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Gender: Female
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Member since: Mon Dec 13, 2004, 02:55 AM
Number of posts: 12,232

Journal Archives

True and documented! Google TSA and VIPR. There have actually been many posts about this on DU also

Here's some info on VIPR and on additional expansion of DHS, TSA and Border Patrol funding and roles:
TSA rail, subway spot-checks raise privacy issues
By Thom Patterson, CNN
updated 10:05 AM EST, Sat January 28, 2012
TSA officials like to point out that the acronym stands for Transportation Security Administration, not the Airport Security Administration. And that's where VIPR comes in.
Born after 2004's Madrid railway bombings, VIPR suffered some embarrassing coordination struggles, transit officials say.
The program has 15 teams and is expanding to get access to 12 new teams to spot-check thousands of transportation depots across the nation.
VIPR teams conducted 3,895 operations in "surface modes" nationwide in 2010, according to the Department of Homeland Security (PDF).

Much more at above link.


Much info and many links at the wiki page. Includes info on budget increases:

FY2009: $30 million, 10 VIPR teams[32]
FY2010: increase of $50 million, for 15 surface transport VIPR teams [33]
FY2012: $109 million[34]
10 aviation teams
15 surface transport teams
12 new multi-modal team

They're asking for another increase for 2013:
Fund 37 Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) teams, including 12 multi-modal Teams. VIPR teams are composed of personnel with expertise in inspection, behavior detection, security screening, and law enforcement for random, unpredictable deployments throughout the transportation sector to prevent potential terrorist and criminal acts.

EPIC has many resources noting the increase and privacy abuses. The paragraphs below include embedded links with more info on EPIC's site:

2013 Federal Budget Limits Body Scanners, But Expands Domestic Surveillance: According to White House budget documents and the Congressional Testimony of Secretary Napolitano, DHS will not purchase any new airport body scanners in 2013. However, the agency will expand a wide range of programs for monitoring and tracking individuals within the United States. This includes the development of biometric identification techniques for programs such as Secure Communities. DHS will also seek funding for "Einstein 3," a network intrusion detection program that enables surveillance of private networks. EPIC has urged the DHS to comply with the requirements of the federal Privacy Act, and is currently pursuing several Freedom of Information Act lawsuits against the agency. For more information see, EPIC - Body Scanners and Radiation Risks, EPIC - E-Verify, EPIC - Secure Communities, EPIC - Fusion Centers, EPIC - Drones, EPIC - Cybersecurity, EPIC - Secure Flight. (Feb. 20, 2012)
Documents Reveal New Details About DHS Development of Mobile Body Scanners: EPIC has obtained more than one hundred fifty pages of documents detailing the Department of Homeland Security’s development of mobile body scanners and other crowd surveillance technology. The documents were obtained as a result of a Freedom Information Act lawsuit brought by EPIC against the federal agency. According to the documents obtained by EPIC, vehicles equipped with mobile body scanners are designed to scan crowds and pedestrians on the street and can see through bags, clothing, and even other vehicles. The documents also reveal that the mobile backscatter machines cannot be American National Standards Institute “certified people scanners” because of the high level of radiation output and because subjects would not know they have been scanned. For more information see EPIC: Whole Body Imaging Technology and EPIC: EPIC v. DHS (Suspension of the Body Scanner Program). (Aug. 31, 2011)

Here's a post from me with links about TSA budget and Border Patrol budget increases and expansion that I posted to a thread about TSA bus-riding agents:

Additional links about TSA "Bus Safe" in Houston:


METRO's counter-terror intitiave draws criticism

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- One week after METRO rolled out what it called an unprecedented approach to safety, there is criticism of just what happened. It was a big operation with what critics have called questionable results.

You paid for 81 cops to saturate Houston bus stops and routes last Friday. Most were from METRO, but some were from the federal Transportation Security Administration, as well as HPD.


METRO called it a synchronized, counter-terrorism exercise, and the first ever in Houston welcoming the federal TSA to Houston bus stops.


METRO faces public backlash over counter-terror intitiave

On April 13, the METRO Police Department invited TSA to be a part of its bus-safe exercise. METRO said then and repeated for days afterwards there would be random searches of bus and train passengers' bags.

A friend of Broze took pictures of the bus-safe exercise that he says show TSA agents and METRO police asking riders where they're going as they get off the bus and how often they ride that route.

"METRO and TSA were going onto the buses and questioning people about their normal routes and their normal behavior, and it just kind of creates an atmosphere of fear," Broze said.

There's much more if you search DU2.

This from the guy whose company received huge tax breaks in addition to the bailout



Last week, the American International Group reported a whopping $19.8 billion profit for its fourth quarter. It was a quite a feat for a company that was on its death bed just a little over three years ago, so sick that it needed a huge taxpayer bailout.

But if you dug into the numbers, it quickly became clear that $17.7 billion of that profit was pure fantasy — a tax benefit, er, gift, from the United States government. The company made only $1.6 billion during the quarter from actual operations. Yet A.I.G. not only received a tax benefit, it is unlikely to pay a cent of taxes this year, nor by some estimates, for at least a decade.

The tax benefit is notable for more than simply its size. It is the result of a rule that the Treasury unilaterally bent for A.I.G. and several other hobbled companies in 2008 that has largely been overlooked.

This rule-twisting could deprive the government of tens of billions of dollars, assuming the firm remains profitable. The tax dodge — and let’s be honest, that’s what it is — also will most likely help goose the bonuses of A.I.G.’s employees, some of whom helped create many of the problems that led to its role in the financial crisis.

But, hey have to find a way to keep the enormous salaries, bonuses and tax breaks flowing to the people who created the mess in the 1st place.

Also, the best way to "take the burden off of the youth" would be for people to be able to retire earlier, thus freeing up jobs for the youth, who now face increasingly high unemployment rates because of the austerity push by Benmoshe and his colleagues. And they would then be contributing to pension funds.

No coincidence that many of AIG's bailout pay outs went to the European banks whose high risk bets with AIG and others fed the crisis and who all sing in the same chorus demanding ever more austerity. And even as austerity is a clear failure when viewing the nations and majority of citizens it is crushing, it's clear the calls for it to continue are coming from the corrupt 1% who draw ever larger profits and benefits at the public's expense.

First Nations have been opposing the Northern Gateway, which is the route to sea

There's also a Trans Mountain pipeline from Alberta to Vancouver.

B.C. natives form front to fight oil pipelines
The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Dec. 01 2011, 2:16 PM EST
Aboriginal groups in British Columbia said on Thursday they have formed a united front to oppose all exports of crude oil from the Alberta tar sands through their territories.


It adds to the uncertainty over Enbridge Inc. ’s planned $5.5-billion Northern Gateway oil pipeline, which would move 525,000 barrels a day of oil sands-derived crude 1,177 kilometres to the port of Kitimat.

Aboriginal groups, also known as First Nations, say they fear the consequences of a spill from the pipeline, which would pass through some of Canada’s most spectacular mountain landscape. They also oppose the idea of shipping oil from British Columbia ports.

“First Nations, whose unceded territory encompasses the entire coastline of British Columbia, have formed a united front, banning all exports of tar sands crude oil through their territories,” more than 60 aboriginal groups said in a statement.

Looks like the push is on to undo environmental laws, especially those related to water and watersheds and fish, so they can use those routes.

Reminds me of Naomi Klein's "the Take." Also, 2012 is the UN International Year of Cooperatives

The website for the film also includes background and historical info as well as related news such as micro loans for co-ops

Must-read Ebert's review of "The Take." Tis a thing of beauty.

The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives, highlighting the contribution of cooperatives to socio-economic development, particularly their impact on poverty reduction, employment generation and social integration. Much more at link:

Exactly. These are choices Amazon made - same as temp workers and building features

Amazon's choice to use temp workers as "throwaway employees" is similar to Walmart's choice and markedly different from Costco's:

Some companies, like Costco, refuse to use temp workers in their warehouses:

Costco's well-earned reputation for treating its in-store employees well carries over to its warehouse. The Costco warehouse does not rely on temp workers. It hires employees directly, it pays pretty well and it has a safety representative and even stretching classes. Despite all that, the company still manages to provide some of the lowest prices available to consumers.

"We tend to not outsource even if we could save money by doing it," says Richard Galanti, Costco's chief financial officer. "We recognize it might cost more but we think it's the right thing to do. ... Everyone in the building feels like they're employed."

As to comments about how warehouses are built, sustainability efforts can benefit the employees and the environment and even provide additional benefits:

Again from Costco for the warehouse comparison - 2011 report:


Sustainable Construction and Renewable Energy
The organization Leadership in Energy andEnvironmental Design (LEED) has a certification program that is nationally accepted as a benchmarkfor green building design and construction. Costco’s metal warehouse design, one of the warehousedesign styles we have built over the past several years, is consistent with the requirements of theSilver Level LEED Standard. Our metal building envelopes are all insulated to meet or exceed currentenergy code requirements, and our main building structure uses 100% recycled steel material and isdesigned to minimize the amount of material utilized. The roof materials used on our metalpre-engineered warehouse are 100% recycled standing seam metal panels, designed to maximizeefficiency for spanning the structure; and the exterior skin of the building is also 100% recycled metal.In 2008, we opened our first certified Silver Level warehouse in New Jersey. With regard to renewableenergy, by the end of calendar 2011 we will have in operation large rooftop solar photovoltaic systemsat 60 of our facilities, in Hawaii, California, New Mexico, and New Jersey. They are projected togenerate 55 million kWh of electricity per year. We also continue to expand the use of non-chemicalwater treatment systems used in our cooling towers to both reduce the amount of chemicals going intosewer systems and, where possible, reuse that water for site irrigation. By coordinating with state andfederal incentive programs, these and other energy-saving systems help us reduce our carbon footprintand lower the cost of operating our facilities. We continue to evaluate additional opportunities toimprove energy efficiency.

Insulated warehouses that produce energy - not only possible but built and operating.

Well, the almost $47 million in CEO pay for 2011 has to come from somewhere

February 03, 2012

But all told, the company has plunked out almost $47 million in CEO pay in 2011, with Whitman making $16.5 million and Apotheker $30.4 million, including a $6.4 million bonus.


Apotheker earned a base salary of $1.1 million, plus a $6.4 million bonus and another $17.6 million in stock. But he also earned a mysterious roughly $5.2 million in "other compensation."

Could that have been his golden parachute for 11 months worth of work?

Whitman, who took the CEO role at the end of September, got her pay in a hefty $16.5 million stock award and $372,598 in the mysterous "other compensation category."

But hey , Whitman only makes a "salary" of $1 officially, so that's likely the model they hold up to the employees there. "See. She makes less salary than you do. Well, until we lay off most of you, that is."

Far as I can tell, he's still in charge at IIF

and capable of much future nastiness.

Seems like he has had a good circular scam going on for quite awhile:
Make risky investments - the riskier the better; buddy with Merkel to get the German citizenry to pay bailout money to Greece, little of which goes to Greeks, but instead funnels back to Deutsche Bank (and other banks) to pad his profit; all the while arguing for austerity and against "haircuts" which is the euphemism for incurring any loss (even a pfennig's worth) for taking all that risk in the 1st place.

He, as well as many of his colleagues, shouldn't be benefiting, they should be indicted.

Seems to me both the Germans and Greeks should be going after Josef Ackermann from Deutsche Bank

for the role he has played in all of this:

Moving Deutsche Bank from a stable conservative bank to one taking risky ventures
Resisting regulation while increasing speculation
Pushing austerity while raking in record profits (though he has not done so well at the profit part recently)
Privatizing profits while socializing risk

From 2/2/12


When the Swiss banker turns over his position in May of this year to the leadership duo of Anshu Jain and Jürgen Fitschen, he will leave behind a Deutsche Bank that is radically different from the financial institution that he took over in 2006. What was once a successful yet conservative German credit institution has become a global investment bank -- one which plays a role in all important markets and earns gigantic profits.

Many in Germany, however, view the bank's growth with skepticism. Ackermann has become the poster boy in the country for unscrupulous financial capitalism and the media has done little to counter that view. He is seen as only being interested in maximizing profits -- an economic principle that Germans have long been skeptical of, and one which has lost all acceptance since the beginning of the financial crisis.


Even more so in recent weeks, as the crisis has spiralled. As head of the Institute of International Finance, he is a lobbyist for Europe's banking industry, and one of the people holding the fate of Greece in his scissorhands.


A minor detail. German prosecutors tried him for handing outsize bonuses to executives at the telecoms firm Mannesmann. He paid €3.2m (£2.8m) of his own money to make it all go away.

He was originally scheduled to go last year, but two successors have now finally been named. Deutsche Bank will miss him. Not so sure about Greece.


Greek debt crisis
Further information: Greek government-debt crisis
In 2011, the IIF was the main negotiating partner of the EU government, acting on behalf of the private creditors of Greece, on its debt restructuring. In the second bailout plan (July), some academics raised issues about its communication about "haircuts" on Greece's debt (estimates biased upward), and, more generally, the IIF's undue influence in favor of banks, at the expense of Greece's future

More info on past endeavors here:



French election: François Hollande favourite as voters go to the polls

Source: Guardian

Voting has begun in the French presidential election, a ballot which could transform the political colours of France and spark a change in Europe's approach to its debt crisis and austerity measures.

All polls for months have shown the Socialist party candidate, François Hollande, beating the rightwing Nicolas Sarkozy, the most unpopular French president ever to run for re-election. The left is hoping for its first Socialist president since François Mitterrand's re-election in 1988, which would be a rare event in a Europe that has swung to the right in recent years and weakened the left.

If Sarkozy is defeated after one term in office, he would become the 11th European leader to be swept from power since the economic crisis. Hollande has promised to renegotiate Europe's fiscal pact on austerity and shift the focus to growth measures.

Sarkozy has remained defiant, claiming that the polls were mistaken, predicting a higher-than-expected turnout that would play in his favour. In the final days of campaigning, he suggested the poll could be so tight that there may need to be a recount, comparing it to George W Bush's win in 2000 after a Florida recount.

Read more: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/06/frnech-election-francois-hollande-polls

"In-your-face" like the 504 protests

Those protests were exactly about changing laws for the better, in that case about "They were demanding enforcement of the first major law to bar discrimination against the disabled."

Very much in-your-face and they won.

But in San Francisco at the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, protesters didn't give up. One day turned into a second day and then a third. More than 100 disabled demonstrators stayed in the building for weeks, refusing to leave until the regulations were signed.

On April 28, nearly four weeks into the sit-in, HEW Secretary Joseph Califano endorsed the regulations. The protesters had won.

Much, much more at link.

Photographer HolLynn D'Lil wrote a poem about the image:

Through the Glass

Those who wouldn't go outside
Those who couldn't go inside
Shattered the walls.

Edited to add:
Good piece here with retrospective on the above protest and the power of people joining together to effect change:


The San Francisco 504 sit-in did not succeed because of a brilliant strategy by a few disability leaders. It succeeded because the Deaf people set up a communication system from the 4th floor windows inside the building to the plaza down below; because the Black Panther Party brought a hot dinner to all 150 participants every single night; because people from community organizing backgrounds taught us how to make collaborative decisions; because friends came and washed our hair in the janitor's closet sink.

The people doing disability rights work in the 1970s rarely agreed on policies, or even on approaches. The successes came because people viewed each other as invaluable resources working towards a common goal.
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