Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Proud Mother Speaks To The Room In General

By Jim Parks

Moving in a flurry of activity, getting the old couple
seated, flitting about for extra napkins, a bottle of pepper
sauce, more silverware, she takes her place at the table,
turned obliquely to address the room in general.

The dull hubub of the cafeteria swells and ebbs as she talks
steadily in an amplified voice, her head thrown back at a
slight angle, projecting from the diaphram. Her tanned skin
glows, the carefully styled hair glossy, the jewelry

Oh, yes, she has gone to Dallas.

She answers her mother's questions with exaggerated calm and

It's an exciting new job. She's working for S____, F______.
Yes, it's an electronic discovery firm with offices in Los
Angeles, Dallas, Washington, D.C., New York and London.
They scan electronic files - computerized records - For

For evidence.


Yes, anything that can be used as evidence in a trial.

Most of the people who work there are retired from the CIA
or the FBI.

She sounds so proud of that. Her husband speaks in the same
affected, high strung voice.

Questioned by a stranger who said he could not help
overhearing, she admits she has no idea if the computer
scans are a result of a court order on a discovery motion,
or not.

Her expression is blank.

I don't know about all that legal stuff, she says.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

State health officials insist H1N1 Vaccine is Safe

By Jim Parks

If people wait until public health officials offer them
vaccination for the dreaded H1N1 swine flu that that UN
doctors have termed pandemic, "No one will be turned away,"
said a Texas state health department official. "There will
be no charge.

"Everyone who shows up that day will be shot."

The crowd in the Clifton Civic Center auditorium erupted in
giddy laughter.

"That didn't sound right," Ms. Lacy Sanders, a Disease
Coordinator for the Texas Department of State Health Service

"Everyone who shows up that day will get a shot."

More laughter.

Unless you have had full-blown anaphylactic shock, according
Ms. Sanders, the swine flu vaccine against the H1N1 virus is

Even those who have had allergic reactions to eggs should be
able to withstand a dose of the H1N1 swine flu vaccine, she

Only those who have been unable to breathe because of the
sudden production of histamines and other immunological
mediators that closed off their brochial passages or caused
a sudden drop in blood pressure that triggered a
cardiovascular collapse such as the spasms caused by bee
stings or an extreme allergic reaction to penicillin should
be cautious about taking the vaccination.

"It's in a preservative-free environment, so there's no harm
at all."

Has it been tested?


Has the testing been extensive enough?

Of course, said health department representatives. The
mission is to produce a vaccine that will cause the immune
system to form antibodies. Once they are present, testing
has been entirely effective and the product has been proven

Many internet bloggers have insisted that the vaccine has
been rushed into production without a proper testing period.
There is an air of panic in the among some parts of the
population, people who fear a government grab for power.
Some of them envision concentration camps into which those
who refuse the vaccine will be imprisoned.

The Texas health officials are working hard in public
appearances to dispel these rumors.

To manufacture a live virus vaccine such as the nasal spray
recommended for people up to age 45 or a dead virus vaccine
delivered by intramuscular injection involves the act of
testing the virus as it is synthesized.

"It has been tested," Ms. Sanders inisisted as she and State
Epidemiologist Gene Mikeska presented the nuts and bolts of
the vaccination program, which is meant to target the
uninsured or underinsured.

In fact, the H1N1 virus vaccine was manufactured first in
Australia because the southern hemisphere goes into the
winter equinox at the same time the northern hemisphere
enters the summer months. "They needed it first," said Ms.

Though one to 15 percent of the population can be considered
at risk for anaphylactic shock, only about one percent who
experience it may die as a result.

If the flu has entered a pandemic state, as World Health
Organization officials termed it in June of this year, why
haven't more people been sick or died?

That's simple, according to the epidemiologist, Gene

"In a business where you make things, your productivity is
judged by what you turn out...In our business, you are
judged by what you prevent." Quite simply, when there is
little or no disease, that's when you know public health
officials are really getting the job done.

How will people get vaccinated? Health officials have
started to receive shipments of the vaccine at the present
time. It is first going to private health care providers
who ordered it months ago.

"Check with your doctor," said Ms. Sanders.

Diabetics and those who are 65 or older should see their
doctors about a pneumonia vaccination, she said. Pneumonia
is a common complication of the pandemic strain of H1N1
swine flu. "Anyone with a immunological deficiency should
be vaccinated for bacterial infections."

The vaccine will become available "around the first week in

Seasonal flu vaccine is available now. It takes two to
three weeks to become effective against infection. Those
who have been exposed to flu may already be sick but not
showing symptoms for several days. By then, it's too late.

The key, then is to be vaccinated early in the flu season
and give the system plenty of time to develop the antibodies
that will fight off the flu virus.

Nasal spray vaccine for the H1N1 virus, the kind used by
those who are less than 45 years of age, takes two to three
weeks to become effective. Dead virus vaccine, the kind
used by the elderly and diabetics or other immunologically
challenged patients, usually takes about a month.

What kind of strain of swine flu is H1N1 2009? It's a virus
that is endemic in pigs, a subtype of Influenza A. However,
transmission of the virus from pigs to humans is not common
and does not always lead to human influenza. It often leads
only to the production of human antibodies.

What about Tamiflu?

It's not effective unless you have been infected. Just
because you took Tamiflu, you won't be immune from the H1N1
virus. Besides, said Mr. Mikeska, "It costs about $125 to
$145 for a five day dosage."

Friday, October 9, 2009

Private Contract Police To Fill Private Jail in Montana

By Jim Parks

If one set out to make it up out of whole cloth, the story
would tax even the most fertile imagination.

However, any reasonable examination of the facts lends a
certain plausibiity to the equation, if viewed in terms of
natural resources and historical facts.

Situated a scant fifteen minute drive from the site of
Custer's last stand, Hardin, Montana, is at the confluence
of the Yellowstone and Big Horn Rivers. It is located on
the right of way of the old 19th century route of the
Northern Pacific Railroad, which now makes up parts of the
Burlington Northern-Santa Fe and Union Pacific Lines, as
well as Montana Rail Link.

Furthermore, it is the place where Interstates 94 and 90
coming from Billings meet up with Interstate 25 from Casper,
Denver and points south. Most trainloads of coal roll east
to Detroit through Hardin. Wheat trains head through the
city on their way to St. Paul and Chicago.

So Hardin, Montana, with a population of about 3,500 in a
county of about 15,000, more than a third of the work force
of which is chronically unemployed, is located in the place
where there converge a half dozen excellent wagon roads that
carry diesel tractors and trailers at high speed across the
knobs, benches and coulees of the old buffalo hunting lands.
What's more, it's a hub for the rail routes that connect the
Pacific Northwest with the Midwest, Southwest and East

Big Horn County is the eighth largest producer of beef
cattle in the nation.

That is what the fight with the Sioux, Arapaho and Cheyenne
was all about on that fateful summer day in 1876 when the
grandstander and glory hound, Lt. Colonel George Armstrong
Custer, met his maker and lost his scalp.

The Indians had a treaty granting the hunting lands - an
easy route to and through the Rockies - to them as long as
wind blow and grass grow. But it was not to be as soon as
the settlers and railroad barons sniffed out the yellow iron
in places like The Black Hills of South Dakota, a sacred
place for the plains tribes and the location of a massive
gold field. To the northwest lies Helena and Butte, high
timber country with many deposits of gold.

Then the pony soldiers came with their .45-70 Springfield
trapdoor rifles and Hotchkiss Guns, Gatling repeaters and
mountain howitzers, building soldier forts and burning out
and killing tribes all across the area.

When the surveying crews and wagon trains arrived, the
braves went on the war path. It was the beginning of the
end of aboriginal culture in North America. Following the
wars that ensued, they were all herded onto sparse and
desolate reservations throughout the west.

Hardin sits on the northern boundary of the Crow Nation.
They were scouting and fighting for Custer on the infamous
day of his last stand. They Cheyenne and Sioux were
relegated to South Dakota.

What the Twin Rivers Authority has done is hardly untypical.
In the nineties, many economic development authorities went
into hock by selling tax free municipal bonds, constructed
private jails and penitentiaries, and contracted with such
corporations as Wackenhut and Corrections Corporation of
America to operate those jails at a neat profit. In other
places such as Johnson County, Texas, the city and county,
in cooperation with the development authority and the
commissioner's court, constructed a law enforcement center
for the County Sheriff's Department to meet new jail
commission standards, then contracted with far away
municipalities such as Washington, D.C., Harris County,
Texas, and state penal institutions such as the
Institutional Division of the Texas Department of
Corrections to house overflow crowds of offenders in the
over capacity facilities constructed as much as three times
too large for just that purpose.

In one Connecticut city, the economic development authority
condemned private property and constructed a shopping mall
for a developer using tax free municipal bonds. It's all
perfectly legal under a Supreme Court ruling. Arlington,
Texas, did the same thing with a football and baseball
stadium complex.

Government's power of eminent domain is no longer reserved
for the construction of public utilities such as airports
and hydroelectric dams. It's now of extreme benefit to the
private sector.

But the city dads and the bank didn't figure on the reaction
Democratic Governor Brian Schweitzer, who, through the
cooperation of his Attorney General, carried out a single
minded campaign against corrections and incarceration as a
growth industry. As a result of their opposition, a
negative AG's opinion that held that no such business could
be conducted because it's the sole authority of the
Sheriff's department to house Montana prisoners in Montana,
and then only temporarily until they can be shipped to the
Department of Corrections.

In the ensuing two years of lawsuits, countersuits, appeals,
depositions and hearings, the bond issue has gone into
default. The U.S. Bank, which underwrote the muni bonds, is
hanging out there for the full pop of $27 million plus debt
service. No one is making money.

The Twin Rivers Authority executives have even made a
serious bid to house the Al Quaeda prisoners now warehoused
at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, who are awaiting trials before
military tribunals, prisoners whom the President has
declared must soon be brought to the continental U.S. to
face trial. They were turned down because of the Govenor's

Then came the answer to their prayers.

Mike Hilton, an ethnic Montenegrin of the Serbian province
of what was once Yugoslavia, proposed that they enter a
contract with him to operate the 464-bed jail under
undisclosed terms amounting to a multimillion dollar
operation, as well as sell an estimated five to 10 thousand
acres for "training purposes" to his corporation based in
Santa Ana, California, American Private Police Force. It is
rumored that this is a subsidiary corporation of what was
once known as Blackwater, a North Carolina outfit that runs
convoys and performs security duty for government and
corporate types in such hot spots as Iraq and Afghanistan.

He and other company officials showed up last week driving
three black Mercedes Benz SUV's with the company logo on
their doors and the words "Hardin Police Department" stuck
on their sides with magnetic signs.

The company logo is the coat of arms of Serbia-Montenegro,
which resembles the two-headed eagle of the Scottish Rite of
Freemasonry, Southern Jurisdiction, or the seal of the
Russian Imperial court.

This plunged the town into a cauldron of hot debate for one
reason and one reason alone. Hardin has not had a police
force now for thirty years. All law enforcement patrols are
provided by the County Sheriff's Department.

Now what? Would foreign mercenaries crowd in to fill the
jail with offenders accused of DWI, non-payment of child
support, driving while license suspended? Would they go
after unaided warrants and jail the offenders?

Conspiracy theorists sniffed out sign of the dreaded
Illuminati, suspecting an evil Masonic influence in a world
wide banker's plot to take over the planet - one town at a

For now, the contract has been extensively re-written to
satisfy the lawyers that the tax free integrity of the
municipal bonds will not be threatened in any way should the
deal go through.

As it turns out, Mike Hilton is a felon who stands convicted
of multiple offenses of fraud and spent several years in
California prisons. He owes judgments of multimillion
dollar proportions and has as many as seventeen registered
aliases on court records. His corporate attorney quit him
in the heat of battle and a public relations consultant he
hired away form the Billings "Gazette," Becky Shay, broke
down and cried when she was unable to answer questions
regarding the corporation's assets, operations or plans.

The contract is awaiting final approval from U.S. Bank, the
underwriter, and there is very little happiness in Hardin,

A chilling note regarding ethnic cleansing of muslims in
Croatia and Serbia as carried by Serbian forces:

1) Concentration. Surround the area to be cleansed and
after warning the resident Serbes - often they are urged to
leave or are at least told to mark their houses with white
flags, indimidate the targee.

2) Decapitation. Execute political leaders and those capable
of taking their places: lawyers, judges, public officials,
writers, professors.

3) Separation. Divide women, children, and old men from men
of "fighting age" - sixteen years to sixty years old.

4) Evacuation. Transport women, children, and old men to the
border, expelling them into a neighboring territory or

5) Liquidation. Execute "fighting age" men, dispose of

It all sounds a whole lot like the strategy and tactics
employed by Generals Crook, Terry and Sherman in the Indian

Another riveting detail. The Montana Firearms Freedom Act
took effect on October 1. Under that law, any firearm
manufactured and assembled in Montana that is meant to stay
there in Montana and not be transported across state lines
is exempt from Federal regulation under the terms of the
Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Many other states
including Texas, West Virginia, Alabama, and Wyoming have
introduced similar legislation. It is also law in

American Private Police Force showed up in Hardin just a
week after the new firearms law took effect.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

After A Long Cessation, A Moment of Companionship

At the automatic teller machine, a tom cat trotted across
new mown grass, up a sidewalk, tail held high in the sudden
autumn breeze.

I meowed, something I am sure I have not done since I was,
oh, maybe three or four years old - five at the oldest.

Losing track of the cat, I finished my business, then felt
him brush between my legs, heard his growling meow. I saw
his dark tiger stripes on a gray coat, looked into his green
eyes, measured his whiskers, felt him dos y doe between the
legs of my faded jeans once again.



It was a matter-of-fact exchange, something between a little
old man and a little old tom cat. I bent to stroke his fur,
scratch behind his ears. He shook his head rapidly side to
side, said, "Meow" again, and began to trot beside me toward
my pickup.

As I mounted the plain jane Chevy, he squatted and left his
calling card precisely at the corner of the clipped grass,
the sidewalk and the curb of the cross street beside the
bank, said a "Meow," farewell, and wrapped his tail around his
hindquarters, licked his chops, raised his nose to the

I drove away, thinking of the price of friendship. A large
can of tuna would make us inseparable companions for life.

Such a bargain.