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Archive → October 2nd, 2016

Former Army officer says U.S. has lost control of military Posted on September 28, 2016 by Sam Rolley

mushroom cloud

A former Army Special Operations officer says the Obama administration’s inability to officially say the U.S. has a no-first-use nuclear policy is a sign that military top brass want to antagonize Russia and China.

Asked about whether he thought it was a good idea for U.S. leaders to unequivocally pledge that the nation would only use nuclear weapons in a defensive capacity, Defense Secretary Ash Carter told reporters:

“It has been the policy of the United States for a long time to extend the – its nuclear umbrella to friends and allies and — thereby to contribute to the deterrence of conflict and the deterrence of war and many of our friends and allies have benefited from that over time. And our future plans will retain for the United States the capability to meet those alliance commitments in the future.”

Confused reporters asked the official to clarify whether he’d just said ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ Carter’s response remained unclear.

“It has been our policy for a long time and it’s part of our plans going forward,” he said.

Since the U.S.’s use of nuclear bombs to end WWII, presidential administrations have made clear that nuclear technology would only be used again as a matter of last resort.

But earlier this year, Obama administration officials began discussing whether the administration should ratify the longstanding unwritten policy with an official pledge.

Senior military officials, including Carter, rejected the proposal, saying any such move would signal weakness to nuclear powers like Russia and China. Despite his desire to make decreasing international reliance on nuclear weapons part of his legacy, Obama has now abandoned the proposal.

Scott Bennett, a former Army psychological warfare officer who is now a whistleblower, said in an interview with the Iranian-backed PressTV that all of this is a sign elected officials in the U.S. may be losing control of the military.

“Essentially what I see [military leaders] doing is positioning the United States Pentagon – the Department of Defense – in a military gun road within the United States that is headed up by psychopaths and uniforms that are really blood-drunk with war for the past 15 years, setting them up for a long-term military conflict with Russia, Iran and China,” he said.

Bennett called for the White House to regain control of what he sees as a military apparatus engaging in provocation of other nations for its own benefit.

“The military in the United States is now off the chain, it’s not obeying President Obama, it is not obeying the United States Congress, instead you have a small cabal within the Pentagon and specifically the US Central Command commanding the Middle East theater, positioning itself for a long-term war,” he said.

Bennet added that Americans should be particularly alarmed of the possibility of conflict with Russia “given the positioning of the batteries of missile silos now in Romania and Poland” the U.S. military is currently beefing up.

Source: Will County News

In defense of private prisons (and the bear case for private prison stocks)

In defense of private prisons (and the bear case for private prison stocks)
Jason
Stutman Photo By Jason Stutman
Written Saturday, October 1, 2016

If you watched the presidential debate earlier this week, you might remember Hillary Clinton calling for an end to private prisons at the state level, just one month after the Department of Justice revealed its plans to eventually shut down 13 for-profit prisons within the Bureau of Prisons system.

“I’m glad that we’re ending private prisons in the federal system,” Clinton remarked during the heated debate. “I want to see them ended in the state system. You shouldn’t have a profit motivation to fill prison cells with young Americans.”

The presidential hopeful’s comments caused two leading jail stocks to immediately tumble on the public market. Corrections Corp. of America (NYSE: CXW) plunged nearly 8% on Tuesday, while GEO Group (NYSE: GEO) fell 4%. Considering the vast majority of private prison business comes from the state and local levels, Hillary’s words were a legitimate cause for concern.

In the wake of the debate, questions are now being raised about the future of private prisons in the U.S. Not only has a national debate on the ethical nature of these corporations surfaced, but there’s also a tug of war happening between buyers and sellers of public jail stocks speculating on legislation.

In defense of private prisons (and the bear case for private prison stocks)
Jason
Stutman Photo By Jason Stutman
Written Saturday, October 1, 2016
If you watched the presidential debate earlier this week, you might remember Hillary Clinton calling for an end to private prisons at the state level, just one month after the Department of Justice revealed its plans to eventually shut down 13 for-profit prisons within the Bureau of Prisons system.

“I’m glad that we’re ending private prisons in the federal system,” Clinton remarked during the heated debate. “I want to see them ended in the state system. You shouldn’t have a profit motivation to fill prison cells with young Americans.”

The presidential hopeful’s comments caused two leading jail stocks to immediately tumble on the public market. Corrections Corp. of America (NYSE: CXW) plunged nearly 8% on Tuesday, while GEO Group (NYSE: GEO) fell 4%. Considering the vast majority of private prison business comes from the state and local levels, Hillary’s words were a legitimate cause for concern.

In the wake of the debate, questions are now being raised about the future of private prisons in the U.S. Not only has a national debate on the ethical nature of these corporations surfaced, but there’s also a tug of war happening between buyers and sellers of public jail stocks speculating on legislation.
Anyone developing an opinion for or against private prisons should at least understand how they work before making any hard conclusions. While there are a number of legitimate concerns regarding the ethics of for-profit prisons, common talking points like Clinton’s have a tendency to oversimplify the economic equation at work. (Spoiler: You’re not an evil, deplorable human for investing in a prison stock, though you could still be making a poor investment.)

Is it Unethical to Invest in Private Prisons?

A for-profit prison is a third-party entity that houses prisoners for the government in exchange for a stipend. These stipends are generally paid based on the number of prisoners that a prison houses. If a private company can house prisoners at a cheaper cost than the government expects to do on its own, then the government will typically contract out the job.

What this means from an economic standpoint is that the government is demand while prisons are supply. Private prisons may be guilty of lobbying government officials in an effort to keep demand high, but it’s ultimately the government that is responsible for creating that demand in the first place. Getting money out of politics is one thing, but bashing the free market altogether is another.

In other words, private, for-profit prisons can only actually exist in circumstances where there’s a void in efficient prison supply. Today, such a void exists for two reasons: 1) the over-imprisonment of American citizens, and 2) an inefficient public prison/rehabilitation system. These are both problems caused by the government, not by the free market.

The basic argument against private prisons is that no one should profit off people being put behind bars. As Hillary makes the case, profiteering off the misfortunes of others is inherently an evil deed: “You shouldn’t have a profit motivation to fill prison cells with young Americans.”

This argument, though, twists the economic and moral reality before us. It suggests that private prisons have an element of control over demand, cleverly shifting the blame of America’s prisoner crisis away from lawmakers and onto Wall Street traders and corporate executives. In reality, though, all these corporations and their investors are doing is cleaning up a mess the U.S. government has created.

Here’s another way to think of it: If you clog your toilet and it starts to overflow, is it unethical for a plumber to profit off cleaning up your mess? If you crash your car, is it wrong for a body shop to make money off your accident? If you develop cavities, do you get mad at the dentist for drilling holes in your teeth?

No one likes having to call the plumber, no one likes going to the body shop, and no one likes visiting the dentist. No one likes having to send people to prisons, either. At the end of the day, though, none of these entities are actually responsible for the demand that calls for them to exist in the first place.

Simply put, shutting down private prisons won’t result in any fewer prisoners than we have today, nor will it improve prison quality. All it will do is shift the responsibility of imprisonment back into the hands of a government that was already failing to manage those prisoners in the first place.

Will Regulations Destroy Private Prison Stocks?

Of course, the question of “should” is completely separate from the question of “could.” The DOJ has consistently leaned to the left with Loretta Lynch as Attorney General and is known for misrepresenting data in order to push this agenda. Assuming that Clinton takes the presidency, it’s entirely probable that the current status quo will continue.

As the National Review has commented regarding the DOJ’s recent decision to begin shutting down private prisons at the federal level (emphasis mine):

The Department of Justice’s recent decision that the federal Bureau of Prisons should wind down its private-prison contracting was apparently based on private prisons’ bad record of safety and security violations relative to their public counterparts. It turns out, though, that the DOJ’s understanding of private prisons’ record is informed by a serious over-reading of faulty comparative studies, in particular a recent study by the Office of the Inspector General…. The IG report didn’t control for demographics, and it recognized that this made cost comparisons inadvisable.

The Justice Department, not sharing the IG report’s caution, went ahead and read too much into its results. Where the IG’s office hedged its conclusions with caveats about comparability and merely called for greater investigation, the DOJ memo made broad claims.

Based on this slim reed, Deputy AG Sally Yates ordered the BOP to “either decline to renew” contracts as they expired “or substantially reduce [their] scope.” It’s not clear whether the DOJ was relying on studies other than the IG report, but if it was, I’d like to see those studies: All available evidence does little to suggest that private prisons are worse than public prisons overall, or that they cost more.

In other words, there is not enough empirical evidence available today to give the edge to either public or private prisons in terms of cost and quality. This is a fact that’s widely recognized by academics. The DOJ isn’t waiting for actual evidence, though. It’s making conclusions off of studies that authors have specifically deemed inconclusive.

In a political environment where facts carry no real weight, this makes prison stocks such as Corrections Corp. of America (NYSE: CXW) and GEO Group (NYSE: GEO) especially risky investments. Under a Clinton presidency, it would be very difficult to recommend either company.

At the same time, though, a Trump presidency wouldn’t exactly turn out so well for private prisons, either. While “The Donald” would likely be a less hostile president to the free market, it’s exactly this positioning that makes him a threat to for-profit prisons.

How Trump Could Kill Private Prisons

According to recent data from the Federal Bureau of Prisons, over 50% of inmates currently in federal prison today are there for drug offenses. This percentage has risen consistently over the last several decades, from just 16% in 1970 (the war on drugs was declared in 1971).

Donald Trump has a long history of opposing the war on drugs. Having argued for broad legalization as early as 1990:

We’re losing badly the war on drugs. You have to legalize drugs to win that war. You have to take the profit away from these drug czars… What I’d like to do maybe by bringing it up is cause enough controversy that you get into a dialogue on the issue of drugs and you start to realize that this is the only answer; there is no other answer.

Trump has largely reaffirmed this sentiment during his presidential run, saying he supports medical cannabis “100 percent,” jointly suggesting that he would allow states to legalize without federal interference. No doubt, ending the drug war would be a major hit to the private prison industry, as it could effectively cut its addressable market significantly.

Drug crimes, though, aren’t the only source of revenue for private prisons. In fact, over half of private prison revenue today actually comes from holding facilities for undocumented immigrants. If Trump were to successfully reduce the number of illegal immigrants in the U.S., as he has strongly suggested he will do, then this, too, would be damaging to the private prison industry.

It seems, then, that whether Trump or Hillary makes it into the White House, prison stocks aren’t exactly the soundest investment right now.

 

Is There Any Hope for the Private Prison Industry?

As of today, private prisons have a major public relations problem, and for good reason. While not directly responsible for prison demand, the current contract structure inherently makes a higher prisoner population good for business.

This allows political figures to paint private prisons as evil corporations who want to lock up as many Americans as they possibly can. It makes the lobby and even Main Street investors look deplorable to anyone without a firm understanding of free market economics.

The only way to actually change this PR nightmare is to change the incentive. Instead of structuring contracts purely on a per-prisoner basis, monetary incentives need to be baked in for successful rehabilitation.

Efforts to institute such an incentive have been proposed before, specifically in the form of the Private Prisoner Rehabilitation (PPR) credit. A PPR credit is described in NYU Law Review as a “performance-based, refundable tax credit that incentivizes private prisons to address some of the key issues plaguing today’s criminal justice system.” These incentives would include conditional payments for benchmarks such as time out of prison (reduced recidivism) or employment status after release.

Of course, private prisons are just one end of the negotiation table. If we want private prisons to have more ethical monetary incentives, the government customer will ultimately need to demand those things, and at the right price. Until that happens, for-profit prisons are treading on thin ice.

Until next time,

JS Sig

Jason Stutman

Source: Will County News

Homer 33C Butler Dash raises funds for school projects, events

News Release

Homer CCSD 33C

Goodings Grove   Luther J. Schilling   William E. Young   William J. Butler

Hadley Middle   Homer Jr. High

Butler School students dash around the gym Friday for the school’s 7th Annual Butler Dash, a PTO fundraiser.

 

Contact: Charla Brautigam, Communications/Public Relations Manager

cbrautigam@homerschools.org | 708-226-7628

 

For Immediate Release:

Sept. 30, 2016

 

Students enjoy a snack after participating in the 7th Annual Butler Dash.

Butler Dash raises funds for school projects, events

 

A little rain couldn’t stop Butler School students from enjoying their 7th Annual Butler Dash on Friday (Sept. 30).

 

Students gathered in the school gymnasium (rather than the track) to complete their 13-minute dash, which was organized by the school’s Parent Teacher Organization.

 

The annual event promotes fitness while raising money for school projects and events.

 

“It is a fun way for kids to get involved in raising funds for their school,” say PTO members.

Butler School Principal Melissa Onesto laughs as students spray her with Silly String. The students who raised the most money for the school’s 7th Annual Butler Dash were rewarded with the opportunity

 

Students collected pledges from family, friends and neighbors, agreeing to run or walk laps on the big day.  Students who turned in a pledge form of $25 or more received a Butler Dash T-shirt to wear the day of the Dash.

 

Proceeds from the Dash will be used toward technology and fun PTO sponsored events at Butler School.

 

During each lunch period, Principal Melissa Onesto thanked students for their participation.

 

“Our goal was to raise $8,000,” she said, “and we exceeded that goal. Great job. We appreciate your hard work.”

 

The top earners from each grade level were rewarded with an opportunity to spray Onesto with Silly String.

 

 

Like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/homer33c?fref=ts&ref=br_tf

 

Source: Will County News

THE LEFT TO CHRISTIANS: YOUR TURN IN THE CLOSET

THE LEFT TO CHRISTIANS: YOUR TURN IN THE CLOSET

Exclusive: Linda Harvey warns of report making gender confusion a protected civil right

They want us to believe it’s “peaceful coexistence.” Others call it an unjust declaration of war.

The federal U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) just published a scandalous report that scorns authentic Christian faith and recommends severe restrictions of its full expression by American citizens – expression protected by the First Amendment.

The report, “Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling Nondiscrimination Principles with Civil Rights,” is another Washington agency telling Christians it’s their turn in the closet. Now that homosexuals and transvestites are “out,” their desires, plans, demands and delusions take priority.

Religious exemptions, the commission report contends, “infringe” on civil rights. But hold on. Commission Chairman Martin Castro in this report unlawfully equates “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” demands to legally established U.S civil rights. Actual U.S. civil rights law bars discrimination about race, color, religion, sex, national origin and disability status.

No law designates homosexuality and gender confusion as federally protected civil rights. Just like the disguise of a “drag queen,” the rationale for much of this report is a lie.

States that have foolishly passed homosexual and gender rebellion “non-discrimination” laws have their own civil rights agencies. Let those states invent bogus recommendations to further restrict citizens’ concerns over the mandatory embrace of “LGBT” behaviors, ramping up the use of law as a weapon to fine Christians, get them fired, or close their businesses.

But stop inventing non-existent federal law for these devious goals. Obama probably requested this USCCR report to complete his transformation of America.

Real people in real American life pay the price for such depraved nonsense. There’s a brave Christian employee of the federal government in Illinois, David Hall, who refused to attend workplace “LGBT” indoctrination training and has been suspended without pay from his position.

I wonder what federal statute the USCCR will illegitimately cite as his offense?

Hall works for the Champaign, Illinois, office of the Social Security Administration. He refused to watch a 17-minute “training” video that promotes homosexuality and gender confusion. His refusal, according to his statements to the media, was based on his Christian faith.

Why is he suspended? Who did he harm by his personal refusal to be subjected to indoctrination he knows he will disagree with?

Yet some will insist Hall’s exercise of his faith amounts to “discrimination.” Think about that. “Unless you allow us to indoctrinate you, or you agree to remain silent about what you really believe, then YOU are guilty of discrimination!”

This shoe is definitely on the wrong foot – and in relation to a federal agency, there is no law that should cost him his job.

The USCCR report signals a brazen intent to overstep its authority and presume that homosexuality and gender-bending behavior are “civil rights” akin to equality based on race or sex.

Let’s review this Commission’s stated purpose:

“Established as an independent, bipartisan, fact-finding federal agency, our mission is to inform the development of national civil rights policy and enhance enforcement of federal civil rights laws. We pursue this mission by studying alleged deprivations of voting rights and alleged discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, or national origin, or in the administration of justice.” [Emphasis added]

No mention of homosexual, bisexual, or gender-confused “rights” because they don’t exist in federal law.

This fascist report defends those who cling to these unnatural, chosen practices as “vulnerable” and in need of protection, and therefore, religious principle should not deny them the right to march into any forum, group, business, school, or church and make whatever demands they wish.

Vulnerable? That would describe today’s faithful Christian Americans – not proud sodomites.

And in case anyone believes USCCR’s recommended denial of religious freedom will end with the exit of Obama, Hillary Clinton’s statements indicate she’ll expand these anti-American, unconstitutional restrictions.

Source: Will County News