Friday, August 31, 2007

Marine tells of order to execute Haditha women and children

AFP Friday Aug 31, 2007

A US Marine was ordered to execute a room full of Iraqi women and children during an alleged massacre in Haditha that left 24 people dead, a military court heard Thursday.

The testimony came in the opening of a preliminary hearing for Marine Sergeant Frank Wuterich, who faces 17 counts of murder over the Haditha killings, the most serious war crimes allegations faced by US troops in Iraq.

Wuterich, dressed in desert khakis, spoke confidently to confirm his name as the hearing to decide if he faces a court martial began at the Marines' Camp Pendleton base in southern California.

The 27-year-old listened intently as Lance Corporal Humberto Mendoza recounted how Marines had responded after a roadside bomb attack on their convoy in Haditha on November 19, 2005 left one comrade dead.

Mendoza said Marines under Wuterich's command began clearing nearby houses suspected of containing insurgents responsible for the bombing.

At one house Wuterich gave an order to shoot on sight as Marines waited for a response after knocking on the door, said Mendoza.

"He said 'Just wait till they open the door, then shoot,'" Mendoza said.

Mendoza then said he shot and killed an adult male who appeared in a doorway.

During a subsequent search of the house, Mendoza said he received an order from another Marine, Lance Corporal Stephen Tatum, to shoot seven women and children he had found in a rear bedroom.

"When I opened the door there was just women and kids, two adults were lying down on the bed and there were three children on the bed ... two more were behind the bed," Mendoza said.

"I looked at them for a few seconds. Just enough to know they were not presenting a threat ... they looked scared."

After leaving the room Mendoza told Tatum what he had found.

"I told him there were women and kids inside there. He said 'Well, shoot them,'" Mendoza told prosecutor Lieutenant Colonel Sean Sullivan.

"And what did you say to him?" Sullivan asked.

"I said 'But they're just women and children.' He didn't say nothing."

Mendoza said he returned to a position at the front of the house and heard a door open behind him followed by a loud noise. Returning later that afternoon to conduct body retrieval, Mendoza said he found a room full of corpses.

In cross-examination, however, Major Haytham Faraj suggested a girl who survived the shootings had identified Mendoza as the gunman, sparking an angry reaction from prosecutors.

"The girl in question already identified another Marine," Sullivan stormed. "This is completely unethical, inappropriate and has no basis in fact."

Mendoza had given similar testimony during a preliminary hearing against Tatum earlier this year.

Investigating officer Lieutenant Colonel Paul Ware, who is presiding in Wuterich's hearing, last week recommended dropping murder charges against Tatum, describing Mendoza's evidence as "too weak".

Prosecutors allege Marines went on a killing spree in Haditha retaliation for the death of their colleague in the bomb attack.

Defense lawyers will argue that Wuterich followed established combat zone rules of engagement.

A total of eight Marines were initially charged in connection with the Haditha deaths.

Four were charged with murder while four senior officers were accused of failing to properly investigate the killings.

Of the four Marines charged with murder, two have since had charges withdrawn, while allegations against Tatum are also expected to be dismissed.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Ron Paul: Iran Attack On Within A Year

Paul Joseph Watson Prison Planet Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Presidential candidate Ron Paul believes that an attack on Iran is highly likely within a year and that the Bush administration is simply waiting for the right opportunity, or event on which to blame Iran, before launching the assault.

"If I were a betting man I would bet that they will attack Iran before the end of this administration, which means in the next year or so," the Congressman told the Alex Jones Show today.

"The plans have been laid just like the plans were laid to go into Iraq a long time before they did but they had to wait for the right opportunity."

"The radical Neo-Cons are still there - they may have been diminished a little bit but they're still very very influential and very very powerful and they have the President's ear so I think they're just laying the plans, waiting for the opportunity," said Paul.

" I don't think the opportunity presents itself right now, I don't think we're gonna wake up tomorrow morning and have it happen unless they can blame the Iranians for something else - of course they're setting the stage for that by declaring that their Guard unit over there is a terrorist organization, so anything now is possible and they'll blame it on the Iranians and and make that excuse."

The Presidential candidate said he had "Talked to some military people and historians who knew the region," and they they told him "it would be the most disastrous thing we could do for our own sake," jeopardizing the lives of U.S. troops in Iraq and trapping them from getting out of the Persian Gulf.

Rhetoric regarding a potential military attack on Iran has heated again over the past few days, and President Bush himself stoked the flames further today when he warned of the risk of a "nuclear holocaust" if the country was allowed to acquire nuclear capability.

In a speech Monday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said that a diplomatic push by the world's powers to rein in Tehran's nuclear program was the only alternative to "an Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran."

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad today stated that a U.S. attack on Iran was "impossible" due to U.S. troops being tied down in Afghanistan and Iraq. He also dismissed Sarkozy's warning, calling the French premiere "inexperienced" and labeling his comments as purely "for the consumption of his inner circles."

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Fathers Create Bulletproof Backpacks

Note: It doesn't get any better than this. Maybe we should have the kids with the bulletproof packs wear orange vests and be escorted by ghost hunters. Give the Warrens a call on this one, they might even dig up the whereabouts of Osama Bin Hidin' and any other "Bogeymen".

POSTED: 5:59 pm EDT August 9, 2007

UPDATED: 6:24 pm EDT August 9, 2007

BOSTON -- It's time for parents to make the annual trek to get back to school items, which usually includes jeans, jerseys and a few notebooks. NewsCenter 5's Pam Cross reported Thursday that a couple of North Shore men want parents to consider something else -- a bulletproof backpack. "They have them with them on the floor, on their laps, on the bus. They always have a backpack," said Joe Curran, of My Child's Pack.

It started with the Columbine shooting in 1999. Curran and Mike Pelonzi said that they watched and worried for their own children. They had the idea to hide bulletproof material inside a backpack. They call it defensive action. "If the kid has a backpack next to them, or under the desk, they can pick it up, the straps act as a handle and it becomes a shield," Curran said.

It's much lighter than a 15-pound police vest. After three years of experimenting, the backpacks that were tested by an outside lab ranked threat level two. It stops an assortment of bullets, including 9-millimeter hollow point bullets. The fathers researched school shootings from 1900 to this year.

They will sell for $175, but do the special book bags play upon paranoia when most schools are called safe?

"I want to keep my kid safe. I don't care what you do -- if you want to fight the good fight or fix the world's hurts, I can't help you, but my kids are going to be safe because of these backpacks," Curran said.

Copyright 2007 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Ron Paul - Supporter Forced To Remove Campaign Sign

YouTubeTuesday Aug 28, 2007

A supporter of Ron Paul in the Orlando Florida area was forced by his local city to remove the sign

Saturday, August 25, 2007

New Haven Connectict Police Charge Joggers For Dropping Flour, City Wastes Taxpayer Dollars “Decontaminating” Store Parking Lot Of Dropped Flour…

NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT — New Haven police have charged two people they believe are responsible for spreading a white powder around the parking lot of the IKEA store and Bank of America in the city’s Long Wharf area.

The suspects, 35-year-old Daniel Salchow of New Haven and his sister, 31-year-old Dorothee Salchow of Hamburg, Germany, were arrested and charged with breach of peace in the first degree, a class D felony.

Earlier Thursday, the New Haven Fire Department, New Haven Police Department, State Police, FBI, New Haven Health Department and others responded to a call about a white powder in the parking lot of IKEA. The substance turned out to be flour.

The Salchows said they are part of a running club that participates in a strategic sport called “Hash House Harriers.”

The group said was tradition for members to drop the flour to mark their route. The group also said it stopped dropping the flour post the incidents of Sept. 11, 2001.

The IKEA store is expected to re-open once the fire department completes decontamination of the affected areas, which is precautionary, according to Jessica A. Mayorga, director of communications for the city of New Haven.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Homeland Security Responds to Helicopter Harassment at Brown's Private Picnic

David Deschesne Fort Fairfield Journal

Friday Aug 24, 2007

On Saturday, July 14, a Department of Homeland Security Helicopter hovered over the home of Ed and Elaine Brown for over four hours, skimming the tree tops and beeping its on-board siren at a crowd of over 200 people who had assembled there to enjoy a barbecue picnic and concert with the Browns.

The Fort Fairfield Journal has received a copy of a letter from the Department of Homeland Security to Senator Collins regarding the incident.

The letter states the helicopter was a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) aircraft, whose agents were operating in support of U.S. Marshall Service and Internal Revenue Service agents in an ongoing investigation of Ed and Elaine Brown.

“Ed and Elaine Brown are convicted felons under federal tax statutes,” wrote Luke P. Bellocchi, Assistant Commissioner, Office of Congressional Affairs with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. “Since their conviction, the Browns have resisted federal arrest warrants by securing themselves in a compound and refusing to surrender themselves to federal law enforcement officials.”

There is currently no law in the United States requiring the filing of an income tax form, or payment of the taxes. Since there is no law, the Browns are guilty of nothing and the Federal Court ruling and arrest warrant are therefore bogus. Tax researcher, Tommy Cryer recently won a court case against the I.R.S. where I.R.S. agents and attorneys for the United States were unable to prove to a jury there is any law requiring the filing or payment of income tax in the United States.

Contrary to Bellocchi’s opinion that the Browns are secured in a “compound,” this writer has visited their home and found it to be a well-kept home in a secluded, upper class part of town. The use of the word “compound” to describe what is otherwise a couple’s home is likely a psychological warfare term designed to portray a negative image on otherwise peaceful, God-fearing Americans who simply want their government to be held accountable when enforcing laws that simply don’t exist.

While the Browns and their guests were enjoying each other’s company in the midst of a picnic and concert, the helicopter continuously skimmed the crowd and hovered over the treetops in an apparent harassment and intimidation exercise. Bellocchi defends those actions by writing, “The operation involving the aircraft was necessary to further apprehension of the Browns and to secure officer safety in that effort. No violations of agency policy or regulations occurred during the mission.”

Due to operational security and officer safety, Bellocchi was unable to release the names of the pilots or agents involved in that ongoing operation.

Bellocchi admits that intelligence data reveals that "the Brown compound contains significant passive and active traps and devices designed to thwart apprehension. Surveillance and video footage provided by the CBP aircraft was necessary to the law enforcement efforts of both the I.R.S. and U.S. Marshals in the performance of their duties."

The Browns continue to resist the illegal arrest warrant on the fraudulent Failure to File court ruling, issued in the Spring of this year. A third “Live Free or Die” concert is scheduled at their home on September 15. Go to or for more information.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

DNI McConnell: ‘Americans Are Going To Die’ If We Keep Talking About Wiretapping

Think Progress Thursday Aug 23, 2007

Earlier this month, Congress caved to President Bush and passed legislation updating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, vastly expanding Bush’s powers to wiretap American citizens without court oversight. In an extensive interview with the El Paso Times, National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell decried continued public discussion of the wiretapping program, claiming Americans, particularly in Iraq, would “die” because of the debate.

Q: So you’re saying that the reporting and the debate in Congress means that some Americans are going to die?

McCONNELL: That’s what I mean. Because we have made it so public. We used to do these things very differently

Despite forewarning of the death of Americans, McConnell freely “pulled the curtain back” on previously declassified information about surveillance in the interview. Explaining details ranging from secret court rulings to information on obtaining wiretapping warrants, McConnell “raised eyebrows” for his “frank discussion of previously classified eavesdropping work” conducted under FISA.

Some highlights of McConnell’s revelations:

Court ruling declared Bush’s program illegal on May 31: “After the 31st of May we were in extremis because now we have significantly less capability” when a federal court ruled part of the wiretapping program illegal, McConnell said.

Private sector actively involved in wiretapping program: “Under the president’s program, the terrorist surveillance program, the private sector had assisted us,” said McConnell. “Now if you play out the suits at the value they’re claimed, it would bankrupt these companies,” McConnell said, arguing for legal immunity for the companies when Congress returns from recess.

McConnell denies White House involvement: “The president’s guidance to me early in the process, was, ‘You’ve got the experience. I trust your judgement. You make the right call. There’s no pressure from anybody here,” McConnell claimed.

Thousands overseas are being monitored via warrants. “Offering never-disclosed figures, McConnell also revealed that fewer than 100 people inside the United States are monitored under FISA warrants. However, he said, thousands of people overseas are monitored,” states the AP.

Takes 200 hours to assemble a wiretapping warrant: McConnell alleged that “the issue is volume and time” as to why he was so adamant about pursuing warrantless wiretapping. “My argument was that the intelligence community should not be restricted. … It takes about 200 man hours to do one telephone number.”

Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) said he believes McConnell declassified the information in this interview because he “wanted to push back on accusations that the legislation gave the attorney general unprecedented new powers.” “I think they felt they had to become more public,” said Hoekstra.

The Bush administration seems to believe it is permissible to talk about illegal wiretapping to save face, but not okay for Americans to question them about it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Father Of Slain Youth Can Stay In Court

By TINA A. BROWN | Courant Staff Writer August 22, 2007 Hartford Officer Had Charged Harassment

A Superior Court judge ruled Tuesday against a bid to bar the father of slain teenager Jashon Bryant from the Hartford courthouse.

With tensions around the case running high, city and state law enforcement officers allege that Keith Thomas of Windsor has repeatedly harassed Robert Lawlor, the Hartford police officer accused of killing Thomas' son.

Lawlor had asked the court to prohibit Thomas from coming within 1,000 feet of the Hartford courthouse when Lawlor is there on a manslaughter charge in Bryant's killing.

Lawlor's attorney, Michael Georgetti, said that since October 2006 Thomas has presented an "imminent danger" to Lawlor, his wife and his lawyer. Thomas has engaged in "stare-downs" with the defendant and has placed Lawlor's safety in jeopardy, Georgetti said.

Thomas was charged with breach of peace and intimidation based on bigotry after he approached Lawlor during a court appearance in October 2006 and allegedly used a racial slur. Prosecutors decided not to pursue the case.

On Tuesday, Judge Thomas Miano found no probable cause to charge Thomas with contempt of court, or to place him under a restraining order.

"There is no need for a protective order," Miano said, later adding that neither Hartford police officers nor court officials had found probable cause to charge Thomas with harassment or stalking after the October 2006 incident.

"We have a great system where the courtrooms are open. That sets our court apart," Miano said. He said those who appear in court "have a right not to be threatened or harassed."

However, he said, "My heart goes out to Mr. Keith Thomas. ... No one can appreciate someone who has experienced his loss. He has a right to be in this courtroom."

The judge said Thomas did not have an absolute right to be there if it were found that he had harassed Lawlor, his lawyer or his family. "I'm not saying you did anything wrong but you have to respect this court," he said.

Lawlor did not attend the proceedings. Thomas was joined by his family, community activist Carmen Rodriguez and members of the Nation of Islam.

Joseph Moniz, a defense attorney representing Thomas, said Lawlor was trying to slow down the judicial process.

"For a father whose son is shot in the head twice, it makes no sense for Mr. Lawlor to be treated like a victim," Moniz said, adding that "this is simply a way of distracting the fact that Mr. Lawlor is on trial here."

Lawlor was charged by a grand jury in the fatal shooting of Bryant, 18, in May 2005. Bryant was a passenger in a car parked on North Main Street in Hartford when Lawlor and Dan Prather, an agent from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, approached them. Lawlor and Prather were trying to remove illegal guns from the streets, Lawlor has said.

Lawlor said he believed that Bryant and another man in the car, Brandon Henry, had a gun when he ordered them out of the vehicle. Instead of getting out, Henry drove away and Lawlor opened fire. Bryant was killed instantly. Henry was wounded in the chest and crashed into a parked car several blocks away.

Police did not find any weapons in the car after the shooting.

Prather told the grand jury that he never felt that his life was in danger as he stood beside the car, according to documents.

The friction between Thomas and Lawlor is probably the result of the length of time the case has dragged on, New Haven prosecutor Michael Dearington, who is handling the case, said Tuesday.

"I want to ask that the trial date be set," he said.

Georgetti said that it was premature to set a date, as Lawlor is trying to raise money to hire an expert, and he may even need to exhume Bryant's body to confirm his injuries.

Miano scheduled the trial for Feb. 14, 2008.

Contact Tina A. Brown at

State Faults Perez's Friend

By DAVE ALTIMARI | Courant Staff Writer August 22, 2007 Contractor Was Not Properly Registered

The contractor who supervised about $20,000 worth of renovations at the home of Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez isn't properly registered with the state and could face criminal charges over the installation of a new bathroom and kitchen countertop at Perez's house.

"If you are doing home improvements, then you have to have a registration with our department. It is illegal for someone to do work on a home without one," state Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner Jerry Farrell Jr. said Tuesday.

Farrell confirmed that the department has opened an investigation into Carlos Costa and his company, USA Contractors Inc.

State prosecutors are looking into the work that Costa - a city contractor - did for Perez, but Farrell said that a search of the department's records indicates that neither Costa himself nor any of his companies, including USA Contractors Inc., has ever been registered with the state as a home contractor.

Perez, in a televised appearance on "Face the State" this weekend, said that he was initially intending to do some home renovation work himself. He asked Costa - a friend - for advice, and Costa suggested that he could do the work for Perez, the mayor said.

Doing contracting work without a proper registration is a Class C misdemeanor. Farrell said that it was too early in the investigation to say whether the state would refer the case for criminal charges. Calls to Costa and his attorney were not returned.

Farrell said that one of the issues is whether there was a signed contract between Perez and Costa to do the work. The mayor released a stack of documents last week with bills and work orders for the renovation, but there was no contract among those papers.

Perez's attorney, Hubert Santos, declined to comment Tuesday when asked whether the mayor ever had a valid contract with Costa.

"Normally, if there's no outstanding complaints against a contractor, we just try to get them registered. We go after those who have defrauded customers," Farrell said, adding that the department has never received any complaints about Costa.

There is an annual $200 fee to register as a home contractor with the Department of Consumer Protection. The money goes into the Home Improvement Guarantee Fund to assist homeowners who file complaints against contractors with the state.

Although Farrell said that the state's issues are with Costa - not the mayor - he did say that it's not smart business to hire unregistered contractors to do work on your home because your recourse is limited if something goes wrong.

"Anyone who has a complaint against a registered contractor can get up to $15,000 from the state fund. If you use an unregistered contractor, your only recourse is to go to civil court," Farrell said.

The relationship between Perez and Costa came under scrutiny last week as investigators from the chief state's attorney's office searched Perez's Bloomfield Avenue home and Costa's Airport Road office.

The investigators are looking into roughly $20,000 in kitchen and bathroom work that Costa's company began for the mayor in 2005 and mostly completed in 2006. Perez said that he received a final bill in late February and paid for the work last month.

No building, plumbing or electrical permits were taken out for the work on Perez's house.

Perez has admitted that it was a mistake to hire Costa - a family friend he knew was a city contractor - for his house work. The mayor also acknowledged that it was his mistake not to get building permits for the work.

While Costa was doing the work on the mayor's home, USA Contractors was fighting with the city about a $5.3 million contract to beautify Park Street by installing new sidewalks, lights and signs.

The streetscape project, which was awarded to Costa in 2003, was rife with delays, claims for extra money by Costa and counteraccusations from city officials that he wasn't getting the job done on time.

Frustrated department of public works officials went as far as to notify Costa's bond company that they were considering pulling his performance bond. Records show that an irate Costa went over the heads of public works officials to Charles Crocini - a mayoral aide in charge of capital projects.

Two days after Costa contacted him, Crocini wrote a letter to the bonding company informing it that the city was not considering pulling the performance bond. Crocini has said that he did that on his own and did not consult with the mayor.

Contact Dave Altimari at

Courant Staff Writer Jeffrey B. Cohen contributed to this story.


Bad Cop News

Hartford Connecticut Police Officer, Charged With Beating Mayor’s Nephew, Receives A Slap On The Wrist

HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT - The city police officer accused of beating Mayor Eddie A. Perez’s nephew has been granted a special form of probation that could result in the criminal charge being erased.

Officer Matthew Secore, 36, was granted entry into the accelerated rehabilitation program in Superior Court on Friday.

Under the terms of the agreement, Secore’s misdemeanor third-degree assault charge will be dismissed in one year if the officer isn’t charged with any new crimes.

A two-year veteran of the force, Secore has been on desk duty since he turned himself in on a warrant on May 8, police spokeswoman Nancy Mulroy said.

Defense lawyer Michael Georgetti said Secore is embarrassed and apologetic about the beating he gave Perez’s nephew, Ruben Perez, 21, of East Hartford, on May 5.

“He realized he lost his temper and, understanding that, immediately apologized to everybody: Mr. Perez, the Police Department, and the community,” Georgetti said.

Georgetti said the beating came right after Secore saw his brother Slade Secore in a local hospital after Slade had been badly beaten by at least six people - including, police say, Ruben Perez.

Police called Whitey’s Towing to remove Reuben Perez’s car from private property. Slade Secore was the tow-truck operator and told police he was removing the car when a group set him upon in a “brutal” attack in which he was stomped and kicked in the head.

Rueben Perez was arrested after the beating and was awaiting processing in the Police Department’s booking area when Matthew Secore - who was off-duty - assaulted him, police say.

Reuben Perez said he had a bruise on his face, a cut lip, and red marks on his neck, police say. He is also charged with third-degree assault and breach of peace for beating Slade Secore. He next appears in Superior Court on Aug. 27.

Matthew Secore’s plea deal brings mostly to an end his criminal case, but he now faces a disciplinary hearing at the department, Mulroy said.

Georgetti said his client is “ready and willing to take whatever reasonable discipline the department is prepared to hand down.”

Prior to the assault on Reuben Perez, Georgetti said Matthew Secore had never had any disciplinary problems or incidents:

“He has been regarded as something of a gentle giant,” Georgetti said, “and this was completely out of character. He just lost his temper after seeing his brother.”

Days after the dual assaults, Police Chief Darryl K. Roberts ordered an investigation into Matthew Secore’s actions and other officers on duty that night.

Mulroy said Friday that a police officer and a sergeant who was a supervisor in the department’s lock-up “were disciplined accordingly” after an internal affairs investigation.

However, she said, the investigation remains open pending Matthew Secore’s disciplinary hearing and the findings aren’t yet public. Mulroy declined to release the names of the sergeant and officer.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Harper Dismisses SPP Protests As "Sad"

DEB RIECHMANN AP Tuesday Aug 21, 2007

President Bush and the leaders of Mexico and Canada worked Monday to craft a plan to secure their borders in the event of a terrorist strike or other emergency without creating traffic tie-ups that slowed commerce at crossings after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Bush, Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper want their homeland security experts to figure out the best way to protect citizens in an emergency, perhaps an outbreak of avian flu, without snarling business among the trading partners.

More broadly, the goal of the North American summit was to seek middle ground on shared concerns about the border and a host of other issues ranging from energy to trade, food safety to immigration. The three-way meeting at a highly secured red cedar chateau along the banks of the Ottawa River focused on administrative and regulatory issues, not sweeping legislative proposals for North America.

Few, if any, formal announcements were expected. The meeting served to address thorny problems between the U.S. and its neighbors to the North and South and bolster a compact - dubbed the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America - that serves as a way for the nations to team up on health, security and commerce.

Several hundred demonstrators protested on issues such as the war in Iraq, human rights and integration of North America. One carried a banner that said: ``Say No To Americanada.''

Calderon and Harper both want tight relations with Bush, yet don't want to be seen as proteges of the unpopular president or leave the impression that the U.S. is encroaching on their sovereignty.

To that end, Harper is asserting his nation's claim to the Northwest Passage through the Arctic.

The race to secure subsurface rights to the Arctic seabed heated up when Russia sent two small submarines to plant a tiny national flag under the North Pole. The United States and Norway also have competing claims in the vast Arctic region, where a U.S. study suggests as much as 25 percent of the world's undiscovered oil and gas could be hidden.

Canada believes much of the North American side of the Arctic is Canada's, but the United States says that the thawing Northwest Passage is part of international waters.

``We look at the Northwest Passage as an international waterway, and want the international transit rights to be respected there,'' White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said. ``But certainly President Bush will listen to what Prime Minister Harper has to say.''

Harper also plans to raise concerns about new passport requirements for travelers, longtime U.S. restrictions on Canadian softwood lumber exports and the war in Afghanistan.

Harper has said Canada's military mission in Afghanistan will not be extended beyond 2009 without a consensus in the country and the Parliament. Canada has 2,500 troops in Afghanistan, fighting against the Taliban in the violet southern parts of the nation. Other countries, such as Germany ad Italy, restrict the use of their forces to more peaceful areas in the north.

With Hurricane Dean bearing down on Mexico, Calderon might have to cut his meetings short with Bush and Calderon. This is his first meeting with Bush since the U.S. immigration legislation died in the Senate. Calderon has called that a ``grave error'' and also is rankled by the Bush administration's newly announced crackdown on employers who use illegal immigrants.

It's unclear whether the United States will use the summit to announce a major new aid plan to help Mexico fight violent drug trafficking. U.S. anti-drug officials have been impressed with Caldron's crackdown on drug traffickers since he took office.

But Calderon has repeatedly pushed the U.S. to take more responsibility in fighting the two countries' common drug problem, including doing more to stop the flow of illegal U.S. arms into Mexico and trying to combat the demand for drugs north of the border. The issue of U.S. aid is a sensitive subject among Mexicans wary that U.S. help could lead to interventions that violate Mexican sovereignty.

Bush stepped off Air Force One and onto a red carpet at an airport in Ottawa where he was greeted by a bagpiper and a ceremonial honor guard dressed in red jackets and tall, black fur hats. Bush flew to the resort on the Marine One presidential helicopter, which landed in a grassy clearing along the water.

A few hundred protesters amassed at the gate of the resort. Police in riot gear used tear gas to hold back about 50 of them, who responded by flinging rocks, branches and plastic bottles. A line of police in riot gear jostled with about 50 demonstrators. A few hundred marched on the front gate of the summit compound shouting taunts.

``I've heard it's nothing,'' Harper said, dismissing the protests as Bush arrived at the Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello. ``A couple hundred? It's sad.''

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Bush Re-Authorizes Martial Law Provisions

Americans have officially been living under a dictatorship since at least 1933

Paul Joseph Watson, Steve Watson & Alex Jones Prison Planet Wednesday, May 23, 2007

President George W. Bush has sparked much alarm by openly declaring himself to be a dictator in the event of a national emergency under new provisions that will effectively nullify the U.S. constitution, but such an infrastructure has been in place for over 70 years and this merely represents a re-authorization of the infrastructure of martial law.

New legislation signed on May 9, 2007, declares that in the event of a "catastrophic event", the President can take total control over the government and the country, bypassing all other levels of government at the state, federal, local, territorial and tribal levels, and thus ensuring total unprecedented dictatorial power.

The National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive, which also places the Secretary of Homeland Security in charge of domestic "security", was signed earlier this month without the approval or oversight of Congress and seemingly supercedes the National Emergency Act which allows the president to declare a national emergency but also requires that Congress have the authority to "modify, rescind, or render dormant" such emergency authority if it believes the president has acted inappropriately.

Journalist Jerome Corsi, who has studied the directive also states that it makes no reference to Congress and "its language appears to negate any requirement that the president submit to Congress a determination that a national emergency exists."

In other words the new directive excludes Congress altogether from governance in a state of emergency.

While alluding to the "enduring constitutional government", the directive actually ensures the end of constitutional government as each branch, the executive, legislative and judicial, are stripped of equal authority and must answer directly and solely to the President.

The mainstream media has not reported on the directive and the White House has refused to comment.

Earlier this month it was reported that a high-level group of government and military officials has been quietly preparing an emergency survival program named "The Day After," which would effectively end civil liberties and implement a system of martial law in the event of a catastrophic attack on a U.S. city.

Though anathema to any notion of liberty or freedom, this new legislation has not come out of the blue, it is merely an open declaration of the infrastructure of martial law that the federal government has been building since the turn of the last century, which was first publicly codified in the 1933 war powers act under Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Senate Report 93-549, which was presented at the first session of the 93rd Congress, outlines just a handful of the declared national emergencies or martial law declarations that preceded the latest one.

"Since March 9, 1933, the United States has been in a state of declared national emergency. In fact, there are now in effect four presidentially-proclaimed states of national emergency: In addition to the national emergency declared by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933, there are also the national emergency proclaimed by President Harry S. Truman on December 16, 1950, during the Korean conflict, and the states of national emergency declared by President Richard M. Nixon on March 23, 1970, and August 15, 1971."

In alliance with these open declarations of martial law and the 1947 National Security Act, bills such as the Patriot Act, the John Warner Defense Authorization Act and the Military Commissions Act have all put the final jigsaw pieces in place to complete an infrastructure of dictatorship since 9/11.

We're already living under an infrastructure of martial law and have been since 1933, all that remains for it to be fully implemented is a big enough natural disaster, mass terror attack or other catastrophe that will cause the necessary carnage and panic that affords the federal government enough leeway to implement open dictatorship with the least possible resistance.

New revelations that Bush has openly declared himself to be a dictator are both shocking and demand immediate attention, but they only represent a re-authorization of the tyranny that Americans have been living under for at least the past 74 years.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Cheney's Office Attempts To Memory-Hole Embarrassing Video

Footage of VP warning war in Iraq would lead to quagmire is shrugged off
Steve WatsonInfowars.netFriday, August 17, 2007

A recently discovered video dating from 1994 featuring Dick Cheney warning against an invasion of Iraq has been shrugged off by the Vice President's office who say they cannot comment because at the time Cheney was not Vice President. The video appeared earlier this week on YouTube and shows Dick Cheney explaining that trying to take over Iraq would be a "bad idea" and would lead to a "quagmire." "How many additional dead Americans is Saddam worth? Our view was not very many, and I think we got it right," Cheney said.

CBS5 contacted the Vice President's press office Wednesday, where a spokesperson reacted to the video by saying: "He was not Vice President at the time, it was after he was Secretary of Defense. I don't have any comment." Former U.N. Ambassador Richard Sklar told CBS "A number of us in discussions knew that it existed. None of us have seen it on tape before, and Cheney's office has always just poo-pooed and refused to discuss it," As secretary of defense Cheney had helped direct the Gulf War under Bush 41. Some criticized the first Bush administration for pulling out too soon and allowing Saddam Hussein to retain power in Iraq. Cheney had to explain the reasoning for this in the years to come, one reason why the neocon cabal was hell bent on invading Iraq, and had drawn up the plans before regaining power in 2000. Cheney's office goes one better than Donald Rumsfeld who explained away the infamous video of him warming shaking Saddam Hussein's hand by asserting that he had no recollection of the meeting.


Q: Do you think the U.S., or U.N. forces, should have moved into Baghdad? A: No. Q: Why not? A: Because if we'd gone to Baghdad we would have been all alone. There wouldn't have been anybody else with us. There would have been a U.S. occupation of Iraq. None of the Arab forces that were willing to fight with us in Kuwait were willing to invade Iraq. Once you got to Iraq and took it over, took down Saddam Hussein's government, then what are you going to put in its place? That's a very volatile part of the world, and if you take down the central government of Iraq, you could very easily end up seeing pieces of Iraq fly off: part of it, the Syrians would like to have to the west, part of it -- eastern Iraq -- the Iranians would like to claim, they fought over it for eight years. In the north you've got the Kurds, and if the Kurds spin loose and join with the Kurds in Turkey, then you threaten the territorial integrity of Turkey.

It's a quagmire if you go that far and try to take over Iraq. The other thing was casualties. Everyone was impressed with the fact we were able to do our job with as few casualties as we had. But for the 146 Americans killed in action, and for their families -- it wasn't a cheap war. And the question for the president, in terms of whether or not we went on to Baghdad, took additional casualties in an effort to get Saddam Hussein, was how many additional dead Americans is Saddam worth? Our judgment was, not very many, and I think we got it right.

The Mayor's Mistake

By JEFFREY B. COHEN Courant Staff Writer August 17, 2007

Mayor Eddie A. Perez Thursday said he was wrong to hire a Hartford contractor with millions of dollars in city work to do a $20,000 kitchen and bathroom renovation in his house.Just a month before a heated Democratic mayoral primary, Perez acknowledged the mistake Thursday - two days after state criminal investigators searched his house and the office of Hartford contractor Carlos Costa.Costa, president of USA Contractors Inc., did the work on the house, Perez acknowledged. The mayor said that although he had paid for the work himself, he should have had someone else do it.

Just a month before a heated Democratic mayoral primary, Perez acknowledged the mistake Thursday - two days after state criminal investigators searched his house and the office of Hartford contractor Carlos Costa.

Costa, president of USA Contractors Inc., did the work on the house, Perez acknowledged. The mayor said that although he had paid for the work himself, he should have had someone else do it. "I want the facts to be out there for the voters," Perez said in a hastily called press conference Thursday. "It's important to me that they know that work that was done in my house was fully paid for and that my wife and I look forward to continuing to work on the election."

But, he said, "in hindsight, I shouldn't have used a city contractor. That was a mistake."

Authorities would not comment on the investigation Thursday, and the exact nature and scope of the probe are unclear. The mayor has retained the law firm of Santos & Seeley.

Perez also said Costa neglected to obtain the proper building permits but would get them retroactively.

Costa has done construction projects for the city, and his company was the low bidder for a Park Street streetscape improvement project in 2003. Investigators took boxes of documents and copies of computer hard drives from his office Tuesday.

State investigators have been asking questions and collecting documents at city hall since at least late April, when questions surfaced about two deals involving political operative and former state Rep. Abraham L. Giles.

In one deal reported by The Courant in February, Perez awarded Giles a no-bid contract in November 2006 to run a downtown, city-owned parking lot.

The Courant later reported on April 21 that Giles was on the verge of getting $100,000 from a private developer to walk away from another city-owned parking lot he operated without a contract. That deal - involving a condominium project proposed for the lot - collapsed before Giles got the fee.

Two days later, Perez sent a letter to Chief State's Attorney Kevin Kane asking him to look into the matter, explaining that he was concerned that "one or more individuals may have intended to use city funds from the project to unjustly enrich one or more parties."

It is unclear whether the search of Perez's house is related to that investigation.

According to Perez's statement, Costa began the work on the mayor's house in the spring of 2005 to renovate a bathroom and install a new kitchen countertop. In June 2005, Perez's wife suffered multiple brain aneurysms. Her illness delayed Costa's work, Perez said.

Costa completed most of the work in 2006, and Perez said he looked into a mortgage to pay for the work in 2006. But it wasn't until earlier this year that Costa billed him $20,217, Perez said. This summer, Perez secured two mortgages totaling $50,000. He said he paid Costa in July.

City land records show that Perez finished paying his $142,000 mortgage on the Bloomfield Avenue home in February.

Perez said Thursday that he was cooperating with the investigation and that he had turned over records and canceled checks to state investigators.

But with the Democratic mayoral primary just a month away, Perez said he was concerned that the investigation might affect the electoral process and said he was also "concerned when allegations of this nature surface in an election year."

He also said he had erred in hiring Costa.

"Even though Mr. Costa was paid in full for the work he performed, it was a mistake on my part to retain a city contractor to perform work at my house," Perez said in a statement. "The perception in today's environment has the potential to undermine public confidence in government."

"Additionally, it was my responsibility to ensure that the proper building permits were taken out for the work performed, and the failure of the contractor to obtain the necessary permits did not relieve me of this responsibility," Perez said. "I will ensure that the proper permits are paid for."

Democratic mayoral challenger I. Charles Mathews said he felt bad for the mayor, his family and the city."

He has not been charged with any wrongdoing," Mathews said. "We have to give the mayor due process and ... see what develops before we rush to judgment."

Another Democratic challenger, state Rep. Art Feltman, was less kind. He said he was "embarrassed that there's another black eye that people around the state see and think that, in addition to all the other problems we have, that we're corrupt, as well."

Feltman said he didn't believe Perez's explanation."

It's pretty obvious he didn't intend to pay the contractor until he got caught, or was close to getting caught," Feltman said. "He started scrambling to borrow money to pay for it about two years after he contracted for the work. In the real world, people get their money to pay contractors before the work begins."

Contact Jeffrey B. Cohen at

Neo-Cons: Make Bush Dictator Of The World

Maniacal right-wing Family Security Matters organization, which has ties to Cheney, Rumsfeld and Perle, carries screed that calls for Bush to declare martial law, become emperor of the planet, lifetime president, and ethnically cleanse Iraq by means of nuclear genocide

Paul Joseph WatsonPrison Planet Friday, August 17, 2007

If you thought Stu Bykovsky's call for a new 9/11 was the lowest the Neo-Cons could sink, think again. A right-wing foundation with links to Dick Cheney has called for Bush to be made lifetime president, ruler of the world, and for Iraq to be ethnically cleansed of Arabs by means of a nuclear holocaust.

The Family Security Matters organization masquerades as an independent "think tank" yet was highly influential in President Bush's re-election in 2004 and has links to top Neo-Con ideologues.

The outfit poses as an advocacy group for a new breed of goose-stepping brownshirts - so-called "security moms," who are noted for their blind obedience to neo-conservatism as a result of believing every ounce of fearmongering that emanates from the Bush administration on the inevitability of mass casualty terror attacks.

"In late 2004, Media Matters for America discovered that the phone number listed on FSM's website actually belonged to the Center for Security Policy (CSP), a rabidly hardline foreign policy outfit run by former Reagan administration figure Frank Gaffney," reports Right Web.

The Center for Security Policy is an umbrella organization that includes the National Security Advisory Council, whose members hold senior positions within the Bush administration itself. Former and current members include Dick Cheney, Richard Perle, Elliott Abrams and the organization has also given awards to Donald Rumsfeld.

The FSM foundation itself also has ties to the Anti-Defamation League, the International Women's Forum, numerous nationwide television and print media outlets, and includes on its board of advisors Neo-Con radio host Laura Ingraham and former director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, James Woolsey.

Representatives of FSM also routinely appear as guests on Fox News and their website is a cesspool of anti-American fervor - acting as a cheerleader for the invasion of Iran, the warrantless wiretapping program (opponents of which are labeled "traitors") and lauds the Patriot Act as "An irreplaceable tool utilized by our Secret Service to keep us safe."

In an August 3rd article, contributing editor and philosopher Philip Atkinson penned a feverish diatribe that calls for the end of democracy, for Bush to be made ruler of the world as Julius Caesar was made emperor of Rome, for Bush to be made lifetime President in the U.S., and for Iraq to be ethnically cleansed by means of nuclear genocide and re-populated with Americans.

The comments are so fundamentally sick and twisted that the reader must absorb the following passages in full to recognize the true depravity of what the Neo-Con fringe truly embrace.

After calling democracy 'the enemy of truth and justice', Atkinson openly calls for genocide and mass slaughter.

The simple truth that modern weapons now mean a nation must practice genocide or commit suicide. Israel provides the perfect example. If the Israelis do not raze Iran, the Iranians will fulfill their boast and wipe Israel off the face of the earth. The wisest course would have been for President Bush to use his nuclear weapons to slaughter Iraqis until they complied with his demands, or until they were all dead.

He then cites Julius Caesar, the reviled dictator of the Roman Empire, as an example of how Bush should engage in rampant ethnic cleansing.

When the ancient Roman general Julius Caesar was struggling to conquer ancient Gaul, he not only had to defeat the Gauls, but he also had to defeat his political enemies in Rome who would destroy him the moment his tenure as consul (president) ended.

Caesar pacified Gaul by mass slaughter; he then used his successful army to crush all political opposition at home and establish himself as permanent ruler of ancient Rome.

If President Bush copied Julius Caesar by ordering his army to empty Iraq of Arabs and repopulate the country with Americans, he would achieve immediate results: popularity with his military; enrichment of America by converting an Arabian Iraq into an American Iraq (therefore turning it from a liability to an asset); and boost American prestiege while terrifying American enemies.

Atkinson then concludes by stating such actions would allow Bush to declare martial law, become permanent President of the U.S. and eventually ruler of the entire world.

He could then follow Caesar's example and use his newfound popularity with the military to wield military power to become the first permanent president of America, and end the civil chaos caused by the continually squabbling Congress and the out-of-control Supreme Court.

President Bush can fail in his duty to himself, his country, and his God, by becoming “ex-president” Bush or he can become “President-for-Life” Bush: the conqueror of Iraq, who brings sense to the Congress and sanity to the Supreme Court. Then who would be able to stop Bush from emulating Augustus Caesar and becoming ruler of the world? For only an America united under one ruler has the power to save humanity from the threat of a new Dark Age wrought by terrorists armed with nuclear weapons.

The sheer abhorrence of the diatribe could lead many to think that this was some kind of attempt at black humor, a faux article written by a liberal intended as a parody to ridicule right-wingers, but it's not, it's real - this is what many of the Neo-Cons actually embrace.

To the kind of people who think like this, carrying out a 9/11 style attack is like a walk in the park.

Though FSM chose to delete the article from their website after it started to get bad press, the cache is still available and Atkinson's previous articles betray the fact that he is a real columnist and he really believes this crap!

This is the philosophy guiding the people that are in control of the world's pre-eminent superpower - in comparison, they make Hitler look like the tooth fairy.

The extreme fringe of the Neo-Con belief system is increasingly attracting more adherents as Bush, Cheney and their warmongering administration becomes increasingly unpopular in the U.S. and faces more opposition in attempting to complete their agenda.

The true horror of what that ultimate agenda entails is the price we as humanity will pay unless we stop these madmen and their goal - a 4th Reich of the elite, the slaughter of millions, and a global totalitarian dictatorship.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

US spy satellitles to be used on Americans

US spy satellitles to be used on AmericansRaw Story August 14, 2007 Nick Juliano

Local and federal agencies are to have vastly expanded access to information gathered from spy satellites in the U.S., the Wall Street Journal reports.Advertisement

Information from "some of the U.S.'s most powerful intelligence-gathering tools" will soon be at the disposal of a wide array of law enforcement agencies at all levels of government, reports Robert Block in the Journal Wednesday. Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell decided to increase access to the spy data earlier this year and asked Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to facilitate access to the spy data by civilian agencies and law enforcement. document.

Previously, access to only the most basic spy-sattelite data was limited to a handful of federal civilian agencies, such as NASA and the US Geological Survey, which used the images for scientific and environmental study. The move to turn spy satellites on American citizens raises legal questions because the use of such data for law enforcement is "largely uncharted territory." Even the officials behind the move were unsure of its legal implications, the Journal reports. "There is little if any policy, guidance or procedures regarding the collection, exploitation and dissemination of domestic MASINT," noted a 2005 study from the US intelligence community, which recommended access to spy satellites. MASINT, or Measurement and Signatures Intelligence, is a particular kind of spy-satellite data that would become available to law enforcement for the first time. According to defense experts, the Journal reports, MASINT uses radar, lasers, infrared, electromagnetic data and other technologies to see through cloud cover, forest canopies and even concrete to create images or gather data. "The full capabilities of these systems are unknown outside the intelligence community, because they are among the most closely held secrets in government," Block writes. "Some civil-liberties activists worry that without proper oversight, only those inside the National Application Office will know what is being monitored from space.

"You are talking about enormous power," Gregory Nojeim, senior counsel and director of the Project on Freedom, Security and Technology for the Center for Democracy and Technology told the paper. "Not only is the surveillance they are contemplating intrusive and omnipresent, it's also invisible. And that's what makes this so dangerous."

DHS intelligence chief Charles Allen "says the department is cognizant of the civil-rights and privacy concerns, which is why he plans to take time before providing law-enforcement agencies with access to the data. He says DHS will have a team of lawyers to review requests for access or use of the systems."

Trooper Attacked By Kitten

By HILDA MUĂ‘OZ The Hartford Courant 7:18 AM EDT, August 10, 2007 BETHLEHEM

A state police trooper is recovering from wounds he suffered when he was attacked by a kitten Thursday afternoon, state police said.Trooper Michael Eyre was scratched on his hand and bitten on his thumb. He was treated at Waterbury Hospital.The 8-week-old kitten is in quarantine at a veterinarian's office in Woodbury, state police said "He went to the cat, held his hand out to call it over. It came over, scratched him and then it bit his thumb," said Trooper Scott Meyer.The incident was reported at 5:30 p.m. Eyre was flagged down by a resident on Nonnewaug Road who had been attacked by the stray kitten in her yard. Eyre approached the cat and was attacked, Meyer said. more articles in /news/local

Guard Uses Taser on Man Holding Baby

Guard Uses Taser on Man Holding Baby By JUAN A. LOZANO, AP Posted: 2007-08-15 07:05:42 Filed Under: Nation News HOUSTON (Aug. 15) - In a confrontation captured on videotape, a hospital security guard fired a stun gun to stop a defiant father from taking home his newborn, sending both man and child crashing to the floor. Now William Lewis says his baby girl suffers from head trauma because she was dropped.

"I've got to wonder what kind of moron would Tase an adult holding a baby," said George Kirkham, a former police officer and criminologist at Florida State University. "It doesn't take rocket science to realize the baby is going to fall." Lewis, 30, said the April 13 episode began after he and his wife felt mistreated by staff at the Woman's Hospital of Texas and they decided to leave. Hospital employees told him doctors would not allow it, but Lewis picked up the baby and strode to a bank of elevators. The elevators would not move because wristband sensors on each baby shut them off if anyone takes an infant without permission. Lewis, who gave the video to The Associated Press, said his daughter landed on her head, but it cannot be seen on the video. He said the baby continues to suffer ill effects from the fall. "She shakes a lot and cries a lot," Lewis said, noting doctors have performed several MRIs on the child, Karla. "She's not real responsive. Something is definitely wrong with my daughter." It was not clear whether the baby received any electrical jolt. What's Your Take?

Child Protective Services has custody of the baby because of a history of domestic violence between Lewis and his wife, Jacqueline Gray. Agency spokeswoman Estella Olguin said the infant does not appear to be suffering any health problems from the fall. David Boling, an off-duty Houston police officer working security at the hospital, and another security guard can be seen on the surveillance video arriving at the elevators and trying to talk with Lewis. Lewis appears agitated as he walks around the elevators holding his daughter in his right arm. Within 40 seconds of arriving, Boling is holding the Taser. He walks around Lewis and whispers to the other guard, who moves to Lewis' right side. About a minute later, Boling can be seen casually standing near Lewis, not looking in his direction, when he suddenly raises the Taser and fires it at Lewis, who was still holding his daughter. Lewis drops to the floor. The other guard, who has not been identified, scoops up the baby and gives her to the child's mother, who was standing nearby in a hospital gown. The guard then pulls Lewis to his feet with his arms locked behind him. Lewis' T-shirt has two holes under the left side of his chest where the Taser prongs hit him. Lewis said he did not see the stun gun. "My wife said `we want to leave' and then he just Tasered me," Lewis said. "He caused me to drop the child." In a statement, the hospital said Lewis was hostile and uncooperative toward staff members who were trying to find out his relationship to the infant when they saw him trying to leave. Neither Lewis or Gray had indicated they wanted a discharge, according to the statement. "Mr. Lewis became verbally abusive by using vulgar expletives. When Mr. Lewis' behavior became threatening, endangering the infant and employees, licensed law enforcement officers followed their professional standards to protect those involved," the statement said. Lewis was arrested and charged with endangering a child. A grand jury in May declined to indict him on that charge, but charged him with retaliation, accusing him of making threats against Boling.

Lewis also has been charged with a second count of retaliation alleging he made a threatening call to Boling at his home. Lewis denies both charges. He said he is considering suing the hospital but has not filed any legal papers. Houston police spokesman Gabe Ortiz said the department did not investigate the officer's role, and he declined to elaborate. Boling did not immediately respond to a request for comment given to the police department. Some 11,000 U.S. law enforcement agencies use Tasers, which some experts say are increasingly being used as a convenient labor-saving device to control uncooperative people. "The Taser itself is a legitimate law-enforcement tool," said Kirkham, the criminologist. "The problem is the abusive use of them. They're supposed to be only used to protect yourself or another person from imminent aggression and physical harm. They're overused now." Associated Press writers Chris Duncan and Monica Rhor contributed to this report.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL. 2007-08-14 23:47:18

It's outrageous to think that a mother and child can be kidnapped and held against their will by hospital staff. I do understand that the actions are all in the name of security, but to taser a man holding an infant? Well, that is just plain stupid! I think that there is a large percentage of law enforcers that are too quick to react rather than analyze the situation. That kind of a response can be expected when most police departments require that you have a college degree to get hired. Being educated abroad is a great accomplishment for some but it is absolutely no substitute for street smarts & common sense. Police= 1 Infant= 0 Parents = -1

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Learn from the fall of Rome, US warned

Learn from the fall of Rome, US warned By Jeremy Grant in Washington Published: August 14 2007 00:06 Last updated: August 14 2007 00:06

The US government is on a ‘burning platform’ of unsustainable policies and practices with fiscal deficits, chronic healthcare underfunding, immigration and overseas military commitments threatening a crisis if action is not taken soon, the country’s top government inspector has warned.

David Walker, comptroller general of the US, issued the unusually downbeat assessment of his country’s future in a report that lays out what he called “chilling long-term simulations”.

These include “dramatic” tax rises, slashed government services and the large-scale dumping by foreign governments of holdings of US debt. Drawing parallels with the end of the Roman empire, Mr Walker warned there were “striking similarities” between America’s current situation and the factors that brought down Rome, including “declining moral values and political civility at home, an over-confident and over-extended military in foreign lands and fiscal irresponsibility by the central government”. “Sound familiar?” Mr Walker said. “In my view, it’s time to learn from history and take steps to ensure the American Republic is the first to stand the test of time.”

Mr Walker’s views carry weight because he is a non-partisan figure in charge of the Government Accountability Office, often described as the investigative arm of the US Congress.

While most of its studies are commissioned by legislators, about 10 per cent – such as the one containing his latest warnings – are initiated by the comptroller general himself.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Mr Walker said he had mentioned some of the issues before but now wanted to “turn up the volume”. Some of them were too sensitive for others in government to “have their name associated with”. “I’m trying to sound an alarm and issue a wake-up call,” he said. “As comptroller general I’ve got an ability to look longer-range and take on issues that others may be hesitant, and in many cases may not be in a position, to take on. “One of the concerns is obviously we are a great country but we face major sustainability challenges that we are not taking seriously enough,” said Mr Walker, who was appointed during the Clinton administration to the post, which carries a 15-year term.

The fiscal imbalance meant the US was “on a path toward an explosion of debt”. “With the looming retirement of baby boomers, spiralling healthcare costs, plummeting savings rates and increasing reliance on foreign lenders, we face unprecedented fiscal risks,” said Mr Walker, a former senior executive at PwC auditing firm.

Current US policy on education, energy, the environment, immigration and Iraq also was on an “unsustainable path”. “Our very prosperity is placing greater demands on our physical infrastructure. Billions of dollars will be needed to modernise everything from highways and airports to water and sewage systems. The recent bridge collapse in Minneapolis was a sobering wake-up call.” Mr Walker said he would offer to brief the would-be presidential candidates next spring. “They need to make fiscal responsibility and inter-generational equity one of their top priorities. If they do, I think we have a chance to turn this around but if they don’t, I think the risk of a serious crisis rises considerably”.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2007