Category Archives: General

Future private prison executive to be responsible for licensing private prisons (satire)


Dismissing concerns that his future employment with the Corrections Corporation of America would compromise his ability of regulating the for-profit corrections and detention facility operator, the head of the agency responsible for child and adult protective services told reporters he couldn’t believe some would question his integrity.

John J. Specia was appointed commissioner in 2012 of the Department of Family and Protective Services, overseeing more than 11,000 employees. “I as well as anyone should know what it takes to abide by the minimum ethical standards,” said the former district judge.

The Corrections Corporation of America came under scrutiny when one of its detection facilities in Texas was found by a federal judge to be in a “deplorable” condition, requiring the release of immigrants detained there. Specia is head of the state regulatory body that would oversee the facility under a proposed licensing program to keep the facility operational.

Specia said his future employment in the private prison industry shouldn’t come as a surprise. He added, “My whole career has been tied to the justice system, so I look at my future opportunity as just another progression of administering coerced labor and the institutionalized suppression of those who would oppose the ruling class.”

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Haltom City council approves panhandling and day laborer ordinances

The second and final readings of the panhandling and day laborer ordinances were approved during the Oct. 12 Haltom City council regular session.

The panhandling ordinance was approved during the consent agenda. Past coverage is available here and here.

The day laborer ordinance was approved over the objection of general manager David Quatrino and council from Pacesetter Personnel Services, who disputed the constitutionality and effectiveness of the law. They met with staff from the city in August to resolve health and noise complaints and have since employed off-duty county deputy sheriff at the hall on E. Belknap Street. Quatrino claimed during the hearing that no one from the city had contacted him about further issues or let him know about the pending ordinance, which would force a handful of general labor halls to close immediately as they are more than 1,000 feet from a public bus stop. Quatrino estimated as many as 1,000 workers, including skilled and licensed professionals, would be displaced by the ordinance. The general manager requested that the ordinance be delayed while looking for an unoccupied location that would meet the ordinance’s proximity requirement. He wasn’t able to offer detail to the council as to how much time remained on the lease at the Pacesetter’s present location.

Mayor David Averitt said he was reluctant to reverse the decision made at the prior meeting with an appeal at “the 11th hour” before final approval. After convening in executive session for about an hour, the council passed the ordinance unanimously, although councilperson Stephanie Davenport abstained from the vote and discussion for conflict-of-interest reasons.

After a presentation from Keith Lane, the chief of police, the council also approved the purchase of four Chevrolet Tahoe patrol-ready vehicles for approximately $63,000 each. They would be replacing four Ford Crown Victoria models from 2008 and 2009.

Video of the session is available here.

Sherman council’s annexation offer leaving locals flushed

To gain access to the city of Sherman’s water system, a group of Grayson county residents are yielding to the city’s call for annexation.

Approximately 100 of the 150 county residents nearby Sherman who are experiencing issues with water services have signed the request for incorporation. The city council is making the water infrastructure improvements contingent on the expansion of the city’s jurisdiction. The support was expected as working-class people are commonly conditioned to give way to successive spans of servitude for access to basic means of survival.

Households that could see their cost of living raise by an estimated $800 per year have objected to the land grab. From KXII (News 12), “We can’t see any benefit for us as far as water or emergency services,” said Slyvia Hema, who resides within the contested 200 acres. “I mean we have all that and (sic) we’re happy with what we have.”

The city is expected to generate an additional $110,000 in taxes and fees per year if the annexation is completed, according to KXII. The city is planning public hearings in November and December.

Remember when geoengineering was just a conspiracy?

Apparently, it is not just for the “tin foil hat” crowd anymore. Geoengineering has become so mainstream that there are websites, articles and documentaries telling us all about how great it is. Take the not-so-subtly named Weather Modification Incorporated based in Fargo, ND. Here is what the company’s website proudly claims:

ABOUT US

Now, more than ever, the worldwide need for solutions to atmospheric necessities such as water resource management and environmental quality monitoring, is critical. With nearly a half-century of successful programs, our experience speaks for itself.

Let us help you better manage your atmospheric and water resources.”

 How might a company modify the weather, you might ask. Is Weather Modification Inc. run by some kind of gods? No, they just try to act like it. It seems that those persistent contrails we have been seeing for years now might have something to do with this practice of weather modification, specifically the “aerial cloud seeding” method. Here is how this particular company is “Owning the Weather,” which is the title of a documentary in which one of the company’s representatives appeared. The method the company uses is described on its website:

 “Introduction of Seeding Agents

Water resources are increasingly taxed by exploding demand and continued population growth. The world’s population is projected to grow over 40% in the next 45 years.

Weather modification, commonly known as cloud seeding, is the application of scientific technology that can enhance a cloud’s ability to produce precipitation. Weather Modification, Inc., is on the forefront of scientific technology to maximize water availability worldwide. Application of scientific concepts and extensive scientific experimentation has proven that cloud seeding increases the amount of precipitation.

Cloud seeding useful in the following applications:

     Increasing Precipitation

     Mitigating Hail Damage

     Dispersing Fog

 No job is too small . . . this company has a whole TEAM of cloud seeding “experts”:

“Enlist our team of cloud seeding experts.

Whether you are looking for a small operation or a full program, Weather Modification, Inc. can ensure your cloud seeding project runs smoothly. From Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved aircraft installations, configured for aerial cloud seeding and cloud physics, to ground-based seeding equipment and training, Weather Modification, Inc., has the equipment, experience and knowledge you need.

Types of Cloud Seeding:

Here are the projects going on in Texas that are listed under the website’s Projects and Clients

Texas Central High Plains Rainfall Enhancement Program
Texas Experiment in Augmenting Rainfall through Cloud Seeding (TEXARC)
Texas Weather Modification Program
At the time of this writing, the company has not responded to my inquiries about what exactly is being sprayed, who pays for it, who decides where and when the operations take place, and whether or not I can get them to make it rain for a rainforest-themed party I am planning.

If you want to ask them some questions of your own, please contact them at the website below.

http://www.weathermodification.com

Anti-war conference unites against militarism, mobilizes young adults

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The Texas Millennial Institute held an anti-war conference Saturday on the Texas Christian University campus with speakers and panellists rebuking the prevailing militarist foreign policy of the United States government.

Noelle Mandell, co-founder of the non-partisan TMI, said at the closing of the conference, “We’re not threatened by the world around us, and we don’t feel a need to cower in fear behind a war machine.”

Approximately 100 attendees met for the day-long event, according to Mandell, which featured an opening speech from Ghada Mukdad, who immigrated from Syria in 2012. She spoke from personal experience about the breakdown of civil society that takes place during wartime and the difficulty it causes distinguishing friend from foe. The attendance consisted mostly of millennials, young adults born between 1980 and 2000.

The keynote speech from the Future of Freedom Foundation president Jacob Hornberger called for dismantling the national security establishment, saying it is “a perpetual terrorist-producing machine.” He cautioned that agencies of a government even with limited powers acting in secret effectively make “a government of unlimited powers.”

Nationally syndicated radio host Scott Horton, antiwar.com director Angela Keaton, and CATO Institute scholar Ted Galen Carpenter recounted episodes of foreign intervention during their speeches.

Horton argued that empire exerts itself through a sense of omnipotence, “making this seem inevitable, seem like the consensus of everybody who knows anything.”

During a question-and-answer session, Keaton offered a preliminary class analysis that the imperial ruling class maintains the power of elites by splitting the solidarity of workers. She added, “It’s really, really important that the poor in the United States never, ever discuss their plight or discuss the economic system or discuss the empire or discuss why their children get recruited for the military.”

TMI has other single-issue conferences scheduled this year addressing immigration and public choice theory.

Notable quotes

I know you all heard a million times that the reason they [the Bush administration] did the [second Iraq] war was that they wanted to bring democracy to the people of Iraq. Well, that’s just a lie, and here’s the simple proof of it. They only wanted to bring democracy to countries where they don’t own the dictator: Iran, Iraq and Syria. — Scott Horton

You guys must be sick to death to hear about how Hillary [Clinton, the United States secretary of state] didn’t provide good enough security for the American ambassador in Benghazi on the attack of Sept. 11, 2012. Well what the hell was he doing in Benghazi? Why was he stationed in the hornet’s nest of al-Qaeda fighters? Because high treason, that’s why. He was there because America took the side of our enemies, and they put our ambassador in the middle of his enemies. … We’re supposed to say the scandal was he didn’t have enough security and not the scandal was he and the CIA were running an operation funnelling al-Qaeda fighters and weapons to go to overthrow another secular dictator. — Scott Horton

The entire time America has been so-called backing the rebels, all they have really been doing is funnelling guns and money to our enemies, to al-Qaeda. It’s not even plausible deniability. … If you watch TV news or listen to NPR in the last week, you’ve heard them crying their eyes out that the Russians are bombing more than just ISIS. They promised to just bomb ISIS, but they are bombing others too. Like, al-Qaeda, you mean? They are mad [the Russians] are bombing al-Qaeda, because al-Qaeda works for America right now. — Scott Horton

The military-industrial complex, the media, and think tanks do such an outstanding job of making this seem inevitable, seem like the consensus of everybody who knows anything. … There are 300 million of the rest of us who don’t have a vested interest in this empire. And even though TV makes it seem like we have everything to lose if the empire were forced to come home, it’s just not true. — Scott Horton

Where I come from a particular background, the empire to me is a symbol of sexism and homophobia and racism and some of the most horrible -isms, collectivism basically, about the ways we think about people. It perpetuates ugliness. — Angela Keaton

I tried avoid discussion over the Confederate flag because when I saw that, I saw the police, the church of the great state, between poor white people and poor black people. It’s really, really important that the poor in the United States never, ever discuss their plight or discuss the economic system or discuss the empire or discuss why their children get recruited for the military. Because if anyone starts to ask those questions, there is enough of a critical mass, and there is going to be problems for the elite. — Angela Keaton

The essence of privilege when you live under the empire, no matter what your condition, is that you are not the one being droned, not yet anyway. — Angela Keaton

You can’t have a free society when your government operates in secret. — Jacob Hornberger

A government that operates in secret is an unlimited government. — Jacob Hornberger

Just like Smedley Butler said, “War is a racket.” The whole national security establishment is one big racket. — Jacob Hornberger

Remember when Texas chose a criminal bank to provide unemployment debit cards?

From the 2007 investor.shareholder.com press release: “The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) has selected JPMorgan Chase to provide debit cards for unemployment insurance benefits, replacing traditional paper checks.

“JPMorgan Chase will supply TWC with up to 290,000 debit cards a year. The TWC cards can be used like any other debit card – to purchase items from merchants or get cash from an ATM (automated teller machine).

‘JPMorgan Chase is an excellent partner for our unemployment insurance debit card program because the company has extensive experience and has a reputation for excellent customer service,’ said TWC Chair and Commissioner Representing the Public Diane Rath.

‘We are delighted to support the Texas Workforce Commission on this innovative program that will make it easier and safer for unemployment recipients to get benefits,’ said Neil Dugan, senior vice president, JPMorgan Chase.”

The bank was also delighted to charge a friend of mine $7.00 to “replace” a debit card that never came in the mail. Remember, this guy was on unemployment, which is why he needed the card in the first place, AND he never got it, so the bank may never have even sent it or sent it to the wrong address.

In case you don’t remember, since Texas contracted with Chase to handle these accounts, the bank has been involved with some pretty nefarious dealings, but don’t worry, their stock is as valuable as ever.

Here’s how the WSJ described it: “WASHINGTON—Five global banks agreed to pay more than $5 billion in combined penalties and plead guilty to criminal charges to resolve a long-running U.S. investigation into whether traders colluded to move foreign-currency rates for their own financial benefit.” (Emphasis mine) Chase was one of those banks.

Apparently, traders at these banks, including Chase, have embraced the scummy behavior behind the nickname “banksters” that they earned after the 2008 collapse that ruined many people’s standard of living, as seen in this excerpt from Bloomberg:

“Citicorp, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Barclays Plc and Royal Bank of Scotland Plc agreed to plead guilty to felony charges of conspiring to manipulate the price of U.S. dollars and euros, according to settlements announced by the Justice Department in Washington Wednesday. . . They were accused of colluding to influence benchmark rates by aligning positions and pushing transactions through at the same time. Traders who described themselves as members of “The Cartel” used online chat rooms to discuss their positions before the rates were set and suppress competition in the market, the Justice Department said.” (Emphasis mine)

So maybe when TWC chose Chase to handle these accounts, they weren’t actually considered criminals, like they are now that they paid these criminal fines, but why is the state still working with them? It is so great to know that our state continues to contract with a bank the traders of which refer to themselves as “The Cartel.” Why don’t we just ask the guys from Sinaloa or the Zetas to handle our SNAP card accounts while we are at it? I am sure their buddies at HSBC would be glad to help them launder that money too.

http://investor.shareholder.com/jpmorganchase/releasedetail.cfm?releaseid=248520

http://www.wsj.com/articles/global-banks-to-pay-5-6-billion-in-penalties-in-fx-libor-probe-1432130400

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-05-20/six-banks-pay-5-8-billion-five-plead-guilty-to-market-rigging

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/feb/15/hsbc-has-form-mexico-laundered-drug-money

Remember when our congress signed us up for $303 trillion in derivatives?

I forgot to mention in my previous column on the Citi-drafted [Cr]Omnibus bill the estimated amount for which Americans may be on the hook this time around when the big banks’ gambling goes awry. These guys sure “know when to walk away and know when to run” to Congress for a corporate-socialism bailout at our expense!

According to the websites of Daily Kos and Zerohedge, the amount aforementioned is right around $303 trillion! Think of all the education and infrastructure that money could buy that will instead go to pay off the bad bets of bankers like the very tiny Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan and the orangutan-doppelgänger Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs. I usually stay away from ad hominem attacks, but these guys are total pariahs.

I guess they deserve our help, though. After all, as Blankfein once said: They are “doing God’s work.” I wonder which god’s work is to make bad bets with taxpayers’ (or for the potential future bail-ins, depositors’) money. Either way, the American public does not seem to even notice, so these guys think that we are just fine with the imminent fleecing. I guess we are, or we would be hearing a lot more about it and maybe even seeing people taking their money out of these banks . . . or refusing to make any more payments to these criminal organizations.

As Zerohedge puts it: “At least we now know with certainty that to a clear majority in Congress – one consisting of republicans and democrats – the future viability of Wall Street is far more important than the well-being of their constituents. Which also, implicitly, was made clear when Hank Paulson was waving a three-page ‘blank check’ term sheet, and when Congress voted through the biggest bailout of banks in US history back in 2008.

“The only question is when the next multi-trillion (or perhaps quadrillion now that all global central banks are all in?) bailout takes place.”

Why worry about this? Here’s a bit of what Forbes has to say about the situation: “Another global financial crisis is on the way. Financial reform didn’t work. Banks today are bigger and more opaque than ever, and they continue to trade in derivatives in many of the same ways they did before the crash, but on a larger scale and with precisely the same unknown risks.”

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/12/12/1351389/-Congratulations-chumps-You-are-now-on-the-hook-for-303-Trillion-in-Derivatives

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-12/presenting-303-trillion-derivatives-us-taxpayers-are-now-hook

http://www.businessinsider.com/lloyd-blankfein-says-he-is-doing-gods-work-2009-11

http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2013/01/08/five-years-after-the-financial-meltdown-the-water-is-still-full-of-big-sharks/

Remember when the FDIC and the Bank of England came up with the bail-in scheme?

Remember when FDIC and Bank of England drafted a paper explaining that the next bail out of the big banks would actually be a bail-in? So, according to Ellen Brown, author and public banking activist, the FDIC and Bank of England have co-authored a paper, which readers can see here: https://www.fdic.gov/about/srac/2012/gsifi.pdf that describes how Americans will once again, or rather still, be on the hook to pay for bankers’ gambling problems, which will now be depositors’ problems. Apparently, the public backlash over having to bail out the scum who coined the term IBGYBG (I’ll be gone, you’ll be gone—so let’s screw the public while we can!) was too much for the bankers’ fragile egos to bear, so now they plan on just taking depositors’ funds to pay for their stupid decisions.

This might be a good time for all of us to reconsider where we are banking. Of course, this is all documented in a public paper that is cryptic and hard to understand for normal people who are not total scamming scumbags like these bankers, which is how they get away with this crap.

How did good risk management become synonymous with “let’s just make the public or our customers pay for our party?” These bank CEOs are paid tens of millions of dollars or more (compensation for their ability to manage risk) for just deciding to pass their debts on to the rest of us by lying and telling us the economy will crash if we do not pay up (then of course the economy crashed anyway). Wow! I can hold a metaphorical gun to someone else’s head and make them pay for my debts? Give me millions of dollars then! This country seriously needs to re-think who deserves to be well compensated financially and for what reasons.

Brown does a pretty good job of deciphering the arcane paper for the rest of us in this Huffingtonpost.com article; here is an excerpt:

“Confiscating the customer deposits in Cyprus banks, it seems, was not a one-off, desperate idea of a few eurozone troika officials scrambling to salvage their balance sheets. A joint paper by the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Bank of England dated December 10, 2012, shows that these plans have been long in the making; that they originated with the G20 Financial Stability Board in Basel, Switzerland; and that the result will be to deliver clear title to the banks of depositor funds.

Few depositors realize that legally, the bank owns the depositor’s funds as soon as they are put in the bank. Our money becomes the bank’s, and we become unsecured creditors holding IOUs. But until now, the bank has been obligated to pay the money back as cash on demand. Under the FDIC-BOE plan, our IOUs will be converted into ‘bank equity.’  The bank will get the money and we will get stock in the bank. With any luck we may be able to sell the stock to someone else, but when and at what price?”

If you bank at one of the “Systemically Important Financial Institutions” that will be using this strategy in the future (read:  Too Big to Fail Banks), you might want to change banks.  Just saying.

Read the rest here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ellen-brown/banks-confiscation_b_2957937.html

Remember when Citi drafted a bill for congress to eviscerate a key Dodd-Frank protection?

Remember when . . . last year our dear leaders passed a last-minute spending bill to keep the government running that included a section drafted by the pariah, taxpayer-bailed-out Citigroup? This may be old news but it still has the ability to affect each and every American citizen financially, which is why I like to remind everyone of it—shouldn’t we be a bit more concerned about giving our hard-earned money to bankers who make bad bets? Where is our self-respect as American citizens? To remind folks of what this does, it effectively strips a key protection of the Dodd-Frank Act, allowing the welfare queen banks, like Citi, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, and of course, JP Morgan Chase (Jamie Dimon was said to have lobbied hard for the repeal of the protection) to engage in (even more) high-risk trading with FDIC insured funds.

In plain English, the American taxpayers are (once again, or rather still) explicitly on the hook for these scummy bankers’ poor gambling decisions. These muppets (that is what they call those of us who bailed them out in 2008, so I like to return the favor when I can) somehow think that good “risk management” means pushing their debts onto others who had nothing to do with, and did not benefit at all from, their accrual. So glad these arrogant economic terrorists are running the country. Here is what Mother Jones reported on the issue last year:

“[T]he bill eviscerates a section of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform act called the ‘push-out rule’: Banks hate the push-out rule…because this provision will forbid them from trading certain derivatives (which are complicated financial instruments with values derived from underlying variables, such as crop prices or interest rates). Under this rule, banks will have to move these risky trades into separate non-bank affiliates that aren’t insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and are less likely to receive government bailouts. The bill would smother the push-out rule in its crib by permitting banks to use government-insured deposits to bet on a wider range of these risky derivatives.

The Citi-drafted legislation will benefit five of the largest banks in the country—Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo. These financial institutions control more than 90 percent of the $700 trillion derivatives market. If this measure becomes law, these banks will be able to use FDIC-insured money to bet on nearly anything they want. And if there’s another economic downturn, they can count on a taxpayer bailout of their derivatives trading business.”

Here is a link to the article with a sickening image of the two drafts, the Citi-written draft and the one that passed. If you ever doubted who actually runs our government, this should clear that up:

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/12/spending-bill-992-derivatives-citigroup-lobbyists