Saturday, April 5, 2014

Chile's top cop called down for alleged murder of teen

Former national police are calling for the resignation of General Director of “Carabineros” over his alleged assassination of a 14 year old child, Sergio Williams Albornoz Matus, during the Pinochet dictatorship of the 1980s. Chile's Carabineros are the national police force. .

If I understand the accusations correctly, Gustavo Gonzalez Jure, the nation's chief of police, allegedly killed the lad himself, then counted on the protection of his father, one General Gonzalez, who was nicknamed “El Huaso.”

El Huaso
El Huaso has two meanings in Chilean Spanish: 1) a typical Chilean cowboy or country person or, 2) someone uneducated or out of touch with city life. I can't help thinking of the American term,“redneck” as an equivalent. El Huaso = The Redneck
Serious doubts
Panorama News was quoted as saying that “serious doubts existed” concerning the role of Chile's number one cop in the homicide of the 14 year old youth, which occurred during a protest against the dictator, Pinochet, on August 30 of 1988, in the commune/community of Granja. (Granja is south of Santiago. Panorama News is a project of BBC, British Broadcasting Corporation.)

Institutional bias
Official government reports generated during the Pinochet dictatorship called Matus the victim of “political violence,” and spoke in general terms about shots being fired from various origins, one of which killed the lad.

The government ascribed the death to the bullet of an underling cop, Miguel Angel Ortiz, whose court-martial consigned him to 541 days in custody over the incident.

The Revised Testimony
Ortiz has privately confided to others that he was not the one who killed Matus. His new version notes that in the aftermath of the shooting, the generals re-arranged their the weapons to better corroborate their stories. Furthermore, they promised to take care of Ortiz “for the rest of his life” if he cooperated and took the blame. In addition, Ortiz has said that he agreed to the offer out of his loyalty to the political party.

According to the updated version, Gonzales Jure, the General Director of Guards himself killed the boy: He shot an entire clip from a Uzi into the lad, killing him immediately. This report, of course, is in in direct conflict with the institutional account. In view of ballistics reports that allegedly do not add up, Miguel Angel Ortiz's family members believe their relative has taken the rap for another person's crime. Because of this, they have requested that Matus' body be exhumed and that the government re-open the investigation.



Did I get this story right? Please let me know.

The death of the great American waffle.

My waffle flopped!
The last great waffle I ever had: That's  what's on my mind.

Waffling! That is, the making of waffles. They don't taste good any more! Have you noticed that? Well, probably not unless you are over 50 years of age.

Maybe this lady named "Karly" has the solution, maybe not. Her recipe certainly looks enticing, and after this morning, I intend to try it out.

I would try Karly's waffle recipe right now except for one thing: Laura only has one egg left in the fridge and what do you want to bet she has plans for that egg? Oh, and I already ate.

I woke up at 4 a.m. this morning and my tummy was growling, but I thought, "It's better to be hungry now than to have diabetes later."

That was before I had the visions. I am not saying the visions were from the "Lord" of your choice.

I started dreaming of waffles the way I used to eat them, when I was a kid. For those who may not know me, that was a long time ago (as in the 1940s and 50s).

The vision just would not go away, so I got up and got out the waffle iron.

How I wish I had Mom's old waffle iron again: Yes, the one that had brown and black persistent crud that would not scrub off. It featured a curly wire wrapped around the cord where it entered the waffle iron. You could not get the damned thing clean, but I just can't make good waffles without it.

I swear, something is wrong with my waffle iron. Something has changed with the waffle irons lately. My waffles always turn out soggy. If  I leave them in the waffle iron long enough to become crispy -- they way waffles are supposed to be -- they come out stiff as a board!

If anyone has an old waffle iron from the 1940s in working condition, I want that thing. Now.

Yes, they are heavy! Cast iron, none of this Teflon, uh, stuff.

I could swear that soggy waffles are a Communist plot (did you ever notice how the government, the EPA for instance, makes you feel guilty for the damnest things? Good waffles, for instance.)

I am betting that they changed the specs for waffle irons, as if crispy waffles were a notable cause of global warming.

Mind you, I am a firm believer in global warming: I just don't think soggy waffles are going to save the world!

I cannot imagine a Russian worrying about cooking waffles on a cast iron waffle maker. So I guess it's not a Communist plot. Nonetheless, modern waffle irons rank right down there with water-saving toilets, in my opinion. You know. the ones that don't flush?

Oops, I am off topic. Back to the Russians, who I guess are no longer Communists (though I suppose Mr. Putin must rank right up there with Stalin). But do Russians even know what waffles are? Well, certainly, if they ever went to an I-HOP!

My point is, everything else (except Mom, of course) is the same as when I was a kid: the batter, the dough, the syrup, the butter, the 110 volts AC, the imaginary Communist plots. The problem must be with the new electronic waffle-flopping gadgets. That's all I can figure out.

Nonetheless, next time I have a hankering for waffles, I plan to look up this gal, Karly. She looks like the type of person who knows her waffles inside out and backwards, and this recipe looks yummy.

If that doesn't fix the problem, I am back to shopping in antique stores for a real waffle iron.

That's it. Enjoy your breakfast: Mine is sitting like a rock in my stomach right now, which made me look online a solution: Wish me better luck next time, as I plan to try "Buns In My Oven" very best waffles. If you get around to doing this first, please let me know how they turn out!

You may find Karly's waffle recipe here:  http://www.bunsinmyoven.com/2012/05/30/the-very-best-waffles/

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Prayer to a Capitalist Saint: Please send jelly beans! Thanks.



Addressee:
Mr. Ronald Reagan, AKA Saint Trickle-Down
Red House, Apt #1
1600 Publican Avenue
American Haven, Global-House USA
CC to the Family of Earthlings


Dear Saint Trickle-Down

Congratulations on winning Heaven over to your views of Trickle-down Economics. This must have been difficult, given The Son's tireless -- but futile -- efforts on behalf of the poor.

Your disciples on earth have really been getting the word out!

Meanwhile, I remain a loyal fan of yours, ever since the movie, All American, in 1940. (Oops, I was born in 1944. Mark it down to poetic license.)

In 1969 I cheered as helicopters spread tear gas on students  in Berkeley, California (viewed on black and white Television of course). As governor, you were a no-nonsense role model.

I applauded your hard line as President, your fights against those awful socialists and evil communists in Afghanistan, Angola, and Nicaragua. They shunned the blessings of your "trickle-down" economics.

Your plans to protect the oil interests went fabulously too.

See how well they are doing in Angola, for example: http://edition.cnn.com/2012/11/28/business/angola-oil-revenues/)

I loved your vast, cold war military spending, unprecedented in peace time (a great use of American tax dollars).

The Soviet Union, try as they would, could not outspend us and match our military might. Trying to do so, however, they broke their economy,  which led to the breakup of the Soviet Union and hardships for most of the inhabitants of this huge, former country.  Glory be!

And to think, you accomplished all this by increasing revenues for the US military and defense industries (trickling down more and more bait, er, money to the poor fish at the bottom of the pond!).

Dear Saint Reagan,  I believed in you then, and I believe in you now.

I do have a request to make. Would you please ask the Big Money Manager in the Sky to speak to the Tea Party about this small issue?

My problem is this: When we finally got rid of that nasty old Peanut Farmer and you became President, you said trickle down economics would eventually create a rising tide to float all boats, large and small.

I was an entrepreneur, proudly running my own business. The trickling began, and the building-industry in my home town in Oregon, collapsed. I blamed those damnable Democrats, of course.

After toughing it out for three years, I saw realized this trickling was going to take a little longer than I had thought. But I didn't mind: I was still a proud Republican. I even wore green on Saint Patrick's Day!

The trickling began in 1981.

I retrained and took other work, as a teacher, but I lost that job too, due to more government cuts.

I was undaunted: Poverty was my patriotic duty. We were going to rescue the country from the evil Kennedy types, so never mind. I took a pay cut. By then I was earning 50 percent of my former salary as a teacher: A small price to pay for the great American dream -- liberty and freedom for all!

Especially freedom from taxes. Glory be to the Red, White and Blue. Glory  to the Elephants in the Sky. And glory to the Gipper!

Now, however, the year is 2014. The economy is still sitting high and dry. My old American dreams hang like skeletons in the closet of my memories, covered with dust and spider webs. Meanwhile, I have retired due to an accumulation of age-related, minor illnesses, hearing loss, lung disease and such.

Of course, the big Republican ships remain, navigating in deeper waters,  carrying cargo of bombs and smart weapons. The soldiers, too, are off to liberate the next small country as always; many of them will no doubt be leaving their small arms -- and legs -- on the battlefield. But that is their duty, bringing happiness and liberation to the world, just like Jesus did! Well, almost like Jesus did.

But my point is: The economic tide did not rise equally in all segments of the economy, even after we succeeded in destroying the economies of several nations. You know how we did it: embargoes, sanctions, CIA involvement, funding of revolts, toppling of governments (with flawed economic ideologies of course).

In spite of our successes, I find that a lot of other good Republicans are just like me: still high and dry, waiting for the former and the latter rains.

Now the veterans have joined the ranks of the unemployed too.

Religion used to be an asset for us, but now the speaking-in-tongues of the religious right wing has changed to the wagging of tongues and the pointing of fingers.

Something is wrong in our party: We have been waiting for the trickle-down to become a flood, for 33 years now.

Would you please ask the Big Man in the Sky to whisper in the Tea Party ears:  "This trickle thing is not working out quite as planned!" 

Yes, it will require a Revelation but, as they say in the military, it falls under "lessons learned."

Thanks, and while your are at it -- We are no longer expecting the rising tide, but  -- as an indicator of your approval, could you just rain down a few red, white and blue jelly beans from heaven? Thanks.


Sincerely yours,


Devoted in America

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Was "so help us God" expunged from Arlington Cemetery? (Or was that Ishtar?)

"So help us God."

Thus ended Roosevelt's speech after the Battle of Iwo Jima. At least, that is what some people believe. Was this just another lie of the religious right wing, or was the cemetery defaced? Did the government try to expunge God himself?

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Benghazi conclusions not surprising, considering the sources

Richland, Washington, Opinion by Frank Ellsworth Lockwood
I was, at first, incensed about reports/summaries of the House Armed Services Subcommittee concerning the terrorist attack on Benghazi, Libya in September 2012.  Then, as I read the report more closely, something became very clear: In understanding the report, one must consider the sources. In mid February the committed issued a press release that began as follows:
WASHINGTON – The House Armed Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations released a comprehensive report today evaluating the response of the Department of Defense (DOD) to the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012.  
The introduction went on to note the following: 
To undertake the committee’s review, Chairman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon directed the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations to work alongside the full committee. As a result, this report expresses the views of Chairman McKeon, Vice Chairman Mac Thornberry, Rep. Martha Roby (who was the chairman of the Oversight and Investigations subcommittee until December 2013), and ... 
Understanding the preconceptions, personal issues and financial interests of the authors will take us a long way toward understanding the biases of the report. Given those biases, the conclusions must have been a let down for many of them. Finally, I see clearly who the three interviewers were, but, who were these other people, those "five majority members" of that committee? What follows is a brief rundown of what I think I know.

Chairman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon 


Republican, degree in animal husbandry, graduate of  Brigham Young University, former owner of a Western clothing shop that went bankrupt in 1999, past chairman of a small regional bank.

Chairman of Armed Services Committee who never served in the armed forces, supports strong national defense budget, introduced the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (of 1993, later ruled unconstitutional),. Education and defense have been his main priorities: Supported reforms in Student Loan Aid Program that helped lower student interest rates but also increased federal control over education policy. Member of the Republican Study Committee (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republican_Study_Committee)

His campaigns received greatest financial support from the defense industry and companies such as Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Boeing and the California Pro-live Council.

Do you think this person's connection to the war industry could have influenced the way he interpreted the raw data coming out of the investigation? I do.

Other Items 

  • His district includes Fort Irwin, Edwards Air Force Base, Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake,  and Marine Mountain Warfare Training Center.
  • Has spoken strongly against President Obama's budgets, opposed cutting the military budget, has stated "A defense budget in decline portends and America in decline."
  • Voted in favor of American military intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq, espouses a "return to peace through strength and such Reagan like policies as full financial and material support for the military, keeping Guantanamo Bay open and military posturing.
  • Introduced language into the 2012 National Defense Authorization Bill that would grant Presidents unprecedented powers to wage war freely against persons abroad.
  • Prefers  raising taxes to cutting Pentagon budget, but would rather cut entitlement spending instead.
  • Opposes gay marriages. Would restrict access to the civil court system by persons suspected of terrorism.
  • Received below-market rate loans from Countrywide Financial, a program created to boost the company's standing with politicians and other well-connected persons. Claimed he did not know it was part of this scheme.



Mac Thornberry

A Republican, Mac Thornberry is the U.S. Representative from the Texas Panhandle. His district is a Republican stronghold. A multi-generational Republican, he and his son run a cattle ranch. Holds a law degree from University of Texas. Former deputy Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs under Ronald Reagan. Played a key role in the establishment of the new Homeland Security Department, also in the establishment of the new Homeland Security Department. 

Has pressed for repeal of the estate tax and also for tax credits to encourage production of oil in marginal wells.  Votes to apply term limits to U.S. Congressmen (and keeps on getting re-elected). A conservative voter. Consistently right to life. High rating with NRA/gun rights activists. Favored by groups claiming to represent the interests of enlisted Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine veterans and active duty personnel in the United States. 

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mac_Thornberry]

My observations: Mr. Thornberry impresses me as a very intelligent and well educated person. He is also very well connected inside and outside of the Texas power structure. I believe he is interested in preserving and enhancing the finances of those rich friends, corporate industrialists in the defense industry who keep him in office. Would he and his friends/supporters have reason to oppose President Obama's policies? You better believe it.



Martha Roby 

Republican Representative from Alabama. Degrees in music and law. Daughter of Joel F. Dubina, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Self-described "staunch Republican." Ran the most expensive race  in her district's history, spending $1,240,275.64 on her 2010 election, mostly from large, individual contributions. A real estate group contributed $25,300.00.  "Leadership PACs" contributed $106,010. Roby voted in September 2013 to cut $39 billion from the food stamp program even though About 41,000 households in her district received food stamps in 2011In December 2011, Roby voted for limiting Presidential power and for doing an end-run around requirements for Presidential approvals. 

My thoughts: Do you think this person was capable of turning this investigation into a self-righteous witch hunt? I do. I think her "verdict" was determined before they ever interviewed the first witness. Take a look at where her financial support came from: Do you think she got her backing from the grass roots rank-and-file working poor? I don't. 

[Source: http://votesmart.org/candidate/71604/martha-roby#.UwbkcPRDuSr ]

Also of Interest

  • Got the lowest possible rating by ACLU, Zero percent.
  • Aligned herself with House resolution designed to bring legal action against the Obama Administration
  • Rated zero percent by NEA
  • Rated only 15 percent by NAACP
  • Rated 6  percent by Peace Action West
  • Opposes Affordable Care Act
  • Focused on cutting only "non-defense" spending

Fair and impartial? Well, there is more that could be said, but the above was enough to make me ask this question: Is this person capable of rendering a fair and impartial assessment of the President's performance in Banghazi or anywhere else? I think not.

Why did they do it? Why, indeed, if the conclusions were foregone from the git go, as I think they may have been. There are no doubt other explanations, but my best guess would be that they saw this Benghazi as a way to get the government to fund their dirt-digging attempts as they sought to discredit the President, the White House and the State Department, since Mrs Clinton, potentially a Presidential hopeful, was Secretary of State. 

Puzzling last question: (Maybe you can answer for me.) In the report, so far I am only finding the three members asking the questions, so I am puzzled about the constant mention of the "five majority members" who supposedly agree with the findings. 

Can anyone tell me who these five majority members are, and why they are called majority members?  

Thanks, 

Frank

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Armed Forces Committee outlines six findings: Hint: do not believe the right wing lies about Benghazi

Richland, Washington: Opinion by Frank Ellsworth Lockwood

On February 10, 2014, the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation released its report on the DOD response to the Banghazi attack by terrorists on September 11, 2012. Predictably, the wording and the format were far from neutral. The report details six "Key Findings." What follows is my take on the committee's work to date.

"To undertake the ... committee staff has reviewed thousands of pages of  ... (and) met with ... the entire chain of command in connection with Benghazi: from those on the ground at the time of the attack to the nation’s senior-most uniformed leader. 
"While the committee’s inquiry continues ... (blaa blaa blaa). 
"Based on its activities undertaken since the release of that report, majority members make the six findings listed below."
Findings:
I. In assessing military posture in anticipation of the September 11 anniversary, White House officials failed to comprehend or ignored the dramatically deteriorating security situation in Libya and the growing threat to U.S. interests in the region. Official public statements seem to have exaggerated the extent and rigor of the security assessment conducted at the time.

(Of my take on this) This Republican smear campaign (that's what the investigation was) used the words, failed to comprehend, implying wrongdoing. A truthful statement would have admitted that the President did not know, rather than using the loaded phrase, failed to comprehend.

The suggestion that the President ignored the security situation is patently false, as is clear from reading the transcripts. General Ham went to great lengths to explain the complexities of managing security around the world. Testimony also seemed to indicate that Ambassador Stevens was involved in some kind of secretive operation and may not have wanted to draw attention to what he was doing by bringing in a security force. In fact, he may have wanted to give the appearance that nothing was going on, but deliberately refusing offers to beef up security in view of security force agreements that had lapsed.
II. U.S. personnel in Benghazi were woefully vulnerable in September 2012 because a.) the administration did not direct a change in military force posture, b.) there was no intelligence of a specific “imminent” threat in Libya, and c.) the Department of State, which has primary responsibility for diplomatic security, favored a reduction of Department of Defense security personnel in Libya before the attack.
In this case, the opening sentence appears to be intentionally inflammatory. Use of the words woefully vulnerable are not doubt intended to wrongly implant the idea of incompetence to the followup words, that the administration did not direct a change of military force posture. 

What the Republicans may or may not have realized is that their condemnation of the "force posture," if the accusation is accurate, would necessarily have to apply across the board -- to the military and CIA commanders and even to Ambassador Stevens himself, who had repeatedly rejected offers of security reinforcements. 

I have to assume that Stevens, the military and the intelligence officers all had their reasons for leaving Benghazi unprotected. They took a risk based upon what they thought the situation warranted. For whatever reason, their plans failed. 

There was an a, b and c in statement II, all three of which were true and accurate, but the opening sentence appears to be designed to re-cast the significance of the actual findings. Again, the frenzy of the Republicans trying to discredit the White House. They really do hate this present administration! Go to the State of the Union address videos and look at John Boehner's expression throughout. That tells it all. They are sore losers, but losers nonetheless.

III. Defense Department officials believed nearly from the outset of violence in Benghazi that it was a terrorist attack rather than a protest gone awry, and the President subsequently permitted the military to respond with minimal direction.

Item III is true so far as it goes. Too bad they neglected to mention that testimony from General Ham (and, I think, from others as well) reveal that no-one made it clear to the President early on that this was definitely a well-planned terrorist attack and not the result of an anti-Islam movie demonstration. 

The report also failed to apologize, or even to note that the Republicans had repeatedly maligned the President and abused the public with the idea that he was lying to the American public about this. 
IV. The U.S. military’s response to the Benghazi attack was severely degraded because of the location and readiness posture of U.S. forces, and because of lack of clarity about how the terrorist action was unfolding. However, given the uncertainty about the prospective length and scope of the attack, military commanders did not take all possible steps to prepare for a more extended operation. 
Item IV is also true so far as it goes, although the use of the word degraded should be taken advisedly, due to its double connotations. I would have used the word  downgraded, not degraded.  Given the authorship, one must assume that the use of this term is intended, not just to describe the findings, but also to deceive or mislead the public into accepting a partisan world view. 

The military response was severely limited might have been a more appropriate term than what they used but, hey, it appears this is a Republican report, so I would take it just as advisedly as I take any other piece of Republican propaganda. 

V. There was no “stand down” order issued to U.S. military personnel in Tripoli who sought to join the fight in Benghazi. However, because official reviews after the attack were not sufficiently comprehensive, there was confusion about the roles and responsibilities of these individuals. 
Finally, way down the list but the committee gets around to admitting the truth. 

Not just what they write, but the order in which they write it reveals their hidden, partisan agenda. The notion of a "stand down," as if the President or his proxies had some kind of conspiracy going on to get Americans killed in Benghazi. Needless to say, nothing could be further from the truth. But in item V they admit, however unwillingly, that this was never the case, although the propaganda machine had been harping on this for an entire year.  There was nothing to it, and now they have officially admitted that.

VI. The Department of Defense is working to correct many weaknesses revealed by the Benghazi attack, but the global security situation is still deteriorating and military resources continue to decline.

Item VI finally gets around to the supposed point of the investigation. Here, when speaking of the DOD, the committee chooses to abandon the colored rhetoric and stick to the facts. Note that it is as if they are giving the DOD a pat on the back. They must have finally realized that there were implications, not just for the President and Mrs. Clinton, but for the DOD and, by implication, for the defense contractors who reward the Republican's so well. 

So now the tone is different, much changed from when the President is implied. The investigation has revealed DOD "weaknesses" (not degradation?) but they are "working to correct them." Well, good boys. 

But the report is not finished yet. The Republicans cannot help but put in a pitch for increased defense industry spending. "Military resources continue to decline." Nowhere do I see a mention that the United States spends more on "defense" than almost the rest of the entire world put together. [http://pgpf.org/Chart-Archive/0053_defense-comparison]

But we are in such decline. Isn't that amazing? 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Benghazi hearings: Transcripts refute Republican theories ...

Richland, Washington (Opinion by Frank Ellsworth Lockwood) DRAFT

Benghazi: Hearings transcripts refute Republican theories,  reveal politically-motivated falsehoods, false accusations, and unwarranted calls for Presidential impeachment. When will Americans tire of the faux news?