Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

October 3, 2014

Friday Free Forum

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on October 3, 2014

On this date in 1974 an 8.1 earthquake hit Peru, including metropolitan Lima, killing over seventy, injuring more than 2000, and leaving tens-of-thousand homeless.

On this date in 2013 a trawler carrying African migrants caught fire off Lampedusa (Italy).  Over 360 died.

On this date in 1993 eighteen Marines and over 1000 Somalians are killed during a US effort to capture or kill insurgent forces in Mogadishu.

What’s on your mind related to homeland security?

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Comment by Philip J. Palin

October 3, 2014 @ 6:47 am

This morning I heard a public health specialist reference the need for “emotional inoculation” in regard to the emerging threat of Ebola. This is a purposeful process of practicing, imagining and rehearsing an anxiety inducing experience.

I will add, the rehearsal is more effective when a realistically complicated or complex problem is plausibly engaged… not necessarily “solved” but engaged. This builds up resilience in a way procedural fixes do not.

When most of us were farmers and half our children died of communicable diseases — three generations ago for many, today for plenty — we built up a natural immunity.

But at least among the most fortunate we now need to rigorously prepare ourselves for bad fortune: natural, accidental, or intentional.

Makes sense to me. The absence of such emotional… intellectual… spiritual resilience might help explain a wide range of observed dysfunctions. We too often react with shock and surprise to what was long anticipated and even specifically predicted.

But where, when, and by whom is such inoculating now done?

Comment by John Comiskey

October 3, 2014 @ 8:42 am

Increasingly, society assumes/teaches cradle to the grave entitlement.

Don’t worry! Be happy! Things are good and getting better. If, by chance, bad things happen, government will fix the bad things or at least make them better and we can be happy again.

Many citizens do not ask what they can we do their country/humanity. Instead, they expect their country/humanity to do for them. Worse, segments of society encourages this entitlement-mentality.

Shouldn’t we have spoken about emotional inoculation prior to our current crises?

Comment by Rubin, claire

October 3, 2014 @ 11:55 am

No question that the preparations for Ebola in the U.S. were less than adequate or appropriate.

Comment by Arnold Bogis

October 3, 2014 @ 4:55 pm

Claire, exactly which failings are you referring to? In this age of international travel it would seem to me to be impossible to prevent any person infected with Ebola from getting here. There was absolutely a breakdown of communication of some kind at the Dallas hospital, but the local public health system has since picked them up by casting a wide net in contact tracing and surveillance. I would think we should wait and see how this plays out before coming to conclusions.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

October 3, 2014 @ 10:00 pm

Homeland Security and a very unstable world environment….

World Sinks Beneath a Sea of Debt
JeremyWarner,DAILYTELEGRAPH | September29

As if the fast degenerating geopolitical situation isn’t bad enough, here’s another lorry load of concerns to add to the pile. …

On a global level, growth is being steadily drowned under a rising tide of debt, threatening renewed financial crisis, a continued squeeze to living standards and eventual mass default.

I exaggerate only a little in depicting this apocalyptic view of the future as the conclusion of the latest “Geneva Report,” an annual assessment informed by a top drawer conference of leading decision makers and economic thinkers of the big challenges facing the global economy.

Aptly titled “Deleveraging? What Deleveraging?” the report points out that, far from paying down debt since the financial crisis of 2008-9, the world economy as a whole has in fact geared up even further. The raw numbers make explosive reading.

Contrary to widely held assumptions, the world has not yet begun to de-lever. In fact global debt-to-gdp—public and private nonfinancial debt—is still growing, breaking new highs by the month.

There was a brief pause at the height of the crisis, but then the rise in the global debt-gdp ratio resumed, reach- ing nearly 220 percent of global gdp over the past year. Much of the more recent growth in this headline figure has been driven by China, which in response to the crisis, unleashed a massive expansion in credit.

However, even developed market economies have struggled to make progress, with rising public debt cancel- ing out any headway being made in reducing household and corporate indebtedness. …

In the meantime, the [British] government has been piling on borrowings like topsy, not withstanding attempts by the Chancellor, George Osborne, to bring the deficit under control. Total national nonfinancial indebtedness has therefore barely budged since the start of the crisis.

The UK remains the fourth-most highly indebted major economy in the world after Japan, Sweden and Canada, with total non financial debt of 276 percent of gdp. The U.S. is not far behind with debt of 264 percent of gdp.

However, the real standout is China, which since the
crisis began has seen debt spiral from a very manage- able 140 percent of gdp to 220 percent and rising. This is obviously still lower than many developed economies, but the speed of the increase, combined with the fact that it is largely private sector debt, makes a hard landing virtually inevitable.

The only way the world can keep growing, it would ap- pear, is by piling on debt. Not good, not good at all. …

The crisis has made an already bad situation worse, caused a further, permanent decline in both the level and growth rate of output. This in turn makes it much harder to work off debt; when economies are not growing, debt to gdp tends to rise automatically.

We now see much the same thing happening in emerg- ing markets with output growth slowing markedly since 2008, particularly in China. Buying growth with debt is reaching the limits of its viability.
It is possibly the case that Anglo-Saxon economies, the U.S. and UK, have done better in managing the trade off between deleveraging and output than others.

However, this may be largely a conjuring trick.

To the extent that meaningful reductions in private and financial sector debt have been achieved without greater damage to output, it is only because there has been a paral- lel and very substantial increase in public indebtedness.

Despite the deficit reduction rhetoric, George Osborne, the UK Chancellor, has in fact been doing the bare mini- mum to keep the markets off his back. He’s also had plenty of help from the Bank of England, which itself has become leveraged to the gunnels with government debt to ease the path back to fiscal sustainability. Nonetheless, this is plainly a much better place to be than the eurozone, which has im- posed entirely counterproductive debt controls on govern- ments and thus far at least, denied them the luxury of debt monetization by the European Central Bank. The result is a crushing depression for much of the single currency bloc. …

The world economy may have entered a vicious circle where excessive debt constrains demand to such a degree that both interest rates and inflation, and therefore growth too, remain permanently low. This way of thinking may be unduly pessimistic, but it is also worryingly plausible.

Comment by Rubin, claire

October 4, 2014 @ 5:56 am

Arnold is probably correction. The miscommunication and the clumsy handling of family and friends of the first case got all the attention but may be temporary.

The next 3 cases in the U.S. seems to be getting the right handling.


Comment by E. Earhart

October 4, 2014 @ 8:45 am

Coast Guard Rescues Lobstermen

The Coast Guard rescued four lobstermen whose boat began taking on water and sank south of Block Island in Rhode Island. No injuries were reported.

Lieutenant Matt Vanderslice, the co-pilot of the aircraft which responded to the distress call, stated, “These are very lucky, but also very prepared fishermen…They had all the right gear onboard, it worked, and they knew how to use it. That’s why they’re safely back on land today.” (30 sec rescue video part of the link)


Comment by E. Earhart

October 4, 2014 @ 8:46 am

Don’t see or hear this often . . .

“They had all the right gear onboard, it worked, and they knew how to use it.”

Comment by E. Earhart

October 4, 2014 @ 8:51 am

Screwtape on Evil . . .

“I live in the Managerial Age, in a world of “Admin.” The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid “dens of crime” that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voices. Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the office of a thoroughly nasty business concern.”

The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis, 1942
Preface found in 1961 printing.

Comment by Christopher Lambiase

October 4, 2014 @ 9:13 am

Citizens need to know what to do during disasters of all kinds. Awareness and initiatives does not always work or attract many people to the situation. I was reading up on some struggles that the Emergency Personnel faced during the Oklahoma bombing; self dispatched citizens became quite a concern. While it is good that people are willing to help, it would be great to see that people who are willing to help seek training so that they do not become victims themselves.

Comment by William R. Cumming

October 6, 2014 @ 1:33 pm

October 1st retired from FEMA 15 years.

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