The Ongoing Financial Crisis…
The taxes, fees, and cost of living continues to skyrocket along with governments’ lavish spending on embassies, pork-barrel bureaucracy, and perpetual wars.
The current government debt, reported from the U.S. government Treasury, is $17.6 Trillion dollars and rising.
Governments have become the economy, whereas the economies were once driven by small businesses and mom & pop stores.
Corporate-governments own (or sold to foreign entities) everything and their fees are increasing.
Homeland security taxes, property taxes, water, insurance, and other hidden taxes & fees are bleeding the people into poverty.
In most municipalities a water fight is brewing…
Do you have your portable water filtration system operational?
If so get your buckets ready for a walk to the local river or collect rainwater. ~Ron
Oh, So Free Water Is Next?
2014-07-22 06:15 by Karl Denninger
Sounds like a good claim, right?
On Friday, July 18, thousands of people marched through downtown Detroit to call attention to a major public health crisis as the city shuts off the water for residents who are behind on their bills.
Chanting, “Fight! Fight! Fight! Water is a human right!” and “Whose water? Our water!” about 5,000 Detroit residents and allies from across the country—including many who were in town for the annual Netroots Nation blogger conference—marched from the Cobo convention center to Hart Plaza near the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.
There’s plenty of free water available right in Detroit. It’s in the Detroit River, which (shockingly) is much cleaner than it was a number of years (and decades) ago.
Get out your bucket, walk to the river, dip it, there you go. Water.
The problem is that these people don’t want the water that way — of unknown quality, with them individually responsible for its potability — for filtering it and perhaps boiling it before drinking it, and certainly not for disposing it once used.
Water and sewer systems don’t build and maintain themselves and the fees for them are paid by the users.
There are people who claimed to be ten grand in arrears for water bills. How the hell does that happen — did you not pay the bill for 20 years? It sure sounds like it!
Here you go folks on the water rates that the UN calls “exhorbitant”:
Base connection charge for a 5/8″ line (sufficient for a single-family home) is $6.30. Each 1,000 cubic feet of water is $21.71; that’s approximately 7,500 gallons. For perspective modern showerheads are supposed to flow no more than 2 gpm, so if you take a 10 minute shower per day every day of the month that’s 600 gallons of water consumed, or less than 1/10th of the first thousand feet.
Now here’s the rub — you also have to pay for sewage, and that’s more than the water pretty-much everywhere, including in Detroit. Your sewage charge is going to be about double the water price, basically.
Oh by the way, it is here in Florida too.
You want piped water and sewer? Someone’s got to pay for it. You don’t pay a $100 bill for 10 years and run up 10 large in unpaid bills? The only question I have is why you weren’t cut off 9 years and 10 months ago!
Again, there’s lots of water for Detroit residents available free of charge. You just have to transport it from the source yourself, along with insuring that it’s safe to consume.
For the service of transportation and sanitation you wind up expending resource — either directly with your personal effort, or by proxy using money.
* Wrong Karl, this is not a either/or choice. The corporate-governments do not allow competition and will force their debt collection monetary policy onto the people. When home owners go off grid they are visited by SWAT teams and militarized police. In other words people are forced into serfs, forced to accept utility services and forced to pay taxes… Research this and see the evidence for yourself.
A real grassroot solution would be to have a DIY kit, or entrepreneurial residents engineer a community filtration-pipeline from the local water sources to neighbors, or raise funds to purchase the existing monopoly water system. Beware of when the municipalities come to shut it down. Expect tax boycotts by the People. ~Ron
To make this perfectly clear, extreme views on the left or the right end up meeting in the same back parking lot where they agree the people are the great unwashed and are too stupid to see they need to be manipulated and controlled. –Armstrongeconomics
Remember the public, the mass of people, are not the enemy.
Bickering with and attacking your neighbors, or the police & military is not the solution.
While the ruling elite and central planners control institutions and continue to implement policies to enslave the People on Earth.
See the False LEFT/RIGHT PARADIGM w/ David Cobb video.
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Pork-barrel government spending or hidden black budget projects?
Ultimately it is the threat of using force by institutions
Corporate-government monopoly and killing with impunity…
I know of a few popular “alternative media” individuals that are self-proclaimed conservatives, or patriots, or some other “LABEL” that often share some facts about government abuses, yet fail to make the connection that sustainable communities need not be “for profit corporations”.
For profit, and Not for profit need not be at war with each other.
It is a choice.
Karl is good at arithmetic and accounting “number crunching”, but his beliefs and “self-proclaimed conservatism” and labels cloud his research, commentary, and perspective while dividing the people into convenient scapegoating and conflicts that fits well with the ruling elite’s political strategy of divide & conquer. Others in the “alternative media” internet presence are doing this too, as they identify with tea-party or occupy-wall-street, or demonize some other group of people.
Karl typed: “claimed to be ten grand in arrears for water bills. How the hell does that happen — did you not pay the bill for 20 years? It sure sounds like it!”.
My personal experiences with this service billing is: when I was a month late, the water was turned off!
So that HUGE water bill is an anomaly and far more likely to be a business account or a policy change that is back-dated…
In other words these municipalities have been seen making new policies that charge additional fees and sometimes are post-dated to include past decades in additional charges and taxes.
I thought about boycotting the water fees I receive because it is now too expensive and the new charges, including the unwanted and challenged “homeland security” taxes were added without my consent.
The corporate-governments make & CHANGE rules and policies whenever they want to address their revenue needs, and in the extreme cases when homeowners decide to stop service, then new criminal codes are enforced against those “radical” homeowners!
Want to grow food-gardens in your yard? You will be penalized as a criminal.
Want to live on your personal electrical power-sources at home? Then you will be penalized as a criminal.
Now, the homeowners want to stop their water services?
You know what comes next…
I imagine if I turned the water valves off to my home and used in ground tanks for my needs that several things would occur, among them:
*the $ billing would continue, even though notice to stop services have been sent.
*eventually I will be visited by law enforcement…
*Legal complaints will follow…
Karl really has missed the true issue with municipal water services.
Perhaps the day is approaching when more communities will be off-grid and the tax boycotts will be popular again.
That appears inevitable as the path the institutions are on continue unabated.
I imagine Karl will smile when he learns I already have my water bucket and water filters at hand prepared to walk to the local river if needed.
I expect the trend of Non-compliance by the massive public to grow…
* * *
Before Shooting in Iraq, a Warning on Blackwater
By JAMES RISENJUNE 29, 2014 http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/30/us/before-shooting-in-iraq-warning-on-blackwater.html?_r=0
Blackwater personnel escorting Paul Bremer, an American civil administrator, upon his arrival in Ramadi, Iraq, in March 2004
Blackwater’s top manager there issued a threat: “that he could kill” the government’s chief investigator and “no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq,” according to department reports.
WASHINGTON — Just weeks before Blackwater guards fatally shot 17 civilians at Baghdad’s Nisour Square in 2007, the State Department began investigating the security contractor’s operations in Iraq. But the inquiry was abandoned after Blackwater’s top manager there issued a threat: “that he could kill” the government’s chief investigator and “no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq,” according to department reports.
American Embassy officials in Baghdad sided with Blackwater rather than the State Department investigators as a dispute over the probe escalated in August 2007, the previously undisclosed documents show. The officials told the investigators that they had disrupted the embassy’s relationship with the security contractor and ordered them to leave the country, according to the reports.
After returning to Washington, the chief investigator wrote a scathing report to State Department officials documenting misconduct by Blackwater employees and warning that lax oversight of the company, which had a contract worth more than $1 billion to protect American diplomats, had created “an environment full of liability and negligence.”
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Document: State Department Documents on Blackwater Episode
“The management structures in place to manage and monitor our contracts in Iraq have become subservient to the contractors themselves,” the investigator, Jean C. Richter, wrote in an Aug. 31, 2007, memo to State Department officials. “Blackwater contractors saw themselves as above the law,” he said, adding that the “hands off” management resulted in a situation in which “the contractors, instead of Department officials, are in command and in control.”
His memo and other newly disclosed State Department documents make clear that the department was alerted to serious problems involving Blackwater and its government overseers before the Nisour Square shooting, which outraged Iraqis and deepened resentment over the United States’ presence in the country.
Today, as conflict rages again in Iraq, four Blackwater guards involved in the Nisour Square shooting are on trial in Washington on charges stemming from the episode, the government’s second attempt to prosecute the case in an American court after previous charges against five guards were dismissed in 2009.
The shooting was a watershed moment in the American occupation of Iraq, and was a factor in Iraq’s refusal the next year to agree to a treaty allowing United States troops to stay in the country beyond 2011. Despite a series of investigations in the wake of Nisour Square, the back story of what happened with Blackwater and the embassy in Baghdad before the fateful shooting has never been fully told.
The State Department declined to comment on the aborted investigation. A spokesman for Erik Prince, the founder and former chief executive of Blackwater, who sold the company in 2010, said Mr. Prince had never been told about the matter.
After Mr. Prince sold the company, the new owners named it Academi. In early June, it merged with Triple Canopy, one of its rivals for government and commercial contracts to provide private security. The new firm is called Constellis Holdings.
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Experts who were previously unaware of this episode said it fit into a larger pattern of behavior. “The Blackwater-State Department relationship gave new meaning to the word ‘dysfunctional,’ ” said Peter Singer, a strategist at the New America Foundation, a public policy institute, who has written extensively on private security contractors. “It involved everything from catastrophic failures of supervision to shortchanging broader national security goals at the expense of short-term desires.”
Even before Nisour Square, Blackwater’s security guards had acquired a reputation among Iraqis and American military personnel for swagger and recklessness, but their complaints about practices ranging from running cars off the road to shooting wildly in the streets and even killing civilians typically did not result in serious action by the United States or the Iraqi government.
But scrutiny of the company intensified after a Blackwater convoy traveling through Nisour Square on Sept. 16, 2007, just over two weeks after Mr. Richter sent his memo, fired on the crowded traffic circle. A 9-year-old boy was among the civilians killed. Blackwater guards later claimed that they had been fired upon first, but American military officials who inspected the scene determined that there was no evidence of any insurgent activity in the square that day. Federal prosecutors later said Blackwater personnel had shot indiscriminately with automatic weapons, heavy machine guns and grenade launchers.
Founded in 1997 by Mr. Prince, a former member of the Navy SEALs and an heir to an auto parts fortune, Blackwater began as a small company providing shooting ranges and training facilities in rural North Carolina for the military and for police departments. After the American-led invasion of Afghanistan and later Iraq, it ramped up to become a global security contractor with billions of dollars in contracts for the State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency.
The company’s gung-ho attitude and willingness to take on risky tasks were seductive to government officials in Washington. The State Department, for example, secretly sent Blackwater guards to Shenyang, China, to provide security for North Korean asylum seekers who had gone to the United States Consulate there and refused to leave for fear the Chinese government would force them to go back to North Korea, according to company documents and interviews with former Blackwater personnel.
But Blackwater’s rapid growth and the State Department’s growing dependence on the contractor led to unbridled hubris, according to several former company officials. That was fostered, they said, by Mr. Prince, who not long before the Nisour Square shooting gathered employees in front of Blackwater headquarters in Moyock, N.C., and demanded that they swear an oath of allegiance.
Saying that the business was on the verge of being awarded lucrative new contracts, Mr. Prince told the workers that they had to take a pledge — the same one required of those entering the United States military — “to display our commitment to the war on terror,” several former employees recalled.
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As he was speaking, the employees were handed copies of the oath, which had a Blackwater bear paw logo on top, and told to sign and return it to their supervisors after reciting the words. But some balked.
This was an oath for soldiers, not the employees of a private company, and many in the crowd were veterans who believed that it was inappropriately being linked to the company’s commercial prospects.
“It was kind of like pledging allegiance to Erik,” said a former Blackwater employee, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he had been required to sign a nondisclosure agreement with Blackwater. “That’s how a lot of us interpreted it.”
Soon after State Department investigators arrived in Baghdad on Aug. 1, 2007, to begin a monthlong review of Blackwater’s operations, the situation became volatile. Internal State Department documents, which were turned over to plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Blackwater that was unrelated to the Nisour Square shooting, provide details of what happened.
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The Blackwater Shooting
The Blackwater Shooting
Witnesses shed new light on the killing of 17 Iraqis by American contractors in Baghdad.
Publish Date August 27, 2012.
It did not take long for the two-man investigative team — Mr. Richter, a Diplomatic Security special agent, and Donald Thomas Jr., a State Department management analyst — to discover a long list of contract violations by Blackwater.
They found that Blackwater’s staffing of its security details for American diplomats had been changed without State Department approval, reducing guards on many details to eight from 10, the documents said. Blackwater guards were storing automatic weapons and ammunition in their private rooms, where they also were drinking heavily and partying with frequent female visitors. Many of the guards had failed to regularly qualify on their weapons, and were often carrying weapons on which they had never been certified and that they were not authorized to use.
The armored vehicles Blackwater used to protect American diplomats were poorly maintained and deteriorating, and the investigators found that four drunk guards had commandeered one heavily armored, $180,000 vehicle to drive to a private party, and crashed into a concrete barrier.
Blackwater was also overbilling the State Department by manipulating its personnel records, using guards assigned to the State Department contract for other work and falsifying other staffing data on the contract, the investigators concluded.
A Blackwater-affiliated firm was forcing “third country nationals” — low-paid workers from Pakistan, Yemen and other countries, including some who performed guard duty at Blackwater’s compound — to live in squalid conditions, sometimes three to a cramped room with no bed, according to the report by the investigators.
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21 days ago
Blackwater guards were not “security contractors” – they were playing the role of soldiers, and their loyalty was determined by their…
21 days ago
Risen’s article strangely concludes with quote from State Dept. official saying “nothing to see here” when most of article seems to imply…
21 days ago
ah, the joys of hiring mercenaries…
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The investigators concluded that Blackwater was getting away with such conduct because embassy personnel had gotten too close to the contractor.
On Aug. 20, 2007, Mr. Richter was called in to the office of the embassy’s regional security officer, Bob Hanni, who said he had received a call asking him to document Mr. Richter’s “inappropriate behavior.” Mr. Richter quickly called his supervisor in Washington, who instructed him to take Mr. Thomas with him to all remaining meetings in Baghdad, his report noted.
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The next day, the two men met with Daniel Carroll, Blackwater’s project manager in Iraq, to discuss the investigation, including a complaint over food quality and sanitary conditions at a cafeteria in Blackwater’s compound. Mr. Carroll barked that Mr. Richter could not tell him what to do about his cafeteria, Mr. Richter’s report said. The Blackwater official went on to threaten the agent and say he would not face any consequences, according to Mr. Richter’s later account.
Mr. Carroll said “that he could kill me at that very moment and no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq,” Mr. Richter wrote in a memo to senior State Department officials in Washington. He noted that Mr. Carroll had formerly served with Navy SEAL Team 6, an elite unit.
“Mr. Carroll’s statement was made in a low, even tone of voice, his head was slightly lowered; his eyes were fixed on mine,” Mr. Richter stated in his memo. “I took Mr. Carroll’s threat seriously. We were in a combat zone where things can happen quite unexpectedly, especially when issues involve potentially negative impacts on a lucrative security contract.”
He added that he was especially alarmed because Mr. Carroll was Blackwater’s leader in Iraq, and “organizations take on the attitudes and mannerisms of their leader.”
Mr. Thomas witnessed the exchange and corroborated Mr. Richter’s version of events in a separate statement, writing that Mr. Carroll’s comments were “unprofessional and threatening in nature.” He added that others in Baghdad had told the two investigators to be “very careful,” considering that their review could jeopardize job security for Blackwater personnel.
Mr. Richter was shocked when embassy officials sided with Mr. Carroll and ordered Mr. Richter and Mr. Thomas to leave Iraq immediately, according to the documents. On Aug. 23, Ricardo Colon, the acting regional security officer at the embassy, wrote in an email that Mr. Richter and Mr. Thomas had become “unsustainably disruptive to day-to-day operations and created an unnecessarily hostile environment for a number of contract personnel.” The two men cut short their inquiry and returned to Washington the next day.
Mr. Richter and Mr. Thomas declined to comment for this article. Mr. Carroll did not respond to a request for comment.
On Oct. 5, 2007, just as the State Department and Blackwater were being rocked by scandal in the aftermath of Nisour Square, State Department officials finally responded to Mr. Richter’s August warning about Blackwater. They took statements from Mr. Richter and Mr. Thomas about their accusations of a threat by Mr. Carroll, but took no further action.
Condoleezza Rice, then the secretary of state, named a special panel to examine the Nisour Square episode and recommend reforms, but the panel never interviewed Mr. Richter or Mr. Thomas.
Patrick Kennedy, the State Department official who led the special panel, told reporters on Oct. 23, 2007, that the panel had not found any communications from the embassy in Baghdad before the Nisour Square shooting that raised concerns about contractor conduct.
“We interviewed a large number of individuals,” Mr. Kennedy said. “We did not find any, I think, significant pattern of incidents that had not — that the embassy had suppressed in any way.”
Reblogged this on Spartan of Truth.