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There are times over the course of human events where a novel approach to a stalemate often causes a new direction to be taken.

Copernicus offered the earth revolved around the sun, as did Galleao.

Columbus offered the world was round, and that you could get East by sailing West.

Keynes offered that the best way to get an economy out of depression was to go to war (government spending)… and full employment would follow…

Reagan offered that the best way to raise the prosperity of all Americans, was to cut taxes for America’s wealthiest few… (Yes, I had to throw some humor in the mix…)…

The point is not whether each was successful or not, it is that each fundamental different view of the way the world worked, created a new synergy toward approaching that old world’s daily problems. As new horizons opened, the old problems didn’t seem that important anymore.

So thinking clearly about education. What do we need?

It has become apparent that a lot of what our education espouses is unnecessary. Mostly todays deciders, the evolutionary decendants of the old “textbook” committees, all have their own interests in deciding what goes into textbooks.”

It is as if they are more concerned with that their side gets their propaganda in as opposed to whether or not their kids learn….

Are we more concerned that our kids learn black history, than how to speak professionally? One would think so; we certainly don’t have a “How To Speak Professionally” Month.

Are we more concerned that our kids suffer through Disability Awareness Sessions than how to add two numbers together? Is October officially “Higher Math Month?”

Do we have a “Vocabulary” or “Spelling Bee” Month? We have one for the “March for The Arts in Education….”

One of the first lessons taught in Management 101, is that you get what you focus on… Meaning that in the workplace, if you are looking for results in “speed on the line” and you begin talking it up, and rewarding your top performers rather handsomely, you are going to get… “speed on the line”… Of course, it will come… at the expense of something else.. perhaps quality, or safety, or cost… But, you will get speed on the line, if that is what you focus on…

The second lesson of Management 101, is that time is finite. You cannot make unlimited demands. If you ask that time be spent on one aspect, there will be an aspect that gets ignored for lack of time to be spent on it….

Both these tenants are missing from today’s education. Both were present in the days of one room school houses, who were forced by economic reality to sandwich all learning between a lull in the crops….

Currently we try to teach too much… It is called “starbursting”… A little here, a little there, but when all comes to putting pencil to paper, there is nothing there…

Our global competition, is so far behind us, they are focusing solely on the basics. and because of that, … beating us where it counts the most; attracting global investment….

No business will move into Delaware because the workforce knows who Harriet Tubman is…

AP– In Munich Germany, Siemans announce they would be building a new factory in Delaware, employing up to 5,000 workers. Peter Loscher, President and CEO, said that the amount of Black History Education received by the local workforce in their early years was the prime reason for choosing Delaware as their newest manufacturing location.

Hmmm, maybe I was wrong; perhaps we do need Black History taught in all our grades, to attract even more jobs.

Point is, I have nothing against Black History. That is a niche subject. One a graduate student might thoroughly like to study.

The question I am throwing out, is Black History Awareness so important, that it should take time away from reading, math, and writing…..

The usual rebuttal to this question, particularly from those who have had experience in “upper New Castle County” Public School Classrooms, is: we have to make school interesting for our students, so we need these distractions.

If you need distractions to make children come to school, why not just show R-rated videos in class? Oh……… you already do.

No, what you need… is you need to make math fun… So people will learn it… Why can’t you make math fun?

Then you get the list of complaints.
WE get bad rating by our supervisor if we make the class too fun.
WE get held accountable by our supervisor if we don’t cover all the proper agenda.
WE get held accountable by our supervisor if we don’t have rigid quiet in our classrooms.
OUR supervisors don’t care whether our student’s learn. They just care they get no parental complaints.
WE have too many things we are required to cover, and just when the kid almost are getting it, we have to switch to another subject. WE never get to time to close the deal.
WE get pulled away by too many distractions. WE have meetings where we have to attend, and our class sits with a procter, who is incapable of answering questions.
WE have to interrupt class at a moments notice for announcements over the speaker. Instantly WE have to go back to the beginning of our lesson and start again, since their attention got lost.

Point is, no one, except for those at the top, cares if children learn…. I mean, of course they “care”, but they do not set up the day to day operations to make that happen….

Here are some quick fixes…

Go to three courses

Reading.

Writing.

Arithmetic.

Depending on the level of each student, they can determine the distance they want to go in each of those three….

But that is the core… Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic…. Every day for twelve years, our public schools will teach reading, writing, and Arithmetic…

Those interested can pursue each discipline further. Calculus, European History, and Program Writing… should be options for those who have the talent.

But the basics get covered….

I know very few people in my professional circle who daily use calculus in their daily lives… They pull out a calculator.

Point is, we don’t need many people who know how to calculate. WE do need people who know how to build calculators….. And that is where Americans have lost their focus.

How does a microboard work? How does one fix it? How does one make it faster? How does one make the next jump in microboards?

In the past, only scholars studied. The rest of the population existed by making things….. and living off that process. As a consequence, back then, the common folk did not read or write…

WE don’t have to go that far back. Just give everyone a public education that covers the basics; reading, writing, and arithmetic….

With these tools, and the opportunity, they can then go as far as their dreams can carry them….

One of America’s finest colleges and universities used to publicly boast. “We don’t teach our students the answers; we teach them where to go to FIND the answers…”

That makes a lot of sense.

Such are the battles that take place over the cirriculum. In the meantime, we have math taught out of textbooks not even the principal author (they’re done by committee) understands….

WE need,

To know how to read.
How to multiply and divide.
How to write so others know what we want, we need, we feel. In other words we need the tools to express ourself…

Everything else is extra….

Every Republican lives in fear… They go about their lives, hoping no one finds the truth… They fear one day, all will be revealed.. They fear that Delawareans will one day learn the truth… So they use their wealth to spin their lies, and huddle like scurvy little spiders… sucking the juices out past year’s kills…

Delaware woke up this morning to find Ginger Gibson got there first… Like Frodo in the cave of Shelob, a brilliant light seared their retina’s as the first rising Republican casually glanced over the News Journal page this morning… There for all to see…. Critics say GOP abused its perks: Shocking’ expenses slashed in Del. House!

First one call to Westover, then two calls, then four.. Soon, the phones began ringing all over Republican land… ” Wake up! Get digging! This is bad! We’re Doomed! Damage Control! Who squealed!” although for some reason the calls never made it as far north as Yorklyn… Heard all over Republican land, were these word muttered under every Republican’s breath… “That damned Spence… Why did he have to put his name on all those checks…”

Spiders everywhere retreated to their den… Holed up… Hibernating till 2016……

House Republicans who could knowledgeably dispute the facts would not be interviewed for this article. Spence did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Republican Party Chairman Tom Ross said he couldn’t speak to specific allegations but characterized them as partisan attacks likely fueled by election-year politics.

Absolutely… Which is why it is always important when listening to a Republican, to click on links… Like this one to the side of Ginger’s story…..

It is addressed to Vincent Lofink,

Dear Mr. Lofink:

As recommended in a report from the State Auditor’s Office, I am writing to ask that you reimburse the House of Representatives for tuition reimbursements you received while serving as a state representative… The total amount you were reimbursed is $12,124.50.

Since this is a partisan attack fueled by election year politics one would assume the State Auditor would be of the opposite party…. What, the state auditor is a Republican?

Oh, my…. He’s a Republican.

… and since he took the Republican House leadership to task, he is apparently a damned good Republican too… By rough calculation, I’d be guessing he, Kilroy, and Rsmitty are the only three good one’s left…. JoAnne might still be one of them, I don’t really know anymore… And Hastings, I don’t want to forget.

Obviously Delaware’s State Republican Party is still not familiar with how to act within the light of open government … Am I the only one remembering how they tried to take credit for being the only ones truly supportive of opening the General Assembly to FOIA?

Probably. :)

This is a guessing game. It’s supposed to be fun. You do the guessing. I’ll reveal the answer at some point in the future. Bottom line, I am interested in how this plays out. (To keep answers out of moderation, no links please.) You may use the categories above for some helpful hints, but knowing me, don’t expect to find the answer that easily.) :)

1) Foreign policy/defense: I want American imperialism rolled back and American interventionism halted, as the same time we begin to pull free from the military/industrial complex by slashing the budgets for defense and homeland security to reasonable levels.

2) Civil libertarian issues: I want to see gay marriage legalized; drugs decriminalized; Real ID abolished; the Patriot Act gutted; and immigrants viewed as human beings. I want intrusive government the hell out of my life.

3) Fiscal sanity: I want a government that stops growing and taking an ever-expanding bite out of my paycheck; I want to see wasteful programs cut, and to have Congress faced with the same sort of imperative the Delaware General Assembly had to face this year: balancing the budget.

In a surprising statement, a retired Lt. Col. has asked troops to obey their credo: duty , honor, country if ever asked to fly into Iran and drop weapons.

“I contend that should some civilian order you to initiate a nuclear attack on Iran (for example), you are duty-bound to refuse that order. I might also suggest that you should consider whether the circumstances demand that you arrest whoever gave the order as a war criminal.” (Dr., Lt. Col. Bob Bowman)

In an open letter to a new generation of military officers, he asks that they remember the last word of their oath:

Our oath of office is to “protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

Since Congress, whom this retired Lt. Col has implored, is as a body, spineless as our representative Mike Castle, and completely incapable of applying the emergency brakes to this runaway train, he has implored the last residual of spine left in America, the boys and girls in uniform. It is still possible that reason will prevail, and this administration will be shut down, once and for all.

There seems to be some confusion surrounding the recent bomber incident. When I first heard the story break, while driving home listening to Allan Loudell on WDEL, there were five nuclear warheads missing. Later, while on line, I researched the story and there were indeed 5 nuclear warheads discovered in Barksdale under the wings of a B-52, loaded on 5 decommissioned cruise missiles.

Two days later, poking around for anything new, I saw the total was updated to 6 nuclear warheads…..My focus was elsewhere and I paid it no mind. Today, looking for news on the Air Combat Command’s stand down, I realized something had been overlooked……

Essentially this: “Hello, do you know you have 5 nuclear warheads sitting under a B-52 in Barksdale? ” Let us check: “yep, there they are.” Now two days later: Minot, can you comment on the 5 nuclear warheads taken from your base? You mean six? There were 6 warheads on that plane.” “OK, we’ll update that to six….Can you comment sir?……..”

Most people who have direct experience with nuclear weapons, tell me the safeguards are too redundant for anyone to accidentally load these weapons. The probability for an accidental loading is decreased exponentially by the fact that there are no conventional warheads that fit this missile. That is in fact why this missile is being decommissioned, in favor of dual capacity missiles.

Those who think accidents can happen, do not understand the systems in place to make sure they do not happen. Here is the declassified version of the standard operating procedure for the loading of a nuclear weapon.

A sophisticated computerized tracking system is used for nuclear weapons. Multiple sign-offs are required to remove the weapons from their storage bunkers.

The AGM-129 Advanced Cruise Missile was designed to carry nuclear weapons. No non-nuclear warhead is available for this missile. So the only possible error could have been loading nuclear warheads on the missiles instead of practice dummies.

The practice warheads have standard blue and yellow signs declaring “Inert, non-nuclear”. The nuclear warheads have at least three distinctive red warning signs. This error is therefore highly improbable, absent tampering with signage.

Nuclear weapons are transported from the storage bunker to the aircraft in a caravan that routinely includes vehicles with machine guns front and rear and guards with M-16s. All steps in the process are done under the watchful eyes of armed military police.

Rules require that at least two people jointly control every step of the process. If one person loses sight of the other, both are forced to the ground face-down and temporarily “placed under arrest” by observant security forces. All progress stops until inspections are made to assure the weapons weren’t tampered with.

All nuclear weapons are connected to sophisticated alarm systems to prevent removal or tampering. They could only be removed from the storage bunker by turning the alarm off. And the squad commander clearly would not have authority to turn off the alarm.

So without question, the loading of these nuclear tipped missiles was done directly under orders. For the record here is the Pentagons explanation.

The Air Force admitted to an inadvertent error: The intent was to transport ACMs without weapons. According to military officers, the nuclear warheads should have been removed before the missiles were mounted on the pylons under the wings of the bomber.

Now, you the reader, square that official explanation with the standard operating procedure directly above it. In doing so, keep in mind this group, the 5th Wing, received a citation this past March for its safety record. Something does not stack up……………..

But something even more surprising occurred. The mistake was admitted. Not only that, it was emphasized by a system wide stand down, September 14th, to draw emphasis to it. All this fuss over something the public didn’t know or apparently care deeply about, since as a nation we have implicit trust in the competence of our military.

So was this intended to be a message? It appears so. The disciplinary actions placed upon the officers and men of Minot, could be described as paid vacation…..quickly rescinded at some future time. Talk and no actions. Sounds to me like a message being sent…..

If so, to whom? The speculation of course is that Iran is the target. In fact it would fit right into the Cheney play book for them to think we had nuclear weapons on standby ready to carpet bomb their Natanz nuclear laboratory.

Talk about negotiating with an ace in your hand…..

However there is another scenario that must be considered. That is the fact that every time this administration has had their back against the wall, they always bring up the concept of a nuclear weapon exploding in one of our cities.

As the republicans poll number edge closer to zero, perhaps soon to go into negative territory (lol), perhaps the explosion of a nuclear device in a Liberal city (Boston? or San Francisco?), might appear within the context of their bunker mentality, to be the lesser of two evils………..

Ridiculous as such an assertion may be, it certainly crosses every American’s mind, as evidenced by the length of time such figments of fiction stay upon the world’s best seller lists……..

Diligence is required to insure that it stays in the realm of fiction. And speaking of diligence, …..does anyone know what happened to that missing nuclear warhead, you know, the one that left Minot, but was not found in Barksdale?

Did someone in this administration just steal a 150 kiloton warhead?

Just outside Liberty College in Lynchburg, Virginia is sounding, more and more, like the safest place to live…….

Finally found the original source on this. However there has been an update.

“It was originally reported that five nuclear warheads were transported, but officers who tipped Military Times to the incident who have asked to remain anonymous since they are not authorized to discuss the incident, have since updated that number to six.”

So it was indeed officers who tipped off the Military Times, as was speculated here. But wait! I am confused……which officers? For in the original story posted back on September 5th, we were told that Minot did not even realize nuclear warheads were missing, until they were confirmed as having landed at Barksdale, and once there, they sat unnoticed on the tarmac for ten hours until the Military Times verified they were indeed there. So by default, it was 1) neither officers at Minot, nor 2) the officers at Barksdale who were responsible for alerting the Military Times. And from what we understand, none of the officers aboard the plane knew they were flying “hot”.

The obvious implication from that one statement is that “somewhere out there” were other officers, privy to this transgression which violated nuclear weapons parameters, and were horrified enough to blow the whistle. Whether these warheads were sanctioned for removal by someone in the White House for official business, or were being smuggled out by an unscrupulous arms dealer for profit, it is obvious that all established protocol had been ignored in their transference.

“That’s perhaps what is most worrisome about this particular incident — that apparently an individual who had command authority about moving these weapons around decided to do so,” said Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists.

“It’s a command and control issue and it’s one that calls into question the system, because if one individual can do that who knows what can happen,” he said. According to the Military Times:

Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, said a host of security checks and warning signs must have been passed over, or completely ignored, for the warheads to have been unknowingly loaded onto the B-52…..“It’s not like they had nuclear ACMs and conventional ACMs right next to each other and they just happened to load one with a nuclear warhead,” Kristensen said……The Defense Department uses a computerized tracking program to keep tabs on each one of its nuclear warheads, he said. For the six warheads to make it onto the B-52, each one would have had to be signed out of its storage bunker and transported to the bomber. Diligent safety protocols would then have had to been ignored to load the warheads onto the plane, Kristensen said……All ACMs loaded with a nuclear warhead have distinct red signs distinguishing them from ACMs without a nuclear yield, he said. ACMs with nuclear warheads also weigh significantly more than missiles without them………

Even though some officers knew that the plane was flying “hot”, the plane was allowed to fly SOP (Standard Operating Procedure). “The main risk would have been the way the Air Force responded to any problems with the flight because they would have handled it much differently if they would have known nuclear warheads were on board,” Steve Fetter, a former Defense Department official who worked on nuclear weapons policy in 1993-94, said.

The Air Force has disciplined those involved. Along with the 5th Munitions Squadron commander, the munitions crews involved in mistakenly loading the nuclear warheads at Minot have been temporarily decertified from performing their duties involving munitions, pending corrective actions or additional training,

It is quite possible that it was a simple mistake; someone did not know exactly what they were doing. (This error ironically comes after the Air Force announced last March, that the 5th Bomb Wing won two service wide safety awards during fiscal year 2006.)

Were it truly a mistake then it would be the first time in 39 years, since 1968, that it has been public that a nuclear warhead has flown on a US bomber. Nuclear weapons are normally transferred on special cargo planes, carefully constructed to contain radioactivity in the event of a crash; never on the wings of bombers.

According to Kristensen, the error could not have come from confusing the Advanced Cruise Missile with a conventional weapons since no conventional form exists. The munitions Airmen should have been easily able to spot the mistake. Other routine procedures were violated which awkwardly suggests a rather obvious explanation for the error. The military munitions personnel were acting under direct orders, though not under those passed down through the regular chain of military command.

The quick reaction of the Air Force, the issuing of a public statement describing the seriousness of the issue, and the launch of an immediate investigation, all suggest that whatever occurred, was outside the regular chain of military command extending from Gates downward.

If the regular chain of command was indeed bypassed, then we have no choice but to inquire as to whether the B-52 incident was part of a covert project, whose classification level exceeded those held by the very officers in charge of nuclear weapons at Minot. Some traits point out, that this was indeed a secret transference of nuclear warheads, known only to a select few within the military service. For 1) in this case, protocol was violated at Minot in not signing out the nuclear warheads, 2) was violated by installing “the red caps” under the B52, and 3) was violated by flying unrestricted between the airbases. Quite possibly, solely because of the tip provided by patriotic and non-corrupt officers, someone’s attempt to garnish 6 nuclear warheads was foiled.

After taking a hard look, all other explanations make little sense. Based on what we learned today, we do know this. Decommissioned nuclear warheads, as we were told these were, are to be taken to Kirtland AFB, where according to Kristensen, ” the warheads are separated from the rest of the weapon and shipped to the Energy Department’s Pantex dismantlement facility near Amarillo, Texas”

Instead, the plane flew to Barksdale, which just happens to be a major embarkation point for the Middle East. The speculation most in line with the current events happening today……… is that these advanced cruise missiles armed with nuclear warheads, were on their way to the Middle East, to be used, if necessary, against the underground nuclear labs of Iran…..

So what does it boil down to? Three officers may have stopped nuclear weapons going to the Middle East, by alerting the Military Times to some discrepancies in an otherwise routine landing of another B52 in Barksdale.

I know its strange;  our orders say Barksdale

Hube is married to a Latina. Chavez is also a Latina. It may seem hard to believe, but based on evidence to the contrary, it could be possible that Hube supports the policies of Chavez. Even up to a whopping !% chance that he does. IT COULD BE POSSIBLE.

Mike M is familiar with geo positioning technology. In the wrong hands, that could be dangerous. He has recently returned from Canada, which has less stringent border requirements than does the US. There could be a chance that he spoke with someone about sensitive technology. Perhaps even a gigantic 1% chance that it possibly could have happened. BUT STILL, IT COULD BE POSSIBLE.

Randy, has left WGMD. Sometimes a personal event can change a person’s perspective. He is knowledgeable of radio technology. That knowledge in the wrong hands, could be dangerous. Perhaps there is even a 1% chance that he will instigate some type of disruptive event. You say it is far fetched. I say THERE IS A POSSIBILITY!

Congressman Mike Castle has supported the war in Iraq. despite the fact that it removes resources devoted to finding Bin Laden in Northwestern Waziristan. Why would someone WANT TO LET UP pressure on America’s number one terrorist, if that person wasn’t being a sympathizer to Al Qaeda’s cause? What other reason would representative Mike Castle have for aiding and abetting Bin Laden? The chances are possible that he is a mole, operating not to defend the Constitution, but under code from a lanky Arab who climbs over rocks and shoots a gun……(at least that is all we ever see him do…) You laugh, but look at the results. There is at least, if one rounds up, a 1% chance that congressman Mike Castle is helping Al Qaeda. IT COULD BE POSSIBLE.

Dave at FSP supported McCain in 2000, and now supports Mitt. Anyone who supports Mitt Romney is aware of his views on Iraq. His sons have not joined any branch of the Armed Services…. Does that mean that secretly, Mitt does not want them fighting and killing terrorists? By default, anyone who does not want to fight or kill Al Qaeda, must want them to live. Therefore anyone who WANTS a terrorist to live, is being supportive of their cause. Dave, who supports Mitt, who supports his sons’ decisions. which indirectly support sparing the lives of terrorists, could be considered a co-conspirator. At least there could be, again rounded up, a 1% CHANCE THAT IT IS SO.

The Cheney doctrine is as follows: Even if there’s just a 1 percent chance of the unimaginable coming due, act as if it is a certainty. It’s not about ‘our analysis,‘ as Cheney said. It’s about ‘our response.’ … Justified or not, fact-based or not, ‘our response’ is what matters. As to ‘evidence,’ the bar was set so low that the word itself almost didn’t apply.

You laugh, but look at those arrested so far on terroristic charges. Granted it is hard to arrest, and prove intent before a crime has been committed. Sometimes the flimsiest of evidence is necessary to proffer a conviction. And sometimes the evidence is stretched a little too thin. We are fortunate that ultimately our actions will be judged, not by government officials, but by twelve citizens culled from a pool of those who could not escape their jury notices. We are fortunate that members from such a group would be skeptical of the government’s infallibility.

But acting on the possibility of 1% chance of a terrorist attack, as we demonstrated in the above examples, crosses the line that differentiates the reasonable from the unreasonable.

The underlying tenet that makes unthinking Americans susceptible and willing to believe this nonsense,.. is that on an emotional basis, it makes sense. After all, I still vaccinate my children for diseases they have less than a 1% chance of exposure.

However that being granted, the simplistic doctrine of “if at least 1 percent, then act becomes especially frightening in the context of international conflicts, not just because of the number of threats misconstrued to meet the 1 percent threshold is overwhelmingly large, but because the consequences of misconstrued military action are so terrible, expensive, and irrevocable.

Therefore the emotional argument turns against the 1% doctrine. What do we have to give up to maintain such an unrealistic level of security? Here are some examples……….

At the last Drinking Liberally, I ordered a Heineken. Across the bar was a Miller Lite drinker, dressed conservatively, who glared at me. I deduced there was more than a 1% chance he would give me trouble…….I shot him.

My wife visited the Doctor. “Anything wrong” he asked and she said “I woke up with this scratchy throat. It could be allergies.” He said it could be cancer and if it is, we don’t have time for conclusive tests. Begin chemotherapy now, just in case.

The leader of the free world, conferred with his second in command. The consensus was that they could attack a third world nation intent on building a nuclear weapon before the leader’s term was up. Just as in the last engagement, no one worked through the possible consequences of their drastic action. Perhaps Russia will retaliate with a nuclear attack of their own. There is at least a 1% chance of Armageddon.

As Cheney said. “It’s about ‘our response.’ … Justified or not, fact-based or not, ‘our response’ is what matters.

So impeach now.

Those we should really fear

What a difference between Fox News, a stupid ass propaganda machine, and Fox TV. As a “24” buff, I am holding out hope that old adage of “the last is always the best”, holds true again…….. But whereas that television show always illustrates just how easily terrorists can invade our daily lives, the terrorists are always……and the key word is always, controlled by someone within the White House. The enemy turns out to be someone representing corporate America, …our friend……How prophetic…

So in my effort to write a sequel to “24” that mirrors real life, I decided to investigate a company that has shown up on our radar screens almost as frequently as Halliburton: Bechtel. The one good thing about Bechtel is that it is based in San Francisco. ( I did that for my friends on the right…..) Otherwise it seems like it could provide a conduit for a weapon of mass destruction as demonstrated in “24” that could sufficiently to do enough damage to cement martial law and provide Americans with their own version of Fidel Castro. Fortunately ours would talk less.

Perhaps if you knew what I just learned, it would sound a little less far-fetched……

Bechtel participated in the building of Hoover Dam in the 1930s. It has also had involvement in several other high profile construction engineering projects, including the Channel Tunnel, numerous power projects, refineries, and nuclear power plants, BART, Jubail Industrial City and Kingdom Centre and Tower in Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong International Airport, the Big Dig, the rebuilding of the civil infrastructure of Iraq funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the hauling and installing of more than 35,000 trailers and mobile homes for Hurricane Katrina victims in Mississippi.

The company, which guards its privacy religiously, and is closely allied to power, is often the target of accusations by journalists and politicians, in need of a corporation to pick on…..

As of 2001, a darker sinister side of Bechtel has arisen. Recently, the company has come under criticism for the alleged mismanagement of the Big Dig project, its financial links to the bin Laden family, and the manner in which it received Iraqi rebuilding contracts after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. Politicians in the United States and in Europe have made accusations of cronyism between the George W. Bush administration and Bechtel. It seems that anywhere in the world one finds a oil, power, or water producing facility, Bechtel is there.

Just how moral and ethical is this corporation?

Recently in Bolivia Bechtel received the rights to provide water to the city Cochabamba, Bolivia’s third largest. Shortly thereafter, water rates in that city went up an average of about 200 percent, an action which resulted in the Cochabamba protests of 2000. Many had to withdraw their children from school and stop using doctors because of higher costs for water. Martial law was declared, and Bolivian police killed at least 6 people and injured over 170 protesters. Amidst Bolivia’s nationwide economic collapse and growing national unrest over the state of the economy, the Bolivian government withdrew the water contract. Bechtel sued the Bolivian government for breaking the contract…….

Back on the home front, in a contract that should have been broken but wasn’t, Bechtel received over 660 million to rebuild Iraq. Most of the Iraqi anger focused on the US today, is a direct result of work that was promised, but never done…..However, they took the money…..

In America at least 7 of its executives have sat in cabinet positions or on governmental blue ribbon panels. These include one secretary of defense and one secretary of state. The company is extremely close to the Saudi Arabian royal family and maintains very close ties to the Bin Laden family.

But the scariest scenario is one of which I was completely unaware until browsing around today. Bechtel is the controlling partner of the Los Alamos Nuclear Weapons center in Bill Richardson’s home state of New Mexico.

It started with political dissatisfaction over the University of California’s opposition to the Iraq war, that led the Department of Energy to open its contract away from the University, to bids from other vendors in 2003. Although the university and the laboratory have had difficult relations many times since their first World War II contract, this was the first time that the university has ever had to compete for management of the laboratory. The University of California decided to create a private company with the Bechtel Corporation, Washington Group International, and the BWX Technologies to bid on the contract to operate the laboratory. The UC/Bechtel lead corporation – Los Alamos National Security, LLC (LANS) – was pitted against a team formed by the University of Texas System partnered with Lockheed-Martin. In December 2005, the Department of Energy announced that LANS had won the next seven-year contract to manage and operate the laboratory.

So on June 1, 2006, the University of California ended its 60 years of direct involvement in operating Los Alamos National Laboratory, and management control of the laboratory was taken over by the Bechtel offshoot. Approximately 95% of the former 10,000 who were not democrats, plus UC employees at Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory were rehired by the Bechtel offshoot, LANS to continue working at the laboratory. Other than the University of California appointing three members to the eleven member board of directors that oversees LANS, the university now has virtually no responsibility or direct control.

University of California policies and regulations that used to apply to UC campuses and its two national laboratories in California (Lawrence Berkeley and Lawrence Livermore) no longer apply to LANL

Just how secure is Los Alamos? Apparently from the outside it is secure. But from the inside,  a different scenario emerges. Whether at the “Big Dig” site in Boston, or the plains of Iraq, this company is not well know for its strict oversight and reputation for safety. Now, a corporation that is awarded contracts, earning billions wherever massive destruction occurs, is itself in charge of controlling a large amount of America’s uranium inventory. Soon, if it hasn’t started already, trucks are to begin transporting this fissionable material to a different secure location hidden in an undisclosed Nevada desert; how much will you bet that not all of it will reach its destination? With a price over 2 billion dollars an ounce, you think it will all make the journey intact?

I wouldn’t bet on it…..

So it appears that this administration, which is so desperately seeking to hang on, not only to its power, but to its historical place in annuals of time, now, has through it’s close friends in Bechtel, access to very means needed to create its own Reichstag fire, and using that excuse to declare martial law and seize power: this time, unfortunately killing thousands upon thousands of American citizens.

Far fetched? Perhaps….but it is not as far fetched as one would like……..

Recently Charlie Rose had a conversation on camera with Richard Holebrooke.

Two important things came out of that conversation.

One, was that there can be no peace in the Middle East that is not directly organized, driven, and followed through upon by the United States government.

Two: was that there can be no peace in the Middle East that does not involve Iran.

Therefore, if any administration is seriously interested in Middle East Peace, then the United States and Iran need to hammer it out. Such an agreement would have far reaching effects over the entire region, even upon the settling of the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

This may be unsettling for those who only get their information from newspapers. Their wing nuts are sure to call out….B.b.b.but Iran supports terrorism.

Perhaps they forget that the US did the same, under the context of containing the soviets. But since many often loosely throw out the word “terrorists”, let us first define exactly what the word means itself? Who defines a terrorist? The winners right? Were the Viet Cong terrorists or were they freedom fighters? No one mentions the difference now. Were the Contras terrorists or were they freedom fighters? No one mentions the difference now. Were the Afghans freedom fighters, or were they terrorists? The soviets and us, each had diametrically opposite opinions.

Anyone who has seen this cannot truthfully say that Iran is the evil empire of Mordor. Even though we are told one thing by our administration, when we look at raw intelligence we see that Iran is quite different from the picture painted by some Republicans pontificating before a session of joint congress.

Most of the harsh talk condemning Iran, if one looks hard enough, is financially traceable back to Big Oil. Still they are smarting from the nationalization of their oil based infrastructure that occurred as the US was being thrown out in 79. Need proof? Compare the votes of those who shake their fists at Iran, with those votes recommended by the Petroleum lobbyists. They are in lock step.

Iran was hurting under our relationship. The population responded by rallying around the best person who had a shot of ridding their country of the despotic ruler. Khomeini succeeded, and the US interests were tossed out.

But if one looks into Iran today, one can find that they have two political parties just like we do, and that they…. have close elections too.

Besides religious fanatics, Iran is full of moderates and liberals as well. It’s citizens are clever, industrious, patriotic, as well as artistic. They tend to think for themselves. And right now, their best bet for security from any of the giants around them, is to build a nuclear weapon. Even while this administration has painted them as dark and evil, they have helped us in the recent past. They receive credit for easing our way into southern Afghanistan. That engagement was too easy and over too quickly. Iranians should also be given credit for Karzai; it was their insistence that the Afghans listened to, not ours, and what could have been a long conflict, was settled quickly. We have also heard rumors that they gave Zarqawi to us in Iraq. We kindly thanked them by naming them in the axis of evil, by sending three carrier groups to their doorstep, and by lambasting them internationally……….

Some of the problem of dialog lies with Iran. But any discussion takes two parties. And the US needs to get off its high horse and start finding common ground with the Iranians. Iran controls Hesbollah; the US influences Israel. Great dividends are possible if todays blocked avenues are reopened and risks are again taken.

What America needs is a strong leader: one who is willing to stand in Iraq at the border of Iran. and say: People of Iran, ….tear down this wall you have built against the United States. But to be believable,….. that leader must not stink of oil……..
Beauty of Iran is often neglected
Hope on the Iranian horizon.

When Johnson fired Edwin Stanton back in ’68, Radical republicans decided that this firing violated the Tenure of Office Act , and politically inspired, they drew up impeachment proceedings against then president, Andrew Johnson. It was 1868. Based on party lines the vote looked good and most republicans were casting straws to see who would become the next president.

Their plans came to a quick end when one of their own, Edmund Ross, refused to lay down the deciding vote. He voted no on impeachment. ” I looked down at my open grave.” is is often commented as saying.

As one commentator remarked, the political climate in ’68 was so divisive that Andrew Johnson would have been impeached for “stepping on a dog’s tale”. The Republicans had been looking for a chance to impeach for over a year and finally had their opportunity. One man, Edmund Ross, went against his party, for a higher ideal. He believed the president should be allowed to hire and fire whom he pleased. He also believed that just because Congress was of a different political stripe, one did not fire the president for a minor trumped up charge.

A similar republican attempt occurred in ’98. This time it was 1998 with Bill Clinton. The charge was masqueraded as a perjury violation, but really it was a political move designed by republicans to sully the most popular president ever. It failed. Furthermore public opinion backfired upon Republicans who themselves heavily lost popularity points and many of those who were instrumental in its prosecution, became the butts of public jokes. Americans refused to buy into the philosophy that their president should be impeached for something that goes on in most American homes every day.

Ironically both times impeachment processes have been initiated in our nation’s history, they were 1) initiated by republicans and 2) done so for purely political reasons……..

With the clear view of hindsight, one could argue that perhaps the republicans knowingly went through the Clinton impeachment process so that their following president could break the law and not have to be impeached. It is unlikely that it was planned as such, but that is exactly what happened.

The best protection Bush/Cheney has against impeachment, is the recent memory of the folly of the last one 9 years ago.

Surely we do not want to go through with that process again. Or do we?

Let’s apprise our current situation and see where we stand.

When one US attorney refused to strip black voters off the registration forms in Missouri, he was removed. His replacement promptly did just that. It was irrelevant. They hate Bush so much in Missouri, that his candidate lost anyway. Manipulating an election. Not a crime.

During the 2000 election huge, monstrous contributions went into the Bush campaign treasury from BP, Exxon, Mobil, Texaco, and Chevron. For this, they were promised exclusive rights to the oil lying just under the sand in Iraq. It was tough but a war was created that put us over top of those sands. We are in the process of getting the Oil PSA’s some cover by having them legitimized by our puppet government, despite total Iraqi opposition. Those PSA’s will allow those companies to extract the oil for free up to amortization, then pay royalties on only 30% thereafter. Bribery perhaps? Not a crime.

Currently a member of the White house staff was forbidden to testify before Congress. Today it was learned that a warning went out: any judge or attorney who attempted to file a contempt of Congress charge on any White House staff member, would be fired………Embarrassing, perhaps? But not a crime.

The language for impeachment is specific. It must be for either “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors. ” Precedent has shown that finding a little rule broken, does not constitute a high crime or misdemeanor. If impeachment is to carry, if done by the Democrats, it needs to be done right. Impeachment is a serious action and all its consequences need to be taken seriously.

Do we impeach Bush, or Bush and Cheney. Will the perspective of Pelosi as chief executive hurt, or help Bush’s case before the Senate.

Are the crimes that serious? Impeachment should be reserved for someone who accumulates power and refuses to listen to either 1) Congress, 2) the Judicial Branch, or 3) the American people. When once we have determined that we have a president like that, then it will be time to impeach…………….

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