A few thoughts on why the Japanese handed over to the U.S. DHS in 2014 US$50,553,762 in fees (tax)

"Planning a trip to Hawaii? We want a cut of the action."
“Planning a trip to Hawaii are you? We want a cut of the action.”

In 2014, 1,510,938 Japanese tourists visited Hawaii spending an estimated daily average of US$276.00 per tourist for a total of US$275.2 million spent just on food and drink on the four major Hawaiian Islands. Total Japanese tourist expenditures in Hawaii during 2014, totaled an estimated US$2.4 billion. To cash in on this share of the loot spent traveling to Hawaii, as well as entering all US ports of entry, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2009 implemented its ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) program under the auspices of the “war on terrorism.”  ESTA registry is required for all Japanese citizens traveling to the U.S. even though not one single Japanese citizen has been arrested or charged with terrorism during the past 25 years. What is astonishing if one stops to consider this for a moment, is the idea of being forced out of convenience to request authorization from a corporation to travel, and then having to pay a tax for this authorization to travel is a commercial contract trade under color of public law to me.

Am I the only one who thinks this way or questions this corporate authority? Isn’t this sort of suggesting that under the ESTA requirements for authorization to travel, those 1,510,938 Japanese citizens who traveled to Hawaii in 2014, were considered “terrorists” (since September 11, 2001 there has not been a single act of terror on U.S. soil) by the DHS until they proved otherwise, and then paid a US$14 tax to prove their “non-terrorist” status? What if a Japanese citizen provided superior documentation he or she isn’t a terrorist which is ostensibly what the DHS is trying to determine before tourists arrive in Hawaii? Who is superior here under this corporate law by statute? The DHS corporation, or the Japanese citizen who comes in peace and is not a threat in any way shape or form and can demonstrate that? This entire system of taxation is fully automated and if you ask anyone, the only answer you will get is: “Well, we want to go to Hawaii so we’ll just pay the fee.”

ESTAUnder the ESTA registration program, all Japanese citizens including children are required to pay under color of public law to get ESTA authorization to enter the U.S. including Hawaii, a fee of US$14. This tax perfectly dovetailed to the “war on terror”, brought into the U.S. Department of Homeland Security coffers based on the 1,510,938 Japanese tourists who entered Hawaii, a whopping US$21,153,762 during 2014. In addition, another US$29,400,000 was pulled in based on the official 2.1 million Japanese who traveled to the mainland U.S. in 2014.  All together including travel to the mainland U.S. and Hawaii, DHS pulled in roughly US$50,553,762 million on the ESTA registry tax in 2014 just from Japan alone.

Since implemented in 2009, ESTA has brought in an estimated US$147 million in taxes in seven years and that’s just for Hawaii. With the internet and the ease of registering electronic data on Japanese citizens traveling to the US including to Hawaii, this makes the perfect vehicle for implementing another automated tax that can be easily gouged out of the traveling public. The Department of Homeland Security as some have claimed, is a private corporation operating under the color of public law. The Department of Homeland Security operates based on the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) to control and regulate commerce. When Japanese electronically register their personal information through the DHS’s ESTA registry, they are providing information that is a commercial transaction.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was created by Executive Order (E.O. 13228) and signed into law by President George Bush on October 8, 2001 one month after three buildings in New York were knocked down. On March 1, 2003 DHS absorbed the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and assumed its duties. In doing so, it divided the enforcement and services functions into two separate and new agencies: Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS). It should be made perfectly clear there are only two ways a corporation may define its operational procedures, “either (1) according to Bylaws as ratified by its members; or (2) according to policies as dictated by its Executive [currently President Obama] as Orders. Only private corporations may issue Executive Orders”. Since E.O. 13228 was signed into law creating the Department of Homeland Security in 2001, does this mean DHS is a private corporation established by an E.O.? And if DHS is a private corporation acting under the color of public law, why are Japanese citizens paying a private corporation a fee (tax) for authorization to travel?

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is a mammoth bureaucracy with an annul budget of US$98 billion with roughly 180,000 employees and 200,000 private contractors (PMCs) making it one of the largest bureaucracies in the world. That US$98 billion a year budget is more than the entire defense budget of the Russian military with a budget of around U$69.3 billion (2013).

Criticisms of the DHS include but certainly not limited to:

“The Department of Homeland Security has received substantial criticism over excessive bureaucracy, waste, fraud, ineffectiveness and lack of transparency. Its information sharing centers have been accused of violating American civil liberties and targeting American citizens as potential threats to national security.”

Now, my question is: considering these legitimate criticisms of one of the largest bureaucracies in the world of any government (ostensibly government because private and public bureaucracies have morphed into this no-man’s-land of bureaucratic tyranny), what would prevent the DHS’s ESTA program from being selective by targeting individuals for harassment for any reason one could possibly imagine, by having access to all this data on individuals traveling to the US coming into American ports of entry? What if you were an Italian journalist and you wrote an investigative piece on the corruption going on inside the DHS? You could potentially be targeted upon entry into the US by DHS agents for harassment.

Here’s another example, you’re on a team of British KPMG accounting auditors hired to do the books on the Department of Homeland Security and DHS people know you’re coming to do an audit. How would the British auditors be met at entry into the U.S.? The DHS independent auditor is KPMG, one of the Big Four audit firms. And interestingly enough, due to the level of “material weaknesses identified”, KPMG were unable to audit the DHS financial statements for FY2010. Furthermore, KPMG was “unable to make an audit opinion on FY2009, FY2008, FY2007, FY2005, and FY2003 financial statements”.

Enjoy your trip to Hawaii… .

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