Posted tagged ‘government’

And Now a Very Special Holiday Message from The Ministry of Love

December 7, 2010

 

Press Office
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Dec. 6, 2010

WASHINGTON — Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano today announced the expansion of the Department’s national “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign to hundreds of Walmart stores across the country—launching a new partnership between DHS and Walmart to help the American public play an active role in ensuring the safety and security of our nation.

“Homeland security starts with hometown security, and each of us plays a critical role in keeping our country and communities safe,” said Secretary Napolitano. “I applaud Walmart for joining the ‘If You See Something, Say Something’ campaign. This partnership will help millions of shoppers across the nation identify and report indicators of terrorism, crime and other threats to law enforcement authorities.”

The “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign—originally implemented by New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority and funded, in part, by $13 million from DHS’ Transit Security Grant Program—is a simple and effective program to engage the public and key frontline employees to identify and report indicators of terrorism, crime and other threats to the proper transportation and law enforcement authorities.

More than 230 Walmart stores nationwide launched the “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign today, with a total of 588 Walmart stores in 27 states joining in the coming weeks. A short video message, available here, will play at select checkout locations to remind shoppers to contact local law enforcement to report suspicious activity.

Over the past five months, DHS has worked with its federal, state, local and private sector partners, as well as the Department of Justice, to expand the “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign and Nationwide SAR Initiative to communities throughout the country—including the recent state-wide expansions of the “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign across Minnesota and New Jersey. Partners include the Mall of America, the American Hotel & Lodging Association, Amtrak, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, sports and general aviation industries, and state and local fusion centers across the country.

In the coming months, the Department will continue to expand the “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign nationally with public education materials and outreach tools designed to help America’s businesses, communities and citizens remain vigilant and play an active role in keeping the county safe.

h/t Drudge Report

 

Thirteen O’Clock wonder what, exactly, “other threats” and “suspicious activity” is supposed to mean…

1984 – Are We There Yet?

December 5, 2010

Surveillance

It has recently been revealed that “law enforcement agencies routinely seek and obtain real-time surveillance of credit card transaction [sic]. The government’s guidelines reveal that this surveillance often occurs with a simple subpoena, thus sidestepping any Fourth Amendment protections.”

Webcams, traffic cams, building security cams, cell phone cams, email and internet use monitoring, your cell phone can be remotely turned into a microphone, Google Earth, Google streetview, GPS, On-Star, TSA “security” screenings …. all that and more means, just like in the book, we can never really know when we are being watched. You have to assume it is always.

Thoughtcrime

The rabid reaction of government and its controlled media outlets to Wikileaks’ publication of “CableGate” documents is nothing short of branding certain activities as thoughtcrime.

State Dept Warning Students Not to Read, Share WikiLeaks

Columbia University’s Office of Career Service is said to have passed around an email warning students that if they read WikiLeaks or make comments related to the releases it would render them ineligible for any government jobs in the future, based on a warning sent by a former student working at the State Department.

State Department spokeswoman Nicole Thompson insisted the warning wasn’t an official Department directive but added that making public comments or posting links to WikiLeaks content wasn’t “a good move for any US citizen.”

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Sunday, “Information warfare is warfare, and Julian Assange is engaged in warfare. Information terrorism, which leads to people getting killed, is terrorism, and Julian Assange is engaged in terrorism. He should be treated as an enemy combatant” [emphasis added]

Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell said, “I think the man is a high-tech terrorist. He’s done enormous damage to our country, and I think he needs to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and if that becomes a problem, we need to change the law.” [emphasis added]

As Bill Anderson writes on the LRC Blog:

This country now is governed by a regime that can fashion a “crime” against any of you. Have you ever failed to do EXACTLY what a TSA agent said to do, and to do it immediately? Have you ever asked a question that one of them did not like. Congratulations. You have “interfered with the duties of a federal officer,” which is a felony punishable up to 20 years in federal prison. If you were not prosecuted, it is because the authorities at the time did not see any benefit to making an example of you.

It is that easy, my friends. Today, federal prosecutors target whom they will, and then they decide later how to find a “crime” that fits the political situation. On the sidelines, there are plenty of cheerleaders, whether at Fox News of MSNBC or on the Daily Kos or Michelle Malkin or wherever, depending on who is targeted, indicted, and ultimately convicted.

And as Congressman Ron Paul recently warned, “In a free society, we are supposed to know the truth. When truth becomes treason, we are in big trouble.”

War is Peace
Ignorance is Strength
Freedom is Slavery…

Debt is Wealth
Truth is Treason

Are we there yet? I believe so. It may not be full-blown, in-your-face (unless you attempt to board a flight at any one of many US airports) but the groundwork is solidly in place. Today it’s like the scratchy tickle at the back of your throat that makes you wonder if you’re coming down with a cold. One day in the not so distant future, if we do nothing to stop it, we will wake up to find that tickle turned into a deadly flu. And then it will be too late for many of us.

What Have We Learned from Wikileaks’ CableGate Dump?

December 3, 2010

What have we really learned from Wikileaks’ “CableGate” dump of US State Dept. cables?

1. US Diplomats lie, spy and generally have a low opinion of non-US officials and leaders.

2. Governments of the world engage in secret deals, gossip and general sneakiness.

Any government who didn’t already know these things would have to be incredibly naive. It would also be incredibly naive of the US government to believe that other governments take everything the Americans say or do at face value.  So while the CableGate specifics might be shocking to us “ordinary” folks, I doubt there were any real surprises for anyone involved in world “diplomacy” on a daily basis.

Oh, maybe there is a little embarrassment over some of the things that were leaked, but the 9/11 of world diplomacy? Hardly.

The Madness of a Lost Society

December 1, 2010

Video of the Day:

 

Bernanke’s Secret Plan To Raise Rates Too Late

November 4, 2009

Business Insider’s Henry Blodgett explains:

Explainer: Bernanke’s Secret Plan To Raise Rates Too Late (3 min):

Why is Ben Bernanke being so slow to start talking about raising rates, much less start raising them?  Because he has a secret plan that he can’t talk about.

What’s Ben’s secret plan?

Intentionally keep rates too low for too long, thus encouraging uncomfortably high inflation.

Why would Ben want that when he keeps talking about the importance of managing inflation?

Two reasons:

  • Faster economic growth, which leads to more jobs, fewer angry constituents, and a Congress that’s happier with Ben Bernanke
  • Faster erosion of the real value of our debts.  Consumers and the government are drowning under a massive debt load.  One way to make paying off this debt easier is to make the dollars it is denominated in worth less.  Bernanke will try to hasten this process as much as possible, taking it right to the point where our creditor China is mad as hell–but not quite to the point where China actually stops lending to us.

Click for video.

Constituents? Happier Congress? But I thought the whole argument against a full audit of the Fed is that it is supposed to be independent of politics. So which is it?

“Consumers and the government are drowning under a massive debt load. One way to make paying off this debt easier is to make the dollars it is denominated in worth less.”

That works for government and the biggest of the TBTF bankers (GS, JPM) because the dollars aren’t really devalued until they are released into the economy at large. By the time they reach the consumer, the prices of everything consumers might buy have already risen in response to the inflated money supply.

New Health Care Bill Has a Tax for Everyone

October 30, 2009

From HotAir:

Americans for Tax Reform has culled the 1990-page Pelosi health-care overhaul bill to find the taxes that will supposedly collect over $540 billion in revenue over 10 years.  It’s quite an impressive list of new burdens on Americans and their health-care providers and producers — but that’s redundant.  After all, who do you think will end up paying for the medical-device taxes?  It won’t be insurers or doctors:

  • Employer Mandate Excise Tax (Page 275): If an employer does not pay 72.5 percent of a single employee’s health premium (65 percent of a family employee), the employer must pay an excise tax equal to 8 percent of average wages.  Small employers (measured by payroll size) have smaller payroll tax rates of 0 percent (<$500,000), 2 percent ($500,000-$585,000), 4 percent ($585,000-$670,000), and 6 percent ($670,000-$750,000).
  • Individual Mandate Surtax (Page 296): If an individual fails to obtain qualifying coverage, he must pay an income surtax equal to the lesser of 2.5 percent of modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) or the average premium.  MAGI adds back in the foreign earned income exclusion and municipal bond interest.
  • Medicine Cabinet Tax (Page 324)
  • Cap on FSAs (Page 325)
  • Increased Additional Tax on Non-Qualified HSA Distributions (Page 326)
  • Denial of Tax Deduction for Employer Health Plans Coordinating with Medicare Part D (Page 327)
  • Surtax on Individuals and Small Businesses (Page 336)
  • Excise Tax on Medical Devices (Page 339)
  • Corporate 1099-MISC Information Reporting (Page 344)
  • Delay in Worldwide Allocation of Interest (Page 345)
  • Limitation on Tax Treaty Benefits for Certain Payments (Page 346)
  • Codification of the “Economic Substance Doctrine” (Page 349)
  • Application of “More Likely Than Not” Rule (Page 357)

See the ATR post for detailed descriptions of each new tax. 

Warning – Economic Storm Clouds Gathering

October 5, 2009

mushroom_cloudI scan a lot of econ news every day. Today’s econ news is making me a little nervous, though, because there seems to be an awful lot of reports of very, very bad news. And it’s not just awful predictions from the usual doom & gloom crew. It’s coming from everywhere. And that makes me think it’s very likely that another economic hurricane is on the way.

 So take whatever steps you need to take to protect yourself as much as possible. It sounds like whatever is coming could hit any day.

 Three Government Reports Point to Fiscal Doomsday

 Soros Says US Banking System Basically Bankrupt

 Joseph Stiglitz The Market Is Irrationally Exuberant

 World Bank could run out of mone’ within 12 months

 INSIDERS CONFIRM THAT THE RALLY IS FAKE, ECONOMY IS GETTING WORSE

 Peter Schiff Agrees with Jim Rogers, Invest in Gold and Commodities

 HSBC Chief Warns Of Second Downturn

 CAUTION Stock Market Crash -Collapse Dead Ahead Say Faber, Rogers, Dent and Celente

 Bob Prechter Quite Sure Market Will Crash And Break March Low

 Entering the Greatest Depression in History: The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) Warns of Future Crises

 Note: Apparently, the BIS is a sort of uber-central bank. From this article (emphasis mine):

In September of 2009, the BIS reported that, “The global market for derivatives rebounded to $426 trillion in the second quarter as risk appetite returned, but the system remains unstable and prone to crises.” The BIS quarterly report said that derivatives rose 16% “mostly due to a surge in futures and options contracts on three-month interest rates.” The Chief Economist of the BIS warned that the derivatives market poses “major systemic risks” in the international financial sector, and that, “The danger is that regulators will again fail to see that big institutions have taken far more exposure than they can handle in shock conditions.” The economist added that, “The use of derivatives by hedge funds and the like can create large, hidden exposures.”

 The day after the report by the BIS was published, the former Chief Economist of the BIS, William White, warned that, “The world has not tackled the problems at the heart of the economic downturn and is likely to slip back into recession,” and he further “warned that government actions to help the economy in the short run may be sowing the seeds for future crises.” He was quoted as warning of entering a double-dip recession, “Are we going into a W[-shaped recession]? Almost certainly. Are we going into an L? I would not be in the slightest bit surprised.” He added, “The only thing that would really surprise me is a rapid and sustainable recovery from the position we’re in.”