The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Last night, the peace in Ferguson, MO was once again shattered by a standoff between police and protesters. According to the police, provocateurs in the crowd fired guns and threw Molotov cocktails at the line of police. According to protesters (as well as media representatives on my show today), the aggression came from the uniformed force of power attempting to disperse the crowd.
I'd call the actions of the Ferguson PD and Mayor, of the Missouri Governor and the rest of the "powers-that-be" a "comedy of errors" except there's nothing remotely funny about what's going on in Ferguson - from the moment Michael Brown was stopped for walking down the middle of the street to this morning when Governor Jay Nixon called in the National Guard. Nothing.
After one night of peaceful protest during which police in shirt sleeves walked and talked with protesters, the police seem to have done everything wrong.
From bringing out the heavy artillery to arresting journalists to firing tear gas to imposing a curfew to holding the name of the killer cop to releasing the convenience store surveillance video to bringing out the military gear again... and let's not forget, for one of their own shooting an unarmed teenager walking down the street in the first place, I blame the people charged with keeping the peace and protecting the community for the mess they created and keep compounding with each dim witted move.
As for all the military firepower, we no longer have to wonder who's to blame. Congressman Alan Grayson actually foresaw this problem and tried to prevent it from happening.
On June 19, 2014, Congressman Grayson introduced an amendment to the Defense Appropriations Act of 2015 that reads as follows:
None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to transfer aircraft (including unmanned aerial vehicles), armored vehicles, grenade launchers, silencers, toxicological agents (including chemical agents, biological agents, and associated equipment), launch vehicles, guided missiles, ballistic missiles, rockets, torpedoes, bombs, mines, or nuclear weapons (as identified for demilitarization purposes outlined in Department of Defense Manual 4160.28) through the Department of Defense Excess Personal Property Program established pursuant to section 1033 of Public Law 104-201, the "National Defense Authorization Act For Fiscal Year 1997".
An amendment to prohibit use of funds to transfer aircraft (including unmanned aerial vehicles), armored vehicles, grenade launchers, silencers, toxicological agents, launch vehicles, guided missiles, ballistic missiles, rockets, torpedoes, bombs, mines, or nuclear weapons through the DOD Excess Personal Property Program established pursuant to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1997.
As Howie Klein explained to us this morning during our weekly segment, The Steve Israel Hour sponsored by Little Debbie, Congressman Grayson had lined up more than enough Republican votes to join with Democrats to pass the amendment. Unfortunately, all but 43 Democrats inexplicably voted against his bill that would have prevented the military equipment going to local police departments!
Howie followed the money, and found that the only member of Congress seeking re-election in November with over a million dollars in contributions from the military industrial complex (two others aren't returning) - Pete Visclosky (D-IN) - was responsible for killing the bill!
— Howie Klein (@downwithtyranny) August 18, 2014
Although Howie broke that news on the show this morning and will soon follow it up with at post at Down With Tyranny, he has written about the sickening reality that is the militarization of our police departments here and here.
After the news from Talk Radio News Service's Justin Duckham who spent the weekend in Ferguson and filed this report, I spoke with the two members of We Act Radio's media team - Seth Jackson and Peter Callahan - who are still there covering the events in Ferguson. Find their live stream at Credo Mobile's Youtube page, or via WeActRadio.com.
And finally, we bid buh-bye to David Gregory! I had to invite my old "Fools on the Hill" cohort and fellow Nicole -- Nicole Belle, that is -- back on the show to tell him him not to let the door hit him on the ass on his way out of Meet the Press. David Gregory won't be missed. Sadly, his replacement is Chuck Todd, who's not very different from his predecessor.
Maybe NBC might want to find someone who doesn't have two first names, or is an actual journalist. What a concept!
I'll be back tomorrow with author Rick Perlstein and @GottaLaff too... Radio or Not!