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Victory for Bunny Greenhouse

It seems like an eon since I first learned of Bunny Greenhouse's work on the Defense Base Act. Most Americans best know her as the whistleblower who blew the lid off of KBR/Halliburton no-bid contracts in the run up to the Iraq War.

Few know that she is responsible today for ushering in significant reforms the Defense Base Act, the equivalent of workers compensation for overseas contractors. Over the years, I wondered if her work with the Defense Base Act played a part in the retaliation she faced. For too many insurance companies, the Defense Base Act was a cash cow.

Victory for Bunny Greenhouse
Press Release, Web Wire, July 26, 2011

Today, the National Whistleblowers Center announced that the United States District Court in Washington D.C. gave its final approval of a settlement between Bunnatine "Bunny" Greenhouse and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. After a six year legal battle, the Army Corps agreed to pay Ms. Greenhouse $970,000 representing full restitution for lost wages, compensatory damages and attorneys fees. Ms. Greenhouse was notified that she was going to be removed from her position as the Army Corps chief contracting and procurement executive after being demoted out of the Senior Executive Service when she strongly objected, during the award of a secret contract granting Halliburton subsidiary, Kellogg Brown & Root (“KBR”), a no-compete, sole source, cost-plus $7 Billion contract as the invasion of Iraq was about to commence.

Her work with the Defense Base Act will over time save the American taxpayer billions of dollars.

Additional Reading

Iraq, Contingency Contracting and the Defense Base Act
By Susie Dow, ePluribus Media, March 4, 2007

 

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Open Thread: Debt Ceiling or Credit Limit and Other Nonsense

I got a letter from my credit card company the other day ... it said:

Congratulations! We have increased your credit limit to $XX!  

Apparently they thought increasing my spending limit was a good thing -- the CONGRATULATIONS! part was heavily emphasized (see below).

CONGRATULATIONS!

They didn't tell me that I could only spend the increase on DingDongs and that I had to curtial my spending at Old Navy. No, the letter simply said I could now spend more money.

So this is Amerika

I wrote this commentary in 2007, during the throes of the Bush Administration. It is, unfortunately, as appropriate today as it was 4 years ago.

We the People are in serious trouble if we can't get beyond our media-manufactured differences and take our country back. 


In 1987 the mini-series Amerika aired on ABC amid much hype and controversy and then died a quick death. In 1995 there was a limited release on VHS. While the premise of the mini-series was to show the United States 10 years after a take-over by the Soviets, the story is hauntingly familiar to the America [Amerika] we are living in now.

For the most part, apathetic Americans let the coup progress with no resistance, resulting in an occupied America.

Saturday Morning Open Thread, Meta-Deficit Debt Ceiling Edition

The ongoing game of charade in DC is continuing apace, with what appears to be the umpteenth act in a never-ending saga of "kabuki theater in a Potemkin village" over raising the debt ceiling.

The GOP has decided to use this as a tri-blade tool to finish the job of gutting the economy in their efforts to blame the collapse upon the Obama Administration, in spite of the facts & evidence that this whole fiasco began (and accelerated) under the previous Administration with the help of a GOP majority in both houses of Congress.

Unfortunately for them, the video of their efforts to avoid precisely what they're doing now exists - Think Progress posted about it.

Now we just need people to share it widely, and shout down those who are arguing about "compromise" - there needs to be a clean bill, no strings, and not for the short term.

Then the other hypocrisies can be dealt with.

Let's take our nation back and return control of it to the masses.

 

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Sen. Sanders' angry Americans: What if they knew about the corporate tax holiday?!

I'd planned to talk about the new evidence for election hacking during the 2004 Ohio vote but will, for the moment, defer to the discussion of that topic in the Jonaothon Turley Blog post, Dead Men Do Tell Tales (Of Rigged Elections).

Instead, I want to let the ever-so-sensible Senator Bernie Sanders describe in his ever so rational way about how angry Americans are, and why. 

First,  though, I want to be sure that anyone who's missed it, understands what seems to be among the most blatantly outrageous parts of the debt ceiling deal being discussed on TOP OF the insane demands of tea party gangsters.

CareGiving Kos: Options for Care-Givers

Crossposted from the Daily Kos group CareGiving Kos.

As the population grows, the economy constricts and services face more serious challenges by the day, some of the options currently available to care-givers may change - some will fade as funding dollars for service programs dwindle, while other opportunities may arise to fill voids or address particularly troublesome unmet needs.1 It's often difficult to keep abreast of developments - navigating the state and federal options is usually a good starting point, but state options vary from state to state and region to region. Federal options aren't always easy to understand, or are limited.

One way we can improve this is to offer feedback and information about opportunities for help and support in our region, and provide feedback on those services and how they worked (or not) for our own care-giving needs. In some instances, we might note services and options that we weren't aware of but which are available - and anyone who has actually tried those services can offer their perspectives on them.

This particular diary is not meant to be a substantive start to that process, but an exploratory one: I'll touch on a couple of programs of national and state/regional scope, provide some information and commentary, and ask for any feedback or additional information. Ideally, folks will add other elements in comments (local/regional/state/federal services, etc.) and include what they know of them, and we'll be able to create a more substantive plan for a follow-up diary (or diaries). Ready?

Ok - jump the squiggle, and let's begin.

 

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Congressional Criminal Conspiracy! Defaulting when you don't need to is a crime

If we defaulted on our debt when we were perfectly capable of paying it, we would be be prosecuted for fraud. But when Congress does it, they call it politics.a

The crazies in the United States House of Representatives would have you believe it were so. They say fix that budget before we'll raise the debt ceiling. If we don't get our fix, they announce, there's no deal. We'll just default until things get straightened out. (Image: George Romero)

Let's see what would happen to you or me. We are unable to pay our bills, unless we tap a special line of credit that we've used in the past, one that has never failed us. We'll have to raise some money and cut some expenses too.

We're tired of paying bills and just want to stop for a while. We file for bankruptcy following all of the required procedures. The minute we file, we're granted an automatic stay on our debt. We are now protected, no bills to pay.

Beyond the Blogosphere

Down the rabbit hole. Over the rainbow.

Whatever you call it, we seem to have stepped beyond the solid ground of yesterday and into a fantasyland of our own imaginings.

Like everybody else, I've been watching the train wreck going on in Washington, where people are trying to impose their beliefs on reality, tailoring the latter to fit the former.

Yeah, I know: That's impossible. But that's what's going on.

False Equivalency and Anders Breivik

"Well, he did the same thing!"

We've all heard that.  And we are all getting rather sick of seeing it, again and again, in our political discourse.

At least, I am.

Writing in today's New York Times, Ross Douthat tries to blunt criticism of the Norway Madman's connection to American right-wing crazies.  The Times, in another story, says Breivik was "deeply influenced by a small group of American bloggers and writers who have warned for years about the threat from Islam."  Douthat seems to believe that pointing this out is the equivalent of finding similarities in things the Unabomber wrote with Al Gore's Earth in the Balance.

What Douthat conveniently forgets is that there is no sign that Theodore Kazcynski was ever influenced by Al Gore. The same is not true of Breivik and right-wing bloggers.

Random Japan

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DIAMOND DUST
Sho Darvish, the younger brother of Nippon Ham Fighters ace Yu Darvish, was arrested twice in June—once for marijuana possession and again for assaulting a 19-year-old woman. So much for weed mellowing you out…
Seattle Mariner Ichiro Suzuki saw his string of ten straight MLB All-Star Game appearances come to an end when he finished seventh in fan voting among American League outfielders. He still picked up over 2.5 million votes.
A renegade cat delayed a BayStars vs. Hiroshima Carp ballgame at Yokohama Stadium when it got on the field and had to be chased off by security.
Golfer Tiger Woods may have philandered away millions in endorsement contacts in the U.S. but he’s still big in Japan. Woods is the new face of Kowa, a Japanese muscle balm.
The heat is on once again and the Japan Football Association has decided to allow sports drinks, as well as your standard water, on the sidelines at soccer games to prevent heatstroke. Some stadiums, however, have a water-only policy in effect, worried that a little Pocari Sweat might kill the grass.
A 17-year-old boy scout with Japanese roots from Utah delivered soccer balls, uniforms and whistles to students affected by the March 11 earthquake/tsunami. Perhaps more suited to Sudan than Japan, but a good deed nonetheless.

Her Final Year: Alzheimer's Disease, Care-Giving and Care-Giver Recovery

Many of you may recall that I was the primary care-giver for a victim of Alzheimer's Disease - specifically, my mother-in-law who I affectionately referred to as "Mumsie." I wrote a few pieces that appeared here on ePluribus Media as well as other places, often sharing thoughts / feelings and happenings about the ongoing experience, or reflecting upon it after her passing in December of 2007.

Some of you may recall that I mentioned working with someone to co-author a book about the experience.

Well, the book is complete. It's now available via Amazon.com in both print and Kindle format. It's Her Final Year: A Care-Giving Memoir.

We think that anyone facing prospect of - or currently engaged in - the care-giving role for a loved one suffering from Alzheimer's disease may find the experiences we relate within to be of use and interest. If you know anyone who you think may benefit, please pass along new of our book and the website URL (herfinalyear.com).

Thank you.

 

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Michael Collins: The Budget Betrayal - Questions and Answers

This president will never do a single thing to oppose the the agenda of the ruling financial elite unless, of course, members of the ruling elite tell him to oppose something meaningless just for the sake of appearances.

Question: Why did President Obama put Social Security and Medicare on the table in the budget negotiations when 80% of the people oppose cuts to these programs?

Answer: The president is not in office to represent those people. He was selected, funded and carried over the finish line by corporate America. Look at the appointment of Wall Streeter Timothy Geithner, the bailouts, and the failure to prosecute any of the crooks who caused the current recession. He's serving the people who put him in office. Those people don't need Social Security and Medicare.

Open Thread - 'What went wrong in Ohio?' 2004 Edition

Last week, attorneys filed a new brief in the King Lincoln Bronzeville v. Blackwell case alleging adverse effect on their clients' civil rights by the official conduct of the 2004 presidential election, in Ohio.

The 259 page filing (3.5 megabyte PDF @ Moritz Election Law) includes several items of interest to ePluribus Media researchers whose membership are expressly recognized after reporting the first evidence placing Ohio's vote count in the networks of the Republican IT service provider, SMARTech Corp, during 2004 and 2006 elections. 

Testing and the Wisdom of Crowds

The other day, I gave my Advanced Technical Writing students a quiz. One question: "Name three things you should do before starting any research project."

The answers weren't in their text. I had not told them what these things should be in prior classes. In fact, the question had not come up--which is one reason I asked it.

What I was doing was something of an experiment on the wisdom of crowds and an attempt to make a point about authority and the weakness of the multiple-choice test when it is the sole means of evaluation.

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