Militarized cops: arms dealers bribed Congress to ramboize Barney Fife

The 355 Congresscreeps who voted to continue Program 1033 (through which the military buys war-weapons at full retail, then gives them away free to local cops) accepted 73 percent more campaign donations from defense industry sources than the opposition.

More than 8,000 feds/state/local and tribal forces have armed up since the program started in the 1990s.

In June, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) introduced an amendment to de-fund aspects of the program. Grayson's bill would have exempted certain military equipment, including planes and armored cars, from Program 1033. That effort failed; just 62 members of the House of Representatives voted for the measure, with 355 voting no. Maybe the outcome shouldn't have been a surprise: According to a new analysis of campaign finance data, the politicians who voted against Grayson's bill received, on average, 73 percent more campaign donations from defense industry sources from 2011 through 2013 than their peers who voted for it.

The analysis—conducted by the Berkeley-based research group MapLight using data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics—also found that of 59 representatives who received more than $100,000 from the defense industry from 2011 through 2013, all but three voted against the amendment.

How the Defense Industry Convinced Congress to Militarize Local Cops [Alex Park/Mother Jones]

Notable Replies

  1. Could we stop calling local police "Barney Fife"? It's belittling and insulting, and the vast majority of local cops are just people trying to make a living and protecting lives and property.

    Calling a specific cop or force Barney Fife makes sense if they do stupid shit or overreact to minor issues, but there's no reason to do a mass smear.

  2. dacree says:

    Gee, I wonder why people think of local police as Barney Fife? I mean he was a bumbling fool who saw crime in the most innocent of activities. He was also over nervous and quick to pull out his gun. He clearly was not the kind of person who should have power or authority.

    On the other hand he was fairly harmless. While he definitely had an us v them mindset, he never threatened to take away children from parents if they didn't agree to pay a huge fine without a court date. He never stopped and harassed someone just because they were black.

    You are right. It is insulting.. to Don Knotts. Fife was an ultimately lovable character who was just a little misguided. Most local cops I encounter carry an air of a person who needs to be in control of everyone and everything.

  3. Can we get past a couple of the words used in the headline to realize what the article is about?

    Feel free to object to local cops being characterized as Barney Fife for the purpose of contrast with Rambo. They're both caricatures. I'm pretty sure most of us who are familiar with US cinema and television understand that.

    For myself, I want to object to the fact that arms industry lobbyists are successfully bribing Congress to create a taxpayer funded market for their wares. A market which puts military hardware in the hands of local police forces, and then requires that they actually use it within one year.

    Imagine if Andy had insisted that Barney actually use his revolver at least once a year open_mouth

  4. Sorry, but the police have NOT been Ramboized. I have not ONCE seen an officer with bow of any kind, much less a cool compound bow with explosive heads on the arrows...

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