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Interesting book on the topic:
No Guts, No Glory - Unmasking Navy Seal Imposters
Paperback – January 1, 2002
by Former US Navy Seal Steve Robinson (Author)
Those who undertake to impersonate US Navy SEALs, for whatever purpose, are a disgraceful insult to every man and woman who ever served honorably in any branch of America's armed forces..."
I ran into one of these bogus SEAL wannabes when I signed up at a local diveshop to take PADI classes to get my certification. I found myself sharing the high price "private" class with 4 other people and the final qualification dives were a joke - done in a 20 foot deep pond, with about 10 feet of visibility. For the written examination, we sat around a picnic table while the instructor read the questions to us. We students took turns orally guessing at the multiple choice answers until we lucked upon the correct answer and then all were instructed to fill in the appropriate blank.
What did I know? I was a total newby. Off I went on my first dive trip, to Belize, and a near drowning experience on a night dive. By talking to other experienced divers, I learned that my classes had neglected some vital information on dive safety. On returning home and researching my dive instructor, I learned that PADI (Professional Association of Dive Instructors) had pulled his license for rushing people through the course/fudging the tests, and he had only recently been re-instated when I contacted him. He also advertised himself as a former Navy SEAL.
I contacted a Navy SEAL group which maintains a Wall of Shame for bogus SEAL claimants. They looked him up and informed me he was never a SEAL, but he had done underwater construction for the Navy as a "non-combat" diver. I'm not sure what they did to follow up, but within the year he closed the dive shop and was working strictly as a commercial diver. I found a reputable dive shop and retook the entire certification course and went on to further certifications/diving experience in wreck diving, night diving, drift diving, underwater propulsion vehicles, rescue diving, equipment repair, etc. and many fantastic dive trips. The best was Truk Lagoon in Micronesia (central Pacific) diving on wrecks of Japanese ships from World War II. Scuba diving is a fantastic experience - just make sure you get good instruction and good, well-maintained equipment and a very reliable person as your dive buddy.
Posted by Divernan | Sat Feb 15, 2014, 08:03 AM (0 replies)
Source: Think Progress
Exactly one month and a day after 10,000 gallons of chemicals spilled into West Virginia’s water, members of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure committee on Monday traveled to the state’s capital city, ostensibly to ask state leaders the still-unanswered questions surrounding the leak. There are many.
Perhaps the most important party that could provide answers would have been Freedom Industries, the company whose chemical storage tanks leaked a coal-cleaning chemical called crude MCHM into the water. Company president Gary Southern had been invited to testify, but in the end, did not show up.
“I find that extremely telling,” said Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV). “Freedom Industries’ decision not to testify today compounds its gross misconduct, and is an absolute affront to every person impacted by its spill.”
Freedom Industries’ decision not to show up to a hearing that otherwise housed every party that should be held accountable for the spill (Representatives from West Virginia American Water, West Virginia’s Department of Environmental Protection, and the U.S. Chemical Safety Board showed up, to name a few) is depressingly typical, and a painful reminder of the company’s non-presence throughout the month-long ordeal.
Read more: http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/02/10/3273201/freedom-chemical/
Duh-uh! Congressional investigative hearings include the power to subpoena witnesses. Whomever organized this really screwed up in failing to subpoena Gary Southern. Since he insulted the House Committee by ignoring the invitation and not appearing voluntarily, I trust the Committee will now subpoena his sorry a** to Washington. It should be a subpoena duces tecum, i.e, translates to "bring with you under penalty of punishment" and obliges the recipient to appear and bring with him/her all documents or other tangible evidence for use at hearing or trial. The subpoena can spell out a description of such documents.
Subpoenas and depositions:
Posted by Divernan | Mon Feb 10, 2014, 07:06 PM (7 replies)
If Clinton ran and was elected, Warren would be 75 when Clinton finished a 2nd term. Obviously, you can't see both of them in the oval office. I expect, based on her political history and sponsors that Clinton would be even more corporate friendly than Obama.
I like O'Malley very much. He's better qualified than either Clinton or Warren, but lesser known. I'd like to see a Warren-O'Malley ticket. 8 years of Warren, followed by 8 years of O'Malley. My Mom lived in Baltimore while O'Malley was Mayor, and I've followed his political career closely. He has experience in local/city, state and federal govt. Started out as a legislative fellow for Senator Barbara Mikulski; then right onto Baltimore City Council, thence to Mayor of Baltimore and thence to Governor of Maryland.
Prior to serving as Governor, O’Malley served as Mayor of the City of Baltimore, where he was recognized by Esquire magazine as “the best young mayor in the country” and by Time magazine as one of America’s “Top 5 Big City Mayors.” First elected in 1999, he was re-elected in
2003, receiving 87 percent of the vote. Between 1999 and 2009 his policies helped the people of Baltimore achieve the greatest crime reduction of America’s largest cities.
Governor O’Malley served two terms as Chair of the Democratic Governors Association. He currently serves as the organization’s Finance Chair. In addition, he serves as Co-Chair for the National Governors Association Special Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety. He was appointed to the nation’s first-ever Council of Governors by President Obama in 2010 and was named co-chair of the council in 2013.
A former Governing Magazine “Public Official of the Year,” Governor O’Malley was re-elected in 2010. His 2013 legislative successes were described in a Baltimore Sun editorial as “without many parallels in recent Maryland history.”
With a balanced approach of spending cuts, regulatory reform, and modern investment in education, innovation, and infrastructure, Governor O’Malley's results include:
The fastest rate of job growth in the region.
Maryland ranks #1 nationally in median income,
#1 in PHD scientists and researchers per capita,
#1 in Research and Development,
#1 in businesses owned by women.
The Milken Institute ranks Maryland as one of the top 2 states in America for science and technology.
Maryland is one of only a handful of states to earn an AAA Bond Rating, certified by all three major rating agencies.
Called “arguably the best manager in government” by Washington Monthly magazine,
Governor O’Malley has cut more state spending than any previous Governor in Maryland’s history, balancing these record cuts with targeted, modern investments in priorities like public education. He has reduced the size of government to its smallest size since 1973 (on a per capita basis) and reformed the way it is managed, to make it work more efficiently and accountably. His actions to save Maryland’s state pension system have made it sustainable over the long term. His fiscal stewardship has nearly eliminated Maryland’s structural deficit. His efforts to streamline, consolidate and digitize things like business licensing are making Maryland a better place to do business.
Governor O’Malley’s StateStat initiative – modeled after the CitiStat initiative he created in the City of Baltimore – is widely cited as a model for government efficiency and effectiveness.
The O’Malley-Brown Administration has expanded health care to more than 380,000 previously uninsured Marylanders. It has driven down infant mortality to an historic low and provided meals to thousands of hungry children as it moves forward toward its goal for eradicating childhood hunger.
The Governor’s policies have been credited with restoring the health of the Chesapeake Bay and saving the Bay’s native Blue Crab and Oyster populations.
The O’Malley Administration has secured millions of dollars in rate relief for Maryland energy consumers while jumpstarting the creation of thousands of green energy sector jobs. Under Governor O’Malley’s leadership, Maryland led the charge for RGGI, the nation’s first cap-and-trade auction of greenhouse emissions.
Governor O’Malley has cut income taxes for 86% of Marylanders and reformed Maryland’s tax code to make it more progressive. In addition, he has signed the nation’s first statewide living wage law, along with some of the nation’s most comprehensive reforms to protect homeowners from foreclosure.
Governor O’Malley has signed legislation to protect individual civil marriage rights and religious freedom, along with legislation to protect voting rights. He signed – and successfully defended at the ballot box – the DREAM Act, which expands the opportunity of a college education to more Marylanders.
Posted by Divernan | Thu Feb 6, 2014, 07:06 PM (2 replies)
In his 2013 State of the Union Address, President Obama announced the U.S. would soon begin talks on a Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). In other words, the U.S. is negotiating a “free trade agreement” (FTA) with the European Union (EU).
The dual track legal system created by the proposed Trans Atlantic Free Trade Agreement is causing increasing opposition and attention in the EU as well as the US. The link is to the lead article in yesterday's Der Spiegel Online International. The article details that previous criticism focused on the fact that the deal seems directed exclusively at economic interests. Now fears are growing that corporations will be given too much power.
The Dispute Settlement provision creates a private trade arbitration, 3 "judge" court which has the power to make rulings on HUGE damage payments if an investor believed its profits were reduced through a local or national law. The rulings are final and unappealable to a country's own court system. Your community's zoning laws prevent Big Fracking from drilling across the street from a grade school, church or hospital? Not under this trade agreement, baby!
Depriving Countries of Power
It would essentially deprive national justice systems of their power. And it could have dangerous side effects as well. Fears of large fines could considerably limit political maneuvering room for governments.
Posted by Divernan | Fri Jan 24, 2014, 10:09 AM (1 replies)
The peoples of the First Nation and Canadian environmentalists are truly David versus Goliath, particularly with Prime Minister Harper's conservative government support for this dirty oil pipeline.
From the OP link:
"The Northern Gateway Project is being vehemently opposed by Indigenous Peoples who will not put their territories, waters and communities at risk," Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs. "We are prepared to go to the wall against this project. We have no choice."
Here is an excellent, detailed and really shocking article spelling out how Canadian PM Harper has gutted environmental regulation, assessment, oversight and enforcement across the board in Canada, and in particular in regard to the dirty oil pipeline:
The Harper Conservatives and Their Dirty Oil Pipeline
The Harper Conservative majority government has “streamlined” the environmental assessment process to speed up development, by removing 3,000 projects from review by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA). Of course, nationwide, the big one that is still in there is the Enbridge “Northern Gateway” pipeline to carry tar sands crude from Alberta to Kitimat, BC, which this Alberta-based government wants very badly.
What is at stake environmentally is discussed in an Oct 7th Toronto Star article titled ‘Why Northern Gateway shouldn’t go near Great Bear Rainforest,’ by John Honderich, Chair of the Toronto Star‘s Board of Directors. It points out that recent legislation weakening the federal government’s obligation to do environmental protection is more than anything else aimed at preventing environmentalists, native groups, and the BC provincial government from blocking or delaying the construction of this pipeline which is intended to carry dirty tar sands oil from Alberta to Kitimat, BC to go onto oil tankers bound for the Asian market. The article notes that “the fierce opposition of the Coastal First Nations to the project is well known” and their rights to the land have never been ceded. The tankers departing from Kitimat would pass through dangerous waters: first the 2-3 km wide 70 km long Douglas Channel and then around 27 km long Gil Island with the channel narrowing by half. It was at the northern tip of Gil Island where in 2006 the BC Ferry Queen of the North missed a turn, ran onto the rocks, and sank. It is true that cargo vessels, e.g. ore carriers, have been carrying commercial cargo along this route for decades, but modern supertankers have never done so, and they are six to seven times as long as a typical ore carrier and need at least half a kilometre to alter course. Furthermore, a load of bauxite sinking to the bottom of the channel is much less of an environmental threat than “a supertanker disgorging millions of litres of molasses-like bitumen.” This area is the world’s second largest temperate rainforest, called the Great Bear Rainforest because of the spectacular population of black, grizzly, and kermode bears that live off the abundant salmon runs. By comparison, tankers loading at Valdez, Alaska and going out through Prince William Sound have it easy and safe: the exit from Valdez Arm and past Bligh Reef (where the Exxon Valdez went aground) into open Prince William Sound is about 30 km, and the tankers are always escorted by tugs. Two tugs escort each laden tanker through Prince William Sound and remain at Hinchinbrook Entrance until the vessel is twenty-seven kilometres out to sea. Will tugs escort tankers from Kitimat to the open sea? The nearest Coast Guard is in Prince Rupert, 135 km northwest of Gil Island.
There has been an informal moratorium on all oil tanker traffic off the coast of BC since 1972, renewed by the House of Commons in 2010 after the Harper government said there was no official moratorium. As for the Northern Gateway pipeline, all we have been told is that Enbridge, the pipeline’s owner, says it has a foolproof plan to manage all this. The area is one of the richest and most productive ecosystems on the planet, all based on the salmon. It is critical habitat for seventeen types of marine mammals, including the endangered blue, fin, right, sei and orca whales. Rivers critical for sixty percent of BC’s multi-million-dollar salmon catch run through the region.
During this year there has been a gutting of Environment Canada and Fisheries & Oceans Canada. Scientists whose research might conclude environmental damage have been fired. (Not “de-funded” because some of them are internationally renowned and could attract funding, and the Harper government doesn’t want that.) Government scientists are now followed around at international conferences by “minders” who make sure they don’t speak out of turn. Submitted papers that don’t follow the industry line are excluded. I experienced that personally – a submitted paper critical of massive dispersants use, as happened in the Gulf of Mexico, was rejected for a regular session of an Environment Canada conference in Vancouver, as too political and not really a technical paper. However, many papers promoting the use of dispersants were presented by industry and government attendees. The UK newspaper The Guardian published an article by their US environment correspondent Suzanne Goldenberg about a revolt by Canada’s leading scientists against sweeping cuts to government research labs and the government’s pro-industry policies, saying that Harper is accused of pushing through a slew of policies weakening or abolishing environmental protections – with an aim of expanding development of natural resources such as the Alberta tar sands. (N.B.: This is not Canadian partisan opinion.)
From issue #63
Posted by Divernan | Fri Dec 20, 2013, 04:58 AM (0 replies)
We're talking personal income - not to mention the millions corporations have shelled out to the Clinton Foundation. Corporations consider those speaking fees/"donations" to be "good value" as the Brits would say, in that they will reap far more in tax cuts & loopholes, gutted safety regulations, no-bid govt. contracts, etc., should Hillary get in the Oval Office.
You'd think with over $50 million and a bad heart, he might choose to relax and enjoy what life he has left. What gives him joy is making ever more money and living the jet set life with the other one percenters.
Posted by Divernan | Mon Dec 9, 2013, 09:55 AM (2 replies)
And dangled to serve as low cost distractions. We have been jerked around for years by threats posed by Obama's catfood commission and multiple negotiations when it's deliberately "leaked" that chained CPI and other cuts to Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid are always on Obama's negotiating table and part of his grand plan. We're expected to tug our forelocks like a bunch of serfs and be grateful that so far the status quo has remained and these threatened changes have not been implemented? Meanwhile the current index used to calculate COLA in no way accurately or fairly reflects or properly weights the budget elements for seniors/retired Americans. Yes the formula for COLAs should be changed, but to make it MORE in line with financial reality, not less so.
ACA will be a great improvement for many, but it is NOT single payer and benefits Big Insurance by forcing many to buy their policies.
Protecting gays & women in the military is the right thing to do, but it conveniently does not cost the govt. anything to do so, and attracts no MIC special interests lobbying against it because there's no profit in those discriminations, and making the military more attractive to women/LGBT increases the reserve of cannon fodder for wars.
And America's "minimum wage" (emphasis on the MINIMUM) remains inhumane and disgraceful.
The last legislated increases in the federal minimum wage, in 2007 and 2008, raised it by steps from $5.15 in 2006 to $7.25 in 2009. That produced the highest purchasing power for the minimum wage since 1981 — but that was still less than its value in 1967.
If the minimum wage had grown at the same rate as the earnings of the top one percent of Americans the federal wage floor would be more than triple the current hourly minimum of $7.25. Instead, the minimum wage has been lower than a poverty wage ever since 1982.
The New York Times compiled those and other basic facts about the minimum wage into an infographic. Together with demographic data about who actually holds minimum-wage jobs — less than a quarter of the minimum-wage workforce are teenagers, and nearly four in ten are over the age of 30 — the graphic makes the fundamental case for fighting inequality and economic hardship by raising the minimum wage. The horizontal red line in the Times graphic indicates the hourly wage necessary for a single parent working full-time with one child to avoid poverty.
In the years since Bill Clinton left office, he's increased his personal (personal, NOT the Clinton Foundation) wealth by over $50 million. But the purchasing power of minimum wage employees has remained below the poverty level. What's wrong with this picture? Who's part of the one percent? Does anyone seriously believe that corporations and big money interests would be paying his exorbitant personal speaking fees OR contributing to his Foundation if they did not anticipate the possibility that the Clintons would regain the White House and remember who bankrolled them personally and politically?
Posted by Divernan | Thu Dec 5, 2013, 08:46 AM (0 replies)
In college Mrs. Clinton was president of the Young Republicans & supported election of several moderate Republicans - John Lindsay, Edward Brooke; interned for Rep. Gerald Ford and the House Republican Conference and campaigned for Nelson Rockefeller. In 1968, when she was 21 and after years of political involvement, she attended the GOP convention in Miami where she was upset by Nixon's dirty tricks campaign attacks on Rockefeller & left the GOP party.
In Carl Bernstein's 2007 book, A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton (Alfred Knopf. ISBN 0-375-40766-9), he quotes from a letter she wrote to her youth minister, "she described herself as "a mind conservative and a heart liberal." (p. 50). Bernstein states she believed this combination was possible and that no equation better describes the adult Hillary Clinton.
I think Bernstein's opinion is valid. However, over the years, her support for liberal issues has become quite muted and taken a very distant back seat to her commitment to the MIC, Big Banking and the other "big" corporate interests which have funded Clinton family activities since Bill left office, to the tune that he now has accumulated a personal wealth of over $50 million dollars, in addition to all the millions "donated" to the Clinton Foundation and funding the very lavish life style the Clintons lead while involved in any remotely connected Foundation activities. Here are headline & sub-headlines of a recent article:
Bill Clinton's charities spent more than $50m on travel expenses in the past decade even though he regularly uses a billionaire pal's private jets. Former President Clinton runs a number of charities under his name that are focused on eradicating world health problems
This article is very detailed with fascinating examples of how the Clinton Foundation threw money donated for charity into expenses like flying a politically active movie star and her dog first class to an event. It also illustrates how the Clintons have failed to separate their non-profit charity from political involvement benefiting GOP candidates:
By using grocery-store magnate John Catsimatitis’ plane for trips- like his recent one with Chelsea to South Africa last month- the charities either pay a discounted rate to Catsimatitis or he writes the expense off as a charitable donation.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2398355/Bill-Clintons-charities-spent-50m-travel-expenses-past-decade-regularly-uses-billionaire-pals-private-jet.html#ixzz2lZEZDaRQ
The Clintons have the most tangled political/financial web of any US political dynasty ever. And all those invisible strings leading back to the corporate "donors" to the Clinton Foundation will be in place and calling the shots if there is another Clinton presidency.
Posted by Divernan | Sun Nov 24, 2013, 08:18 AM (0 replies)
Try to quote accurate, current numbers/stats, including links, would you PLEASE?
I just caught Rocky Horror Picture Show on cable over Halloween, and your inflated numbers brought to mind this song: Let's Do the Time Warp Again. The world has changed and the web is enlightening people about corporate greed. A lifelong Republican neighbor, with whom I generally avoid any political conversation, spontaneously brought up how frightened she is for her adult kids and young adult grandkids by corporate greed and politicians selling out to corporate interests.
It's just a jump to the left,
and then a step to the right.
Put your hands on your hips;
and bend your knees in tight ...
We need a candidate who appeals to independents and young voters, and Clinton's approval ratings with those 2 groups dropped to 35% and 38% respectively. She couldn't take the primary in 2008 and she's become more identified with corporatist/militarist interests since then. You know it. I know it. Major potential voting blocks know it. The only thing keeping her in the game are the bloated contributions made possible by Citizens United.
Posted by Divernan | Mon Nov 18, 2013, 10:54 AM (1 replies)
A column in today's Seattle Times discusses how Boeing's machinist union was let down by WA. Governor Inslee and Senator Murray. Bottom line, record profit-making corporation says give up your pensions and significant part of health care benefits, or we're out of here, and the corporation was cheered on by Washington's governor, senator and other lifetime pensioners holding public office.
Posted by Divernan | Sun Nov 17, 2013, 07:21 AM (1 replies)