Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Arrested In Temple, Man Wanted On Prior Domestic Charge In Waco

Temple - A man arrested in Bell County for continuous domestic
violence was wanted in McLennan on a charge of assault on a
family member, according to court records.

When police were called to a Temple residence about 7 p.m., they
were told Jason Tate was inside and believed to have a handgun.

Officers learned that a woman Tate had a previous relationship
with left the house earlier and contacted police after he
allegedly assaulted her.


After police set up a perimeter around the home and called Tate
on the telephone, he came outside and police arrested him without
incident. They found no handgun.

Tate had an outstanding warrant from McLennan County for Assault
with Bodily Injury on a Family Member.

He is now charged with Continuous Family Violence and is being
held in the Bell County Jail.

Ex-Police Officer Praises "Catch And Release" Program

McLennan County adopts $14.5 Mil Budget, raise taxes

When they instituted the scofflaw program, it was part of a
revenue raising, scofflaw program designed to put offenders
on notice.

It didn't work out that way.

According to ex-policeman and jailer R. Scott Gates, a Moody
resident who won a Justice of the Peace slot four years ago,
only to see the County Commissioenrs eliminate his precinct,
the $60,000 budgeted to pay cleerical staff in the Tax
Assessor-Collector's office is all for nought.

"They've turned it into a catch and release program," he
said with a wry chuckle.

He defeated the Honorable Raymond Britton, Jail Magistrate,
only to see him appointed by the Court as the McLennan
County Jail Magistrate.

In a statement before the Commissioners Court, Mr. Gates
said, "I hope the court will note that the name of the
magistrate appoionted by this court in lieu of the
magistrate elected by the people appears on the booking card
as being involved in the release of a man charged with a
violent crime. The name of the magistrate removed by the
voters but reinstated by action of hte court also appears as
the authorizing authority."

Mr. Gates was the only member of the public who spoke during
the public budget hearing portion of the meeting. He said
"catch and release" seems to be the norm rather than the
exception since two accused rapists of children have been
released on Personal Recognizance bonds requiring no outlay
of a cash fee within the past few months.

He was referring to the case of Steven Ray Johnson, a black
man of 41 who is charged with slashing and stabbing a
Robinson car lot owner so severely he spent a week in the
hospital, three days of which he was hospitalized in the
intensive care wing with a brain injury and a punctured
lung.

"By funding an indigent electronic monitoring fund, the
magistrates can use Article 17.44 of the Texas Code of
Criminal Procedure to increase public safety. In the absence
of that funding provided by this court, it appears their
hands are tied."

Mr. Gates referred to a record of release without monitoring
for DWI offenders who have gone on to cause serious
accidents that took the lives of other motorists.

"If an individual involved in this catch and release program
kills someone more prominent that a Baylor computer
specialist or violently assaults someone more prominent than
a used car salesman from Robinson, I predict the backlash
could be significant. I sincerely hope the court will
include funding..."

In an interview, Mr. Gates pointed out that the scofflaws
who arrive at the Tax Collector's office to buy license tags
for vehicles or renew driver licenses at the DPS are turned
down because of outstanding warrants on unpaid traffic
fines.

They are sent to the County Jail where they spend one night,
have breakfast and are released with credit for time served
and given a release that enables them to pay for their
vehicle registration or renew their licenses.

The Legendary could not help laughing out loud to think of
uniformed traffic police and Highway Patrolmen reeling in
offenders while seated in a bass boat during some kind of
catch and release tournament, weighing them and tossing them
back into the waters of the lake while they spit Red Man
tobacco juice over the gunwales of the boat.

The Politics of Confrontation Over Jail, Courts, Cronies



When they drop the gavel this morning at the McLennan County
Commissioners' Court meeting, the war of nerves will
continue in confrontations between Tea Party watchdogs,
individual commissioners and constitutional officers.

As late as May, the 816-bed Jack Harwell Detention Center
remained empty in a bleak situtation that left taxpayers
supporting the entire debt service on the $49 million
facility.

Now that the privately operated jail is housing prisoners,
it's still nowhere near full and the dollar sink is sucking
the green down the drain.

Meanwhile, Commissioner Joe Mashek is on record accusing
County Judge Jim Lewis of ethics violations and violations
of anti-trust laws, County Sheriff Larry Lynch receives a
$12,000 per year salary "supplement" paid by the county from
funds it receives from CEC, Inc., the jail's operator, and
there is a history of jail culinary contractor Jack Madera
being indicted on 15 counts of corruption in Dallas County
for precisely the same kind of things officials have been
accused in Waco.

All that leaves Judge Jim Lewis on the hot seat. He
promised in May that the jails would be full within a few
months and the budget would be back on an even keel.

Not true. As of today, McLennan County is losing money left
and right on a jail operated by a corporation whose bottom
line is the bottom line.

That decision has already cost two Commissioners their jobs.

No doubt, the floggings will continue until morale improves.

Narco Cops Rethink Counterinsurgency Role

The nation's top narcotics cops are beginning to re-think their role in law enforcement in terms of counterinsurgency.

It's a war, plain and simple, and a special one at that, a war that employs special weapons and tactics, a war of terror and extortion, soul enslavement through cruel drugs
and a bankroll that can easily buy off low-paid soldiers and policemen by the hundreds.

A Mexican chief of police is gunned down on a Nuevo Laredo street, the top narcotics officer of the nation's fourth-largest city, Houston, is shot in the face.

It's all a part of the daily routine in this hot war of
attrition waged on the streets and in the countryside of two
nations, the U.S. and Mexico.

When Mexico's federal police busted Edgar "La Barbie" Valdez
Villarreal in Toluca, Mexico State, it marked a new
departure in a war within a war.

He had been in a protracted battle with his former
colleague, Hector "El H" Beltran Leyva, for territory once
dominated by Leyva's organization.

When the Mexican cops stepped in, they gained not only a
treasure trove of new information about the gangs, their
members and a look at the books, but they took an active
counterinsurgency role in a war that is beginning to
threaten the social fabric on both sides of the border.

In any big city, drug gangs extract "street taxes" from
businesses as diverse as the local beauty or barber shop or
concerns as large as Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX).

Police executives are studying hard.

They are scouring books on the subject of this new and
unconventional warfare, according to two brainy analysts, a
Los Angeles County cop and a career foreign policy and
security specialist, John P. Sullivan and Adam Elkus.

Both have written extensively about intelligence, terrorism,
transnational gangs, counterinsurgency and small wars.

Here is a lineup of their best recommendations in reading
material devoted to this new paradigm of police work:

"Accidental Guerilla," David Kilcullen
"Leaderless Jihad," Marc Sageman
"Criminal Insurgency in America," John Sullivan
"Criminal States and Criminal Soldiers," Robert J. Bunker
"Brave New War," John Robb
"Networks and Netwars: The Future of Terror, Crime and
Militancy," John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt





Dodd-Frank Wall St. Reform Comes With New Rules


A lesser-known wrinkle in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law is sending corporations scrambling to comply.

In the future, CEO's salaries will be public information and the ratio between compensation and bonuses paid to the top cats and all other corporate employees will be required reading in disclosure reports.

It's got the bean counters buzzing and the big wigs
blustering.

Inserted into the massive, 2,000-page bill "at the last minute," this provision is "a political disclosure, as opposed to an economic disclosure," said a corporate governance professor from The University of Delaware, Charles Elson.

According to the Standard & Poor Index, the median salary of
a corporate CEO of any top 500 company is $1,025,000, or 25
times that paid to the average private sector employee at
$40,174.

A total pay package of $7.5 million for a chief executive is
187 times that of the average employee and 19 times
President Barack Obama's annual salary of $400,000.

It's an emotional issue, one that will have little appeal to
the average small shareholder. Already, the lawyers are
finding ways to skirt the law.

One way is to eliminate the marketing program of company
stores and use private contractors. This way, the
relatively low pay involved will not affect the bottom line
on the CEO's ratio of pay to that of the lowest paid
employee.

SEC officials are charged with drafting the regulations that
will determine the actual operation of the new law.
Business groups are clamoring for fair and consistent
regulations.

It would take one full time accountant to comply with this
portion of the reform law alone, certain key honchos
complain.



Monday, August 30, 2010

BP Query Faults Company Engineers For Blowout


An internal investigation blames the disastrous blowout ofthe Macondo Well on a faulty interpretation of pressure tests by BP engineers.

According to published reports, the test on April 20 showed dangerously high pressure in the well, but the engineers mistakenly made a decision to pump in seawater instead of drilling mud to contain the eruption of natural gas and
crude petroleum that followed.

Seawater is lighter than natural gas, drilling mud and
crude.

As a result, 11 men lost their lives, more than 4 million barrels of crude spewed out into the Gulf, and beaches, bays and marshes were heavily damaged from Grand Isle to Panama City, along with aquatic creatures.

The internal probe questioned why BP engineer John Guidedisregarded warnings of a potential blowout from contractor
Halliburton Co. and why managers failed to test for flaws in
the cement outside the well that was intended to keep
natural gas from forcing the blowout.

Though BP's attorneys have tried to put at least some blame
on Halliburton and Transocean, the key players on the rig
with those two concerns have steadfastly denied any
wrongdoing. They say they were complying with orders from
BP's staff.

Rumor: People's Bank of China Chief Has Defected


Rumors attributed to a news report from the Hong Kong news
agency Ming Pao quickly circled the globe this morning that
People's Bank of China Gov. Zhou Xiaochuan has defected.

The speculation is that he is trying to avoid being punished
for a loss of some $430 billion on U.S. Treasury bonds,
according to the Austin-based private intelligence bureau
Stratfor.

Gov. Zhou has been believed to be under house arrest for
months, according to the report, following an investigation
that led to the 2006 arrest of Wang Yi, vice governor of the
China Development Bank.

Though there has been no official confirmation of the rumor,
the fact that the People's Bank has gone to elaborate
lengths to impress the Chinese state-run media that the bank
chief is in not trouble is seen by intelligence analysts as
a strong indication there is a shakeup in the power
structure within the Chinese Communist Party.

Zhou's name has been blocked from search engines on the
Chinese internet.

He is known to have political ambitions and is a close ally
to former Chinese President Jiang Zemin. He is also a core
figure in the "Shanghai Gang" associated with President
Jiang.

Several news stories released today mentioned Zhiou in
connection with a visit by Japanese Financial Services
Minister Shozaburo Jimi during a high level Chinese-Japanese
economic dialogue on the relative values of the Yen and the
Yuan.

An Open Letter To Mr. Glenn Beck and Mrs. Sara Palin


In which The Legendary reminds our leaders of our federal government's historical aloofness from matters of a spiritual nature and the reasons thereof...

It is, quite simply, a matter far too important to be left
to the ministrations of some silly government, this matter of the individual's spiritual approach and moral posture in the presence of his Creator.

I have two reasons and they are to be found in the preamble to the Virginia Religious Freedom Act authored by Thomas Jefferson and the Memorial and Remonstrance authored by James Madison against the appointment of any particular church as an agency of the government.

This is a letter of veto President Madison wrote to Congress in 1811:

Veto Message to Congress
February 21st 1811

Having examined and considered the Bill, entitled "An Act incorporating the protestant Episcopal Church in the Town of Alexandria in the District of Columbia," I now return the Bill to the House of Representatives, in which it originated, with the following objections.

Because the Bill exceeds the rightful authority, to which Governments are limited by the essential distinction between Civil and Religious functions, and violates, in particular, the Article of the Constitution of the United States which declares, that "Congress shall make no law respecting a Religious establishment." The Bill enacts into, and establishes by law, sundry rules and proceedings relative purely to the organization and polity of the Church incorporated, and comprehending even the election and removal of the Minister of the same, so that no change could be made therein, by the particular Society, or by the General Church of which it is a member, and whose authority it recognizes. This particular Church, therefore, would so far be a religious establishment by law, a legal force and sanction being given to certain articles in its constitution and administration...

Because the Bill vests in the said incorporated Church, an authority to provide for the support of the poor, and the education of poor children of the same, an authority, which being altogether superfluous if the provision is to be the result of pious charity, would be a precident for giving to religious Societies as such, a legal agency in carrying into effect a public and civil duty.

This is the Virginia Religious Freedom Act:

The Virginia Act For Establishing Religious Freedom
Thomas Jefferson, 1786

Well aware that Almighty God hath created the mind free; that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burdens, or by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of our religion, who being Lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in his Almighty power to do; that the impious presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who, being themselves but fallible and uninspired men, have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavoring to
impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world, and through all time; that to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves, is sinful and tyrannical; that even the forcing him to support this or that teacher of his own religious persuasion, is depriving him of the comfortable liberty of giving his contributions to the particular pastor whose morals he would make his pattern, and whose powers he feels most persuasive to righteousness, and is withdrawing from the ministry those temporal rewards, which proceeding from an approbation of their personal conduct, are an additional incitement to earnest and unremitting labors for the instruction of mankind; that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, more than our opinions in physics or geometry; that, therefore, the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence by laying upon him an incapacity of being called to the offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages to which in common with his fellow citizens he has a natural right; that it tends also to corrupt the principles of that
very religion it is meant to encourage, by bribing, with a monopoly of worldly honors and emoluments, those who will externally profess and conform to it; that though indeed these are criminal who do not withstand such temptation, yet neither are those innocent who lay the bait in their way; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles, on the supposition of their ill tendency, is a dangerous fallacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty, because he being of course judge of that tendency, will make his opinions the rule of judgment, and approve or condemn the sentiments of others only as they shall square with or differ from his own; that it is time enough for the rightful purposes of civil government, for its officers to interfere when principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order; and finally, that truth is great and will prevail if
left to herself, that she is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict, unless by human interposition disarmed of her natural weapons, free argument and debate, errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them.

Be it therefore enacted by the General Assembly, That no man shall be compelled to
frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burdened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in nowise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities...

This is a portion of James Madison's Memorial and Remonstrance:

Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments
James Madison

To the Honorable the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia A Memorial
and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments

We the subscribers, citizens of the said Commonwealth, having taken into serious
consideration, a Bill printed by order of the last Session of General Assembly, entitled "A Bill establishing a provision for Teachers of the Christian Religion," and conceiving that the same if finally armed with the sanctions of a law, will be a dangerous abuse of power, are bound as faithful members of a free State to remonstrate against it, and to declare the reasons by which we are determined. We remonstrate against the said Bill,

Because we hold it for a fundamental and undeniable truth, "that religion or the duty which we owe to our Creator and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence." The Religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate...

Because Religion be exempt from the authority of the Society at large, still less can it be subject to that of the Legislative Body. The latter are but the creatures and vicegerents of the former. Their jurisdiction is both derivative and limited: it is limited with regard to the co-ordinate departments, more necessarily is it limited with regard to the constituents...

Waste, Abandonment Earmarks Iraq Construction Jobs

Billions worth of construction materials left behind in the desert

Baghdad - Of all the incomplete and unfinished projects
mentioned in the media blitz surrounding the Inspector
General's report on waste in Army construction in Iraq, the
prison in the desert at Khan Bani Saad gets the most
attention.


Stuart Bowen terms it "a bit of a monument" to the waste and seeming fraud committed by contractors and Army overseers in the "surge" program called the Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund.

Mr. Bowen is the Special Inspector General for Iraq.

His harsh critique of a failed program points up $4 billion
in waste, an estimate of more than 20 percent of the $21
billion spent so far of total combined contributions of the
U.S. and Iraq of $112 billion.

Designed to hold 3,600 prisoners, the buildings sit in the
sand, tumbleweeds growing in the stacks of brick and barbed
wire left behind on the unfinished compound.

There is a sister prison compound left similarly unoccupied at
Nasiriyah.

Inspectors found honey-combed concrete beams unsatisfactory
to bear loads, brick walls out of plumb and incomplete
plumbing. The IG terms the effort a waste, a failure.

It's not the only one. There are stories of the pediatric
hospital with no staircase to the second floor, the Fallujah
sewage treatment plant with no pipes to connect it to the
city's system of wastewater conduit, and the $5.7 million
Baghdad Convention Center where the contract did not
stipulate that the structures had to be wired to the
electrical power. They sit useless, unlit, without air
conditioning or ventilation, unused and crumbling.

About 43 percent of all the contracts were terminated at one
time. Of 4,800 projects completed, 233 are nearing
completion and 595 have been abandoned.

The projects were originally funded to keep Sunni fighters
busy working for a paycheck and not fighting against U.S.
forces in the "surge" strategy of 2004.

Many projects were begun and left unfinished by a California
firm named Parsons Delaware, Inc., which completed only
about a third of 53 planned jobs.

It is true that the contractors attempted to work during the
height of the violence, dodging bullets and bombs as they
laid pipe and drove nails. Most projects that were abandoned
were terminated due to security concerns.

The Executive Summary of an IG report generated in 2007 is
filled with the classic gobbledegook of bureaucratic
politesse.

But nothing can blunt the incisive thrust of the figures.

"Background. Public Law 109-13, 'Emergency Supplemental
Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror,
and Tsunami Relief, 2005,'
May 11, 2005, provided $5.7
billion for the Iraq Secuirty Foreces Fund, of which the
Commander, Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq
received $5.2 billion. The funds were to be used to provide
equipment; supplies; services; training; and facility and
infrastructure repair, renovation and construction for the
Iraq Forces.

There was one auditor detailed to the fund and 16
comptrollers.

This compares, according to the report, with the following
commands, which operate stateside.

* U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, 8 auditors, 64 comptrollers, $3.2 billion
* U.S. Army Forces Command, 6 auditors, 47 comptrollers, $3.0 billion
* U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armanments Command, 7 auditors, 45 comptrollers, $3.6 billion.

The IG report describes the way projects were abandoned in
this way.

"Actions by the Command. According to the Comander, Multi-
National Security Transition Command-Iraq, Command has
already taken steps toward implementing the recommendations
in this report. These steps include drafting a standard
operating procedure for property accountability; partnering
with the Air Force Center for Environmental Excellence to
develop a standard operating procedure to improve transfer
and acceptance of real property; reviewing and correcting DD
Forms 1354; setting up an accounting section to ensure
accurate and timely oversight of accounting processes and
documents; initiating an in-depth review of open obligations
and commitments, which has already resulted in 950 documents
being deobligated (freeing up $831 million); and working
with Defense Finance and Accounting Service personnel to
improve financial reporting, accounts payable, and cost
accounting in the combat zone. We commend Multi-National
Security Transition Command-Iraq for promptly taking these
steps to implement the recommendations."


Sunday, August 29, 2010

U.S. Gives Up On Defending Border Along I-8 In Arizona


Apparently, guarding the border along the east-west border highway, Interstate 8 from Casa Grande to San Diego, is too great a task.

The Bureau of Land Management has erected signs warning motorists the route is not recommended for travel. Travelers are warned away from the area in the strongest terms because it is an "active drug and human smuggling area."

Congressman Ted Poe of Beaumont gave a speech on the subject in the well of the House of Representatives earlier in the summer.



Multitude Assembles in D.C. To Restore American Honor


Washington, D.C.--Conservative icon Glenn Beck and 2008 Vice
Presidential nominee Sarah Palin stood in the same spot
where Martin Luther King, Jr., gave his "I have a dream"
speech 47 years ago and called for Americans to "return to
God" in order to save America's honor.

A huge crowd approaching the permit limit of 300,000 allowed
by U.S. Park Police assembled on the National Mall, their
ranks stretching from the marble steps of the Lincoln
Memorial to the grassy knoll of the Washington Momument.

The audience, mostly white and apparently, to a huge
percentage, members of the Tea Party, listened as the two
ultr-conservative public figures praised the philosophy of
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a civil rights activist who
received the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts fighting
discrimination in housing, transportation, voting rights and
employment.

The Rev. Al Sharpton protested the selection of the very
anniversary of Dr. King's "I have a dream speech." His
followers assembled at a high school and then the Reverend
led them on a three-mile march to the Tidal Basin near the
Mall.

He made fun of the white crowd at the Lincoln Memorial,
saying they were the people who once looked at civil rights
activists as troublemakers. "The folks who used to
criticize us for marching are trying to have a march of
their own."

Mr. Beck said the choice of dates for the restore honor
rally was just a matter of "providence."

Almost all his remarks were of a religious nature.

Knowledgeable observers told news analysts that they feel
the large turnout of Tea Party activists at the event shows
the new element in conservatism will be able to swing the
November elections.


33 Billion Gals. of H2O For Luminant Nuke Expansion

Comanche Peak requirements for cooling water would drop lake level as much as 4 ft.

Two new reactors at Luminant's Comanche Peak nuclear power
station at Glen Rose would take 33 billion gallons of water
each year to cool.

Almost all the water would evaporate, but that which is saved would be added to the Brazos River downstream, bypassing Lake Granbury.

An environmental impact statement prepared by the Nuclear
Regulatory Commission recommends approval of the new
project, as well as the assent of the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers.

That would result in Lake Granbury lake levels dropping by
as much as 4 feet and an average elevation at Possum Kindom
Lake to be 1.5 feet below where they are now, according to
Save Lake Granbury.

"Last year on Lake Granbury the lake was 4 ft. lower because
of drought conditions. With the additons of Comanche Peak 3
and 4 under those same conditions, the lake would actually
be 6.5 feet lower. Some models are indicating that might
actually be closer to 8 ft."

Estimates of as much as 12.8 feet lower water levels on
Possum Kingdom Lake are indicated by computer models,
according to Save Lake Granbury.

The organization insists that this is unacceptable, that the
lake was marketed to property owners such as the Lake
Granbury Waterfront Owners Assocation as a "constant level
lake."

The developer of the lake, The Brazos River Authority,
disagrees.

According to the Brazos River Authority, "The lake was built
without use of tax dollars; having been financed entirely
with revenues from sales of water by the Authority. The
principal revenues used to finance the project are provided
under a contract with TXU Electric Company for purchase of
water for industrial use, including cooling water for a
natural gas-fired steam electric power plant on the lake and
the Comanche Peak nuclear power plant near Glen Rose."

Construction on the dam began in 1966 and H.B. Zachry
finished work on it in 1969.

Since then, a sprawling recreational and retirement suburb
of Ft. Worth has sprung up on the prairie around the lake.

Low water levels leave boats and docks high and dry, which
causes homeowners in a bad economy to default on mortgages
and move out. That has lowered the tax base to a point
where those owners left behind are experiencing much higher
taxes due to higher assessments on much higher appraisals.

Most property owners predict a slow and ignominous death of
a booming economy in the area.

There will be a Town Hall meeting on Sept. 21 at Glen Rose
for the public to make their views known.

According to statements made by Save Lake Granbury, water
will be in high demand over the next 50 years.

Population growth will force an increase from the current
85,138 acre/ft. per year to 107,302 ft. A computer model
shows that 25 percent of the lake's volume will decrease due
to sedimentation.

"The additional use of water needed by the Comanche Peak
Expansion from the Brazos River Basin would cause a historic
impact on Lake Granbury," a statement from the protesters
concludes. "All models indicate the lake would reach
historic lows more often and would continue with longer
periods of time...We believe there are alternatives for the
Comanche Peak Expansion Project that would exempt the use of
Lake Granbury water."

To read what the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Brazos
River Authority is ready to approve, click here:

http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/new-reactors/col/comanche-peak/
documents/nrc-2010.html


Investigator of mass killings found dead in Tamaulipas


Reynosa -- The Zetas drug cartel stepped up a
campaign of terror over the weekend. The President of Mexico
predicted the violence will only intensify.

Police found the body of the prosecutor investigating the
murder of 72 central American illegal immigrants
at a ranch
in rural Tamaulipas beside a road with another unidentified
victim.

The prosecutor, Roberto Jaime Suarez, disappeared last
Wednesday, an apparent victim of kidnapping, according to
U.S. officials of the Department of Homeland Security who
were quoting local news media reports.

On Saturday two bombs exploded in this border city near a

One of the bombs was located in a car parked next to the stu-
dios of the broadcasting network Televisa. The other was lo-
cated on the street in front ofthe Transit Police headquarters.

The two bombings and the murder of the prosecutor handling
the investigation of the mass killings are believed to be
connected and made headlines worldwide
, from Europe to the
Caribbean and Asia. Many news reports mentioned the
resemblance of the Zetas terror campaign to those carried
out by such organizations as Hamas and Hezbollah and Al
Qaeda in the ongoing wars of the mideast.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon vowed he will not back
down in his efforts to contain the violence of drug cartels
and the enforcement organizations they employ.

Speaking at a security conference, he said, "Violence will
persist and even intensify."

President Calderon has more than doubled the federal budget
for combating drug cartels with Mexican military troops from
about $5 million in 2009 to $10 million in 2010. He has
used funds supplied by the U.S. government.

The escalating violence has claimed the lives of more than
28,000 people during the 4-year crackdown.

The Zetas are a coalition of former Mexican Special Forces
commandos trained by the U.S. Army. They mulitplied their
earning capacity by hundreds upon hundreds of percent by
deserting the Army and joining the drug kingpins.

They have now taken up arms against illegal immigrants
transiting the northern tier of Mexican states bound for the
U.S. by extorting their money and making them work for the
drug cartels.


Their signature method of killing is to behead their victims
and leave the bodies where they will strike the maximum
terror in the people upon whom they are trying to make the
most striking impression. Their techniques are classic and
resemble most the type of insurgency which special forces
soldiers are trained to combat.

A lone survivor of the mass killing, which took place on a
ranch about 70 miles south of Reynosa, said the migrants
were intercepted on the highway by 5 car loads of armed
Zetas who kidnapped them and took them to the rural
location.


A native of Ecuador, 18-year-old Luis Freddy Lala Pomavilla
said the killers demanded the migrants assist in carrying
out assassinations. When they refused, they herded them
into a grain barn and shot them all.

He was wounded in the neck and escaped to a road block
commanded by Mexican Marines whom he guided to the scene of
the killings.


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Of A Mad Tea Party In The Palace Of Justice




McLennan County Commissioners to consider budget of $3 for JP Precinct 6

Chapter 7-A Mad Tea Party: The Cheshire Cat appears in a tree, directing her to the March Hare's house. He disappears but his grin remains behind to float on its own in the air prompting Alice to remark that she has often seen a cat without a grin but never a grin without a cat. Alice becomes a guest at a "mad" tea party along with the "Mad Hatter," the "March Hare," and a sleeping "Dormouse " who remains asleep for most of the chapter. The other characters give Alice many riddles and stories. The Mad Hatter reveals that they have tea all day because time has punished him by eternally standing still at 6 pm (tea time). Alice becomes insulted and tired of being bombarded with riddles and she leaves claiming that it was the stupidest tea party that she had ever been to.

It's a tale of a courthouse war told so often it's worn
grooves in the soft soap stone of the charming old double-
domed Italianate-Beaux Arts building on the bluffs
overlooking the banks of the Brazos. In the latest
installment of the serial:

The McLennan County Commissioners' Court will meet at a
budget hearing and be asked to consider a budget of $1 per
month for the Justice Court Precinct No. 6, which was elim-
inated in 2006.

PULL CORD TO STOP PRESS!

The purpose of this exercise?

To ensure compliance with The Texas Constitution, of course.

What else would one suspect?

Though the voters spoke at the ballot box 4 years ago in the
general election to elect a Justice of the Peace in Precinct
6, the newly elected Judge was never allowed to take the
bench because, in the interim, the Commissioners' Court
acted to eliminate the precinct.

County Judge Jim Lewis refused to issue a certificate of
election. Ergo, Randall Scott Gates was never allowed to
assume his office and do business as the Justice of the
Peace in the rural community of Moody in far southwestern
McLennan County.

Without a budget, however, the Texas Constitution is
slighted and the will of the voters frustrated, according to
Mr. Gates. He has petitioned the Court to adopt a budget of
$1 per month for the non-existent Court for the remaining
three months of his elected term of office. Commission-
ers will be asked to consider the item in the
Budget hearing to be held on Aug. 31.

Our story so far:

At some point prior to the election season, the local
Constable set up a radar speed detection surveillance
program on State Highway 317 near the Moody Elementary
School Zone.

Though constables are law enforcement officers, they by and
large confine their duties to serving process for the
Courts, standing by at evictions and public sales and the
like. You rarely find them enforcing speed laws, except in
rural Dallas County where the practice is a matter of some
controversy.

Someone complained to County Road Commissioner Wendell Crunk
and he admonished the gentleman of the law to desist, a
warning that fell on deaf ears.

The shakeout, when it came, was radical, to say the least.

The Court voted to eliminate Precinct 6, but not until after
the primary election, when Randall Scott Gates had been
nominated as candidate for Justice of the Peace.

For the past four years, Mr. Gates has served as the Justice
of the Non-Existent Precinct 6 Justice Court.

Unlike the England of 1865, when the Oxford churchman
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson wrote his classic fantasy-satire
about the intrigues of Court of the day under the psuedonym
Lewis Carroll, Texans and Americans are under no constraint
to conceal in fantasy or allegory the privileged comments
they make about public officials. There is the landmark
Supreme Court case to consider, Sullivan v. New York Times,
in which the justices held that public officials are beyond
the pale when it comes to considerations of libel.

As such, they are holding themselves out as public servants
and are thus fair game for public comment, all of which is
entirely privileged unless a plaintiff can prove that there
was malicious intent on the part of the writer. To this
day, no such rules apply in England.

Some of the legal rhetoric generated by the Precinct 6
controversy assumes the tenor of Mr. Dodgson's tale of
illogic and madness exhibited by high public officials,
aided and abetted by the likes of those twin political
stalwarts, Tweedledum and Tweedledee.

Considereth: the words of Mike Dixon, Esquire, the at-
torneywho represented the Commissioners' Court in the
matter before the 10th District Court of Appeals:

"Furthermore, since no certificate of election has been
issued, it was improper for the Relator (Mr. Gates) to seek
to qualify and assume the duties of office by filing a
purported oath and bond with the County Clerk. Sect. 601.003
of the Texas Government Code...presumes that the person has
been elected in the first instance.

"The only possible motive for the filing of these purported
instruments is an attempt to convince the Court that the
office actually exists. The Relator, however, cannot, in a
defiant act akin to Napoleon Pope (?) taking the crown from
Pope Pius VII and placing it on his own head, become a self-
anointed justice of the peace merely by filing what purports
to be an oath and bond that were not approved by the County
Judge or the Commissioners' Court."

Of 1,560 votes cast, Randall Scott Gates received a slim
majority of 4 votes.

According to "Art. V §18(c) creating Post-Redistricting
Officials (which) was approved by the voters in 1983 to
overturn that aspect of Ashmore," the office of Justice of
the Peace, Precinct 6 exists to this day, according to an
analysis of the amendment to the Texas Constitution approved
by voters in 1983 and the legal situation regarding the
elimination of Precinct 6, in an opinion authored by
McLennan County District Attorney John Segrest.

"It was approved not out of fondness or fairness for the
individual in a now abolished office, but to foster the
interests of the people of the State. Thus, the public is
defended from anyone who 'from time to time, for the
convenience of the people,' redraws lines eliminating a
Justice of the Peace here and a constable there, which would
in effect disenfranchise the voters of an abolished or
redrawn precinct who did not have the opportunity to vote
for their inherited officials. 'From time to time, for the
convenience of the people,' redistricting may appear to
override the will of the voters or change the outcome of
elections."

He went on to say that voters could just as easily have re-
jected the measure and a controlling opinion in a previous
court case would have remained in force. Such is not the case,
he noted.

The 10th Court denied the petition of Mr. Gates seeking
mandamus relief that would have allowed him to take office.
The Court did not issue an opinion en banc.

In a dissenting statement, Chief Justice Tom Gray wrote that
the election by the people takes precedent over the refusal
to issue a certificate of election by the Commissioners'
Court.

The Texas Supreme Court heard the resulting appeal, but
neglected to issue an opinion, one way or the other.

Hence, the move afoot to adopt a budget of $1 per month for the
"non-existent" justice court in the precinct eliminated by
the Commissioners' Court. To fail to do so would circumvent
the will of the people who approved the Texas Constitution
and its amendments.


Law - Texas Government Is The Servant Of The People


Look out, kid, they keep it all hid...Bob Dylan, "Subterranean Homesick Blues," ca. 1965

Consider the preamble of the Texas Open Records Act.

Sec. 552.001. POLICY; CONSTRUCTION. (a) Under the fundamental philosophy of
the American constitutional form of representative government that adheres to the principle that government is the servant and not the master of the people, it is the policy of this state that each person is entitled, unless otherwise expressly provided by law, at all times to complete information about the affairs of government and the official acts of public officials and employees. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created. The provisions of this chapter shall be liberally construed to implement this policy. (b) This chapter shall be liberally construed in favor of granting a request for information.


Waco -- There is a fundamental schism between the basic assumption of the law and those who have custody of the public record.

A highly valued associate of The Legendary came close to being accused of a serious crime by a hypervigilant Deputy District Clerk in the McLennan County Courthouse one day this past week.

R.S. Gates, a veteran narcotics detective, jailer and crime scene investigator, was busy accessing public records at a bank of computer terminals in a third floor corridor of the Courthouse Annex building just outside the door of the clerk's office. These computer terminals are intended for public use and are there to help people find and access legal instruments filed in the system and are therefore part
of the public record.

District Clerk Karen Matkin approached Mr. Gates and said a staff member had observed him loading computer files onto his laptop computer with an external "thumb drive."

Mr. Gates assured Ms. Matkin that the allegation was not true, that he was merely looking for corroborative information to help him locate the instruments which he
sought.

They visited in her office a few minutes later and he assured her that he is aware that there are various grades of an offense under the Texas Penal Code that declares it an offense to seek unauthorized access to an electronic network. In cases where it is proven that the actor benefited by $200,000 or more, it is a grade "A" felony to
do so.

The law is clearly stated at Section 33.02 of the Texas Penal Code.

Sec. 33.02. BREACH OF COMPUTER SECURITY. (a) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly accesses a computer, computer network, or computer system without the effective consent of the owner...

The fundamental question is, then, just who owns those records?

I think we all know the answer to that one. After all, the Texas Open Records law clearly refers to all officials so charged as the legal "custodian of records."

Happily, they were able to straighten out a misunderstanding, but the truth is that a very basic violation of a much more ancient and important law took place there.



Moses, the prophet and law giver, the only human being ever documented to have actually seen the face of God, is credited with handing down ten commandents that deal not with God's guidance as to how people should deal with Yahweh, but how they should treat each other.

High on the list is the commandment that "Thou shalt not bear false witness..."

Most of what is found in any codification of criminal law and civil regulation is predicated on the basic assumption that people will be decent in their behavior toward one another, hence all the various degrees of the laws against killing, stealing, lying, and the like.

The Legendary has had negative experiences with the system of looking up public documents in the Clerk's office.

For one thing, the system is expensive. I was charged $8.06 simply to learn the cause number of a criminal action against an individual charged with 8 counts of forcible rape of a little girl younger than 14 and a single count of continuous sexual abuse of the same person.

Without that cause number, the number of the criminal or civil complaint entered at the top of all pleadings, it is impossible to go any further in the system. And yet, who is the custodian of records of those cause numbers?

Having given my credit card number by phone, I was unable to obtain any further information when I showed up in person because the deputy clerk steadily ignored me as I stood at the counter attempting to get the information for which I had paid.

For the sum of $8.06, I was able to learn, exactly, nothing.

Stings.

Makes a certain impression on a boy of Scots-Irish extraction.

At the McLennan County Sheriff's Department, records clerks charge the sum of $10 per minute if information technologists are required to do electronic searches for information that is, ostensibly, part of the public record.

Now, it is impossible to write with any intelligence or clarity about a legal action in the absence of basic information about the allegations of complaint, of jurisdiction, and the actual pleadings of defense and prosecution counsel before the Court.

What's more, some members of the public seem to be more equal than others. Brand X grub street journalists such as The Legendary and associates are considered to not be full fledged members of the media, as are those who represent more main stream publishers and broadcasters.

The sad truth is this. Alternative means of communication by internet broadcast over satellite transmission, cable or telephone connections are fast outstripping more traditional means of publishing information. Anyone can carry a broadcasting station around in a briefcase, and people do just that.

I am reminded of an observation of Dr. Marshal McLuhan in his seminal work, "Understanding Media." He said that in the Soviet Union, every public official had a telephone on the desk. The truth was much more complex than initial appearances would indicate, however. Unless that public official wished to have his phone number known, it was impossible to obtain it and use it to establish communications, because at the time there were no phone directories published in that prison society, nor were there
directory assistance operators!

Therefore, people had no telephonic access to their public officials.

Interesting - dreary, dull, depressing, humdrum and a total humbug - but, nevertheless, it is all very interesting.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Climate of Terror, Frustration Evident In Robinson


Crime victims, police upset at release of violent offender

Robinson -- Excel Motors is not an impressive place of business. Tucked in a weedy gravel lot at the side of Robinson Road, near the intersection of Moonlight on the
edge of town, it's easy to pass it up without noticing the used car lot.

On August 2, two men arrived in a car and one of them, a black man named Steven Ray Johnson, 41, allegedly approached Mr. RayEasley, owner of the establishment and stabbed and slashed him so badly he spent the next week in the hospital - three of them in intensive care - according to an elderly lady who stands by there when he is not at his place of business.

Mr. Johnson was reportedly trying to wash Mr. Easley's blood from his hands and clothing as they escaped in the car in which they arrived with a bag containing keys to the cars on the lot, having obtained no money and no car in which to escape.

Mr. Easley's assistant said he was not there, that he was out running errands in town and that if he chose to speak with anyone from the media, he would.

She was visibly upset, angered when informed that Mr. Johnson was released from the McLennan County Jail on a personal recognizance bond after a four-day sojourn by Jail
Magistrate Raymond Britton.



"We've been told not to talk with anyone about this because it's an ongoing investigation," she said, referring all inquiries to the Robinson Police Department.

"Besides, it is none of your business," she said, asking The Legendary to leave the property.

At the Robinson Police Department, records clerks were just as adamant. They said they could release no information about the attempted capital murder of Mr. Easley for which Mr. Johnson was charged.

They directed The Legendary to fill out a Public Information request "so we can check into it and see if it's anything we can release."

The lady called for the Lieutenant in charge of Criminal Investigations, a man with a shaved skull and a very reddened face, who shouted through the glass partition of the office that "The matter is part of a continuing investigation and I will not discuss it with you!"

Informed that Mr. Johnson had been released on his personal recognizance in lieu of a $100,000 lien to be levied against his property and chattels if he fails to appear in court, he became visibly upset and shouted even more loudly.

"I'm not going to argue with you!"

The thing is, no one was arguing with him. The Legendary was speaking to him as a neighbor, nothing more, or less.
The awful truth is, all the posturing and anger in the world will not buy any of The People of the State Of Texas one shred of peace and dignity, law and order, safety and security - any more than that which they may be able to provide for themselves.

It is a known fact that police agencies are under no legal obligation to protect the public. Their weapons are for their own protection, no one else's.

One may easily imagine the frustration of a professional police officer seeing two allegedly violent offenders released during the same seven-day period with no exchange of cash money to secure their return.

Jailers released Robinson karate instructor Danny Passmore last Friday. He had been held since late May on a charge of aggravated sexual assault of a child. District Attorney John Segrest declined to prosecute him in the absence of further physical evidence from the DNA analysis laboratory of the Department of Public Safety at Austin. The DA had declined to present the case to a McLennan County Grand Jury, which triggered the need to release the alleged child rapist due to a delay in prosecution of more than 90 days.

Scrutiny of jail records for Thursday, August 26, show that several others accused of serious felonies were released, either on their personal recognizance by McLennan County judges, or by a letter from the DA declining prosecution during that one 24-hour period.

Goldie Dukes, 39, was released on a personal recognizance bond by 54th District Judge Matt Johnson on charges of evading arrest and robbery after the DA refused charges of robbery, evading arrest, theft of property and interfering with an emergency call.

Corey Hutchinson, 28, was released when the DA refused the charge, after an arrest for violation of a protective order for which he had been held under $50,000 bond.

Delvin Pope was released after the DA refused the charge of failure to stop and render aid. He was arrested and held on $5,000 bond.

Felipe Alvarez, 30, was released by Judge Britton on personal recognizance following an arrest for DWI for which he had been held on $10,000 bond.

GOP Chief: Jim Dunnam "dishonest" about residence


Munisteri Alleges Waco solon lives in adjoining district

Waco -- Eligibility to represent the people of State
Representative District 57 raised its ugly head yesterday at
a press conference.

The question, so endemic to McLennan County politics, of
where a legislative candidate actually lives and how it
affects eligibility for office
is an on-again, off-again
element to a tragi-comedy of errors in the election season of 2010.

State Republican Chairman Steve Munisteri alleged at a Waco
press conference yesterday that State Representative Jim
Dunnam is not actually eligible to hold his District 57 seat
because he has lived since the redistricting of 2001 in what
was then Representative Kip Averitt's and is now
Representative Doc Anderson's 56th District, which is
entirely within the bounds of McLennan County.

"The fact is that state Rep. Jim Dunnam does not live among
the people of District 57," Mr. Munisteri said. The Waco
Democrat "chooses not to live among the very people he
purports to represent. Even worse, he is dishonest about
it."

After the district was gerrymandered, warped, woofed,
massaged and bowdlerized into a snaky shape that rambles
across McLennan, Falls, Leon, Robertson and Madison
Counties in 2001,Mr. Dunnam built a place in Chilton,
where he takes ahomestead exemption.

He kept his place near McGregor so his kids could continue
to attend school where they started their education.

"My wife and I decided that we weren't going to uproot the
kids," Mr. Dunnam said. "They had spent their whole career
in the same (Midway) public school district. We sat down and
we said we're not going to move our kids and so we were
going to maintain something so they they could go to school
where they'd always gone to school. "There's no hiding
anything about it. Everybody's known about it for a long
time."

When a Republican-dominated legislative committee redrew the
57th District in 2001, a panel of three federal judges
upheld the new shape of things to come. The redistricting
had been accomplished by John Cornyn, who was then Attorney
General, Land Commissioner David Dewhurst and Carole Keeton
Strayhorn, comptroller, who was then named Carole Keeton
Rylander. Mr. Dunnam was one of 27 Democratic incumbents who
got a whole new district following the census of 2000. He
has represented the 57th District since 1996.

The following year, the Republicans took over the
legislature, going from a number in the low seventies to a
majority in the high eighties.

Retired construction executive Marva Beck, who ranches near
Centerville in Leon County, is Mr. Dunnam's opposition in
the general election.

This question of eligibility has figured in another state
legislative contest. Former Senator David Sibley, who had
taken up the practice of lobbying for the state's power
companies, trial lawyers, dentists and insurance companies,
was homesteading a mansion assessed at $750,000 in Austin.

He claimed his legal residence as a property in Waco.

Then he raised legal questions about Senator Brian
Birdwell's legal residency and eligibility to run against
him in the Republican Primary
because Col. Birdwell had
voted in elections in Virginia in 2005 and 2006 while
recuperating from burns he suffered in the 9/11 attack on
the Pentagon. State election code and the Texas Constitution
requires a senatorial candidate to have lived in the state
for a minimum of 5 years.

The Secretary of State ruled at the time that though he was
indeed a registerd voter in Prince William County at
Manassas, it was always Senator Birdwell's clear intention
to return to his native Texas, where he had bought property
at Granbury to build a new home.

When Senator Birdwell won the runoff contest and became the
default Senator to replace Senator Kip Averitt during his
unexpired term, the County Republican Chairmen in the 10-
county Senate District 22 nominated him to stand for the
general election in November.

Challenger John Cullar, a Waco attorney who is the former
McLennan County Democratic Chairman similarly challenged
Sen. Birdwell's eligibilit
y, asking the 5th District Court
of Appeals at Dallas for mandamus relief to have GOP
officials remove Birdwell's name from the ballot.


The justices declined, siding with the same opinion
previously held by the Secretary of State. Mr. Cullum
withdrew his nomination last week, saying he prefers to
allow Democratic candidates to collect campaign
contributions and thereby increase their chances of election
to office.

State Democratic Party officials cried foul, saying the GOP
has "gamed the system,"
that the judicial decision was
unfair and they were robbed, plain and simple.

GOP officials said they plan no litigation on behalf of Ms.
Beck in this contest. They prefer to let the voters make
the decision of who is elibible to fill the slot in
Representative District 57. Mr. Dunnam is the current
House Democratic Leader.



Thursday, August 26, 2010

ICE: Amnesty For 17,000 Deportees - 2,500 in Houston

Non-violent or those related to legals given top priority

Department of Homeland Security and ICE officials are planning to dismiss deportation proceedings against 17,000 illegal aliens.

Cases of illegal aliens who are not violent, a threat to national security, and are related to a legal resident, receive top priority, according to a memo written by Assistant Secretary of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Joe Morton.

Victims of trafficking in humans also receive amnesty,
according to published reports. Some 2,500 cases in Houston
have been culled over the past month.

Meanwhile, Texas officials calculate that the cost of
incarcerating illegal aliens in Texas prisons and providing
indigent health care topped "at least" $250 million last
year.


What's more, while polls show most Americans want illegal
immigration brought under control, some 218 bodies of
illegals who died in the deserts of Pima County trying to
make it to Phoenix were recovered in 2009. So far this
year, authorities have recovered the remains of 170 in the
same area.

a long-standing policy of opposition to the border fence in
Arizona and espoused the state government's new get-tough
policy toward illegal immigration.

Flores Campaign "Very Encouraged" With Internal Polls



Edwards lagging behind Flores in TV ads, which started today

Bryan -- Strolling through a machine shop, Bill Flores appeared in a 30-second television ad today saying jobs are created in the work place, not in government programs in Washington, D.C.

The campaign of Representative Chet Edwards has not started to show advertisements on television or in print media.

A voice-over announcement reminds viewers in the markets of Waco and Bryan-College Station that the Republican challenger led the 10-term Democratic veteran in a scientific poll conducted by the Washington firm of On Message, Inc., by a dozen points in May.

The announcer points out that "Edwards, who isn't releasing his own survey, remains confident he can turn the contest from a referendum on President Barack Obama and national atmospherics into a chioice between the two candidates."

Reached for comment, Bill Flores campaign manager Matt
Mackowiak said he would not discuss results of recent polls,
but added that "We're very encouraged with internal
polling."


9 % Hike In Drug Costs Outstripped Inflation in 2010

Medicare will force 3 million patients to change drug plans

Name brand prescription drug prices have risen by close to 9
percent
over the past year and it's something that will
probably cause about 20 percent of the nation's 17.5 million
Medicare clients enrolled in stand-alone drug plans to have
to change their Part D program.


The rise in drug prices has added about $10 billion to the
nation's drug bill, according to research by the American
Association of Retired Persons, though the rate of inflation
has shown a negative change of 0.3%.


The net effect will be to force people to change their
prescription drug plan, even though they may like the one
they have and want to stick with it.

According to a consulting firm working for the government,
about 3 million seniors will face having to change plans.

It's a heady risk to take in an election year, say the
nation's policy experts. Republican office seekers and
incumbents have made a lot of political hay over the issue,
pointing out the fact that seniors were promised they could
keep their health care plans, even though the Health Care
Reform Act squeaked through Congress with the narrowest of
margins.

Medicare managers are seeking to consolidate some 40
different plans now available in each state. Their goal is
to reduce this number to about 30.

"Some opponents of the law may say that this is taking away
choices, but we have heard from our members for years that
the (drug coverage) options can be confusing," said Nora
Super, AARP's top health care lobbyist.

Nationwide, there are about 1,600 separate plans, many of
them nearly identical.

A new estimate by Avalere, the consulting firm hired by the
government to make recommendations, could result in a hassle
for seniors who had planned to keep the same plan during the
open enrollment season this fall, according to Bonnie
Washington, a senior analyst with the firm.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Zulu Flash - Mexican Marines Find New Mass Grave

BULLETIN: A man approached a road block in Tamaulipas State
about 90 miles from the border earlier today seeking first
aid for a gun shot wound.

He told Mexican Marines manning the outpost that he had just come from a nearby ranch where gunmen from the feared Zetas enforcer wing of the drug cartels had killed a large number of people and buried them in a mass grave.

The Marines found 72 bodies - 58 men and 14 women - buried in a very large hole, according to Navy Vice Admiral Jose Luis Vergara.

The wounded man told the road block guards that the Zetas
had kidnapped him and other migrants as they made their way
to the border in the northeastern border state, took them to
the ranch in San Fernando, and killed them.

Adm. Vergara said authorities believe the migrants are from
Brazil, Ecuador, El Salvador and Honduras.


Morgue workers were fingerprinting the remains in San
Fernando.

This is the largest mass grave found since President Felipe
Calderon began a crack down on drug cartels four years ago.
U.S. government funds have doubled the Mexican offensive
from a $5 million budget to a $10 million
, according to news
reports. More than 28,000 people have been killed in the
resulting violence as cartels vie for the right to use certain
smuggling routes.


The Zetas are former Mexican Special Forces soldiers who
have broken away from enforcement duties for the Gulf Cartel
and formed their own drug smuggling gang.

Palestinian-Israeli Detente: Peace Talks A-Go Go

Washington, D.C. -- In a game familiar to all sides, President Barack Obama had Secretary of State Hilary Clinton invite the players for yet another round of Arab-Israeli
peace talks.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will arrive around the first of the month for one-on-one meetings with the President and aceremonial summit billed as another attempt to hammer out differences over Israeli expansion into Palestinian territory, new Israeli settlement building in the West Bank, and an end to the need for Palestinian smuggling in the Gaza
Strip.

Mr. Netanyahu not only welcomed the talks, he issued a
statement remarking "the American clarification that the
talks would be without preconditions."

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told media outlets
that the guidelines laid down for the talks are "doable,"
that "It's time for decisions."

A product of a high stakes gamble by the so-called
"Quartet," a special team of negotiators from the U.S., The
European Union, Russia and the United Nations, the scenario
is nothing new to international observers, whose reactions
have been flat in spite of the media hyperbole surrounding
the announcement.

Consider the words of the Stratfor analyst, George Friedman.

"Mutual fear is the foundation of peace among enemies,"
according to the veteran intelligence expert who writes a
regular report on hot spots for the private information
service based in Austin.

Unlike the time when U.S. President Jimmy Carter brokered a
peace accord between Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin
and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, in this case there is no
real impetus for results.

Following the 1973 war, "Both Egypt and Israel were shocked
and afraid," he wrote this week. "The uncertainty of the
future sobers both sides."

In this war of words, he added, "But the United States wants
a peace process, preferably a long one designed to put off
the day when it fails."

He's not alone in his skepticism.

Critical thinkers point out that Mr. Abbas is "only in
control of one half of the Palestinian territories,
following the takeover of the Gaza Strip by the Islamist
Hamas group in 2007," said a report from "The Financial
Times."

Besides, FT's Jerusalem Correspondent Tobias Buck pointed
out, "...the chief Palestinian negotiator has already warned
that the Palestinians will pull out of the new talks if the
Israeli government announces further settlement building..."

"Without a doubt, we will hit more obstacles, said Mrs. Clinton.
"But I ask the parties to persevere...to continue
working to achieve a just and lasting peace in the region."

It's more like a just and lasting round of peace talks,
according to veteran international observers in arms
production, petroleum drilling, transportation and private
security services.

The story goes like this.

The Israeli right is pressing to resume settlement building
in Palestinian strongholds. The deadline on the moratorium
is fast approaching.

This brings the traditional balance of power into play.

It's common knowledge that pro-Western republics such as
Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Emirates, Kuwait, Jordan, Syria and
Egypt are publicly hostile to Israeli and American
sentiments while at the same time they depend for survival
against an onslaught of radical Islamic aggression from such
rogue states as Iraq and Iran on the hegemony of American
and Israeli military might and nuclear weapons capabilities.

Hence, the long, drawn-out peace talk process has its
advantages for all sides.

In a world of many flags unfurled and a constant racket of
clattering, clashing sabers, the prospects of peace talks
well underway by late September is a refreshing change to
what looks to be a long, hot detente filled with brush fire
wars and flare-ups.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Chet: "I was in the right place at the right time"

Two 4-star Generals heap praise on Congressman's record

Representative Chet Edwards praised the military families of America in remarks before approximately 100 veterans today
in Clifton.

He said he is only a partner with veterans, voters and military people in making the Armed Forces good at what they do.

Two past commanding generals of Ft. Hood, Pete Taylor and Tom Schwartz, told the gathered veterans he's the best man
they know on Capitol Hill when the military needs help.

Said Gen. Schwartz. "There are a lot of us out here who would like to be a lot more like you."

He said Chet Edwards helped the Army in its struggle to keep from being cut to as little as 8 divisions from a high of 16, then 12.

When it comes to base housing, military families owe
Congressman Edwards a debt of gratitude, the General said.

"Chet Edwards is a combat Congressman. He's had to go across
the aisle to ask for things from the other side."

Here are some of his accomplishments, according to the two
veteran general officers.

He has doubled the budget for post traumatic stress disorder
treatment, saved the Waco VA Medical Center from certain
closure, added 10,000 new claims processors in the VA system
and funded 92 new Vet Centers for returning combat veterans.

Catherine Henson, a veteran of the Women's Army Corps and
former State Commander of the DAV, said "It would be an
American tragedy if he were not sent back to Congress." She
criticized Bill Flores for suggesting that wounded veterans
should be treated at the Army hospitals and non-service
connected veterans should get their care from private health
providers.

"They can't handle what they've got now," Mrs. Henson said.

With all due humility, Rep. Edwards said, "I didn't do any
of those things by myself; I'm just a partner in it."

He recalled how the John David Fry Scholarship Fund came to
be funded by Congress.

Gunnery Sergeant Fry was a bomb disposal technician in the
U.S. Marine Corps. He was just one week away from coming
home from Iraq when he volunteered to disarm three
Improvised Explosive Device bombs on a road during the
hottest period of the war.

Ater he disarmed the first two, he lost his life when he
worked on the third, which was wired to a fourth, concealed
bomb under the surface of the ground.

He recalled re-dedicating the U.S. Post Office in Gunny
Fry's home town of Lorena.

"I looked at his three kids and his widow, and I thought,
'I'd like to be able to do something more in his memory.'"

The reality today is that any son or daughter of a veteran
who lost his or her life in combat receives an all-expenses-
paid scholarship to a college or university. Period.

There were no dry eyes in the house as he told that part of
Gunny Fry's story.

When it comes to improving housing for soldiers, sailors and
Marines, he said, "I don't find many lobbyists knocking on
my door seeking funds for that purpose."

The House Subcommittee for Appropriations he chairs rides
herd on the VA and Military Construction.

"It's about respect," he said. It's about respect for the
men and women who do "America's number one job and that's
protecting us from our enemies."

He received a standing ovation from the crowd.

Edwards Campaign Facing Heat On Vets, Health Care


Burleson -- Veteran Tea Party activist Angela Cox confronted U.S. Representative Chet Edwards here at a campaign stop emphasizing veterans issues.

Said Ms. Cox, "Get this. Chet Edwards told the people assembled, 'If we don't win this race, I want you to know, I'll be OK. I am blessed, my wife is blessed and my children are blessed...'

"I couldn't help myself with all his I's and my's, so I spoke up and said, 'Glad to know you and your family are so blessed and you're going to be OK, at tax payer expense, but why don't you do something really good for your constituents...who have no jobs, are losing their homes and lives that they've worked so hard for, most of their lives...People started laughinig and clapping. Chet just got red in the face and changed the subject.





"He took no questions, but I did manage to have a
conversation with him on veterans issues...'One thing we can
agree on is that we do need to take care of our veterans.'"

Ms. Cox said she told Mr. Edwards, "'I will consider your
request, but first, as a sign that you are genuine in your
request, I would like to know why as of today, that you have
not denounced (Department of Homeland Security Secretary)
Janet Napolitano's statement that she made that vets coming
home from Iraq and Afghanistan should be considered as
possible terroristic threats to the U.S.'

"Media was right there and their jaws dropped. They looked
at Edwards and he walked off. LOL!"

Mr. Edwards will appear at 3:30 p.m. today at White Horse
Station in Clifton.

According to automated telephone messages he sent to
constituents in the area, he will have leaders of veterans
groups with him at the appearance.

Former Bush Administration VA Secretary Andrew Principi made
an appearance with the Representative at Waco yesterday.

He played a major part in retracting Agent Orange service
connection disability benefits to Navy "blue water" veterans
of the Vietnam War who did not put their feet on "dry land"
after Congress had previously passed a law guaranteeing they
would receive the same benefits as those who served on dry
land.

Congressman Edwards has signed on to legislation introduced
by House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Bob Filner (D-
California) that would reverse the former Secretary's
amendment of the dapartment's M-21-1 Adjudication Policy
Manual that denies such benefits to Navy veterans who served
offshore in Vietnam categorically.

The public law and Code of Federal Regulations extends the
service connection benefits to all veterans who served in
the Republic of Vietnam or its coastal waters.

Clifton resident Tim Hix died of Agent Orange-related
prostate and bone cancer two years ago. He was a Navy
veteran who served aboard the destroyer U.S.S. Dennis J.
Babcock in 1967, 1968 and 1969. Mr. Hix was billed $25,000
for an initial prostate operation because of the reversal of
policy. His combined family income was too much to receive
VA health care promised him when he was honorably discharged
as a combat veteran of the Vietnam War, according to a VA
ruling.

The Babcock fired on-shore bombardment missions from within
a thousand yards of the coast of Vietnam with her 5-inch
automatic guns. Mr. Hix served as a "phone talker" in his
General Quarters combat station.

He was a friend of The Legendary, a coffee drinking buddy
who worked at Clifton's Go Industries, and he is missed
every day by his many friends.

The VA denied Mr. Hix service connection when the U.S.
Supreme Court declined to hear the case of a fellow Navy
veteran who was blinded by a diabetic condition due to
exposure to Agent Orange.