Sunday, November 29, 2009



Maurice Clemmons, man wanted for questioning, has long criminal history
By Seattle Times staff
Maurice Clemmons, the 37-year-old Tacoma man being sought for questioning in the killing of four Lakewood police officers this morning, has a long criminal record punctuated by violence, erratic behavior and concerns about his mental health.
Nine years ago, then-Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee granted clemency to Clemmons, commuting his lengthy prison sentence over the protestations of prosecutors.
"This is the day I've been dreading for a long time," Larry Jegley, prosecuting attorney for Arkansas' Pulaski County said Sunday night when informed that Clemmons was being sought in connection to the killings.
Clemmons' criminal history includes at least five felony convictions in Arkansas and at least eight felony charges in Washington. The record also stands out for the number of times he has been released from custody despite questions about the danger he posed.
Clemmons had been in jail in Pierce County for the past several months on a pending charge of second-degree rape of a child.
He was released from custody just six days ago, even though he was wanted on a fugitive warrant out of Arkansas and was staring at eight felony charges in all out of Washington state.
Clemmons posted $15,000 with a Chehalis company called Jail Sucks Bail Bonds. The bondsman, in turn, put up $150,000, securing Clemmons' release on the pending child-rape charge.
Clemmons lives in Tacoma, where he has run a landscaping and power-washing business out of his house, according to a police interview with his wife earlier this year.
He was married, but the relationship was tumultuous, with accounts of his unpredictable behavior leading to at least two confrontations with police earlier this year.
During the confrontation in May, Clemmons punched a sheriff's deputy in the face, according to court records. As part of that incident, he was charged with seven counts of assault and malicious mischief.
In another instance, Clemmons was accused of gathering his wife and young relatives around at 3 or 4 in the morning and having them all undress. He told them that families need to "be naked for at least 5 minutes on Sunday," a Pierce County sheriff's report says.
"The whole time Clemmons kept saying things like trust him, the world is going to end soon, and that he was Jesus," the report says.
As part of the child-rape investigation, the sheriff's office interviewed Clemmons' sister in May. She told them that "Maurice is not in his right mind and did not know how he could react when contacted by Law Enforcement," a sheriff's report says.
"She stated that he was saying that the secret service was coming to get him because he had written a letter to the President. She stated his behavior has become unpredictable and erratic. She suspects he is having a mental breakdown," the report says.
Deputies also interviewed other family members. They reported that Clemmons had been saying he could fly and that he expected President Obama to visit to "confirm that he is Messiah in the flesh."
Prosecutors in Pierce County were sufficiently concerned about Clemmons' mental health that they asked to have him evaluated at Western State Hospital. Earlier this month, on Nov. 6, a psychologist concluded that Clemmons was competent to stand trial on the child-rape and other felony charges, according to court records.
Clemmons moved Washington in 2004, after being released from prison in Arkansas, state Department of Corrections records indicate. That would mean he had gone five years or so before landing in serious trouble with authorities here, according to a review of his criminal record.
Clemmons started Sea-Wash Pressure Washing Landscaping with his wife, Nicole Smith, in October 2005. The license for the business expired last month.
Long history of trouble in Arkansas
News accounts out of Arkansas offer a confusing — and, at times, conflicting — description of Clemmons' criminal history and prison time.
In 1990, Clemmons, then 18, was sentenced in Arkansas to 60 years in prison for burglary and theft of property, according to a news account. Newspaper stories describe a series of disturbing incidents involving Clemmons while he was being tried in Arkansas on various charges.
During one trial, Clemmons was shackled in leg irons and seated next to a uniformed officer. The presiding judge ordered the extra security because he felt Clemmons had threatened him, court records show.
Another time, Clemmons hid a hinge in his sock, and was accused of intending to use it as a weapon. Yet another time, Clemmons took a lock from a holding cell, and threw it toward the bailiff. He missed and instead hit Clemmons' mother, who had come to bring him street clothes, according to records and published reports.
On another occasion, Clemmons had reached for a guard's pistol during transport to the courtroom.
When Clemmons received the 60-year sentence, he was already serving 48 years on five felony convictions and facing up to 95 more years on charges of robbery, theft of property and possessing a handgun on school property. Records from Clemmons' sentencing described him as 5-foot-7 and 108 pounds. The crimes were committed when he was 17.
Clemmons served 11 years before being released.
News accounts say Huckabee then commuted Clemmons' sentence, citing Clemmons' young age at the time the crimes were committed.
But Clemmons remained on parole — and soon after landed in trouble again. In March 2001, he was accused of violating his parole by committing aggravated robbery and theft, according to a story in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazzette.
He was returned to prison on a parole violation. But in what appears to have been a mistake, Clemmons was not actually served with the arrest warrants until leaving prison three years later. As a result, Clemmons' attorney argued that the charges should be dismissed because too much time had passed. Prosecutors dropped the charges.
It appears that Clemmons remained in trouble with Arkansas authorities even after moving away. This year, while Clemmons was living in Washington, a warrant was issued for his arrest, accusing him of being a fugitive from Arkansas.
Huckabee, prosecutors go on offensive___They trade jabs over sentencing, pardoning of killers, other thugs___Several prosecutors around the state are upset with Gov. Huckabee for grant- ing clemency to violent criminals, but he is blaming the prosecutors for often not seeking the maximum penalty and keeping felons locked up longer.___Until now, Huckabee has refused to comment on his controversial policy of making violent prisoners eligible for parole– they include murderers, armed robbers and rapists, who often return to a life of crime after they're freed – but in a statement to The Leader this week, he lashed out at prosecutors for not doing more to keep prisoners behind bars – to which Pulaski County Prosecuting Attor-ney Larry Jegley had this response: "That's a load of baloney." ___ "I'm offended as a prosecutor and as a citizen. He can blame the prosecutors, but ultimately he's the man responsible," Jegley says. "He's the only one who can sign on the dotted line. ___ "All he has to do is look in the mirror and say, 'I let (convicted rapist) Wayne DuMond go free who then killed at least once and probably twice.'"___ Jegley says the governor ignores the will of the people when he reduces a life sentence without parole that was handed down by a jury. ___ "He has obviously disregarded the jury's decision. It's a crying shame that a sitting governor would be so insensitive to victims' right and disregard the system," says Jegley, who points to several clemency cases where felons went free and then committed more crimes. ___ In addition, Jegley, Saline County Prosecuting Attorney Robert Herzfeld and others have accused Huckabee of violating the state Constitution when he commutes sentences without explanation. The Constitution requires the governor to give reasons why he grants clemency to criminals. ___ "He doesn't do it," insists Herzfeld, who recently had a clemency overturned because Huckabee did not explain why he commuted a murderer's life sentence. ___ Here is Huckabee's response to critics: ___ "Have Robert Herzfeld, Larry Jegley and the other prosecuting attorneys prosecuted every crime to the full extent the law allows? In other words, have they in every case pursued the maximum penalties? Did they ever plea bargain? How often? What's the percentage of cases in which they've accepted less than the maximum penalties allowed by law? ___ "My point is this: They used their discretion to decide they would ask for less punishment than the maximum sentences. They exercised their personal judgment. In about 10 percent of the cases before me, I might use my discretion based on recommendations of the Post Prison Transfer Board, the testimony of officials, prison records, etc.," Huckabee told us. ___ "In those cases, I'm doing the same thing Herzfeld, Jegley and others have done – using my judgment. The difference is that we never know about their plea bargains and the thought pro-cesses they used. I have to give public notice, contact all officials and then have a 30-day public comment period. ___ "I'm thinking of trying to get the law changed so prosecutors are required to give notice to all involved, have a 30-day public comment period and seek input prior to a plea bargain or any decision to seek less than the maximum sentences allowed by law," Huckabee says. ___ Prosecutor Jegley is furious with the governor's justification for pardoning killers. ___ "That's pathetic. It's as bogus as any $3 bill out there. Plea bargains are a necessary part of the criminal justice system," Jegley says, but once a sentence is handed down, the governor shouldn't meddle. ___ "Life without parole should mean life without parole," he insists."The governor's use of clemency power in refusing to explain his turning over the will of the people deprives the general public of due process." ___ Herzfeld says, "The governor's statement makes absolutely no sense. It is another example of the governor's disconnection on this issue, and his lame attempts at shifting blame. In the two primary clemency cases I have been working on, the defendants are serving life in prison–that is the maximum penalty possible for first degree murder, the crime for which they were both convicted. ___ "After seven months of fighting the governor to keep murderers behind bars, I am still continually amazed at his actions and words regarding clemency. He just doesn't get it." ___ Jegley cites numerous examples of Huckabee's freeing felons who go on committing more crimes and wind up back in prison. ___ Maurice Clemmons received a 35-year sentence in the early 1990s for armed robbery and theft. His sentence was commuted in May 2000, and he was let out three months later. ___ The following March, Clem-mons committed two armed robberies and other crimes and was sentenced to 10 years. You'd think they'd keep him locked up after that, but no: He was paroled last March and is now wanted for aggravated robbery. ___ If Huckabee decides to set these criminals free, Jegley says, at least "he ought to give an accounting. I can't imagine why in the world they'd want them released from jail. There's a good reason we're afraid of them. The sad truth is that a significant number of people re-offend." ___ The victims' families, Jegley says, "deserve an explanation. I look into people's eyes who've suffered the unspeakable. I believe they deserve justice. ___ "People are paying attention," the prosecutor says. "They don't like it. People ask me, 'Why is he letting criminals out of prison?' I tell them I don't know why. I have no earthly idea how come. Maybe he doesn't know what common folk think." ___ Jegley says although he'll never know why Huckabee is releasing hardened criminals, it often helps if they're assigned to the Governor's Mansion. ___ "If you do a good job raking the governor's leaves," Jegley says, "you can go free."

Ex-con wanted for questioning in Lakewood police slayings
Seattle Times staff
A 37-year-old Tacoma man, Maurice Clemmons, is being sought for questioning in the execution-style shooting of four Lakewood police officers this morning, according to two law-enforcement sources.
Clemmons, who was recently released from jail, has an extensive criminal record in Pierce County and Arkansas, court records show. Clemmons is wanted in Arkansas and faces eight criminal charges in Washington state.
The four officers were killed at about 8:15 a.m. by a scruffy-looking man who walked into a coffee shop and opened fire. The officers — three men and one woman — were found dead by deputies who arrived at Forza Coffee at 11401 Steele St. S., said Pierce County Sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer.
Troyer said the investigation into the shootings indicate that the gunman "flat-out executed" two of the officers. One officer then stood up, tried to go for the gunman and was shot, Troyer said.
The fourth officer was involved in some kind of struggle with the gunman.
"What happened in there wasn't just a shooting. One of the officers managed to fight his way with the suspect, wrestled him out the door when he was shot and killed," Troyer said.
Before that fourth officer was killed, Troyer said, he apparently managed to fire at the shooter.
Troyer said if the gunman was shot, he could be traveling some distance to get care. Troyer suggested the man may try to visit a medical facility and claim he had suffered an accidental gunshot wound.
The officers who were shot made up one patrol unit, including a sergeant. Their families have been notified, but their identities have not been released.
"It's carnage out front everywhere," Troyer said, describing the front of the coffee shop. "It's like a bad horror movie, it's horrible."
The officers were in uniform, including bulletproof vests, and were working on their laptop computers as they prepared to start their day shifts, Troyer said.
"This was a targeted, selective ambush," Troyer said.
Troyer said there may have been a driver who helped the suspect get away, and police had a description of the possible driver.
The gunman was described as a black man in his 20s or 30s, between 5-feet-7 inches and 5-feet-10-inches, and ran north on Steele Street South after the shooting. He was wearing a black coat over a gray hooded sweat shirt and bluejeans, Troyer said.
Police took a man into custody at a Parkland house nearby after he apparently called 911, claiming to be the shooter. But the man was not linked to the crime, Troyer said.
Dozens of officers were searching the area near the coffee shop, including the parking lot of Evergreen Self Storage. Troyer, carrying an assault rifle, told members of the media, "this is kind of a hot area, so you're kind of on your own."
He urged the reporters not to roam off and assigned three officers to stand near the media.
At least a dozen officers also have surrounded another nearby house. Three cars were parked in the driveway but there was no indication whether anyone was inside the property.
Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna said he has directed his office to help in the investigation, including the Homicide Investigation Tracking System and the unit's criminal investigators. That system includes a central repository for detailed information on violent crimes occurring in Washington and Oregon.
Two coffee-shop employees and several customers are being interviewed by police and considered critical witnesses, Troyer said. "As you can imagine, they are traumatized, they are in shock," said Troyer. No one else was hurt.
Brad Carpenter, CEO of Forza Coffee, met with the two young female baristas after they were interviewed by police and said they were "shaken up." The slain officers were "well-known to our staff," Carpenter, a retired police officer from Oakland and Gig Harbor.
"It's supposed to be a safe haven for everybody," Carpenter said about the coffee shop.
Police seized a white pickup parked in a nearby parking lot and took it away on a flatbed truck. Detectives were preparing search warrants for multiple locations, Troyer said.
The shootings come about a month after the killing of Seattle Police Officer Timothy Brenton, who was targeted for being a police officer when he was gunned down while sitting in his patrol car the night of Oct. 31.
A $10,000 reward has been offered for information leading to an arrest in the Lakewood officer's deaths.
Forza Coffee is in a strip mall across the street from McChord Air Force Base and at a crossroads between Parkland and Lakewood, with a mix of residences and industrial businesses.
Immediately after the 911 call came in, police from Lakewood, Tacoma, the Pierce County Sheriff's Department and other jurisdictions raced to the area.
"I have never seen this many scramble to a particular spot, ever," said David Gabrielson, 27, who works as clerk at a gas station near the coffee shop.
Troyer said officers "were self-dispatching from multiple agencies" to help. He also said law enforcement had not received any threats or warnings.
"We don't know if this is related to other shootings around the country or the one in Seattle," Troyer said. "It could be because someone saw this happening around the country and got himself ramped up."
Troyer said a KING-5 TV helicopter was interfering with "tactical operations" of police investigating the shootings, slowing down the search for suspects. The pilot had been asked to leave and refused, but KING apparently called off the helicopter.
Monty Norman, 44, of Lakewood works at a carwash and detailing shop three blocks from the Lakewood Police Department headquarters. Officers come in the shop every day to have their cars cleaned.
"It's just crazy. Just insane. Words can't explain. It's just a bad feeling, We see them [officers] every day. They're really good people," Norman said.
According to the department's Web site, the Lakewood Police Department has 123 staff members including 120 commissioned officers.
In a statement, Gov. Chris Gregoire expressed condolences for the family and co-workers of the slain officers. "I am shocked and horrified at the murder of four police officers this morning in Pierce County. Our police put their lives on the line every day, and tragedies like this remind us of the risks they continually take to keep our communities safe.
"I offer whatever support is needed to the Pierce County Sheriff in their search for the perpetrator of this terrible crime."
Initial research suggests the shooting of four police officers in Lakewood ranks as the worst attack on law enforcement in state history.
Nationally, the worst incident involving law-enforcement casualties is the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Reports from that incident say 60 police officers were killed, though the circumstances differ. Officers and other emergency workers responding to the attacks died in the course of rescue attempts as opposed to direct confrontations with assailants.
In March of this year, four Oakland, Calif., police officers were fatally shot — the worst casualty count in that state since 1970, when four highway patrolmen were killed.
Seattle Times staff reporters Sara Jean Green, Mike Carter, Steve Miletich, Bob Young, Jack Broom, Jennifer Sullivan and Jonathan Martin contributed to this report. Jonathan Martin: 206-464-2605 or Information from the News Tribune of Tacoma is included in this report.

The Northwest is aghast and alarmed. A gunman walked into a coffee shop Sunday morning and opened fire, killing four Lakewood police officers. The motive is unclear but one thing is certain: No civilized society can allow unabashed murderers to declare open season on the very people hired to protect the community.State Attorney General Rob McKenna referred to the execution-style slayings of one female and three male officers as assassinations. Whatever the term, this brutal act of violence sends shivers through the Puget Sound region.Less than a month ago, another individual drove up to a Seattle police car and opened fire on two officers in a police car, taking the life of Police Officer Timothy Brenton. This has been described as an ideological killing. Brenton was shot because he was a police officer.What on earth is going on? As McKenna said, "This ourtageous act of violence against our brave protectors is a direct assault on the safety of our entire community.''How excruciatingly sad for the police community and the residents of the entire Puget Sound region who rely on police officers for protection.A community grieves and feels an enormous loss. THANK YOU TO THE SEATTLE-TIMES, THEIR REPORTERS ARE WAY AHEAD OF THE TACOMA NEWS TRIBUNE ON REPORTING THIS STORY.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wave of Debt Payments Facing U.S. Government

Payback Time-

The United States government is financing its more than trillion-dollar-a-year borrowing with i.o.u.’s on terms that seem too good to be true.
But that happy situation, aided by ultralow interest rates, may not last much longer.
Treasury officials now face a trifecta of headaches: a mountain of new debt, a balloon of short-term borrowings that come due in the months ahead, and interest rates that are sure to climb back to normal as soon as the Federal Reserve decides that the emergency has passed.
Even as Treasury officials are racing to lock in today’s low rates by exchanging short-term borrowings for long-term bonds, the government faces a payment shock similar to those that sent legions of overstretched homeowners into default on their mortgages.
With the national debt now topping $12 trillion, the White House estimates that the government’s tab for servicing the debt will exceed $700 billion a year in 2019, up from $202 billion this year, even if annual budget deficits shrink drastically. Other forecasters say the figure could be much higher.
In concrete terms, an additional $500 billion a year in interest expense would total more than the combined federal budgets this year for education, energy, homeland security and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The potential for rapidly escalating interest payouts is just one of the wrenching challenges facing the United States after decades of living beyond its means.
The surge in borrowing over the last year or two is widely judged to have been a necessary response to the financial crisis and the deep recession, and there is still a raging debate over how aggressively to bring down deficits over the next few years. But there is little doubt that the United States’ long-term budget crisis is becoming too big to postpone.
Americans now have to climb out of two deep holes: as debt-loaded consumers, whose personal wealth sank along with housing and stock prices; and as taxpayers, whose government debt has almost doubled in the last two years alone, just as costs tied to benefits for retiring baby boomers are set to explode.
The competing demands could deepen political battles over the size and role of the government, the trade-offs between taxes and spending, the choices between helping older generations versus younger ones, and the bottom-line questions about who should ultimately shoulder the burden.
“The government is on teaser rates,” said Robert Bixby, executive director of the Concord Coalition, a nonpartisan group that advocates lower deficits. “We’re taking out a huge mortgage right now, but we won’t feel the pain until later.”
So far, the demand for Treasury securities from investors and other governments around the world has remained strong enough to hold down the interest rates that the United States must offer to sell them. Indeed, the government paid less interest on its debt this year than in 2008, even though it added almost $2 trillion in debt.
The government’s average interest rate on new borrowing last year fell below 1 percent. For short-term i.o.u.’s like one-month Treasury bills, its average rate was only sixteen-hundredths of a percent.
“All of the auction results have been solid,” said Matthew Rutherford, the Treasury’s deputy assistant secretary in charge of finance operations. “Investor demand has been very broad, and it’s been increasing in the last couple of years.”
The problem, many analysts say, is that record government deficits have arrived just as the long-feared explosion begins in spending on benefits under Medicare and Social Security. The nation’s oldest baby boomers are approaching 65, setting off what experts have warned for years will be a fiscal nightmare for the government.
“What a good country or a good squirrel should be doing is stashing away nuts for the winter,” said William H. Gross, managing director of the Pimco Group, the giant bond-management firm. “The United States is not only not saving nuts, it’s eating the ones left over from the last winter.”
The current low rates on the country’s debt were caused by temporary factors that are already beginning to fade. One factor was the economic crisis itself, which caused panicked investors around the world to plow their money into the comparative safety of Treasury bills and notes. Even though the United States was the epicenter of the global crisis, investors viewed Treasury securities as the least dangerous place to park their money.
On top of that, the Fed used almost every tool in its arsenal to push interest rates down even further. It cut the overnight federal funds rate, the rate at which banks lend reserves to one another, to almost zero. And to reduce longer-term rates, it bought more than $1.5 trillion worth of Treasury bonds and government-guaranteed securities linked to mortgages.
Those conditions are already beginning to change. Global investors are shifting money into riskier investments like stocks and corporate bonds, and they have been pouring money into fast-growing countries like Brazil and China.
The Fed, meanwhile, is already halting its efforts at tamping down long-term interest rates. Fed officials ended their $300 billion program to buy up Treasury bonds last month, and they have announced plans to stop buying mortgage-backed securities by the end of next March.
Eventually, though probably not until at least mid-2010, the Fed will also start raising its benchmark interest rate back to more historically normal levels.
The United States will not be the only government competing to refinance huge debt. Japan, Germany, Britain and other industrialized countries have even higher government debt loads, measured as a share of their gross domestic product, and they too borrowed heavily to combat the financial crisis and economic downturn. As the global economy recovers and businesses raise capital to finance their growth, all that new government debt is likely to put more upward pressure on interest rates.
Even a small increase in interest rates has a big impact. An increase of one percentage point in the Treasury’s average cost of borrowing would cost American taxpayers an extra $80 billion this year — about equal to the combined budgets of the Department of Energy and the Department of Education.
But that could seem like a relatively modest pinch. Alan Levenson, chief economist at T. Rowe Price, estimated that the Treasury’s tab for debt service this year would have been $221 billion higher if it had faced the same interest rates as it did last year.
The White House estimates that the government will have to borrow about $3.5 trillion more over the next three years. On top of that, the Treasury has to refinance, or roll over, a huge amount of short-term debt that was issued during the financial crisis. Treasury officials estimate that about 36 percent of the government’s marketable debt — about $1.6 trillion — is coming due in the months ahead.
To lock in low interest rates in the years ahead, Treasury officials are trying to replace one-month and three-month bills with 10-year and 30-year Treasury securities. That strategy will save taxpayers money in the long run. But it pushes up costs drastically in the short run, because interest rates are higher for long-term debt.
Adding to the pressure, the Fed is set to begin reversing some of the policies it has been using to prop up the economy. Wall Street firms advising the Treasury recently estimated that the Fed’s purchases of Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities pushed down long-term interest rates by about one-half of a percentage point. Removing that support could in itself add $40 billion to the government’s annual tab for debt service.
This month, the Treasury Department’s private-sector advisory committee on debt management warned of the risks ahead.
“Inflation, higher interest rate and rollover risk should be the primary concerns,” declared the Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee, a group of market experts that provide guidance to the government, on Nov. 4.
“Clever debt management strategy,” the group said, “can’t completely substitute for prudent fiscal policy.”
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: November 24, 2009 An article on Monday about ballooning debt payments for the federal government misspelled, in some copies, the surname of an economist who noted that the bill for debt service would be even higher were it not for current low interest rates. He is Alan Levenson, not Levinson. And a chart with the continuation of the article misstated, in some editions, the size of debt payments due within a year that are currently paying no more than 1 percent in interest. It is $1.9 trillion, not $2.5 trillion.

Fine print is costing millions thanks to Wall St. swindlers!

Local governments fork over billions in fees on investments gone bad.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing is struggling to save his city from fiscal calamity. Unemployment is at a record 28 percent and rising, while home prices have plunged 39 percent since 2007. The 66-year-old Bing, a former NBA all-star with the Detroit Pistons who took office 10 months ago, faces a $300 million budget deficit — and few ways to make up the difference.
Against that bleak backdrop, Wall Street is squeezing one of America's weakest cities for every penny it can. A few years ago, Detroit struck a derivatives deal with UBS and other banks that allowed it to save more than $2 million a year in interest on $800 million worth of bonds. But the fine print carried a potentially devastating condition. If the city's credit rating dropped, the banks could opt out of the deal and demand a sizable breakup fee. That's precisely what happened in January: After years of fiscal trouble, Detroit saw its credit rating slashed to junk. Suddenly the sputtering Motor City was on the hook for a $400 million tab.
During late-night strategy sessions, Joseph L. Harris, Detroit's then-chief financial officer, scoured the budget for spare dollars, going so far as to cut expenditures on water and electricity. "I figured the [utility] wouldn't turn out our lights," says Harris. But there wasn't enough cash, and in June the city set up a payment plan with the banks.
Now Detroit must use the revenues from its three casinos — MGM Grand Detroit, Greektown Casino, and MotorCity Casino — to cover a $4.2 million monthly payment to the banks before a single cent can go to schools, transportation, and other critical services. "The economic crisis has forced us to move quickly and redefine what services a city can and should provide," says Bing. "While we face a tough road ahead, I believe we're on the right path." UBS declined to comment.
Detroit isn't suffering alone. Across the nation, local governments and related public entities, already reeling from the recession, face another fiscal crisis: billions of dollars in fees owed to UBS, Goldman Sachs and other financial giants on investment deals gone wrong.
Wall Street promised big, with small printThe seeds of this looming disaster were sown during the credit boom, when Wall Street targeted cities big and small with risky financial products that promised to save them money or boost returns.
Investment bankers sold exotic derivatives designed to help municipalities cut borrowing costs. Banks and insurance companies constructed complicated tax deals that allowed public utilities, transit authorities, and other nonprofit organizations to extract cash immediately from their long-term assets. Private equity firms, pointing to stellar historical gains, persuaded big public pension funds to plow billions of dollars into high-cost investments at the peak of the market.
Many of the transactions shared a striking similarity: provisions that protected the banks from big losses and left the customers on the hook for huge payouts.
Now, as many of those deals sour, Wall Street is ramping up its efforts to collect from Main Street.
"The banks stuffed customers with [questionable investments] and then extorted money from the customers to get rid of them," says Christopher Whalen, managing director at research firm Institutional Risk Analytics.
The New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund Authority, for instance, must pay nearly $1 million a month at least until December 2011 to Goldman Sachs on derivatives deals tied to municipal debt—even though the state retired the debt last year.
The Chicago Transit Authority, having entered into complex arrangements to lease its equipment to outside investors and then lease it back, could face termination fees of $30 million. The investors could collect penalties because American International Group, which backed the arrangement, has seen its credit rating tumble. "These [sorts of deals] are potentially huge liabilities," says Stanford Law School's Joseph Bankman. "Investors aren't going to be settling for chump change." Goldman Sachs declined to comment.
Wall Street charm offensiveThe financial struggles of America's cities and towns stand in stark contrast to Wall Street, where bonuses at some firms are expected to reach record levels in 2009, less than a year after the peak of the financial crisis.
To keep public outrage from reaching a boiling point, banking chiefs are embarking on a charm offensive. Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein, who recently sparked controversy when he told a Times of London reporter that his firm was "doing God's work," pledged on Nov. 17 to invest $500 million in small businesses and charities. (That amounts to roughly 3 percent of the $16.7 billion Goldman expects to pay its employees this year.)
Politicians have launched their own campaign. Federal lawmakers, troubled by the rising payouts, are trying to limit the damage to municipalities and prevent them from falling prey in the future. Pending legislation in Congress, introduced by Representative John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), would impose a 100 percent tax on termination payments like those in the CTA deals to dissuade banks from going after struggling municipalities. Another proposal would limit the use of derivatives by localities with less than $50 million in assets; lawmakers figure small towns and cities don't have the resources to vet the risks of exotic investments adequately.
Without a federal fix, strapped municipalities like Detroit could be forced to slash vital services even more. The city's public schools, which had been putting off paying textbook suppliers and other vendors, aren't likely to see their funding rise now that banks are taking a bite out of the city's budget. The Royal Oak school district is eliminating after-school music programs and asking parents to pay $100 per child to play sports. "We've had to demolish programs because of the squeeze," says Thomas L. Moline, the district's superintendent.
Detroit's public transportation system is also feeling the pinch. Because of budget restraints, bus routes have been canceled and equipment hasn't been fixed. On a cold day in early November, a group of students stood shivering as they awaited the No. 30 bus. The bus comes only once an hour now, compared with every 45 minutes a year ago. Longtime driver Linda Martin, whose bus broke down five times in the past year, helped organize a demonstration in August. Months later, the 56-year-old grandmother of eight was among 113 transportation workers laid off. "These are hardworking people, juggling three jobs sometimes," she says. "If they lose their income, there's a ripple effect throughout the whole community."
Taking advantage of public entities?Of course, many of the municipal-finance investments blowing up now were fairly standard contracts that clearly spelled out the pitfalls. "Municipalities knew the risks," says James S. Normile, a New York partner at law firm Winston Strawn. "They just didn't think they were going to happen."
But some public entities, lacking the financial expertise, proved to be willing buyers for Wall Street's more dubious ideas.
Consider the plight of Hoosier Energy Rural Electric Cooperative. In 2002 a group of attorneys and investment bankers presented the tiny nonprofit utility, indirectly owned by its 800,000 mostly rural customers, with a quick way to earn some money. Hoosier Energy leased a power plant near the Wabash River in Sullivan County, Ind., to John Hancock Financial Services. Hancock then turned around and leased it back. As a result, the utility netted $20 million while Hancock planned to reap tax benefits on the facility. The bankers and lawyers, meanwhile, made $12 million.
The transaction was part of a broader trend: Over the past decade dozens of utilities, transportation agencies, and other public nonprofit entities struck so-called leaseback deals to collect cash on their assets.
Around the same time the Hoosier agreement was finalized, the IRS began cracking down on leaseback deals. The federal agency in a memorandum called them a "sham" that lacked any business purpose beyond tax evasion and amounted to a circular exchange of assets and cash.
Legally speaking, a transaction that merely reaps tax rewards and has no other economic purpose is often considered an abusive tax shelter. Although the IRS hasn't ruled on Hancock's tax breaks, U.S. District Court Judge David F. Hamilton concluded in an opinion last fall that they looked "abusive." Hancock says it believes it's entitled to the tax benefits.
Now Hancock is exploiting a technicality in the 3,000-page pact with Hoosier that could allow the financial firm to wiggle out of the contract and collect a fat fee. Even though Hoosier has continued to make all of its payments, it fell into technical default after Ambac Financial Group, which backed the transaction, suffered a credit-rating downgrade. Having not found a suitable replacement, Hoosier faces a $120 million penalty, a sum that could exhaust its cash and credit lines. "It's a huge challenge for us," says Donna L. Snyder, Hoosier's vice-president for finance. "We're a small not-for-profit."
Hoosier may have to pay up soon. In September the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the utility had to find a new guarantor this year or pay Hancock the money. If the latter happens, residents could face higher electricity rates. Already, Hoosier has hiked rates 3 percent because of the uncertainty of the deal. In the meantime the utility is conserving cash by postponing environmental upgrades to its coal plants and putting off payments to other power companies in the co-op. Says Jonathan Chiel, John Hancock's general counsel: "We've acted reasonably, and we believe no party to the transaction should seek to gain an unfair advantage."
Public transportation systems around the nation could be vulnerable to leaseback blowups. Moody's Investors Service estimates that 25 big municipal transportation authorities entered into deals similar to Hoosier's.
The fallout could be more than just financial. In recent years the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority tied up a third of its subway fleet—almost 300 cars, some 30 years old—in a series of pacts with investors, some of which required keeping the same equipment running until 2014. To avoid violating the terms, the transit authority rejected a 2006 recommendation by the National Transportation Safety Board to replace or retrofit older cars. The NTSB warned at the time that in the event of a crash the old cars posed a higher risk of injury to passengers than newer models. One of the old cars was involved in a wreck in June that killed nine people. A spokeswoman for the transit authority said it lacks the funds to replace the cars.
Teacher pensions take hitEven public institutions that entered into relatively common investments are getting hurt. Many chased risky deals only in the later years of the credit boom and now are paying hefty fees on those underwater assets.
In 2006 the Teacher Retirement System of Texas hired T. Britton Harris IV to overhaul the $100 billion pension fund. The portfolio, one of the 20 largest pension funds, was still recovering from the dot-com bust earlier in the decade. Harris, a veteran of investment firm Bridgewater Associates and the Verizon Communications employee pension plan, told board members: "My approach has never been incrementalist."
True to his word, Harris revamped the pension fund. For years, Texas Teachers had focused on stocks and bonds, relying on in-house managers to invest the money. The new investment officer proposed a huge shift into risky investments that promised better returns, including private equity and real estate. In April 2008—right after the fall of Bear Stearns—Wall Street chiefs flocked to Austin to seal their investment deals with the pension fund. Harris even hosted a dinner at a local steakhouse for Morgan Stanley's John Mack, Lehman Brothers' Richard Fuld, and Laurence Fink of BlackRock. "Being novices, there's a certain level of trust with decision-makers," says Tim Lee, executive director of the Texas Retired Teachers Assn. The pension fund's target stake in alternatives swelled to 29 percent, from 8 percent.
Then the crash came. Texas Teachers recently reported that its new private equity and real estate investments had dropped by 15 percent and 33 percent, respectively, in the first nine months of the year. Among the clunkers: Colony Capital VIII, a fund that invested in the buyout of Station Casinos, a Las Vegas casino operator that later went belly-up, and Neverland Ranch, the estate of the late Michael Jackson. It likely will take a while for the portfolio of alternative investments to recover.
Wall Street, though, will keep collecting its share. Private equity firms and hedge funds typically charge a hefty 1% to 2% fee on the total pool of assets under management even if their strategy loses money. On Texas Teachers' $13.5 billion portfolio, that amount to tens of millions a year. The fund says it remains committed to alternative investments. "We are long-term and very liquid," says Harris. "This should be a time when the investments we make should prove rewarding."
Many of the million-plus educators who rely on the pension fund for their retirement benefits are worried about their financial fate. The fund's obligations exceeded its assets by $22 billion this year. To make up the difference, the fund's board asked Texas legislators this summer to increase contributions both from taxpayers and active teachers, but lawmakers rejected the proposal. That means retired teachers, who haven't seen a cost-of-living increase since 2001, aren't likely to get a bump anytime soon. Says Bill Barnes, a retired school principal from Fort Worth: "The whole question is: Where's the money going to come from?"
By Theo Francis, Ben Levisohn, Christopher Palmeri and Jessica Silver-Greenberg

1,000 ‘witches’ arrested and drugged by ‘witch doctors’ in Gambia

Up to 1,000 Gambian villagers were abducted by “witch doctors” and forced to drink hallucinogens, an international rights group said on Wednesday.
Amnesty International called on the government of President Yahya Jammeh, who seized power in a 1994 coup and has claimed he can cure Aids, to halt the campaign and bring those responsible to justice.
Police officers, soldiers and some of the president’s personal security guards accompanied the “witch doctors” in the series of round-ups, witnesses said. In the most recent incident, which took place on March 9, paramilitary police armed with guns and shovels surrounded the village of Sintet before dawn.
Amnesty quoted a witness as saying that security forces vowed “that anyone who tries to escape will be buried six feet under.” The prisoners were then taken to Mr Jammeh’s farm in his native Kanilai, east of the capital.
At the farm, the victims were “forced to drink unknown substances that cause them to hallucinate and behave erratically,” the rights group said in a statement.
“Many are then forced to confess to being a witch. In some cases, they are also severely beaten, almost to the point of death.”
The mysterious liquid prompted serious kidney problems in many of those rounded up, and two people died after being subjected to the ordeal, Amnesty said.
Mr Jammeh has said that he believes witchcraft was behind his aunt’s death earlier this year, and has been inviting “witch doctors” from nearby Guinea to combat witches, the London-based rights group said.
In 2007, Mr Jammeh declared he had discovered a cure for Aids and began treating patients inside the presidential palace, using herbs and incantations. His dictatorial regime has cracked down harshly on critics, especially the press.
On March 8, authorities arrested Halifa Sallah, who has written about the “witch doctors” for the main opposition newspaper, Foroyya. The former presidential candidate has since been charged with sedition and spying, Amnesty said.

Gambian president claims he has a cure for AIDS, an herbal rub and two bananas. Keep in mind that this “genius” is the PRESIDENT! The average IQ in Gambia (a Western African nation) is 68…..That is clinically retarded in most of the Western World!
The President of Gambia has horrified scientists by announcing that he has developed a “miracle cure” for HIV/AIDS.Hundreds of Gambians have lined up to be “cured” by President Yahya Jammeh, who treats his patients by rubbing a mysterious herbal paste into their ribcages and then instructing them to swallow a bitter yellow drink, followed by two bananas.The therapy is administered repeatedly over several weeks.According to Mr Jammeh, AIDS sufferers will be cured within “three to thirty days.”The President announced his alleged cure in January to a gathering of perplexed foreign diplomats.“Whatever you do there are bound to be sceptics, but I can tell you my method is foolproof,” he said.“Mine is not an argument, mine is a proof. It is a declaration. I can cure AIDS and I will.”Government radio and TV addresses publicise the treatment, which Jammeh provides for free.
It has the backing of the Gambian Health Ministry.Mr Jammeh refuses to disclose the ingredients of his herbal concoction, saying only that the treatment uses seven plants – “three of which are not from Gambia”.His official website claims that patients have experienced a “marked improvement” in their health as a result of the treatment and scoffs at critics who dispute its efficacy.But in a continent where HIV/AIDS is rife, such claims of miracle cures are alarming the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other health workers.Experts are particularly concerned that Mr Jammeh orders his patients to stop taking anti-retroviral drugs, which will weaken the body’s immune system and render the patient more prone to infection.Antonio Filipe, local head of WHO in Senegal, wanted to put the record straight.“As the World Health Organisation, we would like to state quite clearly the following: so far there is no cure for AIDS,” he said.Africa’s leaders have been extraordinarily slow to address the problem of Aids.Last year, the South African minister of health, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, suggested that a diet of garlic, beetroot and lemon juice is more effective than anti-retroviral drugs.The South African government did not provide Aids drugs until a suit by activists forced it to in 2002.Now Gambia’s president is peddling quack remedies for one of the world’s most pernicious diseases.An estimated 20,000 Gambians are living with HIV/AIDS.

Military Doublespeak

In George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, the government had three slogans emblazoned on The Ministry of Truth building: war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength. True, the dystopian society depicted by Orwell existed only in his mind. Yet, the doublespeak that existed in that made-up society has increasingly been adopted by governments – our government.
It is a tragic thing that the U.S. government employs doublespeak to deceive the American people; it is even more tragic that most Americans accept government doublespeak as the gospel truth.
There is no greater instance of government doublespeak than when it comes to the military. Here are some examples:
Serving in the military: getting money for college from the taxpayers.
Deploying to Iraq or Afghanistan: occupying a sovereign country.
The global war on terrorism: a cash machine for privileged government contractors.
Conscription: slavery.
Stop-loss policy: backdoor draft.
Dress blues: government-issued costume.
Troop surge: escalation of a war we are losing.
Flying sorties: bombing civilians and their property.
Stationed overseas: helping to maintain the U.S. global empire of troops and bases.
Enhanced interrogation techniques: torture by the United States.
Extraordinary rendition: U.S. sanctioned torture by other countries.
Fighting terrorism: making terrorists.
Fighting our enemies: making more enemies.
Defending our freedoms: destroying our freedoms.
Insurgents: foreigners who resent having their country invaded or occupied.
Sanctions: killing children without bombs and bullets.
Military chaplain: trying to serve two masters.
Military appreciation service: idolatry.
Praying "God bless our troops": blasphemy.
Supporting the troops: supporting foreign invasions and occupations.
Precision bombing: civilian killer.
Cluster bomb: child civilian killer.
Land mine: American IED.
Terrorist: someone who plants a bomb that doesn’t wear an Air Force uniform.
Enemies of the United States: countries that oppose U.S. hegemony.
Enemy combatant: someone turned over to U.S. troops in Afghanistan by someone eager to collect a bounty.
Axis of evil: countries with oppressive governments that our oppressive government doesn’t like.
Allies: countries with oppressive governments that our oppressive government likes.
Anti-Semite: someone who opposes U.S. military intervention in the Middle East.
Military recruiter: pimp for duped young men who want to sell their services to the government.
Bomber pilot: long-distance killer.
Persistent conflict: perpetual warfare.
U.S. interests: an excuse to police the world.
U.S. foreign policy: imperialism.
National security: national police state.
Collateral damage: the slaughter of unarmed civilians by American bullets and bombs.
Die for our freedoms: die for a lie.
War hawk: warmonger.
Regime change: meddling in the affairs of other countries.
Congressional supporters of large military budgets: pimps to hook up government and defense contractors.
Military spokesman: military propagandist.
Commander in chief: the chief war criminal.
I’m sure there are other words and terms that have been or will be devised or brought to bear to justify the actions of the U.S. military. Reject them, and denounce them for what they are: military doublespeak.

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Doublespeak is language deliberately constructed to disguise its actual meaning, such as euphemisms.
The word doublespeak was coined in the early 1950s. It is often incorrectly attributed to George Orwell and his dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. The word actually never appears in that novel; Orwell did, however, coin Newspeak, Oldspeak, duckspeak (speaking from the throat without thinking 'like a duck') and doublethink (holding "...simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them..."), and his novel made fashionable composite nouns with speak as the second element, which were previously unknown in English. It was therefore just a matter of time before someone came up with doublespeak. Doublespeak may be considered, in Orwell's lexicography, as the B vocabulary of Newspeak, words "deliberately constructed for political purposes: words, that is to say, which not only had in every case a political implication, but were intended to impose a desirable mental attitude upon the person using them."
Whereas in the early days of the practice it was considered wrong to construct words to disguise meaning, this is now an accepted and established practice. There is a thriving industry in constructing words without explicit meaning but with particular connotations for new products or companies.
William Lutz, a professor at Rutgers University, has written several books about doublespeak and is the former editor of the Doublespeak Quarterly Review, which examines ways that jargon has polluted the public vocabulary with phrases, words and usages of words designed to obscure the meaning of plain English.

mrs broadwell: excellent teacher
aerial ordnance (military): bombs and missiles.
agenda: as in the Liberal Agenda or the Homosexual Agenda; used to discredit laws or programs sought after by the left by adding the feel of conspiracy and ill will to the venture.
alleged: actually perpetrated
ally: vassal state; colony.
American interests: 1. Corporate interests; keeping share prices up. 2. For the benefit of the rich.
asset (CIA term): foreign spy
associate: a low-level employee. Being "associated" sounds more dignified than being "employed" (or "used"), but also connotes being more loosely affiliated, i.e. having less job security.
asymmetric warfare: suicide bombing attacks, local violent unrest, almost anything that one does not wish to call war or terrorism. Military scientists define asymmetry in warfare as circumstances in which one side continues to fight regardless the disproportionate military capacity of an opponent.
Audio news release: Fake news as sound
axis of evil: countries to be attacked; Bush administration hitlist (currently includes Iran, North Korea, and possibly now Syria - threatening moves against Cuba and Venezuela also made by this regime).
balanced scientists: biased scientists.
biopesticide Bacillus thuringiensis - used in the Iraq Survey Group's Report (Duelfer Report) - Bacillus thuringiensis is a commonly used biological pest control that safely and effectively targets very specific species of caterpillar (different strains affect different species). It sold at Garden Centers virtually everywhere in the US under the name "BT", and is considered to be so benign that its use is approved on "organic" grown foods.
biosolids: sewage.
big government: government, of which portions are not controlled or owned by corporations
blowback: 1. the unintended consequences of secret or under-reported American intervention. Originally coined in internal CIA documents. Seldom used in public until recently; it is most effective to ensure as little as possible is known about the causes of enemy aggression. Distorted to become: 2. the threat of American-made weapons being turned against American troops [1]
boomerang effect: see blowback.
capital punishment: death penalty, state execution.
casualty: person killed or maimed in warfare.
classified: secretIn World War II, secret information was distinguished into classes corresponding to increasing levels of security clearances, and came to be called classified information (as in "classified for a particular clearance"). Classified was also the second lowest grade of information in the UK - restricted ->classified ->secret, etc.
coalition of the willing: coalition of the coerced, paid, and afraid - also coalition of those billing referring to massive foreign aid bribes or coercive economic threats made against these states by Bush administration.
collateral damage: the killing of innocent bystanders, ecological destruction and environmental contamination.
competitive - 1. profitable 2. cheap until the little guy goes out of business
communication: propaganda.
communist: during the Cold War, any person, government or media that challenged American economic hegemony in the world.
consumer: increasingly used in place of "citizen" when referring to the individual. Indicative of the growing assumption that democracy equals capitalism.
Corporate America: 1. "an informal phrase describing the business world of the United States ... It is frequently used in a negative sense that implies greed." 2. "The term is also used to group all of the United States' corporations into one group (Ignoring positive and negative conotations)." [2]
corporation: 1. oligarchy 2. A profit-driven entity destined to ultimately consist of lawers and other such experts in combination with the minimum number of other people required to justify the ownership of the largest number of things possible. These will then be used to a) extort the largest amount of money possible. b) Convince the largest number of people possible that owned items are worth paying for.
counseling: in business, often a euphemism for reprimanding and/or warning an employee.
creation science: religion pretending to be science; see also intelligent design.
criminal extremist organization: subjective phrase for anyone or any group that poses a perceived threat.
crusade: war
death tax: estate tax
debunking: sophistry
decapitation strike: turn of phrase recently used to describe the bombing of structures where military or political leaders are assumed to be.
defense: warAs in Department of Defense, formed by the merging of the Department of War and Department of the Navy.
defence budget: 1. corporate subsidy 2. attack budget
dehousing: (WWII) allied bombing of German civilian homes.
deregulation: reapportioning profiteering opportunities for corporate America by reducing or removing democratically controlled regulatory oversight.
detainee: prisoner of war (e.g. on terrorism.)
developing nations: poor countries, regardless of economic progress or the lack thereof.
digital rights management: software/hardware which restricts people from excercising their rights; in particular of fair use.
disarmament: unilateral process whereby one side to a conflict hands over its arms to the other side; also refers to mutual agreements to reduce numbers of weapons.
distorting the market: 1. putting people before profits 2. intervention in profiteering 3. provision of services by government
doublespeak: 1. professional jargon used by members of a disliked profession. 2. unfamiliar vocabulary, e.g. a French word
downsize, rightsize, RIF (reduction in force): fire employees. "Downsize" at first applied to products, meaning to supply less product for the same price, e.g. 14 oz. instead of a full pound of coffee.
eco: implies "ecology", which is the study of community population dynamics. Sometimes added as a prefix to other terms to mislead the public.
economic growth: raw increase in Gross National Product - see economic growth, uneconomic growth, productivism, consumerism, militarism, accounting reform for issues with this equivalence.
efficient: profitable
embedded: used by US military authorites in 1991 and 2003 to describe the policy of inviting journalists to war. Reporters are absorbed into advancing military units, and may even dress like soldiers. Critics say embedded reporters are psychologically inclined to see themselves as part of the military operation, and are restricted in what they can report, and who they can talk to (see: Ted Koppel).
enemy combatant: legal wording to get around the Geneva Conventions ' protective rights for those captured in combat
enhanced interrogation: torture
environmental security: securing the environment for corporate exploitation.
essential services: infrastructure corporations haven't worked out how to make a profit from without the public noticing yet
ethnic cleansing: genocide
executive assistant: secretary
externality: a cost which is not figured into the price, and is borne by the public. See essential services.
extraordinary rendition: Deliver terror suspects to foreign intelligence services without extradition proceedings.
failed state: A weak enemy. See rogue state.
finding: Whites taking food in a disaster (see looting)
freedom fighter: A terrorist furthering American interests
free speech zone: an area set aside for protesters in which law enforcement supposedly will not interfere with them if they stay within it, but may assail or arrest them if they venture out of it. Often at a removed location from which the protesters won't be seen or heard by those participating in the event being protested.
free fire zone: area under attack by US troops in which the napalming and bombing of villages and shooting of journalists, women and children was permitted
forced disarmament: war
fourth-generation warfare: Government-managed terrorism. The idea that warfare passes through "generations" is meant to imply that progress or evolution toward some desirable goal is being made.
fractional reserve banking: monopolistic or oligarchic private cartel controlling central banking, facilitating economic parasitism by the rich; see this scientific economics paper.
general trade: criminal smuggling organized by tobacco companies itself
globalization: 1. the expansion of corporations beyond the bounds of one political nation; the growth of the US empire
human intelligence; also HUMINT: spies.
humbled: actually brimming with smug pride, but seeking to be perceived as humble for the approval of easily hoodwinked "values" voters.
improvised explosive device (IED): Bombs used in roadside ambushes on vehicles. Perhaps called "improvised" to disparage those who make and use them.
illegal combatants: prisoners of war who are deprived of basic human rights and of any legal rights under existing international conventions regarding treatment of prisoners
illegals: refugees seeking asylum - perfectly legally - in Australia; term used by the Australian Government under Prime Minister John Howard.
infomercial: a broadcast advertisement filling an entire program slot, often repeating the same body of content several times. Usually referred to in program listings as "paid programming"
intelligent design: euphemism for creationism
interrogation techniques/methods - tortures applied by U.S. military(e.g. in liberated Iraq)
irregulars: Pentagon-speak for "everybody else"
irregularities: 1. corporate accounting fraud 2. evidence of election fraud
job flexibility : lack of job security
job security : the pretense of continued employment
less-than lethal: less-common euphemism than nonlethal
levels: prices
Lessons can be learnt from industry: this is not increasing the value or dividends of my shares
liberal: 1. weird perverts 2. people who care 3. people who can't make up their minds 4. people who hate business 5. people who hate America 6. Nothing at all: liberal is an adjective, not a noun.
liberate: 1. invade 2. destroy 3. steal
Literal interpretation of the Bible Bizarre interpretations by a minority of Christians. For example Left Behind is often described by the media as "based on a literal interpretation of the Bible" despite neither the word "rapture" nor any concept resembling it being found in the Bible, or anywhere in Christian tradition until the 19th century.
looting: Blacks taking food in a disaster (see finding)
manifest destiny: imperialism
material support: food, water, shelter, money or other resources
media bias: lack of sufficient bias towards the purported interests of their owners.
militant: terrorist, rioter, etc.
move on: used by those who want to keep making the same mistakes over and over, usually because they profit from them. "So I got drunk and hit you again, now's not the time to play the blame game, it's time to move on...And pour me a shot, woman!" Accuses any kind of debriefing, investigation, accountabity or any kind of learning whatsoever as being emotionalism. Implies that the victims of the latest disaster don't matter anyway, at least compared to the recipients of the estate tax cut, or whoever the latest focus of the administration is.
nation building: imposing or influencing a new domestic polity
negative patient care outcome: death
neutralize: to kill or to render politically ineffective by imprisonment, damage to reputation, ideological seduction or distraction
new and improved: smaller, more expensive and less useful
New World Order: globalization; imperialization
non-core promise: a promise not kept, in most cases a lie from the start; invented by Australian Prime Minister John Howard
non-duty, non-pay status: fired
nonlethal weapons: weapons that may or may not kill the person they are used on
now is not the time... During any administration-caused catastrophe, calls for accountable government are dismissed with "now is not the time to play the blame game, there will be plenty of time later"...Later is defined by the moment that calls for accountable government are dismissed with "why can't you just move on?"
oppressed minority: unpopular radicals with large wallets. (see radical)
pain compliance: Torture
patriotism: unquestioning loyalty to other peoples' interests
person of interest: suspect in a crime
personal responsibility: The notion that persons other than oneself are responsible for all problems.
piracy: 1. The forced boarding of a vessel to remove all valuables and possibly murder the passengers 2. the duplication of a sequence of data legally recognised to be owned by some other entity
playing the blame game: Used to dismiss calls for accountable government. Implies that the first priority of people who have had their families killed and their lives destroyed is to have fun making a few cheap political shots.
playing Politics: As a general rule, any side that accuses the other of playing politics with an issue is losing the debate.
playing the Race Card: - Used to dismiss any concern of non-whites, accuses non-whites of being manipulative and having a sneaky, strategic agenda (these recycled accusations were previously used against Jews with infamous effectiviness).
pre-dawn vertical insertion: invasion of Grenada; Early morning paradrop of troops/equipment
pre-emptive strike: 1. US military an unprovoked attack 2. advertising, propaganda to provide an excuse, distraction or cover story before the truth is exposed
pre-hostility: Build up of war making apparatus before hostilites are initiated
pre-owned: used, second-hand.
privatization: profit opportunities for corporate America; usually refers to transfer of former public sector services to management by private firms
pro-growth tax policies: Laws or policies designed to stimulate economic growth. Usually based upon academic theories implemented by current administration that involve reducing taxes for the wealthy while cutting services that primarily benefit the poor
promotion: propaganda
propaganda: information coming from an opposing or independent source
Protest: Violent coups and riots, when commited by corporate-allied forces (As in the Venezuela Coup)
quaint: inconvenient
race-baiting: Used to dismiss any concern of non-whites, this term implies that non-whites are animals. Hypocritically, this very term is used by the right to stoke racial hatred, scapegoating, and other irrational behavior, thus to even use the term "race-baiting" is to engage in it.
(race) Vote-fraud: a trumped-up excuse to commit election fraud by destroying the voting rights of non-whites. The very implies if whites vote twice there's nothing wrong with it.
radical: 1. popular opinion 2. person voicing popular opinions ignored by media with strong coverage 3. person in vague proximity to a another voicing popular opinion ignored by media with strong coverage (see oppressed minority)
relocation: forcible abduction (often in reference to members of indigenous communities)
regime change: a forceful change of government by a foreign power; Pax Americana
remains: As used by the Department of Defense in reference to unidentitified missing soldiers, the word "remains" refers not to the actual physical remains, but to an abstract concept deduced from circumstances. [3]
rendition: the deportation of prisoners by one country to another not burdened by following international laws, for the purpose of torture.
Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment (RISE): An industry organization whose mission is to defend the use of pesticides, and to counterattack any attempts by communities or government to stop or control the use of pesticides.
revenue enhancement: tax increase
revolution in military affairs (RMA): Pentagon term for combat using high-tech, precision-guided munitions; see military-industrial complex and Revolution in military affairs
riot: An anti-Corporate protest where someone is arrested, even if they are protesting lawfully and are later released without charge. See protest
rogue nation: enemy able to deploy some form of force; usually one that is not aligned with a group of other nations in agreements regarding conduct of warfare. Also see failed state, United States as a rogue nation
security contractors: mercenary troops, or agencies that provide them
servicing the target: killing the enemy, destroying targeted facilities.
shaping the battlefield: Killing some people or destroying facilities in order to make it easier to kill or capture others, usually by preliminary bombardment or shelling
shock and awe: massive bombing, effects-based operation.
small government: absence of all programmes, e.g. social welfare programs, that are not corporate externalities and often a smaller tax burden on the wealthy
smart bomb: usually air-launched explosives configured with guidance system
softening: the elimination of any barrier to a full-scale attack
sound science: pro-corporate, anti-environmental science
spin: often refers to outright lies, but generally implies an effort to portray events in a light favorable to the one doing the spin.
stable: Controlled by forces that will allow American economic incursion (see above), stability, stabilised, stabilisation; forces moved into South Vietnam to ensure its stability, we are keen to see stability in the Middle East
subsidy: welfare for constituents
surgical strike: military attack; this phrase evokes a medical metaphor to suggest that warfare is a form of healing, as if a regime was a "cancer" or "tumour," while the warrior-leaders are painted as trustworthy surgeons.
sustainable population: population control.
take down: kill someone (military language).
take out: assassinate an individual or destroy a target.
target of opportunity: human beings to be assassinated; target or prey fortuitously encountered or discovered.
taxpayer: citizenThe word taxpayer means someone who pays taxes, and when used in a discussion of government revenues is not doublespeak. However, using the term interchangeably with citizen - the military is there to protect the taxpayers - implies that the primary role of a citizen is to pay taxes, or more generally, that the social contract (again, a term with a particular bias) between citizen and state is primarily economic. This usage has become popular in certain conservative and libertarian groups in the United States: c.f. Taxpayers for Common Sense, National Taxpayers Union.
terminate with extreme prejudice: kill. A dead person can never be rehired.
terrorist: armed political rebel working against "American interests" (see above).Note however, that in scholarly contexts, "terrorist" is usually defined in a way consistent with the biases of the politics of the region where the scholastic institution is located. See also freedom fighter.
transfer: mass deportation.
transfer tubes: body bags.
trickle-down: refers to the oft-refuted theory that wealth accumulated by the upper strata of a society will benefit members of lower economic classes, where it is known as "dribble-on".
unbiased: Used to imply correctness or truth. Lack of significant pre-judgement or conflict of interest is substantially different from reaching truth.
unclassified: not secret.Once "classified" became a euphemism for "secret," information that wasn't secret was then called unclassified, which carries the implication that the natural state of information is to be classified, in other words, to be kept secret from outsiders.
unmanned aerial vehicles: As in "Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical and biological weapons across broad areas." Two balsa wood radio-controlled aircraft with duct-taped struts and a range of about five miles were discovered. Assuming these drones were prototypes not for surveillance but dispersing chemicals, Bush did not explain how these minuscule and fragile aircraft models might fare over a 5,500 mile journey to U.S. mainland or why they would not be shot down as soon as they crossed Iraq's "No Fly" zone.
Video news release: Fake news in video format
vertically deployed anti-personnel devices: bombs.
viral: Opponents of the GNU GPL license sometimes describe one of its properties as being "viral". Often proponents do too.
wet work: assassination.
values: 1. being deeply concerned about things that have no bearing on the operation of the country 2. talking points
Super-Intelligence Support Activity:1. secret missions designed to "stimulate reactions" among terrorist groups, provoking them into committing violent acts which would then expose them to "counterattack" by U.S. forces.