Friday, February 10, 2012

Homeland Security Happy Daze - 2

On this date several years ago a Dredd Blog post focused on the incredibly expensive Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

DHS legislation was created by a Republican controlled congress, then signed into law by a republican president, who now complain incessantly about the size of government and deficits.

The conservative columnist George F. Will, evidently more aware than current republican politicians who are spewing out that hypocritical rhetoric, says that those republicans should have more to say about defense than raw unsubstantiated rhetoric (Washington Post, Republicans Need More Than Rhetoric On Defense, George F. Will).

Mr. Will points out that the bare bones "defense budget" is "about 43 percent of the world’s total military spending — more than the combined defense spending of the next 17 nations".

But he leaves out other great chunks of budget spending in the costly, ghostly, and ghastly "war on terror", such as the DHS.

Nor do his low figures cover the other domestic spy agencies that are also springing up across the nation, while congress feigns the notion of not liking big government:
The Washington Post has begun a block buster series following a couple of years of research.

They expose some of MOMCOM's excesses in the field of spying ("intelligence"), showing that American spying, like the military, is out of control:
The investigation's other findings include:

* Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States.

* An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances.

* In Washington and the surrounding area, 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2001. Together they occupy the equivalent of almost three Pentagons or 22 U.S. Capitol buildings - about 17 million square feet of space.

* Many security and intelligence agencies do the same work, creating redundancy and waste. For example, 51 federal organizations and military commands, operating in 15 U.S. cities, track the flow of money to and from terrorist networks.

* Analysts who make sense of documents and conversations obtained by foreign and domestic spying share their judgment by publishing 50,000 intelligence reports each year - a volume so large that many are routinely ignored.

(Washington Post). That only scratches the surface, the story is also that no one knows all about it or how much it costs, hence, it is out of control.
(The Keystone Complex To The Rescue). That story reveals a shocking anti-American development on its own, but the story is all the more egregious in the context of the republicans wanting to cut education, health care, social security, etc., but not those senseless republican behemoths.

Anyway, the Dredd Blog article of several years ago, mentioned at the top of this post, points out the impacts of the obscene costs of DHS incurred in the phantom war on terror.

The text of that post follows:

It used to be when we thought of homeland we were looking at a building lot or some acreage to construct a house upon.

But in all the terror and propaganda generated these past 8 years, "homeland" has taken on a new meaning now that we have a Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Last year the DHS budget was $61,300,000,000 (sixty one billion, 300 million dollars).

That is the cost for only one year (it equals the cost of 408,667 homes valued at $150,000 each).

One wonders if that cost to taxpayers, who need to spend it on food and shelter, would go down if we stopped those expensive activities (wars, etc.) that make it easy to recruit terrorists who want to harm us.

DHS has 218,501 employees, 81% of which are civilian and 19% are military.

Thus, it is another fusion or confusion of the military with the civilian, which would have Eisenhower turning over in his grave.

By the way, have you taken the duct tape and plastic covering off of your windows yet?

This infamous department has made two great failings in the four or so years it has existed.

The first was "doin' a heckuva job" during Katrina, and the second was not protecting us from Bush and Cheney.

The republican controlled congress and the republican president created this monstrosity, but they now want to call certain expenditures "pork" when we talk about helping millions of Americans who have lost their jobs and homes.

Brazen blindness is the mother of DHS, necessity is not its mother. Time for a paternity test too?

Links to Critiques: Homeland PorkSecurity Against Homeland Pork.

NSA Director Lt. General William Odom , since leaving that post, has commented on U.S. terrorism:
“The hypocrisy is deeper than this. By any measure the US has long used terrorism. In ‘78-79 the Senate was trying to pass a law against international terrorism- in every version they produced, the lawyers said the US would be in violation.”
(Hammer News). Mainstream media sources have commented on Israel using terrorism recently:
Deadly attacks on Iranian nuclear scientists are being carried out by an Iranian dissident group that is financed, trained and armed by Israel’s secret service, U.S. officials tell NBC News, confirming charges leveled by Iran’s leaders.

The group, the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, has long been designated as a terrorist group by the United States, accused of killing American servicemen and contractors in the 1970s and supporting the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran before breaking with the Iranian mullahs in 1980.
(Brian Williams, NBC). The republican neoCons, whom George F. Will criticizes, sound like Tweens doing a cheerleader skit led by Sarah Palin yelling "go fight team, go fight team".

Except, this is not a high school football game Sarah, because even paying for your morning coffee with cash, is a suspected terrorist act (Flier PDF).

An artist, who is also studying political science at a local community college, did the following artwork to represent his interpretation of the success of DHS at helping American Democracy:



Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Peak of Antibiotic Validity

Regular readers know that yesterday's post pointed out some shocking facts about the health care system in the U.S.

That post dealt with how many people die or are maimed each day as a result of defects within that system.

That third largest killer within the U.S. scenario even applies to rich people with the very best health care insurance available.

That is, that post was not in any way a comment on the lack of access to the health care system, rather, it was a comment on what happens in a shocking number of cases following access to the system.

Today we will visit upon another defect in that system, which is the increasing disease exposure which that system is producing.

Specifically, the fetish-like overuse of antibiotics as a be all cure all for just about anything and everything, which said overuse is going to reach a peak, to then fit into the realm talked about in the book "The Peak of Everything":
The arms race between humanity and disease-causing bacteria is drawing to a close—and the bacteria are winning. The latest evidence: gonorrhea is becoming resistant to all standard antibiotic treatment ... If it seems to you that the drumbeat of bad news with respect to antibiotic resistance has become louder and more insistent in the past few years, you would be right ... Researchers reported in January that they had for the first time collected samples of E. coli bacteria from the Antarctic with particularly dangerous drug-resistance genes.
(Scientific American). This is the result of the medical system in America willfully ignoring years of warnings, much like the congress, presidents, and big business having ignored of years of warnings about global warming dangers.

It is quite possible that we destroy the good bacteria, a.k.a., microbes, when "we", i.e., Dr. Strangelove,  strafe and cluster bomb our bodies to rid ourselves of one pathogen.

Like the millions of innocent men, women, and children MOMCOM kills in the oil wars, then calls those human beings "collateral damage", MOMCOM may just be making collateral damage of all of us.




Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Homeland Terrorism & Instability We Can Believe In?

Dredd Blog has had several series of ongoing posts for years which point out that more Americans are killed by Americans at home than in any wars or terrorist attacks.

One such post is Terrorism We Can Believe In?, dealing with the effects of medical treatment, which links to an update concerning this issue, and confirms that this unfortunate reality continues unabated:
If a Jumbo Jet crashed and killed 280 people everyday ... 365 days a year ... year after year ... would you be concerned about flying??

Would you question the Federal Aviation Administration? Would you demand answers??

Think about it! ...Sounds Ridiculous??!! ... people maimed and disabled every year ... year after year from modern medicine ... would you believe it??

Well these may be my words ... but read the following articles from the most respected medical journals and institutions (Journal of the American Medical Association, Harvard University, Centers for Disease Control, British medical journal The Lancet, New England Journal of Medicine and national news (New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, US World Report) and you be the judge ... the more frightening number is that doctors are the third leading cause of death in this country, killing nearly a quarter million people a year.
(Medical Detective, JAMA PDF, emphasis added). And on the financial front, a series of Dredd Blog posts (e.g. The Homeland Big Brother Plutonomy - 3) point out that 1% of Americans are wiping out the income and assets within the 99% of fellow Americans.

Other writers declare that this is destabilizing the country, and that it always destabilizes countries who fall into that trap:
During the past 30 years, a growing share of the global economic pie has been taken by the world's wealthiest people. In the UK and the US, the share of national income going to the top 1% has doubled, setting workforces adrift from economic progress ... It is this concentration of income – at levels not seen since the 1920s – that is the real cause of the present crisis ... The effect of this consolidation of economic power is that the two most effective routes out of the crisis have been closed. First, consumer demand – the oxygen that makes economies work – has been choked off. Rich economies have lost billions of pounds of spending power. Secondly, the slump in demand might be less damaging if the winners from the process of upward redistribution – big business and the top 1% – were playing a more productive role in helping recovery. They are not.
(Economic Inequality Leads To Collapse, Guardian, emphasis added). Dredd Blog has also pointed out that this reality is in sharp contrast with government and business propaganda which has resulted in mad military policy abroad as well as a mad spy on Americans syndrome here at home.




Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Tale of Coup Cities - 2

The World According To MOMCOM
In the first post of this series Dredd Blog hypothesized that a coup had taken place in the U.S.

The stated reason given for this notion of a coup was that the will of the people, as expressed in poll after poll, was that they did not want the Afghanistan, Iraq, Libyan, and other wars.

Nevertheless those wars were not only happening, they are going on longer than WW I and WW II put together.

"Oh sure Dredd, a coup, so what pacifist told you that?" you might wonder.

No one told me that, it is obvious.

But let a 4 star general tell the story of "a coup, a policy coup" that was planned since at least 1991, but only began to be carried out in 2001:



The previous post in this series is here, the next post in this series is here.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Warriors Press For Propaganda - 4

Three years ago on this date, I published the first post of this series.

Perhaps some regular Dredd Blog readers thought this subject matter might be a bit over the top, since the religion of nationalism is stronger than any other "ism" these days.

However, I still think that most Dredd Blog readers, who also read later posts dealing with American propaganda, even though they may find it difficult to swallow, can't deny the evidence:
I spent last year in Afghanistan, visiting and talking with U.S. troops and their Afghan partners. My duties with the Army’s Rapid Equipping Force took me into every significant area where our soldiers engage the enemy. Over the course of 12 months, I covered more than 9,000 miles and talked, traveled and patrolled with troops in Kandahar, Kunar, Ghazni, Khost, Paktika, Kunduz, Balkh, Nangarhar and other provinces.

What I saw bore no resemblance to rosy official statements by U.S. military leaders about conditions on the ground.
(Truth, Lies, and Afghanistan, Armed Forces Journal, by Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis). The last post dealing with the subject was just as shocking, just as true, and only a short while back ("Exceptional American Propaganda Inspired NAZI Goebbels").

The previous two posts in this series are here and here, but the following text is the original post from three years ago:

We covered psychological operations (psyops) in an article last month.

Bloggers responding to that thread mentioned that psyops are illegal if they are conducted on Americans (wink, wink - as if making bank robbery illegal stopped bank robbery).

The Mainstream Media (MSM) has now come clean and said what we have been blogging for years:
The Bush administration turned the U.S. military into a global propaganda machine while imposing tough restrictions on journalists seeking to give the public truthful reports about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Associated Press chief executive Tom Curley said Friday.

Curley, speaking to journalists at the University of Kansas, said the news industry must immediately negotiate a new set of rules for covering war because "we are the only force out there to keep the government in check and to hold it accountable."
(Huffington Post, emphasis added). That begs the question "don't we have rules that prevent the military from being a propaganda machine which uses the American press to promulgate its propaganda"?

Our current national schizophrenia would produce the "answer" yes and no, which is what a past president warned us about.

The next post in this series is here.