reboot the republic daily July 28, 2010

The Antidote is Charity

Posted: 28 Jul 2010 04:18 PM PDT

From Fr33 Agents

I originally hammered this out at my blog. But after thinking about it, I decided to also post this up here.

Well, I just stumbled upon this article, linked up at Cop Block. “Woman Handcuffed During Epileptic Seizure.” Here’s the real bad thing about that news article: she was handcuffed by police officers.

911 was called because a 23-year-old was having a seizure, police showed up. They cuffed her, according to the article, and “shackled her and restrained her head. All that, her attorney said, exacerbated the seizure.”

Is that what is supposed to happen when someone calls 911? And, as the post at Cop Block asks, why did police show up at all? Maybe they had nothing better to do. They wanted to go bully someone?

Another story from the other day in the Denver Post about police officers who restrained a homeless preacher, and shocked him to death.

The man had a history of arrests. according to the article, “the habitual criminal was arrested in Denver mostly during the 1980s and 1990s for disorderly conduct, trespass, loitering, disturbing the peace, carrying a concealed weapon and threatening assault.”

That day he was charged with drug paraphernalia. Non-violent offender. Not even damn drugs — but drug paraphernalia. And he’s dead for that.

Marvin Booker just wanted to get his shoes.

But deputies at the new Denver jail told him to stop. When Booker, who was being processed on a charge of possession of drug paraphernalia, didn’t obey, he was held down, hit with electric shocks and then placed facedown in a holding cell, according to two inmates who watched it unfold.

Booker never got up. He was pronounced dead later that morning.

“I’ve never seen anything happen like that before in my life,” said John Yedo, 54, who was being processed on a charge of destruction of property and said he witnessed the scene. “What I saw is not what you’d expect to see in America.”

The two jail witnesses, who were both arrested in the early-morning hours of July 9 around the time Booker was being processed, were contacted and interviewed by The Denver Post separately. Both of them said they had not been questioned by police investigating the death of Booker, a homeless ordained minister who served the poor, but also a habitual criminal with a long string of arrests.

Capt. Frank Gale, spokesman for the jail, said he cannot comment on the ongoing investigation by the Denver Police Department and the Denver district attorney’s office, and cannot confirm the inmates’ accounts.

Ya, of course he can’t. Because they weren’t even questioned. And even if they were, would they really wanna talk to any of them after what they saw?

What is the deal with this sudden rash of police abuse in the news? Such stories used be pretty sparse, or so it seemed. But just the past few years — blammo. The stories are everywhere.

What’s makes it more alarming to me, is that I have actually been reading the basic new less than I used to for the past year. So I wonder how many such news articles I haven’t seen.

But there have been stories of the police arresting little children, banning reporters from following their work, using a taser on a bed-ridden old woman, and more.

And police have been busy in New York, Washington DC, and other places arresting people who dare photograph their behavior. In Detroit, Michigan, too, cameras are being banned.

Detroit police burned and shot a 7-year-old girl, accidentally — a horrible, unintentional accident. The result of carelessness.

The officers, trying to defend themselves in an investigation, claimed that they were executing a warrant to obtain a murder suspect, that he was in the same home as the little girl, that the suspect wouldn’t come out, that they needed to use a flash-bang and storm the house.

The official version of what happened was brought into question by a lawyer who managed to get his hands on a videotape showing what happened — police threw a flash grenade into the house, and then another officer fired into the house from the front porch. In the videotape, according to the lawyer, the officers do not announce themselves first.

What’s more, according to the lawyer, the man in question wasn’t even in the little girl’s house. “In fact, there’s an upstairs apartment next door which the police did not have a search warrant for and that is where he surrendered, they went into that house too. But he was not in Aiyana’s house.”

The mayor’s response? He has banned cameras. No more tv crews and camera men around the Detroit Police. Making it more difficult to obtain evidence of a problem doesn’t solve a damn problem. But it does allow for future problems to be swept under the rug.

The stories of police abuse and misconduct coming out range from police being just plain mean and abusive, to irresponsible negligence. In some cases, the result is fatal.

In all cases, there is an over-willingness toward violence.

The larger picture, to me, it that it seems that we are so busy being a so-called “nation of laws,” that we easily shrug and say “they are just doing their job” when abuse is committed by someone who happens to work for the State. And we shrug at the victims.

But I have another observation — the enforcement of rules has become the ends in-and-of themselves. We have rules for the sake of rules.

Not only do the ends justify the means in our society, we aren’t even questioning the damn ends. For example, do more rules make us more secure? I don’t think so. Quite the contract, in fact.

Just last week, John Stossel pointed out this same problem in a short op-ed. He makes the observation that we have become a nation of rules — lots and lots of rules. And damn you of you break the rules.

And there are many more rules to break than there used to be. It’s a punitive mentality that is permeating our society. We are ready to punish people, and not so willing to help them.

It’s pretty selfish, really. It’s too easy to punish someone, rather than help them. And it’s easy to call a man with a gun and a badge to force someone to do what we want, even if that person isn’t really hurting anyone. And it is easier to let the State’s system of institutionalized theft collect the taxes, than it is to donate money and goods to a charity.

We The People can either enable or disable the State. The political class only has the power that we grant them.

How do we change this trend of institutionalized aggression? I agree that the enemy, in the end, is the State. The State, after all, is the only agent that has a vested interest in institutionalized violence and suspicion and aggression. But so we combat that with hatred and rage? No.

We combat it with peace, with love, and with overwhelming charity.

Poland resisted the Soviet Union because they had a culture that valued a healthy work ethic, and charity. The American Revolution was fought by men and women who were thoughtful and charitable (in contrast to the French Revolution, which became soaked and sodden in suspicion and fear).

The antidote to the selfishness in our society, as I see it, is charity. The antidote to anxiety is charity. The antidote to anger is charity. The antidote to insecurity is charity. The antidote, I believe, to stateism is charity.

And that includes charity in the face of aggression.


Related posts:

  1. Government Welfare vs. Private Charity
  2. Does The Danger of Police Work Exempt Officers From Criticism?
  3. Arguing The Case For Police Accountability – Part 1

Voting: Stupid Is As Stupid Does

Posted: 28 Jul 2010 08:13 AM PDT

From Strike The Root

A recent ABC News/Washington Post poll shows that 51 percent of the voting cattle are upset with Obama and the Democrats. Their solution is to replace the Democrats with Republicans! This is similar to actual beef cattle preferring Burger King to McDonalds. Either way, the cattle lose.

The Republicans, who the voting cattle are taking a shine to, send the children of the voters through the meat-grinders in Iraq and Afghanistan just as the Democrats do. The principle is no different than both parties sending them in years past through the meat-grinders of WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam. Both parties put America’s resources, including her children, at the disposal of Israel, both parties are trying to get a war started with Iran for Israel’s benefit, both parties keep the same gang of thieves in control of American currency, neither party helps the people to find employment. In short, both parties are full of liars and con-artists. Voting for either of these political machines is an exercise in “stupid is as stupid does,” which allows us to view those who vote as stupid based on the foolish/stupid act they commit which in this case is voting.

Albert Einstein once defined insanity as, “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” By Einstein’s definition, it is very clear that voting falls squarely within Einstein’s definition of insanity. Every two or four years the politicians from both parties determine what the voting cattle want to hear and they tell it to them. The voters actually believe what they’re being told each and every time and do their duty to the national scam and cast their vote for their favorite liar. Then, after an appropriate amount of time passes, the voters realize they’ve been fooled by the politicians and get “mad as Hell” and vow to “vote the bums out of office” in the next election. A major problem with this is there are only other bums to replace the first set of bums with! However, since voting is much easier and safer than revolution, the sheeple are happy to perform their patriotic duty. They are so sold on the scam of replacing one group of charlatans with another group of charlatans, they tell people who are smart enough not to fall for the voting scam that they/we can’t complain about what the elected politicians do or don’t do since we did not vote. The fact that voting for one crook over another only reinforces evil and gives more life to the scam, the politically insane cannot grasp.

The article about the ABC News/Washington Post poll says, “Registered voters by 62-26 percent are inclined to look around for someone new for Congress rather than to re-elect their current representative.” It appears their insanity has blinded them to the fact that there is absolutely nothing new in either political party. This consistency in the commonality of corruption found deep in both parties is a primary reason America is consistently sinking. Voting only accelerates the decline in happiness and the quality of life as well as the continued erosion of our rights and liberties. By keeping their heads buried deep in the scams of politics as usual, the voters cannot possibly see the bold words of instruction written in the Declaration of Independence. The instruction reads, “whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends,” (life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness of the individual) “it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it,” which puts much more responsibility and risk on the individual than merely continuing the voting game/scam.


Related posts:

  1. A Short Introduction to Non-Voting
  2. Greece Loses EU Voting Power
  3. Canada is a Stupid Country

Tactics to Turn the Tide, Part 2

Posted: 28 Jul 2010 08:12 AM PDT

From DumpDC

by David A. McElroy

(Editor’s Note: Despite this article being posted here after Independence Day, the message is worth your consideration.)

July 4th is fast upon us. Millions of Americans across these fifty united states will be lining the streets for parades, gathering to watch fireworks in celebrating Independence Day. There will be patriotic music, barbecues and baseball, and of course, the Star Spangled Banner. Will you help them remember why? This occasion for patriotic activities is the perfect opportunity to spread the message of liberty to the people in community directly. Help them recall the principles, the price, of freedom.

Wake them from their media-induced trance. Face them and make them aware of the socialist tyranny, and encourage them to lift their voices for freedom! The latest Rasmussen Report found 48% of American adults “see government today as a threat to individual rights,” in a survey polling 1,000 people June 18/19 2010. Also, it found “52% say it is more important for the government to protect individual rights than to promote economic growth,” and 58% “want less power and money for government.” Only ” 21% believe that government today has the consent of the governed.” Do you feel the stimulus? On July 4th, I have frequently distributed my own personal patriotic messages with flyers and banners to the crowds assembling to get good spots before the parade or fireworks.

They have time waiting for the show, and the time is ripe for patriotic discourse. Help them remember that when they pledge allegiance to “Old Glory”, the “republic for which it stands” no longer exists. The U.S. Constitution was suspended by FDR in 1932 and has enabled every president since to rule arbitrarily under the War Powers Act in a portfolio of executive power. That includes the Trading With The Enemy Act. Legally, in it, we the public have been deemed “enemies of the state”.

Roosevelt said “Some of my best friends are communists”, and his memorial in the District of Criminals is the largest and most lavish. Obama looks now to complete the Marxist Cultural Revolution in America. Will you just see July 4th as merely entertainment, or a great opportunity to rally countrymen to restore freedom in America? Make plans now for flyers and pamphlets to give away. DVD and CD messages are good also. Construct your own picket signs and banners. Prepare a meaningful costume, a tri-corner hat or Gadsden Flag. Be colorful, loud and proud.

But also be respectful of people, be cheerful and avoid arguments. Promote your cause verbally and in print, in music and symbols. Get out there! Meet and greet! This is the time to get face time with WE THE PEOPLE and bypass the media gatekeepers that usually ignore us or tilt against the cause of freedom. Plan to contact hundreds, even thousands, of people on Independence Day and act independently! Don’t ask permission, be bold.

Just do as your conscience leads you as opportunities present themselves in your local area. Of course, it may cost you some bucks to print up hundreds of flyers, but there is a price for freedom. Remember it is always cheaper to pay now, as paying later is always more costly. The enemy has his ducks in a row, the best Congress money can buy. Dark forces are in position to “legally” destroy us in their end game, with legislation much like that implemented by Hitler and Stalin.

Most of you reading have followed the issues for years. Don’t just be educated and entertained, alert your family, friends and neighbors. Independence Day is the day to read The Declaration of Independence loudly in the streets, just as Thomas Jefferson wrote it. It is the basis, the foundation, of America’s birth. It documents secession’s rightful need, our tradition of rebellion against tyranny in defense of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in secure and prosperous homes.

Remind everyone in earshot on the many streets and fairgrounds of America that those fireworks commemorate the fiery battle for freedom. They were incendiary weapons and calls to action in the Revolutionary War led by the Spirit of ’76. George Washington, with rebel volunteers, the Green Mountain Boys, Paul Revere and the Minute Men, did not legislate or debate freedom….they fought for it. They didn’t talk the agents of oppression out of their towns, and they didn’t win their case in the king’s court. They shot the king’s men and drove the Redcoats to the sea!

The Liberty Bell is inscribed with “…Proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof…”, a verse from the Holy Bible found in Leviticus 25:10. The Lord instructed this should be done every fifty years to free people from servitude and erase debts. The Liberty Bell has been forbidden to ring for many years. It is up to you to proclaim liberty. Be loud and proud July 4th. Let Freedom Ring!

Copyright 2010 Liberty Defense League


Related posts:

  1. Tactics to Turn the Tide, Part 1
  2. How to Undermine a Movement: Turn its Values on Their Heads
  3. Obama to Kids: Tune in, Turn on, Don’t Drop out

Of Course Clean Up Workers Can’t Find the Oil … BP Used Dispersants to Temporarily Hide It, So Now It Will Plague the Gulf For Years

Posted: 28 Jul 2010 07:45 AM PDT

From Washington’s Blog

News headlines state that cleanup workers are having a hard time finding oil.

Sounds good, right?

Actually, if BP had let things run their course:

  • Oil-skimming vessels could have sucked up most of the oil
  • Booms would have stopped most of the oil from hitting the shore
  • And oil-eating bacteria would have broken down most of the remaining oil

Instead, BP has used millions of gallons of dispersants to hide the oil by breaking it up, so it sinks beneath the surface.

That means that oil-skimming vessels can’t find it or suck it up. As the Times-Picayune pointed out on July 16th:

The massive “A Whale” oil skimmer has effectively been beached after it proved inefficient in sucking up oil from the Gulf of Mexico spill.

The oil is too dispersed to take advantage of the converted Taiwanese supertanker’s enormous capacity, said Bob Grantham, a spokesman for shipowner TMT.

He said BP’s use of chemical dispersants prevented A Whale, billed as the world’s largest skimmer, from collecting a “significant amount” of oil during a week of testing that ended Friday.

“When dispersants are used in high volume virtually from the point that oil leaves the well, it presents real challenges for high-volume skimming,” Grantham said in a written statement that did not include oil-collection figures from the test.

Similarly, the use of dispersants means that Booms can’t stop it from hitting the shore. As marine biologist and oil spill expert Paul Horsman explains, using dispersants and oil booms are competing strategies. Specifically, breaking something down into tiny bits and dispersing it throughout a mile-plus deep and hundreds-miles wide region (the reason massive amounts of dispersants are being applied at the 5,000 foot-deep spill site as well as at the surface) makes it more difficult to cordon off and contain oil on the surface (the reason booms are being used).

And Corexit might be killing the oil-eating bacteria which would otherwise break down the oil. University of Georgia scientist Samantha Joye notes that scientists have no idea how the large quanties of dispersant will effect the Gulf’s microbial communities (for more information, watch part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 and part 5 of Dr. Joye’s July 13th press conference).

Moreover, as MSNBC notes, oil-eating bacteria are less active in deepwater, where much of the oil sinks after treatment with dispersants:

Some note that little is known about the deepwater ecosystem — or how the oil and dispersants will react under extremely high water pressure, very low temperatures, limited oxygen and virtually no light.


The conditions at the bottom of the Gulf also could affect the bacteria that help break down the oil near the surface, as they are less active in cold temperatures than in the warm surface waters, and they may be less abundant in the deep.

“We know that the surface material has been degrading,” says Ralph J. Portier, professor of environmental studies at LSU. “But what about the microbial population at depth?”

As Scientific American points out:

The last (and only) defense against the ongoing Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is tiny—billions of hydrocarbon-chewing microbes, such as Alcanivorax borkumensis. In fact, the primary motive for using the more than 830,000 gallons of chemical dispersants on the oil slick both above and below the surface of the sea is to break the oil into smaller droplets that bacteria can more easily consume.

“If the oil is in very small droplets, microbial degradation is much quicker,” says microbial ecologist Kenneth Lee, director of the Center for Offshore Oil, Gas and Energy Research with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, who has been measuring the oil droplets in the Gulf of Mexico to determine the effectiveness of the dispersant use. “The dispersants can also stimulate microbial growth. Bacteria will chew on the dispersants as well as the oil.”


[But] colder, deeper waters inhibit microbial growth. “Metabolism slows by about a factor of two or three for every 10 degree[s] Celsius you drop in temperature,” notes biogeochemist David Valentine of the University of California, Santa Barbara, who just received funding from the National Science Foundation to characterize the microbial response to the ongoing oil spill. “The deeper stuff, that’s going to happen very slowly because the temperature is so low.”

At the same time, the addition of … dispersants deep beneath the surface is having uncertain effects; it may even end up killing the microbes it is meant to help thanks to the fact that Corexit 9527A contains the solvent 2-butoxyethanol, which is a known human carcinogen and toxic to animals and other life.

Mother Jones provides additional details:

David Valentine … warns the stuff may be riskier than just its toxicity. Corexit may undermine the microbes that naturally eat oil.

Some of the most potent oil-eaters— Alcanivorax borkumensis —are relatively rare organisms that have evolved to eat hydrocarbons from naturally occurring oil seeps. Valentine tells Eli Kintisch at Science Insider that after spills, Alcanivorax tend to be the dominant microbes found near the oil and that they secrete their own surfactant molecules to break up the oil before consuming the hydrocarbons. Other microbes don’t make surfactants but devour oil already broken into small enough globs—including those broken down by Alcanivorax.

What we don’t know is how the surfactants in Corexit and its ilk might affect the ability of Alcanivorax and other surfactant-makers to eat oil. Could Corexit exclude Alcanivorax from binding to the oil? Could it affect the way microbes makes their own surfactants? Could Corexit render natural surfactants less effective?

The National Science Foundation has awarded Valentine a grant to study the problem.

So it’s not a good thing that clean up workers can’t find the oil. It means that the oil will lurk under the surface, in deeper waters where bacterial activity is slower, poisoning the sealife that lives beneath the surface, and washing back up during storms for years to come.

Even Admiral Thad Allen, the government’s point man for the crisis, said that breaking up the oil has complicated the cleanup. As AP reported on June 7th:

The hopeful report was offset by a warning that the farflung slick has broken up into hundreds and even thousands of patches of oil that may inflict damage that could persist for years.

Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the government’s point man for the crisis, said the breakup has complicated the cleanup.”

Dealing with the oil spill on the surface is going to go on for a couple of months,” he said at a briefing in Washington. But “long-term issues of restoring the environment and the habitats and stuff will be years.”

And Admiral Allen admitted in his press conference yesterday that oil could re-surface far into the future:

[Question] There have been reports of very large undersea plumes of oil thousands of feet below the ocean’s surface. So when you say there’s the possibility of the shore being impacted for four to six weeks, how do you come up with that four to six week number? And are you taking into account these very large plumes of oil that are out there and very difficult to sort of gauge where they’re going?

[Admiral Allen] What we’re going to continue to watch for is the oil we can’t see…. But the ultimate impact of this spill… whether or not oil surfaces at a later date will be the subject of long-term surveillance…. Impacts are going to go on for a long, long time.

As Congressman Markey said today, BP has made the Gulf “a toxic bowl” that will “haunt this region” for years, because “all of that oil is still under the surface”:


Related posts:

  1. BP Oil Solution = Throw the Executives in the Gulf
  2. First Amendment Suspended in the Gulf of Mexico
  3. Did the Federal Government Enable the Gulf Oil Spill?

SEC Says New Finanical Regulation Law Exempts It From Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Requests

Posted: 28 Jul 2010 07:20 AM PDT



From Fox Business

So much for transparency.

Under a little-noticed provision of the recently passed financial-reform legislation, the Securities and Exchange Commission no longer has to comply with virtually all requests for information releases from the public, including those filed under the Freedom of Information Act.

The law, signed last week by President Obama, exempts the SEC from disclosing records or information derived from “surveillance, risk assessments, or other regulatory and oversight activities.” Given that the SEC is a regulatory body, the provision covers almost every action by the agency, lawyers say. Congress and federal agencies can request information, but the public cannot.

That argument comes despite the President saying that one of the cornerstones of the sweeping new legislation was more transparent financial markets. Indeed, in touting the new law, Obama specifically said it would “increase transparency in financial dealings.”

The SEC cited the new law Tuesday in a FOIA action brought by FOX Business Network. Steven Mintz, founding partner of law firm Mintz & Gold LLC in New York, lamented what he described as “the backroom deal that was cut between Congress and the SEC to keep the SEC’s failures secret. The only losers here are the American public.”

If the SEC’s interpretation stands, Mintz, who represents FOX Business Network, predicted “the next time there is a Bernie Madoff failure the American public will not be able to obtain the SEC documents that describe the failure,” referring to the shamed broker whose Ponzi scheme cost investors billions.

The SEC didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Criticism of the provision has been swift. “It allows the SEC to block the public’s access to virtually all SEC records,” said Gary Aguirre, a former SEC staff attorney-turned-whistleblower who had accused the agency of thwarting an investigation into hedge fund Pequot Asset Management in 2005. “It permits the SEC to promulgate its own rules and regulations regarding the disclosure of records without getting the approval of the Office of Management and Budget, which typically applies to all federal agencies.”

Aguirre used FOIA requests in his own lawsuit against the SEC, which the SEC settled this year by paying him $755,000. Aguirre, who was fired in September 2005, argued that supervisors at the SEC stymied an investigation of Pequot – a charge that prompted an investigation by the Senate Judiciary and Finance committees.

The SEC closed the case in 2006, but would re-open it three years later. This year, Pequot and its founder, Arthur Samberg, were forced to pay $28 million to settle insider-trading charges related to shares of Microsoft (MSFT: 25.93 ,-0.23 ,-0.88%). The settlement with Aguirre came shortly later.

“From November 2008 through January 2009, I relied heavily on records obtained from the SEC through FOIA in communications to the FBI, Senate investigators, and the SEC in arguing the SEC had botched its initial investigation of Pequot’s trading in Microsoft securities and thus the SEC should reopen it, which it did,” Aguirre said. “The new legislation closes access to such records, even when the investigation is closed.

“It is hard to imagine how the bill could be more counterproductive,” Aguirre added.

FOX Business Network sued the SEC in March 2009 over its failure to produce documents related to its failed investigations into alleged investment frauds being perpetrated by Madoff and R. Allen Stanford. Following the Madoff and Stanford arrests it, was revealed that the SEC conducted investigations into both men prior to their arrests but failed to uncover their alleged frauds.

FOX Business made its initial request to the SEC in February 2009 seeking any information related to the agency’s response to complaints, tips and inquiries or any potential violations of the securities law or wrongdoing by Stanford.

FOX Business has also filed lawsuits against the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve over their failure to respond to FOIA requests regarding use of the bailout funds and the Fed’s extended loan facilities. In February, the Federal Court in New York sided with FOX Business and ordered the Treasury to comply with its requests.

Last year, the network won a legal victory to force the release of documents related to New York University’s lawsuit against Madoff feeder Ezra Merkin.

FOX Business’ FOIA requests have so far led the SEC to release several important and damaging documents:

•FOX Business used the FOIA to obtain a 2005 survey that the SEC in Fort Worth was sending to Stanford investors. The survey showed that the SEC had suspicions about Stanford several years prior to the collapse of his $7 billion empire.

•FOX Business used the FOIA to obtain copies of emails between Federal Reserve lawyers, AIG and staff at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in which it was revealed the Fed staffers knew that bailing out AIG would result in bonuses being paid.

Recently, TARP Congressional Oversight Panel chair Elizabeth Warren told FOX Business that the network’s Freedom of Information Act efforts played a “very important part” of the panel’s investigation into AIG.

Warren told the network the government “crossed a line” with the AIG bailout.

“FOX News and the congressional oversight panel has pushed, pushed, pushed, for transparency, give us the documents, let us look at everything. Your Freedom of Information Act suit, which ultimately produced 250,000 pages of documentation, was a very important part of our report. We were able to rely on the documents that you pried out for a significant part of our being able to put this report together,” Warren said.

The SEC first made its intention to block further FOIA requests known on Tuesday. FOX Business was preparing for another round of “skirmishes” with the SEC, according to Mintz, when the agency called and said it intended to use Section 929I of the 2000-page legislation to refuse FBN’s ongoing requests for information.

Mintz said the network will challenge the SEC’s interpretation of the law.

“I believe this is subject to challenge,” he said. “The contours will have to be figured out by a court.”

SEC Financial Regulatory Law H.R. 4173


Related posts:

  1. FOIA Denials, Lawsuits on the Rise
  2. FBI Requests Removal of Document from Public Intelligence
  3. Tips on Writing a Good FOIA Request

U.S. Cannot Account for $8.7 Billion of $9.1 Billion Used for Iraqi Reconstruction

Posted: 27 Jul 2010 10:38 PM PDT

From Yahoo News

BAGHDAD – A U.S. audit has found that the Pentagon cannot account for over 95 percent of $9.1 billion in Iraq reconstruction money, spotlighting Iraqi complaints that there is little to show for the massive funds pumped into their cash-strapped, war-ravaged nation.

The $8.7 billion in question was Iraqi money managed by the Pentagon, not part of the $53 billion that Congress has allocated for rebuilding. It’s cash that Iraq, which relies on volatile oil revenues to fuel its spending, can ill afford to lose.

“Iraq should take legal action to get back this huge amount of money,” said Sabah al-Saedi, chairman of the Parliamentary Integrity Committee. The money “should be spent for rebuilding the country and providing services for this poor nation.”

The report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction accused the Defense Department of lax oversight and weak controls, though not fraud.

“The breakdown in controls left the funds vulnerable to inappropriate uses and undetected loss,” the audit said.

The Pentagon has repeatedly come under fire for apparent mismanagement of the reconstruction effort — as have Iraqi officials themselves.

Seven years after the U.S.-led invasion, electricity service is spotty, with generation capacity falling far short of demand. Fuel shortages are common and unemployment remains high, a testament to the country’s inability to create new jobs or attract foreign investors.

Complaints surfaced from the start of the war in 2003, when soldiers failed to secure banks, armories and other facilities against looters. Since then the allegations have only multiplied, including investigations of fraud, awarding of contracts without the required government bidding process and allowing contractors to charge exorbitant fees with little oversight, or oversight that came too late.

But the latest report comes at a particularly critical time for Iraq. Four months after inconclusive elections, a new government has yet to be formed, raising fears that insurgents will tap into the political vacuum to stir sectarian unrest.

In a sign that insurgents are still intent on igniting sectarian violence, at least six people were killed and dozens more wounded when a female suicide bomber blew herself up near a checkpoint in the holy city of Karbala, local police said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Thousands of Shiite pilgrims are converging on the city, 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Baghdad, for an important religious holiday marking the birth of a Shiite saint known as the “Hidden Imam” who disappeared in the ninth century. Such mass displays of devotion by Shiites have often been targeted by Sunni extremists.

Iraqi lawmakers met Tuesday, but for the second time this month failed to convene a parliament session, leaving wide open the question of when the new government will take shape.

Underscoring its financial challenges, the International Monetary Fund in March approved a $3.6 billion loan to help Iraq meet its obligations. Iraq is projected to run a deficit through 2011, according to analysts, with a possibility of a surplus following that hinging on oil prices.

Iraq took a financial hit in 2008 as oil prices plummeted on the back of the global financial meltdown. While those prices have since rebounded, Iraq remains at the mercy of international oil markets, with revenues from petroleum sales accounting for over 90 percent of its government budget.

The $9.1 billion in question came from the Development Fund for Iraq, which was set up by the U.N. Security Council in 2003. The DFI includes revenues from Iraq’s oil and gas exports, as well as frozen Iraqi assets and surplus funds from the defunct, Saddam Hussein-era U.N. oil-for-food program.

Iraq had given the U.S. authorization to tap into the fund, which is held in New York, for humanitarian and reconstruction efforts, withdrawing that approval in December 2007.

With the establishment of the Coalition Provisional Authority, which ran Iraq shortly after the start of the U.S. invasion in 2003 until mid-2004, about $20 billion was placed into the account. The $9.1 billion audited by the Iraq reconstruction inspector general were funds withdrawn from that account between 2004 and 2007.

The report found that the Defense Department could not “readily account for its obligations, expenditures and remaining balances associated” with the DFI. At issue was $8.7 billion, or 95 percent of the withdrawn funds.

Of this amount, the Pentagon could not account at all for $2.6 billion, according to the audit.

Tracing the rest of the money is difficult because of a combination of lax financial controls and management, the failure to designate an organization to oversee the spending and the failure to set up and deposit the funds in special accounts, as required by the Treasury Department.

The Defense Department, in responses attached to the audit, said it agreed with the report’s recommendations to establish better guidelines for monitoring such funds, including appointing an oversight organization mostly likely by November.

The failure to properly manage billions in reconstruction funds has also hobbled the troubled U.S.-led effort to rebuild Afghanistan. About $60 billion have poured into Afghanistan since 2001 in hopes of bringing electricity, clean water, jobs, roads and education to the crippled country.

The U.S. alone has committed $51 billion to the project since 2001, and plans to raise the stakes to $71 billion over the next year — more than it has spent on reconstruction in Iraq since 2003.

An Associated Press investigation showed that the results so far — or lack of them — threaten to do more harm than good. The number of Afghans with access to electricity has increased from 6 percent in 2001 to only about 10 percent now, far short of the goal of providing power to 65 percent of urban and 25 percent of rural households by the end of this year.

As an example of the problems, a $100 million diesel-fueled power plant was built with the goal of delivering electricity to more than 500,000 residents of the capital, Kabul. The plant’s costs tripled to $305 million as construction lagged a year behind schedule. The plant now often sits idle because the Afghans were able to import cheaper power from neighboring Uzbekistan before the plant came online.


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H.R. 5741: Universal National Service Act

Posted: 27 Jul 2010 08:40 PM PDT

You are the property of your owners.



2d Session

H. R. 5741

To require all persons in the United States between the ages of 18 and 42 to perform national service, either as a member of the uniformed services or in civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security, to authorize the induction of persons in the uniformed services during wartime to meet end-strength requirements of the uniformed services, and for other purposes.


July 15, 2010

Mr. RANGEL introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Armed Services

Read more here…


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