by ADAN SALAZAR
East coast residents suffer consequences of being ill-prepared
As northeast coast residents brace for what many are predicting to be the biggest blizzard of all time, last-minute shoppers rushed grocery stores leaving empty shelves as they made preparations for a snow in of possibly epic proportions.
Tens of millions stand in the path of a massive blizzard expected to impact a 250-mile swath of the east coast, which some are anticipating will blanket parts of New England in up to three feet of snow.
Several major airports have canceled hundreds of flights, and Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy has ordered traffic off of roads starting at 9PM, also warning residents to expect rolling power outages.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has urged residents to stay home if possible, and yesterday New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio put out an urgent warning telling residents to “prepare for the worst.”
“We are facing most likely one of the largest snowstorms in the history of this city,” de Blasio stated. “New Yorkers should not underestimate this storm… Assume conditions will be unsafe.”
“Make other plans. Change your plans now in advance of this storm. Even walking should be kept to a minimum.”
Ill-prepared New Yorkers apparently heeded no lessons from the “Snowpocalypse” that hit the east coast last year, which left miles of motorists stranded on the highway and stirred Atlanta residents into a grocery-buying panic, despite only bringing about three inches of snow.
Here are some scenes out of New York, courtesy of Twitter:
Despite the Department of Homeland Security’s efforts to cast so-called “preppers” as conspiracy theorists, the Federal Emergency Management Agency actually encourages Americans to prepare for disasters by stocking up on a few days worth of essentials.
Try to assemble your kit well in advance of an emergency. You may have to evacuate at a moment’s notice and take essentials with you. You will probably not have time to search for the supplies you need or shop for them.
You may need to survive on your own after an emergency. This means having your own food, water and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least 72 hours. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster but they cannot reach everyone immediately. You could get help in hours or it might take days.
Factor in the TSA/DHS’s ever-mounting paranoia, and you’ve got a recipe for a slew of false positives
by TIM CUSHING | TECHDIRT | JANUARY 26, 2015
The TSA is disappointed that so few Americans have opted out of its bottle-tossing, package-groping screenings by signing up for its PreCheck program. For a few years now, the TSA has been selling travelers’ civil liberties back to them, most recently for $85 a head, but it’s now making a serious push to increase participation. The TSA can’t do it alone, so it’s accepting bids on its PreCheck expansion proposal. (h/t to Amy Alkon)
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is seeking vendors for TSA Pre√® Application Expansion initiative to develop, deliver, and deploy private sector application capabilities expanding the public’s enrollment opportunities for TSA Pre✓® through an Other Transactional Agreement (OTA) awarded by TSA. The Government plans to award an OTA to multiple vendors. The Government will evaluate the proposed ready-to-market solutions’ application capabilities against this TSA Pre√® Expansion Initiative Solicitation and Statement of Work.
This will involve a new pre-screening process to weed out terrorists by looking through a variety of “commercial data” sources. The proposal [pdf link] is very vague on the details of what “commercial data” will be used by these third parties.
Contractors may use commercial data to conduct an eligibility evaluation (also known as pre-screening) of potential applicants. The eligibility evaluation shall include, at a minimum, validating identity and performing a criminal history records check to ensure that applicants do not have disqualifying convictions in conjunction with the TSA Pre✓® disqualifying offenses…
The proposal goes on to say something that sounds like the TSA safeguarding PreCheck applicants’ privacy by standing between them and any crazy ideas third party contractors might have about “commercial data.”
As a second component to the eligibility evaluation, TSA may also consider approving an option to use additional private sector processes to conduct a provisional risk assessment (based on an algorithm developed by the Contractor) for the purposes of assisting in identifying those individuals believed to pose a low risk to transportation security. TSA must approve any commercial data inputs proposed for use by contractors to include those which validate identity and determine provisional low-risk status.
More protections here:
Risk assessments may not be based on race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, age, financial status (e.g., credit ratings/scores, liens, bankruptcies, foreclosures, annual income), health records, constitutionally protected activity, or other records reflecting an individual’s socio-economic status.
So far, so good. But while the TSA has pointed out a few examples of what won’t be permitted to be used to separate the threats from the travelers, it really never goes on to detail what will be permitted… at least not in the proposal itself. Those sources (and there are several) are tucked away inside the agreement boilerplate [pdf link] to be signed by winning contractors.
Here’s everything that’s open to inspection by PreCheck applicant screeners.
For purposes of this private sector enrollment initiative for the TSA Pre√® Application Program, “commercial data” includes: public record data, such as criminal history and real estate records produced by federal, state, and local governments; other publicly available information, such as directories, press reports, location data and information that individuals post on blogs and social media sites; and wide ranging data such as purchase information, customer lists from registration websites, and self-reported information provided by consumers that is obtained by commercial data sources such as data brokers.
So, the TSA is authorizing contractors to use social media posts in the screening process — which, yes, are by default public but tend to generate more noise than signal when it comes to spotting the terrorists in PreCheck approval queue.
[And I suppose my Facebook page — containing pictures I added a few months ago — will put me in the “questionable” group.]
The TSA is looking to hire on third-party haystackers in order to pre-profile travelers. There’s a lot of “public/commercial data” out there, and very little of it has any relevance to the “threat level” of potential flyers. And the part about “purchase information” is particularly disturbing, considering the DHS would really like to have access to that data.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said his department will be issuing new guidance to retailers this week giving them pointers on how to spot potential terrorists among their customers by looking at what they’re buying.
While saying the government cannot prohibit sales of some everyday materials, Mr. Johnson said retailers should be trained to look for anyone who buys a lot from what he described as a “long list of materials that could be used as explosive precursors.”
He said it was an extension of the “If you see something, say something” campaign launched by his predecessor, former Secretary Janet Napolitano, which tries to enlist average Americans to be aware of their immediate environment.
Couple Johnson’s statements with this proposal sentence (which immediately follows the “Risk assessments may not be based on…” sentence from the paragraph above), and you get an idea where this PreCheck database is headed.
Any algorithm used must receive DHS approval, which will be based upon a DHS evaluation requiring testing and review of commercial data inputs during that process.
Whatever data the contractors grab will be viewed by the DHS first, before it makes its decision to keep or discard it. And this will be in addition to the huge amount of data these two agencies already dip into to determine how many “S’s” to print on your boarding pass. The TSA’s role in the PreCheck program will be mainly limited to waving successful applicants through. (Something it has previously done to alleviate congestion with no apparent concern about PreCheck approval and all of its “safeguards”.) So, this is really the DHS’s program, one that allows it partake of third-party data hoovering and add anything it deems relevant to its databases.
That’s a lot of info to turn over for shorter waits at the airport. Generally speaking, the government has little interest in your purchases and social media activities, but by applying for PreCheck, you give them the green light to go digging. Sure, most of what’s there isn’t necessarily private, but it’s still information most people wouldn’t assume the government would find to be relevant to airport security. Factor in the TSA/DHS’s ever-mounting paranoia, and you’ve got a recipe for a slew of false positives, especially when the latter considers photography of public buildings to be “suspicious activity.”
Michael from Muckrock sez, “Starting on April 19, 1956, the federal government practiced and planned for a near-doomsday scenario known as Plan C. When activated, Plan C would have brought the United States under martial law, rounded up over ten thousand individuals connected to ‘subversive’ organizations, implemented a censorship board, and prepared the country for life after nuclear attack. There was no Plan A or B.”
Details of this program were distributed to each FBI field office. Over the following months and years, Plan C would be adjusted as drills and meetings found holes in the defensive strategy: Communications were more closely held, authority was apparently more dispersed, and certain segments of the government, such as the U.S. Attorneys, had trouble actually delineating who was responsible for what.
Bureau employees were encouraged to prepare their families for the worst, but had to keep secret the more in-depth plans for what the government would do if war did break out. Families were given a phone number and city for where the relocated agency locations would be, but not the exact location.
Plan C: The top secret Cold War countermeasure which would have brought the United States under martial law [Muckrock]
U.S. establishment continues praise of tyrannical dictator
Pentagon officials announced the creation of an essay competition Monday to honor recently deceased Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz.
According to a press release from the U.S. Department of Defense, attendees of the National Defense University have been tasked with formulating a written tribute to the “life and leadership” of the “Saudi Arabian monarch.”
“The king, who died Jan. 23 at age 90, oversaw the modernization of his country’s military during the time he spent as commander of the Saudi Arabian National Guard, a position he held from 1963 until he became king in 2005,” the press release states.
Headed up by Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, the essay contest will focus on both Abdullah and the region as a whole.
“This is an important opportunity to honor the memory of the king, while also fostering scholarly research on the Arab-Muslim world, and I can think of no better home for such an initiative than NDU,” Dempsey said.
Marine Corps Major General and National Defense University President Frederick M. Padilla had no issue with praising the late King, calling the competition a unique research opportunity.
“This scholarly research competition presents NDU students with a unique opportunity to focus their research and writing efforts on relevant issues at the intersection of U.S. security interests and the Arab-Muslim world,” Padilla said.
Dempsey went one step further in his idolization of the ex-ruler by calling him a man of “remarkable character and courage.”
“In my job to train and advise his military forces, and in our relationship since, I found the king to be a man of remarkable character and courage,” Dempsey said.
Since Abdullah’s passing, members of the U.S. establishment have given endless praise to the former dictator, seemingly ignoring his barbaric rule and world-renowned brutality.
As noted by the Intercept’s Murtaza Hussain, prominent U.S. leaders such as John McCain, Joe Biden and John Kerry wasted no time in highlighting Abdullah’s alleged accomplishments following his death.
In a statement last night Senator John McCain eulogized Abdullah as ‘a vocal advocate for peace, speaking out against violence in the Middle East.’ John Kerry described the late monarch as ‘a brave partner in fighting violent extremism’ and ‘a proponent of peace.’ Not to be outdone, Vice President Joe Biden released a statement mourning Abdullah and announced that he would be personally leading a presidential delegation to offer condolences on his passing.
Similarly, President Obama expressed his grief over the loss of Abdullah as well, ridiculously pointing to his so-called “search for peace.”
“He took bold steps in advancing the Arab Peace Initiative, an endeavor that will outlive him as an enduring contribution to the search for peace in the region,” the President said. “At home, King Abdullah’s vision was dedicated to the education of his people and to greater engagement with the world.”
The British government and the Royal Family paid their respects to the dictator by ordering all flags over state buildings and palaces to be flown at half mast, a move which produced an almost immediate backlash.
In reality, King Abdullah’s leadership produced atrocities nearly identical to that of alleged U.S.-enemies in the Islamic State.
Western leaders made no mention of the country’s “record level” beheadings in 2014 for crimes such as adultery, apostasy and “sorcery.”
Self proclaimed women’s rights supporter Hillary Clinton, who publicly praised the Saudi king last week, had no issue with two females being taken to terrorism court last month over the offense of driving a vehicle.
Many politicians who claim to support free speech were silent as a Saudi court sentenced a human rights lawyer to 15 years in prison for “inciting public opinion” last July.
By V. Saxena, January 25, 2015.
This past Monday on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a group tied to liberal billionaire George Soros issued a warning to “house Negroes,” reports the Daily Caller:
“House Negroes consider your days numbered! It’s a new day! #ReclaimMLK #FergusonTaughtUs,” reads a tweet from the Soros-backed group, Organization for Black Struggle, or OBS.
What’s the connection to Soros? Back in December, Soros launched a grant-making network known as Open Society Foundations. This network went on to issue grants to OBS. Thus, by the transitive property, George Soros supports the type of sleazy individuals who would castigate non-liberal blacks (think Ben Carson, Allen West, Condoleeza Rice, etc.) for being “house Negroes.”
Charming, aye? We also know via earlier reporting that Soros spent a minimum of $33 million in 2014 alone drumming up racial animosity in Ferguson.
According to the Minority Report, OBS was “formed in the 80s because they felt the social justice warriors of the time were wimps.” They were mostly “dormant for 30 years,” up until Soros handed them a huge check. And the reason that the liberal mainstream media is ignoring their clearly racist tweet is because, well, it wasn’t sent out by someone from the Tea Party. The premise is that if you support Progressive causes, then you can act as racist as you damn well please. And the premise is correct!
So who exactly are they referring to when they talk about “house Negroes”? While they obviously mean conservative blacks, they also mean really any black person who refuses to stand up and chant on the behalf of dead thugs like Mike Brown, Vonderrit Myers and Isaac Holmes. Either you stand up for the most degenerate members of the black race, or you are a race traitor – or at least that is how the folks at OBS (and thus George Soros) perceive the world . . .