January 31, 2010

Who Does the U.S. Owe and How Much?

Editor's Note: This essay was written in July 2007 when the U.S. national debt was $8.9 trillion; the U.S. national debt is currently more than $12 trillion. In 2009 U.S. taxpayers paid more than $383 billion in interest on the national debt, of which approximately two-thirds primarily was payable to stockholders of the privately-owned Federal Reserve System (Intragovernment Holdings, Government Account Series).

Who Holds the U.S. Debt?

The Mess That Greenspan Made
July 26, 2011

The folks at Congressional Quarterly have compiled this handy interactive chart for anyone who wants to see how much and to whom the U.S. owes its $14.3 trillion.

Click to enlarge

It’s that $4.5 trillion “Foreign investors” category that keeps policy makers up at night, though, domestic investors might someday tire of the nation’s spendthrift ways too. The big difference between the two groups is the U.S. dollar – the value of foreign investors’ holdings are affected by both the value of their Treasuries and the dollar exchange rate, whereas domestic holders see only the fluctuating bond price. This could be important someday, especially if today’s slide in the trade-weighted dollar accelerates.

Who Do We Owe and How Much?

By Mike Hewitt, DollarDaze
Originally Published on July 17, 2007

This essay takes an in-depth look at the magnitude and consequences of the large debt levels within the United States. Topics discussed include: composition of foreign and domestic holders of U.S. debt, consequences of the government borrowing from the Federal Reserve, and a look at the current U.S. housing market.

The National Debt

The national debt (also known as public debt) is money owed by the federal government. As the government represents the people, government debt can be seen as an indirect debt of the taxpayers. The U.S. government incurs debt by issuing treasuries (bills, notes and bonds).

These securities are either sold on the open market or directly to the Federal Reserve. The U.S. national debt, as of July 17, 2007 stood at $8.887 trillion. In addition to the national debt, the State and Local debt at the end of 2006 stood at just over $2 trillion.

Some consider that all government liabilities, including those that the government has contracted for but not yet paid, should also be included in the national debt. Corporations must report such liabilities in their annual financial statements under GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles).

These "off-balance sheet" items include future payments for federal pensions, Medicare and Social Security. Inclusion of these obligations would dramatically increase the U.S. national debt to $59.1 trillion or 403% of GDP! On a per capita basis this amounts to $516,348 for every U.S. household! By means of comparison, the average American household owes $112,043 for mortgages, car loans, credit cards and all other debt combined.

To Whom Do We Owe the National Debt?

The Department of the Treasury publishes The Debt to the Penny and Who Holds It. This up-to-date information divides the debt into two sections: Public and Intergovernmental Holdings. The former grouping includes domestic and foreign owned portions of the debt. The U.S. Treasury publishes Ownership of Federal Securities which is another break-down of the composition. Through combining these two data sets, as of December 2006, the composition of the U.S. National debt was:

The breakdown of the domestic owned portion of the national debt is as follows:

The U.S. Treasury publishes a listing of the Major Foreign Holders of the national debt.

Of the U.S. debt owned by foreigners, central banks own 64% with private investors owning nearly all the rest (Analytical Perspectives - Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2006 p. 257). As of the end of 2006, U.S. treasuries made up 33% of Mainland China's official foreign exchange reserves and 68% of Japan's!

The magnitude of the foreign-owned portion of the national debt is nearly three times the total amount of currency in circulation! Official numbers released by the Federal Reserve for June 2007 show the volume of currency at US$755 billion.

The Federal Reserve

The Intergovernmental Holdings section refers primarily to governmental borrowing from the Federal Reserve. This is sometimes referred to incorrectly as "the government borrowing from itself".

To begin with, the twelve regional Federal Reserve Banks are private institutions operating collectively in a quasi-governmental capacity.

When the government spends more than it receives in tax revenue, it experiences a budget deficit. To make up this shortfall, it issues new debt. This takes the form of treasuries that are sold on the open market. When there is not sufficient interest in the open market to buy up the required number of treasuries, the government will turn to the Federal Reserve, otherwise known as the "lender of the last resort."

When the government "borrows" from the Federal Reserve, both the treasuries and the money are literally created out of thin air. These newly acquired government securities increase the assets of the Federal Reserve Bank. This enables it to lend out many times that amount through the fractional reserve banking system. The process, known as "monetizing the debt," is inflationary.

For example, let us assume that the legislated reserve ratio is 10% and the government requires US$10 billion from the Federal Reserve to cover a shortfall. The government creates US$10 billion in government bonds to give to the Federal Reserve who issues US$10 billion in newly created money to the government. Interest payments on these bonds are paid for by tax revenue and/or additional deficit spending. The Federal Reserve may now legally lend out US$100 billion.

This credit expansion as a direct result of the U.S. government borrowing from the Federal Reserve dilutes the value of all outstanding currency. When the value of the dollar goes down, prices go up. In effect, it is theft from everyone who holds U.S. currency because they can now buy less with it today than they could have before.

The U.S. Total Debt

The Federal Reserve's publications, Flow of Funds Accounts of the United States (also known as the Z.1 Releases) contain a great amount of data regarding money-flows between various sectors. Missing from this data set is the portion of debt owed by the federal government to the Federal Reserve. To retrieve that data, one must subtract the Gross Federal Debt held by the Public from Gross National Debt published by the St. Louis Federal Reserve. This data should be added to the Federal Government Debt figures in table D.3 of the Z.1 Release to account for the complete national debt.

Debt Owed by the Federal Government to the Federal Reserve

The following chart shows accumulated debt from the national, household and corporate sectors from 1956 to 2006.

The Housing Bubble

The household sector has surged nearly 50% since 2001, increasing from $7.66 trillion to 12.82 trillion in 2006. Most of this jump is attributed to mortgage debt that has risen 83% since 2001. This has been what market analysts have been referring to as the "Housing Bubble." Starting in 2001, ordinary citizens became attracted to an increasingly speculative real estate market.

The combination of increasing money supply ("liquidity") and advent of 40-year low interest rates along with exotic loans (negative amortization, adjustable rate, buy-down, no credit check) encouraged heavy leveraging as house buyers attempted to purchase more expensive houses in hopes of reselling them in a few years at a much higher price to another buyer.

Marketing of these types of loans reached a crescendo in late-2004 and early-2005. The sub-prime industry offered buy-down mortgages whereby the buyer would pay a discounted interest rate for the first few years (otherwise known as a "teaser rate"). These low starter payments were marketed so that the buyer could "afford home furnishings and renovation projects." When it came time for these interest rates to readjust, many homeowners found that they were unable to cover their monthly mortgage payment.

As a result of this, the U.S. is currently experiencing a financial meltdown in the sub-prime mortgage industry within the U.S. To date, 99 firms have either gone bankrupt or have dramatically transformed their business. Over 1.4 million homes are currently in some stage of the foreclosure process.

Time's June 13, 2005 cover article of "Home $weet Home" was taken by some to be indicative of a speculative top and a portent for an upcoming market reversal. Just as Business Week's famous August 13, 1979 cover story called for the end of the stock markets at the moment when the largest bull run was just getting underway.

But "We Owe it to Ourselves"?

Does the debt matter; after all, don't we owe it to ourselves? Only if you acknowledge that "we" and "ourselves" are in fact very different entities. The Federal Reserve's Z.1 Release gives insight as to who exactly owes the money, and to whom.

Clearly this is a one-way street. Households, government and non-financial businesses are becoming more and more indebted to foreigners, banking and financial institutions. Debt is not wealth. It is a claim on future production.

"The budget should be balanced; the treasury should be refilled; national debt should be reduced; and the arrogance of public officials should be controlled." (Cicero, 106-43 B.C.)
© 2007 DollarDaze

January 29, 2010

Obama Establishes Council of Governors to Take Over When Martial Law is Declared

Is Obama Planning Council of Governors/Police Stability Force for the U.S. (Martial Law)?

By Eyes for You, Before It's News
January 12, 2010

Some time ago I came across an article about the Rand Corporation bidding on a "Police Stability Force" for the United States:
A Stability Police Force for the United States: Justification and Options for Creating U.S. Capabilities:

Establishing security is the sine qua non of stability operations, since it is a prerequisite for reconstruction and development. Security requires a mix of military and police forces to deal with a range of threats from insurgents to criminal organizations.

This research examines the creation of a high-end police force, which the authors call a Stability Police Force (SPF). The study considers what size force is necessary, how responsive it needs to be, where in the government it might be located, what capabilities it should have, how it could be staffed, and its cost.

This monograph also considers several options for locating this force within the U.S. government, including the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Secret Service, the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) in the Department of State, and the U.S. Army's Military Police.

The authors conclude that an SPF containing 6,000 people — created in the U.S. Marshals Service and staffed by a “hybrid option,” in which SPF members are federal police officers seconded to federal, state, and local police agencies when not deployed — would be the most effective of the options considered. The SPF would be able to deploy in 30 days. The cost for this option would be $637.3 million annually, in FY2007 dollars.

Read Entire Document Online
Quietly—even stealthily—in the opening days of the New Year, President Barack Obama has set up a “Council of Governors.”

Like the 30-plus czars running America with neither the people’s nor the Congress’s blessings, the Council of Governors is already a done deal.

“Is this a first step towards Martial Law, or a tie to the InterPol, RAND National Police Force stuff we’ve been hearing about,” asked a Texas patriot who tipped off Canada Free Press (CFP) after finding news of the new Council of Governors on Twitter. “Is this a sort of Homeland Security Politburo?”

“I do know it’s another sleuth order executed without any announcement OR EXPLANATION to the People.”
Patriots know by now that the promised Obama “transparency” is a fog.

Checking the Net on the Council of Governors, CFP, found other than a few blogs, only UPI.com had the story as of this morning:
President Barack Obama Monday established a panel of state governors to collaborate with Washington on a variety of potential emergencies, the White Housesaid. (UPI.com, Jan. 11, 2010 at 11:54 p.m.).

Obama signed an executive order establishing a panel to be known as the Council of Governors, which will be made up of 10 state governors, to be selected by the president to serve two-year terms. Members will review matters involving the National Guard; homeland defense; civil support; and synchronization and integration of state and federal military activities in the United States, the White House said in a statement.

The statement said the White House would seek input from governors and governors’ association (sic) in deciding which governors to appoint to the council, which will have no more than five governors from the same party.

The secretaries of defense and homeland security will also sit on the council, as will presidential assistants for homeland security and counterterrorism, intergovernmental affairs, the U.S. Northern Command commander, the commander of the East Coast Guard, and the chief of the National Guard Bureau.

The panel was set up under a provision of the Fiscal Year 2008 National Defense Authorization Act, the White House said.
There was no timestamp on the latest Emergency Order from Whitehouse.gov, which readers can see below.

The Obama administration seems to be conducting the business of America under cover of the dark.

The rest of the CFP article can be found here; it is the almost verbatim of the one published here:
The executive order formed a Council of Governors, pursuant to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008.

The Council will "strengthen further the partnership between the Federal Government and State governments to protect our Nation and its people and property." Provisions include:

1. The Council shall meet at the call of the Secretary of Defense or the Co-Chairs of the Council to exchange views, information, or advice with the Secretary of Defense; the Secretary of Homeland Security; the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism; the Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement; the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Americas' Security Affairs; the Commander,United States Northern Command; the Chief, National Guard Bureau; the Commandant of the Coast Guard; and other appropriate officials of the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense, and appropriate officials of other executive departments or agencies as may be designated by the Secretary of Defense or the Secretary of Homeland Security.

(a) matters involving the National Guard of the various States;
(b) homeland defense;
(c) civil support;
(d) synchronization and integration of State and Federal military activities in the United States; and
(e) other matters of mutual interest pertaining to National Guard, homeland defense, and civil support activities.
If you remember, the NSPD-51 "Continuation of Government"—martial law—vests all power in the executive branch and identifies the individuals who will be responsible for the oversight of the CoG government. Here is an excerpt:
The President shall lead the activities of the Federal Government for ensuring constitutional government. In order to advise and assist the President in that function, the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism (APHS/CT) is hereby designated as the National Continuity Coordinator. The National Continuity Coordinator, in coordination with the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (APNSA), without exercising directive authority, shall coordinate the development and implementation of continuity policy for executive departments and agencies.

The Continuity Policy Coordination Committee (CPCC), chaired by a Senior Director from the Homeland Security Council staff, designated by the National Continuity Coordinator, shall be the main day-to-day forum for such policy coordination.

The National Continuity Coordinator, in consultation with the heads of appropriate executive departments and agencies, will lead the development of a National Continuity Implementation Plan (Plan), which shall include prioritized goals and objectives, a concept of operations, performance metrics by which to measure continuity readiness, procedures for continuity and incident management activities, and clear direction to executive department and agency continuity coordinators, as well as guidance to promote interoperability of Federal Government continuity programs and procedures with State, local, territorial, and tribal governments, and private sector owners and operators of critical infrastructure, as appropriate.

The Plan shall be submitted to the President for approval not later than 90 days after the date of this directive.

The Secretary of Homeland Security shall coordinate the integration of Federal continuity plans and operations with State, local, territorial, and tribal governments, and private sector owners and operators of critical infrastructure, as appropriate, in order to provide for the delivery of essential services during an emergency.

Continuity requirements shall be incorporated into daily operations of all executive departments and agencies.
Remember, under NSPD-51, a disaster will be declared in order to justify the Federal siezure of state and local functions under the control of the executive branch with the legislative and judicial branches operating as advisors. A disaster is defined as:
The directive states that this power could/would be exercised in the case of a "Catastrophic Emergency," meaning "any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions ..."

Connecting the Dots on Obama’s Council of Governors

Flopping Aces
January 13, 2010

With the less than opaque veil shrouding the current White House actions, Obama’s latest unheralded EO on Jan 11th, establishing the Council of Governors, sent the blog world into a tizzy. The extremes of reaction ran the gamut.

When Shutking broke out the “martial law” headline, commenter John Erickson, who’s blog profile says he works in government in Lincoln, Nebraska, tut tutted that view, saying they were only a federal advisory committee.

PropagandaMatrix comes thru with less sensationalist perspective, noting the other blog fears, but not casting its own lot into the more extreme theories. They did, however, note this

“clearly represents another assault on Posse Comitatus, the 1878 law that bars the military from exercising domestic police powers, which was temporarily annulled by the 2006 John Warner National Defense Authorization Act before parts of it were later repealed.”

As with most government powers, there is always the potential for abuse. In this case, there is cause for serious concern because every bit of this entails expanding traditional Command in Chief powers to the DOD, spreading troops around the US (potentially not American troops at that…) and deciding who has ultimate tactical command over reserves and Guard in the event of “emergencies,” terrorist attacks, or natural disasters.

Since we can’t expect much in clarification from this transparent administration, it’s up to us to sort out the intent, and inherent dangers to our founded Republic. And we sure we don’t need yet another head scratcher, like Obama’s INTERPOL executive order before Christmas. So I’m here to connect a few more dots on the Council of Governors.


The Council of Governors is not a complete bolt out of the blue, but another step in a series of events. The first recommendation of the Council came in a May 2007 commissioned report on the National Guard and Reserves by Arnold Punaro. The review noted that the Guard was short almost $40 billion in supplies and equipment due to commitments since the 911 attack, and that individual governors had been “slighted.” The commission recommended a creation of the Council of Governors so that

“… governors could provide direct input on National Guard issues to the executive branch.”

Month’s later, its creation was mandated by Congress, with no specific timeline to do so, via The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008. This was a bill first introduced by Ike Skelton in the House Jan 2008, and sailed through both chambers with almost unanimous bi-partistan support. It was signed into law January 28, 2008, by then President Bush and became Public Law No: 110-181.

Buried in the 602 page bill (page 498) was Section 1822 – aka the mandate:

The President shall establish a bipartisan Council of Governors to advise the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the White House Homeland Security Council on matters related to the National Guard and civil support missions.

President Bush never created the Council and neither had President Obama… until yesterday, that is. The question is, did Obama create this council for its original purpose? From what I’ve put together so far, it’s not looking that way. Keep reading.


Flashback, April 4, 2008: News hits that a month and a half earlier, February 14, 2008, the US and Canada enter into a military agreement between NORTHCOM, NORAD and Canada COM, defined as a Civil Assistance Plan:

In a political move that received little if any attention by the American news media, the United States and Canada entered into a military agreement on February 14, 2008, allowing the armed forces from one nation to support the armed forces of the other nation during a domestic civil emergency, even one that does not involve a cross-border crisis, according to a police commander involved in homeland security planning and implementation.

It is an initiative of the Bi-National Planning Group whose final report, issued in June 2006, called for the creation of a “Comprehensive Defense and Security Agreement,” or a “continental approach” to Canada-US defense and security.

The law enforcement executive told Newswithviews.com… that the agreement — defined as a Civil Assistance Plan — was not submitted to Congress for debate and approval, nor did Congress pass any law or treaty specifically authorizing this military agreement to combine the operations of the armed forces of the United States and Canada in the event of domestic civil disturbances ranging from violent storms, to health epidemics, to civil riots or terrorist attacks.

“This is a military plan that’s designed to bypass the Posse Comitatus Act that traditionally prohibited the US military from operating within the borders of the United States. Not only will American soldiers be deployed at the discretion of whomever is sitting in the Oval Office, but foreign soldiers will also be deployed in American cities,” warns Lt. Steven Rodgers, commander of the Nutley, NJ Police Department’s detective bureau.

Canada Free Press’s Sean Osborne reported on it within weeks of the agreement. At that time, Osborne thought it sniffed of a EU-type political union. And while he thought it was prudent to plan for a united defense if necessary, he also saw the need for a careful eye on this new military union, and its purpose.

Note the timing of this new CAP… February 14, 2008, just a few weeks after the passage of Public Law No: 110-181… and Section 1822 that mandated the creation of a Council of Governors.

Coincidently, the preceding Section 1821 of that same enacted Public Law dealt happened to deal with another mandate concerning NORTHCOM. Section 1821 ordered the Chairman and Chief Joint of Staff to review the adequacy of NORTHCOM’s manpower, and any need for increased components, reporting to the DOD no later than one year’s time.

(1) REVIEW BY CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF.— Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff shall submit to the Secretary of Defense a review of the civilian and military positions, job descriptions, and assignments within the United States Northern Command with the goal of determining the feasibility of significantly increasing the number of members of a reserve component assigned to, and civilians employed by, the United States Northern Command who have experience in the planning, training, and employment of forces for homeland defense missions, domestic emergency response, and providing military support to civil authorities.

Within 90 days of receipt of that review, the Defense Secretary was to present a copy of that review to Congress, along with recommendations on achieving the reports recommended goals.

This put the timeline deadline at the end of May 2009…. Obama’s 4th month in the Oval Office. Still no creation of the Council of Governors.

Still awake? Hope so, because now it gets really interesting….


One month later, June 2009, NORTHCOM sends a Legislative Proposal to Congress, requested amending Title 10 of USC, expanding the Secretary of Defense’s powers to mobilization of the Army Reserve, Air Force Reserve, Navy Reserve, and Marine Corps Reserve to assist civil authorities in disasters and emergencies“thus enabling a truly Total Force approach to disaster response.” Currently, only the Commander in Chief can call up the Reserves — and only in an emergency involving “a use or threatened use of a weapon of mass destruction” or “a terrorist attack or threatened terrorist attack in the United States that results, or could result, in significant loss of life or property.”

The Federal Reserve forces represent a significant capability, embedded in thousands of communities throughout our nation, which, with the exception of national emergencies, cannot be ordered to active duty to assist the primary Federal agency’s response to major disasters or emergencies, even in circumstances when Reserve units may be closest to the disaster area and thus the most timely and cost-effective response.

This proposed new Title 10 section would also implement the recommendation of the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves that the “mobilization authorities for Federal Reserve forces to respond to emergencies should be expanded” to “provide the authority to involuntarily mobilize Federal Reserve components for up to 60 days in a four-month period and up to 120 days in a two-year period.”


Somewhere around the end of July 2009, Paul Stockton, Obama’s appointed Assistant Secretary of Defense (formerly with Stanton’s CISAC) is pitching the Council of Governors creation to Congress as a means to “reclaim” balance between federal and state authorities. From his testimony:

As the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Americas’ Security Affairs, I hope to contribute to a more inclusive effort, one that involves State and local partners as partners aforethought and not as an afterthought. Congress, in section 1822 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 (Public Law 110-181), has provided a valuable vehicle through which to accomplish this goal: the “Council of Governors,” which would provide a forum for Governors, the Secretary of Defense, and the Secretary of Homeland Security to exchange advice, views, and recommendations on the National Guard, DSCA, and other matters of mutual interest. I will make it a top priority to implement this congressional objective.

This certainly has morphed in scope from the original recommended intent to provide Governors with “…direct input on National Guard issues to the executive branch.”

By August 12th, Matthew Rothschild at The Progressive is reporting that the Pentagon is now asking Congress to allow the Defense Secretary to park almost 400,000 military personnel from throughout the United States.

So the new proposed legislation would greatly expand the President’s power to call up the Reserves in a disaster or an emergency and would extend that power to the Secretary of Defense. (There are other circumstances, such as repelling invasions or rebellions or enforcing federal authority, where the President already has the authority to call up the Reserves.)

The ACLU is alarmed by the proposed legislation. Mike German, the ACLU’s national security policy counsel, expressed amazement “that the military would propose such a broad set of authorities and potentially undermine a 100-year-old prohibition against the military in domestic law enforcement with no public debate and seemingly little understanding of the threat to democracy.”

Add to above the vague definition of “emergency”… generally left up to the President to determine… and we have a serious power grab in the making.

Dave Mundy at the Texas National Press isn’t so subtle with his last summer’s headline… “Military asks Congress to set aside Posse Comitatus.”

An August 12 article in The Progressive, a liberal news journal, by reporter Matthew Rothschild reports that the U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) has asked Congress to grant the Secretary of Defense the authority to post up to 400,000 troops in North America “in times of emergency or natural disaster.” If granted, the move would further erode the authority of the states and would minimize the role played by the states’ militia, the National Guard, in handling domestic issues.

More ominously, nothing in the Pentagon’s request specifies that the troops to be posted in U.S. cities would necessarily be Americans.

September 2009: NORTHCOM releases the 32 page initial framework for the “Tri Command”. It lays the foundation for how NORAD, NORTHCOM and Canada COM operate and interact to accomplish their missions and goals, including organizational charts, and sharing of both information and intelligence. NORTHCOM and Canada COM are both national forces, reporting to Defense Secretary (US) and CDS (Canada), while NORAD is set up as a bi-national force. Commanders have the flexibility to set up Joint Task Force in areas for the duration of the military operation.

The Commanders of these three organizations are directed to establish three plans for the combined defense of the US and Canada. The CAP, mentioned above, is unclassified. The other two, the Canada-US Combined Defense Plan and NORAD Concept Plan are classified.


Governors, however, cannot be left out of the mix. A couple of months early, when Stocken was testifying before Congress and NORTHCOM was requesting distribution of units across the US, Asst. Defense Secretary Stockton, had sent a letter to the National Governor’s Association INRE their plans. The governors were having nothing of the sort without some serious guidelines in authoritative boundaries. Indeed they reminded Mr. Stockton that a similar proposal in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009 was nixed due to gubernatorial concerns.

In their reply on August 7th, they recommended setting up the Council of Governors to facilitate discussing the division of tactical command for the NORTHCOM/Defense Department’s expanded powers and military authority.

Governors and their Adjutants General would welcome the opportunity to work with you and others at DoD and the National Guard Bureau to discuss tactical control during disasters and to identify legislative and operational opportunities to improve our response to such events. The best way to facilitate such consultation and communication is for DoD to quickly establish the Council of Governors as required by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008. Doing so will provide an appropriate forum to address these issues and other aspects of defense support to civilian authorities.

January 11, 2010… Obama creates the Council.


We now know the two-fold intent…

  1. To achieve the NORTHCOM Legislative Proposal goals by giving the Defense Secretary powers to call up the reserve units, and stash them across the US in preparation….

  2. To get the Governor’s blessing on that power, and suss out who gets to command what, and under what circumstance.

It’s Stockton’s task to liaison between the governors, DHS and the National Guard.

What remains to be seen is what powers can be conferred upon the 10 gubernatorial council members, and what State authorities they cede… either willingly or hoodwinked out of.

What questions come to mind is why now? What does Obama know to take these extraordinary steps or… from the conspiratorial angle, just what does he have planned?

But there’s one guarantee… Gibbs sure isn’t going to tell us, and this is another round table of negotiations that won’t be making it to C-SPAN.

President Obama Signs Executive Order Establishing Council of Governors

The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, For Immediate Release
January 11, 2010

Executive Order will Strengthen Further Partnership Between the Federal and State and Local Governments to Better Protect Our Nation

The President today signed an Executive Order (attached) establishing a Council of Governors to strengthen further the partnership between the Federal Government and State Governments to protect our Nation against all types of hazards. When appointed, the Council will be reviewing such matters as involving the National Guard of the various States; homeland defense; civil support; synchronization and integration of State and Federal military activities in the United States; and other matters of mutual interest pertaining to National Guard, homeland defense, and civil support activities.

The bipartisan Council will be composed of ten State Governors who will be selected by the President to serve two year terms. In selecting the Governors to the Council, the White House will solicit input from Governors and Governors’ associations. Once chosen, the Council will have no more than five members from the same party and represent the Nation as a whole.

Federal members of the Council include the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, the Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Americas’ Security Affairs, the U.S. Northern Command Commander, the Commandant of the Coast Guard, and the Chief of the National Guard Bureau. The Secretary of Defense will designate an Executive Director for the Council.

The Council of Governors will provide an invaluable Senior Administration forum for exchanging views with State and local officials on strengthening our National resilience and the homeland defense and civil support challenges facing our Nation today and in the future.

The formation of the Council of Governors was required by the Fiscal Year 2008 National Defense Authorization Act which stated, “The President shall establish a bipartisan Council of Governors to advise the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the White House Homeland Security Council on matters related to the National Guard and civil support missions.” (NDAA FY2008, Sec 1822)

Council of Governors Takes Shape

By Chuck Baldwin
February 9, 2010

Regular readers of this column will doubtless recall my recent column in which I reported on the new Council of Governors (CG) that President Barack Obama has created. See my column at:


Well, Obama's CG is quickly beginning to take shape. According to the Associated Press (AP),
"President Barack Obama has selected Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to serve on an advisory council for defense and national security issues.

"Nixon was one of 10 governors named Thursday [February 4, 2009] by Obama to the newly created Council of Governors."

The 10 governors (and one of them is not even a State governor) selected by Obama are:
  • Governor James Douglas (R-Vermont) *Co-chair
  • Governor Chris Gregoire (D-Washington) *Co-chair
  • Governor Brad Henry (D-Oklahoma)
  • Governor Jay Nixon (D-Missouri)
  • Governor Martin O'Malley (D-Maryland)
  • Governor Janice Brewer (R-Arizona)
  • Governor Bob McDonnell (R-Virginia)
  • Governor Michael Rounds (R-South Dakota)
  • Governor Beverly Perdue (D-North Carolina)
  • Governor Luis G. Fortuno (R-Puerto Rico)
As I have already written, the creation of a CG should be of serious concern to all liberty loving Americans. That more of us are not as concerned as we should be can be traced to the mistaken belief that the American people have nothing to fear from an overreaching federal government. This is pure folly! As I have said many times, we have far more to fear from Washington, D.C., than from Iran, Iraq, North Korea, or any other potential terrorist state. It is Washington, D.C., — and Washington, D.C., alone — that has the power, opportunity, and propensity to squash our freedom and sell us into tyranny.

As Kurt Nimmo reports,
"In other words, with the stroke of a pen, Obama significantly increased the ongoing effort to federalize the states and take control of the National Guard in violation of the now more or less moribund Posse Comitatus Act. Posse Comitatus was effectively annulled by the 2006 John Warner National Defense Authorization Act. The act provides the president with power to declare martial law under revisions to the Insurrection Act and take charge of United States National Guard troops without state governor authorization. Parts of the act were repealed in 2008."
See the report at Infowars.com:


What most Americans fail to realize (thanks to a national propaganda press corps that refuses to reveal the conspiratorial machinations of America's ruling class, which, by and large, is totally disconnected from — or unaccountable to — elected officeholders: especially those in Congress) is that the subdivision of the United States into a 10-region country (thereby minimizing or even negating the sovereignty and authority of the 50 independent and autonomous states) goes all the way back to the Richard Nixon administration.

In response to pressure from the United Nations, President Richard Nixon issued Executive Order #11647 on February 10, 1972, which carved up the United States into 10 "standard Federal regions."

For the doubters out there, Wikipedia has a rather detailed web page mentioning the federal 10-region breakdown of the United States.

See the Wikipedia entry at:


See the map at:


Still not convinced? Try a casual web search of the 10 US regions and you will quickly discover that each major federal agency, such as the EPA, OSHA, DOT, FEMA, etc., has their agency already divided into these 10 regions. As an example, here is the official district map for FEMA:


Commenting on the creation of the 10 "super" regions initiated by President Nixon, CuttingEdge.org director David Bay very astutely said, "This regional system is also apparently a military structure." This is a very insightful observation, because I'm sure this was said long before President Obama took office, yet, that is exactly what his CG accomplishes. It grants federal executive power to these 10 governors — with the specific responsibility of providing leadership and direction to the National Guard and related homeland military activities. And is it any coincidence that the number of governors appointed to this new CG is exactly 10? Even more telling is the fact that the 10 governors come from each US region (the governor of Puerto Rico represents Region 2), except for Region 5, and guess what? Region 5 is President Obama's region!

Now, get this: the only region that has two governors represented on the CG (making up for Region 5's lack of a representative — who will be Obama himself, no doubt) is Region 3. And put this in your pipe and smoke it: the two governors from Region 3 are from Maryland and Virginia, which are the two states that border Washington, D.C. But all of this is mere coincidence, right?

See the map on the EPA web site at:


So, here is the list of the Council of Governors, as it coincides with the respective 10 regions. If you know anything about what is going on, you should easily be able to see the logic of how and why these governors were selected. Obviously, the two basic criteria would be 1) The location of necessary government infrastructure, facilities, personnel, etc., combined with 2) The compliant attitude and overall disposition of the governor selected. Here is how it looks:

Region 1: Governor Douglas of Vermont

Region 2: Governor Fortuno of Puerto Rico

Region 3: Governor O'Malley of Maryland and Governor McDonnell of Virginia.
These are necessary, as these are the two border states of Washington, D.C.
Region 4: Governor Perdue of North Carolina

Region 5: President Barack Obama of Illinois

Region 6: Governor Henry of Oklahoma

Region 7: Governor Nixon of Missouri

Region 8: Governor Rounds of South Dakota

Region 9: Governor Brewer of Arizona

Region 10: Governor Gregoire of Washington State

And while it is true that President Jimmy Carter revoked President Nixon's "Federal Regional Council" (what Nixon's Executive Order created in 1972) in 1979, the concept never died. It was merely incorporated into other Executive Orders. And there can be no question that President Obama's CG certainly builds on Nixon's initial "Regional Council" model.

Neither is it a coincidence that Missouri Governor Jay Nixon is included in the list of 10 governors appointed to the CG. Why? Does anyone remember the MIAC flap in the State of Missouri last year? I sure do, because I (along with Ron Paul and Bob Barr) was listed in the MIAC report as being a potential dangerous militia member or terrorist. And anyone who supported or voted for the three of us was similarly maligned in the MIAC report. Plus, the report also targeted people who opposed any of the following as being potential dangerous militia members:
  • The New World Order
  • The United Nations
  • Gun Control
  • The violation of Posse Comitatus
  • The Federal Reserve
  • The Income Tax
  • The Ammunition Accountability Act
  • A possible Constitutional Convention (Con Con)
  • The North American Union
  • Universal Service Program
  • Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)
  • Abortion on demand
  • Illegal immigration
Remember, this was an official Missouri State Police report that was distributed to all Missouri State law enforcement officers. And Governor Jay Nixon authorized and strongly defended the MIAC report!

Later, of course, Governor Nixon and other State leaders were forced to withdraw the report, due to immense public pressure from both the citizens of Missouri and angry Americans all across the country.

I have a web page set aside with all the pertinent information regarding the MIAC fiasco, including the most recent updates, at:


Plus, here are my previous 3 columns regarding the MIAC report:




Now we learn that President Obama has appointed this very same Governor Jay Nixon to the newly formed Council of Governors. Doubtless, Nixon's support for the MIAC report brought him into the good graces of this Marxist President, who, in his inaugural address, pledged to "remake America." Without a doubt, the newly established Council of Governors is helping Obama do just that.

Of course, the big question is not, Is America being "remade"? It most certainly is — and it started long before Obama moved into the White House. The question is, Will this "remade" America be something we can live with?

January 28, 2010

The Death of America's Middle Class

Socialism and Death in Haiti

By Jacob Hornberger, Future of Freedom Foundation
January 23, 2010

As President Obama and his cohorts struggle over what to do now with their socialist health-care plan in response to the Democratic defeat in Massachusetts, now would be a good time to point out one of the biggest reasons for the enormous death toll in Haiti — socialism.

Yes, I am referring to the economic philosophy of American liberals — the people who purport to love the poor but whose economic policies condemn the poor to destitution and even death.

As George Mason University economics professor Walter Williams points out in his excellent column “Haiti’s Avoidable Death Toll,” Haiti is an extremely poor country in terms of wealth. Thus, when the earthquake hit, the country’s dilapidated buildings quickly crumbled, and people lacked the necessary equipment, machinery, and medical services that could have saved many more lives.

Compare Haiti’s plight to the United States. By and large, buildings here are much more able to withstand earthquakes. Moreover, highly trained personnel with heavy equipment are able to quickly move into the affected area and save more people.

Why? Why is Haiti so poor while the United States is so rich? That’s a critically important question, one that liberals answer incorrectly. They say that people are poor because other people are wealthy. Thus, the key to ending poverty, they claim, is for the government to use its monopoly of force to take from the rich and give the money to the poor.

There is one big problem, however, with this socialist concept: It doesn’t work. Government intervention in economic affairs actually makes society poorer. In fact, it is the root cause of poverty, not the solution to poverty. It is this notion that has ensured that the masses of humanity have remained mired in poverty throughout most of history.

Consider my hometown of Laredo, Texas, compared to its sister city on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande, Nuevo Laredo.

In actuality, Laredo and Nuevo Laredo constitute one big city that has a river running through it, much like San Antonio or Austin, which have rivers running through them. Yet, the standards of living of Laredo and Nuevo Laredo are dramatically different. As poor as Laredo is, the people living there have a remarkably higher standard of living than the people living in Nuevo Laredo.

How can this be, given that it’s one big metropolitan area?

The reason is that there has always been significantly more government involvement in economic affairs in Mexico than there has been in the United States. In other words, despite the massive taxation, welfare-statism, and regulation that have afflicted the United States during the past several decades, it is nothing compared to the Mexican government’s socialist, interventionist, and mercantilist economic policies that have afflicted Mexico during its entire existence.
And that’s the problem with Haiti. Like so many other Latin American countries, the government taxes, loots, plunders, and confiscates wealth and regulates and controls economic activity. In doing so, it prevents wealth from accumulating. It keeps people poor.

What is the key to the creation of a wealthy society? Capital. Capital enables people to be more productive. More productivity means higher profits and higher wages.

How does capital come into existence? Through savings? When people save a portion of their incomes, they put the money into banks, when are then able to lend it out to businesses that are financing the purchase of equipment, which makes workers more productive. It is a process by which everyone’s interests coincide — those of the employer, the employee, and the consumer.

See “The Keys to Economic Development: A Speech to the People of Brazil” by Jacob G. Hornberger (Excerpt Below):

Why is economic liberty the key to wealth and higher standards of living? Three reasons: trade, capital, and opportunity:
... The corollary to the principle of trade: Government rules and regulations interfere with or frustrate people’s right and ability to trade, to that extent the government is reducing the standard of living of people, including the poor...

... The corollary to the principle of capital: Government is confiscating capital by taxing income and savings, to that extent government is impeding the standard of living of people from rising, especially for the poorest people in society ...

... The corollary to the principle of opportunity: The state imposes burdensome rules, regulations, permits, and licenses and confiscates capital, to that extent the poor are kept down and prevented from competing against big established businesses.

“But, Mr. Hornberger,” you might say, “there is no society in the world that embraces these principles — not even the United States. In your country, there is massive taxation and confiscation of capital, and many economic rules and regulations, and there are social welfare programs such as Social Security—old-age retirement, government-provided health care for certain sectors of society, public schooling, and assistance to the poor.”

And you would of course be right, which is why the economist Milton Friedman gave the following wise advice to an audience in Mexico City some years ago: If you are interested in achieving higher standards of living in your countries, whatever you do, do not copy the direction that the United States is taking.

In fact, for the nation that desires higher standard of living, especially for the poor, the model society to consider was the American society that existed, say, in 1890. This was the most unusual society in history, in large part because of the principles of economic liberty it embraced. Set aside the issue of whether the principles they embraced are old—many old ideas remain good ideas. Simply ask yourself: Were they right or were they wrong, and what were the consequences of their ideas? Consider:
  • No taxation on income—our Constitution prohibited it; people were free to accumulate unlimited amounts of wealth and there was nothing our government could do about it.
  • No Social Security.
  • No Medicare or Medicaid.
  • No welfare for the poor.
  • No drug war.
  • No gun control.
  • No immigration controls.
  • No central bank—they didn’t trust the state with its irredeemable paper money, which is why they established a gold standard.
  • No passports, fingerprinting, or other travel restrictions.
This is what it once meant to be an American. This is what it once meant to be free. This was a society that embraced the principles of economic liberty.

The result? The most prosperous period in history, especially for the poor, many of whom were flooding American shores from nations whose governments were charged with taking care of the poor, coming to a nation where the government did not take care of the poor. Many of them were going from poverty to riches sometimes in one generation — and also the most charitable ...

Throughout history, people have suffered the ravages of poverty, not realizing that government policies were preventing them from escaping such poverty. The idea of economic liberty, first enunciated more than 200 years ago, provides the means by which the poor can finally be lifted out of such poverty. At the risk of being nationalistic, I believe that it shall yet be the people of the United States who, discovering their heritage of liberty, will lead the world to a rebirth of freedom — lead the world to the highest reaches of freedom ever seen by man. But what could be better, especially for those on the bottom rungs of the economic ladder, than a world in which nations are competing against each other in the attainment of that goal?

Thus, the key to a wealthier society is precisely the opposite from that advocated by liberals. Socialism is not the solution to poverty, as liberals claim. Socialism destroys wealth and ensures that people will remain mired in poverty.

The creation of wealth depends on economic enterprise being freed from the dead hand of the state. People need to separate the economy and the state just as our American ancestors separated church and state. That’s what a genuine “free market” is all about. That’s the key to a wealthier — and safer — society.

Copyright © 2010 Future of Freedom Foundation

The Economic Crisis and the Resurgence of Class Conflict in the United States

By David North, World Socialist Web Site
May 19, 2009

Nearly eight months have passed since the collapse of the Wall Street investment bank Lehman Brothers began the greatest economic and financial crisis since the breakdown of 1929.

A growing number of economic analysts believe that the present crisis may eclipse that of the Great Depression. This crisis will be protracted—lasting years, not months—and its long-term consequences will be far-reaching.

History is being made, and the world that emerges from this crisis will be very different from that which existed prior to the Lehman Brothers collapse of September 15, 2008.

The scale of the economic breakdown is difficult to comprehend. No previous event in economic history has involved the sums of money, in the trillions of dollars, that have been squandered by the governments of the United States and Europe to prop up the banks and financial institutions whose reckless activities triggered the global meltdown. If a criminal mastermind had managed to steal all the gold in Fort Knox, the value of his heist would have been far less than the sum of money turned over to the banks under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) scheme.

The losses of the banks, according to the International Monetary Fund, are in the area of $4 trillion. Total losses approach $50 trillion, including the $25 trillion to $30 trillion decline in share values on global equity markets.

The rapidity of the global economic downturn is without precedent. Comparing the immediate aftermath of the Crash of 2008 to that of 1929, two well-known economists, Barry Eichengreen and Kevin O’Rourke, state that the present situation is worse.

  • Production is down 12 percent, as compared to 5 percent in the six months that followed the 1929 Crash.
  • Trade has fallen 16 percent, as compared to 5 percent in the earlier crisis.
  • And though the signal event of the 1929 Crisis was the dramatic fall on Wall Street, the market collapse was far steeper in the final months of 2008 and the opening months of 2009.

The collapse of global manufacturing is without precedent since the end of World War II. As of March, European manufacturing has fallen 12 percent from a year ago; Brazilian manufacturing is down 15 percent; Taiwan manufacturing has dropped 43 percent; and in the United States the drop, so far, is 11 percent. As for trade, German exports are down 20 percent; Japan’s exports have fallen 46 percent; and US exports are down 23 percent.

The clearest statistical indication of the scale of the economic crisis and its shattering social impact are provided by the figures related to unemployment. The International Labor Organization’s 2009 Global Trends report makes for chilling reading. In 2008 unemployment increased by 10.7 million over the previous year, the largest increase since the Asian financial crisis of 1998. The total number of global unemployed reached 190 million, of whom 109 million were men and 81 million were women. The number of unemployed youth reached 76 million.

The ILO projections for unemployment in 2009 are based on three different crisis scenarios. The scenario that the ILO itself believes to be the most probable estimates that the number of unemployed will increase between 30 and 50 million people. The actual figure will likely approach the higher number.

The ILO states that the threshold for poverty in less developed countries is an income of $2 per day. For extreme poverty it is $1.25 per day. The organization projects that a severe economic crisis will create an additional 200 million workers living in extreme poverty. Another significant category tracked by the ILO is that of the vulnerably employed—that is, workers who endure extremely low wages, abusive conditions and negligible opportunities. The number of such workers rose, according to the ILO, by 84 million in 2008, to a total of 1.6 billion people.

While the social situation in the less developed regions is already catastrophic, the economic crisis is having a devastating impact on the working class in the advanced capitalist countries. In the 30 richest countries, the economic crisis will increase unemployment by 25 million people.

The situation in the United States continues to deteriorate... [the current] levels of unemployment translate into other indices of extreme social distress: a tidal wave of foreclosures and personal bankruptcies, declining college enrollments, rising crime rates, and a general deterioration in the health and well being of the population. Wage cuts of 10 percent and higher have been imposed on workers throughout the country, eroding living standards and pushing millions of workers to the very brink of financial disaster.

What is the prognosis for the future? At what point will the “bottom” be reached and a “rebound” begin? The recent rise in global markets from their March lows is being proclaimed as the beginning of a turnaround. Aside from the direct impact of multi-billion-dollar infusions of public money into the banking system, there is little hard data that justifies various optimistic forecasts of an imminent end of the recession.

Let us keep in mind that the most recent US employment statistics showed nothing more promising than a slightly less severe rate of job losses. That is not exactly great news. Moreover, speculation about an imminent “rebound” reflects an incorrect understanding of the present crisis. Of course, it is not entirely beyond the realm of possibility that there may be, at some point, an improvement in the conjuncture. Nor is it difficult to imagine that the economic situation may continue to deteriorate.

However, whatever the short-term fluctuations in the markets and other indices of the global economy, there will not be a return to the status quo ante. The previous conditions are gone and will not return...

The Socialization of America

By Dr. David Noebel, The August Review
March 27, 2009

... Today’s financial events illustrate that America is not exempt from being led toward socialism. Predictions differ, depending on one’s perspective, as to whether this will be a socialistic paradise or a socialistic hell. Time will tell. In the meantime, we’d do well to listen to warnings from the past ...

Socialism is the economic system of both the Marxist-Leninist worldview and the Fabian Society worldview. John Maynard Keynes was a member of the British Fabian Society, whose American counterparts were the Intercollegiate Socialist Society and the League for Industrial Democracy. Their American voices were centered in the ideas of Norman Thomas and John Dewey among others. Dewey, you may remember, was an early signatory of The Humanist Manifesto (1933) and its atheistic, socialist gospel.

Socialists are united in their desire to see capitalism destroyed, either forcefully or gradually, and most would rejoice if Christianity were destroyed along with it. Socialists and liberals generally see in Christians “an infallible marker of mental retardation” (Claremont Review of Books, Winter 2008/09, p. 6).

The Christian worldview endorses sound or hard money, fiscal responsibility, saving for a rainy day, deferred gratification, paying off monthly credit card bills, living within one’s means, etc. Keynesian economics, by contrast, argues for consumption, extravagance, and not providing for the future, arguing that “the great vice is saving, thrift, and financial prudence” (Keynes At Harvard, p. 63). Keynesians love huge national spending, debt, and high inflation—anathema to Christians and conservatives.

Socialists see capitalism as an evil economic system founded on the concepts of profit, individualism, private property, private business, freedom to buy and sell products and services, etc. Indeed, a working definition of capitalism is “the peaceful and free exchange of goods and services without theft, fraud, and breech of contract.”

Capitalism is tailored to individual initiative rather than groupthink or community initiative. Nearly all inventions that have furthered the capitalistic enterprise and blessed humanity in the process have been the result of individual initiative rather than committee, group, or government activity (compare previous centuries to the accelerated rate of inventions since America gained its independence in 1776).

Marx advanced the socialist cause by calling for social or public ownership of property and the abolition of private property. He believed that people were best suited to work on state farms, public parks, nationalized banks, or the government bureaucracy rather than for private employers, who would certainly take advantage of their employees, causing them both social and economic harm. Marx was an economic leech on fellow communist Engels, who supported him with his capitalistic father’s monies.

George Bernard Shaw represented the Fabian point of view by calling for “the socialization of the means of production, distribution, and exchange” to bring about an equal distribution of goods and services to all members of society and to make the State “the ALL of social well-being.” The State “subsumes all economic life of the nation.”

In other words, socialism is an economic system that downplays the individual in favor of the group, social order, or the State. It is a system in which the State directs the economic activity of the social order through central planning and by placing economic activity under the jurisdiction of the State. Socialism is also known as collectivism or Statism and, to Marx, Communism.

Today, we call this economic system “interventionism” or Keynesism. Interventionism is a kind of socialism or communism, but without the destruction of the bourgeoisie (which were slaughtered in the millions by Soviet and Chinese communists).

Today’s Fabians/Progressives/Radicals allow their capitalist enemies to create wealth, but acquire it by taxing them instead of slaughtering them (Marx’s “reign of terrorism on the bourgeoisie”). They are then free to distribute the wealth among the economically disadvantaged, the intellectual elites, and the superior governing classes.

Such (re)distribution of wealth ensures the favorable vote of the masses being fed, entertained, housed (with sub-prime loans) and doctored. ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) and socialism fit hand-in-glove just as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac fit Barney Frank, Maxine Waters, and Chris Dodd to a “T.”

Most Americans are totally unaware that the U.S. House of Representatives crawls with a large, well-organized assembly of socialist organizations. These organizations are dedicated to:
a. Bringing about the destruction of the capitalist economic system (portrayed as greedy, conservative, religious, and/or filthy rich); and

b. Slowly but surely bringing production, education, food, and health care under the complete control and regulation of the federal government [which is run by the elite ruling class; i.e., the international banking cabal - editor's note].
A prime example of this governmental takeover is the carbon tax currently under discussion. It would punish business and industry’s use of gas and oil products (which according to Al Gore will warm the planet by one degree over the next 100 years) by “allowing the federal government to ‘control every aspect of our economy,’ according to Christopher Horner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute” (The Weekly Standard, March 16, 2009, p. 17) ...

Albert Edwards Alleges Central Banks Were Complicit in Robbing the Middle Classes
Volcker Says New Taxes Not an "Unreasonable Response" to Federal Banker Bailout
Oil has Crushed the Suburban Homeowner Dream
Credit Card Companies Pulling Back Credit Offers to American Households
Average American household making $52,000 a Year is Coping while the Ultra Rich Pull Away
Prepare Now to Escape Obama’s Retirement Trap
Record number of young Americans jobless
The Disposable Worker
Corporate America in no rush to hire
Game Over for the American Middle Class
America Looking Like a Developing Nation as 30% of Americans Rapidly Approach Poverty
Largest-ever Federal Payroll to Hit 2.15 Million
In Obama's America You'll All Work for the Government
Socialism Viewed Positively by 36% of Americans
Social forum ends with vows to fight capitalism
Leftists who converged in Brazil to protest what they view as uncontrolled capitalism ended the World Social Forum on Friday with vows to take advantage of the financial crisis to promote a global socialist agenda.

January 27, 2010

Chaotic Scramble for Food in Haiti: You're in Charge of Your Own Disaster Plans

Shades of Katrina emanate from the descriptions of "anarchy" engulfing the streets. Remember the Superdome, the "looting," the alleged explosion of mayhem? The media conjured images of death and destruction with voyueristic zeal, while curating the stories to fit a prevailing narrative of savagery and social breakdown. - Please Don’t Superdome Haiti

The Superdome During Katrina

A disaster medical assistance team, DMAT, from San Francisco area, CA-6, served in the Superdome during the Katrina Hurricane. Conditions were horrific.

Greta Van Susteren of Fox interviewed Dr. Charles Burnell, an emergency room physician who was providing medical care in the Superdome. Asked about the level of violence among the 20,000 displaced residents who sought shelter inside the giant stadium, Dr. Burnell said: "We had three murders last night. We had a total of six rapes last night. We had the day before, I think, there were three or four murders. There were half-a-dozen rapes that night. We had one suicide last night. We had one military policeman shot." Dr. Burnell described the Superdome situation as "very unstable, very high tension, a very dangerous environment." While National Guardsmen were on hand for protection, he said that "every time there was an incident that broke out, they had to tend to that, which left us uncovered." Burnell said the task of treating people inside the stadium became impossible after they ran out of supplies. "We did not have oxygen, we did not have any medications to speak of," he said. But what forced the New Orleans doc to finally abandon the giant evacuation center was the threat of violence. "Until I can insure that I'm not putting my life in any significantly dangerous situation as I was before - I will not be back in the Superdome," he told Fox. - Doc: 6 Murders, 12 Rapes Inside Superdome, Newsmax.com, September 1, 2005

Two Weeks After Haiti Quake, Food Aid Falls Short

By Vivian Sequera and Ben Fox, The Associated Press
January 27, 2010

Street vendors openly sell U.S.-donated rice by the cupful from bags marked "not for resale." At a homeless camp, a young woman told of thieves who tried to sell her own food back to her.

As she spoke, a gang of youths pushed into a line of people waiting for water Wednesday, shoving an elderly woman, who screamed and swung her bucket at their heads.

Such scenes and worse are common among crowds of Haitians lining up for rice, beans or ready-to-eat meals, forcing U.N. peacekeepers to fire pepper spray and Haitian police to swing sticks to restore control.

Whether locked up in warehouses or stolen by thugs from people's hands, food from the world's aid agencies still isn't getting to enough hungry Haitians, leaving the strongest and fittest with the most.
"These people are just hungry," U.N. spokesman Vincenzo Pugliese said of the thousands thronging food distribution points. He said U.N. peacekeepers would reinforce security at the sites.
Two weeks into the quake catastrophe, food remains scarce for many of the neediest survivors despite the efforts of the United Nations, the U.S. military and scores of international aid agencies. Haitian leaders say coordination has been poor, while relief experts say this disaster is presenting unprecedented challenges.

Clutching a grocery bag filled only with small packets of donated water, 25-year-old Julia Jean-Francois shrugged in resignation Wednesday.
"I lost all the rice, beans and oil that were distributed last week. A group of young men shoved me and grabbed the bags and ran away," said the young woman, whose mother was killed in the quake.
An hour later, one of the men returned and offered to sell her the same food for the equivalent of $18. She refused, relying instead on a communal kitchen she formed with some homeless neighbors.

She said Haitian police patrolling nearby did nothing while people were robbed.
"We complained, and they got into their truck and left," she said.
The World Food Program acknowledged that rising tensions and security incidents — "including people rushing distribution points for food" — have hampered deliveries.

Since the first days of the massive relief effort, however, other problems have also delayed aidblocked and congested roads, shortages of trucks, a crippled seaport and an overloaded Port-au-Prince airport.
"The unblocking of the logistical bottlenecks is an absolute priority," the European Commission said Wednesday, describing a seven-day backlog of 1,000 relief flights seeking permission to land.

"Many mistakes have to be rectified in order to bring help to the people who need it," Haitian President Rene Preval complained to reporters.
The U.N. food agency urgently appealed to governments for more cash for food for Haiti — $800 million to feed 2 million people through December, more than quadruple the $196 million already pledged.

Some 1 million Haitians have been made homeless in the Jan. 12 quake, which killed an estimated 200,000 people. Surviving in the open in impromptu squatter areas, these displaced people remain in urgent need of emergency shelters, said the International Organization for Migration, which has so far been able to fly in only a fraction of the estimated 200,000 family-size tents that are needed.

As a stopgap, the organization was trying to rush in tens of thousands of tarpaulins and plastic sheets — an upgrade for people miserably squatting under bed sheets or cardboard.

The Geneva-based agency, the Haitian government and other groups are working to clear land and install facilities for tent camps on Port-au-Prince's outskirts — an option meant to last only three to five months, before the heavy rains of summer and hurricane season.

On food aid, the World Food Program says it has reached more than 450,000 people since the quake, but U.N. officials estimate 2 million people need regular supplies.

The senior U.S. officer in Haiti said Haitian families simply cannot rely on any particular location for rations.

Food is "flooding" into the city, Lt. Gen. Ken Keen told reporters, "but it's being delivered pretty much in terms of where we can get to and where we can distribute it," not always in locations that are "sustained every day."

At some regular distribution points, such as near the Champs de Mars plaza where thousands of homeless are living, daily food handouts have drawn unruly lines of frantic people. Desperation boiled over earlier this week and Uruguayan peacekeepers retreated as young men rushed forward to grab U.S.-donated bags of beans and rice. A pregnant woman collapsed and was trampled.

Fears of official corruption also are surfacing.

Paul Coroleuski of the U.S.-based Convoy of Hope, which has distributed aid in Haiti for three years, said he has more than 100 tons of food in a Port-au-Prince warehouse ready to hand out, but it has been delayed for days by Haitian officials who say they will take over distribution.

Private agencies like his worry that Haitian officials "will do what they always have done, which is the government takes care of the government and the people are secondary," he said.

Haitian officials denied the government plans to take over food distribution from private agencies.

Coroleuski's frustration and distrust of the government is echoed in Port-au-Prince's streets.
"If they turn it over to the Haitian government, they would take it all for themselves," said Muller Bellegarde, 30, as he waited for food in the unrelenting tropical sun.
Haitians remember that when the government took charge of delivering international aid to the city of Gonaives after deadly hurricane floods in 2008, much of it ended up sold on the black market.

UN Peacekeepers Fire Pepper Spray on Thousands of Hungry Haitians Waiting for Food

Daily Mail
January 27, 2010

Thousands of hungry Haitians spilled into the streets defeating barbed wire and a tiny contingent of blue-helmeted UN peacekeepers distributing food.

The chaotic scene unfolded outside the wrecked presidential palace in Port-au-Prince where aid agencies struggled to control 4000-strong mass of desperate Haitians, two weeks after the devastating earthquake struck.

Security forces fired pepper spray into the air in an effort to disperse the thousands of men, women and children jostling for food.
UN peacekeepers struggle to control the thousands of desperately hungry Haitians outside the wrecked presidential palace in Port-au-Prince
Jostle: UN peacekeepers struggle to control the thousands of desperately hungry Haitians outside the wrecked presidential palace in Port-au-Prince

As the overwhelmed soldiers finally retreated, people rushed forward to grab sacks of pinto beans and rice, emblazoned with the U.S. flag.

A vomiting pregnant woman, still gesturing at her mouth to show hunger, was carried off by UN troops after collapsing out of the crush of bodies.

Soldiers had done their best to prepare for the crowds. They erected barbed wire, cutting off the street from the sprawling tent city.

Troops then ordered people to line up in four queues, 20 yards form where the food was to be dumped.

Haitians push forward despite security forces firing warning shots and pepper spray into the air
Arms up: Haitians push forward despite security forces firing warning shots
One peacekeeper (far right) can be seen using pepper spray to try and keep crowds under control
Vain attempt: One peacekeeper (far right) can be seen using pepper spray to try and keep crowds under control
Two trucks were parked between the people and food, while a UN armoured car was on guard to the side.
But even the peacekeepers armed with batons and riot shields could not hold back the agitated crowds.

Every time a soldier fired a warning shot the crowds jumped back, just for a moment, and then pushed forward again screaming.

The episode came two days after similar scenes in the Point Rouge area, when Brazilian U.N. peacekeepers were forced to fire flash grenades and pepper spray to dissipate an unruly crowd.
'Due to insufficient strength of military personnel providing security in the site of the distribution, the population tried to loot, putting the lives of the military personnel and the (World Food Program) members in danger,' according to an internal Brazilian UN report.
A young man's eyes light up as he sees dozens of sacks of rice and pinto beans
Surging crowds: A young man's eyes light up as he sees dozens of sacks of rice and pinto beans

Thousands of people were left without food after the chaotic scramble
Retreating: Thousands of people were left without food after the chaotic scramble

With thousands left without food after the melee, president Rene Preval called for more tents for the homeless who are spread across empty lots, parks and plazas in the hundreds of thousands.

In the surrounding Champs de Mars plaza, Haitians were living out in the open, many with nothing more than a plastic sheet to protect them from sun and rain.
'We live like dogs,' said Espiegle Amilcar, 34. 'We're sleeping, eating and going to the bathroom in the same place.'
The global agency supplying tents said it already had 10,000 stored in Haiti and at least 30,000 more would be arriving.

Children hold up placards demanding help in Leogane, one of the towns worst hit by the earthquake
Going without: Children hold up placards demanding help in Leogane, one of the towns worst hit by the earthquake

But the International Organization for Migration said:
'The supply is unlikely to address the extensive shelter needs.'
Meanwhile as Haiti's mobile phone system began working again, thousands of voicemails and texts from people trapped in the ruins were heard and seen for the first time.

Survivor Rene Emile, 32, cried when she read the text from her husband Peter who was on training course in the capital when the building he was in collapsed.
He wrote: 'Send help, we are still alive. May the Lord bless you and keep you, his face shines upon you. I love you.'
Mrs Emile told the The Sun:
'This is all I have left of my husband. Some words on a cellphone screen. This is all there is and it arrived too late.'

Troops Fire on Starving Crowds in Haiti

By Patrick Martin, World Socialist Web Site
January 28, 2010

... An extraordinary denunciation of the Obama administration’s conduct in Haiti was published in the Wall Street Journal, issued by three New York City doctors, Soumitra R. Eachempati, incoming president of the New York State Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, and Dean Lorich and David Helfet, orthopedic surgeons and colleagues of Dr. Eachempati at the Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City.

Their statement appeared under the headline, “Haiti: Obama’s Katrina, Many post-quake deaths could have been prevented.” The three doctors, who were among the first to reach Haiti after the quake, wrote that:
The delays imposed by the US military on relief groups entering the county “proved tragic. Upon our arrival at the Haiti Community Hospital we found scores of patients with pus dripping out of open fractures and crush injuries. Some wounds were already infested with maggots. Approximately one-third of the victims were children. Most of the patients already had life-threatening infections, and all were dehydrated. Many had been waiting in the hospital compound for days without water, antibiotics or even pain medicine. The hospital smelled of infected, rotting limbs.”
They continued:
“The U.S. response to the earthquake should be considered an embarrassment. Our operation received virtually no support from any branch of the US government, including the State Department. As we ran out of various supplies we had no means to acquire moreLater, as we were leaving Haiti, we were appalled to see warehouse-size quantities of unused medicines, food and other supplies at the airport, surrounded by hundreds of US and international soldiers standing around aimlessly.”

Haiti Earthquake By the Numbers

The Associated Press
January 26, 2010

The earthquake that hit Haiti, by the numbers:


- Magnitude-7.0 at 4:53 p.m. EST (2153 GMT) on Jan. 12
- Aftershocks: 56 of magnitude-4.5 or greater


- Bodies recovered: 150,000 (includes 54 Americans, 44 Europeans)
- Estimated dead: 200,000
- Rescued from collapsed buildings: 134
- Injured: 194,000
- Children who are unaccompanied, orphaned or lost one parent: 1 million
- People enduring amputations or other surgery: 200,000


- Homeless: 1 million
- Living in makeshift camps: 700,000-800,000
- Tents needed for homeless: 200,000 family-size
- People who have fled Port-au-Prince for the countryside: 236,000


- Structures destroyed: 70% in broad areas of the capital; 90% in towns closer to the epicenter
- Schools destroyed or badly damaged: 90% throughout the capital
- People who need food aid: 2 million
- People receiving food aid: 400,000


Backlog of planes waiting to land at the airport: 800-1000

Flights landing per day: About 140

U.S. military: About 20,000 troops, 18 ships

U.N. peacekeeping troops and police: 12,500

Donations: More than $1 billion from governments, including $575 million from Europe and $316 million from U.S. government, in addition to $470 million in donations through private U.S. charities.

Sources include the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, U.S. Geological Survey; European Commission Monitoring and Information Center; U.S. Agency for International Development; International Organization for Migration; U.S. Department of Defense; The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Save the Children.

Many Flee Haiti Capital, Government Planning Tent Cities

Associated Press
January 22, 2010

Haitians are fleeing their quake-ravaged capital by the hundreds of thousands, aid officials said Friday, as their government promised to help nearly a half-million more move from squalid camps on curbsides and vacant lots into safer, cleaner tent cities.

Doctors said a 69-year-old woman was pulled from the wreckage of a building on Friday, 10 days after the magnitude-7.0 quake, but some teams were giving up the search and efforts focused on expanding aid for survivors.

Aid officials said some 200,000 people have crammed into buses, nearly swamped ferries and set out even on foot to escape the ruined capital. For those who stay, foreign engineers have started leveling land on the fringes of the city for tent cities, supposedly temporary, that are meant to house 400,000 people.

The goal is to halt the spread of disease at hundreds of impromptu settlements that have no water and no place for sewage. Homeless families have erected tarps and tents, cardboard and scrap as shelter from the sun, but they will be useless once the summer rainy season hits.

The new camps "are going to be going to places where they will have at least some adequate facilities," Fritz Longchamp, chief of staff to President Rene Preval, told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Doctors treating the newly rescued woman said she was in bad shape after being trapped for so long.
"There is very little hope, but we are trying to save her life," Dr. Ernest Benjamin told The Associated Press.
Doctors at Haiti's General Hospital were treating the woman with oxygen and intravenous fluids.

Thursday was the first day since the quake in which nobody was pulled alive from the ruins, U.N. mission spokesman David Wimhurst said.
"We all hope that others have survived and can be found, but the more days that go by without signs of life, the dimmer these hopes will become," he said.
Armies of foreign aid donors, instead, turned their attention to expanding their pipeline of food, water and medical care for survivors.

With extensive swaths of Port-au-Prince in ruins, more than 500 makeshift settlements with a population of about 472,000 are now scattered around the capital, said Jean-Philippe Chauzy, spokesman for the Geneva-based International Organization for Migration. Getting them to safer quarters could take weeks.
"These settlements cannot be built overnight. There are standards that have to be designed by experts. There is the leveling of the land, procurement and delivery of tents, as well as water and sanitation," said Vincent Houver, the IOM's mission chief in Haiti.
The move will be voluntary and temporary, according to Elisabeth Byrs, the spokeswoman for the U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Geneva.
"It's to help them in a first move. After, the people will decide if they want to stay," she said.
Many people are just trying to get out of the capital, often back to the farms or provincial homes of relatives.

The U.S. Agency for International Development said Friday that as many as 200,000 Haitians have fled the capital and many more are trying to do so ...

Haiti's government estimates the Jan. 12 quake killed 200,000 people, as reported by the European Commission. It said 250,000 people were injured and 2 million homeless in the nation of 9 million. Others offer smaller estimates.

The disaster has prompted what the Red Cross calls the greatest deployment of emergency responders in its 91-year history. Nations around the world have offered what they can: more than $500 million from European nations, money even from impoverished Chad and Congo, and a ton of tea from Sri Lanka.

The U.N.'s World Food Program said it has distributed more than 1.4 million food rations — each with three meals, and has a fleet of trucks in bringing food and supplies.
"We are planning to flood the country with food," Myrta Kaulard, the agency's Haiti director, told the AP.
To speed that flood, the U.S. Army, Navy and Coast Guard are trying to patch up the Haitian capital's only functional industrial pier, which is key to getting in large aid shipments as well as to Haiti's long-term recovery.

Only four ships have been able to dock at the pier, where 15-inch-wide (40-centimeter-wide) cracks make it risky to let more than one truck work at a time, and damage is so extensive that military officials say they don't know how long it will take before ships can dock and unload in large quantities.
"I wouldn't even ask my workers to risk it. I don't trust it," said Georges Jeager Junior, a businessman who plans to shift his port operations to the northern city of Cap Haitien, a 12-hour journey over bad roads from the capital. Jeager Junior said that means prices will soar.
Damage at the country's badly damaged main oil terminal has kept any tankers from landing since the quake, so gas stations on fuel trucked in from the Dominican Republic.

On the waterfront Thursday, sporadic rounds of gunfire echoed from the nearby downtown commercial area. Scavengers continued to rampage through collapsed and burning shops. U.S. troops patrolled nearby to protect aid convoys, but were leaving policing to Haitian and U.N. forces.

At a building in the Carrefour neighborhood, where the multi-faith Eagle Wings Foundation of West Palm Beach, Florida, planned to distribute food, stick-wielding quake victims from a nearby tent camp stormed the stores and made off with what the charity's Rev. Robert Nelson said were 50 tons of rice, oil, dried beans and salt. Fights broke out as others stole food from the looters.

At the south of Haiti's main bay, near the earthquake's epicenter, the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard — which together have put 20 ships into the relief effort — set up a triage center amid the rusting motorboats, with dozens of military doctors treating the most urgent casualties on the lawn.
"The injured seem to just keep showing up," said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Chris Worth. "We've been working from dawn to dusk since getting here."
Emergency medical centers almost everywhere were swamped with patients critically injured by the quake. There were dire shortages of surgeons, nurses, medicines and medical tools.
Doctors said patients were dying of sepsis from untreated wounds.
"A large number of those coming here are having to have amputations, since their wounds are so infected," said Brynjulf Ystgaard, a Norwegian surgeon at a Red Cross field hospital.

Struggle to Survive in Haiti Camps

By Matthew Price, BBC News
January 18, 2010

There is a sign hanging over the road with a blue arrow pointing to the left of it. "Help needed," it says.

Further along, a group of men are hanging a fresh white banner between two telegraph poles — "St Patrick's Refugee Camp."

Nearby, and through the wire fence, there's a partially-destroyed school.

You see the displaced and dispossessed, row upon row of them with plots neatly divided by lines of string tied to trees.

Most have some blankets, some a few pillows. Here and there, the odd chair. But all have little, or worse — some say — nothing.

Tens of thousands are crammed into the makeshift camps.

Along dusty streets, you see them queuing for water.

Fresh water is in short supply.

The number of dead that remain under the rubble is also a worry.

Disease could begin to spread.

Prices are rising in Port-au-Prince for food and fuel.

Some fear the desperation could provoke violence.

Haiti's humanitarian crisis is growing.

People here are making the best of the harsh conditions. They are hugely resourceful.

A main concern, however, is that without enough food aid and water, malnutrition will make them more susceptible to disease.

If the weather changes and it starts to rain, that will also make things far worse than they are even now.

And in the long term — they say here — that without a government and without jobs, they can never rebuild.

It will take more than a few weeks of fund-raising to bring Haiti back from the dead.

Food Security Collapses in Haiti as Machete-Wielding Gangs Fight in the Streets

By Mike Adams, Natural News
January 16, 2010

Overnight, Haiti has gone from an organized, civil nation to a scenario of total chaos with gangs running wild through the streets, ransacking shops and fighting over food with machetes.

Learning this, many an ignorant westerner might naively say, "That could only happen in Haiti. It's because those people are so poor, so uncivilized. It could never happen here..."

Oh but it could.

Haiti isn’t so different from wherever you live — a city in America, Canada, Australia, the UK or anywhere else. Everywhere in the world, people will fight for survival when the situation becomes desperate. The only reason the streets in your town aren’t overrun with firearms and machetes right now is because food is plentiful. The electricity works. The water supply is functioning and police keep the relatively few criminals under control.

But wherever you live, your city is just one natural disaster away from total chaos. Hurricane Katrina proved it: Even in America, a civil, law-abiding city of people can be turned into looting, stealing and dangerously armed bands of gang-bangers.

And you know why? Because people aren’t prepared for disasters. Come to think of it, most people aren’t even prepared for a disruption in food and electricity lasting more than 48 hours. Almost nobody has spare food, water, emergency first aid supplies or the ability to physically defend themselves against aggressors. They are betting their lives on the bizarre idea that their government will save them if something goes wrong.

The people of Haiti are now learning what the people of New Orleans already know: Your government won’t save you. In a real crisis, you are on your own.

Law and Order is a Fragile Thing

When disruptions occur — whether through natural disasters, radical weather events, war or civil unrest — governments and city police organizations can break down within hours. In Haiti right now, there is no government running anything. No police force. No authority. It’s every man (and woman) for himself. If you want to eat, you pick up a machete and fight for it.

It is a desperate situation.

This article isn’t really about Haiti, by the way. It’s about YOU and where YOU live. If a natural disaster struck your town tonight, would you be prepared?

Do you have the means to procure clean water if the water system breaks down? Do you have a way to provide shelter for yourself and your family if there’s no electricity or heating fuel available? Can you physical defend yourself and your family against aggressive marauders desperately searching for food? (Or do you have enough to share with them? If so, how will you share with the hundreds or thousands that follow in their footsteps?)

Most people aren’t prepared for the unknown. They live lives that are entirely dependent on the continued successful operation of public infrastructure, law and order. And if that infrastructure is ever interrupted, they are completely unable to fend for themselves.

Most people live out most of their lives in precisely this situation. Every American city is a future Haiti just waiting to happen under the right (or wrong) circumstances. Civility is a fragile thing. Law and order is a thin veneer on society. And it can disappear in mere minutes.

Be Prepared

This article, though, isn’t a doom-and-gloom assessment of our modern society. Rather, it is a reminder to all of us to get real about personal preparedness.

If you don’t have a portable water filter, some storable food, a warm sleeping bag and all sorts of other preparedness items all ready to go in a “go bag,” then you may find yourself in the same situation millions of Haitians find themselves in right now.

Most Haitians have a reasonable excuse for a lack of preparedness: In terms of per-capita income, Haiti is one of the poorest nations in the world. It’s difficult to stockpile water filters, storable food, and outdoor gear when you’re living on a couple of dollars a day. But for people like you, living in “wealthy” nations like the USA, you CAN afford to be prepared.

You can afford water storage containers. You can afford sprouting seeds and some simple sprouting trays. You can afford an emergency LED flashlight, a high-quality multifunction knife tool, and an emergency tent. Most likely, you have the financial means to get prepared starting right now. So if you haven’t already done it, get to it!

You can find all sorts of preparedness products at http://www.beprepared.com/ and even retailers like http://www.vitacost.com/ sell water filters and other preparedness items. Camping outlets like http://www.rei.com/ are also great sources for preparedness gear.

Protect Your Health

Right now, Haiti is in a health crisis. The hellish conditions, lack of clean water, and lack of medical assistance is leading to rapidly deteriorating health conditions there.
So what do you really need to protect your health in a crisis?

Clean water is a priority. You’ll need five gallons per day per person to cover hydration, cooking and rudimentary bathing needs. You’ll need a portable water filter (like a Katadyn ceramic filter) to remove parasites and other “germs” in water that you might find through other sources (rivers, streams, etc.).

You’ll need a powerful anti-viral, anti-bacterial herbal tincture. Herbs can save your life against infectious disease. You’ll also need a serious first-aid kit that includes bandages and some western medical supplies such as antibacterial creams, emergency sutures (with needles), gauze and medical iodine.

Don’t forget a supply of high-potency nutrition. Some spirulina or chlorella tablets can provide crucial nutrition. Chia seeds, nuts or even peanut butter can give you essential calories. If you have time and space, sprouting seeds can give you the all-important living foods that will enhance your immune function and help you deal with the tremendous stresses of a crisis.

This isn’t a complete preparedness list, of course. If you want one, get this amazing preparedness course that was recorded during the financial bailout crisis. It offers a wealth of information about personal and family preparedness.

Or figure out what you need in this way: Shut off ALL your infrastructure for a weekend and see how you do. Live without water, electricity, heat, grocery store food, fuel and phone service and see how prepared you really are!

This is the best test of all. And if you really want to see if you’re ready for a Haiti-style crisis, assume that your house has collapsed from an earthquake and you have to survive outside, in your yard, without anything from your house. Where is your stuff now? How will you survive the next 48 hours in your yard, with no help from anyone else and your house in a pile of rubble?

Proper planning avoids future emergencies. And no neighbor or city is entirely insulated from natural disasters or other unexpected events.

Profiting from Haiti’s Crisis

By Benjamin Dangl, Toward Freedom
January 18, 2010

... One report from IPS News in Haiti explained:
“In the day following the quake, there was no widespread violence. Guns, knives and theft weren’t seen on the streets, lined only with family after family carrying their belongings. They voiced their anger and frustration with sad songs that echoed throughout the night, not their fists.”
Bob Moliere, an organizer within the popular political party Fanmi Lavalas, was killed in the earthquake. His wife, Marianne Moliere, told IPS News after burying her husband:
“There is no life for me because Bob was everything to me. I lost everything. Everything is destroyed,” she said. “I’m sleeping in the street now because I’m homeless. But when I get some water, I share with others. Or if someone gives some spaghetti, I share with my family and others.”
It is not this type of solidarity that has emerged in the wake of the crisis — and the delayed and muddled response from the international community — that most corporate media in the US have focused on. Instead, echoing the coverage and calls for militarization of New Orleans in the wake of Katrina, major media outlets talk about the looting, and need for security to protect private property ...

Handling a Crisis on the Scale of Haiti

January 19, 2010

Troops, doctors and aid workers are flowing into Haiti, while nations pledge millions of dollars in aid. But how do you handle a crisis of this magnitude? Richard Gordon and Mike Evans of the Bournemouth University Disaster Management Centre, outline the planning and potential pitfalls of such an operation.


A fundamental principle of disaster management and international assistance is that it is the stricken country's responsibility to take the lead in inviting in international assistance (via the UN resident representative), and then co-ordinating that assistance to best effect.

In most cases, however, the host government to a greater or lesser extent, will have been incapacitated by the natural disaster, so the UN sends in Disaster and Assessment Coordination teams (UNDACS) to provide initial coordination of international assistance. UNDAC teams tend to deploy for no more than three weeks and then like to hand over once again to the host government. But this may not be long enough for the Haitian government to resume control of its own affairs.

The request for international assistance for Haiti will have been speeded up by the presence of UN troops and other agencies already on the ground.

The US has offered its assistance, in addition to the UN's in-country co-ordination teams. This will provide a significant logistical and command and control element. However, there are likely to be incidents of disagreement between US military and international governments and aid agencies on the ground, as priorities and objectives are set and implemented on Haiti's behalf.


International assistance is co-ordinated in "cluster groups" to ensure that essential aspects of the disaster response are properly co-ordinated and monitored. In Haiti, these cluster groups include:
  • water, sanitation and hygiene (Wash) cluster: chaired by Unicef
  • camp co-ordination management cluster: chaired by IOM for natural disasters
  • emergency shelter cluster: chaired by IFRC for natural disasters
  • logistics cluster: chaired by WFP
  • emergency telecoms and IT cluster: chaired by Unicef / WFP
  • health cluster: chaired by WHO
  • nutrition cluster: chaired by Unicef
  • early recovery cluster: chaired by UNDP
  • protection cluster: chaired by OHCHR / Unicef
The UN has a concept of On Site Operations and Co-ordination Centre (OSOCC), which aims to provide that sort of tactical co-ordination to bring together international aid agencies and local government and community representatives.

In the past, there have been issues of who co-ordinates whom. The US is generally suspicious of UN personnel, and NGOs don't generally like to be co-ordinated by military — or by other NGOs for that matter.

The US lead will need to be sensitive in how it deals with these groups and, in particular, how it allows the dissemination of information between agencies. Too often, the military tendency to designate vital information as "restricted" or higher makes it impossible for troops and officers on the ground to share this information with local responders and aid agencies.


A fundamental principle of disaster management is that communications (telephones, mobiles) will fail and, therefore, a back-up needs to be planned. This is very seldom carried out in practice, and in the case of Haiti will have been impossible. Aid agencies will come with their own satellite phones and internet uplinks; the military will have their own comms.

For Haiti's people, there will be very little to use to communicate with one another (lack of electricity, land lines, mobiles systems) and their vital need to talk to each other to confirm who is alive or dead will be frustrated. Organisations such as Telephones without Frontiers will make a vital contribution in providing a limited access for users.


According to Ian Hanson, Bournemouth University Centre for Forensics, a vital component of disaster management is identification of the dead and injured. There is a danger that with the use of mass graves to remove rotting corpses, many people will never be identified. On top of this, a significant number of people will never be found. Middle and long term psychological stress disorders will be prevalent.

Governments will be demanding that their ambassadors in Haiti get out to find out where their own citizens are, says Mr Hanson. Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) requires the careful collection of post-mortem data from a body and then matching it to existing ante-mortem data. In the case of international citizens in Haiti such ante-mortem data will include dental records, X-rays, fingerprints, and possibly facial recognition. DVI activity after the Indonesian tsunami in 2005 revealed that some 80% of positive IDs were from finger prints or odontology or a combination of the two. Kenyon International and other established organisations are deploying to Haiti to assist in this.

For Haitians, there is likely to be an almost total lack of ante-mortem data because standard dental or fingerprint records may not exist. Visual records and identification will be their best chance, however this will become impossible if bodies are left too long before being recovered.

The cost of excavating collapsed buildings for the Haitians with limited equipment is also prohibitive in the recovery of bodies, as is the cost of putting a body through an identification process. Many Haitians may never be identified but memorialised in some way. This is part of the reflection of the cost, political will, resources and technical skills available for poorer nations versus rich nations. As with other areas of disaster preparedness and response, there is a gap between who gets identified, if they can be, and where they are from.


Security is always a big issue in managing disasters. The maintenance of public order is a national responsibility. If, or when, the problems exceed the police capacity to handle them — which is probably already the case in Haiti — then the military are normally called in.

The Haitian police and military will both have suffered significant casualties -- as has the already weak government.

There is a very high risk that, unless aid gets through much faster to the needy, there will probably be a major breakdown in law and order. This could raise very serious issues with foreign national forces — the US in particular — who are armed and who may be forced to use arms to protect themselves.

Security of routes is essential, as it is roads that become the essential lifelines for logistical support and the movement of essential relief to where it is needed.

Roads are being blocked at present and it appears that the police are unable to deploy in sufficient strength to maintain route security.

As a result, the development of a co-ordinated security plan that uses local police, as well as US military and UN troops, will need careful co-ordination and agreed rules of engagement for outbreaks of public disorder.


Haiti has a land border with the Dominican Republic. Disaster management planning includes the prior agreement of cross-border co-operation protocols to ensure that assistance is not stockpiled at the border unable to cross over owing to import/export regulations which have not been previously sorted.


Two key lessons will apply — among others, but these are the two most important:
  1. Survivors want to stay close to where they lived — to be moved into camps is not a favoured option for survivors but it is often the selected option for governments because control is much easier.

  2. A very difficult decision will be reached in the next few days — when to stop trying to find live bodies and to bring in heavy machinery to clear rubble. Trapped victims dehydrate and die after about four-to-seven days, sooner if seriously injured.
Possibly also worth noting that studies into previous earthquakes indicate that epidemics are not the great threat that media often make them out to be. Good quality water is a key.

Related Stories:

U.S. Military Mobilizes Thousands for Haiti Relief
The Militarization of Emergency Aid to Haiti: Is it a Humanitarian Operation or an Invasion?
Panic, looting and triage after major Haiti quake
Haitian capital descends into anarchy
Haiti: Machete-wielding gangs roam streets as fears grow death toll could hit 200,000
U.S. Troops Patrol Haiti, Filling a Void
U.S. accused of 'occupying' Haiti as troops flood in
Haiti earthquake: police admit gangs have taken over Port-au-Prince
Will Criminal Gangs Take Control in Haiti's Chaos?
Police Absent, Gangs Rule Streets of Haiti
Haiti's Chaos: Running with the Looters in Port-au-Prince
Gang members in Haitian slum profit from disaster
A week after Haiti quake, aid for all is elusive
Haiti earthquake: medics warn of infection risk to 3 million people
Haitians fleeing capital in search of food, safety
U.S. military to enforce state of emergency in Haiti
U.S. Troops Heading for Haiti to Boost Security, Aid
U.S. military says violence in Haiti not disrupting aid mission
Aid by air reaches pockets of Port-au-Prince as U.S. troops amass
Gates says no policing role for U.S. troops in Haiti
U.S. troops step up Haiti efforts
Haiti: An Unwelcome Katrina Redux
IMF to Haiti: Freeze Public Wages
Haiti’s elite hold nation’s future in their hands
A Haiti Disaster Relief Scenario Was Envisaged by the U.S. Military Before the Earthquake
Why Is the U.S. Military Occupying Four Airports in Haiti?
U.S. Military Responds to Haiti Crisis
Retired general: U.S. aid effort to Haiti too slow
ANALYSIS: US military deployment stirs tension in Haitian tragedy
Military compassion helps Haiti
Bringing the Military's Might to Aid Haiti
The U.S. Military in Haiti: A Compassionate Invasion

U.S. "massive military response" to the devastation in Haiti
Obama via Executive Order Authorizes Military Reserves for Haiti Response
President Barack Obama throws full military might into aid effort
HAITI: As Aid Efforts Flounder, Haitians Rely on Each Other
HAITI: Sharing Meagre Supplies as Graves Multiply
Shadow of Katrina hangs over America's response to disaster
Flashback: New Orleans becomes a war zone; a dress rehearsal for martial law?
Washington’s Militarized Takeover Of Haiti
The kidnapping of Haiti 
Please Don’t Superdome Haiti
Shades of Katrina emanate from the descriptions of "anarchy" engulfing the streets. Remember the Superdome, the "looting," the alleged explosion of mayhem? The media conjured images of death and destruction with voyueristic zeal, while curating the stories to fit a prevailing narrative of savagery and social breakdown.
Go to The Lamb Slain Home Page