Friday, January 27, 2012

Global Warming or Climate Cycle?

North America's Ice Storm

Global Warming seems to be creeping back into the MSM commentary again in conjunction with our unusual weather patterns of late.  Since the MSM seems to like to simplify complex issues -- particularly if the spin can be directed against Conservatives, I am creating this blog as a means of educating the tiny segment of the population that I call "my readership."  [Feel free to share this with your Liberal friends.

There's a general consensus that Global Warming 
is based more on political rhetoric than on scientific fact.

Human pollution is a factor, but the volcanic eruptions in the last few years have layered the Earth's atmosphere with far more CO2 and Sulphuric Acid vapor [which degrade the Ozone Layer] than man-made pollutants.

That's not an argument against reducing man-made pollutants and the Green Movement though; we do need to reduce man-made pollution; perhaps we could persuade the Chinese to NOT export all their pollution to the Pacific Northwest via the Trade Winds.

Rather than Global Warming, we are in the midst of Climate Change, over which we have no control; we can only take adaptive measures.

What causes Climate Change -- Cycles?

Short answer:  The Earth is changing its orientation to the Sun, again.

In a little over 100 years, the Magnetic North Pole has moved Northwest by about 1,000 miles. Up until 2000, that shift had been at roughly five miles per year. Recently, the pace has advanced to about 25 miles  per year, or about one degree [69 miles] every three years.  Currently, the Magnetic North Pole is located at 85° 54′ 0″ N147° 0′ 0″ W.

That's significant!

Migration of the Magnetic North Pole
[2 degrees in the last ten years]
The result is that the Polar Ice Cap has tilted towards the Sun and has been melting for a number of years. 

That, in turn, raises the temperature of the water, and changes weather patterns originating from the North Pole; thus delivering our odd weather in the last ten years [massive tornadoes, mega-hurricanes, warm weather in winter, brutal summers, droughts, etc.]  

So, what causes the shift in Earth's Magnetic Poles?  The National Geographic advises the Earth's Core is solid iron surrounded by swirling molten metal, acting as a "dynamo", much like a generator creates electricity.  

As the Sun generates Sun Spots and Plumes, it exerts different gravitational pulls on the Earth's Core, shifting its Axis.

Tsunamis can result from
 sea-bed "thrust-fault" earthquakes

The flux in the Magnetic Core also affects the Earth's surface, causing shifts in the tectonic plates.  

Recently, we've experienced unusual earthquake activity in which the plates, rather than one sliding over the other, smashed against each other -- causing massive earthquakes felt over a thousand square miles -- as in Virginia's 2011 quake [which impacted the area between South Carolina to  Michigan.] 

There is speculation that the unusual events which caused the bizarre deaths of thousands of blackbirds and fish, along with extremely movements of snakes in the Southeastern United States not long before the Virginia earthquake may have been an indicator -- although the jury is still out on that.

These odd earthquakes can occur as undersea "thrust fault" events, which would create tsunamis such as the ones striking Indonesia and Thailand in 2004 and Japan in 2011.

John McPhee, in his Annals of the Former World [an enjoyable and highly readable geology treatise] notes that the Earth's magnetic field had reversed itself  [North to South, South to North]  at least 20 times since the late Miocene period [about 20 million years ago].  Geologists believe the Earth may be currently undergoing one of these reversals.  At one degree every five years, it won't take long before the Equator straddles the US, giving Global Warming theorists a boost.  

Then again, the US might eventually occupy a position as the South Pole,  which would cause no end of consternation to Al Gore and his Global Warming followers.

So, is this a possibility?  
We now come to a fairly bizarre phenomenon, which seems to be the elephant  in the living room for our federal geologists and weather analysts.
How the Moon Used to Look

Is this affecting our view of the Moon? 

We've recently seen very unusual Moon phases.  

Normally, the Moon's phases display in a vertical crescent, as would appear on an outhouse door.  

Photo by Rick Francona 1/25/2012 in Oregon

Currently, the Moon's crescent is seen on the bottom, rather than the side, indicating perhaps that our angle of view has been altered; perhaps from the shift of the Magnetic North Pole?

We're not geologists, and thus don't know the answer.  

So, feel free to research and ask your favorite scientists and meteorologists -- and let me know what they have to say.

Feel free to photograph the Moon in each of its phases and send to us with the locale of the photo included..

We have yet to receive responses on this oddity from any of the scientists I've questioned, to include those at NASA.

Maybe the Mayans were on to something.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Could Democrats be Tricky Dicks?

Former Obama campaign News Media Director (in five Primary states), Zachary Edwards, attempted to steal the identity of Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz to frame the GOP official in illegal activity.

Edwards was formally charged with "fraudulently using, or attempting to use the identity of Schultz in a scheme to falsely implicate Schultz in perceived unethical behavior while in office."

Click here for related story

But, why target a relatively invisible Republican in Iowa?

Turns out Schultz is pressing for a voting process reform, and wants to require voters to produce a picture ID when they arrive at the polls to vote.

His critics claim that such a requirement is unfair and discriminates against the poor and elderly who are less likely to have government-issued IDs.

Schultz, and others note that IDs are required for virtually any official interface with the government.  And the poor have to show picture IDs to get food stamps and Medicaid, and the elderly have to show their IDs to qualify for Medicare.  I would think they could use those same IDs at the polling booth.
Why Tom, you old hypocrite;
Karl Rove would be so  proud!

It turns out the Perp was employed by Link Strategies, contracted by that scion of morality,
Tom Harkin [IA-D].

 Link Strategy employees have a history of dirty campaign tricks -- including the secret taping of Harkin's GOP adversary's strategy meetings.

Although there is no conclusive linkage, it's been alleged that we may be witnessing an Emmanuel / Axelrod campaign strategy of Identity Theft at various levels.

In one case, conservative blogger's [John Hitchcock] website was hijacked with the perp posting strange blogs as Hitchcock. Of course, we certainly wouldn't believe that Rahm would stoop so low -- well, maybe bend over a bit .

Notably, this Identity Theft received virtually no coverage in the MSM.

 Can you imagine if Karl Rove had been caught doing such a nasty to a Democrat?  We'd be seeing it 24/7.

This incident is just a light-weight indicator of what's to come in the real  Presidential campaign.

Collateral Damage

Guilty, unless proved innocent

"Suppression of speech as an effective police measure is an old, old device, outlawed by our Constitution."                                                             [Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas]

I was asked to explain the collateral damage aspect of the DOJ action against Megaupload.

Megaupload was indeed the purveyor of pirated goods; and they should be investigated and perhaps penalized for their misdeeds.  If there are proven crimes, then appropriate punishments need to be meted out.  Those could range from a Cease and Desist order to fines.   This is new territory, and certainly requires "Due Process" using tools such as Warrants, as directed by our Constitution.

Shutting down the Megaupload site without a formal hearing or Due Process is a totalitarian, censorship act and smacks of dictatorship.   It appears Chris Dodd and the Motion Picture Association of America [MPAA] orchestrated the DOJ action; enforcement would normally be managed through the Federal Trade Commission,  but DOJ took draconian measures and shut down the entire URL network -- threatening Internet commerce across the board.

To paraphrase legal parlance, it lubricates the old slippery slope and turns it into a luge chute.

The collateral damage incurred as a result of this warrantless DOJ action closed down a Cloud Service Provider, which hosted a variety of storage, to include millions of personal and business data files -- which are now irretrievable since the company's subsidiary sites are no longer accessible.

Among Cloud providers are such scofflaw organizations as Google, Amazon, and Picasa, each of which has at one time or another found that it was carrying pirated material.  The same principles Holder used to shut down Megaupload could be used to shut down these enterprises -- along with access to your data.

YouTube has received similar threats from DOJ, but they fought back with some fairly vicious trial lawyers -- and beat back DOJ.

Extending the principle of DOJ's action:
When you ship a package, UPS or FedEx might hire subcontractors to deliver your packages when their shipping volume is high -- say around Christmas. Using the DOJ rationale, if a subcontractor carries contraband or pirated goods, UPS/FedEx  could be shut down -by DOJ -- and you lose your merchandise until the legal process is finished.
As for dodging the bullet on Cloud computing/storage, no matter what Cloud company you select, many subcontract to nondescript "server farms" hosting thousands of zetabytes [one ZB = 1 Trillion GB] to store virtually any volume of data you can imagine.

Since these subcontractors support thousands of companies -- to include Megaupload, they can also be seized by the DOJ since they are legally "accessories" to the crime since the actual pirated material would reside on/be accessible via their servers.

Since, ignorance is not a legal defense, DOJ would say, and has said, "It is the responsibility of the individual or the company to determine if it is involved in wrongdoing."

Having been a part of that system for a number of years, I can assure you that is how the government works.  If your data is seized by a DOJ warrantless action - ignoring due process, you can kiss your data good-by in the near term.

As for Civil Suits as a recourse; you would have no standing until

a) The criminal processing was complete
[could be months, or years].

b) You would have to specifically identify your "property" and prove that it had been seized illegally
[could take months, or years]

c) If you file a civil suit, you might come under suspicion as a "Person of Interest", leaving you open to surveillance, investigation, and possible detention. If they tag the merchandise to "terrorism", you could be held under the provisions of the Patriot Act -- and now the NDAA --  as a possible "terrorist" without legal representation -- and you could be shipped to another country, incommunicado, for incarceration - and maybe even water-boarding.

On the surface, it would appear that the interests you list above are being protected by the DOJ action.

In reality, the collateral damage is immeasurable. And, the legislation protects DOJ agents from any penalties if they screw up.

Do you feel "protected" by the government now?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

"I'll deal with the problem after I have dinner"

The Captain's Private Launch Took Him to the Comfort of Shore [(c) IBTimes]

Click here to go to referenced story [CNN]

According to informed sources:

1) The ship's captain ordered dinner from the kitchen an hour AFTER the ship hit the rocks.  His dinner included wine, plus a song from the ship's musical group.

2)  The captain steered the ship close to the rocks so his chief steward could wave to his friends on land.

3)  After finishing his dinner, the captain left the ship via motor boat, arrived on land, which is where the Italian Coast Guard [ICG] was finally able to reach him by cell phone.  While on land, he advised the ICG that he was  still on the ship, supervising the evacuation.

4)  The crew apparently had little training and contributed to the passengers' chaos in abandoning ship.

5) There were likely a large number of unregistered passengers aboard, likely smuggled on by crew members.  So far, 16 bodies have been recovered, with 16 known passengers missing.

In the CNN story, the captain claims that he ran the ship aground "... to keep it from sinking."
[We assume this would have been before he had dinner.]

Another excerpt from the CNN story:

"In the [ICG] transcript, [Captain] Schettino also described the chaos, saying he helped passengers onto lifeboats and that some became stuck because of the angle of the listing ship. He said he was trying to launch a lifeboat when he realized he was no longer on board.

" 'I was then on the lifeboat. It isn't as if I had boarded it,' he said. 'Look, I fell on its roof.'
"It's not my fault!"  [(c)]
"However, in the [Italian Prosecutor's] wiretapped conversation, Schettino tells the friend, "When I understood that the ship was tilting, I decided to leave, and left," according to Corriere della Sera [Milan's Evening Courier newspaper]."

Capt Francesco Schettino's recorded radio conversation with the ICG/Port Authority

[ICG officer] "And with 100 people still on board, you abandon ship? [expletive],"  

[Schettino] "I didn't abandon any ship... because the ship turned on its side quickly and we were catapulted into the water."

[ICG Officer] "...get back on board for [expletive]'s sake!" 

This conversation speaks for itself.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Kim Dotcom:  The Most Powerful Man on the Internet?

Currently under a warrantless arrest for alleged "Pirating", Kim Schmitz [aka: Kim Dotcom] was previously convicted of insider trading and embezzlement.  He created the company DataProtect (which he sold for a small fortune), and, in 1999, he designed the Mercedes S Class Megacar which included broadband internet access. 

He wheeled and dealed in insider trading and venture speculations - not unlike those of George Soros  -
and became one of the world's wealthiest men. 

His genius has been compared to that of Steve Jobs and/or Bill Gates.  

But, we know him today as the founder of Megaworld and Megaupload {2005] which became the 13th most popular Internet site with an estimated 4 per cent of all internet traffic and 50 million visitors daily. 

Megaload subsidiaries include Megavideo, Megalive, Megapix, and Megabox [plus a variety of highly popular porn sites.

Of interest to those of you who use Cloud storage for your personal, medical, and/or professional files, other subsidiaries include Megaclick, Megafund, Megakey, Megapay, which provided data storage, advertising, and financial services.

The DOJ shut down all these companies, converting their employees to welfare recipients and putting their livelihoods at risk, and denying access to their personal and business files maintained within the Cloud Storage components -- the impact of which are immeasurable.

His biggest opponents?
Hollywood [Motion Picture Association of America]  and the Music Industry [Universal Music Group], which claims Kim and his companies are responsible for copyright violations of material downloaded through his sites.

Chief Lobbyist for MPAA (c)
But, let's not forget Chris Dodd, former Senator [D] from Connecticut, lobbyist, lawyer, Peace Corps volunteer (as a Chicago community organizer?), [dodged the VN draft by joining the Army Reserves and quit when the war ended], former Senate Banking Committee Chair [remember the legislation allowing Goldman Sachs et al to become a "bank", Countrywide/Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac to fund the mortgages which caused the collapse of the housing market and the collapse of the US financial system?  DNC Chair,  and, of course, the scandal in which huge sums were transferred out of the US via AIG, after which it collapsed, but its executives were authorized six and seven figure bonuses.   Lots of alleged criminal activity -- but no criminal charges.

He was going to run for President, but passed the baton to Obama in 2008.  Instead, he took the more lucrative and influential position as Chief Lobbyist for the Motion Picture Association of America at an estimated $1.5 million per year.  In the midst of the SOPA legislative process, he threatened to cut off campaign contributions to any politician who did not support PIPA and SOPA:

"Those who count on quote 'Hollywood' for support need to understand that this industry is watching very carefully who's going to stand up for them when their job is at stake. Don't ask me to write a check for you when you think your job is at risk, and then don't pay any attention to me when my job is at stake." 
[Chris Dodd - MPAA Lobbyist/former Senator (D-CN on Fox News]

The MPAA is the same industry which ignores the US film workforce and supporting companies by making its movies [and TV series] outside US borders to avoid spending money at home and creating jobs here.

Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales has declared that Dodd should be fired.  I don't disagree; but, let's let him stay in place long enough so that Congress can investigate Mr. Dodd and fully expose him for what he is.  He's been hiding in the shadows since the collapse of Wall Street, letting poor old Barney Frank and Chuck Schumer take the full blame, but Dodd should have his day in the limelight. 

Let's let the new Administration DOJ in January 2013 file charges against him for corruption, collusion, conspiracy to defraud, money laundering, etc., after which they can freeze his assets and toss him in jail.

Of course, that would be just a slap on the wrist compared to the massive damage he and Barney Frank have inflicted on this country -- and on the international financial community.

So, how is it that Kim Schmitz is in jail because his company was accused of fostering piracy?
-- and Dodd, whose fingerprints were all over the housing bubble/mortgage crisis and 2008 Wall Street collapse, has the gall to threaten our politicians?   Sounds like a Terrorist Threat to me; perhaps the Patriot Act and the NDAA would apply.

But, oh, yeah.  He's a Democrat, and a friend of Obama.

As a footnote, we probably won't see Spielberg making a movie about the life of Kim Dotcom
[well, not in the US anyway].

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Your Cloud Computing Files Now Belong to the Government

Coming Soon
This notice on Google, Wikipedia, Fox sites
AND, on your Cloud Storage sites

Click here for related story []

We haven't seen the Department of Justice so out of control since the days of Janet Reno
when she authorized and supervised execution by sniper at Ruby Ridge and mass murder at Waco.  
It's time to put the cuffs on Holder and read him his rights. [Believe me, he has no idea what his rights are since he presumes he is above the law, as is this entire Administration]

Eric Holder shut down with the accusation of piracy.  In fact, there is likely some substance to that charge persons using that link were able to download pirated intellectual property -- which is illegal. 
As attorney Kimball Corson explained:  ...confiscation of illegal copies made in violation of copyright laws requires a warrant that, in turn, requires a credible showing, subject to immediate rebuttal, that the copies to be seized are illegal.

Moving from paper copyrighted materials to copyrighted digital files, allows for seizure of all media containing them, which would gut the business

The principal of this seizure would  allow DOJ to seize the property of FedEx because some of its clients use the service to ship illicit material.

In the process of shutting down a legitimate web site, Holder shut down a Cloud Computing/Storage service, hosting millions of private, completely legitimate files, the property of individual citizens, private companies, and local governments  -- none of whom can now access their "previously private" data. 

In the case of individuals, the files consisted of everything from family photos to tax records, to critical legal documents. 

For companies, the data seized -- and now inaccessible, consisted of privileged client information, order and delivery and inventory information, medical records -- test results, tax information, and general archived information on clients.

For local governments, it includes confidential police files, welfare data, and massive archive materials.

The Cloud website was seized without warrant, without due process, without regard to the full impact this action would have on privacy issues, commerce, or lost jobs as companies have to shut down in the absence of client data.

It also promises to shut down a burgeoning new industry in Cloud Computing, in which millions of terabytes of data are stored for clients of every stripe.  This is a growing industry which employs hundreds of thousands of workers, and on which there is great reliance by industry, charities, and of course, every branch of the government -- to include Congress. 

Imagine this comment:
"Well Senator, if you want your files back, you'll need to submit your request through the appropriate channels to Mr Holder.  After he processes your request in a few weeks, he'll ask President Obama to release your files (heh heh)."

It's time for Congress to step up and start acting to protect its constituents from this Administration -- and to hold Attorney General Holder accountable for his illegal activities.

The alternative is to allow this criminal with a badge to continue abusing his position, the result of which could be the demise of the Internet -- and the digital economy.

Does Obama's JOBS PROGRAM include destroying one of the fastest growing industries in the world?

Friday, January 20, 2012

SOPA -- The End to Free Speech?

SOPA - Congress' Solution to Free Speech

Check this link for related story [The Atlantic]

Now that SOPA has been derailed [at least temporarily, we have more legislation coming from Congressman Lamar Smith [R-TX], which will enable the Government to tell you what you can talk about, or look at on the internet.

Like a Big Brother, the Government is there to help you.
Smith's campaign for Government Thought Control continues with his introduction of the
Protect Children From Online Pornographers Act of 2011,

On the surface, it sounds wonderful, until you read the details.

Consider these components: 

It would require:

Internet Service Providers [ISP] to capture credit card data, bank statements, IP [Internet Protocol (the communication network linkage)] information and search history from every user and keep it on hand for 18 months.

It authorizes:

1) Access to an individual's internet history without "probable cause" and merely on the basis of "suspicion" of wrong-doing [not clearly defined]

2) Searches without a warrant  -- so, what the Government can't get under the Patriot Act, or the NDAA, it can obtain via this legislation.

How it works
Your personal data would be retained by the Government, with all its usual security precautions [hackers penetrated DOD, HHS, DHS, CIA, and DOJ, but your data is safe]. 

Any law enforcement official would have access, including your local deputy sheriff, your friendly neighborhood cop, or, any  law enforcement agency with a Need to Know, or a private security firm.

Are you worried yet?

A Quick Review of how all your Constitutional Rights can be suspended:

The Patriot Act
Suspends any and all Constitutional Rights for Terrorists or their supporters, to include Habeas Corpus, Right to Counsel, Trial by Jury, etc. 
-- But, that applies only to Foreigners, unless you're a US terrorist.

The National Defense Authorization Act authorizes the President or a military commander to define or designate a US person as a terrorist, and authorizes:

1)  Assassination of US Citizens
2)  Indefinite Detention3)  Arbitrary Justice (the President decide the trial venue)
4)  Warrantless Searches
5)  Secret Evidence for prosecutions (withheld from defendants)  
6)  Prosecution of civilians for ill-defined War Crimes; federal officers are immune)
7)  Secret Courts [i.e., Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA)]
8)   Immunity from Judicial Review for federal agents and judges who violate federal law.
9)   Continuous electronic surveillance of citizens in general for "National Security.
10)  Extraordinary Rendition (moving US citizens to another country for interrogation)
The Patient Protection Affordable Care Act [aka: ObamaCare]

Authorizes the Private Army Obama outlined in his 2008 campaign, established as an adjunct to the Public Health Service (PHS), answerable only to the President, activated during a Public Health National Emergency [e.g., the Swine Flu Pandemic of 2009 -- which evaporated after Sibelius was sworn in as Secretary of HHS]. 

Page 1,312, Sec. 5210. Establishing a Ready Reserve Corps.
Subtitle D–Enhancing Health Care Workforce Education and Training
Section 203 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 204)
 is amended to authorize A Commissioned Corps and Ready Reserve Corps

The CDC, which now reports directly to the President, can declare a National Health Emergency, which gives the PHS authority over US military forces to maintain order and to enforce quarantines (see the movie Outbreak for details on how that would work).

Be on the alert for a CDC-declared National Health Emergency [e.g., another flu pandemic] in October.

GOP Death March

We can mark an X on Rick Perry now.

Click here for related story [Washington Post]
This has become a campaign of unimaginable proportions, not so much for its size, but rather the incredible amount of fumbling, stupid remarks, vicious attacks on each other, and ultimately, playing into the hands of the Democrats -- which, of course, delights the DNC and the campaign managers of Barack Obama.

Krauthammer's column expresses the astonishment of the Conservative community over the capacity of these candidates to lay the groundwork for an Obama victory come November.

The Iowa fiasco produced inaccurate vote counts in 131 precincts!- - awarding the "win" to Romney instead of Santorum.

In the New Hampshire Primary Fraud, busloads of Democrats from surrounding states voted to select the GOP Presidential candidate.  No IDs are required to vote; and deceased voters voted.

In SC's Primary, Democrats and Independents can also vote for their favorite GOP candidate, making the results just as meaningless as those in NH.

Rick Perry, suffering from terminal Foot in Mouth disease ["Turkey ruled by 'Islamic Terrorists' "] denounced Turkey, our strongest ally in the Muslim world; it stood by the US for the last 70 years.

Gingrich, Perry, and Santorum are condemning Romney because he is RICH!  Since when has the GOP taken up the OWS mantra!

People like Romney risk their capital to make money, or lose money -- thus the low tax rate; it's an incentive for investors to take that risk and launch, or salvage companies like Apple, Google, Amazon, NetFlix, Yelp, AOL, etc.  On such successes, Venture investors made huge profits, paying 15% in Capital Gains Tax!

Capital investment also went into thousands of failed companies; and investors suffered huge losses.  But, the IRS allows them to write off only $3,000 per year against any gains they earned.

Win or lose,  it's how companies get the money they need to grow -- and hire more employees, buy goods and services and pay more in taxes.  It's how the US economy expands.

Does the GOP now advocate Socialism and condemn Capitalism?

When Romney appeared at the Heritage Foundation, he was smooth, articulate, low-key, and fully responsive to any question from the floor; delivering with aplomb and skill.  
Now, he stutters, he stammers, his voice has become shrill, and he responds like a deer in the headlights! 

Does his staff prep him for these appearances?  He's been at this campaign process for more than five years.  If he can't project confidence and respond without sounding defensive, he won't win!  It's as simple as that.

Is this a Death March where the GOP surrenders to Obama in November?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Obama's Private Army

Leading From Behind!
Having introduced the issue of the erosion of our Bill of Rights in a previous post, 
we thought you'd be interested in what might lie at the end of that "slippery slope."

We cannot continue to rely only on our military…we’ve got to have a civilian security force just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.  We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we’ve set.

Obama's Youth Corps
Obama promised that when he was elected, he would “fundamentally transform America.” 

And, we've witnessed that transformation with the bankrupting of the country, profligate spending, the Department of Homeland Security which as grown to 240,000 personnel and gathered billions of rounds of hollow point ammunition; the ATF which has sold automatic weapons to the Mexican drug cartels; the relief of senior flag rank officers who ordered their forces to respond to the attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, and his personal alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Pelosi Gloats:  
"You can read it after we pass it"

Mission:  Enforce the [Revised] Bill of Rights

[Under the Provisions of ObamaCare].

In 2008, Candidate Obama announced his intent to form his own private military force outside the purview of the Department of Defense; it would answer only to him.

Authorization for this Private Army was buried on page 1,312 of the 2,500 page Pelosi-sponsored ObamaCare ["you can read it when we pass it"] which restructures the established and well-regarded Public Health Service [PHS] which is headed by the Surgeon General -- who answers only to the President.

Activation of the expanded PHS Reserve would most likely be in conjunction with an announced Pandemic -- much like the one that was announced coincident with the Senate hearings on the confirmation of Governor Sibelius as Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Due to the "H1N1 flu emergency", Sibelius was confirmed immediately, with no opposition.  Total H1N1 casualties in the US were nominal, and most, coincidentally, were already seriously ill or infirm.

Amazingly, the flu emergency disappeared shortly after the Sibelius confirmation.

Although the provisions appearing in the Health Bill appear benign, and could be interpreted as merely beefing up the Public Health Service in the face of the threat of pandemics, the wording allows the President to expand the PHS auxiliary at will, with components to be determined by the President, and to carry out Presidential Directives to "maintain order" in the face of a national emergency [e.g., pandemic health threat].

The PHS would then have authority over the Department of Defense and the National Guard, and would not be subject to the restrictions of Posse Comitatus [which limits the US military actions in domestic police functions].

In essence, the Surgeon General could use the PHS Reserve to establish Martial Law to "protect" us from a "pandemic" -- as defined by the CDC [Center for Disease Contro]l, which no longer reports to the NIH, but now reports directly to the President.

The movie "Outbreak" (movie with Dustin Hoffman as a PHS doctor] demonstrates the process by which such a Martial Law process could be put in place.

[Empowerment provisions of the Act are quoted below]

The Patient Protection Affordable Care Act...
Page 1,312, Sec. 5210. Establishing a Ready Reserve Corps.
Subtitle D–Enhancing Health Care Workforce Education and Training
Section 203 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 204) amended to read as follows:


     (1) IN GENERAL.–here shall be in the Service a commissioned Regular Corps and a Ready Reserve Corps for service in time of national emergency.


     (1) PURPOSE.–The purpose of the Ready Reserve Corps is to fulfill the need to have additional Commissioned Corps personnel available on short notice (similar to the uniformed service’s reserve program) to assist regular Commissioned Corps personnel to meet both routine public health and emergency response missions.


     For the purpose of carrying out the duties and responsibilities of the Commissioned Corps under this section, there are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary to the Office of the Surgeon General for each of fiscal years 2010 through 2014. Funds appropriated under this subsection shall be used for recruitment and training of Commissioned Corps Officers.


We expect to be criticized as an irrational alarmist, creating "much ado over nothing."

However, having been down this path before, we've accepted the apologies of senior Pentagon officers and government officials for having doubted our assessments.  Among other Intelligence venues, we've accurately analyzed and documented the methods by which dictators came to, and remained in power, so we tend to recognize the patterns and legal machinations which they used -- when we see them in this Administration.

A salient example of the political process we've been describing in these two posts would be the manipulation of the political and legal process of the  Weimar Republic to accomplish the goals of a famous historical figure.

Your Constitutional Rights -- Eroding Each Year


The Bill of Rights, that bastion of freedom which we hold as the anchor for our basic way of life, and which draws the world to our country as the system for which they long, is steadily eroding.

Click here for the referenced story (Washington Post)

Congress, succumbing to the Sirens' Song of Patriotic Fervor, is inexorably legislating away our Bill of Rights in the guise of National Security.

It's been a gradual process, begun under the Clinton Administration, exacerbated by 9/11 and the Patriot Act signed by George Bush, and most recently by the National Defense Authorization Act  (NDAA) signed by Barack Obama.

Under Clinton, we witnessed  Department of Justice [ the FBI, ATF, and the Federal Marshall's Service] abuse its powers at Ruby Ridge.  An ATF undercover agent tried to persuade Randy Weaver to make a sawed off shotgun, but Weaver sold the agent unaltered shotguns instead.

Weaver was a former Green Beret who lived a reclusive life in the mountains of Colorado with his wife and son.

An out-of-control Justice Department, in a classic case of entrapment, perjured testimony, manipulation of evidence, murdered Weaver's wife and shot his son -- all in the name of "National Security."

Less than a year later, the Department of Justice [ATF/FBI]] was at it again, this time in Texas, investigated and probed a religious sect, designated a "cult"  by the Waco Tribune Herald.   ATF claimed the Branch Davidians had unregistered guns and were conducting unusual, and possibly illegal religious rituals -- which were not unlike those of Sephardi Jews or the Amish in Pennsylvania.

The ATF, though invited by the Sect's leader via the local sheriff to come inspect the compound, declined, and opted instead for an armed assault on the compound, drawing defensive gunfire and leading to a 50 day siege endorsed by the new Attorney General. In spite of repeated phone requests for a cease fire by Koresh's deputy, Janet Reno then authorized a full, and illegal assault on the compound.

The Final Toll:

  • ATF:  4 agents killed; 16 wounded.
  • Davidians: 74 men, women, and children, shot, burned to death, or buried alive.

[The FBI initially claimed the Davidian deaths resulted from "mass suicide."]

Among the numerous violations of federal law was the use of Army tanks - a clear violation of Posse Comitatus; perjury, mishandling of evidence, and obstruction of justice.  Since she was the Attorney General in a Democrat Administration, Reno avoided prosecution.
[Reno's subsequent record paved the way for the suspension and suppression of Constitutional Rights.

In more recent years, the events of 9/11 led to our war "against terrorism" in Afghanistan and the passage of the Patriot Act which authorized the suspension of US Constitutional protection for those accused of being Terrorists or Terrorist Sympathizers.  Although many of these Constitutional suspensions were due to expire, Congress eagerly reinstated them.

In December, 2011 Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act which reinforced the suspension of the Bill of Rights by ratifying separate legislation components [e.g., Title X, Subtitle D "Counter-Terrorism"], Section 1031:  Affirmation of authority fof US Armed Forces to detain covered persons pursuant to the authorization for use of military force-- which when combined with other parts of the Act, allow for a vague definition of precisely WHOM would be defined as a Terrorist Sympathizer or Supporter  a designation which could include a US citizen -- authorizing the suspension of Constitutional Rights.

[This scenario was covered quite well three years before 9/11in the Bruce Willis film: The Siege (movie), on which Director Ed Zwick commented:

"To see Americans rounded up in the streets, to see Americans put into stadiums, to see people held without  Habeas Corpus -- to have their rights violated is a chilling and terrifying thing to see."

According to the Washington Post Article, the new legislation, eagerly endorsed by our Congress and President, now authorizes:

1)  Assassination of US Citizens

2)  Indefinite Detention

3)  Arbitrary Justice
     (the President will decide the venue: civil or military court where the accused will stand trial)

4)  Warrantless Searches

5)  Secret Evidence for prosecutions
     (defendants are not allowed to see the evidence against them)

6)  Prosecution of civilians for ill-defined War Crimes;
immunity for federal officers who commit War Crimes.

7)  Secret Courts [i.e., Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA)] -- kind of a modern Star Chamber
     [We already have the Grand Jury which suspends Constitutional Rights.]

8)   Immunity from Judicial Review for federal agents and judges who violate federal law.

9)   Continuous electronic surveillance of citizens in general for "National Security.

10)  Extraordinary Rendition
     (The government is authorized to move a US citizen to another country for incarceration
     and interrogation -- beyond the advice of legal counsel, or even contact with family or friends.)

Now, all this sounds negative, because it is!  

The positive is that much of this is not new as these events have occurred in the past [e.g., Ruby Ridge, Pine Ridge, Waco, etc.], but those were illegal [without prosecution] and visible.

Any number of other such events took place out of sight of the public and without review.  But, since they were illegal, there was always some hope, no matter how illusory, that Justice would be served.

Now that Congress has stepped up the stage of unfettered Patriotism, and has been persuaded to wholeheartedly endorse the Patriot Act and the NDAA, all those federal actions which were previously hidden and illegal are now perfectly legal.

And, if you might be concerned, President Obama went on record to state that he would not abuse his new powers.

Feel better?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Metro Fix -- Hire A Thousand More Overpaid Slouches

Defective Equipment; Incompetent Driver?

Washington, DC, the Nation's Capital,  used to have one of the finest Metro Rail/Subway systems in the world. 

But that was sabotaged early on when LBJ's Great Society injected Social Welfare into the system with a rock-solid union which eventually became impervious to discipline or oversight, with generous pay scales [an escalator maintenance guy earns close to $85,000/year].  

It also has one of the worst safety records in the world, with train wrecks, escalators more frequently broken than functional, train drivers so inattentive they have run over and killed workmen repairing the rails, and station staff who are rude, lazy, ignorant, and incompetent.  Poorly maintained equipment frequently breaks down, while long-overdue track maintenance now forces the system to run at about 40% efficiency.

Managers seemingly don't care -- or are incapable of managing their employees, and the entire Metro system is overseen by a Board of Politically Correct Progressives motivated solely by political manipulation.

Previous General Manager, John Catoe,  a complete incompetent whose hiring was apparently based solely on his complexion, was routinely lauded by the Washington Post no matter how egregiously poor his performance, finally retired not long ago.  One would have thought from the praise the Post heaped on him that he had performed miracles. 

Well, in a sense, he had performed a miracle. 

He took what had been a beautiful, relatively efficient, and modern mass transit system and transformed it into a shoddy, poorly maintained and dangerous railway which operated below the standard of most developing countries -- manned by a union force of worthless, lazy, belligerent, overpaid slugs.  The passenger and employee death toll is staggering.

Former General Manager Catoe was finally eased out and replaced with Richard Sarles, a guy who looked like the knight riding in on a white charger.  He had all the right credentials; NY Port Authority, NJ Transit, and Amtrak's high speed rail in the Northeast Corridor.  He'd had every key management role you could ask for.

But, he's inherited a rail system with a crumbling infrastructure, deteriorating rails, and an incompetent, unionized legacy workforce not used to being pushed.  Since Sarles has come on board, rail service has deteriorated. The most heavily traveled Red Line is frequently out of service, and much of the system's escalator service is non-functional.

We've now learned that rather than institute managerial reform, e.g., mass firings and outsourcing for maintenance, Sarles has buckled to the unions and politicians and is preparing to hire 1,000 new unionized workers who will deliver the same incompetent performance with more warm, incompetent bodies; they'll be paid for through fare increases.  We can see hiring a few more to support the new Silver Line -- at most, 100.  Force the rest of the work force to be efficient.

Even the Washington Post can't stomach the costs that the unions and a very liberal, union-friendly Congress inflicted on the Metro system.  In a surprising editorial which echoes Conservative condemnation of public sector unions, the Post finally has come to grips with reality.

Was the Metro Driver Asleep? Texting? Smoking a Joint?

Before we hire ANY new employees, a few suggestions.

1)  Eliminate the union; make the workers responsible to empowered managers with the authority to hire and fire.

2)  Fire all -- repeat ALL -- the maintenance staff and bring on contractors to maintain the system; there are nearly 150 highly paid "technicians" who are rarely in evidence -- although the escalators are either stopped or completely disassembled for weeks at a time ["uhh, we're waiting for parts?"] in every station.
3)  Designate a single manager to oversee the maintenance and efficient operation of the escalators with the authority hire/fire performance-based outside contractors. 

4)  Create an action-oriented customer relations interface, complete with Ombudsman, to handle -- and ACT ON complaints and resolve issues of concern to riders.
5)  Reorient the Metro Police force; get rid of their dysfunctional "counter-terrorist" mission and have them patrol in civilian clothes and arrest the petty thieves and agitators who bully passengers.  Patrol the stations and parking lots late at night.  

6)  Improve the lighting and electronic surveillance of the Metro parking lots to reduce the risk of muggings, armed robbery, and murder.

7)  Last, but not least, hold Metro employees accountable for bad attitudes, negligent behavior which results in accidents and injury to riders and other employees.  Give managers the authority to punish poor behavior, and REWARD good behavior.

But, above all, get rid of the union!

We don't need 1,000 more employees. 

We need competent, motivated employees who should be happy to have a job at all in this economy, and who can give us back a safe, efficient, and economical Metro Rail system.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Do Our Troops Lack Leadership?

  CAUSE: US troops at their worst    

RESULT: War Crimes

In the US, we like to think that our troops represent the ideal American.  Honest, trustworthy, decent, fun-loving, and heroic.

We are quick to jump to the defense of our troops when they are caught doing stupid things, as in this situation where they display themselves desecrating corpses.  Suddenly, it's hard to rationalize their behavior; or worse, to imagine the consequences of their behavior -- as the second photo reprises the image of the burned corpses of US military contractors strung up on a bridge in Fallujah in 2004.

We admire and praise our troops for their Service as they put themselves in harm's way to protect our freedom.  And then, we have to deal with this type of publicity, which demonstrates that some of our troops seem to be determined to soil the image of the American troops.

The consequence of course is that our enemies are quick to display this, and similar videos and photos to demonstrate that ALL US troops are war criminals, and these depictions then serve as recruiting posters for young and old alike who can be easily persuaded to attack and kill US troops -- and non-combatants as well.

What we've seen repeatedly in Afghanistan and Iraq are examples of out-of-control military troops conducting personal vendettas against local civilians -- or even on each other.  These incidents, though hardly the norm, reflect an absence of leadership or control by the Chain-of-Command.

Where are the NCOs or officers?  Have we lost the meaning of the Ten Military Leadership Principles?  

The First is
Accomplish the Mission, followed by
Set the Example! and,
Look Out for the Welfare of Your Troops!
In a situation where defining the mission has become increasingly difficult, leadership becomes strained, but Setting the Example isn't that hard.

And, Looking Out for the Welfare of Your Troops follows that when you lead by example, and have the respect of your troops, these atrocities likely won't happen.  Sometimes there are bad apples that will do bad things no matter what -- but they should be identified and weeded out early on.  

One basic problem is that rather than discouraging this type of conduct, our Military sometimes not only encourages it, but goes so far as to promote and reward it.

Many years ago, I asked a North Vietnamese officer I was interrogating why the NVA insisted on torturing US PWs or desecrating their bodies.  He looked bewildered and said,

"We follow your lead.  Your officers direct their troops to cut off the heads of the NVA troops they kill and desecrate bodies of dead and live NVA soldiers by cutting off their ears.  What do you expect?"

Not long after, I picked up a copy of the Stars and Stripes, showing a picture of Hatchet Hank Emerson, a West Point grad and field commander who handed out hatchets to his troops to desecrate the bodies of NVA soldiers.  Rather than court martial him, he was promoted, and eventually was awarded three stars and the command of the 18th Airborne Corps.

So what we are seeing now is not new, and these incidents will continue to happen in the absence of responsible leadership and accountability.