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[Note: after this post, Ryan Jordan has resigned. Not that this post caused him to quit, but that you should know.]

Say it ain’t so!

It may well be, at least if you don’t already consider the personal income tax to be a huge fraud.

A man was contesting his tax liability, claiming offset losses for gambling mostly with video poker. The Tax Court issued a decision that you cannot be a professional gambler playing video poker. That is sort of interesting. The decision managed to cite to www.wikipedia.org eight times.

Wikipedia is based on people all over the world contributing and eventually the truth will surface. The site is supposed to be self-correcting with the masses all adding to articles and fixing them when they discover errors. This is not bad in theory much like communism works in theory. The Wikipedia process depends on enough people telling the truth.

The New Yorker had an article about Wikipedia and was referred to Essjay, an anonymous contributor and moderator of the site who identified himself as “‘a tenured professor of religion at a private university’ with ‘a Ph.D. in theology and a degree in canon law.’” After the article was published, it was discovered that “Essjay” is actually Ryan Jordan, twenty-four years old, with no advanced degrees and has never taught.

Ryan Jordan was hired by Wikia, a company affiliated with Wikipedia as a “community manager” and held several responsible positions within the Wikipedia community.

When this fraud was discovered, the owner of Wikipedia immediately fired Ryan Jordan and apologized to the internet community for his oversight because the credibility of Wikipedia rests on the honesty of the moderators and the contributors — JUST KIDDING!! Here’s the real response according to the New Yorker: “Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikia and of Wikipedia, said of Essjay’s invented persona, “I regard it as a pseudonym and I don’t really have a problem with it.”

He doesn’t really have a problem with it? That shouldn’t be too surprising if you consider that Jimmy Wales has already re-written his own Wikipedia biography. According to Wired News, Jimmy Wales had already made substantive changes to his online biography re-writing his own history and deleting references to Larry Sanger as a co-founder of the website. According to the article, Mr. Wales acknowledged that you shouldn’t edit articles about yourself and that the Wikipedia guidelines at the time (12/19/2005) cautioned about fixing articles about yourself. The current guidelines curiously omit this suggestion.

So Wikipedia.org has some very serious credibility issues. The founder of the website has decided on different standards for himself vs. others. It would not have been too difficult for him to ask other editors to make the changes for him which is also underhanded but at least in line with the guidelines for the site.

Now the Federal Government through the Tax Court has used Wikipedia to bolster a tax bill for an additional $3,068.

Comments Welcome

The world is going crazy. Sexual Liberation is not all it’s cracked up to be.

The world sexualizes everything (some stores sell thong underwear for children – ACK!). It is difficult to find modest swimsuits for little girls anymore.

Sex sells, lyrics in songs are racy, less clothes are the norm. I used to joke about women on TV that must be very poor because all they have to wear is their little sister’s clothes based on the necklines, hemlines, and tightness. Ha-ha.

Society is reaping what it sews. Because of media coverage and the demands for ratings, there seems to be an epidemic of school teachers sleeping with their students, especially in the last couple of years.

Here is a partial hall of shame: Debra LaFave, Pamela Rogers, Mary Kay Letourneau, Rachel Holt, Cameo Patch, Amy McElhenney, Kristin Margrif, Adrianne Hockett, Amber Jennings, Amber Marshall, Amira Sa’Di, Amy Lilley, Angela Comer, Angela Stelwag, Beth Raymond, Bethany Sherrill, Carol Flannigan, Cathy Heminghaus, Celeste Emerick, Christina Gallagher, Christine Duda, Christine Scarlett, Deanna Bobo, Diane DeMartini-Scully, Donna Galloway, Elisa Kawasaki, plus about 46 more names are on this list, alongside others. This includes Allenna Williams Ward who recently was found to have the special distinction of sleeping with five of her students.

And for the men: . . . . . The men are a bit harder to identify. But there are sex offender sites. Yup, for sex offenders. Approximately 8 out of 9 teachers are women. This probably explains some of the disparity.

All of the names on this hall of shame are school teachers who had sex with their students. They are also women, and some of them are women who like women. The disparity in news treatment may be for several reasons, among them may be the men who do the reporting that secretly wish that they were able to get some of their teachers in bed when they were younger and are more likely to report on their fantasies. It also gets ratings for the news. There should be no surprise whatsoever that better looking teachers get more media coverage. There is a reason that The Graduate was such a popular movie with a soundtrack with a song from Simon & Garfunkel. The movie was released in 1967 when a number of the current men in charge of media coverage were still growing up.

Even the reporting on sex offenses has become sexualized and made to be sexy.

It is not a mistake that Anna Nicole Smith dominated the news when she died, and each TV news story had to run some sort of racy picture or video montage of her with the news story. A memorial website can’t even come up with a completely modest picture of her. It even makes news when the AP Entertainment Editor chooses to not cover Paris Hilton.

According to this article, the number of sex offenses by women has remained flat since 1996. Women are committing sex crimes at about 4% of the rate of men. News has been sexualized. While women are generally getting less jail time, they are also committing less serious crimes when compared to the crimes committed by men.

There is something wrong with our culture according to this anonymous source:

We allow people to market products to teens like they are adults, our society is sufficiently open that they can get access to adult entertainment, and yet we dote over them and worry about their self esteem and how they fit in with their peers as though we’re the ones looking for the prom date. The balance of social pressure is to be a “friend”, not in charge, and to constantly show the human failings of authority figures.

In other words, we have created an environment in which “semi-adults” with adult hormones interact with adults in a way that is too familiar and leads to more opportunities and temptations for sexual contact.

That is part of why more and more people decide to home school and go our of their way to exclude worldly influences from the home. Worldly influence is rotting our families from the inside out.

With this background, it is disappointing more than shocking that kids in a high school drama class (between classes) were filming a video that involved four of the girls stripping down to their underwear. The students involved were suspended for at least 2-3 days. At least they weren’t an 11-year old in possession of a butter knife, they might have been arrested and suspended for ten days . Talk about a pervasive attitude of make love, not war.

The illegitimacy rate is out of control. Pardon my yelling, but IF ANYTHING PROVES THAT GOVERNMENT SOLUTIONS DON’T WORK, THIS IS IT. In the early 1960’s, the black illegitimacy rate was 22% which led to several decades of government programs to fix the underlying problems. After more than $1 Trillion spent, and 40+ years later, the black illegitimacy rate has declined. As of 2002, the rate is down from 68.4% to 68.0%. The White illegitimacy rate was 22.9% as compared to 1.9% in 1956. Hispanic illegitimacy rates are in the 40%+ range (there are no official numbers from the 1960’s for this group).

Our schools are teaching s
afe sex instead of abstinence. Marriage is losing its’ special place because of gay marriage and other cultural influences. Our media is completely saturated with sexual images.

Unfortunately, our children are getting the message and all too well.

Comments Welcome

So yesterday I was writing about our culture that is too busy to care about important things that will actually affect your life. Like “missing” defense spending.

I am not so sure anymore that it really is missing. I have sort of incidentally been looking into some additional arguments about the money. It is on too large a scale to really be just by accident. I am sure that some of the money was actually mishandled but it appears that a great amount of the money is probably “missing” in the same sense that my kid with chocolate smears on her face “doesn’t know what happened” to the chocolate chip cookies they were supposed to leave alone.

As a matter of sleight of hand and having a successful lie, we are brought up on stories of government waste and incompetence. We are taught that the government isn’t good at doing anything. It is emotionally easier to believe that the money simply was mismanaged and is unaccounted for than to think that by design the money was taken and given to the right people. Corrupt government officials take advantage of a confusing time when accountability is practically nonexistent so they can rob people blind. This has been going on for a very long time at the local, state, and national level.

This way of doing business is easier for people to stomach (if they quit following the stories about who fathered Anna Nicole Smith’s baby) than to think that the money is being given to friends of the administration. Whoops! We lost $30 Billion in Iraq! War sure is confusing! is a much easier line to want to believe than to think, “they have given $30 Billion to their friends and associates and used the Iraq war as cover for it”. It just doesn’t seem plausible that anyone would really be so incompetent and just lose that much money that fast without some kind of assurance that they would not be accountable for those kind of mistakes. People have gone to jail for mishandling less money than that.

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Some facts to consider:

The U.S. flew in over 360 tons of cash into Iraq. A C-130 cargo plane is a military staple for cargo shipments. Their average capacity is around 34,000 lbs. to 36,500 lbs. for normal shipping. With an average of 35,000 lbs per shipment, to send 720,000 lbs of cash would require 21 plane loads. This money was shipped on pallets. Someone must have been keeping track of that shipment.

There was over $20 Billion in money from Iraqi Oil money and frozen assets released to the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in power until the Iraqis could set up a government of their own. The following quotes are all from the article linked immediately above.

Exactly how many billions of additional dollars were squandered, stolen, given away, or simply lost will never be known because the deliberate decision by the CPA not to meter oil exports means that no one will ever know how much revenue was generated during 2003 and 2004.
 

and . . .

Considerable fraud has been alleged regarding American companies, much of which can never be addressed because the Bush administration does not regard contracts with the CPA as pertaining to the U.S. government, even though U.S. taxpayer dollars were involved in some transactions. 

and . . .

Halliburton, Vice President Dick Cheney’s former company, has a no-bid monopoly contract with the Army Corps of Engineers that is now estimated to be worth $10 billion. In June 2005, Pentagon contracting officer Bunny Greenhouse told a congressional committee that the agreement was the “most blatant and improper contracting abuse” that she had ever witnessed, a frank assessment that subsequently earned her a demotion. 

and . . .

The undocumented cash flow continued long after the CPA folded. Over $1.5 billion was disbursed to interim Iraqi ministries without any accounting, and more than $1 billion designated for provincial treasuries never made it out of Baghdad. More than $430 million in contracts issued by the Petroleum Ministry were unsupported by any documentation, and $8 billion were given to government ministries that had no financial controls in place. 

and perhaps the worst part of all . . .

The educated and entrepreneurial [the leaders!] are leaving the country in droves, as is most of the beleaguered Christian minority. Huge government appropriations are approved by Iraqi lawmakers and then simply disappear. Meanwhile, life for the average Iraqi does not improve, and oil production, water supplies, and electricity generation are all at lower levels than they were when the U.S. took control in 2003. The only thing that everyone knows is that all the money is gone and daily life in Iraq is worse than it was under Saddam Hussein. 

I don’t know how to even evaluate claims like that or even how to verify that they are true and here is why: there is almost a complete media blackout about what is really going on in Iraq. There is no way to get a comprehensive view of what is going on because it is too dangerous and reporters have no protection to report on anything outside of areas not already controlled by the U.S. or the U.K. military.

The Green Zone is a very small area in Baghdad where it is “safe”. There are military media minders and the media only has access that they are given and provided by the military. If they go out of those closely guarded areas, their lives may be in danger.

This Video with footage from the BBC shows British SAS soldiers possibly inciting violence as they pretended to be Arabs.

Estimates of Iraqi dead from the invasion range from 300,000 to almost 1 Million. These numbers do include deaths from starvation and disease, not just the violent ones.

Here is part 1 of 4 of a BBC documentary regarding Jessica Lynch and her recovery from the hospital. The Pentagon did not release any additional video to help clear up any confusion. It also looks at the difficulties of media coverage in a war zone with military media minders. Part 2 of 4. Part 3 of 4. Part 4 of 4.

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It would not be hard in such an environment for money to just be given into the right hands and no one can be the wiser. There is no single person to blame, and all the right palms get greased.

It also appears that knowing how to take bribes, even if you get caught, makes you qualified to serve on a Homeland Security Panel as a Congressman.

It appears that the money was taken, not just missing.

Maybe I should go back to watching TV.

Comments Welcome

ECHELON

is a program used by government agencies to spy on civilians. Naturally, they can’t listen to every single communication, but they do monitor all the communications they can.

This would include e-mail, faxes, phone conversations, everything.

There are many sites that refer to this program. Here is a Google search. It returns sources from the BBC, the Telegraph, and other news agencies. There has been a lot of noise made about the U.S. not being allowed to spy on its’ own citizens. Some people think that this has been circumvented by a secret agreement between the USA and the UK for us to spy on them and for them to spy on us using shared technology and hardware and then to share the results and presto! the U.S. does not spy on its’ citizens.

While we are told that this serves a national security purpose to monitor for certain watch words, this program has been used for commercial espionage and the European Parliament (starting with page 136) actually recommends encryption in sensitive communications to protect their commercial interests.

According to three Insight Magazine articles from 1997, the U.S. Government has already been used to gain commercial secrets for the benefit of large contributors to the DNC. There was a large scale operation to completely saturate with surveillance the activities of an economic conference in 1993 in Seattle for the Asia Pacific Economic Conference.

The second article shows how the individuals involved were lied to:

One reason is that most of the intelligence agents involved in the spy operation had no idea where the end product went. They all were told it was a national-security mission and that the surveillance was to protect the 15 or more leaders of nations attending the conference. Never mind that the targets were rarely the leaders of the nations, but their assistants and staffers, referred to as “secondary people,” because that’s who cut the deals.

In the third article about the APEC summit, there is some interesting/sickening information provided by former Washington insiders. To provide context, some FBI agents providing surveillance of the conference were witnesses to underage male prostitution and were ordered to do nothing about it for reasons of national security.

The boys are believed to have been 15 to 17 years old. As shocking as this may be, some say it’s routine. A former Bush economic adviser observes, “The sex? That’s done all the time. If a foreign diplomat wants a companion, the State Department provides it. It doesn’t matter if it’s a man or woman. They have a special fund set up for that.” Another former NSC official who requested anonymity says other countries also do it. “I was offered every sexual favor you can imagine. I turned it down all the time. After a while they left me alone and stopped offering me.”

It is not so comforting for me to think that these same people are or ever have been in power. Are you paranoid enough yet?

Comments Welcome

Africa is one of the most difficult places to provide humanitarian aid to.

There is a massive amount of corruption and thuggery going on and the food is never really fairly distributed to the people it is intended to help.

Zimbabwe is an example of this problem.

White farmers are being forced out of the country by fiat and the farms are then given to friends of the president of Zimbabwe, Pres. Mugabe (pronounced MOO-GAH-BAY). According to several accounts, the farms are far less productive and causing food shortage problems in the country. Pres. Mugabe blames the problem on drought and sanctions against his country.

According to the article:

Last year, some 700,000 people lost their homes or livelihoods in a government demolition campaign aimed at street vendors, market stall holders and allegedly illegal housing.

I blame Pres. Mugabe and his like-minded minions for the problems they are having. With the continued oppressive actions of his government, it is hard for the economy to grow and help his people.

What about in the United States?

Real Headline: Orlando: Please Do Not Feed The Homeless, Law Limits Feeding Large Groups Of People In Parks.

Cities are trying like crazy to attract money more than anything. Nothing like having government coffers full of tax money to do whatever the heck it is that governments do with money.

In efforts to keep the city ship shape for investors, Orlando has increased the number of ordinances designed to drive out the homeless. Now groups seeking to feed the homeless with their own dollars are required to have permits to feed more than 25 people. These permits will only be issued to the same applicant twice a year.

I guess it is easier to just drive out all the homeless than to crack down on the most obnoxious ones. [e.g. public urination, trespassing, public drunkenness, etc…]

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