1.6 Billion Rounds Of Ammo For Homeland Security? It’s Time For A National Conversation

Via: Forbes

3/11/2013 @ 8:00AM

The Denver Post, on February 15th, ran an Associated Press article entitled Homeland Security aims to buy 1.6b rounds of ammo, so far to little notice. It confirmed that the Department of Homeland Security has issued an open purchase order for 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition. As reported elsewhere, some of this purchase order is for hollow-point rounds, forbidden by international law for use in war, along with a frightening amount specialized for snipers. Also reported elsewhere, at the height of the Iraq War the Army was expending less than 6 million rounds a month. Therefore 1.6 billion rounds would be enough to sustain a hot war for 20+ years. In America.

Add to this perplexing outré purchase of ammo, DHS now is showing off its acquisition of heavily armored personnel carriers, repatriated from the Iraqi and Afghani theaters of operation. As observed by “paramilblogger” Ken Jorgustin last September:

[T]he Department of Homeland Security is apparently taking delivery (apparently through the  Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico VA, via the manufacturer – Navistar Defense LLC) of an undetermined number of the recently retrofitted 2,717 ‘Mine Resistant Protected’ MaxxPro MRAP vehicles for service on the streets of the United States.”

These MRAP’s ARE BEING SEEN ON U.S. STREETS all across America by verified observers with photos, videos, and descriptions.”

Regardless of the exact number of MRAP’s being delivered to DHS (and evidently some to POLICE via DHS, as has been observed), why would they need such over-the-top vehicles on U.S. streets to withstand IEDs, mine blasts, and 50 caliber hits to bullet-proof glass? In a war zone… yes, definitely. Let’s protect our men and women. On the streets of America… ?”

“They all have gun ports… Gun Ports? In the theater of war, yes. On the streets of America…?

Seriously, why would DHS need such a vehicle on our streets?”

Why indeed?  It is utterly inconceivable that Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is planning a coup d’etat against President Obama, and the Congress, to install herself as Supreme Ruler of the United States of America.  There, however, are real signs that the Department bureaucrats are running amok.

About 20 years ago this columnist worked, for two years, in the U.S. Department of Energy’s general counsel’s office in its procurement and finance division.  And is wise to the ways.   The answer to “why would DHS need such a vehicle?” almost certainly is this:  it’s a cool toy and these (reportedly) million dollar toys are being recycled, without much of a impact on the DHS budget.  So… why not?

Read more: here

Its just for training..Move along… There’s nothing to see here…
-Moose

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DOJ Gives Blackwater a Whitewash On Felony Charges

Via: ICH

By Bmaz

February 22, 2013 “Information Clearing House” — Something funny happened in the Eastern District of North Carolina today. Out of the blue in an extremely significant case, and without particular notice to interested observers, much less the public, the criminal case against former Blackwater executives for weapons trafficking, and a myriad of other weapons violations, ended. Poof! Gone with an undeserved and inexplicable sweetheart misdemeanor plea.

From local Raleigh outlet WRAL:

A federal weapons case against the defense contractor formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide ended Thursday with misdemeanor pleas by two former executives, who were fined and placed on probation.

The case stems in part from a raid conducted by federal agents at the company’s Moyock headquarters in 2008 that seized 22 weapons, including 17 AK-47s. An indictment alleged that the company used the Camden County Sheriff’s Office to pose as the purchaser of dozens of automatic weapons.

The indictment also alleged that Blackwater purchased 227 short barrels and installed them on long rifles without registering them and that company officials presented the king of Jordan with five guns as gifts in hopes of landing a lucrative overseas contract and then falsified federal documents once they realized they were unable to account for the weapons.

Gary Jackson and William Matthews, the former president and executive vice president of the company and both Navy Seals, pleaded guilty Thursday to one count each of failure to keep records on firearms. They were sentenced to four months of house arrest, three years on probation and fined $5,000.

The original indictment was fifteen counts, count em 15 counts, most all serious felonies with significant punishment in the offing. Now granted, a few counts were pared off after a motion to dismiss by a court order dated February 4, 2013, but significant and substantive counts remained viable against Blackwater executives Jackson and Matthews.

But, instead of taking them to trial, or even extracting a reasonable plea that did justice for the public, the DOJ collaborated with the defense and walked into court without notice today, filed a new information containing a single misdemeanor charge and proceeded to sentence them on the spot to a hand slap.

Read more: here

F*%cking Mercenaries….Justice my ass..
-Moose

Immigrants Are Big Business for Private Prisons

Via: Fox

The country’s largest prison companies are generating huge profits as the U.S. locks up more undocumented immigrants than ever, and an Associated Press review shows the businesses are spending tens of millions on lobbying and political campaigns.

The cost to American taxpayers is on track to top $2 billion for this year, and the companies are expecting their biggest cut of that yet in the next few years thanks to government plans for new facilities to house the 400,000 immigrants detained annually.

After a decade of expansion, the sprawling, private system runs detention centers everywhere from a Denver suburb to an industrial area flanking Newark’s airport, and is largely controlled by just three companies.
The growth is far from over, despite the sheer drop in illegal immigration in recent years.

In 2011, nearly half the beds in the nation’s civil detention system were in private facilities with little federal oversight, up from just 10 percent a decade ago.

Read more: here

More people incarcerated per capita than China!
Home of the Fee, Land of the Slave…
-Moose

Immigrants Are Big Business for Private Prisons

Via: Fox

The country’s largest prison companies are generating huge profits as the U.S. locks up more undocumented immigrants than ever, and an Associated Press review shows the businesses are spending tens of millions on lobbying and political campaigns.

The cost to American taxpayers is on track to top $2 billion for this year, and the companies are expecting their biggest cut of that yet in the next few years thanks to government plans for new facilities to house the 400,000 immigrants detained annually.

After a decade of expansion, the sprawling, private system runs detention centers everywhere from a Denver suburb to an industrial area flanking Newark’s airport, and is largely controlled by just three companies.
The growth is far from over, despite the sheer drop in illegal immigration in recent years.

In 2011, nearly half the beds in the nation’s civil detention system were in private facilities with little federal oversight, up from just 10 percent a decade ago.

Read more: here

More people incarcerated per capita than China!
Home of the Fee, Land of the Slave…
-Moose

Facebook Paid No Income Taxes in 2012: Report

Via: CNBC

Friday, 15 Feb 2013 | 5:27 PM ET

By: Cadie Thompson

Facebook didn’t pay any federal or state income taxes last year and will receive a hefty tax refund, according to a recent report.

How did the social network manage to swing such a nice tax break?

Well, according to the Citizen for Tax Justice report the company benefited from the tax deductability of executive stock options, which reduced all of its income taxes by $1.03 billion in 2012.

Read more: here

Unbelievable!
-Moose

Facebook Paid No Income Taxes in 2012: Report

Via: CNBC

Friday, 15 Feb 2013 | 5:27 PM ET

By: Cadie Thompson

Facebook didn’t pay any federal or state income taxes last year and will receive a hefty tax refund, according to a recent report.

How did the social network manage to swing such a nice tax break?

Well, according to the Citizen for Tax Justice report the company benefited from the tax deductability of executive stock options, which reduced all of its income taxes by $1.03 billion in 2012.

Read more: here

Unbelievable!
-Moose

WikiLeaks is a Rare Truth-teller. Smearing Julian Assange is Shameful

Via: ICH

WikiLeaks is a rare example of a newsgathering organisation that exposes the truth. Julian Assange is by no means alone.

By John Pilger

February 14, 2013 “Information Clearing House” – Last December, I stood with supporters of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange in the bitter cold outside the Ecuadorean embassy in London. Candles were lit; the faces were young and old and from all over the world. They were there to demonstrate their human solidarity with someone whose guts they admired. They were in no doubt about the importance of what Assange had revealed and achieved, and the grave dangers he now faced. Absent entirely were the lies, spite, jealousy, opportunism and pathetic animus of a few who claim the right to guard the limits of informed public debate.

These public displays of warmth for Assange are common and seldom reported. Several thousand people packed Sydney Town Hall, with hundreds spilling into the street. In New York recently, Assange was awarded the Yoko Ono Lennon Prize for Courage. In the audience was Daniel Ellsberg, who risked all to leak the truth about the barbarism of the Vietnam War.

Like the philanthropist Jemima Khan, the investigative journalist Phillip Knightley, the acclaimed film-maker Ken Loach and others lost bail money in standing up for Julian Assange. “The US is out to crush someone who has revealed its dirty secrets,” Loach wrote to me. “Extradition via Sweden is more than likely… is it difficult to choose whom to support?”

No, it is not difficult.

Read more: here

WikiLeaks is a Rare Truth-teller. Smearing Julian Assange is Shameful

Via: ICH

WikiLeaks is a rare example of a newsgathering organisation that exposes the truth. Julian Assange is by no means alone.

By John Pilger

February 14, 2013 “Information Clearing House” – Last December, I stood with supporters of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange in the bitter cold outside the Ecuadorean embassy in London. Candles were lit; the faces were young and old and from all over the world. They were there to demonstrate their human solidarity with someone whose guts they admired. They were in no doubt about the importance of what Assange had revealed and achieved, and the grave dangers he now faced. Absent entirely were the lies, spite, jealousy, opportunism and pathetic animus of a few who claim the right to guard the limits of informed public debate.

These public displays of warmth for Assange are common and seldom reported. Several thousand people packed Sydney Town Hall, with hundreds spilling into the street. In New York recently, Assange was awarded the Yoko Ono Lennon Prize for Courage. In the audience was Daniel Ellsberg, who risked all to leak the truth about the barbarism of the Vietnam War.

Like the philanthropist Jemima Khan, the investigative journalist Phillip Knightley, the acclaimed film-maker Ken Loach and others lost bail money in standing up for Julian Assange. “The US is out to crush someone who has revealed its dirty secrets,” Loach wrote to me. “Extradition via Sweden is more than likely… is it difficult to choose whom to support?”

No, it is not difficult.

Read more: here

Texas DMV Sells Personal Information To Hundreds Of Companies; Drivers Not Allowed To Opt-Out

Via: techdirt.com

Fun, dubious, privacy-violating stuff happening out in Texas where the Dept. of Motor Vehicles has made a tidy sum selling the information it collects (including names, addresses and makes/models owned) to a variety of private companies.

The Texas DMV claims its “top priority” is protecting drivers’ information, but that hardly seems to be the case when it’s pulling in $2.1 million a year selling it off. There are protections in place, but they are flimsy at best.

“The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles is the custodian of over 22 million currently registered vehicles in the state of Texas,” Randy Elliston, Director of the Texas DMV, explained. “All of those records that are in our database, however, are protected under the Driver Privacy Protection Act.”

Randy Elliston says the Driver Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) limits who can buy your information and what they can do with it.

Read more: here

For Some Landlords, Real Money in the Homeless

Via: NY Times

By JOSEPH BERGER
Published: February 8, 2013

Willy Machan acknowledges he is a gadfly, someone who writes bristling letters to local officials to get conditions improved in his grim single-room-occupancy building. But he was surprised by what his landlord offered last July to persuade him to move out of the room he has lived in since 1984 and for which he pays $371 a month.

“If you are not happy, I will give you $25,000 cash,” he recalled the landlord’s representative telling him.

Though barely getting by on Social Security, Mr. Machan, a 68-year-old retiree, turned down the offer, saying he had nowhere else to go. But some of his neighbors in the building on the Upper West Side of Manhattan — where the 71 rent-paying residents share bathrooms and there is no kitchen — told others they accepted similar cash payouts with the excitement of lottery winners and quickly vacated.

The landlord, Alan Lapes, was clearing out these tenants to accommodate a group of people not often regarded as desirable: New York’s homeless.

The city’s Department of Homeless Services pays many times the amount the rooms would usually rent for — spending over $3,000 a month for each threadbare room without a bathroom or kitchen — because of an acute shortage in shelters for homeless men and women.

Read more: here

Man is not kind….
-Moose

UK Arms Chief Caught in Secret Deal With Saudis

Via: Press TV

The Former head of Britain’s biggest arms manufacturer BAE Systems is found to have secretly acquired two luxury penthouses from companies linked to Saudi royals brokering a multibillion-pound defence deal with his firm.

Sir Dick Evans was investigated by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) over whether his flats worth in Mayfair, one of London’s most expensive areas, were bought for him as a “kickback” using cash creamed off from the al-Yamamah arms deal, the The Sunday Times reported.

However, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s intervention forced the inquiries to be stopped over concerns about a diplomatic row between the UK and the Saudi regime.

And you know the same thing happens here..in the good ole USA!
-Moose

Read more: here