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Thursday, August 25, 2011
Expensive massages, top shelf vodka and five-star hotels: First Lady accused of spending $10m in public money on her vacations
The Obamas' summer break on Martha's Vineyard has already been branded a PR disaster after the couple arrived four hours apart on separate government jets.
But according to new reports, this is the least of their extravagances.
White House sources today claimed that the First Lady has spent $10million of U.S. taxpayers' money on vacations alone in the past year.
Branding her 'disgusting' and 'a vacation junkie', they say the 47-year-old mother-of-two has been indulging in five-star hotels, where she splashes out on expensive massages and alcohol.
The white South African Uitenweerde family wants the entire world to know the horrific way in which farmer Thinus Uitenweerde was stoned to death while tied up and dumped into a hastily-dug, shallow grave: they want the world to know also that his 85-year-old mother Bella then was raped by his two ‘youthful’ black murderers and his physically-disabled wife Magriet mauled and kicked as she lay helplessly on the floor, unable to walk…
Beeld journalist Jana van der Merwe writes that Bella’s daughter-in-law Magriet was unable to help while the old woman was being deeply humiliated and brutalised by her son’s two youthful killers: Magriet is disabled and lame. The two frail women were found only 20 hours after their ordeal. "We want the world to know what horrors happened here,' said Mrs Anneline Steyn, the sister of the raped old Afrikaner woman, speaking to Beeld newspaper the next day.
This is quite a story. A man charged with unlawfully shooting and killing a grizzly bear in defense of his family, garnered so many supporters at his arraignment in U.S. District Court Tuesday that the judge had to move the hearing to a larger courtroom.
Even in the larger space, however, every seat was reportedly occupied as the man’s family, friends and neighbors vied for a place to show their support.
Jeremy M. Hill, 33, pleaded not guilty to killing the grizzly with a rifle on his 20-acre property near Porthill, Idaho, at the Canadian border.
Because the Endangered Species Act classifies the grizzly as a threatened species, Hill was charged with a misdemeanor.
The trial has been set for October 4 and Hill’s lawyer, Marc Lyons, said he plans to defend Hill on the basis of self-defense and protection of family.
Jeremy Hill’s father, Mike Hill, said his son was concerned for the safety of his children who were playing outside when the mother grizzly and her two cubs happened onto his property in May.
Hill has six children ranging in age from 14 years old to 10 months old and at least five were reportedly home when the grizzly appeared and was later killed.
Here are the 18 reports of police misconduct tracked in our National Police Misconduct News Feed for this Wednesday, August 24, 2011:
- A Woodford County IL deputy and at least 1 of 4 Washburn IL cops have been suspended while under investigation for two alleged excessive force incidents in 1 day including an incident that left one man hospitalized in critical condition.  http://on.msnbc.com/preNXL
- Columbia Heights MN cop is accused of bodyslamming a man into the pavement which left him with a brain injury but the officer claims that he just fell because he was drunk. However, the family claims that tests at the hospital found no traces of alcohol or drugs and the man’s injuries, including facial and neck fractures in addition to lower back injuries, seem too excessive to be attributed to a simple fall.  http://bit.ly/p4yen9
- A Stanislaus County CA deputy is the subject of a suit by a homeless woman claiming excessive force was used and policies ignored when the deputy’s police dog attacked her and left her with serious arm injuries after a chase sparked when police threatened to have her truck, that she lived in, towed. The K9 handler and his partner have apparently been involved in a number of questionable police dog attacks.  bit.ly/puHT5C
- Pittsburgh PA cop was found liable for unjustifiably dragging a man from a car & tasering him. However, the same jury that found him at fault only awarded him $269 to cover his initial medical bill.  bit.ly/q9WmrE
- Cook County IL jury acquitted a woman on wiretapping charges that were filed against her for recording her interview with two internal affairs officers who were trying to deter her from filing a complaint against an officer she accused of groping her while responding to her domestic disturbance call. Oddly, the status of that complaint is sealed so there’s no way to know if the officer was even investigated and it doesn’t sound like the two IA cops were investigated for trying to deter a complainant.  http://bit.ly/qIgtLx
- Baltimore MD settles suit for $30k to a woman who was injured while she was being arrested when she tried to stop her grandson who was yelling at police while they were arresting a suspected drug dealer.  http://bit.ly/qAZeCM
- An investigative AP report reveals info on New York NY police department’s secret spy agency that may be violating civil rights in their anti-terrorism espionage efforts which were apparently assisted by the CIA.  nydn.us/qqQsE7
- Tulsa OK cop was found guilty on 7 perjury & 2 deprivation of rights charges in a police corruption trial but the same jury found a second officer involved in that case not guilty.  bit.ly/n1Uj63
- Philadelphia PA cop pleads guilty to conspiracy & possession of steroids w/intent to distribute as part of a steroid ring which also involves 2 other officers still facing trial.  bit.ly/p2jMim
- Hollister CA police sergeant charged w/felony for allegedly embezzling $102k from the police union he lead until retiring  bit.ly/nYamEo
- Portland OR police capt with a history of disciplinary issues is now under investigation for an alleged off-duty road rage incident in Idaho where he displayed a gun.  bit.ly/nVOdU0
- Rutherford County TN deputy resigned while under investigated for allegedly pointing a gun at a man in a taxi while he was drunk  bit.ly/qE1Vao
- Washington Twp NJ cop was alleged to be behind the wheel of a car in a hit & run accident that left a pedestrian critically injured  bit.ly/pMuO7x
- Delaware River & Bay Authority police officer is accused of impersonating a state trooper & stealing another driver’s ID in an apparent road rage case  bit.ly/oeDZtS
- Henry Co GA cop was among 7 arrested on burglary charges for stealing over $700 worth of items from a home they mistakenly thought was foreclosed  bit.ly/qaqqVR
- Cordova IL cop arrested for intimidation when he supposedly told a businessman that he would make sure his 911 calls were ignored if he didn’t fire two employees he had a problem with.  bit.ly/qllM9M
- Aurora CO cop gets probation in a plea deal over an accident caused while street racing with 2 kids in his car  bit.ly/qFZNNA
- Jacksonville FL cop is suspected of driving drunk after he was involved in an accident on the way home from work in his police cruiser. Troopers say they smelled alcohol on his breath and found beer spilled on the floorboard of his cruiser.  bit.ly/p2cp4h
The situation in the Middle East -- highly volatile, complex, dangerous, and on-going for centuries -- should be impetus enough for Americans to want to completely extricate themselves from any Middle East oil dependency, not to mention Mexican and Venezuelan oil. There is a private Canadian company, TransCanada Corporation, that has applied for licenses and permits to bring oil from rich Canadian reserves to refineries in Texas via a new state-of-the-art pipeline with technologically new safety enhancements. The Keystone Project XL would be a boon to America’s crude oil imports, as the plan is to send 700,000 barrels-per-day (and up to 830,000 bpd if pumping capacity is increased) south to Texas refineries. However, it’s going to be up to the State Department to recommend an appropriate action to the President, as the pipeline crosses the border between Canada and the United States. Then, the project would either be approved or denied by the President alone via an executive order.
The North American-Made Energy Security Act, H.R. 1938, isn’t a piece of regular legislation that would create a law. It only directs the President to “expedite the consideration and approval of the construction and operation of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, and for other purposes.” The text of H.R. 1938 cites the fact that more than half of U.S. oil imports are from hostile countries and therefore disruptions in the geopolitical status of any of those countries would have devastating consequences for oil import levels and/or would lead to unacceptable increases in oil prices. It would behoove the U.S., in the interests of national security, to advance the Keystone XL pipeline.
The privately-funded $13 billion project’s length is almost 1,700 miles with a 36-inch underground pipeline running from Alberta, Canada, where the oil sands are located, extending southeast through Saskatchewan, Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas to Cushing, Oklahoma (part of the Keystone II project already in service since February 2011), before continuing through Oklahoma to a delivery point near existing terminals in Nederland, Texas, to serve the Port Arthur, Texas, marketplace. The State Department’s own newly-released report is favorable in its analysis, having incorporated every imaginable environmental impact study, and demographic and geographic study, into the findings that show it would have little environmental impact.
However, environmentalist pipeline protesters have been extremely vocal in their opposition and staged a protest at the White House, with 65 arrested over the weekend.They claim damaging spills are inevitable and predict horrible environmental effects will result. But the State Department’s report says, "Most spills would occur and be contained within or in close association with the proposed pipeline ROW [Right of Way] or associated infrastructure, including construction yards, pump stations, and maintenance yards. These spills would typically be very small (less than 42 gallons [1bbl]) and would likely be promptly cleaned up as required by federal, state, and local regulations." As explained in a Wall Street Journal article “Jobs in the Pipeline,” U.S. greens are demonizing “tar sands” as the origin of this oil similar to how they've treated Alaskan oil sources in their green mythology, and insist that obtaining oil from tar sands is greenhouse-gas intensive.
On the other hand, Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Green Peace, backs this oil exportation plan from Canada and counter-claims that green extremists are engaging in unfair propaganda. He explains in detail the numerous reasons why this oil is not “dirty,” that the steam cleaning is safe, the mining is safe, the transportation method the safest, and that it is also economically good for Canada and the U.S. Furthermore, if the U.S. President denies permission, the Canadians will sell the crude oil to China instead.
Our friendly neighbors to the north are the best choice for an oil trading partner. Contact your Representative and Senators and have them support this win-win oil pipeline project, one that would bring crude oil into the States safely, would greatly reduce our dependency on oil from dictatorships and hostile countries, and that would create over 13,000 new jobs, mostly union, and over 118,000 spin-off jobs. The individual states the pipeline would run through would see increased tax revenues and an increase in property tax collections. The Gulf Coast refineries would have lower transport costs, saving them approximately $473 million annually, which in turn would lead to lower gas prices. What's not to like?
On July 26 the House passed H.R. 1938 by a vote of 279 to 147. On July 28, H.R. 1938 was read for the second time in the Senate and placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders.
Your friends at The John Birch Society
John Shirley, our Texas Chapter President, has just learned that Charles Dyer turned himself in to some uniformed deputies in Fort Bent County, Texas, this morning, without incident. We consider this very good news. Now we just hope he has a fair trial with all the evidence considered, including new evidence supporting his innocence that has come to light (according to his family).
PS – those who wish to donate in support of his legal defense may do so by sending donations to:
A Brooklyn coin dealer died Tuesday after a group of thieves pummeled him near his shop and dumped his battered body a mile away, police sources said.
The men beat Halfon to a pulp, stuffed him in a black Volvo sedan and drove away, sources said. They dumped his body on East Seventh St. near Avenue N in Midwood and abandoned the car two blocks later, sources and a witness said.
"One guy gets out, covered in blood, and walks down the street like nothing happened," said a witness. The suspect threw his bloody T-shirt, a Yankees hat and a gray hoodie in a sewer before running away with the two others, the witness said.
A passing motorist spotted Halfon's body and called cops. He was taken to New York Community Hospital but couldn't be saved.
"He was a wonderful, wonderful man," said friend Harriet Arm."
It was not clear what the bandits got away with, but friends said Halfon had an impressive collection of gold and antique relics and always had a load of cash.
"He had the best coins," Arm said. "He had the goods. *This was a good hit for them."
No arrests were made.
* What a friend. With friends like that, who needs enemies?
Due to a re-prompt, once again, by Dedicated_Dad
Wars are seductive as women in the night. Past midnight in February of 1967 we stood, the platoon and I, on the flight line at El Toro Marine Air Station, gateway to Asia. On the tarmac big jets howled and moaned. The smell of burned jet fuel blew in the Pacific breeze. We felt the exhilaration of being part of something huge moving in the darkness, of going to the action, of leaving the mundane. The attraction of war verges on the lascivious. It gets into your blood.
And so we went. Young men always go. Always there is another war. Always there are reasons. In the past these were straightforward: lust, booty, excitement, empire, a way to escape the family yurt, sheer joyous combativeness, the king was bored. Not much has changed.
Long hours later we landed in the sweltering sauna of Danang with its gun emplacements and fwop-fwopping helo traffic and sun-baked Marines with slung rifles; 105s boomed in the distance. It was, in the vulgar but irreplaceable expression of the times, a mind-fuck. We weren't back on the block combing our hair for Sally Sue and facing a career at the NAPA outlet. We were real soldiers, who couldn't find Vietnam on a map, fighting VC who couldn't find Vietnam on a map. We didn't reflect on this. Marines fought. Somebody else decided who they fought.
Perspectives change. Later, for veterans who no longer had legs or eyes, who had lost their guts or become paras and quads, the splendor dimmed. I came home in a packed Medevac 141 with a guy slung above me sprouting tubes that led into bags. He died en route. Those who survived soon realized that in six months no one would care what they had gone through, yet they would spend the rest of their lives in the wheel chair. A colostomy bag, they found, was not a great conversation piece in a singles bar. For them, the war never went away.
Spend a year on a casualty ward. When the girlfriend of seventeen from Chattanooga finds that her Mikey is blind and doesn't precisely have a face, her expression is something to see. Or not to see. You can become disposed to ask: Is this war for anything? Or is it just a war?
Mostly they are just wars. Vietnam was just a war. We lost, and nothing happened. You might be surprised how many in the Disabled American Veterans quietly hate those who sent them.* Yes, I will get angry mail, from those fiercest of warriors, the 103rd Combat Virgins Division, grrr, bow-wow, woof, telling that that I am a commie and a coward and wear lace underwear. I'm impressed in advance.
Later, as a reporter, I spent a year between Saigon and Phnom Penh, leaving both cities with their evacuations. The Asia I saw in the complex warren off Truong Minh Ky was not the Asia of the GIs.** It was complex, variegated, enduring. I liked the Vietnamese. I still do. I am glad that we killed only a million of them.
This you must never say. Wars are better if you don't look too closely. Never, ever, think about what is actually happening.
The Americans believed, or said they believed, that we were battling the evil of communism to save the Vietnamese, who wouldn't even help. To this day former GIs hate the Viets for not being enthusiastic about the war, which in fact they weren't. They wanted the war to go away so they could grow rice.
The Right thunders and the Left squeaks over the motives of the war, each bleeding cataracts of virtue. I remember the succinct analysis of a Vietnamese girlfriend I lived with: "At night, VC steal our rice. In morning, Marines kill us for give rice VC."
They were ambivalent about having a half million gringos running around their country and blowing things up, such as themselves. The GIs never understood. They didn't know that when an artillery round killed a villager's wife, all the young men picked up rifles.
After the GIs left Saigon I returned to Southeast Asia as a reporter for Army Times. For a while I lived in a rooftop apartment on Jawaharlal Nehru Street in Phnom Penh with Steve Hedder, a young stringer for Time, and his Khmer wife Davi. With us were the twins, pretty, playful girls of sixteen perhaps who spoke reasonable English. They were the people with soft hands that Pol Pot would kill.
At night the smell of charcoal and flower trees drifted from neighboring roofs and people murmured in Khmer. Reporters--mostly stringers--lay on the roofs in a fog of gin and Nembutal and listened to the rockets whistle in from the swamps. When the KR took over, Steve and Davi got out. The twins didn't. I don't know how they died.
I will be told I have a bad attitude. You bet I do.
Years later I went back on a magazine assignment, and saw Toul Sleng.*** Once a high school in Phnom Penh, it was used by the KR as a place of torture. It had become a museum. On the walls were photos of those who died there. I couldn't remember the lone Caucasian's name, but I had seem him around town. A friend of mine who went back found the picture of his girlfriend.
Another time I returned to Vietnam, again on assignment. In Saigon the Continental Shelf was glassed in and air-conditioned, not necessarily an improvement. For two weeks I worked my way upcountry from Saigon to Vung Tau, Nha Trang, Hue, to Danang, near where I had been stationed. Marble Mountain had become a pleasant tourist stop with shops selling stone carvings.
Further north, Hanoi bustled with shops and the insane but invisibly ordered traffic of Asia. My pretty little governmentally-supplied guide asked whether I wanted to see the Ho Chi Minh museum. I said I'd rather have my teeth pulled. Oh, she said, apparently relieved, then let's just look at the city. We did. Nice place. I tried to remember what the war had been about.
As I say, it gets into you blood. For a couple of decades I worked as a military reporter. I liked the travel, the troops, the airplanes and ships. Eventually it wore thin. Over and over, in some place like remote Olancho province in Honduras, or Cuando Cubango in Angola, or this dusty clearing or that dusty clearing, the press would chopper out to be shown The Great Victory.
In the jungle would be three or four bedraggled bodies of teenagers fighting a shabby war for some dismal Marxist cause they couldn't spell, and a trove of captured weapons-couple of AKs, the stray M-16, maybe a FN/FAL or Galil. We were told it was progress. Some great cause was being served. Maybe it was. I got tired of seeing it.
Plus ca change, the more it doesn't.
If, in Phnom Penh, don't miss Martini's under any circumstance.
Phnom Penh 1994 - 1995Cambodia was nice during this time frame , and guns were allowed, but you couldn't take them into bars, so there was always a desk when you first came in to check your guns. All the goodies in life were cheap and available.
I used to go this place called Martini's in Phnom Penh which was out of this world. It opened around 10 at night until four. Great snacks, food, booze, indoor, outdoor, music, dancing. I met some Army guys there who were enlisted attached to the Embassy, and they had been trained in the North Vietnamese dialect which I found strange, but never could get to the bottom of it.