Archive for the ‘government’ Category
–Since 16 June, panoply of US operations in Iraq have expanded to include around 60 surveillance flights over Isis territory
29 Aug 2014 America’s newest war in Iraq has cost over half a billion dollars so far, according to Pentagon estimates, all before President Barack Obama decides upon a strategy against Islamic State (Isis) militants. Rear Adm John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, told reporters on Friday that daily military operations in Iraq since 16 June, when the White House informed Congress it had ordered up to 275 US troops to bolster embassy security in Baghdad, have cost on average $7.5m. Those operations stretched into their 75th day on Friday, suggesting a cost of around $562.5m.
When Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 went down on July 17, 2014, we were immediately inundated with base propaganda trying to convince us that the shootdown could be traced back to the Kremlin. But what was this rush to judgement based on? What have we learned about the crash since then? Why has MH17 completely disappeared from the news cycle? And who really stood to benefit from the disaster? Find out the answers to these questions and more in this week’s edition of The Corbett Report.
MH17 story starts around at 5:00 minutes
Posted in economics, government, health, protest, tagged City of Detroit, city residents, Detroit, Detroit Water, Detroit Water Brigade, water bills, WATER SUPPLY on August 29, 2014 | Leave a Comment »
Despite widespread public outcry and international condemnation, the city of Detroit on Tuesday resumed shutting off the water supply to thousands of city residents.
Ending the month long moratorium on shutoffs, Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) public affairs specialist Gregory Eno confirmed to Common Dreams that the city turned off the water to roughly 400 households that are delinquent on their water bills and have not yet set up a payment plan. More shutoffs are expected.
According to the citizens group Detroit Water Brigade, the only thing that changed since shutoffs began in March is that the city has lowered the required down payment water bills from 30% to 10%. “The water is still too expensive for Detroit,” they said. Detroit is one of the poorest cities in the United States with over 38% of the population living below the poverty line, according to Census Bureau statistics.
Members of the Detroit Water Brigade are calling on the city to halt the shutoffs altogether and consider alternatives for helping people pay their bills, arguing that restricting access to water for the city’s poorest residents is “doing nothing more than hurting people,” DWB volunteer DeMeeko Williams told a local CBS affiliate.
“Today it is 90 degrees in the city of Detroit,” Williams continued. “Elderly people need water, children need water to hydrate themselves—to stay cool.”
Posted in criminal justice system, government, law, technology, tagged centralized power, cyber security, cybersecurity, Department of Health and Human Services, Tim DeFoggi, Timothy DeFoggi on August 29, 2014 | Leave a Comment »
The following story is a warning as to why centralized power is so dangerous. It doesn’t matter whether the power is political or corporate, overly centralized power in all forms must be resisted whenever it appears. The worst of all worlds is when centralized political and corporate power unite in an unholy alliance, which is what has happened to America in recent decades. When this occurs, the combined forces of oligarchy simply begin to rapaciously feast on the citizenry with zero accountability. This is a fair description of the United States in 2014.
Enter Timothy DeFoggi, the one-time cybersecurity director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, who received several awards for his government “service” over the years. The self-proclaimed man of “many perversions,” frequented a child porn site called PedoBook where he “exchanged private messages with other members expressing interest in raping, beating and murdering infants and toddlers.”
More from Wired:
As the acting cybersecurity chief of a federal agency, Timothy DeFoggi should have been well versed in the digital footprints users leave behind online when they visit web sites and download images.
But DeFoggi—convicted today in Nebraska on three child porn charges including conspiracy to solicit and distribute child porn—must have believed his use of the Tor anonymizing network shielded him from federal investigators.
But DeFoggi’s conviction is perhaps more surprising than others owing to the fact that he worked at one time as the acting cybersecurity director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. DeFoggi worked for the department from 2008 until January this year. A department official told Business Insider that DeFoggi worked in the office of the assistant secretary for administration as lead IT specialist but a government budget document for the department from this year(.pdf) identifies a Tim DeFoggi as head of OS IT security operations, reporting to the department’s chief information security officer.
Although anyone could use the sites, registered users like DeFoggi—who was known online under the user names “fuckchrist” and “PTasseater”—could set up profile pages with an avatar, often child porn images, and personal information and upload files. The site archived more than 100 videos and more than 17,000 child porn and child erotica images, many of them depicting infants and toddlers being sexually abused by adults.
DeFoggi became part of that sting after becoming a registered member of PedoBook in March 2012 where he remained active until December that year when the FBI shuttered it. During this time DeFoggi, who described himself as “having many perversions,” solicited child porn images from other members, viewed images and exchanged private messages with other members expressing interest in raping, beating and murdering infants and toddlers.
DeFoggi received many commendations during his government career, according to an exhibit list created by the government for his trial. The list includes several certificates of award from the U.S. Treasury, a certificate of appreciation from the State Department for his work on a Hurricane Katrina task force, several documents related to computer courses he attended and certifications he received.
Posted in criminal justice system, government, law, tagged Darren Wilson, Emerging American Police State, Ferguson, John Whitehead, Michael Brown, Missouri, police departments on August 28, 2014 | Leave a Comment »
We may eventually know the actual facts in the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown by policeman Darren Wilson in the Missouri town of Ferguson, but the widely publicized full-scale war on protesters there by the police has finally begun to alert Americans of all backgrounds to the militarization of law enforcement in many areas of our nation.
Constitutional lawyer John Whitehead, founder and president of civil liberties defender The Rutherford Institute, has been reporting often on this aggrandizement of our police:
“This is not just happening in Ferguson, Missouri. As I show in my book ‘A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State,’ it’s happening and will happen anywhere and everywhere else in this country where law enforcement officials are given carte blanche to do what they like, when they like, how they like, with immunity from their superiors, the legislators and the courts …
“We’ve not only brought the military equipment used in Iraq and Afghanistan home to be used against the American people. We’ve also brought the very spirit of the war home” (“Turning America Into a War Zone, Where ‘We the People’ Are the Enemy,” Whitehead, Rutherford.org, Aug. 20).
Also reporting on police militarization is Walter Olson of the Cato Institute (where I am a senior fellow):
“Why armored vehicles in a Midwestern inner suburb? Why would cops wear camouflage gear against a terrain patterned by convenience stores and beauty parlors? Why are the authorities in Ferguson, Mo., so given to quasi-martial crowd control methods (such as bans on walking on the street) and, per the reporting of Riverfront Times, the firing of tear gas at people in their own yards? (‘ “This is my property!” he shouted, prompting police to fire a tear gas canister directly at his face.’) (“Police Militarization in Ferguson — and Your Town,” Olson, Cato.org, Aug. 13).
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has raised its estimate for this year’s federal deficit to $506 billion, while slashing its growth forecast for the US economy.
The new estimate is $14 billion more than the budget office’s last report in April which had projected the deficit for fiscal 2014 to hit $492 billion on September 30. The US government’s fiscal year runs from October through September.
The new projection is largely a result of lower-than-expected revenues for the year, in part because receipts from corporate income taxes are $37 billion less than expected.
Corporate tax revenues will be $315 billion in 2014, compared to a prior estimate of $351 billion, CBO said Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the agency slashed its projection of gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the year to 1.5 percent from 3.1 percent, “reflecting the surprising economic weakness in the first half of the year.”
“Later in the coming decade, if current laws governing federal taxes and spending generally remain unchanged, revenues would grow only slightly faster than the economy and spending would increase more rapidly,” CBO said.
The deficit in 2015 will drop to $469 billion, which would be 2.6 percent of the GDP.
After 2018, however, the federal deficit is expected to rise to about 4 percent of GDP through 2024.
The budget office further said public debt would hit 77 percent of GDP in 2024, down slightly from a previous estimate of 78 percent.
The deficit is expected to reach $960 billion in 2024 due to an aging population, rising healthcare costs and an expansion of federal subsidies for insurance.
[Yeah, that includes their handlers.]
27 Aug 2014 The United States government is tracking as many as 300 Americans supposedly fighting with Islamic State, the jihadist group with a heavy presence in parts of Syria and Iraq, according to senior US officials. Washington is worried that radicalized foreign fighters could become a risk to the US if they return to employ skills learned overseas to carry out attacks, anonymous US officials said, according to the Washington Times. “We know that there are several hundred American passport holders running around with ISIS in Syria or Iraq,” a senior US official said.
1) Iceland has 130 volcanic mountains of which 89 have erupted since 900 A.D.
2) Katla volcano last erupted 96 years ago in 1918. It normally erupts every 13 to 95 years. Katla’s last major eruption was in 1918. It threw so much water from the glacier above it into the atmosphere that it flooded the trenches in Europe making the war difficult to wage for almost a week.
3) Katla erupted in 1700 . It threw so much ash into the air that it blocked enough sunlight to freeze the Mississippi river near New Orleans. Katla also erupted just before the French revolution and forced food prices beyond the reach of the poor.
4) 1816 was a year without a summer. Then as now we had a minimum of sun spot activity which causes global cooling. Mt Tambora in the Dutch East Indies erupted and sent so much ash into the sky that sunlight was partially blocked. Snow and frosts occurred that summer curtailing food production. There were only one billion people then. Today we have more than 7 billion which means we are one big earthquake and one major volcano away from Global Starvation.
5) California has two nuclear power plants almost directly on top of earth quake fault lines. Del Mar racetrack has lost ten horses so far this year. A couple died of heart attacks. Race horses are not old. They were all foals and colts after the events of Fukushima meaning they absorbed radiation more rapidly than adult humans. They are athletes and breathe deeply. They also eat a lot of food and drink a lot of water that could be contaminated with radiation from Fukushima. Fukushima is far away. But California is much closer and any melt downs would add to existing radiation levels.
6) The New Madrid earthquakes were a series of 4 quakes on three separate days that occurred over 53 days from December 16, 1811 to February 7, 1812. Two of those quakes reversed the flow of the Mississippi river. The Mississippi is the fourth longest river in the world. Can you calculate how much force would be required to lift the water in the Mississippi river and send it in the other direction? That is how much force an earthquake can release.
7) The San Andreas fault runs a distance of about 810 miles (1,300 km). A 2006 University of California study concluded that a Mega Thrust quake is more likely to occur on the southern third of the San Andreas fault. The southern section of the fault has not seen a quake in over 300 years. The San Gabriel fault runs through Los Angeles. Both are overdue.
8) There are 800,000 miles (1,287,475 Kms) of water pipes and aqueducts in the US. Americans use almost 400 billion gallons of water a day. The US has 600,000 miles (965,606 Kms) of sewers. Earthquakes on either California or the New Madrid could cut off water and sewers to 20 million Californians or ten million or more people in the center of the US where the New Madrid fault lies. The New Madrid fault covers parts of Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Arkansas and Tennessee.
9) The US has more than 300,000 miles (482,803 Kms) of natural gas pipelines and 150,000 miles (241,402 Kms) of crude oil and gasoline pipelines. The New Madrid fault line is in the center of America and is near most oil and natural gas production. If quakes severed these pipelines, America would grind to a halt for an extended period of time due to shortages of oil, natural gas and gasoline.
10) If one or more of the nuclear power plants facing either the Missouri or Mississippi rivers melted down and spilled into either river, they would turn the Gulf of Mexico and hence the Atlantic Ocean into a toxic waste dump. The Pacific Ocean is already losing life forms along the Canadian and American west coasts due to Fukushima.
11) California’s Salton Sea and surrounding basin is near the San Andreas fault. There have been earthquake swarms in the area. The USGS is studying four active volcanoes on the south side of the Salton Sea. There is a large pool of magma 2 to 4 miles below the volcanoes. They think an earthquake would send the magma to the surface in a giant volcanic eruption. The volcanoes have been emitting a rotten egg smell (Hydrogen Sulfide) which has been detected 120 miles away in Los Angeles and San Diego. It was this same smell that preceded the eruption of Vesuvius which buried Pompeii in 79 AD.
12) An 8.35 earthquake releases the same power as two 25 megaton Hydrogen bombs. In the 1906 San Francisco earthquake a road was thrown 20 feet. At that time a dirt road’s sudden movement in a rural county immediately north of the city did little damage.
13) America has a $4 trillion deficit in repair to its infrastructure. Legal and illegal immigration is increasing the demand for new schools, roads, bridges, dams, sewers and hospitals. Earthquakes in California and in the New Madrid area could add a trillion dollars to that repair bill. As we have seen, some of those repairs to interstate roads, water aqueducts and gasoline and natural gas pipelines would be urgent. Money for those repairs are already scarce.
14) Imagine the abrupt change to life in southern California that a major earthquake would produce. Early one morning a major earthquake erupts and it takes down the freeways. Roads rupture. Overpasses fall to the ground making escape by auto impossible. The quake lasts more than 2 minutes. In the second minute the sewers and the water pipelines rupture. The natural gas pipelines break and cause fires. There is no water to fight fires. There is no electricity so 20 million people cannot buy food and gasoline with credit cards, debit cards and EBT Food Stamp cards. In any event the gas pumps won’t work without electricity though a few battery operated pumps could be set up for emergency vehicles but none of the gas will be given to civilians. They will have no drinking water. Most people did not understand that they were supposed to store water for emergencies and that the first thing to do is to fill the tub and all available containers with water. There will be no hospitals.
15) Feeding and housing 20 million southern Californians will be beyond the abilities of the federal government. Just giving them emergency medical treatment and water to drink will be a herculean task. This task would be compounded if the volcanoes at the Salton Sea erupted. And, if the San Onofre nuclear power plant were to meltdown, the radiation released would force people to evacuate. But where would they go? How would they find a job? How much tax money would the US government lose each month and for how many months before the economy recovers?
16) In 1906 the psychologist William James went from Stanford to San Francisco and noticed how well people worked together. That was then. This is now. Los Angeles has well over 100,000 Street Gang members. What will they do? The answer is anything they want. There will not be much of a police presence. George Hemminger talked to gangbangers in California who said they would be committing, robbery, rape, murder and mayhem.
17) Depending on how severe the earthquakes are in the New Madrid area, the US could have 4 to 6 to 8 nuclear power plants melt down. There is a problem with the electrical power grid. US nuclear power plants rely on electricity from the power grid for cooling when they are shut down. If the power grid goes down, the plants rely on batteries to keep the cooling process going for 4 to 8 hours. After that they would use generators. But the situation could become dire if the power grid remained down for too long.
18) The long term problem would be the health risks of radiation releases from 6 or more American Fukushimas. Safe food would be a concern. When Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, she negotiated with the Japanese to allow them to ship fish they caught off the coast of Fukushima directly into America without being inspected for radiation. This is obviously harmful to American consumers. But after 6 melt downs on US soil, the US will have a problem finding safe food to eat. I would personally recommend that you try greenhouses and aquaponics. But the problem there would be neighbors and government officials taking your food away from you.
19) The Indo-Australian plate is active as well as the entire Pacific ring of fire. Buoys measure water columns to predict tsunamis that move across the ocean at 500 mph. In a recent quake near Australia buoys thousands of miles apart became active within 20 minutes of each other. Because tsunamis cannot travel at 10,000 mph we know that the Indo-Australian plate is active and the entire area of the South Pacific is likely to have major quakes.
What we need to do is to develop locally generated power to replace both the power grid which loses electricity due to resistance in those wires transporting electrons over long distances. The United States government has Tesla technology. Nikola Tesla discovered alternating current electricity. In 1934 He said he had a mechanism for generating tremendous electrical force and a means of intensifying and amplifying the force developed by that mechanism. The government seized 155 boxes and crates of Tesla’s lab notes and equipment when he died in 1943. They have spent billions of dollars every year perfecting his work and on other clandestine research which they have kept hidden from the public.
The government or rather the people who think they own our government have done such a poor job running things that we as a people will soon have a choice between extinction and survival which is to say a choice between accepting more of this abuse from above or learning to say No to tyranny. The choice is ours and not theirs.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda, have donated $1 million to a Washington state campaign seeking to expand background checks on gun sales, bringing the total amount the campaign has brought in up to nearly $6 million.
The donation to the Initiative 594 campaign was given Friday, but it was not made public until Monday, when it posted on the state’s Public Disclosure Commission website.
I-594 would require background checks for all gun sales and transfers in Washington state, including at gun shows and for private sales. Under the measure, exemptions would exist, including gifts within a family and antiques.
In a joint written statement issued Monday, the couple said that they believe I-594 “will be an effective and balanced approach to improving gun safety in our state by closing existing loopholes for background checks.”
The large donation comes on the heels of fellow Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s $500,000 donation earlier this month. Also last week, venture capitalist Nick Hanauer donated an additional $1 million, bring his total donation to the campaign to nearly $1.4 million.
Other prominent figures who have made large donations to the campaign include former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and his wife, Connie, who have given $580,000.
Something is very wrong here.
Shell Tzorfas on YouTube pointed us to this U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) paper “Trends in the Prevalence of Developmental Disabilities in U.S. Children, 1997–2008” and what are some pretty astonishing figures.
The joint CDC—Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) paper not only revealed that one in six children across America suffered from a developmental disability in 2006-2008, but the rate of parent-reported developmental disabilities in their children had increased 17.1% from 1997 to 2008.
Worse, in the 12-year period, the prevalence of autism increased nearly three hundred percent (289.5%).
One in six. That means if you go to just two of your neighbors’ homes with children, it is very likely that at one of them, you will find at least one child with a developmental disability. And these figures were from 2008, so that begs the question: how bad are they now?
Cornel West, activist and professor at Union Theological Seminary, ripped Barack Obama’s “Wall Street presidency,” calling him another neoliberal “counterfeit” after posing as a progressive in his initial campaign for the White House in 2008.
“We ended up with a Wall Street presidency, a drone presidency, a national security presidency,” West told Salon.com’s Thomas Frank.
“The torturers go free. The Wall Street executives go free. The war crimes in the Middle East, especially now in Gaza, the war criminals go free. And yet, you know, he acted as if he was both a progressive and as if he was concerned about the issues of serious injustice and inequality and it turned out that he’s just another neoliberal centrist with a smile and with a nice rhetorical flair.”
Public intellectual West lamented Obama’s failure – or refusal – to attempt a revival of democratic principles at a time of “an empire in decline.”
“Our culture is in increasing decay. Our school systems are in deep trouble. Our political system is dysfunctional. Our leaders are more and more bought off with legalized bribery and normalized corruption in Congress and too much of our civil life. You would think that we needed somebody—a Lincoln-like figure who could revive some democratic spirit and democratic possibility.”
West said at a time of deep need for solutions, for a change of culture in the gilded halls of Washington, Obama was another “opportunist.”
“It’s like you’re looking for John Coltrane and you get Kenny G in brown skin.”
Looking back, West said he believes Obama’s “motus operandi” has always consisted of seeking to placate the powers-that-be and to occupy the “middle ground,” even though he acted the part of a transcendent figure during his campaign 2008, the year that saw the beginning of the Great Recession.
“And so what did he do? Every time you’re headed toward middle ground what do you do? You go straight to the establishment and reassure them that you’re not too radical, and try to convince them that you are very much one of them so you end up with a John Brennan, architect of torture [as CIA Director]. Torturers go free but they’re real patriots so we can let them go free. The rule of law doesn’t mean anything.”
West also chided US Attorney General Eric Holder for his cozy relationship with Wall Street.
“Eric Holder won’t touch the Wall Street executives; they’re his friends. He might charge them some money. They want to celebrate. This money is just a tax write-off for these people. There’s no accountability. No answerability. No responsibility that these people have to take at all.”
Acting as if there are no divisions in the US, that there is one “American family,” as Obama has said, is part of the President’s “temperament,” West said.
“You don’t try to act as if we have no divisions and we’re just an American family, with the poor getting treated in disgraceful ways and the rich walking off sipping tea, with no accountability at all, and your foreign policy is running amok with Israelis committing war crimes against precious Palestinians and you won’t say a mumbling word about the Palestinian children. What is history going to say about you? Counterfeit! That’s what they’ll say, counterfeit. Not the real thing.”
Obama and Holder, both black men, were “completely silent,” West said, following the police killing of unarmed African-American teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson. The incident was emblematic of “arbitrary police power” that is often trained on communities of color, he added.
West said Holder will likely step down by the end of the year, as he is “concerned about his legacy as if he’s somehow been swinging for black folk ever since he’s been in there. That’s a lie. He’s been silent, too. He’s been relatively silent. He’s made a couple of gestures in regards to the New Jim Crow and the prison-industrial complex, but that’s just lately, on his way out. He was there for six years and didn’t do nothing.”
The post-Obama era will be “an America in post-traumatic depression,” West said, and the likely successor in the White House, “neo-liberal opportunist par excellence” Hillary Clinton, will be “much worse.”
“Hillary Clinton is an extension of Obama’s Wall Street presidency, drone presidency, national surveillance, national security presidency. She’d be more hawkish than he is, and yet she’s got that strange smile that somehow titillates liberals and neo-liberals and scares Republicans. But at that point it’s even too hard to contemplate.”