Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Another Rumsfeld legacy?

Aspartame Recall: A Message Congress Cannot Ignore
by Dr. Betty Martini, D. Hum
December 2006


Aspartame interacts with drugs and vaccines causing thousands of deaths, but instead of looking for the problem Congress has passed a new law exonerating the pharmaceutical industry from any liability. In the United Kingdom, the Honorable Roger Williams, a member of Parliament, has demanded a ban. And Robin Goodwin petitioned for a ban in the Falklands after his wife sustained a brain tumor and his daughter suffered seizures for 18 years until he found out aspartame was the culprit, and removal stopped the problem. Not wanting to wait for delays due to politics, he simply wrote every single citizen of the Falklands and aspartame products now rot on the shelves.

Congress has failed us in three congressional hearings. Senators like Orin Hatch were given money by Monsanto. Now, Congress has let us down again, giving the pharmaceutical industry a green card to be unconcerned with disability and death because they are no longer liable for any such injuries. Congress should instead echo the courageous words of State Senator Ortiz y Pino, who put the problem of lobbyists and aspartame in vivid perspective.

At the same time, consumer organizations must educate the World as a counter to the blind eye that the FDA has turned to the issue. The FDA has all too easily adopted an anti-health position on aspartame ever since it became the pharmaceutical industry’s Washington Branch Office.

Read the entire article (especially as it pertains to children)

Found at Rense.com

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Let's start getting it right

Have you heard about the outrageous electronic voting machine meltdown in Florida?

Voting machines appear to have flat-out lost 18,000 votes for Congress—votes almost certain to change the outcome of a close House race in Sarasota.

This election meltdown demonstrates the insanity of paperless voting machines. There's no way to recount the votes short of holding a new election. Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi—along with Republican and Democratic leaders—are deciding now if Congress will tolerate this broken election or call for a new one.

Join me in signing this petition urging Congress to call for a re-vote in Sarasota, Florida and to repair our nation's elections. Take a look at:http://pol.moveon.org/floridaelection/

No matter what party you're for, we can all agree we need to repair our broken election system.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Proper perspective

The following is an excerpt from an article in Nation on-line, and it should be required reading for every American. My hat is off to Major Bill Edmonds, and my respect for him is immense. Please read the entire article...

A Soldier's Story
Major Bill Edmonds

For just a minute or two, step into my life. I am an American soldier in the Army Special Forces. I have just returned from a one-year tour of duty in Iraq, where I lived, shared meals, slept and fought beside my Iraqi counterpart as we battled insurgents in the center of a thousand-year-old city. I am a conflicted man, and I want you to read the story of that experience as I lived it. In the interest of security, I have omitted some identifying details, but every word is true.

Routine and Ritual

I wake in the cold and dark of each morning to the sound of a hundred different muezzins calling Muslim men and women to prayer. These calls reverberate five times per day throughout a city the size of San Francisco. Above this sound I also hear two American helicopters making their steady patrol over the rooftops of the city and the blaring horns of armored vehicles as they swerve through dense city traffic. As a combat adviser and interrogator, I find these contrasts very appropriate for the life that I now lead.

This morning, on the Iraqi base in which I live, I walk 100 feet from my bedroom to work and back again. These are the same 100 feet I will travel month after month for one year. During every trip I smile, put a hand to my heart, sometimes a hand to my head, and say to every passing Iraqi the religious and cultural words that are expected from a fellow human being. In Iraq, one cannot separate Islamic culture from the individual. They are intrinsically woven into the fabric of daily life, but for most Westerners, they seem abnormal. I sit in smoke-filled rooms and drink sugar-laden tea in small crystal glasses. I spray tobacco-scented air freshener, kiss cheeks three times or more, allow the Iraqi on the right to pass through the doorway first. I know never to inquire on the health of a wife or elder daughter. I even hold hands with other men.

Read the entire story

Turning "can do" into doo doo

Census Counts 100,000 Contractors in Iraq

Civilian Number, Duties Are Issues
By Renae Merle

Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 5, 2006; D01

There are about 100,000 government contractors operating in Iraq, not counting subcontractors, a total that is approaching the size of the U.S. military force there, according to the military's first census of the growing population of civilians operating in the battlefield.

The survey finding, which includes Americans, Iraqis and third-party nationals hired by companies operating under U.S. government contracts, is significantly higher and wider in scope than the Pentagon's only previous estimate, which said there were 25,000 security contractors in the country.

It is also 10 times the estimated number of contractors that deployed during the Persian Gulf War in 1991, reflecting the Pentagon's growing post-Cold War reliance on contractors for such jobs as providing security, interrogating prisoners, cooking meals, fixing equipment and constructing bases that were once reserved for soldiers.

Official numbers are difficult to find, said Deborah D. Avant, author of the 2005 book "The Market for Force: The Consequences of Privatizing Security," but an estimated 9,200 contractors deployed during the Gulf War, a far shorter conflict without reconstruction projects. "This is the largest deployment of U.S. contractors in a military operation," said Avant, an associate professor at George Washington University.

In addition to about 140,000 U.S. troops, Iraq is now filled with a hodgepodge of contractors. DynCorp International has about 1,500 employees in Iraq, including about 700 helping train the police force. Blackwater USA has more than 1,000 employees in the country, most of them providing private security. Kellogg, Brown and Root, one of the largest contractors in Iraq, said it does not delineate its workforce by country but that it has more than 50,000 employees and subcontractors working in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait. MPRI, a unit of L-3 Communications, has about 500 employees working on 12 contracts, including providing mentors to the Iraqi Defense Ministry for strategic planning, budgeting and establishing its public affairs office. Titan, another L-3 division, has 6,500 linguists in the country.


Monday, December 04, 2006

Returning Veterans being thrown away

Excerpt from Steve Gillard

Why is there such a lack of compassion? Because no one wants to look in the mirror. If the Army admits they have a PTSD epidemic, they could be responsible for thousands of soldiers life long medical care, with 100 percent disability. Instead, they deny the problem, blame the victims and keep costs down. Years later, when these discharges are upgraded, many of these soldiers will have suffered for years.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Two years to "unfix" the system

Welcome to Election Defense Alliance

EDA Press Release / Nov. 17, 2006

Landslide Denied!

Major Miscount in 2006 Election: Were 4% of Votes "Misplaced"?

Election Defense Alliance, a national election integrity organization, issued an urgent call today for an investigation into the 2006 election results and a moratorium on deployment of all electronic voting equipment after analysis of national exit polling data indicated a major undercount of Democratic votes and an overcount of Republican votes in congressional races across the country. These findings are an alarming indictment of the American election system in which 80% of voters used electronic voting equipment.


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Non political request for help

RED LAKE, MINN. - Authorities believe they have ruled out an abduction by a relative in the disappearance of two young brothers.
Tristan White, 4, and Avery Stately, 2, disappeared the day before Thanksgiving after going to play outside their house on the Red Lake Indian Reservation. Major ground searches failed to find the boys.
FBI spokesman Paul McCabe said more than 200 leads have been pursued since the boys disappeared, with hundreds of interviews conducted.
"We feel fairly confident that no relatives have the children, as we've been able to track down all the immediate family and next-line relatives," McCabe said in an interview Tuesday on WCCO-AM in Minneapolis.
The FBI last week offered a $20,000 reward for information that leads to the boys.
The boys, both American Indian, have short brown hair and brown eyes. Tristan was described as 3 feet 6 and wearing a dark blue Spider-Man jacket with yellow trim, Levis jeans and black and gray winter boots. Avery was described as 2 feet tall and wearing a gray pullover sweatshirt that says "Timberland" on the front, faded Levi's jeans and Spider-Man tennis shoes.


Friday, November 24, 2006

The rabid dogs of war

A reckoning is coming on depleted uranium munitions because the damage done to our returning Veterans and their families is increasing exponentially with every passing day...yet the Pentagon is fighting hard to keep the truth covered up.

Ignore this issue at your own peril for none of us are safe from the fallout of a single exploded DU munition, and the US exploded 300 tons of this crap during the first Gulf War.

Entertain the possibilities by exploring this website. You might consider packing a lunch as it could be a long stay to absorb the entire story of the ruination of our most precious resource.

How can we possibly forgive?

The true value of a politician remains to be seen as the new Democratically controlled Congress is sworn in this coming January, and the pervasive evil inherent in the current ruling cartel is slowly exposed through investigations and hearings. I am hopeful that the incoming Congress will actually represent the interests and well being of the Nation and the World.

There are many reasons that “business as usual” must be drastically and forever changed as soon as possible, and I would like to emphasize two of them… the criminal lack of responsibility perpetrated on America and the World by the Military Industrial Complex and corporations like Monsanto.

Jeff Rense at rense.com exhibits a treasure trove of information that will never see the light of day in the main stream media as long as that media is under the control of organizations and corporations that are complicit in perpetuating the ills that plague our current society.

The issue of Depleted Uranium has been downplayed since the Gulf War instigated by Herbert Walker Bush, but has wreaked havoc on the health of the world.

This link will take you to a series of ten minute videos that shed an immense amount of light on the DU problem, and every citizen should take a vow to learn as much as possible about this issue. Watch the videos!

This link will take you to an article re-posted at rense.com about the additives that have been forced into our food chain by Monsanto and the politicians they obviously own. If you have children and/or grandchildren, you MUST become a knowledgeable activist regarding the safety of the food that determines the quality of life for our current and all future generations. Read the article!

It is my deepest desire that the incoming Congress will act quickly and decisively to reverse the trend of viewing the populace as a throw-away society to be used until no longer useful to the corporations, and then discarded with nary a backward glance. The list of criminal co-conspirators is longer than my imagination can conceive, and they all need to be brought to account…beginning with George W. Bush and his current Administration.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Setting up future elections: opinion or factual?

I find it extremely interesting that the cable news pundits (and others) are so capable of explaining why the results of the mid-term election finalized the way it did, with Democratic gains and Republican losses.

James Pinkerton (on Huffington Post) tries to explain his take on how “Reagan Democrats” will change the world with their voting patterns. For some reason, he doesn’t mention the fact that trends are not really creditable unless the election results are consistently accurate over a span of multiple elections.

Let’s assume that election confidence could be established with some simple steps, and realistic trends could then be established based on the true values and desires of the American voter. I seriously wonder how much we would continue to rely on the educated opinions of political pundits being paid high dollars for their work.

The following excerpt explains how to lay the foundation for getting to the trend phase:

AN END TO "FAITH-BASED" VOTING:Computer Security and Statistical Analysts Describe a Simple and Powerful alternative


Today the Election Defense Alliance released a report describing the practical implementation details of a simple, unimpeachable method for ensuring the accuracy of electronic voting systems by a public handcount of paper ballot records. This “Universal Precinct-Based Handcount Sample” (UPS) is a simple, feasible method of hand-counting a sample of paper ballot records in-precinct, on election night, by citizens themselves. It not only returns oversight of elections to the American people, where it rightfully belongs, the UPS is also far more accurate than alternative election audit proposals—where only a few percent of precincts are hand-counted, often in secret, and always after the fact. (Download the full report at www.electiondefensealliance.org/UPS.pdf )

The simple, practical UPS validation approach detects fraud or error from any source altering the electronic tally by as little as one percent (1%) with a minimum ninety-nine percent (99%) level of confidence.

In our current political climate, any challenge to a corrupt election must be timely and have very strong justification, or candidates risk being labeled “sore losers” and accompanying ridicule. The UPS validation, by virtue of being accurate to such a high degree of confidence, enables any candidate of any party to contest any Outcome-altering problems with the electronic tally. And since the UPS hand count is done in-precinct on election night, its findings would be available on election night, enabling candidates in federal or statewide elections to challenge a corrupted tally before the election’s outcome becomes a foregone conclusion in the mind of the public, and before the results are officially certified.

The report describes the specific means of effectively conducting a public hand count of 10% of the paper ballot records in 100% of the precincts in federal and statewide races. The UPS is to be conducted “in-precinct” on election night, by citizens representing all concerned political parties, and open to general public observation. Because it is conducted in-precinct, the UPS avoids the difficult task of protecting the chain of custody of paper ballot records in 180,000 U.S. precincts. In fact, all the alternative after-the-fact “spot-audit” schemes (such as HR 550, often referred to as the Holt bill) impose this monumental burden – since in all those protocols, all precincts must safeguard ballot records until just a few percent are “randomly chosen” some time after the election. Integrity of the chain of custody will be especially suspect, of course, in just those suspect elections which such audits are proposed to safeguard. Since a 10% hand-count sample would be drawn in 100% of precincts on election night, the UPS also eases the transition to decentralized, citizen-monitored hand-count verifications of elections, placing responsibility for the integrity of the vote count in the hands of the American people, where it rightfully belongs.

Most importantly, the UPS is inherently resistant to manipulation. The report describes how any attempt to systematically manipulate the UPS audit would be extraordinarily difficult to conduct and to conceal. Not only would it require a very large number of participants, any effort to skew the 10% paper hand count in favor of a candidate would be very likely to increase the overall discrepancy, not decrease it. The UPS provides a simple, effective, and vastly more powerful alternative for election validation than does the proposed HR 550 audit, and all such “spot-audit” proposals. The UPS provides a decentralized hand count, reduces chain of custody concerns and provides citizens and candidates a clear and timely warning of fraud or error. Therefore Election Defense Alliance recommends UPS as an alternative to the HR 550 audit.

In order to restore and maintain citizen trust in the integrity of American democracy, it is critical that wherever electronic vote tallying is performed, paper ballot records must always be produced and must always be checked by the best possible “security mechanism” – the American people, working together in public.

Read the rest

Feeling comfy about the mid-term results?

Now that the Democrats have regained control of the House and apparent control of the Senate, are you once again confused about the supposed voter fraud being perpetrated on the American voter?

You might think that the system has been repaired to the point that it finally reflects the will of the people because the Democratic Party has emerged victorious in a multitude of races, but how are you going to feel when the situation reverses in 2008…and another Republican candidate and his corporate cabinet forces their way into the White House?

I could actually deal with that scenario if I was confident that it accurately reflected the intent of the voting public, but it won’t… unless the return to paper ballots (optically scanned) with hand counted audits and precinct posted tallies becomes the new reality in every precinct in the Nation.

Check out this 18 minute video:

Help America Vote on paper

There is a desperate need to become even more vocal about returning the election process to the people, and removing it from the control of the corporations. You can learn much more here.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

War Profiteering

Dear Brave New Supporters,
When we started in January, war profiteering was a subject that desperately needed attention. It was a story that wasn't being told and the issue cried out for exposing. And then this past Sunday November 12 the issue was front and center on page one of the New York Times and all over the news. In different and various permutations, the headlines all read that there will be hearings, there will be oversight, questions will be asked. The profiteers will be exposed.
Is amazing too strong of a word? It is a result of all your efforts.. Your support of Iraq for Sale and the issue of war profiteering has been remarkable.
So, thank you to the volunteer researchers who worked in secret to get us key information.
Thank you to the thousands of screening hosts who made over 4,000 official screenings happen.
Thank you to the Patriots Against War Profiteering who donated 8,500 DVDs to libraries, schools, and military installations around the country and around the world so this film can be seen by as wide an audience as possible. Read some responses from folks who received the film, like that of Army Medic Dan Walsh who wrote to us while serving in Iraq “This stuff needs to be known by the average American."
Thank you to Senator Dorgan, his staff and the Democratic Policy Committee who hosted hearings in DC on this issue- and invited people in Iraq for Sale to participate and share their stories. You can watch video of the hearings at the DPC website.
Thank you to the elected officials like Senator Harry Reid, Senator John Kerry, and Congressman James Clyburn who used the film to call attention to the issue and the need for oversight and accountability in the war.
Thank you to all the candidates who ran for office in last week's election - like Jim Webb, who saw the film and immediately agreed to introduce it at our DC premiere and then organized over 100 screenings in Virginia- and candidates across the country like Sherrod Brown and Bernie Sanders who used the film in their campaigns and urged voters to choose a new path.
Thank you to the folks at UNITE HERE who hosted hundreds of screenings across the Mid-West and reached thousands of union members with the film.
Thank you to the heroes and heroines in the military, like Sergeant Jon LaCore who wrote to us after watching the film in Iraq. In his letter he said, "I'm anxious to see if a change in the House and Senate will bring about a change here in Iraq." And, looking at the Sunday paper, it looks as though he may get to see change happen.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The truth about troop support

(Excerpt) Hat tip to leftedgenorth

Cutting to the chase -- and, perhaps more than anything I've seen in recent years, truly defining the difference between the two parties -- is that the worst grade received by a Senate Democrat was higher than the best grade granted a Republican. GOP-lite Ben Nelson (D-NE) received the lowest grade of any Democrat with a B- while Lincoln Chafee (R-RI), Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Arlen Specter (R-PA) managed a C grade from IAVA.

And, when I averaged the scores of both the Democratic and Republican caucuses by assigning the numeric midpoint of the letter grade received by each Senator, which party truly supports the troops was made remarkably clear: The 44 Democrats and Jeffords had an average military-support grade of B+, while the 55 Republicans, who beat their chests with disgusting regularity about how strong they are on military issues, averaged a pathetic D.

And how about the guys Americans will be voting on in two weeks? Republican Senator Mike DeWine -- you know, he's the guy who starts one of his campaign's television ads with "While they're fighting for us abroad, he's fighting for them at home" -- came in with a D+. His opponent, Democrat Sherrod Brown, was given a B rating for his military votes in the House, despite DeWine's bogus claim in an October 1 Meet the Press debate that Brown "has voted against funding for the military when it really counted."

Let's look at some of the other GOP stalwarts trying to keep their Senate seats this year by telling voters how much they fight for military families. George Allen (R-VA), Conrad Burns (R-MT) and James Talent (R-MO) couldn't manage to get over a D+. John Ensign (R-NV), Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Rick Santorum (R-PA) were all rated a lowly D- by the largest group dedicated to the troops and Veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Of course, of those Republican Senators, only Burns has actually served in the military himself.

And here's more stunning hypocrisy: In May, 2006, while giving a speech at the Nevada Republican Convention, Mr. D-minus himself, John Ensign, said "Democratic leaders like Nancy Pelosi and Ted Kennedy -- let me tell you, I say this without reservation -- they have hurt our military" and, of Kennedy, Ensign once said "Every time Ted Kennedy gets up and speaks (against the war) he undermines our troops."

Pelosi and Kennedy both received a B+ rating from IAVA.

Click here to read the entire article

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Republican anal leak

$15,000 Buys a Lifetime Membership to Mitch McConnell's Quid Pro Quo Club

If the Republicans manage to keep control of the Senate — and that's a big if — Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican who currently serves as Majority Whip, is poised to ascend to Majority Leader, as Bill Frist retires at the end of his term. In anticipation of this possibility, the Lexington Herald-Leader, has been investigating the Senator for the past six months and published its findings in a lengthy article yesterday. What did the Herald-Leader discover? A “nexus between his actions and his donors' agendas. He pushes the government to help cigarette makers, Las Vegas casinos, the pharmaceutical industry, credit card lenders, coal mine owners and others.”

McConnell is one of the GOP's more prolific fundraisers and has personally raised close to $220 million for his party over the course of his career. Marshall Whitman, a onetime aide to John McCain, told the paper: “He's completely dogged in his pursuit of money. That's his great love, above everything else.” Former Senator Alan Simpson said that “when he asked for money, his eyes would shine like diamonds. He obviously loved it.” Apparently McConnell was so intent on building up the GOP's warchest that he sold memberships to something called the “Senate Republican Inner Circle.” A donation of $15,000 bought wealthy individuals a lifetime membership (members could also pay $2,000 a year), which carried with it access to “the men who are shaping the Senate agenda.”

"Americans are big on rewards these days. Financial rewards in the stock market -- cash rewards on your credit cards -- luxurious rewards in the travel industry," McConnell wrote in one invitation. "But a special group of Americans is experiencing one of the greatest reward programs ever, because they took the initiative to become a Life Member of the Inner Circle."
Those rewards are greatly anticipated by corporate leaders who want a say in Senate decisions. After the Inner Circle welcomed Geoffrey Bible, chief executive at Philip Morris, he sent a copy of the announcement to his aides.
"So now I'm in," Bible wrote in the margin. "See if we can make the most of it."

When the paper questioned McConnell on his “inner circle,” the senator downplayed its significance, telling the Herald-Leader that “they want their picture taken with you; that's all it amounts to.” Hmmm. It's just a hunch, but something tells me that Bible and other members of McConnell's quid pro quo club were paying for more than just photo-ops.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Acknowledging our most precious asset

If you happened to read the Sunday Comics yesterday, you might have noticed that the Doonesbury strip had a reference to “the Sandbox” at Doonesbury.com. This is a place where we can read what is on the minds of our military people in and out of theater.

If you thought about checking it out, but didn’t for one reason or another, I advise you to check it out now. We will never be treated to a deeper slice of truth than the words cobbled together by our front line war fighters.

Here is the link.

Pass it around.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Some great news from Florida

12-13-06: Paper Ballots Gaining Momentum - Court Decision, New Guidelines, New Book

THIS JUST IN: Sarasota (FL) judge rules in favor of group seeking paper ballots.

Also in this article: Democracy for New Hampshire issues new "We're Counting the Votes" booklet which includes accepted protocols for Hand Counted Paper Ballots.

And: A book making the case for hand counted paper ballots has now been published.

Court decision first:

Though it hasn't hit the Web as of the time of this posting, Black Box Voting has received the following report:

quote: - From Sarasota Herald Tribune September 13. 2006, 12:52PM


"Sarasota Association for Fair Elections, a group of activists concerned about the reliability of the county's touch screen voting system, won its case to have voters decide whether the county should have a back-up paper ballot system."

"The group gathered enough signatures to get the issue on the ballot in November, but the county refused, saying the proposal was unconstitutional because it conflicts wit... More

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Start building the gallows

Whistle-blower slams Iraq contractor

By DEBORAH HASTINGS, AP National WriterFri Sep 8, 5:05 PM ET

Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root charged millions to the government for recreational services never provided to U.S. troops in Iraq, including giant tubs of chicken wings and tacos, a widescreen TV, and cheese sticks meant for a military Super Bowl party, according to a federal whistle-blower suit unsealed Friday.

Instead, the suit alleges, KBR used the military's supplies for its own football party.

Filed last year in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., by former KBR employee Julie McBride, the lawsuit claims the giant defense contractor billed the government for thousands of meals it never served, inflated the number of soldiers using its fitness and Internet centers, and regularly siphoned off great quantities of supplies destined for American soldiers.

McBride was hired by KBR in 2004 as a "morale, welfare and recreation" coordinator at Camp Fallujah, a Marine installation about 35 miles west of Baghdad. She was fired the next year after making several complaints about KBR's accounting practices, the suit says, and was kept under guard until she was escorted to an airplane and flown out of the country.

Halliburton denied McBride's allegations.

"The claims included in this lawsuit clearly demonstrate a complete misinterpretation of facts as well as a lack of understanding of KBR's contractual agreements with its customer," said company spokeswoman Melissa Norcross in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

The Super Bowl incident occurred in January 2005, the suit said. "McBride witnessed a large amount of food that was ordered specifically for a Super Bowl party for the military" taken instead to the company's lodgings. "About 10 large metal tubs full of tacos, chicken wings, (and) cheese sticks were taken from the military party site to a KBR camp for a KBR Super Bowl Party for KBR employees," according to the complaint. A widescreen TV was also removed.

McBride worked 12-hour shifts, seven days a week, at Camp Fallujah's recreation center, where the government was billed according to the number of soldiers using the contractor's facilities, which included a weight room, video games, Internet cafe, a library and phone bank, the suit says. She alleges that KBR deliberately overstated the number of military personnel using its services by counting the same person several times. For example, a person who used a computer was counted as one. If that person went on the weight room, another count was added to the list of patrons.

"It wasn't double-dipping, but triple dipping or even quadruple billing," the suit claims.

Attorney Alan Grayson, who represents McBride, said "millions of dollars have been submitted by Halliburton for recreational services" not provided.

The "qui tam" suit, filed under the federal False Claims Act, allows citizens to sue on behalf of the government against contractors who make false claims for payment. The plaintiffs are eligible to receive a percentage of awarded damages, which are tripled in this type of suit.

Such suits are usually sealed for 60 days while the Justice Department investigates the claims and decides whether the U.S. Attorney's office will sign on as a co-plaintiff.

The Justice Department declined comment Friday on why it chose not to participate in McBride's suit.

McBride is not the first Halliburton employee to allege fraudulent billing practices. The company has steadfastly denied wrongdoing.

Rory Mayberry, who worked for KBR in 2004, testified from Iraq via videotape to a group of Democratic members of Congress investigating contractor fraud.

As food manager at another military camp in Iraq, Mayberry said he witnessed KBR employees serving spoiled food to American troops, including food from trucks that had been bombed and shot at. Workers were told to pick out the shrapnel, and then serve the food, Mayberry testified.

He also claimed KBR charged the government for meals it never served.

In July 2004, former KBR planner Marie DeYoung testified before the House Committee on Government Reform. She said she witnessed "significant waste and overpricing" while working for the contractor in Kuwait, including paying a subcontractor $100 per 15 pounds of laundry, costs which were passed on to the government.

Halliburton, which holds more than 50 percent of rebuilding contracts in Iraq, was headed by Dick Cheney before he took office as vice president. He has denied any government favoritism toward his former company.

Found on HuffPo

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Fart Jokes?

Headline 2000

In an attempt to pass gas, the Supreme Court of the United States lifted a collective cheek and crapped in the Oval Office. The resulting reek is expected to remain intensively offensive through the campaign season of 2008, and linger thereafter until the crap and corruption has been replaced by a new administration.

Terror Storm

To counter the docu-fairy-tale to be aired by ABC, please take some time to treat yourself to a fact based video from infowars.com.
You deserve a reality based look at the issue of 9/11.

Terror Storm is a little less than two hours long.
View it here.

Team up with some friends, and purchase one of the packages available on infowars.com.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Fourth Estate, or Rove strap-on?

Media Misses the Point On C.I.A. Leak Story

But whatever Mr. Armitage did, or says he did, in no way alters what Mr. Rove and Mr. Libby did in the days that followed, nor does it change their intentions. It’s a simple concept—two people or more can commit a similar act for entirely different reasons—but evidently it has flummoxed the great minds of contemporary journalism.

In this instance, Mr. Armitage says he was merely “gossiping” with Mr. Novak, who seems to have been primed to question him about the Wilson affair. But both Mr. Rove and Mr. Libby sought to undermine Joe Wilson’s credibility—and perhaps to victimize him and his wife—by planting information about Valerie Wilson with two reporters. Mr. Rove gave that information to Time reporter Matt Cooper, who got confirmation from Mr. Libby. And Mr. Libby provided the same poisonous tip to New York Times reporter Judith Miller.

Almost from the beginning of his investigation in December 2003, Mr. Fitzgerald has known about the blabby Armitage, who at least came clean promptly. But Mr. Fitzgerald, a Bush appointee of impeccable reputation, understood that the Armitage confession was of limited relevance—and it didn’t discourage the special counsel from conducting a thorough probe that uncovered a secretive, high-level effort, emanating from the office of Vice President Dick Cheney, to discredit Joe Wilson and to use his wife’s two decades of undercover work for her country as a weapon against him. Indeed, the only reason Mr. Armitage knew about Valerie Wilson was that he had read a negative dossier on Joe Wilson prepared at the behest of Mr. Libby.

Read the entire article

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

See Dick Run

Interesting video…

Some people just can’t figure out how to make life better for the working class in America… or they aren’t really interested in that.

Thanks to bartcop.com for the heads up

Saturday, September 02, 2006


Blackwater: Soldiers Or Contractors?

In connection with the news that Blackwater, the huge private security company, has lost its bid to keep a lawsuit in connection with its Iraq operations out of federal court, take a look at Barry Yeoman's early coverage of the company in Mother Jones. This story, reported before the invasion of Iraq, notes that Blackwater's business has been growing by leaps and bounds because the military increasingly prefers to have contractors do the work of soldiers.

When the companies do screw up, however, their status as private entities often shields them -- and the government -- from public scrutiny. [...] "Under a shroud of secrecy, the United States is carrying out military missions with people who don't have the same level of accountability," says Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), a leading congressional critic of privatized war. "We have individuals who are not obligated to follow orders or follow the Military Code of Conduct. Their main obligation is to their employer, not to their country."

Ironically, Blackwater is now citing a program designed to protect the military--the Defense Base Act, which provides benefits to the families of soldiers killed on the battlefield--to argue that it can't be held liable by the families of four of its contractors who were killed in Fallujah in 2003 (after, the families say, being sent into a warzone unprepared and unequipped).

Thursday, August 31, 2006

He wanted to be what he isn’t

We respectfully reject the official explanation

I recently read an article showing images of war devastated areas in the Middle East that had been doctored by adding items such as a child’s teddy bear to enhance the emotional impact of the picture. Nothing was mentioned about the impact of finding an undamaged passport on the street below the World Trade Center after it was destroyed, or finding other incriminating documents as if they were placed to insure that credit for a deed was not misplaced. It is interesting that the media is so knowledgeable in the area of ”enhancing the obvious”, and it begs to question how the “news” about issues and situations is routinely manipulated to help the consumer arrive at a predetermined conclusion about the truth.

We, the consumers of news, have learned to accept rather than question, and that learning has been exploited handsomely by the power conglomerate that has been entrusted to make decisions and policy on our behalf. If you are familiar with the (party poker) advertisement showing a woman convincing her husband that “another” meteor found its way to the hood of her car while she was stopped at a light, you have been exposed to the mentality of the folks running this Government at the present time. They are sitting at the final table with a seven two off suit and all their money in the pot… and they are desperately trying to convince you that they hold the absolute nuts.

When you can turn the system upside down, the ability to confuse any issue, or hide the truth about any hideous act becomes your obvious best ally.

The best ally we, the people, have is open and honest debate. The fact that honorable people have come to differing conclusions is not at all a bad thing so long as all aspects of an issue are placed on the table for discussion. It is only in that environment that our minds can function as designed… and a well informed decision arrived at.

It is way past time to apply this concept to the 9/11 events, and to the issue of corruption in the political process, including using corporate money and voting machines to alter the will of the people in the election process.

Where annual elections end, there slavery begins
~ President John Adams

A link from Lionheart

When an election is stolen in Florida, Ohio, or any of the other United States, the reaction is slow to build (but it is building). When an election is stolen in Mexico, the reaction is a little more intense, and visible.

Check out this blog for more information.

Sad..sad news

The former Giuliani administration aide found strangled in a million-dollar Manhattan apartment was killed by a male prostitute he picked up for $40 in cocaine, sources said yesterday.
Edwin Ramos, 26, who came across Martín Barreto, 48, during a chance meeting on the street and agreed to go home with him in exchange for the drug, told cops he crushed the victim's larynx after objecting to a form of kinky sex, sources said.
"It was bad luck," a police source said. "He picked the wrong guy to take home."
The tattooed suspect gave a sorry excuse for the killing, according to Bernard Cosenza, deputy inspector of the Manhattan South detective squad.
"He said he didn't mean it," Cosenza said.
Read the rest of the story

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

When God speaks to Liberals...they listen!

Check out this "free energy concept"

The Energy Project

In 2003 Steorn undertook a project to develop more efficient micro generators. Early into this project the company developed certain generator configurations that appeared to be over 100% efficient. Further investigation and development has led to the company’s current technology, a technology that produces free energy. The technology is patent pending.

Our Technology and the Laws of Physics

Steorn’s technology produces free, clean and constant energy. This provides a significant range of benefits, from the convenience of never having to refuel your car or recharge your mobile phone, to a genuine solution to the need for zero emission energy production. It also provides a secure supply of energy, since the components of the technology are readily available.

The technology is in a constant state of development. The company has focused for the past three years on increasing power output and the development of test systems that allow detailed analysis to be performed.

Steorn’s technology appears to violate the ‘Principle of the Conservation of Energy’, considered by many to be the most fundamental principle in our current understanding of the universe. This principle is stated simply as ‘energy can neither be created nor destroyed, it can only change form’.

Steorn is making three claims for its technology:

1. The technology has a coefficient of performance greater than 100%.
2. The operation of the technology (i.e. the creation of energy) is not derived from the degradation of its component parts.
3. There is no identifiable environmental source of the energy (as might be witnessed by a cooling of ambient air temperature).

The sum of these claims is that our technology creates free energy.

This represents a significant challenge to our current understanding of the universe and clearly such claims require independent validation from credible third parties. During 2005 Steorn embarked on a process of independent validation and approached a wide selection of academic institutions. The vast majority of these institutions refused to even look at the technology, however several did. Those who were prepared to complete testing have all confirmed our claims; however none will publicly go on record.

In early 2006 Steorn decided to seek validation from the scientific community in a more public forum, and as a result have published the challenge in The Economist. The company is seeking a jury of twelve qualified experimental physicists to define the tests required, the test centres to be used, monitor the analysis and then publish the results.

Steorn has decided to publish its challenge in The Economist because of the breadth of its readership. "We chose it over a purely scientific magazine simply because we want to make the general public aware that this process is about to commence and to generate public support, awareness, interest etc for what we are doing."

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Are you a reluctant contributor?

Unsolicited phone calls

Even though my phone number is listed with the National Do Not Call Registry, I begin receiving calls for bogus solicitations early in election cycles, and the calls increase in frequency as the election approaches.
Is there any connection between these bogus charities and our friends scrambling to financially support their favorite political sleazebag?
All I can say is “do not make contributions over the phone”. Have the caller send you some verifiable information in the mail before you decide to support. If they don’t already have your address, they are probably not local anyway, so you might be smarter to simply hang up the phone.
When you find a number on your caller ID that you don’t recognize, run a google search on it. If it is one of those “under the rock” GOP solicitation stations, you can probably figure it out by the search results.
Google was kind enough to show me the following for 800-557-1454:


Date: September 1, 2004



Each year, this alert goes out to our region regarding the McGruff House, and how it handles its funding as an organization. PLEASE be aware of this yearly issue that comes up, and CHECK FIRST with The Local BBB and the official and legitimate ORGANIZATION before DONATING!

Yesterday, a woman contacted us at The Local BBB stating that she received a call from the Washington State Law Enforcement Association soliciting donations for the McGruff House. The number that came up on the woman's Caller ID was: (800) 557-1454.

When the BBB Customer Service Representative placed that number into the BBB National Database at: www.bbb.org it came up with 10 matches for that number to the following groups:

State Police Officers Council

Kentucky State Police Professional Association

Massachusetts Reserve Police Federation, Inc.

Fraternal Order of Police Michigan State

Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association

Missouri Federation of Police Chiefs

Nebraska Sheriffs Association

State Peace Officers Council

Association of Oklahoma Narcotic Enforcers

Washington State Law Enforcement Association

What The Local BBB comes to find is that the 800# used by each of these associations is a third party calling group—telemarketing group that has been hired by these organizations to conduct their donation drives. The name of this third-party agency is called THE PLEDGE OFFICE.


McGruff House DOES NOT solicit donations from the public via phone. The National McGruff House Network has verified with Spokane Police that in no way have they hired the Washington State Law Enforcement Association to conduct ANY donation drive for their organization. They clarified that they NEVER solicit the public for donations in this manner.

When The Local BBB shopped the 800# yesterday, our BBB rep stated that they got the answer that, Yes, they do solicit donations for McGruff House.

Just today, after shopping them again, the person at the 800# who answered stated that NO, they do not solicit for the McGruff House.

We are left to conclude that this may possibly be a case of a questionable telemarketer deceiving innocent donors into handing over their personal info or pledges and pocketing the donations, and not getting them to the official source at all.

The BBB rep read the report to the woman for the Washington State Law Enforcement Association. According to information on file with the Washington Secretary of State, Washington State Law Enforcement Association is a 501 (c) 4 organization. It is not a charity and therefore contributions made cannot be considered as a charitable donation for tax purposes. For the fiscal year ending June, 2002 the report shows that of revenue of $1,139,956, the organization devoted $31,966 (3%) to program services. Total expenses for fundraising and management/general costs were $1,056,424.

Unfortunately, these numbers disclose that this organization is using a majority of its donations to pay its third-party telemarketers!

This organization has an unsatisfactory record with the bureau for one unanswered complaint. However the business has resolved one complaint presented by the bureau.


Know how your donation will be utilized by a charity or organization. If it's a third-party calling on behalf of a group, contact that group specifically and ask them questions before donating. Verify that they are actually being represented by a third-party calling group.
Check on breakdowns of monetary disclosures and funding at: www.give.org or contact your Secretary of State's Charitable Division for details.

Ask wise questions!

Donate wisely!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Not for public opinion

Pastor Accused of Molesting Girls
(From Newsday)

Associated Press Writer
August 23, 2006, 11:14 PM EDT

WASHBURN, Mo. -- The minister of a rural Ozarks church, his wife and her two brothers have been accused of molesting young girls from their congregation for years, sometimes as part of a religious ritual, officials said.

The county prosecutor says the Rev. Raymond Lambert, 51, of Grand Valley Independent Baptist Church, repeatedly had sex with two underage girls with the help of his 49-year-old wife, Patty, according to court records.

For 10 years, the pastor told the girls, "We are preparing your body for service to God," the prosecutor said.

Patty Lambert's brothers -- Paul Epling, 53, and Tom Epling, 51 -- each are accused of repeatedly having sex with girls as young as age 4 in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

All four defendants face molestation and sodomy charges.

Their attorney said they denied the allegations.

All four turned themselves in on Monday and were released on bond. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Oct. 2 to determine whether formal charges will be filed.

Lambert's church is on property owned by the Epling brothers and houses up to 100 people on a 100-acre farm in western McDonald County, Sheriff's Deputy Michael F. Le Seuer said.

"They refer to it as a compound," Le Seuer told The Associated Press.

The compound is behind a high gate marked "Grand Valley Farm" on a gravel road about 13 miles west of the small town of Washburn. The gate was barred with "No Trespassing" signs on Wednesday, and attorney Robert W. Evenson said the four would not speak to reporters.

"This is a matter of facts for the court, not of public opinion," Evenson said.

Via What Really Happened

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

New Conyers Report

Washington Dispatch: Propaganda from the President: a step-by-step look at how Bush misled the nation into war.

By Jennifer Wedekind
August 7, 2006

WASHINGTON, D.C.-- Rep. John Conyers, Jr., the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, is releasing a 370-page report, describing in full numerous instances of lawlessness and misconduct by the Bush Administration. Many members of congress were quick to hail recent court cases, including the Hamdan decision, as “victories” for democracy, but Conyers refuses to buy it. “The unfortunate reality is we are a long way from being out of the constitutional woods under the dangerous combination of an imperial Bush presidency and a compliant GOP Congress,” he writes.

Beginning with post-9/11 false intelligence and public deception, Conyers uses sources including public statements, the Downing Street Memo, CIA reports and intelligence briefings to refute Bush’s carefully constructed propaganda advocating a war with Iraq. Step by step Conyers traces the different reports citing no links between Al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, and the lack of evidence of WMDs. Beginning with Bush’s State of the Union claim that “Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium for Africa,” he demonstrates how the CIA, the State Department and the National Intelligence Council all informed the administration that the Niger uranium claim was “equivocally false.” French intelligence authorities went so far to say the Niger story was “bullshit.” And there is no doubt the administration knew they had faulty intelligence. One CIA official recounted his superior giving orders saying, “You know what? If Bush wants to go to war, it’s your job to give him a reason to do so.”

The Conyers report goes on to cite evidence that not only was torture and cruel, inhumane treatment tolerated by the administration, it was encouraged. Going against the Geneva Conventions and the Anti-Torture Statute, Rumsfeld approved a Nov. 27, 2002 memo which advocated the “use of scenarios designed to convince the detainee that death or severely painful consequences for him and/or his family are immanent.”

Continuing on, the report illuminates the political retaliation taken against any and all whistleblowers, and lists several such cases—the most publicized being that of Valarie Plame. Another, widely unknown case is that of ABC reporter Jeffrey Kofman, who was outed as being gay after reporting the troops in Iraq were frustrated.

While Bush’s wiretapping program was deemed illegal, Conyers takes it one step further, pointing out the numerous instances Bush and other high-ranking members of the administration made “misleading” statements to Congress about the program. Ironically, in doing so Bush violated his own National Security Act, which ruled that the President is required to keep all members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees “fully and currently informed.”

The report makes clear that the blame cannot lie solely with Bush and his inner circle. Conyers faults the Senate and House Intelligence Committees for refusing to conduct any independent, serious investigations into these matters. He also faults the courts for being slow to act and easily stymied by the “procedural defenses” asserted by the administration.

Conyers quotes Martin Luther King Jr.’s warning that “there comes a time when silence is a betrayal,” concluding, “In my judgment, that time is now.”

Monday, August 14, 2006

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Think on this...

The following post was taken almost verbatim from 60s & Beyond, a yahoo group that boasts some of the finest human beings currently walking the earth.

Iraq War Tidbits by LionHeart and Hippie Song.

The Missing Wounded
Injury and Decorum in Iraq


There are no longer any American troops being wounded in Iraq. Now they are "injured." Listen closely to the news and you will be hard pressed to hear the word "wounded." "Wounded" conjures up a different image than "injured," and here we see yet again the invertebrate nature of the American press. Yesterday, while preparing some onions and butternut squash, I got carried away with the knife and injured myself. That injury was treated with cold running waterand a band aid that I'm not even using today.

On the other hand, if I had been hit in the same hand in my kitchen with a 7.62 X 39mm bullet traveling in excess of 700 meters per second, I would have lost several fingers and possibly my whole hand. That's the difference between being injured and wounded. Contrary to what Hollywood would have us believe, being hit by bullets and shrapnel and secondary missiles from high explosives seldom causes something that might be dismissed as a "flesh wound." Tearing and cavitation of tissue, the shattering of bone, the severance of vessels and tendons, not to mention the absolute septic filth of these insults to the human body are anything but "just" a flesh wound. This is not the image the Department of Defense and the US press want us to carry around inside our heads. We might lose our stomach for war, just as most of these "injured" troops do the very moment they are confronted with bleeding deformities, disfiguring burns, amputations, shock and pain, and often permanent disabilities.

Now you have your leg. Now you don't. Get your head around that, and you've got your head around war.

We all know the count of the dead, even though the DoD and the press wants to somehow separate the combat deaths from the non-combat deaths (as if suicides and fatal vehicle accidents are no more common among GIs in Iraq right now than they are in Hinesville, Georgia or Fayetteville, North Carolina). But well over 1,000 of our sons, husbands, fathers, and even a few daughters, wives, and moms... have been wounded.

They likely would be alright if they had not been there in the first place. This is an embarrassing fact. Almost as embarrassing as the fact that all this maiming and killing - which by the way includes thousands of Iraqis - was started for no nobler purpose than plunder and power.READ THE REST: http://www.counterpunch.org/goff08012003.html

As many as 1 of every 10 soldiers from the war on terror evacuated tothe Army's biggest hospital in Europe was sent there for mental problems.

Between 8 and 10 percent of nearly 12,000 soldiers from the war on terror, mostly from Iraq, treated at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany had "psychiatric or behavioral health issues,"according to the commander of the hospital, Col. Rhonda Cornum.

That means about 1,000 soldiers were evacuated for mental problems.

The hospital has treated 11,754 soldiers from the war on terror, with9,651 from Iraq and the rest from Afghanistan, according to datareleased by the hospital.

The Pentagon estimates that as many as 100,000 new combat veterans nationwide will suffer from mental issues ranging from depression and anxiety to the more debilitating post-traumatic stress disorder, characterized by angry outbursts, flashbacks, nightmares and hypervigilance. An estimated 900 service members have been evacuated from Iraq since the start of war due to psychological problems,according to the Defense Department.

Military hospitals and clinics will be challenged, as will the families and communities of returning soldiers.


Most actors in conflict, whether state or non-state, have historically displayed little serious interest in documenting and investigating civilian deaths and their causes. Inertia in this respect is also displayed by transnational organisations who could be expected to have particular concern for civilian casualties (such as the Red Cross or appropriate agencies of the United Nations).

Be they men, women or children, civilian casualties, are the most unacceptable consequence of all wars. Each civilian death is a tragedy and should never be regarded as an acceptable cost of achieving political aims. We believe it is a moral and humanitarian duty for each such death to be recorded, publicised, given the weight it deserves, compensated appropriately and, where possible, investigated to establish whether there are grounds for criminal proceedings.

The UN Secretary-General has called the world community to advance a new human-centred approach to conflict, which places the security needs of ordinary people above the interests of regimes or state powers. As a contribution to this effort, the Commission on Human Security (CHS) was founded in 2001 and delivered its final report"Human Security Now"in May 2003.http://www.iraqbodycount.org/background.php#rationale

The Pentagon does not provide a comprehensive accounting of the humantoll of the war from the American side, not to mention the larger toll on the Iraqi people. The Administration only reports the strictly combat-related fatalities and injuries. Neither injuries nor disease-connected sicknesses nor severe mental illnesses are reported.http://icasualties.org/oif/

# Leishmaniasis, also known as "Sandfly Disease" or "Baghdad Boil" is faced by the U.S. military in Iraq. The disease is caused by parasites transmitted via sand fly saliva (when female sandflies bite humans),and comes in three forms: cutaneous, affecting the skin; mucosal, affecting the mouth, nose and throat; and visceral, affecting internal organs, which can be fatal if untreated. Symptoms may include fever, frontal headache, lethargy, malaise, retroorbital pain, conjuctivitis, photophobia, neck rigidity, low back pain, myalgia, meningitis, encephalitis, confusion. No complete list of U.S. military affected bySandfly Disease is available, press reports indicate over 2,000 have been affected. Specialists also warn that blood donations from the affect could infect public blood banks.Source: Deployment Health Clinical Center, Common Endemic Diseases:Sandfly Fever,http://www.pdhealth.mil/deployments/gulfwar/sandfly.asp;

Elsewhere in the world over the same period, paramilitary forces hostile to the USA have killed 408 civilians in 18 attacks worldwide (see Table 1). Adding the official 9-11 death toll (as of October 29th, 2003) brings the total to just under 3500:http://www.iraqbodycount.org/editorial_feb0704.php

The civilian death toll has risen inexorably for the entire durationof the US-led military presence in Iraq following the initialinvasion. That is the grim reality uncovered by ongoing tracking ofmedia reports by the Iraq Body Count project (IBC).

Figures released by IBC today, updated by statistics for the year 2005from the main Baghdad morgue, show that the total number of civiliansreported killed has risen year-on-year since May 1st 2003 (the datethat President Bush announced "major combat operations have ended"):
* 6,331 from 1st May 2003 to the first anniversary of the invasion, 19th March 2004 (324 days: Year 1)
* 11,312 from 20th March 2004 to 19th March 2005 (365 days: Year 2)
* 12,617 from 20th March 2005 to 1st March 2006 (346 days: Year 3)

In terms of average violent deaths per day this represents:

* 20 per day in Year 1
* 31 per day in Year 2 and
* 36 per day in Year 3.

By Steppenwolf

Chasing the promise of freedom and hope
Came to this country to build a new visionFar from the reaches of kingdom and pope
Like good Christians, some would burn the witches
Later some got slaves to gather riches

But still from near and far to seek America
They came by thousands to court the wild
And she just patiently smiled and bore a child
To be their spirit and guiding light

And once the ties with the crown had been broken
Westward in saddle and wagon it went
And 'til the railroad linked ocean to ocean
Many the lives which had come to an end
While we bullied, stole and bought our a homeland
We began the slaughter of the red man

But still from near and far to seek America
They came by thousands to court the wild
And she just patiently smiled and bore a child
To be their spirit and guiding light

The blue and grey they stomped it
They kicked it just like a dog
And when the war over
They stuffed it just like a hog

And though the past has it's share of injustice
Kind was the spirit in many a way
But it's protectors and friends have been sleeping
Now it's a monster and will not obey

The spirit was freedom and justice
And it's keepers seem generous and kind
It's leaders were supposed to serve the country
But now they won't pay it no mind
'Cause the people grew fat and got lazy
And now their vote is a meaningless joke
They babble about law and order
But it's all just an echo of what they've been told
Yeah, there's a monster on the loose
It's got our heads into a noose
And it just sits there watchin'

Our cities have turned into jungles
And corruption is stranglin' the land
The police force is watching the people
And the people just can't understand
We don't know how to mind our own business
'Cause the whole worlds got to be just like us
Now we are fighting a war over there
No matter who's the winner
We can't pay the cost
'Cause there's a monster on the loose
It's got our heads into a noose
And it just sits there watching

(America)America where are you now?
Don't you care about your sons and daughters?
Don't you know we need you now
We can't fight alone against the monster

Friday, August 04, 2006

All politics being local...

I don't pay enough attention to what is going on in my own community, but every now and then I am reminded that you don't have to wander very far to bump into the "attack mode ink slingers" who believe that a difference of opinion is just below treason. Last-Word-Lary displays his nimble wordsmithing abilities here:

The Last Word by Lary Coppola

My thoughts regarding Lary Coppola vs. Charlotte Garrido

People become leaders in their communities for a variety of reasons, which tend to be agenda driven. They don’t like the way things are presently being done, and feel they could do better… or they see their participation in community politics as an opportunity to create advantages for themselves, usually in the business world. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Displaying your skills as a strong, ethical, and caring leader should bring people to your doorstep whatever business you are in.

I have a lot of respect for a strong personality who leads by example, delves into all aspects and both sides of any given issue, and is willing to make decisions based on the higher good of the entire community. I have little respect for a strong personality who leads by throwing out random innuendos to muddy an issue and slight an individual without backing the innuendos up with indisputable facts.

Lary Coppola swings a heavy hammer with his opinion column in the Kitsap Peninsula Business Journal (where he also serves as Editor and Publisher), and has the ability to praise or ridicule projects, events, and other community members as his personal agenda dictates. Recently (August 2006 issue of the Journal), he was opining about the South Kitsap Community Park situation, and he offered some praise regarding newest board member Steve Horn’s acting as a moderate, common sense, voice of reason (no clarification on why he thinks this), and then he jumps out with:
“But it’s become obvious that this isn’t about the park for the majority of the board. It’s all about control, and partisan politics. Don’t think so? Why did former Park Board Chair Charlotte Garrido, who was unseated as County Commissioner by Angel and who didn’t run for re-election to the board after a single, chaotic term, still control the district’s Web site and the flow of email between board members until just recently?”

Now, I have to admit that I don’t know very much about the park controversy, but I do know a sleazy cheap shot when I see one written, and Mr. Coppola has definitely swung his heavy hammer at “former Park Board Chair Charlotte Garrido”. There was a time not so long ago when I might have glanced over this article, formed a partial impression about what is probably going on with the park, and moved on. Unfortunately, and to my bitter distaste, the media landscape is covered with this kind of writing, which is misleading, incomplete, and the sign of a bully with a long stick whacking at someone from a very safe distance.

Hey Lary…

How about validating your opinion with reason, if not fact, Mr. Coppola? Why do you feel that Steve Horn is moderate, acting with common sense, and the voice of reason? More importantly, why do you state that it has become obvious that this is about control and partisan politics, and then use as your proof some inane question about Garrido controlling a Website and the flow of email between board members? What is obvious in my mind is that you have an aversion to laying things out in an orderly, concise manner with the facts intact, which can only mean that you are trying to create an unrealistic description of a situation, and you don’t want it ruined with factual debate.

If I am totally off base with my thinking, please revisit this issue in your next opinion column explaining the reasoning behind your comments. I don’t know Charlotte Garrido personally, but she showed up at my house one day and spent two hours soliciting my thoughts about the future of the park, and explaining what the board at that time was attempting to accomplish. I was very impressed with her obvious concern about the community, and I would hope that she will continue to be involved in any community project. She has people skills that tell me she is a natural leader. If you have an issue with this person, lay it out in a way that doesn’t sound like you are trying to gossip her down to your level. She might like to respond.


(Name Removed)
Port Orchard, Washington

Sunday, July 30, 2006

In the game “screw the pooch”, guess who you are…

The World's Quietest News Story: Kennedy Files Voting Machine False Claims Lawsuit

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and his law firm, with backup from powerful lawyers from tobacco litigation, have filed lawsuits against the major vendors of electronic voting machines alleging fraudulent claims.

Where is this story in the Associated Press? On CNN? With potentially catastrophic financial consequences, why do stock boards for publicly owned Diebold Inc. contain a press release for a recent Diebold acquisition, yet not a word about a lawsuit that could cost the company a billion dollars, devastating stockholders?

Voting machine vendor fraud may be the biggest story since 1776. The second biggest story may be the silence of the press.

quote:On July 13, the Pensacola, Fla.-based law firm of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. filed a “qui tam” lawsuit in U.S. District Court, alleging that Di... More

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Like stains in a wino's shorts

(Excerpt from Raw Story post via Left Edge North)

What the Army then did with the evidence is shocking, and what was covered up in 1974-75 may have sowed the headlines we are reaping in 2006. One of the most thorough Criminal Investigation Division (CID, the Army's internal FBI) investigations ever conducted, meticulously gathered the facts surrounding the war crimes committed by Tiger Force. The evidence was voluminous, certain and had been obtained at the risk of a few investigators' lives.

In 1974-75, Richard Cheney was a special assistant to President Ford. Ford's chief of staff was Donald Rumsfeld. The secretary of defense from 1973-75 was James Schlesinger. The case was made to disappear by these men who served presidents Nixon and Ford - probably out of considerations of politics. There were never any charges filed against the soldiers or the officers who ordered and participated in the routine killing of civilians. The only reason the case file ever became public was that the CID officer who directed the investigation, and who later commanded the Criminal Investigation Division, kept a copy of the investigation file, and prior to his death in 2002 made provision for the file to be delivered to a reporter with the Toledo Blade.

Monday, July 10, 2006

More Republican back doors...

FBI plans new Net-tapping push
By Declan McCullagh
Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Published: July 7, 2006, 6:47 PM PDT

The FBI has drafted sweeping legislation that would require Internet service providers to create wiretapping hubs for police surveillance and force makers of networking gear to build in backdoors for eavesdropping, CNET News.com has learned.

FBI Agent Barry Smith distributed the proposal at a private meeting last Friday with industry representatives and indicated it would be introduced by Sen. Mike DeWine, an Ohio Republican, according to two sources familiar with the meeting.

The draft bill would place the FBI's Net-surveillance push on solid legal footing. At the moment, it's ensnared in a legal challenge from universities and some technology companies that claim the Federal Communications Commission's broadband surveillance directives exceed what Congress has authorized.

The FBI claims that expanding the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act is necessary to thwart criminals and terrorists who have turned to technologies like voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP.

"The complexity and variety of communications technologies have dramatically increased in recent years, and the lawful intercept capabilities of the federal, state and local law enforcement community have been under continual stress, and in many cases have decreased or become impossible," according to a summary accompanying the draft bill.

Complicating the political outlook for the legislation is an ongoing debate over allegedly illegal surveillance by the National Security Administration--punctuated by several lawsuits challenging it on constitutional grounds and an unrelated proposal to force Internet service providers to record what Americans are doing online. One source, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitive nature of last Friday's meeting, said the FBI viewed its CALEA expansion as a top congressional priority for 2007.

Breaking the legislation down The 27-page proposed CALEA amendments seen by CNET News.com would:

• Require any manufacturer of "routing" and "addressing" hardware to offer upgrades or other "modifications" that are needed to support Internet wiretapping. Current law does require that of telephone switch manufacturers--but not makers of routers and network address translation hardware like Cisco Systems and 2Wire.

• Authorize the expansion of wiretapping requirements to "commercial" Internet services including instant messaging if the FCC deems it to be in the "public interest." That would likely sweep in services such as in-game chats offered by Microsoft's Xbox 360 gaming system as well.

• Force Internet service providers to sift through their customers' communications to identify, for instance, only VoIP calls. (The language requires companies to adhere to "processing or filtering methods or procedures applied by a law enforcement agency.") That means police could simply ask broadband providers like AT&T, Comcast or Verizon for wiretap info--instead of having to figure out what VoIP service was being used.

• Eliminate the current legal requirement saying the Justice Department must publish a public "notice of the actual number of communications interceptions" every year. That notice currently also must disclose the "maximum capacity" required to accommodate all of the legally authorized taps that government agencies will "conduct and use simultaneously."

Jim Harper, a policy analyst at the free-market Cato Institute and member of a Homeland Security advisory board, said the proposal would "have a negative impact on Internet users' privacy."

"People expect their information to be private unless the government meets certain legal standards," Harper said. "Right now the Department of Justice is pushing the wrong way on all this."

Neither the FBI nor DeWine's office responded to a request for comment Friday afternoon.DeWine has relatively low approval ratings--47 percent, according to SurveyUSA.com--and is enmeshed in a fierce battle with a Democratic challenger to retain his Senate seat in the November elections.

DeWine is a member of a Senate Judiciary subcommittee charged with overseeing electronic privacy and antiterrorism enforcement and is a former prosecutor in Ohio.

A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., decided 2-1 last month to uphold the FCC's extension of CALEA to broadband providers, and it's not clear what will happen next with the lawsuit. Judge Harry Edwards wrote in his dissent that the majority's logic gave the FCC "unlimited authority to regulate every telecommunications service that might conceivably be used to assist law enforcement."

The organizations behind the lawsuit say Congress never intended CALEA to force broadband providers--and networks at corporations and universities--to build in central surveillance hubs for the police. The list of organizations includes Sun Microsystems, Pulver.com, the American Association of Community Colleges, the Association of American Universities and the American Library Association.

If the FBI's legislation becomes law, it would derail the lawsuit because there would no longer be any question that Congress intended CALEA to apply to the Internet.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Are you angry yet?

(Excerpt from Raw Story article)

Phone calls lead to White House

Phone records show hundreds of phone calls from the New Hampshire Republican Party and convicted phone jammer James Tobin to the White House Office of Political Affairs during the time the scheme was being planned and carried out.
The Republican National Committee, which shelled out millions to defend Tobin, has said it is "preposterous" to suggest the calls involved phone jamming.
According to AP, "The phone records show that most calls to the White House were from Tobin, who became President Bush's presidential campaign chairman for the New England region in 2004. Other calls from New Hampshire senatorial campaign offices to the White House could have been made by a number of people."
A liberal political action group, Senate Majority Project, also uncovered that GOP Marketplace, which subcontracted out the hang-up calls to Hansen’s Mylo Enterprises, was partly owned by Mississippi Governor and former RNC Chair Haley Barbour.
Repeated hang-up calls that jammed telephone lines at a Democratic get-out-the-vote center helped secure the victory of Sen. John Sununu (R-NH) over Democrat Jeanne Shaheen in November 2002, 51 to 46 percent.
Hansen’s motion can be read here.

(My Comment)

The issue of corporations controlling the outcome of elections is more important than any other issue. As long as corrupt politicians (Republican and/or Democrat) continue to wield the power in Washington DC, nothing else will matter. The corporations will continue to make policy, and the bottom line will trump the needs of the populace.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Yea and verily

The Constitution of the United States of America
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,
–That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent: For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Monday, July 03, 2006

The Boys from Brazil (not)

What did Rush bring back from the Dominican Republic for his buddy Sean? Was Ann Coulter the vessel of transfer?

C&L has an interesting nugget on Hannity

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Back from the brown eyed boy safari

Of course it was just US boys!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Time to fight back?

The Cost of Superfund Neglect

The 8000 residents living in the town of Glen Avon, California, are lucky; they get to live right next to a 17-acre toxic waste dump:

[The Stringfellow site] served as a hazardous waste disposal facility from 1956-1972, accepting over 34 million gallons of waste from metal refinishing, electroplating and pesticide manufacturing companies. This waste was dumped into surface evaporation ponds. Rainfall caused the ponds to overflow, sending streams of heavily polluted water into nearby neighborhoods. The population of the census tract around the site is 52 percent minority and has a median household income of $43,000.

And no one's cleaning it up. Then there are the 6,491 residents of Montgomery County, Ohio, who live near North Sanitary Landfill. Decades ago, engineers decided that the best way to dispose of liquid industrial waste was to pour it on top of ordinary household garbage, thinking that the garbage would soak up the liquid like a sponge and hold it in place. But then they realized that the landfills started leaking all that toxic liquid, and instead of keeping it in place, the garbage—which covered hundreds of acres—just spread it around:

[T]he 102-acre North Sanitary Landfill sits atop an aquifer used for drinking water, which is composed of highly transmissive sands and gravel. Portions of the site have caught fire several times. It is located in a census tract with a median household income of $25,000.

Again, no one's cleaning it up. Those sites are two of the thousands of toxic waste facilities on the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL), created by Congress in 1980—a short while after Love Canal, a town built atop a toxic waste dump, was discovered by the media. Polluters responsible for sites on the NPL were required to clean up their messes or face steep penalties, and a government-run "Trust Fund," financed by taxes on the heaviest-polluting industrial sectors, was set up to pay for cleanup at sites where the companies responsible couldn't do so.
Since then, of course, Republicans have gutted the Superfund program. In 1995, Congress allowed Superfund taxes—which generated $1.5 billion a year (2 percent of the profits earned by the top six oil and petrochemical companies alone in 2005)—to expire, at the behest of industry lobbyists. Under George W. Bush, the EPA has not only abandoned the principle of forcing polluters to pay to clean up "orphan sites," but it has slowed the pace of cleanups. The number of completed Superfund cleanups fell abruptly, by 50 percent, starting in 2001. Lots and lots of toxic waste sites have been neglected.

That's all been reported before. But now the Center for American Progress has recently come out with a 182-page report describing, in gory detail, the 50 worst NPL sites that have been neglected due to the gutting of Superfund. The above descriptions come from that report. Between 200,000 and 800,000 people live within a mile of these toxic sites, and are exposed to chemicals in the air and soil. Perhaps needless to say, those people are disproportionately low-income and minority. When people talk about "environmental racism," this is what they have in mind.

Most glaring of all, many of the sites have languished on the NPL even though a responsible party has already been named—often a viable, profitable businesses that could certainly afford to clean up its mess. For instance, a 75-acre toxic waste site in Bergen, NJ, where 4.5 million gallons of liquid waste were dumped in unlined lagoons, is owned by Honeywell, which made $1.2 billion in profits last year. But nothing has happened because the EPA under Bush won't enforce a cleanup.

Now, as I understand it, the main argument against Superfund is that many companies are already cleaning up their messes—70 percent according to the Bush administration—and shouldn't have to contribute to the Trust Fund that pays for cleaning up "orphan sites." This seems weak to me. It makes perfect sense that industries that have benefited by and large from cheap disposal practices over the years should pay to clean up "orphan sites." Who else should pay for it?

And it's also worth noting that many of these companies are "voluntarily" cleaning up their toxic waste only because of the threat of litigation by the EPA, which charges responsible parties triple if the agency has to clean up the mess itself. And those litigation threats are in turn financed by… the Superfund Trust Fund. If there was no Superfund, you wouldn't see nearly as much "voluntary" cleanup. Anyway, the cost of neglect has been extraordinarily high, and though it's a bit dry, the CAP report does the best job I've seen of laying that out.

Posted by Bradford Plumer on 06/22/06 at 05:52 PM