Wednesday, July 9, 2014

My response to John Whiteheads June 10, 2014 "guest column" on Paul Craig Roberts' IPE WWW site . . .

Good Day!

I'm just cutting and pasting the text portion of the letter I sent to my politicos (senators, representative at both federal and state levels, governor ‐ the change from “one person, one vote” to “one dollar, one vote” has me agreeing more and more with St├ęphane Hessel's “Time for Outrage” and tending more and more toward the French Invisible Committee's training manual “The Coming Insurrection” . . . ) as per Subject (John Whiteheads “guest column” and the IPE WWW site):

It was George Santayana who wrote in Volume 1 of his Reason and Common Sense ‐ “Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness.  When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement:  and when experience is not retained . . . infancy is perpetual.  Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  And the focus for this letter stems from the remembrance that the people of Stalin's Soviet Union and Hitler's Germany failed to ask questions, demand answers, and hold their government officials accountable and we certainly know how those situations turned out.

So, from a long history of considerations around these themes (see Endnotes), the following questions (of many more) requiring your answers come to the forefront:

1)  What's the rationale behind turning government agencies into military outposts?  As of six years ago (the most recent BJS census of Federal Law Enforcement Officers - you can probably update me with more recent statistics), “73 federal law enforcement agencies . . . employed approximately 120,000 full-time law enforcement officers who were authorized to make arrests and carry firearms in the United States.”  About 94,320 of those officers (78.6%) were under the command of either the Department of Homeland Security (DHS - 54,600 officers) or the Department of Justice (DOJ - 39,720 officers).  Those figures do not include numbers which could be counted in the CIA, TSA, or contract security guards (for example, the Federal Protective Service had approximately 15,000 supplemental troops).  There has been a notable buildup in recent years of SWAT teams within non-security-related federal agencies such as the Department of Agriculture, the Railroad Retirement Board, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Office of Personnel Management, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Education Department.

2)  What's with all of the government agencies stockpiling hollow point bullets?  For example, why does the Department of Agriculture need .40 caliber semiautomatic sub-machine guns and 320,000 rounds of hollow point bullets?  For that matter, why do its agents need ballistic vests and body armor?  Why does the Postal Service need “assorted small arms ammunition”?  Why did the DHS purchase “1.6 billion rounds of hollow-point ammunition, along with 7,000 fully-automatic 5.56x45mm NATO ‘personal defense weapons’ plus a huge stash of 30-round high-capacity magazines”? That's in addition to the FBI's request for 100 million hollow-point rounds.  The Department of Education, IRS, the Social Security Administration, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which oversees the National Weather Service, are also among the federal agencies which have taken to purchasing ammunition and weaponry in bulk.

3)  Why is the federal government distributing obscene amounts of military equipment, weapons and ammunition to police departments around the country?  And why is DHS acquiring more than 2,500 Mine-Resistant Armored Protection (MRAP) vehicles, only to pass them around to local police departments across the country?  According to the New York Times (June 8, 2014):  “As President Obama ushers in the end of what he called America’s ‘long season of war,’ the former tools of combat ‐ M-16 rifles, grenade launchers, silencers and more ‐ are ending up in local police departments, often with little public notice.  During the Obama administration, according to Pentagon data, police departments have received tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night‐vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft.  The equipment has been added to the armories of police departments that already look and act like military units.”

4)  Why is the military partnering with local police to conduct training drills around the country?  And what exactly are they training for?  In Richland, South Carolina, for instance, U.S. Army Special Forces are participating in joint and secretive exercises and training with local deputies.  The public has been disallowed from obtaining any information about the purpose of the drills, other than that they might be loud and to not be alarmed.  The Army and DHS also carried out similar drills and maneuvers involving Black Hawk helicopters in Texas, Florida, and other locations throughout the U.S.  (Minneapolis, MN ‐ August ‐ September 2012 [Minneapolis Star and Tribune, August 30, 2012]), ostensibly in order to provide officers with realistic urban training.

5)  What is being done to protect the American populace from the threat of military arms and forces, including unarmed drones, being used against them?  Policy analysts point to Department of Defense Directive No. 3025.18, “Defense Support of Civil Authorities” (issued on Dec. 29, 2010 ‐ updated September 21, 2012 ‐ and available on the Defense Technical Information Center WWW site for reading) as justification for the government's use of military force to put down civil unrest within the United States.

6)  Why is FEMA stockpiling massive quantities of emergency supplies?  On January 10, 2014, FEMA submitted a solicitation (HSFE70-14-I-0006 available on the FBO WWW site) enlisting the service of contractors who could “supply medical bio‐hazard disposal capabilities and 40 yard dumpsters to 1,000 tent hospitals across the United States; all required on 24 ‐ 48 hour notice.” This coincides with other medical requests seeking massive amounts of supplies, such as “31,000,000 flu vaccinations,” “100,000 each of winter shirts and pants and the same for summer” and other goods and services requests as well like tarps, manufactured housing units, and beverages.

7)  Why does the TSA need $21,000 worth of potassium chlorate (about 116 pounds), a chemical compound often used in explosives?  (Solicitation Number:  HSTS02-14-Q-NCP059 available on the FBO WWW site) (Contract awarded to the same corporation that provided multiple explosives to the suspects in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.)

8)  Why is the Pentagon continuing to purchase mass amounts of ammunition while at the same time preparing to destroy more than $1 billion worth of bullets and missiles that are still viable?

9)  Moreover, what is really being done to hold the Pentagon accountable for its doctored ledgers, fraud, waste and mismanagement, which has cost the taxpayer trillions of dollars?  According to Reuters, “The Pentagon is the only federal agency that has not complied with a law that requires annual audits of all government departments.” That means that the $8.5 trillion in taxpayer money doled out by Congress to the Pentagon since 1996, the first year it was supposed to be audited, has never been accounted for.  That sum exceeds the value of China's economic output last year.

10)  Given the similarities between the government's Live Active Shooter Drill training exercises, carried out at schools (Buchanan High School, Troy, MO.; Acadiana High School, Knoxville, TN; Germantown High School, Madison County, MS), in shopping malls (Southland Mall, Hayward, CA; Oak Court Mall, Memphis, TN), and on public transit, which can and do fool law enforcement officials, students, teachers, and bystanders into thinking it's a real crisis, how much of what is being passed off as real is, in fact, being staged by DHS for the “benefit” of training law enforcement, leaving us none the wiser?  These training exercises come complete with their own set of professionally trained Crisis Actors playing the parts of shooters, bystanders, and victims in order to help  schools and first responders create realistic drills, full-scale exercises, high-fidelity simulations, and interactive 3D films.

11)  Given that Americans are 110 times more likely to die of food borne illness than in a terrorist attack, why is the government spending trillions of dollars on “national security”?  How exactly is the $75 billion given to 15 intelligence agencies annually to keep us “safe” being spent?  And why is the DHS giving away millions of dollars worth of federal security grants to states that federal intelligence agencies ruled have “no specific foreign or domestic terrorism threat”?

12)  Why is the government amassing names and information on Americans considered to be threats to the nation, and what criteria is the government using for this database?  Keep in mind that this personal information is being acquired and kept without warrant or court order.  It's been suggested that in the event of nuclear war, the destruction of the US Government, and the declaration of martial law, this Main Core database, which as of six years ago contained some 8 million names of Americans (you can probably update me on the most recent statistics), would be used by military officials to locate and round up Americans seen as threats to national security, a program to be carried out by the Army and FEMA.

Taken individually, these questions are alarming enough.  However, when viewed collectively, they leave one wondering what exactly the U.S. government is preparing for and whether American citizens shouldn't be preparing, as well, for that eventuality when our so-called “government of the people, by the people, for the people” is no longer answerable to “we the people.”

As President Eisenhower, a retired five-star Army general, warned of the dangers of the military-industrial (and now, additionally, congressional-corporate-educational-FBI-financial-media-medical-police-political-prison-Secret-Service-terrorism-expert) complex (or “hero system”) in his 1961 farewell address:  “The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.  We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes.  We should take nothing for granted.  Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge . . . machinery of [war] . . . .”  And now as The Guardian (June12, 2014) reports, a war against its own people. 1


Three Strikes and You're Out:  Toward a Legal Philosophy and Spiritual Approach for the pro-Life (i e, anti-nuclear war) Movement - homily I delivered at Burlington Northern Railroad Company's corporate headquarters on Sunday, August 5, 1984, with the title “CONNECTIONS:  Past, Present, and Future” as kickoff for the Burlington-Northern Project – available here.

Ocean Beach Rag Comment to March 5, 2012 article “Thousands of College Students Converge on California Capitol ‐ Hundreds Occupy Inside” March 9, 2012 - available by request



Not having any responses to my letters in the almost three years since mailing, around mid-April, 2017, I began asking the one dozen questions from the letter - one a week, for twelve weeks - on both of my Senators' governmental contact WWW sites . . . ).

I was somewhat surprised at the response of Senator Al Franken to, judging from the date of the letter, what, perhaps, was by that time, the third question posed, suggesting that the question was an “opinion” and thanking me for expressing my “opinion.”

The staff member (who's task it was to write that letter) must have thought that either the original letter of twelve questions, or these questions, posed on a weekly basis, were my “opinion” rather than questions for which I was expecting answers (recall that the questions were raised in a "guest column" by John Whitehead which was referenced on Paul Craig Roberts' Institute for Political Economy WWW site [they originally appeared in John's 2013 book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State]).

Senator Klobuchar remains silent (though continues being busy with “rants and raves” regarding all things “Russian” [see the “example” link in the leading, explanatory paragraph of my blog entry of March 27, 2017]).

John begins his quest column with the following quote from Professor Henry A. Giroux (in his Truthout article “Totalitarian Paranoia in the Post-Orwellian Surveillance State,” February 10, 2014; Professor Giroux currently holds the Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest in the English and Cultural Studies Department at McMaster University; he is also the Paulo Freire Distinguished Scholar in Critical Pedagogy; if you are interested in reading some of his other articles, then click here; his most recent books are America's Addiction to Terrorism and America At War With Itself; and his WWW site):

““Why should anyone trust a government that has condoned torture, spied on at least 35 world leaders, supports indefinite detention, places bugs in thousands of computers all over the world, kills innocent people with drone attacks, promotes the post office to log mail for law enforcement agencies and arbitrarily authorizes targeted assassinations?”

In this era of endless war, with its attendant deceptions, dishonesty, untruths, hateful speech, alternative facts, and reductive curating, being a politician of the ”democratic” stripe certainly doesn't seem to mean much judging from these actions!

1 It appears as though the war against the American people is beginning in earnest.  With preparations detailed in the Seton Hall University Law School “Battle Lab” study, the two way street between Chicago and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Homan Square in Chicago, and the most recent LAPD killing practice session in downtown Los Angeles.

Even more recently, in a planned massive military exercise in the Southwestern United States, “special ops”s are directed to swarm and operate undetected among civilians who have been deemed to be “hostile” ‐ March 26, 2015, Daily Mail article here . . . .

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