Archive for August, 2012

I Lost A Penny

Posted on August 30, 2012. Filed under: Alzheimer's, General Interest, Memories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Drat!  I know it was here.  I tossed all those coins on top of the dresser when I came in.  A penny.  Something different about it caught my eye.  Wanted to examine it a bit closer when I got home.  Was it the date?  The color?  Some surface damage?  Was it even a penny?  Can’t remember which.  Ah, check the pants’ pockets; maybe it’s still in there.  Nope!  But, there is a worn spot in the pocket fabric.  Crap!  A hole big enough for it to fall through — and, the two dimes that I got with it.  Checked around the dresser; nothing.  Back-tracked my trail through the house to the car in the driveway.  Nothing.  Oh, well.  Just another memory that slipped away.  There’ll be other pennies and dimes.

Just another memory that slipped away.  Later, my mind  played with that thought.  One memory lost; others to be gained.  And, I thought of my Aunt J.

Years ago, in an “in-progress” manuscript (alluded to in a previous posting) I was considering the nature of SELF.  My conclusion, that the concept of “self” was the MIND’s answer to that persistent problem of MEMORY, should be no surprise to anyone.  We are what we remember we were.  And, I thought of my Aunt J.

The concept of SELF is a sense of personal continuity.  But, how can there be a sense of continuity when there is only one moment in TIME of which we are ever aware, that little slice of EXISTENCE that we call NOW?  Where is continuity?

The sentient MIND is a creative organizer, and its answer to quantifying the clutter of “NOW piled on NOW” is…   YESTERDAY.  In that folder, all things past could be sequenced by event chronology, and, their impact on the NOW being experienced could be assessed.  Except that…   assaying creates another problem:  projections.  Having a continuous file of YESTERDAY to compare to NOW requires someplace to put the possible answers.  MIND then created a speculative file of projections labeled TOMORROW.

Yesterday.  Now.  Tomorrow.  The chain of continuity of “self.”  We don’t have to think about it; it’s all automatic.  In an instant, the MIND experiences, records, compares and projects events and their implications to our own fragile existences.  We accept it as a complete whole, a story with a beginning, middle, and an ending.  Yet, the only part of it that is real is NOW.  Everything else is fabricated

Life, whether real or fabricated, is the realm in which we exist, and MEMORY is the coin of that realm.  Our senses collect information, and short-term memory mints a shiny new coin to record the data, even installing hyperlinks to connect it to previously minted coins.  Then, it is carefully stored in a cyber-pocket wove on a warp of reality into a wondrous fabric — the biological neural net.  Through Life we stroll, listening to the jingle of those coins as they jostle about in our pockets, often reaching into the pocket, pulling out a coin, and considering it within its context as if it were NOW.  And, I thought of my Aunt J.

Some of us reach into the pocket in search of a coin that we know just has to be there, but, we can’t put our fingers on it.  We can find coins we know were acquired with it, but, the one we want cannot be located…   and, it never will be found, because that wondrous neural net has a tear in it, one that will grow ever larger.  One by one, the coinage of SELF will trickle away, leaving neither the certainty that is YESTERDAY nor the hope that is TOMORROW.  What is left is one lonely, confused entity trapped in NOW with neither identity nor landmarks, and destitute of the coinage that will buy fare to…   somewhere…???

I have known only three persons in my life who suffered through Alzheimer’s:  my best friend’s mother, a sister-in-law’s mother, and my Aunt J.  By way of that last sentence, they remain just as anonymous to you as they became to themselves.  As circumstance and distance would have it, I was not privy to their suffering; yet, just knowing of their journeys into that twilight is disconcerting.  How awful it must be for those who are designated to escort loved ones from a full, complete existence into that shadow world of confusion, self-doubt, anger, and — eventually — personal oblivion.

What point, this article?  None, really.  Just an observation about the fragility of personal existence and how that existence is often defined by creative illusion…

…and the unspoken beauty of those whose existences have defined each of us.  And I think of my Aunt J.

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Reverence For Life

Posted on August 27, 2012. Filed under: General Interest, Philosophy | Tags: , , , , , , , |

“Flower in the crannied wall, I pluck you out of the crannies…”  Alfred, Lord Tennyson (c) 1849   All rights reserved.

Yeah, that was a long time ago, so I guess that copyright has expired by now.  So, I’m not going to ask for written permission from the author to use it.

I was only reminded of the verse because I thought about taking some pictures of flowers (specifically, orchids) to spice up my, heretofore, rather bland presentations.  Refreshing myself on the wording of that little ditty, I checked on my smart phone (at least something associated with me is smart) and saw the question “what does that poem mean?” queried on www.ask.com.  The answer that www.chacha.com posted was, “The poem is about depression and disconnect of oneself.”

to which my unsophisticated approach to life queried, “Huh?  Say what?  Didn’t they even read the thing?

So, we got this dude out for a stroll, and he scopes a flower growing out of a brick or stone wall.  In one of the shallow, dirt-filled cracks, I gather.  It entrances him.  Moves in for a better look, he  does.

Eyeball-to-petal-and-stem, he considers this wonder before him.  “Wow!” he is thinking.  “The existence of such a thing as this is totally amazing.”  Oh, sure, you see plants growing everywhere all the time;  it is all so commonplace.  But, this one former seed has taken root in a nutrient-starved, precarious spot and made a life for itself in defiance of all the odds.  And, in triumphant bloom, it announces to a hostile world, “I WILL SURVIVE.”

How can you get “depression” and “disconnect” from all that?  From the perspective of the strolling dude, reverence for such a thing of beauty would seem to be the poem’s theme…   wait a minute.  What is that fool doing?  No.  NO!   …he   …he   …he just ripped that tiny success story out of that crack by its roots.  It’s going to die before it can realize its dream!  What is he saying now?   “…if I could understand what you are, root and all, all in all, I should know what God and man is.”

Why do I suddenly feel depressed and disconnected?

 

Next up:  We’ll play it by ear (but, I warn you, I’m tone deaf)

Just in case anyone is interested, I still have a few more posts on  The Great Cluster Fu…   I just need a short break to regroup.

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About That No-Bid Thing

Posted on August 26, 2012. Filed under: KBR, Piss Ants | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

16th in the series The Great Cluster Fu…   A treatise on questionable journalism and pre-litigation practices

Your words for the day:

  • ignorance = a lack of knowledge about a specific subject (Windows XP dictionary)
  • manipulate = influence or manage shrewdly or deviously; to tamper with or falsify for personal gain (thefreedictionary.com)
  • perception = the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses (Wikipedia)

LOGCAP bid submissions are basically beauty resumes.  Organizational stability and efficiency, as well as global logistical and engineering capabilities, would be some of the points the Army would be looking at.  The intent of the LOGCAP is to have one pre-approved contractor on tap who would receive all work projects (task orders) WITHOUT THE TIME-CONSUMING FORMALITY of individual job bid submissions.  Task orders, under the LOGCAP, are done on a cost-plus basis so the selected contractor can begin immediately to fulfill the Army’s needs.  Government accounting offices would verify whether invoicing is consistent with its understanding of the contract terms.

During questioning of Ms. Wade, Raiznor refers to a “no-bid deal.”  Ms. Wade agreed, it was a no-bid.  But, due to Raiznor’s cut and paste video, it is not clear to the viewer (that be me) just what deal and just who the parties to that “no-bid deal” were.

  • If he is referring to the LOGCAP, KBR did submit a successful bid and was awarded the LOGCAP III Prime Contractor title.
  • If he is referring to government’s decision to NOT put the LOGCAP up for re-bidding at the start of the War on Terror, that was an operational decision by the Army in favor of continuity of logistical support during warfare.  After restructuring the LOGCAP protocol embodied in LOGCAP IV, the Army made the same operational decision of continuity of support by maintaining the LOGCAP III single-contractor format (KBR) in the Afghan combat zone.  Even without Dick Chaney in the White House.
  • If he is referring to a task order sent to KBR for the water plant rebuild, he is referring to the “NO-BID” basis of the LOGCAP concept.
  • If he is referring to a contract between KBR and a selected sub-contractor, he is using a FAST-TALKING CON to skirt past the fact that, as a private contractor and NOT a government agency, KBR does not have to ask for bids on anything.

Just as the Army had a favorable view of KBR from previous performance history, KBR — in the business of global engineering and logistics for more than half a century — has built up a registry of favored sub-contractors with whose work, capabilities, and certifications it is familiar.  It is simply a matter of picking one, presenting the project to it, and resolving any matters not in compliance with the Army’s requirements.

KBR WON THE BID to be the prime contractor under the LOGCAP III contract, and, thereby, receive ALL TASK ORDERS WITHOUT FURTHER BIDDING.  So, yes, Super Dan, ANY “deal” KBR had relevant to the war effort was a NO-BID “deal.”   …duh!

Super Dan is running a con disguised as legitimate litigation.  He knows that Mary Wade’s official title is “manager” and not “negotiator” — he had to have it right on those subpoenas for testimony and documentation; he knows that KBR, as LOGCAP prime contractor, received all task orders without the bidding process; he knows that the change order he characterized as an indemnity add-on is in response to the Client’s change in the conditions (like tossing a war in front of them) under which its Contractor (KBR) would have to perform those task orders; and, Raiznor knows that, by and large, the public is blissfully ignorant of all this.  Without competing information to focus public (i.e., jury pool) awareness, it is easy for Raiznor to manipulate the public’s perception by his slick tabloid-papparazzi-soap opera-novella-yellow press effort in his pursuit of the gold (that yellow metal, not medal).

Competing information…   yeah…   that would be the intent of this treatise, although spoofing Sparky and razing Raiznor are a lot of fun.  But, as observed by Raiznor, the public is mostly ignorant of government spending protocols, particularly so when it comes to the mind-boggling amounts involved in defense spending.  Raiznor is banking* on that void to “authenticate” his made up non-war story, even though it is predicated on the ludicrous premise that military operations cannot proceed until an environmental impact study is completed, and, that all combat-related projects must be bid on by several companies before they can be implemented.  So, what’s next, Doyle?  Requiring all company commanders to hold a vote among their troops on whether they want to storm that pesky machine-gun emplacement?

* Oh!  How he wishes.

Next up:  Elusive files

Series references:  KBR, Mary L. Wade, Qarmat Ali, Doyle Raiznor, Mrs. Sparky

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Contracts Set Boundaries

Posted on August 24, 2012. Filed under: KBR, Piss Ants | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

15th in the series The Great Cluster Fu…   A treatise on questionable journalism and pre-litigation practices

Your words for the day (definitions according to Dean)

  • deal = an arrangement, often informal and unwritten, sometimes illegal, between two parties for mutual benefit.
  • contract = a formal, legally binding agreement between two parties for mutual benefit.  In business, due to the complexity of applicable laws (local, federal, international) and mandated engineering and environmental standards, these agreements are always set down in an extensive written form.

You would think that an attorney understands the basics of contracts.  Ol’ Raiznor sounds like a legal school dropout in his characterization of the LOGCAP III Water Plant Task Order from The Government to KBR.  But, then, he is not giving a lecture to first-year law students; it is more like a refresher course in Fast Talking Con Artistry 101.  You will note that Super Dan avoids the word “contract” as though it might bite him.  Instead, he employs the word “deal,” carefully enunciating it with a calculated hint of distaste.

Everybody knows what a contract is.  You buy a house, you sign a contract.  You buy a car, you sign a contract.  You rent a residence, you sign a contract.  You enlist in the military, you sign a contract.  You borrow money, you sign a contract.  Is anyone in doubt about what a contract is? 

Everybody knows what a deal is.  The phrase “it’s a deal” is a conditional expression of enthusiasm uttered when it looks like a mutual arrangement has been achieved; continuity of that enthusiasm (except to the most naive among us) is dependent upon a written version of the “deal” with all the whereas‘s and wherefore‘s carefully in place.  A deal without a written contract can be as disagreeable  as a glass of pure lemon juice taken straight up.

Contracts define the boundaries of benefits and obligations.  In business, contracts usually involve the transfer of hard goods or services for money.  One party provides or performs (the contractor), and the other party sets the conditions of that performance and pays (the client).  There is an element of good faith inherent in the agreement:  the product or services are to be provided at the designated level of quality and timely completion, and the money is to be paid in the agreed amount at the agreed time.

Change orders are the rule, not the exception, in every major construction project, whether highway or building.  There can be dozens of these for every project and they may originate from either party, but — since they involve changing the original agreementboth parties must agree to the new conditions.  These changes may be precipitated by weather conditions, availability of supplies, unforseen site conditions, changes in design of the project or of a component…   just about anything.  It is simply the way business is conducted.

An independent arbiter may be sought by either party when there is an impasse over the meaning of terms set forth in the contract.  In litigator terms, one party sues the other in civil court.  Such actions are common in business, and, thousands of these take place every year without a running commentary from Ms. Sparky or every news outlet in the country.  These actions are strictly the business of the contract parties and no one else.  Social and political views have absolutely nothing to do with the interpretation of contractual terms.

Next up:  About that “no-bid” comment by Raiznor

Series references:  KBR, Mary L. Wade, Qarmat Ali, Doyle Raiznor, Ms. Sparky

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Urban Lore: Taxpayer’s Money and Such

Posted on August 14, 2012. Filed under: KBR, Piss Ants | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

14th in the series The Great Cluster Fu…   A treatise on questionable journalism and pre-litigation practices

 Your words for the day (definitions according to Dean)

  • government = a legal entity that levies taxes on non-government entities
  • taxes = money that government says is owed to the government by non-government entities
  • government funds = that pool of money possessed by, and in sole control of, government
  • taxpayer money = all the funds possessed by, and in sole control of, a taxpayer after deducting for taxes
  • tax evaders = that group of entities who have had all their assets attached, or, are doing hard time because they did not understand — or, intentionally did not heed — when government said, “MINE!”

Inserted around the testimony of Mary L. Wade (Senior Contracts Manager, KBR), Raiznor uses the terms “bail-out” and “taxpayers’ money” to characterize a post military-engagement indemnity clause added to the LOGCAP III agreement.  We will have to digress at this point to expand on the common knowledge Raiznor is tapping into.

BAIL OUT.  One of the more recent hot issues that have heated up voter temperaments:  that Wall Street fiasco.

  • A segment of Big Business did not manage its operations very well and dug itself a very deep financial hole.  In keeping with the “survival of the fittest” mandate inherent in the free enterprise system of capitalism, a number of mega-corporations were teetering on the precipice of extinction;  the weak would pass on, the strongest would survive and prosper.
  • The government of the US of A, ostensibly in fear of a major ripple-effect through the national (possibly even global) economy, interfered in the natural order of things to save those endangered corporations AND their inefficient operations;  billions of dollars provided to avoid an economic Armageddon.
  • That revived industry displayed its gratitude by putting millions of those relief dollars into the personal pockets of its corporate executives;  that would be the same type of conduct that got them in a bind in the first place.
  • The public (all them taxpayers) was incensed.  The Press (with the big P) augmented that outrage by characterizing this unexpected development as misuse of “taxpayer money.”  The bigger the flame the public sees, the bigger the media profits at the end of the day.

TAXPAYER MONEY.  When the government spends on perceived unpopular items, the tab is payed with “taxpayer money.”  If it is a perceived okay expenditure, the money came from “government funds.”  Sounds like word play for effect doesn’t it?  Let’s look at a few people who have practiced this word play and see what effect they got.

  • Al Capone and a host of other off-the-books entrepreneurs failed to either file or pay taxes to the government.  It is moot whether they just felt the money they earned belonged solely to them, that the government did not have the right to claim any of an individual’s income, or whether they realized that itemizing the sources of their income was tantamount to confessions of a life of crime.*  They DID NOT pay, the government DID PROSECUTE under its laws, and they DID TIME in the Big House.
  • Lyndon LaRouche (Libertarian Party) proved, to his own satisfaction, that the government did not have the right to tax personal income.  He DID NOT pay (or file), the government DID PROSECUTE under its laws, and he DID TIME in the Big House.
  • Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, another pair of off-the-books entrepreneurs (in the name of religion, you understand), DID NOT pay, the government DID PROSECUTE, under its laws, Jim DID TIME in the Big House; Tammy Faye has since died, yet BOTH of them are still on the IRS hook for an unpaid $6,000,000 in personal income taxes.  Uncle Sam — tougher than a dedicated loan shark.
  • Mr. APYMOTS,**  about that fabulous, off-shore tax shelter your shady financial “advisor” turned you on to…

Taxes.  You MUST pay them (or at least acknowledge that you owe them) to keep the government from acting like you are stealing GOVERNMENT MONEY and PROSECUTING YOU under federal criminal laws.  So, whose money is it?  The TAXPAYERS’ or the GOVERNMENT’S?

Next up:  Contracts and boundaries

  * An idle thought:  would not the requirement to officially itemize criminal activities to avoid being charged with a crime be a violation of a person’s Fifth Amendment rights?

** Acronym…   remember?  Any Person You Meet On The Street

References:  KBR, Mary L. Wade, Qarmat Ali, Doyle Raiznor, Ms. Sparky,

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The Hot Button Offense

Posted on August 11, 2012. Filed under: KBR, Piss Ants | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

13th in the series The Great Cluster Fu…   A treatise on questionable journalism and pre-litigation practices.

Your words for the day:

  • hot button issue = an issue that elicits strong emotional reactions; a social, economic, theological, spiritual, scientific or legal issue which has become a political issue as a result of deliberate action or otherwise (Wikipedia)
  • hot buttons = subjects about which we have already made up our minds.  At their mention, we cannot get to the hat check counter quickly enough to turn in our abilities to reason…   and, you don’t even get a claim ticket.  (TheDean01)

Over the past couple of decades, a number of business and political “scandals” have hit the media headlines.  From that, quite a number of issues have been investigated, aired, and judged, and terms concomitant to that publicity have become media and litigation staples: corporate greed, file shredding , missing files, voter fraud, poor business practices, cover up, negligence, disregard for public and/or employee well-being, insider sources, whistle-blower, misappropriation of funds, etc.  Litigators, in pursuit of the M-O-N-E-Y from targeted C-A-S-H-C-O-W-S, seize upon the “button of the day”  and hammer on issues calculated to elicit negative reactions from the sitting jury toward the alleged “monster” being sued.  Pertinence to the suit is not important; whether the hot issue engenders a negative response toward the defendant IS of utmost importance.

Raiznor is no different.  We have already explored how convenient it would be if the alleged injuries to his client (clients?) were not associated with that infernal “designated combat zone,” and how he is attempting to focus the alleged cause of those alleged injuries onto alleged corporate mis-management apart from that war zone.  But, Raiznor has gone one step further in his argument:  during one of his recurring intermezzos in the video, he sings, “…this no-bid deal, negotiated in a shockingly, casual way by KBR with our government…”   In essence, Raiznor is saying that KBR’s alleged negligence and alleged disregard for human life were sanctioned, if not abetted, by the US of A.

Raiznor seemingly employs just about every hot-button coined in the last 100 years.  The following is not a complete list, but, will serve as a rough outline of the topics under discussion.  Raiznor may not have said some of these, but, they are there, none-the-less, for you to deduce for yourselves:

  • From popular knowledge:  taxpayer money;  no bid;  quickie deals.
  • Earlier business scandals:  missing and critical files, cover up
  • Back room political schemes:  hasty, free-wheeling ‘n’ dealing negotiations
  • Disregard for public safety:  greed, profit motive, reckless business practices
  • Whistle blowing:  two fame-seekers “did” (allegedly, but not really)
  • Dead client:  show-and-tell for fatal business recklessness.  (i.e., tabloid-like tear-jerker ending, just in case Raiznor’s load of crap just doesn’t quite smell right)

As I concluded earlier, Raiznor’s venture into yellow journalism IS NOT for judicial consumption;  IT IS STRICTLY AN ATTEMPT TO NEGATIVELY PREJUDICE THE POTENTIAL JURY POOL’S PERCEPTION OF KBR.  None of the stuff presented in this on-line format would stand up in a court-room setting under rules of evidence admissibility and cross-examination.  Which also means that Raiznor doesn’t even have to bring it to court-room scrutiny.  When the jury is selected, the work of his unethical opus will have already been done.  Even after a trial starts, do you actually believe that jury members NEVER rush home in the evening to surf the internet for “fill-in” on what they encountered in court testimony?  Or discuss the case with friends and family who did?  Raiznor’s smear will still be posted for their forbidden browsing and discussions.

The best way to expose this deceit is to turn Super Dan’s O-P-U-S into alphabet S-O-U-P and examine it letter by letter.

Next up:  Urban lore – taxpayer money and such

Reference:  Mary L. Wade, KBR, Doyle Raiznor, Ms. Sparky, Qarmat Ali, litigator

 

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