Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Shedding light: Initiative to monitor EU lobbyists

"...In early October, a small group of activists charged that ... it was money and secretly wielded influence that was deciding important issues. At a lunch-time protest, the activists covered the tree with dozens of yellow paper cut-outs of the Euro, and held up a sign of their own: "End Lobbying Secrecy." The activists charge that powerful industry groups such as SEAP, which represents more than 200 corporate lobbyists, exert undue influence on European legislative decisions, operate in secret and avoid oversight.

"Nobody knows who's actually lobbying on behalf of whom," says Caroline Lucas, a British Member of the European Parliament (MEP), who came out the official buildings to join the activist protest. "There's a massive corporate lobby here, but it's secretive and it has access to the Commission in a way that we, as parliamentarians, frankly can only dream of. There is no kind of register -- I think it is absolutely crucial. That's the only way to ensure that people have confidence in the system, in the decisions that are made here."

The system now includes more than 15,000 lobbyists who work in Brussels to aggressively lobby the dozens of major European Union (EU) institutions that control tens of billions of Euros in funding as well decide the strict environmental, labor and financial rules that govern the 27 EU member countries. Some 90 percent of these lobbyists are believed to work on behalf of industry, with civil society groups such as environmentalists and trade unions making up less than ten percent. Together they spend an estimated 750 million Euros ($1 billion) a year to influence the European bureaucrats..."   Read on...

File as 'underappreciated': The venerable toilet seat

$600 Toilet Seat

There was a man who computed his taxes for 1997 and found that he owed $3407. He packaged up his payment and included this letter:

Dear IRS:

Enclosed is my 1997 Tax Return & payment. Please take note of the attached article from the USA Today newspaper. In the article, you will see that the Pentagon is paying $171.50 for hammers and NASA has paid $600.00 for a toilet seat.

Please find enclosed four toilet seats (value $2400) and six hammers(value $1029). This brings my total payment to $3429.00. Please note the overpayment of $22.00 and apply it to the 'Presidential Election Fund', as noted on my return. Might I suggest you send the above mentioned fund a '1.5 inch screw'. (See attached article - HUD paid $22.00 for a 1.5 inch Phillips Head Screw.)

It has been a pleasure to pay my tax bill this year, and I look forward to paying it again next year. I just saw an article about the Pentagon and 'screwdrivers'.

Sincerely,

(Name withheld to protect the innocent)

From Wikipedia:

In 2004 Senator Chuck Grassley (R Iowa) said: "I exposed the spending scandal in the ‘80s when federal bureaucrats saw no problem in spending $600 for a toilet seat . . .". Some now claim that neither that nor his also famous revelation of the Pentagon spending $400 for a hammer actually ever happened. Others say the prices paid were fair and justifiable.

The $600 dollar toilet seat was determined to be "fair and reasonable" by a Naval Contracting Officer, based on his detailed knowledge of the manufacturing processes and degree of effort known to be required from the vendor, to manufacture this item.

The United States military services are often in the position of making equipment last decades longer than originally designed. For example the B-52 bomber is more than 50 years old and expected to be useful for another 20 years. The famous toilet seat came about when about twenty Navy planes had to be rebuilt to extend their service life. The onboard toilets required a uniquely shaped fiberglass piece that had to satisfy specifications for the vibration resistance, weight, and durability. The molds had to be specially made as it had been decades since the planes original production. The price of the "seats" reflected the design work and the cost of the equipment to manufacture them.

The problem arose because the top level drawing for the toilet assembly referred to the part being purchased as a "Toilet Seat" instead of its proper nomenclature of "Shroud". The Navy had made a conscious decision at the time, not to pay the OEM of the aircraft the thousands of dollars it would take to update their top level drawing in order to fix this mistake in nomenclature.

Later some unknown Senate staffer combing lists of military purchases for the Golden Fleece Awards found "Toilet Seat - $600" and trumpeted it to the news media as an example of "government waste." The Senate then wrote into the appropriations bill that this item would not be purchased for anything more than $140.00. The shroud has never been purchased since, as no one can make the shroud at that price.

President Reagan had actually held a televised news conference, where he held up one of these shrouds. During the press conference, he explained the true story. The media of the time, and still today, incorrectly reports that the Pentagon was paying $640.00 for a $12.00 toilet seat.

From Sen. Charles Schumer:

NEW HALLIBURTON MISCUES REVEALED: $45 CASES OF COKE, "$85,000 OIL FILTERS", EMPLOYEES PAID NOT TO WORK

Whistleblowers' statements confirm: Halliburton gouging the federal government at every turn - from laundry service to supply truck repairs; Haliburton defying Army orders and inflating prices by up to 300%

Schumer, Durbin, Waxman call on the GAO to launch a full investigation into all Haliburton contracts and requisitions

Halliburton equivalent of the "$600 toilet seat" uncovered

US Senators Charles E. Schumer and Richard Durbin and Congressman Henry Waxman today revealed shocking examples of jaw-dropping price gouging and extraordinary waste by Halliburton and its subsidiaries that have put our men and women in uniform at risk and cost Americans billions in misspent tax dollars. Pointing to Halliburton's equivalents of the famed "$600 toilet seats", including $45 dollar cases of coke and "$85,000 oil filters". Based on these reports Schumer, Durbin and Waxman called for a full investigation by the GAO into every Halliburton contract and requisition...

bits of the puzzle

From the WantToKnow website:

Ten Verifiable Facts To Change Our World and Build a Brighter Future

".. The ten easily verifiable facts below are taken from the home page of www.WantToKnow.info. This empowering website specializes in providing fact-filled news articles and concise summaries of major cover-ups which impact our lives and our world. All information is taken from the most reliable sources available and can be verified using the links provided to trusted information sources. The WantToKnow.info team presents this information as an opportunity for you to educate yourself and others, and to inspire us to strengthen democracy and to work together for a brighter future.

Did you know that:

  • Twenty leading journalists, including winners of several Emmys and a Pulitzer, have described being prevented by corporate media ownership from reporting riveting stories on major cover-ups.
  • BBC News has exposed plans of the U.S. military to "provide maximum control" of the Internet, as detailed in a declassified secret Pentagon document signed by the U.S. Secretary of Defense in 2003.
  • A CBS News report quotes U.S. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, "According to some estimates, we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions." That's $8,000 for every man, woman and child in America.
  • Government documents released through the Freedom of Information Act show that the top Pentagon generals once approved plans to foment terrorism in major U.S. cities and even kill innocent Americans.
  • You may be eating genetically modified food every day which scientific experiments have repeatedly demonstrated can cause sickness and even death in laboratory animals.
  • Detroit's leading newspaper reported that the 1908 Ford Model T boasted a fuel economy of 25 miles per gallon. Yet almost 100 years later, the EPA average mileage for all cars is under 21 mpg.
  • A highly decorated US General wrote a book titled War is a Racket, which clearly depicts how he was manipulated and how most wars are waged largely to keep the coffers of the big corporations filled.
  • The former chief of a prestigious medical journal has revealed that the total profits of the ten drug companies in the Fortune 500 were more than the profits of the other 490 businesses combined.
  • London Times reported that several 9/11 hijackers listed in the 9/11 Commission Report are alive. "Five of the alleged hijackers have emerged, alive, innocent and astonished to see their names and photographs appearing on satellite television. The hijackers were using stolen identities." See also BBC report.
  • More than 50 senior military, intelligence, and government officials have expressed significant criticism of the 9/11 Commission Report. Many even allege government complicity in the 9/11 attacks.
  • For more highly revealing media articles hidden in plain sight with links for verification, click here.

If the facts presented here were reported in headline news where they belong, concerned citizens would be astounded and demand to know more. This has not happened, which is why WantToKnow.info was created. The verifiable information presented here may at first disturb you. It may even change the way you look at the world. Yet we invite you to see this as a powerful opportunity for building a brighter future. By sharing this vital information with friends and colleagues, you can play a key role in restoring a true democracy of the people, by the people, and for the people.

We encourage you to be skeptical in exploring this information. Some of what you read may at first seem quite unbelievable. Yet we also encourage you to do a little research using the links to the reliable sources provided and determine for yourself whether there is truth to the information provided. And as some of the material presented can be difficult to digest, we invite you to explore this information and our website at a pace that is appropriate for you. If you find yourself feeling upset or overwhelmed, consider taking a break and possibly enjoying some of the excellent inspirational articles and resources provided on WantToKnow.info to keep things in perspective. We also highly encourage you to open to divine guidance as you explore this material.

Many people don't want to know about the major cover-ups going on in our world. Feeling relatively secure and content in their personal lives, they choose to avoid matters which might disturb their contentment. Yet as long as we choose complacency over awareness, these major cover-ups will continue. In fact, they will likely grow in magnitude until people are finally forced to open their eyes and deal with the consequences. The sooner each of us decides that we do want to know, and that we are willing to invite others to open their eyes, the more easily we will be able to build a world that supports the good of all of us..."

 

Allen Dulles' part-time project for Carl Jung

As profiler of Hitler for the OSS. Link

Google
 

image from http://www.spitting-image.net

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