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Let me first start out by saying that I’m a lover of animals. I’ve got a soft heart and I know “they” know it. It’s difficult for me to turn away an animal in need…

And to attest to that fact, I’ve currently got two dogs and 5 indoor cats – all that came to me, by one way or another, with needs or broken pasts.

It drives my adult children crazy that I have so many and they often state that the one thing they’ve learned from me is to never have more than one cat and/or dog. So be it… Crazy dog/cat lady I am then.

Having said that they, my children, have been part of the reason the animal kingdom in my house has grown. Whether they want to realize it or not their hearts are as soft as mine and they have been party to many of the household arrivals over the years. I think it’s easier for them to blame it all on me since I am the one that ultimately cares for the critters.

As I already stated, I have 5 cats and, mind you, not normal cats as cats go…

One young female has severe allergy issues; requires special food and has to be kept separated from the rest of the household to eliminate flare-ups. Her cute, perky little personality and sweet voice keep us fighting in her corner. My son and I often comment how she would have never survived in the “wild” and we are so lucky she found us…

My beautiful rescued Siamese has a mental disorder which causes her to fear closeness and affection. She will only cuddle and snuggle with my pit bull (which makes me happy that she, at least, has someone she feels close to). The vet told me these types are normally put -to-sleep (PTS) as people have no desire to have a cat that eludes them constantly. So sad.. Because of the lack of human and/or cat interaction during her most important days this beauty carries fear constantly in her mind…

My oldest feline is old (nearly 18 years), stately and refined, and defies the limits of aging. She’s as beautiful now as the day we rescued her from being PTS’ d at a shelter many years and states ago. We dearly love her and hope she continues to live forever.

My only male was, quite literally, dumped at my doorstep eight years ago as a feisty, spitting, flea-covered kitten. He’s caused a lot of destruction in my house that I bemoan to this day but on the flip side, he is affectionate; as faithful and companionable as a dog; and has mellowed much in his older years.

Lastly, is our sweet, impish girl who is frightened of thunder and very loud noises and runs frantically through the house seeking shelter when upset. She tends to hog the water bowl, which we feel is directly attributable to her not having enough water when she lived rough.

And, lastly there’s my dogs…

My decrepit old Chihuahua, who doesn’t want to be bothered by anyone, has no teeth but will still try to bite, and is recognized as the “ruler of the roost”; and my spoiled, kind-hearted pit bull, who tries to act tough but is more frightened of you than you are of her. She is mother, protector and companion to all her “kitties” and loves to stand near them so they rub against her legs with their soft fur.

So, with all these needy souls already in my house, I have stated, quite explicitly mind you, “NO MORE ANIMALS!” I couldn’t possibly have room for anymore – it’s just too much!

And then…

Two weeks ago my daughter was visiting and was talking with my son on the front porch late into the night. I’d already gone to bed and was off into dreamland when she burst into my bedroom. “You have to get up and come outside,” she cried. “There’s a little animal outside crying, it needs help! HURRY!”

I stumbled around and made my way to the front porch. I’m wondering what little animal needs help – a deer? A fawn had gotten it’s head stuck in our fence a few weeks back so that was fresh on my mind. I walk out onto the porch and see this skinny tiger and white kitten. HORRORS! Inside I cringe. I hear my son telling me, “He’s really skinny. He just showed up on the porch while we talking. Should I feed him?” I feel sick. Why ME?

All I can see is another cat, another soul to take care of… I just want to go back to bed and forget. I hope IT will go away. I tell my son to go ahead and feed and water him – after all, I’m not cruel and heartless. As I head back to bed my children (those who would never (EVER!) have more than one cat and/dog!) gleefully set about getting food, water and toys. Again, I secretly hope he’s gone in the morning…

The next morning I walk out the front door and see the kitten sleeping on the rug. Sigh… So much for that! He’s getting comfortable. Also, my children inform me, via text message, they have ALREADY named him Odin. Already NAMED HIM!! I fear he’s here to stay…

The first couple of days I try to resist. I state emphatically that he can’t stay; that we need to bring him to the shelter or find another home. I can’t have anymore – I have too many already.

But then my resolve starts to melt… I notice that he is anemic and covered in fleas. I give him a flea bath and put flea medication on him. I give him worming medications and clean his infected ears.

His little personality is already growing on me. He’s lovable, purrs loudly and loves to be pet. I start to look forward to going out to the front porch, looking for him and spending time just playing and relaxing with him.

I buy him a breakaway collar – which he hated, at first, but I loved. It has a little bell attached and I can hear him padding around and know he is safe and close.

One morning I go out and he is no where to be found for two hours. I really got concerned – he has never been gone that long! I am amazed at myself at how attached I have grown to this little guy! As I begin to lose heart and think he’s been captured (by other humans), injured or worse I hear frantic kitten cries coming from a distance away. I call for him and he finally runs up the hill and to the porch and I can tell that he is so happy to see me! I don’t know what little adventure he had been on but he stays close to me and his purring is loud and pleasurable. And, boy, am I glad to have him back!

As the weeks have gone by Odin’s anemia has vastly improved and he has gained considerable weight. As such, an appointment has been made to get him neutered and get all his shots. He will be the “outside” cat but will be properly taken care of, of course.

Life is not perfect with Odin… He and I silently fight over his destruction of my potted plants – a battle that I have yet to win. But if that is the worst of his evils I guess can live with that… And I worry (about him being outside) but I am trying to live in the moment of him…

His cute tiny and silent meows.
The way he stares deep into your eyes with such adoration.
How he tromps around the yard with the dogs looking so big and yet so small.
How he saves us from bugs and spiders and leaves their carcasses all over the porch.
The way he politely sits and watches, with fascination and respect, the hummingbirds at their feeders.

Odin’s favorite toy is a fabric ball, which he constantly plays with, batting it and carrying it to and fro on the porch. I hope the skills learned with it will carry over into him being a good mouser!

My pit bull is in doggy heaven. She now has kitties IN and OUT of the house. She loves to pin Odin down and clean his little body like a mother, which Odin willingly lets her do. And she lets Odin play with her tail and ears as she lays on the porch floor. They hunt together for bugs and creatures in the grass, which is endearing to watch. And they often sit, side-by-side, at the top of the porch stairs and just stare at whatever animals stare at. Odin has changed even my dogs world…

How will this end? I really don’t know but there’s obviously room in my heart and home (porch) for Odin. Having an outside cat concerns me greatly but I’m hoping he’ll be one of those that sticks close to the house or I’ll end up being worried, hanging around outside longer than necessary, listening for that bell.

Little Odin came here because he needed me and I’m glad I am able to be here for him. He was a great and unexpected joy – isn’t that always the way that it is?

Though, again, I say, almost laughingly and with less conviction than previously, as I watch Odin play with his fabric ball, “No more…” And I need to find that sign that is posted somewhere out there that reads, “NEEDY, SICK OR UNWANTED – APPLY HERE” and pull it up.

Odin

Odin

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I think it is important that we continue to draw attention to Wikileaks and the fact that U.S. and Icelandic governments have been spying on their activities.

Why should we continue to draw attention to them? Because Wikileaks, a non-profit organization, provides the world with documents, videos, and other releases of information that demonstrate and show us the corrupt activities occurring around the world everyday by the very officials we are supposed to trust.

These same officials have incited violence and created terrorism where those things did not exist before. They intimidate and terrorize the poor to pilfer their resources, and hire mercenary armies to kill and maim the innocent. They use weapons of mass destruction. These “officials” are the true scum of the earth and they serve in the military, hold political office, and work in commercial businesses.

I will continue to support Wikileaks and I hope that you will too. The information that their group makes available to the world is important and helps in the crusade against injustice, at the very least.

So as Vice-Presiden Biden would say, “This is a big fucking deal” so jump off the apathy wagon and listen up. It’s time to spread the word about Wikileaks and let the world know that there are a couple of countries who are acting like big fat godfathers by sending their fucking “hit men” out to harass and threaten them.

EDITORIAL:U.S. must stop spying on WikiLeaks

Fri Mar 26 08:44:46 UTC 2010

Over the last few years, WikiLeaks has been the subject of hostile acts by security organizations. In the developing world, these range from the appalling assassination of two related human rights lawyers in Nairobi last March (an armed attack on my compound there in 2007 is still unattributed) to an unsuccessful mass attack by Chinese computers on our servers in Stockholm, after we published photos of murders in Tibet. In the West this has ranged from the overt, the head of Germany’s foreign intelligence service, the BND, threatening to prosecute us unless we removed a report on CIA activity in Kosovo, to the covert, to an ambush by a “James Bond” character in a Luxembourg car park, an event that ended with a mere “we think it would be in your interest to…”.

Developing world violence aside, we’ve become used to the level of security service interest in us and have established procedures to ignore that interest.

But the increase in surveillance activities this last month, in a time when we are barely publishing due to fundraising, are excessive. Some of the new interest is related to a film exposing a U.S. massacre we will release at the U.S. National Press Club on April 5.

The spying includes attempted covert following, photographing, filming and the overt detention & questioning of a WikiLeaks’ volunteer in Iceland on Monday night.

I, and others were in Iceland to advise Icelandic parliamentarians on the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative, a new package of laws designed to protect investigative journalists and internet services from spying and censorship. As such, the spying has an extra poignancy.

The possible triggers:

  • our ongoing work on a classified film revealing civilian casualties occurring under the command of the U.S, general, David Petraeus.
  • our release of a classified 32 page US intelligence report on how to fatally marginalize WikiLeaks (expose our sources, destroy our reputation for integrity, hack us).
  • our release of a classified cable from the U.S. Embassy in Reykjavik reporting on contact between the U.S. and the U.K. over billions of euros in claimed loan guarantees.
  • pending releases related to the collapse of the Icelandic banks and Icelandic “oligarchs”.

We have discovered half a dozen attempts at covert surveillance in Reykjavik both by native English speakers and Icelanders. On the occasions where these individuals were approached, they ran away. One had marked police equipment and the license plates for another suspicious vehicle track back to the Icelandic private VIP bodyguard firm Terr. What does that mean? We don’t know. But as you will see, other events are clear.

U.S. sources told Icelandic state media’s deputy head of news, that the State Department was aggressively investigating a leak from the U.S. Embassy in Reykjavik. I was seen at a private U.S Embassy party at the Ambassador’s residence, late last year and it is known I had contact with Embassy staff, after.

On Thursday March 18, 2010, I took the 2.15 PM flight out of Reykjavik to Copenhagen–on the way to speak at the SKUP investigative journalism conference in Norway. After receiving a tip, we obtained airline records for the flight concerned. Two individuals, recorded as brandishing diplomatic credentials checked in for my flight at 12:03 and 12:06 under the name of “US State Department”. The two are not recorded as having any luggage.

Iceland doesn’t have a separate security service. It folds its intelligence function into its police forces, leading to an uneasy overlap of policing and intelligence functions and values.

On Monday 22, March, at approximately 8.30pm, a WikiLeaks volunteer, a minor, was detained by Icelandic police on a wholly insignificant matter. Police then took the opportunity to hold the youth over night, without charge–a highly unusual act in Iceland. The next day, during the course of interrogation, the volunteer was shown covert photos of me outside the Reykjavik restaurant “Icelandic Fish & Chips”, where a WikiLeaks production meeting took place on Wednesday March 17–the day before individuals operating under the name of the U.S. State Department boarded my flight to Copenhagen.

Our production meeting used a discreet, closed, backroom, because we were working on the analysis of a classified U.S. military video showing civilian kills by U.S. pilots. During the interrogation, a specific reference was made by police to the video—which could not have been understood from that day’s exterior surveillance alone. Another specific reference was made to “important”, but unnamed Icelandic figures. References were also made to the names of two senior journalists at the production meeting.

Who are the Icelandic security services loyal to in their values? The new government of April 2009, the old pro-Iraq war government of the Independence party, or perhaps to their personal relationships with peers from another country who have them on a permanent intelligence information drip?

Only a few years ago, Icelandic airspace was used for CIA rendition flights. Why did the CIA think that this was acceptable? In a classified U.S. profile on the former Icelandic Ambassador to the United States, obtained by WikiLeaks, the Ambassador is praised for helping to quell publicity of the CIA’s activities.

Often when a bold new government arises, bureaucratic institutions remain loyal to the old regime and it can take time to change the guard. Former regime loyalists must be discovered, dissuaded and removed. But for the security services, that first vital step, discovery, is awry. Congenitally scared of the light, such services hide their activities; if it is not known what security services are doing, then it is surely impossible to know who they are doing it for.

Our plans to release the video on April 5 proceed.

We have asked relevant authorities in the Unites States and Iceland to explain. If these countries are to be treated as legitimate states, they need to start obeying the rule of law. Now.

—Julian Assange (editor@wikileaks.org)

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From WOAI/San Antonio

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — In the California where Joe Stack started out as a fresh-from-college software engineer, fighting the tax man was, quite literally, a religion.

Back in the 1970s and ’80s, California was not just the center of the “silicon revolution.” The Golden State was also a teeming hive of anti-government activity, much of it aimed at the federal income tax code and the agency that enforced it — the Internal Revenue Service.

Tax protesters and self-styled patriots railed against exemptions granted to religious organizations, the Catholic Church in particular. They formed their own “churches” and invited others to join.

“It sounds like he went down that same path,” said Dennis Riness, who did time in federal prison for running a church-styled tax shelter. “And ran into the same brick wall.”

Riness and most others gave up the fight. It seems Joe Stack could not, unable to let go of his hatred for a system that he felt enslaved him. After two decades of financial setbacks and professional disappointments, facing an audit in a down economy, Stack decided to strike back.

In an angry letter that rambles on for 3,000 words, the 53-year-old Stack set out his grievances, attributing his failures to everything from the dot-com bust to the “911 nightmare.” He traced the beginnings of his problems with the government back 24 years and an obscure change in the Internal Revenue Code affecting software professionals.

“It has always been a myth that people have stopped dying for their freedom in this country, and it isn’t limited to the blacks, and poor immigrants,” Stack wrote. “I know there have been countless before me and there are sure to be as many after. But I also know that by not adding my body to the count, I insure (sic) nothing will change.”

He posted his manifesto on the Web site of his business last Thursday morning. A short time later, his house 20 minutes north of the Texas Capitol was ablaze. He was behind the controls of his single-engine Piper PA-28: “Going southbound, sir,” he radioed the airport tower. “Have a great day.”

Impact with the black-glass office building that houses offices of the IRS came moments later. Miraculously, the crash that consumed Stack killed only one other victim — Vernon Hunter, 68, a Vietnam veteran and father of six who worked for nearly 30 years at the IRS. Ken Hunter said if Stack had come in and talked to his father, he would have done his best to help.

“My dad didn’t write the tax law,” he said. “Nobody in that building wrote the tax law.”

But Stack wasn’t looking for help. Like Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, he hoped his suicidal flight would become “a catalyst” for fundamental change, said JJ MacNab, who has studied tax protesters for a decade.

“McVeigh wasn’t willing to die,” said MacNab, a Maryland-based insurance analyst. “This guy was.”

___

There’s no doubt that Andrew Joseph Stack III had his share of misery.

He told his daughter he was an orphan at age 4, when both his parents died in an auto accident, and was separated from his two brothers and sister, spending at least part of his childhood in a Catholic orphanage.

Eventually, he and little brother Harry were shipped off to the Milton Hershey School, an institution for orphaned boys founded by the Pennsylvania chocolate magnate and his wife. In college, Stack went through stints during which he survived on peanut butter and bread — “or Ritz crackers when I could afford to splurge.”

Yet he also had advantages that others did not.

At Hershey, where he was known as Andy, Stack had it better than most of his schoolmates. Because he was in glee club and lived in one of the “musical homes,” he was exempt from working the morning milkings in the school dairy barns, said former classmate Mike Macchioni.

And, like all Hershey students, Stack would have left the school in 1974 with a suitcase filled with new clothes, $100 in cash and the promise of financial help for college, Macchioni said. He attended Harrisburg Area Community College from 1975-77 but did not graduate, said school spokesman Patrick M. Early.

Brilliant by all accounts, hot-tempered by some, Stack headed for California in the early 1980s to make his fortune in computers. It was then, he wrote, that he got his “introduction to the real American nightmare.”

In 1985, Stack incorporated Prowess Engineering Inc. in Corona, Calif. Papers list Stack as chief executive and financial officer, and wife first Ginger as secretary and co-director.

Around this time, the budding entrepreneur had developed some kind of beef with the IRS. According to his suicide letter, some friends introduced Stack to “a group of people who were having ‘tax code’ readings and discussions.”

In those days, they weren’t hard to find.

Groups such as Your Heritage Protection Association and the Church of Christ, led by disbarred attorney William Drexler, were holding forth to packed rooms, preaching the gospel of hard currency and the unconstitutionality of the tax code.

“We carefully studied the law (with the help of some of the ‘best’, high-paid, experienced tax lawyers in the business),” Stack wrote, “and then began to do exactly what the ‘big boys’ were doing (except that we weren’t steeling (sic) from our congregation or lying to the government about our massive profits in the name of God).”

That passage rings familiar to Riness. In 1978, he and partner Michael S. McGinnis founded the tax-protest group “TEA, an Association of Twentieth Century Patriots” — which claimed up to 4,000 members. The pair joined up with the Universal Life Church in Modesto, Calif., and formed their own denomination, the Church of Universal Harmony, selling church charters for up to $1,500 apiece.

MacNab is convinced after reading his manifesto that Stack likely started his own “home church.” He wrote that he and his friends were very careful to “make it all visible, following all of the rules, exactly the way the law said it was to be done.”

“The intent of this exercise and our efforts was to bring about a much-needed re-evaluation of the laws that allow the monsters of organized religion to make such a mockery of people who earn an honest living,” Stack wrote.

Riness said that’s exactly what he was hoping to achieve with the Church of Universal Harmony: “I thought that the worst thing that would happen is that if we got so big and others got big, the code would change and they would take away tax breaks to churches,” he said.

Both men would learn that wasn’t the worst possible outcome.

According to Stack’s letter, this “little lesson in patriotism cost me $40,000+, 10 years of my life, and set my retirement plans back to 0.” Riness lost more than just money. In 1986, he pleaded guilty in federal court to tax fraud. That October, he was sentenced to 13 months in prison, fined $5,000 and ordered to perform 1,000 hours of community service.

Something else happened in 1986 that would gnaw at Stack for the rest of his life. Section 1706 of the federal tax code was changed in a way that essentially forced technology consultants — designers, programmers, systems analysts or, like Stack, software engineers — to be classified as employees rather than as self-employed workers, depriving them of certain tax deductions.

“(T)hey could only have been more blunt if they would have came out and directly declared me a criminal and non-citizen slave,” Stack wrote.

Stack dedicated himself to the “campaign against this atrocity.” By his own account, he spent nearly $5,000 and “at least 1000 hours of my time writing, printing, and mailing to any senator, congressman, governor, or slug that might listen; none did, and they universally treated me as if I was wasting their time.”

Stack’s first documented run-in with revenue officials appears to have come in 1994, when he failed to file a state tax return. The California Franchise Tax Board eventually suspended Prowess in 2000.

In 1995, Stack started Software Systems Service Corp. in Lincoln, Calif. But that company, too, was suspended in 2004 because Stack failed to pay $1,153 in state taxes, board spokeswoman Denise Azimi said.

In March 1998, Ginger Stack filed for divorce. The following year, just two months after the divorce was finalized, she filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy, citing IRS liabilities totaling nearly $126,000. Although much of that debt was from 1993, when the couple were still married, Joe Stack was not included in the filing.

Despite his financial ups and downs, Stack did well enough to indulge his interest in flying. He obtained his first pilot’s license in 1994 and had owned a costly Velocity Elite XL-RG plane in addition to the Piper.

But he complained that most of his business dried up after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks — when “Government came to the aid of the airlines with billions of our tax dollars” and “left me to rot and die while they bailed out their rich, incompetent cronies WITH MY MONEY!”

He decided to relocate to Texas, airplane mechanic Dave Page recalls, because he liked the Lone Star State’s “tax structure.”

___

Stack landed in Austin, the state’s capital city and a hotbed of technology companies. In 2003, he started a company called Embedded Art that he described as a “small independent software house, specializing in process control and automation.”

But Stack found Austin a place “with a highly inflated sense of self-importance and where damn little real engineering work is done. I’ve never experienced such a hard time finding work.”

Friends said they saw no signs of that simmering rage. A bass guitarist and an above-average keyboard player, Stack blended right into Austin’s rich music scene. He teamed up with other musicians to form Last Straw, a jazz-blues-rock ensemble. Lead singer Simone Wensink thinks Stack might even have been the one who came up with the band’s now-ironic name.

“I felt like totally safe with this man,” said Wensink, who once flew in Stack’s plane to New Mexico.

In May 2007, with nearly $225,000 in bank loans, Stack bought a two-story, 2,500-square-foot brick house in a tree-shaded Austin subdivision. Two months later, he married the former Sheryl Housh, a piano instructor with a daughter from a previous marriage.

His anger, however, continued to build. Court records indicate he was employed as recently as last year as a software engineer for DAC International, an Austin-based aerospace engineering, manufacturing and marketing firm. As part of a corporate bankruptcy filing, Stack submitted claims for $1,238 he said he was owed in back pay from March 2009 and accrued vacation time.

He claims to have started his letter “many months ago” as a kind of “therapy,” but reached a tipping point last week.

Police say Sheryl Stack took her 12-year-old daughter to a hotel Wednesday night following an argument with her husband. The family’s accountant confirmed Saturday that the Stacks were in the midst of an audit for reportedly failing to report income.

“I saw it written once that the definition of insanity is repeating the same process over and over and expecting the outcome to suddenly be different,” Stack wrote. “I am finally ready to stop this insanity. Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let’s try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well.”

___

Associated Press writers Jim Vertuno in Austin, Danny Robbins in Dallas, Juliet Williams in Sacramento, Calif., and Ian MacDougall in Oslo, Norway, contributed to this report.

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By Anthony Fenton

VANCOUVER, Canada, Feb 19, 2010 (IPS) – Critics are concerned that private military contractors are positioning themselves at the centre of an emerging “shock doctrine” for earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

Next month, a prominent umbrella organisation for private military and logistic corporations, the International Peace Operations Association (IPOA), is co-organising a “Haiti summit” which aims to bring together “leading officials” for “private consultations with attending contractors and investors” in Miami, Florida.

HAITI: Private Contractors ‘Like Vultures Coming to Grab the Loot’ – IPS ipsnews.net

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Joe Stack’s original website:

http://www.embeddedart.com

This website has been taken offline due to the sensitive nature of the events that transpired in Texas this morning and in compliance with a request from the FBI.

Regards,
T35 Hosting – http://www.T35.com

Joe Stack’s last message copied from Freethought and Rationalism Discussion Board

If you’re reading this, you’re no doubt asking yourself, “Why did this have to happen?” The simple truth is that it is complicated and has been coming for a long time. The writing process, started many months ago, was intended to be therapy in the face of the looming realization that there isn’t enough therapy in the world that can fix what is really broken. Needless to say, this rant could fill volumes with example after example if I would let it. I find the process of writing it frustrating, tedious, and probably pointless… especially given my gross inability to gracefully articulate my thoughts in light of the storm raging in my head. Exactly what is therapeutic about that I’m not sure, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

We are all taught as children that without laws there would be no society, only anarchy. Sadly, starting at early ages we in this country have been brainwashed to believe that, in return for our dedication and service, our government stands for justice for all. We are further brainwashed to believe that there is freedom in this place, and that we should be ready to lay our lives down for the noble principals represented by its founding fathers. Remember? One of these was “no taxation without representation”. I have spent the total years of my adulthood unlearning that crap from only a few years of my childhood. These days anyone who really stands up for that principal is promptly labeled a “crackpot”, traitor and worse.

While very few working people would say they haven’t had their fair share of taxes (as can I), in my lifetime I can say with a great degree of certainty that there has never been a politician cast a vote on any matter with the likes of me or my interests in mind. Nor, for that matter, are they the least bit interested in me or anything I have to say.

Why is it that a handful of thugs and plunderers can commit unthinkable atrocities (and in the case of the GM executives, for scores of years) and when it’s time for their gravy train to crash under the weight of their gluttony and overwhelming stupidity, the force of the full federal government has no difficulty coming to their aid within days if not hours? Yet at the same time, the joke we call the American medical system, including the drug and insurance companies, are murdering tens of thousands of people a year and stealing from the corpses and victims they cripple, and this country’s leaders don’t see this as important as bailing out a few of their vile, rich cronies. Yet, the political “representatives” (thieves, liars, and self-serving scumbags is far more accurate) have endless time to sit around for year after year and debate the state of the “terrible health care problem”. It’s clear they see no crisis as long as the dead people don’t get in the way of their corporate profits rolling in.

And justice? You’ve got to be kidding!

How can any rational individual explain that white elephant conundrum in the middle of our tax system and, indeed, our entire legal system? Here we have a system that is, by far, too complicated for the brightest of the master scholars to understand. Yet, it mercilessly “holds accountable” its victims, claiming that they’re responsible for fully complying with laws not even the experts understand. The law “requires” a signature on the bottom of a tax filing; yet no one can say truthfully that they understand what they are signing; if that’s not “duress” than what is. If this is not the measure of a totalitarian regime, nothing is.

How did I get here?

My introduction to the real American nightmare starts back in the early ‘80s. Unfortunately after more than 16 years of school, somewhere along the line I picked up the absurd, pompous notion that I could read and understand plain English. Some friends introduced me to a group of people who were having ‘tax code’ readings and discussions. In particular, zeroed in on a section relating to the wonderful “exemptions” that make institutions like the vulgar, corrupt Catholic Church so incredibly wealthy. We carefully studied the law (with the help of some of the “best”, high-paid, experienced tax lawyers in the business), and then began to do exactly what the “big boys” were doing (except that we weren’t steeling from our congregation or lying to the government about our massive profits in the name of God). We took a great deal of care to make it all visible, following all of the rules, exactly the way the law said it was to be done.

The intent of this exercise and our efforts was to bring about a much-needed re-evaluation of the laws that allow the monsters of organized religion to make such a mockery of people who earn an honest living. However, this is where I learned that there are two “interpretations” for every law; one for the very rich, and one for the rest of us… Oh, and the monsters are the very ones making and enforcing the laws; the inquisition is still alive and well today in this country.

That little lesson in patriotism cost me $40,000+, 10 years of my life, and set my retirement plans back to 0. It made me realize for the first time that I live in a country with an ideology that is based on a total and complete lie. It also made me realize, not only how naive I had been, but also the incredible stupidity of the American public; that they buy, hook, line, and sinker, the crap about their “freedom”… and that they continue to do so with eyes closed in the face of overwhelming evidence and all that keeps happening in front of them.

Before even having to make a shaky recovery from the sting of the first lesson on what justice really means in this country (around 1984 after making my way through engineering school and still another five years of “paying my dues”), I felt I finally had to take a chance of launching my dream of becoming an independent engineer.

On the subjects of engineers and dreams of independence, I should digress somewhat to say that I’m sure that I inherited the fascination for creative problem solving from my father. I realized this at a very young age.

The significance of independence, however, came much later during my early years of college; at the age of 18 or 19 when I was living on my own as student in an apartment in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. My neighbor was an elderly retired woman (80+ seemed ancient to me at that age) who was the widowed wife of a retired steel worker. Her husband had worked all his life in the steel mills of central Pennsylvania with promises from big business and the union that, for his 30 years of service, he would have a pension and medical care to look forward to in his retirement. Instead he was one of the thousands who got nothing because the incompetent mill management and corrupt union (not to mention the government) raided their pension funds and stole their retirement. All she had was social security to live on.

In retrospect, the situation was laughable because here I was living on peanut butter and bread (or Ritz crackers when I could afford to splurge) for months at a time. When I got to know this poor figure and heard her story I felt worse for her plight than for my own (I, after all, I thought I had everything to in front of me). I was genuinely appalled at one point, as we exchanged stories and commiserated with each other over our situations, when she in her grandmotherly fashion tried to convince me that I would be “healthier” eating cat food (like her) rather than trying to get all my substance from peanut butter and bread. I couldn’t quite go there, but the impression was made. I decided that I didn’t trust big business to take care of me, and that I would take responsibility for my own future and myself.

Return to the early ‘80s, and here I was off to a terrifying start as a ‘wet-behind-the-ears’ contract software engineer… and two years later, thanks to the fine backroom, midnight effort by the sleazy executives of Arthur Andersen (the very same folks who later brought us Enron and other such calamities) and an equally sleazy New York Senator (Patrick Moynihan), we saw the passage of 1986 tax reform act with its section 1706.

For you who are unfamiliar, here is the core text of the IRS Section 1706, defining the treatment of workers (such as contract engineers) for tax purposes. Visit this link for a conference committee report regarding the intended interpretation of Section 1706 and the relevant parts of Section 530, as amended. For information on how these laws affect technical services workers and their clients, read our discussion here.

SEC. 1706. TREATMENT OF CERTAIN TECHNICAL PERSONNEL.

(a) IN GENERAL – Section 530 of the Revenue Act of 1978 is amended by adding at the end thereof the following new subsection:

(d) EXCEPTION. – This section shall not apply in the case of an individual who pursuant to an arrangement between the taxpayer and another person, provides services for such other person as an engineer, designer, drafter, computer programmer, systems analyst, or other similarly skilled worker engaged in a similar line of work.

(b) EFFECTIVE DATE. – The amendment made by this section shall apply to remuneration paid and services rendered after December 31, 1986.

Note:

· “another person” is the client in the traditional job-shop relationship.

· “taxpayer” is the recruiter, broker, agency, or job shop.

· “individual”, “employee”, or “worker” is you.

Admittedly, you need to read the treatment to understand what it is saying but it’s not very complicated. The bottom line is that they may as well have put my name right in the text of section (d). Moreover, they could only have been more blunt if they would have came out and directly declared me a criminal and non-citizen slave. Twenty years later, I still can’t believe my eyes.

During 1987, I spent close to $5000 of my ‘pocket change’, and at least 1000 hours of my time writing, printing, and mailing to any senator, congressman, governor, or slug that might listen; none did, and they universally treated me as if I was wasting their time. I spent countless hours on the L.A. freeways driving to meetings and any and all of the disorganized professional groups who were attempting to mount a campaign against this atrocity. This, only to discover that our efforts were being easily derailed by a few moles from the brokers who were just beginning to enjoy the windfall from the new declaration of their “freedom”. Oh, and don’t forget, for all of the time I was spending on this, I was loosing income that I couldn’t bill clients.

After months of struggling it had clearly gotten to be a futile exercise. The best we could get for all of our trouble is a pronouncement from an IRS mouthpiece that they weren’t going to enforce that provision (read harass engineers and scientists). This immediately proved to be a lie, and the mere existence of the regulation began to have its impact on my bottom line; this, of course, was the intended effect.

Again, rewind my retirement plans back to 0 and shift them into idle. If I had any sense, I clearly should have left abandoned engineering and never looked back.

Instead I got busy working 100-hour workweeks. Then came the L.A. depression of the early 1990s. Our leaders decided that they didn’t need the all of those extra Air Force bases they had in Southern California, so they were closed; just like that. The result was economic devastation in the region that rivaled the widely publicized Texas S&L fiasco. However, because the government caused it, no one gave a shit about all of the young families who lost their homes or street after street of boarded up houses abandoned to the wealthy loan companies who received government funds to “shore up” their windfall. Again, I lost my retirement.

Years later, after weathering a divorce and the constant struggle trying to build some momentum with my business, I find myself once again beginning to finally pick up some speed. Then came the .COM bust and the 911 nightmare. Our leaders decided that all aircraft were grounded for what seemed like an eternity; and long after that, ‘special’ facilities like San Francisco were on security alert for months. This made access to my customers prohibitively expensive. Ironically, after what they had done the Government came to the aid of the airlines with billions of our tax dollars … as usual they left me to rot and die while they bailed out their rich, incompetent cronies WITH MY MONEY! After these events, there went my business but not quite yet all of my retirement and savings.

By this time, I’m thinking that it might be good for a change. Bye to California, I’ll try Austin for a while. So I moved, only to find out that this is a place with a highly inflated sense of self-importance and where damn little real engineering work is done. I’ve never experienced such a hard time finding work. The rates are 1/3 of what I was earning before the crash, because pay rates here are fixed by the three or four large companies in the area who are in collusion to drive down prices and wages… and this happens because the justice department is all on the take and doesn’t give a fuck about serving anyone or anything but themselves and their rich buddies.

To survive, I was forced to cannibalize my savings and retirement, the last of which was a small IRA. This came in a year with mammoth expenses and not a single dollar of income. I filed no return that year thinking that because I didn’t have any income there was no need. The sleazy government decided that they disagreed. But they didn’t notify me in time for me to launch a legal objection so when I attempted to get a protest filed with the court I was told I was no longer entitled to due process because the time to file ran out. Bend over for another $10,000 helping of justice.

So now we come to the present. After my experience with the CPA world, following the business crash I swore that I’d never enter another accountant’s office again. But here I am with a new marriage and a boatload of undocumented income, not to mention an expensive new business asset, a piano, which I had no idea how to handle. After considerable thought I decided that it would be irresponsible NOT to get professional help; a very big mistake.

When we received the forms back I was very optimistic that they were in order. I had taken all of the years information to Bill Ross, and he came back with results very similar to what I was expecting. Except that he had neglected to include the contents of Sheryl’s unreported income; $12,700 worth of it. To make matters worse, Ross knew all along this was missing and I didn’t have a clue until he pointed it out in the middle of the audit. By that time it had become brutally evident that he was representing himself and not me.

This left me stuck in the middle of this disaster trying to defend transactions that have no relationship to anything tax-related (at least the tax-related transactions were poorly documented). Things I never knew anything about and things my wife had no clue would ever matter to anyone. The end result is… well, just look around.

I remember reading about the stock market crash before the “great” depression and how there were wealthy bankers and businessmen jumping out of windows when they realized they screwed up and lost everything. Isn’t it ironic how far we’ve come in 60 years in this country that they now know how to fix that little economic problem; they just steal from the middle class (who doesn’t have any say in it, elections are a joke) to cover their asses and it’s “business-as-usual”. Now when the wealthy fuck up, the poor get to die for the mistakes… isn’t that a clever, tidy solution.

As government agencies go, the FAA is often justifiably referred to as a tombstone agency, though they are hardly alone. The recent presidential puppet GW Bush and his cronies in their eight years certainly reinforced for all of us that this criticism rings equally true for all of the government. Nothing changes unless there is a body count (unless it is in the interest of the wealthy sows at the government trough). In a government full of hypocrites from top to bottom, life is as cheap as their lies and their self-serving laws.

I know I’m hardly the first one to decide I have had all I can stand. It has always been a myth that people have stopped dying for their freedom in this country, and it isn’t limited to the blacks, and poor immigrants. I know there have been countless before me and there are sure to be as many after. But I also know that by not adding my body to the count, I insure nothing will change. I choose to not keep looking over my shoulder at “big brother” while he strips my carcass, I choose not to ignore what is going on all around me, I choose not to pretend that business as usual won’t continue; I have just had enough.

I can only hope that the numbers quickly get too big to be white washed and ignored that the American zombies wake up and revolt; it will take nothing less. I would only hope that by striking a nerve that stimulates the inevitable double standard, knee-jerk government reaction that results in more stupid draconian restrictions people wake up and begin to see the pompous political thugs and their mindless minions for what they are. Sadly, though I spent my entire life trying to believe it wasn’t so, but violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer. The cruel joke is that the really big chunks of shit at the top have known this all along and have been laughing, at and using this awareness against, fools like me all along.

I saw it written once that the definition of insanity is repeating the same process over and over and expecting the outcome to suddenly be different. I am finally ready to stop this insanity. Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let’s try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well.

The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.

Joe Stack (1956-2010)

2/18/10

(Damn Joe, right during tax season! Now they’ll delay all our returns!

On the serious side, I certainly agree with a lot that Joe states in his message. Americans do need to wake up as things will only prove to get worse and worse.. It will take something writhing in ugliness on one’s doorstep before people start to realize that the “conspiracy theorists” were right about a lot of things all along.

It’s too bad Joe felt that there was no way out other than by flying a plane into the building. It’s sad – for everyone involved. RIP)

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As U.S. military troops swarmed in large numbers into Haiti after the January 12, 2010 earthquake one had to wonder if more was going on..

Supplies and medicines sat on runways and were slow to get to the needy Haitian people and several countries accused the U.S. military of holding up the planes.

Good ole’ George W. Bush and his pal Bill Clinton joined together, staring at us from U.S. television screens asking for all Americans to please send monies to help the Haitian people.

How fascinating that there seemed to be more interest in the Haitian crisis than the Katrina catastrophe that occurred on “Homeland” soil. Does the American political elite really care that much about the Haitian people??

I doubt it. Human compassion isn’t their style – just the pretense of it.

Looks to me like Haiti is about to become a part of the American Empire.

Well, read and find out what F. William Engdahl says in his article The Fateful Geological Prize Called Haiti. Engdahl (among others) offers his opinion as to why the U.S. is so interested in Haiti:

The Fateful Geological Prize Called Haiti

by F. William Engdahl
Global Research, January 30, 2010

President becomes UN Special Envoy to earthquake-stricken Haiti.

A born-again neo-conservative US business wheeler-dealer preacher claims Haitians are condemned for making a literal ‘pact with the Devil.’

Venezuelan, Nicaraguan, Bolivian, French and Swiss rescue organizations accuse the US military of refusing landing rights to planes bearing necessary medicines and urgently needed potable water to the millions of Haitians stricken, injured and homeless.

Behind the smoke, rubble and unending drama of human tragedy in the hapless Caribbean country, a drama is in full play for control of what geophysicists believe may be one of the world’s richest zones for hydrocarbons-oil and gas outside the Middle East, possibly orders of magnitude greater than that of nearby Venezuela.

Haiti, and the larger island of Hispaniola of which it is a part, has the geological fate that it straddles one of the world’s most active geological zones, where the deepwater plates of three huge structures relentlessly rub against one another—the intersection of the North American, South American and Caribbean tectonic plates. Below the ocean and the waters of the Caribbean, these plates consist of an oceanic crust some 3 to 6 miles thick, floating atop an adjacent mantle. Haiti also lies at the edge of the region known as the Bermuda Triangle, a vast area in the Caribbean subject to bizarre and unexplained disturbances.

This vast mass of underwater plates are in constant motion, rubbing against each other along lines analogous to cracks in a broken porcelain vase that has been reglued. The earth’s tectonic plates typically move at a rate 50 to 100 mm annually in relation to one another, and are the origin of earthquakes and of volcanoes. The regions of convergence of such plates are also areas where vast volumes of oil and gas can be pushed upwards from the Earth’s mantle. The geophysics surrounding the convergence of the three plates that run more or less directly beneath Port-au-Prince make the region prone to earthquakes such as the one that struck Haiti with devastating ferocity on January 12.

A relevant Texas geological project

Leaving aside the relevant question of how well in advance the Pentagon and US scientists knew the quake was about to occur, and what Pentagon plans were being laid before January 12, another issue emerges around the events in Haiti that might help explain the bizarre behavior to date of the major ‘rescue’ players—the United States, France and Canada. Aside from being prone to violent earthquakes, Haiti also happens to lie in a zone that, due to the unusual geographical intersection of its three tectonic plates, might well be straddling one of the world’s largest unexplored zones of oil and gas, as well as of valuable rare strategic minerals.

The vast oil reserves of the Persian Gulf and of the region from the Red Sea into the Gulf of Aden are at a similar convergence zone of large tectonic plates, as are such oil-rich zones as Indonesia and the waters off the coast of California. In short, in terms of the physics of the earth, precisely such intersections of tectonic masses as run directly beneath Haiti have a remarkable tendency to be the sites of vast treasures of minerals, as well as oil and gas, throughout the world.

Notably, in 2005, a year after the Bush-Cheney Administration de facto deposed the democratically elected President of Haiti, Jean-Baptiste Aristide, a team of geologists from the Institute for Geophysics at the University of Texas began an ambitious and thorough two-phase mapping of all geological data of the Caribbean Basins. The project is due to be completed in 2011. Directed by Dr. Paul Mann, it is called “Caribbean Basins, Tectonics and Hydrocarbons.” It is all about determining as precisely as possible the relation between tectonic plates in the Caribbean and the potential for hydrocarbons—oil and gas.

Notably, the sponsors of the multi-million dollar research project under Mann are the world’s largest oil companies, including Chevron, ExxonMobil, the Anglo-Dutch Shell and BHP Billiton.[1] Curiously enough, the project is the first comprehensive geological mapping of a region that, one would have thought, would have been a priority decades ago for the US oil majors. Given the immense, existing oil production off Mexico, Louisiana, and the entire Caribbean, as well as its proximity to the United States – not to mention the US focus on its own energy security – it is surprising that the region had not been mapped earlier. Now it emerges that major oil companies were at least generally aware of the huge oil potential of the region long ago, but apparently decided to keep it quiet.

Rest of article, Cuba’s Super-giant find, here. (Map of mineral and oil reserves on Haiti with article)

Read more at Marguerite Laurent’s website, particularly article Oil in Haiti – Economic Reasons for the UN/US occupation.

Haiti Has Larger Oil Reserves than Venezuela

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From AntiWar Radio

Scott Horton Interviews Ray McGovern

Scott Horton, January 14, 2010
Courtesty of The NewInternationalist http://www.newint.org/issue167/keynote.htm

Courtesy of New Internationalist

Ray McGovern, a retired CIA senior analyst, discusses a number of subjects to include: the ignorance of the American people; how American Imperialism is behind acts of terrorism and not that terrorists are “jealous” of our democracy; how journalists no longer report ‘real’ news; the terrorist organization that makes up the state of Israel and how the American Imperialist government is firmly in bed with their terrorist actions; the alteration of true history to suit the elitists; the skewing of “intelligence” reports; the use of the word “homeland” and its Nazi connections; how oil, resources, money, and power rules; and much more.

Ray McGovern, a CIA analyst for 27 years, has published a number of articles in the Consortium News and Antiwar.com.

Those in the know are already familiar with all these themes but it is always interesting to listen to new perspective.

MP3 interview here.

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