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Who: Kimball Corson. Text and Photos not disclaimed or that are obviously not mine are copyright (c) Kimball Corson 2004-2013
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Arming Homeland Security
Kimball Corson
04/12/2012, Pago Pago, American Samoa

Arming Homeland Security

Homeland Security is buying ammo faster than the Department of Defense perhaps. Homeland Security is arming up. With that much ammo. there must be very few marksmen within the Department. They must just be planning to hose down America's neighborhoods. Our government is now more of a threat to us than terrorism is or ever was.

The Department Of Homeland Security Is Buying 450 Million New Bullets
articles.businessinsider.com

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office is buying 450 million rounds of .40 caliber ammunition.

Here is the cite: http://articles.businessinsider.com/2012-03-28/news/31247765_1_atk-rounds-bullet

Republican Representative Allen West Bites the Dust in Foolishness.
Kimball Corson
04/12/2012, Pago Pago, American Samoa

Republican Representative Allen West Bites the Dust in Foolishness.

Allen West said he has heard and implies he believes that as many as 80 House Democrats are members of the Communist Party.

Allen has lost it, can no longer be believed on anything and must be now counted among the daft and foolish conservative nut cases.

He arrived in Congress at least half sensible, but now has blown his bona fides and should go home in shame and not clutter the national political scene further.

Too Bad.

Big Brother IS Watching
Kimball Corson
04/12/2012, Pago Pago, American Samoa

How does DHS monitor? Does it involve the hackers DHS hires for other purposes? Does DHS impact FB policies and practices? Is Facebook in bed with DHS? If so, in what regards? Is FB part of a conspiracy to violate our Fourth Amendment rights?

Seems we have a real can of worms here and a snake or two.

Lawmakers Grill DHS Over Social Network Monitoring
www.pcmag.com
House lawmakers grilled Department of Homeland Security officials this week over the agency's monitoring of social networks like Twitter and Facebook.

Read it here: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2400429,00.asp

To What Ends and Purposes?
Kimball Corson
04/12/2012, Pago Pago, American Samoa

To What Ends and Purposes?

The FEMA refugee camps can be used to "meet other appropriate needs, as determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security" so DHS does control over FEMA and, indeed, the camps are being made more secure and somewhat modeled after Guantanamo. Homeland Security also just ordered 450 million rounds of .40 caliber ammunition, primarily a pistol ammunition. Combat units are being deployed on American soil and assigned to coordinate with Homeland Security. They are receiving training on how to use "the first ever nonlethal package that the Army has fielded," 1st BCT commander Col. Roger Cloutier said, referring to crowd and traffic control equipment and nonlethal weapons designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals and crowds without killing them.

There is a huge mosaic developing here, from the Patriot Act forward -- all designed to control protest, insurrection or worse. But why? What is expected?

To what end does all this legal and military machinery move?

Is an election expected to be stolen -- by the Democrats so as to assure no nut case conservative puppet of Grover Norquist and Koch & Fiends get control of government? In other words,

to block any possibility of an effort by the Supreme Court's conservative majority and conservatives to steal the election by other means?

OR

Are Plutarchs nervous and want the status quo protected at all reasonable costs and is Obama willing to accommodate then?

AND

Are Americans really about to revolt or engage in insurrection -- Why? What is expected that is so dire that great force will be needed to shut down or suppress protest and large crowds.

What is to rile us so? What is in the offing? Something is afoot and we are in the dark. And don't tell me the problem is Arab terrorists.

Combat Units Assigned to Work with Homeland Security
Kimball Corson
04/12/2012, Pago Pago, American Samoa

Combat Units Assigned to Work with Homeland Security

In the last months of the Bush administration, prior to the November 2008 presidential elections, the Department of Defense ordered the recall of the 3rd Infantry's 1st Brigade Combat Team from Iraq. The relocation of a combat unit from the war theater to domestic front is an integral part of the Homeland Security agenda. The BCT was assigned to assist in law enforcement activities within the US.

The BCT combat unit was attached to US Army North, the Army's component of US Northern Command (USNORTHCOM). The 1st BCT and other combat units would be called upon to perform specific military functions in the case of civil unrest:

The 1st BCT's soldiers also will learn how to use "the first ever nonlethal package that the Army has fielded," 1st BCT commander Col. Roger Cloutier said, referring to crowd and traffic control equipment and nonlethal weapons designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals without killing them. (from the Army Times)

The evolving national security scenario is characterized by a mesh of civilian and military institutions:

-Army combat units working with civilian law enforcement, with the stated mission to curb "social unrest".

- the establishment of new internment camps under civilian jurisdiction located on US military facilities.

The internment camps are part of the Continuity of Government (COG), which would be put in place in the case of martial law.

The internment camps are intended to "protect the government" against its citizens, by locking up protesters as well as political activists who might challenge the legitimacy of the Administration's national security, economic or military agenda.

Homeland Security's Internment Camps
Kimball Corson
04/12/2012, Pago Pago, American Samoa

Homeland Security's Internment Camps

[The National Emergency Centers Establishment Act (H.R. 645) was referred to Committee and has not yet proceeded any further, but it was not rejected in a vote and it can be re-introduced in a new session of Congress. It is correct, however, that it is not currently the law, although DHS has been making "'improvements" to the "camps" to make them more secure and there is guards hiring going on. Perhaps it was determined additional legislation was not needed for DHS to do what it wants.]

UPDATE: [All indications are that a legal decision was made that National Emergency Centers Establishment Act (HR 645) was not needed and the NDAA included sufficient authority because construction is going forward on the camps and guards are in fact being hired. There is much talk in the military about these developments]

Directly related to the issue of curbing American social unrest and protest, a system of detention camps is also being implemented, under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security and the Pentagon.

A bill entitled the National Emergency Centers Establishment Act (HR 645) was introduced in the US Congress in January. It calls for the establishment of six national emergency camps in major regions in the US to be located on existing military installations. http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=h111-645

The stated purpose of the "national emergency centers" is to provide "temporary housing, medical, and humanitarian assistance to individuals and families dislocated due to an emergency or major disaster." In actuality, what we are dealing with are FEMA internment camps. HR 645 states that the camps can be used to "meet other appropriate needs, as determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security."

There has been virtually no press coverage of HR 645.

These "civilian facilities" on US military bases are to be established in cooperation with the US Military. Modeled on Guantanamo, what we are dealing with is the militarization of FEMA internment facilities.

Once a person is arrested and interned in a FEMA camp located on a military base, that person would in all likelihood, under a national emergency, fall under the de facto jurisdiction of the Military: civilian justice and law enforcement including habeas corpus would no longer apply.

HR 645 bears a direct relationship to the economic crisis and the likelihood of mass protests across America. It constitutes a further move to militarize civilian law enforcement, repealing the Posse Comitatus Act.

In the words of Rep. Ron Paul:

"...the fusion centers, militarized police, surveillance cameras and a domestic military command is not enough... Even though we know that detention facilities are already in place, they now want to legalize the construction of FEMA camps on military installations using the ever popular excuse that the facilities are for the purposes of a national emergency. With the phony debt-based economy getting worse and worse by the day, the possibility of civil unrest is becoming a greater threat to the establishment. One need only look at Iceland, Greece and other nations for what might happen in the United States next." (Daily Paul, September 2008, emphasis added)

The proposed internment camps should be seen in relation to the broader process of militarization of civilian institutions. The construction of internment camps predates the introduction of HR 645 (Establishment of Emergency Centers) in January 2009. There are, according to various (unconfirmed) reports, some 800 FEMA prison camps in different regions of the U.S. Moreover, since the 1980s, the US military has developed "tactics, techniques and procedures" to suppress civilian dissent, to be used in the eventuality of mass protests (United States Army Field Manual 19-15 under Operation Garden Plot, entitled "Civil Disturbances" was issued in 1985)

In early 2006, tax revenues were allocated to building modern internment camp facilities. In January 2006, Kellogg Brown and Roots, which at the time was a subsidiary of Halliburton, received a $385 million contract from the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE):

"The contract, which is effective immediately [January 2006], provides for establishing temporary detention and processing capabilities to augment existing ICE Detention and Removal Operations (DRO) Program facilities in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs...

The contract may also provide migrant detention support to other U.S. Government organizations in the event of an immigration emergency, as well as the development of a plan to react to a national emergency, such as a natural disaster. (KBR, 24 January 2006, emphasis added)

The stated objectives of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are to:

"protect national security and uphold public safety by targeting criminal networks and terrorist organizations that seek to exploit vulnerabilities in our immigration system, in our financial networks, along our border, at federal facilities and elsewhere in order to do harm to the United States. The end result is a safer, more secure America" (ICE homepage)

The US media is mum on the issue of the internment camps on US soil. While casually acknowledging the multimillion dollar contract granted to Halliburton's subsidiary, the news reports largely focused their attention on possible "cost overruns" (similar to those which occurred with KBR in Iraq).

What is the political intent and purpose of these camps? The potential use of these internment facilities to detain American citizens under a martial law situation are not an object of media debate or discussion.

Blank Verse
Kimball Corson
04/12/2012, Pago Pago, American Samoa

As when I should
The sea I should,
I see --
But when adrift
Blank souls lift,
Disturbed eternity.

We Cannot Afford Racism, Prejudice and Especially Stupidity Just Now
Kimball Corson
04/12/2012, Pago Pago, American Samoa

We Cannot Afford Racism, Prejudice and Especially Stupidity Just Now

Too many serious problems beset us. We need our ablest and our best thinking by those who do think seriously. That eliminates likely contributions from most, who should have the presence of mind to step aside and follow instead of raising stupid arguments in opposition. We need to get on with solutions. Most we do is irrelevant or affirmatively harmful. It is almost like we are demented.

Perhaps a public stupid suggestion tax is in order. Conservatives could then retire the deficit as they wish. Ron Paul gets to pay first for his suggestion we blow up the Fed. Rick Santorum goes next for wanting to nullify the separation of Church and State. Boehner is next up for his argument that cutting deficits will increase GNP in our lifetimes.

Paul Ryan goes next for saying tax cuts for the rich and less help for the poor is the Christian thing to do and what we need in the circumstances. Rick Perry pays up for saying he wants to drag Ben Bernanke behind a pickup truck Texas style. Arizona lawmakers pay the tax for legislation stating pregnancy begins before conception (it's the sun on their poor little brains). Tennessee lawmakers pay too for their new "monkey bill" becoming law.

An exhaustive list is beyond any mortal man. So I stop here. And no, I should not have to pay the tax for this post.

Paris Is the World's Rudest City.
Kimball Corson
04/12/2012, Pago Pago, American Samoa

Paris Is the World's Rudest City.

. . . but it's also one of the world's most visited cities, too. A large multi-nation survey found that the rudest and least friendly people are found in France, Russia, the U.K. and Germany, respectively. As for the U.S., while Americans topped another survey as the world's worst tourists, it turns out we're much better at hosting and are well down the list on rudness.

Nations with comfortable climates, like Brazil, are among the least rude destinations for travelers. The Caribbean, Philippines and Thailand followed in the rankings. However, the happiest nations, I have just reviewed, particularly the Scandinavian countries, break the comfortable climate mold and are among the least rude and most friendly as well, so it is not just climate that matters. Much more I suspect is how people's expected lives line up with their actual lives.

Surprise of Surprises
Kimball Corson
04/12/2012, Pago Pago, American Samoa

Surprise of Surprises

A new study links racism, prejudice and conservatism to low IQ. My, my, my. Now there's a shocker. The study was done at Brock University in Ontario, Canada and published in Psychological Science. The study showed that people who score low on I.Q. tests in childhood are more likely to develop prejudiced beliefs, be racist and also conservative in adulthood. It obviously doesn't preclude some intelligent conservatives, but it does show what kind of political company they keep, a point they never seem to grasp.

Prejudice is linked to conservatism in part because both are linked to resistance to change. Dr. Gordon Hodson, a professor of psychology at the university and the study's lead author, explained why less intelligent people tend to be drawn to conservative ideologies. The reason is such ideologies feature "structure and order" that make it easier to comprehend a complicated world, Dodson said. Unfortunately, many of these features also materially contribute to prejudice, he added.

Dr. Brian Nosek, a University of Virginia psychologist, echoed those sentiments.

"Reality is complicated and messy," he said. "Ideologies get rid of the messiness and impose a simpler solution. So, it may not be surprising that people with less cognitive capacity will be attracted to simplifying ideologies." Reading this, the libertarian economic model comes immediately to my mind, along with the naive constitutionalism of many conservatives.

Conservatives poo poo all such studies, of course, and try to minimize them, but they do that with much research on a wide variety of topics. Conservatives are not big on research and studies, but eat up the propaganda of the bogus political think tanks designed to appeal to their prejudices and predispositions.

More on the Iranian Situation
Kimball Corson
04/12/2012, Pago Pago, American Samoa

More on the Iranian Situation

There is disagreement among the Western allies about whether Iran's leaders have made a political decision to pursue a nuclear weapon. American intelligence agencies have stuck to a 2007 intelligence assessment, which found that Iran suspended research on nuclear weapons technology in 2003 and has not decided to take the final steps needed to build a bomb. But Britain looking at essentially the same evidence, say that they believe a decision has been made to move to a nuclear-weapons capability, if not to a weapon itself. Israel believes, based on its own intelligence, that Iran seeks nuclear weapons.

Some American officials say they have considerable confidence that if Iran moves to build a weapon, they will detect the signs in time to take military action, though others -- notably former Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates -- have been more skeptical and disagree. Israeli officials say they have been more successful in the past few years in intelligence gathering in Iran, both from human sources and by other means. America makes the same claim, but anomalously sticks to it 2007 assessment. Insiders agree that Israeli intelligence in the Middle East is far better than American intelligence, although it is claimed the US has had a CIA agent among Iran's Red Republican guard.

In my view. the start of the nuclear settlement talks between Iran and the US and western allies would be an excellent time strategically for Israel to attack Iran's nuclear facilities because Iran would expect Israel to await the outcome of those talks or at least until the handwriting is on the wall.. HOWEVER, Israel might have agreed with Obama to await the outcome if Obama will directly support any Israeli attack if the talks fall through. It is dicey here because the US might anyway and waiting until the talks fail would have Iran most expecting an attack then.

The Problem of Lawyers and Medical Mal-Practice Suits
Kimball Corson
04/12/2012, Pago Pago, American Samoa

The Problem of Lawyers and Medical Mal-Practice Suits

This is a piece of tort reform. Lawyers are a problem. While doctors do screw up a lot and need to be held responsible for it, jury awards need to be sensible and strike suits (frivolous suits filed to get a settlement) need to be eliminated. Arizona solved the latter problem by creating a screening committee of two doctors, two lawyers and two lay citizens to review all med mal-practice suits when filed. It worked great. It dumped about 35 percent of the suits until some bright lawyer successfully challenged the system saying it was not constitutionally authorized and denied some patients their day in court in violation of the constitution.

Courts of appeals often cut jury damage awards. I have had it happen to me many times. The women in McDonald's who spilled too hot coffee on herself and got a silly award got much press, but the court of appeals which axed the award got almost none. The problem is it is expensive to take an appeal which can easily cost $80k so major problems slip through.

My thought is legislation outlawing strike suits that authorizes the court (a panel of three judges, not including the assigned judge) to hold a brief (capped at one day) hearing on frivolity and take testimony and evidence and then do what the Arizona committee did. The legislation could also authorize a three judge panel of the lower court to review damage awards of the court for reasonableness, also after a one day hearing and before any appeal.

Solutions can be crafted.

The Problem of Rising College Costs
Kimball Corson
04/12/2012, Pago Pago, American Samoa

The Problem of Rising College Costs

The tuition squeeze on kids today is much worse than when I went to college fifty years ago. It is nasty and fast getting worse, especially at the state schools. And as state governments cut back to trim their deficits, the problem is only going to get worse.

In the past year alone, tuition at four-year public universities increased by 8.3 percent for in-state students and 5.7 percent for out-of-state students. Some of those hikes are likely due to state budget cutbacks, but the same thing occurred with private colleges -- a 4.5 percent tuition increase in the past year. The University of California system has tripled tuition over the last decade and plans hikes of 16 percent more over the next four years. Gov. Jerry Brown signed a budget last year that slashed funding for the University of California and Cal State systems by 23%.

These kids today can't survive this and what is coming. For chart showing how bad the situation is, see it in this article on college costs running out of control

A Comparative Assessment of Our Health Care System
Kimball Corson
04/12/2012, Pago Pago, American Samoa

A Comparative Assessment of Our Health Care System

This from a knowledgeable Brit:

"The NHS is funded out of general taxation in the form of income tax or National Insurance paid by individuals, corporate taxation and sales taxes. There is no direct cost attributable to the NHS in an individual's tax bill - just a general deduction for tax and NI. However, as total UK expenditure on the NHS is around £90bn - this works out at about £1500 per person per year (less than $2400/ yr).

"Does it work well? Yes, in my experience. My family has access to GP (family doctor), dentistry, emergency and routine hospital care etc. All my experiences with the medical services have been positive, and timely too - no waiting except in cases where surgery is non-urgent - my dad is waiting for a knee replacement, it should be done within 12 months - whereas when I had a suspected cancer diagnosis the referral was 2 weeks."

How the US system compares:

Average health care cost per capita in the US in 2008 was $7,538, not including dental. Worse, in the US, patients get LESS health care, measured in doctor diagnosis and treatment hours, than in most countries. In the United States, the share of GDP devoted to health care spending grew from 9% of GDP in 1980 to 16% of GDP in 2008. This 7 percentage-point increase in health spending as a share of GDP is one of the largest across the developed nations. It is currently pushing 20% of GDP or $1 dollar out of every $5 spent in the entire US.

This situation is not sustainable. Change is mandatory. We pay much more and get significantly less (except at the extreme high end where cost is no object and the fewest doctors get the most money). The reason of course is oligopoly profits throughout the industry and our dormant antitrust laws.

Graves + It's Our Bloated Federal Government and all the lazy Bums and Slackers, Right?
Kimball Corson
04/02/2012, Pago Pago, American Samoa

It's Our Bloated Federal Government and all the lazy Bums and Slackers, Right?

They are the problem correct? Wrong! Here the real situation.

By slackers and bums do we mean those who seek employment where there are still five applicants for each job and you must be employed already to have a chance to be hired in too many instances and who receive unemployment compensation and possibly food stamps?

Aside from Medicare and Social Security, that is where the bulk of federal social expenditure is now going. Almost 86% is deemed due to the Great Recession. In February there were 12.8 million unemployed in America looking for work with an 8.3 % unemployment rate and that doesn't count the number who have given up looking and are no longer deemed unemployed, pushing the number up to 16% or almost 25 million. This figure also does not included the under employed who want 40 hour a week employment and can't find it but who are not counted as unemployed either because they work more than 20 hours a week which prorated by hours, pushes the number over 21% or about 30 million unemployed out of a potential full employment labor force of only about 65 million.

These slackers and bums, right? And this horrible bloated federal government, correct?

The economy is hugely under performing (the output gap [full employment GDP (at 5% unemployment) - actual GDP] is about $1 trillion annually) for key reasons:

1) our trade deficit is too high (we buy too much abroad and not in US, reducing US aggregate demand),

2) income is hugely mal-distributed (20% going to top 1% and almost 47% to top 10% and they don't spend proportionally as much on consumer goods and services, reducing US aggregate demand; they buy secondary financial assets instead,

3) the Obama stimulus program money actually spent (about $324 billion) was less than 1/5 of what economists recommended, providing an inadequate jump start with a multiplier effect for US aggregate demand on coming out of the recession, and

4) deficits are being cut now at all levels of government which reduces national spending and US aggregate demand. Indeed, at the rate the deficits are being cut, we could well have unemployment back up over 9% within a year,

5) as unemployment rises those unemployed have less income to spend and aggregate demand is again reduced.

Many economists worry about that.

The economy is being mismanaged by neglect in Washington and elsewhere as governments ignore it and focus on the cutting the deficits substantially to make it worse.

According to US government 2011 (AGI) data, with the top 1% receiving 20% of all income and the top 10 % receiving almost 46%, it should be noted that that the bottom 50% of all Americans receive only 12.7% of all income. That is amazing to me. The bottom 50% have too little income to pay much in taxes.

The top 10% pays 70% of all income taxes, but only 18.7 % of their income in taxes, a very low average rate, whereas the bottom 50% pay 2.7% of all income taxes, but only 2.6% of there income in taxes. The income simply isn't there for the bottom 50%.

The top earnings in the bottom 50% is $33k a year. The bottom earnings in the bottom 50% are $0k a year. Average income in the bottom 50% is below $29k a year and has been falling in both nominal and real terms for years now. The share of the top 10% is rising and has been since 1970.

America cannot continue this way and survive as a Nation. The situation -- especially for the economy -- is acute.

 

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