Monday, January 31, 2011
Washington, DC, December 16, 2010 - Efforts to tighten the secrecy system and crackdown on leakers and the media will be "fundamentally self-defeating," according to Thomas Blanton, executive director of the National Security Archive, who testified today before the House Committee on the Judiciary. During the first Congressional hearing in the aftermath of "Cablegate" and the Wikileaks release of State Department documents, Blanton urged that lawmakers take a reasoned view of the issues raised by the leaks and not to "overreact."
"There is more heat than light," Blanton stated, citing calls for broadening the Espionage Act and assassinating Wikileaks leader, Julian Assange. Hasty punitive reactions, he predicted, "will actually produce more leaks, more crackdowns, less accountable government, and diminished security."
"History shows we end up doing more damage from the overreaction than from the original leak," according to Blanton.
Blanton reminded lawmakers that the Nixon administration had once considered firebombing the Brookings Institution building to destroy a copy of the Pentagon Papers, and that President Gerald Ford had vetoed the Freedom of Information Act in reaction to government leaks--only to be overruled by the U.S. Congress.
"The real danger of 'Wikimania' is that that we could revert to Cold War notions of secrecy, to the kind of stovepipes and compartments that left us blind before 9/11," Blanton said. He called on lawmakers to protect the First Amendment, rather than adopt a "Chinese model of state control" of information.
"Those voices who argue for a crackdown on leakers and publishers need to face the reality that their approach is fundamentally self-defeating because it will increase government secrecy, reduce our security, and actually encourage more leaks from the continued legitmacy crisis of the classification system," Blanton concluded.
Blanton's testimony can be read in its entirety here. The hearing was broadcast on C-SPAN.
Other witnesses included legal advocate Ralph Nader (who did not submit written testimony), law professors Stephen Vladeck and Geoffrey Stone, attorneys Abbe Lowell and Kenneth Wainstein, and Gabriel Schoenfeld of the Hudson Institute.
Mexico City – Responding to questions about alleged arms trafficking of weapons obtained through “straw purchases,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton promised “additional tools” for the ATF to combat American FFL's in their alleged sales to straw purchasers for drug cartel smugglers.
On a visit to Patricia Espinosa, Mexico Foreign Affairs Minister, she fieled numerous questions about the American perception that the Mexican justice system is inadequate for the challenges facing the two nations in the wake of nearly 40,000 drug-related deaths in the past 4 years.
One question in particular concerned allegations of American gun dealers' supplying assault weapons for drug cartel smugglers in Mexico.
The following exchange is reprinted from MexiData.info for the week of January 31:
QUESTION: Thank you. Secretary Clinton, the ATF is seeking emergency authority to require gun dealers near the border to report multiple purchases of semiautomatic rifles with detachable magazines. The ATF had asked to have this permission by January 5th. Do you – is that something the Administration is pushing for? Is there any sign they’re going to get that?
And as a second question, I was just wondering if you could talk a little more about the challenges. As you mentioned, the Mexican Government has been doing a big reform of their judicial system, but there seems to be a lot of difficulties in terms of getting convictions – the jails and so on. What’s your message to the authorities on that? Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, the second question is an easy one. Just stay with it. It is hard. And they’re changing they’re system. They’re going from an inquisitorial system to an open system, and that’s a sea change. And that takes a lot of training and a lot of effort. But there’s no alternative. And the Mexican Government recognizes that and is moving forward.
With respect to the ATF’s request, the Administration is working that request and is very committed to doing what can be done in an appropriate regulatory framework so that it isn’t challenged and it is sustainable. And we hope that we’ll have some available additional tools for the ATF in a short period of time.
Sunday, January 30, 2011 | 8:25:59 AM
El Paso, Texas.
Contrary to its policy to stop it, America would be allowing the smuggling of firearms into Mexico intentionally during investigations conducted and the neighboring country without knowing it.
This is one of the allegations have emerged recently in a network by employees of the Bureau of Alcohol, Snuff, Firearms and Explosives (ATF, for its acronym in English), dissatisfied with irregularities alleged to have committed the federal agency. The allegations of arms trafficking were ratified by a source in El Paso. In CleanUpATF.org blog has reported anonymously, since the ATF supposedly "gives the green light to U.S. gun dealers to sell weapons to suspects, until the officers" inflated "statistics of seizures of weapons to justify the millionaire budget federal agency.
ATF officials in Washington, DC rejected the assumptions and declined comment on the blog.
The smuggling of weapons and weak U.S. laws to control their sale and use have been in the public eye since early January in Arizona a man killed six people and left 14 injured, including Congressman Democrat Gabrielle Giffords. Last week the Washington Post criticized President Barack Obama to omit the subject in his report on the State of the Union. "On Tuesday, the president left out an important opportunity to talk about why weapons sensible regulations, including those that prohibit the type of high capacity magazine used by the handle of Arizona, should again be a national priority," according to its editorial published Thursday.
Also this week, as part of the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, the former U.S. President Bill Clinton expressed his concern to his Mexican counterpart, Felipe Calderon, the constant flow of high-powered weapons purchased in the United States going to Mexico which fall into the hands of criminals. "America will never change its current stance on the right of citizens to own a gun, but it has a responsibility to prevent arms trafficking and international interstate," he told El Diario de El Paso an ATF employee, who asked his name not be published, experience or position within the federal agency for fear of reprisals.
Charged that the ATF has committed irregularities, such as allowing smuggling of arms to Mexico, during the course of research known as "gunwalkers." He explained that these investigative undercover agents "walk left" or "go" money or buying or selling arms to middlemen and smugglers "ant" to give the "big fish" or leader of a criminal organization.
But many times, the same agents, instead of confiscating the weapons sold to them at the border on U.S. soil to the smugglers, or stop them, they let him go to Mexico.
This "controlled delivery" occurs in Arizona and Texas, where they are usually the weapons used by drug cartels and confiscated in Mexico, he said. Worse, he said, is that the Government of Mexico know that the above is happening, noting that when agents try to expose their heads this alleged irregularity, are removed from their posts.
So have reported on the blog CleanUpATF.org several ATF employees who say they are dissatisfied with the abuse, fraud and federal agency policies. The "blogger" identified as "1desertrat" reported in mid-January that a special agent allegedly Phoenix "has approved more than 500 rifles AR-15 in Tucson and Phoenix that have traveled to Mexico." "It appears that the ATF could be one of the largest providers of assault rifles to the cartels in Mexico," he says.
The ATF employee who spoke to El Diario de El Paso on condition of anonymity could not say how many weapons involved in inquiries from the federal agency have been smuggled into Mexico, but felt that add up to 2 000 weapons for the past three years. "The ATF is not doing his work and perpetuates the problem (of illegal arms trafficking.) These weapons are killing their own citizens, their agents, "he said.
Reviews of "1desertrat" and other "bloggers," have even suggested that one of the weapons have been smuggled to the neighboring country was knowingly used to kill ATF agent Brian Terry Border Patrol in Nogales, Arizona, last 14 December. ATF spokesman in Washington, DC, Scott Thomasson, declined to comment, saying the investigation into this case, the head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI, for its acronym in English). She rejected the alleged claims made against the federal agency that, during his research allows the smuggling of weapons into Mexico. "We do not permit the exit of arms to Mexico," he said.
The test is said, the project that launched Gunrunner United States and Mexico to reduce smuggling of weapons, which includes a database to track the origin of those who are seized in Mexico. Reported that from 2006 to date, only the ATF has produced 4 000 500 investigations and seized on U.S. soil 10 000 weapons and ammunition near a million before reaching Mexico. Furthermore, "working with Mexican authorities very closely," said Thomasson. He said the binational collaboration is so close that the ATF is coordinated, when "appropriate", with Mexican authorities in investigations into arms trafficking.
In late 2010 the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Justice released a report that analyzes the project Gunrunner, indicating that the ATF does not share information with other federal agencies, and communicates effectively with Mexican officials. "The federal agency does not share intelligence in a systematic and consistent with its sister agencies in Mexico and the United States," the report said. Including the offices of the Enforcement of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
However, Thomasson said there was a "good coordination" with the last two federal agencies regarding the investigation of arms smuggling. The "bloggers," by CleanUpATF.org Gunrunner have labeled the project as "a joke", acknowledging also that ATF agents allegedly "inflated" the seizure of weapons. "New Mexico, Texas, Arizona and Los Angeles have never been committed to the idea of stopping the flow of weapons into Mexico. The money for this mission has been wasted and the operators in those divisions have been instructed to report any incident / investigation, no matter how far away is the Gunrunner "writes" bloquista "" X-Men. "
"It seems that the administration of ATF prefer lying to Congress, falsifying figures and altering the numbers instead of doing the job," continues the text. The ATF employee who spoke to The Journal of El Paso agreed to this, explaining that agents allegedly sometimes write in their reports weapons confiscated, even by local police, without even an investigation. This justifies the budget that the agency receives each year, he added.
The Justice Department report also noted that ATF case investigation evades which involve high-profile traffickers, focussing instead on the arms dealers.
San Diego – Curled up inside the trunk of a BMW, Said Jaziri, 43, had paid $5,000 for a ride across the border when Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents inspected the car.
Arrested for illegal immigration, he was held as a material witness against the driver, Kenneth Robert Lawler.
Mr. Jaziri had been deported from Canada earlier as an agent provocateur after he called for the death of Kurt Westergaard following his cartoon depiction of the Prophet Mohammed in 2008. He had allegedly lied on his immigration statement regarding having done time in a French prison. French officials also deported from that nation.
During a short tenure in a Montreal mosque, he caused considerable anger among the Quebecois by branding homosexuals as diseased and agitating for a larger temple to house the burgeoning congregation of Islamic adherents. He was promptly returned to his nation of origin, Tunisia.
Mr. Jaziri allegedly crossed the Mexican border at Chetumal near the border with Belize. He then took a bus to Tijuana where paid a guide to help him climb the border fence near Tecate, then arranged for his covert transportation across the border near San Ysidro.
During a 13-hour flight back to Tunisia after his Canadian deportation, Mr. Jaziri claimed, officials subjected him to mental duress. Canadian immigration officials denied the claim. He had earlier made the statement in support of asylum in that nation that he would be subjected to torture if he was returned to Tunisia.
For some unknown reason, Americans learned of the weekend arrest by reading all about it in British newspapers such as the “Daily Mail.”
Sunday, January 30, 2011
As a gauge of Mr. Brzezinski's trepidations, the Egyptian government immediately shut down cell phone communications when Associated Press carried video of a protester shot dead in Tahrir Square, whereupon residents whose homes border the square allowed the people to access their WiFi service. That's when the government blocked all access to the Internet. America has a similar Department of Homeland Security provision that would allow the President to shut down all communications for a period of 4 months without Congressional oversight. - The Legendary
For the first time in human history almost all of humanity is politically activated, politically conscious and politically interactive… The resulting global political activism is generating a surge in the quest for personal dignity, cultural respect and economic opportunity in a world painfully scarred by memories of centuries-long alien colonial or imperial domination… The worldwide yearning for human dignity is the central challenge inherent in the phenomenon of global political awakening… That awakening is socially massive and politically radicalizing… The nearly universal access to radio, television and increasingly the Internet is creating a community of shared perceptions and envy that can be galvanized and channeled by demagogic political or religious passions. These energies transcend sovereign borders and pose a challenge both to existing states as well as to the existing global hierarchy, on top of which America still perches…
The youth of the Third World are particularly restless and resentful. The demographic revolution they embody is thus a political time-bomb, as well… Their potential revolutionary spearhead is likely to emerge from among the scores of millions of students concentrated in the often intellectually dubious “tertiary level” educational institutions of developing countries. Depending on the definition of the tertiary educational level, there are currently worldwide between 80 and 130 million “college” students. Typically originating from the socially insecure lower middle class and inflamed by a sense of social outrage, these millions of students are revolutionaries-in-waiting, already semi-mobilized in large congregations, connected by the Internet and pre-positioned for a replay on a larger scale of what transpired years earlier in Mexico City or in Tiananmen Square. Their physical energy and emotional frustration is just waiting to be triggered by a cause, or a faith, or a hatred…
[The] major world powers, new and old, also face a novel reality: while the lethality of their military might is greater than ever, their capacity to impose control over the politically awakened masses of the world is at a historic low. To put it bluntly: in earlier times, it was easier to control one million people than to physically kill one million people; today, it is infinitely easier to kill one million people than to control one million people.
By Wesley Riddle,
President, Central Texas Tea Party
Reclaiming the Constitution (Part 2)
Ted Cruz and Mario Loyola are distinguished scholars, who make the argument that the Founders’ careful, intentional constraints on the power of the federal government have all but vanished from the Constitution. A reinterpretation of the Commerce Clause is a notable example, such that, the American people are vulnerable to the onset of tyranny owing to a willful neglect of the instrument of our governance. The original framework of federalism has grown fragile, and in some ways substantially collapsed.
After the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, the Framers returned to their homes to engage in debates centered on the state ratification conventions that would decide the fate of the proposed Constitution. Three prominent Federalists—John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and the proposed Constitution’s principal author, James Madison—published a series of essays in defense of the proposed Union, which came to be known as The Federalist Papers. Motivated by a deep concern for internal order and public safety, the Federalists argued that the proposed Constitution would pose no danger to individual liberty or to self-government in the States.
As James Madison wrote in Federalist No. 45, “the States will retain, under the proposed Constitution, a very extensive portion of active sovereignty,” chiefly through the specific enumeration of limited powers for the federal government. Furthermore, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.” For this reason, and a host of others that Federalist No. 45 was meant to catalogue, “[t]he State government will have the advantage [over] the Federal government.”
Hence the Federalists—advocates of a strong national government—expected that the States would retain more than enough power and scope to enforce the constitutional limitations on the federal government. This conception lasted well into the 19th century. In 1824, the Supreme Court held in the famous case of Gibbons v. Ogden that navigation and commerce across state lines fall within the federal government’s power to regulate commerce “among the several States, with foreign nations, and with the Indian tribes.” Gibbons stands for the principle that “the sovereignty of Congress, though limited to specific objects, is plenary as to those objects.” But Chief Justice John Marshall shared James Madison’s vision of the federal system: their view of a federal government of plenary authority within its enumerated powers was predicated entirely on their foundational assumption that those powers would be few and limited, and that States would remain the major presumptive agents of regulation and self-government.
If Congress was supposed to be able to regulate all commerce, there was no reason for the Constitution’s drafters to qualify the word “commerce” with the phrase “among the several States” in the first instance. The Court observed: “The genius and character of the whole government seem to be that its action is to be applied to all the external concerns of the Nation and to those internal concerns which affect the States generally; but not to those which are completely within a particular state….” In Gibbons the Supreme Court observed that “inspection laws, quarantine laws, health laws of every description, as well as law for regulating the internal commerce of a State” were but a few examples “of that immense mass of legislation” not surrendered to the federal government. It was only because they were so sure of the stringent limitations on the scope of federal power, and the preeminence of States with respect to most areas of legislation, that Marshall, and the Federalists generally, felt so confident asserting the supremacy of federal law within its domain.
In Virginia’s ratification debates, Patrick Henry, a leader of the anti-Federalist movement, had railed against the proposed Constitution: “To all common purposes of Legislation it is a great consolidation of Government.” The Federalists agreed that a general consolidation of power would be dangerous and potentially tyrannical. But they saw little risk that would happen, given the power of the States and the “advantages” Madison thought they would have over the federal government. For most of the early history of the Republic, the Federalists proved right—the States were able to frustrate the concentration of power in federal hands. During the rest of the 19th century, the commerce power was relied on not to justify the exercise of federal power, but rather to strike down state laws that discriminated against interstate commerce. The idea was that States were “preempted” from regulating within areas of exclusive federal regulatory power, such as interstate commerce. Otherwise, states remained sovereign in their respective substantial orbits.
Indeed at the dawning of the 20th century, the Supreme Court was still a major obstacle to federal overreach. This changed with the ambitious legislative initiatives of the Progressive Era and the New Deal, which President Franklin Roosevelt then bolstered at the start of his second term in 1937 with a threat to increase the size of the court by adding pro-New Deal justices. Intimidated, the Supreme Court acquiesced to New Deal legislation and began to steadily demolish all meaningful limits on the federal government’s power to regulate commerce.
The doctrine that anything with a “direct effect” on interstate commerce could be regulated under the federal commerce power was replaced by a rule allowing regulation of anything with a “substantial effect” on commerce (even if indirect). After that came the doctrine that anything which, if “aggregated” across the Nation, had a “substantial effect” on interstate commerce, was properly within the federal commerce power. The post-New Deal Supreme Court all but erased the limits on the Commerce Clause. The fear of the Anti-Federalists now appears justified: If the power to regulate virtually all human activity is granted to the federal government in the simple phrase “commerce among the several States,” what was left for the States or for the people? Small wonder that the federal government has been expanding relentlessly, growing from a 19th century average of 4 percent of GDP to a peacetime peak of 27 percent in 2010.
Wesley Allen Riddle is a retired military officer with degrees and honors from West Point and Oxford. Widely published in the academic and opinion press, he ran for U.S. Congress (TX-District 31) in the 2004 Republican Primary and is currently Chairman of the Central Texas Tea Party. Article condensed from an essay by Ted Cruz and Mario Loyola (Texas Public Policy Foundation, Nov 2010). Email: Wes@WesRiddle.com.
Gilmer – Jimmy Caughron didn't like it when three of the 4 Upshur County Commissioners voted to eliminate the public comment part of the court's meetings.
He attended a subsequent meeting and in protest put duct tape over his mouth.
Most country boys say you can fix just about anything with duct tape, and Jimmy Caughron proved it.
Inflamed by his act, County Judge Dean Fowler ordered a bailiff to remove him from the courtroom and video cameras caught it on tape. A Tyler station aired the footage that evening.
That's when the DA filed charges of official oppression and abuse of official capacity on the judge and County Commissioner Lloyd Crabtree.
Sheriff Anthony Betterton is charged with official oppression.
When the Texas Commission on Judicial conduct got wind of the judge's actions against Mr. Caughron, they suspended him hearing juvenile cases, admitting estates to probate and hearing misdemeanor criminal cases. He has been suspended pending the District Court's verdict and sentence.
State District Judge Richard Davis will arraign the trio on Feb. 11.
When the news broke that officials suspended a group of Waco policemen for allegedly “double dipping” on the city payroll in a complicated scheme involving compensatory paid time off for working overtime hours, most people had no idea what to think.
The hush hush nature of the case precluded any knowledge leaking out for public perusal.
Following a Grand Jury investigation in which three of the officers were cleared of wrongdoing, they appealed their suspension without pay to a hearing officer for arbitration.
The arbitrator made a finding similar to the Grand Jury's, which no-billed the policemen.
He ordered the City of Waco to put the three officers back to work, something the city has refused to do for many months while it arranges an appeal of the arbitrator's decision.
But the public has no idea of their having been cleared because they are still under suspension without pay, living in disgrace, their reputations uncleared and their careers interrupted by criminal allegations a Grand Jury decoded were unfounded.
In the case of former Chief of Police Larry Kelley, who was convicted of DWI, an arbitrator made a similar order. Put the chief back to work at full salary right away.
Instead, he and his family suffer the consequences while the appeals process drags out, seemingly with punitive motive on the part of city officials.
The city administration has appealed that decision now for a decade. In fact, most appeals such as the cases of the three officers cleared by the Grand Jury in the double dipping case take many years to settle.
Typically, arbitration is binding, meaning that the parties must agree going in that they will abide by the decision of the hearing officer.
In these cases and many others pending across the state, however, according to a spokesman for CLEAT (Combined Law Enforcement Association of Texas), the process works to cause “...the unfairness of officers having to persevere though an arbitration process and having justice declared in their favor and then having the city appeal to simply starve them out.”
Said Charley Wilkison, “The facts were so strong that an arbitrator ordered him back to work. That means the city lost. They can't accept the verdict, so why should the officer's family suffer?”
In future cases, families of officers cleared by arbitration or civil service investigations will not miss a paycheck if a new law sponsored by a retired Houston Police Officer passes the legislature during this session. the new law would require that they be paid. The cities could make an independent decision whether to put them back to work, or not.
Rep. Allen Fletcher, R-Tomball, prefiled HB 342, a bill identical to one city attorneys fought to a defeat in the 2009 session of the Texas Legislature. Cities would be required to pay the salary and benefits of the officer while appealing decisions with which they disagree following an arbitrator's order or a civil service commission's ruling to put an officer or a firefighter back to work.
Texas Municipal Police Association, and CLEAT have both backed the proposed legislation.
“The officer should have the same rights as the criminals they chase and apprehend,” Mr. Wilkison said.
But the Texas Police Chiefs Association disagrees.
If a police department executive has reason to believe an officer should not be on the force, he should have the discretion in his power to block a reinstatement ordered by arbitrators or civil service commissions, said James McLaughlin, executive director of the Chiefs' association.
Waco City Attorney Leah Hayes also disagrees. She says the proposed legislation is unconstitutional. She is actively pursuing appeals of the three officers suspended pending the Grand Jury investigation and the case of former Chief of Police Larry Kelley.
Such appeals preserve the “integrity” of the police department, as well as provide a constitutional check to arbitrators' rulings and the findings of civil service commissions, she said.
Cairo – Opposition leader Mohammed ElBaradei told crowds in Tahrir Square that the key demand is for the government of President Hosni Mubarak to step down.
He offered no alternative.
“What we have begun cannot go back,” he told cheering multitudes of hundreds of thousands in the gathering gloom of a winter twilight.
The U.S. government wants to take you down with it
Have you ever wondered why the State of the Union speech involves so much pomp and posing?
You don't have to be an astute political analyst to realize the whole charade is propaganda designed to make people feel good about the government. But why bother?
Why risk embarrassing yourself on Jon Stewart's "Daily Show" program by saying something stupid… or something that's exactly the opposite of what you promised last year?
For example, in 2009, President Obama said, "Done right, earmarks have given legislators the opportunity to direct federal money to worthy projects that benefit people in their districts and that's why I've opposed their outright elimination."
But this week, the same president, standing in the very same room, talking to essentially the same audience, said exactly the opposite. He was grandstanding to the new political mood and scolded the assembled lawmakers. He issued a "warning" that he would veto any bill that contained so much as a single earmark.
What a phony. What a liar. Why go on national TV and prove it?
If Obama doesn't want to, who's going to force him? His government is the world's only superpower, with troops in more than 100 countries. It listens to every phone call that's dialed. It reads every e-mail that's sent. It watches every road. It looks at every financial transaction.
Our government is so powerful, it can borrow $0.40 of every dollar it spends while demanding the rest of the world use its paper money. Its own courts are afraid of ruling against it, to the point of ignoring the plain language of its own Constitution.
So… why bother with this charade?
The most important element to a stable society is the idea (the lie, mostly) that the government is legitimate. Government is violence and coercion. Government is force. And for that force to be tolerated by millions, it must appear to be legitimate.
Any information or argument that the government is corrupt or inept is dangerous because it threatens its legitimacy. That's why there's such a tremendous fight over the obvious corruption between state employee unions and elected officials. That's why no one wants to explain to the American people that our federal government is bankrupt. We're printing money because it's better to steal from our creditors than admit our government is inept.
And that's why the State of the Union is such a spectacle. See The State in all its glory…
But remember this: Our State, as powerful as it is, relies on an assumption that's made collectively by millions of Americans.
We must believe the people we saw on TV listening to the president are fundamentally good and honest people. We must never come to doubt the character of those people or the process they used to gain power.
If that happens, our State, even though it's the most powerful in the world, could quickly collapse. It is nothing without the consent of the governed. And our consent depends entirely on its legitimacy.
I believe our government is in imminent danger of losing its legitimacy. Why?
Our federal government is bankrupt and threatening to bankrupt several generations of Americans. At some point – one that is rapidly approaching – Americans will repudiate these debts and the legitimacy of the government that incurred them.
Unaffordable foreign debts and the obvious perfidy of "quantitative easing" will soon render our currency worthless. It is a shame upon the honor of our country that we would even consider using the printing press to finance our debts… It is a high crime that we have done so. The world will long remember the way we have treated our creditors.
Over the last 50 years, the government became a socialist tool. It steals assets from responsible, hard-working citizens and distributes them to others, mainly on the basis of political patronage. At some point, these policies become self-destructive. So many people end up on the dole, the government has no way to finance their needs. We have reached that point. Today, more than half of all voters pay zero federal income taxes.
Our aggressive foreign policy has created billions of enemies overseas while propping up regimes that would disgust most Americans – like the Saudis.
Most critically… our government is for sale. As the price of influence in Washington continues to escalate, it will become impossible to deny the patently obvious truth: Government policy is awarded to the highest bidder and our "free" elections are essentially rigged by the massive sums spent on advertising for candidates.
While I look forward to the day my fellow citizens begin to see their government as it really is, I also fear that day… for it will surely mark the beginning of an "interesting" moment in history.
The leadership of the United States is pretending this day of reckoning will never occur… that Bernanke can successfully paper over these debts along with however many trillions of additional dollars are necessary. This is the absolute height of ignorance. The destruction of our currency and our country's standing in the world's economy is certain.
We are already at the point where our government's debt cannot be financed at any legitimate rate of interest… And yet our leaders show zero interest in doing anything to prevent this unmitigated financial disaster.
As many of you know, I've produced a video about these real problems and my suggestions for dealing with them. If you haven't watched it yet, I strongly encourage you to do so.
The weather is cold cold on some days and merely cool on others, but there is a hint of frost in the air on all mornings and a portent of bitter and unrelenting freeze in the evening breeze.
Long gone the miasmic airs of the summer and fall and yet to come are the sweet breezes of spring.
Now the time is right for killing the feral boar, the tush hog with bristled and scarred cape of dense slab muscle and fat on shoulders and upper back to armor the vitals of heart and lungs.
Now is the time of the flashing, hooking tushes that can rip and tear the arteries of dog and man as the feral beast succumbs at the watering spot on pond or creek and the pit bull terriers drag the beast squealing and bellowing into the water to savage its most tender tissues on nose, ear and cods.
Something primal, almost racial, fills the prairie air so sharply focused and still in the afternoon sunlight just before the dusk. Something in the mind of man and dog dominates all thought, holds all sensation in abeyance while adrenaline and pure, raw nerve takes hold of all vital signs and dictates all muscle memory and action.
It is the time of the hunt.
The real hunt it is, the one when man works closely with dogs and the sound of his voice urges them on and directs their energy so that he may approach with blade or spear point and wound the beast to bleed out his life while held so carefully in its agony inflicted so skillfully by sharp canine ivory.
Man bellows at dog, “Go, then, white bitch; get out of there, red dog; head him Spot, head him, old boy!” He is scarcely aware of his own voice as it joins the hellish chorus of death at the water hole, the day of judgment, of the hunt, of the kill.
Then the hot blood rushes out of the wound and the feral boar gives up the ghost in a sudden cessation of squalling and thrashing about in the water.
No one is sure just how many feral hogs there are fouling prime deer habitat and cattle range, but they are pests on the prairies of Texas and in the forests of the southeast as much as on the Hawaiian and another thousands of archipelagos, their droppings carrying the seed of scrub oak and other hardwoods into in the brambles, briars and bushes of cedar and short-nettle pine. It is as it is in the islands where bamboo shoots are transplanted in the boar's dung, its near-ineradicable roots taking over valuable arable croplands intended for sugar cane and pineapple.
Where do they come from? They escape the fences and pens of breeders.
They are purchased and released by sportsmen and other practical types with an eye to hard times and times of no money, of famine, economic depression, war and pestilence, when there is no way to simply obtain what one needs from grocer and warehouseman alike because all transportation and commerce has been severed by hostile lines of warring factions, fuel shortage, no money, no credit.
Within a few months, the tushes sprout, the bristles grow and the beast is feral, back to its original Russian boar breed so carefully worked out by nature on the steppes of Eurasia and in the forests of Boheme and Moravia, Germania, Gaul, and a dozen other mountainous regions shielded by alp and wide, deep rushing rivers, Asian desert, subcontinental Himalayas, deep jungles.
The species is not protected by any game laws, its management simply left to kill or be killed by its inexorable encroachment on man's agricultural improvements to his land in wallows, unintended infestation of brushy plants and the sheer nastiness of its living and ultra-prolific breeding habits on the prairies.
Many ministries of prison, low rent district, and slum take advantage of the well-meaning men of faith and good will who tramp after the beast with dog and rifle, sharp knives held at the ready with pistol and cudgel. They feast on the harvest, the poor and helpless nourished by the hunters and their dogs.
The hunters are tribal in their rites and fraternal in their relations. They are old school men of the bush, the mountain, the desert, the swamp.
They display their scars when encamped with jugs of comfort and basking in the warming firelight of the feast that comes after sunset.
“I bled,” they say, showing scars left by the tush when the hog got loose from the dog's maw and made a slashing attack at the groin, the belly, or the lower legs.
They smile. It is a knowing smile, reserved for those who know its true meaning. “I bled.”
Military is not a monolithic entity - “Window of opportunity” opens for Colonels with long-term grievance against foreign policy vis a vis U.S., Israel
BULLETIN: Unconfirmed reports from Al Jazeera on Jan. 28 say the army and police forces are clashing in Cairo. These reports have come after reports from state-owned Egyptian satellite Al-Misriyah TV saying army leadership extended the curfew from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. local time to the whole country.
Cairo - Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak remains the lifeblood of the demonstrators, who still number in the tens of thousands in downtown Cairo and in other major cities, albeit on a lesser scale. After being overwhelmed in the Jan. 28 Day of Rage protests, Egypt’s internal security forces — with the anti-riot paramilitaries of the Central Security Forces (CSF) at the forefront — were glaringly absent from the streets Jan. 29. They were replaced with rows of tanks and armored personnel carriers carrying regular army soldiers. Unlike their CSF counterparts, the demonstrators demanding Mubarak’s exit from the political scene largely welcomed the soldiers. Despite Mubarak’s refusal to step down Jan. 28, the public’s positive perception of the military, seen as the only real gateway to a post-Mubarak Egypt, remained. It is unclear how long this perception will hold, especially as Egyptians are growing frustrated with the rising level of insecurity in the country and the army’s limits in patrolling the streets.
There is more to these demonstrations than meets the eye. The media will focus on the concept of reformers staging a revolution in the name of democracy and human rights. These may well have brought numerous demonstrators into the streets, but revolutions, including this one, are made up of many more actors than the liberal voices on Facebook and Twitter.
After three decades of Mubarak rule, a window of opportunity has opened for various political forces — from the moderate to the extreme — that preferred to keep the spotlight on the liberal face of the demonstrations while they maneuver from behind. As the Iranian Revolution of 1979 taught, the ideology and composition of protesters can wind up having very little to do with the political forces that end up in power. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood (MB) understands well the concerns the United States, Israel and others share over a political vacuum in Cairo being filled by Islamists. The MB so far is proceeding cautiously, taking care to help sustain the demonstrations by relying on the MB’s well-established social services to provide food and aid to the protesters. It simultaneously is calling for elections that would politically enable the MB. With Egypt in a state of crisis and the armed forces stepping in to manage that crisis, however, elections are nowhere near assured. What is now in question is what groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and others are considering should they fear that their historic opportunity could be slipping.
One thing that has become clear in the past several hours is a trend that STRATFOR has been following for some time in Egypt, namely, the military’s growing clout in the political affairs of the state. Former air force chief and outgoing civil aviation minister, who worked under Mubarak’s command in the air force (the most privileged military branch in Egypt), has been appointed prime minister and tasked with forming the new government. Outgoing Intelligence Chief, who has long stood by Mubarak, is now vice president, a spot that has been vacant for the past 30 years. Meanwhile, Defense Minister Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi (who oversees the Republican Guard) and Egypt’s chief of staff of the armed forces, Lt. Gen. Sami Annan — who returned to Cairo Jan. 29 after a week of intense discussions with senior U.S. officials — are likely managing the political process behind the scenes. More political shuffles are expected, and the military appears willing for now to give Mubarak the time to arrange his political exit. Until Mubarak finally does leave, the unrest in the streets is unlikely to subside, raising the question of just how much more delay from Mubarak the armed forces will tolerate.
The important thing to remember is that the Egyptian military, since the founding of the modern republic in 1952, has been the guarantor of regime stability. Over the past several decades, the military has allowed former military commanders to form civilian institutions to take the lead in matters of political governance but never has relinquished its rights to the state.
Now that the political structure of the state is crumbling, the army must directly shoulder the responsibility of security and contain the unrest on the streets. This will not be easy, especially given the historical animosity between the military and the police in Egypt. For now, the demonstrators view the military as an ally, and therefore (whether consciously or not) are facilitating a de facto military takeover of the state. But one misfire in the demonstrations, and a bloodbath in the streets could quickly foil the military’s plans and give way to a scenario that groups like the MB quickly could exploit. Here again, we question the military’s tolerance for Mubarak as long as he is the source fueling the demonstrations.
Considerable strain is building on the only force within the country that stands between order and chaos as radical forces rise. The standing theory is that the military, as the guarantor of the state, will manage the current crisis. But the military is not a monolithic entity. It cannot shake its history, and thus cannot dismiss the threat of a colonel’s coup in this shaky transition.
The current regime is a continuation of the political order, which was established when midranking officers and commanders under the leadership of Gamal Abdel Nasser, a mere colonel in the armed forces, overthrew the British-backed monarchy in 1952. Islamist sympathizers in the junior ranks of the military assassinated his successor, Anwar Sadat, in 1981, an event that led to Mubarak’s presidency.
The history of the modern Egyptian republic haunts Egypt’s generals today. Though long suppressed, an Islamist strand exists amongst the junior ranks of Egypt’s modern military. The Egyptian military is, after all, a subset of the wider society, where there is a significant cross- section that is religiously conservative and/or Islamist. These elements are not politically active, otherwise those at the top would have purged them.
But there remains a deep-seated fear among the military elite that the historic opening could well include a cabal of colonels looking to address a long-subdued grievance against the state, particularly its foreign policy vis-à-vis the United States and Israel. The midranking officers have the benefit of having the most direct interaction — and thus the strongest links — with their military subordinates, unlike the generals who command and observe from a politically dangerous distance. With enough support behind them, midranking officers could see their superiors as one and the same as Mubarak and his regime, and could use the current state of turmoil to steer Egypt’s future.
Signs of such a coup scenario have not yet surfaced. The army is still a disciplined institution with chain of command, and many likely fear the utter chaos that would ensue should the military establishment rupture. Still, those trying to manage the crisis from the top cannot forget that they are presiding over a country with a strong precedent of junior officers leading successful coups. That precedent becomes all the more worrying when the regime itself is in a state of collapse following three decades of iron-fisted rule.
The United States, Israel and others will thus be doing what they can behind the scenes to shape the new order in Cairo, but they face limitations in trying to preserve a regional stability that has existed since 1978. The fate of Egypt lies in the ability of the military to not only manage the streets and the politicians, but also itself.
Reprinted with permission www.stratfor.com
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Arrested and Charged On 18 Separate Causes - Life On Installment Plan
Waco Police arrested Shelley Eaton, 43, on November 25 on a raft of charges including theft under $50, possession of drug paraphenalia, possession of a controlled substance – Xanex, and 3 counts of theft under $50.
She was sentenced to 100 days in jail, then found herself charged with theft over $500, criminal trespassing, and driving with license suspended on Dec. 16.
From there the records becomes rather murky and confusing, with charges leveled by multiple jurisdictions, including Texas Parks and Wildlife, Woodway Police Department, and McLennan County Sheriff's Department. In fact, the record is so abstruse and incomplete, it calls for transcription to an Excel spreadsheet format to make heads or tails of it.
Booking information shows she was charged with theft over $1,500, a charge which the DA refused, on Dec. 22, and driving with license suspended, another charge which the DA refused.
On Jan. 26, a judge released her on the charges from November for which she was originally sentenced to 100 days in custody, then the charge of failure to identify herself on a criminal complaint and possession of marijuana under 2 ounces was dismissed when the DA refused the charges.
Apparently, she is still in custody on the other charges. Prompt response to requests for public information are typically handled within a few days. It is a matter of record that at one time, requests were met with threats of criminal prosecution - whether by design or by ignorance of the law, the reader may conclude on their own. Nevertheless, the authorities have demurred until Monday at 11 a.m. to clear up the questions raised by their incomplete response to a request made on Thurdsay, Jan. 27.
click to enlarge image
BULLETIN: Macabre reports just surfaced that protesters broke into the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities and in a rage ripped the heads off two mummies on display there. No one was available to stop them. Army troops are by and large friendly to the revolutionary cause.
Border crossings from Gaza to Egyptian territory are left unguarded and people are free to come and go freely with no governmental challenge.
Meanwhile, the security forces are busy tearing down public property in an effort to cause the illusion that the citizens are engaging in vandalism.
Members of the Hamas militia, formed from elements of the Muslim Brotherhood, are defending public property and making their presence known in the streets of Cairo and Suez. Western security analysts say they are overestimating their true importance in the lawless equation.
President Mubarak has appointed defense types as Prime Minister and cabinet ministers in an effort to ease a smooth transition from his Presidency to that of his son, Gamal.
Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas are bitterly opposing any such thing, according to unconfirmed reports.
- The Legendary
He insisted that Egyptian security forces and soldiers must stand down from violent reaction to mass street protests throughout this ancient desert republic situated on one of Africa's great rivers, the Nile.
Throughout Friday, soldiers fired rubber bullets and water cannon at protesters in the streets of Cairo and Suez, chasing them through the cities and thrashing them with riot sticks as phalanxes of shield-bearing soldiers in armor and helmets forced irate citizens back and away from government and political party headquarters buildings.
Access to such popular Internet applications as Facebook and Twitter was partially blocked until citizens learned how to use proxy servers to get access to their accounts and e-mail boxes, as well as websites carrying news of the riots.
Knowledgeable journalists with experience covering such phenomena in Tunisia, Iran and Yemen said that without the Internet connections, it would be difficult for the throngs of hundreds of thousands of persons to coordinate their protests.
Many security buildings, police stations and jails were torched as the day wore on.
Finally, President Mubarak appeared on television and promised to reopen the government with a brand-new cabinet lineup first thing this morning, pleading for calm and a return to normal behavior.
But the protesters would hear none of it. They continued to shout for a change in regime, including the office of President, a post Mr. Mubarak has held now for the past three decades of autocratic rule.
He is a major ally of the United States in its war on terror and the suppression of Islamic nationalism, according to the President and key officials at the Department of State.
One of the key elements in the Egyptian uprising is led by a group known as the Muslim Brotherhood, a fundamentalist Islamic movement founded in the 1920's.
Though "grievances have built up over time." Mr. Obama said that the demonstrators have a responsibility "to express themselves peacefully. Violence and destruction will not lead to the reforms they seek."
Mr. Obama called the Egyptian president in the middle of the night to say that “Mubarak has promised a better democracy and greater economic opportunity,” and "I told him he has a responsibility to give meaning to those words; to take concrete steps and actions that deliver on that promise.
"Violence will not address the grievances of the Egyptian people, and suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away," Mr. Obama said.
Mr. Obama also insisted that cell phone networks, which were jammed all day long on Friday by government devices, must be switched back on today. Though cell phone service was in operation this morning, Internet service appeared to still be blocked by government authorities.
By The Legendary Jim Parks
I learned to drive on the roads of deep east Texas. They
cut through the piney woods like random surgical scars
through undulating furry green tissue browned by fallen
needles and cones.
I'm talking about really driving, now. I'm talking about
balling the jack through the night and early morning while
my father snoozed on the back seat, farting and scratching.
Sometimes he would raise up on one hip, gripping the back of
the driver's seat with his fist and arm and peering groggy
and edgy ahead of us.
"What the hell is that?"
"What is what?"
"That stinking gawd dayim thang in front of us."
"Why, it's a cattle trailer, Daddy."
"Gawd dayim right it is. That's exactly what it is. Whut
are we doin' running down the road behind a stinkin' thang
like that, huh?"
"I don't know."
"You'd better by God be finding out. Do you know what this
"What is what?"
"What is what, what?"
"What is what, sir?"
"This is a brand new five thousand dollar 98 Oldsmobile;
that's what it is, by God. Now, put your foot in it and get
around that Gawd dayim stinkin' cattle trailer - right now!"
He would cuff me lightly on the back of the head.
I would find the courage to pass the stinking thing and pull
back in the line of traffic just before a head-on collision
with an oncoming log truck or milk tanker.
He was right about the attributes of the car. It was indeed
built for the open road. Its massive V-8 engine was
unrestricted by anything like the pollution control
equipment found on today's cars.
The four-barrel carburetor could be heard sucking in cubic
yard after cubic yard of air after the vacuum tubes and
valves opened up and it was in passing gear.
The tuned twin exhaust bellowed in spite of the melodious
mufflers and tail pipes with which it was outfitted, and the
engine and transmission were so crisply mated to the action
of the engine's back pressures that no driver could have
replicated its fabulously smooth ability at downshifting.
One need never touch the brakes until it was absolutely
I was well-schooled in all these facts. I had been
instructed at length.
"Don't jerk the automobile around like that!" He would
gesture with his high ball, having had me pull off the road
so he could freshen the drink up from a jug he kept in a
special little satchel he kept in the trunk that played a
music box version of "How Dry I Am" when it was opened.
I have a feeling that in his day, he, too, was schooled in
this art of driving at high speeds to meet a deadline.
because of the need for help.
In those days, the men in his family took a kid with them
when they were on business trips to change the frequent
flats - an estimated three every fifty miles or so - caused
from thorns, sharp gravel and rocks, rim cuts and slow
The thick tread of the Oldsmobile's wide, deeply grooved
tires gripped the soft summer tarmac of the highway like a
tree frog's toes, and it shot ahead at terrifying rates of
speed, its air conditioning system spewing icy air on the
top of your knees and freezing the sweat on your brows and
trickling down the back of your neck.
He held forth on these advantages at length. His experience
went way back there. Most instructive remarks began with
"Way back there..."
He taught me all the tricks he learned on gravel and dirt
when he was a kid.
Slack off on a curve just a little bit, then, once
committed, pour on the coal and she would track through the
maneuver, accelerating smoothly. If I encountered a skid,
countersteer into it and never hit the brakes to avoid
sliding. If anything, punch it and she would power out of
the skid. Once she was under control, gently pump the
brakes until she started to slow down.
It's the kind of nervy brinksmanship developed in the days
of mechanical brakes and downdraft carburetors. All those
tricks also worked just fine after the advent of hydraulic
brakes, automatic transmissions and wide tracked, wide
He would lay down in the seat and go back to sleep,
muttering that he wanted to be in such and such a place
before 9:30 a.m. so he could freshen up and call on his next
customer at about 10.
Thus admonished, I would burn up the highway looking out for
the flashing lights of truck drivers who warned of a speed
cop up the line. I don't remember anyone having a radio.
It was all done with flashing lights in those days.
I was just coming around a bend and up a hill, trying to
find a break where I could pass a line of three or four old
pickups doing about 40. In front of them was a little
cattle trailer. The old boy must have been hauling steers
or feeder calves to the commission barn.
Just as I openend that damn V-8 up and the four-barrel
started its whooshing sound, a damned turkey darted out in
front of the car from a farm yard.
I locked it up.
Man, white feathers and a bird about the size of a buzzard,
it all served to just unnerve me.
That car slid at least a hundred feet on the scalding hot
tar and asphalt of that road. When she started to turn
sideways, I pumped the brakes and got her back under control
for a moment. Then she hooked a wheel into the gravel at
the side of the road and started trying to turn sideways in
the other direction.
"Punch it! Punch it!" He yelled it and slapped the back of
I got the damned car straightened out and I was cruising
along about fifty before he asked me, "What the hell
"Oh, a turkey ran out in the road in front of me."
"A turkey ran out in the road in front of you."
"A turkey ran out in front of you in the road?"
"Yes, sir, a turkey."
"Gawd dayim, boy. The hell with a bunch of turkeys! Turkey
or smaller, run over it. Hawg or better, dodge it!"
"You got that?"
"Are we clear?"
"Yes, sir, it's just that..."
"Thank you. Just don't jerk the automobile around."
I clammed up.
He spared me the business about the brand new five thousand
dollar 98 Olds.
So that Monday we made it into that old east Texas county
seat right on time. It's a place filled with rusticated
stone buildings, a place where a revolution, a land grab,
began long ago.
All the roads lead to the knob of a hill where the old brick
and stone courthouse sits like a wedding cake. It could be
located in a rural county of western Pennsylvania, upstate
New York or the hills of Tennessee or Alabama.
You can get anywhere in the world from that courthouse and
know that those folks stole the whole thing fair and square.
The old man checked into his motel, got cleaned up and went
on downtown to see his customer. I fiddled around the
swimming pool long enough to get tired and ready for a nap.
When I woke up, the old man was mixing a drink and listening
to a side of jazz on his little portable record player. We
were going to stay until the next morning because he had to
explain to his customer's banker how they could deal a car
load of his automotive products at deeply discounted prices
by acting as the drop shipment point for that area. The
credit was right, the terms were right and it was time to
move in that market.
I was grown before I figured out that the old man was
actually a silent partner in these deals, cutting himself in
for a share of the action in addition to his commission.
Some folks call it buying the order.
We walked down the highway on raw cut red dirt to a barbecue
place and he showed me what the stakes driven in the ground
beside the road meant to the equipment operators. The
engineers had marked them to show what grade and slope to
cut with their blades. Then they would be back with the
surveyor's transit and rod to check the work.
He was that kind of dude. He was always explaining that
kind of stuff to me, how credit worked, who really owned the
new cars on a dealer's lot, or how billboard advertising was
really paid for, how and why new road right of way was
chosen - through donation much faster than by condemnation -
all that jazz.
He was an old school man of the road.
When we got back, Fred came by the motel for a drink. Fred
was a wheel at his customer's place of business.
They talked for awhile, then they decided to go to the
bootlegger's to get a jug of whiskey.
Now, in those days that part of the world was dry. You
couldn't buy liquor or any kind of alcoholic beverages
anywhere in certain counties. Or so the fiction was
maintained. The truth was that bootleggers operated
throughout the country. You could buy it all at these
country houses back off the road - for a price.
It was a pretty steep price, but Fred was buying.
We headed out a county road to a house with a Seven-Up sign
on the mailbox. That was how they marked them, usually,
some kind of soft drink sign.
At this place, Chief's, you pulled around the back of the
house in the yard to a little conversation area under a
screened-in shed where there was a barbecue pit and several
tables made out of wire spools placed on their sides.
Chief was sitting there dressed in overalls smoking his
corncob pipe. In front of him was one of those giant
Canadian Club bottles they used to display in liquor stores.
People dropped their change in it for luck when they left.
It looked kind of surreal, Chief sitting there barefoot, an
Indian less than five and a half feet tall with a huge
cowboy hat, smoking a corncob pipe, and a totem of a four-
foot brown Canadian Club bottle standing before him.
Add to the vision the fact that we were out in the middle of
this dense pine forest in the back yard of an old country
house with a gallery around it and all the gear for hog
killing and raising chickens, and it starts to get to you.
There were hunting dogs in pens in the back, the kind they
use to run down wild boar.
These were the big woods. The Big Thicket Leadbelly sang
They struck a bargain for two jugs of bourbon, then they got
to drinking out of the bottle and swapping lies with Chief.
Fred asked my father if he knew Chief was a Kickapoo.
"Yeah, Chief is a Kickapoo, a medicine man."
Chief showed no reaction. He just sat and looked straight
Fred said, "Till I met Chief, here, I just thought the
Kickapoo were some kind of deal in L'il Abner, you know, in
the funny papers. But, no, they were a real kickass tribe
up in the Staked Plains and Kansas and the Panhandle and
all. 'Bout as mean as the Comanche or Sioux or any of 'em.
Ain't that right, Chief?"
Chief still said nothing.
"That's why Chief, here, sells this bootleg whiskey and wine
and stuff. He's selling that Kickapoo Joy Juice, don't you
Chief yawned and pulled his pocket watch out of the bib of
"Hey, Chief," Fred said, "what kind of medicine do you
Chief looked straight at him and straight through him, as
if, to him, he no longer existed.
"Medicine is medicine," said Chief. "I'm making it now.
You may never know. In fact, my guess is you will never
His eyes were as black as onyx and there were very few
whiskers on his face, deep etched from the sun and pain and
worry. The cowboy hat had a funny crease on it. It was
pinched in the front of the crown. The rest of it stood to
its maximum height.
In the light of the gasoline lantern, I suddenly realized
that Chief was in no way a white man.
Chief was a medicine man for sure.
He stood up and scratched the instep of one bare foot with
the nails of the other.
Pointing to one of those triangular-shaped hatchets embedded
in a round of pecan log standing on end, he said to me,
"Son, grab that hatchet and hand it here."
He kept his gaze levelled on Fred. He took the jug from my
father's hand and took a polite drink. He handed it back.
He stuck his other hand in the pocket of his overalls. They
fitted very loose. You suddenly wondered what he had in
I handed him the hatchet.
"Thank you, son. You know, Seminole has a meaning. The
Seminole people were all kinds of tribes, but they fled to
Florida because the Army was chasing them. Co-lon-neh and
Sharp Knife would not leave them alone.
"Seminole means 'I ran away.'"
Chief pitched the hatchet up and caught it, letting it make
a hammer head stall in the air before his eyes.
"They say it will turn the opposite way on the other side of
the Equator because of the rotation of the Earth. I believe
them," he said.
"This roofing hatchet reminds me of the one my father used
to use to make medicine. He used it to keep me from
He laughed grimly.
"You see, my father was a drunk. He was a blood, a
Kickapoo, but the bottle had him. This was in Kansas. We
lived in a tarpaper shack beside the Santa Fe tracks. It
He smiled and tossed the hatchet up to catch it again after
it did its dainty little hammer head stall, its murderous
blade lined up neatly to do some business if thrown or
"I had no good clothes, just the ones we got from the
churches. They humiliated him for being drunk. They would
give him over to some preacher to put him on the Jesus road
and make him pure and holy and take away the demons that
made him want to be drunk."
He gave Fred another one of those hot, penetrating stares.
"They made him paint the stripes on the street with a brush,
then the curbs. They handcuffed him to a lawnmower and made
him mow the lawn of the courthouse and jail and the city
hall. They made him wear clothes with stripes on them."
"He kept drinking. He drank until the day I found him dead,
sitting in his chair in the tarpaper shack beside the
"Anyway, back to what I was going to tell you. He used to
go out in winter and find a den of skunks. They would be
hibernating. They couldn't quite wake up. He would chop
into the den from above with a hatchet like this. Then he
would kill a couple of the damned things and skin them. He
would rub me down with their stinking fat and put about four
or five layers of clothes on me and send me to school that
Fred and my father exchanged glances.
"I guess that kept the other kids away from you," he said.
"Yeah, as the little school house heated up from the coal-
burning stove, that room would fill up with the smell of
skunk and all the kids would move away from me. No virus
would get to me because the white man's disease was far, far
away from me. My father made medicine, you see."
After a moment in which no one laughed and no comment was
made, he said "Good" in Kickapoo warrior dialect.
"Fred," he said, "say goodbye. Say good night. Is that
enough medicine for you? Go away. Say good night."
"Aw, come on, Chief, I didn't mean no..."
Fred edged around, standing sideways to him to protect his
nut sack and his vital areas. There was much of the
truculent hip-slung, squint-eyed slab-muscled warrior left
in all three of these war veterans.
They could fight at any moment.
There was no one there to stop them.
"Fred," he said calmly, "say good night."
My father and I turned to go to the car, the five thousand
dollar 98 Olds, and after a moment, Fred followed.
We got almost all the way back to town before anyone said
"You know," Fred said, "it's true. I had never really heard
of the Kickapoos until I met Chief."
"Do tell," my father said. "They say Wichita, Wachita,
Ouachita, Watashee and Waxahachie are all variations of
dialect for the same meaning, which is 'myself.' The
Spanish explorers would ask them what they called
themselves, and they would tell them 'Myself.'"
"Well, that's some kind of medicine," Fred said. He waited
for a laugh. When there was no laugh, he clammed up.
We dropped him off where he had parked his pickup behind the
This 21-year-old Silverback Lowland Western Gorilla, Ambam, has learned to walk upright like a man - with a swagger. He lives in a wild animal park at Kent, England.
His video is viral, red-hot, and making the rounds of media outlets, including network news shows and many college and university dorm rooms throughout our world.
All hail Ambam! He's a mean motor scooter and a bad go-getter.
- The Legendary
In the high speed catch-and-release world of professional tournament corrections, some defendants set new records daily. Consider this most recent exploit of a feisty young man from Waco, busily perfecting his fistic reputation for alleged assaultive behavior.
Now comes Gary Dale Clark. A man initially charged with a minor assault in the municipal court of Waco Texas. That charge, Assault by Physical Contact, was filed 1/6/2011 and he was released with a notice to appear about 10 hours later.
At the same time, 1/6/2011, Mr. Clark caught an additional charge of assault causes bodily injury for which he received a $5,000 bond. On 1/26/2011, Jail magistrate Raymond Britton authorized a $10,000 Personal Recognizance bond as Mr. Clark had been languishing in the county jail for all of 20 days.
Upon release, Mr. Clark promptly returned to the bosom of society and committed the offense of Assualt Family Violence for which he was booked into the McLennan County Jail on 1/27/2011 at 22:37 hrs., only a short time later.
Friday, January 28, 2011
Key GOP Congressmen and Senators leveled harsh protests at a budget proposal that would cut U.S. aid to Israel in favor of correcting deficit spending.
Freshman Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, a Tea Party-backed Republican newly elected to the upper chamber, proposed cutting some $20 billion in foreign aid, including $3 billion to Israel defense efforts in an overall slashing of deficit spending of $500 billion. The current forecasts show that deficit spending will approach $1.5 trillion this budget year.
The proposal includes cutting $16 billion in money for wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and other cuts in education and energy.
When the measure drew immediate criticism from both sides of the aisle, an aide released a statement, saying “The overwhelming majority of Americans agree with Senator Paul – our current fiscal crisis makes it impossible to continue the spending policies of the past.” Said Gary Howard, a spokesman for the Senator, “We simply cannot afford to give money away, even to our alies, with so much debt mounting on a daily basis.”
The swiftest and most strident criticism came from the Israel lobby, staffed with members of the Bush Administration on its board of directors, as well as majority members of the House Appropriations Committee and Senate Foreign Affairs Committee.
BULLETIN: After decades of human rights abuses, millions of Egyptians are rising up and demanding "regime change" of the Hosni Mubarak government.
In spite of the governmnent's blocking internet access, hundreds of thousands of users are aware of proxy servers that allow them to access such applications as Tweeter and Facebook, as well as worldwide websites and e-mail accounts. Much information is pouring out over the internet about conditions inside the nation.
At this hour, President Mubarak has not made an address to the citizens of his nation, though they are steadily calling for his apperance.
Dozens of state security and police stations have been torched throughout the nation of Egypt.
As the sun sets, millions of people are in the streets, running riot, out of the control of police and soldiers.
Cairo - On a day of mass street protests expected to exceed all others during the past week, the Egyptian government blocked all access to the Internet.
Cell phone communications have been jammed, as well, according to correspondents on the scene. It's a standard operating procedure during street protests throughout the region, according to ABC correspondent Christine Amanpour. The governments of Iran, Tunisia and Yemen have taken similar action previously.
"It's social networking that is the chief organizing tool of these types of actions," she said on the ABC morning show.
Such applications as Tweet, Facebook, Google and Yahoo are inoperable at this time in Egypt, according to the Department of State.
American government officials expressed the need for caution, President Barack Obama chief among them.
“The government has to be careful about resorting to violence and the Egyptian people have to be careful about resorting to violence,” Mr. Obama told newsmen. “People have a right to demonstrate.”
Protesters are calling for an overthrow of the 30-year government of Hosni Mubarak, a key player in U.S. efforts to combat terrorism and contain Islamic expansionism in the mideast.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
"It's important that we make sure that people who are getting special assistance from the state aren't using those funds that they're getting to purchase and buy drugs instead of food and other things they need for their families," said Rep. Jim DeCesare.
After an initial drug test, applicants would be required to pass a new one every year.
Bowling Green grocery store cashier Janice Hood checks out a lot of people with food stamps and says she agrees with the bill.
"They're obviously hopped up or they're buying candy and potato chips with the food stamps that my tax dollars help pay for and like i said, if I've got to get drug tested for my job, I feel like folks should have to get drug tested for their benefits," said Ms. Hood. "I don't think it's fair for the public to have to pay for their habits."
Positive drug test results for Schedule 1, 2-5 Controlled Substances would be grounds for disqualification for public assistance. The results will not be given to police.
"There are no criminal punishments but they can lose their assistance if they do test positive," added Rep. DeCesare.
He says the money should be used for its intended purpose.
"We want them to use that money for the things they need to survive. Drugs are not needed to survive," said Rep. DeCesare.
If any applicant should refuse a drug test, they would be immediately ineligible for any kind of government assistance.
Similar bills have been introduced previously, but have not been approved by the legislature.
AN ACT relating to public assistance.
Amend KRS 205.200 to create a substance abuse screening program for adult recipients of public assistance, food stamps, and state medical assistance.
The Wall Street Journal commissioned a study by DPC DATA, a specialist in municipal disclosure, to expose how poor the financial reporting is for municipalities. The report shows the problem has worsened since the company's previous 2008 study. Of the 17,000 bond issues studied, more than 56% filed no financial statements in at least one year between 2005 and 2009. More than one-third skipped three or more years (up from 40% in 2008).
As Peter Schmitt, CEO of DPC DATA, puts it, "This works out to insufficient ongoing disclosure information for more than $2 trillion of the $3 trillion in outstanding bonds."
The analysts and brokers saying the municipal bond crisis is nothing to worry about probably aren't basing that opinion on fact. Hardly any financials are available. And when the public borrowers do file financial records, the documents are "often so confusing or spotty that even professionals can't make sense of them."
Here are a few examples from the WSJ article:
The Clay Gas and Utility District of Clay County, Tennessee, didn't file disclosures for 10 years, until one in November saying it didn't expect to make future payments.
Helen Kirkpatrick, a retired journalist in Chevy Chase, Maryland, spent $25,000 10 years ago on Maryland Health and Higher Education bonds. She said she checked regularly for updates online and didn't see anything amiss. But then in October, she was stunned to get a letter from a broker offering 50 cents on the dollar. The letter said the issuer could not promise to pay more in the future. She searched for information and found none and couldn't reach the issuer. Confused, she took the deal.
Chowchilla, California, defaulted on its bonds used to renovate city hall earlier this month. The city, which bills itself the "Gateway to Prosperity," had never filed documents notifying investors that a default was coming. The city's most-recent financial statement currently on file is for the fiscal year ending in June 2009.
Waco – When newly elected DA Abel Reyna hit his office at the McLennan County Courthouse about noon on Sunday, he could hear a burglar alarm ringing - somewhere.
Mr. Reyna first found a pile of clothing, a wristwatch draped over it, on the rotunda balcony, then noticed a puddle of urine on the first floor,
Sean McGuire, a 35-year-old transient, had broken in the glass door of the second floor, situated at the top of the steep stone staircase on Columbus Ave., then burglarized and vandalized the Mental Health Court Services office.
He tore up computers, smashed scanners, overturned files, then blithely strolled out to the rotunda and urinated over the balcony, sending the stream cascading down to the floor below.
He broke in at 5 a.m. He had been there 7 hours before Mr. Reyna arrived.
It's not hooked up to an automatic telephone system that summons law enforcement uniformed officers in case of emergencies such as burglary or fire.
So, it was up to the State of Texas' Chief Law Enforcement Officer in the jurisdiction, the District Attorney, Abel Reyna, to apprehend the burglar. He had only by chance visited the courthouse to catch up on some office work.
Mr. Reyna summoned officers, who found Mr. McGuire urinating, once again, in a public place, this time outside the building.
Police charged him with disorderly conduct and burglary.
Before the Commissioners' Court will be able to order a newer, more efficient burglary alarm system, they will first have to seek the approval of the local historical commission.