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DATELINE 102808
TIME TO CHOOSE...

The following email, addressed to Anita Tucker, editor of the Van Buren County Democrat, originally made print (in part) in that publication back in April, just before the primary election. It was written by a fellow VBC citizen and I am republishing the full version here as it seems clearly applicable to the choice voters are called on to make at the polls Tuesday, November 4. 2008, remembering that honesty and honor start at home, in our own back yard, and until we insist on justice in our own communities we will never have it in Washington...  ~Christine

Ms. Tucker:

I realize this is tough as it is quite long – the gap between getting our paper and your deadline is difficult. I do hope it makes it, and if I could afford it would take out an ad to get it published. The actions of these officials is beyond the pale – the worst I’ve personally experienced living for 68 years in 6 states and one foreign country. They MUST be held accountable…especially for the unwarranted arrogance and disregard for liberty, not to mention the gross mis/malfeasance and incompetence!

Regarding the issue of accounting in his department, and Sheriff Bradley’s letter published last week, voters have been left with a real dilemma and it would be helpful to concentrate on “just the facts, Ma’am!” Even though many county residents, maybe even the majority, value conformity and the status quo over dialogue and advancement, I know readers are able to separate wheat (of which there has been VERY little) from chaff, of which his letter represents a veritable obliterating cloud. It seems public officials, all the way up to president, can’t grasp that when they own up, voters usually respond positively – when they ‘splain, dish, spin and jive, well…not so much.

First let’s eliminate, for purposes of clarifying the original issue, all the self-congratulatory commentary. (Examples: the “constant compliments on his achievement” [some call that sucking up], “that his staff has been [somehow, mysteriously] involved,” that he is “blessed,” we have a fine county and smart, fine citizens who he appreciates, his defense of employees and the “daily calls of support”)…

Let’s then eliminate the PR. (Examples: his reputation, solving major crimes and drug arrests, cooperating with all the local agencies and volunteers, being “driven to constantly better serving [us],” “treating all citizens fairly and honestly”… One could suggest this is included in the job description of a sheriff! Also fascinating that on the same page as his letter was more news of the historic and legendary $5 Million dollar marijuana seizure…thankfully that amount didn’t pass through the Sheriff’s Department!

Then we’ll eliminate the paranoia. (Examples: “some who are hiding behind mistruths and deception,” people who “choose to attack him,” those who “are against him who twist and mislead,“ “those who oppose him with mistruths [a curious choice of words…], “those who oppose him because of their own bad choices in life…” that he serves “openly and honestly” – apparently implying others don’t? I suggest he doth protest too much!

We probably do NOT want to eliminate his own statements which call into question his competence. (Examples: he had to ask Prosecutor Vaden “who he needed to speak with to get the facts,” his allegation that the original committee “now realize they were wrong in falsely accusing this department of stealing any money,” [this was NEVER done; only the Sheriff (repeatedly) mentions theft! and I recently checked with the committee; they stand by their original information attempted to be presented to the Quorum Court in February and March]. Most pathetically: “there has been a continuous effort since 2003 to correct this problem, but it is a very time-consuming project” [HELLO – FIVE YEARS of continuous effort and NOT ONE SINGLE RESULT?!!]… There is also the interesting aside that the County Judge, who “Tossed out the Activist,” (Quorum Court meeting in March) is also included in all of the legislative audit committee reports as being noncompliant – who knew?!!

The original issue: Being out of compliance with both state law and accepted accounting practices and no fixes in sight to the 3 years available (or apparently 2006 & 2007) since his taking office OR the several years of the same which he admittedly “inherited.” The facts are that nothing he inherited has been corrected, and during his terms in office they have grown substantially worse, as repeatedly documented in the annual audit reports of the State Legislative Auditor – in other words sloppy/nonexistent financial protocols and controls. Anyone who doubts this FACT can simply access the reports from any year they choose through 2005, and going back to 1999 – see details below.

Another laughable component of this theatrical production was Vaden’s suggestion that a letter from the auditor (dated 3/21/08 – but referencing an item from 2004!) regarding money ($1,500) that they admit has in fact “disappeared,” somehow trumps and renders meaningless 3 (or 7) years of annual audit reports!! This is the old “bait and switch” tactic used by con artists for centuries. The fact is the legislative auditor’s responsibility is to “report certain findings to the appropriate prosecuting attorney.” The referenced letter states that it is “the only finding reported to your office.”

So that letter and $0.50 will buy you a copy of the Van Buren County Democrat… They are not accountable for the issues they report on, and in fact their letters state they are: “…provided to assist in the efficient operation of the county.” They include conclusions, such as “This resulted in a lack of proper accounting and budgetary controls [by the County Judge] over County receipts and disbursements” as well as recommendations, such as “Cash receipt and disbursement journals should be maintained [by the County Sheriff] in order to accurately account for and disburse funds.”

There is NO indication that there has been any response consistent with “efficient operation of the county” by either the judge or the sheriff. To the contrary these items repeat/escalate each year!!

So we’re back to the fact that the Sheriff’s Department, in spite of Vaden’s & Bradley’s various (and contradictory) “explanations,” has in fact been (quoting the legislative audit reports) noncompliant with state law and accepted accounting practices.
                                  (continued, at right, above)


click here for  print & share PDF poster of above


(continued from below, at left)
What can we expect in the future? According to Bradley himself: he will “in time do his very best to correct it.”

Not that it will get corrected, mind you, just that he’ll do his best. Wow – impressive.

So we are to conclude that he hasn’t done so to-date but will soon, AND his efforts so far have produced exactly NOTHING!

In addition, instead of addressing the FACTS, Bradley continues his tactic of “shooting the messenger” by repeatedly attacking the motivations and character of members of The Committee for Honest Law Enforcement. Among other things he suggests that they “have made bad choices.” Since this is true of every person in Van Buren County over the age of 2, we can also dismiss that as having no relevance. Should you believe that the original information provided by the committee is in fact “mistruth,” you can read the reports yourself at the state legislative auditor’s website  You’ll need to click on Counties, on the left, then enter Van Buren and click on Search.

For those without internet access, here are summary commentary and tally taken directly from these reports:

2003 – “Noncompliance with state law and inadequate control procedures were noted”:

County Judge – 3 citations totaling $220,732

County Sheriff – 1 citation totaling $142,100

Treasurer, Tax Collector and County and Circuit Clerk: in substantial compliance with Arkansas fiscal and financial laws.

2004 - “Noncompliance with state law and accepted accounting practices”:

“The County Judge again…” – 2 citations totaling $11,822,935 (mostly hospital assets)

“The County Sheriff again failed to properly maintain cash receipt ($552,698) and disbursement ($648,427) journals…These conditions resulted in the inability of the agency to properly account for cash transactions.”

Treasurer, Tax Collector and County and Circuit Clerk: in substantial compliance…

2005 – “Noncompliance with state law and accepted accounting practices”:

“The County Judge again…” – 2 citations totaling $142,611

“The County Sheriff again…: – 6 citations totaling $541,129

Treasurer, Tax Collector and County and Circuit Clerk: in substantial compliance…

2006 should be available soon, hopefully before the election.

[Note: The 2006 report was published May 8, 2008 and again cites Bramlett and Bradley with noncompliance -- If you or I were in 'noncompliance' with the law, we would be called 'law breakers' or 'criminals'. We would have to pay a fine or go to jail and in some instances be barred from voting or holding public office. ~Christine]

I ask voters: Where are the “mistruths” here? I am not “hiding, or attacking, against, out to get, or opposed to” Sheriff Bradley – I’ve never met the man, and also have never been a member of the committee, but it seems all of us should join it – and VOTE!!

I am a 20-year resident of Morganton who is fed up with this fiasco and the actions of these “leaders,” aren’t you?

Finally neither you, nor I, nor Sheriff Bradley, Judge Bramlett or Prosecutor Vaden know who all of the members of the committee are. I do know the Chair, Chris Beems, and have for over 18 years.

We have worked closely in the past planning and facilitating national and regional conferences in Arkansas (at the Ozark Folk Center) and Louisiana, among many other civic activities. There is no more focused and committed citizen I have ever met, and she has raised 4 exemplary children (2 now adults) in this county.

The characterizations leveled at her by these 3 “leaders” as well as some of the JP’s are outrageous and are not “mistruths,” – they are LIES, as are statements made by various members of the courthouse staff who have described her (and the committee) as “criminals” and “druggies.”

I am also aware the committee attempted to communicate with both Bradley and Vaden, in writing, well before any of this public fiasco unfolded, and were totally ignored by these arrogant, unprofessional and unaccountable “public servants.”

These officials have egregiously violated the public’s trust and need to be held accountable. All citizens of our county should be outraged by this situation, and if YOU are not, then please ask yourself if you are part of the problem.

~LW, Van Buren County Arkansas
name withheld due to fear of retaliation, original email on file

FREE MIKE KELLEY NOW!!!
 

DATELINE 101208
For The Record...

The 'law' has no rights. At least not in and of itself. The law is (supposed to be) a codification or our 'birthrights'; the 'empowerment' of us, by us and for us of those 'rules & regulations' which 100% ensure our individual freedom to exercise liberty in the pursuit of our own happiness...

Show me where this is actually happening anywhere in the world and I will move there, poste haste. Until then, it is time to dig in our heels and stand firm for liberty and justice for ALL...  FREE MIKE KELLEY NOW!!!
 

Arkansas Resident sues Feds over 'constitutional justice'.

Fayetteville, AR: A Washington County resident, Ben Gover, U. S. military veteran of the Vietnam War, on Friday September 19, filed a federal lawsuit addressing "the constitutional issue of justice," specifically challenging the federal government's laws, policies and practices of drug sentencing. Gover alleges that current drug-war policy prevents proactive change. His petition seeks redress of these obstructions and he is also petitioning President Bush for the immediate pardon for all nonviolent marijuana offenders. ~~~

DATELINE 100608
Outraged by outrage...
According to Jim Dean of Democracy for America, Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe claims that Global Warming is "the second-largest hoax ever played on the American people, after the separation of church and state." Inhofe also believes the Weather Channel is behind the supposed hoax in a bid to attract viewers and compare environmentalists to "Nazis" with the Environmental Protection Agency playing "Gestapo."

In 2006, Inhofe was one of only nine senators to vote against banning torture on individuals in U.S. Government custody. In fact, during the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse investigation, he was "outraged by the outrage" over the revelations of abuse. That's right: Sen. Inhofe believes the shock expressed over the crimes was more offensive than the crimes themselves.
According to Wikipedia, on June 6, 2006, in a speech on the Senate floor about the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment, Inhofe said, pointing at a large photograph of his family: "As you see here, and I think this is maybe the most important prop we’ll have during the entire debate, my wife and I have been married 47 years. We have 20 kids and grandkids. I'm really proud to say that in the recorded history of our family, we've never had a divorce or any kind of homosexual relationship."

About this I ditto Robert Koehler, award-winning, Chicago-based journalist, editor at Tribune Media Services and nationally syndicated writer: I can’t even fathom the values that are operating here, even though they are stamped: “U.S.A.”

Count me as outraged by the lack of outrage.

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Intellectuals solve problems, geniuses prevent them.
~ Albert Einstein ~

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DATELINE 100408 ~ BY ROBERT KOEHLER  (condensed)
The ground feels a little soft, but we’re going to stand it.

Premise one: Having a fair election — all votes counted, all who are eligible and want to vote allowed to vote — is far, far more important, even in 2008, than who wins.

Premise two: Fair elections are not a given. They never have been, but things are worse now than ever before because of a perfect storm, you might say, of factors that have converged in the new millennium: officialdom’s seduction by unsafe, high-tech voting systems; the seizure of power by a party of ruthless true believers who feel entitled to rule and will do anything to win; a polite, confused opposition party that won’t make a stink about raw injustice; and an arrogantly complacent media embedded in the political and economic status quo.

The result: Benjamin Franklin’s worst nightmare.

“Well, Doctor, what have we got — a Republic or a Monarchy?”

“A Republic, if you can keep it.”

Franklin uttered those words in answer to a citizen’s query as he left the final session of the Constitutional Convention of 1787.

Without an intense degree of citizen involvement at the structural level — down there amid the gears and cogs of universal enfranchisement — our government will soon default to something far simpler: one that is of, by and for whoever seizes power.

Glaring danger signals:

It all comes down to the first few words of Dorothy Fadiman’s about-to-be-released documentary, “Stealing America: Vote by Vote,” spoken by investigative journalist Greg Palast: “The nasty little secret of American democracy is that not all the votes get counted” and David Earnhardt’s “Uncounted: The New Math of American Elections.” 

Both movies focus on the disquieting irregularities of the 2004 and subsequent elections, creating a context for the possibility of election fraud that transcends Chicken Little and reminds viewers of our nation’s long history of citizen struggle and vigilance.

To encourage citizen ownership of transparent, participatory democracy.

The vision here, coiled in each word, is of a nation full of election monitors, demanding answers, standing tough.

“This really is the serious business of our lives,” said Ion Sancho, election supervisor of Leon County, Fla. “My goal is waking people up. My tactic is to put myself in the middle of the road and say” — to anyone who would suppress or interfere with the vote — “hey, you’re going to have to hit me.”

These are just words unless you sign on with your life. ~~~

Robert Koehler is an award-winning, Chicago-based journalist, an editor at Tribune Media Services and a nationally syndicated writer.

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DATELINE 100108
THOTFUL IDEAS

We are at a crucial time in our country's financial history. Congress defeated the $700 billion bailout plan on Monday. However, they are revising it and trying to push it through again. I'm supporting an alternative plan that will keep our nation from going even deeper in debt and I've been on TV and radio all week telling people about it. ~DAVE RAMSEY.COM

DATELINE 093008
UNBELIEVABLE BUT NOT SURPRISING

You wanna know where that very important $700-billion figure came from?

Here's a quote from Forbes:

"It's not based on any particular data point," a Treasury spokeswoman told Forbes.com Tuesday. "We just wanted to choose a really large number."

In other words, THEY MADE IT UP!!! And they chose a number that was sufficiently ginormous to frighten everyone into rapid action.

Don't let them get away with it.

Applaud the bi-partisan 'militants' who refused to endorse this travesty. Find your legislator on this list and tell them what you think of how they voted!!!

Amsterdam, September 30 2008
MASSPEOPLE

The European Trade Union Congress just said that capitalism is on the brink of collapse.

Maybe but do they have any idea what to do after the collapse? I don't think so, they are just an integrated part of our society and will only propose something that fits the framework of the present dominating ideas (the elitist paradigm) that regulate our society. More control, more regulation of the financial sector, thus less freedom.

They have no idea that society only can change on the basis of new ideas, new paradigms.

Without new ideas people continue to grope around in the dark and the old elite will come back, just as happened after WWI, 1929 and WWII. The "democratic" opposition does not have an alternative that gives masspeople a say in society. [read more]
 

DATELINE: 092908
ABOUT OUR ECONOMY...

I got an email today proposing that instead of bailing out Wall Street we citizens should give ourselves a "We Deserve It" dividend. I love the idea and wholeheartedly endorse it. Only problem, the math in the email was wrong.

Still, a lot of what that email said made solid sense, thus I share the gist of what was sent to me, with corrected $$$ figures:

Our population is about 301,000,000 +/- counting every man, woman and child, which means there are roughly 140million 'working families'. Divide that number into the $700billion asked for the Wall Street Bail Out and you get roughly $5000 per family. 

Seems that would help catch-up a lot of deliquent mortgages, pay off some credit card debt, maybe even put a few dollars in the bank for a 'rainy day' or make a down-payment on a more fuel-efficient car.

As for AIG - liquidate it. Sell off its parts. Let the private sector bargain hunters cut it up and clean it up. We (the working families) deserve it and the golden parachute folks at AIG don't.

~~~

FREE MIKE KELLEY
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DATELINE: 092908
ON THE SAME SUBJECT...

Another email (accurately) proposed:

Wall Street has actually convinced a lot of us that what's good for the Dow Jones Average is good for us real people. But for DECADES bankers have raked in billions while ordinary Americans watched their wages drop, jobs outsourced, health insurance rates skyrocket, and have lost their homes.

We need our government to actively work for US in fixing this mess, so let's tell Congress it's time to start over and pass a New Deal for Main Street. That means:

  • Putting real regulations back on runaway financial corporations, and taking an ownership stake in exchange for any taxpayer support
  • Providing mortgage relief so ordinary Americans stop losing their homes
  • Putting millions to work by investing in new green jobs and infrastructure
  • Investing in a health care plan to cover everyone
  • Send your Representatives a message endorsing this strategy now: CLICK HERE