Monday, January 30, 2006
Thursday, January 26, 2006
New Solana power plays
I had scanty rest last night and was hoping for a much earlier bedtime for this one. However, I made a fatal mistake. I did a news search on “our very good friend” Javier Solana. There was a fascinating release from Defense News.org entitled “European Union Crafts a Security Blueprint.” American born/Dutch citizen/EU employee Gijs de Vries made the announcement on behalf of his boss, Javier Solana. The “security blueprint” ideas will be fed into what they are now calling Seventh Framework Program. It will run from 2007 through 2013 and will even include a “transatlantic dimension” per deVries. It will focus on CIP – an acronym new to my vocabulary standing for “Critical Infrastructure Protection.”
I wonder what the “transatlantic dimension” is? I wonder why Javier Solana spent two hours last week meeting with Attorney General Gonzales?
Oh, and what is the chain of command? Well, the Defense News – a USA publication – quoted several who bemoaned the lack of a single office
“We’re living in a polity [the EU] that is administratively crippled,” said Monica den Boer, scientific dean at the Dutch Policy Academy. “It is very difficult to extend law enforcement and security operations across borders” with the union’s current legal framework. François Heisbourg, director of Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique, a Paris-based think tank, warned that Europe’s obligation to prepare itself against terrorist attack goes well beyond the need for better equipment and protection of systems. “The EU needs a single post that coordinates rapid response decisions for both the European Commission and the Council of Ministers,” he said. “Right now, there is no one individual who can do that and who can address the public across Europe in the event of an attack. If we have a cross-border attack, the EU either rises to the occasion or it dies.” De Vries admitted that crisis management and communication “has simply not been well addressed,” but that the member states “are now starting to reflect on how the EU should do this.”
I’ll bet deVries’ boss has plenty of ideas for curing the ‘administrative crippling’ – enable his Foreign Minister designation forthwith and end the charade of him sharing power with Benita Ferrara Waldner – we know who is really calling the shots and it isn’t her! Waiting is difficult, isn’t it, Dr. Solana? Oh, and two days ago Solana announced he was launching his new EU “Gendarmerie Force.” Why does it remind me of European headlines from the late 1930’s? As Herb Peters says it, “stay tuned.”
Monday, January 23, 2006
Ford Motor Company
I have lived happily ever after in the Detroit metropolitan area nearly all of my adult life since 1965. I love the city and the State of Michigan, both of which have been good to me. It has been said that when the rest of the country catches cold, Detroit catches pneumonia. Today Ford Motor Company gave an already economically traumatized area a deadly jolt. It will be closing its Wixom plant, affecting approximately 20,000 workers. Some of them are my law clients. I personally will be sharing the economic pain.
In situations like this, everybody likes to blame everybody else. Management likes to blame labor unions. The UAW (United Automobile Workers for the benefit of our overseas readers) likes to blame management. Both sides blame the alleged greed of the other.
Of course, having viewed the prognostications of the globalists since 1981, I would love to ascribe all blame to the New World Order. It certainly deserves its fair share of same. There is plenty of blame to go around for labor and management. However, perhaps anecdotally – certainly based on my personal experiences over the past few years, I have a few suggestions for Ford Motor Company as it seeks to regroup. I certainly hope they will plan much of their regrouping in this Detroit area from which much of their accumulated wealth originated.
My theory about Ford woes centers about (1) Ford Motor dealers and their service departments and more importantly (2) Ford Motor Company’s absolutely atrocious handling of legitimate consumer complaints.
Ford makes a great product. My last Ford car was a 1990 Cougar which lived to the ripe old age of nearly 200,000 miles before I decided in the fall of 2004 that further repair was not practical. I bought that car used with 70,000 miles under its belt before I got it. My repair bills over its life were remarkably low. This says a lot about the quality of Ford Motor Company manufacturing prowess. I have heard similar stories from many other Ford Motor Company product owners.
I made a trip to Fort Wayne, Indiana for Erma Cumbey’s funeral in July 2002. After the wake but before the next day’s funeral in Roanoke, Fort Wayne had a near deluge quantity rainstorm. The wipers failed on my car after handling those many gallons of water. After the next day funeral, my son’s uncle, Tom Cumbey, recommended a Fort Wayne Ford dealer for reputable service. I approached for drive in service and received word that a minimal diagnosis would be $39.00 and they might have to order the parts which would require overnight service. I approved the diagnosis workup. After approximately 2 ½ hours in the waiting room, the service manager approached me with the sad news: the car would allegedly require $500 worth of repairs. I would have to leave the car overnight which would mean an expensive hotel stay should I avail myself of the service. Additionally, he said the ball bearings on the vehicle were bad and that might require another large cash outlay. I was given a bill to approve for $41.00. I asked what the additional $2.00 was for over the initial diagnosis estimate and I was told, “for the use of our equipment.” When I asked, “what equipment,” I was told “our computer.”
I had no reason at that point to doubt the estimate or its integrity, but I was about to receive one. I could not spend the night. I had a disabled husband at home and I needed to be in court the next day. I said, “I can’t stay – I must be home tonight. Just write up what it needs and I’ll give it to my mechanics at home tomorrow.” I saw them exchange glances and then they said, “well, we’ll have to put it back together. It might not require everything on the list.”
Miraculously, I had both a dry and bug free drive home that evening to our home. The next day I took it to my most honest mechanic – Bloomfield Township Marathon – a mile from my office. Their customers are so happy, they enjoy almost a cult-like following. For sure the car did not need everything on the list. What did it need? A $1.99 fuse replacement had the entire wiper system running good as new.
Like most area attorneys, I had clients with Ford Motor connections. One Ford Motor engineer gave me a toll-free consumer hot line number to call. It was for Ford Motor Company Customer Relations. I went through the lengthy and stilted interview by the person taking the call. I reported this very serious breach to her and what it nearly cost in terms of personal safety, not to mention the attempted financial fraud. She took a moment, came back to the phone and said bluntly, “we will have to stand by our dealer’s diagnosis – that’s one of our certified repair dealers!" End of story, case closed. There was absolutely no interest in the truth -- only politically protecting a "certified dealer."
This may have been her personally. I doubt it. She most likely reflected company policy. At any rate, she reflected the front line. I toyed with writing an angry letter to the company and copying it to various consumer affair agencies in the State of Indiana. I ended up dismissing the notion of further complaint as one that would be at most unproductive. I had a bad taste in my mouth and remained too angry to immediately consider doing business with another Ford dealer -- or use another Ford mechanic. (And I am sure that the vast majority of them are good and honest, but Ford's unwillingness to even investigate tainted my outlook on all!) I have done business with my gas station mechanics for the last 12 years. They are scrupulously honest. If they told me I needed an expensive repair, I would have absolutely no reason to distrust them. Their walls were full of letters from equally happy customers of their repair garage. It is too bad I could not trust the certified Ford dealer. It is even worse that they blindly took the reputation of dealers over bona fide customer complaints. I am most certain this was not an isolated incident.
Oh, and the “ball bearings.” I drove the car without serious repair needs until the fall of 2004. That too was fictional!
Ford makes a wonderful product. It has brilliant engineers. Its products last and last! I suspect that if it ran herd a little closer on its bad dealers – if it really listened to customer complaints, its business might just improve enough to keep it the major global operation it deserves to be. I wish it luck. I also recommend some housekeeping – with the dealers where necessary and with the consumer complaint department.
We have a close family friend -- Rich Caleal -- his father designed the car which lifted Ford from doldrums in the late 1940s. I hope another such renaissance is in its works and admittedly selfishly, I hope its economic rebirth is Michigan based.
Go to it Ford, but remember basic integrity at both the dealer and consumer complaint level might do more to restore old level of sales than you ever believed possible.
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
I made some disturbing findings in the last few weeks. I noticed starting in July that googled internet hits on me had jumped. In July they had gone from approximately 1,000 to 12,000. By October they were close to 20,000. When I was home with pneumonia over the holidays, I was mystified to learn they exceeded 55,000. Last Friday, my assistant and I discovered there were 66,600 of all numbers. Last night there were 105,000 ones and when I awoke there were 141,000. Clearly the numbers were climbing. Why?
As a young woman, I was sometimes a talented campaign manager. I could always tell when we were winning – opponents started circulating ugly and false rumors – sometimes and distressingly with sexual implications. I learned to ignore them and “keep on keeping on” until election night was over and we were celebrating our victory party.
We must be winning this time. It is impossible to read 141,000 hits, but I dug deeply enough in the lesser ranked ones to find something extremely disturbing. Most were containing references to “nude” and had much in the way of obscene language. I did a google search to exclude all such references and came back to the much more normal “hits” number of approximately 16,000.
I don’t know whether to call whoever is diluting the data base “demonic” or just plain “low class” – probably much of both. But this I do know: if somebody is going to this much trouble to attempt to discredit, we must be saying something nobody wants others to hear.
I for one will keep on talking. And, I have set my google filters to exclude explicit text as well as images. It works well.
Have a good day and as usual, I invite your comments!
Monday, January 16, 2006
I had another of those nasty bouts of awakening at 3 a.m. earlier this morning. It lasted for about 90 minutes at which time I went back to bed and slept like a baby. I did what I usually do when I can’t sleep – look at news headlines and my email. There were predictably several headlines about the Iranian nuclear situation. There was a new slant on them today which I found interesting, even more disturbing than their subject matter. It seemed, if headlines were to be believed, that the world had a new common spokesperson – none other than our very good friend Javier Solana. (For newcomers to this blogspot, I am, of course, speaking facetiously.) At least that was the impression one could gain by reading “News from Russia.”
“The international community is not considering military action against Iran over its nuclear program, the European Union's foreign policy chief said Sunday as senior officials prepared to meet in London to discuss hauling the country before the U.N. Security Council. Javier Solana said he hoped united international pressure would force Tehran back into negotiations over its uranium enrichment activities. . . . Solana called on Iran to prove to the international community that its program was peaceful. Pressured on whether the West may threaten military action in the future if Iran remained defiant, Solana said: "I hope very much that way before we have to take a decision like that, the Iranians will feel isolated in the international community and it is much better for them to return to the table," said Solana, in an interview with British ITV television.
Similar reports appeared in many other world newspapers including but not limited to The Scotsman, Edinburgh Evening News, Turkey’s Zamon Online, China’s World On Line, Kuwait News Agency, etc., etc.
I wonder why Americans have been told so little about it? Well, maybe we’ll find out. Javier Solana is coming to New York and Washington – today through Wednesday.
Oh, and by the way, that information was gleaned not from the New York Times or Washington Post. It came from a Dutch newsource! He will be meeting with UN senior officials in New York and then on to Washington to meet, per his website with
“On 17 January, the High Representative will travel to Washington D.C. where he will meet with Attorney General GONZALEZ and other senior US officials. On 18 January, Mr SOLANA will discuss the latest developments with Secretary of State, Condoleezza RICE, and Deputy Secretary of State Robert B. ZOELLICK. The High Representative will also meet with National Security Advisor Stephen HADLEY. In addition, Mr SOLANA is scheduled to meet with Republican Senator Chuck HAGEL and Democratic Senator Hillary CLINTON.”
That last bit of information was gleaned from Solana’s own website only after I learned of it on a http://www.google.com news search specific for Solana. But then again, who would ever think to even go there – after all Solana’s website is minimized with a Google page ranking of only 3. My own blogspot as well as Herb Peter’s site have rankings of 4. Give me a break! It is common sense that we, USA relative nobodies don't have pages more important than Solana’s own website. But then again, Herb and I aren’t working under a USA news blackout – it appears Solana may well be!
Does the world have a new spokesperson? If so, how much longer will he remain under USA wraps?
Sunday, January 15, 2006
If the terrorist organization Hama’s leadership is to be believed, a European country (or somebody in it) has attempted an end run around Javier Solana’s authority. It should be very interesting to see how things are handled.
Palestinian elections are getting ready to happen. There is justified apprehension over Hamas, an outlawed terrorist party, making gains. Javier Solana has threatened to cut grants going to the Palestinian Authority should Hamas make substantial gains in the forthcoming elections. Predictably the Hamas leadership in the form of Hismail Hinaya does not like that.
But Hismail Hinaya claims he has received notice that he need not fear Javier Solana and his threats of monetary consequences. He said he was contacted by a European diplomat who said that Javier Solana’s statements could never represent all EU countries.
Now this is interesting. A year ago “the stuff hit the fan” when Javier Solana inadvertently disclosed and then made an unsuccessful retraction that he had made contact with blacklisted Hamas leaders. The contact was illegal under European and international laws governing dealings with terrorists. Hamas was clearly “on the list.” Since then Solana has largely redeemed himself in Israeli eyes by playing tough cop with Hamas and threatening to pose economic consequences to Palestinians should they elect Hamas – the same group Solana illegally met with in late 2004.
Hamas now claims that they have contact with EU member states. By treaty, Javier Solana was to solely represent the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the EU and he is the designate for the Foreign Minister post when the new constitution is ratified.
How this is playing out now is fascinating. I read this as either a real challenge to Solana’s authority, or just as likely, a rationale to advance his cause and promptly solidify his powers. As Austria is now taking the lead to revive the Constitution previously defeated by France and Holland, it strikes me that this could be used as a reason to hasten the process. Even more likely, nearly all commentators have said that no matter what comes, the Foreign Minister (aka Javier Solana) provisions of the proposed EU Constitution must be retained.
Hmmm, I wonder if this is the same alleged EU diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity to the Russians that the EU competition in the form of Galileo to the USA’s GPS policy was needed because the USA had double-crossed the EU with its Pentagon ordered bombing of Yugoslavia back in 1999?
I don’t know for sure what is going down, but I sure hope Javier Solana isn’t creating his own ‘sock puppet’ opposition/ At any rate, it should be very interesting to see how this will be handled. As my good friend and fellow Solana watcher Herb Peters says, “stay tuned.”
By the way, you may read about it here:
Thursday, January 05, 2006
NEWT GINGRICH – CONSERVATIVE? SAVIOUR OF MORALITY?
Researching the hidden dangers of the New Age Movement as I have for the past 25 years, I have seen in “true New Age fashion” plenty of recycling. Few are stranger than the former Congressman from Georgia who I first discovered as the stalwart New Age Movement insider that he was. He went on to become the House majority leader and an alleged spokesperson for the Conservative movement. A few alarms were sounded, but his “conservative image” prevailed in public and media consciousness. He is now attempting a re-emergence, perhaps even a run for President. God help us!
Marilyn Ferguson wrote the landmark manifesto book for the New Age Movement, THE AQUARIAN CONSPIRACY. She described her “conspiracy” as a benign one, with people “seeking power only to disperse it to others.” She also edited two profitable insider newsletters for her “co-conspirators”. One was called LEADING EDGE BULLETIN. The other was called BRAIN-MIND BULLETIN. It was the former where I first learned of Newt Gingrich. Marilyn Ferguson wrote glowingly in the early 1980s of the brave Georgia congressman who was doing so very much to advance the agenda of the Movement. Naturally, I immediately opened a file on him and followed his career with fascination since. He drew since forgotten notoriety in conservative and even feminist circles by serving his first wife with divorce papers as she lie recovering from surgery in the cancer ward. He then married his Congressional aide, a wife who has also been discarded for another younger still model. His New Age proclivities were not hidden. He publicly proclaimed his close affinities for his mentor, Alvin Toffler. He also was obviously close to John Naisbitt, the author of MEGATRENDS and MEGATRENDS 2000. Naisbitt also wrote the foreword to a later edition of Ferguson’s THE AQUARIAN CONSPIRACY.
In the early 1990s, an Atlanta magazine got wind of my concerns. A reporter contacted me and went through details on the New Age Movement and my concerns about Gingrich’s open and obvious links. I was dismayed to receive a faxed copy of the obviously scoffing news clip called “The Devil and Newt Gingrich.” That was the bad news. The good news was that somebody who had once relatively close insider ties to New Gingrich, a man calling himself to me only “Chip,” faxed me many pages of handwritten letters Gingrich had sent him. The letters talked proudly of how Newt’s daily practice of Taoism helped him make his daily decisions in Congress.
Gingrich resigned in disgrace from Congress over an illegal book deal. He is now reinventing himself as a spokesperson for morality. People are speaking admiringly of his recent public affiliations with liberal Democrats such as Hillary Clinton on national health issues. It all seems incongruous unless one understands the dynamics of the New Age Movement which itself has of late reinvented itself as “the Radical Middle.”
Among Gingrich’s incongruities, he is a self-described “internationalist,” consistent with his New Age values. He has been involved on an international “networking society” level with another name to which I have given much ink, “Javier Solana.”  When there were Republican moves to halt United States involvement with Solana’s Bosnian invasion adventures, Newt Gingrich’s name was reportedly conspicuously missing from Congressional petitions to withhold funding.
Gingrich's name has also been associated with the supposedly evangelical Council for National Policy (CNP). Never known for the utmost in discernment, CNP has included in their exclusive sets well known Unification Church Reverend Moon operatives as well. For the record, Rev. Moon is best known for his claims to be the "Lord of the Second Advent."
Don’t expect me to be campaigning this or any other year for Newt Gingrich for President or any other office, except perhaps dog catcher (and I’m not sure I would want to do that to even a dog!). And you be careful too! At best he is a New Ager. At worst he is a shameless opportunist -- neither are viable options as far as Yours Truly is concerned.
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