-the-Industrial-Period and American Century facts and realigning the country for those reduced resources, and the rest of the unaddressed list of real problems. Instead, Reagan put on his happy face and set the country back two decades or more. He deregulated the media, giving us Faux News and the rest of the right wing corporate spokesperson networks. He busted unions, shipping the working class out of the middle class and into debtor slavery. He set Wall Street free of its post-Depression shackles setting the economy up a half-dozen boom-and-bust cycles since he took office and turning our economy from one that produces goods and services to one that produces con games on an international scale.

In a complete flight of imagination, Republicans are promoting a change to the $50 bill. They want to replace U.S. Grant with Reagan's mug. There is some historical connection between the two: 1) they both headed supremely corrupt administrations providing federal and state prosecutors with working material for a decade after they left office, 2) they were both hands-off Presidents (Grant was drunk for his two terms, Reagan was senile and asleep through most of his administration), 3) they both presided over substantial periods of economic recession, and, least likely, 4) they both supported Civil Rights. Grant was a strong advocate for the 15th Amendment (before the Supreme Court turned it to crap) and Reagan once said, "I favor the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and it must be enforced at gunpoint if necessary." Who would have thought that the man who took best advantage of the southern flight from the Democratic Party because of the Civil Rights Act actually believed in its principles? Of course, Ulysses Grant actually provided a service to his country, leading the nation's military against the hillbillies of the Old South and saving democracy, the Union, and ending slavery in North America (until the 20th Century revived slavery in a variety of forms, something R Reagan had a hand in).

Since Reagan never actually accomplished anything useful in the defense of the nation or in any other useful area, I think dumping Grant for Reagan would be a foolish mistake. However, Reagan and G.W. Bush did an awful lot toward burying the country in debt and I would strongly recommend that their likenesses be put on an instrument of debt; the $100 savings bond, for example. I am in no way a graphic artist, but the included example is along the lines of what I would recommend. A legend such as, "I need your money to burn" or "Buy U.S. Bonds so Democrats can pay off our bad debts" or something equally quaint could go a long way toward truth in advertising our national savings bonds.

It looks like the $50 Reagan bill is doomed to failure. Something like 80% of Americans favor Grant over Reagan. Apprarently, the repackaging of Sleepy Ronny hasn't gone as well as the promoters hoped. Republicans always want to take the easy way out of work, representing the idle rich as they do. It's going to take a lot more Faux News propaganda before Boomers forget their losses from Reaganonmics. Of course, the quote Reagan should have been remembered for is, "
It's true hard work never killed anybody, but I figure, why take the chance?" He never did.