Wednesday, August 31, 2011

You a taxpayer? Here's a part of what you paid for

This week marked the last day to file objections to an $8.5 billion Bank of America settlement with investors who lost money on collateralized debt obligations.

Investment in these securities, based on underlying pools of mortgages and packaged by Bank of America acquisitions such as Countrywide and Merrill Lynch, lost billions upon billions of dollars for institutional investors such as BlackRock, PIMCO and MetLife.

At the time, the bank had contracted with the Treasury Department to advise the government on how to stop the national skid into financial chaos.

Now these investors are joined by Goldman Sachs in their objections, saying the securities were based on collateralized mortgages which did not meet the stated quality standards. What's more, they allege that Countrywide did not keep accurate records of the loans. In the last analysis, they couldn't prove what they did and did not own.

Then they allegedly turned around and foreclosed on properties using phony papers. The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which now regulates Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for the new owners, the United States of America, has joined the fray, along with U.S. Bancorp, a trustee for one of Countrywide's mortgage pools allegedly valued at $1.75 billion to make the bank buy back the mortgages it sold the company. They join the insurance giant AIG, which is suing Bank of America for $10 billion in a separate case involving mortgage-backed securities.

Not only does the bank not make any money, it's lost $3.2 billion over the past three years; it's had negative income for the past two, has accepted a $5 billion investment from Warren Buffet, and sold half its stake in China Construction Bank for around $8 billion.

Reuters estimates that the bank actually paid $30 billion when you add in all the write-downs, legals costs and settlements attached to its $4 billion deal to acquire Countrywide in 2008.

There was a method to this madness. Two investigative journalists wrote a Pulitzer Prize-winning analysis of the how and why of the collateralized debt obligation market.

Quite simply, underwriters and sellers offered the securities to institutional investors, then bought in through insider trading in bets that the deals would lose money, collected their profits from the insurance companies that guaranteed the government-backed mortgages, and walked away happy.

Such a deal.

In the midst of these developments, the bank also announced this week that it will sell off its correspondent mortgage business. That's the division that buys loans from smaller lenders, sells them, then continues to service the loans. About 1,000 employees work there in that line of business, which represents an estimated 47% of Bank of America's mortgage operations during first quarter 2011.

So, that's who your government contracted with to advise its policies through the bursting housing bubble of 2008.

DOJ helped set up disinfo campaign for Bank of America

According to a story in “The Tech Herald,” the Department of Justice recommended three cyberspy firms to the law firm Hunton & Williams to help coordinate an attack on Wikileaks for the Bank of America.

According to the Tech Herald, "Hunton and Williams were recommended to Bank of America’s general counsel by the Department of Justice, according to the email chain viewed by The Tech Herald. The law firm was using the meeting to pitch Bank of America on retaining them for an internal investigation surrounding WikiLeaks.

“They basically want to sue them to put an injunction on releasing any data,” an email between the three data intelligence firms said.

“They want to present to the bank a team capable of doing a comprehensive investigation into the data leak.”

Recent published reports have alleged that the bank used phony documents to proceed with foreclosures and falsified the nature of real estate assets it sold to such mortgage insurance companies as AIG. Numerous state Attorneys General are investigating the matter.

“After a tip from, The Tech Herald has learned that HBGary Federal, as well as two other data intelligence firms, worked to develop a strategic plan of attack against WikiLeaks. The plan included pressing a journalist in order to disrupt his support of the organization, cyber attacks, disinformation, and other potential proactive tactics.”

According to a Wikileaks news release, the proposed actions include:

- Feed the fuel between the feuding groups. Disinformation. Create messages around actions of sabotage or discredit the opposing organizations. Submit fake documents and then call out the error. 

- Create concern over the security of the infrastructure. Create exposure stories. If the process is believed not to be secure they are done. 

- Cyber attacks against the infrastructure to get data on document submitters. This would kill the project. Since the servers are now in Sweden and France putting a team together to get access is more straightforward. 

- Media campaign to push the radial and reckless nature of WikiLeaks activities. Sustain pressure. Does nothing for the fanatics, but creates concern and doubt among moderates. 

- Search for leaks. Use social media to profile and identify risky behavior of employees.

The three firms include Plantir Technologies, HBGary Federal and Berico Technologies.

Judge strikes down key provisions of abortion law

Austin – U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks has a question for Republican lawmakers.

Do they intend to “permanently brand” women who are impregnated as a result of sexual assault?

The New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights sued to block a new law requiring doctors to perform Sonograms before providing abortions.

The judge upheld the requirement, but disallowed provisions which demand they describe the images to their patients and require the women to listen. He held that in its interference in the privacy of the doctor-patient privilege, the new law violates the free speech rights of both patients and their doctors.

Judge Sparks questioned a provision that excepted women who are willing to sign statements saying they are pregnant as a result of rape or incest, or that their fetuses have irreversible abnormalities.

The law is one of dozens passed by legislatures nationwide during the past year. It becomes effective tomorrow, Thursday, September 1, 2011.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Operation Gunwalker nets U.S. Attorney, ATF Chief

Washington – An ill-fated gun-trafficking investigation gone wrong led to the resignation of the U.S. Attorney in Phoenix and the replacement of the acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Attorney General Eric Holder announced the resignation of Dennis K. Burke, U.S. Attorney in Phoenix, and Kenneth E. Melson, BATFE chief in Washington, D.C.

An operation of the Phoenix office of BATFE, Operation “Fast and Furious” was supposed to catch straw purchasers who buy firearms for gun traffickers who then sell them to drug runners on the other side of the Mexican border.

During the years 2009 to 2011, agents watched as thousands of guns made their way across the border while local BATFE agents protested. They were told to stand down in their efforts to prevent the guns from going across the border. In their reports, they told key Senators that they were convinced the actions of their superiors at BATFE was to “pad” the number of guns known to have been sold by local border state gunshops to smugglers.

In December of 2010, two Border Patrol Agents were gunned down by bandits who await illegal immigrants in the rugged canyons near Tucson. Two of the weapons recovered following the shoot-out were from the thousands reportedly sold to straw purchasers.

At that time, whistle blower agents of the BATFE contacted members of the Senate Judiciary Committee who used the intelligence to block the confirmation of an appointee to the top position at BATFE.

Sudden awakening from a 10-year nightmare...

"Guernica" - Pablo Picasso

Footage of the devastating floods of Vermont -the destruction of the irreplaceable covered bridges, the entire sides of old, old buildings that have stood at the crossroads of villages for more than a century washed away in the deluge - scrolled across my television screen while Willie crooned "Moonight In Vermont" and strummed fabulous jazz chords, the kind Chuck Berry said "don't make no money," the kind Chet Baker, Gerry Mulligan, and others produced so effortlessly on the late night FM band when I was a kid.

They made it so easy to listen, the cats like Art Tatum and Stan Getz, Monk and Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Paul Desmond.

Michele Bachmann had provided some comic relief to the afternoon edition of "Democracy Now" after Amy Goodman interviewed a hatchet-faced Yankee who owns one of the last truly independent radio stations in New England. He chatted about how he gets offers to sell out almost every day from the giant megacorporations in an industry where information and music comes canned from satellite dishes located far, far out of state - out of the region. He said his dad and his grandfather often said a big part of the local economy is the turning of the leaves in spring and autumn, the time when people from everywhere come to see just what it's all about.

The point is that during the current emergency, the local radio station is busy telling people which bridges are open, how to get to high ground, and where the path to safety may be found. It's done through emergency generators, the kind of information provided for the public necessity and convenience, something the law only winks at these days, the gentleman from Vermont said.

Ms. Bachmann piously informed the world it's all a sign from God Almighty, the Creator Himself, that it's time to balance the budget, cut the federal spending, snap the books back in line, this thing of earthquakes and floods and hurricanes and a dramatic rise in temperatures.

Ms. Goodman's next guest was the former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, the former Chief of Staff of the Army of the United States of America - all hail the United States of America - a gentleman named Lawrence Wilkerson who served Gen. Powell as he committed himself in public at the United Nations and the world watched, bought into the lies spun by the Bush Administration, the CIA, Vice President Dick Cheney.

For his presentation, they covered Picasso's mural, "Guernica," the cubist expression of what bombing of civilian targets looks like when it's woven into a tapestry and hung on the wall of a fabulous building erected with the money provided by the estate of an oil baron such as John D. Rockefeller, the noted creator of the Standard Oil trust. They covered it with a tarp so the television cameras could not depict Mr. Picasso's work of art. The story goes that once when a Gestapo agent visited his apartment in Paris, he saw a sketch of the mural and asked, "Who did that?"

The story goes that Mr. Picasso replied, "You did it."

This man Wilkerson is ramrod straight, his features set in stone; there's no sign of a sense of humor in his words, in his affect, in his tone of voice.

These are the words of a man who worked for an honors graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, a place where Duty, Honor, Country means you don't lie - ever - about the things that are important, things like chemical warfare, thermonuclear devices, deadly weaponized germs, poison gases.

Earlier, Ms. Goodman played a clip of Vice President Cheney's appearance on NBC, saying that he would support water boarding by foreign intelligence services acting as U.S. contractors all over again, secret prisons, surreptitious wiretapping, renditions of persons from locations in the continental U.S. to remote locations in other nations in a contravention of the guarantee of the Writ of Habeas Corpus.

Mr. Wilkerson begins to spin a tale about someone code named "Curve Ball," an unreliable agent of the German BND, and how the director of Central Intelligence persuaded he and General Powell that the weapons of mass disappearance were, in fact, in place and a threat to the people of the U.S., Israel, the western world, that the Iraqis were training Al Qaeda operatives - and the list goes on - and on - until he runs out of words.

Then he tells the truth, as he and the general later learned it. Too late.

The "intelligence" was gleaned by the repeated near drowning of a man in a secret dungeon in Cairo, a person repeatedly made to believe he would not last through the latest inundation, a person who would have told you he created the world, killed Jesus, Cock Robin, or President Kennedy, if he thought it would get him another breath of air.

Mr. Cheney told the interviewer that when his book of memoirs appears, "Heads will explode all over Washington." He says the White House was "not well served' by the Secretary of State - among other remarks.

Asked for his opinion, Mr. Wilkerson dead-panned, and told Ms. Goodman that after listening to the interview of the man from Vermont and the report on the earthquake, the hurricane, the flooding, he characterized Mr. Cheney's remarks as "singularly insignificant."

As to heads exploding "all over Washington," he compared that witty comment to something one would read in "a supermarket tabloid."

It was at that point that The Legendary, in the privacy of his own home, bellowed out a horse laugh you could have heard in Cow Town, 100 miles away. It was then and there that The Legendary shouted in glee, "All hail Lawrence Wilkerson! I salute you, sir, for you are one some kind of wild and beautiful child running free in a world of total shit!"

So mote it be.

I tell you, enough is enough, and now I'm wide awake and ready for anything.

Conservative activists agitate for probate reform

Local conservative investigative journalist instigates change in abstruse system which often encourages probate disputes

An attorney who serves as counsel for Texas State Technical College at Waco allegedly persuaded McLennan County Judge Jim Lewis to sign a false letter testamentary.

His actions led to an estate of more than $100,000 being placed in the name of a false heiress who in turn wrote him a check for $5,000, according to a multi-count Grand Jury indictment returned in 54th State District Criminal Court.

Attorney Ray Rushing will face the charges following an Attorney General's investigation which yielded the indictment in June.

According to the allegations, Mr. Rushing swindled the rightful heiress to the estate of Eugene Handly, Jean Tarlton, by persuading an elderly and ailing Mr. Handly to sign his estate over to Melissa Adler.

"I'm denying the charges and I look forward to having my day in court, when I can present my case and clear my name," said Mr. Rushing. The case is still pending. If convicted, he and Ms. Adler face penitentiary and state felony jail time.

Few of the hotly disputed cases involving lawyers' alleged abusive practices involve so straightforward a set of allegations.

Consider the long history of the Anna Nicole Smith battle for half of the $1.6 billion estate of her 88-year-old husband, Howard Marshall II, a Houston man who met her at Rick's Cabaret where she had been stripping under various stage names such as Miss Nikki following her arrival from Mexia and the subsequent recognition of her formidable zaftig attributes as a Playboy Playmate of the Month.

The battle for the estate lasted far longer than the marriage; in the end, Mr. Marshall's son, almost twice his step-mother's age, prevailed and Ms. Smith received only $88 million, a sum that was under appeal in the Supreme Court when she suffered an untimely death in 2007 at a Florida resort due to over medication with insomnia drugs. Her estate has still received no benefits because the matter is still under federal court scrutiny.

Then there are the ongoing disputes over reclamation of art works looted by Nazis during World War II. According to activist journalists in the growing blogosphere who cry out for tort reform and an end to behind the scenes probate maneuvering, “The U.S. Justice Department seems bent on undermining decades of efforts to secure a modicum of justice for Holocaust survivors and their heirs, at least with respect to Nazi-looted art.

“Inexplicably, the Justice Department asked the U.S. Supreme Court to deny a rehearing of Von Saher v. Norton Simon Museum of Art at Pasadena, in which the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that California was powerless to extend the statute of limitations for claims involving Nazi-looted art. The Supreme Court in June did as it was asked and declined to take the case.” So, the Norton Simon Art Museum will get to keep the plundered art and sculpture looted from Jewish victims of Nazi hatred, after all.

Allegations of murder most foul often accompany the lawsuits, motions, filings and pleadings in the decades-long cases. There have been wrongful death judgments denied by judges who found that the cause of the deceased was probably murder on the part of the defendant in the civil suit! It happens every day.

Perhaps one of the saddest Texas cases is the ongoing saga of the Hamp Williams estate.

Mr. Williams was a black Civil War veteran who parlayed a government veterans land grant into alleged ownership of thousands of acres of timber land in Panola County. A Sheriff in the county seat of Carthage allegedly murdered his son, shot him down in cold blood, and the family fled to Texarkana during the backlash of racism that followed the ugly period of Reconstruction.

Over the years, according to their case, control of the trust that holds title to the land was taken over by a cartel of oil and gas interests led by the Shreveport, Louisiana Glassel family trust, an enterprise which later became cotnrolling in the energy trading firm known as Enron.

According to a lawsuit filed by the Hudnall family, heirs of Hamp Williams, a family that is now far flung in California and Chicago, “A Bill of Sale Conveyance" acquired by The Final Call for the development of Enron Oil and Gas Carthage Inc. dated March 31, 1995, shows well-drilling agreements with then-Enron Vice President Andrew N. Hoyle "at a measured depth of 9,700 feet on the Schlumberger Electrical Log in the Carthage Unit Well No. 27, M.S. Potts Survey, Panola County, Texas.”

M.S. Potts, or the Mary S. Potts Survey, is also known as land abstract 922, one of the known parcels of land originally owned by Hamp Williams, according to the Hudnall/Guthrie lawsuit.

According to the Railroad Commission Office in Austin, Tex., abstract 922, known as the "discovery well," is said to have anywhere from 40-60 active oil wells on the property. Remaining parcels of land, roughly 13, alleged to belong to Mr. Williams also possess wells on them, say his descendants.

"Enron and/or affiliates unlawfully, through false pretenses and without permission or consent from the Plaintiffs, the rightful and lawful owners, caused to be placed several assignments, lease agreements, and royalty leases for the minerals on the subject property; actions performed with oppression, fraud, malice and with reckless indifference to the rights of the Plaintiffs," says the suit filed by the family.

The family has successfully attached their claim to a bankruptcy suit and they are seeking more than $50 billion in money damages.

One of the heirs wrote a local journalist about the matter:

my name is William G Hudnall we have an estate in Carthage Texas Panola county placed in trust by my great grand father Hamp Williams abst 922 mary s potts survay called the Carthage unit ;Erso; Glassell and Glassell Production company the main office is in Huston texas .called EOG .Glassell producing co. 1021 main st Huston texas .Alford C Glassell 111 the third trustee the third generation trustee .they said that there was to much money for niggers and would not approve a distrabution they put the Glassell trust on top of the 6 Hamp Williams trust and the district clerk has been supressing the Hamp Williams trust for many years ; every time we send an attorney there they buy them ; this is a part of the Enron Scandle Enron Oill and gass of Huston texas is cvontrolled by Alford C Glassell the third Our Trustee who has breached many times cant get a lawer to fight them 300 lawers employed by our ferm and none are working on our behalf ;I live in San Jose California ... trust has been abused sence 1942 Will you please help ;The Lawers For Glassell are Venson and Elkons Being paid by our estate to fight us ; and to keep us away PLEASE HELP ; Talk soon

The Tea Party-affiliated organization Americans For Prosperity has similar interests as the Cato Institute and Heritage Foundation to try to bring about reform. Chief among their ideas include creation of a separate “solicitor” class of non-lawyer practitioner to shepherd estates through the probate process without the folderol of lawyers generating billable hours while practicing legal protectionism.

Essentially, their position is that by erecting a barrier to practicing law without a license, the legal profession and judiciary is throwing a stumbling block before the public that prevents anything like fair competition in the constant disputes that are seemingly often exacerbated by – you guessed it – the legal profession.

A local policy advisor, Lou Ann Anderson is a working journalist who is a producer for the blog and regularly updates news items on the National Examiner.Com pages as the Austin Legal Examiner.

She may be reached at

Monday, August 29, 2011

Fox and Hounds, the chase is on for Cap'n Moonlight...

Who else but that fair-haired boy been away so long?
Who else? Would it be,
but, then, again, no one else will do.

The times, the times, they are a'callin'
and Cap'n Moonlight, he is on the prowl.
on the trail with the hoot of the owl.

Fair busted down the old lady's door, he did,
but she fought him off and away he run
his picture soon on every lawman's gun.

And thence...

- The Legendary

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Criminal judges ponder McLennan jail release policy

Philosophy of quick release has cost lives

Waco - Waco's four criminal courts - two District Judges and two Courts at Law - will ponder the replacement of McLennan County's appointed jail magistrate Monday morning, August 29.

Judge Raymond Britton is 75; he's not an attorney; he serves as the municipal judge at Bruceville-Eddy and Moody; he is paid $24,000 per year.

In the latest session of the Legislature, solons acted to disallow all but attorneys from appointment as jail magistrates. The decision is whether to keep the judge working, or replace him with an attorney who has been admitted to the Texas Bar. Judge Briton could continue to serve as a grandfathered official who was on the bench at the time of the new law's enactment.

Video conferencing infrastructure is in place to allow the Justice Courts to charge and arraign accused offenders from their offices, according to Legendary Reporter R.S. Gates. He says the position could be easily eliminated from the McLennan County budget.

But the judges' musings constitute a review of an entire philosophy of getting offenders charged, arraigned and released as quickly as possible to relieve jail overcrowding - a policy carried out by Sheriff Larry Lynch, his staff, the jail magistrate, Justice Courts, District and County Courts at Law, and the entire criminal justice apparatus. It's beginning to cost lives and detract from the public safety.

Times have changed. The McLennan County downtown Jail Annex at the Courthouse stands empty. Private contractor CEC (Civigenics) emptied it in favor of sending U.S. Bureau of Prisons inmates to the new Jack Harwell Detention Center, built at an expense of $50 million in revenue bonds issued by the Commissioners' Court. The Sheriff's Department has "lent" the corporation a number of inmates to half fill the 800-plus bed faciity. There is no such thing as an overcrowded jail in McLennan County.

The Legendary has carried numerous accounts of murder, rape and mayhem that took place both before and after perpetrators were released, many of them on personal recognizance bonds that cost them not one penny to assure the Court they would return for trial.

The judges are under tremendous pressure from activists, attorneys, law enforcement officers and political candidates to seek and get solutions to the problem.

In some cases, children have been raped or otherwise abused. (Click here for a report on such a case)

In others, elderly persons have been assaulted with deadly weapons.

Not all cases are equal. Though according to the U.S. and Texas Constitutions, bail is not to be set at an excessive or punitive amount, one violent offender may go free on a personal recognizance bond while another languishes in jail under a bond of $5 million.

A certified Master Peace Officer with 29 years on the job at Woodway, Captain Barney Witt is a candidate for McLennan County Sheriff who proposes to end all this if elected. He says that his officers no sooner get a violent offender charged and locked up before staff at the Sheriff's Department at the Highway 6 jail are working diligently to get the perpetrator in front of a video camera so the judges can set their bail - sometimes a personal recognizance bail.

In other cases, he says, judges turn down an application for a domestic violence protective order because the arrest was for a Class C misdemeanor assault. "I don't know of any "Class 'C' protective order," he told The Legendary in a candid and penetrating interview. Excessive worry over violation of an inmates' rights and resulting litigation is a sure sign that an official is in the wrong line of work, he says.

The Osama bin Laden picture – GOP to the rescue

Who gets the movie rights? Congress to decide

Washington – A Republican lawmaker roped in all the hot button issues to keep the Defense Department from helping Sony produce a movie about the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Scheduled to be released in October 2012, just a couple of weeks in advance of the general elections, the picture would rely on the inside expertise of the military and CIA to reveal little known facts and lend veracity to the dramatic tale of how the U.S. Navy's Seal Team Six tracked down the notorious terrorist leader of Al Qaeda and killed him.

In her introduction of H.R. 2819, the “Stop Subsidizing Hollywood Act,” Rep. Lynn Jenkins of Kansas said “In an era of 9 perent unemployment, trillion-dollar deficits, credit downgrades, and record debt-ceiling extensions it is unconscionable that taxpayer dollars are being used to aid the Hollywood film industry in fact-checking and script research.”

If enacted, the law would prohibit sharing any information about the bin Laden affair with any outside entity – at least until Congress and the CIA have a a chance to investigate the matter and arrive at some hard and fast conclusions.

Any assistance given Sony would be repaid, under the terms of the law.

House Homeland Security Committee Chair Pete King (R-NY) is pushing for a guarantee that the military and CIA would have a chance to review the film prior to its release in an effort to prevent classified information from reaching the public.

Hurricane Irene seen as harbinger of a warming climate

New York shut down, 2 million without power

New York – Top officials in the Big Apple told those who had not yet evacuated to batten the hatches and get ready for the blow.

“The time to evacuate is past,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg, as power companies shut down nuclear reactors all along the eastern seaboard, oil refineries closed, the subways stopped running and multi-state blackouts set in.

The 80-mph winds and storm surge will likely flood lower Manhattan, inundate underground power stations and soak down information and communications terminals below street levels.

By the pre-dawn hours of Sunday, August 28, the storm had dumped a solid 12 inches of rain on the region. (click here for the latest weather report)

Even the Staten Island Ferry has suspended service. New York will probably be shut down as the world's information and economic hub for the foreseeable future.

Weather experts predict that hurricanes will be both more frequent and more intense as the climate warms.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Perry edges Romney in latest Gallup Poll by 6 points

After spending the first month of his run in a dead heat with Governor Mitt Romney, Texas Governor Rick Perry surged to the lead in the GOP line-up of Presidential candidates.

The latest Gallup Poll shows him leading the former investment fund manager by 6 points, 27% to 19%.

When he made his formal announcement for election as President, Mr. Perry trailed Mr. Romney by 5 points, 23-18%. According to a poll taken during the week of August 17-21, he has taken the lead.

Political analysts attributed part of Mr. Perry's surge to his timing in the announcement of his candidacy to the day after the Iowa Straw Poll.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Small town boosterism returns value on Main Street

Clifton merchants organize indie music festival

Clifton – Situated on the Santa Fe, this gilded-age town of Victorian storefronts hasn't changed much – until recently.

A wide-awake mercantile community, the Chamber of Commerce and Mayor Fred Volcansek, a civic-minded leader with Washington seasoning in his resume as a deputy undersecretary of trade, have fixed the broken windows, spruced up the cattle town and its old-time image as a shipping point for steers and feeder calves headed for the pastures and stockyards, and turned lemons into lemonade.

Busloads of people out to sample the world-renowned paintings of cowboy artists and sculptors, visitors to the local museum keen to see the fossilized remains of “Sam,” North America's oldest human, at the Horn Site exhibit, and visitors to the Tin Theater and the historic Cliftex have joined the deer hunters and antique shoppers, wine connoisseurs eager to sample some of the new Texas vintages popping up in the Hill Country, and day trippers looking to get out of the city for a quiet weekend at a bed and breakfast.

Come the weekend of September 24, they will get a taste of an independent music producers' festival with four stages, multiple interview areas, live video streaming, and dozens of bands.

The sales manager of Gloff Ford and his boss cooked up the project, sold it to the local merchants, and have attracted independent musical acts from around Texas and many states. You can read all about it at

Duke Machado has been producing musical projects for a number of years. Lately, he looked at the cost of a DWI, the price of gasoline, and the faltering economy, and realized that the market for night clubbing and bar hopping has taken a beating – and it shows in record sales and concert tickets. Somehow, people out for a good time and the kind of music they crave after a hard week on the job would be better off staying at home to party.

Bands and their management can benefit from Hitmusiclink through merchandising services, book keeping, and on-line ratings of the latest hits recorded by his clients.

Hence, his newest project, the Virtual Venue, in which viewers can visit the multiple sites of a festival over their computers' internet hook-up, watch video, order CD's and tapes, buy tickets, t-shirts and posters, and check their favorite bands' schedule. Still in the planning stages, the project is all part of the music festival planned for the weekend of September 24.

In a depression-era drugstore, Deborah Crockett has parlayed a red hot location into the place for cappucino, soup and sandwiches for locals, tourists, art shoppers and entire busloads of people who come to town for all the above. Somethin's Brewing may be found on its Facebook page, and there is a “Pickers' Corner” every Thursday at 7 p.m. for local guitarists and singer-songwriters. Her shop is on the corner of Ave. D and F.M. 317, right across the street from the Cliftex and a half a block from the Santa Fe tracks.

The Legendary caught Guy Taylor, Lee Stanley and Marvin Christy picking some tunes that represent both kinds of music – country, and western, this past Thursday.

Romney front-running on Florida battleground

If the election were held today, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney would defeat President Barack Obama in a general election and Texas Governor Rick Perry in a primary.

According to a Ron Sachs Communications/Mason-Dixon Poll, Mr. Romney would take 51% to Mr. Obama's 43%.

He would defeat Mr. Perry in a Florida primary, 28% to 21%. The Texas governor would claim 46% to Mr. Obama's 45%.

Mr. Romney has voiced a preference for a strong gun control policy.

Rep. Michelle Bachmann would trail the president by two points, 44% to 46%. If the primary was held today, she would garner 13% of the GOP vote.

Governor Romney has voiced support for pro-choice interpretation of Roe v. Wade.

Anatomy of a cellphone social media protest blacked out

Bay Area Rapid Transit Police have shot and killed two men involved during investigations of minor offenses involving disorderly conduct. This is what happened:

The reaction:

BART had cellphone service cut off to thwart use of that medium in coordination of social unrest: (click here to read an earlier story)

Cheney urged Bush to bomb Syrian nuclear reactor

New York – Burned once by false reports of weapons of mass destruction, President George W. Bush refused to bomb a Syrian nuclear reactor at Israeli urging in June 2007.

According to an autobiography to be published next week by Simon & Schuster, Vice President Dick Cheney was the only member of the cabinet who agreed with then Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in an effort to persuade Mr. Bush to attack the Syrian nuclear reactor.

In his book, "In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir,” Mr. Cheney wrote of a high level meeting during which CIA chief Mike Hayden could confirm that there was a reactor, but not that the program was military.

“I again made the case for U.S. military action against the reactor,” Mr. Cheney wrote about a meeting on the issue. “But I was a lone voice. After I finished, the president asked, ‘Does anyone here agree with the vice president?’ Not a single hand went up around the room.”

In his own autobiography, Mr. Bush wrote of his disagreement, saying that "bombing a sovereign country with no warning or announced justification would create severe blowback."

Ehud Olmert, who was then the Prime Minister of Israel, requested the U.S. should bomb the reactor in a military briefing at the White House. He later called from Jerusalem to make a personal appeal. When rebuffed, he told the President he found his refusal “very disturbing.”

Similarly, Mr. Bush denied ever giving his approval to the later military action in which Israel Defense Forces preemptively bombed the reactor. He wrote in his book, "Prime Minister Olmert hadn't asked for a green light, and I hadn't given one...He had done what he believed was necessary to protect Israel."

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I had a date with a pretty ballerina...

Library saves state certification – for $16,000

McGregor – Some days, the dragon wins. On other days, the dragon only appears to have submitted to defeat.

So it goes.

Trella Hughes, director of the McGinley Memorial Public Library in McGregor, Texas, appears to have a bemused understanding of the concept a day after the reluctant application of public funds saved her library's state certification.

The library is housed in the town's old movie theater, a building located on the main street downtown on Highway 317, a bleak and nearly bee-line straight stretch of road that leads to a hook-up with Interstate 35 at Belton, thence to Georgetown and on to Austin.

The City of McGregor contributed $11,000; the County of McLennan $5,000. The library, which serves a population of 7,472 circulating 10,500 items each year using its collection of 14,196 volumes, will retain its certification.

What do the patrons of the library receive in return?

The result, according to Ms. Hughes, is nothing - so far. What, then, exactly, does a local library receive in return for this state library certification?

“We don't know. Until they come up with their new – well, I don't know what you would call it,” said Ms. Hughes, recalling past days when state funding covered grants for books, computers, reading programs, and inter-library loans.

The State library Board will meet in September to form new plans with what to do about its non-existent budget following a legislative session that left the state library system virtually penniless.

Their formula for certification is based on a numerical formula that assigned the number 385 to the city's population of 7,472, the number of voumes in the collection, transactions thoughout the year, and other factors. Multiplying the number by the population set the formula for matching funds from local government at $16,000 in order to retain that all-important certification. What did that state certification guarantee in the past? Lone Star Grants.

Are there any Lone Star Grants to be had today?


Even the most basic services are up in the air. The Interlibrary Loan Service is a method whereby rare or out-of-print books may be loaned from other certified libraries located elsewhere in the state or the the nation to local patrons who would like to use them. They are sent through the U.S. Postal Service under the local parcel rate for books.

How will that service be provided now?

Ms. Trella said she believes patrons will be required to pay for it.

Then there is the Summer Reading Program. Kids who are out of school are encouraged to come to the library and check out books appropriate to their reading development, in order to both retain and sharpen their skills during the summer months.

Will the library be able to afford to do that in the future? No one knows.

A generous private patronage and corporate sponsorship helps with most needs, according to Ms. Trella.

What, exactly, does a vibrant and dynamic business community derive from such a program?

Well, for one thing, you've got to have people who are literate enough to read the laws and regulations and apply them, fill out the reports, do the calculations and keep abreast of developments in their field. It's too late to start learning how to read after high school graduation. That has taken place in the home throughout America's nearly monumental century-long drive to become universally literate.

What about the taxpayers? How do they benefit?

It helps to have public servants, shop clerks, salespersons, mechanics and investigators who have the basic literacy it takes to service your needs. There is no substitute.

It came down to a vote in McLennan County Commissioners' Court on Tuesday, August 23, to see if the library could get the $5,000 needed to retain the library's certification.

When Commissioner Ben Perry made a motion to bring the matter to a vote, County Judge Jim Lewis refused to do so. He said it should be addressed in a budget session, not in open Commissioners' Court on Tuesday morning.

Somehow, someone changed the judge's mind. How?

No one is talking.

Good. Sometimes, enough said is enough said.

As to the kids of McGregor and Moody - and all through that part of parched, sun-scorched McLennan County - The Legendary Jim Parks hopes like the devil that this time next year, they're all reading up a storm. I'd hate to look into the future and think otherwise.

There was a time when dark came early in this country. That's why they called those times the Dark Ages.

Cause when we get you one, we'll get me one, too...

Pivotal role of Executive Order 11110 in war conspiracies

By virtue of the authority vested in me by section 301 of title 3 of the United States Code, it is ordered as follows:
SECTION 1. Executive Order No. 10289 of September 19, 1951, as amended, is hereby further amended --
(click here to read President Harry S. Truman's Executive Order)

(a) By adding at the end of paragraph 1 thereof the following subparagraph (j):

"(j) The authority vested in the President by paragraph (b) of section 43 of the Act of May 12, 1933, as amended (31 U.S.C. 821 (b)), to issue silver certificates against any silver bullion, silver, or standard silver dollars in the Treasury not then held for redemption of any outstanding silver certificates, to prescribe the denominations of such silver certificates, and to coin standard silver dollars and subsidiary silver currency for their redemption," and

(b) By revoking subparagraphs (b) and (c) of paragraph 2 thereof.

SEC. 2. The amendment made by this Order shall not affect any act done, or any right accruing or accrued or any suit or proceeding had or commenced in any civil or criminal cause prior to the date of this Order but all such liabilities shall continue and may be enforced as if said amendments had not been made.

June 4, 1963

Maj. Gen. Smedley D. Butler, USMC, won the Congressional Medal of Honor twice during his extensive career. I first read his bitter words quoted in the frontspiece of a book about South American political and economic realities, "Inside South America," by John Gunther. I bought the book at the base exchange of the Naval Operations Base, Norfolk, Virigina. I was 19 years of age. The author quoted General Butler because he thought his words pretty much summed up the American experience in that area of the hemisphere.

Later that year of 1968, a Son of LIberty wearing Navy dungarees showed me a Silver Certificate and a Liberty Walking coin while he explained the economic significance of what we were seeing in Vietnam - and elsewhere.

(click the above for the basic lecture on the subject, delivered by an acolyte mentored by yet another tin can sailor, George Carlin, student of Lenny Bruce, who rode a can on the North Atlantic run during World War II)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Quake rattles eastern seaboard, shakes up D.C.

MINERAL, Va. — A 5.9 magnitude earthquake centered in rural Virginia forced evacuations of all the memorials and monuments on the National Mall in Washington and rattled nerves from South Carolina to Massachusetts.

A District of Columbia fire department spokesman said though there were numerous injuries, there were no reports of serious injuries or deaths.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake was half a mile deep and centered near Louisa, Va., about 40 miles northwest of Richmond. Shaking was felt at the White House and all over the East Coast, as far south as Charleston, S.C. Parts of the Pentagon, White House and Capitol were evacuated.

The epicenter of the quake is situated near the twin nuclear reactors of a Dominion Power and Light project. No reports were available as to damage to the reactor at this hour.

McLennan Court reverses no-bid award on cleaning

Waco – In a 4-1 vote, members of the McLennan County Commissioners' Court reversed an earlier intention to renew a cleaning services contract at the courthouse complex with an out of town company.

Following comments by Commissioner Ben Perry that he had received e-mails and phone calls from vendors and citizens asking why local contractors were not included in a request for proposals, Commissioner Kelly Snell made a motion that the present contract, which totals $133,000 per year at the rate of $.078 per square foot, be put out for competitive bids.
The item was removed from the day's agenda for immediate action to renew the contract with James Enterprises of Cedar Hill and the purchasing department notified to prepare a request for qualifications and proposals on the services, for which the county presently pays about $12,000 per month.

Fed made $1 trillion in secret loans to banks – Bloomberg

According to a Freedom of Information Act request, the Federal Reserve made as much as $1 trillion in secret loans to America's largest banks during the height of the 2008 housing crisis.

The loans were supposed to remain a secret. But the Fed was forced to bare all after a freedom of information act request. According to Bloomberg Financial News Service, the Fed lent the most to Morgan Stanley, which got as much as $107 billion; Citigroup got about $99 billion. The Fed changed the rules to make things easier for the banks. It accepted risky collateral to back the loans like junk bonds and stocks.

The Fed insists it didn't lose any money on the emergency, secret loans. That doesn't wash with Len Blum, a managing partner at Westwood Capital.

Mr. Blum told newsmen, “That argument doesn't ring true to me. It's like someone saying they went to Las Vegas but it was safe because they won."

A blast from the Texas past – when men were men

Sheep were nervous when “dinnamite booms” exploded

Six Shooter Junction - Behold, Sgt. Ira Aten of the Texas Rangers, best known for his exemplary service during the “fence cutting wars” of 1886.

Sgt. Aten and his men worked undercover on some large ranches, investigating the violence that accompanied certain parties' cutting of the new-fangled barbed wire fences that were sprouting up across the prairies.

Several murders had occurred. The forces of law and order wondered where it would all stop.

Though the adjutant general of the Texas Rangers disapproved, the sergeant and his men deposited what he called “dinnamite booms” along certain areas of the fences most often cut.

"I fixed the bombs so that when the fence was cut between the posts it would jerk a small wire laid under the grass to the cap and explode the bombs."

Ordered to remove the “dinnamite booms” by his captain, Sergeant Aten exploded many of them purposely. This aroused an attitude of great caution amongst the population, which displayed no further mischief when it came to cutting the fences flung up by ranchers carving out their property against the traditional rights of free rangers and drovers far and wide.

The sergeant served until 1891 as a “special ranger,” without pay.

Historians at the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame note that Sgt. Aten was originally attracted to work as a Texas Ranger when he witnessed the death by the hostile gunfire of Texas Rangers in their attempted capture of the outlaw Sam Bass near Sgt. Aten's boyhood home of Round Rock, where his father was a Methodist circuit rider.

(cue barber shop quartet, crooning "Just a closer walk with thee")

Sgt. Aten served most of his career along the Mexican border, patrolling the area between Pecos and Rio Grande City. He later served as Sheriff of Ft. Bend County after his adroit dispatch of the most violent offenders in the Jaybird-Woodpecker War in that area, then moved his family to Imperial County, California, where he was appointed to the Imperial Valley Board.

In that position, he was instrumental in the legislation that eventually led to the building of Hoover Dam by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

If I could sing both kinds of music, country and western, I would probably put this in ceramics in the dialect of high glaze, the caressive puntry method, and write something like what has, undoubtedly, become part of history as the perfect country and western song. But I digress. Play the jukebox, somebody, please. Here's a red quarter. - The Legendary

Monday, August 22, 2011

McCourt mulls cleaning contract with out of towners

Cedar Hill firm up for $133K custodial contract

Waco – James Enterprises is a Cedar Hill outfit that cleans offices and restrooms in the courthouse complex for $133,000 per year.

The McLennan County Commissioners' Court will vote on whether to extend the contract on a non-competitive basis for another year in their regular Tuesday session.

At $.078 per square foot, the out of town firm will add some additional offices and restrooms, a new courtroom and an agricultural service center for a total of nearly $12,000 per month – with no other bidders invited or informed the contract was up for bidding.

The owner of one local janitorial service firm contacted by The Legendary said he would be proud to bid on the business if only given the chance.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

McCourt defies Texas Constitution, votes on tax rate

McLennan Commissioners' Court raised tax revenues before holding public hearings

Reporting by R.S. Gates
Story by The Legendary Jim Parks

Waco - The Texas Constitution prescribes public hearings any time a local government raises tax revenues. Here is the story of how the county commissioners raised revenues without seeking public approval.

Total revenues will be higher in Fiscal Year 2012 because of an across the board re-appraisal of property values in McLennan County, an end run on taxpayers who want to see lower public spending and no new taxes.

Similarly, tax revenues have resulted in a surplus of $27.6 million over the past 5 years, according to figures obtained in a Public Information Act Request by "The Legendary."

God bless Texas! - (click here for a method interpretation)

Libyan rebels have Gadaffi surrounded in Tripoli

Tripoli - Lines of cars stretched for kilometers as motorists waited for free gasoline, rebel forces took over refineries, and the Moammar Gadaffi government struggled to hold the airport.

The 41 – year reign of the boy Colonel who led a coup and nationalized the oil fields of multinational petroleum producers in 1969 is coming to a close as thousands of rebels celebrate in the streets.

The capitol city is in ruins, as are suburbs stretching along the coast to the eastern population centers. Unconfirmed reports that Col. Gadaffi's son has been taken prisoner of war persist, rebel radio stating that he is being treated well so he can be brought to trial for unspecified abuses.

McLennan County GOP chair calls for tax man to quit

Waco – Joe B. Hinton, chairman of the McLennan County Republican Party, called for Tax Assessor-Collector Buddy Skeen to resign.

Mr. Skeen stands accused but not charged with selling used vehicles owned by his office to family and friends, selling real property owned by the County, and claiming the sales tax on a Linkcounty-owned vehicle against the purchase of a new vehicle he bought for himself. He is the subject of an ongoing Texas Rangers investigation.

(those who feel they are taxed enough already may click here for a minority report)

Said Mr. Hinton, a former Vice President for European operations for Exxon/Mobil,

“This guy needs to think hard about resigning.”

Mr. Skeen recently joined the GOP after the Democratic Party Chairman called for his resignation. A grand jury investigated his dealings in the past and returned no bill of true indictment. (click here for a weather report on the matter - continued hot and miserable)

There's not that much physical gold out there!

Gold deposited in vault banks sold over 100 times on markets

From a Wall Street "Journal" report -

"The Bank of England recently received a request from the Venezuelan government about transferring the 99 tons of gold Venezuela holds in the bank back to Venezuela, said a person familiar with the matter. A spokesman from the Bank of England declined to comment whether Venezuela had any gold on deposit at the bank." That's great, but not really a gamechanger. After all the BOE should have said gold. What could well be a gamechanger is that according to an update from Bloomberg, Venezuela has gold with, you guessed it, JP Morgan, Barclays, and Bank Of Nova Scotia. As most know, JPM is one of the 5 vault banks. The fun begins if Chavez demands physical delivery of more than 10.6 tons of physical because as today's CME update of metal depository statistics, JPM only has 338,303 ounces of registered gold in storage. Or roughly 10.6 tons. A modest deposit of this size would cause some serious white hair at JPM as the bank scrambles to find the replacement gold, which has already been pledged about 100 times across the various paper markets. Keep an eye on gold in the illiquid after hour market. The overdue scramble for delivery may be about to begin.

Because there simply is not that much gold out there in bank vaults and because the over the counter market has sold about 100 times more gold than is available for delivery, analysts predict that the price of physical bullion may triple in the near future.

So far, 13 states have either proposed or authorized the minting of gold and silver backed currency to be issued by their own treasuries under the authority of the U.S. Constitution.

The panic is on. - The Legendary

Friday, August 19, 2011

Does Sheriff receive $12,000 salary supplement?

Semantics of the budget records have shifted to murky waters

Reporting by R.S. Gates
Story by The Legendary Jim Parks

Waco - There seems to be no answer forthcoming to a fair question.

Does McLennan County Sheriff Larry Lynch, in fact, receive a salary supplement of $12,000 per year for monitoring and administrative duties supervising a contract to house prisoners of McLennan County at a privately operated facility, the Jack Harwell Detention Center on Highway 6?

The matter is one of some confusion because the notes in the salary budget schedule for FY 2011 say that the payments of $1,000 per month are “contingent upon receipt of funds paid the contractor for housing of federal prisoners at the downtown jail annex.”
There are no prisoners housed in that jail.

They were all moved to the Jack Harwell Detention Center, operated by CEC (Civigenics), last summer.

In the present budget proposal, the semantics have changed.

The notations for the salary budget schedule for 2012 say that “The Sheriff receives a salary supplement of $12,000 for monitoring and administrative responsibilities relating to county detention facilities operated for the county by a contractor.”
Salary Schedule
The semantics of these two statements differ from those published for the 2009 budget proposal, which read, in part:

(3) The sheriff's salary may be supplementted from non-tax revenues up to $12,000 for detention monitoring compensation subject to, and contingent upon actual receipt of monitoring reimbursement funds under the Facility Lease, Operation and Management Agreement regarding the housing of Federal Prisoners at the Downtown Jail.

This means that the sheriff receives the salary supplement, but there are no records to show that he does, or that he conducts regular monitoring or administrative supervision of the facility.

So, what are the true facts? Either the potential for the salary supplement exists, but the sheriff is paid no funds because the contractor is not in receipt of funds from the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, or the policy has changed and taxpayers fund the supplement. Which is it?

There would be records if the sheriff paid supervisory inspection visits or monitored administrative records.
In fact, no such records exist, according to Chief Deputy Randy Plemons, a candidate to take Sheriff Lynch's place in the elections of 2012.
Despite repeated requests to the Sheriff's Department, the Budget Director, the County Treasurer, and County Judge's office, no official of the county has been able to supply an answer to the question of whether, in fact, the Sheriff receives such payments.

No agency or department of the county government has written records of monitoring or administration of the jail facilities operated by a private contractor.

It is a fair question, one that is worth $12,000 to McLennan County's taxpayers, but there is no answer in sight.

According to an Attorney General's Opinion, there is no provision in the law for an elected official to receive any other funds than those of his designated salary.

Criminals marked for deportation, others given low focus

Washington – Critics of the Obama administration's policies on illegal immigrants called a new focus on criminals “backdoor amnesty” for millions of people in the U.S. illegally.

Undocumented aliens with prior criminal convictions will be the focus of deportation proceedings while students, military veterans and spouses of active duty military personnel will be soft pedaled, according to an announcement by the Department of Justice.

“This plan amounts to backdoor amnesty for hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of illegal aliens,” said Arizona Governor Jan Brewer said on Thursday. Her state enacted a tough law that would have allowed police to detain anyone they suspected of being in the country illegally for investigation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers. The law was struck down by a federal district judge in Phoenix earlier this year as unconstitutional.

These revelations came on the heels of announcements that the ICE officials have been conducting "paper raids" on some 3,000 employers nationwide to determine if their employees are undocumented. By examining I-9 forms through computer analysis, hundreds of thousands of illegal workers have been identified. The employers were given the option of firing the workers, which they did.

None of them have been deported. They are still here.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Head of Bank of China confident U.S. will handle debt

Beijing - Though the head of the Bank of China said he is concerned about the debt crisis in the United States, he is confident in U.S. officials and expects Washington to deal with the issue.

The statement came during a state visit by Vice President Joe Biden to the largest foreign creditor of the U.S. The Bank of China is that nation's chief exchange bank, through which the purchase of billions of dollars in U.S. Treasury bonds have been routed.

"We are a little concerned, but we are confident that the U.S. government should be able to solve this problem," said bank president Li Lihui, when asked whether he was concerned about the stability of the dollar and the U.S. debt situation.

Obama, Perry not "responsible" for jobs rate; vive la difference between the two and the reasons behind them

Forty percent of Obama's jobs record is Perry's jobs record. Even if the Texas governor isn't "responsible" for it, that's still a formidable record. - Derek Thompson, “The Atlantic”

This impressive statistic is the result of geology, geography, history, and politics.

- Geology blessed Texas with oil, natural gas and other energy and agricultural resources that powered Texas through the early part of the recession and bolstered the state's recovery in the subsequent global commodities boom.

- Geography gave Texas open, arable land that encourages wide, cheap housing and a Mexico border offering a steady stream of cheap immigrant labor.

- Recent history, especially the S&L crisis of the 1980s, gave Texas a lesson in conservative banking practices that served it well in the 2000s.

- And as national politics is responsible for high military spending that is a backbone of the San Antonio economy, many companies in Texas also benefit from the state's conservative regulation, which holds down the cost of business.

Tenthers call for nullification of the Federal Reserve...

Utah and several other states have made serious moves to begin issuing their own currencies struck from precious metals - gold and silver.

Why? Because they can force the federal government to stop the deficit spending of fiat currency through this method.

How? By nullifying the body of law that created The Federal Reserve Bank. It's built into the U.S. Constitution - right under the grant of power - "We the people" - in big, bold letters. - The Legendary

...Article 1, Section 10 of the Constitution says, “No State shall… coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts.” This straight forward provision allows states to require that only gold and silver coin may be used as legal tender. How could this provision have been used by the states to check Federal power?

First of all, each time the Federal Government passed legislation allowing fiat money, states could have nullified those laws (including several coinage acts and the Federal Reserve Act of 1913) by referring to Article 1, Section 10 and refused to accept “bills of credit” (paper money) for payment of debts. This would have immediately blocked the bankers’ efforts to gain control of our law making machine through the spoils of direct taxation (16th Amendment) and to confiscate the nation’s wealth through debasement of the currency (which the Coinage Act of 1792 made punishable by death).

Sadly, previous generations failed to use this method of nullification. Should their failure stop us from implementing this constitutional remedy today? No. Article 1 Section 10 is still in the Constitution. Thus, today we can, and should, use monetary nullification to begin the process of rolling back thousands of Federal mandates by demanding that our state legislators implement sound money and require the Federal Government to use it as a tender in payment of debts.

This would ultimately reduce the size of, or eliminate, agencies such as the NSA, TSA, EPA, FDA, NEA, DEA and others. How?

Today, these agencies receive, on average, 43% of their funding through deficit spending. This is only possible because a privately owned central bank (the Federal Reserve) can print money and lend it to the Federal Government to finance this excess spending.

When states demand sound money as payment, the Fed’s monopoly on monetary policy and economic (mis)management is nullified. A strong competitive currency will bring about the end of the Fed, not through statute, but through the free market rejection of its debt-backed fiat money. Without printed money, alphabet soup agencies would see their budgets slashed. How many would survive to continue to implement their unconstitutional mandates? Few if any.

Constitutional tender is, therefore, the necessary companion for every nullification effort underway in this nation. Without it, the tens of thousands of labor hours and tens of millions of dollars invested in pursuing nullification through the courts will be wasted. Why? M.A. Rothschild was correct when he said, “Give me control over a nation’s currency and I care not who makes its laws.” The bankers cannot be allowed to simply use another paper money system to buy back the victory we achieve at the cost of our lives, fortunes, and sacred honor...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

End run on tax rate to raise revenues by appraisal

Reporting by R.S. Gates
Story by The Legendary Jim Parks

Waco – McLennan County Commissioners will hold two public hearings to ponder raising property taxes by raising assessed valuation of property appraisals.

According to a public notice, “The average taxable value of a residence homestead in McLennan County last year was $91,468.

“Based on last year's tax rate of $0.464258 per $100 of taxable value, the amount of taxes imposed last year on the average home was $424.65.

“The average taxable value of a residence homestead in McLennan County this year is $94,272. If the governing body adopts the effective tax rate for this year of $0.454193 per $100 of taxable value, the amount of taxes imposed this year on the average home would be $428.18. (click image below to view larger)

“If the governing body adopts the proposed tax rate of $0.464258 per $100 of taxable value, the amount of taxes imposed this year on the average home would be $437.67.”

At this time, more than $70 million in reserve funds are held in various accounts of the budget – better than 50% of the entire FY 2012 outlay of $118 million. This compares to a 25% reserve in Coryell County, where the Commissioners' Court is contemplating a spending cut while making modest increases in salaries.

Almost $300,000 in general fund expenditures could be cut, if the Coryell County Commissioners' Court approves a proposed 2012 budget.

That would also mean that more than $800,000 would be cut from the total budget, according to the County Judge, John E. Firth.

The court says that for two years most county employees have experienced static pay, including those receiving social security and military retirement.

The proposed budget would provide an increase in the cost of living allowance for most county employees and could also provide others on fixed incomes with a small allowance to offset the rise in living costs.

The first hearing on McLennan County taxes takes place on Friday, August 19, at 9 a.m. in the Commissioners' Courtroom at the courthouse. The second hearing will be held on Tuesday, August 23, at the Courthouse, 9 a.m.

American Revolution to advance one more step?

Tea, Coffee Parties to hold September discussions on an Art. V convention to amend the U.S. Constitution

But, believe it or not,

you won't find it so hot
if you ain't got the do-re-mi – Woody Guthrie

It's agreed. There is a Tea Party and it holds tremendous sway in Congress.

It's been proven once again. You just can't get a thing done without the loyal opposition.

What now?

Following the attack of the 501(c) whatevers, in which the Supreme Court decided – once again – that corporations are actually people, this time with First Amendment rights to electioneer with folding money, a lot of the body politic has awakened anew to the truth of the matter in the golden rule.

He who has the gold makes the rules. In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Court gave corporations the right to buy as much advertising, hand out as much walking around money, and pay as many expenses as it takes to elect the right people to advance the cause of big business.

How about an exploration of Article V of the U.S. Constitution? It's that pop valve that allows Congress, or the States, or the people themselves, to call for a convention on whether to amend the grand old document.

It's only been used once, in the question of whether Senators should be elected. One vote separated the Republic from holding the convention and adopting what soon became the 17th Amendment during that gilded age of the years 1912-1913 when Theodore Roosevelt split the vote to get Woodrow Wilson elected and the voters eschewed the Big Business candidate, William Howard Taft.

So, Congress hurried up and voted out an amendment that would allow U.S. Senators to be elected by popular vote and not by the state legislatures. Three-fourths of the states ratified the Linkamendment.

Now comes the co-founder of the Tea Party, internet attorney Mark Meckler, and the co-founder of the Coffee Party, Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig – and though they can't agree on anything else – who will hold a conference at Harvard University the weekend of September 24 and 25 to determine if there is sufficient interest to call a convention to adopt an amendment that would limit campaign funding to individual contributors – and no one else.

Coffee and Tea Parties in Harvard Yard, holding cogent discussions about what is unthinkable to whom?

Why, to those who benefit the most, those 535 very special characters who provide whatever the special interests would like to have – and, you know, they want it all. Every last bit of it.

Says Professor Lessig of the original Constitutional Convention, “We don't pretend to parallel that event two and a quarter centuries ago, and certainly not any of its characters.

“But as many of us believe that our nation has come to another moment of crisis in its capacity to govern, some of us believe we must begin to talk through whether fundamental reform through a convention will be required.

“Meckler and I want to have that conversation the way our Framers did — as a respectful discussion among people who disagree fundamentally. I have enormous respect for Meckler, and the movement that he helped to birth. But I am not an ally of the Tea Party. I share the belief that our nation needs fundamental reform. I don't share a belief in the substance of the reform that the Tea Party has pushed.
“Yet the differences between Meckler and me, or between the Tea Party and the Left more generally, are tiny as compared to the differences among many of our Founders.”

Now, that's putting it mildly, to say the least. You wonder what this guy says when he kicks it out of ceramics in the dialect of high glaze and gets down to what he really thinks.

It reminds me of the fabled Battle of Bastrop during the Texas Revolution of 1836.

Few have heard of this event, probably because there is little evidence that it really occurred. You only hear about it in certain beer gardens and ice houses around the Hill Country and certain enclave communities of South Texas.

It seems a crowd of hot heads from Tennessee lost their way while searching for the Alamo at San Antonio de Bexar. The creeks were flooding; there were no road maps; and, in fact, there were no roads.

They came across the burgeoning community of Bastrop, so named for Baron de Bastrop, an individual of great utility to the revolution whose exact pedigree of nobility has proven hard to track and even harder to prove.

Nevertheless, the alcalde of this community was a miller and a brewer of excellent beer – cold beer.

He listened to the uplanders' tale of confusion and said, no, he had not heard about any revolution, nor had he heard any talk of an invasion by the Mexican Army, but he did know the way to San Antonio – or, at least, to the next ford on the next swollen river.

But did they want to drink a cold beer?

Why, yes, they did.

By the time they made it to their knees a couple of weeks later, they had missed the entire siege and subsequent massacre of those who had chosen to defy the orders of General Sam Houston and hold the fort instead of burning it and reporting to other forces to their east.

The only thing remaining on the pitiful scene were the smoldering remains of the funeral pyres where the bodies were burned in the interest of sanitation.

General Houston knew something they didn't. He had been District Attorney at Nashville, Governor of Tennessee, and he had spent his life as a professional soldier, chiefly employed by General Andrew Jackson, the sitting President of the United States.

He knew that those who rebel without Constitutional authority are pirates. They have no rights and cannot surrender, no matter how much they may try.

He was waiting for the drunks at Washington on the Brazos to vote out a Texas Constitution so he could get to work.

Drink one for me, oh, my brothers. And, whatever you do, remember the Alamo!