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Bill USA

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Member since: Wed Mar 3, 2010, 05:25 PM
Number of posts: 5,149

About Me

Quotes I like: "Prediction is very difficult, especially concerning the future." "There are some things so serious that you have to laugh at them.” __ Niels Bohr Given his contribution to the establishment of quantum mechanics, I guess it's not surprising he had such a quirky of sense of humor. ......................."Deliberate misinterpretation and misrepresentation of another's position is a basic technique of (dis)information processing" __ I said that

Journal Archives

How the U.S. became one of the world’s biggest tax havens


...one of the least recognized facts about the global offshore industry is that much of it, in fact, is not offshore. Indeed, some critics of the offshore industry say the U.S. is now becoming one of the world’s largest “offshore” financial destinations.

“We often say that the U.S. is one of the easiest places to set up so-called anonymous shell companies,” says Mark Hays, a senior advisor with Global Witness, an NGO that advocates for financial transparency.

Offshore isn’t so much a destination anymore as “a set of capabilities,” which include ensuring secrecy, minimizing taxes, managing assets, and providing clients security and access to their wealth from anywhere in the world, James Henry, a senior adviser to the Tax Justice Network and former chief economist of McKinsey & Co, wrote in a 2012 report. The Tax Justice Network ranks the U.S. third in terms of the secrecy and scale of its offshore industry, behind Switzerland and Hong Kong but ahead of the Cayman Islands and Luxembourg.

A 2012 study in which researchers sent more than 7,400 email solicitations to more than 3,700 corporate service providers -- the kind of companies that typically register shell companies, such as the Corporation Trust Company at 1209 North Orange St. -- found that the U.S. had the laxest regulations for setting up a shell company anywhere in the world outside of Kenya. The researchers impersonated both low- and high-risk customers, including potential money launderers, terrorist financiers and corrupt officials.

NBC's Lester Holt Confronts Trump Over His Debunked Clinton Email And Benghazi Lies

Holt: "You Made Some Very Bold Claims About Her That Didn't Stand Up ... There's No Evidence"


LESTER HOLT (HOST): A day after his blistering speech attacking Hillary Clinton's honesty, Donald Trump sat down with NBC News today where he continued to press that attack in our conversation in his New York apartment. The presumptive Republican nominee also responded to our reporting last night that found some of his claims about Clinton in that speech are inaccurate or unsupported.

HOLT: You delivered a speech yesterday, you went hard after Hillary Clinton. She says your speech was full of conspiracy theories and that you attacked her because you had no answers on substance. What is your reaction?

Congrats to NBC for giving Holt the go-ahead to try to get Trump to talk about reality and answer for his wholesale peddling of nothing but lies. I guess since so many Republicans find him unacceptable NBC felt they could actually do a real interview of Trump and not get into too much trouble with the corporate owners and the RW harrassment mob.

'3Doodler' Pen Lets You Draw 3D-Printed Creations in Midair


It wasn't long ago that the idea of printing something in three dimensions sounded like science fiction. But over the past decade, 3D printers have become widespread and are now used to create everything from decorative baubles to robot parts to medical devices.

Still, using a 3D printer isn't always simple: The machine is frequently housed within a box the size of a microwave, and it requires technical software and, in some cases, a detailed knowledge of design. But now, a company called 3Doodler has transformed the standard 3D printer into a pen, allowing people to draw 3D creations freely in the air — without the need for a computer or any software.

In 2012, Maxwell Bogue and Peter Dilworth, co-founders of 3Doodler along with Daniel Cowen, were trying to come up with the next great kids' toy. They said they frequently used 3D printers to craft prototypes of their designs, and one night, they spent 14 hours printing a dinosaur leg, only to find that the printer had missed a section, leaving a gap in the model.

The two wished they "could just take the nozzle off the 3D printer and fill in the missing gap," Bogue, now CEO of the company, told Live Science. So, the inventors set out to design a product that could do just that.

More Than Half of Mass Shooters Used Assault Weapons and High-Capacity Magazines


The political fortunes of the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 have looked dim from the start. But as Congress considers the new legislation put forth by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), one thing is clear: If it were to pass, the bill would outlaw highly lethal firearms that dozens of mass shooters in the United States have used to unleash carnage.

More than half of the killers we studied in our investigation of 62 mass shootings over the last three decades possessed weapons that would be banned by Feinstein's bill, including various semi-automatic rifles, guns with military features, and handguns using magazines with more than 10 rounds. The damage these weapons can cause has been on grim display since last summer, from Aurora to Milwaukee to Minneapolis to Newtown, where attacks carried out with them left a total of 118 people injured and dead.

"They got the most shots," said a Chicago teenager who prefers high-capacity magazines. "You can shoot forever."

Ultimately, "assault weapon" and "high-capacity magazine" are political terms—there is no official or widely accepted definition for either, and different legislation has treated them differently. Feinstein's new bill seeks to improve upon the 1994 ban she authored, which expired in 2004; gun manufacturers easily sidestepped that law by making superficial modifications to their weapons.

here's Mother Jones updated database showing mass shooting's up to and including 2016

What if the mass killer was a strict constructionist with regard to the constitution..
A mass shooting might go something like this:

Assault rifles are becoming mass shooters’ weapon of choice
One common denominator behind these and other high-casualty mass shootings in recent years is the use of assault style rifles, capable of firing many rounds of ammunition in a relatively short period of time, with high accuracy. And their use in these types of shooting is becoming more common: There have been eight high-profile public mass shootings since July of last year, according to a database compiled by Mother Jones magazine. Assault-style rifles were used in seven of those.

Guys who want to play around with machine guns should join the Army or Marine Corps and maybe they will get a chance to shoot and some people who are similarly equipped (What? No fun in that?).

C-SPAN Is Using Periscope to Broadcast Because the GOP Killed Its Camera Feed showing Dems sit-in


This morning, House Democrats, led by Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), staged a sit-in to force a vote on gun control. Almost immediately after, the cameras and microphones of C-SPAN—which typically broadcasts the action happening on the Senate and House floors—went off. But the network found a workaround: Periscope.

After viewers noticed that C-SPAN’s cameras went off, the network was quick to deflect blame: ('deflect blame?' how about "to inform viewers why C-span had no video"? -- Bill USA)

As it turns out, the network doesn’t control what its cameras and microphones do—that’s the job of the House. As USA Today explains, the policy is such that the broadcast only runs while the House is in session. When Democrats refused to stop their protest, Rep. Ted Poe, (R-TX), who was presiding over the chamber, declared the House in recess—hence the camera shutdown.

Not to be deterred, however, C-SPAN began using what appears to be the Periscope feed of Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA), who had been broadcasting the sit-in from his own account.

I've said it before, I'll say it again: "The Republicans have a frightening facility for the techniques of totalitarianism."

How the Bush Admin, said 'No" to a CIA plan to kill al-Zarqawi (who started ISIS) ... in 2002

“I remember there were discussions about attacking various camps that we thought bad guys were hanging out in, and I think the one you’re referring to, we made a judgment that, let’s not start the war before we’re ready.”...Colin Powell


Faddis, Bakos, and others in the CIA had been keeping an eye on Zarqawi, who after leaving prison had trekked to Afghanistan in an attempt to meet Osama bin Laden. (He was rejected.) When Zarqawi shifted his focus to Iraq in the runup to the American invasion, the CIA marked him as someone who could cause chaos inside the country if the U.S. were to take Saddam Hussein out.

“We literally had guys that were working for us that were inside the camp,” retired CIA operations officer Sam Faddis, who ran a kill/capture team, tells FRONTLINE.

So when the CIA had Zarqawi in their sights, their attack plan was fast-tracked to the White House — but President George W. Bush was told that hitting Zarqawi could cause a problem.

“I remember there were discussions about attacking various camps that we thought bad guys were hanging out in, and I think the one you’re referring to, we made a judgment that, let’s not start the war before we’re ready,” former Secretary of State Colin Powell tells FRONTLINE.

When word of the decision not to proceed reached CIA headquarters, the agents were stunned.

“Oh, I couldn’t believe it,” Bakos tells FRONTLINE. “We have a prime opportunity to take out a jihadist that we know poses a threat to our allies in addition to American forces once they invade.”

“There was nobody on that team who felt like Washington had made the right decision,” Faddis says.


Thomas Frank's new book Listen Liberal makes the case that the Democratic Party morphed from a party for the working class into a party for the professional class. The reason this happened is because working people lost a lot of their political power due to the decline in numbers of people in Labor unions. In 1953 the percentage of workers in unions was roughly 35%. In 2003 the percent of the workers in labor unions had dropped to about 12%. This is a 66% decline in the % of workers who were members of labor unions. Winner-Take-All Politics: by Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson goes into these developments in more depth (see below). It discusses the Powell Manifesto and it's impact on our politics since it was written in 1971.

Union Membership Trends in the United States

Another important political development was the martialling of the forces of corporate interests which began with the Powell Memo (or Manifesto) to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce which called on the corporate interests to start a coordinated movement against the forces attacking the free enterprise system. ALewis Powell was, at the time, a powerful corporate attorney who would soon be nominated (and approved) to the Supreme Court by, who else, Richard Nixon.

Powell inveighed against the concerted attack on the free enterprise system:
No thoughtful person can question that the American economic system is under broad attack. This varies in scope, intensity, in the techniques employed, and in the level of visibility.

There always have been some who opposed the American system, and preferred socialism or some form of statism (communism or fascism). Also, there always have been critics of the system, whose criticism has been wholesome and constructive so long as the objective was to improve rather than to subvert or destroy.

But what now concerns us is quite new in the history of America. We are not dealing with sporadic or isolated attacks from a relatively few extremists or even from the minority socialist cadre. Rather, the assault on the enterprise system is broadly based and consistently pursued. It is gaining momentum and converts.

Powell goes on:

What specifically should be done? The first essential — a prerequisite to any effective action — is for businessmen to confront this problem as a primary responsibility of corporate management.


But independent and uncoordinated activity by individual corporations, as important as this is, will not be sufficient. Strength lies in organization, in careful long-range planning and implementation, in consistency of action over an indefinite period of years, in the scale of financing available only through joint effort, and in the political power available only through united action and national organizations.

Moreover, there is the quite understandable reluctance on the part of any one corporation to get too far out in front and to make itself too visible a target.

The role of the National Chamber of Commerce is therefore vital. Other national organizations (especially those of various industrial and commercial groups) should join in the effort, but no other organizations appear to be as well situated as the Chamber. It enjoys a strategic position, with a fine reputation and a broad base of support. Also — and this is of immeasurable merit — there are hundreds of local Chambers of Commerce which can play a vital supportive role.

"The organizational counterattack of business in the 1970s was swift and sweeping."

The Powell Memo: A Call-to-Arms for Corporations - excerpt from Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer — and Turned Its Back on the Middle Classauthors - Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson

The organizational counterattack of business in the 1970s was swift and sweeping — a domestic version of Shock and Awe. The number of corporations with public affairs offices in Washington grew from 100 in 1968 to over 500 in 1978. In 1971, only 175 firms had registered lobbyists in Washington, but by 1982, nearly 2,500 did. The number of corporate PACs increased from under 300 in 1976 to over 1,200 by the middle of 1980. On every dimension of corporate political activity, the numbers reveal a dramatic, rapid mobilization of business resources in the mid-1970s.

What the numbers alone cannot show is something of potentially even greater significance: Employers learned how to work together to achieve shared political goals. As members of coalitions, firms could mobilize more proactively and on a much broader front. Corporate leaders became advocates not just for the narrow interests of their firms but also for the shared interests of business as a whole.

Winner-Take-All Politics foes into depth on how these political changes happened. But this does not mean it's all over for the Democratic Party. IF people become aware and become more active things can be changed.

Use the Military as a model on how to do gun control


I spent four decades of my professional life in a subset of American society that very tightly controlled access to guns. Certainly, there were many guns and other weapons around, and at times they were quite visible. But within this society, there was also a comprehensive understanding that guns were dangerous and could be the central component of unfortunate — even fatal — circumstances, especially when combined with alcohol, drugs, heightened emotions or misplaced loyalties.

Because of this recognition, in this society where I was privileged to live and work, we controlled guns. Anyone who touched one had to be trained and, in effect, licensed. Guns had to be registered with a federal authority. Ammunition was tightly controlled and without exception fully accounted for. Should anyone show signs of mental or emotional distress, his weapons were typically withheld and only returned when there was high confidence that any troublesome problems had been controlled or cured.

What was this society that exercised a high degree of gun control? Well, it was the U.S. Army.

There is an image held by many that in the military, all servicemen and servicewomen have a weapon mounted on a rack above their bunk, ready for them instantly to reach up and grab when the alert siren sounds. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, when I was in the Army, all military weapons not in use for official duties were locked in a rack, which was chained to the floor, which was in a room secured by double doors, which were bolted shut with high-security locks. In addition, the room was monitored with alarm systems and checked hourly to ensure all security measures were in place and functioning.


First, there must be a renewal of the ban on assault weapons. Second, related to this ban should be a ban on large-volume ammunition magazines. Unless in an active combat zone, the military stores its large ammunition magazines separately from weapons.

No, Sanders supporters are not more liberal than Clinton’s


Christopher Hare and Robert Lupton have challenged our claim that most commentators “greatly exaggerated” the role of policy preferences in explaining Bernie Sanders’s surprising success in this year’s Democratic nomination contest. How can Sanders’s supporters not be liberals, they ask, when roll call voting scores and campaign rhetoric put Sanders well to the left of his primary opponent, Hillary Clinton? Hare and Lupton attribute our “surprising findings” to a quirk in one of the surveys we analyzed, which asked Republican as well as Democrats and independents which Democratic candidate they preferred.

In fact, however, the difference between their interpretation of the evidence and ours is mostly due to misunderstandings of our analysis and to a slip in their re-analysis of the same data, which resulted in their double-counting “very liberal” Sanders supporters.

We argued that support for Sanders hinges on social identity more than ideology

The main point of our essay was that support for Sanders hinged less on ideology and issues, and more on social identities and group attachments, than common wisdom has suggested. In support of that point, we noted that exit polls of Democratic primary voters reveal much wider gaps in Sanders’s support between women and men, non-whites and whites, and Democrats and independents than between ideological liberals and moderates.

We also noted that data from a pilot survey conducted in January as part of the 2016 American National Election Study suggest that Sanders supporters were actually less likely than Clinton supporters to favor key policies Sanders has advocated on the campaign trail, including a higher minimum wage, increasing government spending on health care, and an expansion of government services financed by higher taxes.

“It is quite a stretch,” we suggested, “to view these people as the vanguard of a new, social-democratic-trending Democratic Party.”

one of the duties the Secretary of State:"Negotiates, interprets & terminates treaties & agreements"

see: Duties of the Secretary of State
Under the Constitution, the President of the United States determines U.S. foreign policy. The Secretary of State, appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate, is the President’s chief foreign affairs adviser. The Secretary carries out the President’s foreign policies through the State Department and the Foreign Service of the United States.

However, as is the case with all trade agreements, such as the Transpacific Partnership, the Office of the United States Trade Representative has takes the lead in the negotiations of these agreements. Note that The Office of the United States Trade Representative is part of the Executive Office of the President. That means that The Office of the United States Trade Representative - is answerable directly to the President. Meaning it is the President who determines what the foreign policy, including trade agreements, of the United States will be.

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