Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

July 17, 2015

Friday Free Forum

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on July 17, 2015

William R. Cumming Forum

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18 Comments »

Comment by William R. Cumming

July 17, 2015 @ 7:29 am

Yesterday the nuclear weapons era began 70 years ago at a successful test of such a weapon by the Trinity Project Team!

The Iran/US agreement is now being described as preventing a THRESHHOLD STATE from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Before his untimely death from a heart virus, a friend who was a section chief at the CIA told me about 1990 the following as paraphrased by me:

“Imagine a world where over 30 nation-states have nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles to deliver them. This world is 30 years off.”

Well Iran may not just be a THRESHOLD STATE in 2030 but time will tell.

There are seven (7) announced nuclear powers. The USA; UK; France; Russia; China; India; Pakistan; N. Korea; and several unannounced such as Israel.

There are up to a dozen other threshold states IMO meaning within 3 years of a green light by their governments they could have nuclear weapons but perhaps not delivery systems.

So perhaps my friends prediction off but time will tell.

But that is not my real story today. Readers of my comments on this blog know that while I dreamed of FEMA being a highly technically competent that never happened. When I reported on September 10th, 1979, to FEMA there were over 300 PhD’s in the agency. When I retired on October 1st, 1999, less than 50 and now less than 20 including those with doctorates in Education.

About 1980 FEMA became involved with planning guidance for hazardous materials transportation accidents. It hired a firm to prepare the guidance. With no coordination among OFAs FEMA published the guidance only to have it condemned technically especially by the FIRE SERVICE community. A Congressional hearing documented the ERRORS and inepitude of FEMA.

Today I checked the FEMA website for a 2010 2nd Edition of a document entitled PLANNING FOR A NUCLEAR EXPLOSION! That document does not appear but the 1st Edition does appear. The 1st edition was withdrawn for numerous technical errors and failure to be coordinated with OFAs but in particular criticism by the Health Physics Society.

FEMA IS NOT A LEARNING ORGANIZATION IMO! Nor an HRO [high reliability organization] in any way.

I could give 100 examples but suggest others may wish to do so!

Perhaps the rest of DHS also fails being technically proficient. A CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER?

Comment by William R. Cumming

July 17, 2015 @ 7:37 am

Perhaps I should mention for DC Metropolitan area readers
that between $2-5B has been spent for Emergency Preparedness Planning and Response including a nuclear detonation since 9/11/2001.

IMO there is nothing to show for it but remain concerned that no officials seem concerned or willing to challenge my opinion and document that I am wrong.

And IMO the Pentagon and DHS should be relocated elsewhere to lessen their probability as targets. Perhaps a whole new Capital and Seat of Government?

The so-called TRANSPORTATION DEPENDENT POPULATION grows daily in the DC Metro area. Evacutation or shelter-in-place?

Comment by Terry Hastings

July 17, 2015 @ 8:50 am

Some of you may be interested in this article regarding our efforts to measure preparedness. In it we call for a different and more holistic approach that seeks to leverage analytical judgement, much like the way we do with intelligence analysis. Let me know what you think.

http://www.hstoday.us/columns/best-practices/blog/preparedness-insanity-why-we-need-to-think-differently-about-how-to-measure-preparedness/0ed53127c6867c8c74140a172f9ffb7e.html

Comment by William R. Cumming

July 17, 2015 @ 8:52 am

Thanks Terry!

Comment by William R. Cumming

July 17, 2015 @ 9:00 am

AN OPEN LETTER TO ARC OFFICIAL BRAD KEISERMAN:

We have never met but you might be interested to know of a recommendation I made to former GC’s of the Independent FEMA posy employment!

I suggested that they write a letter to the the ARC suggesting/requesting that they be made part of a 100% legal audit of ARC legal authorities, and the interface of the ARC with FEMA, and its programs, functions, and activities.

At one time FEMA funded an ARC staff position in each of the 10 FEMA regions and Headquarters. What was the purpose of these staffers and why did FEMA defund the positions?

Also did you know that while President James Earl Carter gave FEMA offsite nuclear power plant safety the ARC has a prominent role in many REPPs [radiological emergency preparedness plans]! Can the ARC accomplish what these plans say the ARC will be doing?

Sincerely,

Bill

Comment by William R. Cumming

July 17, 2015 @ 10:31 am

Did I mention that the Director of FEMA was an Ex Offico member of the ARC Board of Directors until the 90’s?

Comment by William R. Cumming

July 18, 2015 @ 6:23 am

Question for ALL: Has any Presidential candidate other than Senator Sanders mentioned corruption in Washington as a part of the problem with BAD GOVERNANCE?

And the criminal conviction of a former Virginia Governor on federal corruption charges was upheld on appeal.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

July 18, 2015 @ 8:39 am

Bill,

I guess in some sort of way more than any other Presidential candidate Bill, the real estate mogul, Donald Trump! But heck, who really gives a damn when our military personnel walk around without weapon by their side allowing the enemy soft targets…We have serious problems internally no question and it is obvious that freedom of speech is being stripped of us even here on this blog where I see my numerous comments on the Friday free forum have been removed…God Bless us all:

The Navy says that the sailor who was shot Thursday in an attack at a military support center in Chattanooga, Tenn. has died.

The 24-year-old sailor was one of three people injured when a gunman opened fire at the center, killing four Marines. The shooting is being investigated as a domestic act of terrorism.

Fox News confirmed the name of the sailor who died as Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith, a reservist serving on active duty in Chattanooga.

He underwent several surgeries after being wounded in the shooting at the Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC). He died around 2:17 a.m. Saturday.

The Ohio native leaves a wife and three young daughters.

Authorities say Kuwait-born Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, 24, of Hixson, Tennessee, unleashed a barrage of fire at a recruiting center in Chattanooga, then drove several miles away to a Navy and Marine reserve center, where he shot and killed the Marines, and wounded the sailor.

Abdulazeez was shot to death by police.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Comment by Vicki Campbell

July 18, 2015 @ 12:33 pm

Bill, I’m not sure what you’re referring to here and in the last forum about a crisis of governance,or bad governance, but I certainly think we’re been in one for a while now (and yes, Sanders is the only one talking about this, or many other things that need addressing). Between financial deregulation, the failure to pass or implement any meaningful campaign finance reform, and the mind boggling Citizens United Supreme Court decision that allows unlimited funding of campaign election ads, it should be no surprise that we increasingly have a Congress and Presidency that more and more only reflect and answer to ever more moneyed interests of the 1%.

From the BBC, here’s a brief article on a recent research study done jointly by Professors from Princeton and Northwestern that concludes America is at this point by definition a Oligarchy. And as you’ve been quite diligent about pointing out with much evidence, “preparedness” (not a term I like to promote using by the way) is simply not the Oligarchy’s main priority, wouldn’t you agree?

The study concludes:

“Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association and a widespread (if still contested) franchise. But we believe that if policymaking is dominated by powerful business organisations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened.”

and also that:

“When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organised interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the US political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favour policy change, they generally do not get it.”

The link to the full study at Cambridge U Press is here:
http://journals.cambridge.org/download.php?file=%2FPPS%2FPPS12_03%2FS1537592714001595a.pdf&code=2dbe0896a0f9fe98f111c69b82140018

The link to the BBC article is here:
http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-echochambers-27074746

Comment by William R. Cumming

July 18, 2015 @ 2:00 pm

Thanks Vicki and Chris! Elites have a certain self-destructive gene apparently. NOT ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL!

Comment by William R. Cumming

July 18, 2015 @ 2:01 pm

Some may find post and comments by me and others on the Sic Semper Tyrannis Blog.

Comment by Vicki Campbell

July 18, 2015 @ 5:53 pm

Also, Bill, bringing forward our exchange about Iran (and Cuba) from the previous forum – there is certainly no difference between minority political factions in Iran chanting at rallies “death to America” and George Bush’s reference to Iran as part of the Axis of Evil, immediately after Iran shared important intelligence about the Taliban with the U.S. (which Iran was understandably pretty insulted by).

The “death to America” chant was arose in response to America’s direct overthrow of Iran’s first democratically elected and beloved Prime Minister Mosaddegh in 1953, and the installation by the U.S. of a brutal puppet dictatorship afterward – all of which led very directly to the Iranian revolution and the official coining of the phrase. The phrase continued to gain steam as the U.S. has continued to sew ever more extreme instability in the Middle East through our direct arming and support of Iraq’s attack and war on Iran in the 1980s, and our even more horrendous continued support for Iraq’s use of chemical weapons against Iranians during that war – and then our subsequent intervention and wholesale invasion and occupation of multiple Middle East countries over the last 15 years, starting before 9/11 with George Bush senior. Bush senior was also the first to institute the increasingly devastating sanctions against the people of Iran, for no good reason then, as they have had no good reason since.

The Wall St. Journal had a good article just yesterday on the real roots of Iranian anti-Americanism (which is different from being anti-Americans, which Iranians most definitely are not, at all), which will confirm the above:
http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-u-s-is-still-irans-great-satan-1437170607

Iran has considerably more legitimate long-standing complaints against the U.S. than we certainly have any reason to claim against them, by a long shot. And the m ore we abuse them and try to do nothing more than contain them, the more radical their leadership (aka Ahmadinejad). Call me silly, call me old-fashioned – but I think that all kinda matters to include in all the baseless whining and alternate demonizing of Iran, which couldn’t possibly be a less appropriate or just plain accurate reflection of the surprisingly complex nature or orientation of the country, culturally or politically. The 1979 revolution was the anomaly, not the norm. According to the New Statesman “The paradox of 1979’s religious revolution is that it has given birth to the most secular society in the region.”

Iran has been trying for quite some time to normalize relations with the U.S., and to end the sanctions against them, but has unfortunately had only Republican neocons whose only agenda with Iran was regime change to deal with up until now (and Clinton, who was such a sycophant to conservatives policy-wise that he doesn’t count). Any serious expert will tell you that Iran has for some time now been ramping up and using the issue of its supposed “nuclear program” to bring the U.S. to the real negotiating table – which, unsurprisingly, finally happened at the tail end of Obama’s term, when he’s belatedly decided to start acting like who he actually is, at least a little bit. And we should all be very grateful for the deal that they just hammered out, in the face of the ever more ridiculous and utterly unfounded demonization of Iran (and now Obama and the Dems) from the hard and very ignorant, if not increasingly just demented right in this country – which may well be the death of us all before its all over.

And one more thing, just for the record. Iran never called for the destruction of Israel (or for it to be “wiped of the map”), and you can find this eventual clarification and retraction from every major news organization, as well as news media, on the net (including Fox – yes, Fox news, who’s correction and apology I actually heard with my own ears). This amazingly widely repeated myth originally resulted from a very bad translation of a re-quote by Ahmadinejad of a portion of an old Khomeni poem. Iran initially tried to clarify the statement, but eventually gave up when no one was listening. But others didn’t, and hounded the western press until they finally, begrudgingly admitted the error and made the correction, when it no longer mattered and no one was looking. There for awhile, people would actually correct each other on air when someone asserted this false claim, which I’ve also seen and heard as well – but now everyone seems to have forgotten, and because the Republicans could never hear that it was a mistake to begin with, they just kept repeating it until it has taken hold again, as though it is, and has always been true. But it simply is not.

Comment by William R. Cumming

July 19, 2015 @ 8:43 am

Thanks Vicki for this terrific comment! Very interesting.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

July 20, 2015 @ 8:07 pm

Lower the US Flag at the White House as we have lost brave warriors at the hand of another Muslim terrorist – the lawless of Islam who are an embarrassment to the 1.6 billion Muslims who prefer to live in Peace and respect everyone’ choice in religious beliefs w/o another imposing values – How outrageous that the White House flag has not been lowered after we have again suffered a terror attack….

Comment by William R. Cumming

July 21, 2015 @ 6:11 am

The UN Security Council has voted 15=0 in favor of the US/Iran Nuclear Agreement. Still under review in both Houses of the US Congress.

Comment by William R. Cumming

July 21, 2015 @ 6:23 am

FOLLOW THE MONEY?

Here’s the numbers from 2014 – http://wallethub.com/edu/states-most-least-dependent-on-the-federal-government/2700/

Second chart here covers 2008 – 2014 – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_taxation_and_spending_by_state

Comment by William R. Cumming

July 21, 2015 @ 6:46 am

Can you argue NO STATE INCOME TAX NO HS/EM?

States with no individual income tax

States with no state individual income tax are in red, states taxing only dividend and interest income are in yellow.
Nine U.S. states do not level a broad-based individual income tax. Some of these do tax certain forms of personal income:

Alaska – no individual tax but has a state corporate income tax. Like New Hampshire, Alaska has no state sales tax, but unlike New Hampshire, Alaska allows local governments to collect their own sales taxes. Alaska has an annual Permanent Fund Dividend, derived from oil revenues, for all citizens living in Alaska after one calendar year, except for some convicted of criminal offenses.

Florida – no individual income tax[10] but has a 5.5% corporate income tax. The state once had a tax on “intangible personal property” held on the first day of the year (stocks, bonds, mutual funds, money market funds, etc.), but it was abolished at the start of 2007.

Nevada – has no individual or corporate income tax. Nevada gets most of its revenue from sales taxes and the gambling and mining industries.

New Hampshire – has an Interest and Dividends Tax of 5%, and a Business Profits Tax of 8.5%. A Gambling Winnings Tax of 10% went into effect July 1, 2009 and was repealed May 11, 2011. New Hampshire has no sales tax.

South Dakota – no individual income tax but has a state corporate income tax on financial institutions.

Tennessee has a 6% tax on income received from stocks and bonds not taxed ad valorem. In 1932, the Tennessee Supreme Court struck down a broad-based individual income tax that had passed the General Assembly, in the case of Evans v. McCabe. However, a number of Attorneys General have recently opined that, if properly worded, a state income tax would be found constitutional by today’s court, due to a 1971 constitutional amendment.

Texas – no individual income tax but imposes a franchise tax on corporations. In May 2007, the legislature replaced the franchise tax with a gross margins tax on businesses (sole proprietorships and some partnerships were automatically exempt; corporations with receipts below a certain level were also exempt as were corporations whose tax liability was also below a specified amount), which was amended in 2009 to increase the exemption level. The Texas Constitution places severe restrictions on passage of an individual income tax and use of its proceeds.

Washington – no individual tax but has a business and occupation tax (B&O) on gross receipts, applied to “almost all businesses located or doing business in Washington.” It varies from 0.138% to 1.9% depending on the type of industry.

Wyoming has no individual or corporate income taxes.

Note that many states levy taxes on the premiums paid for property/casualty insurance byn citizens and residents. FEMA’s NFIP allows the payment to state governments of state insurance premium taxes and this revenue is not devoted to either disaster relief or flood plain management.

And perhaps of interest despite this payment most states have determined that they have no regulatory authority over the NFIP even the sales, servicing, and adjustment of claims by the private insurers that are WYO companies. WYO = Write Your Own.

Over 1/3 of the premiums garnered by WYO companies remain with the companies for services rendered. This take covers administrative costs but the average administrative cost of all property/casualty insurers nation-wide is about 3% of premiums.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

July 21, 2015 @ 1:57 pm

“ol Glory at the White House has finally been lowered in honor of our slain soldiers again by the hand of the lawless conveying islamic terrorism –

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