Executive Director of Strategic Plan Initiatives & Government & Community Relations        
MO-Saint Louis, St. Louis Community College is a multi-campus district comprised of four campuses and six satellites serving 718 square miles of St. Louis city and county and portions of Jefferson and Franklin counties. The college employs over 3,000 full and part time faculty, administrators, staff, and student employees. One of the most rewarding things about working at St. Louis Community College is the chance
          Comment on Chronicle of a Mountain Permaculture Community Garden by Margarita        
excellent, nice work, if the government is not going to take initiative then it is in our hands to secure our future!
          ASAHI INDIA GLASS LTD ANNOUNCES UNAUDITED FINANCIAL RESULTS FOR THE FIRST QUARTER ENDED 30TH JUNE, 2017        
by Shrutee K/DNS

New Delhi – AIS (Asahi India Glass Ltd.), India’s leading integrated glass Company announced its unaudited financial results for the first quarter ended    30th June, 2017 at its Board Meeting.

The consolidated financial performance highlights for the quarter ended 30th June, 2017 are as follows -

Sales (inclusive of Excise Duty) at Rs. 670.98 crores, reflected an increase of 8.60% over the previous period (Rs. 617.84 crores).

Operating EBIDTA i.e. Operating Earnings before Interest, Depreciation, Taxes and Amortisation was recorded at Rs. 109.85 crores registering an increase of 7.89% over the corresponding figure of Rs. 101.82 crores for the previous period.

Cash profit increased by 19.94% from Rs. 66.65 crores in Q4 FY 2016 to Rs. 79.94 crores in Q4 FY 2017.

PBT increased by 25.67% from Rs. 46.08 crores in Q1 FY2017 to Rs. 57.91 crores in Q1 FY2018.

PAT increased by 38.33% from Rs. 28.33 crores in Q1 FY2017 to Rs. 39.19 crores in Q1 FY2018.

The table below gives the details of the financial performance both on standalone and consolidated basis –  

AIS – Financial Results for the first quarter ended 30th June, 2017
(Rs. Lakhs)
Particulars
Standalone
Consolidated
2017
2016
Change (%)
2017
2016
Change (%)
Sales
65,891
61,022
7.98
67,098
61,784
8.60
Operating EBIDTA
11,314
10,427
8.51
10,985
10,182
7.89
Cash Profit
8,329
6,923
20.31
7,994
6,665
19.94
Profit Before Tax
6,202
4,963
24.96
5,791
4,608
25.67
Profit after Tax
4,145
3,058
35.55
3,919
2,833
38.33


We have also implemented some operational upgrades in our float glass plant at Roorkee leading to productivity increases from the next quarter. We also welcome the new regulations & standards from the government for architectural glass which shall be beneficial to everyone in the long term. As required by law, we have migrated to the new IndAS method of accounting and therefore, our results have been restated this quarter with minor upside on PAT coming from positives in depreciation.  Overall, we continue to look forward to consistent growth in auto and architectural segments as well as a stable macro environment.”

About AIS:
Asahi India Glass Ltd. (AIS) is a joint venture between the Labroo family, Asahi Glass Co. Ltd. of Japan, and Maruti Suzuki India Limited. AIS began operations in 1987.
AIS, today, is a leading integrated glass company in India, manufacturing a wide range of international quality automotive safety glass, float glass and architectural processed and value added glass. AIS operates under three strategic business units (SBUs), namely, Auto Glass, Architectural Glass and Consumer Glass.
Auto Glass is India's largest manufacturer of world class automotive safety glass and is, in fact, one of the largest in the field in Asia. It is the sole supplier to almost all the OEMs and has a market share of approx. 77 per cent in the Indian passenger car industry.
Architectural Glass is formed as a result of management merger of Float & Glass Solutions (Processed Glass) SBUs. This SBU manufactures quality float glass and deploys an extensive network of 4 zonal offices and over 1000 distributors. It also markets a wide range of AGC products in India as its distribution partner.
Consumer Glass SBU is Company’s interface with end users for its range of automotive and architectural glass offerings. Impeccable, customized and consumer centric solutions is the key differentiator of Consumer Glass SBU. It includes GlasXperts – a retail initiative in the Architectural Glass segment and Windshield Experts which is India’s only automotive glass repair & replacement specialist.

          BPCL awards its prestigious microsites design & implementation contract to Octaware Technologies        
by Shrutee K/DNS

Mumbai, August 10, 2017: Octaware Technologies Limited (BSE – 540416), a leading software and business solutions development company, is pleased to announce that they have been awarded the prestigious contract from BPCL for the design and implementation of their loyalty and brand microsites. Octaware was one of the bidders and was awarded the contract, post evaluation and presentation of efficient solutions and capabilities to the evaluation committee.

The scope of work under the contract includes design and implementation of microsites for BPCL’s loyalty programs – SmartFleet & PetroBonus and other brands - Speed and In & Out. The engagement includes a period of 3 months for implementation of microsites and an additional three years of support and maintenance. Octaware Technology Limited’s expertise in the areas of online portals & enterprise systems helped them win the contract.

Commenting on the development, Mr. Aslam Khan, Chief Executive Officer, Octaware Technologies Limited, said, “We are extremely delighted to have won the prestigious contract from BPCL, our first major win in the Indian PSU sector, post our IPO in April 2017. The fact that it falls under one of Octaware’s key focus verticals of governance, demonstrates our consistent and steady inroads in the Indian market, surpassing some of the strong players in the region. We look forward to a long-term business association with BPCL”.

About Octaware Technologies Limited:
Incorporated in 2005, Octaware Technologies Ltd is a software development company providing a range of information technology solutions. The company designs, develops, and maintains software systems and solutions. Company's services include custom software development, ECM/portal solution, ERP and CRM implementation, mobile platform solution, RFID solution, cloud and IT infrastructure services, consulting services and geospatial services.
Octaware provides specialized software application and product development services and solutions in the areas of healthcare, finance, and e-government industry. The company has proprietary products for domestic, as well as international markets, such as PowerERM – Human Capital Relationship Management, Hospice – Healthcare and Citizen Services solution, and iOnAsset – Inventory management and tracking System etc. These products are available as packaged products as well as software-as-a-service model integrated with legacy system.
Octaware Technologies Limited (BSE – 540416), got listed on the BSE –SME platform on April 3, 2017 and was oversubscribed by 148%, providing testimony to the faith, the investors have reposed in the company.

          '..If you can’t see this next crisis coming, you’re not paying the right kind of attention .. Financial politicians..' (no replies)        
'..If you can’t see this next crisis coming, you’re not paying the right kind of attention..'

'This Fed has already engineered the next crisis, just as Greenspan kept rates too low for too long, ignored his regulatory responsibility, and engineered the housing bubble and subprime crisis. If you can’t see this next crisis coming, you’re not paying the right kind of attention. The Trump Fed is going to have to deal with that crisis, but we still have many questions as to what a Trump Fed will actually look like or do.'

John Mauldin (Source, Jun 25, 2017)


'..Their empathy circuits get turned off.'

'Powerful people everywhere routinely make decisions that hurt others. We see it in central bankers, politicians, corporate CEOs, religious groups, universities – any large organization. The old saying is right: Power really does corrupt. And corruption is a barrier to sustainable economic growth. This is more than a political problem; it has a serious economic impact.

Recent psychological research suggests that powerful people behave remarkably like traumatic brain injury victims. Controlled experiments show that, given power over others, people often become impulsive and less sensitive to risk. Most important, test subjects often lose empathy, that is, the ability to understand and share the feelings of others.

..

Powerful people also lose a capacity called “mirroring.” When we observe other people doing something, our brains react as if we were doing the same thing. It’s why, when you watch a sporting event, you may unconsciously mimic a golf swing or the referee’s hand signals. Some portion of your brain thinks you are really there. But when researchers prime test subjects with powerful feelings, their mirroring capacity decreases.

You can see why this is a problem. The Protected-class members of the Federal Open Market Committee must feel quite powerful when they gather in that fancy room to make policy decisions. It’s no wonder they forget how their decisions will affect regular working-class people: Their empathy circuits get turned off.'

- Patrick Watson, The Wedge Goes Deeper, June 30, 2017


'..I now feel that it's highly likely we will face a major financial crisis, if not later this year, then by the end of 2018 at the latest..'

'Re-entering the news flow was a jolt, and not in a good way. Looking with fresh eyes at the economic numbers and central bankers’ statements convinced me that we will soon be in deep trouble. I now feel that it's highly likely we will face a major financial crisis, if not later this year, then by the end of 2018 at the latest. Just a few months ago, I thought we could avoid a crisis and muddle through. Now I think we’re past that point. The key decision-makers have (1) done nothing, (2) done the wrong thing, or (3) done the right thing too late.

Having realized this, I’m adjusting my research efforts. I believe a major crisis is coming. The questions now are, how severe will it be, and how will we get through it? With the election of President Trump and a Republican Congress, your naïve analyst was hopeful that we would get significant tax reform, in addition to reform of a healthcare system that is simply devastating to so many people and small businesses. I thought maybe we’d see this administration cutting through some bureaucratic red tape quickly. With such reforms in mind I was hopeful we could avoid a recession even if a crisis developed in China or Europe.

..

One news item I didn’t miss on St. Thomas – and rather wish I had – was Janet Yellen’s reassurance regarding the likelihood of another financial crisis. Here is the full quote.

Would I say there will never, ever be another financial crisis? You know probably that would be going too far, but I do think we’re much safer, and I hope that it will not be in our lifetimes and I don’t believe it will be. [emphasis added]

I disagree with almost every word in those two sentences, but my belief is less important than Chair Yellen’s. If she really believes this, then she is oblivious to major instabilities that still riddle the financial system. That’s not good.

..

Financial politicians (which is what central bankers really are) have a long history of saying the wrong things at the wrong time. Far worse, they simply fail to tell the truth. Former Eurogroup leader Jean-Claude Juncker admitted as much: “When it becomes serious, you have to lie,” he said in the throes of Europe’s 2011 debt crisis.'

- John Mauldin, Prepare for Turbulence, July 9, 2017


'..Market distortions – including valuations, deeply embedded complacency, and Trillions of perceived safe securities – have become only further detached from reality. And the longer all this unstable finance flows freely into the real economy, the deeper the structural maladjustment.'

'This week marks the five-year anniversary of Draghi’s “whatever it takes.” I remember the summer of 2012 as if it were yesterday. From the Bubble analysis perspective, it was a Critical Juncture – for financial markets and risk perceptions, for policy and for the global economy. Italian 10-year yields hit 6.60% on July 24, 2012. On that same day, Spain saw yields surge to 7.62%. Italian banks were in freefall, while European bank stocks (STOXX600) were rapidly approaching 2009 lows. Having risen above 55 in 2011, Deutsche Bank traded at 23.23 on July 25, 2012.

It was my view at the time that the “European” crisis posed a clear and immediate threat to the global financial system. A crisis of confidence in Italian debt (and Spanish and “periphery” debt) risked a crisis of confidence in European banks – and a loss of confidence in European finance risked dismantling the euro monetary regime.

Derivatives markets were in the crosshairs back in 2012. A crisis of confidence in European debt and the euro would surely have tested the derivatives marketplace to the limits. Moreover, with the big European banks having evolved into dominant players in derivatives trading (taking share from U.S. counterparts after the mortgage crisis), counter-party issues were at the brink of becoming a serious global market problem. It’s as well worth mentioning that European banks were major providers of finance for emerging markets.

From the global government finance Bubble perspective, Draghi’s “whatever it takes” was a seminal development. The Bernanke Fed employed QE measures during the 2008 financial crisis to accommodate deleveraging and stabilize dislocated markets. Mario Draghi leapfrogged (helicopter) Bernanke, turning to open-ended QE and other extreme measures to preserve euro monetary integration. No longer would QE be viewed as a temporary crisis management tool. And just completely disregard traditional monetary axiom that central banks should operate as lender of last resort in the event of temporary illiquidity – but must avoid propping up the insolvent. “Whatever it takes” advocates covert bailouts for whomever and whatever a small group of central bankers chooses – illiquid, insolvent, irredeemable or otherwise. Now five years after the first utterance of “whatever it takes,” the Draghi ECB is still pumping out enormous amounts of “money” on a monthly basis (buying sovereigns and corporates) with rates near zero.

..

Thinking back five years, U.S. markets at the time were incredibly complacent. The risk of crisis in Europe was downplayed: Policymakers had it all under control. Sometime later, the Financial Times - in a fascinating behind-the-scenes exposé - confirmed the gravity of the situation and how frazzled European leaders were at the brink of losing control. Yet central bankers, once again, saved the day – further solidifying their superhero status.

I’m convinced five years of “whatever it takes” took the global government finance Bubble deeper into perilous uncharted territory. Certainly, markets are more complacent than ever, believing central bankers are fully committed to prolonging indefinitely the securities bull market. Meanwhile, leverage, speculative excess and trend-following flows have had an additional five years to accumulate. Market distortions – including valuations, deeply embedded complacency, and Trillions of perceived safe securities – have become only further detached from reality. And the longer all this unstable finance flows freely into the real economy, the deeper the structural maladjustment.'

- Doug Noland, Five Years of Whatever It Takes, July 29, 2017


'..This whole episode is likely to end so badly that future children will learn about it in school and shake their heads in wonder at the rank stupidity of it all, just like many of us did when we learned about the Dutch Tulip mania.'

'While I've written about numerous valuation measures over time, the most reliable ones share a common feature: they focus on identifying "sufficient statistics" for the very, very long-term stream of cash flows that stocks can be expected to deliver into the hands of investors over time. On that front, revenues are typically more robust "sufficient statistics" than current or year-ahead earnings. See Exhaustion Gaps and the Fear of Missing Out for a table showing the relative reliability of a variety of measures. In April 2007, I estimated that an appropriate valuation for the S&P 500 stood about 850, roughly -40% lower than prevailing levels. By the October peak, the prospective market loss to normal valuation had increased to about -46%. As it happened, the subsequent collapse of the housing bubble took the S&P 500 about -55% lower. In late-October 2008, as the market plunge crossed below historically reliable valuation norms, I observed that the S&P 500 had become undervalued on our measures.

Again attempting to “stimulate” the economy from the recession that followed, the Federal Reserve cut short-term interest rates to zero in recent years, provoking yet another episode of yield-seeking speculation, where yield-starved investors created demand for virtually every class of securities, in the hope of achieving returns in excess of zero. Meanwhile, Wall Street, suffering from what J.K. Galbraith once called the “extreme brevity of the financial memory,” convinced itself yet again that the whole episode was built on something more solid than quotes on a screen and blotches of ink on paper..

..

..greater real economic activity was never the likely outcome of all this quantitative easing (indeed, one can show that the path of the economy since the crisis has not been materially different than what one could have projected using wholly non-monetary variables). Rather, Ben Bernanke, in his self-appointed role as Mad Hatter, was convinced that offensively hypervalued financial markets - that encourage the speculative misallocation of capital, imply dismal expected future returns, and create temporary paper profits that ultimately collapse - somehow represent a greater and more desirable form of “wealth” compared with reasonably-valued financial markets that offer attractive expected returns and help to soundly allocate capital. Believing that wealth is embodied by the price of a security rather than its future stream of cash flows, QE has created a world of hypervaluation, zero prospective future returns, and massive downside risks across nearly every conventional asset class.

And so, the Fed created such an enormous pool of zero interest bank reserves that investors would feel pressure to chase stocks, junk debt, anything to get rid of these yield-free hot potatoes. That didn’t stimulate more real, productive investment; it just created more investors who were frustrated with zero returns, because someone had to hold that base money, and in aggregate, all of them had to hold over $4 trillion of the stuff at every moment in time.

When you look objectively at what the Fed actually did, should be obvious how its actions encouraged this bubble. Every time someone would get rid of zero-interest base money by buying a riskier security, the seller would get the base money, and the cycle would continue until every asset was priced to deliver future returns near zero. We’re now at the point where junk yields are among the lowest in history, stock market valuations are so extreme that we estimate zero or negative S&P 500 average annual nominal total returns over the coming 10-12 year horizon, and our estimate of 12-year prospective total returns on a conventional mix of 60% stocks, 30% Treasury bonds, and 10% Treasury bills has never been lower (about 1% annually here). This whole episode is likely to end so badly that future children will learn about it in school and shake their heads in wonder at the rank stupidity of it all, just like many of us did when we learned about the Dutch Tulip mania.

Examine all risk exposures, consider your investment horizon and risk-tolerance carefully, commit to the flexibility toward greater market exposure at points where a material retreat in valuations is joined by early improvement in market action (even if the news happens to be very negative at that point), fasten your protective gear, and expect a little bit of whiplash. Remember that the “catalysts” often become evident after prices move, not before. The completion of this market cycle may or may not be immediate, but with the median stock at easily the most extreme price/revenue ratio in history, and a run-of-the-mill outcome now being market loss on the order of -60%, the contrast between recent stability and likely future volatility could hardly be more striking.'

- John P. Hussman, Ph.D., Hot Potatoes and Dutch Tulips, July 31, 2017


Context

(2017) - '..a deeply systemic debt crisis akin to the aftermath of 1929 .. the stage has now been set..'

(Banking Reform - Monetary Reform) - '..debt is our biggest security threat..'

'..the Next 30 Years: “Everything is Deflationary”..'

          '..the mayors of Paris, Madrid, Mexico City and Athens plan to banish diesels from their city centres by 2025.' (no replies)        
'In Germany, for example, Deutsche Post has started building its own electric vans and will soon start selling them to other companies..'

'The clock may be ticking for petrol and diesel-powered cars, but it's vans, trucks and buses that are driving the electric vehicle revolution on the world's roads.

This week the UK government followed France in announcing it would ban the sale of such vehicles by 2040, while the mayors of Paris, Madrid, Mexico City and Athens plan to banish diesels from their city centres by 2025.

..

In Germany, for example, Deutsche Post has started building its own electric vans and will soon start selling them to other companies. Meanwhile, in the US, the city of Los Angeles plans to make its entire bus fleet emissions-free by 2030.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) believes that keeping global temperature rises below 2C by the end of the century will in part depend on the electrification of some 600 million vehicles worldwide.

..

Frost & Sullivan's Ananth Srinivasan says it it easier for freight fleet owners to justify investment in electric vehicles because "when they look at the cost for miles travelled over, say, two years with an electric van versus one powered by petrol or diesel", the financial benefits are obvious.'

- Chris Baraniuk, Electric trucks and vans cut pollution faster than cars, 28 July 2017

Context

Team Solid: Metal Fuels

'..to get rid of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2025..' - Britain bans gasoline and diesel cars starting in 2040

'..wood burning is the single largest source of hazardous particle pollution during winter, creating even more particle pollution than vehicles and industry.'

          '..to get rid of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2025..' - Britain bans gasoline and diesel cars starting in 2040 (no replies)        
'..The Netherlands and Norway previously said they wanted to get rid of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2025 and Germany and India announced similar plans ahead of 2030.'

- Chloe Farand, France will 'ban all petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040', July 6, 2017


'..Dirty air has been linked to cancer, asthma, stroke and heart disease, among other health issues. The problem is especially pronounced in big cities including London.'

'Britain will ban sales of new gasoline and diesel cars starting in 2040 as part of a bid to clean up the country's air.

The decision to phase out the internal combustion engine heralds a new era of low-emission technologies with major implications for the auto industry, society and the environment.

"We can't carry on with diesel and petrol cars," U.K. environment secretary Michael Gove told the BBC on Wednesday. "There is no alternative to embracing new technology."

Gove said the government's air quality plan, which is set to be officially announced later on Wednesday, was needed because gasoline and diesel engines contribute to health problems, "accelerate climate change, do damage to the planet and the next generation."

Roughly 40,000 deaths in Britain each year are attributable to outdoor air pollution, according to a study published last year by the Royal College of Physicians. Dirty air has been linked to cancer, asthma, stroke and heart disease, among other health issues. The problem is especially pronounced in big cities including London.

The timeline for ending sales of internal combustion engines mirrors one proposed in early July by France. President Emmanuel Macron has given the auto industry the same deadline to make the switch to cleaner tech.

"We are quite rightly in a position of global leadership when it comes to shaping new technology," Gove said.

- Charles Riley, Britain bans gasoline and diesel cars starting in 2040, July 26, 2017


Context

'..to Ban Internal Combustion Engines by 2030'

'..committed to 100 percent clean energy by the year 2050.'

(Global) - '..a revolutionary shift to net zero emissions by 2080..'


'Thorium reactor: cleaner, safer and sustainable nuclear energy within sight'

(Fusion Power) - LPP Focus Fusion 1; '..FF-1 results are right now far ahead..'

'..to develop a series of electric and hybrid aircraft..'


The "CityTree" - 'Air pollution is one of the world's invisible killers.'

          (2017) - '..a deeply systemic debt crisis akin to the aftermath of 1929 .. the stage has now been set..' (no replies)        
'..But after a decade of unprecedented expansion of government debt and central bank Credit, the stage has now been set for a more systemic 1929-like financial dislocation.'

'June 27 – Reuters (William Schomberg, Marc Jones, Jason Lange and Lindsay Dunsmuir): “U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said on Tuesday that she does not believe that there will be another financial crisis for at least as long as she lives, thanks largely to reforms of the banking system since the 2007-09 crash. ‘Would I say there will never, ever be another financial crisis?’ Yellen said… ‘You know probably that would be going too far but I do think we're much safer and I hope that it will not be in our lifetimes and I don't believe it will be,’ she said.”

While headlines somewhat paraphrased Yellen’s actual comment, “We Will not see Another Crisis in Our Lifetime” is reminiscent of Irving Fisher’s “permanent plateau” just weeks before the great crash of 1929. While on the subject, I never bought into the popular comparison between 2008 and 1929 – and the related notion of 2008 as “the 100-year flood”. The 2008/09 crisis was for the most part a private debt crisis associated with the bursting of a Bubble in mortgage Credit – not dissimilar to previous serial global crises, only larger and somewhat more systemic. It was not, however, a deeply systemic debt crisis akin to the aftermath of 1929, which was characterized by a crisis of confidence in the banking system, the markets and finance more generally, along with a loss of faith in government policy and institutions. But after a decade of unprecedented expansion of government debt and central bank Credit, the stage has now been set for a more systemic 1929-like financial dislocation.

As such, it’s ironic that the Fed has branded the banking system cured and so well capitalized that bankers can now boost dividends, buybacks and, presumably, risk-taking. As conventional central bank thinking goes, a well-capitalized banking system provides a powerful buffer for thwarting the winds of financial crisis. Chair Yellen, apparently, surveys current bank capital levels and extrapolates to systemic stability. Yet the next crisis lurks not with the banks but within the securities and derivatives markets: too much leverage and too much “money” employed in trend-following trading strategies. Too much hedging, speculating and leveraging in derivatives. Market misperceptions and distortions on an epic scale.

Compared to 2008, the leveraged speculating community and the ETF complex are significantly larger and potentially perilous. The derivatives markets are these days acutely more vulnerable to liquidity issues and dislocation. Never have global markets been so dominated by trend-following strategies. It’s a serious issue that asset market performance – stocks, bond, corporate Credit, EM, real estate, etc. – have all become so tightly correlated. There are huge vulnerabilities associated with various markets having become so highly synchronized on a global basis. And in the grand scheme of grossly inflated global securities, asset and derivatives markets, the scope of available bank capital is trivial.

I realize that, at this late stage of the great bull market, such a question sounds hopelessly disconnected. Yet, when markets reverse sharply lower and The Crowd suddenly moves to de-risk, who is left to take the other side of what has become One Gargantuan “Trade”? We’re all familiar with the pat response: “Central banks. They’ll have no choice.” Okay, but I’m more interested in the timing and circumstances.

Central bankers are now signaling their desire to proceed with normalization, along with noting concerns for elevated asset prices. As such, I suspect they will be somewhat more circumspect going forward when it comes to backstopping the markets - than, say, back in 2013 with Bernanke’s “flash crash” or with the China scare of early-2016. Perhaps this might help to explain why the VIX spiked above 15 during Thursday afternoon trading. Even corporate debt markets showed a flash of vulnerability this week.'

- Doug Noland, Weekly Commentary: The Road to Normalization, July 1, 2017


Context (Banking Reform - English/Dutch) '..a truly stable financial and monetary system for the twenty-first century..'

'Unsound Finance gets to the heart of the issue.'

'..Like monetarists, Keynes held no capital theory .. the role time plays..' - Jesús Huerta de Soto

'..Loose financial conditions and record debt issuance..'


'..investors’ fear of missing out is looking increasingly desperate..'

'..a giant passive 'beta' bubble .. This may be the Mother of all beta bubbles..'

'..The same combination prevailed at the 1929, 1972, 1987, 2000, and 2007 market peaks..'


(Banking Reform - Monetary Reform) - '..debt is our biggest security threat..'

          'Nuclear Crisis Group .. preventing .. the use of nuclear weapons.' (no replies)        
'VIENNA — In response to the alarming rise of tensions involving nuclear-armed governments and their allies, the Global Zero movement has formed an international Nuclear Crisis Group dedicated to preventing these flashpoints from escalating to the use of nuclear weapons. The NCG will launch May 5-6 at the United Nations in Vienna at the first preparatory meeting of the 2020 Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference.'

- Global Zero Launches Nuclear Crisis Group To Prevent Nuclear War, May 5, 2017


Context

Vision of Humanity - Global Peace

          '..the amount of leverage and excess that has accumulated in bond and Credit markets..' (no replies)        
'..the amount of leverage and excess that has accumulated in bond and Credit markets over the past eight years of extreme monetary stimulus.'

'The Fed is not blind. They monitor stock prices and corporate debt issuance; they see residential and commercial real estate market values. Years of ultra-low rates have inflated Bubbles throughout commercial real estate – anything providing a yield – in excess of those going into 2008. Upper-end residential prices are significantly stretched across the country, also surpassing 2007. They see Silicon Valley and a Tech Bubble 2.0, with myriad excesses that in many respects put 1999 to shame. I’ll assume that the Fed is concerned with the amount of leverage and excess that has accumulated in bond and Credit markets over the past eight years of extreme monetary stimulus.

..

The Fed collapsed fed funds from 6.50% in December 2000 to an extraordinarily low 1.75% by the end of 2001. In the face of an escalating corporate debt crisis, the Fed took the unusual step of cutting rates another 50 bps in November 2002. Alarmingly, corporate Credit was failing to respond to traditional monetary policy measures (despite being aggressively applied). Ford in particular faced severe funding issues, though the entire corporate debt market was confronting liquidity issues. Recall that the S&P500 dropped 23.4% in 2002. The small caps lost 21.6%. The Nasdaq 100 (NDX) sank 37.6%, falling to 795 (having collapsed from a March 2000 high of 4,816). No financial instability?

..

I revisit history in an attempt at distinguishing reality from misperceptions. Of course the Fed will generally dismiss the consequences of Bubbles. They’re not going to aggressively embark on reflationary policies while espousing the dangers of asset price and speculative Bubbles. Instead, they have painted the “housing Bubble” as some egregious debt mountain aberration. And paraphrasing Kashkari, since today’s stock market has nowhere as much debt as housing had in 2007, there’s little to worry about from a crisis and financial instability perspective.

Well, if only that were the case. Debt is a critical issue, and there’s a whole lot more of it than back in 2008. Yet when it comes to fragility and financial crises, market misperceptions and distortions play fundamental roles. And there’s a reason why each bursting Bubble and resulting policy-induced reflation ensures a more precarious Bubble: Not only does the amount of debt continue to inflate, each increasingly intrusive policy response elicits a greater distorting impact on market perceptions.

I doubt Fed governor Bernanke actually anticipated that the Fed would have to resort to “helicopter money” and the “government printing press” when he introduced such extreme measures in his 2002 speeches. Yet seeing that the Fed was willing to push its monetary experiment in such a radical direction played a momentous role in reversing the 2002 corporate debt crisis, in the process stoking the fledgling mortgage finance Bubble. And the Bernanke Fed surely thought at the time that doubling its balance sheet during the 2008/09 crisis was a one-time response to a once-in-a-lifetime financial dislocation. I’ll assume they were sincere with their 2011 “exit strategy,” yet only a few short years later they’d again double the size of their holdings.

..

Despite assertions to the contrary, the bursting of the “tech” Bubble unleashed significant financial instability. To orchestrate reflation, the Fed marshaled a major rate collapse, which worked to stoke already robust mortgage Credit growth. The collapse in telecom debt, an unwind of market-based speculative leverage and the rapid slowdown in corporate borrowings was over time more than offset by a rapid expansion in housing debt and the enormous growth in mortgage-related speculative leverage (MBS, ABS, derivatives).

..

I’ve never felt comfortable that Chinese authorities appreciate the types of risks that have been mounting beneath the surface of their massively expanding Credit system. Global markets seemed attentive a year ago, but have since been swept away by the notion of the all-powerful “China put” conjoining with the steadfast “Fed put.” These types of market perceptions create tremendous inherent fragility.'

- Doug Noland, Discussions on the Fed Put, March 25, 2017


'It’s now an all-too-familiar Bubble Dynamic. The greater the Bubble inflates, the more impervious it becomes to cautious “tightening” measures..'

'The problem today is that years of ultra-loose monetary conditions have ensured everyone is crowded on the same bullish side of the boat. Tipping the vessel at this point will be chaotic, and the Fed clearly doesn’t want to be the instigator. Meanwhile, timid little baby-step increases only ensure more problematic market Bubbles and general financial excess.

It’s now an all-too-familiar Bubble Dynamic. The greater the Bubble inflates, the more impervious it becomes to cautious “tightening” measures. And the longer the accommodative backdrop fuels only more precarious Bubble Dynamics, the more certain it becomes that central bankers will approach monetary tightening timidly. Yellen confirmed to the markets Wednesday that the Fed would remain timid – still focused on some theoretical “neutral rate” and seemingly oblivious to conspicuous financial market excess. The fixation remains on consumer prices that are running just a tad under its 2% target. Meanwhile, runaway securities market inflation is completely disregarded.'

- Doug Noland, Another Missed Opportunity, March 18, 2017


'..In terms of Credit Bubble momentum, it’s notable that Net Worth inflated over $2.0 TN in both Q3 and Q4.'

'The unprecedented amount of system-wide debt is so enormous that the annual percentage gains no longer appear as alarming. Non-Financial Debt expanded 4.7% in 2016, up from 2015’s 4.4%. Total Household Debt expanded 3.6%, with Total Business borrowings up 5.6%. Financial Sector borrowings expanded 2.9% last year, the strongest expansion since 2008.

Securities markets remain the centerpiece of this long reflationary cycle. Total (debt and equities) Securities jumped $1.50 TN during Q4 to a record $80.344 TN, with a one-year rise of $4.80 TN. As a percentage of GDP, Total Securities increased to 426% from the year ago 415%. For comparison, Total Securities peaked at $55.3 TN during Q3 2007, or 379% of GDP. At the previous Q1 2000 cycle peak, Total Securities had reached $36.0 TN, or 359% of GDP.

The Household Balance Sheet also rather conspicuously illuminates Bubble Dynamics. Household Assets surged $6.0 TN during 2016 to a record $107.91 TN ($9.74 TN 2-yr gain). This compares to the peak Q3 2007 level of $81.9 TN and $70.0 TN to end 2008. Q4 alone saw Household Assets inflate $2.192 TN, with Financial Assets up $1.589 TN and real estate gaining $557bn.

With Household Liabilities increasing $473bn over the past year, Household Net Worth (assets minus liabilities) inflated a notable $5.518 TN in 2016 to a record $92.805 TN. As a percentage of GDP, Net Worth rose to a record 492%. For comparison, Household Net Worth-to-GDP ended 1999 at 435% ($43.1 TN) and 2007 at 453% ($66.5 TN). Net Worth fell to a cycle low 378% of GDP ($54.4TN) in Q1 2009. In terms of Credit Bubble momentum, it’s notable that Net Worth inflated over $2.0 TN in both Q3 and Q4.

..

UBS analysts forecast (above) $3.3 TN of 2017 Chinese Total Social Financing (TSF). And with TSF excluding national government deficit spending, let’s add another $300bn and presume 2017 Chinese system Credit growth of around $3.6 TN. As such, it’s possible that China and the U.S. could combine for Credit growth approaching an Unparalleled $6.0 TN. There are, as well, indications of an uptick in lending in the euro zone, and Credit conditions for the most part remain loose throughout EM. Importantly, the inflationary biases that have gained momentum in asset and securities markets and, increasingly, in consumer prices and corporate profits provide a tailwind for Credit expansion.'

- Doug Noland, Unparalleled Credit and Global Yields, March 10, 2017


Context

'..the S&P 500 is now far more overvalued than in 2000, 2007, or indeed in any prior point in history..'

          'The WMO says that the "extreme and unusual" climate and weather trends have continued into 2017..' (no replies)        
'The WMO says that the "extreme and unusual" climate and weather trends have continued into 2017. At least three times this winter, the Arctic experienced the equivalent of a heatwave, as powerful Atlantic storms drove warm, moist air into the region.

Changes in the Arctic and the melting of sea-ice are also leading to a shift in atmospheric circulation patterns impacting other parts of the world. This is causing unusual heat in some areas - In the US, over 11,000 warm temperature records were broken in early 2017.

"Even without a strong El Niño in 2017, we are seeing other remarkable changes across the planet that are challenging the limits of our understanding of the climate system. We are now in truly uncharted territory," said David Carlson, World Climate Research Programme Director at the WMO.

In the face of all this information, climate researchers around the world are irked by the attitude of the Trump government in Washington.'

- Matt McGrath, 'Extreme and unusual' climate trends continue after record 2016, March 21, 2017


Context

Update (February 11, 2017) - '..ethical standards..' ('.. Dr. Bates appeared to distance himself from some of what he wrote in the blog post..')

'..Earth is warming more rapidly than previously thought was correct..'

          '.."unacceptable comments" by the Turkish authorities..' (no replies)        
'French centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron "strongly condemns" what he calls provocations from the Turkish government.

Macron has called on France to support its European partners and "reject the Turkish government's abuses." He says that "the European Union must have a united response."

He criticizes "unacceptable comments" by the Turkish authorities that target "European values," and Germany and the Netherlands.'

- French Candidate Macron Condemns Turkey, March 12, 2017


'Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke on Sunday called on his Turkish counterpart Binali Yildirim to delay a planned March visit because of "tensions" between Ankara and the Netherlands.

"Such a visit could not take place in light of the current attacks by Turkey against the Netherlands. Therefore I proposed to my Turkish colleague to postpone our meeting," Lokke said in a statement.'

- Denmark calls on Turkish PM to delay planned visit, March 12, 2017


Context

'..Erdogan .. way out of line..'

          Update (February 11, 2017) - '..ethical standards..' ('.. Dr. Bates appeared to distance himself from some of what he wrote in the blog post..') (no replies)        
Update February 11, 2017: 'In an interview on Monday with E&E News, Dr. Bates appeared to distance himself from some of what he wrote in the blog post, and from the way his criticisms were portrayed in the Mail on Sunday article.

“The issue here is not an issue of tampering with data,” he said, “but rather really of timing of a release of a paper that had not properly disclosed everything it was.”

Climate Home, a nonprofit site based in London that offers news and analysis, also weighed in on one of the central contentions of Mr. Rose’s article, that the publication of the NOAA paper had "duped” policy makers into adopting the Paris accord. The site contacted representatives to the talks from 10 countries; none said that the paper had any influence.'

- Henry Fountain, No Data Manipulation in 2015 Climate Study, Researchers Say, February 7, 2016


Update February 09, 2017: 'Dr Bates’ main complaint is that Dr Karl and his co-authors did not follow strict procedures required for NOAA’s ‘operational’ data. It is not yet clear whether Dr Karl should have subjected his research data to the same procedures. Dr Karl, who retired from NOAA in August 2016, has not yet had the opportunity to respond fully to Dr Bates’ allegations.'

- LSE: More fake news in ‘The Mail on Sunday’, February 5, 2017 (Wikipedia Bans Daily Mail As 'Unreliable' Source, February 08, 2017))


'..a failure to observe proper ethical standards..'

'Dr John Bates’s disclosures about the manipulation of data behind the ‘Pausebuster’ paper is the biggest scientific scandal since ‘Climategate’ in 2009 when, as this paper reported, thousands of leaked emails revealed scientists were trying to block access to data, and using a ‘trick’ to conceal embarrassing flaws in their claims about global warming.

Both scandals suggest a lack of transparency and, according to Dr Bates, a failure to observe proper ethical standards.

Because of NOAA ’s failure to ‘archive’ data used in the paper, its results can never be verified.

Like Climategate, this scandal is likely to reverberate around the world, and reignite some of science’s most hotly contested debates.'

- Exposed: How world leaders were duped into investing billions over manipulated global warming data, February 4, 2017


'Whatever takes its place, said Dr Bates, ‘there needs to be a fundamental change to the way NOAA deals with data so that people can check and validate scientific results. I’m hoping that this will be a wake-up call to the climate science community – a signal that we have to put in place processes to make sure this kind of crap doesn’t happen again.

..

Dr Bates said: ‘How ironic it is that there is now this idea that Trump is going to trash climate data, when key decisions were earlier taken by someone whose responsibility it was to maintain its integrity – and failed.’ '


'Dr Bates retired from NOAA at the end of last year after a 40-year career in meteorology and climate science. As recently as 2014, the Obama administration awarded him a special gold medal for his work in setting new, supposedly binding standards ‘to produce and preserve climate data records’.

..

Less than two years earlier, a blockbuster report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which drew on the work of hundreds of scientists around the world, had found ‘a much smaller increasing trend over the past 15 years 1998-2012 than over the past 30 to 60 years’. Explaining the pause became a key issue for climate science. It was seized on by global warming sceptics, because the level of CO2 in the atmosphere had continued to rise.

..

In the weeks after the Pausebuster paper was published, Dr Bates conducted a one-man investigation into this. His findings were extraordinary. Not only had Mr Karl and his colleagues failed to follow any of the formal procedures required to approve and archive their data, they had used a ‘highly experimental early run’ of a programme that tried to combine two previously separate sets of records.

..

Dr Bates revealed that the failure to archive and make available fully documented data not only violated NOAA rules, but also those set down by Science. Before he retired last year, he continued to raise the issue internally. Then came the final bombshell. Dr Bates said: ‘I learned that the computer used to process the software had suffered a complete failure.’

The reason for the failure is unknown, but it means the Pausebuster paper can never be replicated or verified by other scientists.

..

Whatever takes its place, said Dr Bates, ‘there needs to be a fundamental change to the way NOAA deals with data so that people can check and validate scientific results. I’m hoping that this will be a wake-up call to the climate science community – a signal that we have to put in place processes to make sure this kind of crap doesn’t happen again.

Dr Bates said: ‘How ironic it is that there is now this idea that Trump is going to trash climate data, when key decisions were earlier taken by someone whose responsibility it was to maintain its integrity – and failed.’

NOAA not only failed, but it effectively mounted a cover-up when challenged over its data. After the paper was published, the US House of Representatives Science Committee launched an inquiry into its Pausebuster claims. NOAA refused to comply with subpoenas demanding internal emails from the committee chairman, the Texas Republican Lamar Smith, and falsely claimed that no one had raised concerns about the paper internally.'

- Exposed: How world leaders were duped into investing billions over manipulated global warming data, February 4, 2017


Context '..conduct more meetings on ethics .. Respectful discussion of different points of view should be encouraged.' - John Bates

Climategate: Follow the Money - By Bret Stephens

Those Who Control the Past Control the Future, Climate Data Edition, February 5, 2017

'..Earth is warming more rapidly than previously thought was correct..'


'Trees are the best known ‘technology’ to cool our planet'

Focus Fusion - '..So, production reactors by 2020 or so.'

(Earth Defence - Earth Shield) - Faraday - Tesla - 'The Accelerating Winds of Venus.' (Electric Universe - Solar Climate Change)


(The Electric Universe - Earth Defence - Earth Shield) - Electric Fossils and Thundercrabs

(The Electric Universe) - '..weather systems .. an electric “wind” surrounds and often precedes an electric arc.'

(Thymology - Haptopraxeology) - '..entrepreneurship .. actions he will carry out and estimates the future effect of those actions..'


'...The peer review process is broken...' - '...don't have the "situational awareness"...'

On the Mail on Sunday article on Karl et al., 2015, February 5, 2017

          'We have no experience in stopping a nuclear war.' - Sidney Drell (no replies)        
'..My greatest concern is the lack of public awareness about this existential threat, the absence of a vigorous public debate about the nuclear-war plans of Russia and the United States, the silent consent to the roughly fifteen thousand nuclear weapons in the world. These machines have been carefully and ingeniously designed to kill us. Complacency increases the odds that, some day, they will. The “Titanic Effect” is a term used by software designers to explain how things can quietly go wrong in a complex technological system: the safer you assume the system to be, the more dangerous it is becoming.'

'The harsh rhetoric on both sides increases the danger of miscalculations and mistakes, as do other factors. Close encounters between the military aircraft of the United States and Russia have become routine, creating the potential for an unintended conflict. Many of the nuclear-weapon systems on both sides are aging and obsolete. The personnel who operate those systems often suffer from poor morale and poor training. None of their senior officers has firsthand experience making decisions during an actual nuclear crisis. And today’s command-and-control systems must contend with threats that barely existed during the Cold War: malware, spyware, worms, bugs, viruses, corrupted firmware, logic bombs, Trojan horses, and all the other modern tools of cyber warfare. The greatest danger is posed not by any technological innovation but by a dilemma that has haunted nuclear strategy since the first detonation of an atomic bomb: How do you prevent a nuclear attack while preserving the ability to launch one?

..

..the Cuban Missile Crisis, when a series of misperceptions, miscalculations, and command-and-control problems almost started an accidental nuclear war—despite the determination of both John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev to avoid one. In perhaps the most dangerous incident, the captain of a Soviet submarine mistakenly believed that his vessel was under attack by U.S. warships and ordered the firing of a torpedo armed with a nuclear warhead. His order was blocked by a fellow officer. Had the torpedo been fired, the United States would have retaliated with nuclear weapons. At the height of the crisis, while leaving the White House on a beautiful fall evening, McNamara had a strong feeling of dread—and for good reason: “I feared I might never live to see another Saturday night.”

..

The personnel who command, operate, and maintain the Minuteman III have also become grounds for concern. In 2013, the two-star general in charge of the entire Minuteman force was removed from duty after going on a drunken bender during a visit to Russia, behaving inappropriately with young Russian women, asking repeatedly if he could sing with a Beatles cover band at a Mexican restaurant in Moscow, and insulting his military hosts. The following year, almost a hundred Minuteman launch officers were disciplined for cheating on their proficiency exams. In 2015, three launch officers at Malmstrom Air Force Base, in Montana, were dismissed for using illegal drugs, including ecstasy, cocaine, and amphetamines. That same year, a launch officer at Minot Air Force Base, in North Dakota, was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison for heading a violent street gang, distributing drugs, sexually assaulting a girl under the age of sixteen, and using psilocybin, a powerful hallucinogen. As the job title implies, launch officers are entrusted with the keys for launching intercontinental ballistic missiles.

..

..A recent memoir, “Uncommon Cause,” written by General George Lee Butler, reveals that the Pentagon was not telling the truth. Butler was the head of the U.S. Strategic Command, responsible for all of America’s nuclear weapons, during the Administration of President George H. W. Bush.

According to Butler and Franklin Miller, a former director of strategic-forces policy at the Pentagon, launch-on-warning was an essential part of the Single Integrated Operational Plan (siop), the nation’s nuclear-war plan. Land-based missiles like the Minuteman III were aimed at some of the most important targets in the Soviet Union, including its anti-aircraft sites. If the Minuteman missiles were destroyed before liftoff, the siop would go awry, and American bombers might be shot down before reaching their targets. In order to prevail in a nuclear war, the siop had become dependent on getting Minuteman missiles off the ground immediately. Butler’s immersion in the details of the nuclear command-and-control system left him dismayed. “With the possible exception of the Soviet nuclear war plan, [the siop] was the single most absurd and irresponsible document I had ever reviewed in my life,” Butler concluded. “We escaped the Cold War without a nuclear holocaust by some combination of skill, luck, and divine intervention, and I suspect the latter in greatest proportion.” The siop called for the destruction of twelve thousand targets within the Soviet Union. Moscow would be struck by four hundred nuclear weapons; Kiev, the capital of the Ukraine, by about forty.

After the end of the Cold War, a Russian surprise attack became extremely unlikely. Nevertheless, hundreds of Minuteman III missiles remained on alert. The Cold War strategy endured because, in theory, it deterred a Russian attack on the missiles. McNamara called the policy “insane,” arguing that “there’s no military requirement for it.” George W. Bush, while running for President in 2000, criticized launch-on-warning, citing the “unacceptable risks of accidental or unauthorized launch.” Barack Obama, while running for President in 2008, promised to take Minuteman missiles off alert, warning that policies like launch-on-warning “increase the risk of catastrophic accidents or miscalculation.” Twenty scientists who have won the Nobel Prize, as well as the Union of Concerned Scientists, have expressed strong opposition to retaining a launch-on-warning capability. It has also been opposed by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State George Shultz, and former Senator Sam Nunn. And yet the Minuteman III missiles still sit in their silos today, armed with warheads, ready to go.

William J. Perry, who served as Secretary of Defense during the Clinton Administration, not only opposes keeping Minuteman III missiles on alert but advocates getting rid of them entirely. “These missiles are some of the most dangerous weapons in the world,” Perry wrote in the Times, this September. For many reasons, he thinks the risk of a nuclear catastrophe is greater today than it was during the Cold War. While serving as an Under-Secretary of Defense in 1980, Perry also received a late-night call about an impending Soviet attack, a false alarm that still haunts him. “A catastrophic nuclear war could have started by accident.”

Bruce Blair, a former Minuteman launch officer, heads the anti-nuclear group Global Zero, teaches at Princeton University, and campaigns against a launch-on-warning policy. Blair has described the stresses that the warning of a Russian attack would put on America’s command-and-control system. American early-warning satellites would detect Russian missiles within three minutes of their launch. Officers at norad would confer for an additional three minutes, checking sensors to decide if an attack was actually occurring. The Integrated Tactical Warning/Attack System collects data from at least two independent information sources, relying on different physical principles, such as ground-based radar and satellite-based infrared sensors. If the norad officials thought that the warning was legitimate, the President of the United States would be contacted. He or she would remove the Black Book from a briefcase carried by a military aide. The Black Book describes nuclear retaliatory options, presented in cartoon-like illustrations that can be quickly understood.

..

Although the Air Force publicly dismissed the threat of a cyberattack on the nuclear command-and-control system, the incident raised alarm within the Pentagon about the system’s vulnerability. A malfunction that occurred by accident might also be caused deliberately. Those concerns were reinforced by a Defense Science Board report in January, 2013. It found that the Pentagon’s computer networks had been “built on inherently insecure architectures that are composed of, and increasingly using, foreign parts.” Red teams employed by the board were able to disrupt Pentagon systems with “relative ease,” using tools available on the Internet. “The complexity of modern software and hardware makes it difficult, if not impossible, to develop components without flaws or to detect malicious insertions,” the report concluded.

In a recent paper for the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies, Andrew Futter, an associate professor at the University of Leicester, suggested that a nuclear command-and-control system might be hacked to gather intelligence about the system, to shut down the system, to spoof it, mislead it, or cause it to take some sort of action—like launching a missile. And, he wrote, there are a variety of ways it might be done.

..

Strict precautions have been taken to thwart a cyberattack on the U.S. nuclear command-and-control system. Every line of nuclear code has been scrutinized for errors and bugs. The system is “air-gapped,” meaning that its networks are closed: someone can’t just go onto the Internet and tap into a computer at a Minuteman III control center. At least, that’s the theory. Russia, China, and North Korea have sophisticated cyber-warfare programs and techniques. General James Cartwright—the former head of the U.S. Strategic Command who recently pleaded guilty to leaking information about Stuxnet—thinks that it’s reasonable to believe the system has already been penetrated. “You’ve either been hacked, and you’re not admitting it, or you’re being hacked and don’t know it,” Cartwright said last year.

If communications between Minuteman control centers and their missiles are interrupted, the missiles can still be launched by ultra-high-frequency radio signals transmitted by special military aircraft. The ability to launch missiles by radio serves as a backup to the control centers—and also creates an entry point into the network that could be exploited in a cyberattack. The messages sent within the nuclear command-and-control system are highly encrypted. Launch codes are split in two, and no single person is allowed to know both parts. But the complete code is stored in computers—where it could be obtained or corrupted by an insider.

Some of America’s most secret secrets were recently hacked and stolen by a couple of private contractors working inside the N.S.A., Edward Snowden and Harold T. Martin III, both employees of Booz Allen Hamilton. The N.S.A. is responsible for generating and encrypting the nuclear launch codes. And the security of the nuclear command-and-control system is being assured not only by government officials but also by the employees of private firms, including software engineers who work for Boeing, Amazon, and Microsoft.

Lord Des Browne, a former U.K. Minister of Defense, is concerned that even ballistic-missile submarines may be compromised by malware. Browne is now the vice-chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a nonprofit seeking to reduce the danger posed by weapons of mass destruction, where he heads a task force examining the risk of cyberattacks on nuclear command-and-control systems. Browne thinks that the cyber threat is being cavalierly dismissed by many in power. The Royal Navy’s decision to save money by using Windows for Submarines, a version of Windows XP, as the operating system for its ballistic-missile subs seems especially shortsighted. Windows XP was discontinued six years ago, and Microsoft warned that any computer running it after April, 2014, “should not be considered protected as there will be no security updates.” Each of the U.K. subs has eight missiles carrying a total of forty nuclear weapons. “It is shocking to think that my home computer is probably running a newer version of Windows than the U.K.’s military submarines,” Brown said.In 2013, General C. Robert Kehler, the head of the U.S. Strategic Command, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee about the risk of cyberattacks on the nuclear command-and-control system. He expressed confidence that the U.S. system was secure. When Senator Bill Nelson asked if somebody could hack into the Russian or Chinese systems and launch a ballistic missile carrying a nuclear warhead, Kehler replied, “Senator, I don’t know . . . I do not know.”

After the debacle of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Soviet Union became much more reluctant to provoke a nuclear confrontation with the United States. Its politburo was a committee of conservative old men. Russia’s leadership is quite different today. The current mix of nationalism, xenophobia, and vehement anti-Americanism in Moscow is a far cry from the more staid and secular ideology guiding the Soviet Union in the nineteen-eighties. During the past few years, threats about the use of nuclear weapons have become commonplace in Moscow. Dmitry Kiselyov, a popular newscaster and the Kremlin’s leading propagandist, reminded viewers in 2014 that Russia is “the only country in the world capable of turning the U.S.A. into radioactive dust.” The Kremlin has acknowledged the development of a nuclear torpedo that can travel more than six thousand miles underwater before devastating a coastal city. It has also boasted about a fearsome new missile design. Nicknamed “Satan 2” and deployed with up to sixteen nuclear warheads, the missile will be “capable of wiping out parts of the earth the size of Texas or France,” an official news agency claimed.

..

Russia’s greatest strategic vulnerability is the lack of a sophisticated and effective early-warning system. The Soviet Union had almost a dozen satellites in orbit that could detect a large-scale American attack. The system began to deteriorate in 1996, when an early-warning satellite had to be retired. Others soon fell out of orbit, and Russia’s last functional early-warning satellite went out of service two years ago. Until a new network of satellites can be placed in orbit, the country must depend on ground-based radar units. Unlike the United States, Russia no longer has two separate means of validating an attack warning. At best, the radar units can spot warheads only minutes before they land. Pavel Podvig, a senior fellow at the U.N. Institute for Disarmament Research, believes that Russia does not have a launch-on-warning policy—because its early-warning system is so limited.

For the past nine years, I’ve been immersed in the minutiae of nuclear command and control, trying to understand the actual level of risk. Of all the people whom I’ve met in the nuclear realm, Sidney Drell was one of the most brilliant and impressive. Drell died this week, at the age of ninety. A theoretical physicist with expertise in quantum field theory and quantum chromodynamics, he was for many years the deputy director of the Stanford Linear Accelerator and received the National Medal of Science from Obama, in 2013. Drell was one of the founding members of jason—a group of civilian scientists that advises the government on important technological matters—and for fifty-six years possessed a Q clearance, granting him access to the highest level of classified information. Drell participated in top-secret discussions about nuclear strategy for decades, headed a panel that investigated nuclear-weapon safety for the U.S. Congress in 1990, and worked on technical issues for jason until the end of his life. A few months ago, when I asked for his opinion about launch-on-warning, Drell said, “It’s insane, the worst thing I can think of. You can’t have a worse idea.”

Drell was an undergraduate at Princeton University when Hiroshima and Nagasaki were destroyed. Given all the close calls and mistakes in the seventy-one years since then, he considered it a miracle that no other cities have been destroyed by a nuclear weapon—“it is so far beyond my normal optimism.” The prospect of a new cold war—and the return of military strategies that advocate using nuclear weapons on the battlefield—deeply unnerved him. Once the first nuclear weapon detonates, nothing might prevent the conflict from spiralling out of control. “We have no experience in stopping a nuclear war,” he said.

..

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin confront a stark choice: begin another nuclear-arms race or reduce the threat of nuclear war. Trump now has a unique opportunity to pursue the latter, despite the bluster and posturing on both sides. His admiration for Putin, regardless of its merits, could provide the basis for meaningful discussions about how to minimize nuclear risks. Last year, General James Mattis, the former Marine chosen by Trump to serve as Secretary of Defense, called for a fundamental reappraisal of American nuclear strategy and questioned the need for land-based missiles. During Senate testimony, Mattis suggested that getting rid of such missiles would “reduce the false-alarm danger.” Contrary to expectations, Republican Presidents have proved much more successful than their Democratic counterparts at nuclear disarmament. President George H. W. Bush cut the size of the American arsenal in half, as did his son, President George W. Bush. And President Ronald Reagan came close to negotiating a treaty with the Soviet Union that would have completely abolished nuclear weapons.

Every technology embodies the values of the age in which it was created. When the atomic bomb was being developed in the mid-nineteen-forties, the destruction of cities and the deliberate targeting of civilians was just another military tactic. It was championed as a means to victory. The Geneva Conventions later classified those practices as war crimes—and yet nuclear weapons have no other real use. They threaten and endanger noncombatants for the sake of deterrence. Conventional weapons can now be employed to destroy every kind of military target, and twenty-first-century warfare puts an emphasis on precision strikes, cyberweapons, and minimizing civilian casualties. As a technology, nuclear weapons have become obsolete. What worries me most isn’t the possibility of a cyberattack, a technical glitch, or a misunderstanding starting a nuclear war sometime next week. My greatest concern is the lack of public awareness about this existential threat, the absence of a vigorous public debate about the nuclear-war plans of Russia and the United States, the silent consent to the roughly fifteen thousand nuclear weapons in the world. These machines have been carefully and ingeniously designed to kill us. Complacency increases the odds that, some day, they will. The “Titanic Effect” is a term used by software designers to explain how things can quietly go wrong in a complex technological system: the safer you assume the system to be, the more dangerous it is becoming.'

- Eric Schlosser, World War Three, By Mistake, December 23, 2016


Context

The International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

          '..Russia .. cyberpower proved the perfect weapon .. political sabotage..' (no replies)        
' “We’d have all these circular meetings,” one senior State Department official said, “in which everyone agreed you had to push back at the Russians and push back hard. But it didn’t happen.”

..

Mr. Putin, a student of martial arts, had turned two institutions at the core of American democracy — political campaigns and independent media — to his own ends..

..

..The Russians clearly had a more sophisticated understanding of American politics, and they were masters of “kompromat,” their term for compromising information.

..

..the hackings of the State Department, the White House and the Pentagon..

..

What seems clear is that Russian hacking, given its success, is not going to stop. Two weeks ago, the German intelligence chief, Bruno Kahl, warned that Russia might target elections in Germany next year. “The perpetrators have an interest to delegitimize the democratic process as such,” Mr. Kahl said. Now, he added, “Europe is in the focus of these attempts of disturbance, and Germany to a particularly great extent.” '



'..the White House’s reluctance to respond forcefully meant the Russians have not paid a heavy price for their actions, a decision that could prove critical in deterring future cyberattacks.

..

..President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia moved beyond mere espionage to deliberately try to subvert American democracy and pick the winner of the presidential election.

..

..A low-cost, high-impact weapon that Russia had test-fired in elections from Ukraine to Europe was trained on the United States, with devastating effectiveness. For Russia, with an enfeebled economy and a nuclear arsenal it cannot use short of all-out war, cyberpower proved the perfect weapon: cheap, hard to see coming, hard to trace.

..

The United States had two decades of warning that Russia’s intelligence agencies were trying to break into America’s most sensitive computer networks. But the Russians have always managed to stay a step ahead.

Their first major attack was detected on Oct. 7, 1996, when a computer operator at the Colorado School of Mines discovered some nighttime computer activity he could not explain. The school had a major contract with the Navy, and the operator warned his contacts there. But as happened two decades later at the D.N.C., at first “everyone was unable to connect the dots,” said Thomas Rid, a scholar at King’s College in London who has studied the attack.

Investigators gave it a name — Moonlight Maze — and spent two years, often working day and night, tracing how it hopped from the Navy to the Department of Energy to the Air Force and NASA. In the end, they concluded that the total number of files stolen, if printed and stacked, would be taller than the Washington Monument.

Whole weapons designs were flowing out the door, and it was a first taste of what was to come: an escalating campaign of cyberattacks around the world.

..

The Russians were also quicker to turn their attacks to political purposes. A 2007 cyberattack on Estonia, a former Soviet republic that had joined NATO, sent a message that Russia could paralyze the country without invading it. The next year cyberattacks were used during Russia’s war with Georgia.

..

Mr. Obama was briefed regularly on all this, but he made a decision that many in the White House now regret: He did not name Russians publicly, or issue sanctions. There was always a reason: fear of escalating a cyberwar, and concern that the United States needed Russia’s cooperation in negotiations over Syria.

“We’d have all these circular meetings,” one senior State Department official said, “in which everyone agreed you had to push back at the Russians and push back hard. But it didn’t happen.”

..

Last year, the attacks became more aggressive. Russia hacked a major French television station, frying critical hardware. Around Christmas, it attacked part of the power grid in Ukraine, dropping a portion of the country into darkness, killing backup generators and taking control of generators. In retrospect, it was a warning shot.

..

..CrowdStrike’s nicknames for the two Russian hacking groups that the firm found at work inside the D.N.C. network. Cozy Bear — the group also known as the Dukes or A.P.T. 29, for “advanced persistent threat” — may or may not be associated with the F.S.B., the main successor to the Soviet-era K.G.B., but it is widely believed to be a Russian government operation. It made its first appearance in 2014, said Dmitri Alperovitch, CrowdStrike’s co-founder and chief technology officer.

..

Only in March 2016 did Fancy Bear show up — first penetrating the computers of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and then jumping to the D.N.C., investigators believe. Fancy Bear, sometimes called A.P.T. 28 and believed to be directed by the G.R.U., Russia’s military intelligence agency, is an older outfit, tracked by Western investigators for nearly a decade. It was Fancy Bear that got hold of Mr. Podesta’s email.

..

It was bad enough that Russian hackers had been spying inside the committee’s network for months. Now the public release of documents had turned a conventional espionage operation into something far more menacing: political sabotage, an unpredictable, uncontrollable menace for Democratic campaigns.

..

Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder and editor, has resisted the conclusion that his site became a pass-through for Russian hackers working for Mr. Putin’s government or that he was deliberately trying to undermine Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy. But the evidence on both counts appears compelling.

..

Mr. Putin, a student of martial arts, had turned two institutions at the core of American democracy — political campaigns and independent media — to his own ends. The media’s appetite for the hacked material, and its focus on the gossipy content instead of the Russian source, disturbed some of those whose personal emails were being reposted across the web.

..

In late 2014, hackers working for Kim Jong-un, the North’s young and unpredictable leader, had carried out a well-planned attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment intended to stop the Christmastime release of a comedy about a C.I.A. plot to kill Mr. Kim.

In that case, embarrassing emails had also been released. But the real damage was done to Sony’s own systems: More than 70 percent of its computers melted down when a particularly virulent form of malware was released. Within weeks, intelligence agencies traced the attack back to the North and its leadership. Mr. Obama called North Korea out in public, and issued some not-very-effective sanctions. The Chinese even cooperated, briefly cutting off the North’s internet connections.

As the first Situation Room meetings on the Russian hacking began in July, “it was clear that Russia was going to be a much more complicated case,” said one participant. The Russians clearly had a more sophisticated understanding of American politics, and they were masters of “kompromat,” their term for compromising information.

..

..code was put out in the open by the Russians as a warning: Retaliate for the D.N.C., and there are a lot more secrets, from the hackings of the State Department, the White House and the Pentagon, that might be spilled as well. One senior official compared it to the scene in “The Godfather” where the head of a favorite horse is left in a bed, as a warning.

..

As the year draws to a close, it now seems possible that there will be multiple investigations of the Russian hacking — the intelligence review Mr. Obama has ordered completed by Jan. 20, the day he leaves office, and one or more congressional inquiries. They will wrestle with, among other things, Mr. Putin’s motive.

..

Did he seek to mar the brand of American democracy, to forestall anti-Russian activism for both Russians and their neighbors? Or to weaken the next American president, since presumably Mr. Putin had no reason to doubt American forecasts that Mrs. Clinton would win easily? Or was it, as the C.I.A. concluded last month, a deliberate attempt to elect Mr. Trump?

In fact, the Russian hack-and-dox scheme accomplished all three goals.

What seems clear is that Russian hacking, given its success, is not going to stop. Two weeks ago, the German intelligence chief, Bruno Kahl, warned that Russia might target elections in Germany next year. “The perpetrators have an interest to delegitimize the democratic process as such,” Mr. Kahl said. Now, he added, “Europe is in the focus of these attempts of disturbance, and Germany to a particularly great extent.” '

- Eric Lipton, David E. Sanger and Scott Shane, The Perfect Weapon: How Russian Cyberpower Invaded the U.S., December 13, 2016


Context '[Russia] may become a threat to the world. That is the worst thing that could happen to Russia.' - Yegor Gaidar

'..Russian strategy of hybrid influence and destabilization .. German Council on Foreign Relations.'

'German intelligence says Russia is trying to destabilize German society..' - '..war that Moscow is waging against the West..'

'[Putin is doing] anything that can and will expand Russian influence to U.S.S.R.-era levels of power.'


'..Zero tolerance for Russian intrusions .. Estonia .. policy of publicly naming or prosecuting spies..'

'..the Soviet Union was cut off from Western financial markets and was effectively under permanent sanctions..'

                  
SERANGAN DDoS, CYBERMOSLEM.NET MAMPU BERTAHAN
REP
Muhibbuddin Al Insaniyah
| 14 Agustus 2010 | 11:48
71
4
Nihil.

Sejak dirilis pada tanggal 1 Agusus 2010,Cybermoslem.net sudah dibanjiri dengan register-register baru yang semakin hari semakin melimpah. Dari banyaknya pengguna baru yang berbondong-bondong masuk, ternyata disinyalir oleh admin cybermoslem sendiri, ada sebuah “serangan rudal” dari “pesawat tak berawak” yang dikendalikan dari luar negeri, yang sengaja atau tidak memang hendak membuat rusuh suasana aksesing terhadap cybermoslem.

“…akhirnya CMnet lumpuh selama hampir semalaman (jum’at, 13 Agustus 2010). Setelah seharian di serang secara bertubi dengan sistem serangan ddos yang membuat jaringan kami menjadi sangat sibuk”, demikian menurut admin cybermoslem dalam blognya.

Serangan DoS (Denial of Service) adalah jenis serangan terhadap sebuah komputer atau server di dalam suatu jaringan internet dengan cara menghabiskan sumber (resource) yang dimiliki oleh komputer tersebut sampai komputer tersebut tidak dapat menjalankan fungsinya dengan benar sehingga secara tidak langsung mencegah pengguna lain untuk memperoleh akses layanan dari komputer yang diserang tersebut. Serangan DoS ini berlangsung satu lawan satu, satu penyerang melawan satu akun pengguna yang valid dan aktif, dengan penyerangnya menggunakan peralatan komputer yang canggih, serta dukungan host yang handal, sehingga target sasaran bisa kacau aksesingnya. Serangan DDoS ( Distribution DoS) merupakan serangan DoS yang “diselenggarakan” secara “rombongan” dan konspiratif menggunakan banyak komputer handal dan kuat, menyerang server sasaran, sehingga server “dipaksa” untuk tidak dapat memberikan pelayanan akses bagi pengguna.

Kondisi awal downtime sebenarnya sudah penulis rasakan dan terdeteksi oleh penulis pada sekitar lebih kurang jam 16.00 WIB, hari Jumat tanggal 13 Agutus 2010 kemarin, dan penulis seketika itu langsung memberikan sinyal “hati’hati” ke pihak admin bahwa ada “kemungkinan” upaya penyerangan oleh hacker ke server cybermoslem. Jawaban admin sangat sederhana, “Allah yang akan menolongnya“.

Situasi server lumpuh total terjadi semalaman dari mulai lebih kurang jam 19.30 WIB. Setelah sholat tarawih, penulis menutup akun di cybermoslem beberapa jam kemudian. Sebenarnya, pada Jum’at, 13 Agustus 2010, dari pagi sampai sore, akses ke cybermoslem.net masih stabil. Tetapi mulai malam sekitar jam 19.30 WIB lebih, pada saat pengguna dan saat sebagian besar member CMnet sedang sholat Tarawih. dan akses ke cybermoslem.net mulai ada kendala dan beberapa waktu kemudian lumpuh total.

Cybermoslem masih mampu tegak bertahan, tidak terjadi kehancuran dan kematian total, sehingga pada tanggal 14 Agustus 2010 sudah bisa normal kembali. Diperkirakan serangan akan berulang-ulang, tetapi Insya Allah, serangan DDoS dan serangan bentuk lainnya teramat berat dan kecil kemungkinan membunuh cybermoslem.

Memperhatikan berita di atas, penulis teringat serangan terhadap www.millatfacebook.com (jejaring sosial di Pakistan), yang sampai sekarang akhirnya web tersebut mengalami kelumpuhan dan tidak dapat diakses. Gambar di bawah ini adalah kondisi “bangkai” terakhir pada Sabtu, 14 Agutus 2010.

Kondisi "Bangkai" terakhir MillatFacebook.com. Adminnya masih berusaha hidup kembali.

Millatfacebook.com diciptakan oleh pemuda Pakistan, pada akhir Mei 2010 yang lalu, khusus untuk memberi alternatif bagi jejaring sosial mania di Pakistan dan penduduk dunia lainnya, setelah terjadinya “gempa bumi Facebook” yang menggemparkan dunia dengan munculnya halaman propaganda “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day”.

Terlepas dari alasan apapun pendiriannya, seharusnya netter tidak menganggap bahwa hadirnya jejaring baru sebagai ancaman sehingga melakukan serangan-serangan terhadap server ataupun apapun yang berafiliasi ke jejaring tersebut. Melihat gambar millatfcebook di atas, sepertinya admin millatfacebook asalnya menggunakan server di wilayah Amerika Serikat. Letak server inilah yang akan memberikan kemudahan lalu lintas bagi penyerang.

Perbedaan dengan millatfacebook, cybermoslem memiliki server yang berada di Indonesia. Sehingga serangan-serangan apapun bisa diketahui sejak dini, kemudian menyiapkan pertahanan dan benteng yang handal dan kuat, agar serangan semacam DDoS tidak terulang kembali. Serangan apapun terhadap jejaring, bentengpertama dalam pertahanan di garda server. Jika servernya kuat dan handal, insya Allah semuanya lancar-lancar.

Serangan susulan bisa saja dan akan terjadi, tetapi dengan server berada di Indonesia, serangan tersebut tidak akan sampai melumpuhkan cybermoslem, sehingga bernasib sama seperti millatfacebook.com.

Penulis tidak akan membuat andaian siapa yang menyerang. Tetapi yang jelas, adalah pihak yang dirugikan atau yang akan dirugikan. Siapa pihak yang dirugikan dengan adanya cybermoslem, penulis memberikan “gambaran kemungkinan” ciri-cirinya, sebagai berikut :

  1. Web jejaring sosial yang memegang mainstream di Indonesia, dengan jumlah pengguna sekarang inimencapai sekitar 500 juta di seluruh dunia. Jejaring ini merasa sudah memiliki Indonesia, sudah mendakwa menjadi penyantun melalui kerjasama dengan beberapa penyedia layanan telekomunikasi yaitu dengan penyediaan “akses gratis” bagi pelanggannya.
  2. Adanya serangan dari pihak yang tidak suka ada nama jejaring berlabel “Islam” atau “Moslem”menjadi populer, apalagi memiliki potensi mengalahkan mainstream yang sudah ada. Adanya cybermoslem, besar atau kecil akan mulai membersihkan label umat Islam yang sekarang ini seakan menjadi sarang teroris. Cybermoslem menjelaskan kepada dunia bahwa umat Islam juga sebenarnya mampu dan bisa menjadi pelopor bagipersahabatan dan dengan gaya hidup Teknologi Informasi, berbaur bersama semua orang dari berbagai negara, ras dan agama, dengan menjunjung nilai perdamaian dan kemanusiaan. Dengah kata lain, serangan terhadap cybermoslem ini, adalah serangan terhadap nilai kemanusiaan dalam diri cybermoslem, yang jelas-jelas bermaksud damai dan santun serta beradab membuka silaturrohim dan persahabatan bersama berbagai jenis umat manusia di bumi ini.

Penulis tidak menyebut bahwa penyerang adalah “musuh Islam” walaupun semua jejaring yang diserang adalah didirikan dan terutama untuk umat Islam. Mereka lebih cenderung sebagai uji coba ketahanan dan reaksi atas hadirnya cybermoslem yang menggemuruh.

Bagi kita orang Indonesia, kita wajib berbangga dengan kerja saudara kita Dola Indra Putra Agam, yng sudah sedemikian hebat membuat jejaring sosial sendiri, untuk dipersembahkan bagi bumi pertiwi Indonesia dan umat Islam dunia. Jejaring yang berkode Joomla ini bebas dipergunakan oleh siapapun.

Mempertimbangkan akan adanya serangan-serangan berikutnya, harapan penulis, melalui tulisan ini, nantinya ada tokoh nasional Indonesia, baik dari kalangan pemerintahan, maupun Non Government Organisation (NGO) bisa segera memberikan dukungan moral dan material bagi kelangsungan cybermoslem, jejaring kebanggaan Indonesia, sehingga cybermoslem bisa menjadi number one di Indonesia, mengalahkan jejaring produk import luar negeri.

sumber :

http://sn.cybermoslem.net/blogs/viewstory/163

http://id.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serangan_DoS


          PHP / Drupal Developer - Zurka Interactive        
Vienna, VA - We're looking for an outstanding PHP and/or Drupal Developer to join a group of sharp people doing interesting and sometimes challenging work.
You will be building web-based applications and web sites for commercial, non-profit, and government clients.
          Senior PHP / Drupal Developer - Zurka Interactive        
Vienna, VA - We're looking for an experienced outstanding PHP and/or Drupal Developer to join a group of sharp people doing interesting and sometimes challenging work. You will be building applications and web sites for commercial, non-profit, and government clients.
          Î— Ρωσία προωθεί νόμο απαγόρευσης των proxies, Tor και VPNs        


Σύμφωνα με το Bleeping Computer τα δύο νομοθετικά σώματα της Ρωσίας, ενέκριναν και προώθησαν στο γραφείο του προέδρου Πούτιν, νομοσχέδιο που απαγορεύει την χρήση proxies, Tor και VPNs, από τους χρήστες στην χώρα. Η έγκριση του έγινε παρά τις έντονες διαδηλώσεις υπέρ του ελέυθερου Internet την χώρα.

Οι πάροχοι Internet της Ρωσίας υποχρεούνται να επιβάλουν την πλήρη απαγόρευση χρήσης όλων των τρόπων παράκαμψης των περιορισμών της πρόσβασης περιεχομένου, που έχει γίνει με κρατική εντολή.

Αν τελικά περάσει σαν νόμος, τότε η Ρωσία θα γίνει η πρώτη χώρα που θα επιβάλει επίσημη απαγόρευση proxies, Tor και VPNs.

[via]
          Facing Foreclosure? Then You Need to Get on Board With Obama's Mortgage Loan Modification Today        
Believe it or not, you actually hold the upper hand when it comes to Mortgage Loan Modification in this situation. Your lender will have to pay a very high price to foreclose on your home. Added to this, is the mounting pressure from other companies and organizations for your lender to be more lenient with you in these hard times.

Think of all the memories your home holds for you. Do you recall the lazy days lying around or watching the children play. Maybe you have experienced countless emotions. Whether you have been happy, sad or angry, your home is something that you don't want to lose!

Your lender is not in the business of selling homes. The additional costs and fees associated with foreclosure will leave your mortgage provider looking for other suitable solutions.

With a Mortgage Loan Modification plan, you can reduce your payments for a period of 5 years to something far more affordable. The government can even reduce your mortgage principle in that time. This is a win-win situation for both parties. You get to keep your home, lower your repayments and have your mortgage balance reduced. Your lender doesn't have to go through the effort of trying to foreclose and sell your home and still receives some form of payment from you.

However, with a solution, there is usually always another problem right around the corner. Many people in your circumstances, resort to contacting attorneys, companies and specialists in mortgage foreclosure and loan modification. The fees that you can expect to pay can be astronomical and maybe even push you into further debt.

Some Loan Modification Companies have been reported to charge anywhere between $1500 - $5000 to perform this service. So this, of course, has led the way for certain individuals to fight back and complete the Mortgage Loan Modification process on their own.

If you need a step-by-step system and don't have up to $5000 to spend on Mortgage Loan Modification fees and charges then Click Here to see what other people who have "done it themselves" have to say.
          Discover What the Obama Loan Modification Programs and the 31 Percent Rule Can Do For You        
Loan Modification Programs aren't something new, but many will argue the old system wasn't structured properly to work. A recent example of this is - over half of the loans modified in the US from January to March 2008 defaulted on their modified loan before the end of the year.

What Exactly is Loan Modification?

As you are well aware the economy has taken a huge downturn over the last couple of years. This has had an undesired effect for many homeowners. People find their loans are at risk and the possible threat of foreclosure. This is where lenders will offer lower monthly repayments and set terms and conditions on your home loan for a specified period of time. However, with no real structure in place, this was doomed to fail.

The Obama administration unveiled their new program on Wednesday 4th March 2009. This program planned to restructure home loans and save millions of Americans from foreclosure.

So What is the 31% Rule?

The program requires lenders to reduce your monthly mortgage repayments to no more than 38% of your gross monthly income. The government will then fund the remainder, to bring your payments down by a further 7%. This would mean that your monthly mortgage repayments would be no more than 31% of your total gross monthly income.

In order for your lender to achieve this, they would first need to lower the interest rate on your loan and possibly extend the term of your mortgage. They have the ability to lower the interest rate to 2% and extend your term up to 40 years. However, even after all these alterations, if you are still paying above 31% threshold, the lender can merely claim payments for your principle balance and will charge no interest.

For you to secure help to join one of these Programs, you will usually need to approach a Loan Modification Company. Although, many people have reported savings in excess of $500 per month on their mortgage payments, others have told horror stories of the fees that some of these companies charge.
          How Barack Obama's Modification of Your Mortgage Can Really Help Those Suffering Financially        
The New Mortgage Loan Modification Programs were introduced by the Obama administration in March 2009. For those of you struggling to meet your monthly repayments and with the threat of possible foreclosure hanging over you, this could be just the thing you are looking for.

With the agonizing recent recession and slump in housing prices, this has had a huge effect on millions of Americans. The Obama Loan Modification process has been introduced to help you through these hard times.

So what help is the government offering exactly?

Should you own and live in your mortgaged property and have a loan balance of below $729,750 you may be eligible. The government are looking to streamline your payments for up to five years. This may involve lowering the interest rate or extending the term of your mortgage.

For those of you suffering financial hardship and wishing to participate in this plan, you will be required to write and sign a letter stating such and if your overall debts are above 55% of your income, you will have to agree to take part in credit counseling. The final criteria to be eligible is that you must haven taken your loan out prior to January 1st 2009.

The process is a very rigorous form of verification, involving proof of ownership, proof of income and expenditure, through supplying relevant documents. Many industry experts believe that if these plans had been brought in a few years ago, then perhaps the current housing crisis could have been avoided altogether.

There are many companies who can help you through the legal and financial aspects for the Modification of your mortgage.

However, some Loan Modification Companies have been reported to charge anywhere between $1500 - $5000 to perform this service. So this, of course, has led the way for certain individuals to fight back and complete the procedures on their own. To learn how you can complete this process yourself Click Here.
          What's All This About Mortgage Loan Modification Plans?        
The Government has now come up with two plans to help people who have missed payments on their mortgage and are struggling. In this article i wish to introduce you to the one that is called a Loan Modification plan. To qualify, you need to meet the following criteria:-

- Your original mortgage loan cannot be greater than $729,000

- Your mortgage must have completed prior to January 1st 2009

- You will be required to provide proof of your income and expenditure, through payslips, tax returns and bank statements

- If your total debts are in excess of 55% of your income, you have to agree to visit credit counselling

- Finally, you must be living in the mortgaged property and will be required to write a letter in your own handwriting stating that you are in financial hardship

So what can your lender do for you in this situation?

- They can lower your monthly repayments to approximately a third of your monthly income.

- Interest has been known to be dropped to as low as 2%.

- You don't need to pay any fees for the modification as these are covered by the government

- The government are able to reduce your balance by up to $5000 over 5 years as long as you make your payments on time

- Your rate is reduced for the period of 5 years, so you may have to pay more after this period

- You are only ever allowed one modification

Loan Modification Companies have been reported to charge anywhere from $1500 - $5000 to help you with this process. If you don't have that kind of "spare" cash lying around, you will need to complete a "Do-It-Yourself" Loan Modification.

Click Here for More Info On The Do-It-Yourself Loan Modification Kit


          How to Finance Your Car With Bad Credit        
Have you been searching for somewhere to finance your car with bad credit? In this day and age everyone either needs, wants or has a car. Gone are the days when a car was considered a luxury item. A car is definitely a necessity for most. However, due to your poor credit history, no lender is willing to help. You have even approached your own bank and they have shut the door firmly in your face.

This is when your search to finance your car begins. Although there is a vast array of lenders available, you need to be very careful. I'm sure you have heard many horror stories of people borrowing money and then being held to ransom by the lender. Once they have gone through the reams of small print, they discover that they will need to pay back up to 10 times the amount they borrowed. This, unfortunately, leads to further debt., which in turn can worsen your credit rating and eventually lead to bankruptcy!

Fortunately, this is where certain companies and organizations have evolved to help you. They are intermediary organizations, who will do all the leg work for you. They understand having bad credit can be a difficult time and will provide you with everything you have been looking for. They can show you how to finance your car, even with bad credit. Usually these companies have a huge list of lenders on their books, who are willing to help people in your situation. They can also provide online support and even have access to many unknown government resources. You will usually have to pay a very small one-time fee to get access to this information and remember i said very small!

You can still Finance your Car With Bad Credit, but you will just need to be wary. This is why i believe these intermediary companies are actually a blessing in disguise. The majority of lenders on their books can give you that auto loan online, at a price you can afford. In most cases your auto loan can be agreed and set up within a matter of days.

If you urgently need to Finance Your Car With Bad Credit, then it is time you visited one of these intermediary companies. Click Here to find out exactly what others in your situation are doing and secure that car loan today.
          Can You Get Guaranteed Loans For Bad Credit?        
Is there such a thing as "Guaranteed Loans For Bad Credit"?

Have you ever found yourself in that situation? - Where your debts are continually mounting up, all of your creditors are phoning you every other day and you're unable to find a real solution to your problems!

That's when you find something financially challenging and unexpected comes along and gives you yet another huge problem and forces you into frantically looking for some immediate funds. However, you can't afford to pay for what you have now, you're in trouble with your creditors and no credible lender is going to look at you.

That's when you start to become inundated with calls and adverts for people who offer Guaranteed Loans For People with Bad Credit. The problem being they are going to charge you the most extortionate of interest rates and monthly repayments.

So where do you get that fast injection of cash?

There have been organizations created to actually make this search far easier for you. They usually provide you with a membership and then issue you with a substantial amount of information via a huge database of lenders willing to help and give you that all important loan.

Usually you will have to pay a small one-time fee..and i mean small, but this will not only give you access to this huge database of lenders, you should also be provided with online or telephone support and also many unknown government resources to help you obtain a loan.

Most of the lenders on the database will offer guaranteed loans for bad credit or even a bankruptcy. The lenders are willing to lend money for almost all purposes whether it be Auto Loan Financing, Personal Loans, Mortgages or Credit Cards.

If you absolutely have to get that loan today and you're still unsure how to get Guaranteed Loans For Bad Credit, then Click Here immediately to learn what other people are doing to get approved.
          Former State Dept, Sotera Official John Hillen Joins Govini Board of Advisers        
“A data science approach is essential to clarifying and simplifying the business of government.” Hillen is also currently a member of the board of ...
          Data Science Campus outlines plans for Fall        
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) Data Science Campus has been set up to act as a hub for the whole of government to gain practical advantage ...
          Data Science Campus outlines plans for Fall        
Focused on exploring the potential for deep learning application to government data science challenges, Data Science is currently working on ten ...
          Business in Buffalo        

Allot was accomplished while back in Buffalo over break. Some of it was already mentioned on facebook but this is where I can do some less official ranting.

So what I want to talk about is doing business in Buffalo. I’m sure allot of people have heard horror stories about working with in the city limits. I know for years people don’t me, don’t even bother if you’re not in the old boys club you can’t get anywhere in the city.  My experience was completely the opposite.

We had narrowed our search into the Black Rock area. I think it’s really an area on the up and up. The people there are really passionate about the neighborhood and eager for business to come back. The success of the black rock bar and kitchen and delish are sort of the test beds. As Chippewa seems to be  kicking out the college crowd there is going to need to be somewhere for all those older college students to go. I’m not saying Black Rock should open clubs and go crazy, just that older crowd is going to be looking for somewhere new to go and that could be black rock without a problem. Elmwood can be a bit ‘high end’ and Buff State is right across the river. Honestly Amherst is going to be where it’s at.

I’ve had the pleasure to bounce around the country for the last couple of years. My position in the Air Force requires allot of traveling form base to base, and I’ve found the same formula in all the ‘up and coming’ urban places is the same.

Provide a service or good that’s 100% better at 50% more cost. It’s what Craft Beer is all about, but it’s also what the whole urban movement seems to be able.  When I visit other cities and find something I think  could be a knock-out in Buffalo I write it down or grab a menu. Sadly for all the great ideas there is only so much money, but the formal is the same.

Chef’s in Manhattan KS is one of the business restaurants I’ve ever been in. It costs about 50% more then Denny’s but when you get Salmon Eggs Benedict, the $5 extra over a grand slam seems like nothing. I’m not saying I’ve stumbled upon the Holy  Grail or anything. I’m just finding that it seems to be true across the whole of the United States. It might the ‘Europeanization’ of America.  That’s a different topic so I’ll get back to Buffalo.

Where I wanted to get was armed with this formal and some really impressive growth numbers from Craft Beer the Councilmen Joe Golombek was willing to sit down for almost 2 hours with us, from that we got an audience with the City Office of Strategic Planning, Department of Labor, Tonawanda BOA, NYSBDC, SBA, ECIDC, NYSIDC. I’m missing once person from that list so I apologize. Point being they we’re great to sit down with, tell them what we want to do, and offer some suggestions on how to go about it. I didn’t run into some brick wall or have to cow tow to anyone to get this. I grew up 25 miles outside of the city, I went to School in Rochester. While Buffalo is my city, its not like I have a network. No Doubt I’m developing one, and the other companies we work with have been paramount to that.

Allot of reasons and things like the $1,000,000,000 that state is talking about I honestly don’t think is going to have nearly the effect it could have if it was $1 thousand million dollar grants or 10,000 $100,000 grants. The things about doing business in NYS being hard then other states.  That’s absolutely true, the taxes are terrible, the bureaucracy is enormous, and the law suits plentiful. Despite all that Government workers are really trying to work around it and with it to get Buffalo back on top.

Point being is Buffalo wants to grow, and the real growth is going to be by small business making an investment in the city, living here working here making that lifelong commitment to the area. There isn’t going to be a hand out from the government to get you started. It’s going to be with the help of people in Buffalo and on your own labors. I encourage anyone who’s thinking about starting to do
          Mild Ale        

Due to work, I spent allot of time flying around the country to different bases for training or to train people. The last couple of months there hasn’t been allot of  flying going on since the government didn’t pass a budget again this year. All those can’s have been kicked down to the road to the point we have to do them, so over the next two months I’ll get a solid 48 hours of time in the back of a plane. This means I get allot of reading done. So expect more book reviews like the one below.

Mild Ale History Brewing Techniques, Recipes by David Sutula.

This was the first book in the Classic Beer Style Series I’ve read, I plan on ordering the rest of them since I had such a good time reading this book. The book is mostly a history of the brew and it puts in some real information in how to make your own at home. I like history so it was great to ready about the English brewing system and the vast changes to the quality and type of beer consumed. It seems that beer smelled of “wet goat” and had a final gravity often around 1.60-1.70. Clearly there was allot of extra junk in that beer. Even the term beer is fairly modern which is pretty cool. The History section talks about the raise of victoria brewing towers as well as a float of Porter that killed. Also the use of Finings(fish bladder goo) to pull out suspended sediment in the beer was something I had thought gone away ages ago. The books claim it’s the only way to make a proper English Mild.  I’m not sure if I’m going to try that one anytime soon.

A bit more about the beerThe English Mild by style is normally a tea like brew in color and in taste with an underwhelming 3-4% ABV, its mildly hopped by Fuggle or Golding that help develop the tea like characters of the brew. Somehow an English brew tasting like tea is fitting.

The confusion of Brown Ale and Mild is explained as well. Also the history of the rise of brown Ale and many brewers renaming there Mild a Brown Ale did more to hurt the style than anything else. Even with in Mild there are some big variations. 

He closes with a collection of home brewing recipes to replicate some of the biggest Mild’s still in production as well as a formula to approximate the brew as it was in the early 1800s.

I highly encourage anyone who’s interested in the history of brewing as well as this style to enjoy the book. Its only 200 pages and the print is big, front to back it only took about 3 hours to read. Below you’ll find the link the amazon for the book:

http://www.amazon.com/Mild-Ale-History-Brewing-Techniques/dp/0937381683/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1318261545&sr=1-1

          KERALA ELECTIONS 2011- WHAT THE PEOPLE EXPECT        
As Kerala prepares to vote for electing members to the new State Assembly, the question that we need to ask is what have changed in the last 55 years. Kerala had come into existence on 1.11.1956. Kerala also has the history of electing the first communist government in the world. Into the 70’s and 80’s […]
          Comment on Episode 195: Franchise Mashup Challenge!!!!!! by David Jay        
This ep was really cool. I know there's a stigma against "tell me about your campaign" stories, but I love them--especially when the teller is as passionate as Kev was here (PS: college is terrible, more Walking Eye please :P). I've always thought a world that mixed X-Men and Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Optic Blasts?) would be amazing--where a few powerful individual mutants made factions/houses around their own particular mindset. Of course, this would lead to a cold war of constant intrigues/politicking with the constant threat of all out mutant war breaking out. So, you’d have the Magneto faction of violent activists/freedom fighters, the Hellfire’s exploitative/millionaire club, Sinister’s science by any means faction, Bishop’s (maybe?) government-sponsored response team, and, not to mention, Xavier’s wanna-be superheroes all competing against each other for public opinion and new mutant recruits. After this episode, I’ve been thinking about actually doing something with that. Thanks!
          Retired NFL players face higher Alzheimer's risk        
Retired pro football players seem to have higher-than-average risks of dying from Alzheimer's or Lou Gehrig's disease, U.S. government researchers reported Wednesday.
          Forty summers ago – July 5, 1977 – grand jury began hearing testimony, piercing, slightly, the ongoing Showalter hit-run cover-up in New London, CT        


Editor’s Note: The Showalter grand jury is noteworthy in that forces for justice – Judge Joseph Dannehy, Special Prosecutor Austin McGuigan and as many as 17 Connecticut State Police detectives – could only knock down some of the walls protecting New London Police, State’s Attorney C. Robert Satti, Asst. State’s Attorney Harold Dean, Judge Angelo Santaniello, former Mayor Harvey Mallove and others who escaped complete discovery. The cover-up continues to this day, highlighted by the suppression and disappearance of the grand jury transcripts.




The foundation for investigative reporting in this case was developed by John Peterson, who was managing editor of The Norwich Bulletin during the grand jury. The grand jury began hearing testimony on July 5, 1977
.








Special Prosecutor McGuigan became Chief State’s Attorney, then was fired after convicting appointees of the governor and many other public officials.

---
Chronology, Grand Juror Report, Follow-up Columns
Via
Law And Justice In Everyday Life, CT Law Tribune


F. Lee Bailey on Law and Justice in Everyday Life and the Showalter case:

This book - which is mainly about public officials, police, judges and lawyers either shaming or shining - is a good read. Many of the stories stand alone, like slices of life. Others will appear early in the book, with follow-up chapters later. The crown jewel, in my view, is his handling of the strange death of Kevin Showalter, who was slammed 50 feet down the road in New London, Connecticut on Christmas Eve 1973 while changing a tire on the traffic side of a parked car. For many years, Andy Thibault dogged a case which public officials seemed determined to let die, despite the presence of a likely suspect. He tells me his mentor, John Peterson, broke the case open and then handed over the torch. Joined by the victim's mother, Lucille, who revealed herself as a determined but delightful woman as the story unfolds, Andy beats up on police, prosecutors, judges and governors until finally there is action. Spurred on by an appointment hastened by Gov. Ella Grasso, Judge Joseph Dannehy conducted one of the most brilliant and thorough investigations I have ever seen. If this book were only about the Showalter case, it would be worth the price.

APPENDIX

THE SHOWALTER CHRONOLOGY – A FOUR YEAR SEARCH FOR JUSTICE


New London, Ct.

1973

December 24

Approximately 11:10 to 11:20 p.m. Kevin B. Showalter is killed. Car leaves scene. Only taillights observed by a neighbor.

There is much confusion. Mr. Showalter had been changing a tire on his companion’s car. His companion Debra Emilyta, was sitting about six feet away from the car on a stone wall.

Ms. Emilyta told police she heard a thud, but did not see the car which struck Mr. Showalter. She said she ran across the road, a well-lit section of Pequot Avenue near Plant Street, before seeing Mr. Showalter’s body.

Mr. Showalter’s body was thrown 22 feet from the believed point of impact, onto a sidewalk near a large tree. The police report prepared that night noted the deceased’s shoes were found 110 feet apart. Part of a leg bone was found 75 feet away.

Michael Buscetto of Mike’s Auto Body gives police body putty, apparently from the car which struck Mr. Showalter. The putty never made it to the police station. Det. Lt. Konstanty T. Bucko later denies its existence.

December 25

Autopsy performed. No trace of alcohol or drugs found. Cause of death listed as lacerated liver and broken neck.

In efforts to console Mrs. Showalter, friends, neighbors, witnesses and officials volunteer information about the accident. She quietly listens for about six weeks, taking it for granted that police are acting on the same information. December 26

New London police begin full-scale search for red car.

1974

February 6

FBI report describes paint particles on Mr. Showalter’s clothing as “racing green” or “forest green” used on 1968 Chrysler products.

February 7

Mrs. Showalter notes she had the impression local police were not actively pursuing the case. She began interviewing those persons who came to her voluntarily and made a written record of her findings.

During the next three weeks, Mrs. Showalter spends much of her time making telephone calls and knocking on doors. She and her youngest son Craig, then 14, visited a number of local auto dealers and garages. She said in most cases they were told police had not made any inquiries of them.

February 28

New London police conduct first interview with Harvey N. Mallove, the downtown merchant and former mayor and city councilor. Mallove stated he drove by Pequot Avenue near Plant Street shortly before 11:15 p.m. on Christmas Eve 1973. Seven people near the accident scene contradict what he said he saw.

April 20

Mrs. Showalter writes to State’s Atty. Edmund J. O’Brien, requesting a one-man grand jury investigation into her son’s death. O’Brien never responds.

On the same day, Atty. Thomas Bishop, representing Mrs. Showalter as the administratix of Mr. Showalter’s estate, asks Atty. Joseph Moukawsher to conduct a coroner’s inquest of the hit-run death.

April 23

Moukawsher agrees to conduct inquest but must confer with New London police before setting date.

June 4

Mrs. Showalter writes to New London Police Chief John J. Crowley, asking for a progress report on the investigation by his force. Crowley neither acknowledges receipt of letter nor responds. Copies of letter were sent to City Manager C. Francis Driscoll, and Abraham Kirshenbaum, then chairman of the City Council’s Public Safety Committee.

June 10

Mrs. Showalter asks Superior Court Judge Angelo Santaniello to call for a grand jury investigation.

June 24

Santaniello notes Moukawsher has agreed to conduct coroner’s inquest. He tells Mrs. Showalter, “If it appears that during any stage of this proceeding that any further intercession is necessary, appropriate action will be taken at that time.”

July 2

Mrs. Showalter writes to City Manager C. Francis Driscoll, asking for a report from his office assessing the police department’s handling of the case. She also asks for a reply to her June 4 letter to Police Chief Crowley.

July 9

Driscoll tells Crowley to prepare a complete report for Mrs. Showalter.

July 10

Bucko completes report on fatal accident.

July 25

Driscoll sends Mrs. Showalter Bucko’s report. The report said Mr. Showalter’s body was in the road, but the ambulance crew which took Mr. Showalter to Lawrence Memorial Hospital said they found him on the sidewalk several feet away. No police officer ever saw the body at the scene since the first officer arrived as the body was being placed in the ambulance.

Bucko says paint particles from a 1968 Plymouth at the U.S. Naval Submarine Base in Groton are similar to those found on Mr. Showalter’s clothing, but the same paint is used on any 1968 Chrysler product.

Bucko also says a piece of metal Mrs. Showalter found near the accident scene is in the detective bureau. When Mrs. Showalter first offered the metal to police, they refused to sign a receipt for it.

August 6

Mrs. Showalter writes to Driscoll regarding Bucko’s report. She lists six pages of comments on allegedly “serious omissions” and “strictly opinion judgments” by Bucko.

Mrs. Showalter also writes to Chief State’s Atty. Joseph Gormley, asking him to send a representative to the coroner’s inquest. She includes copies of correspondence with local officials and Bucko’s report.

August 9

Mrs. Showalter requests a meeting with the City Council’s Public Safety Committee.

August 15

Bucko updates report, at request of city manager Driscoll.

Bucko said of the body location, “the position he (Mr. Showalter) was found in at the scene of the accident, in my opinion, would not help in solving this matter.” Erroneous on the report is the position of the car jack which is shown on the front bumper. The car Mr. Showalter was working on, a Ford Pinto, had to be jacked from the side of the vehicle.

Omitted from the report is the location of a car mat seen to the rear of the car and the spare tire Mr. Showalter never got to put on the car.

August 20

Gormley writes to Mrs. Showalter, telling her the local police investigation “has proceeded smoothly,” and there is “no reason for this office to initiate its own investigation.”

August 28

The Public Safety Committee of the New London City Council meets in closed session for one hour to discuss the hit-run death. Chief Crowley requested the closed session. He said there is evidence that could jeopardize future action.

Mrs. Showalter submitted a 12-page statement for the meeting, but did not attend.

Crowley said the case is not closed and it appears an arrest may be made.

August 31

Mallove submits official statement to New London police.

November, 1974

After being postponed several times, the coroner’s inquest hears testimony from 50 persons. No findings issued.

1975

January 24

A state police detective participating in the federal grand jury probe of the city police department has told one of its patrolmen they identified the driver of the car which struck and killed Mr. Showalter on Christmas Eve, 1973.

“We know who killed the Showalter kid, how come you don’t?” the detective was quoted in The Norwich Bulletin as saying.

March 19-22

The Bulletin, in a four-part series, shows:

- Eyewitnesses and what New London police called “near witnesses” drastically differed in their accounts of the accident.

- Microscopic paint particles found on Mr. Showalter’s clothing on which police based their search may not have been left by the vehicle which struck him.

- Evidence entrusted to police officers at the scene has never been seen since.

- A claim by police that it would cost as much as $1,200 to trace vehicles possible involved in the mishap was declared false by the state Motor Vehicle Department.

The Bulletin, when preparing the series of articles, made repeated efforts to discuss the case with police officials but Lt. K.T. Bucko, who headed the case, on the advice of then Police Chief John Crowley, would not.

April 3 State police conduct an extensive door-to-door inquiry in the Pequot Avenue region. State police have been looking into the case as part of a federal grand jury investigation into alleged corruption within the city force.

July 12

The state of Connecticut offers a $2,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the hit-run death of Mr. Showalter. A total of $3,000 is now being offered. Classmates and friends of Mr. Showalter’s have already collected $1,000.

July 21

A community effort by friends and classmates raises the reward to $5,000.

November 8

The transcript of the coroner’s inquest of the hit-run death conducted nearly a year ago has yet to be typed, Coroner Joseph Moukawsher confirms. He said he wants to review the transcript even though he believes his six-day long inquest did not establish any guilt in the case. He said he has not spoken with the court reporter assigned to the case since the early summer.

December 10

Mrs. Showalter writes to State’s Atty. C. Robert Satti, requesting a one-man grand jury investigation. No response.

1976

January 6

Satti refuses to confirm or deny the existence of Mrs. Showalter’s request. Mrs. Showalter has also asked Satti’s office to ascertain the location of recorded tapes made during the coroner’s inquest.

January 9

Mrs. Showalter sends a special delivery letter to Satti asking for a response to the December 10 request. No response.

February 19

In a feature article, also carried statewide by the Associated Press, The Bulletin profiles Mrs. Showalter on page one.

Some public officials regard her as a persistent nuisance, someone to be ignored and sidestepped, but Mrs. Lucille M. Showalter will not breathe easily until they tell her who killed her son, Bulletin reporter Fred Vollono wrote.

“The official comment seems to be there is nothing to it,” Mrs. Showalter said. “It is just the ramblings of a grief-stricken mother. But there are many people who urge me to go on. They say, ‘Lucille, if you stop, then nothing will ever be done.’”

February 23

Mrs. Showalter receives a letter of confession from an inmate at Somers state prison. The inmate said he was plagued by news accounts of the death. Every time he seems to forget the accident, the inmate said, he reads another news story.

April 2

Mrs. Showalter submits a third written request to Satti for a grand-jury probe. No response.

May 6

Common Pleas court Prosecutor Harold Dean quashes the only lead in the two and a half year old investigation, The Norwich Bulletin reports. The lead was the letter of confession written by the inmate at Somers Prison. State police arrested the inmate for harassment of the victim’s mother, Mrs. Showalter, to whom the letter was sent. Dean nolled the case and allowed it to be dismissed despite a prior meeting with state police when the significance of the arrest was discussed.

State police did not believe the letter writer was responsible for the hit-run death, but they thought the letter contained possibly significant information. Dean said he was certain the accused had no knowledge of the case, because he was incarcerated when Mr. Showalter was killed.

August 7 The day following the Bulletin’s report of Dean quashing the lead, Chief State’s Atty. Joseph Gormley says he had “no idea” why the lead “which very well could have led to something,” resulted in a dead end. Two state police officers had met with Gormley to discuss the letter of confession.

August 6

State police list the investigation into the killing of Mr. Showalter as “closed pending further development.” That classification came 31 days after Dean threw the harassment case out of court.

August 30

Mrs. Showalter again asks Superior Court Judge Angelo Santaniello to call for a one-man grand jury probe.

September 1

Mrs. Showalter publicly renews her efforts to have a one-man grand jury reopen the investigation into the hit-run killing of her son. In a statement sent to 22 media outlets, Mrs. Showalter says she made the appeal in an August 30 letter to Superior Court Judge Angelo Santaniello. She says she was asking the judge to “make good on a promise” he made to her in June 1974. Santaniello wrote in a June 24, 1974 letter, Superior Court intercession would be possible if the investigation required it.

Santaniello said, “probably the proper person” to approach would be State’s Atty. C. Robert Satti. But Mrs. Showalter said she is ignoring Satti because he failed to respond to her December 1975 letter asking for the grand jury.

September 23

State’s Atty. C. Robert Satti says he needs another three weeks to review information on the killing of Mr. Showalter before deciding whether the investigation should be reopened or shelved.

Satti says he had hoped to have the matter resolved by today, but the sinking of his 35-foot cabin cruiser two weeks ago, an unexpected report of crimes by New London police, and a new trial forced him behind schedule.

November 23

Mrs. Showalter turns to Governor Ella T. Grasso for help.

“I cannot endure this loss of a beloved son in the midst of a governmental system that appears to neither act nor care,” Mrs. Showalter says in a letter to the governor.

Mrs. Showalter says she is skeptical the New London County State’s Attorney’s review of the case will result in the one-man grand jury she has requested. Satti today said he is still reviewing transcripts of the Coroner’s Inquest and refused further comment.

December 21

Just three days before the third anniversary of the killing of Kevin B. Showalter, the state’s chief court administrator orders the city’s only unsolved hit-and-run case reopened.

John P. Cotter signs an order creating a one-man jury to probe the death, renewing hopes that allegations of police bungling and mishandling of the case will be settled.

“I can’t yet believe it,” says Mrs. Showalter, calling the action a “literal miracle.”

Cotter, a justice on the state Supreme Court, selects retired Superior Court Judge Raymond J. Devlin to head the one-man grand jury.

An attorney representing Mrs. Lucille M. Showalter also files a $600,000 lawsuit against the unnamed person(s) responsible for the killing of her son. Atty. Averum J. Sprecher of East Haddam says the suit is aimed at protecting Mrs. Showalter’s rights.

“The action as I have filed it will definitively preserve her rights when the investigative bodies finally determine who killed the boy,” he said. The suit is aimed at heading off fears the state’s statute of limitations might preclude Mrs. Showalter from pursuing civil action if the killer is found.

December 24

Superior Court Judge Joseph F. Dannehy is ordered to replace State Referee Raymond J. Devlin as the one-man grand juror investigating Mr. Showalter’s death. Chief Court Administrator John P. Cotter says Judge Devlin had asked to be taken off the case because he was too busy with other duties, and would be unable to commute from his New Haven office.

1977

January 4

Austin J. McGuigan, the special prosecutor assigned to the one-man grand jury probing the hit-run death of Mr. Showalter promises to pull “all the stops” in his investigation but says he needs help from the public to succeed.

McGuigan has worked for the state for two years as the top investigator of organized crime. He appeals to anyone with information to call him confidentially.

February 8

State Police Commissioner Edward P. Leonard, as part of a last-resort effort, makes a personal appeal to area residents for information about the killing of Mr. Showalter. In a letter to the people who live near the Pequot Avenue site where Mr. Showalter died, Leonard asks for facts – “No matter how insignificant they may appear” – which might shed light on the car, the driver or the accident scene.

Special Prosecutor McGuigan says police “had no suspects.” However, he says if a suspect is found police believe there is sufficient evidence to tie the person to the case.

April 18

Investigators say they feel confident the Showalter case will be solved.

The new optimism comes after a public appeal netted more than 300 leads, new laboratory analysis of existing evidence, and an accounting of each of the more than 10,000 green Chrysler products registered in Eastern Connecticut when Mr. Showalter was killed.

The new evidence means “there is a significant possibility the vehicle in question was not a green Chrysler,” Special Prosecutor Austin McGuigan says. While the investigators will not say what other color the car might have been, the evidence apparently opens new avenues for the investigation. Previously, other theories on who drove the death car, theories which have had some substantiation, were locked into the green Chrysler theory, police acknowledge.

May 10

State police investigators spend two and a half hours recreating and filming the Pequot Avenue death scene where Mr. Showalter was the victim of the hit and run.

May 18

State police again film and re-create death scene.

June 22

The Bulletin reports that one of the most intensive investigations in state police history, the probe into Mr. Showalter’s hit-run death, will be given to a one-man grand jury July 5 in Windham county Superior Court.

Judge Joseph F. Dannehy, the grand juror, imposes a gag order on all investigators assigned to the case. Special Prosecutor McGuigan and 17 state police detectives had gathered evidence for the grand jury.

June 23

More than 50 persons will be subpoenaed and the scope of the probe will be expanded to include subsequent actions connected with the accident, The Bulletin reports.

June 24

Eleven New London police officers, including the top detective involved in the first of three investigations of the hit-run death, have been subpoenaed, The Bulletin reports.

July 5

The grand jury begins behind closed doors with testimony by New London Det. Lt. Konstanty T. Bucko.

Outside, a television camera crew drips with sweat under the glare of a hot summer sun.

Inside it is quiet and cool – almost like any other day. The state police detectives and reporters talk about golf, baseball and other summertime activities. Because of the gag order imposed by Judge Dannehy, they can’t talk about what is most on their minds, what has brought them all together – the unsolved hit-run death of Kevin B. Showalter.

The session lasts about five hours and also includes testimony by Mrs. Showalter and Debra Emilyta, Mr. Showalter’s companion the night he died.

Ms. Emilyta has been sitting on a wall about 6 feet from Mr. Showalter when he was killed. She told police she only heard the 20-year-old Mitchell College student struck, and did not see the car which struck him.

July 6

Witnesses include Michael Buscetto of Mike’s Arco in New London. What he identified as body putty, apparently from the car that struck and killed Mr. Showalter, has never been seen since police officers placed it in an envelope that night, according to sources.

Ms. Emilyta concludes testimony.

Also testifying are Dr. Robert Weller, members of his family, and a friend, who while returning home from church drove past Mr. Showalter as he was changing the tire. They were among the last persons to see Mr. Showalter alive.

Other witnesses include Mrs. Ruth P. Hendel and Mrs. Charles (Shirley Pope) Alloway, her daughter.

On Christmas Eve, 1973, Mrs. Hendel had just turned away from the window of her home on Pequot Avenue where she had been watching Mr. Showalter work on the Emilyta car. She heard the noise of the car striking Mr. Showalter and turning back quickly she caught a glimpse of the taillights. Her first impression of the fleeing southbound car was that it was bright-colored, possibly red.

Mrs. Hendel continued to watch the accident scene as she telephoned Mrs. Alloway, the wife of a New London police officer.

Arthur Adams of New London, a Mitchell College security guard and former state policeman, also testifies. Aside from Ms. Emilyta and the hit-run driver, Adams may have been one of the last persons to see Mr. Showalter alive.

Adams saw Mr. Showalter working on the car and Ms. Emilyta sitting on the stone wall, swinging her legs. He observed the girl with a coat collar wrapped around her head, in conversation with Mr. Showalter, after the Weller party had driven by.

Adams continued on his rounds towards the Montauk Avenue side of the campus. Sometime after 11 p.m., he saw an ambulance heading for the hospital and two police cars heading down Plant Street.

July 7

Some of the last persons who saw Mr. Showalter alive and one of the first who saw him dead testify.

Six members of the Sitty family, who were celebrating Christmas Eve and occasionally watching Mr. Showalter change a tire from inside a house on Pequot Avenue, tell the grand jury what they knew about the case, Edmond Sitty had brought out a blanket and a corduroy coat to put over Mr. Showalter’s body after he had been struck and killed.

A New London High School classmate of Mr. Showalter, Arthur Petrini, was a passenger in a car that passed the accident scene sometime after Mr. Showalter was killed and before the ambulance and police arrived. He also testified.

July 12

Witnesses included two firemen and a dispatcher, two nurses and an orderly, the New London County Medical Examiner, the first man to officially identify Mr. Showalter, and a woman who lives near the accident scene.

Larry Grimes, a security guard who knew Mr. Showalter from Mitchell College, had made the preliminary identification at Lawrence and Memorial Hospitals, where he also worked. Mrs. Dorothy Bryson of Pequot Avenue, who came upon the accident scene, also testifies.

July 13

New London police officers pack the waiting room of the Windham County Courthouse. Of the 11 who were subpoenaed last month, at least seven are present.

The 11 include Patrolmen Vincent McGrath, Steven Colonis, Thomas P. Bowes Jr., and Cpl. Joseph Chiapponne, all of whom were involved in the initial investigation. With the change of shift, Sgt. Joseph Jullarine, Patrolmen Richard West and Glenn Davis and Det. Sgt. Konstanty T. Bucko joined the probe. Bucko was off duty at the time.

McGrath filed the motor vehicle report of the accident and the sketch on the report was by Bowes. Bucko took photographs of the scene and gathered evidence. His photographs may be the only ones taken. Bucko also went to the hospital and got the victim’s clothing, according to sources.

Colonis, the first officer on the scene, apparently arrived as Mr. Showalter was being placed in the ambulance. He interviewed Ms. Emilyta and took her to the station to file a 13-sentence statement.

There is some confusion of whether Colonis drove an unmarked police car that night. Sources say police made conflicting statements on that question.

July 14

Thomas Wainwright, who played tennis with Kevin Showalter at New London High, saw his lifeless body on a sidewalk on Pequot Avenue before an ambulance or police arrived, and is among those testifying today. Arthur Petrini, who testified last week, was a passenger in Wainwright’s car.

Mr. and Mrs. Donald Wainwright, who were stopped by police after circling the scene in another auto, also testify.

At least seven New London police officers are at the courthouse, but it is not known how many are testifying.

July 19

The grand jury shifts beyond reconstructions by “near witnesses,” as Sgt. Joseph Jullarine, now retired, testifies. He was the squad leader who reportedly conducted “an intensive investigation” for a red car during the 11:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. shift on Christmas Day 1973.

July 20

The grand jury investigators spend much of the day alone reviewing physical evidence and testimony. Only three witnesses – New London police who have already appeared during the proceedings – are present.

July 21

Det. Bucko appears for at least the fourth time in the nine days the grand jury has convened. The session begins at 10 a.m. and ends about 5:45 p.m., with his departure.

A nurse’s aide who knelt by Mr. Showalter’s body, feeling for a pulse, also testifies, Sue Costello, who heard the report of an accident as she was leaving Lawrence and Memorial Hospitals in New London from her shift, had arrived on the scene before ambulance personnel and police.

July 26

The scope of the grand jury probe goes beyond Mr. Showlater’s death and runs smack into a crucial area of dispute with the appearance of New London police detective Walter Petchark.

On Christmas Day 1973, with evidence already missing and news of Mr. Showalter’s death on the radio, Petchark reportedly received a call from former mayor Harvey N. Mallove. Mallove later told The Bulletin there was no truth to the report. But he allegedly told Petchark he thought he saw the accident the night before.

Three city police detectives – Bucko, Petchark, and Carmello Fazzina – were present at the inquiry. They were followed by laboratory technicians from the FBI, who lent their expertise in the analysis of headlight glass possibly belonging to the death vehicle.

July 27

The former counsel for the estate of Mr. Showalter testifies. Atty. Thomas Bishop confirms his representation of the estate was severed in June 1974.

Thomas and Donald Wainwright return for further testimony.

July 28

Witnesses include Mrs. S.F. Zimet of Ledyard. Mallove said he was visiting at her home on Christmas Eve 1973, left about 10:45 p.m., and was home in New London about half an hour later.

Mrs. Zimet is accompanied by her attorney, L. Patrick Gray. Gray, like Bishop, is a member of the New London law firm Suissman, Shapiro, Wool, and Brennan.

Other witnesses include New London city Manager C. Francis Driscoll and Elise Mallove, Mallove’s daughter. Miss Mallove was home for her Christmas vacation in 1973.

The grand jury begins a four-week recess. More than 50 persons were called during the first 12 days of the inquiry.

August 30

New London police investigators and a newspaper editor who has followed their unsolved hit-run death case for three years are among the witnesses.

Retired Police Chief John Crowley and Det. Lt. K.T. Bucko, who refused repeated pleas by The Bulletin in March of 1975 to discuss the death of Kevin B. Showalter, gives testimony – as did the paper’s managing editor, John C. Peterson.

Peterson testifies for three hours.

August 31

The attorney who conducted a coroner’s inquest into Mr. Showalter’s death, the results of which have never met public scrutiny, is the first witness today. Atty. Joseph Moukwasher, who heard testimony from 50 witnesses during six days in September and November of 1974, is one of the few persons familiar with the substance of that investigation.

It took more than two years for the transcripts of the hearings to be typed and submitted to State’s Atty. C. Robert Satti.

State Police Sgt. Donald Crouch, who in 1974 and 1975 worked for the federal grand jury investigating alleged corruption in the New London force, also testifies. Other witnesses included Rosemary Benson and Carol James.

September 1

Physical exhibits appear to outnumber witnesses in the 15th day of proceedings. Two state police technicians from the crime lab in Bethany carry satchels concealing evidence into the closed courtroom. One exhibit is a light colored automobile fender, which was dented and streaked.

September 2

Det. Edward Pickett of the New London County State’s Attorney’s office, who helped administer a lie detector test to Ms. Emilyta, testifies. Ms. Emilyta passed the test.

Another detective, private investigator Joe Harris, is also called. A former Waterford police sergeant, he worked on the case for a brief time, on his own.

Other witnesses in a short session include State Police Sgt. Charles Trotter, a principal investigator in the federal grand jury probe of the New London city police.

September 12

Two persons who saw Mr. Showalter on Christmas Eve 1973, hours before he was killed testify.

Ramona Ricci, a coworker of Mr. Showalter’s at a Waterford discotheque, attended one of two parties Mr. Showalter had planned to go to after work that night. Nancy Wicksham, who also testified, had joined friends that holiday evening at the club.

September 18

Mallove says his status as a suspect in the case is “nothing new.” During testimony in a New Jersey courtroom, Connecticut State Police revealed Mallove is a prime suspect in the hit-run case. The testimony concerned refusal by two New Jersey men to comply with a subpoena issued by the one-man grand jury. Trooper Charles Wargat also testified he was told the two men repaired Mallove’s car on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day 1973.

Mallove tells The Bulletin he did not know the men and never had a car repaired at their shop on Reed Street in New London. He says he didn’t kill Mr. Showalter and doesn’t know anything about anybody who did.

September 19

One of the two men who testified with immunity today has said in a published account he has no knowledge of the case and denied any car was repaired in his New London shop on Christmas Eve 1973.

Walter String Jr. made those comments in the New Jersey Courier Post. He and his son, Walter String III, had been ordered to appear today by a New Jersey judge, after refusing to comply with a subpoena.

Among the dozen or so witnesses are New London city police Sgt. Donald Sloan and Cpl. Charles Alloway. They took the first full statement from Ms. Emilyta, five days after the accident.

September 26

Darlene Barnes, a friend of Mr. Showalter who patronized the Waterford discotheque where he worked, is among the witnesses today. Ms. Barnes was also one of the 50 witnesses during the coroner’s inquest of 1974.

October 3

Larry Grimes testifies again. The Mitchell College security guard who made the first identification of Mr. Showalter at Lawrence and Memorial Hospitals, was also at the courthouse on July 12, and Sept. 26.

The grand jury will be in recess until October 17. It has convened 20 times since July 5 and heard about 90 witnesses.

October 11

Judge Dannehy says published reports that Mallove is a prime suspect in the case “couldn’t bother me in the least.”

“They (the newspapers) are free to speculate if they wish,” Dannehy says. “I am not concerned with their claimed right to freedom of expression.

I think that sometimes their attitude is to publish and be damned, but they don’t bother me.”

“Why don’t you wait” for the grand jury report? Dannehy asked.

October 17

The sales manager of a New London auto firm who said he has sold a number of cars to the family of a suspect in the hit-run case testifies.

In 1970, Peter Emmanuel Sr. of New London Motors sold a Lincoln Continental to Harvey N. Mallove, whom state police have identified as a suspect in the Christmas Eve, 1973 death. A compact car was among the other autos the New London firm sold to Mallove.

State police were looking for a green Chrysler product when they first questioned New London motors personnel, Emmanuel said before he testified. But the firm didn’t sell Mallove such a vehicle, which police had believed was the death car, he added.

October 24

The grand jury does not convene today because the investigators were not ready to proceed, Judge Dannehy said. He said he plans to conduct several more sessions before adjourning to write the final report, but did not specify.

November 14

The grand jury meets for its first regular session since October 17 and hears one witness. The witness, Gary Jordan of New London, said he was dating Elise Mallove on Christmas Eve 1973.

Sources say the grand jury conducted at least one special session since October 17, but it was not known who testified.

November 21

State police continue working long and irregular hours probing Mr. Showalter’s death as they re-create the hit-run scene on Pequot Avenue near Plant Street for at least the third time.

November 29

The man whom state police have said they consider a prime suspect in New London’s only unsolved hit-run death has his day in court.

Harvey N. Mallove testifies for about four hours before the secret grand jury probing Mr. Showalter’s death. Atty. Leo J. McNamara accompanies Mallove to the Windham County Courthouse.

Mallove says he was one of a number of persons who drove by the accident scene shortly before or after Mr. Showalter was killed. But a four-part series by The Bulletin in March of 1975 showed Mallove saw a scene that seven other persons said could not have taken place.

Mallove passed the accident scene within a minute or two after an ambulance call was logged. His statement to New London police – dated eight months later – conflicts with accounts of seven persons at the scene or looking out their windows seconds after Mr. Showalter was struck.

Mr. Showalter was struck by a car as he changed a tire on a friend’s parked Ford Pinto, on a well-lit section of Pequot Avenue near Plant Street.

In his statement, Mallove said he saw an automobile parked at an angle in front of the Pinto. None of the seven persons saw any car stopped at the scene immediately after the victim was hit according to the July 10, 1974 report by New London Det. Lt. Konstanty T. Bucko.

Mallove’s vivid description of a middle-aged man talking with a girl near the car also conflicts with statements by the seven persons.

In his statement, Mallove said he assumed the man was a member of the police department. But Bucko claims in the July 10 report that Mallove told him the talking to the girl was “NOT” a policeman.

Bucko’s report also claims Mallove learned on Christmas Day 1974 that “a man had been killed and he remarked to some people that he saw the body.” But Bucko continued to report that after Mallove viewed photographs of the scene he realized what he mistook for a body was a floor mat. In his statement, Mallove said he saw a “flat object which I assumed was a blanket or a mat.”

In his August 31, 1974 statement, Mallove said, “Seeing no trouble, accident, or any evidence of anything out of place…I continued on my way home.”

In the July 10, 1974 report, Bucko claims; “Mr. Mallove stated he was going to stop because he realized there had been an accident.”

Mallove has told The Bulletin that Bucko misquoted him.

December 7

The calling of witnesses ends with Mallove’s second appearance.

The proceedings included a film screening, apparently of the death scene as re-created by state police.

After the 35 minute screening, Special Prosecutor McGuigan and Judge Dannehy questioned Mallove for about 40 minutes. That was the bulk of the afternoon session.

The question of whether indictments should be handed down in New London’s only unsolved hit-run death now rests with Judge Dannehy.

After 24 sessions and more than 100 witnesses, Dannehy said the next step for the grand jury is the final report on who killed Kevin B. Saltwater.

1978

Feb. 17 Report filed.

Feb. 22

Report made public.

  • THE DANNEHY REPORT


  • SHOWALTER COVERUP COLUMNS

    Chapter 1

    Law and Justice in Everyday Life

    Cover-Up In New London

    Hit-And-Run Continues To Mock Justice


    Sept. 4, 2000

    If Connecticut Chief State’s Attorney John Bailey wants to bring closure to cold cases, here’s one from New London that should top the list: The Showalter hit-and-run cover-up is a dark chapter in Connecticut history, a tale more appropriate for a Third World country.

    And yet, only one thing bothers former New London County State’s Attorney C. Robert Satti about the Showalter case: that it was investigated at all.

    Satti, now retired, made the point again and again, most recently this year. Satti’s complaint, made during the wake of the late state police Detective George Ryalls, was that Ryalls’ obituary mentioned the suspect the prosecutor refused to pursue in the Showalter probe.

    Kevin B. Showalter, a 20-year-old Mitchell College student, was killed at 11:12 p.m. on Christmas Eve 1973. He was changing a tire on a well-lit section of Pequot Avenue on the New London shoreline when he was struck and killed. His girlfriend, sitting only 6 feet away on a stone wall, claims she saw nothing.

    Auto body putty from the death car disappeared after a tow truck driver gave it to New London police. The evidence file that was supposed to contain the putty was stuffed with bathroom tiles. The file that was supposed to contain headlight glass from the death car instead contained glass from three different headlights. State police and others suspected that, in order to throw legitimate investigators off the trail, the late young man's clothing was pounded on a different-colored car than the one that killed him.

    The victim's mother, Lucille M. Showalter, tried to get a grand jury investigation of the cover-up. She was rebuffed repeatedly by the presiding judge, Angelo Santaniello who, it later became clear, was best friends with the leading suspect. Santaniello then referred Showalter to prosecutor Satti, who happened to be his former law partner. Satti refused to acknowledge registered letters from Mrs. Showalter pleading for a grand jury probe.

    Satti did finally meet with Mrs. Showalter in 1978, after Judge Joseph Dannehy of Willimantic, acting as a one-man grand jury, named former New London Mayor Harvey N. Mallove as the probable driver of the hit-run vehicle. Satti called the three-hour meeting, in which he repeatedly told Mrs. Showalter that there never should have been a grand jury investigation under Dannehy.

    Mallove held a good hand; he had the best legal muscle in New London County on his side. New London police would not question him for more than seven months, and then only in a perfunctory manner. They would say they inspected his cars, but they did not. Significantly, Mallove’s Lincoln had been repaired, but it wasn’t until state police took over the case four years after the accident that the fender was finally seized.

    Santaniello would arrange for a coroner’s inquest and put his niece in charge of typing the transcript. Only after two years of intense public pressure would the transcript be typed. But the inquest never issued a finding.

    Santaniello tipped off Mallove that he was a suspect. The judge was also aware of what local police knew about the case. Mrs. Showalter memorialized the admissions in tape-recorded telephone conversations.

    “I did talk to Harvey,” Santaniello told Mrs. Showalter on Oct. 17, 1975, “and I said, `You’re suspected.’ As a matter of fact, at that time a police officer came to him on the same day or the next day, and told him you were making accusations about him and that he was a prime suspect.” The day before, Mallove told Mrs. Showalter, “Judge Santaniello is of the opinion that you fingered me.”

    It was not until 1977 that state police, who took over the case at the behest of former Gov. Ella Grasso, formally named Mallove a suspect. Next week, I'll propose a means to solve the Showalter cover-up.

    Showalter Cover-Up Is New London's Shame

    Sept. 11, 2000

    New London, where I grew up and began working in the 1960s and ‘70s, was a dirty little city with character.

    It had a restaurant called the Hygienic that was everything but. There were at least a couple bars where the cops couldn't do anything, except maybe a little business.

    The top pimp in town never went to jail until he was about 60 and a certain court official retired.

    New London will always be the city that tried to cover up the Christmas Eve 1973 hit-and-run death of Kevin B. Showalter. It's been doing a pretty good job for nearly 27 years, but the onion is beginning to peel.

    The local daily newspaper admitted -- in its official history published this year -- that it did a shoddy job on the Showalter case. Specifically, The Day admitted its failure to explore the relationship between a former mayor and a top judge, and their influence on the course of the criminal investigation. That’s a beginning.

    Political and police corruption goes back a couple generations in New London. By the 1970s, New London police were widely known to be involved in the selling of women, dope and refrigerators, among other things. A federal grand jury took note. But as with the Showalter case, there were these little problems with the evidence.

    A jewelry store owner and former city mayor multi-millionaire Harvey Mallove was the prime suspect in the hit-and-run death of Showalter, a student at Mitchell College. Showalter’s date that night, Christmas Eve 1973, said she saw nothing from her vantage point six feet away, sitting on a stone wall under a streetlight on a residential street as a young man changed the tire of her car.

    Harvey was everybody’s pal. He would take kids to the Super Bowl, then, down the road, get them jobs as cops. He was friends with bums in the street and bums in high political office. He was wired. The standing joke among reporters became: Harvey's a great guy to have a beer with, just don't change your tire if he's driving by.

    “I didn't kill the kid in any way, shape or form,” Harvey told me many times. As mayor, Harvey helped hire a few police chiefs. His best friend was the administrative judge for the county; that was the judge who controlled the early stages of the investigation, specifically a coroner’s inquest that never issued a finding.

    State police followed up a report that Mallove’s best friend, County Administrative Judge Angelo G. Santaniello, was with Mallove on Christmas Eve 1973. Santaniello reportedly was No. 11 on a guest list for a party at the home of his political mentor, the late state Sen. Peter Mariani. The Mariani party was one of two Mallove attended that night.

    Santaniello told reporters he never went out on Christmas Eve.

    Another state judge, Joseph F. Dannehy, conducted two grand jury investigations. In 1978, Dannehy named Mallove as the probable driver of the hit-run vehicle, but said evidence that might have ensured conviction was either mishandled or destroyed.

    Mallove died a few years ago with this legacy. Others still have time to come clean and tell the truth about the cover-up. Mrs. Showalter tried unsuccessfully to have Satti, Santaniello and others prosecuted for hindrance of prosecution (CGS Section 53a-166) warning of impending discovery, providing means of avoiding discovery, preventing discovery by deception. Because a conspiracy to hinder prosecution is an ongoing crime, those with information could tell Chief State's Attorney John Bailey, who has begun an initiative to solve some of the state's cold homicide cases.

    Isn’t it time? No one kept the system honest when it counted, though some tried. Most stood by as the system that was supposed to protect the victim and his family betrayed them all.

    Where is the conscience of the community?

    Cold Case On Ice Forever

    Nov. 6, 2000

    One way to deflect attention from a suspect is to get investigators involved in meaningless, time-consuming tasks. Another way is to create a bogus suspect who is then exposed as such, causing a belief that the case is just too hazy to pursue.

    Both of these devices were used repeatedly in the cover-up of the Showalter hit-run case in New London. Whether this was happenstance, indifference, incompetence or malfeasance, the result was the same. The system failed.

    And now, it seems, the truth will remain buried forever.

    Judge Joseph F. Dannehy, the grand juror who investigated the case, wrote in his finding of fact: “After December 25, 1973, the New London Police Department did virtually nothing to solve the hit-run death of Kevin B. Showalter.” The accident occurred the night before.

    Local police and court officials, however, were pro-active in another sense. Their actions served to protect the assailant.

    For example, New London police claimed it would cost as much as $1,200 to trace vehicles using data from the state Motor Vehicle Department. The motor vehicle department declared there was no such charge.

    Nevertheless, New London police spent their time hand-sorting local motor vehicle cards. They looked for a green Chrysler. That was likely a false lead; state police said paint particles found on the victim's clothing did not come from the car that killed him.

    Former Mayor Harvey Mallove began meeting informally with police and court officials as early as Dec. 25, 1973. Mallove wanted to know what the police knew.

    The only lead after two and a half years was quashed by then New London Common Pleas Court Prosecutor Harold Dean in May 1976. The lead was a letter of confession written by a Somers prison inmate to the victim’s mother, Lucille Showalter.

    “I told Harold how important that was to me,” Mallove, the prime suspect, confided to an associate. He also acknowledged discussing the purported confession with his best friend, the presiding judge for the county, Angelo Santaniello.

    The author of the letter was known to be connected with “fences,” or purveyors of stolen goods in the New London area. State police arrested him for harassment of Mrs. Showalter. Two state troopers met with Dean for an hour. They told him the letter contained possibly significant information. State police also believed they could connect the dots in New London between the letter writer and the powers-that-be. Did he owe some favors? Was he paid? Police knew the author had no liability for the accident; he was actually in Florida at the time of the hit-run.

    Dean nolled and dismissed the case without telling the troopers or Mallove. Soon thereafter, state police listed the killing of Showalter as “closed pending further development.” Upon learning of Dean's action, Chief State's Attorney Joseph Gormley remarked he had “no idea” why the lead, “which very well could have led to something,” resulted in a dead end. The case would remain closed for six months, until Gov. Ella Grasso brought the matter to Justice John Cotter.

    Was there criminal activity connected with the Showalter cover-up? It appears we will never know for certain. Dannehy named Mallove as the probable driver, noting that evidence which might have ensured conviction was destroyed. The Chief State’s Attorney’s Office reviewed aspects of the case this fall after a series of columns appeared in The Law Tribune. However, the statute of limitations for the most likely potential charge, conspiracy to hinder prosecution of motor vehicle misconduct, has expired. This shameful case, it appears, is destined to stay on ice forever.

    - AND:

    Olympic Gold for Missing Evidence


    November 28, 2005

    Judge Ellen Gordon was in way over her head with what she tried pass off as a ruling in Day Publishing v. State's Attorney.

    Clueless Gordon was handed a hot one, a case no one has ever wanted in the so-called New London Judicial District. Every single time this case has come to court, begging for justice, The Robes, the prosecutors and their minions have either desecrated their oaths or looked the other way. Clueless Gordon, fairly new to the scene, has managed to join the list of those who are both ostriches and failures.

    The Day newspaper asked Gordon this year to release the grand jury testimony regarding the cover-up of the 1973 hit-run death of Kevin Showalter. Before Gordon probably ever heard of Showalter, five New London County judges recused themselves from a John Doe civil suit against the driver because they were friends with the prime suspect, Harvey Mallove. Mallove -- the late mayor of New London and multimillionaire jeweler who picked police chiefs, planned to run for Congress and starred in the social scene -- was prone to say, "I never killed the kid -- in any way, shape or form."

    It's not like we could expect a New London judge to show guts or brains in this case. Compelling testimony from the first of two grand juries implicated local law enforcement and court officials in a widespread cover-up.

    On Christmas Eve 1973 at 11:12 p.m., as the call came in, a high-ranking New London officer, said, "F--k him, he's dead," and then left to go home. Showalter, a 20-year-old Mitchell College student, lay dead on a well-lit section of Pequot Avenue by the shoreline. His body was thrown 22 feet from the point of impact. His shoes were found 110 feet apart. A leg bone was 75 feet away.

    A tow truck driver gave police auto body putty from the death car. The putty was never seen again. New London police mixed headlight glass from at least three different cars in what they called the evidence file. Replacing the auto body putty was bathroom tile. A local coroner's inquest never issued a finding. State police, who took over the case at the behest of Gov. Ella Grasso, were bewildered and angry when they could not find the transcript of the coroner's inquest. Mallove's best friend -- the presiding judge for the county, Angelo G. Santaniello -- had put his niece in charge of typing that transcript. Santaniello also tipped off Mallove to his status as a suspect.

    Now, Clueless Gordon can't find the 3,000-page transcript of the first grand jury. Does she care? Court clerks allegedly performed a diligent search. Would any reasonable person believe or accept any of this?

    Among the last persons known to possess the grand jury report was the late State's Attorney, C. Robert Satti. Satti, who refused to investigate the case before a special prosecutor was appointed, claimed he returned a copy to the grand juror, then Willimantic Superior Court Judge (later Supreme Court Justice) Joseph Dannehy. Both Dannehy and Satti are dead. Did "Do Nothing Bob" -- Mallove's moniker for Satti -- take it with him? We might as well ask Harvey, also dead, or Kevin.

    Gordon's pathetic decision, dated Nov. 7, went on for about a sentence before its first fatal error. It might sound like a technical error, but it's much, much more than that. She actually said New London police investigated the case.

    Before this, I thought it might take generations to remove the stench from the New London courthouse. Alas, for New London, the stench of this cover-up is forever.


    Find & Open
    the Showalter File

  • Hartford Courant Editorial








  • more COOL JUSTICE








  •           #TrueCrime All Sides of the Law #moreCOOLJUSTICE Signed Copy #HolidayGift        

    In the halls of justice,
    the only justice is in the halls




  • Video: What is more COOL JUSTICE?




  • CBS880 report: Bonnie Foreshaw goes free


  • more COOL JUSTICE is a second collection of hard-hitting essays credited with helping to free a woman unjustly convicted of first degree murder.

    Novelist Chandra Prasad calls author Andy Thibault “Connecticut’s premiere journalistic warrior.”

    Wally Lamb says: “Thibault is a junkyard dog for justice who bares his teeth at pomposity and institutional unfairness and only bites the truly deserving.”

    more COOL JUSTICE includes controversial essays on topics including the Woody Allen sex assault case, the national assault on freedom of information and a 42-year-old cold case in New Orleans. A chapter entitled ‘Persons known & unknown blew up justice in Badaracco case’ examines the politics permeating the investigation and points to the judiciary’s complicity in the failure to solve the Mary Badaracco homicide in northwest Connecticut.

  • Yale’s bogus Woody Allen report, via Huffington Post


  • Thibault was honored by the Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information in 2014 with the Stephen Collins Award for his “many contributions to the cause of open and accountable government and a free and vigorous press.” Thibault was one of the few reporters to cover the Boston Marathon bombing trial gavel to gavel. His reports for the NBC News Investigative Unit can be found at

  • NBC News.com
  • by entering Andy Thibault in the search box.

  • Boston Marathon trial stories


  • His first collection, Law and Justice in Everyday Life, was published in 2002, featuring an introduction by Howard Zinn and foreword by F. Lee Bailey.

    Thibault has taught at Western Connecticut State University, the University of Hartford and Northwestern Connecticut Community College. He is an investigator for Integrated Security Services of Hartford and Manhattan.

    He is expected to appear in one of a series of true crime documentaries in 2017, filmed in late 2016 by a Canadian production company. Also in 2017, he expects to implement an “Alternative Speakers Series” at a university in Connecticut.





  • Signed copy via publisher


  • Also via Amazon


  • more COOL JUSTICE website



  • Also available via your favorite local bookstore, including:


  • Hickory Stick Bookshop



  • Byrd’s Books


  •           Resistance at Standing Rock: Dispatches from the Front Lines        

    UPDATES:





  • Water Protector Legal Collective Files Suit for Excessive Force against Peaceful Protesters


  • Veterans to Serve as ‘Human Shields’ for Dakota Pipeline Protesters



  • Oceti Sakowin encampment on Oct. 6, 2016. The proper name for the people commonly known as the Sioux is Oceti Sakowin, (Och-et-eeshak-oh-win) meaning Seven Council Fires.








    Story and Photos by John Briggs

    Cool Justice Editor's Note: OK to repost, courtesy of John Briggs and The Cool Justice Report.







    Corporate – Government Alliance Versus the American People

    Native Americans from tribes across the country have gathered on the windswept plains of North Dakota to pray with Mother Earth to keep the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) from pumping 500,000 gallons of oil a day beneath the Missouri River. The natives know the pipeline will most certainly leak or break, as have most U.S. pipelines, fouling the water for the Great Sioux Nation and 18 million non-Natives downstream.

    The standoff -- which began in April -- continues as a new U.S. administration ascends to power with a president-elect who campaigned denying human-caused climate change and threatening the Paris Climate accords. This remains the overriding reality despite a mini walk back by Donald Trump pledging an open mind to The New York Times this week.

    Standing Rock illuminates the brazen alliance that has developed between corporate and government interests. Viewed from the front lines, the law has been turned into a fig leaf for repression and suppression. Only the discipline and spiritual clarity of the water protectors and the native elders has kept people from being killed or seriously injured since April when the movement began.

    The fused police-DAPL force is doing everything it can to incite a violent reaction from the resisters so as to crack down, clear the camps, imprison, or even gun down the natives. More than one commentator has found the atmosphere at Standing Rock similar to what led to the Wounded Knee massacre in 1890 when 300 Sioux were murdered by government troops who mistook their prayerful Ghost Dance for a war dance.

    A great deal is at issue at Standing Rock. The Sioux and their numerous native and non-native allies face a militarized force whose composition tells us something dark about the complex façade that U.S. democracy has become and suggests the proto-fascist zombi lurking beneath. More deeply, Standing Rock also emblemizes a struggle that is taking place at this moment in human history between two distinct modes of human consciousness.

    One mode is the familiar anthropocentric (human-centered) consciousness that the dominant culture most of us were born into favors—a consciousness that assumes reality is a collection of objects to be extracted, owned, and branded. Humans are the focus of this consciousness, meaning that our concerns about climate change focus primarily on the fate of our own species.

    Distinct from this anthropocentric mind-set is a second, ancient and spiritual mode of awareness that understands that the earth and its landscapes are not objects; they are relationships, including the tangle of relationships that gave us birth. This ancient mode of consciousness is potential in everyone, but for most it has been buried beneath the piles of conceptual objects that we have come to believe constitute our reality.

    The Indigenous Peoples gathered at Standing Rock are guided by this ancient, holistic, earth-mind consciousness, and so they understand that humans are not the most valuable living objects on the planet: we are not in control of the planet; it is not our job to manage nature; rather, our sacred task is to work with Mother Earth and other beings as members of Earth’s family. If we don’t, Mother Earth will make us face this spiritual truth one way or another.

    Guided by their ancient, earth-mind awareness, Native Americans have taken up a role as “water protectors.” “Mni Wiconi, Water is Life” is the slogan of the Standing Rock movement.

    Every day scores of Sioux from North Dakota, South Dakota and nearby states, along with Paiute, Shoshoni, Diné, and a sampling of other Natives from the 300 or so tribes whose flags fly at the Standing Rock encampments set out to pipeline construction sites in a convoy to engage in “actions” on the “front lines.”

    There the protectors sing and pray in the face of physical harassment and arrests by heavily armed police fused with a corporate security force.

    DAPL and their overlord company, Energy Transfer Partners, have lavished campaign contributions on politicians in North Dakota and the U.S. Congress so that they could use the state’s eminent domain powers to force purchase of land for the pipeline all across North Dakota, beginning in the Bakken fields in the northwest corner of the state where the fracked crude oil is extracted. Similar eminent domain arrangements were achieved in other states through which the 1,200-mile line traverses before reaching a river port in Illinois. The company promised Congress and the public that the pipeline would carry oil for 100 percent domestic use only, but it is clear from reporting done by the website The Intercept that the oil will be sold on international markets.

  • Though Promised for Domestic Use, Dakota Access Pipeline May Fuel Oil Exports


  • The DAPL line, now virtually complete except for permission from the Army Corps of Engineers to fill in the link that crosses under the Missouri River, passes just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and Cannon Ball, North Dakota. The DAPL construction runs through sacred burial and archeological grounds that the Lakota people were given free access to by treaties with the U.S. Government in the 19th Century. In mounting their resistance to the pipeline, the Standing Rock Sioux have been turned into “trespassers on their own land.”

    In late August, the tribe’s lawyers filed a stop work petition in federal court detailing areas where sacred sites would be disturbed if construction continued on its planned trajectory. The federal judge routinely forwarded a copy of the filing to DAPL. Over Labor Day weekend, when the company would not have been expected to work, pipeline crews leapfrogged to the disputed sacred and preemptively bulldozed them under. Too late, the judge granted the Sioux an emergency restraining order, but, then in a curious move, allowed construction in some areas where sacred sites have been discovered. DAPL has ignored a request from the Obama administration not to work in buffer areas on either side of the river. No fines have been imposed for intentionally bulldozing the disputed sacred sites.

  • The Legal Case for Blocking the Dakota Access Pipeline


  • Burial ground at center of police confrontations is known historical site


  • In recent live-stream videos from the front lines, DAPL-police snipers can be seen perched on top of a sacred mound called Turtle Island, their high-powered rifle crosshairs trained on the water protectors who are standing in prayer in the frigid lake below.

    North Dakota wants the federal government to pick up the tab for the massive expenditures required to keep the Native Americans under their guns. Alternatively, the CEO of Energy Transfers, Kelcy Warren, has offered to pick up the millions-of-dollars tab.

  • ETP CEO Kelcy Warren Says They Have Offered to Pay Protest Related Expenses


  • Native media have documented that DAPL has already been supplying military-style equipment, drones, armored vehicles, riot gear, water canons, concussion grenades and other armaments. The tax-payer-funded and corporate-sponsored front lines phalanx is led by the Morton County Sheriff’s Department, which has local jurisdiction, reinforced by North Dakota State Troopers, North Dakota National Guard units, sheriffs and police from six nearby states—all interpenetrated by DAPL security (while the FBI lurks in the background). A contingent of Hennepin County, Minnesota, Sheriffs’ Deputies were recalled following protests back home. Residents in the state of Ohio are writing letters and calling legislators to express their distress that their law enforcement has been enlisted into this repressive force.

  • Hennepin Co. sheriff's deputies leave Standing Rock protest


  • Native media’s live stream videos show DAPL security teams in mirror-visor helmets and black ops body armor with no identification, mingling with the police, sometimes directing them when and who to mace or pepper spray. They point out media making video for arrest. The big fossil fuel company evidently has plenty of experience dealing with protestors around the world. In their blank, reflecting visors we can see the soulless Darth Vader face of the government-corporate proto-fascist state the U.S. is becoming.

    Of course, this struggle with the Wasi’chu (Lakota word for the white man, meaning literally “takes too much”) is an old story for Native-Americans. In the 18th and 19th centuries it took the form of the Sioux nations trying to hold back the tsunami of colonizers flooding into their ancestral lands, occupying and despoiling them. The big difference now is that the fire-power of the state (think Custer’s 7th Cavalry or present day militarized police) has been fused with vast profit centers dependent for their existence on plundering the earth in the name of energy-squandering lifestyle survival.

    The provocations the water protectors endure take many forms. There is the psychological pressure of constant surveillance: the heavy police presence on the roads around tribal and reservation lands, the DPLA helicopter and a small plane that circle constantly above the encampments; there is the Bureau of Indian Affairs station set up on a knoll to suck out data from the cell phones of anyone in the area. There is the pepper spraying and tasing of water protectors who are praying. There is the more recent blasting of the protectors with freezing water canons in sub zero weather. There is the constant threat of weapons pointed at them. One twitching trigger finger could set off a slaughter.

    The water protectors are unarmed. The resistance movement does not allow guns in the encampments. One day, at one of the front line actions, an armed man showed up with a pistol and began firing. Possibly he was paid by DAPL to create an incident. The Natives are aware of paid provocateurs or agitators passing through the camps, pulling dirty tricks, looking to start something. Antimedia reported about the man with the gun: “According to an official statement from the tribe, the man fired several shots from his gun before being peacefully apprehended by tribal police. Witnesses at the scene say he pointed his gun at several protesters. The man was clearly trying to provoke violence that could later be used to demonize protesters who have so far remained peaceful.”

    The news site added, “The Morton County Sheriff’s Department circulated a false report claiming the man was shot, presumably by protesters… [As images show], the man was not harmed. The Sheriff’s Department has since retracted that report. Anti-Media’s attempts to obtain clarifying comments from Morton County Sheriffs were ignored.”

  • Dakota Access Caught Infiltrating Protests to Incite Violence, Funding Trolls Online


  • On a hill overlooking Oceti Sakowin, the largest of the Standing Rock encampments, an old army tent houses the field office of the rotating teams of lawyers who come to Standing Rock to help out. They use donations made to the resistance to bail out protectors who have been arrested; they try to negotiate with the police so the protectors can be allowed to pray. The constant arrests on trumped-up charges are an ongoing harassment—people maced or beaten, violently thrown to the ground and zip-tied. Often activists are charged with trespass and “riot” on the Morton County Sheriff’s novel legal theory that if several people are arrested for trespass that must signify that they were engaged in a riot.

    All this naturally requires court time and money to defend, incarceration in usually unpleasant conditions, including dog kennels. (Though the white allies who are arrested seem to get better treatment.)

    Arrests are to be expected as a consequence of civil disobedience. But some arrests are directed at chilling speech. One lawyer who came to Standing Rock from the Oregon-based Civil Liberties Defense Center, an activist defense nonprofit primarily involved in climate protests, https://cldc.org/ told Jordan Chariton of The Young Turks Network that often after the day’s action was over, police would stop the last cars in the caravan. They would then make “snatch and grab” arrests, impounding the cars of people who had come to support the water protectors but had no expectation that they’d be arrested when the action was over and the police told them to leave. They have to pay heavy fines ($900) to get their cars back. She said the arrests and impoundment fines for their cars are unlawful. “The intention with those types of actions is to scare out-of-towners from being comfortable coming to these actions. So they’re trying to chill the rights of others to come and participate in these protests.”

  • Environmental Lawyer Explains Standing Rock Legal Issues




  • The authorities regularly characterize the natives as terrorists, and local radio spreads false rumors of farm animals being slaughtered and stolen, reported vandalism—the kind of thing you would expect from psychologically projected homesteader fears about savage Indians of earlier centuries.

    Yes, Magazine on Oct. 31 reported: “The county sheriff is claiming the water protectors were violent and that police were stopping a riot. But hours of live video feed from people caught in the confrontation showed instead a military-style assault on unarmed people: police beating people with batons, police with assault rifles, chemical mace, guns firing rubber bullets and beanbag rounds, tasers.”

  • Why Police From 7 Different States Invaded a Standing Rock Camp—and Other Questions


  • The UN has sent human rights observers. According to Salon, Nov. 16, 2016: “The U.N. special rapporteur said that American law enforcement officials, private security firms and the North Dakota National Guard have used unjustified force against protesters.

    “ ‘This is a troubling response to people who are taking action to protect natural resources and ancestral territory in the face of profit-seeking activity,’ [Maina] Kiai [U.N. special rapporteur] said in his statement, which was issued by the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and was endorsed by several other U.N. experts.

  • Native Americans facing excessive force in North Dakota pipeline protests – UN expert


  • “At least 400 activists have been detained and often have been held in ‘inhuman and degrading conditions in detention,’ Kiai added. Some indigenous protesters have said they were treated like animals and even held in dog kennels.

  • Dakota pipeline protesters say they were detained in dog kennels; 268 arrested in week of police crackdown


  • “ ‘Marking people with numbers and detaining them in overcrowded cages, on the bare concrete floor, without being provided with medical care, amounts to inhuman and degrading treatment,’ the U.N. expert said.

    “ ‘The excessive use of State security apparatus to suppress protest against corporate activities that are alleged to violate human rights is wrong,’ he continued, noting that it violates U.N. guidelines on business and human rights.

    “Amnesty International USA, which has repeatedly criticized authorities for not respecting the rights of protesters, issued another statement on Tuesday noting that U.S. authorities had put up roadblocks to prevent journalists and human rights observers from documenting the protests and the official response.”

  • U.N. experts call for halt in Dakota Access pipeline, blast “excessive force” against protesters


  • Living on Earth reporter Sandy Tolan reflected: “You know, at times I felt I was back reporting in the West Bank, and not the Northern Plains…”

  • Standing With the Standing Rock Sioux


  • The Bundy crew was the cowboys, not the Indians

    Compare the government response at Standing Rock with the response occasioned by Ammon Bundy and his gang of armed militants when they occupied Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge for over a month in January 2016. Imagine if the Bundy gang had been pepper sprayed, beaten, hit with water cannon, tased. But the Bundy crew were taking over the refuge to proclaim their belief that public lands should be given free to the profit-making private ranching business. In other words, the Bundy crew was the cowboys, not the Indians.

    The mainstream corporate media has largely ignored the stand-off at Standing Rock. Rallies have taken place around the world at places like Tokyo, Stockholm, and Auckland, but the sad truth is many foreigners have heard more about Standing Rock than Americans have. Not surprising. The news editors, working for corporate media conglomerates, choose what they believe we should know and what fits the larger corporate agenda, and so they devote massively more play to Brad Pitt, to the gossipy politics of who’s-on-first, and to whatever the latest glittering consumer thing is than they do to climate change and issues highlighted by the poor and the powerless, like Standing Rock. What coverage that does exist is usually cursory and misleading.

    Fortunately, alternative media have been on the scene and active at Standing Rock. As someone who taught journalism for more nearly 20 years, it has been refreshing for me to see what the alternative press is accomplishing.

    Amy Goodman of the webcast Democracy Now brought the prayer-resistance movement to national attention over the summer. She was arrested and charged with riot in absentia for her live reports of water protectors being set upon by dogs. The charge was later dismissed in court.

    Jordan Chariton of The Young Turks Network has done searching interviews and incisive commentary from the scene.

    But my absolute favorite news source at Standing Rock is Myron Dewey’s Digital Smoke Signals. Dewey does updates every day, which he posts on Facebook. I highly recommend anyone who has a Facebook account to “follow” him. I went to Standing Rock on Oct. 4-11 with two friends and I have since been able to keep up with developments on the ground through Dewey’s Facebook broadcasts. He posts live stream unedited clips that constitute what he calls an ongoing “documentation” of what is happening day-to-day at the movement.

    Here is Dewey at night standing on a hillside next to the Oceti Sakowin encampment. His face appears in the glow of his screen. Then he’s panning and zooming in on a large grassfire as he’s telling us about it. His finger appears in the screen and points out where the fire started. He says the helicopter which constantly circulates over the camp suddenly disappeared 20 minutes before they saw the first flames. He zooms to the area where he and the person he is with first spotted the fire. He says, “It looked like someone using a drip torch.” He says they called 911, but it’s been over an hour and the Morton County Fire Department hasn’t shown up. He tells the people in the camp, his audience, not to worry, though. It looks like the fire was started by DAPL employees to scare them or hurt them. But the Oceti Sakowin is full of Indians who supplement their income by wild-land firefighting, work that also benefits Mother Earth; he mentions that he is himself a “hotshot” firefighter [one of the elite crews]. He and his fellow firefighters can tell by the wind direction that the fire won’t harm the camp.

    Now here’s Dewey on a bright morning walking along the road by Oceti Sakowin. A young man appears on screen, and Dewey asks him who he is and why he’s here. He’s from the Paiute nation. “I’m here to protect the water,” he says. Dewey asks him to sing a Paiute song. The young man closes his eyes and sings.

    In another nighttime broadcast find we ourselves looking through a car windshield, headlights illuminating the highway, centerlines whizzing by. We hear voices talking in the backseat. The car drives on and on. We’re just watching the road. Then ahead is a police roadblock. The police van looms. Dewey gets out with his camera and calls over to the officers, asks them where they’re from, inquires about where the road blocks are, what are the open routes. At one level it’s a mundane exchange between a citizen and police, but you experience the edginess of the situation. More deeply, you feel the riskiness and pathos that is involved any human interaction. Dewey firmly exercises his right to have these protect-and-serve police respond to him civilly; he is cordial and respectful in a way that reinforces to them and to his viewers that he is after all not their enemy but a fellow human being. Dewey asks more questions and the lead officer says he doesn’t want to be filmed; Dewey offers to turn his camera away from them and onto himself. The distant officers disappear from the screen and Dewey’s face fills it. The contact officer walks nearer; we can hear his voice. Dewey can’t resist a joke, though. He asks the officer if he’s sure he doesn’t want to become famous by putting his face on Dewey’s screen? You realize these are just guys doing their job. Dewey understands that, but he also wants to educate them about the water protectors’ mission. He never misses an opportunity to educate his adversary, as well as his own people about the larger dimensions of the Standing Rock resistance. When he gets back in the car, someone in the back seat says “Let’s get out of here; this is enemy territory.” Dewey laughs, turning the car around, “It’s not enemy territory.”

    I believe you learn more about Standing Rock by watching Dewey’s unedited video than you ever could from watching any number of dramatically produced, commercially constricted reports on CNN, complete with the drumb-drumb latest crisis theme music.

    Dewey explains to his viewers that what they’re seeing is a “documentation” that’s not edited. “It’s not scripted. It’s not acted out.”

    After a month of watching Dewey’s daily reports I realize more fully than I ever have before how ghastly and vacuous mainstream news reporting is: a production where facts have been emptied of the humanity of real encounters, replaced by the shallow performances of reporters and news sources, slick, clichéd phrasing, behavior slotted into ready made categories, events analyzed and even predigested. The news about reality comes to us compartmentalized in trays like tasteless microwave dinners. Rarely is the reader or viewer allowed to simply experience the event unfolding through the reporter’s eyes or camera. The stories are crafted and slickly packaged. Their very polish and stimulating presentation sabotages their meaning and replaces it with a meaningless, artificial understanding.

    Note that I am not saying that the news these days is politically biased. Some obviously is, but the left or right bias charge is a serious red herring, a mis-direction. In fact, in mainstream media’s very effort to appear neutral and unbiased means events are chopped up and pieced together to fit the templates of a few hackneyed forms of storytelling: the winner-loser story, the conflict story, the individual overcoming obstacles story, the facing bad choices stories, he-said, she-said stories, scandal stories, hypocrisy stories. You’ve seen them all, repeatedly.

    Most of these templates come plated with a cynicism, skepticism, superiority, or sentimentality that grabs our attention by adding a dash of disgust. The current journalistic manner of telling stories reduces and dismisses the story in a way that sometimes makes the commercials and pop-up ads come as a relief. None of the common journalistic templates or attitude has much to do with real life as it’s lived in the moment. It’s not what people really experience in their lives. Instead, it’s how they’ve been conditioned to wrap up experience afterward in a dramatized way that leaches out the nuance, that leaves out the moment-to-moment uncertainty, or as the Lakota call it, the Wakan, the deep mystery of relationships that permeates every event. And that’s what Dewey’s broadcasts have in abundance. You get to see him interacting with the people who show up on his screen. You get to feel his humanity and the mystery of everyday relationships taking place at Standing Rock that he brings to light. It’s certainly not dramatic or melodramatic. It’s not interesting or stimulating in the usual way. It does seem really important.

    So when Dewey sits in his parked car and does an update video on “10 things to know about DAPL” (Nov. 18, 2016), there’s no editing and no script, meaning that you get to see him thinking through what those top 10 things might be. Some points he makes are incisive and comic, others not so much. But the not-so-much ones can lead you to thinking about gray areas, the imprecise observations we all make. He asks a guy who just got in the car to help out with his list and the guy, William Hawk Birdshead, goes immediately serious on him until Dewey says, “I was trying to keep it light.” So the Birdshead says, “Laughter is good medicine.” Suddenly they’re off. Dewey mimics the shifty-eyed look of the FBI guys lurking around the area and denying they are FBI, the DAPL security characters trying to look all steely and tough. We learn that in the encampments they say that “DAPL dresses up like Ninja Turtles.” You can tell that it’s DAPL undercover because those guys never drive rez cars, which are rusted and dented. Nobody is spared. Dewey describes the water protectors just arriving from California as dudes who’ve “got their animal spirits on… They’re all furred up. They’re coming in all mystical and crystals.” He and his buddy laugh, which Dewey says is laughter “in a good way,” because the whole thing going on at Standing Rock is deadly serious but you need laughter, because that’s good medicine for healing. And healing and praying are about “getting reconnected with the Earth.”

    This points to a major difference between anthropocentric prayer as most of us know it and earth-mind prayer. In the prayer that most people are familiar with, an individual seeks intercession for human needs with a transcendent being. The Native prayer is about healing not getting. The prayer is a community ceremony or song or ritual to maintain or restore the balance between and among beings, both animate and inanimate. Prayer is to all my relatives, all my relations, the birds, the water, the wind, the buffalo, my family, even those who oppose me as enemies. Mitakuye Oyasin is an important Lakota phrase that means “all my relations.” When you’re watching a Dewey update from Standing Rock you’re experiencing Mitakuye Oyasin in action. It’s newscasting as a kind of prayer, in the earth-mind sense. Whether he’s engaging in laughter or educating about the spiritual importance of water, you can see that what he’s getting at is healing relationships. Watching and listening, you get to be part of that healing.

    What Dewey does goes way beyond advocacy journalism.

    Our traveling companion for our visit to Standing Rock, Lakota elder Tiokasin Ghosthorse, also provides a good way to keep up with developments through the interviews he conducts for his weekly syndicated broadcast from WPKN in Bridgeport Conn. and WBAI in New York City. On Oct. 31, 2016, Tiokasin interviewed a young man who was seized on Oct. 27 when a frontline camp was destroyed by police. Trenton Joseph Castillas Bakeberg, in the bloodline of Crazy Horse, was praying in a sweat lodge when the militarized police swept through the camp. They yanked him out of the sweat lodge and arrested him. The young water protector told Tiokasin:

    “I pray that we’ll be able to keep a state of prayer and peace, as we have been… Although there’s some people on our side are more likely to tend toward violence. But there’s also people on our side to stop them. Don’t start a fight. That’s what it’s all about, keeping it peaceful because the elders told us in the beginning that all it takes is one single act of violence, one person attacking a police officer and they’ll unleash the fear on all of us. This wrath that we have with our military overseas, we’re beginning to see it now in the heart of our own country. All for the greed and the corporate interests of this government. They say we’re a democracy but it’s not showing anymore. The people didn’t want this pipeline, but this foreign entity that they call a corporation, Energy Transfers, is saying, we don’t care. We want this money. We need this for economic stability of the country and that somehow trumps the interests of our communities and our nation as a whole….We’re standing up to this corporate machine with prayer and love.”

  • Forcibly removed from prayer at Standing Rock


  • Against a heavily armed, corporatized democracy designed to ensure that only powerful business and political elites rule the land and possess the wealth of its objects, the Native-American people at Standing Rock stand in defense of Mother Earth armed with songs, prayers, and an understanding that Earth’s objects are us, and we are them. They are our relatives. It seems better armament than most of us Wasi’shu possess. Webster defines fascism as “a political system headed by a dictator in which the government controls business and labor and opposition is not permitted.” It’s an incendiary word, and readers might think ill of me for introducing it here. Certainly we are not a fascist state yet. But for the prayer-resistance at Standing Rock, the clear alliance between corporate and government interests to quell their opposition under color of the law has a fascist flavor.

    It should not surprise anyone that the new US president reportedly holds stocks that directly fund the Dakota Access Pipeline and that the DAPL CEO Kelcy Warren gave the Trump campaign a substantial donation.

  • Trump's Personal Investments Ride on Completion of Dakota Access Pipeline


  • This is how the proto-fascism works. Ironically (or perhaps absurdly), Trump may have been elected by people hoping he would somehow counter the tightening grip of multinational corporations on their lives. One might wish for that to happen.

    At a deep level, Standing Rock may suggest that such absurdities as a Trump presidency occur because our mode of consciousness is impaired or inadequate to the situation it has created on our planet at this historical time. Too many of us have gone dead to the natural world we come from. Our obsessive anthropocentric mode of consciousness has reduced nature and reality at large to a bunch of things we have names for—things that feed our greed. Fortunately, many Indigenous people have retained an acute and ancient consciousness that we are those rocks and trees and clouds, and birds and water that we see outside our windows, and that restoring our relationships with them is incumbent on us.

    John Briggs is emeritus distinguished Professor of Writing and Aesthetics from Western Connecticut State University. He was the English Department’s journalism coordinator for 18 years and was one of the founders of Western’s Department of Writing, Linguistics, and Creative Process. He is the author of several well-known books on chaos theory, fractals and creativity. He lives in the hilltown of Granville, Mass., where served as a Selectman for five years and as reserve police officer for 10 years.


    When people at Standing Rock talk about the black snake they mean the pipeline, referring to an old Sioux legend about a black snake that will threaten the end of the world. The Lakota prophet Black Elk said that in the seventh generation, the Sioux tribes would unite to save the world.

    Media covering the Standing Rock resistance movement:

  • Digital Smoke Signals


  • Myron Dewey, Facebook


  • The Antimedia


  • Democracy Now


  • The Intercept


  • The Guardian


  • Censored News


  • Unicorn Riot


  • Living on Earth


  • The Indigenous Environmental Network


  • Status of Standing Rock court claim



  •           Burn After Reading        

    Who’s Who
    What’s What

    In the World of CIA Fronts, Partners, Proprietaries & Contractors




    NEW BOOK:

    The Almost Classified Guide to CIA Front Companies, Proprietaries & Contractors
    By WAYNE MADSEN
    ISBN: 978-1-365-11196-9


    Cool Justice Editor's Note: Following are excerpts from author Madsen's introduction and the body of the work. Additional suggested reading: News story about Madsen's book via the Washington, D.C. based Justice Integrity Project [link at the bottom of this post].

    EXCERPTS:

    From the Introduction


    One of the most pervasive uses of companies as intelligence partners was under the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD. During the Cold War, the CIA, often with the approval of corporate executives, infiltrated their agents to work as journalists in newspapers, radio and television networks, wire services, and magazines. The following pages in this book are rife with examples of this penetration of the Fourth Estate – all too many in the opinion of this journalist. The CIA admitted to at least 400 journalists on the agency’s payroll at the height of MOCKINGBIRD. The CIA traditionally understates its capabilities, especially when its covert activities become publicly known. Moreover, the end of the Cold War did not stop the practice of the CIA in infiltrating the media and slant news reports to its wishes.

    *

    An insightful look behind the veils of secrecy into the CIA’s use of fronts, proprietaries, and partners calls into question the purpose of the CIA. Created by President Harry S Truman to serve as a central collector and repository of intelligence, the CIA became much more than that. A few weeks after the United States witnessed the assassination of President Kennedy in the middle of downtown Dallas, Truman penned an op-ed piece that appeared in several newspapers around the country. In it, Truman shared his regret for having created the CIA in 1947:

    “I think it has become necessary to take another look at the purpose and operations of our Central Intelligence Agency—CIA . . . For some time I have been disturbed by the way CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas.

    "I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations. Some of the complications and embarrassment I think we have experienced are in part attributable to the fact that this quiet intelligence arm of the President has been so removed from its intended role that it is being interpreted as a symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue.”

    *

    The 21st century’s CIA’s partners are more likely to be found among high-tech companies marketing the latest and greatest mobile applications and data mining programs than among banks, law offices, and advertising agencies. However, in the post-World War II era, the CIA’s top and middle echelons were normally found operating through cover as typewriter-pecking journalists, traveling Madison Avenue admen, corporate lawyers, and chain-smoking oilmen. In the 1970s and 80s, CIA contractors and partners began showing up in the high-tech field, with database, local area networking, and on-line information retrieval systems attracting the most interest by Langley.

    *

    As this book went to press, the smart phone game application Pokémon Go fad was sweeping the planet. Unbeknownst to many of the on-line game’s avid fan’s was the connection of the game’s developers to the CIA’s venture capital firm IN-Q-TEL. All users saw their geo-location and other smart phone data being swept up by a CIA partner firm.

    SELECTED ENTRIES

    Amazon, Inc. [CIA contractor]. Company provides cloud computing services for the CIA. Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos also owns The Washington Post.

    American Historical Society. [CIA partner]. Many society officials were OSS/CIA officers.

    American Press Institute. [CIA front]. Operating out of Columbia University, the institute’s director in the 1950s was a CIA officer.

    AmeriCares. [CIA partner]. A non-profit organization that is often the “first in” at refugee situations. Founded by tycoon J. Peter Grace, a board chairman of the CIA front, the American Institute for Free Labor Development (AIFLD) and a trustee of another CIA front, the American Committee for Liberation from Bolshevism, AmeriCares was involved in funding the Nicaraguan contras. The group has also provided the CIA with recruiting opportunities at mass refugee sites, particularly in Latin America and Asia.

    Bechtel Corporation. [CIA contractor]. Bechtel is a large construction company that has included former CIA director Richard Helms, CIA pseudonym “Fletcher M. Knight,” among its executive ranks. Bechtel was active in providing corporate cover for the OSS in the Middle East during World War II. Bechtel has been a consummate service company for various CIA operations, including support for the CIA-inspired coup against the Syrian government in 1949, the Iranian government of Prime Minister Mohamed Mossadeq in 1953, and President Sukarno of Indonesia in 1965. From the 1960s to the 1970s, Bechtel provided cover for CIA agents in Libya under both the regime of King Idris and his successor, Muammar Qaddafi. Sometimes called a “secret arm” of the CIA, Bechtel’s executives included those who would join President Reagan’s Cabinet, including Secretary of State George Schultz and Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger.

    Before World War II, Steve Bechtel formed a military-industrial complex partnership with John McCone. McCone later became the chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission and later, director of the CIA. The CIA has used Bechtel to provide cover for non-official cover CIA operatives abroad.

    Blackstone Investment Group. [CIA front]. With offices in Washington, DC and Moscow, arranged for the purchase of KGB documents following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Among the documents sought by the front company were any related to illegal CIA activities during the Cold War, including the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

    Bourbon and Beefsteak Bar and Restaurant. [CIA front]. Opened in 1967 in King’s Cross in Sydney, Australia. Served as a rendezvous point for CIA, Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO), and organized crime figures. Its proprietor was Bernie Houghton, a CIA operative with links to Nugan Hand Bank, CIA weapons smuggler Edwin Wilson, and CIA clandestine services officers Theodore Shackley, Rafael Quintero, and Thomas Clines.

    Center for Democracy. [CIA front]. Administered under the aegis of Boston University, the center maintained offices in Boston, Washington, DC, Guatemala City, and Strasbourg, France. Involved in CIA operations in eastern Europe, Central America, and Africa.

    Colt Patent Firearms Company. [CIA partner]. Based in Hartford, Connecticut, provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad.

    Daddario & Burns. [CIA partner]. Headed by former OSS officer Emilio Daddario, a Democratic Representative from Connecticut, the Hartford-based law firm provided services to the CIA.

    DC Comics. [CIA partner]. Worked with the International Military Information Group (IMIG), a joint CIA/Pentagon unit at the State Department, to disseminate propaganda comic books, featuring Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, in Serbo-Croatian and Albanian, to youth in the Balkans during the military conflicts in that region.

    Disney Corporation. [CIA partner]. CIA agents who were adept at creating front companies and shell corporations in Florida, worked closely with Disney in preparation for the construction of Disney World near Orlando, Florida. OSS veteran “Wild Bill” Donovan and CIA shell company expert Paul Helliwell helped create two fake Florida cities, Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista, as well as a number of shell corporations, to keep secret the plans for Disney World. This kept land prices low because real estate speculators were unaware of the prospective value of the land in a desolate area of central Florida.

    Emory School of Medicine. [CIA partner]. Located in Atlanta, Georgia. Involved in the CIA’s MK-ULTRA behavioral modification project.

    Enron Corporation [CIA partner]. Houston-based firm that was used by the CIA to provide commercial cover for its agents around the world. There were at least 20 CIA employees on Enron’s payroll. Andre Le Gallo, a former official of the CIA’s Operations Directorate, went to work as a corporate intelligence officer for Enron.

    Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC). [CIA front]. Officially established by American Trotskyists, the group was penetrated by CIA operatives. The FPCC New Orleans office was a CIA front that provided cover for the anti-Fidel Castro activities of Lee Harvey Oswald, Clay Shaw, and David Ferrie, among others. The New Orleans FPCC office was located at 544 Camp Street and shared the same building entrance with Guy Banister Associates, Inc., a private detective agency, the address for which was 531 Lafayette Street and around the corner from 544 Camp Street.

    In December 1963, after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the FPCC ceased all U.S. operations.

    General Electric Company. [CIA partner]. Based in Fairfield, Connecticut, provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad.

    General Foods Corporation. [CIA partner]. Advertising account at CIA’s Robert Mullen Company handled by an active CIA employee.

    Google, Inc. [CIA partner]. Developed as a result of a research grant by the CIA and Pentagon to Stanford University’s Department of Computer Science. The CIA referred to the research as the “google project.”

    Greenberg Traurig. [CIA partner]. Washington, DC “connected” law firm.

    Guy Banister Associates, Inc. [CIA partner]. New Orleans private detective agency headed by former FBI agent Guy Banister. The detective agency coordinated the activities of various anti-Castro Cuban groups in New Orleans, including Banister’s own Anti-Communist League of the Caribbean, as well as the Cuban Revolutionary Council, the Cuban Democratic Revolutionary Front, Friends of Democratic Cuba, and the Crusade to Free Cuba Committee.

    Banister and Associates shared office space with the CIA’s New Orleans front, the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, headed by Lee Harvey Oswald.

    Hale and Dorr. [CIA partner]. Boston-based law firm that provided cover for CIA’s Independence and Brown Foundations.

    Halliburton. [CIA contractor]. Based in Houston, it is the world’s largest oil service company. Recipient of a number of CIA sole-source contracts for services worldwide.

    Harper and Row, Inc. [CIA partner]. Manuscripts submitted to the New York publisher that dealt with intelligence matters, particularly CIA operations, were turned over to the CIA for censoring edits before publication.

    Hewlett Packard Corporation. [CIA partner]. Sold computers to Iraq for Saddam Hussein’s missile program with the knowledge and approval of the CIA.

    Hill & Knowlton. [CIA partner]. Public relations firm that teamed with the CIA on a number of operations. Hill & Knowlton’s numerous offices abroad provided cover for CIA agents. One known Hill & Knowlton office that was a CIA front operation was in Kuala Lumpur.

    Kerr-McGee. [CIA partner]. Provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating overseas.

    Kissinger Associates, Inc. [CIA partner]. New York-based international consulting firm founded by former Secretary of State and National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger. Former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft is a co-owner. The firm provided support to the CIA-linked American Ditchley Foundation and the Bilderberg Group. Much of the 1982 seed money for Kissinger Associates was provided by Goldman Sachs.

    Knight Foundation. [CIA partner]. Also known as the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Based in Miami, the foundation provides funding for various CIA-connected media operations in the United States and around the world.

    Kroll Inc. [CIA partner]. Founded in 1972 by Jules Kroll, who had links to both U.S. and Israeli intelligence. Based in Manhattan. French domestic law enforcement believed Kroll’s Paris office was a CIA front. Kroll handled the security for the World Trade Center after the 1993 terrorist bombing and continued to be responsible for security up to, during, and after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack. Kroll employed former FBI assistant director for counter-terrorism John O’Neill, who died in the collapse of the World Trade Center.

    Lincoln Savings and Loan. [CIA partner]. Based in Irvine, California and headed by notorious swindler Charles Keating, Jr., involved in laundering funds for the Iran-contra scandal.

    Lone Star Cement Corporation. [CIA partner]. Based in Stamford, Connecticut and linked to the Bush family, provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad. Involved in the Iran-contra scandal.

    Mary Carter Paint Company. [CIA front]. A money-laundering operation for the CIA. Involved in casinos in the Bahamas.

    Monsanto. [CIA partner]. The firm contracted with former CIA official Cofer Black’s Total Intelligence Solutions (TIS), a subsidiary of the CIA-connected Blackwater USA, later Xe Services, to monitor animal rights groups, anti-genetically modified (GM) food activists, and other groups opposed to Monsanto’s agri-business operations worldwide.

    National Enquirer. [CIA partner]. The tabloid’s founder, Generoso (Gene) Pope, Jr., worked for the CIA’s psychological warfare unit and the agency’s Italy branch in 1950. In 1952, Pope acquired The New York Enquirer broadsheet and transformed it into a tabloid, renaming it The National Enquirer. This transformation bore the imprimatur of the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD media influence program.

    Newsweek. [CIA partner]. Magazine reporters and stringers fed information to the CIA. Newsweek’s stringers in southeastern Europe and the Far East were CIA agents. When Newsweek was bought by The Washington Post Company in 1961, cooperation between the magazine and the CIA increased. It was a participant in the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD media influence program. Much of the staff of Newsweek was absorbed into a new online publication, The Daily Beast, which continues to disseminate CIA-influenced articles. See Washington Post.

    Nieman Foundation. [CIA partner]. Located at Harvard University, the foundation awarded Nieman Fellowships, some on behalf of the CIA, for foreign journalists to study at Harvard. The journalists were subjected to CIA recruitment efforts prior to their returning to their home countries.

    Pamela Martin & Associates. [CIA partner], Escort firm run by Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the so-called “DC Madam.” During her 2008 trial for mail fraud, Palfrey attempted to invoke the Classified Information Procedures Act in order to discuss her relationship with the CIA. The U.S. Court refused Palfrey’s request and she was convicted and later said to have committed suicide before her sentencing hearing in Washington, DC. One of her clients was Randall Tobias, the head of the CIA-connected USAID. Another was Louisiana Republican senator David Vitter.

    Paris Review. [CIA front]. Literary magazine edited by George Plimpton. Published works by Jack Kerouac and Samuel Beckett. The magazine’s co-founder, Peter Matthiessen, relied on his affiliation with the magazine as his CIA cover.

    Quaker Oats Company. [CIA partner]. Worked with the CIA and Atomic Energy Commission to place trace amounts of radiation in breakfast cereal served to boys at the Fernald School for the mentally retarded in Waltham, Massachusetts.

    Radio Corporation of America. [CIA partner]. Provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad, particularly in Iran, Philippines, Japan, and West Germany. Provided technical assistance to CIA-financed clandestine and propaganda radio stations worldwide, including Radio Free Europe. RCA founder David Sarnoff was a major supporter of CIA operations, including propaganda dissemination around the world. RCA chairman and chief executive officer Thornton F. Bradshaw was active in the operations of the CIA-linked American Ditchley Foundation.

    Reily Coffee Company. [CIA partner]. Also known as William B. Reily Coffee Company and based in New Orleans, this company employed Lee Harvey Oswald and a number of other U.S. government employees, many of whom were suspected CIA officers.

    Robert M. Mullen Company. [CIA proprietary]. A Washington, DC public relations firm, it was used as a front for CIA activities. E. Howard Hunt, the CIA agent, worked for Robert Mullen when he was arrested in the break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington in 1972. The Senate Watergate Committee reported that “the Mullen and Company has maintained a relationship with the Central Intelligence Agency since its incorporation in 1959. It provided covers for agents in Europe (Stockholm), Latin America (Mexico City), and the Far East (Singapore) at the time of the Watergate break-in.”

    Rockefeller Foundation. [CIA partner]. Used by the CIA to direct scholarships and grants to the Third World and Eastern Europe. Rockefeller Foundation money was funneled to the American Committee for a United Europe (ACUE), created in 1948. The chairman of ACUE was OSS chief William J. Donovan and the vice chairman was Allen Dulles. One of ACUE’s board members was Walter Bedell Smith, the first CIA director.

    Summa Corporation. [CIA partner]. Owned by Howard Hughes, Summa is believed to have skimmed gambling profits from the Sands, Desert Inn, Frontier, Silver Slipper, Castaways, and Landmark casinos in Las Vegas and Harold’s Club in Reno for the CIA and the Mafia. Provided financial cover for the CIA’s Glomar Explorer project.

    Teneo Intelligence. [CIA partner]. Branch of Teneo Holdings, which is headquartered in New York. Teneo Holdings’s intelligence branch includes former CIA officials. Teneo is closely linked to former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton. Teneo Intelligence has offices in New York, London, Rome, Brussels, Dubai, Bogota, New Delhi, and Tokyo.

    Texas Commerce Bank (TCB). [CIA partner]. Houston-based bank founded by the family of James Baker III. Texas Commerce Bank was used to provide commercial cover for CIA agents. After serving as vice president for Texas Commerce Bank in Caracas from 1977 to 1979, Jeb Bush joined his father’s presidential campaign in 1980. Serving with Bush on the campaign was Robert Gambino, the CIA deputy director of security who gave Bush his orientation brief at Langley in 1977.

    Kenneth Lay, the chairman of Enron, which had its own links to the CIA, served on the board of Texas Commerce Bank. Texas Commerce Bank was acquired by Chemical Bank in 1987.

    The bank provided major loans to Howard Hughes’s Summa Corporation. See Summa Corporation.

    United Fruit Company [CIA partner]. Involved in 1954 CIA overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz government in Guatemala. Published the Latin America Report, a publication that was a CIA front used for clandestine activities. The CIA transferred weapons to United Fruit employees in Guatemala who were involved in undermining the Arbenz government. The joint CIA-United Fruit plan was code named OPERATION FORTUNE. Company provided an airfield in Guatemala for the CIA’s training of Cuban exiles for the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.

    U.S. Rubber Company. [CIA partner]. Headquartered in Naugatuck, Connecticut and later called Uniroyal, provided corporate cover to CIA officers operating abroad. Included those operating under the cover of the Dominion Rubber Company of Canada, a subsidiary of U.S. Rubber Company.

    U.S. Youth Council (USYC). [CIA front]. Founded in 1945 and based in New York. Some 90 percent of its funds came from the CIA. USYC received funding from the Foundation for Youth and Student Affairs (FYSA), a CIA front. The USYC was composed of American Youth Hostels, Camp Fire Girls, 4-H, American Unitarian Youth, National Catholic Welfare Conference, National Students Assembly, YMCA and YWCA.

    Wackenhut. [CIA contractor]. Wackenhut, a Palm Beach Gardens, Florida-based security firm, stood accused of providing the CIA with specialized services around the world, including Chile, Greece, and El Salvador. Its Venezuelan branch, Wackenhut Venezolana, C.A., was accused in 2002 of involvement in the CIA’s coup against President Hugo Chavez. William Casey served as Wackenhut’s outside counsel before becoming CIA director in 1981.

    Wackenhut eventually merged into the global security firm G4S.

    Washington Post. [CIA partner]. The Washington Post was part of the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD, the agency’s media influence project. Post publisher Phil Graham was a close friend and associate of MOCKINGBIRD chief Frank Wisner, Sr. and CIA director Allen Dulles. Wisner assisted Graham in acquiring The Washington Times-Herald and WTOP radio, creating a sizable CIA-influenced media operation in the nation’s capital.

    W. R. Grace. [CIA partner]. Provided corporate cover to CIA officers operating abroad, particularly in Latin America. Provided donations to CIA front foundations.

  • News story about Madsen's book via The Justice Integrity Project



  •           EU lawmaker condemns Amarnath terror attack        

    Brussels: European Parliament`s Chairman of the Delegation for Relations with India Geoffrey Van Orden on Friday condemned the July 10 terror attack on Amarnath pilgrims and called on Pakistan to cooperate with India in bringing the perpetrators to justice.

    "This is a most atrocious crime which follows a series of terrorist attacks and other provocations designed to destabilise the political situation in Jammu & Kashmir," he said in a press release.

    "We stand resolutely with India in her fight against terrorism and hope that those responsible will rapidly be brought to justice. We call upon the government of Pakistan to cooperate in this and to enhance its efforts to suppress terrorists and extremists and develop peaceful relations with India," said Van Orden who is a British Member of the European Parliament.

    Seven pilgrims were killed and 19 injured in the attack.

    Section: 
    Yes
    News Source: 
    Facebook Instant Article: 
    No

              Hit-and-Run Chronology, Grand Jury Report & Follow-up Columns, Re; Library Discussion 9-22-16        

    Open
    the Showalter File

  • Hartford Courant Editorial




  • Cool Justice Editor's Note:
    This post is primarily for patrons and guests of the Sprague Public Library, who might participate in a discussion on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. A link to announcements of that event is at the very bottom of this post. Thanks for reading, AT.


    Via
    Law And Justice In Everyday Life


    F. Lee Bailey on Law and Justice in Everyday Life and the Showalter case:

    This book - which is mainly about public officials, police, judges and lawyers either shaming or shining - is a good read. Many of the stories stand alone, like slices of life. Others will appear early in the book, with follow-up chapters later. The crown jewel, in my view, is his handling of the strange death of Kevin Showalter, who was slammed 50 feet down the road in New London, Connecticut on Christmas Eve 1973 while changing a tire on the traffic side of a parked car. For many years, Andy Thibault dogged a case which public officials seemed determined to let die, despite the presence of a likely suspect. He tells me his mentor, John Peterson, broke the case open and then handed over the torch. Joined by the victim's mother, Lucille, who revealed herself as a determined but delightful woman as the story unfolds, Andy beats up on police, prosecutors, judges and governors until finally there is action. Spurred on by an appointment hastened by Gov. Ella Grasso, Judge Joseph Dannehy conducted one of the most brilliant and thorough investigations I have ever seen. If this book were only about the Showalter case, it would be worth the price.

    APPENDIX

    THE SHOWALTER CHRONOLOGY – A FOUR YEAR SEARCH FOR JUSTICE


    New London, Ct.

    1973

    December 24

    Approximately 11:10 to 11:20 p.m. Kevin B. Showalter is killed. Car leaves scene. Only taillights observed by a neighbor.

    There is much confusion. Mr. Showalter had been changing a tire on his companion’s car. His companion Debra Emilyta, was sitting about six feet away from the car on a stone wall.

    Ms. Emilyta told police she heard a thud, but did not see the car which struck Mr. Showalter. She said she ran across the road, a well-lit section of Pequot Avenue near Plant Street, before seeing Mr. Showalter’s body.

    Mr. Showalter’s body was thrown 22 feet from the believed point of impact, onto a sidewalk near a large tree. The police report prepared that night noted the deceased’s shoes were found 110 feet apart. Part of a leg bone was found 75 feet away.

    Michael Buscetto of Mike’s Auto Body gives police body putty, apparently from the car which struck Mr. Showalter. The putty never made it to the police station. Det. Lt. Konstanty T. Bucko later denies its existence.

    December 25

    Autopsy performed. No trace of alcohol or drugs found. Cause of death listed as lacerated liver and broken neck.

    In efforts to console Mrs. Showalter, friends, neighbors, witnesses and officials volunteer information about the accident. She quietly listens for about six weeks, taking it for granted that police are acting on the same information. December 26

    New London police begin full-scale search for red car.

    1974

    February 6

    FBI report describes paint particles on Mr. Showalter’s clothing as “racing green” or “forest green” used on 1968 Chrysler products.

    February 7

    Mrs. Showalter notes she had the impression local police were not actively pursuing the case. She began interviewing those persons who came to her voluntarily and made a written record of her findings.

    During the next three weeks, Mrs. Showalter spends much of her time making telephone calls and knocking on doors. She and her youngest son Craig, then 14, visited a number of local auto dealers and garages. She said in most cases they were told police had not made any inquiries of them.

    February 28

    New London police conduct first interview with Harvey N. Mallove, the downtown merchant and former mayor and city councilor. Mallove stated he drove by Pequot Avenue near Plant Street shortly before 11:15 p.m. on Christmas Eve 1973. Seven people near the accident scene contradict what he said he saw.

    April 20

    Mrs. Showalter writes to State’s Atty. Edmund J. O’Brien, requesting a one-man grand jury investigation into her son’s death. O’Brien never responds.

    On the same day, Atty. Thomas Bishop, representing Mrs. Showalter as the administratix of Mr. Showalter’s estate, asks Atty. Joseph Moukawsher to conduct a coroner’s inquest of the hit-run death.

    April 23

    Moukawsher agrees to conduct inquest but must confer with New London police before setting date.

    June 4

    Mrs. Showalter writes to New London Police Chief John J. Crowley, asking for a progress report on the investigation by his force. Crowley neither acknowledges receipt of letter nor responds. Copies of letter were sent to City Manager C. Francis Driscoll, and Abraham Kirshenbaum, then chairman of the City Council’s Public Safety Committee.

    June 10

    Mrs. Showalter asks Superior Court Judge Angelo Santaniello to call for a grand jury investigation.

    June 24

    Santaniello notes Moukawsher has agreed to conduct coroner’s inquest. He tells Mrs. Showalter, “If it appears that during any stage of this proceeding that any further intercession is necessary, appropriate action will be taken at that time.”

    July 2

    Mrs. Showalter writes to City Manager C. Francis Driscoll, asking for a report from his office assessing the police department’s handling of the case. She also asks for a reply to her June 4 letter to Police Chief Crowley.

    July 9

    Driscoll tells Crowley to prepare a complete report for Mrs. Showalter.

    July 10

    Bucko completes report on fatal accident.

    July 25

    Driscoll sends Mrs. Showalter Bucko’s report. The report said Mr. Showalter’s body was in the road, but the ambulance crew which took Mr. Showalter to Lawrence Memorial Hospital said they found him on the sidewalk several feet away. No police officer ever saw the body at the scene since the first officer arrived as the body was being placed in the ambulance.

    Bucko says paint particles from a 1968 Plymouth at the U.S. Naval Submarine Base in Groton are similar to those found on Mr. Showalter’s clothing, but the same paint is used on any 1968 Chrysler product.

    Bucko also says a piece of metal Mrs. Showalter found near the accident scene is in the detective bureau. When Mrs. Showalter first offered the metal to police, they refused to sign a receipt for it.

    August 6

    Mrs. Showalter writes to Driscoll regarding Bucko’s report. She lists six pages of comments on allegedly “serious omissions” and “strictly opinion judgments” by Bucko.

    Mrs. Showalter also writes to Chief State’s Atty. Joseph Gormley, asking him to send a representative to the coroner’s inquest. She includes copies of correspondence with local officials and Bucko’s report.

    August 9

    Mrs. Showalter requests a meeting with the City Council’s Public Safety Committee.

    August 15

    Bucko updates report, at request of city manager Driscoll.

    Bucko said of the body location, “the position he (Mr. Showalter) was found in at the scene of the accident, in my opinion, would not help in solving this matter.” Erroneous on the report is the position of the car jack which is shown on the front bumper. The car Mr. Showalter was working on, a Ford Pinto, had to be jacked from the side of the vehicle.

    Omitted from the report is the location of a car mat seen to the rear of the car and the spare tire Mr. Showalter never got to put on the car.

    August 20

    Gormley writes to Mrs. Showalter, telling her the local police investigation “has proceeded smoothly,” and there is “no reason for this office to initiate its own investigation.”

    August 28

    The Public Safety Committee of the New London City Council meets in closed session for one hour to discuss the hit-run death. Chief Crowley requested the closed session. He said there is evidence that could jeopardize future action.

    Mrs. Showalter submitted a 12-page statement for the meeting, but did not attend.

    Crowley said the case is not closed and it appears an arrest may be made.

    August 31

    Mallove submits official statement to New London police.

    November, 1974

    After being postponed several times, the coroner’s inquest hears testimony from 50 persons. No findings issued.

    1975

    January 24

    A state police detective participating in the federal grand jury probe of the city police department has told one of its patrolmen they identified the driver of the car which struck and killed Mr. Showalter on Christmas Eve, 1973.

    “We know who killed the Showalter kid, how come you don’t?” the detective was quoted in The Norwich Bulletin as saying.

    March 19-22

    The Bulletin, in a four-part series, shows:

    - Eyewitnesses and what New London police called “near witnesses” drastically differed in their accounts of the accident.

    - Microscopic paint particles found on Mr. Showalter’s clothing on which police based their search may not have been left by the vehicle which struck him.

    - Evidence entrusted to police officers at the scene has never been seen since.

    - A claim by police that it would cost as much as $1,200 to trace vehicles possible involved in the mishap was declared false by the state Motor Vehicle Department.

    The Bulletin, when preparing the series of articles, made repeated efforts to discuss the case with police officials but Lt. K.T. Bucko, who headed the case, on the advice of then Police Chief John Crowley, would not.

    April 3 State police conduct an extensive door-to-door inquiry in the Pequot Avenue region. State police have been looking into the case as part of a federal grand jury investigation into alleged corruption within the city force.

    July 12

    The state of Connecticut offers a $2,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the hit-run death of Mr. Showalter. A total of $3,000 is now being offered. Classmates and friends of Mr. Showalter’s have already collected $1,000.

    July 21

    A community effort by friends and classmates raises the reward to $5,000.

    November 8

    The transcript of the coroner’s inquest of the hit-run death conducted nearly a year ago has yet to be typed, Coroner Joseph Moukawsher confirms. He said he wants to review the transcript even though he believes his six-day long inquest did not establish any guilt in the case. He said he has not spoken with the court reporter assigned to the case since the early summer.

    December 10

    Mrs. Showalter writes to State’s Atty. C. Robert Satti, requesting a one-man grand jury investigation. No response.

    1976

    January 6

    Satti refuses to confirm or deny the existence of Mrs. Showalter’s request. Mrs. Showalter has also asked Satti’s office to ascertain the location of recorded tapes made during the coroner’s inquest.

    January 9

    Mrs. Showalter sends a special delivery letter to Satti asking for a response to the December 10 request. No response.

    February 19

    In a feature article, also carried statewide by the Associated Press, The Bulletin profiles Mrs. Showalter on page one.

    Some public officials regard her as a persistent nuisance, someone to be ignored and sidestepped, but Mrs. Lucille M. Showalter will not breathe easily until they tell her who killed her son, Bulletin reporter Fred Vollono wrote.

    “The official comment seems to be there is nothing to it,” Mrs. Showalter said. “It is just the ramblings of a grief-stricken mother. But there are many people who urge me to go on. They say, ‘Lucille, if you stop, then nothing will ever be done.’”

    February 23

    Mrs. Showalter receives a letter of confession from an inmate at Somers state prison. The inmate said he was plagued by news accounts of the death. Every time he seems to forget the accident, the inmate said, he reads another news story.

    April 2

    Mrs. Showalter submits a third written request to Satti for a grand-jury probe. No response.

    May 6

    Common Pleas court Prosecutor Harold Dean quashes the only lead in the two and a half year old investigation, The Norwich Bulletin reports. The lead was the letter of confession written by the inmate at Somers Prison. State police arrested the inmate for harassment of the victim’s mother, Mrs. Showalter, to whom the letter was sent. Dean nolled the case and allowed it to be dismissed despite a prior meeting with state police when the significance of the arrest was discussed.

    State police did not believe the letter writer was responsible for the hit-run death, but they thought the letter contained possibly significant information. Dean said he was certain the accused had no knowledge of the case, because he was incarcerated when Mr. Showalter was killed.

    August 7 The day following the Bulletin’s report of Dean quashing the lead, Chief State’s Atty. Joseph Gormley says he had “no idea” why the lead “which very well could have led to something,” resulted in a dead end. Two state police officers had met with Gormley to discuss the letter of confession.

    August 6

    State police list the investigation into the killing of Mr. Showalter as “closed pending further development.” That classification came 31 days after Dean threw the harassment case out of court.

    August 30

    Mrs. Showalter again asks Superior Court Judge Angelo Santaniello to call for a one-man grand jury probe.

    September 1

    Mrs. Showalter publicly renews her efforts to have a one-man grand jury reopen the investigation into the hit-run killing of her son. In a statement sent to 22 media outlets, Mrs. Showalter says she made the appeal in an August 30 letter to Superior Court Judge Angelo Santaniello. She says she was asking the judge to “make good on a promise” he made to her in June 1974. Santaniello wrote in a June 24, 1974 letter, Superior Court intercession would be possible if the investigation required it.

    Santaniello said, “probably the proper person” to approach would be State’s Atty. C. Robert Satti. But Mrs. Showalter said she is ignoring Satti because he failed to respond to her December 1975 letter asking for the grand jury.

    September 23

    State’s Atty. C. Robert Satti says he needs another three weeks to review information on the killing of Mr. Showalter before deciding whether the investigation should be reopened or shelved.

    Satti says he had hoped to have the matter resolved by today, but the sinking of his 35-foot cabin cruiser two weeks ago, an unexpected report of crimes by New London police, and a new trial forced him behind schedule.

    November 23

    Mrs. Showalter turns to Governor Ella T. Grasso for help.

    “I cannot endure this loss of a beloved son in the midst of a governmental system that appears to neither act nor care,” Mrs. Showalter says in a letter to the governor.

    Mrs. Showalter says she is skeptical the New London County State’s Attorney’s review of the case will result in the one-man grand jury she has requested. Satti today said he is still reviewing transcripts of the Coroner’s Inquest and refused further comment.

    December 21

    Just three days before the third anniversary of the killing of Kevin B. Showalter, the state’s chief court administrator orders the city’s only unsolved hit-and-run case reopened.

    John P. Cotter signs an order creating a one-man jury to probe the death, renewing hopes that allegations of police bungling and mishandling of the case will be settled.

    “I can’t yet believe it,” says Mrs. Showalter, calling the action a “literal miracle.”

    Cotter, a justice on the state Supreme Court, selects retired Superior Court Judge Raymond J. Devlin to head the one-man grand jury.

    An attorney representing Mrs. Lucille M. Showalter also files a $600,000 lawsuit against the unnamed person(s) responsible for the killing of her son. Atty. Averum J. Sprecher of East Haddam says the suit is aimed at protecting Mrs. Showalter’s rights.

    “The action as I have filed it will definitively preserve her rights when the investigative bodies finally determine who killed the boy,” he said. The suit is aimed at heading off fears the state’s statute of limitations might preclude Mrs. Showalter from pursuing civil action if the killer is found.

    December 24

    Superior Court Judge Joseph F. Dannehy is ordered to replace State Referee Raymond J. Devlin as the one-man grand juror investigating Mr. Showalter’s death. Chief Court Administrator John P. Cotter says Judge Devlin had asked to be taken off the case because he was too busy with other duties, and would be unable to commute from his New Haven office.

    1977

    January 4

    Austin J. McGuigan, the special prosecutor assigned to the one-man grand jury probing the hit-run death of Mr. Showalter promises to pull “all the stops” in his investigation but says he needs help from the public to succeed.

    McGuigan has worked for the state for two years as the top investigator of organized crime. He appeals to anyone with information to call him confidentially.

    February 8

    State Police Commissioner Edward P. Leonard, as part of a last-resort effort, makes a personal appeal to area residents for information about the killing of Mr. Showalter. In a letter to the people who live near the Pequot Avenue site where Mr. Showalter died, Leonard asks for facts – “No matter how insignificant they may appear” – which might shed light on the car, the driver or the accident scene.

    Special Prosecutor McGuigan says police “had no suspects.” However, he says if a suspect is found police believe there is sufficient evidence to tie the person to the case.

    April 18

    Investigators say they feel confident the Showalter case will be solved.

    The new optimism comes after a public appeal netted more than 300 leads, new laboratory analysis of existing evidence, and an accounting of each of the more than 10,000 green Chrysler products registered in Eastern Connecticut when Mr. Showalter was killed.

    The new evidence means “there is a significant possibility the vehicle in question was not a green Chrysler,” Special Prosecutor Austin McGuigan says. While the investigators will not say what other color the car might have been, the evidence apparently opens new avenues for the investigation. Previously, other theories on who drove the death car, theories which have had some substantiation, were locked into the green Chrysler theory, police acknowledge.

    May 10

    State police investigators spend two and a half hours recreating and filming the Pequot Avenue death scene where Mr. Showalter was the victim of the hit and run.

    May 18

    State police again film and re-create death scene.

    June 22

    The Bulletin reports that one of the most intensive investigations in state police history, the probe into Mr. Showalter’s hit-run death, will be given to a one-man grand jury July 5 in Windham county Superior Court.

    Judge Joseph F. Dannehy, the grand juror, imposes a gag order on all investigators assigned to the case. Special Prosecutor McGuigan and 17 state police detectives had gathered evidence for the grand jury.

    June 23

    More than 50 persons will be subpoenaed and the scope of the probe will be expanded to include subsequent actions connected with the accident, The Bulletin reports.

    June 24

    Eleven New London police officers, including the top detective involved in the first of three investigations of the hit-run death, have been subpoenaed, The Bulletin reports.

    July 5

    The grand jury begins behind closed doors with testimony by New London Det. Lt. Konstanty T. Bucko.

    Outside, a television camera crew drips with sweat under the glare of a hot summer sun.

    Inside it is quiet and cool – almost like any other day. The state police detectives and reporters talk about golf, baseball and other summertime activities. Because of the gag order imposed by Judge Dannehy, they can’t talk about what is most on their minds, what has brought them all together – the unsolved hit-run death of Kevin B. Showalter.

    The session lasts about five hours and also includes testimony by Mrs. Showalter and Debra Emilyta, Mr. Showalter’s companion the night he died.

    Ms. Emilyta has been sitting on a wall about 6 feet from Mr. Showalter when he was killed. She told police she only heard the 20-year-old Mitchell College student struck, and did not see the car which struck him.

    July 6

    Witnesses include Michael Buscetto of Mike’s Arco in New London. What he identified as body putty, apparently from the car that struck and killed Mr. Showalter, has never been seen since police officers placed it in an envelope that night, according to sources.

    Ms. Emilyta concludes testimony.

    Also testifying are Dr. Robert Weller, members of his family, and a friend, who while returning home from church drove past Mr. Showalter as he was changing the tire. They were among the last persons to see Mr. Showalter alive.

    Other witnesses include Mrs. Ruth P. Hendel and Mrs. Charles (Shirley Pope) Alloway, her daughter.

    On Christmas Eve, 1973, Mrs. Hendel had just turned away from the window of her home on Pequot Avenue where she had been watching Mr. Showalter work on the Emilyta car. She heard the noise of the car striking Mr. Showalter and turning back quickly she caught a glimpse of the taillights. Her first impression of the fleeing southbound car was that it was bright-colored, possibly red.

    Mrs. Hendel continued to watch the accident scene as she telephoned Mrs. Alloway, the wife of a New London police officer.

    Arthur Adams of New London, a Mitchell College security guard and former state policeman, also testifies. Aside from Ms. Emilyta and the hit-run driver, Adams may have been one of the last persons to see Mr. Showalter alive.

    Adams saw Mr. Showalter working on the car and Ms. Emilyta sitting on the stone wall, swinging her legs. He observed the girl with a coat collar wrapped around her head, in conversation with Mr. Showalter, after the Weller party had driven by.

    Adams continued on his rounds towards the Montauk Avenue side of the campus. Sometime after 11 p.m., he saw an ambulance heading for the hospital and two police cars heading down Plant Street.

    July 7

    Some of the last persons who saw Mr. Showalter alive and one of the first who saw him dead testify.

    Six members of the Sitty family, who were celebrating Christmas Eve and occasionally watching Mr. Showalter change a tire from inside a house on Pequot Avenue, tell the grand jury what they knew about the case, Edmond Sitty had brought out a blanket and a corduroy coat to put over Mr. Showalter’s body after he had been struck and killed.

    A New London High School classmate of Mr. Showalter, Arthur Petrini, was a passenger in a car that passed the accident scene sometime after Mr. Showalter was killed and before the ambulance and police arrived. He also testified.

    July 12

    Witnesses included two firemen and a dispatcher, two nurses and an orderly, the New London County Medical Examiner, the first man to officially identify Mr. Showalter, and a woman who lives near the accident scene.

    Larry Grimes, a security guard who knew Mr. Showalter from Mitchell College, had made the preliminary identification at Lawrence and Memorial Hospitals, where he also worked. Mrs. Dorothy Bryson of Pequot Avenue, who came upon the accident scene, also testifies.

    July 13

    New London police officers pack the waiting room of the Windham County Courthouse. Of the 11 who were subpoenaed last month, at least seven are present.

    The 11 include Patrolmen Vincent McGrath, Steven Colonis, Thomas P. Bowes Jr., and Cpl. Joseph Chiapponne, all of whom were involved in the initial investigation. With the change of shift, Sgt. Joseph Jullarine, Patrolmen Richard West and Glenn Davis and Det. Sgt. Konstanty T. Bucko joined the probe. Bucko was off duty at the time.

    McGrath filed the motor vehicle report of the accident and the sketch on the report was by Bowes. Bucko took photographs of the scene and gathered evidence. His photographs may be the only ones taken. Bucko also went to the hospital and got the victim’s clothing, according to sources.

    Colonis, the first officer on the scene, apparently arrived as Mr. Showalter was being placed in the ambulance. He interviewed Ms. Emilyta and took her to the station to file a 13-sentence statement.

    There is some confusion of whether Colonis drove an unmarked police car that night. Sources say police made conflicting statements on that question.

    July 14

    Thomas Wainwright, who played tennis with Kevin Showalter at New London High, saw his lifeless body on a sidewalk on Pequot Avenue before an ambulance or police arrived, and is among those testifying today. Arthur Petrini, who testified last week, was a passenger in Wainwright’s car.

    Mr. and Mrs. Donald Wainwright, who were stopped by police after circling the scene in another auto, also testify.

    At least seven New London police officers are at the courthouse, but it is not known how many are testifying.

    July 19

    The grand jury shifts beyond reconstructions by “near witnesses,” as Sgt. Joseph Jullarine, now retired, testifies. He was the squad leader who reportedly conducted “an intensive investigation” for a red car during the 11:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. shift on Christmas Day 1973.

    July 20

    The grand jury investigators spend much of the day alone reviewing physical evidence and testimony. Only three witnesses – New London police who have already appeared during the proceedings – are present.

    July 21

    Det. Bucko appears for at least the fourth time in the nine days the grand jury has convened. The session begins at 10 a.m. and ends about 5:45 p.m., with his departure.

    A nurse’s aide who knelt by Mr. Showalter’s body, feeling for a pulse, also testifies, Sue Costello, who heard the report of an accident as she was leaving Lawrence and Memorial Hospitals in New London from her shift, had arrived on the scene before ambulance personnel and police.

    July 26

    The scope of the grand jury probe goes beyond Mr. Showlater’s death and runs smack into a crucial area of dispute with the appearance of New London police detective Walter Petchark.

    On Christmas Day 1973, with evidence already missing and news of Mr. Showalter’s death on the radio, Petchark reportedly received a call from former mayor Harvey N. Mallove. Mallove later told The Bulletin there was no truth to the report. But he allegedly told Petchark he thought he saw the accident the night before.

    Three city police detectives – Bucko, Petchark, and Carmello Fazzina – were present at the inquiry. They were followed by laboratory technicians from the FBI, who lent their expertise in the analysis of headlight glass possibly belonging to the death vehicle.

    July 27

    The former counsel for the estate of Mr. Showalter testifies. Atty. Thomas Bishop confirms his representation of the estate was severed in June 1974.

    Thomas and Donald Wainwright return for further testimony.

    July 28

    Witnesses include Mrs. S.F. Zimet of Ledyard. Mallove said he was visiting at her home on Christmas Eve 1973, left about 10:45 p.m., and was home in New London about half an hour later.

    Mrs. Zimet is accompanied by her attorney, L. Patrick Gray. Gray, like Bishop, is a member of the New London law firm Suissman, Shapiro, Wool, and Brennan.

    Other witnesses include New London city Manager C. Francis Driscoll and Elise Mallove, Mallove’s daughter. Miss Mallove was home for her Christmas vacation in 1973.

    The grand jury begins a four-week recess. More than 50 persons were called during the first 12 days of the inquiry.

    August 30

    New London police investigators and a newspaper editor who has followed their unsolved hit-run death case for three years are among the witnesses.

    Retired Police Chief John Crowley and Det. Lt. K.T. Bucko, who refused repeated pleas by The Bulletin in March of 1975 to discuss the death of Kevin B. Showalter, gives testimony – as did the paper’s managing editor, John C. Peterson.

    Peterson testifies for three hours.

    August 31

    The attorney who conducted a coroner’s inquest into Mr. Showalter’s death, the results of which have never met public scrutiny, is the first witness today. Atty. Joseph Moukwasher, who heard testimony from 50 witnesses during six days in September and November of 1974, is one of the few persons familiar with the substance of that investigation.

    It took more than two years for the transcripts of the hearings to be typed and submitted to State’s Atty. C. Robert Satti.

    State Police Sgt. Donald Crouch, who in 1974 and 1975 worked for the federal grand jury investigating alleged corruption in the New London force, also testifies. Other witnesses included Rosemary Benson and Carol James.

    September 1

    Physical exhibits appear to outnumber witnesses in the 15th day of proceedings. Two state police technicians from the crime lab in Bethany carry satchels concealing evidence into the closed courtroom. One exhibit is a light colored automobile fender, which was dented and streaked.

    September 2

    Det. Edward Pickett of the New London County State’s Attorney’s office, who helped administer a lie detector test to Ms. Emilyta, testifies. Ms. Emilyta passed the test.

    Another detective, private investigator Joe Harris, is also called. A former Waterford police sergeant, he worked on the case for a brief time, on his own.

    Other witnesses in a short session include State Police Sgt. Charles Trotter, a principal investigator in the federal grand jury probe of the New London city police.

    September 12

    Two persons who saw Mr. Showalter on Christmas Eve 1973, hours before he was killed testify.

    Ramona Ricci, a coworker of Mr. Showalter’s at a Waterford discotheque, attended one of two parties Mr. Showalter had planned to go to after work that night. Nancy Wicksham, who also testified, had joined friends that holiday evening at the club.

    September 18

    Mallove says his status as a suspect in the case is “nothing new.” During testimony in a New Jersey courtroom, Connecticut State Police revealed Mallove is a prime suspect in the hit-run case. The testimony concerned refusal by two New Jersey men to comply with a subpoena issued by the one-man grand jury. Trooper Charles Wargat also testified he was told the two men repaired Mallove’s car on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day 1973.

    Mallove tells The Bulletin he did not know the men and never had a car repaired at their shop on Reed Street in New London. He says he didn’t kill Mr. Showalter and doesn’t know anything about anybody who did.

    September 19

    One of the two men who testified with immunity today has said in a published account he has no knowledge of the case and denied any car was repaired in his New London shop on Christmas Eve 1973.

    Walter String Jr. made those comments in the New Jersey Courier Post. He and his son, Walter String III, had been ordered to appear today by a New Jersey judge, after refusing to comply with a subpoena.

    Among the dozen or so witnesses are New London city police Sgt. Donald Sloan and Cpl. Charles Alloway. They took the first full statement from Ms. Emilyta, five days after the accident.

    September 26

    Darlene Barnes, a friend of Mr. Showalter who patronized the Waterford discotheque where he worked, is among the witnesses today. Ms. Barnes was also one of the 50 witnesses during the coroner’s inquest of 1974.

    October 3

    Larry Grimes testifies again. The Mitchell College security guard who made the first identification of Mr. Showalter at Lawrence and Memorial Hospitals, was also at the courthouse on July 12, and Sept. 26.

    The grand jury will be in recess until October 17. It has convened 20 times since July 5 and heard about 90 witnesses.

    October 11

    Judge Dannehy says published reports that Mallove is a prime suspect in the case “couldn’t bother me in the least.”

    “They (the newspapers) are free to speculate if they wish,” Dannehy says. “I am not concerned with their claimed right to freedom of expression.

    I think that sometimes their attitude is to publish and be damned, but they don’t bother me.”

    “Why don’t you wait” for the grand jury report? Dannehy asked.

    October 17

    The sales manager of a New London auto firm who said he has sold a number of cars to the family of a suspect in the hit-run case testifies.

    In 1970, Peter Emmanuel Sr. of New London Motors sold a Lincoln Continental to Harvey N. Mallove, whom state police have identified as a suspect in the Christmas Eve, 1973 death. A compact car was among the other autos the New London firm sold to Mallove.

    State police were looking for a green Chrysler product when they first questioned New London motors personnel, Emmanuel said before he testified. But the firm didn’t sell Mallove such a vehicle, which police had believed was the death car, he added.

    October 24

    The grand jury does not convene today because the investigators were not ready to proceed, Judge Dannehy said. He said he plans to conduct several more sessions before adjourning to write the final report, but did not specify.

    November 14

    The grand jury meets for its first regular session since October 17 and hears one witness. The witness, Gary Jordan of New London, said he was dating Elise Mallove on Christmas Eve 1973.

    Sources say the grand jury conducted at least one special session since October 17, but it was not known who testified.

    November 21

    State police continue working long and irregular hours probing Mr. Showalter’s death as they re-create the hit-run scene on Pequot Avenue near Plant Street for at least the third time.

    November 29

    The man whom state police have said they consider a prime suspect in New London’s only unsolved hit-run death has his day in court.

    Harvey N. Mallove testifies for about four hours before the secret grand jury probing Mr. Showalter’s death. Atty. Leo J. McNamara accompanies Mallove to the Windham County Courthouse.

    Mallove says he was one of a number of persons who drove by the accident scene shortly before or after Mr. Showalter was killed. But a four-part series by The Bulletin in March of 1975 showed Mallove saw a scene that seven other persons said could not have taken place.

    Mallove passed the accident scene within a minute or two after an ambulance call was logged. His statement to New London police – dated eight months later – conflicts with accounts of seven persons at the scene or looking out their windows seconds after Mr. Showalter was struck.

    Mr. Showalter was struck by a car as he changed a tire on a friend’s parked Ford Pinto, on a well-lit section of Pequot Avenue near Plant Street.

    In his statement, Mallove said he saw an automobile parked at an angle in front of the Pinto. None of the seven persons saw any car stopped at the scene immediately after the victim was hit according to the July 10, 1974 report by New London Det. Lt. Konstanty T. Bucko.

    Mallove’s vivid description of a middle-aged man talking with a girl near the car also conflicts with statements by the seven persons.

    In his statement, Mallove said he assumed the man was a member of the police department. But Bucko claims in the July 10 report that Mallove told him the talking to the girl was “NOT” a policeman.

    Bucko’s report also claims Mallove learned on Christmas Day 1974 that “a man had been killed and he remarked to some people that he saw the body.” But Bucko continued to report that after Mallove viewed photographs of the scene he realized what he mistook for a body was a floor mat. In his statement, Mallove said he saw a “flat object which I assumed was a blanket or a mat.”

    In his August 31, 1974 statement, Mallove said, “Seeing no trouble, accident, or any evidence of anything out of place…I continued on my way home.”

    In the July 10, 1974 report, Bucko claims; “Mr. Mallove stated he was going to stop because he realized there had been an accident.”

    Mallove has told The Bulletin that Bucko misquoted him.

    December 7

    The calling of witnesses ends with Mallove’s second appearance.

    The proceedings included a film screening, apparently of the death scene as re-created by state police.

    After the 35 minute screening, Special Prosecutor McGuigan and Judge Dannehy questioned Mallove for about 40 minutes. That was the bulk of the afternoon session.

    The question of whether indictments should be handed down in New London’s only unsolved hit-run death now rests with Judge Dannehy.

    After 24 sessions and more than 100 witnesses, Dannehy said the next step for the grand jury is the final report on who killed Kevin B. Saltwater.

    1978

    Feb. 17 Report filed.

    Feb. 22

    Report made public.

  • THE DANNEHY REPORT


  • SHOWALTER COVERUP COLUMNS

    Chapter 1

    Law and Justice in Everyday Life

    Cover-Up In New London

    Hit-And-Run Continues To Mock Justice


    Sept. 4, 2000

    If Connecticut Chief State’s Attorney John Bailey wants to bring closure to cold cases, here’s one from New London that should top the list: The Showalter hit-and-run cover-up is a dark chapter in Connecticut history, a tale more appropriate for a Third World country.

    And yet, only one thing bothers former New London County State’s Attorney C. Robert Satti about the Showalter case: that it was investigated at all.

    Satti, now retired, made the point again and again, most recently this year. Satti’s complaint, made during the wake of the late state police Detective George Ryalls, was that Ryalls’ obituary mentioned the suspect the prosecutor refused to pursue in the Showalter probe.

    Kevin B. Showalter, a 20-year-old Mitchell College student, was killed at 11:12 p.m. on Christmas Eve 1973. He was changing a tire on a well-lit section of Pequot Avenue on the New London shoreline when he was struck and killed. His girlfriend, sitting only 6 feet away on a stone wall, claims she saw nothing.

    Auto body putty from the death car disappeared after a tow truck driver gave it to New London police. The evidence file that was supposed to contain the putty was stuffed with bathroom tiles. The file that was supposed to contain headlight glass from the death car instead contained glass from three different headlights. State police and others suspected that, in order to throw legitimate investigators off the trail, the late young man's clothing was pounded on a different-colored car than the one that killed him.

    The victim's mother, Lucille M. Showalter, tried to get a grand jury investigation of the cover-up. She was rebuffed repeatedly by the presiding judge, Angelo Santaniello who, it later became clear, was best friends with the leading suspect. Santaniello then referred Showalter to prosecutor Satti, who happened to be his former law partner. Satti refused to acknowledge registered letters from Mrs. Showalter pleading for a grand jury probe.

    Satti did finally meet with Mrs. Showalter in 1978, after Judge Joseph Dannehy of Willimantic, acting as a one-man grand jury, named former New London Mayor Harvey N. Mallove as the probable driver of the hit-run vehicle. Satti called the three-hour meeting, in which he repeatedly told Mrs. Showalter that there never should have been a grand jury investigation under Dannehy.

    Mallove held a good hand; he had the best legal muscle in New London County on his side. New London police would not question him for more than seven months, and then only in a perfunctory manner. They would say they inspected his cars, but they did not. Significantly, Mallove’s Lincoln had been repaired, but it wasn’t until state police took over the case four years after the accident that the fender was finally seized.

    Santaniello would arrange for a coroner’s inquest and put his niece in charge of typing the transcript. Only after two years of intense public pressure would the transcript be typed. But the inquest never issued a finding.

    Santaniello tipped off Mallove that he was a suspect. The judge was also aware of what local police knew about the case. Mrs. Showalter memorialized the admissions in tape-recorded telephone conversations.

    “I did talk to Harvey,” Santaniello told Mrs. Showalter on Oct. 17, 1975, “and I said, `You’re suspected.’ As a matter of fact, at that time a police officer came to him on the same day or the next day, and told him you were making accusations about him and that he was a prime suspect.” The day before, Mallove told Mrs. Showalter, “Judge Santaniello is of the opinion that you fingered me.”

    It was not until 1977 that state police, who took over the case at the behest of former Gov. Ella Grasso, formally named Mallove a suspect. Next week, I'll propose a means to solve the Showalter cover-up.

    Showalter Cover-Up Is New London's Shame

    Sept. 11, 2000

    New London, where I grew up and began working in the 1960s and ‘70s, was a dirty little city with character.

    It had a restaurant called the Hygienic that was everything but. There were at least a couple bars where the cops couldn't do anything, except maybe a little business.

    The top pimp in town never went to jail until he was about 60 and a certain court official retired.

    New London will always be the city that tried to cover up the Christmas Eve 1973 hit-and-run death of Kevin B. Showalter. It's been doing a pretty good job for nearly 27 years, but the onion is beginning to peel.

    The local daily newspaper admitted -- in its official history published this year -- that it did a shoddy job on the Showalter case. Specifically, The Day admitted its failure to explore the relationship between a former mayor and a top judge, and their influence on the course of the criminal investigation. That’s a beginning.

    Political and police corruption goes back a couple generations in New London. By the 1970s, New London police were widely known to be involved in the selling of women, dope and refrigerators, among other things. A federal grand jury took note. But as with the Showalter case, there were these little problems with the evidence.

    A jewelry store owner and former city mayor multi-millionaire Harvey Mallove was the prime suspect in the hit-and-run death of Showalter, a student at Mitchell College. Showalter’s date that night, Christmas Eve 1973, said she saw nothing from her vantage point six feet away, sitting on a stone wall under a streetlight on a residential street as a young man changed the tire of her car.

    Harvey was everybody’s pal. He would take kids to the Super Bowl, then, down the road, get them jobs as cops. He was friends with bums in the street and bums in high political office. He was wired. The standing joke among reporters became: Harvey's a great guy to have a beer with, just don't change your tire if he's driving by.

    “I didn't kill the kid in any way, shape or form,” Harvey told me many times. As mayor, Harvey helped hire a few police chiefs. His best friend was the administrative judge for the county; that was the judge who controlled the early stages of the investigation, specifically a coroner’s inquest that never issued a finding.

    State police followed up a report that Mallove’s best friend, County Administrative Judge Angelo G. Santaniello, was with Mallove on Christmas Eve 1973. Santaniello reportedly was No. 11 on a guest list for a party at the home of his political mentor, the late state Sen. Peter Mariani. The Mariani party was one of two Mallove attended that night.

    Santaniello told reporters he never went out on Christmas Eve.

    Another state judge, Joseph F. Dannehy, conducted two grand jury investigations. In 1978, Dannehy named Mallove as the probable driver of the hit-run vehicle, but said evidence that might have ensured conviction was either mishandled or destroyed.

    Mallove died a few years ago with this legacy. Others still have time to come clean and tell the truth about the cover-up. Mrs. Showalter tried unsuccessfully to have Satti, Santaniello and others prosecuted for hindrance of prosecution (CGS Section 53a-166) warning of impending discovery, providing means of avoiding discovery, preventing discovery by deception. Because a conspiracy to hinder prosecution is an ongoing crime, those with information could tell Chief State's Attorney John Bailey, who has begun an initiative to solve some of the state's cold homicide cases.

    Isn’t it time? No one kept the system honest when it counted, though some tried. Most stood by as the system that was supposed to protect the victim and his family betrayed them all.

    Where is the conscience of the community?

    Cold Case On Ice Forever

    Nov. 6, 2000

    One way to deflect attention from a suspect is to get investigators involved in meaningless, time-consuming tasks. Another way is to create a bogus suspect who is then exposed as such, causing a belief that the case is just too hazy to pursue.

    Both of these devices were used repeatedly in the cover-up of the Showalter hit-run case in New London. Whether this was happenstance, indifference, incompetence or malfeasance, the result was the same. The system failed.

    And now, it seems, the truth will remain buried forever.

    Judge Joseph F. Dannehy, the grand juror who investigated the case, wrote in his finding of fact: “After December 25, 1973, the New London Police Department did virtually nothing to solve the hit-run death of Kevin B. Showalter.” The accident occurred the night before.

    Local police and court officials, however, were pro-active in another sense. Their actions served to protect the assailant.

    For example, New London police claimed it would cost as much as $1,200 to trace vehicles using data from the state Motor Vehicle Department. The motor vehicle department declared there was no such charge.

    Nevertheless, New London police spent their time hand-sorting local motor vehicle cards. They looked for a green Chrysler. That was likely a false lead; state police said paint particles found on the victim's clothing did not come from the car that killed him.

    Former Mayor Harvey Mallove began meeting informally with police and court officials as early as Dec. 25, 1973. Mallove wanted to know what the police knew.

    The only lead after two and a half years was quashed by then New London Common Pleas Court Prosecutor Harold Dean in May 1976. The lead was a letter of confession written by a Somers prison inmate to the victim’s mother, Lucille Showalter.

    “I told Harold how important that was to me,” Mallove, the prime suspect, confided to an associate. He also acknowledged discussing the purported confession with his best friend, the presiding judge for the county, Angelo Santaniello.

    The author of the letter was known to be connected with “fences,” or purveyors of stolen goods in the New London area. State police arrested him for harassment of Mrs. Showalter. Two state troopers met with Dean for an hour. They told him the letter contained possibly significant information. State police also believed they could connect the dots in New London between the letter writer and the powers-that-be. Did he owe some favors? Was he paid? Police knew the author had no liability for the accident; he was actually in Florida at the time of the hit-run.

    Dean nolled and dismissed the case without telling the troopers or Mallove. Soon thereafter, state police listed the killing of Showalter as “closed pending further development.” Upon learning of Dean's action, Chief State's Attorney Joseph Gormley remarked he had “no idea” why the lead, “which very well could have led to something,” resulted in a dead end. The case would remain closed for six months, until Gov. Ella Grasso brought the matter to Justice John Cotter.

    Was there criminal activity connected with the Showalter cover-up? It appears we will never know for certain. Dannehy named Mallove as the probable driver, noting that evidence which might have ensured conviction was destroyed. The Chief State’s Attorney’s Office reviewed aspects of the case this fall after a series of columns appeared in The Law Tribune. However, the statute of limitations for the most likely potential charge, conspiracy to hinder prosecution of motor vehicle misconduct, has expired. This shameful case, it appears, is destined to stay on ice forever.

    - AND:

    Olympic Gold for Missing Evidence


    November 28, 2005

    Judge Ellen Gordon was in way over her head with what she tried pass off as a ruling in Day Publishing v. State's Attorney.

    Clueless Gordon was handed a hot one, a case no one has ever wanted in the so-called New London Judicial District. Every single time this case has come to court, begging for justice, The Robes, the prosecutors and their minions have either desecrated their oaths or looked the other way. Clueless Gordon, fairly new to the scene, has managed to join the list of those who are both ostriches and failures.

    The Day newspaper asked Gordon this year to release the grand jury testimony regarding the cover-up of the 1973 hit-run death of Kevin Showalter. Before Gordon probably ever heard of Showalter, five New London County judges recused themselves from a John Doe civil suit against the driver because they were friends with the prime suspect, Harvey Mallove. Mallove -- the late mayor of New London and multimillionaire jeweler who picked police chiefs, planned to run for Congress and starred in the social scene -- was prone to say, "I never killed the kid -- in any way, shape or form."

    It's not like we could expect a New London judge to show guts or brains in this case. Compelling testimony from the first of two grand juries implicated local law enforcement and court officials in a widespread cover-up.

    On Christmas Eve 1973 at 11:12 p.m., as the call came in, a high-ranking New London officer, said, "F--k him, he's dead," and then left to go home. Showalter, a 20-year-old Mitchell College student, lay dead on a well-lit section of Pequot Avenue by the shoreline. His body was thrown 22 feet from the point of impact. His shoes were found 110 feet apart. A leg bone was 75 feet away.

    A tow truck driver gave police auto body putty from the death car. The putty was never seen again. New London police mixed headlight glass from at least three different cars in what they called the evidence file. Replacing the auto body putty was bathroom tile. A local coroner's inquest never issued a finding. State police, who took over the case at the behest of Gov. Ella Grasso, were bewildered and angry when they could not find the transcript of the coroner's inquest. Mallove's best friend -- the presiding judge for the county, Angelo G. Santaniello -- had put his niece in charge of typing that transcript. Santaniello also tipped off Mallove to his status as a suspect.

    Now, Clueless Gordon can't find the 3,000-page transcript of the first grand jury. Does she care? Court clerks allegedly performed a diligent search. Would any reasonable person believe or accept any of this?

    Among the last persons known to possess the grand jury report was the late State's Attorney, C. Robert Satti. Satti, who refused to investigate the case before a special prosecutor was appointed, claimed he returned a copy to the grand juror, then Willimantic Superior Court Judge (later Supreme Court Justice) Joseph Dannehy. Both Dannehy and Satti are dead. Did "Do Nothing Bob" -- Mallove's moniker for Satti -- take it with him? We might as well ask Harvey, also dead, or Kevin.

    Gordon's pathetic decision, dated Nov. 7, went on for about a sentence before its first fatal error. It might sound like a technical error, but it's much, much more than that. She actually said New London police investigated the case.

    Before this, I thought it might take generations to remove the stench from the New London courthouse. Alas, for New London, the stench of this cover-up is forever.







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              ECO-IMPERIALISMO, HIDROELÉCTRICAS, MENTIRAS Y VERDADES        
    Esta mañana me encontré este artículo en el muro de un amigo http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2705631/el_quimbo_colombia_enelendesas_low_carbon_hydroelectric_racket.html. El artículo por un imperialismo ecológico critica el imperialismo económico, pero su crítica, aunque razonable en algunos puntos, no deja de tener el trasfondo errado de muchos ecologistas: ¡imponer condiciones a los países subdesarrollados para que los ecologistas de los desarrollados sigan contaminando en paz! Pero lo irónico es que The ecologist critica una de las fuentes de generación de energía renovable más bonitas, eficientes y que puede darle a la gente que vive en ese territorio que llaman Colombia fuentes de riqueza. Además, la crítica se hace de manera ligera pasando por alto las consideraciones del International Panel on Climate Change acerca de sus ventajas.  En el punto que acierta es precisamente en los abusos del estado sobre las comunidades, donde vale la pena resaltar que el aprovechamiento del potencial hidroeléctrico no da derecho a expropiar, en favor del que sea. 

    Este escrito consta de varias partes. El primero es que hay una confusión entre inversión extranjera y concesión de monopolios extranjeros, donde los ecologistas aciertan. Y para la aclaración cito a un a un profesor de la Universidad de New York, a Murray Rothbard. Luego, muestro que tras el ecologismo hay también imperialismo, pero uno que suele gustarle a ciertas izquierdas, uno que impone condiciones insoportables a los países pobres, para que los ecologistas nórdicos no tengan cargos de conciencia por prender la calefacción, dado que en las zonas tropicales hay selvas que se beneficiarán de su cariño al planeta. En ella explico que hay una falacia en cuanto a la consideración que hace el artículo de las hidroeléctricas, incluso basándome en el IPCC. Posteriormente, se muestra que las hidroeléctricas además de ser tecnologías que producen energía eficiente sin emisiones de CO2 (no se discute acá el tema de si el cambio climático es originado o no por el hombre) es una oportunidad de ofrecer energía barata. El precio de la energía se relaciona con el crecimiento económico, inclusive una disminución de la demanda de energía puede ser un indicio previo a una crisis económica. La energía eléctrica es clave en la industria y una energía más barata puede disminuir costos. Finalmente, ante un planteamiento del artículo que menciona las pérdidas de energía en transmisión y distribución (o sea los cables que llevan la energía de la planta a su casa) que denuncian a que se deben ¿a las leyes de la física? ¿a viabilidad técnica pero no económica? ¿a ineficiencia? Esto porque consideraban que era más importante disminuir las pérdidas que construir hidroeléctricas. Hasta cierto punto, por física, las pérdidas en transmisión son inevitables, no sé cuál sea el punto. Pero eso no es una excusa para no mejorar la oferta. 

    IMPERIALISMO ECONÓMICO Y MONOPOLIO ESTATAL
    El imperialismo ecológico es una realidad. Sin embargo, muchos partidos de izquierda al ser ecologistas están convencidos de que no es imperialismo. Ya Hayek denunciaba que existía una imposición de países ricos y contaminados que obligaban a países pobres y selváticos a generar amplias áreas protegidas. Esto genera como dice don Alpiniano en El Tomismo Desdeñado unos beneficios a unas personas que no les corresponden, imponiendo cargas a otros que no las merecen. Sin embargo, luego de que en estos países -como Colombia- nadie puede hacer nada, ni tiene cómo adquirir recursos para explotar sus ventajas ahí sí llegan empresas extranjeras que, haciendo convenios con el gobierno, adquieren los beneficios que los nacionales no han tenido. 

    Hace Murray Rothbard, citado por el instituto Mises Hispano una distinción importante entre la sana inversión extranjera y la alianza de empresas ricas con gobiernos ineptos pobres:

    "Los conservadores norteamericanos insisten en particular en resaltar ante los países retrasados las grandes posibilidades y la importancia de las inversiones privadas procedentes de los países avanzados, y les incitan a crear un clima favorable a las mismas, de modo que no se vean sujetas al instigamiento de los gobernantes. Todo ello es muy cierto, pero, una vez más, a menudo es irreal, dada la situación de estos países. Estos conservadores caen persistentemente en el error de no saber distinguir entre las inversiones exteriores legítimas del mercado libre y las basadas en concesiones monopolistas y en donaciones de vastas extensiones de tierras otorgadas por los Estados subdesarrollados. En la medida en que las inversiones exteriores se basan en monopolios y en agresiones contra el campesinado, en esa misma medida adquiere el capitalismo extranjero las características de los señores feudales y debe ser combatido con los mismos medios"

    En este sentido, estoy de acuerdo con el artículo -y en contra del imperialismo económico- en que el estado confunde inversión extranjera con monopolio extranjero. Y el monopolio es desagradable venga de donde venga, sea el monopolio estatal tan "nacional", como cualquier otro. Por eso, cuando Robledo, senador del Polo, defendía a los arroceros por la imposición ridícula de tener que comprar nuevas semillas estaba promoviendo algo anarcocapitalista y liberal, aunque con argumentos de izquierda. 

    Lo mismo pasa en este caso, si se trata de una inversión privada ¿por qué el estado entra y desaloja campesinos? ¿Por qué expropia? Y por más que la ley diga que la expropiación requiere una indemnización al precio del avalúo comercial, ¿es el avalúo comercial el precio de venta? Hombre, no estoy en momento de calcular las rentas campesinas vs las rentas hidroeléctricas, pero sospecho que las rentas hidroeléctricas son más altas. Ahora, si el campesino no quiere vender al precio que dice el avaluador ¿por qué le quita el estado su tierra bajo la excusa del "bien común" para las rentas particulares? No creo que si la transacción se diera en condiciones de libre mercado los campesinos salieran a protestar. Hay alrededor de un millón de kilómetros de líneas de transmisión eléctrica, y si uno viaja por carretera suele ver vacas o sembrados alrededor. ¿Por qué esos campesinos no protestan? Porque 1. esos terrenos no son expropiados sino que cuentan con servidumbres de paso, 2. Se suelen hacer arreglos de mercado. Hombre, hay casos de casos, pero en general no se ve un descontento generalizado. 

    Pero, no, la herramienta de la expropiación es el arma para el bien común, como en Venezuela que hay mucho "bien común", siendo tan paradisiado que prefieren venirse para Colombia. La expropiación existe pero tiene sus límites. En todo caso, sin estado Â¿quién expropiaría para que se hicieran las vías? 

    IMPERIALISMO ECOLÓGICO

    Sin embargo, las razones ecológicas que plantean para oponerse a las hidroeléctricas son más bien pobres. En primer lugar, las consideran también causa del calentamiento global. ¿Cómo? No quiero citar el artículo porque me da pereza pero la idea se resume en 1. cortan bosques tropicales que recogen el CO2, 2. son fuentes de Metano. Hombre ¿cómo un artículo que cita el Panel Intergubernamental sobre el Cambio Climático para defender a los campesinos y el agro sale a decir que son más contaminantes? En primer lugar, si uno revisa lo que dice el IPCC en materia de energía hidoeléctrica (sacaron un documento sobre energías alternativas) su resumen -de la IPCC- arranca así: "Hydropower offers significant potential for carbon emissions reductions" http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/special-reports/srren/Chapter%205%20Hydropower.pdf. Creo que en ese punto "The ecologist" se equivoca. 

    Por otro lado argumenta que las represas (reservoirs) son fuentes de Metano. La verdad, lo que dicen los científicos climáticos es que si bien el metano CH4 es un gas efecto invernadero, su absorción es más rápida que el CO2, una diferencia que va desde unas décadas en el metano, hasta miles de años para el dióxido de carbono. Además, de acuerdo con la siguiente imagen que proviene del último reporte del IPCC parte del CO2 proviene del uso de la tierra http://www.slideshare.net/fullscreen/IPCCGeneva/fifth-assessment-report-synthesis-report/11:
    Francamente, si queremos disminuir TODAS las emisiones humanas de CO2 hay que empezar por dejar de respirar. ¿Y todas las artificiales? Dudo que la energía que utiliza "The ecologist" sea propiamente energía que no emita CO2 -bueno, puede ser nuclear que no les gusta tampoco- pero no es de las "terribles" hidroeléctricas. 

    ¿Qué otra razón puede tener "The ecologist"? ¿Proteger los bosques de los países subdesarrollados? ¿Para qué? ¿Para que haya bosques que puedan chuparse el CO2 que producen sus plantas a carbón, gas, petróleo, etc. a costa de energía más costosa, menor productividad, entre otras, en nuestros países? ¿Para que ellos puedan seguir subsidiando sus industrias a cambio de que las nuestras no puedan competir en sus mercados por el costo de la energía?

    DEFENDIENDO LAS HIDROELÉCTRICAS

    LAGO CALIMA
    Lago Calima.
    Uno de los embalses en Colombia.
    En un apartado anterior cuestioné el manejo del monopolio estatal con la empresa. El estado es una asociación de políticos corruptos con empresarios ineficientes. Pero tanto la oportunidad a nivel de recursos hídricos que hay en Colombia, la eficiencia energética de las hidroeléctricas, su costo en comparación con las térmicas a base de carbón, gas, gasolina, su posibilidad de cambiar potencia (a diferencia de otras renovables de potencia inestable) y almacenar la energía, entre muchas otras, me hacen tenerle cariño a esta tecnología. Creo que en el punto anterior quedó desvirtuado que las hidroeléctricas tengan impactos a nivel global vía CO2 (lo que hacen es quitar el calmadero de conciencia de los ecologistas ricos que les permite seguir emitiendo CO2 bajo la tranquilidad que los bosques tropicales los recogerán). El metano no me preocupa realmente y creo que es una afirmación que no estaba fundamentada, al fin y al cabo, los embalses no son aguas estancadas. 

    El potencial hidroeléctrico de ese territorio que llaman Colombia es una maravilla. Eso sin contar con el potencial energético de otras tecnologías renovables como las fotovoltaicas por su ubicación terrestre, las mareomotrices, entre otras. Que cualquiera venga y lo explote es necesario, aunque en condiciones de mercado, no monopólicas ni imperialistas. Adicionalmente, la energía hidroeléctrica es más barata. En el siguiente gráfico hay un promedio de los precios mensuales en comparación al porcentaje de generación térmica en Colombia:

    Por puro azar puede observarse con claridad la correlación entre el porcentaje de generación térmica en Colombia y el precio constante (deflactado con IPC) de la energía. Como la gráfica de generación térmica de alguna manera encaja con la hidráulica (la cogeneración y la eólica representan porcentajes insignificantes) podría afirmarse que a mayor generación hidráulica en general menos precio. ¿Por qué se presentan esos baches en la generación? La razón es muy simple, el agua es renovable pero no predecible. Si uno mira las correlaciones de series de ingresos los caudales en dos o tres días tienen altas correlaciones, pero alrededor de dos meses -algo que corroboré con un ex empleado de ISA e ISAGEN- las correlaciones son nulas. 

    Hay incertidumbre en el ingreso del agua. Adicionalmente, en unas ocasiones por década se presenta el fenómeno del niño. El fenómeno del niño genera lluvias en Perú -un país desértico- y trae sequía a un país lluvioso como Colombia. Como el agua escasea hay que producir la energía con un sustituto: las termoeléctricas. El costo de la energía se dispara. En este momento parece que están las condiciones para que se dé el fenómeno del Niño si es que no estamos ya en él. De ese fenómeno se ha venido especulando desde que empecé a investigar este tema en Junio del año pasado (o sea el 2014). Esa especulación posiblemente también influye en los precios, el aumento de la producción térmica y la disminución de la hidroeléctrica porque ante el riesgo de escasez se empieza a guardar el agua. El profesor John Jairo García y otros de EAFIT en un paper al respecto proponía medir las expectativas de aportes al sistema en relación con el precio: 

    "Una variable importante sobre la determinación del precio en el mercado no regulado que debiera incluirse en estudios futuros son las expectativas climatológicas; en la medida en que se espere una disminución del recurso hídrico, generará expectativas de aumentos en el precio.". http://revistas.upb.edu.co/index.php/cienciasestrategicas/article/view/1093/1313

    La intuición tras el análisis es muy buena, pero dudo que pueda encontrarse una variable de expectativas climatológicas. Aunque si algo me soprendió de John Jairo era esa capacidad de creatividad econométrica. El caso es que la ventaja de tener un sistema donde el "combustible"que es el agua es variable, permite inferir que, al menos en las condiciones geográficas de los Andes Colombianas, es más barato que el uso de otros combustibles.

    Es así como la construcción de hidroeléctricas -aunque respetando los derechos de propiedad privada- es una necesidad para mantener bajos los precios de la energía. Hay muchos trabajos que buscan predecir el precio de la energía y lo hacen en función de variables hídricas. Pero nada mejor que leer los errores de las predicciones pasadas de los economistas. En este artículo participó mi amigo y profesor de econometría Mauricio Lopera y dice lo siguiente:

    " La coherencia del resultado se corrobora en el mes de enero de 2014, donde se aprecia una caída grande en el precio producto de la entrada en operación de El Quimbo y Sogamoso, las cuales en conjunto aumentan la oferta de electricidad en 1220 MW" http://www.redalyc.org/pdf/1552/155226077004.pdf
    Mauricio nos insistía mucho que verificáramos que el resultado econométrico coincidiera con la "intuición" económica.  El problema es que las predicciones se equivocan y fuertemente. En el artículo citado, se muestra que los precios caerían en enero de 2014, la razón sería lógica la entrada de hidrosogamoso y quimbo (que es la que menciona The ecologist). Los precios en 2014 en bolsa fueron altísimos, y apenas hoy 16/01/2015 leí que estaban inaugurando la planta de hidrosogamoso. Lo que es cierto es que esas plantas deberían influir en la disminución del precio por el aumento de la oferta, además, de un insumo mucho más barato como "combustible" que el carbón. En eso acertó el trabajo de Mauricio y otros. Pero el cómo o cuánto bajarán los precios no podemos calcularlo con exactitud. 

    DEFICIENCIAS DEL SISTEMA
    Los cables suelen dañar las fotos de paisajes.
    Pero ¿no puede haber buenas fotos de cables de alta tensión?

    El sistema de energía que nace con las leyes 142 y en concreto 143 de 1994 tiene muchas deficiencias. Aunque la L143/94 trataba de dar paso a un modelo más parecido al de un mercado, esa distinción del mercado regulado del consumidor de energía hace que nos saquen un ojo de la cara porque sus precios están muy por encima de los de bolsa; aunque relativamente influidos por ellos como lo mostraba el profesor John Jairo García. El modelo aunque avanza hacia tratar de liberar lo que considera de mercado y regular lo que considera "monopolio natural" se queda corto. Pero realmente si hay algo aburrido es la regulación del sistema de energía, como todas las regulaciones. Hablemos más bien de leyes bonitas, las del "fatum" o de la naturaleza... las humanas dan asco. 

    Quiero enfocarme más en los problemas que mencionaba "The ecologist" y es las "pérdidas" de energía del sistema de transmisión y distribución. Una de las leyes de la física es la ley de la entropía. Básicamente consiste en que aunque la energía no se destruye, solamente se transforma, se degrada a formas de energía más "desordenadas". Básicamente la energía se transforma en "calor", o que es lo mismo que movimiento y vibración molecular. Utilizaremos el término "pérdida" de energía en un sentido amplio, o económico, pero entendiendo que solamente es una transformación no utilizable.  Esta es la razón por la cual no existe una máquina perfecta, sin desgaste y de movimiento absoluto. Por esta razón los relojes de péndulo necesitaban que les dieran "cuerda". 

    De esta manera, por cada 1 KWh (3.600.000 Joules) que produce uno recibe una cantidad menor de energía porque esta se ha "pérdido" transformándose en calor. Esto se debe a que los transformadores -que no entiendo cómo funcionan pero cambian el voltaje- generan pérdidas, la transmisión de energía puede generar calor, en la costa el desgaste de los cables genera pérdidas. Todo esto, como me decía un ex trabajador del sector eso es parte del costo de la energía. Dice textualmente "The ecologist" que se pierde alrededor del 16% de la energía generada:

    "Yet the Government is neglecting simple options to raise power supply - like reducing the high level of losses in transmission and distribution, which run at about 16% of power generation and amount to some 10,000 GWh per year - more than four times the energy production of El Quimbo."
    Pero es que por las leyes de la física: ¡tiene que "perderse" parte de la energía generada! De la energía potencial del agua embalsada el 80%-90% se transmite por medio de la electricidad y el 10%-20% se "pierde" o sea se transforma en "calor". ¡Y es de las más bajas! Las térmicas pierden el 59% de la energía contenida en el combustible, las nucleares el 70%  (CARTA GONZÁLEZ, CALERO PÉREZ, COLMENAR SANTOS, CASTRO GIL, & COLLADO FERNÁNDEZ, 2013, pp. 113-114). Puede que pueda perderse menos bajo un mantenimiento mucho más costoso, o puede que efectivamente pueda perderse menos. El caso es que siempre se va a "perder" algo de la energía. 

    Puede que The Ecologist tenga razón en que se aumente la eficiencia energética. Algo que puede ser inviable o física o económicamente. Pero eso no es razón para impedir que se produzcan plantas de producción de energía eléctrica, es bueno aumentar la oferta por todos los medios. 

    Lo que no puede el gobierno es ordenar que se cree energía, ni que no se degrade una parte en otras formas. Gracias a Dios las leyes de la física son inderogables, imprescriptibles, inembargables, anteriores al ser humano mismo. ¿Puede imaginarse una ley que cree energía? El Congreso de Colombia Decreta "Créase energía a partir de la nada...". Gracias a Dios eso no es posible, no soy capaz de imaginarme la inflación energética lo que produciría, al menos la moneda de la naturaleza es absolutamente neutral. O una ley que diga "Derógase la gravedad", el totazo que se pegarían de cuenta de creer en su validez sería de lo lindo...

    IN CONCLUSIÓN
    En primer lugar pido perdón al lector por tratar la energía de una forma tan política. Es decir, es demasiado pobre, aunque no más pobre que el Ministro de Minas que confundió potencia con energía, pero ¿quién es uno para cuestionar a los "doctores" Ministros? ¡De pronto ignoro una ley que asimila energía con potencia! En segundo lugar, no es esta, ni más faltaba una defensa al régimen de energía eléctrica Colombiana, tan no lo es, que arranco dándole la razón a los ecologistas en que muchas de esas empresas grandes y concesionadas arrasan con las comunidades. El problema de esas empresas grandes, no es la falta de estado, por el contrario, su exceso, lo que falta es libertad. 

    Lo que sí creo es que en sanas condiciones de mercado y con precios justos a los dueños de las tierras, la construcción de hidroeléctricas es una de las ventajas que tiene este territorio geográficamente llamado Colombia. Es vital empezar a utilizar en este territorio las ventajas que ofrece el desarrollo de miles de tecnologías de energía renovable, como la solar, la mareomotriz, la eólica y la más fuerte la hidroeléctrica. En esta región se podría utilizar un potencial enorme para producir energía barata, renovable y libre de elementos contaminantes. Esta energía se podría exportar. ¿Por qué no hay líneas de transmisión a Panamá y Centro América? ¿Por qué no hay líneas de transmisión al Perú? ¿Imposibilidad logística? ¿No serán más bien los elevados costos regulatorios -que agudizan las barreras de entrada- sumado al monopolio estatal? ¿O el monopolio de la transmisión es "natural"? 

     BIBLIOGRAFÍA
    Casi todas las citas salen de internet así que si no refiero la fuente, está el link. Las formalidades APA o lo que sea me parecen demasiado engorrosas para escribir informalmente. Con el internet debería bastar con el link. El único libro que cito, con todas las normas mamonas para probar su existencia, es:

    CARTA GONZÁLEZ, J. A., CALERO PÉREZ, R., COLMENAR SANTOS, A., CASTRO GIL, A., & COLLADO FERNÁNDEZ, E. (2013). Centrales de energías renovables. Generación eléctrica con energías renovables. (P. E. S.A. Ed. SEGUNDA ed.). Madrid, España.




              Be Careful on Giving Unsolicited Advice        
    I love reading up on financial news and learning more about personal finance. And I like helping people as well. Sometimes, I give advice to my family and friends. Although they would listen for the most part, they almost never act on what I tell them to do. It's interesting that despite my honest advice to help them, they would push away everything I say. They would always have some kind of doubt or excuse. Recently my friend is running low on money. He's a real estate agent and he hasn't closed any deals lately. Since I know a few extra bucks would help him, I told him about signing up for credit cards or bank accounts with cash bonus. Or he can play the 0% balance transfer. He thinks it's too much hassle.
    I have spoken to several friends in the past two years about contributing to retirement accounts, such as 401k and IRA accounts. They give me the usual answer, "I have no money." I tell them the importance of saving up for retirement. Moreover, I provide them with important financial messages - pay off debt, have emergency money, save up for retirement, invest, etc. They don't seem interested and don't listen. Yet they like to complain about not having money.
    Sometimes I feel that they don't want financial advice -- they want MONEY. What they want me to do is not to teach them how to make money, but to hand them cash. Everybody wants to be a millionaire but nobody wants to work for it anymore. It's all about get rich quick.
    They tell me they don't have time, and it's not worth making a few extra hundred bucks. If you have a lot of money, I would understand, but if you need money and have the opportunity to do it, why not?
    It's hard to teach family as well. They don't seem interested in learning. I tell them to start ROTH IRAs because it really helps if you have low income, the government even give you tax benefits if you qualify. But they say they rather have the money now.
    While I'm no certified professional, I know my advice can help my friends and family. They just don't see it. Perhaps they need to learn their own way. I just thought maybe I can give them a shortcut, but sometimes people need to learn the hard way.
    I figure I'll save my energy on going out of my way to help people. People just don't appreciate. Instead, I'll focus on those who wants my help. It's a lose-lose situation if they don't appreciate your advice. Because if they miss the opportunity, they would blame you. If they execute your advice improperly and the results come out bad, they would blame you. The moral of the story is never give unsolicited advice.

              SAI Is a BUY        
    SAI has been dropping for a few days and closed at 17.96 today. At under $18, it's a screaming buy, and at under $19, it's a good buy. Upside SAIC Report 8% Increase in Profits SAIC Stock buyback up to 40 million shares Still new to the market, large potential increase in institutional holdings. Low P/E. A good defense/homeland security play. Winning lots of new contracts from government. Downside Options expiring soon (shares selling off). $1.6 billion dividend to insiders. Low guidance. SAI looks like it's going to hit rough waves in the near future, but after smoothing all those problems, it should sail smoothly higher in the long term. Its price is currently at a two-month low and seems to have support at high 17's. At under $18, it would make a very good long term position.
              The "Green" Jobs Canard        

    For too long, politicians, environmentalists and subsidized proponents of “green” jobs have been peddling the notions that “investing” in green technologies is the illuminating endeavor and beneficent job creator of our time.  With scant evidence, these green jobs postulates are bulwarked by so much hot air it rivals the amount of subsidized dollars used to sustain them.

    The main dilemma of green jobs and investing is that they defy the reality of basic economics.  Jobs are created by entrepreneurs willing to invest in capital, coupled with demand for their goods and services.  The economic environment fostered by government (taxes, regulations, etc.) plays an immensely important role as well.

    The experience in Europe with investment in greed jobs sheds a glaring light on the fallacious nature of the purported success of these initiatives.   In Spain, which has a 20.4 percent unemployment rate, every green job created destroyed an additional 2.2 regular jobs. In addition, every “green” megawatt created destroys 5.28 jobs in the rest of the economy.  Aggregately, these green jobs programs killed 110,500 elsewhere in the economy.

    The amount of money invested in these programs is exorbitantly costly when compared with private sector job creation.  In Italy, the amount of capital invested in the creation of 1 green job was equivalent to the amount of capital invested to create 5 jobs in the rest of the economy.

    The reason these programs are such colossal failures, is that government subsidies to inefficient and unsustainable green initiatives divert resources from other productive sectors of the economy and result in the loss of jobs.  Price-controls and central planning have long been considered an abject failure, why do we believe that these policies are any more palatable in the energy sector of our economy?

    The reason these economically suicidal green job schemes continue to seem viable is that somehow they represent drastically new technology and innovation.  It’s like a burgeoning plant, just give it a little water and it will rapidly expand, right?

    Wrong.  These propositions elucidate an inherent myopia within the green jobs cheerleaders.  The truth is that the wind-powered electricity was commercialized in 1881 and solar power received its first patent in 1892.  Mean ugly coal-fired electricity was commercialized in 1882.  

    The house that contains the green jobs myth has been set ablaze.  Do we want the dubious distinction of running in?


              Selective Amnesia of Reagan’s Legacy        

    Amazingly and audaciously, the mainstream media and liberal pundocracy has created a narrative that President Obama’s newly found centrism is molded in the inspirational optimism of President Reagan.  This narrative seems confusing, when many liberals excoriate Reagan’s economic policy as the grim reaper of capitalism coming to instill all the inequities of the free market.


    Reagan, like the Tea Party, believed heavily in the primacy of the individual over the government and limited self-government constrained by the Constitution.  
    Reagan, in his “A Time for Choosing” speech, echoed these sentiments by saying, “A government can't control the economy without controlling people. And they know when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. They also knew, those Founding Fathers, that outside of its legitimate functions, government does nothing as well or as economically as the private sector of the economy.”


    On the flipside, President Obama in his State of the Union Address enunciated the greater need for “investment” (i.e. government spending and subsidies) wrapped in the rhetorical trappings of American exceptionalism and greatness.   This deceptive rhetoric attempted to mask the policy that undergirded Obama’s State of the Union address which called for more dubious government subsidies for green energy and an increase in spending for high-speed rail boondoggles.  If American citizens were groping and longing for high-speed rail,  wouldn’t it be flourishing by now after nearly 30 years since the French launched their Paris-Lyon TGV line?

     
    If there is no demand for these industries, how else can government make them appealing, but by way of force, coercion or wasteful subsidizing hoping to create a market for these currently unwanted and inefficient products?

     
    Are we to forget the GM bailout,  Dodd-Frank financial regulation and an intrusive government intervention into our healthcare system?  Do President Obama’s policies even close to matching his own rhetoric in the State of the Union, let alone Reagan’s?


    These pontificators may be well-intentioned, but it is more than condescending to attempt to link President Obama with the former President merely based on oratorical flourishes and Reaganesque-style optimism.  Their ideas on the proper function and role of the government stand in stark contrast.


    As AEI’s Steven Hayward insightfully notes, Reagan believed that modern liberalism unequivocally left him.  

    Reagan's invocation of Paine, as well as his quotation of John Winthrop's "City upon a Hill" sermon, expresses the core of his optimism and belief in the dynamism of American society, a dynamism that can have unconservative effects. But he explained his use of Paine in conservative terms way back in his 1965 autobiography, Where's the Rest of Me? "The classic liberal," Reagan wrote, "used to be the man who believed the individual was, and should be forever, the master of his destiny. That is now the conservative position. The liberal used to believe in freedom under law. He now takes the ancient feudal position that power is everything. He believes in a stronger and stronger central government, in the philosophy that control is better than freedom. The conservative now quotes Thomas Paine, a longtime refuge of the liberals: 'Government is a necessary evil; let us have as little of it as possible.'"

    Maybe It is time for President Obama to return to some of Founder's writings in order to rediscover his inner centrism.  He can begin with Thomas Paine.

     


              The American Physical Society Finally Speaks        
    The APS, my professional organization, has made some dunderheaded moves of late, but this is more encouraging. An email from the APS president and CEO, broadcast today to the membership at large, begins thusly: We share the concerns expressed by many APS members about recent U.S. government actions that will harm the open environment that … Continue reading The American Physical Society Finally Speaks
              Temporary Travel Document for stateless persons and persons of undetermined nationality: Alexandra Klaudia Melnyk (nee Alexandra Klaudia Yezerska)        
    Temporary Travel Document for stateless persons and persons of undetermined nationality: Alexandra Klaudia Melnyk (nee Alexandra Klaudia Yezerska) Military Government for Germany This item comes from a region where place names vary historically and politically. We have used the Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names (TGN) as a source for controlled place names. (http://www.getty.edu/research/conducting_research/vocabularies/tgn/); Temporary Travel Document #0007434 for stateless persons and persons of undetermined nationality of Alexandra Klaudia Melnyk (nee Alexandra Klaudia Yezerska). The document issued in Munich, Germany and dated 1949.; Munich
              Chelsea Manning talks prison, living as trans and dating in 'Vogue' - USA TODAY        

    CBC.ca

    Chelsea Manning talks prison, living as trans and dating in 'Vogue'
    USA TODAY
    After spending a shortened sentence of seven years in prison, Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence analyst imprisoned for providing government secrets to Wikileaks, is out and talking to Vogue in the glossy magazine's September issue.
    Chelsea Manning shows off her swimsuit bod for VogueMilitary Times
    Chelsea Manning Changed the Course of History. Now She's Focusing on HerselfVogue.com
    Chelsea Manning Is A Glowing Beauty In New Vogue ProfileHuffPost
    New York Post -kfor.com -PerezHilton.com -PEOPLE.com
    all 40 news articles »

              ISIS declares Islamic state across Syria and Iraq; human rights group reports rebels being crucified        
    From CNN:  Emboldened by a weakened Iraqi government that is struggling to stop their murderous advance, the extremists of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria declared over the weekend that they have set up a caliphate spanning large areas of the two countries. In a newly released audio message and written statement, purportedly from […]
              Pope on Syria: “Dialogue and negotiation is the only option”        
    From CNS:  Dialogue and negotiations are “the only option for putting an end to the conflict and violence” in Syria, said Pope Francis and Jordan’s King Abdullah II. As Western leaders expressed strong convictions that the Syrian government carried out a chemical weapons attack against its own citizens and vowed to take action, Pope Francis […]
              Sloshed diplomat won’t be charged for hitting cop car        
    A sloshed Zambian government official who “reeked of alcohol” and could barely talk slammed his car into a parked NYPD van in Queens on Monday morning, injuring two officers, police sources said. But Langford Banda isn’t going to face criminal charges or even get a traffic ticket — thanks to his diplomatic immunity. Banda, 41...
              Grants Are Now Available for Preserving WWI Memorials!        

    WWI Memorial in Jackson, Miss. (Library of Congress)

    Here's a project for your history- and preservation-minded genealogical society, civic group or scouting troop: The 100 Cities/100 Memorials matching grant program is accepting applications through July 10 (an extended deadline) for projects to adopt and preserve WWI memorials.

    Up to 100 WWI memorial restoration projects around the country will receive matching funds of up to $2,000 apiece from the US WWI Centennial Commission in Washington, DC, and the Pritzker Military Museum and Library in Chicago.

    Any municipal government, organization or individual can apply. You'll find details and the application on the 100 Cities/100 Memorials website.

    World War I, also known as the Great War, began in Europe just over 100 years ago, July 28, 1914. The United States entered the war April 6, 1917, and an armistice ended fighting Nov. 11, 1918. The July 2014 Family Tree Magazine includes a research guide to records of World War I service, as well as a guide to tracing women who served as nurses and volunteers overseas and on the home front.

    Also find our downloadable guide to the top 10 WWI genealogy websites in ShopFamilyTree.com.


    WWI Memorial in Washington, D.C. (Library of Congress)
    SaveSaveSave
              Humayun Ahmed to awarded as the best director at the National Film Award        
    The government has announced the National Film Award 2012 for 24 artistes and film professionals in recognition of their outstanding contributions to development of Bengali movies. “The National Film Award 2012 will be given in 24 categories,” said a PID handout on Thursday.
              Pembroke Sustainability Planning Sessions        
    Environment & Conservation

    Through support from The Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the Keller Science Action Center is facilitating Sustainability Planning Sessions in Pembroke Township, IL. Though Pembroke has always been known for its incredibly diverse wildlife, there is currently no plan in place to ensure its protection. Various conservation agencies have interest in acquiring land, but no formal understanding existed between the residents and the agencies to determine what is best. In early 2016, The Field Museum helped to establish a joint agreement between the agencies and elected offices to collaborate on a sustainability plan for the region.

    Following the agreement, the team initiated a series of community meetings with Pembroke-Hopkins Park residents, the Nature Conservancy, United States Fish & Wildlife Service, State of Illinois conservation representatives, and government officials from the Village of Hopkins Park, Pembroke Township, and Kankakee County. During these sessions, participants have the opportunity to ask stakeholders questions directly, receive updates from government officials, and contribute to planning initiatives in smaller working groups. In December and January they explored ways to protect the community’s natural resources and achieve sustainable economic development. An immediate outcome was the commitment from USFWS to establish a stipend-based youth program this summer that will hire local teenagers. The program will hire four teens and one supervisor to do restoration projects in community greenspaces while learning about ecology and conservation. Residents are encouraged to be a part of this program by helping to create the curriculum and suggesting locations in the area that needs work.

    As the sessions draw upon the wisdom of farmers, ranchers, and longtime members of the community, the team is hopeful that more impactful outcomes will come out of this process. USFWS has announced they will include the results of this sustainability planning process for their federally mandated land protection plan. And further TNC and USFWS will not buy more land in this region until the process is complete. The final meeting will take place in February, and will identify strategies for building upon community values in the face of growth and change. These planning sessions have helped to create much needed dialogue in the township. The Field Museum is looking forward to the continued growth in the community and protection of precious land.


              Button - Wood Button - Giant Wood Button by ColdCreekBrewing        

    25.00 USD

    A GIANT Button, made by Ryan, of course! :)

    It's made of solid, yet light weight, rustic pine. Easy to hang on the wall with the hole drilled in the back. (We use push pins!)

    This listing is for 1 (ONE) Button

    Approx. 11" x 1.5"

    If you would like a finish that we don't offer, please choose the "Custom Finish" option and let us know in the "Note to Seller" box at checkout what you would like. We will do our best to accommodate, but cannot guarantee exact matches. :) Though we do our best to portray accurate colors of stain, finish work, etc. coloring can vary on computer monitors. Additionally, the grains and knots in received orders will vary from the ones pictured.

    **** PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION**** THANK YOU!! :)

    These are made to order by Ryan for you. :) Though "Quantity" may show more than one is available, this is our method to allow you to either order more than one at a time, and also the way we are able to "auto" renew our listing on Etsy.

    We ask to allow up to 14 days from cleared payment for your order to ship. Feel free to contact us if you need your order expedited and we'll see what we can do! :)

    **INTERNATIONAL ORDERS: Shipping prices are for USPS International First Class. Unless over 4 pounds, then it will be Priority. Shipping cost does not include any Duties, Taxes, VAT charges that may be imposed upon arrival by your Government. We just like to mention this, so you don't have an unpleasant surprise if you haven't placed an International Order before. :)

    ****If you live in Alaska, Hawaii OR would like shipping upgrades, as in Priority, Expedited, or Insurance, please contact us BEFORE checkout so we can customize the listing to reflect the correct shipping fee. Or go ahead and purchase the items and we will just invoice you for the price difference. Items will ship after payments and additional invoices have cleared.

    Please read over our Shop Policies to learn more about our items, shipping, payment and returns.


              Allied Universal turns 1        
    08/02/2017

    Allied Universal, a leading facility services company and one of the largest security forces in North America, marked its one-year anniversary this week after forming a year ago via the merger of AlliedBarton Security Services and Universal Services of America.

    In the announcement, Steve Jones, Allied Universal CEO, thanked all of the company’s 150,000 employees and its clients “for their continued support and commitment that contributed to a phenomenal first year as our new company! I look forward to our continued success in the security and services industries."

    Over the past year the company has made several acquisitions, as it continues to transform to a full-service security company, moving beyond the manguarding services the it has been known for.

    Jones told Security Systems News, after the company’s most recent acquisition of ALERT Protective Services in May, that the company continues to look at acquisitions as a way to diversify its offerings.

    “We’ve got a pretty robust pipeline of deals that we are looking at—some in the technology space and some in the traditional manguarding space—and we hope to announce a few more before the year is over that will help us to diversify our company and bring more value to our clients.”

    In the press release announcing the one-year milestone, the company outlined some additional organizational achievements since the merger:

    •    Became the unequivocal leader in guarding services throughout North America. Our security professionals and our company play a major role in keeping the U.S. and Canada safe and secure.

    •    Provided service to over half of the Fortune 500 companies and nearly every major retail mall in the U.S. From healthcare facilities, commercial office buildings, manufacturing and industrial plants, residential communities, transportation facilities and government services, Allied Universal has a significant security presence.

    •    Managed the integration of a workforce of over 150,000 security professionals to perform our jobs on a daily basis and serve our growing customer base.

    •    Implemented a world-class training program, the AU Institute, which offers over 1,000 training assets and professional development programs to enhance our security professionals' delivery of service and protection.

    •    Introduced several technological innovations to expand our physical and operational security solutions and service offerings to enhance the protection of client properties and assets.

     


              Sandy Springs considers fining dealers for false alarms        
    07/12/2017

    The new Sandy Springs, Ga. alarm ordinance, which is set to be voted on July 18, is alarming many in the security industry as it looks to force alarm dealers to pay their subscriber's false alarm fees and fines.

    “This makes as much sense as a car rental company being responsible for paying your speeding tickets if you get caught speeding in their car,” Dan Gordon, president of the Georgia Electronic Life Safety and Security Association (GELSSA), and owner of Ga.-based Gordon Security, told Security System News.

    Gordon, as well as many security companies working in Georgia, including LOUD Security and Ackerman Security, are rallying others in the industry to pay attention to what is going on in Sandy Springs.

    “If Sandy Springs passes this, which city goes next?” John Loud, president of LOUD Security Systems, told SSN, noting that he does not think this ordinance will help Sandy Springs reduce false dispatches.

    “They outsource the collections to a firm called CryWolf (Public Safety Corporation),” Loud explained. “Their service includes collecting the assessed fines. The cost to Sandy Springs is the same, whether the bill goes to the end users of the alarm system or the alarm company. But the alarm company’s costs will increase. They will now have to bill their customers and establish a collection process, increasing the workload for their personnel.”

    Loud and others in opposition to the ordinance believe this will actually cause an increase in the amount of false dispatches.

    “Citizens will usually respond to citations from their local police or city municipality,” he explained. “If a vendor or service provider sends an assessment, they could very easily change monitoring companies and get additional false alarms through new providers. They can choose to never pay and continually change companies.”

    He noted that this would result in more false dispatches as the end user would never be forced to change their behavior.

    Loud also pointed out that the court systems of Sandy Springs will have a lot more cases. ”Either the alarm companies will be filing suit to collect monies from customers refusing to pay or the city will be pursuing alarm companies for nonpayment of fines they do not have the money to pay.”

    He continued, “You will likely see many alarm companies choosing to not do business with residents/businesses that must comply with this ordinance. In Sandy Springs, most alarm companies charge only $25 per month. While false alarm fees can cost hundreds of dollars, the accounts receivable process will likely make it financially impossible for fire/alarm companies to take on such risk.”

    He said that Sandy Springs could achieve greater reduction in the false dispatches if they would enforce all of their current ordinance provisions, such as:

    - Follow the Enhanced Call Verification Georgia State law that went into effect in 2013. “The 911 operator could very easily ask for the two phone numbers the alarm company called prior to dispatch request,” said Loud.

    - Do not allow dispatch on the subscribers that have not paid for previous fines—put them on a do not dispatch list.

    - Do not allow dispatch for subscribers that have had 10 false alarms in a permit year.

    - Activate the false alarm school the ordinance allows for, which will provide the training and prevention of future false alarms.

    “Another step Sandy Springs could pursue is a higher fee structure for excessive false alarms,” said Loud. “This would force subscribers to either fix their system, teach others to use it properly or they could choose to stop arming their system. All three of the options result in reduced dispatches.”

    He continued, “While I certainly see there are many ways to help unite with the City of Sandy Springs and help them achieve their ultimate goal of reducing false dispatches and wasting government recourses, I do not believe requiring the alarm companies to pay the fees is the answer.”

    The GELSSA, along with strong industry voices like Loud's, are urging those in the industry to reach out to the mayor of Sandy Springs to voice their concerns, and for security dealers in the Sandy Springs area to attend the planned vote on July 18.

    Topic: 

              Westinghouse Completes Shareholder Agreement for Kozloduy AP1000® Plant in Bulgaria        

    Westinghouse Electric Company today announced that it has signed a shareholder agreement following consultations with all Bulgarian political parties for the expansion of the Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant. This and subsequent agreements will be subject to future government oversight.

    (PRWeb August 01, 2014)

    Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/08/prweb12065568.htm


              Westinghouse Welcomes Poland’s Plan to Build First Nuclear Power Plant in 2024        

    Westinghouse Electric Company welcomes the decision by the Polish government to adopt its new program for nuclear power, which will pave the way for the construction of the country’s first nuclear power plant. This new program corresponds with the aims of the European Commission’s proposed energy and climate objectives to be met by 2030.

    (PRWeb January 29, 2014)

    Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/01/prweb11533444.htm


              Westinghouse, Toshiba and Exelon Nuclear Partners to Collaborate on Nuclear Project in Saudi Arabia        

    Westinghouse Electric Company, Toshiba Corporation and Exelon Nuclear Partners today announced that they have signed a memorandum of understanding to create a joint proposal for the construction of nuclear power plants for King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy, the government body established to develop alternative energy sources in Saudi Arabia.

    (PRWeb September 09, 2013)

    Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/9/prweb11102147.htm


              Funding Penalties for Hospitals with High Medicare Complication Rates        

    The government is cracking down on hospitals with the highest rates of infection and complications by docking Medicare payments. Those hospitals with the worst rates of infections and complications are going to lose 1% of each Medicare payment for one year starting this fall. Federal officials have released a preliminary analysis that identifies 761 hospitals […]

    The post Funding Penalties for Hospitals with High Medicare Complication Rates appeared first on Maine Personal Injury Lawyers Blog.


              The Gamma and Digital News Innovation Fund        

    Last year, I wrote a bit about my interest in building programming tools for data journalism. Data journalism might sound like a niche field, but that is not the case if we talk about data-driven storytelling more generally,

    In programming, your outcome is typically some application that does stuff. In data science, your outcome is very often a report or a story that aims to influence people's behavior or company decisions. No matter whether you are a journalist writing an article about government spending or an analyst producing internal sales reports, you are telling stories with data.

    Being able to tell stories with data (but also verify and assess other people's stories that can be backed by data) is becoming a vital skill in the modern world, which is partly why I find this topic extremely important and interesting. But to do this currently, you need to be a skilled programmer, great designer and good storyteller, all at the same time!

    I have not written about this topic much over the last year (mainly because I was busy with Coeffects, fsharpConf, FsLab and fsharpWorks), but this will be changing - I'm very happy to announce that my data-journalism related project The Gamma has been awarded funding from the DNI Innovation Fund and I'll be working on it over the next year at the Alan Turing Institute in London.


              The Gamma: Simple code behind interactive articles        

    There are huge amounts of data around us that we could use to better understand the world. Every company collects large amounts of data about their sales or customers. Governments and international organizations increasingly release interesting data sets to the public through various open government data initiatives (data.gov or data.gov.uk). But raw data does not tell you much.

    An interesting recent development is data journalism. Data journalists tell stories using data. A data driven article is based on an interesting observation from the data, it includes (interactive) visualizations that illustrate the point and it often allows the reader to get the raw data.

    Adding a chart produced in, say, Excel to an article is easy, but building good interactive visualization is much harder. Ideally, the data driven article should not be just text with static pictures, but a program that links the original data source to the visualization. This lets readers explore how the data is used, update the content when new data is available and change parameters of the visualization if they need to understand different aspect of the topic.

    This is in short what I'm trying to build with The Gamma project. If you're interested in building better reports or data driven articles, continue reading!

    I did a talk about The Gamma project at the fantastic Future Programming workshop at the StrangeLoop conference last week (thanks for inviting me!) and there is a recording of my 40 minute talk on YouTube, so if you prefer to watch videos, check it out!

    Are you a data journalist or data analyst? We're looking for early partners! I joined the EF programme to work on this and if the project sounds like something you'd like to see happen, please get in touch or share your contact details on The Gamma page!


              Did You Know It's Legal In Most States To Discriminate Against LGBT People?        
    On Tuesday, the Supreme Court hears arguments on same-sex marriage, which is now legal in about three dozen states.

    But it's also legal in most states to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender — LGBT — people in the areas of employment, housing and public accommodation.

    So in many states, a person could marry someone of the same gender and then get fired for being gay.

    "Most states have no nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people," says David Stacy, government affairs director for the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay-rights group.

              Families of jailed Turkish journalists shaken but determined        

    Istanbul: Their imprisonment has torn families apart while the newspaper they work for is left without some of its brightest stars.

    But the relatives and colleagues of jailed journalists from the Turkish opposition daily Cumhuriyet vow to continue to fight for their freedom and ideals.

    "For nine months we have been living a nightmare, to be honest," said Nazire Gursel, wife of veteran commentator Kadri Gursel who has been in jail since October.

    The hardest part, she said, was replying to questions from their 10-year-old son, Erdem.

    "People tell my child, `Your father is a hero, he has done a lot for Turkey`," Nazire Gursel recounted.

    "So, on the one hand he is proud, but on the other hand, he asks, `But why is my father in prison if he is a hero? Who is his enemy?`"

    Since Monday, 17 journalists, executives and other staff of Cumhuriyet, a daily fiercely critical of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, have been on trial accused of supporting "terrorist" organisations.

    Secular Cumhuriyet ("Republic") daily, one of Turkey`s oldest newspapers, has built a strong reputation for publishing scoops embarrassing for those in power.

    The newspaper rejects the "absurd" accusations and claims the trial is aimed at damaging one of the country`s last independent media outlets.

    The experience has united journalists` relatives and their free colleagues who come to court together, and who sometimes go in groups to Silivri prison on the outskirts of Istanbul with a minibus chartered by the newspaper.

    Nazire Gursel goes to Silivri every Friday. "I had never been to Silivri before my husband`s incarceration. When I arrived there for the first time, I told myself `it looks like a Nazi camp`, she told AFP.

    "It is a really scary place."The trial gave family members the chance to see their loved ones outside of prison, where visits are confined to an hour and take place behind bulletproof glass.

    "We at least have the chance to see or hear them without a window between us, to hear their voice directly without using a telephone," said Yonca Sik, the wife of Ahmet Sik, one of Turkey`s most famous investigative journalists who is also jailed.

    According to her, conditions in prison have hardened since her husband`s last incarceration- in 2011, he was imprisoned after writing notably one of the few full-scale investigations into the group of Fethullah Gulen.

    Gulen is a US-based cleric who Ankara accuses of ordering last year`s failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    "They are in isolation, that is especially the hardest," she told AFP in front of the Istanbul courthouse where the staff is on trial. Among them, 11 are in pre-trial detention.

    "They take them away from the people they love, their work and it`s clearly an injustice, persecution," one of Cumhuriyet`s lawyers Efkan Bolac said.

    "It`s torture for the accused."Beyond the impact on families, the incarcerations have hurt Cumhuriyet: the paper`s chairman, Akin Atalay, and its editor-in-chief Murat Sabuncu are currently in prison.

    "For nine months, Cumhuriyet has faced troubles. Nearly all of its senior executives have been imprisoned as well as many writers," the daily`s Ankara bureau chief Erdem Gul said.

    Gul himself was sentenced last year for five years for "revealing state secrets" after a front page story claiming to show the government sending arms to rebels in Syria in May 2015. He is appealing the sentence.

    "We are paying a heavy price but we continue to publish the newspaper," Gul said, adding: "Cumhuriyet has not changed its editorial line."

    Nazire Gursel says she does not regret the work that her husband did which caused him to be behind bars. "I`m immensely proud of him."

    The judge is likely to decide on Friday whether or not to release the accused for the rest of the trial.

    "Turkey is no longer a state of law, but there are still people who are fighting for democracy, for justice," said Yonca Sik, pointing to the demonstrators gathered in front of the court. 

    "And that, of course, gives me hope."

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              Tea Party Pennsylvania Bill would give patients more privacy control over health care        
    The bill also seeks to protect the rights of patients to buy health insurance, or make any other arrangements to pay for their own health care.





    New federal legislation seeks to prevent government bureaucrats from interfering in private health care and guarantee patient rights to control health care decisions.





    Republican Congressman Pennsylvania Rep. Charlie Dent, R-15, and Illinois Rep. Mark Kirk are the cosponsors of the Medical Rights Act of 2009 bill, which was introduced Wednesday. The lawmakers co-chair the centrist GOP Tuesday Group.





    "As Congress begins to discuss how best to address America's health care challenges, we must protect the sacrosanct relationship between a patient and a doctor," Dent said. "One of the greatest strengths of our health care system is that Americans can rely on getting the care that they need when they need it."





    The bill prevents the government from rationing private health care and actions that interfere in the doctor-patient relationship, the congressman contends. It also would prevent the federal government from regulating the hiring practices of organizations that provide health care, such as hospitals and clinics.





    The bill protects the rights of patients to buy health insurance, or make any other arrangements to pay for their own health care. Several foreign countries and several current health care reform proposals substantially restrict this right, according to the bill.





    Additionally, the proposed bill would give Americans who get care under government health programs, such as Medicare, the ability to obtain health care outside the program.





    In the U.S., if a Medicare-participating doctor accepts payment for a service that would otherwise be covered under Medicare, the doctor is suspended from participating in the federal health program for the elderly for two years, according to the bill.





    "This substantially restricts the ability of Medicare patients to pay on their own if Medicare decides they are ineligible for a particular service normally covered by the program," according to the bill. "Not many doctors are willing to take that penalty, so this substantially (if indirectly) restricts the right of seniors and the disabled to access the health care of their choice."





    With Congress preparing to debate health care reform this summer, the men warned legislation allowing government involvement in health care decisions could have "dire consequences." They cite other public health programs in Canada and Britain as examples of how government involvement compromises quality.





    Long waits for care elsewhere





    In a news release, the men cited a 2008 Commonwealth Fund International survey that found most Canadians and British adults waited longer than four weeks to see a medical specialist compared with only 26 percent of Americans.





    They also cited long waits for care, based on a Heritage Foundation study that found 43 percent of Canadian patients and 15 percent of British patients received hip replacements within six months, compared with more than 90 percent of American senior citizens.





    About 30 percent of Canadians' health care is paid for through the private sector, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, a group of 30 countries that meets regularly to discuss global issues and make economic and social policies.





    The private payments are mostly for services not covered or partially covered by Canada's health program, such as prescription drugs and dentistry, according to the OECD.





    About 65 percent of Canadians have some form of supplementary private health insurance and many receive it through their employers.





    Canada spends less of its gross domestic product on health care (10.4 percent, versus 16 percent in the U.S.) and performs better on two commonly cited health outcome measures - the infant mortality rate and life expectancy.





    A 2007 National Bureau of Economic Research report found the U.S. experienced a higher incidence of chronic health conditions than Canada, but Americans had somewhat better access to treatment for the conditions. Also, a significantly higher percentage of U.S. residents were screened for major forms of cancer.





    The need to ration health care resources in Canada is the reason most Canadians cited for unmet medical needs, where in the U.S., more than half of those surveyed cited health care costs as the reason for unmet needs, the agency found.


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              10 Horror Comics        

    There's more to horror than just movies. Another ever-growing segment of genre offerings is the world of comics. Mix some top notch story telling with spectacular artwork and you have yourself a good old fashioned scary tale.

    Horror comics have been around for decades, so they are nothing new. Some are extremely well known and have already been optioned for some type of adaptation, such as "30 Days of Night" or the announced AMC series "The Walking Dead". Here today, I'll share with you 10 other horror comics that are out now and well worth your time!


    Victorian Undead

    I've blogged about "Victorian Undead" here recently and I just can't say this enough; Sherlock Holmes vs. Zombies is just freaking sweet! The writing and artwork are both well done too, so be sure to check this one out.


    Hack/Slash the Series

    Cassie Hack is smart, sassy and a bit jaded, but that's what makes her fun. Following along as her and her hockey masked wearing friend Vlad chase down and eradicate supernatural serial killers is even more fun.


    North 40

    Writer Aaron Williams got his start on a little Dungeons and Dragons based web comic called "Nodwick". Simple RPG geek humor at its best. When Wildstorm announced that Williams would be penning a new creator owned comic, I myself figured it would be more of the same and moved on. Imagine my surprise as I turned the pages to find an epic struggle Lovecraftian good vs. evil?


    Locke & Key

    Joe Hill's "Locke & Key" is quite possibly one of the most captivating comics going right now. I tender hearted little ghost story with a bit, the books feel fantastical, creepy and a bit touching all at the same time. I just wish they would come out quicker!


    Welcome to Hoxford

    Ben Templesmith already wowed us with the likes of "30 Days of Night". Now he's back with his own story in "Welcome to Hoxfor", and he's come back with a bang. Featuring the artists customary jarring dark graphics, his writing gets showcased here as well and lives up to the art.


    Creepy

    Every horror fan has at least seen a cover of "Creepy" comics. Long dormant, the classic horror book is back with a new slate of writers and artists and a whole host of old characters ready to haunt again. This is an anthology series, so the stories are quick and to the point and rather fun.


    Sweet Tooth

    Jeff Lemieres "Sweet Tooth" is a quirky bit of post-apocalyptic fiction that is actually fairly unique. Refreshing in this oft-visited sub-genre. All the while, the story itself is rather catching and the characters easy to side with. Sweet Tooth is as innocent as he looks on the cover; how can you not feel for the little guy?


    B.P.R.D.

    We all know "Hellboy"; here are the further adventures of his top secret government agency, B.P.R.D. There are quite a few mini-series and one offs that come out under this title, but all of them are generally quirky, dark and fun. If you found your self craving more of the "Hellboy" world of occultist Nazi's and weird co-workers, then here is your fix.


    Daytripper

    "Daytripper" is a brand new book from the award winning duo Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon. While this book is not really a straight up horror book, after two issues it proves to be a bit morbid and downright haunting.


    Freddy Vs. Jason Vs. Ash

    Everybody wants to see a big screen rendition of the three bad asses of horror history. The chances of this matchup actually happening get slimmer ever year. This way, you at least get the fun stories and some general chaos as well as a good dose of Bruce Campbell quality one-liners as well.



              Palestinians silently transferred from East Jerusalem        
    Jillian Kestler-D'Amours 19 April 2011

    The Israeli government has been increasingly revoking Jerusalem residency IDs and using tax collection as a means of forcing Palestinians out of the city. Jillian Kestler-D’Amours reports.


              How Plastic We've Become        

    Our bodies carry residues of kitchen plastics

    Food for Thought

    In the 1967 film classic The Graduate, a businessman corners Benjamin Braddock at a cocktail party and gives him a bit of career advice. "Just one word…plastics."

    Although Benjamin didn't heed that recommendation, plenty of other young graduates did. Today, the planet is awash in products spawned by the plastics industry. Residues of plastics have become ubiquitous in the environment—and in our bodies.

    A federal government study now reports that bisphenol A (BPA)—the building block of one of the most widely used plastics—laces the bodies of the vast majority of U.S. residents young and old.

    Manufacturers link BPA molecules into long chains, called polymers, to make polycarbonate plastics. All of those clear, brittle plastics used in baby bottles, food ware, and small kitchen appliances (like food-processor bowls) are made from polycarbonates. BPA-based resins also line the interiors of most food, beer, and soft-drink cans. With use and heating, polycarbonates can break down, leaching BPA into the materials they contact. Such as foods.

    And that could be bad if what happens in laboratory animals also happens in people, because studies in rodents show that BPA can trigger a host of harmful changes, from reproductive havoc to impaired blood-sugar control and obesity (SN: 9/29/07, p. 202).

    For the new study, scientists analyzed urine from some 2,500 people who had been recruited between 2003 and 2004 for the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Roughly 92 percent of the individuals hosted measurable amounts of BPA, according to a report in the January Environmental Health Perspectives. It's the first study to measure the pollutant in a representative cross-section of the U.S. population.

    Typically, only small traces of BPA turned up, concentrations of a few parts per billion in urine, note chemist Antonia M. Calafat and her colleagues at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, with hormone-mimicking agents like BPA, even tiny exposures can have notable impacts.

    Overall, concentrations measured by Calafat's team were substantially higher than those that have triggered disease, birth defects, and more in exposed animals, notes Frederick S. vom Saal, a University of Missouri-Columbia biologist who has been probing the toxicology of BPA for more than 15 years.

    The BPA industry describes things differently. Although Calafat's team reported urine concentrations of BPA, in fact they assayed a breakdown product—the compound by which BPA is excreted, notes Steven G. Hentges of the American Chemistry Council's Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group. As such, he argues, "this does not mean that BPA itself is present in the body or in urine."

    On the other hand, few people have direct exposure to the breakdown product.

    Hentges' group estimates that the daily BPA intake needed to create urine concentrations reported by the CDC scientists should be in the neighborhood of 50 nanograms per kilogram of bodyweight—or one millionth of an amount at which "no adverse effects" were measured in multi-generation animal studies. In other words, Hentges says, this suggests "a very large margin of safety."

    No way, counters vom Saal. If one applies the ratio of BPA intake to excreted values in hosts of published animal studies, concentrations just reported by CDC suggest that the daily intake of most Americans is actually closer to 100 micrograms (µg) per kilogram bodyweight, he says—or some 1,000-fold higher than the industry figure.

    Clearly, there are big differences of opinion and interpretation. And a lot may rest on who's right.

    Globally, chemical manufacturers produce an estimated 2.8 million tons of BPA each year. The material goes into a broad range of products, many used in and around the home. BPA also serves as the basis of dental sealants, which are resins applied to the teeth of children to protect their pearly whites from cavities (SN: 4/6/96, p. 214). The industry, therefore, has a strong economic interest in seeing that the market for BPA-based products doesn't become eroded by public concerns over the chemical.

    And that could happen. About 2 years after a Japanese research team showed that BPA leached out of baby bottles and plastic food ware (see What's Coming Out of Baby's Bottle?), manufacturers of those consumer products voluntarily found BPA substitutes for use in food cans. Some 2 years after that, a different group of Japanese scientists measured concentrations of BPA residues in the urine of college students. About half of the samples came from before the switch, the rest from after the period when BPA was removed from food cans.

    By comparing urine values from the two time periods, the researchers showed that BPA residues were much lower—down by at least 50 percent—after Japanese manufacturers had eliminated BPA from the lining of food cans.

    Concludes vom Saal, in light of the new CDC data and a growing body of animal data implicating even low-dose BPA exposures with the potential to cause harm, "the most logical thing" for the United States to do would be to follow in Japan's footsteps and "get this stuff [BPA] out of our food."

    Kids appear most exposed

    Overall, men tend to have statistically lower concentrations of BPA than women, the NHANES data indicate. But the big difference, Calafat says, traces to age. "Children had higher concentrations than adolescents, and they in turn had higher levels than adults," she told Science News Online.

    This decreasing body burden with older age "is something we have seen with some other nonpersistent chemicals," Calafat notes—such as phthalates, another class of plasticizers.

    The spread between the average BPA concentration that her team measured in children 6 to 11 years old (4.5 µg/liter) and adults (2.5 µg/L) doesn't look like much, but proved reliably different.

    The open question is why adults tended to excrete only 55 percent as much BPA. It could mean children have higher exposures, she posits, or perhaps that they break it down less efficiently. "We really need to do more research to be able to answer that question."

    Among other differences that emerged in the NHANES analysis: urine residues of BPA decreased with increasing household income and varied somewhat with ethnicity (with Mexican-Americans having the lowest average values, blacks the highest, and white's values in between).

    There was also a time-of-day difference, with urine values for any given group tending to be highest in the evening, lowest in the afternoon, and midway between those in the morning. Since BPA's half-life in the body is only about 6 hours, that temporal variation in the chemical's excretion would be consistent with food as a major source of exposure, the CDC scientists note.

    In the current NHANES paper, BPA samples were collected only once from each recruit. However, in a paper due to come out in the February Environmental Health Perspectives, Calafat and colleagues from several other institutions looked at how BPA excretion varied over a 2-year span among 82 individuals—men and women—seen at a fertility clinic in Boston.

    In contrast to the NHANES data, the upcoming report shows that men tended to have somewhat higher BPA concentrations than women. Then again both groups had only about one-quarter the concentration typical of Americans.

    The big difference in the Boston group emerged among the 10 women who ultimately became pregnant. Their BPA excretion increased 33 percent during pregnancy. Owing to the small number of participants in this subset of the study population, the pregnancy-associated change was not statistically significant. However, the researchers report, these are the first data to look for changes during pregnancy and ultimately determining whether some feature of pregnancy—such as a change in diet or metabolism of BPA—really alters body concentrations of the pollutant could be important. It could point to whether the fetus faces an unexpectedly high exposure to the pollutant.

    If it does, the fetus could face a double whammy: Not only would exposures be higher during this period of organ and neural development, but rates of detoxification also would be diminished, vom Saal says.

    Indeed, in a separate study, one due to be published soon in Reproductive Toxicology, his team administered BPA by ingestion or by injection to 3-day-old mice. Either way, the BPA exposure resulted in comparable BPA concentrations in blood.

    What's more, that study found, per unit of BPA delivered, blood values in the newborns were "markedly higher" than other studies have reported for adult rodents exposed to the chemical. And that makes sense, vom Saal says, because the enzyme needed to break BPA down and lead to its excretion is only a tenth as active in babies as in adults. That's true in the mouse, he says, in the rat—and, according to some preliminary data, in humans.

    Vom Saal contends that since studies have shown BPA exhibits potent hormonelike activity in human cells at the parts-per-trillion level, and since the new CDC study finds that most people are continually exposed to concentrations well above the parts-per-trillion ballpark, it's time to reevaluate whether it makes sense to use BPA-based products in and around foods.


    If you would like to comment on this Food for Thought, please see the blog version.


              No Peanuts for Your Peanut        

    Youngsters are developing peanut allergies earlier because of exposures in babyhood

    Food for Thought

    Peanuts are a protein-rich snack food packing plenty of vitamins and trace nutrients. However, these legumes can elicit potentially life-threatening immune reactions within the one in 100 American adults who are allergic to them. Rates of peanut allergy are even higher among children. And the really disturbing news: A new study finds that the age at which this common food allergy first shows up is falling.

    Today, peanut allergy typically emerges in early toddlerhood, a team of Duke University researchers reports in the December Pediatrics. "That's almost a year earlier than what we knew, scientifically, a decade ago, "explains A. Wesley Burks, a pediatric allergist who coauthored the new study.

    Although children outgrow many allergies, peanut allergy is not typically one of them. Among people who develop immune reactions to this food, 80 percent retain their allergy for life.

    The new study began, Burks says, after Duke immunologists noticed that they were encountering younger patients with peanut allergy. To investigate, the researchers pulled entry records and medical charts for all 140 young patients who had come in with the allergy since 1988. Poring over the records confirmed a fall in age at first diagnosis throughout this period—one that proved more dramatic than expected, Burks told Science News Online.

    Nationally, the rate of food allergy appears to be increasing, according to a 2006 report of a National Institutes of Health expert panel. The most striking increase, it noted, has been for peanut allergy, which is also the most common food sensitivity. Because some allergies can be avoided by delaying a child's initial introduction to certain foods, in 2000 the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that parents "consider" keeping peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish out of the diet of kids under age 3.

    Burks acknowledges that most parents aren't aware of this recommendation. On the other hand, most peanut allergy shows up in children that had already exhibited allergic reactions to other foods—typically eggs or milk. Many affected children also had skin sensitivities as infants, such as eczema or atopic dermatitis, and a parent or sibling with allergies, although not necessarily to food.

    Against that background, you would think parents of the most vulnerable kids would be especially careful about introducing peanuts into the diet. And they might well have been. Indeed, Burks suspects that most initial introductions to peanuts in his young patients were inadvertent. Either a child encountered items that contained unlabeled traces of peanuts—perhaps a jelly bean, certain flavorings used in medicines, or any of several baby lotions (see Unexpected Sources of Peanut Allergy). Or perhaps the kids encountered peanut allergen in the air when others were eating, handling, or cooking foods that contained the legume.

    But for now, Burks' team has no firm leads on why peanut allergies are showing up earlier. The Duke group and others will be probing that in the next few years.

    Homing in on the problem

    Children with peanut allergy in the new study showed the expected history of vulnerability. For instance, four in five had parents or a sib with some form of allergy. Four in five children also had personally experienced atopic dermatitis, two in every three suffered from asthma, and more than half had allergies that triggered runny noses. Moreover, blood tests from two-thirds of the youngsters turned up antibodies highlighting sensitivity to other foods, typically eggs or tree-nuts.

    Half of the young patients were born between 1988 and 1999, the rest between 2000 and 2005. The average age of their peanut allergy's onset was significantly different between the two groups—roughly 29 months old for the pre-2000 birth group, versus 15 months for children born since 2000. Within the first group, half of the children developed peanut allergy by 21 months of age; for children born since 2000, half developed their allergy by the time they were 14 months old.

    In hopes of teasing out factors that contributed to the trend of earlier allergies, Burks' group is participating in a Food Allergy Research Consortium that has been given $17 million to study food allergies—especially to peanuts. One facet of the 5-year program, which is sponsored by NIAID, is investigating the use of shots to desensitize people with peanut allergy. In addition, some 400 infants with milk and egg allergies will be studied for signs of immunological differences that distinguish those who outgrow their allergies from those who retain them lifelong.

    Currently, some 30,000 people a year are hospitalized for food allergy in the United States, and 200 die during an allergic episode. One concern, Burks notes, is that children who develop peanut allergy earlier than in the past might face a lower-than-usual chance of outgrowing their life-threatening affliction—one that requires constant vigilance.

    Such an allergy can even crimp one's social life. Consider the poor teenage girl whose lips swelled up after being kissed by her boyfriend (see A Rash of Kisses). Hours earlier, the boy had eaten peanuts, to which the girl was allergic.


    If you would like to comment on this Food for Thought, please see the blog version.

    Citations

    American Academy of Pediatrics

    141 Northwest Point Boulevard

    Elk Grove Village, IL 60007

    Web site: [Go to]

    A. Wesley Burks

    Division of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology

    Duke University Medical Center

    DUMC 2644

    Durham, NC 27710

    National Institutes of Health

    National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

    Office of Communications and Government Relations

    6610 Rockledge Drive, MSC 6612

    Bethesda, MD 20892-6612

    Web site: [Go to]
    Further Reading

    Helmuth, L. 1999. Allergy vaccine may take fear out of nuts. Science News 155(April 3):213. Available at [Go to].

    Long, A. 2002. The nuts and bolts of peanut allergy. New England Journal of Medicine 346(April 25):1320-1322. Extract available at [Go to].

    Raloff, J. 2003. Unexpected sources of peanut allergy. Science News Online (March 15). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2002. A rash of kisses. Science News 162(July 20):40. Available at [Go to].

    ______. 1998. The mango that thought it was poison ivy. Science News Online (Aug. 8). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 1997. A whiff, a sniff—then asthma. Science News Online (Feb. 1). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 1996. Peanut allergy found common and increasing. Science News 150(Sept. 7):150. Available at [Go to].

    _____. 1996. Family allergies? Keep nuts away from kids. Science News 149(May 4):279. Available at [Go to].

    Seppa, N. 2003. Tough nut is cracked: Antibody treatment stifles peanut reactions. Science News 163(March 15):163. Available at [Go to].

              Canadians Advocate Boosting Vitamin D in Pregnancy        

    A Canadian medical society recommends pregnant women and nursing moms boost their intake of vitamin D dramatically

    Food for Thought

    Canadian pediatricians certainly aren't shirking controversy when it comes to a vitamin guideline they've developed for pregnant women and nursing moms. They're asking these women to boost their intake of vitamin D dramatically—to 10 times the daily doses advocated by most health organizations in the States. This new prescription is aimed at combating rickets—leg deformations caused by soft bones—in youngsters who get too little of the sunshine vitamin.

    Vitamin D helps build strong bones by helping the body absorb calcium. Getting pregnant and nursing women to take more of the vitamin ensures that plenty will reach developing children.

    In the past, most people had little trouble getting enough vitamin D—they just went outdoors where ultraviolet rays from the sun trigger chemical reactions in skin to make this vital nutrient. However, some people always had trouble making enough. Canadian kids at highest risk of vitamin deficits generally live in First Nations and Inuit communities. With sun-filtering pigments in their skin, and living at high latitudes, they must glean most of their vitamin D from the diet—generally a poor source—not the sun.

    Most North American women—including those in the United States—eat diets delivering only about 100 international units, or IU, of vitamin D daily, according to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), in Washington, D.C. That is half of what IOM recommends and a mere 5 percent of what Canadian pediatricians are now advocating for new and soon-to-be moms.

    Although IOM's dietary recommendations are for the United States, the Canadian health establishment has tended to rubber stamp them. In this case, though, Canada's health agency took the unusual tack of signing off on a Canadian Paediatric Society proposal to boost the recommended intake by women who are pregnant or breast feeding to 2,000 IU per day. This new guideline appears in a consensus statement published in September by the society in its journal, Paediatrics & Child Health.

    Soon the society will begin sending its new guideline to every provincial, territorial, and aboriginal health department across Canada, notes Marie Adèle Davis, the group's executive director. The goal, she told Science News Online, is to make sure all public health officials learn about it—not just pediatricians.

    The higher recommendation equals the amount that IOM has designated as the safe upper limit for vitamin D's daily consumption. Most nutritionists don't really consider that value is a true ceiling for safe intake—especially since sunbathing on a bright summer day can generate 10,000 to 20,000 IU in the body without harm. Still, for political and legal reasons, most organizations shy away from advocating intakes near what IOM has flagged as a potential maximum for safe consumption.

    Now a number of researchers suspect that intakes by pregnant and lactating women much below 2,000 IU per day could actually prove unsafe for child health.

    Reinhold Vieth of the University of Toronto explained why, recently, to officials with Health Canada, a counterpart to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. To prevent rickets, he argued, a baby needs 400 IU of vitamin D per day. And in many parts of Canada, he said, nursing women may require several thousand IU of vitamin D per day to get 400 IU into their breast milk. Vieth had been recruited by the Canadian Paediatric Society to help defend its proposed guideline to government officials.

    U.S. physicians won't quibble over the 400 IU figure for babies and young children, notes pediatrician Frank R. Greer, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics' (AAP) committee on nutrition. Although the 1997 IOM report says 200 IU of vitamin D per day should be sufficient for anyone under 50—including children—few researchers buy that. "Everybody feels that we should be taking more than 200 IU," says Greer, of the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

    Unlike the Canadian Paediatric Society, though, "We [at AAP] don't really have any influence on what pregnant and lactating women take," Greer says. "However, I can say that AAP's committee on nutrition has recommended to the board that we go back to [recommending] 400 IU for all children." That's the amount in a teaspoon of cod liver oil—the vitamin D supplement of choice throughout the early 20th century. Greer expects his committee's recommendation to be approved by AAP's board, perhaps within the next month.

    Optimal needs vary

    For most of the past century, nutrient guidelines have been set to prevent gross deficiencies—shortfalls that could cause disease. Those recommendations tended to represent minimally adequate intakes. Over the past decade, however, considerable debate has surrounded what vitamin D consumption levels would be optimal versus merely adequate.

    The controversy has been fueled by a steady stream of studies that have emerged since the IOM set its vitamin D guidelines. Nearly all demonstrate substantial health benefits from relatively high intakes of vitamin D—amounts well in excess of what most individuals now get. Moreover, those benefits extend well beyond protecting bone. More vitamin D seems to diminish the risk of cancer, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, muscle loss, viral infections—even gum disease.

    Researchers gauge vitamin D sufficiency on the basis of 25-hydroxy vitamin D (25-HD). This is not the form of the vitamin that is consumed—nor the hormonal form that the body actually uses—but an intermediary. To achieve optimal concentrations of 25-HD, growing numbers of nutrition and health scientists suggest, most of us would need intakes of 800 to 4,000 IU per day (see Vitamin D: What's Enough?).

    How much vitamin D someone needs can vary widely, largely depending on the amount of skin that gets exposed to the sun each day—and for how long. Further complicating the picture, some skin is heavily pigmented, filtering sunlight out. Many people cover up with clothes or sunblock when they go outdoors. Still others live at high latitudes—as Canadians do—where little ultraviolet radiation makes it through the atmosphere during much of the year.

    Even for women in the southern United States, however, "we've found that lactating women need about 6,000 IU a day to transfer enough vitamin D into their milk to supply adequate amounts to a nursing infant," says Bruce W. Hollis of the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.

    Nor are nursing moms the only individuals who may need relatively large doses of the vitamin. Hollis' research has shown that black women may sometimes need 4,000 IU a day for months at a time to compensate for little time outdoors, heavy skin pigmentation, and/or obesity—a factor that appears to diminish the body's ability to use vitamin D efficiently (see Understanding Vitamin D Deficiency).

    Another reason for moms' supplementation?

    In March, researchers at Harvard Medical School reported evidence that ample vitamin D diminishes the chance a child will develop asthma, a scourge who's incidence has been rising, especially in black and low-income communities (see Childhood Vitamin D—A New Benefit?). Recently, an additional putative benefit has emerged for pregnant women and their developing babies.

    A study linked elevated risk of preeclampsia—high blood pressure that develops in some women during the last half of pregnancy—with low intakes of vitamin D. This condition, which can lead to miscarriage and even the death of the mother—ordinarily develops in some three to seven percent of first pregnancies.

    Pittsburgh researchers enrolled 1,198 women who were pregnant for the first time and measured their blood concentrations of vitamin D within the first 22 weeks of gestation. Subsequently, 59 women developed preeclampsia. Blood values from all but four were compared to a similar group of recruits who maintained normal blood pressure throughout their pregnancies.

    The higher a woman's blood concentrations of 25-HD, the lower her chance of developing preeclampsia—and that risk fell steadily and "strikingly" with increasing vitamin D values, Lisa M. Bodnar of the University of Pittsburgh and her colleagues found.

    Moreover, babies whose moms had developed preeclampsia were far more likely to have low vitamin-D values than were children whose moms had maintained normal blood pressure. "These differences were found in our population despite widespread prenatal/multivitamin use in the 3 months before delivery," Bodnar's group reports in the September Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

    Black women face far higher risks of developing this hypertensive syndrome. Overall, black women are also far likelier than other ethnic or racial groups to have low blood levels of vitamin D. Against this backdrop, Bodnar's group says, "our data linking vitamin D deficiency and preeclampsia risk raises the intriguing possibility that vitamin D may contribute to racial disparities in this [syndrome]."

    "The story of deficiency begins with vitamin D itself and its primary mode of synthesis, which is from sunlight," argue Adekunle Dawodu of the University of Cincinnati and Carol L. Wagner of the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. In a commentary in the September Archives of Disease in Childhood, they report a resurgence of rickets around the world, not only in children at high latitudes, but also in the Arab world and Asia where culture or excessive temperatures may keep women and children indoors or covered up.

    A shift from vitamin-D sufficiency to widespread deficiency has occurred rapidly—mostly throughout a half-century. The reason for it is clear, Dawodu and Wagner say: "insufficient sun exposure and inadequate corrective vitamin-D supplementation." They conclude, much as the Canadian Paediatric Society just has, that dosing moms during pregnancy and lactation "would achieve the double effect of preventing vitamin-D deficiency in both mothers and children." But unlike the Canadian society, they note that doses considerably higher than 2,000 IU may be necessary for some individuals and communities.

    As a goal, achieving population-wide vitamin D sufficiency "may be one of the more important preventative public health initiatives," conclude Dawodu and Wagner.


    If you would like to comment on this Food for Thought, please see the blog version.

    Citations

    American Academy of Pediatrics

    141 Northwest Point Boulevard

    Elk Grove Village, IL 60007-1098


    Lisa M. Bodnar

    Department of Epidemiology

    University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

    A742 Crabtree Hall

    130 DeSoto Street

    Pittsburgh, PA 15261


    John J. Cannell

    Psychiatry Department

    Atascadero State Hospital

    10333 El Camino Real

    Atascadero, CA 93423

    Marie Adèle Davis

    Canadian Paediatric Society

    2305 St. Laurent Boulevard

    Ottawa, Ont. K1G 4J8

    Canada

    Frank R. Greer

    Department of Pediatrics

    University of Wisconsin, Madison

    Madison, WI 53792

    Bruce W. Hollis

    Department of Pediatrics

    Medical University of South Carolina

    P.O. Box 250917

    171 Ashley Avenue, Room BM326

    Charleston, SC 29425


    Reinhold Vieth

    Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

    Mount Sinai Hospital

    600 University Avenue

    Toronto, ON M5G 1X5

    Canada
    Further Reading

    Cannell, J.J. In press. Autism and vitamin D. Medical Hypotheses. Abstract available at [Go to].

    Dijkstra, S.H., et al. 2007. High prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in newborn infants of high-risk mothers. Archives of Disease in Childhood 92(September):750-753. Available at [Go to].

    Moore, C.E., M.M. Murphy, and M.F. Holick. 2005. Vitamin D intakes by children and adults in the United States differ among ethnic groups. Journal of Nutrition 135(October):2478-2485. Available at [Go to].

    Raloff, J. 2007. Childhood vitamin D—A new benefit? Science News Online (May 19). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2007. Childhood vitamin D—A dark side? Science News Online (May 12). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2006. The antibiotic vitamin. Science News 170(Nov. 11):312-317. Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2005. Breathing easier with vitamin D. Science News Online (Dec. 17). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2005. Vitamin D boosts calcium potency. Science News Online (Nov. 12). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2005. Understanding vitamin D deficiency. Science News Online (April 30). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2004. Vitamin D: What's enough? Science News 166(Oct. 16):248-249. Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2004. Vitamin boost. Science News 166(Oct. 9):232-233. Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2004. Should foods be fortified even more? Science News Online (Sept. 11). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2000. Calcium may become a dieter's best friend. Science News 157(April 29):277. Available at [Go to].

    Williams, A.F. 2007. Vitamin D in pregnancy: An old problem still to be solved? Archives of Disease in Childhood 92(September):740-741. Available at [Go to].

              Providence Mayoral Candidate Elorza Promises To Tighten Ethics In City Hall        
    Democratic Providence mayoral candidate Jorge Elorza outlined a plan in front of City Hall Thursday for tightening ethics oversight in the city his first 100 days in office. Elorza’s plan includes impaneling an ethics commission that now exists only on paper, training for department heads, making city government more transparent, and refusing campaign contributions from city employees as both a candidate and mayor. “It’s about making sure our city employees will never be put in a position where they have to worry about their job depending upon whom they contribute politically to,” said Elorza. Elorza is calling on independent candidate Buddy Cianci to return about $18,000 in contributions from city employees, saying it fosters a pay-to-play mentality. Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you. news@ripr.org
              The Financial Crisis: Who is to Blame? [Audio]        
    Speaker(s): Howard Daves, Robert Peston | There is still no consensus on who or what caused the financial crisis which engulfed the world, beginning in the summer of 2007. A huge number of suspects have been identified, from greedy investment bankers, through feckless borrowers, dilatory regulators and myopic central bankers to violent video games and high levels of testosterone among the denizens of trading floors. There is not even agreement on whether the crisis shows a need for more government intervention in markets, or less: some maintain that government encouragement of home ownership lay at the heart of the problem in the US, in particular. In this public event to mark the launch of his new book 'The Financial Crisis: Who is to Blame?' Howard Davies charts a course through these arguments, and the evidence advanced for each of them.
              Howard Davies in Conversation with Lord Goldsmith QC [Audio]        
    Speaker(s): Lord Goldsmith QC, Howard Davies | The separation of powers idea is at the heart of all legal democracies. Yet within those democracies there will often be positions of high office which require their holders to perform functions which are both legal and political. In this series of events senior figures who hold or have held positions of this type talk about their lives in the law, the nature of their office, the institutions which they serve, their roles and responsibilities within those institutions, the role of lawyers in government and their understanding of the relationship between law and politics.
              Global Financial Regulation: The Essential Guide [Audio]        
    Speaker(s): Howard Davies, David Green, John McFall, Sir Steve Robson, Gillian Tett | As international financial markets have become more complex, so has the regulatory system which oversees them. The Basel Committee is just one of a plethora of international bodies and groupings which now set standards for financial activity around the world, in the interests of investor protection and financial stability. These groupings, and their decisions, have a major impact on markets in developed and developing countries, and on competition between financial firms. Yet their workings are shrouded in mystery, and their legitimacy is uncertain. Howard Davies was the first chairman of the UK's Financial Services Authority, the single regulator for the whole of Britain's financial sector. He was a member of the main international regulatory committees for several years, and is now director of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). David Green was head of International Policy at the FSA, after 30 years in the Bank of England, and has been particularly closely associated with the development of the European regulatory system. He now advises the Financial Reporting Council. John McFall MP is Chairman of the Treasury Select Committee of the House of Commons since 2001. He was re-elected to this post in October, 2005. In 1997 John served as a Government Whip and in July 1998 he was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Northern Ireland Office. His portfolio included responsibility for the Department of Education, Community Relations, the Training and Employment Agency and the Department of Health and Social Services and the Department of Economic Affairs. Sir Steve Robson is a former senior UK civil servant, who had responsibility for a wide variety of Treasury matters. His early career included the post of private secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and secondment to ICFC (now 3i). He was also a second permanent secretary of HM Treasury, where he was managing director of the Finance and Regulation Directorate. He is a non-executive director of JP Morgan Cazenove Holdings, RBS, Xstrata Plc, The Financial Reporting Council Limited and Partnerships UK plc, and a member of the Chairman's Advisory Committee of KPMG.
              China's Financial Markets: how they are emerging as a global force [Audio]        
    Speaker(s): Howard Davies | Howard Davies, who has advised the Chinese government on financial reform for the last four years, reviews the implications of China's rise for the world's financial markets.
              Thirty candidates registered at contest for National Prize 2017 in Moldova        

    The members of the commission for awarding the National Prize today held at meeting at the government, to consider those 30 files of the candidates and collectives of candidates, put forward for the 2017 issue of the contest.    


    The list of candidates, the fields of nomination and the information on the degree of files’ meeting the contest’s regulation were unveiled at the meeting chaired by the deputy head of the Commission, Education, Culture and Research Minister Monica Babuc. Following the discussions, the Commission members approved all files submitted for the National Prize 2017, with the structure according to the sectors being the following: science (11 files), technologies (2 files), culture and art (13 files), sport (4 files).       


    At the same time, the commission established the composition of the groups of experts, made up of famous persons: academicians, university professors, practitioners with experience in the field fitting the files, masters of the arts and sportspeople. The evaluation will be made based on a record of criteria, according to the Regulation.     

     

    It is worth mentioning that the deadline for submitting files to participate in the contest expired on 28 July 2017. The gala of the contest of the National Prize 2017 will take place on 26 August.   

     

    Candidates registered at contest for National Prize 2017

     

     


              Moldovan local public authorities' representatives invited to MUNI EXPO 2018, MUNI WORLD 2018        

    Two meetings of the representatives of the municipalities MUNI EXPO 2018 and MUNI WORLD 2018 will take place in Tel-Aviv, Israel, on 13 – 15 February 2018, the government’s communication and protocol department has reported.

     

    The events will provide municipal leaders with opportunity to interact with business and service providers, familiarizing themselves with innovative products, solutions and services in various fields such as infrastructure, environment, construction, engineering, information technology, education, social, culture etc.

     

    The sessions will take place under of the Israeli Federation of Local Public Administration’s (FLAI) patronage, with participation of municipal delegations from different countries, including the Republic of Moldova. The travel expenses are to be provided by the participants.

     

    The representatives of the local public administration in Moldova who wish to participate in those events are asked to send a message including the name, surname, function, contact details to e-mail addresses: victoria.cujba@gov.md  or grigore.butucea@mfa.md within 20 days.

     

    More details about events can be found at: http://www.muniexpo.co.il.


              Moldovan State Chancellery informs about contest to employ three consultans in child's protection sector        

    The State Chancellery has informed about a contest for the employment of three consultants, with the support of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), to back the work of the national council for the protection of child’s rights, and in particular, of its standing secretariat, the government’s communication and protocol department has reported.  

    It is about the:  

    -  Legal consultant (full working schedule);

    -  Consultant on communication (reduced schedule);

    -  Consultant on implementation and logistic (full schedule).

     

    The period of employment is August-December 2017.

     

    The conditions of participation in the contest are available at: http://cancelaria.gov.md/ro/apc/anunt-concurs

     


              Comment #2        
    Totally disagree that this would be an advantage. What it does is seek out the lower prize winners who aren't claiming their winnings. It's bad enough that players have to wait weeks to get their money after a big win and can't remain anonymous in most states. The only way a lottery prize can be deposited in a person's account is if he registers in a central database using his name, address and social security number. So the last thing we need is more government in our lives and this would jus... [ More ]
              RE[7]: USD vs. EUR        
    No, I don't think you get free health care. (I don't, either. My salary is lower than in the public sector, the price of my "free" health insurance.) My point was actually that there isn't a free lunch. European governments tend to provide certain amenities/services that the US government doesn't -- well maintained dykes and functional disaster relief organizations come to mind* -- but all of that comes at a price. Namely, taxes. --- *I've been re-reading some of my friends' Hurricane Katrina blogs recently ....
              Federal Perkins Loans        

    Federal Perkins Loans

    Colleges award these loans to students with the highest financial need, using federal government money. The 5 percent fixed interest rate is low, and you don't make any loan payments while in college. The interest on the Perkins Loan is subsidized while the student is in school. 


              Sub Loan        

    Federal Direct Subsidized Loans

    These need-based loans have a low interest rate of 3.4 percent, and the government pays the interest charges while you're in college. This interest rate is fixed, which means it will not change over time. You can borrow up to $3,500 your freshman year, and this limit increases each year.


              Federal Perkins        

    Federal Perkins Loans

    Colleges award these loans to students with the highest financial need, using federal government money. The 5 percent fixed interest rate is low, and you don't make any loan payments while in college. You can borrow a total of $27,500.


              Federal Direct Subsidized Loans        

    Federal Direct Subsidized Loans

    These need-based government loans currently have a low interest rate of 4.29%, and the government pays the interest charges while you're in college. This interest rate is fixed, which means it will not change over time. You can borrow up to $3,500 your freshman year, and this limit increases each year.


              The Art of Lovin' Trees --- Featuring Joel Tauber        




    The Art of Lovin’ Trees-- 
    Featuring Artist Joel Tauber
    Story dedicated to Joel and Alison
    in celebration of their joyous engagement on November 9th,
    2008

    Written and Researched by Enilde Van Hook
    Story Consult and Editing by Luke Van Hook
    Painting, www.lukevanhook.com
    Photography, www.gingervanhook.com
    Writing, www.enildeingelsvanhook.com


     America is having a love affair with trees and California is second to none in leading its appreciation of trees. Digging deep into the roots of this story, I have followed and researched the tree culture specifically in Los Angeles where our love of trees has spawned a unique pop tree culture relating to art. Our popular tree culture today includes but is not limited to tree sculptures, tree paintings, tree photographs, tree videos, tree poetry, tree songs, tree jewelry, tree movies and even tree love affairs. 


    Tree Earing created by Joel Tauber for his Sick-Amour Tree in Pasadena, California.
    Additional Tree Jewelry created by Joel Tauber to adorn the Sick-Amour Tree includes leaf jewelry, as well as the male earing and the female earing that hang from the tree below.  
    Photos of tree jewelry courtesy of  Susanne Vielmetter Gallery 5795 West Washington Blvd., Culver City, California 90232 www.vielmetter.com   infor@vielmetter.com (323-933-2117)


    Sick-Amour Tree in the parkinglot of the Pasadena Rose Bowl, protected by barriers installed by Joel Tauber in his quest to save his beloved tree. Tree wearing the earings looks hot!  Photo courtesy of Susanne Vielmetter Gallery.
    Leaf sculpture by Joel Tauber
    Female tree earing by Joel Tauber.
    Male tree earing created by Joel Tauber, photo courtesy of Susanne Vielmetter Gallery, 2008

    For the record, our love of trees goes way back to the dawn of time when we were swinging in the trees, however, our love has grown and matured since then. The Greek and Roman heritage of literature and art bestows us with intoxicating stories of their Gods having entanglements with humans. Some of their deities were known as protectors of trees and nature such as Dionysus the Greek god of agriculture, fertility, wine and merriment. He was later renamed Bacchus by the Romans and reported to be the Tree God. Back in the day when artists carved trees into stone and marble relief sculptures to worship in the temples of their mythological gods, people celebrated the sacredness of trees, grapevines and sometimes the unions of gods and mortals. There was Pomona, the goddess of fruit trees who married Vertumnus, the god of fruits and gardens. Digging deep enough, one is sure to find stories of deities mating with trees and spawning children of the harvest for instance.

    In modern literary circles there are a number of great imaginative family favorites written about trees, like “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein. Then there’s the infamous story of how Robinson Crusoe lived in a tree-house, and of utmost importance to our American history of trees, we propagate the very memorable legend of ‘Johnny Appleseed’.

    In our contemporary times we have a legend in the making too. I have been fortunate to witness the emergence of a new ‘Johnny Appleseed’ and interestingly enough, the story involves a recent romantic love affair between one special tree and a mortal that is well worth pursuing the story. Sometime in the fall of in 2007, I met Joel Tauber. This is the artist who I believe was struck by a mythological bolt of lighting, so to speak, pertaining to one of the Greek or Roman deities’. Joel Tauber is said to have fallen head over heels in love with one particular Sycamore Tree in the parking lot of the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. My chance meeting with this now famous mortal under the influence of an enchanted mystical spell, has led me to research the mysteries intrinsic in the charms of trees. I too have been struck with the frailty of trees, their vulnerabilities, and their enormous strengths and inspiration. This together with my own personal experiences with trees has prompted me to come out of my shell and discuss the subject in all seriousness.

    My own personal background is not in trees. I am simply a tree-lover from childhood. For a little over ten years, my professional background was in radio as a disc jockey and on-air personality. I listened to music, reviewed songs and kept tabs on the pop music culture. I worked in the Los Angeles market as well as Santa Barbara, California; Eventually I moved to expand my work experience in neighboring radio markets like Reno, Carson City, Lake Tahoe and Gardnerville/Minden, Nevada. It was through traveling that I saw some of the most beautiful trees along the routes through Northern California and Northern Nevada!
    While I drove from one radio market to another over the years, I watched the trees go by at the various speed limits along the highways of my life’s journeys. Thus you will understand when I tell you that often I see art and life, for that matter, through a series of moving images in my head which include a music bed. 
    I was eleven years old when in 1970, Joni Mitchell wrote and released a song called ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ whose lyrics surpassed the test of time and is currently in airplay by a glut of new groups. The lyrics began with “…They paved paradise and put up a parking lot. They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum and they charged all the people a dollar and a half just to see ‘em.” One of the barometers I use to gage the influence of any particular song, music or artwork that I come into contact with is if it will surpass the test of time, among other important criteria. This song became one of my favorite songs of all time. The lyrics made so much sense to me.
    When I met Joel Tauber, I was introduced to the enormous scope of his Sick-Amour Tree-Baby Project. It was then that I suddenly started hearing Joni Mitchell’s song in my mind again, only this time, as I got in my car, Counting Crows was performing the song. When I started doing more research on the song that I could not get out of my head, I was struck by how many artists had re-recorded the song and barely changed anything about the words. There is Amy Grant, who upgraded the dollar amount from $1.50 to $25 when singing about how much the museums charged people to enter. Additionally there is Green Day, Sarah McLachlan, Charlie Barker, Bob Dylan, Moya Brennan, Ireen Sheer, Donnie Eidt and a host of so many others that have recorded ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ it was simply overwhelming!
    I think the importance of the lyrics to this one particular song is that it reveals the fact that people love trees and hate parking lots. The message is that if it weren’t for our trees, we could be living in a frying pan! The impact of this single song is that it reveals what is really going on in people’s minds. There is a reason why so many artists are flocking to re-record the lyrics in their own way.











    Not only are trees involved in the music arena, trees as subjects, are very involved in politics as well. Gaylord Nelson, a senator from Wisconsin at the time, took a leading role in developing the celebration of Earth Day on April 22nd 1970 as a way to commemorate our environmental concerns. Arbor Day is presently celebrated as well with the first ceremonial tree planting in Washington D.C. on April 27th in 2001, all evidence that goes to prove the people of our planet do care about what happens to our trees.


    Trees stand as a testiment and memorial for Dr. Martin Luther King

    Dr. Martin Luther King is memorialized with trees along Expositon Blvd. across from the Los Angeles Coliseum and down the street from the University of Southern California.
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook


    Online sources on the subject of trees are rich in number. For instance, eighteen years ago, here in Los Angeles, a multi racial group of volunteers planted 400 Canary Island Pine trees along seven miles of road on Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King’s life. Today, this living homage to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. continues to thrive and keep the dream alive for his followers. The founder and President of www.treepeople.org is Mr. Andy Lipkis and he keeps tabs on the trees to make sure all 400 trees stay healthy.



    Mayor Antonio Villarigosa is the person to thank for the ‘Million Trees Initiative’ he signed into effect in May of 2006 and Los Angeles residents can learn how they too can receive up to 7 free trees to plant on their property. Visit the website at www.milliontreesla.org to learn the details.   Also in Portland, Oregon there is www.friendsoftrees.org and in Bellingham Washington you will find www.geocities.com. There is also the International Society of Arboriculture called ISA and can be accessed by visiting www.isa-arbor.com. You will also find a great deal of valuable advise on the growth and care of trees at www.treesaregood.com and check out Tree Care Industry Association TCIA as well.



    Mark Dion created an art piece titled "Library for the Birds of Antwerp" which is also a good example of how art is vitally connected with our tree culture and how it connects Mark Dion to his PBS special where he removed a dead tree from the forest and recreated its living components in a city scape in Washington.  From the "20th Century Artbook Phaidon Press 1996", the caption reads: "Using props from the natural and man-made world, Dion has constructed an installation that explores contemporary attitudes to science and the environment. He has created a fictional and hybridized situation in which the trappings associated with knowledge, learning and classification--such as books and photographs--are juxtaposed with natural elements including birds and wood.   The representation of nature is a fundamental subject in Dion's art, and here he takes on the role of sociologist/anthropologist and blurring the boundaries between authentic and fake, representation and parody. By adopting the persona of a scientist and by satirizing man's obsession with categorization, Dion questions the values of the Western world.  His subject matter is heavily influence by popular culture.  In Dion's world we might witness Mickey Mouse as an explorer, or Clark Kent interviewing Dr. Frankenstein." (Photo and contents are used in this story for purposes of artistic review.)

    In the art world, an artist named Mark Dion was featured in a documentary film report that aired in 2007. To view the video one may visit on the Internet by going to www.pbs.org and find Mark Dion as he took the subject of trees and made an art piece that explored what would happen if one were to take a tree after its death, take it out of its familial context of natural forest, and re-create the ecosystem in an environment that would otherwise be a hostile urban setting, needless to say, a cityscape. Just outside of Seattle Washington, he states, a Hemlock fell on February 8th, 1996…and so begins an elaborate experiment that pits optimism against reality." The PBS special is very detailed and you will enjoy the depth of research and work that Mark Dion went to to take a tree out of the forest and recreate the setting in the city.  The difference between the artwork presented by Mark Dion and  the artwork presented by Joel Tauber is in the nature of the life of the tree. Mark Dion works with a dead tree and its living components, and Joel Tauber creates life out of a tree seed and duplicates it all over his community.


    Thus I’ve discovered for myself that when I researched the subject of trees, I discovered Joel Tauber wasn’t alone! However, instead of creating an experiment in ecology, Joel Tauber goes further than Mark Dion does with this concept of eco-systems and their frailties. Joel Tauber begins a journey that could eventually repair the eco-systems that man has destroyed. This is where Joel Tauber takes the lead in the art world and becomes not only the realist but the optimistic hope for trees in desecrated forests all over the country.
    Joel Tauber’s work as a living project of art in 2008 has resonance and his story is well worth telling again and again. He is certainly not the first, nor the last to get involved in the love of trees, but he is the first in contemporary times to have been associated with a mythological and mystical occurrence of reproducing tree babies out of just hugging one lonely tree.


    The last time I saw a man hugging a tree, he was hugging the tree for all the wrong reasons. At the MOCA, Los Angeles’s Museum of Contemporary Art, some years back I was viewing an exhibition that was in town by the Utah born artist now working in Los Angeles, Paul McCarthy. While this work of art depicted a very raw and unsettling sculpture of ‘tree-lovin’ it had nothing whatsoever to do with the love of any tree. The work displayed a timely political statement about our government rather than the love for trees, but bear in mind that the thought involved images from man’s intimate involvement with trees both in the biblical sense and in the sense of man’s raping of the planet. Joel Tauber’s work counteracts the devastation of many years of neglect for our trees with a very basic recipe for the renewal of our commitment to our green-leafed friends. Now, when I see the image of Joel Tauber hugging his Sycamore Tree in Pasadena, I get a whole new perspective for the love for our planet, our trees and our environment as a whole.

    "The Garden" by Paul McCarthy from The 20th Century Art Book, 
    Phaidon Press Limited, page 280. Photo is used for purposes of artistic review.
    The caption in the book reads as follows: " 'The Garden'  is a full-scale tableau of an outdoor, woodland scene, complete with leafy trees, shrubs and rocks.  This tranquil picture of nature is rudely interrupted by the presence of a middle-aged, balding man with his trousers round his ankles, engaged in a wholly unnatural act. From one side of the installation, his actions are not immediately apparent, being partially hidden by the tree trunks and foliage, but the sound of mechanical activity draws the viewer in to discover the shocking sight of a man copulating with a tree.  This robotic figure, with its endlessly repetitive movements, is both comical and crude, and is intended by McCarthy to question notions of acceptable public behavior and sexual morality.  McCarthy is a lecturer at UCLA as well as an artist. His sculptural installations evolved out of his earlier performance work which focused on his own body engaged in extreme and disturbing acts."




    To further explain this romantic entanglement between a tree and a mortal, I cite some important historical facts. Back in 2005, Joel Tauber was in the parking lot of the Pasadena Rose Bowl, when he spotted a particularly lonely and neglected Sycamore Tree. There are hundreds of thousands of trees in Pasadena, and a great number of them thrive very well on the grounds of the Rose Bowl, should you ever drive through this luscious community of tree and rose-lovers, you will see. But Joel Tauber focused his attention on one specific lonely tree. He started to note more and more how cars would hit the bark of the tree and scrape it, injuring the tree repeatedly. Joel Tauber became a witness to this tree’s life. Taking compassion and friendship upon this particular tree, Tauber began to film the area of the parking lot where the tree was growing. He got the idea to put up solid barriers to protect it from cars and also carried water in large plastic bags to irrigate the tree. Soon, Tauber found himself as a one-man band, orchestrating a symphony of activities leading to editing mass quantities of tree footage, fighting City Hall, and embarking on a quest to save this tree from infertility using tried and true guerilla tactics that would make tree-huggers stand and salute. To personally view the Sick-Amour project, along with the giant scale tree sculpture installation exhibited at Susanne Vielmetter Gallery in 2007, you may visit www.vielmetter.com.













                   Recently, I had the privilege and opportunity to discuss Joel Tauber’s work with Susanne Vielmetter and she was delighted to tell me what a wonderful sense of humor that Tauber exhibits in all of his works of art. Susanne Vielmetter reviewed the Underwater project with me as well as the Flying Project which Tauber presented.
    She explained how deep down, she feels Tauber is on a quest for meaning in his work and that he has a keen sense of humor that unifies and makes his ideas successful. She states that he uses the comical and the tragic in the Tree-Baby project to address the issues of urban living in our time and very subtly pokes fun at the problems innate in urban planning. The real irony of a small Sycamore tree dying of thirst in a parking lot of a beautiful park in a paradise-like valley, alongside the 110 Pasadena Freeway where 80% of the territory is plastered with concrete and the water below runs along asphalt channels of the Los Angeles River is not lost on Tauber, she explained. To contrast, Susanne Vielmetter cited that parks in Europe allow for weeds to grow naturally on landscapes that are not covered with concrete. Joel Tauber’s projects were initially presented at the Susanne Vielmetter Gallery located at 5795 Washington Blvd., in Culver City, California. The response Susanne Vielmetter’s Gallery received was incredibly exciting, even though at first, some folks thought Joel Tauber was a nut; he went on to prove just how serious he really is about changing the landscape of our environment, one tree at a time.



    Joel Tauber has a large body of video artwork, photographs and developing tree babies, (the children of a mortal and a Charmed Sycamore Tree) and one may also visit www.joeltauber.com.
    As I learned more and more about Joel Tauber’s project, I realized how blessed we all are that tree-lovin’ is not a singular act of love or even a fleeting love of art. I realized how connected we all are to our environment and how the idea of having a special friend ‘the tree’, any tree in any state, in any country for that matter is a beautiful connection to have. The connection that Joel Tauber has to his Sycamore Tree is in synch with the love that the country is experiencing during our new millennium. We have all become acutely aware of the fragility of life; we realize now more than ever that we must respect our dependence on our environment and value our trees.

    The first thing that struck me about Joel Tauber was that we had the love of trees in common. He seemed a bit shy, unassuming and humble yet I was later to learn the enormous power he wielded for this one frail and neglected tree in the parking lot of the Pasadena Rose Bowl in California. I was truly inspired by the level of involvement and commitment he had demonstrated for his own beloved Sycamore Tree which he had turned into a full-blown art-project including video, photography and sculptured jewelry. (He did it all!) He named this work the Sick-Amour Project mainly because he said he felt this tree was ill from the lack of love and the inability to have tree babies to fulfill its legacy. I had never personally met someone with such an extreme love and dedication to one particular tree. In our local newscasts, I had heard stories of people who became very emotional when a land developer was about to cut down a tree they considered a relic of their community; in which case people got very nasty about the issue and would chain themselves to the trees or surround the location with demonstrators that would shut down the jobsite. That’s when the news crews would come in with their cameras and boom mikes and the news helicopters would hover in circles above the trees trying to capture the ‘event’ that was creating all the uproar. A very recent example of this type of community behavior is written about on the front pages of the Los Angeles Times where Eric Bailey, a Times Staff Writer, wrote an extensive story about the tree-issues pertaining to Scotia, California where activists are protesting the logging of the Great California REDWOODS! Read the Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times, August 24th, 2008 or visit www.latimes.com online to learn how the tree-sitters are doing today.

    But Joel Tauber is a different type of activist. He doesn’t consider himself an activist at all. He merely states, humbly, just for the record, that he loves this one particular Sycamore Tree and it is an outrage to him to see how his new best friend is being suffocated under a six-inch blanket of black tar and asphalt. Better yet, Joel Tauber does something about it. Not with a crew of forty thousand demonstrators, not even with a crew of forty residents. He does this on his own, quietly challenging the laws of the city of Pasadena and humbly takes responsibility for the care and nurturing of his new best friend. I was touched. At once I began to marvel at his potent idea.



    The art of loving our trees has grown roots in the higher levels of the art world as well. For instance, if one were to visit the J. Paul Getty Museum both at the Getty Villa which recently re-opened in Malibu and at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, you will find the love of trees has grown branches on all the hillsides surrounding both properties. There are lucky Sycamores and fortunate Pines; there are Pomegranate trees, Apple trees, Pear trees, Jacaranda trees and trees that just look good in a vista overlooking the ocean. Millions of dollars went into the development of artistic gardens which envelope the California landscape against a backdrop of the Pacific Ocean on one edge and the rolling hills of Malibu on the other.






    Over in the area of the Miracle Mile, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is celebrating an enormous renovation of its facilities and you guessed it, there are aisles and isles of gigantic palm trees lining the walkways to the entrance of the museum in concert with a unique and flamboyant architecture that has drawn the attention of the art-world with the generosity of Eli and Edythe Broad of the Broad Foundation. The Broad Contemporary Art Museum is the new wing at the LACMA and is considered the largest space in the country devoted exclusively to contemporary art. With a ‘living art display’ dedicated to the iconic palm trees, not native to California, Robert Irwin has developed a plein-air walkway through ‘Palm Gardens’ as one makes their way to the entrances of the museum.





    Lush green trees thrive all over Pasadena, California, home of the Rose Bowl where Joel Tauber fell in love with a Sycamore Tree.  Photo by Ginger Van Hook, 2008




     The Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California  is also home to some of the most exquisite antiquities in its museum history which includes sculptures amid a forest like atmosphere. Currently at the Norton Simon Museum, among its many exhibitions, one may enjoy the artwork of Ruth Weisberg, Dean of the Gayle Garner Roski School of Fine Arts at the University of Southern California. Opening on October 17, 2008 the Weisberg exhibition at the Norton Simon runs through March 2, 2009. Additionally a lecture by the artist is planned where Weisberg discusses: Guido Cagnacci and the Resonant Image on Sunday November 16, 2008.  The Norton Simon Museum of Art is located at 411 West Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena, California. Ruth Weisberg was instrumental in selecting the work of Joel Tauber to be permanently planted on the Main University Campus of USC on January 24, 2008 where a tree planting ceremony was held and attended by numerous members of USC faculty, staff, students and guests. The location of the new tree-baby, child of the Sick-Amour Project, currently exists on the Exposition side of the campus between Gate one and the Fischer Gallery, across the street from the Museum of Natural History. 


    In Pasadena, where lovers of trees line every street of the city as the landscapes are lush with all types of trees and where these wonderful healthy trees keep cool the throngs of tourists who visit the Rose Bowl every year, is also home to the Norton Simon Museum and the Pasadena Museum of California Art. Both locations are areas where tree-lovin’ may be experienced alongside some of California’s best-known artworks. Visit the NORTON SIMON MUSEUM at www.nortonsimon.org located at 411 West Colorado, Pasadena, California 91105 or visit the PASADENA MUSEUM OF CALIFORNIA ART at www.pmcaonline.com at 490 East Union Street, Pasadena, California.



    In San Marino, California, the art of trees, gardens and succulents has found a worthy haven at the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens spanning an area of 120 acres dedicated to the fine arts founded by Henry E. Huntington in 1928 as the very first public art gallery in Southern California. Along with English portraits and French eighteenth-century furniture, one will delight in tours of the unique garden paradise established for the pure love of the botanical arts.


    On the hillside along the 405 Freeway in Los Angeles, one may also enjoy walking along the elegant landscapes of the Skirball Cultural Center and Museum grounds and witness the serenity of the trees as Weeping Willows slope their leaves to the ground, and gentle breezes sway the branches of Sycamores, Oaks and Birch trees. Visit the Skirball Museum online at www.skirball.org, or enjoy a personal walk along the grounds and explore the tributes to culture at 2701 North Sepulveda, Los Angeles 90049.

    Trees at the Skirball Museum and Cultural Center thrive and enjoy the mild California climate.


    In San Diego, one enjoys walking through a vast museum complex housing 15 unique museums in Balboa Park, not to mention to the collection of rare cactus and enormous Eucalyptus trees (just to name one tree type out of numerous ones) which shade the paths leading from one museum to another.

    Each of the locations I have mentioned or described here is where I personally walked through, witnessed, and or photographed sophisticated artistic tree landscapes of the California terrain.

    The Roots of my personal anxieties: Why I care.

    The impact of my meeting Joel Tauber coincided with an important event that took place for me way before I knew about his Sick-Amour Tree project and was what eventually led me to throw myself into this frenzied study of trees over this summer. Thus I do not necessarily consider myself struck by any of the Greek or Roman gods. I believe my influence came with a special awareness of the frailty of trees with this personal story:

    A little over one year ago, on June 30th, 2007 I was walking our dog Sasha, around the block for one of our frequent walks. I rounded the corner to the next block when I was taken aback as I witnessed a set of ‘city’ crewmembers slaughtering what appeared to be a California Oak tree. I had grown quite fond of that particular Oak on my many walks while I was writing my first novel. As a matter of fact, I had used that model of tree to describe a forest of these trees in a chapter in my first fiction novel. I especially love the sculptured texture of the Mighty gnarly Oaks. This tree had been the one to rekindle my relationship with the trees of my imagination. My stomach got queasy when I saw how it was being destroyed. I would have thrown-up, but I got a hold of my emotions and took Sasha home. Not only did I return to the scene of the slaughter, but I brought my camera to document the death and dismemberment of this great oak; I was so distraught that I returned again to the site, without my camera this time, and begged the men to stop for a moment while I sought out the seeds for this tree. To my surprise, the men stopped and helped me search for the seeds.








    When I got home, I had no idea what to do with the seeds. I called a couple of nurseries until a gentleman at a nursery in Marina del Rey explained to me that I had to wait until the pods dried up and slit to get at the seeds and plant them. So, I waited until the pods were black and wrinkled. I split them according to the directions I had gotten from this kind anonymous arborist. (He suggested a process much like that which squirrels have for cracking the pods.) I photographed the seeds and compared them with the larger seed of an apricot fruit tree and the seed of a maple tree.






    Once properly documented, I planted them in a small brown pot. Two weeks later, the first seed came up. A few days later another seed appeared to take root. On the one-year anniversary of the re-birth day of this Great Knurly Oak tree, July 20th, 2008, I documented how large the great twin oaks had become. The highest little bitty branch was about fourteen inches tall. I estimated this tree had grown a little over an inch every month. A compassionate act of kindness yielded a new life on the impulse of grief. The impulse of grief affected not only me; there is an entire world of tree-lovers mourning the losses of their favorite tree friends in surrounding communities.












    What about the subconscious feelings innate in developing a relationship with a tree? For instance, what draws people to want to save a particular tree? 

    I can really only speak to my own experience in that my relationship with trees started when I was a child.

              Best Time To Invest in Art, NOW! by Ginger Van Hook        
    TV celebrity Jason Alexander supports the arts at the TAG Gallery in Santa Monica, California on August 18, 2007 for the CALIFORNIA OPEN EXHIBITION show juried by Peter Frank. Now showing NEW WORKS, painting, mixed media, sculpture, photography and video through September 1st 2007. Jason Alexander, an actor who played the part of "George" in the long running and popular hit TV show "Seinfeld",
    is pictured here beside sculpture artist Ali Alinejad.
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook

    Christine Owens, president of the Focus One Community Credit Union and sponsor of the
    Focus One Gallery in Monrovia, California is presented with the Renaissance Award
    by Monrovia City Councilman, Joe Garcia at the Monrovia Arts Festival Association Gala Black Tie Annual Fund-raising Event May 12, 2007. The Renaissance Award is given to honor and recognize a special member of the community whose contributions to their fellow citizens leads to the cultural enrichment of the community as a whole. Photo by Ginger Van Hook

    Artist, Photographer and Actor, David Newsom poses with his dog in front of his latest photographs (Thistle #1) being exhibited at the DCA Fine Arts Gallery, in Santa Monica, California, (June 1, 2007 through July 14th, 2007). Three miles of Idaho is an exhibit focusing on the landscape between his brother and his sister's properties in a unique and poignant family setting. David Newsom released large scale renditions of his work currently published from his best-selling book titled SKIP.
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook

    Peter Frank, Jurist, for the TAG Gallery, CALIFORNIA OPEN EXHIBITION,
    stands beside emerging Los Angeles based artist, Luke Van Hook, August 18th, 2007.
    The Painting in background, oil on canvas, "May", the study of Giotto's perfect circle.
    by Luke Van Hook
    (Investigating the legend that Giotto drew a perfect circle for the Pope)

    As the economy goes up and down, so do the trends in the arts and art collecting. This is an exciting time for the arts because we have many historical markers and world conditions that exist today that make it a good time to invest in the arts. For instance, instability in the stock market often releases money to make investments in art, that, like real estate, also goes up in value as the years progress. Additionally, there are wars raging around the world so instability in world economic markets are impacting the art market too. The best impact that market instability plays upon the arts is that it gives incentives to support artists in your local communities. These artists are here and now. Their work is presently available, and like property, it too can be insured, placed into a family trust or safety deposit vault and along with the family heirlooms, art can be bequeathed as a legacy or inheritance to members of your family. Both the housing market and the stock market have been riding a roller-coaster in recent years making a good piece of tangible artwork a far more solid investment than betting on governments, point spreads or Las Vegas Mega Slots.

    M
    y husband Luke and I have explored a number of fine art galleries and art communities that will interest the art lover, the art collector and fellow artists in the pursuit of great works being created in the NOW, as well as some works that have survived the test of time. In my Blog I intend to discuss some of the hot spots and hot artists in Sunny Southern California. I'll share photos with you of some of these exciting options available to the every day collector, the seasoned collector, the art aficionados, or the emerging collectors eager with new money to infuse into an already thriving and ripe harvest of works in Oil Painting, Photography, Sculpture, Conceptual works, Collage, Digital Photography, Digital Film and Electronic Visual Art.

    Through this summer we visited communities on the West side such as Santa Monica, West LA, and Culver City. In the inland areas, we visited some of the foothill mountain art communities such as Glendale and a little further inland, we visited Old Town Monrovia. Starting with the inland foothills we find the quaint town of Monrovia where I grew up and went to school at Immaculate Conception Elementary on Shamrock Avenue. In Monrovia, the City of Art and in Duarte, the City of Health, I grew up as a child. I volunteered about 300 hours as a candy striper for the City of Hope in my teenage years, went on to work for the Duarte Library and attended Alverno High School for girls in Sierra Madre. This is the place where I was raised marching in parades with the Brownies and the Girl Scouts and where I learned to tap dance, twirl a baton and where I rode a ferris wheel for the first time at the fiesta, (as well as ate a lot of cotton candy), I came back as an adult to find an incredible amount of support for the arts in local schools. The arts are not limited to crayons and pencils either. There is an extensive array of art mediums in which students, and some very young students at that, learn to hone their creative skills. For instance, at Paint N Play on Myrtle Avenue, they learn how to throw pottery. Also, with after school teacher, Rouzanna Berberian, children learn the art of drawing, photography and gallery showmanship as well. There are art lessons going on, on almost every street corner you encounter in the busy Old Town Center on Myrtle near the Krikorian Movie theatre. You'll find this charming section of town both soothing and exhilarating. You ought to try walking up and down the main street where there are sidewalk activities, new park benches to rest under shade trees, new lampposts and lanterns all reminiscent of a nostalgic time. Artists show their work on wide city blocks and inside cool and dim lit gallery spaces. The mountains loom in the distance and the afternoons yeild a light summer breeze in the early evening.

    We support the Monrovia Arts Festival Association in their endeavors to promote the arts to the children at a very young age. It is not uncommon for lots of families that are raised to appreciate art to blossom into artists later in life. MAFA is a nonprofit organization led by President Bill Beebe with a history of supporting local artists and local after-school art programs. Over the years, the Monrovia community has begun to expand its outreach of art by developing local talent through a number of venues: Focus One Gallery for instance, is located in the lobby of the Focus One Community Credit Union at 404 East Huntington Drive on the corner of California and Huntington Drive. The president of Focus One Community Credit Union, Christine Owens is known for her support of local artists and was recently nominated for and awarded the annual Renaissance Award by Monrovia City Councilman Joe Garcia at the MAFA Black Tie Fundraiser in May 2007. This is a prestigious award that goes to honor and recognize a special member of the community whose contributions to their fellow citizens leads to the cultural enrichment of the community as a whole.

    MAFA Marketing coordinator, (on left)Denise Daniels is pictured here with Christine Owens, President of Focus One Community Credit Union and Bill Beebe, President of MAFA at their annual Black Tie Fundraiser that occurs in May.


    Monrovia, California
    Foothill Mountain Communities
    Some Artists in Action...

    THE MONROVIA ARTS FESTIVAL ASSOCIATION otherwise known as MAFA, is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization and is dedicated to the cultivation and support of the arts in children's after school programs as well as educational awareness of the arts in the community at large. MAFA P.O. Box 92 Monrovia, CA 91017 (www.artfestivals.org) 626-256-3124

    Several galleries and art venues have developed over the years which participate and support MAFA. The following information is current as of August 2007: If your event or venue is not listed, please contact Ginger Van Hook, press liaison, for MAFA at (enilde@sprintmail.com).

    The AZTEK ART GALLERY, is located beside the Aztek Hotel at 305 West Foothill Blvd. Exhibits local artists work as well as holds art classes during scheduled times. The contact person is Bill Hyatt, (Hyatt2000@yahoo.com)

    California Wine and Cheese, LLC supports local artists. New Artist reception for Frank Zgonc, Photographer is scheduled for the evening of Friday August 24th, 2007. Frank Zgonc shares images from his travels through Europe, scenes from Bodie Flats, Nevada and local scenes in Monrovia along with his signature digital watercolor manipulations. California Wine and Cheese is located at 115 W. Foothill Blvd., Owned by Janet and Tom Dugan, their website can be located at www.cawineandcheese.com (Contact by phone 626-358-6500 for reservations.)

    The MONROVIA COFFEE COMPANY supports local artists and is located at 425 South Myrtle Avenue. Exhibits contemporary and emerging artists work. Next artists showing September 1 through December 30th, Ginger and Luke Van Hook Photography exhibit, Methusula in the Bristlecone Pine Forest. (Landscape photographs of some of the oldest pine trees on the planet. Some trees aged over 4,700 years, older than the Egyptian Pyramids.) (Additional digital photography of flowers and collage by Ginger Van Hook.) For artist schedules, contact person is Carol Curtis, (shutterbug@altrionet.com)

    The PAINT 'N PLAY ART GALLERY is affiliated with Monrovia Arts Festival Association in its' support of the arts by providing a meeting place for MAFA members to discuss and plan their upcoming events for the community on a monthly basis. Contact Lisa or Rachel at paintnPlay2@aol.com. Paint 'N Play is located at 418 South Myrtle Avenue. Paint N Play sponsors the SUMMER ARTWALKS in Old Town Monrovia along with several merchants who participate every year. KidsArt, Segil Fine Art, Oh My Goddard Gallery, Family Festival Productions, Scoops, Joy Print and Design, Box Jewelers and Baldwin's Baked Potatoes as well as the Outback SteakHouse- Arcadia and Trader Joe's also participate in art festivities that promote the education of art in schools through Summer Artwalks. For more information regarding Summer Art Walks and how you may participate, you may also contact Betsy Thurmond (626-358-7800) or kamonrovia@verizon.net. The next SUMMER ARTWALK is scheduled for Saturday evening, August 25, 2007 from 6:30 to 9pm.


    *********************************************************

    GLENDALE COMMUNITY
    ARTISTS EXHIBIT AT THE
    BRAND LIBRARY ART GALLERIES

    August 11 - September 28th, 2007.
    Glendale Public Library Associates of Brand Library
    1601 West Mountain Street Glendale, CA 91201
    818-548-2051 www.brandlibrary.org


    A group show Titled: PATTERN PLAY. Four artists demonstrate the variety of patterns available in color schemes, pattern originality, unique images in oil paints, sculpture, and graphic designs. Artist reception August 18, 2007. Artists featured are Patsy Cox, Yuriko Etue, Melanie Rothschild, and Jerrin Wagstaff. Definitely a great show for the entire family. You'll experience a great variety of brilliant colors and patterns that pop out of the walls, rise from the floor and reveal creative abstract patterns that draw you in, spiral you out and make you feel good.

    Artist, Melanie Rothschild

    Artist, Patsy Cox

    Artist, Yuriko Etue

    Artist, Jerrin Wagstaff


    **********************************************************

    SANTA MONICA AND COASTAL EDGES
    OF CALIFORNIA ART


    16:1 Gallery, Santa Monica, California Summer 2007

    MONGREL

    Kathryn Andrews
    Chris Lipomi
    Donald Morgan
    Stephanie Taylor
    organized by Kathryn Andrews

    Showing August 11 through September 8, 2007

    Sixteen:One
    2116 Pico Blvd., Unit B
    Santa Monica, CA 90405
    310-450-4394
    email: info@16to1.com
    www.16to1.com


    ************************************************************************************************************

    SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA

    DCA FINE ART GALLERY
    Delia Cabral, Gallery Director
    www.dcafineart.com
    delia@dcafineart.com
    3107 Pico Blvd. Santa Monica, CA 90405
    310-396-8565

    From Exhibition, THREE MENDACIOUS MINDS, (The Return of Paris' New Pestilence School) David Schoffman, Currado Malaspina, Micah Carpenter July 23- August 31, 2007 310-770-2525
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook



    ******************************************************************************************************************

    SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA

    TAG Gallery
    TAGtheartistsgallery.com
    Elizabeth Sadoff
    Gallery Director
    2903 Santa Monica Blvd.
    Santa Monica, CA 90404
    310-829-9556

    Elizabeth Sadoff, Gallery Director, TAG Gallery
    handing out awards to the winning artists.

    Photo by Ginger Van Hook

    Jason Cimenski accepts award from Peter Frank and Elizabeth Sadoff
    TAG Gallery, August 18, 2007
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook


    First Place Winner, Artist, Jason Cimenski with his daughter "The Flooded Room" TAG Gallery, August 18, 2007 Photo by Ginger Van Hook

    Artist Kim Kimbro, TAG Gallery, August 18, 2007
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook


    Artist, Lorien Suarez,
    TAG Gallery August 18, 2007
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook

    Artist, Carlos Daub,
    TAG Gallery, August 18, 2007
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook

    Derek McMullen, Luke Van Hook, Dennis Treretola Three artists, oil painters, from the same graduating class at Otis College of Art and Design, 2004
    TAG Gallery, August 18, 2007
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook


    Artists, and fine art painters, Carlos Daub, Luke Van Hook, Dennis Treretola
    TAG Gallery, August 18, 2007
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook

    Artist, Carole Garland, "Midnight Mystery", oil on canvas
    TAG Gallery, August 18, 2007

    Photo by Ginger Van Hook

    TAG Gallery, Santa Monica, California
    August 18, 2007
    Standing room only at the popular show
    CALIFORNIA OPEN EXHIBITION

    Photo by Ginger Van Hook

    Peter Frank thanks the artists and their guests who have participated
    at the TAG Gallery, Santa Monica, California Open Exhibition,
    August 18, 2007
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook



              Security Council Press Statement on Terrorist Attacks in Turkey        
    The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the heinous and cowardly terrorist attacks in the city of Istanbul, Turkey on 10 December, during which at least 39 people were killed and 155 injured. They expressed their deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government of Turkey [...]
              4th Committee of UN General Assembly adopts Decision on Gibraltar by consensus        
    4th Committee of UN General Assembly adopts Decision on Gibraltar by consensus The Government of Spain welcomes the approval by consensus on Tuesday, 8 November, of a Decision on the issue of Gibraltar presented by the Chairman of the 4th Committee of the United Nations General Assembly. 08/11/2016 This Decision urges Spain and the United [...]
              The 71st General Debate at the General Assembly: Highlights        
    Do you know how many speakers participated in the general debate this year and of those, how many were Heads of State and Government? What was the longest, shortest and average time of speeches? And what were the most frequently mentioned topics? Following the conclusion of the 71st general debate, the Department for General Assembly [...]
              Nuclear test on Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)        
    Following the announcement today by the government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) of having conducted a new nuclear test, the government of Spain strongly condemns this action, a flagrant violation of several resolutions of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). 09/09/2016 This last test, the second this year and the fifth since [...]
              Why is the government ignoring its own research on orcas in setting captivity standards? What you can do.        
    After a 14 year delay, the federal government has finally decided to update the standards of care for captive whales and dolphins. Sort of. According to the Animal Welfare Institute, the updated standards do very little for the animals – for instance they don’t change the minimum tank size standard. The current space standards were
              The “Unlawful Cetacean Captivity” Bill Makes Sense for Washington, Please Call and Let Senator Pearson Know Your Opinion        
    If you have ever dreamed of having your own dolphin or whale, you can still do it legally in Washington State – but you better hurry!  The permitting process takes a while, and the state government is now considering a bill that will close the loophole in Federal regulations that lets anyone who meets basic
              SeaWorld’s Tank Size Questioned by Congress, Thanks to the Little Film That Could, “Blackfish”        
    According to (CNN), “Over three dozen members of Congress want the government to ensure the humane treatment of orca whales and other marine animals in captivity, following an outcry sparked by the documentary “Blackfish.”” “The letter, released Thursday and signed by 37 Democrats and one Republican to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, cites outdated regulations protecting those
              Aam Aadmi Party: the political start-up        


    "Aaj hum yahaan aayein hain sabse ye kehne, ki kuch to karna hoga. Hum sabko kuch karna hoga."

    "Koi bhi desh perfect nahi hota. Use perfect banaana hota hai. Police mai bharti honge, military join karenge, IAS banenge, politics ka hissa ban ke iss desh ki sarkaar chalaayenge. Ye desh badlega, hum badlenge ise."

    -- Rang De Basanti (2006)


    I quoted from Rang De Basanti, but it does not mean that this is going to be an incensed hysterical rant of a twenty-something someone which goes "Inquilab Zindabad!". Inquilab, sure. But let's put it into perspective and context. Inquilab will happen. One step at a time.


    Election is coming.

    It's easy to talk about politics sitting in our rooms, dissing any and everything that is happening around us. Heck, even this post qualifies. People here in India, and people abroad too - US, Europe, or farther east, you name it. "India has gone beyond a point-of-no-return." Sure, it must have sounded profound sitting in a room in a high-rise with a city skyline view in some sophisticated corner of the world, or here, in India. Sorry, no. But I have no interest in a conversation that begins or ends with that sentence, whether you live in India, or live abroad and intend to come back. It does not sound profound to me because I intend to spend my life in this country, by choice. Hopefully.

    I would not care if haters and dissers shoot holes into this post. By all means, go ahead. I admit I don't know my politics or economics. Let the intellectual masturbation begin. But I will not engage you in a conversation unless you give me a viable choice in the upcoming Delhi elections in November. We'll talk about NaMo vs Rahul Gandhi, sure, after the Delhi elections.


    It is really sad that after 66 years of our country's independence, the issues today, still, in the capital of India are Water, Electricity, Safety of Women, and Corruption. Forget Infrastructure, Public Health, or a healthy eco-system for entrepreneurs, we haven't afforded ourselves that luxury. Not yet.

    We, the youth, are lucky to have been born at a very opportune moment in the history of our country. We have the privilege to be a part of the 'Indian growth story', to be the Indian growth story. Be a part of it. Engage. Of course, it is unreasonable to ask people to quit whatever they wish to do with their lives and set out "to clean the system". No. But help those who are trying, in whatever little way. You can still be a part of it. That's why I am writing this.

    I know about a start-up that is trying to win the Delhi elections. I hope they do. It was unthinkable until a year ago, that a newly formed political party could think of forming a state government, let alone contesting elections with a strong foothold, or even fielding candidates in all the contested constituencies with confidence. Today, not so much. AAP doesn't have a long history, nor do they have the money or the adequate resources even, but they do have the passion and the will to do something. They believe they can, I believe they can. Sure, you or me might not agree with everything that they say or want to do, but do you agree with anyone a hundred percent? And if not them, who is your pick, and why? The question is whether anyone, anyone with the will and the passion can make a difference if they want? This is the test.

    Santosh died. No, I am not using her name to sensationalize this and drive my point across. The fact is, a good person wanted to contest the elections, and she died. It is NOT trivial. Can you do something about it?

    Take a look at their candidates list. Go ahead, look at their profiles. There is a commando who lost his hearing a hundred percent during 26/11, and was fired from the Army after that. Or this construction worker living in the slums, who is looking to contest from Rajouri Garden. And then, there is an ex-IRS IITian who championed the cause of RTI. He is pitting himself against Sheila Dixit. These people are getting their voice heard. We are getting our voice heard.

    At the very least what I'm confident of is this, that these candidates won't be murderers or rapists, and that if they are deemed incapable or corrupt, they will be sacked by their own party. Atleast give these people a chance. One chance. And like all start-ups, they need money to scale. They have been angel funded by several investors, and are looking to mobilize resources through crowdsourcing.


    What are you doing, Delhi? I'm jealous because you got this opportunity before I did. And things are happening and will, with or without you. Here's what the donations to AAP from our country looks like [link] :


    Almost as much from Maharashtra as from Delhi?! And it's not even Maharashtra's elections! There is still time. Get on board with this, man.


    1) You can donate in kind. There is much more than just money that is required to contest elections. You can give whatever you have to spare. [link]

    2) You can adopt a constituency. From anywhere. [link]

    3) You can make a recurring donation every month. [link]

    4) Or, you can just donate once and be done with it. [link]

    5) And the least you can do is get your voter i-card made and exercise your franchise. Vote. [link]


    An incident happened not so long ago. Arvind Kejriwal was asked by a journalist, "What would you do if you don't win the Delhi elections?". He responded by saying, "If we lose, what will you do?"

    Atleast we are talking about the right things.

    So... what will you do?



    Oh, and in this interview, Arvind Kejriwal answers most of the questions commonly posed by the haters and the dissers. Do watch. You might not agree with him or still be unsatisfied, but atleast hear what he has got to say.





    If you know me personally, or have been following this blog, you would know that I am not someone who begs for likes and shares. But this one time, I will. If this post struck a chord, please share it. It's only a click, and is much less to ask than an Inquilab.



              7 things wrong with our country        
    ------------
    Note 1: If you are looking for a government/politician-bashing rant, or a discussion about corruption consuming our nation, or a list which enumerates education, poverty, development et al, this post is not going to touch any of those things.

    Note 2: This list is relative to things often found in other countries on most accounts.
    ------------


    #7 Pull-to-open bags

    This is a bag of delectable chips.


    This is how it should be open-able...



    ...so we can enjoy our chips like this...



    ...NOT ruined by this.



    If other countries in the world can have this, why can't we?! I mean, how difficult is it?!



    #6 Coca-cola

    This:

    Just look at this. How can you not want to have this refreshing drink with lunch and dinner, and to go alongside the chips in #7. (I skipped mentioning breakfast for the risk of it being an overkill.) For most countries, bottomless coke, or for that matter, any drink other than water is offered alongwith meals by default. Water is the last thing you should be drinking, with the evolution of man.



    #5 Airports

    They suck. And before you go all "T3" on me, again, they suck. Travelling, especially air-travel, should be an experience, not a punishment. Travelling by air is the pinnacle of human achievement. Think about it, you are flying at 30,000 ft, half-way across the world in less than 24 hours, at more than 900 kms per hour, while dining and watching movies along the way, even watching cat videos on youtube, and liking others' updates about their amazing lives. Not to mention the spectacular views and the perspective you get on our planet.

    Airports should present it as such. It should be huge, unlike anything you might have seen before. While you wait for your flight, you should have a magnificent view of the craft from the gate, through big glass panels, so you can marvel at its sheer size, filled with a childlike wonder. Not shoved into buses which take you on a tumbling ride towards your craft. There should be enough seating, clear signs and directions. The immigration should be polite, welcoming to its own citizens, a small "Welcome home." with a smile. The security should not feel derogatory. The experience should be welcoming. It's the pinnacle of human achievement, afterall.




    #4 Public Signs/Addresses

    A metro station should say "metro station", an airport or a railway station should be navigable from anywhere in the city, with signs that say "Airport -> 15 kms", and a bus-stop should say "Bus Stop". It made me think when a Chinese guy visiting India asked me at a bus stop, "How do you know that the bus will stop here?", and the only response I could give was, "Ummm, because this is where everyone else is standing.". It shouldn't be this way. 

    And the addresses should make sense, with numbered streets and crossings. Do away with the MG roads! Use more numbers, PLEASE! This should not be how my address looks/sounds:

    Opp. XYZ Hospital,
    Near ABC Hotel,
    Quite close to Forum mall,
    Come straight from PQR Flyover, and take 2nd right, then left.

    NO.

    My address should look like this:
    42, Lush Meadows Residence
    7, Riverview Road, Bangalore.

    That's IT.




    #3 Utility stores / Vending Machines

    Fewer malls, please? And more utility stores. Where I can go, pick things, pay money, and get out with minimal turnaround time. Maybe 7/11's at petrol pumps? And every other 100 meters too? And vending machines! Aaaargh. Quick turnaround time!




    #2 Breakfast

    There are CRORES of people who go to work every day. And they want breakfast. The corn-flakes, and the dosas and the idlys, and the paratha-sabzi are okay. People need to be able to grab a bite in the mornings, and quickly. Croissants, muffins, selection of juices and sandwiches, salads, fruits, as pre-packaged take-away, available close to any means of public transport. Also, coffee. How can so many other countries get this right, except us?! I will not even touch the despicable state of our lunches and dinners, but we can always work around that. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, remember?




    #1 Respect for workers

    Cheap labour, right? Be kind to the people working at your house. Give the auto-waalas 20 extra bucks. Talk to them, chat with them. Listen to their stories, they have several. Make a joke or two, and see them smile. Trust them. Offer them a glass of water, tea, or food after a few hours of hard manual work by default, which shouldn't be seen as an act of generosity, but of responsibility and of respect from a person, to another. Give them gifts on festivals, give them leaves. Give them a raise when you get one. Share your happiness with them, and be a part of theirs.

    So many poor Indians go abroad to work as sweepers, cleaners, carpenters, construction workers, and they do that with their heads held high, with pride. They don't want to come back. Give them that opportunity here. Make them feel that they belong, and that we are fellow-countrymen.




    7 things wrong with our country...

              ECU ALUMNUS CHRIS BUCHANAN NOW DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF INDIAN HEALTH SERVICES FOR U.S. PUBLIC HEATH SERVICE        
    Chris Buchanan

    Chris Buchanan, East Central University alumnus and a member of the Commissioned Corps of the United States Public Health Service (USPHS), was recently promoted to the flag-officer rank of Rear Admiral and appointed Deputy Director of Indian Health Services.

    Buchanan also recently served six months as acting director.

    As a senior ranking officer, flag officers exemplify the core values for which commissioned officers of the U.S. Public Health Service are held in high esteem, according to Dr. Patrick Bohan, ECU Environmental Health Sciences professor and Retired Captain of the USPHS.

    “Flag officers provide executive-level leadership within the department and the agencies which they serve,” Bohan said. “Our flag officers also carry the title of Assistant Surgeon General and, as such, we rely on them to support special initiatives and exhibit the highest caliber of public health leadership.”

    Buchanan, a native of Konawa, joins fellow ECU alumnus Rear Admiral Kevin D. Meeks as a high-ranking official within the USPHS. Meeks is acting deputy director of field operations for the Indian Health Service, an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services and the principal federal health care advocate and provider of health services for American Indians and Alaska natives.

    ECU has provided more environmental health officers to the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service than any other institution in the country, according to Bohan. The Environmental Health Science program at ECU is one of 31 accredited undergraduate programs throughout the United States.

    “The Environmental Health Science program provided an interdisciplinary foundation that prepared me for my career in Indian Health Service,” Buchanan said. “Environmental health graduates of the program are problem solvers. We use this type of approach to develop skill sets

    that help to constructively review environmental and public health issues and come up with solutions. I have and continue to use these skills in my role as the deputy director of IHS.”

    Buchanan credits the late Dr. Mickey Rowe, former chair and professor of the ECU Environmental Health Science Department, with setting the stage for his career.

    “Dr. Rowe was a force of nature. He left a lasting impact on me personally and professionally,” said Buchanan. “His expectations were high for all his students and former students. He made it clear upon graduation that you would be representing the ECU Environmental Health Program and your environmental health decisions will have an impact on public health. His expectation was nothing short of being the best both academically and in your profession.”

     As deputy director Buchanan, an enrolled member of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, leads and oversees IHS operations to ensure delivery of quality comprehensive health services. He ensures that IHS provides for the full participation of tribes in programs and services and helps to establish and track the goals and metrics through which the IHS U.S.-federal-government-operated, or direct service, health care program improves outcomes.

    Buchanan ensures IHS services are integrated across all levels of the agency and engaged with other Operating Divisions of the Department of Health and Human Services and external partners, including states and national organizations.

    He previously served in 2016 as the acting area director for the IHS Great Plains Area, with administrative responsibility for 19 service units serving 130,000 people and 17 tribes through seven hospitals, 10 health centers and two urban Indian health programs, overseeing a complex health care program during a period of change. Previously, Buchanan has served as director of the IHS Office of Direct Services and Contracting Tribes.

    As an environmental health officer in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps with more than 20 years of active duty, Buchanan began his IHS career in 1993, serving in various environmental health positions in the Phoenix, Albuquerque and Oklahoma City areas, including serving as the administrative officer for Lawton Indian Hospital and the chief executive officer for Haskell Health Center. In 2010, he was administrative officer of clinical services for the Chickasaw Nation’s Division of Health in Ada.

    Along with serving on several national IHS workgroups and being deployed to several natural disaster events, Buchanan has received numerous professional awards, including one for National Council of Chief Executive Officer’s Rookie of the Year. He earned a bachelor of environmental health science degree from ECU and a public health degree in health policy and administration from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

    Buchanan has seen Indian Health Service improve over the years, evolving in a similar manner as the traditional healthcare delivery model to a more value-based healthcare delivery system.

    “The IHS sees these changes through the administration of a nationwide health care delivery program that is responsible for providing preventative, curative and community health care for approximately 2.2 American Indians and Alaska natives in hospitals, clinics and other settings throughout the United States,” Buchanan said. “An example of this evolution includes emerging technologies such as telemedicine. By utilizing these healthcare technologies, IHS will continue to improve the populations we serve.”

    Telemedicine is the diagnosis and treatment of patients in remote areas using medical information such as x-rays or television pictures, transmitted over long distances, particularly satellite.

    -ECU-

    For Immediate Release: 

    Contact: Brian Johnson or Amy Ford

                                    East Central University Communications and Marketing

                                  580-559-5650 or 405-812-1428 (cell)


              ECU BUSINESS SCHOLARS PROGRAM EXPECTED TO ENHANCE HULL’S PURSUIT OF ACCOUNTING DEGREE        
    Chloe Hull

    Chloe Hull aspires to be an accountant and being a part of East Central University’s Business Scholars Program can only enhance her confidence.

    Hull, a 2015 Moore High School graduate, was recently picked for the exclusive program for not only her solid academic achievements, but her ability to show leadership skills in a manner of being an extension of the university’s faculty through the Harland C. Stonecipher School of Business.

    Those skills are developed in being an event volunteer such as assisting with career fairs, professional trips and student/faculty recruiting activities. Additionally, these students are department hosts or hostesses for professionals who visit the programs and for prospective students visiting campus. They also serve as mentors, providing leadership for the Business Leaders Association (BLA) student organization and working with the younger ECU students in the Freshmen Scholars Program.

    Students must have at least a 3.50 grade-point average before entering the program and must maintain at least a 3.25 each semester to remain in the program. They must also be active in BLA by attending meetings and holding positions of responsibility. Besides being on campus for two or more years, the Business Scholars must be able to volunteer for special projects in the School of Business, participate in the Dean’s Leadership Council, be willing to travel during assigned trips and, once they graduate, give back to the program after graduation as Alumni of Business Scholars.

    According to Hull, being involved in BLA set the stage for the Business Scholars opportunity.

    “The event that I learned most from was the panel with the accounting professors who discussed different careers in accounting,” said Hull. “While I knew I wanted to pursue accounting, I was not aware of many of the career opportunities as a freshman. Last spring, I decided to take a leadership position in BLA and run for treasurer. As treasurer, some of my duties include planning meetings and events, some of which were the annual BLA Roundup and the 2016 Freshman Scholar Retreat.”

    Hull sees this Business Scholars as an opportunity to not only improve her leadership abilities, but to give back through a program which has been a benefit to her.

    Besides being treasurer for BLA, she has served as treasurer for the Student Government Association, played goalkeeper for the ECU women’s soccer team and is a student member of the Oklahoma Society of CPAs and student affiliate of the American Institute of CPAs. Hull was named 2015-16 Stonecipher School of Business Outstanding Freshman and was a Stonecipher School of Business Freshman and Sophomore Scholar.

    “While I have held leadership positions in other campus organizations such as Student Government Association and Business Leaders Association,” Hull said. “I am looking to further enhance my experience here at ECU. Not only will it benefit me now, but also later in my career. I look forward to mentoring and giving back to the Freshman Scholar program, especially since I was fortunate to be part of the first Freshman Scholar class.”

     

    -ECU-

    For Immediate Release: 

    Contact: Brian Johnson or Amy Ford

                                    East Central University Communications and Marketing

                                  580-559-5650 or 405-812-1428 (cell)


              Should Loans with Poor Credit Requirements be More Regulated?        

    Personal Money Store Blog

    Increasing controversy surrounds the question of whether loans with poor credit should be more strictly regulated by the federal or state governments. Democrats passed the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 to address the abuses of lenders that caused the mortgage crisis of 2008-2009. Supporters of greater regulation feel that many short-term and bad credit loans take

    Should Loans with Poor Credit Requirements be More Regulated?


              The Prevalence of Substance Use and Other Mental Health Concerns Among American Attorneys        
    imageObjectives: Rates of substance use and other mental health concerns among attorneys are relatively unknown, despite the potential for harm that attorney impairment poses to the struggling individuals themselves, and to our communities, government, economy, and society. This study measured the prevalence of these concerns among licensed attorneys, their utilization of treatment services, and what barriers existed between them and the services they may need. Methods: A sample of 12,825 licensed, employed attorneys completed surveys, assessing alcohol use, drug use, and symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress. Results: Substantial rates of behavioral health problems were found, with 20.6% screening positive for hazardous, harmful, and potentially alcohol-dependent drinking. Men had a higher proportion of positive screens, and also younger participants and those working in the field for a shorter duration (P < 0.001). Age group predicted Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test scores; respondents 30 years of age or younger were more likely to have a higher score than their older peers (P < 0.001). Levels of depression, anxiety, and stress among attorneys were significant, with 28%, 19%, and 23% experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress, respectively. Conclusions: Attorneys experience problematic drinking that is hazardous, harmful, or otherwise consistent with alcohol use disorders at a higher rate than other professional populations. Mental health distress is also significant. These data underscore the need for greater resources for lawyer assistance programs, and also the expansion of available attorney-specific prevention and treatment interventions.
              Imperator Fish on TPPA        
    Scott at Imperator Fish blogs on the TPPA: The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement has a lot of people talking, particularly over the fear many people have that New Zealand will agree to an investor-state dispute provision that would allow foreign companies to take legal action in some circumstances, if our government passed legislation those companies didn’t like. Environmental […]
              Ignacio de Balderes        
    Ignacio de Balderes 
    Attributed to José Francisco Xavier de Salazar y Mendoza 
    c. 1790 
    Oil on canvas, 45 1/2 x 33 1/2 inches 
    Louisiana State Museum, Gift of Mr. Harvey Truxillo, M141.2
    Born in Salamanca, Spain, in 1757, Balderes entered military service as a private at the age thirteen as a private. He was sent to West Florida to work as a surveyor and rose through the ranks. As a sergeant in 1779, he earned distinction by capturing a post at Pass Manchac during the Battle of Galvez-Town. Balderes was knighted by the king of Spain and given a large land grant near Pensacola. 

    Salazar painted many of Colonial Louisiana's prominent citizens, figures associated with the government, the military, and the church. Well-versed in the late Baroque style popular in Spanish colonies, Salazar was the first significant painter to work in New Orleans

    In the early 1790s, Balderes was a Sub-Lieutenant of the Grenadiers, Second Battalion of the Regiment of Louisiana, and commander at Balize, an outpost guarding the mouth of the Mississippi River. The single epaulette - which is in the Museum's collection - indicates his rank as a lieutenant. Balderes was respected for his zeal and leadership. Francisco Bouligny, his commander, wrote "I believe it is always fitting to provide officers of well-known courage, good conduct, assiduity and who are intelligent" with promotion when he became adjutant-major of the Third Battalion in 1793. Balderes eventually reached the rank of captain in 1798, and died in 1815 at the age of fifty-eight.

    His son Antoine became a lieutenant as well.  His children married into many families of Louisiana.

    References
    1. Diocese of Baton Rouge Catholic Church Records, Department of Archives, v3, p66, Lafayette Public Library, 301 W. Congress St., Lafayette, LA 70501.

    2. Holmes, Jack D. L., Honor and Fidelity: The Louisiana Infantry Regiment and the Louisiana Militia Companies, 1766-1821, Birmingham, AL, 1965, p92, University of Louisiana at Lafayette Edith Garland Dupre Library, PO Box 40199, Lafayette LA 70504.

    3. Charles E. Nolan, editor, Sacramental Records of the Roman Catholic Church of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, Vol 3, 1772-1783, p12, Lafayette Public Library, 301 W. Congress St., Lafayette, LA 70501, LA 929.376335 WOO.

    4. Churchill, C. Robert, Officers, Spanish and Natives of Louisiana, serving under Gen. Don Bernardo de Galvez in his Campaign Against the British, 1779, 1780, 1781, p11, Tulane University Library, Howard-Tilton Memorial Library, 7001 Freret St, , New Orleans, LA 70118, Ph:(504) 865-5605.

    5. Granville W Hough, Spain's Louisiana patriots in its 1779-1783 war with England during the American Revolution, Midway City, CA, SHHAR Press, 2000, p29, Tulane University Library, Howard-Tilton Memorial Library, 7001 Freret St, , New Orleans, LA 70118, Ph:(504) 865-5605.



              Mgar.Net: Isleños de Luisiana        
    Shortly after the conquest, the government of Castile and the Crown encouraged and subsidized the emigration of Canarians for colonization and settlement of America. The article discusses the Isleños Heritage & Cultural Society of St. Bernard as well as Gilbert C. Din's book "The Canary Islanders of Louisiana".

    See http://www.mgar.net/var/stbernar.htm (Spanish)

              Vicente Sebastián Pintado - A Register of His Papers in the Library of Congress        

    Captain Vicente Sebastián Pintado, the royal surveyor for the Spanish government kept papers regarding the surveys and records of deeds and grants in Spanish Louisiana. After trading hands through other families, it eventually reached the Library of Congress. Here you can search through his material.


    http://www.loc.gov/rr/mss/text/pintado.html

              The OCDA and the OC Treasurer work to improve estate administration        
    ORANGE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY NEWS RELEASE ORANGE COUNTY TREASURER AND DISTRICT ATTORNEY/ PUBLIC ADMINISTRATOR TEAM UP TO BECOME FIRST GOVERNMENT AGENCY IN THE NATION TO IMPLEMENT MEDALLION...

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              Petition: Pawn Mount Rushmore To Cover National Debt Interest        
    File photo of Mount Rushmore. (Photo by KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)A recent petition created on the White House's official page is calling for government to pawn Mount Rushmore to the federal reserve in order to cover the national debt.
              What I've learned in Africa        
    I failed miserably in the two learning targets I set myself when I arrived here - mastery of the French language (I get by but am by no means fluent) and competence at drumming (I've managed to fit in two lessons in over six years).  But I have learned a number of things, some about myself and some about Africa.

    I learned that I'm not as emotionally self-sufficient as I'd always thought - that I need people.  My first couple of years were really quite lonely, until I worked out that the best response was not to try to toughen myself up so I could cope better but to go out and find friends.

    I learned that I'm not a very compassionate person.  I care about injustice towards groups of people and want to do my bit to put that right, but I don't cry over the suffering of individuals nor do I give and share what I have in the way that Africans (and some Europeans/Americans) do.  I don't feel sympathy when I see someone begging, I just feel a need to try to change the system.  It's not a trait to be particularly proud of, but then again it is one that makes it easier to cope with a job like mine where you do witness a lot of suffering.

    & I learned (or rather confirmed my suspicion) that I am physically suited to the environment here.  I love the heat - don't miss winters, or indeed seasons, at all - and my only illness during my time here was the bronchitis I picked up on a winter trip to the US and a touch of flu in my first month here.  Not only have I avoided malaria but I haven't even suffered one bout of diarrhoea in more than six years here!

    As regards Africa and its people?  Well, I've learnt that it is a highly materialistic society and with conspicuous consumption preferred over savings or investment, that Africans of different shades of brown and black can be far more racist (towards eachother) than any whites I've ever met, that things will happen when they happen no matter how many times an impatient white person looks at their watch in irritation, and that when things appear to have gone wrong, there is always a solution, especially when Africans spot a white person in need.

    I've learnt a lot about the huge importance of the obligations that come with the extended family system, and the way in which this system is a strong barrier against Africa developing on the same path that the West has.  On the one hand it works against people building up the kind of wealth necessary to build businesses, as the more one earns the greater the number of family members who come calling for help; I don't think I have any African colleagues who don't spend a significant proportion of their income supporting their extended family.  On the other hand this means that what we in the West would call corruption and nepotism (those with power using it to favour/benefit family and friends) are in Africa normal and acceptable forms of behaviour.  I'll never forget the dinner in Mali where I heard a government minister tell some friends that he was going to resign as he couldn't cope with the constant demands for money and jobs from his family and community.  Taken up to the next level - the tribe - this also explains in large part why Western-style democracy does not really work in Africa.

    I learnt that every sub-Saharan African, whether Christian, Muslim, atheist or animist, believes in a spirit world. This world operates in parallel with the material world but with the ability to interfere in the latter for good or evil.  Typical manifestations of this belief include the protective amulets worn by many people and widespread accusations of witchcraft to explain what we would call bad luck.

    Finally, I learned about a very important existential difference between the West and Africa - or, more accurately I suspect, between the West and rest of the world - in the way we look at a human being.  In the West we focus almost entirely on that person as an individual, with rights and choices that attach to him/her as an individual.  Here in Africa, that is not important.  A human being is not seen as an individual but in terms of their relationship to others.  So one is a mother, a sister, a chief, a Christian, a member of a certain tribe...

    I recently spent a few days in an African household, where I was soon referred to as "aunty", the usual term for a respected (older) family friend; there was no way I would have been called by my name.  Birthdays are not celebrated here either.

    Of course those relationships carry obligations and expectations (built up in the culture over many generations) which are considered far more important than anything the individual concerned might prefer were they to be given free choice.  It shows what a clash of cultures it is to try to impose individual human rights (eg the right of a child to go to school rather than to help with the family business, or the right of a man to live and sleep with another man rather than to marry a woman and to produce children) on societies where the happiness of the individual is considered far less important than the well-being of the community.  Particularly in a part of the world where it is believed that failing to maintain the traditons of the ancestors is likely to bring misfortune.

    It's ironic really that one of the things many expats relish, myself included, is the freedom from expectations and obligations that we have through living outside of our own cultures.


    Unless anything momentous happens in the next 48 hours that has to be reported here, this is my last post on louiseinsenegal.  Hopefully it won't be long until my first post on louiseinpanama.
              Milk kefir bliss!        
    Strawberry-infused kefir I know that a lot of people claim that dairy is too Neolithic to have any place in a paleo-style diet - in fact, I have seen claims that anything you can't pull off a bush or kill with a sharp stick does not belong in our diet. Hmm, a little extreme much? While 10,000 years are a mere blink of an eye in evolutionary terms, the fact remains that many people, especially of dairy-herding heritage, are able to digest dairy products into adulthood with no apparent ill effects. Especially fermented products such as cheese, yoghurt and the subject of today's blog post - kefir.

    We are blessed here in Canada with a government that does not permit the use of rBGH (or any other hormones, to my knowledge) in the dairy herd, so that is not an issue. While I would love to buy raw milk, unfortunately that is not legally available in Manitoba (time for a campaign, maybe??). I have to make do with pasteurised milk, but at least it is not ultra-pasteurised (another USAmerican food industry innovation we are blessedly spared), and I can get local whole organic milk at my local health food store. It costs an arm and a leg, of course, but it is worth it to me not to have my boys chugging down antibiotics they don't need.

    I myself cannot tolerate plain milk, but I do very well with yoghurt that has been fermented for 24 hours, according to the rules of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. I therefore decided to experiment with milk kefir, which also ferments for 24 hours.

    Milk kefir grains
    The main difference between them is the starter - you can make yoghurt from a previous batch of yoghurt (although commercial yoghurt really only has a couple of strains of lactobacilli in it - it would be nice to be able to find more!), but for traditional kefir, you need kefir grains. Those aren't really grains - in fact, they are a SCOBY - a Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast. If the word seems familiar, I have rhapsodised here before about my kombucha SCOBY. The kefir SCOBY looks much friendlier than the kombucha one, as you can see in this picture. They really do look like grains.

    You can make kefir using a starter from the health food store, but those aren't grains - it's a powder that contains dried bacteria and yeast in a specific combination. It makes decent kefir, but it is self-limiting - it won't grow grains, and after a few iterations you will have to put in more starter. It's from the same company that makes the dried yoghurt starter, and the results are similar - decent, but not comparable to using real, live food.

    I was fortunate enough to be given some grains by a lovely lady I met in the Traditional Foods Manitoba Facebook group - and if you are interested in traditional foods and live in Manitoba, I strongly recommend joining that group. Such kind, helpful, welcoming people - friendly Manitobans all. I love it. I met her on a Friday morning, and by Friday noon my grains were luxuriating in a jar of whole milk on my counter. I checked them again after Shabbat went out, so about 30 hours later.

    I should warn you that the grains are living things - don't expect them to do their best work as soon as you plop them down in a jar of milk. Mine had been sleeping in a refrigerator for a few months, and it took a couple of rounds before they woke up and really did their job. In fact, the first milk bath I gave them smelled downright awful, and I sent it down the sink. But the grains looked a little plumper and healthier than they had when I first got them, so I was hopeful. The same was true of the second bath, but the third one was just divine, especially once I flavoured it with strawberries.

    The way I did that is called a second ferment - I strained the grains out of the thickened kefir (you can tell it is ready when it pulls away from the sides of the jar) and put them safely away in the fridge to nap in a small jar of milk. Then I put the kefir back on the counter, with a few sliced fresh strawberries in it, and left it there for 12 hours.

    I cannot begin to tell you how awesome my strawberry-infused kefir tasted, especially after it had been chilled in the fridge. I also got all the goodness of a fermented food, with no ill effects - and trust me, I know about dairy-related ill effects.

    How about you, have you tried making something new and exciting recently?



              Rumours of the death of multinational tax avoidance are greatly exaggerated        
    Michael West, University of Sydney The Australian government took out newspaper ads earlier this month boasting of unequivocal victory in the fight against multinational tax avoidance. It is no small irony that taxpayers have forked out for this bald-faced lie. “Multinational corporations earning Australian dollars now pay their fair share of Australian tax,” decreed the […]
              Deadline for re-registration passes; churches face illegal status        
    Oppressive new laws in Azerbaijan and Tajikistan required religious communities to re-register with the government by January 1, 2010 or face illegal status. As of December 16, only about 100 of Azerbaijan’s 534 religious communities had been able to do so. Fewer than half of Tajikistan’s religious communities re-registered, reports MNN. According to Joel Griffith […]
              PIONEER GENERATION: PRESENT GROUP OF LEADERS ARE USELESSLY OVERPAID        

    <Facebook post by Frankie Jeremy Lee>

    What's When Wrong? Hi, I belongs to the Pioneer Generation Singaporean, and I likes to share my thoughts with you guys from the first General Election until now.

    The current crop of PAP members are not the same as those during LKY era in many aspects. Yes the world have changed there are more uncertainties out there but ... let consider these, we have more resources / our finance reserve are more stable and healthy, Singaporean are more educated, technology are more advance all these added a plus for us to tackle all these problems as compared to our pioneer of Leaders.

    This present group of Leaders even with such a high overpaid salaries and a vast resources in the support system in their Ministries still can make a mess of everything and yet try to persuade and mislead us towards Hell..

    SG50, all the achievements rightfully goes to the Pioneer Generation and their Leaderships and now the present group of Leaders continued talking about it and still claiming all the credits.

    As we celebrated SG50 we looked back and saw and experienced all the problem we are encountering especially during last 4 years they, already demonstrated to us how incapable they are by introducing all these policies to tackle all these problems they have created in the beginning and get Backfired ... like what Mr. Inderjit Singh had mentioned in a speech on the post assessment of the 2011 elections .. ( Pls look it up on YouTube ) all the information and data used to formulate all the recent last 4 years policies was actually from their Grassroots so called Leaders and Civil Services and not from us. They should able to sense all the unhappiness we have been talking in the Hawker Center / Wet Market Places and Coffee Shop if they spend more time on the ground.

    They the PAP still don't trust or care to listen to us the common Singaporean and yet still preferred to listen to their unreliable sources.

    (This may be one of the many reasons why this very outspoken MP Mr. Inderjit Singh step out of this year election ) He is a Businessman he rather safe guard himself rather than goes against the PAP'S Whip system when voting to pass a BILL in Parliament , he rather sacrifice and forego his MP status and the fat allowance and step out of the 2015 election as a candidate for Ang Mo Kio GRC anchored by PM himself.

    I salute you Mr. Singh for your principle. In future, I hope he can come back and stand in as an Opposition candidate. I recalled he spoke out many times when the Bill was handed into Parliament for Debate.

    Eventually and unfortunately, with our present Parliament system after the Wayang Show , all these policies are pushed through in a haste manner. ( Like the SG50 Dollars Note Package even ... our president name been spelled wrongly on the Folder)

    Mr Lui, the Transport Minister resigned because he was put in as a "Sacrifice Lamb " to clean up the dirty mess created by the previous Leaders and Minister for a poor forward looking planning the MRT lines during the Planning and Construction stages.

    Why don't they in the initial stage design a 3 tracks Rail system ( One center track to be used as a standby track as a contingency plan.)

    I recalled in the 70's, Nicholl Highway next to Stadium used to have 3 distinct lanes. The center lane will be used daily during Peak hours in the morning and evening whereby they switched the flow in direction from the City to East. No doubt the Cars population were low and yet that was our only so called Highway we have .. well thought, cheap, practical and workable and able to solve the problems without addition cost past onto the public.

    ( Now we have COE, ERP, Weekend Car , High Road taxes ...lah ,,etc )

    Now you can compared after spending so much Taxpayers $$$$ by the Government building so many Highways and Expressways (Loss Count how many there are !!!) we still encountered congestion problem lots of unhappiness, even our Ancestor cannot RIP, Bukit Brown cemetery have to give way, not sure they know what they are doing ???

    In the near future all our Bus Transport System will be tender out and operated by foreigner ... Do you know the London Buses are operated by our own NTUC Comfort Delgro ... What a Joke

    So where we go from here ???

    I lived here all my life and sang 3 version of the National Anthem

    God Save The Queen / Negara Ku and Majulah Singapura.

    Vote wisely give the opposition parties a chance, those candidate are also Singaporean with families and friends I strongly believed they will do their best. Remember there is always another election every 4-5 years if they did'nt perform up our expectations we can always look for alternatives.

    Singapore can never and will never be a Greece.. Trust me

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              FIRST WORLD PROPERTY & CAR PRICES BUT STUCK WITH THIRD WORLD WAGES        

    Dear Editors,

    I know of a PR who got retrenched recently. He is a PMET. So now it seems that the influx of cheap and maybe-good foreigners are not only displacing Singaporeans out of their jobs, but maybe also Singapore PRs, new citizens and foreign PMETs who have been working in Singapore for quite some time.

    If the current policy remain unchanged, the fresh influx of foreigners (of lower-pay and maybe questionable qualifications and work experience) will keep displacing workers in Singapore (Singaporeans, PRs, new citizens etc.) out of their jobs and placing a constant downward pressure on wages. But the influx of foreigners will keep placing an upward pressure on housing, food, transport and other important necessities. The age when a Singaporean experiences job uncertainty may just keep getting younger -- from 40s-50s, late 30s-40s then to around 30 and maybe even right after graduation sometime in the future. Most Singaporeans own a HDB flat as their main asset at their old age. With time, each generation may end up with a HDB flat with smaller floor area and from 4-5 room to 3-room to 2-room to shoebox, at one's old age. Singapore may be a place where prices of properties and homes are heading first-world, car prices are out-of-this-world and wages heading third-world.

    A breadwinner's income stability is paramount to the stability of a family. Many social and family issues can result from the stress of parents trying to make ends meet, negatively impacting the lives of young children. This is also not helping the issue of encouraging more Singaporeans to get married and have more children.

    But Singapore may not need to be like this. We are a wealthy country with sufficient savings to support a much more compassionate society. Our country (despite the small land area and lack of natural resources) may be able to comfortably support the lives of Singaporeans such that even the lowest-income can live dignified lives. If everything is mostly left to free economic market forces, a government's work may not be that much to justify a huge salary. With the right policies in place, Singaporeans may be able to enjoy living comfortable and dignified lives in their own home country while sustaining a robust economy and still maintaining a high world stature.

    All Things are Possible
    A.S.S. Contributor

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              INSIDER: SMRT GETTING DIESEL-POWERED TRAINS BY YEAR END        

    Photo: A SMRT passenger who was unable to take it in any longer.

    by Wan Dan Liao, Straight Times

    Singapore - More than 250,000 commuters were stranded in SMRT train stations yesterday evening (7 Jul) when a power outage caused the shutdown of the entire North-South-East-West line.

    It is the first time that services the entire North-South-East-West line broken down at the same time. This is possibly the worst MRT breakdown Singapore has experienced.

    Initial investigations suspected a faulty train could have triggered the power surge which led to the massive breakdown.

    SMRT insiders have informed ST that the public listed company have convened a board meeting late last night and approved plans to purchase 154 diesel-powered trains to replace the current fleet of aging trains and resolve electrical power lines issue that has plagued SMRT for years.

    According to tender documents ST has received, the diesel-powered trains will be six carriages long with five passenger cabins. The last carriage carries more than 900 liters of liquid diesel fuel that could last the train for close to 3 days.

    ST got in touch with SMRT Corp's Commuters Moving Group Director Mr Ma Sai di who acknowledged the ambitious S$122.5 million plan.

    "We have to do it," Mr Ma said wearily. "Our primary concern is ensuring we keep moving people and enhance their lives."

    When asked if this would affect future transport fares, Mr Ma declined to comment and directed the query to Public Transport Council, the government-linked body that regulates public transport fees.

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              Applications Demand for UK Chevening Scholarships 2017        
    The Chevening Secretariat asked the eligible candidates to send the application forms for the UK government scholarship to get education in the UK during 2018-2019. The interested candidates can submit their application forms for scholarships from 01 August 2017 to 07 November 2017. The Chevening Scholarships are offered to the candidates with the noticeable leadership [...]
              Attorneys General To Sue President Trump        

    ( 4UMF NEWS ) Attorneys General To Sue President Trump: Two attorneys general plan on suing President Trump, alleging he violated the U.S. Constitution by accepting payouts from foreign governments through his hotel empire, according to a report Sunday. Brian Frosh of Maryland and Karl Racine of the District of Columbia said the two will […]

    The post Attorneys General To Sue President Trump appeared first on 4UMF | Current Events | Current News | Latest News.


              British Ambassador Gave a Public Lecture at UNJA        
    Mendalo—The arrival of British ambassador to Indonesia, ASEAN and Timor Leste, Moazzam Malik, at third floor of rectorat building in senate room was welcomed by the students of Jambi University on Monday (13/3). The coming of Moazzam Malik to UNJA was scheduled to give a public lecture to students of Jambi university with theme: “Forest Fire Prevention Efforts by the Government of Jambi Province in Correlation to Global Climate Change”. The event was also attended by Jambi Governor, H. Zumi Zola Zulkifli, S.TP., M.A. In his description, Moazzam said that the forest in Indonesia was one of the biggest forests in the world and it has been the lung of the world. He reiterated that we should safeguard our forest and he also stated that his government would cooperate with the Indonesian government to prevent the side effects of climate changes. He said Indonesia has the best potency to become future country in Asian region even in the world because Indonesia is the fourth biggest population country in the world or its population reaches 250 millions. In his view, there are three contributing factors that make Indonesia a big country, that is, economic regulation system, infrastructure and human resources which made the most important part of advancement of a country.  “We invited students at Jambi University to come to study overseas especially in England. We provided many scholarship schemes, and I saw students in this university were smart and eager to see future,” he commented. On the other hand, the Rector of Jambi University, Prof. H. Johni Najwan, S.H., M.H., Ph.D stated that the coming of British Ambassador to UNJA was expected to give hope to UNJA in this matter was scholarship cooperation. He greatly hoped that there would be a student exchange program with universities in England. Besides that,...

    Continue Reading
              Unja Signed MoU of Scholarship with LPDP        
    Mendalo,- The government of Jambi cooperated with Jambi University had held a public lecture given by the governor of Jambi and had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for scholarship with LPDP (Indonesian Endowment for Education) for Master and Doctoral Programs between the government of Jambi with LPDP Indonesian Ministry of Finance under the theme ‘Realizing the Dreams of the Nation’s Generation with Scholarship’. This event was held at royal audience hall of Jambi University, Monday (14/11)
              Jambi University and the Head Department of Agriculture Jambi Province Signed Agreement        
    The rector of Jambi University, Prof. Johni Najwan, S.H., Ph.D and the Head Department of Agriculture Jambi Province, Ir. Amrin Aziz, M.Si had signed an agreement in the enhancement of crop and horticultural production. The committee of cooperation would be run for one year as stipulated in the Charta of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The signing of the document was witnessed directly by the governor of Jambi Province, H. Zumi Zola Zulkifli, S.TP, M.A. and this was done at Novita Hotel Ballroom, Thursday (17/3). The rector stated that the cooperation needs to be continued in effort to support the government’s program which is connected to the self-supporting of crops production and in preparing human resources. The Head Department of Agriculture said: this kind of cooperation is a means of finding ways to improve agricultural production. “This cooperation is very important in preparing design of lands for farming”, he argued. (Valiant)
              Starting an international freight company        
    An international freight company is basically responsible for making all arrangements and also to provide all necessary facilities to carry goods from one location to another.




    Let???s learn how to start a business of transporting goods? If you already have experience working within a transportation business, and wanted to know what would be required to start your own, here are some basics to get started.




    Often the key to successfully manage a business is to have experience and prior knowledge about it, very different from learning how to drive on the road. Especially when it comes to business transportation it is very important that you know everything very well about the demands that the government has.




    In the U.S., there are large established companies since many years and they also operate offices throughout the country and internationally, such as UPS, DHL, Fedex, and of course the national postal and USPS (United States Postal Service). According to the size and age, the companies offer many benefits and services that they can not offer smaller companies, but as a carrier, a small business can specialize in offering different services and find their niche with specific advantages that other carriers could not offer.




    The most important thing to be able to develop your business in transportation is to develop a business plan with required amount of cash, and knowing your potential customers who know the laws and regulations regulated by the state.




    Hence before you plan to start international freight company of your own, do consider some minor things so that you can grow your freight company rapidly.


    For More Information:

    international freight company and you can come to know more about quotation pertaining to freight company

    money: crisis of money market of pakistan

    money: borrowing too much money credit crisis

    Article Source: www.articlesnatch.com


              Know These Two Government Schemes That Will Help You Own A Home        
    Know these two government schemes that will help you own a home.
    Know These Two Government Schemes That Will Help You Own A Home
    Are you dreaming of your first home? Are you planning to buy house in Malaysia? A place where you can grow as a family, safely and quietly. A little slice of sanctuary you can call your own? Buying your first home can be a daunting idea, some may even immediately dismiss the idea thinking that they do not earn enough, or have not saved any money for the mandatory 10% down payment.
    But wait! There are two government schemes in place that can help you buy your first house. I am going to go through them, step by step, to ensure we can all understand what they entail, since we aren’t all bankers are we?
    The first government scheme you should know about is the Skim Rumah Pertamaku (SRP), also known as the �My First Home Scheme’. 

    This scheme allows first time property purchasers to buy a house with 100% financing from financial institutions. This allows first time buyers to buy a house without the stress of saving for a 10% down payment! No extra time needed to try and save until you’ve acquired the full amount. 
    To qualify for this scheme, you need to earn a total amount of RM5000 per month if you are planning on buying the property by yourself, or a total amount of RM10 000 per month if you are planning on buying a property with a family member. For example, if you and your wife are looking at buying a house, your wife earns RM4000 per month and you earn RM4500 per month then you would qualify for this scheme. 
    The next part of the scheme deals with the total value of your desired property, in total the price of the property should ideally range between RM100 000 to RM400 000. This amount limit is to ensure that the monthly repayments on the house do not exceed 60% of your total earnings within the household. This is put into place so that you will be able to comfortably afford the monthly repayment and still afford your other everyday payments.
    The next main qualifying aspect is your age and the time frame taken to pay off the property. You should not be older than 35 years when applying or 65 years old when the repayment plan is complete, and the repayment plan will not be taken over longer than 40 months. This ensures that you have completely paid the financial institution before you are eligible for retirement.
    There is always fine print when it comes to schemes like this. Here are the important parts, excluding the main points above, that have to be considered when considering applying for this scheme:
    ● You must be a Malaysian citizen.
    ● You have to be working for an independent company, you cannot work for a statutory body (government company), unless the statutory body does not offer a staff financing facility - then you are eligible. You do however qualify if you work for a private company and your spouse works for a statutory body.
    ● You may not buy a property with a friend, you have to be family members. 
    ● Once the property is bought, the owners have to reside in the property. 
    ● You are not eligible if you are self employed. If your spouse is employed by the private sector, he/she may apply but in an individual capacity.
    ● The Cagamas SRP Berhad’s guarantee only applies to the financial institution, not to the individual therefore you responsible for paying the full amount of the property value plus the standard bank charges, not just 90% of the total amount.
    ● To see a list of participating financial institutions use the following link: http://www.srp.com.my/en/bank.html
    The second scheme you need to be aware of is the PR1MA ,Perumahan Rakyat 1Malaysia, scheme. 
    This scheme allows you to buy a property in key urban areas. The government plans to build these properties in these urban areas. Signing up with PR1MA allows you the first option at acquiring one of these properties. 
    The difference to the PR1MA scheme is that it utilises �stepped up’ financing. This means that for the first 5 years, your repayment will be lower. This allows you to get financing for a higher amount, that is affordable now. Another difference is that PR1MA allows for drawing from an EPF 2 ( Employees provident fund 2) as part of the payment up until retirement or end of tenure (end of the repayment contract). This means that you are able to draw from you EPF 2 account to help pay a portion of your total repayment amount should you need to. This is beneficial as it will help you with a decreased initial monthly installment amount and help with the final installment amounts up until the end of your contract. You are able to apply for either �stepped up’ finance, EPF 2 or both when registering.
    The way PR1MA works is through a balloting process. Once you have registered by creating your PR1MA account and chosen your desired areas, you will be notified of the launches in those areas are occurring. This will allow you then to make application for those properties as the balloting process is not automatic. Then the balloting process will take place- this will be an open ballot for everyone who has met the requirements. If your ballot is successful you will then be able to view and choose your property. Then you will go through the financing process.
    In order to qualify for this scheme you have to:
    ● Have an individual or combined household (husband and wife) income of RM2500 to RM7500.
    ● Be above the age of 21 years ( you can be single or married).
    ● Be a Malaysian citizen.
    ● Not be in ownership of more than one other property.
    ● You will still qualify if your spouse works and lives in another country as long as your combined income within the eligible amount.
    Other details that you should be aware of:
    ● A 10 year Moratorium will be implemented from the start of the financial agreement., that means that the house cannot be sold within the first 10 years of owning the property, unless approved by PR1MA.
    ● The house has to be lived in by the owners, there is no subletting allowed.
    ● Houses offered by PR1MA are usually priced between RM100 000 and RM400 000 
    ● The size of the property depends on the type of property, an apartment is sized between 600 - 1200 square feet and a terrace PR1MA house is sized between 850 - 1850 square feet 
    If your application was not approved by any of the participating banks: Maybank, CIMB, RHB or Ambank, do not worry! In future, PR1MA will have a rent to own scheme specifically for those not approved by the participating banks, to which you can apply for. 
    Now that you have a breakdown of each scheme you can utilise them to help you get the home of your dreams. It’s not as difficult or a daunting as you once thought. 

              God Breathed a Living Soul        
    A new MP3 sermon from Freely We Give Broadcast is now available on SermonAudio.com with the following details:

    Title: God Breathed a Living Soul
    Speaker: G. D. Fulton
    Broadcaster: Freely We Give Broadcast
    Event: Radio Broadcast
    Date: 7/23/1985
    Bible: Genesis 2:7
    Length: 12 min. (64kbps)

    Overview: Did you ever realize who and what you are - both as a creature of God, and a responsible subject to His government-----Hear this plea from our radio speaker, spoken with much urgency concerning the natural rebellion of man towards the claims of his CREATOR.
               Open political science, methodological nationalism and European Union studies         
    Rosamond, Ben. (2008) Open political science, methodological nationalism and European Union studies. Government and Opposition, Vol.43 (No.4). pp. 599-612. ISSN 0017-257X
              Water rorting continues in the Murray-Darling Basin aided and abetted by the NSW Nationals        

    And local government and commercial interests in the Murray-Darling Basin have the hide to cry that they are water deprived and should be allowed to dam and divert water from the Clarence River catchment until that coastal system is a pale shadow of its vibrant self.

    The Guardian, 4 August 2017:

    The New South Wales regional water minister, Niall Blair, has quietly granted himself the power to approve illegal floodplain works retrospectively.

    A Wentworth Group scientist, Jamie Pittock, has accused the NSW government of actively undermining the Murray-Darling basin plan as revelations have continued about the state government’s management of the river system.

    Since Four Corners report raised allegations of water theft and secret meetings between a senior NSW water bureaucrat and a small number of irrigators,Blair is under increasing pressure over his water responsibilities.

    This followed Daily Telegraph reports that the Nationals MP had been urging his Liberal colleague, the environment minister, Gabrielle Upton, to change the Barwon-Darling water-sharing plan retrospectively to favour large irrigators. He said the change was needed because of an error in the rules.

    It has now come to light that Blair gazetted a Barwon-Darling valley floodplain management plan which gives him power to approve flood works built illegally even if they do not comply with requirements prior to the plan.

    Under clause 39 of the new Barwon-Darling valley plan, a flood work that does not comply can be approved if “in the minister’s opinion” it is for an access road, a supply channel, a stock refuge or an infrastructure protection work
    .
    A spokesman for WaterNSW said three relevant applications from the Barwon-Darling region had been received since the change but none had yet been approved.

    The NSW Greens MLC Jeremy Buckingham called on the NSW premier, Gladys Berejiklian, to remove the water portfolio from the National party after the regulation changes came to light.

    “This is disgraceful example of the National party giving away free water to their big irrigator mates,” Buckingham said. “Many of these areas are so flat that even a 10 to 20cm bank can divert a huge amount of water into an irrigation dam and away from natural waterways.

    “It’s a massive gift of water to the big irrigators. If we want to recover the water in the future then taxpayer will have to hand over huge amounts of compensation for what were illegal constructions.”

    A spokeswoman for Blair said the gazettal was a “significant legacy issue” required to create a process where unapproved works could be properly and transparently assessed. She said to be considered, works must not have been previously refused and would still need to be assessed under certain criteria.

    “Supply channels are one of the types of existing works that clause 39 indicates that we will accept application for,” the spokeswoman said. “Just because they are existing, doesn’t mean that they will be approved, just that they can apply. This approach is being rolled out through all floodplain management plans.”

    Pittock, an associate professor in the Fenner school of environment and society at the Australian National University, said the revelations showed NSW was systematically white-anting the Murray Darling plan.

    “The ‘rule error’ and other questionable dealings between wealthy irrigators, government officials and politicians in NSW highlight how the intent of the basin plan can be frustrated by those hostile to its implementation at the state level,” he told Guardian Australia.

    “Changes of regulations in NSW have allowed irrigators to take erstwhile environmental flows by allowing greater pump capacity and earlier extraction based on river heights such that commonwealth-purchased environmental water in Queensland in not ‘shepherded’ through New South Wales to the lower Murray.

    “Consequently towns like Broken Hill, pastoralists and Aboriginal communities, as well as the environment, have been starved of water.


              This is what privatisation did to Australia's household electricity bills        

    When three eastern and one southern state formed the National Electricity Market in December 1998 Australia had the lowest retail prices in the world along with the United States and Canada.

    The rules which underpin this National Electricity Market are created by the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) set up by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) - through the COAG Energy Council - for that purpose and to advise federal & state governments on how best to develop energy markets over time.

    The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) sets the amount of revenue that network businesses can recover from customers for using networks (electricity poles and wires and gas pipelines) that transport energy.

    So far so good. There's a defined market and there are rules.

    Then the privatisation of electricity supply and infrastructure began in earnest.

    It should come as no surprise that this push towards full privatisation, with its downhill spiral in service delivery and uphill climb in cost to retail customers, began and was progressed during the term of Liberal Prime Minister John Howard.

    By 2017 the NSW Berejiklian Coalition Government has almost completed its three-stage privatisation of state power infrastructure by selling off poles and wires and, it goes without saying that the retail cost of electricity is expected to rise again next year.

    This is where we stand today……………………

    [Graphs in Financial Review, 4 August 2017]
    The Financial Review, 4 Augut 2017:

    The annual cost to households of accepting a standing offer from one of the big three retailers instead of the best offer in the market has been estimated at $830 in Victoria, $900 in Queensland and $1400-$1500 in NSW and SA by the St Vincent de Paul Society.

    Mr Mountain said power bills are constructed in such a complex way that ordinary customers without sophisticated spreadsheet and analytical skills have little hope of analysing competing offers to work out which offers them the best deal.

    Private comparison websites do not include all market offers and charge retailers for switching customers, while the websites offered by the Australian Energy Regulator and the Victorian government do not provide the tools customers need to discriminate among offers.

    Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has ordered the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to conduct an inquiry into electricity supply, costs and pricing, including retail pricing.

    The Treasurer should have a preliminary report from the ACCC in his hands by the end of September this year, however this body does not submit a final report until 30 June 2018 with no guarantee that any recommendations will be adopted by government and industry.

    Quite frankly, it appears the privatisation train left the platform some time ago and there is no way to halt or divert it in order to genuinely benefit household consumers.


              Still feel unhappy with the Turnbull Government's policies on underground, land surface and marine waters? So you should        

    “Dead zones are hypoxic (low-oxygen) areas in the world's oceans and large lakes, caused by "excessive nutrient pollution from human activities coupled with other factors that deplete the oxygen required to support most marine life in bottom and near-bottom water.” [US National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration]

    Every Northern Hemisphere Spring this dead zone occurs in the Gulf of Mexico and increases in size over time.



    It is only one of more than 400 hypoxic areas world-wide which were mapped in 2008.


    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), Andrew H. Altieri et al, 2017, Tropical dead zones and mass mortalities on coral reefs:

    Oxygen-starved coastal waters are rapidly increasing in prevalence worldwide. However, little is known about the impacts of these “dead zones” in tropical ecosystems or their potential threat to coral reefs. We document the deleterious effects of such an anoxic event on coral habitat and biodiversity, and show that the risk of dead-zone events to reefs worldwide likely has been seriously underestimated. Awareness of, and research on, reef hypoxia is needed to address the threat posed by dead zones to coral reefs.

    Degradation of coastal water quality in the form of low dissolved oxygen levels (hypoxia) can harm biodiversity, ecosystem function, and human wellbeing. Extreme hypoxic conditions along the coast, leading to what are often referred to as “dead zones,” are known primarily from temperate regions. However, little is known about the potential threat of hypoxia in the tropics, even though the known risk factors, including eutrophication and elevated temperatures, are common. Here we document an unprecedented hypoxic event on the Caribbean coast of Panama and assess the risk of dead zones to coral reefs worldwide. The event caused coral bleaching and massive mortality of corals and other reef-associated organisms, but observed shifts in community structure combined with laboratory experiments revealed that not all coral species are equally sensitive to hypoxia. Analyses of global databases showed that coral reefs are associated with more than half of the known tropical dead zones worldwide, with >10% of all coral reefs at elevated risk for hypoxia based on local and global risk factors. Hypoxic events in the tropics and associated mortality events have likely been underreported, perhaps by an order of magnitude, because of the lack of local scientific capacity for their detection. Monitoring and management plans for coral reef resilience should incorporate the growing threat of coastal hypoxia and include support for increased detection and research capacity.

    Anyone still in favour of allowing an expansion of coal mining in the Galilee Basin, Queensland?

    Anyone still comfortable with the amount of agricultural/industrial run-off into the Great Barrier Reef, marine protected areas and Australian coastal waters, which is allowed under state and federal policies?

    It’s not just our rivers and aquifers which are suffering from political inaction and vested interest greed.

    BACKGROUND

    The Australian Government’s OzCoasts website states:

    A reduction in dissolved oxygen concentrations is amongst the most important effects of eutrophication on aquatic organisms [4]. Hypoxia can cause direct mortality, reduced growth rates and altered behaviour and distributions of fish [4] and other organisms. In addition, bottom-water hypoxia can interact with elevated water temperatures at the surface to produce a "temperature-oxygen squeeze" effect, which can greatly reduce the amount of summer habitat available for some species [12]. Eggs and larvae of fish (and crustaceans) may be particularly susceptible to this effect because these life history stages are less able to avoid unfavourable conditions, and because they live in near shore areas, such as estuaries, where too-high water temperatures and too-low oxygen conditions often occur [5]. Changes in fish assemblages and crustaceans in response to hypoxia and & anoxia can render these organisms more susceptible to fishing pressure, and can increase the abundance of non-targeted species in by-catch [4].

    Dissolved oxygen status also influences the uptake or release of nutrients from sediment. When oxygen is depleted, the nitrification pathway is blocked, and efficiencies may be lowered. As a consequence, more nutrients (e.g. nitrogen and phosphorous) are released from the sediment in bio-available forms [7]. These nutrients help to sustain algal blooms, and therefore continue the supply organic matter to the sediments [7]. With organic matter (energy) diverted from invertebrate consumption to microbial decomposition, the natural pattern of energy flow is altered, and pelagic and opportunistic species are favoured [8]. Indeed, an increased ratio of planktivore:demersal fish biomass is an important effect of eutrophication [11]. Low bottom water oxygen concentrations are also conducive to the build-up of toxic compounds such as hydrogen sulfide and ammonia gas, which can also be harmful to benthic organisms and fish. Even short-lived anoxic events can cause the mass mortality of fish and benthic organisms [10].

    Overall, anoxic and hypoxic events can cause large reductions in the abundance, diversity and harvest of fish in affected waters [4], and can contribute to an overall loss of bio-diversity[9]. However, the extent to which bottom water anoxia causes declines in overall fish production depends on a balanced between the negative and positive and effects of eutrophication in the full spectrum of habitats within the system [4]……

    Major research institutions, universities and government (local and State) agencies gather oxygen data for specific research studies. Some information on anoxic and hypoxic events in Australian coastal waterways was compiled during the National Land & Water Resources Audit. In most cases, no data was available. However, localised or short-lived periods of hypoxia were reported in the Derwent and Huon estuaries (TAS) and in the Tuggerah Lakes (NSW). Prolonged and extensive anoxia is experienced in the Gippsland Lakes.

    Note:

    Anoxia is an extreme form of hypoxia.

              "Which Bank?" Allegations of est. 1,610 suspect financial transactions possibly involving money laundering or terrorism funding        

    Calls for a royal commission into banks and banking practices will probably grow louder.......
    ABC News, 3 August 2017:
    The Australian Transactions Reports & Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) today launched civil proceedings in the Federal Court alleging that the Commonwealth Bank failed to comply with the law on 53,700 occasions.
    The allegations follow an AUSTRAC investigation into the CBA's use of intelligent deposit machines (IDMs) between November 2012 and September 2015.
    The maximum penalty for each of the 53,700 contraventions is up to $18 million.
    The potentially massive penalties would dwarf a $45-million fine imposed on Tabcorp earlier this year for failing to comply with anti money laundering and terror financing laws…..
    The transactions in question had a total value of around $624.7 million.
    ABC News, 7 August 2017:
    The Commonwealth's allegations about the extent of the breakdown of CBA's legal obligations are breathtaking.
    Reading between the lines in the statement of claim, it would appear Australian Federal Police (AFP) investigating at least four money-laundering syndicates discovered Austrac had no transaction records on those they had under surveillance.
    In August 2015, CBA provided authorities with details on two of those missing transactions. Clearly, that caused panic within the bank. For just a month later, it sent Austrac details of a further 53,504 transactions dating back three years where $10,000 or more had taken place.
    At least 1,604 of those late filings related to criminal gangs. Even more alarming, a further six filings related to five customers the bank itself had identified as posing a terrorism risk. But, incredibly, it didn't report them.
    That is not the end of it. According to the statement of claim, the bank continued to facilitate transactions for drug syndicates even after being alerted by the AFP.
    Even as late as January this year, 18 months after the breaches were first discovered, it is accused of failing to report suspicious transfers totalling $320,000 over five days.
    The calamity is being sheeted home to the installation of whiz-bang new machines, intelligent deposit machines.
    These accept cash or shares, count the money and then deposit it into a CBA account. From there, it can be sent almost instantly to anywhere in the world. And the neat thing, from a criminal or terrorist viewpoint, is that you do not have to be a CBA customer to do it.
    Not only that, they would take up to $20,000 at a time. The machines may be intelligent but, sadly, no-one at the bank seemed to give a second thought to the reporting duties, either around the $10,000 limit or to look out for "structured" transactions — those attempting to fly just under the radar with slightly smaller amounts.
    When they were first introduced in 2012, they proved popular. Almost $90 million went through in the first six months. That has since risen to around $1 billion a month.
    As the debacle unfolded last week, the other banks — all of which have introduced similar machines — were keen to distance themselves from the drama, even if ANZ boss Shayne Elliott lamented that all would suffer.
    Each said they had removed "non-compliant machines", whatever that means. For it is not the machines that are at fault. It is the oversight that has failed.
    Interestingly, each of the CBA's three main rivals were keen to emphasise that their machines would accept a maximum of $5,000. In effect, that means no single transaction would ever come close to the reporting limit, thereby letting them off the hook……
    The odds on a royal commission have now shortened dramatically, for the Turnbull Government's resolve to resist one must now be spent.
    Not only that, the banks have lost any moral ground they may have thought they had in opposing the Federal Government levy.
    If recent history is anything to go by, the bank and its leaders merely will attempt to pretend it is all a media beat-up and it is business as usual.
    There will be the usual contrite statements, the promises of improving systems to ensure there is no repeat, an internal inquiry no less, most likely as early as this week when Mr Narev unveils a $9.8 billion profit.
    This time, however, the attack will not be so simply to parry. It is not an angry but disorganised customer base baying for blood. These are issues of national security and the prospect of a concerted legal assault by the Australian Government solicitor.
    Hold the bonuses? The fallout is likely to be somewhat larger.
    Commonwealth Bank, ASX announcement, 4 August 2017:

    Commonwealth Bank response to media reports regarding AUSTRAC civil proceedings

    Friday, 4 August 2017 (Sydney):

    Commonwealth Bank of Australia notes the media coverage of the civil penalty proceedings initiated yesterday by AUSTRAC for alleged non-compliance with the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Finance Act 2006. The matter is subject to court proceedings. We are currently reviewing AUSTRAC’s claim and will file a statement of defence. We will keep the market informed of any updates in compliance with our disclosure obligations.


              This Turnbull Government minister thinks voters won't realise this is not an exercise in truth telling.....        

    This is almost embarrassing to watch.

              So why might the far right of the Liberal and National parties being pushing for a postal plebiscite on same-sex marriage?        

    The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) states this of national plebiscites:

    Plebiscites

    An issue put to the vote which does not affect the Constitution is called a plebiscite. A plebiscite is not defined in the Australian Constitution, the Electoral Act or the Referendum Act. A plebiscite can also be referred to as a simple national vote.

    Governments can hold plebiscites to test whether people either support or oppose a proposed action on an issue. The government is not bound by the 'result' of a plebiscite as it is by the result of a Constitutional referendum. Federal, state and territory governments have held plebiscites on various issues.

    Under s. 7A of the Electoral Act, the AEC can conduct a plebiscite as a fee-for-service election, with the AEC entering into 'an agreement, on behalf of the Commonwealth, for the supply of goods or services to a person or body'. The rules for a plebiscite or fee-for-service election are normally contained in the terms of the agreement between the AEC and the person funding the election.

    Military service plebiscites were held in 1916 and 1917 but, as they were not proposals to amend the Constitution, the provisions of section 128 of the Constitution did not apply. Voters in all federal territories were permitted to vote. Both the military service plebiscites sought a mandate for conscription and were defeated.

    The first thing to note about a national plebiscite is that its outcome is not binding on the federal parliament or on any MP or senator.

    Additionally, voting in a national plebiscite can be voluntary, unless otherwise stated in any legislation authorising a specific plebiscite. As was the case in the National Song Poll in May 1977 at which 7.59 million people or est. 90%+ of registered voters cast a voluntary ballot.

    Besides being voluntary a plebiscite can also be a mail-out ballot as was the Election of Delegates to the Constitutional Convention some twenty years later in December 1997, at which 6 million ballot papers were returned, scrutinised and counted – that is to say only 50.04% of all eligible voters actually voluntarily voted and an est. 1.13% of these cast informal ballots.

    A parliamentary vote on same-sex marriage was calculated as costing $17 million in 2016. A stand-alone same-sex plebiscite was estimated to cost up to $525 million in that same year.

    An important point to note about a national plebiscite on same-sex marriage is that it is unnecessary as s51 of the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act gives federal parliament power to make laws regarding marriage and, parliament exercised that right as recently as 2004 when it changed the definition of marriage in order To ensure that same sex marriages are not recognised as marriage in Australia, inclusive of those performed under the laws of another country that permits such unions.

    So one can see why far-right federal MPs and senators would be in favour of a voluntary plebiscite, particularly a postal one.

    It may cost taxpayers more but the chances of a high voter participation rate is not as certain and, if the government of the day doesn't like the results of the ballot it can decide to not to act on them.

    These parliamentarians probably believe those voters who will be less likely to return a postal ballot will not be those strongly opposed to same-sex marriage, but those who are undecided, neutral, or disinterestedly in favour of rewriting the Marriage Act to allow gay couples to wed.

    In the minds of zealots like Eric Abetz and Tony Abbott this is probably seen as giving their cause a fighting chance and absolving them of any responsibility for continuing to actively oppose same-sex marriage.


              Politicians and Water: The Murray Darling Basin Scandal Fallout        

    The ABC Four Corners program “Pumped” which was screened on 24th July has illustrated how important scrutiny of the establishment is to the rule of law in our democracy. It also illustrates why the ABC is under threat from many politicians and other powerful players who see any effective scrutiny of their operations as an intolerable threat to their way of doing business, a way that is against both the general community interest as well as the national interest.
    The outrage from the revelations of water theft and other illegality by big irrigators in the northern NSW area of the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) has increased over the days since the program was screened.  Politicians have been left scrambling and forced to change tack following the strength of the reaction and the condemnation of the inadequacy of their initial responses.
    In NSW the Nationals Minister for Primary Industry, Niall Blair, was forced to change from an internal inquiry conducted by his department to an independent inquiry.  Blair was excessively optimistic in thinking that such an internal inquiry would be acceptable given that Four Corners had revealed a questionable relationship between Gavin Hanlon[1], his department’s Deputy Director General (Water), and big irrigators in the upper MDB.  In addition there was the important question of why the department had failed to act on departmental compliance officers’ reports of licence breaches and meter tampering. And there were questions about the role of the former water minister Kevin Humphries in dealing with the large irrigators.
    The NSW Opposition has also taken action referring both the former Nationals water minister Kevin Humphries (Member for Barwon) and a senior bureaucrat (presumably Gavin Hanlon) to ICAC.
    The Federal Government reaction was initially almost dismissive.  The Minister for Water Resources, Nationals Leader Barnaby Joyce[2], as well as attempting to downplay the water theft by comparing it to cattle rustling, claimed that it was a matter for NSW and that there was no need for Federal Government involvement. Billions of dollars of taxpayer funds have been used to buy back water for environmental flows and instead of being used for this purpose this water has gone to the big irrigators in the upper Barwon-Darling.  Presumably the taxpayer funds had come from the Federal Government. This would surely make it a matter of very great interest to this government which, seeing it is so concerned about budget repair, would surely be appalled at the waste of billions of taxpayer dollars.
    Joyce’s totally inadequate initial response was compounded shortly afterwards with what he said in a speech to irrigators in a hotel at Shepparton, a speech which was recorded by one of those attending.
    Joyce said, "We have taken water, put it back into agriculture, so we could look after you and make sure we don't have the greenies running the show basically sending you out the back door, and that was a hard ask.”
    "A couple of nights ago on Four Corners, you know what that's all about? It's about them trying to take more water off you, trying to create a calamity. A calamity for which the solution is to take more water off you, shut more of your towns down."
    Even a dinosaur like Barnaby Joyce should have been aware that anyone carrying a smartphone has the capacity to secretly record what others are saying.  In the political sphere we have seen how damaging this can be in the cases of Christopher Pyne and One Nation’s James Ashby. The Shepparton recording has certainly damaged Joyce and has added volume to the calls for him to be sacked from the Water portfolio.  Unfortunately, this is unlikely to happen as the Prime Minister has enough problems in his own party without alienating Joyce and the Nationals.
    By Sunday 30th the scandal became a matter that the Federal Government had to act upon despite Joyce’s earlier labelling it a state matter. The Federal solution was for the Murray Darling Basin Authority to carry out an independent basin-wide review into compliance with state-based regulations governing water use. The Authority is to report by 15th December 2017.  The Government saw this review as complementing the other investigations of the Four Corners allegations.
    However, this is a case of far too little too late.  The MDB Authority is scarcely a body able to conduct an independent review of what has obviously been happening under its watch.  Furthermore a cynic would see the reporting date of 15th December, just before the Christmas holiday season, as a typical government move to ensure that the review report would receive minimal attention and be forgotten about over the holiday break.
    The Federal Opposition, like its NSW state counterpart, has also taken action on the scandal.  It requested that the Auditor-General expand his current audit of the Federal Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.  The Auditor-General will now include how the federal department is monitoring the performance of NSW under the National Partnership Agreement on Implementing Water Reform in the MDB relevant to the protection and use of environmental water.
    Unsurprisingly, the South Australian Government, which has long been concerned about the lack of water reaching the end of the Murray-Darling system, was outraged by the allegations.  It is calling for a judicial inquiry, a much stronger investigation than those arranged by NSW and the Federal Government.  SA senators from Labor, the Greens, the Nick Xenophon Party and the Conservatives have joined their state government in calling for a judicial inquiry.
    This scandal has a long way to run yet.  There are major questions to be answered about the National Party – both state and federally - and its relationship with the big irrigators and its apparent indifference to the needs of other irrigators further down the system.  There is also the question of its influence on the workings of the NSW Department of Agriculture.   And just what role has it had in limiting the effectiveness of – perhaps even of sabotaging - the Murray Darling Basin Plan?
    For both Federal and NSW state Liberal leaders there is the question about the advisability of having resource management portfolios in the hands of Nationals and of putting both Agriculture and Water in the same portfolio.  Each of these governments has a very poor environmental record.  What has been happening on the Barwon-Darling reinforces the view that keeping “in good” with the Nationals is far more important for the  Liberals than ensuring that environmental policies are in the best long-term interests of the state and nation.
    [1] Gavin Hanlon joined the NSW Department of Primary Industries in December 2014.  Prior to this he had been Managing Director of Goulburn Murray Water since 2011.
    [2] The water portfolio was removed from the Environment Department and allocated to Joyce as a result of the agreement with the Liberals in 2015  following  Malcolm Turnbull becoming Prime Minister.

    Hildegard
    Northern Rivers
    2ndAugust 2017

    Guest Speak is a North Coast Voices segment allowing serious or satirical comment from NSW Northern Rivers residents. Email northcoastvoices at gmail dot com dot au to submit comment for consideration.

              Centrelink Mandatory Drug Testing: Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation calls on the Australian Government to stop playing games with people's lives        

    In its drive to universally implement the Cashless Debit Card for all welfare recipients, the Abbott Government first targeted remote indigenous communities to ‘trial’ this income management restrict and control scheme. The Turnbull Government then selected certain low-socio economic urban areas for further trials.

    Now the Liberal-Nationals federal government intends to extend the reach of this card even further and from 1 July 2018 intends to impose compulsory drug testing on 5,000 new recipients of unemployment benefits – with all who test positive for alcohol or drugs being immediately placed on restricted and controlled payments regardless of their personal circumstances.

    All those government MPs and senators cushioned by generous salaries and benefits from life’s vagaries have chosen this group because of the illegality of many of the drugs it will test for, as they think that all Australians will blame those with substance abuse problems and feel comfortable with the idea that they should be punished in some way.

    These MPs and senators do not appear to give a toss that in an effort to eventually control the income support payments of all welfare recipients, it will socially profile and discriminate against a specific group of people with little if any positive outcomes flowing from this discrimination.

    Because it is admitted that cutting off access to cash may exacerbate mental health issues, increase homelessness and lead the desperate into crime.

    The Social Services Legislation Amendment (Welfare Reform) Bill 2017 which contains this measure is currently before the federal parliament and, the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee is due to report on this bill on 4 August 2017.

    So a call has gone out……….

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    For 30 years, I served as the head of St Vincent's Hospital Alcohol and Drug Service in Sydney.

    I have treated many thousands of patients trying to rebuild their lives in the face of alcohol and drug problems. Many have been victims of sexual abuse, violence from family members, or other devastating trauma – and most are already living on the margins of society.

    That's why I'm stunned by the government's plan to strip people with alcohol and drug problems of income support payments.1

    Thirty years of experience, backed by research from all over the world, tells me that you can't punish people into recovery. In fact, pushing people into poverty only serves to undermine their chance of recovery – and puts lives at risk.

    Over the coming weeks, Parliament will vote on whether to implement mandatory drug testing. Doctors, nurses and allied health workers – determined to protect patients – are speaking out against the changes.


    Prime Minister Turnbull assures us that the proposal to strip people of income support payments is "based on love".2 That's a hard thing to swallow given his government's failure to consult with addiction medicine experts and lack of evidence to support the trials.

    Mandatory drug testing has already been trialled and abandoned in multiple countries around the world. It's a failed policy that violates our professional commitment to do no harm. This government is forcing doctors to make an impossible choice – to break the law or to hurt our patients.

    I've seen with my own eyes how medical treatment of people struggling with severe alcohol and drug problems must be guided by compassionate care and respect for their human rights.

    Call on the government to stop playing political games with people's lives: https://www.getup.org.au/help-not-harm-petition

    Sincerely,

    Dr Alex Wodak

    President, Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation

    References:

    [1] Drug testing welfare recipients is not about love, Malcolm Turnbull, it's about punishment, The Guardian, 11 May 2017

    [2] Federal budget 2017: Turnbull says welfare drug test policy 'based on love', ABC News, 12 May 2017

    GetUp is an independent, not-for-profit community campaigning group. We use new technology to empower Australians to have their say on important national issues. We receive no political party or government funding, and every campaign we run is entirely supported by voluntary donations. If you'd like to contribute to help fund GetUp's work, please donate now! To unsubscribe from GetUp, please click here.

    Our team acknowledges that we meet and work on the land of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation. We wish to pay respect to their Elders - past, present and future - and acknowledge the important role all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continue to play within Australia and the GetUp community.

    Authorised by Paul Oosting, Level 14, 338 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW 2000.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



              Melbourne Institute's HILDA survey report 2017        


    Commenced in 2001, the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey is a nationally representative longitudinal study of Australian households. The study is funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services (DSS) and is managed by the Melbourne Institute at the University of Melbourne. Roy Morgan Research has conducted the fieldwork since Wave 9 (2009), prior to which The Nielsen Company was the fieldwork provider.
    The HILDA Survey seeks to provide longitudinal data on the lives of Australian residents. It annually collects information on a wide range of aspects of life in Australia, including household and family relationships, child care, employment, education, income, expenditure, health and wellbeing, attitudes and values on a variety of subjects, and various life events and experiences. Information is also collected at less frequent intervals on various topics, including household wealth, fertility related behaviour and plans, relationships with non-resident family members and non-resident partners, health care utilisation, eating habits, cognitive functioning and retirement.
    The important distinguishing feature of the HILDA Survey is that the same households and individuals are interviewed every year, allowing us to see how their lives are changing over time. By design, the study can be infinitely lived, following not only the initial sample members for the remainder of their lives, but also their children and all subsequent descendants

    Download the report here.


              The travesty that is Australia's asylum seeker offshore detention policy -"If they had arrived by airplane and with a tourist visa then they would be here."         

    It seems the truth will out.

    After the United States completes its vetting of asylum seekers held in overseas detention by the Australian Government it is not obliged to take even one of those individuals U.S. immigration officials have examined.

    In May 2017 the Department of Immigration and Border Protection confirmed 268 people had completed their second-stage security interview with US officials: 220 in Nauru and 48 on Manus Island.

    U.S. immigration officials halted screening interviews and departed Nauru on 14 July 2017, two weeks short of their scheduled timetable and a day after Washington said the US had reached its annual refugee intake cap.

    However, under the original agreement once that vetting is completed Australia becomes obliged to resettle between 20 and 50 people under a U.S. "Protection Transfer Arrangement" in Costa Rica set up to resettle refugees from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.

    Prime Minister Turnbull verbally changed that undertaking to an open-ended number of people the Trump Administration might be “very keen on getting out of the United States”.

    There is no indication that the U.S. Government intends to complete its vetting of those detained on Nauru and Manus islands.

    The Washington Post, 3 August 2017:

    The Washington Post has obtained transcripts of two conversations President Trump had with foreign leaders: one with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and another with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
    The transcripts were prepared by the White House but have not been released. The Post is publishing reproductions rather than original documents in order to protect sources. The reproductions below also include minor spelling and grammatical mistakes that appeared in the documents………………


    JANUARY 28, 2017 FROM 5:05 TO 5:29 P.M. EST.

    TURNBULL
    Good evening.

    TRUMP
    Mr. Prime Minister, how are you?

    TURNBULL
    I am doing very well.

    TRUMP
    And I guess our friend Greg Norman, he is doing very well?

    TURNBULL
    He is a great mutual friend yes.

    TRUMP
    Well you say hello to him. He is a very good friend. By the way thank you very much for taking the call. I really appreciate it. It is really nice.

    TURNBULL
    Thank you very much. Everything is going very well. I want to congratulate you and Mike Pence on being sworn in now. I have spoken to you both now as you know. I know we are both looking to make our relationship which is very strong and intimate, stronger than ever – which I believe we can do.

    TRUMP
    Good.

    TURNBULL
    I believe you and I have similar backgrounds, unusual for politicians, more businessman but I look forward to working together.

    TRUMP
    That is exactly right. We do have similar backgrounds and it seems to be working in this climate – it is a crazy climate. Let me tell you this, it is an evil time but it is a complex time because we do not have uniforms standing in front of us. Instead, we have people in disguise. It is brutal. This ISIS thing â€“ it is something we are going to devote a lot of energy to it. I think we are going to be very successful.

    TURNBULL
    Absolutely. We have, as you know, taken a very strong line on national security and border protection here and when I was speaking with Jared Kushner just the other day and one of your immigration advisors in the White House we reflected on how our policies have helped to inform your approach. We are very much of the same mind. It is very interesting to know how you prioritize the minorities in your Executive Order. This is exactly what we have done with the program to bring in 12,000 Syrian refugees, 90% of which will be Christians. It will be quite deliberate and the position I have taken – I have been very open about it – is that it is a tragic fact of life that when the situation in the Middle East settles down – the people that are going to be most unlikely to have a continuing home are those Christian minorities. We have seen that in Iraq and so from our point of view, as a final destination for refugees, that is why we prioritize. It is not a sectarian thing. It is recognition of the practical political realities. We have a similar perspective in that respect.

    TRUMP
    Do you know four years ago Malcom, I was with a man who does this for a living. He was telling me, before the migration, that if you were a Christian from Syria, you had no chance of coming to the United States. Zero. They were the ones being persecuted. When I say persecuted, I mean their heads were being chopped off. If you were a Muslim we have nothing against Muslims, but if you were a Muslim you were not persecuted at least to the extent – but if you were a Muslim from Syria that was the number one place to get into the United States from. That was the easiest thing. But if you were a Christian from Syria you have no chance of getting into the United States. I just thought it was an incredible statistic. Totally true – and you have seen the same thing. It is incredible.

    TURNBULL
    Well, yes. Mr. President, can I return to the issue of the resettlement agreement that we had with the Obama administration with respect to some people on Nauru and Manus Island. I have written to you about this and Mike Pence and General Flynn spoke with Julie Bishop and my National Security Advisor yesterday. This is a very big issue for us, particularly domestically, and I do understand you are inclined to a different point of view than the Vice President.

    TRUMP
    Well, actually I just called for a total ban on Syria and from many different countries from where there is terror, and extreme vetting for everyone else – and somebody told me yesterday that close to 2,000 people are coming who are really probably troublesome. And I am saying, boy that will make us look awfully bad. Here I am calling for a ban where I am not letting anybody in and we take 2,000 people. Really it looks like 2,000 people that Australia does not want and I do not blame you by the way, but the United States has become like a dumping ground. You know Malcom, anybody that has a problem – you remember the Mariel boat lift, where Castro let everyone out of prison and Jimmy Carter accepted them with open arms. These were brutal people. Nobody said Castro was stupid, but now what are we talking about is 2,000 people that are actually imprisoned and that would actually come into the United States. I heard about this – I have to say I love Australia; I love the people of Australia. I have so many friends from Australia, but I said – geez that is a big ask, especially in light of the fact that we are so heavily in favor, not in favor, but we have no choice but to stop things. We have to stop. We have allowed so many people into our country that should not be here. We have our San Bernardino’s, we have had the World Trade Center come down because of people that should not have been in our country, and now we are supposed to take 2,000. It sends such a bad signal. You have no idea. It is such a bad thing.

    TURNBULL
    Can you hear me out Mr. President?

    TRUMP
    Yeah, go ahead.

    TURNBULL
    Yes, the agreement, which the Vice President just called the Foreign Minister about less than 24 hours ago and said your Administration would be continuing, does not require you to take 2,000 people. It does not require you to take any. It requires, in return, for us to do a number of things for the United States – this is a big deal, I think we should respect deals.

    TRUMP
    Who made the deal? Obama?

    TURNBULL
    Yes, but let me describe what it is. I think it is quite consistent. I think you can comply with it. It is absolutely consistent with your Executive Order so please just hear me out. The obligation is for the United States to look and examine and take up to and only if they so choose – 1,250 to 2,000. Every individual is subject to your vetting. You can decide to take them or to not take them after vetting. You can decide to take 1,000 or 100. It is entirely up to you. The obligation is to only go through the process. So that is the first thing. Secondly, the people — none of these people are from the conflict zone. They are basically economic refugees from Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. That is the vast bulk of them. They have been under our supervision for over three years now and we know exactly everything about them.

    TRUMP
    Why haven’t you let them out? Why have you not let them into your society?

    TURNBULL
    Okay, I will explain why. It is not because they are bad people. It is because in order to stop people smugglers, we had to deprive them of the product. So we said if you try to come to Australia by boat, even if we think you are the best person in the world, even if you are a Noble [sic] Prize winning genius, we will not let you in. Because the problem with the people —

    TRUMP
    That is a good idea. We should do that too. You are worse than I am.

    TURNBULL
    This is our experience.

    TRUMP
    Because you do not want to destroy your country. Look at what has happened in Germany. Look at what is happening in these countries. These people are crazy to let this happen. I spoke to Merkel today, and believe me, she wishes she did not do it. Germany is a mess because of what happened.

    TURNBULL
    I agree with you, letting one million Syrians walk into their country. It was one of the big factors in the Brexit vote, frankly.

    TRUMP
    Well, there could be two million people coming in Germany. Two million people. Can you believe it? It will never be the same.

    TURNBULL
    stood up at the UN in September and set up what our immigration policy was. I said that you cannot maintain popular support for immigration policy, multiculturalism, unless you can control your borders. The bottom line is that we got here. I am asking you as a very good friend. This is a big deal. It is really, really important to us that we maintain it. It does not oblige you to take one person that you do not want. As I have said, your homeland officials have visited and they have already interviewed these people. You can decide. It is at your discretion. So you have the wording in the Executive Order that enables the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of State to admit people on a case by case basis in order to conform with an existing agreement. I do believe that you will never find a better friend to the United States than Australia. I say this to you sincerely that it is in the mutual interest of the United States to say, “yes, we can conform with that deal – we are not obliged to take anybody we do not want, we will go through extreme vetting” and that way you are seen to show the respect that a trusted ally wants and deserves. We will then hold up our end of the bargain by taking in our country 31 [inaudible] that you need to move on from.

    TRUMP
    Malcom [sic], why is this so important? I do not understand. This is going to kill me. I am the world’s greatest person that does not want to let people into the country. And now I am agreeing to take 2,000 people and I agree I can vet them, but that puts me in a bad position. It makes me look so bad and I have only been here a week.

    TURNBULL
    With great respect, that is not right – It is not 2,000.

    TRUMP
    Well, it is close. I have also heard like 5,000 as well.

    TURNBULL
    The given number in the agreement is 1,250 and it is entirely a matter of your vetting. I think that what you could say is that the Australian government is consistent with the principles set out in the Executive Order.

    TRUMP
    No, I do not want say that. I will just have to say that unfortunately I will have to live with what was said by Obama. I will say I hate it. Look, I spoke to Putin, Merkel, Abe of Japan, to France today, and this was my most unpleasant call because I will be honest with you. I hate taking these people. I guarantee you they are bad. That is why they are in prison right now. They are not going to be wonderful people who go on to work for the local milk people.

    TURNBULL
    I would not be so sure about that. They are basically —

    TRUMP
    Well, maybe you should let them out of prison. I am doing this because Obama made a bad deal. I am not doing this because it fits into my Executive Order. I am taking 2,000 people from Australia who are in prison and the day before I signed an Executive Order saying that we are not taking anybody in. We are not taking anybody in, those days are over.

    TURNBULL
    But can I say to you, there is nothing more important in business or politics than a deal is a deal. Look, you and I have a lot of mutual friends.
    Look, I do not know how you got them to sign a deal like this, but that is how they lost the election. They said I had no way to 270 and I got 306. That is why they lost the election, because of stupid deals like this. You have brokered many a stupid deal in business and I respect you, but I guarantee that you broke many a stupid deal. This is a stupid deal. This deal will make me look terrible.

    TURNBULL
    Mr. President, I think this will make you look like a man who stands by the commitments of the United States. It shows that you are a committed —

    TRUMP
    Okay, this shows me to be a dope. I am not like this but, if I have to do it, I will do it but I do not like this at all. I will be honest with you. Not even a little bit. I think it is ridiculous and Obama should have never signed it. The only reason I will take them is because I have to honor a deal signed by my predecessor and it was a rotten deal. I say that it was a stupid deal like all the other deals that this country signed. You have to see what I am doing. I am unlocking deals that were made by people, these people were incompetent. I am not going to say that it fits within the realm of my Executive Order. We are going to allow 2,000 prisoners to come into our country and it is within the realm of my Executive Order? If that is the case my Executive Order does not mean anything Malcom [sic]. I look like a dope. The only way that I can do this is to say that my predecessor made a deal and I have no option then to honor the deal. I hate having to do it, but I am still going to vet them very closely. Suppose I vet them closely and I do not take any?

    TURNBULL
    That is the point I have been trying to make.

    TRUMP
    How does that help you?

    TURNBULL
    Well, we assume that we will act in good faith.

    TRUMP
    Does anybody know who these people are? Who are they? Where do they come from? Are they going to become the Boston bomber in five years? Or two years? Who are these people?

    TURNBULL
    Let me explain. We know exactly who they are. They have been on Nauru or Manus for over three years and the only reason we cannot let them into Australia is because of our commitment to not allow people to come by boat. Otherwise we would have let them in. If they had arrived by airplane and with a tourist visa then they would be here.

    TRUMP
    Malcom [sic], but they are arrived on a boat?

    TURNBULL
    Correct, we have stopped the boats.

    TRUMP
    Give them to the United States. We are like a dumping ground for the rest of the world. I have been here for a period of time, I just want this to stop. I look so foolish doing this. It [sic] know it is good for you but it is bad for me. It is horrible for me. This is what I am trying to stop. I do not want to have more San Bernardino’s or World Trade Centers. I could name 30 others, but I do not have enough time.

    TURNBULL
    These guys are not in that league. They are economic refugees.

    TRUMP
    Okay, good. Can Australia give me a guarantee that if we have any problems – you know that is what they said about the Boston bombers. They said they were wonderful young men.

    TURNBULL
    They were Russians. They were not from any of these countries.

    TRUMP
    They were from wherever they were.

    TURNBULL
    Please, if we can agree to stick to the deal, you have complete discretion in terms of a security assessment. The numbers are not 2,000 but 1,250 to start. Basically, we are taking people from the previous administration that they were very keen on getting out of the United States. We will take more. We will take anyone that you want us to take. The only people that we do not take are people who come by boat. So we would rather take a not very attractive guy that help you out then to take a Noble [sic] Peace Prize winner that comes by boat. That is the point.

    TRUMP
    What is the thing with boats? Why do you discriminate against boats? No, I know, they come from certain regions. I get it.

    TURNBULL
    No, let me explain why. The problem with the boats it that you are basically outsourcing your immigration program to people smugglers and also you get thousands of people drowning at sea. So what we say is, we will decide which people get to come to Australia who are refugees, economic migrants, businessmen, whatever. We decide. That is our decision. We are a generous multicultural immigration nation like the United States but the government decides, the people’s representatives decides. So that is the point. I am a highly transactional businessman like you and I know the deal has to work for both sides. Now Obama thought this deal worked for him and he drove a hard bargain with us – that it was agreed with Obama more than a year ago in the Oval Office, long before the election. The principles of the deal were agreed to.

    TRUMP
    I do not know what he got out of it. We never get anything out of it – START Treaty, the Iran deal. I do not know where they find these people to make these stupid deals. I am going to get killed on this thing.

    TURNBULL
    You will not.

    TRUMP
    Yes, I will be seen as a weak and ineffective leader in my first week by these people. This is a killer.

    TURNBULL
    You can certainly say that it was not a deal that you would have done, but you are going to stick with it.

    TRUMP
    I have no choice to say that about it. Malcom [sic], I am going to say that I have no choice but to honor my predecessor’s deal. I think it is a horrible deal, a disgusting deal that I would have never made. It is an embarrassment to the United States of America and you can say it just the way I said it. I will say it just that way. As far as I am concerned that is enough Malcom [sic]I have had it. I have been making these calls all day and this is the most unpleasant call all day. Putin was a pleasant call. This is ridiculous.

    TURNBULL
    Do you want to talk about Syria and DPRK?

    TRUMP
    [inaudible] this is crazy.

    TURNBULL
    Thank you for your commitment. It is very important to us.

    TRUMP
    It is important to you and it is embarrassing to me. It is an embarrassment to me, but at least I got you off the hook. So you put me back on the hook.

    TURNBULL
    You can count on me. I will be there again and again.

    TRUMP
    I hope so. Okay, thank you Malcolm.

    TURNBULL
    Okay, thank you.
    END OF CALL

    * My yellow highlighting.

              Surprise, surprise - those Murray-Darling Basin water raiders have slithered over the horizon once more and are eyeing off the Clarence Valley river system yet again        

    With so little fanfare that much of  Northern Rivers region missed it, the NSW Berejiklian Government reopened the March 2016 inquiry into augmentation of water supply for rural and regional New South Wales on 28 May 2017, with Terms of Reference published in July 2017.

    This Upper House inquiry is chaired by Robert Brown MLC, from the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party and its reporting date has been extended to 30 March 2018. 

    Current committee membership is as follows:

    Robert Brown MLC, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, Chair
    Mick Veitch MLC, Australian Labor Party, Deputy Chair
    Jeremy Buckingham MLC, The Greens
    Rick Colless MLC, The Nationals
    Scot MacDonald MLC, Liberal Party
    Greg Pearce MLC, Liberal Party
    Penny Sharpe MLC, Australian Labor Party
    Daniel Mookhey MLC, Australian Labor Party
    Paul Green MLC, Christian Democratic Party
    * Jeremy Buckingham MLC (Greens)is substituting for Dr Mehreen Faruqui MLC for the duration of the inquiry.
    * Matthew Mason-Cox MLC (Liberal)  is substituting for Hon Greg Pearce MLC for the duration of the inquiry.
    * Paul Green MLC and Penny Sharpe MLC will be participating for the duration of the inquiry.

    A poorly advertised public hearing scheduled for 1 August 2017 in Lismore (with details sent to media on 31 July 2017) excluded Northern Rivers residents from giving evidence unless they represented a small number of invited groups.

    It appears the committee had also determined that Clarence Valley Council was to be asked its view on diverting Clarence River system flood water.

    Given flood water is already diverted to the purpose built Shannon Creek side dam to ensure a sustainable water supply for the est. 125,103 residents (Census 2016) currently living in Clarence Valley and Coffs Harbour local government areas, there are no prizes for guessing where any additional water diversion would be allocated.

    Yes, that paragon of sustainable water mismanagement - the cluster of councils, industries, irrigators and water traders within the Murray-Darling Basin.

    It will come as no surprise that Griffith Council is still pursuing a Clarence River dam and divert scheme. North Coast Voices reported on its obsession in August 2016.

    This is what the Griffith City Council Deputy mayor, Dino Zappacosta of Zappacosta Estate Wines in Hanwood, told the inquiry on 1 March 2017:

    The issue that my committee, Build More Dams, has looked at is that we need more water because farmers are crying out for more water. We need new water. By "new water", I mean water that is not currently being used at all. We looked at various options, including the Clarence Valley area, where millions and millions of megalitres of water flow out into the sea for what seems to be no real benefit at all for the community of the Clarence region, other than for the natural farming land and the fishery industry there.

    It soon became apparent that, appart from the notion of free water at the expense of Clarence Valley communities’ social, cultural, aesthetic, environmental and economic values, Griffith Council knew little about how this dam and divert scheme would work.

    The Hon. RICK COLLESS: You have been talking about the Clarence River diversion scheme. Is it correct that that is essentially restricted to the Mann River subcatchment?

    Mr ZAPPACOSTA: To the best of my knowledge, it covers most of the tributaries—for example, the Boyd River, the Mann River, the Nymboida River and the Timbarra River. They are highlighted on map 2, which was provided to the Committee.

    The Hon. RICK COLLESS: I am a little confused about the way the map reads. It appears as though the water is coming out of the Mann River catchment, which is a subcatchment of the Clarence. The divisions appear to be above the confluence of the Nymboida and the Mann. You recommend a 23 per cent Clarence River diversion, but the question is: What percentage of is that of the Mann River flow and what environmental impact will that have on the Mann River below where it is diverted? We should keep in mind the history of the Snowy River and what has happened there over the past 50 years. Does anybody have any thoughts about that? Mr ZAPPACOSTA: I will have to take on notice exactly how much comes from the Mann River itself.

    The Hon. RICK COLLESS: What is the reduction in flow from the sub-catchment rivers below where the water is diverted from them? What environmental impacts will that have on those rivers?

    Mr ZAPPACOSTA: I appreciate the question. I think what you are asking is something we should dig into a bit deeper; there should be a study of it, preferably a feasibility study.

    The Hon. RICK COLLESS: There needs to be a lot of work done on this, as you would appreciate.

    While the Director of Utilities at Griffith City Council stated:

    As an engineer I see the great benefits of supporting a scheme such as the Clarence River diversion scheme, not only from a water augmentation point of view. My directorate covers water supply as well as the flooding impacts caused by rainfall run-off. The Clarence River diversion scheme is not only a supply scheme but a flood mitigation solution, as the general manager mentioned. In my research I have referred to the document entitled Lower Clarence Flood Model—Update 2013 produced by BMT WBM consultants. They happen to be the same consultants who undertook our flood study and provided our flood mitigation options. They work across the State and they are well versed in flooding, from the Northern Rivers down to our area.

    The Clarence River catchment on the far North Coast of New South Wales is one of the largest catchments on the east coast of Australia. It is approximately 20,000 square kilometres. It is above the towns of Grafton, Maclean and Yamba, and it is home to more than 20,000 people. The lower Clarence Valley has a long history of flooding, since settlement in about 1850. Bear with me as I read out the dates of the flooding events. I was just going to say a number, but it has more of an impact when you follow the years of flooding that the area has endured due to the large catchment that sits above it. Floods were recorded in 1863 and 1864. There was a record flood in 1890 in which two people lost their lives and there was extensive damage to the rural area. Further floods occurred in 1921 and 1928. Since 1945 the incidence of major flooding has been much higher, with floods occurring in 1945, 1946, 1948, 1950, 1954, 1956, 1959, 1963, 1967, 1968, 1974, 1976, 1980, 1988, 1996, 2001, 2009 and 2013.

    There is a regular occurrence of extreme flooding in the Northern Rivers catchment, below the Clarence River. Section 4.4 of the Lower Clarence Flood Model—Update 2013 acknowledges that "the river flows originating from upstream of Grafton dominate flooding in the Lower Clarence Valley". Diversion of the Clarence River flows for that area towards the west, and the 25 per cent or 23.8 per cent that will be captured, diverted and controlled, will be of great benefit to flood mitigation in the Northern Rivers area. The document further says that it will maximise the investment from the Government not only to help solve water augmentation issues but to reduce the financial and human impacts flooding has in the northern coastal areas. The Clarence River diversion scheme was documented in 1981 by David Coffey and he estimated costings back then. We have done a projection to a present-day cost of approximately $10 billion. There are statistics on the map that I have provided to the Committee.

    The Snowy Mountains scheme would have cost $10 billion in present-day money, so there are similar costings in the schemes. The 1,100 gigalitres diverted per annum from the Clarence River has generated $1.82 billion in agriculture. The scheme means that 23.8 per cent of the flows that would be heading down to flood people can be diverted. When you equate the $550 million a year in flood damages with the cost of a diversion scheme, 1,100 gigalitres can generate $1.8 billion a year in agriculture growth. The additional water means that 118,000 hectares of viable open country can be farmed. The offset of diversion and flood protection is that it is beneficial to all. That is where I will leave it.

    The public hearing in Griffith was reported thus by The Area News on 2 March 2017:

    HIGH-profile Griffith water users and city officials enjoyed a rare opportunity to sit face-to-face with Members of the NSW Upper House on Wednesday to discuss their handling of water….

    The Honourable Rick Colless, The Honourable Paul Green, The Honourable Matthew Mason-Cox and The Honourable Penelope Sharpe were on hand to hear the concerns of the community….

    Along with wanting to fix the water sharing plans, the other hot topic was the Clarence River Scheme, initially conceptualised by David Coffey in the 1970s.

    The plan outlined diverting river flows westward from high rainfall catchments in the Northern Rivers.

    According to Griffith City Council, the scheme will benefit lands south of the Dumaresq River while also providing flows into the Murray River, reducing the reliance for Murray-Darling Basin allocations to fill the original allocation to the basin. 

    “We have looked at various options and we look at the Clarence Valley area where there are millions of millions of megalitres of water flowing out into the sea for what seems to be for no real benefit,” Councilor Dino Zappacosta said.

    Griffith City Council general manager, Brett Stonestreet said it’s time the scheme is looked at again.

    “It provides new water to give this state another shot in the arm,” he said.

    “It also looks at potentially reducing flooding impact of the coastal communities adjacent to the Clarence by 25 per cent.

    “There is a huge amount of money that can be generated and inland communities rediscovered and regenerated through new water.”

    Mayor Dal Broi was pleased with how the inquiry was conducted and the feedback from the Senators.

    “Some of the questions that were asked by the panel members, we know now what they are thinking,” he said.

    “They were very receptive to the concept of new water so whether it's the diversion of the Clarence or lifting the wall on Burrinjuck Dam ... they were very receptive to that because we tried to make the point that the limited resources at the moment.”

    “We need new water if our regions are to grow and have a better long-term sustainable allocation.”

    Not content with bringing down the largest river system in Australia in order to line their own pockets, these wanabee water raiders just keep on coming after what they see as more 'free' water for the rorting.

    Clarence Valley Council gave evidence at the re-opened inquiry on 1 August and the only question of interest to the water raiders came after a few minutes of questioning at Page 26 of the Lismore public hearing transcript:

    The Hon. GREG PEARCE: Thank you for your submission. In your submission you talk about this idea of diversion of the Clarence River to west of the Great Dividing Range. Could you give us a bit of a background on that proposal and what your council thinks about it?

    Mr ANDERSON: I will start but Mr Mashiah might finish. Our council has resolved six times that they do not support the diversion of the Clarence, and each time that has been unanimous in regard to council's position. That is based on the fact that damage to the environment and the ecological systems that work within the Clarence River emerge from there. 

    The CHAIR [Robert Brown MLC, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party]: You probably cannot answer this, but that is an all-encompassing position of council?

    Mr ANDERSON: Yes.

    The CHAIR : I wonder what the council's position would be on the diversion of floodwaters only.

    Mr ANDERSON: Again, Mr Chair, like you said, I cannot answer that question.

    The CHAIR: What I am asking you is that I guess the council's resolutions were not burrowed down to that extent to be able to answer that question. We might ask Clarence council for an opinion on that.

    The Hon. GREG PEARCE: Are those decisions supported by an independent side to pick advice? How were they derived?

    Mr MASHIAH: There was a Healthy Rivers Commission inquiry into the Clarence in I think it was 1999, from memory, and part of the outcome of that commission inquiry was the importance of regular flood events in terms of the fishing industry and also the cane industry. I believe you have representatives from the cane industry here with us later.

    The CHAIR: This afternoon, yes.

    Mr MASHIAH: And also in terms of fisheries, one of the aspects that Clarence Valley Council has been active in for the past 20 years is trying to manage the floodplain to address issues such as acid runoff.

    The CHAIR: Solid sulfate soils.

    Mr MASHIAH: As the sulfate soils and particular acids run off. So we have done things like open floodgates and—

    The CHAIR: And you should be congratulated.

    Mr MASHIAH: Thank you, Mr Chair, for that. I will pass that on to the relevant staff who have been coordinating that. The regular flushing of those areas, which are fish breeding grounds, by floodwaters is very important. So if floods were diverted there are significant concerns from the fishing industry about the ongoing viability of the industry because the grounds where fish breed, according to the studies that have been undertaken, would then be adversely impacted. So that is one of the reasons that the fishing industry has very strongly opposed, through our estuary management committee in particular and through the estuary management plan, any diversion of water and we have tried to ensure that the fish breeding grounds are protected.

    The CHAIR: I just made the observation that most of those fish breeding grounds would not be the same areas of land that are subject to high residential development or business or commercial or other aspects. In other words, you are not talking about the township of Grafton itself, you are talking river peripheries, flooded-out areas, for breeding concerns?

    Mr MASHIAH: The challenge is that the urban footprint on the lower Clarence floodplain is probably about 1 to 2 per cent of the total surface area and all the urban areas are surrounded by rural areas. So it is very hard to work out how you manage that 1 or 2 per cent without adversely impacting the other 98 per cent, or vice versa, how do you manage the 98 per cent without adversely impacting 1 or 2 per cent of urban area?

    The CHAIR: The 2013 flood, you have described it as a major flood, correct?

    Mr MASHIAH: It was the flood of record at Grafton.

    The CHAIR: I am wondering how the 2013 flood would have enhanced the fishery on the Clarence?

    Mr MASHIAH: The main issue with the 2013 flood—I guess with any flood in the Clarence the flood behaviour in the upper river is a lot different to the flood behaviour in the lower river because of the tidal influences in particular and also how wet the floodplain is already. The 2013 event was actually three floods.

    The CHAIR: And they rolled up on each other?

    Mr MASHIAH: Yes, within a three-week period—quite distinct flood events.

    The CHAIR: So it was a prolonged flood.

    Mr MASHIAH: It was a prolonged flood and that meant there was significant inundation of back swamp areas, and I understand that there were some areas that effectively were areas that were flushed that had not been flushed in floods probably since 2001, so it is probably 12 years. So from an ecological perspective, talking to our environmental scientists, I understand that it was actually quite beneficial because the bigger floods only get into those areas once every 10 to 20 years.

    The CHAIR: Were there any concurrent blackwater events for the fishery?

    Mr MASHIAH: Not that I can recall, and I think that is a result of the management measures that have been undertaken on the floodplain because most of the farmers now operate the floodgates and so only shut the floodgates when there is actually a flood coming and open them fairly soon afterwards.

    The CHAIR: So it is their responsibility to operate their own floodgates, is it?

    Mr MASHIAH: That has been passed on to them, yes.

    The CHAIR: Do you have any oversight of that?

    Mr ANDERSON: Yes, we do, and we work with those groups and undertake training et cetera . It is a two-way street of communication: they tell us what they need and, vice versa, we provide training associated with that and inductions and operate that through a number of committees et cetera as well.

    Evidence was also given by the NSW Professional Fishermen’s Association (commencing Page 38) the NSW Canegrowers Association (commencing Page 45) and the Clarence Environment Centre (commencing Page 56).


    One has to wonder why the committee members of this reformed Water Augmentation Inquiry didn't seek the views of those holding Native Title (See Yaegl People #1 Yaegl People #2) over the Clarence River from the waters approximately half-way between Ulmarra and Brushgrove right down to the eastern extremities of the northern and southern breakwater walls at the mouth of the river.

    After all they are significant stakeholders in any discussion of water policy and water management in the Clarence River catchment area.

    The other matter of note, arising from North Coast Voices somewhat belated discovery that the water raiders were back on the scene, is the suggestion that not all Clarence Valley councillors had forewarning that council staff were appearing before the inquiry on 1 August.

    If true this would be a disturbing indication that council administration has retained some of the bad habits it acquired under the former general manager who was handed his hat in March this year.


              Why are we still refusing to fully honour the spiritual and cultural relationship that traditional owners have to the land in Australia?        

    It doesn’t matter to the Turnbull Government that science declares that Aboriginal Australia has existed since time immemorial or that indigenous culture has existed on this continent longer than any other culture which is now part of multicultural Australia -  it stubbornly refuses to genuinely honour the spiritual and cultural relationship that traditional owners have with the land.

    June 15, 2017

    MEDIA RELEASE
    14 June 2017
    Traditional Owners slam passage of Native Title amendments
    Traditional Owners fighting Adani’s proposed coal mine have expressed profound disappointment at the passage of Attorney General Brandis’ amendments to the Native Title Act, stressing that while Mabo’s legacy has been diminished they will continue to fight for their rights.
    Senior spokesperson for the W&J Traditional Owners Council, Adrian Burragubba, says, “Adani’s problems with the Wangan and Jagalingou people are not solved this week. The trial to decide the fate of Adani’s supposed deal with the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners is scheduled for the Federal Court in March 2018.
    “Our people are the last line of legal defence against this mine and its corrosive impact on our rights, and the destruction of country that would occur.
    “Senator Brandis has been disingenuous in prosecuting his argument for these changes to native title laws, while the hands of native title bureaucrats and the mining lobby are all over the outcome.
    “This swift overturning of a Federal Court decision, without adequate consultation with Indigenous people, was a significant move, not a mere technical consideration as the Turnbull Government has tried to make out.
    “It is appalling and false for George Brandis to pretend that by holding a ‘workshop’ with the CEOs of the native title service bodies, he has the unanimous agreement of Traditional Owners across Australia. No amount of claimed ‘beseeching’ by the head of the Native Title Council, Glen Kelly, can disguise this.
    “The public were not properly informed about the bill, and nor were Indigenous people around the country, who were not consulted and did not consent to these changes.
    “We draw the line today. We declare our right to our land. There is no surrender. There is no land use agreement. We are the people from that land. We’re the rightful Traditional Owners of Wangan and Jagalingou country, and we are in court to prove that others are usurping our rights”, he said.
    Spokesperson for the W&J Traditional Owners Council, Ms Murrawah Johnson, says, “Whatever else this change does, we know that the Turnbull Government went into overdrive for Adani’s interests.
    “Brandis’ intervention in our court case challenging the sham ILUA was about Adani. Most of what Senator Matt Canavan had to say in argueing his ill-informed case for native title changes was about Adani. The Chairman of Senate Committee inquiring into the bill, Senator Ian McFarlane, referring to the native title amendments as “the Adani bill” was about Adani. And the PM telling Chairman Gautam Adani that he’d fix native title was about Adani”.
    “We are continuing to fight Adani in court and our grounds are strong. If anyone tells you this is settled because the bill was passed, they are lying”, she said.
    Adrian Burragubba says, “The Labor Opposition seems to understand this, even though they supported passage of the bill. Senator Pat Dodson went so far as to say this bill does not provide some kind of green light for the Adani mine, as some suggest.
    “Pat Dodson acknowledged that W&J have several legal actions afoot against Adani and we are glad that in the midst of this dismal response to the rights of Indigenous people some MPs, including the Greens who voted against the bill, recognise the serious claim we have to justice.
    Mr Dodson said in the Senate that: “most of this litigation will be entirely unaffected by the passage of this bill. In particular, there are very serious allegations of fraud that have been made against Adani regarding the processes under which agreements with the Wangan and Jagalingou people were purportedly reached. And those proceedings, which may impact on the validity of any ILUA, will only commence hearings in March next year. Other legal action is also underway, including a case challenging the validity of the licences issued by the Queensland government.”
    This week researchers from the University of Queensland released a report titled ‘Unfinished Business: Adani, the state, and the Indigenous rights struggle of the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council‘.
    For more information and to arrange interviews:  Anthony Esposito, W&J Council advisor – 0418 152 743.


              Environment Victoria calls on Andrews Government to challenge NSW Berejiklian Government's "rigging" of Murray-Darling Basin Plan river water extraction rules        

    Environment Victoria, Media Release, Tuesday 25 July 2017:

    Calls for Victoria to stand up to NSW water guzzlers

    Environmental groups, farmers and Indigenous leaders today called on the Andrews government to respond urgently to claims on ABC’s Four Corners that New South Wales irrigators are engaging in “illegal water use” at the expense of Victoria’s rivers and farmers.

    Environment Victoria Acting CEO Dr Nicholas Aberle said:

    “Victoria is being cheated out of water and the Victorian government needs to stand up to these greedy cotton growers who are guzzling billions of litres meant to flow downstream for our environment.

    “Victorians deserve to know exactly how much water has been lost and how this will affect Victoria’s water supplies and the health of our rivers.

    Below: Map showing how alleged illegal water use upstream in NSW affects Victoria


    “The worst part is the New South Wales government has been rigging the rules to let these big irrigators get away with it. This shows utter contempt for the health of Australia’s rivers – an attitude that has no place in a government that shares responsibility for delivering the Murray-Darling Basin Plan,” said Dr Aberle.

    Last night’s Four Corners program exposed major issues in the NSW water industry, including claims of illegal water use and tampering with water meters.

    “The actions of the NSW government are leaving downstream users and the environment quite literally hanging out to dry. This means there’s less water for Victoria’s farmers, communities and our precious rivers and wetlands.

    “We need the Victorian government to take a leadership role in fixing this mess and to make sure this never happens again. The whole plan relies on accurate measurement, tracking and compliance. Based on the revelations last night, it seems clear we can’t rely on big upstream irrigators just to do the right thing.”

    Environment Victoria, together with the Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations and the Environmental Farmers Network, has written to Victoria’s Minister for Water, Lisa Neville, asking her to:
     
    Launch a full investigation into how much water has been lost by changes to water sharing rules in NSW since 2012, and how much damage this has done to Victoria and South Australia.

    Implement the Basin Plan in full so all its objectives are met, including finding smart ways to recover the remaining 450 gigalitres (GL) of water to protect Victoria’s rivers and wetlands.

    Lead the development of Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council protocols on water integrity to make sure this type of rule manipulation in favour of vested interests never happens again.

    “Governments across Australia urgently need to re-establish trust in the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and the environmental restoration it is designed to achieve. Victoria can and must play an important role in leading this process,” said Dr Aberle.

    This call was supported by Rene Woods, Chair, Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations & John Pettigrew, Water Spokesperson, Environmental Farmers Network.


              Tori's Review: Avalon (Avalon #1) by Mindee Arnett        
    Avalon by Mindee Arnett
    Book One in the Avalon Series
    Published on January 21, 2014 by Balzer + Bray
    Young Adult | Science Fiction | Dystopian
    432 Pages
    Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
    A ragtag group of teenage mercenaries who crew the spaceship Avalon stumble upon a conspiracy that could threaten the entire galaxy in this fascinating and fast-paced sci-fi adventure from author Mindee Arnett.

    Of the various star systems that make up the Confederation, most lie thousands of light-years from First Earth-and out here, no one is free. The agencies that govern the Confederation are as corrupt as the crime bosses who patrol it, and power is held by anyone with enough greed and ruthlessness to claim it. That power is derived from one thing: metatech, the devices that allow people to travel great distances faster than the speed of light.

    Jeth Seagrave and his crew of teenage mercenaries have survived in this world by stealing unsecured metatech, and they're damn good at it. Jeth doesn't care about the politics or the law; all he cares about is earning enough money to buy back his parents' ship, Avalon, from his crime-boss employer and getting himself and his sister, Lizzie, the heck out of Dodge. But when Jeth finds himself in possession of information that both the crime bosses and the government are willing to kill for, he is going to have to ask himself how far he'll go to get the freedom he's wanted for so long.

    Avalon is the perfect fit for teens new to sci-fi as well as seasoned sci-fi readers looking for more books in the YA space-and a great match for fans of Joss Whedon's cult hit show Firefly.
    Jeth Seagrave lives in a world where a police force called the ITA monitors the planets and people can travel at the speed of light in their spaceships using metadrives. In this futuristic world, Jeth works for a powerful man named Hammer Dafoe, who's basically the equivalent to a drug overlord in today, stealing spaceships and metadrives from the ITA.

    On one of Jeth's missions, he runs into an ITA agent who's willing to work with Jeth to betray Hammer in exchange for information on Jeth's parents who were murdered by the ITA for treason. This supposed alliance starts Avalon off with a bang, which is something I appreciate.

    There are few aspects of Avalon that are memorable--the beginning, Cora, and the ending. The way I see it, Avalon is extremely forgettable. There are strong parts in the novel--again, the beginning, Cora, the ending (in some ways)--but I feel as though the weak parts outweigh the strong. 

    Right off the bat, Jeth is thrown into action and being forced to make difficult decisions. The setback in starting a novel right off the bat is that none of the characters' decisions make sense to the reader, because they haven't connected with any of the characters yet. This was Avalon's biggest flaw to me: I didn't relate to any of the characters whatsoever. I could've cared less whether or not Jeth and his crew died, which is sad. 

    A really strong part of this book, as I mentioned above, is Cora, a little girl who escaped the ITA's clutches with the help of Sierra, a daring AWOL ITA officer, and the assistance of another AWOL ITA officer. Without spoiling the novel, I'll say that Cora's background made Avalon what it is right now. 

    The world-building is lacking immensely. As a reader, I never learned how this futuristic world came to be. These characters are in this universe with spaceships that can travel at the speed of light and practically jump themselves anywhere in space, and yet I'm never told how this was achievable. 

    In conclusion, I think hardcore science fiction lovers should stay away from this novel, but newbies or casual readers could pick this up and enjoy the adventure. Although the world was interesting and the plot was definitely adventurous, I don't think this book has what it takes to stick in my mind, considering I've already forgotten half the characters' names. 

    (Shame on me. I read a lot.)



              Dombeck receives Ansel Adams Award for leadership in protecting National Forests        

    WASHINGTON — Former U.S. Forest Service Chief Mike Dombeck will receive the Ansel Adams Award from The Wilderness Society Thursday night for his major role in protecting the national forests.

    "Mike was a game-changer,” said William H. Meadows, president of The Wilderness Society. “He restored balance to the management of our 155 national forests, making clean water, recreation, and fish and wildlife priorities, as the law requires. He was the main architect of the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, which prevented logging and road building across 58.5 million acres of our national forests. It was the capstone of a quarter century of sterling public service with federal land management agencies.”

    A native of Wisconsin with a Ph.D. in fisheries biology, Dombeck served three years as acting director of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management before President Clinton appointed him Forest Service chief in 1997. No other person has lead both of this nation’s largest land management agencies.

    Since leaving the government in 2001, Dombeck has been a University of Wisconsin System Fellow and a professor of global conservation at the College of Natural Resources at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. He also directs the Smith Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Conservation Biology.

    “Mike was, in my view, the most independent chief that the Forest Service has had since Gifford Pinchot himself,” said Dr. Jerry Franklin, a University of Washington professor often described as “the father of modern forestry.” Pinchot was the first chief, serving from 1898 to 1910. “Mike broke out of the mold and did really innovative things. He did that by design and force of will,” said Franklin, a long-time member of The Wilderness Society’s Governing Council.

    “As our country grows, we continue to chip away at our wild places, losing acre by acre, day after day,” said Dombeck. “Protecting the remaining roadless areas of our national forests is perhaps this nation’s last opportunity to keep our few remaining wild places intact.

    “They are important habitats and anchor points for native plants and animals in the face of a changing climate. These remote areas provide some of the last best hunting and fishing and outdoor recreation opportunities with at least a measure of solitude. In today’s fast-paced society, these are the places where future generations might experience the land as their forefathers did. It has been a privilege for me to have a career working with people who care deeply about the health of the land. They are the ones who have earned this award.”

    The award that Dombeck will receive is named for the celebrated photographer who, until his death, was an outspoken advocate for safeguarding the nation’s natural heritage. “It is noteworthy that Mike is the third winner from Wisconsin,” Meadows pointed out. The award was presented to Congressman David Obey (D) in 2000 and to Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson in 1990. Nelson served the state as a governor and U.S. Senator and spent the final 24 years of his life as counselor of The Wilderness Society.

    Other winners of the Ansel Adams Award include former Congressman Mo Udall (D-NM), former Interior Secretary Stewart Udall, President Jimmy Carter, former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell (D-ME), Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Joe Lieberman (D-CT), and former Idaho Governor Cecil Andrus.

    The Wilderness Society is the leading public-lands conservation organization working to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care for our wild places. Founded in 1935, and now with more than 500,000 members and supporters, The Wilderness Society has led the effort to permanently protect 110 million acres of wilderness and to ensure sound management of our shared national lands.

    For a hi-res photo of Dombeck, contact tmiller@uwsp.edu.

    May 18, 2010

              Cameron's unbelievable untruth        
    David Cameron has been pretty up front about cutting public servants but as pressure mounts regarding his government's failure to tackle tax avoidance, he's starting to deny that they're happening.


    When faced with a question during today's PMQs from Labour MP Teresa Pearce about why numbers of HM Revenue and Customs staff were being cut, just when a crackdown had been promised on tax avoidance, Cameron responded by stating that the government had actually presided over an increase in staff levels.


    He must have seen different figures to the ones I've seen. In February 2010, just before the coalition came in, the total headcount for HMRC staff was 78,078. Two years later this figure was down to only 70,853. The government are intending to cut a further 10,000 jobs by 2015. Hard to see where his claim of presiding over an increase comes from.


    He may of course be referring to the fact that they're reinvesting £900m into the department to deal with tax avoidance and evasion. However, this has to be seen in the wider context of them cutting its budget by £3bn over three years. So in fact, despite their much heralded 'investment', it means they're cutting just over £2bn from the budget of HMRC while claiming to get tough on avoidance. And these cuts are taking the form of sacking 10,000 staff and yet another massive tax office closure programme.


    As Graham Black, the President of the Association of Revenue Customs, so rightly put it in his Comment is Free piece: 
    "Does it make sense to cut the one part of the government that brings cash in, when we are having to cut back on services to the vulnerable across the board?"


    Well clearly it doesn't which is why the PM is so keen to deny that they're doing it. 
              A crucial week for justice        
    On Tuesday we'll see if our elected political representatives yet again undo the good work of our unelected representatives as the Legal Aid Bill returns to the Commons for MPs to consider the Lords' amendments.

    Peers made changes to the Bill that would mean that the worst of the legal aid cuts in the legislation would be removed. Access to legal aid and the way that it is delivered would be protected for those who have suffered domestic violence, for vulnerable children and for disabled people.

    The government will be no doubt keen to use financial privilege as an excuse to overturn these changes like they did recently to reverse changes to their controversial welfare reforms. However, if costs are to be used as an excuse as removing access to free legal advice to hundreds of thousands of people when they need it most, perhaps Ministers should consider the £43 million spent on consultants by the MoJ in the last year and the £12m that's been wasted an an e-Working system that is years behind schedule and has virtually collapsed.

    What's really happening to our legal system here of course is that it is becoming increasingly the preserve of those who are able to pay for it. As Heather Brooke pointed out last week, while 140 local courts have been closed and legal aid is cut, £300m has been invested in the Rolls Building (home of the failed e-Working system) which is to handle high-end commercial disputes for a mostly foreign clientele.

    It's not just Russian Oligarchs that are benefiting from changes to our justice system. The Association of British Insurers has admitted it will profit from the legal aid cuts. Last year it was revealed that the Justice Minister responsible for driving through these reforms, Jonathan Djanogly will personally profit from the plans as he has a personal stake in the insurance industry. Now that's what I call financial privilege.

    Possibly the best hope of amendments - like Baroness Scotland's that ensures victims of domestic violence have access to legal aid and former Paralympian Tanya Grey Thompson's that ensures those who are eligible aren't forced to phone a call centre for advice - surviving the glare of the coalition is the lack of time Parliament has been able to afford to the legislation between the Easter break and the end of this parliamentary session. Who says MPs having long holidays is a bad thing!

    If you'd like to contact your MP to ensure we don't lose out on legal aid when we need it most visit the 38 degrees site ahead of Tuesday's vote.
              An appeal on behalf of big business        
    I just wanted to bring to your attention a worthy cause that I think all working people should get behind.
    Today the ‘Scrap the Tax’ campaign has been officially launched to get the government to do away with the 50p tax rate.
    537 business leaders, who might possibly be subject to paying the higher rate, have signed a letter to the Telegraph stating that the 50% tax rate for those earning as little as £150,000 should be scrapped.
    The six figure salaried strugglers claim it is harming entrepreneurialism and job creation. However, if we were to let them pay less tax it would actually help the economy. If say, someone earning a high salary paid £50,000 rather than £100,000 in tax that would mean more wealth for us all. It might not sound right, but trust them, they’re cleverer than you are. After all, they have a well paid job and are in charge of hiring and firing (mainly firing) lots of people.
    I think this is something we could all support so please give anything you can. Or should I say keep giving everything you can. An extra 2.5% in VAT, a decent pay rise, your child tax credits or even, if you could spare it, your job. Perhaps you could think about stacking shelves at Tesco’s for free. Every little helps.
    Please give generously. Remember, those corporate dinners accompanied by bottles of vintage Beaujolais don’t come for free you know.

              Pension petition receives over 100,000 signatures        
    A petition that calls for pension increases to revert back retail price index rather than the less generous consumer price index passed the 100,000 mark today.

    This means that the government will have to consider whether the issue is given parliamentary time for debate as it has done previously for the well supported petition that called for full disclosure of documents relating to the Hillsbrough disaster.

    The Office of Budget Responsibility has forecast that RPI will be around 1.5% higher than CPI which will mean pensions will be considerably devalued because of the government's decision to link pension rises to CPI instead of RPI from April 2011. This decision has already been subject to a legal challenge by unions.

    This switch clearly needs to be reversed as it will drive more pensioners into poverty.

    Well done to Jim Singer who started the petition. Sign today if you haven't already!



              Public support for strike        
    The government may not be on the side of our nurses, teachers and civil servants but at least the public are.

    Despite what you might be led to believe when you pick up the majority of papers this weekend, judging by a string of opinion poll results, it seems that the majority of the public is supportive of last week's strike.

    A poll conducted by the BBC ahead of the strike showed that 61% of those responding said that they supported it.

    Interestingly that was relatively low support compared to support on the actual day of the strike.

    A Sky News twitter poll had 72% in support on Wednesday and even the vehemently anit-union Daily Mail ran a poll where 84% of respondents said that they supported the action.

    Perhaps what sparked increased support was Osborne's latest attack on the workers who were striking in his autumn statement on Tuesday. If those further cuts were meant as a show of muscle against the public sector it only seems to have made strikers more determined in their cause and even provoked added sympathy from the wider public.

    It's a shame for Osborne that the same can't be said of public support for his autumn statement. The latest YouGov poll shows that the majority of voters think that the government are handling the economy badly.

    Maybe he would gain a little more credibility if he stopped seeking to punish public sector workers with extra taxation through increased pension contributions and pay cuts and instead accepted proposals to tax the banking sector.
              CBI attack 'Greenest Government Ever' for feed-in tariff cuts        
    Cuts in feed-in tariffs being brought in before a government consultation has even ended, will lead to the loss of thousands of jobs according to the CBI.
    Channel 4 News are reporting that John Cridland, the CBI director general has warned that the low-carbon sector risks being de-railed by the move and calls it the "the latest in a string of government own goals."

    For a Party that claimed they would be the greenest government ever, the Conservatives have a funny way of going about it. Proposing to put the traffic speed limit up to 80mph, threatening to sell-off our forests, culling badgers, the list goes on...

    Only last month a group of the country's leading environmental groups criticised the government for only managing to meet two of their 16 green pledges.

    It seems the government need to start acting on the promises that helped get them elected in the first place. That said, anyone gullible enough to think that the Conservatives were really going to be the champions of the environment were only fooling themselves. An emblem with a tree on it shouldn't have fooled anyone.
              Osborne's attempt to discredit Robin Hood Tax is a bit rich        
    George Osborne has complained to his fellow European finance ministers that they're wasting time debating a financial transaction tax because he believes pensioners will pay for it rather than bankers.

    Good to see our Chancellor fighting the cause for pensioners. He's always got their interests at heart. Like when he changed the rate of indexation from RPI to CPI costing pensioners on average between £2,250 and £2,500 per year and wiping off £75 billion off the value of private sector pensions. Not to mention the millions of public sector workers his government are currently seeking to make work longer and pay more for less pension.

    It is somewhat galling therefore that he seeks to reject a