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Tuesday Toon Roundup 1: The War on America

The Neoconservative Origins of Our Police Problem

Mike Konczal

Before it was anything else, the neoconservative movement was a theory of the urban crisis. As a reaction to the urban riots of the 1960s, it put an ideological and social-scientific veneer on a doctrine that called for overwhelming force against minor infractions -- a doctrine that is still with us today, as people are killed for walking down the street in Ferguson and allegedly selling single cigarettes in New York. But neoconservatives also sought, rather successfully, to position liberalism itself as the cause of the urban crisis, solvable only through the reassertion of order through the market and the police.

Edward Banfield was one of the first neoconservative thinkers who started writing in the 1960s and '70s and was a prominent figure in the movement, though he isn’t remembered as well as his close friends Milton Friedman or Leo Strauss, or his star student James Q. Wilson. Banfield contributed to the beginning of neoconservative urban crisis thinking, the Summer 1969 "Focus on New York" issue of The Public Interest, which began to formalize neoconservatives’ framing of the urban crisis as the result of not just the Great Society in particular but the liberal project as a whole.

In his major book The Unheavenly City (pdf here), Banfield set the tone for much of what would come in the movement. Commentary described the book as “a political scientist’s version of Milton Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom” at the time. It sold 100,000 copies, and gathered both extensive news coverage and academic interest.

The Unheavenly City’s most infamous chapter is “Rioting Mainly for Fun and Profit.” Fresh off televised riots in Watts, Detroit, and Newark, Banfield argued that it was "naive to think that efforts to end racial injustice and to eliminate poverty, slums, and unemployment will have an appreciable effect upon the amount of rioting that will be done in the next decade or two.” Absolute living standards had been rising rapidly. For Banfield, this was entirely the result of market and social forces rather than the state, and the poor, with their short time-horizons and desire for immediate gratification, would largely be left behind and always be prone to rioting. Today’s classic, if often implicit, repudiations of poor people’s humanity were clearly expressed here.



Luckovich Toon- President Perry Press Conference

Georgia police hoarding military surplus

By George Mathis

Ferguson police aren’t the only law enforcement agency that likes to use military hardware.

According to a database that catalogs where the Pentagon sent excess military equipment from September 2011 to September 2013, Georgia police agencies ranked 3rd in the number of items received and 4th in the total cost of obtained equipment.

Right next door, Alabama ranks first in total cost of equipment obtained. If the zombie apocalypse happens, the Southeast is locked and loaded.

I will attach a table below so you can see for yourself what Georgia police received, but here is a list of items that caught my eye:
1 mine resistant vehicle: $412,000
6,822 magazine cartridges: $68,959
567 adapter rails, weapon mounted: $330,000
5 armored trucks: $325,000



Paul Krugman- Why We Fight Wars

A century has passed since the start of World War I, which many people at the time declared was “the war to end all wars.” Unfortunately, wars just kept happening. And with the headlines from Ukraine getting scarier by the day, this seems like a good time to ask why.

Once upon a time wars were fought for fun and profit; when Rome overran Asia Minor or Spain conquered Peru, it was all about the gold and silver. And that kind of thing still happens. In influential research sponsored by the World Bank, the Oxford economist Paul Collier has shown that the best predictor of civil war, which is all too common in poor countries, is the availability of lootable resources like diamonds. Whatever other reasons rebels cite for their actions seem to be mainly after-the-fact rationalizations. War in the preindustrial world was and still is more like a contest among crime families over who gets to control the rackets than a fight over principles.

If you’re a modern, wealthy nation, however, war — even easy, victorious war — doesn’t pay. And this has been true for a long time. In his famous 1910 book “The Great Illusion,” the British journalist Norman Angell argued that “military power is socially and economically futile.” As he pointed out, in an interdependent world (which already existed in the age of steamships, railroads, and the telegraph), war would necessarily inflict severe economic harm even on the victor. Furthermore, it’s very hard to extract golden eggs from sophisticated economies without killing the goose in the process.

We might add that modern war is very, very expensive. For example, by any estimate the eventual costs (including things like veterans’ care) of the Iraq war will end up being well over $1 trillion, that is, many times Iraq’s entire G.D.P.

So the thesis of “The Great Illusion” was right: Modern nations can’t enrich themselves by waging war. Yet wars keep happening. Why?


Dr. Krugman misses the point. Governments don't make money on war, but the folks that control those governments sure do. Right, Darth Cheney?

Report: US exerting pressure on ICC not to open war crimes probe against Israel

The US and other western powers have exerted pressure on the International Criminal Court at the Hague to prevent a war crimes probe of Israel's operation in the Gaza Strip, The Guardian reported on Monday, quoting former court officials.

During Operation Protective Edge, the Palestinian Authority has threatened to request that the court look into allegations that the civilian deaths in Gaza during the IDF's operation constitute a war crime.

According to the report, the issue is among the matters being discussed at cease-fire talks in Cairo.

Palestinians requested that the court probe Israel for war crimes in 2009 , following Operation Cast Lead, however that request came before the Palestinians were recognized as a non-member observer state at the United Nations in 2012.



IN CHARTS: The Militarization of America's Police


Workforce Investment Act Leaves Many Jobless and in Debt

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — When the financial crisis crippled the construction industry seven years ago, Joe DeGrella’s contracting company failed, leaving him looking for what he hoped would be the last job he would ever need.

He took each step in line with the advice of the federal government: He met with an unemployment counselor who provided him with a list of job titles the Labor Department determined to be in high demand, he picked from among colleges that offered government-certified job-training courses, and he received a federal retraining grant.

In 2009, Mr. DeGrella, began a course at Daymar College — a for-profit vocational institute in Louisville — to become a cardiology technician. Daymar officials told him he would have a well-paying job within weeks of graduation.

But after about two years of studying cardiovascular physiology and the mechanics of electrocardiograms, Mr. DeGrella, now 57, found himself jobless and $20,000 in debt. He moved into his sister’s basement and now works at an AutoZone.



Federal Appeals Court Demands Longer Sentence For Officer Who Delivered Brutal Beating

As outrage over the shooting of Michael Brown roils on, many are facing the all-too-real fear that the case will never see justice, even if it turns out the shooting was entirely unjustified. But one federal appeals court last week took a remarkable stand against leniency for police accountability. In a unanimous ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit held that 20 months in prison was not enough for a former DesMoines police officer who brutally beat a couple on their way home from the movies.

Erin Evans and Octavius Bonds were driving home from a date at the movies in 2008 when they were pulled over for failure to yield to an emergency vehicle. From the start, then-officer Mersed Dautovic and his fellow white officer approached the young African American couple with hostility. When Evans, then 21, rolled down her window, Dautovic flung the door open, asking “Are you from America?” and if she was stupid. As a now-flustered Evans attempted to find the appropriate papers in her glove compartment, a second officer ordered her to get out of the car or be pepper sprayed.

What ensued from there was a chain of violence in which Evans was dragged from the car, flung onto the hood of the car and then onto the ground as she screamed for help. When Bonds, then 25, heard her screaming and tried to get out of the car, he was doused with pepper spray continuously, even when he tried to turn his face away from the officer. Bonds eventually grabbed Dautovic’s hand to resist, and then remembers being hit in the back of the head before he lost consciousness. When he awoke again, officers were standing over him with batons, beating him repeatedly, even as he lay in the fetal position and then possibly unconscious.

In the course of this beating, Bonds sustained a broken forearm, a split in his scalp that required seven stitches, a broken hand “so bad” that “two bones protruded through his skin” and bruises covering his body. Officers placed him face down on the road and continued to beat him, in what one witness called the motions of chopping wood. Others testified that as the officers waited for an ambulance, they left Bonds face-down on the road near the centerline, as other drivers had to swerve onto the road’s median so they didn’t run over Bonds’ head.



Monday Toon Roundup 2- The Rest







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